Inspired by the great Thomas Jefferson, Charles Varle, the Esquire of Baltimore set out on a journey to write an instructional book. This insightful, and inspiring book is called the Moral Encyclopedia : Varlé’s Self-instructor, No. 3, in Literature, Duties of Life, and Rules of Good Breeding (Baba Ramdev would love this). Now, this instructional book has a lot of things, including snippets of speeches, colloquial maxims, quotes from Shakespeare, the Bible and ancient philosophers; and a wonderful section called Rules of behavior for Young Ladies. Now, that’s interesting.
NPR got hold of this section of the book, and we thought we should share this knowledge with you. This is a goldmine of how to do things lady like, so do not ignore this, ladies!
Take a look at these amazing rules. May be you can learn and become a lady too?
1. Avoid every thing masculine.
Does that include all men too, dear sir?
2. Be not too often seen in public.
If you’re the kind who come too much in the public eye, then you’re probably not up to any good. Because when has a women ever done anything good in public?
3. Consult only your own relations.
How can you go about discussing important things like equal rights, equal wages and gender equality with anyone and everyone? Keep it to your relatives!
4. Don’t even hear a double entendre.
Well, that should be easy. Just give the ladies a lollipop, or maybe a banana or some whipped cream on a really dark piece of chocolate.
5. Endeavor to write and speak grammatically.
Because you know, spelling matters when you’re trying to say NO in many different ways. With correct spelling and grammar, you might just be able to change the world’s attitude towards women.
6. Fondness for finery shows as bad a taste, as neatness and simplicity imply a good one.
I’m still trying to decode this one. A wild guess would have me say that this man is talking about being modest in clothes? Maybe? Yes?
7. Form no friendship with men.
This man is sounding like my neighbourhood aunty now. So form no friendship with men because ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte! Samjhe?
8. Give your hand, when necessary, modestly.
Wait, is he talking about hand jobs? Now who’s being all naughty and talking in double entendre?#NaughtyCharles
9. If you talk in society, talk only about those things which you understand.
Or not? Arnab doesn’t understand most of the things, but he speaks.
10. Know that a man of good sense will never marry but the pious, industrious and frugal.
I’m so doomed! Well, let’s be honest, most of us aren’t getting a man of good sense.
11. Let not love begin on your part.
That would be the least lady like. You don’t want your prospective lover to feel like you have feelings.
12. Make no great intimacies with any body.
Does he mean any body? Or anybody? I’m confused. Charles dear, you need to refer to point 5.
13. Never be afraid of blushing.
Never, ever be afraid of blushing. Even when you’re busy protesting against rape, domestic violence and other such important issues that deserve attention.
14. Pride yourself in modesty.
How can you be proud of how modest you are? Isn’t that being immodest? I’m confused, or is this just Charles’s bad English?
15. Read no novels, but let your study be History, Geography, Biography and other instructive books.
Why read other informative novels when you can? History books are anyway the best!
16. Sympathise with the unfortunate.
Just stand 100 metres away, look at the unfortunate, click your tongue, and go ‘Oh, poor child’. That should make people believe that you’re a lady. But wait, aren’t ladies not supposed to be seen in public?
17. Trust no female acquaintance, i.e. make no confidant of any one.
Trust absolutely no one. Especially other females, because anybody can be a mafia!
18. You cannot be too circumspect in matters of love and marriage; and remember that whereas the character of a young lady is considered angelic, any blemish in it, would withdraw the respect men have for you.
Saved the best for the last. Does this sum up everything for you? Charles Varle wants you to be blemish free, pure, perfect, lady-like, with absolutely no masculine qualities, and without fault.
This is what an English society was like in the 19th century. What we have in our society today is a less rigid, subtle moral policing version of all these rules.
You’ll be surprised to know that this said book is still in circulation, and is available on Amazon.in. Am I afraid that someone might buy it and have us ladies adhering to these rules? Well, anything is possible. Draw a parallel and see how much similarities we still have in our society today.