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Decorum a Practical Treatise on Etiquette and Dress Book.
This grand old book is entitled "Decorum a Practical Treatise on Etiquette and Dress of the Best American Society". Dated 1878, it was the "bible" for manners, etiquette, and social norms of the late 1880's. It was considered the foremost in instruction for young ladies of its time, and woe be it to you if you didn't follow the rules laid in. It was a most comprehensive resource for all things Victorian with regard to etiquette and all things pertaining to Victorian life and customs.
The topics include:
CHAPTER I Introductory
CHAPTER II Entrance into Society: The good will of women, Social connections, Being natural, With whom to associate, What to tolerate, Common place speech, Modesty, Respectful deference, Ease of manner, Distinctions in conduct, Long usage, Selecting company, Good sense, Qualities of a gentlemen, Whom to imitate.
CHAPTER III INTRODUCTIONS: Introductions by relatives, Saluting and shaking hands, First introduction, Second or subsequent meeting, The obligations of introduction, After an introduction, Introduction while traveling, Introductory letters to ladies, Receipt of introductory letters, Requesting a letter of introduction, Introductions to society, Introductions while traveling, Introductory letter to ladies, Receipt of introductory letters, Introductions to society, Bestowing of titles, Proper forms of introductions, Ceremonious phrases, Casual introductions, Speak the name distinctly, Introduction of a lady to a gentleman, Introductions in other countries, Introductions with permission, Introductions without permission, Meeting on the street, Morning visitors, Introducing yourself, Assisting a lady in difficulty.
CHAPTER IV SALUTATIONS: Forms of salutations, Salutations of different nations, The bow, Words of salutation, Foreigner's salutations, Salutations on the street, Meeting in the street, Bow of civility, Saluting ladies, Shaking hands, Etiquette of handshaking, The kiss, The kiss of respect, The kiss of friendship, Women kissing in public.
CHAPTER V SOCIAL INTERCOURSE: The value of knowledge, A good conscience, Good character, A well informed man, Liberal and scientific information, Employing leisure moments, Softening natural ferocity, The arts of peace, Differences in social intercourse, Slight reflections, Improving by conversation, Learn something from us all, Be not too confident, Narrow and limited views, Consulting with others, Differences of opinion.
CHAPTER VI CONVERSATION: Subjects to be avoided, Talk to people of their own affairs, Avoid talking too much of their professions, Avoid classical quotations, Modulation, Slang, Using proverbs and puns, Avoid long arguments, Interrupting a person while speaking, Whispering in society, Make the topic of conversation known, Witticisms, Avoid unfamiliar subjects, Introducing anecdotes, Correct pronunciation, Avoid repeating, Cultivating the mind, Music, "A Low voice", Talk well about trifles, Double entendres, Indelicate words and expressions, Profanity, Listening, Give credit for what you learn, The best kind of conversation, Interjections, Avoid wounding the feelings of another, Affectations, Use plain words, Avoid wit which wounds, Proper reserve, Professional peculiarities, Modesty, Conversing with ladies, Conclusion.
CHAPTER VII VISITS: Visits of congratulations, Visits of ceremony or calls, Time to make ceremonious visits, Keep an account of ceremonial visits, Visit of ceremony among friends, Calling at an inconvenient hour, Visiting at hotels, Visiting the sick, Style of conversation, Visits of condolence, Before going abroad, Taking leave of a family, Meeting other visitors, Gentlemen's morning call, Returning from the country, Cards for ceremonious visits, Calling on strangers, Engaged or not at home, Evening visits, Friendly calls, Keep account of visits, Omitting visits, Suitable times for visits, How to treat visitors, Taking a seat while visiting, Pay equal attention to all, Taking a friend with you visiting, Privileges of ladies, Visiting acquaintances alone, A lady calling on gentlemen, Preference of seats, Respects toward the feeble and aged, Discontinuing work, Visiting cards, Address on cards, Keeping cards, Laying aside the bonnet, Habitual visits, Short visits, Unintentional intrusions, True hospitality, Treatment of guests, Duties of the visitor.
