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Full text of "The American gentleman's guide to politeness and fashion"

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LIBRARY 



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CALirOitHtA 

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THE 



AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S 

GUIDE TO POLITENESS 



Axm 



FASHION. 



Digitized by tlie Internet Arcliive 

in 2007 witli funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/americangentlemaOOIuneiala 



THE 

AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S 

GUIDE TO POLITENESS 



AXD 



FASHION; 

OB, 

FAMILIAR LETTERS TO HIS NEPHEWS. 
BY HENRY LUNETTES. 



The good old name of Gentleman. 

TENNT80N. 

People sometimea complain of writers who talk of " I, I." * * » * When 
I speak to you of myself I am speaking to you of yourself also. Is it possible 
that you do not feel that it is go 7 VicncoR Hugo. 



N£W EDITION, CABBFULLY RBVISED BY THE AUTHOR. 



PHILADBLPHIA: 

J. B. LIPPINGOTT & CO. 

1863. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, hy 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern Dis- 
trict of Pennsylvania. 



ID 

HIS YOUNG COUNTRYMEN, 

THIS nNPRETENPING VOLUME, IS, WITH AFFECTIONATE PRinK, 
INSCRIBED BY 

THE AUTHOR. 



INTRODUCTION. 



** I LANG ha'e thought, my youthful friends, 

A something to have sent you, 
Tho* it may serve no other end 

Than just a kind memento : 
But how the subject-theme may g&ng 

Let time and chance determine ; 
Perhaps it may turn out a sang, 

Perhaps turn out a sermon." 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



LETTER I. 
DRESS. 



PBOPRnTT of conforming to Fashion, with a dua Regard for individual PecuD- 
arities of Appearance — Eccentricity of Taste in Dress — Obedience to the Laws 
of Convention — The vagaries of Genius, in this respect— Absurdity and 
ASoctation originated by the Example of Byron — All indifference and neglect 
to be avoided, with regard to Dress — Aaecdote of Dr. Johnson and the Sid- 
dons — Porson, the Greek Scholar — Horace Greeley — Aphorism — Habits of a 
distinguished Parisian savant — Example and opinion of Washington with 
reference to Dress — Partiality of Americans for Black, as the color of dress- 
clothes — Practice of Men in other Countries, in the selection of Colors — 
Morning Costume of an English Gentleman— Every English Gentleman use- 
full/ employed during a Portion of eaoli Day — Dr, Johnson's Test of good 
Taste in Dress — Tlie golden mean in Matters of Dress — Ceremonious Costume 
of a Gentleman—Mode of wearing the Hair and Beard — Necessity for artistic 
Taste in one's Barber — All extremes of Fashion in bad Taste — Various Absur- 
dities in this respect, inconsistent with the " keeping " of modern Costume- 
Collars, their size, shape, &c. — Sleeve-buttons — Bad taste of wearing flash 
Stones — Use of Diamonds in Dress — Simplicity in the Appendages of Dress, 
the characteristic of true refinement — Signet-rings — Distinctive Points of 
difference between the exterior of a Gentleman and of a Loafer — All staring 
patterns in Gentlemen's clothes exceptionable — A white suit throughout, for 
warm Weather — Thin Cravats — Body Linen — Kotiebue's test of high-breed- 
ing — Streugtli and Comfort the essential Characteristics of working Garments 
— Fitness and propriety even in matters of Dress, indicative of a well-regu- 
lated Mind — Every American should aim to be a true Gentleman — Importance 
of Trifles, when viewed in the aggregate — Influence of Drese, etc., upon 
Character and Manner — Wearing Gloves in Dancing — White Gloves alone 
unexceptionable for ceremonious Evening Occasions — Gloves suitable for the 
Street and Morning Visits — Bright-colored Gloves in bad ion — Illustrative 
Anecdote — Over-Garments — Variety sanctioned by Fashion —Becomingness 
of different Styles — Inconvenience and ill-appearance of Shawls — When 
Suitable— South American Poncho— Anecdote — New reading of Lord Nel- 

1* 



X (30NTENT8. 

lon'a celebrated Naral Orders— Difference between Talking and Wrltinj;, 
the Author's Apology for numerous Defects — The MUl-boy of the Slasbe»-> 
The Author unacquainted with the Elegancies of modern Fashionable 
Nomenclature — Terms of agreement between the Author and his Corres- 
pondents, ,.*..... 2t 

LETTER n. 

DRESS— (ConttTMwd.) 

8T0KIES AMD IMECDOTBS ILLU8TRATITC OF DKISS. 

Tm HulO or the Ball-Room.— The Author's Liking for Mass Meetings — A 
F6te— Louis Philippe and the Militia Officer — A real Soldier conquered by 
the Fair! — The " Observed of all Observers"- A Morning Visit — Dissection 
of the " Observed of all Observers 1" — The Hero of the Ball-Room Is con- 
signed to the " Tomb of the Capulets " In a bright, pea-green, thin Muslin 

Shooting- Jacket 1 .48 

Anecdote of Bulwer, the Novelist, .43 

The Green Mountain Boy and his New Cloak 49 

Count Orloff at the " Peace Convention," 60 

Thk F^suionablb Uat. — A Toung Clergyman resolves to Visit " the City "— 
His Plans for Economy — A new Black Coat — A Secret Design — Fashionable 
Ridicule — The Young Clergyman makes the mortifying Discovery that he is 
wearing a " Shocking Bad Hat " — Reluctantly determines to buy a New One 
— A Traveller in an Old " Kossuth " — Test of what is Admissible in the Dress 
of the Clergy — Reflections of a " Sadder and a Wiser " Man— The Uncle and 
his Little Nephew — " Bradbrook's " and the " Pretty Coat" — Another Secret 

Design— The Tyrant of Social Life, ,.60 

The Chief Justice — and the Travelling Gloves of an Exquisite, . . .64 
CK)V. Marct ako thb Parisians. — The American Secretary of Legation at St. 
Cloud, at a Court Dinner — Address of the Turkish Ambassador — The Dis- 
tinctive Mark of a Gentleman, 66 

Thb Red Cobneuan Patk. — Sketch of an Elegant leaning upon a Bass-viol — 
Poetry of ihe Female Voice — An Alpine Party — A Lady's Avowal — Cox- 
combs — A Mysterjous Stranger — My Lundy-Lane Sword — A Figure of 
Speech appropriate to a Sportsman's Daughter — The "Weed" and the Shawl 
—An Apple— The " Tug of War "—The Pitiable Finger !• and the Cranberry 
Pit6 — Design of the " Mysterious Stranger " — Jack the Giant-Killer and his 

Victim — A Revelation — The Dove and the Vulture, 6S 

Postscript to Letter II. — Letter to the Author from a Distinguished Man of 
Fashion — Directions for the Details of Gentlemen's Dress, on various Occa- 
sions — Wedding Costume — Morning and Evening — Evening Dress — Dress 
for Morning Visits — Costume for Bachelors' Dinner-Parties — General Re- 
marks upon Colors, etc. — Effect of Black Dress — Blue — Brown — Anecdote of 
Beau Brumrael — Opinion of a French Critic — Importance of the " Cut " of 
Garments— Ease the First Essential— An Artistic Air— Wadding, or Stuffing, 
to be used in moderation — Sensible Observations of a Man of Discriminating 
Taste, fit 



CONTENTS. Zt 

LETTER m 
MANNEK. 

AnrousK of a Celebrated Obserrer of naman Nature— Manner indicative of 
Character — Benefits of Care and Attention in Youtli — ^Tlie Fasliionable Man- 
ner of the Day — Danger of Affectation in Manner — Americans too often 
Caricature their European Models — Good Sense and Manly Independence 
the best Guides in the Formation of Manner — True Politeness — Elegant 
definition of Politeness by a celebrated Author — Good Breeding inseparable 
from the Character of a Gentleman — Sir Philip Sidney, a Christian Gen- 
tleman — Manner the proper expression of Mental Qualities — The Laws of 
Convention— Their proper Use and Applicability — Conduct towards Supe- 
riors in Age and Station one Test of Good Breeding — Example of Washing- 
ton in this respect — Polished Manners of the Men of ReTolutionary Days^ 
Bad Taste of Slang Language and Disrespectful familiarity in speaking of 
Superiors or Parents— Reverence rendered to Age by the Ancients — Rude- 
ness of "Young America" in this respect — The Law of Kindness a sure 
Correction — Possibility of Benefit to be derived from the consideration of 
those who have seen the World — Disadvantages of early Neglect of Manner 
— ^Improvement always possible, at any age — Benefit of the early Acquisi- 
tion of Habits of Self-Control and Self-Possession — Advantage of proper 
Examples in this respect, TS 

Ibk Handsome Esgineeb. — A Railroad D^pot and a Dilemma — ^The Field- 
Book and Soiled Boots — The Blessings of Civilization — An Honest Saxon 
Word — The Charge — The Arrival — A Recognition — ^A Metamorphosis — The 
Economy of driving in Dress-Boots — A Whisper — The Secret of the Charm 
of Manner, 79 

Ak Aftkr-Dinnbr Cotebie. — The St. Nicholas Hotel and Santa Claus — ^A Plea- 
sant Meeting — A Social Re-Union— The Dramatis Personas of the Occasion 
—A Sketch — " Wiliard's," at Washington — The weary Child — The Courteous 
Strangers — A Grateful Tribute — Charge against American Ladies — South- 
ern Manner — Tlie Stupid Porter and the contre-temps — An Inference — 
A Scene in a Country Tavern — A French-Woman and a Yankee-Woman — 
Jonathan and the Snuff-box — A Tooth-ache and a Rocking-chair — Sympathy 
and Vivacity — The Climax of Impatience I 83 

A PouTB YocHO iRELANiiER. — A Fight — An Exclamation — A Fair Vision, . 91 

LETTER IV. 

MANNER— (C<wWrtM«d.) 

Fkactical Dirkctioss. — Senator Sumner's appropriate Sentence — Primary 
importance of Manner at Home — A reiterated Charge — Manner to Parents — 
Unvarying confidence and reference due to a Father — ^Tenderness of Man- 
ner to a Mother — Example of Washington — A Revolutionary Ball — Natur* 
the best Teacher of Duty — Too great familiarity, even with Relations, otgeo- 



XU CONTENTS. 

tlonabi*— Manner to Brothers and Sisters— No assumption of raperiorltf 
Jostlfled by Birthright, or Circumstances — Every Man the Guardian of hia 
Slstecs — A Sister's Love — Manner to a Wife — Tlie preservation of her Affec- 
Uon — The "Spectator," and a Sketch of an Old-School Husband— Irapressire 
Teaching — ^A Plea for Old-Fashioned Authors — Reverence for the Laret 
should be inviolate — The Graces of Manner always discerned by the Gentler 
Sex — The Sensibility of Woman — Domestic Politeness — Cheerful Manner in 
conferring Favors — Importance of Trifles, iu this respect — The true noble- 
ness of Manhood — Aphorism of the Latinists — Manner to Children — Their In- 
nocence and Susceptibility— The influence of Example in this regard — Children 
Judges of Character — Power of the Law of Love over the Young — Supremacy 
of Moral Obligation — Manner not to be regarded as insignificant by the 
Christian Gentleman — Manner to the Unfortunate — Towards Servants and 
Inferiors — Arrogance to be avoided— Mode of addressing Domestics — Queen 
Elisabeth and her Courtiers — Effect of a pleasant Word and a pleasant Tone 
— Peculiar sensitiveness of the Uneducated in this respect — The professional 
figure of an old Soldier ! — Manifestations of Sympathy for Inferiors in Sta- 
tion — Beadily instructed by a kind Manner, 99 

ANECDOTES AMD TALES, IIXUSTBATIVB 07 MANKBR. 

Emperors not always wkll-brbd. — Manner of Napoleon le Grand to Women 
— A Family Levee — Reply of the Mother of Bonaparte to her Son — Napo- 
leon's Btringeut enforcement of Court Rules — The First Consul and the Lady's 
Train — Josephine's timidity : nd her Husband's brutality — ^Marla Louise's 

Bridal-Scene — An almost sacrilegious Misnomer, 104 

A Father's Rebuke. — A Steamer on the Ohio — The two Friends — Cabin-Chit- 
chat — ^Youthful mirth reproved — The efifect of a Scene — The fortunate Guest — 
A Family Mansion and Family Group— A " Study," . . , . . 106 

The Moral Sublime : An Anecdote, HO 

The Sailor and his Mother, HI 

Thb Brothers. — Early Separation— Home Meetings — The pomposity of the 
Alderman — A Family Quarrel — The respectful Son — The Recording Angel — 

Charley Tisits the City— A Morning Call— Its Result, Ill 

Washington Irving's Sketch of an old English Gentleman, . . . • 118 

The Poet Rogers and his Man Friday, 114 

Tub Family Grebn-Room, or Lifb Behind thb Scbnbs.— An old Soldier 
Weather-bound — A Morning Sortie — An Invitation— Youthful Hospitality— 
A Nursery Fixture — The " Eldest Son and Hope of the House " — A playful 
Salutation — The "Land of Promise" — An Armful — Lunch — An unexpected 
Interposition— An Overland Journey — A Catastrophe — Rubicon Crossing — 
The Dolphin— The baked Apple— A " Poor Man "—The " Cup of Cold Water" 
— A Stick for each — Spectacled Reconnoitering— Cheerful Words— Devotional 
Scene — Scientific Inquiry— A Capture— Escape by Stratagem— Almost -a, 
Martyr — The old Soldier re- visits the " Mess " of his Camp-ground — A dan- 
gerous Invader — Green-room Asides — A Rehearsal — College Comforts — A 
Sketch by one of 'em — A Stage-Trick— Anecdote of John Kemble, the Actor — 
A Disclaimer and a Commentary— Exit of a " Star "— Table-Talk, . llf 



CONTENTS. Xm 

LETTER V. 

MANNER IN DETAIL. 

Maknrr in toe Stsbbt — Upon Meeting a Friend or Acquaintance — Proper Mode 
of Salutation — "Drawing" Gloves — Stopping to Tallt — Tact and Ease- 
Leaving a Companion in the Street — Manner to Inferiors in the Street — Rule, 
when meeting a Gentleman- Acquaintance walking with Ladies whom you do 
not know — When you are acquainted with both Ladies and Gentlemen 
whom you may meet — Shaking Hands wivh Ladles in the Street at Meeting 
or at Parting — Courteous Phrases — Parting Ceremonies — Precedence in the 
Street — Taking the Arm of another Man — Walking with Ladies — Proper 
relative Position— Opening Doors, etc. — When meeting Ladies — Upon being 
stopped by a Lady — Manner to a Stranger Lady — When you wish to Speak 
with a Lady in the Street — When wishing to join a Lady In her Promenade — 
Proper Caution in tliis respect — Rule respecting the Recognition of a Lady — 
An Awkward Third — Considerations due to Ladies in case of Street-Acci- 
dents — Courtesy to Ladies who are alighting from a Carriage — Custom of 
offering the Arm to Ladies in the Street, when ascending Steps, etc. — On 
entering Church, etc., with Ladies — As one of a Travelling-Party, etc. — Gait 
in walking with elderly Persons or Ladies generally — Staring at Ladies in 
Public Places — Manner to Ladies entering an Opera House, at a Pump- 
Room, etc. — Audible Comments upon Strangers, . . . . . . 1S8 

SKETCHES ILLUSTEATIVE OF MANKBRS. 

The " Cut " PoRTcauESB. — Newspapers and Coffee — West Point and a Discos- 

sion^A Foreigner's Revenge, 185 

The Broken Fan : a Lady's Lament, 184 

The •' Iron Duke," and Youthful Reminiscences, 137 

Unexpected Rencontre — A Stroll and a Compliment — A Gentleman of the Old 
School in the Street— A Tribute— A Daughter's Boast— A Wedding— The 
Bridal Tour — The Rail- Car — An Intruder — True Politeness— The Glass of 

Medical-water — The Denouement, 1ST 

Thb Lktter-Box. — An Exciting Exclamation — A Group for a Painter — A 
Query — Entreaties — An Explanatory Prelude — The Fruitless Sfearch— The 
Appeal — A Dialogue — An Admission — Musical Sounds — A Prosy Inquiry— 
The Summing up — The Damper — The Wish of a True Woman — An Insinua- 
tion — A Description drawn from Life — A Valuable Portrait — ^A Tribute to 
American Gentlemen — An Dlustration — Stage Politeness to a Lady — Acted 

Poetry : the Poetry of Real Life ! 141 

Thh Prisoner of thb Coliiseum. — A Moonlight Walk — A Secret Appeal — The 
Fair Epicurean — The Recitation — An Apparition — The Lasso — A Witty 
Reply— The Guerdon — The Clarion-note — A Brilliant — Horseback on the 
Campagnia of Rome — The Pope's Cort6ge — A Recognition — A Denouementr— 
A Confession and the Retort Courteous — A Sudden Transformation — The 
Beautiful Arm— Powers' Studio— The Artist's Discovery— An Intimation, . 149 



XIV CONTENTS. 

LETTER VI. 

MANNEK— {0»i<mt««/.) 

BOLKS TO BM OBSKBTEO IN MAKING UOBHINO YIStTS, AHD III SOCIBTT OmULUXr. 

Arenlon to Ceremonious Morning Visits — Proper Hours — Suitable Brevity- 
Character of Conversation — Card of Announcement — Visits made at Hotels 
— Precautionary Rules — Mode of entering a Drawing-Room — Drawing- 
Roora Rules — AVhen Meeting otiier Visitors — When interrupted — When wish* 
Ing to leave a Message or make an Appointment, etc. — Proper Courtesy 
when Visitors are talcing Leave — Short Visits of mere Ceremony — Attendance 
npon Ladies malting Morning Visits — Attentions Suitable — Introducing — 
Ladies to take precedence in rising to go away — Gentlemen calling together 
^Dresg, etc., — Wlien awaiting Ladies in a Public Parlor — Standing when 
Ladies are Standing — Offering the Arm — Suitable Gait — Minutia of Politeness 
— Morning Wedding-Receptions — Whom you should Congratulate — General 
Directions — Tact and Good Taste — Leaving Cards— Visits on New- Year's Day 
— Ceremonious Intercourse with Superiors — Manner at Church — Mrs. Cha- 
pone's Rule — Self-possession one of the Distinctive Characteristics of Good- 
Breeding — Whispering, Laughing, Staring, etc , to be avoided — Retaining 
the Hat not admissible — Salutations at Church — Attending Ladies at Con- 
certs, Lectures, Opera, etc. etc. — Propriety of Retaining tlie Seat you take on 
Entering — Incommoding Otliers — Courtesy due to Those near you — Manner 
of well-bred Persons in a Picture Gallery, etc., — Reverence due to the 
Beautiful and the Good — Partaking of Refreshments in Public Places — Dis- 
courtesy of any Semblance of Intrusiveness — Etiquette in Joining a Party 
— Politeness not to be laid asida in Business-intercourse — Elaborate cere- 
mony unsuitable, at times — The Secret of Popularity — Manner at a Public 
Table — Courtesy to Others — Self-importance a Proof of Vulgarity — " Fast " 
Feeding — Pardonable Luxuriousnesss — Staring — Listening to Private Con- 
versations — Rudeness of Loud Talking and Laughing, Shrugs, Glances, or 
Whispers — Courtesy due to a Lady entering a Dining-Room — To Older Per- 
sons — Meeting or passing Ladies in Public Houses — Influence of Trifles in 
the Formation of Character — Frequent Discourtesy in ignoring the Presence 
of Ladies in Public Parlors, etc. etc. — Politeness due to Women, in Practical 
Emergencies — Nocturnal Peccadilloes— Travelling — True Rules — Courtesy 
to Ladies, to Age, to the Suffering— Indecorum of using Tobacco, etc. etc., 
in Public Conveyances — Ceremony a Shield, but not an Excuse — A Challenge 

Extraordinary — Anecdote of P , the Poet — Practice and Tact essential 

to secure Polish of Manner — Life-long Stumbling — Practical Rules, the 
result of Annoying Experience— Carriage Hire — Driving with Ladies, etc., — 
Manner in Social Intercourse — As Host — Etiquette of Dinners at Home — 
Precedence— Distinguished Guests— A Lady — A Gentleman — Reception and 
Introduction of Guests — True Hospitality as Host, better than mere Cere- 
mony — Manner towards those unacquainted with Conventional Rules — 
Manner at Routs, at Home — Attention to Guests compatible with good ton, 
.—Anecdote — Respect to be rendered to all one's Aquaintances in General 



CONTKNJS. XV; 

8oc!e<f— To Married Ladies— To Strangers— The Distinction thus Sxhlbltecl 
between the Under-bred and the genuine Man of the World — No one entitled 
to SelNExcives in this Regard 157 

AKICJDOTSS, SKKTCHES, ETC. 

A Prophwt. — Table-Talk — k Rescue and a Lady's Gratitude — Jealousy Dis- 
armed — Backwoodsmen — Cordiality — Costume and Courtesy — Retort Cour* 
teous — An Interpolation and a Protest — Mr. Clay's Popularity with the Fair 
— Secret of his Success in Society — Mr. Clay and the JBMe Esprit — A Defi- 
nition of Politeness — A Comical Illustration — A Pun — A well-turned Com- 
pliment — Unconsciousness of Self — A Stranger's Impressions — A Poetic 
Tribute 179 

Thb Detotkb of the Beautiful. — A Morning Drive — Anticipation — Spiritual 
Enjoyment — Discord — A Disappointment, 184 

Thk Soldier's Wifb and the Ghoul. — A Journey — The truly Brave- The 
Arrival — A Chapter of Accidents — Self-Reproach — The Ghoul — The Calm- 
ness of Despair — The Versatility of Woman — But a Step from the Sublime to 
the Eidiculous--The Ghoul again — A Defiant Spirit — Punctilious Ceremony, 186 

A Fair Champios. — A Query and its Solution — A Sketch — Raillery — A Tete-a- 
Tete — An Interruption — " Fashionable " Hospitality — Genuine Hospitality — 
A Mother's Advice — An indignant Spirit — Rebellion, 193 

Thb Mas or One Idea. — An Object for Worship — A Soir6e — ^A Polite Collo- 
quy — Tlie Host at Ease — A pleasing Hostess— Tlie Climax, . . , 198 

Young America — an Anecdote, . 200 

The Practical Philosopher. — A handsome Aristocrat — An Accusation — 
A Courteous Neighbor — FaU of a " Fixed Star " — Favorite Aphorism of Mrs. 
Combe — The Daughter of the Siddons, 901 

LETTER VII. 
HEALTH. 
the toilet, A3 connected with health. 
The True Basis of Health — Temperance an inclusive Term — Foundation of the 
Eminence of J. Q. Adams — His Life a Model for the Young — His early Habits 
— Vigorous Old Age — Example of Franklin in regard to Temperance^ 
Illustrations afforded by our National History— The Bath — Varying Opi- 
nions and Constitutions — Imprudent use of the Bath — Bishop Heber — 
General Directions — Tlie Art of Swimming — Sponging — Deficiencies of the 
Toilet in England — Collateral Benefits arising from habitual Sponge-bath- 
ing — The Hair — All Fantastic Dressing of the Hair in bad taste — Use of 
Pomades — Vulgarity of using Strong Perfumes — The Teeth — Use of Tobacco 
— Smoke Dispellers — The Nails — The Feet — A complete Wardrobe essential 
to Health — Early Rising — Its manifold Advantages — Example of Washington, 
Franklin, etc., in this respect — Daniel Webster's Eulogy upon Morning — 
Retiring early — Truth of a Medical Dogma — Opposition of Fashion and 
Health — Early Hours essential to the Student — Importance of the early Ac- 
quisition of Correct Habits in this Regard — Illustration — A combination of 



XVI CONTENTS. 

UiRht nab^g essential to Health— Exercise— Walking— Pure Air— The Lnnp 
of a Olty— Superiority of Morning Air— An Erect Carriage of the Body in 
Wallclng— Periodical Exercise— Necessary Caution— The Unwise Student— A 
Warning — A Knowledge of Dietetics and Physiology requisite to the Preser- 
Tatlon of Health— Suitable Works oc these Subjects— Riding and Driving 
the Accomplishments of a Gentleman — A Horse a desirable Possession- 
Testimony of Dr. Johnson— The Pride of Skill— Needful Caution— Judicious 
Selection of Locale for these Modes of Exercise — Dr. Beatie's Tribute to 
Nature — Importance of Temperance in Eating and Drinking, as regards 
Health— The Cultivation of Simple Tastes in Eating— Proper Preparation of 
Food important to Health — Re-action of the Human Constitution — Effect of 
Bodily Health upon the Mind — The pernicious Use of Condiments, etc., etc. 
YonNO Ambitiok's Lasdeb. — Hours for Meals — Dining Late — Injurious Effects 
of Prolonged Abstinence — The Stimulus of Distension — Repletion — Neces- 
sity of deliberate and thorough Mastication — Judicious Use of Time in 
Eating — The Use of Wine, Tobacco, etc. — The truly Free ! — Dr. Johnson's 
Opinion — Novel Argument against the Habits of Smoking and Drinking — 
Advice of Sir Walter Raleigh to the Young — Then and Now— Council of a 
"Looker-on" in this Utilitarian Age — Erroneous Impressions — Authority 
bt a celebrated Writer — Social Duties — The unbent Bow — Rational Enjoy- 
ment the wisest Obedience to the Natural Laws — A determined Pursuit in 
Life essential to Happiness and Health — Too entire Devotion to a Single 
Object of Pursuit, unwise — Arcadian Dreams — Attainable Realities — Truisms 
— Decay of the Social and Domestic Virtues — Human Sacrifices — Relaxa- 
tions and Amusements requisite to Health — Superiority of Amusements in 
the Open Air for Students and Sedentary Persons generally — Benefits of 
Cheerful Companionship — Objection to Games, etc., that require Mental 
Exertion — Converse Rule — Fashionable Watering-places ill adapted to 
Health — Avoc.itions of the Parmer, Tastes as a Naturalist, Travel, Sport- 
ing, etc., recommended — Depraved Public Taste — Slavery to Fashion — Habits 
of Europeans, in this respect, superior to our own — Modern Degeneracy — 
Folly thralled by Pride SOB 

ILLUSTRATIVB SiCBTCHBS i.KO ANECOOTGS. 

To GrvE Etersitv to Timb.— The Senate-Chamber and the Dying Statesman 
— Tlie Moral Sublime, 225 

JuXATHAS's Sins and a Fobbiqnkr's Pbccadillo. — Celebrities— Dinner-table 
Sallies — Grave Charges— Yankee Rgection of Cold Meats — Self-Preserva- 
tion the First Law of Nature I — A Mystery Solved — National Impartiality — 
Anecdote — Storming a Fort— Successful Defence, by a Lady, of herself!— 
A Stratagem— The Daughter of a Gun— An Explanation— The Tortures of 
Outraged Modesty, 226 

Dr. Abernethy and his Yankee Patient, 282 

Cosmopolitan CniT-CnAT.— A Heterogeneous Party— The Golden Horn- 
Contemplations In a Turkish Caique — A Discussion—" Christian Dogs" and 
the Dogs of Constantinople — An unpleasant Discovery — A Magical Touch — 
The Song of the Caidjis— A National Example, 933 



CONTENTS. 3CV11 

Tm iKpRBTtHBABLx GuBST. — A Dinner-Table Scene, . . « . . 888 
Tha Toutb and the Philosopher : Lines by Whitehead, 289 

LETTER VIII. 

' LETTER-WRITING. 

Importance of this Branch of Education — ^Its Frequent Neglect — Usual Vaults 
of the Epistolary Style — Applicability of the rule of the Lightning-Tamer — 
Variety of Styles appropriate to varying Subjects and Occasions — ^Impossi- 
bility of laying down all-inclusive General Rules — Requisites of Letters of 
Business — Legibility in Caligraphy — Affectation in this respect — Avoidance 
of Servile Imitation — Advantage of possessing a good Business-hand — Time- 
saving Importance of Rapidity — Letters of Introduction — Form Suitable for 
Ordinary Purposes — Specimen of Letters Introducing a Person in Search of 
a Business Situation, Place of Residence, etc., etc. — Introduction of Artists, 
Professional Men, etc. — Presenting a Celebrity by Letter — Proper Attention 
to Titles, Modes of abbreviating Titles, etc., etc. — Letters of Introduction to 
be unsealed— Manner of Delivering Letters of Introduction — Cards, Enve- 
lopes, Written Messages, etc., proper on such Occasions — Appointments and 
due Courtesy, etc. — Form of Letter to a Lady of Fashion — ^Etiquette in regard 
to.Addresses — Letters Presenting Foreigners — ^Personal Introductions — Com- 
mon Neglect of Etiquette in this respect — Proper Mode of Introducing 
Yoimg Persons, or those of inferior social position — Of Introducing Men to 
Women, very Young Ladies, etc. — Voice and Manner on such Occasions — 
Explanations due to Strangers — Common Social Improprieties — American 
Peculiarity — Hotel Registers, etc. — Courtesy due to Relations as well as to 
Strangers — Impropriety of indiscriminate Introductions — Preliminary Cere- 
monies among Men — In the Street — At Dinners — Evening-Parties — Recep- 
tions — Conventional Rules subject to Changes, dictated by good-sense — 
Supremacy of the Law of Kindness — Visiting Cards — European Fashion of 
Cards — Style usual in America — Place of Residence — Phrases for Cards — 
Business Cards : Ornaments, Devices, Color, Size, Legibility, etc. — Letters of 
Recommendation — Moral Characteristic — Proper Style of Letters of Condo- 
lence — Form of Letters of Congratulation — Admissibility of Brevity — Letters 
to Superiors — Ceremonious Form for such Communications — Proper Mode of 
Addressing Entire Strangers — Common Error in this respect — Punch's Sar- 
casm — Diplomats and Public Functionaries should be Models in Letter-writ- 
ing — An Enigma — Diplomatic Letters — Letters of Friendship and Affection — 
General Requisites of Epistolary Composition — Letters a Means of conferring 
and Receiving Pleasure — Distinctive Characteristic of the Epistolary Style — , 
Peccadilloes — Aids facilitating the Practice in this Accomplishment — Noted 
of Invitation, Acceptance, Regret — Observance of Usage — Simplicity the 
best ton and taste — Etiquette with regard to Invitations to Dinner — Courte?y 
in Matters of Social Life — Error of an American Author — Ceremony pro- 
perly preceding taking an uninvited Friend to a Party — Abstract good-breed* 
ing tlie best Test of Propriety — Proper form of Ceremonious Notes of Invi- 
tation — Use of the Third Person in writing Notes — Mailed Letters — I<ocal 



rVlU CONTENTS. 

Addresses, Form of Signature, etc., etc.— Requisites of Letter- Superscription 
— Writing-Materials — Small Slieets, Margins, etc.— Colored Paper, Fanciful 
Ornaments, Initials, Ac. — Envelopes and Superscription — Wax, Seals, etc. — 
European Letters — Rule — Promptitude In Letter-writing — Study of Published 
Modeis beneficial to the Young— Scott, Byron, Moore, Horace Walpole, 
Washington — Sir W. W. Pepys, etc. — Curiosities of the Epistolary Style — 
Anticipated Pleasure, 241 

ILLUSTBATI0M8. 

Thb Wasnino — A Sketch of Niu-Tratbl.- A Group and a Dialogue amid 
the Ruins of Thebes — Mustapha Aga and the Temple of Earuac — The Arri- 
val — The Distribution — Delights, Disappointments, and Despair, . . . 263 

Anecdote of the Mighty Wizard of the North, 278 

A DRAWuta-RooH Cotbrik or Criticism. — The Library and the Intruder — 
Paternal Authority — Condemnation — Comments and Criticisms — A Compli- 
ment — A fair Bevy — Wit and Wisdom — Sport and Seriousness — A Model Note 
and a Fair Eulogist — Paternal Approbation — What American Merchants 
should be — An Anecdote — Discoveries and Accessions — Apropos— Fait Play 
and a Stue — A Group of Critics — An Invitation — A Rival — An Explanation 
and an Admission— A Rescue and Retreat — An Old Man's Privilege— Seven- 
teen and Eighty-two — May and December, 273 

The First BUlet-Doux, 234 

LETTER IX. 
ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 
Comparative Importance of Accomplishments — Difference between Europeans 
and Americans In this regard — Self-Education the most Useful — Peculiar 
Incentives to Self-Culture possessed by Americans — Cultivation of a Taste 
for the Ideal Arts — Desirableness of a Knowledge of Drawing — Incidental 
Benefit resulting from the Practice of this Art — A Taste for Music — Mistalceu 
Conceptions of the Importance of this Accomplishment — Advantage of learn- 
ing Dancing — Desirableness of Riding and Driving — Various Athletic Exer- 
cises—A ready and graceful Elocution of great Importance — A Source of 
Social Enjoyment — The Art of Conversation — Use of Slang Phrases — Dis- 
advantages of Occasional Lenity towards the Corruptions of Language — The 
only Safe Rule — Common want of Conversational Power — ^The Superiority 
of the Frenc h over all other People in this Respect — The Salons of Paris — 
Pleasures of the Canaillo — French Children — ^Practice essential to Success— 
The Embellighmenta of Conversation — Habits of a Celebrated Tallcer — 
Anecdote of Sheridan — Some Preparation not Unsuitable before going into 
Society — Qualities most essential to secure Popularity in General Society — 
The " Guilt of giving Pain " — Avoidance of Personalities — The Language 
of Compliment — Two Good Rules — Reprehensibleness of the Habit of 
indulging in Gossip, Scandal, or Puerile Conversation — The Records of 
" Heaven's High Chancery " — ^Importance of Exact Truthfulness in Conver* 
latlon — The Capacity of adapting Language to Occasions of Importtaictf - 



CONTENTS. XIX 

Use of Foreign Phrases or Words — Tact and Good-Breeding the Safest 
Guides In such Matters — Advantage of the Companionship of CultlTated 
Persons, in Promoting Conyersational Skill — Misuse of Strong Language — 
Oonversational Courtesies— Aphorism by Mr. Madison — Modesty Proper to 
the Young in this Respect — Bad taste of talking of one's self in Society — The 
World an Unsuitable Confidant — Quotation from Carlyle — Sympathy with 
Others — The softer graces of Social Intercourse — Cheerfulness uniyersally 
Agreeable — A Glee in which Everybody can join — Anecdote — Human Sun- 
beams — Judicious selection of Conversational Topics — Avoidance of 
Assumption and Dictatorialness — Proper Regard for the Right of Opinion- 
Courtesy due to Ladies and Clergymen — Folly of Promulgating Peculiarities 
of Religious Opinion — Rudeness of manifesting Undue Curiosity respecting 
the Affairs of Others — Boasting of Friends — Anecdote — Quickness at Re- 
partee, one of the Colloquial Graces — Dean Swift and his " fellow " — Anec- 
dote of the Elder Adams — A Ready and Graceful Reply to a Compliment not 
to be Disregarded among the Elegancies of Conversation — The Retort 
Oonrteous — Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson — Specimens of Polite Phrase- 
ology — General Conversation with Ladies — Essential Characteristics of 
Light Conversation — Improprieties and Familiarities — Disagreeable Peculi- 
arities — A Dismal Character — Anecdote of Cuvier — Tact in Avoiding Per- 
gonal Allusions — Peculiarity of American Society — Ages of the Loves and 
Graces — A Young Jonathan and an English Girl — Violation of Confidence 
^^acredness of Private Conversations — Politeness of a Ready Compliance 
with the Wishes of Others in Society 2S8 

IIXUSTRi.TIVK AKBCO0T8S AND SEKTCHES. 

Basq Froid and Sandwichks. — A Ride with a Duke — The eager young Sports- 
man — ^A Rencontre— A Query and a Response — ^A substantial Bonno Boitetie. 813 

A Frenchman's Relaxation 314 

Polemics and Politeness — Watering-place Society — Omnibus Orations — Sul- 
phur-water and Sacrifices — Religionists, Ladies and License, Reaction and 

Remorse. . . . ' 315 

An unexpected Declaration — Parisian furore — Tlie unknown Patient— Prac- 
tice and Pathos 817 

The Three Graces — Honor to whom Honor was Due — A Group for a Sculptor 

— Woman's Wit 81ft 

Scene in a Drawing-room 820 

Musical Mania — Guitar playing and the play of Intellect 321 

A Pair Discussion .,• 823 

National Dialect — A Bagatelle 824 

A Murillo and a Living Study — A Morning in the Louvre with a congenial 

Friend— A Painter's Advice — True Epicureanism. 888 

Ready Elocution and Ready Wit— A Congressional Sketch 827 



XSC CONTENTS 

LETTER X. 

HABTT. 

HiBTT always IndicatiTe of Character — Its Importance not properly «itl« 
mated by the Young— Rudeness and Republicanism too often Synonymous- 
Fashion not always Good-breeding — Social American Peculiarities — Man- 
ners of Americans abroad — Rowdyism at the Tuileries — The Propriety of 
Learning from Older Nations the lighter Elegancies of Life — Madame Soul6 
and the Queen of Spain — The tie of a Cravat and the Affairs of " Change" — 
George Peabody a Model American — The distinctive name of Gentleman — 
Great Importance of Suitable Associates — Spanish Proverb — The true Social 
Standard — Safeguard against Eccentricity — Ilabita of Walking, Standing, 
Sitting — Directions — Aaron Burr and De Witt Clinton — Bachelor Privileges^ 
Decorum in the presence of Ladies — Carrying the Hat, ease of Attitude, etc. 
—Benefits of habitual Self-Restraint— Habits at Table— Eating with a Knife 
•-Soiling the Lips, Picking the Teeth, etc., etc. — Nicety in Matters of Detail — 
Courtesy due to others— Manner to Servants in Attendance at Table — 
Avoidance of Sensuousness of Manner — French Mode of Serving Dlnners- 
The Art of Carving — Helping Ladies at Table — Rule in Carving Joints of 
Meat— Changing the Plate — Proper Mode of Taking Fish — Game — Butter at 
Dinner — English Custom— Details of Habit at Table — Rights of Freemen — A 
Just Distinction — Cnhealthfulness of drinking too much at Dinner — Fast 
Eating of Fast Americans — Sitting upon two Legs of a Chair — Anecdote — 
Habits of using the Handkerchief— Toying with the Moustache, etc., etc. — 
Ladies careful Observers of Minutiae — Belief of the Ancient GauU respecting 
Women — Habits of Swaggering in Public Places — General Suggestions — 
Ladies and Invalids In Terror of a Human War-Horse— Courtesy due while 
playing Chess and other Games — Self-control in Sickness — Premature adop- 
tion of Eye-Glasses — Affectation In this respect — Proper Attitude while 
Reading or Studying — Habits of Early Rising — A Poetic Superstition unwar- 
ranted by Health and Truth — Variance between Health and Fashion in 
regard to Early Hours — Aphorism by Gibbon — Habit of taking Nostrums — 
Avoidance of Quacks — Habit of acting as the Protectors of the Dependent 
Sex — Effect of Trifling Habits upon the Opinions formed of us by Women — 
Habits of handling Prints, Bijouterie, and Boquets, of Smoking, Whispering 
and Ogling, to be shunned— Importance of Methodical Habits of Reading 
and Studying — Value of the Gold Dust of Time — Anecdote — True Rule for 
Reading to Advantage — Habit of Reading aloud — Great Importance of a 
Habit of Industry — The Superiors of mere Genius — Habits of Cheerfulness 
and Contentment not to be overlooked by the Young — Cultivation of Habi- 
tual Self-Respect — Pride and Poverty not Necessarily Antagonistic— Self- 
Respect a Slileld against the Shafts of Calumny — True Honor not affected by 
Occupation or Position — Benefits of a Habit of Self- Examination — The habi- 
tual Study of the Scriptures recommended — Christ, the Great Model of Hu- 
manity — Ungentlemanly Habit of being late at Church, etc. — Pernicious 
Xffects of prevalent Materialism^P^rscnal Enjoyment resulting from habito- 



CONTENTS. ZZl 

ally Idealizing all Mental Associations with Women— Defencelessness an 
impassable Barrier to Oppression from true Manhood — Impropriety of 
spealcing loudly to Ladies in public Places, of attracting Attention to them, 
their Names and Prerogatives — Safe Rule in this regard — The Habit of Sym- 
pathy with numan Suffering a Christian duty — Mistaken Opinion of Young 
Men in this respect — The Examples presented by the Lives of the Greatly 
Oood — Miglity Achievements in the Cause of Humanity in the Power of a 
Few — Habits of Good-Humor, Neatness, Order and Regularity due to others — 
Fastidious Nicety in Matters of the Toilet, demanded by proper respect for 
our daily Associates — The Importance of Habits of Exercise, Temperance 
and Relaxation — Economy to be Cultivated as a Habit — Economy not De- 
grading — Habit of Punctuality — Slavery to mere System condemned- 
Remark of Sir Joshua Reynolds— Habit of Perseverance — Value of the 
Habit of putting Ideas into Words — Of Habits of Reflection and Observa- 
tion — Of rendering Respect to Age, etc. — Culture of Esthetical Perceptions — 
American Peculiarity — Curiosity not tolerated among the well-bred — The 
Inestimable Talue of Self-Possession — ^Its Natural Manifestations — Concluding 
Advice 829 

ILLUSTBATIONS. 

OKATHAM AND QuEBN VICTORIA. — A Stroll through the World's Palace — A 

Royal Party — The Yankee Enthroned — A Confession, 3C2 

>AMON AND Ptthias MODERNIZED. — A Family Council — A Celebrity and a 
Hotel Dinner — A Discovery — A Sketch — Telegraphing and Triumph — Beer 
and a Break-down— Drawing-room Chit-chat — A Young Lady's Eulogy — 
Retort Courteous — A New Acquaintance — An Explanation — Dinner the 
Second — Sense and 'Sensibility — A Ruse — A Request and Appointment — A 
Contrast — Catastrophy — A Note and a Disappointment — Fair Frankness — 
An Unexpected Rencontre — The Re-union — Pictures and Pleasantries — The 

Protector of the Helpless, 368 

A Visit to Abbotsfobd.— Sir Walter Scott as Colonel of Dragoons, Sheriff of 
the County, Host, Friend, and Author — Mrs. Hemans and Little "Charley" 
— Courteous Hospitality — At Driburg with Mr. Lockhart — Solution of a 

Mystery— Sir Walter's favorite " Lieutenant," 383 

Confession of a Celebrated Orator, 8S6 

Thk Lkmon and thb Carnation. — A Stage-Coach Adventure — A fair Passen- 
ger — Churlishness and Cheerfulness — A Comic Duet — Stage-Sickness — An 
Impromptu Physician — Offerings — Acknowledgments — A Docile Patient — 
Welcome Home — Arrival — A Family Group — A Discovery — Recognition — 
An Invitation — Hospitality — Sunday Evening at the Rectory — The Honora- 
ble Occupation of Teaching Young Ladies— A Prophesy— Family Jars — A 

Compliment 336 

A Notability and his Newfoundland Dog, 400 

ExTRBUKS Mkbt. — European Travelling-Companion — A cool Place and a 
" cool " Character — A Foreigner's Criticism — Fair Commentators — Dinner- 
tabl« Sketch — Tbr«e Parties in a Rail-Car — Sunshine and Showers — ^An Earth* 



XXU CONTENTS. 

Anitel— Anecdote of Thorwalsden, the Danish Sculptor— A Scene— Ckntle- 
manly Inquiries — Paddy's Explanation, .,.....• 401 
B-XYU you BBXN Impatibnt? — A Broken Engagement — About a Horse— Char- 
ley's Orphan Cousin — Ideas of Luxury— Novel Experiences — The freed Bird 
—Bless God for Flowers and Friends I— A Recoil— A Tirade— The Bird Be- 
caged — Self-Examination — Retrospection and Resolution— A Note and a 
Boquet— A Blush Transfixed, 418 

LETTER XI. 

MENTAL AND MORAL EDUCATION. 

The Author's Conscious Incapacity — Education within the Power of All» 
Americans not Socially Trammelled — The Two Attributes of Mind essential 
to Self-Culture— Prospective Discernment — The most enlightened System of 
Education — Duty of Cultivating the Moral as well as the Intellectual Nature 
— The Acquisition of Wealth not to be regarded as the highest Human 
Attainment — Definition of Self-Culture — Reading for Amusement only, 
Unwise — "Aids and Appliances" of Judicious Reading — Example of a 
Great Man — Fictitious Literature — Pernicious Effects often resulting from 
a Taste for Light Reading —Condemnation of Licentious Novels — Advantages 
of Noting Choice Passages in Reading — Carlyle's Criticism of Public Men— 
The Study of History of Great Importance — Benefits resulting flrora the 
Perusal of well-selected Biographies — Enumeration of celebrated Works of 
this Character — Newspaper and Magazine Reading — A Cultivated Taste in 
Literature and Art the result of thorough Mental Training — Affectation and 
Pretention in this regard to be avoided — Critical Assumption condemned- 
Impressions produced upon observing Judges by a Pretentious Manner— 
" The World's Dread Laugh " — Advantages of Foreign Travel — Misuse of 
this Advantage — Knowledge of Modern Languages essential to a complete 
Education — False Impression prevalent on this point — Philosophic Wisdom 
— ^Wise Covetousness — Tact the Result of General Self-Culture — An Individual 
Moral Code of advantage — Example of Washington — Education not com- 
pleted by a Knowledge of Books — Definition of True Education — The Deve- 
lopment of the Moral Perceptions promotive of Intellectual Advancement — 
Undue Exaltation of Talent over Virtue — Religious Faith the legitimate 
Result of rightly-directed Education — Needful Enlightenment of Conscience 
— The Life of Jesus Christ the best Moral Quide-Book — Charity to the Faults 
of others the Result of Self-Knowledge — The Golden Rule of the Great 
Teacher — The highest Aim of Humanity — Reverence for the Spiritual Nature 
of Man the Result of Self-Culture — Danger of Self-indulgence in regard to 
trifling Errors — Caution against the Infidel Philosophy of the Times — The 
establishment of Fixed Principles of Action — Tlje True Mode of computing 

Life, 423 

Apollo turned Author : a Bagatelle, . . * 488 

The Attainment of Knowledge under Difficulties — Necessity the Nurse of True 
Greatness — The Learned Blacksmith— The Wagoner — The Mill-Boy of the 
8lMhe»— rranklin and Webster, . , 439 



OONTENTS. XXm 

A Peep at Passers-by, from the " Loopholes of Retreat," . . . .440 

The Force of Genius— A Man about Town— Anecdote — Manly Indignation, . 441 

Old-Fashioned Honor, 443 

Webster on Biblical Studies, 448 

The Toung frenchman and the Pyramids, 448 

Pbcoadiixobs and PuMCriuonsNKSs. — Extract— Sir Humphrey Davy— Tribute 
to Religion, 440 

LETTER XII. 

CHOICE OP COMPANIONS AND FRIENDS.— SELECTION OP A PURSUIT 
IN UFE.— COURTSHIP.- MARRIAGE.- HOUSEKEEPING.— PECUNIARY 
MATTERS. 

Rdlb to be observed in the Selection of Associates — Advantage of the Com- 
panionship of Persons of more Experience than Ourselves — False Senti- 
ments entertained by Lord Byron regarding Friendship — Self-Consciouancss 
affords the best Contradiction to these Erroneous Opinions — Value of 
Friendship — Importance of the Judicious Selection of Confidants — Folly of 
demanding Perfection in one's Friends — Selection of Employment — The first 
Consideration in this Relation — Thorough Education should not be confined 
to Candidates for the Learned Professions — The Merchant Princes of 
America — Avenues for Effort — All Honest Occupations dignified by Right 
Conduct — The Pursuit of Wealth as an End — Freedom the Prerogative of 
the Worker — A Professional Manner Condemned — Individual Insignificance 
—Advantages of Early Marriage — Cause of prevalent Domestic Unhappiness 
— Each Individual the best Judge of his own Coqjugal Requisites — Health, 
Good-Temper, and Education essential in a Wife — Accomplishments not 
essential to Domestic Happiness — Disadvantages resulting from a previous 
Fashionable Career — A True Wife — Respect due to the proper Guardians 
of a Lady by her Suitor — Advantages of a Friendship with a Married Lady 
—Reserve and Respect of Manner due to Female Friends — ^Manly Frankness 
as a Suitor the only Honorable Course — Attachment to one Woman no Ex- 
cuse for Rudeness to others — The Art of Pleasing — Presents, Complimentary 
Attentions, etc. — Nicety of Perception usual in Women — Power of the Law 
of Kindness in Home-Life — The Slightest Approach to Family Dissension to 
be carefully avoided — The Duty of a Husband to exert a Right Influence 
over his Wife — Union of Spirit the only Satisfying Bond — More than Roman 
Sternness assumed by some — Sacredness of all the Better Emotions of the 
Human Heart — Expressive Synonymes — Pecuniary Matters — The Pernicious 
Effects of Boarding — An Old Man's Advice — Household Gods — Propriety of 
Providing for Future Contingencies — Slavery imposed by Pride and Poverty — 
Comfort and Refinement compatable with Moderate Resources — Books and 
Worlcs of Art to be preferred to Fine Furniture — ^Importance of Cherishing 
the Esthetical Tastes of Children — " Keeping " a great Desideratum in Social 
and Domestic Life, 447 



XXIV CONTENTS. 



ILLDBTBATITB 8XBTCIIB8, BTO. 



Tub Mootbd Poim. — A Morning Visit and Morning Occupations— Macaulay 
and the Ulanl^et Coat— Curate'tt Daughters and the Daughters of New- 
England — A Sybarite — A Disclaimer and a Witticism — Not a Gentleman— 
"Trifles make the sum of Human Things" — The Slough of Despond — A 01ft 
—Reading Poetry— A Soldier's Tactics— The "Unpardonable Sin"— A Fair 

Champion and a Noble Sentiment, 46S 

Anecdotes of a British Minister, an Ex-Oovemor, and an American Statesman, 470 

Chief-Justice Marshall and the Toung Man of Fashion, 47it 

Habits of Early Friends, 478 

Thb Pbophbgt Fclfillsd. — A Denouement — Cupid turned Carrier — Weddicg- 

Cards and Welcome News — A True Woman's Letter, 478 

Uncle Ual'a Farewell, 480 



THE 



AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE. 



LETTEK I, 

DBES8. 



Mt dkab toting FRnaros : — 

As you are already, to some extent, 
acquainted with the design and scope of the Let- 
ters 1 propose to address to you, there is no neces- 
sity for an elaborate prelude at the commencement 
of the series. 

We will, with your permission, devote our attention 
first to Dress — to the external man — and advance, in 
accordance with the true rules of Art, gradually, 
towards more important subjects. 

Whatever may be the abstract opinions indivi- 
dually entertained respecting the taste and regard for 
comfort evinced in the costume now, with trifling 
variations, almost universally adopted by men in all 

2 



ZO THE AMEKICAN GENTLEMAN 8 GUIDE 

civilized lands, few will dispute the practical utility 
of conforming to the general requisitions of Fashion. 

Happily for the gratification of fancy, however, the 
all-potent goddess, arbitrary and imperative as are her 
laws, permits, at least to some extent, such variations 
from her general standard as personal convenience, 
physical peculiarities, or varying circumstances may 
require. 

But a due regard for these and similar considera- 
tions by no means involves the exhibition of ecceii- 
tricity, which I hold to be inconsistent with good 
taste, whether displayed in dress or manner. 

A violation of the established rules of Convention 
cannot easily be defended, except when required by 
our obligations to the more strenuous requirements 
of duty. Usually, however, departures from conven- 
tional propriety evince simply an ill-regulated char- 
acter. The Laws of Convention, like all wise laws, 
are instituted to promote " the greatest good of the 
greatest number." They constitute a Code of Polite- 
ness and Propriety, adapted to the promotion of 
Bocial convenience, varying somewhat with local cir- 
cumstances, it may be, but everywhere substantially 
the same. It is common to talk of the eccentricities 
of genius, as though they are essential concomitants 
of genius itself. Nothing can be more unfounded 
and pernicious than this impression. The eccentrici- 
ties that sometimes characterize the intellectually 
gifted, are but so many humiliating proofs of the 
imperfection of human natm*e, even when exhibiting 
its highest attributes. Hence the affectation of such 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION 37 

peculiarities simply subjects one to ridicule, and, in 
many instances, to the contempt of sensible people. 

Some years since, when Byron was the " bright, 
particular star " worshipped by .young Sophs, it was 
quite a habit among our juvenile collegians to drink 
gin, wear their collars a la mode de Byron^ cultivate 
misanthropy upon system, and manifest the most 
concentrated horror of seeing women eat ! In too 
many instances, the sublimity of genius was mea- 
gerly illustrated by these aspirants for notoriety. 
In place of catching an inspiration, they only caught 
cold; their gloomy indifference to the hopes, the 
enjoyments, and pursuits of ordinary life, distressed 
no one, save, perhaps, their ei-dsvant nurses, or the 
" most tender of mothers ;" their " killing " peculia- 
rities of costume were scarcely daguerreotyped even 
upon the impressible hearts of the school-girls whose 
smiling observance they might chance passingly to 
arrest ; women of sense and education pertinaciously 
adhered to a liking for roast beef, with variations, 
and manifested an equally decided partiality for the 
society and attention of men who were not indebted 
for the activity of their intellects to the agency of 
the juniper berry ! Falling into such absurdities as 
these, a man cannot hope to escape the obnoxious 
imputation of being very young ! 

But while care is taken to avoid the display of 
undue attention to the adornment of the outer man, 
everything approaching to indifference or neglect, in 
that regard, sho-uld be considered equally reprehen- 
sible. No one entertains a more profound respect 



S8 THE AMEBIOAN GENTLEMAN B GUIDB 

for the prodigious learning of Dr. Johnson, from 
knowing that he often refused to dine. out ratlier than 
change his linen ; nor are we more impressed by the 
gallant tribute to kindred genius that induced hia 
attending Mrs. Siddons to her carriage, when she 
visited him in the third-floor rooms he continued to 
occupy even in his old age, because his trunk-hose 
were dangling about his heels, as he descended the 
stairs with his fair guest. One does not envy Per- 
son, the greatest of modern Greek scholars, his habi- 
tually dirty and shabby dress, because it is forever 
associated with his learned celebrity ! Neither is 
Greeley a better, or more influential editor, that he 
is believed to be invisible to mortal eyes except 
when encased in a long drab-colored overcoat. He, 
however, seems to have adopted an axiom laid down 
m a now almost-forgotten novel much admired in my 
youth — " Thaddeus of Warsaw," I think — " Acquire 
the character of an oddity, and you seat yourself in 
an easy-chair for life." The supposition of mono- 
mania most charitably explains the indulgence in 
habits so disgusting as those well-known to have cha- 
racterized the distinguished savant , who died 

recently at Paris. Had he slept in a clean bed, and 
observed the decencies of life, generally, the race 
would have been equally benefited by his additions 
io scientific lore, and his country the more honored 
that he left a name in no degree in had odor with 
the world ! 

But to return : — No better uninspired model foi 
yoimg Americans exists than that afibrded, in the 



TO POLITEJifESS AND FASHION. 29 

most mirmte details, of the life and character of 
"Washington; and even upon a point comparatively 
so insignificant as that we are at present discnssiwg, 
he has left us his recorded opinion : " Always," he 
writes to his nephew, " have your clothes made of 
the best materials, by the most accomplished persons 
in their business, whose services you can command, 
and in the prevailing fashion." 

With such illustrious authority for the advice, then, 
I unhesitatingly counsel you to dress in the fashion. 

To descend to particulars designed to include all 
the minutiae of a gentleman's wardrobe, were as futile 
as useless ; but a few hints upon this point, may, 
nevertheless, not be wholly out of place in epistles 
so frank, practical and familiar as these are intended 
to be. 

The universal partiality of our countrymen for 
hlack, as the color of dress clothes, at least, is fre- 
quently remarked upon by foreigners. Among the 
best dressed men on the continent, as well as in Eng- 
land, black, though not confined to the clergy, is in 
much less general use than here. They adopt the 
darker shades of blue, brown and green, and for un- 
dress almost as great diversity of colors as of fabrics. 
An English gentleman, for instance, is never seen in 
the morning (which means abroad all that portion of 
the twenty-four hours devoted to business, out-door 
amusements and pursuits, &c. ; — it is always m^orning 
until the late dinner hour has passed) in the half- worn 
coat of fine black cloth, that so inevitably gives a 
man a sort of shabby-genteel look; but in some 



80 THE AMERICAN QENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

strong-looking, rough, knock-about " fixin," fre- 
quently of nondescript form and fashion, but admir- 
alily adapted both in shfjpe and material for use^ — ^for 
work. Of this, by the way, every man, worthy of 
the name, has a daily portion to perform, in some 
shape or other — from the Duke of Devonshire, with a 
fortune that would purchase half-a-dozen consort-king- 
growing German principalities, and leave a princely 
inheritance for his successors, to the youngest son of 
a youngest son, who, though proud of the " gentle 
blood" in his veins, earns, as an employe in the service 
of the government, — in some one of its ten thousand 
forms of patronage and power — the limited salary 
that barely suffices, when eked out by the most in- 
genious economy, to supply the hereditary necessities 
of a gentleman. But this is a digression. As I was 
saying iii the morning, during work -hours, whatever 
be a man's employment, and wherever, his outside 
garb should be suited to ease and convenience, its 
only distinctive marks being the most scrupulous 
cleanliness, and the invariable accompaniment of 
fresh linen. 

Coming to the discussion of matters appertaining 
to a toilette elaborate enough for occasions of cere- 
mony, I think of no better general rule than that 
laid down by Dr. Johnson (in his character of a 
shrewd observer of men and manners, rather than 
as himself affording an illustration of the axiom, 
perhaps) — " the hest dressed persons are those in whose 
atti/re nothing in particvlxir attracts attention^"* 

There is an indescribable air of refinement, 2.je ne 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 81 

mis quoi, as the French have it, at an equal remove 
from the over-washed look of your thorough Eng- 
lishman (their close-cropped hair always reminds me 
of the incipient stage of preparation for assuming a 
strait-jacket!) and the walking tailor's advertisement 
that perambulates Fifth Avenue, Chestnut-street, the 
Boston Mall, and other fashionable promenades in 
our cis-Atlantic cities, in attendance upon the loco- 
motive milliner's show-cases, yclept "belles" — God 
save the mark ! 

The essentials of a gentleman's dress, for occasions 
of ceremony are — a stylish, well-fitting cloth coat, of 
some dark color, and of unexceptionable quality ; 
nether garments to correspond, or in warm weather, 
or under other suitable circumstances, white pants of 
a fashionable material and make ; the finest and 
purest linen, embroidered in white, if at all ; a cra- 
vat and vest, of some dark or neutral tint, according 
to the physiogtiomical peculiarities of the wearer, 
and the prevailing mode; a fresh-looking, fashiona- 
ble black hat and carefully-fitted, modish boots, light- 
colored gloves, and a soft, thin, white handkerchief. 

Perhaps, the most arbitrary of earthly divinities per- 
mits her subjects more license in regard to the arrange- 
ment of the hair and beard, than with respect to any 
other matter of the outer man. A real artist, and such 
every man should be, who meddles with the " human 
face divine" or its adjuncts, will discern at a glance 
the capabilities of each head submitted to his mani- 
pulation. Defects will thus be lessened, or wholly 
concealed, and good points brought ont. 



83 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

K yon wear your beard, wear it in moderation-— 
extremes are always vulgar 1 Avoid all fantastic 
arrangements of the hair — turning it under in a huge 
roll, smooth as the cylinder of a steam-engine, and as 
little suggestive of good taste and comfort as would 
be the coil of a boa constrictor similarly located, 
parting it in Miss Nancy style, and twisting it into 
love [soap ?] locks with a curling-tongs, or allowing 
it to straggle in long and often, seemingly, " un- 
combed and unkempt " masses over the coat-collar. 
This last outrage of good-taste is so gross a violation 
of what is technically called " keeping," as to excite 
in me extreme disgust. Ill, indeed, does it accord 
with the trim, compact, easily-portable costume of 
our day, and a miserable imitation, it is of the flow- 
ing hair that, in days of yore, fell naturally and 
gracefully upon the broad lace collar turned down 
over the velvet or satin short-cloak of the cavaliers 
and appropriately adorning shoulders upon which, 
with equal fitness, drooped a long, waving plume, 
from the wide-brimmed, steeple-crowned, pictur- 
esque hat that completed the costume. 

While on this subject of colla/rs, etc., let us stop to 
discuss for a moment the nice matter of their size and 
shape. Just now, like the " life " of a " poor old man," 
they have " dwindled to the shortest span," under 
the pruning sheara of the operatives of the mode. 
"Whether this is the result of a necessity growing 
with the lengthening beards that threaten wholly to 
ignore their existence, you must determine for your- 
selves, but I must enter my protest against th^ total 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 88 

extinction of this relieving line of white, «o long, at 
least, as the broad wristband, now so appropriately 
accompanying the wide coat-sleeve, shall remain in 
vogue. 

The mention of this last tasteful appendage natu- 
rally brings to mind the highly ornate style of sleeve- 
buttons now so generally adopted. Eschew, I pray 
you, all jiash stones for these or any other personal 
ornament. Nothing is more unexceptionable for 
sleeve-buttons and the fastenings of the front of a 
shirt, than fine gold, fashioned in some simple form, 
sufficiently massive to indicate use and durability, and 
skillfully and handsomely wrought, if ornamented 
at all. Few young men can consistently wear 
diamonds, and they are, if not positively exception- 
able, in no degree requisite to the completion of the 
most elaborate toilette. But those who do sport them, 
should confine themselves to genuine stones of 
unmistakable water, and never let their number 
induce in the minds of beholders the recollection 
that a travelling Jew — whether from hereditary dis- 
trust of the stability of circumstances, or from some 
other consideration of personal convenience, usually 
carries his entire fortune about his person ! Better 
the simplest fastenings of mother-of-pearl than such 
staring vulgarity of display. And so of a watch 
and its appendages. A gentleman carries a watch 
for convenience, and secures it safely upon his per- 
son, wearing with it no useless ornament, paraded to 
the eye. It is, like his pencil and purse, good of its 

2* 



84 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

kind, and if he can afford it, handsome, but it is 
never flashy ! 

The fashion of sporting signet-rings is not so gene- 
ral, perhaps, as it was a little while since, but it still 
retains a place among the minutiae of our present 
theme. Here, again, the same general rules of good 
taste apply as to other ornaments. When worn at 
all, everything of this sort should be most unexcep- 
tionably and unmistakably tasteful and genuine. 
Any deviation from good ton^ in this regard, will as 
inevitably give a man the air of a loafer as an ill-fit- 
ting boot will, or the slightest declension from the 
perpendicular in his hat ! 

In connection with my earnest advice in regard to 
all flash ornaments, to whatever purpose applied, I 
must not omit to record my protest against staring 
patterns in pants, cravats, vests, etc. Carefully 
avoid all the large, many-colored plaids and stripes, 
of which (as Punch has demonstrated) it takes more 
than one ordinary-sized man to show the pattern ; 
and all glaring colors as well. I have no partiality, 
as I believe I have intimated, for the eternal dead 
black which, abroad at least, belongs, by usage, pri- 
marily to the clergy ; but this is a better extreme 
than that which has for its original type the sign- 
board getting-up of a horse-jockey. 

A fashion has of late years obtained extensively, 
which has always, within ray remembrance, had its 
admirers — that of a white suit throughout, for very 
warm weather. This has the great merit of comfort^ 
and some occupations permit its adoption without 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 85 

iuconvenience. But even the use of thin summer 
cravats (which should always be of some unconspi- 
cuous color) wonderfully mitigates the sufferings 
incident to the dog-days, and these are admissible 
for dress occasions, when corresponding with the 
general effect of the vest and nether investments. 

To recur once more to the important item of body 
linen ; — never wear a colored* shirt — have no such 
article in your wardrobe. Figures and stripes do 
not conceal impurity, nor should this be a desidera- 
tum with any decent man. The now almost obsolete 
German author, Kotzebue — whose plays were very 
much admired when I was young, and whom your 
modern students of German should read in the origi- 
nal — I remember, makes one of his female charac- 
ters, a sensible, observing woman, say that she 
detected a gentleman in the disguise of a menial by 
observing \he fineness of his linen! If your occu- 
pation be such as to require strong, rough-and-tum- 
ble garments, wear them, unhesitatingly, when you 
are at work, but have them good of their kind, and 
keep them clean. While your dress handkerchief 
should not look, either for size or quality, as if you 
had, for the nonce, perverted the proper use of bed- 
linen — in the woods, for pioneer travelling, rough 
riding, etc., a bandanna is more sensible, as is a cut- 
away coat, or something of that sort, with ample 
pockets, loose, strong, and warm, and a " sofc " 
broad-brimmed, durable hat, or cap, as the case may 
be — not an old, fine black cloth dress-coat, sur 

* It will be understood, of course, that the necessities and the regula- 
tions of militarj life are here excepted. 



36 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's OmDE 

mounted by a narrow-rimmed " segment of a stove- 
pipe," with a satin cravat, though it be half-womi 
In short, my dear boys, study fitness and propriety 
in all things. This is the legitimate result of a well 
regulated mind, the characteristic of a true Gentle- 
man — which every American should aim to be — not 
a thing made up of dress, perfumery, and " boos," 
as Sir Archy McSycophant styled them ; but a right- 
minded, self-respecting man, with Excelsior for his 
motto, and our broad, free, glorious land " all before 
him, where to choose " the theatre of a useful, hono- 
rable life. Matters like those I have dwelt on in 
this letter, are trifles, comparatively ; but trifles, in 
the aggregate, make life, and, thus viewed, are not 
unworthy the subordinate attention of a man of sense. 
They are collateral, I admit, but they go to make up 
the perfect whole — to assist in the attainment of the 
true standard which every young man should keep 
steadily in view. And, insignificant as the effect of 
attention to such matters may appear to you, depend 
upon it, that habits of propriety and refinement in 
regard to such personal details, have more than a 
negative influence upon character in general. The 
man who preserves inviolable his self-respect, in 
regard to all personal habits and surroundings, is, 
ceteris paribics, far less likely to acquire a relish for 
low company and profligate indulgences, and to cul- 
tivate correspondent mental and moral attributes. 
It occurs to me that, going into detail, as I have, 
your attention should, in the proper connection, 
have been called to a little matter of dress etiquette, 



TO PO^ITKNESS AND FASHION. 87 

of which you modems are strangely neglectful, as it 
appears to an old stickler for propriety like me. To 
have offered an ungloved hand to a lady, in the 
dance, would, in days when I courted the graces, 
have been esteemed a peccadillo, and over-punctilious 
as you may think me, it seems very unhandsome to 
me. A dress costume is no more complete without 
gloves than without boots, and to touch the pure 
glove of a lady with uncovered fingers is — imperti- 
nent I 

Here, again, let me condemn all fancy display. 
A fresh white, or, what amounts at night to the same 
thing, pale yellow glove, is the only admissible thing 
for balls, other large evening parties, ceremonious 
dinners, and wedding receptions ; but for making 
ordinary morning visits, or for the street, some dark, 
unnoticeable color is in quite as good taste and ton. 
Bright-colored gloves bring the hands into too much 
conspicuousness for good effect, and, to my mind, give 
the whole man a plebeian air. I remember once 
being, for a long time, unable to divine what a finely- 
dressed young fellow, in whom I thought I recog- 
nised the son of an old college chum, could be carry- 
ing in each hand, as he walked towards me across 
the Albany Park ; of similar size and color, he 
seemed, John Gilpin like, to have 

" hung a bottle on each side 

To keep the balance sure!" 

When I tiould, in sailor phrase, " make him out," 
behold a pair of great fat hands, incased in tight- 



38 THE AMERICAN GENTLEM^n's GUIDE 

fitting gloves, closely resembling in hue the bright* 
est orange-colored wrapping-paper ! 

You will expect me not entirely to overlook the 
important topic of over-garments. 

Ae in all similar matters, it is the best taste not 
to deviate so much from the prevailing modes as to 
make one's self remarkable. Fortunately, however, 
for the infinite diversity presented by the human 
form, a sufficient variety in this respect is offered 
by fashion to gratify the greatest fastidiousness. 
And no point of dress, perhaps, more imperatively 
demands discrimination, with regard to its selection. 
Thus, a tall, slender figure, with narrow shoulders 
and ill-developed arms, is displayed to little advan- 
tage in the close-fitting, long-skirted overcoat that 
would give desirable compactness to the rotund 
person of our short, portly friend. Alderman D., 
while the defects of the same form would be almost 
wholly concealed by one of the graceful and conve- 
nient Talmas that so successfully combine beauty 
and comfort, and aff'ord, to an artistically-cultivated 
eye, the nearest approach to an abstract standard of 
taste, presented by masculine attire, since the flow- 
ing short cloak of the so-called Spanish costume was 
in vogue. 

Here, again, one is reminded of the propriety of 
regarding fitness in the selection of garments espe- 
cially designed to promote comfort. Nothing can 
well be more ungainly than the appearance of a 
man in one of the large woollen shawls that have of 
late obtained such general favor, at least as they are 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 89 

frequently worn, slouching loosely from the shoul- 
ders, and almost necessarily accompanied by a stoop, 
the more readily to retain them in place. They are 
well adapted to night travel, to exposed riding and 
driving (when properly secured about the chest), 
and are useful as wrappers when a man is dressed 
for the opera or a ball. But that any sensible person 
should encumber himself with such an appendage 
in walking — for daily street wear — ^is matter for sur- 
prise. They have by no means the merit for this 
purpose of the South American poncho, which is 
simply a large square shawl of thick woollen cloth, 
with an opening in the centre for passing it over the 
head, thus securing it in place, and giving the 
wearer the free use of his arms and hands, a desider- 
atum quite overlooked in the usual arrangement, or 
rather wow-arrangement of these dangling " M'cGre- 
gors." But the way, I well remember, that one of 
the young T — %-S of Albany, not very many years 
ago, was literally mobbed in the streets of that 
ancient asylum of Dutch predilections, upon his 
appearance there in a poncho brought with him on 
his return fi'om Brazil ! So much for the mutations 
of fashion and opinion ! 

To sum up all, let me slightly paraphrase the 
laconic and invariable advice of the immortal Nel- 
son to the young middies under his command. 
*' Always obey your superior officer," said the Eng- 
lish hero, '* and hate a Frenchman as you would 
the devil !" Now then, for my " new reading :" — In 
DBESs, always obey the dictates of Fashion, regulated 



40 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's atTIDE 

hy good sense, and hite shahhy gentility as you woulc, 
the devil / 

Well, you young dogs, here ends the substance of 
my first old-fashioned letter of advice to you. I 
will confess that upon being convinced, as I was at 
the very outset, how much easier it is to think and 
talk than to write, I was more than half inclined to 
recall my promise to you all. The pen of your 
veteran uncle, my boys, has little of " fuss and 
feathers," though it may be "rough and ready." 
The "Mill-Boy of the Slashes" used often to say, 
when we were both you^g men, and constantly asso- 
ciated in business matters as well as in friendship, 
" Let Lunettes do that, he holds the readier pen ;" 
but times are changed since then, and you must not 
expect fine rhetorical flourishes, or the elegances of 
modern phraseology in these straight-forward effu- 
sions. I learned my English when " Johnson's 
Dictionary " was the only standard of our language, 
and the " Spectator " regarded as aff'ording an unex- 
ceptionable model of style. With this proviso, I 
dare say, we shall get on bravely, now that we are 
once fairly afloat ; and, perhaps, some day we'll get 
an enterprising publisher in our Quaker City to 
shape these effusions into a ^^prenthook" tor private 
circulation — a capital idea ! at least for redeeming 
my crabbed hieroglyphics from being " damned with 
faint praise " by my " numerous readers," a thought 
by no means palatable to the sensitive mind of your 
old relative. 

I believe it was " nominated in the bond," that 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHIOBT. 41 

the subjects treated of in each of my promised let- 
ters shall be illustrated by stories, or anecdotes, 
drawn from what you were pleased to style " the 
ample stores furnished by a life of large observation 
and varied experience." It occurs to me, however, 
that as this, my jBrst awkward essay to gratify your 
united wishes, has already grown to an inconceiv- 
able length, it were well to reserve for another 
occasion the fulfillment of the latter clause of your 
request, as more ample space and a less lagging pen 
may then second the efforts of 

Your affectionate 

Uncle Hal. 



P. S. — In my next, I will include some prac- 
tical directions respecting the details of costume 
suitable for various ceremonious occasions — the 
opera, dinners, weddings, etc., etc. 

" Whew !" methinks I hear you all exclaim, 
" our old uncle setting himself up as 

" ' The glass of fashion and the mould of form 1' 

He may indeed be able to 

" ' hold the mirror up to Nature ;' 

but to attempt to reflect the changeful hues of mere 

fashion " 

Not too fast, my young friends ! Do not suppose 
me capable of such folly. But, for the benefit of 
such of you as are so far removed from the centre 



42 THE AMERICAN GENTLBMAn's QVIDE 

of ton as to require such assistance, I have invoked 
the aid of a good-humored friend, thoroughly aufaii 
in such matters, the "observed of all observers" in 
our American Belgravia, a luminary in whose rays 
men do gladly sun themselves. 

H-L. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 



LETTER n. 

sketches and anecdotes. 

Mt dear Nephews: 

In accordance with the promise with 
which I concluded my last letter, I will give you, in 
this, narrated in my homely way, some anecdotes, 
illustrative of the opinions I have expressed upon the 

subject of DBESS. 



Liking, sometimes, to amuse myself by a study 
oflPe masses, in holyday attire and holyday humor, 
— to see the bone and sinew of our great coun- 
try, the people who make our laws, and for whose 
good they are administered by their servants, enjoy- 
ing a jubilee, and wishing also to meet some old 
friends who were to be there (among others. Gen. 
Wool, who, though politicians accused him of going 
to lay pipe for the presidency, is a right good fellow, 
and the very soul of old-fashioned hospitality), I went 
on one occasion to a little city in western New York, 
to attend a State Fair. 

On the night of the fete that concluded the affair, 
your cousins, Grace and Gert4, to whom you all say 



44,- THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

I can refuse nothing, however unreasonable, insisted 
that I should be their escort, and protested warmly 
against my remonstrances upon the absurdity of an 
old fellow like me being kept up until after midnight 
to watch, like a griffin guarding his treasures, while 
two silly girls danced with some " whiskered Pan- 
door," or some " fierce huzzar," who would be as 
much puzzled to tell where he won his epaulettes as 

was our (militia) Gen. , of whom, when he was 

presented to that sovereign, on the occasion of a 
court levee, Louis Philippe asked, " where he had 
served !" 

It would not become me to repeat half the flatter- 
ing things by which their elegant chaperon^ Mrs. B. 
seconded the coaxing declarations of your cousins, 
that they would be " enough more proud to go with 
Uncle Hal than with all the half-dozen beaux toge- 
ther," whose services had been formally tenderedand 
accepted for the occasion. ^^ 

" Yes, indeed," cried Gerte, " for Uncle Hal is a 
real soldier !" And I believe the wheedling rogue 
actually pressed her velvety lips to the ugly sabre 
scar that helps to mar ray time-worn visage. 

" Col. Lunettes is too gallant not to lay down his 
arms when ladies are his assailants !" said Mrs. B. 
with one of her conquering smiles. " Well, ladies," 
said I, " I cry you mercy — 

" ' Was ever colonel by such sirens wooed, 
Was ever colonel by such sirens won !"* 

I have no intention to inflict upon you a long de- 



TO POLITKNESS AND FASHION. 46 

scription of the festivities of the evening. Snfl&ce 
it to say upon that point, that the " beauty and 
fashion," as the newspapers phrase it, not only of 
the Empire State, but of the Old Dominion, and 
others of the fair sisterhood of our Union, were bril- 
liantly represented. 

When our little party entered the dancing-room, 
which we did at rather a late hour, for we had been 
listening to some good speaking in another apartment 
— the ladies declared that they preferred to do so, as 
they could dance at any time, but rarely had an op- 
portunity of hearing distinguished men speak in 
public, — ^the "observed of all observers," among 
the fairer part of the assembly, and the envy, of 
course, of all the male candidates for admiration, 

was young " General ," one of the aids-de-camp 

of the Governor of the State. In attendance upon his 
superior officer, who was present with the rest of his 
staff, our juvenile Mars was in full military dress, 
and made up, as the ladies say, in the most elaborate 
and accepted style of love-locks (I have no idea what 
their modern name may be), whiskers and moustaches. 
The glow that mantled the cheeks of the triumphant 
Boanerges could not have been deej)er dyed had s 
^'"modesty ^'' like that of Washington, when over- 
powered by the first public tribute rendered to him 
by Congress, " been equalled only by his bravery !" 

" He above the rest in shape and gesture, 
Proudly eminent." 

but apparently, wholly unconscious of the attention 



46' THE AMBEIOAN GENTLEMAN S aTTTOE 

of whicli he was the subject, was smilingly engrossed 
by his devotion to the changes of the dance, and to 
his fair partner ; and the last object that attracted my 
eye, as we retired from the field of his glory, were 
the well-padded military coat, the curling moustaches 
and sparkling eyes of " Adjutant-Gen. ! " 

True to my old-fashioned notions of propriety, I 
went the next morning to pay my respects to Mrs. 
B., and to look after your cousins, — especially that 
witch Gert^, whom her father had requested me to 
" keep an eye upon," when placing her under my care 
for the journey to the Fair. 

I found the whole fair bevy assembled in the 
drawing-room, and in high spirits. 

After the usual inquiries put and answered, 
Grace cried out, " Oh ! Uncle Hal, I must tell you ! 
Gen, has been here this morning ! He was wear- 
ing such a beautiful coat ! — his dress last night was 
nothing to it ! — it fairly took all our hearts by storm !" 

At these words, a merry twinkle, as bright and 
harmless as sheet lightning, darted round the circle. 

The master of the house entered at that moment, 
and before the conversation he had interrupted was 
fairly renewed, invited me into the adjoining dining- 
room to " take a mouthful of lunch." 

While my host and I sat at a side-table, sipping 
a little excellent old Cognac, with just a dash of ic6 
water in it (a bad practice, a very bad practice, by 
the by, my boys, wliich I would strenuously counsel 
you not to fall into; but an inveterate habit acquired 
by an old soldier when no one thought of it being 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 47 

very wrong) the lively chit-chat in the drawing-room 
occasionally reached my ears. 

" It was tissue, I am quite sure !" said Miss . 

" l^o matter about the material — the color would 
have redeemed anything !" cried Grace. 

" Sea-green !" chimed in the flute notes of another 
of the gay junto, " what can equal the General's 
verdancy f^^ 

" What ?" (here I recognized the animated voice 
of the lady of the mansion) ; " why, only his maitr 
vais ton^ in ' congratulating ' me upon having ' so 

many ' at my reception for Governor and Mrs. , 

the other evening, and his equally flattering assur- 
ance that he had not seen so ' brilliant a military 
turn-out in a long time ' — meaning, of course, his 
elegant self! You are mistaken, however, Laura, 
about his coat being of tissue, it was lawn, and had 
just come home from his lawn-dress, when he put it 
on. I distinctly saw the mark of the smoothing-iron 
on the cuff, as well as that his wristband was soiled 
considerably." 

" He had only had time to ' change ' his coat since 
he went 'home with the girls in the morning,'" 
chimed in some one, " and his hair, I noticed as he 
rose to make what he called his '■farewell how of 
exit,^ was filled with the dust of that dirty ball-room." 

"Which couldn't be brushed out without takina: 
out the curl, too, I suppose !" This last sally emi- 
nated, I believe, from one of the most amiable, usu- 
ally, of the group* 

" Well," said the hostess, with a half-sigh of relief. 



