Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Proprieties and Usages of Good Society — Lesson XI. Picnics, Excursions, Parties and Winter and Summer Outings
 


Proprieties and Usages of Good Society — Lesson XI. Picnics, Excursions, Parties and Winter and Summer Outings

By: Ardis E. Parshall - May 24, 2010

X. Social Observances in Callings, at Weddings, and Funerals
XII. Conduct in Places of Worship (to be linked when posted)

XI. Picnics, Excursions, Parties and Winter and Summer Outings.

Young people must have pleasure and recreation. Indeed all need it, although young people not only need it but will have it, and it is perfectly right and proper that they should. And in this recreation there is certainly no harm done if they make some noise and a great deal of confusion, with some shouting and laughing, provided it is done at the proper time and in the proper place. And on picnics, on hay-rack rides, on sleighing parties and skating parties, it is expected that they will be more noisy and boisterous than when walking soberly upon the street or in other public places.

Girls, at a certain age, seem to be filled with fun and laughter, while boys, at the same age, are apparently filled with a desire to tease and laugh at and torment in various ways the girls of their acquaintance. Now, wise parents or guardians would not restrain every evidence of life and animation and spontaneity in their young people, but would rather choose times and places when it may manifest itself without annoyance to older people or strangers. And certainly, when they are away up in the hills, or out riding upon the roads away from the village or town, they may sing and shout somewhat, without giving offense to the proprieties. But let us begin this lesson by saying that no part of young people should go to the canyons, to the lakes, or on any sleighing or skating party, without a proper and suitable chaperone.

We will let our young people get ready to go on their picnic with the customary amount of hilarity, as they are packed into the wagons waiting to convey them to the canyons. The mother or the father, who sits upon the front seat, listening and watching without appearing to do so, will properly and promptly check any unusual disturbance of voice or manner, and persuade all to quiet down their ebullition of spirits until they are in the fastnesses of the canyon, where not even the echo will object to their noise.

Once in the canyon the greatest observance of modesty and delicacy should characterize the sleeping tents and private quarters of the young people. Prayer should be observed night and morning, both secret prayer and family; while Sunday service should not be neglected, if the Sabbath is to be spent there. After that, let them run over the hills all they please, getting life and health with every breath of nature’s pure air which they breathe. It must be the duty of the chaperone to see that young couples do not stray away from the light of the camp fire after dark. You would not give your children poison coated over with sugar, nor medicine or weapon dangerous to life and limb; but you sometimes calmly see them run into the gravest dangers, without even a check or a warning. The adversary does most of his mischief under cover of darkness and night, while very little is ever accomplished by him under the full blaze of the sun or other brilliant light. Accident and circumstances will provide plenty of opportunity to become thoroughly acquainted with each other, without straying away in the hours of darkness where temptation awaits the unwary or the ignorant.

People show their temperaments very plainly on a picnic. The selfish, greedy person betrays his weakness at once; while the thoughtful and kindly disposed always show beautiful traits of their character very clearly when out on an excursion, and they, by their gentleness and thoughtfulness, endear themselves to every one associated with them.

Daintiness in eating nowhere shows to better advantage than in a rough-and-tumble picnic.

Thoughtless people are many times as guilty as though they were really selfish, for true unselfishness is always thoughtful of others, and the most miserable excuse ever made is, “I forgot!” Don’t forget. You must never forget to be kind and gentle, if you would be a true lady.

Suppose our young people have gone to some lake, or resort upon one of the numerous lakes in this state. If it should be Saltair, a place where a great many strangers congregate, they should be far more quiet in their behavior than as if they were the only party on that occasion. If they go bathing, le the girls resolve, once for all, that they will learn how to swim, and learn alone, or else they will be extremely cautious as to what gentleman they allow to teach them that art. No closer touch should be allowed than taking hold of hands with a young man while in the water. This should be impressed upon the mind of every young girl towards any man except her father or her brother.

The rules and suggestions herein apply also to all sleighing and skating parties. Liberty is not license, nor is fun always innocent.

The feelings of other people should always be respected, and for this reason young people, in riding through towns, should avoid boisterous noise and loud shouting.

Midnight rides alone should never be taken by young people, and if necessity compels a girl to ride to her home late at night with a gentleman, she should consider herself under the strictest bonds of propriety in regard to her behavior.

No man has a right to put his arm about a girl, either when sleighing or anywhere else, and least of all when bathing, unless he is engaged to her; and even then not only the rules of good society, but the laws of moral conduct should teach that the least liberty possible, with good taste and hearty affection, should characterize even engaged couples.

