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upon reason, are beneath a wise man's regard. Besides, they vary in every country; and after a short period of time, very frequently in the same; so that a man who travels, must needs be at first a stranger to them in every court through which he passes; and, perhaps, at his return, as much a stranger in his own; and after all, they are easier to be remembered or forgotten than faces or names.
Indeed, among the many impertinencies that superficial young men bring with them from abroad, this bigotry of forms is one of the principal, and more predominant than the rest; who look upon them not only as if they were matters capable of admitting of choice, but even as points of importance; and are therefore zealous on all occasions to introduce and propagate the new forms and fashions they have brought back with them : so that, usually speaking, the worst bred person in company, is a young traveller just returned from abroad.
HINTS ON GOOD MANNERS.
Good Manners is the art of making every reasonable person in the company easy, and to be easy ourselves.
What passes for good manners in the world, generally produces quite contrary effects.
Many persons of both sexes, whom I have known, and who passed for well-bred in their own and the world's opinion, are the most troublesome in company to others and themselves.
Nothing is so great an instance of ill manners as flattery. If you flatter all the company, you please none: if you flatter only one or two, you affront the rest.
Flattery is the worst and falsest way of showing our esteem.
Where the company meets, I am confident the few reasonable persons are every minute tempted to curse the man or woman among them, who endeavours to be most distinguished for their good
A man of sense would rather fast till night, than dine at some tables, where the lady of the house is possessed with good manners; uneasiness, pressing to eat, teazing with civility ; less practised in England than here.
Courts are the worst of all schools to teach good
A courtly bow, or gait, or dress, are no part of good manners; and therefore every man of good understanding is capable of being well-bred upon any occasion.
To speak in such a manner as may possibly offend any reasonable
company, is the highest instance of ill manners. Good manners chiefly consist in action, not in words. Modesty and humility the chief ingredients.
I have known the court of England under four reigns, the two last but for a short time; and whatever good manners or politeness I observed in any of them, was not of the court growth, but imported; for a courtier by trade, as gentlemen ushers, bed-chamber-women, maids of honour, **
Of Good Manners as to Conversation. Men of wit and good understanding, as well as breeding, are sometimes deceived, and give offence, by conceiving a better opinion of those with whom they converse than they ought to do. Thus I have often known the most innocent raillery, and even of that kind which was meant for praise, to be mistaken for abuse and reflection.
Of gibing, and how gibers ought to suffer.
Of arguers, perpetual contradictors, long talkers, those who are absent in company, interrupters, not listeners, loud laughers.
Of those men and women whose face is ever in a smile, talk ever with a smile, condole with a smile, &c.
Argument, as usually managed, is the worst sort of conversation; as it is generally in books the worst sort of reading.
Good conversation is not to be expected in much
company, because few listen, and there is continual interruption, But good or ill manners are discovered, let the company be ever so large.
Perpetual aiming at wit, a very bad part of conversation. It is done to support a character: it generally fails : it is a sort of insult on the company, and a constraint upon the speaker.
For a man to talk in his own trade, or business, or faculty, is a great breach of good manners. Divines, physicians, lawyers, soldiers, particularly poets, are frequently guilty of this weakness. Å poet conceives that the whole kingdom
OF MEAN AND GREAT FIGURES,
MADE BY SEVERAL PERSONS,
Of those who have made great figures in some par
ticular action or circumstance of their lives.
ALEXANDER the Great, after his victory (at the Straits at Mount Taurus,) when he entered the tent, where the queen and the princesses of Persia fell at his feet.
Socrates, the whole last day of his life, and particularly from the time he took the poison until the moment he expired.
Cicero, when he was recalled from his banishment, the people through every place he passed meeting him with shouts of joy and congratulation, and all Rome coming out to receive him.
Regulus, when he went out of Rome attended by his friends to the gates, and returned to Carthage according to his word of honour, although he knew he must be put to a cruel death for advising the Romans to pursue their war with that commonwealth.
Scipio the elder, when he dismissed a beautiful captive lady presented to him after a great victory, turning his head aside to preserve his own virtue.