Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Veep Breached Etiquette

Vice President to Theodore Roosevelt, Charles W. Fairbanks "Failed to Observe the Proprieties" while on official visit to Canada, upon the Quebec "ter-centennial" or "tricentennial."

English Woman Says Vice President Fairbanks Did Not Conform to Etiquette

Vice President Fairbanks, according to a prominent English woman who has written to a friend in St. Louis, made the French and English Canadians furious by his failure to observe the "proprieties" at the ter-centennial festivities at Quebec.

The Vice President is accused of standing up, in his carriage and making speeches "to the crowd" as he drove along the street, of standing ahead of the host in the "receiving line" at the garden-party and with quarreling with the mayor of the city, all of which. according; to reports have not "tended to increase the friendly relations between Canada and the United States."

The writer of the letter went from England to Quebec to attend the ceremonies. On account of her prominence, she was in a position to observe the Vice President's movements and therefore the effect they had on the English and French Canadians.

It is said that Canadian officials managed, to keep Vice President Fairbanks' breaches of official etiquette out of the Canadian. newspapers. The French and English Canadians, as a rule, are at "daggers'-polnts" on most questions, but they seem to be agreed that the Vice President assumed a position far beyond his official importance at the festivities. As Fairbanks was generally regarded as the official representative of the United States, the offense is considered all the more serious. —St. Louis, Missouri, 1908

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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Notes on French Etiquette

"Bad table manners, my dear Gigi, have broken up more households than infidelity." ~ Aunt Alicia instructing Gigi on how to properly eat ortolan.

The etiquette in the best old families of France as regards young girls is very strict, says a foreign correspondent, and at 17 they begin to be seen at their mothers' "at homes," but at 18 only they make their debut in society, beginning with the opera, Lenten receptions, and what are now generally called "bals blancs." 

The French girl never has any cards of her own; when she is what they call in England "out" her name is written below her mother's. The letters addressed to her are always delivered first to her parent's hands, who passes them to her opened or unopened, as she thinks fit. 

She wears no jewels beyond one row of pearls around her neck. She rides early before the fashionable hour at the Bois, escorted by her father; her brother may take her out driving, and she is even permitted now to take the reins, a liberty which ten years ago would have stamped her as outrageously fast. French girls of almost any rank, including the bourgeoisie, never walk out alone. They marry young, presumably before 20. —  Marin Journal, 1887

Professional etiquette prevents French judges and judicial officers from riding in omnibuses. — Sausalito News, 1899
"French nobility is touchy!" say the Brits ~ Gabriel Paul Othenin de Cléron , Comte d'Haussoville

Much Bitter Comment Caused by the English Ambassador's Mistake in Precedence

PARIS— Even an ambassador must not tamper with the rules of precedence of the French' nobility, which, since there is no longer a French peerage, are based upon birth and not upon rank. Sir Francis Bertie, the British ambassador, innocently gave serious offense to the Faubourg St. Germain at an embassy dinner party. Among the guests were the Marquis de Ganay and the Comte d'Haussonville.

Thinking of the etiquette of precedence used at home, Sir Francis put the marquis in a more honorable place than the comte and thus committed an unpardonable social solecism. The ambassador's blunder was the subject of much bitter comment in the Faubourg. 

The heinousness of his offense will be at once seen when it is explained that the Marquis de Ganay, though ranking higher than the comte, is a person of yesterday, chiefly notable for his fine racing stable and his friendship with King Edward VII, while the Comte d'Haussonville is the representative of an extremely old and famous family of Lorraine, and is a member of the Academie Francaise.
French Légion d'honneur

An Usher Showed Sculptor or Honor is Worn — Rodin in Quandary on Use of French Decoration 

Paris — Although the decoration of the legion of honor was not conferred. on M. Rodin, the sculptor, by an usher at the Elysee, it was the usher who really placed it on the sculptor and showed him how to wear it. 

M. Rodin is not very, strong on decorations, and had never worn evidence of the honor conferred on him. When he accepted an invitation for dinner at the Elysee this week, some kind friend reminded him that, etiquette required him to wear the insignia of the Legion of Honor. Each friend of whom he asked advice, had a different opinion as to how the plaque was to be worn, so Rodin wrapped it in tissue paper, carried it with him and asked the chief usher to adjust it in the proper place. 

