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Title: Manners for Men
Author: Humphry, Mrs.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             HOTEL CECIL,

                       The Most Fashionable and
                       Popular Hotel in Europe.

                      MAGNIFICENT SUITES OF ROOMS




                              2d. WEEKLY.

                          ON ALL BOOKSTALLS.

                            MANNERS FOR MEN

                                FOR MEN

                            BY MRS. HUMPHRY
                         (“MADGE” OF “TRUTH”)

                             JAMES BOWDEN
                         10, HENRIETTA STREET
                          COVENT GARDEN, W.C.

                           MANNERS FOR MEN.

                    FIRST EDITION      _February, 1897_.
                    SECOND EDITION        _March, 1897_.



WOMAN’S IDEAL MAN                                                      1

IN THE STREET                                                         12

IN A CARRIAGE                                                         29

IN A HANSOM                                                           31

SMOKING                                                               32

IN OR ON AN OMNIBUS                                                   36

ON HORSEBACK                                                          42

DRIVING                                                               46

GAMES AND RECREATIONS                                                 50

RULE OF THE ROAD ON THE RIVER                                         53

DINNER-PARTIES                                                        55

PUBLIC DINNERS                                                        83

AT A RESTAURANT                                                       88

AT LUNCH                                                              91

FIVE O’CLOCK TEA AND AFTERNOON AT-HOMES                               94

AT THE PLAY                                                           96

AT A BALL                                                            103

ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE                                              108

DRESS                                                                113

COUNTRY LIFE                                                         119

VISITING-CARDS AND CALLS                                             121

MANNER                                                               131

IN CHURCH                                                            145

CORRESPONDENCE                                                       148

PERSONAL SPEECH WITH ROYALTY AND RANK                                158

                           MANNERS FOR MEN.


I suppose there was never yet a woman who had not somewhere set up on a
pedestal in her brain an ideal of manhood. He is by no means immutable,
this paragon. On the contrary, he changes very often.

[Sidenote: The ideal changes with the idealist.]

If, however, the woman whose ideal he is grows upward in every way as
she grows older, then these changes all go to improve him, and by the
time he is finished he is a very fine creature. He never is finished
till the brain of his creator ceases to work, till she has added her
last touch to him, and has laid down the burden of life and gone
elsewhere, perhaps to some happy land where ideals are more frequently
realised than ever happens here.

[Sidenote: My ideal man.]

Like every other woman, I have my ideal of manhood. The difficulty is to
describe it. First of all, he must be a gentleman; but that means so
much that it, in its turn, requires explanation. Gentleness and moral
strength combined must be the salient characteristics of the
“gentleman,” together with that polish that is never acquired but in one
way: constant association with those so happily placed that they have
enjoyed the influences of education and refinement all through their
lives. He must be thoughtful for others, kind to women and children and
all helpless things, tender-hearted to the old and the poor and the
unhappy, but never foolishly weak in giving where gifts do

[Sidenote: A man’s brain should be as fine as his heart.]

harm instead of good--his brain must be as fine as his heart, in fact.
There are few such men; but they do exist. I know one or two. Reliable
as rocks, judicious in every action, dependable in trifles as well as
the large affairs of life, full of mercy and kindness to others,
affectionate and well-loved in their homes, their lives are pure and

It was once said by a clever man that no one could be a gentleman all
round who had not

[Sidenote: The furnace of experience.]

knocked about the world and associated with all sorts and conditions of
men, high and low, rich and poor, good and bad. Experiences like these
are like the processes for refining gold. The man who emerges unharmed
from the fire of poverty and its associations, and who retains his
independent manliness in relations with those high-placed, must have
within him a fibre of strength that is the true essence of manliness. So
many, alas! go down, down, when “puirtith cauld” touches them with her
terrible, chilly finger. And so many become obsequious and subservient,
false to themselves, in dealings with those above them.

Well! my ideal does neither. He is always true to himself, and “cannot
then be false to any man.” And he must have a sense of humour, too,
otherwise he would be far

[Sidenote: Humour an essential.]

from perfect. How life is brightened by a sense of fun! Think of what
breakfast, lunch, and dinner would be if all were to be as solemn and as
serious as some folk would have it!

If good manners are not practised at home, but are allowed to lie by
until occasion calls upon their wearer to assume them, they are

[Sidenote: On behaviour in one’s own home.]

sure to be a bad fit when donned. It may be a trifle of the smallest to
acquire a habit of saying “if you please” and “thank you” readily, but
it is no trifling defect in a young man to fail to do so. If he does not
jump up to open the door for his mother or sister, he may omit to do so
some day when the neglect will tell against him in the estimation of
those to please whom he would gladly give much. Carelessness in dress
and personal appearance amount to bad manners. In the home there is
sometimes a disagreeable negligence in this respect. At the
breakfast-table unkempt hair, untended finger-nails, and a far from
immaculate collar are occasionally to be seen, especially on late-comers
who do not practise the ingratiating politeness of punctuality.
Lounging, untidy habits are another form of bad manners. The ill-bred
young man smokes

[Sidenote: The ill-bred young man at home.]

all over the house, upstairs and downstairs, and even in his mother’s
drawing-room. He may be traced from room to room by the litter of
newspapers and magazines he leaves behind him. The present fashion of
taking one’s reading in pills, so to speak, snatching it in scrappy
paragraphs from weekly miscellanies, is but too favourable to this lack
of order. In this young man’s own room there is chaos. The maids have
endless trouble in clearing up after him. His tobacco is spilled over
tables, chairs, and carpets. His handkerchiefs, ties, socks, and collars
are lying about in every corner of the room. He is too indolent even to
put his boots outside the door at night that they may be cleaned in the
morning. To save himself trouble he bangs all the doors instead of
gently latching them. And yet, perhaps, if he could but realise that all
this is “bad manners,” he would become as neat as he is now the reverse,
and would be as decorative at table as he is, at the present moment,

It is not only young men whose standard of behaviour in the home is a
low one. Masters of the

[Sidenote: “Young” men not alone culpable.]

house, fathers of families, men of middle age, who are terribly put out
if any one fails in duty to them, are sometimes conspicuously ill-bred
in everyday matters. They are late for every meal, to the discomfort of
the other members of the family and the great inconvenience of the
servants. Polite to the world outside, they are brusque and disagreeable
in their manner at home: rough to the servants, rude to their wives, and
irritable with their children. Sometimes a good heart and considerable
family affection are hidden away behind all this, but the families of
such men would be very glad to compound for a little less affection and
hidden goodness and rather more gentleness and outward polish.

Apart from faults of temper, men fall into careless habits of speech and
manner at home, and one form of this, viz., habitually using strong
language in the presence

[Sidenote: On strong language.]

of women and children, is particularly offensive. Besides, it defeats
itself; for if the forcible expressions are intended to express
disapprobation, they soon become weak and powerless to do so, because
they are used on every possible occasion. After a time they lose all

I know a family where there are sons and daughters, the latter charming
and in every respect young gentlewomen. But the sons fall far below
their level.

[Sidenote: A typical family.]

They come to the door with thundering knocks that make every one in the
house start disagreeably with surprise, walk through the hall without
introducing their muddy boots to either scraper or doormat, sit down to
meals without the usual preliminary of hand-washing and hair-brushing,
and are altogether rough and unpresentable. If friends call at the house
these young men rush away from the chance of encountering them; or, if
they cannot help meeting them, they blush scarlet, look very _gauche_
and uncomfortable, and feel miserable. They knock things over out of
pure awkwardness, and never realise that the secret of the whole matter
is the want of self-training.

[Sidenote: The secret of the whole matter.]

Girls are animated by a greater wish to please, an amiable desire that
need not be confounded with vanity, and this wish has led the sisters of
these young men to practise those small acts of daily self-denial which
after awhile produce the highest self-culture so far as manners go.

[Sidenote: The feminine motive.]

What is habitual neatness but constant coercion of human nature’s innate
indolence? What is politeness in the home but the outcome of affection
and self-respect, and the suppression of all those natural instincts of
self-seeking that, allowed their way, produce the worst manners in the

If any young man desires to be a perfect gentleman, he must begin in his
own home.

[Sidenote: The young man every one loves.]

It is delightful to see some young men unobtrusively attentive to their
sisters, watchful of every need of their father and mother, cheerful and
pleasant in their manner, full of fun and brightness, yet never losing
the gentleness that denotes the fine nature, and so beloved in the home
for all these endearing qualities, that when they leave it they are
sadly missed. The father misses them for the pleasant companionship; the
sisters miss them for the boyish spirits and the exuberant fun that
never exceeds the bounds of good taste and refinement; and the mother
misses them more than any one else, for no one better than she knows how
many times a day her boys have set aside their own wishes in deference
to hers, quietly, silently, unostentatiously--in a word, out of pure
good manners, in the deepest, highest, truest sense of the words.

[Sidenote: “Gentle, yet virile.”]

Such gentle, virile natures look out at the world through the
countenance, which is a letter of recommendation to them wherever they

I have but faintly sketched my ideal. The following pages may fill in
the remaining touches.

Many men who go out into the world while still very young to earn their
living have few opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of social

[Sidenote: Difficulties in the way.]

Leaving home when boys, at an age when they are utterly careless of such
things as etiquette and the “nice conduct of a cane,” they live in
lodgings or at boarding-houses of the cheaper sort, where the amenities
of existence have to yield to its practicalities.

[Sidenote: “Where amenities yield to practicalities.”]

Meals are served in a fashion that means despatch rather than elegance,
economy rather than taste, and very few hints can be picked up for the
guidance of young fellows when they enter the homes of friends and

[Sidenote: The penalty of ignorance.]

Their anxiety to fall in accurately and easily with the observances of
those they meet on such occasions is as great as it is natural. They
know well that to fail in these trifling acts of omission and commission
is tacitly to acknowledge that they are unversed in the ways of good

[Sidenote: The aspirant is not necessarily a snob.]

There is not necessarily any snobbishness in this. A man may be
perfectly manly and yet most unwilling to show himself inferior in any
way to others of the class to which he belongs by birth and education.
Even should those with whom he occasionally associates be his
superiors, is he not right to try to rise?

[Sidenote: Culture and polish are realities.]

Culture may mean little or nothing to the uncultured. Polish may be an
empty word to the unpolished. But they are realities, and go far to
produce an inward and corresponding refinement of mind and spirit.

There are thousands of young men in London alone at this very moment who
are longing to acquire the ease and _aplomb_ of good society.

[Sidenote: The desire to rise deserves encouragement.]

The desire is worthy of all encouragement. Only those with real good in
them can feel it. The men who are destitute of it are those who
associate with their inferiors, contentedly accept a low moral standard,
adopt a mode of speech and action that is coarse and rough, and finally
let themselves down to the frequenting of public-houses and places of
amusement, where the entertainment has been carefully planned to suit
the uneducated, the low-born, and others whose vitiated taste leads them
to dislike what is lovely and of good report, and to revel in the

But, unfortunately, many a good fellow has been driven to seek
companionship with those beneath him by the very difficulty he
experiences in getting on in society.

[Sidenote: Men to be pitied.]

He fancies that his small solecisms are the subject of observation and
comment, and he suffers agonies of _mauvaise honte_.

[Sidenote: A word to girls.]

Girls often laugh very unkindly at shy youths, when they might find
opportunities of acting the good angel to them, and by the exercise of
tact screening from observation those failures in good manners which are
inevitable to the inexperienced. When he finds himself the butt of a few
giggling girls, a young man feels miserably uncomfortable and
humiliated, and he vows to himself that he will never again put himself
in the way of such annoyance. Consequently he cuts good society, not
realising that he would very soon overcome these initial difficulties
and feel at home in it.

He must find amusement somewhere. It is only natural to youth to crave
it. At first his taste is jarred by those inferior to him, and his
fastidiousness offended by their manners.

[Sidenote: “We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”]

But, such is the fatal adaptability of human nature to what is bad for
it, he soon becomes accustomed to all that he at first objected to, and
even forgets that he had ever found anything disagreeable in it. After a
few months his speech begins to assimilate the errors of those about him
in his leisure hours. He uses the very expressions that jarred upon him
at first. His dress and carriage deteriorate, and he is well on his way
downhill in life long before he realises that he has quitted his own
level, probably for ever.

[Sidenote: “If he had only held his own!”]

And if only he had held his own at a few gatherings, and acquired
experience, even at the cost of a little present pain and mortification,
he would in the same interval of time be enjoying society, educating
himself in its customs, and acquiring that exterior polish which comes
of intimate acquaintance with its rules and ease in practising them.

Should this little manual of manners be of use to any such in enabling
them to master the theory, as it were, of social customs in the educated
classes, it will have attained its aim.

[Sidenote: The object of this book.]

I have always felt the greatest compassion for young men when first
introduced, after school and college life, to the routine of dinner,
dance, and ball.

[Sidenote: Those early days!]

I have not forgotten the days when shyness made my own heart sink at the
prospect of a dinner-party and when the hardest task on earth was the
finding of nothings to say to a partner at a ball. It is a miserable
feeling of confusion and _gaucherie_, and if I can in any way avert it
from others it will be a source of great gratification to me.


The rule of the road is a simple one, though it is often forgotten or
neglected--“Keep to the right.”

[Sidenote: “The rule of the road.”]

Easy enough for women, it is complicated in the case of men by the
necessity of always remaining on the kerb side of any lady they may be
accompanying. Should the lady keep to the right in meeting or in passing
other persons, her escort may either keep by her or go out in the road.
He will be able to judge for himself which course will be advisable.

[Sidenote: A man’s duty is always to his lady.]

His first duty is always to his companion, but that need not make him
wanting in courtesy to other women. If remaining by the side of his
companion should involve any inconvenience to the ladies of the other
party, then he must give up his position, and go out into the roadway to
let the latter pass. Should these be men, no consideration is necessary.
He keeps close by his lady’s side.

[Sidenote: “In crowded streets.”]

In crowded streets he may often have to fall behind, but he should never
allow any one to interpose between her and him. Should the pressure
from the crowd become extreme, his duty is to protect her from it as
much as possible, but never by putting his arm round her waist. A hand
on either side the lady’s shoulders is usually sufficient.

[Sidenote: Salutations.]

In meeting acquaintances a nod is sufficient for a male friend, unless
his age or position is such as to render it advisable to raise the hat.
Should a lady be with the acquaintance, any man meeting them must raise
his hat. So must the individual walking with the lady. The etiquette of
bowing is a simple one.

[Sidenote: The right of acknowledgment rests with the lady.]

Male acquaintances always wait for acknowledgement on the part of
female, as well as from those men who are their superiors in age or
position. But this does not mean that they are shyly to look away from
them and to ignore them. On the contrary, they must show clearly by
their manner that they are on the look-out for some sign of recognition
and are ready to reply to it.

[Sidenote: On waiting for acknowledgment.]

Shyness often interferes with this and makes a young man look away, and
this is occasionally misconstrued as indifference and resented as such.
The calm, quiet, collected expression of face that suits the occasion is
not achieved at once. Sometimes the over-anxiety to make a good
impression defeats itself, producing a blushing eagerness better suited
to a girlish than a manly countenance. This, however, is a youthful
fault that is not without its ingratiating side, though young men view
it in themselves and in each other with unbounded scorn.

[Sidenote: On self-contempt.]

This sentiment of self-contempt is a frequent one in young people of
both sexes. Their valuation of themselves varies as much as the
barometer, and is as much affected by outward causes. After a “snub,”
real or fancied, it goes down to zero, but as a rule it speedily
recovers itself, and in most young men enjoys an agreeable thermometer
of 85° or so in the shade!

The well-mannered man never puts out his hand in greeting until a lady
extends hers.

[Sidenote: Offering the hand.]

This is a test of good breeding that is constantly applied. To those
uninitiated in the ways of society, it would naturally appear the right
thing to give as cordial a greeting as possible. Therefore the hand is
held out, even on introduction to a perfect stranger. This is wrong. The
first move in the direction of cordiality must come from the lady, the
whole code of behaviour being based on the assumption that she is the
social superior. The same holds good with elders and men of higher rank.
When a man is introduced to these he raises his hat and bows, though
slightly. It is only to kings and princes that a low bow is made, or to
those whose character and eminent position render an introduction to
them a very high honour.

[Sidenote: Introducing men to men.]

In introducing two men to each other the name of the inferior is
mentioned first. By the inferior I mean the younger, the less important,
or of lower rank. Suppose one of the two to be a familiar friend, and
another a comparatively new acquaintance, then formality requires that
the familiar friend shall be introduced to the other, being named first.
The reason for this is that one naturally stands more on ceremony with
the man one knows least. There may be counteracting circumstances,
however, which would tend to reverse this order of things, but as a
general rule, the social rank of both being equal, the above holds good.

[Sidenote: Introducing men to ladies.]

Never introduce a lady to a gentleman; but always the gentleman to the
lady. That is, mention the man’s name first, addressing yourself to the
woman--thus: “Allow me to introduce my friend Mr. Smith, Miss Jones.”
And follow this up immediately by saying, “Miss Jones,” addressing Mr.
Smith as you do so. It is a grave solecism to begin by introducing the
lady. Tyros very naturally conclude that the lady’s name should be first
mentioned; but on thinking it over they will soon perceive that to do so
would infer that she is the lesser consideration of the two.

[Sidenote: “Woman’s social superiority.”]

It must always be borne in mind that the assumption of woman’s social
superiority lies at the root of these rules of conduct.

It is bad manners to introduce people without permission.

[Sidenote: On permission to introduce.]

Nor must this permission be asked in the hearing of the second party. If
Mr. A. wishes to know Miss B., the lady’s leave must be obtained before
he can be presented to her. The only exception to this rule is at a
dance or ball, where introductions need not be regarded as leading to
acquaintanceship. They are only for the dance, and may be ignored next

[Sidenote: On recognition after a dance.]

Here, again, it is the lady’s privilege to ignore her partner, if she
choose. But if she should bow to him he must raise his hat, whether he
desires to follow up the acquaintanceship or not. Objections more
frequently arise on the woman’s side; but should a man prefer to drop
the matter he can manage to convey in his manner a disinclination to do
so, and yet behave with perfect politeness. A man I knew was once
introduced at a ball to a girl, with whom he had danced two or three
times. Before he met her again he heard that she had been actively
concerned in circulating a slander about another girl whom circumstances
had misrepresented. I happened to see the next meeting between the two.

[Sidenote: Engineering an awkward point.]

The girl bowed, smiled, and showed some sign of an intention to stop and
talk. The man raised his hat, looked extremely solemn and unsociable,
and passed on. It was enough. The girl understood that he did not wish
to resume the ball-room acquaintanceship, and very probably guessed why.
He did it beautifully.

[Sidenote: The hat and the promenade.]

Before leaving the subject of the promenade, I must clearly explain that
the hat must be raised even in saluting a very familiar friend, if (_a_)
that friend is accompanied by a lady, and (_b_) when one is oneself
accompanied by a lady, even if she be only a mother or sister. It is one
of the signs of caste that a man is equally polite to his relatives as
he is to the relatives of others.

[Sidenote: One’s duty to one’s own relatives.]

We all know what to think of a man who omits small social duties where
his wife is concerned. Even when he proves by paying them duly to other
women that he is aware of what he ought to do, he is at once set down as
ill-bred--a “cad,” in fact.

[Sidenote: A case in point.]

I once saw a Lord Mayor of London enter his carriage before his wife,
who scrambled in after him as though well accustomed to do so. One does
not expect the refinement of good manners from civic dignitaries, as a
rule, but this little action told the spectators more about the man than
they would ever have found out in the newspapers. They at once perceived
that he was unversed in the ways of good society.

But some one may suggest that this may have been on some state occasion,
when his mayoral dignity obliged him to precede his wife.

[Sidenote: The lady first under every circumstance.]

No. It was after a wedding. And besides, can any one fancy the Prince of
Wales in any circumstances entering his carriage without having
previously handed in the Princess, should she be his companion?

[Sidenote: When accompanied by dogs.]

