Do the Right Thing ; Need to Draw Up a Seating Plan for Dinner? Hire a Servant? Deal with the Aftermath of a Tricky One-Night Stand? Let These Guides to the Most Decorous Behaviour Down the Ages Show You the Way
Usborne, Research Simon, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
The English Gentleman, by Richard Braithwaite, 1630
How a Gentleman is to bestow himself in recreation
As one said of Love, that it should be a toy and no toyle; so say I of Recreation; the spirits should be cheered by it, not drowned in it; refreshed, not depressed. I doe not like of this eagernesse after pleasure; for it argues too much sensuality; The minde should be so tempered, as it may shew an indifferencie to the use of pleasure. Which I have surely found, as a maine errour in most part of young Gentlemen; whose eager appetite so unmeasurably pursuing the quest of pleasure, cannot containe it selfe from expressing outwardly, the love it conceives to such a pleasure inwardly.
It is an excellent thing to moderate our joyes, by considering the shortnesse of them; and to allay the height of them, by observing what breaches or intermissions are incident to them. Wherefore above all, it becommeth a Gentleman to be circumspect in this kinde, for even by his outward carriage may his weaknesse bee discovered. Sure I am, there is nothing that tasteth more of true wisdome, than to temper our desires in effects of joy.
Instructions for Youth, Gentlemen and Noblemen, by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), and others. Printed 1722
Private quarrels to be avoided
Be careful to avoid publick Disputations at Feasts, or at Tables, among cholerick or quarrelsome Persons; and eschew evermore to be acquainted or familiar with Ruffians, for thou shalt be in as much Danger in contending with a Brawler in a private Quarrel, as in a Battle, wherein thou mayest get Honour to thy self, and Safety to thy Prince and Country; but if thou be once engaged, carry thyself bravely, that they may fear thee after. To shun therefore private Fights, be well advised in thy Words and Behaviour; for Honour and Shame is in the Talk, and the Tongue of a Man causeth him to fall.
What sort of servants are fittest to be entertained
Let thy Servants be such as though mayest command; and entertain none about thee but Yeomen, to whom thou givest Wages; for those that will serve thee without any Hire, will cost thee treble as much as they that know thy Fare. If thou trust any Servant with thy Purse, be sure thou take his Account e'er thou sleep; for if thou put it off, thou wilt then afterwards, for Tedioussness, neglect it. I my self have thereby lost more than I am worth. And whatsoever thy Servant gaineth thereby, he will never thank thee, but laugh thy Simplicity to scorn; and besides, 'tis the Way to make thy Servants Thieves, which else would be honest.
What Inconveniences happen to such as delight in Wine.
Take special Care that thou delight not in Wine, for there never was any Man that came to Honour or Preferment that loved it; for it transformeth a Man into a Beast, decayeth Health, poi-soneth the Breath, destroyeth natural Heat, brings a Man's Stomach to an artificial Heat, deformeth the Face, rotteth the Teeth; and to conclude, maketh a Man contemptible, soon old, and despised of all wife and worthy Men; hated in thy Servants, in thy self and Companions; for it is a bewitching and infectious Vice: and remember my Words, that it were better for a Man to be subject to any Vice, than to it, for all other Vanities and Sins are recovered, but a Drunkard will never shake off the Delight of Beastliness; for the longer it possesseth a Man, the more he will delight in it, and the elder he groweth, the more he shall be subject to it; for it dulleth the Spirits, and destroyeth the Body, as Ivy doth the old Tree, or as the Worm that engendereth in the Kernel of the Nut.
Society Small Talk or What to Say and When to Say It, by a member of the aristocracy, 1879
Pleasant, agreeable "small talk," necessary as it is on all social occasions, is more particularly so at the most important of all social gatherings, namely, dinner parties, and it is at dinner- parties that the greatest call is made upon the social qualities of the guests, and upon their powers of making themselves agreeable...
To make pleasant easy small talk is to pave the way towards pleasant companionship, and the slightest thread is capable of being woven into a substantial fabric. A matter-of-fact conversation often commences in this wise, "We must take care not to tread upon that smart train," referring to the dress of a lady who was preceding a couple to the dining room.
