I am looking for an indigenous English word for women who entertained guests at social gatherings in Britain. To put it simply, I am looking for an English analogue of geisha.
There is no British equivalent to geisha. 'Polite' social gatherings in the past would have been for gentlemen and ladies; they might have included performances by professional musicians etc, but these people would not have been expected also to entertain in other ways. All-male gatherings might have invited 'ladies of easy virtue', which is why many British people assume that geisha were equivalent to prostitutes.