Friday, October 30, 2015

Etiquette and Treatment of Servants

Policy, as well as good breeding, inculcates the necessity of gentle treatment and courteous behavior to servants... though your parents may not want you to marry one of them.
There is no surer sign of ill breeding and ill feeling than the rude treatment of dependents. The obligation of civility to servants should be inculcated especially upon the young American, who ought to learn at the earliest period that the accidental relation of advantage of position, which is ever alternating in a country free from prescriptive right, gives no title to a haughty demeanor and a domineering conduct.

The recognition of the mutual obligation of master and man, and mistress and maid, is a certain sign of the true gentleman and lady, who will never exact from those temporarily placed in subjection to them the civility they are unwilling to bestow. The “thank you,” “please,” and other courteous expressions of a kindly consideration of the obligation of the employer to the employed, will be freely proffered by all who are fully conscious of their social duties and willing to acknowledge them.

Policy, as well as good breeding, inculcates the necessity of gentle treatment and courteous behavior to servants, who will seldom fail to respond with a more zealous service and a readier obedience to exactions and commands rendered less harsh and domineering by a soft word and a subdued mastery. 
–From How to Behave and How to Amuse, by G. H. Sandison, 1895

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Etiquette of Louis XIV's Morning Routine

"The Duke of Saint-Simon, who kept the memorials of Versailles, wrote of Louis XIV: "With an almanac and a watch, you could be three hundred leagues from here and say what he was doing". The King's day was timed down to the last minute so that the officers in the service of the monarch could plan their work as accurately as possible." From www.chateau versailles.fr



The following was just part an ordinary morning of the monarch, Louis XIV of France, day after day, and year after year, in the Palace of Versailles:

At 8 o'clock in the morning to servants carefully entered the chamber of the King. One, if the weather was cold or damp, brought dry wood to kindle a cheerful blaze upon the hearth, while the other opened the shutters, carried away the collection of soup, roasted chicken, bread, wine and water, which had been placed, the night before, at the side of the royal couch, that the King might find a repast at hand in case he might require refreshment during the night. The valet de chambre then entered and stood silently and reverently at the bed-side for one-half hour. He then awoke the monarch, and immediately passed into an ante-room to communicate the importance intelligence that the King no longer slept. 


Upon receiving this announcement an attendant threw open the double portals of a wide door, when the dauphin and his two sons, the brother of the King, and the Duke of Chartres, who awaited the signal, entered, and approaching the bed with the utmost solemnity of etiquette, inquired how his Majesty had passed the night. After the interval of the moment the Duke Du Maine, the Count De Toulouse, the first lord of the bed-chamber, and the grand master of the robes enter the apartment, and with military precision took their station by the side of the couch of recumbent royalty. Immediately there followed another procession of officers bearing the regal vestments. Fagon, the head physician and Telier, the head surgeon, completed the train.

The head valet de chambre then poured upon the hands of the King a few drops of the spirits of wine, holding beneath him a plate of enameled silver, and the first lord of the bed-chamber presented the monarch, who was very punctilious in his devotions, the holy water, with which the King made the sign of the cross upon his head and his breast. Thus purified and sanctified he repeated a short prayer, which the Church had taught him, and then rose in his bed. A noble lord then approached and presented to him a collection of wigs from which he selected the one which he intended to wear that day, and having condescended to place it, with his own royal hands, upon his head, he slipped his arms into the sleeves of a rich dressing-gown, which the head valet de chambre held ready for him. 

Then reclining again upon his pillow, he thrust one foot out from the bed-clothes. The valet de chambre reverently received the sacred extremity, and drew over it a silk stocking. The other limb was similarly presented and dressed, when slippers of embroidered velvet were placed upon the royal feet. The King then devoutly crossing himself with holy water, with great dignity moved from his bed and seated himself in a large arm-chair, placed at the fire-side. The King then announced that he was prepared to receive the First Entrée. None but especial favorites of the monarch were favored with an audience so confidential. These privileged persons were to enjoy the ecstatic happiness of witnessing the awful ceremony of shaving the King. One attendant prepared the water and held the basin. Another lathered the royal chin, and removed the sacred beard, and with soft sponges, saturated with wine and water, washed the parts which had been operated upon and smoothed with silken towels.

And now the master of the robes approaches to dress the King. At the same moment the monarch announces that he is ready for his Grand Entrée. The principal attendants of royalty, accompanied by several valets de chambre and door-keepers of the cabinet, immediately take their station at the entrance of the apartment. Princes often sighed in vain for an admission to the Grand Entrée. The greatest precautions were observed that no unprivileged person should intrude. As each individual presented himself at the door, his name was whispered to the first lord of the bed-chamber, who repeated it to the King. If the monarch made no reply the visitor was admitted. The Duke in attendance marshalled the newcomers to their several places, that they might not approach too near the presence of his Majesty. 


