Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Manners, Marriage and Money

Princess Radziwill was a devoted wife and mother. She cared little for society, but entertained her intimate friends constantly. Her manners were simple and unaffected, her generosity unbounded, and in no way had she the appearance of a parvenu, but she disliked the cares of housekeeping and preferred the first floor of the Hotel Meurice, Rue de Rivoli.

A Rochefoucauld to Wed a Princess with a Dowry of Six Million 
————————————————
Two Well-Known Families, Each With a Long Line of Ancestors, to Be United

Paris, March 4, 1894 — I hear on good authority that the engagement of Princess Louise Radziwill with Count Armand de la Rochefoucauld, although often contradicted, is a fact, and the marriage will soon take place. Princess Louise 
Radziwill is the daughter of Prince Constantin Radziwill and of the Princess, nee Louise Blanc. In 1880 Prince Roland Bonaparte married Marie Blanc, but she died in 1881. A few years before Prince Constantin Radziwill had married her sister, Louise, and their family consists of several sons and daughters. Constantin Radziwill has been naturalized French, and, as the republic does not recognize foreign titles, the children are not legally Princes and Princesses. At one time the Radziwills owned a superb mansion in the Avenue Bouquet, but the Princess disliked the cares of housekeeping and preferred the first floor of the Hotel Meurice, Rue de Rivoli. The proprietor has made many changes and transformations to please the Radziwills, and they consider themselves much happier than in a private house. 

Princess Radziwill is a devoted wife and mother. She cares little for society, but entertains her intimate friends constantly. Her manners are simple and unaffected, her generosity unbounded, and in no way has she the appearance of a parvenu. Her sister-in-law, Princess Dominique Radziwill, is not so beloved by Parisians. She is domineering and snobbish, although belonging to a Cuban family of modest position. Constantin and Dominique Radziwill are inseparable, and are called Orestes and Pylades. They dress alike and might be taken for twin brothers. Princess Radziwill believes in fortune-tellers and in all those who predict the future by cards; strange a Blanc should have such confidence in cards. Prince Constantin has purchased the Chateau d' Ermenouville, near Paris, and here the Radziwills will occasionally give hunting parties and fetes champêtres.  The family is very ancient and came from Lithuania ; the name Radziwill was given to a high priest— radzi signifying "who advises" and "will" being an abreviation of Wilna. – Baroness Althea Salvadoe, 1894

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

Manners of Peter the Great

He once pulled off a man's wig, looked it over and threw it on the ground with an expression of large dissatisfaction.

Peter the Great’s 
“Rough and Uncouth Manners”

He was an untamed savage at the best. His manners were intolerable and his habits dissipated in the extreme. Once in the city of Amsterdam, he called to a lady, "Stop!" The woman halted, affrighted, and Peter grasped her watch chain, the curious workmanship of which had caught his eye, pulled on the watch, and after examination returned it, with never a word to say. 

Another time, he pulled off a man's wig, looked it over and threw it on the ground with an expression of large dissatisfaction. In England the Government assigned him a country seat by the Thames, where he lived a double life of studying and rioting. His favorite amusement was to drink brandy until drunk with plenty of boon companions in a tavern near at hand. His house was surrounded with a magnificent hedge, which he ruined by running a wheelbarrow.

In Russia, Peter gave great parties, and the Nobles brought their ladies to attend under an Imperial edict, danced French and Polish dances, and prisoners of war were brought from their captivity to show them how to perform. More than this, every Noble was compelled to give three parties a week, at which the guests must wear European costumes, and in this way was reversed the social life of Russia. The people did not welcome these changes.–Los Angeles Herald, 1886

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

Imperial Manners, Memoirs, More

Runaway Austrian Archduchess dishes the dirt in scathing memoirs. – Her Imperial Highness, her mother, she says, had a terrible habit of punishing her children by cutting their faces with diamonds, the royal children were beaten worse than dogs, and given to the care of “low minded and dangerous persons, without manners or education.” 


Archduchess in Memoir Scores Saxon Court – Calls King George “Brawler and Braggart”
Calls Crown Prince Husband a Boor –
Ridicules Royal Suitors –Paints Terrible Picture of Life in Imperial Household of Austria

NEW YORK, Nov. 26.—Mrs. Louise Toselli, who was an Austrian Archduchess and would be Queen of Saxony today, had she not eloped with her children’s tutor, Giron, has entered the “memoir list’’ with her husband. Toselli’s memoirs have been running in a magazine. Henry W. Fisher of New York is the publisher of Mrs. Toselli's diary, lost at the time of her elopement from Dresden with Giron. In the books the former Archduchess touches with characteristic levity upon life at the Court of Saxony. "When my first baby came I wanted to nurse it, of course,” she writes. “You should have seen Frederick Augustus’ (the Crown Prince) face. If I had proposed to become a wet nurse to some ‘Socialist brat’ he couldn’t have been more astonished.” Louise describes her father-in-law, King George, as a brawler and a braggart, her husband as a boor. King George’s kiss, she writes, “felt like a piece of gritty ice rubbing against my forehead.” 

