Courtship and Marriage

Today, dating seems to have no rules anymore. But, once, in Victorian America, if you wanted to court a woman, you had to do it properly. Here’s how:

A GENTLEMAN’S CONDUCT TOWARD LADIES
Young people of either sex, who have arrived at mature age, and who are not engaged, have the utmost freedom in their social intercourse in this country, and are at liberty to associate and mingle freely in the same circles with those of the opposite sex. Gentlemen are at liberty to invite their lady friends to concerts, operas, balls, etc., to call upon them at their homes, to ride and drive with them, and make themselves agreeable to all young ladies to whom their company is acceptable. In fact they are at liberty to accept invitations and give them ad libitum. As soon, however, as a young gentleman neglects all others, to devote himself to a single lady, he gives that lady reason to suppose that he is particularly attracted to her, and may give her cause to believe that she is to become engaged to him, without telling her so. A gentleman who does not contemplate matrimony should not pay too exclusive attention to any one lady.

A LADY’S CONDUCT TOWARD GENTLEMEN
A young lady who is not engaged may receive calls and attentions from such unmarried gentlemen as she desires, and may accept invitations to ride, to concerts, theatres, etc. She should use due discretion, however, as to whom she favors by the acceptance of such invitations. A young lady should not allow special attention from anyone to whom she is not specially attracted, because, first, she may do injury to the gentleman in seeming to give his suit encouragement; and, secondly, she may keep away from her those whom she likes better, but who will not approach her under the mistaken idea that her feelings are already interested. A young lady should not encourage the addresses of a gentleman unless she feels that she can return his affections. It is the prerogative of a man to propose, and of a woman to accept or refuse, and a lady of tact and kind heart will exercise her prerogative before her suitor is brought to the humiliation of an offer which must result in a refusal.

No well-bred lady will too eagerly receive the attentions of a gentleman, no matter how much she admires him; nor, on the other hand, will she be so reserved as to altogether discourage him. A man may show considerable attention to a lady without becoming a lover; and so a lady may let it be seen that she is not disagreeable to him without discouraging him. She will be able to judge soon from his actions and deportment, as to his motive in paying her his attentions, and will treat him accordingly. A man does not like to be refused when he makes a proposal, and no man of tact will risk a refusal. Neither will a well-bred lady encourage a man to make a proposal, which she must refuse. She should endeavor, in discouraging him as a lover, to retain his friendship. A young man of sensibilities, who can take a hint when it is offered him, need not run the risk of a refusal.

PROPER MANNER OF COURTSHIP
It is impossible to lay down any rule as to the proper mode of courtship and proposal. In France it is the business of the parents to settle all preliminaries. In England the young man asks the consent of the parents to pay addresses to their daughter. In this country the matter is left almost entirely to the young people.

It seems that circumstances must determine whether courtship may lead to engagement. Thus, a man may begin seriously to court a girl, but may discover before any promise binds them to each other, that they are entirely unsuited to one another, when he may, with perfect propriety and without serious injury to the lady, withdraw his attentions.

Certain authorities insist that the consent of parents must always be obtained before the daughter is asked to give herself in marriage. While there is nothing improper or wrong in such a course, still, in this country, with our social customs, it is deemed best in most cases not to be too strict in this regard. Each case has its own peculiar circumstances which must govern it, and it seems at least pardonable if the young man should prefer to know his fate directly from the lips of the most interested party, before he submits himself to the cooler judgment and the critical observation of the father and mother, who are not by any means in love with him, and who may possibly regard him with a somewhat jealous eye, as having already monopolized their daughter’s affections, and now desires to take her away from them altogether.

PARENTS SHOULD EXERCISE AUTHORITY OVER DAUGHTERS
Parents should always be perfectly familiar with the character of their daughter’s associates, and they should exercise their authority so far as not to permit her to form any improper acquaintances. In regulating the social relations of their daughter, parents should bear in mind the possibility of her falling in love with any one with whom she may come in frequent contact. Therefore, if any gentleman of her acquaintance is particularly ineligible as a husband, he should be excluded as far as practicable from her society.

A WATCHFUL CARE REQUIRED BY PARENTS
Parents, especially mothers, should also watch with a jealous care the tendencies of their daughter’s affections; and if they see them turning toward unworthy or undesirable objects, influence of some sort should be brought to bear to counteract this. Great delicacy and tact are required to manage matters rightly. A more suitable person may, if available, be brought forward, in the hope of attracting the young girl’s attention. The objectionable traits of the undesirable suitor should be made apparent to her without the act seeming to be intentional; and if all this fails, let change of scene and surroundings by travel or visiting accomplish the desired result. The latter course will generally do it, if matters have not been allowed to progress too far and the young girl is not informed why she is temporarily banished from home.

AN ACCEPTABLE SUITOR
Parents should always be able to tell from observation and instinct just how matters stand with their daughter; and if the suitor is an acceptable one and everything satisfactory, then the most scrupulous rules of etiquette will not prevent their letting the young couple alone. If the lover chooses to propose directly to the lady and consult her father afterward, consider that he has a perfect right to do so. If her parents have sanctioned his visits and attentions by a silent consent, he has a right to believe that his addresses will be favorably received by them.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE
Respect for each other is as necessary to a happy marriage as that the husband and wife should have an affection for one another. Social equality, intellectual sympathy, and sufficient means are very important matters to be considered by those who contemplate matrimony.

It must be remembered that husband and wife, after marriage, have social relations to sustain, and perhaps it will be discovered, before many months of wedded life have passed, when there is a social inequality, that one of the two have made a sacrifice for which no adequate compensation has been or ever will be received. And so both lives become soured and spoiled, because neither receives nor can receive the sympathy which their efforts deserve, and because their cares are multiplied from a want of congeniality. One or the other may find that the noble qualities seen by the impulse of early love, were but the creation of an infatuated fancy, existing only in the mind where it originated.

Another condition of domestic happiness is intellectual sympathy. Man requires a woman who can make his home a place of rest for him, and woman requires a man of domestic tastes. While a woman who seeks to find happiness in a married life will never consent to be wedded to an idler or a pleasure-seeker, so a man of intelligence will wed none but a woman of intelligence and good sense. Neither beauty, physical characteristics nor other external qualifications will compensate for the absence of intellectual thought and clear and quick comprehensions. An absurd idea is held by some that intelligence and domestic virtues cannot go together; that an intellectual woman will never be content to stay at home to look after the interests of her household and children. A more unreasonable idea has never been suggested, for as the intellect is strengthened and cultured, it has a greater capacity of affection, of domesticity and of self-sacrifice for others.

Mutual trust and confidence are other requisites for happiness in married life. There can be no true love without trust. The responsibility of a man’s life is in a woman’s keeping from the moment he puts his heart into her hands. Without mutual trust there can be no real happiness.

Another requisite for conjugal happiness is moral and religious sympathy, that each may walk side by side in the same path of moral purpose and social usefulness, with joint hope of immortality.

PROPOSALS OF MARRIAGE
Rules in regard to proposals of marriage cannot be laid down, for they are and should be as different as people. The best way is to apply to the lady in person, and receive the answer from her own lips. If courage should fail a man in this, he can resort to writing, by which he can clearly and boldly express his feelings. A spoken declaration should be bold, manly and earnest, and so plain in its meaning that there can be no misunderstanding. As to the exact words to be used, there can be no set formula; each proposer must be governed by his own ideas and sense of propriety in the matter.

DO NOT PRESS AN UNWELCOME SUIT
A gentleman should evince a sincere and unselfish affection for his beloved, and he will show as well as feel that her happiness must be considered before his own. Consequently he should not press an unwelcome suit upon a young lady. If she has no affection for him, and does not conceive it possible even to entertain any, it is cruel to urge her to give her person without her love. The eager lover may believe, for the time being, that such possession would satisfy him, but the day will surely come when he will reproach his wife that she had no love for him, and he will possibly make that an excuse for all manner of unkindness.

A LADY’S FIRST REFUSAL
It is not always necessary to take a lady’s first refusal as absolute. Diffidence or uncertainty as to her own feelings may sometimes influence a lady to reply in the negative, and after-consideration cause her to regret that reply.

Though a gentleman may repeat his suit with propriety after having been once repulsed, still it should not be repeated too often nor too long, lest it should degenerate into importuning.

No lady worthy any gentleman’s regard will say “no” twice to a suit which she intends ultimately to receive with favor. A lady should be allowed all the time she requires before making up her mind; and if the gentleman grows impatient at the delay, he is always at liberty to insist on an immediate answer and abide by the consequences of his impatience.

A LADY’S POSITIVE REFUSAL
A lady who really means “no” should be able to so say it as to make her meaning unmistakable. For her own sake and that of her suitor, if she really desires the suit ended her denial should be positive, yet kind and dignified, and of a character to let no doubt remain of its being final.

TRIFLING WITH A LADY
A man should never make a declaration in a jesting manner. It is most unfair to a lady. He has no right to trifle with her feelings for mere sport, nor has he a right to hide his own meaning under the guise of a jest.

A DOUBTFUL ANSWER
Nothing can be more unfair or more unjustifiable than a doubtful answer given under the plea of sparing the suitor’s feelings. It raises false hopes. It renders a man restless and unsettled. It may cause him to express himself or to shape his conduct in such a manner as he would not dream of doing were his suit utterly hopeless.

HOW TO TREAT A REFUSAL
As a woman is not bound to accept the first offer that is made to her, so no sensible man will think the worse of her, nor feel himself personally injured by a refusal. That it will give him pain is most probable. A scornful “no” or a simpering promise to “think about it” is the reverse of generous.