This was done just outside the door of the dining room, much to the horror of assembled guests. —San Francisco Call, 1910

Depiction of Catholic priests blessing a rail engine in Calais, France ~1848

The Frenchmen are easily the politest people in the world, and so the new regulations as to the conduct of railroad servants when the President of the republic is a passenger, will not bear heavily on them.

Every official, from the highest to the lowest, is required to doff his cap and remain bareheaded until the President leaves the station. The station-master alone is permitted to approach the door of the Presidential saloon carriage, and it is ordered that he also shall remain bareheaded while holding it open. These are only a few of the long list of points of etiquette which have taken the form at a ministerial decree. —  The Marin County Tocsin, 1896

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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Russia's Mistress of Etiquette Tangles with Gossip

An American Girl Vanquishes a Russian! Ugly American Tourist? We at Etiquipedia Believe So
Was this Great Mistress of the Court, first class (the Ober-Hofmeisterin, or Upper-Governess) the "Mistress of Etiquette?" In typical court ball dress for Russian women of rank – All of the ancient occupations of the women at the Court of Russia, were traditionally held by boyardins (wives of boyards – a boyar was a privileged member of the old nobility of Russia), or nurses, housekeepers, servants and nannies. These roles were abolished and replaced by a new hierarchy inspired by Versailles Court etiquette and German models. Many Muscovite and post-reform positions were in charge of nearly identical functions to the previous funtions. The new hierarchy, however, used German terminology. 

The following is a narrative of an incident which occurred in St. Petersburg some years ago. The American lady concerned is the daughter of a prominent public benefactor, has for years been a social leader in society, is the wife of a leading Republican statesman and would be recognized instantly if her name might be mentioned.

The "Russian Mistress of Etiquette"

A grand reception was in progress at the palace of a high Russian dignitary. Members of the Cabinet, Generals of the army, Grand Dukes, the nobility of the empire, and the diplomatic corps were present. It was a notable affair. Four young ladies —three Russian and one American—had gathered into a little nook screened in palms, and were discussing in French, the dowdy appearance of a high court lady. Some eavesdropper caught their remarks and bore them to the criticised lady. She in turn reported the conversation to a noble Duchess, who held the peculiar office of Mistress of Etiquette. 

She retired to a private room and had the four culprits summoned before her. They appeared, the Russian girls in fear and trembling, the American calm and selfpossessed. "Young ladies," said she, "you have been commenting discourteously upon the personal appearance of Lady ——. You have committed a grave breach of etiquette, and it is my duty as court mistress of etiquette to punish you. Olga, your slipper!" The trembling Olga took off her slipper and meekly received a sound punishment of the kind confined in America exclusively to the nursery. "Katia it is your turn. Give me your slipper!" said the inexorable duenna, as the weeping Olga arose from her castigation. Katia took her gruel with audible lamentations, and Tania followed the suffering Katia. All the while the American girl watched and waited. The indignities thrust upon her companions roused the Hail Columbia in her. Her eyes flashed and her little fists clenched with excitement. "It is your turn now," said the Mistress of Etiquette to the fair American, "your slipper, please." 

Columbia's blood was up. There was fighting stock back of her for generations. She removed her slipper and drew near, but she held the slipper by the toe. At proper range she swung the missile and struck the old lady in the mouth a fearful clip. Then she sailed in. 

Lace, feathers and furbelows flew. Finger nails fetched blood. Gray hair and the St. Petersburg fashions of 1863 filled the air. The screams of the thoroughly frightened Mistress of Etiquette brought a crowd. The door was battered down. The three Russian girls were screaming in their respective corners. The old lady was hors de combat, and a fieryeyed goddess of the room, waving a tuft of gray hair in one hand and a jeweled hair dagger, with which she had been trying to stab the Russian, in the other. The Mistress of Etiquette fairly screamed with impotent rage, showered maledictions in broken French, German and Russian upon her conqueror, and demanded that the most condign puuishment be meted out to her. 

