Our Deportment - Or the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society
by John H. Young
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Or the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society; INCLUDING Forms for Letters, Invitations, Etc., Etc. Also, Valuable Suggestions on Home Culture and Training.

Compiled from the Latest Reliable Authorities,



Revised and Illustrated.

F. B. Dickerson & Co., Detroit, Mich. St. Louis, Mo. Pennsylvania Publishing Co., Harrisburgh, Pa. Union Publishing House, Chicago, Ill. 1881.

To go through this life with good manners possessed, Is to be kind unto all, rich, poor and oppressed, For kindness and mercy are balms that will heal The sorrows, the pains, and the woes that we feel.

Copyrighted by Freeman B. Dickerson, 1879 and 1881.


No one subject is of more importance to people generally than a knowledge of the rules, usages and ceremonies of good society, which are commonly expressed by the word "Etiquette." Its necessity is felt wherever men and women associate together, whether in the city, village, or country town, at home or abroad. To acquire a thorough knowledge of these matters, and to put that knowledge into practice with perfect ease and self-complacency, is what people call good breeding. To display an ignorance of them, is to subject the offender to the opprobrium of being ill-bred.

In the compilation of this work, the object has been to present the usages and rules which govern the most refined American society, and to impart that information which will enable any one, in whatever circumstances of life to acquire the perfect ease of a gentleman, or the gentle manners and graceful deportment of a well-bred lady, whose presence will be sought for, and who, by their graceful deportment will learn the art of being at home in any good society.

The work is so arranged, that every subject is conveniently classified and subdivided; it is thus an easy matter to refer at once to any given subject. It has been the aim of the compiler to give minutely all points that are properly embraced in a work on etiquette, even upon matters of seemingly trivial importance. Upon some hitherto disputed points, those rules are given, which are sustained by the best authorities and endorsed by good sense.

As the work is not the authorship of any one individual, and as no individual, whatever may be his acquirements, could have the presumption to dictate rules for the conduct of society in general, it is therefore only claimed that it is a careful compilation from all the best and latest authorities upon the subject of etiquette and kindred matters, while such additional material has been embraced within its pages, as, it is hoped, will be found of benefit and interest to every American household.






Good manners as an element of worldly success—Manner an index of character—The true gentleman—The true lady—Importance of trifles—Value of pleasing manners—Personal appearance enhanced and fortunes made by pleasing manners—Politeness the outgrowth of good manners 20



Acquaintances thus formed—Promiscuous, informal and casual introductions—Introduction of a gentleman to a lady and a lady to a gentleman—Introduction at a ball—The manner of introduction—Introducing relatives—Obligatory introductions—Salutations after introduction—Introducing one's self—Letters of introduction—How they are to be delivered—Duty of a person to whom a letter of introduction is addressed—Letters of introduction for business purposes 31



The salutation originally an act of worship—Its form in different nations—The bow, its proper mode—Words of salutation—Manner of bowing—Duties of the young to older people—How to avoid recognition—Etiquette of handshaking—Kissing as a mode of salutation—The kiss of friendship—The kiss of respect 42



Morning calls—Evening calls—Rules for formal calls—Calls at Summer resorts—Reception days—Calls made by cards—Returning the first call—Calls after a betrothal takes place—Forming new acquaintance by calls—The first call, by whom to be made—Calls of Congratulation—Visits of condolence—Keeping an account of calls—Evening visits—"Engaged" or "not at home" to callers—General rules relative to calls—New Year's calls 52



General invitations not to be accepted—The limit of a prolonged visit—Duties of a visitor—Duties of the host or hostess—True hospitality—Leave-taking—Invitations to guests—Forbearance with children—Guests making presents—Treatment of a host's friends 69



Visiting and calling cards—Their size and style—Wedding cards—Leaving cards in calling—Cards for mother and daughter—Cards not to be sent in envelopes to return formal calls—Glazed cards not in fashion—P.P.C. cards—Cards of congratulation—When sent—Leave cards in making first calls of the season and after invitations—Mourning cards—Christmas and Easter cards—Cards of condolence—Bridegroom's card. 75



Character revealed by conversation—Importance of conversing well—Children should be trained to talk well—Cultivation of the memory—Importance of remembering names—How Henry Clay acquired this habit—Listening—Writing down one's thoughts—Requisites for a good talker—Vulgarisms—Flippancy—Sympathizing with another—Bestowing compliments—Slang—Flattery—Scandal and gossip—Satire and ridicule—Religion and politics to be avoided—Bestowing of titles—Interrupting another while talking—Adaptability in conversation—Correct use of words—Speaking one's mind—Profanity —Display of knowledge—Double entendres—Impertinent questions —Things to be avoided in conversation—Hobbies—Fault-finding —Disputes 84



Dinners are entertainments for married people—Whom to invite—Forms of invitations—Punctuality required—The success of a dinner party—Table appointments—Proper size of a dinner party—Arrangement of guests at table—Serving dinner a la Russe—Duties of servants—Serving the dishes—General rules regarding dinner—Waiting on others—Monopolizing conversation—Duties of hostess and host—Retiring from the table—Calls required after a dinner party—Returning hospitalities—Expensive dinners not the most enjoyable—Wines at dinners 106



Importance of acquiring good habits at the table—Table appointments for breakfast, luncheon and dinner—Use of the knife and fork—Of the napkin—Avoid fast eating and all appearance of greediness—General rules on the subject 123



Morning receptions—The dress and refreshments for them—Invitations—Musical matinees—Parties in the country—Five o'clock teas and kettle-drums—Requisites for a successful ball—Introductions at a ball—Receiving guests—The number to invite—Duties of the guests—General rules to be observed at balls—Some suggestions for gentlemen—Duties of an escort—Preparations for a ball—The supper—An after-call required 129



The street manners of a lady—Forming street acquaintances—Recognizing friends in the street—Saluting a lady—Passing through a crowd—The first to bow—Do not lack politeness—How a lady and gentleman should walk together—When to offer the lady the arm—Going up and down stairs—Smoking in the streets—Carrying packages—Meeting a lady acquaintance—Corner loafers—Shouting in the street—Shopping etiquette—For public conveyances—Cutting acquaintances—General suggestions 145



Conduct in church—Invitations to opera, theatres and concerts—Conduct in public assemblages—Remain until the performance closes—Conduct in picture galleries—Behavior at charity fairs—Conduct at an artist's studio 157



Courtesies shown to ladies traveling alone—Duties of an escort—Duties of a lady to her escort—Ladies should assist other ladies traveling alone—The seats to be occupied in a railway car—Discretion to be used in forming acquaintances in traveling 167



Learning to ride on horseback—The gentleman's duty as an escort in riding—How to assist a lady to mount—Riding with ladies—Assisting a lady to alight from a horse—Driving—The seat of honor in a carriage—Trusting the driver 174



Proper conduct of gentlemen and ladies toward each other—Premature declaration of love—Love at first sight—Proper manner of courtship—Parents should exercise authority over daughters—An acceptable suitor—Requirements for a happy marriage—Proposals of marriage—A gentleman should not press an unwelcome suit—A lady's refusal—A doubtful answer—Unladylike conduct toward a suitor—The rejected suitor—Asking consent of parents—Presents after engagement—Conduct and relations of the engaged couple—Lovers' quarrels—Breaking an engagement 179



Choice of bridemaids and groomsmen or ushers—The bridal costume Costumes of bridegroom and ushers—Presents of the bride and bridegroom—Ceremonials at church when there are no bridemaids or ushers—Invitations to the ceremony alone—The latest ceremonials—Weddings at home—The evening wedding—"At home" receptions—Calls—The wedding ring—Marriage ceremonials of a widow—Form of invitations to a reception—Duties of invited guests—Of bridemaids and ushers—Bridal presents—Master of ceremonies—Wedding fees—Congratulations—The bridal tour 194



