Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Retro Etiquette from "The Lady"


Known as England's longest running weekly magazine for women, "The Lady" has been in continuous publication since 1885 

"WHEN an intelligent woman makes up her mind to accomplish a thing, there are very few deeds which she cannot achieve."
The Lady. A Boarding-House for Ladies. 19th February, 1891

“SOUP must be served in cups to guests before they leave, a custom that is very much appreciated in cold weather”
The Lady. Etiquette. 11th November 1909

"IT is easy to miss the best answer to a problem when a good,but inferior, option presents itself."
The Lady. A Tempting Diversion. 23rd September, 1965

“PUTTING the bed into the right place is about as troublesome as placing a piano in a small room. At any cost don’t let the bed face the window! A third of life is spent in sleep, and whether you are well or ill that glaring mistake spells discomfort.”
The Lady. And So to Bed 23rd September, 1948

“IN most romantic fiction the monosyllabic hero is regarded with considerable approval, as though being tongue-tied was a special virtue. But in real life, particularly in marriage, the truly reticent male can drive any wife crazy. Matrimonial bliss can be ruined by a silent husband.”
The Lady. Silent Isn’t Golden To Me 26th September 1968

"TRUE hospitality means the doing and giving – freely and heartily – the best you can, and of the best you have."
The Lady. Entertaining. 11th August, 1898

“THE average man seems incapable of discerning when a woman is good and charming and eminently suitable as a wife.”
The Lady. Marrying Families. 25th July, 1912

“IN the feverish search for happiness we are apt to overlook the beautiful commonplaces of life – friends, books, music, the “sweet charities” of family life, sunshine and warmth.”
The Lady. The Triumph of the Ordinary. 25th July, 1912

"IT is far better to have things well done, no matter how simple they may be, than to have much show and little comfort.
The Lady magazine. Talks on etiquette 7th May, 1914

"AS a general rule, one’s stern duty in life seems to be to avoid the things in life that are pleasant, especially in the matter of diet."
The Lady. Living Well. 16th August, 1928

“LOVE is not always a reliable basis for a life-long companionship. It is well known that there is a tendency in human nature to love precisely where love is certain to bring misery.” The Lady. Far and Near. 19th August, 1909

“‘THE World’ expresses regret that there is a tendency to make the dinner-hour later and later. Long dinners are wearisome and one would not wish them revived.” The Lady. Far and Near. 13th August, 1903

"THE woman who is always on her doorstep gossiping with her neighbour does not, as a rule, keep her house clean.” The Lady. The Gossip of Women. 27th August, 1908

"EVEN in a house where there are more than two people, and a good deal of outside work to be done, one can be perfectly content and happy without a servant (to say nothing of the saving), only all must pull together, and everyone give a hand at times." The Lady. Comfort Without A Servant. 22nd July, 1915

"THE secret of the successful "little" dinner is that all the people present belong to the same clique: if an outsider is present he or she must have some special brilliance." The Lady. Dinners Up-To-Date. 22nd July 1920

"IT is quite clear that the art of living is to take things as they come, and to thankful for any mercies that may be granted. So many good things in life are taken as a matter of course." The Lady. Our Negative Blessings. 22nd July, 1920

"THERE are many good chances wasted by lack of promptness and businesslike habits, also by the inability to take up new ideas.’ The Lady. How to Live. 20th August, 1903

A more recent cover, from 2012. The magazine got a makeover in 2009: "It was set up "to deal with the many subjects in which Ladies are interested, in a manner at once fully and completely, yet not tiresome: to provide information without dullness and entertainment without vulgarity..." Providing entertainment without vulgarity is still the magazine's mission for its 30,000 subscribers. The vicissitudes of hen keeping, rather than rock chicks, worry readers. And thank goodness for that, says Marie-Helene Ferguson, founder of the London School of Etiquette. 'I think it's quite refreshing and is an oasis - as a woman you can feel pressured with magazines, so I don't read them anymore. It's 'Gucci this week, Prada the next' - you end up feeling inadequate.'" BBC Today

"THERE is a good deal of truth in the theory that the world is only too ready to esteem people as they esteem themselves, to "take them at their own valuation," as we say."
The Lady. Musical Notes. 30th September, 1926


“LEISURE is a secret vice, a treasure to be fought for and planned for as ruthlessly as any first baby”

The Lady. On Being A Governess: A Lost Joy. 4th February 1932

"BECOME a good cook before you marry, darling. Then you will be competent to rebuke a staff of domestics or to dispense with one."
The Lady. The New Riviera. 22nd December 1927


“SOUL-SEARCHING and soul-pulling form the chief subject of conversation among even comparative strangers who meet across a dinner table or in a country house… The privacy of life is almost abolished.”
The Lady. More About Women. 16th January, 1890