CHAPTER VIII DINNER-PARTIES AND BALLS: Invitations, Reply to an invitation, Arriving too late, Manners at table, Dress neatly for dinner party, How long to remain after dinner, Congenial company, Number of guests, Manner of writing invitations, Invitation accepted, Invitation declined, Invitation to a tea party, Reception of guests, Proceeding to dinner, Arranging guests at the table, Intermingling guests, Asking the waiter for anything, Praising every dish, Picking your teeth at the table, Selecting a particular dish, Duties of host and hostess, Paring fruit for a lady, Dipping bread into preserves, Soup, Fish, General rules regarding dinner, Watching how others do, Urging guest to eat, Waiting on others, Monopolizing conversation, Signal for leaving the table, Dancing, Giving a ball, Choice of guests, Issuing invitations, Prejudices against dancing, Notes of interrogation, Variety of toilet, Choice of attire, Evening party, The cloak room, When to arrive, Refusing to dance, Giving a reason for not dancing, How to ask a lady to dance, Leaving a ballroom, Talking too much, Wall flowers, Duties of gentlemen, Duties of ladies, While dancing, Reserve and politeness, When not to dance, Grace and modesty, Private party, Public balls, Visit of thanks, Deportment in public places, General rules for a ballroom, Conclusion.
CHAPTER IX STREET ETIQUETTE: Recognizing friends on the street, Omitting to recognize acquaintances, Shaking hands with a lady, Young ladies conduct on the street, Accompanying visitors, Fulfilling an engagement, Conduct while shopping, Taking off your glove, Asking information, Crossing a muddy street, Expensive dresses in the street, Carriage of a lady in public, Forming acquaintances in public, Demanding attentions, Meeting a lady's acquaintance, Stopping a lady on the street, Passing acquaintances, Crowding before another, Giving the arm, When to offer your arm, Returning a salute, Passing before a lady, Corner loafers, Shouting, Gentlemen walking with a lady, Crossing the street with a lady, General rules, Passing through a crowd, Saluting a lady, Ascending a mountain, Meeting on the street, Intrusive inquires on meeting, Smoking while walking, Taking off your hat.
CHAPTER X RIDING AND DRIVING: Etiquette of riding, Riding with ladies, Assisting a lady to mount, Pace in riding, Meeting friends on horseback, Meeting a lady, Assisting a lady to alight from a horse, Entering a carriage, Alighting from a carriage, Assisting a lady into a carriage.
CHAPTER XI TRAVELING: A lady traveling alone, On arrival of the train, Arriving at destination, Rushing for the ticket office, Personal comfort, A lady traveling alone, Social intercourse while traveling, Occupying too many seats, Retaining a seat, Etiquette of street cards, Etiquette of ferry boats, Checking familiarity, Duty of ladies to other ladies in traveling, Consulting the comfort of others, Attending to the wants of others, Selfishness of ladies.
CHAPTER XII ETIQUETTE OF PUBLIC PLACES: Church etiquette Visiting an artist, Conduct in picture galleries, Conduct in the opera or concert, Conduct at the theater or public hall, Church or fancy fairs, Picnics How to dress, Duties of gentlemen, Committee of arrangements, Boating, Rowing, Ladies rowing.
CHAPTER XIII LETTER WRITING: Letters of introduction, Letters of friendship, The family letter, Parents to children, Letters of business, Directions, Invitation to a party, General advice to letter writers.
CHAPTER XIV COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE: A woman's judgment, Love and marriage, Usages of society, Love a universal passion, A lady's position, A gentleman's position, Conduct of a gentleman toward ladies, Conduct of a lady towards gentlemen, Premature declaration, Love at first sight, Trifling with a man's feelings, A poor triumph, A still greater crime, The rejected lover, Duty of a rejected suitor, Unmanly conduct, Encouraging the address of a gentleman, Proposal of marriage, Forms of proposals, Proposal accepted, Protracted engagements, "Asking Papa", An engagement ring, The relations of an engaged couple, Demonstration of affection, Keeping late hours, A domineering lover, Breaking an engagement, Breaking an engagement by letter, Acknowledging such letter, The marriage ceremony, General rules Congratulations after the ceremony, Ceremony in church, Leaving the church, Marriage fees, Let joy be confined, The wedding breakfast, Sending cards, Wedding cards, Calling on a newly-married couple, A joyous period, Professional call while receiving calls, Returning wedding gifts.