Home the woman's kingdom—Home companionship—Conduct of husband and wife—Duties of the wife to her husband—The wife a helpmate—The husband's duties 208



First lessons learned at home—Parents should set good examples to their children—Courtesies in the home circle—Early moral training of children—The formation of their habits—Politeness at home—Train children for some occupation—Bad temper—Selfishness—Home maxims 216



Cultivate moral courage—The pernicious influence of indolence—Self-respect—Result of good breeding at home—Fault-finding and grumbling—Family jars not to be made public—Conflicting interests—Religious education—Obedience—Influence of example—The influence of books 225



Its importance—Train young women to some occupation—Education of girls too superficial—An education appropriate to each sex—Knowledge of the laws of health needed by women—Idleness the source of all misery—A spirit of independence—Health and life dependent upon a higher culture—Cultivation of the moral sense 233



Letter writing is an indication of good breeding—Requirements for correct writing—Anonymous letters—Note paper to be used—Forms of letters and notes—Forms of addressing notes and letters—Forms of signature—Letters of introduction—When to be given—Notes of invitation and replies thereto—Acceptances and regrets—Formal invitations must be answered—Letters of friendship—Love letters—Business letters and correspondence—Form of letter requesting employment—Regarding the character of a servant—Forms for notes, drafts, bills and receipts 242



Attention to the young in society—Gracefulness of carriage—Attitude, coughing, sneezing, etc.—Anecdotes, puns, etc.—A sweet and pure breath—Smoking—A good listener—Give precedence to others—Be moderate in speaking—Singing and playing in society—Receiving and making presents—Governing our moods—A lady driving with a gentleman—An invitation cannot be recalled—Avoid talking of personalities—Shun gossip and tale bearing—Removing the hat—Intruding on privacy—Politeness —Adapting yourself to others—Contradicting—A woman's good name —Expressing unfavorable opinions—Vulgarities—Miscellaneous rules governing conduct—Washington's maxims 266



How and when they are celebrated—The paper, cotton and leather weddings—The wooden wedding—The tin wedding—The crystal wedding—The silver wedding—The golden wedding—The diamond wedding—Presents at anniversary weddings—Forms of invitations, etc. 285



Naming the child—The christening—Godparents or sponsors—Presents from godparents—The ceremony—The breakfast—Christening gifts—The hero of the day—Fees 291



Death notices and funeral invitations—Arrangement for the funeral—The house of mourning—Conducting the funeral services—The pall-bearers —Order of the procession—Floral and other decorations—Calls upon the bereaved family—Seclusion of the family 296



Social duties required of the President and his family—Receptions at the White House—Order of official rank—Duties required of members of the cabinet and their families—How to address officials—The first to visit 303



Foreign titles—Royalty—The nobility—The gentry—Esquires—Imperial rank—European titles—Presentation at the court of St. James—Those eligible and ineligible for presentation—Preliminaries—Presentation costumes 308



The example of a merchant prince—Keep your temper—Honesty the best policy—Form good habits—Breaking an appointment—Prompt payment of bills, notes and drafts—General suggestions 315



Requirements for dressing well—Perils of the love of dress to weak minds—Consistency in dress—Extravagance—Indifference to dress—Appropriate dress—The wearing of gloves—Evening or full dress for gentlemen—Morning dress for gentlemen—Evening or full dress for ladies—Ball dresses—The full dinner dress—For receiving and making morning calls—Morning dress for street—Carriage dress—Promenade dress and walking suit—Opera dress—The riding dress—For women of business—Ordinary evening dress—For a social party—Dress for the theater, lecture and concert—Archery, croquet and skating costumes—Bathing dress—For traveling—The bridal costume—Dress of bridemaids—At wedding receptions—Mourning dress—How long mourning should be worn 320



The proper arrangement of colors—The colors adapted to different persons—Material for dress—Size in relation to color and dress—A list of colors that harmonize 341



Importance of neatness and cleanliness—Perfumes—The bath—The teeth and their care—The skin—The eyes, eyelashes and brows—The hair and beard—The hands and feet 351



To remove freckles, pimples and sunburn—To beautify the complexion—To prevent the hair falling out—Pomades and hair oils—Sea foam or dry shampoo—To prevent the hair turning gray—To soften the skin—To cleanse the teeth—Remedy for chapped hands—For corns and chilblains, etc. 372



Archery and its practice—Lawn Tennis—Boating—Picnics—Private Theatricals—Card playing 398







"Ingenious Art with her expressive face, Steps forth to fashion and refine the race."—COWPER.

A knowledge of etiquette has been defined to be a knowledge of the rules of society at its best. These rules have been the outgrowth of centuries of civilization, had their foundation in friendship and love of man for his fellow man—the vital principles of Christianity—and are most powerful agents for promoting peace, harmony and good will among all people who are enjoying the blessings of more advanced civilized government. In all civilized countries the influence of the best society is of great importance to the welfare and prosperity of the nation, but in no country is the good influence of the most refined society more powerfully felt than in our own, "the land of the future, where mankind may plant, essay, and resolve all social problems." These rules make social intercourse more agreeable, and facilitate hospitalities, when all members of society hold them as binding rules and faithfully regard their observance. They are to society what our laws are to the people as a political body, and to disregard them will give rise to constant misunderstandings, engender ill-will, and beget bad morals and bad manners.

Says an eminent English writer: "On manners, refinement, rules of good breeding, and even the forms of etiquette, we are forever talking, judging our neighbors severely by the breach of traditionary and unwritten laws, and choosing our society and even our friends by the touchstone of courtesy." The Marchioness de Lambert expressed opinions which will be endorsed by the best bred people everywhere when she wrote to her son: "Nothing is more shameful than a voluntary rudeness. Men have found it necessary as well as agreeable to unite for the common good; they have made laws to restrain the wicked; they have agreed among themselves as to the duties of society, and have annexed an honorable character to the practice of those duties. He is the honest man who observes them with the most exactness, and the instances of them multiply in proportion to the degree of nicety of a person's honor."

Originally a gentleman was defined to be one who, without any title of nobility, wore a coat of arms. And the descendants of many of the early colonists preserve with much pride and care the old armorial bearings which their ancestors brought with them from their homes in the mother country. Although despising titles and ignoring the rights of kings, they still clung to the "grand old name of gentleman." But race is no longer the only requisite for a gentleman, nor will race united with learning and wealth make a man a gentleman, unless there are present the kind and gentle qualities of the heart, which find expression in the principles of the Golden Rule. Nor will race, education and wealth combined make a woman a true lady if she shows a want of refinement and consideration of the feelings of others.

Good manners are only acquired by education and observation, followed up by habitual practice at home and in society, and good manners reveal to us the lady and the gentleman. He who does not possess them, though he bear the highest title of nobility, cannot expect to be called a gentleman; nor can a woman, without good manners, aspire to be considered a lady by ladies. Manners and morals are indissolubly allied, and no society can be good where they are bad. It is the duty of American women to exercise their influence to form so high a standard of morals and manners that the tendency of society will be continually upwards, seeking to make it the best society of any nation.

As culture is the first requirement of good society, so self-improvement should be the aim of each and all of its members. Manners will improve with the cultivation of the mind, until the pleasure and harmony of social intercourse are no longer marred by the introduction of discordant elements, and they only will be excluded from the best society whose lack of education and whose rude manners will totally unfit them for its enjoyments and appreciation. Good manners are even more essential to harmony in society than a good education, and may be considered as valuable an acquisition as knowledge in any form.

The principles of the Golden Rule, "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them," is the basis of all true politeness—principles which teach us to forget ourselves, to be kind to our neighbors, and to be civil even to our enemies. The appearance of so being and doing is what society demands as good manners, and the man or woman trained to this mode of life is regarded as well-bred. The people, thus trained, are easy to get along with, for they are as quick to make an apology when they have been at fault, as they are to accept one when it is made. "The noble-hearted only understand the noble-hearted."

