Saturday, November 27, 2010

Etiquette of Chaperonage

Very often a girl has to go out under other chaperonage than that of her mother; and she is sometimes a little in doubt of what is expected of her under these circumstances. She may either go to an entertainment with her chaperon or meet her there, waiting for her in the cloak-room, that they may be announced together.

A girl must remain at her chaperon's side at a ball till she begins to dance. Between the dances she may walk about with her last parter, go and get refreshments with him, or sit in one of the corners provided for the purpose till the next dance begins. Her partner must then take her back to her chaperon, and, unless her next partner encounters her on her way back to the ball-room, she waits by her chaperon's side till he comes to claim her.

Girls with dancing chaperons are sometimes awkwardly placed, since their chaperons may be waltzing while they themselves may be sitting out, and a young girl under these circumstances feels rather shy and lost in a crowded room. If she knows another chaperon present she can ask to sit by her till her next partner comes.

A chaperon too often considers her duties to have ended with entering a room. But if she is conscientious in performing them she will try to introduce partners, and to secure the enjoyment of her charge. She should be at hand in any case of need - if the girl tears her frock and has to go to the cloak-room to have it mended, or in a thousand other little contingencies that might occur.

The chaperon gives the signal for going, and no girl with any real breeding will try to elude her, or to make her stay longer than she wishes. But the chaperon, on her part, should temper justice with mercy.

- A Lady

Source: Western Mail, Saturday January 14, 1899.

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