Princes of the highest rank, and statesmen of the most exalted stations were subjected alike to these humiliating ceremonials. The King, the meanwhile, regardless of his guests, was occupied in being dressed. A valet of the wardrobe delivered to a gentleman of the chamber the garters, which in turn he presented to the monarch. Inexorable etiquette would allow the King to clasp his garters in the morning, but not to unclasp them at night. It was the exclusive privilege of the head valet de chambre to unclasp that of the right leg, while an attendant of inferior rank might remove the other. One attendant put on the shoes, and fastened the diamond buckles. Two pages, gorgeously dressed in crimson velvet, overlaid with gold and silver lace, received the slippers as they were taken from the King's feet. –New York Times, 1852


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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

More Etiquette of Louis XIV

The Sun King's bedchamber at Versailles –The most minutely elaborate character, and governed every movement of the King and those about him from the very moment he opened his august eyes until he closed them in sleep.


Minutely Elaborate Etiquette of Louis XIV

"The etiquette which prevailed at Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV was of the most minutely elaborate character, and governed every movement of the King and those about him, from the very moment he opened his august eyes until he closed them in sleep. 

He was the center of the whole. It was a drama daily repeated— the same characters, the same scenes, the same details— oppressive in its sameness, fatiguing in its constant pressure. I have neither the space nor the inclination to dwell on all the extraordinary ceremonial of the State dinner; the twenty or thirty grandees fluttering around the King's plates and glasses, the sacramental utterances of the occasion: the gaudy procession of the retinue; the arrival of "la nef" — that is, the center piece of plate which contained, between scented cushions, the King's napkins; and pessai des plats— the tasting of each dish by the gentlemen servants and officers of the table before the King partook of it. The same custom was observed with the beverages. It took four persons to serve the King with a glass of wine and water. 

Well, might Frederick the Great, on hearing an account of all this tyranny of etiquette, exclaim that if he were King of France his first edict would be to appoint another King- to hold court in his place— all the year round."  –Scribner's Magazine, 1891


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

Monday, October 26, 2015

Etiquette and Self Control

Control of the Impulses — "He may be greatly enthusiastic about some unexpected happening, but he never becomes excited, never loses control of his reasoning faculties."

The cultured man is never angry, never impatient, never demonstrative. His actions and speech are tempered with a dispassionate calmness and tranquility that the French admiringly call "sang froid." He knows how to control his emotions so effectively that no one can read, in his self-possessed expression, whether he is angry or pleased, discouraged or eager.

Perhaps the most striking and admirable thing about a man of breeding is his carefully disciplined impulses. He may at times lose control of himself, but he is never petulant, never incoherent. He may be greatly enthusiastic about some unexpected happening, but he never becomes excited, never loses control of his reasoning faculties. He never gives the appearance of being in a hurry, no matter how swift his actions may be--there is always about him the suggestion of leisure and poise.

Swearing is essentially vulgar. It was Dr. Crane, the famous essayist and philosopher, who said in one of his delightful talks, "The superior man is gentle. It is only the man with a defective vocabulary that swears. All noise is waste. The silent sun is mightier than the whirlwind. The genuine lady speaks low. The most striking characteristic of the superior ones is their quiet, their poise. They have about them a sense of the stars." Strong feeling, anger, have no place in the social life.

We are all uneasy at times. We all have our embarrassing moments. But the well-bred person knows how to conceal his emotions, and impulses, so well that no one but himself knows that he is uneasy or embarrassed. It is not only exceedingly unpleasant, but it is also very poor form to show by our gestures and frowns and speech that we are annoyed by some circumstance that is entirely beyond our control.

Impulsiveness is often the cause of serious breaches of etiquette -- breaches that are, socially speaking, the ruin of many a rising young man, of many an otherwise charming young woman. The gentleman never shows by hasty word or angry glance that he is displeased with some service. The lady never shows, either in her speech or manner, that she is excited with some unexpected happening, or disappointed because something did not happen the way she planned it. It is only by studying the rules of etiquette and knowing absolutely what is right to do and say under all conditions that one acquires this splendid self-possession and composure of manner. —Lillian Eichler



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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Etiquette Extremes of Spain

"The court etiquette of Spain was elaborate and complex to the extreme."
"It was in Spain that etiquette attained those extremes which are to-day so difficult to understand. Men and women ceased to be human beings with a will: Frederic Marshall says, 'They became machines of reverence, everybody had his place marked out and was kept mercilessly in it. The number of steps and the depths of bows which each person was to make on entering the royal presence, the width of cloaks, the length of ribbons, and perhaps more than all, the elaborate division of offices and functions, we're fixed with a precision of which examples exist nowhere else.'
                                                             
"Spanish nobles are classified either as Grandes de España (also called in English grandees), or as titled nobles. Formerly, grandees were divided into the first, second and third classes, but now, all grandees enjoy the same privileges. An individual may hold a grandeeship, whether in possession of a title of nobility or not. Normally, however, each grandeeship is attached to a title, though this was not always the case. Furthermore, a grandeeship is always awarded along with every ducal title, just as most dukes in France gradually obtained a peerage under its ancien régime. A grandee of any rank outranks a non-grandee, even if that non-grandee's title is of a higher degree. Thus, a baron-grandee enjoys higher precedence than a marquis who is not a grandee. Except for dukes and some very ancient titles of marquesses and counts, most Spanish titles of nobility are not attached to grandeeships." –From www.almanachdegotha.org

The people of Spain took up ceremony and reverential courtesy as a duty. Even the beggars asked each morning of their colleague: 'Señor, has your Courtesy taken his chocolate?' As for the grandees, they considered themselves above the universe and all the men within it.
It was Maria Anna of Neuburg, the wife of Charles II of Spain, 1690, who fell off her horse, caught her foot in the stirrup, and was thus indecorously suspended in the presence of forty-three courtiers, who gazed in anguish, but stood still, as it was against etiquette for them to aid in such a case. The grand equerry, whose particular and peculiar privilege it was to unhook the Queen's royal ankle, on such occasion, was absent that day!


