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crowley_greene
09-30-2006, 07:59 PM
A few years ago, I purchased the excellent book Civil War Era Etiquette. Lately I have wondered about one small detail, that I don't recall reading about in the book, and am having trouble finding it.

If a lady and a fellow encounter each other, he removes his hat (as opposed to just touching the brim in a "Howdy-ma'am-Marshal-Dillon-style"). But if the meeting turns into an extended conversation, how long does the fellow keep his hat off? The whole time?

That happened last weekend when a husband-and-wife pair of reenactors came and spoke to me at an event. I removed my hat while we spoke, and kept it off during the conversation (although the husband kept his on the whole time). Finally, after about 10 minutes I needed to excuse myself to tend to some other matters of the event.

But again the question, does a fellow keep his hat off the whole time he's speaking with a lady, even if it's a 30- or 40-minute conversation?

Murray Therrell

Frenchie
09-30-2006, 09:43 PM
What I do, and I've not been called on it so far, is replace my hat at some appropriate point in the conversation, such as if the lady is asking a question or for directions and I want to gesture with one or both hands. Certainly if you accompany the lady, you'd replace your hat before offering your arm and starting out. In this case, once she has been deposited safely at her destination, you'd raise your hat once more as you say good-bye.

If I'm in costume and at work in the Baltimore Civil War Museum (shameless plug), I will touch my hat in greeting but not remove it because, after all, I'm a busy railroad ticket agent and can't take time to remove my hat and hold it in my hand fifty or more times a day.

Ephraim_Zook
10-01-2006, 08:05 AM
"If I'm in costume"...

Lordy!, how I hate that term. One wears a costume for Halloween or to a fancy dress ball. Every time I see a reference to "costumed interpreters" at some historic place I have visions of Pierrot et Pierrette cavorting around. :-)

ElizabethClark
10-01-2006, 10:02 AM
Though it's annoying to us, "costume" is actually used pretty freqently in period fashion notes, as: "Bathing Costume of dark wool," "Walking Costume in rep", "Traveling Costume in good cloth," "Costume for a Watering Place," etc...

I agree, though--it does conjure up Halloween images.

Sorry--I don't have a ready reference for the "how long to hold the hat" issue. I'll see if I can find one. :)

GrumpyDave
10-01-2006, 04:13 PM
http://www.lahacal.org/gentleman/behavior.html

Maybe this will help.

crowley_greene
10-01-2006, 07:15 PM
Hey, I *like* that link! I've bookmarked it. So far, I haven't found anything there pertaining to my question of the hat, but I did learn an interesting bit about fellows crossing their legs -- one knee over the other, not resting an ankle on one knee like we see today. I don't recall, I may have been guilty of that.

Murray Therrell

catspjamas
10-01-2006, 08:13 PM
From the Gentleman's Page:

Our Deportment 1881

"In meeting a lady it is optional with her whether she shall pause to speak. If the gentleman has anything to say to her, he should not stop her, but turn around and walk in her company until he has said what he has to say, when he may leave her with a bow and a lift of the hat."

You couldn't lift your hat, if you'd been holding it the whole time to begin with, so, I think you can put your hat back on right after tipping it. If it were a person you wished to show greater respect to, say somebody's Grandmother, then you might keep the hat off the whole time. While I know tv is not really a place to learn proper etiquette, in watching Master Piece Theatre, I've seen victorian men tip their hat, put it right back on, and other times hold it the whole time talking to a lady. Generally, the guys that held their hats were sweet on the lady they were speaking to. Also, they've had the guy turn around and walk with the woman to talk to her, and then take his leave. There may not have been a hard and fast rule about when to put the hat back on, just that the hat must be tipped to a lady.

MStuart
10-01-2006, 08:31 PM
Lacking "concrete" documentation, would it be safe to say we'd never go wrong in holding our hats when speaking to a lady? Walking with them on the street being a whole 'nother story, but when standing "static" and conversing?

Mark

Trooper Graham
10-01-2006, 09:34 PM
I've read this thread twice with all the postings and I need to ask a question. Is this etiquette encounter civilian to civilian? I notice that the thread was created by Murray your avatar shows you in a uniform. This is why I ask.

Spinster
10-02-2006, 12:36 AM
Murray also has a civilian persona that he uses as often as his military one.

Delia Godric
10-02-2006, 06:17 AM
Here is my page of etiquette books and related articles: http://www.geocities.com/shadowofthesundial/etiquette.html
You may find what you need there. I suggest:
Laws of Etiquette; of, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society. By A Gentleman. Philadelphia.

From memory, I believe if there is to be an extended conversation, the gentleman will walk with the woman. He was not to detain her in conversation in the street. She was also not to detain him in the street. I would think at the point where they began walking again he would replace his hat on his head if he hadn't already.


