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"You mistake.” “You know nothing of the matter," &c. Is it not better to say ? “ I believe I do not express myself so as to be understood." Let us consider it again, whether we take it right or not.” It is much more polite and amiable to make some excuse for another, even in cases where he night justly be blamed, and to represent the mistake as common to both, rather than charge him with insensibility or incomprehension.
49. If any one should have promised you any thing, and not have fulfilled that promise, it would be very unpolite to tell him he has forfeited his word; or if the same person should have disappointed you, upon any occasion, would it not be better to say, “ You were probably so much engaged, that you forgot my affair :"> or, “perhaps it slipped your memory; rather than,"yout thought no more about it:" or, you pay very little regard to your word." For expressions of this kind leave a sting behind them- They are a kind of provocation and affront, and very often bring on lasting quarrels.
50. Be careful not to appear dark and mysterious, lest you should be thought suspicious ; than which there cannot be a more unamiable character. If you appear mysterious and reserved, others will be truly so with you; and in this case, there is an end to improvement, for you will gather no information, Be reserved, but never seem so.
51. There is a fault extremely common with some people, which I would have you avoid.' When their opinion is asked upon any subject, they will give it with so apparent a diffidence and timidity, that one cannot, without the utmost pain, listen to them; especially if they are known to be men of universal knowledge. “Your Lordship will pardon me," says one of this stamp, s if I should not be able to speak to the case in band, so well as it might be wished.”_"I’l} venture to speak of this matter to the best of my poor abilities and dullness of apprehension.”_"I fear I shall expose myself, but in obedience to your Lordship's commands," -and while they are making these apologies, they interrupt the business and tire the company.
52. Always look people in the face when you speak to them, otherwise you will be thought conscious of some guiltbesides, you lose the opportunity of reading their countenances; from which
you will much better learn the impression your discourse makes upon them, than you can possibly do from their words ; for words are at the will of every one, but the countenance is frem quently involuntary.
53. If, in speaking to a person, you are not heard, and should be desired to repeat what you said, do not raise your voice in the repetition, lest you should be thought angry, on being obliged to repeat what you had said before ; it was probably owing to the hearer's inattention.
54. One word only, as to swearing. Those who addict them. -selves to it, and interlard their discourse with oaths, can never be considered as gentlemen ; they are generally people of low education, .and are unwelcome in what is called good company. It is a vice that has no temptation to plead, but is in every respect, as vulgar as it is wicked.
55. Never accustom yourself to scandal, nor listen to it: for though it may gratify the malevolence of some people, nine times out of ten it is attended with great disadvantages. The very person you tell it to, will, on reflection, entertain a mean opinion of you, it will often bring you into a very disagreeable situation. And as there would be no evil-speakers, if there were no evilhearers, it is in scandal as in robbery; the receiver is as bad as the thief. Besides, it will lead people to shun your company, supposing that you will speak ill of them to the next acquaintance
56. Carefully avoid talking either of your own or other people's domestic concerns. By doing the one you will be thought vain; by entering into the other, you will be considered as officiousa Talking of yourself is an impertinence to the company; your affairs are nothing to them; besides, they cannot be kept too secret. And as to the affairs of others, what are they to you? In talking of matters that no way concern you, you are liable to commit blunders, and, should you touch any one in a sore part, you may possibly lose his esteem. Let your conversation, then, in mixed companies, always be general.
57. Jokes, bon-mots, or the little pleasantries ofisone company, will not often bear to be told in another; they are frequently local, and take their rise from certain circumstances; a second company may not be acquainted with these circumstances, and of course your story may not be understood, or want explaining: and if after you have prefaced it with, “I will tell you a good thing," the sting should not ve immediately perceived, you will appear exceedingly ridiculous, and wish you had not told it. Never, then, repeat in one place what you hear in another.
58. In most debates, take up the favourable side of the question; however, let me caution you against being clamorous; that is, never maintain an argument with heat, though you know yourself right; but offer your sentiments modestly and coolly; and, if this does not prevail, give it up, and try to change the subject, by saying something to this effect, “I find we shall hardly convince one another, neither is there any necessity to attempt it; so let us talk of something else.”
59. Not that I would have you give up your opinion always; no, assert your own sentiments, and oppose those of others wheti wrong, but let your manner and voice be gentle-and engaging
and yet no ways affected. If you contradict, do it with, "I may be wrong, but I won't be positive, but I really think I should rather suppose-If I may be permitted to say~" and close your dispute with good humour, to show you are neither. displeased yourself, nor meant to displease the person you dis-,
60. Acquaint yourself with the character and situations of the company you go into, before you give a loose to your tongue ; for should you enlarge on some virtue, which any one present may notoriously want; or should you condemn some vice, which any one of the company may be particularly addicted to, they will be apt to think your reflections pointed and personal, and you will be sure to give offence. This consideration will naturally lead you, not to suppose things said in general, to be level
led at you.
01. Low-bred peoplb, when they happen occasionally to be in good company, imagine themselves to be the subject of every separate conversation. If any part of the company whispers, it is about them; if they laugh, it is at them : and if any thing is said which they do not comprehend, they immediately suppose it is meant of them. This mistake is admirably ridiculed in one. of our celebrated comedies. I am sure, says Scrub, they were talking of me, for they laughed consumedly.”