"WOMEN attend meetings and read newspapers in ever-increasing numbers. It should be considered impolite nowadays for a man to address himself to men only."
The Lady. Far And Near. 22nd December, 1927

"IN one case in a thousand a woman may be right to make the proposal. That case is the one where the woman’s worldly possessions make the man who loves her shy of taking the usual course. One can think of no other position in which the Leap Year license should be used."The Lady. Far and Near. 25th February, 1904‘


ONE always introduces the less important to the more important person.’ The Lady. Correspondence-Etiquette. 24th December, 1931


"IF love reigned supreme the earth would always be calm and happy. It is only when hatred and its attendant evils, envy and strife, creep in that the world is not the beautiful sunny place it was intended to be." The Lady, The Message Of The Snowflakes, 22nd December, 1927

"EMBRACE as many friends as possible beneath the mistletoe, for those who kiss beneath the Christmas mistletoe will never quarrel." The Lady. Customs And Superstitions: Old And New. 22nd December, 1927

“EAT mince pies in as many different houses as possible during the Christmas season, for, according to the number of houses, so will you have as many weeks of good luck during the coming year.” The Lady. Customs And Superstitions: Old And New. 22nd December, 1927


"WHEN only one servant is kept, it is wisest to to have one of experience, and give very good wages to her." The Lady. The Duties of Servants. 24th February, 1911


"NOTHING is commonplace; everything is wonderful, and everything interesting, if only we knew it." The Lady. The Plums of Life. 24th February, 1910

"THE thrifty housewife has initiative. She possesses the gift of management, a gift denoting cleverness, character and originality." The Lady. The Virtue of Thrift. 18th January, 1906

"TO work in a kitchen where there is "no room to turn round" and "nowhere to put anything" is trying to the nerves and productive of breakages." The Lady. The Cupboard Kitchen. 18th January, 1934

"NOTHING could be more dangerous to happy marriage than the general assumption that it is an affair of trial and error. Husbands and wives who believe that they are married 'till death do us part' are much more likely to settle their differences and make allowances for one another's faults than those who, ever critical, have the idea of divorce always in their mind." The Lady. The Children's View. 22nd February, 1951.

"It is very necessary that every girl should really understand the art of making a bed well and comfortably. To know that one's bed is sure to be clean and properly made, makes us more than ready to follow the wise maxim which teaches that to go to bed early is to be "healthy, wealthy and wise." The Lady. The Art of Making Beds. 22 January, 1903

"DO not worry; and do not think things over too much. Above all, cheer up and fight against the temptation to be downhearted." The Lady. The Best Advice When Everything is Upside Down. 23rd November, 1922

"YOU should not when you pay afternoon calls take your dog with you, even if he is a "perfect darling" and always obeys your orders to lie down quietly." The Lady. Letters to dot from Lady Clare. 4th January 1917

"MANNERS do matter! They matter tremendously in every-day life. When two men or women are equal in ability in business it is their manner that decides which of them shall be promoted. Social success depends upon "manners" controlled by the brain." The Lady. Manners Do Matter. 12th December, 1929

"Many people commit social solecisms through the mistaken idea of good manners. One such mistaken idea of good manners is to gush over children, pet animals, dresses, or any possessions of others." The Lady. Society solecisms. 3rd September, 1903

"THE plain fact that the bachelor girl is merely a single women of small means pursuing an art or earning her living is known but ignored by a delusion-loving world, which insists on putting her condition as a happy blend of gaiety, freedom and romance." The Lady. The Emancipated Girl. 3rd September, 1893

“WHEN setting a luncheon, beakers for drink instead of tumblers will appeal to those with maids who are congenitally unable to polish glass.” The Lady. Breakfast, Luncheon, Tea and Dinner. 14th November 1929.

“SOMEONE has discovered that little women have strong wills and that big ones are yielding. He says that “The little helpless thing” is the most formidable creature in the world, certain to defeat the man in every encounter.” The Lady. Untrained daughters. 25th May 1899

"FOR those who only keep one servant there are three forms of entertaining – luncheons and teas for single ladies, and suppers for those who are married." The Lady. How to entertain. 25th May 1899

“IT is the doing of little things correctly that shows whether people are used or not used to the ways of society. It is the wife not the husband who has to keep up and extend their circle of friends and acquaintances, and it is her influence or popularity that may make or mar his career socially. The Lady. Chats on Etiquette. 21st July, 1898


“IN losing respect for their parents, a good many young people seem to have lost respect for themselves. Indeed, they seem unable to respect anything at all.” The Lady. Modern Family Life. 5th August 1926

“EVERYONE wants companionship of some sort, and misses it if withheld; especially is this the case with young people. None of us were intended by Nature to live alone, and youth in particular requires – I might say craves – for brightness and amusement.” The Lady. The Bachelor Girl by Lady Clare. 7th July 1904


