Mrs. Hurst Dancing is a gem of a book. It is a collection of the water-colors of a young Regency woman, Diana Sperling, in which she's captured the daily lives of her brothers, sisters, parents and guests. There are dances and donkey rides, sometimes ending in falling off the donkey. There are expeditions in the countryside, sometimes involving fierce campaigns against wasps' nests, and journeys, sometimes involving getting stuck in the mud. And these are lovely pictures, in the sense that they make these people from the past seem real and friendly.
But what is more unexpected, and more delightful, are the pictures of the Sperling family throwing themselves with gusto in any domestic activity that might be of interest. There's scene of chicken chasing, and a lovely picture (I think it's my favorite) entitled "Mrs Sperling murdering flies--assisted by her maid who received the dead and wounded." Mrs. Sperling is perilously standing tiptoe on the windowsill, swatting at a fearsome swarm, while the maid, perched on the chair-rail and clinging to the curtain, catches corpses in basket....
And there's a lovely picture of brother Henry electrifying a chain of the others which his hand-cranked generator!
So if you are at all a fan of Regency books, do get a hold of this one--it is delightful.
If you live in Rhode Island--I'm about to return Mrs. Hurst to the stacks, and it will be up for grabs again!