I bought this little book for research. What rules were ladies expected to follow in the 19th century? Admittedly, I fully expected to find it quaint and amusing. What I didn’t expect was how some of the chapters would lead me to question some of our accepted though crass behaviors of today. I didn’t expect to be challenged by the author’s polite though pointed suggestions about the power and importance of civility. The expected knowledge of German literature (in the original) took me by surprise, as well.
In short, the women who aspired to be ladies had very high standards. What are our standards today? Are standards undemocratic? What do you think? Do you have a truck driver’s mouth and a sailor’s brain?