Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Correct Thing

It is with pleasure that I review the informative and inspiring guide to Catholic living entitled The Correct Thing by Lelia Hardin Bugg, with Introduction and notes by Colleen Hammond. This charming vintage book, written by a Catholic spinster in Wichita, Kansas in 1881, was something Mrs. Hammond came upon by chance. In spite of the quaint style, Colleen could see that the book is a gem of wisdom, with advice just as relevant for our time as it was when first published. Not only do I find it of historical interest, but it is a practical guide as well, fraught with both common sense and devotion.To quote from Colleen's website:
Etiquette is not something that is turned on and off. Good manners, decorum, and charity benefit not only us personally, but the entire society. Good manners show an inner character that the ancients called virtues — those morally good inner character traits that are exhibited in an outward manner. That is why there really is no such thing as company manners.

Written over 130 years ago, nearly every tidbit of the author’s advice that was applicable in 1881 is still true today. It’s only when you stumble across a few obvious exceptions (a man shot in a duel, or how to treat your servants) that you are jolted back to the present.
The Correct Thing is the perfect guide for parents — as well as religious — who want a practical guide to help mind your manners in any situation, and to foster morally good inner character traits that will be exhibited in an outward manner. (Read more.)
What makes this book unique is that at a time when such books for Catholics were usually composed by nuns or priests, this one was written by a laywoman. Miss Lelia can be viewed as a forerunner of the many Catholic laywomen who write today. Her zeal for propriety and manners as an outer manifestation of the virtue of charity help us to realize our good intentions fall short if not communicated effectively. Also, the reader can see that there were abuses and rudeness then as there are now. People talked in church and spoiled children misbehaved in public. There was gossiping and scandal, although no where near the degree of contemporary manifestations.

Colleen is known as the author of the best-seller Dressing with Dignity, a book which over the years has helped many Christian women achieve a more feminine manner of dress along with a restoration of their self-respect. In bringing Miss Lelia's The Correct Thing to the public, she is helping all of us find a restored sense of human dignity. There is something in the book for everyone; I have certainly already learned a lot from it and I hope I find the courage and the fortitude to make the needed self-corrections.

The Correct Thing is currently available from Amazon, Valor Media and Createspace.

(NOTE: This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.) Share

1 comment:

julygirl said...

The phrase, "how to treat your servants" reminds me of a time when a Southern gentlewoman I knew asked if I sat down and ate lunch with my servants...I told her if I had any servants they made more money than I did and may not have wanted to eat with me! LOL

...and I know that good manners and courtesy to one another in the home setting is a lost art in many American homes.