SOME COMMENTS ON SOCIETY: a found poem

Loud colors are very risky;
and should never be attempted except in the country;
and then in an intimate crowd only.

The smoking of women,
it comes hard to be forced to admit
into a regular treatise on customs.
It is a sad mistake,
from beginning to end.
As a question of fact,
it unfortunately also admits of none.

At Bar Harbor one summer,
the young woman who had the most attention
was one who rowed beautifully,
swam, played tennis, talked well,
and was generally charming out-of-doors;
who had not brought a ball-gown with her,
and could not be enticed to a dance.
That girl knew her forte,
and kept to it.
She had a scraggy neck,
and did not “light up well.”

Girls cannot find as many ways
of doing favors for men
as men for girls,
which is truly well.
A young man, if he sets about it,
can serve a girl in a thousand quiet ways.
He can call her carriage,
carry parcels, get a cab,
lend her an umbrella,
ask her to dance, take her to supper,
be nice to her mother,
and indeed all her family,
remember some trivial wish or request.

There are cheaper methods;
there is tea at bachelor apartments,
excursions to see pictures or museums,
or processes in factories.

 

~found in Manners and Social Usages,  by Mrs. John Sherwood (author of “A Transplanted Rose”)
1884, revised in 1897

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