In refusing, the lady ought to convey her full sense of the high honor intended her by the gentleman, and to add, seriously but not offensively, that it is not in accordance with her inclination, or that circumstances compel her to give an unfavorable answer.

UNLADYLIKE CONDUCT TOWARD A SUITOR
It is only the contemptible flirt that keeps an honorable man in suspense for the purpose of glorifying herself by his attentions in the eyes of friends. Nor would any but a frivolous or vicious girl boast of the offer she had received and rejected. Such an offer is a privileged communication. The secret of it should be held sacred. No true lady will ever divulge to anyone, unless it may be to her mother, the fact of such an offer. It is the severest breach of honor to do so. A lady who has once been guilty of boasting of an offer should never have a second opportunity for thus boasting.

No true-hearted woman can entertain any other feeling than that of commiseration for the man over whose happiness she has been compelled to throw a cloud, while the idea of triumphing in his distress, or abusing his confidence, must be inexpressibly painful to her.

THE REJECTED SUITOR
The duty of the rejected suitor is quite clear. Etiquette demands that he shall accept the lady’s decision as final and retire from the field. He has no right to demand the reason of her refusal. If she assign it, he is bound to respect her secret, if it is one, and to hold it inviolable. To persist in urging his suit or to follow up the lady with marked attentions would be in the worst possible taste. The proper course is to withdraw as much as possible, from the circles in which she moves, so that she may be spared reminiscences which cannot be otherwise than painful.

PRESENTS AFTER ENGAGEMENT
When a couple become engaged, the gentleman presents the lady with a ring, which is worn on the ring-finger of the right hand. He may also make her other small presents from time to time, until they are married, but if she has any scruples about accepting them, he can send her flowers, which are at all times acceptable.

CONDUCT OF THE FIANCEE
The conduct of the fiancee should be tender, assiduous and unobtrusive. He will be kind and polite to the sisters of his betrothed and friendly with her brothers. Yet he must not be in any way unduly familiar or force himself into family confidences on the ground that he is to be regarded as a member of the family. Let the advance come rather from them to him, and let him show a due appreciation of any confidences which they may be pleased to bestow upon him. The family of the young man should make the first advances toward an acquaintance with his future wife. They should call upon her or write to her, and they may with perfect propriety invite her to visit them in order that they may become acquainted.

THE POSITION OF AN ENGAGED WOMAN
An engaged woman should eschew all flirtations, though it does not follow that she is to cut herself off from all association with the other sex because she has chosen her future husband. She may still have friends and acquaintances, she may still receive visits and calls, but she must try to conduct herself in such a manner as to give no offense.

POSITION OF AN ENGAGED MAN

The same rules may be laid down in regard to the other party to the contract, only that he pays visits instead of receiving them. Neither should assume a masterful or jealous altitude toward the other. They are neither of them to be shut up away from the rest of the world, but must mingle in society after marriage nearly the same as before, and take the same delight in friendship. The fact that they have confessed their love for each other, ought to be deemed a sufficient guarantee of faithfulness; for the rest let there be trust and confidence.

THE RELATIONS OF AN ENGAGED COUPLE
A young man has no right to put a slight upon his future bride by appearing in public with other ladies while she remains neglected at home. He is in future her legitimate escort. He should attend no other lady when she needs his services; she should accept no other escort when he is at liberty to attend her. A lady should not be too demonstrative of her affection during the days of her engagement. There is always the chance of “a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip;” and over-demonstrations of love are not pleasant to be remembered by a young lady, if the man to whom they are given by any chance fails to become her husband. An honorable man will never tempt his future bride to any such demonstration. He will always maintain a respectful and decorous demeanor toward her.

No young man who would shrink from being guilty of a great impropriety, should ever prolong his visits beyond ten o’clock, unless it be the common custom of the family to remain up and to entertain visitors to a later hour, and the visit paid is a family one and not a tete-a-tete. Two hours is quite long enough for a call; and the young man will give evidence of his affection no less than his consideration, by making his visits short, and, if need be, making them often, rather than by prolonging to unreasonable hours.

BREAKING AN ENGAGEMENT
Sometimes it is necessary to break off an engagement. Many circumstances will justify this. Indeed anything which may occur or be discovered which shall promise to render the marriage an unsuitable or unhappy one is, and should be accepted as, justification for such rupture. Still, breaking an engagement is always a serious and distressing thing, and ought not to be contemplated without absolute and just reasons. It is generally best to break an engagement by letter. By this means one can express himself or herself more clearly, and give the true reason for his or her course much better than in a personal interview. The letter breaking the engagement should be accompanied by everything, in the way of portraits, letters or gifts, that has been received during the engagement. Such letters should be acknowledged in a dignified manner, and no efforts should be made or measures be taken to change the decision of the writer, unless it is manifest that he or she is greatly mistaken in his or her premises. A similar return of letters, portraits and gifts should be made.

Further Reading:
Our Deportment by John H. Young

Wedding Etiquette

The circumstances under which weddings take place are so varied, and the religious forms observed in their solemnization so numerous, that to lay down rules applicable to all cases would be a matter of great difficulty, if not an impossibility. Consequently only those forms of marriage attended with the fullest ceremonies, and all the attendant ceremonials will here be given, and others may be modeled after them as the occasion may seem to require. After the marriage invitations are issued, the fiancee does not appear in public. It is also de rigueur at morning weddings, that she does not see the bridegroom on the wedding-day, until they meet at the altar.

THE BRIDEMAIDS AND GROOMSMEN

Only relatives and the most intimate friends are asked to be bridemaids—the sisters of the bride and of the bridegroom, where it is possible. The bridegroom chooses his best man and the groomsmen and ushers from his circle of relatives and friends of his own age, and from the relatives of his fiancee of a suitable age. The dresses of the bridemaids are not given unless their circumstances are such as to make it necessary.

THE BRIDAL COSTUME

The most approved bridal costume for young brides is of white silk, high corsage, a long wide veil of white tulle, reaching to the feet, and a wreath of maiden-blush roses with orange blossoms. The roses she can continue to wear, but the orange blossoms are only suitable for the ceremony.

COSTUMES OF THE BRIDEGROOM AND USHERS

The bridegroom and ushers, at a morning wedding, wear full morning dress, dark blue or black frock coats, or cut-aways, light neckties, and light trousers. The bridegroom wears white gloves. The ushers wear gloves of some delicate color.

PRESENTS OF THE BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM

Where the bride makes presents to the bridemaids on her wedding-day, they generally consist of some articles of jewelry, not costly, and given more as a memento of the occasion than for their own intrinsic worth. The bridegroom sometimes gives the groomsmen a scarf pin of some quaint device, or some other slight memento of the day, as a slight acknowledgement of their services.

CEREMONIALS WHEN THERE ARE NO USHERS OR BRIDEMAIDS

When there are no bridemaids or ushers the marriage ceremonials at the church are as follows: The members of the bride’s family proceed to the church before the bride, who follows with her mother. The bridegroom awaits them at the church and gives his arm to the bride’s mother. They walk up the aisle to the altar, the mother falling back to her position on the left. The father, or relative representing him, conducts the bride to the bridegroom, who stands at the altar with his face turned toward her as she approaches, and the father falls back to the left.

The relatives follow, taking their places standing; those of the bride to the left, those of the groom to the right. After kneeling at the altar for a moment, the bride, standing on the left of the bridegroom, takes the glove off from her left hand, while he takes the glove off from his right hand. The service then begins. The father of the bride gives her away by bowing when the question is asked, which is a much simpler form than stepping forward and placing his daughter’s hand in that of the clergyman. Perfect self-control should be exhibited by all parties during the ceremony.

The bride leaves the altar, taking the bridegroom’s right arm, and they pass down the aisle without looking to the right or left. It is considered very bad form to recognize acquaintances by bows and smiles while in the church.

The bride and bridegroom drive away in their own carriage, the rest following in their carriages.

INVITATIONS TO THE CEREMONY ONLY

When the circle of friends on both sides is very extensive, it has become customary of late to send invitations to such as are not called to the wedding breakfast, to attend the ceremony at church. This stands in the place of issuing cards. No one must think of calling on the newly married couple who has not received an invitation to the ceremony at church, or cards after their establishment in their new home.

THE LATEST CEREMONIALS

The latest New York form for conducting the marriage ceremony is substantially as follows:

When the bridal party has arranged itself for entrance, the ushers, in pairs march slowly up to the altar and turn to the right. Behind them follows the groom alone. When he reaches the altar he turns, faces the aisle, and watches intently for the coming of his bride. After a slight interval the bridemaids follow, in pairs, and at the altar turn to the left. After another brief interval, the bride, alone and entirely veiled, with her eyes cast down, follows her companions. The groom comes forward a few steps to meet her, takes her hand, and places her at the altar. Both kneel for a moment’s silent devotion. The parents of the bride, having followed her, stand just behind her and partly to the left. The services by the clergyman now proceed as usual.

While the bride and bridegroom are passing out of the church, the bridemaids follow slowly, each upon the arm of an usher, and they afterward hasten on as speedily as possible to welcome the bride at her own door, and to arrange themselves about the bride and groom in the reception room, half of the ladies upon her side and half upon his—the first bridemaid retaining the place of honor.

THE USHERS’ DUTIES

The ushers at the door of the reception room offer themselves as escorts to parties, who arrive slowly from the church, conducting them to the bridal party, and there presenting them by name. This announcement becomes necessary when two families and two sets of friends are brought together for the first time. If ladies are present without gentlemen, the ushers accompany them to the breakfast or refreshment room, or provide them with attendants.

