Friday, February 5, 2016

1696 Behavior of 6-Year-Old Young Gentlewoman


1670 Freake Gibbs Painter (American colonial era painter) Margaret Gibbs

The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closet OF Rarities
John Shirley [J. S. (John Shirley), fl. 1680-1702.]
LONDON Printed by W Wilde for n. Bodington in Duck Lane; and J. Blare on London-Bridge. 1696.

Instructions for a young Gentlewoman at the Age of Six, or upward, how to behave her self towards her Parents, Superiours, Equals, and Inferiours, and upon sundry other occasions


IN all your Undertakings, let it be observed that you are an Enemy to Sloth, not only by your early rising, but by your activity; for having neatly dressed you, or caused some other to do it, having prostrated your self before your Maker, and refreshed you with what was appointed, fall upon your Knees before your Parents, and receiving their Blessing, then hasten to School; or else betake you to such business as your Parents or Governess than appoint you at Home, doing it with chearfulness, and respect those that are over you, as well in their absence, as when present; and whether it be Reading, or any curious Work,

Observe that your Face and Hands are clean, and that you handle no dirty or greasie things; neither presume to eat before those who are your Instructors, whilst you at your Work or Lesson, if there be more under the same Tutorage, behave your fell kindly towards them; call no unseemly Names, nor make unseasonable Complaints; Defraud them not, nor take the least matter by force that is not your own; be courteous and mild, with a decent and winning Behaviour if your Mistress or Governess be sharp and severe, strive by your diligence to prevent displeasure or correction; and as you approach or return from her, make your Reverence, and the like to your Parents; make your Obeisance in the most becoming and obliging manner, to your Superiours and Equals: nor forget to be courteous to your Inferiours:

Be sure your Tongue run not too fast, but in Discourse but moderate; Speak with deliberation, and weigh your Words before you utter them and where you are seated, observe you continue till you are called thence, or it is time to leave it. In reading upon any occasion, use not a Tone, but read distinctly, observing your Stops, that you may the better understand what you read. In Writing, beware that you blot not your Paper, but imitate your Copy in cutting your Letters fair and even; Let not your Work, of any sort, be soiled or dirty, and keep what things you use in good order, and render your Parents an Account of your improvement.

When you are to be at Meet, be not out of the way, but attend the Grace, and then take the place that is appointed you: After having done your Reverence, see your Napkin be fastned about you to save your cloaths, and thankfully take what is given without craving; nor is it seemly for you to speak at the Table, unless you are asked a question, or them. Be some great occasion. Cut your Meat handsomely, and be not over desirous of Sawce, nor of another sort of Meat, before you have dispensed of what is on your Plate. Put not both your Hands to your Month [sic] at once, nor eat too greedily: Let not your Mouth or Fingers be greasie, no more than need must; and when you are satisfied, take your Plate Or Trencher with you, or give it to those that wait, and retire, but not out of the Room till Grace is said and the Cloth taken away; at what time making your Obeisance, you may depart, unless you are desired to stay: Nor must you sit before your Parents, Governess or Superiours, unrequired, unless at your Meat, Needle, Writing, or the like; and observe. you attempt not to drink in any company till you have emptied your Mouth; and that you breath nor, nor blubber in the Cup or Pot.

As for your Recreation, when leisure hours permit, let it be innocent and moderate, never staying late abroad, above all, be Wary in the choice of your Companions and so you grow up, shun the Conversation of those that have a report of Lightness, lest they draw you into a snare, or bring a scandal causelesly upon your good Name, but chuse those whose Reputations are candid; Converse with those who are modest yet of affable; Stay not at any time, where the least occasion of Lightness and Wantonness is administred; nor lend your Ear to Discourse tending to Lewdness.

For your Carriage, in the general, let it be a Medium,, not expressing too much reservedness, which by some, is interpreted Pride; nor too much Freedom on Familiarity, which, on the other hand, will be looked upon for Fondness. Be no Makebate between your. Parents and their Servants; nor at any time tell a Lye to excuse a Fault, to keep you from the hand of Correction. Go to Bed in due Season, without any Noise, and never be seen in unseemly Laughter; nor in pointing, or nodding, especially in Company or in places of Divine Worship: Honour Age, and pity those that are distressed; Speak not at any time scornfully, or in a taunting way, but be courteous to all; and in so doing you will gain a good Repute.


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