Perfect Behavior - A Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in all Social Crises
by Donald Ogden Stewart
1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse


By Donald Ogden Stewart

A Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in all Social Crises

Those who are not self-possessed obtrude and pain us.—EMERSON


A parody outline of etiquette by the Author of "A Parody Outline of History"

The perfect gentleman is he who never unintentionally causes pain.—OLD PROVERB



Chapter I. THE ETIQUETTE OF COURTSHIP A Few Words about Love—Curious Incident in a Yellow Taxicab—A Silly Girl—Correct Introductions and how to Make Them—A Well Known Congressman's Ludicrous Mistake in a Turkish Bath—Cards and Flowers—Flowers and their Message in Courtship—"A Clean Tooth Never Decays"—Receiving an Invitation to Call—The Etiquette of Telephoning-A Telephone Girl's Horrible End—Making the First Call—Conversation and Some of its Uses—A Proper Call—The Proposal Proper-The Proposal Improper—What Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Said to the ex-Clergyman's Niece.

II. THE ETIQUETTE OF ENGAGEMENTS AND WEDDINGS The Historic Aspect—Announcing the Engagement—A Breton Fisher Girl's Experience with a Traveling Salesman—The Bride-to-Be—The Engagement Luncheon—Selecting the Bridal Party—Invitations and Wedding Presents—A Good Joke on the Groom—"Madam, those are my trousers"—Duties of the Best Man—A Demented Taxidermist's Strange Gift—The Bride's Tea—The Maid of Honor—What Aunt Edna Saw on the Club Porch-The Bachelor Dinner and After-Some Practical Uses for Bi-Carbonate of Soda—The Rehearsal—The Bridal Dinner—A Church Wedding.

III. THE ETIQUETTE OF TRAVEL Hints for the Correct Pedestrianism—Description of a Walk around Philadelphia with a Pueblo Indian in 1837—Travelling by Rail— Good Form on a Street Car—In the Subway—Fun with an Old Gentleman's Whiskers—A Honeymoon in a Subway—Travelling under Steam-A Correct Night in a Pullman-What Burton Holmes Found in His Lower Berth.

IV. AT THE CONCERT AND THE OPERA Listening to a Symphony Orchestra—Curious Effect of Debussy's "Apres-midi d'un Faune" and four gin fizzes on Uncle Frederick—"No, fool like an old fool"—Correct Behavior at a Piano Recital—Choosing One's Nearest Exit—In a Box at the Opera—What a Kansas City Society Leader Did with Her Old Victrola Records.

V. ETIQUETTE FOR DRY AGENTS Some Broader Aspects of Prohibition—Interesting Effect of Whisky on Goldfish—The College Graduate as Dry Agent—Aunt Emily's Amusing Experiences with a Quart of Gin Planning a Dry Raid on a Masquerade Ball A Word About Correct Costumes—A California Motion Picture Actress's Bad Taste—Good Form for Dry Agents During a Raid-What the New York Clubman Said About Mr. Volstead.

VI. A CHAPTER FOR SCHOOLGIRLS Selecting a Proper School—Account of an Interesting Trip Down the Eric Canal with Miss Spence—Correct Equipment for the Schoolgirl—En Route—ln New York—A journey Around the City—Description of the Visit of Ed. Pinaud to the Aquarium in 1858—The First Days in the New School—"After Lights" in a Dormitory—An "Old Schoolgirl's" Confessions—Becoming Acclimatized—A Visitor from Princeton-Strange Pets.

VIIS. THE ETIQUETTE OF GAMES AND SPORTS Golf as a Pastime—What Henry Ward Beecher Said When He Broke His Niblic—An Afternoon at the Old Farm with the Dice—"Shoot you for your ear trumpet, grandfather!"—Correct Behavior on a Picnic—A Swedish Nobleman's Curious Method of Eating Potato Chips—Boxing in American Society—A Good Joke on an Amateur Boxer—"He didn't know it was Jack Dempsey!"—Bridge Whist—Formal and Informal Drinking—A jolly Hallowe'en Party—Invitations—Receiving the Guests—How to Mystify—Games.

VIII. CORRESPONDENCE AND INVITATIONS Correspondence for Young Ladies—College Boys How to Order a Full Dress Suit by Mail—Letters to Parents—A Prominent Retired Bank President's Advice to Correspondents—Letters from Parents—Peculiarities of the Divorce Laws of New York—Letters to Prospective Fathers-in-Law—A Correct Form of Letter to a Society Matron Asking Her How About that Grocery Bill for Eighty-Two Dollars and Sixty-Seven Cents—Love Letters—Correspondence of Public Officials—-Letters to Strangers—Letters to Newspapers, Magazines, etc.—Invitations, Acceptances and Regrets.

IX. THE ETIQUETTE OF DINNERS AND BALLS Formal Dinners in America-Table Manners for Children—Removing Stains from Gray Silk—A Child's Garden of Etiquette—Etiquette in the School—Conversation at Dinner—What a New Jersey Lady Did with Her Olive Seeds—Stewart's Lightning Calculator of Dinner Table Conversation—"It Seems that Pat and Mike"—Balls and Dances—-Artificial Respiration—Mixed Dancing—Hints for Stags.

A Word of Warning and Encouragement



Courtship is one of the oldest of social customs, even antedating in some countries such long-established usages as marriage, or the wearing of white neckties with full evening dress. The beginnings of the etiquette of courtship were apparently connected in some way with the custom of "love" between the sexes, and many of the old amatory forms still survive in the modern courtship. It is generally agreed among students of the history of etiquette that when "love" first began to become popular among the better class of younger people they took to it with such avidity that it was necessary to devise some sort of rules for the conduct of formal or informal love-making. These rules, together with various amendments, now constitute the etiquette of courtship.

Suppose, for example, that you are a young gentleman named Richard Roe desirous of entering upon a formal courtship with some refined young girl of fashion. You are also, being a college graduate, engaged in the bond business. One morning there comes into your financial institution a young lady, named Dorothy Doe, who at once attracts your attention by her genteel manners, as exemplified by the fact that she calls the president of your company "father." So many young people seem to think it "smart" to refer to their parents as "dad" or "my old man"; you are certain, as soon as you hear her say "Hello, father" to your employer, that she is undoubtedly a worthy object of courtship.


Your first step should be, of course, the securing of an introduction. Introductions still play an important part in social intercourse, and many errors are often perpetrated by those ignorant of savoir faire (correct form). When introducing a young lady to a stranger for example, it is not au fait (correct form) to simply say, "Mr. Roe, I want you to shake hands with my friend Dorothy." Under the rules of the beau monde (correct form) this would probably be done as follows: "Dorothy (or Miss Doe), shake hands with Mr. Roe." Always give the name of the lady first, unless you are introducing some one to the President of the United States, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a member of the nobility above a baron, or a customer. The person who is being "introduced" then extends his (or her) right ungloved hand and says, "Shake." You "shake," saying at the same time, "It's warm (cool) for November (May)," to which the other replies, "I'll say it is."

This brings up the interesting question of introducing two people to each other, neither of whose names you can remember. This is generally done by saying very quickly to one of the parties, "Of course you know Miss Unkunkunk." Say the last "unk" very quickly, so that it sounds like any name from Ab to Zinc. You might even sneeze violently. Of course, in nine cases out of ten, one of the two people will at once say, "I didn't get the name," at which you laugh, "Ha! Ha! Ha!" in a carefree manner several times, saying at the same time, "Well, well—so you didn't get the name—you didn't get the name—well, well." If the man still persists in wishing to know who it is to whom he is being introduced, the best procedure consists in simply braining him on the spot with a club or convenient slab of paving stone.

The "introduction," in cases where you have no mutual friend to do the introducing, is somewhat more difficult but can generally be arranged as follows:

Procure a few feet of stout manila rope or clothes-line, from any of the better-class hardware stores. Ascertain (from the Social Register, preferably) the location of the young lady's residence, and go there on some dark evening about nine o'clock. Fasten the rope across the sidewalk in front of the residence about six inches or a foot from the ground. Then, with the aid of a match and some kerosene, set fire to the young lady's house in several places and retire behind a convenient tree. After some time, if she is at home, she will probably be forced to run out of her house to avoid being burned to death. In her excitement she will fail to notice the rope which you have stretched across the sidewalk and will fall. This is your opportunity to obtain an introduction. Stepping up to her and touching your hat politely, you say, in a well modulated voice, "I beg your pardon, Miss Doe, but I cannot help noticing that you are lying prone on the sidewalk." If she is well bred, she will not at first speak to you, as you are a perfect stranger. This silence, however, should be your cue to once more tip your hat and remark, "I realize, Miss Doe, that I have not had the honor of an introduction, but you will admit that you are lying prone on the sidewalk. Here is my card—and here is one for Mrs. Doe, your mother." At that you should hand her two plain engraved calling cards, each containing your name and address. If there are any other ladies in her family—aunts, grandmothers, et cetera—it is correct to leave cards for them also. Be sure that the cards are clean, as the name on the calling card is generally sufficient for identification purposes without the addition of the thumbprint.