At the church the ushers are the first to arrive. They stand by the inner entrance and offer their arms to escort the ladies, as they enter, to their proper seats in the church. If a lady be accompanied by a gentleman, the latter follows the usher and the lady to the seat shown her. The ushers, knowing the two families, understand where to place the nearer, and where the remoter relatives and friends of the bridal party, the groom’s friends being arranged upon the right of the entrance, and the bride’s upon the left. The distribution of guests places the father (or guardian) of the bride at the proper place during the ceremony.

ANOTHER FORM OF CHURCH CEREMONIALS

The ceremonials for the entry to the church by the bridal party may be varied to suit the taste. Precedents for the style already described are found among the highest social circles in New York and other large cities, but there are brides who prefer the fashion of their grandmothers, which is almost strictly an American fashion. In this style, the bridemaids, each leaning upon the arm of a groomsman, first pass up the aisle to the altar, the ladies going to their left, and the gentlemen to their right. The groom follows with the bride’s mother, or some one to represent her, leaning on his arm, whom he seats in a front pew at the left. The bride follows, clinging to the arm of her father (or near relative), who leads her to the groom. The father waits at her left and a step or two back of her, until asked to give her away, which he does by taking her right hand and placing it in that of the clergyman. After this he joins the mother of the bride in the front pew, and becomes her escort while they pass out of the church.

In case there are no bridemaids, the ushers walk into church in pairs, just in advance of the groom, and parting at the altar, half of them stand at one side and half at the other. While the clergyman is congratulating the bride, they pass out in pairs, a little in advance of the wedded couple.

WEDDINGS AT HOME

Weddings at home vary but little from those at church. The music, the assembling of friends, the entree of the bridal party to the position selected, are the same. An altar of flowers, and a place of kneeling can be easily arranged at home. The space behind the altar need be no wider than is allowed for the clergyman to stand. The altar is generally only a fender or railing entirely wound and concealed by greenery or blossoms. Other floral accessories, such as the marriage-bell, horseshoe, or white dove, etc., can be arranged with ease by a skillful florist, if desired.

When the marriage ceremony is concluded, the party turn in their places and face their friends, who proceed to congratulate them. If space be required, the kneeling stool and floral altar may be removed, a little later, without observation.

THE EVENING WEDDING

If the wedding occur in the evening, the only difference in the ceremonials from those in the morning is that the ushers or groomsmen wear full evening dress, and the bridal pair retire quietly to dress for their journey before the dancing party disperses, and thus leave unobserved. At the morning wedding only bridemaids, ushers and relatives remain to witness the departure of the pair.

“AT HOME” RECEPTIONS

When the newly married couple commence life in a home of their own, it is customary to issue “at home” cards for a few evenings, at an early date after the wedding, for informal receptions. Only such persons are invited as the young couple choose to keep as friends, or perhaps only those whom they can afford to retain. This is a suitable opportunity to carefully re-arrange one’s social list, and their list of old acquaintances may be sifted at the time of the beginning of housekeeping. This custom of arranging a fresh list is admitted as a social necessity, and nobody is offended.

CALLS

All guests and friends who receive “at home” invitations, or who are invited to the church, are required by etiquette to call upon the family of the bride, or to leave their cards, within ten days after the wedding.

THE WEDDING RING

All churches at present use the ring, and vary the sentiment of its adoption to suit the customs and ideas of their own rites. A jeweled ring has been for many years the sign and symbol of betrothal, but at present a plain gold circlet, with the date of the engagement inscribed within, is generally preferred. The ring is removed by the groom at the altar, passed to the clergyman and used in the ceremony. A jeweled ring is placed upon her hand by the groom on the way home from the church, or as soon after the service as is convenient. It stands guard over its precious fellow, and is a confirmation of the first promise.

THE MARRIAGE CEREMONIALS OF A WIDOW

The marriage ceremonials of a widow differ from that of a young lady in not wearing the veil and orange blossoms. She may be costumed in white and have her maids at the altar if she pleases. This liberty, however, has only been given her within a few years. On her wedding cards of invitation, her maiden name is used as a part of her proper name; which is done in respect to her parents. Having dropped the initials of her dead husband’s name when she laid aside her mourning, she uses her Christian name. If she has sons or unmarried daughters at the time she becomes again a wife, she may prefix the last name of her children to her new one on all ceremonious occasions in which they are interested in common with herself. This respect is really due them, and etiquette permits it, although our social usages do not command its adoption. The formalities which follow the marriage of a widow can seldom be regulated in the same manner as those of a younger bride. No fixed forms can be arranged for entertainments, which must be controlled by circumstances.

INVITATIONS

Wedding invitations should be handsomely engraved in script. Neither Old English nor German text are admissible in invitations. The following is given as the latest form for invitations:

This invitation requires no answer. Friends living in other towns and cities receiving it, inclose their cards, and send by mail. Residents call on the family within the prescribed time, or as soon after as possible.

The invitation to the wedding breakfast is enclosed in the same envelope, generally conveyed on a square card, the same size as the sheet of note paper which bears the invitation for the ceremony after it has been once folded across the middle. The following is one of the adopted forms:

The separate cards of the bride and groom are no longer necessary.

The card of admission to the church is narrower, and is plainly engraved in large script, as follows:

Generally only half an hour intervenes between the ceremony and the reception.

DUTIES OF THOSE INVITED

People who receive “At Home” wedding invitations, are expected to acknowledge them as soon as received, and never fail to accept, unless for some very good reason. Guests invited to the house, or to a marriage feast following the ceremony, should not feel at liberty to decline from any whim or caprice.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE BRIDEMAIDS AND USHERS

Bridesmaids and ushers should allow nothing but illness or some unavoidable accident to prevent them from officiating, thus showing their appreciation of the friendship which has caused their selection to this honored position. If by reason of sudden affliction, some one of the bridemaids or ushers is prevented from attending, a substitute should, if possible, be provided immediately. The reasons for this, however, should be well understood, that no opportunity may be given for uncharitable comments.

BRIDAL PRESENTS

When bridal presents are given, they are sent to the bride previous to the day of the marriage ceremony. As the universal bridal present has fallen into disuse, this custom is not now considered obligatory, and if immediate friends and relatives desire to make presents, it should be spontaneous, and in no sense considered obligatory. These presents are not put on exhibition as formerly, but are acknowledged by the bride in a private note to the donor. It is not now considered in good form to talk about these contributions.

ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE CEREMONIES

In weddings at churches a master of ceremonies is often provided, who is expected to be at the church as soon as the doors are opened. He arranges beforehand for the spreading of a carpet from the church door to the pavement, and if the weather be inclement, he sees that an awning is also spread. He also sees that a white ribbon is stretched across the main aisle of the church, far enough back from the altar to afford sufficient room for all invited guests to occupy the front pews of the main aisle. Sometimes an arch of flowers extends over the aisle, so as to divide those who come in wedding garments, from those who do not. The organist should be early at his post, and is expected to play during the arrival of guests. The order of the religious part of the marriage ceremony is fixed by the church in which it occurs.

THE WEDDING FEES

There is no prescribed fee for performing the marriage ceremony. It is regulated according to the means and liberality of the bridegroom, but no less amount than five dollars should be given under any circumstances.

THE CONGRATULATIONS

At wedding receptions, friends who congratulate the newly married couple should address the bride first, if they have any previous acquaintance with her, then the bridegroom, then the bridemaids, and after that the parents and family of the bride and groom. They should give their good wishes to the bride and congratulate the bridegroom. If they are acquainted with the bridegroom and not with the bride, let them address him first and he will introduce them to his bride.

THE BRIDAL TOUR

The honeymoon of repose, exempt from all claims of society, is now prescribed by the dictates of common sense and fashion, and the same arbiters unite in condemning the harrassing bridal tour. It is no longer de rigueur to maintain any secrecy as to their plans for traveling, when a newly married couple depart upon a tour.

Further reading:
Our Deportment by John H. Young

47 Washington’s Maxims

1. Every action in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those present.

2. In the presence of others sing not to yourself with a humming voice, nor drum with your fingers or feet.

3. Speak not when others speak, sit not when others stand, and walk not when others stop.

4. Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking; jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes; lean not on anyone.

5. Be no flatterer, neither play with anyone that delights not to be played with.

6. Read no letters, books or papers in company; but when there is a necessity for doing it, you must not leave. Come not near the books or writings of anyone so as to read them unasked; also look not nigh when another is writing a letter.

7. Let your countenance be pleasant, but in serious matters somewhat grave.

8. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.

9. In visiting the sick do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.

10. In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title according to his degree and the custom of the place.

11. Undertake not to teach your equal in the art he himself professes; it savors arrogancy.

12. When a man does all he can though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.

13. Being to advise or reprehend anyone, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private, presently or at some other time, also in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no signs of choler, but do it with sweetness and mildness.

14. Mock not nor jest at anything of importance; break no jests that are sharp or biting, and if you deliver anything witty or pleasant, abstain from laughing thereat yourself.

15. se no reproachful language against any one, neither curses or revilings.

16. Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of anyone.

17. In your apparel be modest, and endeavor to accommodate nature rather than procure admiration. Keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and place.

18. Play not the peacock, looking everywhere about you to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings set neatly and clothes handsomely.

19. Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your reputation, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

20. Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature; and in all cases of passion admit reason to govern.

21. Be not immodest in urging your friend to discover a secret.

22. Utter not base and frivolous things amongst grown and learned men, nor very difficult questions or subjects amongst the ignorant, nor things hard to be believed.

