According to the precepts of separate spheres, which delineated the proper location of women in the home and men in public, there were a limited number of activities available to respectable women outside the home. And, according to etiquette manuals of the day, those activities were accompanied by an equally constrained repertoire of behavior and expression. Negotiating the streets, according to these books, was fraught with unexpected hazards, as this illustration from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper attested. But even when confronted, as in this case, by a "gauntlet" of "fifteen or twenty well-dressed young men" outside a hotel, the young woman in this 1874 engraving was required to maintain an even, "inattentive" expression that abided by the belief that respectable women should try to be invisible in public.
Source: John N. Hyde, "Running the gauntlet--A scene in front of a popular hotel in New York City at five o'clock P.M.," Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 16, 1874 - American Social History Project.