When she has accepted your cards, she will give you one of hers, after which it will be perfectly correct for you to assist her to rise from the sidewalk. Do not, however, press your attentions further upon her at this time, but after expressing the proper regret over her misfortune it would be well to bow and retire.

{illustration caption = Every one knows that table manners betray one's bringing-up mercilessly. The young man in the picture has good reason to wish a meteorite would fall on him. His perpendicularity has just been restored by a deft upward movement of Aunt Harriet's shoulder, upon which he had inadvertently rested his head during a quiet snooze while Cousin Edna was making her little speech at the Bridal Dinner. PERFECT BEHAVIOR would have Pasteurized him against even Bridal Dinners.}

{illustration caption = When a woman recognizes and nods to a man to whom she has been formally introduced several times, or to whom she has been married, is the man expected to accept the greeting and politely lift his hat or should he lift both his hat and his toupee? Street etiquette is disposed authoritatively and finally in PERFECT BEHAVIOR.}

{illustration caption = You are, let us pretend, walking in the park. You come upon two benches arranged as shown in the above diagram. Would you know which bench it would be proper to sit on if you are (1) a young man just out of college—(2) a rather homely young woman? To avoid embarrassment look this up in PERFECT BEHAVIOR.}

{illustration caption = A jolly crowd is boarding the 4:56 for a house-party in the suburbs. The gentleman at the right, having been educated abroad, has never learned to play the ukelele, the banjo, the jew's harp or the saxophone, and is, with the best intentions in the world, attempting to contribute his share to the gaiety of the coming evenings by bringing along his player-piano. Would you—be honest!—have recognized his action as a serious social blunder without having referred to PERFECT BEHAVIOR?}

{illustration caption = The young mother in the picture is traveling from one point to another in a Pullman. In the effort to commit as great a nuisance as possible, she has provided her child with a banana and a hard boiled egg. Not having dipped into the chapter on travel in PERFECT BEHAVIOR, she is ignorant of the fact that a peach would have produced quite as much mess and far more permanent stains and a folding cup for the water cooler would have spread the disturbance over a wider area.}


The next day, however, you should send flowers, enclosing another of your cards. It might be well to write some message on the card recalling the events of the preceding evening—nothing intimate, but simply a reminder of your first meeting and a suggestion that you might possibly desire to continue the acquaintanceship. Quotations from poetry of the better sort are always appropriate; thus, on this occasion, it might be nice to write on the card accompanying the flowers—"'This is the forest primeval'—H. W. Longfellow," or "'Take, oh take, those lips away'—W. Shakespeare." You will find there are hundreds of lines equally appropriate for this and other occasions, and in this connection it might be well to display a little originality at times by substituting pertinent verses of your own in place of the conventional quotations. For example—"This is the forest primeval, I regret your last evening's upheaval," shows the young lady in question that not only are you well-read in classic poetry, but also you have no mean talent of your own. Too much originality, however, is dangerous, especially in polite social intercourse, and I need hardly remind you that the floors of the social ocean are watered with the tears of those who seek to walk on their own hook.

Within a week after you have sent the young lady the flowers, you should receive a polite note of thanks, somewhat as follows: "My dear Mr. Roe: Those lovely flowers came quite as a surprise. They are lovely, and I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtfulness. Their lovely fragrance fills my room as I write, and I wish to thank you again. It was lovely of you."


It is now time to settle down to the more serious business of courtship. Her letter shows beyond the shadow of a figurative doubt that she is "interested," and the next move is "up to you." Probably she will soon come into the office to see her father, in which case you should have ready at hand some appropriate gift, such as, for example, a nice potted geranium. Great care should be taken, however, that it is a plant of the correct species, for in the etiquette of courtship all flowers have different meanings and many a promising affair has been ruined because a suitor sent his lady a buttercup, meaning "That's the last dance I'll ever take you to, you big cow," instead of a plant with a more tender significance. Some of the commoner flowers and their meaning in courtship are as follows:

Fringed Gentian—"I am going out to get a shave. Back at 3:30."

Poppy—"I would be proud to be the father of your children."

Golden-rod—"I hear that you have hay-fever."

Tuberose—"Meet me Saturday at the Fourteenth Street subway station."

Blood-root—"Aunt Kitty murdered Uncle Fred Thursday."

Dutchman's Breeches—"That case of Holland gin and Old Tailor has arrived. Come on over."

Iris—"Could you learn to love an optician?"

Aster—"Who was that stout Jewish-looking party I saw you with in the hotel lobby Friday?"

Deadly Nightshade—"Pull down those blinds, quick!"

Passion Flower—"Phone Main 1249—ask for Eddie."

Raspberry—"I am announcing my engagement to Charlie O'Keefe Tuesday."

Wild Thyme—"I have seats for the Hippodrome Saturday afternoon."

The above flowers can also be combined to make different meanings, as, for example, a bouquet composed of three tuberoses and some Virginia creeper generally signifies the following, "The reason I didn't call for you yesterday was that I had three inner tube punctures, besides a lot of engine trouble in that old car I bought in Virginia last year. Gosh, I'm sorry!"

But to return to the etiquette of our present courtship. As Miss Doe leaves the office you follow her, holding the potted plant in your left hand. After she has gone a few paces you step up to her, remove your hat (or cap) with your right hand, and offer her the geranium, remarking, "I beg your pardon, miss, but didn't you drop this?" A great deal depends upon the manner in which you offer the plant and the way she receives it. If you hand it to her with the flower pointing upward it means, "Dare I hope?" Reversed, it signifies, "Your petticoat shows about an inch, or an inch and a half." If she receives the plant in her right hand, it means, "I am"; left hand, "You are"; both hands—"He, she or it is." If, however, she takes the pot firmly in both hands and breaks it with great force on your head, the meaning is usually negative and your only correct course of procedure is a hasty bow and a brief apology.


Let us suppose, however, that she accepts the geranium in such a manner that you are encouraged to continue the acquaintance. Your next move should be a request for an invitation to call upon her at her home. This should, above all things, not be done crudely. It is better merely to suggest your wish by some indirect method such as, "Oh—so you live on William Street. Well, well! I often walk on William Street in the evening, but I have never called on any girl there—YET." The "yet" may be accompanied by a slight raising of your eyebrows, a wink, or a friendly nudge with your elbow. Unless she is unusually "dense" she will probably "take the hint" and invite you to come and see her some evening. At once you should say, "WHAT evening? How about TO-NIGHT?" If she says that she is already engaged for that evening, take a calendar out of your pocket and remark, "Tomorrow? Wednesday? Thursday? Friday? I really have no engagements between now and October. Saturday? Sunday?" This will show her that you are really desirous of calling upon her and she will probably say, "Well, I think I am free Thursday night, but you had better telephone me first."


On Thursday morning, therefore, you should go to a public telephone-booth in order to call the young lady's house. The etiquette of telephoning is quite important and many otherwise perfectly well-bred people often make themselves conspicuous because they do not know the correct procedure in using this modern but almost indispensable invention. Upon entering the telephone-booth, which is located, say, in some drug store, you remove the receiver from the hook and deposit the requisite coin in the coin box. After an interval of some minutes a young lady (referred to as "Central") will ask for your "Number, please." Suppose, for example, that you wish to get Bryant 4310. Remove your hat politely and speak that number into the mouthpiece. "Central" will then say, "Rhinelander 4310." To which you reply, "NO, Central—BRYANT 4310." Central then says, "I beg your pardon—Bryant 4310," to which you reply, "Yes, please." In a few minutes a voice at the other end of the line says, "Hello," to which you answer, "Is Miss Doe at home?" The voice then says, "Who?" You say, "Miss Doe, please—Miss Dorothy Doe." You then hear the following, "Wait a minute. Say, Charlie, is they anybody works around here by the name of Doe? There's a guy wants to talk to a Miss Doe. Here—you answer it." Another voice then says, "Hello." You reply "Hello." He says, "What do you want?" You reply, "I wish to speak to Miss Dorothy Doe." He says, "What department does she work in?" You reply, "Is this the residence of J. Franklin Doe, President of the First National Bank?" He says, "Wait a minute." You wait a minute. You wait several. Another voice—a new voice says-"Hello." You reply "Hello." He says, "Give me Stuyvesant 8864." You say, "But I'm trying to get Miss Doe—Miss Dorothy Doe." He says, "Who?" You say, "Is this the residence of—" He says, "Naw—this is Goebel Brothers, Wholesale Grocers—what number do you want?" You say, "Bryant 4310." He says, "Well, this is Rhinelander 4310." You then hang up the receiver and count twenty. The telephone bell then rings, and inasmuch as you are the only person near the phone you take up the receiver and say, "Hello." A female voice, says, "Hello, dearie—don't you know who this is?" You say, politely but firmly, "No." She says, "Guess!" You guess "Mrs. Warren G. Harding." She says, "No. This is Ethel. Is Walter there?" You reply, "Walter?" She says, "Ask him to come to the phone, will you? He lives up-stairs over the drug store. Just yell 'Walter' at the third door down the hall. Tell him Ethyl wants to speak to him—no, wait—tell him it's Madge." Being a gentleman, you comply with the lady's request. After bringing Walter to the phone, you obligingly wait for some twenty minutes while he converses with Ethel—no, Madge. When he has finished, you once more enter the booth and tell "Central" you want Bryant 4310. After a few minutes "Central" says, "What number did you call?" You say patiently, "Bryant 4310." She replies, "Bryant 4310 has been changed to Schuyler 6372." You ask for Schuyler 6372. Finally a woman's voice says, "Yass." You say, "Is Miss Doe in?" She replies, "Yass." You say, "May I speak to her?" She says, "Who?" You reply, "You said Miss Doe was at home, didn't you?" She replies, "Yass." You say, "Well, may I speak to her?" The voice says, "Who?" You shout, "Miss Doe." The voice says, "She ban out." You shriek, "Oh, go to hell!" and assuming a graceful, easy position in the booth, you proceed to tear the telephone from the wall. Later on in the day, when you have two or three hours of spare time, you can telephone Miss Doe again and arrange for the evening's visit.