23. Speak not of doleful things in time of mirth nor at the table; speak not of melancholy things, as death and wounds; and if others mention them, change, if you can, the discourse. Tell not your dreams but to your intimate friends.

24. Speak not injurious words, neither in jest nor earnest. Scoff at none, although they give occasion.

25. Be not forward, but friendly and courteous, the first to salute, hear and answer, and be not pensive when it is time to converse.

26. Detract not from others, but neither be excessive in commending.

27. Go not thither where you know not whether you shall be welcome or not. Give not advice without being asked; and when desired, do it briefly.

28. If two contend together, take not the part of either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your opinions; in things indifferent be of the major side.

29. Reprehend not the imperfection of others, for that belongs to parents, masters and superiors.

30. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others, and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend deliver not before others.

31. Speak not in an unknown tongue in company, but in your own language; and that as those of quality do, and not as the vulgar. Sublime matters treat seriously.

32. Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too heartily, but orderly and distinctly.

33. When another speaks, be attentive yourself, and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not, nor prompt him without being desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech be ended.

34. Treat with men at fit times about business, and whisper not in the company of others.

35. Make no comparisons; and if any of the company be commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not another for the same.

36. Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things that you have heard, name not your author always. A secret discover not.

37. Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach to those who speak in private.

38. Undertake not what you cannot perform; but be careful to keep your promise.

39. When you deliver a matter, do it without passion and indiscretion, however mean the person may be you do it to.

40. When your superiors talk to anybody, hear them; neither speak nor laugh.

41. In disputes be not so desirous to overcome as not to give liberty to each one to deliver his opinion, and submit to the judgment of the major part, especially if they are judges of the dispute.

42. Be not tedious in discourse, make not many digressions, nor repeat often the same matter of discourse.

43. Speak no evil of the absent, for it is unjust.

44. Be not angry at table, whatever happens; and if you have reason to be so show it not; put on a cheerful countenance, especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish a feast.

45. When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously, in reverence and honor, and obey your natural parents.

46. Let your recreations be manful, not sinful.

47. Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Further reading:
Our Deportment Or the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society John H. Young

A Wedding Anniversary Guide

The custom of celebrating anniversary weddings has, of late years, been largely practiced, and they have become a very pleasant means of social reunion among the relatives and friends of both husband and wife. Often this is the only reason for celebrating them, and the occasion is sometimes taken advantage of to give a large party, of a more informal nature than could be given under other circumstances. […]

Upon these occasions the married couple sometimes appear in the costumes worn by them on their wedding day, which they have preserved with punctilious care, and when many years have intervened the quaintness and oddity of the style of dress from the prevailing style is a matter of interest, and the occasion of pleasant comments. The couple receive their guests together, who upon entering the drawing-room, where they are receiving, extend to them their congratulations and wishes for continued prosperity and happiness.

The various anniversaries are designated by special names, indicative of the presents suitable on each occasion, should guests deem it advisable to send presents. It may be here stated that it is entirely optional with parties invited as to whether any presents are sent or taken. At the earlier anniversaries, much pleasantry and amusement is occasioned by presenting unique and fantastic articles, gotten up for the occasion. When this is contemplated, care should be taken that they should not be such as are liable to give offense to a person of sensitive nature.

THE PAPER, COTTON AND LEATHER WEDDING

The first anniversary of the wedding-day is called the Paper Wedding, the second the Cotton Wedding, and the third the Leather Wedding. The invitations to the first should be issued on a grey paper, representing thin cardboard. Presents, if given should be solely articles made of paper.

The invitations for the cotton wedding should be neatly printed on fine white cloth, and presents should be of articles of cotton cloth.

For the leather wedding invitations should be issued upon leather, tastily gotten up, and presents, of course, should be articles made of leather.

THE WOODEN WEDDING

The wooden wedding is the fifth anniversary of the marriage. The invitations should be upon thin cards of wood, or they may be written on a sheet of wedding note paper, and a card of wood enclosed in the envelope. The presents suitable to this occasion are most numerous, and may range from a wooden paper knife or trifling article for kitchen use up to a complete set of parlor or kitchen furniture.

THE TIN WEDDING

The tenth anniversary of the marriage is called the tin wedding. The invitations for this anniversary may be made upon cards covered with a tin card inclosed. The guests, if they desire to accompany their congratulations with appropriate presents, have the whole list of articles manufactured by the tinner’s art from which to select.

THE CRYSTAL WEDDING

The crystal wedding is the fifteenth anniversary. Invitations may be on thin, transparent paper, or colored sheets of prepared gelatine, or on ordinary wedding note-paper, enclosing a sheet of mica. The guests make their offerings to their host and hostess of trifles of glass, which may be more or less valuable, as the donor feels inclined.

THE CHINA WEDDING

The china wedding occurs on the twentieth anniversary of the wedding-day. Invitations should be issued on exceedingly fine, semi-transparent note-paper or cards. Various articles for the dining or tea-table or for the toilet-stand, vases or mantel ornaments, all are appropriate on this occasion.

THE SILVER WEDDING

The silver wedding occurs on the twenty-fifth marriage anniversary. The invitations issued for this wedding should be upon the finest note-paper, printed in bright silver, with monogram or crest upon both paper and envelope, in silver also. If presents are offered by any of the guests, they should be of silver, and may be the merest trifles, or more expensive, as the means and inclinations of the donors incline.

THE GOLDEN WEDDING

The close of the fiftieth year of married life brings round the appropriate time for the golden wedding. Fifty years of married happiness may indeed be crowned with gold. The invitations for this anniversary celebration should be printed on the finest note-paper in gold, with crest or monogram on both paper and envelopes in highly-burnished gold. The presents, if any are offered, are also in gold.

THE DIAMOND WEDDING

Rarely, indeed, is a diamond wedding celebrated. This should be held on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the marriage-day. So seldom are these occurrences that custom has sanctioned no particular style or form to be observed in the invitations. They might be issued upon diamond-shaped cards, enclosed in envelopes of a corresponding shape. There can be no general offering of presents at such a wedding, since diamonds in any number are beyond the means of most persons.

PRESENTS AT ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

It is not, as before stated, required that an invitation to an anniversary wedding be acknowledged by a valuable gift, or indeed by any. The donors on such occasions are usually only members of the family or intimate friends, and may act at their own discretion in the matter of giving presents.

On the occasion of golden or silver weddings, it is not amiss to have printed at the bottom of the invitation the words “No presents,” or to enclose a card announcing—

“It is preferred that no wedding gifts be offered.”

INVITATIONS TO ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

The invitations to anniversary weddings may vary something in their wording, according to the fancy of the writer, but they are all similar. They should give the date of the marriage and the anniversary. They may or may not give the name of the husband at the right-hand side and the maiden name of the wife at the left. What the anniversary is should also be indicated.

The following form will serve as a model:

A proper variation will make this form equally suitable for any of the other anniversary weddings.

MARRIAGE CEREMONY AT ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS

It is not unusual to have the marriage ceremony repeated at these anniversary weddings, especially at the silver or golden wedding. The earliest anniversaries are almost too trivial occasions upon which to introduce this ceremony. The clergyman who officiates may so change the exact words of the marriage ceremony as to render them appropriate to the occasion.

Further reading:
Our Deportment, by John H. Young

How disagreeable!: Etiquette At Versailles

The Queen’s toilet was a masterpiece of etiquette; everything was done in a prescribed form. Both the dame d’honneur and the dame d’atours usually attended and officiated, assisted by the first femme de chambre and two ordinary women. The dame d’atours put on the petticoat, and handed the gown to the Queen. The dame d’honneur poured out the water for her hands and put on her linen.

When a princess of the royal family happened to be present while the Queen was dressing, the dame d’honneur yielded to her the latter act of office, but still did not yield it directly to the Princesses of the blood; in such a case the dame d’honneur was accustomed to present the linen to the first femme de chambre, who, in her turn, handed it to the Princess of the blood. Each of these ladies observed these rules scrupulously as affecting her rights.

One winter’s day it happened that the Queen, who was entirely undressed, was just going to put on her shift; I held it ready unfolded for her; the dame d’honneur came in, slipped off her gloves, and took it. A scratching was heard at the door; it was opened, and in came the Duchesse d’Orleans: her gloves were taken off, and she came forward to take the garment; but as it would have been wrong in the dame d’honneur to hand it to her she gave it to me, and I handed it to the Princess.

More scratching it was Madame la Comtesse de Provence; the Duchesse d’Orleans handed her the linen. All this while the Queen kept her arms crossed upon her bosom, and appeared to feel cold; Madame observed her uncomfortable situation, and, merely laying down her handkerchief without taking off her gloves, she put on the linen, and in doing so knocked the Queen’s cap off. The Queen laughed to conceal her impatience, but not until she had muttered several times, “How disagreeable! how tiresome!”[…]

The ladies-in-waiting, who were all obliged to be sworn, and to wear full Court dresses, were alone entitled to remain in the room, and to attend in conjunction with the dame d’honneur and the tirewoman. The Queen abolished all this formality. When her head was dressed, she curtsied to all the ladies who were in her chamber, and, followed only by her own women, went into her closet, where Mademoiselle Bertin, who could not be admitted into the chamber, used to await her. It was in this inner closet that she produced her new and numerous dresses.

