Quotes on the love of books.

Diane Kalas, Inspirational Historical Romance Author

"I cannot live without books."
Thomas Jefferson (Author of the Declaration of Independence)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

19th CENTURY ETIQUETTE - Things, Words, and Sayings to be Avoided in Conversation

Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

Things, Words, and Sayings, to be avoided in conversation.- Do not use the terms “genteel people;” this, that, or the other, is very genteel.” Substitute for them, “They are highly accomplished;” or “He is a gentlemanly man;” or “He has a gentlemanly appearance;” or “She has the manner of a gentlewoman.” 

            It is not in good taste for a lady to say “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir,” to a gentleman, or frequently to introduce the word “Sir” at the end of her sentence, unless she desires to be exceedingly reserved toward the person with whom she is conversing.

            Do not use such words as “I guess,” or “I calculate,” or “I expect,” or “I reckon,” too often, and, as they are generally used, out of place.

            When relating a conversation, do not, at every few words, put in “says he,” or “says she,” which last is sometimes shortened into a continual “sheshe.”

            Interrupt no one while speaking, though it be your most intimate friend.

            Laugh not at your own story; if it have any wit, it will be appreciated.

            Speaking of any distant person, it is the height of rudeness to point at him.

            Do not forget names, nor mistake one name for another. To speak of Mr. What-d’ye-call-him, or You-know-who, Mrs. Thingum, What’s-her-name, or How-d’ye-call-her, is exceedingly coarse and unlady-like. It is the same to begin a story, without being able to finish it, breaking off in the middle with the exclamation “I’ve forgot the rest.”

            Always look people in the face when you speak to them, otherwise you will be thought conscious of some guilt; besides, you lose the opportunity of reading their countenances, from which you will much better learn the impression which your discourse makes upon them, than you possibly can from their words; for words are at the will of every one, but the countenance is frequently involuntary.
            Do not repeat the name of the person to whom you are speaking, as “Indeed, Mr. Stubbs, you don’t say so, sir,” – or “Really, Mrs. Smith, I quite agree with you, Mrs. Smith.” It is a sufficiently bad habit in an equal, but in one of lower rank it becomes impertinence.

            There cannot be any practice more offensive than that of taking a person aside to whisper in a room with company; yet this rudeness is of frequent occurrence – and that with those who know it to be improper.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

Speaking of one’s self. – When we speak of ourself and another person, whether he is absent or present, propriety requires us to mention ourselves last. Thus we should say, he and I, you and I.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884



Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

How a Lady Should Be Spoken of by Her Husband.- It is equally improper for a gentleman to say “my wife,” except among very intimate friends; he should mention her as “Mrs. So and So.” When in private, the expression “my dear,” or merely the Christian name, is considered in accordance with the best usage among the more refined.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884


Saturday, December 15, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety 

How a lady should speak of her husband.- A lady should not say “my husband,” except among intimates; in every other case she should address him by his name, calling him “Mr.” It is equally proper, except on occasions of ceremony, and while she is quite young, to designate him by his Christian name.

            Never use the initial of a person’s name to designate him; as “Mr. P.,” “Mr. I.,” etc. Nothing is so odious as to hear a lady speak of her husband, or, indeed, any one else, as “Mr. B.”

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884


Saturday, December 8, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

 Speaking of the absent.- Never volunteer unnecessarily in speaking ill of anybody. You may indeed be placed in circumstances in which it may be proper and even necessary that you should express an unfavorable opinion of characters; that you should state facts concerning them of the most disagreeable nature.

            What is objectionable is that you should do this when circumstances do not require it, and when no good will be likely to result from it; for it at once indicates a bad disposition, and is a means by which that disposition will gain strength. But in no case allow yourself to make any unfavorable representation of a character, unless you have ample evidence that it is accordant with truth. By neglecting to observe this suggestion, you may irretrievably injure an innocent person, and procure for yourself an undesirable name.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884


Saturday, December 1, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

Against sarcastic remarks.- Be careful also how you indulge in sarcasm. If you are constitutionally inclined to this, you will find that there is no point in your character which needs to be more faithfully guarded. There are some few cases in which severe irony may be employed to advantage; cases in which vice and error will shrink before it, when they will unhesitatingly confront every other species of opposition.

            It too often happens, however, that those who possess this talent use it indiscriminately; and perhaps even more frequently to confound modest and retiring virtue than to abash bold and insolent vice. But be assured that it is a contemptible triumph that is gained, when, by the force of sarcasm, the lips of a deserving individual are sealed, and the countenance crimsoned with blushes.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884


Saturday, November 24, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

Undue Pretensions to Learning.- Avoid even the appearance of pedantry. If you are conversing with persons of very limited attainments, you will make yourself far more acceptable, as well as useful to them, by accommodating yourself to their capacities, than by compelling them to listen to what they cannot understand. Possibly in some instances you may make them stare at your supposed wisdom, and perhaps they may even quote you as an oracle of learning; but it is much more probable than even they will smile at such an exhibition as a contemptible weakness.