48 THE AMERICAN OBNTLEMAN's GUIDE 

* he seldom inflicts himself upon me ! His grand 
entree this morning, in the character of a katy-did, 
gotten up a ^ Tnode natv/relle^'' (here there was a 
general clapping of hands, accompanied by Iravos 
that would have rejoiced the heart of a prima 
donna), " was, no doubt, occasioned by his having 
heard some one say that, what vulgar people style a 
''jparty call^ was incumbent upon him after my recep- 
tion. What a pity his informant had not also 
enlightened him on another point of ettiquetty, as old 
Mr. Smith calls it, and so spared me the mortifica- 
tion, my dears, of presenting to you, as a specimen 

of the beaux of , and one of the aids-de-camp of 

Governor , a man making a visit of ceremony in 

a hrighty pea-green^ thm muslin shooting-jacket P^ 



Bulwer, the novelist, when I was last in London, 
some two or three years ago — and for aught I know 
he still continues the practice — used to appear in 
his seat in the English House of Commons one day 
in light-colored hair, eye-brows and whiskers, with 
an entire suit to correspond ; and the next, per- 
haps, in black hair, etc., accompanied by a black coat, 
neckcloth, and so on throughout the catalogue. A 
proof of the admitted eecentricities of genius^ I suppose. 



D , who is now a very resectable veteran 

lawyer, and well known in the courts of the Empire 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 40 

State, was originally a Green Mountain Boy — tall, a 
trifle ungainly, with a laugh that might have shaken 
his native hills, rather unmanageable hair, each indi- 
vidual member of the fraternity, instead of regard- 
ing the true democratic principle, often choosing to 
keep " Independence " on its own account, and a 
walk that required the whole breadth of an ordinary 
side- walk to bring out all its claims to admiration. 

Though D did not sacrifice to the graces, he 

really wrote very clever " Lines ;" but his shrewd 
native sense taught him that a reputation as a maga- 
zine poet would not have a direct tendency to 
increase the number of his clients. So the some- 
time devotee of the Muse of Poetry, bravely eschew- 
ing the open use of a talent that, together with his 
ever-ready good-humor and quiet Yankee drollery, 
had brought him somewhat into favor in society, 
despite his natural disadvantages, entered into part- 
nership with an old practitioner in A , and bent 

himself to his career with sturdy energy of purpose. 

" New Year " coming round again in the good old 

Dutch city where D had pitched his tent, some 

of his friends offered to take him with them in their 
round of calls, and introduce him to such of their fair 
friends as it was desirable to know ; hintin'g, at the 
same time, that this would afford a suitable occasion 
for donning a suit of new and fashionable garments. 

On the first of January, therefore, agreeable to 
appointment, his broad, pock-marked face — lumi- 
nous as a colored lantern outside an oyster-saloon — 

and hia gait more than usually diffusive, D was 

3 



69 THE AMEBICAN GENTLEMAN 8 QTJWE 

seen coming along from his lodgings, to meet his 
companions for the day's expedition, and evidently 
with sails full set. It soon became apparent to all 
beholders, not only that the grub had been trans- 
formed into a full-fledged butterfly of fashion, but — 
that he wore his long, wide, ample-caped, new cloak 
wrong side out I 



At the recent Peace Convention in Paris, even 
those strenuous adherents to things as they were^ the 
Turks, wore the usual dress of Europeans and Ame- 
ricans throughout, with the single exception of the 
fez^ which, I believe, no adherent of Mahomet will 
renounce, except with his religion. Young Chai'les 

P told me that Count Orlofi''s sable-lined talma 

was of the most unexceptionable Parisian cut. 



An agreeable young friend of mine, the Rev. Mr. 
H., contrives to support a family (Heaven only 
knows how !) upon the few hundred dollars a year 
that make the usual salary of a country clergyman. 
He indulges himself, at rare intervals, in a visit to his 
fashionable city relatives, by way of necessary relax- 
ation, and to brush up a little in matters of taste, lite- 
rature, etc. Perhaps, too, he thinks it well, occa- 
sionally, to return, with his wife and children, the long 
visits made every summer by a pretty fair representa- 
tion of his numerous family circle at the pleasant 



TO POLITENE88 AND FASHION. 51 

little rectory, where refinement, industry, and the 
ingenuity of a practical housekeeper, create a charm 
often lacking in more pretentious establishments. 

On one of these important occasions, it was decided 
that the handsome young rector should avail him- 
self of his city jaunt to purchase a new suit of clothes, 
his best clerical coat, notwithstanding the most care- 
ful use and the neatest repairing, being no longer 
presentable for ceremonious purposes. (I make no 
doubt that the compatibility of the contemplated 
journey and the new clothes, both in the same year, 
was anxiously discussed in family council.) 

As soon as possible after his arrival in town, my 
clerical friend broached the all-important subject of 
the tailor, to one of his brothers, a youth of unques- 
tionable authority in such matters, and invoked his 
assistance. 

" With all my heart. Will, we'll drop in at my 
own place, as we go down this morning ; they get 
everything up there artistically." " And at artistic 
prices, I fear," soliloquized the new candidate for 
the honors of the cloth, with a slight quaking at 
heart, as a long-cherished plan for adding, without 
her previous knowledge, a shawl to the waning 
bridal outfit of his self-sacrificing wife, rose before 
his mental vision. 

" But, I say. Will," inquired his modish brother, of 
our young clergyman, in a tone of good-humored ban- 
ter, as they sauntered down Broadway together, after 
breakfast, " where dirl you buy your new chapeau f- 

" At A . before leaving home " 



59 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN 's GUmE 

*' Excuse me, my dear fellow, but it's a nondes- 
cript ! It will never do with your new suit, allow 
me to say, frankly." 

" But the person of whom I bought it had just 
returned from New York, and he assured me it was 
the latest fashion ! I gave him eight dollars for it, 
at any rate." 

"Preposterous!" ejaculated the man of fashion, 
in a tone portentous as that which ushered in the 
"prodigious" of Dominie Sampson, when astounded 
by his discoveries in the mysteries of the toilet. 
" It first saw the light in the ' rural districts,' depend 
on't!" 

The quiziiiical glances with which his companion 
ever and anon scrutinized the crowning glory of his 
neat morning attire, as he had previously thought it, 
gradually overpowered the philosophy of my friend, 
— clergyman though he was — the admitted Adonis 
of his class in college, and the favorite of ladies, old 
and young. The church's 

" favorites are hut men. 

And who e'er felt the stoic when 
First conscious of" 

wearing a "shocking bad hat!" Tlie result was, 
that the condemned article was exchanged at a fash- 
ionable establishment for one fully meeting the 
approbation of the modish critic. 

" What ! another new hat ?" cried the young wife, 
whose quick woman's eye at once caught the je 7ii) 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 68 

sats quoi — the air of the thing, as her hnsband 
rejoined her later in the day. 

The gentleman explained ; — " And you thonght 
the other so becoming too, Belle," he added, in a 
half-deprecatory tone ; " but Chauncey was so 
strenuous about it, and I knew he would appeal to 
you, and that you would not be satisfied without " 

" But they allowed you really nothing for the other, 
though it was quite new, and certainly a nice hat. 
What a pity, now, that you did not travel in your old 
one, though it was a little worse for wear, or even in 

the cap you bought to fish in. There was Mr. in 

the same car with us, looking anything but elegant^ 
I am sure, with the queerest-looking old " Kossuth," 
1 believe they are called, on, and the roughest over- 
coat !" 

" But, you know, Belle, dear, such a dress is not 
considered admissible for the clergy." 

" No ! well, whatever is sensible and convenient 
should be, I am convinced now, if I was not before." 

Our young clergyman, as he turned the still-che- 
rished plan of the new shawl anxiously in his mind, 
a " sadder and a wiser " man than before, deter- 
mined never again to buy a new dress hat expressly 
to perform a journey in, especially when going 
directly from the " rural districts " to a large city ; 
besides laying up for future use some other colla- 
teral resolutions and reflections of an equally >vise 
and practical character. 

" Why, Belle," said the " superb " Chauncey to 
his fair sister-in-law, drawing her little son nearer to 



64 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

him, as he leaned on his mother's lap after dinner, 
" this is really a magnificent boy, 'pon-my-word ! — 
you should take him to ' Bradbrook's ' and fit him 
up ! Would you like a velvet jacket, eh, my fine 
fellow?" 

The curly-headed child pointed his dimpled fore- 
finger towards the pretty garment he was wearing, 
and said, timidly, " Pretty new coata, mamma made 
for him." 

" I believe," responded the young mother, quietly, 
bending her beaming eyes upon the little face lov- 
ingly upturned to hers, " that Willie will have to do 
without a velvet jacket for the present ; mamma in- 
tended to get one for him in New York, but " the 

sentence was finished mentally with " papa's second 
new hat has taken the money." This will reveal the 
secretly-cherished plan of the young rector's wife, 
with which a faint sketch of a pretty cap to crown 
the shining curls of her darling, had dimly mingled, 
almost unconsciously to herself, until brought out by 
the power of that " tide in the affairs of men " — 
necessity ! 



Sitting in the same seat in a railroad car with ex- 
Chief-Justice , than whom there is no more 

eminent jurist nor finished gentleman in the land, 
discoursing earnestly of old times and new, our con- 
versation was suddenly interrupted, as we stopped to 
feed our iron steed, by the loud salutation of a youth 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 55 

who seemed to take more pains than the law re- 
qjiires under such circumstances, to enunciate the 
.name of my companion. "Pleasant morning, Judge! 
— if I don't intrude" (a glance at me, and no intro- 
duction by the chief-justice), " is this seat unoccu- 
pied ?" And down he sat vis-a-vis to us. 

He had the talk pretty much to himself, for a 
while. By-and-by, our uninvited guest apologized 
for his gloves, half-worn fine black kid. They were 
" really too bad ; must have taken them up by mis- 
take, in the hurry of getting off," etc. 

" I always keep an old pair expressly for these 
abominably dirty cars, but, I believe, I have forgot- 
ten to put them on this morning," said the vener- 
able lawyer, in a peculiarly quiet tone, unfolding, as 
he spoke, the ample, old-fashioned, travel- worn 
camlet cloak, beneath which his arms had hitherto 
been crossed, and thus revealing his neat, simple 
dress, and the warm, clean lining of his outer gar- 
ment. Taking a well-worn pair of soft beaver 
gloves from an inside pocket, the judge, with an air 
of peculiar deliberation, drew them upon hands, 
" small to a fault," as the novels say, and as white 
as those myths are supposed to be, and re-adjusted 
his arms and cloak with the same deliberation. A 
nice observer might note a slight gleam of the well- 
known smile, whose expressive sarcasm had so often 
withstood professional insolence and ignorance, as 
the chief justice turned his head, and cursorily sur- 
veyed his fellow-passengers. 

" Who is that young man, sir ?" I inquired, when 



56 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn'b GUIDE 

we weic, swnii after, upon again stopping, reliereci 
of the presence of this jackanapes. 

" His name is ," replied the judge. " A 

scion of the law, I think now — a son of the , 

who made a fortune, you maj remember, by the 
sudden rise of West India molasses, some few years 
ago (a pause), I never rate a man by his antece- 
dents. Colonel, but a little modesty is always suit- 
able and becoming, in very young jpersons" added 
the chief-justice, somewhat sententiously. 



Yon will, perhaps, remember the commotion 
created by the promulgation of Marcy's edict 
respecting the dress to be worn on state occasions, 
by our representatives abroad. 

Our accomplished young countryman, Mr. H. S , 

though nominally Secretaiy of Legation, was virtu- 
ally our minister, at St. Cloud, when this order was 
published. In simple compliance with his instruc- 
tions, the American secretary appeared at a court 
dinner in the suit of plain black, prescribed by his 
government. The premonitions of a revolution could 
scarcely have created more consternation among the 
officials of the Tuileries, and even the diplomatic dig- 
nitaries assembled, experienced a sensation. The 
Turkish ambassador was surprised out of the usually 
imperturbable stoicism of a devout follower of the 
mighty prophet of Moslemdom. 

" What are you doing here," he growled, as the 
young republican arrested his attention, in Ian- 



TO POLIYENE66 AND FASHION. 57 

guage more remarkable for Oriental figurativeness 
than for Parisian elegance, " a raven among so many 
birds of gay plumage ?" 

The newspaper writers of the day, commenting 
upon this, said that the minister from Venezuela — 
the most insignificant government represented, was 
most bedizened with gold lace, stars, and trumpery 
of every sort. These letters, prepared for home pe- 
rusal, were re-published in the Paris papers, and of 
course, met the eyes of all the parties alluded to ! 

S told one of my friends that among the annoy- 
ances to which the whole affair subjected him, was 
that of being subsequently constantly thrown in con- 
tact with the various personages with whose names 
his own had been, without his previous knowledge, 
unceremoniously, associated. 

No doubt, however, his skillful diplomacy carried 
him as triumphantly through this difficulty as through 
others of vital importance. 

Dining with this polished young diplomate, at the 
Tremont in Boston, where we met soon after his re- 
turn home, the conversation turned upon the personal 
appearance of Louis Napoleon, and from his wire- 
drawn moustaches diverged to the subject of beards 
in general. 

"The truth is, Col. Lunettes," said Mr. S , in 

French, — which by the way, he both speaks and 
writes, as he does his native tongue, with great purity 
and propriety, and this to our shame be it said, ia 
far enough from being generally the case with our 
various officials abroad, " the truth is, Col. Lunettes, 

3* 



68 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

(I detected a just perceptible glance at my furrowed 
cheek, which was, however, smooth-sliaven as his 
own) that a clean face is getting to he the distinctive 
mark of a gentleman /" 



" My dear Miss ," said I to a charming woman, 

whose cordial smile of recognition drew me within the 
magic circle of her influence, at a ball, whei'e I had 
been for some little time a ' quiet looker-on,' " will 
you pardon the temerity of an old friend in inquir- 
ing what induced your chilling reception of the hand- 
some stranger whom I saw presented to you with 
such em,jpressenient by our host a little while ago ? 
If you could have seen the admiration with which 
he long regarded you at a distance, 'his eye in a fine 
frenzy rolling,' — as he leaned against the — the cor- 
ner of the big fiddle, there, while the music was at 
supper ! — could you have seen this, as others saw it, 
and then the look of deep desperation with which 
he swallowed a bottle of champagne at a standing, 
when he fied from your frowns to the supper-room ! 
— Really, Miss , I have seldom had my sympa- 
thies so excited for a stranger " — 

By this time her ringing laugh stirred the blood 
into quicker pulsations through my time-steeled 
heart ; " Oh, Colonel, Colonel !" cried she, in tones, 
mirth-engendering as the silvery call of Dian, goddess 
of the dewy morn, (is that poetry, I wonder?). "I see 
yon are just as delightfully quizzical as during our 
Alpine journey together. I have never quite for- 



TO P0LTTENKS8 AND FASHION. 59 

given the Fates for robbing our party of hd inimit- 
able a cornpagnon de voyage, and me of" — "so 
devout an admirer !" I chimed in : " and me of so 
devout an admirer," proceeded the lady, with a quick 
spirit- flash in her deep violet eyes, " and when we 
were just becoming so well acquainted, too ! It was 
too provoking ! Do you remember the amusement we 
had from recalling the various characteristic excla- 
mations of the different members of our party, when 
the Italian plains burst upon our view, out-spread 
before us in the morning sunlight, after that horrid 
night in the shepherd's hut ?" 

" If I recollect, it was your avowed slave, ' gentle- 
man John ' as you called him, who shouted, ' O, ye 
Gods and little fishes ! — nothing bad about that, by 
thunder V That fellow carried the ladies, as he did 
everything else, by storm " — 

" No, no, Colonel, not all the ladies ; but I was going 
to tell you about this ' mysterious stranger,' or ' ro- 
mantic stranger' — what sobriquet did you give him ? 
Suppose we go nearer the door, it is so warm here," 
and she twined an arm that threw Powers into a rap- 
ture,* confidingly around the support proffered her 
by an old soldier, and we gradually escaped from the 
crowd (any one of the men would willingly have stil- 
iettoed me, I dare say !) into a cool corner of the hall. 

" I am sorry you thought me rude, colonel," she 
began, a tint, soft as the shadow of a crimson rose 
flitting over her expressive face. 

I entered a protest. 

* Remind rae to tell you about that some other timo. 



do THE AMERICAN GEm-LEMAN's GUIDE 

" 1 dare say my manner was peculiar," resumed 
my fair companion, "but I fear ' no rule of courtly 
grace to measured mood' will ever ' train' my face / 
and — the truth is, Colonel, that, though I love and 
honor my own countrymen beyond the men of all 
other lands, I do wish they would imitate well-bred 
foreigners in some respects. I hate coxcombs ! I be- 
lieve every woman does at heart. Now, here is this 
person. Colonel C , I think, if I heard the name ?" 

" WhQYQioYQ Colonel.) and of what ?" thought I, but 
I only answered — " Really, I am not able to say." 

" Well, at any rate, I identified the man, beyond 
a peradventure, as the same individual who sufficed 
for my entertainment during a little journey from 

home to G , the other day. As papa, in his 

stately way, you know, committed me to the care 

of the conductor, saying that ' Miss 's friends 

would receive her at G ,' I observed (luckily, my 

fastidious father did not) the broad stare with which 
a great bearded creature, at a little distance from us, 
turned round in his seat and surveyed ua. When I 
withdrew from the window, fi-om which I had looked 
to receive — to sa}^ good-bye, again, to papa " — 

I would have given — I think I would have given 
— my Lundy-Lane sword, to have occasioned the 
momentary quiver in that musical voice, and the 
love-light in that half-averted eye ! After a scarce 
perceptible pause, the lovely narrator proceeded : 

" There was that huge moon-struck face — [" sun- 
airuck^ perhaps ?" I queried, receiving a slight fan- 
pass for my pains] — such a contrast to papa's ! star 



TO POLITEKESS AND FASHION. 01 

ing straight at me, still. I busied myself with a book 
behind my veil, and presently knew, without look- 
ing, that the gentleman had gradually returned to 
his former position. Now came my turn to scrutinize, 
though tlie 'game was scarcely worth the powder.'" 

" Spoken like the true daughter of a gentleman- 
sportsman !" I exclaimed, and this time was rewarded 
with an irradiating smile. 

" Well, such a rolling about of that alderman-like 
figure, such a buttoning and unbuttoning ! But this 
was all nothing to his steam-engine industry in the 
use of the ' weed.' I turned sick as I observed part 
of the shawl of a lady sitting before the creature 
hanging over near him. After a while, he sallied 
forth, at one of the stopping-places, and soon returned 
with — (expressive hue !) — an immense green apple ! 
It seemed for a time likely to prove the apple of dis- 
cord, judging from the hungry glances cast at it by 
a long, lank, thinly-clad old man across the car. 
But now came the ' tug of war.' It scarce required 
my -woman's wit to divine the motive 1;liat had 
prompted the tasteful selection of the alderman's 
lunch. A glove was pompously drawn off, and — ■ 
behold ! a great pate of a ring on the smallest, I can- 
not truthfully say Uttle-Rnger, set with a huge red 
cornelian, that looked for all the world like a cran- 
berry-jam in a setting of puff-paste! As the big 
apple slowly diminished under the greedy eyes of 
the venerable spectator of this rich Tantalus-feast, 
my heart melted with pity." 

A well-affected lofpik of surprise on the part of her 



69 THE AMERICAN GENTBEMAN's GUrDK 

auditor, here claimed the attention of the fair 
speaker. 

" Don't alarm yourself, Colonel ! ' Pity 'tis, 'tis 
true,' my compassion was excited only towards the 
poor finger that, stout as it looked, must soon be 
worn to the bone, if often compelled to do duty at 
the speed with which it was worked that daj^ Ima- 
gine the poor thing stuck straight out with that heavy 
stone jpdte upon it, while the proprietor plied his 
hand from his mouth to the car-window hehind him, 
with the industrious regularity of a steam ferry-boat, 
professedly laden with little bits of apple-skin, but 
really intended — oh, most flattering tribute to my 
discriminating powers! — to captivate my fancy, 
through my eye /" 

When my amusement had somewhat subsided, 
I said to my fair friend : 

" I suppose the doughty alderman finished his 
repast, like Jack the Giant-killer, by eating up the 
famishing old man who had the insolence to watch 
him whjle breakfasting ?" 

" I am happy to be able to say," replied she, " that 
the long, lean, lanky representative of our fallen 
race, not only escaped being thoroughly masticated 
and thrown by little handfuls out of the car-window, 
but when Jack the Giant-killer, and almost every 
one else had gone out of the car, was presented by 
a lady with two nice large sandwiches that she hap 
pened not to need." 

'*And that benevolent lady was" 

A movement among the dancers here crowded 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 88 

several acquaiutances into such close contact with us 
that we could not avoid overhearing their conversation. 

" Do you know that large man, wearing so much 
beard, Mr. Jerome ?" 

" Know him ? certainly I do, Miss Blakeman. 

That's C , Col. C , the rich New York grocer. 

He is one of the city aldermen — they talk of him for 
the legislature — quite a character, I assure you." 

" He evidently thinks so himself," rejoined one of 
the group ; "just notice him in that polka ! I heard 
him telling a lady, a moment ago, that he had not 
missed a single set, and wouldn't for anything." 

"They say," pursued a lady, " that he is paying 

his addresses to that pretty little Miss S , who 

was so much admired here, last winter ; she is an 
orphan, I think, and quite an heiress." 

A perceptible shiver ran through the clinging arm 
that still graced my own, and as I moved away with 
my sweet charge, she murmured, in the musical 
tongue of the Beautiful Land, as she ever' calls Italy, 
" the gentle dove for the vulture's mate !" . 



Will that do for this time, boys? Or do you 
require that, in imitation of the little Grecian Hunch- 
back, a moral shall be appended to each of his nar- 
ratives, by your 

Uncle Hal. 

P. S. — In accordance with my promise, there 
follow the admirable directions and remarks of the 



64 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

elegant and obliging friend referred to in mj pre- 
vious letter. He will, I trust, permit me thus to 
tender him, renewedly, ray very grateful acknow- 
ledgment of his flattering politeness, and to express 
my sense of the important addition made by his 
kindness to my unpretending epistles. 



" My dear Col. Lunettes : 

" I regard myself as highly compli- 
mented that so distinguished a representative of the 
cmcien regime, as yourself, one so entirely corwme il 
faut, as all admit, in matters of taste, should esteem 
my opinion, even in regard to minor points of eti- 
quette, as worth his attention. 

" I need scarcely add, dear sir, an assurance of my 
conviction of the honor you do me by affording me 
a place in your remembrance, and that I make no 
doubt your profound knowledge of the world, united 
witn your unusual opportunities for extensive obser- 
vation — ^long un habitue de helle societe, in various 
countries, as you have been — will afford a rich treat, 
as well as much instruction, to those who may be 
favored with the perusal of your proposed Letters. 
That he may have the honor to be thus fortunate, la 
the hope of, dear sir, 

" Tour very respectful 

" And obedient servant, 



*' Belgratia, Tuesday Mom., 
"Jfffly 6<A, '56." 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 65 



Gentlemen's Dress. — ^The subject now to be 
treated of, may be divided into several classes : — 
morning^ jpromenade or visiting^ and evening or 
haU dress ; whicb again may be subdivided into 
others, such as riding-dress^ dress suitable for 
hachelori dinner-parties^ or opera (when unaccom- 
panied by ladies). Besides these again, we have 
dresses suitable for fishing^ shooting^ and yachting 
purposes, which, however, scarcely call for, or admit 
of, the display of much taste, inasmuch as the occu- 
pations for which such costumes are designed par- 
take rather of the nature of healthy exercise than 
of that quiet and gentlemanly repose necessary to 
give full etfect to the graces of the more elaborate 
'■'■ tcilette.''^ Military, Naval, and Court dresses may 
also be considered out of the scope of the remarks 
in this letter, because their being made scrupulously 
in accordance with rigid Regulation Rules, leaves no 
room for 'taste, but substitutes the dicta of official 
routine. 

To commence our exemplifications with a Wedding- 
Suit, which, from the wearer's approximate connec- 
tion with the ladies deserves the ^'pas " — it may be 
remarked that the time of day in which the cere- 
mony is solemnized should determine the character 
of the costume, that is to say, whether it should be 
morning or evening. In either case, however, gene- 
ral usage allows (not to say demands), a more 



W THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

marked style than is generally worn in morning or 
evening usual wear. Should the wedding take place 
in the evening, a very elegant costume is, a dark 
claret dress- coat, white ribbed-silk, or nwtre antique, 
waistcoat, white silk neckcloth, black trowsers, silk 
stockings, and shoes. The lining of the sleeves, also, 
of white silk, coming to the extreme edge of the cuff, 
imparts a singlarly light and elegant appearance to 
the hand and glove. An equally elegant Morning 
Wedding-Dress might consist of a rich, deep-brown 
frock-coat; waistcoat of black cashmere, with a small 
violet-colored palm-leaf figure ; neck-tie of silk, 
combining colors of black and cherry, or brown and 
deep blue ; trowsers of delicate drab, or stone-color; 
gloves primrose, or slate-colored kid. 

The usual Evening-Dress is so imperiously insisted 
on, that it might be almost classed in the category 
of uniforms, being almost invariably composed of 
hlach coat, vest, and trowsers. Two items, however, 
in this costume, admit of disquisition amongst " men 
who dress," viz., the vest and the tie — both of which 
may be either white or black, without any infraction 
of the laws of hienseance. This, therefore, must be 
settled by the taste of the wearer, who should 
remember that black, having the effect of appa- 
rently diminishing a man's size, and white that of 
increasing it, it would, therefore, be judicious for a 
person of unusual size to tone down his extra bulk 
by favoring black in both these garments, while he 
who is below the average standard could, if not 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 67 

actual! J" increase his height or size, at least create 
the impression of more generous proportions. I, 
however, must confess a decided partiality for a 
white neckrtie^ at leasts because, although subject to 
the disadvantage of being de rigueur amongst 
waiters and other members of the Yellow Plush 
Family, it is, nevertheless, always considered unex- 
ceptionable, at any season, or hour, in any rank, 
profession, or capacity. 

A Morning Call should be made in & frock-coat, or 
at least one in which this style predominates. It 
must, however, be constantly borne in mind that it 
is quite impossible to furnish even general rules on 
any one of these points that shall prove immutable, 
since not only each successive year, but every vary- 
ing season produces decided changes in the standard 
established by Taste and Fashion. 

Bachelors' Dinner-parties are pleasant, social re- 
unions, at which gentlemen enjoy themselves with 
more abandon than would, perhaps, be considered 
consistent with the quiet and more retired respect due 
to the presence of the " heau sexe'^^ and, as a natural 
consequence, admit of a more wglige style of costume. 
Still, however, a certain regard must be had to the 
requirements of good society ; and as many of these 
parties, when they break up, adjourn to the opera, 
or theatre, where they are pretty sure to meet ladies 
of their acquaintance, a costume half-way between 
morning and evening is, by tacit agreement, pre- 
Bcribed ; for instance : — a coat of some dark coloi 



68 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

(generally termed " medley-colored "), cut rounded 
over the hips ; black cap ; inner vest, buttoning 
rather high in the breast; dark-grey trowsers, and 
black silk neckerchief, or ribbed silk scarf. 

Instead of giving sketches of particular costumes, 
it would, perhaps, be better and tend more to 
develop the importance of dress, if a few remarks 
were made on the general rules which should guide 
one in selections for his own wear. 

The four staple colors for merCs wear^ are hlack, 
blue, brown, and olive. Other colors, such as drab, 
grey, mixed, etc., being so far as the principal gar- 
ments go, what are termed " fancy colors," should 
be very cautiously used. 

As was remarked above, black has the effect of 
diminishing size, but it has another more important 
eifect, which is to test, in the severest way, the wear- 
er's claims to a distinguished appearance. It is a very 
high compliment to any man to tell him that black 
becomes him, and it is probably owing to this pro- 
perty that black is chosen, par excellence, for evening 
or ball dress. Men, therefore, of average or ordinary 
pretensions to stylish contour, should bear this in 
mind, and, when such color is not indispensable, 
should be careful how far they depend on their own 
intrinsic dignity. * 

Blue, of almost any shade, becomes a light com- 
plexion, besides being an admirable set-ofi' to black 
velvet, which can, in almost all cases, be judi- 
ciously, used in the collar, in which case, a lighter 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 09 

shade of hlue (also becoming such a complexion) 
can be worn without hilling (as it is technically 
termed), the darker shade of the coat — the velvet 
harmonizing both. 

Brown being what is termed a warm, color, is 
eminently adapted for fall and winter wear — olive 
and dark green^ for summer. 

When Beau Brummel was asked what constituted 
a well-dressed man, he replied, " Good linen^plenty 
of it, and country washing^ This, perhaps, is rather 
too primitive. The almost equally short opinion of the 
French critic is decidedly more comprehensive — 
*' v/n homme hien coiffe, et bien chaitsse, jpeut se pre- 
senter partout.''^ Under any circumstances, however, 
it may be laid down as imnmtable, that the extremi- 
ties are most important parts, when considered as 
objects for dress, and that a well appointed hat, 
faultlessly- fitting gloves, and immaculate hoots, are 
three essentials to a well-dressed man, without 
which the otherwise best constituted dress will 
appear unfinished. 

Besides the necessity for the greatest care required 
in the selection of colors, with regard to their har- 
monizing with each other, and their general adap- 
tation to the complexion or contour of the wearer, 
there is another matter of the first importance, 
and this is, the cut. Of course, everything should 
be sacrificed to perfect ease, as any garment 
whicli pinches, or incommodes the wearer, will 
strongly militate against the easy deportment of even 



td THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

the most graceful, and tend to give a contracted and 
constrained appearance. Every garment^ therefore, 
should leave the wearer perfectly free and uncon- 
trolled in evary motion / and, having set out with 
this proviso, the ai^tiste may proceed to invest his 
work with all the minute and seemingly immaterial 
graces and touches, which, although scarcely to be 
remarked, still impart an ai/r or character, which is 
unmistakabfe, and is expressed in the French word 
chique. 

Wadding, or stuffing, should be avoided as much 
as possible. A little may be judiciously used to 
round off the more salient points of an angular 
figure, but whet) it is used for the purpose of creat- 
ing an egregioufily false impression of superior form, 
it is simply snobbish. Some one has called hypo- 
crisy " the homage which vice pays to virtue." 
Wadding is the homage which snobbishness pays to 
symmetry ! 

A well-dressed man will never be the first to 
set a new fashion ; he will allow others to hazard 
the innovation, and decline the questionable honor 
of being the first to advertise a novelty. Two lines 
of Pope (I believe), admirably illustrate the middle 
course : — 

"5e not the first by whom the new is tried. 
Nor yet the last by whom His set aside.^' 

Besides which he will find it far easier to become 
a critic than an author / and as there is sure to be 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 71 

a vast number of men who " greatly daring " dress, 
he will merely be at the trouble of discriminating 
which is worthy of selection or rejection ; he will 
thus verify the old saw, that " fools make feasts and 
wise men eat thereof," and avoid, by means of his 
own knowledge of the becoming, the solecisms which 
are pretty certain to occur in a number of experi- 
ments. 

TfilNCUIiQ. 



7S THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDI 



LETTER III. 

MANNER. 

My dear Nephews: 

In the order of sequence adopted at the 
commencement of our correspondence, the subject 
of manner comes next in succession. 

It was the shrewd aphorism of one of the most 
profound observers of human nature that " Manner 
is something to all^ and everything to some^ 

As indicative of character, which it undoubtedly 
is, to a certain extent, it is well worthy the attention 
of all youthfn'. aspirants to the honors of the world. 
And though, like every other attribute, it should bear 
indubitable marks of individuality, care and atten- 
tion, before habit has rendered change and improve- 
ment difficult, will enable every man to acquire that 
propriety and polish, in this respect, the advantages 
of which through life can scarcely be overrated. 

It has been somewhat paradoxically said, that the 
fashionable manner of the present day is no manner 
at all ! which means simply — that the manners of 
the best bred people are those that are least obtruded 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 78 

upon the notice of others, — those most quiet^ nattt- 
ral, and unassummg. 

There is, however, a possibility of carrying this 
modish manner to such an extreme as to make it the 
very height of affectation.. If Talleyrand's favorite 
axiom admits of some qualification, and Icmgiiage is 
not always used to " conceal our ideas," then should 
manner^ which is the natural adjunct that lends 
additional expressiveness to words, be in a degree 
modified by circumstances — be indimdualized. 

Every approach to a rude, noisy, boisterous, man- 
ner, is reprehensible, for the obvious reason that it 
interferes with the comfort, and, consequently, with 
the rights of others ; but this is at a wide remove 
from the ultra-modishness that requires the total sup- 
pression of every manifestation of natural emotion, 
and apparently, aims to convert beings influenced 
by the motives, feelings, and principles that consti- 
tute humanity, into mere moving automata! 

In this, as in too many similar matters, Americans 
are prone to excess. Because scenes are considered 
bad ton^ in good society abroad, and because the 
warm-hearted hospitality of olden time sometimes 
took shape a little more impressingly and noisily 
than kindness required, some of our fashionable 
imitators of European models move through the 
world like resuscitated ghosts, and violate every law 
of good feeling in an endeavor to sustain at home 
a character for modish nonxihalance ! Now, take it 
as a rule through life, my young friends, that oU ser» 
vile imitation degenerates into caricatv/re^ and let 

4 



74 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUmE 

your adoption and illustration of every part of your 
system of life be modified by circumstances, and 
regulated by good sense and manly independence. 

I need scarcely tell you that true politeness is not 
BO much a thing of forms and ceremonies, as of right 
feelings and nicety of perception. The Golden Rule 
habitually illustrated in word and action, would pro- 
duce the most unexceptionable good breeding — po- 
liteness so cosmopolitan that it would be a passport 
to " good society " everywhere. 

One of the most polished and celebrated of Ameri- 
can authors has given us as fine and laconic a defini- 
tion of politeness as I remember to have met with — 
" Self-respect, and a delicate regard for the rights and 
feelings of others." 

The good breeding of a true gentleman is not an 
appendage put off" and on at the dictate of caprice, 
or interest, it is essentially ajpart of himself — a con- 
stituent of his being, as much as his sense of honesty or 
honor, and its requirements are no more forgotten or 
violated than those of any other essential attribute of 
manhood. You will all remember Sir Philip Sid- 
ney's immortal action in presenting the cup of water 
to the dying soldier. Tliis was a spontaneous result 
of the habitual self-possession and self-restraint that 
form the basis of all true good breeding. It is one of 
the most perfect exhibitions on record of the moral 
miblime ; but it was, also, only a legitimate result of 
the distinctive politeness of a Christian g&titleman! 

Manner, then, may be regarded as the expression 
of inherent qualities, and though it must, necessarily, 



rO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 76 

and should properly, to some extent, at least, vary 
with the variations of character, it may readily be 
rendered a more correct and effective exponent of 
existing characteristics of mind and heart, by judi- 
cious and attentive training. 

While true good breeding must, from its very na- 
ture be, as I have said, in all persons and under every 
modification of circumstance substantially the same, 
the proper mode of exemplifying it, must, with 
equal propriety, be modified by the exercise of 
practical good sense and discrimination. Thus, the 
laws of convention, — which, as I have before re- 
marked, is but another name for the rules of polite- 
ness, established and adhered to by well-bred people, 
for mutual convenience — though in some respects as 
immutable as those of the Medes and Persians, will 
always be adapted, by persons of good sense, to the 
mutations of circumstance and the inviolable requi- 
sitions of that " higher law," whose vital principle is 
^^ kindness hindly expressed P^ Having noAV esta- 
blished general principles, let us turn to the conside- 
ration of practical details. 

There is, perhaps, no better test of good manners 
afforded by the intercourse of ordinary life, than 
that of conduct towards superiors in age or station, 
(" Young America " seems loth to admit that he has 
any superiore, but we will venture to assume these 
premises). The general-in-chief of the Revolutionary 
Army of America is well known to have always ob- 
served the most punctilious respect towards his 
mother J in his personal intercourse with her, as well 



76 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

as in every other relation of life. My word for it, 
he never spoke of her as the " old woman ;" nor 
cotdd one of the youthful members of his military 
family have alluded, in his hearing, to a parent as 
the " governor," or the " old governor," without ex- 
citing the disapproving surprise of Washington and 
his co-patriots. And yet our young republic has 
known no more high-bred and polished men than 
those of that day, — the stately and elegant Hancock, 
even when broken by time and disease, a graceful 
and punctilious observer of all the ceremonious 
courtesies of life ; the courtly Carroll, whose benign- 
ant urbanity was the very impersonation of a long 
line of old English gentlemen; and the imposing state- 
liness of the commander-in-chief, ever observant of 
the most minute details of propriety, whether in the 
familiar intercourse of daily life, or while conducting 
the most momentous affairs of his country. But to 
return from this unpremeditated digression. Never 
let youthful levity, or the example of others, betray 
you into forgetfulness of the claims of your parents 
or elders, to a certain deference. Depend upon it, 
the preservation of a just self-respect demands this. 

Your historical studies will have furnished you 
with evidence of the respect habitually rendered to 
superiors by those nations of antiquity most cele- 
brated for advancement in civilization ; and you will 
not have failed, also, to remark that nothing more 
surely heralded the decay of ancient empires than 
degeneracy in this regard. 

Next to the reverence ever due to parents, may 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 1*1, 

be ranked that which should be rendered to virtuous 
age^ irrespective of station or other outward attri- 
butes. I should deem this instinctive with all right- 
minded young persons, did I not so often, in tho 
street, at church, in social life, in public places 
generally, observe the manner in which elderly 
persons are, apparently, wholly overlooked. 

Here, the univei'sally-applicable law of kindness 
claims regard. Those of the pilgrims of earth, 
whose feet are descending the narrowing_vale that 
leads to the dim obscure unpenetrated by mortal 
eyes, are easily pained by even the semblance of 
indifference or neglect. They are sensitively alive 
to every intimation that their places in tlie busy 
arena of active life are already better filled by 
others ; that they are rather tolerated than essential. 
Those who are most worthy of regard are least 
likely to be insensible to such influences. Remem- 
ber, then, that you should never run the race of life 
so " fast " as to encroach upon the established claims 
of your predecessors in the course. Nor would the 
most prematurely sage young man be entirely unbe- 
nefited, it may be, by availing himself occasionally 
of the accumulated experience, erudition, and know- 
ledge of the world, possessed by many a quiet " old 
fogy," whose unassuming manners, modest self- 
respect, and pure integrity present a just model to 
" Young America," albeit, perchance, too old-fash- 
ioned to be deemed worthy of attention ! 

While the general proposition — that manner is, to 
a considerable extent character in action, is un- 



78 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

doubtedly correct, we occasionally see the exact 
converse painfully exemplified. It sometimes occurs 
that the most amiable persons labor through life 
under the disadvantage of a diffident or awkward 
manner, which does great injustice to their intrinsic 
excellences. And this is but another evidence of 
the necessity of the earliest attention to this subject- 
Though no one should be discouraged in an 
endeavor to remedy the defects arising from neglect, 
in this respect (and, indeed, it may properly be con- 
sidered as affording room for ceaseless advancement, 
like every other portion of the earthly education 
of immortal beings), few persons, perhaps, ever com- 
pletely overcome the difficulties arising from inat- 
tention to this important branch of education, while 
youthful pliancy renders the formation of habits 
comparatively easy. 

The early acquisition of habits of self-posses- 
sion and self control, will furnish the surest basis 
for the formation of correct manners. With this 
should be united, as far as is practicable, constant 
association with well-educated and well-bred persons, 
there is no friction like this to produce external 
polish, nor can the most elaborate rules furnish an 
effectual substitute for the ease that practice alone 
secures. 

Lose no opportunity, therefore, for studiously 
observing the best living tnodels, not for the pur- 
pose of attempting an undiscriminating imitation of 
even the most perfect, but, as an original and gifted 
artist derives advantage from studying works of 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 79 

genius, "by the great masters of art, to avail your- 
Belf of the matured knowledge resulting from 
experience. 



But now for an exemplary anecdote or two : — 

" Colonel Lunettes, do you know some gentleman 

going to U in this train ?" inquired my friend 

ex-Governor T , extending his hand to me in 

the car-honse of one of our western cities. " I wish 
to place a very pretty young lady under the care of 
some suitable person for a short time, until she 
joins a party of friends." 

" Eeally, my dear sir, I regret that I have just 
anived," returned I ; " you tempt me to turn about 
and go over the ground again." 

" Uncle T , there is II B just getting 

out of that car," cried a young lady, approaching us, 
with two or three fair companions, " perhaps he is 
going on." 

At this moment a young man, in. a dress that 
might have been that of the roughest back-woods- 
man, approached the group. 

He wore a very broad-brimmed, coarse stravs^ hat, 
capable of serving the double purpose of umbrella 
and chateau, his hands were incased in strong 
gauntlet-gloves, and he carried a large engineer's 
field-book under one arm. 

Eemoving his hat, as he somewhat hesitatingly 
advanced, and passing his hand over a beard of 
several days' growth, glancing downward, at the 



80 THE AMEBIQAH GKNTT^MAn's GUIDE 

same titiie, upon heavy-soled boots, thickly encrusted 
•with dry mud — 

" Ladies," said he, " I am too dirty to come near 
you ; I have been surveying in the swamps in this 
neighborhood for several days past, camping out, 
and jumped upon the cars a few miles back, 
bound for ray stationary quarters and — the blessings 
of civilisation r^ And, with the color deepening in 
his sun-burnt face, he bowed to us all, with a grace 
that Count d'Orsay could scarcely have exceeded. 

The youth was very cordially welcomed by his 
friends ; little Kitty, who is privileged to say any- 
thing, declared she " never saw him look so hand- 
some ;" and, I confess, that even ray flinty old heart 
was favorably moved towards the young engineer. 
I admired the good taste that dictated an explana- 
tion of the soiled condition of his clothes (his thick 
linen shirt, however, was clean) ; not an absurd apo- 
logy for not being well-dressed, and I liked his use 
of the good, significant Saxon word that most truth- 
fully described his condition. 

After an exchange of civilities, turning respect- 
fully to the governor, he said : " Governor T , can 

I be of any service ? You seemed to be looking for 
some one.'' 

An explanation of the circumstances resulted in 
the resignation of his fair charge to the temporary 
care of this same toil-worn, " dirty " young engi- 
neer, by my friend, who is himself one of the most 
fastidious and world-polished of men 1 

A few days after this trifling adventure, I went, by 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 81 

invitation, to pass a day with my friend the ex-govern- 
or, at his beautifiiL residence a little out of the city. 

Standing near one of the drawing-room windows, 
just before dinner, I observed a gentleman alighting 
from a carriage, at the entrance of the mansion. I 
was struck with his elegant air, as he kissed his hand 
to some one who was, like myself, an observer on the 
occasion. 

" There is H — B !" exclaimed the joyous voice 

of pretty Kitty, the niece of my host, and a little 
scrutiny, while he was paying his compliments to 
the several members of the family, enabled me to 
recognize in this graceful stranger the rough-looking 
youth I had previously seen at the depot. But what 
a metamorphosis ! He now wore an entirely modish 
dinner-dress, exquisitely tasteful in all its appoint- 
ments ; his coat of the most faultless fit, and boots 
that displayed a very small and handsome foot to 
admirable advantage. I afterwards noticed, too,' 
that " camping out " in the " swamps " had not, appa- 
rently, impaired the smoothness of the slender fingers 
and carefully-cut nails that came under my observa- 
tion while listening, in the course of the evening, te 
the rich voice and guitar accompaniment of Mr. B . 

" Did Mr. B come out in a carriage ?" inquired 

one of the ladies of the family, in a low tone, of my 
host, near whom I was standing, when arrangements 
were to be made for the return of the guests to town. 

" Certainly he did," answered the governor, " Mr. 

B is too nmch of a sybarite to heat himself by 

walking out here to dinner, on such a day as t.hia.'" 

4* 



89 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

"And too economical, I have no doubt, judging 
from his good sense in other respects," I added, " to 
spoil a pair of costly dress boots in such service." 

" Mrs, M , one moment, if you please," said a 

voice behind us, and Mrs. M (who is the acting 

mistress of the mansion) took the arm politely prof- 
fered her, and stepped out upon the portico. Pre- 
sently she returned — 

" Uncle T ," whispered she (" excuse me, Col. 

Lunettes), John need not get up our carriage ; Mr. 

B has been so polite as to insist upon our sending 

the girls home in his, saying that he really prefers to 
sit outside, and that the carriage in which he drove 
out is to be here in a few minutes." 

" He happened to know that John has to be up 
with the lark, about another matter," remarked the 
host, " and "- 



" How kind !" returned the lady ; " but Mr. B- 



does everything so agreeably that one does not know 
which to admire most — the charm of his manner^ 

55 



or 



"The good Ireeding^ from which it springs !" ex- 
claimed the governor, finishing the eulogy. 



Attending a lady from the dinner-table at the St, 
Nicholas, in New York, she begged me to wait with 
her for a few minutes, near the passage conducting 
to the drawing-rooms, saying, playfully, that she 
wished to way-lay a gentleman. "I have been all 
the morning," she then explained, " trying to meet a 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. SS' 

Kussian friend of ours, who is certainly staying here, 
though we cannot succeed in seeing him. My hus- 
band charged me, before we parted this morning, as 
he was obHged to go out of town for the day, with a 
message for our friend, which he said miLst be deli- 
vered by me in person. Ah, there he is now I" and 
she advanced a step towards an elderly gentleman 
accompanying a lady. 

I released her arm from mine, of course, and 
retired a little ; the other lady also simultaneously 
withdrawing. I bowed respectfully to her. 

" Have you ever chanced to remark this picture V 
inquired the fair stranger of me, as we stood thus 
near each other, turning towards the painting of the 
patron saint of the Knickerbockers, which graced the 
main staircase of the hotel ; " it is very appropriately 
selected." 

Nothing could be more unmistakably refined and 
high-bred than the bearing of the interlocutor, while 
we chatted a moment or two longer. 

" I beg your pardon, madam, for depriving you of 
your cavalier.; nothing but necessity could excuse it" 
— began the lady, who had been talking earnestly 
in the meanwhile with the Russian, approaching us. 
She was at once relieved from making further expla- 
nation. 

" Pray don't name it — and allow me to renew my 
slight acquaintance with you," offering her hand. 

"With pleasure," returned my fair friend, in- 
stantly ; but she looked a little puzzled, despite her 
courtesy. 



84 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

" I see you do not recollect the weary traveller who 
was so much obliged to your politeness in the hotel 
in Washington, the other night. The only stranger- 
lady (turning to her attendant) I have met in this 
country, who has rendered me the slightest civility." 

All this was, of course, quite unintelligible to me, 
but later in the evening I had the honor of being 
introduced to these strangers, and, incidentally, 
received a solution of the mystery. 

"While a pleasant party with which I had the good 
fortune to be associated, was cozily gathered in one 
of the quiet little drawing-rooms of the St. Nicholas, 
the conversation turned upon the difference of 
manners in different nations. Let me premise a 
brief explanation, tliat you may the better under- 
stand what follows. The Russian gentleman, whom 
I had seen in the passage, is Dr. de II , a distin- 
guished savant, travelling in theservice of his impe- 
rial master, and the lady whom he was attending 
from dinner a Frenchwoman of high birth and 
breeding. My fair charge is the wife of an officer 
of our army, who nearly lost his life in the late Mex- 
ican war, returning home covered alike with wounds 
and honors, and with still I don't know how many 
bullets in his body, as life-long tokens of his bravery. 
His heroic young wife, when she learned that he had 
landed at New Orleans, as soon after the conclusion 
of peace as his condition enabled bim to be conveyed 
to the sea-board and make the voyage, set out to join 
him at the South, with an infant of only a few weeks 
old, and herself in enfeebled health. — They had been 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASHION 85 

married but a short time, when Col. Y was 

ordered to the seat of war, and the lady was a belle 
and a beauty, of scarce nineteen — the cherished idol 
of wealth and affection. These persons, and one or 
two others were, with myself, seated, as I have said, 
cozily together for a little talk, after dinner. 

Taking advantage of the temporary absence of 

Mrs. V , the Frenchwoman, turning to Dr. de 

H , said : " What a charming person ! I must 

tell you about my first meeting with her. You know 
we are just returned from a little tour at the south 
of this country. "Well, at Washington, the other 
evening we have arrived, my husband and I, 
with my little daughter, Lorrette, very tired and 
covered with dust, at the hotel. A friend had enga- 
ged apartments for us, two or three days before, but 
we were not conducted to them. They led us into a 
sort of corridor, where gentlemen and ladies were 
walking, in dinner dress, and left us to stand against 
the wall for some time. At last Victor told me to be 
patient, and he would go and see. I have thought I 
should fall down with fatigue and vexatibn, and poor 
little Lorrette leaned against me and was almost 
quite asleep. At this moment, a lady and gentle- 
man who were sitting in a little alcove, which was 
in the corridor, observed us, as I saw, though I tried 
to turn myself from all. They came immediately to 
us. The gentleman brought a light chair in his 
hand. 'Madam,' said the gentleman, 'allow me to 
offer you a seat ; I am surprised that Mr. Willard 
has no reception-room for travellers.' Before I could 



86 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

thank them, properly, tlie lady said, seeing how Lor- 
rette had begun to cry, ' Do come and sit over there 
in the little recess ; there is a larger chair in which 
the little girl can lie down until you can get your 
rooms. Pray come ' — and all this with such a sweet 
manner. Seeing that the gentleman was already 
looking for another chair to bring to us, I went away 
with the lady ; saying, however, that I was so sad to 
come with her in this dress, and to trouble her 
When we were in the little alcove, almost by our- 
selves, she placed Lorrette on a little couch, and 
forced me to sit on the only good chair, saying that 
she preferred to stand a little, and so many other 
polite, kind words I Then, while the gentleman 
talked a little with me, she began to tell Lorrette 
that her papa would soon take her to a nice sup- 
per, and made her look, when she was no longer 
so tired, at some nice drawings of colored birds that 
her friend was showing her when they came to 
eaiTy us to them." 

Yon must picture to yourselves the animated 
gestures, thfe expressive tones, and the slight Gallic 
accent that gave double significance to this little 
sketch, to form a correct idea of the pleasing effect 
produced upon us all by the narration. Observing Mi-s. 
Y re-entering the room, the charming French- 
woman only added, enthusiastically: "Really these 
were persons so agreeable, that I could not forget 

them ; as I have told you to-day. Dr. de H , it is 

the only stranger American lady who has ever been 
polite in our journev." 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 87 

" Are the ladies of our country, then, so remiss in 
politeness?'- said a young American lady present, in 
a deprecatory tone. 

"I beg your pardon, madam," returned the 
foreiirner, " the Americans are the most kind-hearted 
people in the world, but they do not say it I it is the 
- — manner .'" 

" I shall really begin to think," said Mrs. Y , 

" that there is some other cause than my being a 
brunette for my being so often taken for a foreigner. 
I am often asked whether I am from l!^ew Orleans, 
or of French extraction." 

I am not surprised," exclaimed Dr. de H , 

" my friend Sir C G , who saw you this 

morning, asked me afterwards what country was you 
of?" 

"Why, how was that?" 

" He told me he had just given a servant, that 
stupid old man in the hall, the house-porter, I 
believe you call him, a card, to take to some room, 
when you met him, and directed him to go to the 
office with a message ; but, observing the card in his 
hand, and that a gentleman stood there, you imme- 
diately told him to go first with the card and you 
would wait for him." 

Here the silvery laugh of Mrs. Y interrupted 

the Russian. " Excuse me," said she, " I remember 
it ! — that old porter, who always makes a mistake, if it 
is possible, has so often annoyed me, that this time I 
was determined, as it was a person I much wished 
to see, not to lose vtj visitor through him, so, after 



88 THE AMERICAN UENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

waiting some time in one of these rooms, I went to 
liira to inquire, and sent him to the office, when I 
found that my poor friend was waiting there^ while 
I waited here. Observing a gentleman who seemed 
already to have required his services, I bade him go 
first for him, of course. ^ Ajpres vous, madame, je 
vous iprie^'^ said he, with the most courtly air ; — 
so that was Sir C G ?" 

" Tes, madam," answered the savant^ " but it was 

yov/r air that was remarkable ! Sir C told me 

that while you both were waiting there you ad- 
dressed some polite remark to him, jpour passer U 
temjps, and that he thought you were not an Ameri 
can lady, because you spoke to him /" 

** Speaking of not speaking" said I, when the 
general amusement had abated, "reminds me of an 
amusing little scene that I once witnessed in the 
public parlor of a New England tavern, M^here I 
was compelled to wait several hours for a stage- 
coach. Presently there entered a bustling, sprightly- 
looking little personage, who, after frisking about the 
room, apparently upon a tour, of inspection, finally 
settled herself very comfortably in the large cush- 
ioned rocking-chair — the only one in the room — and 
was soon, as I had no reason to doubt, sound asle^. 
It was not long, however, before a noise of some one 
entering aroused her, and a tall, gaunt old Yankee 
woman, hung round with countless bags, bonnet- 
boxes, and nondescript appendages of various sizes 

* After you arc served, madam, I beg. 



TO POLITENESS ANB FASHION. 89 

and kinds, presented herself to our vision. After 
slowly relieving herself of the numberless incum- 
brances that impeded her progress in life, she turned 
to a young man who accompanied her, and said, in a 
tone so peculiarly slirill, that it might have been 
mistaken, at this day, for a railroad whistle : 

" ' Now, Johnathan, don't let no grass grow under 
your feet while you go for them tooth-ache drops ; I 
am a'mos' crazy with pain !' laying a hand upon 
the affected spot as she spoke ; " and here," she 
called out, as the door was closing upon her messen- 
ger, *just get my box filled at the same time!' 
diving, with her disengaged hand, into the unknown 
depths of, seemingly, the most capacious of pockets, 
and bringing to light a shining black box, of sufl&cient 
size to hold all the jewels of a modern belle, ' I 
thought I brought along my snuff-bladder, but I 
don't know where I put it, my head is so stirred 
up.' 

" By this time the little woman in the rocking-chair 
was fairly aroused, and rising, she courteously 
offered her seat to the stranger, her accent at once 
betraying her claim to be ranked with the politest 
of nations (a bow, on my part, to the fair foreigner 
in the group). "With a prolonged stare, the old 
woman coolly ensconced herself in the vacated seat, 
making not the slightest acknowledgment of the 
civility she had received. Presently, she began to 
groan, rocking herself furiously at the same time. 
The former occupant of the stuffed chair, who had 
retired to a window, and perched herself in one of 



90 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn'8 GUIDE 

a long row of high wooden seats, hurried to the suf- 
ferer. " I fear, madame," said she, " that you 
Buffare ver' much: — vat can I do for you?" The 
representative of Yankeedom might have been a 
wooden clock-case for all the response she made to 
this amiable inquiry, unless her rocking more 
furiously than ever might be construed into a reply. 

The little Frenchwoman, apparently wholly un- 
able to class so anomalous a specimen of humanity, 
cautiously retreated. 

Before I was summoned away, the tooth-ache 
drops and the snuff together (both administered in 
large doses !) seemed to have gradually produced 
the effect of oil poured upon troubled waters. 

The sprightly Frenchwoman again ventured upon 
the theatre of action. 

"You find yourself now much improved, ma- 
dame ?" she asked, with considerable vivacity. A 
very slight nod was the only answer. 

" And you feel dis fauteuil^ really ver' com-for- 
torhle f " pursued the little woman, with augmented 
energy of voice. Another nod was just discern 
ble. 

No intonation of mine can do justice to the very 
ecstasy of impatience with which the pertinacious 
questioner now actually screamed out : 

" Bien, madame, vil you say so, if you please I" 



1 meant to repeat an impressive little story told us 



TO POIJTENK88 AND FASHION. 91 

by mj lovely friend, Mrs. Y , before our merry 

little party separated that night ; but, even were this 
letter not already too " long drawn out," I find my 
head in very much the condition of that of the old 
Yankee woman, whom, I trust, I have immortalized, 
and will, therefore, reserve it for another time, hop- 
ing that you will pay me the compliment to recol- 
lect my description of my dramatis jpersonm until 
then. 



Meanwhile, here is one other anecdote for you: 
During my usual morning ride, one day lately, I 
stopped to breathe my horse on the top of a little 
hill, in the suburbs of one of the villages upon the 
banks of the Hudson. While enjoying the beauty 
of the fine landscape before me, my horse, all on a 
sudden, started violently. I presently discovered 
the cause of his fright. Some little rascals were at 
play in the unenclosed yard of an old building near, 
and one of them was throwing lumps of earth, 
pieces of broken crockery, rusty sheet-iron, etc., upon 
the plank-walk in front. As I turned my head 
towards them, a little urchin who was perched upon 
a knob of the root of a tree, with his hands upon his 
knees, cried out, energetically : " There now, look-a 
there ! Ain't you a pretty fellow ? dirtying up the 
walk so, when people are going by." His little 
freckled face expressed real concern, as he^looked 
fixedly up the walk. Glancing in the same direc- 
tion, I saw an elegantly-dressed lady carefully 



©fi THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's QCTDE 

gathering np her dress, preparatory to encountering 
the sharp obstacles in her path, and at once understood 
the cause of the reproof I had overlieard, and which 
I assure you, I have transcribed verbatim, though 
the phrase " pretty fellow " may seem incongruous 
in the mouth of a dirty little Irish boy. I only hope 
the lady — whose gentle smile indicated that she too 
understood the scene — was compensated for being so 
incommoded, by discerning the inhred politeness of 
lier little champion. 



As it is your desire that I should deal rather with 
practical realities than with generalities or theories, 
let us come in my next, without preliminaries, to plain 
suggestions, presented somewhat in detail, with the 
usual simplicity and frankness of that " plain, blunt 



man," 



Your affectionate uncle 

Hal. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 93 



LETTER IV. 
manner continired : pbactical directions. 

My dear Nephews : 

If I rightly remember, I concluded my 
last letter to my young correspondents with a promise 
of attempting in my next, some practical directions 
in regard to Manner. I will, then, commence, at once 
premising only in the impressive words of the im- 
mortal senator, who just at present holds so large a 
space in the world's eye : " In now opening this great 
matter, I am not insensible to the austere demands 
of the occasion." 

Important as Manner undoubtedly is, in every re- 
lation of life, the cultivation of an unexceptionable 
deportment at home, may, perhaps, be regarded as of 
primary consequence, in securing the happiness at 
which all aim, though by means, 

" variable as the shade, 



By the light, quivering aspen made." 

I think I have already incidentally, alluded to the 
bad taste, to give ?.t no severer name, so commonly 



94 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

exhibited by young persons in this country, in their 
conduct towards pa/rents. Let nothing tempt you^ 1 
pray you, into habits so discreditable. Manhood is 
never depreciated by any true estimate, when yield- 
ing tribute to the claims of age. — ^Towards your 
father preserve always a deferential manner, mingled 
with a certain frankness, indicating that thorough 
confidence, that entire understanding of each other, 
which is the best guarantee of good sense in both, and 
of inestimable value to every young man, blessed with 
a right-minded parent". Accept the advice dictated 
by experience with respect, receive even reproof 
without impatience of manner, and hasten to prove 
afterwards, that you cherish no resentful remem- 
brance of what may even have seemed to you too great 
severity, or too manifest an assumption of authority. 
Heed the counsel of an old man, who " through the 
loop-holes of retreat " looks calmly on the busy tide 
of life rolling forever onward, and let the sod that 
closes over the heart that throbs no more even with 
affection and anxiety for you, leave for yon only the 
pain of parting — not the haunting demon oi remorse. 
Allow no false pride, no constitutional obstinacy, to 
interfere with the better impulses of your nature, in 
your intercourse with your father, or to interrupt for 
an hour the manly trust that should be between you. 
And in the inner temple of home, as well as when 
the world looks on, render him reverence due. 

There should be mingled with the habitual deference 
and attention that marks your manner to your ?W6>^-A<e7*, 
the indescribable tenderness and rendering back of 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 95 

care and watchfulness that betokens remembrance of 
her love in earlier days. No other woman should 
ever induce you to forget this truest, most disinter- 
ested friend, nor should your manner ever indicate 
even momentary indifference to her wishes or her 
affection. Permit me again to refer you to the ex- 
ample of mcr country's pride in this regard. You will 
all remember his marked attention, through life, to 
his only parent, and the fact that his first appearance 
in public, on a festive occasion, after the triumph of 
Yorkstown, was in attendance upon his mother at the 
ball given at Fredericksburgh, in celebration of that 
event. A fair friend of mine, who has written the 
most enthusiastically-appreciative description of this 
memorable scene that I remember to have read, char- 
acterizes the manner of Washington as illustrating 
the moral sublime, to a degree that filled all behold- 
ers with admiration. But no one needs the examples 
of history, or the promptings of friendship, to convince 
him of a duty to which the impulses of nature un- 
mistakably direct him : all that I, for a moment, 
suppose you require, is to be reminded that no 
thoughtlessness should permit your manner to do 
injustice to j'our feelings, in this sacred relation of 
life. 

Tlie familiarity of domestic intercourse should never 
degenerate into a rude disregard for the restraints 
imposed by refinement, nor an unfeeling indiff'erence 
to the feelings of others. "With brothers and sisters 
even, the sense of equality should be tempered by 
habitual self-restraint and courtesy. "Ko man is 



W THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

great to his valet de chanibre " — no man grows, by 
the superior gifts of nature, or by the power of cir- 
cumstance, beyond the genial familiarity of domestic 
intercourse. You may be older and wiser than your 
hrothers^ but no prerogatives of birthright, of edu- 
cation, or of intellect can excuse assumption, or 
make amends for the rupture of the natural tie that 
is best strengthened by affectionate consideration 
and respect. 

To his sisters^ every man owes a peculiar obliga- 
tion arising from the claim nature gives them to his 
protection, as well as to his love and sympathy. !N"or 
is this relative claim wholly abrogated even by their 
being older than he. Tlie attributes and the admitted 
rights of our sex give even younger brothers the 
privilege, — and such every well constituted man will 
consider it, — of assuming towards such relations the 
position of a friend, confidant and guardian. And 
the manner of a gentlemcm will always indicate, un- 
mistakably, the delicacy, the consideration and the 
respect he considers due to them. I will not assume 
the possibility of your being indifferent to their love 
and interest ; suffice it to say, that both will be best 
deserved and preserved by a careful admingling of 
the observances of politeness practised towards other 
women, with the playful freedom sanctioned by con- 
sanguinity. The world will give you no substitutes 
for the friends nature provides — they are bound to 
you by all ties unitedly. Be ever mindful that no 
rude touch of yours, sunders or even weakens the ten- 
derest chords of the heart. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 97 

Since 

— " modest the manners by Nature bestowed 
On Nature's most exquisite child," 

a man's conduct towards his wife should always 
indicate respect as well as politeness. No rude 
familiarity should outrage the delicacy that veils 
femininity, no outward indifference or neglect beto- 
ken disregard of the sacred claims of the woman, 
whom, next to his mother, every man is bound in 
honor, to distinguish beyond all others, by courteous 
observance. If you consider the affection you doubt- 
less took some pains, originally, to win, worth pre- 
serving, if you think it of any moment to retain the 
attributes ascribed to you by the object of that affec- 
tion, while you made the endeavor to do full justice 
to yourself in the eyes of your mistress^^ would it be 
wise to prefer no further claims to such characteris- 
tics by your manner to your wife ? I have never 
forgotten the impression made upon me in youth by 
an exquisite letter in one of Addison's Spectators, 
purporting to be written by an old woman, in regard, 
if I remember, to the very point we are now discuss- 
ing. It contains, as inclosed to the Solon of polite 
laws in that day, a note represented to liave been 

* I shall take the liberty to use the word " mistress,'" throughout 
Ihese letters, in the sense appropriated to it by Addison, Johnson, 
and other English classic authors. Sweetheart is too old-fashioned. 
" Lady-love " suits the style of my fashionable nieces, better than mine. 
Mistress is an authorized Saxon word, of WLll-Jelined meaning, 
tiiough, like some others, perverted to a bad use, at times. 

6 



98 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

written to her, by the husband of the lady, from a 
London coffee-house, upon some emergency, which 
is the very embodiment of gentle courtesy, and con- 
cluding with a respectful_ apology for the coarse 
paper, and other unseemly appliances of the commu- 
nication. " Could you see the withered hand that 
indites this, dear Mr. Spectator," says the correspon- 
dent of Addison, "you would be still more impressed 
by the gallantry that remains thus unimpaired by 
time," or words to that effect. I have not the origi- 
nal to transcribe from, and the copy in my inental 
tcMets is a little dimmed by the wear of years. But 
though the exact phraseology of the number I allude 
to is indistinct, I repeat that I liave a thousand times 
recalled the substance with the same pure pleasure 
and admiration. I have not half done justice to it, 
and, indeed, I am almost ashamed to have so poorly 
sketched a picture whose beauty you may best ap- 
preciate by personal inspection. No tyro should 
attempt a copy of the production of an old master — 
especially when the mental magician fails to place 
the original before his mind's eye, 

" Pictured fair, in memory's mystic glass." 

But if you do not despise such old-fashioned litera- 
ture as the writings of the English classic authors — 
and certainly, without undue prejudice in their favor, 
I may venture, I think, to say, that a knowledge of 
the writings of such men as Johnson, Goldsmith, 
Burke, and Addison, should make part of the educa- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 9d 

tion of every gentleman — if you will look up this 
elegant essay, and read it for yourselves, I can safely 
promise j^ou ample remuneration for your trouble. 

l)o not degrade your own ideal by a too minute 
scrutiny, nor forget that the shrine of the Lares, though 
it may be approached with the simplest offerings, is 
desecrated by even a momentary forgetfulness that 
its votaries should be 

" Content to dtoell in decencies, forever F 

The chosen friend of your life, the presiding genius 
of your home, the mother of your children, then, 
not only claims the high place of trust and confi- 
dence, but the proof afforded hy manner of the exist- 
ence and dominance, of these sentiments. 

Many men, with the kindest feelings and the 
clearest perceptions of duty, are, from mere inadver- 
tency, unobservant of the fact that they habitually 
give pain to those dependent on them for considera- 
tion, by neglecting those graces of manner that lend 
a charm to the most trifling actions. Remember, 
while you are forming habits, in this respect, how 
sensitively constituted are the gentler sex, how easily 
pained, how easily pleased. The more discriminat- 
ing and affectionate is woman, the more readily is 
she wounded. Like a harp of a thousand strings, 
her nature, if rudely approached, is jarred respon- 
sively, while the gentlest touch elicits an harmonious 
thrill. The delightful abandon that constitutes ono 
of the most exquisite enjoyments of home, is not ixn'X' 



100 THE AMKKICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

merited, for a man of true refinement, by a total disre* 
gard of ceremony and self-restraint. Selfishness, ill- 
humor, and a spirit of petty tyranny, rest assured, 
though their manifestation be confined to home 
intercourse, and borne in silence there, will gradu- 
ally undermine character and essentially diminish 
domestic happiness. 

Earnestly, therefore, do I admonish my youthful 
relatives to cultivate a careful observance of the 
requisitions of what has been well designated as 
'"''domestic politeness.'''* Confer favors with ready 
cheerfulness, or, if necessary, refuse them with an 
expression of regret, or a polite explanation. Never 
repel solicitations, much less caresses, with impa- 
tience, nor allow your bearing to indicate the reluc- 
tant discharge of a duty that should also be a plea- 
sure. A smile, an intonation of affection, a glance 
of appreciation or acknowledgment — small artillery 
all, I grant, my boys, but they will suffice to make a 
feu-de-joie in a loving heart, that will, each and 
every one of them, cause you to be followed in the 
thorny path of daily life by a blessing that will not 
harm you ; they will secure you a welcome, when, 
world-worn, y6\\ shall ' homeward plod your weary 
way,' worth all the gold you have gathered, and 
well rewarding all the toil you have encountered. 

I will only add, in this connection, that manhood 
is ennobled by the habitual exercise of delicate for- 
bearance tf)ward8 helplessness and dependence^ and 
that a higii test of character is the right iise of power. 
Those, tiien, whom nature teaches to look to you for 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 101 

affection, as well as for care and protection — your 
mother, wife, sisters — should invariably derive from 
your manner evidence of the steadfastness of your 
interest and regard for them. 

Like most of the aphorisms of the ancients for 
subtle wisdom, is the saying, " We should reverence 
the presence of children." Fresb from the creating 
hand of Deity, they are committed to us. While 
yet unstained by the pollutions of the world, should 
we not render a certain homage to their pristine 
purity and innocence ? Should we not hesitate by 
exhibitions of such qualities of our nature as are 
happily still dormant in them, to force them into pre- 
cocious development? The silent teaching of ex- 
amjole tells most effectively upon the young for the 
reason that they are insensibly forming in imitation 
of the models before them, without the disadvan- 
tages of previous habit, or of diminished impressi- 
bility. It is no light sin, then, either in our man- 
ner towards them, or towards others in their pres- 
ence, to obtrude a false standard of propriety upon 
their notice. If manner be, as we have assumed, 
active manifestation of character, the ductile minds 
of these nice observers and ceaseless imitators must 
be indeed seriously under its influences. That care- 
ful study of individual peculiarities which paternal 
duty imperatively demands, will readily suggest the 
proper modification of manner demanded by each 
different child in a household. It is said that chil 
dren are never mistaken judges of character. Certain 
it is, at least, that they instinctively discern their tru* 



102 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

friends, and that of the "Kingdom of Heaven," as by 
divine assertion they are — the Law of Love, attem- 
pered in its administration by practical good sense, 
is the most efiective influence that can be brought 
to bear upon them. Permit me to recall to jour 
remembrance the tenderness that distinguished the 
manner of Christ towards little children. 

Pre-snpposing as I have done, thus far in this letter, 
and as I shall continue to do, throughout our corre- 
spondence, that you regard moral obligation as the 
grand incentive to the correct discipline even of 
the outer man, arrogating to myself only the oflSice 
of the lapidary, — that of endeavoring to polish, not 
create, the priceless jevrel of principle, I shall make 
no apology for the suggestion, that manner should 
not be regarded as beneath the attention of a Chris- 
tian gentleman, in his intercourse with such inmates 
of his household as may from any circumstance be 
peculiarly sensitive to indications of negligent ob- 
servance. The aged, the infin'm, the insignificant^ 
the dependent j all, in short, who are particularly 
afflicted " in mind, body, or estate," are suitable reci- 
pients of the most expressive courtesies of manner. 

Perhaps no single phase of manner at home more 
correctly illustrates nice mental and moral percep- 
tions than the treatment of servants and inferiors 
generally. One may be just to the primary obliga- 
tions evolved by this relation to others, and yet al- 
ways receive the service of fear rather than of affec- 
tion. All needless assumption of authority or supe- 
riority, in connection with this position, is indicative 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 103 

of iiiherent vulgarity, and is at as great a remove from 
a true standard as is undue familiarity. Never to 
manifest pleasure even by a smile, never to make 
an acknowledgment in words, of the kindly offices 
that money cannot adequately reward, may be very 
grand and stately, but such sublime elevation above 
one's fellow-creatures raises the heart to rather an 
Alpine attitude — to a height at which the milk of 
human Icind/ness even, may congeal ! 

Always accept voluntary service with the slight 
acknowledgment that suffices to indicate your con- 
sciousness of it, nor deem it unworthy of one pil- 
grim upon the great highway of life to cheer another 
upon whom the toil and burden falls heaviest, by a 
smile or a word of encouragement. The language 
of request is, as a rule, in better taste than that of 
command, and, in most instances, elicits more ready, 
as well as cheerful obedience. Scott makes Queen 
Elizabeth say, on a momentous occasion, " Sussex, I 
entreat ; Leicester, I command !" " But," adds the 
author, " the entreaty sounded like a command, and 
the command was uttered in a tone of entreaty." Can 
you make only a lesson in elocution out of this ; or 
will it also illustrate our present theme ? 

Few persons who have not had their attention 
called to this subject, have any just conception of the 
real benefits that may be conferred upon those 
beneath us in station by a pleasant word uttered in 
a pleasant tone. Like animals and young children, 
uneducated persons are peculiarly susceptible to all 
external influences. They are easily amused, easily 



104 THE AMEKICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

gratified — shall I add, easily satisfied^ mentally ? The 
comparatively vacant mind readily admits an impres- 
sion from without ; hence, he who " whistles for want 
of thought," will whistle more cheerily for the intro- 
duction of an agreeable remembrance, into the un- 
furnished " chambers of imagery," and the humble 
plodder who relieves us of a portion of the dead 
weight that oppresses humanity, will go on his way 
rejoicing ; ofttimes for many a weary mile, im- 
pelled by a single word of encouragement from 
his superior officer in the " Grand Army " of life. 
But I hear you say, " Uncle Hal grows military — 
* the ruling passion strong ' even in letter-writing. 
Like the dying Napoleon, his last words will be 
' Tete WArm'ee ! ' " — Well, well, boys ! pardon an old 
man's diffuseness ! — his twilight dullness ! 

There are occasions when to talk to servants and 
other employes, make part of a humane bearing 
towards them. To converse with them in relation 
to their affairs rather than our own, is the wiser 
course, and to mingle a little appropriate instruction 
withal, may not be amiss. Remember, too, how 
easily undisciplined persons are frightened by an 
imperious, or otherwise injudicious, manner on the 
part of their superiors, out of the self-possession essen- 
tial to their comprehension of our wants and lan- 
guage. 



I believe even the American author who has long 
concentrated his mental energies in elaborating the 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 106 

literary apotheosis of Napoleon le Qrand, has not 
ascribed to his idol excessive rejinement of ma/nner. 
His attempts ar playfulness always degenerated into 
buffoonery, and his habitual bearing towards women, 
in whatever relation they stood to him, was unmis- 
takable evidence of his utter want of nicety of per- 
cej^tioii on this point. 

Holding a reception, on one occasion, in a gallery 
of the Tuileries for his relatives, his mother was 
present, with others of his family. The emperor 
proffered his hand to each in turn to kiss. Last of 
all, his venerable parent approached him. As 
before, he proffered his hand. With an air worthy 
of the severe dignity of a matron of early Grecian 
days, " Madame Mere " waved it aside, and, extend- 
ing her own, said, " You are the king, the emperor, 
of all the rest, but you are my son /" Would a man 
imbued with 

" The fjur humanities of old religion " 

have needed such a rebuke, from such a source, 
think you ?" 

Bonaparte was quite as stringent in his enforce- 
ment of court rules, in regard to dress and all mat- 
ters of detail, as Louis XI Y. himself, and often quite 
as absurd as the " Chrand Monarqiis " in his requisi- 
tions. — Abruptly approaching a high-born lady of the 
old regime, one of the members of Josephine's house- 
hold, who from illness (and, perhaps, disgust com- 
mingled) had disobeyed an edict commanding f%dl 
dress at an early hour on a particular morning. 

6* 



106 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

as she leaned against a window in this same gallery 
of the Tuileries, the First Consul contemptuously 
kicked aside her train, at the same time addressing 
the wearer in an outburst of coarse vituperation. 

Madame Junot records a characteristic illustration 
of Napoleon's unmanly disregard of the constitutional 
timidity of his first wife, as well as of his manner 
towards her in general. 

As they were about to cross a turbulent stream 
upon an insecure-looking bridge, in a carriage, the 
Empress expressed a wish to alight. Napoleon forci- 
bly interfered, but permitted the fair narrator of the 
incident, who was in the carriage with them, to do so, 
upon her informing him with the naivete of a true 
French-woman, that there was a special reason for 
her avoiding a fright ! Josephine wept in helpless 
terror, even when the ordeal was safely passed. By- 
and-by, the whole cortege stopped, and every one 
alighted ; the imperial tyrant rudely seizing the 
empress by the arm, dragged her towards the desti- 
nation of the party, in a neighboring wood, saying, 
as he urged her forward : " You look ugly when you 
cryl" 

One of Napoleon's biographers has said of him 
that many passages in his letters to Josephine 
were such as no decent Englishman would ad- 
dress to his 'lady light o' love,' and it is well 
known that his earliest intercourse with the proud 
daughter of the House of Hapsburg — the shrinking 
representative of the hereditary refinement of a 
long line of high-bred women — was marked by the 



TO POLTTKNESS AND FASHION. 107 

merest brutality. It was left to a citizen of our 
JLtepublic to discover, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand, eight hundred and iifty-five, that this man 
was the " Washington of France /" and to commu 
nicate the marvellous fact to the present occupant 
of the imperial throne of the Great Captain — ^who 
is, by the way, the grandson of the repudiated 
Josephine ! 



Steaming along the Ohio, some years ago, I had 
the good-fortune to fall in with the most agreeable 
companions, a father and son, Kentuckians, of educa- 
tion and good-breeding. The father had won high 
public honors in his native State, and the son was j ust 
entering upon a career demanding the full exercise 
of his fine natural gifts. I was particularly attracted 
by the cordial confidence and affection these gentle- 
men manifested towards each other, and by the 
manly deference rendered by the youth to his 
venerable sire. 

A storm drove us all into the cabin, in the evening, 
and, while the elder of my two new friends and I 
pursued a quiet conversation in one part of the room, 
his son joined a group of young men at some dis- 
tance from us. Gradually the mirth of those young- 
sters became so roisterous as to disturb our talk. 
Hot and hotter waged their sport, loud and louder 
grew their laughter, until our voices were fairly 
drowned, at intervals. More than once, I saw the 
punctilious gentleman of the old school glance to 



108 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

wards the merry party, of which, by the way, his son 
was one of the least boisterous. At length he spoken 
and his clear, calm voice rang like a trumpet-note 
through the apartment: 

" Frederick !" — there was an instant lull in the 
storm, and the faces of each of the group turped to 
us — " make a little less noise, if you please." 

The youth rose immediately and advanced to- 
wards us : " Gentlemen," said he, with a heightened 
color and a respectful bow, " I beg your pardon ! 
I really was not aware of being so rude." 

I said something about the very natural buoyancy 
of youthful spirits ; but I did not say that this little 
scene had the effect upon me that might be produced 
by unexpectedly meeting, in the log-hut of a back- 
woodsman, with a painting by an old master, repre- 
senting some fine incident of classical or chivalrous 
history — as, for instance, the youthful Roman restor- 
ing the beautiful virgin prisoner to her friends with 
the words, " far be it from Scipio to purchase plea- 
sure at the expense of virtue I" 

My pleasure in observing the intercourse of these 
amiable relatives in some degree prepared me for 
the enjoyment in store for the favored guest, whoj 
at the earnest instance of both father and son, a few 
days afterwards, turned aside in his journey to seek 
them, at home. It was a scene worthy the taste 
and the pen of Washington Irving himself, that 
quaint-looking old family mansion, — in the internal 
arrangements of which there was just enough of 
modern comfort and adornment to typify the soft* 



V 



TO POLriENESS AND FASHION. 100 

ened conservatism of the host, — and the family 
group that welcomed the stranger, with almost 
patriarchal simplicity and hospitality. Really it 
was a strange episode in busy American life. My 
venerable friend sat, indeed, ''under the shadow of 
his own vine and fig-tree, with none to make him 
afraid," reaping the legitimate reward of an honor- 
able, well-spent life, and beside him the friend who 
had kept her place through the heat and burden of 
the day, and now shared the serene repose of the 
evening of his life. What placid beauty still lin- 
gered in that matron face, what " dignity and love " 
marked every action ! And the fair daughters of 
ilie house, who, like Desdemona, "ever and anon 
would come again and gather up our discourse," in 
the intervals of household daty, or social obligation — 
they seemed to vie with each other and with their 
brother in every thoughtful and graceful observance 
towards their parents and towards me, and the noble 
boy — for he really was scarcely more, even reck- 
oned by the estimate of this "fast" age — unspoiled 
by the dangerous prerogatives of an only son, mani- 
festly regarded the bright young band of which he 
Btill made one, with the mingled tenderness and 
pride that would ever shield them from 

" The slings and arrows of outrageoug fortune." 

y 

These all surrounded my venerable host and hostess, 
as they gently and calmly turned their feet towards 
the downward path of life, with intertwining hearts 



1 10 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN S GUIDE 

and hands — like a garland of roses enwreathing 
time-worn twin-trees — ever on the watch to lighten 
each burden they would fain have wholly assumed, 
and with loving care striving to put far off for them 
the evil day when the " grasshopper shall be a bur- 
den." 

