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undoubtedly is so; but to be piping or fiddling at a concert is degrading to a man of fashion. If you love music, hear it; pay fiddlers to play to you, but never fiddle yourself. It makes a gentleman appear frivolous and contemptible, leads him frequently into bad company, and wastes that time which might otherwise be well employed.
15. Secrecy is another characteristic of good breeding. Be careful not to tell in one company, what you see or hear in another, much less to divert the present company at the expense of the last. Things apparently indifferent may, when often repeated and told abroad, have much more serious consequences than imagined. In conversation there is generally a tacit reliance, that what is said will not be repeated; and a man, though not enjoined to secrecy, will be excluded company, if found to be a tattler; besides he will draw himself into a thousand scrapes,
and every one will be afraid to speak before him. 16. Pulling out your watch in company unasked, either at home or abroad, is a mark of ill-breeding; if at home, it appears if you were tired of your company, and wished them to be gone ; if abroad, as if the hours drag heavily, and you wished to be gone yourself. If you want to know the time, withdraw; besides, as the taking what is called a French leave was introduced, that on one person's leaving the company the rest might not be disturbed, looking at your watch does what that piece of politeness was designed to prevent; it is a kind of dictating to all present, and telling them it is time, or almost time, to break up.
17. Among, other things, let me caution you against ever be ing in a hurry; a man of sense may be in haste, but he is never in a hurry: convinced that hurry is the surest way to make him do what he undertakes ill. To be in a hurry, is a proof that the business we embark in is too great for us : of course it is the mark of little minds, that are puzzled and perplexed, when they should ·be cool and deliberate; they wish to do every thing at once, and are thus able to do nothing. Be steady then in all your engage. ments; look round you, before you begin ; and remember that you had better, do half of them well, and leave the rest undone, than to do the whole indifferently.
18. From a kind of false modesty, most young men are apt to consider familiarity as unbecoming. Forwardness we allow is so; but there is a decent familiarity that is necessary in the course of life. Mere formal visits, upon formal invitations, are not the thing; they create no connection, nor will they prove of service to you; it is the careless and easy ingress and egress, at all hours, that secures an acquaintance to our interest, and and this is acquired by a respectful familiarity entered into, without forfeiting your consequence.
• 19. In acquiring new acquaintance, be careful not to neglect your old, for a slight of this kind is seldom forgiven. If you cannot be with your former acquaintances so often as you used to be, while you had no others, take care not to give them cause to think you neglect them; call upon them frequently, though you cannot stay long with them : tell them you are sorry to leave them so soon, and nothing should take you away but certain engagements which good manners oblige you to attend to; for it will be your interest to make all the friends you can, and as few enemies as possible.
20. By friends, I would not be understood to mean confidential ones; but persons who speak of you respectfully, and who, consistent with their own interest, would wish to be of service to you, and would rather do you good than harm.
Another thing I must recommend to you, as characteristic of a polite education, and of having kept good company, is a graceful manner of conferring favours. The most obliging things may be done so awkwardly as to offend, while the most disagreeable things may be done so agreeably as to please.
21. A few more articles of general advice, and I have done : the first is on the subject of vanity. It is the common failing of youth, and as such ought to be carefully guarded against. The vanity I mean, is that which, if given way to, stamps a man a coxcomb, a character he will find a difficulty to get rid of, perhaps as long as he lives. Now this vanity shews itself in a variety of shapes: one man shall pride himself in taking the lead in all conversations, and peremptorily deciding upon every subject; another, desirous of appearing successful among the women, shall insinuate the encouragement he has met with, the conquests he makes, and perhaps boasts of favours he never received; if he speaks the truth, he is ungenerous; if false, he is a villain; but whether true or false, he defeats his own purposes, overthrows the reputation he wishes to erect, and draws upon himself contempt in the room of respect.
22. Some men are vain enough to think they acquire consequence by alliance, or by an acquaintance with persons of distinguished character or abilities; hence they are eternally talking of their grandfather, Lord such-a-one, their kinsman, Sir William such-a-one, or their intimate friend, Dr. such-a-one with whom, perhaps, they are scarcely acquainted. If they are ever found out (and they are sure to be, one time or other) they become ridiculous and contemptible; but even admitting what they say to be true, what then? A man's intrinsic merit does not rise from an ennobled alliance, or a reputable acquaintance.
23. A rich man never borrows. When angling for praise, modesty is the surest bait. If we would wish to shine in any
particular character, we must never affect that character. An affectation of courage will make a man pass for a bully; an affectation of wit, for a coxcomb; and an affectation of sense, for a fool. Not that I would recommend bashfulness or timidity; no;
I would have every one know his own vulue, yet not discover that he knows it, but leave his merit to be found out by others.
24. Another thing worth your attention is, if in company with an inferior, not to let him feel his inferiority, if he discovers it himself without your endeavours, the fault is not yours, and he will not blame you ; but if you take pains to mortify him, or to make him feel himself inferior to you in abilities, fortune, or rank, it is an insult that will not readily be forgiven. In point of abilities, it would be unjust, as they are out of his power; in point of rank or fortune, it is ill-natured and ill-bred.
