“Lamb says somewhere that if, of three friends (A, B, and C), A should die, then B loses not only A but ‘A’s part in C,’ while C loses not only A but ‘A’s part in B.’ In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out.” — C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 1960
Letter to the New York Times, March 26, 1911:
Dear Mr. Editer
i Went down town with my daddy yesterday to see that terrible fire where all the littel girls jumped out of high windows My littel cousin Beatrice and i are sending you five dollars a piece from our savings bank to help them out of trubble please give it to the right one to use it for sombody whose littel girl jumped out of a window i wouldent like to jump out of a high window myself.
Letter to the Times, Feb. 10, 1970:
My husband, T.S. Eliot, loved to recount how late one evening he stopped a taxi. As he got in, the driver said: ‘You’re T.S. Eliot.’ When asked how he knew, he replied: ‘Ah, I’ve got an eye for a celebrity. Only the other evening I picked up Bertrand Russell, and I said to him: ‘Well, Lord Russell, what’s it all about,’ and, do you know, he couldn’t tell me.’
Gaze at the good-natured crowd,
List to the noise and the rattle!
Heavens! that woman is loud –
Loud as the din of a battle.
List to the noise and the rattle!
Hark to the honk of the horn
Loud as the din of a battle!
There! My new overcoat’s torn!
Hark to the honk of the horn!
Cut out that throwing confetti!
There! My new overcoat’s torn –
Looks like a shred of spaghetti.
Cut out that throwing confetti!
Look at the gentleman, stewed;
Looks like a shred of spaghetti –
Don’t get so terribly rude!
Look at the gentleman, stewed!
Look at the glare of the rocket!
Don’t get so terribly rude,
Keep your hand out of my pocket!
Look at the glare of the rocket!
Take that thing out of my face!
Keep your hand out of my pocket!
This is a shame and disgrace.
Take that thing out of my face!
Curse you! Be decent to ladies!
This is a shame and disgrace,
Worse than traditions of Hades.
Curse you! Be decent to ladies!
(Heavens! that woman is loud.)
Worse than traditions of Hades.
Gaze at the “good-natured” crowd!
– Franklin Pierce Adams, Tobogganning on Parnassus, 1913
“Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.” — Jeremy Bentham
Letter to the Times, March 23, 1973:
I would be most grateful if I could pass on the following to you and your readers before the bloom goes from it.
I have just stepped out of a cab in which I travelled through London with a starry-eyed taxi driver. I had hardly got into the cab when he looked at me and said: ‘D’you mind guvnor if I tell you something? I have just been at the airport at Heathrow and there, suddenly, this Frenchman comes up to me carrying a magnificent bunch of flowers in his hand. Gosh, you should have seen it guvnor, and he hands it to me and says, “Taxi, if I pay you double fare, will you take these flowers and give them to your Queen?” And I looks at him as if he was mad and he says to me: “Now look taxi, I am serious; are you on or are you not?” And what do you think I did?’
‘What did you do?’ I asked him.
‘Cor, I couldn’t let ‘im and ‘er down, so I just come from the bleeding Palace.’
Laurens van der Post
This litigious humour is bad enough: but there is one character still worse — that of a person who goes into company, not to contradict, but to talk at you. This is the greatest nuisance in civilised society. Such a person does not come armed to defend himself at all points, but to unsettle, if he can, and throw a slur on all your favourite opinions. If he has a notion that anyone in the room is fond of poetry, he immediately volunteers a contemptuous tirade against the idle jingle of verse. If he suspects you have a delight in pictures, he endeavours, not by fair argument, but by a side-wind, to put you out of conceit with so frivolous an art. If you have a taste for music, he does not think much good is to be done by this tickling of the ears. If you speak in praise of a comedy, he does not see the use of wit: if you say you have been to a tragedy, he shakes his head at this mockery of human misery, and thinks it ought to be prohibited. He tries to find out beforehand whatever it is that you take a particular pride or pleasure in, that he may annoy your self-love in the tenderest point (as if he were probing a wound) and make you dissatisfied with yourself and your pursuits for several days afterwards. A person might as well make a practice of throwing out scandalous aspersions against your dearest friends or nearest relations, by way of ingratiating himself into your favour. Such ill-timed impertinence is ‘villainous, and shows a pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.’
– William Hazlitt, “On the Conversation of Authors,” 1820
Here’s a familiar idea — in 1820 an enterprising Englishman advertised “an establishment where persons of all classes who are anxious to sweeten life by repairing to the altar of Hymen, have an opportunity of meeting with proper partners.” If you were seeking a mate you’d sign up by a paying a fee according to your desirability; the handbill gives these rather blunt examples:
1st Class. I am twenty years of age, heiress to an estate in the county of Essex of the value of 30,000l., well educated, and of domestic habits; of an agreeable, lively disposition, and genteel figure. Religion that of my future husband.
2nd Class. I am thirty years of age, a widow, in the grocery line in London — have children; of middle stature, full made, fair complexion and hair, temper agreeable, worth 3,000l.
3rd Class. I am tall and thin, a little lame in the hip, of a lively disposition, conversible, twenty years of age, live with my father, who, if I marry with his consent, will give me 1,000l.
4th Class. I am twenty years of age; mild disposition and manners; allowed to be personable.
5th Class. I am sixty years of age; income limited; active, and rather agreeable.
1st Class. A young gentleman with dark eyes and hair; stout made; well educated; have an estate of 500l. per annum in the county of Kent; besides 10,000l. in three per cent. consolidated annuities; am of an affable disposition, and very affectionate.
2nd Class. I am forty years of age, tall and slender, fair complexion and hair, well tempered and of sober habits, have a situation in the Excise, of 300l. per annum, and a small estate in Wales of the annual value of 150l.
3rd Class. A tradesman in the city of Bristol, in a ready-money business, turning 150l. per week at a profit of 10 per cent., pretty well tempered, lively, and fond of home.
4th Class. I am fifty-eight years of age; a widower, without encumbrance; retired from business upon a small income ; healthy constitution; and of domestic habits.
5th Class. I am twenty-five years of age; a mechanic of sober habits; industrious, and of respectable connections.
“The subscribers are to be furnished with a list of descriptions, and when one occurs likely to suit, the parties may correspond; and if mutually approved, the interview may be afterwards arranged.”
I can’t tell how well it succeeded. “It is presumed that the public will not find any difficulty in describing themselves; if they should, they will have the assistance of the managers, who will be in attendance at the office, No. 5, Great St. Helens, Bishopsgate Street, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, between the hours of eleven and three o’clock. — Please to inquire for Mr. Jameson, up one pair of stairs. All letters to be post paid.”
(From Henry Sampson, A History of Advertising from the Earliest Times, 1875.)
On New Year’s Eve 1819, 33-year-old London tea dealer Elton Hamond committed suicide. A man found guilty of deliberate self-murder would forfeit his estate, so Hamond composed this plea:
To the Coroner and the Gentlemen who will sit on my Body.
Norwood, 31st December, 1819.
To the charge of self-murder I plead not guilty. For there is no guilt in what I have done. Self-murder is a contradiction in terms. If the King who retires from his throne is guilty of high treason; if the man who takes money out of his own coffers and spends it is a thief; if he who burns his own hayrick is guilty of arson; or he who scourges himself of assault and battery, then he who throws up his own life may be guilty of murder, — if not, not.
If anything is a man’s own, it is surely his life. Far, however, be it from me to say that a man may do as he pleases with his own. Of all that he has he is a steward. Kingdoms, money, harvests, are held in trust, and so, but I think less strictly, is life itself. Life is rather the stewardship than the talent. The King who resigns his crown to one less fit to rule is guilty, though not of high treason; the spendthrift is guilty, though not of theft; the wanton burner of his hayrick is guilty, though not of arson; the suicide who could have performed the duties of his station is perhaps guilty, though not of murder, not of felony. They are all guilty of neglect of duty, and all, except the suicide, of breach of trust. But I cannot perform the duties of my station. He who wastes his life in idleness is guilty of a breach of trust; he who puts an end to it resigns his trust, — a trust that was forced upon him, — a trust which I never accepted, and probably never would have accepted. Is this felony? I smile at the ridiculous supposition. How we came by the foolish law which considers suicide as felony I don’t know; I find no warrant for it in Philosophy or Scripture. It is worthy of the times when heresy and apostacy were capital offences; when offences were tried by battle, ordeal, or expurgation; when the fine for slaying a man was so many shillings, and that for slaying an ass a few more or less.