But I essay a vain task when I would picture such 
a scene for you, my friends. If I may hope that I 
have made a study, from which you will catch a 
passing suggestion for future use, in the limning of 
your own life-portraits, it is well. 



Chancellor K , who was my life-long friend, 

retained, even in the latest years of his lengthened 
life, an almost youthful sprightliness of feeling and 
manner. His son, himself a leai'ned and distin- 
guished son of the law, thought no duty more impera- 
tive, even in the prime of his manhood and in mid 
career in his honorable profession, than that of devo- 
tion to his father, in his declining years. He fixed 
his residence near, or with, his venerable parent, and, 
like the son of ancient Priam, long sustained the 
failing steps of age. Few things have impressed me 
more favorably, in my intercourse with the world, 
than this noble self-sacrifice. 

No one unacquainted with my vivacious friend 
can appreciate the full expressiveness of his cha* 
racteristic remark to me, on an occasion when his 
son happened to be the theme of conversation 



TO POLITEJSrESS AND FA8RI0N. Ill 

between us. ^^ I like that young man amazingly P"* 
said the chancellor. 



I still remember the impression made on me, when 
a boy, by meeting, in the streets of my native city, 
a stalwart young sailor, arrajjed in holiday dress, 
and walking with his mother, a little, withered old 
woman, in a decent black dress, hanging upon his 
arm. How often that powerful form, the imperso- 
nation of youth, health, and physical activity, has 
risen up before my mind's eye, in contrast with the 
little, tremulous figure he supported with such watch' 
ful care, and upon which such protecting tenderness 
breathed from every feature of his honest, weather- 
embrowned face. 



Bob and Charley grew side by side, like two fine 
young saplings in a wood, for some years. After 
awhile, however, the brothers were separated. Bob 
went to a large city, became a merchant, grew rich, 
lived in a fine house, was a Bank Director, and an 
Alderman. His younger brother, pursuing a more 
modest, but equally manly and elevated career, sel- 
dom met Bob during some years, and then only 
briefly at their father's house, when there was a 
family gathering at Thanksgiving, or on some other 
similar occasion. 

Once, when I chanced to see these young men to- 
gether, thus, I remarked that, while the sisters of 
each clung round the neck of the unassuming, but 



112 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

trne-hearted, right-minded Charley, at his coming, 
and lost no opportunity of being with hira, the repel- 
lant manner of the elder brother held all more or less 
aloof, though none failed in polite observance towards 
him. Egotistical and pompous, he seemed to regai'd 
those about him as belonging to an inferior race. 
As his brother and I sat talking togetiier near a table 
upon which were refreshments, he actually had the 
rudeness to reach between us for a glass, without the 
slightest word or token of apology, with his arm so 
near to his brother's face as almost to touch it ! 
There was more of shame than indignation expressed 
in that fine, ingenuous countenance when it again 
met my unobstructed gaze, and I thought I detected 
a slight tremor in the sentence he uttered next in the 
order of our conversation. 

Before my visit that day was at an end, I found 
myself exceedingly embarrassed as an unwilling 
auditor of a political discussion between Bob and 
his father, which grew, at length, into an angry 
dispute, little creditable to, at least, the younger of 
the two word-combatants. 

As I stood in the hall that night, awaiting my car- 
riage, I saw Charley advance to the door of the 
library, opening near, and knock lightly. The voice 
of his aged father bade him enter. Opening the 
door, the young man, taking his hat quite ofi^, and 
bowing almost reverentially, said only, " I bid you 
good night, sir," and quietly closed it again. When 
they turned towards me, there was almost a woman's 
softness in eyes that would have looked undimmed 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 113 

npon the fiercest foe or the deadliest peril. — ^Think 
jou the Recording Angel flew up to Heaven's high 
Chancery with a testimony of that day's deeds and 
words ? 

Once, after this, Charley had occasion to visit the 
city where Bob resided. Breakfast over, at his hotel, 
he sallied forth to call on Bob, at his own house, and 
attend, subsequently, to other matters. 

He was shown into an elegant drawing-room, 
where the master of the mansion sat reading a news- 
paper. Without rising, he offered his hand, coldly, 
and before inviting his visitor to sit, took occasion to 
say that his wife's having an engagement to spend 
the day out of town would prevent his inviting his 
brother to dine ! 

As Charley descended the steps of his brother's 
stately mansion, at the termination of his brief call 
that day, he silently registered a vow never again to 
cross his threshold, unless impelled by imperative 
duty. And yet Bob is not only a rich merchant, an 
Alderman, and a Bank Director, but a m,(mh of fashion ! 



One of the most discriminating and truthful deli- 
neators of life and manners whom we boast among 
our native authors, prominent among the character- 
istic traits he ascribes to an old English gentleman, 
of whom he gives us an exquisite portraiture, is that 
of such considerate kindness towards an old servant 
as to make him endure his peevishness and obstinacy 



114 THE AMERICAN GBNTLEMAn's GUIDE 

with good humor, and affect to consult and agree 
with him, until he gains an important practical point 
with " time-honored age." 



Illustrative of our. subject is one of the anecdotes 
recorded of the poet Rogers, in his recently published 
life: 

" Mr. Rogers," said the body-servant, who had long 
attended him in his helpless yeai"s, " we are invited 
to dine with Miss Coutts." ■■ The italicizing is mine. 
Is it not suggestive ? 

You remember the rest of the anecdote ; Rogers 
had the habit, during the latter years of his life, of 
writing, when able to use his pen, notes to be dated 
and directed as occasion required, in this established 
form " Pity me, I am engaged." So, on this occa- 
sion, the careful attendant added : " The pity-Trie's 
are all gone 1" 



Weather-bound during the long, cold winter of 
18 — , by a protracted snow-storm and a severe cold, 
in the house of an old friend, I left my comfortable 
private quarters one morning for a little walk up and 
down the corridor into which my own apartment and 
those of the family opened. 

By and by the active step of my hostess crossed 
my sauntering way. 

" Perhaps it may amuse you to come into the uur 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 116 

seiy, a little while, colonel," said she, " it will be a 
novelt}', at least, to you, to see behind the scenes.' ' 

" I feel myself honored by the permission, I assure 
you ; the green-room always has an interest for 
me !" returned I ; and I was soon ensconced in a 
large, cushioned-chair, in a cozy corner, near the 
open, old-fashioned " franklin " in which blazed a 
cheerful woo'd-fire. The rosy-cheeked juveniles 
among whom I found myself vied with each other 
in efforts to promote my comfort. One brought her 
own little chair, and placed it to support my feet ; 
another climbed up and stuffed a soft cushion 
greatly larger than his own rotund, dumpling of a 
figure, between me and the chair-back, assuring me 
with a grave shake of the head, in which I saw the 
future Esculapius, " it is so nice ven your head do 
ache — mamma say so, ven I put him on her always I" 
and brii^lit-eyed little Bessie, between whom and me 
a very good understanding already existed, crowned 
the vai'ied hospitalities of my initiatory visit by 
offering me the use of her tiny muff ! 

My hostess, though she kept an observant eye upon 
us, from her seat by her work-table over against my 
arm-chair, had too much tact to interfere with the 
proceedings of my ministering cherubs ; except to 
prevent the possibility of my being annoyed. 

When I had leisure to reconnoitre a little, I dis- 
covered, among the other fixtures in the large, well- 
lighted, clieerful-looking apartment, an old woman 
with a good-humored face and portly person, seated 



116 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

near a window, sewing, with a large, well-stored 
basket of unmended linen and hosiery before her. 

Presently, the eldest son, a fine manly boy of some 
sixteen years entered, hat and cane in hand. Used, 
I suppose, to a jumble of faces and forms, in this 
human kaleidoscope, he evidently did not observe the 
quiet figure in the high-backed chair, " Mother," 
he exclaimed in a tone in which boyish animation ) 
and the utmost affection were singularly united, strid- 
ing across the room, like the Colossus of Khodes, 
suddenly endued with powers of locomotion : 
" Mother, you are the most beautiful and irresistible 
of your beautiful and irresistible sex !" and stooping, 
he pressed his full, cherry lips gently upon her 
rounded cheek. 

A flash of amusement, mingled with the love-light 
in the soft eyes that met those of the boy. He turned 
quickly. A scarcely-discernible embarrassment of 
manner, and a quick flush in the bright young face, 
were all that I had time to note, before he was at my 
side with a cordial greeting and a playful welcome 
to " Mother's Land of Promise," 

" Land of Nod, say rather," replied the presiding 
genius of the scene, pointing to the quiescent 
form of little Bessie, who — her curly head pillowed . 
on her chubby arm — was just losing all consciousness 
of the world, upon the rug at her mother's feet. 

" George, what an armful !" said the youth, in a 
Bort of half undertone, as he tenderly lifted the little 
lay figure^ and bore it to a crib. " Don't get up, 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 117 

mother, I can cover her nicely. I say, mammy [an 
arch glance over his shoulder towards the ancient 
matron of the sewing-basket], how heavy bread and 
milk is, though, eh !" 

" Speaking of bread and milk, heie comes lunch," 
continued my hero for the nonce, rubbing his hands 
energetically, and only desisting to give a table the 
dextrous twirl that would bring it near his mother, 
and assist the labors of the servant who had entered 
with a tray. 

" "Will, you immense fellow, take yourself out 
of the way I Colonel, permit me to give your 
sedan-chair just the slightest impulse forward, and 
so save you the trouble of moving. My adorable 
mother, allow me the honor of being your Gany- 
mede. Here we are, all right ! Now, let's see what 
there is — ham, baked apples, cold roast beef, hot 
cocoa — not so bad, 'pon my word. Colonel, I hope 
this crispy morning has given you some appetite, 
after your hard cold — allow me " — 

" Mammy fust," here interposed little Will, autho- 
ritatively, " cause she older dan us ! " and, care- 
fully holding the heaped-up plate his mother placed 
in both hands, he deliberately adventured an over- 
land journey to the distant object of his affectionate 
solicitude. 

At this j uncture, it was discovered that the servant- 
man who brought up the tray, had forgotten the 
sugar, and a young nursery-maid was dispatched for 
it. Upon her return she contrived, by some awk- 
wardness in closing the door, to spill the whole result 



118 THE AMEKICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

of her mission to the pantry upon the floor. Her arms 
di'opped by her sides, as if suddenly paralyzed, and 
I noticed a remarkable variety in the shade of her 
broad Irish physiognomy. 

" There is no great harm done, Biddy," said my 
hostess, immediately, in a peculiarly quiet, gentle 
voice, "just step down to John for another bowlful. 
While poor Biddy is collecting her scattered 
senses on the stairs, my son, will you kindly assist 
Willie in picking up the most noticeable lumps? — put 
them in this saucer, my dear. She is just learning, 
you know and — she would not cross that Rubicon as 
bravely as the classic hero you were reading of last 
night." 

"While we are so literary, mother — what is it 
about the dolphin ? • If I remember rightly Bid was 
a pretty good exemplification " 

" Hush ! — I am glad you thought to bring up 
more apples, Biddy. Colonel, here is the most 
tempting spitzenberg — so good for a cold, too. Take 
this to mammy will you, Biddy? The one I sent 
you before, was not so nice as these, mammy — your 
favorite kind, you know." 

Amused with the new scene in which I found 
myself, I accepted the assurance of the fair liome 
mother^ as the Germans have it, that I was not in 
the way, and lingered a little longer. 

By and by, John came up to tell his mistress that 
there was an old man at the door with a basket of 
little things to sell, and that he had sent a box of 
sealing-wax for her to look at. A 



TO POLITKNESS AND FASHION. 119 

" Poo' man ! poo' man ?" said little Will, running 
up to my knee, with such a sorrowful look in his inno- 
cent ftice — " an' it so-o-o col'," he added, catching 
hia mother's words, as if by instinct. 

" Take him down the money, John," I overheard, 
in the intervals between the discourse of my juvenile 
instructor, " and this cup of chocolate — it will warm 
him. Ask him to sit by the hall stove, while he 
drinks it." Nothing was said about the exceedingly 
portly brace of sandwiches that were manufactured' 
by the busiest of fingers, and which, through the 
golden veil of Willie's light curls, I saw snugly tucked 
in, on either side of the saucer. 

"Now, young ladies," continued my amiable 
friend, addressing a bevy of her rosy-cheeked young 
nieces, who had just before entered the room, "here 
is a stick of fancy-colored wax, for each of us — make 
your own choice. Luckily there is a red stick for 
Col. Lunettes " (a half deprecatory glance at me), 
"the only color gentlemen use. And," as she 
received the box again — " there is some for mammy 
and" me — we are in partnership, you know, mammy !" 

A pleased look from the centre of the wide cap- 
frills by the window, was the only response to this 
appeal ; but I had repeatedly observed that, despite 
her industry, mammy's huge spectacles took careful 
cognizance of the various proceedings around her. 

As I was about, for very shame^ to beat a retreat, 
a cheery — "good morning, Colonel, I tapped at your 
door, as I came up, and thought you were napping 
It," arrested my intended departure. " So wifie has 



120 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

coaxed you in here ! Just like her ! She thinks 
she can take the best care of you with" — 

" With the rest of the children !" I interrupted. 

" My loviiig sjpou^'^ as Bessie says, when she recites 
John Gilpin, "may I trouble you to tie my cravat?" 
And with that important article of attire in his hand, 
my friend knelt upon a low foot-stool, before his 
household divinity. 

" Thompson," said I, " I always knew you were one 
of the luckiest fellows in the whole world ; but may 
I ask — ^just as a point of scientific inquiry — whether 
that office is always performed for you, 

' One fair spirit for your minister ?' 

" Not a bit of it ! InTo indeed, ' pon my word 1 
only when I go to a dinner, as to-day — or to church, 
or — I say, Will, you unmitigated rogue, how dare 
you I you'll spoil my cravat — dont you see mamma 
is just tying it !" 

The little fellow thus objurgated, his eyes scintil- 
lating with mirth, now fairly astride of his father's 
shoulders, clung tenaciously to his prize, and peti- 
tioned for a ride in his familiar seat. 

Resorting to stratagem, where force would ill 
apply, the father, rising with a " thank you, dear 
wifie," retired backward towards a wide bed, and, 
by a dextrous movement, suddenly landed his 
youthful captor in a heap in the middle. 

To lose no time, the brave boy, "• conquered, but 
not subdued," made the best use of his lungs, wliile 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 121 

reducing his arms and legs to order, and Bessie, 
opening her beaming eyes, at this outcry, stretched 
out her arms to aid her pathetic appeal to papa to 
" p'ay one little hos " with her, " only hut one /" 

Evidently fearful of being out-generalled, the inva- 
der beat a rapid retreat from the enemy's camp, with 
the words " thank you, love, I believe the little ras- 
cal didn't tumble it, though I came within an 
ace, like a real alderman, of dying of a dinvwr — 
before it was eaten !" 

After this initiatory visit to the nursery of my fair 
friend, Mrs, Thompson, I was allowed to come and 
go at my own pleasure, during the remainder of my 
visit beneath her hospitable roof, and I found myself 
so interested and amused by what I witnessed there, 
as often to leave the solitude of my own apartment, 
though surrounded there by every possible " aid and 
appliance " of comfort and enjoyment that refine- 
ment and courtesy could supply, to learn the most 
beautiful lessons of practical wisdom and goodness 
from the most unpretending of teachers. 

One morning when the hahitue had sought his 
accustomed post of observation, a young lady pre- 
sented herself at the door, and seeing me, was about 
to retreat with something about its being very early 
for a visit, when Mrs. Thompson recalled her with a 
" Come in, ray dear, and let me have the pleasure of 
presenting you to Colonel Lunettes, the friend of 
whom you have heard us all speak so often." ' 

After the usual ijourtesies, this lovely earth-angel, 



6 



122 THE AMEKICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

with some hesitation, and drawing her chair nearer 
her friend, explained her errand. 

Making a little screen of a cherub-head, as was 
my wont, I regaled myself unobserved, with the 
music of sweet voices and the study of pretty faces. 
I caught — " my old drawing-teacher " — " her hus- 
band was a brute in their best days" — "this long, 
hard winter " — " not even a carpet " — " the poor 
child on a wooden-bottomed chauc, with a little dirty 
pillow behind her head, and so emaciated !" — here 
there was a very perceptible quiver in the low 
tones, followed by a little choking sort of pause. 

" I am really grateful to you for coming — I have 
been unusually occupied lately by the baby's illness 
and other duties — the weather has given me more 
than one twinge of conscience " — this accompanied 
by a quiet transfer from one purse to another, and 
then 1 heard, as the two ladies bent over the crib of 
the sleeping infant — " is there a stout boy among 
the children ? There are the barrels of pork and 
beef, always ready in the cellar — each good and 
wholesome of their kind — husband always has them 
brought from the farm on pui*pose to give away ; and 
we have abundance of fine potatoes — John could 
not readily find the place, and really, just now, he 
is pretty busy; still, perhaps, they have the natural 
pride of better days — if you think it well, I will try 
to send " — the gentle ministers of mercy left the 
room together, and I heard no more. .'- 

Presently, the youth of whom I have before. 

k 



TO POLITENE88 AiOJ FASHION. 129 

spoken, still at home enjoying his holiday's college 
vacation, joined me, and, between the exercises of an 
extertaining gymnastic exhibition, in which he and 
Willie were the chief performers, regaled me with 
humorous sketches of college adventures, anecdotes 
of the professors, etc., in the details of some of which 
I think he had his quiet old nurse in his mind's eye, 
as well as his father's guest. 

When Mrs. Thompson resumed her accustomed 
Beat at her business-table, as it might well be called, 
my agreeable young entertainer slid away from the 
group about the fire, and was soon snugged down, in 
his own lavorite fashion, with his legs comfortably 
crossed over the top of the chair sustaining mammy's 
implements, cheek-by-jowl with the venerable genius 
of the sewing-basket, dipping into a newspaper, and 
chatting, at intervals, with his humble friend. Once 
in a while I caught a sentence like this : 

" I say, mammy, you can't begin to think how glad 
I am you are getting down to my shirts ! Such work 
as they make washing for a fellow at college ! My 
black washerwoman (and such a beauty as she is — 
such a little rosebud of a mouth !) pretends to fasten 
the loose buttons — now, there is a specimen of her 
pei-formances — just look ! The real truth is, Mrs. 
Welch, that mother and you are the only women I 
know of who can sew on a button worth a pin — just 
the only two, by George ! Now, there's Pierre de 
CaiTjideaux, one of our young fellows down there — 
his friends all live in Hayti, or some other unknown 
and uninhabitable region, you know, over the sea—* 



124 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

I wish you could see his clothes ! The way they 
mend at the tailors ! But the darns in his stockings 
are the funniest. He rooms with me, and so I hear 
him talking to himself, in French. I am afraid he 
swears, sometimes — hut the way he fares is enough 
to make a saint swear I" And then followed a de- 
tail that caused mammy to wipe her eyes in sympa- 
thy with this strange phase of human woe, in alter- 
nation with an occasional exclamation of amusement 
— like, " You'll surely be the death of me. Master 
Sidney !" apparently forced spasmodically from her 
lips, despite the self-imposed taciturnity which, 1 
shrewdly suspected, my presence created. 

" Mother, my revered maternal primative, may 1 
read you this anecdote? Colonel, will you allow 
me ?" — a respectful glance at the book in my hand. 
And squeezing himself in from behind, by some 
utterly inconceivable india-rubber pliancy, between 
the fire and his much-enduring parent, the tall form 
of the stripling slowly subsided until I could discern 
nothing but a mass of wavy black hair reposing 
amid the soft folds of his mother's morning-gown, 
and a bit of his newspaper. Thus disposed, appa- 
rently to the entire satisfaction of all concerned, ho 
read : 

'*Once, while the celebrated John Kemble, the 
renowned actor and acute critic, was still seated at 
the dinner-table of an English nobleman, with whom 
lie had been dining, a servant announced that Mrs. 
Kemble awaited her husband in a carriage at the 
9oor Some time elapsed, and the impersonatoi of 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 125 

Shakspeare's mighty creations remained immovable. 
At length the servant, re-entering, said * ' Mrs. Kem- 
ble bids me say, sir, that she is afraid of getting the 
rheumatiz.'' ' Add ^sm,' replied the imperturbable 
critic of language, and quietly continued his discourse 
with his host." 

" If I should ever be compelled to marry — which, 
of course, I never shall unless you disinherit me, 
mother, or mammy insists upon leaving us to keep 
house for that handsome widower, in the long snuff 
overcoat — [though the respectable female thus 
alluded to did not even glance up from her stitching, 
I plainly marked a little nod of virtuous defiance, 
and a fluttering in the crimpings of the ample cap- 
border, that plainly expressed desperation to the 
hopes of the widower aforesaid] — but if fate should 
decree my ' attaining knowledge under diflflculties,' 
upon this subject, I hope I'll be a little too decent to 
keep my wife sitting out doors in a London fog (1 
shall make a bridal tour to Europe, of course), while 
I am imbibing, even with a ' nobleman.' Speaking 
of the tyranny of fate, I am, most reluctantly, com- 
pelled to deprive you of my refreshing conversation, 
my dear and excellent mother. If my dilapidated 
linen is restored to its virgin integrity : in other 
words, if my shirt is done, I propose retiring to the 
deepest shades of private life, and getting myself up, 
without the slightest consideration for the financial 
affairs of my honored masculine progenitor, for a 
morning call upon , the fortunate youthful 



126 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GITIDE 

beauty I, at present, honor with my particular ado- 
ration." So saying, Sir Hopeful slowly emerged 
from his ' loop-hole of retreat,' and making a pro- 
found obeisance to his guardian spirit, and another 
to me, a shade less lowly, he took himself off, with 
his linen over his arm, and a grand parting flourish at 
the door, with his hat upon his walking-stick, for the 
especial benefit of his little brother, which elicited 
a shout of unmingled admiration from the juvenile 
spectators that need not have been despised by Herr 
Alexander himself. 

During dinner that day, as the varied and most 
bountiful course of pastry, etc., was about to be 
removed, young Sidney said : 

" Mother, allow me to relieve you of the largest 
half of that solitary-looking piece of mince-pie. I 
am sorry I cannot afford to take the whole of it 
under my protecting care." 

" My dear son," replied my hostess, pleasantly, 
"let me suggest the attractions of variety. You 
have already done your devoir to this pie. Your 
father pronounces the cocoanut excellent" — and 
then, as if in reply to the look of surprise that met 
her good-humored sally, she added, in a tone meant 
only for the ears of the youth, " this happens to be 
the last, and mammy eats no other, you remember." 

" No great matter, either ; to-morrow will be bak- 
ing-day. Now I know why you took none yourself, 
mother," answered Sidney, cheerfully, in the same 
^* aside" manner ; and the placid smile on the hospi- 



ro POLITENESS AND FASHION. 1^ 

table face of the ' home-mother ' alone acknow- 
ledged her recognition of the ascription of self-denial 
to her ; for it is not occasionally, but always, that 

" In the clear heaven of her delightful eye, 
An angel guard of loTes and graces lie." 

Adieu 1 

[Jnoi<e Hal. 



128 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 



LETTER V. 

manner — practicajl directions. 

Mt dear !Nephew8 : 

Though good breeding is always and 
everywhere essentially tlie same, there are phases of 
daily life, especially demanding its exhibition. 
Manner in the street is one of these. 

Even in hours most exclnsively devoted to busi- 
ness, do not allow yourself to hurry along with a 
clouded, absent face and bent head, as if you forewr 
felt the foot of the earth-god on your neck ! Ciin-v 
an erect and open brow into the very midst of the 
heat and burden of the day. Take time to see your 
friends, as they cross you in the busy thoroughfares 
of life and. at least by a passing smile or a gesture 
of recognition, give token that you are not resolved 
into a mere money-making machine, and both will 
be better for this fleeting manifestation of the inner 
being. 

During business hours and in crowded business- 
streets no man should ever stop another, whom he 
knows to be necessarily constantly occupied at such 
times, except upon a matter of urgent need, and then 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 129 

if he alone is to be benefited by the detention, he 
should briefly apologize and state his errand in as 
few words as possible. 

But the habit of a cheerful tone of voice, a cor- 
dial smile, and friendly grasp of the hand, when 
meeting those with whom one is associated in social 
life, is not to be regarded as unimportant. 

If you do not intend to stop, when meeting a gen- 
tleman friend, recognize him as you approach, by 
a smile, and touching your hat salute him audibly 
with — "Good morning, sir," or "I hope you are well, 
sir," or (more familiarly), " Ah, Charley ! — good 
morning to you." But don't say, " How d' ye do, 
sir," when you cannot expect to learn, nor call back 
as you pass, something that will cause him to linger^ 
uncertain what you say. 

If you wish to stop a moment, especially in a 
thoroughfare, retain the hand you take, while you re- 
tire a little out of the human current ; and never fall 
into the absurdity of attempting to draw a tight or 
moistened glove while another waits the slow process 
It is better to offer the gloved hand as a rule, without 
apology, in the street. 

If you are compelled to detain a friend, when he 
is walking with a stranger, briefly but politely 
apologize to the stranger, and keep no one " in dur- 
ance vile " longer than absolute necessity requires. 
When thus circumstanced yourself, respond cheer- 
fully and courteously to the apologetic phrase offered, 
and, drawing a little aside, occupy yourself with any- 
thing beside the private conversation that interrupts 

6* 



130 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN 8 GUtDE 

your walk. Sometimes circumstances render it 
decorous to pass on with some courteous phrase, to 
step into some neighboring bookseller's, etc., or to 
make a rapid appointment for a re-union. Cultivate 
the quick discernment, the ready tact, that will en- 
gender ease of manner under those and similar cir- 
cumstances requiring prompt action. 

Never leav^ a friend suddenly in the street, either 
to join another, or for any other reason, without an 
apology ; the briefest phrase, expressed in a cordial 
tone, will suffice, in an emergency. 

Upon passing servants, or other inferiors in station, 
whom you wish to recognize, in the street, it is a good 
practice, without bowing or touching the hat, to salute 
them in. a kindly voice. 

When you meet a gentleman whom you know, 
walking with one or more ladies, with whom you are 
not acquainted, bow with grave respect to them also. 

Politeness requires that upon meeting ladies and 
gentlemen together, with both of whom one is ac- 
quainted, that one should lift the hat as he approaches 
them, and bowing first to the ladies, include the gen- 
tleman in a sweeping motion, or a succeeding bow, 
as the case permits. Should you stop, speak first to 
the lady, but do not offer to shake hands with a 
lady in full morning costume, should your glove 
be dark-colored or your hand uncovered. Again -lift 
your hat to each, in succession of age or rank, as a 
substitute for this dubious civility, with some play- 
ful expression, as " I am sorry my glove is not quite 
fresh, Mrs. , but you need no assurance of my 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 131 

being always the most devoted of your friends " or 
" admirers," or " Really, Miss , you are so beau- 
tifully dressed, and looking so charmingly, that I 
dare not venture too near I" And as you part, again 
take your hat quite off, letting the party pass you^ 
and on the wall side of the street, if that be practic- 
able. 

In the street with other men, carefully give that 
precedence to superior age or station which is so 
becoming in the young, by taking the outer side of 
the pavement, or that nearer the counter current, 
as circumstances may make most polite. When you 
give, or have an arm, carefully avoid all erratic move- 
ments, and heep step^ like a well-trained soldier ! 

Towards ladies^ in the streets, the most punctilious 
observance of politeness is due. "Walking with them, 
one should, of course, assume the relative position 
best adapted to protect them from inconvenience or 
danger, and carefully note and relieve them from the 
approach of either. In attending them into a store, 
&c., always give them precedence, holding the door 
open from without, if practicable. If compelled to 
pass before them, to attend to this courtesy, say, 
" allow me," or " with your permission," etc. Meet 
ing ladies, the hat should be taken off as you bow, 
and replaced when you have passed, or, if you 
pause to address them, politely raised again as you 
quit them. 

When you are stopped by a lady friend in the 
street, at once place yourself so as best to shield 
her from the throng, if you are in a crowd, or from 



188 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDB 

passing vehicles, etc., and never by your manner in« 
dicate either surprise or embarrassment upon such an 
occasion. Allow her to terminate the inteiview, 
and raise your hat quite off as you take leave ol her. 

When a stranger lady addresses an inquiry to you 
in the street, or when you restore something she 
has inadvertently dropped, touch your hat ceremo- 
niously, and with some phrase or accent of respect, 
add grace to a civility. 

K you have occasion to speak more than a word 
or two to a lady whom you may meet in walking, 
turn and acccompany her while you say what you 
wish, and, taking off your hat, when you withdraw, 
express your regret at losing the further enjoyment 
of her society, or the like. 

If you wish to join a lady whom you see before you, 
be careful in hurrying forward not to incommode her 
(or others, indeed), and do not speak so huriiedly, 
or loudly, as to startle her, or arrest attention^ and 
should you have only a slight acquaintance with her, 
say, as you assume a position at her side, " With 
your permission, madam, I will attend you," or 
" Give me leave to join your walk. Miss " etc. 

Of course, no well-bred man ever risks the possi- 
bility of intrusion in this way, or ever speaks first 
to a lady to whom he has only had a passing intro- 
duction. In the latter case, you look at a lady as 
you advance towards her, and await her recognition. 

Speaking of an intrusion, you should be well as- 
sured that you will not make an awkward third be- 
fore you venture to attach vourself to a lady and 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 133 

gentleman walking together, though you may even 
know them very well ; and the same rule holds gond 
in a picture-gallery, rococo-shop, or elsewhere, when 
two persons, or a party, sit or walk together. 

Every man is bound by the laws of courtesy, to note 
any street accident that imperils ladies, and at once 
to hasten to render such service as the occasion re- 
quires. Promptitude and self-possession may do good 
service to humanity and the fair, at such a juncture. 

Should you observe ladies whom you know, unat- 
tended by a gentleman, alighting from or entering a 
carriage, especially if there is no footman, and the 
driver maintains his seat, at once advance, hold the 
door open, and offer your hand, or protect a dress 
from the wheel, or the like, and bowing,pass on, all 
needed service rendered ; or, if more familiarity and 
your own wish sanction it, accompany them where 
they may chance to be entering. 

No general rule can be laid down respecting offer- 
ing the arm to ladies in the street. Where persons 
are known and reside habitually, local custom will 
usually be the best guide. At night, the arm should 
always be tendered, and so in ascending the multi- 
plied steps of a public building, etc., for equally 
obvious reasons. For similar cause, you go before 
ladies into church, into a crowded concert-room, etc., 
wherever, in short, they are best aided in securing 
seats, and escaping jostling, by this precedence of 
them. When attending a stranger lady, in visiting the 
noted places of your own city, or the like, and wl.en 
one of a party for a long walk, or of travellers, it may 



184 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

often be an imperative civility to proffer the arm. 
To relatives, or elderly ladies, this is always a proper 
courtesy, as it is to every woman, when you can thus 
most effectually secure her safety or her comfort. 

Do not forget, when walking with elderly people, 
or ladies, to moderate the headlong speed of your 
usual step. 

I will here enter my most emphatic protest against 
a practice of which ladies so justly complain, — 
the too-frequent rudeness of men in stationing them- 
selves at the entrance of churches, concert-rooms, 
opera houses, etc., for the express purpose, appa- 
rently, of staring every modest woman who may 
chance to enter, out of countenance. No one pos- 
sessed of true good-breeding will indulge in a 
practice so at variance with propriety. If occasion 
demands your thus remaining stationary upon the 
steps or in the portico of a public edifice, make 
room, at once, for ladies who may be enteiing, and 
avoid any appearance of curiosity regarding them. 
A similar course is suitable when occupying a place 
upon the steps, or at the windows of a pump-room 
at a watering-place, or of a hotel. Carefully avoid 
all semblance of staring at ladies passing in the 
street, alighting from a carriage, etc., and make no 
comment, even of a complimentary nature, in a voice 
that can possibly reach their ears. So, when walk- 
ing in the street, if beauty or grace attract your 
attention, let your regard be respectful^ and, even 
then, not too lixed. An audible comment or excla- 
mation, addressed to a companion, a laugh, a fami- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 185 

liar stare, are each and all, when any stranger, and 
more especially a wommi, is the subject of them, 
unhandsome in the extreme. 



Breakfasting one morning, at West Point, with an 
agreeable Portuguese, we chatted for some time over 
the newspapers and our coffee, as we sat within view 
of one of the most beautiful landscapes it has ever 
been my fortune to behold. At length our v/n- 
American indulgence in this respect, became the 
theme of conversation between us. 

" Pardon me," said the elegant foreigner, " but 
though the Americans are very kind — a very 
pleasant people, they do not take enough of time for 
these things, at all. They do not only eat in a 
hurry, but they even 'pass ihew friends in the street, 
sometimes, without speaking to them I . I remember 
last winter, in Philadelphia, where I was some 
months, I met one day, in Chestnut street, a gentle- 
man whom I knew very well, and he passed me 
without speaking. I made up my mind at once, 
that this shall not happen again, so the next time 
I saw him coming, I looked into a shop window, 
or at something, and did not see him. He came to 

me and said — " Good morning, Mr. A ! what 

is the matter with you, that you do not speak to 
me?" or something like that. I answered, that he 
had cut me in the street (I think that is what you 
call it !) two or three days before, and that I never 
will permit myself to be treated in this manner. 



186 THE AMEBIC AN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

Then lie said, that I must excuse him, that he must 
have been m Imsiness and did not see me, and sc 
on. But this is not the way of a gentleman in my 
country !" 

You must imagine for yourselves the double eft'ect, 
lent to the words of my companion by his foreign 
action and imperfect pronunciation, and the slight 
curl of his dark moustache as he emphasized the 
words I have underscored. 



"What a harum-scarum fellow that James Con- 
don is !" exclaimed a young lady, in my hearing. 
" I had reason to repent declining to drive to the 
concert last night, I assure you ! The moon, upon 
which I had counted, was obscured, and he not only 
hurried me along (though we had plenty of time, 
as I was quite ready when he came\ at breathless 
speed, but actually dragged me over a heap of 
rubbish, in crossing the street, upon which I nearly 
tumbled down, though I had his arm. When we 
reached the place, I was so heated and flurried that 
I could not half enjoy the music, and this morning 
I find not only that my handsome new boots are 
completely spoiled, but that I have any quantity of 
lime upon the bottom of the dress I wore, and my 
pretty fan, which he must needs insist upon carry* 
ing for me, saUly broken !"' 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. IZl 



"1 have seen everything and everybody I wish, 
in London, except the Duke of "Wellington," said 
a sprightly lady whose early morning walk past 
Apsley House — the town residence of the Iron 
Duke — I was attending some years since, " every 
distinguished man, except the Herb of Waterloo. 
1 liope I shall not lose that pleasure I" 

" Ton may have that pleasure now, madam !" 
exclaimed a gentleman, passing us and rapidly walk- 
ing forward, in whose erect figure and very narrow 
brimmed hat, I at once recognized the object of my 
companion's hitherto unsatisfied curiosity. 

Strolling in Kensington Park, during that same 
morning, and at an hour too unfashionably early for 
a crowd, with my fair charge, I drew her gently aside, 
as she leaned on my arm, from some slight obstruction 
in our path, which she did not observe, and which 
might otherwise have incommoded her. 

" Keally Colonel Lunettes," said she, " your watch- 
ful politeness reminds me of my dear father's. You 
gentlemen oi the old school so much surpass modern 
beaux in courtesy ! I well remember the last walk 
I had in Broadway with papa, before we sailed. 
Mrs. W — — and I were making a morning visit, 
quite up town for us-^Brooklynites — in Union Place, 
upon a bride, when who should also arrive but papa. 
When we took leave, he accompanied us, and finding 
that we had taken a fancy to walk all the way to the 
ferry, insisted upon going with us — only think, 
at his age, and so luxurious in his habits, too! As 



138 THE AMERICAN QENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

he is a little hard of hearing, and likes always to 

talk with Mrs. W , who is a great favorite of 

his, I insisted upon his walking between us — that I 
might have his arm, and yetnot interfere with his con- 
versation. This, of course, brought me on the outside. 
But I cannot describe to you the watcliful care he 
had for me, all* the way. At the slightest crowding 
he held me so firmly — saw every swerve of the 
vehicles towards us, and would hold my dress away 
from every rough box or so, that lumbered the 
sidewalk, and every now and then he would say — 
' Minnie, wouldn't you be more comfortable on my 
other arm ? I am afraid you will be hurt there !' At 
the Brooklyn ferry he was to leave us, as he could 
not go over to dine that day. Seeing a crowd at 
the door of the office, he hastened a little before us 
to pay the fare, and then saw us safely through the 
press, taking leave of me as politely as of Mrs. 

W . ' What an elegant gentleman your father 

is !' cried out Mrs. W , as soon as he was gone, 

' he always reminds me of the descriptions we read 
of the chivalrous courtesy of knights of olden time ; 
it is like listening to a heroic ballad to be with 
him, and receive his politeness.' I know you won't 
laugh at me, Colonel, when I say that the memory 
of that simple incident is still as fresh in my heart, 
as though no ocean voyage and long travel had 
ccJine between ; and I can truly say that I was 
prouder of my cavalier attendant that day, than 1 
ever was of all the young men together, who ever 
walked Broadway, veith me." The tremulous tones- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 139 

the glistening eyes, and the glowing cheeks of the 
the fair young speaker attested the truth of her 
filial boast, and I — but you must draw your own 
morals !" 

Presently we resumed our chat, and the theme of 
the moment together. 

" I well recollect," said my companion, in the 
course of our discussion, " the impression produced 
upon me, in my girlhood, by the manners of a young 
gentleman, who was my groomsman at the wedding 
of a young friend. Some of the lessons of good 
breeding taught me by his example, I shall never 
forget, I think. I was the most bashful creature in 
the world at that time, and he quite won my heart 
by the politeness with which he set me at ease, at 
once, when he came to take me away in a carriage 
to join ray young friends. But that was not the 
point : the next morning after the wedding, we were 
all to attend the ' happy pair' as far as Saratoga, on 
their wedding-tour ; that is, the bridesmaids and 
bridesmen. At Schenectady, we were put into an 
old-fashioned car, divided into compartments. Just 
as we were about to start, a singularly tall, gaunt. 
Yankeefied-looking elderly woman scrambled into 
our little box of a place, and seated herself. We 
were fairly off, before she seemed fully to realize the 
trials of her new position. She did not say, in the 
language of the popular song, 

* I think there must be danger 
'Mong so many sparks !' 



140 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GTHDE 

but she looked as though she feared having falleo 
among the Philistines ; and, I am ashamed to say 
that some of our merry party made no scruple of pri- 
vately amusing themselves with her peculiarities of 
dress and manner. Mr. Henry, however (my grooms 
man), addressed some polite remarks to her, in so grave 
and respectful a manner as soon to convince her of his 
sincerity, and as carefully watched the sparks that 
fell upon her thick worsted gown, as those that an- 
noyed the rest of us. At the first stopping-place, you 
may be^very sure that the unwilling intruder was in 
haste to change her seat. 

" 'Do you wish to get out, madam !' inquired Mr. 
Henry ; ' allow me to help you ;' and bounding out, 
he assisted her down the high step, as carefully and 
respectfully as though she were some high dame of 
rank and fashion. I am afraid that, though I did 
not actually join in the merriment of my thoughtles? 
friends, I deserved the sting of conscience that served 
to fasten this little incident so firmly in my remem- 
brance. Perhaps I was, for this reason, the more 
impressed by another proof of the ever-ready polite- 
ness of this gentleman, who made such an impression 
upon my girlish fancy. We dined at Ballston, on 
our way to Saratoga, and after dinner, I asked Mr. 
Henry, with whom, iu spite of my first awe of his 
superiority of years and polish, I began to feel quite 
at east', td run down with me to one of the Springs, 
for a gL'.ss of water, before we should resume our 
journey. So he good-naturedly left the gentlemen 
(now I know that he may have wished to smoke) 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 141 

together at the table, and accompanied me. But 
now for my denoument. Just as we were in a nar- 
row place, between a high, steep bank and the track, 
the cars came rushing towards us. In an instant, 
quiy'ker than thought, Mr. Henry had transferred me 
from the arm next the cars — because more removed 
from the edge of the bank — to the other arm, thus 
placing his person between me and any passing dan- 
ger, and with such a quiet, re-assuring manner ! You 
smile, Colonel — but, really — well, you see what an 
impression it made upon my youthful sensibilities 1" 



" Oh, girls, such a charming adventure as I had 
this evening!" exclaimed Margaret, as a bevy of fair 
young creatures clustered together before the fire in 
a drawing-room where I was seated after dinner, with 
my newspaper. My attention was arrested by the 
peculiar animation with which these words were pro- 
nounced, and I glanced at the group, over the top of 
my spectacles. They reminded me of so many bril- 
liant-hued butterflies, in their bright-colored winter 
dresses, and with their light, wavy motions as they 
settled themselves, one on a pile of cushions, others 
on a low ottoman, and two pretty fairies on the 
hearth-rug, each uttering some exclamation of grati- 
fication at the prospect of amusement. 

" Now, don't expect anything extraordinary or 
dreadful, you silly creatures ; I have no 'hair-breadth 
'scapes by land or sea ' to entertain you with. Can't 



142 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

one have a ' charming adventure,' and yet have no« 

thing to tell ?" ' 

" But do tell us all there is to tell, dear Miss . 

Do, please, this verj moment." entreated one of the 
fairies, linking her arms around her companion, and 
mingling her golden ringlets with the darker locks of 
the head upon which her own lovingly rested. And 
a little concert of similar pleadings followed. This 
prelude over, the tantalizing adventuress began : 

" Before I went over to Kew York this morning, 
I wrote a little note to Mary Bostwick, telling her all 
about our arrangements for the Christmas-tree, and 
charging her not to fail to come to us on Christmas 
eve, and all about it, for fear that, as I had so much 
to accomplish, I might not be able to go up to 
Twenty -third street, and return home in time to meet 
you all here. My plan was to keep it until I was 
decided, and then, if obliged to send it, to put it in 
one of the City Express letter-boxes. Well, by the 
time I was through with all my important errands, 
it was time for me to turn my steps homeward. So, 
happening last at Tiffany's, to get the — I mean, I 
asked at Tiffany's for one of the places where a box 
is kept in that neighborhood, and was told that 
there was one in a druggist's, quite near — just above. 
Hurrying along, I must have passed the place, and 
stopped somewhere not far below ' Taylor's,' to see 
exactly where I was. • Time was flying, and it was 
really almost growing dark ; so I ventured to inquire 
of a gentleman who was passing, tliough an tatire 
stranger, for the druggist's. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 143 

" I think it is below, near the Astor House," said 
he, with such an appearance of interest as to em- 
bolden me to mention what I was in search of. 

"If that is all," he replied, "I dare say there is 
one nearer. Let me see," glancing around, " I think 
there is one on the opposite corner — I will see." 

" I have no right to give you that trouble, sir," 
said I. 

" Yes you have — ^it is what every man owes to 
your sex." 

"You are very good, sir; but I am sure I can 
make the inquiry for myself." 

" No, it is a tavern, where you cannot properly 
go alone ! Remain here, and I will ascertain for 
you." 

Before I could repeat my thanks, tbe gentleman 
was half across the street. 

Hoping to facilitate matters, I followed him to 
the opposite pavement, and stood where he would 
observe me upon coming out of the door I had seen 
him enter. I held the note and my porte-monnaie 
ready in my hand. 

" There is a box here," said my kind friend, 
returning, " if you will intrust me with your letter, 
I will deposit it for you." 

" You are very good, sir ; I would like to pay it," 
I answered, opening my porte-monnaie. 

He took the letter quickly, and prevented my 
intended offer of the postage so decidedly, that I did 
not dare insist. But, by this time, I really could not 



144 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUTOE 

refrain from the expression of more than an ordinary 
acknowledgment : 

" I have to thank you, sir," said I, " not only for 
a real kindness to a stranger, but for a pleasant 
raemory^ which I shall not soon lose. Such courtesy 
is too unusual to be soon forgotten ! ' How far one 
little candle sometimes throws its rajs !' — many 
thanks and good evening, sir !" 

I had still one more errand in Canal street, but I 
stayed on the " unfashionable side " of the street, and 
went up, to avoid the awkwardness of re-crossing 
with the gentleman, and the possibility of imposing 
any further tax upon his politeness — bless him ! 1 
wasn't half as weary after I met him, and my heart 
has been in a glow ever since ! 

" Bravo !" " Bravissimo !" echoed round the 
room, in various waves of silvery sound. 

" Is that all. Miss ?" inquired the only hoy of 

the party, unless you except the approach to second 
childhood ensconced behind the newspaper, and 
now acting the amiable part of reporter^ for your 
benefit. 

" All, unless I add that I occasionally glanced cau- 
tiously over, to catch the form of my kind friend, as I 
hurried along, that I might not again ci'oss his path ; 
but I did not ' calculate ' successfully after all ; for, 
as I ran across Broadway, at Canal street corner, he 
was a little nearer than I had expected. I bowed 
slightly, and hurried on: — but wasn't it beautiful? 
Such chivalrous sentiments towards M'omen : ' It is 
what we all owe your sex P And his manner was 



TO POLITENB88 AND FASHION. 145 

more expressive than his words — so gentle and qniet! 
No stage effect" 

" But you quoted Shakespeare," insinuated a 
pretty piece of malice on the ottoman. 

" I couldn't help it, if I did I I was surprised out 
of the use of ordinary language by an extraordinary 
occasion. If you are going to ridicule me, I shall 
be sorry I told you ; for it is one of the pleasantest 
things that has happened to me in a great while ! 
There was I, in my incognito-dress^ as I call it, weary 
and pale, nothing about me to attract interest, I am 
sure I I wish such men were more common in this 
world, they would elevate the race I" 

" I declare, cousin Maggie, you are growing enthu- 
siastic I I haven't seen such beaming eyes and such 
a brilliant color for a long timel Was this most 
gallant knight of yours a young gentleman, may 
I ask ?" 

The lady thus questioned seemed to reflect a 
moment before she replied : 

" If you mean to inquire whether he was a whis- 
kered, moustached elegant^ not a bit of it! I 
should not have addressed such a man in the street. 
On the contrary, he was " 

" Married^ I am afraid !" interrupted pretty mis- 
chief on the ottoman, giggling behind her next 
neighbor. 

" I dare say he may have been," pursued the nar- 
rator, quietly. " No very young man, even if he had 
wished to be polite to a stranger neither young nor 
beautiful, which is very doubtful, would have exhi- 

6 



146 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

bited the graceful self-possession and easy politeness 
of this gentleman : — he was, probably, going to his 
home in the upper part of the city after a business- 
day. As I remember his dress, though, of course, 
I had no thought about it at the time, it was the 
simple, unnoticeable attire of an Amei^ican gentleman 
when engaged in business occupations — everything 
about him, as I recall his presence, was iii keeping — 
unostentatious, quiet, appropriate ! I shall long 
preserve his portrait in my picture-gallery of me- 
mory, and I am proud to believe that he- is my own 
countryman !" 

" Cousin Maggie always says," remarked one of 
her auditors, " that Americans are the most truly 
polite men she has met " 

" Yes," returned the enthusiast, " though some- 
times wanting in mere surface-polish — 

'Where'er I roam, whatever lands I see, 
My heart, untravelled, fondlj turns to ' 

my own dear, honored countiymen — more truly chi- 
valrous, more truly just towards our sex, than the 
men of any other land ! I never yet appealed to 
one of them for aid, for courtesy, as a woman, and 
as a woman should, in vain. And I never, scarcely, 
am so placed as to have occasion for kindness — real 
kindness — without receiving it, unasked. The other 
day, for instance, caught in a sudden shower, I stood 
waiting for a stage, ' down town,' in Broadway. 
There was such a jara that I was afraid to try and 
get into one that stopped quite near the sidewalk. 



TO rOLITENESS AND FA8UI0N. 147 

A policeman, at that moment, asked me whether 1 
wished to get in, and, holding my arm, stepped over 
the curb with me. * I don't know what the ladies 
would do without the aid of your corps, sometimes, 
in these crowds,' said I. 

" ' If the ladies will accept our services, we are 
proud, madam,' answered he. 

" ' I am very glad to do so,' returned I ; and well 
I might, for, at that instant, as I was on the point of 
setting my foot on the step of the omnibus, the horse 
attached to a cart next behind suddenly started for- 
ward, and left no space between his head and the 
door of the stage. I shrunk back, as you may ima- 
gine, and said I would walk, in spite of the rain. 
But the policeman encouraged me, and called out to 
the carman to fall back. At that instant, I observed 
a gentleman come out upon the step of the stage. 
With a single imperious gesture, and the sternest 
face, he drove back the horse, and springing into 
the omnibus, held the door open with one hand, and 
extended the other to me. To be sure, the police- 
man almost pinched my arm in two, in his effort to 
keep me safe, but I was, at last, seated with whole 
bones and a grateful heart, at the side of my brave, 
Jiiud champion. As soon as I recovered breath, I 
was curious to see again the face whose expression 
had arrested my attention (of course, I did not wait 
for breath to thank him), and to note the external 
characteristics of a man who would impulsively ren- 
der such service to a woman — ^like Charles Lamb — 
(dear, gentle Charles Lamb !) holding his umbrella 



148 THE AMEBICAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

over the head of a washerwoman, because she was a 
woman ! Well, my friend was looking straight be- 
fore him, apparently wholly unconscious of the exist- 
ence of the trembling being he had so humanely 
befriended, with the most impenetrable face imagin- 
able, and a sort of abstracted manner. Presently I 
desired to open the window behind me — still not 
quite recovered from my fright and flutter. Almost 
before my hand was on the glass, my courteous 
neighbor relieved me of my task. Again I rendered 
cordial thanks, and again, as soon as delicacy per- 
mitted, glanced furtively at the face beside me. 
Nothing to reward my scrutiny was there revealed ; 
the same absorbed, fixed expression, the same seem- 
ing unconsciousness! But can you doubt that a 
noble, manly nature was veiled beneath that calm 
face and quiet manner — a nature that would gleam 
out in an instant, should humanity prompt, or 
wrong excite? And I could tell you numberless 
Buch anecdotes — all illustrative of my favorite 
theory." 

" So could we all," said another lady, " I have no 
doubt, if we only remembered them." 

" I never forget anything of that kind," returned 
Margaret. "It is to me like a strain of fine music, 
acted jpoetry^ if I may use such a phrase. Such in- 
cidents make, for me, the poetiy of real life^ indeed 1 
They inspire in my heart, 

• The still, svteet nmsic of humanity.' *• 



TO P0LITKNK8S AND FASHION. 14# 



One magnificent moonlight night, while I was in 

Kome with your cousins and the W s, a party 

was formed to visit the Coliseum. That whimsical 
creature, Grace, whom I had more than once detected 
in a disposition to fall behind the rest of the company, 
as we strolled slowly through the ruins, at length 
stole up to me, as I paused a little apart from the 
group, and twining her arm within mine, whispered 
softly : 

" Do^ dear Uncle Hal, come this way with me for 
a few moments !" 

Yielding to the impulse she gave me, we were 
presently disengaged from our companions, and, 
leaning, as if by mutual agreement, against a pillar. 

" What a luxury it is to be quiet !" exclaimed your 
cousin, with a sigh of relief. " How that little Mis3 

B does chatter! Really it is profanation to 

think or speak of common things to-night, and here 1" 

" Well, my fair Epicurean," returned I, " since 

' Silence, like a poultice cornea 

To heal the blows of sound,' 

you shall reward me for my indulgence in attending 
you, by repeating some of Byron's apropos lines, 
for me as we stand here " — 

" At your pleasure, dear uncle." 

Presently she began, in a subdued tone, as if afraid 
of disturbing the dreams of another, or as if hali 
listening while she spoke to the tread of those 



160 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN S UUIDB 

* Whose distant footsteps echo 
Through the corridors of Time ;' 

but gradually losing all consciousness, save that of 
the inspiration of the bard, our fair enthusiast reached 
a climax of eloquence with the words — 

' The azure gloom 
Of an Italian night, where the deep skies assume 
Hues which have words, and speak to ye of Heaven, 
Floats o'er this vast and wondrous monument,' " — 

and she stretched out her arm, with an impulsive 
gesture, as she spoke. I perceived a sudden recoil, 
at the instant, of her dilating form, and, before 
I could devise an explanation, heard the words, 
" You are my prisoner, madam," and discovered a 
gentleman standing in the deep shadow of the pillar, 
close at her side, busily endeavoring to disentangle 
the fringe of her shawl from the buttons of his coat. 

I remembered, afterwards, having noticed in pass- 
ing, sometime before, a shadowy figure standing with 
folded arms and upturned face, half lost in the deep 
shadow of a pillar, apparently quite unconscious of 
the vicinity of the chattering ephemera fluttering by 
his retreat. I at once surmised that Grace and I had 
approached from the other side, and inadvertently sta- 
tioned ourselves near this asthetical devotee — so near 
that your cousin, in the excitement of her eloquencCi 
had fastened a lasso upon the dress of the stranger. 

" You are my prisoner, madam," he said, in French. 
The words were simple enough, not so apposite but 



TO rOLIl-ENESS AXD FASHION. 15jL 

that many an one might have uttered them under 
similar circumstances. Yet they were replete with 
meaning, conveyed by the subtle aid of intonation 
and of manner. The most chivalrous courtesy, the 
most exquisite refinement, were fully expressed in 
that brief sentence. 

" I have no fears either for my purse, or my life," 
returned the quick-witted lady thus addressed, aiding 
in the required disentanglement. 

" You need have none," rejoined the gentleman, 
" though the laws of chivalry entitle me to demand a 
goodly ransom for so fair a prize " — glancing politely 
towards me. 

" Accept, at least, the poor guerdon of this token 
of my thanks," said the enthusiast of the moment, 
tendering a beautiful flower, which was opportunely 
loosened from her bosom by the slight derangement 
of her dress. 

" It will be a treasured memento," answered the 
stranger, receiving the proffered gift with graceful 
respect, and, bowing with the most courtly deference, 
he walked rapidly away, as loth, by lingering one 
needless moment, to seem intrusive. 

" What a voice !" exclaimed Grace, as the retreat- 
ing figure disappeared behind the fraginent of a 
fallen column, " blithe as the matin tone o{ a lark, 
and" 

" Clear as the note of the clarion that startled you 
so upon the Appian Way, the other day," I sug- 
gested, " and indeed, I am not sure that there was 
not a little tremor in your fingers, this time, my brave 



152 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

lady, and that you did not hold just a little tighter 
fast the arm of your old uncle." 

"What nonsense, Uncle Hal! — could anything 
be more delicately reassuring — admitting that I was 
startled, at first, — than the whole bearing of the 
gentleman ?" 

" Should you know him again ?" I questioned. 

" I think I should, were it only by the diamond he 
wore," she replied, with a little laugh at the woman's 
reason. '' Did you observe it uncle, as his macin- 
tosh was opened by the pulling of that silly fringe — 
really it might grace the crescent of Dian herself, 
on a gala-night — it was a young star ! but I also saw 
his face distinctly as he raised his hat.'* 

Well, now for the denoument of my story — for 
every romantic adventure should properly have a 
denoument. 

As we were all riding on the Campagna a few 
days afterwards, the usual intimation was given of 
the approach of the cortege of the Pope. Of course 
we went through the mummery of withdrawing, 
while the poor old man was hurried along in his air- 
ing. Standing thus together, a party of gentlemen 
rode rapidly up, and, recognizing some of our party, 
joined us. 

Scarcely were the usual greetings over, when 
Grace, reining her horse near me, said, in a low tone : 
" Uncle, there is the ' bright particular star' of the 
other night in the Coliseum ; I know I am not mis- 
taken." 

And so it proved — the polished, graceful stranger 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 163 

was not a Prince irtGognito^ not even an acreless 
count, whose best claim to respect consisted in here- 
ditary titles and courtly manners, but a yov/ag Ame- 
rican artist, full of activity, enthusiasm and genius, 
who had not forgotten to give beauty to the casket, 
because it enshrined a gem of high value. 

Ajpropos of gems — I afterwards learned that the 
superb brilliant he always wore on his breast was a 
token of the gratitude of a distinguished and munifi- 
cent patron and friend, for whom this child of feel- 
ing and genius had successfully incarnated all that 
was earthly of one loved and lost. 

We subsequently became well acquainted with our 
gifted countryman, and a right good fellow he proved. 
We met him constantly in society, while at Florence 

— the ItdWdio. Paradise of Americans, ii9, Miss 

always called it — where his genial manners, the type 
of a genial nature, made him a general favorite, as 
well with natives as foreigners. 

Soon after he was named to me that day on the 
Campagna, your cousin, who had again moved from 
my side, turned her face towards us. The movement 
arrested the attention of my companion — ^he glanced 
inquiringly at me. 

" I think I am not mistaken, sir ; have we not met 
before ?" and the same exquisite courtesy illilmlned 
his face that had so impressed me previously. " May 
I ask the honor of a presentation to my sometime 
prisoner?" 

" Really, sir," I overheard Grace confessing, in hei 
sprightliest tones, as, the two parties uniting for tho 



154 THE AMERICAN QENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

nonce, we all rode on together ; " really, sir, I re- 
member to have been secretly rejoiced at having left 
my heart, watch, and other valuables, safely locked 
up at home, when I found myself in such a danger- 
ous-looking neighborhood." 

"And T' still indulge the regiet that my profession 
did not fully entitle me to retain possession, not only 
of the shawl, which, no doubt, was a camel's hair 
of unknown value, but of the embodied poetry it 
enwrapped." 

" You seem quite to overlook the fact that I was 
guarded, like a damsel of old, by a doughty knight." 

I wish I could half describe the dextrous twirl of 
the moustache, and the quickly-shadowed brow that 
suddenly transformed that luminous and honest face 
into that of the dark, moody brigand, as, fumbling 
in his bosom the while, as about to unsheatli a dag- 
ger, he growled, in mock-heroic manner — " It were 
easy to find means to silence such an opponent, with 
such a reward in view I" 

The merry laugh with which Grace received this 
sally, proved that she, at least, liked the versatility 
of ma/nner possessed by her gallant attendant. 



Touching the electric chain of memory, causes 
another link to vibrate, and I am reminded of my pro- 
mise, made in a former letter, to tell you about the 
American girl whose beautiful arm threw Powers 
into raptures. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 155 

Yon will, perhaps, recollect that I alluded to my 
having met abroad the heroine of the cornelian pate 
anecdote. I assure you, I had ample occasion, more 
than once, to be proud of my lovely countrywoman, 
in the most distinguished European circles — and by 
that term I do not refer to distinction created by 
mere rank. But to my tale : 

One day, during our mutual sojourn in her well- 
named Italian " Paradise," Miss , and her father, 

in accordance with a previous arrangement, called 
at my lodgings, to take me with them to a dinner at 
the Palace de . 

" I propose, as we have purposely come early, Col. 
Lunettes, in the hope of finding you at leisure, that 
we shall drop in at Powers' studio, a few minutes ; 
it is in our direct way, and he will be there, as I 
happen to know. I so wish to know your impression 
of papa's bust.'' 

While I was enjoying a chat with the presiding 
genius of the scene, a little apart from a group 
gathered about some object of peculiar interest, a 
sudden glow of enthusiasm lighted his eye, as with 
Promethean fire. 

"Heavens, what an arm!" exclaimed Powers. 
"Oh, for the art to 'petrify it!" he added, with an 
expressive gestm'e, the furore of the artist rapidly 
enkindling. 

Following the direction of his glance, I beheld 
what might well excite admiration in a less discrimi- 
nating spectator. The velvet mantle that had 
shrouded the gala- dress of Miss having fallen 



156 THE AMEEICAJf GENTLEMAN A GUIDE 

from her shoulders, disclosed the delicate beauty of 
the uncovered arm and hand, which she was eagerly 
extending towards the marble before her. 

"Remain just as you now stand, for a moment," 
said I, " and let me see what I can do for you." 

" Miss ," 1 asked, advancing towards my fair 

friend, " will you let me invite your attention to this 
new study ? It is entitled ' The Artist's Prayer,' and 
18 supposed to impersonate the petition, ' Petrify it, 
O, ye gods !' " 

Of course, this led to a brief and laughing expla- 
nation. 

" Happily, no earthly Powers can achieve that 
transformation I" exclaimed the Lucifer of the Coli- 
seum, who was present, " but all will join in the 
entreaty that we may be permitted to possess an 
imitation of so beautiful an original." 

I am not permitted to disclose the secrets of the 
inner temple ; but many of you will yet behold the 
loveliness that so charmed the lovers of art, moulded 
into eternal marble. 



*rO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 157 



LETTEE VI. 

manner, continued. 

sules for visiting, and for manner in sooiett 
generally. 

My dear Nephews: 

Having attempted, in ray last two letters, 
with what success you will best j udge, to give you 
some practical hints respecting manner at home and 
in the street, suppose we take up, next, the consi- 
deration of the conduct proper in Visiting^ and on 
public occasions, generally. 

Among the minor obligations of social life, per- 
haps few things are regarded as more formidable by 
the unpractised, than ceremonious morning visits to 
ladies. And perhaps, among the simple occurrences 
of ordinary existence, few serve more fully to illus- 
trate individual tact, self-possession, and conver- 
sational skill. 

Without aiming at much method in so doing, I 
will endeavor to furnish you with a few directions 
of general applicability. 

Hours for making morning calls are somewhat 
varied by place and circumstance ; but, as a rule, 



158 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

twelve o'clock is the earliest hour at which it is 
admissible to jnake a visit of ceremony. From 
that time until near the prevailing dinner-hour, in a 
small town, or that known to be such in particular 
instances, one may suit one's convenience. 

It is obviously unsuitable, usually, to prolong an 
interview of this kind beyond a very moderate 
length, and hence, as well as for other reasons, the 
conversation should be light, varied, and appropriate 
to outward circumstances. 

It is proper to send your card, not only to 
announce yourself to strangers to whom you may 
wish to pay your respects, but to all ladies with 
whom you are not upon very intimate terms, and 
at a private house, to designate intelligibly to the 
servant who receives your card, the individual, or 
the several persons, whom you wish to see. 

If you go to a hotel, etc., for this purpose, write the 
name of the lady or ladies, for whom your visit is 
designed, upon your card, dbove your own name, in 
a legible manner, and await the return of the mes- 
senger, to whom you intrust it, wJiere you part from, 
Mm. If, upon his return, you are to remain for 
your friends, and there be a choice of apartments 
for that pui'pose, unless you choose to station your- 
self within sight of the stairs they must of need 
descend, or the corridor through which they must 
pass, let the porter in attendance distinctly understand 
not only your name, but where you are to be found, 
and if possible, give him some clue to the identifica- 
tion of the friends you wish to see. After a few 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 159 

vexatious mistakes and misapprehensions, you will 
admit the wisdom of these precautionary measures, I 
have no doubt. When you are shown into the draw- 
ing-room of a private residence, if the mistress of the 
mansion is present, at once advance towards her. 
Should she offer her hand, be prompt to receive it, 
and for this purpose, take your hat, stick, and right- 
hand glove (unless an occasion of extreme ceremony 
demands your wearing the latter), in your left hand, 
as you enter. If your hostess does not offer her 
hand, when she rises to receive you, simply bow, as 
you pay your compliments, and take the seat she 
designates, or that the servant places for you. When 
there are other ladies of the same family present, 
speak to each, in succession, according to age, or 
other proper precedence, before you seat yourself. 
If there are ladies in the room whom you do not 
know, bow slightly to them, also, and if you are 
introduced, after you have assumed a seat, rise and 
bow to them. When men are introduced, they usu- 
ally mutually advance and shake hands ; but the 
intimation that this will be agreeable to her, should 
always be the test when you are presented to a lady, 
or when you address a lady acquaintance. 

Some tact is necessary in deciding your move- 
ments when you find yourself preceded by othex; 
visitors, in making a morning call. If you have no 
special reason, as a message to deliver, 'or an 
appointment to make, for lingering, and discover 
that you are interrupting a circle, or when you are 
ji the midst of strangers, where the converaation 



160 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

does not at once become general, upon your making 
one of them, address a few polite phrases to your 
hostess, if you can do so with ease and propriety 
from your position with regard to her, and take 
leave, approaching her nearly enough, when you 
rise to go, to make your adieu audible, or to receive 
her hand, should she offer it. To strangers, even 
when you have been introduced, you, ordinarily, only 
bow passingly, as you are about to quit the room. 

Should you have a special object in calling upon 
a lady, keep it carefully in view, that you may 
accomplish it before you leave her presence. When 
other visitors, or some similar circumstance, interfere 
with the accomplishment of your purpose, you may 
write what you wish upon a card in the hall, as you 
go out, and intrust it to a servant, or leave a message 
with him, or in case of there being objections to 
either of those methods of communication, resort to 
an appointment requested through him, or subse- 
quently write a note to that effect, or containing an. 
explanation of the object of your visit. "When you 
determine to outstay others at a morning reception, 
upon the rising of ladies to depart, you rise also, 
under all circumstances ; and when they are acquaint- 
ances, and unattended by a gentleman, accompany 
them to the street-door, and to their carriage, if they 
are driving, and then return to your hostess. Unac- 
quainted, you simply stand until ladies leave the 
room, politely returning their parting salutation, if 
they make one. Any appearance of a wish on the 
part of those whom you chance to meet thus, for an 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 161 

aside conversation, will, of course, suggest the pro- 
priety of occupying yourself until your liostess is at 
leisure, with some subject of iuterest in the room — 
turn to a picture, open a book, examine some article 
of hijouterie, and, thus civilly unobtrusive, observe 
only when it is proper for you to notice the separa- 
tion of the company. 

As I have before said, in making a visit of mere 
politeness, some passing topic of interest should suc- 
ceed the courteous inquiries, etc., that naturally 
commence the conversation. Yisiting a lady prac- 
tised in the usages of society, relieves one, very 
naturally, from any necessity for leading the conver- 
sation. 

When your object is to make an appointment, 
give an invitation, etc., repeat the arrangement 
finally agreed upon, distinctly and deliberately, upon 
rising to go away, that both parties may distinctly 
understand it, beyond the possibility of mistake. 
* In attending ladies who are making morning visits, 
it is proper to assist them up the steps, ring the bell, 
write cards, etc. Entering, always follow them into 
the house and into the drawing-room, and wait until 
they have finished their salutations, unless you have 
to perform the part of presenting them. In that 
case, you enter with them, or stand within the door 
until they have entered, and advance beside them 
into the apartment. 

Ladies should always be the first to rise, in termi- 
nating a visit, and when they have made their adieux, 



162 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLEMAN^S GUIDE 

their cavaliers repeat the ceremony, and follow tliera 
out. 

When gentlemen call together, the younger, oi 
least in rank, gives careful precedence to others, 
rendering them courtesies similar to those due to 
ladies. 

Soiled over-shoes, or wet over-garments, should, 
on no account, be worn into an apartment devoted 
to the use of ladies, unless they cannot be safely left 
outside — as in the passage of a public house. In 
Buch case, by no means omit an apology for the 
necessary discourtesy. 

When ladies are not in the apartment where you 
are to pay your respects to them, advance to meet 
them upon their entrance ; and in the public room 
of a hotel, meet them as near the door as possible, 
especially if there is no gentleman with them, or 
the room be previously occupied, and conduct them 
to seats. 

Never remain seated in the company of ladies 
with whom you are ceremoniously associated, while 
they are standing. Follow them to any object of * 
interest to which they direct your attention ; place 
a seat for them, if much time will be required for 
such a purpose ; ring the bell, bring a book ; in 
short, courteously relieve them from whatever may 
be supposed to involve effort, fatigue, or discomfort 
of any kind. It is, for this reason, eminently suitable 
to offer the arm to ladies when ascending stairs. 
Nothing is more absurd than the habit of Receding 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 168 

them adopted by some men — as if by following just 
behind, as one should, if the arm is disengaged, 
there can be any violation of propriety. Soiled frills 
or unmended hose must have originated this vul- 
garity ! Tender the arm on the wall side of a lady, 
mounting a stairs, that she may have the benefit of 
the railing, and the fewer steps upon a landing ; and 
in assisting an invalid, or aged person, it is often 
well to keep one step in advance. It is always 
decorous to suit your pace to those you would 
assist. 

It is also a proper courtesy, always to relieve 
ladies of their parcels, parasols, shawls, etc., when 
ever this will conduce to their convenience, which 
is especially the case, of course, when they are 
occupied with the care of their dresses in ascending 
steps, entering a carriage, or passing through a 
crowd. 

The rules of etiquette properly observable in 
making ordinary ceremonious morning-visits, are 
also applicable to Morning Wedding- Beceptions with 
slight variations. Of course, you do not then an- 
nounce yourself by a card. When previously ac- 
quainted with her, you advance immediately to the 
bride, and offer your wishes for her future happiness. 
Never congratulate a lady upon her marriage ; such 
felicitations are, with good taste, tendered to the 
bridegroom, not to the bride. 

Having paid your compliments to the bride, 
you shake hands with the gi'oom, and bow to the 
bride-maids, when you know them. The mother of 



164 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDK 

the bride should then be sought. Here, again 
refinement dictates the avoidance of too eager 
congratulations. While expressing a cordial hope 
that the parents have added to their prospects of 
future pleasure in receiving a new member into 
their family, do not insinuate, by your manner, the 
conviction that they have no natural regret at resign- 
ing their daughter 

" To another path and guide, 
To a bosom yet untried." 

It is not usual to sit down on such occasions ; and it 
is as obviously unsuitable to remain long, as it is to 
engage the attention of those whom others may be 
waiting to approach, beyond the utterance of a few 
brief, well-chosen sentences. 

When you require an introduction to the bride, 
but are acquainted with her husband, you may 
speak first to him, and so secure a presentation. 
Usually a groomsman, or some other gentleman, is in 
readiness to present unknown visitors. In that case, 
should he, too, be a stranger to you, mention your 
name to him, and any little circumstance by which 
he may afford a passing theme or explanation, when 
he introduces you — as, that you are a friend of her 
father — promised your particular friend, her sister, 
to pay your respects, etc. 

On this, as in the instance of all similar occasions, 
tact and good-taste must suggest the variations of 
manner required by the greater or less degree of 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 165 

ceremony prevailing, and your individual relations 
to those you visit. 

In this connection I will add that a card may 
sometimes be properly made a substitute for paying 
one's respects in person — with a pencilled phrase of 
politeness, or accompanied by a note. In either 
case, an envelope of the most unexceptionable kind 
should be used, and a note written with equal atten- 
tion to ceremony. 

A Visit of Condolence is often most tastefully 
made by going in person to the residence of your 
friend, and leaving a courteous message, and your 
card, with a servant. Much politeness is sometimes 
expressed by the earliest possible call upon friends 
just arrived from a journey, etc., or b3i leaving or 
sending a card, with a pencilled expression of 
pleasure, and of the intention of availing yourself 
of the first suitable moment for payitig your com- 
pliments in person. 

Yisits upon New-Tear's Day should be short, as a 
rule, for the reasons before suggested, and it is not 
usual to sit down, except when old friends urge it, or 
when the presence of an elderly person, or an invalid, 
demands the appearance of peculiar consideration. 

On all occasions of ceremonious intercourse witli 
superiors in age and station, one or both, manner 
should be regulated, as respects familiarity, or even 
cordiality, Try them. " He approached me with 
familiarity^ I repulsed him with ceremony^'' said a 
man of rank, alluding to an impertinence of this 
kind. Never be the first, under such circumstances, 



166 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's OTJroE 

to violate the strict rules of convention. Their 
observance is often the safeguard of sensibility, as 
well as of self-respect. 

Simple good-taste will dictate the most quiet, un- 
noticeable bearing at Church. The saying of the 
celebrated Mrs. Chapone, that " it was part of her 
religion not to disturb the religion of others," is all 
inclusive. To enter early enough to be fully esta- 
blished in one's seat before the service commences, 
to attend politely, but very unostentatiously, to the 
little courtesies that may render others comforta- 
ble, to avoid all rude staring, and all appearance of 
inattention to the proper occupations of the occasion, 
as well as every semblance of irreverence^ will occur 
to all well-bred persons as obviously required by 
decorum. "When necessitated to go late to church, 
one should, as on all similar occasions, endeavor to 
disturb others as little as possible ; but with equal 
Btudiousness avoid the vulgar exhibition of discom- 
posure, of over-diffidence, or of any consciousness, 
indeed, of being observed, which so unmistakably 
savors of low-breeding. I cannot too frequently 
remind you that self-possession is one of the grand 
distinctive attributes of a gentleman, and that it is 
often best illustrated by a simple, quiet, successful 
manner of meeting the exigencies and peculiarities 
of circumstances. 

Never wear your hat into church. Remove it in the 
vestibule, and on no account resume it until you re- 
turn thither, unless health imperatively demands your 
doing so just before reaching the door opening into it. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 167 

All nodding, whispering, and exchanging of 
glances in church, is in bad taste. Even the latter 
should not be indulged in, unless a very charming 
woman is the provoking cause of the peccadillo, and 
then very stealthily and circumspectly 1 

Salutations, even with intimate friends, should 
always be very quietly exchanged, while one is still 
within the body of the sacred edifice, and the " outer 
court " of the house of God were better not the scene 
of boisterous mirth, or rude jostling. Let me add, 
here, that it is always proper, when compelled to 
hurry past those of right before you, at church, or 
elsewhere in a crowd, to apologize, briefly, but po- 
litely, for discommoding any one. 

Whenever you are in attendance upon ladies, as at 
the opera, concerts, lectures, etc., there is entire pro- 
priety in remaining with them in the seat you have 
paid for, or secured by early attendance. 'No gen- 
tleman should be expected to separate himself from 
a party to give his place to a lady under such circum- 
stances, and in no country but ours would such a 
request or intimation be made. But while it is quite 
justifiable to retain the seat taken upon entering 
such a public place, nothing is more wholly inad- 
missible than crowding in and out of your plact 
repeatedly, talking and laughing aloud, mistimea 
applauding, and the like. If you are not present for 
the simple purpose of witnessing the performance, 
whatever it may be, there are, doubtless, those who 
are ; and it is not only exceedingly vulgar, but 
immoralj to invade their rights in this regard. Be 



168 THE AHEBICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

careful, therefore, to secure your libretto^ concert- 
bill, or programme, as the case maj be, before 
assuming your seat ; and when you have ladies with 
you, or are one of a party, especially, as then you 
cannot so readily accept the penalty of carelessness, 
by not returning to your first seat. Should any un- 
foreseen necessity compel you to crowd past others, 
and afterwards resume your seat, presume as little as 
possible upon their polite forbearance, by great care 
of dresses, toes, etc., and each time politely apologize 
for the inconvenience you occasion. Let me repeat 
that no excuse exists for the too-frequent rudeness 
of disturbing others by fidgeting, whispering, laugh- 
ing, or applauding out of time. And even when 
standing or moving about between the exercises, on 
any public occasion, or the acts at a play-house, or 
opera, well-bred people are never disregardful of 
the rights and comfort of others. 

In a picture-gallery, at an exhibition of marbles, 
etc., nothing can be more indicative of a want of 
refinement sufficient to appreciate true art, than the 
impertinence exhibited in audible comments upon 
the subjects before you, and in interfering with the 
enjoyment of others by passing before them, moving 
seats noisily, talking and laughing aloud, etc. With 
persons of taste and refinement, there is an almost 
religious sacredness in the presence of the crea- 
tions of genius, to desecrate which, is as vulgar 
as it is irreverential of the beautiful and the good. 
Always then, carry out the most scrupulous regard 
of the rights and feelings of others, when yourself a 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 169 

devotee at the shrine of -Esthetics, by attention to 
the minutest forms of courtesy. This will dictate 
leaving your place the moment you rise, carrying 
everything with you belonging to you, and never 
stopping to shawl ladies, don an overcoat, or dis- 
pose of an opera-glass, until you can do so without 
interrupting the comfort of those you leave behind 
you. 

When you wish to take refreshments, or to offer 
them to ladies, at public entertainments, it is better 
to repair to the place where they are served, as a 
rule, unless it be in the instance of a single glass 
of water, or the like ; except when a party occupy 
an opera-box, etc., exclusively. 

Be careful never to attach yourself to a party 
of which you were not originally one, at any time, 
or place, unless fully assured of its being agreeable 
to the gentlemen previously associated with ladies ; 
or if a gentleman's party only, attracts you, make 
3'^ourself quite sure that no peccadillo be involved in 
your joining it, and in either case, let your manner 
indicate your remembrance of the circumstance of 
your properly standing in the relation of a recipient 
of the civilities due to the occasion. 

Some men practically adopt the opinion that the 
courteous observances of social and domestic life 
are wholly inapplicable to business intercourse. A 
little consideration will prove this a solecism. Good 
oreeding is not a thing to be put off and on with 
varying outward circumstance. K genuine, inhe- 
rent, it will always exhibit itself as certainly as 

8 



170 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDB 

integrity, or any other unalienable quality of an 
individual. The manifestations of this characteristic 
by manner^ will, of course, vary with occasion, but 
it will, nevertheless, be apparent at all times, and to 
all observers, when its legitimate influence is rightly 
understood and admitted. 

Hence, then, though the observaiice of elaborate 
ceremony in the more practical associations of busy 
outer life would be absurdly inappropriate, that care- 
ful respect for the rights and feelings of others, which 
is the basis of all true politeness, should not, under 
these circumstances, be disregarded. 

The secret of the superior popularity of some busi- 
ness men with their compeers and employes^ lies 
often, rather in manner than in any other character- 
istic. You may observe, in one instance, a universal 
favorite, to whom all his associates extend a welcom- 
ing hand, as though there were magic in the ready 
smile and genial manner, and who is served by his 
inferiora in station with cheerfulness and alacrity, in- 
dicating that a little more than a mere business bond 
draws them to him ; and again, an upright, but exter- 
nally-repulsive man, though always commanding 
respect from his compeers, holds them aloof by his 
frigidity, and receives the service of fear rather than 
of love from those to whom he may be always just, 
and even humane, if never sympathizing and un- 
bending. 

As I have before remarked, there is no occasion 
where we are associated with others, that does not 
demand the exliibition of a polite manner. TIius at 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 171 

a public tdble^ no man should allow himself to feed 
like a mere animal, wholly disregardful of those 
about him, and, as too frequently happens, forgetful 
of the proprieties that are observed when eating in 
private. Only at the best conducted hotels are all 
things so well and liberally appointed as to render 
those who meet at public tables wholly independent 
of each in little matters of comfort and convenience, 
and a well-bred man maybe recognized there, as eve- 
rywhere else, by his manner to those who may chance 
to be near him. He will neither call loudly to a ser- 
vant, nor monopolize the services that should be 
divided with others. His quick eye will discern a lady 
alone, or an invalid, and his ready courtesy supply a 
want, or proffer a civility, and he will not grudge a 
little self-denial, or a few minutes' time, in exchange 
for the consciousness of being true to himself, even 
in trifles. Nor will he ever eat as though running a 
race of life and death with Time ! Health and de- 
cency will alike prompt him to abstain wholly from 
attempting to take a meal, rather than assimilate 
himself to a ravenous brute, to gratify his appetite. 
Let no plea of want of time ever induce you, I en- 
treat, to acquire the American habit of thus eating 
in public. Even in the compulsatory haste of tra- 
velling, there is no valid excuse for this unhealthy 
and disgusting practice. And, with regard to daily 
life at one's hotel, or the like, the man who is habi- 
tually regardful of the value and right use of time, 
may well and wisely permit himself the simple indul- 
gence and relaxation of eating like a gentleman ! 



172 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDF 

While on this subject, permit me to remind you 
of the impropriety of staring at strangers, listening 
to c(5hversation in which you have no part, comment- 
ing audibly upon others, laughing and talking bois- 
terously, etc., etc. Let not even admiration tempt 
you to put a modest woman out of countenance, by 
a too fixed regard, nor let her even suspect that a nod, 
a" shrug, a significant whisper or glance had her for 
their object. Good-breeding requires one to hear as 
little as possible of the conversation of strangers, near 
whom he may chance to be seated. We quietly 
ignore their presence (as they should ours), unless 
some exigency demands a courtesy ; but we do not 
disturb our neighbors by vociferousness, even in the 
height of merriment, however harmless in itself. 

