The Project Gutenberg eBook of Simplex Munditiis, Gentlemen

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Simplex Munditiis, Gentlemen

Author: Mortimer Delano de Lannoy

Reginald Harvey Arnold

Release date: January 2, 2018 [eBook #56287]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)








(decorative leaf motif)



Copyright, 1891, by the
Simplex Munditiis Publishing Co.



This Book is Dedicated








Introduction 11
Morning Wear 15
Afternoon Dress 21
Evening Dress 27
The Overcoat 33
Attire for Riding, Driving, Traveling, Yachting, and Lounging 38
House Wear 48
Sleeping Attire 50
Linen 51
Underclothing 55
The Art of Dressing the Collar 57
Walking Stick and Umbrella 63
Miscellanies 65
Dress for Weddings—Funerals—Christenings—at Home or Church—New Year’s Calls—Mourning—Church Wear—Suspenders—Uppers—Attire Made to Order—Blondes and Brunettes—Jewelry—Dressing Case—Articles for Same—Rubbers—English Rain Attire—Cloth Bands on Top-Hats—Wigs—Opera Glass—Decorations—Fans—Trousers Crease—Pockets—Monocle—Dress Shields—English Hunt Attire—Hunt Ball—Closing Remarks.




Dress is the embodiment of taste and refinement. A man looks, and is, distinguished, when he shows simple elegance in his dress. It is not necessary to have wealth in order to dress well. With judgment and economy, one can be something of a dresser. This book is but a guide for men who desire to dress, and are perplexed by the multitude of things there are to wear, and the ever-changing styles.

When a thing becomes vulgarly popular, then, if you wish to be in dress, as well as manners, a gentleman, cast it aside, and seek something newer and less common.

Dressing may be carried to any extent, but it is not good taste to do so.


A gentleman is conspicuous for one thing only—his good taste. Above all dress are manners and grace. Without these, one can never be a gentleman.

In the other part of this work, manners and customs may be studied.

A gentleman is a man of taste, culture, and refinement.

No man is a gentleman who merely does the acts of a gentleman. He must show good breeding—in dress, manners, and conversation.

His dress is the perfection of raiment. His manner is grace and ease personified. His conversation, knowledge itself.

Proud, indeed, may the man be who can write after his name—gentleman.

Let “Simplex Munditiis” be your motto for dress.

Each person must remember one thing: that, to be distingué in dress, he must dress, as regards material, richly; and, as[13] to pattern of cloth, plainly. In other words, simple elegance shows the gentleman.

Everything you wear must be immaculate.

There are three dress divisions of the day:

Morning wear.

Afternoon dress.

Evening dress.

The first may be worn any time of the day before 6 P. M., though it belongs to the morning.

The second is not worn before 2 P. M.

The third is not worn before 6 P. M.

The attire for all athletic games, sports, amusements, for the clergy, and gentlemen in the army and navy, it is not within the province of this work to treat of. In fact, we treat of only that which is worn by a gentleman at home or abroad, in summer or winter, when mingling in society.



(decorative header image)


Indoors or outdoors, morning wear consists of the following, as the tastes of the wearer may dictate.

The Head.—The black felt derby is the proper hat for morning. The light brown in derbys is a pleasing change for spring, summer, or fall wear. But never be without a black derby, as it is the hat worn when not in formal dress.

A derby is never worn with a frock body-coat, a cutaway body-coat, a Cowes[16] body-coat, on a dress body-coat. It belongs entirely to the walking or sack body-coat.

Have your hats made to order. You will be better pleased in the end.

The derby is proper and becoming to men of all ages. I would caution any one against wearing such derbys as are of a pearl, gray, drab, slate, and cigar browns. These are all in bad taste. The slouch felt hat is ignored by gentlemen. If a man desires light shades of derbys, then let him have them the same shade as the suit he wears them with.

The Hand.—Gloves for morning wear should be a dark tan, and made of kid.

Heavy weight for the winter months, and very light for summer.

Raw seams and arrow-back stitching is the style. Generally one button only on wrist.


The leading furnishing shops are recommended for gloves.

If possible, have your gloves made to order; you are then sure of a perfect fit.

Never wear a glove after it becomes soiled. It is just as bad as having dirty hands.

The Foot.—Calf-skin, patent leather, and enamel leather, are used for walking shoes. They should be made with moderately thick soles, taper at the toes, and lace.

It is best to have shoes made to order. Nothing about a man’s dress is so quickly noticed as ill-fitting shoes.

The Body.—The body-coat: This is a black sack body-coat, either double or single breasted. Both styles are correct. The materials used are thibets, cheviots, and black serges. At present they are made[18] with four buttons, very wide collars, and very long in the body.

The waistcoat: This always matches the body-coat in material and pattern. Likewise, it may be double or single breasted. It is not necessary, in this respect, for it to match the body-coat.

Trousers: These may be of any material and pattern. They may match the material of the body-coat, or not, as the taste of the wearer may dictate. It is better taste to wear dark trousers with morning wear. See that your trousers have the proper cut, and fit perfectly. This is at once the most difficult to fit, and the ugliest part—if ill-fitting—of the attire for men. Therefore, give it the most attention. In order to have them cut correctly you must rely on the fashion-plate and its accompanying directions. Insist on your directions being followed by the tailor.


There is also the cutaway suit for morning wear. This is worn mostly by elderly and heavily built men. It consists of a cutaway body-coat four buttons, waistcoat single-breasted, and trousers. These three pieces are always of the same material and pattern. The same things are worn with this as with the sack body-coat.

Heavy cloths for winter and light weights for summer wear.

The sack body-coat becomes all men, tall or short, thin or stout, old or young.

Fancy serge waistcoats, also fine linen waistcoats, and sashes in summer, may be worn with the sack body-coat.

Never wear trousers and waistcoat of one pattern, and body-coat another; it is exceeding bad taste.

Suits, perfectly correct and very elegant, are made of selected materials.


The sack body-coat, waistcoat, and trousers are always, in this case, from the same piece of goods. Some beautiful materials of light shades are made for summer wear. For winter wear darker and slightly heavier materials are used.

A Morning Promenade Dress.—This consists of frock body-coat, waistcoat, and trousers. These three pieces are always cut from the same material and pattern. The body-coat and waistcoat may be single or double-breasted.

Only light shades or patterns of cloths are used. Never have this promenade dress in black. The correct head covering is the black silk top-hat with this promenade dress.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


The Head.—A black silk top-hat. Always of the latest pattern, either Paris, London, or New-York make. All are equally stylish. This hat, above all others, should be made to order; this being necessary if you desire a fit both becoming and comfortable.

In this city spring and summer have light weights. For fall and winter a slightly heavier hat is made. This is the only proper hat for afternoon dress in summer or winter.


The Hand.—Light or dark tan kid walking gloves are worn. The back stitching may be black silk or same shade as the glove. One or two buttons.

Undressed kid gloves, either light or dark shades, are also worn especially for afternoon receptions.

The Foot.—The leathers used are patent, and enamel. Laced Bluchers are worn at this time of day. For summer wear, the same, or the same leathers made in ties. Again, I caution you to pay particular attention to the fit, and have them made to order. You exercise your own taste as to the style the shoe is made in.

The Body.—The proper body-coat is the black cutaway. This is now made with three buttons, and wide collar cut low, single-breasted. The material used[23] is diagonal. This body-coat should be of light weight, as it is a dress body-coat. French Thibets are also used.

The Waistcoat.—This is made of the same material as the body-coat. It may be double or single breasted. The waistcoat should be cut low in front, that the large puff scarf may be well exposed. Four buttons.

Waistcoats may be of selected materials such as fancy serges and fine linens. In summer white or black silk sashes are worn.

The Trousers.—These should be carefully selected and well-fitted. The material and pattern should go well with black, as this is always the color of the afternoon body-coat.

Any pattern, checks, stripes, etc., may[24] be worn for afternoon dress. Never wear loud patterns; they are exceedingly bad taste and rowdyish.

Never wear trousers of the same material as the body-coat or waistcoat, as it is not afternoon dress.

Very light patterns may be worn in summer. In winter slightly darker patterns are worn.

If pockets are placed in trousers they are apt to be used; this spoils the set of the cloth around the hips. Therefore leave them out if possible.

As a rule, the bottoms of trousers should be turned up—about two inches—while walking in the street. Of course, on a clear day this is unnecessary.

Frock Body-coat.—This is the formal afternoon dress body-coat. In Paris the men wear no other.

It is never worn before 4.30 P. M.[25]

It is worn at day weddings, at teas, receptions, and on the promenade.

The material used is the same as in a cutaway body-coat. Always black goods.

The same things are worn with a frock body-coat as with a cutaway body-coat.

It is made single or double breasted.

The wardrobe of a gentleman is never complete without one or more frock body-coats.

The frock body-coat is always worn buttoned. It is worn in summer, but always with a waistcoat.

The cutaway body-coat is worn buttoned in winter, and may sometimes be worn with rolled back collar in summer.

There is also a double-breasted cutaway body-coat, three buttons, always black. This is worn more for promenading than anything else.


This can be worn in winter—on mild days—without a top-coat or greatcoat. The waistcoat matches it and the trousers are selected.

Sometimes, for promenading in the spring, a frock body-coat with waistcoat and trousers of the same piece of goods is worn. In this case the material is some smooth, light-colored pattern.

Again, only a black silk top-hat can be worn with this frock suit.

This suit is worn without a greatcoat or light overcoat.

Afternoon dress is worn at day weddings, afternoon receptions, teas, matinées, exhibitions of all kinds where ladies are present, and when promenading with ladies.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


This is the culmination of grandeur in the dress of gentlemen. Bulwer’s novel “Henry Pelham” is responsible for the almost complete blackness of the attire for this otherwise gayest time of day.

The Head.—The black silk top-hat is supreme and only here, as in afternoon dress. Same style as that worn for afternoon dress. The crush opera-hat is entirely out of style in this city. When indoors, the top-hat should be carried in[28] the left hand. The exceptions to this rule are dances, evening receptions, and dinners.

The Hand.—The white kid glove goes with evening dress, and must always be worn with it, except at or during a dinner.

The back stitching may be self or black.

Pearl or gray shades are sometimes worn. No other covering should be worn on the hand after 6 P. M.

If one travels through the streets and on the cars, the best glove to wear—and perfectly proper—is the black kid glove, with black stitching, worn only while en route.

Never wear tan-colored or any light shades of gloves with evening dress, indoors or out-of-doors. It is bad taste, and looks, as it is, shoddy. You may wear white evening gloves at any time or place after 6 P. M., and you are[29] not complete in your dress unless you so do.

The Foot.—Dancing pumps are little worn in this city, in fact they are passé. The climate is such, a man could never be out of his carriage, if he wore pumps, without risk of a catarrh.

The proper shoe is made of patent leather, button, kid uppers, and no tips. This is the shoe for evening dress.

Have them made to order, as that is the only way to secure a perfect fit.

The Body.—The evening dress body-coat is always of a black material.

A radical change has taken place in the material used. Dress for evening wear, especially among young men, no longer consists of the heavy, stiff broadcloths and doeskins, but is now made of fine diagonals, of an almost silky texture.


This is the body-coat above all others. Much care should be given the fitting and style. They are made now with shawl collar, and silk lined. Never wear any kind of binding on the body-coat. Do not wear buttons and buttonholes on the sleeve of body-coat. The styles, changing each year, should be followed minutely.

In evening dress one must appear a gentleman, if it is in him at all.

The Waistcoat.—Materials used, same as body-coat, or white silks and black silks. Patterns selected as taste directs. Of course the waistcoat is confined strictly to black or white.

It may be three or four buttons; double or single breasted. It may be low or high. Never wear linen waistcoats for evening dress.

The Trousers.—Black, and always the same material as the body-coat. As[31] much care is given to the set and fit, as to that of the body-coat. Leave out pockets. Wide, black, silk-braided braid is worn on the outside of trouser-legs. Width of legs, medium.

The Cowes or Tuxedo Body-coat.—This is for informal evening and home wear. It is made of the same material as the dress body-coat. Shawl collar. The same things are worn with it as with the dress body-coat. It is worn at home, to informal dinners, the club, and the theater.

