Saturday, October 22, 2016

1850's Western Etiquette

The Yankee out West who recently wrote home to his mother that he had seen a live Hoosier, has sent his mother another epistle on Western etiquette.

"Western people go to their death on etiquette. You can't tell a man here that he lies, as you can down east, without fighting. A few days ago a man was telling two of his neighbors, in my hearing, a pretty large story. Says I, 'Stranger, that's a whopper.' Says, he, 'Lay there, stranger.' And in the twinkling of an eye, I found myself in the ditch, a perfect quadruped, the worse for tear and wear. 

Upon another occasion, says I to a man I never saw before, as a woman passed him, 'That isn't a specimen of your Western women, is it?' Says he, 'You are afraid of the fever and ague, stranger, aren't you?' Very much,' says I. 'Well,' replied he, 'That lady is my wife, and if you don't apologize in two minutes, by the honor of a gentleman, I swear that these two pistols," which he had in his hands,' can cure you of the disorder entirely— so don't fear, stranger.' So I knelt down and apologized. I admire the Western country much, but curse me if I can stand so much etiquette; it always takes me unawares." – Daily Alta, 1855

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