            With the intelligent and discerning, this effect will certainly be produced; and that whether your pretensions to learning are well founded or not; the simple fact that you aim to appear learned, that you deal much in allusion to the classics, or the various departments of science, with an evident intention to display your familiarity with them, will be more intolerable than absolute ignorance.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884


Saturday, November 17, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection (a few)

 The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

Talking excessively.-Beware of talking too much; if you do not talk to the purpose, the less you say the better; but even if you do, and if, withal, you are gifted with the best powers of conversation, it will be wise for you to guard against excessive loquacity. By this, we do not advise you to yield to a prudish reserve; but even that would scarcely be a more offensive extreme than to monopolize the conversation of a whole circle.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection (just a few)

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

 Against deceptive remarks and representations.- Much of the civility of fashionable life savors strongly of deception. We refer not only to the habit which some ladies have of sending word to visitors that they are not at home, when they are only engaged, but to the painful regrets, that are often expressed at the distance between calls; to the unspeakable joy which is manifested on meeting a fashionable acquaintance; to the earnest importunity that is exhibited for early visits, when the truth is, in each case, that the real feeling is that of absolute indifference. Guard against duplicity in all its forms. Rely upon it, it is not necessary to true politeness.


Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

 The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

 How to address young gentleman.- Do not be tempted to indulge in another proof of feminine indecorum, which may be countenanced, but can never be sanctioned by example; that of addressing young gentlemen of your acquaintance, who are unconnected with you, by their Christian names. It opens the way to unpleasant familiarities on their part, more effectually than you can well imagine, unless you have been taught the painful lesson by the imprudence of a friend.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection
The Art of Conversing 

How to treat flattery.- If a gentleman approaches you with words of flattery, and profuse attentions, especially after a short acquaintance, extend no encouraging smile or word; for a flatterer can never be otherwise than an unprofitable companion. It is better, by a dignified composure, to appear not to notice, than, with smiles and blushes, to disclaim flattery; since these are frequently considered as encouragements for further effusions of these “painted words.”

            You may with propriety accept such delicate attentions as polished and refined men are desirous of paying, but never solicit them, or appear to be expecting them. Ladies not infrequently, as a matter of course, extend their hand to take a gentleman’s arm before he has made any offer of such civility, but it is a mark of familiarity which has a most unfavorable appearance.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety

A lady’s influence in conversation.- Every woman whose heart and mind have been properly regulated, is capable of exerting a most salutary influence over the gentlemen with whom she associates; and this fact has been acknowledged by the best and wisest of men, and seldom disputed, except by those whose capacities for observation have been perverted by adverse circumstances.

Conversing with modesty and simplicity.-Always seek to converse with gentlemen into whose society you may be introduced, with a dignified modesty and simplicity, which will effectually check on their part any attempt at familiarity; but never say or do anything that may lead them to suppose you are soliciting their notice.

            An instance can scarcely be recalled of a lady, either by direct or indirect means, attempting to storm a man’s heart into admiration, who did not effectually defeat her purpose, and instead of the coveted homage to her charms, awaken a feeling directly its opposite. What sight can be more pitiable or repulsive than that of a female, advancing in the vale of years, and leaving behind her all the youthful attractions she might once have possessed, and yet retaining her inordinate thirst for the society and admiration of gentlemen.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884


Saturday, October 13, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Dinner Parties

Special rules to be observed at the table.-It is ridiculous to make a display of your napkin; to attach it with pins to your bosom, or to pass it through your button-hole; to use a fork in eating soup; to ask for meat instead of beef; for poultry instead of saying chicken or turkey; to turn up your cuffs in carving; to take bread, even when it is within your reach, instead of calling upon the servant; to cut with a knife your bread, which should be broken by the hand, and to pour your coffee into the saucer to cool.

            During the first course, each one helps himself at his pleasure to whatever he drinks; but in the second course, when the master of the house passes round choice wine, it would be uncivil to refuse it. We are not obliged, however, to accept a second glass. 

            When at the end of the second course, the cloth is removed, the guests may assist in turning off that part of it which is before them, and contribute to the arrangement of the dessert plates which happen to be near, but without attempting to alter the disposition of them. From the time that the dessert appears on the table, the duties of the master of the house diminish, as do also his rights.

            If a gentleman is seated by the side of a lady or elderly person, politeness requires him to save them all trouble of pouring out for themselves to drink, and of obtaining whatever they are in want of at the table. He should be eager to offer them whatever he thinks to be most to their taste.

