Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dismissed for Poor Etiquette

 "I am directed by his Excellency to state that the remark you were heard to make on his Excellency's beer at the late Viceregal Ball was neither courteous nor proper."

Etiquette in the Colonies

Mr. C. B. Croons, a contractor of Melbourne, having been declared by the Governor of the colony unfit to hold the appointment of a government contractor, wrote to the Colonial Secretary requesting to know what offense he had given, to which he received the following reply : 


"Colonial Secretary's office, June 3. 1855. Sir— His Excellency, the Governor, having duly considered your request to be informed of the grave charges brought against you, which have caused your dismissal, and having thought fit to accede to such request, I am directed by his Excellency to state that the remark you were heard to make on his Excellency's beer at the late Viceregal Ball was neither courteous nor proper. And, furthermore, that the want of discretion was aggravated by your recumbent bearing and gestures while in the act of leaving the supper room.

His Excellency, at the same time, directs me to state that although the offense would in itself come under the heading of extreme indiscretion, yet having been committed on a great state occasion, where court etiquette was obviously enforced on all sides, his Excellency had no other course open to him than to order your immediate public dismissal and official disgrace, independent of the fact of the bad example set by you to all other government contractors, whose duty it is at all times, and more especially in public, to support and countenance all articles of consumption furnished by official contract. I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant, J. Moore, A. C. S. Charles B. Croons, Esq." – Daily Alta, 1855


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

A Pie Etiquette Plea

"All we insist upon in the name of true etiquette, is that the knife should do its share of the labor, and that the fork should not be compelled unassisted to bear the heat and burden of dissection." — Did some folks not get the memo about the dual utensil? In the mid-19th century, silver companies decided on a combination of forks and knives, to create "Pie Forks" 

A Plea for the Knife

We are not too​ enamored of the knife, and to favor its use in preference to the fork as a means of conveying one'e food to one's month. On the contrary, we are as much opposed to this use of the knife as any one possibly could be. But we hold, nevertheless, that the knife should not be utterly ignored at the table. Where, for instance, the pie crust set before you is excessively inflexible, there is a sort of constructive insult to your hostess in your vain attempts to cut throngh it with a fork. Its toughness is made obvious by your exertions, and in endeavoring to cut the pie crust you enly succeed in cutting into the sensibilities of your hostess. 

By using your knife, on the contrary, your pie crust is divided into eatable portions with neatness and dispatch, and its firmness of texture is remarked by no one. We are sure that no genuine pie lover will deny that in cutting one's pie with one's knife and carrying it piece by piece to the mouth by aid of the fork, ample recognition is accorded to the demands of etiquette; for to thoroughly enjoy one's pie, neither knife nor fork is necessary. As a matter of fact, either is an impertinence. 

The true and only satisfying way to eat pie is to take it up in one's hand, and by gently but firmly pressing the pointed end of the wedge in one's mouth to slough off its beneficence with grateful teeth until its richness is all your own. This is the way to enjoy pie. But we are not talking of enjoyment. Our business is with etiquette. Therefore, we will relegate the true form of pie eating to the privacy of the cupboard, where the hasty snack is taken. All we insist upon in the name of true etiquette, is that the knife should do its share of the labor, and that the fork should not be compelled unassisted to bear the heat and burden of dissection.—Boston Transcript, 1891

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquette© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Friday, March 17, 2017

Marital and Family Etiquette

Though words may seem little things, and slight attentions almost valueless, yet, depend upon it, they keep the flame bright, especially if they are natural. The children grow up in a better moral atmosphere, and learn to respect their parents, as they see them respecting each other.


Married to Politeness

There is as much of truth, as well as of that kind of philosophy which comes into every-day requisition, helping to strengthen and brighten the ties of social affection, in the subjoined brief article: 

"Will you?" asked a pleasant voice. And the husband answered, "Yes, my dear, with pleasure." It is quietly but heartily said; the tone, the manner, the look, were perfectly natural and very affectionate. We thought, how pleasant that courteous reply; how gratifying it must be to the wife. Many husbands of ten years experience are ready enough with the courtesies of politeness to the young ladies of their acquaintance, while they speak, with abruptness to the wife, and do many rude little things without considering them worth an apology.

