Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Etiquette for American Ladies 1840 - On Polite Reserve


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

Remember that the principal beauty in the female character, is modesty to all, and polite reserve to those you know little regarding; modesty is of itself so beautiful, that it often conquers when a pretty face or a handsome form is overlooked.

Never be afraid to blush when the feeling is genuine, but never affect to blush when you do not feel it—remember that blushing is more frequently the attendant of innocence than of guilt .

Modesty does not only show itself in the face, but also in the dress, and more particularly in the manner, and is always a proof of good and liberal education; no lady can be polite who is not modest and retiring; female politeness is itself the very essence of modesty.

It is much better for a lady to say too little in company than too much; her conversation should always be consistent with her sex and age; and although it may sometimes be bright and witty, yet it should not always be so.

Men frequently look with a jealous eye on a learned woman, and are apt to denominate her a blue; be cautious, therefore, in a mixed company of showing yourself too much beyond those around you. To a mind well formed there is more real pleasure derived from the silent consciousness of superiority, than in the ostentatious display of it . It is possible to be silent, and yet not dull,—the silent eyes are often a more powerful conqueror than the noisy tongue; but be not, therefore, apparently careless to the conversation of others,— es the eyes can tell whether you are absent or not, although the mouth gives no audible token of presence.
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