Anna Worden

crowley_greene
10-02-2006, 08:29 AM
From memory, I believe if there is to be an extended conversation, the gentleman will walk with the woman. He was not to detain her in conversation in the street. She was also not to detain him in the street. I would think at the point where they began walking again he would replace his hat on his head if he hadn't already.


Thank you for the link, I will certainly check it after I get home from work this evening (yes, I do use the Internet some for personal reasons at work during breaks, but my employer has no objections).

As far as the walking, in this particular case we happened to meet at a point where a historical ceremony -- dedication of a marker in a park -- was about to take place, so none of us would have been going anywhere else for a while. I did finally have to step away just before the ceremony began, to take part in it.

Murray

Ephraim_Zook
10-02-2006, 11:00 AM
Though it's annoying to us, "costume" is actually used pretty freqently in period fashion notes, as: "Bathing Costume of dark wool," "Walking Costume in rep", "Traveling Costume in good cloth," "Costume for a Watering Place," etc...

I agree, though--it does conjure up Halloween images.
Dear Mrs Clark,

In its period usage I've no objection. I recall busting on Mrs Lawson, I think, for having converted a nun's habit into a "bathing-costume". Thanks for the reinforcing references. :-)

Ron

Spinster
10-02-2006, 03:38 PM
Mr. Myzie,

I'll be interested to see what catastrophes follow that outfit, as it went off in a load of things e-bayed for a good cause this summer. If you hear of a major reenacting catastrophe somewhere, we'll know someone has the bathing costume.

This outfit was also an excellent exercise in the conversion of clothing from one thing to another. The Sisters of Charity of Nazereth wore a common black work dress with a heavily starched pleated cap as they went about their day to day tasks, operating a school near Perryville Kentucky in 1862. The outfit was made for the 02 'National' and had a number of adventures:

(1) Perryville 02--Hurricane something or other blew through. Trees fell and I was stuck in a cotton nun's habit for 4 days. I was wet to the bone and I had to be a nice person. This was hard.

(2) Aiken Tornado--Yep, I did the flying nun thing in that very dress, about 10 feet up and 20 feet over before being landed safely by the angels. All around was chaos and ruined sutler tents.

(3) Gainsville Dam Breach. It was a slow leak, but I wondered why my fire was floating when the sheriff came to move us on out of there. By this time the nun's habit is a plain black dress, and the pleated cap has gone back to its 18th century home.

(4) Helena Flood. I was wearing the dress, off site making a boatload of hot biscuit because I knew it was raining. Took me 2 hours to make a 30 minute drive. All the food got eaten by a lot of folks, and we spent the rest of the day watching the flood take the empty horse trailers on down stream. Cannons don't float.

(4) Great Selma Flood. Waist Deep, rising and requiring rescue. Finally washed out all the straw driven through it at Aiken, replaced with sand. Another several days in a wet cotton dress. This started my conversion to wool dresses.

(5) Fort Gaines Fishing Rodeo. I wasn't there, but the dress had been left behind in one of the bastions. I hear tell the fellers had a fine time of it, and set up a trot line in the parade ground.

(6) Mentone Earthquake. Standing over the washer with the dress in my hand when that little buzzy quake hit---rattled the glassware and knocked a few over at my house. Epicenter a hundred miles or so north, it took down some chimneys. Alabama is not commonly known to have earthquakes.

About this time, I needed a bathing costume, and didn't get one made in time for the great goings on. So I snatched the lower sleeves out of that nun's habit turned plain black dress, ripped off the bottom 4 inches of the hem facing, and made some black pantaloons to wear underneath.

While it fits some period written descriptions of such bathing costumes, it is a rather sedate version. It is also not unlike a 1948 image of Sisters at the Holy Name Hospital swimming pool near Gadsden, Alabama. Obviously, had the famed bathing beauties of Athens been dependent on me for attractiveness, they would have been neither famed nor beautiful.

Thoughtfull folks will note that my driver for that event was subsquently temporarily struck blind.

The nun's habit turned black work dress turned bathing costume is now out of my hands and the money gone to a good cause. Said young man's sight is fully recovered, as reported early today on the OTB.

MissMaggie
10-03-2006, 07:53 AM
Mrs Lawson,
That reminds me of a cursed ball gown I once owned. This rather creepy young man seemed to take a liking to any lady who wore it, including myself and several friends. The boy was not good news but just seemed so taken with anyone wearing that dang dress. The curse was broken (or at least I hope it was) when I put his cousin into it once. Got the point where I boxed it up for several years before selling it this summer. The dress now resides in another state with a married lady and her husband....with any luck its track record is over.

Ephraim_Zook
10-03-2006, 08:51 AM
My dear Mrs Lawson,

Had you been keeping company with Grumpy Dave all the while? I thought he had a monopoly on visiting meteorological catastrophes on every event he attended.

yrs,
Mr Zook