In a society where the majority are rude from the thoughtfulness of ignorance, or remiss from the insolence of bad breeding, the iron rule, "Do unto others, as they do unto you," is more often put into practice than the golden one. The savages know nothing of the virtues of forgiveness, and regard those who are not revengeful as wanting in spirit; so the ill-bred do not understand undeserved civilities extended to promote the general interests of society, and to carry out the injunction of the Scriptures to strive after the things that make for peace.

Society is divided into sets, according to their breeding. One set may be said to have no breeding at all, another to have a little, another more, and another enough; and between the first and last of these, there are more shades than in the rainbow. Good manners are the same in essence everywhere—at courts, in fashionable society, in literary circles, in domestic life—they never change, but social observances, customs and points of etiquette, vary with the age and with the people.

A French writer has said: "To be truly polite, it is necessary to be, at the same time, good, just, and generous. True politeness is the outward visible sign of those inward spiritual graces called modesty, unselfishness and generosity. The manners of a gentleman are the index of his soul. His speech is innocent, because his life is pure; his thoughts are right, because his actions are upright; his bearing is gentle, because his feelings, his impulses, and his training are gentle also. A gentleman is entirely free from every kind of pretence. He avoids homage, instead of exacting it. Mere ceremonies have no attraction for him. He seeks not to say any civil things, but to do them. His hospitality, though hearty and sincere, will be strictly regulated by his means. His friends will be chosen for their good qualities and good manners; his servants for their truthfulness and honesty; his occupations for their usefulness, their gracefulness or their elevating tendencies, whether moral, mental or political."

In the same general tone does Ruskin describe a gentleman, when he says: "A gentleman's first characteristic is that fineness of structure in the body which renders it capable of the most delicate sensation, and of that structure in the mind which renders it capable of the most delicate sympathies—one may say, simply, 'fineness of nature.' This is, of course, compatible with the heroic bodily strength and mental firmness; in fact, heroic strength is not conceivable without such delicacy. Elephantine strength may drive its way through a forest and feel no touch of the boughs, but the white skin of Homer's Atrides would have felt a bent rose-leaf, yet subdue its feelings in the glow of battle and behave itself like iron. I do not mean to call an elephant a vulgar animal; but if you think about him carefully, you will find that his non-vulgarity consists in such gentleness as is possible to elephantine nature—not in his insensitive hide nor in his clumsy foot, but in the way he will lift his foot if a child lies in his way, and in his sensitive trunk and still more sensitive mind and capability of pique on points of honor. Hence it will follow that one of the probable signs of high breeding in men generally, will be their kindness and mercifulness, these always indicating more or less firmness of make in the mind."

Can any one fancy what our society might be, if all its members were perfect gentlemen and true ladies, if all the inhabitants of the earth were kind-hearted; if, instead of contending with the faults of our fellows we were each to wage war against our own faults? Every one needs to guard constantly against the evil from within as well as from without, for as has been truly said, "a man's greatest foe dwells in his own heart."

A recent English writer says: "Etiquette may be defined as the minor morality of life. No observances, however minute, that tend to spare the feelings of others, can be classed under the head of trivialities; and politeness, which is but another name for general amiability, will oil the creaking wheels of life more effectually than any of those unguents supplied by mere wealth and station." While the social observances, customs and rules which have grown up are numerous, and some perhaps considered trivial, they are all grounded upon principles of kindness to one another, and spring from the impulses of a good heart and from friendly feelings. The truly polite man acts from the highest and noblest ideas of what is right.

Lord Chesterfield declared good breeding to be "the result of much good sense, some good nature and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them." Again he says: "Good sense and good nature suggest civility in general, but in good breeding there are a thousand little delicacies which are established only by custom."


Our Manners.

No one quality of the mind and heart is more important as an element conducive to worldly success than civility—that feeling of kindness and love for our fellow-beings which is expressed in pleasing manners. Yet how many of our young men, with an affected contempt for the forms and conventionalities of life, assume to despise those delicate attentions, that exquisite tenderness of thought and manner, that mark the true gentleman.


History repeats, over and over again, examples showing that it is the bearing of a man toward his fellow-men which, more than any other one quality of his nature, promotes or retards his advancement in life. The success or failure of one's plans have often turned upon the address and manner of the man. Though there are a few people who can look beyond the rough husk or shell of a fellow-being to the finer qualities hidden within, yet the vast majority, not so keen-visaged nor tolerant, judge a person by his appearance and demeanor, more than by his substantial character. Experience of every day life teaches us, if we would but learn, that civility is not only one of the essentials of high success, but that it is almost a fortune of itself, and that he who has this quality in perfection, though a blockhead, is almost sure to succeed where, without it, even men of good ability fail.

A good manner is the best letter of recommendation among strangers. Civility, refinement and gentleness are passports to hearts and homes, while awkwardness, coarseness and gruffness are met with locked doors and closed hearts. Emerson says: "Give a boy address and accomplishments, and you give him the mastery of palaces and fortunes wherever he goes; he has not the trouble of earning or owning them; they solicit him to enter and possess."

In every class of life, in all professions and occupations, good manners are necessary to success. The business man has no stock-in-trade that pays him better than a good address. If the retail dealer wears his hat on his head in the presence of ladies who come to buy of him, if he does not see that the heavy door of his shop is opened and closed for them, if he seats himself in their presence, if he smokes a pipe or cigar, or has a chew of tobacco in his mouth, while talking with them, or is guilty of any of the small incivilities of life, they will not be apt to make his shop a rendezvous, no matter how attractive the goods he displays.

A telling preacher in his opening remarks gains the good will of his hearers, and makes them feel both that he has something to say, and that he can say it, by his manner. The successful medical man inspires in his patients belief in his sympathy, and confidence in his skill, by his manner. The lawyer, in pleading a case before a jury, and remembering that the passions and prejudices of the jurymen govern them to as great an extent as pure reason, must not be forgetful of his manner, if he would bring them to his own way of thinking. And how often does the motto, "Manners make the man," govern both parties in matters of courtship, the lady giving preference to him whose manners indicate a true nobility of the soul, and the gentleman preferring her who displays in her manner a gentleness of spirit.


A rude person, though well meaning, is avoided by all. Manners, in fact, are minor morals; and a rude person is often assumed to be a bad person. The manner in which a person says or does a thing, furnishes a better index of his character than what he does or says, for it is by the incidental expression given to his thoughts and feelings, by his looks, tones and gestures, rather than by his words and deeds, that we prefer to judge him, for the reason that the former are involuntary. The manner in which a favor is granted or a kindness done, often affects us more than the deed itself. The deed may have been prompted by vanity, pride, or some selfish motive or interest; the warmth or coldness with which the person who has done it speaks to you, or grasps your hand, is less likely to deceive. The manner of doing any thing, it has been truly said, is that which stamps its life and character on any action. A favor may be performed so grudgingly as to prevent any feeling of obligation, or it may be refused so courteously as to awaken more kindly feelings than if it had been ungraciously granted.


Politeness is benevolence in small things. A true gentleman must regard the rights and feelings of others, even in matters the most trivial. He respects the individuality of others, just as he wishes others to respect his own. In society he is quiet, easy, unobtrusive, putting on no airs, nor hinting by word or manner that he deems himself better, or wiser, or richer than any one about him. He never boasts of his achievements, or fishes for compliments by affecting to underrate what he has done. He is distinguished, above all things, by his deep insight and sympathy, his quick perception of, and prompt attention to, those small and apparently insignificant things that may cause pleasure or pain to others. In giving his opinions he does not dogmatize; he listens patiently and respectfully to other men, and, if compelled to dissent from their opinions, acknowledges his fallibility and asserts his own views in such a manner as to command the respect of all who hear him. Frankness and cordiality mark all his intercourse with his fellows, and, however high his station, the humblest man feels instantly at ease in his presence.


