Excerpted from Coulon's Handbook in 1873: (ORIGINAL SPELLING)
It is danced like all country dances, the gentlemen in a line, and the ladies in another opposite to their partners. The first gentleman at the top and the lady at the bottom of the line have to begin each figure, and them the other gentleman and lady at the opposite corner have to repeat the figure immediately.
1) First lady and gentleman meet in the center of the line, give right hands, turn once round, and retire to their corners, the same for the other two at the top and bottom.
2) First couple cross again and give left, hands and turn once; back to places. To be repeated by the others.
3) First couple give both hands, the others the same.
4) First couple back to back, and retire to places; the other corners the same.
5) The first couple advance, bow to each other, and retire; the same repeated by the other couples.
6) The top gentleman then turns to the left, and the top lady (his partner) turns to the right; all the other ladies and gentlemen turn and follow the leaders who run outside of the line, and meet at the bottom of the room, giving right hands, and raising their arms so as to form a kind of arch under which all the following couples must pass, joining hands, and running forwards when they have all passed under the arch. The first lady and gentleman remain the last at the end of the two lines, and the figures of right hands, left hands, both hands, back to back, bow, and running outside the lines are repeated by all, when the first couple will have arrived at their original place.
Another excerpt from L.G. Brookes Book-1850: (ORIGINAL SPELLING)
The whole company range themselves in two lines down the room, ladies on the left, gentlemen on the right; partners facing each other. During the first four bars the lines advance and retreat: during the next four, partners cross to opposite places: advance and retire as before and re-cross to places. Then the lady at the top of her line, and the gentleman at the bottom of his, advance to each other halfway, courtesy and bow, and back to places. This example is followed by the gentleman at the top and the lady at the bottom, who do precisely the same. Next, top lady and bottom gentleman advance again. Clasp right hands, swing quickly round, and return to places. The gentleman at top and lady at bottom follow tiffs example also, acting in exactly the same manner.
When properly danced, this next, takes place: The lady at top advances and gives her right hand to her own partner, who is standing opposite, then, immediately quitting him, passes behind the two gentlemen men who stand next him, and through into the space between the lines, where she meets her partner, who has meanwhile passed behind the two ladies who were standing next his partner. She gives her left hand to partner on meeting him, and then passes behind the two ladies next lowest; he passing behind the two gentlemen next lowest. They meet again, with the right hand, and so it goes on all down the line, until, at the bottom of it, the lady gives her left hand to her partner, and they promenade back to their places at the top.
As a rule, however, this somewhat tiresome and not very exhilarating performance is omitted, and when it is, the dance proceeds, taking it up from the end of the preceding paragraph, in this way; The top couple advance to each other and bow, then the lady turns sharply off to the right and the gentleman to the left, and the respective lines follow them to the end of the room (much as in the fifth figure of the lancers). On reaching bottom of figure, top couple join bands and raise their arms, forming an arch, under which all the rest of the couples pass back to their own places, except the top couple, who remain where they are at the bottom. The second couple (now become the top couple) now report these movements from the very beginning lady at the top of her line and gentleman at bottom of his, advance, and so on, until the original top couple have worked their way back to their places at the top of the line, when the dance is finished, or may be all done over again as often as is found agreeable.