The Family Guide on How to Be A Gentleman

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In Aunt Hetty's Ordeal, Miss King is alarmed by Gus Pike's ruffian behavior and strives to teach him proper manners. She lends him a book "How to Be A Gentleman" that demonstrates how to dress properly, comb your hair, greet people in public, and most importantly--how to hold your pinky finger in the air!  The following Family Guide style excerpts demonstrate manners and etiquette for the Edwardian gentleman.

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A gentleman faultlessly gloved cannot go far wrong.
Social Etiquette
Maud C. Cooke, 18-

A man who is badly dressed, feels chilly, sweaty, and prickly.  He stammers, and does not always tell the truth.  He means to, perhaps, but he can’t.       
Search Light on Health
Prof. B.G. Jefferis and J.L. Nichols, 1896

A man with a trivial nose should not wear a large moustache.  Doing so will increase the insignificance of his insignificant nose… Sometimes the end of a man’s moustache are visible to persons walking behind him.  This imparts to him a belligerent, aggressive air, that makes small children refrain from asking him the time, and saves him from being asked the way by puzzled pedestrians.
Etiquette for Every Day
Mrs. Humphry, 1904

A gentleman should never attempt to step over a lady’s train; he should go around it.
As Others See Us
Anonymous, 1890

If a gentleman is walking with two ladies in a rain storm, and there is but one umbrella, he should give it to his companions and walk outside.  Nothing can be more absurd than to see a gentleman walking between two ladies holding an umbrella which perfectly protects himself, but half deluges his companions with its dripping streams.
Our Deportment
Compiled by John H. Young, 1881

If a lady and gentleman are walking arm in arm, they should keep step. The gentleman must adapt his long stride to her shorter steps, else they have a curious appearance.
Polite Society At Home and Abroad
Mrs. Annie R. White, 1891

To look back at one who has passed, even if she has on a new dress which does not fit in the back, is not polite.
The Manners That Win
Anonymous, 1880

gentleman sm1

A gentleman will not stand on the street corners, or in hotel doorways, or club windows, and gaze impertinently at ladies as they pass by.  This is the exclusive business of loafers, upon which well-bred men will not trespass.
-Social Etiquette, or: Manners and Customs of Polite Society, By Maud C. Cooke, 1896

A gentleman visitor who neither shoots, fishes, boats, reads, writes letters, nor does anything but hang about, letting himself be ‘amused,’ is an intolerable nuisance.  He had better go to the billiard room and practice caroms by himself; or retire to the stables and smoke.
Manners and Social Usages
Mrs. John Sherwood, 1897

On the road, the constant care of the gentleman should be to render the ride agreeable to his companion, by the pointing out of objects of interest with which she may not be acquainted, the reference to any peculiar beauty of landscape which may have escaped her notice, and a general lively tone of conversation, which will, if she be timid, draw her mind from the fancied dangers of horseback riding, and render her excursion much more agreeable than if she be left to imaging horrors whenever her horse may prick up his ears or whisk his tail.
The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness
Cecily B. Hartley, 1860

No gentleman is guilty of smoking when walking or riding with a lady.  It leaves the impression with others that she is of secondary importance to his cigar.
Polite Society At Home and Abroad
Mrs. Annie R. White, 1891

A man, … whether he aspires to be a gentleman or not, should learn to box. There are but few rules… , strike out, strike straight, strike sudden. Two gentlemen never fight; the art of boxing is brought into use in punishing a stronger and more impudent fellow of a class beneath your own.
~ The Habits of Good Society (1859)

The power to deliver a good scientific blow may be of inestimable value under certain extreme circumstances…” for a “man may come upon some ruffian insulting a woman in the streets; and in such cases a blow settles the matter.”  “Never assail an offender with words, nor when you strike him, use such expressions as, ‘Take that.’  
Anonymous
The Habits of Good Society, 1859

Gentleman unaccustomed to the management of a boat should never venture out with ladies.  To do so is foolhardy, if not criminal...  Men who cannot swim should never take ladies upon the water.
-Social Etiquette, or: Manners and Customs of Polite Society, By Maud C. Cooke, 1896

Great care must be taken not to splash the ladies, either in the first dipping the oars or subsequently.  Neither should anything be done to cause them fright.
-Social Etiquette, or: Manners and Customs of Polite Society, By Maud C. Cooke, 1896

The Family Guide to Conversation

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In the episode Proof of the Pudding, Felicity lectures from "The Family Guide," insisting that "bad behavior must be nipped in the bud!" The Family Guide is similar to many etiquette books of the time that outlined rules for proper behavior in society.

During this era, manners and etiquette were important and closely associated with wealth and status. "Good breeding and polite manners are very important," Felicity says in High Society. "How else can one improve their position in life?"

We begin an exploration of Family Guide style etiquette with the following Avonlea era conversation rules.

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Money is never talked of in polite society; it is taken for granted.
~ The book of Good Manners, Mrs Burton Kingsland (1901)

It is a mark of ill-breeding to use French phrases or words, unless you are sure your companion is a French scholar, and, even then, it is best to avoid them. Above all, do not use any foreign word or phrase, unless you have the language perfectly at your command.
~The Ladies Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness
Florence Hartley (1860)

The etiquette of hand-shaking is simple. A man has no right to take a lady’s hand till it is offered.
~ The Habits of Good Society (1859)

The gentleman who shakes hands with great warmth and impressment are two distinct individuals; the one is cordial and large-hearted — the other wishes to ingratiate himself.
~ Manners and Rules of Good Society (1912)

To invariably commence a conversation by remarks on the weather shows a poverty of ideas that is truly pitiable.
~ Frost’s Laws and By-Laws of American Society
S.A. Frost, 1869

Some persons have a mania for Greek and Latin quotations; this is particularly to be avoided. It is like pulling up the stones from a tomb wherewith to kill the living.
~ Treasures of Science, History and Literature
Moses Falsom and J.D. O’Connor, 1879

To use a foreign phrase and then to translate it, is as much as to say your listeners are ignoramuses.
~ The Manners That Win
Anonymous, 1880

When asking questions about persons who are not known to you, in a drawing-room, avoid using adjectives; or you may enquire of a mother, ‘Who is that awkward, ugly girl?’ and be answered, ‘Sir, that is my daughter.’
~ The Gentleman’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness
Cecily B. Hartley, 1860

If you talk sentences, do not at the same time give yourself a magisterial air in doing it.
~ Martine’s Hand-Book of Etiquette
Arthur Martine, 1866

Do not, however much you may be pleased with any remark, cry out ‘Bravo!’ clap your hands, or permit any gesture, silent or otherwise, to mark your appreciation of it.
~ Frost’s Laws…
S.A. Frost, 1869

It is well said by a late eminent barrister, that literature in ladies should be what onions ought to be in cookery; you should perceive the flavor, but not detect the thing itself.
~ The Habits of Good Society
Anonymous, 1859

Immoderate laughter is exceedingly unbecoming in a lady; she may affect the dimple or the smile, but should carefully avoid any approximation to a horse-laugh.
~ The Perfect Gentleman
By a Gentleman, 1860

A lady-punster is a most unpleasing phenomenon, and we would advise no young woman, however witty she may be, to cultivate this kind of verbal talent.
~ Collier’s Cyclopedia
Compiled by Nugent Robinson, 1882

Never use the phrases, "What-d-ye call it," "Thingummy," "What's his name," or any such substitutes for a proper name or place. If you cannot recall the names you wish to use, it is better not to tell the story or incident connected with them. No lady of high breeding will ever use these substitutes in conversation.
~The Ladies Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness
Florence Hartley (1860)

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