Rules for What Gentlemen May and May Not Do: 1848

What a Gentleman may do, and what he may not do. —He may carry a brace of partridges, but not a leg of mutton. He may be seen in the omnibus box at the opera, but not on the box of an omnibus. He may be seen in a stall inside of a theatre, but not at a stall outside one. He may dust another person’s jacket, but must not brush his own. He may kill a man in a duel, but he mustn’t eat peas with a knife. He may thrash a coal-heaver, but he mustn’t ask for soup. He may pay his debts of honor, bat he need not trouble himself about his tradesmen’s bills. He may drive a stage-coach, but mustn’t take or carry coppers. He may ride a horse as a jockey, but he mustn’t exert himself in the least to get the living. He most never forget what he owes to himself as a gentleman, not he need not mind what he owes as a gentleman to his tailor. He may do anything or be any body, in fast, within the range of a gentleman—go through the insolvent debtor’s court, or turn billiard markers, but he must never, on any account, carry a brown paper parcel, or appear in the street without a pair of gloves.—N. Orleans Delta.

The Liberator [Boston, MA] 22 September 1848

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  In Mrs Daffodil’s experience, there are two kinds of gentlemen. One wears lemon yellow gloves, sucks the silver knob on his stick, drinks nothing stronger than cocoa, and listens diffidently to yet another indifferent rendition of “My Rosary” by a girl he is being prodded to marry.  The other rides like the very Devil to hounds, smokes like a fiend, slaughters coveys of grouse, and chucks parlour-maids under the chin in a most offensive manner. If Mrs Daffodil had to choose one as a life partner, she would select the latter, as he could be more easily disposed of in a hunting “accident” or by an anonymous note to the husband of his latest inamorata. The knob-sucker, while malleable, never does anything dangerous and, having a fussy disposition, would be too apt to detect a foreign substance like arsenic in his cocoa.


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