For Sunday evenings this is worn in place of the dress body-coat, with dress waistcoat, dress trousers, and black satin cravat. Again, only the top-hat is worn with the Tuxedo body-coat.

Knee-Breeches.—These may be worn in place of dress trousers at any grand ball, reception, or soirée. They are black[32] silk or black satin, or same material as dress body-coat.

In Paris and London they are much worn. Patent leather pumps and black silk stockings are worn. This is the only change in evening dress, when knee-breeches are worn.

Of course, in this attire you must always drive in a closed carriage.

Flowered or figured colored waistcoats, double or single breasted, may be worn; white or black preferred. The dress body-coats may also be in colors as well as black. An elegant attire, such as this, is to be worn for grand formal evening dress.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


Greatcoat.—This is a heavy greatcoat, with or without a cape, as fashion or taste may decide. Double or single breasted, long or short. It is worn during the day only, either over morning wear or afternoon dress.

It is most fashionable and elegant when made of some black or dark blue material.

The very latest in this greatcoat is made thus: very long—five inches below knee—no fit, without seam in middle of back—broad shawl collar of black velvet, single-breasted, dark blue box-cloth.[34] It is shoulder-lined with black silk. For afternoon dress wear only.

One may follow his own taste in selecting a material for this day greatcoat.

This is made to wear during the coldest weather. It should be removed immediately on going indoors.

Light Overcoat.—For fall and spring wear. This is box cut, made of a light weight material.

The overcoat for cool days and evening wear, as over evening dress in summer, is of some selected black material. The day overcoat or afternoon walking-coat is of some light pattern, selected according to taste of wearer. These overcoats are now cut very short.

These overcoats are worn over morning wear or afternoon dress, particularly the light shades over the latter.


Driving Overcoat.—This is a box-coat cut long or short. Double or single-breasted. The color should be light, as it will not show dust.

Heavy material is used for winter and light for summer driving.

The Riding Top-coat.—This is a short English box-coat. The material is soft and of medium weight. The color may be light or dark.

The Raglan.—“Lord Chumly,” Inverness, or sleeveless, greatcoat for evening wear.

This is the only greatcoat to wear over evening dress.

It is always black, and with a large, full-length cape.

There are no sleeves, the cape covering the arms completely.


This is the perfect greatcoat to wear over evening dress, as removing and placing on can be accomplished without disturbing in any way the dress.

This greatcoat makes up for the ugliness of the day overcoats in the graceful appearance it gives the wearer.

It is worn at night only, in the carriage, or on the street. It is removed on going indoors.

Ulsters, fur greatcoats, and greatcoats with fur collars and cuffs, may be worn for very cold weather. They are for day wear only.

The Mackintosh.—This is made in any pattern; the inner lining being rubber. With or without cape. Double or single breasted. Light weights for summer and heavy for winter wear.

It is worn by day only. It may be worn with morning wear or afternoon[37] dress. In the latter a top-hat should never be worn with a mackintosh. Only a derby is worn.

In all cloudy, damp, or wet weather the mackintosh appears.

It is not necessary to carry an umbrella.

The mackintosh should be worn very long, and rather loose in fit.

You may follow the fashion-plate as regards the style your greatcoat or overcoat is to be made in.

You will discuss with your cutter the correct thing in seams, linings, buttons, and pockets. These things are constantly changing, and therefore have no fixed rule.

Covered buttons are worn only on light walking overcoats and evening greatcoats.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)



The Head.—Black derby for winter. Brown derby for summer.

A cord is attached to the hat, which may be loosened and made fast to a body-coat button.

Same style of derby as that used for morning wear. The silk hat may be worn for formal riding when without the top-coat.


The Hand.—Dark tan gloves or gauntlets, same as morning wear.

The Foot.—Riding boots or shoes are worn, according to taste of wearer.

The leathers used are patent or enamel.

Spurs of nickel or silver plate are worn.

The crop is always carried. This is silver mounted, and any selected wood.

The Body.—A four-button, single-breasted cutaway of any selected material and pattern—not black—is the proper body-coat. Very short skirts. Waistcoat same, or selected material. High cut; single-breasted.

Trousers.—They may be long, with straps.

They may be short—just below knee—buttoned at side and baggy above knee. Riding boots or leggings are worn[40] with the knee-breeches, while with the trousers laced shoes are worn. The leggings are made to button, strap, or hook. The most stylish leggings are of the same material as the breeches.

Trousers or breeches should be of some light pattern; material should be strong. They are lined on the seat and inner side of legs with chamois skin.

For evening rides, as in academies, the black silk top-hat, white suéde gloves, single-breasted, black, cutaway body-coat, and strap trousers of the same material. Spurs and crop may be worn.

For elderly men the black body-coat and strap trousers may be worn during the day.


Morning wear is worn for morning drives.


Afternoon drives, if formal, afternoon dress is worn.

The same rule holds good when you handle the ribbons, as when the coachman occupies the box.

The driving overcoat is only worn in the box seat.


Morning wear is the proper dress for all travel, be it on ocean or land.

Sack suits, double or single breasted, are exceedingly stylish and comfortable. Dark colored material is doubtless the best, as it does not show the dust and wear of travel. Heavy cloths for winter and light weights for summer travel.


This is worn on board ship any time of year. For visiting on shore, a day or[42] so, it may be worn, if your temporary home is the yacht. Heavy material for winter, and light weights for summer.

Head.—The proper head apparel is the yachting cap. This may be made in white or blue flannel, serge, or white canvas.

The yachting cap is for morning, afternoon, or evening wear, in port or at sea.

The Hand.—For all formal affairs on board ship, white suéde gloves are worn. In winter or summer, tan kid gloves may be worn with yachting attire.

Foot.—Either a blue or white canvas laced shoe or tie, with rubber soles, for day wear.

For summer evening wear, white suéde or canvas ties. For the same in winter, evening dress-shoes.

Body.—For day wear, the double-breasted, sack body-coat. This may be[43] blue or white flannel, or serges in blue or white. Brass buttons are generally used.

Waistcoat.—This may match the body-coat in material and color, and cut, or not, as the wearer desires.

Trousers.—These always match the body-coat in material and color.

White canvas suits may be worn, but they are coarse and clumsy.

White trousers may also be worn with a blue body-coat.

For formal occasions, evening wear on a yacht consists of evening dress, as on land.

The silk negligé shirt is worn for day wear, if preferred to linen.

The ties for day wear are four-in-hands and cravats, self-tying.

These are in silk, either white, black, or blue, flowered, figured, or solid colors.


De Joinvilles, also, tied in bow knots, are worn.


This dress belongs strictly to the summer months; it is never worn in the city.

The Head.—For day wear there is the white split straw, with white or black silk bands.

Also, the yachting cap, in white or black. This is made of flannel, or a material matching the lounging suit.

These hats are worn for tennis, walking, driving, riding, day receptions, lawn parties, etc. However, these hats are never to be worn in the city.

The Hand.—White suéde gloves are worn with lounging suits, when walking or driving.


The Foot.—White canvas, white suéde, tan or white buckskin, and patent leather ties, are worn with lounging suits.

For tennis, and games on the lawn, canvas, or suéde, or buckskin shoes, or ties, with either felt or rubber soles, are used.

Have these shoes fit, and look as neat as possible.

The Body.—First the material—this may be serge or flannel—though the latter is out, for the reason that it is more heating than serge—these are always full white.

It consists of a long or short sack body-coat, waistcoat, and trousers. The body-coat may be single or double breasted.

The waistcoat may match the body-coat in cut and material or not. Fancy patterns may be used.


Trousers are always the same material and color as the body-coat.

Have the cut loose, and almost flowing.

The trousers may have a stripe at the side. No pockets.

Lounging suits may also be made up in some selected pattern, as small checks or narrow black stripes. But there is nothing so rich as the solid white lounging suit.

The sash or kummerbund.—The length is from four to five yards. Always tie your sash—never wear those cheap, common made-ups.

A sash may be worn any time of day. The material is always silk. Never wear any but solid colors. Black silks and white silks are the most elegant and correct.

Sashes of maroon or dark blue are sometimes worn. The ends hang over the left hip, and should be evenly tied.[47] The sash is worn with a lounging suit, morning wear, afternoon dress, and evening dress.

The white sash is worn with a white lounging suit and evening dress only.

The negligé shirt is made of silk, or cheviots. However, this is no longer worn by young gentlemen of fashion.

A word about this shirt—it is doubtless very comfortable, and can be worn longer than linen, but it is not as cool as linen, nor does it look as well about the neck.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


The formal dress is the same as that worn at any other house.

In the privacy of your rooms, however, you change this attire for something that is loose and comfortable.

Sack body-coats of selected materials are used. The trousers are of some black or blue material, as selected.

There is also the smoking jacket and the poker jacket—these are in many varieties of material and pattern.

Again, we have the short and the long dressing-gowns. There are many patterns to choose from.


Before and after the bath, the bath-robe is put on. This differs from the silk dressing-gown in being made of Turkish toweling. No part of man’s attire is more brilliant or beautiful than this robe. The comfort experienced in wearing is only equaled by its delicate and beautiful colors.

For the feet we have the slipper; this may be any leather and style your taste desires. Slippers are also made to match the bath-robe in material and pattern.

You must not wear any of these things out of the privacy of your own apartments.

For a lunch at home you would wear morning wear; a reception or tea, afternoon dress; evening affairs, evening dress.

It is as necessary—in fact, it is due—when acting the part of the host to look your best as when you are a guest.

When you dine at home evening dress is always required.


(decorative header image)


These are pajamas—consisting of a loose fitting sack coat, and loose fitting trousers.

The material and pattern are selected as the wearer desires.

Light weights for summer, and heavy for winter. Fine linen, silks, and cheviots are used.


(decorative header image)


This consists of the white linen shirt. It should always be made to order, if a fit is desired.

The shirt opens in front only. You may have two or three buttonholes in the bosom.

The collar and cuffs are attached. Never wear detachable collars and cuffs.

This shirt with the plain bosom is worn for morning wear, afternoon dress, evening dress, or any other wear during the day. The same style of shirt is worn winter or summer.


Very elegant shirts are made for evening dress, consisting of embroidered bosoms or frills of linen. With each change of wear the linen should also be changed.

At least three changes a day are made.

The style of the collar. This may be very high, or medium, as your taste directs.

The cuffs should extend to the first thumb-joint. Cuffs are made with round or square edges.

The high, or standing, collar is worn with morning wear, afternoon dress, evening dress, and all other dress.

The Handkerchief.—This is of pure white linen, with white borders.

Embroidered or not, as taste dictates.

The same style is carried with morning wear, afternoon dress, or evening dress, or any other wear.

The upper left outside pocket is the place to carry it, except in evening dress,[53] when it is carried in the left or right side upper inside waistcoat pocket.

The handkerchief of silk is carried with evening dress only. It is carried in the right hand while dancing, and worn in the shirt front.

It may be any pattern desired. White silk is always the body, the border only being colored.

The neckerchief. This is of silk, selected as to color and pattern. This is worn around the neck with greatcoat during cold weather.

It is not a good thing to wear, as far as health goes.

It is not necessary to the stylish dresser.

A gold pin may be worn in a neckerchief.

Waistcoat Facings.—These are seldom worn now by the dressers.


The material used is linen or silk, always white. They are cut to match the waistcoat, opening about the tie.

Worn in winter only.

They can be worn with morning wear or afternoon dress.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


This consists of shirt, drawers, and half-hose.

The material may be flannel, balbriggan, or silk.

White is the proper color, because it is pure and clean.

Such colors as pink, or blue, or black may be worn.

Have the drawers fit tight, or the trousers will set ill.

Half-hose.—These should fit very tight.

They should match the shirt and drawers in material and color.


Half-hose should be in solid colors only.

Morning wear and afternoon dress. White or black is the most elegant; other shades may be worn, if desired. They should match the underwear.

For evening dress, white or black only. White half-hose worn with white underwear only. Black half-hose with white or black underwear only.

Half-hose Supporters.—These are made to hold up half-hose. They are of white silk. Other colors may be worn.

Underclothing should be changed at least twice a day. Silk is worn always with evening dress. Indulge in baths as frequently as possible.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


In ties, cravats, and scarfs we have two colors—these are the principals. They are black, and white. With these, combined or separate, the most elegant scarfs are made. They may be figured or flowered, or solid colors. The materials used are silks, crêpes, satins and lawn.

