Saturday, July 6, 2013

1890s Outdoor Pleasures Etiquette

OUR conduct on the street should always be modest and dignified. Loud and boisterous conversation or laughter and all undue liveliness are improper in public, especially in a lady.

When walking on the street do not permit yourself to be so absent-minded as to fail to recognize your friends. Walk erect and with dignity, and do not go along reading a book or a newspaper.

Should you stop to speak to a friend, withdraw to the side of the walk with him, that you may not interrupt the passing of others. Should your friend have a stranger with him, apologize to the stranger for the interruption. You must never leave your friend with whom you are walking to speak to another without first asking him to excuse you.

In walking with a lady on the street, give her the inner side of the walk, unless the outside is the safer part, in which case she is entitled to it. Your arm should not be given to any lady except your wife or a near relative, or a very old lady, during the day, unless her comfort or safety require it. At night the arm should always be offered; also in ascending the steps of a public building. A gentleman should accommodate his walk to that of a lady, or an elderly or delicate person.

When a lady with whom a gentleman is walking wishes to enter a store, he should open the door, permit her to pass in first, if practicable, follow her, and close the door. He should always ring door bells or rap at a door for her. A gentleman should never pass in front of a lady, unless absolutely necessary, and should then apologize for so doing.

Should a lady ask information of a gentleman on the street, he must raise his hat, bow, and give the desired information. If unable to do so, he must bow and courteously express his regrets.

In crossing the street, a lady should gracefully raise her dress a little above her ankle with one hand. To raise the dress with both hands is vulgar, except in places where the mud is very deep.

A gentleman meeting a lady acquaintance on the street should not presume to join her in her walk without first asking her permission. It may not be agreeable to her, or convenient that her most intimate friend should join her. She has the right, after granting such permission, to excuse herself and leave the gentleman whenever she may see fit; and a gentleman will never take offense at the exercise of such a right. If it is inconvenient for a lady to accept the gentleman's company, she should frankly say so, mentioning some reason, and excusing herself with friendly courtesy. Gentlemen give place to ladies, and to gentlemen accompanying ladies, in crossing the street.

If you have anything to say to a lady whom you may happen to meet in the street, however intimate you may be, do not stop her, but turn round and walk in company; you can take leave at the end of the street.

Etiquette of the Street

When you are passing in the street, and see coming toward you a person of your acquaintance, whether a lady or an elderly person, you should offer them the wall—that is to say, the side next the houses. If a carriage should happen to stop in such a manner as to leave only a narrow passage between it and the houses, beware of elbowing and rudely crowding the passengers, with a view to get by more expeditiously. Wait your turn, and, if any of the persons before mentioned come up, you should edge up to the wall, in order to give them the place. They also, as they pass, should bow politely to you.

When two gentlemen accompany a lady in a walk, she should place herself between them, and not unduly favor either. A gentleman meeting a lady friend accompanied by another gentleman should not join her unless satisfied that his presence is agreeable to both parties.

A lady should not venture out upon the street alone after dark. By so doing she compromises her dignity, and exposes herself to indignity at the hands of the rougher class. When a lady passes the evening with a friend, she should make arrangements beforehand for some one to come for her at a stated hour. If this cannot be done, or if the escort fails to come, she should courteously ask the host to permit a servant to accompany her home. A married lady may, if circumstances render it necessary, return home alone. An unmarried lady should never do so.

Should your host offer to accompany you himself, decline his offer, politely stating that you do not wish to give him so much trouble; but should he insist upon it, accept his escort. In the case of a married lady, the husband should always come for her. He is an ill-bred fellow who refuses to render his wife such attention. A lady, upon arriving at her home, should always dismiss her escort with thanks. A gentleman should not enter the house, although invited by the lady to do so, unless for some especial reason.

Evading a Long Talk

Never offer to shake hands with a lady in the street if you have on dark gloves as you may soil her white ones.