The Queen was also desirous of being served by the most fashionable hairdresser in Paris. Now the custom which forbade all persons in inferior offices, employed by royalty, to exert their talents for the public, was no doubt intended to cut off all communication between the privacy of princes and society at large; the latter being always extremely curious respecting the most trifling particulars relative to the private life of the former. The Queen, fearing that the taste of the hairdresser would suffer if he should discontinue the general practice of his art, ordered him to attend as usual certain ladies of the Court and of Paris; and this multiplied the opportunities of learning details respecting the household, and very often of misrepresenting them.

One of the customs most disagreeable to the Queen was that of dining every day in public. Maria Leczinska had always submitted to this wearisome practice; Marie Antoinette followed it as long as she was Dauphiness. The Dauphin dined with her, and each branch of the family had its public dinner daily. The ushers suffered all decently dressed people to enter; the sight was the delight of persons from the country. At the dinner-hour there were none to be met upon the stairs but honest folks, who, after having seen the Dauphiness take her soup, went to see the Princes eat their ‘bouilli’, and then ran themselves out of breath to behold Mesdames at their dessert.

Very ancient usage, too, required that the Queens of France should appear in public surrounded only by women; even at meal-times no persons of the other sex attended to serve at table; and although the King ate publicly with the Queen, yet he himself was served by women with everything which was presented to him directly at table. The dame d’honneur, kneeling, for her own accommodation, upon a low stool, with a napkin upon her arm, and four women in full dress, presented the plates to the King and Queen.

The dame d’honneur handed them drink. This service had formerly been the right of the maids of honour. The Queen, upon her accession to the throne, abolished the usage altogether. She also freed herself from the necessity of being followed in the Palace of Versailles by two of her women in Court dresses, during those hours of the day when the ladies-in-waiting were not with her. From that time she was accompanied only by a single valet de chambre and two footmen. All the changes made by Marie Antoinette were of the same description; a disposition gradually to substitute the simple customs of Vienna for those of Versailles was more injurious to her than she could possibly have imagined.

When the King slept in the Queen’s apartment he always rose before her; the exact hour was communicated to the head femme de chambre, who entered, preceded by a servant of the bedchamber bearing a taper; she crossed the room and unbolted the door which separated the Queen’s apartment from that of the King. She there found the first valet de chambre for the quarter, and a servant of the chamber. They entered, opened the bed curtains on the King’s side, and presented him slippers generally, as well as the dressing-gown, which he put on, of gold or silver stuff. The first valet de chambre took down a short sword which was always laid within the railing on the King’s side.

When the King slept with the Queen, this sword was brought upon the armchair appropriated to the King, and which was placed near the Queen’s bed, within the gilt railing which surrounded the bed. The first femme de chambre conducted the King to the door, bolted it again, and, leaving the Queen’s chamber, did not return until the hour appointed by her Majesty the evening before. At night the Queen went to bed before the King; the first femme de chambre remained seated at the foot of her bed until the arrival of his Majesty, in order, as in the morning, to see the King’s attendants out and bolt the door after them. The Queen awoke habitually at eight o’clock, and breakfasted at nine, frequently in bed, and sometimes after she had risen, at a table placed opposite her couch.

In order to describe the Queen’s private service intelligibly, it must be recollected that service of every kind was honour, and had not any other denomination. To do the honours of the service was to present the service to a person of superior rank, who happened to arrive at the moment it was about to be performed. Thus, supposing the Queen asked for a glass of water, the servant of the chamber handed to the first woman a silver gilt waiter, upon which were placed a covered goblet and a small decanter; but should the lady of honour come in, the first woman was obliged to present the waiter to her, and if Madame or the Comtesse d’Artois came in at the moment, the waiter went again from the lady of honour into the hands of the Princess before it reached the Queen.

It must be observed, however, that if a princess of the blood instead of a princess of the family entered, the service went directly from the first woman to the princess of the blood, the lady of honour being excused from transferring to any but princesses of the royal family. Nothing was presented directly to the Queen; her handkerchief or her gloves were placed upon a long salver of gold or silver gilt, which was placed as a piece of furniture of ceremony upon a side-table, and was called a gantiere. The first woman presented to her in this manner all that she asked for, unless the tirewoman, the lady of honour, or a princess were present, and then the gradation pointed out in the instance of the glass of water was always observed.

Whether the Queen breakfasted in bed or up, those entitled to the petites entrees were equally admitted; this privilege belonged of right to her chief physician, chief surgeon, physician in ordinary, reader, closet secretary, the King’s four first valets de chambre and their reversioners, and the King’s chief physicians and surgeons. There were frequently from ten to twelve persons at this first entree. The lady of honour or the superintendent, if present, placed the breakfast equipage upon the bed; the Princesse de Lamballe frequently performed that office.

Further reading:
Memoirs Of The Court Of Marie Antoinette, Queen Of France by Madame Campan

Hints Of Drawing Room Etiquette For Gentlemen

We know not why fashion and etiquette should be considered exclusively feminine; both ladies and gentleman mingle in the great arena in which fashion is supposed to be displayed, called society, and certainly no lady will deny that her studies of the arts and graces taught by fashion would be deprived of all or at least half their charm, if they were not destined to be displayed as much for tho benefit of tho gentlemen as the ladies.

Having established this fact, we may be allowed to draw the inference that the gentlemen will not object to a few hints as to the received modes of passing through the ordeal of a drawing-room with credit and honor, therefore, do we venture upon the following “hints.”

On entoring a drawing-room where there is an evening party, you first pay your respects to the lady of the house. You ought not to address even your most intimate acquaintance previously, unless you happen to arrive late, and the hostess is out of sight; in that case, you may converse your way up to her.

Remember that in company all have an equal claim on your respect, though interest or inclination may regulate tho different degrees you show to each. It is very disrespectful to your entertainer to shun any of the guests; all that are invited should be deemed worthy of your acquaintance.

Should you, in the drawing-room of a lady, meet a gentleman to whom you have never been introduced, it would be perfectly correct for you to converse with him as if he wore known to you—the ceremony of introduction being nothing more than the guarantee of a mutual friend, that two gentlemen are, by position and manners, eligible acquaintance for each other; and this is to be inferred from tho fact that both meet at a respectable house. It is, however, according to rule, that you take the earliest opportunity of being presented to such a one.

Never go into society with your mind absent or preoccupied. Men of solitary habits and meditative dispositions are unfit companions for the gay and sprightly. You go into tho world to unbend the mind; leave, therefore, grave questions and perplexing disquisitions in your closet, when you go forth among tho pleasure-seeking, the young, and the happy.

It is the practice of some men to abstain from all conversation with a woman, except that which is of a light and trifling nature. With the very young and thoughtless, this may be judicious enough; but, with women of sense, whether youthful or middleaged, married or single, you may venture to introduce topics of discourse both rational and elevated. Do not fear that by touching on subjects of graver, deeper interest than the merits of a favorite actress, or the figure of the newest polka, you will be soaring a flight beyond the reach of their intellect.

To talk to a mother about her children, to praise them, and manifest an interest in them, is very safe ground. It is also judicious, in visiting at a house a where there are any miniature men and women, to conciliate their good will; you will else hardly be welcome visitor to mamma.

Never tell a woman that she is handsome, but leave her to infer, from your manner, that it is so.

If you have a penchant for any particular lady, do not suffer it to be so marked as to be offensive to others; thus, be not neglectful of other ladies, by suffering your attention to be wholly engrossed by one- and be not afraid to pick up a fan, or restore a pocket handkerchief to a fair guest, even though the eye of your intended marks all your movements. Politeness is due alike to all, while in society – exclusive devotion is for home practice, for private manifestation alone.

When you intend to quit a ball, a concert, or an evening party, before the others break up, take your departure without naming your intention to any one, and, if possible, without being seen.

Further reading:
Graham’s American Monthly Magazine of Literature, Art, and Fashion, Volumi 46-47

Street Etiquette

CONDUCT IN CHURCH
A gentleman should remove his hat upon entering the auditorium.
When visiting a strange church, you should wait in the vestibule until an usher appears to show you to a seat.
A gentleman may walk up the aisle either a little ahead of, or by the side of a lady, allowing the lady to first enter the pew. There should be no haste in passing up the aisle.
People should preserve the utmost silence and decorum in church, and avoid whispering, laughing, staring, or making a noise of any kind with the feet or hands.
It is ill-mannered to be late at church. If one is unavoidably late, it is better to take a pew as near the door as possible.
Ladies always take the inside seats, and gentlemen the outside or head of the pew. When a gentleman accompanies a lady, however, it is customary for him to sit by her side during church services.
A person should never leave church until the services are over, except in some case of emergency.
Do not turn around in your seat to gaze at anyone, to watch the choir, to look over the congregation or to see the cause of any disturbing noise.
If books or fans are passed in church, let them be offered and accepted or refused with a silent gesture of the head.
It is courteous to see that strangers are provided with books; and if the service is strange to them, the places for the day’s reading should be indicated.
It is perfectly proper to offer to share the prayer-book or hymn-book with a stranger if there is no separate book for his use.
In visiting a church of a different belief from your own, pay the utmost respect to the services and conform in all things to the observances of the church—that is, kneel, sit and rise with the congregation. No matter how grotesquely some of the forms and observances may strike you, let no smile or contemptuous remark indicate the fact while in the church.
When the services are concluded, there should be no haste in crowding up the aisle, but the departure should be conducted quietly and decorously. When the vestibule is reached, it is allowable to exchange greetings with friends, but here there should be no loud talking nor boisterous laughter. Neither should gentlemen congregate in knots in the vestibule or upon the steps of the church and compel ladies to run the gauntlet of their eyes and tongues.
If a Protestant gentleman accompanies a lady who is a Roman Catholic to her own church, it is an act of courtesy to offer the holy water. This he must do with the ungloved right hand.
In visiting a church for the mere purpose of seeing the edifice, one should always go at a time when there are no services being held. If people are even then found at their devotions, as is apt to be the case in Roman Catholic churches especially, the demeanor of the visitor should be respectful and subdued and his voice low, so that he may not disturb them.

