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The 1840s:

June 2024
1min read

“Above All, Don’t Attempt to Be Too Fine”


A GENTLEMAN’S BEHAVIOR IN THE STREET

Every man ought to know how to walk, and it is well to practice and acquire a proper gait. Don’t walk with a strut like a turkey-cock, nor stiffly as if you had a poker down your back, nor, on the other hand, swing from side to side, nor push on head first, dragging your limbs after you. Don’t swing your arms like a windmill, nor carry them stuck to your side like a trussed fowl. Wear your hat upright on your head, neither set back, nor drawn over the eyes, nor carried jauntily on one side.

BEHAVIOR AT DINNER

If possible, the knife should never be put in the mouth at all, and if at all, let the edge be turned outward.

Eat PEAS with a dessert spoon; and curry also. Tarts and puddings are to be eaten with a spoon .

The best general rule for a person unacquainted with the uses of society, is to be cautious, pay attention, and do as he sees others do, who ought to know what is proper. Most of our blunders are the result of haste and the want of observation.

ON CONVERSATION

It is very vulgar to talk in a loud tone, and indulge in horse-laughs. Be very careful in speaking of subjects upon which you are not acquainted. Much is to be learned by confessing your ignorance—nothing can be gained by pretending to knowledge which you do not possess.

Of all things, don’t attempt to be too fine. Use good honest English—and common words for common things. If you speak of breeches, shirts, or petticoats, call them by their right names. The vulgarity is in avoiding them.

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