It is ill-mannered to be late at church. If one is unavoidably late, it is better to take a pew as near the door as possible.
Ladies always take the inside seats, and gentlemen the outside or head of the pew. When a gentleman accompanies a lady, however, it is customary for him to sit by her side during church services.
A person should never leave church until the services are over, except in some case of emergency.
Do not turn around in your seat to gaze at anyone, to watch the choir, to look over the congregation or to see the cause of any disturbing noise.
If books or fans are passed in church, let them be offered and accepted or refused with a silent gesture of the head.
It is courteous to see that strangers are provided with books; and if the service is strange to them, the places for the day’s reading should be indicated.
It is perfectly proper to offer to share the prayer-book or hymn-book with a stranger if there is no separate book for his use.
In visiting a church of a different belief from your own, pay the utmost respect to the services and conform in all things to the observances of the church—that is, kneel, sit and rise with the congregation. No matter how grotesquely some of the forms and observances may strike you, let no smile or contemptuous remark indicate the fact while in the church.
When the services are concluded, there should be no haste in crowding up the aisle, but the departure should be conducted quietly and decorously. When the vestibule is reached, it is allowable to exchange greetings with friends, but here there should be no loud talking nor boisterous laughter. Neither should gentlemen congregate in knots in the vestibule or upon the steps of the church and compel ladies to run the gauntlet of their eyes and tongues.
If a Protestant gentleman accompanies a lady who is a Roman Catholic to her own church, it is an act of courtesy to offer the holy water. This he must do with the ungloved right hand.
In visiting a church for the mere purpose of seeing the edifice, one should always go at a time when there are no services being held. If people are even then found at their devotions, as is apt to be the case in Roman Catholic churches especially, the demeanor of the visitor should be respectful and subdued and his voice low, so that he may not disturb them.
INVITATION TO OPERA OR CONCERT.
A gentleman upon inviting a lady to accompany him to opera, theatre, concert or other public place of amusement, must send his invitation the previous day. The lady must reply immediately, so that if she declines, there shall yet be time for the gentleman to secure another companion.
It is the gentleman’s duty to secure good seats for the entertainment, or else he or his companion may be obliged to take up with seats where they can neither see nor hear.