Perhaps the main theme of Katherine Manfield's "Her First Ball" is the resilience of youth. For, while appearances vs. reality is one theme, and the temporality of absolute happiness is another, the main theme of youth's resilience in the face of appearances, time, and unhappiness seems to supersede the others.
While Leila is aware that she will not always be young and pretty, and she does discover the cruelty of people and how the appearances of events can alter reality,she bounces back from the harsh reality that the older man places before her, and she chooses to ignore the truth of life for the enjoyment of the moment, the introduction of "the beginning of everything." After her harsh experience with the old fat man, when her next partner bumps into this man, who is symbolic of time, Leila
smiled at him more radiantly than ever. She didn't even recognize him again.
Leila deals with the transitory elements of life and the cruelty of people and the unreality of events by choosing to give them no recognition, and instead, with youthful resilience, she enjoys herself in the moment.