In _An Album for Mrs Stewart_ (Alastair MacFadyen), there are copies of
pages from Mrs. Stewart's notebooks. One of them shows a handwritten copy
of this dance, and it reads thus (I'm using semicolons to indicate the end
of the first three 8-bar phrases):
"The 1st Cu. cast off one Cu. right hands across with the 3rd Cu.;
Cast up and left hands across with the 2d Cu.;
Lead down between the 3rd Cu. the 2nd Cu. follows cast up into your own
Cross over one Cu. right and left.
I'm hoping that I can prevail upon Jim Healy, or anyone else who has the
original instructions, to compare Mrs. Stewart's notes with the original and
tell us if she copied them *exactly*; if she didn't, would you be so kind as
to supply the original instructions?
From this it appears that the casts, in figures 1&2, were 4 bars; that is,
there was no setting to start the figures, as we do now. What interests me
more is, of course, figure 3. These instructions would seem to settle the
dispute about whether the 2s danced straight to the top or cast around top
place; neither ending prevailed, as both couples ended the third figure in
original places. The progression didn't occur until the 4th figure; but, at
this point, how they accomplished the 4th figure is not clear to me.
I think "cross over one couple" means "cross and cast off one place" but
that leaves the 1s on the improper side and I don't see how any sort of R&L
figure could get them proper again (well, 5 changes could, but not in four
Back to the 3rd figure --
The reconstructed version (Bk. 12) seems very clear in its instruction that
"second couple dance up to the top." Possibly no one considered having the
2s cast around top place; possibly they did think of it but then rejected it
for one reason or another. I suppose we'll never know how that particular
reconstruction came into existence -- unless there are notes somewhere. Are
there? Did Miss Milligan, Mrs. Stewart, and others who reconstructed these
old dances leave notes as to their choices and reasons?