Louise paints a terrible picture of childhood in Austria. Her Imperial Highness, her mother, she says, had a terrible habit of punishing her children by cutting their faces with diamonds, the royal children were beaten worse than dogs, and given to the care of “low minded and dangerous persons, without manners or education.” At 18 she was taken to Vienna to look over the field for possible suitors. She “reviewed” Prince Ferdinand of Coburg, who was a “Cohen, not a Coburg,” and Prince Danilo of Montenegro, a small, thin person, “looking like a counter jumper in holiday dress.” Under entry of May 1, 1893, Louise tells of an experience with a young Baron who attempted to explain to her what real love is. The Baron told her an anecdote about an alleged amour of Catherine the Great of Russia with a handsome soldier.– New York Times, 1912


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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Etiquette and Gluttony in Russia

The full story of feasting enjoyed by Royal gluttons comes from the pen of a methodical Chef de Cuisine, a Frenchman in the service of Catherine II of Russia. He writes of almost unbelievable quantities of food, prepared and served by a small army of his assistants roasting cooks, spit-turners, pastry chefs, fish cooks and makers of entremets –– a grand total of 500 workers in the royal kitchens!

GLUTTONS and gourmets through the centuries have had similar tastes and capacities, and between the capacious eaters of today and famous trenchermen of history there is little difference. One thing all have in common, an incredible desire to consume vast quantities of rare and exotic food but if the shades of famous European chefs could peer over the starched white caps and shoulders of a modern cook, they would undoubtedly give startled shudders of disappointment at the menus of today.

“Why! These fellows have an easy task! Their menus do not compare to the great feasts given by our royal masters Kings and Queens who knew what good food meant!” Chagrined and amazed that the world has forgotten a tradition of feasting brought down through generations of gourmands, these skilled and proud chefs of a vanished world might conclude that human stomachs of this era have astonishingly diminished in size appetites have wilted and that no one knows how to enjoy fine food and plenty of it. Modern scientists give a somewhat different reason for the sad state into which old-fashioned feasting has fallen. Actual capacity, they say, is no smaller, but conditions have changed and men and women, no matter how blessed by wealth and leisure, have learned not to “eat themselves into the grave.”


Too much food at any one time amounts to no more than a primitive gorging, a habit which has come down from the time of cavemen who never knew when the next meal could be had. And in the hurried activities of modern life people cannot “sleep off” a great feast, as they could and did a century or more ago. “Heavy feasting,” say dieticians, “overloads not only the stomach but slows down the brain.” And this the successful business man and active woman cannot afford. Yet the fashion of small, selected menus -- for health's sake was not always so. Out of the past come tales of the mighty feats of rulers and generals, gentlemen of quality and dainty ladies assessed of palates and capacities unequalled since their time. 


True accounts of swashbuckling Counts and frivolous Countesses, proud Princes and Princesses who valued as a high accomplishment their ability to taste and consume amazing quantities of food and drink. There come Royal trenchermen ––two bottle, three bottle, and even four bottle men who thought nothing of quaffing that amount of old port after an evening’s full measure of sherry or sack, hock, bordeaux, burgundy and champagne and who later repaired to a late session of Parliament and delivered speeches that altered the destiny of nations. To these statesmen tremendous quantities of food and drink proved but a small handicap, because then they retired for a few days of rest and fasting.
 

The full story of feasting enjoyed by Royal gluttons comes from the pen of a methodical Chef de Cuisine, a Frenchman in the service of Catherine II of Russia. He writes of almost unbelievable quantities of food, prepared and served by a small army of his assistants roasting cooks, spit-turners, pastry chefs, fish cooks and makers of entremets –– a grand total of 500 workers in the royal kitchens!

Being French, this chef knew the story of Le Grand Vatel, commander of the kitchen of Louis XIV –– the poor cook who threw himself on his sword when the costermonger failed to bring the fish on time for one of Louis the Glutton's feasts. Knowing the uncertain temper of royal masters and the fate of careless chefs, Catherine's head cook took precautions against mistakes. He wrote out each menu in great folios, and made sure that every portion of the feast arrived hours in advance of the designated hour. Today these historic and colorful records are preserved in the archives of the ancient Hermitage, Catherine the Great’s favorite residence where the vast dining hall resounded to hoarse toasts, merry tales, and the boisterous laughter of courtiers.

An unestimated variety of “snacks” were first served with vodka, almost a meal that preceded the feast itself, but these appetizers were on old tradition, mere “palate-ticklers“ to whet the hunger of strong men. And Catherine’s chef thought so little of their importance that he fails to mention them. Nor does her chef say much of the rare wines served with each course, or the list of imported beverages stored in the Royal cellars, yet some account of these, fortunately, comes from other Slavic sources.

An afternoon’s refreshment might well be several bottles per head of a delicious light wine, just as a cooler and “pepper-upper.” Or of vodka, six or seven “captains”–– a glass the size of a sherry glass –– before a meal. And if such a potation was mere refreshment, a pleasant interlude in the serious business of making love or quarreling, what did these people do when they settled down to important eating and drinking? The menu of one of Catherine's “small dinners” not a great court banquet, just a little dinner en famille, perhaps for Potemkin or for Orloff, with a few young officers of the guard and ladies in waiting to fill out the board:

  • Ten light soups, such as consommes, broths, essence of vegetables, light cream soups. With these, a glass or two of sherry for the ladies a bottle or more for the men. 
  • Twenty-four different entremets, such as pheasant, goose, rabbit, chicken, quail and so on. Just a little something to whet the appetite for the rest of the meal. And with these a light red wine from France or Greece. 
  • Thirty-two tid-bits, such as marinated baby chicken, bird wings with parmesan, rolled chicken skin, lamb fries and other exotic dainties. With each, a different light wine. 
  • The great soups, Borshtch, cabbage soup with sour cream, fish soup, cold soup made from cucumbers and beer, spinach soup with sour cream and other noble liquids. Here a dry Italian or Spanish wine was considered quite the thing. 
  • The fish : a dozen or more varieties, such as sturgeon, carp, salmon, pike, greyling, cod and halibut. Trout, too, the famous fruit au bleu cooked in vinegar to color the skin a delicate azure. And here began the drinking of noble wines, preferably a white burgundy or a dry moselle. 
  • Fried chicken with truffles. This course stood by itself. To wash it down one of the heady wines of the Rhineland, such as Johannesberer Schloss or Forsteter Kirchensturk. 
  • Thirty-two more entremets, among them, becasse a l’Espagne, turtle, pheasant and other wild fowl, young pigeons with crawfish. A light red wine from Bordeaux or Greece. 
  • The roasts! Ah. here is where your true trencherman found delight. Great sirloins of beef, wild goat, venison, eight different sauces, twelve salads. And to accompany them the noblest of all red wines, the rare vintage of Burgundy the wine wc know as Chambertin. From this point the "small dinner" begins to taper off. The heavy courses are finished. 
  • Next come 25 hot and cold dishes, such as thinly sliced ham, tongue, cauliflower and the more exotic vegetables and champagne, of course. 
  • Then 32 more roasts of the lighter variety, veal, lamb, mouton des prés salés and suckling pig. Again, a red wine, such as Chateau Neuf du Pape or Hermitage from the banks of the Rhone. 
  • The desserts. Any quantity of them. Pastries, cheeses, fruits, puddings and ices. With these champagne or Tokay. 
  • And later in the evening, tea with conserves, brandy and port. 
Catherine's favorites, of course, aped their Empress. Potemkin's establishment rivaled hers. He kept ten chefs, each of whom had his own specialties, and under them worked 240 helpers. It is to him that gluttons owe the record of dishes Catherine liked best boiled beef with salted cucumbers and cucumbers stuffed with nuts, peppers, ginger, etc. Potemkin liked to surprise his ruler with unusual dainties and he searched the world for them, Once, he served boiled reindeer tongues as the principal dish of the dinner. Strogonoff, another favorite of the Empress, was a valiant knight of the glistening table cloth. He gave dinners in the Roman fashion, patterning his feasts after Lucullus, placing his guests on couches. When Potemkin brought out reindeer tongues, he went him one better and served reindeer lips. Bear paws and fried porcupine were among his favorite dishes. And he introduced oysters to Russia. 

When Strogonoff invited guests to dinner he conducted them first into steaming hot Turkish baths and there they were served pressed caviar. Then his guests were conducted to couches around the brilliant board. The plate was of gold. Two enormous crystal chandeliers were suspended above the table. The centerpiece was a human skull filled with vodka, and from this the guests drank a loving cup with their host, proposing Lucullus' toast “Memento mori!”(Remember death!) – John Clayton in San Bernardino Sun, 1937


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

Catherine the Great’s Etiquette


Good rules all, but rules difficult for any but a Queen to hold before her friends. The penalty for breaking the rules was the drinking of a glass of cold water for every offense. The Queen was most severe with those who broke the tenth commandment; they were never again admitted to the Hermitage, after being once found guilty of tittle-tattle.


The Russian Czar’s Grandest Palace

THE famed Winter Palace of the Russian Czar probably has seen more romantic history in the making than any other building in Europe...


There is a table hung on the walls of the palace, draped with a green curtain, which contains Queen Catherine the Great's by-laws for the Hermitage Societies. They were: 
  1. Leave your rank outside, as well as your hat, and especially your sword. 
  2. Leave your right of precedence, your pride, and any similar feeling outside the door. 
  3. Be gay, but do not spoil anything; do not break or gnaw anything. 
  4. Sit, stand, walk as you will, without reference to anybody. 
  5. Talk moderately and not very loud, so as not to make the ears and heads of others ache. 
  6. Argue without anger and without excitement. 
  7. Neither sigh nor yawn, nor make anybody dull or heavy. 
  8. In all innocent games, whatever one proposes, let all join. 
  9. Eat whatever is sweet and savory, but drink with moderation, so that each may find his legs on leaving the room. 
  10. Tell no tales out of school; whatever goes in at one ear must go out at the other before leaving the room. 
Good rules all, but rules difficult for any but a Queen to hold before her friends. The penalty for breaking the rules was the drinking of a glass of cold water for every offense. The Queen was most severe with those who broke the tenth commandment; they were never again admitted to the Hermitage, after being once found guilty of tittle-tattle. – Sausalito News, 1915


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

Dining Etiquette of French Royals

One popular myth regarding Catherine de Medici, is that she introduced ice cream, sorbets and sherbets to the French, after bringing her personal chefs to France upon her marriage to King Henry II. However, That myth is dispelled in both Elizabeth David’s, “Harvest of the Cold Months: The Social History of Ice and Ices” and Esther B. Aresty’s, “The Exquisite Table – A History of French Cuisine.” Quoting “What’s Cooking, America,” ‘Catherine, fourteen at the time, was accompanied by twelve young ladies-in-waiting near her own age, and, undoubtedly, a large retinue that included cooks and servants to wait on the large party that brought her by ship to Marseilles and cared for the travelers on the overland voyage to the French Court. But as for installing cooks at the court of Francis I to serve her own needs – that would have been bringing coals to Newcastle, and unthinkable in any case with a monarch like Francis I. At that time his court was far more elegant than any court in Italy.’


