The Laws of Etiquette
Short Rules and Reflections
CONDUCT IN SOCIETY.
BY A GENTLEMAN.
The author of the present volume has endeavored to embody, in as short a space as possible, some of the results of his own experience and observation in society, and submits the work to the public, with the hope that the remarks which are contained in it, may prove available for the benefit of others. It is, of course, scarcely possible that anything original should be found in a volume like this: almost all that it contains must have fallen under the notice of every man of penetration who has been in the habit of frequenting good society. Many of the precepts have probably been contained in works of a similar character which have appeared in England and France since the days of Lord Chesterfield. Nothing however has been copied from them in the compilation of this work, the author having in fact scarcely any acquaintance with books of this description, and many years having elapsed since he has opened even the pages of the noble oracle. He has drawn entirely from his own resources, with the exception of some hints for arrangement, and a few brief reflections, which have been derived from the French.
The present volume is almost apart from criticism. It has no pretensions to be judged as a literary work—its sole merit depending upon its correctness and fitness of application. Upon these grounds he ventures to hope for it a favorable reception.
[Editor’s note: This handy guide to proper manners may be a bit out of date – it is well over 150 years old – but will be of interest to our readers for a few reasons. First, it is notable from a purely historical point of view. Second, while many things have changed since The Laws of Etiquette was written, many things have not, and some of the advice is as sound today as it ever was. Third, the writing serves to dispel our notion of people in the 1830’s as stuffy; the author has a scathing sense of humor, and is not at all shy about expressing his opinions. Enjoy reading this wonderful etiquette guide! — DJMc. ]