CHAPTER XV DOMESTIC ETIQUETTE AND DUTIES: Duties of the wife, Avoid all causes for complaint, Beware of confidants, Regarding money matters, How to keep home, Avoid concealment, Avoid all bickerings, Becoming conduct for a wife, Solomon's description of a woman, Duties of a husband, Things to remember, Accompany your wife to church, A breach of domestic etiquette, Take your wife into your confidence, Let her manage her own affairs, Avoid unnecessary interference, Be always ready to praise, Avoid comparisons, Conclusions.
CHAPTER XVI TABLE ETIQUETTE: The breakfast table, General rules for behavior at the table, Luncheon, Dinner.
CHAPTER XVII MISCELLANEOUS RULES OF ETIQUETTE: Presents among friends, Presents to married ladies, Presents by married ladies, Praising presents, Making parade, How to receive a present, Refusing a gift, Value of presents, Governing our moods, Civility due to all women, Keeping engagements, Requisites to gain esteem, Contempt and haughtiness, Talking of yourself, A filthy habit, Avoid loud conversation, Consulting your time piece, Removing the hat, Smoking in the presence of ladies, Relinquishing a seat for ladies, A man's pride and principles, Avoid religious topics, Attention to young people in society, Reverential regard for religion, Absent mindedness, Affectation, Confidence and secrecy, A woman's good name, Singing in company, Gentlemen at evening parties, Accepting an invitation, Expressing unfavorable opinions, Checking himself in conversation, Cautiousness and self control, Avoid argument, Civility Courtesy, Improper actions and attitudes, Good maxims, Politeness, Washington's maxims Principle of good breeding, Attention to small matters.
CHAPTER XVIII WASHINGTON ETIQUETTE: Social duties of the President, Presidential receptions, Private call upon the President, Social duties of Cabinet Officers and their families, Social duties of Congressmen and their families.
CHAPTER XIX BUSINESS
CHAPTER XX ANNIVERSARY WEDDING: The paper wedding, The wooden wedding, The tin wedding, The crystal wedding, The china wedding, The silver wedding, The golden wedding The diamond wedding, Presents at anniversary weddings, Invitations to anniversary weddings, Marriage ceremony at anniversary weddings.
CHAPTER XXI FUNERALS: Invitations to a funeral, Charge of affairs at a funeral, Expense of a funeral, General rules of etiquette concerning houses of mourning, Conveyances for a funeral, Exhibiting a corpse, Receiving guests at a funeral, Proceeding to the cemetery, Flowers at a funeral, Other decorations upon the coffin, After the funeral, Notification of death, Obligation to attend a funeral, Seclusion of the bereaved family, Period of mourning.
CHAPTER XXII DRESS: First impression, Consistency in dress, Plain dressing, Too rich dressing, Elegant dressing, Appropriate and becoming dress, Neglect of dress, Habitual attention to attire, An amiable exterior, Dress the appropriate finish of beauty, Taste, Simplicity in dress, Delicacy and harmony, Using paints, Color and complexion, Dress to suit the occasion, Evening dress, Bright colored gloves, Never dress above your station, Thinking about your dress, Morning dress for the home, Morning dress for the visitor, Morning dress for the street, Business woman's dress, The promenade, Material of a walking suite, Carriage dress, Riding dress, Dress for receiving calls, Dress of hostess, Dinner dress, Dress of guests at dinner party, Ordinary evening dress, Dress for evening call, Dress for social party, The soiree and ball, Dress for church, Dress for the theater, Dress for lecture and concert, Dress for the opera, Croquet and skating costumes, Costumes for country and seaside, Bathing costumes, Costumes for traveling, Going to Europe, Wedding outfit, The wedding dress, Dress of the bridegroom, Dress of the bridesmaids, Traveling dress of the bride, Marriage of a widow, Dress of guests at wedding reception, The trousseau.
