Back to Portsmouth Rout
PORTSMOUTH ROUT. English, Jig (6/8 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody appears to be unique to London publisher Charles and Samuel Thompson’s Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1763 (p. 62), later reprinted in their 1765 country dance compendium. A frequently quoted passage describing a rout comes from a book called An American in Regency England (p. 31) by Louis Simond, an expatriate Frenchman who lived in Amercia, but who traveled widely and kept a journal of a tour in 1810-1811. He writes:
Great assemblies are called routs or parties; but the people who give them, in their invitations only say, that they will be at home such a day, and this some weeks beforehand. The house in which this takes place is frequently stripped from top to bottom: beds, drawers, and all but ornamental furniture is carried out of sight, to make room for a crowd of well-dressed people, received at the door of the principal apartment by the mistress of the house standing, who smiles at every new comer with a look of acquaintance. Nobody sits; there is no conversation, cards, no music; only elbowing, turning, and winding from room to room; then, at the end of a quarter of an hour, escaping to the hall door to wait for the carriage, spending more time upon the threshold among footmen than you had done above stairs with their masters. From this rout you drive to another, where, after waiting your turn to arrive at the door, perhaps, half an hour, the street being full of carriages before the house–then every curtain, and every shutter of every window wide open, shewing apartments all in a blaze of light, with heads innumerable, black and white (powdered or not), in continual motion. This custom is so general, that having, a few days ago, five or six persons in the evening with us, we observed our servants had left the windows thus exposed, thinking, no doubt, that this was a rout after our fashion.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 2), 1765; No. 125.