The custom of social "calls" between young men and young women is one of the prettiest of etiquette's older conventions, and one around which clusters a romantic group of delightful traditions. In this day and generation, what with horseless carriages, electric telephones and telegraphs, and dirigible gas bags, a great many of the older forms have been allowed to die out, greatly, I believe, to our discredit. "Speed, not manners," seems to be the motto of this century. I hope that there still exist a few young men who care enough about "good form" to study carefully to perfect themselves in the art of "calling." Come, Tom, Dick and Harry—drop your bicycles for an afternoon and fill your minds with something besides steam engines and pneumatic tires!

The first call at the home of any young lady of fashion is an extremely important social function, and too great care can not be taken that you prepare yourself thoroughly in advance. It would be well to leave your work an hour or two earlier in the afternoon, so that you can go home and practice such necessary things as entering or leaving a room correctly. Most young men are extremely careless in this particular, and unless you rehearse yourself thoroughly in the proper procedure you are apt to find later on to your dismay that you have made your exit through a window onto the fire-escape instead of through the proper door.


Your conversation should also be planned more or less in advance. Select some topic in which you think your lady friend will be interested, such as, for example, the removal of tonsils and adenoids, and "read up" on the subject so that you can discuss it in an intelligent manner. Find out, for example, how many people had tonsils removed in February, March, April. Contrast this with the same figures for 1880, 1890, 1900. Learn two or three amusing anecdotes about adenoids. Consult Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations" for appropriate verses dealing with tonsils and throat troubles. Finally, and above all, take time to glance through four or five volumes of Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf, for nothing so completely marks the cultivated man as the ability to refer familiarly to the various volumes of the Harvard classics.


Promptly at the time appointed you should arrive at the house where the young lady is staying. In answer to your ring a German police dog will begin to bark furiously inside the house, and a maid will finally come to the door. Removing your hat and one glove, you say, "Is Miss Doe home?" The maid replies, "Yass, ay tank so." You give her your card and the dog rushes out and bites you on either the right or left leg. You are then ushered into a room in which is seated an old man with a long white beard. He is fast asleep. "Dot's grampaw," says the maid, to which you reply, "Oh." She retires, leaving you alone with grampaw. After a while he opens his eyes and stares at you for a few minutes. He then says, "Did the dog bite you?" You answer, "Yes, sir." Grampaw then says, "He bites everybody," and goes back to sleep. Reassured, you light a cigaret. A little boy and girl then come to the door, and, after examining you carefully for several minutes, they burst into giggling laughter and run away. You feel to see if you have forgotten to put on a necktie. A severe looking old lady then enters the room. You rise and bow. "I am Miss Doe's grandmother. Some one has been smoking in here," she says, and sits down opposite you. Her remark is not, however, a hint for a cigaret and you should not make the mistake of saying, "I've only got Fatimas, but if you care to try one—" It should be your aim to seek to impress yourself favorably upon every member of the young lady's family. Try to engage the grandmother in conversation, taking care to select subjects in which you feel she would be interested. Conversation is largely the art of "playing up" to the other person's favorite subject. In this particular case, for example, it would be a mistake to say to Miss Doe's grandmother, "Have you ever tried making synthetic gin?" or "Do you think any one will EVER lick Dempsey?" A more experienced person, and some one who had studied the hobbies of old people, would probably begin by remarking, "Well, I see that Jeremiah Smith died of cancer Thursday," or "That was a lovely burial they gave Mrs. Watts, wasn't it?" If you are tactful, you should soon win the old lady's favor completely, so that before long she will tell you all about her rheumatism and what grampaw can and can't eat.

Finally Miss Doe arrives. Her first words are, "Have you been waiting long? Hilda didn't tell me you were here," to which you reply, "No—I just arrived." She then says, "Shall we go in the drawing-room?" The answer to this is, "For God's sake, yes!" In a few minutes you find yourself alone in the drawing-room with the lady of your choice and the courtship proper can then begin.

The best way to proceed is gradually to bring the conversation around to the subject of the "modern girl." After your preliminary remarks about tonsils and adenoids have been thoroughly exhausted, you should suddenly say, "Well I don't think girls—nice girls—are really that way." She replies, of course, "WHAT way?" You answer, "Oh, the way they are in these modern novels. This 'petting,' for instance." She says, "WHAT petting'?" You walk over and sit down on the sofa beside her. "Oh," you say, "these novelists make me sick—they seem to think that in our generation every time a young man and woman are left alone on a lounge together, they haven't a thing better to do than put out the light and 'pet.' It's disgusting, isn't it?" "Isn't it?" she agrees and reaching over she accidentally pulls the lamp cord, which puts out the light.

On your first visit you should not stay after 12:30.


About the second or third month of a formal courtship it is customary for the man to propose matrimony, and if the girl has been "out" for three or four years and has several younger sisters coming along, it is customary for her to accept him. They then become "engaged," and the courtship is concluded.



"Matrimony," sings Homer, the poet, "is a holy estate and not lightly to be entered into." The "old Roman" is right.

A modern wedding is one of the most intricate and exhausting of social customs. Young men and women of our better classes are now forced to devote a large part of their lives to acting as brides, grooms, ushers and bridesmaids at various elaborate nuptials. Weeks are generally required in preparation for an up-to-date wedding; months are necessary in recovering from such an affair. Indeed, some of the participants, notably the bride and groom, never quite get over the effects of a marriage.

It was not "always thus." Time was when the wedding was a comparatively simple affair. In the Paleolithic Age, for example, (as Mr. H. G. Wells of England points out in his able "Outline of History"), there is no evidence of any particular ceremony conjunctive with the marriage of "a male and a female." Even with the advent of Neolithic man, a wedding seems to have been consummated by the rather simple process of having the bridegroom crack the bride over the head with a plain, unornamented stone ax. There were no ushers—no bridesmaids. But shortly after that (c- 10,329—30 B.C. to be exact) two young Neoliths named Haig, living in what is now supposed to be Scotland, discovered that the prolonged distillation of common barley resulted in the creation of an amber-colored liquid which, when taken internally, produced a curious and not unpleasant effect.

This discovery had—and still has—a remarkable effect upon the celebration of the marriage rite. Gradually there grew up around the wedding a number of customs. With the Haig brothers' discovery of Scotch whiskey began, as a matter of course, the institution of the "bachelor dinner." "Necessity is the mother of invention," and exactly twelve years after the first "bachelor dinner" came the discovery of bicarbonate of soda. From that time down to the present day the history of the etiquette of weddings has been that of an increasing number of intricate forms and ceremonies, each age having added its particular bit of ritual. The modern wedding may be said to be, therefore, almost an "Outline of History" itself.


