What should you do if you find a bug on your plate? How do you ask someone to dance? What’s the least offensive way to enjoy your cigar? These and other questions of social decorum are answered in this classic etiquette book. Published just before the Civil War, this volume offers enduring advice for courtesy-challenged men. Common-sense suggestions for socializing, exercise, flirting, dining, and dressing reveal that the basics of proper behavior haven’t changed all that much ― and in situations where they have, today’s gentlemen may find something worth learning from their predecessors.
Suggestions for the best way to behave, as well as how not to behave, include conduct in the street (“Avoid striking your umbrella against those which pass you”); making calls (“No man in the United States, excepting His Excellency, the President, can expect to receive calls unless he returns them”); and dating (“Any lover-like airs or attitudes, although you may have the right to assume them, are in excessively bad taste in public”). These and other etiquette tips provide intriguing glimpses of nineteenth-century society in addition to a wealth of timeless counsel on behaving with sincerity, dignity, and kindness in our own day and age.