If, when on your way to fulfill an engagement, a friend stops you in the street, you may, without committing any breach of etiquette, tell him of your appointment, and release yourself from a long talk; but do so in a courteous manner, expressing regret for the necessity.

A lady does not form acquaintances upon the street, or seek to attract the attention of the other sex, or of persons of her own sex. Her conduct is always modest and unassuming. Neither does a lady demand services or favors from gentlemen. She accepts them graciously, always expressing her thanks.

A gentleman will not stand on the street corners, or in hotel doorways, or club windows, and gaze impertinently at ladies as they pass by. This is the exclusive business of loafers, upon which well-bred men will not trespass.

Do not shout to your acquaintances from the opposite side of the street. Bow, or wave your hand, or make any courteous motion; but do it quietly and with dignity. If you wish to speak to them, cross the street, signalling to them your desire.

A lady walking with two gentlemen should not take an arm of each; neither should a gentleman walk with a lady on each arm, unless at night, in coming from a place of amusement or passing through a crowd.

In walking with a lady who has your arm, should you have to cross the street, do not disengage your arm and go around upon the outside unless the lady's comfort renders it necessary.

In walking with a lady, where it is necessary for you to proceed singly, always go before her.

Etiquette of Riding

The etiquette of riding is very exact and important. Remember that your left when in the saddle is called the near-side, and your right the off-side, and that you always mount on the near-side. In doing this, put your left foot in the stirrup; your left hand on the saddle; then, as you take a spring, throw your right leg over the animal's back. Remember, also, that the rule of the road, both in riding and driving, is, that you keep to the right.

Never appear in public on horseback unless you have mastered the inelegancies attending a first appearance in the saddle, which you should do at a riding-school. A novice makes an exhibition of himself, and brings ridicule on his friends. Having got a "seat" by a little practice, bear in mind the advice conveyed in the old rhyme—

"Keep up your head and your heart,
Your hands and your heels keep down, Press your knees close to your horse's sides And your elbows close to your own."

In riding with ladies, recollect that it is your duty to see them in their saddles before you mount. And the assistance they require must not be rendered by a groom; you must assist them yourself. 

The lady will place herself on the near side of the horse, her skirt gathered up in her left hand, her right on the pommel, keeping her face toward the horse's head. You stand at its shoulder, facing her, and stooping, hold your hand so that she may place her left foot in it; then lift it as she springs, so as to aid her, but not to give such an impetus that, like "vaulting ambition," she loses her balance, and "falls o' the other side." Next, put her foot in the stirrup and smooth the skirt of her habit—then you are at liberty to mount yourself.

Keep to the right of the lady or any ladies riding with you. Open all gates and pay all tolls on the road. Never, under any circumstances, allow a lady to attend to any duty of this kind while under your escort. You must anticipate her every need, and provide for it; making her comfort your first thought.

If you meet friends on horseback, do not turn back with them; if you overtake them, do not thrust your company upon them unless you feel assured that it is agreeable to them for you to do so.

If you are on horseback and meet a lady who is walking, and with whom you wish to speak, dismount for that purpose, and lead your horse. To put her to the inconvenience of straining after and shouting to you, would be a gross breach of manners.

If you enter a carriage with a lady, let her first take her place on the seat facing the horses. Enter a carriage so that your back is toward the seat you are to occupy; you will thus avoid turning round in the carriage, which is awkward. Take care that you do not trample on the ladies' dresses, or shut them in as you close the door.

Mode of Assisting a Lady Into a Carriage

The rule in all cases is this: you quit the carriage first and hand the lady out. You may properly speed your horse in driving with a lady, but remember that it is vulgar to drive too fast; it suggests the idea of your having hired the "trap" from a livery stable, and is in every respect ungentlemanly.

