An excerpt from The Lady’s Guide to Perfect Gentility, 1859.
This etiquette manual instructed unmarried women on being polite when conversing with men, writing a variety of letters (an important skill in middle and upper-class Victorian society), and dressing attractively for social occasions. It also included embroidery, crochet, and needlework patterns. Etiquette guides like this appealed to an aspiring young women’s desire to attain “gentility and refinement of manners in all the relations of home and society” and showcased the code of conduct and skills considered appropriate for a proper young woman in the Victorian era. This excerpt contains instructions on how a woman should, and should not, converse with men, and provides two sample “break-up letters” for use if the occasion arose.