What does a gentleman cadet do when he has invited three young ladies to the June Ball? And they all show-up.
For the June Ball I involved myself in a situation which embarrassed me and brought on my head a good deal of ribbing from class mates. It was the custom for cadets to invite to the June Ball a girl for whom they had a very special attachment. Many of my classmates had “steadies” whom they married in later life. I was not in that position, nor had I the right to encourage any lasting relationship, since I planned a career in the army and junior officers were not permitted to marry.
Coming from the west coast in the days before air travel, when journey by train took nearly a week, I could never get home for short leaves at Christmas and Easter and lost touch with friends there. Through the friendship of a class mate, his parents, Mr. And Mrs. John Acer, used to invite me to stay with their family in Montreal for these shorter holidays, and their kindnesses to me were limitless.
In the course of these visits at dances and other social functions I met some very attractive girls.
“I had no difficulty in filling the program for these very attractive girls except for one minor complication.”
I decided to invite one of these to be my partner for the June Ball. I received a reply regretting that she could not come; she was to be a bridesmaid at two weddings that spring; her mother had put her foot down and said she would have to decline. So I wrote to a second, who also had to decline. I then wrote to a third and received a reply saying she would be delighted to come; it would be her first June Ball and she was very much looking forward to it.
All seemed set for the big occasion when, within days of receiving this acceptance and within days of each other, I received further letters from the first two to whom I had written, saying that their parents had relented and they would be delighted to come.
I was too ingenuous to write to these two and explain that since they had had to decline my original invitation, I had asked someone else. I decided to cope with all three – the first two had obviously gone to not a little trouble to persuade their parents to let them attend. Attending a June Ball meant a great deal more than that I should be their partner, and it would be churlish at this juncture to tell them they couldn’t come.
It was the established routine that when a cadet invited a girl to a Christmas dance or June Ball he filled her program, exchanging dances with class mates and friends and, when she arrived, the program was given to her already complete with a partner for every dance.
I had no difficulty in filling the program for these very attractive girls except for one minor complication.
It was customary for a cadet host, in addition to any other dances he might reserve on the program for himself, to have the first, the supper and the last dance with the girl he invited. I had the first dance with one, the supper dance with the second and the last dance with the third, and class mates whose partners had been unable to come at shorter or longer notice filled the other gaps.
I believe everyone concerned had a thoroughly enjoyable June Ball, but that was no defence against the barbs of my class mates who quickly realized the situation when I had three programs to fill.
For long afterwards I would be greeted by such comments as “That will teach you to ask three girls to the June Ball, you Bluebeard”.