"Yes, that would never do; trains are very graceful, if they are inconvenient," To which her companion might observe-"Oh, I admire them, of course; I am only so afraid of treading upon them, and of bringing down the wrath of the fair wearer upon my devoted head."
"Are you very unlucky in this way? And do you think a woman could not keep her temper if her gown were trodden upon?" .
"Well, if you ask me really what I think about it, I should say she was a very exceptional woman if she stood such a test - but here we are; we are to sit this side."
Or - "Have you been to the French plays? I suppose you have."
"No, indeed, I have not; we thought of going one night next week, if we can get stalls."
"If you want to see a really good piece you should try and see____" and at this point of the conversation the name of the "only piece worth seeing" would be mentioned, and if the lady were endowed with tact and cleverness, she would lead her companion to give her his impressions of the piece, and of the cast; by which means she would gain a certain knowledge of the subject, while he would gain, what men most appreciate, a good listener. On such slight foundations as the foregoing, does the matter of fact, or the commonplace small talk rest. The gossipy and the polite small talk have a still flimsier raison d'tre and run very much after this fashion.
Party-Giving on Every Scale, or The Cost of Entertainments with the Fashionable Modes of Arrangement, 1882
Although punctuality on the part of guests with regard to their coming down to breakfast is not compulsory, it is yet more courteous to the host and hostess and more conducive to the comfort of the guests themselves when some regard is paid to the sound of the breakfast gong; and though a host and hostess do not wait breakfast for their guests, it yet appears unsociable to sit down to table without them, and a hostess who is solicitous for the bien tre of her guests, is vexed when everything is half-cold before their entrance. The eight o'clock cup of tea sent to the members of a family, and to their guests, is so usual an attention, and is so appreciated by all, that none but the most economical and penurious of housekeepers attempt to dispense with it, the cost being of so trifling a character...
Many heads of households have a rooted objection to that much abused culinary article, the frying pan; while indifferent cooks entertain a decided partiality for it, and lamb chops, kidneys, and rashers of bacon are indiscriminately sacrificed to it. Thus the ubiquitous dish of eggs and bacon is, thanks to the frying-pan, not always the delicacy requisite to tempt fastidious appetites, and a dish of toasted bacon and poached eggs, puts a dish of fried bacon with its setting of half cold fat and suspicious looking eggs to the blush.
Manners and Rules of Good Society, or Solecisms to be Avoided, by a member of the aristocracy, 1913
The precedency observed in sending guests in to supper is far more punctiliously followed in the country than in town. The host should take in the lady of highest rank present, and the hostess should endeavour to send in the principal guests according to their individual rank; but in town she generally leaves the guests to follow the host and lady of highest rank according to their inclinations, a guest should not enter the supper-room before the host has done so.
When a gentleman takes a lady in to supper, he should re-conduct her to the ball-room as a matter of course; the fact of friends joining her in the supper-room would not relieve him from his obligation. And the same etiquette applies equally to a lady. She should return to the ball-room only with the gentleman who has taken her down to supper, unless she is engaged for the ensuing dance, when her partner might come in quest of her; she should then return to the ball-room with him.
The Book of Etiquette, by Lady Troubridge, 1926
Receiving gentlemen in hotels
A gentleman calling upon a lady staying in a hotel makes the same inquiry as if he were calling at a private house. "Is Miss So-and- so in?" He then gives his name to the clerk, who will either telephone to the lady's room, or send a servant to inquire if she is in, should there be no installation of bedroom-telephones in the hotel.
The lady should not refuse to see a visitor without offering some excuse. If she is expecting the visitor, she should be waiting in the drawing-room or lounge, having left word at the office where she may be found when her visitor arrives. It is quite permissible for the lady to send a message to the gentleman asking him to wait if she is not ready to see visitors. But if the visit is expected, it is a greater courtesy on the lady's part to be downstairs and ready to receive the gentleman. For a woman to receive a man in her bedroom at a hotel is to break an important convention, and should never be done. It places both in a false position and is a serious blunder in hotel etiquette.