The stranger whom they may have seen but yesterday, is listened to with deference, and although the subject may not be of the most pleasant nature, with a ready smile, while the poor wife, if she relates a domestic grievance, is snubbed, or listened to with ill-concealed impatience. Oh, how wrong this is — all wrong. Does she urge some request? "Oh, don't bother me!" cries her gracious lord and master. Does she ask for necessary funds for Susy's shoes or Tommy's hat? "Seems to me you are always wanting money is the handsome retort. Is any little extra demanded by his masculine appetite, it is ordered, not requested. "Look here, I want you to do so and so; just see that it's done;" and off marches Mr. Boor, with a bow and a smile of gentlemanly polish and friendly sweetness for even casual acquaintance he may chance to recognize. When we meet with such thoughtlessness and coarseness, our thoughts revert to the kind voice and gentle manner of the friend who said, "Yes, my dear, with pleasure."

I beg your pardon, comes as readily to his lips, when by any little awkwardness he has disconcerted her, as it would in the presence of the most fashionable stickler for etiquette. This is because he is a thorough gentleman, who thinks his wife in all things entitled to precedence. He loves her best; why should he hesitate to show it, not in sickly, and maudlin attentions, but in preferring her pleasure, and honoring her in public as well as private. He knows her worth, why should he hesitate to attest it? 'And her husband he praised her,' saith holy writ; not by fulsome adulation, not by pushing her charms into notice, but by speaking, as opportunity occurs, in a manly way, of her virtues. Though words may seem little things, and slight attentions almost valueless, yet, depend upon it, they keep the flame bright, especially if they are natural. The children grow up in a better moral atmosphere, and learn to respect their parents, as they see them respecting each other.

Many a boy takes advantage of a mother he loves, because he sees often the rudeness of his father. Insensibly he gathers to his bosom the same habits, and the thoughts and feelings they engender, and in his turn becomes the petty tyrant. Only his mother, why should he thank her? Father never does. Thus the home becomes the seat of unhappiness and disorder. Only for strangers are kind words expressed, and hypocrites go out from the hearth-stone fully prepared to render justice, benevolence, and politeness to any one and every one, but those who have the most just claims. "Ah! give me the kind glance, the happy homestead, the wiling wife and courteous children of the friend who said so pleasantly, 'Yes, my dear, with pleasure." –– The Daily Alta, 1857

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Etiquette and Condolences


After Otto von Bismarck's death, the task of opening telegrams and attending to those which, according to etiquette, needed to receive immediate answers, continued from morning until night.

Even when in mourning, the etiquette regarding the condolences from potentates and statesmen in every part of the world, must be followed.

FRIEDRICHSRUHE, Aug. 2.— Prince Bismarck's coffin was closed down yesterday between 7 and 8 o'clock in the presence of the Imperial Chancellor, who left Friedrichsruhe immediately afterward. It was originally intended that the consecration einsegnung, as the Germans call the funeral service, should take place this morning, but it was deferred until 6 in the evening out of deference to the Emperor, who expressed a wish to be present and could not arrive before. 

The whole family, headed by Prince Herbert, assembled in the small, bare death chamber this morning and partook of the Holy Sacrament. The black coffin, of unusually large dimensions, with eight massive silver-plated handles, rested on trestles and occupied exactly the same spot as that on which stood the bed on which the Prince died, the head of the coffin, as was pointed out to me, being almost within touch of the bell rope which the Prince used when summoning his attendants. 

The task of opening telegrams and attending to those which, according to etiquette, must receive immediate answer, still continues from morning until night and keeps Count Rantzau, Count Wilhelm and Prince Herbert continually occupied. I noticed on the table one layer of opened telegrams about a foot high from every Prussian Prince and Princess and almost all the German federal sovereigns. Emperor Francis Joseph, the King and Queen of Italy, the English and Russian courts and over 100 European statesman also telegraphed condolences. — New York Herald, 1898

Do letters of condolence need to be acknowledged?