Calvert says: "Ladyhood is an emanation from the heart subtilized by culture;" giving as two requisites for the highest breeding, transmitted qualities and the culture of good training. He continues: "Of the higher type of ladyhood may always be said what Steele said of Lady Elizabeth Hastings, 'that unaffected freedom and conscious innocence gave her the attendance of the graces in all her actions.' At its highest, ladyhood implies a spirituality made manifest in poetic grace. From the lady there exhales a subtle magnetism. Unconsciously she encircles herself with an atmosphere of unruffled strength, which, to those who come into it, gives confidence and repose. Within her influence the diffident grow self-possessed, the impudent are checked, the inconsiderate are admonished; even the rude are constrained to be mannerly, and the refined are perfected; all spelled, unawares, by the flexible dignity, the commanding gentleness, the thorough womanliness of her look, speech and demeanor. A sway is this, purely spiritual. Every sway, every legitimate, every enduring sway is spiritual; a regnancy of light over obscurity, of right over brutality. The only real gains ever made are spiritual gains—a further subjection of the gross to the incorporeal, of body to soul, of the animal to the human. The finest and most characteristic acts of a lady involve a spiritual ascension, a growing out of herself. In her being and bearing, patience, generosity, benignity are the graces that give shape to the virtues of truthfulness."

Here is the test of true ladyhood. Whenever the young find themselves in the company of those who do not make them feel at ease, they should know that they are not in the society of true ladies and true gentlemen, but of pretenders; that well-bred men and women can only feel at home in the society of the well-bred.


Some people are wont to depreciate these kind and tender qualities as trifles; but trifles, it must be remembered, make up the aggregate of human life. The petty incivilities, slight rudenesses and neglects of which men are guilty, without thought, or from lack of foresight or sympathy, are often remembered, while the great acts performed by the same persons are often forgotten. There is no society where smiles, pleasant looks and animal spirits are not welcomed and deemed of more importance than sallies of wit, or refinements of understanding. The little civilities, which form the small change of life may appear separately of little moment, but, like the spare pennies which amount to such large fortunes in a lifetime, they owe their importance to repetition and accumulation.


The man who succeeds in any calling in life is almost invariably he who has shown a willingness to please and to be pleased, who has responded heartily to the advances of others, through nature and habit, while his rival has sniffed and frowned and snubbed away every helping hand. "The charming manners of the Duke of Marlborough," it is said, "often changed an enemy to a friend, and to be denied a favor by him was more pleasing than to receive one from another. It was these personal graces that made him both rich and great. His address was so exquisitely fascinating as to dissolve fierce jealousies and animosities, lull suspicion and beguile the subtlest diplomacy of its arts. His fascinating smile and winning tongue, equally with his sharp sword, swayed the destinies of empires." The gracious manners of Charles James Fox preserved him from personal dislike, even when he had gambled away his last shilling, and politically, was the most unpopular man in England.


A charming manner not only enhances personal beauty, but even hides ugliness and makes plainness agreeable. An ill-favored countenance is not necessarily a stumbling-block, at the outset, to its owner, which cannot be surmounted, for who does not know how much a happy manner often does to neutralize the ill effects of forbidding looks? The fascination of the demagogue Wilkes's manner triumphed over both physical and moral deformity, rendering even his ugliness agreeable; and he boasted to Lord Townsend, one of the handsomest men in Great Britain, that "with half an hour's start he would get ahead of his lordship in the affections of any woman in the kingdom." The ugliest Frenchman, perhaps, that ever lived was Mirabeau; yet such was the witchery of his manner, that the belt of no gay Lothario was hung with a greater number of bleeding female hearts than this "thunderer of the tribune," whose looks were so hideous that he was compared to a tiger pitted with the small-pox.


Pleasing manners have made the fortunes of men in all professions and in every walk of life—of lawyers, doctors, clergymen, merchants, clerks and mechanics—and instances of this are so numerous that they may be recalled by almost any person. The politician who has the advantage of a courteous, graceful and pleasing manner finds himself an easy winner in the race with rival candidates, for every voter with whom he speaks becomes instantly his friend. Civility is to a man what beauty is to a woman. It creates an instantaneous impression in his behalf, while gruffness or coarseness excites as quick a prejudice against him. It is an ornament, worth more as a means of winning favor than the finest clothes and jewels ever worn. Lord Chesterfield said the art of pleasing is, in truth, the art of rising, of distinguishing one's self, of making a figure and a fortune in the world. Some years ago a drygoods salesman in a London shop had acquired such a reputation for courtesy and exhaustless patience, that it was said to be impossible to provoke from him any expression of irritability, or the smallest symptom of vexation. A lady of rank learning of his wonderful equanimity, determined to put it to the test by all the annoyances with which a veteran shop-visitor knows how to tease a shopman. She failed in her attempt to vex or irritate him, and thereupon set him up in business. He rose to eminence in trade, and the main spring of his later, as of his earlier career, was politeness. Hundreds of men, like this salesman, have owed their start in life wholly to their pleasing address and manners.


The cultivation of pleasing, affable manners should be an important part of the education of every person of whatever calling or station in life. Many people think that if they have only the substance, the form is of little consequence. But manners are a compound of spirit and form—spirit acted into form. The first law of good manners, which epitomizes all the rest is, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." True courtesy is simply the application of this golden rule to all our social conduct, or, as it has been happily defined, "real kindness, kindly expressed." It may be met in the hut of the Arab, in the courtyard of the Turk, in the hovel of the freedman, and the cottage of the Irishman. Even Christian men sometimes fail in courtesy, deeming it a mark of weakness, or neglecting it from mere thoughtlessness. Yet when we find this added to the other virtues of the Christian, it will be noted that his influence for good upon others has been powerfully increased, for it was by this that he obtained access to the hearts of others. An old English writer said reverently of our Saviour: "He was the first true gentleman that ever lived." The influence of many good men would be more than doubled if they could manage to be less stiff and more elastic. Gentleness in society, it has been truly said, "is like the silent influence of light which gives color to all nature; it is far more powerful than loudness or force, and far more fruitful. It pushes its way silently and persistently like the tiniest daffodil in spring, which raises the clod and thrusts it aside by the simple persistence of growing."


Politeness is kindness of manner. This is the outgrowth of kindness of heart, of nobleness, and of courage. But in some persons we find an abundance of courage, nobleness and kindness of heart, without kindness of manner, and we can only think and speak of them as not only impolite, but even rude and gruff. Such a man was Dr. Johnson, whose rudeness secured for him the nickname of Ursa Major, and of whom Goldsmith truthfully remarked, "No man alive has a more tender heart; he has nothing of the bear about him but his skin." To acquire that ease and grace of manners which is possessed by and which distinguishes every well-bred person, one must think of others rather than of himself, and study to please them even at his own inconvenience. "Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you"—the golden rule of life—is also the law of politeness, and such politeness implies self-sacrifice, many struggles and conflicts. It is an art and tact, rather than an instinct and inspiration. An eminent divine has said: "A noble and attractive every-day bearing comes of goodness, of sincerity, of refinement. And these are bred in years, not moments. The principle that rules our life is the sure posture-master. Sir Philip Sidney was the pattern to all England of a perfect gentleman; but then he was the hero that, on the field of Zutphen, pushed away the cup of cold water from his own fevered and parched lips, and held it out to the dying soldier at his side." A Christian by the very conditions of his creed, and the obligations of his faith is, of necessity, in mind and soul—and therefore in word and act—a gentleman, but a man may be polite without being a Christian.



An acquaintanceship or friendship usually begins by means of introductions, though it is by no means uncommon that when it has taken place under other circumstances—without introduction—it has been a great advantage to both parties; nor can it be said that it is improper to begin an acquaintance in this way. The formal introduction has been called the highway to the beginning of friendship, and the "scraped" acquaintance the by-path.


