One is not in need of modern self-help gurus when 19th-century
Etiquette Classes are available.
Class schedule and itinerary will be made available in Fall 2019
“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.” —Mansfield Park (1814) Jane Austen
In the streets, conversations were required to be short—wouldn't want to hold up traffic!—but when taking a longer “promenade” through the garden, discussions were granted more time.As a lady enters a drawing-room:
As if women didn't already have enough to deal with during the 19th century. All the above is included in addition to "not shaking, of the hand extended to her," but rather, accepting it with "cordial pressure."
Finally, a rule we can get behind. Arriving on time was considered rude. But don't think this rule could be applied to just any party. The handbook later mentions that country affairs are distinct from those in-town. In the latter scenario, to arrive an hour after the time on the invitation would be "an unwarrantable assumption of fashion."
Fortunately, things loosened up near the end of the century, and weddings could be held as late as *gasp* 3 p.m.
The handbook also mentions that it was acceptable for a young married lady to be a bridesmaid, but it would be “absurd” if the woman in question were single and aged. We wouldn’t want to throw off the aesthetic, I suppose.
What an imposition! Paying the help is the most loathsome burden.
Let that sink in: smoking in the street was considered a deadly crime.
Because lemon-colored gloves would have been the obvious choice otherwise.
Apparently parties were a little more regulated back then. The handbook follows with the assortment of dances that one should expect at a ball (such as a quadrille, a waltz, a polka) as well as the number of times they are to be played.
It also educates readers that during dinner...
If the handbook's obsessive rules are too overwhelming for you, feel free to fall back on this overarching mandate:
At least one rule has aged quite nicely.