The carriage or buggy should be driven close to the sidewalk, and the horses turned from the sidewalk, so as to spread the wheels away from the step. The gentleman should then alight, quiet the horses, and hold the reins in his right hand as a guard against accidents. The lady should, in leaving the carriage, place her hands on the gentleman's shoulders, while he should place his under her elbows. Then, with his assistance, she should spring lightly to the pavement, passing him on his left side to avoid the reins which he holds in his right. In driving, the gentleman must place a lady on his left. This leaves his right arm free to manage his horses.

A gentleman should not drive fast if the lady accompanying him is timid, or objects to it. He should consult her wishes in all things, and take no risks, as he is responsible for her safety. Above all, he should never race with another team. Such conduct is disrespectful to the lady who accompanies him.

The Etiquette of Boating

There are certain customs and usages in connection with this interesting pastime that deserve to be noted and observed.

Gentlemen unaccustomed to the management of a boat should never venture out with ladies. To do so is foolhardy, if not criminal. Great care should be taken not to overload a boat. The frequent boating accidents that happen are in most instances due either to overloading, or to the inexperience of the man at the oars. 

Men who cannot swim should never take ladies upon the water.

Assisting Ladies to Their Seats

When the gentlemen are going out with the ladies, one of them steps into the boat and helps the ladies in and seats them, the other handing them down from the bank or pier. When the ladies have comfortably disposed themselves, and not before, the boat may be shoved off. Great care must be taken not to splash the ladies, either in first dipping the oars or subsequently. Neither should anything be done to cause them fright.

Who Should Row

If a friend is with you, he must be given the preference of seats. You must ask him to row "stroke," as that is the place of honor.

If you cannot row, do not pretend you can. Say right out that you can't, and thus settle it, consoling yourself with the pleasant reflection that your confession entitles you to a seat by the side of the ladies and relieves you from the possibility of drowning the whole party.

A Popular Exercise

Rowing has become a great fad among the ladies in recent years, and it is to be commended as a wholesome and vigorous exercise. But it should be indulged only on quiet rivers or on private lakes. If ladies venture into more frequented waters, they must at least have the protection of a gentleman. And in all cases they must wear costumes proper for the exercise, which requires freedom of movement in every part. Corsets should be left at home, and a good pair of stout boots should complete an equipment in which a skirt barely touching the ground, a flannel shirt and a sailor hat are the leading features. Rowing gloves should protect the hands.

The ordinary rowing costume for gentlemen is white flannel trousers, white rowing jersey and a straw hat. Peajackets are worn when their owners are not absolutely employed in pulling. 


Having taken such a mighty grasp upon the land, it has naturally followed that an etiquette of cycling should be established, and that it should be well established and rigidly regarded by society.

There are the details of meeting, mounting, right of way and various other points which are carefully observed and give the desired air of fashionable righteousness, without which, for many people, the pleasure of meeting in a social way on one's wheel would be but legendary.

It is distinctly understood in the first place that "cycling" is the correct word; the up-to-date woman dares not speak of bicycling nor of wheeling.

A Cycler’s Guide

If in town, the early hours of the morning are chosen for a ride through the park. This is on the same principle that it is considered good form for a young woman to drive only in the morning, that is, when she herself is the whip. In the country the rules, both as regards cycling and driving, are not as rigid. The maiden, however, who is a stickler for form, does all her cycling in the hours which come before noon—unless there be a special meet, a bicycle tea, for instance, or a spin by moonlight.

Neither is it correct for a young woman to ride unaccompanied. In the matter of chaperons we are becoming almost as rigid as the French, who scarcely allow a young girl to cross the street, to say nothing of shopping or calling, without being accompanied by an elder woman, her mother, relative, or a friend, as a chaperon.

During the past few years there has been a tendency in America toward a closer imitation of all French etiquette which has brought in its train a strict construction of the duties of a chaperon.

Maids Do Duty

The unmarried woman who cycles must be chaperoned by a married lady—as every one rides nowadays, this is an affair easily managed. Neither must the married woman ride alone; failing a male escort, she is followed by a groom or a maid.

