“Oh! Then the point is clear. Miss Price is not out.”
-Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
So you’re ready to be out. You’ve awaited joining your sisters, cousins, and friends in the vibrant, bustling social community with anxious anticipation. Now your time of waiting is over. You have reached the season of your maturity. In short, you are officially marriage material.
To prepare you for this momentous occasion, I have compiled a list of all the ins-and-coming-outs for planning your big evening. I doubt that the Lord Chamberlain himself could disapprove of such a guide.
1. Do your best to present yourself with an air of maturity. Most young ladies come out at seventeen or eighteen, but, in the end, the decision belongs to your parents. Although it is optimum for you to have completed your education, some girls are considered sophisticated enough to be out as early as twelve!
2. I hope you’ve been working very hard on your accomplishments. If you plan to come-out at court, (more about that later) you’ll essentially be competing against myriad young women who have been cultivating their talents for years.
According to R.S. Fleming, young ladies that have been considered accomplished, “spoke several languages, played piano and sang, painted in watercolours and oils, did needlepoint, memorized every member of the monarchy, peerage, and gentry, including family background, and learned classical history and geography…[when married they were expected] to be an elegant hostess, poised, and beautiful, while giving birth to as many children as possible.” Your accomplishments will prepare you for the many adventures ahead!
3. Now it is time to determine the ball at which you will be presented. If you plan to come-out at court–meaning you are a member of an aristocratic family and have a lady of status who is already out and can present you–you may have your coming-out ceremony with all the other desirable young debutantes at St. James Palace* where you will be given the high honour of being presented to the Prince Regent. There are also many debutante balls at aristocratic homes around the country.
To Be Continued…
Be sure to check back for the next three tips in the second Debutante post during the Northanger Abbey responses.
*Modern day Buckingham Palace