Monday, January 10, 2011

Etiquette for American Ladies 1840 - Receive Guests in the Parlour NOT the Dining Room


Etiquette for Ladies: With Hints on the Preservation, Improvement, and Display of Female Beauty. Published by Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia. 1838-1840

In a house where affluence abounds, it is indispensable to have a drawing-room; if that cannot be afforded, then let the receiving room be the parlour.

To receive company in a dining-room is not allowed, except among those who cannot bear the expense of furnishing a parlour or drawing-room. Simplicity admitted into an apartment of this kind, suited to smallness of means, we cannot but approve, while we regret, nevertheless the disagreeable things to which such a residence subjects the parties.

But we have, in this respect, an express warning to hold out to people who give themselves up to it unnecessarily, for it is altogether opposed to the received usages of good society to put yourselves in a situation which you cannot adorn; then you are exposed to receiving twenty visits during dinner, of seeing as many interruptions during the setting of your table, since it is impossible to spread the cloth properly, etc. while strangers remain; finally, of having them witness your domestic cares while removing the remains of a repast, the table-cloth, dishes, etc
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