If a gentleman calls upon a lady at any hotel, whether it is a social or business call, and finds that she is not in, he leaves his card for her with the clerk in the office. He should, however, write her name at the top of the card, as without this indication the card may go to the wrong guest, it being impossible for reception clerks to remember the names of all the guests upon whom cards are left.
This Huntin' Business, by Duncan Fife, 1934
There are some things which are really not done in the hunting field - at least, they ARE DONE, but that's not my fault, they shouldn't be. These mistakes are usually brought about by inexperience, over experience, or as an experiment, and we will take the first to begin with.
Arriving upon the scene of operations in a glittering saloon, complete with fur coat, rug, and foot-warmer, Thermos, a lot of food and the other stuff, chauffeur, and all the doings, our friend steps out with negligence, throws open his overcoat, unwinds several feet of scarf, does the usual business with cigarette and petrol lighter and opens with a smile.
He raises his hat to a nice bit of goods who unfortunately doesn't know him - and shows it - then peers into its inside, fingering the lining etc. to cover an awkward moment before replacing. He then strolls across to where his groom is holding his horse - a doped looking animal of extreme safety - and is aghast at the size it appears to be from the ground.
Half an hour later he is more or less in the saddle when a stinging drop of rain causes him to call for his mac. This adjusted, a second drop arrives, and - having left his umbrella at home - he decides to give hunting a miss, gets back into the shining automobile, and departs, while his groom hacks 25 miles back to his quarters.
The Complete book of Etiquette, Amy Vanderbilt, 1952
I believe that knowledge of the rules of living in our society makes us more comfortable... some of the rudest and most objectionable people I have ever known have been technically the most "correct." Some of the warmest, most lovable, have had little more than an innate feeling of what is right toward others. But, at the same time, they have had the intelligence to inform themselves, as necessary, on the rules of social intercourse as related to their own experiences. Only a great fool or a great genius is likely to flout all social grace with impunity, and neither one, doing so, makes the most comfortable companion.
How do you teach a child good household manners, especially things like not leaving the bathroom in a mess?
As soon as a child can read, post a gentle reminder on a bulletin board or a central place, detailing the things you have been teaching him during these early years - a litany of "do this" and "don't do that." (Be sure there are many more "dos" than "don'ts".)
Make your behaviour list fun. Draw some appropriately happy or sad faces around it, or paste some cut-out figures on the chart. Give the child a paste-on gold star for a "specially good week" as a reward symbol. Don't expect an overnight miracle, but a child can learn to see the logic in good manners and having consideration for others. It means better living for everyone in the house, and a young child is often more logical than his parents!
If there's supposed to be an even number of each sex at a seated meal, what can one do when it seems all one's friends are widows and divorcees? I feel terrible putting two women next to each other, and spend hours on the telephone trying to round up single men.
Don't spend your time on the telephone, particularly since the results might not be fortunate. A woman would much rather sit next to another attractive intelligent woman than be forced to make conversation with an unattractive dullard.
If you can match the sexes evenly, fine, but if you can't do be upset. Women can sit very happily next to each other, if the only extra men available are less than passable.
The same holds true when there are too many men and there are no attractive extra women available. Two men can enjoy sitting next to each other, too! (Unfortunately, the older the generations grow, the fewer times a shortage of women occurs!)
Debrett's New Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners by John Morgan, 1996
These are pivotal to the woman's smart day wardrobe. They are de rigueur at weddings, Royal Ascot and other smart races. They are preferable but no longer essential at royal garden parties, christenings and other church services. Unlike their grandmothers, most women today are unused to wearing hats (particularly large ones) and are thus prone to spatial misapprehensions and clumsy collisions when meeting and greeting. A very social friend recommends practising with a new hat at home to avoid embarrassment on the day. She also cautions about wearing millinery that is too small and points out that, whereas it is easy to make a hat smaller, the reverse is almost impossible. Veils, too, for all their allure, need practice, particularly by smokers and messy eaters.