62. Now a well bred person never thinks himself disesteemed by the company, or laughed at, unless their reflections are sogross, that he cannot be supposed to mistake them, and his honour obliges him to resent it in a proper manner; however, be assured, gentlemen never laugh at or ridicule one another, un, less they are in joke, or on a footing of the greatest intimacy. If such a thing should happen once in an age, from some pert coxcomb, or some flippant woman, it is better not to seem ta know it, than make the least reply.
63. It is a piece of politeness not to interrupt a person in a story, whether
you have heard it before or not. Nay, if a wellbred man is asked whether he has heard it, he will answer, no, and let the person go on, though he knows it already. Some are fond of telling a story, because they think they tell it well; others pride themselves in being the first teller of it, and others are pleased at being thought entrusted with it. Now, all these persons you would disappoint by answering yes: and, as I have told you before, as the greatest proof of politeness is to make every body happy about you, I would never deprive a person of any secret satisfaction of this sort, when I could gratify him by a minute's attention.
64. Be not ashamed of asking questions, if such questions lead to information ; always accompany them with some excuse, and
you will never be reckoned impertinent. But, abrupt questions, without some apology, by all means avoid as they imply design: There is a way of fishing for facts, which if done judiciously, will answer every purpose such as taking things you wish to know for granted ; this will perhaps, lead some officious person to set you right. So again, by saying, you have heard so and so, and sometimes seeeming to know more than you do, you will often get at information, which you would lose by direct questions, as these would put people upon their guard, and frequently defeat the very end you aim at.
65. Make it a rule never to reflect on any body of people, for by this means you will create a number of enemies. good and bad of all professions, lawyers, soldiers, parsons or citizens. They are all men, subject to the same passions, differing only in their manner, according to the way they have been bred
in. For this reason, it is unjust as well as indiscreet to attack them as a corps collectively. Many a young man has thought himself extremely clever in abusing the clergy. What are the clergy more than other men? Can you suppose a black gown can make any alteration in his nature? Fie, fie; think seriously and I am convinced you will never do it.
66. But above all, let no example, no fashion, no witticism, no foolish desire of arising above what knaves call prejudices, tempt you to excuse, extenuate or ridicule the least breach of morality, but upon every occasion, shew the greatest abhorrence of such proceedings, and hold virtue and religion in the highest veneration.
It is a great piece of ill-manners to interrupt any one while speaking, by speaking yourself, or calling off the attention of the company to any foreign matter. But this every child knows.
67. The last thing I shall mention is that of concealing your learning, except on particular occasions. Reserve this for learned men, and let them rather extort it from
be too willing to display it. Hence you will be thought modest, and to have more knowledge than you really have. Never seem wise or more learned than the company you are in. He who effects to shew his learning will be frequently questioned; and if found superficial, will be sneered at; if otherwise, he will be deemed a pedant. Real merit will always shew itself, and nothing can lessen it in the opinion of the world but a man's exhibiting it himself.
the World. URINO was a young man brought up to a reputable
trade ; the term of his apprenticeship was almost expired, and he was contriving how he might venture into the world with safety and pursue business with innocence and success.
2. Among his near kindred Serenus was one, a gentleman of considerable character in the sacred profession; and after he had consulted with his father, who was a merchant of great esteem and experience, ne also thought fit to seek a word of advice from the divine.
3. Serenus had such a respect for his young kinsman, that he sat his thoughts at work on this subject, and with some tender expressions, which melted the youth into tears, he put into his hand a paper of his best counsels. Curino entered upon business, pursued his employment with uncommon advantage, and under the blessing of Heaven, advanced himself to a considerable estate.
4. He lived with honour in the world, and gave a lustre to the religion which he professed ; and after a long life of piety and usefulness, he died with sacred coinposure of soul, under the influence of the christian hope.
5. Some of his neighbours wondered at his felicity in this world, joined with so much innocence and such severe virtue ; but after his death this paper was found in his closet, which was drawn up by his kinsman in holy orders, and was supposed to liave a large share in procuring his happiness.
Advice to a Young Man.
I there are a
some of them perhaps you foresee, but there are multitudes which you could never think of. Never trust therefore to your own understanding in the things of this world, where you can have the advice of a wise and faithful friend ; nor dare venture the more important concern of our soul, and your eternal interests in the world to come, upon the mere light of nature, and the dictates of your own reason; since the word of God, and the advice of Heaven, lies in your hands. Vain and thoughtless indeed are those children of pride, who choose to turn heathens in America ; who live upon the mere religion of nature and their own stock, when they have been trained up among all these superior advantages of christianity, and the blessings of divine rerelation and grace!
2. Whatsoever your circumstances may be in this world, still value your bible as your best treasure; and whatsoever be your employment here, still look upon religion as your best business. Your bible contains eternal life in it, and all the riches, of the upper world ; and religion is the only way to become the possessor of them.
3. To direct your carriage towards God, converse particularly with the book of Psalms; David was a man of sincere and