This little volume, handily pocket-sized, is a handbook of manners, behaviour, and social expectations, written for women. The author, needless to say, is a man - and a cleric, to boot. He had already issued an "Enquiry into the Duties of Men", which he tells us in his preface was favourably received, and he assures the reader that the final result has been compared with (and sometimes amended in the light of) other similar volumes - one must make up one's own mind whether this is a positive or a negative feature. As he states on P.3 that his design is "to promote, as far as may be in my power, the welfare of the female sex", perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt. The topics covered are certainly broad, and begin with education, which is a good sign. Marriage, parenthood, and the end of life are also considered in detail.
Thomas Gisborne (1758–1846) was an English Anglican priest and poet, and a prominent member of the Clapham Sect, who fought for the abolition of the slave trade in England. He is still remembered by the Fellowship created at Durham University after his death - the Gisborne Fellowship. He was also a 'scriptural geologist', and wrote two books criticising the then-current trend of geological study to move away from a basis in the Bible: 'Testimony of Natural Theology to Christianity' (1818) and 'Considerations on Modern Theories of Geology' (1837).
Our copy of the Enquiry is in generally excellent condition for its age, bound in somewhat faded and scratched rose-pink (?originally dark pink/maroon?) full calf with imprinted diamond design to front and back, and decorated border enclosed in a thin double line (gilt). Cover edges are also decorated in gilt (considerably worn). All corners are bumped, the bottom R/H at the front particularly so, with a little loss of the leather. The spine is very worn, but the five panels still retain their gilt line borders, and the title panel (black with gilt lettering) is only marred by a small loss at the upper R/H corner. Text block edges are all marbled. Inside, the brown marbled endpapers are in excellent condition, the binding is firm, and the print clear and bright, apart from one dark mark on p.125 (see photo). There is some almost invisible foxing at pp.135-40, and a little more on the final blank pages, but otherwise this is a very good copy. The header/footer of the spine are stitched in dark green. A neat ink-written gift inscription adorns the verso of the front fep, one presumes written in 1873, on 22nd March (see photo).