The court etiquette of Spain was elaborate and complex to the extreme. It is related that on one occasion the Queen fell from her horse, caught her foot and hung by the stirrup, unable to extricate herself. This happened in the presence of a number of attendants who made no move whatever to assist her. They couldn't, you see, because the grand equerry whose particular and peculiar privilege it was to unhook the royal ankle on such occasion was absent!

A passerby, noticing the Queen's plight, released her. Whereupon he received several doubloons for his service, but was condemned to banishment because of his indiscretion! Such were the extremes etiquette had reached in the Spanish court." –Lillian Eichler 



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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Etiquette of Louis XIV

All courtiers were enjoined to obey the rules of Louis XIV's etiquette for Versailles. Precedence was a matter of great importance.


"Louis XIV himself wrote a book concerning court ceremonial, and all courtiers were enjoined to obey the rules. Precedence was a matter of great importance. It found its way even into the streets, where it became a subject of frequent dispute. The narrowness of the Parisian streets made it impossible for large coaches to pass each other; when two met, therefore, that of the lesser dignitary was obliged to go back to the last crossroad. One can see how this occasioned arguments. Long pedigrees were recited, claims set forth, and strangers called in to settle the matter of precedence.


At Versailles the importance of etiquette reached such a point, that it was carried to almost incredible extremes. The catch phrase of the time was "Toute la femme est dans la reverence," which meant that the manner in which a woman curtsied—in other words, the manner in which she followed the etiquette of the times—revealed her true qualities.

As one might expect from the creator of the 700-room Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV knew a thing or two about luxury. One of his prized possessions was an immense diamond, then called the French Blue, which purportedly produced the dazzling illusion of a sun at its center when positioned against a gold background. Stolen during the French Revolution, well after Louis XIV’s death, it reemerged in Great Britain years later with a new cut and then bounced around from one owner to another. Now known as the Hope Diamond, this 45.52-carat stone, arguably the most famous jewel in the world, is housed at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. –From www.history.com
It is related of Louis XIII that, being on one occasion, obliged to visit Richelieu, who was ill at Tarascon, he lay down on the bed beside him. He was, after all, the sovereign; Richelieu a subject. Therefore it was impossible that Richelieu lie in bed, though ill, while Louis stood or sat beside him. Therefore, he took his place on the bed beside the sick man, and so preserved the royal dignity! Louis XIV visited Maréchal de Villars in the same manner when the Maréchal was lying wounded at Malplaquet." —From Lillian Eichler




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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Etiquette and French Civilitiés

Swallowing wine too rapidly, one may choke himself, "which is impolite and inconvenient." 
In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in France there were books which gave the rules of conduct. These books of etiquette were known as the Civilitiés. They are occupied to a great extent with the civilities of the table, and one may see in them precisely how Paris dined in the 17th and 18th centuries.

At the close of the 17th century it still seemed necessary to remind the host he must not chastise his servants at table, and the guest that if he swallows his wine too rapidly he may choke himself, "which is impolite and inconvenient." According to the Civilités you sat down to table with your hat on, removing it only if your health is toasted "by a person of quality." And how, we wonder, did they judge these "persons of quality"? 

Every Civilité of the 17th and 18th centuries enjoins you to go to dinner with your hands clean. Apparently there is only one towel, for the Civilité requests that "a dry corner be left for the person who is to use it afterward." 

Furthermore the Civilité extorts the man of polish not to scratch himself in company, not to snuff the candle with his fingers, not to blow in his soup, not to return the meat to the dish after smelling it, not to talk with his mouthful, not to pocket the fruit at dessert. These rules of conduct give us an excellent insight into what social life must have been like in the 17th century. Civilités warned the people only against those things they actually did, those habits and customs which actually existed. — Lillian Eichler 



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

Etiquette and French Chivalry

During the age of chivalry, knights raised the visor to indicate friendliness. An interesting phase in the development of our etiquette and custom of gentlemen raising their hats.

"The great mediaeval social system known in history as chivalry was founded in France during the 11th century. This system of chivalry revolutionized the manners, morals, tastes, amusements, ethics of France, and, later, of England, Italy, and other European countries. 