LET us begin, first of all, with the duties of one of the minor characters at a wedding—the Groom. Suppose that you are an eligible young man named Richard Roe, who has just become "engaged" to a young lady named Dorothy Doe. If you really intend to "marry the girl," it is customary that some formal announcement of the engagement be made, for which you must have the permission of Miss Dorothy and her father. It is not generally difficult to become engaged to most girls, but it will surprise you to discover how hard it is to get the young lady whom you believe to be your fiancee to consent to a public announcement of the fact. The reason for this probably is that an engagement which has been "announced" often leads to matrimony, and matrimony, in polite society, often lasts for several years. After you have secured the girl's permission, it is next necessary that you notify her father of the engagement. In this particular case, as he happens to be your employer, the notification can take place in his office. First of all, however, it would be advisable to prepare some sort of speech in advance. Aim to put him as far as possible at his ease, lead up to the subject gradually and tactfully. Abruptness is never "good form." The following is suggested as a possible model. "Good morning, Mr. Doe, say, I heard a good story from a traveling salesman last night. It seems that there was a young married couple—(here insert a good story about a young married couple). Wasn't that RICH? Yes, sir, marriage is a great thing—a great institution. Every young man ought to get married, don't you think? You do? Well, Mr. Doe, I've got a surprise for you, (here move toward the door). I'm going to (here open the door) marry (step out of the room) your daughter" (close the door quickly).


Before the public announcement of the engagement it is customary for the bride-to-be to write personal letters to all other young men to whom she happens to be engaged at the time. These notes should be kindly, sympathetic and tactful. The same note can be written to all, provided there is no chance of their comparing notes. The following is suggested:

"Dear Bob—

Bob, I want you to be the very first to know that I am engaged to Richard Roe. I want you to like him, Bob, because he is a fine fellow and I would rather have you like him than any one I know. I feel that he and I shall be very happy together, and I want you to be the first to know about it. Your friendship will always remain one of the brightest things in my life, Bob, but, of course, I probably won't be able to go to the Aiken dance with you now. Please don't tell anybody about it yet. I shall never forget the happy times you and I had together, Bob, and will you please return those silly letters of mine. I am sending you yours."

{illustration caption = Nothing so completely betrays the "Cockney" as a faulty knowledge of sporting terms. The young lady at the left has just returned from the hunting field hand-in-hand with the dashing "lead," who happens to be an eligible billionaire. Her hostess, the mother of the sub-deb at the right, has greeted her by hissing, "S—o—o! I see you've had a good day's hunting!" The use of this unsportsmanlike expression—in stead of the correct "Hope you had a good run," or "Where did you find?"—at once discloses the hostess's mean origin and the young lady will almost certainly never accept another invitation to her house.}

{illustration caption = In this work-a-day world, one is likely to forget that there is an etiquette of pleasure, just as there is an etiquette of dancing or the opera. One often hears a charming hostess refuse to invite this or that person to her home for a game of billiards on the ground that he or she is a "bum sport" or a "rotten loser." The above scene illustrates one of the little, but conspicuous, blunders that people make. The gentleman, having missed his fifth consecutive shot, has broken his cue over his knee and is ripping the baize off the table with the sharp end. This display is not in the best taste.

{illustration caption = Good form at the beach is still a question of debate. Some authorities on the subject insist that the Rubenesque type is preferable, while others claim that the Byzantine is more fashionable. One thing is certain—it is absolutely incorrect for ladies who weigh less than 75 or more than 275 pounds (avoirdupois) to appear in costumes that would offend against modesty. It is also considered rude to hold one's swimming partner under water for more then the formal quarter of an hour.}


THE engagement is generally announced at a luncheon given by the parents of the prospective bride. This is usually a small affair, only fifteen or twenty of the most intimate friends of the engaged "couple" being invited. It is one of the customs of engagement luncheons that all the guests shall be tremendously surprised at the news, and great care should be taken to aid them in carrying out this tradition. On the invitations, for example, should be written some misleading phrase, such as "To meet General Pershing" or "Not to Announce the Engagement of our Daughter."

The announcement itself which should be made soon after the guests are seated, offers a splendid opportunity for the display of originality and should aim to afford the guest a surprise and perhaps a laugh, for laughter of a certain quiet kind is often welcome at social functions. One of the most favored methods of announcing an engagement is by the use of symbolic figures embodying the names of the affianced pair. Thus, for example, in the case of the present engagement of Richard Roe to Dorothy Doe it would be "unique" to have the first course at luncheon consist of a diminutive candy or paper-mache doe seated amorously upon a heart shaped order of a shad roe. The guests will at first be mystified, but soon cries of "Oh, how sweet!" will arise and congratulations are then in order. Great care should be taken, however, that the symbolic figures are not misunderstood; it would be extremely embarrassing, for example, if in the above instance, a young man named "Shad" or "Aquarium" were to receive the congratulations instead of the proper person. Other suggestions for symbolistic announcements of some of the more common names are as follows:

"Cohan-O'Brien"—ice cream cones on a plate of O'Brien potatoes.

"Ames-Green—green ice cream in the shape of a man aiming at something.

"Thorne-Hoyt—figure of a man from Brooklyn pulling a thorn from foot with expression on his face signifying "This hoits."

"Bullitt-Bartlett—bartlett pears full of small 22 or 33 calibre bullets.

"Tweed-Ellis"—frosted cake in the shape of Ellis Island with a solitary figure of a man in a nice fitting tweed suit.

"Gordon-Fuller"—two paper-mache figures—one representing a young man full of Gordon gin, the other representing a young man fuller.

"Hatch-Gillette"—figure of a chicken surprised at having hatched a safety razor.

"Graves-Colgate"—figure of a man brushing his teeth in a cemetery.

"Heinz-Fish"—57 assorted small fish tastily arranged on one plate.


AS soon as the engagement has been announced it is the duty of the prospective bride to select a maid-of-honor and eight or ten bridesmaids, while the groom must choose his best man and ushers. In making these selections it should be carefully borne in mind that no wedding party is complete without the following:

1 bridesmaid who danced twice with the Prince of Wales.

2 Bridesmaids who never danced more than once with anybody.

1 bridesmaid who doesn't "Pet."

1 bridesmaid who was expelled from Miss Spence's.

1 bridesmaid who talks "Southern."

1 bridesmaid who met Douglas Fairbanks once.

1 bridesmaid who rowed on the crew at Wellesley.

1 usher who doesn't drink anything.

9 ushers who drink anything.

In some localities, following the announcement, it is customary for the bride's friends, to give for her a number of "showers." These are for the purpose of providing her with various necessities for her wedded household life. These affairs should be informal and only her dearest or wealthiest friends should be invited. A clever bride will generally arrange secretly for several of these "showers" by promising a certain percentage (usually 15% of the gross up to $500.00 and 25% bonus on all over that amount) to the friend who gives the party. Some of the more customary "showers" of common household articles for the new bride are toothpaste, milk of magnesia, screen doors, copies of Service's poems, Cape Cod lighters, pictures of "Age of Innocence" and back numbers of the "Atlantic Monthly."


The proper time to send out invitations to a wedding is between two and three weeks before the day set for the ceremony, although the out-of-town invitations should be mailed in plenty of time to allow the recipient to purchase and forward a suitable present. As the gifts are received, a check mark should be placed after the name of the donor, together with a short description of the present and an estimate as to its probable cost. This list is to be used later, at the wedding reception, in determining the manner in which the bride is to greet the various guests. It has been found helpful by many brides to devise some sort of memory system whereby certain names immediately suggest certain responses, thus:

"Mr. Snodgrass—copy of 'Highways and Byways in Old France'"—c. $6.50—"how do you do, Mr. Snodgrass, have you met my mother?"

"Mr. Brackett—Solid silver candlesticks—$68.50"—"hello, Bob, you old peach. How about a kiss?"

The real festivities of a wedding start about three days before the ceremony, with the arrival of the "wedding party," in which party the most responsible position is that of best man. Let us suppose that you are to be the best man at the Roe-Doe nuptials. What are your duties?

In the first place, you must prepare yourself for the wedding by a course of training extending for over a month or more prior to the actual event. It should be your aim to work yourself into such a condition that you can go for three nights without sleep, talk for hours to the most impossibly stupid of young women, and consume an unending amount of alcohol. You are then prepared for the bachelor dinner, the bridal dinner, the bridesmaids, the wedding, and the wedding reception.


Upon your arrival in the city where the wedding is to take place you will be met by the bridegroom, who will take you to the home of the bride where you are to stay. There you are met by the bride's father. "This is my best man," says the groom. "The best man?" replies her father. "Well, may the best man win." At once you reply, "Ha! Ha! Ha!" He then says, "Is this your first visit to Chicago?" to which the correct answer is, "Yes, sir, but I hope it isn't my last."

The bride's mother then appears. "This is my best man," says the groom. "Well," says she, "remember—the best man doesn't always win." "Ha! Ha! Ha!" you at once reply. "Is this your first visit to Chicago?" says she, to which you answer, "Yes—but I hope it isn't my last."

