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Prof. J Henry Sender
Good mannerj! are jieroeXuaUetter&Mtrcomfeendatory."
Manners make t^rfe-a^/ ' ,
i > a
PORTER & COATES,
82?. CHESTNUT STREET.
Entered, acoci'ding to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
PORTER AND COATES,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States,
in and for the Eastern D'strirt c f Pennsylvania.
HEARS & DUSENBERY, STEREOTYPERS.
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HEREWITH the author aspires to meet a social
requirement of long standing ; namely, a work
of genuine authority on all points of etiquette,
ceremonial, and manners. Many books pro-
fessing to treat of these subjects have from timo
to time been written, published, circulated ; but
these books have abounded in errors, indicated
an inferior standard of taste, and been written
by incompetent persons.
It is not difficult to divine the reason why
such manuals have failed to^ fulfil their object.
A standard work on manners must necessarily
proceed from the pen of one who moves in the
best circles : but then such persons are for the
most part ignorant of the wants of those who
occupy a lower position in the social scale;
inaccessible to publishers ; and, if given in a
dilettante way to literary pursuits, turn natur-
ally to the composition of novels, books of
travel, or political treatises. Few, also, would
care to write upon so trite a subject, if even
the desirability of the work were brought under
their notice ; and this chiefly, perhaps, because
an unmerited ridicule has hitherto attached to
books of etiquette. People purchase them
with an uneasy sense of shame, read them sub
rosa, and keep them out of sight. In the same
way young persons of both sexes are invariably
ashamed when learning to dance. In all this
there is more false pride than real bashfulness.
People are, in truth, annoyed at having to be
taught these minor accomplishments, and no
matter how young they may be, in what seclusion
they may have lived, under what early disadvan-
tages they may have labored would fain have it
believed that no social nicety, no fine point of
etiquette, no grace of bearing, is other than
familiar and natural to them.
No pride can well be more mistaken ; no
vanity more utterly misplaced. Etiquette is
not innate. A modest man is unobtrusive ; a
good-natured man is obliging ; a feeling man is
considerate ; and in so far as unobtrusiveness^
amiability, and tact are the very foundations'
of good manners, such persons may be said to
be naturally well-bred. But not even a saint
could, from his "inner consciousness ' ; alone,
evolve a conception of the thousand and one
social observances of modern fashionable life.
A knowledge of those social observances is
absolutely indispensable for all who aspire to
live in society ; and it is acknowledged that
cannot be expected, like " reading and writing"
(as Dogberry has it), to "come by nature."
By the children of wealthy parents much of
what is set forth in the following pages is in-
sensibly acquired from earliest infancy ; but
even persons so bred and born may well find
themselves uncertain now and then upon a
point of ceremonial.
To these and all to the cr&ne de la crme as
well as to the great body of the middle class
public, this manual professes to be alike useful
and necessary. Applied to by the publishers
for a work on Good Society, and convinced of
the great importance of the subject, the Author
has not only endeavored to the best of her
ability to treat of it under all its aspects ; to
omit no point, however trivial ; to provide her
readers with a faithful and judicious guide in
every social emergency ; but she has approached
her task with the sincerest desire to be useful
to others and to perform her part in the promo-
tion of that great educational movement which
is even now engaging the sympathies and
prompting the generous labors of so many wise
and noble thinkers.
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL ... 1
LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION CARDS AD-
VISITING CALLS 23
CONVERSATION . 31
LETTER-WRITING INVITATIONS .... 44
THE LADY'S TOILET 54
THE GENTLEMAN'S TOILET 64
RIDING AND DRIVING THE PROMENADE . 70
MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES .... 81
THE BALL 93
TABLE ETIQUETTE DINNER PARTIES . . . 103
ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE 129
VISITING AT A COUNTRY HOUSE 137
HINTS ON CARVING 142
ETIQUETTE IN CHURCH 151
PLACES C7 AMUSEMENT 153
THE ARRANGEMENT OF A LADY*S HOUSE, AND
MANAGEMENT OF SERVANTS . 156
WINE AT TABLE 162
GENERAL HINTS TO BOTH SEXES .... 171
WASHINGTON'S u RULES OF CIVILITY" . . . 183
FRANKLIN'S " RULES OF CONDUCT" . . . 190
CHESTERFIELD'S SENTENCES AND MAXIMS 192
On Good Manners in General.
WHAT is Good Society ? What constitutes
Good Manners? How happens it that the
elegance of one age becomes the vulgarity of the
next? From immemorial time the human family
has been divided into two sections the Polite
and the Vulgar. Whence arose that broad dis-
tinction? What was the primitive definition
of Politeness? Who first discovered the possi-
bilities of Vulgarity ? How may both be resolved
into their first elements? These are questions
which have of late engaged the serious attention
of the learned. They are questions by no means
trivial by no means unessential to the student
of history. We might even go farther than this,
and say that neither the history of mankind in
general, nor the history of any one nation in
particular, can be duly understood and appre-
ciated without a much fuller knowledge of the
2 GOOD MANNERS.
rise and progress of manners and customs than
has hitherto been deemed necessary either by
historians or students.
It would seem that good manners were origin-
ally the mere expression of submission from
the weaker to the stronger. In a rude state of
society every salutation is to this day an act of
worship. Hence the commonest acts, phrases,
and signs of courtesy with which we are now
familiar, date from those earlier stages of our
life as a nation when the strong hand ruled,
and the inferior demonstrated his allegiance by
studied servility. Let us take for example the
words " Sir" and " Madam." *' Sir," once in
use among equals, but now only proper on the
lips of inferiors, is derived from Seigneur, Sieur
Sire, and originally meant Lord, King, Ruler,
and, in its patriarchal sense, Father. The title
of Sire was last borne by some of the ancient
feudal families of France who, as Selden has
said, "affected rather to be styled by the name
of Sire than Baron, as Le Sire de Montmorenci
and the like."
Madam, or Madame, corrupted by our servants
into "Ma'am," and by Mrs. Gamp and her
tribe into "Mum," is in substance equivalent
to " Your exalted," or " Your Highness" -Ma
Dame originally meaning high-born or stately,
and being applied only to ladies of the highest
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL. 3
To turn to our every-day forms of salutation,
We take off our hats on meeting an acquaint-
ance. We bow on being introduced to strangers
We rise when visitors enter our drawing-room.
We wave our hand to our friend as he passes
the window, or drives away from our door. The
Oriental, in like manner, leaves his shoes on the
threshold when he pays a visit. The natives
of the Tonga Islands kiss the soles of a chief-
tain's feet. The Siberian peasant grovels in the
dust before a Russian noble. Each of these acts
has a primary, an historical significance. The
very word '' salutation," in the first place, de-
rived as it is from salutatio, the daily homage
paid by a Roman client to his patron, suggests
in itself a history of manners. To bare the
head was originally an act of submission to
gods and rulers. A bow is a modified prostra-
tion. A lady's courtesy is a modified genu-
flection. Rising and standing are acts of
homage; and when we wave our hand to the
friend on the opposite side of the street, we are
unconsciously imitating the Romans who, as
Selden tells us, used to stand "somewhat off
before the Images of their Gods, solemnly
moving the right hand to the lips and casting
it, as if they had cast kisses."
Again, men remove the glove when they
shake hands with a lady a custom evidently
of feudal origin. The knight removed his iron
i GOOD MANNERS.
gauntlet, the pressure of which would have
been all too harsh for the palm of a fair chate-
laine, and the custom which began in necessity
has travelled down to us as a point of etiquette.
How are we to define that unmistakable
something, as subtle as an essence, that makes
a gentleman or a gentlewoman? May good
breeding be acquired as an art? and if so. where
are we to seek the best professors ? Who does not
wish to give his children, above all other accom-
plishments, that inestimable branch of educa-
tion, the Manners of Good Society? What ia
learning, what are abilities, what are personal
attractions, what is wealth, without this one
supreme essential? A man may know as many
languages as Mezzofanti, may have made scien-
tific discoveries greater than tho*e of Herschel or
Darwin, may be as rich as a Rothschild, as brave
as a Napier, yet if he has a habit of hesitating
over his words, or twisting his limbs, of twid-
dling his thumbs, of laughing boisterously, of
doing or saying awkward trifles, of what account
is he in socioty? So likewise of a woman.
Though she were fair as Helen, skilled in all
modern accomplishments, well-dressed, good-
natured, generous, yet if her voice were over-
loud, or her manner too confident; above all,
if she were to put her knife in her mouth at
dinner; who would think of her beauty, or her
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL. 5
accomplishments, or her fine clothes? Who
would invite her? Who would tolerate her?
But we would by no means be understood to
say that these mere outward observances con-
stitute the essence of good manners. Neither
gestures, nor tones, nor habits, can be accepted
as infallible signs of good or ill breeding. Thumb-
twiddling, and lolling, and knife-swallowing,
are terrible habits enough, and would be, of
course, sufficient to exclude any man or woman
who practised them from the precincts of good
society ; not only because they are in themselves
offensive, but because they would point to fore-
gone associations of a vulgar kind ; but they
do not of necessity prove that the primary essen-
tials of good manners the foundation, so to
speak, upon which the edifice of good manners
should be built is wanting in those unfortunate
persons who are guilty of the offences in ques-
tion. That foundation, that primary essential,
is goodness innate goodness, innate gentle-
ness, innate unselfishness. Upon these quali-
ties, and these alone, are based all those ob-
servances and customs which we class together
under the head of Good Manners. And these
good manners, be it remembered, do not merely
consist in the art of bowing gracefully, of en-
tering a room well, of talking easily, of being
au courant with all the minor habits of the best
society. A man may have all this, know all
6 GOOD MANNERS.
this, and yet, if he be selfish, or ill-natured, or
untruthful, fail altogether of being a true gentle-
man. Good manners are far, indeed, from being
the outward evidences of mere training and dis-
cipline. They are, au fond, the kindly fruits
of a refined nature. As just and elevated
thoughts expressed in choice language are the
index of a highly trained and well-regulated
mind, so does every act, however unimportant,
and every gesture, however insignificant, reveal
the kindly, considerate, modest, loyal nature of
the true gentleman and the true lady. Hear
what Ruskin has to say of the characteristics
of the true gentleman :
" A gentleman's first characteristic is that
fineness of structure in the body which renders
it capable of the most delicate sensation, and
of that structure in the mind ichich renders it
capable of the most delicate sympathies one
may say, simply, 'fineness of nature.' This is,
of course, compatible with heroic bodily strength
and mental firmness ; in fact, heroic strength is
not conceivable without ruch delicacy. Elephan-
tine strength may drive its way through a forest,
and feel no touch of the boughs ; but the white
skin of Homer's Atrides would have felt a bent
rose-leaf, yet subdue its feelings in glow of
battle, and behave itself like iron. 1 do not
mean to call an elephant a vulgar animal : but
if you think about him carefully, you will find
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL. V
that his non-vulgarity consists in such gentle-
ness as is possible to elephantine nature ; not in
his insensitive hide, nor in his clumsy foot, but
in the way he will lift his foot if a child lies in
his way; and in his sensitive trunk, and still
more sensitive mind, and capability of pique on
points of honor Hence it will follow, that
one of the probable signs of high breeding in
men generally will be their kindness and mer-
cifulness ; these always indicating more or less
firmness of make in the mind."
It is impossible, however, in a work like the
present, to touch other than incidentally on the
grand moral substratum underlying all true
refinement as impossible as it would be to
write earnestly upon the subject of good man-
ners without touching upon it at all. For man-
ners and morals are indissolubly allied, and he
who undertakes to discourse of the one can
never, in his own mind, lose sight of the other.
To return, however, to this question of good
feeling and good manners. Just as it may be
shown that every form of salutation takes its
origin either in some religious observances or
some curious mediseval ceremony, so may it also
be shown that the simplest rules of etiquette
are traceable, in their essence, to that unselfish-
ness of nature, and that kindly consideration
for others, which Ruskin, as we have just seen,
defines as u fineness of nature," and adduces as
the touchstone of genuine breeding. To listen
with patience, however prosy our entertainer
may he ; to smile at the thrice-told jest ; to yield
the best seat, or the choicest dish, or the most
amusing volume, are acts, not of mere civility,
but of kindness and unselfishness. So of every
other prescribed rule of social conduct so of
that abstinence from interruption or contradic-
tion in conversation ; of that suppression of a
yawn ; of that cheerful countenance concealing
inward anxiety or weariness; of those perpetual
endeavors to please and to seem pleased, which
end by becoming a second nature to the really
well bred person. Analyze each one of these
acts, and it resolves itself into a concession
towards the feelings, the vanity, or the comfort
of others. Its essence is unselfishness. Its
animating spirit is forbearance. The proposi-
tion is demonstrable by a process of reversal.
If goodness be the parent of politeness, is not
badness the parent of vulgarity? Is not bad
temper vulgar ? Is not selfishness vulgar? Is
not scandal vulgar? Are not greediness, egotism,
inquisitiveness, prevarication, lying, and dis-
honesty, one and all, utterly vulgar ? In a word,
it not vice vulgar?
If, then, we desire that our children shall
become ladies and gentlemen, can we make them
so, think you, by lavishing money upon foreign
professors, dancing masters, continental tours,
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL. 9
tailors, and dressmakers? Ah, no! good breed-
ing is far less costly, and begins far earlier than
those things. Let our little ones be nurtured in
an atmosphere of gentleness and kindness from
the nursery upwards; let them grow up in a
home where a rude gesture or an ill-tempered
word are alike unknown ; where between father
and mother, master and servant, mistress and
maid, friend and friend, parent and child, pre-
vails the law of truth, of kindness, of conside-
ration for others, and forgetfulness of self.
Can they carry into the world, whither we send
them later, aught of coarseness, of untruthful-
ness, of slatternliness, of vulgarity, if their
home has been orderly, if their parents have
been refined, their servants well-mannered, their
friends and playmates kind and carefully trained
as themselves? Do we want our boys to succeed
in the world ; our girls to be admired and loved ;
their tastes to be elegant ; their language choice;
their manners simple, charming, graceful ; their
friendships elevating? then we must ourselves
be what we would have our children to be, ro-
membering the golden maxim, that good man-
ners, like charity, must begin at home.
Good manners are an immense social force.
We should therefore spare no pains to teach our
children what to do, and what to avoid doing,
in their pathway through life. " When we re-
flect," says Emerson, "how manners recom
10 GOOD MANNERS.
mend, prepare, and draw people together; how,
in all clubs, manners make the members; how
manners make the fortune of the ambitious
youth ; that, for the most part, his manners
marry him, and, for the most part, he marries
manners; when we think what keys they are,
and to what secrets; what high lessons and
inspiring tokens of character they convey; and
what divination is required in us for the reading
of this fine telegraph, we see what range the
subject has, and what relations to convenience,
form, and beauty." Again the same writer
says, " The maxim of courts is power. A calm
and resolute bearing, a polished speech, an em-
bellishment of trifles, and the art of hiding
all uncomfortable feelings, are essential to the
courtier Manners impress, as they indi-
cate real power. A man who is sure of h's
point carries a broad and contented expression,
which everybody reads ; and you cannot rightly
train to an air and manner, except by making
him the kind of man of whom that manner is
the natural expression. Nature for ever puts
a premium on reality.''
On utilitarian, as well as social principles, we
should try to instruct our children in good
manners ; for whether we wish them to succeed
in the world or to adorn society, the point is
equally important. We must never lose sight
of the fact, tha f here teachers and professors
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL. 11
can do little, and that the only way in which it
is possible to acquire the habits of good society
is to live in no other. "A blockhead makes a
blockhead his companion," says the writer last
quoted ; and so will a little leaven of vulgarity
leaven the whole social lump. No habit is so
easily acquired as a habit of awkward gesticu-
lation ; no slovenliness so insidious as that of
incorrect speech. lie who wishes to be a gen-
tleman must associate only with those whose
tastes and habits are gentlemanly, and whose
language is refined.
Manner is only to be defined by a series of
negations. The well-bred person has no man-
ner. The well-bred person is distinguished from
the ill-bred person, not by Avhat he does, but by
what he leaves undone. The well-bred person
just differs from the ill-bred person in that he
knows what he ought not to do. The very host
breeding consists chiefly in the utmost unobtru-
siveness. To be well-bred and well-mannered.
in short, is to keep down the e</o upon every
occasion ; to control every expression of strong
feeling; to be of noiseless bearing and gentle
speech: to abstain from all that may hurt the
feelings or prejudices of others; to make sma 1
sacrifices without seeming to make them ; in a
word, to remember that in society one lives for
Others and not for oneself'.
But politeness is not like a robe of state, to
12 GOOD MANNERS.
be worn only upon occasions of ceremony. In
no place do the laws of etiquette bear more gra-
tify ing results than in the home circle, where,
stripped of their mere formality, tempered with
love, and fostered by all kindly impulses, they
improve the character and bear their choicest
fruits. A true gentlewoman will show as much
courtesy, and observe all the little duties of po-
liteness as unfailingly, towards her parents,
husband, and family as towards the greatest
strangers. A true gentleman will never forget
that if he is bound to exercise courtesy and
kindness in his intercourse with the world, he
is doubly bound to do so in his intercourse with
those who depend upon him lor advice, protec-
tion, and example.
Etiquette may be denned as the minor morality
of iife. N< observances, however minute, tha f .
tend to spare the feelings of others, can be
classed under the head of trivialities ; and po-
liteness, which is but another name for general
amiability, will oil the creaking wheels of life
more effectually than any of those unguents
supplied by mere wealth or station.
* Pour etre veritablement poli. il faut etre a
la lois bon, juste, et genereux," has been well
sa'd by a modern French writer; and this is
true, despite she fact that extremely severe codes
of etiquette have often prevailed in the most
vicious and dissolute courts. Most of the Ten
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL- 13
Commandments were habitually violated by the
courtiers of Louis XIV. ; yet which among the
boldest of that profligate circle would have
dared to sit. or eat, or put on his hat unbidden,
in the presence of that haughty and exacting
Sovereign? But, then, etiquette is not polite-
ness, but only the mere external vesture of it;
too often the mere counterfeit. True politeness
is the outward visible sign of those inward
spiritual graces called modesty, unselfishness,
generosity. The manners of a gentleman are
the index of his soul. His speech is innocent,
because his life is pure ; his thoughts are direct,
because his actions are upright; his bearing is
gentle, because his blood, and his impulses, and
hi? training are gentle also. A true gentleman
is entirely free from every kind of pretence. He
avoids homage, instead of exacting it. Mere
ceremonies have no attraction for him. He seeks
not to say civil things, but to do them. His
hospitality, though hearty and sincere, will be
strictly regulated by his means. His friends
will be chosen for their good qualities and good
manners; his servants, for their truthfulness
and honesty: his occupations, for their useful-
ness, or their gracefulness, or their elevating
tendencies, whether moral, or mental, or poli-
tical. And so we come round again to our first
maxim ; i.e. that " good manners are the kindly
fruit of a refined nature."
14 GOOD MANNERS.
And if this be true of mankind, how still
more true is it of womankind ! Granted that
truthfulness, gracefulness, considerateness, un-
selfishness, are essential to the breeding of a
true gentleman, how infinitely essential must
they not be to the breeding of a true lady !
That her tact should be even readier, her syni-
pathies even tenderer, her instincts even finer,
than those of the man, seems only fit and
natural. In her, politeness, prvoyance, and all
the minor observances of etiquette are abso-
lutely indispensable. She must be even more
upon her guard than a man in all those niceties
of speech, look, and manner, which are the
especial and indispensable credentials of good
breeding. Every little drawing-room ceremo-
nial, all the laws of precedence, the whole eti-
quette of hospitality, must be familiar to her.
And even in these points, artificial though they
be, her best guide, after all, is that kindness 'of
heart which gives honor where honor is due,
and which is ever anxious to spare the feelings
and prejudices of others.
Every mistress of a house, be it remembered,
is a minor sovereign, upon whose bounty the
comfort, and happiness, and refinement of her
little court depend. She must take especial
care that her servants are capable, well-trained,
and reliable, and that her domestic arrangements
are carried on as noiselessly and easily as if by
ON GOOD MANNERS IN GENERAL. 15
machinery. In a well-ordered household the
machinery is always in order, and alwavs works
J v ;
out of sight. No well-bred woman talks of her
servants, of her dinner arrangements, or of the
affairs of her nursery. One feels these matters
to be under her surveillance, and that fact alone
is a guarantee of their good management. The
amusements and comforts of her guests are pro-
vided for without discussion or comment ; and
whatever goes wrong is studiously withheld
from the conversation of the drawing-room.
And let no lady, however young, however beau-
tiful, however gifted, for one moment imagine
that the management of her house can be
neglected with impunity. If she is rich enough
to provide an efficient housekeeper, well and
good; but even so, the final responsibility must
still rest upon her, and her alone. No tastes,
no pleasures, must stand in the way of this im-
portant duty ; and if even that duty should at
first seem irksome, the fulfilment of it is sure
to bring its own reward.
Good manners of course presuppose good
education. " Crabbed age and youth" are as
incompatible associates as ignorance and high
breeding. Let, therefore, those persons who from
adverse circumstances have not run through the
ordinary curriculum of a liberal education early
in life, begin the reformation of their manners
by the cultivation of their minds. Some know-
16 GOOD MANNERS.
ledge of ancient and modern history, of the
progress of English literature, and of the cur-
rent affairs of our own time, is indispensable to
even the most ordinary conversationists. Next
in importance comes a familiar acquaintance
with the French and German languages. Nor
is mere knowledge of much value, unless the
taste be equally cultivated. Some familiarity
with the best schools of art and music is now
made not only possible but easy to persons of all
classes. Museums, schools of art, reading-rooms,
lecture halls, loan exhibitions, and the like, have
of late years placed such means of culture as
were unattainable by gentlemen and nobles
of a hundred years ago within reach of the
humblest mechanic. If knowledge is power,
taste, be it remembered, is delight. Without
taste, knowledge becomes mere pedantry, and
study remains to the last unfruitful and unat-
Let us in conclusion add the following lines
by Tennyson, as an equally comprehensive and
just definition of a true gentleman :
" We see him as he moved,
How modest, kindly, all accomplished, wise,
With what sublime repression of himself,
And in what limits, and how tenderly:
Not making his high place a lawless perch
Of winged ambitions, nor a vantage ground
For pleasure: but thro' all this tract of years
Wearing the white flower of a blameless life."
Letters of Introduction Cards Addresses.
DO not lightly give or promise letters of in-
troduction. Always remember that when
you give letters of introduction you lay yourself
under an obligation to those friends to whom
they may be addressed. If they live in any of
the great cities, you in a measure compel them
to undergo the penalty of escorting the strangers
whom you introduce to some of those places of
public entertainment in which the cities abound.
In any case, you put your friends to the expense
of inviting them to their table.
We cannot be too cautious how we tax the
time and purse of a friend, or weigh too seri-
ously the question of mutual advantage in the
introduction. Always ask yourself whether
the person introduced will be an acceptable
acquaintance to the one to whom you present
him ; and whether the pleasure of knowing him
will compensate for the time or money which
it may cost to entertain him. If the stranger
is in any way unsuitable in habits or tempera-
ment, you inflict an annoyance upon your friend
instead of a pleasure. In questions of intro-
18 GOOD MANNERS.
duction, never oblige one friend to the discom*
fort of another.
Letters of introduction are necessary in the
country, particularly where new comers enter
a new abode, and wish to enter the best society
of the place. In the last case the inhabitants
should call first, unless the new comer brings a
letter of introduction, when he is the first to call.
Instead, however, of going in. he sends his let-
ter and card, and waits till this formal visit is
returned. Never deliver a letter of introduction
in person. It places you in the most undig-
nified position imaginable, and compels you to
wait while it is being read, like a footman.
There is also another reason why you should
not be yourself the bearer of your introduction ;
i. e., you compel those to whom you are intro-
duced to receive you, whether they choose or
not. It may be that they arc sufficiently ill-
bred to take no notice of the letter when sent-,
and in such case, if you presented yourself with
it. they would most probably receive you with
It is at all events more polite on your part to
give them the option, and. perhaps, more plea-
sant. If the receivers of the letter be really
well-bred, they will call upon you or leave cards
the next day, and you should return their atten-
tions within the week.
If, on the other hand, a stranger sends you
LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION. 19
a letter of introduction, and his or her card (for
the law of etiquette here holds good for both
sexes), you are bound, not only to call next day,
but to follow up that attention by others. If
you are in a position to do so, the next correct
proceeding is to send an invitation to dinner.
Should this not be within your power, you can
probably escort the stranger to some exhibition,
concert, public building, museum, or other place
likely to prove interesting to a foreigner or pro-
vincial visitor. In short, etiquette demands that
you shall exert yourself to show kindness to the
stranger, if only out of compliment to the friend
who introduced him to you.
If you invite strangers to dinner or tea, it is
a better compliment to ask some others, than to
dine with them tete-d-tetc. You are thereby
affording them an opportunity of making other
acquaintances, and are assisting your friend in
still further promoting the purpose for which
he gave the introduction to yourself. Be care-
ful at the same time only to ask such persons
as you are quite sure are the stranger's own
A letter of introduction must be carefully
worded, stating clearly the name of the person
introduced, but with as few personal remarks
as possible. It suffices, in most cases, to say
that so-and-so is a friend of yours, whom you
trust your other friend will receive with atten-
tion. In travelling, one car/not have too many
letters of introduction. It is the custom in
foreign towns for the new coiner to call on the
residents first, a hint that may prove acceptable
to persons contemplating a long or short resi-
A letter of introduction should be given un-
sealed, not only because your friend may wish
to know what you have said, but also as a
guarantee of your own good faith. As you
should never give such a letter unless you. can
speak highly of the bearer, this rule of etiquette
is easy to observe. By requesting your friend
to fasten the envelope before forwarding the
letter to its destination, you tacitly give per-
mission to inspect its contents. Let your note-
paper be of the best quality and of the proper
The fashion of cards is a variable one. The
visiting card should be perfectly simple. Glazed
cards are now wholly out of fashion, and ladies'
cards are cut smaller than they used to be.
Never leave a card with y<>ui business address
upon it, except when making a business call.
Never use a card that is ornamented in any
way. Let it be perfectly plain, tinted if you
like. The possessor of two residences should
have one address engraved in the left corner
and one in the right. All merely honorary or
official designations should be omitted, except in
cards designed for purely official visits. The
engraving should be in simple Italian writing,
not in Gothic or Roman letters, and be adorned
with no flourishes. The address should always
be in the corner. Some gentlemen and unmar-
ried ladies have adopted the continental custom
of omitting the Mr. and Miss upon their cards j
ALFRED JOHN MAJORIBANKS ;
And the fashion is a good one. Autographic
fac-sirniles for visiting-cards are detestable affec-
tations in any persons but those remarkable for
talent, whose autographs, or fac-similes of whose
autographs, would be prized as curiosities. A
card bearing the autographic signature of Long-
fellow or Whittier would possess a certain inte-
rest; whereas the signature of John Smith or
Mary Jones would be not only valueless, but
would render the owner ridiculous. Persons in
mourning must have cards bordered with black.
Young unmarried ladies living with their pa-
rents do not require separate cards. It is better
to have their name placed below that of their
mother ; as
MRS. STEWART BFNG.
22 GOOD MANNERS.
Some married people, when visiting together,
use a single card, engraved thus:
MR. & MRS. CHARLES BROWN.
Leave-taking cards have P. P.O. (pour prendre
conc/g) written in the corner, or P.D.A. (pour
Wedding-cards should be as simple and unos-
tentatious as possible. The envelopes and cards
should be of the very best quality.
A MORNING visit should be paid between the
JLX hours of 12 and 3 P.M. Never pay a visit
before noon ; and be careful always to avoid the
luncheon hours of your friends. Some ladies
dine with their children at one or half-past one
o'clock, and are consequently unprepared for the
early reception of visitors. When you have
once ascertained this to be the case, be careful
never to intrude again at the same hour. In
this country, where almost every man has some
business to occupy his day, the evening is the
best time for him to pay his calls. Never call
upon a lady after nine in the evening.
A good memory for these trifles is one of the
marks of good-breeding.
A first visit should be returned within three
days. A visit of ceremony and, indeed, a visit
of friendship should always be brief. If even
the conversation becomes animated, beware of
letting your call exceed half an hour in length.
It is better to let your friends regret rather than
desire your withdrawal.
24 GOOD MANNERS.
Always, when making a call, send up your
card, by the servant who opens the door.
Always leave a card when you find the person
upon^whom you have called absent from home.
When returning visits of ceremony, you may
without impoliteness, leave your card at the door,
without going in. Do not, however, fail to in-
quire if the family be well. If there are visitors
staying in the house, it is better to distinguish
the cards intended for them by writing their
names above your own. A married lady, calling
upon a married lady, leaves her husband's card
for the husband of her friend.
Unless when returning thanks for "kind in-
quiries," and announcing your arrival in, or
departure from, town, it is not considered re-
spectful to send round cards by a servant.
Visits of condolence are paid within the week
after the event which occasions them. Personal
visits of this kind are made only by relations
and very intimate friends, who should be care-
ful to make the conversation as little painful as
In paying visits of congratulation, you should
always go in, and be hearty in your congratula-
tions. Wedding cards are generally sent round
to such people as one wishes to keep up ac-
quaintance with, and these will call first on the
newly-married pair. A visit is also due to the
parents who have invited you to the wedding.
VISITING CALLS. 25
A call should invariably be made within a
week or fortnight upon friends or acquaintances
at whose house you have dined, or from whom
you have received an invitation to dine.
A well-bred person will endeavor to receive
visitors at any time. If you are occupied and
cannot afford to be interrupted, it is better to
instruct your servant to say that you are never
"at home," except upon certain days and at
certain hours. If a servant once admits a visitor
within the hall, receive him at any incon-
venience ; but take care that the circumstance
does not occur again. A lady should never
keep a visitor waiting. Some ladies only receive
visitors on a stated day in each week ; but this
is a somewhat pretentious custom, only to be
justified by the exigencies of a very lofty posi-
tion. Umbrellas and overcoats should always
be left in the hall.
When a gentleman makes a morning call, he
should never leave his hat or riding-whip in the
hall, but should take both into the room. To
do otherwise would be to make himself too much
at home. The hat should never be laid on a
table, pianoforte, or any article of furniture,
but must be held properly in the hand. If you
are compelled to lay it aside, put it on the floor.
When going to spend the evening with a
friend whom you visit often, leave your hat,
gloves, and great-coat in the hall.
26 GOOD MANNERS.
Never take favorite dogs into a drawing-room
when you make a morning call. Their feet may
he dusty, or they may bark at strangers, or,
being of too friendly a disposition, may take the
liberty of lying on a lady's gown, or jumping
upon a velvet sofa or an easy chair. Besides,
your friend may have a favorite cat already
established before the fire, and in that case a
battle may ensue. Many persons, too, have a
constitutional antipathy to dogs, and others
never allow their own to be seen in the recep-
tion-rooms. For all or any of these reasons,
a visitor has no right to inflict upon his friend
the society of his dog as well as of himself.
Neither is it well for a mother to take young
children with her when she pays morning visits ;
their presence, unless they are usually well-
trained, can only be productive of anxiety to
yourself and your hostess. She, while striving
to amuse them, or to appear interested in them,
is secretly anxious for the fate of her album, or
the ornaments upon her efag&re ; while the
mother is trembling lest her children should
say or do something objectionable.
If you do not keep a close carriage, you should
never pay visits of ceremony in wet weather.
To enter a drawing-room with mud-bespattered
boots and damp clothes is a faux pas that no
lady or gentleman will commit.
On entering a crowded drawing-room-, go at
VISITING CALLS. 27
once to pay your respects to the lady of the
house, and take the seat she indicates to you.
A gentleman should take any vacant chair he
may find, without troubling his hostess to think
for him. Place a chair for a lady, and wait until
she takes it before you sit doAvn yourself. Never
sit beside a lady upon a sofa, or on a chair very
near her own, unless she invites you to do so.
