Music manuscript: “Savage Dance”

This single sheet of manuscript is copied on pre-ruled printed music manuscript paper. The music and text hands have been tentatively been identified as belonging either to Jane Austen or to her cousin Eliza de Feuillide.

The page contains two songs by French composer Nicolas Dalayrac, from his comic opera Les deux Savoyards, first performed in 1789. The side shown is “Savage Dance.”

The phrase is synonymous with Pride and Prejudice, in which the hapless Sir William Lucas converses with Mr Darcy:

“What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished societies.”

“Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world.—Every savage can dance.”