CONDUCT IN OPERA, THEATER OR PUBLIC HALL
On entering the hall, theater or opera house the gentleman should walk side by side with his companion unless the aisle is too narrow, in which case he should precede her. Upon reaching the seats, he should allow her to take the inner one, assuming the outer one himself.
A gentleman should, on no account, leave the lady’s side from the beginning to the close of the performance.
If it is a promenade concert or opera, the lady may be invited to promenade during the intermission. If she declines, the gentleman must retain his position by her side.
There is no obligation whatever upon a gentleman to give up his seat to a lady. On the contrary, his duty is solely to the lady whom he accompanies. He must remain beside her during the evening to converse with her between the acts, and to render the entertainment as agreeable to her as possible.
During the performance complete quiet should be preserved, that the audience may not be prevented from seeing or hearing. Between the acts it is perfectly proper to converse, but it should be done in a low tone, so as not to attract attention. Neither should one whisper. There should be no loud talking, boisterous laughter, violent gestures, lover-like demonstrations or anything in manners or speech to attract the attention of others.
It is proper and desirable that the actors be applauded when they deserve it. It is their only means of knowing whether they are giving satisfaction.
The gentleman should see that the lady is provided with a programme, and with libretto also if they are attending opera.
In passing out at the close of the performance the gentleman should precede the lady, and there should be no crowding or pushing.
If the means of the gentleman warrant him in so doing, he should call for his companion in a carriage. This is especially necessary if the evening is stormy. He should call sufficiently early to allow them to reach their destination before the performance commences.It is unjust to the whole audience to come in late and make a disturbance in obtaining seats.
The gentleman should ask permission to call upon the lady the following day, which permission she should grant; and if she be a person of delicacy and tact, she will make him feel that he has conferred a real pleasure upon her by his invitation. Even if she finds occasion for criticism in the performance, she should be lenient in this respect, and seek for points to praise instead, that he may not feel regret at taking her to an entertainment which has proved unworthy.

CONDUCT IN PICTURE-GALLERIES
In visiting picture-galleries one should always maintain the deportment of a gentleman or a lady. Make no loud comments and do not seek to show superior knowledge in art matters by gratuitous criticism. If you have not an art education you will probably only be giving publicity to your own ignorance. Do not stand in conversation before a picture, and thus obstruct the view of others who wish to see rather than talk. If you wish to converse with any anyone on general subjects, draw to one side, out of the way of those who want to look at the pictures.

CONDUCT AT CHARITY FAIRS
In visiting a fancy fair make no comments on either the article or their price, unless you can praise. If you want them, pay the price demanded, or let them alone. If you can conscientiously praise an article, by all means do so, as you may be giving pleasure to the maker if she chances to be within hearing. If you have a table at a fair, use no unladylike means to obtain buyers. Not even the demands of charity can justify you in importuning others to purchase articles against their own judgment or beyond their means.
Never appear so beggarly as to retain the change, if a larger amount is presented than the price. Offer the change promptly, when the gentleman will be at liberty to donate it if he thinks best, and you may accept it with thanks. He is, however, under no obligation whatever to make such donation.
Be guilty of no loud talking or laughing, and by all means avoid conspicuous flirting in so public a place.
As a gentleman must always remove his hat in the presence of ladies, so he should remain with head uncovered, carrying his hat in his hand, in a public place of this character.

CONDUCT IN AN ARTIST’S STUDIO
If you have occasion to visit an artist’s studio, by no means meddle with anything in the room. Reverse no picture which stands or hangs with face to the wall; open no portfolio without permission, and do not alter by a single touch any lay-figure or its drapery, piece of furniture or article of vertu posed as a model. You do not know with what care the artist may have arranged these things, nor what trouble the disarrangement may cost him.
Use no strong expression either of delight or disapprobation at anything presented for your inspection. If a picture or a statue please you, show your approval and appreciation by close attention, and a few quiet, well chosen words, rather than by extravagant praise.
Do not ask the artist his prices unless you really intend to become a purchaser; and in this case it is best to attentively observe his works, make your choice, and trust the negotiation to a third person or to a written correspondence with the artist after the visit is concluded. You may express your desire for the work and obtain the refusal of it from the artist. If you desire to conclude the bargain at once you may ask his price, and if he names a higher one than you wish to give, you may say as much and mention the sum you are willing to pay, when it will be optional with the artist to maintain his first price or accept your offer.
It is not proper to visit the studio of an artist except by special invitation or permission, and at an appointed time, for you cannot estimate how much you may disturb him at his work. The hours of daylight are all golden to him; and steadiness of hand in manipulating a pencil is sometimes only acquired each day after hours of practice, and may be instantly lost on the irruption and consequent interruption of visitors.
Never take a young child to a studio, for it may do much mischief in spite of the most careful watching. At any rate, the juvenile visitor will try the artist’s temper and nerves by keeping him in a constant state of apprehension.
If you have engaged to sit for your portrait never keep the artist waiting one moment beyond the appointed time. If you do so you should in justice pay for the time you make him lose.
A visitor should never stand behind an artist and watch him at his work; for if he be a man of nervous temperament it will be likely to disturb him greatly.

Further reading:
Our Deportment Or the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society by John H. Young

Lord Chesterfield’s Avice To His Son

Neglected in his own childhood, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, had determined to give his illegitimate son Philip a good education. He, therefore, wrote him many letters, giving advice on all kinds of matters, from deportment to morals, from etiquette to books. Lord Chesterfield never thought anyone but Philip would see his letters, but they were later published and became very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Although many of his recommendations are old-fashioned, a lot of them still ring true today. All of them, though, provide a fascinating insight into the manners and life of an 18th century gentleman. Here are a few extracts.

A man who sets out in the world with real timidity and diffidence has not an equal chance for it; he will be discouraged, put by, or trampled upon. But to succeed, a man, especially a young one, should have inward firmness, steadiness, and intrepidity, with exterior modesty and SEEMING diffidence. He must modestly, but resolutely, assert his own rights and privileges. ‘Suaviter in modo’, but ‘fortiter in re’. He should have an apparent frankness and openness, but with inward caution and closeness. All these things will come to you by frequenting and observing good company.

Next to good-breeding is genteel manners and carriage, and the best method to acquire these is through a knowledge of dance. Now to acquire a graceful air, you must attend to your dancing; no one can either sit, stand or walk well, unless he dances well. And in learning to dance, be particularly attentive to the motion of your arms for a stiffness in the wrist will make any man look awkward. If a man walks well, presents himself well in company, wears his hat well, moves his head properly, and his arms gracefully, it is almost all that is necessary.

Many people lose a great deal of their time by laziness; they loll and yawn in a great chair, tell themselves that they have not time to begin anything then, and that it will do as well another time. This is a most unfortunate disposition, and the greatest obstruction to both knowledge and business. At your age, you have no right nor claim to laziness; I have, if I please, being emeritus. You are but just listed in the world, and must be active, diligent, indefatigable. If ever you propose commanding with dignity, you must serve up to it with diligence. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.

I here subjoin a list of all those necessary, ornamental accomplishments (without which, no man living can either please, or rise in the world) which hitherto I fear you want, and which only require your care and attention to possess.
To speak elegantly, whatever language you speak in; without which nobody will hear you with pleasure, and consequently you will speak to very little purpose.
An agreeable and distinct elocution; without which nobody will hear you with patience: this everybody may acquire, who is not born with some imperfection in the organs of speech. You are not; and therefore it is wholly in your power. You need take much less pains for it than Demosthenes did.
A distinguished politeness of manners and address; which common sense, observation, good company, and imitation, will infallibly give you if you will accept it.
A genteel carriage and graceful motions, with the air of a man of fashion: a good dancing-master, with some care on your part, and some imitation of those who excel, will soon bring this about.
To be extremely clean in your person, and perfectly well dressed, according to the fashion, be that what it will: Your negligence of your dress while you were a schoolboy was pardonable, but would not be so now.
Upon the whole, take it for granted, that without these accomplishments, all you know, and all you can do, will avail you very little.

Further reading:
Letters To His Son On The Art Of Becoming A Man Of The World And A Gentleman, 1750 by Lord Chesterfield

Etiquette Of Travelling

There is nothing that tests the natural politeness of men and women so thoroughly as traveling. We all desire as much comfort as possible and as a rule are selfish. In these days of railroad travel, when every railway is equipped with elegant coaches for the comfort, convenience and sometimes luxury of its passengers, and provided with gentlemanly conductors and servants, the longest journeys by railroad can be made alone by self-possessed ladies with perfect safety and but little annoyance. Then, too, a lady who deports herself as such may travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico, and meet with no affront or insult, but on the contrary receive polite attentions at every point, from men who may chance to be her fellow-travelers. This may be accounted for from the fact that, as a rule in America, all men show a deferential regard for women, and are especially desirous of showing them such attentions as will render a long and lonesome journey as pleasant as possible.

DUTIES OF AN ESCORT

However self-possessed and ladylike in all her deportment and general bearing a lady may be, and though capable of undertaking any journey, howsoever long it may be, an escort is at all times much more pleasant, and generally acceptable. When a gentleman undertakes the escort of a lady, he should proceed with her to the depot, or meet her there, a sufficient time before the departure of the train to attend to the checking of her baggage, procure her ticket, and obtain for her an eligible seat in the cars, allowing her to choose such seat as she desires. He will then dispose of her packages and hand-baggage in their proper receptacle, and make her seat and surroundings as agreeable for her as possible, taking a seat near her, or by the side of her if she requests it, and do all he can to make her journey a pleasant one.