            It is considered vulgar to take fish or soup twice. The reason for not being helped twice to fish or soup at a large dinner party is because by so doing you keep three parts of the company staring as you whilst waiting for the second course, which is spoiling, much to the annoyance of the mistress of the house. The selfish greediness, therefore, of so doing constitutes its vulgarity. At a family dinner it is of less importance.

            Never use your knife to convey your food to your mouth, under any circumstance; it is unnecessary, and glaringly vulgar. Feed yourself with a fork or spoon, nothing else; a knife is only to be used for cutting.

            As a general rule, in helping any one at a table, never use a knife where you can use a spoon.

            Do not press people to eat more than they appear to like, nor insist upon their tasting of any particular dish; you may so far recommend one as to mention that it is considered excellent. Remember that tastes differ, and viands which please you may be objects of dislike to others; and that, in consequence of your urgency, very young or very modest people may feel themselves compelled to partake of what may be most disagreeable to them.

            Ladies should never dine with their gloves on; unless their hands are not fit to be seen.

            In conversation at the table, be careful not to speak while eating a mouthful; it is indecorous in the extreme. 

            Bite not your bread, but break it with your fingers; be careful not to crumb it upon the table-cloth.

            The knife and fork should not be held upright in the hands, but sloping; when done with them, lay them parallel to each other upon the plate. When you eat, bend the body a little toward your plate; do not gnaw bones at the table; always use your napkin before and after drinking.
            Frequent consultation of the watch or time-pieces is impolite, either when at home or abroad. If at home , it appears as if you were tired of your company and wished them to be gone; if abroad, as if the hours dragged heavily, and you were calculating how soon you would be released.

 Leaving the table.- It is for the lady of the house to give the signal to leave the table; all the guests then rise, and, offering their arms to the ladies, wait upon them to the drawing-room, where coffee is prepared. We never take coffee at the table, except at unceremonious dinners. In leaving the table, the master of the house should go last.

            Politeness requires us to remain at least an hour in the drawing-room, after dinner; and, if we can dispose of an entire evening, it would be well to devote it to the person who has entertained us.

            As you pass from the dining-room, each gentleman should offer his left arm to the lady in charge.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Serving the dinner, carving, etc.- As soon as the guests are seated, the lady of the house serves, in plates, from a pile at her left hand, the soup, which she sends round, beginning with her neighbor’s right and left, and continuing till all are helped. These first plates usually pass twice, for every one endeavors to make his neighbor accept whatever is sent him.
            The gentleman then carves, or causes to be carved by some expert guest, the large piece, in order afterwards to do the other honors himself. If you have no skill in carving meats, do not attempt it; nor should you ever discharge this duty except when your good offices are solicited by him; neither can we refuse anything sent us from his hand.

Conversation at the table. – It would be impolite to monopolize a conversation which ought to be general. If the company is large, we should converse with our neighbors, raising the voice only enough to make ourselves heard.
Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884



Saturday, September 29, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Manner of going to the dinner-table, on special occasions.- The table should be ready, and the mistress of the house in the drawing-room, to receive the guests. When they are all assembled, a domestic announces that the dinner is served up; at this signal we rise immediately, and wait until the gentleman of the house requests us to pass into the dinner-room, whither he conducts us by going before.

            It is quite common for the lady of the house to act as guide, while he offers his hand to the lady of most distinction. The guests also give their arms to ladies, whom they conduct as far as the table, and to the place which they are to occupy. Take care, if you are not the principal guest, not to offer your hand to the handsomest, for it is a great impoliteness.

Proper disposition of guests at the dinner-table.- Having arrived at the table, each guest respectfully salutes the lady whom he conducts, and who, in her turn, bows also.

            It is one of the first and most difficult things properly to arrange the guests, and to place them in such a manner that the conversation may always be general during the entertainment; we should, as much as possible, avoid putting next one another two persons of the same profession, as it would necessarily result in an aside conversation, which would injure the general conversation, and consequently the gaiety of the occasion.

            The two most distinguished gentlemen are placed next the mistress of the house; the two most distinguished ladies next the master of the house; the right hand is especially the place of honor. If the number of gentlemen is nearly equal to that of ladies, we should take care to intermingle them; we should separate husbands from their wives, and remove near relations as far from one another as possible, because, being always together, they ought not to converse among themselves in a general party. The younger guests, or those of less distinction, are placed at the lower end of the table.

            In order to be able to watch the course of the dinner, and to see that nothing is wanting to their guests, the lady and gentleman of the house usually seat themselves in the centre of the table, opposite each other.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Invitations to sing or play.- Never exhibit any anxiety to sing or to play. You may have a fine voice, have a brilliant instrumental execution, but your friends may by possibility neither admire nor appreciate either.

