Regardless of time period, some things hold true: kindness is timeless.
Invasion of privacy; divorce; relationship issues; encounters between people from different places and cultures; new technologies developed at dizzying speeds . . . the hectic pace of life in the late nineteenth century could make the mind reel.
Wait a minutethe nineteenth century?
Many of the issues people faced in the 1880s and ’90s surprisingly remain problems in today’s modern world, so why not take a peek at some Victorian advice about negotiating life’s dizzying twists and turns? Gathered from period magazines and Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms, a book on social conduct originally published in 1891, this volume provides timeless guidance for a myriad of situations, including:
The husband’s duty: Give your wife every advantage that it is possible to bestow.
Suggestions about shopping: Purchasers should, as far as possible, patronize the merchants of their own town. (Buy local!)
Suggestions for travel: Having paid for one ticket, you are entitled to only one seat. It shows selfishness to deposit a large amount of baggage in the surrounding seats and occupy three or four.
Unclassified laws of etiquette: Never leave home with unkind words.
This advice is accompanied by watercolors and illustrations throughout. Though these are tips originate from nineteenth-century ideas, you’ll find that they certainly do still apply.
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About the Author
Sarah A. Chrisman is the author of Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2002 and, alongside her husband, Gabriel, she gives presentations on nineteenth-century fashion and culture. The couple lives in Port Townsend, Washington, in one of the beautiful nineteenth-century homes they once coveted on visits to Washington’s Victorian seaport.