Saturday, February 20, 2016

Etiquette of True Ladies and Gents

The perfect lady is not the ornamental butterfly of society, as so many would have us believe. She does some useful work, no matter what it is. The perfect gentleman knows the manners of good society and he does not hesitate to use them.
The True Lady and Gentleman

It is not enough to be wealthy. It is not enough to be widely famed. But if one is well-mannered, if one knows how to conduct oneself with poise, grace and self-confidence, one will win respect and honor no matter where one chances to be.

There are very few men indeed who do not value good manners. They may ridicule them, they may despise them—but deep down in their hearts they know that good manners have a certain charm, a certain power, that wealth and fame together do not possess. They know that right in their own business spheres there are men who owe their success and position to the appearance that they make, to the manner in which they conduct themselves. And they know that there are beautiful women who are coldly repellent; while some plain women win the hearts of everyone with whom they come in contact, merely by the charm of their manners.

The perfect gentleman is not the dude, the over-dressed "dandy" who disdains the workingman in his patched clothes and who sniffs contemptuously at the word "work." The true gentleman is kindly, courageous, civil. He is kind to everyone—to the tottering old man he helps across the street, and to the mischievous young rascal who throws a ball through his window. He does not know what it is to become angry, to lose control of his temper, to speak discourteously. He never shows that he is embarrassed or ill at ease. He is as calm and unconcerned in the presence of a world-wide celebrity as he is when he is with his most intimate friend. Nor is he ever bitter, haughty or arrogant. And he is as far from being effeminate as he is from being coarse and brutal. In short, he knows the manners of good society and he does not hesitate to use them.

The perfect lady is not the ornamental butterfly of society, as so many would have us believe. She is gentle, and well-dressed and graceful—not merely ornamental. She does some useful work, no matter what it is. She is patient always, and generous. She never speaks harshly to tradespeople or to servants; gentleness and reserve are the very keynotes of her manner. She is never haughty, never superior. She is kind and courteous to everyone, and she conducts herself with the calm, unassuming grace that instinctively wins a responsive respect. In her manner towards men she is reserved, modest. But she is self-reliant and not afraid to assert herself. Her speech and manner are characterized always by dignity, repose and self-confidence.” — From Lillian Eichler's 1921, "Book of Etiquette, Volume I"



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