Monday, April 15, 2013

Of Refinement and Good Manners

In Regency England. To quote:
Etiquette demanded a person behaved with courteous dignity to acquaintance and stranger alike at all times. Well-bred individuals and those seeking to be seen as such were instructed to keep at arm's length any who presumed too great a familiarity. Icy politeness was the best weapon in putting so-called 'vulgar mushrooms' in their place.

To be considered wall-mannered, an individual had to control their features, their physical bodies, and their speech when in company. Extremes of emotion and public outbursts were unacceptable, as was anything pretentious or flamboyant. A woman, though, could have the vapors, faint, or suffer from hysteria if confronted by vulgarity or an unpleasant scene.

All forms of vulgarity were unacceptable and to be continually guarded against. Laughter, too, was moderated in polite company, particularly among women. Men might engage in unrestrained mirth in the company of other men or among women of low repute for whom the rules of etiquette were more or less irrelevant. (Read entire article.)

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