A gentleman ought to rise upon the entrance
of ladies. A lady does not rise. It is not per-
missible to leave one's chair in order to get
nearer the fire. As a general rule, an intro-
duction is only followed by a bow, unless the
persons to whom your hostess introduces you
are her relations or very old friends, and for
some special reason she desires that you should
make their acquaintance. In this case you give
your hand. A man has no right to take a lady's
hand till it is offered. Two ladies shake hands
gently and softly. A lady gives her hand to a
gentleman, but does not shake his hand in
return. Young ladies only bow to unmarried
men. It is the privilege of a superior to offer
or withhold his hand 5 an inferior should never
be the first to extend the hand. Foreigners
rarely shake hands, and then only with intimate
If other visitors are announced, and you have
already remained as long as courtesy requires,
wait till they are seated ; then take leave of
28 GOOD MANNERS.
your hostess ; bow politely to the newly arrived
guests, and retire. You will, perhaps, be urged
to remain ; but having once arisen, it is best to
go. There is always a certain air of c/aucherie
in resuming your seat, and repeating the cere-
mony of leave-taking. If you have occasion to
look at your watch during a call, ask permission
to do so, and apologize for it on the plea of
A gentleman should rise when any lady takes
her leave, and, if in his own house, should
escort her to her carriage.
Never take another gentleman to call upon
one of your lady friends without first obtaining
her permission to do so.
In receiving morning visits, it is not neces-
sary that a lady should lay aside the employ-
ment in which she may be engaged, particularly
if it consist of light or ornamental needle-work.
Politeness, however, requires that music, draw-
ing, or any absorbing occupation, be at once
abandoned. A well-bred lady pays equal atten-
tion to all her visitors, and endeavors to make
conversation as general as possible. It is allow-
able to pay extra attention to any person of
distinguished rank, extreme age, or world-wide
reputation. No one would resent a little exclu-
sive politeness to a general, a nonagenarian, or a
Longfellow. To do homage to the rich, simply
because they are rich, is a piece of snobbism
"VISITING CALLS. 29
wliK* :/en the most amiable find it difficult to
A lady need not advance to receive visitors
when announced, unless they are persons to
whom she is desirous of testifying particular
respect. It is sufficient if she rises, moves for-
ward a single step to shake hands with them,
and remains standing till they are seated.
When her visitors rise to take leave, she
should rise also, and remain standing till they
have quite left the room. It is not necessary to
accompany them to the drawing-room door, but
the bell should be rung in good time, that the
servant mav be ready in the hall to let them out.
If upon entering the parlor you find your friend
is going out, or that the lady is dressed for a
party or promenade, make your visit very brief.
If the lady is unattended, and urges your stay,
you may offer your service as an escort.
Do not let your host come further with you
th^n the room door if he has other visitors ; but
if you are showing out a friend, and leave no
others in the parlor, a gentleman should come
to the street-door.
A lady can never call upon a gentleman un-
less professionally or officially. To do so would
be, not only a breach of good manners, but of
A ladv should dress well, though not too
richly, when she pays or receives morning visits.
30 GOOD MANNERS.
If she has a carriage at command, she may dress
more elegantly than if she were on foot. A
gentleman should always be well dressed. No
one. in the present day, can afford to dress
Trifling as many of these little rules may at
first sight appear, they are by no means unim-
portant. Trifles in the aggregate become great
It has been well said that " attention to the
punctilios of politeness is a proof at once of
self-respect, and of respect for your friend."
Though irksome at first, these trifles soon cease
to be matters for memory, and become things
of mere habit. To the thoroughly well-bred
they are a second nature. Let no one neglect
them who is desirous of pleasing in society ;
and, above all, let no one deem them unworthy
of attention. They are precisely the trifles
which do most to make social intercourse agree-
able, and a knowledge of which distinguishes
the gentleman and gentlewoman from the par-
""V/'OU shall not be facile, apologetic, or leaky,"
1 says Emerson, ''but king over your
word." The art of expressing one's thoughts
in clear, simple, elegant English, is one of the
first to be attained by those who would mix in
good society. No matter what claims you may
have upon the world's attention or respect
whether you be a millionaire, a genius, a dis-
coverer, a philanthropist you must talk, and
talk fairly well, if you would not altogether
fail of producing some kind of impression upon
society. To have something good to say, and
to say it in the best possible manner, is to
insure success and admiration.
The first thing necessary for the attainment
of this valuable accomplishment is a good edu-
cation. Every well-bred person, as we have
already remarked, should be well acquainted
with the French language, with the history of
his own country, and with the current events
and literature of the day. Above all things, a
perfect knowledge of English is indispensable.
To talk of the nuances and elegancies of accent
32 GOOD MANNERS.
and language to persons who are wanting in
rudimentary knowledge, is like discussing the
/ o o
charms of literary style with one who has not
yet learned to spell. Yet let no one despair of
being able to speak well, however laboriously
he may have to contend with the disadvantages
of neglected education. The safest and speediest
plan is at once to procure a good teacher. Be-
ware of trusting too readily to the guidance of
a pronouncing dictionary. A work of this kind
is, for the most part, a delusion and a snare.
With its phonetic attempt at illustration, it can
do no more than show you a skeleton, and call
it a man. Those who have had no educational
advantages in youth should set themselves to
learn their own language as a foreigner would
learn it; ?'. e. by assiduously working with a
first-rate teacher of elocution, and by omitting
no opportunity of hearing good English spoken.
They should attend public readings, theatres,
lectures, law-courts and the like, and be careful
to associate as little as possible with persons
who are in the habit of expressing themselves
incorrectly and vulgarly. Nothing is so infec-
tious as a vicious accent or a vulgar manner.
All provincialisms, affectations of foreign ac-
cent, mannerisms, exaggerations, and slang are
detestable. Equally to be avoided are inaccura
cies of expression, hesitation, and undue use of
French or other foreign words, and anything
approaching to flippancy, coarseness, triviality,
or prevarication. The voice should never be
loud, the speech should not be accompanied with
gesticulation, and the features should ever be
under strict control. A half -opened mouth, a
smile ready at any moment to overflow into a
laugh, a vacant stare, a wandering eye, are all
evidences of ill-breeding. One may be as awk-
ward with the mouth as with the arms or legs.
Suppression of visible emotion, v .jther of
laughter, or anger, or mortification, or disap-
pointment, is a sure irvr; of breeding.
Ne. fc to unexceptionable grammar, correct
elocution, and a frank, sclf-controlle r i bearing,
it is necessary to be genial. Do not go into
society unless you can in I'le up your rnind to be
cheerf'U, sympathetic, animating, a w r1] as
animated. Dulness is one of the unforgivable
offerees. Society does no' require you to be as
hilarious as if you ha- just come into a fortune,
but you have no right to look as though you
had just lost one.
In die present day an acquaintance with art
is indispensable. Music and painting are con-
stantly discussed in good society, and you should
know something about the best works of the
great painters, sculptors, and musicians. Be care-
ful not to display this knowledge too much
it may become tiresome, or you may be tripped
up by some one who knows more.
34 GOOD MANNERS.
The matter of conversation is as important as
the manner. There are a thousand conversa-
tional shoals and quicksands to be avoided in
society ; and though tact and good feeling will
for the most part point them out, it may be as
well to enumerate a few of them.
Compliments are inadmissible in society, un-
less, indeed, they are so delicately put as to be
hardly discernible. All flattery is vulgar, and
born of snobbism, while the habit of neaping
attentions or civil speeches upon those who are
richer, better born, or wiser than ourselves,
induces insincerity on the one hand and disgust
on the other. Even the best-meant flattery does
harm, since it is sure to be ascribed to interested
motives. Testify your respect, your admiration,
your gratitude, by deeds, not words. Words
are easy, deeds difficult. Few will believe the
first, but the last carry confirmation with them.
In conversation the face should wear some-
thing which is akin to a smile ; a smile, as it
were, below the surface.
We should always look at the person who
addresses us, and listen deferentially to what-
ever he says. When we make answer, we should
endeavor to express our best thoughts in our
best manner. A loose manner of expression
injures ourselves more than our interlocutor;
since, if we talk carelessly to those whom we
will not take the trouble to please, we shall feel
at a loss for apt words and correct elocution
when we need them.
Always think before you speak ; as thus only
can you acquire a habit of speaking to the
A clear intonation, a well-chosen phraseology,
a logical habit of thought, and a correct accent,
will prove of inestimable advantage to the young
of both sexes on beginning life.
Polite vulgarisms must be scrupulously
guarded against. A well-educated person pro-
claims himself by the simplicity and terseness
of his language. It is only the half-educated
who indulge in fine language, and think that
long words and high-sounding phrases are dis-
tingue. Good, clear Saxon Erglish is nowhere
better studied than in the wo As of Macaulay,
Sydney Smith, Southey, Jeremy Taylor, Defoe,
George Eliot, and Anthony Trollope. Such
works should be read again and again.
Anything approaching to extravagance in
conversation is objectionable. We should en-
deavor to ascertain the precise meaning of the
words we employ, and only employ them at the
right time. Such phrases as "awfully hot/'
"immensely jolly," "abominably dull," "dis-
gustingly mean." &c ., &c., are constantly used
in the most reckless manner, and end by con-
veying no meaning whatever. This hyperbolica/
36 GOOD MANNERS.
way of speaking is mere flippancy, without wit
or novelty to recommend it
All " slang" is vulgar. It has become of late
unfortunately prevalent, and we have known
even ladies pride themselves on the saucy chiqiie
with which they adopt certain cant phrases of
the day. Such habits cannot be too severely
reprehended. They lower the tone of society
and the standard of thought. It is a great mis-
take to suppose that slang is in any way a sul-
stitute for wit.
Scandal is the least excusable of all conver
The use of proverbs is very objectionable in
society ; and puns, unless they rise to the rank
of witticisms, are to be scrupulously avoided.
There is no greater nuisance in society than a
dull and persevering punster.
Long arguments in general company, however
entertaining to the disputants, are, to the last
degree, tiresome to the hearers. You should
always prevent the conversation from dwelling
too long on one topic.
Religion and politics are subjects which should
never be introduced in general society at the
dinner-table, or in the society of ladies. They
are subjects on which persons are most likely
to differ, and least likely to preserve their
If you are led into such discussions, be care-
ful not to use language and actions unbecoming
a gentleman. A man in a passion ceases to be
a gentleman. Even if convinced your opponent
is wrong, yield gracefully, decline further dis-
cussion, or dexterously turn the conversation.
Interruption of the speech of others is a great
sin against good breeding. It has been aptly
said, that u if you interrupt a speaker in the
middle of his sentence, you act almost as rudely
as if, when walking with a companion, you were
to thrust yourself before him, and stop his
To listen well, is almost as great an art as to
talk well. It is not enough only to listen. You
must endeavor to seem interested in the conver-
sation of others. Never anticipate the point of
a story which another is reciting, or take it from
his lips to finish it in your own language.
Gentlemen should not make use of classical
quotations in the presence of ladies, without
apologizing for, or translating them. Even then,
it should only be done when no other phrase
can so aptly express their meaning. Much dis-
play of learning is pedantic and out of place in
a drawing-room. All topics especially interest-
ing to gentlemen, such as the turf, the exchange,
or the farm, should be excluded from general
conversation. .Men should also remember that
all ladies are not interested n politics, and dwell,
of preference, upon such subjects as they are
38 GOOD MANNERS.
sure to be acquainted with. Never talk upon
subjects of which you know nothing, unless it
be for the purpose of acquiring information.
Many young ladies and gentlemen imagine that,
because they play a little, sing a little, draw a
little, frequent exhibitions and operas, arid so
forth, they are qualified judges of art. No mis-
take is more egregious or universal. The young
should never be critical. A young person of
either sex can but appear ridiculous when sati-
rizing books, people, or things : opinion, to be
worth the consideration of others, should have
the advantage of maturity.
Anecdotes should be very sparsely introduced
into conversation, and should be invariably
*' short, witty, eloquent, new, not far-fetched."
Repartee must be indulged in with equal
moderation. Utterly objectionable to all persons
of taste is the fast and flippant style of speech
adopted by some fashionable young ladies of the
present day. In converging with men or women
of rank, do not too frequently give them their
titles ; such as General. Doctor, &c. -, they must
always have the surname appended by stran-
gers : as, " What i-' your opinion, General Mac-
clonald ?" not, u What is your opinion, General ?''
1 hope you are well, Doctor Brown?' 5 not, " 1
hope you are well, Doctor." The surname can
only be omitted by old friends. As a rule, names
should be used but seldom, and never familiarly.
Few solecisms give deeper offence than any
liberty taken with one's name, which should
invariably be spelt and pronounced according to
the example of the possessor.
In the society of foreigners it must be remem-
bered that the custom is wholly different from
ours. A Frenchman is always addressed no
matter whether he bear a professional, official,
or military title as *' Monsieur ;" and you never
omit the word "Madame," whether addressing
a duchess or a dressmaker. However much we
may object to the custom, we should adopt it
when in the society of foreigners, remember-
ing that to forget the appellatives, "Monsieur,
Madame, and Mademoiselle," equally with the
German " Mein Herr," and the Italian "Sig-
nore," would savor as much of ill breeding as
if we were to address our own country-people as
"Sir," "Ma'am," and "Miss," after the fashion
The great secret of talking well is to adapt
your conversation as skilfully as may be to your
company. Some men make a point of talking
commonplaces to all ladies alike, as if a woman
could only be a trifler. Others, on the contrary,
seem to forget in what respects the education
of a lady differs from that of a gentleman, and
commit the opposite error of conversing on topics
with which ladies are seldom acquainted. A
woman of sense has as much right to be an-
40 GOOD MANNERS.
noyed by the one, as a lady of ordinary educa-
tion by the other. You cannot pay a finer
compliment to a woman of refinement and esprit
than by leading the conversation into such a
channel as may mark your appreciation of her
It should be remembered that people take
more interest in their own affairs than in any-
thing else which you can name. In tHe-a-tHe
conversations, therefore, lead a mother to talk
of her children, a young lady of her last ball, an
author of his forthcoming book, or an artist of
his exhibition picture. Having furnished the
topic, you need only listen ; and you are thought
not only agreeable, but thoroughly sensible,
amiable, and well-informed.
Be careful, on the other hand, not always to
make a point of talking to persons upon general
matters relating to their professions. To show
an interest in their immediate concerns is flat-
tering, but to converse with them too much
about their own art or profession looks as if you
thought them ignorant of other topics.
Do not be always witty, even though you should
be so happily gifted as to need the caution. To
outshine others on every occasion is the surest
road to unpopularity.
In a tdte-d-t&te conversation, however interest-
in ir, it is extremely ill-bred to drop the voice to
a whisper, or to converse on private matters*
Members of a family should not converse to-
gether in society.
If a foreigner be one of the guests at a small
party, and does not understand English suffi-
ciently well to follow what is said, good breed-
ing demands that the conversation should be
carried on in his own language, or that he should
be introduced to some person conversant with it.
If upon the entrance of a visitor you carry on
the thread of a previous conversation, you should
briefly recapitulate to him what has been said
before he arrived.
Always look, but never stare, at those with
whom you converse.
Do not frequently repeat the name of the per-
son with whom you are conversing ; it implies
either the extreme of hauteur or familiarity. We
have already cautioned you against the repeti-
tion of titles. Deference can always be better
expressed in the voice, manner, and countenance
than in any forms of words.
Never speak of absent persons by only their
Christian names or surnames, but always as Mr.
or Mrs. . Above all, never name any-
body by the first letter of his name. Married
people are sometimes guilty of this flagrant
offence against taste.
Even slight inaccuracy in statement of facts
or opinions should rarely be remarked on in
4:2 GOOD MANNERS.
conversation. No one likes to be corrected,
especially in the presence of others.
Be careful in company how you defend your
friends, unless the conversation be addressed to
yourself. Remember that nobody is perfect,
%nd people may sometimes speak the truth ; and
that, if contradicted, they may be desirous of
justifying themselves, and will prove what
might otherwise have been a matter of doubt.
Never speak of your own children, except to
your servants, as "Master" Tom or "Miss"
Mary. Give them their Christian names only.
Remember in conversation that a voice ''gentle
and low" is, above all other extraneous accom-
plishments, u an excellent thing in woman."
There is a certain distinct but subdued tone of
voice which is peculiar only te persons of the
best breeding. It is better to err by the use of
too low than too loud a tone. Loud laughter
is extremely objectionable in society.
Conversation is a reflex of character. The
pretentious, the illiterate, the impatient, the
envious, will as inevitably betray tneir idiosyn-
crasies as the modest, the even-tempered, and
the generous. Strive as we may, we cannot be
always acting. Let us, therefore, cultivate a
tone of mind and a habit of life, the betrayal
of which need not put us to shame in the com-
pany of the pure and the wise ; and the rest
will be easy. If we make ourselves worthy of
refined and intelligent society, we shall not be
rejected from it; and in such society we shall
acquire by example all that we have failed to
learn from precept.
A knowledge of English and foreign litera-
ture, of home and foreign politics, of current
history and subjects of passing interest, is ab-
solutely necessary, to be derived from the best
daily newspapers, the reviews and magazines.
u You cannot have one well-bred man," says
Emerson, "without a whole society of such."
Elsewhere he says: "It makes no difference,
in looking back five years, how you have dieted
or dressed ; whether you have been lodged on
the first floor or in the attic; whether you have
had gardens and baths, good cattle and horses,
have been carried in a neat equipage, or in a
ridiculous truck ; these tilings are forgotten so
quickly, and leave no effect. But it counts
much whether we have had good companions
in that time, almost as much as what we have
Letter Writing Invitations.
^IIERE is no branch of education, no portion
1 of intercourse with others, and no quality
which will stand in good stead more frequently
than the capability of writing a good letter upon
any and every subject.
No one should write letters at all who cannot
write in a clear, fair hand, that " those who run
may read." In a busy age like the present,
when every one's time has a certain value, we
have no right to impose the reading of hiero-
glyphics upon our correspondents, /'s should
be dotted, fs crossed, capitals used in their pro-
per places, and only the most obvious abbrevi-
ations indulged in. Punctuation is equally de
rigueur ; the most unimportant letters should be
carefully punctuated ; and the habit is so easily
acquired, and so simple, that after a while it
entails no mor)s time or thought than dotting
the i's. The handwriting of a lady or gentle-
man should not be commercial or scholastic, but
bold, firm, and characteristic. All affectations
in writing should be avoided, such as sloping
one's hand to the left, the use of flourishes, un-
LETTER WRITING INVITATIONS. 45
due largeness or smallness of characters, &c.,
&c. The signature should be simple and unos-
tentatious. Nothing is more absurd than to see
a person whose name can have no significance
to the world in general, sign himself as elabo-
rately as if he were at least the Pope or the Pre-
mier. Underlining should only be resorted to
when the underlined word is very important.
Many ladies carry this practice to excess, and so
rob it of all significance. What should we think
of a speaker who emphasized every other word ?
For ordinary correspondence it is advisable
to use white note-paper of fair quality, thick,
white, and perfectly plain, with the address
printed in simple characters at the top. This
custom saves much trouble and insures your
correspondent's answer being correctly ad-
dressed. From a business letter the address
and date should never be omitted.
Write legible, correctly, and without erasures,
upon a whole sheet of paper; never upon a
sheet which has anything written upon it,
erasures, or is soiled. It is very impolite to use
for an answer the half of the sheet upon which
the original letter was written.
If monograms and crests are used, they
should be as simple as possible, and in one
color only. Gilt monograms and crests printed
in many colors are pretentious, and therefore
not in good taste. Perhaps the most simple,
elegant, and dignified way of setting your cachet
on your letter is by sealing it with your arms.
Married ladies use their husbands' arms. Un-
married ladies cannot bear crests or coats of
arms: but must only have the quarterings of
their fathers' and mothers' arms on a lozenge.
Red sealing-wax is inadmissible, and wafers
must never be used. In mourning, the paper
and envelopes should have a black border suit-
able to the degree of relationship to the dead,
and the length of time during which one has
been in mourning. In the very deepest mourn-
ing, exaggerations of black border are unbe-
coming and out of taste. Real grief is always
The ceremonial of invitations is much changed
of late years. For large solrts and u At Homes"
printed invitations on cards and note-paper are
used. The form is simply this :
"MRS. NORMAN," .
Monday Evening, June the H4th inst.
with the name of the invited persons written
above, or on the envelope. The least formal of
LETTER WRITING INVITATIONS. 47
formal invitations is when the lady sends her
own visiting-card with the invitation written
upon it in her own handwriting.
An invitation of this sort is not to be replied to:
you go or not, as you please ; and, in the latter
case, you leave a card next day. If you go,
you do not call afterwards, a party of this kind
standing on the same footing as an open after-
Notes of invitation for evening parties are
issued in the name of the lady of the house.
The most formal may be worded thus :
" Mrs. Ashton requests the honor of Mr. and
Mrs. James Brown's company on Monday
evening, 14th June."
The reply may run as follows:
" Mr. and Mrs. James Brown regret that a
previous engagement must deprive them of the
pleasure of accepting Mrs. Ashton's kind invi-
tation for Monday, the 14th inst."
Or, ''Mr. and Mrs. James Brown have much
pleasure in accepting Mrs. Ashton's kind invita-
tion for the 14th inst."
The old fashioned preliminary of "presenting
compliments" is now discontinued by the most
Never '' avail" yourself of an invitation.
Above all, never speak or write of an invitation
as "an invite." It is neither good breeding nor
48 GOOD MANNERS.
When the invitation is for a ball, the " At
Home" form is usually adopted 5 in which case
there will be added, in the corner, li Dancing,"
or ' Dancing at 11 o'clock." If it be for a
musical party, intimation must also be given
of the hour at which the music begins. The
following is the most formal invitation to a
"Mrs. Molyneux requests the pleasure of
Captain Hamilton's company at an evening
party, on Monday, March the llth inst.
11 Dancing will begin at 10 o'clock."
The answer must correspond, in this style:
" Captain Hamilton has much pleasure in
accepting Mrs. Molyneux's kind invitation for
Monday evening, March the llth inst.
Invitations of this formal kind can be sent
out three weeks or a month before the party
takes place. In most cases, a notice of one week
is given. Invitations should be written on small
note-paper of the best quality, with envelope to
correspond, and sealed with a small crest, or
Dinner invitations are written and issued in
the name of husband and wife.
The following form may be printed or writ-
" Mr. and Mrs. Bray request the honor of Mr.
and Mrs. Thomson's company at dinner on the
12th of Feb. at 7 o'clock."
LETTER WRITING INVITATIONS. 49
If accepted, the reply is thus written :
" Mr. and Mrs. Thomson have much pleasure
in accepting Mr. and Mrs. Bray's kind invita-
tion to dinner on the 12th of Feb."
The word "pleasure," may be substituted for
" honor," in inviting friends. The u afternoon"
party is now much in vogue, especially in the
country, where croquet and music are provided
by way of amusement. A visiting-card may be
sent, with the hour of assembling added in the
corner. The kind of amusement provided should
be intimated on the card, as ladies attend croquet
or archery parties in suitable dresses.
We now come to letter-writing in general.
Having already insisted on the necessity of good
handwriting, we pass on to other matters, such
as style, form of address, &c.
No letter should contain erasures under any
Abbreviations are only permitted in business
letters, and in friendly correspondence must
never be used. Figures only when putting a
date or a sum of money.
The name, date, and address of a letter may
be put either at the top of the page or at the
end. In the former case at the right-hand side,
and in the latter, at the left-hand.
The stamp should be placed exactly in the
right-hand corner of the envelope ; it must nei-
ther be upside down, nor slanting, nor in any
50 GOOD MANNERS.
way carelessly affixed. Negligence in these
matters evinces a rudeness to the person to whom
you write, as showing that you think anything
will do. Blots and smears are equally inadmis-
sible. Great care should be observed in address-
ing people by their proper names. Absent people
have been known to begin a letter to one person,
finish to another, and send it on to a third.
Always when sending a letter of inquiry, en-
close a stamp for the answer. You have no right
to take up a person's time and then put him to
an expense as well as the trouble.
Letters to tradespeople should be addressed to
Mr. , or Messrs. and .
An unmarried lady cannot address a gentle-
man as '' My dear Sir," unless she is very old,
and he too. It should be, " Dear Sir."
Never omit your own name and address from
any letter, whether of business or friendship.
In writing to persons much your superior or
inferior, use as lew words as possible. In the
former case, to take up much of a great man's
time is to take a liberty ; in the latter, to be
diffuse is to be too familiar. It is only in cor-
respondence with very intimate friends that long
letters are permissible. If occasion necessitates
a letter to a very busy person (a professional
lady or gentleman, for instance), politeness re-
quires that it should be i rained as curtly as is
consistent with civility and perspicuity. It is
LETTER WRITING INVITATIONS. 51
unpardonable to take up people's time simply
because we do not choose to be at the trouble
of concentrating our thoughts and sparing our
In writing to friends and acquaintances, we
should never communicate bad news abruptly,
but should lead the way to it in such a manner
as to soften the blow. A great deal of pain may
be avoided by a proper choice of words. And
we should scrupulously avoid writing too fre-
quently, or at too great a length, of our own
losses and misfortune. To do this is mere
thoughtless egotism. We have a right to expect
sympathy from our friends, but we have no
right to make our letters inflictions. Letters
should invariably be written in a tone of cheer-
fulness, or, at least, of resignation.
An ill-tempered letter is as great a mistake as
a lachrymose one. Nothing is so inexpedient
as to write a letter in a fit of indignation or
anger. If you must give way to your feelings,
write your letter, but let it remain unposted till
the next day ; or do not write at all, but seek
instead an interview with the person who has
wronged or affronted you. Spoken recrimina-
tion or reproof is forgotten ; but when you
have once written down and issued your angry
thoughts, they are irrevocable and a sure source
of after regret.
Equally, in dealing with inferiors who have
52 GOOD MANNERS.
acted unfairly by you, is a civil tone of corre-
spondence to be insisted upon. Be as haughty
as you please, but state your grievance in plain
unvarnished terms, and there end. If the truth
does not sting, nothing will ; and vituperation,
though it does not injure the person on whom
you bestow it, injures your own cause, and
detracts from the dignity of your position.
In writing, as in conversation, egotism is a
capital offence. We have no more right to be
egotistic on paper than we have a right to be
dull or disagreeable. A letter should be like a
visit, bright, inspiriting, and a reflex of our best
mood. Above all, it should be kind and sym-
pathetic. There are letters whose arrival, we
hail as we should that of a new book by a
delightful writer, or as the visit of a brilliant
acquaintance. Again there are others the deli-
very of which, anticipating all the dulness and
verbosity with which they are certain to abound,
we dread like the incursion of a well-known
bore. Who would not wish to be the writer of
the one? Who would not take any amount of
pains with his correspondence sooner than be
dreaded like the other?
Attend to your orthography; many spell
badly from ignorance, but more from careless-
ness. If you are in doubt about a word, do not
hesitate, but apply at once to the best diction-
ary. Reading with care will secure everybody
LETTER WRITING INVITATIONS. 53
from false spelling ; for books are always spelled
well, according to the orthography of the times.
The manner of writing is as important as the
After orthography, you should make it a point
to write a good hand ; clear, legible, and at the
same time easy, graceful, and rapid.
See that the wording of your letters is in
strict accordance with the rules of grammar.
Nothing stamps the difference between a well-
educated man and an ignorant one more decid-
edly than the purely grammatical sentences of
the one compared with the labored sentences of
Style adorns or disfigures a subject-, much
depends on the manner in which letters are
written , they ought to be easy and natural, not
strained and florid.
The secret of letter-writing consists in writing
as you would speak ; correctly and properly
as possible, simple, concise, clear, and natural.
The Lady's Toilet.
T)ERHAPS, in these days of public and private
_L baths, it may seem a work of supereroga-
tion to insist upon cleanliness as the first requi-
site in a lady's toilet. Yet it may be as well to
remind our fair readers that fastidiousness on
this head cannot be carried too far. Cleanliness
is the outward sign of inward purity. Cleanli-
ness is health, and health is beauty.
We will begin, then, with the business of the
dressing-room, which can be quite well per-
formed in three-quarters of an hour, or even
less. To sleep too much is as trying to the con-
stitution as to sleep too little. To sleep too
much is to render oneself liable to all kinds of
minor ailments, both of mind and body. It is a
habit that cannot be too severely censured, espe-
cially in the young. No mother has any right
to allow her young daughters to ruin their
tempers, health, and complexions, by lying in
bed till nine or ten o'clock. Early rising con-
duces more to the preservation of health, fresh-
ness, and young looks, than anything in the
THE LADY'S TOILET. 55
world, and even to the proper preservation of
our mental faculties.
The bath is a most important object of study.
It is not to be supposed that we wash in order
to become clean ; we wash because we wish to
remain clean. The bath should be taken by a
person in good health once a day in winter, and
twice a day in summer. For persons of really
robust constitutions a cold shower-bath may be
recommended ; but as a general rule the sponge-
bath is safest and most convenient. Cold water
refreshes and invigorates, but does not cleanse :
those persons, therefore, who daily use a cold
bath in the morning, should frequently use a
warm one at night.
A tepid bath, varying from 85 to 95, is the
safest for general use, the more particularly as
it answers the purpose both of refreshing and
cleansing. It is not well to remain in the bath
for longer than two or three minutes. A large
coarse sponge is best for the purpose. It is advi-
sable to wet the top of the head before entering
a cold bath. Whether soap be used or not, it is
flrell to apply the flesh-brush gently to the face
and vigorously to the whole body. Nothing
improves the complexion like the daily use of
the flesh-brush. When the brushing is con-
cluded, a huck-a-back or Turkish towel should
be used for the final process of drying.
The teeth must be scrupulously cared for. If
56 GOOD MANNERS.
proper care were taken of the teeth in youth,
there would be less employment for the dentist
in after-life. Very hot and very sweet things
should be avoided. The teeth should be care-
fully brushed, not only night and morning, but
after every meal. Very hard tooth-brushes are
not advisable, and a simple tooth-powder of
common chalk is safer and more effectual than
any quackeries. The onion, we need scarcely
observe, must be the forbidden fruit of the Eve
of the nineteenth century. Indigestible food is
also certain to affect the sweetness of the breath.
As soon as the breath becomes unpleasant, one
mu-v be quite sure that the digestive machinery
ut of order.
The nails must always be fastidiously clean,
and never allowed to grow inordinately long.
In cutting the nails every care must be given to
the preservation of the shape, and to the removal
of superfluous skin. A liberal use of the nail-
brush, warm water, and best Windsor soap will
insure the preservation of a delicate hand.
Gloves must of course be worn out of doors;
and even indoors as much as possible.
The hair requires a good deal of care, though
of the simplest and most inartificial kind. The
secret of fine and glossy hair is a clean hair-
brush -, and ladies who keep no maid to perform
those offices for them should wash their hair-
brushes in hot water and soda every few days.
THE LADY'S TOILET. 57
Once secure the perfect cleanliness of your
hair-brush, and the rest will be easy. Brush
the hair carefully both at night and morning ;
let it be occasionally cleansed with yolk of egg
beaten up, or a mixture of glycerine and lime-
juice, and you will find no need to resort to hair-
doctors or quacks. Pomade and oil are strictly
to be avoided , but after a sea-water bath, or
during a sea journey, a little warm pomade will
be useful in softening the hair.
Above all things, never attempt to change the
color of the hair by means of fashionable dyes
and fluids. Color so obtained cannot harmonize
naturally with the skin, .eyes, and eyebrows that
Nature has given. Practices of this kind are
simply and strictly immodest. Let ladies be
careful in regard to diet, take regular exercise
in the open air, wear broad-brimmed hats in the
sun, and veils in the wind 5 let them avoid pearl
powders and washes of every kind ; let them,
above all things, go early to bed, and rise be-
times in the morning ; and if by so doing they
are not made " beautiful for ever," they can
never be made so.