Napoleon I Bolted Food When He Ate and
Catherine de Medici Was a Heavy Eater

Although furnished as an advertisement, a book has just appeared from an authoritative pen which contains a lot of interesting information on the menus of the Kings of France and how they dispatched them, writes a Paris correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger: 

The great Napoleon, we are told, did not waste much time at the table. His schedule was three minutes for coffee, ten for luncheon and half an hour for dinner, without conversation. In other words, the author says: “He bolted his food, to which he owed the disease which took him to an early grave.” Francois I and Henri II are described as having been only poor eaters; but Catherine de Medici seems to have been, on the contrary, a tremendous gourmand. She was especially partial to kidneys and to a light poultry dish, to which, on one occasion, as a contemporary chronicler records, she did such ample justice that she nearly succumbed.

Louis XVI, like Louis XIV, who would often have a substantial meal served up in the middle of the night, was a big feeder. He had what was called “the appetite of the Bourbons.” He, like Napoleon, did not eat; he bolted his food. But few people in the audience know what is going on behind the drop curtain, and it is probably just as well they don't. – San Francisco Call, 1911

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



Women’s Etiquette and Smoking

In foreign countries where women have always smoked openly, one may do as one pleases about using tobacco. Smoking is fashionable, therefore inconspicuous. In America, it has always been associated with women whose existence refined families refuse to recognize, so the woman who permits the public to see her while indulging in the doubtful habit, is not spared censure and loss of respect, even with wealth and name at her back. The world is getting used to black sheep from respectable folds.

We have accepted many innovations, but I doubt if the men of our families ever permit us to indulge the habit of smoking in public. There is a host of women who take a cigarette with husband or brother, but they are generally too discreet, too careful of appearances to lay themselves open to criticism on a matter that savors of the halfworld. Appearance we must observe, my friends. We must conform to the customs of the place in which we live, if they represent decency. In foreign countries where women have always smoked openly, one may do as one pleases about using tobacco. Smoking is fashionable, therefore inconspicuous. In America, it has always been associated with women whose existence refined families refuse to recognize, so the woman who permits the public to see her while indulging in the doubtful habit, is not spared censure and loss of respect, even with wealth and name at her back. The world is getting used to black sheep from respectable folds.

The daughter of a family in a small and rather straight-laced city went to a large city to earn her living. Her brother had preceded her, and both broadened rapidly in the unfamiliar atmosphere. They were so accustomed to dining at hotels that the difference between the unwritten laws of etiquette in home and large cities escaped their memory. The brother had been away from home so long as to he almost forgotten, and when he and his sister paid a visit to their home he was not recognized on the evening he escorted his sister to the dining-room of the principal hotel in the place. But she was, and it required just twentyfour hours for the news to reach the ears of the mother, who was quite as shocked as anybody in the city. 

She had been called away to a sick relation and expected the pair to eat dinner at home. They saw the chance for a bit of pleasure elsewhere, and took it without a thought of the manner in which the act would be looked upon. Only strangers could dine at that, or any hotel there unnoticed, and the fact that the man was taken for a stranger made it look worse for his sister. Both made light of the matter, as might be expected, but they never repeated the experiment through fear of public opinion which, after all has weight. I presume there are women who enjoy being conspicuous— I judge so from things they do —but the great majority prefer to keep on the side of good taste —and good sense. Smoking taints the breath and discolors the teeth —some physicians declare that it injures health —but if women want to take all these risks, and the men nearest them do not object, there is really nothing to he done save to appeal to them to spare the feelings of the public. –Betty Bradeen, 1909


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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Betty Bradeen on American Manners

“We are apt to overlook small points. We are not courteous to the aged, we are not respectful to our elders. We are not very strong on table manners, since toothpicks are still displayed in conspicuous places. We do not respect the rights of others or the opinions of those better informed than ourselves.” –Betty Bradeen 

Betty Bradeem’s Daily Chat

I am afraid that we are allowing the fine points of etiquette to slip away from our daily life. We are not careful about keeping appointments and redeeming promises, about acknowledging favors and gifts and answering letters. It is downright impertinent to accept an invitation to dinner or luncheon and fail to put in an appearance or send an excuse. The hostess has spent time, money and thought in preparation and her disappointment is keen. When annoyance at thoughtlessness is added, she is quite justified in quietly cutting out that particular guest from her visiting list. A promise should be a sacred thing and only made after due reflection. Then nothing short of a calamity should stand in the way of its fulfillment. 


If social ostracism was the fate of promise-breakers there would be fewer offenders and less discomfort in the world. Harsh remedies are sometimes needed to waken us to a sense of our responsibilities, and I know of nothing more humiliating to a woman than being left out in the reckoning of desirable persons. Few of us show a sufficient appreciation of favors. When we have been entertained through the generosity of woman or man, the least we can do in return is to express our pleasure—the warmer the terms the better. I know from experience, that a few written words or a telephone message the day after an entertainment compensates one for a deal of weariness. I know that a prompt letter of acceptance repays one twice over for the trouble spent in choosing a gift. 