A woman is very fortunate if among her men or women servants, one knows how to ride a bicycle. Ladies occasionally go to the expense of having a servant trained in the art.

 A Man’s Duty

If one possesses such a commodity as a brother or a husband, he can always be made useful on a cycling excursion. Never is a man better able to show for what purpose he was made than upon such occasions.

The man's duty to the woman who rides might be made the text for a long sermon; but long sermons are never popular; therefore, it may be better to state briefly that he must always be on the alert to assist his fair companion in every way in his power—he must be clever enough to repair any slight damage to her machine which may occur en route, he must assist her in mounting and dismounting, pick her up if she has a tumble, and make himself generally useful and incidentally ornamental and agreeable.

He rides at her left in order to give her the more guarded place, as the rule of the road in meeting other cyclers is the same as that for a carriage, to turn to the right. In England, the reverse is the case.

Assisting the Lady

In mounting, the gentleman who is accompanying a lady holds her wheel; she stands on the left side of the machine and puts her right foot across the frame to the right pedal, which at the time must be up; pushing the right pedal causes the machine to start and then with the left foot in place, the rider starts ahead—slowly at first, in order to give her cavalier time to mount his wheel, which he will do in the briefest time possible.

When the end of the ride is reached, the man quickly dismounts and is at his companion's side to assist her, she, in the meantime, assisting herself as much as possible. This is done—that is, dismounting in the most approved style—by riding slowly, and when the left pedal is on the rise, the weight of the body is thrown on it, the right foot is crossed over the frame of the machine, and, with an assisting hand, the rider easily steps to the ground.

In meeting a party of cyclists who are known to each other and desire to stop for a parley, it is considered the proper thing for the men of the party to dismount while in conversation with the ladies.

As to the furnishings of the bicycle, to be really complete, it must be fitted out with a clock and a bell, luggage carrier and a cyclometer, the latter being an absolute sine qua non to the woman who cares for records. From five to six lessons are always considered necessary before one can master even the details of riding.

 On the Road

On the road the woman who wishes to ride à la mode has to know a number of little things that are overlooked by another woman, just as the smart set have a code for riding and driving that is as inexorable as that they should not eat with their knives or put sugar on oysters. Society insists on an upright position, with, of course, no attempt at racing pace. It also frowns upon constant ringing of the bell—that will do for the vulgar herd who delight in noise. The well-informed wheelwoman keeps eye and ear alert and touches her bell rarely. She dresses daintily and inconspicuously—effaces herself, in fact, as much in this exercise as she does in all public places.

Very gallant escorts use a towrope when accompanying a lady on a wheeling spin. These are managed in various ways; one consists of an India-rubber door-spring just strong enough to stretch a little with the strain, and about six feet of shade cord. One end is attached to the lady's wheel at the lamp bracket or brake rod by a spring swivel, and the other end is hooked to the escort's handle bar in such a way that he can set it free in a moment, if necessary. When he has finished towing he drops back to the lady's side, hanging the loose end of the cord over her shoulder, to be ready for the next hill. A gentle pull that is a bagatelle to a strong rider is of great assistance to a weak one up hill or against a strong wind.

 For Protection Against Dogs

Every bicyclist in the land will rise up and call the inventor of the ammonia gun for dogs blessed. Nothing is more annoying to the rider than to have a mongrel dog barking at his pedals and scurrying across his pathway in such close proximity to the front wheel as to be a constant reminder of a possible "header." The gun is calculated to make an annoying dog sneeze and sniff away all future ambitions to investigate the pace of a rider. It is said to be a perfect instrument in every way. The advantages enumerated for it are: Positively will not leak; has no spring to press or caps to remove, and will shoot from five to twelve times from fifteen to thirty feet with one loading.

A Few Don’ts for Cyclers

Don't try to raise your hat to the passing "bloomer" until you become an expert in guiding your wheel.

Don't buy a bicycle with down-curve handles. It is impossible to sit erect and hold that kind of a handle.