If accompanied by a dog, or dogs, their owner must hold himself
responsible for their good behaviour. If his pets trespass in any way he
must apologise for them, and do his best to repair any damage they have
done. Should one of his dogs jump on a lady and make her gown muddy, he
must offer his services and endeavour to get rid of the traces of the
accident, if the lady wishes. Should she show a disinclination to accept
his aid, he must at once withdraw, raising his hat as he does so. Should
his dog attack another dog he must immediately call him off, administer
correction, and apologise to the owner of the dog assaulted. I saw a
young man once, in these circumstances, beat the other dog, after his
own had jumped on it and bitten its ear! He was dressed like a
gentleman, but his behaviour gave a truer indication of him than did his

[Sidenote: On whistling and singing.]

Whistling and singing are incompatible with the conduct of a gentleman
in the street, though this by no means applies to a quiet country road,
where ceremonious bearing is not required.

[Sidenote: Carriage of the hands.]

Nor is it permitted to wear the hands in the pockets when walking in the
Park, or the streets of a town or city. This is probably one of the
reasons that the cane or stick is still carried, though the original
cause, that of self-defence in an age that was destitute of law and
order, fortunately exists no longer. There are men who would not know
what to do with their hands if they had not a cane or umbrella.

[Sidenote: A word to parents.]

This is partly the fault of those who have charge of boys when they are
growing and who allow them to lounge about in slovenly attitudes with
their hands for ever in their pockets. Then when they begin to enter
society they are quite at a loss.

[Sidenote: And schoolmasters.]

At schools where boys are regularly drilled the whole effect of the
drilling is done away with by the way in which the boys are allowed to
sit and stand in the most remarkable attitudes of slouching
awkwardness. It is only when they are at drill or out walking with the
masters that any notice is taken of their carriage. And yet it is an
important point with regard to health that the shoulders should be held
well back, the chest forward, and the head up.

[Sidenote: On rendering slight services.]

Should a man be so fortunate as to be of some service to any lady in the
street, such as picking up a parcel or sunshade she may have dropped, or
helping her out of any small difficulty, he must raise his hat and
withdraw at once. Such trifling acts as these do not by any means
constitute an acquaintanceship, and to remain by her side when the
incident is over would look like presuming on what he had done, as
though it gave him a right to her continued acknowledgments. This would
be ungentlemanly.

At the same time, these occurrences are sometimes deliberately planned
by girls and women with a direct view to scraping acquaintance with
young men.

[Sidenote: On girls making advances.]

It is scarcely necessary to say that girls who stoop to this kind of
manœuvring are hardly ever gentlewomen. Members of good families have
been known to do such things in the wild exuberance of youth and high
spirits, but they cannot hope to retain the respect of those who know
them when they deliberately lower themselves in such ways as these.

[Sidenote: The risk to one’s good name.]

Picking up promiscuous male acquaintances is a practice fraught with
danger. It cannot be denied that girls of the lower middle classes are
often prone to it; and there are thousands of young men who have no
feminine belongings in the great towns and cities where they live, and
who are found responsive to this indiscriminating mode of making

[Sidenote: The method can produce little good.]

But they must often hesitate before choosing as wife a girl who shows so
little discretion as to walk and talk with young men of whom she knows
nothing beyond what they choose to tell her.

[Sidenote: Seaside “Flirtations.”]

The seaside season is prolific in these chance
acquaintanceships--“flirtations,” as they may perhaps be called.
Bicycling is well known to favour them. But as they are far removed from
the practices of the class of society to which belong those gentlemen of
whom this little book treats, they may be dismissed with a few words of
advice. Should any young man become acquainted with a girl in this
manner, let him show his innate chivalry by treating her in every way as
he would wish his own sister to be treated in similar circumstances.

[Sidenote: Should the man become attached.]

If he becomes attached to her, let him first find out all about her that
he possibly can, and should what he hears be encouraging, then let him
ask her to introduce him to her family as a suitor for her hand. Should
the girl fall in love with him, let him protect her against herself like
a _preux chevalier_, like an honourable and high-minded English

[Sidenote: Should he be unable to reciprocate.]

If he feels that he cannot reciprocate her sentiment, he should give up
seeing her. Should she, as some girls of the kind have been known to do,
pursue him with letters making appointments, she makes his task of
renunciation a difficult one, but he should fulfil it nevertheless.

It is difficult in this way. Suppose a girl writes to a young man: “Meet
me at the tea-rooms, No. 440, Bond Street, to-morrow afternoon.” There
is no chance of replying in time to prevent her going there, and to
absent himself would be to administer a severe snub to a girl whom he
likes very well, and who has flattered his self-love in many ways during
their acquaintanceship. What can he do?

[Sidenote: “Her ultimate welfare.”]

It is a point that he must decide for himself, taking all the
circumstances into consideration, and not forgetting to regard her
ultimate welfare in the matter at least as much as his own actual

This may seem to some young men a very “high-falutin’” view to take of
such a small matter as meeting a young woman and having tea together.
Most of them, finding that a girl was growing fond of them, would
encourage the feeling by every means in their power, regardless of
whether it could ever end in marriage, and careless of everything beyond
the gratification of their own vanity.

[Sidenote: The view of the ordinary young man.]

But there are bright exceptions to these who do not allow themselves to
be carried away by the flattery implied in a girl’s attentions, and who
can consider her welfare in selfless fashion. Sometimes fastidious taste
comes to their aid and makes withdrawal from an interesting
companionship comparatively easy.

[Sidenote: The manly young man does his own wooing.]

For, after all, the manly young man has a prejudice in favour of doing
his own wooing!

[Sidenote: Invitations from girls.]

It is not at all necessary that a man should accept invitations from a
girl to meet her at restaurants, subscription dances, bazaars, or any
other place. If a girl so far forgets herself, and is so lacking in
modesty and propriety as to make appointments with young men in such
ways as these, she cannot be worth much, and may lead the young man into
a very serious scrape. A public horse-whipping is an extremely
disagreeable thing, and yet cases have been known when such have been
administered by irate brothers or fathers, when the only fault committed
by the young man had been to obey the commands of a forward and bold
young woman--one of the sort to whom Hamlet would have said, “Get thee
to a nunnery.”

[Sidenote: They are better ignored.]

Such invitations are better ignored, though it is difficult for the
average young man to resist the temptation of being courted and
flattered, and of seeking the society of girls who administer these
pleasant attentions. But if their standard is a high one, they would say
to themselves: “What should I like another fellow to do, supposing the
girl were my sister?” (Almost always he mentally adds, “God forbid!”)
This clears up the question for him at once. If he is high-minded and
honourable he keeps away. If he is unscrupulous and self-indulgent he
meets the girl and lets the acquaintanceship drift on to dangerous

[Sidenote: The danger of the proceeding.]

Such girls as these can never tell if a man whose past and present and
surrounding circumstances are unknown to her is a scoundrel or
otherwise. Fortunately, the code of manners obtaining amongst the
educated and well-brought-up forbids all such indiscriminate

[Sidenote: The offenders.]

Girls who stoop to it are usually those who have failed to secure
attention in their own circle, and belong, as a rule, to the sort of
girl who marries a groom or runs away with a good-looking footman.

[Sidenote: Offering an unknown lady an umbrella.]

A young man once asked me if it would be etiquette to offer an unknown
lady an umbrella in the street, supposing she stood in need of one. I
replied: “No _lady_ would accept the offer from a stranger, and the
other sort of person might never return the umbrella.” In large towns
women of breeding soon learn to view casual attentions from well-dressed
men with the deepest distrust. They would suffer any amount of
inconvenience rather than accept a favour from a stranger, knowing that
so many men make it their amusement to prowl about the streets, looking
after pretty faces and graceful figures, and forcing their attentions on
the owners.

[Sidenote: A contemptible class of men.]

Contemptible curs they are, whether young or old, and they are of all
ages. Very young girls have sometimes extremely unpleasant experiences
with such men, not only in the streets but in omnibuses, trams, and
trains. Cultivating a gentlemanly exterior, they can yet never be
gentlemen, and a good, pure woman finds something hateful in the look of
their eyes, the whole expression of their faces.

[Sidenote: Their female counterparts.]

It cannot be denied, however, that there is a corresponding class of
women and girls who make promiscuous male acquaintances in the streets,
and the young man learns to distinguish these from respectable members
of the community almost as soon as the young girl learns to dread and
fear the prowling man.

[Sidenote: Offers of service from strangers not therefore allowable.]

The existence of such a state of things makes self-respecting women most
careful to accept no advances from a stranger, and the true gentleman,
understanding this, refrains from offers of assistance that he would
gladly make were society so constituted as to be free from such pests as
the above.

[Sidenote: On removing a cigar when passing a lady.]

In passing ladies on the promenade, in the street or Park, if a man
chance to be smoking, he always takes his cigar from his mouth,
replacing it when the lady or ladies have passed on. In the crowded
streets of great cities this, if carried out in full entirety, would be
too much. Therefore it is observed only with reference to such ladies as
pass the smoker quite closely. “I know he is a gentleman,” said a girl
once of a good-looking young fellow whose appearance had pleased her--“I
know he is a gentleman, for he stopped smoking directly he saw us.” It
is in the observance of little things of this kind that one shows
clearly one’s breeding or lack of it.

When a young man is walking with a lady, and happens to meet another
lady with whom he is on more intimate terms than with his companion, he
must ask pardon of the latter if he should stop to speak.

[Sidenote: Meeting a more intimate acquaintance when with a lady.]

“Excuse me for one moment,” he would say, and his companion, if a
gentlewoman, would walk some yards on, and then slowly stroll along
until he joined her again. The strict rule is that when walking with a
lady a man should never leave her side.

[Sidenote: The rule for introductions in such a case.]

Suppose a young man were to meet his mother or sister while he was in
the company of a lady unknown to them, he must not introduce her to them
or them to her without having previously obtained special permission on
both sides. There are young men who make acquaintance with girls in a
lower walk of life than their own. It would be an insult to mother or
sister to introduce a milliner’s apprentice or an assistant in a shop,
or, in fact, any one whom he had picked up without a regular

[Sidenote: Acquaintance without introduction.]

No respectable young woman would walk with or talk with any man to whom
she had not had a proper introduction. The inference is that those who
do so are not respectable, and must not, therefore, be introduced to
those who are.

[Sidenote: Stopping to speak to a lady.]

The old rule was that when a gentleman stopped to speak to a lady in the
street he walked a little way with her in the direction in which she
had been going.

[Sidenote: The old rule and the new.]

But now this is less observed than it used to be. The lady herself, if
she wishes the conversation to be a short one, stops at once, knowing
that it will be easier for a man to terminate it in these circumstances
than if he were sauntering by her side.


[Sidenote: Handing ladies to their carriage.]

In handing ladies to their carriage a man offers his right arm to the
senior of the party and walks with her to the door, opening it with his
left hand. The others will probably follow without escort, but if not,
he must offer it to each in turn, holding an umbrella over them should
it be raining. He closes the door and conveys their orders to the
footman or coachman.

[Sidenote: The man takes the back seat.]

Should he be invited to enter the carriage with them, he always takes
the back seat--that is, with his back to the horses--unless specially
invited to the front one. He must not either raise or lower the windows
unless requested to do so.

[Sidenote: On smoking in a carriage.]

Should he be smoking, he throws away his cigar or cigarette at once. If
he should be a very intimate acquaintance of the lady, he may ask her
permission to smoke, but never otherwise, since it is disagreeable for a
woman to refuse such permission, and consequently she often gives it
when she really dislikes the smell of tobacco, especially in the
limited space of a carriage, should it be a closed one.

[Sidenote: Pronunciation of “brougham.”]

It may be as well to mention here that the proper pronunciation of the
word “brougham” is as though it were spelled “broom,” quite short and
monosyllabic. This is a trifle, of course, but, like many another
equally small matter, it is indicative of those accustomed to good


[Sidenote: Guarding the lady’s dress.]

In handing a lady into a hansom care must be taken to protect her dress
from the muddy wheel. The gentleman asks if she would like the glasses
down, and conveys her instructions to the driver, then raises his hat as
she drives away.

[Sidenote: When accompanying the lady.]

Should he be accompanying her in the hansom, she seats herself at the
nearest side to the pavement, so that when he enters he will not have to
go round a corner, as it were. In this case he gives the cabman
instructions across the roof of the cab, and if his companion wishes the
glasses to be lowered, he asks for them through the trap-door at the top
of the cab. He must never smoke when the glasses are let down--to do so
would render the atmosphere unbearable to almost any woman. But if he
knows his partner in the drive sufficiently well, he can ask permission
to smoke, should the glasses not be required.


The etiquette in this, as in many other matters, has quite altered
during the last few years. At one time it was considered a sign of
infamously bad taste to smoke in the presence of women in any
circumstances. But it is now no longer so.

[Sidenote: The domain of Princess Nicotine.]

So many women smoke themselves, that in some houses even the
drawing-room is thrown open to Princess Nicotine.

[Sidenote: The leader of the fashion.]

The example of the Prince of Wales has been largely instrumental in
sweeping away the old restrictions. He smokes almost incessantly. On one
occasion, at the Ranelagh Club, I noticed that he consumed four cigars
in rapid succession, almost without five minutes’ interval between them.
The only time that he left off smoking, during the three hours that he
remained in the Pavilion with the Princess and other ladies, was for ten
minutes when tea was handed round.

[Sidenote: The lengths to which a smoker may now go.]

It is now no uncommon thing to see a man in evening dress smoking in a
brougham with a lady on their way to opera, theatre, or dinner
engagement. This is going rather far, for a woman’s evening dress
implies shut windows, except in the height of summer, and her garments
become as much impregnated with the odour of tobacco as if she had
herself been smoking.

[Sidenote: On getting rid of the smell.]

Some men have a knack of ridding their clothes and themselves of the
fumes of smoke in a wonderful way. Perhaps one reason of this is that
the tobacco they use is of a mild sort.

[Sidenote: Try the clothes-brush.]

Perhaps the diligent use of the clothes-brush is another. But there are
also men round whom cling the odours of stale tobacco with a very
disagreeable constancy. Why it should be so I cannot pretend to say. It
must be due to carelessness of some kind, and carelessness in such
matters amounts to bad manners. Even to men who smoke--and much more to
those who do not--the smell of stale tobacco is revolting. Fancy, then,
how it must offend the olfactory nerves of women. Such men suggest the
stableyard while they are yet several yards away!

[Sidenote: Personal cleanliness a hall-mark of the English gentleman.]

A very delicate, even exquisite, personal cleanliness is characteristic
of the true gentleman, and more particularly the English gentleman, who
is noted all the world over for his devotion to his “tub” and his
immaculate propriety in all matters of the toilette. This is not
claiming too much for my countrymen. It is acknowledged by other
nations that ours is superior in this respect. Once, indeed, I heard a
curious inversion of this. At a foreign hotel one waiter said to the
other in their mutual language: “What dirty fellows these English must
be to want such a lot of washing! I’ve carried up four cans of water to
No. 47 this morning!”

Sauntering up the street of a small German town one day, two English
ladies saw, a couple of hundred yards away, a party of men standing
admiring an ancient gateway.

[Sidenote: “They must be English.”]

“They must be English,” said one of the ladies; and before she could
finish her sentence the other finished it for her in the very words she
had been about to utter: “They are so beautifully clean!”

[Sidenote: The close-cropped head.]

This characteristic is carried to an extreme in the close clipping of
the hair; but as fashion ordains that it must be worn very short, its
behests must be obeyed by all who wish to be in society and of it.

[Sidenote: The “long-haired fellow.”]

“Who is that long-haired fellow?” is the question invariably asked about
any man whose visits to the barber are infrequent. “Must be an artist or
a music man,” is the frequent commentary. Sometimes he is merely
careless of conventionalities, and by being so proves that he is rather
“out of it” where good society is concerned. The rule appears to be
that directly a man finds that he has any hair worth brushing, he must
immediately go and have it cut. It would be much more becoming if
allowed to grow a little longer, but things being as they are, only the
few can afford to defy the ordinary custom.


[Sidenote: The humble omnibus.]

The humble omnibus may be thought by some readers too democratic a kind
of conveyance to be considered in a book on Manners. Not at all! There
are several reasons why it should have a place in such a volume.

[Sidenote: It is now used by all classes.]

The first is, that during the last ten years or so the omnibus has been
largely used by women of the educated, cultured, and well-dressed
classes. Another and stronger reason is that no considerations of the
kind should affect a man’s manners. If he can behave like a gentleman in
a carriage, he is almost certain to do so in an omnibus, and _vice
versâ_. It is even more difficult in the humbler vehicle. In a carriage
one is seldom crowded up to the degree that often occurs in the plebeian
“’bus.” In fact, there are far more opportunities for the display of
good manners in the latter than in the former. Many of them are of a
negative character.

[Sidenote: A fine field for true courtesy.]

True courtesy, for instance, will prevent a man from infringing the
rights of his neighbours on either side by occupying more than his own
allotted space.

[Sidenote: The man who wants all the room.]

Very stout men are obliged to do so, but at least they need not spread
out their knees in a way that is calculated to aggravate the evil. Nor
need they arrange themselves in a comfortable oblique position, with the
result of enhancing the inconvenience they must necessarily cause to
those near them. Even a thin man can take up a quantity of room by thus
disposing himself at an angle of forty-five with the other occupants of
an omnibus.

The morning paper may be converted into an offensive weapon in the hands
of the rude and careless, who open it out to its fullest width,
regardless of the comfort of those sitting next them.

[Sidenote: The “newspaper” offender.]

Newspapers are rather unwieldy things to turn and twist about in a
limited space, but this very circumstance affords a man an opportunity
of displaying his skill in manipulating the large, wide sheets, without
dashing them in the face of his nearest neighbour, or knocking up
against anybody in a series of awkward movements that a little care
could easily convert into leisurely, graceful ones.

[Sidenote: The wet umbrella nuisance.]

There is another way in which men are apt to be careless, and that is in
the disposal of a wet umbrella. Women are even more so, but these
remarks are intended particularly for men, and beyond acknowledging that
members of my own sex are equal sinners, I must leave them out of the
question. When any one takes a dripping umbrella into an omnibus, he
must charge himself with the task of seeing that it annoys no one but
himself. If he can, at the same time, protect himself, well and good;
but he must be altruistic in the matter and care for others first; the
alternative being to prove himself lacking in one form of good manners.
He must not even let his wet umbrella lean up against a vacant part of
the cushioned seat, rendering it damp for the next comer.

[Sidenote: The rights of the absent.]

His social conscience cannot be up to its work if he permits himself to
ignore the right of the absent to consideration, merely because they are

Allowing umbrellas and sticks to protrude so as to trip up unwary
passengers is another thing to be avoided.

[Sidenote: Carrying umbrellas and sticks.]

Carrying a stick or umbrella under the arm with the ferule protruding at
the back and threatening the eyes of those who walk behind, is always a
reprehensible practice, and one that is fraught with danger, and it is
perhaps more than ever dangerous when the proprietor is ascending or
descending the steps of an omnibus. At such moments passengers are
liable to sudden checks from various causes, and the resultant backward
jerk can be quite annoying enough to those behind without the
aggravation of a pointed stick assaulting them. I have seen a girl’s hat
torn off her head in this way, its numerous securing pins making havoc
in her coiffure and eliciting lively expressions of pain.

[Sidenote: Entering and leaving an omnibus.]

It might appear hardly necessary to advocate care in walking up past
other passengers inside an omnibus, for fear of treading on their feet,
and to recommend a word of apology in case of any such transgression.
But there have been cases which point to the desirability of a word of
advice on such points.

[Sidenote: Apology covers a multitude of social sins.]

The ready apology covers a multitude of social sins. From some men it
comes with an expression of such earnest solicitude that, anxious to
reassure them, one quite willingly makes light of the damage done.

[Sidenote: The lady first, entering and leaving.]

In escorting a lady a man hands her into the omnibus before entering it
himself; and if she prefers the top, he lets her mount the staircase in
front of him. There seems to be an idea in the lowly classes that it is
correct to precede a lady in ascending steps or stairs. This is not in
accordance with the practice of good society. If circumstances do not
admit of the two walking abreast, then the lady goes first, both in
ascending and descending any stairs.

It is by no means necessary that any man should resign his seat in or
on an omnibus simply because a woman wishes for it.

[Sidenote: On giving up one’s seat to a lady.]