The patterns—with black or white as a background—are innumerable.

Use all the taste you can command in selecting ties.


Remember that black is your principal body-coat color, and select your ties accordingly. At the same time you must not have the color or pattern of the tie at war with that of the waistcoat or trousers.

Never wear those flaming ties, or shades that remind you of the colored paper sold in shops.

But a gentleman need not be cautioned in this, for he has or will acquire taste.

Besides black or white it is permissible to wear such shades of maroon, green, blue, violet, as are of a rich but quiet style. These are only worn with morning wear.

For Morning Wear.—Cravats, four-in-hands, and puff scarfs. All self-tying. These may be black, white, or any of the before-mentioned shades. In silks and black satin. Gold pins are worn in the scarfs. It is the acme of ugliness to wear[59] pins in a four-in-hand, besides being vulgar. The four-in-hand may be tied in the regulation style or in the form of a bow.

Never wear a made-up bow, scarf, or four-in-hand. They look cheap, and they are vulgarly common.

Then there is the bow or cravat, tied in the regular bow-knot.

Black is the richest and most elegant color for morning wear.

The same styles are worn in summer as in winter. In summer much of the bosom is allowed to show; while in winter it seldom or never shows, excepting evening dress. Wherever and whenever morning wear is used, any of these ties may be worn.

For riding, driving, traveling, yachting, and lounging, the ties for morning wear may be worn.

Very elegant, large cravats—tied in a bow-knot, or as a four-in-hand—are made[60] from De Joinvilles; either in black satins or black silks, or dark shades of silk.

The De Joinville is folded by yourself or your furnisher. It may be sewed or not. This De Joinville cravat is for morning wear only. Always have your ties, cravats, and scarfs made to order. This is the only way to keep them uncommon.

Afternoon Dress.—Here is the chance for the greatest amount of display. Diamond pins, and large, white, puff scarfs tied and pinned in shape by yourself, are worn with the cutaway body-coat or the frock body-coat.

In winter the large puff scarf only is worn with afternoon dress.

In summer, four-in-hands—either in bow or regular tie—as well as the puff scarfs are worn. With a sash—a bow tied or a four-in-hand tied, its ends placed in the opening of the bosom, is worn. A[61] scarf may be worn with a sash when the body-coat is not worn open.

Waistcoats should be four buttons, and body-coats cut low in collars in order to show the beauties of the huge puff scarf now worn.

Silk is the material for the white scarf.

Satin is only allowable in black and dark shades for scarfs.

Exquisite silk or crêpe puff scarfs consisting of white background with figures or flowers of a violet, blue, purple, maroon, etc., as your taste directs, are worn.

Remember, simplicity for morning wear—elegance for afternoon dress.

For house wear the black silk or satin four-in-hand is the neatest tie worn.

The Ascot form of tying a scarf is seldom used now.

Evening Dress.—Full evening dress requires the white lawn cravat—self-tying.


Long and wide is the most elegant.

Once or twice around may be worn. For wear with Tuxedo or Cowes body-coat, or the dress body-coat at informal affairs, theater, club, or home dinners, the black satin cravat—self-tying—is the proper thing. It may be once or twice around as you like. Never wear this cravat with a white waistcoat or white sash.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


The walking stick is worn with morning wear, afternoon dress, but never with evening dress.

The styles are ever changing. Sticks are worn in summer and winter. In selecting sticks do not take the extremes in heavy or light. Never have any metal but silver—it is the most elegant.

Among the best dressers and beaus of this city the walking stick is no longer carried or worn, either with morning[64] wear or afternoon dress. As went the rapier so goes the walking stick.

The Umbrella.—This is worn only in doubtful or wet weather.

It is worn at any time of day. Silver is the only proper metal. The material should be silk or part silk. Never wear the case in the street.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


Weddings.—At morning weddings, the bridegroom wears formal afternoon dress and pearl-gray gloves. The others wear morning dress.

Afternoon weddings, all wear afternoon dress.

Evening weddings, all wear evening dress.

Funerals.—If in the morning, morning wear. Afternoon, afternoon dress. Evening, evening dress. Of course, all the attire is black in this case; the only[66] reason for black being the demand of superstitious custom.

Christenings.—According to the time of day it takes place. If morning, morning wear. Afternoon, afternoon dress. Evening, evening dress.

At Home or Church.—The dress is the same when weddings, etc., take place at home as at church.

Calls New Year’s.—It is not proper now to make calls on New Year’s day. That is the only time that evening dress was ever worn before 6 P. M. It was worn nearly all day then.

For Mourning.—Everything worn that shows, excepting the linen, should be black, for all times of day.

Church Wear.—On Sunday, afternoon dress is worn at morning, afternoon, or evening service.


On the other days of the week, morning wear, or afternoon dress, or evening dress, according to time of service, may be worn.

Suspenders.—These may be of silk, or any other suitable material. Silk should always be worn with evening dress. White is the neatest color that can be worn.

Suspenders are worn with every dress, summer or winter, with or without a sash. Each pair of trousers should have its individual suspenders. Great care must be used in adjusting the suspenders; if not, the trousers will set awkwardly.

Uppers, or Overgaiters.—This article is becoming somewhat obsolete here. They are worn in the street only. They may be worn over any shoe or tie. For traveling or walking only.


On entering the house they should be removed. If worn, they should always be made the same as the trousers, in material and pattern. They spoil the set of the trousers in the legs. They are also clumsy. They are some protection to the trousers in muddy weather. They may be worn summer or winter.

Uppers may be worn with morning wear, afternoon dress, or evening dress. Black cloth uppers may be worn during the daytime as well as in the evening.

Attire Made to Order.—Have everything you wear made to order, when possible.

Blondes and Brunettes.—Blondes should prefer dark materials. Brunettes, light materials.

Jewelry.—The jewelry for a gentleman: Gold hunting-case watches. Gold fob-chains and silk fobs.


A watch may be worn with any dress. Silk fob for morning wear. Gold for afternoon and evening.

As many rings as he cares to possess. Rings are not worn with evening dress; only in the afternoon. In fact, it is not fashionably necessary to wear rings.

The buttons used in the shirt bosoms are of gold set with precious stones. Diamonds are the most elegant.

Plain gold buttons are worn with morning wear.

Stonine studs or buttons, in fact all studs, are out of style.

For the sleeve or cuff: gold buttons are used for all wear.

Any number of gold pins for the scarfs. These may be plain gold or set with precious stones; diamonds, of course, being preferable.

Simple elegance is now the rule in jewelry.


Dressing Case.—Always have on hand a large valise or dressing case for traveling.

It is requisite if you go out of town for a night only, it being necessary to carry evening dress.

Dressing Case Articles.—Articles for a dressing case are hair-brushes, combs, whisk-brooms, cloth-brushes, hand-mirrors, manicure set, soaps, washes and toilet lotions, wash-cloths, brushes and picks for the teeth and gums, and shaving outfit.

Rubbers.—Rubbers or goloshes are worn, if desired; but only while walking in the street. It is much better to have a heavy pair of laced-shoes for mud or snow. Of course, when there is ice on the walks, it is necessary to wear rubbers, if you do any walking. Rubbers, when walking, may be worn over evening dress shoes.


Dress Shields.—These are of silk or satin. White or black.

It is for evening dress only. Only for winter weather. It is placed over the linen bosom while en route.

English Rain Attire.—An English attire for rainy weather consists of an oiled topper—top-hat oiled with vaseline—and a long-skirted greatcoat, with a cape. Material and pattern selected. This is worn only during the day. Umbrella and rubbers are unnecessary.

English Hunt Attire.—A heavy top-hat of black silk plush is worn. Gloves, crop, and spurs.

A single-breasted, frock body-coat, green or pink, kersey. White moleskin, loose breeches. Top riding-boots.

Hunt Ball.—The only change is in the body-coat. This is a pink broadcloth[72] evening dress body-coat. A white lawn cravat and white silk waistcoat are worn with it.

Cloth Bands for Top-hats.—Wide black cloth bands are now worn on the silk top-hat, afternoon or evening. For riding or driving.

Wigs.—The wearing of wigs is a custom of the past. Whether it is to be revived or not the future alone will show.

It is perfectly proper for a bald man to wear a wig. There is no reason in his hiding the fact either. A young man may wear a wig if he is prematurely bald. He certainly will make his appearance more presentable to others by so doing.

Opera Glass.—A gentleman may carry one to the theater or opera—evening or afternoon. The small opera glass is most convenient.


Decorations.—These are worn only on formal occasions. Then they should appear on evening dress, or on afternoon dress with a frock body-coat. Worn on the left breast.

Fans.—These may be carried at any evening reception by a gentleman, if he desires to so do, when there is to be dancing.

Folding fans, with a heavy black or white silk cord and tassel, are recommended.

As a rule, fans are carried only for summer dances. A gentleman will find it convenient and comfortable to have his own fan.

Knee-buckles and Shoe-buckles.—These are of sterling silver. Buckles may be worn when knee-breeches are worn.

Trousers Crease.—This may be worn in trousers or not as taste dictates.


It certainly improves the set of the trousers, and keeps the knees straight.

Pockets.—These appear only in the waistcoat and body-coat. The only things carried—morning wear, afternoon dress, and evening dress—are the linen kerchief—including the silk when in evening dress—money, watch, and fob chain in silk or gold, cards, pencil, silver or gold.

The Monocle.—This is worn any time of day. Narrow black silk ribbon or cord is worn on it for morning and afternoon. For evening a wide black silk ribbon is used.

Wearing a monocle is an English custom.

The monocle is seldom worn in this city. When worn it is placed in the right eye.



A gentleman in ordering his apparel, whether for morning wear, afternoon dress, or evening dress, will follow his own taste and desire as regards the style of seams, the material and style of linings, the size, number, and kind of buttons to be used, the number of pockets, the length of body-coats, overcoats, length and width of trousers, the style of his hat, gloves, and shoes, the length of sleeves and width of collars, use of braids and bindings, use of collar facings,—in fact, every point connected with the making of garments, both outer and under clothing, hats, shoes, gloves, and ties, all these he must decide and order the maker to follow out.

It is only through this care and attention to details that he can show his taste[76] and ability to dress. Most important of all—especially in clothing—is the selection of material.

This completes the dress necessary for a gentleman of fashion, in society or out. He is not asked to follow implicitly the rules as laid down here, but rather follow his own taste and ideas in the making and wearing of garments.

This is only meant as a guide. It is believed to be correct in all its details, and can be followed safely as such.

Finis coronat opus.

(decorative leaf motif)






Introduction 81
Actions Indoors 85
(1) Leaving the Room—(2) Walk Indoors—(3) Meeting on Stairs—(4) Hat Indoors—(5) Body-coat Indoors—(6) Overcoat Indoors—(7) Untidy Appearance—(8) Cards—(9) Calling—(10) In Company—(11) Receptions and Teas—(12) Luncheons—(13) Parties—(14) Dinners—(15) Dancing—(16) Balls, Dancing Classes, Theater Parties and Receptions—(17) Bowling—(18) Musicales and Matinée Parties—(19) Amateur Theatricals and Recitations—(20) Breakfasts—(21) Vocal and Instrumental Music
Actions Outdoors 112
(1) Walking—(2) Promenading—(3) Joining Lady—(4) Paying out Money—(5) Taking Seat in Public Conveyance—(6) Driving—(7) [80]Riding—(8) Sailing
Personal Appearance 126
(1) Hands—(2) Face—(3) Teeth—(4) Hair—(5) Facial Expressions—(6) Position
Habits 131
(1) Smoking—(2) Drinking—(3) Chewing—(4) Stretching and Yawning
Conversation 134
(1) General—(2) Grammar—(3) Laughing—(4) Compliments and Flattery—(5) Small Talk
Correspondence and Invitations 138
Personal Actions 146
(1) Escorts—(2) Extravagance—(3) Kissing—(4) Familiarity—(5) Chaperons—(6) Handshaking—(7) Kissing Hand—(8) Gentleman Engaged—(9) Introductions
Proposing 159
Presents 165
(1) Flowers—(2) Jewelry—(3) Bon-bons—(4) Photographs
General Politeness 170
(1) Insults—(2) Embarrassments—(3) Temper
Visiting 176
(1) Acceptances and Regrets—(2) Duties of Visitor



Before entering upon my subject, I would first state that this work is unlike former books on manners and etiquette, for it seeks not as in those cases to establish rules, enjoining the reader to be controlled thereby, nor does it define customs and force them upon his knowledge. It merely touches upon usages of sufficiently long standing to constitute customs of society, reviews them before his mind, and classes them as faults if not properly practised, and gives the remedies of those faults. Also it defines customs which are practised too exactly to appear natural, and shows wherein they can be modified. In this work there are no monotonous rules imperatively laid down and the subjects are not tiresomely strained.[82] The most important customs only are described, with their modifying rules; and though the work may say what should be done or omitted, yet it leaves it to the option of the reader whether or not he will perfect his social training by a recognition and due exercise thereof.