There is a large class of people who introduce friends and acquaintances to everybody they meet, whether at home or abroad, while walking or riding out. Such promiscuous introductions are neither necessary, desirable, nor at all times agreeable.


It is to be remembered that an introduction is regarded as a social endorsement of the person introduced, and that, under certain circumstances, it would be wrong to introduce to our friends casual acquaintances, of whom we know nothing, and who may afterwards prove to be anything but desirable persons to know. Care should be taken, therefore, in introducing two individuals, that the introduction be mutually agreeable. Whenever it is practicable, it is best to settle the point by inquiring beforehand. When this is inexpedient from any cause, a thorough acquaintance with both parties will warrant the introducer to judge of the point for him or herself.


While the habit of universal introductions is a bad one, there are many men in cities and villages who are not at all particular whom they introduce to each other. As a general rule, a man should be as careful about the character of the person he introduces to his friends, as he is of him whose notes he would endorse.


A gentleman should not be introduced to a lady, unless her permission has been previously obtained, and no one should ever be introduced into the house of a friend, except permission is first granted. Such introductions, however, are frequent, but they are improper, for a person cannot know that an introduction of this kind will be agreeable. If a person asks you to introduce him to another, or a gentleman asks to be introduced to a lady, and you find the introduction would not be agreeable to the other party, you may decline on the grounds that you are not sufficiently intimate to take that liberty.

When a gentleman is introduced to a lady, both bow slightly, and the gentleman opens conversation. It is the place of the one who is introduced to make the first remark.


It is not strictly necessary that acquaintanceship should wait a formal introduction. Persons meeting at the house of a common friend may consider that fact a sufficient warrant for the preliminaries of acquaintanceship, if there appears to be a mutual inclination toward such acquaintanceship. The presence of a person in a friend's house is a sufficient guaranty for his or her respectability. Gentlemen and ladies may form acquaintances in traveling, on a steamboat, in a railway car, or a stage-coach, without the formality of an introduction. Such acquaintanceship should be conducted with a certain amount of reserve, and need not be prolonged beyond the time of casual meeting. The slightest approach to disrespect or familiarity should be checked by dignified silence. A young lady, however, is not accorded the same privilege of forming acquaintances as is a married or elderly lady, and should be careful about doing so.


It is the part of the host and hostess at a ball to introduce their guests, though guests may, with perfect propriety, introduce each other, or, as already intimated, may converse with one another without the ceremony of a formal introduction. A gentleman, before introducing his friends to ladies, should obtain permission of the latter to do so, unless he is perfectly sure, from his knowledge of the ladies, that the introductions will be agreeable. The ladies should always grant such permission, unless there is a strong reason for refusing. The French, and to some extent the English, dispense with introductions at a private ball. The fact that they have been invited to meet each other is regarded as a guaranty that they are fit to be mutually acquainted, and is a sufficient warrant for self-introduction. At a public ball partners must be introduced to each other. Special introducing may be made with propriety by the master of ceremonies. At public balls it is well for ladies to dance only, or for the most part, with gentlemen of their own party, or those with whom they have had a previous acquaintance.


The proper form of introduction is to present the gentleman to the lady, the younger to the older, the inferior in social standing to the superior. In introducing, you bow to the lady and say, "Miss C., allow me to introduce to you Mr. D. Mr. D., Miss C." It is the duty of Mr. D. upon bowing to say, "It gives me great pleasure to form your acquaintance, Miss C.," or a remark of this nature.

If gentlemen are to be introduced to one another, the form is, "Col. Blank, permit me to introduce to you Mr. Cole. Mr. Cole, Col. Blank." The exact words of an introduction are immaterial, so long as the proper form and order is preserved.

The word "present" is often used in place of "introduce." While it is customary to repeat the names of the two parties introduced at the close of the introduction, it is often omitted as a useless formality. It is of the utmost importance that each name should be spoken distinctly. If either of the parties does not distinctly hear the name of the other he should say at once, without hesitation or embarrassment, before making the bow, "I beg your pardon; I did not catch (or understand) the name," when it may be repeated to him.

If several persons are to be introduced to one individual, mention the name of the single individual first, and then call the others in succession, bowing slightly as each name is pronounced.

It is the part of true politeness, after introductions, to explain to each person introduced something of the business or residence of each, as they will assist in opening conversation. Or, if one party has recently returned from a foreign trip, it is courteous to say so.


While it is not necessary to introduce people who chance to meet in your house during a morning call; yet, if there is no reason for supposing that such an introduction will be objectionable to either party, it seems better to give it, as it sets both parties at ease in conversation. Acquaintanceship may or may not follow such an introduction, at the option of the parties. People who meet at the house of a mutual friend need not recognize each other as acquaintances if they meet again elsewhere, unless they choose to do so.


In introducing members of your own family, be careful not only to specify the degree of relationship, but to give the name also. It is awkward to a stranger to be introduced to "My brother Tom," or "My sister Carrie." When either the introducer or the introduced is a married lady, the name of the party introduced can only be guessed at.


In introducing a person give him his appropriate title. If he is a clergyman, say "The Rev. Mr. Clark." If a doctor of divinity, say "The Rev. Dr. Clark." If he is a member of Congress, call him "Honorable," and specify to which branch of Congress he belongs. If he is governor of a State, mention what State. If he is a man of any celebrity in the world of art or letters, it is well to mention the fact something after this manner: "Mr. Fish, the artist, whose pictures you have frequently seen," or "Mr. Hart, author of 'Our Future State,' which you so greatly admired."


A friend visiting at your house must be introduced to all callers, and courtesy requires the latter to cultivate the acquaintance while your visitor remains with you. If you are the caller introduced, you must show the same attention to the friend of your friend that you wish shown your own friends under the same circumstances. Persons meeting at public places need not introduce each other to the strangers who may chance to be with them; and, even if the introduction does take place, the acquaintance need not be continued unless desired.


Two persons who have been properly introduced have in future certain claims upon one another's acquaintance which should be recognized, unless there are sufficient reasons for overlooking them. Even in that case good manners require the formal bow of recognition upon meeting, which, of itself, encourages no familiarity. Only a very ill-bred person will meet another with a stare.


A slight bow is all that is required by courtesy, after an introduction. Shaking hands is optional, and it should rest with the older, or the superior in social standing to make the advances. It is often an act of kindness on their part, and as such to be commended. It is a common practice among gentlemen, when introduced to one another, to shake hands, and as it evinces more cordiality than a mere bow, is generally to be preferred. An unmarried lady should not shake hands with gentlemen indiscriminately.


It is the privilege of the lady to determine whether she will recognize a gentleman after an introduction, and he is bound to return the bow. In bowing to a lady on the street, it is not enough that a gentleman should touch his hat, he should lift it from his head.


The "cut direct," which is given by a prolonged stare at a person, if justified at all, can only be in case of extraordinary and notoriously bad conduct on the part of the individual "cut," and is very seldom called for. If any one wishes to avoid a bowing acquaintance with another, it can be done by looking aside or dropping the eyes. It is an invariable rule of good society, that a gentleman cannot "cut" a lady under any circumstances, but circumstances may arise when he may be excused for persisting in not meeting her eyes, for if their eyes meet, he must bow.


If, while walking with one friend, in the street, you meet another and stop a moment to speak with the latter, it is not necessary to introduce the two who are strangers to one another; but, when you separate, the friend who accompanies you gives a parting salutation, the same as yourself. The same rule applies if the friend you meet chances to be a lady.


If, on entering a drawing-room to pay a visit, you are not recognized, mention your name immediately. If you know but one member of the family and you find others only in the room, introduce yourself to them. Unless this is done, much awkwardness may be occasioned.