The matter was carried to the Czar. Nicholas made a pretense of punishing the young lady by issuing some orders against her appearing at any ball for a certain period, but the old liberator was immensely tickled. He showered the most embarrassing presents upon the American, beautiful slippers of every kind and description, silver slippers and gold slippers, and finally wound up by sending her a hair dagger set with diamonds. –From the Washington Post, 1890

Submitted by Sisters, Toni and June, at the  Etiquette Facts Blog

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

Etiquette Teacher of 1900

Me? Pretensions? Why, I never! Shrewd, maybe. But pretentious? Ha!~ "A woman of cultivation and social opportunities has been earning money in a community where her pretensions were celebrated, says a writer in the Philadelphia Press"

Teaching Manners...Shrewd Device of a Woman of Society for Making Money!

Children learning table setting etiquette in the late 1800s
A woman of cultivation and social opportunities has been earning money in a community where her pretensions were celebrated, says a writer in the Philadelphia Press.

She first published an explanatory card in the local press, setting forth what she intended to do. She proposed giving a course of familiar drawing -room talks on manners; the etiquette of the street, of church, of letter writing, of paying visits, of various social functions and of every-day life at home and at school.

Those were to be primarily for children and for young people, simply because, although this was not stated, she was sure that the parents would be too proud to confess their own need of them.

This part was managed by each ticket admitting not only a juvenile, but one adult friend. The lecturer knew that these elders would be glad to receive instruction that was not apparently aimed at them. She did not reckon without her host. Mothers were quite ready to send their little ones and to accompany them.

The course of procedure was according to the following program: A question box was placed on the hall table, in which slips of paper were thrust bearing inquiries on any point of etiquette or fashion on which the anonymous guest desired enlightenment. 

These were read and answered at the next weekly meeting. Then the elegant, though very quietly dressed, and queenly looking speaker, began her simple dissertation on current blunders and the proper performance of the subject in hand.

She touched upon trifles that even the best books on social usages do not make clear, and gave new ideas of many of the season's caprices in style. With these were what might be called "standards" of conduct, painstakingly outlined for both boys and girls, so that each might clearly understand what Mrs. Grundy would have a right to expect under most circumstances that could occur.

For example, some of the heads touched upon under manners in church were the position In the pew, ungainly attitudes, listening to the sermon, kneeling, whispering and laughing, attention to strangers, staring at late comers, turning the head, etc...

Special to boys: Assistance with wraps, carrying prayer books, etc... These lectures were rendered sprightly by the manner of delivery, and were interspersed with illustrations and amusing stories. – The Philadelphia Press, 1900

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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bicycling Etiquette of Yesteryear

Don't try to raise your hat to the passing "bloomer" until you become an expert in guiding your wheel.

Every bicyclist in the land will rise up and call the inventor of the ammonia gun for dogs blessed. Nothing is more annoying to the rider than to have a mongrel dog barking at his pedals and scurrying across his pathway in such close proximity to the front wheel as to be a constant reminder of a possible "header." The gun is calculated to make an annoying dog sneeze and sniff away all future ambitions to investigate the pace of a rider. It is said to be a perfect instrument in every way. The advantages enumerated for it are: Positively will not leak; has no spring to press or caps to remove, and will shoot from five to twelve times from fifteen to thirty feet with one loading.    
Don't absent yourself from church to go wheeling, as you and your bicycle are welcome at most houses of worship.

A Few Don’ts for Cyclers:

Don't try to raise your hat to the passing "bloomer" until you become an expert in guiding your wheel.

Don't buy a bicycle with down-curve handles. It is impossible to sit erect and hold that kind of a handle.

Don't go out on a bicycle wearing a tail coat unless you enjoy making a ridiculous show of yourself.

Don't travel without a jacket or loose wrap, to be worn while resting. A summer cold is a stubborn thing.

Don't allow a taste for a bit of color in your make-up to tempt you to wearing a red or other gay-colored cap.

Don't get off the old gag about "that tired feeling" every time you stop by the roadside for a little breathing spell.

Don't smile at the figure others cut astride their wheels, as it is not given you to see yourself as others see you.

Don't absent yourself from church to go wheeling, as you and your bicycle are welcome at most houses of worship.

Don't leave your bicycle in the lower hallway of your flat-house for the other tenants to fall over in the dark.

Don't believe the farmer boy who says that it is "two miles to the next town." It may be two, four, six or twelve.

Don't be more than an hour passing a given point, although wheeling on a dusty road is honestly conducive to thirst.

Don't smile at the figure others cut astride their wheels, as it is not given you to see yourself as others see you.
Don't coast down a strange hill with a curve at its bottom. There is no telling what you will meet when it is too late.    

Don't ride ten miles at a scorching pace, then drink cold water and lie around on the grass, unless you are tired of life.

Don't try to carry your bike downstairs under your arm. Put it on your shoulder, or you will come to distress.

Don't laugh the watchful copper to scorn because your lamp is burning brightly. He can afford to wait his time to laugh.

Don't dress immodestly or in the costume of a track sprinter. Sweaters worn like a Chinaman's blouse are almost indecent.

Don't forget that the modern law of the road requires you to turn out to the right in passing another bicycle or other vehicle. 
—From Maude C. Cooke's "Social Life," 1896

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Etiquette and Popularity

"As a rule, the unpopularity of women is a verdict pronounced upon them by their own sex." – A full purse never made one popular, or acceptable, by some women. But neither did a family name, or snobbery for that matter.
The Woman Who Is A Favorite with Everybody In Their Social World 

What is the secret of being "a popular woman," as the phrase is understood in society? There are some women who are extremely popular with their own sex, who have many women friends, but who are not popular with the opposite sex. Again, there are many women who are most popular with men, but who are unpopular with women, and are undeniably bored if thrown much in their company. As a rule, the unpopularity of women is a verdict pronounced upon them by their own sex.

Men proverbially make the best of women; if there is anything pleasant to be said about them they say it, and "a handful of good looks" weighs greatly in a woman's favor from a man's point of view. A woman must be very stupid, dull, disagreeable and plain before a man will boldly confess that "he can't get on with her."

Unpopularity is derived from various sources. A woman may be piquaute, pretty and pleasant; she may live in good style and do all that fashionable women do in the way of society engagements, and yet be extremely unpopular with both men and women. Her women friends are afraid of her, and her men friends never feel sure of her because her perceptions of the foibles and weaknesses of her friends are so keen and so little tempered by genuine good nature that no one escapes from the sting made by her apparently innocent remarks.

Another type of the unpopular woman is the one with a chilling manner and 'standoffish' demeanor, who, when she would thaw, cannot do so with any graciousness; though really kind hearted and duty loving, she is as unpopular in society as a woman can well be.

A brusque manner renders a woman unpopular until her friends know her well; but acquaintances seldom get as far as this; therefore to the end of the chapter she remains the brusque, unpopular woman still. Egotism is a formidable barrier to popularity. Women of this type are agreeable only so far as the topics of conversation concern themselves, their aims, interests, amusements, etc...

Popularity is a like diversity with unpopularity. Some women are immensely popular because they are what is termed "good company;" they have high spirits, they are witty and full of good natured repartee, they provoke geniality by their natural vivacity, that this is a popularity not to be acquired, being the outcome of a gift.

A woman can never be thoroughly popular unless, added to favorable position, she has an innate sweet disposition, is considerate, winning of speech and manner and has the gift of saying at all times the thing that will give the most pleasure. When a clever woman is also a truly kindly one she is liked by all classes and is foremost among popular women. – Los Angeles Herald, 1891

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Etiquette Tips From 1891

Copperplate and calling cards from the late 19th century ~"When calling, etiquette requires that a card be sent up. It will show that you have called, and if friends are at home, will prevent any confusion from mispronunciation of your name by the servant.  When the lady of the house is not at home, a card must be left, and if there are two or more ladies, the turning down of one corner of the card signifies that the call was intended for all the family, If cards to be left preparatory to leaving town, the initials p. p. c. ("pour prendre conge" or "presents parting compliments"), must be written in the left hand corner. If the departure is a hurried one, the card may be sent by a servant, but it is in better taste to leave it in person."
From Frost's Laws and By-Laws of American Society

The Number of Cards to Leave:

An authority on manners and social customs thus solves the sometimes perplexing question of how many cards to leave: "Upon a married lady whose husband is living, by a married lady whose husband is living, one of the lady's cards and two of her husband's. "Upon a married lady with a daughter in society, two of the lady's and three of the husband's." A gentleman in making a call, sends in, or leaves a card for each of the ladies of the family. If he is calling upon a young lady who is a guest in a household to which he is a stranger, he must ask to see her hostess at the same time and also send her his card.
A silver calling card tray made a wonderful silver anniversary gift in the late 1800s.