To classify the subjects under two general heads, I would first speak of “Appearance.”

There is no necessity for a gentleman to give opportunities for others to criticize his appearance. There is no reason why a gentleman should not at any and all times present a complete and neat attire. Dress, extravagant or plain, can always have such an effect, if care and taste are exercised. If he is in doubt as to his own ability to dress tastefully, then he should submit himself to tuition, or, if he is too proud to disclose his ignorance in the matter, he should take careful notice of the appearance and[83] good taste displayed by others, and endeavor to gain knowledge therefrom. In order to carry out my advice, it is only necessary that a gentleman should either possess or acquire good taste, and refer entirely to styles established by custom, as elucidated in Part 1. of this book.

The second head of customs is “Manner.” For a gentleman should not present a perfect appearance as to dress, and at the same time accompany his good taste with bad or impolite manners. A gentleman should have a thorough knowledge of polite manners as established by custom, such as are defined in this work. I mention only the most important ones, it being immaterial to go into the minor branches of etiquette and manners, as they naturally follow in consequence of a due exercise of the more important ones. It is a very simple matter to cultivate easy and graceful manners, and just as easy to use[84] those manners in a polite and gentlemanly way, no matter how or under what circumstances one may be placed in society.

And now I think my reader is prepared for a perusal of what I would term not a classification of rules, but a kind of outline history of customs as they should be recognized.


(decorative header image)


Section 1. A gentleman should never leave his room without a complete attire, as it is essential that he present the same appearance before a servant as a lady. The same rule should apply when he risks encountering unknown gentlemen, or acquaintances, as it should be his desire to receive respect at the hands of both sexes.

2. If passing up or down stairs or through halls, a gentleman should take care not to tread heavily; especially is this urged in hotels, when it is found necessary[86] to pass through hallways late at night.

3. When about to ascend or descend a narrow stairway, if a lady is discovered thereon, step aside and allow her to pass; your act thus permitting her free way without the discomfort of turning, as would follow if both met thereon.

If with a lady, in ascending or descending a narrow stairway, always precede her, putting a distance of at least four steps between. If on a broad stairway, allow her to occupy a place next the balustrade, placing yourself at her other side.

4. Not under any consideration should a hat be worn in a house or church; never in a theater till the play is over, when it is allowable, as established by custom, on account of the draft following the opening of the exits, and not in a hotel except in the office or smoking-rooms thereof. The[87] wearing of a hat is also permissible when lingering or detained in the draft of any open exit to the street.

5. The body-coat should never be removed in the presence of ladies, no matter how ready they may be to approve of the act, unless it is their express and unanimous desire, in which case the better policy, in choosing between the alternative of positive rudeness and a fall of dignity, is to take the course requested.

6. An overcoat should never be worn in a private house unless the temperature is such as makes the act compulsory in order to preserve the health, and then only on receiving approval from the majority of those ladies (only) who may be present. It is immaterial if it be worn in a hotel, exceptions being made to the parlors, ball-room, dining-rooms or apartments. The overcoat should be removed[88] immediately on entering a theater or music hall if the intention is to remove it at all, as it is the height of rudeness to rise in the seat to remove it if the act cause discomfort to, or obscures the view of, parties occupying rear or adjoining seats.

7. (a) Never add to your comfort by making your appearance displeasing to others. And under this head I would state that the pockets of either coat, vest, or trousers should never be bulged out with articles so as in any way to spoil the effect of neatness and cut of the clothing. (b) The clothes should not be allowed to wrinkle; if carefully worn, or when not in use hung smoothly on stretchers, wrinkles can be avoided. (c) The hands should never be carried awkwardly, and especially must care be taken to keep them out of the pockets; such habits mar the appearance of the gentleman.


8. Cards.—(a) If calling upon one young lady, only one card should be delivered at the door; if on two ladies, two cards are required. It is unnecessary that more than two should be sent up, even if the call is made on the whole family. This rule applies, also, in delivering cards at receptions, teas, afternoon musicales, and the like. Always send cards on occasions when you cannot attend in person. When calling upon ladies visiting a card should also be sent to their hostess.

(b) The card should always have the gentleman’s address on the right hand lower corner; or, if he has no permanent place of residence, then the name of his club, or of some person in whose care communications can be forwarded to him. If his name has too many initials to permit of using the Christian name, then “Mr.” should be used,[90] and only the initials placed before the surname; but otherwise, the use of “Mr.” is according to taste, whether it be placed before the Christian name or omitted, though the latter is advised.

9. Calling should be confined entirely to the afternoon and evening; a few exceptions can be made in the case of very dear friends, when a call in the morning would not be out of the way. Such should be made between the hours of eleven and one. Afternoon calls should be made from three till five, exceptions being made on occasions where the lady is in the habit of having five o’clock tea, when it is allowable for the gentleman to stay till his cup or two cups are finished; on no account is he to partake of more than two. Ordinary evening calls extend from eight to ten and are not to be made later than eight-thirty. For no[91] reason whatever should a gentleman stay later than ten, unless he is calling upon his fiancée; the evening receptions extend from eight to eleven, and the call must be made before ten.

When pressed to remain to a meal, unless at least five or six calls have previously been made, he should decline the invitation, exceptions being permitted when the young lady’s parents or guardians are on intimate terms with his own, in which case the second call will justify him in accepting. Intimacy between her brothers or sisters and your own will not suffice. The card is delivered at the door, and while waiting for the lady, enter the parlor. It is not necessary to remove the overcoat until the butler announces whether or not she is at home and can see you; whereupon, if she acknowledges your card, the overcoat, hat, cane and overshoes are to be left in the[92] hall; on no account leave them about the parlor. It is not necessary to remove the gloves. This rule applies in all cases where ordinary calls are in question; if merely on a mission to occupy but a few moments, the overcoat may be kept on, and the cane carried in the hand, but the hat must always be left upon the rack.

Always rise and advance to meet a lady at the door; do not subject her to the inconvenience of discovering you and coming to you herself. If the lady seats herself upon a sofa, do not place yourself beside her without first obtaining her consent. If you take the seat, be careful of your position, and do not appear too easy and at home, and, above all, do not cross the legs. Also, keep the hands as quiet as possible; don’t handle any objects or toy with ornaments, or twist your watch-chain, for it shows you are either nervous or[93] fidgety, and you thereby produce the nervous effect upon your companion. The conversation should be of a sensible topic; or, if amusing, it should be at least interesting: the best topics to converse upon being theaters, plays, society, picture exhibitions, art, buildings, literature, and especially light gossip. Travels may also be discussed, but first ascertain of the lady whether she has traveled; if not, and she does not ask you to recite your travels, and it is your desire to do so, then describe them as briefly as possible. If you find a young lady begins to appear restless, say a few words more and take your departure; there is no knowing but that she has some other engagement. Never at any time speak of an acquaintance in a disagreeable manner. Do not even say anything unguardedly about a third person, for fear that the trait or action you[94] describe may disclose to your companion of whom you are speaking. These last two cautions may seem of minor importance, but they are, on the contrary, very important, as thousands of serious quarrels result from neglecting them.

10. When in company, do not by word or action make yourself obnoxious to those present. Your words should be well chosen and spoken at the proper time, and in good grammar; omit slang. If of a joking frame of mind, deliver your joke in a quiet way, and do not carry your ability too far; for too much of a good thing is worse than none at all. A few good jokes, delivered with telling effect, will do more for your reputation in that line than a thousand poor ones improperly delivered. No man should laugh at his own joke, and when doing so at others’ he should take care not to[95] be boisterous. Do not monopolize the conversation; it cannot be done without interrupting others, and to do that is the height of rudeness. When in company, and persons are talking, do not pick them up on any statement of which you do not approve, and pointedly contradict them, nor start any argument which would tend to their embarrassment. Never flatter or compliment in company, as it makes the object of your attention feel conspicuous, and those present imagine that they are of less importance in your estimation. Do not ask a young lady to attend any entertainment with you, or do not extend any invitation if another lady be present, with whom you are even but slightly acquainted; your partiality for one should never be disclosed to another. Unless you can do it gracefully, do not execute a dance or attempt to imitate stage performers.


Also take care not to upset or run into ornaments or stub the toe against them, and be sure of your footing, that you do not trip on mats, etc. A great many gentlemen imagine it to be necessary to back out of a room on taking their departure; not so,—merely say “good-by” (or “good-morning,” or words suited to the time of day), and, turning to the door, walk out to the hallway. If the hostess has an inclination or desire to follow you and continue any unfinished subject which may have been under discussion, it is not necessary to retire in so awkward a manner. Promptly announce your intention and enter the hall; while adjusting the overcoat and gloves, the conversation can be continued. This method can be exercised without the faintest appearance of rudeness.… Subjects to be carefully studied for company use may be found under the head of “Conversation.”


11. If you are at a special invitation afternoon tea or reception, pay particular attention to the hostess whenever she is seen unoccupied, and offer your company in escorting her to partake of refreshments. Always eat lightly of the viands yourself. If a crowded reception, half an hour only should be spent thereat. A reception call should be made within three months thereafter; half an hour, or possibly three-quarters, is proper for such a call.

12. A gentleman should never enter his sister’s luncheon hall when the repast is in progress; such intrusions prove fatal to topics of dress generally under discussion, or other matter not intended for his ears. A gentleman can give a stag luncheon, or a luncheon for both ladies and gentlemen if a chaperon presides.

Under this head informal lunches may[98] also be discussed. These are such as persons are apt to partake of without any special previous arrangement, either at restaurants or private houses. As a gentleman is at liberty to dine where he pleases, I only speak of the subject in connection with ladies.

A gentleman should never invite a lady to lunch at his own house, no matter how well acquainted he may be with her, not even when engaged, unless a chaperon be present at the meal, and not invite her at all unless he has met her very frequently beforehand.

A gentleman can accept an invitation to lunch with a lady under the same conditions as those of an invitation to stay to dinner when calling (see Sec. 9.)

When desirous of asking a lady to lunch at a restaurant, whether you take her direct from the house to it, or while walking, makes no difference; a chaperon[99] must be present at the meal unless you bear an existing or agreed future relationship to her, or your friendship is understood by your own and the lady’s friends to be so dear as not to allow of suspicion or question—when a chaperon can be dispensed with.

Without a chaperon be extremely careful in your selection of a restaurant; seek those whose reputation is quiet and refined and of less publicity than the rest of the well-known restaurants. Always when with a lady enter the restaurant by the door intended for ladies’ use; never by the public entrance.

13. Evening parties should be attended before the hour of eleven, in full dress. If with a lady do not keep her waiting, but rather let her find you awaiting her at the dressing-room door. If alone or otherwise take care to seek the hostess[100] on entering the parlor; this is a piece of politeness sadly overlooked nowadays, especially by individual gentlemen. At a dance always take the inside arm of a lady while promenading. Repeatedly ask after her thirst, and never allow her to approach the refreshment table, but bring the glass to her on your kerchief if there are no doilys. Always pay particular attention to the hostess, and ask her repeatedly to dance. Never, if idle and you see her without a partner, allow her to remain thus alone; under such circumstances, likes and dislikes should be set aside, or you should not have attended the dance. Always offer your arm to your partner immediately on ceasing to dance. Make it a rule never to leave a dance without bidding the host or hostess good-night, and thanking them for the pleasures of the evening. This is another poor policy of a great many men, to leave[101] quietly without the knowledge of the host or hostess.

