How to be a Better Lady
Gait and Carriage
“A lady ought to adopt a modest and measured gait; too great hurry injures the grace which ought to characterize her. She should not turn her head on one side and on the other, especially in large towns or cities, where this bad habit seems to be an invitation to the impertinent. A lady should not present herself alone in a library, or a museum, unless she goes there to study, or work as an artist.
Gentlemen’s attendance. – After twilight, a young lady would not be conducting herself in a becoming manner, by walking alone; and if she passes the evening with any one, she ought, beforehand, to provide some one to come for her at a stated hour; but if this is not practicable, she should politely ask of the person whom she is visiting, to permit a servant to accompany her.”
Attentions to Others
When you are passing in the street, and see coming towards you a person of your acquaintance, whether a lady or an elderly person, you should offer them the wall, that is to say, the side next the houses. If a carriage should happen to stop, in such a manner as to leave only a narrow passage between it and the houses, beware of elbowing and rudely crowding the passengers, with a view to get by more expeditiously; wait your turn, and if any one of the persons before mentioned comes up, you should edge up to the wall, in order to give them the place. They also, as they pass, should bow politely to you.
Raising the Dress
When tripping over the pavement, a lady should gracefully raise her dress a little above her ankle. With the right hand, she should hold together the folds of her gown, and draw them towards the right side. To raise the dress on. both sides, and with both hands, is vulgar. This ungraceful practice can only be tolerated for a moment, when the mud is very deep.
Speaking to Your Husband
A lady should not say “my husband,” except among intimates; in every other case she should address him by his name, calling him “Mr.” It is equally proper, except on occasions of ceremony, and while she is quite young, to designate him by his christian name.
Never use the initial of a person’s name to designate him; as “Mr. P.,” “Mr. L.,” etc. Nothing is so odious as to hear a lady speak of her husband, or, indeed, any one else, as “Mr. B.”
How a lady should be spoken of by her husband. – It is equally improper for a gentleman to say “my wife,” except among very intimate friends; he should mention her as “Mrs. So-and-so.” When in private, the expression “my dear,” or merely the christian name, is considered in accordance with the best usage among the more refined.