The face should never be washed when heated
from exercise. Wipe the perspiration from the
skin, and wait till it is sufficiently cool before
you bathe, even with warm water. Rain water
is best for the bath. In case of any eruption
upon the skin, no time should be lost in pro-
58 GOOD MANNERS.
curing medical advice. He who doctors him-
self, says the proverb, has a fool for his phy-
With regard to Dress, it is impossible to do
more than offer a few general observations. The
fashion of dress is of to-day ; but the aesthetics
of dress are for all time. No matter to what
absurd lengths fashion may go, a woman of
taste will ever avoid the ridiculous. The milli-
ner and dressmaker may handle the scissors
never so despotically, but in matters of color,
harmony, and contrast they remain under the
control of their employer. Dress, indeed, may
fairly claim to be considered in the light of a
fine art. To dress well demands something
more than a full purse and a pretty figure. It
requires taste, good sense, and refinement.
A woman of taste and good sense will neither
make dress her first nor her last object in life.
She will remember that no wife should betray
that total indifference for her husband's taste
which is implied in the neglect of her appear-
ance ; and she will also remember that to dress
consistently and tastefully is one of the duties
which she owes to society.
There is a Spanish proverb which says,
" Every hair has its shadow." So, in like
manner, every lady, however insignificant her
social position may appear to herself, must exer-
cise a certain influence on the feolings and opi-
THE LADY'S TOILET. 59
nions of others. If, therefore, the art of dressing
appears either too irksome or too frivolous to
such of the fair sex as are engaged in serious
occupations, let them remember that it performs
the same part in beautifying domestic life as is
performed by music and the fine arts in embel-
lishing the life moral and spiritual. So long,
therefore, as dress merely occupies so much time
and requires so much money as we are fairly
entitled to allow it, nothing can be said against
it. When extravagant fashions are indulged in
extravagant habits fostered at any cost and under
any circumstances the critic is quite justified
in his strictures, however severe. Dress, to be in
perfect taste, need not be costly ; and no woman
of right feeling will adorn her person at the ex-
pense of her husband's comfort or her children's
" As a work of art a well-dressed woman is
a study." Her toilette will be as bien soignee
and as well chosen at the family breakfast-table
as at the ball. If she loves bright colors and
can wear them with impunity, they will be
as harmoniously arranged as an artist arranges
his colors on the palette. If she is young, her
dress will be youthful ; if she is old, it will not
affect simplicity. She will always follow rather
than lead the prevailing fashion, and rather
follow her own fashion than violate good taste
or common sense.
60 GOOD MANNERS.
The golden rule in dress is to avoid extremes.
Do not be so original in your dress as to be pe-
culiar; and do not affect fashions that are radi-
cally unbecoming to you. Ladies who are neither
very young nor very striking in appearance can-
not do better than wear quiet colors. Ladies
who are not rich can always appear well dressed,
with a little care in the choice and arrangement
of the materials. Whatever the texture of the
dress, it should be made by the very best dress-
maker you can afford. As well go to a third or
fourth-rate dentist, music-master, or doctor, as
go to a third or fourth-rate dressmaker. The
dressmaker is a woman's good or evil genius.
Morning dress should be faultless in its w r ay.
For young ladies, married or unmarried, nothing
is prettier in* summer than Avhite or very light
morning dresses of washing materials. Light
dresses must be exquisitely fresh and clean,
ribbons fresh, collars and cuifs irreproachable
All stuffs are to be rigidly eschewed except those
of the very finest kind. Morning dress for
elderly ladies of wealth and position should be
of dark silk. Jewellery, hair ornaments, and
light silk dresses are not permissible for morn-
Walking dress should always be quiet. Rich
walking dress attracts attention, which in the
street is not desirable. For the carriage, a lady
may dress as elegantly as she pleases.
THE LADY'S TOILET. 61
Elderly ladies should always dress richly.
Any thin old lady may .wear delicate colors,
whilst a stout, florid person looks best in black
or dark gray. For young as well as old, the
question of colors must, however, be determined
by complexion and figure. Rich colors harmo-
nize with rich brunette complexions and dark
hair 5 delicate colors are the most suitable for
delicate and fragile styles of beauty.
For ball dresses light and diaphanous mate-
rials are worn ; silk dresses are not suitable for
dancing. Black and scarlet, black and violet,
or white, are worn in mourning 5 but ladies in
deep mourning should not go to balls at all.
They must not dance, and their dark dresses look
out of place in a gay assembly.
At dinner parties, unless of a small, friendly
kind, only the fullest dress is appropriate.
Demi-toilette can be worn at unceremonious
dinners, and even high dresses,, if the material
be sufficiently rich. It is better to wear real
flowers at large dinner parties, but artificial
ones at balls ; since the former would droop and
fall to pieces with the heat and the dancing.
Much jewellery is out of place for young
ladies at any time ; and, indeed, there is as
much propriety to be observed in the wearing
of jewellery as in the wearing of dresses.
Diamonds, pearls, rubies, and all transparent
precious stones belong to evening dress, and
62 GOOD MANNERS.
should never be worn before dinner. Ii, the
morning, one's rings should be of the simplest
kind, and one's jewellery limited to a good
brooch, gold chain, and watch. Diamonds and
pearls are as much out of place during the
morning as a low dress or a wreath.
It is well to remember in the choice of jewel-
lery that mere costliness is not always the test
of value ; and that an exquisite work of art,
such as a fine intaglio or cameo, or a natural
rarity, such as a black pearl, is a possession more
dixtinf/uti than a large brilliant which any one
who has money enough can buy as well as your-
self. Of all precious stones the opal is the most
lovely and least commonplace. No merely vul-
gar woman purchases an opal.
Gloves, shoes, and boots must always be fault-
less. Gloves cannot be too light for the carriage,
or too dark for the streets. A woman with ill-
fitting gloves cannot be said to be well dressed ;
while to wear soiled gloves at your friend's
soiree is to show her that you think lightly of
herself and her company.
It may be remarked, by the way, that per-
fumes should be used only in the evening, and
with the strictest moderation. Perfumes to be
tolerable must be of the most rechercht kind.
Some people of sensitive temperament would bo
made ill by the smell of musk or patchouli.
THE LADY'S TOILET. 63
Finally, let every lady remember Dr. John-
son's criticism on a lady's dress : " I am sure
she was well dressed," said the Doctor, u for I
cannot remember what she had on."
The Gentleman 's Toilet.
IT has been aptly said that ( ' the bath deserves
an Order." The first requisite of a gentle-
man's toilet is undoubtedly the bath, which
should be as bracing as the constitution will
allow, and used morning and night in summer,
and every day in winter. Country gentlemen
who live much in the open air, and take plenty
of exercise, have no excuse for shirking the cold
shower-bath; but denizens of cities and men
who are obliged to lead very sedentary lives
cannot indulge with equal safety in this luxury,
and must never continue it in the teeth of rea-
son and experience. Only physiques of finest
quality can endure, much more benefit by, a
cold-water shock all the year round 5 and though
physique is always improvable, great reforma-
tion must not be attempted rashly. Let the
bath of from 60 to 70 be freely indulged in
by the strong, and even by the less robust, in
summer time ; but in winter a temperature
varying from 85 to 95 is the safest. The flesh-
brush should be vigorously applied to all parts
of the body, after which the skin must be care-
THE GENTLEMAN'S TOILET. 65
fully dried with Turkish or huck-a-back towels.
It is well to remain without clothing for some
little time after bathing. Nothing is so healthy
as exposure of the body to air and sun ; a
French physician has recommended the sun-
bath as a desirable hygienic practice. A bath in
fresh w T ater should always be taken after a
The next thing to be done is to clean the
teeth. This should be done with a good hard
tooth-brush at least twice a day. Smokers
should rinse the mouth immediately after
smoking, and should be careful to keep the
teeth scrupulously clean. The nails should
also be kept exquisitely clean and short. Long
nails are an abomination.
Our advice to those who shave is, like Punch's
advice to those about to marry " Don't." But
it must by no means be understood that suffer-
ing the beard to grow is a process that obviates
all trouble. The beard should be carefully and
frequently washed, w r ell trimmed, and well
combed, and the hair and whiskers kept scrupu-
lously clean by the help of clean stiff hair-
brushes, and soap and warm water. The style
of the beard should be adapted to the form of
the face ; but any affectation in the cut of beard
and whiskers is very objectionable, and augurs
unmitigated vanity in the wearer. Long hair
is never indulged in except by painters and
66 GOOD MANNERS.
fiddlers. The moustache should be worn neat,
and not over large. A moustache like that
worn by the King of Italy, or a needle-point
moustache, a V Empereur, cannot be worn with
A gentleman should always be so well dressed,
that his dress shall never be observed at all.
Does this sound like an enigma? It is not
meant for one. It only implies that perfect
simplicity is perfect elegance, and that the true
test of dress in the toilette of a gentleman is its
entire harmony, unobtrusiveness, and becoming-
ness. Display should be avoided. Let a sen-
sible man leave the graces and luxuries of dress
to his wife, daughters, and sisters, and not seek
distinction in the trinkets of his watch-chain, or
the pattern of his waistcoat. To be too much
in the fashion is as vulgar as to be too far
behind it. No really well-bred man follows
every new cut that he sees in his tailor's fashion-
book. Only very young men are guilty of this
A man whose dress is appropriate, neat, and
clean will always look like a gentleman ; but
to dress appropriately, one must have a varied
wardrobe. This should not, on the average,
cost more than a tenth part of his income. No
man can afford more than a tenth of his income
The author of " Pelhani" has aptly said that
THE GENTLEMAN'S TOILET. 67
** A gentleman's coat should not fit too well."
There is great truth and subtlety in this obser-
vation. To'be fitted too well is to look like a
Let the dress suit the occasion. In the morn-
ing wear a frock coat, and trousers of light or
dark color, as befits the season. When in the
country or at the sea-side, gray or shooting
costumes are best.
For evening parties, dinner parties, and balls,
wear a black dress coat, black trousers, black
silk or cloth waistcoat, thin patent leather boots.
a white cravat, and white kid gloves. Abjure
all fopperies, such as white silk linings, silk
collars, &c. 5 above all, the shirt front should
be plain. At small, unceremonious dinner
parties, gloves are not necessary ; but, when
worn, they should be new and fit well. Economy
in gloves is an insult to society. A man's jewel-
lery should be of the best and simplest descrip-
tion. False jewellery, like every other form
of falsehood and pretence, is unmitigated vul-
Elaborate studs and sleeve-links are all fop-
pish and vulgar. A set of good studs, a gold
watch and guard, and one handsome ring, are
as many ornaments as a gentleman can wear
with propriety. For a ring, the man of fine
taste would prefer a precious antique intaglio
68 GOOD MANNERS.
to the handsomest diamond or ruby that could
Lastly, a man's jewellery should always have
some use, and not, like a lady's, be worn for
The necktie for dinner, the opera, and balls,
must be white, and the smaller the better. It
should be too of fine linen, or a washable tex-
ture, not silk, nor netted, nor hanging down,
nor of any foppish production, but a simple,
white tie, without any embroidery. The black
tie is admitted for evening parties, and should
be equally simple.
Colored shirts may be worn in the morning ;
but they should be .small in pattern and quiet in
color. Fancy cloths of conspicuous patterns
are exceedingly objectionable. With a colored
flannel shirt always wear a white collar and
wristbands. The hat should always be black ;
and caps and straw hats are only admissible in
If spectacles are necessary, they should be
of the best and lightest make, and mounted in
gold, or blue steel. For weak sight, blue or
smoke-colored glasses are the best; green glasses
A gentleman should never be seen in the
street without gloves. Worsted or cotton gloves
are not permissible. A man's clothes should
always be well brushed, and never threadbare or
THE GENTLEMAN'S TOILET. 69
shabby. No gentleman can afford to wear shabby
clothes. An old hunting coat, however, is more
coveted by the practised sportsman than a new
one 5 the bright clean *' pink" being the indica-
tion of a novice in the field.
For the country, or the foreign tour, a gentle-
man will select a costume of some light woollen
material, flannel shirts, thick boots, and every-
thing to correspond. Dandyism is never more
out of place than on the glacier, or among the
There are three things one should consult in
the matter of dress if one would always appear
like a gentleman, viz. expense, comfort, and
society. If there is one thing in this world
about which we can entertain any degree of
moral certainty, it is that we must pay our
tailor's bills. If therefore our means are .dis-
proportionate to our wants, we must remember
the old proverb, "Cut your coat according to
your cloth/' and dress as well as you possibly
can upon l?ttle money.
Riding and Driving. The Ptomenade.
T) IDING is an accomplishment in which all
A_\J ladies and gentlemen should be proficient ;
but to ride well, one must be taught early and
practise constantly. Riding, like swimming,
cannot be taught by precept.
Those who wish to ride well must learn on
horseback ; as much on the road, and as little
in the school, as possible. So much of. our
health and happiness depends upon out-of-door
exercise, that the art of riding cannot be too
much encouraged by the wealthy. For persons
of moderate means it is wholly out of the ques-
tion. Those who can afford it, who travel, and
whose health requires bracing exercise, should
consider money laid out upon this accomplish-
ment as so many shares purchased in an Un-
limited-Health Promotion Company. Of all
recreations, horse-exercise is the most exhi-
A lady's riding-habit should be simple, close-
fitting, and made by a first-rate tailor. Showy^
eccentric innovations are in bad taste. It H
RIDING AND DRIVING. 71
better to wear the hat that is most in fashion ;
and, except in the country, dark habits are
always preferable to light For ladies who ride
a g^at deal, it is better to have a dark habit for
town, and a light gray one for the country and
sea-side. Scarlet habits, and jackets trimmed
with green, for hunting are very objectionable.
It is only in her whip that a lady can indulge
her love of luxury. This may In; as jewelled,
as rich, and as dainty, as she pleases. Hiding-
gloves must be unexceptionable.
The art of mounting must be properly ac-
quired ; since in riding, as in other things, it is
proficiency in trifles that proclaims the artist.
The lady having mounted the riding-steps,
places her left foot in the stirrup, rises into her
seat, and lifts the right leg dexterously into its
place, taking care to let the habit fall properly.
If no riding-steps are at hand, it is the place of
her escort or groom to assist her to the saddle.
Hence it is necessary to learn to mount in both
ways. In the latter case, she puts her left foot
in the right-hand of the gentleman or servant
in attendance ; he lifts it vigorously but gently ;
and he springs lightly into the saddle. Ladies
who ride much, and wish to preserve their
figures straight, should have two saddles, and
change sides from time to time. They should
also be accustomed to ride different horses, as
by no other means can perfect confidence be
72 GOOD MANNERS.
acquired. It is better to ride only one horse,
but to fear none.
The great point in riding is to sit straight in
the middle of your saddle, to know the temper
of your horse, and to be able to enjoy a good
gallop in moderation. Ladies should not lean
forward as they ride. They should rise as little
as possible in trotting. They should, above all,
know how to hold the reins, the different uses
of each, and the common rule of the road. The
first two points are only taught by practice, and
the last is attained in a day's ride. Ladies who
have country-houses, and who stay much in the
country, should learn to drive as well as to ride.
The chief point in driving is moderation. You
should never drive too fast, especially round
corners, and should ease your horse as much as
possible in going up hill. Ladies who drive
ought to know something about harness. On
alighting from or entering the carriage, the dress
should never be held up, but should be allowed
to trail on the ground.
If you assist a lady to mount, hold your hand
at a convenient distance from the ground that
she may place her foot in it. As she springs,
you aid her by the impetus of your arm. Prac-
tice only will enable you to do this properly. A
gentleman, in riding with a lady, never permits
her to pay the tolls. If good riding is neces-
Bary for a lady, it is doubly so for a man. A
RIDING AND DRIVING. 73
gentleman's education cannot be called com-
plete unless he can ride well. If this has been
neglected early in life, no time should be lost
in repairing the error. By riding first with
a careful master for some months, and after-
wards quite regularly alone, considerable pro
ficiency may be attained even at a late period.
When attending a lady in a horseback ride,
never mount your horse until she is ready to
start. Give her your hand to assist her in
mounting, arrange the folds of her habit, hand
her her reins and her whip, and then take your
own seat on your saddle.
Let her pace be yours. Start when she does,
and let her decide how fast or slowly she will
ride. Never let the, head of your horse pass the
shoulder of hers, and be Avatchful and ready to
render her any assistance she may require.
Never, by rapid riding, force her to ride faster
than she may desire.
Do not touch her bridle, reins, or whip, ex-
cept she particularly requests your assistance,
or an accident, or threatened danger, makes it
If there is dust or wind, ride so as to protect
her from it as far as possible. If the road is
muddy be careful that you do not ride so as to
bespatter her habit. It is best to ride on the
side away from that on which her habit falls.
A m0,u should be able to mount on either side
74 (100D MANNERS.
of the horse. He places his left foot in the
stirrup, his left hand on the saddle, and swings
himself up, throwing his right leg over the
horse's back. Nothing is more graceless than
to see a man climb with both hands into his
seat. A firm light seat is only learned by assi-
duous practice. The chief rules are to sit
upright, but not stiffly, and well back in the
saddle ; to keep the knees pressed well in against
the sides of the saddle, and the feet parallel to
the horse's body 5 and to turn the toes in rather
than out. The foot should be about half-way
in the stirrup, which in long riding slips down
to the hollow of the foot. The great desidera-
tum in the art of riding is plenty of confidence.
Of course a fearless rider can ride ungracefully,
but no timid person can fail to be awkward.
In driving, again, there is a difference of
style. The art is simple enough, but it requires
practice. The good driver will understand the
horse he has to drive, and will use him well,
whether the beast be his own or another's. He
will turn his corners gently or slowly, and will
know when to put on the steam and when to
turn it off'. He will, of course, understand the
management of his harness. Accidents may
occur from the most trifling disarrangement of
the harness, and no one should handle the reina
who cannot harness and unharness a horse.
No one should pretend to hunt who has not a
RIDING AND DRIVING. 75
good seat, a good horse, and plenty of ''pluck ;"
much less should an incompetent rider venture
upon riding a friend's horse. It has been said
that u A man may forgive you for breaking iiis
daughter's heart, but never for breaking his
hunter's neck '
In the carriage, a gentleman places himself
with his back to the horses, and leaves the best
seat for the ladies. Only very elderly gentle-
men are privileged to accept the best seat to the
exclusion of young ladies. When the carriage
stops, the gentleman should alight first, in order
to assist the lady. To get in and out of a car-
riage gracefully is a simple but important ac-
complishment. If there is but one step, and
you are going to take your seat facing the
horses, put your left foot on the step, and enter
the carriage with your right in such a manner
as to drop at once into your seat. If you are
about to sit with your back to the horses, re-
verse the process. As you step into the car-
riage, be careful to keep your back towards the
seat you are about to occupy, so as to avoid the
awkwardness of turning when once in. A gentle-
man cannot be too careful to avoid stepping on
ladies' dresses when he gets in or out of a car-
riage. He should also beware of shutting then?
in with the carriage door.
Never put your arm across the seat, or around
her, as many do in riding. It is an imperti-
76 GOOD MANNERS.
nence which she would very properly resent aa
If you offer to drive any one home in your
vehicle, always drive to their house first, no
matter how much you may have to drive out of
If a lady has been making purchases during
a walk, she may permit the gentleman who
accompanies her to carry any very small parcel
that she may have in her hand ; but she should
not burden him with more than one under any
circumstances whatever. No lady should per-
mit any gentleman who is not a near relative,
or a very old friend of her family, to defray the
cost of entrance to any theatre or exhibition, or
to pay for her refreshment or vehicles when she
happens to be under his protection.
Two ladies can without impropriety, though
the habit is a singularly ungraceful one, take
each one arm of a single cavalier ; but one lady
cannot, with either grace or the sanction of cus-
tom, take the arms of two gentlemen at the
When a lady is walking with a gentleman in
any public park or garden, or through the rooms
of an exhibition, it is the gentleman's duty to
find her a seat. If, however, as is frequently
the case, he is himself compelled to remain
standing, the lady should make a point of rising
as soon as she is sufficiently rested, and not
RIDING AND DRIVING. 77
at/use either the patience or politeness of her
It is the place of the lady to bow first if she
meets a gentleman of her acquaintance. On
meeting friends or acquaintances in the .streets,
the exhibitions, or any public places, one must
be careful not to pronounce their names so
loudly as to attract the attention of strangers.
Never call across the street, and never attempt
to carry on a dialogue in a public vehicle, unless
your interlocutor occupies the seat beside your
In railway travelling a lady cannot open a
conversation with strangers, though, if ad-
dressed in a respectful manner, she must an-
It is well to recognise any public salutation,
even from persons whom you do not wish to
visit. If Mrs. Brown or Mrs. Jones persist in
bowing, return the bow, but return it with
studied coldness. Anything is better than a
direct cut. An unmarried lady cannot cut a
married lady under any circumstances. The
cut is only excusable when men persist in bow-
ing whose acquaintance a lady does not wish to
If a lady has had any gentleman especially
introduced to her at a party, has talked much
to him, and has been, perhaps, led down by him
to dinner or supper, she may bow if she meets
78 GOOD MANNERS.
him next day in the promenade. Ntvei recog-
nise a gentleman unless you are perfectly sure
of his identity. Nothing is more awkward, than
saluting the wrong person.
The rules of the promenade concerning gentle-
^ c"> O
men are simpler, though equally important.
In the first place, a well-bred man must en-
tertain no respect for the brim of his hat. u A
bow," says La Fontaine, "is a note drawn at
sight." You are bound to acknowledge it im-
mediately, and to the full amount. Always bear
this in mind, and remember that to nod, or
merely to touch the rim of the hat, is far from
courteous. True politeness demands that the
hat should be completely lifted from the head.
In bowing, the body should not be bent at all.
On meeting friends with whom you are likely
to shake hands, remove your hat with the left-
hand in order to leave the right-hand free. If
you meet a lady in the streets with whom you
are quite intimate, do not stop her, but turn
round and walk beside her in whichever direc-
tion she is going. When you have said all that
you wish to say, you can take your leave. If
you meet a lady with whom you are not par-
ticularly well acquainted, wait for her recogni-
tion before you venture to bow to her. In
bowing to a lady whom you are not going to
address, lift your hat with that hand which is
farthest from her. For instance, if you pass her
RIDING AND DRIVING. 79
on the right side, use your left hand, and vice
If you are on horseback and Avish to converse
with a lady who is on foot, you must dismount
and lead your horse, so as not to give her the
fatigue of looking up to your level. Neither
should you subject her to the impropriety of
carrying on a conversation in a tone necessarily
louder than is sanctioned by the laws of society.
A gentleman cannot cut a lady under any cir-
Never u cut" an acquaintance, unless his per-
tinacity is positively intolerable. To u cut" is
often snobbish, often absurd, and sometimes
positively unchristian. A dignified man will
seldom be necessitated to such a strong means
of self-protection, and a kind-hearted man would
suffer a good deal before resorting to it.
Never stare at ladies in the street.
In walking with a lady, take charge of any
small parcel, book, et cetera, with which she may
If you so far forget what is becoming as to
smoke in the street, at least never omit to throw
away your cigar if you speak to a lady.
If addressed in a public vehicle, always reply
Never talk politics or religion in a public
In shaking hands, do not put out the hand till
80 GOOD MANNERS.
you are quite close to the person whom you are
about to salute. Nothing is more awkward or
more ludicrous than to walk several yards with
an extended hand.
When walking with a lady, or with a gentle-
man who is older or shorter than yourself, give
them the upper side of the pavement, that is,
the side nearest the house.
Be careful when walking with a lady, not to
put your foot upon her dress.
In case of a sudden fall of rain you may offer
to lend your umbrella to a lady, or offer to escort
her home ; being perfectly respectful in your
In meeting a lady friend, be ready to return
her recognition of you, which she should offer
first, removing your hat. To a gentleman you
may merely touch your hat ; but if he has a
lady with him, raise your hat in bowing to him.
In a car or omnibus, when a lady wishes to
get out, stop the car for her, pass up her fare, &c.
When with a lady, always if on your invita-
tion, you must pay her expenses as well as your
own ; if she offers to share the expense, decline
unless she insists upon it ; in the latter case yield
gracefully. Many ladies, dependent upon their
gentlemen friends for escort, dislike much to be
under pecuniary obligations to them, nor is it
necessary they should be.
Morning and Evening Parties.
morning or, more properly sj leaking,
a afternoon" party is a comparative novelty,
and an agreeable one. It begins about three
o'clock, and goes on till six ; and the invitations
should be sent out a week or a fortnight before-
hand. In town, a morning party should be
enlivened by good music. Hired professional
performers are best ; but if amateurs undertake
to amuse our friends, they should be highly
accomplished. Tea, coffee, ices, strawberries,
cakes, may be served ; but in the country, where
croquet parties are given on a large scale, and
prolonged to a late hour, it is customary to serve
the light refreshments first and to provide a
cold collation afterwards. This collation is, in
fact, a late luncheon, and is more recherche if
served in tents out of doors.
A lady dresses for such parties in the mo;3t
elegant out-of-door dress she pleases. Very
young ladies who play croquet may wear hats
and elegant walking dresses suitable for the
game. Gentlemen wear morning dress, i. e.
light trousers, frock coat, light gloves, &c.
82 GOOD MANNERS.
Every one who goes much into society should
nowadays be acquainted with croquet, archery,
&c., and thus be enabled to take part in the
amusements provided. The hostess should faci
litate conversation by introducing her guests tc
each other, when she thinks them likely to be
mutually agreeable. Very young people, whom
one invites to such parties, should never be
neglected; while the old, the ill dressed, the
ugly, and the beautiful, w r ill receive equal defer-
ence from a really well-bred host and hostess.
Evening parties, or "At homes," begin about
nine o'clock, and entail full dress upon both
ladies and gentlemen. Good breeding-neither
demands that you should present yourself at the
commencement, nor remain till the close of the
evening. You come and go as may be most con-
venient to you, and by these means are at liberty,
during the height of the season, when evening
parties are numerous, to present yourself at
two or three houses during a single evening.
When your name is announced, look for the
lady of the house, and pay your respects to her
before you seem even to see any other friends
who may be in the room. At very large and
fashionable assemblies, the hostess is generally
to be found near the door. Should you, how-
ever, find yourself separated by a dense crowd
of guests, you are at liberty to recognise those
who are near you, and these whom you en-
MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 83
counter as you make your way slowly through
If a gentleman is to act as escort to a lady,
he must call at the hour she chooses to name,
and the most elegant way is to take a carriage
for her. To present her with a bouquet is
When you reach the house of the hostess,
escort your companion to the dressing-room.
After you have deposited your hat and coat in
the gentlemen's dressing-room, and put on your
gloves, be on the lookout for your lady, and be
ready to escort her to the parlor. Offer her
your left arm, and having paid your respects to
the hostess, take her to a seat, and remain with
iier until she has other companions, before you
seek out your own friends. Of course you will
dance with her part of the evening, and wait
upon her at supper.
If you have escorted a lady, her time must
be yours, and she will tell you when she is ready
to go. See whether the carriage has arrived
before she goes to the dressing-room, and return
to the parlor to tell her. If the weather was
pleasant when you left home, and you walked,
ascertain whether it is still pleasant ; if not,
procure a carriage for your companion. When
it is at the door, join her in the drawing-room,
and offer your arm to lead her to the hostess for
leave taking, then take your companion to the
door of the ladies 7 dressing-room, get your own
hat and wait in the entry or near by until she
When you reach your companion's house, do
not accept her invitation to enter, but ask per-
mission to call in the morning, or the following
General salutations of the company are now
wholly disused ; in society, well-bred persons
only recognise their own friends or acquaint-
ances. If you are at the house of a new
acquaintance, and find yourself among entire
strangers, remember that, by so meeting under
one roof, you are all in a certain sense made
known to one another, and ought therefore to be
able to converse freely, as equals. It is to be
regretted that in the very highest circles the
spirit of exclusiveness is still too strong to per-
mit this ; but still to shrink away to a side-
table, and affect to be absorbed in some album
or illustrated work, or to cling to some unlucky
acquaintance, as a drowning man clings to a
spar, are gauckeries no shyness can excuse.
Neither should a man stand too long in the same
spot. To be afraid to move from one drawing-
room to another is the sure sign of a neophyte
Gentlemen should never stand upon the
hearthrug with their backs to the fire, either in
a friend's house or their own. We have seen
MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES 85
even well-bred men at evening parties commit
this selfish and vulgar solecism.
Never offer any one the chair from which you
have just risen, unless there be no other dis-
Those ladies and gentlemen who possess any
musical accomplishments should not wait to be
pressed and entreated by their hostess, but
comply immediately when she pays them the
compliment of asking them to play or sing.
Only the lady of the house has a right to make
this invitation ; if others do so, they must be
put off in some polite way.
Be scrupulous to observe strict silence when
any of the company are playing or -singing.
Remember that they are doing this for the
amusement of the rest 5 and that to talk at such
a time is as ill-bred as if you were to turn your
back upon a person who was talking to you,
and begin a conversation with some one else.
If a gentleman sings comic songs, he should
be careful that they are of the most unexcep-
tionable kind, and likely to offend neither the
tastes nor prejudices of the society in which he
may find himself.
Those who play or sing should bear in mind
that " brevity is the soul of wit." Two verses
of a ballad, or four pages of a piece, are at all
times enough to give pleasure. If your audience
desire more, they will ask for more ; and it is
80 GOOD MANNERS.
infinitely more flattering to be encored, than to
receive the. thanks of your hearers, not so much
for what you have given them, but for having
come to an end at last. That performer, indeed,
can have but little pride who cares to emulate
Longfellow's famous piper of Bujalance, "who
asked a maravedi for playing, and ten for le /-
ing off." Music, like conversation, should ie
adapted to the company. A sonata of Beetho' ./n
would be as much out of place in some cireios
as a comic song at a quaker's meeting. To those
who only care for the light popularities of the
season give Offenbach and Verdi ; to connois-
seurs give such music as w r ill be likely to meet
the exigencies of a fine taste. Above all, attempt
nothing that you cannot execute with ea/"j and
The great secret of successful u At \omes,"
is to assemble as many distinguished r isons as
possible. We do not mean simply pe: ons with
a handle to their names, but men a- 1 women
who by their talents or character have made for
themselves a foremost place in society. If no
lady is especially placed under a gentleman's
care when supper is announced, he must offer
his arm to the lady with whom he has last con-
versed ; but unless the party be a very crowded
one, the hostess will see that no lady is unpro-
vided with a cavalier.
The more rooms one can throw open for these
MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 87
sort of parties the better. A liberal supply of
ottomans, causeuses, &c., must be placed about
in convenient positions, leaving as much open
space as possible. Good engravings, water-color
sketches, valuable scrap-books, and volumes of
autographs should be displayed on the tables.
If among the guests some exceedingly distin-
guished lion is present, it is exceedingly un-
becoming to follow him about and listen to
every word he utters. He cannot be introduced
to every one, and even if introduced, you must
content yourself with a short conversation, re-
remembering that others have equal claims with
If the party be of a small sociable kind, and
those games called by the French Ics jcux in-
nocens are proposed, do not object to join in
them if invited. It may be that they demand
some slight exercise of wit and readiness, and
that you do not feel yourself calculated to shine
in them ; but it is better to seem dull than dis-
agreeable, and those who are obliging can
always find some clever neighbor to assist them
in the moment of need.
Impromptu charades are frequently organized
at friendly parties. Unless you have really
some talent for acting, and some readiness of
speech, you should remember that you only
put others out, and expose your own inability
by taking part in these entertainments. Of
88 GOOD MANNERS.
course, if your help is really needed, and you
would disoblige by refusing, you must do your
best, and, by doing it as quietly and coolly as
possible, avoid being awkward or ridiculous.