When a lady is introduced to a gentleman, she should merely bow but not give her hand, unless the gentleman is a well known friend of some member of the family. In that case she may do so if she pleases, as a mark of esteem or respect. A gentleman must not offer to shake hands with a lady until she has made the first movement.

A married lady should extend her hand upon being introduced to a stranger brought to her house by her husband, or by a common friend, as an evidence of her cordial welcome.


Friendly letters of introduction should only be given to personal friends, introducing them, and only addressed to those with whom the writer has a strong personal friendship. It is not only foolish, but positively dangerous to give such a letter to a person with whom the writer is but slightly acquainted, as you may thus give your countenance and endorsement to a person who will take advantage of your carelessness to bring you into embarrassing and mortifying positions. Again, you should never address a letter of introduction to any but an intimate friend of long standing, and even then it should not be done, unless you are perfectly satisfied that the person you are to introduce will be an agreeable and congenial person for your friend to meet, as it would be very annoying to send to your friend a visitor who would prove to him disagreeable. Even amongst friends of long standing such letters should be given very cautiously and sparingly.

The form of letters of introduction is given in the chapter on "Letter-writing."


It is not necessary to deliver a friendly letter of introduction to a person who resides in another town. It is better to send it to the person to whom it is directed, on your arrival, accompanied by your card of address. If he wishes to comply with the request of his friend he will call upon you, and give you an invitation to visit him; circumstances, however, might render it exceedingly inconvenient, or impossible for the person to whom the letter is addressed, to call upon you; consequently a neglect to call need not be considered a mark of ill-breeding, though by some people it is so considered. The person addressed must consult his own feelings in the matter, and while aiming to do what is right, he is not bound to sacrifice business or other important matters to attend to the entertainment of a friend's friend. In such a case he may send his own card to the address of the person bearing the letter of introduction, and the latter is at liberty to call upon him at his leisure.


In Europe it is the custom for a person with a letter of introduction to make the first call, but in this country we think that a stranger should never be made to feel that he is begging our attention, and that it is indelicate for him to intrude until he is positive that his company would be agreeable. Consequently, if it is your wish and in your power to welcome any one recommended to you by letter from a friend, or to show your regard for your friend's friend, you must call upon him with all possible dispatch, after you receive his letter of introduction, and give him as hospitable a reception and entertainment as it is possible to give, and such as you would be pleased to receive were you in his place.


Letters of introduction to and from business men may be delivered by the bearers in person, and etiquette does not require the receiver to entertain the person introduced as a friend of the writer. It is entirely optional with the person to whom the latter is introduced how he welcomes him, or whether he entertains him or not, though his courtesy would be apt to suggest that some kind attentions should be paid him.



Carlyle says: "What we call 'formulas' are not in their origin bad; they are indisputably good. Formula is method, habitude; found wherever man is found. Formulas fashion themselves as paths do, as beaten highways leading toward some sacred, high object, whither many men are bent. Consider it: One man full of heartfelt, earnest impulse finds out a way of doing something—were it uttering his soul's reverence for the Highest, were it but of fitly saluting his fellow-man. An inventor was needed to do that, a poet; he has articulated the dim, struggling thought that dwelt in his own and many hearts. This is the way of doing that. These are his footsteps, the beginning of a 'path.' And now see the second man travels naturally in the footsteps of his foregoer; it is the easiest method. In the footsteps of his foregoer, yet with his improvements, with changes where such seem good; at all events with enlargements, the path ever widening itself as more travel it, till at last there is a broad highway, whereon the whole world may travel and drive."


A lady writer of distinction says of salutations: "It would seem that good manners were originally the expression of submission from the weaker to the stronger. In a rude state of society every salutation is to this day an act of worship. Hence the commonest acts, phrases and signs of courtesy with which we are now familiar, date from those earlier stages when the strong hand ruled and the inferior demonstrated his allegiance by studied servility. Let us take, for example, the words 'sir' and 'madam.' 'Sir' is derived from seigneur, sieur, and originally meant lord, king, ruler and, in its patriarchal sense, father. The title of sire was last borne by some of the ancient feudal families of France, who, as Selden has said, 'affected rather to be styled by the name of sire than baron, as Le Sire de Montmorenci and the like.' 'Madam' or 'madame,' corrupted by servants into 'ma'am,' and by Mrs. Gamp and her tribe into 'mum,' is in substance equivalent to 'your exalted,' or 'your highness,' madame originally meaning high-born, or stately, and being applied only to ladies of the highest rank.

"To turn to our every-day forms of salutation. We take off our hats on visiting an acquaintance. We bow on being introduced to strangers. We rise when visitors enter our drawing-room. We wave our hand to our friend as he passes the window or drives away from our door. The Oriental, in like manner, leaves his shoes on the threshold when he pays a visit. The natives of the Tonga Islands kiss the soles of a chieftain's feet. The Siberian peasant grovels in the dust before a Russian noble. Each of these acts has a primary, an historical significance. The very word 'salutation,' in the first place, derived as it is from salutatio, the daily homage paid by a Roman client to his patron, suggests in itself a history of manners.

"To bare the head was originally an act of submission to gods and rulers. A bow is a modified prostration. A lady's courtesy is a modified genuflection. Rising and standing are acts of homage; and when we wave our hand to a friend on the opposite side of the street, we are unconsciously imitating the Romans, who, as Selden tells us, used to stand 'somewhat off before the images of their gods, solemnly moving the right hand to the lips and casting it, as if they had cast kisses.' Again, men remove the glove when they shake hands with a lady—a custom evidently of feudal origin. The knight removed his iron gauntlet, the pressure of which would have been all too harsh for the palm of a fair chatelaine; and the custom, which began in necessity, has traveled down to us as a point of etiquette."


Each nation has its own method of salutation. In Southern Africa it is the custom to rub toes. In Lapland your friend rubs his nose against yours. The Turk folds his arms upon his breast and bends his head very low. The Moors of Morocco have a somewhat startling mode of salutation. They ride at a gallop toward a stranger, as though they would unhorse him, and when close at hand suddenly check their horse and fire a pistol over the person's head. The Egyptian solicitously asks you, "How do you perspire?" and lets his hand fall to the knee. The Chinese bows low and inquires, "Have you eaten?" The Spaniard says, "God be with you, sir," or, "How do you stand?" And the Neapolitan piously remarks, "Grow in holiness." The German asks, "How goes it with you?" The Frenchman bows profoundly and inquires, "How do you carry yourself."

Foreigners are given to embracing. In France and Germany the parent kisses his grown-up son on the forehead, men throw their arms around the necks of their friends, and brothers embrace like lovers. It is a curious sight to Americans, with their natural prejudices against publicity in kissing.

In England and America there are three modes of salutation—the bow, the handshaking and the kiss.


It is said: "A bow is a note drawn at sight. You are bound to acknowledge it immediately, and to the full amount." It should be respectful, cordial, civil or familiar, according to circumstances. Between gentlemen, an inclination of the head, a gesture of the hand, or the mere touching of the hat is sufficient; but in bowing to a lady, the hat must be lifted from the head. If you know people slightly, you recognize them slightly; if you know them well, you bow with more familiarity. The body is not bent at all in bowing; the inclination of the head is all that is necessary.

If the gentleman is smoking, he withdraws his cigar from his mouth before lifting his hat to a lady, or if he should happen to have his hand in his pocket he removes it.

At the moment of the first meeting of the eyes of an acquaintance you bow. Any one who has been introduced to you, or any one to whom you have been introduced, is entitled to this mark of respect.

The bow is the touchstone of good breeding, and to neglect it, even to one with whom you may have a trifling difference, shows deficiency in cultivation and in the instincts of refinement. A bow does not entail a calling acquaintance. Its entire neglect reveals the character and training of the person; the manner of its observance reveals the very shades of breeding that exist between the ill-bred and the well-bred.


A gentleman walking with a lady returns a bow made to her, whether by a lady or gentleman (lifting his hat not too far from his head), although the one bowing is an entire stranger to him.

It is civility to return a bow, although you do not know the one who is bowing to you. Either the one who bows, knows you, or has mistaken you for some one else. In either case you should return the bow, and probably the mistake will be discovered to have occurred for want of quick recognition on your own part, or from some resemblance that you bear to another.


The manner in which the salutation of recognition is made, may be regarded as an unerring test of the breeding, training, or culture of a person. It should be prompt as soon as the eyes meet, whether on the street or in a room. The intercourse need go no further, but that bow must be made. There are but few laws which have better reasons for their observance than this. This rule holds good under all circumstances, whether within doors or without. Those who abstain from bowing at one time, and bow at another, should not be surprised to find that the person whom they have neglected, has avoided the continuation of their acquaintance.


Having once had an introduction that entitles to recognition, it is the duty of the person to recall himself or herself to the recollection of the older person, if there is much difference in age, by bowing each time of meeting, until the recognition becomes mutual. As persons advance in life, they look for these attentions upon the part of the young. Persons who have large circles of acquaintance, often confuse the faces of the young whom they know with the familiar faces which they meet and do not know, and from frequent errors of this kind, they get into the habit of waiting to catch some look or gesture of recognition.


If a person desires to avoid a bowing acquaintance with a person who has been properly introduced, he may do so by looking aside, or dropping the eyes as the person approaches, for, if the eyes meet, there is no alternative, bow he must.


Bowing once to a person upon a public promenade or drive is all that civility requires. If the person is a friend, it is in better form, the second and subsequent passings, should you catch his or her eye, to smile slightly instead of bowing repeatedly. If an acquaintance, it is best to avert the eyes.


A bow should never be accompanied by a broad smile, even when you are well acquainted, and yet a high authority well says: "You should never speak to an acquaintance without a smile in your eyes."


A young lady should show the same deference to an elderly lady that a gentleman does to a lady. It may also be said that a young man should show proper deference to elderly gentlemen.


The words commonly used in saluting a person are "Good Morning," "Good Afternoon," "Good Evening," "How do you do" (sometimes contracted into "Howdy" and "How dye do,") and "How are you." The three former are most appropriate, as it seems somewhat absurd to ask after a person's health, unless you stop to receive an answer. A respectful bow should accompany the words.


Among friends the shaking of the hand is the most genuine and cordial expression of good-will. It is not necessary, though in certain cases it is not forbidden, upon introduction; but when acquaintanceship has reached any degree of intimacy, it is perfectly proper.


An authority upon this subject says: "The etiquette of handshaking is simple. A man has no right to take a lady's hand until it is offered. He has even less right to pinch or retain it. Two young ladies shake hands gently and softly. A young lady gives her hand, but does not shake a gentleman's unless she is his friend. A lady should always rise to give her hand; a gentleman, of course, never dares to do so seated. On introduction in a room, a married lady generally offers her hand; a young lady, not. In a ball-room, where the introduction is to dancing, not to friendship, you never shake hands; and as a general rule, an introduction is not followed by shaking hands, only by a bow. It may perhaps be laid down that the more public the place of introduction, the less handshaking takes place. But if the introduction be particular, if it be accompanied by personal recommendation, such as, 'I want you to know my friend Jones,' or if Jones comes with a letter of presentation, then you give Jones your hand, and warmly, too. Lastly, it is the privilege of a superior to offer or withhold his or her hand, so that an inferior should never put his forward first."

When a lady so far puts aside her reserve as to shake hands at all, she should give her hand with frankness and cordiality. There should be equal frankness and cordiality on the gentleman's part, and even more warmth, though a careful avoidance of anything like offensive familiarity or that which might be mistaken as such.

In shaking hands, the right hand should always be offered, unless it be so engaged as to make it impossible, and then an excuse should be offered. The French give the left hand, as nearest the heart.

The mistress of a household should offer her hand to every guest invited to her house.

A gentleman must not shake hands with a lady until she has made the first move in that direction. It is a mark of rudeness not to give his hand instantly, should she extend her own. A married lady should always extend her hand to a stranger brought to her house by a common friend, as an evidence of her cordial welcome. Where an introduction is for dancing there is no shaking of hands.


This is the most affectionate form of salutation, and is only proper among near relations and dear friends.


The kiss of friendship and relationship is on the cheeks and forehead. In this country this act of affection is generally excluded from public eyes, and in the case of parents and children and near relations, it is perhaps unnecessarily so.


The custom which has become quite prevalent of women kissing each other whenever they meet in public, is regarded as vulgar, and by ladies of delicacy and refinement is entirely avoided.


The kiss of respect—almost obsolete in this country—is made on the hand. The custom is retained in Germany and among gentlemen of the most courtly manners in England.


Etiquette of Calls.

There are calls of ceremony, of condolence, of congratulation and of friendship. All but the latter are usually of short duration. The call of friendship is usually of less formality and may be of some length.


"Morning calls," as they are termed, should not be made earlier than 12 P.M., nor later than 5 P.M.

A morning call should not exceed half an hour in length. From ten to twenty minutes is ordinarily quite long enough. If other visitors come in, the visit should terminate as speedily as possible. Upon leaving, bow slightly to the strangers.

In making a call be careful to avoid the luncheon and dinner hour of your friends. From two until five is ordinarily the most convenient time for morning calls.


It is sometimes more convenient for both the caller and those called upon that the call should be made in the evening. An evening call should never be made later than nine o'clock, nor be prolonged after ten, neither should it exceed an hour in length.


The lady of the house rises upon the entrance of her visitors, who at once advance to pay their respects to her before speaking to others. If too many callers are present to enable her to take the lead in conversation, she pays special attention to the latest arrivals, watching to see that no one is left alone, and talking to each of her guests in succession, or seeing that some one is doing so.

A lady who is not in her own house does not rise, either on the arrival or departure of ladies, unless there is some great difference of age. Attention to the aged is one of the marks of good breeding which is never neglected by the thoughtful and refined.

It is not customary to introduce residents of the same city, unless the hostess knows that an introduction will be agreeable to both parties. Strangers in the place are always introduced.

Ladies and gentlemen who meet in the drawing-room of a common friend are privileged to speak to each other without an introduction; though gentlemen generally prefer to ask for introductions. When introduced to any one, bow slightly, and enter at once into conversation. It shows a lack of good breeding not to do so.

When introductions are given, it is the gentleman who should be presented to the lady; when two ladies are introduced, it is the younger who is presented to the older.

A lady receiving gives her hand to a stranger as to a friend, when she wishes to bestow some mark of cordiality in welcoming a guest to her home, but a gentleman should not take the initiatory in handshaking. It is the lady's privilege to give or withhold, as she chooses.

A gentleman rises when those ladies with whom he is talking rise to take their leave. He also rises upon the entrance of ladies, but he does not offer seats to those entering, unless in his own house, or unless requested to do so by the hostess, and then he does not offer his own chair if others are available.

A call should not be less than fifteen minutes in duration, nor should it be so long as to become tedious. A bore is a person who does not know when you have had enough of his or her company, and gives more of it than is desirable. Choose a time to leave when there is a lull in the conversation, and the hostess is not occupied with fresh arrivals. Then take leave of your hostess, bowing to those you know as you leave the room, not to each in turn, but let one bow include all.

Calls ought to be made within three days after a dinner or tea party, if it is a first invitation; and if not, within a week. After a party or a ball, whether you have accepted the invitation or not, you call within a week.

A lady who has no regular reception day will endeavor to receive callers at any time. If she is occupied, she will instruct her servant to say that she is engaged; but a visitor once admitted into the house must be seen at any inconvenience.

A lady should never keep a caller waiting without sending to see whether a delay of a few minutes will inconvenience the caller. Servants should be instructed to return and announce to the person waiting that the lady will be down immediately. Any delay whatever should be apologized for.

