Colleen sends an invitation each week to join in on her blogging event called, Writer’s Quote Wednesday. This is your chance to highlight your favorite author’s quotes that give inspiration to you as a writer. This week she quotes in character as the Dowager Countess of Grantham:
“A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears,” said to Lady Mary, in regard to Lady Edith on the recent loss of her boyfriend, Michael Gregson.
Manners and conduct? Who could I quote? No bright light flashed on with the quote written on the interior of my mind. I went to work beginning the post and let the idea prick and cause the synapses to fire. Bingo, who knows more than Emily Post! There must be oodles of quotes by the grand dame of etiquette.
Emily Post was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1872. Her father was well-known as an architect, able to afford a début for his beautiful, spoiled daughter. That season Emily Price met her husband, Edwin Post. Just thing all her embroidered clothing and linens didn’t need to be changed. Everything about her upbringing focused on being principled in behavior and manners. It all came quite naturally to the fashionable Emily.
In a day when women of her class didn’t work, Emily must have felt the need to push the boundaries when she packed her two boys off to boarding school. She began by writing romantic fiction. Her stories were serialized in several magazines, and eventually published in book form. Vanity Fair, Collier’s and McCall’s hired her as a correspondent to travel the United States by car, and to tour Europe right before WW 1.
Etiquette: In Society, In Business, In Politics and At Home, was published in 1922. Emily’s book on social conduct topped the nonfiction bestseller list, and the phrase “according to Emily Post” could be heard every where.
Dinitia Smith explains the keys to Post’s popularity: “Such books had always been popular in America: the country’s exotic mix of immigrants and newly rich were eager to fit in with the establishment. Men had to be taught not to blow their noses into their hands or to spit tobacco onto ladies’ backs. Arthur M. Schlesinger, who wrote “Learning How to Behave: A Historical Study of American Etiquette Books” in 1946, said that etiquette books were part of “the leveling-up process of democracy,” an attempt to resolve the conflict between the democratic ideal and the reality of class. But Post’s etiquette books went far beyond those of her predecessors. They read like short-story collections with recurring characters, the Toploftys, the Eminents, the Richan Vulgars, the Gildings and the Kindharts.
I owned Emily Post book at one time. However, I think she got it right, we need to realize that being sensitive to others is the key to good manners. Simplicity and easy to remember.