This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
To be graceful, harmony must govern our movements.
There are women who possess in a superior degree the intuition of harmony, who select unconsciously their seats, their poses, according to the toilets which they wear. Dressed in a simple costume, they lean against a piece of furniture of severe style, or sit erect upon an oaken chair, which is in complete harmony with the appearance they present in their tailor-made gowns. In the evening, robed in silks and laces, they as naturally select luxurious sofas, ottomans, and easy-chairs, which are in perfect accord with their costumes. This is not possible for the stiff, angular woman, whose movements are brusque and awkward.
Those who know how to walk and carry themselves possess equilibrium. Perhaps this gift of nature has never been lost by acquiring bad habits, or they have reconquered it by means of study.
If you are inclined to stoop, walk to and fro with your hands behind your back when you are alone in the garden or house,
Children should be taught to throw their shoulders back by being made to walk with elbows close to the body. This will naturally keep the chin free and the chest thrown forward. The back will curve in, the shoulder-blades be kept in their places instead of projecting, the bust will arch itself, and the entire weight of the body be thrown on the hips, which is necessary for a perfect equilibrium.
One should practice touching the ground first with the ball of the foot, to avoid walking on the heels with toes in the air, which is ugly, clumsy, and ungraceful, exposing the whole system to the useless jolting Nature tried to spare us when she formed the ball of the foot.
When mounting a stairway or climbing a hill, for the sake of the lungs as well as to obtain a graceful carriage, both back and head should be held erect.