Even though you may take no pleasure in
cards, some knowledge of the etiquette and
rules belonging to the games most in vogue is
necessary to you in society. If a fourth hand
is wanted at a rubber, or if the rest of the com-
pany sit down to a round game, you would be
deemed guilty of an impoliteness if you refused
Married people should not play at the same
table, unless where the party is so small that
it cannot be avoided. This rule supposes no-
thing so disgraceful to any married couple as
dishonest collusion ; but persons who play regu-
larly together cannot fail to know so much of
each other's mode of acting under given circum-
stances, that the chances no longer remain per-
fectly even in favor of their adversaries.
Never play for higher stakes than you can
afford to lose without regret. Cards should be
resorted to for amusement only ; for excitement,
No well-bred person ever loses temper at the
card-table. You have no right to sit down to
the game unless you can bear a long run of ill-
luck with perfect composure, and are prepared
MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 89
cheerfully to pass over any blunders that your
partner may chance to make.
If you are an indifferent player, make a point
of saying so before you join a party at whist.
If the others are fine players, they will be in-
finitely more obliged to you for declining than
accepting their invitation. In any case you
have no right to spoil their pleasure by your
Never let even politeness induce you to play
for very high stakes. Etiquette is the minor
morality of life ; but it never should be allowed
to outweigh the higher code of right and wrong.
Young ladies may decline to play at cards
without being deemed guilty of impoliteness.
No very young lady should appear at an even-
ing party without an escort.
In retiring from a crowded party it is unne-
cessary that you should seek out the hostess for
the purpose of bidding her a formal good-night.
By doing this you would, perhaps, remind others
that it was getting late and cause the party to
break up. If you meet the lady of the house on
your way to the drawing-room door, take your
leave of her as unobtrusively as possible, and
slip away without attracting the attention of her
Introductions at evening parties are now
Almost wholly dispensed with. Persons who
meet at a friend's house are ostensibly upon an
90 GOOD MANNERS.
equality, and pay a bad compliment to the host
by appearing suspicious and formal. Some old-
fashioned country hosts yet persevere in intro-
ducing each new coiner to all the assembled
guests. It is a custom that cannot be too soon
abolished, and one that places the last unfor-
tunate visitor in a singularly awkward position.
All that she can do is to make a semicircular
courtesy, like a concert singer before an au-
dience, and bear the general gaze with as much
composure as possible.
It should be remembered that to introduce
persons who are mutually unknown is to under-
take a serious responsibility, and to. certify to
each the respectability of the other. Never
undertake this responsibility without in the first
place asking yourself whether the persons are
likely to be agreeable to each other, nor, in the
second place, without ascertaining whether it
will be acceptable to both parties to become
There are some exceptions to the etiquette of
introductions. At a ball or evening party,
where there is dancing, the mistress of the
house may introduce any gentleman to any lady
without first asking the lady's permission. But
she should first ascertain whether the lady is
willing to dance ; and this out of consideration
for the gentleman, who may otherwise be re-
MORNING AND EVENING PARTIES. 91
fused. No man likes to be refused the hand of
a lady, though it be only for a quadrille.
A sister may present her brother, or a mother
her son, without any kind of preliminary.
Always introduce the gentleman to the lady
never the lady to the gentleman. The chivalry
of etiquette assumes that the lady is invariably
the superior in right of her sex, and that the
gentleman is honored in the introduction. The
rule is to be observed even when the social rank
of the gentleman is higher than that of the lady.
Where the sexes are the same, always present
J.U C i.1
the interior to the superior.
Never present a gentleman to a lady without
first asking her permission to do so.
When you are introduced to a stranger,
seldom offer your hand. When introduced, per-
sons limit their recognition of each other to a
Friends may introduce friends at the house
of a mutual acquaintance; but, as a rule, it is
better to be introduced by the mistress of the
house. Such an introduction carries more au-
thority with it.
If at a small party where there is no musician
engaged, if you can perform on the piano for
dancing, do not wait to be solicited to play, but
offer your services, or, if there is a lady at the
piano, offer to relieve her. To turn the leaves
92 GOOD MANNERS.
for another, and sometimes call figures, are also
good-natured and well-bred actions.
If dancing is to be the amusement of the even-
ing, a gentleman's first dance should be with
the lady you accompanied, and afterwards with
the ladies of the hostess's family.
Dance easily and gracefully, keeping perfect
time, but not taking too great pains with your
When your conduct your partner to a seat
after a dance, you may sit or stand by to con-
verse, unless you see another gentleman is wait-
ing to invite her to dance.
Do not take the vacant seat next to a lady
inless you are acquainted with her.
After dancing, do not offer your hand, but
your arm to conduct your partner to a seat.
TNVITATIONS to a ball should be sent out
three weeks or a month beforehand, and
should be answered immediately.
The first requisites for a pleasant ball are
good rooms, good music, and plenty of good
company. A very small ball is almost sure to
be dull. No one should attempt to give this
sort of entertainment without being fully pre-
pared for a considerable expenditure of time,
money, and patience. Nothing is so unsatis-
factory as *' a carpet dance with the dear girls
to play." If you wish your friends to enjoy the
dancing, you must give them a good floor and
professional music ; if you wish them to enjoy
the supper, you must let it be well served and
in great abundance ; lastly, if you wish them
to enjoy the company, you must provide your
visitors with suitable partners.
The preparation for a ball begins with the
reception-rooms, which must be made as light
and airy as possible. Nothing produces a hap-
pier effect than an abundance of shrubs, plants,
and flowers used freely on the stairs, in the
94 GOOD MANNERS.
recesses, landing-places, &c. The fire-places
should be screened by flowers in summer, and
be provided with guards in winter or spring. It
is easy, by the help of screens and evergreens,
to arrange a small gallery for the musicians, so
that they shall be heard and not seen.
A refreshment-room should, if possible, be
on the same floor as the ball-room, in order
that the ladies may be sparecl all risk from
draughty staircases. A lobby for the ladies'
cloak-room, and a hat-room for the gentlemen,
are both indispensable.
As the number of guests at a dinner party
is regulated by the size of the table, so should
the number of invitations to a ball be limited
by the proportions of the ball-room. A prudent
hostess will, however, always invite more guests
than she really desires to entertain, in the cer-
tainty that there will be some deserters when
the appointed evening comes round ; but she
will at the same time remember that to over-
crowd her room is to spoil the pleasure of those
who love dancing, and that a party of this kind,
when too numerously attended, is as great a
failure as one at which too few are present.
A room which is nearly square, yet a little
longer than it is broad, will be found the most
favorable for a ball. It admits of two quadrille
parties, or two round dances, at the same time.
In a perfectly square room this arrangement
THE BALL. 95
is not so practicable or pleasant A very long
and narrow room is obviously of the worst
shape for dancing, and is fit only for quadrilles
and country dances.
The tup of the ball-room is the part nearest
the orchestra. In a private room, the top is
where it would be if the room were a dining-
room. It is generally at the farthest point from
the door. Dancers should be careful to ascer-
tain the top of the room before taking their
places, as the top couples always lead the
A good floor is of the utmost importance in
a ball-room. In a private house, nothing can
be better than a smooth, well-stretched holland,
with the carpet beneath.
Abundance of light and free ventilation are
indispensable to the spirits and comfort of the
Good music is as necessary to the prosperity
of a ball as good wine to the excellence of a
dinner. No hostess should tax her friends for
this part of the entertainment. It is the most
injudicious economy imaginable. Ladies who
would prefer to dance are tied to the piano-
forte ; and as few amateurs have been trained
in the art of playing dance music with that
strict attention to time and accent which is ab-
solutely necessary to the comfort of the dancers,
a total and general discontent is sure to result.
96 GOOD MANNERS.
To play dance music thoroughly well is a branch
of the art which requires considerable practice.
It is as different from every other kind of play-
ing as whale fishing is from fly fishing. Those
who give private balls will do well ever to bear
this in mind, and to provide skilled musicians
for the evening For a small party, a piano and
cornopean make a very pleasant combination.
Unless where several instruments are engaged,
we do not recommend the introduction of the
violin. Although in some respects the finest
of all solo instruments, it is apt to sound thin
and shrill when employed on mere inexpressive
dance tunes, and played by a mere dance player.
The room provided for the accommodation
of the ladies should have several looking-
glasses ; attendants to assist the fair visitors in
the arrangement of their hair and dresses ; and
rows of hooks for the cloaks and shawls. It is
well to affix tickets to the cloaks, giving a dupli-
cate to each lady. Needles and thread should
be always at hand to repair any little accident
incurred in dancing. The refreshment-room
should be kept amply supplied during the eve-
ning. Where this cannot be arranged, the re-
freshments should be handed round between
The question of supper is one which so en-
tirely depends on the means of those who give
a ball or evening party, that very little can be
THE BALL. 97
paid upon it in a treatise of this description.
Where money is no object, it is of course always
preferable to have the whole supper, "with all
applicances and means to boot," sent in from
some first-rate house. It spares all trouble,
whether to the entertainers or their servants,
and relieves the hostess of every anxiety. Where
circumstances render such a course imprudent,
we would only observe that a home-provided
supper, however simple, should be good of its
kind, and abundant in quantity. Dancers are
generally hungry people, and feel themselves
much aggrieved if the supply of eatables proves
unequal to the demand.
Perhaps the very best plan is the French one,
of having supper arranged on long buffets with
servants behind to attend to all comers. No
one sits down to ball suppers, or if seats are
arranged by the wall for the ladies, the gentle-
No gentleman should accept an invitation to
a ball if he does not dance. When ladies are
present who would be pleased to receive an
invitation, those gentlemen who hold themselves
aloof are guilty, not only of a negative, but a
positive, act of neglect.
To attempt to dance without a knowledge of
dancing is not only to 'make one's self ridicu-
lous, but one's partner also. No lady or gen-
98 GOOD MANNERS.
tleman has the right to place a paitner in this
On entering the ball-room, the visitor should
at once seek the lady of the house, and pay her
respects to her. llaving done this, she may
exchange salutations with such friends and
acquaintances as may be in the room.
No lady should accept an invitation to dance
from a gentleman to whom she has not been
introduced. In case any gentleman should
commit the error of so inviting her, she should
not excuse herself on the plea of a previous
engagement, or of fatigue, as to do so would
imply that she did not herself attach due im-
portance to the necessary ceremony of intro-
duction. Her best reply would be to the effect
that she would have much pleasure in accepting
his invitation, if he would procure an introduc-
tion to her. This observation may be taken
as applying only to public balls. No lady
should accept refreshments from a stranger at
a public ball ; for these she must rely on her
father, brother, or old friend. At a private
party the host and hostess are sufficient guaran-
tees for the respectability of their guests; and
although a gentleman would show a singular
want of knowledge of the laws of society in
acting as we have supposed, the lady who should
reply to him as if he were merely an imperti-
nent stranger in a public assembly-room would
THE BALL. 99
be implying an affront to her entertainers. The
mere fact of being assembled together under the
roof of a mutual friend is in itself a kind of
general introduction of the guests to each
An introduction given for the mere purpose
of enabling a lady and gentleman to go through
a dance together does not constitute an acquaint-
anceship. The lady is at liberty to pass the
gentleman in the park the next day without
It is not necessary that a lady should be ac-
quainted with the steps, in order to walk grace-
fully or easily through a quadrille. An easy
carriage and a knowledge of the figures are all
that is necessary.
We now pass to that part of ball-room eti-
quette which chiefly concerns gentlemen.
A gentleman cannot ask a lady to dance with-
out being first introduced to her by some mem-
ber of the hostess's family.
Never enter a ball-room in other than full
evening dress, and white or light kid gloves.
A gentleman cannot be too careful not to
injure a lady's dress. The young men of the
present day are inconceivably thoughtless in
this respect, and often seem to think the mis-
chief which they do scarcely worth an apology.
Cavalry officers should never wear spurs in a
100 GOOD MANNERS.
Bear in mind that all casino habits are to be
scrupulously avoided in a private ball-room. It
is an affront to a highly-bred lady to hold her
hand behind you, or on your hip, when dancing
a round dance.
Never forget a ball-room engagement. It is
the greatest neglect and slight that a gentleman
can offer to a lady.
At the beginning and end of a quadrille the
gentleman bows to his partner, and bows again
on handing her to a seat.
After dancing, the gentleman may offer to
conduct the lady to the refreshment-room.
Engagements for one dance should not be
made while the present dance is yet in progress.
If a lady happens to forget a previous en-
gagement, and stand up with another partner,
the gentleman whom she has thus slighted is
bound to believe that she has acted from mere
inadvertence, and should by no means suffer his
pride to master his good temper. To cause a
disagreeable scene in a private ball-room is to
affront your host and hostess, and to make your-
self absurd. In a public room it is no less
Always remember that good breeding and
good temper (or the appearance of good temper)
are inseparably connected.
Young gentlemen are earnestly advised not
to limit their conversation to remarks on
THE BALL. 10 i
weather and the heat of the room. It is, to a
certain extent, incumbent on them to do some-
thing more than dance when they invite a lady
to join a quadrille. If it be only upon the news
of the day, a gentleman should be able to offer
at least three or four observations to his partner
in the course of a long half-hour.
Never be seen without gloves in a ball-room,
though it were only for a few moments. Those
who dance much, and are particularly soign in
matters relating to the toilette, take a second
pair of gloves to replace the first when soiled.
A thoughtful hostess will never introduce a
bad dancer to a good one, because she has no
Tight to punish one friend in order to oblige
It is not customary for married persons to
dance together in society.
A gentleman conducts his last partner to sup-
per; waits upon her till she has had as much
refreshment as she wishes, and then takes her
back to the ball-room or her chaperone.
However much pleasure he may take in a
lady's society, he must not ask her to dance too
frequently. Engaged persons would do well to
bear this in mind.
Withdraw from a ball-room as quietly as pos-
sible, so that your departure may not be ob-
served by others, and so cause the party to
break up. If ydu. meet the lady of the house
102 GOOD MANNERS.
on your way out, take your leave in such a
manner that the other guests may not observe
it ; but by no means seek her out for that
No person who has not a good ear for time
and tune need hope to dance well.
Lastty, a gentleman should not go to a ball
unless he has previously made up his mind to
be agreeable : that is, to dance with the plainest
as well as with the most beautiful ; to take down
an elderly chaperone to supper, instead of her
lovely charge, with a good grace : to enter into
the spirit of the dance, instead of hanging about
the doorway 5 to abstain from immoderate eat-
ing, drinking, or talking; to submit to trifling
annoyances with cheerfulness ; in fact, to forget
himself, and contribute as much as possible to
the amusement of others.
Table Etiquette. Dinner Parties.
IT is impossible to over-estimate the importance
It should be the first duty of every house-
holder to obtain the best possible dinners for
her family her purse can afford. Let no false
sentiment lead her to consider indifference to
food as an heroic virtue, or the due appreciation
of it as a despicable yourmandise. Man is what
he eats, and woman is the caterer. Let her
perform ner duties well, and she will reap an
The etiquette of the dinner-table should be
mastered by all who aspire to the entree of good
society. Ease, savoir-faire, and good breeding
nowhere more indispensable than at the dinner-
table, and the absence of them is nowhere more
apparent. How to eat soup and what to do
with a cherry-stone are weighty considerations
when taken as the index of social status ; and
it is not too much to say, that a young woman
who elected to take claret with her fish or eat
peas with her knife would justly risk the punish-
ment of being banished from good society.
104 GOOD MANNERS.
An invitation to dine should be replied to
immediately, and unequivocally accepted or de-
clined. Once accepted, nothing but an event
of the last importance should cause you to fail
in your engagement. To be exactly punctual
on these occasions is the only politeness. If you
are too early, you are in the way ; if too late,
you spoil the dinner, annoy the hostess, and are
hated by the guests. Some authorities are even
of opinion that in the question of a dinner
party "never" is better than "late-," and one
author has gone so far as to say, '' If you do not
reach the house till dinner is served, you had
better retire and send an apology, and not inter
rupt the harmony of the courses by awkward
excuses and cold acceptance."
When the party is assembled, the mistress of
the house will point out to each gentleman the
lady whom he is to conduct to table. The guests
then go down according to order of precedence
arranged by the host or hostess, as the guests
are probably unacquainted, and cannot know
each other's social rank.
The lady who is the greatest stranger should
be taken down by the master of the house, and
the gentleman who is the greatest stranger
should conduct the hostess. Married ladies
take precedence of single ladies, elder ladies
of younger ones, and so on. A young bride
takes precedence of all other ladies.
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 105
When dinner is announced, the host offers his
arm to the lady of most distinction, invites the
rest to follow by a few words or a bow, and
leads the way 5 the visitors follow in the order
that the host and hostess have arranged. The
lady of the house remains, however, till the
last, that she may see her guests go down in their
orescribed order; but the plan is not a con-
venient one. It would be much better that the
hostess should be in her place as the guests enter
the dining-room, in order that she may indicate
their seats to them as they enter, and not find
them all crowded together in uncertainty when
Offer to your lady the left arm. and at the
table wait until she and every lady is seated, be-
fore taking your own place. In leaving the
parlor you will pass out first, and the lady will
foliow, still holding your arm. At the door of
the dining-room, the lady will drop your arm.
Pass in, then wait on one side the entrance till
she passes you, to her place at the table.
The number of guests at a dinner party de-
pends on the size of the room and the size of
the table. The rule laid down by Brillafc-Sava-
rin, that the numbers at a dinner party should
not be less than the Graces, nor more than the
Muses, is a good one. Even numbers, however,
are always the most convenient, and the number
of thirteen should be avoided out of respect to
108 GOOD MANNERS.
any possible superstition on the part of the
guests. The number of ladies and gentlemen
should be equal.
Great tact must be exercised in the distribution
of your guests. If you have a wit, or a good
talker, among your visitors, it is well to place
him near the centre of the table, where he can
be heard and talked to by all. It is obviously a
bad plan to place two such persons together 5
they extinguish each other. Nor should two
gentleman of the same profession be placed
close together, as they are likoly to fall into
exclusive conversation, and amuse no one but
A judicious host (or hostess) will consider the
politics, religious opinions, and tastes of his
friends, thus avoiding many social quicksands,
and making the dinner party a vehicle of de-
lightful social intercourse.
Converse in a low tone to your neighbor, yet
not with an air of secrecy. If the conversation
is general, do not raise your voice too much ; if
you cannot make those at some distance hear
you when speaking in a moderate tone, confine
your remarks to these near you.
Very young ladies or gentlemen should not
be asked to dinner parties. Young people cer-
tainly are the ruin of dinner parties.
The fashion of dinners is wholly unlike what
it was fifty or even thirty years ago. Dishes
are now never placed on the table at a dinner
of ceremony, and rarely even at small friendly
The dinner a la Russe is a great improvement
on the old fashion ; it is more elegant and more
agreeable to see only crystal, plate, flowers,
fruit, and epergnes before you ; and few people
will resort to the old mode who have once begun
the new. The dinner d la Russe is the poetry
The shape of the table is an important point.
The oval table offers most advantages for con-
versation ; the host and hostess sit in the middle
of each side, opposite to each other. The French
fashion of the host and hostess sitting side by
side in the middle of one side of the table is not
a bad one.
The appointments of the table may be as
sumptuous on the one hand, or as delicately
elegant on the other, as suits the tastes and
means of the family. Persons of rank and
family may at slight additional cost have their
dinner-service and table-linen made expressly
for them, with their arms or crest painted on the
one and woven in the others. This is far more
redierchg than any mere design. The crest is
also engraven on the silver; but it is perhaps
pushing heraldic pretension too far to engrave
it also on the wine and finger glasses.
We now imitate the Romans and cover our
'108 GOOD MANNEHS.
tables with flowers a happy innovation. Of
flowers, the richest and choicest, one can hardly
have too many. A small glass vase containing
a " button-hole' bouquet placed at every cover
is very dainty ; the guests remove the bouquets
on leaving the table. Glass flower vases ave
perhaps preferable to silver ones.
Light is really needful for digestion, and
should be supplied in profusion. Lamps are
out of place on a dining-table. Gas is simply
intolerable. Lockhart describes in his life of
Scott how the host introduced gas into the
dining-room at Abbotsford. i& In sitting down
to table in autumn," he said, u no one observed
that in each of three chandeliers there lurked a
tiny head of red light. Dinner passed off, and
the sun went down, and suddenly, at the turn-
ing of a screw, the room was filled with a gush
of splendor worthy of the palace of Aladdin
but, as in the case of Aladdin, the old lamp
would have been better in the upshot. Jewellery
sparkled, but cheeks and lips looked cold and
wan in this fierce illumination ; and the eye
was wearied, and the brow ached, if the sitting
was at all protracted/'
We must, therefore, have recourse to epergnes
and wax candles. There should be more lights
than guests. The candles should be of wax, and
of good size. Too much light is almost as ob-
jectionable as too little, since among your guests
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 109
may be persons whose eyes are weak, and to
whom it is positive torture to face a brilliant
light. The best plan is to have abundance of
wax lights on the chimney-piece and walls, and
not too many on the table.
Plenty of attendance is indispensable. The
servants should be well trained, silent, observant,
scrupulously dressed, and free from gaucherie.
A good servant is never awkward. His boots
never creak ; he never breathes hard, has a cold,
is obliged to cough, treads on a lady's dress, or
breaks a dish. If only two servants are in at-
tendance, one should begin with the guest on
his master's right, ending with the lady of the
house ; the other with the guest on his mis-
ress's right, ending with the master. If they do
not wear gloves, their hands must be scrupu-
The clergyman of highest rank is asked to
say grace j but if the master of the house is him-
self in the Church, he is his own family chap-
lain, and pronounces the grace himself.
Written bills of fare should be laid to every
The most elegant novelties for the appoint-
ment of the dinner-table should be obtained.
Among the latest of these we may mention silver
fish-knives, semicircular salad plates, and glasses
of any new shape lately introduced.
In the case of small unceremonious dinners,
110 GOOD MANNERS.
where the dishes are brought to table, the gen-
tleman sitting nearest the lady of the house
should offer to carve for her. Every gentleman
should therefore know how to carve well. The
soup comes to table first, and then the fish. It
is best to help both and send round to each
guest without asking, as they can refuse if they
Bu the dinner d la Russe being now so uni-
versal, we must more especially confine our
observations to that form. Granted, then, that
no dishes appear on the table, the rules of dining
are few and easy. Both host and guest are
relieved from every kind of responsibility. Dish
after dish comes round, as if by magic j and
nothing remains but to eat and be happy.
To eat and talk well at the same time is pos-
sible ; but the old-fashioned way of " seeing your
dinner before you," and having to carve, as well
as to talk and eat, involved a triple duty only
within the compass of very few. It is not well
to talk too much at a dinner party. One must
observe a happy medium between dulness and
brilliancy, remembering that a dinner is not a
conversazione. In talking at dinner, or indeed
at any time, gesticulation is objectionable. No-
thing can well be more awkward than to over-
turn a wine-glass, or upset the sauce upon the
dress of your nearest neighbor. Talking with
TABLE ETIQUETTE. Ill
the mouth full is an unpardonable solecism in
All small preferences for different wines or
dishes should be kept in subordination. The
duty of satisfying the tastes of the guests belongs
to the mistress of the house ; and if she has
failed to do so, the failure must not be exposed.
Dishes and wines should not be mentioned un-
less on the table.
The minor etiquette of the dinner-table must
be at all times remembered. As soon as you
are seated, remove your gloves, place your
table-napkin across your knees, only partially
unfolding it, and place your roll on the left side
of your plate. As soon as you are helped, begin
to eat : or if the viands are too hot, take up your
knife and fork and appear to begin. To wait
for others is not only old-fashioned but ill-bred.
Never offer to pass on the plate to which } T OU
have been helped. The lady of the house who
sends your plate to you is the best judge of
precedence at her own table. In eating soup,
remember always to take it from the side of the
spoon and to make no sound in doing so. Soup
and fish should never be partaken of a second
time. Whenever there is a servant to help you,
never help yourself; when he is near, catch his
eye and ask for what you want. Eating and
drinking should always be done noiselessly
112 GOOD MANNERS.
To drink a whole glassful at once, or drain a
glass to the last drop, is inexpressibly vulgar.
Knife, fork, and spoon may be abused. It is
needless, perhaps, to hint that the knife must
never be carried to the mouth. Cheese must be
eaten with a fork, as also peas, and most vege-
tables. Only puddings of a very soft kind, and
liquids, require a spoon.
Bread is not to be bitten, but broken, never
cut. Never dip a piece of bread into the gravy
or preserves upon your plate, and then bite it ;
but if you wish to eat them together, break the
bread into small pieceu, and carry these to your
mouth with your fork.
Mustard, salt, c., should be put at the side
of the plate, and one vegetable should never be
heaped on the top of the other. Always remem-
ber that a wine-glass is to be held by the stem
and not the bowl, and that the plate must not
be tilted on any occasion. In eating, one should
not bend the head voraciously over the plate,
extend the elbows, or rattle the knife and fork ;
but transact all the business of the table quietly
and gently. Use always the salt-spoon, sugar-
tongs, and butter-knife ; to use your own knife,
spoon, or lingers, evinces a shocking want of
Never put bones, or the seeds cf fruit, upon
the table-cloth. Put them upon the edge of
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 113
Anything like greediness or indecision is ill-
bred. The choicest pieces are ignored ; and
you must not take up one piece and lay it down,
in favor of another, or hesitate whether you
will partake of the dish at all. It is ymtche in
the extreme not to know one's own mind about
Silver fish-knives are found at the best dinner-
tables ; but where there are none, a piece of
crust should be taken in the left hand, and the
fork in the right.
In eating asparagus, it is well to observe what
others do, and act accordingly. The best plan
is to break off the heads with the fork, and thus
convey them to the mouth. In eating stone-
fruit, such as cherries, plums, &c., the same
diversity of fashion .prevails. Some put the
stones out of the mouth into the spoon, and so
3onvey them to the plate. Others cover the lips
with the hand, drop the stones unseen into the
palm, and so deposit them on the side of the
plate. Very dainty feeders press out the stone
with the fork, in the first instance, and thus get
rid of the difficulty. This is the safest way for
Fruit is eaten with a silver knife and fork.
A very expert fruit eater will so pare an orange
as to lose none of the juice ; but anything must
be sacrificed rather than one's good manners.
Never use your knife but to cut your food. Your
114 GOOD MANNERS.
fork is intended to carry the food from your
plate to your mouth. Never use your own knife
or fork to help others.
At dinner parties ladies seldom eat cheese, or
drink liquors, or take wine at dessert. Finger-
glasses containing water slightly warmed and
perfumed are placed to each person at dessert.
In these you dip your fingers, wiping them
afterwards on your table-napkin. If the finger-
glass and d'oyley are placed on your dessert-
plate, you should remove the d'oyley to the left
hand and place the finger-glass upon it.
The servants retire after handing round the
It is a foreign custom, and an excellent one,
to serve coffee in the dining-room before the
ladies retire; it puts an end to the prolonged
wine-drinking, now so universally condemned
by well-bred persons. When the ladies retire,
the gentlemen rise, and the gentleman nearest
the door holds it open for them to pass through.
Never leave the table until the mistress of the
house gives the signal.
Never put fruit or bon-bons in your pocket to
carry them from the table. Do not eat so fast
as to hurry the others, nor so slowly as to keep
On leaving the table put your napkin on the
table, but do not fold it. Offer your arm to the
lady whom you escorted to the table.
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 115
Taking wine with people is now wholly out
of fashion. Toasts have met with the same fate.
To remain long in the dining-room after the
ladies have left is a poor compliment to both the
hostess and her fair visitors. Still worse is it
to rejoin them with a flushed face and impaired
powers of thought. A refined gentleman is
Givers of dinners should lose no time in
making themselves acquainted with all that has
been written by the great masters of gastrono-
my. The following golden rules of Brillat-
Savarin should be committed to memory :
" Let not the number of the guests exceed
twelve, so that the conversation may be general.
Let them be so selected that their occupations
shall be varied, their tastes similar, their points
of contact so numerous that to introduce them
shall scarcely be necessary.
" Let the dining-room be superbly lighted,
the cloth of exquisite fineness and gloss, the
temperature of the room from 60 to 68 Fah-
11 Let the men be cultivated, without pre-
tensions; and the ladies charming, without
"Let the dishes be exceedingly choice, but
not too numerous ; and every wine first-rate of
u Let the order of dishes be from the substan
116 GOOD MANNERS.
tial to the light, and of wines from the simplest
to those of richest bouquet.
"Let the business of eating be very slow, the
dinner being the last act of the day's drama ;
and let the guests and host consider themselves
as so many travellers journeying leisurely
towards the same destination.
"Let the coffee be hot and the liqueur be
chosen by the host.
" Let the drawing-room be large enough for
a game of cards, if any of the guests cannot do
without it, and yet have space enough remain-
ing for after-dinner conversation.
u Let the guests be retained by the attractions
of the party, and animated with the hope of
some evening meeting again under the same
" Let not the tea be too strong ; let the toast
be buttered in the most scientific manner ; let
the punch be prepared to perfection.
" Let no one depart before eleven o'clock and
no one be in bed later than twelve.
" If any one has been present at a party ful-
filling these conditions, he may boast of having
been present at his own apotheosis/'
A dinner need not be costly to be attractive.
Walker, in his celebrated " Original," ob-
serves : u Common soup made at home, fish of
little cost, any joints, the cheapest vegetables,
some happy and unexpected introduction (as a
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 117
finely-dressed crab, or a pudding) provided
everything is good in quality, and the dishes are
well dressed, and served hot, and in succession,
with their adjuncts will insure a quantity of
enjoyment which no one need be afraid to
Observe, however, these three little words,
with their adjuncts. Herein lies the gist of the
sentence 5 here speaks the wisdom of the prac-
tised diner. On the prompt and quick serving
of these same "adjuncts" half the enjoyment
of dinner depends. How often an excellent
dinner is spoilt by the slow arrival, or non-
arrival, of those necessary condiments without
which neither meat nor vegetables have their
proper flavors. The best beef is spoilt if it
cools while we are waiting for the mustard ;
veal is almost uneatable if the lemon has been
forgotten ; asparagus, though served in Decem-
ber, would cease to be a delicacy if sent up
without melted butter and toast. The mistress
of a house should never leave these small de-
tails to the memory or judgment of her cook ;
but should order the accustomed "adjuncts"
with each dish. To know these things is not
difficult, and not to know them is to shock the
prejudices or disappoint the appetites of those
who have been accustomed to the received rou-
tine of cookery.
Small stands of pepper, mustard, and salt
118 GOOD MANNERS.
should be placed to every two guests at a din-
ner party, that no one may be kept waiting for
the means of seasoning, according to his taste,
the food which has been placed before him.
A wealthy man will study to give the best
dinners that money and taste can provide. But
money, let us ever remember, is not taste; and
though we may grudge no expense in order to
please our guests, too great a display of wealth
and profusion is bourgeois to the last degree. To
provide everything that is out of season, and
nothing that is in season, savors of pretension.
The common sense of a good dinner is to have
things when they are early and really at their
best. A very choice and not over sumptuous
dinner is ever the most elegant. Rare delicacies
from a distance are recherc/tg, such as canvas-
backed ducks, terrapins, reedbirds, &c., &c.
Wines should always be of the choicest. Cer-
tain wines are taken with certain dishes, by old-
established custom as sherry, or sauterne, with
soup and fish ; hock and claret with roast meat;
punch with turtle ; port with venison ; port, or
burgundy, with game; sparkling wines between
the roast and the confectionery; madeira with
sweets ; port with cheese ; and for dessert, port,
tokay, madeira, sherry, and claret. Ked wines
should never be iced, even in summer. Claret
and burgundy should always be slightly warmed.
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 119
As a rule, very choice wines should not he iced
A decanter of wine or water may he readily
cooled, by folding a wet cloth ahout it and
placing it in a current of air.
An admirable kind of wine jug has lately
been invented with an ice receptacle in the side,
by means of which the wine is even more effec-
tually iced than with an ice pail. For cham-
pagne cup, claret cup, or effervescing wines,
this kind of jug is most desirable.
