Caricature of dancing at Almack's
Almack's was an exclusive club in London. The patronesses,Lady Jersey, Lady Castlereagh, Lady Cowper (later Lady Palmerston) Lady Sefton, Mrs Drummond Burrell (later Lady Willoughby) Princess Esterhazy and Countess Lieven, were extremely influential.
Henry Luttrell wrote of the guest list:
All on that magic list depends
Fame, fortune, fashion, lovers, friends
'Tis that which gratifies or vexes
All ranks, all ages and both sexes.
If once to Almack's you belong,
Like monarchs, you can do no wrong;
But banished then on Wednesday night
By Jove you can do nothing right.
The rules were very stict. Gentlemen had to wear knee-breeches, white cravat and chapeau bras ( a small, 3-cornered silk hat which could be carried under the arm)and this varied for no one.
One night, the Duke of Wellington arrived. He had been instrumental in defeating Napoleon, but even so, the rules did not vary, even for him. He was about to ascend the staircase of the ballroom in black trousers when Mr Willis, the guardian of the establishment, said, 'Your grace cannot be admitted in trousers'.
The Duke didn't argue. As a military man, he had a great respect for regulations, and he left - a Regency example of Girl Power!