The conductor has no right to ask “if any gentleman will go outside to
oblige a lady”; and no gentlewoman would allow him to ask such a favour
on her behalf. The inside passengers have selected inside seats, thereby
testifying to their preference for them, and they should be allowed to
retain them without interference.

[Sidenote: Women offenders.]

I have seen a delicate-looking boy, racked with a hacking cough, induced
to ride outside on a cold and rainy night in order that a fat, rosy,
healthy woman might have his inside seat. I felt all the more indignant
on his behalf because the woman never even thanked him. It was no
business of mine, but I was rejoiced to hear a man’s voice mutter in the
darkness, “She looks better able to face it than that pale-faced lad.”
But the woman wore a smug, well-pleased air, little knowing that her
fellow-passengers were almost all regarding her with a feeling of

[Sidenote: No lady would request this favour.]

I repeat that no lady, in the highest sense of the term, would ever
permit the conductor of an omnibus to ask such a favour for her. She
would not ask it for herself; unlike a woman whom I saw, one day, mount
on the step of an omnibus and inquire of the “insides,” “Won’t any
genelman ride outside to oblige a lydy?” the “lydy” being herself.

It can never be out of place for a man to give up his seat in favour of
the old and infirm, or for a woman with a baby in her arms.

[Sidenote: Higher laws than etiquette.]

But such matters as these belong to a region of heart and mind beyond
mere manners, and it is useless to suggest any line of action on such
subjects. The impulse must come from within.

[Sidenote: Smoking on the top of an omnibus.]

There have been women so unreasonable as to complain of men smoking on
the top of an omnibus. Could anything be more illogical? First, they
invade the seats that have been claimed by man as his right (though
perhaps unjustly) for many long years, and then they feel annoyed
because he smokes in their presence. Or, to speak accurately, they are
petulant because his tobacco is often rank, strong, and consequently

[Sidenote: A man is justified in so doing.]

But no man need feel it necessary to put out his pipe or throw away his
cigar in these circumstances. Should he find himself so placed that the
wind blows his smoke in the face of a woman, he may propose to change
seats with her, in order that she may be spared the inconvenience. But
no woman could rationally expect him to do more.


[Sidenote: Riding costume for the Park.]

A great change has taken place during the last few years in the
character of riding costume for the Park. The subject may scarcely be a
suitable one for a little book intended for those unaccustomed to the
usages of the society of the wealthy. But there are almost always
exceptional cases in which such information may be found of use.

[Sidenote: Disappearance of the black coat.]

Only quite old-fashioned people ride in black coats, the usual gear
consisting of knickerbocker suits with Norfolk, or other country jacket,
brown tops and bowler hats. It must be admitted that this is a distinct
gain in picturesqueness. Straw hats are often seen on riders in the
Park, but these have not quite so good an effect. The old formalities in
dress are rapidly disappearing.

[Sidenote: The scope and limitations of the tweed suit.]

A man may ride in town in a tweed suit, which once would have been
considered highly heterodox. He may even walk about London in the height
of the season in a tweed suit, but it is not considered correct for him
to join his friends in the Park without reverting to the black coat and
high hat. Many an old statesman is still to be seen in the Park riding
in frock-coat and tall hat, just as John Leech depicted the men of his

There are certain rules of etiquette connected with riding on horseback,
which no one can afford to ignore. It is extremely ill-mannered to
gallop noisily past a mounted lady, the risk being of startling her
horse and inconveniencing her, if not subjecting her to an accident.

[Sidenote: The rule of the road for equestrians.]

The rule of the road for equestrians is to keep to the left, exactly the
opposite to that for pedestrians. In passing others in front a detour is
made to the right; in meeting other riders or wheel traffic of any sort
the rider keeps close to the left. In accompanying a lady the gentleman
keeps on her right hand, whether in town or on country roads.

[Sidenote: At a meet of hounds.]

At a meet of hounds, where ladies in carriages often assemble, it is not
polite to keep too near them if mounted on a fidgety horse. When the
hounds throw off, the inexperienced in such matters has a disagreeable
way of getting in front in his eagerness, and sometimes overriding the

[Sidenote: “A crime of the blackest dye.”]

This, in the eyes of the huntsman, is not a fault; it is a crime of the
blackest dye. If commissioned to take charge of a lady in the
hunting-field a man must sacrifice his sporting instincts to a certain
extent in order to see her safe over her fences, giving her a lead, or
following her lead as circumstances may dictate. His desire to be in at
the death may be as great as hers, but he must not indulge it at the
expense of his politeness.

[Sidenote: A man’s duty to his charge.]

Very often his charge may beg of him to go on and leave her to her own

[Sidenote: His responsibility ends only with the hunt.]

If he should perceive that she is really uncomfortable about keeping him
back he may possibly yield to her persuasion, but in the case of any
accident happening to her he would be certainly called to account by
those who had placed her in his charge.

[Sidenote: A common error.]

One of the mistakes made by novices in the hunting-field is that of
getting themselves up in “pink,” though they may not be a member of any
hunt. This is more particularly the case when the packs are near town.
Good West End tailors would never allow their clients to make such
mistakes as these.

[Sidenote: Advice to the novice.]

They are the best authorities on all the minutiæ of country riding
costume, and it is well for the customer to put himself unreservedly in
the hands of the long-experienced in such matters. Of course this means
high charges. Experience and skill are commercial commodities, just as
much as fine cloth and silk linings, but if a man can afford to go
a-hunting he ought to be able to afford the advice of a good tailor.

[Sidenote: Assisting a lady to her mount.]

In mounting a lady on horseback the gentleman takes her left foot in his
right hand, and when she springs he helps her in this manner to reach
the saddle, afterwards adjusting her left foot in the stirrup and
arranging her habit for her.


[Sidenote: “Keep to your left”]

The same rule of the road applies to driving as to riding. In the
crowded traffic of large towns and cities it would be difficult, if not
impossible, to observe the good old rule of courtesy that prohibits the
driver of any private carriage from overtaking and passing that of a
friend or neighbour on the road. The members of the Four-in-Hand and
Coaching Clubs still observe it, and seldom pass each other without an
apologetic wave of the hand or raising of the hat.

[Sidenote: Acknowledging salutes.]

A gentleman driving a mail phaeton in the Park with a lady by his side
must, of course, acknowledge all salutes by raising his hat, if he is
sufficiently expert to admit of his doing so without risk. It is not
every one who can emulate the Prince of Wales, who, when driving a
coach, can take a cigar from his lips and raise his hat with the
whip-hand, the reins, of course, being in the left. It is not unusual,
nowadays, to see a man driven by a lady.

[Sidenote: Handing a lady up to her coach seat.]

In such a case he must be on the alert to afford her every assistance
in his power. In handing a lady up to her place on a coach some
expertness is required, especially where the usual short ladder is not
available, and she has to mount first on the wheel and then on to the
coach itself.

[Sidenote: Invitations to coach drives.]

The box-seat of a coach to the left of the driver is considered the
place of honour, and the lady invited to occupy it is very appreciative,
as a rule, of this mark of attention. It is scarcely necessary to remark
that a man must be as careful about the invitations for a drive on his
four-in-hand as he would be in other circumstances. A lady would resent
being asked to meet any one unsuitable in a drive, even though the
latter may be relegated to a back seat.

[Sidenote: A man may refuse a lady the coach reins.]

Sometimes ladies are very anxious to take the reins and drive
themselves, a circumstance which has often occasioned agonies of
nervousness to other women on the coach. It is quite possible to refuse
such a request in a polite and gentlemanly way, partly by seeming to
ignore it or laughing it off. It is not a bad plan when some such
request is supposed to be imminent to bind oneself beforehand by a
promise to one of the timid ladies. This promise can be produced with
great effect when occasion arises.

[Sidenote: On dismounting, when calling for a lady.]

A man usually dismounts when calling for a lady to take her for a ride,
if she is to be mounted. Sometimes, however, this rule is remitted, as
in the case of a restive and very fresh animal; the groom then assists
the lady to mount. The driver of a four-in-hand very seldom dismounts in
such circumstances, though, of course, there are exceptions to this as
to almost all other rules.

[Sidenote: On smoking when driving.]

It used to be considered bad manners to smoke when driving with a lady.
This is now quite antediluvian, so to speak. Permission must, of course,
always be asked of the lady. It is scarcely ever refused, and it is
almost an exceptional thing to see a man driving without a cigar between
his teeth.

Should the lady driven meet some acquaintances unknown to her
charioteer, and wish to stop and converse with them, he raises his hat
and awaits her pleasure. She will probably introduce him, but if not he
takes no part in the conversation. The only thing he can do is to remain
passive, but unless the lady feels justified in introducing him it is an
error of taste on her part to enter into conversation with her friends.

[Sidenote: In which case the rule may be broken.]

Some ladies have a great disinclination to mount a four-in-hand or mail
phaeton until the driver is seated with the reins in his hand and in
full command of the horses. There is nothing surprising in this, for,
after all, the groom who stands at the head of the horses before the
start has very little control over them, and one or two disagreeable
accidents have occurred in this way, the horses taking fright and
escaping from his grasp. Consequently it would be no breach of good
manners for the gentleman driving to take his seat and thus reassure his
nervous companion.


[Sidenote: Chess and whist permanently popular.]

A man who can play a good game of chess, or even an excellent rubber of
whist, must be aware that the acquirement involves an education in
itself. Neither is ever likely to become unpopular among the best
classes of society. Chess and whist clubs increase in number as time
goes on; but for the purposes of everyday life less exigent games are
found more useful.

[Sidenote: One should be able to play the minor games.]

Billiards, backgammon, poker, bézique, baccarat, écarté, draughts,
vingt-et-un, and loo may be mentioned among the minor accomplishments
with which the modern young man finds it convenient to be equipped. That
a bad use has been made of some of these by converting them into media
for gambling is not to be denied. At the same time there is no reason
why those who play them in moderation should refrain from doing so
because others abuse rather than use these means of recreation.

[Sidenote: These things are innocent in themselves.]

A round game affords a very innocent mode of spending an enjoyable
evening, and country-house life especially is often enlivened in this

[Sidenote: And often quite necessary.]

Home life, whether in town or country, is apt to become monotonous,
particularly for the young members of the family, if there is not
occasionally an amusing game got up to pass away the evening hours, and
anything that adds to the attractions of home must at least have one
excellent recommendation.

[Sidenote: A man’s breeding is shown in his play.]

Apart from other considerations, the demeanour of a young man when
playing cards affords a very good test of his manners. Some of them
appear to think that the only fun to be had out of the game lies in
cheating--very open and transparent cheating, to be sure--but still
sufficient to spoil the amusement of others. A curious development of
money greed is sometimes observable in players, who will show extreme
exasperation at the loss of so simple a coin as a penny.

[Sidenote: Irritability over games.]

There are many fairly good-tempered men (and women) who evince extreme
irritability over games of any kind. To play with such as these is very
disagreeable, and the tendency to irascibility should be firmly checked
by those who wish to be popular in society.

The host or hostess always takes the lead in these games, or else
deputes some one else to do so. It is a sign of ill-breeding when any
outsider assumes the command of a game without having been asked to do

[Sidenote: An outsider may not take the lead unsolicited.]

Unfortunately, gambling games are very popular at some houses, and it is
possible for a young man, being unaware of the fact, to be drawn in and
lose more than he can afford before he can politely extricate himself.

[Sidenote: Men and houses to be avoided.]

In such circumstances the only thing he can do is religiously to avoid
any such house in future. It is a matter of notoriety that there are men
who make good incomes by fleecing the young and inexperienced whom they
invite to their houses under the guise of friendship; but even when
there is no deliberate dishonesty in question, as in these cases, the
host or hostess, out of pure love of gambling, draws in the guests to
play for high sums.

[Sidenote: Things to be reckoned with.]

Unpardonable, it is true, but such things have to be reckoned with, and
avoided, if possible. The matter is not confined to London;
country-house life has much to answer for under the same heading.


[Sidenote: The rule of the road on the river.]

There is a rule of the road for the river, and those who boat on the
Thames on crowded days fervently wish that it were better understood.
There does not appear to be any means of acquiring the necessary
information. If such means exist they have never come under my notice,
and, for at least one summer, I spent many hours daily in that agreeable
form of exercise.

[Sidenote: With the tide--the middle of the stream.]

Boats coming down with the tide keep the middle of the river; those
going against it hug the shore on either side, but in passing other
boats coming in the same direction they must go out in a semicircle,
leaving the front boat the shore. Tow-boats are always given this

[Sidenote: Up-stream--either shore.]

In meeting other boats coming downstream which really have no right to
the shore, but are mistakenly kept near the margin by inexperienced
steerers, the boat going up-stream should not go out, but keep towards
the land.

[Sidenote: The rights of anglers.]

The rights of the numerous anglers should be respected; and it is not
only courteous but politic to do so, as it is disagreeable to have the
lines entangled in the boat.

[Sidenote: Sailing-boats.]

Row-boats give way to sailing-boats on the river, especially when the
latter are tacking to use the breeze. As to steam-launches, their motto
too often appears to be that “Might is right.” Occupants of small boats
keep a sharp look-out for these.

[Sidenote: Passing through locks.]

In passing through the locks the usual politeness of refraining from
shooting ahead of boats in front should be observed. Any active
emulation of this kind is a very risky business in the same way when
pulling a boat over the rollers. A man is bound to yield the _pas_ to
ladies or to any boat containing ladies. In fact, the courtesies of the
river may be summed up as similar to those on land.


[Sidenote: Invitation.]

“Mrs. X. requests the pleasure of Mr. L.’s company at dinner on
Thursday, the 16th of February, at eight o’clock.”

[Sidenote: Acceptance.]

“Mr. L. accepts with pleasure Mrs. X.’s kind invitation to dinner on
Thursday, the 16th of February.”

[Sidenote: Address of the hostess.]

These are the preliminaries; the lady’s address being on the sheet of
paper or card on which her invitation has been written.

[Sidenote: The usual interval.]

Three weeks’ notice is usual, but sometimes, in the season, when many
parties are going on, invitations are sent out four, five, or six weeks
beforehand, in order to secure the guests. In the case of “lions” even
longer invitations have been given; but as one of the first principles
of good breeding is never to “corner” anybody, it is scarcely fair to
invite those who are in much request without giving them the option of

[Sidenote: Unfairly long invitations.]

An invitation of seven or eight weeks’ length scarcely allows one to
plead a pre-engagement, and often defeats the eager hostess’s own end by
inducing the “lion” to accept without any intention of being present,
writing later on to “renage,” to use a good old whist term.

But as our young man is scarcely yet a “lion,” and probably not
over-burdened with engagements for dinner or any other social function,
we may imagine him accepting with a free mind.

[Sidenote: Breaking the engagement.]

Should anything intervene to prevent him carrying out his engagement, he
is in duty bound to let his hostess know as early as possible that he
cannot be present at her dinner-party. This is more especially and
particularly necessary with dinners, though it holds good with regard to
all invitations.

[Sidenote: Peculiar obligation of the diner-out.]

But with dinner there is a peculiar obligation laid upon the guests. The
choice and arrangement of them involves care on the part of the
dinner-giver, more so than in the case of any other meal. In fact,
dinner stands alone as an institution sacred to the highest rites of
hospitality. To be invited is an honour to the young man who is just
beginning his social life. To absent himself would be a gross rudeness,
unless he could plead circumstances of a pressing nature. It is
considered a great infraction of good manners to wire on the very day
of the party that one cannot dine as arranged, unless something has
occurred to justify such conduct.

[Sidenote: On declining at the last moment.]

The hostess can with difficulty find a substitute at short notice, and
the whole plan of her table is destroyed by the absence of one person.
There are few people who would not feel offended at being invited to
fill a gap of the kind, and this is what makes it so extremely
discourteous to disappoint at the last moment, as it were.

[Sidenote: A “fill-up” invitation.]

The unfortunate hostess thinks, “Is there any one good-natured enough to
come and fill the vacant place?” Sometimes this is the _raison d’être_
of a young man’s first invitation. Let him accept it by all means, even
though he is perfectly aware that he was not his entertainer’s first

[Sidenote: One’s first dinner-party.]

Many a young man feels nervous about his first dinner-party. There are a
few puzzling things that trouble him in prospect. He wonders if he
should wear gloves, as ladies do, taking them off at the dinner-table.
Let me set his mind at rest on this small point, at once.

[Sidenote: Gloves not worn by men.]

He need not wear gloves. In fact, he must not. Another little matter to
be remembered is that a quarter of an hour’s grace is always understood
in dinner invitations. Should the hour indicated be 8 o’clock, then
care must be taken to time the arrival at five or ten minutes past the

[Sidenote: Punctuality imperative.]

But it is better to be too early than too late. A want of punctuality at
this meal is unpardonable. It is the very height of rudeness, annoying
to the host and hostess, displeasing to the guests, and regarded as
outrageous by the cook.

[Sidenote: One’s first duty to one’s hostess.]

When our young man is shown into the drawing-room, he at once goes up to
his hostess, no matter whether there is any one he knows nearer to the
door than the lady of the house. This is always a fixed rule, whether it
be on the occasion of a call or visit, or on having been invited to a
party of any kind. When he has been greeted by his hostess he looks
round the room to see if there is anyone present whom he knows.

[Sidenote: Then acquaintances.]

If so, he goes up to the ladies first, if there are any of his
acquaintance present, and afterwards greets the gentlemen. His host will
probably have shaken hands with him immediately after his wife has done

[Sidenote: Introduction to partner.]

He will then be told what lady he is to take down to dinner, and be
introduced to her, if he does not already know her. He must bow, not
shake hands, and make small talk for her during the interval between his
introduction and the announcement of dinner.

[Sidenote: Making small talk.]

Here is his first real difficulty. To converse with a perfect stranger
is always one of the initial social accomplishments to be learned, and
it is not at all an easy thing at first. It needs practice.

[Sidenote: If possible, avoid talking about the weather.]

Ninety men out of every hundred offer a remark upon the weather; but
unless there has been something very extraordinary going on in the
meteorological line, it is better to avoid this subject if possible. A
girl at Ascot said to me one lovely day, “That’s the eighth man who has
informed me that it’s a beautiful day.” Up came a ninth with the very
same observation, and both she and I felt inclined to titter like very
schoolgirls. It is far better to start with something more original.

[Sidenote: The first person singular not a good topic.]

It is as well to keep the pronoun “I” in the background just at first.
If your partner is as nice as she might be, she will soon give you
abundant opportunity for talking about yourself.

[Sidenote: The beginner’s partner.]

By the way, a man must not at his very first dinner-party expect to be
given a pretty girl to take down. He may possibly be so fortunate, but
those prizes are usually reserved for men of more experience in social
life. The young man has probably been invited to make up the necessary
number of men, and an unmarried lady of uncertain age or an elderly
woman without much claim to consideration will probably fall to his

[Sidenote: Compensations.]

However, there is this consolation, she will be excellent for practising
upon. He would not mind making small mistakes so much as if his partner
were a young and charming girl.

[Sidenote: The small-talk art not so difficult.]

Nor is the art of making small talk so difficult as it would be with a
pair of bright and youthful eyes beaming into your own, and confusing
you into forgetfulness of all but their own delightful language.

But what to talk about is the puzzle of the moment.

[Sidenote: A good beginning.]

I have known a good beginning made with some such, remark as, “Do you
know everybody here?” This leads perhaps to the acquisition of some
information as to the other guests.

[Sidenote: Some useful topics.]

At table there will be more to suggest topics. The floral decorations
often lead up to conversation. The colours of the flowers remind one of
pictures, and the lady on one’s right may be asked if she has been to
any exhibitions that may be open. If so, what pictures she liked best.
Does she paint? Has she read the novel of the hour? What she thinks of
it? Does she bike? At this rate our novice gets on swimmingly, and may
safely be left to himself.

[Sidenote: A few details.]

I must not omit some small details dealing with the guest on his
arrival, and on his way afterwards from the drawing-to the dining-room.

[Sidenote: On arrival.]

The servant who admits him takes his overcoat and hat, either in the
hall or in a room set apart for the purpose.

[Sidenote: The lady precedes her escort.]

Should he be accompanied by a lady he follows her upstairs, and she
enters the room slightly in advance of him, probably about a yard or so.
The young man must not have the appearance of hanging back, however. He
walks steadily and rather briskly up the room.