Instead of cooling their wines in the ice pail,
some hosts have of late years introduced clear
ice upon the table, broken up in small lumps,
to be put inside the glasses. This is an innova-
tion that cannot be too strictly reprehended
or too soon abolished. Melting ice can but
weaken the quality and flavor of the wine.
Those who desire to drink wine and water can
ask for iced water if they choose, but it savors
too much of economy on the part of a host to
insinuate the ice inside the glasses of his guests,
when the wine could be more effectually iced
outside the bottle.
Great care is necessary in decanting wine, so
as not to shake or cork it. Rare French wines
should be brought to table in bottles, as decant-
ing injures the flavor.
Each wine at the best tables has its own
distinctive glass. Very broad and shallow glasses
120 GOOD MANNERS.
are used for sparkling wines; large goblet-shaped
glasses for burgundy and claret ; ordinary wine
glasses for sherry and madeira ; green glasses
for hock ; and somewhat large bell-shaped
glasses for port.
While on the subject of wines, it may be ob-
served, en passant, that it is considered very
vulgar to say " port wine" or " sherry wine."
In England no well-bred person speaks of either
as anything but " port" or " sherry." No well-
bred Frenchman, on the other hand, would
speak of wines except as " vin de Champagne,"
4t vin de Grave," " vin de Bordeaux." This is
one of the many instances in which the good
manners of one country are the vulgarity of
As there are, and probably ever will be, a
certain number of persons who cling to old
customs, who still challenge their friends to take
wine, and persist in having their dinners served
in the old-fashioned manner, we subjoin a few
observations which would not be applicable to
dinners and dinner customs where the table is
dressed d la Russe.
The gentlemen who support the lady of the
house should offer to relieve her of the duties
of hostess. Many ladies are well pleased thus
to delegate the difficulties of carving, and all
gentlemen who accept invitations to dinner
should be prepared to render such assistance
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 121
when called upon. To offer to carve a dish, and
then perform the office unskilfully, is an unpar-
donable gaucherie. Every gentleman should
carve, and carve well.
The soup should be placed on the table first.
Some old-fashioned persons still place soup and
fish together, but "it is a custom more honored
in the breach than the observance." Still more
old-fashioned, and in still worse taste, is it to
ask your guests if they will take u soup or fish."
They are as much separate courses as the fish
and the meat, and all experienced diners take
both. In any case, it is inhospitable to appear
to force a choice upon a visitor, when that
visitor, in all probability, will prefer to take
his soup first and his fish afterwards. All
well-ordered dinners begin with soup, whether
in summer or winter. The lady of the house
should help it, and send it round without ask-
ing each individual in- turn it is as much an
understood thing as the bread beside each plate ;
and those who do not choose it are always at
liberty to leave it untasted. Never take soup
If the servants do not go round with wine,
the gentlemen should help the ladies and them-
selves to sherry or sau^erne with the soup.
As a general rule, it is better not to ask your
guests if they will partake of the dishes, but to
send the plates round, and let them acoept or
122 GOOD MANNERS
decline them as they please. At very large
dinners it is sometimes customary to distribute
little lists of the order of the dishes at intervals
along the table. It must be confessed that this
gives somewhat the air of a dinner at an hotel ,
but it has the advantage of enabling the visitors
to select their fare, and, as "forewarned is
forearmed," to keep a corner, as the children
say, for their favorite dishes.
In helping soup, fish, or any other dish, re-
member that to overfill a plate is as bad as to
supply it too scantily.
Always help fish with a fish-slice, and tart
and puddings with a spoon, or if necessary, a
spoon and fork.
In helping sauce, always pour it on the sile
of the plate.
Never touch either your knife or fork until
after you have finished eating your soup. Leave
your spoon in your soup plate, that the servant
may take them both.
In changing your plate or passing it during
dinner, remove your knife and fork, that the
plate alone may be taken, but after you have
finished your dinner, cross the knife and fork
on the plate, that the servant may take all away
before bringing clean ones for the dessert.
If you are asked to take wine, it is polite to
select the same as that which your interlocutor
is drinking. If you invite a lady to take wine,
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 123
you should ask her which she will prefer, and
then take the same yourself. Should you, how-
ever, for any reason prefer some other vintage,
you can take it by courteously requesting her
Unless you are a total abstainer, it is ex-
tremely uncivil to decline taking wine if you
are invited to do so. In accepting, you have
only to pour a little fresh wine into your glass,
look at the person who invites you, bow slightly,
and take a sip from your glass.
It is ill-bred to empty your glass on these
If you are asked to prepare fruit for a lady,
be careful to do so by means of the silver knife
and fork only, and never to touch it with your
It is wise never to partake of any dish with-
out knowing of what ingredients it is composed.
You can always ask the servant who hands it to
you, and you thereby avoid all danger of having
to commit the impoliteness of leaving it, and
showing that you do not approve of it.
Be careful never to taste soups or puddings
till you are sure they are sufficiently cool ; as,
by disregardino; this caution, you may be com-
pelled to swallow what is dangerously hot, or be
driven to the unpardonable alternative of return-
ing it to your plate.
L 3 eas are eaten with the fork.
124 GOOD MANNERS.
Servants should not wait at table in white
gloves, but with a white damask napkin in the
hand, the end of which should be wrapped
round the thumb.
The lady of the house should never send
away her plate, or appear to have done eating,
till all her guests have finished.
If you should unfortunately overturn or break
anything, do not apologize for it. You can show
your regret in your face, but it is not well-bred
to put it into words.
To abstain from taking the last piece on the
dish, or the last glass of wine in the decanter,
only because it is the last, is highly ill-bred.
It implies a fear on your part that the vacancy
cannot be supplied, and almost conveys an
affront to your host.
To those ladies who have houses and servants
at command we have one or two remarks to
offer. Every housekeeper should be acquainted
with the routine of a dinner and the etiquette
of a dinner table. No lady should be utterly
dependent on the taste and judgment of her
cook. Though she need not know how to dress
a dish, she should be able to judge of it when
served. The mistress of a house, in short,
should be to her cook what a publisher is to his
authors that is to say, competent to form a
iudgment upon their works, though himself in-
J r ^ ' A.' 1
capable or writing even a magazine article.
If you wish to give a good dinner, and do
not know in what manner to set about it, you
will do wisely to order it from any first-rate
restaurateur. By these means you insure the
best cookery and a faultless carte.
Never reprove your servants before guests.
If a dish is not placed precisely where you would
have wished it to stand, or the order of a course
is reversed, let the error pass unnoticed by your-
self, and you may depend that it will remain
unnoticed by others.
To ladies who have the happiness of being
mothers we would say, Never let your children
make their appearance at dessert when you en-
tertain friends at dinner ; children are out of
place on these occasions. Your guests only
tolerate them through politeness ; their presence
interrupts the genial flow of afterdinner conver-
sation ; and you may rely upon it that, with the
exception of yourself and your husband, there
is not a person at table who does not wish them
in the nursery.
The duties of hostess at a dinner party are
not onerous ; but they demand tact and good
breeding, grace of bearing, and self-possession
in no ordinary degree. She does not often
carve ; she has no active duties to perform ; but
she must neglect nothing, forget nothing, put
all her guests at their ease, and pay every pos-
sible attention to the requirements of each and
126 GOOD MANNERS.
all around her. No accident must ruffle her
temper. No disappointment must embarrass
her. She must see her old china broken without
a sigh, and her best glass shattered with a smile.
The duties of a host are more difficult. Hear
what a modern writer has to say on this im-
u To perform faultlessly the honors of the
table is one of the most difficult things in society.
It mii-'ht. indeed, be asserted without much fear
of contradiction, that no man has as vet ever
reached exact propriety in his office as host, or
lias hit the mean between exerting himself too
much and too little. His- great business is to
put every one entirely at his ease ? to gratify all
his desires, and make him, in a word, absolutely
contented with men and things. To accomplish
this, he must have the genius of tact to perceive,
and the genius of finesse to execute-, ease and
frankness of manner ; a knowledge of the world
that nothing can surprise-, a calmness of temper
that nothing can disturb ; and a kindness of dis-
position that can never be exhausted When
he receives others, he must be content to forget
himself; he must relinquish all desire to shine,
and even all attempts to please his guests by
conversation, and rather do all in his power to
let them please one another. He behaves to
them without agitation, without affectation -, he
pays attention without an air of protection ; he
TABLE ETIQUETTE. 127
encourages the timid, draws out the silent, and
directs conversation without sustaining it him
self. He who does not do all this is wanting
in his duty as host ; he who does is more than
In conclusion, we have a few words to offer
on the subject of mnns in general.
For an ordinary dinner the following mnu is
sufficient: One kind of soup, one kind of fish,
two entries, a roast, a boil, game, cheese, ices,
dessert, and coffee.
For a more ceremonious dinner two soups
(one white, the other clear), two kinds of fish,
and four entree* are necessary.
Bread should be cut for table not less than an
inch thick, but rolls are preferable.
Pea soup, roast pork, and boiled beef are
never seen upon good tables.
Of all animal food, venison is the most digest-
Entries are those dishes which are served in
the first course, after the fish.
Entremets are those dishes which are served
in the second course, after the roast.
A turkey will be much improved by roasting
it covered with bacon and paper. A Christmas
turkey should be hung from a fortnight to three
weeks. A guinea-fowl and pheasant are ad
vantageously dressed together.
128 GOOD MANNERS.
The Almanack des Gourmands says, "A deli-
cious sauce will cause you to eat an elephant."
The only secret of dressing vegetables, so as
to preserve their fresh green color, is an open
saucepan, plenty of water, a proper quantity of
salt, and fast boiling.
The Spanish proverb says, " Four persons are
wanted to make a good salad ; a spendthrift for
oil, a miser for vinegar, a counsellor for salt,
and a madman to stir it all up."
Cheese taken at the close of the dinner assists
Wines should vary with the season. Light
wines are best in summer ; in winter generous
wines are preferable.
The custom of taking coffee after a very late
dinner is bad, since its stimulant properties
exert a power destructive to sleep. Never pour
it into a saucer to cool.
Engagement and Marriage.
pOURTSHIP is one of those crises in the
\J course of life when to act by rule is impos-
sible, and where feeling and good sense will
prove one's best and often one's only counsel-
lors. No wise man will weary a lady with too
much of his presence, or risk being regarded as
a bore. No well-bred woman will receive a
man's attentions however acceptable too
eagerly ; nor will she carry reserve so far as to
be altogether discouraging. It is quite possible
for a lady to let it be seen that such and such a
prttendant is .not disagreeable to her, without
actually encouraging him. It is equally possi-
ble for a man to show attention, and even assi-
duity, up to a certain point, without becoming a
lover. No man likes to be refused, and no man
of tact will risk a refusal. Unless the lady is
false, or a downright coquette, a man ought
always to be able to judge whether he will be
favorably heard, before he ventures upon his
With regard to the manner of the offer, it is
impossible to offer advice; all must depend on
130 GOOD MANNERS.
circumstances. Is the lover nervous or not
nervous ? Has he a persuasive tongue ? Does
he speak well under trying circumstances? Has
he a good manner ? an agreeable person ? If he
possesses these qualifications, he will do well to
make his offer in person. If, on the contrary,
he is bashful, or labors under any defect of
speech, or is likely to break down, or is not
prepared to take a refusal gracefully, or in any
way mistrusts his own tact and presence of
mind, he had far better intrust his cause to his
We suppose him accepted. His conduct as a
fiance must be tender, assiduous, unobtrusive.
He must evince the utmost respect towards
every member of the lady's family. He must
by no means act as if he considered himself
already a member of that family, or venture
upon being in any way unduly familiar. He
must for the present content himself with the
position of a devoted friend only; testifying
interest in all that concerns the welfare of the
family to which he hopes to unite himself, and
losing no opportunity of rendering them any
service that may lie in his power.
All airs of mastership, all foolish display of
jealousy, should be avoided. Lovers' quarrels
are as earnestly to be dreaded and deprecated as
the quarrels of husbands and wives, or brothers
and sisters. Quarrels cannot but impair mutual
ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE. lol
respect and diminish love. The lady, on the
other hand, must not be exacting or capricious ;
must not flirt with others ; must not be too
demonstrative ; find must never find fault with-
out a cause. Both should remember that they
are in the first stage of what is to be a lifelong
friendship, and should manifest the utmost
degree of mutual candor, confidence, and sym
It must surely be unnecessary to hint, that
no approach towards familiarity must ever be
indulged in. The most perfect reserve in court-
ship, even in cases of the most ardent attach-
ment, is indispensable to the happiness of the
married life to come. All public displays of
devotion should be avoided. They tend to lessen
mutual respect, and make the actors ridiculous
in the eyes of others. It is quite possible for a
man to show every conceivable attention to the
lady to whom he is engaged, and yet to avoid
committing the slightest offence against delicacy
or good taste.
Ladies should remember that nothing takes
the bloom so completely off a man's admiration,
as untidiness in the woman he loves. A lady's
dress should be at all times exquisitely clean
and neat. He, on his side, should be chival-
rously conformable to her tastes, giving up
snicking, or any other habits to which she may
132 GOOD MANNERS.
object; and, above all things, paying no undue
attentions to other women.
The gentleman presents the lady with a ring
as soon as they are engaged. If her parents
permit her to accept many presents, the lover
will not fail to surround her with tokens of his
devotion : if, however, this habit is not encou-
raged, he can spend as much money as he pleases
in offering her flowers of the rarest and costliest
kinds. These she can always accept and ho may
always offer. A sensible man will not give more
presents than he can justly afford.
It is the lady's privilege to fix the wedding
The marriage settlement is an important
point. No parent or guardian should allow his
child or ward to marry without having a part
of her fortune secured upon herself. The young
lady may be over-generous, but her advisers will
do well to act upon their own judgment in this
matter. It is quite as advantageous to the hus-
band as to herself, since, in case of unlooked-for
loss or misfortune, there is a sure provision for
his wife and children. Professional men, clerks,
commercial travellers, and all that numerous
class of men who are dependent upon their
health for the maintenance of their family, are
in duty bound to insure their lives for the bene-
tit of their survivors.
To return to the marriage settlement. An
ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE. 133
allowance for the lady's dress and pocket money
should always be made, and so administered
that the wife will not have to ask for it in sea-
son and out of season, but receive it as promptly
as if it were a dividend.
The trousseau should be in accordance with
the means of the bride. It is preposterous for
ladies of middle-class rank and limited means
to provide themselves with a showy, useless
outfit ; and in all cases a bridal trousseau should
consist less of dresses, bonnets, and things of
ephemeral fashion, than of linen, laces, French,
Indian, or Cashmere shawls, jewellery, and the
The bridesmaids may be from two to twelve
in number. The bride's sisters, and the bride-
groom's nearest female relations, should be
bridesmaids if possible. The brothers and very
intimate friends of the bride and groom are
usually selected for groomsmen. A very young
lady should have bridesmaids of her own age,
but a bride who is no longer in her girlhood
should choose bridesmaids who will not make
her look old and ugly by comparison. The
bridesmaids may wear veils, and should always
be dressed in white, trimmed with delicate
colors. When there are six or eight it is usual
for half to dress in one color and the other half
in another. The bouquet of the bride should
be entirely of white camellias, orange flowers,
134 GOOD MANNERS.
&c. ; those of the bridesmaids of mixed colors.
Groomsmen usually present the bouquet to the
bridesmaid they are to wait upon. Except at
very large wedding breakfasts, it is customary
to invite only relatives and very intimate friends
to the dejeuner. In the former case, invitations
on printed cards are sent out by the bride's
parents or guardians.
The French bridal costume is much simpler
and prettier than the English, and we should
be glad to see it imitated. It consists of a dress
of white tulle over white silk, a long veil of
white tulle reaching to the feet, and a wreath of
maiden-blush roses interspersed with orange
blossoms. In England rich lace is worn over
white satin or silk, and the veil is generally of
Widows and ladies of middle age are married
in bonnets. The bridegroom wears elegant
evening dress, dark trousers, a black dress-coat,
and a white neck-tie.
The order of going to church is as follows :
The bridesmaids, groomsmen and members of
the bride's family set off first ; the bride goes
last with her father and mother, or with her
mother alone, and the relative who is to repre-
sent her father if he be dead or absent. The
father of the bride gives her his arm and leads
her to the altar.
The bride stands f ,o the left of the bridegroom,
ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE. 135
and- takes the glove off her left hand, while he
takes the glove off his right hand. The bride
gives hei glove to her bridesmaids to hold. Per-
fect self-control should be exhibited by all par-
ties during the ceremony ; nothing is more un-
dignified than exhibitions of feeling in public.
People who have no self-control had better
remain at home.
The bride quits the church first with the
bridegroom, and they drive away together in his
carriage ; the rest follow in their own carriages.
The bridegroom should be liberal in his fees,
if he can afford to be so. A rich man may give
any sum to the officiating clergyman, from five
dollars to five hundred. For people of moderate
moans, from five to twenty dollars is ample.
The entertainment should be supplied by a
first-rate confectioner, and the table should be
as beautiful as flowers, plate, glass, and china
can make it.
Fees to servants must depend upon circum-
stances. From a rich bridegroom large sums
are expected, but from persons of moderate
means extravagant fees would be out of place.
The bridegroom usually presents each brides-
maid with some elegant trinket, which should
be the best of its kind. No distinction should
be made in these gifts. The bridegroom usually
presents the bride with some useful and costly
136 GOOD MANNERS.
Where the circle of friends on both sides is
very extensive, it has of late become customary
to send invitations to such as are not called to
the wedding feast, to attend the ceremony at
church. This stands in place of issuing cards.
When this rule is observed, it is usual, in noti-
fying the marriage in the newspapers, to add
the words " No cards."
When a gentleman attends a wedding or
bridal reception, it is the bridegroom he is to
congratulate, offering to the bride his wishes for
her future happiness, but not congratulation.
If you are acquainted with the bridegroom,
and not with the bride, speak to him first, and
he will introduce you to his bride ; but in any
other case, you must speak first to the bride,
then to the bridegroom, then to the bridesmaids,
if you have any previous acquaintance with
them ; then to the parents and family of the
bride and groom ; and after this you are at liberty
to seek your friends.
Visiting at a Country House.
T7ISITORS are bound by the laws of social
V intercourse to conform in all respects to
the habits of the house. In order to do this
effectually, they should inquire what those
habits are. To keep your friend's dinner wait-
ing ; to accept other invitations ; to impose much
trouble on your friend's servants ; or to keep
the family up till unwonted hours, are alike
evidences of a want of good feeling and good
At breakfast, dinner, and tea, absolute punc-
tuality ought to be expected.
No order of precedence is observed at either
breakfast or luncheon. Persons take their seats
as they come in, and "having exchanged their
morning salutations, begin without waiting for
the rest of the party. If letters are delivered
to you at breakfast or luncheon, you may read
them by asking permission from your host or
Always hold yourself at the disposal of those
in whose house you are staying. If they pro-
138 GOOD MANNERS.
pose to ride, drive, walk, or otherwise occupy
the day, you may take it for granted that these
plans are made with reference to your enjoy-
ment. You should therefore receive them with
cheerfulness, and enter into them with alacrity,
doing your best to seem pleased, and be pleased,
by the efforts which are made to entertain you.
Children and horses should never be taken
except to old friends, or when the invitation
especially includes them. No visit should bo
prolonged beyond a week, unless amongst very
intimate friends and relations. Both host and
guest should study to be as agreeable to each
other as possible, and not exact too much of each
A guest should endeavor to amuse himself as
much as possible, and not be continually de-
pendent on his host for entertainment. He
should remember that, however welcome he may
be, he is not always wanted. During the
morning hours a gentleman visitor who neither
shoots, reads, writes letters, nor does anything
but idle about the house and chat with the
ladies, is an intolerable nuisance. Sooner than
become the latter, he had better retire to the
billiard-room and practise cannons by himself,
or walk about the neighborhood.
The lady visitor should, of course, amuse and
occupy herself in like manner, as best suits her
own taste : remembering that her hostess, as
VISITING AT A COUNTRY HOUSE. 139
mistress of the house, must have many duties
and occupations for the morning.
Those who receive " staying visitors/ 1 as they
are called, should remember that the truest hos-
pitality is that which places the visitor most at
his ease, and affords him the greatest oppor-
tunity for enjoyment. They should also re-
member that different persons have different
ideas on the subject of enjoyment, and that the
surest way of making a guest happy is to find
out what gives him pleasure ; not to impose
that upon him which is pleasure to themselves.
As a rule, host and guest should be quite in-
dependent of each other till breakfast, after
which time the host will have planned drives,
walks, and out-door amusements for his visitors,
taking care that each guest shall enjoy the
recreation and the society he likes best. A model
host is the most unselfish person possible, relin-
quishing the best of everything in favor of those
he has invited to his house. At dinner the
whole party reassembles, men tall} 7 and phys-
ically refreshed, let us hope, by exercise and
genial companionship. A guest is bound to
spend his evening in the drawing-room, and to
behave in all respects as if he were a visitor for
that evening only 5 dressing as for a party, and
exerting himself to be as agreeable as if he
were about to take his leave at eleven o'clock.
The signal lor retiring to rest is generally
140 GOOD MANNERS.
given by the appearance of a servant with a
tray containing fruit, wine, water, and biscuits.
These are the last refreshments of the evening,
and the visitor will do well to watch his oppor-
tunity to rise and wish good-night shortly after
they have been handed round.
Great discretion must be used among guests
to avoid all criticism on their host, his friends,
his household, his manner of living, and all that
concerns him. If anything goes wrong during
the visit, one should seem not to see it. If the
dinner is late, it is very impolite to appear im-
patient. If any plan falls to the ground, no
comments or disapproval must be indulged in,
and no disappointment betrayed. If the child-
ren of the house are fractious, or noisy, a visitor
must never find fault with their behavior.
The same caution must be exercised in the
treatment of your friend's friends. They may
be such as you do not care to become intimate
with, but you must not evince dislike or special
avoidance, and must always have recourse
rather to a negative than a positive line of con-
duct. A person of tact can always keep people
at a distance without hurting their feelings.
Your friend's horses, carriages, books, &c.,
should be even more carefully used than if they
were your own. A good-natured host will de-
light in seeing his visitors enjoy all the good
things he places at their disposal, but they
VISITING AT A COUNTRY HOUSE. 141
should never abuse his indulgence. To ride a
horse too far or too fast, to dog's-ear or blot his
books, to gather his flowers without permission,
are all signs of an under-bred and selfish nature.
Above all, we should be thoughtful in our treat-
ment of his servants j never putting them to
undue trouble, nor commenting on their short-
The religious opinions of those from whom
we receive hospitality must on no account be
shocked or scoffed at. If our friends go to
church, we should go with them ; or, without
remark, repair to the place of worship we prefer.
If family prayers are read, we should endeavor
to be present. If the Sunday is observed with
great rigidity, we should refrain from any pur-
suits to which objection could possibly be made.
In short, we must remember that social inter-
course is made up of innumerable little acts of
kindness, self-denial, charity, chivalry, and good
fellowship ; and that only those who give largely
will receive " full measure, brimming over."
Hints on Carving.
A I/THOUGH, in these days ot dinners a la
-1JL Russe, it is seldom that either ladies or
gentlemen are called upon to carve in* society, a
certain proficiency in the art is indispensable
to both sexes in the daily routine of home life.
In the middle classes this duty is not unusu-
ally taken by the wife of a man whom business
may often detain from his home ; and a skilful
and economical carver is no bad helpmate for a
hard-working professional man.
Men ought to know how to carve any joint or
dish set before them, or, however high their
standing in the world, they appear awkward
and clownish ; and, therefore, all men should
practise the art of carving in their youth.
The first necessary provisions for carving are
the proper utensils; the most skilful of artists
would be defeated in his aim if he had not his
tools. The carving-knives and forks are now
made specially for the various dishes. The fish-
slices should be of silver or silver metal, in
order that the flavoi of the fish may not be in-
HINTS ON CARVING. 143
jured by contact with steel; and made flat and
broad, so that the flakes be not broken in raising.
For joints, use a very long sharp steel blade;
and for poultry and game, a long-handled knife
with a short and pointed blade, so constructed
as to be inserted dexterously between the small
joints of the birds. The forks must be two-
pronged, and the dish must be sufficiently near
to the carver to give him an easy command over
it. Having the needful utensils for work, all
now depends on the coolness, confidence, and
dexterity of the carver. A very brief amount
of practice will enable him to know what joints
there must be in the piece before him, and where
they are situated. In butcher's meat, one rule
is almost universal : the slice cut must be cut
across the fibres of the meat, and not along them ;
a process which renders it more easy to masti-
cate and digest. The exceptions to this rule are
the fillet or under-cut in a sirloin of beef, and the
slices along the bone in a saddle of mutton. In
cutting a joint of meat, the strong fork is used
to steady it: but in carving poultry it is the
fork which is most useful in removing the wing
and leg by a jerk, without leaving any ragged
remains adhering to the body. All this must
be accomplished by dexterity not by strength,
and any lady can acquire the art by a little ob-
servation and practice.
A knife should seldom be used for pies, en
144 GOOD MANNERS.
tr6es, or sweet dishes. As a rule, indeed, you
must use a spoon whenever it is possible.
In helping soup, you give half a ladleful to
In helping to choice dishes, stuffing, &c., the
carver should always calculate the number of
the company and proportion the delicacies dis-
The fairest mode of cutting a ham, so as to
cut both fat and lean evenly, is to begin at a
hole in the centre of the thickest part, and cut
from it in thin circular slices.
Be careful alwavs to cut straight to. the bone,
by which method you never spoil the joint, and
are yet enabled to help many persons with but
little meat. What remains also looks well and
is good to eat.
A leg of mutton should be sliced lightly, so
as not to press out the pieces and serve dry
meat. Cut first in the middle as the most juicy
part, cut to the bone, and thin slices. Currant
jelly should always be served with mutton.
In carving a roast sirloin of beef, you may
begin at either side. The outside should be
sliced down to the bone, while the inside or ten-
derloin part should be sliced thin, lengthwise,
and a little of the soft rat given with each piece.
You may ask whether the outside or inside, the
rare or well-done, is preferred ; otherwise a
small piece of the inside should be served with
HINTS ON CARVING. 145
each plate, as this is generally regarded as the
A round of beef should be cut in thin, large,
A filled of veal should be cut in the same
way as a round of beef, and served with each
slice some of the stuffing and a little of the fat.
Frequently the brown parts or outside are pre-
ferred to the inner cuts, and the inquiry should
When carving a forequarter of lamb, separate
the shoulder from the breast and ribs, by pass-
ing the knife under and through it; then sepa-
rate the gristly part from the ribs, and help from
that, or the ribs, as may be chosen.
A haunch of mutton is the leg and apart of
the fat of the loin, and the lean of the leg. Cut
each part directly down through in slices, about
a quarter of an inch thick.
A saddle of mutton should be cut in thin
slices from tail to end, beginning close to the
back-bone ; help some fat from, the sides.
A rcast pig should be cut in two before it is
sent to the table. Begin to carve by separating
the shoulders from one side, then divide the
ribs. The joints may be divided, or pieces cut
from them. The ribs are considered the finest
part, though some prefer the neck end.
When carving a goose, cut off the apron, or
the part directly under the neck, and outside of
146 GOOD MANNERS.
the merry- thought. Then turn the neck tc wards
you, and cut the breast in slices. Take off the
leg by putting the fork into the small end of the
bone, pressing it to the body, at the same time
passing the knife into and through the joint.
Take off the wing by putting the fork into the
small end of the pinion, and pressing it close
to the body while the knife is dividing the joint.
The wing side-bones, and also the back and
lower side-bones, should then be cut off. The
best pieces are the breast and thighs.
Chickens and turkeys are carved, by first de-
taching the legs from the body. Next, take off
the wings, by dividing the joint with the knife
then lift up the pinion with your fork, and draw
the wing towards the leg, and the muscles will
separate in a better form than if cut Now cut
the breast into thin slices. Then remove the
merry-thought from the neck-bones, and divide
the breast-bone from the carcase by laying it
first on one side and then on the other, each time
cutting through the tender ribs. Then lay the
back upwards, and cut it across half-way between
the neck and the rump. Then insert the point
of the knife between the back-bone and the side-
bone and cut them off. The breast, the wings,
the side-hones, or the thighs are considered the
choicest parts. A skilful carver will insert his
fork in the breast-bone of poultry and not remove
it till the whole bird is nearly dissected.
HINTS ON CARVING. 147
Larks, quails, plovers, and all small game
birds should be always cut through the breast
from the back to the tail, and served in two
The shoulder of a rabbit is very delicate, and
the brains are considered choice.
In helping roast pheasant or chicken, add
some of the cresses with which it is garnished.
Never pour gravy over white meats, as these
should retain their color.
Do not pour sauce over meat or vegetables, but
a little on one side.
Before cutting up a wild-duck, pour over a
few spoonfuls of sauce, compound of port wine
or claret, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper,
or help with currant jelly.
The most delicate parts of a calf's head are
the bits under the ears, neck, and eyes, and the
side next the cheek.
The upper part of a roast sirloin of beef
should be carved lengthwise, and never across.
The best helping in a large salmon is a thick
piece from the middle.
Grouse is carved like chicken, but the back is
considered the iiiOst delicate.
Partridges may be cut up like chickens, if the
supply of game be limited; but otherwise are
better divided, like small birdvS.
Of roasted chicken, the breast i,s the best
H8 GOOD MANNERS.
part ; of boiled chicken, the leg is considered
A good carver will remember that the follow
ing are esteemed delicacies :
The sounds of cod-fish.
The fat of salmon.
The fat of venison.
Kidneys of lamb and veal.
The long cuts and the gravy from the Balder-
man's walls" of a haunch of venison.
The pope's eye in a leg of mutton.
The oyster cut of a shoulder of mutton.
The ribs and neck of a pig.
Breast and thighs (without drumstick) of
turkey and goose.
The legs and breast of a duck.
The wings, breast, and back of game.
are many little courtesies a gentleman
may offer to a lady when travelling, even
if she is an entire stranger, and by an air of
respectful deference, he may place her entirely
If a lady is placed under a gentleman's care
for a journey, she will probably meet him at the
depot 5 but if an old acquaintance, you should
offer to call for her at her residence. Take a
hack, and call, leaving ample time for her to say
her last words of farewell. A lady should offer
her escort a sum of money from which to defray
her expenses, at starting, and the gentleman
should accept it without the slightest hesitation ;
this mode is preferable for several reasons. Or
she can always hand the gentleman her fare
when he is paying for his own ; or what per-
haps is better, let him keep an account of the
day's or the journey's expenses, and settle with
each other at the end.
Select for your companion the pleasantest
Beat, then attend to the baggage and have it
properly checked. Before starting, place her
shawls, bag, &c., in convenient reach, arrange
the windows or shades to her liking, and see
that she starts comfortably fixed ; and be at all
times ready to wait on her.
When arriving at the hotel, escort her to the
parlor, and leave her there while you engage
rooms. When the waiter is ready to show her
to her room escort her thither and leave her at
her door. Ask her at what hour she wishes to
take the next meal, and promptly meet her in
the parlor at that time, and accompany her to
If you remain in the city where her journey
terminates, you should call upon her the day
after her arrival. It is then at her option
whether she is "at home" to you or not, and
whether she cares to continue the acquaintance.
When travelling, any little attention to a lady
who is unattended, is always allowable, pro-
vided it is done with great courtesy, and you are
not too attentive so as to become officious.
If travelling in a foreign country, endeavor to
acquire the languages before you go, and ac-
custom yourself to the customs of the natives,
and as far as you can, without violation of prin-
ciple, follow them.
Etiquette in Church.
JF you visit other churches than your own,
do not sneer or scoff at any of their forms,
but follow the service as closely as you can.
