Saturday, February 25, 2012

Basic Regency Etiquette

With every society, culture, era, there are certain rules of etiquette, and the Regency was no exception. Today I'd like to give you a few basic rulse of etiquette that I've recenlty been reading in, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickes Knew by Daniel Pool--literally a must have for lovers of the Regency! I have of course added my own commentary.

A Gentleman's Rules of Etiquettte:

  1. If passing a lady--whom you are only slightly acquaitned with--while out in about in town or at the park, do not tip your hat unless hse first acknowledges you. Do not speak to her unless spoken to. Boy, this certainly does give a woman a chance to issue the cut direct, does it not?
  2. Going up the stairs--men first. Going down stairs--ladies first. Hmm... I would have thought the opposite, so said gentleman could catch her when her corset-wearing-short-breaths cause her to faint from the exertion.
  3. When riding in a carriage with a lady who is not your wife, sister, mother or daughter--do not sit next to her! Also be sure that you are sitting in the seat facing backward. Also, take care not to step on her dress. I do like to break the rules and have my ladies sit directly next to her unmarried beaus--and have their limbs touch.
  4. A gentleman never smokes in the presence of ladies. Wish this rule were true today!

And now, A Lady's Rules of Etiquette:

  1. If a lady is under the age of thirty and/or unmarried, she should never be alone with a man she is not related to without a chaperone--unless of course he is escorting her to church or the park early in the morning.  I can imagine many a lady confessing her sins once she arrives at church.
  2. Never wear pearls or diamonds in the morning! How obscene to seen doing such! I wonder if emeralds, rubies and sapphires are acceptable?
  3. Never dance more than three times with the same gentleman at a party. I love to break this rule too!
  4. Do not give someone the cut direct unless absolutely necessary, and when you do, make sure it is with an icey stared, perhaps even a stiff bow. Ooh, I can see many a lady doing this to some handsome, yet thoroughly rakish men.
Do you have any Regency rules of etiquette you care to share?


Eliza Knight is the multi-published, award-winning author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain, and enjoys cold winter nights when she can curl up in front of a roaring fire with her own knight in shining armor. She writes Regency erotic romance for Carina Press. Visit Eliza at or her historical blog, History Undressed, which was recently mentioned in a feature article in The Wall Street Journal.


Marin McGinnis said...

I just started reading "Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners," by Josephine Ross. It's full of useful rules, like "Do not attempt to bring friends of different ranks together" (totally breaking this one!) and "When in doubt, talk of the weather." My favorite, perhaps, is "Retain a sense of 'elegance' as far as possible, when lying in." I guess this means no screaming in childbirth? :)

Eliza Knight said...

Oh, that sounds like a good one! I'll have to pick it up.

lol, yes, I guess so... I can't imagine!!!

Eliza Knight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Dolan said...

I'm still trying to figure out the stair rule. I find going downstairs in a long gown much trickier than going up so I'd want my man ahead of me so he wouldn't step on my hem or watch me trip on it. But maybe if he goes behind me he can allow enough space to keep someone else from stepping on it?

Anonymous said...

I have a question about dinner party ettiquette.
Say Earl and Countess of B have Earl and countess of A over for dinner. Who goes into the dining room first?
the earldom of A is older than the earldom of B. Lord B is Lady A's brother.
Does Lord A escort Lady B in with Lord B and Lady A following?

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that three dances with the same gentleman goes beyond the pale.

I know this is an older post, but it is the topic I am researching right now, and you give information that is in conflict with information gleaned elsewhere.

Regencyresearcher said...

I am looking for information on regency etiquette. What were your sources?