A well-bred man must entertain no respect for the brim of his hat. “A bow,” says La Fontaine, “is a note drawn at sight.” You are bound to acknowledge it immediately, and to the full amount. The two most elegant men of their day, Charles the Second and George the Fourth, never failed to take off their hats to the meanest of their subjects. Always bear this example in mind; and remember that to nod, or merely to touch the brim of the hat, is far from courteous. True politeness demands that the hat should be quite lifted from the head.
On meeting friends with whom you are likely to shake hands, remove your hat with the left hand in order to leave the right hand free.
If you meet a lady in the street whom you are sufficiently intimate to address, do not stop her, but turn round and walk beside her in whichever direction she is going. When you have said all that you wish to say, you can take your leave.
If you meet a lady with whom you are not very well acquainted, wait for her recognition before you venture to bow to her.
In bowing to a lady whom you are not going to address, lift your hat with that hand which is farthest from her. For instance, if you pass her on the right side, use your left hand; if on the left, use your right.
If you are on horseback and wish to converse with a lady who is on foot, you must dismount and lead your horse, so as not to give her the fatigue of looking up to your level. Neither should you subject her to the impropriety of carrying on a conversation in a tone necessarily louder than is sanctioned in public by the laws of good breeding.
When you meet friends or acquaintances in the streets, the exhibitions, or any public places, take care not to pronounce their names so loudly as to attract the attention of the passers-by. Never call across the street: and never carry on a dialogue in a public vehicle, unless your interlocutor occupies the seat beside your own.
In walking with a lady, take charge of any small parcel, parasol, or book with which she may be encumbered.
If you so far forget what is elegant as to smoke in the street, at least never omit to fling away your cigar if you speak to a lady.
This is taken from Routledge's Manual of Etiquette.
Copyright © D. J. McAdam· All Rights Reserved