How to walk – The rule of the pavement

From Correct Conduct, or, Etiquette for Everybody (M. Woodman. London: W. Foulsham 1922) this piece about the etiquette of walking and pavements. This is the world of the early Downton series or for older viewers The Forsyte Saga. The gentleman has to know what to do in complicated situations ‘…a man who meets his parlourmaid in the street is in a quandary’ – here tipping the hat is suggested (but no nodding…)

hatsoffThe rule of the pavement used to be to walk to the right. The “Safety First” Committee is endeavouring to induce public opinion to favour walking on the left. Instinct suggests the right, common sense the left. Pedestrians should appreciate the fact that this change is being made, and act according to their own dictates. 

When walking with friends, do not proceed along the pavement more than two abreast, and then take to single file on passing other people.

Always give way to perambulators; they certainly are a nuisance, but a necessary nuisance. When a lady is walking with a gentleman, she should take the inside. This is survival of the days when all roads were muddy and passing vehicles splashed those nearest.

When going for a walk with the family, do not proceed in a long-drawn-out trail, father first, then mother with the youngest child, and the others following irregularly. Assume some orderly progression.

If a lady inquires the way of a gentleman, he should raise his hat when the information had been given.

A passing funeral demands that a man lifts his hat.

Walking-sticks and umbrellas should be carried where they cannot injure passersby. If you mount a public staircase or get on to a bus keep the point well down; it will then be away from the faces of those who are following you. 

It is not polite to point things; however, there are ways of pointing which are not objectionable. 

Do not push when in a crowd.

Eating in the street is considered bad form. Sweets are possibly an exception, if small enough to put into the mouth without biting.

A man should raise his hat when meeting male friend accompanied by a lady, whether he knows the lady or not.

A man who meets his parlourmaid in the street is in a quandary. The strict rules of etiquette prescribe a nod; the fact that she is of the opposite sex suggests that his hat should be lifted. Though it may be wrong, we advise him to raise his hat and not nod.

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