Etiquette of the Street
MEMPHIS DAILY APPEAL [MEMPHIS, TN], January 24, 1861, p. 3, c. 3
Etiquette of the Street.--We have already, in connection with a resolution introduced into the board of aldermen, discussed "the law of the street." We have no doubt a few remarks upon "the etiquette of the street" will be acceptable to many of our readers. When a stranger, in visiting a city, finds order among the people passing along the streets, sees vehicles and people keeping their own side of the road or footwalk, observes that there is no jostling nor boorishness, and when he sees friends exchanging salutations, and gentlemen attending ladies, behave with ease and correctness, he leaves the place with a very favorable impression, and does not fail to speak and write of it in terms of praise. This good character is easily earned; in fact, where self respect is prevalent and every citizen is determined to be a gentleman, it cannot fail to be secured. While walking the street, acquaintances should be recognized by a bow or a word. If you stop, offer your hand without removing the glove. If you meet an acquaintance walking with a lady whom you do not know, salute him by lifting your hat. In meeting a lady with whom you are intimate, salute her by lifting the hat; if she is only a casual acquaintance, wait for her to recognize you first. If you wish to converse with a lady whom you meet, do not stop her, but walk on with her. At night, or when ascending the steps of a public building, offer your arm to a lady in your company, also during the day if her comfort, convenience, or safety require it. Be careful to keep step with those with whom you walk, moderating the pace and stride when walking with a lady. If the lady enter a store, open the door and allow her to enter first. If a lady stop and ask information of a gentleman in the street, he will touch or left his hat as he replies. When ladies are walking before you in the street, whom you desire to pass, if the width of the walk will not allow you to do so without pressing against their dresses, walk behind them until the next crossing is reached, then pass forward. In passing a lady, as a general rule and where there is ample space, give her the wall; if she take the outside of the pavement, leave the choice with her. When in the street or other public place with a lady, however intimate may be your relations, let attention, courtesy and deference mark your behavior to her. Ladies when walking the streets during bad weather, should gracefully raise the dress to the ancle [sic], holding the folds of the gown, and drawing them to the right side. It is pronounced vulgar by the ton to raise the dress with both hands, except momentarily in very bad places. Rich and costly dresses are not proper for the promenade. A ball room display in the street is decided to be "snobbish." A mantle, shawl, or scarf, are indispensable in the street. It requires attention to wear the two latter gracefully, and a lady who wishes to appear well out of doors will bestow that attention; a loose, easy flow of the garment must be obtained. A gentleman should always appear in a clean shirt. Better have a threadbare coat than disreputable linen. Diffidence is one of the greatest bars to the attainment of good manners, for no manners are good manners that are not easy manners. To overcome the obstacle, determinately act as you wish, or as your sense of propriety dictates. You thus comply with the suggestions of self-respect; that brings self-reliance and imparts self-control. Persevere, and you will conquer. Some of the above recommendations may appear so obvious as not to require calling attention to. Every day's observation, however, will bring under notice flagrant violations of the clearest requirements of good bringing. In such cases, if our remarks do not give information, they will awaken reflection.
"Good women are rarely clever and clever women are rarely good." Adah Issacs Menken