Party calls should be made within a year at the farthest after the party, and should occupy the same length of time as an ordinary call.

14. Dinners should be attended promptly on time. Always allow the ladies to be seated first. Do not attempt to pass anything if the servants are present, nor even if they are not present unless expressly requested to do so.

Do not attempt to speak when the mouth contains food. When spoken to, a motion of the head will be sufficient to convey the reply intended, and at the same time to acquaint your questioner with the fact that he has spoken inopportunely. In order to conform to the various customs it is advisable to abstain as long as is prudent from folding the napkin[102] till you view the action therein of the host or hostess. But this is only necessary at more or less informal dinners. The prevailing custom of formal dinners is never to fold the napkin. Care must be taken not to make noises with the mouth, when eating, and not to smack the lips. If a total abstainer from drink, you must not turn your glasses upside-down, nor allow them filled. Merely stop the servant when your glass is half filled, thus preventing comment and complete waste at one and the same time. You must not call the servants, but endeavor to beckon them to you with the head and eyes, not with the finger. Never speak louder than will allow of a comprehension of what you are saying. Do not toy with articles on the table, and when the hands are not employed in eating they must be kept in the lap. Don’t put the elbows on the table. Reading[103] is not to be indulged in at the table, unless it is a letter or special communication, when you must beg pardon for your rudeness. Do not leave the table before the rest have finished except in case of necessity, and then by permission only, always excusing yourself. When remaining till the finish, never rise till the host or hostess or both have signified that the meal is at an end, by rising first.

15. There is one custom in this work which above all others is essential to every man who has any desire to play the rôle of a thorough social success, and that requirement is dancing. There is not one thing which a society gentleman performs, which gives so much enjoyment not only to himself, but to others. Nothing is more closely criticized, nothing more prominent when in execution; nothing more benefiting as an exercise,[104] and nothing more satisfactory to the performer, than dancing. By that word is meant any performance which has the name of dance, and which has the requisites of “grace,” “ease,” and “perfect performance.” To be a perfect dancer the above expressions in reference to your dancing should be won from your admirers. Do not think, because you have an idea of how to dance, that you really do so perfectly. The first requirement to good dancing is grace. If you are graceful you cannot appear awkward to on-lookers, for your step is firm, body quiet, and arms still. The arm is never pumped, and the feet are barely lifted off the floor. To have ease, a dancer should appear confident of his ability, and show that ability by a correct and actual performance of the dance in the above-explained graceful way. To have a perfect performance of a dance, both[105] of the former requirements are to be exercised, with these additional requisites, viz.: use a long decided glide, never jump or hop, always reverse equally as much as you turn the original way, keep to the side of the room, direction to the right from the entrance. Do not collide with other couples, or at least protect your partner from sudden collisions, and on no account allow her to slip.

The right hand should be at the lady’s back, between the lower ends of the shoulder-blades, and should always carry a silk handkerchief. Never in dancing hold a lady close to you, for it is the most disagreeable position for her, and looks decidedly improper. Hold your partner at all times at arms’ length; this gives you freedom of speech, space to use the feet, and allows you to glide more easily. In a waltz, always take a long, sweeping glide, with as little rise as possible. Any[106] step between a Boston dip and the Philadelphia glide, if used as a sort of an imperceptible, sweeping dip, will appear to great advantage on the floor. A Polka should either be glided or walked through; never skip, and do not take too long a step, and do away entirely with all fancy variations of the dance. Keep strictly to the original Polka form and you will avoid all awkward appearances. The same rule applies to the Yorke, Galop, etc. The Schottische is a beautiful dance, if performed gracefully as in the waltz, only much more care should be exercised in the forward steps. Do not use that once popular, but awkward manner of skipping in this dance, but the more modern three running steps. Those familiar with all these popular dances will comprehend the importance of my criticisms. The Caprice is the combination dance of waltz and polka, and necessitates more care and[107] attention than any other. Nothing but the glide step should be used in this dance.

16. Balls, Dancing Classes, Theater Parties, Receptions.—These may all be given by gentlemen, if they have married ladies as patronesses. Theater parties can be followed by dinners at the popular restaurants, the chaperon attending. If the party occupies more than one box, an equal number of chaperons should accompany it.

17. Bowling—Card-playing.—In bowling, a gentleman should keep the score, notify the ladies of their turns as they come round, hand them the balls—not too large, but heavy enough to be thrown with ease and effect. See that they enjoy the game thoroughly, or else cease the sport. If you notice fatigue in a lady’s[108] manner, ask her to desist. Many sprains, dislocations, and twists are the result of attempting to throw balls with tired wrists. A gentleman can organize a bowling club under the supervision of a chaperon attending each meeting.

At cards, he pays strict attention to those playing; he endeavors to make the games pleasant. He should never look over another’s hand of cards; and, above all, should never cheat. He should never gamble and bet on cards, nor allow games of that kind in his house.

18. Musicales—Matinée Parties.—Gentlemen attend these either as escorts or alone. They are at liberty to give them whenever they desire to do so. They must always have a patroness or chaperon present.

19. (1) When asked to participate in amateur theatricals, do not unhesitatingly[109] accept the invitation, but first consider your ability, not only to act the part tendered you, but that which is of more importance, viz., to be able to act gracefully, and carry it out in all its perfection; for it is only of too frequent occurrence that young men readily accept, confident of being able to memorize their part, disregarding the fact that memorizing is not acting. After having accepted an invitation to act, being of fair ability so to do, be careful to pay strict attention to your part, and be punctual at all the rehearsals. Gentlemen can organize amateur theatrical clubs among themselves at discretion, but on no occasion should ladies be included without a chaperon at hand.

(2) Never offer to recite, and if asked to do so, decline, unless you are sure of what you are about to recite. Do not make your recitations too lengthy,[110] and not too dramatic. Be sure that your gestures are fitted for the words used; make them few, but telling. Do not hurry through a piece; and above all, do not shout; suit the voice to the size of the room or hall in which you are reciting. If encored, acknowledge such by another piece, or repetition of the first; but to further applause, merely bow.

20. Breakfasts can be given at any time within the hours of eight and twelve A. M., to gentlemen, or ladies and gentlemen, a chaperon being present for the latter. Invitations for these, as for any other event, should be answered within the customary time—two weeks before the occurrence; or, if the invitation is later than two weeks before date of breakfast, an immediate reply is necessary.

21. When in company never offer to sing unless you are perfectly confident of[111] your ability to satisfy the expectations of those present. If asked to sing, unless of ability to do so, be not too ready to accept the invitation, but wait till it is tendered you again, so that, in case of failure, you be not looked so unfavorably upon as if you had accepted readily; the same rule applies to playing upon instruments. When singing or playing reply to only one encore; to more, merely bow or offer your excuses.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


Section 1. When walking alone a quick step is to be taken; the toes must be turned out. Never run into a person, if ordinary care can prevent it, and especially give way to a lady, no matter how you may meet. Always keep to the right of the sidewalk, and never pass in front of a lady coming at right angles at a street corner, unless a distance of six feet intervene between said lady and the crossing-point when you reach it. In bowing when alone the hat should be carried quickly down to the right, or left[113] if left-handed, till the back of the hand strikes the hip, then slowly replaced on the head. The taking-off of the hat is to be accompanied by a slight forward inclination of the body and a smile of recognition.

Unless the cause of the act is known to the lady as well as yourself, never cut her, that is, do not look at her and refuse absolutely to return her bow, but recognize it in an indifferent manner sufficient to convey the fact that something is wrong, and that the return bow was forced, while still it is polite. If you know a lady whom you dislike and have no desire to recognize, never look at her in passing, as you would thus invite recognition, and would be exceedingly impolite in cutting her. When you meet a person walking, and that awkward dodging in the effort to pass occurs, always stop and turn slightly to the right till the other has[114] passed on. If it be a lady, the expression “Pardon” is to be used as she passes. If you step on a man’s foot, address him with an apology merely; if on a lady’s, the apology must be accompanied by a slight bow. Never carry a parcel of any kind: if a hat is to be taken to the store, carry it in a leather case; if articles of wear, carry them in a satchel. Do not wear too large a boutonnière; a few dozen violets or two or three pinks, or a few sprays of lily of the valley, or a few pansies, or a very small red rosebud for afternoon, and as few leaves as possible. For the evening a few sprays of hyacinth or lily of the valley is the only proper buttonhole bouquet.

2. When walking with a lady keep either a military step, or if her step is too short for your comfort, then take a Newport drag pace, taking care that the[115] body does not rise much, thus preventing a see-saw appearance. Always walk on the side nearest the curbstone, except in the case of a very crowded street, when it may be the most convenient for the lady to walk on your right. A distance of half a foot should be kept between the lady and yourself at all times when the walk is not crowded; this is necessary always in the daytime, and also in the evening unless the acquaintance is such as permits taking arms. Never lock arms in the daytime. Always pay attention if your companion is speaking; your mind should not be distracted by persons or objects passing; there is nothing more unsatisfactory and disagreeable to a young lady than for her to realize that she is unheard and unheeded. When with a lady it is unnecessary to stop at all to permit another lady to pass when coming at right angles, as is necessary[116] when alone. When raining always hold the umbrella; when sunny never offer to, or hold a parasol, unless expressly requested to do so; a sunshade is for a lady to hold, and looks out of place in a gentleman’s hand, unless it is a particularly heavy one, or the wind is too strong to permit of the lady carrying it comfortably. If she has a satchel or large parcel when you meet her, immediately offer to carry it.

3. When joining a lady, if coming toward her, wait till she has passed; then turning, join her with the usual or intended salutation, without stopping her. Never come intentionally face to face to join her; she will, presumably, think that you wish to stop, and it is a settled conclusion that a lady and gentleman should never stop to talk on the street; in a party it is permissible only if the[117] several persons thereof have chanced to meet, or are in the act of parting. When joining a lady in the morning on the street only accompany her a few blocks, for the morning is shopping-time, and escorts are seldom desired. Never fail to raise the hat on leaving a lady on the street, or at doors or windows. When it is muddy cross before a lady that she may profit by your action, by crossing in your foot-prints. If very muddy offer your hand for her support in finding good foot-rests. Never carry the cane in the hand next the lady if it is possible to carry it in the other; if not possible, because the other is the useful one, then it should be carried under the arm next to her with that hand placed at the cane-head. The reason of this rule will be understood on reflecting, that if the cane is carried in the useful hand, it must necessarily be conveyed to the other every[118] time a man bows; it is a poor action, and presents an awkward appearance, especially if the cane drops. This rule also applies to umbrellas when rolled. Of course this is plain, as it is not supposed that a gentleman when promenading carries any but these two articles. Never let a lady carry your cane in the city.

When entering a door or passageway, allow the lady to precede you, as is done indoors. When with a lady, and she bows, your bow should be less marked than when alone; the hat is to be raised and carried quickly to the front as low as the chin, then as speedily replaced. When you consider the side you occupy, the advisability of this manner of bowing is at once seen on reflecting that a sweeping bow would more or less interfere with the continuation of your companion’s recognition of the third party, which is a complaint the majority of young ladies[119] set up. In giving a lady soda-water or other cooling drink, do not allow her to use her own kerchief, but insist upon her using one of your own; a gentleman should always carry two. Also, in view of the fact that many pockets in dresses are difficult to discover immediately, the gentleman should thus be prepared for emergencies. If walking in the afternoon with a lady, and you are overtaken by darkness, do not continue, but immediately board a horse-car, enter a stage, or have your carriage follow and meet you, and thus return. This rule is on the principle that ladies and gentlemen should not walk the streets after dark, and this principle is universally approved of by society. The walk to and from cars to attend theaters in the evening, is a different matter entirely, and cannot be offered in opposition to the above rule (as many have claimed), as it is confined to only a[120] few particular streets, and has nothing whatever to do with avenue promenades; besides, it is understood that crossing to theaters is compulsory, and so excusable. In taking a lady for a walk, you should always provide her with a fair-sized bouquet of violets, if popular, or, if not, of roses to harmonize with her type, whether blonde or brunette; or any class of flowers which you know would suit her taste, provided they are not out of style, or unsuited to the season or for street wear, or perhaps too loud for her general appearance.

