When I am at reenactments, my shoe comes untied about a thousand times. Each and every time, my significant other, Andy, always ties it for me. It is a life saver because in a corset and with all of that fabric, I can't reach my feet and would look silly and perhaps show more than I wished if I attempted to tie it myself.
People laugh at us but it was actually very proper for a gentleman to tie a lady's shoe. It was also his duty to help her on with her shawl and any other assistance she might have needed-- ladies' clothing was very frivolous as many of us have realized as we try to adapt to it. It is very sad for us if we drop anything on the ground.
Behavior in the Street.
"-When you meet a gentleman with whom you are acquainted, you bow, raising your hat slightly, with your left hand, which leaves your hand at liberty to shake hands if you stop. If the gentleman is ungloved, you must take off yours, not otherwise.
-Meeting a lady, the rule is that she should make the first salute, or at least, indicate by her manner, that she recognises you. Your bow must be lower, and your hat carried further from your head; but you never offer to shake hands; that is her privilege.
-The right, being the post of honor, is given to superiors and ladies, except in the street, when they take the wall, as farthest from danger from passing carriages, in walking with or meeting them.
-In walking with a lady you are not bound to recognise gentlemen with whom she is not acquainted, nor have they in such a case, any right to salute, much less to speak to you.
-Should her shoe become unlaced, or her dress in any manner disordered, fail not to apprise her of it respectfully, and offer your assistance. A gentleman may hook a dress, or lace a shoe, with perfect propriety, and should be able to do so gracefully.
-Whether with a lady or gentleman, a street talk should be a short one; and in either case, when you have passed the customary compliments, if you wish to continue the conversation you must say, “Permit me to accompany you."
-Don't sing, hum, whistle, or talk to yourself in walking. Endeavor, besides being well-dressed, to have a calm, good natural countenance. A scowl always begets wrinkles. It is best not to smoke at all in public, but none but a ruffian will inflict upon society the odor of a bad cigar, or that of any kind, on ladies.
-Ladies are not allowed upon ordinary occasions to take the arm of any one but a relative, or an accepted lover, in the street, and in the day time; in the evening—in the fields, or in a crowd, wherever she may need protection, she should not refuse it. She should pass her hand over the gentleman's arm, merely, but should not walk at arm's length apart, as country girls sometimes do. In walking with a gentleman, the step of the lady must be lengthened, and his shortened, to prevent the hobbling appearance of not keeping step. Of course, the conversation of a stranger, beyond asking a necessary question, must be considered as a gross insult, and repelled with proper spirit."
From the Ladies' Indispensable Assistant, (1850) Pg. 123