Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 16: Special and Annual Events
Christmas Minuet

The Christmas Minuet was in considerable contrast to the raucous Mummer’s Play. It was one of the most beautiful moments in the long celebration of Christmas at Pine Mountain. This is just how student Bobbie Jean Johnson, a Senior in 1948-1949, described it for an article in the student newsletter, the Pine Cone.

One of the most beautiful of the Christmas festivities is the minuet. From the first notes of “God Bless the Master of This House” the four dancers entered the dining room. Walking in, arm in arm they looked not unlike an old portrait. Soft candles lighted the hall, and the rustle of long skirts and the ripple of laughter mingled in a happy atmosphere. 

During dinner the four sat at a lace-covered table at the head of the hall. The maid and butler, presenting a striking contrast in height, hovered close by, waiting to bring each thing for them. The pert maid wore a long skirt, a tiny lace cap and frilly apron, while the butler wore [a] severe black suit with a lace collar. (Much twisting and squirming, whether observed or not, was going on because of the servant’s attire.)

Buckles on black shoes, hair piled high, bright smiles, billowing skirts, tightly fitting knee-breeches, and ruffles — all these are assembled in careful order to result in four graceful figures as they start the dance after dinner. Deep bows and dainty steps, accompanied by flowing music, mark the stately minuet, and in the true custom of the school the dance was done well.

– Bobbie Jean Johnson, Senior (1948-1949)