4. When with a lady, always pay her fare in a public conveyance, at a ticket office, or gate, or any place where fare is demanded, unless she has a ticket for the occasion.

If in the vehicle, at the office, or gate, or any place requiring the payment of[121] fare, and you meet a lady friend who has not as yet paid her fare, do not offer to do so for her, as it is very bad form, and presents the appearance of a desire on your part to let people know you have money, and the act more or less reflects upon the lady’s purse. If accompanying a lady into a store, do not offer to buy her this and that; such an act is simply out of consideration; it is an affront to her purse, and she rejects your offer; no lady would accept it unless for some very trifling purchase.

5. When in any crowded public conveyance, a lady gets in, always rise immediately and notify her of the vacancy. Do not think, because you are tired, you are justified in keeping the seat, for you do not know but that the lady is just as tired as yourself. Again, when you see a small space between two ladies, do not[122] try to wedge yourself in; it is better to be uncomfortable yourself, than to cause discomfort to the ladies. Do not lean over or against a lady when holding the strap overhead, and she is seated below. Always, if next the fare-box, offer to deposit a lady’s fare, especially in stages. Never in city conveyances, if a conductor is at hand, offer your assistance in raising or lowering a window, but solicit the conductor to do it for you; if none is upon or in the conveyance, then lend your help.

6. When asking a lady to drive, do so only on an advanced acquaintance, and do not keep her out after dark. Take care not to allow the whip to dangle in her face, and, in urging on the horses, do so in an easy manner, without that sudden start which throws the lady so violently back in her seat. Do not talk about horses; it is a very poor subject, and[123] savors of poor taste. In calling for a lady do not keep her waiting, but have the vehicle at the door on time. If possible to leave the reins loose on the horses, step out and help the lady into the vehicle, then pass round to the other side and take your seat, carefully adjusting the lap-robe over both. Do not keep up a continuous chuckle to the horses, as it is a very monotonous sound, but use the whip. A full driving suit should always be worn if a lady accompanies you. Always wear gloves in driving. If you have spirited horses to handle, it is not necessary while driving to take off the hat when recognizing a person; a smile and an inclination of the head are sufficient, for taking off the hat interferes considerably with your management of the animals, and has often resulted in serious accidents. Do not take a lady riding in the morning. The afternoon from three[124] till five is the proper time. Never on any account drive on Sunday. Never take a lady in a light wagon or buggy, or out with fast horses, in the city, for it is not stylish; in fact, such turnouts are common, as in use only by sporting men or horse lovers.

7. Riding should be confined to the morning as much as possible, and a complete outfit worn upon all occasions. Especially is this urged when with a lady. Always keep head and neck of your own horse beyond your companion’s, if a lady, in view of being able and prepared to assist her in case of fright or accident to her horse. Always assist her in mounting and alighting from her horse.

8. Sailing is a pastime which can be indulged in at leisure by a gentleman who knows a thing or two about such pleasure; whether he has confidence in his ability or not, if he ventures upon[125] that pleasure he does so at his own risk. But when he has a lack of knowledge, and lack of confidence in his ability to handle a boat, not under any consideration should he venture to invite a lady to accompany him. To take ladies sailing, when you are ignorant of the methods of handling sailing craft, is a risk that often has frightful results; these have been often seen, where summer men who know positively nothing about the art of sailing have issued invitations, and ventured on their perilous, uncertain pleasure. Always take a skipper, and no danger will arise. Take care to look first after the comfort of the ladies, and always provide cushions, field-glasses, and especially ice-water in view of a calm. This latter is very often neglected, to the great distress of the ladies when the boat is becalmed. The writer can safely make this suggestion, as he had such an experience himself.


(decorative header image)


Section 1. The hands should always be kept clean. Do not think because you have gloves on that you are safe in neglecting your hands. You may be suddenly called upon to perform some act which would necessitate taking off the gloves, thus exposing soiled hands. The nails should be kept perfectly clean and projecting about one-twelfth of an inch from the tender flesh and not too pointed, and are to be only slightly polished. All hang-nails should be cut off, and advanced flesh pushed back from the root of the nails.[127] Do not wear too many rings. A gentleman should never have on more than two, and those to be placed one on each hand. Always place them on the fingers next the little ones. Large diamonds should not be worn; one carat is the usual weight. Also, do not wear broad bands of gold, they are very common-looking on a gentleman; a seal-ring or intaglio is quite sufficient. Never wear bracelets, it is exceedingly effeminate. And, above all, do not wear ladies’ rings.

2. The face, if without a growing beard or moustache, should be kept clean. This can best be done by a light shave. Do not shave too close; to be sure it appears more free of hair for the time being, but then, as the hair grows out, eruptions cover the face, especially the neck; thus for a few hours’ clean appearance you undergo several days’ discomfort.


3. The teeth should be kept clean, white, and polished. It is necessary that they be kept clean, as odors from them sometimes give the impression of a disordered stomach, and makes conversation at close quarters exceedingly disagreeable.

4. The hair should be carefully brushed, with a neat part, the sides at the front being slightly raised and pushed back. The hair can be parted on either the left, right, or center of the head, but it should never be flattened and plastered down, as the appearance is very weakening to the character of the face. Leave such a fad to those of bad taste, who have nothing else to do but corrupt the standing customs.

5. Do not, no matter how much displeased, at any time wear a scowl or severe expression; it does you no good as[129] to others, for they do not know the cause thereof, and they naturally conclude you to be of a disagreeable disposition. Equally true is it that the face should be free from that incessant smiling which overspreads the countenances of so many. The face should possess neither one of these expressions, but present a set, firm appearance, conveying no idea of the thoughts of the mind. Outward causes are exceptions to the changes of facial expressions. When talking, care should be taken not to accompany the words with distortions of the face. The mouth should not be opened too wide, nor the tongue stuck out. Never bite the lips or pick the teeth, as both distort the face. Never use the eyes in a flirtatious manner, as it is very poor taste and shows conceit. Also, do not glance at a strange lady in a steady or impertinent manner; least of all on the street or in public vehicles.


6. Your position should always be as dignified as possible; if sitting, the body should be held upright and the arms gracefully placed, and not twisted or hung over the back of the chair. Always face the person whom you are addressing. When standing, your position must be straight, shoulders back, and head well up. The legs to be close together or one slightly advanced, in a position of rest. The arms can be carried either by locking hands behind the back, or in front, or they can be folded upon the chest; either way can be made to appear graceful. When walking, the body is carried as in standing, and the busy hand must carry its contents as gracefully as possible, while the other hand is allowed to hang by the side, moving only with the motion of the body. Both, if free, must hang thus; never put them in the pockets.


(decorative header image)


Section 1. Smoking should be confined entirely to a studio, smoking-room, drawing-room, or library, when ladies are, or intend to be, in the vicinity later, and should never be indulged in, even in the places mentioned above, if the ladies are present, without their unanimous consent thereto.

Smoking in the street is also objected to, exception being made when on the front platforms of cars, when a gentleman should make it his duty to see that the smoke does not prove disagreeable to ladies in the car.


2. Drinking to excess is not the habit of a gentleman. Drink should be taken only in moderation, especially at dinner parties when ladies are present. Do not boast of your fondness for the beverage. If you chance to be at all under the influence of liquor, or even if you have merely a strong odor of it on the breath, do not attend a reception or dance, as such an odor is not perfume to the partners with whom you may dance or converse.

3. Chewing tobacco or other stuff manufactured for the same purpose should never be indulged in by a gentleman, no matter where he is. Spitting must not be practised in the presence of ladies, and should be done away with entirely unless alone and out of sight of others. Clearing the throat should not be done in ladies’ company, and be careful not to allow indications of indigestion to[133] rise noisily in the throat. And lastly, do not hiss through the teeth or hum to yourself in company.

4. Do not, no matter how cramped you may be, stretch in the presence of ladies, and not at all at the table, even if alone. Yawning should be confined to your own presence strictly, or, if it is irrepressible, place the fingers before the mouth.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


Section 1. Never use sarcasm in direct conversation, as it is but a veiled form of insult. Do not use deceit, especially in conversing with a lady; also, avoid prevarication, as such is bad policy. Do not boast, it is an absurd habit to fall into. Too many puns or jokes become monotonous; jokes should not be told in reference to a person present, unless the acquiescence of the party be first received.

2. Your grammar should be of the best, and your words selected with great care.[135] Large words should be used very seldom unless the topic of conversation calls for them.

3. Laughter should never be forced; if you are not amused, merely smile. When laughing at a small matter do so in a light, sincere way; when amused by some good joke or occurrence, laugh heartily but not too loudly; merely convey the fact that the joke or event is appreciated. This rule should apply at all times when ladies are present.

4. Never flatter a lady, for it is the poorest substitution for a sensible topic that was ever thought of in society. It is disliked by ladies and gentlemen alike, and it shows insincerity in its every use. If you desire to say something nice to a person, make use of more serious expressions, commonly known as compliments,[136] for, if you intend to compliment and speak too sweetly, it is not such, but flattery, you are making use of. Only compliment when a person deserves it, and do not do so too often.

5. In society one should always be prepared for impromptu conversation, or small talk, and should always have plenty of it in stock; that is, not the whole substance of the expected conversation, but subjects upon which you can converse at a moment’s notice. At receptions, teas, dinners, dances, or any other entertainment, the topics should be select, and the oral abilities prepared to discuss them in a free and familiar way. Such topics might well be classed under the simple heads of Art of latest Artists, Receptions, Teas, etc., and especially Latest Novels, then also Plays and the criticisms, or Noted People of the Day. You will find[137] any one of these sufficient for short conversation. Literature and grave subjects would prove too extensive. Try not to criticize people severely, and do not speak on any subject which, after a few remarks, appears uninteresting or distasteful to the person conversing with you. When a subject has been once discussed and abandoned by all, it is bad taste to return to it during that same conversation or in the same company.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


Section 1. Correspondence is a thing which every man should be able to do well in all its branches, whether social or business, whether formal or otherwise, whether brief or extended in its subject-matter. A gentleman should always be able to write sensible letters, and to the point, without deviating from the general topic. When corresponding with other men keep strictly, unless with a very close friend, to the subject in question. But[139] when writing to ladies the rule is different. To adhere so exactly to the topic of discussion is significant of a desire to have the matter through with. Always add further casual remarks tending to show an interest beyond the duty of correspondence. The ladies’ writing rule is just the reverse.

It does very well to insert, here and there, witty remarks to break the monotony of a lengthy epistle. Above all, it is advised to abstain from putting in writing any words imparting affection or soliciting such from the lady. Write your letter in one complete part; that is, let all you have to say be penned upon any number of sheets you may desire, but be sure it is between the head address and your signature. Never add a postscript; this in letters, like a parenthesis in sentences, has the appearance of poor construction.


Do not write crosswise on the paper, and avoid blotting the same. Also see that you never write to a lady on office paper, or any which is ink-lined, for your social corresponding paper should always have a crest or monogram at the top, and such would not appear well or to advantage on that which is lined. If you desire ruled paper, let the lines be such as are pressed into it during manufacture. Lastly, never use hotel paper, except in the summer, and then only when traveling or visiting without a trunk, which should always contain every necessity of a trip.

If it is formal, a lady’s letter should be answered immediately, if there is the least hint of a reply in it, but without such hint the gentleman must not answer. If it is informal, he must, if requested to reply, do so immediately, otherwise he may suit himself, but[141] within a limit of one month; later, politeness would be at stake. But the lady should not be expected to answer in either case to your letter unless she feels so disposed, or you show good reasons why she should, and expressly request her to do so.

Formal correspondence can be indulged in between any persons who may be related, very dear friends, or even mere acquaintances. With the first two classes, a gentleman can correspond formally at any and all times, unless expressly solicited not to do so by the lady’s parents, or guardians, or herself. But in the last case he must have a request to offer or an answer to return, and it should be very formal, implying by its very subject-matter that necessity caused the correspondence. When writing a formal note to a lady acquaintance, without her consent, merely sign your name to the matter[142] and place therein your card, such as is described in Sec. 8, Actions Indoors. Never write your address beneath the signature, or, as is sometimes done, above the head address, in this class of notes.… But informal and lengthy correspondence only pertains to, and can be exercised at all times by, very dear friends, fiancés, or very dear relatives. Acquaintances must be subjected to the rule of formality of correspondence, till they have reached the relation of friend, which can be acquired only after eight or ten meetings, when there has been sufficient conversation to establish what the parties mutually agree to constitute fast friendship.

