Friday, February 17

Good mourning

Formerly, mourning was worn in England both for a longer period and of a much deeper character than is used at the present time. Two years were not considered too long a time for a father or a mother. Now custom prescribes only one year. It is also considered better form now to wear plainer and less ostentatiously heavy and expensive habiliments. Widows wear deep mourning for one year; then ordinary mourning as long a time as they may wish. Deep mourning is considered to be woollen "stuff" and crape. Second mourning is black silk trimmed with crape. Half-mourning is black and white. Complimentary mourning is black silk without crape. The different stages are less observed everywhere, outside of courts, than formerly. The French divide mourning garb into three classes, — deep, ordinary, and half mourning. In deep mourning, black woollen cloths only are worn; in ordinary mourning, silk and woollen both; and in half-mourning, black and white, gray and violet. In France, etiquette prescribes for a husband one year and six weeks; six months of deep mourning, six of ordinary, and six weeks half-mourning. For a wife, a father, a mother, six months; three deep and three half-mourning. For a grandparent, two months and a half, slight mourning. For a brother or sister, two months, one of which is deep mourning. For an uncle or aunt, three weeks of ordinary mourning, and two weeks for a cousin. While wearing deep mourning, one does not go into society, neither are visitors received. In the United States we have no fixed rules, but of late years the retirement from the world, after the loss of a near relative, has been much shortened. For one year, no formal visiting is undertaken, and no entertaining nor receiving, save in exceptional cases. Mourning (or black) is worn for a husband or a wife two years; one year deep, one year light. For parents, from one to two years; and for brothers and sisters that have reached maturity, one year. Those who are invited to a funeral, though not related, must go entirely in black, wearing black gloves and black beaver hat. To appear in hats of felt or straw, is wanting in due respect to customs.

[The Art of Dress, page 391, in The Manners That Win, Minnesota 1880.]

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