Should a lady, even though an entire stranger, be 
entering an eating-hall alone, or attended by another 
gentleman, at the same moment with yourself, give- 
precedence to her, with a slight bow ; and so, when 
quitting the room, as well as to your acknowledged 
superiors in age or position generally, and carefully 
avoid such self-engrossment as shall engender inat- 
tention to their observances. So, too, when meeting 
a lady on a public stairs, or in a passage-way, give 
place sufficiently to allow her to pass readily, touching 
your hat at the same moment. In the same manner 
remove a chair, or other obstacle that obstructs the 
way of a lady in a hotel^parlor, or on a piazza ; avoid 
placing a seat so as to crowd a lady, encroach upon 
& party, or compel you to sit before others. 

I admit that these are the minuticB of manners, my 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 173 

dear fellows ; but attention to them will increase your 
self-respect, and give elevation to your general cha- 
racter, just in proportion as self 18 subdued, and the 
baser propensities of our nature kept habitually in 
subserviency to the nobler qualities illustrated by 
habitual good-breeding. 

But to return. Though the circumstances must be 
peculiar that sanction your addressing a lady with 
whom you are unacquainted, in a public parlor, or 
the like, you are not required by convention to ap- 
pear so wholly unconscious of her presence as to 
retain your seat just in front of the only fire in the 
room on a cold day, in the only comfortable chair, or 
a place so near the only airy window on a hot one, 
as to preclude her approach to it. ]^or are you 
bound to sit in one seat and keep your legs across 
another, on the deck of a steamer, in a railroad car, 
in a tavern, at a public exhibition, while women 
sta^d near you, compelled by your not knowing 
them ! Let me hope, too, that no kinsman of mine 
will ever feel an inclination, when appealed to for 
information in some practical emergency, by one of 
the dependent sex, to repulse her with laconic cold- 
ness, though the appeal should chance when he is 
hurrying along the public highway of life, or through 
the most secluded of its by-paths. 

Few young men, I must believe, ever remember 
when in a large hotel, at night, with their compa- 
nions, that — opening into the corridors through which 
they tramp like a body of mounted cavalry upon a 
foray, with appropriate musical accompaniments — 



174 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

may be the apartments of the weary and the sick ; or, 
that, separated from the room in which they prolong 
their nocturnal revels, by only the thinnest of parti- 
tions, lies a timid and lonely woman, shrinking and 
trembling more and more nervously at each succes- 
Bive burst of mirth and song, or worse, that effectu- 
ally robs her of repose. Yet Sir Walter Kaleigh, or 
Sfr Philip Sidney, might, perchance, have thought 
even such a trifling peccadillo not un-note-worthy. 

The same general rules that are applicable to man- 
ner in public places, at hotels, etc., are almost 
equally so in travelling, modified only by circum- 
stances and good sense. 

A due consideration for the rights and feelings of 
others, will be a better guide to true politeness than 
a whole battery of conventionalisms. Courtesy to 
ladies, to age, to the suffering, will here, as ever, 
mark the true gentleman, as well as that habitual 
refinement which interdicts the offensive use of 
tobacco, where women sit or stand, or any other slo- 
venliness or indecorum. 

Under such circumstances, as many others in real 
life, never let cold ceremony deter you from render- 
ing a real service to a fellow-being, though you rea- 
dily avail yourselt of its barriers to repel imperti- 
nence or vulgarity. It is authentically recorded of 
one of the loyal subjects of the little crowned lady 
over the ocean, that, as soon as he was restored to 
the privileges of civilization, after having been cast 
away upon a desert island with only one other per- 
son, he at> once challenged his companion in misfor- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 175 

tune for having spoken to liim, during their mutual 
exile, without an introduction ! 

Should you iudulge in any skepticism respecting 
the literal truthfulness of this historical record, I can 
personally vouch for the following : Our eccentric 

and unhappy countryman, the gifted poet, P , 

was once, while travelling, roused from a moody and 
absorbing reverie, by the address of a stranger, who 

said : " Sir, I am Mr. W , the author — you have 

no doubt heard of me." The dreamy eye of the 
contemplative solitaire lighted with a sudden fire, 
as he deliberately scrutinized the intruder, then 
quickly contracting each feature so that his physio- 
gnomy changed at once to a very respectable imita- 
tion of a spy-glass, he coolly inquired: " Who the 
devil did you say you are V 

Practice and tact combined, can alone give a man 
ease and grace of manner amid the varying demands 
of social life, but systematic attention to details will 
soon simplify whatever may seem formidable in re- 
gard to it. No one but a fool or a monomaniac goes 
on stumbling through his allotted portion of exist- 
ence, when he may easily learn to go without stum- 
bling at all, or only occasion all}'. 

Thus, after experiencing the embarrassment of 
keeping ladies, with whom you have been driving in 
a hired carriage, standing in the rain, or sun, or in a 
jostling crowd, while you are waiting fot change to 
pay your coach, or submitting to extortion, or search- 
ing for your purse, you will, perhaps, resolve, when 
you are next so circumstanced, to ascertain before* 



176 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

hand, if possible, exactly what yon should lawfully 
pay, to have your money ready before reaching your 
final destination, and to leave the ladies seated in 
quiet while you alight, pay your fare and then 
secure shawls, etc., and make every other ar- 
rangement and inquiry that will facilitate their 
speedy and comfortable transit from the carriage. 

Thus much for manner in public. 

Now then, a few words relative to the bearing 
proper in social intercourse, and I will release 
you. 

In the character of JBTost, much is requisite that 
would be unsuitable elsewhere, since the youngest 
and most modest man must, of necessity, then take 
the lead. Thus, when you have guests at dinner, 
Bome care and tact are required in the simple matter, 
even, of disposing of your visitors with due regard 
to proper precedents. Of course, •when there are 
only men present, you desire him whom you wish to 
distinguish, to conduct the mistress of the mansion to 
the table, and are, yourself, the last to enter the 
dining-room. When there are ladies, the place of 
honor accorded to age, rank, or by some temporary 
relative -circumstance, is designated as being at your 
right hand, and you precede your other guests, in 
attendance upon such a lady. A stranger lady, for 
whom an entertainment is given, should be met by her 
host before she enters the drawing-room, and con- 
ducted to the hostess.' A gentleman, under similar 
circumstances, must be received at the door of the 
reception-room. In both instances, introductions 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 177 

should at once he given to those who are invited to 
jneet such guests. 

Persons living in large cities may, if they possess 
requisite pecuniary means, always procure servants 
so fully acquainted with the duties properly belong- 
ing to them as to relieve themselves, when they have 
visitors, from all attention to the details of the table. 
But it is only in the best appointed establishments 
that hospitality does not enjoin some regard to 
these matters. It may be unfashionable to keep an 
eye to the comfort of one's friends, when we are 
favored with their company, to consult their tastes, to 
humor their peculiarities, to convince them, by a thou- 
sand nameless acts of coiisideration and deference, 
that we have pleasure in rendering them honor due ; 
— this may not be in strict accordance with the 
cold ceremony of modern fashion, but it, neverthe- 
less, illustrates one of the most beautiful of charac- 
teristics — one ranked by the ancients as a virtue — 
Hospitality ! 

Permit me, also, to remind you that sometimes the 
most worthy people are not high-bred — not familiar 
with conventional proprieties ; that they even have 
a dread of them, on account of this ignorance ; and 
that they are, therefore, not fit subjects towards 
whom to display strict ceremony, or from whom to 
expect it. But always remember, that, though tliey 
may not understand conventionalisms, they will ful- 
ly appreciate genuine kindness, the talismanic charm 
that will always place the humblest and most self- 
distrustful guest at ease. And never let a vulgar, 

8* 



178 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAN^S GUIDE 

degrading fear of compromising your claims to gen- 
tility, tempt you to the inhumanity of wounding the 
feelings of the humblest of your humble friends ! 

If you have a large rout at your house, it will, 
necessarily, be impossible for you to render special 
attention to each guest; but you should, notwith- 
standing, quietly endeavor to promote the enjoy- 
ment of the company, by bringing such persons 
together as are best suited to the appreciation of each 
other's society, by drawing out the diffident, tender- 
ing some civility to an elderly, or particularly unas- 
suming visitor, and, in short, by a manner that, 
without in any degree savoring of over-solicitude, or 
bustling self-importance, shall save you from a fate 
similar to that of a gentleman of whom I lately read 
the following anecdote : 

A stranger at a large party, observing a gentleman 
leaning upon the corner of a mantel-piece, with a 
peculiarly melancholy expression of countenance, 
accosted him thus: — "Sir, as we both seem to be 
entire strangers to all here, suppose we both return 
home ?" He addressed his host ! 

In general society, do not let your pleasure in the 
conversation of one person whom you may chance 
to meet, or your being attached to a pleasant party, 
tempt you to forget the respect due to other friends, 
who may be present. Married ladies, whose hospi- 
talities you have shared, strangers who possess a claim 
upon you, through your relations with mutual friends, 
gentlemen whose politeness has been socially extend- 
ed to you, should never be rudely overlooked, or 



TO POLITENESB AND FASHIOIT. 179 

disconrteouslj neglected. Such a manner wou.d 
indicate rather a vulgar eagerness for selfish enjoy- 
ment than the collected self-possession, the well-sus* 
tained good-breeding, of a man of the world. Do 
not let a sudden attack of the modesty suitable to 
youth and insignificance, induce you to regard those 
proprieties as of no importance in your parti- 
cular case — exclaiming, "What's Hecuba to me, 
or I to Hecuba ?" Believe me, no one is so unimpor- 
tant as to be unable to give pleasure by politeness ; 
and no one having a place in society, has a right to 
self-abnegation in this respect. 



" Husband, do you know a young Mr. Y , in 

society here — a lawyer, I think?" inquired a lady- 
friend of mine, of a distinguished member of the 
Legislature of our State, with whom I was dining, at 
his hotel. 

" V ? That I do ! and a right clever fellow he 

is : — why, my dear ?" 

" Oh, nothing, I met him somewhere the other mor- 
ning, and was struck with his pleasing manners. This 
morning I was really indebted to his politeness. You 
know how slippery it was — well, I had been at Mrs. 

S 's reception, and was just hesitating on the top 

of the steps, on coming away, afraid to call the man 
from his horses, and fearful of venturing down alone, 

when Mr. V ran up, like a chamois-hunter, 

and offered his assistance. He not only escorted me 



180 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmB 

to the sleigh, but tucked up the furs, gave me my 
muff, and inquired for your health with such good- 
humor and cordiality as really quite won my heart !" 

"I should be exceedingly jealous, were it not that 
he made exactly the same impression upon me, a few 
evenings before you joined me here. It was at Miss 
T ^'s wedding. Of course, I had a card of invita- 
tion to the reception, after the ceremony, but, disliking 
crowds as I do, and as you were not here, I decided 
not to go. — ^The truth is, Colonel, [turning to me] 
we backwoodsmen are a little shy of these grand 
state occasions of ceremony and parade." — 

" Backwoodsmen, as you are pleased to term them, 
sometimes confer far more honor upon such occasions 
than they upon him,'^ returned I. 

" You are very polite, sir. Well, as I was saying, 
in the morning I met the bride's father, who was one 
of my early college friends, in the street, and he 
urged me, with such old-fashioned, hearty cordiality 
to come, that I began to think the homely charm 
of hospitality might not be wholly lacking, even at 
a fashionable entertainment, in this most fashionable 
city. So the upshot of the matter was my going, 
♦ though with some misgivings about my court-costume^ 
as my guardian-angel had deserted me." Reajly, 
boys, I wish you could have seen the chivalrous 
courtesy that lighted the fine eye and shone over the 
manner of the speaker, as, with these last words, he 
bowed to the fair companion of his life for something 
like half a century. 

"You forget, my dear," rejoined the lady, as a soft 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 181 

smile, and a softer blush stole over her sl.ill beaatifal 

face, " that Mrs. M wrote me you were quite 

the lion of the occasion, and that half the young 
ladies present, including the bride herself, were" — 

" My dear ! I cry you mercy ! — Bless my soul ! — 
an old fellow like me !"• 

" But K , my dear friend," I exclaimed, " don't 

be personal " 

" Lunettes, you were always, and still are, irresis- 
tible with the ladies, but — ^you are an exception.^'* 

"I protest!" cried Mrs. K , joining in our 

laughter, " Mr. Clay, to his latest day, was in high 
favor with ladies, young and old — there was no with- 
standing the charm of his manner. At Washington, 
one winter that I spent there, wherever I met him, 
he was encircled by the fairest and most distinguish- 
ed of our sex, all seeming to vie with each other for 
his attentions — and this was not because of his politi- 
cal rank, for others in high position did not share his 
popularity ; — it was his grace, his courtesy, his je ne 
sais quoi^ as the French say." 

" Mr. Clay was as remarkable for quiet self-pos- 
Bession and tact, in social as in public life," said I. 
" When I had the honor to be his colleague, I often 
had occasion to observe and admire both. I remem- 
ber once being a good deal amused by a little scene 

between him and a Miss , then a reigning hello 

at "Washington, and a great favorite of Mr. Clay's. 
Returning late one night from the Capitol, excessive- 
ly fatigued by a long and exciting debate, in which 
ho had borne an active part, he dropped into the 



182 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

ladies' parlor of our hotel, on hie way up stairs, 
hoping, I dare say, Mrs. K,, to enjoy the soothing 
influence of gentler smiles and tones than those he had 
left. The room was almost deserted, but, ensconced 
in one corner of a long, old-fashioned sofa, sat Miss 
, reading. His keen eye detected his fair friend 
in a moment, and his lagging step quickened as he 
approached her. A younger and handsomer man 
might well have envied the warm welcome he 
received. After sitting a moment beside the lady, 
Mr. Clay said, abruptly : — 

" Miss , what is your definition of true polite- 
ness ?" 

" Perfect ease," she replied. 

" I have the honor to agree with you, madam, and, 
with your entire permission, will take leave to 
assume the correctness of this jposition /" As he 
spoke, with a dextrous movement, the statesman 
disposed a large cushion near Miss — — 's end of the 
sofa, and simultaneously, down went his head upon 
the cushion, and up went his heels at the other 
extreme of the sofa ! But, my dear fellow, we are 
losing your adventures at the great wedding party, 
all this time " 

" Very true, my dear," added Mrs. K , wiping 

her eyes, "you fell in love with Mr. Y , you 

know " 

" Oh, yes," returned my host, " I did, indeed ; but 

I had no adventures, in particular. V was one 

of the aids-de-camp, on the occasion, as I knew by 
tlie white love-knot (what is the fashionable name, 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 183 

wife?) he wore on his breast. He was in the hall, 
when I came down stairs, to act in his office of ♦ 
groomsman. Upon seeing me, he advanced, and 
asked whether he could be of any service to me. I 
explained, while I drew on my gloves, that I did 
not know the bride, and feared that even her mother 
might have forgotten an early friend. His young 
eyes found the button of my glove quicker than mine, 
and as he released my hand, he said, showing a sad 
rent in his own, "you are fortunate in not having 
split them, sir, — ^but you gentlemen of the old school^'' 
'he added with a respectful bow, " always surpass us 
youngsters in matters of dress, as well as everything 
else." As he said this, the young rogue glanced 
politely over my plain black suit, and offered me his 
arm as deferentially as though I had been an Ex- 
President, at least ; and so on, throughout the even- 
ing, with apparent uncoiiscioiisness of self. I should 
have thought him wholly devoted to my enjoyment . 
of everything and everybody, had I not observed 
that others, equally, or more, in need of his attention 
than I, shared his courtesy — from an elderly lady in 
a huge church-tower of a cap, who seemed fearfully 
exercised less she should not secure her full share of 
the wedding-cake boxes, to one of the little sisters 
of the bride, who clung to her dress and sobbed as 
if her heart must break — all seemed to like him and 
defend on him." 

" I have not the pleasure of Mr. Y 's acquaint- 
ance," said I, " but I prophesy that he will succeed 
in lifer 



184 THE AMEEICAN GKNTLKMAn's GUIDE 

" Yes, and make friends at every step !" responded 
Mrs. K , warmly. " After we parted this morn- 
ing, I had an agreeable sort of half-consciousness 
that something pleasant had happened to me, and 
when I analised the feeling, Wordsworth's lines 
seemed to have been impersonated to me : — 

* A face with gladness overspread ! 
Soft smiles, by human kindness bredt 
And seemliness complete, that swajs 
Thy courtesies, about thee plays 1 ' " 



I have known few persons with as exquisite SBSthe- 
tical perceptions as my lovely friend Minnie. So I 
promised myself great pleasure in taking her to see 
Cole's celebrated series of pictures — ^The Codese op 
Time. It was soon after Cole's lamented death ; and, 
as Minnie had been some time living where she was 
deprived of such enjoyments, she had never seen 
these fine pictures. 

As we drove along towards the Art Union Gallery, 
the fair enthusiast was all eager expectation. " How 

often my kind friend Mr. S B. E , used to 

talk to me of Cole," said she, " and promise me the 
pleasure of knowing him. When he died I felt as 
though I had lost a dear friend, as 1 had indeed, for all 
who worship art, have a friend in each child of genius." 

" Cole was emphatically one of these," returned I, 
" as his conceptions alone prove." 

" Yes, indeed," replied Minnie, " I always think of 
him as the poet-j)ainter^ since I saw his first series — • 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 185 

the ' Progress of Empire.' Only a poet's imagina- 
tion could conceive his subjects." 

I placed my sweet friend in the most favorable 
position for enjoying each picture in succession, and 
seated myself at her side, rather for the gratification 
of listening to the low murmurs of delight that should 
be breathed by her kindred soul, than to view the 
painter's skill, as that no longer possessed the attrac- 
tion of novelty for me. 

We had just come to the sublime portraiture of 
'"'' Ma/nhood^'^ and Minnie seemed wholly absorbed in 
her own thoughts and imaginings. Suddenly a silly 
giggle broke the charmed stillness. The Devotee of 
the Beautiful started, as if abruptly awakened from 
a dream, and a slight shiver ran through her sensi- 
tive frame. 

Turning, I perceived, standing close behind us, a 
group of young persons, chattering and laughing, 
and pointing to different parts of the picture before 
us. Tlieir platitudes were not, perhaps, especially 
stupid, nor were they more noisy and rude than I 
have known free-horn republicans before, under 
somewhat similar circumstances ; but poor Minnie 
endured absolute torture ; her idealized delight 
vanished before a coarse reality. I well remember 
the imploring and distressed look with which she 
whispered : " Let us go, dear Colonel ;" and one 
glance at her pale face satisfied me that the spell was 
irrevocably broken for her, and that her long antici- 
pated "joy," in beholding "a thing of beauty" 
had indeed been cruelly alloyed. 



186 THE AMERICAN CJENTLEMAn's GTJIDE 



If my memory serves me aright, I told you some- 
tliing, in a former letter, of an interesting lady, a 
friend of mine, whose Husband was shot all to pieces 
in the Mexican War, and after lying for many months 
in an almost hopeless condition, finally so far reco- 
vered as to be removed to the sea-board, to take ship 
for New Orleans. When informed of this, his beauti- 
ful young wife — a belle, a beauty, and the petted idol 
of a large family circle before her marriage — set out, 
at mid-winter, accompanied by one of her brothers^ 
and taking with her the infant-child, whom its 
soldier-father had never seen, to meet her husband 
on his homeward route. This explanation will ren- 
der intelligible the following^ incident, which she 
herself related to me. 

" My brother remained with us some time at New 
Orleans," said the fair narrator ; " but, as Ernest 
began to improve, I entreated him to return home, 
as both his business and his family demanded his 
attention ; and you know, Colonel Lunettes," she 
added, with a sad smile, " that a soldier^ a wife must 
learn to be brave, for her own sake as well as for 
his. Ernest had with him an excellent, faithful 
servant, who was fully competent to such service as 
I could not render, and my little boy's nurse was 
with me, of course. So we made our homeward 
journey by slow stages, but with less suffering to 
my husband than we could have hoped, and I grew 
strong as soon as we were re-united, and felt ade- 
quate to anything, almost." 



TO POLITEITESS AND FASHION. 187 

The fair young creature added the last word with 
the same mournful smile that had before flitted over 
her sweet face, and as if rather in reply to the 
doubtful expression she read in my countenance, 
than from any remembrance of having failed, in the 
slightest degree, in the task of which she spoke. 

" On the night of our arrival at A , however," 

pursued Mrs. Y , " we seemed to reach such a 

climax, of fatigue and trial, as to make further 
endurance literally impossible for poor Ernest. Our 
little child had been taken ill the day before, so that 
I could not devote myself so entirely to him as I 
could have wished; and, as we drew near home, 
his impatience seemed to increase the pain of his 
wounds, so that, on this evening, he was almost 
exhausted both in body and mind. We stopped at 

the D House, as being nearest the depot, which 

was a great point with us ; but such a comfortless, 
shiftless place !" 

" An abominable hole !" I ejaculated ; "one never 
gets anything fit to eat there !" 

" That was the least of our diflBculties," returned 
the lady, " as we had to leave our man-servant to 
look after our luggage, it was with great difficulty 
that my poor husband was assisted up stairs into the 
public parlor, and he almost fainted while I gave a 
few hurried directions about a room. Such a scene 
as it was ! ' The poor baby, weary and sleepy, began 
to cry for mamma, and nurse had as much as she 
could do with the care of him. Ernest had sunk 



188 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

down upon the only sofa in the room — a huge, 
heavy machine of a thing, that looked as though 
never designed to be moved from its place against 
the wall, I gave my husband a restorative, but in 

vain. He grew so ghastly pale that " a sob here 

choked the utterance of the speaker. 

" My dear child," said I, taking her hand, " do not 
Bay another word ; I cannot forgive myself for ask- 
ing you these particulars — all is well now — do not 
recall the past !" 

" Excuse me, dear Colonel, I wish to tell you, I 
want you to know, how we were treated by a brute 
in human form — to ask you whether you could have 
believed in the existence of such a being — so 
utterly destitute of common politeness, not to say 
humanity." 

" I hope no one who could aid you, in this 
extremity, failed to do so." 

" You shall hear. Ernest was shivering with cold, 
as well as exhaustion, and whispered to me that he 
would try to sit by the fire until the room was 
prepared. I looked round the place for an easy- 
chair ; there was but one, and that was occupied by 
a man who was staring at us, as though we were 
curiosities exhibited for his especial benefit." 

" ' Ernest,' said, I aloud, ' you are too weak to sit 
in one of these chairs without arms, and with 
nothing to support your head.' 

" ' I will try, love,' he replied, ' for I am so cold I' 

" ' I will ask that man for his chair, I whispered. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 189 

Poor Ernest! his eyes flashed. 'No! No!' said he, 
' if he has not the decency to offer it, you shall not 
speak to him !' 

" Of course, I would not irritate him by opposi- 
tion, but placed an ordinary chair before the fire, 
and, supporting him into it, held his head on my 
shoulder, while I chafed his benumbed hands. In 
the meanwhile, the wail of the baby did not help to 
quiet us, nor to shorten the time of waiting ; and it 
seemed as if John would never make his appear- 
ance, nor the room I had ordered be prepared. By 
my direction, nurse rang the bell. I inquired of 
the very placid individual who answered it, whether 
the room was ready for us, and upon being told that 
they were making the fire, entreated the emblem of 
serenity to hasten operations, and at once to bring 
me a cup of hot tea. Minutes seemed hours to me, 
as you may suppose, and the dull eyes that were 
fastened upon us from the centre of the stuffed 
chair, I so longed for, really made me nervous. 
1 felt as though it might be some horrid ghoul, 
rather than anything human, thus looking upon our 

misery. * Good G , Lu !' said Ernest, at last, 

' isn't the bed ready yet V 

" I could bear it no longer. Gently withdrawing 
my support from the weary, weary head, I flew to 
my boy, snatched him from nurse, and signifying 
my design to her, we united our powers, and, laying 
baby on the sofa, we succeeded in pushing it up to 
the side of the fire-place. Then, while I hushed the 
child on my breast, we piled up our wrappings and 



190 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

placed my husband upon the couch, so as to rest his 
poor wounded frame (you know, Colonel, his spine 
was injured). The groan, half of relief and half 
of torture, that broke from his lips, as he rested 
bis head, was like to be the ' last straw ' that broke 
my heart — but the soldier's wife I How often did I 
repeat to myself, during that long journey : 



' Remember thou'rt a lokUer't wt/ic. 
Those tears but ill become thee I* 



Well I by this time, John made his appearance, 
and, consigning his master temporarily to his care, I 
took nurse with me, and went to see what a woman's 
ready hand could do in expediting matters elsewhere. 
When showed to the room we were expected to 
occupy, I found it so filled with smoke, and so dread- 
fully cold, as to be wholly uninhabitable, and in 
despair sent for the steward, or whoever he was, to 
whom I had given directions at first. No other 
room with two beds could be secured. By the glim- 
mering light of the small lamp in the hand of the 
Irishman, who was laboring with the attempt at a 
fire, 1 investigated a little; the smouldering coals 
belched forth volumes of smoke into my face. 
Nothing daunted by this ('twas not the ' smoke of 
battle,' though I felt as though in the midst of a 
conflict of life and death), I bade the man remove 
the blower. Behold the draught closed by the strip 
of stone sometimes used for that purpose, after a 
hard coal fire is fully ignited 1 I think, Colonel, you 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 191 

would have admired the laconic, imperiously cool 
tone and manner with which I speedily effected the 
removal of the entire mass of cold hard coal, substi- 
tuted for it, light, dry wood, and covering up my 
boy, as he still rested in my arms, dissipated the 
smoke that contended with the close, shut-up sort of 
air in the room, for disagreeability, by opening the 

'' windows, h-ad the most comfortable looking of the 
beds drawn near the fire, and opened to air and 
"warm, ordered up the trunks we wanted, opened 
them, hung a warm flannel dressing-gown near the 
fire, placed his slippers and everything else Ernest 
would want just where they would be wanted, near 
the best chair I could secure, and the table that was 
to receive his supper when he should be ready 
for it, and, in short yut the matter through^ as Er- 
nest would say, with the speed of desperation. It 
was wonderful how quickly all this, and more, was 
effected by the people about me chiefly through 
my ability to tell them exactly what to do and how 
to do it. Excuse me if I boast ; it was the deep 
calmness of despair that inspired me ! JSFow I can 
smile at the look of blank amazement with which 
Paddy received my announcement of the necessity 
of taking out all the coals from the grate, before 
he could hope to kindle a fire, and the stare of the 

man of affairs for the D House, as he entered 

upon the field of my efforts to say that tea was 
ready." 

" There is but one step from the sublime to the 

. ridiculous I" 1 exclaimed, laughing, in spite of my 



192 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDB 

sympathy with my fair friend. " And what became 
of the barbarian in the large chair ?" 

" Oh, when I returned to the parlor to have Ernest 
removed to our own room, there he sat, still, lolling 
comfortably back in his chair, with his hat on, and 
his feet laid up before him, and apparently as much 
occupied as ever in staring at the strangers, and no 
more 

' On hospitable thoughts intent ' 

than when I quitted the room, the horrid ghoul ! 1 
was so rejoiced to escape with my treasures safe 
from his blighting gaze ! But now for the moral of 
my story, dearColonel, for every story has its moral, 
I suppose, — John, Ernest's man, told nurse, who, by 
the way, was so highly indignant on the occasion, as 
to assure me afterwards, that if she had been a man, 
she'd have just pitched the selfish brute beast out of 

the chair, and taken it for Mr. Y , without so 

much as a ' by your leave.' " 

I could not refrain from interrupting Mrs. to 

say that I thought I should have been sorely tempted 
to some such act myself, under the circumstances. 

" Yes," pursued Mrs. Y , " nurse still recui*s to 

that ' awful cold night in A ' with an invariable 

malediction upon the ' lad speret as kept the chair.' 
But, as I was saying, John told her afterwards that 
the ghoul asked him who that sick gentleman was, 
and said that his wife appeared to be in so much 
trouble that he should have offered to help her along 
a little, but he wasn't acquainted with her /" 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 193 



" Uncle Hal, isn't an artist a gentleman /" inquired 
Blanche of me one morning, during a recent visit to 
our great Commercial Metropolis, as the newspaper 
writers call it. " What do you mean, child," said I, 
" you cannot mean to ask whether artists rank as 
gentlemen in society, for that does not admit of ques- 
tion." I saw there was something troubling her, 
the moment she came down, for she did not welcome 
her old uncle with her usual sparkling smile, though 
she snugged close up to me on the sofa, and kept 
my hand in both of hers, while we were arranging 
some matters about which I had called.- 

" Is not an engraver an artist ?" she inquired, with 
increased earnestness of tone. " Does not an engra- 
ver who has a large atelier^ numbers of employes, 
and does all kinds of beautiful prints, heads, and 
landscapes, and elegant figures, take rank in social 
life with other gentlemen?" 

" Certainly, my dear ; but tell me what you are 
thinking of ; what troubles you my child ?" 

" Well, you remember, dear uncle, perhaps, the 
young orphan boy in whom papa and all of us used to 
be so interested the summer you spent with us, long 
ago, when we were all children at home. He is 
now established in this city, after years of struggle 
with difficulties that would have crushed a less 
noble spirit, and his sisters, for whom he has always 
provided, in a great degree, though at the cost of 
almost incredible self-denial, as I happen to know, 
are now nearly prepared for teachers. We have 



194 THE AMERICAN GEJNTLEMAn's GUIDE 

always retained our interest in them all ; and they 
always make us a visit when they are at D . In- 
deed, papa always says he knows few young men for 
whom he entertains so high a regard ; and I am sure ho 
is very good-looking, and though he may not be very- 
fashionable, — you needn't smile, uncle Hal, I " 

" My dear, I am charmed with your sketch, and 
shall go, at once, and have my old visage engraved 
by your handsome artist-friend ; and when I pub- 
lish my auto-biography, it shall be accompanied by 
a 'portrait of the author,' superbly engraved by 
a ' celebrated artist.' " 

" He is celebrated, uncle, really ; you have no idea 
of the vast number of orders he has from all parts of 
the country, nor how beautifully he gets up every- 
thing. But I must tell you," proceeded the sensi • 
tive little thing, with more cheerfulness, for I had 
succeeded in my design of cheering her up a little — 
" Mr. Zousky — Henry, as we always call him, has 
been engraving the head of one of our friends at 
home for a literary aflPair — some biographical book, 
or something of that sort, and he came up to show 
me one of the ' first impressions,' as I think he calls 
them, and to bring a message from his sister, last 
evening — wishing me to ' criticise,'' ho told me, as 
he had nothing but rather an indifferent daguerreo- 
type to copy from. It was just before tea that he 
called — because he is busy all day, I suppose, and 
perhaps, he thought he should be sure of finding me, 
then. Indeed, he said something about fearing to 
intrude later, when there might be other visitors — 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION 195 

he is the most sensitive and unobtrusive being! 
Well, just as we were having a nice little chat about 

old times at D , cousin Charles came home and 

came into the parlor. Of course, he knows Henry 
very well, for he has seen him often and often at 
our house, when he used to be there in vacations 
with my brothers ; and, indeed, once before Hem y 
came here to live, was one of a party of us, who 
went to his little studio, to see his self-taught paint- 
ings and sketches. When he entered the room, I 
said, ' cousin Charles, our friend Mr. Zousky does 
not need an introduction to you, I am sure.' I can- 
not describe his manner. I did not so much mind 
its being cold and indifferent, but it was not that of 
an equal — of one gentleman to another, and without 
sitting down, even for a moment, he walked back to 
the dining-room, and I heard him ask the servant 
whether tea was ready. Henry rose in a moment, 
and took my hand to say good-bye — oh, uncle, I can- 
not tell you how hurt I was ! His voice was as low 
and gentle as ever, but his face betrayed him ! I 
know he noticed cousin Charles' manner. I was 
determined that he should not go away so ; so I 
didn't get up, but drew him to a seat by me on the 
sofa, and said that he must not go yet, unless he had 
an engagement, for that I had not half done telling 
him what I wished, and rattled on, hardly knowing 
what I did say, for I was so grieved and mortified. 
He said he would come again, as it was my tea- 
time, but I insisted that my tea was of no c(m»e 
cjuence. and that I much preferred talking io * 



196 THE AMEKICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

friend — all the while hoping that either consin 
Maria or cousin Charles would come and invite 
hira to take tea. Presently I heard cousin Maria 
come down, and then the glass doors were closed 
between the rooms, and I knew they were at tea. 
"Why, uncle Hal, papa would no more have 
done such a thing in his house, than he would 
have robbed some one ! What ! wound the feelings 
of any one for fear of not being ^ genteel P that's the 
word, I suppose — I hear cousin Maria use it very 
often ! We were always taught by dear mamma, 
while she lived, to be particularly polite and atten- 
tive to those who might not be as happy or prosper- 
ous as ourselves. She used to say that fashionable 
and distinguished people were the least likely to 
observe those things, but that the sensitive and self- 
distrustful were apt to be almost morbidly alive to 
every indication of neglect. 'Never brush rudely 
by the human sensitive plant, my dears,' she used to 
say, ' lest you should bruise the tender leaves ; and 
never forget that it most needs the sunshine of 
smiles /' Dear mamma ! she used to be so polite to 
Henry — not patronizing^ but so friendly, so con- 
siderate — always she put him at ease when there 
was other company at our house (though he never 
came in' when he knew there were other visitors), 
and she used to do so many kind things to assist his 
first efforts in his art! I only hope he understood 
that /have no rights here. I am sure 1 feel that I 
liave not ! But I would rather be treated a hundred 
times over again as I was last night, myself, than to 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 197 

have Henry's feelings wounded ; still, I must say 
that I should not think, because she happened to be 
detained past the exact tea-hour, of sending away 
the tea-things and keeping cold slops in a pitcher for 
any guest in my house, if I had one " — t- 

" Hush, Blanche ! I never heard you talk so in • 
discreetly before !" 

" Well, I don't care ! Papa made rae come here 
to stay, because he said they had visited us, and 
came out to Bel's wedding, and all ; but I do so 
wish I was at the St. Nicholas with you and the 
Clarks, uncle, dear! Cousin Charles ain't like him- 
self since he married his fashionable New York 
wife ; even when he comes to pa's he isn't, though 
tJiere he throws off his cold, ceremonious manner 
somewhat. But I really feel as if I was in a straight- 
jacket here !" 

" Why, Blanche, what's the trouble ? I am sure 
everything is very elegant and fashionable here!" 

" Yes, too elegant and fashionable for poor little 
me ! I am not used to that, and don't care for it. 
I'd rather have a little more friendliness and socia- 
bility tlian all the splendor. I am constantly re- 
minded of my utter insignificance ; and you know, 
uncle, poor Blanche is spoiled, as you often say, and 
not used to being reduced to a mere nonentity !" 

With this the silly child actually began to cry, 
and when I tried to soothe her, only sobbed out, in 
broken words: "I wouldn't be such a goose as to 
mind it, if Henry Zousky had not been treated so 
60, so — so—fash-ion-a-hly /" 



198 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 



Looking over some letters from a sprightly corres* 
pondent of mine, the other day, I laid aside one from 
which I make the following extract, as apposite to 
my subject : 

" You asked me to give you some account of the 
social position, etc., and an idea of the husband of 

your former favorite, M S . ' What is Dr. 

J like V you inquire : — Like nothing in heaven 

above, or in the earth beneath, I answer; and, there- 
fore, he might be worshipped without a violation of 
the injunction of the Decalogue ! How such a viva- 
cious creature as M S came to tie herself 

for life to such a mule, passes my powers of solution. 

Dr. J is very accomplished in his profession, for 

a young man, I hear, and much respected for hia 
professional capacity — but socially he is — nothing/ 
— the merest cipher conceivable ! A man may be 
very quiet at home, now-a-days, and yet pass muster; 
but there are times when he must act, as it seems to 

me ; but M 's husband seems to be a man of one 

idea, and that never, seemingly, suggests the duties 
of host. But you shall judge for yourself. — While 

I was in A , we were all invited there one 

evening, to meet a bride, an old friend of M 's, 

stopping in town on her marriage tour. M 

said it was too early in the season for a large party, 
and that we were expected quite en famfiille / but it 
was, in reality, quite an occasion, nevertheless, as 
the bride and her party were fashionable Bostonians. 
I happened to be near the hostess, when the guesta 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 199 

of the evening entered. She received them with 
her usual Frenchy ease and playfulness of manner, 
and it seemed that the gentleman was an old friend 
of hers, but did not know her husband. He ex- 
pressed the hope that Dr. J 's professional duties 

would not deprive them of his society the whole 
evening, as he much desired the pleasure of his 
acquaintance. I saw, by the heightening of her 

color, that M , woman of the world though she 

be, felt the unintended sarcasm of this polite lan- 
guage ; for Dr. J. was calmly ensconced in the deep 
recess of a large fauteuil in the corner of the fire- 
place, apparently enjoying the glowing coal-fire 
that always adds its cheerful influence to the ele- 
gant belongings of M 's splendid drawing-i-oom. 

Throughout the entire evening our eflfigy of a host 
kept his post, where we found him on entering. 
People went to him, chatted a while, and moved 
away ; we danced, refreshments were served, wine 
was quaffed, 

" ' All went merry as a marriage bell ;' 

M glided about from group to group, with an 

appropriate word, or courteous attention for each 
one, and, in addition to the flowers that adorned the 
rooms, presented the bride of her old friend with an 
exquisite bouquet, saying, in her pretty way, that 
she would have been delighted to receive her in a 

bower of roses, when she learned from Mr. how 

much she liked flowers, but that Flora was in a pet 
with her since she had given up her old conservatory 



200 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

at her father's. As the evening waned, I observed 
her weariness, despite the hospitable smile ; and well 
she might be 1 Several times she slipped awav to 
her babe ; once, when I stood near her, she started 
slightly : " I thought I heard a nursery-cry^'' she 
whispered to me, " my little boy is not well to- 
night ;" and I missed her soon after. When I went 
away, I, of course, sought the master of the house 
to say good-night. He half rose, with a half smile, 
in recognition of my adieu, and re-settled himself, 
apparently wholly unconscious of any possible occa- 
sion for further eifort ! But the climax, in true 
epic style, was reserved for the finale. It was a 
frightfully stormy night, and when we came down 

to the street door to go away, there stood M , in 

her thin dress, the cold wind and sleet-rain rushing 
in when the door was opened, enough to carry away 
her fairy figure, seeing off her friend and his hrideH 



" My dear Miss C ," exclaimed a gentleman 

after listening to the complaint of a lady who had 
just been charging the lords of creation with tlie 
habitual discourtesy of retaining their hats when 
speaking to ladies, in stores and shops, as well as in 
public halls and even in the drawing-room ; " My 

dear Miss C , don't you know that ' Young 

America ' always wears his hat and hoots wheneve? 
he can f " 

" Does he sleep in them V inquired the lady. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 201 



" Well, ray dears," 1 overheard a high-bred and 
exceedingly handsome man inquiring of two lovely 
English girls, on board a steamer the other day, 
" how did you succeed in your eflbrts to dine to-day ? 
I will not again permit you to be separated from 
your aunt and me, if we find the table ever so 
crowded." 

" But we had Charley, you know, sir," returned 
one of the fair interlocutors, with a smile worthy of 
Hebe herself. 

" True, but Charley is only a child ; and boys as 
well as women fare ill at public tables in this 'land 
of liberty and equality,' unless aided by some pow- 
erful assistant !" 

"I thought we had found such a champion 
to-day," exclaimed the other lady, " in the person 
wlio sat next me at dinner. His hands were so nice 
that I should not have objected in the least to his 
offering me such dishes as were within his reach, 
especially as there seemed to be no servant to attend 
us, and we really sat half through the first course 
without bread or water. Having nothing else to do, 
for some time, I quietly amused myself with 
observing my courteous neighbor. So wholly ab- 
sorbed did he seem in his own contemplations, so 
utterly oblivious of everything around him, except 
the contents of his heaped-up plate, that I soon 
became convinced that I had the honor to be in 
close proximity to a philosopher, at least, and 



9* 



202 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

probably to some fixed star in the realms of 
science !" 

" Oh, Claro 1 I am so sorry to tell you, but I 
learned afterwards, accidentally, that your profound- 
looking neighbor is — a dentist /" 

" And, therefore, accustomed only to the onost 
painful associations with the mouths of others P^ 
chimed in the aristocrat, laughing in chorus : 
" Well, as our shrewd, sensible friend, the daughter 
of the Siddons, used to say, after her return from 
America, ' if the Americans profess to be all equal^ 
they should be equally well hred /' " 

With a repetition of this doubly sarcastic apo- 
thegm, my dear friends, for the present. 
Adieu ! 

Haery Lunettes. 



•W POLITENESS AND FASHION. 208 



LETTER YII. 

HEAIiTH, THE TOILET, ETC. 

My deab Nephews : '* 

Since no man can fulj&U his destiny as an 
actively-useful member of society without Health, 
perhaps a few practical suggestions on this impor- 
tant subject may not be inconsistent with our present 
purpose. 

The only reliable foundation upon which to base 
the hope of securing permanent possession of this 
greatest of earthly blessings, is the early acquisition 
of Habits of Temperance. 

In a proper sense of the word, Temperance is an 
all-inclusive term — it does not mean abstaining from 
strong drink, only, nor from over-eating, nor from 
any one form of self-indulgence or dissipation ; but 
it requires moderation in all things^ for its full 
illustration. 

It was this apprehension of the term that was 
truthfully exhibited in the long, useful, consistent 
life of our distinguished countryman, John Quincy 
Adams. Habits formed in boyhood, in strict accord 



204 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GTHDE 

ance with this principle, and adhered to in every 
varying phase of circurastance throughout his pro- 
longed existence, were the proximate cause of his 
successful and admirahle career. And what a ca- 
reer! How triumphantly successful, how worthy of 
admiration ! More than half a century did he 
serve his country, at home and abroad, dying 
at last, with his armor on, — a watchman, faithful, 
even unto death, upon the ramparts of the Citadel, 
where Justice, Truth, and Freedom have found a last 
asylum. Think you that the intellectual and moral 
purposes of his being could have been borne out 
by the most resolute exercise of will, but for the 
judicious training of the physique f Or could the 
higher attributes of his nature have been developed, 
indeed, in conjunction with a body'cabined, cribbed 
and confined' by the enervating influence of youthful 
8elf-indulgence ? Born on — 

" Stern New-England's rocky shore," 

no misnamed luxury shrouded his frame from the 
discipline of that Teacher, <' around whose steps the 
mountain breezes blow, and from whose countenance 
all the virtues gather strength." You are, doubtless, 
all familiar with Mr. Adams' habits of early rising, 
bathing, etc. The latter, even, he maintained until 
within two years of his death, bathing in an open 
stream each morning, if his locality permitted the 
enjoyment, at a very early hour. I have his own 
authority for the fact that he, during the differ- 
ent periods of his public sojourn abroad, laved his 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 205 

vigorous frame in almost every river of Europe ! 
Franklin, too, ascribed his triumph over the obstacles 
that obstnicted his early path to a strict adherence 
to the rules of Temperance. And so, indeed, with 
most of the truly great men whose names illumine 
the pages of our country's history : — I might multi- 
ply examples almost ad infinitum, but your own 
reading will enable you to endorse the correctness of 
my assertion. 

Since we have, incidentally, alluded to the Bath, in 
connection with the example of Mr. Adams, let us 
commence the consideration of personal habits, with 
this agreeable and essential accessory of Health. 

Though authorities may differ respecting some 
minor details with regard to bathing, I believe medi- 
cal testimony all goes to sanction its adoption by 
all persons, in some one of its modifications. Con- 
stitutional peculiarities should always be consulted 
in the establishment of individual rules, — hence no 
general directions can be made applicable to all per- 
sons. The cold bath, though that most frequently 
adopted by persons in health, is, no doubt, injurious 
in some cases, and careful observation alone can 
enable each individual to establish the precise tem- 
perature at which his ablutions will be most bene- 
ficial. 

But, while the most scrupulous and unvary- 
ing regard for cleanliness should be considered of 
primary importance, the indiscreet use of the bath 
should be avoided with equal care. Bishop Heber, 
one of the best and most useful of men, sacrificed 



206 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

liiraself in the midst of a career of eminent piety, to 
an imprudent use of this luxury, arising either from 
ignorance or inadvertency. After rising very early 
to baptize several native converts recently made in 
India, the field of his labors, he returned to his bun- 
galow in a state of exhaustion from excitement and 
abstinence, and, without taking any nourishment, 
threw himself into a bath, and soon after expired ! — 
No one can safely resort to the bath when the bodily 
powers are much weakened, by whatever cause ; 
and though it is unwise to use it directly after taking 
a full meal, it should not immediately precede the 
chief meal of the day, if that be taken at a late hour, 
and after prolonged abstinence and exertion. 

The art of swimming early acquired, affords the 
most agreeable and beneficial mode of bathing, not 
to dwell upon its numerous recommendations in other 
respects ; but when this enjoyment cannot be secured, 
nor even the luxury of an immersion bath, luckily for 
health, comfort, and propriety, the means of ^onge 
'bathing may always be secured, at least in this 
country (wherever it has risen above barbarism), 
though I must say that frequently during my travels 
in England, and even thi'ough towns boasting good 
hotels, I found water and towels at a high premium, 
and very difficult of acquisition at that ! Sponging 
the whole person upon rising, either in cold or tepid 
water, as individual experience proves best, with the 
use of the Turkish towel, or some similar mode of 
friction, is one of the best preparations for a day of 
useful exertion. 



ro POLITENESS AND FASHION. 207 

This practice has collateral advantages, inasmuch 
as it naturally leads to attention to all the details of 
the toilet essentially connected with refinement and 
health — to proper care of the Hair, Teeth, Nails, etc., 
— in short, to a neat and suitable arrangement of the 
dress before leaving one's apartment in the morning. 
To slippered age belongs the indulgence of a careless 
morning toilet ; but with the morning of life we pro- 
perly associate readiness for action in some pursuit 
demanding steady and prolonged exertion, early 
begun, and with every faculty and attribute in full 
exercise. 

Fashion sanctions so many varying modes of wear- 
ing or not wearing the hai/r^ that no directions can be 
given in relation to it, except such as enjoin the avoid- 
ance of all fantastic dressing, and the observance of 
entire neatness with relation to it. Careful brushing, 
together with occasional ablutions, will best preserve 
this natural ornament ; and I would, also, suggest the 
use of such pomades only as are most delicately 
scented. No gentleman should go about like a 
walking perfumer's shop, redolent, not of — 

" Sabean odors from the spicy shores 
Of Araby the Blest," 

but of spirits of turpentine, musk, etc., * commixed 
and commingled ' in ' confusion worse confounded ' 
to all persons possessed of a nicety of nervous organ- 
ization. All perfumes for the handkerchiefs, or worn 
about the person, should be, not only of the most 
unexceptionable kind, but ised in very moderate 



208 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

quantities. Their profuse use will ill supply the 
neglect of the bath, or of the proper care of the teeth 
and general toilet. 

The Teeth cannot be too carefully attended to by 
those who value good looks, as well as health. And 
nothing tends more towards their preservation than 
the habitual use of the brush, before retiring, as well 
as in the morning. The use of some simple uninju- 
rious adjunct to the brush may be well ; but pure 
water and the brush, faithfully applied, will secure 
cleanliness — the great preservative of these essential 
concomitants of manly beauty. If you use tobacco 
— (and I fervently hope none of you who have not 
the habit will ever allow yourselves to acquire it !) 
— but if you are, unfortunately, enslaved by the 
habit, never omit to rinse the mouth thoroughly 
after smoking (I will not admit the possibility, that 
any young man, in this age of progressive refinement, 
is addicted to habitual chewing), and never substi- 
tute the use of a strong odor for this proper observ- 
ance, especially when going into the society of 
ladies. Smoke dispellers must yield the palm to the 
purifying effects of the unadulterated element, alter 
all. 

The utmost nicety in the care of the Nails, is an 
indispensable part of a gentleman's toilet. They 
should be kept of a moderate length, as well as clean 
and smooth. Avoid all absurd forms, and inconve- 
nient length, in cutting them, which you will find it 
easiest to do neatly while they are softened by wasli- 
ing, and the use of the nail-brush. 



TO POLITKNESS AND FASHION. 209 

Properly fitted l)oots and shoes, together with fre- 
quent bathing, will best secure the feet from the 
torturing excrescences by which poor mortals are 
BO often afflicted. The addition of salt to the foot- 
bath, if persevered in, will greatly protect them from 
the painful effects of over-walking, etc.. 

I think that under the head of Dress, in one of my 
earliest ■ letters, I expressed my opinion regarding 
the essentials of refinement and comfort as con- 
nected with this branch of the toilet. I will only 
say, in this connection, that a liberal supply of linen, 
hosiery, etc., should be regarded as of more impor- 
tance than outside display, and that the most en- 
lightened economy suggests the employment of 
the best materials, the most skillful manufacturers, 
and the unrestrained use of these " aids and appli 
ances" of gentleman-like propriety, comfort, and 
health. 

The best and surest mode of securing ample and 
certain leisure for needful attention to the minutiae of 
the toilet is Early Rising^ a habit that, in addition to 
the healthful influence it exerts upon the physique, 
collaterally, promotes the minor moralities of life in 
a wonderful degree, and really is one of the funda- 
mentals of success in whatever pursuit you may be 
engaged. Here, again, permit me to refer you to 
the examples of the truly great men of history — those 
of our own land will suffice — ^Washington, Frank- 
lin, Adams, and, though inconsistent with his habits 
in some other respects, Webster. Of the latter, it is 
well known, that he did not trim the midnight lamp 



210 THE AMEEICAN GEaiTLEMAN's GUIDE 

for purposes of professional investigation or mental 
labor of any kind, but rose early to such tasks, witn 
body and mind invigorated for ready and successful 
exertion. I have seen few things from his powerful 
pen, more pleasingly written than his Eulogy upon 
Morning^ as it may properly be called, though 1 
don't know that to be the title of an article written 
by him in favor of our present theme, in which 
erudition and pure taste contend for supremacy with 
convincing argument. 

But to secure the full benefit of emiy rising, my 
young friends, you must also, establish the habit of 
retiring early and regularly. Ko one dogma of 
medical science, perhaps, is more fully borne out by 
universal experience than this, that "two hours' 
sleep before midnight is worth all obtained after- 
wards." To seek repose before the system is 
too far over-taxed for quiet, refreshing rest, and 
before the brain has been aroused from the qui- 
escence natural to the evening hours, into renewed 
and unhealthy action, is most consistent with the 
laws of health. And, depend upon it, though the 
elasticity of youthful constitutions may, for a time, 
resist the pernicious effects of a violation of these 
laws, the hour will assuredly come, sooner or later, to 
all, when the lex talionis will be felt in resistless 
power. Fashion and Nature are sadly at war on this 
point, as I am fully aware; but the edicts of the one 
are immutable, those of the other are proverbially 
fickle. 

Students, especially, should regard obedience to 



ro POLITENESS AND FASHION. 211 

the wiser of the two as imperative. The mental 
powers, as well as the physical, demand this — the 
"m^Ws eye" as well as the organs of outward vision, 
will be found, by experiment, to possess the clearer 
and quicker discernment during those hours when, 
throughout the domains of Nature, all is activit}-, 
healthfulness and visible beauty. And no pecu- 
liarity of circumstance or inclination will ever make 
that healthful which is unnatural. Hence the wis- 
dom of establishing habits consistent with health, 
while no obstacle exists to their easy acquisition. 
There is an experiment on record made by two 
generals, each at the head of an army on march, in 
warm weather, over the same route. The one led 
on his troops by day, the other chose the cooler 
hours for advancing, and reposed while the sun was 
abroad. In all other respects, their arrangements 
\^ere similar. At the end of ten or twelve days, the 
result convincingly proved that exertion even under 
mid-summer heat is most healthfully made while the 
stimulus of solar light sustains the system, and that 
sleep is most refreshing and beneficial in all respects 
when sought while the hush and obscurity of the 
outer world assist repose. 

But if, as the nursery doggerel wisely declares, 

" Early to bed and early to rise, 
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise," 

there must be united with this rational habit, others 
each equally important to the full advantage to be 
derived from all combined. 



232 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

Among these, Exercise holds a prominent rank 
As with the bath, this is most effectually employed 
for health before the system is exhausted by mental 
labor. 

Among the numerous modes of exercise, none is so 
completely at command at all times and under all 
circumstances, as walking. But the full benefit of 
this exercise, is not often enjoyed by the inhabitants 
of cities, by reason of the impure air that is almost 
necessarily inhaled in connection with it. Still, it is 
not impossible to obviate this difficulty by a little 
pains. The early riser and the rapid pedestrian may 
in general, easily secure time to seek daily one of 
the few and limited breathing-places that, though in 
this regard we are vastly inferior to Europeans in taste 
and good sense, even our American cities supply, 
either, like what they indeed are, lungs, in the very 
centre of activity, or at no unapproachable distance 
from it. Do not forget that vegetation, while it 
sends forth noxious influences at night, exales oxy- 
gen and other needful food for vitality, in the 
morning, especially ; nor that an erect carriage, 
which alone gives unobstructed play to the organs of 
respiration and digestion, is requisite, together with 
considerable activity of movement, to secure the 
legitimate results of walking. 

Students, and others whose occupations are of a 
sedentary character, sometimes adopt the practice 
of taking a long walk periodically. This is, no 
doubt, promotive of health, provided it is not at first 
carried to an extreme. All such habits should be 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 213 

gradually formed, and their formation commenced 
and pursued with due respect for physiological rules. 
Mr. Combe, the distinguished phrenologist — in his 
" Constitution of Man," I think, relates an instance 
of a young person, in infirm health and unaccustom- 
ed to such exertion, who undertook a walk of twenty 
miles, to be accomplished without interruption. 
Tlie first seven or eight miles were achieved with 
ease and pleasure to the pedestrian, but thenceforth 
discomfort and final exhaustion should have been a 
Bufiicient warning to the tyro to desist from his self- 
appointed task. A severe illness was the conse- 
quence and punishment of his ignorant violation of 
physiological laws. 

By the way, I cannot too strongly recommend to 
your careful perusal the various works of Dr. Andrew 
Combe, long the physician of the amiable King of 
Belgium, in relation to that and kindred subjects. 
His " Physiology as applied to Mental Health," is 
replete with practical suggestions and advice of the 
most instructive and important nature, as are also 
his " Dietetics," etc. 

Himself an incurable invalid, he maintained the 
vital forces through many years of eminent useful- 
ness to others, only by dint of the most strenuous 
adherence to the strictest requirements of the Science 
of the Physique. The writings of his brother, Mr. 
George Combe, and especially the work I have just 
mentioned, the "Constitution of Man," also abound 
in lessons of practical usefulness, which may be 
adopted irrespective of his peculiar phrenologi^a' 



214 THE AMEKIOAN QENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

views. In the multitude of newer publications these 
admirable books are already half-forgotten, but my 
limited reading has afforded me no knowledge of 
anything superior to them, as text- books for the 
young. 

Hiding and driving need no recommendation to 
insure their popularity, as means of exercise. Both 
have many pleasure and health-giving attractions. 

Every young man should endeavor to acquire a 
thorough knowledge of both riding and driving, not 
from a desire to emulate the ignoble achievments of 
a horse-jockey, but as proper accomplishments for a 
gentleman. 

The possession of a fine horse is a prolific source 
of high and innocent enjoyment, and may often be 
secured by those whose purses are not taxed foi 
cigars and wine ! Nothing can be more exhilarating 
than the successful management of this spirited and 
generous animal, whether under the saddle or in har- 
ness ! Even plethoric, ponderous old Dr. Johnson, 
admitted that " few things are so exciting as to be 
drawn rapidly along in a post-chaise, over a smooth 
road, by a fine horse !" 

Let me repeat, however, that young men should 
be content to promote health and enjoyment by the 
moderate, gentleman-like gratification of the pride 
of skill, in this respect. Like many other amuse- 
ments, though entirely innocent and unexcep- 
tionable when reasonably indulged in, its abuse 
leads inevitably to the most debasing consequences. 
— Onr dusty high-roads very ill supply the place of 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 215 

the extensive public Parks and gardens that furnish 
such agreeable places of resort for both riding and 
driving, as well as for pedestrians, in most of the large 
cities of Europe, but one may, at least, secure better 
air and more freedom of space by resorting to them 
than to the streets, for every form of exercise. And 
as it is a well established fact that agreeable and 
novel associations for both the eye and the mind are 
essential concomitants of beneficial exercise, we have 
every practical consideration united to good taste in 
favor of eschewing the streets whenever fate per- 
mits. 

'* Oh ! how canst thou renounce the boundless store 
Of charms which Nature to her votaries yields, — 
The warbling woodland, the resounding shore, 
The pomp of groves and garniture of fields ; 
All that the genial ray of morning gilds, 
And all that echoes to the song of even. 
All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields. 
And all the dread magnificence of Heaven ; — 
! how canst thou renounce and hope to be forgiven !" 

Beattik 

Mating and drinhing are too closely connected 
with our general subject of health, to be forgotten 
here. 

That regard for Temperance which I have endea- 
vored to commend to you, of course yields a promi- 
nent place to habits in these respects. 

In relation to eating^ I strongly recommend the 
cultivation of simple tastes, and the careful avoid- 
ance of every indulgence tending towards sensuality 



216 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

Some knowledge of Dietetics is essential to the adop- 
tion of right opinions and practice on this point. 
For instance, no man should wait for dire experience 
to enforce the truths that roast and broiled meats 
possess the most nutritious qualities ; that all fn^d 
dishes are, necessarily, more or less unwholesome ; 
that animal oils and fatty substances require stronger 
digestive force for their assimilation than persons of 
sedentary life usually possess ; that warm bread, as a 
rule, is unsuited to the human stomach, etc., etc. 
No one should consider these matters unworthy of 
serious attention, though temporarily free from incon- 
venience arising from neglecting them. Eventually, 
every human constitution will exhibit painful proofs 
of all outrages committed upon the laws by which 
its operations are governed ; and the greater the 
license permitted in youth, the severer will be the 
penalty exacted in after years. 

" Mind and Body are so close combined, 



Where Health of Body, Health of Mind you find." 

Pieserve, then, as you value the means of useful- 
ness, the perfect play of your mental powers — so 
easily trammelled by the clogging of the machinery 
of the body — the unadulterated taste that is content 
with a sufficiency of wholesome, well-cooked food to 
satisfy the demands of healthful appetite. Cultivate 
no love of condiments, sauces and stimulants ; indulge 
no ambition lo excel in dressing salads, classifying 
ragouts^ or in demonstrating, down to the nicety of 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASHION". 217 

a single ingredient, the distinction between a home- 
made and an imported jpdU de foie gras! Distinc- 
tions such as these may suffice for the worn-out 
society of a corrupt civilization, but our countrymen 
— MEN — should shout Excelsior ! 

Abstract rules in relations to the houre proper for 
taking meals, however carefully adapted to the secu- 
rity of health, in themselves considered, must, of 
necessity, give place to those artificially imposed by 
custom, and convenience. Thus, though the practice 
of dining late is not sanctioned by Ilygeia, it admits 
of question, whether, as the usages of the business- 
world at present exists, it is not a wiser custom than 
any other permitted by circumstance. 

All who have given any attention to the sub- 
ject know, that neither bodily nor mental labor 
can be either comfortably or successfully pursued 
directly after a full meal. Hence, then, those whose 
occupations require their attention during several 
successive hours, may find the habit of dining after 
the more imperative labore of the day are accom- 
plished, most conducive to health as well as con- 
venience. 

Still, it should not be forgotten, that long absti- 
nence is likely to produce the exhaustion that tells 
so surely and seriously upon the constitution, of 
young persons especially. This may be prevented 
by taking, systematically, a little light, simple 
nutriment, sufficient to produce what is aptly 
termed the atim/ulus of distention in that much 



10 



218 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

abused organ — the stomach. This practice regularly 
adhered to, will also promote a collateral advantage, 
by acting as a security against the too keen sharp- 
ening of appetite that tends to repletion in eating, 
and which sometimes produces results similar to 
those exhibited by a boa-constrictor after dining 
upon a whole buffalo, swallowed without the pre- 
vious ceremony of carving ! One should never dino 
80 heartily as to be unfitted for the subsequent 
enjoyment of society, or of the lighter pursuits of 
literature. Deliberate and thyrough mastication will 
more beneficially, and quite as pleasurably, prolong 
the enjoyments of the table, as a more hurried 
disposal of a large quantity of food. And really I 
do not know how the most rigid economist of time, 
or the most self-sacrificing devotee either of Mam- 
mon or of Literature, can more judiciously devote 
an hour of each day than to the single purpose of 
dining! 

Happily for those whose self-respect does not 
always furnish the sustaining power requisite for 
the maintenance of a principle, fashion no longer 
requires of any man the use of even wine^ much 
less of stronger beverages. And with reference to 
the use of all alcoholic stimulants, as well as of 
tobacco, I would remind you that those only who are 
not enslaved hy a/pjpetite^ are fkee! If you have 
acquired a liking for wine or tobacco, and would 
abjure either, or both, you will soon be convinced, 
by experiment, of the truth of Dr. Johni&on's saying 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 219 

cf which, by the way, liis own life furnished a 
striking illustration, that " ahstinence is easier than 
temperance.''^ 

To prolong arguments against the habits of smok- 
ing and drinking, were a work of supererogation, 
here. I will advance but one, which may, possibly, 
possess the merit of novelty. Both have the effect, 
materially to limit our enjoyment of the presence 
and conversation of 

*' Heaven's last, best gift to man !" 

I cannot better dismiss this important topic than 
by quoting the following passage from the writings 
of Sir Walter Kaleigh : 

"Except thou desire to hasten thy end, take this 
for a general rule — that thou never add any artifi- 
cial heat to thy body by wine or spice, until thou 
find that time hath decayed thy natural heat; the 
sooner thou dost begin to help nature the sooner she 
will foi-sake thee, and leave thee to trust altogether 
to art." 

In my youth, advice to young men was constantly 
commingled — whatever its general tenor — with ad- 
monitions regarding the necessity for industry and 
perseverance in those who would achieve worldly 
success. In these utilitarian times, when all seem 
borne along upon a resistless current, hurrying to 
the attainment of some practical end, engrossed by 
schemes of political ambition, or devoted to the 
acquisition of wealth, a quiet looker-on — as I am 
wout to regard myself — is tempted to coimsel 



220 THE AMERICAN QENTLEMAN's QUmE 

" moderation in all things," contentment with the 
legitimate results of honorable effort, the cultivation 
of habits of daily relaxation from the severity of 
toil, of daily rest from the mental tension that is 
demanded for successful competition in the arena of 
life. 

The impression that sleep is a sufficient restorative 
from the wearing effects of otherwise ceaseless labor, 
or that change of occupation furnishes all the relief 
that nature requires in this respect, is, undoubtedly, 
erroneous. " The man," says an eminent student of 
humanity, " who does not now allow himself two 
hours for relaxation after dinner, will be compelled 
to devote more time than that daily to the care of 
his health, eventually." 

To allow one's self to be so engrossed by any 
pursuit, however laudable in itself, as to reserve no 
leisure for the claims of Society, of Friendship, of 
Taste, is so iiTational as to need nothing but reflec- 
tion to render it apparent. In a merely utilitarian 
view, it is unwise, since, as .^Esop has demonstrated, 
the bow that is never unbent soon ceases to be fit 
for use ; but there is, surely, a higher consideration, 
addressed to the reason of man. Pope embodies it, 
in part, in the lines 

" God is paid when man receives, 

To enjoy it to obey I" 

To have an aim, a purpose in life, sufficiently en- 
grossing to act as an incentive to the exercise of all 
the powers of being, is essential to heath and happi- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 221 

ness. But to pursue any one object to the exclu- 
Bion of all considerations for self-culture and intel- 
lectual enjoyment, is destructive of everything 
worthy that name. 

They who devote all the exertions of youth and 
manhood to the acquisition of political distinction, or 
of gold, for instance — cherishing, meanwhile, a sort 
of Arcadian dream of ultimately enjoying the plea- 
sures of intellectual communion, or the charms of 
the natural world, when the heat and burden of the 
conflict of life shall be done — exhibit a most deplora- 
ble ignorance of the truth that they will possess in 
age only the crippled capacities that disuse has 
almost wholly robbed of vitality, together with such 
as are prematurely worn out by being habitually 
overtaxed. 

On the contrary, those who believe that 

" It is not all of life to live," 

and early establish a true standard of excellence, and 
acquaint themselves with the immutable laws of our 
being, will so commingle self-ennobling pursuits and 
enjoyments with industrious and well-directed atten- 
tion to the needful demands of practical life, as to 
secure as much of ever-present happiness as falls to 
the lot of humanity, together with the enviable 
retrospection of an exalted ambition, rightly fulfilled. 
They may also hope for the invaluable possession of 
intellectual and moral developments to be matured 
in that state of existence of which this is but the 
embryo. These are truisms, I admit, ray young 



222 TBE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's OUIDK 

friends, yet the spirit of the age impels their itera* 
tion and re-iteration ! 

Burke's musical periods lamented the departure 
of the " age of chivalry." Would that one gifted as 
he may revive the waning existence of the social 
and domestic virtues, and inspire ray young coun- 
trymen with an ambition too lofty in its aspirations 
to permit the sacrifice of mental and moral powers, 
of natural afiections, and immortal aspirations, upon 
the altars of Mammon ! — shrines now yearly receiv- 
ing from our country a holocaust of sacrifices, to 
which battle-fields are as naught in comparison. 

But to return from this unpremeditated digression. 
Katural tastes and individual circumstances must, 
to a considerable extent, determine the relaxations 
and amusements most conducive to enjoyment and 
health. 

You will scarcely need to be told that persons of 
sedentary habits, and especially those devoted to 
literary occupations, should make exercise in the 
open air a daily recreation, and that it will best 
subserve the purposes of pleasure and health when 
united with the advantages arising from cheerful 
companionship. 

Hence the superiority of walking, riding, driving, 
boating, and sporting in its various forms, to all in- 
door exercises and amusements — and especially to 
those tending rather to tax^he brain than exercise 
the body — for those whose mental powers are most 
taxed by their avocations. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 223 

On the other hand, there are those to whom the 
lighter investigations of literature and science afford 
the most appropriate relief from the toils of business. 

Permit me, however, to enter my protest against 
the belief that a change from the labors and duties 
of city life to the close sleeping-rooms, the artificial- 
ity and excitement of a fashionable watering-place 
affords a proper and healthful relief to a weary body 
and an overwrought brain. Life at a watering- 
place is no more an equivalent for the pure air, the 
simple habits, the wholesome food, the repose of 
mind and hearty afforded by unadulterated country 
life, than immersion in a bathing-tub is a satisfac- 
tory substitute for swimming in a living stream, or 
a contemplation of the most exquisite picture of 
rural scenes, for a glorious canter amid green fields 
and over breezy hills ! Nor will dancing half the 
night in heated rooms, late suppers, bowling-alleys 
and billiards, not to speak of still more objectionable 
indulgences, restore these devotees to study or busi- 
ness to their city-homes re-invigorated for renewed 
action, as will the least laborious employments of the 
farmer, the " sportive toil " of the naturalist, the 
varied enjoyments of the traveller amid the won- 
ders of our vast primeval forests, or of the voyager 
who explores the attractions of our unrivalled chain 
of inland lakes. People who do their thinking by 
plroxy, and regulate their enjoyments by the on dii 
of the fashionable world, yearly spend money enough 
at some crowded resort of the heait monde (lieavec 
save the mark !) to enable them to make the tour of 



224 THE AMKEIOAN QENTLEMAn's GUmE 

Europe, or buy a pretty villa and grounds in the 
country, or do some deed " twice blessed," in that 
" it blesseth him that gives and him that takes." 
In Scotland, in England, in the North of Europe gene- 
rally, men and women whose social position neces- 
sarily involves refinement of habits and education, 
go, in little congenial parties, into the mountains 
and among the lakes, visit spots renowned in song 
and story, collect specimens of the wonders of na- 
ture, " camp out," as they say at the "West, eat sim- 
ply, dress rationally — in short, really rusticate^ in 
happy independence alike of the thraldom of fashion 
and the supremacy of convention. Thiis in the Old 
World, among the learned, the accomplished, the 
high-born. Here in Young America — ^let the sallow 
cheek, the attenuated limbs, the dull eye and Hose 
air of the youthful scions of many a noble old Revo- 
lutionary stock, attest only too truly, a treasonous 
slavery to the most arbitrary and remorseless of 
tyrants ! "Would that they may serve, at least, as 
beacons to warn you, seasonably, against adding 
yourselves to the denizens of haunts where 

" Unwieldly wealth, and cumbrous pomp repose ; 
And every want to luxury allied, 
And every pang that/oWy pays to pride /" 



1 would that all my young countrymen might 
have looked upon the last hours of my revered 
friend, John Quincy Adams, and thus learned the 



TO POLITENF.68 AND FASHION. 225 

impressive lessons taught by that solemn scene ; 
lessons that — to use his own appro])riate language — 

" bid us seize the moments as they pass, 

Snatch the retrieveless sun-beam as it flies, 
Nor lose one sand of life's revolving glass- 
Aspiring still, with energy sublime, 
By virtuous deeds to give Eternity to Time I"* 

It was, indeed, a fitting close of his long, noble 
life ! Faithful to his duty to his country, he main- 
tained his post to the last, and fell, like a true de- 
fender of liberty — renouncing his weapons only with 
his life. Borne from the arena of senatorial strife to 
a couch hastily prepared beneath the same roof that 
had so often echoed his words of dauntless elo- 
quence, attended by mourning friends, and receiv- 
ing the tender ministrations of the companion alike 
of his earlier and later manhood, the flickering lamp 
of life slowly expired. After, apparently, reviewing 
the lengthened retrospection of a temperate, rational, 
useful life, from the boyish years 

* Whose distant footsteps echoed through the corridors of Time,' 

to the dying efforts of genius and patriotism, the 
hushea stillness of that hallowed chamber at length 
rendered audible the sublime words — " It is the 

LAST OF EaETh! I AM CONTENT I" 

* Concluding lines of Mr. Adams' "Address to the Sun-lHcA 
under the window of the Hall of the House of Representatives." 

10* 



226 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN 's OUIDE 



1 think it was during the administration of Sir 
Charles Bagot, the immediate successor of Lord 
Durliam, as Governor General of the Canadas, that I 
had the pleasure to dine one day, at the house of a 
distinguished civilian who held office under him, in 

company wdth the celebrated traveller L , and 

his friend, the well-known E G W , a 

man who, despite wealth, rank, and talent, paid a 
life-long penalty for a youthful error. There were, 
also, present several membei'S of the Provincial Par- 
liament, then in session at Kingston, which was, at 
that time, the seat of government, and a number of 
ladies — those of the party of Americans with whom 
I was travelling, and some others. 

The conversation, very naturally, turned upon the 
national peculiarities of the Yankees — as the English 
call, not the inhabitants of New England alone, but 
the people of the North American States generally — 
in consequence of the fact that tlie world-wide travel- 
ler had just completed his first visit to our country. 
Some one asked him a leading question respecting 
his impressions of us as a people, and more than one 
good-humored sally was given and parried among 

us. At length L said, so audibly and gravely as 

to arrest the attention of the whole company : 

" I have really but two serious faults to charge 
upon Jonathan." 

" May we be permitted to inquire what those are V 
returned I. 



TO rOLn'ENKSS AND FASniON. 227 

" That lie repudiates his debts, aud doesn't tdk^ 
time to eat his dinner^ 

When the general laugh had subsided, Mr. W 

remarked that, except when at the best hotels in 
the larger cities, he had found less inducement for 
dining deliberately in the United States than in most 
civilized lands he had visited, in consequence of the 
•prevalent bad cookery. 

" The words of Goldsmith," said he, — 

" 'Heaven sends us good meat, bat the devil sends cooks!* 

were always present to my mind when at table 
there! They eschew honest cold roast beef, as 
though there were poison in meat but once cooked, 
served a second time, though Hamlet is authority for 
our taste in that respect. — Tlie cold venison you did 
me the honor to compliment so highly, at lunch, this 

morning, L , would have been offered you fried 

by our good Yankee cousins !" 

"The patron saint of la cuisine forefend!" cried 
a smooth-browed Englishman — " not re-cooked, I 
hope?" 

" Assuredly !" returned W , " I trust these ladies 

and Colonel Lunettes will pardon me, — but such infa- 
mous stupidity is quite common. I soon learned, how- 
ever, the secret of preserving my "capacious stomach " 
in unimpaired capacity for action, [an irresistibly 



228 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's OUIDB 

comic glance downward upon his portly person] and 
could, I thought, very readily explain — 

' What is't that takes from them 
Their stomach, pleasures, and their golden sleep, 
Why they do bend their eyes upon the earth, 

In thick eyM musing and curs'd melancholy !' " 

If the frank denunciations of this eccentric 
observer of life and manners might otherwise have 
been regarded as impolite, his more severe comments 
upon his own countrymen proved, at least, that no 
national partiality swayed his judgment. 

I remember his telling me the following anecdote, 
as we chatted over our coffee, after joining the ladies 
in the evening: — In answer to some inquiry on my 
part, respecting the social condition of the people — 
the peasantry, as he called them, of the Provinces, 
he spoke in unmitigated condemnation of their igno- 
rance, and especially of their insolence and boorish- 
ness. " Get L to tell you," said he, " how near- 
ly he and his servants were frozen to death one fierce 
night, while an infernal gate-keeper opposed his 
road-right. Then, again, the other morning, Mrs. 

M (our hostess) who like every other lady 

here, except, perhaps. Lady Bagot, goes to market 
every day, was referred by a man, from whom she 
inquired for potatoes, to an old crone, with the words 
' — ' This ladr/ sell them, — ^here is a woman who wants 
to buy potatoes !' " 

The following morning, while our American party 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 

were driving out to the superb Fort that protects the 
Harbor of Kingston, to visit which we had been 
politely furnished with a permit by an oflScial friend, 
I endeavored to draw from a very charming and 
accomplished lady the secret of her unusual silence 
and reserve at dinner the evening before. She is 
really a celebrity, as much for her remarkable con- 
versational powers, as for any other reason, perhaps, 
and I had, therefore, the more regretted her not 
joining in the conversation. 

" What made the mystery more difficult of solu- 
tion," said one of the other ladies, " was the equally 
imperturbable gravity of that handsome Frenchman 
who sat beside Yirginia." 

"Handsome !" retorted Yirginia, " do you call that 
man handsome ! — his high cheek bones and swarthy 
complexion show his Indian blood rather too plainly 
for my taste, I must confess." 

" That commingling of races is very common here, 

Virginia," said I, " Mr. E is a somewhat pro 

minent member of the Canadian Parliament. I heard 
a speech from him, in French, yesterday morning, 
which was listened to with marked attention. There 
were a number of ladies in the sid^-hoxes, too, and 
it is evident from his attention to his dress, if for no 
other reason, that Mr. E is an elegant /" 

" All that may be," rejoined Virginia, " but I have 
no fancy for light blue ' unwhisperables,' as Tom 
calls them, nor for ruffled shirts !" 

" 'A change has come o'er the spirit of your dream, 
most queenly daughter of the * sunny South!' — ia 



230 THE' AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

this the sprightly Americaine who won all lieaiis the 
other day on the St. Lawrence, — ^from that magnifi- 
cent British officer, to the quiet old priest whose very 

beard seemed to laugh, at least " 

" That, indeed, Col. Lunettes ! — but for your ever- 
ready gallantry I would exclaim — 

" ' Man delights me not, nor woman either!' 

but here we are at the entrance of the famous don- 
jon keep !" 

We spent some time in examining the — to the 
ladies — novel attractions of the place. By-and-by, the 
fair Virginia, who had strayed oft' a little by herself, 
called to me to come and explain the mode of using a 
port-hole to her. In a few minutes, she said, in a low 
tone, sitting down, as she spoke upon a dismounted 
cannon, " Col. Lunettes, I beg you not to allude again 
to that — to the dinner, yesterday, or, at least, to ray 
embarrassment " 

" Your embarrassment, my dear girl I" I exclaim- 
ed, " you astonish me ! Do explain yourself" 

"Hush," returned my companion, looking furtive- 
ly over her shoulder, " that young Englishman seems 
to be engrossing the attention of the rest of the party, 
and, perhaps, I shall have time to tell you " 

"Do, my dear, if anything has annoyed you — ■ 
surely so old a friend may claim your confidence." 

" I have heard of the ' son of a gun,' " replied 
she, evidently making a strong eflfort to recall the 
natural sprightliness that seemed so singularly tc 
have deserted her of late ; " I don't see why I am 



TO roLrrENESs and fashion. 231 

not tlie daughter of a gun, at this moment, and so 
entitled to be very brave ! But about this Mr. 

E , Colonel," she almost whispered, bending her 

head so as to screen her face from my observation. 

"You know Mrs. M called for me the other 

morning to go and walk with her alone, because, as 
she said, she wanted to talk a little about old times, 

when we were in the convent school at C 

together. "Well, as we came to a little " shop," as 
she styled it — a hardware store, we should say — she 
begged me to go in with her a moment, while she 
gave some directions about a hall-stove, saying, with 
an apology : " We wives of government officers 
here, do all these things, as a matter of course." 
While she walked back in the place, I very natu- 
rally remained near the door, amusing myself by 
observing what was passing in the street. Pre- 
Bently, a fine horse arrested my eye, as he came 
prancing along. His rider seemed to have some ado 
to control him, as I thought, at first, but I suddenly 
became aware that he was endeavoring to stop him, 
in mid career, and that, when he succeeded — he — I 
— there was no mistaking it — ^his glance almost petri- 
fied me, in short, and I had only just power to turn 
quickly in search of Mrs. M ." 

The slight form of the speaker quivered visibly, 
and she paused abruptly. 

" Why, my poor child," said I, soothingly, " never 
mind it ! How can you allow such a thing to dis- 
tress you in this way ?" 

"If anything of the kind had ever happened to me 



232 THE AMEKICAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

before, I should have thought it my fault, in some 
way ; but when I got back to our hotel, and 
reviewed the whole matter, and — ^but there come 
the rest of the party " — she added, huniedly. " Do 
you wonder now at my manner at the dinner ? I 
knew his face the moment the man entered the din- 
ing room ; and when Mr. M introduced him, and 

requested him to conduct me, the burning glow that 
flashed over his swarthy brow convinced me that 
he, too, recognized me. I would sooner have 
encountered a basilisk than your elegant, parlia- 
mentary Frenchman !" 



" Doctor, what may I eat ?" inquired a dyspeptic 
American, who had just received a prescription 
from Abernethy — the eccentric and celebrated Eng- 
lish physician. 

" Eat V thundered the disciple of Galen, " the 
poker and tongs, if yju will ch&w them wellT'' 



What a commingling of nations and characters 
there was in the little party of which I made one, 
on a serene evening, lang-syne, at Constantinople ! 
We floated gently over the placid bosom of the 
sunset-tinted Golden Horn, rowed by four stout 
Mussulmans, and bound for that point of the shore of 
tlie Marmora nearest the suburb of Ezoub where 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASniON. 23S 

horses awaited us for a brisk canter of some miles 

back to the city. There were, Lord , an Eaglish 

nobleman ; a Hungarian refugee ; a Yankee sea- 
captain ; a dark-ejed youth from one of the Greek 
Islands; and myself — men severed by birth and edu- 
cation from communion of thought and feeling, yet 
united, for the moment, by a similarity of purpose ; 
associated by the subtle influence of circumstance, 
into a serene commingling of one common nature, 
and capacitated for the interchange of impressions 
and ideas, at least in an imperfect degree, through 
the medium of a strange jargon, compounded origi- 
nally of materials as varied as the native languages 
of the several individuals composing the group in 
our old Turkish Caique, which may have been, for 
aught we knew, the identical one that followed 
Byron in his Leander-swim ! 