The system of knight errantry, or chivalry, began about the middle of the 11th century and was originated by some nobles who had become ashamed of their lives of brigandage. At the age of seven every boy of noble birth was apprenticed to some great Lord as page, and trained to knighthood. He was taught honour, chivalry, truth, refinement. The highest ideals were inculculated in him. 
Frank Alvah Parsons says: 'This system may properly be said to have sounded the deathknell of heathen barbarism and to have marked the beginning of Christian civilization as we know it to-day.'
During the next three centuries many external conditions changed the manners and customs of France, making them heavy, formal, dull. There were the Crusades, in themselves most romantic and with a delightful history, but bringing into France new and strange tastes and customs. And there were the wars which threw the country into chaos. The decline of spirit of mediaevalism and chivalry at the end of the 14th century was followed by the gradual decay of the ideals and the courtesies that began in the time of Henry I." —From Lillian Eichler's, Customs of Mankind



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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Etiquette and Marie Antoinette

On fashion – It's "a desire to assert quality with the others, to show them that one is able to have the things they have. Then, too, imitation maybe prompted by a reverence for the person or persons imitated."

"Of course, fashion is largely imitative. There are two distinct reasons for imitation in matters of dress. The first is a desire to be like everyone else, to avoid being thought strange or queer by one's fellows. The second is a desire to assert quality with the others, to show them that one is able to have the things they have. Then, too, imitation maybe prompted by a reference for the person or persons imitated.

A story is told of the Duke Philip of Burgundy who, in 1461, suffered a severe illness during which his hair was completely shorn. More than five hundred nobles of the time sacrificed their hair that the Duke might not feel conspicuous. What was the necessity with the Duke became a fashion among the nobles."

"We are told that in 1775, the Queen, Marie Antoinette of France, adopted a chestnut brown colour for her gown. This color pleased the king and it is written that every lady in court had on a dress of that colour the following day. There has always been quick aping of the clothes and manners of the favourites."          
Marie Antoinette's image graces a square handkerchief– There has always been quick aping of the clothes and manners of the favourites.

"Many fashions were created by law. There is, for instance, a distinct order for edict concerning the shape of pocket handkerchiefs. It is dated June 2, 1785, and was issued by Louis XVI, supposedly at the request of Marie Antoinette. Up to her time, it would appear, handkerchiefs had been of all sizes and shapes. Some had been oblong, some around, some triangular, some square. The Queen believed that if the square form only were used the handkerchief would be very much more convenient. Consequently it was decreed, that, "The length of handkerchief shall equal their width, throughout my entire kingdom." Handkerchiefs have remained square since that day, and what the edict in 1785 made the fashion then, is still the fashion with us." —From Lillian Eichler's, "The Customs of Mankind"


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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Etiquette and Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette helping the blind –"The King and Queen were patrons of the Maison Philanthropique, a society which helped the aged, blind and widows. The queen taught her daughter Madame Royale to wait upon peasant children, to sacrifice her Christmas gifts so as to buy fuel and blankets for the destitute, and to bring baskets of food to the sick. Marie-Antoinette started a home for unwed mothers at the royal palace. She adopted three poor children to be raised with her own, as well overseeing the upbringing of several needy children, whose education she paid for, while caring for their families. She brought several peasant families to live on her farm at Trianon, building cottages for them. There was food for the hungry distributed every day at Versailles, at the King’s command." 
–From MarieAntoinette.org
"Marie Antoinette is one of the most written-about women in history—and for the best writing reasons. Her story combines two unfailing narrative ingredients: a fairy tale flashing with all the diamond glint of palaces and courtiers, a horror story of human cruelty and blood. The combination is so compelling that the life of the lovely Austrian princess who lived an infuriatingly frivolous life and died an endearingly brave death can be told and retold with remarkably little attention to the social upheaval that doomed her." —From "Beautiful and Doomed," Andre Castelot
All the diamond glint of palaces and courtiers – Depiction of Marie Antoinette in bed, from the 2006 film Marie Antoinette



"Her first desire was to purify the court where licentiousness in either sex had long been the surest road to royal favor. She began by making a regulation, that she would receive no lady who was separated from her husband; and she abolished a senseless and inexplicable rule of etiquette which had hitherto prohibited the queen and princesses from dining or supping in company with their husbands. Such an exclusion from the king’s table of those who were its most natural and becoming ornaments had notoriously facilitated and augmented the disorders of the last reign; and it was obvious that its maintenance must at least have a tendency to lead to a repetition of the old irregularities. Fortunately, the king was as little inclined to approve of it as the queen. All his tastes were domestic, and he gladly assented to her proposal to abolish the custom. 

