The Dos and Don’ts of Being in the Company of Gentlemen for an Unmarried Lady
By Ella Quinn, Author of The Most Eligible Lord in London
In my latest book, The Most Eligible Lord in London, the hero relies heavily on the rules of behavior for young ladies, chief of which is the one concerning dancing. That is, a lady must accept a dance offer from a gentleman if she has an open set. If she refuses his request, she cannot dance that set with another gentleman. Unless, of course, a helpful gentleman strolls up and says, “My dance, I believe,” thus saving her from the man she doesn’t wish to stand up with.
But there were many more rules to which young, unmarried ladies had to adhere.
A lady cannot be alone with a gentleman who is not either a very close relative (father, grandfather, brother, uncle) or guardian in a closed room or a closed carriage, or a carriage that either the lady or the gentleman is not driving.
A lady must have a chaperone—and I use that term lightly—of some sort (friend, maid, footman) when she is walking with a gentleman in a public place, such as Regent’s Park.
A lady may not speak with a gentleman if he has not been properly introduced to her. In order to be properly introduced, the person making the introduction must know both the lady and the gentleman. During the introduction, a lady is always asked if she would like the gentleman to be presented to her, and she can refuse the introduction. Whether it is wise for her to refuse is a different question.
A lady may not dance more than twice in one evening with a gentleman. This could get interesting, as there could be as many as four entertainments in one evening. The exception to this rule is if the lady has become engaged. In that case, she can dance as many times as she wishes with her betrothed.
A lady may ride in a sporting carriage with a gentleman without a chaperone to some place like the park. She may not take off to Richmond, for example, alone with him. By “sporting carriage,” I mean one that the gentleman must drive himself. Even if the vehicle is an open carriage, such as a landau, a lady must have a chaperone, and in this case, a servant would not be sufficient.
A lady may not accept jewelry or clothing from a gentleman. She may accept trifles such as flowers, poems, a fan, etc.
USA Today best-selling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, was her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. Ella currently lives in Germany, happily writing, while her husband of thirty years is back at work, recovering from retirement. She loves having readers connect with her. Visit her website at EllaQuinnAuthor.com and at the social platforms below.
In this captivating new Regency trilogy, best-selling author Ella Quinn picks up where her beloved Worthingtons series left off, as three Lords of London discover true love at last …
Handsome, rakish, incorrigibly flirtatious—Frederick, Lord Littleton, is notorious. Lady Adeline Wivenly is resolved to keep him at arm’s length during her first season—until she overhears another woman’s plot to trick him into marriage. Even a rogue is undeserving of such deception, and Adeline feels obliged to warn him—only to find herself perilously attracted.
In the past, Littleton’s charm nearly got him leg-shackled to the wrong woman. Now he’s positive he’s found the right one, for Adeline is everything he wants and needs in a wife. Her sense of justice is so strong, she agrees to help him despite her mistrust. But can the ton’s most elusive lord convince the lady he is finally serious about marriage—as long as she will be his bride?