Sunday, May 13, 2018

19th C. French Etiquette Customs

"Bad table manners, my dear Gigi, have broken up more households than infidelity." ~ Aunt Alicia instructing Gigi on how to properly eat ortolan.

The etiquette in the best old families of France as regards young girls is very strict, says a foreign correspondent, and at 17 they begin to be seen at their mothers' “at homes,” but at 18 only they make their debut in society, beginning with the opera, Lenten receptions, and what are now generally called “bals blancs.” 

The French girl never has any cards of her own; when she is what they call in England “out” her name is written below her mother's. The letters addressed to her are always delivered first to her parent's hands, who passes them to her opened or unopened, as she thinks fit. 

She wears no jewels beyond one row of pearls around her neck. She rides early before the fashionable hour at the Bois, escorted by her father; her brother may take her out driving, and she is even permitted now to take the reins, a liberty which ten years ago would have stamped her as outrageously fast. French girls of almost any rank, including the bourgeoisie, never walk out alone. They marry young, presumably before 20. —  Marin Journal, 1887

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

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