The Qualities of a Lady
A lady should be quiet in her manners, natural
and unassuming in her language, careful to wound no one’s feelings, but giving generously and freely from the treasures of her pure mind to her friends.
Scorning no one openly, she should feel gentle pity for the unfortunate, the inferior and the ignorant,
at the same
time carrying herself with an
innocence and single heartedness which disarms ill nature, and wins respect and love from all.
General Rules for Both Ladies and
In a carriage,
a gentleman takes the seat facing backward. If he is alone in a carriage with a lady, he does not sit next to her unless
he is her hus-band, brother, father, or son. He alights from the carriage first so he may hand her down. He takes
care not to step on her dress.
Meeting a lady in the street or in the park whom you know only slightly, a gentleman waits for her acknowledging bow--then
and only then may he tip his hat to her, which is done using the hand farthest away from her to raise the hat. A gentleman
must not speak to her--or to any other lady--unless she speaks to him first.
A gentleman is always introduced to a lady--never the other way around.
It is presumed to be an honor for the gentleman to meet her. Likewise (and it is the more general rule of which this
is only a specific example), a social inferior is always introduced to a superior--and only with the latter's acquiescence.
In going up a flight of stairs, a gentleman precedes the
lady; in going down, a gentleman follows.
At a public exhibition or
concert, if accompanied by a lady, a gentleman goes in first in order to find the lady a seat. If he enters such an
exhibition alone and there are ladies or older gentlemen present, he removes his hat
a gentleman meets a lady who is a good friend and who signifies that she wishes to speak to him, he must turn and walk with
the lady if he wishes to converse. It is not "done" to make a lady stand talking in a street.
In riding horseback or when walking along the street, the lady always has the wall. This was so when
nightjars/bedpans were thrown from the windows into the street sewers, the mess would land on the gentleman and not the lady
with her pretty dress.
Under no circumstances may a lady call on a gentleman alone unless
she is consulting that gentleman on a professional or business matter.
If unmarried and under thirty, a lady is never to be in the company of a man without
a chaperone. Except for a walk to church or a park in the early morning, she may not walk alone, but should always be
accompanied by another lady, a man, or a servant.
Dining Etiquette for Both Ladies and Gentlemen
It is of primary importance for all guests to arrive punctually,
even ten to fifteen minutes before the appointed time. It is a serious
offense to arrive ten minutes late, keeping the dinner waiting, and no one
should be guilty of doing so.
Sit upright, neither too close nor too far away from the table.
Open and spread upon your lap or breast a napkin. Do not be in haste;
compose yourself, put your mind into a pleasant condition, and resolve to eat slowly.
Keep the hands from the table until your time comes to be served.
It is rude to take knife and fork in hand and commence drumming on the table
while you are waiting. Eccentricity should be avoided as much as possible
at the table.
Never expectorate at the table; also avoid sneezing
It is better
to arise quietly from the table if you have occasion to do either. A sneeze is prevented by placing the finger firmly
on the upper lip.
While waiting to be sereved is the most appropriate time for
you to put into practice your knowledge of small talk and pleasant words
with those whom you are sitting near.
If soup comes first, and you do not desire it, you will simply
say, "No, I thank-you," but make no comment; or you may take it and eat
as little as you choose. The soup should be eaten with a medium-sized spoon,
so slowly and carefully that you will drop none upon your person or the
tablecloth. Making an effort to get the last drop, and all unusual noise when eating, should be avoided.
The gentleman, when a dish is brought, having seen the lady he
escorted provided for, will help himself and pass it on. He will pay
no attention to the other lady near him, but will leave that to her escort.
In all cases he will be careful and attentive to the wants of
the lady in his charge, ascertaining her wishes and issuing her orders to
No polite guest will ever fastidiously smell or examine any article
of food before tasting it. Such conduct would be an insult to those
who have invited him.
Neither will the host or hostess apologize for the cooking.
Etiquette demands that each member of the company remain at least
an hour after the dinner is finished, it being impolite to hurry away immediately.
Never spit out bones, cherry pits, grape skins, etc.,
upon your plate.
Quietly squeeze them from your mouth upon your fork,
then lay them upon the side of your plate.
As consideration of deep and abstruse principles
will impair digestion, never allow the conversation at
the table to drift into anything but chitchat.
Never allow butter, soup, or other food to remain
upon your whiskers.
