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.
THE reader will call to mind people who always appear at ease when they are traveling. Investigation will prove that these individuals have usually had a wide experience in journeying, and an extensive acquaintance with the world. The experienced traveler has learned the necessity of always being on time, of having baggage checked early, of purchasing a ticket before entering the cars, and of procuring a seat in a good location before the car is full.
The inexperienced traveler is readily known by his flurry and mistakes. He is likely to be behind time, and he is likely to be an hour too early. For want of explicit direction, his baggage often fails to reach the train in time, or does not come at all. His trunks, from lack of strength, are liable to be easily broken. In his general confusion, when he buys a ticket he neglects to place it where it will be secure, and consequently loses it. He forgets a portion of his baggage, and thus in a dozen ways he is likely to be in trouble.
If the person be a lady who is unacquainted with travel, she reveals the fact by a general impatience, restlessness, and absent-mindedness. In her want of self-possession she forgets several things she had intended to bring, and her continual fault-finding at flies, dust, heat, delay and other trials, all betray the fact that she has not heretofore been accustomed to these difficulties.
Whenever you contemplate a journey, consider carefully what route you want to take, and decide it definitely. Learn accurately what time the train leaves, and provide yourself with a table giving the running time of the road, stations on the way, etc., which will save you the trouble of asking many questions.
If you desire to ride in a sleeping-car, secure your berth a day or two previous to the time of going, in order that you may be in time to take your choice. The most desirable sections are in the center of the car, away from the annoyance of dust, drafts of air and sudden noises resulting from opening and closing doors.
Fig. 17. The couple that make themselves appear ridiculous when traveling.
At least a day before you go, consider carefully what baggage you need to take, and have it packed. Take just as little as possible. Have your trunks very secure, and pack all articles of baggage in such a manner that they cannot shake and thus be broken.
Provide among your baggage necessary toilet articles - a linen wrap to exclude the dust from your finer clothing, and a small amount of reading-matter with very coarse type. See that your baggage is perfectly in order, and an hour before you start engage an authorized express-man to take your baggage to the depot State very distinctly where you want the baggage taken, and for what train. It is also a wise provision to have your trunk labeled with a card bearing your name and destination.
Take the number of the express-man, ascertain his charge, and withhold payment until he has assisted in finding baggage, and has aided in getting it checked at the depot Be very sure that your watch or clock is perfectly correct with railroad time, and that you, half an hour before the starting time of the train, arrive at the depot, buy a ticket, and take your seat in the car. You are probably early enough to take your choice of location in the seats.
If in the summer time, and the train runs east or west, the north side will probably be most pleasant Seats midway in the car are easiest to ride in, and the left side is freest from sudden gusts of wind which may come in at the open doors.
Having selected a seat, it is customary to deposit the satchel, umbrella or some article of wearing-apparel in the same, should you not be ready to occupy it; and it is etiquette for anyone finding a seat so occupied to look further.
You should carry just as little baggage into the car as possible, and all separate pieces should have your name plainly written or printed upon them, which will secure their being forwarded to you in case they are left upon the seat.
Having paid for one ticket, you are entitled to only one seat It shows selfishness, therefore, when the coach is quite full to deposit a large amount of baggage in the surrounding seats and occupy three or four, and engage in reading, while others look in vain for a place to sit down.
It is courtesy for a gentleman when sitting alone to offer the vacant seat beside himself to a lady who may be unattended. He will also give his seat to two ladies, or a lady and gentleman who desire to sit together, and take a seat elsewhere. Such attention will often be a great kindness, while the individual bestowing it may suffer but very little inconvenience.
The true lady or gentleman will always consult the convenience of others when traveling. Thus, care should be exercised that no one be incommoded by your opening doors or windows in a railway coach. If possible, so arrange that the air of a window that you may open shall strike full upon yourself, and not upon those in the rear; certainly not if it is unpleasant to them.
A lady and gentleman should avoid evidences of undue familiarity in the presence of strangers. Couples who may evince a silly affection by overfondling of each other in public (Fig. 17) make themselves appear extremely ridiculous to all who may see them.
People with weak eyes should avoid reading on the train, and those having weak lungs should avoid much talking, as an undue effort will be required to talk above the noise of the train.
Passengers should avoid eating at irregular times on the journey, and gentlemen should avoid smoking in the presence of those to whom it may be offensive.
Avoid leaving the pockets so open and money so exposed that thieves may steal your effects. In the sleeping-car the valuables should be put in some article of wearing-apparel and placed under the pillow.
Avoid undue haste and excitement when traveling, by forethought. Have a plan matured, and when the time comes to act you will know what to do, and with self-possession you accomplish your work very much better.
Avoid wearing laces, velvets, or any articles that naturally accumulate and hold dust Excessive finery or a lavish display of jewelry are in bad taste on extended journeys. Before commencing a journey, consider carefully what will be most suitable to wear, and study how little baggage may be taken.
If the gentleman is an authorized escort he will, if an old acquaintance, accompany the lady in his charge from her residence to the depot. If the acquaintance is of short duration, it will be sufficient to meet her at the depot in ample time to purchase tickets and see that her baggage is checked, while she remains in the sitting-room at the station.
Arrangements being made, he will secure her a seat upon the train, will find a place for packages, will attend to her wants in adjusting the window, and will aim to put her entirely at ease.
In getting on and off the train, the gentleman will care for all parcels and see that nothing is left. He will assist the lady into the coach or omnibus before getting in himself, and in getting out he will precede her, and afterwards turn and help her carefully down.
If requested by the lady to defray her expenses from her purse, the gentleman may take the same and keep it the entire journey, or he may pay from his own pocket and keep an account of expenses which she will refund at the end of the journey.
He should purchase the needed confections or literature on the train. He should be fruitful in the introduction of topics that will enliven, amuse and instruct the lady, if she is inclined to be reticent; and at her journey's end he should go with her to her home, or the place where she is to stop. He may call next day, and if the acquaintance seems desirable it may be continued. The gentleman should be very careful not to continue his visits unless certain that they are acceptable.
If a hotel be the point of destination, the gentleman will accompany the lady to the parlor. He will then secure for her a room, and leave her in care of a waiter; her desire being probably to proceed to her apartments at once, where she will remove the dust and travel stains of the journey, and meet him again at a concerted hour in the parlor.
Ladies and gentlemen who are strangers, being thrown into the company of each other for a long journey, need not necessarily refuse to speak to each other. While the lady should be guarded, acquaintance may be made with certain reserve.
Fig. 18. THE RIDE ON HORSEBACK. The gentleman takes his position at the right of the lady.