Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Guest Blogger- Emma From Etiquette And Manners For The Contemporary Woman

Regency Era Etiquette

Emma from her page

Visit her at Etiquette and Manners for the Contemporary Woman on her webpage

Thank you Emma for your hard work on this!

Regency Etiquette
The Regency era was between 1811, when King George III was regarded as unsuitable as a ruler, and 1820 when his son, the Prince of Wales (who ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent until his father’s death ) became George IV.

The period was a time of both excess and uncertainty for the aristocracy, due to riots, Napoleonic wars, and an underlying concern that the British people might be influenced by the activities of the French Revolution.
During this era, The United States kept its independence against England following their two-year naval battle along the Canadian border, only ending in 1814 when the Treaty of Ghent brought the hostilities to an end. America remained involved in several domestic controversies such as the First Seminole War in 1817 and the issues over slavery fuelled by the Missouri Compromise in 1820.

Literature and Poetry Influences
The Regency era conjures up images of romanticism; an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. It played on intense emotions such as angst, horror and love.

Most famous works of that period were produced by the likes of  Lord Byron, William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and of course, Jane Austen.

Regency composers include Ludwig van Beethoven, Gioacchino Rossini, Franz Peter Schubert, Franz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn. The waltz became all the rage in ballrooms across Europe and was initially, as many new dances are, seen as vulgar and offensive.

Interestingly this era saw fabrics enhancing the shape of the body far more than had ever been seen before with empire style dresses. There were rumours that some ladies ‘damped’ their petticoats to enhance this style even more, and that, couple with the new waltz, made it all rather scandalous.

Etiquette Rules in Regency Society
Only by understanding Society’s strict ‘Rules’ is anyone – man or woman – in a position to break them.

The Regency period was a time when knowing how to behave was important. Having the knowledge of when to speak, how to speak, dress, and even introduce yourself could make or break your social success.

Do not be presumptuous in offering introductions. It is for the ‘superior in consequence’ to indicate whether he or she wishes to permit the introduction of an inferior.

Do not attempt to bring friends of different ranks together.
Recognize the ‘distinction of rank’. Different professions, for example, are regarded with different degrees of respect.

Always show restraint on meeting and greeting. It is a point of English decorum that they should be so: flamboyances and flourishes, such as hand kissing are best left to other nationalities.

Pay, and return, calls (visits) promptly. Never delay a visit when it is due.

Do not call too briefly. Any visit should last fifteen minutes.
Visits of ‘pleasure’ should be carefully judged. The most agreeable visits are paid on the morning after the ball when details of the night’s entertainment are being discussed.

Make polite conversation, ensure you are graceful, not intrusive or shy.

Learn to dance well.

Occupy yourself and your guests by offering refreshments. It is acceptable for a gentleman to scan a newspaper or a lady to pick up her needlework.

When in doubt talk of weather.

Return invitations promptly.

Assist in the after-dinner entertainment.

Appear unconcerned as to dress.

Avoid finery and show.

Avoid open shows of affection.

Do not encourage unjustifiable expectations. Every gentleman and lady should pay close attention to the dangers of showing over-much interest in a member of the opposite sex.

Pay heed to the rules of engagement. Outside the family, a lady and a gentleman may not correspond with one another, unless they are engaged.

The number of servants kept must be in proportion to the master of mistress’s income not aspirations.
Servants must be properly trained and supervised.

Servants should know their place, and keep to it.

Show respect towards servants.

Never be over-familiar with servants.

For men:
If passing a lady--whom you are only slightly acquaitned with--while out in about in town or at the park, do not tip your hat unless she first acknowledges you. Do not speak to her unless spoken to.

Going up the stairs--men first. Going down stairs--ladies first.

When riding in a carriage with a lady who is not your wife, sister, mother or daughter--do not sit next to her! Also be sure that you are sitting in the seat facing backward. Also, take care not to step on her dress.
A gentleman never smokes in the presence of ladies. 

Respect a ladies reputation. Safeguarding the reputation of a lady is at all times a matter of the highest importance.

A gentleman may not ask a lady to dance with him without a formal introduction.

Attend to your neighbours needs at the table.

For Ladies:
A lady may not call upon a gentleman. If need be, the father must instigate the connection and until that introductory visit is paid no deeper connection can result.

If a lady is under the age of thirty and/or unmarried, she should never be alone with a man she is not related to without a chaperone--unless of course he is escorting her to church or the park early in the morning. 

Never wear pearls or diamonds in the morning! 

Never dance more than three times with the same gentleman at a party. 

Having refused one gentleman, a lady may not accept another’s invitation.

A lady may not invite a gentleman to dance.

Make amusing conversation whilst dancing.

Make the effort to enjoy dinner parties.

Do not give someone the cut direct unless absolutely necessary, and when you do, make sure it is with an icey stared, perhaps even a stiff bow. 

After dinner the ladies must withdraw.

Do not dress immodestly.

When in doubt wear a white gown.

Maintain your dignity. Behave with decorum at all times.

Be cautious with comments on others dress – compliments included. To question – or even compliment – anyone else, in person, on the details of the dress may be regarded as impertinent.

Use cosmetics with restraint.

Do not indulge in matchmaking.

Marry only for the right reasons.

Refuse a marriage proposal with dignity.

Accept a marriage proposal with grace.

Create an atmosphere of order and harmony within the home.

Never be put off from showing hospitality by limited accommodation.

Provide occupations and pastimes for guests and family.

Do not dwell upon matters of maternity and childbirth.

Do not over-indulge children.

Retain a sense of ‘elegance’ as far as possible, when lying-in (childbirth)

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickes Knew by Daniel Pool
Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross, illustrated by Henrietta Webb

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