Book Review: The Lady's Guide to Perfect Gentility
'But every man of sense and genuine taste will prefer the ruddy glow of health' -page 19-20
Okay that was't exactly the most relevant, nor the most illuminating quote, but I thought it was one of the funniest, though more so when in context.
I'd say that back in the mid 1800s, this book was intended for middle and upper class women. I just can't imagine that the average lower class woman had time to brush her hair for 30 minutes every morning, as they suggest. I don't even have time to do that! *sigh*
Most of the tips and information in this book wouldn't be applicable in todays world, but that doesn't take away at all from its value to me historically. Though, even if I did live back then, I think I would still roll my eyes at some of it.
A good portion of it is about 'Agreeableness and Beauty of Person' as they call it, I actually laughed out loud a few times. Not that is was so ridiculous, but more because of the way things are described.
'The skin is everywhere, except on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, pierced by innumerable little holes, which are the mouths of a set of curious little organs, which pour out upon its surface an unctuous or oily fluid.' -page 12
There is a chapter on letter writing which has several staged letters that were rather entertaining. Also some instruction in good manners for visiting and parties. There is a even a few pages on choosing the most suitable colors to wear according to skin and hair colors. I'd never read anything like that in a book from this time period. Makes me think of those Color Me Beautiful books from the 1980s.
Conclusion: People are people. They may talk and dress different. But essentially they want the same things, whatever place or time they come from.
I actually read this book online, at Google Books.