If you receive commercial sympathy cards simply signed with a name, no. Otherwise, generally yes. Most funeral establishments or crematoria furnish notecard-size thank-you notes...

 Time-honored rituals of death ease us through the unthinkable. Much of what we do during these times is almost rote. Everyone knows how difficult a death is. No, these notes are not original or memorable. They simply serve the purpose of letting the recipient know that you received and appreciated their card. Again, if anyone stands out particularly, make a note to write them later, when you can.

When should acknowledgements be sent out?

Nobody will expect you to do this for some time, so don’t worry if you can’t get yourself to your writing place for weeks or months, but some people deserve a personal reply. — From ModernLoss.com

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Etiquette and Marie Antoinette


Anne d'Arpajon, aka "Madame Etiquette" ~A French aristocrat and First Lady of Honour to Queens of France, Marie Leszczyńska and Marie Antoinette, Anne d'Arpajon was called "Madame Etiquette" by Marie Antoinette for her insistence that no minutia of court etiquette ever be disregarded or altered in any way

Dressing the French Queen

What a cruel ceremony was the dressing of that tame Queen! When Maria Antoinette, in the days of her cumbersome greatness, stood of a morning in the centre of her bed chamber, awaiting, after her bath, her first article of dress. It was presented to her, or rather it was passed over her royal shoulders by the "Dame d'Honneur." Perhaps, at the moment, a "Princess of the Blood" entered the room (for French Queens both dressed and dined in public), the right of putting on the primal garment of Her Majesty immediately devolved upon her, but it could not be yielded to her by the "Dame d'Honneur;" the latter, arresting the chemise de la reine as it was passing down the royal back, adroitly whipped it on, and, presenting it to the "Premiere Dame," that Noble lady transferred it to the "Princess of the Blood."

Madame d'Arpajon had once to give it up to the Duchess of Orleans, who, solemnly taking the same, was on the point of throwing it over the Queen's head, when a scratching (it was contrary to etiquette to knock) was heard at the door of the room. Thereupon entered the Countess de Provence, and she being nearer to the throne than the Lady of Orleans, the latter made over her office to the new comer, in the meantime, the Queen stood like Venus as to covering, but shaking with cold, for it was mid-winter, and muttering, "what an odious nuisance." The Countess de Provence entered on the mission which had fallen to herself, and this she did so awkwardly, that she entirely demolished a head-dress which had taken three hours to build. The Queen beheld the devastation, and got warm by laughing outright. – D. Doran, 1855


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Prussian Princess Etiquette

On State occasions, there is comparatively little ceremony observed here, but everyday life of the Prussian royal family seems to be regulated more strictly on the principle of etiquette, than that of Queen Victoria. 

Victoria's Daughter in Prussia

The Berlin correspondent of the Daily Telegraph writes as follows: The reserve manner at the Royal palace has given rite to various rumors, which have caused much delight to the good people here. The heroine of the incidents I refer to is Princess Victoria. You must know that on State occasions, there is comparatively little ceremony observed here, while the everyday life of the Royal family seems to be regulated more strictly on the principle of etiquette, than that of Queen Victoria.

A Prussian Princess, for instance, is not allowed by her Mistress of the Robes to take up a chair, and, after having carried it through the whole breadth of the room, to put it down in another corner. It was while committing such an act that Princess Victoria was lately caught by Countess Perponcher. 


The venerable lady remonstrated, with a considerable degree of official earnestness. 'I tell you what,' she replied — nothing daunted the royal heroine of the story — 'I tell you what, my dear Countess, you are probably aware of the fact of my mother being the Queen of England?' The Countess bowed in assent. 'Well,' resumed the bold Princess, 'then I must reveal to you another fact. Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, has not once, but very often, so far forgotten herself as to take up a chair. I speak from personal observation, I can assure you. Nay, I am not greatly deceived, I noticed one day my mother carrying a chair in each hand, in order to set them for her children. Do you really think that my dignity forbids anything which is frequently done by the Queen of England?' 

The Countess bowed again and retired, perhaps not without a little astonishment at the biographical information she had heard. However, she knew her office, and resolved to prove not less staunch to her duties than the Princess to her principles. A scene similar to the one narrated recently happened, when Countess Perponcher, on entering one of the remote chambers, took the Princess by surprise, while busily engaged in the homely occupation of arranging and stowing away a quantity of linen, but all objections the Countess could urge were again beaten back in another equally unanswerable argument taken from the every day life of the Mistress of Windsor Castle. 

After having gained these two important victories, Princess Victoria, true to the auspicious omen of her name, carried the war into the enemy's camp. The Chambermaids, whose proper business it is to clean the rooms, discharge the duties of their position in silk dresses. The daughter of the richest sovereign in the world decided to put a stop to this extravagance.

One fine morning she had all the female servants summoned to her presence, and delivered what may be considered a highly successful maiden speech. She began by telling them the expense of their dresses must evidently exceed the rate of their wages. She added that as their wages were not to be raised, it would be very fortunate for them if they were allowed to assume cotton articles of clothing. 'In order to prevent every misunderstanding,' the Princess continued, 'I shall not only permit, but order you to do so. You might know that there ought always to be a difference in the dress of mistress and servant. Don't think that I want to hurt your feelings ; you will understand my intention at once, if I tell you that.' 


And now came the same unanswerable argument from the Court of St. James, she told them briefly that at that Court, people in their position performed their duties in cotton, and that she liked to be ruled by her mother's practice. — The Daily Alta, 1858

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Bathing-Machine Etiquette


If Asmodeus or some other imp could reveal to the thoughtful critic, the private lives of the bathers of America, France, England and Japan, it would be possible to ascertain which of these codes of bathing etiquette is associated with most correct and purest lives ; but as the data are not all accessible, each of us may draw the conclusion he pleases. 

Bathing Machine Etiquette

Apart altogether from the wide difference, between the description of bath used by various nationalities — differences dependent somewhat upon climate — there is great diversity in the etiquette surrounding the bath. In Western Europe, England and the United States, the private bathroom is usually occupied by one individual at a time, but the etiquette of sea-bathing in England differs widely from that of this country, which has adopted the bathing customs of the continent of Europe, or rather those of France. 


In England, the beach of seaside resort exhibits several ranges of little wooden houses on wheels, called "bathing machines." The proprietors, or attendants, who have an office near, are on the lookout for bathers, and for a small sum give the bather the exclusive right to a machine, which is immediately drawn into the water to a convenient depth for a plunge.

The bathing machines for men are always separated by a considerable distance from those for women, who always wear a bathing dress consisting of a long loose gown. The men wear a waist cloth, or nothing, according to the measure of their own prudery or that of the town authorities. Most bathing machines have a hood, which can be let down so as to secure privacy, and the very prudish of both sexes stay inside its protective folds. The sexes never associate while in the water, so that sea-bathing in England seems a solemn affair for the young men and women of this country, who love the sea bath for the chances it affords for flirtation and exhibition of physical proportions. 


Sirens and lady-killers have but scant opportunities at Brighton or Hastings, compared with those they enjoy at Long Branch or Cape May. The latter are reduced to watching, glass to eye, from the promenade or hotel windows, the capers of the former as they coyly crouch at the edge of the tide, or float far out upon the waves. There can be no romping and dipping, no close inspection of sinewy or graceful contours, no admiration of artistic abbreviation of costume; but, to make some slight amends. Old Neptune flirts with the long blue dresses and lifts them past prudery line.

In Japan they have no nonsensical prudery. Men and women bathe together, and a man does not scruple to introduce his friend of his own sex to his wife or daughter as all stand vesture-less in the water. Properly interpreted, this shows that a Japanese husband has more confidence in his wife and more in his friend than any Celt, Teuton or Anglo-Saxon has yet developed. 
If the confidence is warranted by the want of results, this absence of prudery is a decided step toward a higher civilization. 

If Asmodeus or some other imp could reveal to the thoughtful critic, the private lives of the bathers of America, France, England and Japan, it would be possible to ascertain which of these codes of bathing etiquette is associated with most correct and purest lives ; but as the data are not all accessible, each of us may draw the conclusion he pleases. — Philadelphia Record, 1885

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia