Thackeray's decorated initial 'P' olite Victorian society lifted its glasses to convivial, yet genteel, words such as those found in the book Mixing in Society: A Complete Manual of Manners. A detailed guide to correct behavior for the upper classes, it was penned anonymously by "the Right Honorable the Countess of ******". Undoubtedly, the author, whether a true Countess or not, was a perceptive person who responded in book form to the social concerns of the upper classes — and very likely the readership included the emerging merchant and middle classes as well. How did one properly make conversation, dress for a ball, visit a country house, and deal with servants? Apparently, many people wanted to know. Mixing in Society, first published in 1869, was a popular title; it was reprinted in 1870, 1872 and 1879.

The Countess organized these "toasts and sentiments" into useful categories reflecting the mood of the occasion, political and national interests, and, of course, "Misc." All use words suitable for a gathering of respectable people, and offer perspective on contemporary morals, politics, law, and manners. All category groupings and headings are from the original text.

Amatory

Bacchanalian

Comic

Conservative

Liberal

Loyal

Gastronomic

Miscellaneous

References

The Right Honorable the Countess of ******. Mixing in Society: A Complete Manual of Manners. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1879.

The phrase "To taste of Bacchus' blessings now and then" is from the poem "An Ode to Master Anthony Stafford (to hasten Him into the Country)," by Thomas Randolph (1605-1635).


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Last modified 6 April 2001