Throughout the reign, at all ordinary meals, at his suppers when he came in late from hunting, when he had perhaps invited some of his fellow-sportsmen to share his repast, and at State banquets, Marie Antoinette took her seat at his side, not only adding grace and liveliness to the entertainment, but effectually preventing license, and even the suspicion of scandal; and, as she desired that her household as well as her family should set an example of regularity and propriety to the nation, she exercised a careful superintendence over the behavior of those who had hitherto been among the least-considered members of the royal establishment." —From MarieAntoinnette.org 


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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Etiquette and Gilded Age Fads

Another of the latest fads adopted by America's most fashionable women, the nose veil. Resembling the oft-described veils of Turkey's harem beauties, a la the creation of Mrs. ... on streets of Newport with terrific force, burning everything not under cover. The Spokesman Review, July 1913 
And before long, we had the newest fad in clothing styles, "harem pants"
Harem Veil is Fad in Newport
Mrs. C. A. Mason, a Chicago society woman, is given the credit for having introduced the harem veil fad in Newport. The veil is much like the covering which many high caste Turkish women still wear over the lower part of their faces when they appear in the streets in public. It allows only their eyes to be seen. Chicago, July 21, 1912 

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Etiquette, Manners and Dollar Princesses

A parody of the brokered marriage of Cornelia Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlborough? Don't sugar-coat it, Rita. Tell us how you really feel...
"The American Duchess or Countess is only a sham Duchess, or copy of the Countess, and the genuine article makes the imitation look an imitation."



American Marriage a Mere Jest, 
says "Rita"
Our Wives Have No Maternal Instinct, According to Her, and Our Weddings Are of Less Importance Than Business Contracts

By Rita

"That another life may be born, another soul sent into this world of misery and suffering. That high duties and great responsibilities attend this possibility, and these should not be lost sight of beneath the overwhelming importance of worldly considerations."  According to correspondent "Rita," "The American child is allowed to eat any sort of food at anytime of day or night."

"From the obligations of things spiritual to the supreme necessity of things temporal, is not such a wide leap as it appears. Therefore I place the importance of wedlock as only secondary to the importance of those Invisible Mysteries we take in Faith and feed on in secret. Religion and Marriage are both possessed of spiritual significance-rightly considered. Of course this consideration is not obligatory on the contracting persons, even in America, the country of half a million creeds.

It has become the custom to treat marriage as a jest, or a mere legal contract capable of being dissolved at will. Ambition, rank, wealth, policy, necessity, each and all of these are concerned in that contract. What is more concerned and less considered is the one important factor in the matter. That another life may be born, another soul sent into this world of misery and suffering. That high duties and great responsibilities attend this possibility, and these should not be lost sight of beneath the overwhelming importance of worldly considerations. 


When the American bride concerns herself so deeply with the details of her wedding toilet, the latest thing in bridesmaid eccentricity, the probable amount of diamonds she will receive, and the knowledge that a tiara is eminently be coming to a Gibson girl head, she is not entering into the true spirit of marriage. She is merely setting herself up as an ornamental figurehead at which reporters can aim pallets of admiring adjectives, and the monde ou sont amuse may sneer.

The more I see of transatlantic marriages the more convinced I am that they are disastrous to anything like mutual happiness. Of "respect" the less said the better. They begin with a "show" and usually end up with a "show-up." And who can wonder?

The Englishman and the American woman are the most dangerous objects for the experiment of marriage. The one is perpetually running up against ideas, manners, and customs for into his own: the other is engaged in a continuous high-handed battle with such prejudices, manners, and customs. She takes refuge in defiance, and her husband in disdain. The chain girds and irks and tortures both until it is forcibly snapped in twain, or dragged through mire of scarcely concealed scandal."
–The New York Times, 1910



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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Etiquette Tips for the Table

Hey... Cover that cough, please!

Coughing at the Table

Ordinary coughing at table is done behind the hand, without excuse, but a coughing fit, brought on by something being caught in the windpipe, indicates that you must leave the table immediately without excuse (you can't talk, anyhow). If necessary, your partner at table offers help in the next room a pat on the back or a glass of water. If there is a servant present he or she attends to this unless the hostess indicates to some member of the family or to a nearby guest that help might be better from that source.

And if you're sick, just stay home.
Blowing One's Nose at the Table


If the nose must be blown at table, it is done as quietly as possible, without excuse to draw attention to the fact.
Don't serve it to your guests!
"Foreign Matter" in Foods

Foreign bodies accidentally taken into the mouth with food gravel, stones, bird shot are removed with thumb and forefinger, as are fish bones and other tiny bones. If a gnat gets into a beverage or some other unappetizing creature turns up in or on a diner's food, he fishes it out, unobserved (so others won't see it and be upset), and then either proceeds or leaves the drink or dish untouched, depending on the degree of odiousness of the intruder. 

A gnat or a tiny inchworm on lettuce shouldn't bother anyone, but most fastidious people draw the line at a fly or worse. If the hostess notices an untouched dish, she may say, "Do let me serve you a fresh portion," and she has the dish or drink removed without remarking clinically as to the need for the move. Or if a servant notices, she asks if the guest would like a fresh serving. In a restaurant, if host or hostess does not notice (and both should be alert for this sort of thing) that something is amiss, the guest may tactfully murmur to the waiter that the dish or drink needs changing preferably when host or hostess's attention is directed else- where.
Use the serving utensils provided, not your own. If the serving utensils have been forgotten, pause long enough for the hostess to notice what's happened. 
When You Need Silverware

Your own wet spoon should never be placed in a sugar bowl, nor your butter knife in the jam or butter dish. If the serving utensils have been forgotten, pause long enough for the hostess to notice what's happened.   
This is informal but only permissible, if a fresh fork or spoon is used, with the possessor of the dish then handing the "taste" implement, handle first, to the other person. As this is an adult and child, Etiquipedia allows it!