You are then conducted to your room, where you are left alone to unpack. In a few minutes the door will open and a small boy enter. This is the brother of the bride. You smile at him pleasantly and remark, "Is this your first visit to Chicago?" "What are you doing?" is his answer. "Unpacking," you reply. "What's that?" says he. "A cutaway," you reply. "What's that?" says he. "A collar bag." "What's that?" "A dress shirt." "What's that?" says he. "Another dress shirt." "What's that?" says he. "Say, listen," you reply, "don't I hear some one calling you?" "No," says he, "what's that?" "That," you reply, with a sigh of relief, "is a razor. Here—take it and play with it." In three minutes, if you have any luck at all, the bride's brother will have cut himself severely in several places which will cause him to run crying from the room. You can then finish unpacking.


The first function of the pre-nuptial festivities is generally a tea at the bride's home, where the ushers and bridesmaids meet to become "acquainted." It is your duty, as best man, to go to the hotel where the ushers are stopping and bring them to this tea. Just as you will leave on this mission the groom will whisper in your ear, "For God's sake, remember to tell them that her father and mother are terribly opposed to drinking in any form." This is an awfully good joke on her father and mother.

As you step out of the hotel elevator you hear at the end of the hall a chorus shouting, "Mademoiselle from Armentieres—parlez vous!" Those are your ushers.

Opening the door of the room you step forward and announce, "Fellows, we have got to go to a tea right away. Come on—let's go." At this, ten young men in cutaways will stand up and shout, "Yeaaa—the best man—give the best man a drink!" From then on, at twelve minute intervals, it is your duty to say, "Fellows, we have got to go to a tea right away. Come on—let's go." Each time you will be handed another drink, which you may take with either your right or left hand.

After an hour the telephone will ring. It will be the groom. He will say, "Everybody is waiting for you and the ushers," to which you reply, "We are just leaving." He then says, "And don't forget to tell them what I told you about her father and mother."

You then hang up the receiver, take a drink in one hand and say, "Fellows, I have a very solemn message for you. It's a message which is of deep importance to each one of us. Fellows—her father and mother object to the use of alcohol in any form."

This statement will be greeted with applause and cheers. You will all then take one more drink, put on your silk hats and gray gloves, and leave the room singing, "Her father and mother object to drink—parlez vous."

The tea given by the bride's parents is generally a small affair to which only the members of the wedding party are invited. When you and the ushers arrive, you will find the bride, the maid of honor and the bridesmaids waiting for you. As you enter the room, make a polite bow to the bride's father and mother, and be sure to apologize for your lateness. Nothing so betrays the social "oil can" as a failure to make a plausible excuse for tardiness. Whenever you are late for a party you must always have ready some good reason for your fault, such as, "Excuse me, Mrs. Doe, I'm afraid I am a little late, but you see, just as I was dressing, this filling dropped out of my tooth and I had to have it put back in." If the host and hostess seem to doubt your statement, it would be well to show them the recalcitrant filling in question, although if they are "well-bred" they will probably in most cases take you at your word.


You and the ushers will then be introduced to the bridesmaids and the maid of honor. As you meet this latter young lady, who is the bride's older sister and, of course, your partner for the remainder of the wedding festivities, she will say, "The best man? Well, they say that the best man wins... Ha! Ha! Ha!" This puts her in class G 6 without further examination, and your only hope of prolonging your life throughout the next two days lies in the frequent and periodic administration of stimulants.


That evening the groom gives for the best man and the ushers what is known as a "bachelor dinner." It is his farewell to his men friends as he passes out of the state of bachelorhood. The formal passing out generally occurs toward the end of the dinner, and is a quaint ceremony participated in by most of those present.

It is customary for the best man to wake up about noon of the following day. You will not have the slightest idea as to where you are or how you got there. You will be wearing your dress trousers, your stiff or pleated bosom dress shirt, black socks and pumps, and the coat of your pajamas. In one hand you will be clutching a chrysanthemum. After a few minutes there will come a low moan from the next bed. That is usually the groom, also in evening dress with the exception that he has tried to put on the trousers of your pajamas over his dress trousers. You then say, "What happened?" to which he replies, "Oh, Judas." You wait several minutes. In the next room you hear the sound of a shower bath and some one whistling. The bath stops; the whistling continues. The door then opens and there enters one of the ushers. He is the usher who always "feels great" the next day after the bachelor dinner. He says to you, "Well, boys, you look all in." You do not reply. He continues, "Gosh, I feel fine." You make no response. He then begins to chuckle, "I don't suppose you remember," he says, "what you said to the bride's mother when I brought you home last night." You sit quickly up in bed. "What did I say?" you ask. "Was I tight?" "Were you tight?" he replies, still chuckling. "Don't you remember what you said? And don't you remember trying to get the bride's father to slide down the banisters with you? Were you tight—Oh, my gosh!" He then exits, chuckling. Statistics of several important life insurance companies show that that type of man generally dies a violent death before the age of thirty.


The rehearsal for the wedding is usually held in the church on the afternoon preceding the day of the nuptials. The ushers, of course, are an hour late, which gives the bridegroom (Bap.) an opportunity to meet the minister (Epis.) and have a nice, long chat about religion, while the best man (Atheist) talks to the eighty-three year old sexton who buried the bride's grandpa and grandma and has knowed little Miss Dorothy come twenty years next Michaelmas. The best man's offer of twenty-five dollars, if the sexton will at once bury the maid of honor, is generally refused as a matter of courtesy.


In the evening, the parents of the bride give the bridal dinner, to which all the relatives and close friends of the family are invited. Toasts are drunk in orange juice and rare old Virginia Dare wine, and much good-natured fun is indulged in by all. Speeches are usually made by the bride and groom, their parents, the best man, the maid of honor, the minister and Aunt Harriet.

Just a word about the speeches at a bridal dinner. Terrible!


On the day of the wedding the ushers should arrange to be at the church an hour or so in advance of the time set for the ceremony. They should be dressed in cutaways, with ties, gloves and gardenias provided by the groom.

It is the duty of the best man to dress the bridegroom for the wedding. As you enter his room you see, lying half-dressed on the bed, a pale, wan, emaciated creature, who is staring fixedly at the ceiling. It is the happy bridegroom. His lips open. He speaks feebly. "What time is it?" he says. You reply, "Two-thirty, old man. Time to start getting dressed." "Oh, my God!" says the groom. Ten minutes pass. "What time is it?" says the groom. "Twenty of three," you reply. "Here's your shirt." "Oh, my God!" says the groom.

He takes the shirt and tries to put it on. You help him. "Better have a little Scotch, old man," you say. "What time is it?" he replies. "Five of three," you say. "Oh, my God!" says the groom.

At three-thirty you and he are dressed in cutaways and promptly at three-forty-two you arrive at the church. You are ushered into a little side room where it is your duty to sit with the corpse for the few brief hours which elapse between three-forty-five and four o'clock. Occasionally he stirs and a faint spark of life seems to struggle in his sunken eyes. His lips move feebly. You bend over to catch his dying words. "Have—you—got—the ring?" he whispers. "Yes," you reply. "Everything's fine. You look great, too, old man." The sound of the organ reaches your ears. The groom groans. "Have you got the ring?" he says.

Meanwhile the ushers have been performing their duty of showing the invited guests to the various pews. A correctly trained usher will always have ready some cheery word or sprightly bit of conversation to make the guests feel perfectly at home as he conducts them to their seats. "It's a nice day, isn't it?" is suggested as a perfectly safe and yet not too unusual topic of conversation. This can be varied by remarking, "Isn't it a nice day?" or in some cases, where you do not wish to appear too forward, "Is it a nice day, or isn't it?" An usher should also remember that although he has on a cutaway, he is neither a floor-walker nor a bond salesman, and remarks such as "Something in a dotted Swiss?" or "Third aisle over—second pew—next the ribbon goods," are decidedly non au fait.

The first two pews on each side of the center aisle are always reserved for members of the immediate family, but it is a firmly established custom that the ushers shall seat in these "family pews" at least three people with whom the family are barely on speaking terms. This slight error always causes Aunt Nellie and Uncle Fred to sit up in the gallery with the family cook.

With the arrival of the bride, the signal is given to the organist to start the wedding march, usually either Mendelssohn's or Wagner's. About this time the mother of the bride generally discovers that the third candle from the left on the rear altar has not been lighted, which causes a delay of some fifteen minutes during which time the organist improvises one hundred and seventy-three variations on the opening strains of the march.

Finally all is adjusted and the procession starts down the aisle led by the ushers swaying slowly side by side. It is always customary for three or four of the eight ushers to have absolutely no conception of time or rhythm, which adds a quaint touch of uncertainty and often a little humor to the performance.

After the Scotch mist left by the passing ushers has cleared, there come the bridesmaids, the maid of honor, and then, leaning on her father's arm (unless, of course, her father is dead), the bride.

