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Victorian Etiquette - Etiquette at the Theatre, Opera and Concerts

A gentleman desiring a lady to accompany him to the opera, theatre, or other place of amusement, must send her a written invitation not later than the day previous to the entertainment. It must be written in the third person, upon white note-paper of the finest quality, with an envelope to match.

The lady must send her replay immediately, so that should she be unable to accept, the gentleman may secure another companion.

Should the lady accept the invitation, the gentleman must secure the best seats within his means. If unable to obtain seats, inform her at once, and propose another occasion when you can make this provision for her comfort.

In entering the hall in which the entertainment is given, a gentleman should walk by the side of the lady is reached. If the width of the aisle is not sufficient to allow this, he should precede her.

As a rule, the gentleman should take the outer seat; but if this is the best for seeing or hearing, it belongs to the lady.

To leave a lady alone during the "waits" and going out to "get a drink" or "to speak to a friend" is indicative of bad manners; the gentleman is bound to remain by her side to the end of the entertainment.

At the opera it is customary for ladies and gentleman to leave their seats, and promenade in the lobbies or foyer of the house during the intervals between the acts. The gentleman should always invite the lady to do so. Should she decline, he is bound to remain with her.

A gentleman accompanying a lady is not bound to give up his seat to another lady. His duty is to the lady he accompanies.

It is rude to whisper or talk during a performance. It is discourteous to the performers, and annoying to those of the audience around you, who desire to enjoy the entertainment.

It is in especially bad taste for lovers to indulge in any affectionate demonstrations at such places.

A gentleman must see to it that the lady accompanying him is provided with a program and a libretto if at the opera.

Applause is the just due of the deserving actor, and should be given liberally. Applaud by clapping the hands, and not by stamping or kicking with the feet.

Upon escorting the lady back to her home, the gentleman should ask permission to call upon her the next day, which request she should grant. She should, in her own sweet way, cause him to feel that he has conferred a genuine pleasure upon her by his invitation.

A gentleman who can afford it should always provide a carriage on such occasions. If his means do not permit this, he should not embarrass himself by assuming the expense. In the event that the evening be stormy, he should not expect the lady to venture out without a carriage.

pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Basic Rules pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Calling Cards pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Calling
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) At Teas/Receptions pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) At the Theater pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Mourning
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) The Dinner Party pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Shopping pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) Breaches of Etiquette
pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On the Street pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) In Church pearlbut.gif (1194 bytes) On Traveling

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