Etiquette & Espionage
releases tomorrow! I hope to see some of you at my Launch Party in San Francisco or any of the upcoming events.
I'm signing stock for Borderlands so if you want to ordered a signed copy feel free to contact them.
And now, for today's blog post, Gentle Reader, I have to you 5 Questions of Etiquette.
1. How are people introduced?
2. How do you cut someone?
- Youth is introduced to age. "Wolverine, may I present Doogie Howser?"
- Men are introduced to women. "Eddie Izzard in drag, may I present Eddie Izzard out of drag?"
- Lower ranks are introduced to higher. "Countess Nadasdy, may I present Miss Dimity?"
are introduced to groups. "Ladies of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing
Academy, may I present Sophronia Temminnick?"
- The Cut: To ignore the existence, or avoid the presence, of a person.
- The Cut Direct: To look an acquaintance in the face, and pretend not to remember her.
- The Cut Modest (Indirect): To look anywhere but at her.
- The Cut Courteous: To forget names with good grace; as, instead of Sophronia to address an old friend with 'Madam,' or 'Miss...'
- The Cut Obtuse:
If slightly known to a fellow traveler, the cutter insists he never was
at the place, nor on the vessel mentioned; and may even deny his own
- The Cut Celestial: To be intentionally engaged in observation of the skies when an acquaintance passes.
tradition gentlemen may never cut ladies (this reflects badly upon him,
not her). A lady may cut a gentleman, or another lady, or even a
couple, for extremely bad behavior. (Like serving the wrong tea.)
Gossiping Ladies Punch June 8, 1895
Is there a published set of rules by which males in the Victorian era
were expected to approach and express interest in females?
that I can pull out of a hat at short notice, although some of my
readers out there know differently (and will probably comment below).
There might be something in What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England
but I haven't consulted it recently. I would urge caution not to rely
on characters from Austen as, in her very subtle way, she is often
breaking the rules of courtship, in order to comment on society as a
whole. Dickens, of course is more interested in the lower echelons of
society, and he too is writing human-interest stories that involve, by
their very nature, tampering with social convention. You might look
later in time, oddly Wooster in P.G. Wodehouse's 1920s setting books,
behaves (around women) in a rather Victorian manner. It's part of the
way Wodehouse is driving conflict.
4. Is there a published set of rules for the converse direction?
I don't know, but a good general rule is that (as with conjugal
relations) a lady always starts the conversation and a gentleman always
finishes it, and in the middle the gentleman should act more than he
talks. He is responsible for fetching things the lady needs (e.g. tea,
punch, fan, dance card) and discussing topics that a lady might find
congenial (e.g. weather, fashion, dance, food, society) nothing too
personal or intrusive.
5. Were the rules different depending on social class?
completely different. They were also dependent on ethnicity and
location of said middle and lower classes as well, both within and
outside of London. In general, the middle class from about 1840 on was far more
strict about observance of social rules than the upper class for whom,
particularly the gentlemen, many of the rules were strangely lax
(possibly because they were dabbling with whores). In this respect, we
see very high-class men using low class slang but in their Eton accent
(when around other gentlemen), while the middle class try to imitate
what they think is high class and taking it too far (nouveau riche).
And, of course, if you are blue blooded enough almost any eccentricity
could be forgiven in both men and older married/widowed women. (A note
on the military ~ kept mainly isolated when they returned from (often)
decades of fighting abroad, they had their own kind of culture and
interactions. The officers (purchased commission) did reintegrate
somewhat into society but it could be difficult for them. There is a
reason military men usually married the daughters of other military
Some useful information on Calling Cards
Lastly, a word on outside influences, and this from my
archaeology background. Victorian England did not exist in a bubble.
Much as they hated to admit it, London especially was open to influence
from across the channel and across the pond ~ dress, society, food,
technology, and language. Victorians were cooking with pasta and calling
fashion, objects, cuisine, and behavior by French titles. In addition
to the middle class trying to break into high society, moneyed (via
industry) Americans were traipsing over, particularly in the 1870s and
80s, to Get Culture
through education or marriage (i.e. The Buccaneers
unfinished last novel of Edith Wharton). All of these components had
their effect on what we, all too often think of as, those isolated
GAIL'S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1904-1905 Ensemble Gustave Beer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Lorgnette 1890s Doyle Auctions
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Five Types of Modern Spies
1. Local Spy ~ hired from among the people of a locality
2. Inside Spy ~ hired from among enemy officials
3. Reverse Spy ~ hired from among enemy spies
4. Dead Spy ~ transmit false intelligence to enemy spies
5. Living Spy ~ come back to report
~ Schott's Quintessential Miscellany
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
If I Could Do Things Over:What I'd Change & What I Wouldn't
PROJECT ROUND UP
~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First:
Curtsies & Conspiracies
~ The Finishing School Book the Second:
Title changed. Release date November 2013. Proofs handed in. Done my end.
~ Soulless Vol. 2: (AKA Changeless
) Out now!
Etiquette & Espionage
~ Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 5, 2013. Tour events planned!
Did you miss the part where E&E releases tomorrow? Eek!
Little Library Muse
says, “Overall, loaded with fun and mischief, this is an absolutely
good read that made me giggle on occasion at its cheeky humor.”
Quote of the Day:
all, one knows one's weak points so well, that it's rather bewildering
to have the critics overlook them and invent others."
~ Edith Wharton