|Article Page url: http://www.thehistorybox.com/ny_city/society/printerfriendly/nycity_society_treat_english_article0014.htm|
How To Treat English People
The highest lady in the realm,
Queen Victoria, is always addressed
by the ladies and gentlemen of her
household, and by all members of the
aristocracy and gentry, as "Ma'am,"
not "Madam," or "Your Majesty," but
simply, "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am."
All classes not coming within the
category of gentry, such as the
lower professional classes, the
middle classes, the lower middle
classes, the lower classes
(servants), would address her as
"Your Majesty," and not as "Ma'am."
The Prince of Wales is addressed as
"Sir" by the aristocracy and gentry,
and never as "Your Royal Highness"
by either of these classes, but by
all other people he is addressed as
"Your Royal Highness."
The daughters of dukes,
marquises, and earls are addressed
as "Lady Mary," "Lady Gwendoline,"
etc. This must never be forgotten,
and the younger sons of dukes and
marquises are called "Lord John
B--," "Lord Randolph Churchill,"
etc. The wife of the younger son
should always be addressed by both
the Christian and surname of her
husband by those slightly acquainted
with her, and by her husband's
Christian name only by her intimate
friends. Thus those who know Lady
Randolph Churchill well address her
as "Lady Randolph." The younger sons
of earls, viscounts, and barons bear
the courtesy title of "Honorable,"
as do the female members of the
family; but this is never used
colloquially under any
circumstances, although always in
addressing a letter to them.
English people are very kind in
illness, grief, or in anything which
is inevitable, but they are speedily
chilled by any step towards a too
sudden intimacy. They resent
anything like "pushing" more than
any other people in the world. In no
country has intellect, reading,
cultivation, and knowledge such
"success" as in England. If a lady,
especially, can talk well, she is
invited everywhere. If she can do
anything to amuse the company--as to
sing well, tell fortunes by the
hand, recite, or play in charades or
private theatricals--she is almost
sure of the highest social
recognition. She is expected to
dress well, and Americans are sure
to do this. The excess of dressing
too much is to be discouraged. It is
far better to be too plain than too
fine in England, as, indeed, it is
everywhere; an overdressed woman is
undeniably vulgar in any country.