It is always hard to console grief, but it is a duty we owe everybody with whom we associate. Duty is not a pleasant word, but it plays a large part in life, and we should not try to evade it. In a broad sense we are a fairly decent nation in the matter of politeness, but we are apt to overlook small points. We are not courteous to the aged, we are not respectful to our elders. We are not very strong on table manners, since toothpicks are still displayed in conspicuous places. We do not respect the rights of others or the opinions of those better informed than ourselves. Listening is almost a lost art because we all want to talk and are so busy thinking of the things we want to talk about as to make us oblivious of the speech of others. It would almost seem, from this list of shortcomings, that we can have little or no politeness to fall back upon, yet we manage to pass muster in these days. 

Of course, the truly delightful people are those who are polite in small matters, for the little things of life are those which bring us pleasure or pain. Among the guests at a recent house party was a man of middle-age who was established as a favorite in half an hour after his arrival. He was an army officer who had not forgotten his training, and his manners were a delight to men and women. He excelled in small points which other men overlook and there was his charm. Even a multi-millionaire could not have a chance against such a rival for popularity. –Betty Bradeen, 1909

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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Calling and Shopping Card Etiquette

“The wise woman carries cards with her wherever she goes, for there are many uses for them. Nowadays, she carries shopping cards also, and saves time and trouble when she makes purchases. A neatly engraved card is always in good taste, even when not strictly up to style, but a careful woman is modish in that, as in every other detail of her toilette.” Above ~ Shopping at House of Worth 


Betty Bradeen’s Daily Chat

Sometimes I open letters to find that the desired information would be too late. That happens when social functions are looming up in the near future, and somebody has met a puzzling situation. Generally, such letters ask for information on the subject of visiting cards or notes of acceptance or regret. There are only a few rules governing the etiquette on such occasions, but they are important. Every woman should know them, even though she has no occasion for such knowledge. We learn a good deal which is never put to account, you know. 


When a woman calls upon a new neighbor, she carries a card for each woman in the family and her husband’s cards as well, with one for the masculine head of the house. That is only for the first call; which is returned in like manner, and then the acquaintance is purely a matter of individual choice. The demands of etiquette have been met. Cards are convenient things even after terms of intimacy have been established, for they serve as reminders of visits whigh might be forgotten or might never be known. The wise woman carries cards with her wherever she goes, for there are many uses for them. Nowadays, she carries shopping cards also, and saves time and trouble when she makes purchases. A neatly engraved card is always in good taste, even when not strictly up to style, but a careful woman is modish in that, as in every other detail of her toilette. 

Letters of acceptance or regret are imperative, and shortcomings in this line are never overlooked. The sender of an invitation has a right to expect the courtesy of a reply of some sort — and the nature of the reply has much bearing upon the success of the function. In wedding invitations, the answers are sent to those who issue them, no matter whether there is an acquaintanceship or not. For instance, the parents of a bride send many such to friends of the bridegroom, persons they have never seen, but answers are due them just the same. –Betty Bradeen, 1909

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Some Thanksgiving Courtesy

“Courtesy goes far beyond the dictates of etiquette, for the generous, perceptive heart has its own codes. The man who never saw a salad fork or held a tea cup may be more instinctively courteous than a nobleman. Courtesy is a facile tool that can smooth the most difficult situations, as I discovered one Thanksgiving.” 

More Than Etiquette 

Often people think of courtesy as a synonym for etiquette. Yet courtesy goes far beyond the dictates of etiquette, for the generous, perceptive heart has its own codes. The man who never saw a salad fork or held a tea cup may be more instinctively courteous than a nobleman. Courtesy is a facile tool that can smooth the most difficult situations, as I discovered one Thanksgiving. 

I had been invited to dinner by a friend who lived in a mountain village in New Hampshire. There was all the nostalgia of the season, even to a horsedrawn sleigh from the station and a ride through snowy woods to the farmhouse. As the family gathered around the fireplace before dinner we heard a car pull up, then a knock at the door. But it wasn’t an expected guest. It was Uncle Jonathan, whom no one had seen for eight years and no one wanted to see. His arrogance and selfishness had estranged him from everyone in town, including his family. 

Some of the family bridled and there were exchanges of angry glances. His sudden appearance could have been tensely embarrassing, but no one was so rude as to question his presence there or make him feel awkward or unwelcome. After dinner as we sat in the firelight, he offered a pathetic little excuse for his coming. “I was just passing by (on a wooded path that led nowhere) and since it was Thanksgiving, I . . . I . . “We're so glad you came,” his sister said. “Really?” The bravado suddenly left him. “I was so lonely,” he admitted humbly. Then, embarrassed, he rose, a big man forlorn as a lost child. As he started toward the door, I begged the family silently, “Do something, say something. This calls for more than etiquette or he'll be lost forever.” 

He was putting on his coat when his eldest brother detained him. “No rush, Jonathan. Why don’t you stay on at least through Christmas?” Courtesy had saved the day. The traditions of graciousness had kept open the lines of communication so that the family’s problems were smoothed out, and eventually solved. Empathy, imagination, tact, are all ingredients of courtesy which the dictionary defines as “gracious politeness . . . a considerate act or remark.” But Ralph Waldo Emerson penetrated to the very heart of the word when he wrote, “Love is the basis of courtesy.” – By Elizabeth Byrd, in The Madera Tribune, 1965



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

Etiquette and Giving Thanks

Sending gratitude and Thanksgiving greetings to all of our Etiquipedia Etiquette Encyclopedia readers


Thanksgiving Quotes 


• “Many of the guests will eventually leave the table to watch football on television, which would be a rudeness at any other occasion but is a relief at Thanksgiving and probably the only way to get those people to budge." Judith Martin (Miss Manners) 

