Rules for a Hero’s Behavior
What makes a good historical romance hero?
If you read Regency romance, you’ll encounter a plethora of dukes, marquesses, and earls, as well as some barons, baronets, and military men. You’ll even find untitled heroes and men of business. One thing most have in common though, is that, nobleman or gentleman or other, they’ve learned some manners.
What sort of manners would a Georgian-era man have learned?
Washington’s Rules of Civility
At the age of 14, George Washington copied out a list of 110 rules for proper behavior. A Wikimedia article says the rules have been traced to a sixteenth century Jesuit manual.
I haven’t read through every one of the rules, but a quick skim reveals the sort of guidance any responsible adult would impart to turn beastly children into the sort of people who would be welcomed anywhere:
Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
If you Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud, but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.
Some of the rules are particular to the era:
Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.
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