“There is no branch of education called so universally into requisition as the art of letter writing; no station, high or low, where the necessity for correspondence is not felt; no person, young or old, who does not, at some time, write, cause to be written, and receive letters. From the President in his official capacity, with the busy pens of secretaries constantly employed in this branch of service, to the Irish laborer who, unable to guide a pen, writes, also by proxy, to his kinsfolks across the wide ocean; all, at some time, feel the desire to transmit some message, word of love, business, or sometimes enmity, by letter.”
Many believe that politeness is but a mask worn in the world to conceal bad passions and impulses, and to make a show of possessing virtues not really existing in the heart; thus, that politeness is merely hypocrisy and dissimulation. Do not believe this; be certain that those who profess such a doctrine are practising themselves the deceit they condemn so much. Such people scout politeness, because, to be truly a lady, one must carry the principles into every circumstance of life, into the family circle, the most intimate friendship, and never forget to extend the gentle courtesies of life to every one. This they find too much trouble, and so deride the idea of being polite and call it deceitfulness.
True politeness is the language of a good heart, and those possessing that heart will never, under any circumstances, be rude. They may not enter a crowded saloon gracefully; they may be entirely ignorant of the forms of good society; they may be awkward at table, ungrammatical in speech; but they will never be heard speaking so as to wound the feelings of another; they will never be seen making others uncomfortable by seeking solely for their own personal convenience; they will always endeavor to set every one around them at ease; they will be self-sacrificing, friendly, unselfish; truly in word and deed, polite. Give to such a woman the knowledge of the forms and customs of society, teach her how best to show the gentle courtesies of life, and you have a lady, created by God, only indebted for the outward polish to the world.
CHAPTER I. Conversation
CHAPTER II. Dress
CHAPTER III. Traveling
CHAPTER IV. How to behave at a Hotel
CHAPTER V. Evening Parties—Etiquette for the Hostess
CHAPTER VI. Evening Parties—Etiquette for the Guest
CHAPTER VII. Visiting—Etiquette for the Hostess
CHAPTER VIII. Visiting—Etiquette for the Guest
CHAPTER IX. Morning Receptions or Calls—Etiquette for the Hostess
CHAPTER X. Morning Receptions or Calls—Etiquette for the Caller
CHAPTER XI. Dinner Company—Etiquette for the Hostess
CHAPTER XII. Dinner Company—Etiquette for the Guest
CHAPTER XIII. Table Etiquette
CHAPTER XIV. Conduct in the Street
CHAPTER XV. Letter Writing
CHAPTER XVI. Polite Deportment and good Habits
CHAPTER XVII. Conduct in Church
CHAPTER XVIII. Ball room Etiquette—For the Hostess
CHAPTER XIX. Ball room Etiquette—For the Guest
CHAPTER XX. Places of Amusement
CHAPTER XXI. Accomplishments
CHAPTER XXII. Servants
CHAPTER XXIII. On a Young Lady's Conduct when contemplating Marriage
CHAPTER XXIV. Bridal Etiquette
CHAPTER XXV. Hints on Health
CHAPTER XXVI. Miscellaneous
RECEIPTS. For the Complexion, &c.
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Florence Hartley was a nineteenth-century writer and etiquette expert. She is the author of The Ladies' Handbook of Fancy and Ornamental Work (1859) and The Ladies' Book of Etiquette (1860).
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