CHAPTER XXIII HARMONY OF COLOR IN DRESS: Size in relation to dress and colors.
CHAPTER XXIV THE TOILETTE: Health and beauty, The dressing room, Lady's dressing room, Gentleman's dressing room, The bath, The air bath, The teeth, The skin, The eyes, lashes, and brows, The hair, The beard, The hand.
CHAPTER XXV. TOILET RECIPES: To remove freckles, Wrinkles, Discoloration of the skin, Sunburn, Cure chilblains, Hair curling fluid, To prevent hair from falling off, Rye tooth powder, Bandoline, Rosewater, Lip salve, Smooth skin, Sticking plaster, To improve the complexion, Burns, Pimpernel water, To soften the hands, For roughness of the skin, Chapped hands, To prevent hair from turning gray, To soften and beautify the hair, To remove pimples, To remove tan, Cure for corn, Chapped lips, Black teeth, Pomade against baldness, Cologne, Ox marrow pomatum, Dentifrice, To clean kid gloves, Waterproof boots and shoes, To remove a tight ring, Cleaning jewelry, To clean kid boots, Cleaning silver, To remove grease spots, To clean patent leather boots, Mildew from linen, To remove stains and spots from silk, Toothache prevention, Cure for felon, Cure for croup, Cure for ingrowing nails on toes, Protection from moths, Etc.
An excerpt from "Choice of Attire": Certain fashionables seeks to gain a kind of reputation by the odd choice of their attire, and by their eagerness to seize upon the first caprices of the fashions. Propriety with difficulty tolerates these fancies of a spoiled child; but it applauds a woman of sense and taste, who is not in a hurry to follow the fashions, and asks how long they will last, before adopting them; finally, who selects and modifies them with success according to her size and figure.
On "Dress Ordinary Evening Dresses": A lady should always be prepared for casual callers in the evening. Her dress should be tasteful and becoming, made with a certain amount of ornament and worn with lace and jewelry. Silks are the most appropriate for this dress, but all the heavy woolen fabrics for winter and the lighter lawns and organdies for summer, elegantly made, are suitable. The colors should be rich and warm for winter, and knots of bright ribbon should be worn in the hair and at the throat. The form should be dressed plainly, with no ornament save a ribbon. Artificial flowers are out of place, and glittering gems are only worn on more important occasions. On "Toilette RecipesTo Remove Freckles": Scrape horseradish into a cup of cold sour milk, let it stand twelve hours; strain, and apply two or three times a day.
To Remove Wrinkles: Melt white wax one ounce to gentle heat, and add juice of lily bulbs two ounces and honey two ounces, rose-water two drachms and attar of roses a drop or two. Use twice a day. To Soften the Hands: Take half a pound of soft soap, a gill of salad oil, an ounce of mutton tallow, and boil them til they are thoroughly mixed. After the boiling has ceased, but before the mixture is cold, add one gill of spirits of wine and a grain of musk. Anoint the hands, draw on gloves, and let them remain til morning....oh my!
As you can see, it's quite fantastic, with a wealth of information to guide the reader. Amazing how this all played out in Victorian society! 352 pages, the binding/spine is tight, pages are clean with minimal use, and are gilt tipped. There is a previous owner's old pen inscription on the front flyleaf. This hardbound blue silk cloth covered book has a lady cartouche on the cover, with the title and borders in gilt. Front and back flyleaf pages are a rich chocolate brown paper with wear at the edges. The cover board corners have wear at the corners, with some showing of the underlying boards and fraying of fabric. The spine has wear at the bottom, typical of old shelf wear. In VG condition. Overall size is 5.5 x 7.5 inches. Really, a terrific book on Victoriana, and a highly sought after volume.
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