This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
While a quiet conversation is allowable in the intervals after the opening of the performance, close attention should be given to the stage. Should it be a concert, the utmost stillness should be observed, as the slightest whisper will disturb the' singers. This considerate attention should be given to the very end. It is in exceedingly bad taste, near the close of the last act, for the audience to commence moving about, putting on wraps and outer clothing, preparatory to leaving. Those who do so, lose the choicest part of the entertainment; they distract others who wish to be attentive, and they advertise the fact that they have no private carriage of their own, but on the contrary go by some public conveyance, and with characteristic selfishness they intend to rush out first and secure the best seats.
If the entertainment be a fancy fair, where goods which have been manufactured by a company of ladies are sold for church or charitable purposes, good sense will immediately suggest that as large a price should be realized as possible, and hence it is not etiquette for the purchaser to attempt to buy under price. It is also courtesy for the saleswoman, when a larger sum is presented than is charged, to deduct the price and promptly return the change, unless the surplus be donated to the charity.
Do not forget, while you make yourself comfortable, that others have rights which should be always considered.
Do not talk loudly, laugh boisterously, or make violent gestures.
Do not talk or whisper so loudly during the entertainment as to disturb those sitting near you.
Do not make a display of secrecy, mystery, or undue lover-like affection with your companion.
Do not, in a picture-gallery, stand conversing too long in front of pictures. Take seats, and allow others to make examination.
Do not, if a lady, allow a gentleman to join you, and thus withdraw your attention from your escort And do not, if a gentleman, allow your attention to be taken up, to any great extent, with a lady other than the one you have in charge.
Do not, if a gentleman, be continually going from the hall between the acts of the play. To be passing up and down the aisle, eating peppers and cardamom seeds, advertises the fact that you are addicted to the too frequent use of liquors.
Do not join a party about to visit a place of amusement unless invited to do so. Should the party consist of one gentleman and two ladies, a gentleman, if well acquainted, may ask the privilege of attending one of the ladies. Should a ticket be furnished him, he should return the favor by an equal politeness bestowed upon the party, if possible, during the evening.
Fig. 17. The Visitor who Converts the Parlor into a Smoking-Room.