Don't go out on a bicycle wearing a tail coat unless you enjoy making a ridiculous show of yourself.

Don't travel without a jacket or loose wrap, to be worn while resting. A summer cold is a stubborn thing.

Don't allow a taste for a bit of color in your make-up to tempt you to wearing a red or other gay-colored cap.

Don't get off the old gag about "that tired feeling" every time you stop by the roadside for a little breathing spell.

Don't absent yourself from church to go wheeling, as you and your bicycle are welcome at most houses of worship.

Don't leave your bicycle in the lower hallway of your flat-house for the other tenants to fall over in the dark.

Don't believe the farmer boy who says that it is "two miles to the next town." It may be two, four, six or twelve.

Don't be more than an hour passing a given point, although wheeling on a dusty road is honestly conducive to thirst.

Don't smile at the figure others cut astride their wheels, as it is not given you to see yourself as others see you.

Don't coast down a strange hill with a curve at its bottom. There is no telling what you will meet when it is too late.

Don't ride ten miles at a scorching pace, then drink cold water and lie around on the grass, unless you are tired of life.

Don't try to carry your bike downstairs under your arm. Put it on your shoulder, or you will come to distress.

Don't laugh the watchful copper to scorn because your lamp is burning brightly. He can afford to wait his time to laugh.

Don't dress immodestly or in the costume of a track sprinter. Sweaters worn like a Chinaman's blouse are almost indecent.

Don't forget that the modern law of the road requires you to turn out to the right in passing another bicycle or other vehicle.

Women’s Bicycle Rides

"Women who ride bicycles should make it a law with themselves never to ride after a feeling of weariness comes over them," said a well-known physician. "I just came from visiting a woman who tried to ride around the city last Sunday. It was the fourth time she had ever ridden a wheel out of doors. She got half way around, came home, in street cars and a carriage, and has been sick in bed ever since. She ought to be an example to all women who ride. For those who are beginning, especially, and in a measure for all women, there is a great danger in overdoing. Some women ride centuries, it is true, but they are men in strength. No ordinary woman should start out before knowing how far she is going. Ordinarily, though, they ride twice as far as they ought. They start out and ride away from home until they get tired.

"Then they have to ride back, getting more and more exhausted with every turn of the wheels. No ordinary woman who rides once or twice a week should go more than ten miles at a trip. That is perhaps an hour's ride, that may be easily extended to an hour and a quarter before that distance is covered, and if she does not feel fresh and in a glow when she stops, she may be certain that she has ridden too long. Naturally there is that healthy tired feeling which any one recognizes after athletic exercise, but it is quite different from and never to be mistaken for the weariness which comes from too much exertion and straining of the nerves and muscles. Very few women have ever been injured on a bicycle who kept to this rule and limited their riding to nominal distances."

Length of the Ride

"This limit of distance, which is designated by the feeling of weariness, is only a little more important than the limit of speed which the female frame is capable of undergoing under healthy exercising rules. Whether a man can ride at full speed for a long distance and still retain his good health is a doubtful question. It is certain, however, that no woman can keep up a high rate of speed for even a generous portion of a mile and not create the beginning of injuries. The added strength required to increase speed even a little after a certain amount of power has been expended is out of all proportion to the results. There is no relaxation of the muscles between revolutions of the pedals, nor any let up on the nervous and muscular strain while the speed lasts. The heart is far more taxed than one realizes at the moment, and that species of tingling or numbness in the nerves and muscles which often results is only a sign that they have both been overtaxed."

Properly used, a wheel is certainly a promoter of health. It develops muscles that are seldom, if ever, otherwise used. It gains for women that ideal condition of the flesh so prized by sculptors and artists, namely, a firm, solid tissue when the muscles are flexed, and a softness of an infant with muscular relaxation. It develops the entire torso and limbs, it renders one's nerves like steel and is a splendid antidote for headaches.