[Sidenote: Taking down to dinner.]

When the move to the dining-room is made, the gentlemen offer to the
ladies the arm which will place them on the wall side of the staircase,
thus avoiding the contact of their dresses with the balusters. But
should the dining-room be, as it very frequently is, on the same floor
as the drawing-room, then the right arm is offered.

[Sidenote: Positions at table.]

The lady sits on the right of her escort at table. The servants usually
indicate the seats that the guests are to occupy. Sometimes the host,
previously instructed by the hostess, comes to the rescue with, “Your
seat is here, I believe, Mr. So-and-so,” who immediately takes his lady
to the chair on the right of the two the couple are to occupy. The
system of name-cards is observed in some circles, but it is not a good

[Sidenote: Name-cards.]

It is distressing, in these days of short sight and small rooms, to see
several couples wandering about endeavouring to decipher the names on
the small cards.

[Sidenote: The better plan.]

It is much better for the host to have made himself master of the order
in which the guests are to be seated, and as he enters the dining-room
first with the lady of highest social importance, he is ready to point
out their places to each couple as they enter.

[Sidenote: Preliminaries at table.]

The first thing to be done on sitting down is to unfold the table napkin
and place it across the knee. The menu is then consulted, and a mental
note made of any favourite dish, so that it may not be refused. But all
the time a flow of small talk must be kept up with one’s partner of the
hour. Sometimes she turns to talk with the man on her right. Then her
escort may converse with the lady on his left, if she is disengaged. But
he must always remember that his first duty is to her whom he took down.

[Sidenote: The wineglasses.]

There will probably be three or four wineglasses on our young friend’s
right. One of these--either a long-stemmed, wide-cupped glass or a small
tumbler--is for champagne. The coloured glass is for hock, the
slenderest and smallest is for sherry, and the claret-glass occupies in
dimensions a midway between those of the champagne and claret-glass.

[Sidenote: Knives and forks.]

With regard to the knives and forks, everything is now made very easy
for the novice by the way in which the table is laid.

[Sidenote: Taking soup.]

The tablespoon is for soup, which must be eaten from the side of the
spoon close to the point. The fish knife and fork are placed outside the
others, so as to be ready to the hand, the fish course coming directly
after the soup.

[Sidenote: Carving.]

The dishes are usually all handed round at dinner-parties, the carving
being done at the sideboard or in an immediately adjoining room, but
sometimes the host carves the joint and game.

There is occasionally a subtle reason for this preference, not wholly
unconnected with a taste for those morsels that especially appeal to the
gourmand. The host may desire to secure these for some special,
appreciative guest--or for himself! In some families the principal
dishes are always placed before the master of the house to be carved.
Maidservants can rarely carve well, and butlers have gone considerably
out of fashion in the upper middle classes of society of late years.

[Sidenote: Choice of dishes and wines.]

When offered the usual choice of dishes or wines, the guest must decide
at once and indicate his choice without delay. Any hesitation gives him
the air of being unable to reject either; of being in the position,
with regard to food, occupied by the poet who wrote--

    “How happy could I be with either,
     Were t’other dear charmer away!”

So he must be prompt, and, should the dish be handed round, help himself
without delay.

[Sidenote: Helping oneself.]

On this very point of helping himself I have seen young men endure
excruciating agonies of shyness. Sometimes they take the merest morsel
of some excellent dish, though they would like very well to have some
more. At other times they help themselves to far too much, because they
are so confused that they will not take the necessary time to separate
for their own share a moderate quantity. Occasionally they drop the
spoon or fork with a clatter into the dish, after which they look
intensely miserable for ten minutes or so.

[Sidenote: A useful reflection.]

The best way to avoid all this is to preserve absolute self-possession
by reflecting that the other guests are all too well occupied to pay any
attention to such trifling matters. The self-consciousness of which
shyness is the outward and visible sign, makes a young man feel that
every one is observing him, especially when he is awkward in handling
things. But he may console himself with the conviction that he is of
much less importance to them than their own dinner, to say nothing of
the ladies who sit beside them.

When asked to choose between claret or hock, he may either mention one
or indicate the glass.

[Sidenote: The order of the wines.]

“Sherry, sir,” is the first wine handed round. Then comes the choice
between claret and hock.

[Sidenote: Indicating.]

Afterwards “champagne, sir?” usually answered by slightly drawing the
champagne-glass forward, or by a nod; sometimes by a shake of the head.

[Sidenote: Thanking servants.]

An occasional “Thanks” to the servant is not amiss, but it is
unnecessary to keep on expressing gratitude. Some people never dream of
saying “Thank you.” Others say it out of pure graciousness of manner and
gentleness of mind. So our young man may take his choice.

[Sidenote: Maidservants at table.]

I have observed that when a neat and pretty parlourmaid waits at table
she is more likely to be thanked than a manservant; and this not only by
gentlemen, but by ladies as well. I offer no explanation of why this
should be so. I merely record the fact as I have noted it.

The perfection of service resolves itself into absolute accuracy of
machinery united to the observant watchfulness of long training. One
barely discovers that one needs bread when it is presented at one’s

[Sidenote: The perfection of service.]

In the same way, vegetables, wine, aërated waters, or whatever one may
be drinking, arrives at exactly the right moment. The mechanism or
organisation of such waiting is so good that there is no interruption of
conversation. The servants understand that a mere turning away from the
dish means rejection. Should any guest find a difficulty in helping
himself, they simplify matters for him as much as possible.

[Sidenote: Studying the menu.]

As the dishes are not named when they are handed round, it is necessary
to study the menu in order to know what they are. Some young people
appear to think that it looks “greedy” to pay much attention to the
information given on the dainty little bill of fare; but this, of
course, is one of youth’s delusions. I have seen a short-sighted young
man straining his eyes in the endeavour to read furtively the names of
the dishes on his menu. He would have done far better if he had boldly
taken it up in his hand to examine it.

However hungry one may be, the duty of keeping up a conversation must
not be neglected. The

[Sidenote: A topic to be avoided.]

The viands must never be chosen as a topic, for either praise or blame.
If one knows a girl very well, one may ask, “Do you like sweets?” or
some such question, but it is safer with strangers to avoid the subject
of the food provided.

[Sidenote: Moderation in wines.]

It is scarcely necessary to remark that drinking too much wine is a very
bad phase of ill manners. At one time it was actually fashionable to
become intoxicated after dinner, but those days are gone, I am thankful
to say. The young man who exceeds in this way is soon made aware of the
fact that he has given his hostess dire offence. He is never invited
again, or not for a long time.

The wineglass is never drained at a draught in polite society; nor is it
considered polite to eat very quickly.

[Sidenote: As little noise as possible.]

The knife, fork, and spoon are handled as noiselessly as possible.
Scraping the edge of the knife against the plate is unpardonable. It
produces a grating noise that is excessively unpleasant. In sending a
plate away to be replenished, the diner leaves his knife and fork or his
spoon, as the case may be, upon it.

In dealing with bread, use neither knife nor fork.

[Sidenote: Bread must be broken.]

It must be broken with the fingers. There is a story of an absent-minded
and short-sighted prelate who, with the remark, “My bread, I think?” dug
his fork into the white hand of a lady who sat beside him. He had been
badly brought up, or he would not have used his fork, and the white
hand would have experienced nothing worse than a sudden grasp.

[Sidenote: The moustache and soup.]

It requires some expertness and practice for a man with a moustache to
take soup in a perfectly inoffensive manner. The accomplishment is worth
some trouble.

[Sidenote: The mouth.]

Some men, who should know better (and some women, too), forget that the
mouth should be kept closed while mastication is going on. This is a
very important matter.

[Sidenote: Nature not a good guide in this matter.]

Nature teaches us to keep the mouth open, as any one may see from the
way in which children and uncultivated persons eat, but good manners
enjoin upon us that to adopt the natural mode is to disgust and annoy
those with whom we sit at meat. If these little things have not been
learned in childhood, it is difficult to master them afterwards. Mothers
should also teach their boys (and girls) never to speak while food is in
the mouth, and never to drink until it is quite empty. Who would not be
mortified if he were to choke ignominiously at the dinner-table?

[Sidenote: How to eat a curry, &c.]

The correct way to eat a curry is with a spoon and fork; but this is the
only meat dish that is eaten in this way. Sweetbreads and many other
entrées are eaten with the fork alone. It is then held in the right
hand. Should a knife be found necessary it can, of course, be used.
Vegetable entrées are always eaten with a fork, held in the right hand.
Fish is eaten with a silver (or plated) knife and fork.

[Sidenote: Taking Sauces.]

Sauces are never taken very plentifully. The sauce ladle, filled, will
be generally sufficient. I once saw a man, in helping himself to oyster
sauce, look scrutinisingly in the sauceboat and carefully fish about for
as many oysters as he could collect in the ladle. This caused some
covert amusement, except, perhaps, to the last persons to whom the sauce
was handed. They probably found few oysters.

[Sidenote: Foods touched with the fingers.]

Bread, biscuits, olives, asparagus, celery, and bonbons are the forms of
food that may be touched with the fingers. There used once to be a rule
that a bone might be picked, if only the finger and thumb were used in
holding it. But that was in the days when table cutlery was far from
having been brought to its present condition of perfection. There is now
no excuse for handling bones--knives and forks suffice; and it is only
in the lowest grades of society that they are found inadequate.

[Sidenote: Salads.]

In helping oneself to salad, it must be placed on the crescent-shaped
plate laid down for that purpose before it is handed round. This plate
is put at the left side of the round plate. Both knife and fork are
often necessary with salads, but if they are sent to table as they
should be, with the lettuce and other vegetables broken small, the fork
is quite sufficient. It is always disagreeable to see a steel knife used
with vinegar, and it should be avoided whenever possible to do so.

[Sidenote: Oysters.]

Oysters served on the shell are eaten with a fish-knife and fork. Other
fish hors d’œuvres are eaten with a fish-fork.

[Sidenote: Hors d’œuvres]

It is not always possible to tell, either from the appearance or name of
the hors d’œuvre, whether it consists of fish or meat. In that case
it is safer to use an ordinary fork; and for this reason: the fish-knife
has been laid for a fish course, and if it should have been previously
unnecessarily used for the hors d’œuvre, it will be needful for the
servant to bring another. Fish rissoles may be eaten with a fish-fork
only--in fact, any preparation that does not need the knife.

[Sidenote: A safe rule.]

It is a safe rule never to use either knife or spoon if the fork will
do. With ice-pudding or ices in any form a small spoon is used.

Now let us take the dinner from the very beginning, and go through the

[Sidenote: The courses seriatim.]

[Sidenote: Hors d’œuvres.]

First, there may be hors d’œuvres, small morsels of various kinds
which are found ready to hand when the guests sit down. I have already
referred to these.

[Sidenote: Soup.]

Next comes soup, generally one thick and one clear. The attendant offers
the diner a choice, and he must promptly make it. When it is set before
him he begins at once, not waiting till every one is served.

[Sidenote: Taste before salting.]

He takes up the tablespoon, placed ready at his right hand, and it is
not considered very good form to immediately put some salt into the soup
before tasting it. People who pride themselves on the possession of a
clever cook sometimes feel annoyed at the distrust of her powers shown
in this simple action.

[Sidenote: The addenda to soup.]

With soup small addenda are often handed. The guest helps himself to
these, whether they are croûtons, fried bread-crumbs or other
supplementary provision, with the spoon handed round on the dish.

[Sidenote: When to begin dining.]

It is a very old-fashioned piece of good manners to wait till every one
is served. So old-fashioned is it that it survives at present only among
the uncultured classes. The correct thing to do nowadays is to begin
eating without reference to others. The old style must not only have
been trying in consequence of seeing one’s food grow cold before one’s
eyes, but it must also have been responsible for making dinner a very
slow and tedious meal. Now the attendants remove the plates from the
guests first helped directly the fork is laid down, and this greatly
accelerates the service.

[Sidenote: Tilting the soup-plate.]

[Sidenote: The direction of the tilt.]

The soup-plate, if tilted at all, is raised at the side nearest the
eater, so that the soup collects at the furthest point from him. It is
generally unnecessary to tilt the plate, however. But the thing to avoid
is passing the left hand round it in a half-embrace and tilting it
towards the eater. This is highly incorrect; it is also dangerous. The
soup has been known to spill on the cloth, and even over the diner.

When the servant is removing your soup-plate he will sometimes ask, “Any
more, sir?” to which you must reply in the negative. A shake of the head
will suffice.

[Sidenote: Neither soup nor fish may be helped twice.]

Soup is never helped twice. Nor is fish. This is the next course. Bread
is always eaten with fish. I have already explained that a silver knife
and fork are used.

[Sidenote: Fish and fish sauce.]

The sauce handed is almost invariably accepted. Sometimes the cruet is
handed round, containing some sort of condiment suitable to the fish
served. It is, of course, a matter of choice whether this be accepted or

Very few diners work straight through a menu without omitting some

[Sidenote: Omitting dishes.]

The idea of giving so many is that there may be some to suit all tastes.
No one is expected to take of all, though it is quite permissible to do

[Sidenote: Entrées.]

After the soup and fish the entrées are handed round. The dishes are
presented at the left side of the diner, and he helps himself with his
right hand, a tablespoon being placed on the dish for that purpose; or
with both hands, using spoon and fork, should the nature of the dish
render this necessary.

[Sidenote: Accompaniments to dishes.]

When slices from a joint, or game, or poultry are handed round, the
vegetables, gravies, and sauces accompanying them are handed after. It
is usual to wait for these etceteras before beginning upon the meat,
fowl, venison, or game. For instance, no one would commence upon a slice
of roast beef or mutton without potatoes or gravy, nor upon a piece of
pheasant without browned bread-crumbs, or bread sauce, or gravy. I say
“no one” would do it, but I have seen it done, whether in absence of
mind or from pressure of appetite I cannot pretend to say. It is a
mistake, however.

[Sidenote: Sweets and cheese.]

Cheese is handed round after the sweets in order to prepare the palate
for the enjoyment of dessert wines. This, at least, was the original
meaning of introducing it at this stage of the meal.

[Sidenote: Ice-pudding.]

But now ice-pudding, when served, follows it, thus contradictorily
re-establishing the reign of sweets.

[Sidenote: Savouries.]

Savouries are handed round with the cheese course. These are eaten with
a fork. Even a cheese fondu is eaten with a fork, though the cook
occasionally fails to bring it to the requisite firmness of consistency,
in which case it looks more suited to a spoon; but the fork must do.

[Sidenote: Celery.]

Celery is eaten with the fingers, like asparagus.

[Sidenote: Asparagus.]

This last-named, by the way, if too much cooked, and consequently very
soft and unmanageable, may be eaten with the fork, but must not be
touched with the knife. And again, should asparagus be served with the
melted butter thrown over it, it must be eaten with a fork. It very
seldom is so served, but I have met with this mode in some houses.

Cheese ramequins are eaten with the fingers.

[Sidenote: Cheese, how served.]

Cheese itself is handed round on a dish or plate with the pieces cut
ready to one’s hand.

[Sidenote: Cheese, how eaten.]

The diner helps himself with the knife laid ready beside the pieces of
cheese, not with his own knife. If watercress is handed round, it is
taken up in the fingers and eaten in the same way. Cheese is cut in
small pieces and conveyed to the mouth on a piece of bread or biscuit.
Very few persons continue to eat it in the old-fashioned way by carrying
it to the mouth with the knife. I have seen it taken up with the
fingers, but as cheese is apt to smell rather strongly it is better to
avoid touching it.

[Sidenote: A safe rule with sweets.]

With regard to sweets, it is a safe rule to use the fork only when it
suffices for the work in hand. With tarts, as a rule, both spoon and
fork are necessary, especially when there is syrup. Cold tart can often
be comfortably eaten with a fork. Jellies and creams are eaten with a
fork only; ice-pudding with an ice-spoon, or, failing that, a teaspoon.

From the moment one has unfolded one’s napkin and placed the bread it
contained at one’s left, there is nothing more to do that concerns the
“cover,” as the preparation for each diner’s convenience is called,
until the dessert-plate, with its d’oyley, finger-glass, silver knife
and fork--and perhaps ice-plate and spoon in addition--is set down
before one.

[Sidenote: Placing the dessert knife and fork.]

[Sidenote: D’oyley and finger-glass.]

Before the or dessert are handed round, one must place the dessert-knife
and fork at right and left, respectively, of one’s plate, and, taking up
the finger-glass carefully in one hand, with the other place the d’oyley
on the cloth to the left of one’s plate, then setting the finger-glass
down upon it. I say “carefully,” because these glasses are often of the
lightest possible kind, and are occasionally of a costly description.
Besides, rough handling might tend to spill the water they contain.

[Sidenote: Dessert.]

With regard to the dessert fruits, &c., there are a few puzzles to be
found among them for the inexperienced.

[Sidenote: Grapes.]

Grapes present one of these.

[Sidenote: Expelling skin and seeds.]

They are taken up singly, and afterwards the skin and seeds have to be
expelled as unobtrusively as possible. It is a matter of great
difficulty to accomplish this by any other method than using the hand,
therefore this is the accepted custom. The forefinger is curved above
the mouth in a manner which serves to conceal the ejectment, and the
skin and seeds are in this way conveyed to the plate, the fingers being
afterwards wiped with the napkin.

[Sidenote: Bananas.]

Bananas are peeled with the knife and fork, and the pieces are conveyed
to the mouth by means of the fork.

[Sidenote: Oranges.]

Oranges are cut in two, then in four, and with the aid of knife and fork
the contents of each section are extracted in two or more parts, and
carried to the lips on the fork.

[Sidenote: Apples and pears, &c.]

Apples and pears are peeled with the knife and fork; peaches, apricots,
and nectarines in the same way.

[Sidenote: Strawberries.]

Strawberries are taken by the stem, dipped in sugar and cream, and
carried to the lips with the fingers.

If the fruit has been picked free of husks and stem, it may be bruised
on the plate with sugar and cream, and eaten with a spoon. Preserved
ginger is eaten with the knife and fork.

[Sidenote: Pines and melons.]

A spoon is necessary with pines, melons, and very juicy strawberries,
after they have been prepared with the knife and fork.

[Sidenote: Nuts.]

Nuts are cracked with the nutcrackers, and then extracted by the
fingers. With filberts and Brazil nuts the knife and fork are called
into requisition in order to free them from skin, but walnuts are too
intricate for anything less wonderful in mechanism than the human hand.
In view of this, they are sometimes prepared before being sent to table,
and of late years they have been sold ready cracked and peeled for this

[Sidenote: Almonds.]

Almonds are never sent to table in their shells, so that they present no
difficulties to the novice. At dessert they are usually accompanied by
raisins, which, like the almonds, are carried to the mouth in the

[Sidenote: Crystallised fruits.]

Crystallised fruits are cut with the knife and fork, unless they happen
to be of a small size, such as cherries. In that case they are eaten
whole, being carried to the lips on the fork.

[Sidenote: Liqueurs.]

Liqueurs are handed round at dessert, poured out ready into the small
glasses that are called after them. There is generally a choice, such as
“Chartreuse or Bénèdictine, sir?” to which it is unnecessary to reply,
“Both, please,” as a historic young man did once.

[Sidenote: Passing the wines.]

The servants often leave the dining-room when the dessert is placed on
the table, and when this is so, the wine is passed round from hand to
hand, each gentleman attending first to the lady he has escorted and
then helping himself before passing on the decanter, claret jug, or
champagne bottle. The good old fashion of using silver decanter-stands
has long disappeared, to the detriment of many a good tablecloth. So has
the genial and hospitable fashion of drinking wine with one’s guests,
and they with each other. But this may be rather a good thing in the
interests of temperance.

[Sidenote: The water-drinker not singular.]

Apropos to this subject, I may remark that there is now nothing singular
in drinking nothing but water. The days are gone when a man was thought
a milksop because he could not “drink his bottle,” or if he refused wine
or spirits. Should any young man prefer water, he asks for it when the
servants offer him wine. He is then offered Apollinaris or distilled
water or soda-water, or some other preparation of filtered and distilled
water, and may choose some of these in preference to plain water.

[Sidenote: “One wine” diners.]