To remove your hat, if a gentleman, upon
entering church, is a sign of respect never to be
omitted. Follow the customs of those around
A gentleman should pass up the aisle with
the lady until he reaches the pew to be occu-
pied, when he steps before her, opens the door,
holds it open while she enters, and follows her,
closing the door after him.
If you are visiting a strange church, request
the sexton to give you a seat. Never enter a
pew uninvited. If you are in your own pew in
church, and see strangers looking for a place,
open your pew door, and by a motion invite
them to enter.
A gentleman or lady may offer a fan or book
to a stranger near, if they are unprovided,
whether thev be young or old, lady or gentleman.
152 GOOD MANNERS.
If you visit a church to see the pictures or
monuments and not for worship, choose the
hours when there is no service being read.
Speak low, walk slowly, and keep an air of quiet
respect in the edifice.
Hanging around church-doors and staring at
the ladies, making remarks, is very ill-bred. If
you are waiting to join any one. remain unob-
trusive until they make their appearance, and
then quietly join them.
Places of Amusement.
JF a gentleman invites a lady to accompany
him to a theatre, opera, or public place of
amusement, he must send the invitation the
day previous, and write it in the third person.
If the lady accepts the invitation, he should
take care to secure good seats, otherwise it
would be a poor compliment to invite her and
place her where she can neither see nor hear well.
Although, when alone, a gentleman will act
a courteous part in giving his seat to a strange
lady, who is standing, in a crowded concert-
room, he should not do so, when acting as the
escort of a lady. By giving up your place be-
side her, you may place a lady next her, whom
she will find an unpleasant companion, and you
are yourself separated from her, when the con-
versation between the acts makes one of the
greatest pleasures of an evening spent in this
way. In case of accident, too, he deprives her
of his protection, and gives her the appearance
of having come alone. Your first duty is to
that ladv before all others.
154 GOOD MANNERS.
When you are with a lady at a place of amuse-
ment, you must not leave your seat until you
rise to escort her home. If at the opera, you
may invite her to promenade between the acts,
but if she declines, do you too remain in your
Any lover-like airs or attitudes, although you
may have the right to assume them, are in bad
taste in public.
If the evening you have appointed be a
stormy one, you must call for your companion
with a carriage, and this is the more elegant
way of taking her even if the weather does not
make it absolutely necessary. Though amongst
intimate friends the passenger cars are quite
When you are entering a concert-room, or the
box of a theatre, walk before your companion
up the aisle, until you reach the seats you have
secured, then turn, offer your hand to her, and
place her in the inner seat, taking the outside
one yourself; in going out, if the aisle is too
narrow to walk two abreast, you again precede
your companion until you reach the lobby,
where you turn and offer your arm.
Let all your conversation be in a low tone,
not whispered: loud talking, laughter, or mis
timed or noisy applause, are all in very bad
taste ; for if you do not wish to pay strict atten-
PLACES OF AMUSEMENT. 155
tion to the performance, those around you pro-
Secure your programme, libretto, or concert
bill, before taking your seat, as you may find it
on your return occupied by another whom it
would be difficult or unpleasant to dislodge
In a crowd, do not push forward regardless
of others, but protect your companion and take
If your seats are secured, call in time for
your companion, so as to be seated some minutes
before the performance commences 5 but if your
seats are not secured, it is best to go early.
At an exhibition of fine arts, you may con-
verse in a low tone, but do not gesticulate or
criticise in a loud r authoritative manner. Nor
remain too long in one position to the exclusion
of others who may want to see that particular
Be careful, unless particularly urged, how you
attach yourself to any other party you may
meet at such places.
The Arrangement of a Lady's House, and the
Management of Servants.
THE first point necessary to consider in the
arrangement and orderiir of a lady's house-
hold, is that everything should be on a scale
exactly proportionate to her husband's income.
Elegance and refinement are great accessories
to the enjoyment of life ; good taste is a luxury
which we can hardly overestimate ; but nothing
will prove a recompense for the hundred and
one vexations and anxieties induced by habits
of thoughtless extravagance.
We have called good taste a luxury, and so it
is ; though, like many other luxuries, it may be
obtained at a moderate expense. No matter
how modest the scale of a lady's manage, how
simple her hospitalities, how inexpensive her
toilettes, the real gentlewoman proclaims her-
self as readily in a cottage as in a palace. The
first essential of refinement in life and manner
is a total absence of pretension.
A true gentleman or lady is necessarily free
from every kind of pretence. Of the untruth-
ARRANGEMENT OP A LADY'S HOUSE. 157
fulness of pretence, of the vulgarity of pre-
tence, Thackeray, in his immortal " Book of
Snobs," has said all that can be said in bitter
reproval. He has, in fact, so exhausted the
subject, that none who may now attempt to
touch upon it need hope to do more than para-
phrase or quote him. And a finer book upon
manners and morals it would be difficult to dis-
To affect a better family connexion, a larger
income, a more lavish expenditure, than is
really ours ; to be in any sense "shabby-gen-
teel 5" to live beyond one's means ; to run in
debt ; to pay shabby prices for shabby luxuries
is to lose alike in peace, in self-respect, and in
the estimation of others. Let all young house-
keepers, then, begin life by a resolute abnega-
tion of shams. As wealth increases, so may
expenditure also be increased.
To do as other people do is the ambition of
snobs. Do we not all know persons who ha-
bitually sacrifice themselves, their dignity, and
their peace of mind to this one futile en-
" Veracity first of all and for ever," as Emer-
son says ; " and all the rest will be easy." Build
your plan of life upon a superstructure of sin-
cerity, and then give your mind to elegance and
refinement. As wealth does not always pre-
suppose good taste, so moderate means need not
158 GOOD MANNERS.
presuppose vulgarity. It is pleasant to possess
jewels r but let no admiration for diamonds in-
duce us to wear paste. A lady will therefore
concern herself less about the size and splen-
dor of her house, than the harmony of its
colors, and the good taste of its decoration. The
rooms will be furnished with perfect adaptation
to comfort, with a careful avoidance of glaring
colors, without any undue profusion of orna-
ments,, and without any ostentation of uphol-
stery. If there are pictures and other works
of art r they must be good. No house, however
modest r should be without something like a
library. A house without books is a house
without a soul. Flowers and ferns may be had
at a trifling cost,, and are the loveliest of orna-
ments, especially in cities and towns.
Reception rooms should never be overcrowded
with furniture. Suite tables covered with little
shepherdesses in Dresden china, and little
chalets carved in wood, are a delusion and a
snare. All bric-a-brac should be kept in ca-
binets with glass doors. Mirrors should be
numerous, and of the best quality ; frames and
cornices of studied simplicity of design.
The painting and papering of the walls is a
most important subject, and should be carried
out in strict harmony with the colors and
character of the furniture. It is, perhaps,
superfluous to say that geometrical patterns are,
ARRANGEMENT G? A LADY'S HOUSE. 159
of all others, the most reprehensible; and, in-
deed, inflict positive torture upon the eyes of
very sensitive people. The colors of walls
should be always sober. Carpets may be as
rich in color as you please ; but the patterns
must be small, and the hues harmoniously
Elaving engaged servants who thoroughly
understand their business, we should leave them
to do it without undue interference. No good
servant will stay with a petulant, fault-finding,
suspicious mistress ; and no good servant will
stay in a place where he has more work to do
than he can get through with credit to himself.
Ill-paid work will of necessity be ill-done, as
forced work is only undertaken by the incom-
petent. Nothing so entirely vulgarizes a house-
hold as a tone of hostility between servants and
employers. A lady will make it her first
study to obtain a staff of the best servants she
can get, and will then remember that, after all,
they are not angels, but human beings, liable to
the same errors, temptations, and passions as
their employers. She will endeavor to correct
their faults, and not to aggravate them ; above
all, she will treat them, and encourage her
children to treat them, with uniform kindness
and civility, remembering that service is a rela-
tionship of employer and employed, and not of
master and slave. One can never overestimate
160 GOOD MANNERS.
the effect of sympathy in dealing with a clas%
of inferior rank to our own. It is not enough
to be just and liberal to one's servants; one
should also be sympathetic. A little kindly
interest in their circumstances and general well-
being is sure to bring its own reward. It is
well, also, to supply our servants occasionally
with good books, and to encourage them to
spend their holidays at places of wholesome and
instructive amusement. A taste for reading
when it is well directed will prove a sure anti-
dote against bickering and gossip in the kitchen.
Punctuality is as necessary to the comfort of
a house, as punctuation is necessary to the
lucidity of a sentence. If it is allowable to
have any unpunctual meals, it must be only the
least important ones, such as afternoon tea, &c.
Breakfast should always be in readiness to the
moment; and the dinner-bell be as certain as
the church-bell on Sunday. The health of the
whole family depends as much on the regularity
as the quality of the meals. Bad food, ill-
cooked food, monotonous food, insufficient food,
injure the physique, and ruin the temper. No
lady should turn to the more tempting occupa-
tions or amusements of the day till she has
gone into every detail of the family commis-
sariat, and assured herself that it is as good as
her purse, her cook, and the season can make it.
ARRANGEMENT OF A LADY'S HOUSE. 161
This duty done, she may dismiss the matter with
a clear conscience.
The question of housekeeping involves the
question of accounts.
Most ladies hold accounts in abhorrence ; but
account-keeping is easy enough if the habit of
keeping daily entries, and weekly casting up
one's household bills, be strictly adhered to. It
is only when accounts are suffered to run on
and accumulate that they become very difficult.
It is the first neglected knot that occasions the
hopeless tangle of the skein.
Wine at Table.
A LMOST every gentleman has wine at his
I\. table whenever he has invited guests, as
it is considered an indispensable part of a good
dinner, to which gentlemen have been formally
invited. Even if you are a total abstinence
man, no real gentleman would compel his guests
to be so against their wish.
If there is a gentleman at the table who is
known to be a total abstinence man, you should
respect his scruples, and not urge him to drink.
If he is a gentleman, he will avoid calling at-
tention to it himself, and suffer his glass to be
filled at the first passage of the wine, and raising
it to his lips, will bow his respects with the rest
of the guests, and after that will allow his glass
to remain untouched. If it is a small party
and he is intimate with his host, he may decline
to have his glass filled at all, without any im
It is not now the custom to ask a lady across
the table to take wine with you. It is expected
that every lady will be properly helped to wine
WINE AT TABLE. 163
by the gentleman who takes her to the table, or
who sits next to her. Do not offer to help a lady
to wine until you see she has finished her soup
It is considered polite to take the same wine
as that selected by the person with whom you
drink. But it is allowable to take that which
you prefer, at the same time asking the permis-
sion to do so.
In inviting a gentleman to take wine with you
at table, you should politely say, u Shall I have
the pleasure of a glass of wine with you?" You
will then either hand him the bottle you have
selected or send it by the waiter, and after-
wards fill your own glass, when you will politely
and silently bow to each other, as you raise the
wine to your lips.
On taking the first glass of wine it is cus-
tomary for a gentleman to bow to the lady of
It is not customary to propose toasts or to
drink deep at a gentleman's family table.
At dinner parties which are given to gentle-
C C ' TJ
men, tor the purpose or conviviality, one may
indulge in as much wine as he can properly
carry, but not more than inside the limits of
propriety. Where drinking, toasts, and songs
are the order of the feast, as at a public dinner,
far greater latitude is allowed than on more
private or select occasions. It is, 1 owever, the
164 GOOD MANNERS.
first care of a well-bred man never to drink be-
yond his self-control at table, where the com-
fort of the whole party is so much dependent
upon the propriety of every one present. But,
whenever a gentleman has the misfortune to
forget himself, every other gentleman will do all
in his power to make the best of the accident.
Do not praise bad wine, for it will persuade
those who are judges that you are an ignoramus
or a flatterer. At the same time, avoid noticing
that it is bad, unless the host calls attention to
As wine is a very common subject of disc-is-
sion at table, it is quite necessary that every
gentlemen should be able to converse under-
standingly upon the character and quality of the
various wines in use. It is very embarrassing
to be called upon for an opinion and not be
able to give one ; and it is still worse to betray
one's ignorance on the subject of conversation.
Besides, ignorance of the history and quality
of wines may impress gentlemen with the idea
that you have not been much in good company.
We append some few hints on the different
THE AGE OF WINES. It is an error that ex-
tensively prevails, to suppose that great age ia
necessary to the goodness of wine. The quality
of the vintage has more to do with the excel-
lence of the wine than the number of years it
WINE AT TABLE. 1G5
has been kept. Port wine, of a good vintage,
is best when not more than ten years old.
Hocks and clarets, indeed, will not keep till
old. Champagne is best at from three to five
years old. So that the phrase "old wine," has
no such wonderful charm for the well informed.
How TO KNOW GOOD WINE. All wines made
out of the juice of the grape possess a peculiar
bouquet, or powerful odor, which is quite unmis-
takeable to an experienced wine-drinker. This
characteristic bouquet depends upon the pre-
sence of cenanthic ether, which is produced by
the fermentation of the juice of the grape, and is
therefore relied upon as one of the general
proofs that the wine is made of grapes. By
comparing the bouquet of a bottle of real grape
wine, with one made of cider, gooseberries, or
any other juice, you will soon educate your nose
to be a tolerable detector of bad wine.
Immature red wines are remarkably bright
and red, in consequence of the presence of
phosphoric and other acids, which are subdued
when the wine has obtained a proper age. In
perfectly ripe wines this intense brightness is
changed into a mellow, rich, and tawny hue, that
is considered a sign of maturity in all red
wines. But art has learned to counterfeit all
these things, therefore taste is the surest guide.
Poii'i WINE is undoubtedly " one of the most
healthy of all vinous liquors: it strengthens
166 GOOD MANNERS.
the muscular system, assists the digestive
powers, accelerates the circulation, exhilarates
the spirits, and sharpens the mental energies."
But it is rarely that pure port is ever found in
this country. It would not keep without an
admixture of brandy. Most of the port wine
sold as such is either a cheap French wine, or a
poisonous compound of drugs and color. When
real port loses its stringency, and acquires a
slightly acid taste, it is unwholesome, and is
unfit for use.
CHAMPAGNE. The Faculty of Paris in 1778
pronounced champagne to be the finest and
healthiest of all wines ; and, except in cases of
weak digestion, is, if pure, one of the safest
wines that can be drank. It is the king of wines
at the convivial board in this country so much
so, that when a u bottle" of wine is proposed, it
is understood to be champagne, unless some
other is expressly mentioned. '" Its intoxicating
effects are rapid, but exceedingly transient, and
depend partly upon the carbonic acid, which is
evolved from it, and partly upon the alcohol,
which is suspended in this gas, being rapidly
and extensively applied to a large surface of the
stomach/' The idea that champagne produces
gout is erroneous, though it is to be avoided
where that disease already exists.
It is a mistaken idea that champagne must be
swallowed as soon as possible after it is un-
WINE AT TABLE. 167
corked. If it is real arid good champagne it
improves by letting it stand a little, as after the
gas has partly escaped it will entirely retain the
flavor and body of the wine, which is, to some
extent, concealed by its effervescence. This is
the best test of good champagne.
BURGUNDY is stronger than claret, possesses
a powerful aroma, and a delicious and lasting
flavor, when pure ; of which we get but little in
CLARET comes chiefly from Bordeaux and
from the neighboring districts of Medoc. The
pure Bordeaux is a safe wine, light, agreeable,
gently exhilarating, and an excellent quencher
of thirst. The best brands are the St. Julien,
La Rose, and Bouillac, the lightest, most palat-
able and aromatic of the clarets. The Chateaux-
Margau is a delicious claret, which has the per-
fume of the violet, and possesses a rich ruby
color. The Haut Brion has a powerful bouquet,
resembling a mixture of violets and raspber-
ries ; as have also La Tour and Lafitte.
GFRMAN WINES. Hock wines or Rhine wines,
such as the Johannisberg and the Steinberg,
are of delicious flavor and exquisite bouquet,
and great favorites in warm weather. The
Rudesheim, Markobrunner, Rothenberg, and
Hockheim which grows on the banks of the
Main, are among the best of the second class
of Rhine wines.
168 GOOD MANNERS.
The delicately flavored Moselles are the favor-
ite wines with the Germans. Grunhauser and
Scharrberger are called *' the Nectar of the
SHERRY, of due age and in good condition, ia
a fine, perfect, and wholesome wine-, free from
excess of acid, and possessing a dry, aromatic
flavor and fragrance ; but, as produced in ordi-
nary market, it is of fluctuating and anomalous
quality, often destitute of all aroma, and tast-
ing of little else than alcohol and water.
The best sherries are the pale and light golden
wines, made of the Xeres grape ; the delicate
hue of which is frequently imitated by art, in
a much inferior article. The finest is the Amon-
tillado, a pure article of which is seldom seen
in this country.
MADEIRA, of u the South Side," is a delightful
wine, but a pure article is rare in this country,
but little having been made of late years, owing
to the disease which has attacked the vines on
AMERICAN WINES are gradually achieving a
high reputation, even in Europe ; they are quite
equal to the best imported wines, and are gene-
rally much cheaper. A recent English author
says " In comparing these wines with those of
Europe, we must bear in mind that they are
distinct in flavor from any or all of them. It is
their peculiarity that no spurious compound can
WINE AT TABLE. 169
be made to imitate them, .and in purity and
delicacy there is no known wine to equal them/'
Our still Catawba has the lowest percentage
of alcohol of any wine in the world. The most
expensive wine in Europe, Tokay, has 9.8b per
cent, of spirit, while our Catawba has only
The best champagne made in the Unite .1
States is Werke's sparkling Isabella, unless It
is equalled by the sparkling wine of Missouri.
Werke's sparkling Catawba, not so delicate in
flavor as his Isabella, is prefered by lovers of
champagne to that of Longworth. The El Paso
and Mustang wines of Texas are very tine ;
the Mustang grape yielding a wine hardly
distinguishable from the best port.
How TO USE WINE. The Romans had a prac-
tice of eating cheese to bring out the Havor of
their wine, a custom which prevails at the pre-
sent time with us. Wine-drinkers vary their
choice of wines to suit the seasons ; selecting
such light wines for summer, as Hock, Claret,
Burgundy, Rhinish, and Hermitage , and for
winter those of more body and strength, as Port,
Sherry, and Madeira. While others carry it
still further, and use only white wine with
white meats, and red wine with brown meats ;
light wines with light dishes, and stronger
wines with more substantial food. Red wines
usually open the repast, after which the exhila
170 GOOD MANNERS.
rating champagne keeps up the good temper of
the guests, perhaps followed by sherry, or even
brandy and water. But for a quiet, enjoyable
repast it is usual to open the dinner with claret,
followed by champagne, and close with a cup
of strong coffee.
Wine-coolers are indispensable in hot weather,
as the practice of putting ice into the glass with
the wine is sure to destroy the fine aroma and
delicious taste of the choicest wines. Claret
which is kept in a cellar, needs no cooling; and
in winter, wine-drinkers usually place it near the
fire before uncorking, as a moderate degree of
warmth improves the soft and delicious flavor
which is the chief merit of this wine. Cham-
pagne, in summer, needs cooling, to improve its
General Hints to both Sexes.
ALL egotism must be banished froa. the
drawing-room. The person who mjJv^is his
family, his wealth, his affairs, or his hobb c \ the
topic of conversation, is not only a bore, bat a
violator of charity and good taste. We meet in
society, not to make a display of ourselves, but
to give and take as much rational entertainment
as our own accomplishments and those of others
can afford. He who engrosses the conversation
is as unpardonably selfish, as he who allows his
neighbor no elbow-room.
The drawing-room is not a monarchy but a
republic, where the rights of all are equal.
Very young people should never be neglected.
If we wish our sons and daughters to possess
easy, polished manners, and fair powers of
expressing themselves, we should treat them
politely and kindly, and lead them to take an
interest in whatever conversation may be going
on. Neither must we bring our gloomy moods
or irritable temper with us when we enter so-
ciety. To look pleasant is a duty we owe to
others. One is bound to listen with the appear-
172 GOOD MANNERS.
ance of interest to even the most inveterate
proser who fastens upon us in society ; to smile
at a twice-told tale ; and, in short, to make such
minor sacrifices of sincerity, as good manners
and good feeling demand.
Awkwardness of attitude does one the same
ill service as awkwardness of speech. Lolling,
gesticulating, fidgetting, and the -like, give an
air of f/ finch trie, and, so to say, take off a certain
percentage from the respect of others. A lady
who sits cross-legged, or sideways on her chair,
who has a habit of holding her chin, or twirling
her watch chain a man who sits across his chair,
or bites his nails, or nurses his leg manifests
an unmistakable want of good breeding. Both
should be quiet, easy, and graceful in their car-
riage 5 the man, of course, being allowed some-
what more freedom than the lady.
If an object is to be indicated, you must move
the whole hand, or the head, but never point
with the finger.
Coughing, sneezing, clearing the throat, &c.,
if done at all, must be done quietly. Sniffing,
snuffling, expectorating, must never be per-
formed in society under any consideration.
The breath should be kept sweet and pure by
refraining from onions or anything of equally
strong flavor ; and no gentleman ought to entei
the presence of ladies smelling of tobacco.
Physical education is indispensable to every
GENERAL HINTS TO BOTH SEXES. 173
well-bred man and woman. A gentleman should
not only know how to fence, to box, to ride, to
shoot, to swim, and to play at billiards ; he must
also know how to dance, to walk, and to carry
himself. A good carriage is only attained by
the help of a drilling master, and boxing must
also be scientifically taught. The power to de-
liver a good scientific blow may be of inestima-
ble value under certain extreme circumstances;
though of course no gentleman would willingly
resort to so strong a measure. A man, however,
may be attacked by garotters ; or may come
upon some ruffian insulting a woman in the
streets ; and in such cases a blow settles the
matter. " To knock a man down," it has been
said, " is never good manners, but there is a
way of doing it gracefully." Indignation should
never be manifested in words. Defend yourself,
or the person whose champion you are, without
vituperation. But be able to defend yourself
upon any occasion.
What fencing and drilling are to a man,
dancing and calisthenic exercises are to a young
woman. Every lady should know how to dance,
whether she intends to dance in society or not ;
and the better her physical training, the more
graceful she will be. Swimming, skating, arch-
ery, riding, and driving, all help to strengthen
the muscles, and are therefore desirable. The
174 GOOD MANNERS.
subject, indeed, is one that cannot 1 e too much
insisted upon by educational reformers.
Decorum is a word that has almost fallen into
discredit, and yet its primitive meaning is one
we would do well to understand. " Decorum,"
says a French writer, '' is nothing less than the
respect of oneself and of others brought to bear
upon every circumstance of life." In all our
relations with our fellow-men, whether social 01
domestic, anything approaching to coarseness,
undue familiarity, or levity of conduct, is prolific
of evil, especially in the married state, where
happiness hinges upon mutual respect. As
the vestal virgins of Rome were intrusted with
the care of that sacred fire which was never to
burn low, and never to be allowed to go out, so
are our wives and mothers charged with the no
less sacred worship of decorum. No amount of
wealth, no amount of generosity, no amount of
good management, can make a household re-
spected where the spirit is wanting. The tone
of vulgarity infects alike the nursery, the
kitchen, and the drawing-room, and is carried
with us like a contagion wherever we go. A
woman exercises so much influence in her home,
that the power of banishing an evil element
rests chiefly with the wife, the mother, or the
daughters of the family. If they are uniformly
refined and modest in word and act; if they
reprove every approach to lightness of conduct
GENERAL HINTS TO BOTH SEXES. 175
or indelicacy of speech ; if they deprecate all
possible inroads upon the mutual respect which
it is so essential to maintain between the mem-
bers of a family ; they will assuredly have their
reward in the assured peace and happiness of
There are some minor points of etiquette
which have found no place in our former chap-
ters, and which must be lightly touched upon
in these concluding pages. With regard, for
instance, to the giving of presents : the art of
giving and receiving gifts is not always an in-
tuition. A generous person may unwittingly
wound where he intends to confer nothing but
gratification. A grateful person may, through
sheer want of tact, seem almost to deprecate the
liberality of his friends.
A gift should always be precious for some-
thing better than its price. It may have been
brought by the giver from some far or famous
place ; it may be unique in its workmanship ;
it may be valuable only from association with
some great man or strange event. Autographic
papers, foreign curiosities, and the like, are
elegant gifts. An author may offer his book, or
an artist his sketch, with grace and propriety.
Offerings of flowers and game are unexception-
able, and -may be made even to those whose
position is superior to that of the giver.
''Our tokens of love," says Emerson, "are
176 GOOD MANNERS.
for the most part barbarous, cold, and lifeless,
because they do not represent our life. The
only gift is a portion of thyself. Therefore let
the farmer give his corn ; the miner, a gem ;
the sailor, coral and shells ; the painter, his
picture ; and the poet, his poem."
If we are rich, we must beware how we give
to those who are poor, lest we hurt their pride.
If we are poor, we must give something that
our time, our affection, or our talents have made
Never give a present with any expectation of
Never allude to a present which you have
given. Be careful even to seem not to recog-
nise it when you see it again.
If you present a book to a friend, do not write
his or her name in it, unless requested. You
have no right to presume that it will be rendered
any the more valuable for that addition ; and
you ought not to conclude beforehand that your
gift will be accepted.
Never undervalue the gift which you are your-
self offering ; you have no business to offer it if
is valueless : neither say that you do not want
it yourself, or that you should throw it away if
it were not accepted, &c., &c. Such apologies
would be insults if true, and mean nothing if
Unmarried ladies should not accept presents
GENERAL HINTS TO BOTH SEXES. 177
from gentlemen who are neither related nor en-
gaged to them. Presents made by a married
lady to a gentleman can only be offered in the
joint names of her husband and herself.
Married ladies may occasionally accept pre-
sents from gentlemen who visit frequently at
their houses, and who desire to show their sense
of the hospitality which they receive there.
The presentation of etrennes is now carried to
a ruinous and ludicrous height among French ;
but it should be remembered that, without either
ostentation or folly, a gift ought to be worth
offering. It is better to give nothing than too
little. On the other hand, mere costliness does
not constitute the soul of a present ; on the
contrary, it has the commercial and unflattering
effect of repayment for value received.
Never refuse a present unless under very ex-
ceptional circumstances. However humble the
giver, and however poor the gift, you should
appreciate the good will and intention, and ac-
cept it with kindness and thanks. Never say,
" 1 fear I rob you," or ' k I am really ashamed
to take it," &c., &c. Such deprecatory phrases
imply that you think the bestower of the gift
cannot spare or afford it.
Acknowledge the receipt of a present without
delay, but do not quickly follow it up by a
return. It is to le taken for granted that a
gift is intended to afford pleasure to the reci-
178 GOOD MANNERS.
pient, not to be regarded as a mere question of
investment or exchange.
A good memory for names and faces, and a
self-possessed manner, are necessary to all who
wish to create a favorable impression in society.
Except in very young people, shyness is not
only ungraceful, but a positive injury and dis-
advantage. If we blush, stammer, or fidget in
the presence of strangers, they will assuredly
form a low estimate of our breeding, and fail to
do justice to our powers of mind, our educa.-
tion, and our solid worth. The only cure for
chronic shyness is society. No habit is so
likely to grow upon one as the habit of shy-
ness, and none requires to be more strenuously
No compliment that bears insincerity on the
face of it is a compliment at all.
To yawn in the presence of others, to lounge,
to put your feet on a chair, to stand with your
back to the fire, to take the most comfortable
seat in the room, to do anything which shows
indifference, selfishness, or disrespect, is unequi-
vocally vulgar and inadmissible.
If a person of greater age or higher rank
than yourself desires you to step first into a
carriage, or through a door, it is more polite l;o
bow and obey than to decline.
Compliance with, and deference to, the wishes
of others is the finest breeding.
GENERAL HINTS TO BOTH SEXES. 179
When you cannot agree with the propositions
advanced in general conversation, be silent. If
pressed for your opinion, give it with modesty.
Never defend your own views too warmly.
When you find others remain unconvinced, drop
the subject, or lead to some other topic.
Never boast of your birth, your money, your
grand friends, or anything that is yours. If you
have travelled, do not introduce that informa-
tion into your conversation at every opportunity.
Any one can travel with money, health, and
leisure ; the only real distinction is in coming
home with enlarged views, improved tastes, and
a mind free from former prejudices.
In entering a morning exhibition, or public
room, where ladies are present, the gentleman
should lift his hat.
In going upstairs, the gentleman should pre-
cede the lady ; in going down, he should follow
If jou accompany ladies to a theatre or con-
cert-room, precede them to clear the way and
secure their seats.
If, when you are walking with a lady in any
crowded thoroughfare, you are obliged to pro-
ceed singly, precede her to clear the way.
Always give the lady the wall : by doing so
you interpose your own person between her
and the passers by, and assign her the cleanest
part of the pavement.
180 GOOD MANNERS.
Do not smoke shortly before entering the pre-
sence of ladies.
Always wear your gloves in church or in a
If, while walking up and down a public pro-
menade, you should meet friends or acquaint-
ances whom you do not intend to join, it is
only necessary to salute them the first time of
When asked to execute a commission for a
friend do it immediately, at any cost of incon-
venience. You thus double the obligation, and
show your anxiety to oblige.
In matters of precedence, be more careful to
give others their rank than to take your own.
It is impossible to be polite without cultivat-
ing a good memory. The absent or self-absorbed
person who forgets the name of his next-door
neighbors, recalls unlucky topics, confuses the
personal relationships of his acquaintances,
speaks of the dead as if they were still living,
talks of people in their hearing, and so forth,
without being guilty of the least malevolent
intention, is sure to make enemies for himself,
and to wound the feeling of others.
We must give as well as take in all our rela-
tions w r ith others, and grudge none of those
email observances which we ourselves find it so
good and pleasant to accept.
GENERAL HINTS TO BOTH SEXES. 181
Temper has much more to do wich good
breeding than may generally be supposed.
The French are allowed to be the best-man-
nered people in the world 5 but this is only be-
cause they are the most amiable. Spend a
month with a French family, observe well the
tone of the salon, the school-room, the nursery,
the kitchen, &c., you will better understand how
it is that French politeness has become prover-
bial. A considerate, courteous, kindly spirit
pervades the entire household a spirit which
perhaps may pass for politeness, but which is,
in substance and in truth, amiability only.
We, unhappily, have not sufficiently culti-
vated la politesse du foyer. With us, small
sacrifices are not made with a good grace ; small
disappointments are not accepted in a patient
spirit 5 small grievances a.re too often exagge-
rated. A very little self-control, a very little
allowance for the failings of others, would often
change the entire tone of a household 5 whilst,
in our intercourse with the world, both must be
largely exercised, if we would hope for tolera-
tion, to say nothing of popularity.
True politeness has its roots in ethics. We
are not to be polite merely because we wish to
please, but because we wish to consider the
feelings and spare the time of others ; because
we entertain that charity " that thinketh no
evil;" because we are as careful Df our neigh-
182 GOOD MANNERS.
bor s reputation, property, and personal comfort
as we would be of our own 5 because, in a word,
we desire to carry into every act of our daily
life the spirit and practice of that religion which
commands us to "do unto others as we would
they should do unto us."
Washington's u Rules of Civility and Decent
Bekavior in Company."
[Among the earlier writings of Washington, Mr. Sparks
preserves a series of directions as to personal conduct, and
remarks, very just]}', that whoever has studied the character
of Washington will be persuaded that some of its most pro-
minent features took their shape from the rules which he
thus early selected and adopted as his guide.]
1. Every action in company ought to be with
some sign of respect to those present.
2. In the presence of others, sing not to your-
self with a humming noise, nor drum with your
lingers or feet.
3. Speak not when others speak, sit not when
others stand, and walk not when others stop.
4. Turn not your back to others, especially
in speaking ; jog not the table or desk on which
another reads or writes-, lean not on any one.
5. Be no flatterer, neither play wkh any one
that delights not to be played with.
6. Read no letters, books, or papers in com-
pany ; but when there is a necessity for doing
it, you must ask leave. Come not near the
books or writings of any one so as to read them,
184 GOOD MANNERS.
unasked ; also, look not nigh when another is
writing a letter.
