Category Archives: Custom

Custom Etiquette Love Men Women

My inclinations lean not your way

Following my post on the ideal exchange for a courting couple, I’ve had quite a few requests for further pearls of wisdom from the same author. So here is more advice on 17th century etiquette. The first is an entertaining example of a letter from an unwanted suitor, and the proper form of reply for a lady of good character.  The second demonstrates how best to handle the sudden arrival of a gentleman during a gathering of respectable ladies.

Love protested, with its Repulse


It hath pleased Heaven you should have the sole command of my affections, with which I am joyfully content and stand disposed to obey you in every thing, when you shall be pleased to count me worthy of your service. Enjoying you I must account my self the happiest man in the world; but being deprived of you I shall not only live, but die miserably; either then reward him who adores you, or chastise him who idolizeth you. Yet must I confess all my good to proceed from you, and that all the evil I can endure must come from your disdain; however hoping that you will commiserate my languishing condition, I shall greedily subscribe my self,

Entirely Yours, &c.

The Answer


If it hath pleas’d Heaven you should love me, you cannot blame me though you suffer by it; should I except the tenders of affection from all such amorous pretenders, I might be married to a whole Troop, and make my self a legal Prostitute. My inclinations lean not your way; wherefore give me leave to tell you, that you would do better to bestow your affections on some Lady who hath more need of a Servant than I have. And if you think your affection ought not to go unrewarded, receive the perswasion which I give you, never to trouble me more, lest you run a worse hazzard by persevering in your intentions. Be advised by her who is

Your faithful Monitor and humble Servant, &c.


A Gentleman accidentally happening into a room where a Company of Ladies are well known to him.

Your pardon, Ladies; let not my coming interrupt your Discourse, but rather give me the freedom that I may participate in the satisfaction.

Our discourse is of no great concernment; we can take some other time to continue it, that we may now give way to yours, which we doubt not will prove every whit if not more agreeable.

My invention, Ladies, cannot want a subject for Discourse, where the company so overflows with wit and ingenuity; but my tongue will want expressions to answer your Critical expectations.

Sir, we acknowledge no such thing in our selves, and therefore let not that, we pray, be the subject of your eloquence lest we suspect you intend to laugh at us.

Ladies, you must suffer me, not withstanding all this, that though modesty interdicts you the acknowledging a truth, yet the respect I bear to Ladies, commands me not only to acknowledge it, but also to divulge and maintain it.

We confess, Sir, the frailty and weakness of our Sex requires some support; and for my own part I cannot look upon any person so worthy as your self to be our Champion.

What power I have to vindicate your person, is derivative from your virtues; and were I so feeble that the supporters of my body were no longer able to support that burthen; yet one propitious glance of any of your eyes would dart heat and vigor through my whole body, and so my feet would be enabled to run in your service.

Have a care, Sir, you do not strain your invention above the reach of an Hyperbole; but lower your fancy to the meanness of our capacity; if you cannot perform it at present we will give you time.

Ladies, I am fearful my company may be troublesome, or interrupt you from more agreeable conversation, wherefore your Servant, Ladies. [Exits, presumably].


© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved

Custom Love Marriage

It is the charming power of your virtues

This delightful fragment comes from a 17th century book for ladies. Crammed with useful hints and tips on everything from making jelly to how best a prudent widow might conduct herself, the author provides the following as a guide to the ideal exchange between a newly-courting couple.

A method of Courtship on fair and honourable terms

I shall ever account this, Madam, the happiest day I ever had in all the course of my life, which hath given me the honour and satisfaction of your acquaintance.

Sir, if I knew ought in me worthy of your merit, I should readily employ it in your service; but being fully sensible of my imperfections and weakness, I believe the knowledge of me will yield you less happiness than you imagine.

Madam, I wonder you should wrong so much perfection.

I wrong not any thing in my possession; but it is your courtesie and rhetorick that would willingly excuse my defects, to make your own sufficiency to appear so much the more.

Pardon me, Madam, it is the charming power of your virtues and merits, which oblige me not only to honour and serve you, but also to desire some part and interest in your affections.

Sir, whatsoever a Maid with honour may do, you may request of me; I should be as void of judgment as defective in beauty, did I not respect your quality, admire your virtues, and wish you a happiness equal to your merit.