Claret is the favourite dessert wine of the day, but port is still seen
at some tables, and it is usual to offer champagne, as many prefer to
drink only one kind of wine throughout the meal, from start to finish.
In fact, this is becoming quite a fashion in some sets.

[Sidenote: Cigars and cigarettes.]

The host provides cigars and cigarettes for his guests, and it would not
be necessary or advisable to produce one’s own supply.

[Sidenote: When the ladies leave the dining-room.]

When the ladies rise to leave the dining-room, the gentleman nearest the
door opens the door for them, and stands beside it until they have all
passed through, when he closes it after them. However anxious he may be
to join them in the drawing-room, he must not do so until the others
make a move. Sometimes, if he is very young and rather “out of it” when
politics or sport are under discussion, his host says to him, “I’m
afraid you are bored. If you would like to join the ladies, don’t stand
on ceremony.” But on the other hand he may dread the ordeal of entering
the drawing-room alone, and feel that the safer way is to wait for a
convoy. This he must decide for himself.

[Sidenote: A hint from the host.]

Perhaps his host may wish to talk confidentially with some other guest.
If he makes this apparent to the younger man, the latter must accept any
such intimation as the above, understanding it to be a courteous mode of
dismissing him.

[Sidenote: The ordinary rule when rejoining the ladies.]

The ordinary rule is that the gentlemen join the ladies all together,
the man of highest position leaving the dining-room first, the host
last. Tea is then carried round in the drawing-room, and the gentlemen
take the empty cups from the ladies and put them down in some safe
place, out of the way of risk of accident.

[Sidenote: When a lady sings or plays.]

Should any lady sing or play, the gentleman nearest to her escorts her
to the piano and helps her to arrange her music, to dispose of her
gloves, fan, handkerchief, &c.

[Sidenote: Leaving early.]

It is scarcely etiquette for young men to leave first after a
dinner-party. It is more usual for the elders of the party to make the
first move towards departure. But should the young man have an
engagement of a pressing kind, such as a promise to escort ladies to a
ball, he must withdraw in good time, explaining the position to his

No one leaves after a dinner-party without saying “Good-night” to his
host and hostess. Even in the case of an early departure, before the
gentlemen have left the dining-room, the guest must visit the
drawing-room to make his adieux, not only to the lady of the house, but
to any others who may be of his acquaintance. Those whom he has met for
the first time that evening may be saluted with a parting bow.

At a formal dinner-party the evening suit is imperative, with
dress-coat, white or black waistcoat, black trousers, and white tie.
When dining with friends with whom one is on terms of familiarity, the
dinner-jacket may be substituted for the coat. Black ties often take the
place of white. Patent-leather shoes or boots must be worn. It would be
unpardonable to appear in thick walking-boots or shoes; and the
necessity for immaculately polished footgear has cost the young man of
the present day many a cab. His varnished shoes must show no trace of
mud or dust. To tell the truth, he often carries a silk handkerchief in
his pocket wherewith to obliterate the traces of the latter.

The pocket-handkerchief used with evening dress must be of white
cambric, and of as good a colour as one’s washerwoman will permit. It
ought to be of fine quality. The hair must be short and very well

It used to be the custom to tip the servants on leaving the house where
one had dined as a guest, but this has fallen into disuse. There are
many men who hand a silver coin to the butler, or footman, or
waiting-maid who helps them into their coats, calls up their carriage,
or hails a cab for them, seeing them into it, or rendering any other
service of a similar kind. This is a matter that each man must decide
for himself. It is only necessary to remark that the custom of giving
shillings or half-crowns to the servants after a dinner-party no longer
reigns; though there are always good-natured folk who will not let it
absolutely die out.


The following information is supplied by a gentleman well-known in the
City, and thoroughly _au fait_ in such matters.

[Sidenote: Public dinners.]

“Public dinners may be classed as those given by associations, or public
bodies, and those given by institutions, such as some of the great City

[Sidenote: When given by an association.]

When given by an association, the function is generally managed by a
committee, who have the arrangement of all the details, such as choosing
the menu, the wines, preparing the programme of music, instrumental or
vocal, and arranging the due sequence of the speeches.

[Sidenote: On arrival.]

A guest invited to such an entertainment who may not be of the few
highly placed personages who sit at the cross-table or on the daïs, and
from whom speeches are expected, will, on arriving at the hall, hotel,
or public institution selected, find that the first thing required of
him will be his invitation card. In exchange for this he will be handed
a more or less elaborate menu card, which will also contain the list of
music and a sketch showing the positions of the guests’ seats at the

[Sidenote: Saluting the hosts.]

After depositing his hat and overcoat in the cloak-room, receiving a
numbered ticket for them, he enters the reception-or drawing-room, his
name is announced, and he passes into the room, goes up to the members
of the committee, who stand by themselves to receive the guests, bows or
shakes hands, and passes on to join the other guests who are either
sitting or standing in groups engaged in conversation.

[Sidenote: When dinner is announced.]

When dinner is announced the hosts and the highest in rank of the guests
file into the dining-room and take up their position by their chairs,
followed by the rest; any clergyman present says grace on being asked to
do so, and the banquet commences.

[Sidenote: The order of the ceremony.]

Strangers sitting next to each other soon fall into conversation, and
after the dispatch of the solid portion of the repast come the speeches.
Music is played at intervals, perhaps a few songs sung by professionals,
then dessert, cigars, and coffee, after which the guests find their way
to the drawing-room for more general conversation, some preferring to
leave without re-entering the drawing-room. In such large gatherings it
is not necessary to take leave of their hosts, as a rule.

[Sidenote: Dinners given by City Companies.]

“Dinners given by City companies are very much on the same principle.
The guest has but to don his evening clothes and carry himself with easy
composure, not always quite a simple matter to the inexperienced, if one
may judge from the hurried steps and the sudden bob that many give on
entering the reception-room after arrival.”

[Sidenote: Dinners for charities.]

At dinners given on behalf of charities, it is well to go prepared with
a subscription, as a collection is often made on these occasions. If not
prepared to subscribe, it is more discreet to stay away.

[Sidenote: On tips.]

With regard to tips the only ones really recognised are those for which
the plates on the cloak-room table are laid ready in expectation of
small silver coins. Though no fees are actually necessary at table, the
initiated person is well aware that the man behind his chair can
administer to his wants and see that he is liberally provided with
viands and wines or other matters without keeping him waiting longer
than necessary. A tip, quietly conveyed before the dinner is under way,
is not by any means wasted.

It sometimes happens that semi-official dinners are given at private
houses, when proprietors of

[Sidenote: Semi-official dinners at private houses.]

newspapers or wealthy men interested in certain undertakings, entertain
the staff of those employed. In such circumstances it may be as well to
warn the guests against addressing the footmen as “waiter.” This may
appear to be superfluous advice, but I have myself been present when the
mistake was made, evidently to the intense indignation of the
magnificent being thus addressed.

At such dinners as these, the host treats his guests as his social
equals for the nonce. By having invited them to his house he places
himself in the position of regarding them as he would his own friends at
his dinner-table. Any infraction of this would be in the worst taste. It
is also usual to abstain from any business talk at such times as these,
the conversation being encouraged to dwell on general topics.

Though the fiction of social equality is maintained by the host, the
guests need not adopt a familiar, free-and-easy manner in response. True
manliness involves sufficient self-respect to preserve the possessor
from falling into this error; but it is, perhaps, a little difficult for
the novice, on such occasions, to bear himself in such wise as to avoid
undue familiarity on one hand and an air of stiffness and
standoffishness on the other. In his anxiety not to appear to presume
upon the friendliness of his host’s manner, he is apt to wear a rather
repellent air. And this is more particularly so when the _employé_ is by
birth the equal, if not the superior, of his entertainer. It often
happens that a man at the head of a great business has risen from
obscure beginnings to the command of wealth and a high position in the
world, enjoying a title and many of the extraneous advantages of rank.
Among those whom he employs may be several who are his social superiors
in all but wealth; but any of them who imagine that this fact gives them
any claim upon his consideration or entitles them to converse with him
upon a footing of equality, make a radical mistake. Their position, as
regards their employer, is exactly that justified by their standing in
his firm. The true gentleman is well aware of this, and would never
dream of asserting himself in any way on the strength of being well-born
or highly educated. He leaves all that kind of thing to the man who
feels his claim to gentlemanhood to be so shadowy and insecure as to
need constant insistance.

Besides, the host is usually the elder, and deference to seniority is an
important part of good manners, and sits extremely well upon the young.


[Sidenote: Should ladies request refreshment.]

When accompanying ladies who express a wish for refreshment, it is not
necessary to select a very expensive restaurant or confectioner’s. One
suitable to the social status of the party should be chosen.

[Sidenote: The man pays.]

The young man must pay for what his companions eat and drink, and very
often this is a most embarrassing matter. He may have enough money in
his pocket to defray the bill, and he may not.

[Sidenote: Though he cannot afford it.]

In any case, he is often unable to afford it, but the probabilities are
that if he has the wherewithal about him, he will pay in order to
extricate himself from an awkward predicament, even though he may
consequently be crippled financially for some days to come. If he has
only two or three shillings in his pocket, he feels extremely

[Sidenote: No well-bred woman would make the request.]

No well-bred woman or girl would ever place an acquaintance on the horns
of such a dilemma. But unfortunately there are many girls and women who
are lacking in taste and refinement, and who would regard it as an
excellent joke to play such a trick upon a “fellow,” as they would
probably call him, and enjoy his discomfort.

[Sidenote: The best course to adopt.]

The best thing to do in such a case is to be perfectly frank and open.
“I’m extremely sorry, but I have not sufficient cash with me for the
purpose.” It is very disagreeable to have to say so, but it is less
mortifying than to have to acknowledge it to the waiter at the
restaurant. A young man told me that he had once, in such a case, to
leave the table on pretence of speaking to the proprietor and fly round
to a pawnbroker’s to pledge his watch.

[Sidenote: A well-bred girl would bear her own expenses.]

A really well-bred girl or woman would make it clear that she intended
to pay for her own meal, and that only on that condition would she
accept the escort of the young man.

[Sidenote: On taking advantage of a man’s generosity.]

Sometimes after a run on a bicycle or a hot walk, a young man will say
to his sister and her friend, “Come in and have an ice.” If the friend
is one of the unscrupulous sort, she will very probably run him into
what, for him, is a considerable expense. He must pay it, however, and
the worst of it is that he cannot sit there and let her eat all by
herself. Even his sister, should she be present, must in good manners
join in to a certain extent. Otherwise the implied reproof would be too
obvious for good breeding.


Luncheon is a comparatively informal meal.

[Sidenote: Going down to luncheon.]

The guests do not pair off, as at dinner, but on the meal being
announced the host, if there be one, would open the door for the ladies,
who would go downstairs, followed by the hostess, the gentlemen behind

[Sidenote: In the absence of the host.]

Very often the master of the house is absent at luncheon, in which case
the hostess would rise, and, addressing her principal guest, would
propose to her to lead the way downstairs. “Shall we go down to lunch,
Mrs. So-and-so?” would be sufficient. The other ladies would probably be
sufficiently versed in the laws of society to refrain from preceding
those of higher position, and the hostess would always be the last lady
to leave the drawing-room.

[Sidenote: Positions at table.]

The guests sit down where they please, the host or hostess sometimes
making a suggestion on the matter.

[Sidenote: After the meal.]

After the meal the guests return to the drawing-room, but only for a
short time. The gentlemen resume their overcoats and take their hats and
umbrellas in the hall, where they had left them.

[Sidenote: Making calls at luncheon-time.]

Should a man make a call at luncheon-time, he is often asked to remain
for the meal. In that case he would carry his hat and stick into the
dining-room with him, just as he would if making an ordinary call. But
it is much better never to call anywhere at lunch-time unless one is on
very familiar terms with the family. Many young men acquire a reputation
for “cadging” for lunch or dinner in this way.

[Sidenote: Invitations from young members of the family.]

Invitations from the younger members of the family are not official,
unless plainly endorsed by the elders, or one of them. “Miss Lucy
invited me to lunch” is a poor plea. “Frank asked me to come and dine
this evening,” is no better. Young men cannot be too particular about
this matter. “I’ll get my mother to ask you to dinner, old man,” would
be the safer sort of invitation. The lady of the house must fix the
date, and she usually writes the invitation herself or gives it

[Sidenote: Unendorsed invitations from a daughter of the house.]

Should a daughter of the house give a young man an invitation to any
meal, without reference to her father or mother, it would be incorrect
in the highest degree to accept it. As to children, their invitations go
for nothing, of course, though cases have been known in which they have
been accepted. “I met little Eddy in the park, and he made me come in
with him.” This has a very poor and pitiable sound at luncheon hour or

[Sidenote: Making one’s adieux.]

It is not necessary to make one’s adieux to each guest in turn. The
hostess is taken leave of first, as a rule, and the lady, or ladies,
with whom one has been conversing will expect a special word and bow,
perhaps offering a hand; but a general bow will be sufficient for those
to whom one is not very well known. It is only at family parties that
one has conscientiously to go round the room shaking hands with


Gentlemen are in great request at five o’clock tea.

[Sidenote: Duties of men at five o’clock tea.]

Their duties are rather onerous if there are but one or two men and the
usual crowd of ladies. They have to carry teacups about, hand sugar,
cream, and cakes or muffins, and keep up all the time a stream of small
talk, as amusing as they can make it. They must rise every time a lady
enters or leaves the room, opening the door for her exit if no one else
is nearer to it, and, if his hostess requests him, he must see the lady
downstairs to her carriage or cab.

[Sidenote: His own refreshment.]

With regard to the viands, a man helps himself, but not till he has seen
that all the ladies in his vicinity have everything they can possibly
want. His hostess, or some lady deputed by her to preside at the
tea-table, gives him tea or coffee, and he adds sugar and cream.

[Sidenote: Afternoon at-homes.]

With regard to afternoon at-homes, the arrangements are quite different.
Invitations are sent out a fortnight or three weeks before, generally
the latter, and in the height of the season even longer.

Suppose the young man’s name to be Edward Smith. His invitation would be
as follows:--

    |        _MR. EDWARD SMITH._          |
    |                                     |
    |           LADY DART                 |
    |                                     |
    |            AT HOME,                |
    |                                     |
    |     _Tuesday, November 3rd._        |
    |                                     |
    |            4 TO 7.                  |
    |                                     |
    |   _12, Evergreen Square._           |
    |                                     |
    |                       R. S. V. P.   |

[Sidenote: Accepting invitation.]

He replies, on a sheet of notepaper:--“Mr. Edward Smith has much
pleasure in accepting Lady Dart’s kind invitation for Tuesday afternoon,
November 3rd.”

[Sidenote: A great mistake.]

It’s a great mistake to write:--“Will have much pleasure in accepting.”
Accepting is the action of the present moment while he is writing the
reply. “Will have” refers to the future, and is therefore unsuitable.
The answering of invitations is a simple matter enough, but it is a test
of good breeding.


[Sidenote: The underbred man at the play.]

At a theatre the underbred man is often in evidence, not only in the
low-priced seats, but also all over the house. He has been seen--and
heard--in private boxes. A well-known music-hall celebrity administered
a scathing reproof to one of these, who persisted in talking loudly
while she was singing. Stopping short, she looked up at the box in which
he sat, and cried: “One fool at a time, please,” after which he was as
quiet as a mouse.

[Sidenote: Entering late.]

It is a piece of bad manners to enter the theatre late, disturbing the
audience and annoying the players or singers.

[Sidenote: And leaving early.]

It is equally rude to leave before the entertainment is ended, unless
the interval be chosen when nothing is going on. At a concert this is
particularly true, for there are devotees of music who hang upon every
note and to whom it is a distinct loss to miss a single phrase of the
compositions they have come to hear.

[Sidenote: Inattention uncivil.]

Singers, actors, and actresses generally possess the sensitive,
sympathetic, artistic temperament, and it is wounding to them to see
members of the audience fidgeting, rustling about, chattering, laughing,
and otherwise showing inattention when they are doing their best to
entertain them. It is, therefore, uncivil to betray inattention.

[Sidenote: On appreciation.]

A little appreciation goes a long way with the members of the
professions of music and the drama. An actor told me once that after
having made a certain speech two or three times without any sign of
amusement from the audience, on the fourth night of the play a single
silvery note of musical mirth was heard from the stalls. It was but one
note--say E flat on the treble clef--but the audience immediately joined
in, perceiving the point of the speech as though it had been illuminated
for them by this one little laugh. He declared that ever after that
night his formerly unsuccessful “lines” elicited a roar of laughter.
Probably this was partly due to the sense of encouragement he felt,
inspiring him to due emphasis.

[Sidenote: In taking ladies to a place of entertainment.]

In taking ladies to a place of entertainment a gentleman hands them into
their carriage, a cab, or an omnibus, getting in last. Arrived at their
destination the gentleman alights first, handing out the ladies, and
giving any necessary orders to the coachman, or paying the cabman’s
fare. By the way, it is always as well to give instructions to the
coachman about where he is to

[Sidenote: Instructions to the coachman.]

be found, and at what hour he is to pick up his party, before entering
the carriage, as policemen view with much disfavour any prolonged
dialogue outside a place of entertainment where vehicles are setting
down their occupants in quick succession. Should there be a footman, of
course all these difficulties are obviated, as he can carry the
instructions to the coachman, and also knows where to find the carriage
when the performance is over.

[Sidenote: Should a hired brougham be used.]

Should a hired brougham be used as a conveyance in going to any place of
entertainment, or even a party at a private house, it is an excellent
plan to give the coachman a bright-coloured handkerchief, scarlet or
orange perhaps, that he may wear it conspicuously displayed, and can in
this way be at once recognised.

[Sidenote: To obviate waiting.]

It is a miserable business on a wet night to hunt for a brougham up and
down ill-lighted streets when in evening dress and patent leather boots,
and anything that tends to shorten the task is advisable. Nor do ladies
enjoy waiting in the draughty vestibule of opera-house, theatre, or
concert-room for an indefinite period while a short-sighted cavalier is
groping about the streets for their carriage.

If it is a question of a cab, the commissionaire at the door is the
best person to get one, which he will do for a small fee.

[Sidenote: A word of warning.]

Here again a word of warning is needed. There are men who, in their
special care of the ladies in their charge, forget that it is no part of
the duty of a gentleman to ignore the claims of other women who have not
the advantage of belonging to their party.

[Sidenote: Consideration due to all women.]

I have seen men who ought to have known better rudely pushing other
ladies away from the door of a cab or railway carriage in order that
their own womenkind may be well looked after. It is all very well to be
attentive and anxious to do one’s best, but it is ill-bred to the last
degree to subject to rudeness any ladies who happen to be without a
gentleman to look after them.

[Sidenote: An instance.]

Retribution followed very swiftly in one instance of the kind. At
Sandown station one day the second special train for Waterloo was coming
in, and the platform was crowded with gaily-dressed women, tired and hot
after the walk across the fields on a tropical July day. A lady and
small Eton boy were together, and suddenly, when about to open the door
of a carriage at the moment the train came to a standstill, found
themselves all but thrown down by a sweeping motion of the arm of a
young man who was bent on reserving that particular carriage for his
party. Without a word of apology to the lady, he shouted to his sisters
and friends to “Come on,” still holding back the two who had wished to
get in. They entered the next compartment, and as they did so the lady
remarked to her companion, “What an extremely ill-mannered person that
is!” Meanwhile the party next door were settling down and congratulating
themselves on having secured seats, when one of them turned to their
over-zealous friend and remarked, “I saw Lady Blank get into the next
carriage with her eldest boy.” “_Who?_” he asked, with a sudden and
remarkable rush of colour on his face. The lady to whom he had behaved
so rudely turned out to be one from whom he had that very morning
received a long-desired invitation to spend a few days at her country
house in the following month. This he owed to the good offices of a
friend in the F. O., and, delighted at having made such a step in his
social career, he had at once written off accepting the invitation. It
is scarcely necessary to add that he never made the visit, but had to
wire at the last moment one of those conventional excuses that the “unco
guid” call fibs, but which are only the transparent devices adopted by
society to lubricate some of the more difficult of its processes.

Between the acts of a play the modern man thinks it his duty to himself
to go out and have a drink, perhaps smoke a cigarette.

