Etiquette as Great Grandmother knew it

Blackour book cover 001Found in The Black-Out Book (1939) are these rules copied out in her diary by the editor’s great-grandmother.


Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices


When calling, do not enter into grave discussion. Trifling subjects are better.


It is rude to turn a chair so that your back will presented to anyone.


In company do not converse with another in a language that is not understood by the rest.


If it becomes necessary to break a marriage engagement, it is best to do so by letter. The reasons for your course can be given much more clearly than in a personal interview. All presents, letters, etc., received should accompany the letter announcing the termination of the engagement.


During a walk in the country, when ascending a hill or walking on the bank of a stream, and the lady is fatigued, and sits upon the ground, a gentleman will not seat himself by her, but remain standing until she is rested sufficiently to proceed.


A dispute about religion is foolish. When it is known that there are fifteen hundred millions of people on the face of the earth, speaking 3034 languages, and possessing one thousand different religious beliefs, it will be easily seen that it is a hopeless task to harmonize them all.


Do not eat all on your plate and do not clean it with your bread.


A lady at a ball should not burden a gentleman with her gloves, fan, and bouquet while she dances unless he is her husband or brother.


Do not place your arm on the back of a chair occupied by a lady.


Ladies can make each other’s acquaintance in the hotel parlour, or at the table. It is optional with them how far it is carried.


It is not polite at a wedding to congratulate the bride. She should receive wishes for her future happiness. The bride-groom is the one who is to be congratulated. He is the fortunate one.


Blowing soup or pouring tea or coffee into the saucer to cool it, is evident of lack of knowledge of the usages of good society.


When friends call on you, never look to your watch. It appears that you are desirous that they should go.


Never pick the teeth, scratch the head, blow the nose, or clean your nails in company.


Never correct the pronunciation of a person publicly; nor any inaccuracy that may be made in a statement.


Do not ask the age of another, unless they are quite youthful. Some very sensible men and woman are sensitive on this point. Whether it be considered silly or not, they have a right to keep their secret.


Do not permit a gentleman to remove a bracelet from your arm, or a ring from your finger, for the sake of examination. Take them off and hand them to him.


A lady must not strike a gentleman with her handkerchief, or tap him with her fan.


To introduce a person who is in any way objectionable to a friend, is insulting.


Giggling, whistling, staring about in church is a mark of ill-breeding.


Do not draw near the fire when calling, unless invited.


A business address should never be seen on a visiting card. A card with a photograph on it is a piece of vulgar conceit.


The only gifts which should pass between ladies and gentlemen who are not relatives are books, flowers, music, and confectionary.


To pencil your sentiments in a borrowed book is rude.


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