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The Fusser's Book, 1904

From a dusty Pebble Hill Main House closet came a most interesting book, one explaining exactly how young gentlemen and young ladies should interact with each other—well at least in 1904 that is. The book is inscribed “To an erring student from an enterprising teacher”. Who was the student and who was to teacher? That is still a mystery. The book was certainly read, key points underlined, and a few comments written in the margin. The book is titled The Fusser’s Book and written by Anna Archbald and Georgina Jones.

Thought you young gentlemen might find these tips useful (italics indicate words underlined in pencil by the book’s owner; bracketed statements were written in the book’s margin):

Hypocrisy, thou art a jewel! Pick out what you and the girl know to be her worst points and ask her if she minds your mentioning your admiration of them.

Even if you were voted the handsomest man in your class, don’t presume that a lady is “pinning roses on herself” simply because you are monopolizing all her calling hours. “Make good” with at least an occasional car fare or proffer of escort. Otherwise, at some psychological moment, you may find yourself taking a far back seat in favor of a homelier but wiser man.

Don’t drop her like a hot coal the minute the music stops. Seem loath to let her go, and waltz a few extra steps if necessary. This is tremendously telling, and so easy! [By securing the last few encores one gets the intermission.]

Words are cheap. When introduced to a girl at a ball, even if you decide that she won’t do, at least remark: “May I have one later on?” – It makes for good feeling.

Young ladies, we will have some exciting points of etiquette for you a bit later. Dashing young gentlemen, we will return in a month with more sound advice for you.


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