Tasting Another's Food

Sometimes a couple dining in a restaurant wish to taste each other's food. This is informal but permissible, though only if a fresh fork or spoon is used, with the possessor of the dish then handing the "taste" implement, handle first, to the other person. The other must not reach
across the table and eat from a companion's plate, no matter how many years they have been married. If one of the two has had included some item say French fried potatoes in his order and doesn't wish them, he asks the waiter to serve them to the other, if desired he doesn't take them on his plate, then re-serve them.
Oh, to be a toddler again and have an actual food pusher to use!

Using Bread as a "Pusher"

A bit of bread, if available, is used to push food onto a fork never use the fingers. At formal dinners when bread is not served one may always switch to the Continental style, if one is adept, and chase the peas onto the back of the fork held in the left hand, pressing them down before conveying the fork, upside down, to the mouth. Or, holding the fork in the right or (French and Italian fashion) left hand, tines up, on plate, one may guide difficult food onto it with the side of the knife.   
Reaching at table is now preferred to asking neighbors to pass things ...
Reaching at Table

Reaching at table is now preferred to asking neighbors to pass things one can well take up himself, but one should not have to rise out of his seat. – Amy Vanderbilt



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

Friday, October 16, 2015

Etiquette – More Advice to Men

Did you know that "there is an art in nut-cracking?" "Madge" maintains that there is. "The man who has achieved it," she adds, "is in request by the ladies on either side, for, for some reason, women are seldom adepts in freeing the nut from the shell, and this is more especially the case with Brazil nuts and walnuts. The ordinary woman crushes them into a mixture of nut and shell which is very difficult to separate." 
More Manners for Men, 
from Mrs. Charlotte Eliza Humphry, who wrote under the title “Madge” of “Truth.”


How to Get Married

And, continuing on the subject of weddings, she says: "I receive many letters from perspective best men. An invitation to act in this capacity seems to arouse in the breasts of some men a feeling almost akin to terror. They know themselves to be inexperienced, and they guess themselves to be inadequate to the pressing duties that the occasion involves. But the matter is simple enough. The duties of the best man comprise" — "Madge" outlines their duties in short order, and adds: "when the best man has seen his friend safely off on his wedding trip he's free to go home, get out of his war paint, and settle in his own mind which of the bridesmaids he is going to propose to."

Follows much tabloid wisdom on "How to Propose, and "Don't propose by letter! "Madge" tells of one instance where such a course resulted rather queerly: "The lady wrote her reply, posted it herself, and on her way back to the house met another young man whom she had understood to be engaged. He asked her to marry him. She was very much in love with him, and at once accepted. But her letter accepting the other gentleman was in the letter-box. Making some excuse, she dashed back and stood guard over the box till the postman came; she then asked him to give her the letter. Whether he had any right to do so or not, which is questionable, he complied with her request. She wrote one of very different report and married the real choice of her heart. She has often wondered, in talking to me, what would've happened if the postman had been less amenable. I have never been able to give her much sympathy, for I cannot understand how any girl, loving one man, could possibly accept another.
Don't fold your napkin! Somebody once remarked that "to fold your napkin carefully and put it beside your plate, is involuntarily to express the intention of partaking of one next meal with one's host." 

How to Crack Nuts and More

"The man who has achieved it," she adds, "is in request by the ladies on either side, for, for some reason, women are seldom adepts in freeing the nut from the shell, and this is more especially the case with Brazil nuts and walnuts. The ordinary woman crushes them into a mixture of nut and shell which is very difficult to separate."

Don't fold your napkin! Somebody once remarked that "to fold your napkin carefully and put it beside your plate, is involuntarily to express the intention of partaking of one next meal with one's host."

"Madge" tells all about writing letters, what kind of thought you should use, what kind of note paper—beware of coats-of-arms!—And then comes to the "perfect handshake," which is "warm and sympathetic without any extreme of impetuosity or indifference."
                                                          
Every girl's crazy 'bout a dark-browed man... In novels, that is!

"We all know the dark-browed young man of the woman novelist," she says, "who, when he shakes hands on his first meeting with the heroine, looks her in the eyes with a dark and brooding eyes, with which he 'reads her very soul.' He would be rather a nuisance in every day life. Deep-set eyes which seem to read the soul are far from reassuring at, say, a dinner party, or on a river excursion."