Wedding Anniversaries:

Following is one way in which the list of wedding anniversaries is enumerated: The wooden wedding is celebrated on the fifth anniversary of the marriage, the tin wedding on the tenth, the crystal wedding on the fifteenth, the linen wedding on the twentieth, and the silver wedding on the twenty-fifth. The next is the golden wedding on the fiftieth anniversary; the diamond wedding is on the sixtieth.

"Every one respects a woman who can smilingly keep her temper." Better yet, Etiquipedia feels that a good sense of humor can't hurt! 
Useful Hints:

A letter sent by one friend or acquaintance to another, through the hands of a friend or acquaintance of either or both, should always be unsealed.

Silver or linen given to a bride is marked with the initials of her maiden name.

Temper has been called the "climate of the mind," but people who keep others waiting are the promoters of a blizzard. Morally speaking, women should not quarrel with each other anywhere, but especially not in crowds, every one respects a woman who can smilingly keep her temper.

Olives should be taken from the dish with a spoon or olive fork and not with the fingers, though they are afterward eaten by aid of the digits. 

Good table manners are founded on habits of punctuality, neatness and order. -San Francisco, 1891

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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Etiquette and "Good Breeding"

Retrieving one's handkerchief does not necessarily make one a "gentleman" and being "well-bred" doesn't automatically make one a truly polite young lady.

The Letter and Spirit of "Good Breeding"

An excellent old gentleman, once upon a time, discussed the virtues and faults of his son with the young woman who was to be his daughter-in-law. "Dan's mother died when he was a baby," he said; "he has no near female relatives, he has spent nearly all his life in school and at college, so that he has never had that training which comes from association with well bred women. He is a good boy—as good as gold. There is nothing that he would not do for you. He will give you all that he has, he will be as true as steel, he will honor you and love you with all his heart, although he may forget to tell you so. He would die for you, but he will probably not pick up your pocket handkerchief for you." The young woman listened respectfully to a father's pardonable praise of his son, then she said, "But I do not want him to die for me, and I shall want him to pick up my pocket handkerchief." 

She preferred, says a correspondent of The InterOcean, who relates this little incident, the letter to the spirit. There are among many superficially polite people tremendous respect for certain requirements which they believe are an index to social position and indication of honorable origin, says the same writer. They would consider themselves hopelessly disgraced were they to put the knife to an improper use; to confuse the various spoons, forks and glasses about their plate at dinner, but other matters which affect their relations with their fellow being are passed over as of no consequence. 

One of the most common offenses among the superficially well bred is the slight and discourtesy which they show to dependents, or those whom they consider their social inferiors. The poor relation in his shabby coat and patched boots receives scant courtesy. The faithful dressmaker, met by chance in a public assemblage, is confronted with a stony stare, or is passed by and not seen at all. This is always the ill breeding of the snob, of the newly rich who, not feeling sure of themselves, knowing well what they are and whence they came, believe that their hardly earned place can be retained only by this stern discrimination. They believe that, like liberty, eternal vigilance is the price of "position."
Los Angeles Herald, 1891

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Etiquette, Versailles and Louis XIV

"The King's Cutlets — In Olden Times the Company Had to Salute Them"
The revival of a somewhat minute system of etiquette in the German court, and particularly in the adoption of rules for the settlement of the numerous questions of precedence which have come up in connection with the extended journeys of Emperor William II, have led some of the European journals to remind their readers that any modern monarch must be at a great disadvantage in setting up a system of court etiquette, as compared with the kings of two or three centuries ago.

Precedence ruled in all things at the court of Louis XIV at Versailles. Even the King's morning toilet was made In the presence of the courtiers, who were continually arriving. As the King put on his outer garments these were handed to him by the noblemen of the highest rank in attendance.
The story is told that as the King was putting on his waistcoat one morning it was handed to him by a Count, but before the Count had passed the garment to the King a Duke came in. This made it necessary for the Count to hand the waistcoat at once to the Duke, as it would have been against etiquette for a person of lower rank to pass the garment. And as it must be handed with bare hands, the King had to wait while the Duke removed his gloves. When this operation was performed, and the Duke was about to advance with the waistcoat, the door again opened, and a royal Prince of a younger branch of the family entered.
The Duke, of course, at once presented the waistcoat to the newcomer, as he was of higher rank. But the Prince was also gloved, and when he had performed the somewhat tedious operation of ungloving there arrived another Prince, who happened to be of the elder branch. So the unfortunate King had to wait once more, and, as the room was cold, it is recorded that he took a violent chill. 
At King Louis' dinner, when the cook brought in the meat for the royal plate, he was attended by armed soldiers and preceded by a herald, shouting, "Gentlemen, the King's viands." Whereupon all the company uncovered, and the sentinels saluted, the roast chicken or the royal mutton cutlets.
When the King was about to drink a chamberlain announced the fact at the top of his voice, and two functionaries, whose duty it was to taste the wine or water in order to prove that it had not been poisoned, stepped forward, poured out a little and drank it off. Then the King drank. The great mass of royal formalities and points of etiquette disappeared with the last century, but the rules of precedence are still very strictly observed in royal courts.— News from Philadelphia, 1895

