( Originally Published 1898 )
In saluting a lady or an aged gentleman on the street. always lift the hat, and incline the head, with an air of deference.
In making. the salute, if the lady or gentleman is to your right, use the left hand ; and vice versa.
In taking a lady's hand, extend yours with the palm upward, slightly concaved, and with the fingers grouped.
While holding the lady's hand, use only sufficient strength to retain it without causing pain or unnecessary warmth ; and in dancing, when you lead the lady forward, or turn her, raise the hand as high as her shoulder, allowing the length of one arm between.
When dancing with ladies, always wear gloves, either kid, silk, or thread, according to your means and the temperature of weather.
Never wear a colored necktie to a ball or party. Colors are the exclusive property of ladies, and one of the distinguishing marks of a man of frivolous tastes.
Gentlemen with short necks and broad faces do not look well in standing-collars.
Gold watch-chains appear richest and best with black vests ; black-silk cords, or narrow ribbon, with white.
Patent-leather shoes are not now in fashion. Pure-white kids are only appropriate at weddings and funerals.
In conversation with ladies, avoid slang and borrowed wit.
When attending a lady at any entertainment, do not leave her alone during an intermission to go out and " get a drink." If you cannot deny yourself the gratification for a few hours, it would be more respectful to the lady to leave her at home.
Do not enter or leave a church during prayer ; nor a theatre, when your movements and the noise of your footsteps will disturb the audience in the enjoyment of an impressive scene.
On taking leave of a lady, retire, on reaching the doorway, backward, and with a bow.
Never make " clog-dance " or " jig " steps in a parlor or ball-room. They may be very skilful, and possibly (to some) funny ; but they are also rude and coarse. It has been said that " a jig-tune' will bring out all the vulgarity at a ball."
Always apologize when you step on a lady's train. She may not forgive you ; but she will accept your apology, and probably feel more amiable with the train.
In going up or down a narrow stairway with a lady, take the lead.
If a lady, while under your protection, is insulted to such an extent as will warrant your interference, see that she has another competent escort, before involving yourself, and possibly her, in unpleasant consequences. Generally ladies do not like to be too readily championed on such occasions, but prefer to rebuke impertinence in their own way ; and usually they are quite equal to the emergency. In the rare event of a coarse and brutal insult, you will be justified in resorting to extreme measures.
On your own account, never resent, or seem to notice, an ordinary affront, when ladies are present. Arrange all such matters with as little notoriety as possible.
When you attend at a private entertainment, pay your respects to the hosts as soon as possible without being too conspicuous in making your way to them. Regulate your conduct on such occasions so that you may appear to be there as much for the enjoyment of the company as for your own. To sit during the whole evening in a bay-window, with one lady, will not be quite consistent with this policy.
When waltzing in a crowd, do not bend your head down, and whisper to your partner, thus making yourself and the lady subjects for unkind criticism, possibly for ridicule. At the same time, by your inattention, you run the risk of coming in violent collision with other dancers.
Never prolong an argument as to right and precedence with reference to any particular position on the floor. If you cannot gain your point without an altercation, consideration for your partner and respect for yourself should influence you to retire. Arrogance and presumption are very irritating ; but it is better to submit to these, even, than to create an inharmonious, possibly disgraceful scene, by a too determined resistance.
At a theatre, concert, or other entertainment, with or without ladies, it is neither courteous to the performance, nor does it evince a sufficient consideration for the pleasure and convenience of those of the audience who may wish to witness the performance to its conclusion, to rush from your seat before the curtain falls, and while, perhaps, an interesting and impressive recitation is being made.
The fact that you paid for the privilege of attending the entertainment does not invest you with the additional privilege of making yourself a nuisance and a bore to others who have also paid the price of admission.
There is also a custom with young men and boys, of congregating around the doorways of places of public entertainment, to whittle sticks, chew and smoke tobacco, and, in many instances, to use bad language.
It is the fashion, in these days, for the youth of our country to be sceptical, to assert their convictions on the question of " the conflict between religion and science " with all the unction and assurance of theologians and savants.
This state of things is a condition consequent to the free thought and too free journalism of the age in which we live ; but the controversy between scientific and religious thought does not necessarily involve the social amenities ; and it is not necessary to stand in front of a church-door, with a cynical expression on your face, and a leer in your eye, directed at the whole female congregation, as it files out of church, in order to prove that you are a young man of superior wisdom in an independent line of thought.
You don't do this to display your contempt for religion, but to show your admiration and appreciation of beauty? You go just before the services are concluded, in order to avoid the contribution-box, and, at the same time, to be on hand for an opportunity to walk home with your " girl " (as is the popular title-general, I believe). Well, if the young lady happen to be one of those whose beauties are confined to the trimmings on her bonnet and bisque, she will no doubt appreciate this second-hand civility. If, however, she be one who attends church from a conscientious sense of religious duty, and the graces of her person be, as they should be, the natural reflections of moral and mental purity, her opinion of you, although she may not evince it, will not be of that elevated and admiring kind that your vanity may have led you to expect.
This custom is not localized. Unfortunately there yet remain in the country, towns and villages where you may observe long lines of young men, drawn np on the borders of pavements, in front of the churches, about the time of the conclusion of services ; and in all places they have appeared to be armed and equipped alike, —rattan canes, exaggerated coats, collars, and boots, — and they are everywhere alike annoying to that portion of the audience who attend places of worship for devotional purposes.
Church is dismissed, the congregation comes forth, the ranks of the sentinels dissolve and mingle with the tide of worshippers, and the young man who has possibly been spending the morning hours in disreputable society walks home with the young lady who has just been repeating the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, while reading a note written on the fly-leaf of a Bible by some " miserable sinner " in the next pew — who got there perhaps by mistake. None of the objectionable practices referred to were ever taught at a respectable dancing-school; nor has it ever been the habit of a conscientious teacher of dancing to inculcate such precepts as would lead to rudeness, idleness, vulgarity, or levity in manner, speech, principle, or movement.
Instead of such vices, the contrary virtues are suggested and taught ; and young men especially are advised to remember that Providence, nature, and custom have appointed and commissioned them the champions and guardians of all womanhood ; that no Mall can be a thorough gentleman who does not acknowledge and illustrate this great responsibility, both in thought and in deed ; and, finally, that to be in truth a perfect gentleman, is to have attained. to a state of mortal excellence in which every virtue, every moral, mental, and delicate physical accomplishment, is illustrated and exemplified.
Dancing At Home And Abroad:
The Dancing Academy
Music And Musicians
System In Teaching
Special Classes And Specialists
Balls And Soirees
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