"Madge" gets very solemn and didactic in her chapter entitled "A Word About Manners with Girls." Looking between the lines, one can almost see her British forefinger held up severely, while she is saying:

"I feel that I am approaching a very delicate subject, but no book dealing with manners for men can possibly be complete without entering upon the demeanor of young men with regard to girls. Too often in the middle classes, and perhaps those below them, the idea of a young man is, when conversing with girls, to assume a half-joking manner. Just as though the moments of his life spent in their society were of no importance whatever, and should not be regarded seriously by him. This is not only a mistake, but an indication of the young man's character, which by no means recommends him do any observer, and most certainly not to the girls themselves. They like fun, it is true, but they do not like to be regarded as merely some childish amusement." (Wagging of British forefinger.) – The New York Times, 1897


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

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Etiquette and Manners for Men

"I had long wished that some capable person should challenge Mrs. “ Madge ” Humphrey on some of her statements in her letters in Truth and The World, or in her little booklets, Manners for Men and Manners for Women..."
"Madge" Propounds "More Manners for Men"
Rules for Everything, from Marriage to the Color of a Necktie, Are Given with Tabloid Wisdom in Mrs. Humphry's Book of Etiquette

The lady known as "Madge" in London — Truth- her real name, it appears, is Mrs. Humphrey— who for years has told people just how to conduct themselves on all conceivable occasions, has written another book called "More Manners for Men." Her "Manners for Men" was so successful, and provoked so many questions from men continually kept guessing as to whether they were "in right" on the color of neckties or the exact angle of salaams that "Madge" has once more graciously consented to be an authoress.

Right at the very start of her preface she points out one class to whom her new book should appeal in these words: "Marriages of mixed nationalities become more and more frequent. And besides all this, our American cousins visit us, to our great content, in greater numbers every year. Their etiquette differs essentially from ours in many points, and they are naturally desirous to acquaint themselves with ours, just as we should be to acquire a knowledge of theirs while we visiting their own great country."
Does this bridegroom have pretensions to social position? He's wearing a frock coat in 1904! "In most of these letters I am asked if the frock coat is a necessary item of the bridegroom's costume. Until the last couple of years I was obliged to reply that this garment was indispensable to any bridegroom with pretensions to social position."
"Madge" tells us to bear in mind that "the most innately courteous and high minded of morals possesses no inward guide to the knowledge that a letter to the King must be written on thick white note paper, and enclosed in an envelope large enough to take it without being folded. And how could anyone possibly be aware from his or her inner consciousness only, that a Frenchman may eat with his fork, leaving his knife blade sideways on his plate, whereas an Englishman must not do so under penalty of showing himself ignorant of our table customs?"

"I receive a great number of letters from young men in all parts of the world," remarks "Madge," "with references to the etiquette of marriage, and containing many questions about the formalities of weddings. In most of these letters I am asked if the frock coat is a necessary item of the bridegroom's costume. Until the last couple of years I was obliged to reply that this garment was indispensable to any bridegroom with pretensions to social position. Fortunately, however, fashion has now decided that the less ceremonious morning coat may replace the frock. At one of the smartest weddings of recent years the bridegroom, an officer of the First Life Guards, wore a simple gray suit, and had not even a buttonhole."–The New York Times, 1897




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


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Etiquette and Taming the Wild West

Humorist Will Rogers once said the Harvey Girls, "kept the West in food and wives." In fact, one estimate put the number of Harvey Girls who wound up as brides of western cowboys and railroadmen at 20,000
How the Famous Harvey Girls Helped Civilize and Tame the West– 

After Fred Harvey came up with his idea in the 1870s of a chain of restaurants along the rail lines to feed hungry railroad passengers, by the late 1880's, there was a Harvey establishment every one hundred miles along the Santa Fe line. But the now famous entrepreneur Fred Harvey's biggest challenge, was not delivering fresh food to his far-flung Harvey House outposts of the Southwest, but finding much needed reliable help for them. At the time, there were racial problems between the cowboys who ate at the Harvey Houses, many of whom were former Confederate soldiers, and his all-male, black staff. The situation was eventually so bad that the black waiters lived in fear, worried that they might have to defend themselves.

At the suggestion of one company managers, in 1883 Harvey decided to replace the waiters with young white women, hoping to improve civility in his eating places. He sought out educated, single ladies, who were also well-mannered. He placed ads in newspapers throughout the Midwest, and along the East Coast for “Young women, 18 to 30 years of age, of good character, attractive, and intelligent.” The responding women became the famed "Harvey Girl waitresses," were always respectable and underwent extensive training in serving food and the rules of etiquette. They were also given matching black-and-white uniforms which befit nuns. Mrs. Harvey met each girl at the time she was hired.

Each was paid the sum of $17.50 a month, and at the time, it was actually a dream job for many of the young women who were unable to cope with burgeoning populations of big cities like Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Harvey signed-up each of the women to a six-month, renewable contract. New hires agreed not to marry during the initial contract period, and they were given a rail pass to get to their place of employment.

Efficient service was required to feed railroad passengers because the trains stopped for only a short amount of time. As an example of a speedy service technique, as a Harvey Girl moved to serve each customer, she let the beverage filler following her know what each diner’s drink preference was, simply by the way she placed the coffee cup in front of him.

So many Harvey Girls became wives to Harvey House customers, that one railroad baron is quoted as saying, "The Harvey House was not only a good place to eat; it was the Cupid of the Rails." It's estimated that more than 100,000 girls worked for Harvey House restaurants and hotels and of those, 20,000 girls married their regular customers. –Sources "Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West," florenceks.com, and ringbrothershistory.com

 As a Harvey Girl moved to serve each customer, she let the beverage filler following her know what each diner’s drink preference was, simply by the way she placed the coffee cup in front of him. 
                               