In the meantime, the bridegroom has been carried in by the best man and awaits the procession at the foot of the aisle, which is usually four hundred and forty yards long. The ushers and bridesmaids step awkwardly to one side; the groom advances and a hush falls over the congregation which is the signal for the bride's little niece to ask loudly, "What's that funny looking man going to do, Aunt Dotty?"

Then follows the religious ceremony.

Immediately after the church service, a reception is held at the bride's home, where refreshments are served and two hundred and forty-two invited guests make the same joke about kissing the bride. At the reception it is customary for the ushers and the best man to crawl off in separate corners and die.

The wedding "festivities" are generally concluded with the disappearance of the bride, the bridegroom, one of the uninvited guests and four of the most valuable presents.

{illustration caption = The man of culture and refinement, while always considerate to those beneath him in station, never, under any circumstances, loses control of his emotions for an instant. Though the gentleman-rider in the picture may be touchingly fond of his steeplechase horse, it is unpardonably bad form for him to make an exhibition of his affection while going over the brush in plain view of numbers of total strangers. In doing so he simply is making a "guy" of himself, and it is no more than he deserves if those in the gallery raise their eyebrows at each other and smile knowingly.}

{illustration caption = The Romans had a proverb, "Litera scripta manet," which means "The written letter remains." The subtle wisdom of these words was no doubt well known to the men of the later Paleolithic Age before them, but evidently the gentleman in the engraving never heard of it. If he had kept this simple little rule of social correspondence in mind he would have avoided the painful experience of hearing his obsolete emotions exposed to the eager ears of twelve perfect strangers. It is customary nowadays for unmarried elder sons of our most aristocratic families to express their appreciation of the qualities of fascinating bachelor girls over the sensible, though plebeian, telephone.}


The etiquette of travel, like that of courtship and marriage, has undergone several important changes with the advent of "democracy" and the "mechanical age." Time was when travel was indulged in only by the better classes of society and the rules of travellers' etiquette were well defined and acknowledged by all. But Yankee ingenuity has indeed brought the "mountain to Mahomet"; the "iron horse" and the "Pullman coach" have, I believe, come to stay, bringing with them many new customs and manners for the well-bred gentleman or lady who would travel correctly. Truly, the "old order changeth" and it is, perhaps, only proper that one should keep (if you will pardon the use of the word), "abreast" of the times.


Let us suppose, for example, that you are a young gentleman of established social position in one of the many cities of our great middle west, and it is your desire to travel from your home to New York City for the purpose of viewing the many attractions of that metropolis of which I need perhaps only mention the Aquarium or Grant's Tomb or the Eden Musee. Now there are many ways of getting to New York, such as (a) on foot, (b) via "rail"; it should be your first duty to select one of these methods of transportation. Walking to New York ("a" above) is often rejected because of the time and effort involved and it is undoubtedly true that if one attempted to journey afoot from the middle west one would probably be quite fatigued at the end of one's journey. The etiquette of walking, however, is the same for short as for long distances, and I shall at this point give a few of the many rules for correct behavior among pedestrians.

In the first place, it is always customary in a city for a young lady, either accompanied or unaccompanied, to walk on the sidewalk. A young "miss" who persists in walking in the gutters is more apt to lose than to make friends among the socially "worth while."

Gentlemen, either with or without ladies, are never seen walking after dark in the sewers or along the elevated, tracks.

It is not au fait for gentlemen or ladies wearing evening dress to "catch on behind" passing ice wagons, trucks, etc.; the time and energy saved are doubtfully repaid should one happen to be driven thus past other members of one's particular social "set."

Ladies walking alone on the street after dark do not speak to gentlemen unless they have been previously introduced or are out of work with winter coming on.

A gentleman walking alone at night, when accosted by a young woman whom he has not met socially, removes his hat politely, bows and passes on, unless she looks awfully good.

Debutantes meeting traffic policemen always bow first in America; in the Continental countries, with their age-old flavor of aristocratic court life, this custom is reversed.

A bachelor, accompanied by a young unmarried woman, when stepping accidentally into an open coal or sewer hole in the sidewalk, removes his hat and gloves as inconspicuously as possible.

It is never correct for young people of either "sex" to push older ladies in front of swiftly approaching motor vehicles or street cars.

A young man, if run over by an automobile driven by a strange lady, should lie perfectly still (unless dead) until an introduction can be arranged; the person driving the car usually speaks first.

An unmarried woman, if run into and knocked down by a taxicab driven by someone in her own "set," usually says "Why the hell don't you look where you're going?" to which the taxi driver, removing his hat, replies "Why the hell don't YOU?"

A correct costume for gentlemen walking in the parks or streets of a city, either before or after dark, consists of shoes (2), socks (2), undergarments, trousers, shirt, necktie, collar, vest, coat and hat. For pedestrians of the "opposite" sex the costume is practically the same with the exception of the socks, trousers, shirt, necktie, collar, vest and coat. However, many women now affect "knickerbockers" and vice versa.

A young lady of good breeding, when walking alone, should not talk or laugh in a loud boisterous manner. "Capers" (e. g. climbing trees, etc.), while good exercise and undoubtedly fashionable in certain "speedy" circles, are of questionable taste for ladies, especially if indulged in to excess or while walking with young gentlemen on the Sabbath. Sport is sport, and no one loves a stiff game of "fives" or "rounders" more than I, but the spectacle of a young unmarried lady and her escort hanging by their limbs on the Lord's Day from the second or third cross arm of an electric telegraph pole is certainly carrying things a bit too far, in my opinion, even in this age of "golf" and lawn "tennis."

A young gentleman escorting a young lady on foot to a formal ball or the opera should walk on the outside, especially if they are both in evening dress and have a long distance to go. It is never incorrect to suggest the use of a street car, or as one gets near the Opera House, a carriage or a "taxicab."

A young man walking with a young lady, when accosted by a beggar, always gives the beggar something unless the young lady is his wife or his sister.

So much for pedestrians. I can not, of course, pretend to give here all the rules for those who "go afoot" and I can only say that the safest principle for correct behavior in this, as in many social matters, is the now famous reply Thomas Edison once made to the stranger who asked him with what he mixed his paints in order to get such marvellous effects. "One part inspiration," replied the great inventor, "and NINE parts perspiration." In other words, etiquette is not so much a matter of "genius" as of steady application to small details.


In America much of the travelling is done by "rail." The etiquette of railroad behavior is extremely complicated, especially if one is forced to spend the night en route (on the way) and many and ludicrous are the mistakes made by those whose social training has apparently fitted them more for a freight car than for an up-to-date "parlor" or "Pullman" coach.


Let us, first of all, however, take up some of the simpler forms of rail transportation, such as, for example, the electric street or "tram" car now to be seen on the main highways and byways of all our larger cities. The rules governing behavior on these vehicles often appear at first quite complicated, but when one has learned the "ropes," as they say in the Navy, one should have no difficulty.

An elderly lady with a closed umbrella, for example, desiring to take a street car, should always stand directly under a large sign marked "Street Cars Do Not Stop On This Corner." As the car approaches she should run quickly out to the car tracks and signal violently to the motorman with the umbrella. As the car whizzes past without stopping she should cease signalling, remark "Well I'll be God damned!" and return to the curbstone. After this performance has been repeated with three successive cars she should then walk slowly out and lie down, in a dignified manner, across the car tracks. In nine cases out of ten the motorman of the next "tram" will see her lying there and will be gentleman enough to stop his car.

When this happens the elderly lady should get quietly up from the street and stand outside the door marked "Exit Only" until the motorman opens it for her. She should then enter with the remark, "I signalled to three cars and not one of them stopped," to which the motorman will reply, "But, lady, that sign there says they don't stop on this corner." The lady should then say "What's your number—I'm going to report you."

After taking his number she should enter the car. At the opposite end of the vehicle there will undoubtedly be three or four vacant seats; instead of taking one of these she should stand up in front of some young man and glare at him until he gets up and gives her his place.

It is not customary in American cities for ladies to thank gentlemen who provide them with seats.

After a few minutes she should turn to the man at her right and ask "Does this car go to Madison Heights?" He will answer "No." She should then turn to the man on her left and ask "Does this car go to Madison Heights?" He will answer "No." Her next question—"Does this car go to Madison Heights?"—should be addressed to a man across the aisle, and the answer will be "No." She should then listen attentively while the conductor calls out the names of the streets and as he shouts "Blawmnoo!" she should ask the man at her right "Did he say Madison Heights?" He will reply "No." At the next street the conductor will shout "Blawmnoo!" at which she should ask "Did he say Madison Heights?" Once more the answer will be in the negative. The car will proceed, the conductor will now call "Blawmnoo!" and as the elderly lady once more says "Did he say Madison Heights?" the man at her left, the man at her right, the man across the aisle and eight other male passengers will shout "YES!"

