Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh, the Wisdom of the Victorian Era

I purchased another great old book find, 1st edition, 1896 and in very good condition. I have read through a portion of it reminding myself that this was written during the end of the Victorian Era. The Rev. F. B. Meyer had some very specific advice for all of the young ladies of that time and certain statements brought a smile to my face. I thought I would share some of them with you.

Words of Help for Christian Girls

1. Do not dress in such a way as to call attention to any part of your figure, or to distort or to alter it. (There goes all of my Victoria's Secret)

2. You must keep clear of the Theatre, the Concert Hall and the Dancing Saloon. You cannot go to things which should bring a blush to your face. (Well...turn off the TV)

3. Dancing is a matter, especially when attired in the flimsy costume of a ball-room, to the embraces of strange men, whose morals may be worse than doubtful. It does not seem to be fit to be whirled through the maze of a waltz by one whose linen may be spotless, but whose soul is dark. No sensible man will choose his wife in a ball-room. (Ball-rooms?....such trash!)

4. Beware of Novel Reading, especially Novelettes appearing in weekly issues. They are nothing but sentimental stories that absorb you with the joys and sorrows of imaginary people. Then rob you of food and sleep just to read them. (Yes, reading/bad...eating/good)

5. Do not drift heedlessly into the union of heart with heart. Fancy a look, a smile, a touch, a moment's talk in a crowded room, amid the excitement of an evening's gaiety, any of these is deemed sufficient to justify a choice, that may affect the destiny of the spirit for evermore. (Yes, it's much better to be unfriendly and standoffish)

I really did find this amusing and in contrast to this world we live in today, have things really changed that much in just 100 years? That's just 3 generations! Even though I giggled here and there, later on I had a hard think about this. I could really start to worry, but I have too much hope for the future. I see how people are slowly changing and desiring this world to be a more positive place to live in. No, I don't want to turn back the clock as far as old ball-room etiquette, but I wouldn't mind blushing a little more.


Anonymous poet said...

books, one of my weaknesses. i love heading to the "owl's nest" a local book store which has like a gazillion books. they range in age from antique to present, and i am particularly fond of old poetry books. now, to find the time to read 'em? alas, the bookshleves are crowded with old classics. we have another book store where you can bring books in, and get "XXX bookstore money". i take a load in, and get a load back. love books. its the collector in me (er, um, packrat?)
thanks for coming by my page. hope to see more of you. take care and have a good day.

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that antiquated advice is really quite funny. i would have made a terrible proper victorian girl. i'd be the one all the mothers would tell their girls to stay clear of, with my crazy novel reading and dancing! someone's got to be the life of the party :) great find.

5:29 AM  
Blogger brittany said...

that is funny compared to what is going on these days. It does make you stop and think, doesn't it? I'd have to agree with how you so perfectly expressed it--"I wouldn't mind blushing a little more." I remember loving the Cosby Show and Family Ties, and I don't remember ever needing to blush while watching TV with the fam back then...

5:41 AM  
Anonymous your little one said...

Moma! My favorite you know why I like to study it so much!! Restrictions on women were so tight…they had to break loose...creating the first large wave of feminism!! Oooo...we love history!! :) Love you!!

8:58 AM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

...hmmm...some of these rules sound exactly like my childhood...

11:20 AM  
Blogger Romina Bacci said...

how much i adore your blog!!!!!!!!

it nourishes my soul, every time i visit you something new i learn.

you really make me feel sitting next to you right now reading at your book in that corner of your house (can i bring some tea?)

i could never get tired of you :)


11:48 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

part of me just wants to go back to that era so i can get this party started.


your lil sis

ps. i love old books.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Teresa said...

My how life has changed for women. Thanks goodness! I do find this era fascinating though and what women had to go through. And also, thanks to your sharings, I am reading Judith McNaught's Whitney, My Love. She has some of those restrictions on her too. Like when Whitney is first kissed by Clayton. Oh my, my reputation!
Love it!!

xxxooo for you today!

5:28 PM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

hmmmm! What color of ballgown to wear? There's my red one and there's my cream colored one, I think I'll wear my turquoise one!!! and stir them all up! LOL Thanks for your prayers sweetest sweetie!!! i had a sweet day today, i even made it outside and i have a last rose of summer! it's sooooo tiny but HUGE, you know? I LOVE you darling Darlene! XO ps. thanks for being there in my dark me being a dork day! lol

10:33 PM  
Blogger bb said...

*It does not seem to be fit to be whirled through the maze of a waltz by one whose linen may be spotless, but whose soul is dark*

now in my mind that is a poem just waiting to happen, i may well be stealing this......

thanks for the giggle sweetness. i'm obsessed with these old etiquette books too :-)

x x x x

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am realizing that I have a huge fascination with the Victorian Era, and books of that time. We tend to look upon those times as backwards, puritanical and rigid - but my view is that it was also an age when truth was sought after in a much more one-pointed and pure way than it is today. People instantly think that present times are so much more sophisticated and LIBERATED, but look deeper and you will find a proportionately larger number of greater characters among the population in those days. Also, there was a great sense then that a disciplined life lead to greater happiness and illumination.

6:44 AM  
Blogger kurololi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:21 PM  
Blogger kurololi said...

That book sounds very interesting for observing social changes. This season I'm taking a course in my university called Victorian Era Novel and I will definitely try to find that book you are reading. Thank you very much for sharing this =)

12:23 PM  

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