"Arizona Etiquette"

"Arizona is getting hep to the society stuff,” a salesman who travels in that state tells us. "I was at a hotel last month” he said, “and an old chap was sitting at a table with his son. Somebody called the son a liar. The kid didn’t pull a gun, the way they do in picture shows. He just grabbed a table knife and started after his detractor. "There was no tragedy, though. That boy’s dad grabbed him by the collar and forced him into a seat in less time than it takes to tell it. " ‘Ain't ye got no manners?' hissed his pa. ‘What have I learned ye?' “ ‘He called me a liar!” yelled the struggling son. ‘“What if he did? They’s strangers from the east in this room. You shame me! Drop that knife an’ use yer fork, like ettiket says!’ “Don’t tell me they’re not up on manners out there!" – Los Angeles Herald, 1915


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

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Versailles Etiquette

The point about Versailles was that there was no escape: the courtiers had to "make it" where they were. The stage was Louis's, and the roles that could be played were designed by him. It was up to each courtier to fit himself – or herself – into one of the slots provided.  The leaders of all the other towns and villages of France were made, largely through the use of etiquette, and more specifically through rudeness and judicious slighting by the tax-collecting intendants, to feel their subordination, the distance from the court.  Once, the nobility had relied on strength, swagger, and vigor, even violence, personally to make their mark and uphold their honour; at Versailles, the way to success became discretion, observation, cunning, and the dissembling of one's aims and passions. 
"During the 17th century, in France, manners became a political issue. King Louis XIV and his predecessors, in collecting together the nobility of France to live with the sovereign at Versailles, instituted a sort of school of manners. At the palace, the courtiers lived under the despotic surveillance of the king, and upon their good behavior, their deference, and their observance of etiquette their whole careers depended.  If you displeased a Louis, he would simply "not see you" the following day; his gaze would pass over you as he surveyed the people before him. And not being "seen" by the king was tantamount to ceasing to count, at Versailles.  A whole timetable of ceremonies was followed, much of it revolving around the King's own person. Intimacy with Louis meant power, and power was symbolically expressed in attending to certain of the king's most private and physical needs: handing him his stockings to put on in the morning, being present as he used to chaise percée, rushing when the signal sounded to be present as he got ready for bed. It mattered desperately what closeness the king allowed you - whether he spoke to you, in front of whom, and for how long. 

The point about Versailles was that there was no escape: the courtiers had to "make it" where they were. The stage was Louis's, and the roles that could be played were designed by him. It was up to each courtier to fit himself – or herself – into one of the slots provided.  The leaders of all the other towns and villages of France were made, largely through the use of etiquette, and more specifically through rudeness and judicious slighting by the tax-collecting intendants, to feel their subordination, the distance from the court.  Once, the nobility had relied on strength, swagger, and vigor, even violence, personally to make their mark and uphold their honour; at Versailles, the way to success became discretion, observation, cunning, and the dissembling of one's aims and passions.  At Versailles, and at the courts all over Europe which imitated it -  everything was done to make it very clear who was superior to whom; and of course, each time anyone was polite, he or she was simultaneously acknowledging rank and demonstrating who stood where.
 
The new manners - both the formal rules of protocol and precedence and the unspoken, more profoundly enculturated rules like table manners -  were seen increasingly, according to Elias, as ways in which one did not offend other people. You were controlling yourself, so as to prevent other people from being disgusted or "shocked." People lived very closely together at Versailles; everyone was watched by everyone else, and actual physical proximity helped raise some of the new sensitivity to other people's real or imagined susceptibilities.  

Men were expected on the whole to give up physical force as a means of getting their way, and - as always when "the graces" are preferred over brute strength - women begin to count for more. Within the aristocratic court circle, people became, in spite of the obsession with rank, far more equal.  Secure in the knowledge that just being at court was the pinnacle of prestige, from which most of society was shut out, courtiers could permit themselves to respect each other.
 
As the bourgeois became richer and more indispensable even at court, they demanded - and were given, by self appointed experts who wrote manuals for them - instruction in how to behave as people did in "the best circles." In 1672, Antoine de Courtin produced "Nouveau trait' de la civilité' qui se pratique en France parmi les honnestes gens" or The "New Treatise of the Civility Which is Practiced in France Among Honest People." ("Honest" -hônnete- kept its original association with honour and the opposite-but-supporting motion, shame.)  De Courtin writes about manners for both hosts and guests, and invite advises his bourgeois readers on how they should address the nobility. The church in France also produced handbooks of manners and talk to precept in schools. Gradually gentility spread down from the court to the bourgeois, and finally trickled further down to the rest of the population.
 
The bourgeois were even stricter about standards of civility than were the nobility were; having no ever-present King do enforce the rules, they imposed restraints on themselves. Being more anxious to rise, they had more to lose by making slips and gaffes; so their self-inhibiting mechanisms had to be deeper rooted, less obviously the donning of an external personna than the nobility could permit themselves. The policing of emotions became internal, and finally invisible even to themselves: they were able to think that they acted, not in obedience to power and self-interest but for purely moral reasons." Margaret Visser, in "The Rituals of Dinner"



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