[Sidenote: The interval.]

There was a time when, had any such suggestion been made to a gentleman
who had constituted himself the escort of a lady, he would have asked,
though perhaps not in Milton’s words--

    “And leave thy fair side all unguarded, lady?”

But now the majority of young men visit the bar or the _foyer_.

[Sidenote: How a man may win golden opinions.]

But who shall say what golden opinions are won by those who do not
follow the custom, who refrain from acquiring the odour of tobacco, or
whiskey, or brandy while they are in the company of ladies in the heated
atmosphere of a theatre? A lady sometimes says to the men of her party,
“I see that there is a general stampede going on. Don’t mind me if you
would like to go out.” If they go she thinks, “Oh, they are just like
the rest.” If they stay she says to her own heart, “How delightful it is
to find a man who can do without a B.-and-S. or a smoke for two or three
hours!” and up he goes many pegs in her estimation.

[Sidenote: Other considerations.]

Apart from the lady he is with and considerations connected with her,
there is the inconvenience to which many of the audience are subjected
by the passing in and out of so many. However, it is a recognised
custom, so much so that a smoking _foyer_ is attached to all the best
theatres, and a warning bell is rung in it by the management a few
minutes before the rising of the curtain.

[Sidenote: When refreshments are brought around.]

Refreshments are frequently carried round by attendants to private
boxes, and sometimes in the stalls as well. Should they appear, it is
the duty of the gentleman of the party to ask the lady or ladies if they
wish for any, and to pay for what is consumed. It is, however, a rare
thing for ladies to eat or drink at the play. The gentleman also pays
for the programme at the few theatres where a charge is made.

[Sidenote: On unnecessary payment for programmes.]

I may mention, by the way, that it is not considered very good form to
pay for programmes at theatres where the management makes no charge.
Instances have been known where attendants have been discharged for
accepting such fees; and even apart from this, it is tantamount to
presenting the attendant with sixpence or a shilling if one insists on
paying for a programme or two provided free of charge. Many of the
attendants are superior to accepting it.


[Sidenote: The etiquette of the ball-room.]

The etiquette of the ball-room is not difficult to acquire, and yet
there are thousands of young men going into society constantly who
flagrantly fail in it. Their bad manners are conspicuous. They decline
to dance unless the prettiest girls in the room are “trotted out” for
them, block the doorways, haunt the refreshment-room, and after supper
promptly take their leave. Could any course of conduct be in worse
taste? And what can a poor hostess do? Young men are necessary at
dances, and they must be invited. If they will not dance, who shall make

[Sidenote: “The delight of the hostess’s heart.”]

The delight of the average hostess’s heart is the well-bred man,
unspoiled by conceit, who can always be depended on to do his duty. He
arrives in good time, fills his card before very long, and can be asked
to dance with a plain, neglected wallflower or two without resenting it.
He takes his partner duly to the refreshment-room after each dance, if
she wishes to go, and provides her with whatever she wishes. Before
leaving her, he sees her safe at her chaperon’s side. If he should sit
out a dance he returns in time to claim his partner for the next, not
leaving her till it is half over, as is the wont of some young men.

[Sidenote: Self-denial the secret of good society.]

The truth is that society demands a never-ending series of self-denying
actions from those who belong to it, and the more cheerfully these are
performed, the more perfect are the manners. What can be more enjoyable
than to sit in some cool retreat with a charming girl, enjoying one of
those innocent flirtations that do so much to give zest to life? But
delightful though it be, the temptation to prolong it must be resisted,
if an expectant partner is missing her dance and waiting in the
ball-room to be claimed.

[Sidenote: Non-dancers should not accept invitations.]

It is bad manners to go to a ball unless one is accomplished in the art
of dancing. To do so is to take the place of one who may be more expert
and therefore in greater request. Consequently, every man who wishes to
be a success in society must learn to dance. There are abundant
opportunities for doing so at the various dancing “academies,” as they
are rather unsuitably entitled, for there is not much about them of the
academical, as generally understood.

[Sidenote: The value of private lessons.]

Private lessons are dearer than the others, but they are really
necessary for most men who have not been taught to dance when boys. The
whole attention of the teacher should be given during the first three or
four. A man has so much to learn in addition to the correct movements of
his feet. He must be taught to hold his head up, to grasp his partner
gently but firmly, not to tread on her toes or knock his knees against
hers, and also how to steer his course and hers in an imaginary crowded

[Sidenote: The finishing touches.]

Afterwards come the finishing touches, when, perfect in the steps and
carriage of the body, the learner is taught to glide gently from foot to
foot, regulating his pace as quickly or as slowly as he may wish. At
first this seems to be impossible, for the novice is inclined to “rush
his fences,” as it were, and he waltzes round the room at breakneck
speed, making himself giddy and breathless, and sometimes causing dire
catastrophe. A girl finds it difficult to forgive a man who has made her
look ridiculous.

[Sidenote: A fall: generally the man’s fault.]

The fall of a couple is not a frequent occurrence in a ball-room, but
when it does happen it is almost always the man’s fault. Girls take much
more naturally to the graceful movements of the dance, and are, besides,
more often taught in childhood than their brothers.

[Sidenote: At a private ball.]

At a private ball the guest enters and greets his hostess before
speaking to any one else. She shakes hands with him and passes him on
to some one to introduce him to partners, perhaps her husband, perhaps
her son.

[Sidenote: The card should be filled early.]

With this beginning he will probably get on very well and may half-fill
his card, and he should take care to do so at once, for at some balls
the nice girls are immediately snapped up and engaged for even the
extras before they have been twenty minutes in the room. “Are you
engaged for every dance, Miss Grey? Can you spare me one?” And Miss Grey
probably gives him one, but if he is a stranger of whose calisthenic
prowess nothing is known, she is careful to give him only one. Sometimes
his partners, if they discover that he dances well, introduce him to
their sisters and friends. If, however, he should find himself left high
and dry towards the end of the evening, he should go back to the
gentlemen of the house and ask them to introduce him to somebody else.
Young men of experience in such matters usually manage very well without
this, but the novice has often to face the alternative of dancing no
more or asking to be introduced.

[Sidenote: The “supper” dance.]

Hostesses sometimes make special introductions for the “supper” dance,
the one immediately preceding that meal. This means that the man
introduced, unless engaged to dance it with some one else, is
imperatively called upon to accept the partner offered him and take her
down to supper.

[Sidenote: Asking a lady to dance.]

In asking a lady to dance it is usual to say, “Will you give me this
waltz?” or “May I have this barn-dance?” Some young men say, “Would you
like to dance this? Come along then!” but such a form of address is only
suited to intimates.

[Sidenote: After the dance.]

When the dance is over, and the partner left with her friends, the man
says, “Thank you,” bows, and leaves her.

[Sidenote: Seeing a lady to her carriage.]

If he wishes to see any lady to her carriage, he asks her permission to
do so, folds her wraps round her, hands her in, and stands until the
carriage has gone some yards away.


The old-fashioned rule that a man must approach the father of a girl
before offering himself in marriage to her has now, to some extent, died

[Sidenote: A man may not propose when her family object.]

At the same time it is considered dishonourable for any one to propose
to a girl in the face of the decided disapprobation of her family.
Clandestine courtship is also regarded as dishonourable, except in
circumstances where the girl is unhappy or oppressed and needs a

[Sidenote: Proposal in person.]

The usual way to ask for the admired one’s hand in marriage is in
person. This is always preferable to writing, though some men have not
the courage to adopt the first course.

[Sidenote: Asking the father’s permission.]

Should the lady accept the offer, the happy wooer must take the earliest
opportunity of seeing her father, or, failing him, her nearest friend,
and begging him to permit the engagement. Should he consent, all is
well; but in the contrary case, his decision must be accepted. To allow
a girl to engage herself against the wish of her family

[Sidenote: Should the father refuse consent.]

is to drag her into a false position. Very often submission to the
decree effects more towards procuring its reversal than violent
opposition. It is difficult, of course, for young people to be patient,
but if they can only manage a little of it they would find the truth of
the French proverb, “All things come round to those who know how to

[Sidenote: The engagement ring.]

Immediately upon having the engagement ratified, the accepted suitor
gives the lady an engagement ring. This should be as handsome a present
as he can afford to buy. Together with all other presents and
correspondence on both sides, this ring must be returned if the
engagement should be broken off.

[Sidenote: One’s duty to one’s betrothed.]

The accepted man is in duty bound to spend most of his leisure with his
intended bride. He must not go off for a sojourn abroad while she is
spending some weeks by the sea in England, unless she has expressed a
wish to that effect. It would be a considerable “snub” to her to do so.

[Sidenote: A significant announcement.]

Society has sometimes been amused by the announcement one day of a
“marriage having been arranged between Mr. A. and Miss B.,” and on the
next of the intention of Mr. A. to start for a tour round the world.
This almost always means that the man has been entrapped into a
proposal, and would willingly retreat if he honourably could. Such
things happen only too often. Manœuvring mothers have much to answer
for in the matter. Worldly girls have often sufficient wisdom of the
serpent to bring a reluctant wooer to the point and, by immediately
announcing the engagement to their friends, to make it extremely
difficult for him to retreat.

Sometimes a girl falls so wildly in love with a man that she creates a
kind of corresponding, though passing, fervour in him, and while it
lasts he believes himself in love, though his emotions are only a
mixture of gratified vanity and that physical attraction which needs
true love to redeem it from the fleshly sort.

[Sidenote: When a girl takes the initiative.]

Should marriage follow upon such courtships as these, where the girl
takes ever the initiative, the union is very seldom a happy one. The
wife never feels sure that her husband really loves her or would have
chosen her. She knows that he was her choice, rather than she his, and a
racking jealousy seizes her and makes her not only miserable herself,
but a very uncomfortable companion for him.

[Sidenote: The unhappy sequel.]

He, too, often finds when it is too late that she fulfils none of his
ideals, and is in many ways a contrast to the girl he would have chosen
if she had not whirled him into the vortex of her own strong feeling.
And he occasionally wonders if she may not some day experience a similar
strength of attraction for some other man and let herself be carried
away by it as she had been by her feeling for him. “Hot fires soon burn
out,” he thinks, and remembers the warning given to Othello: “She hath
deceived her father, and may thee.”

[Sidenote: Long engagements.]

No man should drag a girl into a long engagement. Nor should any man
propose to a girl until he is in a position to provide for her.

[Sidenote: And unsuitable positions.]

He is only standing in the way of other wooers who may be well supplied
with this world’s gear. Such trifles as wealth and ease may appear as
nought to the mind of the youthful lover, not to be weighed for a moment
in the balance with love and young romance. The girl, too, may be of the
same way of thinking at the time, but it the more behoves the man, the
stronger, to consider her and to remember that poverty is such a bitter
and a cruel thing that it even kills love at times.

[Sidenote: A man’s duty to look at cold facts.]

Recrimination in the home is a hard thing to bear. And yet how many
millions of women since the world began have said to their husband: “Oh,
why did I ever marry you? I could have done so much better.”

And how many men have said to their wives: “Well! You were determined
to have me, so now you must make the best of me.”

However, we will suppose these rocks and quicksands past, the engaged
couple happy, and the wedding day at hand.

[Sidenote: The bridegroom’s obligations.]

Custom demands that the bridegroom shall present her bouquet to the
bride, as well as bouquets and a present each to the bridesmaids. He
must furnish the house for the bride in every detail, not excepting the
house and table linen, which, in the old days of spinning-wheels, was
wont to be contributed by the bride herself.

[Sidenote: The best man.]

He must provide the wedding ring and the carriage in which his best man
and himself go to church. He pays the fees to clergyman and clerk, but
it is the best man who hands them over. With him the bridegroom waits at
the altar till the bride arrives. She takes her place at his left hand
for the first time, and at the proper moment he produces the ring which
is the symbol of their union.

[Sidenote: The bridegroom’s dress.]

The usual dress of a bridegroom consists of a very dark blue frock-coat,
light trousers, light or white scarf-tie, patent boots, and a new hat.


It is absolutely true, though in a very limited sense, that the tailor
makes the man.

[Sidenote: Importance of dress.]

If a man does not dress well in society he cannot be a success. If he
commits flagrant errors in costume he will not be invited out very much,
of that he may be certain.

[Sidenote: The penalty of solecisms of costume.]

If he goes to a garden party in a frock-coat and straw hat, he is
condemned more universally than if he had committed some crime. The
evidence of the latter would not be upon him for all men to read, as the
evidence of his ignorance in social forms is, in his mistaken notions of
dress. Things are more involved than ever in the sartorial line, since
so many new sports and pastimes have sprung up for men.

[Sidenote: Tailors not always to be relied on.]

A man cannot consult his tailor upon every trifling detail, even if his
tailor were always a perfectly reliable authority, which is not always
the case, for there are tailors and tailors. A young man’s finances do
not always allow him to go to one of the best, and the second and
third-rate artists in cloth are apt to purvey second and third-rate
fashions to their customers. A brief summary of the forms of dress
appropriate to various occasions may be of some use to the
inexperienced. It is obvious that to enter into detail would be out of
place in a matter where change is the order of the day.

[Sidenote: “Certain fixed rules.”]

But there are certain fixed rules that are, in a sense, permanent, and
with these I may succinctly deal.

[Sidenote: For morning wear.]

For morning wear the morning-coat or jacket or the tweed suit is
correct. After lunch, when in town, the well-dressed man may continue to
wear his morning-coat or the regulation frock-coat, with trousers of
some neat, striped grey mixture. The tailor’s name for the material of
these is “mixed cheviots.”

[Sidenote: Light trousers.]

It is not considered good form to wear very light trousers except on
special occasions, such as weddings, garden parties, or afternoon
assemblies of a festive kind. Even then it is better to err on the quiet
side than to be over-loud.

[Sidenote: Black coats.]

The days of broadcloth have long gone by, and coats are now made of
vicuna cloth or black twilled worsteds, with a dull finish and of an
elastic quality. Waistcoats may be single or double-breasted. There is
no restriction as to the colour of the tie.

[Sidenote: The Park suit.]

The Park suit may consist of a grey or light-brown frock-coat, with
waistcoat and trousers to match, and this is the usual dress for Ascot,
the smartest of all the races. At Sandown the low hat and tweed suit, or
long racing coat, are worn, except on such days as the Princess of Wales
is present, when the Prince sets the example of wearing a black coat and
silk hat, and all other men are expected to follow his example.

[Sidenote: For a summer morning in the Park.]

For a morning walk in the Park in summer the straw hat, or low hat and
tweed suit, are as correct as the black coat and silk hat. But it must
be remembered that a straw hat or low hat cannot be worn with a black
coat of any kind.

[Sidenote: Brown boots.]

The “pot” hat and brown boots are permissible with an overcoat, under
which there may be a tweed suit, but brown boots may not otherwise
accompany a black coat, though they are admissible with the Ascot suit.

[Sidenote: Special suits.]

There are special suits for all kinds of outdoor amusements, such as
shooting, golfing, tennis, boating, driving, riding, bicycling, fishing,
hunting, &c., but into the details of these it is unnecessary to enter.

[Sidenote: Spoiling an otherwise good effect.]

It may be remarked, however, that it is easy to stultify the whole
effect of these, however perfectly they may be “built” by the tailor, by
the addition of a single incongruous article of attire; such as a silk
hat or patent boots with a shooting-suit.

[Sidenote: The modern dress-coat.]

The dress-coat is no longer made of broadcloth, the shiny finish of
which would now have a very old-fashioned appearance. The ordinary
evening coat is made of an elastic twill cloth, with a dull finish. Its
elasticity makes it fit to perfection when cut by a good tailor. Of
course it would be incorrect to wear other than black trousers with it.
The waistcoat is much cut away, to show a wide expanse of immaculately
got-up shirt-front.

This is the only correct costume for evening wear on all occasions of a
formal nature.

[Sidenote: The dinner-jacket.]

The dinner-jacket has very largely superseded the dress-coat for home
wear and at dinners in houses where one is a familiar guest. It is
occasionally seen at the play, too, but it would be incorrect to wear it
when accompanying ladies.

[Sidenote: On evening dress at theatres.]

Etiquette is not now nearly so strict as it used to be in the matter of
evening dress in the stalls, private boxes, and dress circle of the
theatres. I think this is rather to be deplored, but the wave of
democracy that has poured over society of late has left its impress in
this as in other matters. Though theatre managers put on the tickets
special to the best seats “Evening Dress,” I have seen half-a-dozen men
in the stalls dressed in a variety of unorthodox fashions, and once, in
August, I even saw a man in a boating suit come in, straw hat in hand,
and, ushered by an unprotesting attendant, take his seat. In the
off-season, when all the fashionable people are out of town, this was
not, perhaps, very surprising.

[Sidenote: A courageous young man.]

But he must have been a courageous young man.

[Sidenote: Mourning dress.]

Mourning for men seems almost a dead-letter nowadays, except in the
first two or three weeks after bereavement. A widower’s mourning is not
worn for more than a couple of months, unless the widower should belong
to the numerous class who cling conservatively to old customs, and
believe that to doff his weeds would imply some disrespect to his late

Disraeli, in his “Endymion,” puts the following words in the mouth of
Mr. Vigo, the great tailor:--

[Sidenote: “Dress does not make a man.”]

“Dress does not make a man, but it often makes a successful one. The
most precious stone, you know, must be cut and polished. I have known
many an heiress lost by her suitor being ill-dressed. You must dress
according to your age, your pursuits, your object in life; you must
dress, too, in some cases, according to your set. In youth a little
fancy is rather expected, but if political life be your object, it
should be avoided--at least after one-and-twenty.

[Sidenote: “But it often makes a successful one.”]

I am dressing two brothers now, men of considerable position; one is a
mere man of pleasure, the other will probably be a Minister of State.
They are as like as two peas, but were I to dress the dandy and the
minister the same, it would be bad taste--it would be ridiculous. No man
gives me the trouble which Lord Eglantine does; he has not made up his
mind whether he will be a great poet or a Prime Minister. ‘You must
choose, my lord,’ I tell him. ‘I cannot send you out looking like Lord
Byron if you mean to be a Canning or a Pitt.’

“What all men should avoid is the ‘shabby genteel.’ No man ever gets
over it. I will save you from that. You had better be in rags.”


[Sidenote: Dress in the country.]

Dress in the country varies considerably in many matters from that worn
in town. A boy’s first “country suit” after he leaves school is a great
event to him.

[Sidenote: The first suit of tweeds.]

At Eton and Harrow the style of dress might almost be called a uniform,
and the first suit of tweeds marks the emancipation from school-life.
When in the country he dons these the first thing in the morning, unless
he should be on hunting or bicycling thoughts intent, or should incline
towards tennis, boating, or the slow delights of angling. After lunch a
change has occasionally to be made.

[Sidenote: At a garden party.]

Should a garden party be in question, he may take his choice between
tweed suit and low hat or cutaway coat with silk hat. If he happen to be
great on tennis the tweed suit would be naturally his choice, unless it
were distinctly understood that the game would form a prominent feature
of the afternoon’s entertainment. In this case flannels would be worn.
Sometimes very ceremonious garden parties take place in the country,
when Royalty or distinguished persons are expected to be present, when
the frock coat and its usual accompaniments would not be out of place.

[Sidenote: Invitations to breakfast.]

Invitations to breakfast in the country are by no means unusual. The
dress would consist of that ordinarily worn in the mornings, whether
tweed suit, knickerbockers, hunting or riding gear, or the black
morning-coat or suit. Frequently a silk hat is never seen between Sunday
and Sunday.

[Sidenote: Church-going costume.]

Churchgoers still, to a certain extent, affect it, but in these days of
outdoor life, bicycling, and so on, the costume worn by men in church is
experiencing the same modifications that characterise it in other
departments. The details of shooting suits can always be studied in the
illustrated advertisements of the tailors. A man’s wardrobe is now
almost as varied as a woman’s. He has different costumes for walking,
riding, driving, visiting, boating, hunting, shooting, golfing,
bicycling, tennis, and cricket, dining, smoking, and lounging, football,
racing, and yachting, to say nothing of uniform and Court suit, besides
the now developing motor-car costume.


