In the late 1800s, a really well-bred man must follow a strict set of rules when attending a ball. And while your hero may not be such a man (in fact, most romantic heroes are rogues to some degree), he must still know how to act like a gentleman in order not to be forcibly ejected from the premises as he pursues his lady-love.
Here are a few rules that appear in Receptions, Parties and Balls E-book:
"A young man who can dance, and will not dance, should stay away from a ball.
The lady with whom a gentleman dances last is the one he takes to supper. Therefore, he can make no engagement to take out any other, unless his partner is already engaged.
Public balls are most enjoyable when you have your own party. The great charm of a ball is its perfect accord and harmony. All altercations, loud talking and noisy laughter are doubly ill-mannered in a ball-room. Very little suffices to disturb the whole party.
In leaving a ball, it is not deemed necessary to wish the lady of the house a good night. In leaving a small dance or party, it is civil to do so.
The difference between a ball and an evening party is, that at a ball there must be dancing, and at an evening party there may or may not be."
balls, gentlemen, historical novel, parties, rogue, romance novelist, romantic hero
The Villiers family had long been a noteworthy one before George Villiers saw the light. Beauty was their inheritance; and they were further distinguished by a grace of manner, a lively wit, and irresistible charm. It was in the old family hall of the village of Brooksby that George - second son of Sir George Villiers and that extraordinary lady who rose from the rank of a serving-maid to the Lady Villiers and Lady Compton by marriage and Countess of Buckingham by creation - was born. (There's a story in itself.)
The early youth of the lad, who was destined soon to distinguish himself as the more ardent and successful in the realm of gaiety and pleasure, was spent amid rural quiet and the unromantic associations connected with life at a boarding-school. Withdrawn from school at thirteen years of age, Villiers remained for the following three years under his mother's training. Even at this early age so handsome was the youth in person, and so bright and pleasing in mental gifts, that his mother resolved upon sending him for the completion of his education to France, in order that the advantages which had been so lavishly bestowed upon him by nature should be touched to their finest issues by art.
For more, see Essex - Part Four available now as a single volume, or together with the complete series on Essex.
If you are looking for inspiration for a romantic hero, look no further.