ETIQUETTE FOR ELDERLY GIRLS: a found poem

Calm and cold Puritanical people
may not be more respectable
than the fresh-colored and laughing “old maids”
of thirty-five, but they look more so,
and in this world, women must consult
appearances.

An elderly girl must even
think how she looks.
She has, with the assumption of years,
replaced the wild grace of a giddy girlhood
with a dignity which, in its way, is fully
the compensation for some lost bloom.
Many people prefer it.

“An old maid,” may do almost anything
without violating etiquette.
As to visiting an artist’s studio alone,
there is in art itself
an ennobling and purifying
influence which should be a protection.

Observation in regard to old maids:
many of our “girl bachelors” live together,
and are very happy, useful women

found in Manners and Social Usages,
by Mrs. John Sherwood (author of “A Transplanted Rose”)
1884, revised in 1897
This is my favorite of Mrs. John Sherwood’s observations.

 

And here is an exerpt from A Transplanted Rose, which may be downloaded and read by the brave:  ..

” Indeed, Rose, I fear there are many important facts you do not know yet Mr. Mortimer has been South. ” The angry flush on her cheek did not die away, and the slight curl in Arthur Araberley’s lip perhaps deepened it. Mrs. Trevylyan hastened to the rescue by asking if Mr. Mortimer’s health was better. ” No ; he still has his dyspepsia ; cannot eat anything. I tell him that he is too devoted to money -making; he ought to leave business. He says if he does he shall die ; that he is not aware of anything that interests him but the price of stocks, and what he calls combinations. ” ” His absence put down the price of ‘ Blank-paper Tun- nel ‘ and ‘ Red Riff Consolidated, ‘ ” said Amberley. “How does your play progress?” asked Mrs. Mortimer, rather stiffly, not noticing this last remark. ” If all did as well as Miss Chadwick, it would go ad- mirably. Dicky Small weed and Miss Devine cannot, will not, learn their parts, however, ” said Amberley.

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