7. Let your countenance be pleasant, but in
serious matters somewhat grave.
8. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune
of another though he were your enemy.
9. They that are in dignity or office have in
all places precedency ; but whilst they are
young, they ought to respect those that are
their equals in birth or other qualities, though
they have no public charge.
10. It is good manners to prefer them to
whom we speak before ourselves, especially if
they be above us, with whom, in no sort, Wj
ought to begin.
11. Let your discourse with men of business
be short and comprehensive.
12. In visiting the sick, do not presently
play the physician, if you be not knowing
13. In writing or speaking, give to every per-
son his due title, according to his degree and
the custom of the place.
14. Strive not with your superiors in argu-
ment, but always submit your judgment to
others with modesty.
15. Undertake not to teach your equal in the
art himself professes ; it savors of arrogancy.
16. When a man does all he can, though it
succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.
WASHINGTON'S HULES. 185
17. Being to advise cr reprehend any one,
consider whether it ought to be in public or in
private, presently or at some other time, also in,
*vhat terms to do it ; and in reproving, show no
signs of choler, but do it with sweetness and
18. Mock not, nor jest at any thing of import-
ince ; break no jests that are sharp or biting,
and if you deliver any thing witty or pleasant,
abstain from laughing thereat yourself.
19. Wherein you reprove another be unblam-
able yourself, for example is more prevalent
20. Use no reproachful language against any
one, neither curses nor revilings.
21. Be not hasty to believe flying reports, to
the disparagement of any one.
22. In your apparel be modest, and endeavor
to accommodate nature rather than procure
admiration, keep to the fashion of your equals,
such as are civil and orderly with respect to
time and place.
23. Play not the peacock, looking every-
where about you to see if you be well decked,
if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit
neatly, and clothes handsomely.
24. Associate yourself with men of good
quality if you esteem your own reputation, for
it is better to be alone than in bad company.
25. Let your conversation be without malice
186 GOOD MANNERS.
or envy, for it is a sign of a tractable and com-
mendable nature, and in all causes of passion
ad in it reason to govern.
26. Be not immodest in urging your friend
to discover a secret.
"21. Utter not base and frivolous tilings
amongst grown and learned men : nor very
difficult questions or subjects amongst the igno-
rant, nor things hard to be believed.
1^. Speak not of doleful things in time of
mirth, nor at the table 5 speak not of melan-
choly things, as death and wounds, and if others
mention ihem, change, if you can, the dis-
course. Tell not your dreams but tc your
29. Break not a jest where none take pleasure
in mirth. Laugh not aloud, nor at all without
occasion. Deride no man's misfortune, though
there seem to be some cause.
30. Speak not injurious words, neither in jest
or earnest. Scoff at none, although they give
31. Be not forward, but friendly and court-
eous, the first to salute, hear and answer, and
be not pensive when it is a time to converse.
*2. Detract not from others, but neither be
excessive in commending.
33. Go not thither, where you know not whe-
ther you shall be welcome or not. Give not
WASHINGTON'S RULES. 187
advice without being asked, and when ie-sired,
do it briefly.
34. If two contend together, take not the
part of either unconstrained, and be not obsti-
nate in your opinion : in things indifferent be
of the major side.
35. Reprehend not the imperfections of others,
for that belongs to parents, masters, and supe-
36. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of
others, and ask not how they came. What you
may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not
37. Speak not in an unknown tongue in com-
pany, but in your own language 5 and that as
those of quality do, and not as the vulgar.
Sublime matters treat seriously.
38. Think before you speak; pronounce not
imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily,
but orderly and distinctly.
39. When another speaks, be attentive your-
self, and disturb not the audience. If any hesi-
tate in his words, help him not, nor prompt him
wi'Jiout being desired ; interrupt him not, nor
answer him till his speech be ended.
40. Treat with men at fit times about busi-
ness, and whisper not in the company of others.
41. Make no comparisons, and if any of the
company be commended for any brave act of
virtue, commend riot another for the same.
188 GOOD MANNERS.
42. Be not apt to relate news, if you know
not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things
you have heard, name not your author always.
A secret discover not.
43. Be not curious to know the affairs of
others, neither approach to those that speak in
44. Undertake not what you cannot perform ;
but be careful to keep your promise.
45. When you deliver a matter, do it without
passion and indiscretion, however mean the
person may be you do it to.
46. When your superiors talk to anybody,
hear them, neither speak nor laugh.
47. In disputes, bo not so desirous to over-
come as not to give liberty to each one to deliver
his opinion, and submit to the judgment of the
major part, especially if they arejudgers of the
48. Be not tedious in discourse, make not
many digressions, nor repeat often the same
matter of discourse.
49. Speak no evil of the absent, for it is un-
50. Be not angry at table whatever happens :
and if you have reason to be so, show it not,
put on a cheerful countenance, especially if
there be strangers, for good humor makes one
dish a feast.
51. Set not yourself at the upper end of the
WASHINGTON'S RULES. 189
table, but if it be your due, or the master of the
house will have it so, contend not, lest you should
trouble the company.
52. When you speak of God or his attributes,
let it be seriously, in reverence and honor, and
obey your natural parents.
53. Let your recreations be manful, not sin
54. Labor to keep alive in your breast that
little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.
Franklin 1 s "Rules of Conduct."
Framed by him for his guidance, and which helped to make
him a great man, beloved and respected.
1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dulness ; drink
not to elevation.
2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit
others, or yourself 5 avoid trifling conversation.
3. ORDER. Let all your things have their
places ; let each part of your business have its
4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you
ought ; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do
good to others, or yourself; that is, waste
6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always em-
ployed in something useful ; cut off all unne-
7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit ; think
innocently and justly ; and, if you speak, speak
8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries,
or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
FRANKLIN'S RULES. 191
9. MODERATION. Avoid extremes ; forbear
resenting injuries so much as you think they
10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness
in body, clothes, or habitation.
11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles,
or at accidents, common or unavoidable.
13. HUMILITY. Imitate JESUS and SOCRATES.
Lord Chesterfield's Sentences and Maxims.
THE ART OF SPEAKING. You cannot but be
convinced, that a man who speaks and writes
with elegance and grace ; who makes choice of
good words ; and adorns and embellishes the
subject, upon which he either speaks or writes,
will persuade better, and succeed more easily in
obtaining what he wishes, than a man who does
not explain himself clearly ; speaks his language
ill ; or makes use of low and vulgar expressions ;
and who has neither grace nor elegance in any-
thing that he says.
THE FOLLY OF IGNORANCE. An ignorant man
is insignificant and contemptible 5 nobody cares
for his company, and he can just be said to live,
and that is all. There is a very pretty French
epigram upon the death of such an ignorant,
insignificant fellow, the sting of which is, that
all that can be said of him is, that he was once
alive, and that he is now dead.
HUMANITY. It is certain that humanity is
the particular characteristic of a great mind ;
little, vicious minds are full of anger and re-
venge, and are incapable of feeling the exalted
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 193
pleasure of forgiving their enemies, and of be-
stowing marks of favor and generosity upon
those of whom they have gotten the better.
VIRTUE. Virtue is a subject that deserves
your and every man's attention 5 and suppose I
were to bid you make some verses, or give me
your thoughts in prose, upon the subject of
virtue, how would you go about it? Why you
would first consider what virtue is, and then
what are the effects and marks of it, both with
regard to others and one's self. You would
find, then, that virtue consists in doing good,
and in speaking truth ; and that the effects of
it are advantageous to all mankind, and to one's
self in particular. Virtue makes us pity and
relieve the misfortunes of mankind ; it makes
us promote justice and good order in society:
and, in general, contributes to whatever tends to
the real good of mankind. To ourselves it gives
an inward comfort and satisfaction, which
nothing else can do, and which nothing can
rob us of. All other advantages depend upon
others, as much as upon ourselves. Riches,
power, and greatness may be taken away from
us by the violence and injustice of others or
inevitable accidents, but virtue depends only on
ourselves and nobody can take it away.
POLITENESS A NECESSITY. Know then, that
as learning, honor, and virtue are absolutely
194 GOOD MANNERS.
necessary to gain you the esteem ani admira-
tion of mankind ; politeness and good breeding
are equally necessary, to make you welcome
and agreeable in conversation, and common life.
Great talents, such as honor, virtue, learning, and
parts, are above the generality of the world ; who
neither possess them themselves, nor judge of
them rightly in others : but all people are judges
of the lesser talents, such as civility, affability,
and an obliging, agreeable address and manner;
because they feel the good effects of them, as
making society easy and pleasing.
RUDENESS AND CIVILITY. I dare say I need
not tell you how rude it is, to take the best
place in a room, or to seize immediately upon
what you like at table, without offering first to
help others ; as if you considered nobody but
yourself. On the contrary, you should always
endeavor to procure all the conveniences you
can to the people you are with. Besides being
civil, which is absolutely necessary, the perfec-
tion of good breeding is, to be civil with ease,
and in a gentlemanlike manner. For this, you
should observe the French people ; who excel
in it, and whose politeness seems as easy and
natural as any other part of their conversation.
Whereas the English are often awkward in their
civilities, and, when they mean to be civil, are
too much ashamed to get it out.
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 195
MANNER ABSENCE AWKWARDNESS ATTEN-
TION. However trifling a genteel manner may
sound, it is of very great consequence towards
pleasing in private life, especially the women :
whom, one time or other, you will think worth
pleasing: and I have known many a man,
from his awkwardness, give people such a dis-
like of him at first, that all his merit could not
get the better of it afterwards. Whereas a
genteel manner prepossesses people in your
favor, bends them towards you, and makes
them wish to like you. Awkwardness can pro-
ceed but from two causes ; either from not
having kept good company, or from not having
attended to it.
There is, likewise, an awkwardness of expres-
sion and words, most carefully to be avoided ;
such as false English, bad pronunciation, old
sayings, and common proverbs ; which are so
many proofs of having kept bad and low com-
pany. For example : if, instead of saying that
tastes are different, and that every man has his
own peculiar one, you should let off a proverb,
and say, that il What is one man's meat is
another man's poison ;" or else, "Every one as
they like, as the good man said when he kissed
bis cow ;" everybody would be persuaded that
you had never kept company with anybody
above footmen and housemaids.
Attention will do all this ; and without atten-
196 GOOD MANNERS.
tion nothing is to be done ; want of attention,
which is really want of thought, is either folly
or madness. You should not only have atten-
tion to everything, but a quickness of attention,
so as to observe, at once, all the people in the
room ; their motions, their looks, and their
words ; and yet without staring at them, and
seeming to be an observer. This quick and
unobserved observation is of infinite advantage
in life, and is to be acquired with care ; and, on
the contrary, what is called absence, which is
a thoughtlessness and want of attention about
what is doing, makes a man so like either a fool
or a madman, that, for my part, I see no real
difference. A fool never has thought, a mad-
man has lost it *, and an absent man is, for the
time, without it.
LETTER WRITING. Let your letter be written
as accurately as you are able I mean with
regard to language, grammar and stops ; for as
to the matter of it the less trouble you give your-
self the better it will be. Letters should be
easy and natural, and convey to the persons
to whom we send them, just what we should say
to the persons if we were with them.
DANCING TRIFLING. Dancing is in itself a
very trifling, silly thing ; but it is one of those
established follies to which people of sense are
sometimes obliged to conform ; and then they
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 197
should be able to do it well. And, though I
would not have you a dancer, yet when you do
dance, I would have you dance well, as I would
have you do everything you do, well. There is
no one thing so trifling, but which (if it is to be
done at all) ought to be done well. And 1 have
often told you, that I wished you even played
at pitch, and cricket, better than any boy at
Westminster. For instance ; dress is a very
foolish thing ; and yet it is a very foolish thing
for a man not to be well dressed, according to
his rank and way of life ; and it is so far from
being a disparagement to any man's understand-
ing, that it is rather a proof of it, to be as
well dressed as those whom he lives with : the
difference in this case between a man of sense
and a fop is, that the fop values himself upon
his dress ; and the man of sense laughs at it,
at the same time that he knows he must not
neglect it: there are a thousand foolish customs
of this kind, which not being criminal must be
complied with, and even cheerfully by men of
sense. Diogenes the cynic was a wise man for
despising them, but a fool for showing it. Be
wiser than other people if you can, but do not
tell them so.
INATTENTION. There is no surer sign in the
world of a little, weak mind, than inattention.
Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing
198 GOOD MANNERS.
\vell ; and nothing can be done well without
attention. It is the sure answer of a fool, when
you ask him about anything that was said 01
done, where he was present, that " truly he did
not mind it." And why did not the fool mind
it ? What had he else to do there, but to mind
what was doing? A man of sense sees, hears,
and retains everything that passes where he is.
I desire I may never hear you talk of not mind-
ing, nor complain, as most fools do, of a treach-
erous memory. Mind, not only what people
say, but how they say it; and, if you have any
sagacity, you may discover more truth by your
eyes than by your ears. People can say what
they will but they cannot look what they will,
and their looks frequently discover what their
words are calculated to conceal. The most
material knowledge of all I mean the know-
ledge of the world is not to be acquired with-
out great attention.
WOMEN. CLASSES OF MEN. JUDGMENT. Be-
fore it is very long, I am of opinion, that you
will both think and speak more favorably of
women than you do now. You seem to think,
that, from Eve downwards, they have done a
great deal of mischief. As for that lady, I
give her up to you ; but, since her time, history
will inform you, that men have done much more
mischief in the world than women ; and, to say
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 199
the truth, I would not advise you to trust either,
more than is absolutely necessary. But this I
will advise you to, which is, never to attack
whole bodies of any kind; for, besides that all
general rules have their exceptions, you un-
necessarily make yourself a great number of
enemies, by attacking a corps collectively.
Among women, as among men, there are good
as well as bad, and it may be full as many, or
more, good than among men. This rule holds
as to lawyers, soldiers, parsons, courtiers, citi-
zens, &c. They are all men, subject to the same
passions and sentiments, differing only in the
manner, according to their several educations;
and it would be as imprudent as unjust to attack
any of them by the lump. Individuals forgive
sometimes ; but bodies and societies never do.
Many young people think it very genteel and
witty to abuse the clergy ; in which they are
extremely mistaken; since, in my opinion,
parsons are very like other men, and neither
the better nor the worse for wearing a black
gown. All general reflections, upon nations
and societies, are the trite, threadbare jokes of
those who set up for wit without having any,
and so have recourse to commonplace. Judge
of individuals from your own knowledge of
them, and not from their sex, profession, or
200 GOOD MANNERS.
FALSE DELICACY. As for the mauvaise honfa f
I hope you are above it ; your figure is like
other people's, I hope you will take care that
your dress is so too. Why then should you be
ashamed? Why not go into mixed company
with as little concern as you would into your
THE WELL-BRED MAN Feels himself firm and
easy in all companies 5 is modest without being
bashful, and steady without being impudent:
if he is a stranger he observes, with care, the
manners and ways of the people the most
esteemed at that place, and conforms to them
with complaisance. Instead of finding fault
with the customs of that place, and telling the
people that the English ones are a thousand
times better (as my countrymen are very apt to
do), he commends their table, their dreps, their
houses, and their manners, a little more, it may
be, than he really thinks they deserve. But
this degree of complaisance is neither criminal
nor abject ; and is but a small price to pay for
the good will and affection of the people you
converse with. As the generality of people are
weak enough to be pleased with these little
things, those who refuse to please them, so
cheaply, are, in my mind, weaker than they.
FOOLISH TALK. The conversation of the igno-
rant is no conversation, and gives even them no
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 201
pleasure: they tire of their own sterility, and
have not matter enough to furnish them with
words to keep up a conversation.
WORLD-KNOWLEDGE. Do not imagine that the
knowledge which I so much recommend to you
is confined to books, pleasing, useful, and neces-
sary as that knowledge is; but I comprehend in
it the great knowledge of the world, still more
necessary than that of books. In truth, they
assist one another reciprocally ; and no man
will have either perfectly, who has not both.
The knowledge of the world is only to be ac-
quired in the world, and not in a closet. Books
alone will never teach it you ; but they will
suggest many things to your observation, which
might otherwise escape you ; and your own ob-
servations upon mankind, when compared with
those which you will find in books, will help
you to fix the true point.
INTROSPECTION. You must look into people,
as well as at them. Almost all people are born
with all the passions, to a certain degree ; but
almost every man has a prevailing one, to which
the others are subordinate. Search every one
for that ruling passion ; pry into the recesses
of his heart, and observe the different workings
of the same passion in different people. And,
when you have found out the prevailing passion
of any man, remember never to trust him, where
202 GOOD MANNERS.
that passion is concerned. Work upon him
by it, if you please : but be upon your guard
yourself against it, whatever professions he may
INSULTS AND INJURIES. However frivolous a
company may be, still, while you are among
them, do not show them, by your inattention,
that you think them so; but rather -take their
tone, and conform in some degree to their weak-
ness, instead of manfesting your contempt for
them. There is nothing that people bear more
impatiently, or forgive less, than contempt: and
an injury is much sooner forgotten than an
FASHIONABLE VICES. A real man of fashion
and pleasure observes decency ; at least, neither
borrows nor affects vices ; and if he unfortun-
ately has any, he gratifies them with choice,
delicacy, and secrecy. I have not mentioned
the pleasures of the mind (which are the solid
and permanent ones), because they do not come
under the head of what people commonly call
pleasures ; which they seem to confine to the
senses. The pleasure of virtue, of charity, and
of learning is true and lasting pleasure ; which
I hope you will be well and long acquainted
ONE THING AT A TIME. If at a ball, a supper,
7r a party of pleasure, a man were to be solving,
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 203
in his own mind, a problem in Euclid, he would
be a very bad companion, and make a very poor
figure in that company ; or if, in studying a
problem in his closet, he were to think of a
minuet, I am apt to believe that he would make
a very poor mathematician. There is time
enough for everything, in the course of the day,
if you do but one thing at once ; but there is
not time enough in the year, if you will do two
things at a time.
PERSONAL CLEANLINESS. As you must attend
to your manners, so you must not neglect your
person ; but take care to be very clean, well
dressed, and genteel ; to have no disagreeable
attitudes, nor awkward tricks ; which many
people use themselves to, and then cannot leave
them off. Do you take care to keep your teeth
very clean, by washing them constantly every
morning, and after every meal? This is very
necessary, both to preserve your teeth a great
while, and to save you a great deal of pain.
Do you dress well, and not too well? Do you
consider your air and manner of presenting
yourself, enough, and not too much? neither
negligent nor stiff. All these things deserve a
degree of care, a second-rate attention ; they
give an additional lustre to real merit. My
Lord Bacon says, that a pleasing figure is a per-
petual letter of recommendation. It is cer<
204 GOOD MANNERS.
tainly an agreeable forerunner of merit, and
smooths the way for it.
TRUTH. Every man seeks for truth ; but God
only knows who has found it. It is, therefore,
as unjust to persecute, as it is absurd to ridi-
cule, people for those several opinions, which
they cannot help entertaining upon the convic-
tion of their reason.
GOOD BREEDING. Civility, which is a dispo-
sition to accommodate and oblige others, is es-
sentially the same in every country ; but good
breeding, as it is called, which is the manner of
exerting that disposition, is different in almost
every country, and merely local ; and every man
of sense imitates and conforms to that local
good breeding of the place which he is at. A
conformity and flexibility of manners is neces-
sary in the course of the world ; that is, with
regard to all things which are not wrong in
themselves. The versatile ing enium is the most
useful of all. It can turn itself instantly from
one object to another, assuming the proper
manner for each. It can be serious with the
grave, cheerful with the gay, and trifling with
the frivolous. Endeavor, by all means, to ac-
quire this talent, for it is a very great one
SELF-LOVE. Do not let your vanity, and self-
love, make you suppose that people become
your friends at first sight, or even upon a short
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 205
acquaintance. Real friendship is a slow grower;
and never thrives, unless engrafted upon a stock
of known and reciprocal merit. The next thing
to the choice of your friends is the choice of
your company. Endeavor, as much as you can,
to keep company with people above you. There
you rise, as much as you sink with people be-
low you ; for, as I mentioned before, you are
whatever the company you keep is. Do not
mistake, when I say company above you, and
think that I mean with regard to their birth;
that is the least consideration : but I mean with
regard to their merit, and the light in which the
world considers them.
GOOD COMPANY. There are two sorts of good
company ; one, which is called the beau monde,
and consists of those people who have the lead
in courts, and in the gay part of life ; the other
consists of those who are distinguished by some
peculiar merit, or who excel in some particular
and valuable art or science. For my own part,
I used to think myself in company as much
above me, when I was with Mr. Addison and
Mr. Pope, as if I had been with all the princea
in Europe. What I mean by low company,
which should by all means be avoided, is the
company of those, who, absolutely insignificant
and contemptible in themselves, think they are
honored by being in your company, and who
206 GOOD MANNERS.
flatter every vice and every folly you have, in
order to engage you to converse with them.
The pride of being the first of the company is
but too common but it is very silly, and very
prejudicial. Nothing in the world lets down a
character more than that wrong turn.
VALUE OF TIME. I knew, once, a very covet-
ous, sordid fellow, who used frequently to say,
** Take care of the pence, for the pounds will
take care of themselves." This was a just and
sensible reflection in a miser. I recommend to
you to take care of minutes ; for hours will
take care of themselves. I am very sure, that
many people lose two or three hours every day,
by not taking care of the minutes. Never
think any portion of time, whatsoever, tc-:< shor-
to be employed : something or other may al-
ways be done in it.
KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge is a comfortable
and necessary retreat and shelter for us in an
advanced age ; and if we do not plant it while
young, it will give us no shade when we grow
FASHIONABLE LADIES. The company of wo-
men of fashion will improve your manners,
though not your understanding; and that com-
plaisance and politeness, which are so useful
in imirs company, can only be acquired in
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 207
TALENT AND BREEDING. Remember always,
what I have told you a thousand times, that all
the talents in the world will want all their lus-
tre, and some part of their use too, if they are
not adorned with that easy good breeding, that
engaging manner, and those graces, which se-
duce and prepossess people in your favor at first
sight. A proper care of your person is by no
means to be neglected ; always extremely clean ;
upon proper occasions, fine. Your carriage gen-
teel, and your motions graceful. Take particu-
lar care of your manner and address, when you
present yourself in company. Let them be re-
spectful without meanness, easy without too
much familiarity, genteel without affectation,
and insinuating without any seeming art or
How lt TO WEAR ' LEARNING. Wear your
learning like your watch, in a private pocket ;
and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to
show that you have one. If you are asked
what o'clock it is, tell it, but do not proclaim
it hourly and unasked, like the watchman.
METHOD AND MANNER. The manner of do-
ing things is often more important than the
things themselves ; and the very same thing
may become either pleasing, or offensive, by the
manner of saying or doing it. Maieriam super-
abat opus, is often said of works of sculpture,
208 GOOD MANNERS.
where though the materials were valuable, as
silver, gold, &c., the workmanship was still more
ADVANTAGE OF MANNERS. Manners, though
the last, and it may be the least ingredient of
real merit, are, however, very far from being
useless in its composition; they adorn, and give
an additional force and lustre to both virtue
and knowledge. They prepare and smooth the
way for the progress of both ; and are, I fear,
with the bulk of mankind, more engaging than
either. Remember, then, the infinite advantage
of manners ; cultivate and improve your own
to the utmost : good sense will suggest the
great rules to you, good company will do the
PROPER CARRIAGE. Next to graceful speak-
ing, a genteel carriage, and a graceful mariner
of presenting yourself, are extremely necessary,
for they are extremely engaging ; and careless-
ness in these points is much more unpardonable,
in a young fellow, than affectation. It shows
an offensive indifference about pleasing. Awk-
wardness of carriage is very alienating ; and a
total negligence of dress, and air, is an imper
iinent insult upon custom and fashion.
No ONE CONTEMPTIBLE. Be convinced that
there are no persons so insignificant and
inconsiderable, but may some time or other,
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 209
and in some thing or other, have it in their
power to be of use to you ; which they certainly
will not, if you have once shown them contempt.
THE FOLLY OF CONTEMPT. Wrongs are often
forgiven, but contempt never is. Our pride
remembers it for ever. It implies a discovery
of weaknesses, which we are much more careful
to conceal than crimes. Many a man will con-
fess his crimes to a common friend, but I never
knew a man who would tell his silly weak-
nesses to his most intimate one. As many a
friend will tell us our faults without reserve,
who will not so much as hint at our follies :
that discovery is too mortifying to our self-love,
either to tell another, or to be told of, one's
LES ATTENTIONS. The constant practice of
what the French call les attentions is a most
necessary ingredient in the art of pleasing;
they flatter the self-love of those to whom they
are shown ; they engage, they captivate, more
than things of much greater importance. The
duties of social life everv man is obliged to dis-
V * '
charge; but these attentions are voluntary
acts, the free will offerings of good breeding and
good nature ; they are received, remembered,
and returned as such. Women, particularly,
have a right to them ; and any omission, in that
respect, is downright ill breeding.
210 GOOD MANNERS.
CONVERSATION. --When you are in company,
bring the conversation to some useful subject,
but a portee of that company. Points of history,
matters of literature, the customs of particular
countries, the several orders of knighthood, as
Teutonic, Maltese, c., are surely better sub-
jects of conversation than the weather, dress,
or fiddle-faddle stories, that carry no information
along with them. The characters of kings, and
great men, are only to be learned in conversa-
tion ; for they are never fairly written during
HISTORICAL FAITH. Take nothing for grant-
ed, upon the bare authority of the author ; but
weigh and consider, in your own mind, the pro-
bability of the facts, and the justness of the
reflections. Consult different authors upon the
same facts, and form your opinion upon the
greater or lesser degree of probability arising
from the whole, which, in my mind, is the ut-
most stretch of historical faith, certainty (I fear)
not being to be found.
CONTEMPT. Every man is not ambitious, or
covetous, or passionate ; but every man has
pride enough in his composition to feel and
resent the least slight and contempt. Remember,
therefore, most carefully to conceal your con-
tempt, however just, wherever you would not
make an implacable enemy. Men are much
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 211
more unwilling to have their weaknesses and
their imperfections known, than their crimes;
and, if you hint to a man, that you think him
silly, ignorant, or even ill bred, or awkward,
he will hate you more and longer than if you
tell him. plainly, that you think him a rogue.
Never yield to that temptation, which, to most
young men, is very strong, of exposing other
people's weaknesses and infirmities, for the
sake either of diverting the company, or of
showing your own superiority. You may get
the laugh on your side by it, for the present-,
but you will make enemies by it for ever; and
even those who laugh with you then, will, upon
reflection, fear, and consequently hate you :
besides that, it is ill-natured ; and that a good
heart desires rather to conceal, than expose,
other people's weaknesses or misfortunes. If
you have wit, use it to please, and not to hurt :
you may shine, like the sun in the temperate
zones, without scorching. Here it is wished
for ; under the line it ia dreaded.
SECRETS. The last observation, that 1 sholl
now mention of the Cardinal's is, ll That a
secret is more easily kept by a good many peo-
ple, than one commonly imagines." By this
he K eans a secret of importance, among people
interested in the keeping of it. And it is certain
fjUat people of business know the importance
2"i2 GOOD MANNERS.
cf secrecy, and will observe it, v*hei<e they ure
concerned in the event. To go and tell any
friend, wife, or mistress, any secret with which
they have nothing to do, is discovering to them
Buch an unretentive weakness, as must .convince
them that you will tell it to twenty others, and
consequently that they may reveal it without
the risk of being discovered. But a secret
properly communicated, only to those who are
to be concerned in the thing in question, will
probably be kept by them, though they should
be a good many. Little secrets are commonly
told again, but great ones generally kept.
GOOD COMPANY. To keep good company,
especially at your first setting out, is the way
to receive good impressions. If you ask me
what I mean by good company, I will confess
to you, that it is pretty difficult to define ; but I
will endeavor to make you understand it as wel]
as I can.
Good company is not what respective sets of
company are pleased either to call or think
themselves ; but it is that company which all
the people of the place call, and acknowledge
to be, good company, notwithstanding some ob-
jections which they may form to some of the
individuals who compose it. It consists chiefly
(but by no means without exception) of people
of considerable birth, rank, and character: for
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 213
people of neither birth nor rank are frequently
and very justly admitted into it, if distinguished
by any peculiar merit, or eminency in any
liberal art or science. Nay, so motley a thing
is good company, that many people, without
birth, rank, or merit, intrude into it by their
own forwardness, and others slide into it by
the protection of some considerable person ;
and some even of indifferent characters and
morals make part of it. But, in the main, the
good part preponderates, and people of infamous
and blasted characters are never admitted. In
this fashionable good company the best man-
ners and the best language of the place are
most unquestionably to be learnt ; for they esta-
blish, and give the tone to both, which are
therefore called the language and manners of
good company ; there being no legal tribunal to
A company consisting wholly of people of
the first quality cannot, for that reason, be
called good company, in the common acceptation
of the phrase, unless they are, into the bargain,
the fashionable and accredited company of the
place ; for people of the very first quality can
be as silly, as ill bred, and as worthless, as
people of the meanest degree. On the other
hand, a company consisting entirely of people
of very low condition, whatever their merit or
parts may be, can never be called good com-
214 GOOD MANNERS.
pany ; and consequently should not be mucL
frequented, though by no means despised.
A company wholly composed of men of learn-
ing, though greatly to be valued and respected,
is not meant by the words good company : they
cannot have the easy manners and tournure of
the world, as they do not live in it. If you
can bear your part well in such a company, it
is extremely right to be in it sometimes, and
you will be but more esteemed, in other com-
panies, for having a place in that. But then
do not let it engross you; for if you do, you
will be only considered as one of the litterati
by profession ; which is not the way either to
shine or rise in the world.
The company of professed wits and poets is
extremely inviting to most young men 5 who if
they have wit themselves, are pleased with it,
and if they have none, are sillily proud of being
one of it: but it should be frequented with
moderation and judgment, and you should by
no means give yourself up to it. A wit is a
very unpopular denomination, as it carries ter-
ror along with it; and people in general are as
much afraid of a live wit, in company, as a
woman is of a gun, which she thinks may go
off of itself, and do her a mischief. Their
acquaintance is, however, worth seeking, and
their company worth frequenting ; but not ex-
clusively of others, nor to such a degree as
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 215
to be considered only as one of that particulai
But the company, which of all others you
should most carefully avoid, is that low com-
pany, which, in every sense of the word, is low
indeed ; low in rank, low in parts, low in man-
ners, and low in merit.
BEHAVIOR. Imitate, then, with discernment
and judgment, the real perfections of the good
company into which you may get ; copy their
politeness, their carriage, their address, and the
easy and well-bred turn of their conversation ;
but remember, that, let them shine ever so
bright, their vices, if they have any, are so
many spots, which you would no more imitate
than you would make an artificial wart upon
your face, because some very handsome man
had the misfortune to have a natural one upon
his; but, on the contrary, think how much
handsomer he would have been without it.
TALKING. Talk often, but never long; in
that case, if you do not please, at least you are
sure not to tire your hearers. Pay your own
reckoning, but do not treat the whole company ;
this being one of the very few cases in which
people do not care to be treated, every one
being fully convinced that he has wherewithal
Tell stories very seldom, and absolutely never
216 . GOOD MANNERS.
but where they are very apt, and very short.
Omit every circumstance that is not material,
and beware of digressions. To have frequent
recourse to narrative betrays great want of im-
Never hold anybody by the button, or the
hand, in order to be heard out; for, if people
are not willing to hear you, you had much bet-
ter hold your tongue than them.
Most long talkers single out some one un-
fortunate man in company (commonly him
whom they observe to be the most silent, or
their next neighbor) to whisper, or at least, in
a half voice, to convey a continuity of words
to. This is excessively ill bred, and, in some
degree, a fraud ; conversation stock being a
joint and common property. But, on the other
hand, if one of these unmerciful talkers lays
hold of you, hear him with patience (and at
least seeming attention), if he is worth obliging ;
for nothing will oblige him more than a patient
hearing, as nothing would hurt him more, than
either to leave him in the midst of bis discourse,
or to discover your impatience under your
Take rather than give, the tone of the com-
pany you are in. If you have parts, you will
show them, more or less, upon every subject:
and if you have not, you had better talk sillily
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 217
upon a subject of other people's than of your
Avoid as much as you can, in mixed com-
panies, argumentative, polemical conversations ,
which, though they should not, yet certainly
do, indispose, for a time, the contending parties
towards each other : and, if the controversy
grows warm and noisy, endeavor to put an
end to it by some genteel levity or joke. I
quieted such a conversation hubbub once, by
representing to them that, though I was per-
suaded none there present would repeat, out
of company, what passed in it, yet I could not
answer for the discretion of the passengers in
the street, who must necessarily hear all that
Above all things, and upon all occasions,
avoid speaking of yourself, if it be possible.
Such is the natural pride and vanity of our
hearts, that it perpetually breaks out, even in
people of the best parts, in all the various
modes and figures of the egotism.
SILLY VANITY. This principle of vanity and
pride is so strong in human nature, that it de-
scends even to the lowest objects ; and one often
sees people angling for praise, where, admitting
all they say to be true (which, by the way, it
seldom is), no just praise is to be caught. One
man affirms that he has rode post a hundred
218 GOOD MANNERS.
miles in six hours : probably it is a lie ; but
supposing it to be true, what then? Why he
is a very good postboy, that is all. Another
asserts, and probably not Avithout oaths, that
he has drunk six or eight bottles of wine at a
sitting : out of charity I will believe him a liar ;
for, if I do not, I must think him a beast.
YOURSELF. The only sure way of avoiding
these evils is, never to speak of yourself at all.
But when, historically, you are obliged to men-
tion yourself, take care not to drop one single
word, that can directly or indirectly be con-
strued as fishing for applause. Be your char-
acter what it will, it will be known ; and no-
body will take it upon your own word. Never
imagine that anything you can s&y yourself
will varnish your defects, or add lustre to your
perfections ; but, on the contrary, it may, and
nine times in ten will, make the former more
glaring, and the latter obscure. If you are
silent upon your own subject, neither envy,
indignation, or ridicule will obstruct or allay
the applause which you may really deserve ;
but if you publish your own panegyric, upon
any occasion, or in any shape whatsoever, and
however artfully dressed or disguised, they will
all conspire against you, and you will be disap-
pointed of the very end you aim at.
SCANDAL MIMICRY SWEARING LAUGHTER
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 219
Neither retail nor receive scandal, willingly $
for though the defamation of others may, for
the present, gratify the malignity of the pride
of our hearts, cool reflection will draw very
disadvantageous conclusions from such a dis-
position : and in the case of scandal, as in that
of robbery, the receiver is always thought as
bad as the thief.
Mimicry, which is the common and favorite
amusement of little, low ininds > is in the utmost
contempt with great ones. It is the lowest and
most ill'iberal of all buffoonery. Pray, neither
practise it yourself, nor applaud it in others.
Besides that, the person mimicked is insulted ;
and, as I have often observed to you before, an.
insult is never forgiven.
I need not (I believe) advise you to adapt
your conversation to the people you are con-
versing with : for I suppose you would not,
without this caution, have talked upon the same
subject, and in the same manner, to a minister
of state, a bishop, a philosopher, a captain, and
a woman. A man of the world must, like the
cameleon be able to take every different hue ;
which is by no means a criminal or abject,
but a necessary complaisance, for it relates only
to manners, and not to morals.
One word only, as to swearing; and that, I
hope and believe, is more than is necessary
You may sometime? hear some people, in good
220 GOOD MANNERS
company, interlard their discourse with oaths,
by way of embellishment, as they think ; but
you must observe, too, that those who do so are
never those who contribute, in any degree, to
give that company the denomination of good
company. They are always subalterns, or
people of low education j tor that practice,
besides that it has no one temptation to plead,
is as silly, and as illiberal, as it is wicked.
Loud laughter is the mirth of the mob, who
are only pleased with silly things ; for true wit
or good sense never excited a laugh, since the
creation of the world. A man of parts* arid
fashon is therefore only seen to smile, but never
heard to laugh.
REFLECTION ITS USE. Use and assert your
own reason 5 reflect, examine, and analyze every-
thing, in order to form a sound and mature
judgment ; let not others' dicta impose upon your
understanding, mislead your actions, or dictate
your conversation. Be early, what, if you are
not, you will, when too late, wish you had been.
Consult your reason betimes: I do not say, that
it will always prove an unerring guide ; for
human reason is not infallible: but it will
prove the least erring guide that you can follow.
Books and conversation may assist it; but adopt
neither, blindly and inplicitly ; try both by that
best rule, which God has given to direct us,
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 221
Reason. Of all the troubles do not decline, as
many people do, that of thinking. The herd
of mankind can hardly be said to think ; their
notions are almost all adoptive ; and, in general,
I believe it is better that it should be so ; as
such common prejudices contribute more to
order and quiet, than their own separate reason-
ings would do, uncultivated and unimproved as
TEMPER. The principal of these things, is
the mastery of one's temper, and that coolness
of mind, and serenity of countenance, which
hinders us from discovering, by words, actions,
or even looks, those passions or sentiments, by
which we are inwardly moved or agitated ; and
the discovery of which, gives cooler and abler
people such infinite advantages over us, not
only in great business, but in all the most com-
mon occurrences of life. A man who does not
possess himself enough to hear disagreeable
things, without visible marks of anger and
change of countenance, or agreeable ones with-
out sudden bursts of joy and expansion of
countenance, is at the mercy of every artful
knave, or pert coxcomb : the former will pro-
voke or please you by design, to catch unguarded
words or looks ; by which he will easily decipher
the secrets of your heart, of which you should
222 GOOD MANNERS.
keep the key yourself, and trust it with no man
IMMOBILITY. Determine, too, to keep your
countenance as unmoved and unembarrassed as
possible ; which steadiness you may get a habit
of, by constant attention. I should desire
nothing better, in any negotiation, than to have
to do with one of these men of warm, quick
passions ; which I would take care to set in
motion. By artful provocations, I would extort
rash and unguarded expressions ; and, by hint-
ing at all the several things that I could suspect,
infallibly discover the true one, by the alteration
it occasioned in the countenance of the person.
V6lto sciolto con pen.neri strdtti (An open face
with a close (or secret) mind) is a most useful
maxim in business.
THE EASY MOMENT. Some people are to be
reasoned, some flattered, some intimidated, and
some teased into a thing; but, in general, all
are to be brought into it at last, if skilfullv
applied to, properly managed, and indefatigably
attacked in their several weak places. The
time should likewise be judiciously chosen :
every man has his mollia tempora, but that is
far from being all day long; and you "would
choose your time very ill, if you applied to a
man about one business, when his head was
full of another, or when his heart was full of
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 223
grief, anger, or any- other disagreeable senti
JUDGE OF OTHERS BY YOURSELF. Tn order to
judge of the inside of others, study your own ;
for men in general are very much alike ; and
though one has one prevailing passion, and
another has another, yet their operations are
much the same ; and whatever engages or dis-
gusts, pleases or offends you, in others, will,
mutatis mutandis, engage, disgust, please, or
offend others, in you.
SMART SAYINGS. The temptation of saying a
smart and witty thing, or bon mot, and the
malicious applause with which it is commonly
received, have made people who can say them,
and, still oftener, people who think they*can,
but cannot, and yet try, more enemies, and
implacable ones too, than any one other thing
that I know of. When such things, then, shall
happen to be said at your expense (as some-
times they certainly will), reflect seriously upon
the sentiments of uneasiness, anger, and resent-
ment, which they excite in you ;*and consider
whether it can be prudent, by the same means,
to excite the same sentiments in others, against
you. It is a decided folly, to lose a friend
for a jest; but, in my mind, it is not a much
less degree of folly, to make an enemy of an
indifferent and neutral person, for the sake of
224 GOOD MANNERS.
a bon mot. When things of this kind happen
to be said of you, the most prudent way is to
seem not to suppose that they are meant at you,
but to dissemble and conceal whatever degree
of anger you may feel inwardly ; and should
they be so plain, that you cannot be supposed
ignorant of their meaning, to join in the laugh
of the company against yourself; acknowledge
the hit to be a fair one, and the jest a good one,
and play off the whole thing in seeming good
humor: but by no means reply in the same
way ; which only shows that you are hurt, and
publishes the victory which you might have
concealed. Should the thing said, indeed,
injure your honor, or moral character, there is
but one proper reply ; which I hope you never
will have occasion to make.
WOMEN OF FASHION. --They are a numerous
and loquacious body : their hatred would be
more prejudicial, than their friendship can be
advantageous to you. A general complaisance
and attention to that sex is, therefore, estab-
lished by custom, and certainly necessary. But
where you would particularly please any one,
whose situation, interest, or connections can be
of use to you, you must show particular pre-
ference. The least attentions please, the great-
est charm them. The innocent, but pleasing
flattery of their persons, however gross, is
CHESTERFIELD'^ MAXIMS. ETC. 225
greedily swallowed, and kindly digested, but
a seeming regard for their understandings, a
seeming desire of, and deference for their advice,
together with a seeming confidence in their
moral virtues, turns their head entirely in your
favor. Nothing shocks them so much as the
least appearance of that contempt, which they
are apt to suspect men of entertaining of their
capacities : and you may be very sure of gaining
their friendship, if you seem to think it worth
gaming. Here, dissimulation is very often
necessary, and even simulation sometimes allow-
able ; which, as it pleases them, may be useful
to you, and is injurious to nobody.
TRIFLES. Great merit, or great failings, will
make you respected or despised ; but trifles,
little attentions, mere nothings, either done, or
neglected, will make you either liked or dis-
liked, in the general run of the world. Ex-
amine yourself, why you like such and such
people, and dislike such and such others ; and
you will find that those different sentiments
proceed from very slight causes. Moral virtues
are the foundation of society in general, and
of friendship in particular; but attentions,
manners, and graces both adorn and strengthen
DIGNITY OF MANNERS. There is a certain
dignity of manners absolutely necessary, tc
226 GOOD MANNERS.
make even the most valuable character either
respected or respectable.
Horse-play, romping, frequent and loud fits
of laughter, jokes, waggery, and indiscriminate
familiarity, will sink both merit and knowledge
into a degree of contempt. They compose at
most a merry fellow ; and a merry fellow was
never yet a respectable man. Indiscriminate
familiarity either offends your superiors, or else
dubs you their dependant, and led captain. It
gives your inferiors just but troublesome and
improper claims of equality A joker is near
akin to a buffoon : and neither of them is th?
least related to wit. Whoever is admitted or
sought for, in company, upon any other account
than that of his merit and manners, is never
respected there, but only made use of. We will
have such-a-one, for he sings prettily; we will
invite such-a-one to a ball, for he dances well;
we will have such-a-one at supper, for he is
always joking and laughing; we will ask
another, because he plays deep at all games, or
because he can drink a great deal. These are
vilifying distinctions, mortifying preferences,
and exclude all ideas of esteem and regard.
Whoever is had (as it is called) in company,
for the sake of any one thing singly, is singly
that thing, and will never be considered in any
other light ; consequently never respected, let
his merits be what they will.
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS. ETC. 227
DANCING. Learn to dance, not so much for
the sake of dancing, as for coming into a room,
and presenting yourself genteelly and grace-
fully. Women, whom you ought to endeavor
to please, cannot forgive a vulgar and awkward
air and gestures; il ieur faut du brillant. The
generality of men are pretty like them, and are
equally taken by the same exterior graces.
THE VULGAR MAN. TRIFLES. VULGARISM.
A vulgar man is captious and jealous ; eager
and impetuous about trifles. He suspects him-
self to be slighted, thinks everything that is said
meant at him ; if the company happens to
laugh, he is persuaded they laugh at him ; he
grows angry and testy, says something very
impertinent, and draws himself into a scrape,
by showing what he calls a proper spirit,
and asserting himself. A man of fashion does
not suppose himself to be either the sole or
principal object of the thoughts, looks, or
words of the company ; and never suspects
that he is either slighted or laughed at, unless
he is conscious that he deserves it. And if
(which very seldom happens) the company
is absurd or ill-bred enough to do either, he
does not care twopence, unless the insult be
so gross and plain as to require satisfaction of
another kind. As he is above trifles, he is
ne' r er vehement and eager about them ; and,
228 GOOD MANNERS.
wherever they are concerned, rather acquiesces
than wrangles. A vulgar man's conversation
always savors strongly of the lowness of his
education and company. It turns chiefly upon
his domestic affairs, his servants, the excellent
order he keeps in his own family, and the little
anecdotes of the neighborhood ; all which he
relates with emphasis, as interesting matters.
He is a man gossip.
Vulgarism in language is the next, and dis-
tinguishing characteristic of bad company, and
a bad education. A man of fashion avoids
nothing with more care than that. Proverbial
expressions, and trite sayings, are the flowers
of the rhetoric of a vulgar man. Would he say,
that men differ in their tastes, he both supports
and adorns that opinion, by the good old saying,
as he respectfully calls it, that what is one man's
meat is another man's poison. If anybody
attempts being smart, as he calls it, upon him,
he gives them tit for tat, ay, that he does. lie
has always some favorite word for the time
being, which, for the sake of using often, he
commonly abuses. Such as vastly angry, vastly
kind, vastly handsome, and vastly ugly. Even
his pronunciation of proper words carries the
mark of the beast along with it. He calls the
earth yeartli ; he is obleiged, not obliged to you.
He goes to -wards, and not towards such a place.
He sometimes affects hard words, by ^ay of
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 229
ornament, which he always mangles like a
learned woman. A man of fashion never has
recourse to proverbs, and vulgar aphorisms ;
uses neither favorite words nor hard words ; but
takes great care to speak very correctly and
grammatically, and to pronounce properly j that
is, according to the usage of the best companies.
MIXED COMPANY, LEARNING, PEDANTS. In
mixed companies, whoever is admitted to make
Dart of them is, for the time at least, supposed
to be upon a footing of equality with the rest ;
and, consequently, as there is no one principal
object of awe and respect, people are apt to
take a greater latitude in their behavior, and to
ne less upon their guard ; and so they may, pro-
vided it be within certain bounds, which are
upon no occasion to be transgressed. But, upon
these occasions, though no one is entitled to dis-
tinguished marks of respect, every one claims,
and very justly, every mark of civility and good
breeding. Ease is allowed, but carelessness
and negligence are strictly forbidden. If a
man accosts you, and talks to you ever so dully
or frivolously, it is worse than rudeness, it is
brutality, to show him, by a manifest inatten-
tion to what he says, that you think him a fool
or a blockhead, and not worth hearing. It is
much more so with regard to women ; who, of
whatever rank they are, are entitled, in consi-
230 GOOD MANNERS.
deration of their sex, not only to an attentive,
but an officious good breeding from men.
Too READY FRIENDS. Be upon your guard
against those, who, upon very slight acquaint-
ance, obtrude their unasked and unmerited
friendship and confidence upon you; for they
probably cram you with them only for their
own eating: but, at the same time, do not
roughly reject them upon that general supposi-
tion. Examine further, and see whether those
unexpected offers flow from a warm heart and
a silly head, or from a designing head and a
cold heart ; for knavery and folly have often the
same symptoms. In the first case, there is no
danger in accepting them, valeant quantum valere
possunt. Jn the latter case, it may be useful
to seem to accept them, and artfully to turn the
battery upon him who raised it.
There is an iricontinency of friendship among
young fellows, who are associated by their mu-
tual pleasures only ; which has, very frequently,
bad consequences. A parcel of warm hearts,
und unexperienced heads, heated by convivial
mirth, and possibly a little too much wine,
vow, and really mean at the time, eternal
friendships to each other, and indiscreetly pour
out their whole souls in common, and without
the least reserve. These confidences are as in-
discreetly repealed, as they were made: for new
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 231
pleasures, and new places, soon dissolve this
ill-cemented connection : and then very ill uses
are made of these rash confidences. Bear your
part, however, in young companies ; nay, excel
if you can, in all the social and convivial joy
and festivity that become youth. Trust them
with your love-tales, if you please; but keep
your serious views secret.
PRIDE AND PEDANTRY. The costly liberality
of a purse proud man, insults the distresses it
sometimes relieves ; he takes care to make you
feel your own misfortunes, and the difference
between your situation and his ; both which he
insinuates to be justly merited: yours, by your
folly, his. by his wisdom. The arrogant pedant
does not communicate, but promulgates his
knowledge. He does not give it you, but he
inflicts it upon you; and is (if possible) more
desirous to show you your own ignorance, than
his own learning. Such manners as these, not
only in the particular instances which I have
mentioned, but likewise in all others, shock and
revolt that little pride and vanity, which every
man has in his heart; and obliterate in us the
obligation for the favor conferred, by reminding
us of the motive which produced, and the man-
ner which accompanied it.
MORAL CHARACTER. Your moral charactei
must be not only pure, but, like Cassar's wile
232 GOOD MANNERS.
unsuspected. The least speck or blemish upon
it is fatal. Nothing degrades and vilifies :more,
fur it excites and unites detestation and con-
tempt. There are, however, wretches in the
world profligate enough to explode all notions
of moral good and evil ; to maintain that they
are merely local, and depend entirely upon the
customs and fashions of different countries :
nay, there are still, if possible, more unaccount-
able wretches ; I mean, those who affect to
preach and propagate such absurd and infamous
notions, without believing them themselves.
These are the devil's hypocrites. Avoid, as
much as possible, the company of such people;
who reflect a degree of discredit and infamy
upon all who converse with them. But as you
may, sometimes, by accident, fall into such
company, take great care that no complaisance,
no good-humor, no warmth of festal mirth,
ever make you seem even to acquiesce, much
less to approve or applaud, such infamous doc-
trines. On the other hand ; do not debate, nor
enter into serious argument, upon a subject so
much below it : but content yourself with telling
these apostiles, that you know they are not
serious; that you have a much better opinion
of them than they would have you have ; and
that, you are very sure, they would not practise
the doctrine they preach. But put your private
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETO. 233
mark upon them, and shun them for ever after-
LAZY PEOPLE DESPATCH How TO READ.
Many people lose a great deal of their time by
laziness ; they loll and yawn in a great 3hair,
tell themselves that they have not time to begin
anything then, and that it will do as well an-
other time. This is a most unfortunate dispo-
sition, and the greatest obstruction to both
knowledge and business. At your age, you
have no right nor claim to laziness : I have, if
I please, being emwitus. You are but just
listed in the world, and must be active, diligent,
indefatigable. If ever you propose command-
ing with dignity, you must serve up to it with
diligence. Never put off till to-morrow what
you can do to-day.
Despatch is the soul of business ; and nothing
contributes more to despatch, than method.
Lay down a method for everything, and stick
to it inviolably, as far as unexpected incidents
may allow. Fix one certain hour and day in
the week for your accounts, and keep them to-
gether in their proper order ; by which means
they will require very little time, and you can
never be much cheated. Whatever letters and
papers you keep, docket and tie them up in their
respective classes, so that you may instantly
have recourse to any one. Lay down a method
234 GOOD MANNERS.
also for your reading, for which you allot a
certain share of your mornings ; let it be in a
consistent and consecutive course, and not in
that desultory and unmethodical manner, in
which many people read scraps of different
authors, upon different subjects. Keep a useful
and short common-place book of what you read,
to help your memory only, and not for pedantic
quotations. Never read history without having
maps, and a chronological book, or tables, lying
by you, and constantly recurred to ; without
which history is only a confused heap of facts.
One method more I recommend to you, by which
I have found great benefit, even in the most
dissipated part of my life ; that is, to rise early,
and at the same hour every morning, how late
soever you may have sat up the night before.
This secures you an hour or two, at least, of
reading or reflection, before the common inter-
ruptions of the morning begin ; and it will save
your constitution, by forcing you to go to bed
early, at least one night in three.
AIM HIGH. Aim at perfection in everything,
tliDugh in most things it is unattainable 5 how-
ever, they who aim at it, and persevere, will
come much nearer it, than those, whose laziness
and despondency make them give it up as un-
attainable. Magnis tamen excidit ausis is a de-
gree of praise \\hich will always attend a noble
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 235
and shining temerity, and a much better sign
in a young fellow, than serpere humi, tutus
nimium timidusque procellce, for men, as well
A TRUTH. Pleasure is necessarily reciprocal ;
no one feels who does not at the same time give
it. To be pleased, one must please. What
pleases you in others, will in general please
them in yon.
LEARNED IGNORANCE. A man of the best
parts, and the greatest learning, if he does not
know the world by his own experience and ob-
servation, will be very absurd ; and conse-
quently, very unwelcome in company. He may
say very good things ; but they will probably be
so ill timed, misplaced, or improperly addressed,
that he had much better hold his tongue. Full
of his own matter, and uninformed of, or inat-
tentive to, the particular circumstances and situ
ations of the company, he vents it indiscrimi-
nately : he puts some people out of countenance ;
he shocks others ; and frightens all, who dread
what may come out next. The most general
rule that I can give you for the world, and
which your experience will convince you of the
truth of, is, Never to give the tone to the com-
pany, but to take it from them ; and to labor
more to put them in conceit with themselves,
than to make them admire you. Those whom
236 GOOD MANNERS.
you can make like themselves better, will, 1
promise you, like you very well.
SMALL TALK. I am far from meaning by
this, that you should always be talking wisely,
in company, of books, history, and matters of
knowledge. There are many companies which
you will, and ought to keep, where such con-
versations would be misplaced and ill-timed;
your own good sense must distinguish the com-
pany, and the time. You must trifle with
triflers ; and be serious only with the serious,
but dance to those who pipe. Our in theatrum
Cato severe venisti ? was justly said to an old
man : how much more so would it be to one of
your age ? From the moment that you are
dressed, and go out, pocket all your knowledge
with your watch, and never pull it out in com-
pany unless desired: the producing of the one
unasked implies that you are weary of the
company-, and the producing of the other
unrequired will make the company weary of
you. Company is a republic too jealous of its
liberties, to suffer a dictator even for a quarter
of an hour ; and yet in that, as in all republics,
there are some few who really govern, but then
it is by seeming to disclaim, instead of attempt-
ing to usurp the power : that is the occasion in
which manners, dexterity, address, and the
undefinable je ne sais quoi triumph j if pro-
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 237
perly exerted, their conquest is sure, and tho
more lasting for not being perceived.
How TO PLEASE. An air, a tone of voice, a
composure of countenance to mildness and
softness, which are all easily acquired, do the
"business; and without farther examination, and
possibly with the contrary qualities, that man
is reckoned the gentlest, the modestest, and the
best natured man alive. Happy the man who,
with a certain fund of parts and knowledge,
gets acquainted with the world early enough to
make it his bubble, at an age when most peo-
ple are the bubbles of the world 1 for that is
the common case of youth. They grow wiser
when it is too late : and, ashamed and vexed
at having been bubbles so long, too often turn
knaves at last. Do not, therefore, trust to ap-
pearances and outside yourself, but pay other
people with them, because you may be sure
that nine in ten of mankind do, and ever will,
trust to them. This is by no means a criminal
or blameable simulation, if not used with an ill
intention. I am by no means blameable in
desiring to have other people's good word, good
will, and affection, if I do not mean to abuse
them. Your heart, I know, is good, your sense
is sound, and your knowledge extensive.
NOTHING BY HALVES. Whatever business
you have, do it the first moment you canj
238 GOOD MANNERS.
never by halves, but finish it without interrup-
tion, if possible. Business must not be sauntered
and trilled with ; and you must not say to it,
as Felix did to Paul, "at a more convenient
season I will speak to thee." The most con-
venient season for business, is the first; but
study and business, in some measure, point
out their own times to a man of sense ; time
is much oftener squandered away in the wrong
choice and improper methods of amusement
FORMATION OF MANNERS. Nothing forms a
young man so much as being used to keep
respectable and superior company, where a
constant regard and attention is necessary.
It is true, this is at first a disagreeable state of
restraint ; but it soon grows habitual and con-
sequently easy ; and you are amply paid for it,
by the improvements you make, and the credit
it gives you.
LEFT-HANDEDNESS. An awkward address, un-
graceful attitudes and actions, and a certain
left-handedness (if I may use that word) loudly
proclaim low education and low company ; for
it is impossible to suppose that a man can
have frequented good company, without having
catched something, at least, of their air and
motions. A new raised man is distinguished
in a regiment by his awkwardness ; but he must
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 239
be impenetrably dull, if, in a month or two's
time, he cannot perform at least the common
manual exercise, and look like a soldier. The
very accoutrements of a man of fashion are
grievous encumbrances to a vulgar man. He is
at a loss what to do with his hat, when it is not
upon his head ; his cane (if unfortunately he
wears one) is at perpetual war with every cup
of tea or coffee he drinks ; destroys them, first,
and then accompanies them in their fall.
A NOBLE EASE AND GRACE. Do not imagine
that these accomplishments are only useful with
women ; they are much more so w r ith men. In
a public assembly, what an advantage has a
graceful speaker, with genteel motions, a hand-
some figure, and a liberal air, over one, who
shall speak full as much good sense, but desti-
tute of these ornaments ! In business, how
prevalent are the graces, how detrimental is the
want of them ! By the help of these I have
known some men refuse favors less offensively
than others granted them. You gain the hearts
and consequently the secrets, of nine in ten
that you have to do with, in spite even of their
prudence 5 which will, nine times in ten, be the
dupe of their hearts and of their senses. Con-
sider the importance of these things as they
deserve, and you will not lose one moment in
the pursuit of them.
240 GOOD MANNERS.
MAXIMS. I never think my time so well
employed, as when I think it employed to your
advantage. In that view, I have thrown to-
gether, for your use, the following maxims ; or,
to speak more properly, observations on men
and things ; for I have no merit as to the inven-
tion ; I am no system-monger ; and, instead of
giving way to my imagination, I have only
consulted my memory ; and my conclusions are
all drawn from facts, not from fancy. Most
maxim-mongers have preferred the prettiness to
the justness of a thought, and the turn to the
truth ; but I have refused myself to everything
that my own experience did not justify and
A PROPER secrecy is the only mystery of able
men ; mystery is the only secrecy of weak and
A MAN who tells nothing, or who tells all, will
equally have nothing told him.
IF a fool knows a secret, he tells it because
he is a fool ; if a knave knows one, he tells it
wherever it is his interest to tell it. But
women, and young men, are very apt to tell
what secrets they know, from the vanity of
having been trusted. Trust none of these,
whenever you can help it.
INATTENTION to the present business, be it
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 241
what it will ; the doing one thing;, and thinking
at the same time of another, or the attempting
to do two things at once ; are the never-failing
signs of a little, frivolous mind.
A MAN who cannot command his temper, his
attention, and his countenance, should not think
of being a man of business. The weakest man
in the world can avail himself of the passion of
ihe wisest. The inattentive man cannot know
the business, and consequently cannot do it.
And he who cannot command his countenance,
may even as well tell his thoughts as show
DISTRUST all those who love you extremely
upon a very slight acquaintance, and without
any visible reason. Be upon your guard, too,
against those, who confess, as their weaknesses,
all the cardinal virtues.
IN your friendships, and in your enmities, let
your confidence and your hostilities have cer-
tain bounds : make not the former dangerous,
nor the latter irreconcilable. There are strange
vicissitudes in business !
SMOOTH your way to the head through the
heart. The way of reason is a good one ; but it
is commonly something longer, and perhaps not
SPIRIT is now a very fashionable word: to
242 GOOD MANNERS.
act with spirit, to speak with spirit, means only,
to act rashly, and to talk indiscreetly. An able
man shows his spirit by gentle words and reso-
lute actions : he is neither hot nor timid.
WHEN a man of sense happens to be in that
disagreeable situation, in which he is obliged to
ask himself more than once, What shall 1 do?
he will answer himself, Nothing. When his
reason points out to him no good way, or at
least no one way less bad than another, he will
stop short, and wait for light. A little busy
mind runs on at all events, must be doing ; and,
like a blind horse, fears no dangers, because he
sees none. Ilfaut savoir s'ennuyer.
PATIENCE is a most necessary qualification for
business ; many a man would rather you heard
his story, than granted his request. One must
seem to hear the unreasonable demands of the
petulant, unmoved, and the tedious details of
the dull, untirod. That is the least price that
a man must pay for a high station.
IT is always right to detect a fraud, and to
perceive a folly ; but it is often very wrong to
expose either. A man of business should always
have his eyes open j but must often seem to
have them shut.
THERE is a fashionable jargon, a chit-chat, a
small talk, which turns singly upon trifles ; and
which, in a great iiianj' words, says little or
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 243
nothing. It stands fools instead of what they
cannot say, and men of sejise instead of what
they should not say. It is the proper language
of levees, drawing-rooms, and ante-chambers: it
is necessary to know it.
WHATEVER a man is at court, he must be
genteel and well bred ; that cloak covers as
many follies, as that of charity does sins. I
knew a man of great quality, and in a great
station at court, considered and respected, whose
highest character was, that he was humbly
proud, and genteelly dull.
IT is hard to say which is the greatest fool ;
he who tells the whole truth, or he who tells no
truth at all. Character is as necessary in
business as in trade. No man can deceive often
THERE are some occasions in which man must
tell half his secret, in order to conceal the rest :
but there is seldom one in which a man should
tell it all. Great skill is necessary to know how
far to go, arid where to stop.
AWKWARDNESS is a more real disadvantage
than it is generally thought to be ; it often ac-
casions ridicule, it always lessens dignity.
A MAN'S own good breeding is his best secu-
rity against ither people's ill manners.
244 GOOD MANNERS.
GOOD BREEDING carries along with it a dignity,
that is respected by the most petulant. Ill
breeding invites and authorizes the familiarity
of the most timid. No man ever said a pert
thing to the Duke of Marlborough. No man
ever said a civil one (though many a flattering
one) to Sir Robert Walpole.
KNOWLEDGE may give weight, but accomplish-
ments only give lustre; and many more people
see than weigh.
MOST arts require long study and application
but the most useful art of all, that of pleasing,
requires only the desire.
IT is to be presumed, that a man of common
sense, who does not desire to please, desires no-
thing at all ; since he must know that he cannot
obtain anything without it.
A SKILFUL negotiator will most carefully dis-
tinguish between the little and the great objects
of his business, and will be as frank and open
in the former, as he will be secret and pertina-
cious in the latter. He will, bv his manners and
address, endeavor, at least, to make his public
adversaries his personal friends. He will flatter
and engage the man, while he counterworks
the minister ; and he will never alienate people's
minds from him, by wrangling for points,
CHESTERFIELD'S MAXIMS, ETC. 245
either absolutely unattainable, or not worth
attaining. He will make even a merit of giving
up, what he could not or would not carry, and
sell a trifle for a thousand times its value.
THE Due de Sully observes very justly, in his
Memoirs, that nothing contributed more to his
rise, than that prudent economy which he had
observed from his youth ; and by which he had
always a sum of money beforehand, in case of
IT is very difficult to fix the particular point
of economy ; the best error of the two is on the
parsimonious side. That may be corrected, the
THE reputaton 01 generosity is to be purchased
pretty cheap ; it does not depend so much upon
a man's general expense, as it does upon his
giving handsomely where it is proper to give
at all. A man, for instance, who should give a
servant four shillings would pass for covetous,
while he who gave him a crown would be
reckoned generous : so that the difference of
those two opposite characters turns upon one
shilling. A man's character, in that particular,
depends a great deal upon the report of his own
servants ; a mere trifle above common wages
makes their report favorable.
TAKE care always to form your establish-
ment so much within your income, as to leave
246 GOOD MANNERS.
a sufficient fund for unexpected contingencies,
and a prudent liberality. There is hardly a
year, in any man's life, in which a small sum
of ready money may not be employed to great
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