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M: Women of the mid-19th century had no such choices.

Most lived in a state little better than

slavery. They had to obey men, because in most cases men held all the resources and women had no
independent means of subsistence. A wealthy widow or spinster was a lucky exception. A woman who
remained single would attract social disapproval and pity. She could not have children or cohabit with
a man: the social penalites were simply too high. Nor could she follow a profession, since they were all
closed to women.

M: Most women had little choice but to marry and upon doing so everything they
owned, inherited and earned automatically belonged to their husband. This
meant that if an offence or felony was committed against her, only her husband
could prosecute. Furthermore, rights to the woman personally - that is, access to
her body - were his. Not only was this assured by law, but the woman herself
agreed to it verbally: written into the marriage ceremony was a vow to obey her
husband, which every woman had to swear before God as well as earthly
witnesses. Not until the late 20th century did women obtain the right to omit that
promise from their wedding vows.
M: If a woman was unhappy with her situation there was, almost without
exception, nothing she could do about it. Except in extremely rare cases, a
woman could not obtain a divorce and, until 1891, if she ran away from an
intolerable marriage the police could capture and return her, and her husband
could imprison her.
M: Divorce laws highlighted the unequal status of women to men through the unequal
circumstances which divorce was granted. A man could divorce a woman merely on the
grounds of adultery. Yet a woman had to prove her husband guilty of adultery combined
with cruelty, bigamy, incest, or bestiality (Marriage). The unequal status of women to men
was also evident through how the courts classified married and single females. When a
Victorian man and woman married, the rights of the woman were legally given over to her
spouse. This suspension of the married womans legal personality was known as coverture.
An unmarried woman was known in the law as a feme sole (a single woman), a married
woman as a feme couvert (a covered woman) (Divorce).

M: The main feature of the Victorian epoch was the mix of the best of other
styles. Victorian Era was a lively style of ornamentation.
Clothes on the Victorian Era were very elaborated and restrictived on the bodies
of those who wore them. The Victorian Era was a time period between 1830 to
the end of the XXth century. Queen Victoria ruled England. The rise of the
economy allowed to make more elaborated clothes. Cloth making was made
easier and cheaper during the industrial boom of this time.

Etiquette and Manners

M: Bathing

Upon arising, take a complete bath. A simple washing out of the eyes is not sufficient.
The complete bathing of the body once each day is of the utmost importance. Not more than a
quart of water is necessary, preferably rainwater.

M: Skin

Beware of exterior applications of cosmetics.

Instead, once every two or three months, take a teaspoonful of powdered charcoal mixed
with sweetened water or milk. This will prove efficacious in making the complexion clear and

M: Bowing

A gentleman should not bow from a window to a lady on the street, though he may bow
slightly from the street upon being recognized by a lady in a window. Such recognition should,
however, generally be avoided, as gossip is likely to attach undue importance to it when seen
by others.

M: Small talk

No topic of absorbing interest may be admitted to polite conversation. It might lead to


M: Card-playing

If possible, do not violate the rules of the game and do not cheat. Should you observe
anyone cheating, quietly and very politely call it to his attention, and be careful that you do not
get excited. People who experience ill-feeling at the game should avoid playing.

M: Husbands

Always leave home with a tender goodbye and loving words. They may be the last.

M: Street etiquette

When crossing the pavement, a lady should raise her dress with the right hand, a little
about the ankle. To raise the dress with both hands is vulgar and can only be excused when
mud is very deep.