            If you intend to sing, do not affect to refuse when asked, but at once accede. If you are a good singer, your prompt compliance will add to the pleasure of your friends, and to their regard; if you are not, the desire to amuse will have been evinced, and will be appreciated.

Kind of songs and style of singing.- Do not sing songs descriptive of masculine passion or sentiment; there is an abundance of superior songs for both sexes.

            If you are singing second, do not drag on, nor, as it were, tread upon the heels of your prima; if you do not regard your friend’s feelings, have mercy on your own reputation, for nine or ten in every party will think you in the wrong, and those who know you are singing in correct time will believe you ill-natured, or not sufficiently mistress of the song to wait upon your friend.

            If playing an accompaniment to a singer, do not forget that your instrument is intended to aid, not to interrupt; that is, to be subordinate to the song.

            If nature has not given you a voice, do not attempt to sing, unless you have sufficient taste, knowledge, and judgment, to cover its defects by an accompaniment.

            When at concerts, or private parties where music is being performed, never converse, no matter how anxious you may be to do so, or how many persons you may see doing so; and refrain from beating time, humming the airs, applauding, or making ridiculous gestures of admiration.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

 Dancing occasions – in what manner ladies must be treated by gentlemen. We are not obliged to go exactly at the appointed hour; it is even fashionable to go an hour later. Married ladies are accompanied by their husbands, unmarried ones, by their mother or a chaperon. These last ladies place themselves behind the dancers; the gentleman of the house then goes before one and another, procures seats for them, and mingles again among the gentlemen who are standing, and who form groups or walk about the room.

            When you are sure of a place in the dance, you go up to a lady, and ask her if she will do you the honor to dance with you. If she answers that she is engaged, invite her for the next dance, but take care not to address yourself afterwards to any ladies next to her, for these, not being able to refuse you, would feel hurt at being invited after another.

            A lady cannot refuse the invitation of a gentleman to dance, unless she has already accepted that of another, for she would be guilty of an incivility which might occasion trouble; she would moreover seem to show contempt for him whom she refused, and would expose herself to receive an ill compliment from him.

            A married or young lady should never leave a party, even to go into an adjoining room, without either her mother or a married lady to accompany her.

            Avoid talking incessantly; it would occasion remarks and have a bad appearance to whisper continually in the ear of our partner.

 Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884


Saturday, September 8, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Management and behavior at parties and other entertainments; who may be invited.- Persons absolutely and generally objectionable will not be invited; but mere personal quarrels cannot be regarded, as one may be on the most friendly terms with two persons, who, from some cause, are at enmity with each other.

            A lady invited to a party may be accompanied by a gentleman who has no invitation, but who is welcomed upon her introduction. This rule, however, does not work both ways, as a gentleman cannot thus introduce a lady.

 Time to go, and manner of entering the room.- The usual time for going to a party in the country is from seven to eight o’clock, in the cities an hour later. The mistress of the house, or the lady giving the party, should remain at the head of the principal apartment until the guests have generally arrived, and then mix with her company, attending to every body’s comfort.

            After leaving the carriage, the gentleman conducts the lady in his charge to the door of the ladies’ dressing-room, while he goes to the gentlemen’s apartment, each to prepare their toilet suitably to entering the reception room. The lady waits at the door of her dressing-room till the gentleman joins her, and they make their entrĂ©e together.

Treatment of the lady of the house.- When a gentleman and lady, or either separately, enter a drawing-room, they should salute all generally, by a respectful inclination of the head, and make their way immediately to the lady of the house, whom they should salute cordially, congratulate her upon her good health and looks, and with a few words additional pass on, in order to make room for the succeeding guests who may wish to address her.
Taking leave.- It is not proper to withdraw abruptly in the midst of a conversation, but to wait until the subject in which you are engaged shall be finished; you then salute only the person with whom you have been talking, and depart without taking leave of any one, not even the gentleman and lady of the house.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Giving Invitations. – When we intend giving an entertainment, we begin by selecting such guests as may enjoy themselves together, or at least tolerate one another. If it is to be composed of gentlemen, there should be no lady present, except the lady of the house. The dinner being determined upon, we give out, two or three days beforehand, verbal or written invitations. During the season of gaiety, it is necessary to do it at least five days in advance, on account of the numerous engagements.

            Invitations to dine should be answered to the lady. Invitations to a ball should be in the lady’s name, and the answer of course sent to her.

Receiving and answering invitations.- When we receive a written invitation we must answer immediately whether we accept or not, although silence may be considered equivalent to an acceptance. If we decline, we should give a plausible and polite reason for not accepting. When the invitation is verbal, we must avoid being urged, for nothing is more weak and disobliging; we ought either to accept or refuse in a frank and friendly manner, offering some reasonable motive for declining, to which we should not again refer.

