Vienna 1880 - 8 The Ball

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The tramway soon left the city, crossing the bridge over the old earthwall and ditch, which was many kilometers long. Here was also one of the customs offices for most wares going into the city, but now it was as vacant as any other office at this time of the day. Across the ditch there was a wide street, following it around the city. And there was also the western railway station. A long, monumental building with its many arched windows. From here the trains went to Salzburg from where passengers could travel on to Bavaria. The emperor went on holidays to Ischl from here each year – that's why the line had the most pretty stations.

It was just one of a few railway lines that ended in Vienna – or started there, whichever way you saw it. The trains went to all parts of the empire. To Trieste in the south, to Györ in the east and to Prague in the north.

Elisabeth and Georg got off the tramway at the brewery. In summer the large garden was full of people, now the trees reached their bare branches to the sky. When they entered, the hall was already full of people. It was brightly illuminated, the wooden tables and chairs were pushed together a bit closer than usual to make space for dancing in the middle of the room, where a small orchestra just took it's place on a stage.

The whole event was not as fancy as the great balls in the inner city, but they still had made an effort to teach some young people a polonaise to open the ball. Georg did his best not to snigger at the ungracefulness of a few of the young men.

When the dance floor was declared free for all by the master of ceremonies, it soon filled up with people until each pair only had a small space to make their turns. The orchestra was playing walzes against the chatter of a few hundred people. Elisabeth and Georg decided to first take their seats and have dinner. They had reserved a table together with some friends and Elisabeth's sister Josephine and her husband. Contrary to some more fancy event locations the beer hall was always happy to start a ball early enough for people to also spend money on a meal and not just a pair of over-priced sausages.

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