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

French Etiquette and Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte outdid Louis XIV when it came to etiquette edicts, while ruling France. 

According to author Dr. Philip Mansel: 

"Napoleon was one of the rudest monarchs in history: he attacked in conversation as well as on the battlefield. He insulted foreign ambassadors, taunted Marshal Berthier, his grand huntsman, and General Caulaincourt, his grand equerry, with their wives’ alleged infidelities, and called Talleyrand, his grand chamberlain (who was also foreign minister), “a lump of shit in a silk stocking”. It was said that Napoleon had a “green laugh”.

Among those who knew him well, Napoleon inspired little personal loyalty: almost all his courtiers turned against him after his defeats in 1814 and 1815, and in both years they forced him to abdicate. Almost all those who followed him to Saint Helena were trying to obtain financial rewards, or material for a book of memoirs, rather than acting out of loyalty. Napoleon maintained court etiquette on the island, keeping courtiers standing in his presence and insisting on being treated as an emperor.

Napoleon’s court also shows him to have been more obsessed with status than other monarchs of the day. He wanted more palaces and more formal etiquette, and was more autocratic than the Bourbons. He had more than 100 chamberlains, and a total of around 3,000 men in his household, whereas Louis XVI had had only four first gentlemen of the chamber, and around 2,000 in his household. In January 1814, when speakers in the chamber of representatives demanded peace, he was infuriated. At a reception in the Tuileries palace, he declared: “Everything resides in the throne. I alone represent the people”. He believed that France needed him more than he needed France.

In June 1815, Napoleon alienated opinion by preferring to wear the elaborate embroidered ‘Petit Costume de l’Empereur’ rather than the uniform of the Paris National Guard. He insisted on sending messages to the chamber of representatives through his chamberlains rather than through a responsible minister. After Waterloo, it voted his deposition."

Monday, June 15, 2015

Gilded Age Table Etiquette

This post is in honor, and memory, of one of our closest friends and finest contributors, Demita Usher. Her death was sudden and unexpected. Demita had always dreamt of a more polite world, but sadly passed away yesterday. The last post on her blog was the following quote ~ “Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

General Table Etiquette from 1893
  • Gloves are not to be worn at the table under any circumstances. 
  • No argumentative, or in any way unpleasant topic, should be broached at the table. 
  • There should be no difference between " company manners " and those in daily use. 
  • The napkin is not folded, but is simply crushed and laid beside the plate on rising. 
  • Coffee may be served at any time during breakfast, but should come at the end of dinner. 
  • Do not overload the plate of a guest, or press upon any one that which he has once declined. 
  • Remember the maxim of Confucius: "Eat at your own table as you would at the table of the King." 
  • Never say or do, or countenance in others the saying or doing, of anything rude or impolite at the table. 
  • Never notice or comment upon any accident, but render unobtrusively any assistance which may be necessary and possible. 
  • The side of the spoon is to be placed in the mouth, except in the case of a man wearing a moustache, when the point of the spoon leads the way. 
  • Where wine is served at dinner it may be declined without breach of courtesy, and should no more than any other article be pressed upon the guest. 
  • Teach the children to eat at table with their elders, and do it in a dignified manner. 
  • It is impossible to foretell what moment may require them to exemplify their home training. 
  • Letters, newspapers or books should never be brought to the table, though a very important message may be received and attended to, permission being asked of the hostess.
—From Good Housekeeping Magazine, 1893

  Rest in peace, Demita. Your smile, enthusiasm and grace will be missed by all who knew you!  

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

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Etiquette for Moroccan Tea

Tea as Served by the Moors

"In Morocco, drinking tea together is an invitation to witness and participate in an important part of the culture." From www.partaste.com/

Tea a la Morocco is made by putting the requisite amount of leaves in the teapot, and pouring a small amount of hot water over them and immediately pouring it off again. This frees the tea from dust or any foreign matter, which by accident or design may have been mixed with it. After the first water has been turned off sugar is put in the teapot, one lump for each cup; the pot is then filled with boiling water and allowed to stand for a few minutes. Neither milk nor cream is ever used. Freshly gathered leaves of wild thyme, or verbena, are often added to give flavor to the beverage.
Old Moroccan Tea Service
Etiquette governing tea-drinking among the Moors is curious. The host invariably takes a little from the cup before offering it to his guests. The Grand Vizier Sid Musa went further than this; he not only took a sip before offering the cup. but he invariably took it again when half had been drunk and finished the remainder himself. This ceremony arises from the fact that killing by poisoned tea is as common a mode of getting rid of a rival in Morocco as disposing of one's enemies by the deadly cup of coffee is in Turkey or Egypt. As in feudal Japan, a Samurai had always to leave his sword in charge of the servant at the outer gate, to prove that his visit was one of peace, so the Moorish host takes half of each cup of tea offered to his guests to show them that their lives are not in danger. —LosAngeles Herald, 1899

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

Friday, June 12, 2015

Etiquette for Sushi Bars

When kids and teens find fun at the table, they take to dining etiquette more easily ~ A Panda Shaped, DIY, Bento Sushi Maker Rice Ball Onigiri Mold Mould with Nori Punch found on Ebay 
If you are serious about your sushi, always sit at the sushi bar. Make eye-contact with the itamae or head sushi chef. He is traditionally the one closest to the sushi bar's entrance. If that is not doable, make eye-contact with the junior chef nearest to you. Always remember to ask, "What’s fresh?" This shows you’re serious about your dining experience at the sushi bar and you are more likely to get the freshest fish in the house.

Eat in order. Appreciating sushi means detecting the subtle flavors of the food, noting the texture and the temperature. Start with sashimi, then sushi with rice, then miso soup. The pickled ginger should only be eaten as a palate cleanser. Do this between bites. 

Use your chopsticks if you are eating sashimi. If eating rice topped with fish (nigiri sushi), or sushi rolls, it is proper etiquette to use your hands and not your chopsticks. The loosely packed rice will fall apart if pinched, especially with well-made sushi.

"While there really are no absolute requirements, other than general politeness, there are certain behaviors that may make your dining experience more pleasant, and the staff more attentive and interested in you." - From Sushifaq.com

Nigiri sushi already contains a bit of wasabi between the fish and the rice. It reflects what the sushi chef feels is the proper balance of wasabi to fish, and he will appreciate your enjoyment of that balance. For eating sashimi, mixing a small bit of wasabi into your soy sauce is allowable.

Your fish is already on dry land, so please don’t drown your sushi. Some people immediately dump a lot of salt onto their food, which drives foodies, chefs and sushi fans just nuts! A person who promptly dunks into the soy sauce is considered the equivalent. A little sauce is fine, however, please just don’t dip into it with the sushi rice-side first, otherwise it will crumble and fall apart. Instead, try flipping the piece over and letting the fish lightly touch the sauce.

Sashimi, nigiri sushi, and maki rolls should be consumed all in one bite if possible. This is much easier done in Japan than in the super-size-me U.S.A. In Japan, slices of fish and rolls tend to be much smaller. If you are eating your sushi or roll in more than two bites, you need to master a more elegant style of dining.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Etiquette and Wedding Customs

Traditional Mongolian clothing ~ “However much a Chinese girl may become Christianized there are generally several points of Mongolian etiquette which she expects to observe rigidly at her wedding.”
How Mrs. Fong Fung Regulated Her Nephew's Wedding Feast — A Unique Chinese Marriage Celebrated at the Methodist Mission

The Methodist Mission, on Washington Street, was the scene of a unique Chinese wedding last night. Ngan Kuk was the bride. Five years ago she was rescued from slavery and brought into the home, and since that time, little by little, she has learned Western ways and has abjured her idols, her ancestors and her heathen customs. But, however much a Chinese girl may become Christianized there are generally several points of Mongolian etiquette which she expects to observe rigidly at her wedding.