The Office Party
The major behavioural pitfalls of such events are drunkenness and indiscretions, both sexual and professional. All are inadvisable and most are bad manners. Etiquette (and kindness) demands that no one within the department/company should be left out of the invitation list and that guests should circulate and not stick to their usual cronies. If there is dancing, the same applies, and the plain, the unpopular and the unimportant should not be made to feel like wallflowers. It is bad manners and pushy to monopolise the boss, who will want to circulate. On the other hand it is rude not to talk to him or her - albeit briefly. If there are spouses present, then the old idea of the first and last dances being theirs still holds. Couples, no matter what the state of their relationship, must present a united front in the office. It is not expected to write a thank-you letter after an informal office party. However, if it has been a formal, expensive bash, then it is polite to pen a few words of appreciation afterwards.
Debrett's Etiquette for Girls, 2006
Planet celebrity is an alien world. It is a vertical community where only the truly, hugely famous are afforded a royalty status of sorts. It is also a place where all eventually take leave of usual social responsibilities. After reaching a certain level of fame and recognition, very few are inclined to condescend to humour the minions and, unlike royalty, are not obliged to either. Psycho fans and fame hags are permanently on the rampage, so any mere civilian is advised to brace themselves for nothing less welcoming than a glacial reception. In chance spottings (especially when en famille), it's polite to ignore them. They're not public property and may be armed with ten-tonne bodyguards. Give a brief cheery smile if you must; don't gawp. If details really are required for recounting to friends, angle your mobile into the spy camera position but, at all face-saving costs, don't get caught. On introduction, chat needs to be pithy and pacey. Remember that there's no such thing as an original line; they've heard it all before. Feigning total ignorance, ie "Sorry, I missed your name...", is a risky strategy known as the Long Shot. The wildly unfamiliar concept of anonymity may delight them, but you are in danger of incensing them and blowing it... Never act rashly and greet them like a friend; we may know who they are but they don't know us. Disassociate them from any signature character and don't beg for them to perform their famous catchphrase. Avoid looking the fool and never ever remind them of any previous meetings; they won't remember you.
Avoid overfamiliarity. Steer clear of tracking them across town. The heavies will be on to you and you don't want to be taken for a psycho fan or potential stalker. Don't bring up anything that is remotely media gossip-based, personal or controversial, no matter how topical. They won't share it with you.
Remember, for the famous, there are only three options within their wonderful world: a) noblesse oblige - after all they do owe their fans, b) bitch reputation, c) total reclusion.
The one-night stand (ONS) is a bit like fast food: tempting but with nauseating afterthoughts... Any dark alley gropery on the way home is just not ladylike and is bound to be viewed by an audience or CCTV. Also, don't force taxi drivers to witness any indiscretions. Once home, leave him to marvel at your record collection and superior taste in wine while you do a turbo-tidy. Conceal any embarrassing exhibits if bothered by such trifles, but if it's a true ONS, is shouldn't matter... Then attend to the lighting, play some music and sit together. Slip shoes off, gently shake out hair, nibble seductively on a cocktail cherry and chuckle at his jokes. Then stop talking and smile with your best come-to- bed eyes - intimacy will surely follow.
Once you're in the bedroom, forget all about your cleanse/tone/ moisturise bedtime routine, Leave make-up intact and pyjamas in their drawer... If you're at his, the ONS is not over until the walk of shame - going home in last night's dishevelled clothes. Steel yourself for the aftermath and hold our head up high. If you wake up early, it is acceptable under the circumstance to slip out without waking him. If you are possessed of any concern for good manners, then it's imperative to leave a cute note and a good excuse, with or without your telephone number...
If at yours, offer him breakfast and, assuming you want no more of him, say that your mother is on her way round. Bear in mind, however, that concerted maturity and politeness will ultimately lessen your own shame.…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Do the Right Thing ; Need to Draw Up a Seating Plan for Dinner? Hire a Servant? Deal with the Aftermath of a Tricky One-Night Stand? Let These Guides to the Most Decorous Behaviour Down the Ages Show You the Way. Contributors: Usborne, Research Simon - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: May 27, 2007. Page number: Not available. © 2009 The Independent on Sunday. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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