Martine's Hand-book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness - novelonlinefull.com
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Be well read also, for the sake of the general company and the ladies, in the literature of the day. You will thereby enlarge the regions of pleasurable talk. Besides, it is often necessary. Haslitt, who had entertained an unfounded prejudice against d.i.c.kens's works when they were first written, confesses that he was at last obliged to read them, because he could not enter a mixed company without hearing them admired and quoted.
Always conform your conduct, as near as possible, to the company with whom you are a.s.sociated. If you should be thrown among people who are vulgar, it is better to humor them than to set yourself up, then and there, for a model of politeness. It is related of a certain king that on a particular occasion he turned his tea into his saucer, contrary to the etiquette of society, because two country ladies, whose hospitalities he was enjoying, did so. That king was a gentleman; and this anecdote serves to ill.u.s.trate an important principle: namely, that true politeness and genuine good manners often not only permit, but absolutely demand, a violation of some of the arbitrary rules of etiquette. Bear this fact in mind.
Although these remarks will not be sufficient in themselves to _make_ you a _gentleman_, yet they will enable you to avoid any glaring impropriety, and do much to render you easy and confident in society.
Gentility is neither in birth, manner, nor fashion--but in _the_ MIND. A high sense of honor--a determination never to take a mean advantage of another--an adherence to truth, delicacy, and politeness toward those with whom you may have dealings--are the essential and distinguishing characteristics of A GENTLEMAN.