Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Etiquette and Edwardian Era Ethical Recipes for "Curing Tongues" and Unpopularity

"Scandal and Gossip:  Scandal is the least excusable of all conversational vulgarities. Envy prompts the tongue of the slanderer. Jealousy is the disturber of the harmony of all interests. A writer on this subject says: 'Gossip is a troublesome sort of insect that only buzzes about your ears and never bites deep; slander is the beast of prey that leaps upon you from its den and tears you in pieces. Slander is the proper object of rage; gossip of contempt.' Those who best understand the nature of gossip and slander, if the victims of both, will take no notice of the former, but will allow no slander of themselves to go unrefuted during their lifetime, to spring up in a hydra-headed attack upon their children. No woman can be too sensitive as to any charges affecting her moral character, whether in the influence of her companionship, or in the influence of her writings.” ~ John H. Young's 1879 “Our Deportment / Or the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society.”

Cured Tongue

Peaceful silence; meditation on the good qualities of your neighbors.  Rub the tongue with this mixture every day.

Spirit of praise; sympathy instead of curiosity; conversation on impersonal topics. Make a strong solution of these, skim as long as the scum of adverse criticism arises. Pour it over the tongue daily. Examine the solution frequently and skim whenever necessary. This treatment will cure any tongue of the gossip twang.



Cure for Unpopularity - I 

Unpopularity is usually the result of a poisoned or anemic condition of the enveloping aura of the person afflicted.
Hatred, fault-finding, suspicion and all kindred feelings toward one's fellow beings emit a miasmatic taint which will be consciously or subtly felt by those who come into his soul atmosphere.

Remedy

A charity which positively rejoices in finding good qualities in one's neighbors, two ounces.
A frank friendliness which draws its own kind from other hearts and disarms slights, three ounces. A yearning not only to be blessed but to bless, two ounces.

"News which has a universal interest is always a legitimate subject of discussion. Personal news which has only the interest of gossip or scandal is never permitted among cultured people, no more than are physiological facts or the records of criminology. It is a safe rule to speak of things rather than of persons." ~ Edith B. Ordway's 1918, "The Etiquette of To-Day"

Cure for Unpopularity - II

Self-absorption, chilling reserve of manner, bluntness and indifference, or fear and fretfulness, make one's personal atmosphere cold, colorless and lacking in magnetic force.

Remedy

The cure for this condition lies in daily exercise. First, open the doors of your soul; then vigorously radiate upon others the warmth of sympathy and appreciation. Finally, exercise all your faculties of entertainment until you are in a glow with humor, beautiful with responsive thought, and rhythmic with harmony. Practice these exercises upon all who come into your presence and you will magnetize your social ether.



From ~ Isabel Goodhue's "Good Things: Ethical Recipes for Feast Days and Other Days, with Graces for All the Days," 1911