            It is not allowable to be urged, except when we are requested to dine with some one whom we have only seen at the house of a third person, or when we are invited on a visit, or other similar occasion. In the former case, if we accept, we should first leave a card in order to open the acquaintance. Having once accepted, we cannot break our engagement, unless for a most urgent cause.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Introduction in the street.- Should you, whilst walking with your friend, meet an acquaintance, it is better not to stop to speak, but merely recognize by a bow the one thus met; if you do stop to speak, do not introduce your friend.

            If you meet a gentleman walking with a lady, take off your hat to him, instead of nodding; as this last familiar mode of recognition looks disrespectful towards her.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection
Introduction by letter.- A lady who receives a letter introducing a gentleman, may answer it by a note to the bearer, inviting him to pay a morning or evening visit. You should not remark to a gentleman, “I am very happy to make your acquaintance,” because it should be considered a favor for him to be presented to you, therefore the remark should come rather from him.

There cannot be a more awkward situation for both parties than for one person to be waiting whilst the other is reading a letter, with the endeavor to discover who the stranger may be, or a position in which the bearer looks so foolish, or feels so uncomfortable. Then comes the bow, a cold shake of the hand, with the few civil words of course, and all because you come upon a stranger unawares. Therefore, give him time to read the letter you have been furnished with, by sending it instead of presenting it in person, thus forcing yourself upon him whether he will or no. He will then have time to consider how he may best show his regard for your introducer by his attentions to yourself.

Observe that letters of introduction are never scaled by well-bred people; the seal of the writer is attached to the envelope, requiring only a little wax to close it, at the option of the person to whom it is confided.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection


Mode and manner, use of titles, etc., in personal introductions.-We presume there can be no better authority on this and kindred points, than that accomplished lady and authoress, Miss Leslie, whose directions are – in introducing a gentleman to a lady, address her first, as for instance – “Miss Smith, permit me to make you acquainted with Mr. Jones” – or, “Mrs. Furley, allow me to present Mr. Wilson” – that is, you must introduce the gentleman to the lady, rather than the lady to the gentleman. Also, if one lady is married and the other single, present the single lady to the matron, - “Miss Thomson, let me introduce you to Mrs. Williams.” It is in good taste to mention the name of the town or city to which either may belong, as “Mrs. Stephens, of Boston” – “Mr. Warren, of New Orleans.”

In introducing a foreigner, it is proper to present him as “Mr. Howard, from England” – Mr. Dupont, from France.” If you know of what European city he is a resident, it is better still to say that he is “from London” – “from Paris.”

Likewise, in traducing one of your own countrymen, recently returned from a distant part of the world, make him known as “Mr. Davis, just from China” – “Mr. Edwards, lately from Spain” – or “Mr. Gordon, recently from South America.”

These slight specifications are easily made; and they afford, at once, an opening for conversation between the two strangers, as it will be perfectly natural to ask “the late arrived,” something about the country he has last visited, or at least about his voyage.

When presenting a member of Congress, mention the State to which he belongs, as “Mr. Hunter, of Virginia” – “Mr. Chase, of Ohio,” etc. Recollect that both senators and gentlemen of the House of Representatives are members of Congress – Congress including the two legislative bodies. In introducing a governor, designate the State he governs – as, “Governor Penington, of New Jersey.” For the chief magistrate of the republic, say simply “The President.”

In introducing members of your own family, always mention, audibly, the name. It is not sufficient to say “my father,” or “my mother” – “my son” – “my daughter” – “my brother” – or “my sister.” There may be more than one surname in the same family. But say, “my father, Mr. Warton” – “my daughter, Miss Wood” – or “my daughter-in-law, Mrs. Wood” – “my sister, Miss Mary Ramsay” – “my brother, Mr. James Ramsay,” etc. It is best in all these things to be explicit. The eldest daughter is usually introduced by her surname only – as “Miss Bradford” – her younger sisters, as “Miss Maria Bradford” – “Miss Harriet Bradford.”

In presenting a clergyman put the word “Reverend” before his name – unless he is a bishop, and then, of course, the word bishop suffices. The head of a college-department introduce as “Professor,” and it is to them only that the title properly belongs, through arrogated by all sorts of public exhibitors, mesmerists and jugglers included.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection


Receiving visitors.-When we see persons enter, whether announced or not, we rise immediately, advance towards them, request them to sit down, avoiding however the old form of, “Take the trouble to be seated.” If it is a young man, we offer him an arm-chair, or a stuffed one; if an elderly man, we insist upon his accepting the arm-chair; if a lady, we beg her to be seated upon the ottoman.

            If the gentleman of the house receive the visitors he will take a chair and place himself at a little distance from them; if, on the contrary, it is the lady of the house, and she is intimate with the lady who visits her, she will place herself near her. If several ladies come at a time, we give this last place to the one most distinguished by rank.