Never wear gloves at the table, unless--for some
special reason--your hands are unfit to be seen.
Never, when serving others, overload the plate nor
force upon them delicacies which they decline.
Never make a display when removing hair, insects,
or other disagreeable things from your food. Place them quietly under the edge of your plate.
Never open your mouth while chewing.
Never make noises with the mouth or throat.
Never leave the table with food in your mouth.
Never tip back in your chair nor lounge upon the
Never permit yourself to use gestures, nor illustrations
made with a knife or fork upon the tablecloth.
Never hold bones in your fingers while you eat from
Never explain at the table why certain foods do not
agree with you.
Never pick your teeth or put your hand in your mouth
Never wipe your fingers on the tablecloth, nor clean
them in your mouth.
Always use the napkin.
Street Manners for Both Ladies and Gentlemen
The true lady walks the street, wrapped in a mantle
of proper reserve, so impenetrable that insult and coarse familiarity shrink from her, while she, at all times, carries with
her acongenial atmosphere which attracts all, and puts all at their ease.
A lady walks quietly through the streets, seeing
and hearing nothing that she ought not to, recognizing acquaintances with a courteous bow, and friends with words of greeting.
She is always unobtrusive, never talks loudly, or laughs boisterously,
or does anything to attract the attention of the passers-by. She walks along in her own quiet, lady-like way, and by her preoccupation
is secure from any annoyance.
A true lady in the street, as in the parlor is modest, discreet, kind and obliging.
It is proper that the lady should first recognize
the gentleman. A gentleman will never fail to bow in return to a lady; but a lady may not feel at liberty to return a gentleman’s
bow, which places him in a rather unpleasant position. Therefore, a lady should give the first smile or bow. She must refrain,
at all times, from using the gentleman’s Christian name. She should use his formal name of Mister ______ .
While walking the street no one should be so absent-minded
as to neglect to recognize his friends. If you do not stop, you should bow, touch your hat, or bid your friend good day. Lift
your hat from your head with the hand farthest from him.
If you are on such terms that it is necessary to
shake hands, lift your hat with your left hand and then give a hearty shake with your right. If your friend has a stranger
with him and you have anything to say, you should apologize to the stranger.
Never leave your friend abruptly to see another
person without asking to excuse your departure.
If you meet a gentleman of your acquaintance walking
with a lady whom you do not know, lift your hat as you salute them. If you know the lady you should salute her first. Never
fail to raise your hat politely to a lady acquaintance, nor to a male friend who may be walking with a lady -- it is a courtesy
to the lady.
When you meet a lady with whom you are slightly acquainted,
wait until she gives you some mark of recognition; if she fails to do so, pass on. Should she bow, lift your hat and slightly
If you are smoking, remove your cigar with your disengaged
If you meet a lady friend with whom you wish to converse,
you must not stop, but turn and walk along with her and should she be walking with a gentleman, first assure yourself that
you are not intruding before you attempt to join the two in their walk. She too, decides when the conversation is to end.
If, while speaking, she moves onward, you should turn and accompany her. If she makes a slight inclination, as of dismissal,
raise your hat, bow and go your own way.
In walking with a lady, never permit her to encumber
herself with a book, parcel or anything of that kind, but always offer to carry it.
If, when on your way to fulfill an engagement, a
friend stops you on the street, you may, without committing any breach of etiquette, tell him of your appointment, and release
yourself from a long talk, but do so in a courteous manner, expressing regret for the necessity.
If inquiring for goods at a store, do not say, "I
want so and so", but say to the clerk -- "Show me such or such article, if you please." -- or use some other polite form of
address. If you are obliged to examine a number of articles before your are suited, apologize to him for the trouble you give
If you make only small purchases, say to him -- "I
am sorry for having troubled you for so trifling a thing."
If a lady addresses an inquiry to a gentleman on
the street, he will lift his hat, or at least touch it respectfully, as he replies. If he cannot give the information required,
he will express his regrets.
When tripping over the pavement, a lady should gracefully
raise her dress a little about her ankle. With her right hand she should hold together the folds of her gown and draw them
toward the right side. To raise the dress on both sides, and with both hands, is vulgar. This ungraceful practice can be tolerated
only for a moment when the mud is very deep.
A lady never demands attentions and favors form a
gentleman, but always accepts them gratefully and graciously and with expressed thanks.
