Daily Chronicle, January 19, 1903

(Ungracefulness of walk and gesture, says a lady’s paper, are now considered a mark of good breeding in society.)

Good breeding, of course, is not patent to all.
 If, therefore, you wish to attest yours,
When you go to a crush or a concert or ball,
 You must cultivate curious gestures.
You must borrow your style from the apes at the Zoo.
 ’Twill pass as the best of behaviour.
Out at Clapham, it’s true, you may find it won’t do,
 But it’s sure to go down with Belgravia.

The back that is straight and the pose that’s erect
 May look, I admit, in their way fair,
But, of course, it is wholly absurd to expect
 To do that sort of thing—say, in Mayfair.
Such a pose could not fail to elicit remark.
 It would certainly shock all beholders.
And your prospects are dark if you walk in the Park,
 Without a chic droop of the shoulders.

So practice a slouch, wave your arms like a mill,
 And especially also—take warning—
Abandon your clubs and your volunteer drill
 And your dumb-bells first thing in the morning.
Persevere at your task, and your name, I’ll be bound,
 Writ large in the social roster
Will shortly be found, if your shoulders are round,
 And your walk is the walk of a coster.

P. G. W. 



“The ‘Elbow’ Walk. In addition to the ungainly walk which fashionable women have adopted, they have now to hold their left arms in a most extraordinary way. As soon as they drop their skirts, out go their left elbows, and out they stay. The effect is of a new moon, with horns inward to the body, the hand being one horn, the shoulder the other. The absolute rigidity of the arm is an extraordinary feature of the circumstance. Anyone trying it will find it most tiring; it is certainly ungraceful and decidedly useless, but then it is fashionable.” (Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, January 8, 1903)

John Dawson