Victorian Etiquette for the New Millennium
Important Rules of Conduct

 
 
Never exaggerate.
       Never point at another.
       Never betray a confidence.
       Never wantonly frighten others.
       Never leave home with unkind words.
       Never neglect to call upon your friends.
       Never laugh at the misfortune of others.
       Never give a promise that you do not fulfill.
Never speak much of your own performance.
      Never fail to be punctual at the time appointe
      Never make yourself the hero of your own story.
      Never pick the teeth or clean the nails in public.
      Never fail to to give a polite answer to a civil question.
      Never question a servant or a child about family matters.
      Never present a gift saying that it is of no use to you.
Never read letters which you may find addressed to others.
        Never fail, if a gentleman, of being civil and polite to ladies.
        Never call attention to the features or form of anyone present.
        Never refer to a gift you have made, or favor you have rendered.
        Never associate with bad company.  Have good company or 
            none.
        Never look over the shoulder of another who is reading or 
            writing.
        Never appear to notice a scar, deformity, or defect of anyone 
            resent.
Never fail to offer the easiest and best seat in the room to 
       an invalid and elderly person, or a lady.
       Never neglect to perform the commission which the friend 
            entrusted to you.  You must not forget.
       Never send your guest, who is accustomed to a warm room, 
           off into the cold, damp, spare bed, to sleep.
       Never enter a room filled with people, without a slight bow
           to the general company when first entering.
    Never arrest the attention of an acquaintance by touch.
             Speak to him.
     Never answer questions in general company that have been put 
            to others.
     Never, when traveling abroad, be over boastful in praise of your
            own company.
     Never call a new acquaintance by the Christian name unless 
            requested to do so.
     Never lend an article you have borrowed, unless you have
         permission to do so.
     Never attempt to draw the attention of the company constantly 
         upon yourself.
   Never fail to answer an invitation, either personally or by letter,
           within a week after the invitation is received.
        Never accept of favors and hospitalities without rendering an
            exchange of civilities when opportunity offers.
        Never cross the leg and put out one foot in the street-car, 
            or places where it will trouble others when passing by.

 Never exhibit anger, impatience or excitement, when          an       

accident 
            happens.
     Never pass between two persons who are talking together, without
            an apology.
     Never enter a room noisily; never fail to close the door after you,
            and never slam it.
     Never forget that, if you are faithful in a few things, you may be
            ruler over many.
     Never exhibit too great familiarity with the new acquaintance
            you may give offense.
     Never will a gentleman allude to conquests which he may have 
            made with ladies.
     Never be guilty of the comtemptible meanness of opening a 
            private letter addressed to another.

Never, when walking arm in arm with a lady, be continually 
      changing and going to the other side, because of change
      of corners. It shows too much attention to form.
     Never should the lady accept expensive gifts at the hands 
      of a gentleman not related or engaged to her. 
      Gifts of flowers,books, music or confectionery may be 
               accepted.
Never fail to tell the truth. If truthful, you get your rewards. 
         You will get your punishment if you deceive.
     Never borrow money and neglect to pay. If you do, you will soon 
          be known as a person of no business integrity.
     Never write to another asking for information, or a favor of any 
           kind without inclosing a postage stamp for reply.
     Never fail to say kind and encouraging words to those to those 
         whom you meet in distress. Your kindness may lift them out 
         of their despair.
     Never refuse to receive an apology. You may not revive friendship,
         but courtesy will require, when an apology is offered, that you
         accept it.
     Never examine the cards in the card-basket. While they may be 
         exposed in the drawing room, you are not expected to turn 
         them over unless invited to do so.
Never attempt to convey the impression that you are a genius, by 
      imitating the faults of distinguished men. 
   Because certain great men were poor penmen, wore long hair, or and 
      other peculiarities,  it does not follow that you will be great by 
      imitating their eccentricities.
Never insult another by harsh words when applied to for a favor.
            Kind words do not cost much, and yet they may carry untold
            happiness to the one to whom they are spoken.
Never fail to speak kindly.  If a merchant, and you address your 
           clerk; if an overseer, and you address your workmen; if in
           any position where you exercise authority, you show yourself 
           to be a gentleman by your pleasant mode of address.
Never give all you pleasant words and smiles to strangers.
      The kindest words and the sweetest smiles should be
       reserved for home.
Home should be our heaven.
       "We have careful thought for the stranger,
        and smiles for the sometime guest;
        But oft for our own the bitter tone,
        Though we love our own the best.
        Ah: lips with the curl impatient ___
        Ah! brow with the shade of scorn,
        'T'were a cruel fate were the night too late
        To undo the work of the morn."
 
Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms
by Thos. E. Hill.
Hill Standard Book Co., Chicago:  1881

Created in 1999 by Laura Lee Scott

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