Diane Kalas, Inspirational Historical Romance Author

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 (KJV)





Saturday, April 28, 2012

19th Century Courtship and Marriage - Part 5

From Diane’s Antique Book Collection

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . . 19th Century COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE 

Part 5 - Final Installment

Congratulations after the Ceremony. If it is an evening wedding, at home immediately after “these twain are made one,” the are congratulated: first by the relatives, then by the friends, receiving the good wishes of all; after which, they are at liberty to leave their formal position, and mingle with the company. The dresses, supper, etc., are usually more festive and gay than for a morning wedding and reception, where the friends stop for a few moments only, to congratulate the newly-married pair, taste the cake and wine and hurry away.

Ceremony in Church. When the ceremony is performed in church, the bride enters at the left, with her father, mother, and bridesmaids; or, at all events, with a bridesmaid. The groom enters at the right, followed by his attendants. The parents stand behind, the attendants at either side.

            The bride should be certain that her glove is readily removable; the groom, that the ring is where he can find it, to avoid delay and embarrassment.


Leaving the Church. When they leave the church, the newly-married couple walk arm-in-arm. They have usually a reception of a couple of hours at home, for their intimate friends, then a breakfast, then leave upon the “bridal tour.”

Marriage-fees.  A rich man may give to the officiating clergyman any sum from five dollars to five hundred, according as his liberality dictates. A person of moderate means may give from five dollars to twenty.

Let Joy be Unconfined. On such festive occasions, all appear in their best attire, and assume their best manners. Peculiarities that pertain to past days, or have been unwarily adopted, should be guarded against; mysteries concerning knives, forks, and plates, or throwing “an old shoe” after the bride, are highly reprehensible, and have long been exploded. Such practices may seem immaterial, but they are not so. Stranger guests often meet at a wedding breakfast; and the good breeding of the family may be somewhat compromised by neglect in small things.

The Wedding Breakfast. If the lady appears at breakfast, which is certainly desirable, she occupies, with her husband, the center of the table, and sits by his side – her father and mother taking the top and bottom, and showing all honor to their guests. When the cake has been cut, and every one is helped – when, too, the health of the bride and bridegroom has been drunk, and every compliment and kind wish has been duly proffered and acknowledged – the bride, attended by her friends, withdraws; and when ready for her departure the newly-married couple start off on their wedding journey, generally about two or three o’clock, and the rest of the company shortly afterward take their leave.

Sending Cards. In some circles it is customary to send cards almost immediately to friends and relations, mentioning at what time and hour the newly-married couple expect to be called upon. Some little inconvenience occasionally attends this custom, as young people may wish to extend their wedding tour beyond the time first mentioned, or, if they go abroad, delays may unavoidably occur. It is therefore better to postpone sending cards, for a short time at least.

Wedding Cards. Fashions change continually with regard to wedding cards. A few years since they were highly ornamented, and fantastically tied together; now silver-edged cards are fashionable; but, unquestionably, the plainer and more unostentatious a wedding card, the more becoming and appropriate it will be.

            No one to whom a wedding card has not been sent ought to call upon a newly-married couple.

Calling on a Newly-Married Couple. When the days named for seeing company arrive, remember to be punctual. Call, if possible, the first day, but neither before nor after the appointed hour. Wedding-cake and wine are handed round, of which every one partakes, and each expresses some kindly wish for the happiness of the newly-married couple.

A Joyous Period. Taking possession of their home by young people is always a joyous period. The depressing influence of a wedding breakfast, where often the hearts of many are sad, is not felt, and every one looks forward to years of prosperity and happiness.

Professional Call while Receiving Calls. If the gentleman is in a profession, and it happens that he cannot await the arrival of such as call according to invitation on the wedding-card, an apology must be made, and if possible, an old friend of the family should represent him. A bride must on no account receive her visitors without a mother, or sister, or some friend being present, not even if her husband is at home. This is imperative. To do otherwise is to disregard the usages of society.

Returning Wedding Visits. Wedding visits must be returned during the course of a few days, and parties are generally made for the newly-married couple, which they are expected to return. This does not, however, necessarily entail much visiting; neither is it expected from young people, whose resources may be somewhat limited, or when the husband has to make his way in the world.


Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893

Saturday, April 21, 2012

19th Century COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE - Part 4

From Diane’s Antique Book Collection

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . . 19th Century COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE – Part 4

The Relations of an Engaged Couple. Neither should assume a masterful or jealous attitude toward the other. They are neither of them to be shut up away from the rest of the world, but must mingle in society after marriage nearly the same as before, and take the same delight in friendship. The fact that they have confessed their love to each other ought to be deemed a sufficient guarantee of faithfulness; for the rest let there be trust and confidence.

 Demonstrations of Affection. It may be well to hint that a lady should not be too demonstrative of her affection during the days of her engagement. There is always the chance of a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip; and overt demonstrations of love are not pleasant to remember by a young lady if the man to whom they are given by any chance fails to become her husband.

            An honorable man will never tempt his future bride to any such demonstration. He will always maintain a respectful and decorous demeanor toward her.


Keeping Late Hours. Very few young men comprehend the real pain and inconvenience they occasion to the lady of their choice when they keep her up to untoward hours, and subject her, in consequence, to the ridicule and censure of others.

            It is not inappropriate to sometimes leave an engaged couple by themselves, but that they should always be so left, under all circumstances and no matter at what inconvenience to others, is as absurd as it is indelicate.

 A Domineering Lover. No lover will assume a domineering attitude over his future wife. If he does so, she will do well to escape from his thrall before she becomes his wife in reality. A domineering lover will be certain to be still more domineering as a husband; and from all such the prayer of wise women is, “Good Lord, deliver us!”

 Breaking an Engagement. “Sometimes it is necessary to break off an engagement. Many circumstances will justify this. Indeed, anything which may occur or be discovered which shall promise to render the marriage an unsuitable or unhappy one is and should be accepted as justification for such a rupture. Still breaking an engagement is always a serious and distressing thing, and ought not to be contemplated without absolute and just reasons.

            Whichever is the acting party in the matter must necessarily feel his or her position one of great delicacy and embarrassment. The step must be taken firmly yet gently, and everything done to soften the blow to the other party.

Breaking an Engagement by Letter. Such a letter should be acknowledged in a dignified manner, and no efforts should be made or measures be taken to change the decision of the writer unless it is manifest that he or she is greatly mistaken in his or her premises. A similar return of letters, portraits and gifts should be made.”

 The Marriage Ceremony. The marriage ceremony varies with the fortunes and wishes of those interested.

            In regard to the form of the rite, no specific directions are necessary; for those who are to be married by ministers, will study the form of their particular church – the Methodists their “Book of Discipline,” the Episcopalians their “Book of Common Prayer,” the Catholics their Ritual, etc., etc. In most cases a rehearsal of the ceremony is made in private, that the pair may the more perfectly understand the necessary forms. If the parties are to be wedded by a magistrate, the ceremony is almost nominal – it is a mere repetition of a vow. The Catholic and Episcopal forms have the most ceremony, and doubtless are the most impressive, though no more effectually marrying than the simplest form.

 General Rules. There are, however, some generally received rules which govern this momentous and interesting occasion, and to these we refer all interested.

            When the wedding is not strictly in private, it is customary for bridesmaids and groomsmen to be chosen to assist in the duties of the occasion.

            The bridesmaids should be younger than the bride, their dresses should be conformed to hers; they should not be any more expensive, though they are permitted more ornament. They are generally chosen of light, graceful material; flowers are the principal decoration.

            The bride’s dress is marked by simplicity. But few jewels or ornaments should be worn, and those should be the gift of the bridegroom or parents. A veil and garland are the distinguishing features of the dress.

            The bridesmaids assist in dressing the bride, receiving the company, etc.; and, at the time of the ceremony, stand at her left side, the first bridesmaid holding the bouquet and gloves.

            The groomsmen receive the clergyman, present him to the couple to be married, and support the bridegroom upon the right, during the ceremony.


Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893

Sunday, April 15, 2012

19th Century Funerals - Final - Part 3

From Diane’s Antique Book Collection

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . . Funerals – Part 3

 Receiving Guests at a Funeral. If the services are held at the house, some near friend or relative will receive the guests. The ladies of the family do not show themselves at all. The gentleman may do as they please.

Proceeding to the Cemetery. The procession moves from the door just one hour after the time set for the funeral. In England the male friends only, follow the corpse to its final resting place. In this country it is proper for the female friends and relatives to do so if they desire it, as they generally do.

            The carriage occupied by the clergyman precedes the hearse. The carriage immediately following the hearse is occupied by the nearest relatives, the following carriages by the more remote relations.

            While the mourners pass out to enter the carriages the guests stand with uncovered heads. No salutations are given or received. The person who has been selected to officiate as superintendent of ceremonies assists the mourners to enter and alight from the carriages.

            Sometimes the private carriage of the deceased is placed in the procession, empty, immediately behind the hearse.

            The horse of a deceased mounted officer, fully equipped and draped in mourning, may be led immediately after the hearse.

            In towns and villages where the cemetery is near at hand it is customary for all to proceed to it on foot. The hat must be removed when the coffin is carried from the hearse to the church or back, when the guests may form a double line, between which it passes.

            At the cemetery the clergyman or priest walks in advance of the coffin.

Flowers at a Funeral. It is the custom to deck the corpse and coffin with flowers, but it is somewhat expensive. Upon the coffin of an infant or a young person a wreath of flowers should be placed, upon that of a married person, a cross. These flowers should always be white. Friends sending flowers should send them in time to be used for decorative purposes.

Other Decorations Upon the Coffin. If the deceased be a person of rank he generally bears some insignia of his rank upon his coffin-lid. Thus, a deceased army or naval officer will have his coffin covered with the national flag, and his hat, epaulettes, sword and sash laid upon the lid.

After the Funeral. Guests should not return to the house of mourning after the funeral. “In some sections it is customary to conclude the ceremonies of the day with a dinner or banquet, but this is grossly out of place and not to be tolerated by any one of common sense and refinement. If friends have come from a distance, it may sometimes be a matter of necessity to extend a brief hospitality to them; but if the guests can avoid this necessity, they should do so. This hospitality should be of the quietest sort, and in no manner become an entertainment.

            It is the cruelest blow which can be given bereaved friends to fill the house with strangers or indifferent acquaintances and the sound of feasting at a time when they desire of all things to be left alone with their sorrow.”

Notification of Death. An English custom, which is beginning to be adopted in America, is to send cards deeply edged in black to relatives and friends upon which are printed or engraved the name of the deceased, with his age and date of his death. These cards must be immediately acknowledged by letters of condolence and offers of assistance, but on no account by personal visits within a short time after the funeral.

Obligation to Attend a Funeral. Every one except those who are themselves in deep affliction are under obligation to attend a funeral to which they have been invited.

Seclusion of the Bereaved Family. No one of the immediate family of the deceased should leave the house between the time of the death and the funeral. A lady friend should make all necessary purchases and engage seamstresses, etc.


Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893

Saturday, April 14, 2012

19th Century Courtship and Marriage - Part 3

From Diane’s Antique Book Collection

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . . 19th Century COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE – Part 3

Encouraging the Address of a Gentleman. If you encourage the addresses of a deserving man, behave honorably and sensibly. Do not lead him about as if in triumph; nor take advantage of the ascendency which you have gained by playing with his feelings. Do not seek for occasions to tease him, that you may try his temper; neither affect indifference; nor provoke lovers’ quarrels, for the foolish pleasure of reconciliation. On your conduct during courtship will very much depend the estimation in which you will be held by your husband in after life.

 Proposal of Marriage. The mode in which the avowal of love should be made, must of course, depend upon circumstances. It would be impossible to indicate the style in which the matter should be told. The heart and the head – the best and truest partners – suggest the most proper fashion. Station, power, talent, wealth, complexion; all have much to do with the matter; they must all be taken into consideration in a formal request for a lady’s hand. If the communication be made by letter, the utmost care should be taken that the proposal be clearly, simply, and honestly stated. Every allusion to the lady should be made with marked respect. Let it, however, be taken as a rule that an interview is best, but let it be remembered that all rules have exceptions.


Forms for Proposals. As to the exact words there is no set formula, unless we accept those laid down in Dickens’ novel of David Copperfield – “Barkis is willin.”

Trollope says on this subject: “We are inclined to think that these matters are not always discussed by mortal lovers in the poetically passionate phraseology which is generally thought to be appropriate for this description. A man cannot well describe that which he has never seen or heard, but the absolute words and acts of one such scene did once come to the author’s knowledge. The couple were by no means plebeian or below the proper standard of high bearing and high breeding; they were a handsome pair, living among educated people, sufficiently given to mental pursuits, and in every way what a pair of polite lovers ought to be. The all-important conversation passed in this wise. The site of the passionate scene was the sea-shore, on which they were walking, in autumn:

            Gentleman.-‘Well, miss, the long and the short of it is this: here I am; you can take me or leave me.’
             
            “Lady (scratching a gutter on the sand with her parasol, so as to allow a little salt water to run out of one hole into another). – ‘Of course I know that’s all nonsense.’

            Gentleman. ‘Nonsense! By Jove, it isn’t nonsense at all! Come, Jane, here I am; come, at any rate you can say something.’

            Lady. –‘Yes, I suppose I can say something.’

            Gentleman.-‘Well, which is it to be – take me or leave me?’

            Lady (very slowly, and with a voice perhaps hardly articulate, carrying on, at the same time, her engineering works on a wider scale).- ‘Well, I don’t exactly want to leave you.’

            “And so the matter was settled – settled with much propriety and satisfaction; and both the lady and gentleman would have thought, had they ever thought about the matter at all, that this, the sweetest moment of their lives, had been graced by all the poetry by which such moments ought to be hallowed.”

Proposal Accepted. Supposing the gentleman to be accepted by the lady of his heart, he is, of course, recognized henceforth as one of the family.

            The family of the engaged lady should endeavor to make the suitor feel that he is at home, however protracted his visits may be.

Protracted Engagements. But protracted courtship, or engagements, are if possible, to be avoided; they are universally embarrassing. Lovers are so apt to find out imperfections in each other-to grow exacting, jealous, and morose.

            “Alas! How slight a cause can move
            Dissension between hearts that love.”

 “Asking Papa.” When a gentleman is accepted by the lady of his choice, the next thing in order is to go at once to her parents for their approval. In presenting his suit to them he should remember that it is not from the sentimental but the practical side that they will regard the affair. Therefore, after describing the state of his affections in as calm a manner as possible, and perhaps hinting that their daughter is not indifferent to him, let him at once frankly, without waiting to be questioned, give an account of his pecuniary resources and his general prospects in life, in order that the parents may judge whether he can properly provide for a wife and possible family. A pertinent anecdote was recently going the rounds of the newspapers. A father asked a young man who had applied to him for his daughter’s hand how much property he had. “None,” he replied, but he was “chock full of days’ work.” The anecdote concluded by saying that he got the girl. And we believe all sensible fathers would sooner bestow their daughters upon industrious, energetic young men who are not afraid of days’ work than upon idle loungers with a fortune at their command.

An Engagement Ring. After the engagement is made between the couple and ratified by the parents, it is customary in polite society for the young man to affix the seal of this engagement by some present to his affianced. This present is usually a ring, and among the wealthy it may be of diamonds – a solitaire or cluster – and as expensive as the young man’s means will justify. The ring is not necessarily a diamond one; it may be of other stones or it may be an heirloom in his family, precious more because of its association’s antiquity and quaintness than from its actual money-value.

            All lovers cannot afford to present their lady-loves with diamond rings, but all are able to give them some little token of their regard which will be cherished for their sakes, and which will serve as a memento of a very happy past to the end of life. The engagement ring should be worn upon the ring finger of the right hand.


Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893

Sunday, April 8, 2012

19th Century Funerals - Part 2

FROM DIANE'S ANTIQUE BOOK COLLECTION

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . .

            The hired mutes and heavy trappings of woe which are still in use at funerals in England are entirely abandoned in this country.
            All manner of ostentation should be carefully avoided. Mourning is rejected by many persons of intelligence, who think it a temptation to extravagance, and who regard it, moreover, as requiring too much thought and trouble when the mind is overwhelmed with real grief.

Invitations to a Funeral. On the mournful occasion when death takes place, the most proper course is to announce the deceased in the newspaper. An intimation that friends will kindly accept such notice, appended to the announcement, saves a large amount of painful correspondence.
            Near relations, and those whose presence is desired at the funeral, should be communicated with by letter, upon mourning paper; the depth of the mourning border depending on the age, or position, of the deceased.
            Private invitations are usually printed in forms something like the following:
            “You are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of John Jones on Friday, June 3, 18--, at 11 a.m., from his late residence, 417 Washington Street (or from Grace M. E. Church). To proceed to Gracewood Cemetery.
            These invitations should be delivered by a private messenger.
            Whether other invitations are sent or not, notes must be sent to those who are desired to act as pallbearers.

Charge of Affairs at a Funeral. The arrangements for the funeral are usually left to the undertaker, who best knows how to proceed, and who will save the family of the deceased all the cares and annoyances at the time they are least fitted to meet them.
            Such details as usually do not fall to the undertaker are entrusted to some relative or friend who is acquainted with business. This friend should have an interview with the family or some representative of it, and learn what their wishes may be and receive from them a limit of expenses.

Expense of Funeral. As to this limit, let it be born in mind that it should always be according to the means of the family; that nothing can excuse an extravagance and display at a funeral which must be indulged in at the expense of privation afterward, or perhaps, worse still, at that of the creditors. Pomp and display are at all times out of keeping with the solemn occasion and inconsistent with real grief.



General Rules or Etiquette Concerning Houses of Mourning. No one should call upon a bereaved family while the dead remains in the house, and they are excusable if they refuse to see friends and relatives.
            Upon a death occurring in a house, it is desirable that some outward sign should be given to keep away casual visitors. The usual means of doing this is by tying black crape upon the bell or doorknob, with a black ribbon if the person is married or advanced in years, with a white one if young and unmarried. The custom of different localities designate when this crape should be removed.

Conveyances for a Funeral. For those friends specially invited, carriages should be furnished to take them to the cemetery. A list of invited persons should be given to the undertaker, that he may know the order in which they are to be placed in the carriage.

 Exhibiting the Corpse. If the guests are invited to go from the house to the church, the corpse is usually exposed in the drawing-room, while the family are assembled in another apartment. If the guests go directly to the church, the coffin is placed in front of the chancel, and after the services the lid is removed and friends pass up one aisle, past the coffin, from the feet to the head, and down the other aisle out.

 Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893

Saturday, April 7, 2012

19th Century Courtship and Marriage - Part 2

FROM DIANE'S ANTIQUE BOOK COLLECTION

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . .

Trifling with a Man’s Feelings. Some young ladies pride themselves upon the conquests which they make, and would not scruple to sacrifice the happiness of an estimable person to their reprehensible vanity. Let this be far from you. If you see clearly that you have become an object of especial regard to a gentleman, and do not wish to encourage his addresses, treat him honorably and humanely, as you hope to be used with generosity by the person who may engage your own heart. Do not let him linger in suspense; but take the earliest opportunity of carefully making known your feelings on the subject. This may be done in a variety of ways.

A refined ease of manner will satisfy him, if he has any discernment, that his addresses will not be acceptable. Should your natural disposition render this difficult, show that you wish to avoid his company, and he will presently withdraw; but if even this is difficult – and who can lay down rules for another? – allow an opportunity for explanation to occur. You can then give him a polite and decisive answer; and be assured that, in whatever manner you convey your sentiments to him, if he be a man of delicacy and right feeling, he will trouble you no further. Let it never be said of you, that you permit the attentions of an honorable man when you have no heart to give him; or that you have trifled with the affections of one whom you perhaps esteem, although you resolve never to marry him.


It may be that his preference gratifies and his conversation interests you; that you are flattered by the attentions of a man whom some of your companions admire; and that, in truth, you hardly know your own mind on the subject. This will not excuse you. Every young woman ought to know the state of her own heart; and yet the happiness and future prospects of many an excellent man have been sacrificed by such unprincipled conduct.

A Poor Triumph. It is a poor triumph for a young lady to say, or to feel, that she has refused five, ten, or twenty offers of marriage; it is about the same as acknowledging herself a trifler and coquette, who, from motives of personal vanity, tempts and induces hopes and expectations which she has predetermined shall be disappointed. Such a course is, to a certain degree, both unprincipled and immodest.

A Still Greater Crime. It is a still greater crime when a man conveys the impression that he is in love, by actions, gallantries, looks, attentions, all – except that he never commits himself – and finally withdraws his devotions, exulting in the thought that he has said or written nothing which can legally bind him.

The Rejected Lover. Remember that if a gentleman makes a lady an offer, she has no right to speak of it. If she possesses either generosity or gratitude for offered affection, she will not betray a secret which does not belong to her. It is sufficiently painful to be refused, without incurring the additional mortification of being pointed out as a rejected lover.


Duty of a Rejected Suitor. The duty of the rejected suitor is quite clear. Etiquette demands that he shall accept the lady’s decision as final and retire from the field. He has no right to demand the reason of her refusal. If she assign it, he is bound to respect her secret, if it is one, and to hold it inviolable.

            To persist in urging his suit or to follow up the lady with marked attentions would be in the worst possible taste. The proper course is to withdraw as much as possible from the circles in which she moves, so that she may be spared reminiscences which cannot be other than painful.

 Unmanly Conduct. Rejected suitors sometimes act as if they had received injuries they were bound to avenge, and so take every opportunity of annoying or slighting the helpless victims of their former attentions. Such conduct is cowardly and unmanly, to say nothing of its utter violation of good breeding.

 Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893

Sunday, April 1, 2012

From Diane's Antique Book Collection

A visit to the Etiquette instructor . . . Funerals   

Period of Mourning. On this subject we quote from a modern writer who says:

            “Those who wish to show themselves strict observers of etiquette keep their houses in twilight seclusion and sombre with mourning for a year, or more, allowing the piano to remain closed for the same length of time. But in this close observance of the letter of the law its spirit is lost entirely.

            It is not desirable to enshroud ourselves in gloom after a bereavement, no matter how great it has been. It is our duty to ourselves and to the world to regain our cheerfulness as soon as we may, and all that conduces to this we are religiously bound to accept, whether it be music, the bright light of heaven, cheerful clothing or the society of friends.

            At all events, the moment we begin to chafe against the requirements of etiquette, grow wearied of the darkened room, long for the open piano and look forward impatiently to the time when we may lay aside our mourning, from that moment we are slaves to a law which was originally made to serve us in allowing us to do unquestioned what was supposed to be in true harmony with our gloomy feelings.

            The woman who wears the badge of widowhood for exactly two years to a day, and then puts it off suddenly for ordinary colors, and who possibly has already contracted an engagement for a second marriage during these two years of supposed mourning, confesses to a slavish hypocrisy in making an ostentatious show of a grief which has long since died a natural (and shall we not say a desirable?) death.

            In these respects let us be natural, and let us moreover, remember that, though the death of friends brings us real and heartfelt sorrow, yet it is still a time for rejoicing for their sakes.”

Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893