Advice from a Lady of Distinction

Princess Charlotte of England

The Mirror of Graces was written in 1811 by a Lady of Distinction.  Ladies of the Regency period were not permitted to be employed for pay, no matter how perilous their financial circumstances. According to our Lady of Distinction, The Mirror of Graces was “ not at first  written for publication but originally composed by the desire of some female friends, who live in remote corner of the west of England; and who, are aware of her consummate knowledge of the world, and experience of all that is honourable in the art of captivation . . .” The result?  “as fine a lesson on personal and mental accomplishments as could ever flow from the experienced and delicate pen of a woman of virtue and taste.” 

Regarding deportment the Lady of Distinction wrote;

“There is scarcely an observer of manners and their effects who will not maintain that the most beautiful and well-dressed woman will soon cease to please unless her charms are accompanied with the inefflable enchantment of a graceful demeanor.  A pretty face may be seen every day, but grace and elegance, being generally the offspring of a polished mind, are more rare; and are consequently more distinguished.”  AND

“While I exhort you to preserve your persons in comeliness, to array yourselves in elegance and sweet attractive grace, I would not lead you to believe, that these are all of your charms . . . Woman must, in every respect, and at all times, regard her form as a secondary object ; her mind is the point of her first attention; it is the strength of her power; it is the part that links her with angels and, as such, she must respect, cultivate, and exalt it.”    More from the Lady of Distinction another day.

Tomorrow,  A Roman Feast   Rita Bay


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2 responses to “Advice from a Lady of Distinction

  1. Enjoyed that post, Rita! The Regency was such an elegant age.

    • Thanks so much, Rosemary. You’re so right about the Regency–there’s even a great book on the period called “An Elegant Madness.” Rita Bay

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