Don’t you love it when the serious things in life lose their seriousness, when the winds of time blow away the stuffiness, and the hilarity of it all is exposed.
Vintage books can be like that.
Books that were no laughing matter in their day, that were written with authority, where staid advice was meant to be dispensed, but with the passing of time have become quite – and sometimes completely – comical.
I have the pleasure of owning a vintage book so delightful that I actually themed a lunch around it:
“Good Form – A Book of Everyday Etiquette” is written by a Mrs. Armstrong, way back in 1889, when ladies’ first names were as private as their ankles.
This old book is a giggle from start to finish, and what adds to the charm is the conscientious underlining of certain salient points by the previous owner.
Mrs. Armstrong sets the tone of the book with her opening sentence:
“ A visiting card is one of the principal mediums by which we signify our social existence.”
She then makes it her mission to instruct the (lady) reader in the niceties of civilized society. We are advised, amongst a myriad of other things, that
“a girl should never go on dancing with a bad partner, for fear that people should think that it is she who is in fault.”
I loved this little book so much that I just had to share it. I invited a few girl friends round for a “luncheon”, I printed some of the more hilarious quotes onto napkins and personalised placemats for each of them, set the table with silver cutlery and roses and enjoyed a fun, la-di-da, tongue in cheek sit down meal together.
Except for the knives and forks being set back to front, I have to say that even Mrs. Armstrong would have been suitably impressed!