Every old institution will find its vindicators while it remains in practice. I am an enemy to all hasty reform, but so foolish a law as this should be put an end to. Does it become a jury to disregard it? For juries to disregard their oaths for the sake of justice is, as you probably know, a frequent practice. The law places them sometimes in the cruel predicament of having to choose between perjury and injustice: whether they do right to prefer perjury, as the less evil, I am not sure. I would rather be thrown naked into a hole in the road than that you should act against your consciences. But if you wish to acquit me, I cannot see that your calling my death accidental, or the effect of insanity, would be less criminal than a jury’s finding £10 Bank-of-England note worth thirty-nine shillings, or premeditated slaying in a duel simple manslaughter, both of which have been done. But should you think this too bold a course, is it less bold to find me guilty of being felo de se when I am not guilty at all, as there is no guilt in what I have done? I disdain to take advantage of my situation as culprit to mislead your understandings, but if you, in your consciences, think premeditated suicide no felony, will you, upon your oaths, convict me of felony? Let me suggest the following verdict, as combining liberal truth with justice: — ‘Died by his own hand, but not feloniously.’ If I have offended God, it is for God, not you, to enquire. Especial public duties I have none. If I have deserted any engagement in society, let the parties aggrieved consign my name to obloquy. I have for nearly seven years been disentangling myself from all my engagements, that I might at last be free to retire from life. I am free to-day, and avail myself of my liberty. I cannot be a good man, and prefer death to being a bad one, — as bad as I have been and as others are.
I take my leave of you and of my country condemning you all, yet with true honest love. What man, alive to virtue, can bear the ways of the best of you? Not I, you are wrong altogether. If a new and better light appears, seek it; in the meantime, look out for it. God bless you all!
Hamond left the letter with his friend Henry Crabb Robinson: “Mind you don’t get yourself into a scrape by making an over-zealous speech if you attend as my counsel. You may say throughout, ‘The culprit’s defence is this.’” Robinson, fearing a scandal, passed it unread to Hamond’s relations, and the jury found Hamond insane.
n. an unmarried person
Schedule of a bachelor’s life, from the Yorkshire Observer, Nov. 30, 1822:
At 16 years, incipient palpitations are manifested towards the young ladies.
17. Blushing and confusion occurs in conversing with them.
18. Confidence in conversing with them is much increased.
19. Is angry if treated by them as a boy.
20. Betrays great consciousness of his own charms and manliness.
21. A looking-glass becomes indispensible in his room.
22. Insufferable puppyism exhibited.
23. Thinks no woman good enough for him.
24. Is caught unawares by the snares of Cupid.
25. The connection broken off from self-conceit on his part.
26. Conducts himself with airs of superiority towards her.
27. Pays his addresses to another lady, not without hope of mortifying the first.
28. Is mortified and frantic at being refused.
29. Rails against the fair sex in general.
30. Seems morose and out of humour in all conversations on matrimony.
31. Contemplates matrimony more under the influence of interest than formerly.
32. Begins to consider personal beauty in a wife not so indispensible as formerly.
33. Still retains a high opinion of his attractions as a husband.
34. Consequently has no idea but he may still marry a chicken.
35. Fails deeply and violently in love with one of seventeen.
36. Au dernier desespoir! another refusal.
37. Indulges now in every kind of dissipation.
38. Shuns the best part of the female sex.
39. Suffers much remorse and mortification in so doing.
40. A fresh budding of matrimonial ideas, but no spring shoots.
41. A nice young widow perplexes him.
42. Ventures to address her with mixed sensations of love and interest.
43. Interest prevails, which causes much cautious reflection.
44. The widow jilts him, being as cautious as himself.
45. Becomes every day more averse to the fair sex.
46. Gouty and nervous symptoms begin to appear.
47. Fears what may become of him when old and infirm.
48. Thinks living alone irksome.
49. Resolves to have a prudent young woman as housekeeper and companion.
50. A nervous affection about him, and frequent attacks of the gout.
51. Much pleased with his new house-keeper as nurse.
52. Begins to feel some attachment to her.
53. His pride revolts at the idea of marrying her.
54. Is in great distress now to act.
55. Is completely under her influence, and very miserable.
56. Many painful thoughts about parting with her.
57. She refuses to live any longer with him solo.
58. Gouty, nervous, and bilious to excess.
59. Feels very ill, sends for her to his bed-side, and intends espousing her.
60. Grows rapidly worse, has his will made in her favour, and makes his exit.
A fellow at Windsor, who lately ate a cat, has given another proof of the brutality of his disposition — an instance too ferocious and sanguinary, almost, to admit of public representation.