On that occasion, if on no other, she will paint her face, adorn her head and put on attire more gorgeous than a peacock's tail. She will also refuse the dainties of the marriage feast and refrain from casting even a sidelong glance at the bridegroom. When Ngan Kuk accepted the hand and heart of Chan Hay, a convert of the mission, she expected that her wedding feast would be as regal as the circumstances of the groom would permit, but fate, in the shape of the gentleman's aunt, willed otherwise. It is a Chinese custom that when a man who is about to get married has a mother she shall manage and control all the arrangements for his wedding. There are so few mothers-in-law in Chinatown, that this custom has almost fallen into abeyance.

Chan Hay had no mother, but he had an aunt — Mrs. Fong Fung— who has always been to him as a parent, and this lady made her presence felt at last night's wedding. She is the wife of a well-to-do Chinese merchant, and has been a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church for six years. She disapproves of frivolity in dress or deportment, and she considers Chinese custom and etiquette little short of sinful. It was owing to Mrs. Fong Fung's religious scruples that the bride wore no finery last night, and was simply arrayed in a blue blouse and a black shirt, with neat but not gaudy embroidery. The groom's attire was marked by the same absence of extravagance in dress, and as for Mrs. Fong Fung herself nothing could have been simpler than her attire. She was almost a Chinese tailor-made lady.

Rev. Dr. Masters, the head of the mission, performed the ceremony and throughout the whole, proceedings were conducted on the American plan, without the least particle of heathen custom or etiquette. There were about 150 American and Chinese visitors present and at the feast which followed the wedding, they all, the bride included, sat down in tbe big schoolroom of the mission to prettily decorated tables and partook of light refreshments prepared in American style. People declared it was the most unique Chinese wedding they had ever witnessed.
San Francisco, 1896

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Naval Etiquette

The rules of politeness to be observed by admiral, officers and seamen alike. The honors are paid to the uniform and not to the personality of the wearer. 


The fact that the Germans, while in Manila Bay last summer, were said to have no "sea manners," shows how rigidly the etiquette of the sea is observed by those afloat.
Admiral Horatio Nelson
The English and Americans are the greatest sticklers in these matters. And their regulations are laid down with great minuteness. The rules of politeness to be observed by admiral, officers and seamen alike. The honors are paid to the uniform and not to the personality of the wearer. The seaman salutes the officer, who is compelled to return the salute in like way; the junior is always the first to enter a boat and the last to get out: each person must salute the quarterdeck coming up from below, and so on.

A "Nelson Fork"~ It was developed and used from 1797 on, by Horatio Nelson, after he was attacked fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, resulting in the loss of his right arm.  Nelson was given command of the British naval ship, Agamemnon.  He served in the Mediterranean, helped capture Corsica and saw battle at Calvi. He lost his right arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797. He subsequently used, what came to be known as, a 'Nelson Fork' in order to assist him in cutting and eating food with the same hand.

Between the ships themselves, like rules are laid down. The junior commanding officer must first call upon the senior. The ilag officer in port must send his aide to offer the usual courtesies to the new arrival before more formal calls are exchanged. Consular officers must receive the honors and salutes due their rank, and a failure in the exact number of guns in a salute demand an apology and a new salute. The seamans being comparatively new to the sea have not yet attained such a degree of familiarity as those nations where the customs on board ship are the outgrowth of a century's experience and many of vile faults they committed were rather through ignorance than design.-From The Los Angeles Herald, 1899

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

Etiquette and Amy Vanderbilt

Even Amy Vanderbilt knew to update her book, yet again, by 1972.
More And More 'Couth'

Etiquette is dead, you say? Young people don't know the meaning of the word manners? Be advised that in the second major revision since it was published in 1952, Amy Vanderbilt has found it necessary to add 120,000 words to her standard book on etiquette. That's worth 200 printed pages, bringing the total to 960.
Sorry, but by 1972, you're toast! The long-suffering Anna Bates, lady's maid to Lady Mary, of Downton Abbey

The butler, footman and ladies’ maid are dead. Taking their place are sections on such things as how to behave in a sauna, the wearing of sunglasses, locker room speech (acceptable in the drawing room now) and the etiquette of snowmobiling. As the old French saying doesn’t have it, the more things change, the less they remain the same. From The Desert Sun, 1972

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