Bachelors′ Ball at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club

We have to congratulate the bachelor members of the RVYC upon having conceived a brilliant idea, and carried on the same with no little ability. the fact is that one ball whets the appetite for more, and many young people, after a delightful evening at the Fancy Dress Ball, felt that something more ought to follow, so the bachelor members of the RVYC approached their more staid fellows with a startling proposition, unprecedented in Victorian annals. Let us (they said) give a ball to our friends; we will find the needful, and you must turn out and let us have the use of the building for one night. The staid and sober members naturally experienced a shock at such a proposition, but, good naturedly reflecting that they were bachelors themselves once, they eventually assented, and submitted to all sorts of interference with their usual comfort.

Then those bachelors set to work, and turned the building inside out. And what a transformation they effected! They entrapped that long suffering individual, the steward, (Mr Perry), and set him to work; in fact, they set everyone in the establishment to work, including the secretary, Captain Eaton. The adventurous spirits who originated this bold innovation, appointed the following a committee: Major Boulcott, Mr Perrott, Mr G Le Marchant, and Captain Hamilton. The ball came off on Tuesday evening, and no one would have recognised the Club House under its altered aspect. The hall was draped with flags and evergreens, and was brilliantly illuminated, gas light being supplemented by innumerable coloured lamps placed in every position available. The smoking room at the side was used for light refreshments, a buffet being placed there. In the large room beyond the supper was set out, no pains being spared to make it look as pleasing to the eye as possible.

There were several boars’ heads of startling aspect, and nameless comestibles arranged with great effect and good taste. In the centre of the room was a large figure of Father Christmas, whose ruddy face beamed welcome on the guests. The steward was deservedly congratulated on the success of his arrangements here. The stairs leading to the upper part of the building were decorated with flags, evergreens and coloured lights. The library was fitted up as a drawing room, presenting quite an elegant aspect and, with the open space of the top of the stairs also fitted up with lounges, &c., furnished an agreeable retreat from the crowded ball room. The long room facing the sea was used as the ball room, and though it has often been the scene of festivities of a similar character, there have been few assemblies more joyous than that of Tuesday evening. It was nicely decorated in addition to its usual pictures, with mirrors, evergreens, and flags, and the floor looked like a highly polished mahogany table.

About 200 guests were invited, and as there seemed to be no difficulty in finding partners, was a little crowded, it being quite evident that some of the members of the club who were not bachelors were rather curious as to how the whole affair would succeed. As will be noticed in the list hereunder the ladies and gentlemen were very equally divided. Although of course the scene could not compare in brillancy with the late fancy dress ball, there were some very pretty dresses worn. We must, however, be permitted to make exceptions in cases where the ladies’ dresses were cut from the shoulders so as to resemble a letter V. The sooner this ridiculous and senseless fashion is altered the better. Several ladies who appeared in white, with dresses no more décolleté than good taste permitted,  were charming. It seems rather hard on the gentlemen that on occasions when they are supposed to be most joyous and good humoured, their dresses are mournfully and uniformly sombre. A ball room will once again resume its old time brilliancy, when the English “hyperchics” assert themselves, and introduce the pink coat and white waistcoat for evening wear. This fashion has not yet penetrated to England, and it will be a long time we expect before the coat sacred to waiters and evening dress is dethroned. The one advantage of such a style is that at assemblies like this, the sober dress of the males furnishes an effective contrast to the colours of the ladies wear. Altogether, though crowded, the ball room was a very pleasing scene; and as we believe these re-unions do a great deal of good, we hope the “Bachelors’ Ball” will become one of the institutions of the Ryde winter season. Some wag stuck the following notice up in the ball room:

January 5th, 1887
Some promising Lots will be offered to the Public.
Goods on view during the Evening.

As possibly some of the bachelors were such through no fault of their own, we hope some of them “went off” well “without reserve”. A good word should be given to the band provided by Mr Jones, which, we need hardly add, performed the programme in a manner which would have startled an anchorite, and it is no doubt due to their strains that so many of the senior members of the club were on this occasion, “caught tripping”.

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