The Mid Lothians, A new Set of Quadrilles, was a set of traditional Scottish tunes selected by J. S. Pollock, "Professor of Dancing / late of Paris /", with the tunes arranged by R. W. Evans and new quadrille figures (given in French and English) choreographed by Pollock. The undated music was published in London in the early 1820s (Google Books dates it to 1821), and the figures additionally appear in Pollock's La Terpsichore Moderne, Ninth Edition (London, c1824) and in Henry Whale's Hommage à Taglioni, A Fashionable Quadrille Preceptor and Ballroom Companion (Philadelphia, 1836). The English-language instructions in all three sources are extremely consistent, though there are a few discrepancies between the French and English versions given on the sheet music.
The set is cannily dedicated to Lady Gwydir, more familiar to students of upper-crust Regency society as one of the famous Patronesses of Almacks under her former name, Mrs. Drummond-Burrell. Born in 1786, Lady Sarah Clementina Drummond, heiress of Lord Perth, married Peter Burrell in 1807, whereupon they both hyphenated their names to Drummond-Burrell to preserve the prestigious Drummond name. In 1820, the couple succeeded Peter's parents to double honors as Baron and Baroness Gwydir (or Gwydyr) and Baron and Baroness Willoughby de Eresby.
The Mid Lothians refers to the area of Scotland around Edinburgh. The title of the set and the use of well-known Scottish tunes may be an attempt to play off the success of Sir Walter Scott's popular 1818 novel, The Heart of Midlothian, or simply a reflection of the popularity of all things Scottish at the time. Some of the tunes used are versions of those famously used by Robert Burns for his poems in the late eighteenth century.
The first figure of the Mid Lothians is set to a special arrangement of a traditional ballad, "The Maid of Glenconnel", a jig (6/8) arranged in three strains (ABC) of eight, eight, and sixteen bars, respectively, with the second half of the third strain being a repeat of the first. The figure is repeated twice. Instructions on the music indicate the that the (thirty-two-bar) figure begins on the A strain, so in order to provide the standard eight-bar introduction to the figure, a repeat structure of A ABC ABC seems indicated, which leaves the figures concluding on the same music (end of C = A) as they began, as is common in quadrilles. A version of "The Maid of Glenconnel" in a different key, with lyrics, may be found at the Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins University.
The instructions for the figures are given on the sheet music as follows:
Deux couples au même tems font un tour de trois avec sa Dame à leur gauche et a près avec le Cavalier à droite. Deux Dames en avant et en arriere. Deux Cavaliers de même..Chaine anglaise entière. La grand promenade.
First and opposite couples hands three round with the Lady on their left then with the Gent:on their right. 2 Ladies advance, retire. 2 Gent:do the same. Right and left. Promenade all 8 round.
I have reproduced the spelling and punctuation precisely other than removing the hyphenation at line breaks; all errors above are in the original. The instructions in Pollock's and Whale's books are the same except for minor variations in wording and punctuation. The reconstruction is very straightforward:
Mid Lothians, Figure 1 (8b introduction + 32bx2)
4b Head couples hands three round with the (side) lady on their left
4b Head couples hands three round with (side) gentleman on their right
8b Head ladies advance & retire, then head gentlemen advance & retire
8b Head couples rights and lefts (across and back)
8b All promenade quite round
The figure is then repeated by the side couples.
Since this is the first figure of the quadrille, the couples would make their bows to each other during the introductory strain. Nineteenth century sources disagree on the order of the bows; my mild preference for the era is to bow first to opposites and then to partners, but since the figure begins with corners, one could also do corners then partners.
Given the dating to the 1820s, I would expect the quadrille to be danced with the French steps of the era rather than walked through:
Each hands three round with three chassé; jeté; assemblé
Advance and retire with any suitable sequence of steps
Rights and lefts with three chassé; jeté; assemblé, done twice
Promenade with three chassé; jeté; assemblé, done twice
This is the first in a series of six posts covering the six figures of the Mid Lothians.