• “There can be no etiquette prescribed for the players in a football game ... But the people who are watching the game must observe a certain good conduct, if they wish to he considered entirely cultured. For instance, even though the game becomes very exciting, it is bad form to stand up on the seats and shout words of encouragement to the players. But many, who claim to be entirely well-bred, do this very thing!” - Lillian Eichler 

• “We recommend that no one eat more than two tons of turkey - that's what it would take to poison someone.” - Elizabeth Whelan, on the levels of toxins and carcinogens in holiday meals, U.S. News and World Report 

• “We, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us, and to all men; We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life but above all for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.” - from The Book of Common Prayer 

• “For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped. For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped. For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb. For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!” - Unknown 


From The Coronado Eagle, 2003

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

A Thanksgiving Etiquette Tale

Circumstances alter cases in matters of etiquette... At the end of the Thanksgiving dinner a few days afterward, Edith was observed looking hopelessly at a last bit of pudding on her plate.

It’s Not So Easy, Edith

Circumstances alter cases in matters of etiquette, as well as in the more important affairs of life. Little Edith, visiting in the country, was much interested in an old lady, who, when a plate of fruit was passed her at an evening party, replied: “Thank you, I don't care for any now, but I should like to put an apple in my pocket to take home.” At the end of the Thanksgiving dinner a few days afterward, Edith was observed looking hopelessly at a last bit of pudding on her plate. “Can't you finish it dear?” asked a sympathetic auntie. “No.” replied she, with a sigh, “Not now, but I should like, if you please, to put it in my pocket to eat this evening.” — Youth’s Companion, 1891


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

Etiquette In Early America

Depiction of Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony

At Plymouth Colony standards of deportment were established from readings of the poet Richard Braithwait's The English Gentleman and Description of a Good Wife, (1619). From the beginning, American society struggled with questions of identity, debating whether to create a uniquely American code of etiquette or merely to perpetuate the customs of the mother country. Eleazar Moody's School of Good Manners, (1715) did little to differentiate New Englander's manners from those of their cousins in Britain.
Depiction of a Mandan Feast 

A Mandan Feast ~ "The simple feast which was spread before us consisted of three dishes only, two of which were served in wooden bowls, and the third in an earthen vessel of their own manufacture, somewhat in shape of a bread-tray in our own country. This last contained a quantity of pem-I-can and marrow fat; and one of the former held a fine brace of buffalo ribs, delightfully roasted; and the other was filled with a kind of paste or pudding, made of the flour of the "pomme hlanche", as the French call it, a delicious turnip of the prairie, finely flavored with the buffalo berries, which are collected in great quantities in this country, and used with divers dishes in cooking, as we in civilized countries use dried currants, which they very much resemble." — From “Catlin's Letters and Notes”

Travelers and explorers sometimes encountered customs that, although different from their own, prompted admiration. While living alone among the Mandan, the US artist George Catlin, known for his depictions of Plains Indian life, remarked on the style of dining that allowed sitting cross-legged or reclining with the feet drawn close under the body. He noted that the Indian women gracefully served the diners and reseated themselves in a movement that allowed them modesty and poise at the same time that it left their hands free for lifting and maneuvering dishes. — From Mary Ellen Snodgrass‘s “Encyclopedia of Kitchen History”



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

French Manners vs American









Comparing the French family reunions with similar affairs at Thanksgiving and Christmas time with us, he said: “There is greater restraint with them than with us, and they do not exhibit the same freedom in throwing off this restraint. There is, however, no cudgeling of brains to find out what to do next, and games are not substituted, as with us, to fill in unoccupied time, of which they are ignorant.” 


Synopsis of a Lecture Recently 
Delivered in New York

“French Manners” was the subject of the lecture by W. C Brownell recently in the Columbia College Saturday morning lectures. The eastern lecture-room in the law school building failed to accommodate the audience. “French conversation,” said Mr. Brownell, “is really conversation, and is practiced for what it is, and not to pass away the time. It is made up of interruptions, and is thus full of epigrams and repartee, is artistic, not utilitarian, and far freer than ours, and is outspoken without being brutal.” 


The speaker, in treating the much discussed question as to the real sincerity of the French people, said: “All are agreed that the French are charming and agreeable, but as to their sincerity we draw the line. They are, however, as sincere as any nation, but it is in a different manner, and includes compliment which never means more than it says, while with us much is inferred from a compliment that is not expressed.” He then spoke of the politeness of the French, and said: “The well-bred man is born, not bred, if the paradox may be permitted. The mass of men have no innate ability for breeding.”

Comparing the French family reunions with similar affairs at Thanksgiving and Christmas time with us, he said: “There is greater restraint with them than with us, and they do not exhibit the same freedom in throwing off this restraint. There is, however, no cudgeling of brains to find out what to do next, and games are not substituted, as with us, to fill in unoccupied time, of which they are ignorant.” — New York Times, 1887



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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Importance of Manners in News

Children should learn to mind by loving word, as well as a harsh word. I don't think they always need to be spoken to harshly. 