Madam, I assure you, my affections are real, and I hope sincerity doth wait on your good wishes; but if you will extend your favour, I cannot but be the happiest of all men.

Sir, as I cannot perswade my self you will fix your affection on a person so little deserving; so I wish with all my heart your happy Stars may guide you to a Match that may become your worth.

Do not entertain so palpable a mistake: I have proposed to my self an unfeigned resolution to honour and serve you to my uttermost endeavour; and your refusal cannot lessen my affection; suffer me then to bear the honourable title of your servant.

Sir, I have absolutely render’d my self up to the disposal of my dear Parents, consult them; if you prevail on their consent, you shall not doubt the conquest of my affection.

You oblige me infinitely, and I must thank you as heartily; I will not rest a minute till I know my sentence of life or death, which consists in the refusal of my love, or its acceptance.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

Custom Medicine

The princesse of physical plants

These snippets come from an enthusiastic early 17th century pamphlet on the merits of tobacco. Not only is tobacco enjoyable to smoke, but, according to the author, it cures everything from the gout to the clap. Disclaimer: These are antiquated medical claims. Don’t try at home (especially blowing smoke beneath a hormonal woman).

The finest Tobacco is that which pearceth quickly the odorat with a sharpe aromaticke smell, and tickleth the tongue with acrimonie, not unpleasant to the taste, whether the substance of it be chewed in the mouth, or the smoake of it received.  For the cure and preservation of an armie of maladies, Tobacco  must be used after this manner. Take of leafe Tobacco as much as, being folded together, may make a round ball of such bignesse that it may fill the patients mouth. Incline his face downward towards the ground, keeping the mouth open, not moving any whit with his tongue, except now and then to waken the medicament. There shall flow such a flood of water from his brain and his stomacke, and from all the parts of his body that it shall be a wonder. This he must do fasting in the morning, and if it be for preservation, and the bodie very full of evil humours, he must take it once a weeke, otherwise once a month. But if it bee to cure the Epilepsie or Hydropisie once every day.  Thus have I used Tobacco  my selfe, and thus used Tobacco Jean Greis, a venerable old man at Nantes in the French Britain, who lived while he was six score yeares of age, and who was known for the only refuge of the poore afflicted souldiers of Venus when they were wounded with the French Pockes.

If the mother [menstruation] vexe and torment a woman, the smoake of Tobacco either above or under, shall ease her more than feathers or leather.  If thou be pepsicke, if thou be asthmaticke, if thou be urged to cough through defluxion, the smoake of Tobacco is better then tussilago [coltsfoot]. If the rage of toothache excarnificate the gummes, Tobacco  is better then Insquiam [?]. If there be sounding in the eares, it is fitter than cinabre [a mineral].  I add further, that amongst so many thousands which use & abuse Tobacco at all occasions without observation of any physicall precept, there are very few found that can ascribe their death to Tobacco. So that if Tobacco were used physically and with discretion there were no medicament in the worlde comparable to it.

The Arthritis or gowt are prevented prettily. It preserveth from the toothach. It cureth the migrain, the colicke, the cough, the cold. It stayeth growing fatte. It is the antidote of Hypochondriacke melancholie. It prepareth the stomacke for meat, it maketh a clear voice, it maketh a sweet breath, it cleareth the sight, it openeth the eares and openeth the passage of the nose. It comforteth nerves, and taken in siruppe there is no obstruction that can abide it. It is present reliefe against the most part of poysons. And in few words, it is the princesse of physical plants.  To conclude this discourse I must excuse here my plainnesse and simplicitie with this caveat,  that albeit the never too much commended Tobacco bee of sufficiencie to cure many diseases, yet it is not of efficacie in all persons, in all seasons, in all temperaments, but it must be used by the direction of some expert and prudent Physician.

© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved
Custom Household

Illustrated Life

These images come from a children’s book published in the mid 17th century. The book was designed to both instruct children about the world around them via the illustrations, and also teach them some Latin basics. The value of this book today is in its depictions of the mechanics of everyday life in early modern England.

The Seven Ages of Man
The Bath
The Barber
The Taylor
The Shoo Maker
The Blacksmith
Bread Baking
The Making of Honey
Monstrous and Deformed People
The Bookseller
Singing Birds
Flying Vermin
The Study
A Buriall
© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved
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