The convereation naturally partook in character of 
the scene before us : — Near, towered the time-stained 
walls of the Seraglio— so long the cradling-place 
of successive Sultans, and then furnishing the em- 
bryo of the voluptuous pleasures of their anticipated 
paradise. Beyond, rose the ruin-crowned heights, 
the domes and minarets of old Stamboul, rich in his- 
toric suggestions, glowing now in the warmly-linger- 
ing smile of the departing day-god, 

" Not, as in Northern climes, obscurely bright, 
But one unclouded blaze of living light !" 

Before us, in our way over the crystal waters. 



234: THE AMEErOAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

loomed up the gloomy, verdure-draped turrets of the 
" Irde Koule " of this oft-rebelling and oft-conquered 
seat of Oriental splendor and imperial power. As 
with the " Tower " of London, the mere sight of this 
now silent and deserted castle, conjured up recollec- 
tions replete with deeds of wild romance, and darker 
scenes of blood and crime. Around us flowed the 
waters whose limpid depths had so oft received the 
sack-shrouded form of helpless beauty, when mid- 
night blackness rivalled the horror of the foul murder 
it veiled forever from mortal ken. Argosies and 
fleets had been borne upon these waves, whose 
names or whose conflicts were of world-wide renown 
— from the mythical adventurers of the Golden- 
Fleece to the triumphant squadrons of the Osmanlis, 
all seemed to float before the eye of fancy ! 

From the broken sentences that, for some timd", 
seemed most expressive of the contemplative mood 
engendered both by our surroundings and by the 
placidity of the hour, there gi-adually arose a some- 
what connected discussion of the present condition 
of the Ottoman Porte. 

It is not my purpose to inflict upon you a de- 
tailed report of our discourse ; but only to relate, 
for your amusement, a fragment of it, which some- 
how has, strangely enough, floated upwards from 
the darkened waters of the past, with sufficient dis- 
tinctness to be snatched from the oblivion to which 
its utter insignificance might properly consign it. 

"There is not," said the British noble — a man 
curious in literature, and a somewhat speculative 



TO P0LITENE8B AND FASHION. 235 

observer of life — " there is not a single purely lite- 
raiy production in the Turkish language, written by 
a living author; not a poem, nor romance, nor essay. 
The Koran would almost seem to constitute their all 
of earthly lore and heavenly aspiration. What an 
anomaly in the biography of modern peoples !" 

This last sentence was addressed especially to the 
sea-captain and me, the idiomatical English in which 
the passing fancy of the speaker found expression 
being wholly unintelligible to all except ourselves. 

"Their total want of a national literature," said 
the American, " does not so materially aflfect my 
comfort, I must confess, as the utter absence of 
decent civilization in their renowned capital. For 
instance, they have not an apology for a night-police 
in their confoundedly dark streets, except the infernal 
dogs that infest them. The other night, return- 
ing to my quarters, with my 'Ibrahim' pilot in 
front with a lantern, I was persuaded, as one of these 
' faithful guardians ' fastened his glistening ivories 
in my boot-top, that, like one of your ' lone stars ' at 
New York, Colonel Lunettes, he had ' mistaken his 
man,' and supposed me to be the returned spirit of 
some one of the countless throng of infidel dogs, upon 
whom his public education had instructed him to 
miake war to — the teeth /" 

" Ha, ha, ha !" laughed the Greek, in tones as 
musical as his dress and attitude were picturesque, 
from the pile of boat cloaks upon which he reposed 
in the bow of the boat, and opening his dark eyes till 
one saw far down into the dreamy depths of his 



236 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

lialf-slurnbering soul through his quick-lit orbs. Ha 
had caught enough of the sense of the captain's uoii- 
sense, to imagine the joke to the full. "Ha, ha, 
ha!" laughed he, again, and the shadowy walls of 
the blood-stained " Chateau of Seven Towers," by 
which we were gliding, gave back the clear, clarion- 
like tone ; " but, while this brave ^^5 de la mer * thus 
sports with the terrors of my country's enslaver 
[here a frown, deep, dark, threatening, and a quick 
clenching of the jewelled handle of the yataghan ho 
wore in his belt], the gates of fair Stamboul will 
close, and nor foe, nor Frank, nor friend, be given to 
the dogs." 

" By thunder !" shouted the American, shaking 
himself up, as if at sea, with a suspicious sail in 
sight, " he is more than half right. Would you have 
thought it so late ?" 

" Even a Yankee, like Captain , a fair repre- 
sentative of the 'univeral nation,' learns to dream 
and linger here," responded the Englishman, good- 
huraoredly. 

Upon this, I made use of the little knowledge I 
possessed of the Turkish, to interrogate our Caidjis 
respecting the time further required to reach our 
landing-place. 

' " Allah is great, and Mohammed is his Prophet!" 
was all I could fully apprehend of his slowly-deli- 
vered reply. 

It was now the captain's turn to laugh, and as hi8 

• Son of the aea. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 237 

Bonorous peal rippled over the Marmora, he quietly 
insinuated his fore-finger and thumb into the disen- 
gaged palm of the devout Mussulman I had so 
touchinglj adjured. 

The only response of the devotee of the Prophet 
was a gutteral repetition of " Pekee ! good ! pekee I 
pekee !" But by an influence as effective as it was 
mysterious, our swan-like movement was exchanged 
for a most hope-encouraging velocity. 

" Bravo !" exclaimed my lord. 

" Bravissima !" intonated the Hun. 

" Go it, boys !" shouted the " old salt." 

"By the soul of Mithridates and the deeds of 
Thermopolge !" chimed in the scion of the " isles of 
Greece," catching the instinctively-intelligible conta- 
gion of the sportive moment. 

" And what said Uncle Hal ?" you wonder, per- 
haps. Oh, I was listening to the low, melancholy, 
semi-howl in which the imperturbable Moslems were 
slowly chanting " Cruzal! pek giizaZ P^* as they 
turned their dull eyes lingeringly towards their fast- 
receding mosques and minarets. 

But, meeting the questioning glances of my com- 
panions, as their mirth began to subside, I contri- 
buted my humble quota to the general stock of fun 
by saying, with extreme gravity of voice and man- 
ner : 

" When will wonders cease in the Golden Horn 1 
At first, even its unquestionable antiquity did not 

* My beautiful I my most beautiful ! 



238 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

redeem this vessel from my contempt — now I con* 
sider it an ' irresistible duck /' — and I wish, more- 
over, to publish my conviction that, though barba- 
rous in matters of literature and art, the Turks im- 
pressively teach their boastful superiors a religious 
respect for cleanliness.^^ 



I remember to have been singularly impressed, 
when I read it, with an anecdote somewhat as fol- 
lows : 

As too frequently happens on such occasions, a 
discussion in relation to some insignificant matter, 
into which a large party of men, who had dined to- 
gether, and were lingering late over their wine, had 
fallen, gradually increased in vehemence and obsti- 
nacy of opinion, imtil frenzied excitement ruled 
the hour. 

" From word's they almost came to blows, 
When luckily " 

the attention of one of the most furious of the dispu 
tants was suddenly arrested by the appearace of one ot 
the gentlemen present. There was no angry flush on 
his brow, no " laughing devil " in his eye, and he sat 
quietly regarding the scene before him, serene and 
self-possessed as when he entered the apartment 
houi-s before. His astonished companion inquired 
the cause of such placidity, in the midst of anger 
and turbulence. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 239 

The gentleman pointed, with a smile, to a half- 
empty water-bottle beside him, and replied : "While 
the rest of the company have been industriously 
occupied in endeavoring to drown the distinctive 
attribute of man — reason — I have preserved its su- 
premacy by simply confining myself to a non- intoxi- 
cating beverage." 



I trust you will not think the following somewhat 
quaint verses, from the pen of an old and now almost 
forgotten poet, a mal-d-propos conclusion to thia 
letter : 

THE YOUTH AND THE PHILOSOPHER 

A Grecian youth, of talents rare, 
Whom Plsrto's philosophic care 
Had formed for Virtue's nobler view, 
By precept and example too, 
Would often boast his matchless skill 
To curb the steed, and guide the wheel ; 
And as he passed the gazing throng 
With graceful ease, and smack'd the thong, 
The idiot wonder they expressed. 
Was praise and transport to his breast. 

At length, quite vain, he needs would show 

His master what his art could do ; 

And bade his slaves the chariot lead 

To Academus' sacred shade. 

The trembling grove contessed its fright, 

The wood-nymphs started at the sight ; 

The Muses drop the learned lyre, 

And to their inmont shades retire. 

Howe'er, the youth, with forward ai?, 

Bowa to the Sage, and mounts the car; 



240 THE AMEBICAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDB 

The lash resounds, the coursers spring, 
The chariot marks the rolling ring ; 
And gathering crowds, with eager eyes. 
And shouts, pursue him as he flies. 

Triumphant to the goal returned, 
With nobler thirst his bosom burned ; 
And now along the indented plain 
The self-same track he marks again ; 
Pursues with care the nice design, 
Nor ever deviates from the line. 
Amazement seized the circling crowd ; 
The youths with emulation glowed ; 
E'en bearded sages hailed the boy. 
And all but Plato gazed with joy. 

For he, deep-judging sage, beheld 

With pain the triumph of the field : 

And when the charioteer drew nigh. 

And, flushed with hope, had caught his ejtif 
" Alas 1 unhappy youth," he cried, 
" Expect no praise from me," (and sighed) ; 
" With fndignation I survey 

Sxich skill and judgment thrown away : 

The time profusely sgtmndered there 

On vulgar arts, beneath thy care, 

If well employed, at less expense, 

Had taught thee Honor, Virtue, Sense ; 

And raised thee from a coachman's fate^ 

To govern men, and guide the state,^^ 

One seldom finds a nicer selection of words than 
those of the last lines of these admonitory stanzas. 
W^ith the wish that they may gratify your literary 
acumen, I am, as ever, 

Tour faithful friend, 

Hasst Lunettes. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 24:1 



LETTER VUI. 

letter-writing. 

My i>ear Nephews: 

There is, perhaps, no form of composition 
with which it is as desirable to be practically fami- 
liar, and in which all educated persons should be 
accomplished, as that of letter-writing^ yet no 
branch of an elegant education is more frequently 
neglected. Consequently, the grossest errors, and 
the utmost carelessness, are tolerated in regard to it 
Rhetorical faults, and even ungramraatical expres- 
sions, are constantly overlooked, and illegibility has 
almost come to be regarded as an essential character- 
istic. 

Following the homely rule of the lightning-tamer, 
that " nothing is worth doing at all that is not worth 
doing well^'' you will not need argument to convince 
you ef the propriety of attention to this subject, 
while forming habits of life. 

Different occasions and subjects require, of course, 
as various styles of epistolary composition. Thus 
the laconic language adapted to a formal business 
letter, would be wholly unsuited to one of friend- 
ship ; and the playfulness that might be appropriate 

11 



242 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN*8 GUIDB 

in a congratulatory coramanication, would be quite 
out of place in a letter of condolence. 

While it is impossible that any general niles can 
be laid down that will be always applicable in indi- 
vidual cases, a few directions of universal* applica- 
tion may, not inappropriately, be introduced in con- 
nection with our present purpose. 

The principal requisites of Letters of Buainsss are, 
intelligibility J legihility, and brevity. To secure the 
first of these essentials, a clear, concise, expressive 
selection of language is required. Each word and 
sentence should express exactly and unequivocally 
the idea intended to be conveyed, and in characters 
that will not obscure the sense by doubtful legibility. 
A legible hand should certainly be as essential as 
intelligible utterance. We pity the man who by 
stammering, or stuttering, not only taxes the time 
and patience of his hearers, but leaves them, at 
times, uncertain of his meaning, despite their efforts 
to comprehend him. What, then, is the misfor- 
tune of those who, like the most genial of wits, 
' decline to read their own writing, after it is twen- 
ty-four hours old !' Do not, I pray you, let any 
absurd impression respecting the excusableness of 
this defect, on the score that genius is superior to the 
trifles of detail, etc., lead you either into carelessness 
or indifference on the subject. Few men have the 
excuse of possessing the dangerous gift of genius, and 
to affect the weaknesses by which it is sometimes 
accompanied, is equally silly and contemptible. A 
man of sense will aim at attaining a true standard 



TO POLTTENESS AND FASHION. 243 

of right, not at caricaturing a defective model. 
Depend upon it, a good hisiness-hand is no small 
recommendation to young men seeking emploj'ment 
in any of the occupations of life. The propriety of 
hrevity in letters of business, wil. at once commend 
itself to your attention. Time — the wealth of the 
busy — is thus saved for two parties. But remember, 
I repeat, that, while this precious treasure is best 
secured by expressing what you wish to communi- 
cate in as few words as possible, nothing is gained 
by leaving your precise meaning doubtful, by un- 
authorized abbreviations, confused sentences, or the 
omission of any essential — as a date, address, propei 
signature, important question, or item of informa- 
tion. Let me add, that rapidity of mechanical exe-^ 
cution is of no mean importance in this regard. 

Letters of Introduction should be so expressed as 
to aiford the reader a clue to the particular purpose 
of the bearer in desiring his acquaintance, if any 
such there be. This will prevent the awkwardness 
of a personal explanation, and furnish a convenient 
theme for the commencement of a conversation be- 
tween strangers. Thus, if it be simply a friend, tra- 
velling in search of pleasure and general information, 
whom you wish to commend to the general civilities 
of another friend, some such form as the following 
will suffice : 

My deak Sie : 

Allow me the pleasure of introducing to 
you my friend, Mr. , a gentleman whose 



244 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

intelligence and acquirements render his acquaint- 
ance an acquisition to all who are favored with his 

society. Mr. visits your city [or town, or part 

of the country, or, your celebrated city, or, your en- 
terprising town, or your far-famed State, etc.] merely 
as an observant traveller. Such attentions as it may 
be agreeable to you to render him will oblige 
Your sincere friend, 

and obedient servant. 



To Hon. 



When yon wish to write a letter oi introduction 
for a person seeking a situation in business, a place 
of residence, scientific information, or the like ; 
briefly, but distinctly, state this to your correspondent," 
together with any circumstance creditable to the 
bearer, or which it will be advantageous to him to 
have known, which you can safely venture to avouch. 
(No one is in any degree bound by individual regard 
to impair his reputation for probity or veracity in 
this, or any other respect.) 

A letter introducing an Artist, a Lecturer, etc., 
should contain some allusion to the professional 
reputation of the bearer — thus : 



My dear Williamson: 

This will be presented to you by our dis- 
tinguished countryman, Mr. , who pro- 
poses a brief visit to your enterprising city, chiefly 
for professional purposes. It affords me great plea* 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 24:6 

Bure to be the means of securing to friends whom I 
80 highly value, the gratification I feel assured you 

and Mr. will derive from knowing each other. 

With the best wishes for your mutual success and 
happiness, I am, my dear sir, 

Yery truly yours, 



To , Esq. 

In the instance of a celebrity, occupying at the 
time a space in the world's eye, something like this 
will suffice : 

Boston, August 1st, 1863. 

My dear Friend: 

It gives me pleasure to present to your 
acquaintance a gentleman from whose society you 

cannot fail to derive high enjoyment. Mr. [or 

the Hon. , or Gen. ]* needs no eulogj^ 

* Always be scrupulously careful to give titles, and with accuracy. 
The proper designation of a gentleman not in office, is — Esquire. 
(This, of course, should not be given to a tradesman, or menial) 
That of a judge, member of Congress, mayor of a city, member of a 
State legislature, etc., etc., is — Honorable ; that of a clergyman — • 
Reverend; that of a bishop — Right Reverend. You are, of course, 
familiar with the proper abbreviations for these titles. In writing 
the address of a letter, it is desirable to know the Christian name of 
the person to whom it is to be directed. Thus, if a physician, 
" Charles Jones, M. D.," is better than " Dr. Jones." So, " Dr. 
De Lancey," or " Bishop Potter," are obviously improper. The cor- 
rect form to be used in this instance, is : 
•' To the 

'''Right Rev. Alonzo Potter, D. D." 



246 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN 's GTHDH 

of mine to render his reputation familiar to you, 
identified as it is with the literature of our country 
[or the scientific fame, or the eloquence of the pul- 
pit, etc.] Commending my friend to your courtesy, 
believe me, my dear Jones, 

Truly your friend and servant. 



Kev. 



Letters of introduction should always be unsealed^ 
and, as a rule, should relate only to the affairs of the 
bearer, not even passingly to those of the writer or 
his correspondent. When it is desirable to write 
what cannot, for any reason, be properly introduced 
into the open letter, a separate and sealed communi- 

The proper address of a Minister representing our government 

abroad, is — " the Honorable , Minister for the U. S. of 

America, near the Court of St. James, or St. Cloud," etc. That of a 
Charge dC Affaires, or Consul, etc., varies with their respective offices. 
A. Charge d Affaires is sometimes familiarly spoken of as " Our 
ijharg^," at such a Court — or as the ^'■American Charged 

A clergyman may be addressed as " Rev. Mr. ," if you do not 

know the first name, or initial, and so may a doctor of divinity ; 
but in the latter case it would, perhaps, be better to write — " Rev. 
Dr. James," — though the more accurate mode will still be, if attain- 
able, " Rev. William James, D.D." 

Gentlemen of the Army and Navy should always be designated by 
their proper titles, and it is well not to be ignorant that a man in 
either of these professions, when 

" He bath got his sword . . . 
And seems to know the use on't," 

may not like to be reminded that the slow promotion he has attained 

is xtnknovm to his friends I 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION 247 

cation may be written and sent, with a polite apo- 
logy, or brief explanation, with the other. 

When letters of introduction are delivered in per- 
son, they should be sent by the servant who admits 
you, together with your card, to the lady or gentle- 
man to whom they are addressed, as the most con- 
venient mode of announcing yourself, and the object 
of your visit. 

When you do not find the person you wish to see, 
write your temporary address upon your card, as "At 
the American Hotel " — " With Mrs. Henry, 22 
Washington-st." — " At Hon. John Berkley's," etc. 
Should you send your letter, accompany it by your 
card and present address, and inclose both together 
in an envelope directed to the person for whom 
they are designed. When your stay is limited and 
brief, it is suitable to add upon your card, together 
with an accurate date — " For to-day," or, " To remain 
but two or three days." And in case of any expla- 
nation, or apology, or request being requisite, such 
as you would have made in a personal interview, 
write a note, to be inclosed with the letter of presen- 
tation. Every omission of these courtesies that may 
occasion trouble, or inconvenience to others, is ill- 
bred, and may easily serve to prejudice strangers 
against you. 

Sometimes it is well to make an appointment 
through the card you leave, or send, with a letter, or 
for a stranger whom you wish to meet, as — " At the 
Globe Hotel, this evening^'' with a date, or thus '. — 



248 THE AMERICAN GENTLKMAN's GUIDE 

""Will pay his respects to Mre. , to-morrow 

morning, with her permission." 

A letter introducing a young man, still " unknown 
to fame," to a lady of fashion, or of distinguished 
social position, may be expressed somewhat in this 
manner : 

lb 

Mrs. Modishj* 

No. 14 Belgrave Plaee, 

Charleston, 8. C. 

AsTOB House, New York, Jan. 21th, 18G3. 

Dear Madam : 

Permit me to present to you my friend, 
Mr. James Stuart — a gentleman whose polished 
manners and irreproachable character embolden me 

• It is etiquette to address communications to a lady according to 
the style she adopts for Acr card. Thus, the elder of two married 
ladies, bearing the same name and of the same family, may properly 

designate herself simply as Mrs. , without any Christian name 

(her position in society and the addition upon her card, of her locale 
being supposed sufficient to identify her). The wives of her young- 
est brother, or those of her sons, are then " Mrs. N. C. ," "Mrs. 

Charles ," and so on. The eldest of a family of sisters is, 

" Miss ," the younger are " Miss Nellie ," " Miss Julia ," 

etc. In writing to, or conversing with them, you thus individualize 
them. But when you are upon ceremonious terms with them, in the 
absence of the elder, you address one of the younger sisters, with 
whom you are conversing, as " Miss ," only, omitting the indivi- 
dualizing Christian name. Of course, when writing under such cir- 
cumstances, a note of ceremony designed for the young ladies of a 

family, collectively, should be addressed to " The Misses ;" and 

if for one of them, alone, to " Miss " or, "Miss Mary Gt / 

as the case may be. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 249 

to request for him the honor of an acquaintance with 
even so fastidious and accomplished an arbiter of 
fashion as yourself 

Mr. Stuart will be able to give you all the inform- 
ation you may desire respecting our mutual friends 
and acquaintances in society here. 

Do me the honor to make my very respectful 
compliments to the Misses Modish, and to believe 
me, dear madam, 

Most respectfully, 

Your friend and servant, 

RoBEBT B. Hawks. 
Mes. Modish. 

Letters •presenting foreigners, should designate the 
country and particular locality to which they belong, 
as well as the purpose of their tour, as—" The Che- 
valier Bonn^, of Berne, Switzerland whose object in 
visiting our young Republic is not only the wish to 
compare our social and political institutions with 
those of his own country, but the collection of sped- 
mens and information respecting the Natural HiS' 
iory of the United States. Such assistance as you 
may b3 able to render my learned friend, in facili- 
tating his particular researches, will confer a favor 
upon me, my dear sir, which I shall ever gratefully 
remember," etc., etc. 

The subject of letters of introduction naturally 
suggests that oi ^personal introductions, in relation to 
which the grossest mistakes and the greatest care- 
lessness are prevalent, even among well-bred people. 

11* 



250 THE AMKRIOAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

In making persons acquainted with eacli other, 
the form of words may vary almost with every 
different occasion, but there are certain rules that 
should never be overlooked, since they refer to con- 
siderations of abstract propriety. 

Younger persons and inferiors in social rank, 
should, almost invariably, be presented to their se- 
niors and superiors. Thus, one should not say — " Mr. 
Smith, let me introduce Mr. "Washington Irving to 
you," but " Mr. Irving, will you allow me to intro- 
duce Mr. John Smith to you ?" Or, " Permit me to 
present Mr. Smith to you, sir," presupposing that 
Mr. Smith does not need to be informed to whom he 
is about to be introduced. It is difficult to express 
upon paper the difference of signification conveyed 
by the mode of intonating a sentence. " General 
Scott, Mr. Jones," may be so pronounced as to pre- 
sent the latter gentlemen to our distinguished coun- 
tryman, in a simple, but admissible manner, or it 
may illustrate the impropriety of naming a man of 
mark to a person who makes no pretensions to social 
equality with him. 

Usually, men should be introduced to women, 
upon the principle that precedence is always yielded 
to the latter ; but, even in this case, an exception 
may properly be made in the instance of an intro- 
duction between a very young^ or, otherwise, wholly 
nnindividualized woman, and a man of high posi- 
tion, or of venerable age. A half-playful variation 
from the ordinary phraseology of this ceremony, 
may sometimes be adopted, under such circum- 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASHION. 261 

stances, with good taste, as — "Tliis young lady desires 
the pleasure of knowing you, sir — Miss Williams," 
or, " Mr. Prescott, this is my niece. Miss Ada Byron 
Robinson." 

"When there is a " distinction without a differ- 
ence" between two persons, or when hospitality 
interdicts your assuming to decide a nice point in 
this regard, it may be waived by merely naming the 
parties in such a way as to give precedence to 

neither — thus : " Gentlemen, allow me — Mr. W , 

Mr. Y ," or, " Gentlemen, allow me the pleasure 

of making you known to each other," and then sim- 
ply pronounce the names of the two persons. 

By the way. let me call your attention to the 
importance of an audibU and distinct enunciation 
of nameSj when assuming to make an introduction. 
A quietj self-possessed manner, and intelligibility 
should be regarded as essential at such times. 

When introducing persons who are necessarily 
wholly unacquainted with each other's antecedents of 
station or circumstance, it is eminently proper to add 
a brief explanation, as — " Mr. Preudhomne, let me 
introduce my brother-in-law, General Peters, — Mr. 
Preudhomne, of Paris," or ; "Mrs. Blandon, with your 
permission, I will present to you Seiior Abeuno, a 
Spanish gentleman. Senor A. speaks French per- 
fectly, but is unacquainted with our language ; " 
or, " Mr. Smithson, this is my friend Mr. Brown, of 
Philadelphia — like onraelvea, a merchant ; " or, " My 
dear, this is Captain Blevin, of the good ship Never 
sink, — Mrs. Nephews, sir." 



252 THE AMERICAN GENrUEMAN's GUIDE 

N'ever say " My wife," or " My daughter, or " My 
sister," " My father-in-law," or the like, without giv' 
ing each their proper ceremonious title. How should 
a stranger know whether your "daughter" is — 

" Sole daughter of your house and heart," 

or Miss " Lucy," or " Belinda," the third or fourth in 
the order of time, and, consequently, of precedence, 
or what may chance to be the name of your father-in- 
law, or half-sister, etc., etc. 

Well-bred people address each other by name, 
when conversing, and hence the awkwardness occa- 
sioned by this vulgar habit, which is only equalled 
by that of speaking of your wife as " My wife,"* or 
worse still, "tti^ ludyP^ Is it not enough, when 
your friends know that you are married, and are 
perfectly familiar with your own name, to speak of 

" Mrs. ," and to introduce them to the mistress 

of your house by that designation ? 

It is a solecism in good manners to suppose it un- 
suitable to designate the members of your own family 
by their proper titles under all circumstances that 
would render it suitable and convenient to do so in 
the instance of other persons. Never fall into the 

* This reminds me of another habit that is becoming prevalent iu 
this new land of ours — that of men's entering themselves upon the 
Registers of Hotels, Ocean Steamers, etc., as " M. A. Timeson and 
ladt/T or, " Mr. G. Simpson and vn/e." What can possibly be the 
objection to the good old established form of " Mr. and Mrs. M. A, 
Timeson," or " George and Mrs. Simpson, or " Mr. G. Simpson. Mrs. 
and the Misses Simpson ?" 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 253 

American peculiarity on this point, I entreat yoti. 

Say — " My father, Dr. Y ," or " My sister, Miss 

V ," "Mrs. Coh V , my sister-in-law," or, 

" My sister, Mrs. John Jenkins," with as scrupulous 
a regard for rank and precedence, as though dealing 
with strangers. Indeed, you virtually ignore all 
personal considerations, while acting in a social 
relation merely. 

The rules of etiquette very properly interdict in- 
discriminute introductions in general society. Ko 
one has a right to thrust the acquaintance of persons 
upon each other without their permission, or, at least, 
without some assurance that it will be agreeable to 
them to know each other. Strangers meeting at the 
house of a mutual friend, in a morning visit, or the 
like, converse with each other, or join in the general 
conversation without an introduction, which it is not 
usual among fashionable people to give under such 
circumstances. If you wish to present a gentleman 
of your acquaintance to a lady, you first ask her per- 
mission, either in person or by note, to take him to 
her house, if she be married, or to do so at a party, 
etc., where you may chance to meet her. In the 
instance of a very young lady, propriety demands 
your obtaining the consent of one of her parents 
before adding to her list of male acquaintances, unless 
you are upon such terms of intimacy with her family 
and herself, as to render this superfluous; and so 
with all your friends. It is better, however, even 
where unceremoniousness is admissible, to err upon 
the safer sido. 



254 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn'b GUIDE 

Among men, greater license maybe taken; but, 
as a Tulc^ I repeat, persons are Tiot introduced in the 
6treet, in pump-rootus, in the public parlors of hotels, 
or watering-places, meeting incidentally at receptions 
or at morning visits, etc. ; and not even when they 
are your guests at large dinnei-s, or soirees, without 
their previous assent or request. 

Of coui-se, such rules, like all the laws of conven- 
tion, are established and followed for convenience, 
and should not be regarded, like those of the Medes 
and Persians, as unchangeable. Good sense and good 
feeling will vary them with the changes of cir- 
cumstance. No amiable person, for instance, will 
hesitate to set them aside for the observance of the 
more imperative law of kindness, when associated 
with those who are ignorant of their existence (as 
many really excellent persons are), and would be 
pained by their strict observance. Neither should 
the most punctilious sticklers for form think it 
necessary to make a parade of the mere letter of such 
rules, at any time. It is the spirit we want, for the 
promotion of social convenience and propriety. 

Perhaps it may be as well in this connection as in 
any other, to say a word about the matter of visiting 
cards. 

Fashion sanctions a variety of forms for this neces- 
sary appendage. In Europe, it is very common to 
affix the professional or political title to the name, as 

" , Professor in the University of Heidel- 

burg," or, " , Conseiller d'Etat," ; and an 

Englishman in public life often has on his card the 



TO rOLITENESb AND FASHION. 255 

cabalistic cliaractera — "In H. M. S." — (in Her Majes- 
ty's Service). Among the best-bred Americans, I 
think the prevalent usage is to adopt the simple sig' 
nahire, as " Henry Wise," or to prefix the title of 
Mr., as "Mr. Seward." Sometimes, — particularly 
for cards to be used avfay from home — the place of 
residence is also engraved in one corner below the 
name.* 

Europeans occasionally adopt the practice of hav- 
ing the corners of the reverse side of their cards engra- 
ven across with such convenient words as ^^ Pour 
dire Adieu " (to say good bye). " Congratulation " 
(to ofier congratulations). '^^ Pour affaire"*^ (on an 
errand, or on business). '•^ Arrive''^ (tantamount to 
" in town^''). Tlic appropriate corner is turned over, 
as occasion requires, and the sentence is thus brought 
into notice on the same side with the name. 

Business cards should never be used in social life, 
nor should flourishes, ornamental devices, or gene- 
rally unintelligible characters be employed. A 
smooth, white card, of moderate size, with a plain, 
legible inscription of the name, is in unexceptionable 
taste and ton, suitable for all occasions, and sufficient 
for all purposes, with the addition, when circum- 
stances require it, of a pencilled word or sentence. 
But to return to our main subject. 

Letters of Recommendation partake of the general 
character of those of introduction. It is sufficient to 
add, in regard to them, that they should be conscien- 
tiously expressed. All that can be truthfully said 
for the advantage of the bearer, should be included ; 

* Persons belonging to the Army and Navy use their full titles, with 
the addition of " U. S, A.," or " U. S. N." 



256 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

but, as I have before remarked, no one is obliged to 
compromise his own integrity to advance the interests 
of others in this manner, more than in any other. 

Letters of Condolence require great care and deli- 
cacy of composition. They should relate chiefly, as 
a rule, to the subject by which they are elicited, and 
express sympathy rather than aim at administering 
consolation. No general directions can be made to 
embrace the peculiarities of circumstance in this 
regard. Suffice it to say that the inspiration of 
genuine feeling will dictate rather expressions of 
kindly interest for the sufferer you address, of respect 
and regard for a departed friend, or an appreciation 
of the magnitude of the misfortune you deplore, 
rather than coldly polished sentences and prolonged 
reference to one's self. 

Letters of Congratulation should embody cheerful- 
ness and cordiality of sentiment, and be at an equal 
remove from an exaggeration of style, suggesting 
the idea of insincerity or of covert ridicule, and from 
chilling politeness, or indications of indifference. To 
" rejoice with those who rejoice " is indeed a pleas- 
ing and easy task for those who are blessed with a 
genial nature, and enrich themselves by partaking in 
the good fortune of others. Letters expressing this 
pleasure admit of a little more egotism than is sanc- 
tioned by decorum in some other cases. One may 
be allowed to allude to one's own feelings when so 
pleasurably associated with those of one's correspon- 
dent. 

Brevity is quite admissible in letters both of con? 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 257 

dolence and felicitation — referring, as they properly 
do, chiefly to one topic ; it is in better taste not to intro- 
duce extraneous matter into them, especially when 
they are of a merely ceremonious nature. 

Letters to Superiors in Station or Age demand a 
respectful and laconic style. No familiarity of 
address, no colloquialisms, pleasantries, or digres- 
sions, are admissible in them. They should be com • 
menced with a ceremoniously-respectful address 
carefully and concisely expressed, and concluded 
with an elaborate formula, of established phraseo- 
logy. The name of the person to whom they are 
written should be place near the lower, left hand 
edge of the sheet, together with his ceremonious 
title, etc. No abbreviations of words — and none of 
titles, unsanctioned by established usage, should be 
introduced into such letters, and they should bear at 
the commencement, below the date, and on the left 
hand side of the paper, the name of the person ad- 
dressed, thus : 

Washington Citt, Feb. 2d, 1863. 

HoNOKABLE Edwabd Everett : 

SiK, 



I am, sir, 

Very respectfully, 

Your humble servant, 
J. F. Caepenteb. 
Hon. Edwabd Evebett, 

Secretary of State, for the U. S. 



258 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

Be careful to remember that it is unsuitable to 
commence a communication to an entire stranger 
an oflScial letter, or one of ceremony, in reply to a 
gentleman acting in the name of a committee, etc., 
etc, with " Dear Sir." This familiarity is wholly out 
of place under such circumstances, and it is matter 
of surprise that our public men so frequently fall into 
it, even in addressing public functionaries represent- 
ing foreign countries here, etc. In this respect, as 
in many others, their " quality." as that most dis- 
cerning satirist. Punchy has recently said of the style 
of one of our men in high office — is not " strained /" 
llie veterans of Diplomatic or of Congressional life 
should let us see that practice has refined their style 
of spealcing and writing, rather than remind us that 
they have come to the lees of intellect ! 

I have, for several years past, remarked the pub- 
lished letters of one of the distinguished men of the 
Empire State, as models of graceful rhetoric and 
good taste. I refer pow, not to the political opinions 
they may have expressed, but to their literary execu- 
tion. They indicate the pen of genius — no matter 
what the occasion — whether declining to break 
ground for a canal, to lay the corner-stone of a 
university, acknowledging a public serenade, or 
expounding a political dogma, a certain indescrib- 
able something always redeems them alike from com- 
mon-place ideas, and from inelegance of language. 
See if your newspaper profundity will enable you to 
"guess" the name of the individual to whom I 
refer. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 251) 

Diploinatic Letters require a style peculiar to 
themselves, in relation to which it would be the 
height of temerity in me to adventure even a hint. 
The Public Documents of our own country and of 
England, afford models for those of you who shall 
have occasion for them, as members of the " Corps 
Diplomatique." 

Letters of Friendship and Affection must, of 
course, vary in style with the occasions and the 
correspondents that elicit them. A light, easy, 
playful style is most appropriate. And one should 
aim rather at correctness of diction than at anything 
like an elaborate parade of language. 

GramTnatical inaccuracies and vulgarisms are 
never allowable among educated people, whether 
in speaking or writing ; nor is defective spelling 
excusable. 

Punctuation and attention to the general rules of 
composition should not be overlooked, as thus only 
can unmistakable intelligibleness be secured. 

Avoid all ambitious pen-flourishes, and attempts 
at ornamental caligraphy, and aim at the acquisition 
of a legible, neat, gentleman-like hand, and a pure, 
manly, expressive style, in this most essential of all 
forms of composition. 

The possession of excellence in this accomplish- 
ment will enable you to disseminate high social and 
domestic pleasure. Nothing affords so gratifying a 
solace to friends, when separated, as the reception 
of those tokens of remembrance and regard. Tliey 
only who have wandered far, far away from the ties 



260 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

of country, friends, and home, can fully appreciate 
the delight afforded by the reception of letters of a 
satisfactory character. And the welcome assurances 
of the safety, health, and happiness of the absent 
and loved, is the best consolation of home-friends. 

Practice^ patience^ and tact^ are equally essential 
to the acquisition of ease and grace in this desirable 
art. Wity humor^ and playfvlTiesa are its proper 
embellishments, and variety should characterize its 
themes. A certain egotism, too, is not only pardon- 
able, but absolutely requisite, and may even become 
delicately complimentary to the recipient of one's 
confidence. 

Let me remind you, too, that — though " offence 
of spoken words " may be excused by the excite- 
ment of passing feeling — the deliberate commission 
of unkind, or. worse still, of unjust, untruthful, 
injurious language, to paper, argues an obliquity of 
moral vision little likely to secure the writer either 

" What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy, 
The aouVa calm sunshine" 

or the respect and regard of others. 

Facility in writing familiar letters may be in- 
creased by the habit of mentally recording, before 
inditing them, as opportunity affords material, such 
incidents of travel, items of personal interest, or 
gossiping intelligence, etc., as may be thought best 
suited to the tastes of your correspondents. And 
it is well, before closing such communications, not 
only to glance over them to satisfy youi-self of their 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION 261 

freedom from mistakes, but by that means to recall 
any omission occasioned by forgetfulness. 

Kotes of Invitation, of Acceptan/)e, and Regret, 
require, of course, brevity and simplicity of expres- 
sion. The jprefoailim^ mode of the society you are 
connected with, is usually the proper guide in rela- 
tion to these matters of form, for the time being. 
Thus the mere formula of social life at Washington, 
Boston, Charleston, Paris, or St. Petersburg, may 
be somewhat varied, as usage alone frequently 
determines these niceties, and all eccentricities and 
peculiarities in this respect, as in most others, are in 
bad taste. Cards, or Notes, of Invitation to Dinners 
and Soirees, are frequently printed, and merely 
names and dates supplied in writing. The example 
of the hest society (in the most elevated sense of 
that much-abused phrase) everywhere, sanctions 
only the most unpretending mode of expression and 
general style, for such occasions. The utmost 
beauty and exquisiteness of finish in the mere 
material, but the absence of all pretentious orna- 
ment, is thought most unexceptionable. 

Invitations to Dirwicr should be acknowledged at 
your earliest convenience, and — whether accepted or 
declined — in courteously ceremonious phraseology. 
In the instance of invitations * to Balls and Evening- 

* I was somewhat surprised lately, in perusing an agreeable 
novel, written by one of our countrywomen, to obserre her use of 
the word " ticket " as synonymous with invitation, or card of invito^ 
Hon. A " ticket ^^ admits one to a concert, the opera, or theatre' 
hut one receives an " invitation" or " card »/" invitation " to a diaueri 



262 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

Parties, "Weddings, etc., haste is not so essential j 
but a seasonable reply to such civilities should by 
no means be neglected. 

When you wish to take a friend — ^who is a 
stranger to the hostess — with you to an evening 
entertainment, and are upon sufficiently established 
terms with her to make it quite proper to do so, 
acknowledge your invitation at once, and request 
permission to take your friend — thus affording an 
opportunity, if it is requisite, for the return of an 
invitation enclosed to you for your proposed com- 
panion. Some form like the following will answer 
the purpose : 

Mr. Thomas Brown has the honor to accept Mrs 
Mason's very polite invitation for next Thursday 
evening. 

With Mrs. Mason's permission, Mr. Brown will 
be accompanied by his friend, Mr. Crawford, of 
Cincinnati, who is at present temporarily in New 
York. 

Carlton House, 

Monday morning, December 2%th, 

Among intimate friends, it is sometimes most 
courteous, when declining cm invitation^ in place of 
a mere formal " regret " to indite a less ceremonious 
note, briefly explanatory, or apologetic. Essential 

ball, or evening-party, at a friend^a house. All misnomers of thin 
kind savor of under-breeding — they are vvlgarisms, in short, unsano* 
tioncd either by taste or fashion. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 263 

good'h'eedin^ is the best guide in these occasional 
deviations from ceremoneous rules. 

Formal notes of invitation, and the like, should 
not be addressed to several persons inclusively. Of 
course, a gentleman and his wife are invited in 
this inclusive way, as are the unmarried sisters of a 
family, when residing in the same house ; but 
visitors to one's friends, a married lady and her 
daughters, as well as the younger gentlemen of a 
family, should, severally, have separate notes, di- 
rected to them individually, where ceremony is 
requisite, though all may, for convenience, be 
enclosed in the same envelope, with a general 
direction to the elder lady of the house. 

Letters, or notes, commenced in the third person^ 
Bhould be continued throughout in the same form. 
It is obviously incorrect (though of frequent occur- 
rence), to adopt such phraseology as — "Mr. Small 
presents his compliments to Miss Jones," etc., and 
to conclude with " Yours respectfully, G. Small." 
This mode of expression (the third person), is only 
adapted to brief communications of a formal nature. 
No address and signature are required when the 
names of the recipient and of the writer are intro- 
duced into the body of the note, as they necessarily 
are. The place of residence (if written), and the 
date, are placed at the left hand side of the paper, 
"below the principal contents. 

Letters designed to be mailed — such as are written 
to persons living at a distance from your own place 
of residence — should have your proper mail addresi 



264 THB AMEBIOAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDB 

legibly written on the right hand side of yonr sheet, 
above the rest of the communication, together with 
the date. 

ITotes addressed to persons residing in the same 
place with yourself, require only the name of the 
street you reside in, and your number, with the day 
of the week — as " Clinton Place, Thursday P. M.," 
or, " No. 6 Great Jones st., Monday morning " — 
which is usually placed below the other portions of 
the missive. It is usual to write short notes of cere- 
mony so as to have the few lines composing them in 
the middle of the small sheet used. 

Forms of signature and address vary in accordance 
with the general tenor of letters. When they are of 
an entirely ceremonious character, or addressed to 
superiors, usage requires an elaborate address and 
subscription ; but the style of familiar epistles per- 
mits throughout every variety of language that good 
taste and good feeling may invent or sanction. Only 
let there be a general harmony in your compositions. 
Do not fall into the inadvertency of the person who 
addressed a missive full of the most tender expres- 
sions of regard to his mistress, and signed it — 
" Yours respectfully, Clark, Smith & Co." 

Legibility^ Intelligibility, and Acawra^ are requi 
site in the direction of all epistolary compositions. 

Correct taste demands some attention to the sub- 
ject of Writing-Materials. It is now becoming the 
practice to use small-sized paper for communications 
of ceremony and friendship, continuing the contents 
through several sheets, if necessary, and numbering 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 266 

each in proper succession. It is, also, usual to 
write ceremonious letters on but one side of a sheet, 
and to leave a wide margin upon the left hand 
side, and a narrower one on the opposite edge of the 
paper. 

The finest, smoothest paper should always be used, 
except for mere business matters; and, though some 
passing fashion may sanction tinted paper, pure white 
is always unexceptionable. All fancy ornaments, 
colored designs, etc., etc., are in questionable taste. 
If ornamental bordering, or initial lettering is 
adopted, the most chaste and unpretending should 
be preferred. 

Except for fnaiUng, envelopes should correspond 
exactly with the sheet inclosed. Envelopes sent 
by post should be strong and large-sized. Sometimes 
it is well to re-enclose a small envelope, corresponding 
with the written sheet, in a large, firm cover, and to 
write the full direction upon that. 

Sealing wax should always be used for closing all 
epistles, except those of an entirely business nature. 
Stamps and seals may vary with taste. A plain 
form with an unbroken face, suflBces; or initials, a 
device and motto, one or both ; or hereditary heral- 
dic designs may be preferred. 

Letters intended to go by mail on the continent of 
Europe, should be written on a single, large sheet of 
thm paper, and not enveloped. 

It is as ill-bred not to reply to a communication 
requiring an acknowledgment, or to neglect proper 
attention to aU the s&oeral matters of importance to 

12 



2(>6 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GTHDB 

which it relates^ as tt is not to answer a question 
directly and personally addressed to you. 

Promptitude is also demanded by good-breeding, 
in this regard. l^Tecessity only can excuse the impo- 
liteness of subjecting a friend, or business-correspon- 
dent, to inconvenience or anxiety, occasioned by 
delay in replying to important letters. 

Tyros in epistolary composition may derive advan- 
tage from noting the peculiar excellences of the 
published letters of celebrated authors and othere ; 
not for the purpose of servile imitation, but as afford- 
ing useful general models, or guides. Miscellaneous 
readers may note the genial humor and patient ela- 
borateness characterizing the letters of the " Great 
Unknown," the felicities of expression sometimes 
observable in the familiar missives of Byron, and of 
his friend Tom Moore (when the latter is not writing 
to his much-put-upon London publisher for table-sup- 
plies, etc. !) amuse himself with the gossiping capacity 
for details exhibited by those of Horace TValpole, 
and con, with wondering admiration, the epistolary 
illustrations of the well-disciplined, thoroughly -ba- 
lanced character of the great Amencan model, of 
whobc writings it may always be said — whether an 
" order," written on a drum-head, or the draught of a 
document involving the interests of all humanity is 
the subject — that they are " wpH doneP 

Among the collections of letters I remember to 
have read, none now occur to me as offering more 
variety of style than those included in the " Memoirs 
of H. More." They are a little old-fashioned now, 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 267 

perhaps; but some of them, both for matter and 
manner, are, in their way, unsurpassed in English 
literature. Some of those of Sir W. W. Pepys, I 
recollect as peculiarly pleasing. 

Several of the published letters of Dr. Johnson, 
and one or two of those of our own Franklin, are to 
be regarded as among the curiosities of literature, 
rather than as precedents which circumstances will 
ever render available, or desirable. Johnson's cele- 
brated letter to Lord Chesterfield, declining his prof- 
fered patronage, for instance — and Franklin's, con- 
cluding with the witty sarcasm — " You are now my 
enemy, and I am 

"Yours, B. Franklin." 

At some future time, perhaps, the literary trea- 
sures of our country will be enriched by specimens 
of the correspondence of such of our contemporaries 
as inspire the highest admiration for their general 
style of composition. Who could fail to peruse with 
interest, letters from the pen of Prescott, who never 
makes even such a physical infirmity as his, a plea 
for inaccuracy, or carelessness of expression ? And 
who would not hail with delight any draught pre- 
sented by the bounteous hand of Irving, from, 

" The well of English undefiled," 

whence he himself has long quaffed the highest 
inspiration 1 



268 TUE AMEBIOAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 



** There they are !" shouted James. 

"Here they cornel" exclaimed Miss Mary Mars* 
ton. 

"They have made good time, the lazy dogs, for 
once !" said I. 

" Oh, I'm so glad 1" echoed the silvery cadences 
of Kettie Brown, who seemed about to dance to the 
music of her own merry voice. 

" I hope " began the dove-like murmur of a 

fair invalid : she ceased, and her dewy eyes told all 
she would have said. 

" God grant us good news !" said our venerable 
oomjpagnon de voyage^ fervently, a shade of anxiety 
elouding his usually benignant countenance. 

" Ladies, excuse me ! I beg you to remember 
that they may not bring anything — let me prepare 
you for a disappointment I" These words were 
uttered, with apparent reluctance, by a young man, 
whose pale face and dark melancholy eyes seemed 
to lend almost prophetic emphasis to his warning 
tones. 

Nettie ceased to clap her little hands: "Jovial 
James " looked as grave as his usually rollicking, 
fun-twinkling eyes permitted; the stately Mary 
could only look fixedly towards the approaching 
Arabs, the serenity of our patriarchal friend was 
more than ever disturbed; sweet Isidore grew 
marble pale, and leaned heavily back upon the sculp- 
tured pillar against which we had secured her camp- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 269 

seat, and your uncle Hal — well ! he is a " proverbial 
philosopher," you know ! 

There we were, amid the solemn magnificence of 
the ruined palaces and temples of once-mighty 
Thebes. 

Our little party was gathered in front of the great 
Propylon of the famous Temple of Luxor, whose 
mysterious grandeur we had come many thousands 
of miles to behold. Massive pillars, covered with 
minutely-finished picture-writing and mystic hiero- 
glyphics, sufficient for the life-long study of the 
curious student ; enormous architraves, half-buried 
colossi, far-reaching colonnades, " grand, gloomy and 
peculiar ;" the world-famed Memnon ; the grim, 
tomb-hallowed mountains — all the wonders of the 
Nile, of El JJksorein, of Kamac, surrounded us I 

But humiliating reflections upon the mutability of 
human greatness and human power, the eager specu- 
lations of the disciples of Champollion, sarcophagi 
and sculptured ceilings, and scarabsei and Sesostris, 
alike sunk into matters of insignificance and indif- 
ference when compared with the expectation of 
Letters from Home ! 

That most amiable and hospitable of Mussulmans, 
Mnstapha Aga, the traveller's friend^ had engaged 
the Sheik (heaven spare the mark !) of one of the 
squalid Arab villages, whose mud walls cluster 
upon the roofs of the grand halls and porticoes of 
ancient Thebes — reminding one of animalculae. by 
comparison — to accomj)any my servant and one or 



270 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GTHDE 

two of our dusky satellites to a point in the 
vicinity, to which the American and English consuls 
at Cairo had engaged to forward oui letters, etc. 

Our motley band of couriers was now seen 
advancing along the low bank of the river, and all 
was eager anticipation and impatience. 

The ceremony of distribution was speedily accom 
plished, and an observer of the scene, like our calm, 
silent host, the kindly Mustapha, might almost read 
the contents of the different letters of the several 
members of our little group reflected in the faces of 
each. 

" Jovial James " sunk down at once at the feet of 
the fair Nettie, who had sacrilegiously seated herself 
upon the edge of an open sarcophagus, with a lap 
full of treasures, before which her hoarded antiques 
— and she was the most indefatigable collector of our 
corps — relapsed again into the nothingness from 
which her admiration had, for a time, redeemed 
them. Something very much like a tear glistened 
in the bright eyes of the frolicksome youth as he 
murmured, half-unconsciously " Mother," and sun- 
shine and shadow played in quick succession over 
the mirroring features of the fair girl. 

The usually placid Mary Marston fairly turning 
her back upon us, beat a retreat towards a prostrate 
column and, half-concealed herself among its crumb- 
ling fragments ; and our sweet, fast-fading flower, for 
whose comfort each vied with the other, the beauti- 
ful Isidore, clasped her triple prizes between her 



TO POLITENKSS AND FASHION. 271 

slight palms, and folding tliera to her meek bosom, 
lifted her soft eyes toward the heaven that looked 
alike on Egypt and on her native land, and whisper- 
ed "^(?m«/ Oh, father take me -Si)m<3/" 

" Not one word does Frank say about remit- 
tances — the most important of all subjects !" cried 
James, with his elbows on his knees, and a half-filled 
sheet held out before him in both hands. " He is 
the most provoking fellow ! — just look, Nettie, how 
much blank paper, too, sent all the way from Man- 
hattan Island to Upper Egypt," he added, with a 
serio-comic tap on the paper. 

" Good enough for you !" retorted liis frequent 
tormentor ; " you wouldn't write from Rome to him, 
as I begged you to " 

" But, most amiable Miss Consolation ' on a momi- 
ment, smiling at grief,' don't you recollect that you 
favored him with three ' great big ' sheets, crammed, 
crossed, and kissed " 

" Do go away, James Wilson ! you are a regular 
iquatter^ as they say at home ; really, if you are not 
established on my skirt !" laughed his merry com- 
panion, reddening, however, at his skillful sally. 

James, well used to repulses, made not even a 
pretence of removing his quarters ; but, tracing with 
his forefinger in the sand, began to tease his pretty 
neighbor for news from home, protesting that men 
were the poorest letter-writers, and that his corres- 
pondents in particular, never said anything ! 

But what had become of the thoughtful friend, 



272 THE AMEBIOAN GENTLEMAN^S QVIDK 

whose warning voice had checked too eager expecta* 
tion in his companions, whilst 

" thou, oh Hope, with eyes so fair," 



made wild tumult in each eager breast ? I marked 
his face, as he stood apart from the excited group 
gathered about the bearer of our dispatches. It was 
almost as immobile and coldly calm as those of the 
polished colossi around us, save for the burning eyes 
that seemed actually to devour the several directions 
that were glanced over, or read aloud by others. His 
hands, too, were tightly clutched, as though he were 
thus self-sustained.— Poor fellow ! I had frequently 
noticed his manner before, where the happiness of 
others arrested attention ; it indicated, to me, a 
serenity like that of the expiring hero who waved 
his life-draught to another, hiding, with a smile, the 
outward signs of tortured nature 1 Almost before 
the last package was unfolded, he was advancing 
with rapid strides along the majestic avenue leading 
from our stand-point towards the ruins of Karnac, 
and was soon lost to sight amid its massive orna- 
ments. How easily might some friendly hand have 
shed balm upon his sad and solitary spirit, on that 
memorable day in far-off Nile-Land, when so 
many hearts were gladdened with the sweet sun- 
light enkindled by letters / — so many faces illumined 
with smiles reflected from the ever-glowing altars of 
CouHTKY and Home 1 



TO POLITENESS ANP FASHION. -273 



Sir Walter Scott, as liis son-in-law informed me, 
despite the vast amount of intellectual labor he 
otherwise imposed upon himself, with as little flinch- 
ing, apparently, as though his mind were a powerful 
self-regulating steam-engine, had the habit of always 
answering letters on the day of their reception! 
Mr. Lockliart told me that, during the researches he 
made among the private papers of his immortal 
friend, while preparing materials for his biography, 
he almost invariably remarked, from the careful 
notations upon them, that when any delay had 
occurred in replying to a letter, it arose from the 
necessity of some previous investigation, or the like. 
My astonishment upon perusing the long, elabo- 
rately-written epistles that Mr. Lockhart subsequently 
gave to the world, was augmented by my knowledge 
of this fact, and by ray remembrance of the innu- 
merable demands made upon his time by social and 
public duties. But " we ne'er shall look on his like 
again !" Well might his pen be styled the wand of 
the mighty Wizard of the -tTorth. 



A gentle tap at the library-door interrupted the 
after-dinner chat of my old friend and myself. A 
fair young face presented itself in answer to the bid- 
ding of raj host, and, upon seeing me was quickly 
withdrawn. 

" Come in, my daughter, come — what v/ill you 
have ?" 

12* 



274 THE AMEEICAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

I rose immediately to withdraw, as the young 
lady, thus encouraged, somewhat timidly advanced 
towards her father. 

" Pray, do not disturb yourself, Colonel Lunettes," 
said she ; * I only want to speak to pa one moment ; 
don't think of going away, I beg " 

My host, too, interposed to prevent my leaving the 
room, and I, therefore, took up a book and re-seated 
myself. 

" Excuse me for interrupting you, pa, but may 
I " — here a whisper, and then so audibly that I 
could not help overhearing — " do please, dear pa I" 

" Well, we'll see about it — when is the concert ?" 
rang out the clear voice of the father. 

" But, pa, I ought to answer the note to-night or 
very early to-morrow morning — .it would not be 
polite to keep Mr. Blakeman " 

"A note, eh?" interrupted the old gentleman, 
" let me see it — go bring it to me." 

I thought I could not be mistaken in the indica- 
tion of reluctance to obey this direction evinced by 
the slow step of my usually sprightlj'^-motioned young 
favorite. 

" Come, Fanny, come," said her father, when she 
re-entered, " you have no objection to showing 
me'' 

" Oh, no, indeed, pa, — ^but you are so critical," the 
young lady began to protest. 

" Critical ! am I though !" exclaimed the parent, 
with some vivacity, " perhaps so — at least I judge 
somewhat, of a man's claims to the acquaintance of 



TO POLITKNESB AND FASHION. 275 

my daughter by these things." And, adjusting his 
spectacles, he opened the note his daughter offered. 
" Bless my soul !" he cried, at the first glance, " what 
bright-colored paper, and how many grand flour- 
ishes ! — really, my dear !" There was a brief silence 
and then the father said mildly, but firmly, " Fanny, 
I prefer that you should not accept this invitation." 

" Will you tell me why, pa ?" 

" Because the writer is not a gentleman ! No man 
of taste and refinement would write such a note as 
this to a lady, with whom he has only the ceremo- 
nious acquaintance that this young man has with 
you. He is evidently illiterate^ too, — his note is not 
only inelegantly expressed, but it is mis-spelled " 

"Oh, pa" 

" I assure you it is so. Your own education is 
more defective tlian it should be with the advantages 
you have had, if you cannot perceive this — read it 
again, and tell me what word is mis-spelled," said her 
father, returning the production under discussion to 
Fanny. 

The young lady sat down by the lamp to con the 
task assigned her, and my host said to me — " It is 
unpardonable, now-a-days, for a young man to be 
isrnorant in such matters as these. When we were 
young, Hal, the means of acquiring knowledge gen- 
erally, were limited by circumstances ; but who that 
wishes, lacks them at present? — ^Well, my daugh- 
ter " 

"Yes, pa, I see, — of course it was a mere slip of 
the pen"— — 



276 THE AMKKICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

" A slip of the pen !" retorted the father, " and is 
that a 8uflBcient excuse ? Proper respect will teach a 
young man of right feelings towards your sex, 
to take good care that no such carelessness retains a 
place in his first billet to a lady — it is an indication 
of character, my child I Depend upon it, that the 
man who writes in this way, — encircling some of his 
words with a flourish, abbreviating others, mis-spel- 
ling, and all upon mottled paper, with a highly 
ornate border, does not understand himself, and will 
be guilty of other solecisms in good manners and 
good taste, that will be very likely to embarrass and 
shock a young lady accustomed to " 

" The society of gentlemen of the old school^ like 
pa and Col. Lunettes!" exclaimed Fanny, in her 
usual laughing manner, snatching up the condemned 
missive, and flying out of the room. 

In the course of the evening, my old friend and I 
joined the ladies in the drawing-room. 

A merry group around a centre-table, attracted 
me, and as the fair Fanny made a place beside her 
agreeable little self for me, I was soon settled to my 
satisfaction in the midst of the fair bevy. 

" "What are you all so busy about?" I inquired, as 
I seated myself. 

"Oh, criticising!" cried one. 

" Acquiring knowledge under diflBculties," replied 
another. 

" Accomplishing ourselves in the Art Epistolary, 
by the study of models 1" returned a third. 

And sure enough, — the tidjle was strewed with 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 277 

cards, and notes, and an empty fancy-basket told 
where these sportive critics had obtained their mate- 
rials. I soon gathered that the scrutiny Fanny's 
note had undergone in the library, was the moving 
cause of this sudden resuscitation of defunct billet- 
doux and forgotten cards. 

" Only look at this one, Col. Lunettes !" exclaimed 
a pretty girl opposite me, handing across a visiting 
card, with the name written with ink, in rather 
cramped characters, and surrounded with a variety 
of awkward attempts at ornamental flourishes. " Isn't 
that sufficient to condemn the perpetrator to ' du- 
rance vile' in the paradise of fools .?" 

" Well, here is a beautiful note, at any rate," 
exclaimed the eldest daughter of the house, " even 
papa would not find fault with this " — 

"What are you saying about papa?" inquired the 
master of the mansion, pausing in his walk up and 
down the room, and leaning upon the back of his 
daughter's chair. 

"Won't you join us, sir?" returned the young 
lady, making a motion to rise ; " let me give you my 
seat." 

" No, no, sit still, child — ^let us hear the note that 
you think unexceptionable." 

" It is as simple as possible," said she, " but though 
it only relates to a matter of business, I remember 
noticing, when I opened it, the elegant writing 
and " 

"Well, let us hear it, my daughter." 

Thus impelled, the fair reader began : 



278 T>IE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

" Henry Wynkoop presents his respectful compli- 
ments to Miss Campbell, and begs leave to inform 
her that the goods for which she inquired, a few 
days since, have arrived, and are now ready for her 
inspection. 

" 240 Main St., 
Wednesday Morningy May 22<i" 

"I should have said," added Miss Campbell, 
" that I had simply requested Mr. Wynkoop to send 
me word about some shawls, when any of the family 
happened in there, and did not think of troubling 
him to send a note." 

" Let me see," said her father, taking the paper 
from her hand, "yes! just what one might expect 
from that young fellow — fine, handsome, plain paper 
[a glance at poor Fanny] and a neat modest seal 
— all because a lady was in question ; and one can 
read the writing as if it were print. Look at it, 
Lunettes ! A promising young merchant — a friend 
of oure, here. An educated merchant — what every 
man should be, who wishes to succeed in mercantile 
life in this country." 

" Yes," returned I, " ours is destined, if I do not 
greatly mistake, to be a land of merchant princes, 
like Venice of old, and I quite agree with you that 
A.merican merchants should be educated gentler 
v'-en /" 

" This young Wynkoop," continued my friend, " is 
destined yet to fill some space in the world's eye, 
unless I have lost ray power to judge of men. He 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 279 

seems to find time for everything — the other evening 
he was here — (the girls had some young friends") — 
and, happening to step into the library, I found him 
standing with one of the book-cases open, and just 
reaching down a volume — * I beg your pardon, sir, 
if I intrude,' said he, * but I was going to look for 
a passage in the " Deserted Village," as I am not so 
fortunate as to possess a copy of Goldsmith.' Of 
course I assured him that the books were all at his 
service, and apologized for closing the door, and seat- 
ing myself at my desk, saying that a rascally Cana- 
dian lawyer had sent me a letter so badly written 
that I could scarcely puzzle it out, and that his bad 
French was almost unintelligible at that. I confess 
I was surprised when ho offered to assist me, saying 
very modestly, that nothing was more confusing 
than patois to the uninitiated, but that he had 
chanced to have some experience in it. So he 
helped me out very cleverly, in spite of my protesta- 
tions at his losing so much time, and when he found 
he could not aid me farther, looked up his lines, put 
back my book, and quietly bowing, slipped out of 
the room. When I went back to the girls, later in 
the evening, I heard my young friend singing with 
some lady, in a fine clear voice, and, soon after, 
discovered him in another room dancing, ^ money 
musk ' with my own wife for his partner !" 

While this little sketch was in progress of narra* 
tion, the inspection of the miscellaneous display upon 
the table had been silently progressing. And each 
pretty critic had made some discovery. 



280 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLKMAn's GUIDE 

" Here is a * regret ' sent for the other night," said 
Fanny, "what do you think of that, Col. Lunettes?'' 
And a large sheet of note paper was put into my 
hand, clumsily folded, and containing only the 
words " Mr. Augustus Simpkin regrets." 

" A good deal is left for the imagination," I re- 
plied, " regrets what ?" 

" That he is a numskull, perhaps, but I fear there 
is not that encouragement for his improvement!" 
broke in the Chairman of this Committee of Investi- 
gation. 

The general laugh that followed this spicy comment 
had no sooner subsided, than another note caught 
my eye, by its handsome penmanship. Glancing it 
over, I handed it to one of the young ladies without 
comment. She ' looked unutterable things,' as she 
quietly refolded the missive, and was about to slip it 
out of sight; but the dancing eyes of the lively 
Fanny had caught the whole movement, and she 
insisted upon what she called fair play. So the 
paper was again subjected to perusal — this time 
aloud. 

Baltiuore, July 24, '61. 

" William Jones takes this means of making an 
apology for not calling for Miss Mary last evening. 
I assure you no offence was intended, and hope you 
did not take it so. 

" Yours affectionately, 

" P. "William Jones. 
"The Miss Campbells." 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 281 

" How did that get into the card-basket ?" exclaim- 
ed Miss Campbell, in consternation, "it ought to 
have been destroyed at the time " 

" It has risen up in judgment against the writer 
now," said Fanny, " but he is much improved since 
then. He knows better now than to say ' the Mia 
Camjpbells^^ or" 

" Or sign himself ' Yours affectionately,' to a docu- 
ment commenced in the third person. So he does, 
child, and he proved himself essentially polite by 
writing the note — the hand is really very commend- 
able. I have no doubt the young man will yet 
acquire considerable note-ability P^ And throwing 
the tell-tale paper into the fire, the charitable com- 
mentator proceeded in his walk. 

^'■A propos " — "-4 jprapos " was echoed round the 
merry circle, as a servant handed a note to Miss 
Campbell. 

"Miss Fanny Campbell," read her sister, and 
resigned the billet to its rightful owner. 

Every one protested that it should be common 
property, unless its contents were a secret ; and the 
blushing, half-pouting beauty was constrained to 
open and inspect her note where she sat. 

" I insist upon fair play in Miss Fanny's case, 
also," said I, coming to the rescue, " and shall do 
myself the honor of acting as her champion." With 
that I spread out her gossamer handkerchief, and 
throwing it over the top of my cane, affected to 
screen the rosy face beside me. Taking advantage 
of my ruse^ my pretty favorite opened her note, and, 



282 THE AMERICAN GRNIXEMAn's GUIDE 

partly retreating behind my broad shoulder, sooE 
possessed herself of its contents. 

" There," said she, throwing it into the middle of 
the table, " you may all read it and welcome !" 

Brown heads and black, sunny curls and chestnut 
** bands," were immediately clustered together over 
the prize, and Fanny, springing away, like a bird, 
was, in a moment, perched on an arm of the large 
chair in which her father was now ensconced, with 
her arm around his neck, and her beaming eyes 
glancing out from his snowy locks. 

" Let Colonel Lunettes see it, you rude creatures 1" 
exclaimed my lively favorite, from her retreat, and 
the note was immediately presented to me. Wiping 
my glasses with deliberation suitable to the occa- 
sion, I " pressed my hand upon my throbbing heart," 
and read as follows : 

" It will afford Mr. Howard Parkman great plea- 
sure to attend Miss Fanny Campbell to a Concert to 
be given by the "Hungarian Family," to-morrow 
evening. 

" If she will permit him that honor, Mrs. and Miss 
Parkman, accompanied by Mr. P., will call for Miss 
Campbell at half past seven o clock. 

" Coleman St., 

" Tuesday P. Jf." 

" That's another rival for you, Colonel Lunettes,'' 
exclaimed one of the girls. 

" I fear my doom is sealed !" returned the old sol- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 283 

dier thus addressed, with an air of mock resignation. 
" But who is this formidable yontli, Miss Camp- 
bell?" 

"A Bostonian, I believe," replied the young 
lady; " cousin Charley introduced him to us at 
Mrs. Gay's ball the other evening, and asked us to 
call upon his mother and sister — they are friends of 
his. He was here this morning with cousin Char- 
ley, but we were out." 

" How stylish !" said one of our critical circle, 
re-examining the elegant billet of the stranger. 

"Quite au fait, too, you see, young ladies," I 
added, " he invites Miss Fanny to go with a proper 
chaperon to the concert, as he is so slightly aC' 
quainted with her." 

As I limped across the room towards them, I heard 
my friend say to his daughter, who still retained her 
seat, " certainly, unless you prefer to go with Mr. 
Blakeman." 

"Oh, pa!" protested the sweet girl, "but what 
excuse shall I make to Mr. Blakeman ?" 

" Tell him, in terms, that your father does not per- 
mit you to go anywhere, alone, with a young man 
with whom he has no acquaintance — Lunettes, you're 
not going?" rising as he spoke. 

" It is high time — my carriage must be waiting. 
Miss Fanny, permit me the privilege of an old 
friend," — kissing her glowing cheek — and, as she 
skipped out into the hall with her father and me, I 
whispered — "About this young Bostonian? Is it 
all over with him ?" 



284 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's OUTDB 

"What, Hal — jealous?" exclaimed her father, 
laughing — "do you fear the flight of our gazelle, 
here ?" 

" No danger of my eloping I No, indeed ! at least 
with any one except — Colonel Lunettes P^ replied 
the charming little witch, as her nimble fingers fas- 
tened my wrappings. 

" Bravo !" cried her father ; " that would be glo- 
rious ! Seventeen and " 

" Eighty-two," interrupted your old uncle ; " May 
and December ! But, happily for me, fair Fanny, 
my heart can never grow old while I have the hap- 
piness of knowing yon." 



I hope none of you will ever, even when writing 
in a foreign language, fall into the mistake made by 
a young Pole, with whom I once had a slight 
acquaintance. He was paying his addresses to a 
young lady, and, while most assiduously making his 
court to the fair object of his passion, was tempora- 
rily separated from her, by her leaving home on a 
pleasure excureion. At the first stopping-place of 
her party, the lady found a letter awaiting her, 
written in the neatest manner, and in excellent Eng- 
lish — which her lover sjpolce in a 'cery imperfect man- 
ner. It appeared to the recipient of this complimen- 
tary effusion, however, at the first glance, that its 
contents were not especially relevant to the occasion 
of a first hillet-doitx from her admirer. Eeading it 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 285 

more deliberately, something familiar in the lan- 
guage struck her suddenly, and after pondering a mo- 
ment, she turned over the leaves of a new book which 
was among the literary stores of our travelling-party, 
and soon came to the exact counterpart of passage 
after passage, as recorded in the letter .of the gallant 
Pole I 

The volume was, I think, " Hannah More's Me- 
moirs," which had probably been recommended to 
the young student of our language by his teacher, or 
some friend, as containing good specimens of the 
epistolary style ! 



With the hope that you may all escape being the 
subjects of such merriment as was occasioned by the 
discovery of my fair friend, I remain, as ever, 
Affectionately yours, 

Habky Lunettes, 



S86 THE AMERICAN QENTLEMAn's 3UroE 



LETTER IX. 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 

Mr DEAK Nephews : 

Though accomplishments are a very 
poor substitute for the more substantial portions of a 
thorough education, no one should be so indifferent 
to the embellishments of life as wholly to neglect 
their cultivation. 

With Europeans some attention to this subject 
always makes part of a thorough education, but 
among a new people^ differing so essentially from the 
nations of the Old World in social habits, the leisure 
and inclination that induce such a system of early ' 
discipline are both still wanting — speaking generally. 
It is not the lack of wealth — of that we have enough 
— ^but of a cultivated, discriminating taste, tlie 
growth of time and favoring circumstances, which 
is not yet diffused among us. But, though our young 
men, even of the more favored class, do not enjoy 
the carefully -elaborated system of early training, 
common abroad, personal effort will produce a result 
similar in effect, if well-directed and steadfastly pur- 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASHION. 287 

sued, and the best of all knowledge — that most bene- 
ficial in its influence upon character — is acquired by 
unaided individual exertion. Young Americans, 
above the men of all other countries, should lack no 
incentive to add, as occasion may permit, tasteful 
polish to the more essential solidity of mental 
acquirements. 

I know of nothing better calculated to foster 
refinement and purity of life than the cultivation of 
a Taste for the Fine Arts. I do not refer to a dillet- 
tante aflectation of familiarity with the technicalities 
of artistic language, or to fashionable pretension and 
an assumption of connoisseurship, but to honest, 
manly, sesthetical perceptions, quickened and ele- 
yated by familiarity with the true principles of 
Art, and by the study of the highest productions of 
genius. 

Some knowledge of the practice, as well as of the 
principles of drawing, is a very agreeable and useful 
accomplishment, and one that may be acquired with 
little or no instruction, save that to be obtained from 
books. 

Among the advantages collaterally arising from 
familiarity with this art, is the increased quickness 
and enjoyment it lends to a discernment of the heauti- 
ful in nature, both in its minute manifestations and 
its grand developments. A fondness for sTcetching, 
leads, also, to a partiality for rural excursions, and 
for the physical sciences ; and all those tastes where 
the main purposes of life pemiit their indulgence, 
serve to elevate, refine, and expand the higher facul* 



288 THE AMEBICAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

ties, to give them habitual dominion over the pro- 
pensities and to restrain sensuous enjoyments within 
their legitimate limits. 

A Taste for Music must, of course, be ranked 
among the elegances of social life, but it should not 
be forgotten that a practical hnowledge of any one 
branch of this Art has no direct effect to enlarge the 
mind, like that of Painting, for instance. It is only 
a sensuous pleasure, though a refined one, and is, as 
I have had frequent occasion to remark, too fre- 
quently permitted to engross both time and faculties 
that should properly be, in part, at least, more diffu- 
sively employed. Musical skill, though a pleasant 
acquirement, is not a sufficient substitute for an 
acquaintance with general Literature and Art ; nor 
will its most exquisite exhibitions always furnish an 
equivalent for intellectual pleasures, whether of a 
personal or social nature. 

Damiing should be early learned, not only because, 
like musical knowledge, it is a source of social and 
domestic enjoyment, but as materially assisting in 
the acquirement of an easy and graceful carriage and 
manner. It is a good antidote, too, to mauvaise 
honte, and almost essential among the minor accom- 
plishments of a man of the world. 

Hiding and Driving should never be neglected 
by those who possess the means of becoming familiar 
with them. Convenience, health and pleasure com- 
bine to recommend both. Ko indulgence of the 
pride of skill, however, should be permitted to exalt 
these accessories of a polite education into the main 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 289 

business of life, as I believe I have before reminded 
you. 

Tlie hvadsword exercise, pistol-shooting , athletio 
spm'ts and games, sporting, gymnastic eocercises, etc., 
etc., may be ranked among the minor manly 
accomplishments with which it is desirable to be 
familiar. 

Of no small importance, and of no insignificant 
rank as an accomplishment, is a ready o/nd graceful 
elocution. Possessed by professional men, its value 
can scarcely be overrated, and no yoimg man, what- 
ever his aims in life, should esteem it unworthy of 
attention, since private as well as public life afford 
constant occasion for its exercise. To rea<^ intelligi- 
hly, audibly, and agreeahly, to speak with taste and 
elegance, to address an audience — whether a mass 
assemblage of the sovereign people, or the servants 
of the people, in Congress assembled, or an intelligent 
audience gathered for intellectual instruction and 
enjoyment, each require careful and persevering 
practice, critical discrimination and disciplined taste. 
And what young American — ^with that control of 
circumstances which especially distinguishes us from 
all other peoples, with the high aspirations and pur- 
poses to which all are equally entitled — shall say 
that he will not have the most urgent occasion for, 
and derive high advantage from the acquisition of 
the Art of Elocution f But, apart from considera- 
tions of utility, correct speaking and writing are 
indispensable requisites to the privileges of good 
society, and elegant polish in this respect is the 



290 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIIJE 

desirable result and certain indication of natural 
refinement. 

I will onlj add that elocutionary skill always 
affords the possessor the means of promoting social 
and domestic enjoyment, and that the finest senti- 
ments and the most eloquent language lose half 
their proper effect when uttered in a maimbling or 
muttering tone, as well as in too loud or too low a 
voice. 

Closely allied to the accomplishment of which we 
have been speaking, is that of Conversational ease 
and elegance, an art in which all other nations are 
excelled by the French, and in which we, perhaps, 
most successfully emulate them. 

"Unfortunately for our social advancement in this 
respect, 

" The mil of English undefiled" 

is not the only source from which the vehicle of 
thoiight is derived. The use of slang phrases, of 
crack words, even among the better educated classes 
of society — and that in writing as well as in conver- 
sation — is becoming noticeably prevalent. Nothing 
can be more detrimental to the advancement of 
those who desire to acquire colloquial polish than 
the habit of using this inelegant language, and 
there is nothing into which one may glide more 
insensibly, when it becomes familiar from asso- 
ciation. 

You will, perhaps, say that the amusement 
afforded to others by the occasional adoption of these 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 291 

mirtli-provoking vulgarisms aifjrds an apology for 
their use ; and that would be a legitimate excuse, 
did the matter end there. But who can hope suc- 
cessfully to establish the line of demarcation that 
shall separate the legitimate sphere of their applica- 
bility fjfom that in which they cannot properly claim 
a place ? We know how much we are all under 
the dominion of hoMt in regard to the artificial 
observances of life, and that once established, any 
practice in which we indulge ourselves may mani- 
fest itself unconsciously to us. Hence, then, it is no 
more safe to acquire the habit of interlarding our 
discourse with inelegances of expression, ungram- 
matical language. Yankeeisms, localisms (to coin a 
word if it be not one, more expressive here than 
provhwialisms) or vulgarisms of any kind, than to 
permit ourselves the perpetration of other solecisms 
in good-breeding, with the protection only of a 
mental limitation to their undue encroachment upon 
our claims to refined associations. 

There is, therefore, no safe rule, except that 
dictating the unvarying adoption of the purest and 
most exjpressive idiomatiG English we can command, 
I remember to have heard it said of a celebrated 
conversationist, whom I knew in my younger 
days, that he not only always used a good word to 
express his meaning, but the very hest word afforded 
by our language. 

The habit of thinking clea/rly might naturally be 
supposed to produce the power of conveying ideas 
to others with distinctness, were not the iuipressioD 



2^ THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

controverted by much evidence to the contrary. I 
must believe, however, that the difference between 
persons, in this respect, arises more frequently from 
want of attention to the subject, than from all 
other causes combined, I know of no otlier way 
of sufficiently explaining the awkward, slipshod, 
unsatisfactory mode of talking so common even 
among educated people. Were we accustomed to 
regarding conversational pleasures as among the 
highest enjoyments of existence, and of making 
them a part of our daily life — as the French of all 
ranks do — a vast difference would exist between 
what is, and what might be. With what intensity 
of interest, with what vivacity of manner do the 
polite and cultivated French talk ! The salons of 
the leaders of ton in Paris are nightly filled with 
, the literati, the artists, th6 soldiers and statesmen 
concentered in that brilliant capitol. And they 
assemble not to eat, not even to dance, to the exclu- 
sion of all other gratifications, but to talk — to 
exchange ideas upon topics and incidents of passing 
interest — to receive and to communicate instruction, 
as well as enjoyment. And even the common 
people — whether eating their frugal evening repast 
at a little table placed in the street, or seated in 
groups in the garden of the Tuileries — ^how they 
talk I with what ahandon — to use their own word — 
with what geniality, with what sprightliness I The 
very children, sporting like so many birds of 
gorgeous plumage, and musical tones, in the public 
gardens and promenades, prattle of matters inte- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 293 

resting to them, with a graceful vivacity nowhere 
, else to be seen. All classes give themseVoes up to 
it — take time for it, as one of the necessities of 
daily life ! But I should apologize for this digres- 
sion. 

The advantage of hahitual jf/ractice^ then, cannot 
be too highly commended to those who would 
acquire colloquial skill. There is, also, no better 
mode of fastening knowledge in the mind than 
by accustoming one's self to clothing ideas in 
spoken language, and the mere attempt to do so, 
gives distinctness to thought. 

But while fluency and ease are the results of 
practice, the embellishments of conversation require 
careful culture. Wit, Humor, Kepartee, though to 
some extent natural gifts, may undoubtedly be 
improved, if not attained, by artificial training. 

It is said that Sheridan, one of the most cele- 
brated wits and conversationists of his day, pre- 
pared himself for convivial occasions, like an 
intellectual gladiator, ready to enter the lists in a 
valiant struggle for supremacy. He may be said to 
have made Conversation a Profession, to which he 
gave his whole attention, as did the celebrated 
youth who exceeded all his fellows in the tie of his 
neck-cloth, to that mysterious art ! 

Sheridan's practice was, to make brief notes, 
before going into society, of appropriate topics and 
witticisms for each occasion, upon which he relied 
for sustaining his reputation as a boon companion 
and accomplished talker. There is a good story 



294 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

told of his being exceedingly nonplussed, on some 
important occasion, by having his memoranda pur- 
loined by a friend, who, while waiting to accom- 
pany the wit to an entertainment to which both 
were invited, stole his thunder from his dressing- 
table, where it had been placed in readiness. The 
unlucky literary Boanerges was as powerless as 
Jupiter robbed of his bolts ! 

But if one would not desire preparation as elabo- 
rately artificial as that ascribed to this spoiled fond- 
ling of English aristocracy, there seems to be a pro- 
priety in making some mental, as well as external 
arrangements before entering society. Thus, pass- 
ingly to reflect, while making one's toilet for such 
an occasion, upon the general character of the com- 
pany one is to meet, and upon the subjects most 
appropriate for convereation with those with whom 
one will probably be individually associated, may 
not be amiss. Nor will it be unwise to recall such 
reminiscences of personal adventures, popular mtelli- 
gence, etc., as the day m^y have furnished. 

Happily, however, for those who distrust their 
power to surprise by erudition, or delight by 
wit, good-sense^ accompanied by good-humor and 
courtesy, render their possessors the most endnr- 
ingly agreeable of social and domestic compa- 
nions. Tlie favorites of society are usually those 
who wound no one's self-love, either by imposing 
upon others a painful sense of inferiority, or by 
rudeness, impertinence, or assumption. Few have 
sufficient magnanimity to forgive superiority, but 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 295 

good-nature and politeness need no excuse with 
any. 

" Oh, let the ungentle spirit learn from hence, 
A small unkhidness is a great offence I 

» « . « » « 

All may shun the guilt of giving pain." 

Wit, however racy, should never find a place in 
conversation when pointed at the expense of another, 
and, indeed, personalities, even when free from con- 
demnation on this score, are usually in bad taste. 
People of sensibility and refinement are much more 
likely to be annoyed than gratified by being made 
the auditors of conversation, even when politely in- 
tended, which brings them into especial notice. 

Hence, nothing requires more delicacy and tact 
than the language of compliment, which should 
always be carefully distinguished from that of mere 
flattery. The one is the expression of well-bred cour- 
tesy, the other is oppressive and embarrassing to all 
rightly constituted persons, and discreditable to the 
taste by which it is dictated. 

As a general rule, it is better to talk of things 
tnan of persons, and William Penn's rule to " sa^/ 
nothing of others, unless you can say something good 
of them^'' should have no exception. Let nothing 
tempt you into the habit of indulging in gossip, 
scandal, and unmanly puerility — not even a good- 
natured desire to assimilate youi*self to the compa- 
nionship of temporary associates. In this respect, 
as in many others, 



298 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLKMAN's GUIDE 

" Vice is a monster of such hideous mien, 
As to be hated, needs but to be seen ; 
But seen too oft, familiar with her face. 
We first endure, then pity, then embrace." 

No conscientiously- enlightened man can reflect 
for a moment upon the heinousness of slander^ or 
indeed of evil speaking when not allied with false- 
hood, without abhoi-rence ; and yet, how few can 
assume that, in Heaven's High Chancery, there is no 
such dark record against them. 

Permit me to remind you that a mere difference 
of intonation or of emjphasis^ in repeating conversa- 
tional remarks, will sometimes suffice to convey a 
wholly erroneous impression to others, and that a 
mysterious glance, a nod, a shrug, a smile, may be 
made equivalent to the " offense of spoken words^ 

I have recommended the adoption of good, pure 
English as the most unexceptionable colloquial coin. 
Hecurring to this point, let me express the opinion 
that the most pretentious, or erudite language, is 
not always that best adapted to the purposes of prac- 
tical life. No one is bound to speak ungrammati- 
cally or incorrectly, even when communicating with 
the illiterate, but the simplest phraseology, as well 
as the most laconic, is often the most appropriate 
and expressive, under such circumstances. 

Companionship with the educated justifies the 
use, without justly incurring the charge oi pedantry^ 
of every mode of conveying ideas that we are assured 
is intelligible to them. Thus classical scholars may 
ase the learned languages, if they will, in mutual in- 



TO POLITENESS AND PASniON. 297 

tercourse ; and the popular and familiar words and 
phrases we have borrowed from the French, are 
often a convenient resource, under similar circum- 
stances. All this is best regulated by good-breeding 
and taste. It is always desirable to err on the safe 
side, where there is a possibility of misapprehension, 
or of incurring the imputation of affectation, or of a 
love of display. 

This last consideration, by the way, affords an 
additional incentive to the selection of such compa- 
nionship as is best suited to elicit the exercise of 
conversational grace, and stimulate the mental culti- 
vation upon which it must be based. In addition to 
this advantage, is that thus afforded of familiarizing 
one's self with the usages of those who may be regarded 
as models for the inexperienced. The modesty so 
becoming in the young, will inspire a wish to listen 
rather than talk ; but — though to be an attentive 
and interested listener is one of the most agreeable 
and expressive of compliments — remember that 
practice, if judiciously directed, cannot be too soon 
attempted, to secure this desirable attainment. 

These remarks, I am fully aware, have been desul- 
tory and digressive, but they were designed to be 
rather suggestive than satisfactory ; and experimen- 
tal knowledge will, I trust, more than compensate 
you for my conscious deficiencies. I will add only a 
general remark or two, and then no longer tax your 
patience. 

The ladies — dear creatures! — are most prone, it 
must be admitted, to the use of exaggerated language, 

13* 



298 THE AMERICAN OENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

in conversation ; with them the superlative form of 
the adjective will alone suffice for the full expression 
of feeling or opinion. But this peculiarity is by no 
means confined to those in whom enthusiasm and its 
natural expression are most becoming. The sterner 
sex are far from being exempt from this habit, which, 
often involves looseness of thought^ inaccuracy of 
statement, or positive untruthfulness. It is desirable, 
as a point of ethics, to practise care in this regard. 
Using the strongest forms of expression on ordinary 
occasions, leaves one no reserved corps of language 
for those requiring unusual impressiveness. Accu- 
racy is the great essential, many times, in the choice 
of language. A clear idea, clearly and unequivocally 
expressed, is indicative of a good and well-disci- 
plined intellect, each, as I have before intimated, the 
result of attention and practice. 

Well-bred people are careful, when obliged to dif- 
fer with others in conversation, to do so in polite 
language, and never to permit the certainty of being 
in the right to induce a dictatoral or assuming man- 
ner. When only a difference of opinion or of taste 
is involved, young persons, particularly, should scru- 
pulously abstain from any appearance of obstinacy, 
or self-sufficiency, and defend their impressions, if at 
all, with a courteous deference to others. Usually, 
nothing is gained by argument in general society. 
"No one is convinced, because no one wishes to be, 
and many persons, even when ' convinced, will argue 
still,' because unwilling, from wounded self-love, to 
admit it. Much acrimony of feeling is engendered 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 290. 

in this way — ^pertinacity often causing an unpleasant 
conclusion to what was begun in entire good-feeling. 
No one is bound to renounce a claim to his individ- 
ual rights in this respect, but modesty and courtesy 
will never sit ill upon the young, while steadfastly 
defending even a point of principle. " Never," said 
Mr. Madison, in an admirable letter of advice to a 
nephew, " Tieoer forget that, precisely in proportion 
as you differ from others in opinion, they differ with 
youP Let me add, that they who are honestly seek- 
ing knowledge and truth, will carefully review and 
re-weigh opinions, tastes, and principles in regard to 
which they find themselves differing essentially with 
those whom age, experience, and learning render 
their admitted superiors. 

And if contradiction and opinionativeness are 
inadmissible in good society, at least equal taste and 
tact are required in conveying information to others. 
Some graceful phrase, some self-renouncing admis- 
sion or explanation, which may secure you from the 
envy or dislike that wounded vanity might otherwise 
engender, should not be forgotten when circumstance 
or education give you an advantage over others in 
the intercourse of domestic or social life. 

•' As in smooth oil the razor best ia whet, 
So wit is by politeness sharpest set ; 
Their want of edge from their offense is seen \ 
Both pain us least when exquisitely keen, 
The fame men gwe ii for the joy they find!" 

It is usually in bad taste to talk of one's self id 



300 THE A3IEEICAN GENTLEMAK's OJIDE 

general societj. Humility of language, in this ro 
Bpect, may easily be interpreted into insincerity, and 
it is at least equally difficult, on the other hand, to 
avoid the imputation of egotism. Frankness with 
those to whom jou are bound by the ties of friend- 
ship, will, many times, be the best proof you can give 
of the sincerity of your confidence and regard, but 
this will in no degree interfere with a certain self- 
abnegation in ordinary social intercourse. Politeness 
may dictate our being listened to with a semblance of 
interest, when our own health, affairs, adventures, or 
misfortunes are the subject of detailed discourse on 
our part, but the sympathy of the world is not easily 
enkindled, and pity is often mingled with contempt. 
People go into society to be amused, not to have 
their courtesy taxed by appeals to sensibilities upon 
which others have no claim. Carlyle has well said, 
" Silently swallow the chagrins of your posiiimi / 
every ^position has them." And it is so ; but one's 
" private griefs " are not lessened by exposure, noi 
made more endurable by being constantly the theme, 
either of one's thoughts or conversation. Let me add 
that their legitimate use is to teach us a ready sym- 
pathy with the sorrows and trials of others, rather 
than a hardened self-engrossment. 
While you endeavor, therefore, to 

" Conceal yoursel' as weel's ye can 
Frae critical dissection," 

seek to excel in personal agreeability, not for the sake 
of superiority so much as to secure the means of giv- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASDION. 301 

ing pleasure to others, and of entitling yourself to 
the favorable regard of those whose society it is desi- 
rable to enjoy. Even the readiest admirers of wit 
may weary of the very brilliancy of its flashes, if the 
coruscations too constantly recur, as the eye tires of 
sheet-lightning, often repeated ; but who will weary 
of geniality, amiability, and 

" Good breeding, the blossom of good sense," 

any sooner than will the eye of the lambent light of 
fair Diana ? 

No single characteristic of conversation, perhaps, so 
universally commends the possessor to the favor of 
society, as cheerfulness. "-4 laiigh^'' said an emi- 
nent observer of society, " is the hest vocal music / it 
is a glee in which everybody can taJce part /" I re- 
member, once, being for some weeks in a hotel with 
a number of invalids, one of whom, though a con- 
stant sufferer, always met me with a pleasant smile, 
and uttered his passing salutations in a voice cheery 
as a hunter's horn. Really, his simple " Good morn- 
ing, Colonel Lunettes," was so replete with good- 
humor, courtesy, and cheerfulness, as to do one good 
like a cordial. It so impressed me that, at length, 
I responded, " Good morning, cheerful sir, — I believe 
you never fail to greet your friends in a manner that 
gives them pleasure." His pleasant smile grew 
pleasanter, and his bright eye brighter, as he re- 
plied — "I always make a principle of speaking 
cheerfully to the sick, especially — they, of all oth- 
ers, are most susceptible to outward impressions." 



802 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

*' There is a WDi-ld of philosophy, as well as of hu- 
manity, in what you say," returned I, " and I can 
personally testify to the good effects of your kindly 
habit." 

But it is not alone the sick, the sad, or the sensitive 
■who hail a cheerful companion with delight — these 
Human Sunbeams bring warmth and gladness to all 
— even the least susceptible feel the effects of 
their genial presence, almost unconsciously, and fre« 
quently seek and enjoy their conversation when even 
elegance and erudition would fail of attraction. 

The same tact and self-respect that will preserve 
you from exhibitions of vanity and egotism, will 
dictate discrimination in the selection of topics of 
conversation, bearing upon matters of taste and sen- 
timent, as well as of opinion and principle. — All 
affectation or assumption of superiority in this re- 
spect is offensive and worse than useless. Those with 
whom you have mental affinities will understand and 
appreciate you ; but beware, especially if sensitively 
constituted, how you expose your sensibilities to the 
ridicule, or your principles to the professed distrust 
of those with whom, for any reason, you cannot 
measure colloquial weapons upon entirely equal 
terms. 

On the contrary, again, no well-bred man ever 
rudely assails either the predilections or the princi- 
ples of others in general society. This is no more 
the proper arena for intellectual conflicts than for 
political spari'ing, or theological disputes. Whatever 
tends to disturb the general harmony of a circle, or 



TO rOLITENES3 AND FASHION. 303 

to give pain to any one present, is inexcusable, how- 
ever truthful and important in the abstract, however 
wise or witty in itself considered, may be observa- 
tions tending to either or both results. 

This brings me to dwelling a moment upon a kin- 
dred point — the discourtesy sometimes exhibited by 
young men towards ladies and clergymen, in the use 
of equivocal language, and the introduction of excep- 
tionable subjects in their hearing. Anything that 
will crimson the cheek of true womanhood, or in- 
vade the unconsciousness of innocence^ is imworthy 
and nnmanly, to a degree of which it is not easy 
to find language to express sufficient abhorrence. 
The defencelessness of the dependent sex, in this, as 
in all other respects, is their best protection with all 
who— 

" Give the world assurance of a man H 

And the same shield is presented by those whoso 
profession precludes their adopting the means of self- 
defence permitted to the world at large. Nothing 
can be more vulgar — setting aside the immorality of 
the thing — than to speak disrespectfully of religion, or 
of its advocates and professors, in society — what then 
shall be said of those who assail the eara of the 
acknowledged champions of Christianity with infidel 
sentiments, contemptuous insinuations, or profane 
expletives ? Depend npon it, a man of the world 
whatever his honest doubts, or unorthodox convic- 
tions, will be as little likely to present himself as a 
mark in regard to these matters for the su^ciout 
distrust, or the ^palpable misapprehension of society, 



304 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

as to subject himself to the charges of extreme /t^<5n^ 
tlity and low 'breeding bj assailing a clergyman with 
ridicule, or a woman with libertinism, however 
exquisite may be his wit in the one case, or appar- 
ently refined his insinuations, in the other. 

"While recommending to your attention the selec- 
tion of suitable and tasteful subjects of general con- 
versation, I should not omit to remind you that 
nothing but acknowledged intimacy sanctions the 
manifestation of curiosity respecting the affairs of 
others. As a rule, direct questions are inadmissible 
in good society. Listen with politeness to what may 
be voluntarily communicated to you by your asso- 
ciates, regarding themselves, but on no account, in- 
dulge an impertinent curiosity in such matters ; and 
when courtesy sanctions the manifestation of interest, 
express your desire for information in polite lan- 
guage, and with a half-apologetic manner, that will 
permit reserve, without embarrassment to either 
party. Let me add, that an uncalled-for exhibition 
of your familiarity with the private affairs of a friend, 
when his own presence and manner should furnish 
your proper clue to his wishes, is to prove yourself 
unworthy of his confidence. As well might one 
boast of his acquaintance with the great, or assume 
an unceremonious manner towards them, on unsuit- 
able occasions. In either case, one is liable to the 
repulse sustained by an unfortunate candidate for 
fashionable distinction, who, approaching a member 
of English haut ton in the streets of London, said, 
" I believe I had the honor of knowing you in the 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 305 

country, sir." — ** WTum, we again meet in the coun» 
try" was the reply, " I shall be pleased to renew the 
acquaintance !" 

Quickness of repartee may be reckoned among the 
graces of the colloquial art, and those who are gifted 
with activity of intellect, and have acquired facility 
in the use of expressive language, should possess the 
power thus to embellish their social intercourse. 
Every one is now and then inspired in this way, I 
believe; but few persons, comparatively, even 
among the most practised conversationists, excel in 
this respect. How few, for instance, would have re- 
sponded as readily, in an emergency, as did the half- 
drunk servant of Swift : 

" Is my fellow here ?" inquired the Dean, pushing 
open the door of a low tavern much frequented by 
his often-missing valet. 

A nondescript figure came staggering forward, 
and stuttered out — " Your L-Lordship's f-a-l-l-o-w 
canH h-he f -found in all I-Ire-Ireland !" 

I have lately met, somewhere in my reading, with 
the following anecdote of the elder Adams, as he is 
frequently called. I remember, at this moment; no 
better illustration of ready repartee : 

" How are you this morning, sir ?" asked a friend 
who called to pay his respects to this patriotic 
son of New England, during the latter days of his 
life. 

"Not well," replied the invalid ; "I am not well. 
I inhabit a weak, frail, decayed tenement, open to 



306 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDK 

the winds, and broken in upon by the storms , and 
what is worse, froin all I can learn^ the landlord 
does not intend to make repairs /" 

A ready and graceful reply to a compliment^ niay, 
also, be regarded as a conversational embellishment. 
It is not polite to retwt to the. language of courtesy 
with a charge of insincerity, or of flattery. Pla/y- 
fulness frequently affords the best resource, or the 
retort courteous, as in Lord Nelson's celebrated reply 
to Lady Hamilton's questions of "Why do you differ 
so much from other men ? Why are you so superior 
to the rest of your sex?" "If there were more 
Emmas, there would be more Nelsons." One may 
say, " I fear I owe your commendation to the par- 
tiality of friendship ;" or, " I trust you may never be 
undeceived in regard to my poor accomplishments ;" 
or, " Really, madam, your penetration enables you 
to make discoveries for me." Tlien again, to one of 
the lenient sex, one may reply — " Mrs. Blank sees 
all her friends through the most becoming of glasses 
— her own eyes." And to an older gentleman, who 
honors you with the fiat of a compliment, thus 
proving that it may sometimes be false that 

" The Tanquished have no friends," 

" Really, sir, I do not know whether I am most over- 
whelmed by admiration for your wit and politeness, 
or by gratitude for your kindness." Or some phrase 
like this will occasionally be appropriate — " I am 
afraid, sir, I shall plume myself too highly upon your 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 307 

good opinion. You do me much honor;" or, "It 
will be my devoir, as well as my happiness, for the 
future, to deserve your commendation, sir ;" or, 
" You inspire as much as you encourage me, dear 
sir — if I possess any claim to your flattering compli- 
ment, you have yourself elicited it." To a compli- 
ment to one's wit, or the like, one may reply — • 
" Dullness is always banished by the presence of 
Miss ;" or, " Who could fail to be, in some de- 
gree, at least, inspired in such a presence ?" Then, 
again, a reply like this will suffice — " I am only 
too happy in being permitted to amuse you, ma- 
dam." 

Permit me in this connection, a few words respect 
ing conversation with ladies. Though all mere silli 
ness and twaddle should be regarded as equally 
unworthy of them and yourselves, yet, in general 
association with the fairest ornaments of creation, 
agreeoMlity, rather than profundity, should be your 
aim, in the choice of topics. Sensitive, tasteful, 
refined, 

" And variable as the shade 
By the light quivering aspen made," 

tlieir vividness of imagination and sportiveness of 
fancy demand similarity of intellectual gifts, or the 
graceful tribute of, at least, temporary assimilation. 
Playfulness, cheerfulness, versatility, and courtesy 
should characterize colloquial intercourse with ladies ; 
but the deference due them should never degenerate 



808 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLEMAn'b GUIDE 

into mere servile acquiescence, or mawkish senti- 
mentality. 

The utmost refinement of language and of matter 
should always be regarded as essential, under such 
circumstances, to the discourse of a well-bred man ; 
and should, of course, distinguish his manner as well. 
Thus, all slang phrases, everything approaching to 
double entendre^ all familiarity of address, unsanc- 
tioned by relationship or acknowledged intimacy, all 
mis-timed or unsanctioned use of nick-names and 
Christian names, are as inadmissible in good society 
as are personal familiarities, nudging, winking, whis- 
pering, etc. 

Too much care cannot be taken in avoiding all 
subjects that may have the eifect to wound or dis- 
tress others. I think I have before remarked that 
people* go into society for enjoyment — relaxation 
from the grave duties and cares of life — ^not to be 
depressed by the misanthropy of others, or disturbed 
by details of scenes of horror. I have known per- 
sons who had such a morbid taste for such things as 
always to insist upon reading aloud, even in the 
hearing of children and ladies, the frightful news- 
paper details of rail-road accidents and steamboat 
explosions. I remember, in particular, once having 
the misfortune to be acquainted with such a social 
incubus, to whom a death in the neighborhood was 
a regular God-send, and to whom the wholesale 
slaughter made by the collision of rail-cars served as 
colloquial capital for weeks — indeed until some pro- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 309 

vident body corporate supplied new material for his 
cormorant powers of mental digestion ! His letters 
to distant friends were a regular Mil of mortality^ 
filled with minute accounts of the pecidiar form of 
disease by which every old woman of his acquaint- 
ance was enabled to shuffle off this mortal coil, and of 
eveiy accident that occurred in the country for miles 
around — from the sudden demise of a poor widow's 
cow, to the broken leg of a robber of bird's-nests ! I 
shall never forget the revulsion of feeling he pro- 
duced for me, one serene summer evening, as I was 
placidly strolling over the sands by the sea-shore, 
drinking in the glory of old Neptune's wide-spread 
realm, by inflicting upon me, not only himself- — 
which was enough for mortal patience — but a long 
rigmarole about the great numbers of fishes washed 
upon the shore by a recent storm, who had had their 
eyes picked out by birds of prey, while still strug- 
gling for life in an uncongenial element! On 
another occasion, I had the misfortune to be pre- 
sent when a young lady was thrown into violent 
hysterics by his mentioning, with as much gusto as 
an inveterate " collector " would have exhibited in 
boasting the possession of a steak from the celebrated 
" antediluvian beef," immortalized by Cuvier,* that 
he had picked up a small foot with a lady's boot on 

* Speaking in one of his public lectures, of the recent discovery 
(amid the eternal snows of Siberia, I think), of the carcass of a 
mastodon, upon which the hunting-dogs of the explorers had fed 
— " 2%Ms," said the great naturalist, " did modern doga gorge them* 
aelves upon antediluvian bee/P* 



810 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

it, while visiting the scene of a late rail-road acci- 
dent 1 

But avoiding these aggravated forms of grossnesa 
:b not enough. True politeness requires attention to 
the peculiarities of each of the company you are with 
— teaching, for instance, your abstaining from allu- 
sions to their personal defects or misfortunes, to the 
embarrassment of conversing with deaf pei*sons, in 
the presence of those thus afflicted, to lameness, 
when some one present has lost a limb, to the pecu- 
liarities of age, in the hearing of elderly persons, to 
the vulgar impression that all lawyers are knaves, 
when one of the sons of that noble profession is 
among your auditors — to the murderous reputation 
of the disciples of Esculapius, etc. This rule will 
teach, too, the use of a less offensive term than that 
of " old maid," when speaking of women of no parti- 
cular age, in the hearing of such as are by courtesy 
only, without the pale alluded to ; and the propriety 
of not appealing to such authority in relation to 
matters of remote personal remembrance I 

In no country with the social institutions of which 
I am familiar, do the peculiar opinions obtain, which 
prevail in . this country respecting age. " Young 
America " regards every one as old, apparently, who 
has attained majority, and women, in particular, are 
subjected to a most unjust ordeal in this respect. 
The French have a popular saying that no woman 
is agreeable until she is forty ; and in both Franco 
and England, marriage — which first entitles a young 
lady to a decided position in society — usually occurs 



TO POLrrENEsa and fashion. 3H 

at a mncli later period in her life than with us. In 
neither of those countries are girls brought out at an 
age when here they are frequently already mothers I 
But to return : nothing is more ill-bred, than this 
too frequent assumption of the claims of women to 
be exempt from social obligations and deprived of 
their proper places in society, in this country, while 
still retaining all their pristine claims to agreeability. 
Polished manners, cultivated tastes and personal 
attractions, are not to have their claims abrogated 
by Time. You remember the poet says : 

" The little Loves are infants ever, 
The Graces are of every age I" 

I well remember being intensely chagrined by an 
exhibition of under-breeding in this way while 
making a morning visit, with a young countryman 
of ours, upon a beautiful English girl, a distant rela- 
tive of his. 

After discussing London fogs, and other kindred 
topics, Jonathan suddenly burst forth, as if suddenly 
inspired with a bright thought. 

" How's the old lady ?" 

The largest pair of blue eyes, opening to their 
full extent, turned wonderingly upon the querist. 

"Your mother^ — is she well this morning?" 

'' Mamma is pretty well, thank you ; but it is not 
possible that you regard her as old ! Mamma is in 
the very prime of life, only just turned of five and 
forty ! Dear mother ! she is looking very pale and 
Bad in her widow's cap, but we have never thought 



312 THE AMERICAN QENTLKMAN's GUIDE 

of her as old^'' and a shadow, like the sudden darken- 
ing of a fair landscape, dimmed those deep blue eyes 
and that fine forehead. 

But enough upon this collateral point. 

I trust you will need no argument to convince you 
of the vulgarity and immorality of permitting your- 
selves the practice of repeating pi^vate conversation. 
Nothing will more surely tend to deprive you of 
the respect and friendship of well-bred people, since 
nothing is more thoroughly understood in good 
society, than a tacit recognition of that essential 
security to social confidence and good-feeling which 
utterly interdicts the repetition of private conversa- 
tion. 

Let me only add to these rambling observations 
the assurance that a ready compliance with the 
wishes of others, in exercising any personal accom- 
plishment, is a mark of genuine good-breeding. 



During one of my visits to London, some years 

since, the Duke of invited me to run down with 

him, for a few days, to his magnificent estate in 
shire. 

Riding one morning with my host and a nume- 
rous party of his guests, we paused to breathe 
our horses, and enjoy the fine prospect, upon the 
summit of a hill overlooking the wide-spread acres 
of his lordship. 

" Here the estate of my neighbor, Mr. , joins 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 313 

my land," said the Duke, pointing, with his riding- 
whip, towards a narrow, thickly-wooded valley, at 
our feet. " You catch a glimpse of his turrets 
through the oaks yonder. This spot always reminds 
me," pursued our host, laughing, " of an amusing 
incident of which it was the scene, years ago, when 
the family of my neighbor had not become as distin- 
guished as it now is, among the philanthropists of 
the age. A young friend of ours, who was spend- 
ing the shooting-season here with my sons, while 
eagerly pursuing his game, one morning, uncon- 
sciously trespassed upon the preserves of Mr. . 

The report of his fowling-piece brought Mr. 

suddenly to his side, just as he was triumphantly 
bagging his bird. My excellent neighbor, with all 
his admirable qualities, is sometimes a little chol- 
eric, and you know, Col. Lunettes, [bowing and 
smiling] that nothing sooner rouses the ire of a true 
Englishman, than an invasion of the Game Laws^ 

"'Sir!- cried Mr. , in a voice trembling with 

ill-suppressed fury, ' do you know that you are tres- 
passiijg, — ^that these are my grounds?' 

'"My young guest was not permitted fully to 
explain, before the angry man again burst forth with 
a tirade, which he concluded, by asking — ' What 
would you do yourself, sir, under such circumstances? 
How would you feel disposed to treat a gentleman 
who had encroached upon your rights in this way?' 

'"Well, really, sir, since you ask me, I think I 
should Mivite Mm to go with vie to the house and 
take a TTWuthful of Iwrich P " 

14 



314 THE AMBBICAJN GENTLEMAn'b GUIDE 

This was irresistible ! Even 's indignation 

was cooled by such inimitable sangfroid, and he at 
once adopted the suggestion of the young sportsman. 
My witty guest not only secured the refreshment 
he needed, but, eventually, helped himself to a 
horme houohe of more substantial character, by his 
marriage with one of the blooming daughters of 
my neighbor, to whom he was introduced on that 
memorable occasion !" 



A young American of my acquaintance, met, not 
long since, in the salons of a distinguished Paris- 
ienne, one of the most learnedly scientific of the 
French authors of our times. 

" I am as much surprised as I am delighted, to 

meet you here to-night, Mr. ," said my friend, 

'I supposed you too much occupied in profound 
research and study, to find time for such enjoy- 
ments." 

" I am, indeed, much occupied at present," return- 
ed the savant / " but I can neither more agreeably 
n^r more profitably spend a portion of my time than 
in the society of my refined and cultivated friend, 

Madame , and that of the intellectual and 

accomplished visitors I always meet at her house." 



Speaking, in the body of this letter, of the useless- 
ness of arguing with the hope of convincing others. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 316 

reminded me, by association, of a little incident 
illustrative of my opinion, of whicli I was once a 
witness, during a summer sojourn at Avon Springs 
— a little quiet watering-place in the Empire State, 
as you may know. 

There was a pleasant company of us, and our 
intercourse was agreeable and friendly — all, appa- 
rently, disposed to contribute to the general stock of 
amusement, and to make the most of our somewhat 
limited resources in the way of general entertain- 
ment. There were pretty daughters and managing 
mammas, heiresses, and ladies without fortune, who 
were quite as attractive as those whose fetters were 
of gold, the usual complement of brainless youths, 
antiquated bachelors and millionaire widowers (so 
reputed), with a sprinkling of nondescripts and old 
soldiers, like myself. 

It was our custom to muster, in great force, every 
morning, and go in a mammoth omnibus from our 
hotel to the " Spring '' to bathe and drink the 
delectable sulphur-w^ater, there abounding. On 
these occasions, every one was good-humored, oblig- 
ing, and cheerfully inclined to tnake sacrifices for 
the comfort and convenience of others. The ladies, 
especially, were the objects of particular care and 
courtesy, being always politely assisted up and 
down the high, awkward steps of our lumbering 
conveyance, with their bathing parcels, etc. 

" AH went merry as a marriage bell," 

until one unlucky day when some theological point 



316 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

became marter of discussion between two men of 
opposite opinions, just as we were commencing our 
return-ride from the Spring. Others were soon 
drawn, first into listening, and then into a partici- 
pation in the conversation, until almost every man 
in the company had betrayed a predilection for the 
distinctive tenets of some particular religious sect. 
Thus, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congrega- 
tionalists. Episcopalians, Unitarians, and Romanists 
stood revealed, each the ardent champion of his 
own peculiar views. The ladies had the good sense 
to remain silent, with the exception of an "Equal 
Rights " woman, whose wordy interposition clearly 
proved that 

" J^ools rush in where angels fear to tread /" 

Well ! of course, no one was convinced by this 
sudden outbreak of varied eloquence of the fallacy 
of opinions he had previously entertained, and of 
the superior wisdom of those of any one of his 
companions. Indeed, so eager was each in the 
maintenance of his own ground, as scarcely to heed 
the arguments of his opponents, except as furnish- 
ing a fresh impulse for advancing his own with 
increasing pertinacity. 

Presently, flushed cheeks, angry glances, and 
louder tones gave token that the meek spirit of the 
long-suffering Prince of Peace was not dominant in 
the breasts of these, the professed advocates of his 
doctrines. Rude language, too, gradually took the 
place of the professed courtesy with which the discus- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 317 

sion had begun, and the ladies looked uneasily from 
the windows, as if to satisfy themselves that escape 
from such disagreeable association was near at hand. 
Happily for them, our Jehu, though unmindful of 
any particular occasion for haste, at length drew up 
before Comstock's portico. But, in place of the 
usual patient waiting of each for his turn to alight, 
and the usual number of extended hands that were 
wont to aid the ladies in their descent, every one of 
the angry combatants crowded hastily out of the 
vehicle, almost before it had fairly stopped, wholly 
disregardful alike of the toes of his neighbors and 
the claims before universally accorded to the gentler 
portion of our company, and hurried up the steps, 
apparently forgetful of everything except the un- 
comfortable chafings of wounded self-love ! Each 
man, evidently, regarded himself as the most abused 
of mortals, and the rest as a parcel of obstinate fools, 
for whom it were a great waste of ammunition to 
assume the martyr's fate ! And I am by no means 
sure, that the cheerful amicability that had before 
prevailed among us was ever fully restored after 
this unhappy outbreak of religious feeling I 



The gayest of capitals experienced a sensation ! 
The wittiest of circles, where all was wit, were, for 
once, content to listen only ! The brave, the great, 
the learned, and the fair, contended for the smiles 
and the society of the Marquis de Plusesprit, the 



318 THE AMBBICAN GENTLKMAn'« GUIDE 

handsomest, the most accomplished, and the wittiest 
man in Paris ! 

One day, while this social /wrwe was at its aeight, 
a celebrated physician received a professional visit 
from an unknown, whose pale cheeks and sunken 
eyes bore testimony to the suffering to which he 
described himself as being a prey. The man of 
science prepared a prescription, but assured his 
patient that what would most speedily effect his 
restoi-atii>n was change of scene and agreeable 
society. 

" Seek in congenial companionship relief from 
the mental anxiety by which you are evidently 
oppressed," said the modern Esculapius — " fly from 
study and self-contemplation; — above &\], court the 
society of the Marquis de Plusesjprit /" 

" Alas ! doctor," returned the stranger, " / am 
Plusesjprit /" 



Speaking of Repartee, reminds me of a pretty scene 
of which I was a witness, not long since, while rural- 
izing for a week with an old friend and his charming 
daughters, at their beautiful and hospitable home, 
on the banks of the Hudson. By the way, I have 
before introduced you to their acquaintance — the 
pleasant family of letter-writing memory ! — 

An elderly foreign gentleman, of large information 
and agreeable manners, but not one of fortune's 
favorites, had been dining with us, by special invita- 
tion, and the lovely daughters of my host had vied 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 819 

with each other in doing honor to one in v?hom sen- 
sitiveness may have been rendered a little morbid 
by the effect of the tyrant Circumstance. Every 
hour succeeding his arrival had served more effec- 
tually to melt away a certain constraint of manner, 
by which he seemed at first oppressed, and his expres- 
sive face grew bland and genial under the sunny 
influences of courteous respect and appreciation, until 
when he rose to go away at sunset, he seemed almost 
metamorphosed out of the man of the morning. 

The sisters three, accompanied their agreeable 
visitor to the vine-draped veranda, where I was 
already seated, attracted by the beauty of the even- 
ing, and of my local surroundings. I had been par- 
ticularly admiring a tine large orange-tree, at the 
entrance of the porch, which was laden with flowers 
and fruit, and, with glittering pearls from a shower 
just bestowed upon it by the gardener. 

""Will you not come again, before Colonel Lu- 
nettes leaves, us, Mr. ?" asked my sweet young 

friend Fanny, in her most cordial tones, linking her 
arm in that of one sister, and clasping the waist of the 
other, as she spoke, "we will invoke the Loves and 
Graces to attend you " 

"The Graces!" exclaimed the guest, quickly, — 
extending his hands towards the group, and bowing 
profoundly — " then you will come yourselves ! — the 
Graces are hefore me /" And then he added, with a 
courtly air — "Really, Miss Fanny, you too highly 
honor a rusty old man " 

" An old man," interrupted Fanny, with the utmost 



320 THE AMERICAN GBNTLBMAN's GUIDB 

vivacity, dissolving the " linked sweetness " that had 
intwined her with her sisters, and extending her 
beautiful arm towards the superb orange-tree before 
her, " an old man ! — here is a fitting emblem of 

our friend Mr. ; — all the attractiveness of youth 

still mingled with the matured fruit of experience 1" 
Charming Fanny ! God bless her ! — she is one of 
those earth-angels whose manifold gifts seem used 
only to give happiness to others ! 



I called one evening, not long since, to pay my 
respects to the daughter of a recently-deceased and 
much-valued friend. She had been persuaded into 
a journey to a distant city, in search of the health and 
spirits that had been exceedingly impaired by watch- 
ing beside the death-bed of her departed mother. 
Her appearance could scarcely fail, as it seemed to 
me, to interest the most insensible stranger to her 
history ; — for myself, I was inexpressibly touched by 
the language of the colorless face and languid eyes 
to which a simple black robe lent additional mean- 
ing. 

Just as I began to indulge a hope that the faint 
smile my endeavors at cheerful conversation had 
caused to flicker about her lips — as a rose-tint illu- 
mines for a moment the white summit of an Alpine 
height — there entered the drawing-room of our hos- 
tess a bevy of noisy women, young and old, who 
gathered about the sofa, where my friend and I were 



TO POLITENESS AITO FASHION. 321 

seated near out hostess, and rattled away like so 
many pieces of small (very small !) artillery. 

I saw plainly that the mere noise was almost too 
much for the nerves of the silent occupant of the sofa 
corner ; but what was my surprise at hearing them 
go into the most minute particulars respecting the 
recent de«,th of a gentleman of our acquaintance I 
His dying words, his very death-struggles were care- 
fully reported, and the grief of the survivors graph- 
ically described ! 

Unfortunately, having relinquished my seat be- 
side the mourner to one of these women, I was 
powerless in my intense wish to attract her attention 
from the subject of their discourse; but my eyes 
were riveted upon her, with the keenest sympathy 
for the torture she must be undergoing. Her pale 
face had gradually grown white as a moonbeam, 
until, at length, as though strengthened by despera- 
tion, she sprang from her seat, and essayed .to leave 
the room. One step forward, a half-stifled sob, and 
the slender form lay extended on the floor in hapless 
insensibility. 



" While Mr. Smith is tuning his guitar, let us beg 
Mrs. Williams to redeem her promise of reciting 
Campbell's ' Last Man ' for us," said a graceful hos- 
tess, mindful of the truth that some of her guests 
preferred eloquence and poetry to sweet sounds, and 
desirous, too, of drawing out the accomplishment*. >f 
all her guests. 

14* 



322 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GDIDB 

Mrs. Williams, gifted with 

" The vision and the faculty divine," 

glanced a little uneasily at the ever-twanging guitar 
as she politely assented to the requests that eagerly 
seconded that of her hostess. Mr. Smith still contin- 
ued to hum broken snatches of an air, twisting the 
screws of his instrument with complete self-engross- 
ment, the while. 

" I will not interrupt Mr. Smith," said the lady, 
in more expressive tones than were ever elicited from 
catgut by the efforts of that gentleman, moving with 
a step graceful as that of a gazelle to the other end 
of the room. 

Our little circle gatheredabout her, and enjoyed, 
in an exquisite degree, 

" The feast of reason, and the flow of soul," 

that so far surpasses the merely sensuous pleasure 
afforded by music, when not associated with exalted 
sentiment. 

As the company broke into little groups, after 
thanking Mrs. "Williams for the high gratification for 
which we were her debtors, I overheard Mr. Smith 
say, with a discontented air, to a youth with a 
*^ lovely Tnoustaclie^'' who had " accompanied" him in 
his previous musical endeavors, "I'll never bring 
my instrument here again I" 

At this critical moment, our hostess approached 
with a water-ice, as a propitiatory offering, and 
expressed the hope that the guitar was now renewed 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 327 

pied in observing the living picture before me, as 
that of the great master. And, though memory has 
proved somewhat treacherous, I still vividlj recol- 
lect the spiritualized face of this true child of genius, 
as he contemplated the magnificent impersonation. 
His brow grew radiant, and his eye ! ah, who shall 
portray that soul-lit eye, or justly record the poetic 
language that fell, almost unconsciously, from his 
half-inspired lips! Sacredly are they cherished 
among the hoarded memories of youthful friendship ? 
It was only ray purpose to recall for your benefit 
the opinion and practice of one so fully competent 
to advise in relation to our subject. 

What Disraeli has somewhere said of eating, 
may, with equal nicety of epicureanism, be applied 
to the enjoyment of Ideal Art, and of that of 
which it is the type — ^natural beauty: — "To eat, 
really to eat," asserts the discriminatingly sensuous 
Jew, " one should eat alone, in an easy dress, by a 
soft light, and of a single dish at a time !" For my- 
self — but there's no accounting for tastes 1 — I should 
desire on all such occasions, 

" One fair spirit for my minister," 

or rather, for my sympathizing companion 1 



Afi an illustration of the advantage to a man in 
public life, of ready elocution and ready wit, let me 
sketch for you a little scene of which I was the 



328 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

amused and interested witness, one morning some 
months ago, while on a visit at Washington. 

A Chaplain was to be elected for the House of 
Representatives. General Granger, of New York, 
proposed a Soldier of the Revolution as well as of the 
Cross — the Rev. Mr. Waldo — adding a few impres- 
sive facts in relation to his venerable and interesting 
friend — as that he was then in his ninety-fourth 
year, had borne arms for his country in his youth, 
etc. 

Upon this, some member, upon the opposition 
h&nches^ as the English say, called out : 

" What are his claims ? where did he serve ?" 

"The gentleman will permit me to refer him to 
the Pension Ofl&ce," returned General Granger, with 
the most smiling urbanity ; " he will there find the 
more satisfactory answer to his queries." 

" What are Mr. Waldo's politics ?" 

" Though a most amiable gentleman and devout 
Christian, he belongs, sir, to — the Church Mili- 
tant /" 

" Is he a Filibuster .^" 

" Even so, sir ! Mr. Waldo filibustered for the 
Old Thirteen, against George the Third, in the 
American Revolution !" 

I am, my dear boys, as ever, 

Your affectionate, 

"Uncle Hal." 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 329 



LETTEE X. 

HABIT. 

My dear Friends : 

If you wish to have power to say, in the 
words of the imperial slave of the beautiful Egyptian, 

" Let me, 

With those hands that grasp'd the heaviest club, 
Subdue my worthiest self" 

you must not wholly overlook the importance ol 
Habit^ while establishing your system of life. 

Always indicative of character, habit may yet, to 
a certain extent, do us the greatest injustice, through 
mere inadvertency. Indeed, few young persons 
attach much importance to such matters, until com- 
pelled by necessity to unlearn, with a painful effort, 
what has been insensibly acquired. 

Permit me, then, a few random suggestions, intend- 
ed rather to awaken your attention to this branch of 
a polite education, than to furnish elaborate directions 
in relation to it. 

Judging from the prevalent tone of social inter- 
course among our countrymen, both at home and 



380 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

abroad, one might naturally make the inference, that 
most of them regard Rudeness and Repuhlicanism as 
synonymous terms. Depend upon it, that as a people, 
we are retrograding on this point. Our upper class 
— or what would fain be deemed such — in society, 
may more successfully imitate the fashionable folliee 
and conventional peculiarities of the Old World, than 
their predecessors upon the stage of action did ; but 
fashion is not good breeding, any more than arro- 
gant assumption, or a defiant independence of the 
amenities of life, is true manliness. Breaking away 
from the ceremonious old school of habit and man- 
ner, we are rapidly running into the opposite ex- 
treme, and the masses who, with little time or incli- 
nation for personal reflection, on such subjects, natur- 
ally take their clue, to some extent, from the assumed 
exponents of the laws of the fickle goddess, exagger- 
ating the value of the defective models they seek to 
imitate, into the grossest caricature of the whole, and, 
mistaking rudeness for ease, and impudence for inde- 
pendence, so defy all abstract propriety, as, if not to 
" make the angels weep," at least to mortify and dis- 
gust all observant, thinking men, whose love and 
pride of country sees in trifles even, indications 
more or less auspicious to national advancement. 

All this defiance of social restraint, this professed 
contempt for the suavities and graces that should 
redeem existence from the complete engrossment of 
actualities, is bad enough at home ; but its exhibition 
abroad is doubly humiliating to our national dignity. 
Every American who visits foreign countries, whether 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. ii31 

as the accredited official representative of his gov- 
ernment, or simply in the character of a private 
citizen, owes a duty to his native land, as one of 
those by the observance of whom strangers are form- 
ing an estimate of the social and political advance- 
ment of the people who are making the great experi- 
ment jf the world, and upon whom the eyes of all 
are fixed with a peculiar and scrutinizing interest. 

It has been well said of us, in this regard, that 
" our worst slavery is the slavery to ourselvesJ^ 
Trammelled by the narrowest social prejudices at 
home, Americans, breaking loose from these restraints 
abroad, run riot, like ill-mannered school-boys, sud- 
denly released from the discipline which, from its 
very severity, prompts them to indulge in the ex- 
treme of license. Thus, we lately had accounts of 
the .humiliating conduct of some Americans, who, 
being guests one night at the Tuileries, actu- 
ally so far forgot all decency as to intrude their 
drunken impertinence upon the personal observation 
of the Emperor ! And, when informed, the next 
morning, that, at the instance of their insulted host, 
the police had followed them, when they left the 
palace, to ascertain whether they were not suspicious 
characters who had surreptitiously obtained admit- 
tance to the imperial fete, they are reported to have 
pronounced the intelligence "r^'cA/" Shame on 
such exhibitions ! — they disgrace us nationally. 

If our countrymen would be content to learn from 
older peoples on these points, it would be well. In 
the Elegant and Ideal Arts, in Literature, in general 



332 THE AMERICAN GBNTLEMAn'S GUIDE 

Science, the superiority of our predecessors in the his* 
tory of Progress, is cheerfully admitted. Can we, 
then, learn nothing from the matured civilization of 
the Old "World in regard to the Art of lAmng ? Shall 
we defy the race to which we belong, on this point 
alone ? This secret is possessed in greatest perfection 
by those who have longest studied its details, and 
some long existent nations who display little practi- 
cal wisdom in matters of political science, are grey- 
beard sages here. So then, let us learn from them 
what they can easily save us the trouble of acquiring 
by difficult experiments for ourselves, and, concen- 
trating our energies upon higher objects, give them 
back a full equivalent for their knowledge of the best 
mode of serving the Lares^ the Muses, and the O-ra- 
ces, by a successful illustration of the truth, that as a 
people we are capable of self-governinent ! We shall, 
then, no longer have the wife of an American minis- 
ter ignorantly invading the Court Rules at Madrid, 
by sporting the colors sacred to royal attire there, 
and so giving occasion for national oflense, as well 
as individual conflict, nor furnish Punch with mate- 
rial for the admonitory reflection that the bond of 
family union between John Bull and his cousin Jon- 
athan must be somewhat uncertain " when so small a 
matter as the tie of a cravat can materially affect the 
price of stx)cks /" And, when vulgar bluster and 
braggadocio are no longer mistaken for the proper 
assertion of national and individual independence, 
we shall not have an American gentleman who, like 
our justly-distinguished countryman, George Pear 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 333 

body, constantly exhibits the most urbane courtesy, 
alike towards foreigners and towards the citizens of 
the native country to which his life has been one 
prolonged paean, accused of toadying^ because he 
quietly conforms to the social usages of the people 
among whom he lives I ! 

But pardon me these generalities. I have been 
unintentionally led into them, I believe, by my keen 
sense of mortification at some of the incidents to 
which I have alluded. 

Coming then to details, let us, primarily, resolve 
to be slaves to nothing and to no one — neither to 
others nor to ourselves ; and to endeavor to establish 
such habits as shall entitle each of us, in the estima- 
tion of discriminating observers, to the distinctive 
name of gentleman. 

Constant association with well-bred and well-edu- 
cated society^ cannot be too highly estimated as an 
assistant in the acquisition of the attributes of which 
we propose to speak. A taste for such companion- 
ship may be so strengthed by habit as to form a 
strong barrier to the desired indulgence of grosser 
inclinations. "Show me your friends, and I'll tell 
you what you are," is a pithy Spanish proverb. 
Choose yours, I earnestly entreat, in early life, with 
a view to self-improvement and self-respect. And, 
while on this point, permit me to warn you against 
mistaking pretension, wealth, or position, for intrinsic 
merit ; or the advantages of equality in elevated 
social rank, for an equivalent to mental cultivation, 
or moral dignity. 



334 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

One of the collateral benefits resulting from pro* 
per social associations, will be an escape from eccerir 
:jHcities of manner, dress, language, etc. ; erroneous 
habits in relation to which, when once established, 
often cling to a man through all the changes of time 
and circumstance. 

But, as observation proves that this, though a 
safeguard, is by no means always a sufficient de- 
fense, it is well to resort to various precautions, 
additionally — as a prudent general not only carefully 
inspects the ramparts that guard his fortress, but 
stations sentinels, who shall be on the look-out for 
approaching foes. 

So then, my dear boys, do not regard me as de- 
scending to puerilities unworthy of myself and you, 
when I call your attention to such matters as your 
attitude in standing and sitting, or any other little 
individualizing peculiarities. 

Some men fall into a habit of walking and stand- 
ing with their heads run out before them, as if doubt- 
ful of their right to keep themselves on a line with 
their fellow-creatures. Others, again, either elevate 
the shoulders unnaturally, or draw them forward so 
as to impede the full, healthful play of the lungs. 
This last is too much the peculiar habit of students,, 
and contracted by stooping over their books, un- 
doubtedly. Then again, you see persons swinging 
their arms, and see-sawing their bodies from side to 
side, so as to monopolize a good deal more than their 
rightful share of a cro'wded thoroughfare, steamer 
cabin, or drawing-room floor. Nothing is more un 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHIOBT. 335 

comfortable than walking arm in arm with such a 
man. He pokes his elbows into your ribs, pushes 
you against passers-bj, shakes you like a reed in the 
wind, and, perhaps, knocks your hat into the gutter 
with his umbrella — and all with the most good-hu- 
mored unconsciousness of his annoying peculiarity. 
If you ai'e so unfortunate as to be shut up in a car- 
riage with him, his restless propensity relieves itself 
to the great disturbance of the reserved rights of 
ladies, and the frequent impalement upon his pro- 
truding elbows of fragments of fringe, lace, and 
small children! At table, if it be possible, his 
neighbors gently and gradually withdraw froni his 
immediate vicinity, leaving a clearing to his undis- 
puted possession. He usually may be observed to 
stoop forward, w^hile eating, with his plate a good 
foot from the customary locality of that convenience^ 
pushed before him towards the middle of the table, 
and his arms so adjusted that his elbows play out 
and in, like the sweep of a pair of oars. 

A little seasonable attention to these things will 
effectually prevent a man of sense from falling into 
Buch peculiarities. Early acquire the habit of stand- 
ing and walking with your chest thrown out — your 
head erect — your abdomen receding rather than pro- 
truding — not leaning back any more than forward — 
with your arms scientiJiGaZly adjusted — your hat on 
the tojp (not on the back, oi' on one side) of your 
head — with a self-poised and firm, but elastic tread ; 
not a tramp, like a war-horse ; not a stride, like a 
fugitive bandit ; not a mincing step, Hke a conjurer 



386 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

tieading on eggs ; but, with a compact, manly, homo* 
gen eons sort of bearing and movement. 

Where there has been any discipline at least, if 
not always, inklings of character may be drawn 
from these tokens in the outer man. For instance — 
the light, quick, cat-like step of Aaron Burr, was as 
much a part of the man as the Pandemonium gleam 
that lurked in the depths of his dark, shadowed eyes. 
I remember the one characteristic as distinctly as 
the other, when I recall his small person and pecu- 
liar face. So with the free, firm pace by which the 
noble port of De Witt Clinton was accompanied — 
one recognized, at a glance, the high intellect, the 
lofty manhood, embodied there. 

Crossing the legs, elevating the feet, lounging on 
one side, lolling back, etc., though quite excusable 
in the abandon of bachelor seclusion, should never 
be indulged in where ceremony is properly required. 
In the company of ladies, particularly, too much 
care cannot be exhibited in one's attitudes. It is then 
suitable to sit upright, with the feet on the floor, and 
the hands quietly adjusted before one, either holding 
the hat and stick (as when paying a morning visit), 
or the dress-hat carried in the evening, or, to give 
ease, on occasion, a book, roll of paper, or the like. 
Habits of refinement once established, a man feels at 
ease — he can trust himself, without watching, to be 
natural — and nothing conduces more to grace and 
elegance than this quiet consciousness. Let me add^ 
that true comfort, real enjoyment,are no better secured 
under any circumstances, bv indulging in anything 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 337 

that is intrinsically unrefined, and that a certain 
habitual self-restraint is the best guarantee of ease, 
propriety and elegance, when a man would fain do 
entire justice to himself. 

Habits connected with matters of the tal)le, as in- 
deed with all sensuous enjoyments, should always be 
such as not to suggest to others ideas of merely self- 
ish animal gratification. Among minor character- 
istics, few are so indicative of genuine good-breeding 
as a man's mode of eating. Upon Poor Richard's 
principle, that " nothing is worth doing at all that is 
not worth doing well," one may very properly attach 
some consequence to the formation of correct habits 
in relation to occasions of such very frequent recur- 
rence. It is well, therefore, to learn to sit uprightly 
at table, to keep one's individual " aids and appli- 
ances " compactly arranged ; to avoid all noise and 
hurry in the use of these conveniences ; neither to 
mince, nor fuss with one's food ; nor yet to swallow 
it as a boa-constrictor does his, — rolled over in the 
mouth and bolted whole / or worse still, to open the 
mouth, to such an extent as to remind observers that 
alligators are half mouth. Eating with a knife, or 
with tlie fingers ; soiling the lips ; using the fork or 
the fingers as a tooth-pick ; making audible the 
process of mastication, or of drinking ; taking soup 
from the point of a spoon ; lolling forward upon the 
table, or with the elbows upon the table ; soiling the 
cloth with what should be kept upon the plate ; 
putting one's private utensils into dishes of v,-hich 



Ifi 



338 THE AMEKICAN OKNTLEMAN's GUIDE 

others partake ; in short, everything that is odd, or 
coarse, should nowhere be indulged in. 

Cut jour meat, or whatever requires the use of the 
knife, and, leaving that dangerous instrument conve- 
niently on one side of your plate, eat with your fork, 
using a bit of bread to aid, when necessary, in taking 
up your food neatly. 

When partaking of anything too nearly approach- 
ing a liquid to be eaten with a fork, as stewed toma- 
to, or cranberry, sop it with small pieces of bread ; 
— a sjpooii is not used while eating meats and their 
accompaniments. Never take up large bones in the 
fingers, nor bite Indian corn from a mammoth ear. 
(In the latter case, a long coh running out of a man's 
mouth on either side, is suggestive of the mode in 
which the snouts of dressed swine are adorned for 
market !) If you prefer not to cut the grain from 
the ear, break it into small pieces and cut the rows 
lengthwise, before commencing to eat this vege- 
table. 

When you wish to send your plate for anything, 
retain your knife and fork, and either keep them 
together in your hand, or rest them upon your 
bread, so as not to soil the cloth. 

Should you have occasion for a tooth-pick, hold 
your napkin, or your hand, before your mouth while 
applying it, and on no account resort to the jpercep- 
tible assistance of the tongue in freeing the mouth 
or teeth from food. 

Have sufficient self-control, when so unfortunate 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 389 

as to be disgusted with anything in your food, to 
refrain from every outward manifestation of annoy- 
ance, and if possible, to conceal from others all 
participation in your discovery. 

Accustom yourself to addressing servants while at 
table, in a low, but intelligible tone, and to a good- 
natured endurance of their blunders. 

Avoid the appearance of self-engrossment, or of 
abstraction while eating, and, for the sake of health 
of mind and body, acquire the practice of a clieerful 
interchange of both civilities and ideas with those 
who may be, even temporarily, your associates. 

It is now becoming usual among fashionable 
people in this country to adopt the French mode of 
conducting ceremonious dinners, that of placing such 
portions of the dessert as will admit of it, upon the 
table, together with plateaux of flowers, and other 
ornaments, and having the previous courses served 
and carved upon side-tables, and ofiered to each 
guest by the attendants. But it will be long before 
this custom obtains generally, as a daily usage, even 
among the wealthier classes. It will, so far continue 
rather an exception than a rule, that the art of 
carving should be regarded as well worth acquiring, 
both as a matter of personal convenience, and as 
affording the means of obliging others. Like every 
other habit connected with matters of the table, 
exquisite neatness and discrimination should charac- 
terize the display of this gentlemanly accomplish- 
ment. Aim at dexterous and rapid manipulation, 
and shnn ihe semblance of hurry, labor, or fatignp 



340 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's aUtDK 

Familiarity with the anatomy of poultry and game, 
will greatly facilitate ease and grace in carving. 

Always help ladies with a remembrance of the 
moderation and fastidiousness of their appetites. If 
possible, give them the choice of selection in the 
cuts of meats, especially of birds and poultry. 

Never pour gravy upon a plate, without pennis- 
sion. A little of the HUing of fowls may be put 
with portions of them, because that is easily laid 
aside, without spoiling the meat, as gravy does, for 
many persons. 

All meats served in mass, should be carved in 
thin slices, and each laid upon one side of the plate, 
carefully avoiding soiling the edge, or offending the 
delicacy of ladies, in particular, by too-ensanguined 
juices. 

Different kinds of food should never be mixed on 
the plate. Keep each portion of the accompani- 
ments of your meats neatly separated, and, where 
you pay for decency a/nd comfort, take it as a 
matter of course that your plate, knife, and fork are 
to be changed as often as you partake of a different 
dish of meat. 

Fish is eaten with bread and condiments only ; 
and the various kinds of meat with vegetables 
appropriate to each. Gatne, when properly cooked 
and served, requires only a bit of bread with it. 

By those who best understand the art of eating, 
hutt^r is never taken with meats or vegetables. The 
latter, in their simple state, as potatoes, should be 
eaten with salt; most of them need no condiment, it 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 341 

addition to those with which they are dressed before 
coming to table. Salads, of course, are prepared 
according to individual taste; but the well-instructed 
take butter at dinner only after, or as a substitute for, 
the course of pastry, etc. with bread, if at all. The 
English make a regular coui'se of bread, cheese, and 
butter, preceding the dessert proper — nuts, fruit, 
etc. ; but they never eat both butter and cheese at 
the same time. 

Skins of baked potatoes, rinds of fruit, etc., etc., 
should never be put upon the cloth ; but hread^ both 
at dinner and breakfast, is placed on the table, at the 
left side of the plate, except it be the small bit used 
to facilitate the use of the fork, 

Never drum upon the table between the courses, 
fidget in your chair, or with your dress, or in any 
manner indicate impatience of due order and deli- 
beration, or indifference to the conversation of those 
about you. A gentleman will take time to dine 
decorously and comfortably. Those whose subser- 
viency to anything, or amy one^ prevents this, are 
not freemen! ^ 

Holding, as I do, that 

" To enjoy is to obey" 

let me call your attention, in this connection, to the 
truth that the pleasures of the table consist not so 
much in the quantity eaten as in the m,ode of eating. 
A moderate amount of simple food, thoroughly and 
deliberately masticated, and partaken of with the 
agreeable accessories of quiet, neatness and social 



342 THE AMERICAN gentleman's guipt; 

communion, will not only be more beneficial to 
the physical man, but afford more positive enjoy- 
ment, than a larger number of dishes, when hur- 
riedly eaten in greater quantities. 

I have frequently remarked among our young 
countrymen a peculiarity which a moment's reflec- 
tion will convince you is exceedingly injurious to 
health — that of swallowing an enormous amount of 
fluid at every meal. Reflect that the human 
stomach is scarcely so large as one of the goblets 
which is repeatedly emptied at dinner, by most 
men, and that all liquids taken into that much- 
abused organ, must be absorbed before the assimi- 
lation of solid food commences, and you will see, at 
once, what a violation of the natural laws this 
practice involves. Here, again, is one of the evil 
effects of the fast-eating of fast Americans. Hurry- 
ing almost to feverishness, at table, and only half 
masticating their food, the assistance of ice-water is 
invoked to facilitate the process of swallowing, and 
to allay the more distressing symptoms produced by 
haste and fatigue ! 

Before we leave these little matters, let us return 
for an instant, to that of the position assumed while 
sitting. The '■'■Yanlcee^^ peculiarity, so often ridi- 
culed by foreigners, of tijpping the chair back upon 
the two hind feet, is not yet obsolete, even in our 
" best society." Occasionally some uninstructed 
rustic finds his way into a fashionable drawing-room, 
where " modern antique furniture," as the manufac- 
tiirers call it in their advertisements, elicits all tho 



TO POl^lTENESS AND FASHION. 348 

proverbial ingenuity of his native land, to enable 
him to indulge in his favorite attitude. " I thought 
I saw the ghost of my chair ?" said a fair friend to 
me, as soon as a visitor had left us together, one 
morning, not long since. " I was really distressed 
by his efforts to tilt it back — these fashionable chairs 
are so frail, and he would have been intensely 
mortified had he broken it ! Have you seen the 
last 'Hai-per,' Colonel?" 

Do not permit yourself, through an indifference to 
trifles, to fall into any unrefined habits in the use of 
the handkerchief, etc., etc. Boring the ears with 
the fingers, chafing the limbs, sneezing with unne- 
cessary sonorousness, and even a too fond and cease- 
less caressing of the moustache, are in bad taste. 
Everything connected with personal discomfort, 
with the mere physique, should be as unobtrusively 
attended to as possible. 

When associated with women of cultivation and 
refinement — and you should addict yourself to no 
other female society — you cannot attend too care- 
fully to the niceties of personal habit. Sensitive, 
fastidious, and very observant of ininutice — indeed 
often judging of character by details — you will 
inevitably lose ground with these discriminating 
observers, if neglectful of the trifles that go far 
towards constituting the amenities of social life. 
An elegant modern writer is authority for the fact 
that the Gauls attributed to woman, " an additional 
sense — the divine sensed Perhaps the Creator may 
have bestowed this gift upon the defenseless sex, as 



344 THE AMERICAN GENTLKMAn's GUmE 

a counterpoise to the superior strength and power of 
man, even as he has given to the more helpless of 
the lower creatures swiftness of motion, instead of 
capacity for resistance. But be that as it may, no 
man should permit himself any habit that will not 
bear the scrutiny of this di/vine sense — ^much less, 
one that will outrage all its fine perceptions. 

Apropos of details — 1 will take leave to warn 
you against the swaggering manner that some young 
men, whose bearing is otherwise unexceptionable, 
fall into among strangers, apparently with the 
mistaken idea that they will thus best sustain their 
claims to an unequivocal position in society. So in 
the sitting-rooms at hotels, in the pump-rooms at 
watering-places, on the decks of steamers, etc., 
persons whose juvenility entitles them to be classed 
with those who have nursery authority for being 
" seen and not heard," are frequently the most 
conspicuous and noisy. Shallow, indeed, must be 
the discernment of observers who conceive a favor- 
able impression of a young man from such an 
exhibition ! 

In company, do not stand, or walk about while 
others sit, nor sit while others stand — especially 
ladies. Acquire a light step, particularly for in- 
door use, and a quiet mode of 'conducting yourself, 
generally. Ladies and invalids will not then dread 
your presence as dangerous — like that of a rampant 
war-horse, ill-taught to 

" Caper nimbly in a lady's chamber !" 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 345 

If you are fond of playing at chess and other 
games, it will be worth your while to observe your- 
self until you have fixed habits of entire politeness, 
under such circumstances. All unnecessary move* 
ments, every manifestation of impatience or petu- 
lance, and all exultation when successful, should be 
repressed. Thus, while seeking amusement, you may 
acquire self-control. 

Begin early to remember that health and good 
spirits are easily impaired, and that habit will mate- 
rially assist us in the patient endurance of suffering 
we should manifest for the sake of those about us — 
attendants, friends, "the bosom-friend dearer than 
all," whom no philosophy can teach insensibility to 
the semblance of unkindness from one enthroned in 
her affections. 

Don't fall into the habit, because you are a branch 
of the Lunettes family, of using glasses prematurely. 
Students are much in error here. Every young 
divinity-student, especially, seems emulous of this 
troublesome appendage. Depend on it, this is ail 
wi'ong, either absurd affectation, or ignorance equal- 
ly unfortunate. 

Ladies, it is said, are the readers of America, but 
who ever sees the defir creatures donning spectacles 
in youth ? Enter a female college and look for the 
glasses that, were the youthful devotees of learning 
there assembled of the other sex, would deform half 
the faces you observe. Much better were it to inform 
yourselves of the laws of optics, and use the organs 
now so generally abused by the young, judiciously. 

15* 



346 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

resting them, when giving indications of being 
overtaxed, rather than endeavoring to supply artifi- 
cial aid to their natural strength. Students, especial- 
ly, should always read and write with the hock to the 
lights so seated thai the light falls not upon the 
ej'es, but upon the book or paper before them. 
That reminds me, too, how important it is that one 
shonld not stoop forward more constantly than is 
necessary, while engaged in sedentary pursuits, but 
lean back rather than forward, as much as possible, 
throwing out the chest at the same time. Many 
books admit of being raised in the hand, in aid of 
this practice, and the habit of rising occasionally, 
and expanding the chest, and straightening the limbs 
will be found to relieve the weariness of the seden- 
tary. 

But nothing so effectually prevents injury to 
health, from studious habits, as early rising. This 
gives time for the out-door exercise that is so requi- 
site as well as for the use of the eyes by daylight. 
There is a great deal of nonsense mixed up with our 
literature, which seizes the fancy of the young, 
because embodied in poetry, or clothed with the 
charm of fiction. Of this nature is what we read 
about, " trimming the midnight lamp," to search for 
the Pierean spring. Obey the 

" Breezy call of incense-breathing mom," 

and she will environ you with a joyous band of 
blooming Hours, and guide you gaily and lightly 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 84Y 

towards sparkling waters, whose properties are Know- 
ledge and Health ! 

But if you would habitually rise early, you must 
not permit every trivial temptation to prevent your 
also retiring early. The laws of fashionable life are 
Borely at variance with those of Health, on this 
point, as well as upon many others ; but, happily, 
they are not absolute, and those who have useful pur- 
poses to accomplish each day, must withstand the 
tyranny of this arbitrary despot. Time for the toi- 
let, for exercise, for intellectual culture and mental 
relaxation, is thus best secured. By using the earlier 
hours of each day for our most imperative occupa- 
tions, we are far less at the mercy of contingent cir- 
cumstances than we can become by any other system 
of life. " Solitude," says Gibbon, "is the school of 
Genius," and the advantages of this tuition are most 
certainly secured before the idlers of existence are 
abroad ! 

Avoid the habit of regarding yourself as an inva- 
lid, and of taking nostrums. A knowledge and obser- 
vance of the rules of Dietetics are often better than 
the concentered wisdom of a Dispensary, abstinence 
more effective than medical applications, and the 
recuperative power of Nature, when left to work out 
her own restoration, frequently superior to the most 
skillful aid of learned research. But when compel- 
led to avail yourself of medical assistance, seek that 
which science and integrity render safest. No sensible 
man, one would think, will intrust the best boon of 
earth to the merciless experiments of unprincipled and 



348 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's auIDE 

ignorant charlatans, or credulously swallow quack 
medicines recommended by old women: and yet, 
while people employ the most accomplished hatter, 
tailor, and boot-maker, whose services they can 
secure, they will give up the inner man to the influ- 
ence of such impositions upon the credulity of 
humanity ! 

Assumitig, as an accepted truth, that it is your 
purpose, through life, to admit the rights of our fair 
tyrants 

" In court or cottage, wheresoe'er their home," 

1 will commend to you the early acquisition of habits 
appropriate to our relations to women as their j>ro- 
tectors. In dancing, riding, driving, walking, boat- 
ing, travelling, etc., etc., — wherever the sexes are 
brought together in this regard (and where are they 
not, indeed, when commingled at all ?) — observe the 
gentle courtesies, exhibit the watchful care, that go 
far towards constituting the settled charms of such 
intercourse. It is not to be forgotten, as I think I 
have before remarked, that women judge of charac- 
ter, often, from trifling details ; thus, any well-bred 
woman will be able to tell you which of her acquain- 
tances habitually removes his hat, or throws aside his 
cigar, when addressing her, and who, of all others, is 
most watchful for her comfort, when she is abroad 
under his escort. Be sure, too, that this same fair 
one could confess, if she would make a revelation on 
the subject, exactly what men she shuns because 
they break her fans, disarrange her bouquets, tear het 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 34& 

floimces, toucli her paintings and prints witli moist 
fingers (instead of merely pointing to some part) 
handle delicate bijouterie with dark gloves, dance 
with uncovered hands, etc., etc. But even if you 
are her confidcmt, she will not tell you how often her 
quick sensibility is wounded by fancying herself the 
subject of the smirks, whispers, and knowing glances 
in which some men indulge when grouped with their 
kindred bipeds, in society ! 

At the risk of subjecting myself to the charge of 
repetition, I will endeavor, before concluding this 
letter, to enumerate such Habits as, in addition to 
those of which I have already spoken, I deem most 
entitled to the attention of those who are establish- 
ing a system of life. 

Sabits of reading and studying once thoroughly 
formed, are invaluable, not only as affording a ready 
resource against ennui, or idleness, everywhere and * 
imder all circumstances, but as necessarily involving 
the acquisition of knowledge, even when of the most 
desultory character. It is wonderful how much gene- 
ral information may be gleaned by this practice of 
reading something whenever one has a few spare 
grains of the ^'•gold-dust of Time,^^ — minutes. I 
once found a remarkably well-informed woman of 
my acquaintance waiting to make breakfast for her 
husband and me, with a little old dictionary open in 
her hand. "For what word are you looking, so 
early ?" I inquired, as I discovered the character of 
the volume she held. " For no one in particular," 
returned she, " but one can always add to one's 



350 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's OmOE 

stores from any book, were it only in the matter of 
spelling.^" But the true way, of course, to derive 
most advantage from this enjoyment is to systematize 
in relation to it, reading well-selected books with 
ears and attention sufficient to enable us permanent- 
ly to add the information they contain to our 
previous mental possessions. 

You will only need to be reminded how much ease 
and elegance in i?e«^m^a?(?w6? depend upon hahit. 

Without the Hahit of IndpMtry^ good resolutions, 
the most sincere desire for self-improvement, and the 
most desirable natural gifts, will be of comparatively 
little avail for the practical purposes of existence. 
Tliis unpretending attribute, together with System 
and Regularity^ has achieved more for the good of 
the race, than all the erratic efforts of genius combin- 
edly. 

" Don't run about," says a sensible writer, " and 
tell your acquaintances you have been unfortunate ; 
people do not like to have unfortunate men for 
acquaintances. Add to a vigorous determination, a 
cheerful spirit ; if reverses come, bear them like a 
philosopher, and get rid of them as soon as you can." 
Cheerfulness and Contentment^ like every other 
mental quality, may be cultivated until they mate- 
rially assist us in enduring 

" The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," 

and earlv at'cntion to the attainment of these mental 

habits is a matter of both personal and relative duty, 

Cherish self-respect as, next to a firm religious 



TO P0LITKNES8 AND FASHION. 351 

faith, the best safeguard to respectability and peace 
of mind. Entirely consistent with — indeed, in a 
degree, productive of the most careful consideration 
of the rights of others, the legitimate development of 
this quality will tend to preserve you from unwise con- 
fidences, from injudicious intimacies, and from gross 
indulgences and unworthy pursuits. This will 
sustain you in the manly acknowledgment oi poverty^ 
if that shall chance to be your lot, when pride and 
principle contend for the mastery in practical 
matters, and enable you to realize fully, that 

" To bear, is to conquer our fate !" 

This will strengthen you to the endurance of that 
which nothing but absolute insignificance can escape 
— calumny. It will preserve you alike from an 
undue eagerness in defending yourself from unjust 
aspersion, and from a servile fear of " the world's 
dread laugh," from meriting and from resenting 
scandal, and convince you that its most efiectual 
contradiction consists in a virticous life. By listen- 
ing to the dictates of this powerful coadjutor qf 
conscience, you will believe with the poet, that 

" Honor and Fame from no condition rise," 

and thus, with straightforward and unvarying pur- 
pose, illustrate your adoption of the motto, 

" Act toell your part, there all the honor lies I" 

While I would earnestly counsel you to avoid that 
constant self-consdouaness which is nearly allied to 



852 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GTHDE 

vanity and egotism, if not identical with them, yoj 
will find the habitual practice of self-examination 
greatlj conducive to improvement. A calm, impar- 
tial analysis of words and actions, tracing each 
to their several motives, must tend to assist us to 
Tmow ourseVoes, which an ancient philosopher, you 
may remember, pronounced the highest human 
attainment. Arraign yourself, without the advan- 
tage oi special pleading, to borrow a legal phrase, at 
the bar of conscience, regarding this arbiter as the 
voice of Divinity enshrined within us, whenever 
assailed by doubts respecting any course of conduct 
you have adopted, ok propose to adopt, and where 
you are thus taught to draw the line of demarcation 
between right and wrong, 

" Let that aye be your border." 

In this connection permit me to recommend the 
regular study of the JBible, and a systematic attend- 
ance upon public worship on the Sabbath. Do not 
read this most wonderful of books as a task, nor yet 
permit the trammels of early associations, hereditary 
prejudice, or blind superstition, to interfere with 
your search for the truths contained in its pages- 
Try to read the Scriptures as you would any other 
book, with the aid of such collateral information as 
you may be able to obtain respecting the origin of 
the several, and wholly, distinct productions of which 
it is composed, the authors of each, the purposes for 
which they were composed, and, in short, possess 
yourself of every available means of giving reality. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 363 

simplicity, and truthfulness to your investigations. 
Study the Life of Christy as written by the personal 
friends who were most constantly and intimately 
associated with him. Ponder upon his familiar 
sayings, remembered, and recorded in their simple 
memoranda, by the unlettered men who most fre- 
quently listened to them, compare the acts of Christ 
with his doctrines as a teacher, and judge for your- 
selves whether history, ancient or modern, has any 
parallel for the Perfection of the Model thus exhibited 
to the human race. Decide whether he was not 
the only earthly being who " never did an injury, 
never resented one done to him, never uttered an 
untruth, never practised a deception, and never lost 
an opportunity of doing good." Having determined 
this point in your own minds, adopt this glorious 
pattern for imitation, and adhere to it, until you find 
a truer and better model. We have nothing to do 
in judging of this matter with the imperfect illustra- 
tions afforded by the lives of professed imitators of 
Christ of the perfectibility to which his teachings tend. 
"Why look to indifferent copies, when the great origi- 
nal is ever before us ! Why seek in the frailty and 
fallibility of human nature a justification of personal 
distrust and indifference ? 

No gentleman — to come to practicalities again — 
will indulge in ridiculing what intelligent, enlighten- 
ed persons receive as truth, on any point, much less 
upon this. Nor will a well-bred man permit himself 
the habit of being late at church — were it only that 
those who stand in a servile relation to oth^r^. ai'i^ 



354 THE AMERICAN GENTLBMAn's GUIDE 

often deprived of time for suitable preliminaricf 
of the toilet, etc., he will carefully avoid this vul- 
garity. 

The tendency to materialism^ so strongly charac- 
terizing the age in which we live, produces, among 
its pernicious collateral effects, a disposition to 
reduce " Heaven's last, best gift toman" to the same 
practical standard by which we judge of all matters 
of the outer life, — o£each other especially. Well 
might Burke deplore the departure of the Age of 
Chivalry ! But not even the prophetic eye of 
genius could discern the degeneracy that was to 
increase so rapidly, from the day in which he wrote, 
to this. As a mere matter of personal gratification, 
I would cherish the inclination to idealize in regard 
to the fairer part of creation ! There is enough that is 
gtern, hard, baldly utilitarian, in life ; we have 
no need to rob this " one fair spirit " of every poetic 
attribute, by system ! Few habits have so much the 
effect to elevate us above the clods we tread plod- 
dingly over in the dreary highway of mortal exis- 
tence, as that of investing woman with the purest, 
highest attributes of our common nature, and bear- 
ing ourselves towards her in accordance with these 
elevated sentiments. And when compelled, in indi- 
vidual instances, to set aside these cherished impres- 
sions, let nothing induce us to forget ih.?ii passive^ 
silent forbearance is our only resource. True man- 
hood can never become the active antagonist of 
defencelessness. 

I am almost ashamed to remind you of the gross 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 355 

Impropriety of speaking loosely and loudlj of ladies 
of your acquaintance in the hearing of strangers, of 
desecrating their names by mouthing them in bar- 
rooms and similar public places, scribbling them 
upon windows, recording them, without their per- 
mission, in the registers kept at places visited from 
curiosity, etc., etc. You have no w,oral right to 
take such liberties in this respect^ as you would not 
tolerate in the relation of hrother, son, or husband. 

Think, then, and sjpeak, ever, with due reverence 
of those guardian angels, 

" Into whose hands from first to last, 
This world with all its destinies, 
Devotedly by Heaven seems cast !" 

If yon determine to conform yourselves, as far as 
in you lies, to the model presented for your imita- 
tion by Him who said — " Be ye, therefore, perfect, 
even as I am perfect," you will not disregard the 
cultivation of a ready sympathy with the sufferings 
and trials of your fellow beings. In place of adopt- 
ing a system that will not only steel your heart, but 
infuse into your whole nature distrust and suspicion, 
you will, like Him who went about doing good, 
quickly discern suffering, in whatever form it pre- 
sents itself, and minister, at least, the balm of a kind 
word, when naught else may be offered. You will 
thus learn not only to pity the erring, but, per- 
chance, sometimes to ask yourselves in profound 
humility — " wlio hath made me to differ V 

Young; men sometimes fall into the impression 



366 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN 's GUIDE 

that a mocking insensibility to human woe is manly 
— something grand and distinguished. So they turn 
with lofty scorn from a starving child, make the 
embarrassment and distress of a poor mother with 
a wailing infant the subject of audible mirth in a 
rail-car, or stage-coach, ridicule the peevishness 
of illness, the tears of wounded sensibility, or the 
confessions of the penitent ! Now, it seems to me, 
that all this is super-human in its sublime elevation I 
My small knowledge of the history of the greatly good, 
affords no parallels for the adoption of such a creed. 
I have read of a Howard who terminated a life 
devoted to the benefit of his race, in a noisome dun- 
geon, where he sought to minister to human suffer- 
ing ; of a Fenelon, and a Cheverus whose Catholio 
spirit broke the thralling restrains of sectarianism, 
m favor of general humanity ; of the graceful 
chivalry and large benevolence of Sir Walter Ra- 
leigh and Sir Philip Sidney; of triumphant soldiers 
who bound up the wounds and preserved the lives 
of a fallen foe ; of a Wilberforce, a Pease, and a 
Father Mathew ; of • Leigh Richmond, Reginald 
Heber, and Robert Hall ; of the parable of the good 
Samaritan, and of its Divine Author — and I believe 
the mass of mankind agree with me in, at least, an 
abstract admiration for the characters of each ! And 
though no great achievements in the cause of Philan- 
thropy may be in our power, though no mighty 
deeds may embalm our memories amid the imperisli- 
able records of Time, let us not overlook those small 
acts of kindness, those trifling proofs of sympathy. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 357 

whicli all have at command. A look, a word, a 
smile — what talismanic power do even these some- 
times possess ! Eemember, then, that, 

" Heaven decrees 



To all the gift of ministering to ease /" 

In close association with the wish to minister to 
the happiness of others, as far as in us lies, is that of 
avoiding every self-indulgence that may interfere 
with the comfort or the rights of others. Hence the 
cultivation of good-humor, and of habits of neatness^ 
order^ and regularity. Prompted by this rule, we 
will not STTioke in the streets, in rail-cars, on the 
iecks of steamers, at the entrance of concert and 
lecture rooms, or in parlors frequented by ladies. 
We will not even forget that neglect of matters of 
the toilet, in the nicest details, may render us unplea- 
sant companions for those accustomed to fastidious- 
ness upon these points. 

To the importance of well-regulated habits of 
Exercise, Temperance, and Relaxation, I have 
already called your attention in a previous Letter. 

Nothing tends more effectually to the production 
of genuine independence, than personal Economy. 
No habit will more fully enable you to be generous 
as well as just, and to gratify yom- better impulses 
and more refined tastes, than the exercise of this un- 
ostentatious art. 

E,e member that meanness is not economy, any 
more than it is integrity. 



358 THE AMEEICAN GENTLKMAn's GUIDE 

To be wisely economical requires the exercise of 
the reflective faculties united with practical expe- 
rience, self-denial, and moral dignity. Rightly 
viewed, there is nothing in it degrading to the 
noblest nature. 

Punctuality both in pleasure and in business 
engagements, is alike due to others, and essential to 
personal convenience. You will, perhaps, have 
observed that this was one of the distinguishing traits 
of Washington. 

Somebody says — " Ceremony is the Paradise of 
Fools." The same may be said with equal truth, of 
system. To be truly free^ one should not be the 
slave of any one rale, nor of many combined. 
System, like other agencies, if judiciously regulated, 
materially aids the establishment of good habits 
generally, and thus places us beyond the dominion 
of 

" Circ]0nstance, that unspiritual god." 

Sir Joshua Reynolds used to remark that " Nothing 
is denied to well-directed effort." Let Perseverance 
then, be united with Excelsior in your practical 
creed. 

I think I have made some allusion to the Art of 
Conversation. Let me " tnake assurance doubly 
sure," by the emphatic recommendation of j?7'actice 
in this elegant accomplishment. All mental acquisi- 
tions are the better secured by the habit of puttingi 
ideas into words. By this process, thought becomes 
clearer, more tangible, so to speak, and ticw ideae 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 369 

are actually engendered, while we are giving expres- 
sion to those previously in our possession. 

In addition to the individual advantage accruing 
from this excellent mode of training yourselves for 
easy and eflective extemporaneous puhlio speaking^ 
it should not be overlooked, as affording the means 
of conferring both pleasure and benefit upon others. 
Taciturnity and sell-engrossment, you may remark, 
are not the prominent characteristics of the favorites 
of society. 

Nor does the practice of ready speaking necessa- 
rily interfere with habits of Meflection and Observa- 
tion. On the contrary, the mental activity thus 
promoted, naturally leads to the accumulation of 
intellectual material by every available means. 
Discrimination in judging of character, an(i true 
hnowledge of the worlds without which all abstract 
knowledge is comparatively of little avail, can never 
be attained except through the persevering exercise 
of these powers. 

Shall I venture to remind you, my dear young 
friends, that the manifestation of respect for misfor- 
ttme, suffering, and age, may become one of your 
attributes by the force of habit strengthening good 
impulses. 

Will you think me deficient in utilitarianism if I 
recommend to you a cultivation of the jpower to 
discern the Beautiful, as a perpetual source of puj-e 
and exalted enjoyment? Hard, grinding, soul-tram- 
melling, is the dominion of real life ; will we be less 
worthy of our immortal destinies, that we cherish an 



360 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's QUTDK 

inner sense, by which we readily perceive moral 
beauty, shining as a ray from the very altar of Divi- 
nity, or the tokens of the presence of that Divinity 
afforded by the wonders of the natural world ? Let 
Uo not be mere beasts of burden, so laden with the 
cares, the anxieties, or even the duties of life, as to 
have no eye for the unobtrusive, but often fragrant 
and lovely flowers, that bloom along the most 
neglected of our daily paths. 