If, on making a call, you are introduced into a room where you are unknown to those assembled, at once give your name and mention upon whom your call is made.

In meeting a lady or gentleman whose name you cannot recall, frankly say so, if you find it necessary. Sensible persons will prefer to recall themselves to your memory rather than to feel that you are talking to them without fully recognizing them. To affect not to remember a person is despicable, and reflects only on the pretender.

Gentlemen, as well as ladies, when making formal calls, send in but one card, no matter how many members of the family they may wish to see. If a guest is stopping at the house, the same rule is observed. If not at home, one card is left for the lady, and one for the guest. The card for the lady may be folded so as to include the family.


At places of summer resort, those who own their cottages, call first upon those who rent them, and those who rent, in turn, call upon each other, according to priority of arrival. In all these cases there are exceptions; as, where there is any great difference in ages, the younger then calling upon the older, if there has been a previous acquaintance or exchange of calls. If there has been no previous acquaintance or exchange of calls, the older lady pays the first call, unless she takes the initiative by inviting the younger to call upon her, or by sending her an invitation to some entertainment, which she is about to give. When the occupants of two villas, who have arrived the same season, meet at the house of a common friend, and the older of the two uses her privilege of inviting the other to call, it would be a positive rudeness not to call; and the sooner the call is made, the more civil will it be considered. It is equally rude, when one lady asks permission of another to bring a friend to call, and then neglects to do it, after permission has been given. If the acquaintance is not desired, the first call can be the last.


Only calls of pure ceremony—such as are made previous to an entertainment on those persons who are not to be invited, and to whom you are indebted for any attentions—are made by handing in cards; nor can a call in person be returned by cards. Exceptions to this rule comprise P.P.C. calls, cards left or sent by persons in mourning, and those which announce a lady's day for receiving calls, on her return to town, after an absence.


Some ladies receive only on certain days or evenings, which are once a week, once a fortnight, or once a month as the case may be, and the time is duly announced by cards. When a lady has made this rule it is considerate, on the part of her friends, to observe it, for it is sometimes regarded as an intrusion to call at any other time. The reason of her having made this rule may have been to prevent the loss of too much time from her duties, in the receiving of calls from her friends.


When a betrothal takes place and it is formally announced to the relatives and friends on both sides, calls of congratulation follow. The bridegroom that is to be, is introduced by the family of the proposed bride to their connections and most intimate friends, and his family in return introduce her to relatives and acquaintances whom they desire her to know. The simplest way of bringing this about is by the parents leaving the cards of the betrothed, with their own, upon all families on their visiting list whom they wish to have the betrothed pair visit.


Strangers arriving are expected to send their cards to their acquaintances, bearing their direction, as an announcement that they are in the city. This rule is often neglected, but, unless it is observed, strangers may be a long time in town without their presence being known.


A first call ought to be returned within three or four days. A longer delay than a week is considered an intimation that you are unwilling to accept the new acquaintance, unless some excuse for the remissness is made.


In an event of exchange of calls between two ladies, without meeting, who are known to each other only by sight, they should upon the first opportunity, make themselves acquainted with one another. The younger should seek the older, or the one who has been the recipient of the first attention should introduce herself, or seek an introduction, but it is not necessary to stand upon ceremony on such points. Ladies knowing each other by sight, bow, after an exchange of cards.


When it becomes a question as to who shall call first, between old residents, the older should take the initiatory. Ladies, who have been in the habit of meeting for sometime without exchanging calls, sometimes say to each other: "I hope you will come and see me!" and often the answer is made: "Oh, you must come and see me first!" That answer could only be given, with propriety, by a lady who is much the older of the two. The lady who extends the invitation makes the first advance, and the one who receives it should at least say: "I thank you—you are very kind," and then accept the invitation or not, as it pleases her. It is the custom for residents to make the first call upon strangers.


Calls of congratulation are made when any happy or auspicious event may have occurred in the family visited—such as a birth, marriage, or any piece of good fortune. Such visits may be made either similar to the morning or the evening call. Such visits may also be made upon the appointment of friends to any important office or honored position, or when a friend has distinguished himself by a notable public address or oration.


When persons are going abroad to be absent for a considerable period, if they have not time or inclination to take leave of all their friends by making formal calls, they will send to each of their friends a card with the letters P.P.C. written upon it. They are the initials of "Pour Prendre Conge"—to take leave—and may with propriety stand for "presents parting compliments." On returning home, it is customary that friends should first call upon them. A neglect to do so, unless for some good excuse, is sufficient cause to drop their acquaintance. In taking leave of a family, you send as many cards as you would if you were paying an ordinary visit.


Visits of condolence should be made within a week after the event which occasioned them; but if the acquaintance be slight, immediately after the family appear at public worship. A card should be sent in, and if your friends are able to receive you, your manners and conversation should be in harmony with the character of your visit. It is deemed courteous to send in a mourning card; and for ladies to make their calls in black silk or plain-colored apparel. It denotes that they sympathize with the afflictions of the family, and a warm, heartfelt sympathy is always appreciated.


Evening visits are paid only to those with whom we are well acquainted. They should not be frequent, even where one is intimate, nor should they be protracted to a great length. Frequent visits are apt to become tiresome to your friends or acquaintances, and long visits may entitle you to the appellation of "bore."

If you should happen to pay an evening visit at a house where a small party had assembled, unknown to you, present yourself and converse for a few minutes with an unembarrassed air, after which you may leave, pleading as an excuse that you had only intended to make a short call. An invitation to stay and spend the evening, given for the sake of courtesy, should not be accepted. If urged very strongly to remain, and the company is an informal gathering, you may with propriety consent to do so.


A person should keep a strict account of ceremonial calls, and take note of how soon calls are returned. By doing so, an opinion can be formed as to how frequently visits are desired. Instances may occur, when, in consequence of age or ill health, calls should be made without any reference to their being returned. It must be remembered that nothing must interrupt the discharge of this duty.


Among relatives and friends, calls of mere ceremony are unnecessary. It is, however, needful to make suitable calls, and to avoid staying too long, if your friend is engaged. The courtesies of society should be maintained among the nearest friends, and even the domestic circle.


If a lady is so employed that she cannot receive callers she should charge the servant who goes to answer the bell to say that she is "engaged" or "not at home." This will prove sufficient with all well-bred people.

The servant should have her orders to say "engaged" or "not at home" before any one has called, so that the lady shall avoid all risk of being obliged to inconvenience herself in receiving company when she has intended to deny herself. If there are to be exceptions made in favor of any individual or individuals, mention their names specially to the servant, adding that you will see them if they call, but to all others you are "engaged."

A lady should always be dressed sufficiently well to receive company, and not keep them waiting while she is making her toilet.

A well-bred person always endeavors to receive visitors at whatever time they call, or whoever they may be, but there are times when it is impossible to do so, and then, of course, a servant is instructed beforehand to say "not at home" to the visitor. If, however, the servant admits the visitor and he is seated in the drawing room or parlor, it is the duty of the hostess to receive him or her at whatever inconvenience it may be to herself.

When you call upon persons, and are informed at the door that the parties whom you ask for are engaged, you should never insist in an attempt to be admitted, but should acquiesce at once in any arrangements which they have made for their convenience, and to protect themselves from interruption. However intimate you may be in any house you have no right, when an order has been given to exclude general visitors, and no exception has been made of you, to violate that exclusion, and declare that the party should be at home to you. There are times and seasons when a person desires to be left entirely alone, and at such times there is no friendship for which she would give up her occupation or her solitude.


A gentleman in making a formal call should retain his hat and gloves in his hand on entering the room. The hat should not be laid upon a table or stand, but kept in the hand, unless it is found necessary from some cause to set it down. In that case, place it upon the floor. An umbrella should be left in the hall. In an informal evening call, the hat, gloves, overcoat and cane may be left in the hall.

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