|When your mother-in-law sits, you should respectfully stand.|
How to Treat One's Mother-in-Law in Han Dynasty China
A writer, who lived for more than twenty years in China, has completed a translation of the accepted authority on Chinese etiquette written by Lady Tsao of the Han Dynasty, nearly eighteen centuries ago. It contains the following instructions as to the correct behavior of a wife toward her husband's mother:
When your mother-in-law sits, you should respectfully stand.
Obey quickly her commands. In the morning early rise and quickly open the doors, making no noise to awaken her.
Her toilet articles hasten to prepare; Her washbowl and towel; Her toothbrush and powder, all bring together.
Let not the water be too cold or too hot. When the mother-in-law awakens, all these things respectfully present to her; Then immediately retire to one side until her toilet is completed.
Then approach and present the morning salutations; Again retire and prepare her tea.
After which, the breakfast table arrange. Place the spoons and chopsticks straight. The rice cooked soft and let the meat be thoroughly done.
From ancient days until now, old people have had sick teeth; Therefore, let not the food be dry, that your mother-in-law with labor vainly, eats. Daily the three meals, thus carefully prepare.
When darkness comes, and your great one (mother-in-law) desires to sleep, carefully for her spread the bed, when she may peacefully rest, and you may retire to your room.
Following these instructions, all your superiors will praise you; All that know you will esteem you as good. —San Francisco Call, 1902
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