Friday, February 17, 2023

13 more rules of Victorian etiquette part 2


Last month,I talked about proper manners and how they’ve changed since Victorian times. That post was regarding greeting others. Here is the link if you haven’t seen it.This month I’ll share some Victorian etiquette rules that related to how you interact with others in a public setting.


·       Never point at another person.

This is something my mother constantly exhorted we children. And I did the same with mine. A not so kind inquiry often accompanies the pointing.

·       Never wantonly frighten others.

I wish they had enforced this next rule when I was growing up.  Nothing is more upsetting than having the stuffing scared out of you by someone who thinks it's hilarious to see you jump or shriek.

·       Never make yourself the hero of your story.

 How often have you heard someone share something exactly this way? Humility doesn’t seem in fashion for some yet today.

·       Never pick your teeth or clean your nails in the presence of others.

I think we should add toenail clipping to this list.

·       Never question a servant or child about family matters.

We all know children repeat what they see and hear even it there conclusions and what they tell you are incorrect. Employees can be the best gossips, that hasn’t changed much over the centuries.

·       Never read other people’s mail.

Some couples open all the mail whether it has their name on it or not which can create either tension or ruin a surprise. During Victorian times, a parent or guardian might open mail addressed to the unmarried young people in their charge and perhaps destroy it or make comments on the content before the young person could read it.

·       Never call attention to the features or form of someone in the room.

·       Pretend to not notice a scar, deformity or defect of another person.

These rules are hard for children and many adults to adhere to.  How awkward to pretend you don’t notice someone has a limp or other handicap. But to ignore such things was the epitome of good manners.

·       Never punish your child for a fault you are also addicted.

Wow! What a challenge not to punish a child for something you do. Brings to mind the adage:-“Do as I say, not as I do.”

·       Never lend out another person’s things unless you have permission to do so.

Is this anything like not wearing your sister’s clothes without asking? Or lending a book you borrow from a friend before asking if they mind?

·       Never exhibit anger, impatience, or excitement when an accident happens.

I’m sure we all fall short on this one. It’s hard not to have some emotional response when a possession is broken or a child hurts themselves after doing something foolish.

·       Never will a gentleman allude to conquest which he may have had with a lady.

How many romances have you read with a cad just like this. 

·       Never fail to offer the easiest and best seat in the room to an invalid, an elderly person or a lady.

When was the last time anyone offered you their chair, ladies? How many older people are standing on a bus because young people got the benches first? Just an observation.

Which of these Victorian rules were you raised with? Which ones do you still practice today? Which ones do you think need to be reinstated?


 Cindy Ervin Huff is an Award-winning author of Historical and Contemporary Romance. She loves infusing hope into her stories of broken people. She is addicted to reading and chocolate. Her idea of a vacation is visiting historical sites and an ideal date with her hubby of almost fifty years would be live theater.

Visit her website and sign up for her newsletter and receive some free short stories as a thank you. 

Angelina’s Resolve: Book 1 of Village of Women

Proving her skills are equal to a man’s may cost her more than she ever imagined.

Modern-thinking Angelina DuBois is determined to prove her cousin Hiram wrong. He fired her from the architect firm she helped grow when her father’s will left the business to Hiram. Using her large inheritance and architectural degree, she sets out to create a village run by women—Resolve, Kansas.

Carpenter and Civil War veteran Edward Pritchard’s dream of building homes for Chicago’s elite must be put on hold until he gains references. Serving as a contractor under Angelina’s well-known DuBois name provides that opportunity. But can Angelina trust her handsome new carpenter to respect her as his boss? Will the project take Edward one step closer to his goals, or will it make him a laughingstock? Can these two strong-willed people find love amid such an unconventional experiment?



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today. I don't remember any of these rules being used in my childhood home, stated or unstated. I tried to instill kindness in general with my own children. I think that the rule of a younger person giving up their seat to another should be common. It's a pet peeve with me how many children these days seek out the best seat first in any situation.