Upon arriving at her destination, he should conduct her to the ladies’ waiting-room or to a carriage, until he has attended to her baggage, which he arranges to have delivered where the lady requests it. He should then escort her to whatever part of the city she is going and deliver her into the hands of her friends before relaxing his care. On the following day he should call upon her to inquire after her health. It is optional with the lady whether the acquaintance shall be prolonged or not after this call. If the lady does not wish to prolong the acquaintance, she can have no right, nor can her friends, to request a similar favor of him at another time.

THE DUTY OF A LADY TO HER ESCORT

The lady may supply her escort with a sum of money ample to pay all the expenses of the journey before purchasing her ticket, or furnish him the exact amount required, or, at the suggestion of her escort, she may allow him to defray the expenses from his own pocket, and settle with him at the end of the journey. The latter course, however, should only be pursued when the gentleman suggests it, and a strict account of the expenses incurred must be insisted on.

A lady should give her attendant as little trouble and annoyance as possible, and she should make no unnecessary demands upon his good nature and gentlemanly services. Her hand-baggage should be as small as circumstances will permit, and when once disposed of, it should remain undisturbed until she is about to leave the car, unless she should absolutely require it. As the the train nears the end of her journey, she will deliberately gather together her effects preparatory to departure, so that when the train stops she will be ready to leave the car at once and not wait to hurriedly grab her various parcels, or cause her escort unnecessary delay.

A LADY TRAVELING ALONE

A lady, in traveling alone, may accept services from her fellow-travelers, which she should always acknowledge graciously. Indeed, it is the business of a gentleman to see that the wants of an unescorted lady are attended to. He should offer to raise or lower her window if she seems to have any difficulty in doing it herself. He may offer his assistance in carrying her packages upon leaving the car, or in engaging a carriage or obtaining a trunk. Still, women should learn to be as self-reliant as possible; and young women particularly should accept proffered assistance from strangers, in all but the slightest offices, very rarely.

LADIES MAY ASSIST OTHER LADIES

It is not only the right, but the duty of ladies to render any assistance or be of any service to younger ladies, or those less experienced in traveling than themselves. They may show many little courtesies which will make the journey less tedious to the inexperienced traveler, and may give her important advice or assistance which may be of benefit to her. An acquaintance formed in traveling, need never be retained afterwards. It is optional whether it is or not.

THE COMFORT OF OTHERS

In seeking his own comfort, no passenger has a right to overlook or disregard that of others. If for his own comfort, he wishes to raise or lower a window he should consult the wishes of passengers immediately around him before doing so. The discomforts of traveling should be borne cheerfully, for what may enhance your own comfort may endanger the health of some fellow-traveler.

ATTENDING TO THE WANTS OF OTHERS

See everywhere and at all times that ladies and elderly people have their wants supplied before you think of your own. Nor is there need for unmanly haste or pushing in entering or leaving cars or boats. There is always time enough allowed for each passenger to enter in a gentlemanly manner and with a due regard to the rights of others.

If, in riding in the street-cars or crossing a ferry, your friend insists on paying for you, permit him to do so without serious remonstrance. You can return the favor at some other time.

READING WHEN TRAVELLING

If a gentleman in traveling, either on cars or steamboat, has provided himself with newspapers or other reading, he should offer them to his companions first. If they are refused, he may with propriety read himself, leaving the others free to do the same if they wish.

OCCUPYING TOO MANY SEATS

No lady will retain possession of more than her rightful seat in a crowded car. When others are looking for accommodations she should at once and with all cheerfulness so dispose of her baggage that the seat beside her may be occupied by anyone who desires it, no matter how agreeable it may be to retain possession of it.

It shows a great lack of proper manners to see two ladies, or a lady and gentleman turn over the seat in front of them and fill it with their wraps and bundles, retaining it in spite of the entreating or remonstrating looks of fellow-passengers. In such a case any person who desires a seat is justified in reversing the back, removing the baggage and taking possession of the unused seat.

RETAINING POSSESSION OF A SEAT

A gentleman in traveling may take possession of a seat and then go to purchase tickets or look after baggage or procure a lunch, leaving the seat in charge of a companion, or depositing traveling-bag or overcoat upon it to show that it is engaged. When a seat is thus occupied, the right of possession must be respected, and no one should presume to take a seat thus previously engaged, even though it may be wanted for a lady. A gentleman cannot, however, in justice, vacate his seat to take another in the smoking-car, and at the same time reserve his rights to the first seat. He pays for but one seat, and by taking another he forfeits the first.

It is not required of a gentleman in a railway car to relinquish his seat in favor of a lady, though a gentleman of genuine breeding will do so rather than allow the lady to stand or suffer inconvenience from poor accommodations.

In the street cars the case is different. No woman should be allowed to stand while there is a seat occupied by a man. The inconvenience to the man will be temporary and trifling at the most, and he can well afford to suffer it rather than to do an uncourteous act.

DISCRETION IN FORMING ACQUAINTANCES

While an acquaintance formed in a railway car or on a steamboat, continues only during the trip, discretion should be used in making acquaintances. Ladies may, as has been stated, accept small courtesies and favors from strangers, but must check at once any attempt at familiarity. On the other hand, no man who pretends to be a gentleman will attempt any familiarity. The practice of some young girls just entering into womanhood, of flirting with any young man they may chance to meet, either in a railway car or on a steamboat, indicates low-breeding in the extreme. If, however, the journey is long, and especially if it be on a steamboat, a certain sociability may be allowed, and a married lady or a lady of middle age may use her privileges to make the journey an enjoyable one, for fellow-passengers should always be sociable to one another.

Further reading:
Our Deportment, Or the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society by John H. Young

The Man Of Fashion

Let’s face it. Etiquette manuals can be very a bit boring, can’t they? Well, not The Laws Of Etiquette by A Gentleman. Published in 1836, it is written in a very witty and satirical tone that, while explaining the laws of etiquette, also highlights how absurd they can sometimes be. In Chapter 14, the author discusses the man of fashion, as opposed to the gentleman, and shares some anedoctes about Beau Brummell, the dandy par excellance:

Fashion is a tyranny founded only on assumption. The principle upon which its influence rests, is one deeply based in the human heart, and one which has long been observed and long practised upon in every department of life. In the literary, the religious, and the political world, it has been an assured and very profitable conclusion, that the public, “Like women, born to be controlled, Stoops to the forward and the bold.”

“Qui sibi fidit, dux regit examen,” is a maxim of universal truth. Pococurante, in Candide, was admired for despising Homer and Michel Angelo; he would have gained little distinction by praising them. The judicious application of this rule to society, is the origin of fashion. In despair of attaining greatness of quality, it founds its distinction only on peculiarity.

We have spoken elsewhere of those complex and very rare accomplishments, whose union is requisite to constitute a gentleman. We know of but one quality which is demanded for a man of fashion,–impudence. An impudence (self-confidence “the wise it call”) as impenetrable as the gates of Pandemonium–a coolness and imperturbability of self-admiration, which the boaster in Spencer might envy–a contempt of every decency, as such, and an utter imperviousness to ridicule,–these are the amiable and dignified qualities which serve to rear an empire over the weakness and cowardice of men.

To define the character of that which is changing even while we survey it, is a task of no small difficulty. We imagine that there is only one means by which it may be always described, viz., that it consists in an entire avoidance of all that is natural and rational. Its essence is affectation; effeminacy takes the place of manliness; drawling stupidity, of wit; stiffness and hauteur, of ease and civility; and self-illustration, of a decent and respectful regard to others.

A man of fashion must never allow himself to be pleased. Nothing is more decidedly de mauvais ton than any expression of delight. He must never laugh, nor, unless his penetration is very great, must he even smile; for he might by ignorance smile at the wrong place or time. All real emotion is to be avoided; all sympathy with the great or the beautiful is to be shunned; yet the liveliest feeling may be exhibited upon the death of a poodle-dog. At the house of an acquaintance, he must never praise, nor even look, at the pictures, the carpets, the curtains, or the ottomans, because if he did, it might be supposed that he was not accustomed to such things.

About two years ago, it began to be considered improper to pay compliments to women, because if they are not paid gracefully they are awkward, and to pay them gracefully is difficult. At the present time it is considered dangerous to a man’s pretensions to fashion, in England, to speak to women at all. Women are voted bores, and are to be treated with refined rudeness.

There is no possible system of manners that will serve to exhibit at once the uncivility and the high refinement which should characterize the man of fashion. He must therefore have no manners at all. He must behave with tame and passive insolence, never breaking into active effrontery excepting towards unprotected women and clergymen. Persons of no importance he does not see, and is not conscious of their existence; those who have the same standing, he treats with easy scorn, and he acknowledges the distinction of superiors only by patronizing and protecting them. A man of fashion does not despise wealth; he cannot but think that valuable which procures to others the honour of paying for his suppers.

Fashion is so completely distinguished from good breeding, that it is even opposed to it. It is in fact a system of refined vulgarity. What, for example can be more vulgar than incessantly talking about forms and customs? About silver forks and French soup? A gentleman follows these conventional habits; but he follows them as matters of course. He looks upon them as the ordinary and essential customs of refined society. French forks are to him things as indispensable as a table-cloth; and he thinks it as unnecessary to insist upon the one as upon the other. I

f he sees a person who eats with his knife, he concludes that that person is ignorant of the usages of the world, but he does not shriek and faint away like a Bond-street dandy. If he dines at a table where there are no silver forks, he eats his dinner in perfect propriety with steel, and exhibits, neither by manner nor by speech, that he perceives any error. To be sure, he forms his own opinion about the rank of his entertainer, but he leaves it to such new-made gentry as Mr. Theodore Hook, in his vulgar fashionable novels, to harangue about such delinquencies. The vulgarity of insisting upon these matters is scarcely less offensive than the vulgarity of neglecting them. Lady Frances Pelham is but one remove better than a Brancton.

A man of fashion never goes to the theatre; he is waiting for the opera. He, of course, goes out of town in the summer; or, if he cannot afford to do so, he merely closes his window-shutters, and appears to be gone. Fashion makes all great things little, and all little things great. It is commonly said, that it requires more wit to perform the part of the fool in a farce than that of the master. Without intending any offence to the fool by the comparison, we may remark, that qualities of an elevated character are required for the support of the role of a man of fashion in the solemn farce of life. He must have invention, to vary his absurdities when they cease to be striking; he must have wit enough to obtain the reputation of a great deal more; and he must possess tact to know when and where to crouch, and where and when to insult.

Brummel, whose career is one of the most extraordinary on record, must have exercised, during the period of his social reign, many qualities of conduct which rank among the highest endowments of our race. For an obscure individual, without fortune or rank, to have conceived the idea of placing himself at the head of society in a country the most thoroughly aristocratic in Europe, relying too upon no other weapon than well-directed insolence; for the same individual to have triumphed splendidly over the highest and the mightiest–to have maintained a contest with royalty itself, and to have come off victorious even in that struggle–for such an one no ordinary faculties must have been demanded.

Of the sayings of Brummel which have been preserved, it is difficult to distinguish whether they contain real wit, or are only so sublimely and so absurdly impudent that they look like witty. We add here a few anecdotes of Brummel, which will serve to show, better than any precepts, the style of conduct which a man of fashion may pursue. When Brummel was at the height of his power, he was once, in the company of some gentlemen, speaking of the Prince of Wales as a very good sort of man, who behaved himself very decently, considering circumstances; some one present offered a wager that he would not dare to give a direction to this very good sort of man.

Brummel looked astonished at the remark, and declined accepting a wager upon such point. They happened to be dining with the regent the next-day, and after being pretty well fortified. with wine, Brummel interrupted a remark of the prince’s, by exclaiming very mildly and naturally, “Wales, ring the bell!” His royal highness immediately obeyed the command, and when the servant entered, said to him, with the utmost coolness and firmness, “Show Mr. Brummel to his carriage.” The dandy was not in the least dejected by his expulsion; but meeting the prince regent, walking with a gentleman, the next day in the street, he did
not bow to him, but stopping the other, drew him aside and said, in a loud whisper, “Who is that FAT FRIEND of ours?”

It must be remembered that the object of this sarcasm was at that time exceedingly annoyed by his increasing corpulency; so manifestly so, that Sheridan remarked, that “though the regent professed himself a Whig, he believed that in his heart he was no friend to new measures.” Shortly after this occurrence at Carlton-House, Brummel remarked to one of his friends, that “he had half a mind to cut the young one, and bring old George into fashion.” In describing a short visit which he had paid to a nobleman in the country, he said, that he had only carried with him a night-cap and a silver basin to spit in, “Because, you know, it is utterly impossible to spit in clay.”

Brummel was once present at a party to which he had not been invited. After he had been some time in the room, the gentleman of the house, willing to mortify him, went up to him and said that he believed that there must be some mistake, as he did not recollect having had the honour of sending him an invitation. “What is the name?” said the other very drawlingly, at the same time affecting to feel in his waistcoat pocket for a card. “Johnson,” replied the gentleman. “Jauhnson?” said Brummel, “oh! I remember now that the name was Thaunson (Thompson); and Jauhnson and Thaunson, Thaunson and Jauhnson, you know, are so much the same kind of thing.”

Brummel was once asked how much a year he thought would be required to keep a single man in clothes. “Why, with tolerable economy,” said he, “I think it might be done for L800.” He once went down to a gentleman’s house in the country, without having been asked to do so. He was given to understand, the next morning, that his absence would be more agreeable, and he took his departure. Some one having heard of his discomfiture, asked him how he liked the accommodations there. He replied coolly, that “it was a very decent house to spend a single night in.”

We have mentioned that this dreaded arbiter of modes had threatened that he would put the prince regent out of fashion. Alas! for the peace of the British monarch, this was not an idle boast. His dangerous rival resolved in the unfathomable recesses of a mind capacious of such things, to commence and to carry on a war whose terror and grandeur should astound society, to administer to audacious royalty a lesson which should never be forgotten, and finally to retire, when retire he must, with mementos of his tremendous power around him, and with the mightiest of the earth at his feet.

Inventive and deliberate were the counsels which he meditated; sublime and resolute was the conduct he adopted. He decided, with an originality of genius to which the conqueror of Marengo might have vailed, that the neck of the foe was the point at which the first fatal shaft of his excommunicating ire should be hurled. With rapid and decisive energy he concentrated all his powers for instantaneous action. He retired for a day to the seclusion of solitude, to summon and to spur the energies of the most self-reliant mind in Europe, as the lion draws back to gather courage for the leap.

As, like the lion, he drew back; so, like the lion, did he spring forward upon his prey. At a ball given by the Duchess of Devonshire, when the whole assembly were conversing upon his supposed disgrace, and insulting by their malevolence one whom they had disgusted by their adulation, Brummel suddenly stood in the midst of them. Could it be indeed Brummel? Could it be mortal who thus appeared with such an encincture of radiant glory about his neck? Every eye was upon him, fixed in stupid admiration; every tongue, as it slowly recovered from its speechless paralysis, faltered forth “what a cravat!” What a cravat indeed!

Hundreds that had, a moment before, exulted in unwonted freedom, bowed before it with the homage of servile adoration. What a cravat! There it stood; there was no doubting its entity, no believing it an illusion. There it stood, smooth and stiff, yet light and almost transparent; delicate as the music of Ariel, yet firm as the spirit of Regulus; bending with the grace of Apollo’s locks, yet erect with the majesty of the Olympian Jove: without a wrinkle, without an indentation. What a cravat! The regent “saw and shook;” and uttering a faint gurgle from beneath the wadded bag which surrounded his royal thorax, he was heard to whisper with dismay, “D–n him! what a cravat!” The triumph was complete.

It is stated, upon what authority we know not, that his royal highness, after passing a sleepless night in vain conjectures, despatched at an early hour, one of his privy-counsellors to Brummel, offering carte blanche if he would disclose the secret of that mysterious cravat. But the “atrox animus Catonis” disdained the bribe. He preferred being supplicated, to being bought, by kings. “Go,” said he to the messenger, with the spirit of Marius mantling in his veins, “Go, and tell your master that you have seen his master.”

For the truth of another anecdote, connected with this cravat, we have indisputable evidence. A young nobleman of distinguished talents and high pretensions as to fortune and rank, saw this fatal band, and eager to advance himself in the rolls of fashion, retired to his chamber to endeavour to penetrate the method of its construction. He tried every sort of known, and many sorts of unknown stiffeners to accomplish the end–paper and pasteboard, and wadding, shavings, and shingles, and planks,–all were vainly experienced. Gargantua could not have exhibited a greater invention of expedients than he did; but vainly.

After a fortnight of the closest application, ardour of study and anxiety of mind combined, brought him to the brink of the grave. His mother having ascertained the origin of his complaint, waited upon Brummel, who was the only living man that could remove it. She implored him, by every human motive, to say but one word, to save the life of her son and prevent her own misery. But the tyrant was immoveable, and the young man expired a victim of his sternness.

When, at length, yielding to that strong necessity which no man can control, Brummel was obliged, like Napoleon, to abdicate, the mystery of that mighty cravat was unfolded. There was found, after his departure to Calais, written on sheet of paper upon his table, the following epigram of scorn: “STARCH IS THE MAN.” The cravat of Brummel was merely– starched! Henceforth starch was introduced into every cravat in Europe. Brummel still lives, an obscure consul in a petty European town.

Physically there is something to command our admiration in the history of a man who thus lays at his mercy all ranks of men,–the lofty and the low, the great, the powerful and the vain: but morally and seriously, no character is more despicable than that of the mere man of fashion, Seeking nothing but notoriety, his path to that end is over the ruins of all that is worthy in our nature. He knows virtue only to despise it; he makes himself acquainted with human feelings only to outrage them. He commences his career beyond the limits of decency, and ends it far in the regions of infamy.

Feared by all and respected by none, hated by his worshippers and despised by himself, he rules,–an object of pity and contempt: and when his power is past, his existence is forgotten; he lives on in an, oblivion which is to him worse than death, and the stings of memory goad him to the grave. The devotee of fashion is a trifler unworthy of his race; the mere gentleman is a character which may in time become somewhat tiresome; there is a just mean between the two, where a better conduct than either is to be found.

It is that of a man who, yielding to others, still maintains his self-respect, and whose concessions to folly are controlled by good sense; who remembers the value of trifles without forgetting the importance of duties, and resolves so to regulate his conduct that neither others may be offended by his stiffness, nor himself have to regret his levity. Live therefore among men–to conclude our homily after the manner of Quarles–live therefore among men, like them, yet not disliking thyself; and let the hues of fashion be reflected from thee, but let them not enter and colour thee within.