            In winter, the most honorable places are those at the corner of the fireplace; in proportion as they place you in front of the fire, your seat is considered inferior in rank. Moreover, when it happens to be a respectable married lady, and one to whom we wish to do honor, we take her by the hand and conduct her to the corner of the fireplace. If this place is occupied by a young lady, she should rise and offer her seat to the married lady, taking for herself a chair in the middle of the circle.

            If a lady who receives a half ceremonious visit is sewing, she ought to leave off immediately, and not resume it except at the request of the visitor. If they are on quite intimate terms, she ought herself to request permission to continue. If a person visits in an entirely ceremonious way, it would be very impolite to work even an instant. Moreover, even with friends, we should hardly be occupied with our work, but should seem to forget it on their account.

 Propriety of movement and general demeanor in company.-To look steadily at any one, especially if you are a lady and are speaking to a gentleman;; to turn the head frequently on one side and the other during conversation; to balance yourself upon your chair; to bend forward; to strike your hands upon your knees; to hold one of your knees between your hands locked together; to cross your legs; to extend your feet on the andirons; to admire yourself with complacency in a glass; to adjust, in an affected manner, your cravat, hair, dress, or handkerchief; to remain without gloves; to fold carefully your shawl, instead of throwing it with graceful negligence upon a table; to fret about a hat which you have just left off; to laugh immoderately; to place your hand upon the person with whom you are conversing; to take him by the buttons, the collar of his cloak, the cuffs, the waist, etc.; to seize any person by the waist or arm, or to touch their person; to roll the eyes or to raise them with affectation; to take snuff from the box of your neighbor, or to offer it to strangers, especially to ladies; to play continually with your chain or fan; to beat time with the feet and hands; to whirl round a chair with your hand; to shake with your feet the chair of your neighbor; to rub your face or your hands; wink your eyes; shrug up your shoulders; stamp with you feet; etc. – all these bad habits, of which we cannot speak to people, are in the highest degree displeasing.

            In a circle, we should not pass before a lady, neither should we present anything by extending the arm over her, but pass round behind and present it. In case we cannot do it, we say, I ask your pardon, etc. To a question, which we do not fully comprehend, we never answer, Ha! What? But, Be so good as, etc. Pardon me, I did not understand.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford,
            Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Length of calls.- If the person you call upon is preparing to go out, or to sit down at table, you ought, although she asks you to remain, to retire as soon as possible. The person visited so unseasonably, should, on her part, be careful to conceal her knowledge that the other wishes the visit ended quickly. We should always appear pleased to see a visitor and should she make a short visit, we must express to her our regret. Ceremonious visits should never be protracted.

            When you make a half ceremonious call, and the person you are visiting insists upon your stopping, it is proper to do so; but after a few minutes you should rise to go; if you are urged still further, and are taken by the hands and made to sit down as it were by force, to leave immediately would be impolite, but nevertheless you must, after a short interval, get up a third time, and then certainly retire. 

            If, during your call, a member of the family enters the room, you need not on this account take leave, but should cordially salute them. If the person entering be a lady or elderly person you may rise, but if a gentleman, it is more proper to keep seated.

 Coming in contact with other visitors.- If other visitors are announced, you should adroitly leave them without saying anything. In case the gentleman of the house urges you to remain longer, you should briefly reply to him that an indispensable engagement calls you, and you must entreat him with earnestness not to detain you. You should terminate your visit by briskly shutting the door.

            If, on entering the room, you find strangers engaged in conversation, content yourself with the few words which the master or mistress of the house shall address to you; stop only a few moments, make a general salutation, and conduct yourself as in the proceeding case.

 The staircase, taking the arm, etc.-In going up the staircase, it is rigorously the custom to give precedence to those to whom you owe respect, and to yield to such persons the most convenient part of the stairs, which is that next the wall. Above all do not forget this last caution if you accompany a lady; and a well-bred gentleman, at such a time, should offer his arm. When there are many ladies, he should bestow this mark of respect on the oldest. If you meet any one on the staircase, place yourself on the side opposite to the one he occupies.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Part I - Fashionable Balls, Visiting, Card Etiquette, etc.

Kind of cards, and manner of carrying them.- After making the toilet with care, persons intending to make ceremonious calls, should provide themselves with cards, upon which their name is printed or well written. Gentlemen ought simply to put their cards into their pocket, but ladies may carry them in a small elegant portfolio, called a card-case. This they can hold in their hand, and it will contribute essentially (with an elegant handkerchief of embroidered cambric), to give them an air of good taste.

            A lady’s visiting card should be of small size, glazed, but not gilt. It should be engraved in script characters, small and neat, not in German text or old English. Never have your cards printed; a written card, though passable, is not perfectly au fait. If you write them, never first draw a line across the card to guide you; it betokens ill-breeding.

 Under what circumstances cards are to be left, and how many.- If the call is made in a carriage, the servant will ask if the lady you wish to see is at home. If persons call in a hired carriage, or on foot, they go themselves to ask the servants. Servants are considered as soldiers on duty; if they reply that the person has gone out, we should, by no means, urge the point, even if we were certain it was not the case; and if by chance we should see the person, we should appear not to have done so, but leave our card and retire. When the servant informs us that the lady or gentleman is unwell, engaged in business, or dining, we must act in a similar manner.

            We should leave as many cards as there are persons we wish to see in the house; for example-one for the husband, one for his wife, another for the aunt, etc. When admitted, we should lay aside our overshoes, umbrella, etc., in the entry, so as not to encumber the parlor with them.

 Preliminary attentions to visitors.- Instructions should be carefully given to servants respecting their conduct towards persons who call to inquire for you. See that they always do it in a civil and polite manner; let them lose no time, if there is occasion, in relieving your visitors of their overshoes, umbrellas, cloaks, etc.; let them go before, to save your visitors the trouble of opening and shutting the door.

            When persons call, let the servant respectfully inform himself of their names, so that he may announce them to you at the time when he opens the door of the reception-room or parlor. If you are not there, the servant should offer them seats, requesting the guests to wait a moment, while he goes to call you.

            When visitors take leave, domestics should manifest promptness in opening the door for them; they should hold the door by the handle, while you converse with your guests, and also assist them in readjusting their clothing.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection


Gait and carriage.- A lady ought to adopt a modest and measured gait; too great a hurry injures the grace which ought to characterize her. She should not turn her head on one side and on the other, especially in large towns or cities, where this bad habit seems to be an invitation to the impertinent. A lady should not present herself alone in a library, or a museum, unless she goes there to study, or work as an artist.

 Gentlemen’s attendance.- After twilight, a young lady would not be conducting herself in a becoming manner, by walking alone; and if she passes the evening with any one, she ought, beforehand, to provide some one to come for her at a stated hour; but if this is not practicable, she should politely ask of the person whom she is visiting, to permit a servant to accompany her. But, however much this may be considered proper, and consequently an obligation, a married lady, well educated, will disregard it if circumstances prevent her being able, without trouble, to find a conductor.

            If the host wishes to accompany you himself, you must excuse yourself politely for giving him so much trouble, but finish, however, by accepting. On arriving at your house, you should offer him your thanks. In order to avoid these two inconveniences, it will be well to request your husband, or some one of your relatives, to come and wait upon you; you will, in this way, avoid all inconveniences, and be entirely free from that harsh criticism which is sometimes indulged in, especially in small towns, concerning even the most innocent acts.

 Attentions to others.- When you are passing in the street, and see coming towards you a person of your acquaintance, whether a lady or an elderly person, you should offer them the wall, that is to say, the side next to the houses. If a carriage should happen to stop, in such a manner as to leave only a narrow passage between it and the houses, beware of elbowing and rudely crowding the passengers, with a view to get by more expeditiously; wait your turn, and if any one of the persons before mentioned comes up, you should edge up to the wall, in order to give them the place. They also, as they pass, should bow politely to you.

            If stormy weather has made it necessary to lay a plank across the gutters, which have become suddenly filled with water, it is not proper to crowd before another, in order to pass over the frail bridge

            Further – a young man of good breeding should promptly offer his hand to ladies even if they are not acquaintances, when they pass such a place.

            If, while walking up and down a public promenade, you should meet friends or acquaintances whom you do not intend to join, it is only necessary to salute them the first time of passing; to bow, or to nod to them every round would be tiresome, and, therefore, improper; do not think they will consider you odd or unfriendly, as, if they have any sense at all, they will appreciate your reasons. If you have anything to say to them, join them at once.

 Taking leave.- When walking together, it is proper that the more elderly or more important of the two, should take leave first. A gentleman should never leave a lady till she takes leave of him; nor should a young lady leave a married lady, without making some excuse.

            It is quite improper to enter into a long conversation, especially with your superiors, in the street. Take your leave at an early period, or, if you have anything urgent to say, ask permission to accompany them.
Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

Part 2 – General Principles Lying at the Foundation of Good Breeding and Lady-like Conduct.

The folly of affectation.- More particularly, young ladies should guard themselves against affectation. This is very easily acquired, and is so common a fault that the absence of it is always remarked as a great excellence. Some persons of many amiable qualities, and considerable intelligence, have been absolutely spoiled for society by attempting to assume in their manners what did not belong to them. Wherever anything of this kind exists, it requires but little sagacity to detect it; and even those who are not exactly sensible where the evil lies, are still aware that there is something which needs to be corrected.
            It happens, however, too frequently, that what is quite palpable to everybody else, escapes the observation of the individual who is the subject of it; and the cases are frequent, in which the kindest intimation of the fact, from a friend, has been met with expressions of resentment. You should have not only your eyes open, to inspect narrowly your own conduct on this point, but your ears also open to any admonition, that you may detect the fault if it really exists.

     Affectation is justly regarded as consummate folly; and unless it happens to be associated with an unusual cluster of real excellences, it brings upon the individual little less than absolute contempt. Let your manners be as much improved as they may, but regard it as essential that they should be your own.

 Diffidence preferable to ostentation.- Beware, also, of an ostentatious manner. By this is meant that kind of manner which savors too much of display; which indicates a disposition to make yourself too conspicuous; and which, in short, is the acting out of a spirit of self-confidence and self-conceit. This appears badly enough when discovered in one of the opposite sex; but when seen in a young lady, it is quite intolerable.
            Liability to embarrassment from every slight change of circumstances, and an awkward bashfulness, are not to be commended; but between these and an ostentatious manner, there is a happy medium, consisting of a due mixture of confidence and modesty, which will be equally pleasant to yourself and those with whom you associate.
            If, however, either of these extremes must be followed, it will be found that diffidence will be more readily pardoned than ostentation. It would be preferable to excite by your bashfulness a feeling of compassion, than, by your excessive confidence, a feeling of disgust.

 Undue reserve causes anger or distrust.- While ostentation is to be avoided, it is well to be on your guard against a studied reserve. We sometimes meet with persons whose manners leave upon our mind the painful impression that they are afraid to trust us, and that they regard both our actions and words with suspicion.
            Wherever this trait appears, it is almost certain to excite anger or disgust. Most persons will bear anything with more patience than to be told, either directly or indirectly, that they are unworthy of confidence. A significant smile, or nod, or look, with a third person which is intended not to be understood by the individual with whom you are conversing, is a gross violation of propriety, and has often cost a deeply-wounded sensibility, and sometimes a valued friendship.
            While you studiously avoid everything of this kind, let your manners be characterized by a noble frankness, which, in whatever circumstances you are placed, shall leave no doubt of your sincerity.

 Pride and overbearance always odious.- Avoid every approach to a haughty and overbearing manner. It is exhibition of pride, which is one of the most hateful of all dispositions; and of pride in one of its most odious forms. If you should be so unhappy as to form an example of it, whatever variety of feeling it might excite among your associates, you may rely on it, they would all agree to despise you. As you value your character and usefulness, be always courteous and affable.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Diane's Antique Book Collection

PART 1 – General Principles Lying at the Foundation of Good Breeding and Lady-like Conduct

 Amiability and self-command.- Where the manners indicate amiable, moral qualities and a gentle and benignant spirit, this will go far to atone for any lesser imperfections by which they may be marked. Nevertheless, it is not only desirable that you should appear amiable, but unconstrained; that you should feel at ease yourself, and be able to put others at ease around you.
            You will be placed, almost of course, in a variety of situations. It is important that you should have that habitual self-command that will enable you readily to accommodate yourself to the peculiarities of each; and, at least, to conceal from those around you the secret that you are not perfectly at home. Possibly this is not essential to your passing in good society, but it certainly is essential to the perfection of good manners.

 Good society a means of improvement.- It is of great importance, in the formation of good manners, that a young lady should be accustomed to mingle in good society. It is not necessary that you should select all your associates from the more elevated walks of life, for this would be likely to unfit you for mingling with ease and advantage among the less refined; but so much intercourse with cultivated persons as will permit you to feel perfectly at home is very desirable, and will enable you to combine in your manners both elegance and refinement.
            It is a rare instance indeed, that a young female, who is habitually accustomed to society of a rude or groveling character, ever becomes dignified or graceful in her own manners; and on the other hand, where her intimate associates are persons of intelligence and refinement, it is almost a matter of course that she becomes conformed, in a good degree, to the models with which she is conversant.

 Servile imitation to be avoided.- The privilege of good society, in the formation of manners, should be highly esteemed, but care should be taken to guard against servile imitation. You may have a friend, whose manners seem to you to combine every quality that is necessary to render them a perfect model; who unites elegant simplicity with generous frankness, and dignified address with winning condescension; who, in short, is everything, in this respect, that you could wish to be yourself; but, after all, it would be unwise in you to become a servile copyist even of such manners. For you are to remember that a certain cast of manners suits a certain cast of character; and, unless your character were precisely that of the individual whom you would imitate, you would, in attempting to assume her address, deservedly expose yourself to the charge of affectation.
            You will, therefore, do yourself much better service by looking at good models in a general manner, and by endeavoring to become imbued with their spirit, than by making any direct efforts to become exactly conformed to them. Indeed, it may be doubted whether you will not reap every possible advantage by simply mingling in their society, without ever thinking of them as models.

Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884