2. Invitations are so many and varying in their nature, that it is generally difficult to say what kind of a reply, and how soon, should be given. But all can be summed up in a few divisions,[143] viz.: Reception, Dance, and Wedding invitations. (a) Reception invitations are never to be replied to, unless accompanied with an informal invitation to an after-reception dance, bearing an R. S. V. P., when a few days can be permitted to elapse before replying thereto. (b) A wedding invitation, like the reception, needs no reply, except under the same conditions as annexed to reception invitations. But dances are the subjects for which dozens of different kinds of invitations are issued, when it is decidedly difficult to ascertain the exact time, or answer as desired by the inviter. The answer depends upon the number of inviters included in the invitation; the time upon the number of days intervening before the date of the event; if two weeks, the regular time allotted, then an immediate reply is necessary (exceptions in subscription dances). If two or three ladies[144] or gentlemen, or both, are the inviters, then address the reply to the one so selected as secretary for the reception of replies, and of course sign your name on the completion of the reply; then in the left-hand lower corner, pen, “Politeness to”; then write, one beneath the other, the names of all the inviters, including the secretary last; this shows that the reply is politely tendered to all. In a subscription dance, an invitation for all and every date of dances is usually sent out six weeks before date of first meeting, in which case three or four weeks at the most can be allowed to pass; but no matter when the invitation is received, if two or six weeks prior to the first meeting, always reply at least two weeks before such first date. Dinners, teas, breakfasts, etc., are the same as dances as to time and answer. Invitations by card to call are not to be answered, but should[145] be acknowledged in person, as soon after their reception as possible. Invitations to subscription dances need only be addressed to the secretary or inviter.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


Section 1. When a gentleman accepts the honored position of escort he is supposed to do so willingly, and with the intention of fulfilling its many requirements. Do not accept and accompany a lady to her intended destination, and continually show any displeasure in your position. Pay strict attention to her, and leave her only when she is engaged in some dance or occupation with another partner. Young ladies take escorts in substitution for a brother or relative, and when so taking expect to find them congenial and as equal to their[147] duties as any brother or relative would be. When asking a gentleman as escort the lady is expected to furnish the carriage if it is her desire to ride; it is not necessary for the gentleman to bring her flowers in return for her kindness, but an after-gift of the same will suffice. When asking a lady to give you the pleasure of her company for any event, you must, of course, expect to pay all expenses; if in the evening, and she is an old acquaintance, always expect to furnish a carriage. If only an acquaintance, and it is necessary to use a carriage, then a chaperon should be brought with you. But the cars are generally the mode of travel which can be used if a chaperon is not desired.

Never take advantage of your situation when in a carriage alone with a lady, by addressing her in any way too familiar to be polite.


2. Extravagance is one of the greatest faults into which young and old persist in falling. Very few society men know what economy means. So to point out a few ways by which extravagance may be at least modified by gentlemen: (a) It is very poor taste for a person to show by his attire extravagant inclinations. Do not dress too gaudily, or change the suits more than is ordinarily necessary for special occasions. Let your dress be not too costly, not too loud, but neat, of the styles described in Part I. of this book, and do away with too great a variety of top and over coats, neckties, patent leather shoes (for walking), and, above all, elaborately figured waistcoats, also elaborate canes. They all combine not only to appear extravagant, but destroy the effect of simple elegance. (b) Do not spend money for a thing unless it is necessary for your[149] own good or that of a relation. Presents given by a single man should be simple and of slight cost.

If engaged the rule is less strict; but if married a man should not only teach himself the law of economy, but also his wife and children. Such gifts as candy, flowers, jewelry, etc., should be given only by very dear friends, which relation permits such presents to be of slight cost, while they are appreciated as if of great cost. Costly gifts to acquaintances are a gross extravagance.

3. Kissing is a pleasure which is not to be indulged in except among dear relatives, the family, wife, or your fiancée. Never kiss or embrace a person outside of these exceptions, no matter how old friends they may be. No lady would allow you such a privilege, and if she should so far forget her standing as to permit the act,[150] you would be rude, exceedingly so, and no gentleman, to take advantage of her forgetfulness. Never, on any account, kiss or embrace the persons, as stated above, in a public place,—it is common. No one knows your relationship, and no one the length of time of separation; besides, the act of kissing is very undignified and ungraceful. Of course these rules only apply to gentlemen; they are not enforceable in respect to ladies, as the feminine sex is supposed to be more demonstrative. Familiarity, though allowed, breeds contempt by degrees.

4. Familiarity is a subject upon which the majority of society men can discourse fluently, so practised are they in the art. In fact, society is infected with this disease. It reigns on all occasions, be they private or public. It is found in the most aristocratic circles, as in those of less[151] refinement. Why should this continue? It should not. Both ladies and gentlemen use it; but of gentlemen, alone, I now speak. Freedom of speech and freedom of manner constitute the general heads of familiarity. (a) Freedom of manner has been partly defined under the heads of kissing and embracing. Do not on any account allow of any rude actions on your part; always keep a polite distance from a lady, and do not, if you take her hand, retain too long a hold thereof, or press it with your own; in fact, never touch a lady unless she is related to you, under the heads set forth in Section 3, Personal Actions, unless it becomes absolutely necessary; then do it in the most polite manner possible. (b) Freedom of speech is the most important head of familiarity, and includes many classes of rudeness. Do not be impertinent in your remarks to ladies, ask no personal questions,[152] do away with rude speech; seek not to impart to her that which she should not know, or tries to turn a deaf ear to. Improper remarks are poison from the tongue, and tend to ruin your reputation in her estimation, as a gentleman, sooner or later. It is no excuse if she tolerates your advances or not,—a gentleman is a gentleman, and should remain so. Not only is this rule applicable to acquaintances, but it should be strictly observed in your own family. Your sisters should be as acquaintances as respects your behavior, and your mother and father should command respect in your every word or action.

5. A gentleman, because he is married, should not suppose himself fitted for the position of chaperon on occasions where it is necessary to leave the city, or it is an evening affair; on the contrary, it is his[153] duty to refuse acceptance of such a position, unless himself and wife act as the chaperons. If single, he should never offer his services as chaperon. He may be such in the daytime, within the city, acting as a guide or protector of his companion; but this is a very weak form of chaperonage compared to that customary in society, which form generally concerns only evening or out-of-town events, when a stricter rule is applied, under the conditions of which a gentleman can never be a chaperon. It must be remembered that though guide and protector are the true meanings of the word chaperon, yet, as far as a gentleman can exercise that right, he can be no more than an escort.

6. A gentleman should shake hands as seldom as possible. On introduction and at parting should be the chief occasions[154] for the act. This rule refers only to your own sex. With ladies it is far stricter. You should not shake hands on introduction to ladies, nor at parting; but at the next meeting, or subsequent ones, if they appear desirous of such a cordial greeting, grasp their hand, for it is at the option of a lady whether or not the hands should come in contact with each other; but never shake at parting. When taking a lady’s hand, grasp it firmly, but gently, just sufficient pressure to convey the feeling of cordiality, nothing more, and raising her hand to the height of her waist, shake it gently two or three times, then release it; never hold it while speaking, and do not attempt that awkward, lately originated style of raising the hands above the face, with the fingers twisted out of shape; it is clumsy, decidedly ridiculous in appearance, and very uncomfortable for the lady.


7. Never kiss a lady’s hand when in public, and never privately, unless engaged or very much attached to her, and not then unless she is willing to undergo the torture.

Do not, as in hand-kissing, throw kisses to a person in public, and not at all unless under the conditions stated above.

8. When engaged a gentleman should devote all his spare moments to his fiancée. He should compel himself to forsake other ladies’ society, allowing himself to be thrown therein only when accompanying his intended to entertainments or dances, and then should control himself, so as to give no cause of jealousy by his actions or apparent interest in others of the fair sex. He should give all presents to her, take her to all the entertainments and dances, and, in fact, let her find him always devotion in everything. Clubs[156] should be partially or wholly neglected for her. Even under the circumstances, familiarity should be guardedly exercised, especially with her family.

9. Introductions are the most important of any of the numerous acts of society, constituting a custom established by long and frequent usage. It is easy to introduce, no matter how or in what manner it is done, and ninety-nine per cent. of introductions are either improperly conducted or a mere mention of names. To constitute a proper introduction there must be three requisites, viz.: Sufficient language to imply an introduction, an objective name and a subjective name each distinctly pronounced. That is to say: the object is the person to whom the subject is presented; second, the subject of the introduction is the one whom you present. You must pronounce both[157] names distinctly. First, be sure that both are aware of your intention and secure of each other’s attention, then proceed by saying: (Ex.) “Miss Smith [object], please allow me to present Mr. Brown [subject].” This is all, and it is as simple as can be; yet people will mumble and stammer and stumble through an introduction as if it were the most difficult of performances. If the object or subject of an introduction is a sister, brother, or parent, do not say, as many do—Miss Smith, my brother, or my sister, naming the relation only; but say always—Miss Smith, my brother, Mr. Brown. This rule is in view of the fact that the introducer’s name is not always familiar to the object. Never mention the name of the subject first. When introducing extend the right or left hand as a gesture towards the person whom you are introducing.


It is important to make introductions carefully and at the proper time. Do not suffer a person with whom you are acquainted to remain in your own party without introducing him to every member of that party. When talking to a person, and joined by a third, immediately introduce. The rules of introduction should be strictly observed in regard to ladies. As much as possible avoid introducing on the street, and when doing so do not stop the objective persons, but join them as explained in Section 4, Actions Outdoors, whether lady or gentleman, and present the subject while walking. Do not introduce to young ladies under age without the chaperon’s or guardian’s consent, and ladies of age without their approval having first been received. Do not present or attempt to present a man of whose character or reputation you are doubtful; for thousands of serious results have been thus occasioned.


(decorative header image)


A gentleman, when he is sure that his attachment to a lady has attained perfection, and is positive of being ever afterward so attached to her as to permit of no disturbance of that affection by force of circumstances, may then and only then have the right of asking for her hand in marriage. It is a much-mooted question whether a gentleman should ask the parents’ or guardian’s consent to the proposal, if the young lady or himself or both are under age. If we follow the continental rule, this is the proper action in the matter. This course is certainly more[160] honorable. It matters not which parent is first consulted, though the father is preferred. The parent, or parents, or guardian may be consulted in person or by letter. After their consent has been gained, the proposal is made to the woman chosen. If she refuses, then nothing more on the subject need be said till subsequent proposals are attempted. A refusal need not be reported to the parents or guardians. If she accepts, he immediately informs them. If both parties are of age, or independent, it is not essential to a proposal that parents or guardians should be consulted.


Remember that you are a gentleman, and success will be yours if the lady possesses any love or affection in her heart for you. It is best not to force your suit[161] upon a woman, for such engagements often cause either a breaking of the engagement between the parties, or unhappiness to both. It is far better to undergo the pain of a refusal for the time being, and endeavor to gain her affection afterward in view of another and more successful trial.

Never propose in any way but in person. Letters are very poor mediums of the affection; besides, a woman prefers personal tenders of affection. When you propose, never do so unless alone with the lady, either in-doors or out, but not in public, when promenading, driving, or riding, or on any occasion where she cannot give you her undivided attention.

A proposal is, next to a marriage, the most important event in a man’s life, and, if looked favorably upon by the woman, is such also in her life. Therefore take[162] plenty of time to think over the seriousness of the step; consider how much interest the lady has previously shown in you, and the result to your feelings if refused.

If a lady appears uncertain in her answer, you can depend upon it that she is weighing in golden scales the results, the strength of her own affection; and, above all, you may justly and correctly construe that the greater cause of her hesitation is uncertainty of your regard for her, whether true of the heart, or falsely stated. For no woman cares to have a man know that she entertains affection for him unless she is confident he will appreciate it. Thus if it be not a positive refusal, but hesitation only, always be determined, and decide for her by describing the happiness that only you could furnish her. These arguments, if anything would avail, will help to strengthen and control her decision.


Always plead your cause with eyes and speech only. When accepted it is left to the option of the suitor as to what mode of procedure will best express his delight and happiness. But perhaps for those of timid and bashful nature it is advisable to suggest a standard course of action, viz.: when the lady replies affirmatively, immediately clasp her in your arms; this is not, for true lovers, a very embarrassing position. Let the embrace be gentle, simply to signify and give strength and proof of your affectionate expressions prior to the acceptance.

Always stand when proposing, as it lends dignity to the occasion and allows of more freedom in expressing the feelings; besides, it savors of very little earnestness to remain in any other attitude while making so important a confession.

Before proposing it would be best to ascertain how the lady regards you in any particular light. If she speaks favorably[164] of any one of your fascinations, then on that foundation you may attempt to build your future happiness. Do not propose in an uncertain manner, bashfully, or yet too boldly. Be serious, desirous, and speak to the point; confess all your feelings, state everything correctly and truly, and in as telling language as you can possibly command. Do not laugh or smile, or cause it to appear an amusing matter. It would be utterly impossible to illustrate the language of proposals, for many and varied are the methods employed and the language used. But if a gentleman adheres to all I have stated on the subject, it will only be fate which will prevent the fulfilment of his anticipations. A gentleman never makes free with the lady, at the time of the acceptance, beyond the conditions stated herein. And from the moment she accepts him, through all her life he must be constant in his attention to her.


(decorative header image)


Under the general head of presents is classed anything given to another at one’s own expense. Give presents to your own family, relatives, fiancée, or very old friends, but not to mere acquaintances.

Section 1. Flowers, though short-lived, are nevertheless the most beautiful gift one person can make to another. It shows taste and a love of nature, and nothing finds more appreciation in the hearts of womankind than flowers. Be careful in[166] your selection; suit the color and quality to the taste and dress of the lady. Have them tastily laid in a box, loosely, if merely as a favor; but if for a dance or entertainment, the best way is to gather the flowers loosely half-way down the stems, and tie with ribbon harmonizing in color, placing at the end of the bouquet a bunch of leaves to hide the stems. Always send the flowers in a box; do not carry them to the lady yourself—if in a hurry, call a messenger. Flowers may be sent to any lady, married or maiden, but never send them as a wedding present. When desirous of sending flowers to a lady with whom you are about to attend an affair, first ascertain whether she desires to wear flowers, and the color of the gown she intends wearing. It is hardly the fashion nowadays to carry hand-bouquets; only loose flowers to be worn on the dress should be sent.


2. Jewelry should be given as seldom as possible outside of your own family, dear relatives, or fiancée. If given to others, it should be very small, cost little, and not be too elaborate; having merely enough beauty about it to convey the feeling and intention of the gift. A costly present of this class is seldom appreciated as it should be, unless it is given to a lady who stands, or intends to stand, in a very dear position towards you, or to a gentleman friend of long standing and sincere friendship. The only exception allowable for costly gifts of jewelry outside of those rules already stated is in cases of marriage; where the act of presentation of jewels would furnish no ground of suspicion further than extravagance. Whether for a wedding or an ordinary gift, jewelry should always be sent in a box from the store direct, or by messenger; never present it in person. And when[168] calling subsequently refuse the acceptation of thanks.

3. For bon-bons and elaborate boxes, also for articles not classed as jewelry, a much more lenient rule is applied. In fact, except for mere acquaintances, a present of this kind may be given to any one, friend or relative, married or unmarried. These, too, are not to be delivered in person, but sent with card from store or by messenger. In such presents, as in others, taste and fine judgment should be exercised. To a gift of any kind whatsoever an answer should not be expected for three days.

4. Photographs should never be solicited from a mere acquaintance. Wait till you know a lady well before asking for her likeness. No gentleman should be allowed to possess, nor should he seek to possess, a lady’s picture without[169] first having met her at least seven times. He must first so establish his friendship with her that when he asks for her likeness she cannot justly use the common expression that “he must have her photograph for fear he might forget her face,” but would understand that his desire for it comes straight from the heart, and not with the intention of adding to a variety collection. And it is also unnecessary to comply with a like request from the lady till of fast acquaintance. An exchange of photographs is generally the safest way of overcoming any doubt which may arise in your mind as to the disposition which the lady will make of your picture, for then the maxim can be applied—“It’s a poor rule which can’t work both ways.”

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


Section 1. A gentleman should always be perfectly polite with his social inferiors, no matter how he may be brought in contact with them, whether he meets them in company with his equals or inferiors, or if alone. For though your inferiors, they deserve respect, and a deviation from politeness on their account would cause your politeness towards equals to appear false, a shield to your true manner. Always be polite to your inferiors, and it naturally follows that you will be politeness itself with your equals. A gentleman has no superiors.


Politeness is called for in every turn a gentleman may make, whether among ladies or gentlemen, or inferiors, in society or in business, among relatives, acquaintances, friends, or strangers.

2. An insult is not to be recognized when offered by an inferior; pay no attention to such, unless it is followed by violence, or when it places you in an awkward position in presence of equals, and even then, if from one decidedly inferior, or a woman, do not return it, but summon the agents of the law to rid you of the nuisance. If an equal, it is at your own option whether or not you resent the insult, which can be done by the use of irony; thus, though an implied return of the insult, your resentment is on its face politeness itself. Duels are not allowable in America, and seldom in any country. A deadly insult is now usually[172] looked upon by society as a just cause of expulsion of the insulter from its ranks, as no longer worthy of the name of gentleman; for modern society is more just than the society in the days of knighthood, when a gross insult would be looked upon with favor, as but a preliminary to a test of skill at arms. All the remedy a gentleman has in this age is either an apology from his opponent, or the future avoidance and non-recognition of him, or, in extreme cases, a resort to the law.

3. The most indifferent, collected, firm, and blasé of society men are susceptible to embarrassments. No matter how sure you may be of being proof against them, there always comes a time when the firm foundation is undermined by a sudden inpour of unforeseen circumstances, which brings your guarded and[173] fortified walls of conceit and coolness to earth, and tends to humble your pride. Now, many society men hold that a man should never become embarrassed under any circumstances. Not so; there are instances where to remain unmoved and indifferent to embarrassment would show an uncultured exercise of politeness. For example, how could a gentleman, having spoken to his companion of a third party in an insulting manner, refrain from embarrassment when that companion subsequently turns up and presents the third person, who thereupon reproaches him for his prior insinuation and insult? Yet in ninety-nine cases out of every hundred the gentle and polite society men remain unmoved and unembarrassed, making excuses and stating falsely. Yet they leave impressions of impoliteness and rudeness upon the minds of their victims. Suit the necessity of embarrassment to the[174] occasion. Only if he has shown marked impoliteness or rudeness, or both, need a gentleman show concern subsequent to his remark or manner.

4. Temper is the last subject for discussion here; but it is not by any means the least in importance. In fact, if it were not for a proper control and exercise of temper, there would hardly be necessity for elucidating half the subjects already so defined. The temper should never be displayed under circumstances pertaining to society proper. That is, to your equals a tranquil nature and manner should always be shown, no matter how trying the position. To inferiors temper should not be shown while in sight or hearing of equals, and even when alone with servants or agents only in case of breach of duty, and then should merely be shown sufficiently far to make[175] a reprimand more severe. In fact there are so many remedies for circumstances tending to rouse the temper that it should be done away with as a bad habit. When you do so far forget your politeness as to allow the temper to rise, be sure that it is not directed to a lady.

(decorative leaf motif)


(decorative header image)


A gentleman should as seldom as possible offer a regret for an invitation to visit, and when doing so must see that his excuse is a good one. Only business, traveling, and sickness are sufficiently strong causes of refusal. To offer a poor excuse is to cause a suspicion of a dislike on your part for the inviter, his or her family or home, or perhaps that you are too little interested in the whole affair to bother about visiting the person. Such poor excuses, though apparently sufficient in your judgment, not only appear[177] weak to the inviters, but cause them to neglect you in the future in respect to visiting. Of course, if you are visiting or about to visit, an excuse to that effect is sufficient, provided you explain that the invitation you have accepted was received and acknowledged prior to the one which you are regretting. Your excuse, when a good one, should be strong, sincere, and regretfully expressed, and, above all, never hint that you will be at liberty for a visit later, or at some future date. There is such a thing as being too indifferent in a regret to an invitation, and also such a thing as showing in a regret too deep an interest or anxiety to accept. And this latter is bad enough without being accompanied by broad hints. If the first invitation was sincere and the inviter really desired your company, you may be sure a second attempt will be made and another invitation[178] issued. When accepting an invitation, it is best to adhere strictly to your acceptation of the kindness and express such in sincere terms. Do not be too effusive, but to the point, for an acceptance is not a letter and should therefore be short and formal. If a regret, the rule may be reversed, as, not intending to visit, you are justified in substituting a letter, whereas acceptances are followed by the visit, and a lengthy epistle would be unnecessary.

After having accepted an invitation, be sure to take with you a sufficient supply of clothes for variety, and also that you may be prepared for emergencies or a prolongation of your visit. It is very rude and impolite to inquire in your note of acceptance as to the length of time of stay. You may depend upon it that no person having any knowledge of society would invite you for, at the[179] most, more than a week, and if longer the inviter would acquaint you of the fact in the invitation. But for a week or less the inviter would neglect to mention any given time of stay. But it should be understood that at the close of the second day the visitor is to remark upon his departure as fixed for the following day; then if the host or hostess desire your presence for a longer period, they will express themselves to that effect. It is safer always to take one week’s supply of linen, in view of such an expression from them. Of course these rules only apply to formal invitations between friends of long standing, but who have been more or less separated, or friends of late acknowledgment, or perhaps, in rare instances, mere acquaintances, and have nothing whatever to do with fast friendship, where it would be absolutely impossible to govern the parties in their manner[180] of recognizing and accepting or regretting invitations, and their actions subsequent to their arrival at the place of visitation. Such an invitation is controlled generally by the mutual acquiescence and approval of the parties, and is too informal to be considered under the head of formal customs.

Therefore to adhere strictly to the essential rules for a formal visitor:

A gentleman should make it a rule to be punctual to the time set for his arrival, be it morning, afternoon, or evening. When expected in the morning for breakfast, and the place of visit is out of town, if he arrives at his destination earlier than to his knowledge the family are accustomed to rise, then he should occupy himself in some way till it is time to put in an appearance, that he may be received by the host or hostess at a reasonable hour. The first duty of a visitor is to be punctual[181] to breakfast every morning during his stay; and more too, he should never fail to precede the host or hostess or both (only these), that he may be thus prepared to receive them with the usual morning salutation. As to dinner, lunch, or supper, punctuality is not considered, as, being in company with his entertainer, it would be hardly possible for him to be dilatory.

A gentleman should never wear a dressing gown or slippers outside of his room, when visiting or otherwise. He should never enter the dining-room till the host or hostess, or both, have preceded him. Table manners are the same in visiting as at dinners at home and the like.

After any meal be careful not to appear uneasy or dissatisfied with the proceedings of your entertainer; and do not, no matter how great a desire you may have, express opinions upon any arrangements,[182] or suggest any occupation for the consumption of time, without first being asked for your advice or opinion; for very often the host or hostess is led into doing that which but for your request, and the fact of your being a visitor, they would never have thought of or desired to do; so be careful always to control your desire to make suggestions. Let your conversation, manners, and actions be ruled substantially as in calling. Never remain astir after the host or hostess, or both, have retired, but ascend to your own room coincidently with them and retire immediately. During a visit a gentleman should acquiesce in everything requested of him by host or hostess, unless his opinion is called for, when he should, in deciding between his entertainers and others, speak freely but impartially; but if possible always decline the honor of judge.

Do not appear at ease or at home beyond[183] the unembarrassed exercise of a visitor’s duties, for such freedom may tend to cause dislike for you as presuming on your liberties.

A gentleman should not visit unless he be prepared, in case of emergencies, for a request from the hostess, if the host is absent, or from both if the host is himself incapable, to act the part of table-host; and to do this he must be thoroughly versed in the art of carving and serving the viands, and in other ways demeaning himself as is essential to hosts.

In fact, in going on a visit a gentleman should be proficient in its many requirements. Such rules as are here laid down will be sufficient, and will not fail in leading him safely through the minor branches of politeness.