25. This rule is never more necessary than at table, where there cannot be a greater insult than to help an inferior to a part he dislikes, or a part that may he worse than ordinary, and to take the best to yourself. If you at any time invite an inferior to your table, you put him, during the time he is there, upon an equality with you, and it is an act of the highest rudeness to treat him in any respect slitingly. I would rather double
attention to such a person, and treat him with additional respect, lest he should even suppose himself neglected.
26. There cannot be a greater savageness, or cruelty, or any thing more degrading to a man of fashion, than to put upon or take unbecoming liberties with him, whose modesty, humility, or respect, will not suffer him to retaliate. True politeness consists in making every body happy about you; and as to mortify is to render unhappy, it can be nothing but the worst of breeding.
27. Never be witty, at the expense of any one present, nor gratify that idle inclination which is too strong in most young men, I mean, laughing at, or ridiculing the weaknesses or infirmities of others, by way of diverting the company, or displaying your own superiority. Most people have their weaknesses, their peculiar likings and aversions. Some cannot bear the sight of a cat, others the smell of cheese, and so on; were you to laugh at these men for their antipathies, or by design or.inattention to bring them in their way, you could not insult them more.
28. You may possibly thus gain the laugh on your side, for the present, but it will make the person, perhaps, at whose expense you are merry, your enemy for ever after; and even those who laugh with you, will, on a little reflection, fear you and probably despise you; whereas to procure what one likes, and to remove what the other hates, would shew them that they were objects of your attention, and possibly make them more your friends, than much greater services would have done.
29. If you have wit, use it to please, but not to hurt. You may shine, but take care not to scorch. In short, never seem to see the faults of others. Though among the mass of men there are, doubtless, numbers of fools and knaves, yet were we to tell every one of these we meet with, that we knew them to be so, we should be in perpetual war. I would detest the knave and pity the fool wherever I found him, but I would let neither of them know unnecessarily that I did so; as I would not be industrious to make myself enemies. As one must please others then, in order to be pleased, one's self, consider what is agreeable to you must be agreeable to them, and conduct yourself accordingly.
30. Whispering in company is another act of ill-breeding; it seems to insinuate either that the persons whom we would not wish should hear, are unworthy of our confidence, or it may lead them to suppose we are speaking improperly of them; on both accounts, therefore, abstain from it.
So pulling out one letter after another and reading them in company, or cutting or pairing one's nails, is unpolite and rude. It seems to say, we are weary of the conversation, and are in want of some amusement to pass away the time.
31. Humming a tune to ourselves, drumming with our fingers on the table, making‘a noise with our feet, and such like, are all breaches of good manners, and indications of our contempt for the persons présent; therefore they should not be indulged.
Walking fast in the streets is a mark of vulgarity, impiying hurry of business ; it may appear well in a mechanic or tradesman, but suits ill with the character of a gentleman or a man of fashion.
Staring any person you meet, full in the face, is an act also of ill-breeding ; it looks as if you saw something, wonderful in his appearance, and is therefore a tacit reprehension.
32. Eating quick or very slow, at meals, is characteristic of the vulgar ; the first infers poverty, that you have not had a good meal for some time; the last, if abroad, that
your entertainment: if at home, that you are rude enough to set before your friends what you cannot eat yourself. So again, eating your soups with your nose in the plate, is vulgar; it has the appearance of being used to hard work, and of course an unsteady hand.
Dignity of manners.
ed or respectable in the world.
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 dependent and led captain. It gives your inferiors just, but troublesome and improper claims to equality. A joker is near a-kin to a buffoon: and neither of them is the least related to wit.
2. Mimicry, the favourite amusement of little minds, has ever been the contempt of great ones. Never give way to it yourself, nor ever encourage it in others; it is the most illiberal of all buffoonry; it is an insúlt on the person you mimic; and insults, I have often told you, are seldom forgiven.
As to a mimic or a wag, he is little else than a buffoon, who will distort his mouth and his eyes to make people laugh. Be assured no one person ever demeaned himself to please the rest, unless he wished to be thought the Merry-Andrew of the company, and whether this character is respectable, I will leave judge.
3. If a man's company is coveted on any other account than his knowledge, his good sense, or his manners, he is seldom respected by those who invite him, but made use of only to entertain“ Let's have such a one, for he sings a good song, or he is always joking or laughing;" or, “Let's send for such a one, for he is a good bottle companion;" these are degrading distinctions, that preclude all respect and esteem. Whoever is had (as the phrase is) for the sake of any qualification, singly, is merely that thing he is had for, is never considered in any other light, and, of course, never properly respected, let his intrinsic merits be what they will.
4. You may possibly suppose this dignity of manners to border upon pride; but it differs as much from pride, as true courage from blustering.
To agree with a person right or wrong, is abject flattery, and to consent readily to every thing proposed by a company, be it silly or criminal, is full as degrading, as to dispute warmly upon every subject, and to contradict upon all occasions. To preserve dignity, we should modestly assert our own sentiments, though we politely acquiesce in those of others.
So again, to support dignity of character, we should neither be frivolously curious about trifles, nor be laboriously intent on little objects that deserve not a moment's attention ; for this implies an incapacity in matters of greater importance.
A great deal likewise depends upon our air, address, and expressions; an awkward address and vulgar expressions, infer either a low turn of mind, or a low education. 5. Insolent contempt, or low envy, is incompatible also with