olite Victorian society lifted its glasses to convivial, yet genteel, words such as those found in the book Mixing in Society: A Complete Manual of Manners. A detailed guide to correct behavior for the upper classes, it was penned anonymously by "the Right Honorable the Countess of ******". Undoubtedly, the author, whether a true Countess or not, was a perceptive person who responded in book form to the social concerns of the upper classes — and very likely the readership included the emerging merchant and middle classes as well. How did one properly make conversation, dress for a ball, visit a country house, and deal with servants? Apparently, many people wanted to know. Mixing in Society, first published in 1869, was a popular title; it was reprinted in 1870, 1872 and 1879.
The Countess organized these "toasts and sentiments" into useful categories reflecting the mood of the occasion, political and national interests, and, of course, "Misc." All use words suitable for a gathering of respectable people, and offer perspective on contemporary morals, politics, law, and manners. All category groupings and headings are from the original text.
- Love, liberty, and length of days.
- Beauty without affectation; and virtue without deceit.
- Charms to strike the spirit, and merit to win the heart.
- Long life, pure love, and boundless liberty.
- May we never want a friend, nor a bottle to share with him.
- May the moments of mirth ever be recorded on the dial of reason.
- While we enjoy ourselves over the bottle, may we never drive prudence out of the room.
- Our native land; may we never be lawfully sent out of it.
- May the tax-gatherer be forgiven in another world.
- The queen; and may no true Briton ever be without her likeness in his pocket.
- May the throne and the altar never want standing armies to back them.
- Queen and country.
- Liberty, not licence.
- The protectors of commerce and the promoters of charity.
- Freedom to the oppressed and slavery to the oppressors.
- No party except mankind.
- High wages and sense to keep them.
- May the sons of liberty marry the daughters of virtue.
- The British Lion; may he never rise in anger, not lie down in fear.
- The British Constitution; confusion of its foes.
- The greatest happiness of the greatest number.
- Toleration, and liberty of the press.
- Queen Victoria; and may her royal offspring adorn the position they are destined to fill.
- A lasting peace or an honorable war.
- Agriculture and its improvers.
- May an Englishman's house be his castle forever.
- Our wives, home, country, and Queen.
- The flag that braved a thousand years the battle and the breeze.
- May the heart of an Englishman ever be Liberty Hall.
- Our constitutional friends, the baron and the sirloin.
- The roast beef of Old England.
- The three companions of beauty; modesty, love, and constancy.
- Fat, fair, and forty.
- Love, loyalty, and length of days.
- The three physicians: Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman.
- May Britons ever defend, with bold unflinching hand, their throne, their altar, and their native land.
- The charitable institutions of great Britain.
- The protectors of orphans and widows.
- The Bar, the Pulpit, and the Throne.
- Party ties before all other ties.
- To the upholders of public spirit.
- Our absent friends on land and sea.
- As we bind, so may we find.
- British belles.
The Right Honorable the Countess of ******. Mixing in Society: A Complete Manual of Manners. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1879.
The phrase "To taste of Bacchus' blessings now and then" is from the poem "An Ode to Master Anthony Stafford (to hasten Him into the Country)," by Thomas Randolph (1605-1635).
Last modified 6 April 2001