He was at a public-house at Old Windsor, one day in the course of last week, and, without apparent cause, walked out of the house, and with a bill-hook severed his hand from his arm. His brutal courage was strongly marked in this transformation; for the inhuman monster made three strokes with the instrument before he could effect his purpose, and at last actually made a complete amputation. He asigns no other reason for this terrible self-attack than his total disinclination to work, and that this step will compel the overseers of his parish to provide for him during the remainder of his life.
– General Evening Post, Jan. 30, 1790
Proper technique for examining an undergraduate, from a letter from Lewis Carroll to Henrietta and Edwin Dodgson, Jan. 31, 1855:
It is the most important point, you know, that the tutor should be dignified and at a distance from the pupil, and that the pupil should be as much as possible degraded.
Otherwise, you know, they are not humble enough.
So I sit at the further end of the room; outside the door (which is shut) sits the scout; outside the outer door (also shut) sits the sub-scout: half-way downstairs sits the sub-sub-scout; and down in the yard sits the pupil.
The questions are shouted from one to the other, and the answers come back in the same way — it is rather confusing till you are well used to it. The lecture goes on something like this:–
Tutor. What is twice three?
Scout. What’s a rice tree?
Sub-Scout. When is ice free?
Sub-sub-Scout. What’s a nice fee?
Pupil (timidly). Half a guinea!
Sub-sub-Scout. Can’t forge any!
Sub-Scout. Ho for Jinny!
Scout. Don’t be a ninny!
Tutor (looks offended, but tries another question). Divide a hundred by twelve!
Scout. Provide wonderful bells!
Sub-Scout. Go ride under it yourself!
Sub-sub-Scout. Deride the dunder-headed elf!
Pupil (surprised). Who do you mean?
Sub-sub-Scout. Doings between!
Sub-Scout. Blue is the screen!
“And so the lecture proceeds. Such is Life.”
Sailing westward from the Island of Fata Morgana, I came upon Pierrot in his little white boat. We were old acquaintances, and I asked him if the gods were still using him kindly, and how things were looking on the Moon, his home.
‘I have been away from home for some time,’ he replied, but am just about to return. ‘Will you come with me?’
So I clambered into his little boat, and told my own ship to return to the Island of Fata Morgana. We sailed on and on, Pierrot enlivening the dim hours with his strange Moon-songs, until at last he brought the boat to anchor in a little bay, and I landed, for the first time, at the pale country of the Moon.
‘You know,’ I said to Pierrot, as we wandered among the fantastic green shadows, ‘I have always longed to visit the Moon. The World is so dull, now, and the Moon always seemed to us such a mad and merry place.’
Pierrot stared — ‘That is very strange! Up here we have always believed the reverse of that. And with good reason. Look for yourself!’ and he led me to the edge of the Moon; we peered over, and there, far below, was the great shining World, looking as big as ten Moons, and a hundred times madder and merrier.
‘Pierrot,’ I cried, ‘I have mis-judged the World! Good-bye, my friend!’ and I leaped into space.
I landed on the roof of the Headquarters of the Society for the Extension of Commercial Careers for Women.
– J.B. Priestley, Brief Diversions, 1922
“One likes people much better when they’re battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph.” — Virginia Woolf (diary, Aug. 13, 1921)
Samuel Foote on “the advantages of not paying our debts”:
It is the art of living without money. It saves the trouble and expense of keeping accounts; and makes other people work, in order to give ourselves repose. It prevents the cares and embarrassments of riches. It checks avarice, and encourages generosity; as people are commonly more liberal of others’ goods than of their own: while it possesses that genuine spark of primitive Christianity, which would live in a constant communion of all property. In short, it draws the inquiries and attention of the world on us while we live, and makes us sincerely regretted when we die.
“If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.” — Arthur C. Clarke
“When, however, the lay public rallies around an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion — the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.” — Isaac Asimov
With the “smoker’s hat,” patented by Walter Netschert in 1989, you can finally interact with nonsmokers without giving offense. A visor will intercept your smoke and direct it to a filter, and you can add a clip to hold the cigarette and a cup to catch ashes so that there are no waste products. The exhaust can even be scented.
This seems like a lot of trouble, but for some it’s worth it. “When I don’t smoke I scarcely feel as if I’m living,” wrote Russell Hoban in Turtle Diary. “I don’t feel as if I’m living unless I’m killing myself.”
