Manners make the man...or woman, as the case may
be. During the Victorian
age in England, proper etiquette was key in achieving self-worth and
respect. From day to day social behavior, to personal relationships, etiquette
during the time that Arcadia took place (in the early 1800's) was a dominant
force effecting the actions of the people.
* When in the company of multiple acquaintances,
it is offensive for one to blatantly inquire about the time.
* The only proper gifts to be given to those people other
than one's relatives include exclusively books, flowers, music, and confectionery
* Upon one's first encounter with a new acquaintance,
it is not acceptable for one address the other in a less than formal manner.
* All greetings should be carried out with the same tone
of voice--no favoritism should be shown.
* Despite your interest, or lack thereof, it is only
proper to show apparent sympathy with the situation at hand.
* When you are accompanied by a companion while traveling,
it is customary to inquire about their preference in routes, and consequently,
use that route.
*It is proper for a man to escort his lady with his
arm, keeping her on the inside of the street to protect her from being
splashed by the mud of passing carriages.
*When enemies meet at a mutual aquaintance's home, they
must set aside all grievances and discuss them at a later date.
*It is not acceptable to reject any apology directed
your way. In turn, you must always offer an apology if you have caused
* Prior to matrimony, women must be properly trained
in language, music, needlework, painting and other household jobs to be
* If one is interested in another, their meeting must
be arranged by a mutual friend.
* Flirting is acceptable when it involves the use of
fans, parasols, and gloves in an enticing manner.
*If a gentleman wishes to escort a lady home, it is proper
that he present her with a card expressing his intent.
* A proper date should be kept under the surveillance
of a watchful eye.
*A lady need not accept the first proposal of marriage.
It is proper that she be asked multiple times by the same suitor.
Click here for more
tantalizing information about these personal relationships.
Emily Power & Jessie Ostlund
March 24, 1999
More Manners and Etiquette
in 18th and 19th Century England!!!
When dining with company, one had to observe a great deal of complicated rules about manners and etiquette.
For example, smiling was considered acceptable at the table, but laughter was (no pun intended) frowned upon.
Laughter creates disagreeable noises and distorts the face. Slouching at the table was naturally considered very bad manners.
Elbows were to be kept off of the table and hands were to be placed in one's lap when not being used for eating.
Dinner conversations were to be about "proper" subjects. Talking about the food at the table or even food in general was very unacceptable, as was gossiping and scandalous news.
Silverware was never to be allowed to touch the tablecloth once it had been used.
Another interesting note: In the early 19th century "dinner" was what a late meal was called, while "supper" was a snack before bed.
Parties were considered social events at which men and women danced with many people rather than only the person they came with.
If a woman refused an offer to dance she needed a legitimate reason. Often, if a woman refused one dance, she would have to turn down all other offers for the rest of the evening so as not to offend the person who made the first offer.
Even if one did not know the steps very well, he or she was expected to make an effort on the dance floor. Thus it was very important to know many dances, such as the Waltz, so as not to be embarrassed in front of the other guests.
Avoiding eye contact on the dance floor was considered very rude. Also, if a man saw a lady that was sitting by herself without a partner, he was obliged to ask her to dance.
Few people were left out, and to avoid dancing with someone was inexcuseably rude.
Following that, the host of the party was responsible for everything that happened. Therefore, if somebody was insulted, the host as well as the offender would need to apologize.
Aside from this, the host had to make sure the guests were as comfortable as possible. It was very important that he or she light as many candles as possible for a night time party (obviously this tradition did not work out so well for poor Thomasina).
Invitations were to be hand written and often hand delivered (however, the latter custom was less important by the mid 18th century than before).
Information taken from www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects
Edited by Julia Vita 2005
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