School Assignment Makes the News: This 12 Year Old Feels That Manners Are Important
Dear Aunt Laurie: 
From the time children are old enough to understand things they should be taught morals and manners. The children should learn to mind by loving word, as well as a harsh word. I don't think they always need to be spoken to harshly. I have known children to come into the room where their mother was entertaining company and ask her what she was saying. That, I think, is very bad manners.  
When the children are old enough to do work, I think they should be taught to love their mother and father. My mother taught Hazel and me to bake and do housework. Now when she is sick and cannot do the work, it is easy and a pleasure for us to do it. I think a great thing along with manners is to keep your temper. — BEULAH M. FOUST, Seventh grade, Orange Avenue School, 12 years old. — Los Angeles Herald, 1909

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Less Prosperity = More Manners

The Depression and Post-Depression generation of students reach a much higher level of character development than their predecessors in the colleges during a more prosperous era.


Survey Shows Higher Morals Prevalent
College students today are far more moral than those of former eras, according to Myron C. Cole, Assistant Dean of Men at Chapman College, who has been conducting a survey upon the manners and morals of the students found in his college. The Depression and Post-Depression generation of students reach a much higher level of character development than their predecessors in the colleges during a more prosperous era, according to Mr. Cole.— The Corsair, 1937

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

American Morals in Hindustan

1913’s,“Raja Harischandra,” with inter-titles in the Marathi language, is considered the first Indian feature film.

American Dress and Manners?
Much Too Lax for 1913 India!
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 12.—Miss Emily Bessel, an American missionary to Hindustan, who is gathering new ideas on civilization, will not introduce into India the light skirts, low necks, queer hats and round dances of America. “Such clothes, such manners, cannot mean anything, except laxity in morals.” said she. — St. Louis Dispatch, 1913

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

The Value of Manners and Morals

These young ladies from Los Angeles High of 1913, have maintained high standards of etiquette and excellent deportment.

Pupils to Be Taught Morals and Manners
Morals and manners are among the most necessary things to be learned in the High and Intermediate schools of Los Angeles, and a course has been outlined. Here are the subjects: Politeness on the streets and in crowds; quietness in conversation and laughter; industry; obedience; sympathy; simplicity in dress, speech and action; loyalty; and, above all, honesty, truthfulness, sincerity. The value of good manners will be discussed. –Los Angeles Herald, 1913

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Corn on the Cob Etiquette



The American Corn on the Cob 
Etiquette Conundrum  
The serving in eating of corn on the cob has been an enduring issue for American authorities on table manners. In “Hints on Etiquette,” 1844, Charles Day decreed that rather than gnaw at the cob, the diner should scrape the kernels into his or her plate and eat them with a fork. Frederick Stokes’, “Good Form: Dinners Ceremonious and Unceremonious,” of 1890, contrasted the crude gnawing from end to end with the more polite grasping with a folded napkin or a folded doily. 
Food writer and Ladies Home Journal editor, Sarah Tyson Rorer, America's first dietitian, proposed more demanding method of scoring each row of kernels and pressing out the content with the teeth, leaving the hulls attached to the cob. The ever practical Emily Post simply discounted corn on the cob as suitable food for formal dining, yet her friends all thought she had lost her mind, when Post served barbecue at a Martha’s Vineyard afternoon tea.

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

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Finger Bowl Etiquette

“They became ridiculously polite by carving bread with knife and fork, but the climax came when I set two bowls of rosewater before them as finger glasses...” – The finger bowls at Buckingham Palace, fom the book, “Dining at the Palace” 

Staggered by Finger Bowls
A very amusing scene occurred once while I was serving a lady and gentleman of the unmistakable upstart type. They were grossly ignorant of the most elementary rules of table etiquette, shoveling the food into their mouths with their knives, which were constantly loaded half-way up to the handles. They managed to struggle through their dinner, sometimes casting aside knives and forks and attacking game and poultry by cutting them in halves and eating from their hands, holding the leg. Sometimes, too, they became ridiculously polite by carving bread with knife and fork, but the climax came when I set two bowls of rosewater before them as finger glasses.  

They looked at each other, and then cautiously around the room, trying to find some solution of the mysterious dish before them, not having the sense to ignore it altogether. Whispered consultations took place, which presently grew into a suppressed quarrel, the lady reproaching her lord for his ignorance. Suddenly she was seen to shake the water around and around, and finally, with a look of contempt and superior wisdom, she raised the bowl to her lips and drank all the contents. Needless to say, that the hearty laughter of the other diners made them feel the mistake, and they beat a hasty retreat. —London TitBits, 1893



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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gilded-Age Tablescape Etiquette

Victorian, gilded-age hostess would undoubtedly have these ingenious sets on hand for entertaining any tremble-prone guests. Specifically designed for a person who suffered from “the trembles,” trembleuse cups and saucers were “spillproof” combinations. Created to avoid spillage of hot liquids by a trembling hand, the deep inset of the saucer in which the cup firmly rests and the saucer’s very wide border, work beautifully together for this antique, Dresden china trembleuse set.

A Table Decoration

A very beautiful table decoration was seen at a dinner party given last week by a hostess noted for her taste and originality. The cloth, which was of the finest damask, displayed a design of ferns, the center figure being an exquisitely drawn wreath of fern fronds, while the border was formed by sprays of the most delicate maiden-hair variety, had been ordered of a great linen house in Belfast; with special reference to the decoration of living ferns, intended to be used for a “summer dinner party.” 


The table was circular, and in the middle stood one of the giant tulip vases now so fashionable. This graceful receptacle was filled with the loveliest and rarest specimens ot ferns, the spreading, feathery fronds reaching far over the heads of the assembled company, and forming, as it were, a vacant tent through whose interstices shone the electric lights of the chandelier. No candles, no flowers were used, but each sliver dish was surrounded by a wreath of ferns, which kept perfectly fresh during the serving of the course. All the crystal ware was exquisitely engraved with ferns, while the Dresden china service gave the one touch of warmth and color with its pure rose and gold tints. An ideal July dinner decoration was the universal comment, and far more effective than the elaborated floral banquets which have prevailed duriug the past season. —Boston Herald, 1891

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Etiquette and Gilded Age Pressures

The present custom of serving a number of fine wines with dinner, makes away with a very large amount of money. Giving
 four or five dinners a week, means an outlay easily of $1000.00!

Dining One’s Way to the Poor House in the Gilded Age

“Nothing is more expensive than modern dinner giving. The viands that go in to making up a modern dinner are all costly, the decorations demand a considerable expentiture and the present custom of serving a number of fine wines makes away with a very large amount of money. 

Four or five dinners a week means an outlay easily of $1000.00 and this sort of thing, taken in connection with the maintenance of an establishment at Newport and the other legitimate expenditures of a family in society, to carry it through the year, knocks very large holes in $60,000.00 and soon sweeps it away. The case here referred to is valuable as illustrating the extravagant tendencies of the times and the legitimate outcome.” – N. Y. World, 1890

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Etiquette of a Later Dinner Hour

“A marked change has taken place in the fashion. The evening dinner has for years been steadily gaining in popularity, and promises to become even more common than it is now. Thoughtful men and women recognize the wisdom of eating lightly at midday, when they are in the full tide of business, and reserving the heartiest repast for an hour when it can be discussed leisurely and digested peacefully.” – 1890


The New Fashionable Time to Dine

Twenty or thirty years ago the late dinner was not nearly so popular as it is now. The majority of people dined in the middle of the day, and not a few of them considered a six-o'clock dinner as an effort after fashion, that was unworthy the imitation of sensible men and women. Even in the large cities, servants rebelled against an alteration of the time-houored custom of serving the principal meal of the day at, or near noon, while in small towns the late dinner was so unusual that it was almost impossible to persuade domestics to consent to it.

A marked change has taken place in the fashion. The evening dinner has for years been steadily gaining in popularity, and promises to become even more common than it is now. Thoughtful men and women recognize the wisdom of eating lightly at midday, when they are in the full tide of business, and reserving the heartiest repast for an hour when it can be discussed leisurely and digested peacefully. Mistresses have learned that there is a gain in keeping the morning free for housework, instead of devoting most of it to the preparation of the dinner.The light lunch eaten in most homes demands much less time in cooking and eating than does a dinner, and leaves those who have partaken of it more fit for work than they would be, were their stomachs burdened with the task of digesting soup, meat, vegetables and dessert.

The late dinner is a more dignified meal than can possibly be made of a similar repast eaten at noon. The festal appearance imparted by the gleam of candles, lamps, or gas upon silver, china and glass, cannot be acquired by daylight. The pleasant harmony around the board of the members of the family, whose positions and interests have been divergent since morning, the happy consciousness that the work of the day is done, the knowledge that there is no toil waiting at the door of the diningroom, all bear their share in rendering the meal cheerful and care-free. 


More ceremony can and should be preserved at the evening dinner than is feasible at noon. The orderly sequence of courses and the careful serving have a part in adding to the dignity of the meal. These suggestions should not frighten the house-keeper who contemplates introducing the late dinner into their household. Very little extra work is involved in bestowing the touch of state referred to, and, after all, it consists chiefly in a slight additional care in waiting and serving, and to these the mistress can readily accustom the maid.— Christine Terhune Herrick, in Harper's Bazaar, 1890


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

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Etiquette of Dinner à la Russe



An 1890’s oyster fork in the Shrewsbury pattern. Oyster forks can be placed on the right side of the place setting if there are already three forks on the left side of each place setting. – Oysters are usually at each place when the company assembles, having been kept very cold, on ice and salt, up to the moment of serving. A quarter of a lemon and very thin slices of brown bread, buttered, are the usual concomitants. No person should ever be left without a plate before him, except at the time of the clearing of the table, preparatory to the introduction of the sweet course, this is one of the primary rules of serving. 

Dinner is Now Served... à la Russe

To serve à la Russe, which is at once the simplest and most elegant manner when guests are present, it is only necessary to pass the dishes of each course in rotation, beginning alternately at the right and the left of the guest, writes Mrs. Van Koert in the Ladies Home Journal. Some think it more courteous to serve all the ladies first, but it is not now considered a breach of strict etiquette to serve in regular order.

The old French custom required that the dishes, elaborately garnished, and the meats, sometimes stabbed with silver skewers, like crossed swords, should be placed upon the table, before the host and hostess alternately, for a moment, to give the guests an opportunity of admiring them previous to them being carved, but this formality has gone out of fashion even among the French themselves.

Oysters are usually at each place when the company assembles, having been kept very cold, on ice and salt, up to the moment of serving. A quarter of a lemon and very thin slices of brown bread, buttered, are the usual concomitants. No person should ever be left without a plate before him, except at the time of the clearing of the table, preparatory to the introduction of the sweet course, this is one of the primary rules of serving.

Under each oyster plate it is customary to have a dinner plate, upon which also the one containing the soup is placed. A dinner can hardly be served with elegance by less than two persons, although attention to the prescribed rules greatly simplifies the matter. The soup should be served from a side table, a ladleful to each plate. Plates are then carried one by one to their destination. — Sacramento Daily Union, 1893


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