Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1887 Etiquette and How to Behave

                                    1. Tobacco.

Ladies, in this country, do not use tobacco, so they may skip this section. A large and increasing number of gentlemen may do the same; but if you use tobacco, in any forth, allow
us to whisper a useful hint or two in your ear. Smoking, snuff-taking, and especially chewing, are bad habits at best, and in their coarser forms highly disgusting to pure and refined people, and especially to ladies. You have the same right to smoke, take snuff, and chew that you have to indulge in the luxuries of a filthy skin and soiled garments, but you have no right, in either case, to do violence to the senses and sensibilities of other people by their exhibition in society. Smoke if you will, chew, take snuff (against our earnest advice, however), make yourself generally and particularly disagreeable, but you must suffer the consequences — the social outlawry which must result.
 

Shall we convert our parlors into tobacco shops, risk the ruin of our carpets and furniture from the random shots of your disgusting saliva, and fill the whole atmosphere of our house with a pungent stench, to the discomfort and disgust of everybody else, merely for the pleasure of your company? We have rights as well as you, one of which is to exclude from our circle all persons whose manners or habits are distasteful to us. You talk of rights. You can not blame others for exercising theirs.
 

There are degrees here as everywhere else. One may chew a little, smoke an occasional cigar, and take a pinch of snuff now and then, and if he never indulges in these habits in the
presence of others, and is very careful to purify his person before going into company, he may confine the bad effects, which he can not escape, mostly to his own person. But he must not smoke in any parlor, or sitting-room, or dining room, or sleeping chamber, or in the street, and particularly not in the presence of ladies, anywhere.


                                   2. Spitting.

"The use of tobacco has made us a nation of spitters," as some one has truly remarked. Spitting is a private act, and tobacco users are not alone in violating good taste and good manners by hawking and spitting in company. You should never be seen to spit. Use your handkerchief carefully and so as not to be noticed, or, in case of necessity, leave the room.

                              3. Gin and Gentility.

The spirit and tenor of our remarks on tobacco will apply to the use of ardent spirits. The fumes of gin, whisky, and rum are, if possible, worse than the scent of tobacco. They must on no account be brought into[Pg 30] company. If a man (this is another section which women may skip) will make a beast of himself, and fill his blood with liquid poison, he must, if he desires admission into good company, do it either privately or with companions whose senses and appetites are as depraved as his own.

                                4. Onions, etc.

All foods or drinks which taint the breath or cause disagreeable eructations should be avoided by persons going into company. Onions emit so very disagreeable an odor that no truly polite person will eat them when liable to inflict their fumes upon others. Particular care should be
taken to guard against a bad breath from any cause.

  

                              5. Several Items.

Never pare or scrape your nails, pick your teeth, comb your hair, or perform any of the necessary operations of the toilet in company. All these things should be carefully attended to
in the privacy of your own room. To pick the nose, dig the ears, or scratch the head or any part of the person in company is still worse. Watch yourself carefully, and if you have any such habits, break them up at once. These may seem little things, but they have their weight, and go far in determining the character of the impression we make upon those around us. 


From the book, "How to Behave" 
  

1 comment: