Friday, April 21, 2006

The Way of a Lady: Rule Thirteen

A Lady is Dignified.
Her expression is meet with her position.

Dignity is position in relation to any hierarchical measure. To be dignified (an oft maligned concept reeking of Englishmen with top hats) is to be self-referenced to your position. You speak from it. You live in a way so that it is recognizable. A Lady knows that her position limits her. She may not act wild and crazy. She must not speak with the vocabulary of a sailor or an adolescent. Her dependents hear in her voice the sound of authority with awareness that they are being served by a person of "standing". Dignity is the target of honor. Whether it receives honor or no, it ought not turn the Lady aside from wearing the award. False dignity is not allowed. A Lady would never declare or expect an honor without being just that honorable. Dignity is a true place not a pretend land where young women dress up as if Jane Austen were coming to tea. For many, the false is the quickest. In their minds, to wear the uniform of a Lady is just as good as being one. Your dignity is the realization of the honor due your capabilities which have called you to your position. Confidence is the stabilizing view you have of your abilities while dignity is the view those abilities give you of the social terrain. Low or high, a Lady understands how her tone is affected by the award bestowed on her by the hierarchy. Elizabeth II, Queen of England (God Save Her!) speaks with authority tinged with the majesty of England and centuries. You, as the hostess of your next affaire, will speak with authority tinged with the importance of being Mrs. So-and-So of x-years on this estate. The rest of society has a pretty good sense of how important you are. Too low or too high an expression is as uncomfortable as too hot or too cold. Only those at war with anything lifted up object to authority spoken with the voice of that authority.

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