Speaking of the Beautiful, reminds me that ours 
■/5 the only civilized land where the aesthetical percep- 
tions of the people are not a suflScient safeguard to 
the preservation of Works of Art^ in their humblest 
as well as most magnificent exhibitions, Nothing 
short of the brutalizing influence of a Reign of 
Terrot will tempt a Parisian populace to the desecra 
tion of these expressions of refinement, taste, and 
beauty ; while among us, not even an ornamental 
paling, inclosing a private residence, or the colon- 
nade of a public edifice, escapes staring tokens of 
the presence of this gothic barbarism in our midst. 

You will scarcely need to be cautioned against 
confounding mere curiosity with a liberal and en- 
lightened observation of life and manners. All those 
indications of undue curiosity respecting the private 
afiairs of others, expressed by listening to conversa- 
tion not intended for the general ear, watching the 
asides of society, glancing at letters addressed to 
another, or asking direct questions of a personal 
nature, are unmistakable proofs of ignorance of the 
rules of polished life, though they are not as repro- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 361 

heusible as eml-speaMng, a love of scandal^ or the 
practice of violating either the confidence of friends 
or the sa-credness of prwate conversation. 

Though a vast difference is created in this respect 
by difference of temperament, yet no man can hope 
to acquire the degree of self-possession that shall fit 
him for a successful encounter with the ever-varying 
emergencies demanding its illustration, without re- 
peated and re-repeated struggles and discomfitures. 
But so invaluable is the treasure, so essential to the 
legitimate exercise of every faculty of our being, 
that defeat should only render more indomitable the 
" will to do, the soul to dare," in persevering endeav- 
ors to secure its permanent acquisition. 

Let me impress upon you the truth that self-pos- 
session is the legitimate result of a well-discvpUned 
mindj and-that it is properly expressed by a qimt 
and modest hearing. 

In conclusion, let me earnestly and affectionately 
assure yon that the formation of right habits, though 
necessarily attended, for a time, by failures, difficul 
ties, or discouragements, will eventually prove its 
own all-sufiicient reward. Habitude of thought, lan- 
guage, appointment, and manner that shall entitle 
you to claim 

" The good old name of Gentleman^ 

once yours, and you will be armed, point of proof, 
against the exacting capriciousness of fashion, and 
forever exempted from the tortures often inflicted 

16 



362 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAN^S GTJIDB 

upon the sensitive, by the insidious invasions of self- 
distrast I 



Strolling through the Crystal Palace at London, 
soon after it was opened, with a young fellow-coun- 
tryman, he suddenly broke out with — " "Will you just 
look at that fellow, colonel ?" Turning and follow- 
ing the direction indicated by his eye (not his finger 
or walking-stick, he was too well-bred to point /) I 
discerned, in a different part of the building. Queen 
Victoria, accompanied by Prince Albert and two of 
the royal children, examining some articles in the 
American Department. Yery near the stopping- 
place of this distinguished party, a representative of 
the " universal Yankee nation," had stationed him- 
self — perhaps in a semi-ofiicial capacity — upon the 
apex of some elevation, with his hat on, and his long 
legs dangling down in front, nearly on a level with 
the heads of passers-by. 

"We could not hear the words of her Majesty, but 
it was apparent that she addressed some inquiry to 
him of the legs. First ejecting a torrent of tobao 
co-juice from his mouth, and rolling away the huge 
quid that obstructed his utterance, he deliberately 
proceeded to give the explanation desired, retaining 
not only his position, but his hat, the while ! 

Meantime, as soon as the Queen commenced 
addressing this person, her Poyal Consort removed 
his hat, and remained uncovered until she again 
moved on. I shall not soon forget the face of my 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 363 

companion. Shame and indignation contended for 
the mastery on his burning cheek I 

"Good Gr , Colonel 1" he exclaimed, "to think 

of such a mere brute as that being regarded as a fair 
specimen of the advance of civilization among us 1 
'Tis enough to make a decent man disclaim his birth- 
right here I And yet, I have little enough to boast of 
myself! Only think of my taking some English 
gentlemen who were in New- York a month or two 
ago, to see our parks (heaven save the mark !) among 
other objects of interest in the city ! Yesterday, Sir 

John , who was one of the party, drove about 

London with me, and took me also to Kensington 
Garden, St, James' and Eegent's Parks ! I don't 
know what would tempt me again to undergo the 
thing I I rather think I am effectually cured, hence- 
forth and for ever, of any inclination to hoasb of amy- 
thing what&ver, j^ersonal or national /" 



" As you are the only ' gentleman of elegant 
leisure ' in the family, at present, Harry, suppose 
you take these girls to New York for a week or 
two. For my part, it's as much as 1 can do to 
provide money for the expedition," said your uncle 
William to me, one evening. 

" Oh, do, dear uncle Hal !" exclaimed Ida, with 
great vivacity, sitting down on a low stool at my 
feet, and clasping her hands upon my knee, " we 
always love dearly to go with you anywhere, you 
are so good to us." 



364 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

" Yes !" broke in "William junior, " uncle Harry 
spoils you so completely by indulgence that I can do 
nothing with you. You're a most unruly set, at 
home and abroad." 

A sudden twitch at the end of his cravat effec- 
tually demolished the elegant tie upon which the 
young gentleman prides himself, as little Jul^, who 
was close beside him, pretending to get her French 
lesson, and had perpetrated the mischief, cried out — 
"What's the reason, then, that you always take us 
all along, when you go out in the woods, and off to 
the shore — ^hey, Mr. Willie ?" 

" Do be quiet, children," interrupted Ida, reprov- 
ingly; "now, uncle dear, won't you take us? I 
want some new traps badly." 

" What kind of traps ? — mouse traps ?" 

" Man traps^ to be sure 1" 

" Well, that's honest, at least. Puss." 

"My purposes are more murderous than Ida's,'' 
said Cornelia, laughing ; " I wan't to buy a new 
racmkillei'^ as Willie calls them." 

"It's too late in the season for mantillas," re- 
marked Ida, profoundly. 

"A fashionable cloak will serve Cornelia's pur- 
pose equally weU," returned her father, quietly. 

" And, like the mantle of charity, it will hide a 
multitude of sins," chimed in her brother. 

" Your running commentaries are highly edifying, 
my dear nephew," said I, and at the same moment a 
large red rose hit him full on the nose. 

It was soon arranged that your fair cousins should 



TO P0LITENE8B AND FASHION. 365 

accompany me to the Empire City in a few days, 
and I, accordingly, sat down at once, and wrote to 
the " Metropolitan " for rooms. 

" "What glorious times mother and I will have," 
I overheard William exclaim. "I shall take Jul^ 
nnder my especial protection, and hear her French 
lessons regularly." 

"No you won't, either," returned that young lady, 
with great spirit ; " and I wish you'd stop tying my 
curls together, and mind your own affairs. No doubt 
you'll make noise enough to kill ma and me, while 
Come and Dade are gone, drumming on the piano, 
and spouting your Latin speech before the drawing- 
room glass. All I wish is, that uncle Hal wasn't 
going away — he never lets you torment me." 

As we were entering the dining-room of our hotel, 

on the day of our arrival, our friend Governor S 

joined us, and, after shaking hands, in his usual cor- 
dial way, with us all, said, as he courteously took 
Cornelia's hand and folded it within his arm, " Will 
you allow me to attend you. Miss Lunettes ? Colonel, 
by your leave. Miss Ida, will you let a lonely 
old fellow join your party ? Where do you sit, 
Colonel?" 

" We have but just arrived," I replied, " but our 
seats are, of course, reserved ; let me secure a seat 
for you with us, if possible. Ida, remain here a 

moment with Cornelia and Governor S ;" and 

presently, finding the proper person, the steward, or 
whatever the man of dining-room affairs is called, 



366 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's OmDE 

1 arranged with him to seat ub together, without 
interfering with other parties. 

While I was taking my soup, I became suddenly 
conscious that something was annoying your cousin 
Cornelia, who sat between me and S . Glanc- 
ing at her face, I saw there, in addition to a height- 
ened color, an expression of mingled constraint and 
hauteur, quite inconsistent with her usual graceful 
self-possession and animation. 

Making some general remark to her, and showing 
no signs of curiosity, I began quietly to cast about 
me for the cause of this unwonted disturbance. 
Turning my head towards Ida, I overheard her 
saying, playfully, though in an undertone, to the 
senator, with whom she was already embarked upon 
the tide of talk : " He reminds me of an exquisite 
couplet in an old valentine of mine : 

' Are not my ears as long as other asses', pray ? 
Don't I surpass all other asses at a bray ?' " 

I was not long in detecting the secret cause of 
Cornelia's averted face and Ida's sportive quota- 
tion. 

"See here, John, get me some col' slaw and 
unions, will you — right off," shouted a young man 
seated a little below us, on the opposite side of the 
table. 

I wish you could have seen the half-repressed 
wonder depicted in the countenance of the servant 
thus addressed, as he glanced at the piece of 



TO POLITENESB AND FASHION. 367 

^^ Mackerel a la maitre d^Hotel^'^ as the bill of fare 
called the fish on his plate. 

" Oh, for a Hogarth to do justice to the figure 
that had arrested my attention ! The face was not 
bad, perhaps. A merry, dark eye, lit up with the 
very spirit of mischief and impudence ; a tolerably 
high, but narrow forehead ; thick, wild-looking 
black hair, parted on the top of the head, and 
bushy whiskers — add large, handsome teeth, dis- 
played by full, red, ever-laughing lips, and you have 
the physiognomy. But the dress ! 

" Ye powers of every name and grace,'* 

aid my poor endeavors to describe his toilette ! A 
high shirt-collar, flaring wide from the throat, by 
the pugnacious manifestations of the sturdy whiskers 
aforesaid ; a flashy neckcloth, tied in very broad 
bows, and with the long ends laid off pretty well 
towards the tips of the shoulders ; a velvet waist- 
coat, of large pattern and staring colors, crossed by 
a heavy gold chain, from which dangled a gold- 
mounted eye-glass, broad ruffles to his shirt, fastened 
with huge studs of three opposing, but equally 
brilliant colors ! A shining Holland-linen dust-coat 
completed this unique costume. 

Presently, some one at a distance suddenly attract- 
ed the roving eyes of our hero, and he began the 
most significant telegraphing with hands and head, 
designed, apparently, to persuade the other to come 
and sit by him. Turning, as if by accident, I saw a 
voung man, near the entrance of the room, shaking 



368 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

his head very positively in the negative. But this 
was no quietus to our neighbor, who half rose from 
his seat. 

" Not rooni for the gentleman here, sir," said a 
major domo, coming up. 

" Yes there is, too, plenty of room ! K you would 
just move a leetle, ma'am — so," pushing at the chair 
of an elderly woman, who seemed suddenly to 
grow more slender than ever, and at the same time 
hitching his own nearer to that of the person next 
him on the other side, "that will do, famously 1 
Now, waiter, a plate I I hope I don't crowd you, 
sir [to the gentleman next him], we don't wear 
hoo^s you know! can keep tight without them I' 
The last, in a whisper, like a boatswain's whistle; 
upon which the respectable female, who illustrated 
the mathematical definition of a point, bridled and 
reddened with virtuous indignation. 

Luckily the table was not as closely filled as it 
often is, and in much less time than it takes me to 
describe the scene, the triumph of the youth was 
complete, and a well-dressed, gentlemanly-looking 
man came forward, seemingly with considerable 
reluctance. 

" How are you, Fred, how are you ? Right glad 
to see you, 'pon my soul — sit down ! When'd you 
get in ? Left all the folks well ?" 

There was no avoiding hearing this tide of ques- 
tions, poured out in a loud, hilarious tone, that rose 
over the subdued murmur of ordinary conversation, 
like the notes of a bugle, sounding amid the twitter 



TO POLITENESB AND FASHION. 369 

ing of the feathered tenants of a grove. Apparently 
quite unconscious that any one else in his vicinity 
possessed powere of hearing and seeing, and wholly 
unobservant of the elevated eye-brows of some of 
his neighbors, and the significant looks and ill-sup- 
pressed smiles of the servants, the young man ran 
on with details of his own private affairs, interroga- 
tions respecting those of his companion, interspersed 
with loud and multiplied directions to the attendants. 
From my soul I pitied his victim ! Deeper and deeper 
grew the flush of shame and embarrassment in his 
handsome face, more and more laconic and low- 
voiced his replies, and more uneasy his restless 
movements and glances. 

By and by two huge glasses of foaming strong- 
beer made their appearance. Beau Brummel's cele- 
brated saying — " A gentleman may jport ; but he 
never malts^'* crossed my mind. With due deference 
to this high authority, for my part, I think a glass of 
London brown-stout, or Scotch ale, a pleasant accom- 
paniment to a bit of cold meat and bread, when one 
is inclined to sup ; but taking beer at dinner is quite 
another affair. 

Well ! there was a little lull for a time, only to 
be followed by a new sensation. One of the quick, 
galvanic movements of the nondescript overset a full 
bottle of wine, just as it was placed between himself 
and his friend, and he was in the act of saying, " If 
you don't drink beer, Fred, take some — by thunder 
that's too bad !" 

The dark- colored liquor poured over the table* 
16* 



370 TnE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

cloth, and, dividing into numerous little strearaletai 
diverged in every direction from the parent source. 
Servants hurried forward with napkins to stay the 
progress of the flood, the gentleman next our hero 
coolly dammed up the stream that most alarmingly 
threatened his safety, with a piece of bread, and the 
slender female, whose slight pretentions to breadth 
had been so unceremoniously ignored, fidgeted 
uneasily under the table, as though apprehensive 
that the penetrating powers of the invading foe 
might be working in ambush, to the detriment of 
her light-hued drapery. But the face of the young 
stranger ! It was positively mottled ! His very 
forehead, before smooth and fair, suddenly suggested 
the idea that he was just recovering from the small- 
pox 1 

Meantime, our little party were quietly pursuing 
the even tenor of their respective dinners. Suddenly 
I missed S . 

" What has become of the Governor ?" said I to 
Cornelia, in an under-tone. 

"A servant called him away," returned she, in the 
same unnoticeable manner. The next moment I 
again remarked the same peculiar movement to- 
wards me and the same expression of countenance, 
that had arrested my attention when we first sat 
down. A woman's quick instinct never deceives 
her I Apparently unheeding, I listened. 

" Dev'lish handsome ! like her air ! — wouldn't ob- 
ject to taking the seat myself, by George I" cauglit 
my ear. 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASHIOH". 371 

I think that yonng man understood the fixed look 
with which I regarded him for the space of about 
half a minute I I was quite sure his companion did. 

By this time, the dessert was on the table. 

" Where're you going, Fred ? you ain't done ?" 
shouted the Hoosier, or whatever he was. 

"I have an engagement — I'll see you again,'* 
replied the gentleman thus addressed, springing up, 
and eluding the detaining grasp of his persecutor, 
quickly made good his escape. 

No sooner were we seated in one of the parlors, 
than Ida's pent-up merriment burst forth. 

" Did you hear what that poor young man said, 
when the other commenced reading the bill of fare, 
uncle," said she, "just before he darted out of the 
room ?" 

"What, in particular, do you refer to, my dear? 
I heard a great deal more than I wished." 

" O, I mean when the speaking-trumpet^ as Go- 
vernor S called him, shouted out — ^fricandeau 

de veau! — What's he, Fred? Do tell a fellow.' 
He was picking his teeth at the time, with a large 
goose-quill, with all the feathers on !" 

"Well, what was the answer?" 

" The poor martyr was, by that time, reduced to 
the calmness of despair^'' replied your cousin, laugh- 
ing ; " he answered, with a meaning air, I thought, 
* A calfs head ! — one of the entrees P Corne, I hope 
you did not lose the full effect of the great green 
and orange-colored peaches sprinkled over the vest 
of your admirer. . Love at first sight, my dear 1 



372 THE AMEKICAN OENTLEMAn'b GUIDE 

Kever saw a more unmistakable smitation I Wliat a 
triumph I Your first conquest since your arrival in 
New York, I believe, Miss Lunettes !" lisping aflect- 
edly, and bowing with mock deference. 

" Ida, you'll be overheard ! I'm ashamed of you," 
returned the stately Cornelia, with an air of offended 
propriety. 

" It will never do. Puss," said I ; '* Come is right. 
But, Corne, what happened the senator ?" 

" How courteous he is I" exclaimed the young 
lady, with sudden enthusiasm. "A servant came 
and whispered to him — 'Miss Lunettes,' said he, 
turning to me, ' the only man in the world who could 
tempt me from your side — my best friend — asks for 
me on important business. Will you permit me to 
leave you, after requesting the honor of attending 
you ?' Of course, I assented. ' Make my apologies 
to Miss Ida and Colonel Lunettes,' said he, as we 
shook hands, ' I am very unfortunate.' " 

" How quietly he slipped away," said Ida ; " I 
knew nothing of it, until he was gone." 

" Well-bred people are always quiet," remarked 
the elder sister, significantly. 

"Oh, dear me!" retorted Ida, coloring. "Well, 
it's too much to expect of any one, not to laugh at 
such a nondescript specimen of humanity as that 
young man." 

The next morning, before I left my room, a card 
was brought to me, inscribed with the name of 
" Frederick H. Alloway," and inclosed with the fol- 
lowing note : 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASHION. 873 



"The son of one of Colonel Lunettes' old friends 
begs leave to claim the honor of his acquaintance, 
and will do himself the pleasure to pay his respects, 
at any hour, this morning, that will be most agreea- 
ble to Colonel Lunettes. 

•• Metropolitan Hotel, 
" Wednesday Morn?^ 

A half-revived remembrance of a face once fami- 
liar, had haunted me at the dinner table the day 
before, whenever I chanced to catch the eye of the 
victimized youth I have alluded to. I was, there- 
fore, not unprepared to find him identical with the 
author of this note. 

A certain constraint was evinced by his manner, 
when the first complimentary phrases were over. 
At length his embarrassment found expression. 

" I am not sure, Colonel Lunettes," said he, " that 
I should have ventured to intrude upon you this 
morning — much as I desired to make the acquaint- 
ance of a gentlemen of whom I have so frequently 
heard my father speak — ^had I not wished to make 
an apology, or at least an explanation " 

He hesitated, and the mottled color of the day be- 
fore mantled over his ingenuous face. I hastened to 
say something polite. 

" Ton are very good, sir — ^really — scandalously as 
that young fellow behaved — he is not without 
redeeming qualities. My acquaintance with him is 
slight, and entirely accidental. One of our success* 



374 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's QVTDB 

ful "Western speculatoi«, and a very good-hearted fel 
low — but sadly in need of polish." 

" So I perceived," returned I, gravely, " nor is 
that all. One can pardon ignorance much more 
readily than impudence." 

" Yery true, sir. I only hope that I was not so un- 
fortunate as to incur your displeasure. I — ^permit me 
to express the hope that the ladies of your party did 
not regard me as in the most remote way implica- 
ted in an intention to annoy them," and his voice 
actually trembled with manly earnestness. 

" By no means, my dear young friend ; by no 
means. I assure you, on the contrary, that you 
had our sympathy in your distress — comic as it 
was." 

The intense ludicrousness of the affair now seemed, 
for the first time, to take full possession of the per- 
ceptive faculties of my new acquaintance. 

When our mutual merriment had in some degree 
subsided, I invited him to dine with us, unless he 
preferred to resume his seat of the day before. 

" Heaven forbid !" exclaimed he, with great 
vivacity ; " I should have left this house to-day, 
if that fellow had not — he is gone, I am rejoiced to 
say." 

It was arranged that the " son of my old friend." as 
he indeed was, should meet me in the drawing-room 
a few moments before dinner, and be presented to 
your cousins. So we parted. 

Almost the first person I saw as I was entering the 
public drawing-room, to join my nieces, before din- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 876 

ner, on that day, was young Alloway. He was evi- 
dently awaiting me, and, upon my recognizing him 
by a bow, at once advanced. 

"You are punctual, I see, Mr. Alloway," said I, 
as we seated ourselves; "a very good trait, in a 
young man !" 

" I fear, sir, there is little merit in being punctual 
with such a reward in anticipation," replied he, 
laughing pleasantly, and bowing to the ladies, as he 
spoke. 

Our new acquaintance, very properly, offered his 
arm to the younger sister, and I, of course, preceded 
them with the elder, and though, when we were seated 
together, he was quite too well-bred to confine either 
his attentions or his conversation to Ida, I must say 
that I have not often seen two young people become 
more readily at ease in each other's society than my 
lively favorite, and the "son of my old friend." 
They seemed to find each other out by intuition, 
and talked together in the most animated manner 
permitted by their unvarying regard for decorum. 
Their nearest neighbors were not disturbed by their 
mirthfulness, nor could persons seated opposite them 
hear their conversation, and yet AUoway was evi- 
dently fast being remunerated for the chagrin and 
embarrassment of his previous dinner. 

" Uncle Hal," said Cornelia, leaning towards me, 
as we sat together on a sofa, after leaving the table, 
glancing round to be sure that Ida heard her, 
" don't you think Minnesota gentlemen, generally ^ 
must be rather susceptible ?" 



376 THE AMEEICAN QENTLKMAN's GUTOB 

Her sister, turning 

" The trembling lustre of her dewy eyes " 

Upon the quizzical speaker, was interrupted in the 
spirited rejoinder she evidently meditated, by the 
return of Alloway, who had been up to his room for 
a pencil-sketch of the Falls of Minnehaha (between 
St. Paul's and the Falls of St. Anthony, you know) 
which he told us he had made on the spot, a few 
days before leaving his Western home. 

"How beautiful it must be there!" exclaimed Ida, 
delightedly. " And you are taking this to your moth- 
er ! It reminds me of a ' Panorama of the Western 
Wilds,' I think it was called, to which papa took us 
in New York, last spring. I don't know when I saw 
anything so lovely ! I had no just conception before 
of the magnificence and variety of the scenery of the 
far-West." 

" Why, my dear," said I quietly, just for my own 
amusement, and to watch the effect upon all parties, 
"you seem so charmed with these sketches of the 
West, that I think I must try and show you the origi- 
nals by-and-by. How would you like to go with me 
to look after my Western investments next month ?" 

"Just like uncle Hal !" I hear more than one of 
you crying. " He always plays the mischief among 
the young folks !" So, to punish your impertinence, 
I shall say nothing in particular, of the sudden light 
that shone in the fine eyes of our new friend, nor of 
the enthusiasm with which Ida clapped her hands 
and bravoed my proposition. Still more, I am by 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 377 

no means sure that I shall feel justified in telling yon 
what came of all this in the future. 

After a while, some other young men came to 
speak to the girls, and Alloway, modestly withdraw- 
ing, lingered near me, as if wishing to address me. 
A lady was saying something to me at the moment. 
"When she had finished speaking, I turned to my 
young friend. 

" Colonel Lunettes," said he, in the most polite and 
respectful manner, " the ladies inform me that they 
are to go with you to see some pictures, in the morn- 
ing. Will you permit me to attend them ?" 

Receiving my assent, he added, " My present 
mode of life affords few facilities for the inspection 
of works of Art ; and I am so mere a tyro, too, that 
I shall be happy to have the benefit of your cultiva- 
ted taste." 

"I dare say Mr. Alloway could instruct us all," 
interposed Ida, "that is, sister and me. Uncle 
Lunettes has spent so many years abroad, that he is, 
of course, quite aufait in all such things." 

"At what hour do you propose going, ladies ?" 
inquired Alloway. 

Twelve o'clock was fixed upon. 

"I shall have great pleasure in again meeting 
you all at that time," said Alloway, and, as he 
shook hands with me, he added, with a significant 
smile, "I will endeavor to be quite punctual^ 
Colonel!" 

"Who is that fine-looking young man, Colonel 



378 THB AMEETCAN GENTLEMAN*S GTJIDB 

Lunettes ?" asked the lady with whom I had been 
conversing, as I reseated myself at her side. " His 
manners are remarkably easy and graceful for so 

young a person. "What a contrast he is to young J , 

there, who, with all the advantages of education, 
foreign travel, and good society, is, and always will 
be, a clown ! Just look at him, now, talking to those 
girls ! Sitting, of course^ upon two legs of his chair, 
and picking his teeth with a pen-knife !" 

"What would be the consequence," said I, "if 
he should lose his balance and fall backward, 
with his mouth open in that way, and his knife held 
by the tip end of the handle, poised upon his 
teeth?" 

" It looks really dangerous, don't it," commented 
the same slender female, whose slight manifestations 
had interested me, at dinner, the day before — " but I 
suppose he is so used to it that " 

A sudden movement arrested further philosophical 
speculation, on the part of this profound observer of 
life and manners, and a young lady whose flounces 
had been sadly torn by the very chair upon the 
occupant of which she was commenting, passed hur- 
riedly out of the room, with her disordered dress 
gathered up in both hands. 

The next morning, some time before the hour 
appointed for our visit to the Dusseldorf Gallery, a 
servant brought me the following note : 

"Mr. Alloway regrets extremely that an unex- 
pected, but imperative, engagement, deprives him 



TO rOLITENESS AND FASHION. 379 

of the anticipated pleasure of accompanying the 
Misses and Colonel Lunettes this morning. 

"Will Colonel Lunettes oblige Mr. Alloway by 
making his compliments acceptable to the Misses 
Lunettes, together with the most sincere expressions 
of his disappointment ? 

" Metropolitan Hotkl, 

" Thursday Morning^ 

"I am SO sorry!" exclaimed Ida, when informed 
of this. " Uncle Hal is always beau enough, but the 
more the merrier, you know, dear uncle," added she, 
linking her arm in mine, and looking artlessly up 
into my face. 

" You are quite riglit, my dear," said I. " I like 
your frankness, and I am sorry to lose Alloway my- 
self." 

As I was going out of the " Ladies' Entrance " with 
your cousins, I perceived my young friend support- 
ing the steps of a pale, emaciated gentleman, who 
coughed violently, and walked with difficulty, even 
from the carriage to the door, though sustained on 
the other side also by an elderly lady. I drew 
the girls aside, that they might pass uninterrupt- 
edly. 

" I hope you are well this morning, ladies," said 
Alloway, rais'ing his hat, as he caught sight of us, 
" Good morning, Colonel Lunettes." 



"Good morning, again, ladies!" said a cheerful, 
but subdued voice behind us, as the girls and I were 



880 TEIE AMKEIOAH GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

seated together, examining tlie merry " Wine-tasters ^ 
of the Gallery, after having devoted some time to 
subjects of a more elevated moral tone. 

"We turned our heads simultaneously. " Good 
morning, sir," said Alloway, for it was he ; " with 
your leave, I will join you now." 

Tour cousins made room for him between them. 
" I am so happy not wholly to lose this," said he, 
bowing to each of the ladies. " I feared I could not 
meet you here even as early as this." 

" We would have waited for you," interposed Ida ; 
" why didn't you tell us ?" 

" I did not think for a moment of taking such a 
liberty," returned the young man. " It would, per- 
haps, have interfered with your other engagements. 
Indeed, I scarcely hoped to find you here, but could 
not deny myself the pleasure of coming in search of 
you." 

"Which is your favorite picture here, Miss Lu- 
nettes ?" I heard Alloway ask presently. 

" Come and see," returned she, and, rising, she 
added, " come, sister — uncle, we will return, do not 
disturb yourself." 

Loitering along toward them, a while after, 1 re- 
marked, as I approached, the expressive faces of the 
group, and their graceful attitudes, as they discussed 
Cornelia's " favorite," and reflected how much the 
poetry and beauty that environ youth, when refined 
by nature and polished by education, surpass the 
liighest achievements of art. 

" What innocence in that face ! What dewy soft* 



TO POLITENESS AOT5 FASHION. 381 

ness in the steadfast eyes!" exclaimed Cornelia. 
" The very shoes have an appropriate expression I 
dear little bird I one can't help loving her, and want- 
ing to know all about her." 

" If she were not deaf and dumb," said her cava- 
lier, " I am sure she would rise and make a courtesy 
to such flattering admirers 1 I am getting dreadfully 
jealous of her!" 

" You needn't be, as far as I am concerned," re- 
torted Ida ; " for my part, I don't like that brown 
stuff dress I She isn't fixed up a bit, as children 
always are, when they sit for their portraits." And 
she tripped away to take another look at lier especial 
admiration — ^the ^^ Peasants Metuming from the 
Harvest-field,^ which is, indeed, a gem. 

" "What does Miss Ida mean ?" inquired AUoway, 
smilingly, of her sister. 

"I am sure I don't know," returned Cornelia, 
" she is full of sentiment, which she always endeavors 
to hide." 

"With your permission I will go and ask her," 
said the admirer of the truant, and bowing politely 
to us both, he followed Ida. 

I will just add, here, that I learned afterwards, ac- 
cidentally, and not even remotely through him, that 
the persons with whom we met AUoway that morn- 
ing, were the mother and brother of that scapegrace 
we first saw him with. They had come to New 
York with the understanding that he would meet 
them there, at an appointed time, and assist in the 
care required by hisdying relative ; but this promis- 



382 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

ing youtli had suddenly left the city, without leaving 
any clue to his proceedings, probably, in pursuit of 
Bome pretty face, which, like Cornelia's, happened 
to attract his attention. Luckily, the poor mother 
learned that Alloway, who was sb'ghtly known to 
her, was in the city, and appealed to him for assist- 
ance — with what success may be inferred from the 
little incident I have narrated. 



It has always been a matter of marvel, with the 
learned in such matters, how Sir "Walter Scott accom- 
plished such Herculean literary labors in conjunc- 
tion with the discharge of so many public and social 
duties. As he himself used to say, he long had a 
" troop of dragoons galloping through his head," to 
which, as their commanding officer, he devoted 
much attention ; he was sheriff of the county — (in 
the discharge of the duties of this office, by the way, 
he used to march through the streets of the shire- 
town, during court term, arrayed in a gown and bag 
wig, at the head of his posse comitatus, greatly to 
his own amusement and that of his friends) — and 
remarkable for the most urbane and diffusive hospi- 
tality. After he ceased to be the Great Tlnknown^ 
or rather, after he was identified with that celebrity, 
Abbotsford became the resort of innumerable visi- 
tors, attracted thither by curiosity, interest, or friend* 
ship. Not only his beautiful residence, but the nu- 



TO P0LITKNES8 AND FASHION. 388 

merous points of scenery and the superb ruins in the 
neighborhood of Abbotsford, which had been ren- 
dered classic by his magic pen, were to be inspected 
by these guests, and Scott always seemed to have 
time for a gallop among the hills, an excursion to 
Dryburgh and Melrose Abbey, a pilgrimage along 
the banks of the romantic river he has helped to 
immortalize, or a lively chat with the ladies after 
dinner. And he never had that air of pre-occupa- 
tion that so often characterizes literary men, in gene- 
ral society. He took part in the most genial and 
hearty manner, in the conversation of the moment, 
bringing his full quota to the common stock of mirth, 
anecdote and jest. I can almost see him, as I write, 
sitting in the midst of a social circlci in his draw- 
ing-room, trotting the curly-pated little son of Mrs. 
Hemans, who was at Abbotsford on a visit, with 
her sister and this child, upon his strong knee, and 
singing, 

" Charley my darling, my darling, Charley my darling,'* 

at intervals, for the amusement of the little fellow. 
I chanced, too, to accompany him, when he attended 
the poetess to her post-chaise, on the morning of her 
departure, and had occasion to remark his courteous 
hospitality to the last. " There are some persons," 
said he, with his cordial smile, as he offered his hand 
at parting, " whom one earnestly desires to meet 
again. You, madam, are one of those." But I am 
quite forgetting the object that induced my recur* 
rence to these well-remembered scenes. 



384 THB AMEEIOAN QENTLEMAn's GTJroE 

In answer to some leading remark of mine, regard- 
ing the wonderful versatility of his father-in-law, 
addressed to Mr. Lockhart, as we stood together con 
templating the ivy-mantled walls of Drjburgh, ho 
informed me of the secret of his extraordinary 
achievements with the pen : " When you meet him 
at breakfast," said Mr. Lockhart, " he has already, 
as he expresses it, 'broken the neck of the day's 
work ' — he writes in the mommg. Eschewing the 
indulgences of late rising and slippered ease (at the 
last he rails incontinently), he is up with the lark — 
by half past four or five, dresses as you see him at 
a later hour, in out-door costume, visits the stables, 
and then sets himself resolutely to work. By nine 
o'clock, when he joins us, he has accomplished the 
labors of a day, almost." 

" His correspondence alone must occupy an im- 
mense deal of time," said I. 

"And yet," returned my companion, " Sir Walter 
makes it a rule to answer every letter on the day of 
its reception. It must be an urgent cause that inter- 
feres with this habit. And I am often astonished at 
the length and careful composition of his replies to 
the queries of literary correspondents, as well as to 
his letters of friendship." 

" One would suppose his health must be impaired 
by such severe mental labor," I answered. 

" His cheerful temper, and his power to leave care 
behind him in his study, are a great assistance to 
him," replied Mr. Lockhart, moving towards our 
horses, as he spoke — " but here," ho added, smilingly, 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 385 

laying his hand on his saddle, " here is his grand 
preservative. It must be foul weather, indeed, even 
for our Northern land of mists and clouds, that keeps 
him from his daily allowcmce of fresh airy 

" Sir Walter is an accomplished horseman, I ob- 
serve," said I, as we resumed our ride. 

" You may well say that !" exclaimed his son-in- 
law, laughing. " I wish you could have seen him at 
the head of his troop of horse, charging an imagi- 
nary foe. Only the other day, his favorite steed 
broke the arm of a groom who attempted to mount 
him ; and yet, in Sir Walter's hands, he is as docile 
as need be. There seems to be some secret under- 
standing between him and his horses and dogs. 
This very horse, though he will never permit another 
man to mount him, seems to obey his master's be- 
hests with real pride as well as pleasure. I believe 
he would kneel to receive him on his back, were he 
bidden to do so." 



Dipping into an instructive and pleasant, though 
no longer new book,* the other day, I came across 
the following passage : " Brougham has recorded 
that the peroration of his speech in the Queen's 
case" — his celebrated defence of Queen Caroline 
against her beastly husband — " was written no less 
than ten times before he thought it fit for so august 
an occasion. The same is probably true of similar 
passages in Webster's speeches ; it is known to be 

* Sketches of Reform and Reformers, — by ff. B. Stanton. 

17 



386 THK AMKKIOAN GBNTLEMAn's GUIDE 

SO of Burke's." What do you think of such examples 
of industry and perseverance as these, young gentle- 
men? 



" Step in, ma'am, step in, if you please," said our 
Jehu, opening the door of a stage-coach, in which I 
was making a journey through a region not then 
penetrated hy modern improvements, " would you 
like the back seat ?" Beside him stood a slightly- 
formed, delicate-looking girl, in a hesitating atti- 
tude. 

" I cannot ride backwards without being ill," said 
she, timidly, " and I — I shall be sorry to disturb any 
one, but I would like to sit by a window." 

A young man who was sitting on the middle seat 
with me immediately alighted, to make room for the 
more convenient entrance of the stranger, and, as he 
did so, the driver said decidedly — " Shall be obliged 
to ask the gentlemen on the back seat to accommo- 
date the lady." Alow-browed, surly-looking young 
fellow, who sat nearest the door of the vehicle, on 
the seat designated, doggedly kept his place, mutter- 
ing something about having the lirst claim, " first 
come, first served," etc. Seeing how matters stood, 
a good-natured, farmer-like looking old man, who 
occupied the other end of the seat, called out 
cheerily, " The young woman is welcome to my 
place, if I can only get out of it !" and he began 
at once to suit the action to the word. 

By this time the before pale face of the young 



TO P0LITENE8B AND FASHION. 387 

girl was painfully flushed, and she said, in a low, 
deprecating tone, " I am very sorry to make so 
much trouble." 

" No trouble at all, ma'am — none at all ! Just 
reach me your hand and I'll help you up — that's 
itl" 

" I am much obliged to you, sir — very much ! I 
hope you will find a good seat for yourself," said 
the recipient of his kindness, gently. 

" No doubt of it !" returned he of the cheery voice. 
"I ain't at all sorry to change a little — them baick 
seat's plaguy cramped up ! They say," added he, 
settling himself next the boot, " that the front seat's 
the easiest of all. One thing, thei'e's more room 
[stretching his legs with an air of infinite relief 
between those of his opposite neighbors], a duced 
sight !" 

" Take your fare, gem'men," cried a bustling per- 
sonage, at this moment. 

" "What is the fare from here to O ?" inquired 

the stationary' biped in the corner behind me. 

" Six shillings, York money," was the ready re- 
sponse. 

" Six shillings !" growled the other ; " seems to me 
there's great extortion all 'long this road. Yesterday 
T paid out three dollars, hard money — twelve shil- 
Im' for lodgin', supper, and breakfast, back here 
toG !" 

" Take your fare ncyw, sir," interrupted the bust- 
ling little man at the door, stepping upon the wheel 
tn sublime indifference to the muttered anathemas. 



388 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

half addressed to him. "What name, sir?" — prepar- 
ing to write on the " way-bill "— " always^ sir ! it is 
Tillable — always put down the name." 

The low voice of the lady, when she was reached, 
in due order, was almost lost in the grumbling kept 
up by the agreeable occupant of the corner seat. 
The most amusing commingling of opposite sounds 
reached my ears, somewhat like the soft tones of a 
distant flute, and the growling — not loud, but deep — 
of a hungry mastiff. " Julia Peters " — " takes off the 
silver, by thunder !" — " Is my band-box put on ?" 
here a chinking, as of money counted, and then a hur- 
ried fumbling appeared to take place in the " deep- 
est depths " of various pockets. " How soon will 
we be there," in silvery murmurs — " By George ! I 
swear I b'lieve I lost two shillin' !" — " Before dark !" 
chimed in the flute-notes. " I am glad to hear it !" 
" I'll be hanged if any one shall come it over me !" 
surged over the musical ripple. " When you stop at 
my brother-in-law's," concluded the softer voice, in 
this unique duet. 

Having been sometime on the wing, I fell into a 
doze, as wc proceeded. As I roused myself, at 
length, the young man who had alighted to make 
room for the entrance of Miss Peters, whispered, 
"That young lady seems very ill — what can we 
do for her relief?" A moment's attention convinced 
me that the poor thing was horribly stcige-sick. 
When she appeared to rally a little, I turned round 
to her, and said, that I trusted she would allc>w me to 
render lar any service in my power. Forcing a 



TO POIJTBNE88 AND FABHIOK. 389 

smile, she thanked me, and replied that she would 
soon be better she thought, adding, in a still lower 
tone, that the »mell of tobacco always affected her 
very sensibly. This last remark was at the time 
unintelligible to me, but I afterwards learned that the 
animal on the same seat with her had regaled him- 
self upon the vilest of cigars while I was napping, 
and that the only attempt at an apology he had 
offered was a mumbled remark that, " as the wind 
blew the smoke out of the stage, he s'posed no one 
hadn't no objections !" 

Despite the hope expressed by my suffering neigh- 
bor, she did 7wt get better, but continued to endure 
a most exhausting ordeal. Every decent man in the 
coach seemed to sympathize with her, the rather 
that she so evidently tried to make the best of it, 
and to avoid annoying others. Every one had a 
different remedy to suggest, but, unfortunately, none 
of them available, as there was no stopping place 
near. Tliough a somewhat experienced traveller, my 
ingenuity could, until we should stop, effect no more 
than disposing my large woollen shawl so as to aid in 
supporting the weary head of the poor child. 

As soon as we reached the next place for changing 
horses, I sprang out, in common with the other pas- 
sengers, and, inquiring for the nearest druggist, has- 
tened to procure a little reliable hrandy. 

.Having previously arranged a change of seats with 
the harmless stripling who had thus far occupied 
the middle back seat, I entered the stage, and 
quietly told the young ludy that, as there was no one 



390 THE AMERICAIf GENTLEMAlir's GUIDE 

of her own sex aboard, I should claim the privilege 
of age, and prescribe for her, if she would permit 
me. 

" This is not a pleasant dose, I must warn you," 
said I, offering her a single teaspoovful of clear 
brandy, " but I can safely promise you relief, if you 
will swallow it; this is a nice, clean glass, too," 1 
added, smilingly, for I well knew how much that as- 
surance would encourage my patient. 

"I do not know how to thank you sufficiently, 
sir," said the young lady, striving to speak cheerfully, 
as she attempted to raise her head. Taking the 
tumbler, with a trembling hand, she bravely swal- 
lowed my prescription. I must own she gasped a 
little afterwards, but I could not allow her the relief 
of water, without nullif)'ing the proper effect, so I 
assisted her in removing her bonnet (which the good- 
natured farmer, who had re-entered the co^ch with 
me, carefully pinned upon the lining of the vehicle, 
where it would safely swing), and in enveloping 
her head in her veil, adjusting her shawl comfort- 
ably about her, and wrapping my own about her 
feet. 

" If I become your physician," said I, as I stooped 
to make the latter process more effectual, " you must 
allow me the right to do as I think best." 

"I shall be only too much obliged by your 
kindness, sir," returned she. "All I fear is, that 
you will give yourself unnecessary trouble on my 
account." 

" The gentleman don't seem to think it's no trou 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 391 

ble," interposed the old farmer, "'taint never no 
trouble to good-hearted folks to help a fellow-cretur 
in distress ! I wish my wife was here ; she knows a 
great sight better than I do, how to take care o' sick 
folks." 

"I am sure," replied the invalid, "if kindness 
could make people well, I should be restored. I 
feel myself greatly indebted to you, gentlemen." 

The slight color called to her cheek by the gen- 
uine feeling with which she uttered these words, was 
by no means decreased, as she gracefully accepted 
the offerings of the youth who had first called my 
attention to her indisposition. Coming up to the 
side of the stage, near her, he expressed the hope 
that she was feeling better, and, saying that he had 
known sea-sickness relieved by lemon-juice, presented 
a fine, fresh lemon, and a superb carnation-pink, and 
quickly withdrew. 

Mr. Benton — that I heard him tell the way-bill- 
man was his name — lost something in not hearing 
and seeing all I did of the pleasure he bestowed by 
his gifts ; but he had his reward, as he re-seated him- 
self near us. 

" You did not give me an opportunity to thank 
you for your politeness, sir," the lady hastened to 
say, with a pretty, half-shrinking manner, "I am 
so much obliged to you for the flower ! it is so spicy 
and refreshing, and so very beautiful." 

"A very indifferent apology for a bouquet," re- 
turned the gentleman, " all I could find, however. I 



392 THE AMBKICAIJ GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

am very happy if it affords you the slightest gratifi- 
cation." 

Ifo sooner were we fairly on our way again, than 
I insisted upon supporting the head of my fair pa- 
tient upon my shoulder, assuring her that ten min- 
utes' sleep would complete the cure already begun 
in her case. She blushed, and hesitated a little, 
upon the plea that she would tire me. 

"Allow me to be the judge of that," I answered, 
with some gravity, " and permit the freedom of an 
old man." With this, I placed my arm ifirmly about 
her slight form, and, without more ado, the languid 
head dropped upon my shoulder. 

I very soon had the satisfaction to discover that 
" tired nature's sweet restorer " had come to my as- 
sistance, and to discern the return of some natural 
color to the pallid face of the poor sufferer ; so gath- 
ering her shawl more closely about her, and disposing 
myself more effectually to support my light burden, 
I maintained my vigil until the sudden stopping of 
the vehicle aroused us all. 

" The lady gets out here," cried the driver, open- 
ing the door, and, through the obscurity that had 
now gathered about us, I dimly discerned the out- 
lines of the small dwelling in front of which we were 
at a stand. In another moment, the door was flung 
hurriedly open, and a gentleman hastened forward 
to receive my fair charge, who, notwithstanding the 
confusion of the moment, found time to acknowledge 
the insignificant attentions she had received from 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 393 

her travelliug companions, miicli more ■warmly tlian 
they deserved. Our last glimpse of my interesting 
patient, revealed her folded closely in the arms of 
a lady, who appeared in the lighted passage, and 
embraced, simultaneousl}'^, by several curly-headed 
children, who clung to her dress, and hung upon her 
neck with manifest and noisy delight. 

We lumbered along, across a dark, covered bridge, 
up hill and down, and then I reached my destina- 
tion, for the nonce, the " New York Hotel," as the 

little tavern of the village of B was grand-elo- 

quently styled. 

" Well, I ain't sorry we're arrove !" exclaimed the 
elegant young man, with whose courtesy of nature my 
story opened. " George !" — stretching his ungainly 
limbs upon the porch of the house — "won't some 
tipple be line ? Hotel tipple's good enough for me !" 

Before I could decide in my own mind whether 
this last declaration was intended as a fling at me, 
for not giving Miss Peters a match for his disgusting 
tobacco-smoke, from the bar of the stage-house, when 
I came to the rescue in her service, he was scuffling 
with some ragged boys for his trunk, and, as he 
marched oif with his prize, I heard a characteristic 
growl over the prospective tax upon his purse. 

The next day was Sunday, and, of course, 1 was 
temporarily at a stand-still in my journey. 

The sexton of the neat little church to which I 
found my way in the morning, put me into a pew 
next behind that I surmised to be the Rector's. A 
movement among its occupants arrested my attention, 

17* 



394 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

and 1 soon became really interested in remarking 
the healthful beauty of the children, who, disposed 
between the two ladies occupying the extreme ends 
of the seat, seemed to find some difficulty in keeping 
as quiet as decorum required. 

" I want to sit by annt Julia," I overheard, as a 
bright-eyed little fellow began to nestle uneasily in 
his seat. Upon this, the lady at the top of the pew 
turned her head, and, behold I the face of my young 
stage-coach friend ! She was too much engaged, 
however, in aiding their mother, as I supposed her 
to be, in settling the children, before the service 
should commence, to observe me, and I almost 
doubted whether the happy, smiling face I saw, was 
identical with the worn and colorless one that had 
reposed so helplessly upon my breast on the previous 
evening ; but there was no mistaking the soft, blue 
eyes, and the wavy hair, almost as sunny in hue 
as that of the little fellow who, at length, rested 
quietly, with his head pillowed on her arm. 

Scarcely had we begun with the Psalter, before Miss 
Peters looked quickly round, with a startled glance. 
A half-smile of recognition lighted her sweet face, 
and then her gaze was as quickly withdrawn. 

" Good morning, sir !" exclaimed my new ac' 
quaintance, advancing eagerly toward me, and offer- 
ing her hand, as soon as we were in the vestibule of 
the church, at the conclusion of the service ; " I did 
not anticipate this pleasure — sister, this is the gen- 
tleman to whom I was so much indebted yesterday." 

" We are all much obliged by your kindness to 



TO POLITENBSS AKD FASHION. 395 

Kiss Peters sir," her companion hastened to say^ 
imd both bowed most politely to my disclaimers of 
meiit for so ordinary an act of humanity as that to 
which they referred, and to my inquiries for the 
health of my fair patient. 

Then followed a cordial invitation to dinner, in 
which each vied with the other in frank hospitality. 
I attempted to compromise the matter by a promise 
to pay my respects to the ladies in the evening, 

"We do not dine until five on Sunday, sir, and 

that is almost evening ! Mr. Y will walk over 

and accompany you — ^you are at the Hotel ? It will 
give us great pleasure if you will come, unceremoni- 
ously, and partake of a simple family dinner. Miss 
Peters claims you as africndP 

There was no withstanding this, especially as each 
phrase of courtesy was made doubly expressive, by 
the most ingenuously hospitable manner. 

" Really, ladies," said I, as we reached the gate 
of the Rectory, " there is no resisting such fair 
tempters ! I will be most happy to exchange the 
solitude of my dull room for the joys of your Eden." 

And, insisting that I could not permit Mr, Y 

to add to his clerical duties the fatigue of calling for 
me, I renewed my expressions of gratification at the 
restoration of Miss Peters, and took my leave. 

I was still engaged in laying oft' my overcoat and 

shoes, after sending in my card, when Mr. Y 

came out to welcome me ; and a most cordial wel- 
come it was ! Such a warm hand-shaking as he gave 
me, and such emphatic assurances of the pleasure it 



396 THE AMEBIOAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

afforded liim to make ray acquaintance! And wlien 
I entered the tasteful little parlor, where I found 
the ladies, I was received with equally frank ho8pi- 
tality. The children united with their seniors in 
making me feel, at once, that I was among friends. 
One little circumstance, I remember, particularly 
touched me. I was scarcely seated, when a little 
tottering thing, with a toy in her hand, came and 
placed herself between my knees, and raising a pair 
of large, truthful, blue eyes to mine, lisped out, " I 
does 'ouv 'ou dearly ! — 'ou was 'o dood to aun' DVile I 
— I dive 'ou my pretty 'ittle birdie !" and the little 
cherub presented me the toy. — It was many a long 
day afterwards, believe me, my dear boys, before the 
warmth infused into the heart of an old campaigner, 
by the simple adventures of that quiet village Sab- 
bath, ceased to glow cheerily in his heart ! 

After the unpretending, but pleasant, well-appointed 
dinner was concluded. Miss Peters rose, and, with a 
slight apology to me, was leaving the room, when 
her sister arrested her. Some playful, whispered 
contest seemed to be going on between the two, of 
which I could not help overhearing, in the sweet, 
silvery tones that had charmed me in the stage- 
coach, "You know, dear, it's such a luxury to me! 
— you are always with them. I will have my own 
way when I am here !" and away she flew like a 
fawn. 

Presently, the pattering of numerous tiny feet, and 
a commingling of joyous voices, and the music of 
childish laughter, reached my ears, from the staii-s, 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION 397 

and then all was for a moment hushed. Now there 
was distinctly heard from above, the swelling notesi 
of a simple, child's hymn, sung by several voices, 
led by the musical one I had learned to distinguish, 
and theu followed a low-murmured " Our Father," 
as I thought. 

" Colonel Lunettes," said my hostess, drawing a 
chair to the sofa corner, where I had been snugly 
ensconced by two of the children, before they said 
good-night, " I will take advantage of sister's absence 
to e'kpress my personal obligations to you for your 
kind care of her yesterday " 

" My dear Madam," I interposed, " I regard my 
meeting your sister as a special Providence, for 
which I alone should be deeply grateful !" 

"You are very polite, sir," answered the lady, 
" we, too, should be grateful. Julia should never tra- 
vel alone. Mr. Y always goes over to O- 

for her, when we expect her, and intended to do so 
this time, but she insisted upon it in her last letter, 
that she Icnew she wouldn't be ill, and that he would 
only distress her by coming, as she was sure he was 
necessarily very busy, preparing for the Bishop's 
visit, and, indeed, she expected to come over with 
an elder lady teacher in the Seminary." 

" Then Miss Peters is instructing, Mrs. Y ?'* 

" She is, sir. We are orphans [a slight quiver m 
the tones] and Julia prefers to make this effort for 
herself" 

" I am opposed to it," continued Mr. Y , tak- 
ing up the narrative, as his wife half-paused, "and 



398 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDH 

much prefer that Julia should be with us, — she and 

MrB. Y should not be separated. I ara sure 

there is room enough in our hearts for all our chil- 
dren^ and Julia is one of them !" 

The grateful, loving smile, and dewy eyes of the 
wife, alone expressed her sense of pleasure at these 
words. For myself, I declare to you, I did not like 
to trust myself to reply. I was turning over some 
new pages of the history of human nature ! Some- 
times I think, as I did then, that the soul of man 
never reaches the full development of its earthly ca- 
pacities, except when continually subjected to the 
blessed influences of nature! The city — the beaten 
thoroughfares of existence — curb, if they do not 
deaden, the better manifestations of the spirit, check 
forever, tlie most beautiful, individualizing speciali- 
ties of manner even ! But I did not mean to moral- 
ize. 

"When Miss Peters rejoined us, her brother-in-law 
rose (as I also did, of course) and seated her between 
us, on the sofa. 

" My dear young lady," said I, taking her hand 
respectfully in my own, " permit me to say, as Dr. 
Johnson did to Hannah More, upon meeting her for 
the first time, ' I v/nderstand that you are engaged 
in the useful and honorahle occupation of instructing 
yowng ladies^ — if it were possible more thoroughly 
to forget the brevity of our acquaintance, than I have 
already done, this would have deepened my respect 
and interest for you ! Pardon me, if I take too 
great a liberty. You have, from the commencement 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 399 

of our acquaintance, permitted me the privileges of 
an octogenarian " 

" And of a gentleman of the old school /" she 
added, with great vivacity, and with the most be- 
witching smile. 

" Before I leave you, my dear Miss Peters, will 
you allow me to make a prophecy ?" 

" If you are a prophet of good^ sir " 

" Can you doubt it, when your future fate is the 
subject?" 

"Indeed, eir, I shall have great faith in your 
auguries !" returned my fair neighbor, bestowing the 
twin of her first smile upon me. 

" Well, then, my dear, it is my solemn conviction 
that you have not yet learned all you will one day 
know of the depth of the impression you have left 
upon the heart of Mr. Benton," I answered, with a 
gravity that I intended should tell. 

" Mr. Benton ! so that's his name ?" laughed Mrs. 

Y , gaily. "Julia pretended not to know his 

name I I thought it was a conquest ! I have not 
yet had an opportunity of looking out the '■language^ 
of a very large, fullblown carnation pinkl" 

" No doubt," interrupted Mr. Y , " it is pre- 
cisely the opposite of lemon-juice /" 

Between laughing and blushing, the fair subject 
of this badinage made but a faint show of resistance ; 
but, at this juncture, she managed to say, as she 
turned to me, with a most courteous bow. 

"I very much question whether the sentimenta 
expressed by any flower can more readily touch the 



400 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDK 

heart, than that / have known conveyed by a tea- 
spoonful of hrandy /" 

" Bravo !" cried Mr. Y . 

" Well done, Jule !" echoed my hostess. 

And I ! — my feelings were too deep for words ! I 
could only lay my hand upon my heart, and raise 
my eyes to the ceiling. 



Perhaps there is no better test of the unexception- 
ableness of a habit, than, to suppose it generally 
adopted, and infer the consequences. I remember 
some such reflection, in connection with a little cir- 
cumstance that once fell under my observation : — 
Dining with a young Canadian, at his residence in 
Kingston, C. W,, I met, among other persons, an 
English notability, of whom I had frequently heard 
and read. A slight pause in the conversation, made 
doubly audible a loud yawn proceeding from one 
comer of the dining-room, and, as a general look of 
surprise was visible, a huge Newfoundland dog ap- 
proached us, stretching his limbs, and shaking from 
his shaggy coat anything but 

" Sabaean odors, from the spicy shores 
Of Araby the Blest!" 

Our host endeavored to say something polite, and 
the animal, advancing toward the celebrity, stationed 
himself, familiarly, at his master's side, somewhat to 
the annoyance, probably, of the lady next him. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASmON. 401 

With the utmost sangfroid^ the " privileged char- 
acter " held his finger-bowl to his dog, and remarked, 
as he eagerly lapped the contents, that he had eaten 
highly-seasoned venison at lunch ! 



" Foreigners," says Madame de Stael, " are a kind 
of contemporaneous posterity." This truth apart, I 
had sujB&cient reason to blu^ for my country, on 
more than one occasion, lately, while travelling at 
the West, in company with a well-bred young Eu- 
ropean. His own manners were so pleasing as to 
render more striking the peculiarities of others, and 
his habits so refined, as, when united with his large 
observation and intelligence, to make him an ex- 
ceedingly agreeable person to associate with. 

One hot day, during a portion of our journey pei> 
formed by steamer, I looked up from my book, and 
saw him coming toward me. 

" I have found a cool place, sir," said he, " and 
have come to beg you to join me — we shall be un- 
disturbed there." 

I rose, and was about to take up my seat. 

"Allow me, sir! I am the younger," said he; and 
he insisted upon carrying my seat, as well as the one 
he had previously secured for himself- And this 
was his haljitual phrase, when there was any occa- 
sion to allude to the diflerence in our years. He 
never said — " You are older than I am," or insinu 
atod that my lameness made me less active than he, 
when he ofiered his arm, in our numerous prome- 



402 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

nades. TLe idea he seemed ever studying to express 
was, that he had pleasure in the society of the old 
soldier, and thought him entitled to respect and pre- 
cedence on all occasions. Aside from the personal 
gratification and comfort I derived from these grace- 
ful and unremitting attentions, it was a source of 
perpetual pleasure to me to observe his beautiful 
courtesy to all with whom he came in contact. He 
had with him a land surveyor, or agent of some sort ; 
with this person he, apparently, found little in com- 
mon, but, when he had occasion to converse with 
him, I always remarked his punctilious politeness. 
And so with his servant ; he always requested^ never 
ordered, him to do what he wished. Reserved and 
laconic, when giving him directions, there was yet 
a certain assuring kindliness in his voice^ that seemed 
to act like a talisman upon his man, who, speaking 
our language very imperfectly, would have often suf- 
fered the consequences of embarrassing mistakes, 
but for the clear, simple, intelligible directions and 
explanations of his master. But to return. 

Scarcely were we seated quietly in the retired 
spot so carefully selected by my friend, when a 
couple of young fellows came swaggering along, and 
stationing themselves near us, began smoking, spit- 
ting and talking so loudly, as to disturb and annoy 
UB, exceedingly. 

" What a pity that this fine air should be so poi- 
soned!" exclaimed my companion, in French, glanc- 
ing at the intruders. " For my part, yure air is good 
enough for me, without perfume !" 



TO POIJTENE88 AND FASHION. 403 

*' Do you never smoke ?" I asked, in the same 
tongue. 

" Certainly ! but I do not smoke always and every- 
where ! Neither do I think it decent to soil every 
place with tobacco-juice, as you do in this country !" 

"It is infamous 1" returned I. " Now just look at 
those fellows ! See how near they are to tliat group 
of ladies, and then look at the condition of the deck 
all around them." As I spok^e, the lady nearest the 
nuisance, apparently becoming suddenly aware of 
her dangerous proximity, hurriedly gathered her 
dress closely about her, and moved as far away as 
she could without separating herself from her party. 
Despite these indications, the shower continued to 
fall plentifully around, and the smoke to blow into 
the faces of those who were so unfortunate as to be 
seated in the neighborhood. 

" Have you not regulations to prevent such annoy- 
ances," inquired the stranger. 

" Every steamer professes to have them, I believe," 
returned I, " but if such vulgar men as these choose 
to violate them, no one even thinks of insisting upon 
their enforcement — every one submits, and every 
one is annoyed — that is, all decent people are !" 

" Yive la Liberie et VEgaliteP^ exclaimed the 
European, laughing good-humoredly. 

" As if echoing the mirth of my companion, a 
merry laugh from the group of ladies near us, arrest- 
ed my attention at this moment. Without appearing 
to remark them, I soon ascertained that they were 
amusing themselves with the ridiculous figure pre- 
sented by one of the smokers. His associate had left 



404 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's QUIDK 

him " alone in his glorj," and there he sat, fast asleep, 
with his mouth wide open, his hat over one eye, 
and his feet tucked across under the seat of his chair, 
which supported only on its hind legs, was tilted 
back against the side of the cabin. My description 
can give you but a poor idea of the ludicrousness of 
the thing. One of those laughing girls would have 
done it better ! I overheard more than one of their 
di'oll comments. 

" What if his chair should upset, when he ' catches 
fish !' " exclaimed a pretty little girl, looking roguish- 
ly from under her shadowing round straw hat. 

" There is more danger that that wasp will fly 
down his throat," replied another of the gay bevy, 
" What a yawning cavern it is ! That wasp is hover- 
mg over the ' crack of doom !' " 

" He reminds me rather of Daniel in the lion's 
den," put in a third. 

" Let's move our seats before he wakes up," cried 
one of the girls, as the nondescript made a slight 
demonstration upon a fly that had invaded his repose. 
" He is protected by the barricade he has surround- 
ed himself with — ^like a upas-tree in the centre of 
its own vile atmosphere — but we^ imwary travellers, 
are not equally safe !" 

A day or two afterwards, these very yo'ing men 
were just opposite me at table, in a hotel in one of 
our large Westei-n cities. 

They were well dressed (with the exception of 
colored shirts) and well-looking enough, but, after 
what I had previously seen of them, I was not sur- 
prised to observe their habits of eating. One would 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 405 

throw up both arms, and clasp his hands over his 
head, while waiting for a re-supply of food ; the 
other stop, now and then, to lay off his bushy mous- 
tache, so as to make more room for the shovelling 
process he kept up with his knife, for the more rapid 
disappearance of a large goblet of water at one swal- 
lowing, or for the introduction of a mammoth ear of 
corn, which he took both hands to hold, while he 
gobbled up row after row, with inconceivable rapid- 
ity. Then one would manipulate an enormous 
drum-stick, while he lolled comfortable back in his 
chair, grievously belaboring his voluminous beard, 
the while, and leaving upon it an all-sufficient sub- 
stitute for maccassar, and the other, simultaneously 
make a loud demonstration with his pocket-handker- 
chief, or upon his head. Now one would stretch out 
his legs under the table, until he essentially invaded 
my reserved rights, and then the other insert his 
tongue first in one cheek, and then in the other, rol • 
ling it vigorously round, as a cannoneer would swab 
out a great gun with his sponge, before re-loading ! 
Flushed, heated, steaming, the heaps of sweet-pota- 
to skins, bones, and bits of food profusely scattered 
over the soiled cloth, fully attested the might of their 
achievements ! 

Much of this, as I said, I was prepared for, but I 
was somewhat surprised by what followed. 

I had sent for a quail, I think, or some other small 
game, and was preparing to discuss its merits, when 
one of these young men, reaching over, stuck his fork 
into the bird, and transferred it to his own plate ! 



406 THa AMERICAN gkntleman's guide 

I saw at a glance that no offense was intended to 
me — that the seeming rudeness was simply the result 
of vulgarity and ignorance ; so 1 very quietly directed 
the servant to bring me another bird. 

Scarcely was the second dish placed before me, 
when the other youth of this delectable pair exactly 
repeated the action of his companion, and I again 
found myself minus my game. 

" Mon Dieu /" cried my young foreign friend, " if 
you can endure that, you are a hero, sir !" 

An hour or two subsequent to this agreeable inci- 
dent, I was again seated in the cars, and hearing a 
noise behind me, soon satisfied myself that my neigh- 
bors at dinner that day were to be my neighbors 
still, and that they were at present busily employed 
in disputing with the conductor respecting a seat 
next their own, which they wished to monopolize for 
the accommodation of their legs, and which, in con- 
seqiTcnce of the crowded state of the cars, the man 
insisted upon filling with other passengers. Pre- 
sently there came in a pale, weary-looking woman, 
with a wailing infant in her arms and anotlier young 
child clinging to her garments. She found a seat 
where she could, and sinking into it, disposed of a 
large basket she had also carried, and commenced 
trying to pacify the baby. 

Here was a fit subject for the rude jests and jibes 
of the young fellows I have described. And full use 
did they make of their vulgar license of tongue. 
The poor mother grew more and more distressed as 
those unfeeling comments reached her ears from 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 407 

time to time, and at each outbreak from the infant 
strove more nervously to pacify it. 

I observed that a good-humored looking, large, 
handsome man, who sat a little before this woman, 
frequently glanced round at the child, and sought to 
divert its attention by various little playful motions. 
At length, when the cars stopped for a few minutes, 
out he sallied, in all haste, and presently returned 
with his hands full of fruits and cakes. Offering a 
liberal share of these to the woman and her little 
girl, after distributing some to his party, he reserved 
a bright red apple, and said cheerily to the mother : 
" Let me take your little boy, ma'am, I think I can 
quiet him." 

The little urchin set np a loud scream, as he found 
himself in the strong grasp of the stranger ; but, a 
few moments' perseverance effected his benevolent 
purpose. Tossing the boy up, directing his atten- 
tion to the apple, and then carrying him through the 
empty car a turn or two, sufficed to chase away the 
clouds and showers from what proved to be a bright, 
pretty face, and very soon the amiable gentleman 
returned to his seat, saying very quietly to the wo- 
man, as he passed her, " We will keep your little 
child awhile, and take good care of him." The baby 
was healthy-looking, and its clothes, though plain, 
were entirely clean — so the poor thing was by no 
means a disagreeable plaything for the young lady 
beside whom the gentleman was seated. For some 
little time they amused themselves in this humane 
manner, and then the young man gently snugged the 



408 THE AMEKICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

weary creature down upon his broad chest, and 
there it lay asleep, like a flower on a rock, nestled 
under a shawl, and firmly supported by the enfolding 
arm that seemed unconscious of its light burden. 

Meantime the pale, tired mother regaled herself 
with the refreshments so bountifully provided for 
her, watching the movements of the little group be- 
fore her with evident satisfaction ; and at length 
settled herself for a nap in the corner of her seat, 
with the other child asleep in her lap. 

The noisy comments of the " fast " young men in 
the rear of the car became less audible and ofiensivo, 
I noticed, after the stranger came to the rescue, and 
when I passed their seat, afterwards, I could not be 
surprised at their comparative silence, upon behold- 
ing the enormous quantity of pea-nut shells and fruit 
skins with which the floor was strewn, and noticing 
the industry with which they were squirting tobacco 
juice over the whole; 

By-and-by the cars made another pause. The 
mother of the little boy roused herself and looked 
hastily round for her treasures. Upon this the 
young lady who occupied the seat with her new 
friend came to her and seemed reassuring her. As 
soon as the thronging crowd had passed out, I heard 
her saying, as I caught a peep at the sweetest face, 
bent smilingly towards the woman — " I made a nice 
little bed for him, as soon as the next seat was empty, 
and he is still fast asleep. Does he like milk ? Mr. 
Grant will get some when he wakes — ^it is so unplea- 
sant for a lady to get out of the cars." (Here the 



. TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 409 

woman seemed to make some explanation, and a 
shadow of sympathy passed over the smiling face I 
was admiring, as one sees a passing cloud move 
above a sunny landscape.) "Well, we will be 
glad to be of use to you, as far as we go on," pur- 
sued the fair girl ; " 1 will find out all about it, and 
tell you before we leave the cars. Now, just rest 
all you can — ^let me put this shawl up a little 
higher — there 1 It is such a relief to get off one's 
bonnet ! I'll put it up for you. The little girl had 
better come with me. — Oh, no, she will not, I am 
sure ! What's your name, dear ? Mary ! that's the 
pretiest name in the world ! everybody loves Mary ! 
I have such a pretty book to show you" — and hav- 
ing tucked up the object of her gentle care in quite 
a cosy manner, while she was saying this, the good 
girl gave a pretty, encouraging little nod to the 
woman, and went back, taking the other juvenile 
with her, to her own place. When her companion 
joined her, she looked up in his face with a beam- 
ing, triumphant sort of a smile, and, receiving a 
response in the same expressive language, all seemed 
quite understood between them, 

" What an angel !" exclaimed the young Euro- 
pean, in his favorite tongue, as he re-entered the 
car, and caught part of this little by-scene. " Do 
you know what she said to that poor woman ?" 

I gave hiifi all the explanation in my power. 
His fine eyes kindled. " She is as good as she is 
beautiful! Have you remarked the magnificent 
head of the gentleman with her? What a superb 

18 



410 THlE AMERICAN GKNTLBMAN's GUIDE 

profile he lias — so classic ! And his broad chest — 
there's a model for a bust I I happened to be in the 
studio of your celebrated countryman, Powers, at 
Florence, with my father, who was sitting to him, 
when the great Thorwaldsen came to visit him. 
Boy, as I was, at that time, I remember his words, 
as he stood before the bust of your Webster : ^ I can- 
not make such busts P But was it not, sir, because 
he had no such models as your country affords?" 
These were courteous words; but I do them poor 
justice in the record ; I cannot express the voice 
and manner from which they received their charm. 

Well, at the risk of tiring you, I hasten to con- 
clude my little sketch. I amused myself by quietly 
watching the thing through, and noticed, towards 
evening, that the amiable strangers went together to 
the woman they had befriended, after the gentleman 
had been into the hotel, before which we were 
standing, seemingly to make some inquiry for her. 
Both talked for a few minutes, apparently very 
kindly, to her and to the children, and seemed to 
encourage her by some assurance as they parted. 
As they were turning away, the grateful mother 
rose, and, snatching the hand first of one, and 
theii of the other, burst out, with a " God bless 
you both !" so fervent as to be audible where I sat. 

" Don't speak of such a trifle !" returned the 
youth, in a clear, distinct voice, raising his noble 
form to its full height, and flashing forth the light of 
his falcon eye ; " for my part, I am very glad to be 
able to do a little good as I go along in the world 1" 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 411 

In a few moments the handsome stranger was seen 
carefully placing his fair travelling companion in an 
elegant carriage, where a lady was awaiting them, 
and upon which several trunks were already strap- 
ped. While cordial greetings were still in progress 
betwfcen the trio, a well-dressed servant gave the 
reins to a superb pair of dark bays, and in another 
instant they were flying along in the direction of a 
stately-looking mansion of which I caught sight in 
the distance. 

" Who the d — — is that fellow ?" shouted one of 
the pair in the rear. " I say, porter," stretching his 
body far out of the car window, and beckoning to a 
man on the steps of the neighboring building, 
" What's the name of those folks in that carriage ? 
dev'lish pretty girl, I swear !" 

"Sir-r-r?" answered Paddy, coming to the side 
of the car, and pulling his dirty cap on one side 
of his head with one hand, while he operated upon 
his carroty hair with the fingers of the other; 
" what's yer honor's plaizure ?" 

" I sa}^, what's the name of that gentleman who 
has just gone off in that carriage there ?" 

" Oh ! sure that's young Gineral Grant ; him that 
owns the tine house beyant — I hear tell he's the new 
Congressman, sir!" 

'''BienT^ whispered my foreign friend, laughing 
Lcartily, " this is a great country ! you do things 
upon so large a scale here, that one must not 
wonder when extremes meet .'" 



412 THE AMERICAN GKNTLEMAN's OUmE 



"What, coz, still sitting with your things on, 
waiting ? Haven't you been impatient?" 

" Oh, no, not at all, I've been reading." 

" Well, but, do you know it's twelve o'clock ? Wo 
were to start at half-past ten. What did you think 
of me for delaying so long ?" 

" I was afraid some accident had happened ; but I 
could see nothing from the window, and I did not 
like to go out on the portico alone." 

" Then you did not think me careless, and were 
not vexed?" 

" Not I, indeed ! I was sure you would come if 
you could, and was only anxious about you, as you 
were to try that new horse. I did not take off my 
bonnet, because I kept expecting you every mo- 
ment." 

" And I kept expecting to come every moment — 
that devilish animal ! I tried to send you word, but 
1 could not get sight of a servant — confound the fel- 
lows ! they are always out of the way when one 
wants them." 

" But, Charley, dear, what about the horse ? Has 
he really troubled you? I am sorry you bought 
him." 

" Oh, I've conquered him ! it wouldn't have taken 
me so long before I had that devilish fever ! But, 
come, cozzy dear, will you go now, or is your pa- 
tience all gone?" 

" I would like the drive — but, Charley, had we not 
better put it off until to-morrow morning? You 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 4x3 

must be tired out, and, perhaps, the horse will con- 
tinue to trouble you." 

" No, no — come, come along, if you are willing to 
go." 

Now, Charley and his cousin were together at a 
little rural watering-place, in search of change of air 
and scene. Charley had been recently ill, and, as 
he chanced to be separated from his family at the time, 
was particularly fortunate in having had the gentle 
ministrations of Belle, as he usually called her, at 
command, during his convalescence. 

Belle was an orphan, without brothers, and she 
clung to Charley with the tenacity of a loving 
heart, deprived of its natural resources. Temporarily 
relieved from her duties as a teacher, her cousin 
invited her to accompany him in this little tour, in 
pity for the languor that was betrayed by her droop- 
ing eyes, and lagging step ; and his kindly nurse, 
flattering herself that her " occupation " was not yet 
quite " gone," was only too happy to escape from her 
city prison, under such safe and agreeable protec- 
tion. Yielding and quiet, as she ordinarily was. 
Belle had very strict notions of propriety on some 
points. So, when she and her cousin were mak- 
ing their final arrangements, before commencing 
their journey, she laid upon the table before him, a 
bank-note of considerable amount, with the request 
that he would appropriate it to the payment of her 
travelling expenses. 

" Time enough for that, by-and-by, coz." 

" No, }f you please, Charley. It is enough that 



414 THE AMERICAN GENTLKMAn's GUIDE 

you will be burdened by the care of me, without 
having ynur purse taxed, too. Just be so good as 
to keep a little account of what yon pay for me — 
remembering poi'terage, carriage-hire, and such mat- 
ters — ladies alwaj'S have the most luggage." And a 
little hand playfully smoothed the doubled paper 
upon the cuff of Charley's coat-sleeve, and left it 
lying there. * 

Her cousin very well knew that this bank-note 
comprised a large portion of Belle's quarterly salary, 
though she made no allusion to the matter; and, 
though his own resources were moderate, men so 
much more easily acquire money than women — well, 
never mind ! people differ in their ideas of luxury. 

Charley had some new experiences in this little 
tour of his and Belle's. Pie had an idea, previously, 
that " women are always a bother, in travelling," and 
he found himself sorely puzzled to make out, exactly, 
what trouble it was to have his cousin always ready 
to read to him, when they sat together on the deck 
of a steamer, or while he lay on the sofa at a hotel, 
to claim the comfortable seat at her side in a rail- 
car, to have her keep his cane and book, while he 
went ont to chat with an acquaintance, watch when 
he grew drowsy, and softly gather his shawl about 
his neck, and make a pillow of her own for him, or 
to see the tear that sometimes gathered in her meek 
eyes, when she acknowleded any little courtesy on 
his part. Then, when, after they were settled in 
their snug quarters, at the watering-place, Belle, 
half-timidly, sat a moment on his knee, and, looking 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 415 

proudly round upon the order she had brought out 
of chaos, amorijr his toilet articles, books, and clothes, 
said — " Oh, what a happy week I have to thank you 
for, dear cousin Charley ! You have done so many, 
many kind things for me, all the way ! I have had 
to travel alone almost always since pa's — since " — he 
was really quite at a loss to know what " kind things " 
she referred to, and said so. 

" Why, Charley !" returned she, making a vigor- 
ous effort to get over the choking feeling that had 
suddenly assailed her, upon alluding to her deceased 
father, " don't you know — ^no, you don't know, what 
a happiness it is to a poor, lonely thing, like me, to 
have some one to take care of her luggage, and pay 
her fare, and all those things? I know, in this 
country, women can travel alone, safely — quite so; 
but it isn't pleasant, for all that, to go into crowds 
of rough men, without any one. The other evening, 
at New Haven, for instance, it was quite dark, when 
we landed, and those hackmen made such a noise, 
and crowded so — but I felt just as safe, and comfort- 
able, while sitting waiting for you in the carriage, 
all the while you were gone back about our trunks ! 
Oh, you can't realize it, Charley, dear !" and the fair 
speaker shook her head, with a mournful earnestness, 
that expressed almost as much sober truthfulness, as 
appealing femininity. 

But about this morning drive. 

With the trusting confidence for which her sex 
have such an infinite capacity. Belle yielded at once 
to the implied wish of her temporary protector, and 



416 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDI: 

they were soon rolling along, in a light, open car- 
riage, through deeply-shadowing woods and across 
little brooklets which were merrily disporting them- 
selves under the trees. 

The poor wild-wood bird, so long caged, yet ever 
longing to be free, carolled and mused by turns, or 
permitted her joyous nature to gush out in exclama- 
tions of delight. 

" "What delicious air !" she exclaimed. " Really it 
exhilarates one, like a cordial. Oh, Charley, dear, 
look at those flowers ! May I get out for them ? Do 
let me ! I won't be gone a minute. Just you sit 
still, and hold your war-steed. Don't be so ceremo- 
nious as to alight ; I need no assistance." And with 
a bound the happy creature was on her feet, and in 
an instant dancing along, to the music of her own 
glad voice, over the soft grass. 

Too considerate to encroach upon his patience 
unduly, Belle soon reseated herself beside Chariey, 
with a lap full of floral treasures. 

" Here are enough for bouquets for both our 
rooms," said she ; " how fresh and fragrant they are ! 

' They have tales of the joyous woods to tell, 
Of the free blue streams and the glowing sky.' 

Bless God for flowers — and friends /" 

As the artless girl fervently uttered the last words, 
she turned a pair of sweet blue eyes, into which 
tears of gratitude and pleasure had suddenly started, 
upon the face of her companion. What a painful 
revulsion of feeling was produced by that glance ' 



TO POL1TENK88 ANP FASHION. 417 

She scarcely recognized the face of her cousin, so 
completely had gloom and discontent usurped the 
place of his usual hilarious expression. What could 
be the matter ? Had she offended him ! 

Repressing, with quick tact, all manifestations of 
surprise, though her frame thrilled, as if from a 
heavy blow. Belle was silent for a while, and then 
said in a subdued tone that contrasted strangely with 
her former bird-like glee — " Your horse goes nicely 
now, Charley, doesn't he ? You seem to have effec- 
tually conquered him ; but I am sure you must be 
tired, now, dear cousin, you have been out so long. 
Had we not better return ?" 

" Why, you have had no ride at all yet, Isabella," 
returned the young man, in a voice that was as start- 
ling to his sensitive auditor as his altered counte- 
nance had been. 

" Oh, yes, I have," she quickly answered, endeavor- 
ing to speak as cheerfully as possible, "I have en- 
joyed myself so much that I ought to be quite con- 
tented to go back, and I really think we'd better 
do so." 

Cliarley's only response was turning his horse's 
head homeward. For a while they drove on in 
silence, Belle's employment of arranging her flowers 
now wholly mechanical, so engrossing was the 
tumult in her heart. 

Just as they came in sight of their hotel, the un- 
ruly animal that had already occasioned his new 
owner so much trouble, stopped, and stood like 
wooden effigy in the middle of the road. 



418 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN 's GUIDE 

In vain did word and whip appeal to liis locomo- 
tive powers. At length the pent-up wrath that had 
apparently been gathering fury for the last hour 
burst forth. 

" Devilish brute ! I never was so shamefully im- 
posed upon 1 I wish to G — I never had set foot in 
this infernal hole ! There's no company here fit for 
a decent fellow to associate with. I shall die of 
stupidity in a week — particularly if I have to drive 
such a confounded concern as this !" Here followed 
a volley of mingled blows and curses. 

The terrified witness of this scene sat tremblingly 
silent, for a time, clinging to the side of the carriage, 
as if to keep herself quiet. Presently she said : 

" Perhaps I'd better jump out and run to the 
house, and send some one out to assist you." 

" You may get out, if you choose," answered her 
cousin, gruffly, " but I want no assistance about the 
horse. I'll break every bone in his body, but I'll 
conquer his devilish temper !" 

After another pause, Belle said, " Well, Charley, 
if you please, I will walk on. I am sorry you are so 
annoyed," she added, timidly, carefully averting her 
pale face from him ; " but perhaps this is only a 
phase, and he may never do so again." 

Her companion broke into a loud, mocking laugh. 
" What in thunder do you know about horses, Isa- 
bella ?" 

" Nothing, Charley — nothing in the world," re- 
turned his cousin, quickly, in the gentlest voice, " I 

only" 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 419 

"Te-es!^' drawled the angry youth, "I know — 
some women think their ' ready wit ' will enable 
them to talk upon any subject I Get up, now, you 
rascal, will you ?" 

Belle knew her weakness too well to trust herself 
to speak, so, drawing her veil closely about her face, 
and gathering up her shawl and her flowers, she step- 
ped fi'om the low carriage with assumed composure, 
and bowing slightly, walked towards the house. 

Meeting a servant, at the foot of the stairs, she 
said, very quietly, " Mr. Cunningham will be here 
in a few minutes with his horse ; I hope some one 
will be ready to take him," and passed on. This 
was all she dared to do, in aid of the exasperated 
youth. 

Once in her own room, it seemed but the work of 
a moment for the agitated girl to throw off her shawl 
and bonnet, and transport some light refreshments 
she had previously prepared, across the passage to 
her cousin's room, to draw up his lounging chair to 
the table, and with a few skillful touches to give that 
air of comfort to the simply-furnished apartment 
which it had been her daily pleasure to impart to it. 

This self-imposed task achieved, she flew, like a 
guilty intruder, to her own little asylum, and lock- 
ing the door, flung herself upon the bed, burying 
her face in the pillows. 

