The Gentleman

A true gentleman must regard the rights and feelings of others, even in matters the most trivial. In society he is quiet, easy, unobtrusive,putting on no airs, nor hinting by word or manner that he deems himself better, or wiser, or richer than any one about him. He never boasts of hisachievements, or fishes for compliments by affecting to underrate what he has done. He is distinguished, above all things, by his deep insight and sympathy, his quick perception of, and prompt attention to, those small and apparently insignificant things that may cause pleasure or pain to others.

The Lady

A true lady unconsciously encircles herself with an atmosphere of unruffled strength, which, to those who come into it, gives confidence and repose. Within her influence the diffident grow self-possessed, the impudent are checked, the inconsiderate are admonished; even the rude are constrained to be mannerly, and the refined are perfected; all spelled, unawares, by the flexible dignity, the commanding gentleness, the thorough womanliness of her look, speech and demeanor. Whenever the young find themselves in the company of those who do not make them feel at ease, they should know that they are not in the society of true ladies and true gentlemen, but of pretenders; that well-bred men and women can only feel at home in the society of the well-bred. from “Etiquette” Rules and Usage of the Best Society.

Etiquette at Balls

It is the duty of every person to arrive as early as possible to the hour named on the invitation. Each guest should do all in his or her power to contribute to the enjoyment of the evening and neither hesitate nor decline to be introduced to such guests as the hostess or host requests. It is the duty of all gentlemen to be reasonably proficient in the fashionable dances and to ensure that all the ladies who wish to dance do so. If by any action a gentleman should tread upon any portion of a ladiesdress, he must instantly beg her pardon and if by greater carelessness he should tear it, he must pause in his course and offer to escort her to thedressing room so that she may have it repaired. A gentleman should escort his partner to the host or hostess, then obtain a program card for her from the program table. He may fill her card with his name as far as propriety allows (usually no more than four dances) but must then introduce her to other men of his acquaintance, who should ask to fill the remainder of the card. He may dance the first dance with her, conduct her to the supper room and then be ready to accompany her home whenever she wishes to go. Never be seen without gloves in a ballroom, or with those of any othercolour than white unless they are of the most delicate hue. A lady cannot well refuse to dance with any gentleman who invites her unless she has a previous engagement. If she declines from weariness, the gentleman will show her a compliment by abstaining from dancing himself, and remaining with her while the dance progresses. Gentlemen should engage their partners for the approaching dance before the music strikes up. Never forget ballroom engagements, nor confuse them, nor promise a dance to two persons. If a lady has forgotten an engagement, the gentleman she has thus slighted must pleasantly accept her apology. Good breeding and appearance of good temper are inseparable. It is necessary for a gentleman to bow to his partner before a quadrille;after, it is enough that he offers her his arm and walks at least half way round the room with her. He is not obliged to remain beside her unless he wishes to do so, but may leave her with any lady whom she knows, or conduct her to a seat.  

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