“LADIES do not call upon gentlemen. If you wish to further the acquaintance, you can show him any hospitality you like. It would be quite correct for you to invite him either to luncheon, tea or dinner.” The Lady. Etiquette. 14th July 1904

"THE housewife who does her own cooking, and yet who desires time for other interests, will find "cooking mornings" a practical and time-saving proposition. The one who never looks ahead, but does her cooking meal by meal, necessarily spends much time in the kitchen. A good housewife will think ahead, and set aside two or three mornings a week when she will cook for that day, and will also wholly or partially prepare dishes for several days ahead." The Lady. A Cooking Morning. 7th March, 1935


“Selfishness and real love cannot co-exist because the first desire of such love is for the happiness and well-being of its object.” The Lady. The Right Handle. 15th June 1911


"Self-sacrifice can be the chief curse of family life, because few of us are really angelic enough either to accept or give self-sacrifice without resentment." The Lady. With Prejudice. 26th June 1930


“Hesitation is usually fatal, and it is therefore advisable to adopt one definite rule and keep to it.” The Lady. The Lady and Her Car: Acquiring the Road Sense. 27th December, 1928


“A well-developed body is in no way inconsistent with a refined nature, and the girl who plays hockey and golf may be quite as womanly as the girl who spends her days over an embroidery frame.” The Lady. A Plea For The Modern Woman. 24th April, 1902


"A girl should be polite and courteous to everyone with whom she may come in contact, but if she is wise she will not become intimate with anyone until she knows something of their character, for the bachelor girl has, being alone, to walk warily and keep closely to the straight path of everyday duties." The Lady. The Bachelor Girl. 7th July, 1904


“When planning the party games, it is important not to give the impression that you are working through a set programme. It is quite true that you must think out beforehand what games and stunts will be included, but you want no hint of formality.” The Lady. Making the children’s party. 12th December 1929


"Women hate the housework more than men do. This is not surprising for the cottage housewife has usually enjoyed a greater sense of possession than her husband ever had the chance to develop, while, on the other hand, he among workmates and at the inn or the crossroads, has developed an easier social habit than she has." The Lady. Housing the old. 19th December, 1935


"Many argue that a soft collar means a soft virtue but because the young of to-day have different tastes is no reason to suppose these tastes are "immoral". Tastes are tastes, and we all have a right to our own." The Lady, Far and near. 18th August, 1921


"Some of us have realised, with a qualm, that the best intentions in the world without labour would not be worth very much." The Lady Women and War Service 19th August, 1915

“It is not enough to have, or to be, a first-rate cook at the stove itself, to ensure a really first-rate meal. Often a perfectly good dinner is spoiled by a slovenly service.” The Lady. Makes the most of her work. 20th June, 1946

"It is characteristic of human nature – at any rate, of human nature in the British Isles – to be sensitive about its nomenclature. Nothing is more infuriating to many of us than to be called by wrong names, or to have our letters addressed inaccurately." The Lady. Far and Near. August 1915

“The reading of fiction, not long ago thought deplorable by nearly all social workers, is now becoming almost a virtue.” The Lady. Good marks for the Novel. 23rd of April. 1936

"WHAT would be the effect of, say, five years without Hollywood? Would young women become more poetic and less hard-boiled? The Lady. Going Our Own Way. 21st February, 1946

“The power of suggestion is potent. We ourselves know that. We feel better at once if we are greeted by a cheerful friend who remarks how well we are looking.” The Lady. The Power of Suggestion. 23rd May, 1929

“DO not give a friendly nod to a slight acquaintance, nor a distant bow to a friend. If you receive a bow, even should it be made in error, return it politely, not with a mere look of surprise, which is sure to make the one who bowed feel uncomfortable.” The Lady. Some Minor Unwritten Social Laws. 18th July, 1912

“ALL fine qualities are made better for a dash of good sense.” The Lady. Far and near. 24th April, 1913

“A GRACEFUL walk is a great asset, for sometimes it can create an illusion of beauty where little exists.” The Lady. Pleasant Exercises for Grace. 2nd April 1931

"PARTIES are more enjoyable as a habit than as a very occasional relaxation. The unaccustomed social mouse, stricken with envy and admiration of what she supposes to be the dazzling wit of accustomed party-goers, might often be comforted by the discovery that these shining ones are talking chiefly of the previous party or the one to follow." The Lady. With Prejudice. 5th January, 1933 


"IT is an openly-proclaimed fact that men do not like paying calls; it bores them to do so, and they hate afternoon teas...” The Lady. Why, and why not, L.A.A. 20th November 1924


Written by Katy Pearson ~ Originally printed online at http://www.lady.co.uk