2015-2016 Season,  Misalliance

A Lesson in Edwardian Etiquette: Part 2

by Kelsee Jackson, dramaturg

Now that you have a starting grasp on what to do to conform with standards of Edwardian etiquette, you must learn what not to do before you step out into good society. If you know what not to do, can impress your superiors and you won’t make a silly mistake out of ignorance.


  • “Don’t, when presented to the King, offer to shake hands with him, but bow low.”
  • “Don’t talk of your pedigree, save in the bosom of your own family, and then only indulge yourself about once in a lifetime.”
  • “Don’t, in walking, take the wrong side of the path and elbow out those who are but keeping their proper place.”
  • “Don’t wear a number of diamonds or other precious stones by day; it is never in good taste.”
  • “Don’t make a point of being late for church and for any entertainment to which you may be invited; it is a habit which does not increase your importance, but materially decreases your popularity.”
  • “Don’t lose control of your temper, and rage and storm at persons or animals. Avoid public disagreements and arguments with persons.”
  • “Don’t wear a large number of rings; it looks vulgar, and does not show the beauty of the rings or of the hands. to wear a few rings shows the beauty of both.”
  • “Don’t, if a friend mispronounces a word, immediately pronounce it in the correct way; it will probably hurt his or her feelings very much.”
  • “Don’t make a point finishing the last mouthful on your plate, or the last piece of bread.”
  • “Don’t use the word “ride” when you should say “drive.” You don’t “ride” in a carriage, a bus, or a train– you drive.”

And finally:

  • “Don’t eat in the street.”

According to these tips, how are your Edwardian manners?


A Book of Edwardian Etiquette: being a facsimile reprint of Etiquette for Women: A Book of Modern Modes and Manners by “One of the Aristocracy”, published by C. Arthur Pearson Ltd in London in 1902. George Allen & Unwin Ltd: London. Originally published 1902. Facsimile published 1983.

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