A gentleman meeting a lady acquaintance on the street,
should not presume to join her in her walk without ascertaining that his company would be entirely agreeable. It might be
otherwise, and she should frankly say so.
A married lady usually leans upon the arm of her
husband; but single ladies do not, in the day, take the arm of a gentleman, unless they are willing to acknowledge an engagement.
However, you should offer your arm to a lady with whom you are walking whenever her safety, comfort, or convenience may seem
to require such attention on your part.
At night your arm should always be offered to a lady,
and also when ascending the steps of a public building. If a lady with whom you are walking receives the salute of a person
who is a stranger to you, you should return it, not for yourself, but for her.
When two gentlemen are walking with a lady in the
street, they should not be both upon the same side of her, but one of them should walk upon the outside and one upon the inside.
A lady should never take the arms of two men, one
being on either side, nor should a man carry a woman upon each arm. There are, to be sure, some cases in which it is necessary
for the protection of women; that they should both take her arm, as in coming home from a concert, or in passing, on any occasion,
through a crowd.
If when passing through a crowd you are compelled
to proceed singly, the gentleman should always precede his lady companion.
When you salute a lady or a gentleman to whom you
wish to show particular respect, in the street, you should take your hat entirely off and cause it to describe a circle of
a lease ninety degrees from its original resting place.
A man to a woman - introduce the lady first -" Mrs.____
or Miss ____ , permit me to present you to Mr. ____."
When one lady is married, and the other single, present the single
lady to the matron "Miss _____, allow me to introduce you to Mrs. _______."
Always introduce a person with their title if they
When introducing any of the members of your own family, mention the name in an audible tone. It is not considered
sufficient to say ‘My father,' ‘My mother,' ‘My sister,' or ‘My brother.' But say, ‘My father,
Mr. Stanley,' ....
It is best to be explicit in all these things, for
there may be more than one surname in the family. The eldest daughter should be introduced by her surname only, as ‘Miss
Sherwood,' while her younger sisters, as ‘Miss Maud Sherwood,' ‘Miss Mary Sherwood.",
It is neither necessary nor desirable to introduce
all your acquaintances to one another. If a gentleman is walking with a friend and meets another -- the same rule applies
to ladies -- it is not necessary to introduce them to each other.
Two gentlemen calling upon another on a matter of
business introduce each other. Introductions do not involve the necessity of shaking hands. No gentleman should offer to shake
hands with a lady; if she desires to do so, she can readily express it.
A loud voice is both disagreeable and vulgar. Remember
that all "slang" is vulgar.
Do not smoke in the presence of ladies, and never
stand with your back to the fire, nor put your feet on the rungs of a chair, nor loll back on sofas, nor yawn, nor read aloud
without being asked to do so, nor put your elbows on a table, nor drum tunes with your fingers, nor indulge in any of those
minor vulgarities which may render you disagreeable to others.
In walking with a lady, it is customary to give her
the right arm; but when circumstances render it more convenient to give her the left, it may be properly done (i.e. The gentleman
always walks on the street side of the sidewalk).
Gentlemen offer your arm for her safety, comfort
Rules of Paying Calls (Visits)
Visits of ceremony should be short. If even
the conversation should have become animated, beware of letting your call exceed half-an-hour's length. Take your leave when
the conversation begins to lag.
Should there be daughters or sisters residing with
the lady upon whom you call, you may turn down a corner of your card to signify that the visit is paid to all. It is
better taste, however, to leave cards for each.
Never take a favorite dog into a drawing-room when
you make a morning call. Their feet may be dusty, or they may bark at the sight of strangers, or, being of a too friendly
disposition, may take the liberty of
lying on a lady's gown, or jumping on the sofas and
Rules for Traveling by Boat or Rail
Ladies will not permit their escorts to enter any
apartment reserved for
Ladies traveling alone should consult conductors
or captains. Ladies
will thank gentlemen who raise or lower windows, coldly but politely.
If a person crushes or crowds you, and apologizes,
accept the apology
by a cold bow.
Gentlemen escorts must pay the most delicate and
earnest care to the
lady or ladies under their care. The attention must be unremitting.
At a hotel, the escort must see to everything, rooms,
Courtesies in traveling are always en regale,
but there must be no attempt
Gentlemen will commence conversations.
Gentlemen will assist ladies to alight from the cars.
A gentleman may offer to escort a lady to the refreshment
A gentlemen may offer his newspaper.