It is necessary for every young man to have a supply of visiting-cards,
and for these there is one fixed rule, any departure from which betokens
want of knowledge of the customs of well-bred people.

[Sidenote: Visiting-cards, size and style.]

The size must be exactly three inches by one and a half. The pasteboard
must be pure white and glossy and the lettering must be in italic.

An idea prevails among young men of a certain class that it is incorrect
to put the title “Mr.” before their own name on a visiting-card. This is
a great mistake. Not to put it is to show oneself lacking in _savoir

[Sidenote: The customary or other title must precede the name.]

The name must always be preceded by “Mr.” or “Sir,” or other title. The
address must occupy the left-hand corner, and the name of one’s club or
clubs must follow it.

[Sidenote: In the absence of a permanent address.]

When a young man has no permanent address, it is well to have only his
name printed, filling in the address in pencil before leaving or
presenting his card.

[Sidenote: The hours for calling.]

The hours for calling are from four to seven in the afternoon, but young
men who are not on very intimate terms with the family should carefully
abstain from calling after six o’clock, lest they should be the last and
solitary caller.

[Sidenote: On arrival.]

When the door is opened, and the question, “Is Mrs. Blank at home?”
answered in the affirmative, the visitor is invited to follow the
servant. He may take off his overcoat if he wishes, but he must carry
his hat and stick in his hand. The right-hand glove must be removed. The
gloved hand is never given to a lady, certain exceptional circumstances
proving the rule.

[Sidenote: Greeting the hostess.]

Arrived in the drawing-room, he holds his hat and glove in the left
hand, greets hostess first, she shaking hands with him, and then he
looks round the room and greets any acquaintance he may recognise, going
up to them if he knows them well, bowing if his previous knowledge of
them has been slight. Having taken his seat, he still holds his hat in
his hand, and he must find small talk as best he can, for sitting silent
is awkward for him and distressing to his hostess. She, by the way, will
probably say, “Would you not like to put down your hat?” indicating some
spot where he may lay it. The reason of carrying the hat to the

[Sidenote: The reason why the hat is carried.]

is a somewhat subtle one. It is based on the supposition that the
masculine caller feels himself privileged in being permitted to pay his
respects, and feeling himself on sufferance, is ready to leave in a
moment, hat in hand, should he not find his presence agreeable and

I have a private theory that this custom is cherished and kept up by men
from a conviction that their hats are much safer in their own sight in
the drawing-room than they would be downstairs in the hall. New
umbrellas have been taken instead of old, as we all know, and new hats
are quite as tempting, if not more so.

[Sidenote: The card should not be sent up.]

Do not send your card up when making a call. This is reserved for
business men. The servant asks your name, and it must be given very
distinctly. It will then be announced in a loud, clear voice when the
door is opened. Should the hostess show by her manner that she has not
recognised the name, its owner must recall himself to her memory by
saying, “I am Mr. So-and-so. I had the pleasure of,” &c., &c.,
explaining the circumstances that led to the call.

[Sidenote: Leaving the card on departure.]

The visiting-card must be left on the hall table when the caller goes
away, one card for the ladies of the house, and one for the gentleman
or gentlemen, whether these latter have been present or absent during
the call.

Should the lady called on be “Not at home” the cards are given to the

[Sidenote: Rendering an important service.]

When a man has rendered an unknown lady some really important service,
as in the case of a street accident or some other disagreeable
circumstance in which he has been able to avert from her some
unpleasantness which she would have otherwise incurred, the lady will
probably ask him to let her know to whom she is indebted for so much
kindness. The proper course to pursue is to disclaim any special
obligation, but if the lady persists, it is then good manners to give
the name. Should the gentleman feel very much interested in the lady, he
may say, “I should very much like to call to-morrow to find out if you
are none the worse for your adventure.” She may then give him her
address, and he would give her his card.

[Sidenote: A trivial service.]

But this would all be very much out of place if the affair had been some
mere matter of common courtesy, such as picking up some article dropped
by a lady and restoring it to her. A gentleman in such circumstances
raises his hat and retires as quickly as possible, lest the lady should
imagine that he could base a claim to her acquaintance on the
performance of so trivial a service.

It is only the “cad” who thus presumes, and the “cad-ess” who allows him
to do so.

Visiting-cards are never sent by post. They denote a call in person.

[Sidenote: P.P.C. Cards.]

The only exception to this rule is in sending out P.P.C. cards.

These are always sent by post. The letters denote _pour prendre congé_
(“to take leave”), and are used when it is found impossible to call and
say goodbye to all one’s circle of acquaintance.

A call after a ball or dinner-party must be made within the week, and
cards left.

[Sidenote: Sickness and death.]

In calling to inquire after the welfare of an invalid, or after the
family has suffered bereavement, cards are always left. If a man is on
intimate terms with a family that has suffered bereavement, he sometimes
uses cards with a slight line of black, and should he write a letter of
condolence, notepaper and envelopes with the same slight indication of
mourning on them. This expresses sympathy and a personal share in the
sorrow felt.

In making a call after death has visited any family, the dress of the
caller should be attuned to the occasion, and should be of a sombre
order, though it need not be precisely mourning.

When a man is a frequent visitor to any house, he may leave his hat and
stick in the hall.

The umbrella is never taken into a drawing-room.

[Sidenote: After an invitation.]

Cards must be left after an invitation, whether the latter be accepted
or not.

In case of not wishing to pursue the acquaintance of the person who sent
the invitation, it is sufficient to leave the cards without inquiring
whether the lady is at home.

[Sidenote: Terminating an acquaintanceship with courtesy.]

If a man should wish, for any reason, to courteously end an
acquaintanceship, he can do it without any of the intolerable “cutting,”
a method resorted to only by the rough and uncultivated.

[Sidenote: The final call.]

He may make a call that, in his own mind, he knows to be a final one,
remaining only just the quarter of an hour that is the minimum length of
such functions, and preserving a certain gravity of demeanour which is
as free from “sulks” as it is from other forms of bad temper. After
this, he may leave cards once more without asking if the ladies of the
family are at home. In this way he can gradually and with perfect
courtesy break off the intimacy.

[Sidenote: In the street.]

In the street he raises his hat but does not stop to speak. It is quite
possible to ignore the attempt to do so on the opposite side, but should
circumstances be such as to make it difficult to do so without positive
rudeness, he must stop, putting an end to the conversation at the
earliest possible moment.

[Sidenote: Duration of call.]

A call should never extend over half an hour unless the caller be
expressly requested to prolong it.

[Sidenote: Consulting the watch.]

A gentleman never looks at his watch during a call, at a dinner-party,
afternoon reception or ball. This is prohibited because the inference
would be that time was dragging with him and that he was anxious to get
away. A man may feel such anxiety, but he must hide it if he would be
deemed well-bred.

Young men who do not pay their duty call and leave a card after any
entertainment, are likely to be omitted from the list of guests invited
on some succeeding occasion.

[Sidenote: When a man finds himself “dropped.”]

Occasionally it happens that a young man finds himself “dropped” by some
family with whom he has been on terms of intimacy. He is debarred by the
rules of polite society from asking for an explanation, it being a canon
of good breeding never to ask questions that are embarrassing to reply
to. This has been embodied in a very outspoken and unceremonious phrase
“you ask me no questions, I tell you no lies.” There is a deep truth in
it, nevertheless, and even in family life it is well to observe it.

Sometimes the reason a young man is dropped in this way is that
something to his disadvantage has been discovered.

[Sidenote: An occasional reason.]

But not unfrequently the true reason is that one of the daughters of the
house has shown a preference for his society which the parents think
should be checked. Girls of the present day do not always exercise the
well-bred self-control that is the rule of good society in such matters.
To love unsought is a misfortune for any girl, leading inevitably to
much mortification and humiliation, but these may be minimised if she
can only practice a dignified reticence about her feelings.

[Sidenote: Putting out a feeler.]

But should a young man thus capriciously (as it seems to him) be left
out in the cold be on sufficiently good terms with a son of the house,
it would be quite in rule for him to put out a feeler or two on the
subject: “I say, old fellow, I wonder if I have been so unfortunate as
to offend your people in any way?” He will soon discover, from the
aspect of his interlocutor, whether he is likely to gain any information
on the matter.


[Sidenote: Calling on friends bereaved.]

In calling on friends who have suffered bereavement, after having
received their card of thanks for kind inquiries, it is, of course,
requisite that the dress should be of the quietest description. A red
tie, for instance, would be horribly out of place. Only in case of very
intimate friendships is the call prolonged beyond ten minutes or a
quarter of an hour. The caller takes his tone from that of the family.

[Sidenote: Avoiding reference to the loss.]

It is in the worst taste to refer to the loss sustained unless the
initiative is taken by one of those bereaved. This is very seldom done,
and the conversation is usually conducted on lines calculated to avert
any disturbing remark. No one likes to break down or lose self-command
except in seclusion; and, in fact, it is only necessary to look into
one’s own consciousness in order to discover what is the best course to
follow in such cases.

[Sidenote: Attending the funeral.]

Should a young man be invited to attend the funeral, he must wear
mourning, black gloves, and black hatband. Punctuality, important at all
times, is particularly essential at this dreary ceremonial. The family
usually provides carriages, but in the case of friends who possess
equipages, they always take their own. It is the custom to assemble at
the house, or to go by fixed train should the family reside in the

[Sidenote: Invitations to return.]

It is better not to accept any invitations to return to the house
afterwards; for, as a rule, these are only given as a matter of form.

[Sidenote: Gifts of flowers.]

We often see in newspapers after the announcement of a death, a request
that no flowers may be sent. Failure to comply with this would argue a
want of perception, but when no such intimation is made a friend may
send flowers, the only essential being that they should consist as a
rule of pure white flowers or orchids, pansies, or violets. Occasionally
an exception is made to these in the case of favourite flowers of the
lost friend. An exquisite garland of pale tea-roses appeared among the
scores of wreaths seen at the funeral of one of our greatest poets.


[Sidenote: The importance of a good manner.]

It would not be easy to over-estimate the importance of a good manner
from a social point of view. It ranks far above much more important
qualities. The “rough diamonds” who conceal their traditional good heart
under a surly exterior are seldom happy people, notwithstanding their
genuine thoroughness and real goodness.

[Sidenote: The qualities valued by society.]

In family life and in society a gentle manner “covers a multitude of
sins.” The world and the home reflect back to us the face we present to
them. If we cultivate a bright and cordial manner we shall be heartily
received by others, though the real nature of us lies beneath as cold
and hard as salt fresh from a mine. In the home the coldness and
hardness are soon found out, but they are partially condoned for the
sake of the superficial courtesy and kindness. In society the quality of
the heart matters little, so long as the surface is, at the same time,
genial and polished.

[Sidenote: “Life is a large bundle of little things.”]

Life is chiefly made up of small things, and if we learn to take an
interest in the trifling incidents of our friends’ lives, in the
everyday occurrences in the existence of our acquaintances, we supply
the sympathetic element that tells so largely in our favour.

[Sidenote: Simulation may induce reality.]

And very often the simulation of this interest induces the reality, and
our own life is brightened by participating in the pleasures and the
happiness of others, and deepened by sharing in their disappointments,
and by doing so helping them to overcome them. With a cold, forbidding
manner it is impossible to convey any such impression.

[Sidenote: Shyness.]

But this often comes from shyness, not only in the young, but all
through life. The youthful form of shyness is self-consciousness and
self-distrust. That which lasts through life is the fear of

[Sidenote: And reticence.]

Even the frankest natures have often this quality of reticence, which
forbids them to reveal the inner depths of their thoughts, and makes
them hate to be divined.

Rochefoucauld says we all hate to be divined, though we like to divine
others; but many of us know well what a delightful thing it is to be
read like an open book by those whose thoughts reflect our own, and with
whom we discover ourselves to be in mental kinship.

[Sidenote: The ideal life--few friends, many acquaintances.]

The ideal life is that which has few friends but many acquaintances.
The friends are close and firm ones, “grappled to our hearts with hooks
of steel,” and the circle of acquaintances offers opportunities for
adding to their number. But without an agreeable manner it is difficult
to secure these inner and outer spheres of social companionship.

[Sidenote: A recipe for the formation of a good manner.]

Were I asked to give a recipe for the formation of a good manner I
should recommend an equal mixture of self-confidence and humility as the
first essential, then a considerable desire to please, tempered by the
self-respect which preserves from officiousness and that annoying air of
“ingratiating” themselves that some men assume in society. There must be
perfect self-possession, though in the very young this is scarcely
expected, a little becoming shyness sitting very well upon them. “I like
a shy man. He’s getting so scarce,” said a very pretty woman at a ball
not long since. “Find one, quick, and introduce him.” Her laughing
emissaries went off to search for the desired article, and after a while
returned with the report that the only shy man in the room was engaged
for every dance!

[Sidenote: Add gentleness to self-possession.]

When self-possession has been acquired it is well to add on to it the
saving grace of gentleness. This quality is much misunderstood by men.
In women they adore it; in themselves and each other they undervalue
it. But women love gentleness in men. It is a most telling piece of the
necessary equipment for society. A gentle manner, a gentle voice, and
the absence of all self-assertion, that is at the root of the matter,
have won more love than good looks.

Carlyle called the members of upper-class society “amiable stoics,” in
reference to the equable serenity of countenance and calm
self-possession of manner with which they accept those occasionally
trying conditions of social life which necessitate self-denial in
matters great and small.

[Sidenote: “Amiable stoics.”]

This placidity is the result of long training. Not just at first does a
young man bow to the decree of his hostess which separates him from the
girl he admires and tells him off to take some uninteresting dowager to
the supper-room. But should he evince any sign of discontent with the
arrangement he is at once convicted of ill-breeding. The man of “perfect
manners” is he who is calmly courteous in all circumstances, as
attentive outwardly to the plain and the elderly as he is to the young
and pretty.

[Sidenote: The man of “perfect manners.”]

It is difficult to renounce the delightful _tête-à-tête_ with a charming
girl when asked by his hostess to dance with some poor wallflower who
has been neglected for half-a-dozen dances. But it has to be borne, and
eventually it brings its own reward. The “duty” dance is a hard thing,
and good manners involve a considerable amount of self-denial; but
repetition soon makes it comparatively easy, and invitations of an
agreeable kind pour in on the young man who shows himself willing to
practise those peculiar forms of selflessness, opportunities for which
so frequently arise in society.

[Sidenote: Self-denial not unrewarded.]

It is probably in imitation of this surface equanimity that the wooden
stare has been adopted so universally by our golden youth.

[Sidenote: The wooden stare.]

This is useful for wearing at one’s club or in the stall of a theatre,
and it at once stamps the proprietor of the stare as being “in it.” The
fashion is not confined to England. It reigns in New York, and even in
far Australia there is a select coterie of golden or gilded youth who
are beginning to learn how to abstract every atom of expression from the
countenance, and to look on vacantly or seem to do so. As yet, there is
no considerable expertness achieved in the matter in Antipodean circles,
but in New York a very fair impression of imbecility is conveyed in the
look of the ultra-fashionable young man. There are various other
important matters on which a transatlantic authority has been
instructing the youth of his generation. The one involving the most
serious responsibility is connected with carrying a cane or stick, as it
is better form to call it.

[Sidenote: Transatlantic etiquette.]

It must be left at home when going to business, to church, or to make
calls. The idea of the latter prohibition is that, if a call is made on
a lady cane in hand, the inference would be that the caller is on
sufficiently intimate terms to look in on her casually at any time.
There is certainly subtlety in this view. It is well that the novice
should be made aware that the lowest depth of vulgarity is touched by
carrying an umbrella in a case. It is also an important item of
information that the gloves and cane must be carried in the same hand.
To do otherwise is seriously to err in social forms. Our instructor
declares that to attend oratorios and philharmonic concerts is
thoroughly bad form, indicating a tendency to be pedantic. It is much
better to go to a horse show. It is by no means considered correct to
shake hands. The proper way is to take hold of the fingers of one’s
acquaintance at the second joints, and bestow upon them one or two
decisive little jerks, as though testing their strength. “No, I thank
you,” is a form of words no longer heard in good society, having some
time since been replaced by “No, thanks.” No man with any claim to
social position would consent to pronounce the “g” at the end of the
present participle of verbs. “Comin’ and goin’” are the correct forms
just now. “Don’t you know” is ridiculously correct. Men of perception do
not care to be more accurate than others of their set. “Don’t-chi-know”
is more customary, and the pronunciation marks the man as riding on the
topmost crest of the social wave. There must be a staccato sound about
the phrase, which alternates pleasantly with the languid drawl. The
latter is still in favour, and accompanies admirably the studied lack of
animation in the expression and general wooden look of the face.

To revert for a moment to the cane, or walking-stick.

[Sidenote: The stick.]

There is much to be deduced from the manner in which it is carried. The
correct style is to hold it at an angle of forty-five degrees, with the
ferule uppermost and forward. This is the sort of thing that no man
could possibly discover for himself. The natural man would incline to
carry his stick in such fashion as would tend to direct its point to the
ground. This unsophisticated mode would at once reveal him as
uninitiated in the minor morals of good manners. The latest mode of
arranging the male hair, as practised in New York, and possibly nearer
home as well, is worth noting.

[Sidenote: The hair.]

First it is made thoroughly wet, then brushed and parted, after which
the head is swathed with linen bands, which are kept on until the hair
is thoroughly dry. This method produces the plastered appearance which
is now recognised as good form. Though cordiality of manner is rapidly
becoming obsolete, and is utterly condemned by all who have studied the
subject, yet it is a recognised fact that amiability has now superseded
sarcasm, and the up-to-date young man practises a careless superficial
benevolence of pronouncing every woman charming and every man a good

[Sidenote: Amiability.]

The scathing, satiric wit of the last century was as the nadir to this
zenith of appreciative recognition of the best that is in every human

It is pleasant to be able to add to all this minute detail about little
superficialities that the young man of to-day is a vast improvement on
his predecessors in very many ways. Swearing is out of fashion. Getting
intoxicated is decidedly “low,” and those who disgrace themselves in
this way are soon cut by their acquaintance. Some twenty years since
things were very different.

[Sidenote: The rowdyism of twenty years ago.]

To get tipsy was regarded as a proof of manliness. To wrench off
door-knockers and play similar senseless pranks was considered a form of
wit, and the heroes of such performances were looked on with admiring
eyes by their companions.

In many ways a higher standard now reigns.

[Sidenote: A higher moral standard now reigns.]

The pictures of ballet dancers that used once to adorn a young man’s
rooms have given place to others of a higher class. Dissolute and
unprincipled men get the cold shoulder from others of their set, and
vice, thank Heaven, is thoroughly out of fashion. There is still plenty
of folly. It is inseparable from youth. But in matters of more moment
there has been immense improvement going steadily on for many years.

There are young men who mistake arrogance of manners for
self-possession, and who conduct themselves, when in society with lifted
chin and a haughty air that may accord very well with their own estimate
of themselves, but seem rather out of place to onlookers. Such a man
invites comparisons between his social deserts and his implied
conviction of superiority.

[Sidenote: Arrogance of manners.]

He may take in a few inexperienced girls and young fellows of adolescent
inability of judgment, but even these triumphs are short-lived, and he
is set down as a “pompous ass,” to use the young man’s phrase for
describing him.

It is good manners to articulate distinctly, and bad manners to neglect
to do so.

[Sidenote: Distinct articulation.]

A man need not exactly take lessons in elocution (though they would not
be amiss), but he can teach himself to pronounce clearly and use the

[Sidenote: Tones of voice.]

tone of voice that is best suited to the various occasions when he
converses. A breathy voice is extremely disagreeable. The syllables come
out enveloped in a sort of windy roar. This is owing to a wrong way of
breathing, and it can easily be cured, with advantage to the health as
well as the personality.

[Sidenote: The confidential tone.]

A very confidential tone is always used by some men when they speak to
women. If they merely “hope your gown did not get muddy” they look into
one’s eyes and murmur like any sucking dove. But if their articulation
is indistinct they are quite a nuisance. One has to ask them to repeat
themselves, and the nonsense they talk shows up very badly in an
_encore_. But when they enunciate clearly their devoted murmurings
sometimes “take” very well. It is not until a woman has seen three or
four others besides herself approached in the same afternoon or evening
with similar devout and prayer-like whispering that she begins to value
this particularity at its true worth.

[Sidenote: The word “fellow.”]

With reference to the word “fellow” a subtle distinction or two must be
drawn. In lowly circles a young man is called “a fellow”; young men
“fellows.” So it is in good society, but with a distinct difference. It
is not very easy to make this difference clear. Young men of good
position refer very commonly to others of their acquaintance as “the
fellows,” but they would not use the word to describe young men
generally. Women, young and old, of the lower classes speak of young men
generally as “fellows,” but gentlewomen never do so. A lady never uses
the expression “A girl and a fellow.” At the same time she may
frequently speak of “young fellows.” I am aware that there is a want of
clearness in all this, but it is a matter among many others that can
only be acquired by being accustomed to the usages of good society.

[Sidenote: The “Autocrat’s” test-word.]

The Autocrat of the Breakfast-table said in one of his books that if he
heard a woman pronounce the word “How,” he learned more about her in an
instant than a third person could tell him in an hour. If she called it
“haow,” she revealed herself as belonging to the uncultured classes.

In the same way, if a girl were to say “I met a fellow yesterday,” she
would unconsciously make a similar self-revelation. A young man would
make an equal mistake if he were to speak of “my sister’s fellow.” But
he would be correct enough if he were to say “the fellow my sister’s
engaged to.”

[Sidenote: “Tweedledum and tweedledee.”]

These little =nuances= of expression remind one of the old rhyme--

    “Strange that such difference should be
     ’Twixt tweedledum and tweedledee.”

[Sidenote: Small talk alone will not suffice.]

Though small talk is as indispensable in social life as pennies and
halfpennies in the transactions of everyday existence, we must also have
conversational gold and silver at our command if we wish to be
successful. When the preliminaries of acquaintanceship are over there is
no necessity to keep up the commonplaces of small talk. To do so is
rather insulting to women.

[Sidenote: “Talking down” really an insult.]

To be “talked down to” is always aggravating, especially when one feels
a conviction that the person who is thus affably stooping for one’s
benefit belongs in reality to a lower intellectual plane than one’s own.

[Sidenote: Yet polish alone often succeeds.]

At the same time, many young men “with nothing in them” are socially
successful, being possessed of those superficial qualities and that
outward polish which are, for the purposes of everyday intercourse, more
useful than abysmal personal depths. Was it Goethe or Schiller who said
that for domestic utility a farthing candle is more useful than all the
stars of heaven?

A light playfulness of fancy, combined with the gentleness that
carefully avoids wounding even the smallest, is a high recommendation in
society; but to be for ever laughing is wearisome in the extreme to the

I make no apology for quoting here the following passages from “Mr.
Brown’s Letters to a Young Man About Town” from a _Punch_ of 1849. “Mr.
Brown” was Thackeray, I believe.

[Sidenote: “Mr. Brown’s” advice.]

He says:--

“I beseech and implore you to make a point of being intimate with one or
two families where you can see kind and well-bred English ladies. I have
seen women of all nations in the world, but I never saw the equals of
English women (meaning, of course, to include our cousins the
MacWhirters of Glasgow and the O’Tooles of Cork); and I pray sincerely,
my boy, that you may always have a woman for a friend.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“It is better for you to pass an evening once or twice a week in a
lady’s drawing-room, even though the conversation is rather slow and you
know the girl’s songs by heart, than in a club, tavern, or smoking-room,
or pit of a theatre.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Remember, if a house is pleasant, and you like to remain in it, that to
be well with the women of the house is the great, the vital point. If it
is a good house, don’t turn up your nose because you are only asked to
come in the evening, while others are invited to dine. Recollect the
debts of dinners which an hospitable family has to pay; who are you
that you should always be expecting to nestle under the mahogany?
Agreeable acquaintances are made just as well in the drawing-room as in
the dining-room. Go to tea brisk and good-humoured. Be determined to be
pleased. Talk to a dowager. Take a hand at whist. If you are musical,
and know a song, sing it like a man. Never sulk about dancing, but off
with you. You will find your acquaintance enlarge. Mothers, pleased with
your good humour, will probably ask you to Pocklington Square, to a
little party. You will get on--you will form yourself a circle. You may
marry a rich girl, or, at any rate, get the chance of seeing a number of
the kind and the pretty.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The dressing, the clean gloves, and cab-hire, are nuisances, I grant
you. The idea of the party itself is a bore, but you must go. When you
are at the party, it is not so stupid; there is always something
pleasant for the eye and attention of an observant man.”


[Sidenote: On arriving late at church.]

I know a young man who makes it a practice to arrive late in church
every Sunday. I often wish that he did not go to my church, for he makes
me cordially despise him, thus disturbing the calm and quiet of the
proper frame of mind for Sundays. I conclude that he likes to be looked
at, though why he should do so is not apparent. It is, in fact, not only
rude, but irreverent, to be late in church for the beginning of the
service. If one should be accidentally late, it is good manners to wait
till the congregation rises from the kneeling posture before making
one’s way to a seat. It is almost an awful thing to interrupt a prayer.
But I have seen people do it with no more scruple than if they were
passing in a crowded street.

[Sidenote: On the space one may occupy.]

Eighteen inches are the measurement of space allowed to each sitter in
the churches. In some it may be more; in others it may be less. But I
have reason to believe that this is the average. Now, if any man of
extra size should find himself in a pew with other persons, he must, in
common courtesy, keep himself as well within the limits of eighteen
inches as the width of his shoulders will allow. But I have occasionally
seen quite slim young men sprawl far beyond the frontier lines.

[Sidenote: Lounging.]

Lounging is a habit of the day, and there are men who get themselves
into marvellously corkscrew attitudes, in church as elsewhere.

[Sidenote: Fidgety men.]

Fidgety men are more so in church than anywhere else. They seem to find
it impossible to keep still. Sometimes they even produce a cough
wherewith to amuse themselves, though they are not troubled with it at
any other time. The charm of a reposeful manner is denied to them.
Reverence for the sacred place conduces to a quiet manner; but this is
not always felt by those who attend public worship.

[Sidenote: The conventional idea of church attendance.]

The conventional idea seems to be that such assemblies are merely phases
of social life; that it is respectable to be seen there; and that the
service and the sermon are things to be worried through in deference to
a prevalent idea that they form part of an institution that is generally
regarded as excellent.

[Sidenote: The true light to regard the services in.]

The small minority are those who regard church services in their true
light as lifting the thoughts above earthly things, and yet by no means
unfitting them for earth. Where, for instance, could a better law of
good manners be found than in the Book of Books? A glance at the end of
the fourth chapter of Ephesians will show a code of conduct that, if
followed, would make a man a perfect member of society.


[Sidenote: Replying to letters.]

It is impolite to leave letters unanswered for several days, especially
if the writers are ladies, or, if men, superior in age or station. Notes
of invitation should be replied to within twenty-four hours.

[Sidenote: Writing materials.]

Plain white cream-laid notepaper and envelopes should be used, the
latter either square or wallet-shaped, but never of the oblong, narrow
shape peculiar to business correspondence. The address on the notepaper
should be embossed or printed in simple characters, over-ornament being
in the worst taste. If the writer is entitled to use a crest, it should
be produced as simply as possible, with or without the family motto, and
free from the glow of varied colour in which some men and women delight.
There are letters whose devices in scarlet and gold are strangely in
contrast with the meagre and disappointing character of their contents.
They make one think of fried sprats served up on a gold entrée dish.

The writing should be clear, neat and legible, the ink black.

[Sidenote: The addressee’s name.]

In beginning a letter with “Sir” or “Madam,” the omission of the name is
remedied by inscribing it in the left-hand corner at the bottom of the
note. In commercial correspondence it seems to be the rule to put the
name of the addressee just above “Dear Sir” or “Madam.”

[Sidenote: Enclosing reply envelopes.]

Should it be advisable to enclose in any letter an envelope for a reply,
ready addressed, it is not good form to put “Esq.” after one’s own name
in addressing it.

[Sidenote: Addressing married women.]

Married women and widows are not addressed by their own Christian names,
but by those of their husbands. For instance, no one versed in social
forms would write “Mrs. Mary Smith,” but “Mrs. John Smith.” Widows of
titled men have their Christian name put before their surname, thus,
“Laura Lady Ledding,” “Maria Marchioness of Adesbury,” “Georgina
Viscountess Medway,” “Mary Duchess of Blankton.” The unmarried daughters
of dukes, marquises, and earls have their Christian name invariably
inserted between their courtesy title and surname, as: “Lady Mary
Baker.” When married they retain this form, only substituting the
husband’s surname for their own, as “Lady Mary Garth.” But if their
husband should be a peer, they merge their courtesy title in his.

[Sidenote: Use of the third person.]

The third person in correspondence is falling considerably into disuse,
and “presenting compliments” is almost obsolete. Invitations of a formal
kind, and their replies, are couched in the third person, but for
purposes of correspondence with strangers it is almost always better to
use the first person. The exception is in replying to a letter written
in the third person, when it is in better taste to reply in the same
way. The third person is also used in writing to tradespeople: “Mr.
Edlicott will feel obliged if Mr. Jones will kindly call on Thursday
morning with reference to some repairs.” In this case the reply would be
written in the first person.

[Sidenote: Letters of introduction.]

Letters of introduction, says La Fontaine, “are drafts that must be
cashed at sight.” They are sometimes difficult to write, especially if
they have been asked for, not volunteered. They are always left
unsealed, but should there be circumstances about the person introduced
which the other party should know, it is well to communicate them in a
private letter, which should be despatched so as to arrive before the
letter of introduction is presented. Any one receiving a letter of
introduction would immediately take steps to show some attention to the
individual introduced. The usual thing is to ask him to dinner, if he is
a social equal; to offer his services, if he should be a superior; and
to ascertain in what way one can be useful to him, if he is an inferior.

[Sidenote: A call must precede invitations.]

A personal call must precede all invitations. This is a fixed and rigid
rule, the exception being in the case of persons presenting their own
letters of introduction, as is usually done. But should the person to
whom they are addressed be out, the formal call must follow.

[Sidenote: Styles of address at the beginning of a letter.]

All ladies, from the Queen downwards, are addressed in beginning a
letter as “Madam”; all gentlemen, from the highest to the lowest, as
“Sir.” Tradesmen, however, begin “Your Royal Highness,” “Your Grace,” or
“Your Ladyship,” in writing to their titled employers. They also address
their letters quite differently, as will be seen from the following


Her Majesty the Queen.

To His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

To Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.

This same form is used in addressing communications to all other members
of the Royal Family, adding the title where the word “Prince” or
“Princess” would be incorrect, as:--

To His Royal Highness the Duke of York.

To Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York.

Below the rank of royalty there is the distinction between letters
addressed by persons on an equality with those to whom formal and they
write, and by inferiors.

[Sidenote: Address for the envelope--formal and informal.]

I shall call them formal and informal, and range them in separate lines.

      _Informal._             _Formal._

    The Duke of ----        To His Grace the
                              Duke of ----

    The Duchess of ----     To Her Grace the
                              Duchess of ----

    The Marquis of ----     To the Most Honourable
                              the Marquis of ----

    The Marchioness of ---- To the Most Honourable
                              the Marchioness of ----

    The Earl of ----        To the Right Honourable
                              the Earl of ----

    The Countess of ----    To the Right Honourable
                              the Countess of ----

    The Viscount ----       The Right Honourable
                              the Viscount ----

    The Viscountess ----    The Right Honourable
                              the Viscountess ----

    Lord ----               The Right Honourable
                              Lord ---- or Baron ----

    Lady ----               The Right Honourable
                              Lady ---- or Baroness----

[Sidenote: Addressing Privy Councillors.]

Members of the Privy Council are also addressed as “Right Honourable,”
in the same way as Peers. In this case the names of commoners are not
followed by the abbreviation “Esq.,” as:--

The Right Honourable James Balfour, M.P.

[Sidenote: Ambassadors.]

Ambassadors and their wives are addressed as “His Excellency,” “Her
Excellency,” the personal and official titles following the word, as:--

To His Excellency the Earl of----, Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary to France.

To Her Excellency the Countess of----.

Other official personages are addressed in the following way:--

To His Excellency Lord Blank, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

To His Grace the Archbishop of----.

The Right Reverend the Bishop of----.

The Very Reverend the Dean of----.

[Sidenote: Degrees.]

Academical distinctions are indicated by the initials placed after the
name--LL.D. for Doctor of Laws and Learning, D.D. for Doctor of Divinity
and so on.

[Sidenote: Beginning the letter.]

So much for the envelopes. The proper way to begin letters is as
follows. As I have mentioned, the Queen is addressed as “Madam” in the
inside of a letter. A gentleman writing

[Sidenote: To the Queen.]

to the Queen would sign himself, “I have the honour to submit myself,
with profound respect, Your Majesty’s most devoted subject and servant.”
Above the word “Madam” should be written “Her Majesty the Queen.” Lord
Beaconsfield struck out a line of his own and in writing to the Queen
began, “Mr. Disraeli,” continuing in the third person and addressing Her
Majesty in the second.

[Sidenote: To the Prince and Princess of Wales.]

The Prince of Wales is addressed as “Sir,” above this word being written
“To His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.” Persons on intimate terms
sometimes begin “Sir” or “Dear Prince,” others “My dear Prince.” The
Princess of Wales is occasionally addressed by friends as “My dear
Princess.” The two orthodox endings to such letters are respectively
“Your Royal Highness’s dutiful and obedient servant,” or (a humbler
style) “Your Royal Highness’s dutiful and most obedient servant.” To all
other Royal Princes and Princesses the ending would be “Most Humble and
Obedient Servant.”

[Sidenote: To a Duke and Duchess.]

Dukes other than royal are addressed inside letters by intimates as
“Dear Duke,” by others “My Lord Duke, may it please your Grace.” In
writing to a Duchess her title is placed above the “Madam.” In formal
letters Marquises would be addressed as “My Lord Marquis.”

[Sidenote: On omitting christian names from courtesy titles.]

A very common form of mistake is that of omitting the Christian name
from the courtesy titles of the sons and daughters of dukes, marquises,
and earls. The sons have the title “Lord” prefixed to the Christian and
surname: for instance, “Lord Alfred Osborne,” “Lord Henry Somerset.” It
is extremely incorrect to call either of these “Lord Osborne” or “Lord
Somerset.” The daughters of dukes, marquises and earls have the title
“Lady” before their Christian and surname; “Lady Emily Heneage,” for
instance, must not be addressed as “Lady Heneage.” Should she marry a
commoner only the surname is altered, the “Lady Emily” remains. This may
all appear a little involved to those unaccustomed to titles, but
neglect of these forms indicates very clearly a lack of _savoir faire_.
It is a source of great annoyance to the owners of courtesy titles to
have the Christian name omitted. Anybody, even a knight’s wife, may be a
“Lady Smith” or “Jones”; the insertion of the Christian name before the
“Smith” or “Jones” means that the possessor is the daughter of a duke,
marquis, or earl.

[Sidenote: Beginning a letter to the above.]

In beginning a letter to any of the above a stranger would say “Dear
Lady Mary Smith,” but the usual form would be “Dear Lady Mary.”
Inferiors would begin by writing the lady’s title over the word “Madam,”
or merely beginning “Madam” and writing the title at the end of the

[Sidenote: To an ambassador with conclusion.]

In writing to an ambassador or his wife the title is placed above the
word “Sir” or “Madam.” Inferiors would write “May it please your
Excellency,” and would conclude with “I have the honour to be Your
Excellency’s most humble, obedient servant.”

[Sidenote: An archbishop.]

In writing to an archbishop a correspondent would begin “Your Grace,”
ending, “I remain Your Grace’s most obedient servant.”

[Sidenote: A bishop.]

To a bishop the form would be, “My Lord,” or “Right Reverend Sir,” or
“May it please Your Lordship,” the last being, of course, the humblest
form of address. The conclusion would be, I remain, “My Lord” (or “Right
Reverend Sir”) “Your most obedient servant.”

[Sidenote: A dean.]

The beginning of a letter to a dean would be, “Reverend Sir” or “Mr.
Dean,” the title of all these dignitaries being, in formal letters,
indited above the beginning. Those having slight acquaintance would
begin, “Dear Mr. Dean.” Strangers would end the letter, “I have the
honour to be Your most obedient servant.”

[Sidenote: Doctors of Divinity.]

Doctors of divinity are addressed as “Reverend Sir,” as well as
archdeacons and all other clergy.

Intimates would begin letters to the above with: “Dear Archbishop,”
“Dear Bishop,” “Dear Dean,” or “Dear Doctor.”

[Sidenote: Officers in the army.]

With the sole exception of lieutenants in the army, all officers have
their military rank prefixed to their name. Ensigns and lieutenants are
addressed as “Esq.”

[Sidenote: And navy.]

In the navy admirals of the flag--white, blue, or red--are addressed as
“The Honourable,” this being prefixed to the name. Otherwise a letter
would begin “Sir,” and end, “I remain, Sir, Your obedient servant.”
Commodores, captains, and lieutenants in the navy are all addressed in
the same way.


[Sidenote: Addressing the Queen in person.]

It is sometimes difficult to know how to address personally people of
high rank. The Queen is addressed as “Ma’am” by those immediately
surrounding her person and by princesses, duchesses, and others who are
on terms that may be described as those of acquaintanceship with her
Majesty. All others would speak to her as “Your Majesty.”

[Sidenote: The Princess of Wales.]

The Princess of Wales and all other princesses are in the same way
addressed as “Ma’am,” or “Your Royal Highness,” according to the
position of the person speaking to them.

[Sidenote: The Prince of Wales and royal dukes.]

The Prince of Wales, with all other royal dukes and princes, is
addressed as “Sir,” or “Your Royal Highness”; the Duke of Teck as “Your
Serene Highness,” as well as many foreign princes. Equals would address
all these as “Prince.”

[Sidenote: Formal and informal modes of addressing nobility in person.]

The following list will show the correct modes of addressing the
nobility informally and formally, in conversation, the first being the
custom among acquaintances, the latter by all others:--

_Rank._       _Informal._        _Formal._

Duke         Duke.         Your Grace.

Duchess      Duchess.      Your Grace.

Marquis      Lord A.       My Lord,
                           Your Lordship.

Marchioness  Lady A.       My Lady,
                           Your Ladyship.

Earl         Lord B.       My Lord,
                           Your Lordship.

Countess     Lady B.       My Lady,
                           Your Ladyship.

Viscount     Lord C.       My Lord,
                           Your Lordship.

Viscountess  Lady C.       My Lady,
                           Your Ladyship.

Baron        Lord D.       My Lord,
                           Your Lordship.

Baroness     Lady D.       My Lady,
                           Your Ladyship.

It is one of the rules of etiquette that, in speaking with royal
persons, the inferior leaves it to them to originate subjects of
conversation, and never introduces any topic of his own.

[Sidenote: Letters of condolence.]

Letters of condolence are among the most difficult forms of composition.
They are almost equally trying to read and to write. The best rule to be
given for these is to make them as brief as possible. If “brevity is the
soul of wit,” it is also, in such cases, the very heart of sympathy. A
very usual fault committed is to begin by dilating upon the shock or
grief felt by the writer. The absurdity of this becomes apparent when
one compares mentally the shock or grief as felt by the recipient. Two
lines conveying the expression of sympathy are better than pages of even
the most eloquent composition. Mourners require all their fortitude at
times of loss, and anything likely to impair their self-command is the
reverse of a kindness.

[Sidenote: Memoriam cards.]

On hearing or reading of the death of an acquaintance or friend, an
expression of sympathy should at once be sent off. It used to be the
custom to wait for the memoriam cards sent out by the family, but this,
if it was ever the custom in the best society, has now long ceased to be
so. Memoriam cards are only used in humble circles. At the same time,
one needs to be very careful as to the accuracy of one’s information
before sending off a letter of condolence. Similarity of name is apt to
lead to awkward mistakes.

[Sidenote: The inquiry call.]

In this connection it may be as well to remark that about a week after
the funeral it is customary to call and leave cards of inquiry. When
these are responded to by cards of thanks for inquiries, it is a sign
that the family is willing to receive callers.



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Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

to look on vacancy or seem to do so.=> to look on vacantly or seem to do
so. {pg 135}

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