Midnight serenades, with a party of singers or musicians are not out of taste, if the young people are circumspect and refrain from undue familiarity with each other. The disagreeable and disgraceful practice of serenading young married couples, or anybody else, with tin pans and discordant noises, should be recognized as a breach of good manners and morals. If you find yourself accidentally one of a party of such serenaders, show, by your conduct, that you do not approve of such proceedings. The ceremony of marriage is too sacred and holy to be lowered to the plan of ridicule and frivolity which sometimes marks wedding parties. Have fun and gaiety, but be sure you do not lay aside the tokens and distinguishing marks of pure girlhood and sweet ladyhood while you are indulging in the pleasures of youth.

Questions.

1. What is a necessary condition of youth?
2. Why should youth, and all people, have pleasure and recreation?
3. Why does it offend elderly people and strangers to be rude and boisterous in cities and towns?
4. When may young people shout and laugh with perfect propriety?
5. How many kinds of out-door amusements can you think of that are indulged in by boys and girls together, both winter and summer?
6. What is the general rule for conduct on all such occasions?
7. What is a chaperone?
8. Why is it necessary to have a chaperone attending all outings of young people in the canyons, sleighing, etc.?
9. What is a proper way for young people of the opposite sex to become acquainted with each other?
10. What is the duty of a chaperone?
11. What can you say of the dispositions of different people while they are out on picnics?
12. How can a selfish person be known at such a time? How an unselfish and thoughtful person?
13. What can you say about table manners on a picnic? Why do good table manners then show to good advantage?
14. What do you think about making boisterous noises while riding through a town? Why should you respect the feelings of other people?
15. What have you to say of midnight rides?
16. How should a young girl conduct herself while on a picnic, out bathing, sleighing, skating, etc.?
17. Why should prayers and the Sabbath be remembered in the canyon or on outings of that kind, as well as when at home?
18. What can you say of serenades? What kind are allowable and what are not, and why?
19. Why is liberty not license? and why is fun not always innocent?



8 Comments »

  1. This reader enjoys reading rules of social propriety, even knowing that they are not necessarily immutable laws. It’s just that there’s a certain enlightenment in reading historical expressions of principles of good living. Oh, and the frequent references to “the canyon” were cute — it suggests to me that the author was probably securely ensconced in the Wasatch Front.

    Comment by Hunter — May 24, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  2. Daintiness in eating nowhere shows to better advantage than in a rough-and-tumble picnic.

    I’m thinking Scarlett O’Hara here.

    Comment by Researcher — May 24, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  3. The adversary does most of his mischief under cover of darkness and night, while very little is ever accomplished by him under the full blaze of the sun or other brilliant light.

    While I won’t disagree with the “most” used here, a determined couple won’t let daylight stop them.

    Daintiness in eating nowhere shows to better advantage than in a rough-and-tumble picnic.

    And yet this is where I seem to eat the most [sigh].

    As I read, much of this is such good advice in general that I easily forget it was directed at young women in particular. Then there are the portions on learning to swim.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — May 24, 2010 @ 11:22 am

  4. I wonder if the prohibition on touching only the hands while swimming would cause confusion on the part of a well trained and respectable young man serving as a lifeguard, if called upon for rescue!

    Interesting to note that there were no prohibitions on outings extending over Sunday, and that boys and girls camped together, but obviously in separate tents. Apart from youth conferences, as near as I can tell all other overnight combined YM/YW activities are forbidden, and pretty much anything involving being away on Sunday.

    Otherwise, while the language is really anachronistic, it’s not as restrictive as I would have thought. And my spell checker thinks chaperone is misspelled, which is weird.

    Comment by kevinf — May 24, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  5. My grandchildren this weekend could have profited from learning these rules about the proper time “for some noise and a great deal of confusion, with some shouting and laughing.”

    But, they rarely stopped at “some” when it came to noise, and I’m not sure if they were confused, or just confusing. : )

    Comment by Mark B. — May 24, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

  6. “If you find yourself accidentally one of a party of such serenaders, show, by your conduct, that you do not approve of such proceedings.”

    Accidentally? There’s never been any mistaking the evening’s agenda for acts of hooliganism I’ve ever been a part of.

    Especially if there’s toilet paper :)

    Comment by Paradox — May 25, 2010 @ 2:43 am

  7. I read this yesterday and it was very interesting. Seems people were a little update in the old days but having said that some of those rules would be good today. The idea about not putting your arm around a young lady, well I remember the vast effort I would make to do that without looking so wierd. Now I found out it was not proper, sure could have saved me some trouble and some rejections. Nothing as painful as having your arm around a girl throughout a whole movie, muscles going dead, etc. Midnight serenades would I guess referr to rock concerts in our time.

    Comment by Mex Davis — May 25, 2010 @ 8:04 am

  8. It actually sounds more enlightened than today! ‘Specially, as noted by kevinf, the rules regarding Sundays. I particularly like, after the Sabbath service is over:

    After that, let them run over the hills all they please, getting life and health with every breath of nature’s pure air which they breathe

    Nice.

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — June 10, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI