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any public idol is waste, but such a movement with those able to reply is better.
Never discourse upon your ailments.
Encourage yourself against threatening timidity at meeting a company, by the thought that you could talk with any one of them. Like Napoleon, take them in detail.
Use correct language.
Never use slang.
Never use words of the meaning or pronunciation of which you are uncertain.
Use Saxon words, and avoid foreign words.
Avoid repetitions and hackneyed expressions.
Avoid discussing your own or other peoples' domestic concerns.
Never prompt a slow speaker, as if you had all the ability. In conversing with a foreigner who may be learning our language, it is excusable to help him in some delicate way.
Never give advice unasked.
Suit your address to the ages of the persons with whom you are speaking. Do not manifest impatience.
Do not interrupt another when speaking.
Do not find fault, though you may gently criticise.
Do not appear to notice inaccuracies of speech in others.
Do not allow yourself to lose temper or speak excitedly.
Do not always commence a conversation by allusion to the weather.
Do not when narrating an incident continually say, "you see," "you know."
Do not intrude professional or other topics that the company generally cannot take an interest in.
Do not talk very loud. A firm, clear, distinct, yet mild, gentle, and musical voice has great power.
Do not be absent-minded, requiring the speaker to repeat what has been said that you may understand.
Do not try to force yourself into the confidence of others.
Do not use profanity, vulgar terms, words of double meaning, or language that will bring the blush to any one.
Do not allow yourself to speak ill of the absent one if it can be avoided; the day may come when some friend will be needed to defend you in your absence.
Do not speak with contempt and ridicule of a locality which you may be visiting. Find something to truthfully praise and commend; thus make yourself agreeable.
Do not make a pretense of gentility, nor parade the fact that you are a
descendant of any notable family. You must pass for just what you are, and must stand on your own merit.
Do not contradict. In making a correction say, “I beg your pardon, but I had an impression that it was so and so." Be careful in contradicting, as you may be wrong yourself.
Do not be unduly familiar; you will merit contempt if you are. Neither should you be dogmatic in your assertions, arrogating to yourself much consequence in your opinions.
Do not be too lavish in your praise of various members of your own family when speaking to strangers; the person to whom you are speaking may know some faults that you do not.
Do not feel it incumbent upon yourself to carry your point in conversation. Should the person with whom you are conversing feel the same, your talk may lead into violent argument.
Do not allow yourself to use personal abuse when speaking to another, as in so doing you may make that person a life-long enemy. A few kind, courteous words might have made him a life-long friend.
Do not discuss politics or religion in general company. You probably would not convert your opponent, and he will not convert you. To discuss those topics is to arouse feeling without any good result.
Do not make a parade of being acquainted with distinguished or wealthy people, of having been to college, or of having visited foreign lands. All this is no evidence of any real genuine worth on your part.
Do not use the surname alone when speaking of your husband or wife to others. To say to another that "I told Jones," referring to your husband, sounds badly. Whereas, to say "I told Mr. Jones," shows respect and good breeding.
Do not yield to bashfulness. Do not isolate yourself, sitting back in a corner, waiting for some one to come and talk with you. Step out; have something to say. Though you may not say it very well, keep on, You will gain courage and improve. It is as much your duty to entertain others as theirs to amuse you.
Do not attempt to pry into the private affairs of others by asking what their profits are, what things cost, whether Melissa ever had a beau, and why Amarette never got married? All such questions are extremely impertinent, and are likely to meet with rebuke.
Do not whisper in company; do not engage in private conversation; do not speak a foreign language which the general company present may not understand, unless it understood that the foreigner is unable to speak your.
Do not take it upon yourself to admonish comparative strangers on religious topics; the person to whom you speak may have decided convictions of
his own in opposition to yours, and your over-zeal may seem to him an impertinence.
Dr. Todd has condensed a few rules from Cowper, from which we condense the following:
Choose your company, as you do your books, for profit.
Study your company. If they are superiors, imbibe information; if not, impart.
Revive drooping conversation by introducing a topic of general interest.
When any helpful thing is said, retain it.
Bear with much impertinence. It will cure itself.
Be free, and try to make others the same.
Politeness is loving thy neighbor as thyself, and showing it in actions. Affectation is the foe of good breeding. Simple souls, with a smattering of rules of etiquette, and no comprehension of the principles of good manners, have caused many to undervalue a just knowledge of the principles and applications that aid in furnishing the true lady or true gentleman. Many will be helped by knowing that formal etiquette, such as the Japanese monarchs extort from their subjects, has passed out of good society, and its place has been filled with a reign of common sense and good will. Some people glory in their rudeness, which they often dignify with the name of frankness. They seem not to understand that the claims of good breeding are as radical and eternal as the fundamental principles of morals.
The divine law of politeness is stated by the Great Teacher in these words, "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Politeness has been defined as "6 only an elegant form of justice," but it involves, also, all the moral and social feelings. It is a sincere regard for the rights of others, in the smallest matters as well as in the largest. It is kindness of heart expressing itself. Good will, good taste and self-control are easily matured into politeness. Kindly affectioned one toward another, is the great secret of good manners.
Bishop Ames saw an Indian Chief at an official interview with President Jackson. The Chief was as graceful as Henry Clay. The Bishop said to the Chief, "How is it you are so graceful, never having studied etiquette ?" The Chief replied, "I have no mad talk in me now." Every Christian should be a gentleman or a lady, measured by the etiquette of the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. With the Spirit and good-will of the Master in the heart, the refinements of the rules of good breeding are easy. "politeness is benevolence in little things."
The words gentleman and gentlewoman came originally from the fact that the uncultivated and ignorant classes used coarse and loud tones, and rough words and movements; while only the refined circles habitually used gentle tones and gentle manners. For the same reason, those born in the higher circles were called "of gentle blood." Thus it came that a coarse and loud voice and rough, ungentle manners are regarded as vulgar and plebeian.
Good manners are important helps in the work of life. When we show ourselves friendly we are always met by the same spirit. Politeness in the hourly intercourse of life smooths away most of the rudeness that otherwise might jar upon our nerves. The parent who instills into his child's mind and habits a simple and clear comprehension of the more reasonable principles and rules of good breeding, has bestowed both new endowments and opened doors for the future.
American manners are said to be a little free and easy," but a great improvement upon the coldness of the Englishman. Our children need restraining, but, taken all in all, we have great reason to congratulate ourselves on the general good-will of Americans, and their desire to please people. This makes us a nation of ladies and of gentlemen. It would be well to awaken both the zeal of the saint and the pride of the patriot in making Americans the most polite people under the stars.
Study, observation and experiment will easily make any one master of this great accomplishment.
Good manners should be taught to children gradually, and with great patience and gentleness, always enforced by example. Parents should begin with a few principles with their application, and be steady and persevering with these till a habit is formed, and then take a few more, thus making the process easy and gradual. Otherwise the children, hopeless of fulfilling so many requisitions, will become reckless and indifferent to all.
If a few brief, well-considered, and sensible rules of good breeding could be suspended in every school-room, and the children be required to memorize and practice them, it would do much to remedy the defects of American
In presenting these rules we give you the result of a careful selection from a variety of sources and books. We have sought to touch only the most common points, which may be helpful in all homes.
Cleanliness is the first element of decency anywhere, and especially at the table. The person should be carefully cleansed and made presentable before coming to the table. Some employments necessarily soil the hands and face
and clothes. Such soiling is honorable. A man should be clad suitably for his business. But this makes no excuse for filthiness or slovenliness at the table. Children should be trained, in preparing themselves for the table or for appearance among the family, not only to put their hair, face, and hands in neat order, but also their teeth and nails, and to attend habitually to their nails whenever they wash their hands.
Children should be trained in the family, in order to perfect their manners for the presence of strangers. If they are allowed to chatter while others are talking, they are certain to annoy guests.
Table Rules.-Take your seat quietly at the table, sit firmly in your chair, without lolling, leaning back, drumming, or other uncouth action.
Unfold your napkin, and lay it in your lap.
Eat soup delicately with a spoon, using your bread with your left hand.
Cut your food with your knife, but the fork is to be used to convey it to your mouth. A spoon is employed for food that cannot be eaten with a fork. When eating, take your fork or spoon in the right hand. Never use both
hands to convey any thing to your mouth.
Break your bread, not cut or bite it, spreading each piece with butter as you eat it.
Your cup was made to drink from, and your saucer to hold the cup.
It is not well to drink any thing hot; if you drink tea or coffee, wait till it cools.
Eggs should be eaten from the shell, (chipping off a little of the larger end,) with or without an egg-cup.
Be attentive to the wants of any lady who may be seated next to you, especially where there are no servants, and pass any thing that may be needful to others.
There are some who insist that when a plate is sent to be replenished the knife and fork must be laid together on the plate. But we are happy to say that idea is being generally discarded. The knife and fork should be taken from the plate when it is passed, and either held in the hand, or laid down with the tips resting on the solitaire, butter-plate, or a piece of bread. The last way is less awkward, and much more convenient than holding them in the hand.
When you have finished the course, lay your knife and fork on your prate, parallel to each other, with the handles toward your right hand.
Wipe your nose if needful. If necessary to blow it, or to spit, leave the table. Never say or do any thing at table that is liable to produce disgust.
Little mistakes, and occasionally a troublesome accident, may occur at table. Always meet them with quiet dignity and self-possession. Do not by undue attention increase the embarrassment.
It is well not to seem too much in haste to commence, as if you were