Saturday, January 19, 2013

Georgian Era Etiquette Guide

Balls; Where one could meet new people.

New Acquaintances –Women

New acquaintances should not be invited to entertainments unless agreeable to all concerned. An entertainment can be given to meet new acquaintances if there be some special reason for so doing. Elderly persons and professional people can send their cards to younger persons if they wish to continue acquaintance.

Newcomers – Ball Invitations

It is allowable for a new- comer wishing to give a ball to borrow the visiting list of some friend; but she should enclose in each invitation a calling card of this friend, so that the invited ones may know that the friend is acting as a sponsor.

Duty of Newcomers

No effort should be made to obtain recognition of older residents. Visits from neighbors should be returned within a week. If from any reason a newcomer is unable to call, a note stating the reason should be sent. If visit of neighbor's male relative is desired, a woman may send him a written or verbal invitation; but if visit is not desired, no notice is taken of his card, in the event of one having been left.

Residents' Duty to Men

When calling, kinswoman leaves cards of all the male members of family who are in society. If these cards left by kinswoman are not followed by an invitation to call, it is presumed that the acquaintance is not desired. Men can not call upon women of the
family of new resident, unless invited to do so by either verbal or written message.

Residents' Duty to Women

The newcomer receives the first call from the older resident, which should be made within a reasonable time. Women making the first call, leave their own card and those of the male members of the family. It is unnecessary to be introduced in the absence of letters of introduction. Visits should be of short duration.
Olives were eaten with the fingers, but they were served with ornate silver servers. 



Olives are eaten with the fingers.

After the fork was provided for eating oranges, came the invention of "orange spoons."


Oranges are served in divided sections, sweetened, and the seeds removed, should be eaten with the fork. If served whole, cut into suitable portions. Remove seed and skin.


The organist is selected by the bride, but the fee is paid by the groom.


When making a formal or brief call, the overcoat should be left in the hall.


These letters--standing for Pour prende conge (To take leave)-- are written in the lower left-hand corner of the visiting-card. These cards are used as a formal farewell to such friends and acquaintances whose friendship it is desired to continue. They may be left in person, or sent upon departure from city or winter or summer resort. They are rarely used in brief visits, and should only be used at the close of a season. Care should be exercised in sending them, as an oversight in so doing may cause the loss of good friends.


At the wedding, if pages are present, they are usually dressed in satin court costumes, and carry the bride's train.


It is not good taste to ask relatives to be pall-bearers.  The usual number is six to eight elderly men for elderly person, and of young men for a young man. Six young women in white would be a suitable number to act as pall-bearers for a young woman. Pall-bearers should be asked either by note or by a representative of the head of the family of the deceased. The pall-bearers assemble at the house at the appointed hour, and there take the carriages reserved for them. They disperse after the church service. Except in the case of young women, carriages are not sent to bring pall-bearers to the house.


After accepting an invitation to act as a pall-bearer, a man should call at the house of the bereaved and leave his card. A few days after the funeral he should call again and leave his card. If he wishes, he may simply ask at the door after the women of the family.


The pall-bearers wear black frock coat, trousers, and waistcoat, a black silk hat with a mourning band, black shoes, and black kid gloves. The linen should be white.


Unless there has been a request not to send flowers, a pall-bearer may do so after his first call. If he wishes, a few days after the funeral he may send flowers to the women of the family with his card, on which should be written: With the compliments of -----.


The invitation should be promptly accepted or declined, and if accepted only illness or unavoidable absence from the city would excuse a man from attending.


The first wedding anniversary is called the paper wedding, and is not usually celebrated. If, however, it is celebrated, the invitations may bear the words: No presents received. Congratulations should be extended in accepting or declining the invitations. Any article of paper would be an appropriate gift. An entertainment should follow.


These are less formal than balls. They generally begin at nine or nine-thirty, with dancing at ten-thirty or eleven. The supper precedes the dancing. Those who do not take part in the dancing may leave before it begins.


These are engraved, giving hour for beginning in lower left-hand corner, and should be sent two weeks in advance. One envelope only need be used. They should be answered promptly.

With a patroness like this, who needs overbearing and bossy snobs as friends? Judi Dench as Lady Catherine De Bourgh, Patroness of Mr. Collins in Pride & Prejudice.


It is customary for the management of any institution giving a public ball to formally invite six, eight, or more married women to act as patronesses, and for their names to appear on the invitations. If badges are worn, each patroness is sent one or given one at the ball-room. The patronesses, after being welcomed at the ball by the management committees, take their places, ready to receive the guests. The Committee of Arrangements should look after the patronesses, introduce distinguished guests to them, escort them to supper and finally to their carriages.

PEACHES Peaches should be quartered and the quarters peeled, then taken up by the fingers and eaten.

Peas are eaten with a fork.

Plums and grapes should be eaten one by one, and the pits allowed to fall noiselessly into the half-closed hand and then transferred to the plate.


It is wise to restrict the use of postals to impersonal communications; but if they must be used, the message should be brief with an apology for its use. It is a good plan in addition to omit the usual My dear, and to sign with the initials only and the full surname.

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

1 comment:

  1. Informative and useful, as always. Thank you for posting the information for all of us attempting to make a difference in a world of rudity.