But though her quick, convulsive sobs were stifled, 
they shook her slight, sensitive form till it quivered 
in every nerve, like a delicate exotic suddenly ex- 
posed to the blasts of a northern winter. 



430 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

By-and-by a sound roused her from this agony of 
tears. 

" There is the first dinner-gong," said she, to her- 
self, starting up, " what shall I do ? Perhaps Char- 
ley won't like it if I don't go to dinner. My head 
aches dreadfully. I don't mind that so much, but 
(looking in the glass) my face is so flushed. I 
wouldn't for the world vex Charley, I'm sure." 
With this she began some hasty toilet preparations ; 
but her hands trembled so violently as to force her 
to desist. 

Wi-apping her shivering form in her shawl, she 
sat down on a low chair, and again gave way to emo- 
tions which gradually shaped themselves thus : 

" I am so sorry I came with Charley. He was never 
anything but kind till we came here. And then I 
should have, at least, had nothing but pleasant things 
to remember. But now — I am afraid Charley is 
ashamed of me ; he looked at my dress so scrutiniz- 
ingly this morning, when he came to my door. I 
know I'm not the least fashionable ; but Mrs. Tillou 
is, and she complimented me on this neglige — it is 
soiled now, and my pretty slippers, too, walking 
back through the mud ! ' Isabella !' How cold and 
strange it sounded ! I am so used to ' cozzy dear,' 
and have learned to love it so. My poor heart 1" 
pressing both hands upon her side as if to still a 
severe pang. Then she rose, and creeping slowly 
along the floor, swallowed some water, and seating 
herself at the table, drew writing materials towards 
her. Steadying her hand with great effort, and everT 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 421 

moment pressing Tier handkerchief to her eyes, she 
achieved the following note : 

" Having a little headache to-day, dear Charley, I 
prefer not to dine, if you will excuse me. I will be 
quite ready to meet you in the parlor before tea. 
" Ever yours, 

" Belle. 

" Tuesday Morning." 

Designing to accompany this with some of the 
flowers she now remembered, for the first time since 
her return from her ill-starred morning excursion. 
Belle hastily re-arranged the prettiest of them in a 
little bouquet. As she removed an already wither- 
ed wild-rose from among its companions, a solitary 
tear fell upon its shrivelled petals. " Perhaps," she 
murmured mournfully, with a heavy sigh, " I should 
have made another idol, — perhaps I should soon 
have learned to loije Charley too loell, if this chasten- 
ing had not come upon me — could he have thought 
so ?" As she breathed this query, the small head was 
suddenly thrown back, like that of a startled gazelle, 
and a blush so vivid and burning as to pale the pre- 
vious flush of agitation, flashed over cheek and 
brow. 

Quickly ringing the bell, and carefully concealing 
herself from observation, behind the door, when she 
half-opened it, the servant who answered her sum- 
mons was requested to hand the note and flowers to 
Mr. Cunningham, if he was in hie room, and if not, 



422 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

to place them where he would " be sure to see them 
when he came up," 

" When will I ever learn," said Belle, in a tone of 
bitter self-roproach, as she re-locked the door, " not 
to cling and trust, — not 

" to make idols, and to find them clay!" 

" I have not seen you looking so well since you 
came here. Miss Cunningham," said a gentleman to 
Belle, joining her as she was entering the public par- 
lor that evening. "Do allow me to felicitate you! 
What a brilliant color ! — You were driving this 
morning, were you not ? No doubt you are indebted 
to your cousin for the bright roses in your cheeks !' 



And now, my dear young friends, let me only add, 
in concluding this lengthened letter, that, had I 
early acquired the habit of writing, you would, 
doubtless, have less occasion to criticise these effu- 
sions — attempted, for your benefit, at too late a 
period of life to enable me to render them what I 
could wish. Use them as hedcons, since they cannol 
serve as models ! 

Adieu ! 

Henry Lunettes 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 438 



LETTER XL 

MENTAL AND MORAL EDUCATION. 

Mr DEAR JSTephews: 

Having touched, in our preceding let- 
ters, upon matters relating to Physical Training, 
Manner, and the lighter accomplishments that em- 
bellish existence, we come now to the inner life — to 
the Education of the Mind and Heart, or Soul of 
Man. 

Metaphysicians would, I make no doubt, find 
ample occasion to cavil at the few observations 1 
shall venture to offer you on these important sub- 
jects, and, painfully conscious of my total want of skill 
to treat them in detail, I will only attempt a few des- 
sultory suggestions, intended rather to impress you 
with the importance I attach to self-culture, than to 
furnish you with full directions regarding it. 

The genius of our National Institutions pre-supposes 
the truth that education is within the power of all, and 
that all are capable of availing themselves of its bene- 
fits. Education, in the highest, truest sense, does 
not involve the necessity of an elaborate system of 
scientific training, with an expenditure of time and 



424 THE AMEKICAN GENTLEMAN 's CfUIDE 

money entirely beyond the command of any but the 
favored few who make the exception, rather than the 
rule, in relation to the race in general. 

Happily for the Progress of Humanity, the 
"will to do, the soul to dare," are never wholly 
subject to the control of outer circumstance, and 
here, in our free land, they are comparatively un- 
trammeled. 

"There are two powers of the human soul," says 
one of our countrymen, distinguished for a knowledge 
of Intellectual Science, "which make self-culture 
possible, the self -searching^ and the self-forming 
power. We have, first, the faculty of turning the 
mind on itself; of recalling its past, and watching its 
present operations; of learning its various capacities 
and susceptibilities ; what it can do and bear ; what 
it can enjoy and suffer ; and of thus learning, in gen- 
eral, what our nature is, and what it is made for. It 
IS worthy of observation, that we are able to discern 
not only what we already are, but what we may be- 
come, to see in ourselves germs and promises of a 
growth to which no bounds can be set ; to dart 
beyond what we have actually gained, to the idea of 
perfection at the end of our being." 

Assuming that to be the most enlightened system 
of education which tends most effectively to develop 
all the faculties of our nature, it is impossible, prac- 
tically, to separate moral and religious from intellec- 
lectual discipline. If we possess the responsibility 
as well as the capacity of self-training — that must be 
a most imperfect system, one most unjust to our 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 425 

better selves, which cultivates tlie intellectual pow* 
ers at the expense of those natural endowments, 
without which, man were fitter companion for fiends 
than for higher intelligences ! 

Pursued beyond a certain point, education, estab- 
lished upon this basis, maj not facilitate the acqui- 
sition of wealth ; and if this were the highest pursuit 
to which it can be made subservient, effort, beyond 
that point, were useless. But if . we regard the 
acquirement of money chiefly important as afford- 
ing the essential means of gratifying the tastes, pro- 
viding for the necessities, and facilitating the exercise 
of the moral instincts of onr being, we return, at 
once, to our former position, 

"^, therefore^ who does what he can to vmfold 
all his powers and capacities^ especially his nobler 
ones, so as to hecome a well-proportioned, vigorous, 
excellent, happy heing, pi^actises self-culture.^^ 

Those of you who have enjoyed the advantages of 
a regular course of intellectual training, will need no 
suggestion of mine to aid you in mental discipline; 
but possibly a few hints on this point may not be 
wholly useless to others. 

The genei'al dissemination of literature, in forms 
80 cheap as to be within the reach of all, renders 
reading a natural resource for purposes of amusement 
as well as instruction. But they who are still so 
young as to make the acquisition of knowledge tlie 
proper business of life, should never indulge them- 
selves in reading for mere amhusement. Never, there- 



426 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDB 

fore, permit yourselves to pass over words or allu- 
sions, with the meaning of which you are unacquain- 
ted, in works you are perusing. Go at once to the 
fountain-head — to a dictionary for unintelligible 
words, to an encyclopedia for general information, to 
a classical authority for mythological and other simi- 
lar facts, etc., etc. You will not read as fast, by adopt- 
ing this plan, but you will soon realize that you are, 
nevertheless, advancing much more rapidly, in the 
truest sense. When you have not works of reference 
at command, adopt the practice of making brief 
memoranda, as you go along, of such points as re- 
quire elucidation, and avail yourself of the earliest 
opportunity of seeking a solution of your doubts. 
And do not, I beg of you, think this too laborious. 
The best minds have been trained by such a course. 
Depend upon it, genius is no equivalent for the 
advantage ultimately derived from patient perseve- 
rance in such a course. I remember well, that to the 
latest year of his life, ray old friend, De Witt Clinton, 
one of the noblest specimens of the race it has been 
my fortune to know, would spring up, like a boy, 
despite his stiff knee, when any point of doubt arose, 
in conversation, upon literary or scientific subjects, 
and hasten to select a book containing the desired 
information, from a little cabinet adjoining his usual 
reception-room. His was a genuine love of learning 
for its own sake ; and the toil and turmoil of politi- 
cal life never extinguished his early passion, nor 
deprived him of a taste for its indulgence. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 427 

Moralists have always questioned the wisdom of 
indulging a taste for lictitious literature, even when 
time has strengthened habit and principle into fixed- 
ness. Tlie license of *he age in which we live, ren- 
ders futile the elaborate discussion of this question 
of ethics. But, while permitting yourselves the oc- 
casional perusal of works of poetry and fiction, do 
not so far indulge this taste as to stimulate a disrelish 
for more instructive reading. And, above all, do 
not permit yourselves to acquire an inclination for 
the unwholesome stimulus of licentiousness, in this 
respect. Every man of the world should know 
Bomething ^f the belle-lettre literature of his own 
language, at least, and, as a rule, the more the bet- 
ter ; but, 

" Where ignorance is bliss, "tis folly to be wise ;" 

and the vile translations from profligate foreign lit- 
erature, which have, of late years, united with equally 
immoral productions in our own, to foster a corrupt 
popular taste, cannot be too carefully avoided by all 
who would escape moral contagion. 

You will find the practice of noting fine passages, 
felicitous modes of expression, novel thoughts, etc., 
as they t^cur even in lighter literary productions, 
not unworthy of your attention. It will serve, col- 
laterall}', to assist in the formation of a pure style of 
conversation and composition, a consideration of no 
small importance for those whose future career will 
demand facility in this regard. Carlyle has some- 
where remarked that, " our public men are all gono 



428 THE AMERICAN GENTLKMAn's GUIDE 

to tongue !" This peculiarity of the times, may, to 
some extent, have grown out of its new and peculiar 
social and political necessities. But, whether that 
be so, or not, since such is the actmil state of things, 
let all new competitors for public distinction seek 
every means of securing ready success. 

While I would not, without reservation, condemn 
the perusal of fictitious literature, I think you will 
need no elaborate argument to convince you of the 
superior importance of a thorough familiarity with 
History and general Science. 

Let me, also, commend to your attention, well- 
chosen Biography^ as affording peculiarly impressive 
incentives to individual effort, and, often, a consider- 
able amount of collateral and incidental inibrmation. 
The Life of Johnson, by Boswell, for instance, which, 
as far as I know, still retains its long-accorded place 
at the very head of this class of composition (some 
critic has recorded his wonder that the best biogra- 
phy in our language should have been written by a 
fool!) contains a world of information, respecting 
the many celebrated contemporaries of that great 
man, the peculiarities of social life in England, at 
his day, and the general characteristics of elegant 
literature. So, of Lookhart's Life of Scott, and other 
records of literarv life. The lives of such men as 
Shelley, and Coleridge, afford an impressive warn- 
ing to the young — teaclung, better than a professed 
homily, how little talents, unguided by steadfastness 
of purpose and principle, avail for usefulness and 
happiness. The examplts of Lord Nelson, Howard 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 429 

Mungo Park, Eobert Hall, Franklin, and Washing- 
ton, may well be studied, in detail, for the lessons 
they impress upon all. And so, of many of the brave 
and the good of our race — I but name such as pas- 
singly occur to me. 

Do not permit newspaper and magazine reading 
to engross too much of your time, lest you gradually 
fall into a sort of mental dissipation^ which will un- 
fit you for more methodical literary pursuits. 

A cultivated taste in Literature and Art, as, indeed, 
in relation to all the embellishments and enjoyments 
oi life, is, properly, one of the indications, if not the 
legitimate result, of thorough mental education. But, 
while you seek, by every means within your control, 
to enlarge the sphere of your perceptions, and to 
elevate your standard of intellectual pleasures, care- 
fully avoid all semblance of conscious superiority, 
all dilettanti pretension, all needless technicalities 
of artistic language. Remember that modesty is al- 
ways the ticcompaniment of true merit, and that the 
smattering of knowledge, which the condition of Art 
in our infant Republic alone enables its most de- 
voted disciples to acquire, ill justifies display and 
pretension, in this respect. So, with regard to mat- 
ters of literary criticism — eujoy your own opinions, 
and seek to base them upon the true principles of 
art ; but do not inflict crudities and platitudes upon 
others, under the impression that, because of recent 
acquisition to a tyro in years, and in learning, they 
are likely to strike mature minds with the charm of 
rfovelty ! Thus, too, with scientific lore. K Sii 



4:30 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

Isaac Kewtnn only gathered " pebbles on the shore " 
of the limitless ocean of knowledge, we may well 
believe that 

" Wisdom is a pearl, with most success 

Sought in still water." 

Let me add, while we are, incidentally, upon this 
matter of personal pretension, that to observing per- 
sons such a manner often indicates internal distrust of 
one's just claims to one's social position, while, on the 
contrary, quiet self-possession, ease and simplicity, are 
equally expressive of self-respect and of an entire cei- 
tainty of the tacit admission of one's rights by others. 
Nothing is more underbred than the habit of taking 
offense, or fancying one's self slighted, on all occa- 
sions. It betokens either intense egotism, or, as I 
have said, distrust of your rightful jposition — that 
you are embittered by struggling with the world — 
neither of which suppositions should be betrayed by 
the bearing of a man of the world. Maintain out- 
ward serenity, let the torrent rage as it may within, 
and never allow the world to know its power to 
wound you through your undue sensitiveness ! 

Well has the poet asserted that 

" Truth's a discovery made by travelled minds." 

No one who can secure the advantage of seeing life 
and manners in every varying phase, should fail to 
add this to the other branches of a polite education. 
Do not imbibe the impression, however, that merely 
going abroad is travelling, in the just sense of the 
term. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION 431 

'' Oft has it been my lot to mark, 
A proud, conceited, talking spark, 
Keturning from hia finished tour. 
Grown ten times perter than before. 
Whatever word you chance to drop. 
The travelled fool your mouth will stop :— 
' Sir, if my judgment you'll allow, 
I've seen, and sure I ought to know !' 
So begs you'll pay a due submission, 
And acquiesce in his decision." 

Send a fool to visit other countries, and he will 
return — only a " travelled fool !" But give a rightly- 
constituted man opportunities for thus enriching and 
expanding his intellectual powers, and he returns to 
his native land, especially if he be an American, a 
better citizen, a more enlightened, discriminating 
companion and friend, and a more liberal, useful, 
catholic Christian ! 

Some knowledge of modem languages, especially 
of the French, has now become an essential part of 
education. The value of this acquisition, even for 
Aow(" «S(g, can scarcely be over-estimated, and with- 
out a familiarity with colloquial French, a man can 
hardly hope to pass muster abroad. I will, however, 
hazard the general observation that, as a rule, it is 
better to acquire a thorough knowledge of one larir 
guage (and of French, pre-eminently, for practical 
availability) than a slight acquaintance with several. 
Few persons, comparatively, in our active, busy 
land, have leisure, at any period of life, for familiar- 
izing themselves with the literature of more than 
.«ne language, besides their own, and to possess the 



432 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

mere nomenclature of a foreign tongue is but to 
have the key to information. There is, of late, a 
fashion in this matter, which has little else to recom- 
mend it than that it is the fashion / and with per- 
sons of sense and intelligence there should be some 
more powerful and satisfactory motive for the devo- 
tion of any considerable portion of " Time, nature's 
stock.'''' 

Apropos of this, nothing is more likely to teach a 
true estimate of the value of time than that perfection 
of education pronounced by the philosopher of old 
to be the knowledge that we know nothing! In 
other words, they only, who in some sort discern, by 
the light of education, the vast field that lies unex- 
plored before them, can have any adequate concep- 
tion of the care and discrimination with M^hich they 
should use that treasure of which alone it is 'a virtue 
to he covetous.^ 

Nothing, perhaps, more unmistakably indicates 
successful self-culture than the habitual exhibition 
of Tact. It may almost be called another sense, 
growing out of the proper training of the several 
faculties of body and mind. And though there is a 
vast natural difference between persons of similar out- 
ward circumstances, in this respect, much may be 
effected by attention and practice, in the acquisition 
of this invaluable possession. Like self-possession, tact 
is one of the essential, distinctive characteristics of 
good-breeding — the legitimate expression of natural 
refinement, quick perceptions and kindly sympathies 
Cultivate it, then, my young friends, in commoi: 



TO POLITENKSS AND FASHION. 433 

with everj elegant embellisliment of the true gentle- 
man! Do not confound it with dissimulation or 
hypocrisy, nor yet regard it as the antagonist of 
truthfulness, self-respect and manly dignity. On 
the contrary, it is the best safeguard of courtesy, as 
well as of sensibility. 

Among useful methods of self-discipline, let me 
instance the benefit resulting from the early adop- 
tion of a code of private morality^ if you will permit 
me to coin a phrase, composed of rules and maxims 
adapted to your own personal needs and peculiari- 
ties of position and mental constitution. Washing- 
ton, I remember, adopted this practice, and Mr. 
Sparks, or some one of his biographers, has preserved 
the record from oblivion. It is many years since 
I came across these rules, and I can no longer recall 
more than the fixed, though general, impression that 
they embodied much practical wisdom and clearly 
indicated the patient spirit of self-improvement for 
which the author was remarkable. I commend 
them to you as a model. Perhaps the immortal 
biographer who has now given the world a new life 
of his great namesake, will afibrd you the means of 
satisfying yourselves personally of the correctness of 
my impressions of them. 

In preparing this code for yourselves, I can give 
you no better guide than that afibrded by the truth 
expressively conveyed in the following lines : 

♦' 'Tw roisely great to talk with our past hours, 
To ask them what report they bore to Heaven, 
And how tliey might have borne more welcoma netis," 

19 



434: THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

That is a very imperfect conception of education 
which limits its significance to hnowledge gained 
from hooks. A profound acquaintance with literary 
lore is often associated with total ignorance of the 
actual world, of the laws that govern our moral 
and intellectual being, and with an incapacity to 
discern the Beautiful, the True, the Good. They 
only are educated., who have acquired that self-know- 
ledge and self-discipline which inspire a disvn- 
terested love of our fellow-heings, a reverence for 
Truth — in the largest sense of the term — and the 
ipower of hahituallg exalting the higher faculties over 
the animal jyropenMties of our nature. 

It is only, therefore, when man unites moral disci- 
pline with intellectual culture, that he can be said to 
be truly educated ; and the most ambitious student 
of books should always bear in mind the truth that 
tha free j)lay oftJie intellect isjpromoted hy the devel- 
opment of moral perceptions^ and that mental 
education, even, does not so much consist in loading 
the memory with facts, as in strengthening the 
capacity for independent action — for judging, com- 
paring, reflecting. 

" The connection between moral and intellectual 
culture is often overlooked," says a celebrated 
ethical writer, " and the former sacrificed to the 
latter. The exaltation of talent, as it is called, above 
virtue and religion, is the curse of the age. Educa- 
cation is now chiefly a stimulus to learning, and 
thus may acquire power without the principles 
which alone make it a good. Talent is worshipped, 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 435 

but, if divorced from rectitude, it will prove more 
of a demon than a god." 

Holding the opinion, then, that a fixed religious 
belief is the legitimate result of a thorough cultiva- 
tion of the mental and moral endowments, and that 
their united and co-equal development constitutes 
education, you will permit me to impress upon your 
attention t^e importance of securing all the aid 
afforded by the lest lights vouchsafed to us, in the 
search after Truth. Conscience is a blind guide, 
until assisted by discriminating teaching, and honest, 
persevering endeavors at self-enlightenment. For 
myself, my experience, in this respect, has afforded 
me no assistance so reliable and eflScient as that to 
be gathered from the Life of Jesus Christy as record- 
ed by his various biographers, and collected in the 
New Testament. I commend its study, renewedly, 
to you, not in search of a substantiation of human 
doctrines, not to determine the accuracy of particu- 
lar creeds, but to possess yourself of simple, intelli- 
gible, practicable directions for the wise regulation 
of your daily life, and those ceaseless efforts at self- 
advancement which should be the highest purpose of 



' A being breathing thoughtful breath, 
A creature between life and death!" 



Accustomed to the standard established by Hira 
who said, " Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as I am 
perfect," we will not be deterred from the steadfast 
pursuit of right by the imperfect exhibitions, so fre- 



4:36 THE AMEBIGAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

quently made, of its efficacy, in the lives of the pro* 
fessed followers of the wonderful Nazarine. Con- 
scious of the difficulties, the temptations and the 
discomfitures that we ourselves encounter, we will 
learn, not only to discriminate between the imper- 
fections of the disciple and the perfection of the 
Master, but to exercise that charity toward others, 
of which self-examination teaches us the need, in our 
own case. Thus, the Golden Kule, which so inclu- 
sively epitomizes the moral code of the Great Teacher, 
will come to be our guide in determining the path 
of practical duty, and the coui*se of self-culture, most 
essential to the security of present happiness, and as 
a preparative for that eternal state of existence, of 
which this is but the embryo. 

Thus, making God and conscience — which is the 
voice of God speaking within us — the arbiter be- 
tween our better nature and the impulses excited by 
the grosser faculties, we shall be less tempted by 
outw^ard influeoces to lower the abstract standard 
we originally establish, or to reconcile ourselves to 
an imperfect conformity to its requisitions. Far less, 
•will we permit ourselves to indulge the delusion that 
we are not, each of us, personally obligated, by our 
moral responsibilities, to develop all the powers with 
which we are endowed, to their utmost capacity : — 

" They build too low who build below the skies !" 

The most perfect of human beings was also the 
most humble and self-sacrificing, so that they who 
endeavor to follow his example will not only be de* 



TO POLITENESS AKD FASHION. 43^ 

Toid of self-rigliteous assumption, but actively de- 
voted to the good of their fellow-creatures, and, like 
Him, pityingly sensible of the wants and the woes 
of humanity. 

That reverence for the spiritual nature of man, as 
a direct emanation from Deity, which all should 
cherish, is, also, to be regarded as a part of judicious 
self-culture. Cultivate an habitual recognition of 
your celestial attributes, and strive to elevate your 
whole being into congenial association with the di- 
vinity within you : — this do for the benefit of others, 

" Be noble ! and the nobleness that lies 
In other men, sleeping, but never dead, 
Will rise, in majesty, to meet thine own !" 

With SO exalted an aim as I have proposed for 
your adoption, you will be slow to tolerate peccadil- 
loes, as of little moment, either in a metaphysical or 
ethical point of view. Dread such tolerance, as sap- 
ping the foundations of principle ; learn to detect the 
insidious poison lurking in Burke's celebrated aphor- 
ism, and in the infidel philosophy that assumes the 
brightest semblances that genius can invent, the more 
readily to deceive. Establish fixed principles of 
benevolence, justice, truthfulness, religious belief, 
and adhere steadfastly to them, despite the allure- 
ments of the world, the temptings of ambition, or 
weariness of self conflict. 

The Pursuit of Hajppiness is but concentrated 
phraseology for the purposes and endeavors of every 
human being. May you early learn to distinguish 



438 THE AMEEIOAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE 

between \\\q false and the truCy between jpleasure and 
happiness^ early know your duty to yourselves, your 
country, and your God ! 

I will but add to these crude, but heart-engendered, 
observations, a few lines, embodying my own senti- 
ments, and in a form much more impressive than I 
can command : — 

" We live in deeds, not years ; in thoughts, not breaths ; 
In feelings, not in figures on a dial. 
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives 
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best" 



I have somewhere met with a little bagatelle, 
somewhat like this : — 

Apollo, the god of love, of music, and of elo- 
quence, weary of the changeless brilliancy of Olym- 
pus, determined to descend to earth, and to secure 
maintenance and fame, in the guise of a mortal, by 
authorship). Accordingly, the incognito divinity es- 
tablished himself in an attic, after the usual fashion 
of the sons of genius, and commenced inditing a 
poem — a long epic poem, plying his pen with the pa- 
tient industry inspired by necessity, the best stimu- 
lus of human effort. At length, the task of the god 
completed, he, with great difficulty, procured the 
means of offering it to the world in printed form. 
The Epic of Apollo, the god of Poetry, fell, jpr^' 
doomed, from the press. No commendatory review 
had been secured, no fashionable publisher endorsed 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 439 

its merits. Disgusted with the pursuit of the wealth 
and honors of earth, Apollo returned to Olympus, 
bequeathing to mortals, this advice : — " Would you 
secure earthly celebrity amd riches^ do not attempt in- 
telleGtual and moral culture^ hit invent a pill I" 



Instances of the successful pursuit of Tcnowledge 
under difficulties frequently present themselves in 
our contemporaneous history, both in our own coun- 
try and in foreign lands. Indeed, the history of the 
human mind goes far toward proving that, not the 
pampered scions of rank and luxury, but the hardy 
sons of poverty and toil, have been, most frequently, 
the benefactors of the race. Well has the poet said : — 

" The busy world shoves angrily aside 
The man who stands with arms a-kimbo set, 
Until occasion tell him what to do ; 
And he who waits to have his task marked out, 
Shall die, and leave his errand unfulfilled." 

The Learned Bladcsmith, as he is popularly called, 
acquired thirty, or more, different languages, while 
daily working at his laborious trade. He was accus- 
tomed to study while taking his meals, and to have 
an open book placed upon the anvil, while he 
worked. A celebrated physiological writer, alluding 
to the habits of this persevering devotee of philology, 
Bays, that nothing but his uninterrupted practice of 
his Yulcan-tasks preserved his health under the vast 
amount of mental labor he imposed upon himself. 



440 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

Another of our distinguished countrymen, now a 
prominent popular orator, is said to have accumu- 
lated food for future usefulness, while devoting the 
energies of the outer man to the employment of a 
wagoner, amid the grand scenic influences of the 
majestic Alleghanies. The early life of Franklin, of 
the " Mill-boy of the Slashes," of Webster, and of 
many othere whose names have become watchwords 
among us, are, doubtless, familiar to you, as examples 
in this respect. 



Looking upon the busy active woild around me, — 
as I sometimes like to do — ^from behind the screen of 
my newspaper, seated in the reading-room of a hotel, 
I became the auditor of the following conversation, 
between two young men, who were stationed near a 
window, watching the passing throng of a crowded 
thoroughfare. 

" By George ! there's Van K ," exclaimed one. 

with unusual animation. 

""Which one, — where?" eagerly interrogated his 
companion. 

"That's he, this side, with the Byronic nose, and 
short steps — he's great I What a fellow he is for 
making money, though !" 

" Does it by his talents, don't he ? — nobody like 
him, in the Bar of this State, for genius, — that's a 
fact — carries everything through by the yo7'ce of 
genius .'" 

" Dev'lish clever, no doubt," assented the other. 



TO POLITENESS A.ND FASHION. 441 

" but he used to study, I tell you, like a hero, when 
he was younger." 

" Never heard that of him," answered the other 
youth, "how the deuce could he? He has always 
been a man about town—xQ,2X fashionable fellow — ■ 
practised always, since he was admitted, and every- 
body knows no one dines out, and goes to parties 

with more of a rush than Yan K , and he always 

has." 

" That may all be, but my mother, who has known 
him well for years, was telling me, the other day, 
that those who were most charmed with his wit, and 
belle-lettre scholarship, when he first came upon the 
to/pis^ little knew the pains he took to accomplish 
himself. ''He exhibited the result^ not the machin- 
ery^^ she said, but he did study, and study hard, 
when other young fellows were asleep, or raising 
h !" 

" As for that," interrupted the other, " he always 
did his full share of all the deviltry going, or I am 
shrewdly mistaken !" 

" Nobody surpasses him at that, any more than at 
his regular trade," laughed his companion — "oh, but 
he's rich ! Jim "Williams was telling me (Jim studies 

with S and Yan K ) how he put down old 

S the other day. It seems S had been laid 

on the shelf with a tooth-ache — dev'lish bad — ^face 
all swelled up — old fellow real sick, and no mistake. 
Well, one morning, after he'd been gone several 
days, he managed to pull up, and make his appear- 
ance at the office. It was early — no one there but 

19* 



442 .THE AMEEIOAN GENTLEMAN's GUIDE 

Yan K and the boys — Jim and the rest of the fel- 
lows—tearing away at the books and papers. So old 

S dropped down in an arm-chair by the stove, 

and began a hifalutin description of his sorrows and 
Bufferings while he had been sick — quite in the ' pile 
on the agony ' style 1 "Well, just as the old boy got 
fairly warmed up, and was going it smoothly, Yan 

K bawled out : — ' Y-a-s ! Mr. S ! will you 

have time, this morning, to look over these papers, 
in the case of Smith against Brown V Jim said he 
never saw an old rip so cut down in all his life, and, 
as soon as he went out, there was a general bust up, 
at his expense I" 

"How confounded heartless!" exclaimed the elder 
youth, rising — " by Heaven, I hope a man needn't 
set aside the common sympathies and decencies of 
humanity, to secure success in his profession, or in 
society !" and as he passed me, I caught the flush of 
manly indignation that mantled his beardless cheek, 
and the lightning-flash of youthful genius that 
enkindled his large blue eyes. 



" What are you doing there, sir ?" inquired one of 
the early Presidents of our Republic, of his nephew, 
who was standing before an open writing-d£sk, in his 
private apartment. 

" Only getting some paper and pencils, sir," re- 
plied the young man. 

"That stationary, sir, belongs to the Federal GoV' 
ernment!" returned the American patriot, impres- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 448 

sively, and sternly, and resumed his previous occupa- 
tion. 

Daniel Webster, in conversation with a familiar 
friend, said : 

"From the time that, at my mother's feet, or on my 
father's knees, I first learned to lisp verses from the 
Sacred Writings, they have been my daily study, 
and vigilant contemplation. If there be anything in 
my style or thoughts worthy to be commended, the 
credit is due to my kind parents, in instilling into 
my early mind a love for the Scriptures." 



" How long will it take you," inquired Napoleon, 
of the young brother-in-law of Junot, " to acquaint 
yourself with the Coptic language, and be prepared 
to go to Egypt oil a secret service ?" 

"Three months, sire," replied the energetic 
Frenchman, with scarcely a perceptible pause for 
consideration. 

" Bien /" returned the great Captain, " begin at 
once." And he moved on in his briefly-interrupted 
walk, through the salon of the beautiful mother of 
the youth, saying to the Turkish Ambassador, who 
accompanied his stroll : — " There is such a son as 
one might expect from such a mother I" 

Three months from that night there left the pri- 
vate cabinet of Napoleon, a stripling, of slight form 
and yet unsunned brow, charged by him who Jcnew 
vien hy intuition^ with a task of fearful risk and ro- 



444 THE AMERICAN OKNTLEMAn's GUIDE 

sponsibility ; and, on the morrow, he was embarked 
on the blue waters of the Mediterranean, speeding 
toward a land where, from the heights of the Pyra- 
mids, a thousand years would behold his deeds ! 



"I swear, I'll cut that woman I I'll never call 
there again, that I am determined !" cried Paul 
Duncan, impetuously. 

"But why, brother? Don't judge too hastily," 
replied his sister, gently. " The whole family have 
always been so kind to us ; for my part, I think one 
seldom meets persons of more polished manners, 
and" 

"Polished manners!" interrupted the irritable 
man, rudely, " what do you call polished Tnanners ? 
I gave up E. himself, just because he is so devil- 
ish -w^i-polished, long ago. He passed me, once or 
twice, in Wall-street, with his head down, and didn't 
even bow I after that I let him run !" 

" He is so engrossed in his philanthropic schemes 
that, I suppose, he really did not see you," inter 
posed his sister, mildly. "But the ladies are not 
responsible for his peccadilloes." 

" No, they cannot answer for their own, to me," 
retorted the other, with bitterness. " When I went 
in, last evening, she and her mother were both in 
the room. The old lady rose, civilly enough, but 

Mrs. R kept her seat, partly behind a table, even 

when I went to her and shook hands." 

"Dear brother," expostulated his companion, 



TO POLrrENESS AND FASHION. 445 

" don't you know that Mrs. R is not well ? She 

has not been out in months " 

"What the devil, then, does she make her ap- 
pearance for, if she can't observe the common pro- 
prieties of life ?" 

" I doubt whether yon would have seen her, had 
she not been in the room when you entered. Did 
she remain during the whole time of your call ?" 

" Certainly ; but the old woman slipped out, when 
some bustle appeared to be going on in the hall, and 
never made her appearance again, at all, only sending 
in a servant, just as I was going away, to say that she 
* hoped to be excused, as her father had just arrived.* " 

" He is very aged, and she always attends upon 
him herself, when he is there, even to combing his 
hair," explained the gentler spirit. "I remember 
admiring her devotion to the old man, who is very 
peculiar, and somewhat disagreeable to persons gen- 
'erally, when I was staying there a day or two." 

" Well, well ; what has that to do with ber treatment 
of me ? Couldn't she trust him with the rest of the 
family for a few minutes ? There is a tribe of women 
always on hand there, besides a retinue of servants." 

" If you will permit me to say so, without offense, 
Charley," returned the lady, with sudden determina- 
tion of manner, "I fear you did not display your 
usual tact on the occasion, and that you, perhaps, 
took offense at circumstances resulting from the em- 
barrassment of our friends, rather than from any in- 
tention to be impolite to you. Ladies are not always 
equally well, equally self-possessed, equally in com* 



44:6 THE AMEEICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

pany-mood, or company-dress. I don't know what 
miglit not befall aTiy of ns, were we not judged of, 
by our friends rather by our general manner to 
them, than by any little peculiarities, of which we 
may be ourselves wholly unconscious at the time." 



If you are as much impressed as I was, upon first 
perusing them, with the following sentences from 
Sir Humphrey Davy's pen, you will require no 
apology from me, for transcribing them here. 

" 1 envy no quality of mind or intellect in others 
— ^not of genius, power, wit, or fancy ; but, if I could 
choose, what would be most delightful, and, I believe, 
most useful, to me, I should prefer a firm religious 
helief^ to every other blessing, for it makes life a dis- 
cipline of goodness, creates new hope, when earthly 
hopes vanish, and throws over the decay, the de- 
struction, of existence, the most gorgeous of all light ; 
awakens life, even in death, and, from decay, calls 
up beauty and divinity; makes an instrument of 
torture and shame the ladder of ascent to Paradise ; 
and, far above all combination of earthly hopes, calls 
up the most delightful visions — palms and ama- 
ranths, the gardens of the blessed, the security of 
everlasting joys, where the sensualist and the skep- 
tic view only gloom, decay, and annihilation." 

"With these sublime words, my dear nephews, 1 
bid you, affectionately, 

Adieu ! 

Heney Lunettes. 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 447 



LETTER XII. 

CHOICE OF COMPANIONS AND FEEENDS SELECTION OF A 

PUKSDIT IN LIFE COURTSHIP — MAEKIAGE HOUSE- 

KEEPma PECUNIABY MATTERS, ETC. 

My dear Nephews : 

I THINK it was Burke who said that^ those 
who desire to improve, should always choose, as 
companions, persons of more knowledge and virtue 
Jiau themselves. He had, however, the happy 
faculty of eliciting information from all with whom 
he came in contact, even as the bee extracts sweet- 
ness from the most insignificant and unattractive 
flower. It is said of him, you are aware, that he 
never took refuge under a projecting eave for five 
minutes, to escape a shower, with another man, 
without either giving or receiving instruction. 

His excellent habit in tliis respect, nevertheless, in 
no degree invalidated the practical wisdom of the 
remark I have ascribed to this celebrated statesman. 
It is not easy to attach too much importance to the 
choice of Companions and Friends^ especially dur- 
ing that period of life when we ai'e most susceptible 
to outward influences. 

Much enjoyment is derived from association with 



448 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

those whose tastes, pursuits, and sentiments are 
similar to our own ; but, in making a selection in 
this respect, it is better to seek the companionship 
of persons whose influence will have the effect to 
elevate rather than to depress our own mental and 
moral standard. Hence, young persons will be 
most improved by the example of those whose 
greater maturity of years and acquirement give 
them the advantage of experience. 

Byron and others of the morbid school to which 
he belonged, or rather, perhaps, which he origi- 
nated, strove to establish as a truth, the libellous 
charge that humanity is incapable of true, disinte- 
rested friendship. Happily for the dignity and 
healthfulness of the youthful mind, this affected 
misanthropy, having had its day, is dying the 
natural death to which error is doomed, and we 
are again permitted to respect our common nature 
■without wholly renouncing our claims to poetic 
sensibility ! 

It seems, to my poor perceptions, that there needs 
no better test of the capacities of our fellow-crea- 
tures, with regard to the nobler sentiments, than 
onr own self-consoioimiess / If we know ourselves 
capable of lofty aspirations, of self-sacrifice for 
others' good, of rejoicing in the happiness of our 
friends, of deep, enduring affection for them, by 
what arrogant right shall we assume ourselves 
superior to the race to which we belong ? 

As the man who habitually rails at the gentler 
sex must, necessarily, have been peculiarly unfor- 
tunate in his earliest associations with woman, so ho 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 449 

who professes a disbeHef in true friendship, may be 
presumed, not only to have chosen his associates 
unwisely, but to be himself ill-constituted and 
ill-disciplined. K 

" Virtue is more than a shade or a sound, 

And man may her voice, in this being, obey," 

then is friendship one of the purest and highest 
sources of human enjoyment ! 

Eschew, then, the debasing, soul-restraining max- 
ims of Byron, Rochefoucauld, and their imitators, 
and seek in communion with the gifted and the 
good, elevated enjoyment and inspiring incentives 
to noble purposes and manly achievements. 

But if the old Spanish proverb, '■''Show me yov/r 
friends and I will tell you what you are^"* is 
applicable to the selection of ordinary associates, of 
how much more significance is it in relation to 
confidants ! To require such a friend, pre-supposes 
the need of advice^ and only superiority in age and 
knowledge of the world and of the human heart, 
can qualify any one for the responsibility thus 
assumed. Nothing is more frequently volunteered 
by the inexperienced than advice, while they who 
'properly appreciate its importance are the- least 
likely to give it unasked. 

In connection with the subject of confidences and 
confidants, ponder well the concentrated wisdom 
contained in this brief sentence : " Be careful of 
whom you speak^ to whom you speak, and how, and 
when, and where.''^ 

If from self-consciousness we draw conclusive 



450 

proofs of the elevated powers of our nature, we also 
learn, with equal certainty, the need that all have 
of forbearance, lenitv, and forgiveness. They who 
look for perfection in human companions, will entail 
upon themselves a life-long solitude of spirit. Some 
one has prettily said that the fault of a friend is like 
a flaw in a beautiful china vase ; the defect is reme- 
diless; let us overlook it, and dwell only upon what 
will give us pleasure. 

It is almost useless to attempt to give you any 
advice with respect to the choice of an occupation in 
life. I trust, however, that you need no argument to 
convince you that respectability and happiness unit- 
edly require, let your pecuniary circumstances be 
what they may, that you should have such an incen- 
tive to the due exercise of your powera of body 
and mind. 

No consideration is, perhaps, more important than 
that oi following the natural inclination in making 
this decision, provided outward circumstances ren- 
der it possible to do so ; and in this country a man 
may almost always overcome obstacles of this kind, 
by patient perseverance. 

The impression, formerly so prevalent, that none 
but the three learned professions, as they are called, 
require a thorough education, as a prelude, is, I must 
believe, much less generally entertained, than when 
I was a young man. And this is as it should be- 
There can be no human employment that is not faci- 
litated by the aid of a cultivated, disciplined intel- 
lect, and our young countrymen, who so frequently 
make some temporary and lucrative occupation the 



TO POLrrKNESS Ami FASHION. 451 

Btepping-stone to advancement, should always bear 
this in mind. One day, America, like Venice of 
old, will be a land of merchant princes — but none 
will take rank among these self-elevated patricians 
but they who add the polish, the refinement and the 
wealth of intellect, to the power derived from exter- 
nal circumstances. 

The Physical Sciences and the Inventive and Prac- 
tical Arts are claiming the attention of our times to 
a degree never before known ; and these afford new 
and sufiicient avenues for the exercise of talents tend- 
ing rather to mechanical than to metaphysical exer- 
tion. 

Remember, always, that a man may give dignity 
to any honest employment to which he shall devote 
his energies — and better so, than to possess no claims 
to respect except those bestowed by position. As 
the- pursuit of wealth as an end, rather than a means, 
is not the noblest of human purposes, so mere occupar 
tion and external belongings do not determine the 
real worth of mind or pharacter. 

• 

" I am brother to the Worker, 

And I love his manly look, 
As I love a thought of beauty, 

Living, star-like, in a book. 
I am brother to the humblest, 

In the world's red-handed strife, — 
Those who wield the sword of labor, 

In the battle ranks of life ! 



« * * I* • 

Never let the worker falter, 
Nor his cause— for hope is strong ; 



452 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

He shall live a monarch glorious 

In the people's coming throng. 
There's a sound comes from the future, 

Like the sound of many lays ; 
Freedom strikes her harp for toilers, 

Loud as when the thunder plays 1" 

■ While on this subject, permit me to call your 
attention to a matter which, though of minor import- 
ance, is not unworthy of consideration. Men with 
but little knowledge of the world are apt to betray 
their occupation hy their manner and conversation — 
to sTnell of the shop, as it is often, somewhat coarsely, 
expressed. Thus, an artist will talk habitually of 
such matters as arrest the peculiar perceptions he 
has quickened into acuteness by culture, and even 
use the technicalities of language which, though 
familiar to him, may be, and probably are, unintel- 
ligible to persons of general cultivation only. ' A 
physician will sometimes go about with a heavy, 
ivory-headed cane, and a grand, pompous look, 
which may, perchance, be professional, but it is not 
the less absurd, unless as a means of impressing the 
vulgar ; and he often falls into the' impression that 
any sacrifice to the Graces, or any regard for the 
weaknesses of humanity, when in a sick-room, are 
entirely beneath his dignity. Lawyers will use 
Latin phrases, and legal technicalities, in the soci- 
ety of ladies, and the gentlemen of the hlach cloth 
not only carry the pulpit into the drawing-room, but 
permit themselves to be lionized by devout old wo- 
men, and sentimental young ones, into the best seat 
in an apartment, or a carriage, the tit-bits at table, 



TO FOLTTEHESS AJH) FASHION. 453 

and a sum-total of mawkish man-worship. As I 
have said, all this savors of ignorance of the worlds 
as it does of latent egotism, and deficient self-respect. 
Kote, therefore, the probable . effects — when unre- 
st^'ained by self-scrutiny — of moving in a limited 
sphere of action^ and always bear in mind that your 
individual occupations and interests, though of great 
personal importance, are comparatively insignificant 
in the consideration of others; that you yourself 
make, when viewed from a general stand-point, but 
a single unit of the great mass to whom your inte- 
rests, purposes, and merits, are matters alike of pro- 
found indifference and unquestioning ignorance. 

" No man," says Jean Paul, the only one, as the 
Germans call him, " can live piously or die righte- 
ously without a wife ;" and one of the most celebra- 
ted observers of human nature among our own coun- 
ti'vmen, has bequeathed us the recorded opinion that 
an early marriage with an amiable and virtuous wo- 
man is, next to a firm religious faith, the best safe- 
guard to the happiness and principles of a young 
man. 

In our prosperous land, where the means of living 
are diversified almost equally with the necessities of 
life, it is far less hazardous to assume the responsi- 
bilities arising from early marriage, than in other 
countries. Everything is, in a certain sense, preco- 
cious here. Extreme youth is no barrier to indepen- 
dence of effort and position- — ^none to self-reliance 
and success. It may be questioned whether the tax 
thus prematurely imposed upon the intellect, as well 
as the physique, does not, in some degree, vend, not 



454 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn'b GUIDE 

only to eventual mediocrity of power, but to quiet 
ened diminution of the vital energies. 

Hence it is, doubtless, well to adopt the golden 
mean in regard to every important step in life. And 
though I would by no means counsel you not to 
marry until you have accumulated a fortune, I would 
strenuously advise you to possess yourselves of some- 
thing like a prospective certainty of maintenance, 
and of sound knowledge of human nature and of 
yourself^ before so far committing your future hap- 
piness. 

One prominent cause of the multitude of unhappy 
unions, I am persuaded, is the ignorance of their 
own true characters with which young persons are 
so frequently united. "Wholly immature in body 
and mind, when they commence married life, as they 
develop, under the influence of time and circum- 
stance, they awaken to the discovery of an irrecon- 
cilable difference, not only in taste, sentiment, and 
opinion, but, what is worse, in principle. This is 
one extreme. On the contrary, the marriage of per- 
sons of decided character, before habit has rendered 
it difficult to mould themselves into conformity with 
the peculiarities from which none are exempt, is de- 
sirable. The sooner those who are to tread the path 
of life side by side, learn the assimilation that shall 
render the way smoother and easier to both, the 
greater will be their share of earthly contentment ; 
and this will be most readily achieved, no doubt, 
while youthful pliancy and adaptability still exist. 

Every discriminating, self-informed man, should 
be the best judge of the essential requisites for 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 455 

domestic happiness, in his individual case. Such an 
one will not need to be reminded that all abstract or 
generally-applicable rules must needs be modified, in 
many instances, for pei-sonal usefulness. But no one 
will question the desirableness of healthy good temper^ 
and education, in the companion of domestic life. 

By education, I do not mean an acquaintance with 
all, or even with any one, of what are termed acGom- 
'plishments. A woman may be well-informed, and 
self-disciplined, to a degree that will render her an 
admirable wife for a man of sense, without being 
able to speak any but her vernacular tongue, or play 
upon any instrument, save that harp of a thousand 
strings — the Human Heart ! 

Do not understand me as undervaluing the grace- 
ful embellishments of social and domestic life, as 
presented by the lovelier part of creation. I wish 
only to express, in my plain, blunt way, the convic- 
tion that the most elegant and varied accomplish- 
ments are a very poor equivalent iox poverty of th6 
head and heart, in the woman who is to become the 
friend and counsellor to whom you will look for 
enduring, discriminating affection and sympathy, as 
well when the trials, the cares, and the sorrows of 
mortal existence shall lower heavily over you, as 
while you mutually dance along amid the flowers 
and the sunshine of youth. 

A career of fashionable idleness, irresponsibility, 
and dissipation, is not a desirable prelude to the sys- 
tematic routine of quiet duties essential to the home* 
happiness of a man of moderate resources and 



456 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUroE 

retired habits. It may be questioned whether a 
woman who has been long accustomed to the adula- 
tion and the excitement of a crowd, will be content 
to find enjoyment, suflBcient and enduring, in the 
simple pleasures which alone will be at her com- 
mand, thus circumstanced. 

But, while even the incentives afforded by all the 
affection of which such an ephemeral being is 
capable, will render conformity to this new position 
difficult of attainment, she who is early accustomed 
to look thoughtfully upon life as beautiful and 
bright indeed, but as involving serious responsibili- 
ties and solemn obligations, will bring to a union 
with one of similar perceptions and principles, a 
sense of right and duty, which, if strengthened by a 
commingling of hearts, will make it no discourag- 
ing task to her to begin with her husband where he 
begins. Such an one will be content to tread on at 
an even pace beside him, through the roughness that 
may beset his progress, cheerfully encountering 
obstacles, resolute to conquer or endure, as the case 
may be ; and ever fully imbued with that patient, 
hopeful, loving spirit, whose motto is "bear one 
another's burdens." 

You will think it more consistent with the caution 
of an old man, than the ardor natural to a young one, 
that I should advise you to pay proper respect to 
the claims of the relations or guardians of any lady 
to whom you wish to pay your addresses. I will, 
nevertheless, venture to assert that, for many reasons, 
you will, in after life, have reason to congratulate 



TO POLITENESS AND FAbHION. 467 

yourself upon pursuing a manly, open, honorable 
course in relation to every feature of this important 
era in your career. 

A friendship with a woman considerably older 
than himself (if she be married, it will be all the bet- 
ter) and especially if he have not older sisters, or is 
separated from them, is of incalculable advantage to 
a young man, when based upon true principles of 
thought and action, — not only in relation to subjects 
especially pertaining to affairs of the heart, but 
respecting a thousand nameless practical matters, as 
well as of mental culture, taste, sentiment, and con- 
ventional proprieties. Such a female friend — ma- 
tured by the advantages of nature and circumstances 
— ^will secure you present enjoyment of an elevated 
character, together with constant benefit and im- 
provement, and expect from you, in return for the 
great good she renders you, only those graceful cour- 
tesies and attentions which a man of true good-breed- 
ing always regards as equally obligatory and agree- 
able. 

Let there be, however, a certain gra/vity mingled 
with the manifestations of regard you exhibit 
towards all married women, the dominance of respect 
in your manner towards them, and never permit any 
consideration to induce you to forget the established 
right of every husband to sanction or not, at his 
pleasure, the most abstractly unexceptionable friend- 
ship between his wife and another man. 

Every man with a nice sense of liouor, will indi- 
cate, by his prevailing bearing and language towards 
20 



458 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN'S GUIDK 

womeu a felt distinction between the intentions of 
friendship, and those of a suitor or lover. And while 
he observes towards all women, and under all cir- 
cumstances, the respectful courtesy due to them, he 
will not hesitate to make his pui-pose intelligible, 
where he has conceived sufficient esteem to engender 
matrimonial intentions. Proper self-respect, as well 
as the consideration due to a lady and her friends, 
demands this. 

I repeat, that no degree of devotion to one, 
excuses incivility to other female acquaintances, in 
society ; and I will add that the most acceptable 
attentions to a woman of sense and delicacy, are 
not those that render her generally conspicuous, but 
such as express an ever-present remembrance of 
her comfort and a quick discernment of her real 
feelings and wishes. 

So in the matter of presents, and similar expres- 
sions of politeness, good taste will dictate no lavish 
expenditure, unwarranted by pecuniary resources^ 
and inconsistent with the general surroundings of 
either party, but rather a prevailing harmony that 
will be really a juster tribute to the object of your 
regard, as well as a more creditable proof of your 
own tact and judgment. All compliments, whether 
thus expressed, or by word of mouth, should be 
characterized by delicate discrimination and puncti- 
lious respect. It is said that women judge of 
character by details: certain it is that what may 
seem trifles to us, often sensibly influence their 
Dpinions of men. Their perceptions are so keen, 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 459 

their sensibilities so acute, in comparison with ours, 
that we would err materially in estimating them bj 
the same gauge we apply to each other, and thus 
the mysteries of the female heart will always remain 
in a degree insoluble, even to the acutest masculine 
penetration. 

But though the nicest shades of sentiment and 
feeling may escape our coarser perceptions, we need 
no unusual discernment to perceive the effects of 
kindness, gentleness, and forbearance in our domes- 
tic relations. " I cannot much esteem the man," 
Rowland Hill remarked, " whose wife, children, and 
servants, and even the cat and dog, are not sensibly 
happier for his presence." Depend upon it, no 
fabled Genii could confer on you a talisman so 
effective as the power bestowed by the enshrinement 
in your heart of the Law of Kindness. In proportion 
to the delicacy of woman's organization is her sus- 
ceptibility to such influence, and he who carelessly 
outrages the exquisite sensibilities that make the 
peculiar charm of her nature, will too often learn, 
when the lesson brings with it only the bitterness 
of experience, 

" how light a cause 

May move dissension between hearts that love." 

Shun, then, as you would the introduction into your 
physical system of an insidious but irradicablo 
poison, 

" The first slight swerving of ili<. heart, 
Tfiat words are powerless to express /" 

But while you seek to illustrate your constaiii 



460 IRE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

remembrance that you have, by the act of marriage, 
"bound yourself to be good-humored, affable, dis- 
creet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to 
frailties and imperfections to the end of life," bear in 
mind, also, that your influence over another imposes 
duties of various kinds upon you, and that you 
should use that influence with far-sighted wisdom, 
to produce the greatest ultimate good. Thus you 
will be convinced that it is the truest kindness to 
minister to the intellect and the affections of woman, 
rather than to her vanity, and that in proportion as 
you assist her to exalt her higher nature into 
dominance, will you be rewarded by a spirit-union 
commensurate to the most exalted necessities of 
your own. 

I have known men, in my time, who seemed to 
have a fixed belief that all manifestations of the 
gentler instincts of humanity are unworthy of the 
dignity of manhood, and who, by habitually repress- 
ing all exhibitions of natural emotion, had appa- 
rently succeeded in steeling their hearts, as well 
against all softening external impressions as to the 
inspiration of the "still, sad music of" their bet- 
ter selves. All elevated emotions, whether of an 
afl:ectionate or religious character, are too sacred for 
general observance : " When thou pray est, enter into 
thy closet and shut the door^'' was the direction of 
our great Teacher, and so with the rdigion of the 
heart (if you will permit me the phrase), it would 
be desecrated, were it possible — which from its very 
nature it is not — to parade its outward tokens to 
indifferent eyes. And yet I return to a prior stand 



rO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 461 

point and insist that there is a middle-ground, even 
here, the juste milieu^ as the French say. — Apropos 
— the ancient Romans used the same word to desig- 
nate family affection and piety. 

Intimately connected with the happiness of domes- 
tic life is the due consideration oi pectmiary affairs. 

But, before we proceed to their discussion, let me, 
as long a somewhat scrutinizing observer of the 
varying phases of social life, in our own country 
especially, enter my earnest protest against the prac- 
tice so commonly adopted by newly-married pei-sons, 
of 'boarding., in place of at once establishing foi 
themselves the distinctive and ennobling preroga 
tives of HOME. Language and time would alike fail 
me in an endeavor to set forth the manifold evils 
inevitably growing out of this fashionable system. 
Take the advice of an old man, who has tested theo- 
ries by prolonged experience, and at once establish 
your Penates within four walls, and under a roof 
that will, at times, exclude all who are not properly 
denizens of your household, upon assuming the 
rights and obligations- of married life. Do not be 
deterred from this step by the conviction that you 
cannot shrine your home-deities upon pedestals of 
marble. Cover tJieir bases with flowers — God's free 
gift to all — and the plainest support will suffice for 
them, if it be but^z-m. 

With right views of the true aims and enjoyments 
of life, it will be no impossible achievement to esta- 
blish yonr household appointments within the limits 
of your income, whatever that may be, and to enter- 
tain the conviction that the duty of providing foi 



462 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

possible, if not probable, future contingencies, is im- 
perative with those who have assumed conjugal and 
paternal responsibilities. 

Firm adherence to such a system of living will 
bring with it a thousand collateral pleasures and 
privileges, and secure the only true independence. 
Nothing is more unworthy than the sacrifice of 
genuine hospitality, taste, and refinement, to the 
requisitions of mere fashion, in such arrangements ; 
no thraldom so degrading as that imposed by the 
union of poverty and false pride. What latent ego- 
tism, too, in the pre-supposed idea that the world at 
large takes careful cognizance of the individualizing 
specialities of any man, save when he trenches on 
the reserved rights of others. 

True self-respect, then, as well as enlarged percep- 
tions of real life, will dictate a judicious adjustment 
of means to desired results, and teach the willing 
adoption of safe moderation in all. 

Happily, comfort and refinement may be secured 
without ruinous expenditure, even by the most mo- 
dest beginners in housekeeping. Industry, ingenuity 
and taste, will lend embellishment to the simplest 
home, and the young, at least, can well afford to dis- 
pense with enervating luxury and pretentious dis- 
play. 

"With due deference to individual taste, I would 
commend the cultivation and gratification of a love 
of hooks and works of art, in preference to the pur- 
chase of costly furniture, mirrors, and the like. 
Fine prints (which are preferable to indifferent paint- 
ings) are now within obtainable reach, by many who 



TO POLrrBNESS AND FASHION. 463 

permit themselves few indulgences, comparatively, 
and everything having a tendency to foster the 
sesthetical perceptions and enjoyments of children, 
and to exalt these gratifications into habitual supre- 
macy over the grosser pleasures of sense, or the exhi- 
bitions of vanity, is worthy of regard. And as no 
avoidable demands of the outer life should be per- 
mitted to diminish the resources of either the heart 
or the mind, well-selected hooks will take high rank 
among the belongings of a well-appointed house. 

To sum up all, my dear friends, if you aim at 
rational happiness, let there be what is artistically 
termed keeping in your whole system of life. Let 
your style of dress, your mode of housekeeping, and 
entertaining, your relaxations, amusements, occupa- 
tions, and resources, be harmoniously combined. 



"Where and how is the most charming of Jew- 
esses ?" 1 asked one morning of an old friend, upon 
whom I had been making an unreasonably early call, 
rising to go. 

" Here, sir, and very well," responded a cheerful 
voice from an adjoining room. ' Will you not come 
in a moment?" 

The smiling " home-mother " opened wide the half- 
open door through which my queries had been an- 
swered, and seconded her daughter's invitation. 

There sat my fair young friend, with a small table 
before her, covered with sewing materials, and a 
huge overcoat upon her lap. She was in a simple, 



464 THE AMEBIC AN GENTLEMAN 's GUIDE 

neat morning-dress, and plying the needle with great 
industry. She apologized for not rising to receive 
me, but not for continuing her occupation after T 
seated myself. 

" As busily engaged as ever, I see," said I. 

" Rather more so than usual, just now. Fred has 
come home in a very dilapidated condition." 

"And you are repairing him. But what are you 
doing with that huge, bearish-looking coat ? It's as 
much as you can do to lift it, I should judge." 

" Oh, I've been putting in new front-facings and 
sleeve-linings, and fixing it up a little," returned 
she. " But, Colonel, do tell me, have you read Ma- 
cau.lay's second volume ?" 

I replied that I had dipped into it, and added : 
" But, before we discuss Macaulay, I want you to 
tell me how you learned to be so accomplished a tai- 
loress ?" 

" Rebecca can do anything she wishes," said her 
•mother, in a soft, gentle voice, " the heart is a 
good teacherP 

"Thank you, mother," rejoined the sweet girJ, 
" Colonel Lunettes will make allowance for youi 
natural partiality." 

*' I would, were it necessary, my dear," I answered, 
" but I can decide for myself in your case." 

A bow, a blush, and a pleasant laugh responded, 
and, rising, she deposited the heavy garment she 
had been repairing, upon the arm of a chair, and" 
immediately reseating herself, placed a large basket 
full of woollen stockings, at her side, threaded a stout 
aJderman-like-looking darning needle with thick 



ro POLITENESS AND FASHION. 465 

yarn, and began to mend a formidable hole in ono 
of the socks. Her brother is an engineer, and I 
divined at a glance, that those strong, warm things 
were, like the blanket-coat, part of his outfit for a 
campaign in the swamps. 

" I am delighted with Macaulay's elaborate 
sketches of individuals," resumed the busy seam- 
stress, drawing out her long needle and thread, and 
returning it with the speed and accuracy of nicely- 
adjusted machinery ; " do you recollect his portraiture 
of the Trimmer .?" 

'* It is very fine," I answered, like everything else 
Macaulay has written. "Kothing, however, has 
impressed me more, thus far, in his history, than his 
description of the condition of the clergy of the Estab- 
lished Church, in the rural districts, during the 
reign of James, and later even." 

"I, too, was exceedingly interested in it," replied 
Rebecca, " And the more, that I was reminded of 
the fate of the daughters of English country curates, 
even at this day ; of ' gentle blude,' many times, born 
and educated ladies, they are subjected, frequently, 
through life, to toil and sufi'ering that would excuse 
their envying the fate of a mere kitchen-drudge !" 

"They are, usually, governesses for life, and nevei 
marry," continued I. 

"Never marry — though they are so educated and 
disciplined, as to be peculiarly well-fitted for the 
fulfillment of woman's dearest and highest destiny ! 
Thank God ! I was born where such social thraldom, 
Buch hateful monstrosities, are not !" And the face 

20* 



466 THK AMKRICAN GENTLEMAn's GUmE 

that turned its glance upward, for an instant, with 
those last fervent words, was overspread with a glow 
bright as the crimson hue of sunset. 

But, though my friend Rebecca, was the last 
woman in the world to 

" Die of a rose, in aromatic pain," 

she was a perfect Sybarite, in some respects, as I will 
convince you. 

Entering her mother's tasteful, pretty drawing- 
room, a few evenings after this conversation, I found 
the charming " Jewess," as I sometimes called her, 
in allusion to Scott's celebrated heroine, reading by 
the light of an astral lamp. She was elegantly, and, 
I suppose fashionably, dressed, and reclining in a 
large, luxurious-looking, stuffed chair, with her 
daintily-slippered feet, half buried in a soft crimson 
cushion. In short, she was the very impersonation 
of the " unbought grace " of one of Nature's queens. 
Had I been younger, by some fifty years, I should 
have been tempted, beyond a doubt, to do oriental 
homage to so much loveliness. 

" By the way, Rebecca," said I, after a few min- 
utes' chat with my hostess, "I must tell you of a 
witticism you elicited, this morning, from one of 
your admirers !" 

" One of my admirers ! "Who, pray ?" 

" Guess ! Well, I won't tantalize you ! — Howard 
Parker !" 

"You tell me something, Colonel! I am not en- 
titled to enter Mr. Parker on my list of friends " 



TO POLITENESS AKD FASHION. 467 

" What, what I that to me, my dear ? I have a 
great mind to punish you, by not telling you what 
he said." 

"As you please, Colonel Lunettes 1" with a co- 
quettish toss of her long ringlets. 

" Please, tell Tne^ Colonel !" interposed her moth- 
er, smilingly ; " don't mind Rebecca's nonsense — tell 
me!" 

" In a whisper?" I inquired, laughing, and glanc- 
ind at the " Jewess." " I hardly dare to venture 
that! Well ! meeting Howard, who is a great favor- 
ite of mine, in the street, this morning, he told me 
he was coming here, to call. ' Steel yom- heart, 
then,' said I — ' Or she will steal it P he answered, as 
quick as thought." 

" Quite a jeu d' esprit .'" exclaimed Rebecca, 
laugliing gaily. "But, Colonel, Mr. Parker may be 
witty, accomplished, and intellectual, but he is not a 
gentleman /" 

" My daughter, you are severe," said her mother, 
deprecatingly. 

" I don't mean to be, mother ; but " — 

" From what do you draw such a sweeping infer- 
ence, my child ?" I inquired. 

" From trifles, dear sir, I admit ; but 

' trifles make the sum of human things !' 

and slight peculiarities often indicate character. 
For instance, Mr. Parker keeps his hat on, when he 
is talking to ladies, and neglects his teeth and hair — 
you needn't laugh, mamma! Yesterday morning, 
he joined me in the street, and came home with me, 



4-68 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

or, nearly home ; for he stopped short, a little way 
from the house, let me cross a great mud-puddle, as 
well as I could, alone, and open the gate for myself, 
though I had my hands full of things. It's true, he 
had the grace to color a little, when 1 said, signifi- 
cantly, as he bade me good morning, that I was glad 
I had crossed the Slough of Despond, without acci- 
dent." 

" That showed that a sensible woman could correct 
his faults," I remarked. 

"I don't know about that," replied my hostess. 
" Such things, as Rebecca says, indicate character / 
and I would not advise any young lady to marry a 
man, with the expectation of reforming him." 

" [Not of a cardinal vice, certainly," said I ; " but 
there are " — 

Here a servant interrupted me with — " Mr. Par- 
ker's compliments. Miss," and ofiered my fastidious 
young friend a large parcel, wrapped in a wet, soiled 
newspaper, and tied with dirty red tape. 

" Ugh !" exclaimed the Sybarite, recoiling, with 
unrepressed disgust. " What is it, Betty ? It can't 
be for me !" 

" It is, Miss, an' no mistake — the boy said it got 
wet in the rain, widout, as he was bringing it, an' 
no umberrellar wid him." 

"Will you just take it into the hall, and take off 
the paper, Biddy? Be careful not to let it get 
dirty and wet, inside, wiU you?" — With studied 
nonchalance. 

Presently Biddy laid down a large, handsomely- 
bound volume, and a note, before the young lady 



TO POLITENESa AND FASHION. 469 

"It is a copy of Macaulay's 'Lays of Ancient 
Rome,' " said she, skimming over the note. " Mr. 
Parker was alluding to some passage in one of the 
poems, this morning. He says I will find it marked 
and begs me to accept the book, as aphilopoena — oh, 
here are the lines — I thought them very fine as he 
recited them. Shall I read them, mamma? And 
you, sir, will you hear them ?" 

" ' Then none was for a party ; 

Then all were for the state ; 
Then the great man helped the poor, 

And the poor man loved the great ; 
Then lands were fairly portioned ; 

Then spoils were fairly sold : 
The Romans were like brothers, 

In the brave days of old.' " 

The enthusiasm with which the appreciating 
reader read this spirited passage, did not prevent my 
observing that she held her handkerchief closely 
pressed upon the back of the exquisite antique bind- 
ing of the volume, in the hope, as I inferred, of dry- 
ing the stain of wet which I noticed, at once attract- 
ed her attention when she took up the gift. The 
open note, as it lay upon the table, disclosed a torn, 
ragged edge, as if it had been carelessly severed 
from a sheet of foolscap. 

Whatever her reflections, the young lady haa too 
much instinctive delicacy to comment upon these 
peccadilloes, and so, of course, I could institute no 
defense of my friend. I, therefore, tacked^ as a 
sailor would say. 



4-70 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

" Howard's a noble fellow," said I, " in spite of 
his little oddities, but he has one fault, unfortunately, 
which I fear will prevent his winning much favor 
with the ladies." 

" What is that?" inquired my young auditor, in a 
tone of seeming indifference, but with a heightened 
color, and an eager glance. 

"He is poor /^^ 

" Do you mean that he H/ves by his witSy as the 
phrase is ?" asked my hostess. 

" By no means ! simply this : — Parker began the 
world without a dollar, and has had, thus far, to 
'paddle his own canoe,' as he expresses it, against 
wind and tide." 

"That is quite the best thing I ever knew of 
him !" exclaimed Rebecca, with animation, " It does 
him great credit, in my estimation ! But, Colonel, I 
cannot agree with you in thinking Mr. Parker. 
poor /" 

"JS"©?" 

" No, indeed ! in my regard, no mem in our coun- 
try is poor, who possesses health, education, and an 
unblemished reputation /" 



In the library of the only representative of the 
British government in this country — and he was the 
lineal representative, as well, of one of the oldest, 
wealthiest and most aristocratic of noble English 
families — whose guest I remember to have been, 1 
found great numbers of books, which he had brought 



TO POLITENESS AND FA-SHION. 471 

with him from home, but they were arranged upon 
simple, unpainted pine shelves, put up for con- 
venience, while the owner should remain at Wash- 
ington. He brought his books, because he wanted 
them for constant use — but, though accustomed to 
the utmost luxuriousness of appointment at home, 
he did not dream of bringing furniture across the 
Atlantic, or of apologizing for the absence of more 
than was demanded by necessity in his temporary- 
residence. 

I remember, too, to have heard it said that one of 
the recent governors of the Empire State had not a 
single article of mahogany furniture in his house at 
Albany ; and yet, nobody complained of any want 
of hospitality or courtesy on his part, while making 
this discovery. The simple fact was, that, being 
without private fortune, and the salary of his office 
insufficient for such expenditures, he coulyd Twt afford 
it — and no man, I believe, is bound to run in debt, 
to gratify either the expectations or the vanity of 
his political constituents. 

As a contrast to these anecdotes, how does the 
following incident impress you ? 

Walking down Broadway, in New York, one 
bright morning with a distinguished American 
statesman, he suddenly came to a full halt before 
a show-window in which glittered, among minor 
matters, a superb candelabra, in all the glory of 
gilding and pendants. 

" That's a very handsome affair. Lunettes," said 
my companion ; "let us step in here a moment." 



472 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

We entered accordingly. A salesman came for- 
ward. 

"What is the price of that candelabra, in the 
window ?" inquired the statesman. 

" Six hundred dollars," replied the young man. 

" Pack it up and send it to M ," replied my 

friend, turning to go. 

"And the bill, sir?" 

" You may send the bill to me — to D W , 

at Washington." 

I happened to know that the great man had, only 
within a day or two, been released, by the genero- 
sity of several of his personal friends, from an em- 
bargo upon his movements that would otherwise 
have prevented his eloquent thunder from being 
heard in the I^ational Senate ! 



The massive head and stately bearing of John 
Marshall always rise before my mind's eye, when I 
recall this characteristic illustration of his native 
manliness : 

The Chief Justice was in the habit of going to 
market himself, and carrying home his purchases. 
He might frequently be seen at sunrise, with poultry 
in one hand and vegetables in the other. 

On one of these occasions, a young Northerner, 
who had recently removed to Richmond, and thus 
become a fellow-townsman of the great Yirginian, 
was heard loudly complaining that no one could be 
found to carry home his turkey. 



TO POLrrENESS AND FASHION. 478 

The Chief Justice, who was unknown to the new- 
comer, advancing, inquired where the stranger lived 
and on being informed, said, very quietly — " That is 
on m J way ; I will take it for you ;" and receiving 
the turkey, walked briskly away. 

When he reached the house that had been desig- 
nated, Marshall awaited the arrival of the owner, and 
delivered up his burden. 

" What shall I pay you ?" inquired the youth. 

"ISTothing, whatever," replied the biographer of 
Washington, " it was all in my way, and not the 
slightest trouble — you are welcome ;" and he pur- 
sued his course. 

" Who is that polite old man ?" asked the young 
stranger of a by-stander. 

He was answered — " That is John Marshall^ 
Chief Justice of the United States.''^ 

I well remember, too, how often I used to join my 
old friend. Chief Justice Spencer, of New York, as 
he climbed the long hill leading to his residence, at 
Albany, with a load of poultry in his hand. And 1 
dare say his great-hearted brother-in-law, De Witt 
Clinton, often did the same thing. Certain I am, 
that he was the most unostentatious of human beings, 
as simple and natural as a boy, to the end of his 
days. ^ 



I have the vanity to believe that you will not have 
forgotten the little sketch I gave you, in a previous 
letter, of my interesting young friend Julia Peters, 
Not long after my brief acquaintance with her — that 



4:74 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN 's GUIDE 

is, within a year — I received a newspaper neatly 
inclosed, and sealed with a fanciful device, in pret- 
tily-tinted wax, which being interpreted for me by 
a fair adept in such matters, was said to read — 
** Love, or Cupid, carrying a budget to you from me." 
The following paragraph was carefully marked : 

" Married : — In the Church of the Holy Inno- 
cents, in this village, on Tuesday, May 12th, by the 

"Rev. B Y , St. John Benton and Julia A. 

Peters, daughter of the late Fitz-James Peters. Esq., 
of Princeton, N. J." 

Then followed this sentence, in large characters : 
" The Printer and the ' carrier ' acknowledge 
A bountiful receipt of superb wedding-cake.--' 
May efoery Messing attend the hajpjpy pair P' 

I, too, had my share of the wedding-cake, accom- 
panied by very tasteful, simple cards, as well as a 
previous invitation to the wedding, written jointly by 

Mr. and Mrs. Y- , and in terms most flatteringly 

cordial, and complimentary. Mrs. Y and 1 had, 

by this time, exchanged letters more than once. I 
will give you, as a specimen of the agreeable epis- 
tolary style of my fair friend, the following commu- 
nication, which reached me some two or three 
months after the marriage of her sister. 

"Rectory, , Aug. 22rf, . 

'' Dear Col. Lunettes : — 

" 1 avail myself of my very first leisure 
to comply with the request contained in your most 
kind and acceptable letter of last week. Whether 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 475 

your amiable politeness does not overrate my capa- 
city to write a 'true woman's letter — full of little 
significant details and particularities,' remains to be 
seen. I will do my best, at least, and ' naught exte- 
nuate, nor set down aught in malice,' 

"I hardly know where to begin, in answer to your 
query about the 'possibility of the most economical 
young people managing to live on so small an 
income.' The truth is, Julia and I, thanks to a judi- 
cious mother, weve practwally educated, which makes 
all the difference in the world in a woman's capacity 
to ' make the worse appear the better reason ' in 
matters of domestic management. The house they 
live in is their own. Mr. Benton, fortunately, pos- 
sessed the means of fully paying for it (he was 
entirely frank with Mr. Y about all these mat- 
ters, from the beginning) and Julia was able to fur- 
nish it simply, though comfortably. It is a small 
establishment, to be sure. — a little house and a little 
garden, but it is their own, and that gives it a charm 
which it would not otherwise possess. They feel that 
they will have the benefit of such improvements as 
they may make, and it is wonderful what an effect 
this consciousness produces. The house was a plain, 
bald-looking building enough, when Fitz James 
bought it. Julia said it would be a bold poetic 
license to call it a cottage! — but he has studied 
ai"chitecture, at intervals, as he has had time, with a 
view to future advancement, and so he devised, and 
partly constructed, tasteful little ornaments to sur- 
mount the windows, and a very pretty rustic porch 
in front. The effect was really almost magical. 



476 THE AMERICAN GENTLET^IAn's GUIDK 

when united with the soft, warm color that took the 
place of the glaring white of which every one is be- 
coming so tired. It is quite picturesque, I assure 
yon, now. As a romantic young lady said of it — ' it 
is like the cottages we read of, — quite a picture- 
place.' But pretty and tasteful as it is outside, one 
must become an inmate of Julia's little Eden, to 
know half its claims to admiration. It is just the 
neatest, snuggest, cosiest little nest (by the way they 
call it ' Cosey Cottage,^ as you will please remem 
ber when you write, dear sir) you can imagine. 
There is nothing grand, or even elegant, perhaps, 
but every part is thoroughly furnished for conven- 
nience and comfort, and everything corresjponds. It 
is not like some city houses I liave been in, where 
everything was expended in glare and display in the 
two parlors — ' -i^nwisely kept for show,' and up-staira 
and in the kitchen, the most scanty, comfortless 
arrangements. Julia's cai^pets and curtain&are quite 
inexpensive, but the colors are well chosen for har- 
mony of effect. (Julia rather prides herself upon 
having things artistic, as she expresses it, even to the 
looping up of a curtain.) There is a sort of indescri- 
bable expression about the little parlor, which, by 
the way, they really iise, daily — -her friends say — 
*How much this is like Julia!' Some of Julia's 
crayon heads, and a sketch or two of Mr, Benton's, 
are hung in the different rooms, and they have con- 
trived, or rather imitated, (fori believe St. John said 
it was a French idea) the prettiest little irackets^ 
which are disposed about the walls and coraers of the 
parlor. They are only rough things that her hue- 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 477 

band makes up, covered by Julia, with some dark 
aaterial, and ornamented with fringe, costing almost 
aothing, but so pretty in effect for supporting vases 
of flowera or little figures, or something of that kind. 
Then there is a tiny place, opening from the parlor, 
dignified with the name of Ubrary, where Julia and 
Benton 'draped,' and 'adjusted,' and re-draped, 
and re-adjusted, to their infinite enjoyment and con- 
tent, and somewhat to my amitsement, I will confess 
to you, dear sir. Indeed they trot in harness, to 
borrow one of St. John's phrases,' — most thoroughly 
matched, as well as mated, and go best together. 
They think so, at least, I should infer, as they always 
are together, if possible. Julia helps Benton in the 
garden — holds the trees and shrubs while he places 
them, and ties up the creeping-roses, and other 
things he arranges over the porch, and around the 
windows, and assists him with the lighter work of 
manufacturing rustic seats and stands, and baskets 
for the garden and summer-house ; and Benton (who 
has quite a set of tools) puts up shelves and various 
contrivances of that sort, and did help to lay the car- 
pets, etc., Julia told me. Indeed, while I was with 
them, Mr. Benton's daily life constantly reminded 
me of the beautiful injunction — 'Let every man 
show, by his kind acts and good deeds, how much of 
Heaven he has in him.' 

" But I only tire you, dear sir, by my poor attempts 
to portray my sister's simple happiness — you 
must see it for yourself ! I make no apology for 
the minuteness of my details, — if they seem puerile, 
Colonel Lunettes has himself to thank for my frank- 



478 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE 

ness, but I have yet to learn that my valued friend 
says, or writes, what he does not mean. 

"I have left to the last — because so pleasant a 
theme, — some reference to Julia's pride and delight 
in your beautiful bridal-gift to her. She has, no 
doubt, long since, written to thank you ; but I can- 
not deny myself the gratification of telling you how 
much she values and enjoys it, — from my own obser- 
vation. It is really noticeable too, how exactly it 
suits with all the other table appointments she has — • 
(unless perhaps it is a shade too handsome) only 
another proof of Colonel Lunettes' fine taste ! Mr. 

Y- , to tease Julia, asked her one evening, 

when she was indulging in a repetition of her usual 
eulogy upon the gift and the giver, whether she 
really meant to say that she 'preferred a china tea-pot, 
sugar-bowl, and cream-cup, to silver ones. ' Indeed 
I do,' said she, ' a silver tea-service for me, would 
be " sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought !" It 
would not suit my style at all.' Julia says she shall 
never be perfectly happy until she makes tea for 
Colonel Lunettes, from her beautiful china, and Mr. 
Benton says Colonel Lunettes is the only man in the 
world of whom he is jealous ! Upon this, there 
always follows a gentle i^ery gentle) twitching of 
St. John's whiskers, of which, I will add, by way 
of a descriptipn of the personnel of the young man, 

he has a pair as black and curling as Mr. Y 's, — 

indeed, I must concede that Julia's husband is almost 
as handsome as my own ! 

"We are all eagerly anticipating the fulfillment 
of your promise to visit our beautiful valley, while 



TO POLITENESS AND FASHION. 479 

robed in the gorgeous hues of Autumn. Mr. Y 

and I, are arranging everyt)ung with reference 
to so agreeable an event; — 'We will go there, or 
see that,' we say, ' when Colonel Lunettes comes.' 
Julia, too, is looking forward, with much pleasure, 
to welcoming so coveted a guest. ' I hope we shall 
be able to make the Colonel comfortable^ in our 
quiet way,' she always says, when speaking of your 

promised visit; 'you, and Mr. Y , are so used 

to have the bishop, and other celebrities, that you 
don't know anything about being nervous, at such 
times ; but poor me — just beginning, and such a 
novice!' Upon this, her husband always appeals to 
me, to say whether I have nicer things to eat, any- 
where, ' even at home,' and whether any sensible 
man could not content himself, even in such a ' little 
box,' for a few days, at least ; especially, when well 
assured how happy and honored a certain young 
lady will be, on the occasion. And I must say, for 
Julia, that her versatile powers are fully illustrated 
in her housekeeping. Mr. Y declares that no- 
body hut his wife can make such bread — a perfect 
cure for dyspepsia ! and, as for the pumpkin-pies I — 
well, upon the wliole, he has decided that we ought 
to spend Thanhsgming at ' Cosey Cottage.' 

" I have omitted to mention that, at Julia's earnest 
instance, we left her little namesake — ' Colonel Lu- 
nettes' pet,' as she delights to call herself — with her, 
when we were there. I hardly knew how to give 
her up, though but for a few weeks, even to her 
aunt. Just before we came away, I said to her, 'I 
jope Aunt Julia, and Uncle St. John, won't spoil 



480 THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAn's GUIDE. 

you, my darling ; your aunt has promised to scold 
you, when yon are naughty.' ' Oh, but 'ou see, 
mamma, I don't never mean to he naughty,' she 
answered, almost stopping my breath with her little 
chubby arms clinging about my neck. 

" Persuaded, dear eir, that you will have ' supped 
your full,' even to repletion, of a ' true woman's let- 
ter,' I will only add to Mr. Y 's kindest remem- 
brances and regards, the sincere assurance that I 
am, as ever, 

"Your attached and grateful 

Cecilia D. Y ." 



"Col. Henky Lunettes." 

And now, my dear nephews, that the blessing of 
Heaven may rest upon you, always, in 

" Life's earnest toil aud endeavor," 

is the affectionate and heartfelt prayer and fareweU 
of your 

Uncle Hal. 



TB^C END, 



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