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, 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