In 1902, disgusted with the “characteristic American custom of promiscuous, unsought and unauthorized introductions,” Ambrose Bierce proposed a new social convention — disintroductions:
Mr. White–Mr. Black, knowing the low esteem in which you hold each other, I have the honor to disintroduce you from Mr. Green.
Mr. Black (bowing)–Sir, I have long desired the advantage of your unacquaintance.
Mr. Green (bowing)–Charmed to unmeet you, sir. Our acquaintance (the work of a most inconsiderate and unworthy person) has distressed me beyond expression. We are greatly indebted to our good friend here for his tact in repairing the mischance.
Mr. White–Thank you. I’m sure you will become very good strangers.
“This is only the ghost of a suggestion,” Bierce wrote. “Of course the plan is capable of an infinite elaboration. Its capital defect is that the persons who are now so liberal with their unwelcome introductions, will be equally lavish with their disintroductions, and will estrange the best of friends with as little ceremony as they now observe in their more fiendish work.”
The New York Yankees saw an unusual trade in 1972: Pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson traded families. Kekich traded his wife, Susan, two children, and a Bedlington terrier for Marilyn Peterson, the two Peterson children, and a poodle. “We didn’t trade wives, we traded lives,” Kekich said.
“They were really close, and their families were close,” remembered Yankees catcher Jake Gibbs, who had played with both men. “I guess we just didn’t know how close. Of course, they were both left-handers. You can never tell about lefties.”
The storm of attention that accompanied the trade began to erode the players’ friendship — Yankees executive Dan Topping quipped, “We may have to call off Family Day this season” — and Kekich was traded to the Indians later that year.
Marilyn Peterson and Mike Kekich eventually ended their relationship, but Fritz Peterson married Susanne Kekich in 1974 and raised four children with her.
The two friends were never close again. “All four of us had agreed in the beginning that if anyone wasn’t happy, the thing would be called off,” Kekich said. “But when Marilyn and I decided to call it off, the other couple already had gone off with each other.”
From Henry Fowler’s immortal 1906 Modern English Usage, a table of commonly confused terms:
“So much has been written upon the nature of some of these words, and upon the distinctions between pairs or trios among them, that it would be both presumptuous and unnecessary to attempt a further disquisition,” Fowler wrote. “But a sort of tabular statement may be of service against some popular misconceptions.”
Multiplication is mie vexation,
And Division is quite as bad,
The Golden Rule is mie stumbling stule,
And Practice drives me mad.
So wrote an anonymous English student in 1570. Matters had not progressed far in 1809, when 6-year-old Marjorie Fleming wrote in her diary: “I am now going to tell you about the horible and wretched plaege my multiplication gives me you cant concieve it — the most Devilish thing is 8 times 8 & 7 times 7 it is what nature itselfe cant endure.”
Alas, the feeling is sometimes shared. After serving four years as a teacher, D.H. Lawrence wrote:
When will the bell ring, and end this weariness?
How long have they tugged the leash, and strained apart
My pack of unruly hounds: I cannot start
Them again on a quarry of knowledge they hate to hunt,
I can haul them and urge them no more.
No more can I endure to bear the brunt
Of the books that lie out on the desks: a full three score
Of several insults of blotted pages and scrawl
Of slovenly work that they have offered me.
I am sick, and tired more than any thrall
Upon the woodstacks working weariedly.
And shall I take
The last dear fuel and heap it on my soul
Till I rouse my will like a fire to consume
Their dross of indifference, and burn the scroll
Of their insults in punishment? — I will not!
I will not waste myself to embers for them,
Not all for them shall the fires of my life be hot,
For myself a heap of ashes of weariness, till sleep
Shall have raked the embers clear: I will keep
Some of my strength for myself, for if I should sell
It all for them, I should hate them –
– I will sit and wait for the bell.
When I was about seven years old I witnessed, for the first time, the sale of a human being. We were living at Prince Edward, in Virginia, and master had just purchased his hogs for the winter, for which he was unable to pay in full. To escape from his embarrassment it was necessary to sell one of the slaves. Little Joe, the son of the cook, was selected as the victim. His mother was ordered to dress him up in his Sunday clothes, and send him to the house. He came in with a bright face, was placed in the scales, and was sold, like the hogs, at so much per pound. His mother was kept in ignorance of the transaction, but her suspicions were aroused. When her son started for Petersburgh in the wagon, the truth began to dawn upon her mind, and she pleaded piteously that her boy should not be taken from her; but master quieted her by telling her that he was simply going to town with the wagon, and would be back in the morning. Morning came, but little Joe did not return to his mother. Morning after morning passed, and the mother went down to the grave without ever seeing her child again. One day she was whipped for grieving for her lost boy. Colonel Burwell never liked to see one of his slaves wear a sorrowful face, and those who offended in this particular way were always punished. Alas! the sunny face of the slave is not always an indication of sunshine in the heart.
– Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes; or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, 1868
In May 1788, an expectant mother arrived in Danvers, Mass., and took a room at the Bell Tavern. Friendless and a stranger to the area, she said that her husband would join her shortly, but she would not give her family name. Evidently from a genteel family, she kept to her room, reading, writing, and sitting anxiously at her window. A woman who saw her during evening walks described her as handsome, with a sad face.
June passed into July, no husband appeared, and she became the subject of local gossip. At length she gave birth to a stillborn child, and she herself died two weeks later, of puerperal fever. Among her effects was found a letter:
Must I die alone? Shall I never see you more? I know that you will come, but you will come too late. This is, I fear, my last ability. Tears fall so, I know not how to write. Why did you leave me in so much distress? But I will not reproach you. All that was dear I left for you; but I do not regret it. May God forgive in both what was amiss. When I go from hence, I will leave you some way to find me; if I die, will you come and drop a tear over my grave?
With it was a poem:
With fond impatience all the tedious day
I sigh’d, and wish’d the lingering hours away;
For when bright Hesper led the starry train,
My shepherd swore to meet me on the plain;
With eager haste to that dear spot I flew,
And linger’d long, and then with tears withdrew:
Alone, abandon’d to love’s tenderest woes,
Down my pale cheeks the tide of sorrow flows;
Dead to all joys that fortune can bestow,
In vain for me her useless bounties flow;
Take back each envied gift, ye pow’rs divine,
And only let me call FIDELIO mine.
A newspaper appeal eventually confirmed that she was Elizabeth Whitman, a minister’s daughter from Hartford, but the identity of her lover has never been discovered. Her epitaph reads:
“This humble stone, in memory of Elizabeth Whitman, is inscribed by her weeping friends, to whom she endeared herself by uncommon tenderness and affection. Endowed with superior genius and acquirements, she was still more endeared by humility and benevolence. Let candor throw a veil over her frailties, for great was her charity to others. She sustained the last painful scene far from every friend, and exhibited an example of calm resignation. Her departure was on the 25th of July, A.D. 1788,in the 37th year of her age, and the tears of strangers watered her grave.”
Stonewall Jackson’s precepts for good conversation, from a book of maxims he collected in the 1850s:
- Ascertain in your conversation as well as you can wherein the skill & excellence of the individual lies & put him upon his favorite subject. Every person will of his own accord fall to talking on his favorite subject or topic if you will follow and not attempt to lead him.
- If you seek to improve in the greatest degree from the conversation of another, allow him to take his own course. If called upon, converse in turn upon your favorite topic.
- Never interrupt another but hear him out. There are certain individuals from whom little information is to be desired such as use wanton, obscene or profane language.
- If you speak in company, speak late.
- Let your words be as few as will express the sense you wish to convey & above all let what you say be true.
- Do not suffer your feelings to betray you into too much vehemence or earnestness or to being overbearing.
- Avoid triumphing over an antagonist.
- Never engross the whole conversation to yourself.
- Sit or stand still while another is speaking to you. [Do]not dig in the earth with your foot nor take your knife from your pocket & pare your nales nor other such action.
- Never anticipate for another to help him out. It is time enough for you to make corrections after he has concluded, if any are necessary. It is impolite to interrupt another in his remarks.
- Say as little of yourself & friends as possible.
- Make it a rule never to accuse without due consideration any body or association of men.
- Never try to appear more wise or learned than the rest of the company. Not that you should affect ignorance, but endeavor to remain within your own proper sphere.
- Let ease & gracefulness be the standard by which you form your estimation (taken from etiquett).
“Good breeding, or true politeness, is the art of showing men by external signs the internal regard we have for them,” he wrote. “It arises from good sense, improved by good company. It must be acquired by practice and not by books.”