An exceedingly smart and yet thoroughly practical cycling costume is known as the "Londonderry," and is made in gray-green hopsack, a soft fabric which lends itself admirably to the full folds of the ample knickerbockers, which form a most important part of this costume. The "Londonderry" coat is made with long and very full basques, which form a kind of skirt when on the machine, and which, nevertheless, do not interfere in the least with the rider's freedom of action. This coat is prettily braided with black, and fastened with big black buttons. It is so arranged in front that it can be worn either with a shirt or over a double-breasted vest of cloth or leather.


Skirts are an Abomination

A renowned lady writer says: "In the first place let me condemn the skirt—not from prejudice, but from experience. Skirts, no matter how light, how trim, how heavy, are both a nuisance and a danger. A nuisance because they are always subject to entanglement in the wheel; because they fly up with every breeze and motion; because they have not the chic appearance of the properly made bloomer, and because, if they are weighted, like a riding habit, they make so much more to carry against the wind. And breeze makes weight.

"They are a danger because with the constant pumping of the pedals the knee is required to raise too great a weight; this bears upon the body just below the back of the hips, giving backache; often more serious troubles. I wouldn't wear a skirt. I had one torn off me by the wheel; but I rode with them long enough to give a just comparison of the merits of skirts versus bloomers.

"Riding suits should be of fine, light weight, navy blue or black material, made with bloomers, and the blouse with tailor-made jacket. I wear the sweater myself in preference, because it is not so apt to leave one subject to changes of temperature. The Alpine hat of Tam O'Shanter is au fait for street, with leggings to match the bloomers and jacket, and low shoes made broad on the ball of the foot. All bicycle shoes should be broad on the ball, because the pedaling is done with the ball, not with the under curve, as so many think. Doeskin gloves are best for ordinary riding. Bloomers should be made to fasten at the left side of the back, which leaves room for a pocket on the right side. Tinted leggings should always match the hat and gloves.

"Tell the ladies to have their saddles built high and wide in the back, sloping away and downwards in front; and that if they pedal properly there is no reason why bicycling should not be a healthful, moral, modest and permanent form of exercise. For, mark it," she added, as a parting sally, "the wheel has come to stay."


A Pace Indicator

A man who rides for health and pleasure and not to race or score centuries says that his plan is never to go so fast that he must breathe through his mouth. As long as his nostrils can supply sufficient air he knows that he is not over-exerting himself. As soon as he feels an inclination to breathe through his mouth he slackens his pace.


Don’t Dodge a Bicycle

Before bicycling will ever become a success a meeting must be called for the purpose of allowing the wheelmen and the pedestrian to arrive at some understanding. "I am in favor of a convention or something of that sort," said a prominent wheelman to a reporter.

As it is now, a rider comes down the street and sees ahead of him at a crossing a man or woman who is supposed to be endowed with reasonable intelligence. This person is in the act of crossing the street. He looks up, sees the rider coming and stands still right in the middle of the street. Of course, he is mentally calculating his chances for getting across safely.

In the meantime, the rider is getting closer and closer and is in a study equally as profound as to what the person is going to do. The pedestrian takes a step forward, takes another glance up the street, stops, starts back, makes an effort to reach the pavement, stops again, starts forward, stops.

Of course, by this time the cyclist is almost at a standstill and is also zigzagging from one side to the other, waiting and muttering. The pedestrian seems to give up all possibility of escape, faces the rider, both arms extended, jumps from one foot to the other, and the two collide. The cyclist is thrown to the ground, his wheel twisted, and he gets the blame.

And how easily all this can be avoided! Let the pedestrian, instead of performing all these trying evolutions, merely walk along as though there was nothing behind him, keep his course, and the cyclist will know what to do. He will turn his wheel to one side and slide past with perfect ease and safety. On the crossings let a man walk along as though there were not a bicycle in the state, and the wheelman will judge his course accordingly. He has control of his wheel and is as anxious not to collide as the other fellow.  Maud C. Cooke

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

No comments:

Post a Comment