It is then correct for her to pickup her umbrella and, carefully waiting until the conductor has pulled the "go ahead" signal, she should cry "Wait a minute, conductor—I want to get off here." The car will then be stopped and she should say "Is this Madison Heights?" to which the conductor will reply "This ain't the Madison Heights car, lady." She should then say "But you called out Madison Heights," to which he will answer "No, lady—that's eight miles in the opposite direction." She should then leave the street car, not forgetting, however, to take the conductor's number again.

The above hints for "tram" car etiquette apply, of course, only to elderly ladies. For young men and women the procedure would be in many cases quite different. A young married woman, for example, on entering a street car, should always have her ticket or small "change" so securely buried in the fourth inside pocketbook of her handbag that she cannot possibly find it inside of twelve minutes. Three or more middle-aged ladies, riding together, should never decide as to who is to pay the fare until the conductor has gone stark raving mad.

{illustration caption = Her conduct has stamped the young lady as a provincial and it is not to be wondered at if suppressed titters and half audible chuckles follow her about the room. PERFECT BEHAVIOR would have taught her that it is not the prerogative of a muddy-complexioned dud—even if she has had only one dance and her costume is very expensive—to cut in on a gentleman (by grabbing his neck or any other method) when he is dancing with the wide-eyed beauty from the South who leaves in five minutes to catch a train. He will be within his rights when, at the end of five minutes, after three unsuccessful attempts to loosen her grip, he will carry her into the garden under false pretences and there play the hose on her until she drowns.

{illustration caption = They are leaving the home of an intimate friend of several weeks' standing, after having witnessed a Private Theatrical. Both feel that some return should be made for their hostess's kindness but neither is certain as to just what form the return should take. The Book of PERFECT BEHAVIOR would have pointed out to them that the only adequate and satisfactory revenge for this sort of thing is to invite the lady, as soon as possible without exciting her suspicion, to attend an Italian opera or a drawing-room musicale.


The rules governing correct behavior in the underground "subway" systems of our great cities (particularly the New York subways) are, however, much more simple and elemental than the etiquette for surface cars. In the subway, for example, if you are a married man and living with your wife, or head of a family, i. e., a person who actually supports one or more persons living in (or under) his (or her) household on the last day of the preceding calendar year, provided that such person or persons shall not on or before July 1 or if July 1 shall fall on a Sunday then on the day nearest preceding July 1, himself (or themselves) have filed a separate report as provided in paragraph (g), you should precede a lady when entering, and follow a lady when leaving, the train.


On the other hand, a wedding or a "honeymoon" trip in a subway brings up certain problems of etiquette which are entirely different from the above. Let us suppose, for example, that the wedding takes place at high noon in exclusive old "Trinity" church, New York. The nearest subway is of course the "Interborough" (West Side) and immediately after the ceremony the lucky couple can run poste haste to the "Battery" and board a Lenox Ave. Local. Arriving at romantic Chambers St. they should change at once to a Bronx Park Express which will speedily whizz them past 18th St., 23rd St. and 28th St. to the Pennsylvania Station where they can again transfer, this time to a Broadway Local. In a jiffy and two winks of an eye they will be at Times Square, the heart of the "Great White Way" (that Mecca of pleasure seekers and excitement lovers) where they can either change to a Broadway Express, journeying under Broadway to historic Columbia University and Harlem, or they can take the busy little "shuttle" which will hurry them over to the Grand Central Station. There they can board the aristocratic East Side Subway, either "up" or "down" town. The trip "up town" (Lexington Ave. Express) passes under some of the better class residential districts, but the journey in the other direction is perhaps more interesting, including as it does such stops as 14th St., Brooklyn Bridge, Fulton Street, Wall Street (the financial center) etc., not to mention a delightful passage under the East River to Brooklyn, the city of homes and churches. Thus without getting out of their seats the happy pair can be transported from one fascinating end of the great city to the other and when they have exhausted the possibilities of a honeymoon in the Interborough they can change, with the additional cost of only a few cents apiece, to the B. R. T. or the Hudson Tubes which will gladly carry them to a thousand new and interesting places—a veritable Aladdin's lamp on rails.


And now we come to that most complex form of travel—the railroad journey. Let us suppose that instead of attempting to walk to New York you have elected to go on the "train." On the day of your departure you should carefully pack your bag or suitcase, taking care to strap and lock it securely. You can then immediately unstrap and unlock it in order to put in the tooth paste and shaving brush which you forgot to bring from the bathroom.

Arriving at the station promptly on the time scheduled for the train to depart you will find that because of "daylight saving time" you have exactly an hour to wait. The time, however, can be amusingly and economically spent in the station as follows: 11 weighing machines @.01 =.11; 3 weighing machines @.05 =.15; 1 weighing machine (out of order).09; 17 slot machines (chocolate and gum) @.01 =.17. Total cost—.50, unless, of course, you eat the chocolate.

Upon the arrival of the train you consult your ticket to find that you have "lower 9" in car 43. Walking back to the end of the train and entering car 43 you will find, in berth number 9, a tired woman and two small children. You will also find a hat box, a bird cage, a bag of oranges, a bag of orange peelings, a shoe-box of lunch, a rag doll, a toy balloon, half a "cookie" and 8,000,000 crumbs. The tired woman will then say to you "Are you the gentleman who has the lower berth?" to which you answer "Yes." She will then say "Well say—we've got the upper—and I wonder if you would mind—" "Not at, all," you reply, "I should be only too glad to give you my lower." This is always done.

After you have seated yourself and the train has started the lady's little boy will announce, "I want a drink, Mama." After he has repeated this eleven times his mother will say to you "I wonder if you would mind holding the baby while I take Elmer to get a drink?"

The etiquette of holding babies is somewhat difficult for bachelors to master at first as there are no hard and fast rules governing conduct under these circumstances. An easy "hold" for beginners and one which is difficult for the ordinary baby to break consists in wrapping the left and right arms firmly around the center of the child, at the same time clutching the clothing with the right hand and the toes with the left and praying to God that the damn thing won't drop.

In this particular case, after Elmer and his mother have gone down the aisle after a drink, the baby which you are holding will at once begin to cry. Now as every mother knows, and especially those mothers who have had children, a baby does not cry without some specific reason and all that is necessary in the present instance is to discover this reason. First of all, the child may be merely hungry, in which case you should at once ask the porter to bring you the a la carte menu. You should then carefully go over the list of dishes with the infant, taking care to spell out and explain such names as he may not understand. "How would you like some nice assorted hors d'oeuvres?" you say. "Waaaaa!" says the baby. "No hors d'oeuvres," you say to the waiter. "Some blue points, perhaps—you know, o-y-s-t-e-r-s?" You might even act out a blue point or two, as in charades, so that the child will understand what you mean. In case, however, the baby does not cease crying after having eaten the first three or four courses, you should not insist on a salad and a dessert, for probably it is not hunger which is occasioning the outcry. Perhaps it is a pin, in which case you should at once bend every effort to the discovery and removal of the irritant. The most generally accepted modern way of effecting this consists in passing a large electro-magnet over every portion of the child's anatomy and the pin (if pin there be) will of course at once come to light. Then, too, many small children cry merely because they have swallowed something which does not agree with them, such as, for example, a gold tooth or a shoe horn; the remedy in this case consists in IMMEDIATELY feeding the child the proper counter irritant. There is, really, no great mystery about the successful raising of children and with a few common sense principles, such as presented above, any mother may relieve herself of a great deal of useless anxiety. I hope I may be pardoned for a digression here, but I feel very strongly that "today's babies are tomorrow's citizens" and I do want to see them brought up in the proper way.

But to return to our train. Perhaps by this time the mother and Elmer will have returned and you will be relieved of further investigation as to the cause of the infant's discomfort. A few minutes later, however, little Elmer will say "Mama, I want the window open." This request will be duly referred to you via the line of authority. It is then your duty to assume a firm upright stance, with the weight evenly distributed on both feet, and work for twelve minutes and thirty-nine seconds in a terrific struggle to raise the windows. At the end of twelve minutes and forty seconds you will succeed, the window will slowly go up, and the train will at once enter a tunnel, filling the car and you with coal smoke. In the resulting darkness and confusion you should seize little Elmer, throw him quickly out of the open window and make your escape to the gentlemen's smoking compartment in the rear of your car.

In the "smoker" you will find three men. The first of these will be saying "and he told me that a bootlegger he knew had cleaned up a thousand dollars a week since January." The second will say "Well down where I come from there's men who never took a drink before prohibition who get drunk all the time now." The third will say "Well, I tell you, men—the saloon had to go."

Provision for satisfying the "inner man" is now a regular part of the equipment of all modern trains, and about 6:30 or 7 you should leave your companions in the "smoker" and walk through the train until you reach the "diner." Here you will seat yourself at a table with three other gentlemen, the first of whom will be remarking, as you sit down, "and I know for a fact that this bootlegger is making over fifty thousand dollars a year."


Before the days of modern railroads one could not very well travel over night but now, thanks to Mr. Pullman, it is possible for the traveller to go to bed en route and be every bit as snug and comfortable as the proverbial insect in a rug. Shortly after dinner the porter will "make up" the berths in the car and when you desire to retire for the night you should ask him to bring you the ladder in order that you may ascend to upper 9. While you are waiting you should stand in the aisle and remove your coat, vest and shoes, and then begin to search for your suitcase which you will finally locate by crawling on your chin and stomach under berth number 11. When you again resume an upright position the train will give a sudden lurch, precipitating you into berth number 12. A woman's voice will then say "Alice?" to which you should of course answer "No" and climb quickly up the ladder into your proper berth.

A great deal of "to do" is often made of the difficulty involved in undressing in an upper berth but most of this is quite uncalled for. Experienced travellers now generally wait until the lights of the car have been dimmed or extinguished when the disrobing can be done quite simply in five counts, as follows: One—unloosen all clothing and lie flat on the back. The respiration should be natural, easy and through the lungs. The muscles should be relaxed; Two—pivoting on the back of the head and neck, inhale quickly, at the same time drawing the muscles of the legs and arms sharply under the body, as for a spring; Three—spring suddenly upward and to the right (or left), catching the bell cord (which extends along the roof of the train) with the teeth, hands and feet; Four—holding firmly to the cord with the knees, describe a sudden arc downward with the head and body, returning to position as soon as the shirt and undershirt have dropped off into the aisle; Five—taking a firm hold on the cord with the teeth, let go sharply with the knees. The trousers, etc., should at once slide off, and you can (and, in fact, should) then swing yourself quickly back into your berth and pajamas.

Once inside your "bunk" you should drift quickly off to slumberland, and when you wake up it will be five minutes later and the————engineer will be trying to see what he can do with an air brake and a few steel sleeping cars.

In the morning you will be in New York.


In order to listen to music intelligently—or what is really much more important—in order to give the appearance of listening to music intelligently, it is necessary for the novice to master thoroughly two fundamental facts.

The first, and most important of these, is that the letter "w" in Russian is pronounced like "v"; the second, that Rachmaninoff has a daughter at Vassar.

Not very difficult, surely—but it is remarkable how much enjoyment one can get out of music by the simple use of these two formulas. With a little practise in their use, the veriest tyro can bewilder her escort even though she be herself so musically uninformed as to think that the celeste is only used in connection with Aida, or that a minor triad is perhaps a young wood nymph.

One other important fundamental is that enthusiasm should never be expressed for any music written after 1870; by a careful observance of this rule one will constantly experience that delightful satisfaction which comes with finding one's opinions shared by the music critics in the daily press.

{illustration caption = The young lady in the picture has just laid out a perfect drive. She had, unfortunately, neglected to wait until the gentleman playing ahead of her had progressed more than fifteen yards down the fairway, and her ball, traveling at a velocity of 1675 f.s., has caught the gentleman squarely in the half-pint bottle. What mistake, if any, is the gentleman making in chasing her off the course with his niblick, if we assume that she called "Fore!" when the ball had attained to within three feet of the gentleman?}

{illustration caption = You will exclaim, no doubt, on looking at the scene depicted above, "Cherchez la femme." It is, however, nothing so serious as you will pardonably suppose. The gentleman is merely an inexperienced "gun" at a shooting-party, who has begun following his bird before it has risen above the head of his loader. This very clumsy violation of the etiquette of sport proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he has learned to shoot from the comic papers, and that his coat-of-arms can never again be looked upon as anything but bogus.}


The first thing to do on arriving at a symphony concert is to express the wish that the orchestra will play Beethoven's Fifth. If your companion then says "Fifth what?" you are safe with him for the rest of the evening; no metal can touch you. If, however, he says "So do I"—this is a danger signal and he may require careful handling.

The next step is a glance at the program. If your escort is quite good looking and worth cultivating, the obvious remark is "Oh dear—not a very interesting program, to-night. But George—LOOK at what they are playing next Thursday! My, I wish—." If George shies at this, it can be tried again later—say during an "appassionato" passage for the violins and cellos.

As soon as the music starts, all your attention should be directed toward discovering someone who is making a noise—whispering or coughing; having once located such a creature, you should immediately "sh-sh" him. Should he continue the offence, a severe frown must accompany the next "sh-sh," a lorgnette—if available—adding great effectiveness to the rebuke. This will win you the gratitude of your neighbors and serve to establish your position socially, as well as musically—for perfect "sh-shers" do not come from the lower classes.

At the conclusion of the first number the proper remark is "hmmm," accompanied by a slow shake of the head. After this you may use any one of a number of remarks, as for example, "Well, I suppose Mendelssohn appeals to a great many people," or "That was meaningless enough to have been written by a Russian." This latter is to be preferred, for it leads your companion to say, "But don't you like TschaiKOWsky?", pronouncing the second syllable as if the composer were a female bull. You can then reply, "Why, yes, TschaiKOFFsky DID write some rather good music—although it's all neurotic and obviously Teutonic." Don't fail to stress the "v."

The next number on the program will probably be the soloist—say, a coloratura soprano. Your first remark should be that you don't really care for the human voice—the reason being, of course, that symphonic Music, ABSOLUTE music, has spoiled you for things like vocal gymnastics. This leads your bewildered friend to ask you what sort of soloist you prefer.

Ans.—Why, a piano concerto, of course.

Ques.—And who is your favorite pianist?

Ans.—Rachmaninoff. And then, before the boy has time to breathe —SHOOT! "Did you knoow that he has a daughter at Vassar?"

Although not necessary, it might be well to finish off the poor fellow at the end of the concert with one or two well placed depth bombs. My own particular favorite for this is the following, accompanied by a low sigh: "After all—Beethoven IS Beethoven."


The same procedure is recommended for the piano or violin recital, with the possible addition of certain phrases such as "Yes—of course, she has technique—but, my dear, so has an electric piano." This remark gives you a splendid opportunity for sarcasm at the expense of Mr. Duo-Art and other manufacturers of mere mechanical perfection; the word "soul"—pronounced with deep feeling, as when repeating a fish order to a stupid waiter—may be introduced effectively several times.

The program at these recitals is likely to be more complex than that at a symphony concert. This is a distinct advantage, for it gives you a splendid opportunity to catch some wretch applauding before the music is really finished. Nothing is quite comparable to the satisfaction of smiling knowingly at your neighbors when this faux pas is committed, unless it be the joy of being the first to applaud at the REAL conclusion. This latter course, however, is fraught with danger for the beginner; the chances for errors in judgment are many, and the only sure way to avoid anachronistic applause is to play the safe game and refrain altogether from any expression of approval—a procedure which is heartily recommended for the musically ignorant, it being also the practise among the majority of the critics.


The opera differs from the symphony concert, or piano recital, in the same way that the army drill command of "At Ease!" differs from "Rest!" When one of these orders (I never could remember which is given to a battalion in formation), it signifies that talking is permitted; opera, of course, corresponds to that command.

Before the invention of the phonograph it was often necessary for the opera goer to pay some attention to the performance—at least while certain favorite arias were being sung; this handicap to the enjoyment of opera has now fortunately been overcome and one can devote one's entire attention to other more important things, safe in one's knowledge that one has Galli-Curci at home on the Vic.

In order really to get the most out of an opera a great deal of study and preparation is required in advance; I have not space at this time to cover these preliminaries thoroughly, but would recommend to the earnest student such supplemental information as can be obtained from Lady Duff-Gordon, or Messrs. Tiffany, Tecla and Pinaud.

Upon entering one's box the true opera lover at once assumes a musical attitude; this should be practised at home, by my lady, before a mirror until she is absolutely sure that the shoulders and back can be seen from any part of the house. Then, with the aid of a pair of strong opera glasses, she may proceed to scrutinize carefully the occupants of the boxes—noting carefully any irregular features. Technical phraseology, useful in this connection, includes "unearthly creature," "stray leopard" or, simply, "that person."

Your two magical formulas—the Russian "w" and the sad story about Rachmaninoff's daughter—may, of course, be held in reserve—but the chances are that you will be unable to use them, for during an evening at the opera there will probably be no mention of music.



In spite of the great pride and joy which we Americans feel over the success of National Prohibition; in spite of the universal popularity of the act and the method of its enforcement; in spite of the fact that it is now almost impossible to obtain in any of our ex-saloons anything in the least resembling whiskey or gin,—there still remains the distressing suspicion that quite possibly, at some of the dinner parties and dances of our more socially prominent people, liquor—or its equivalent—is openly being served. Dry agents have, of course, tried on several occasions to verify this suspicion; their praiseworthy efforts have met, for the most part, with scant success.

1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse