with her performances, but make room for others.
RECEIVING AND MAKING PRESENTS.
Emerson says: "Our tokens of love are for the most
part barbarous, cold and lifeless, because they do not
represent our life. The only gift is a portion of thy-
self. Therefore let the farmer give his corn; the
miner his gem; the sailor coral or shells; the painter his
picture, and the poet his poem." To persons of refined
nature, whatever the friend creates takes added value as
part of themselves part of their lives, as it were, hav-
ing gone into it. People of the highest rank, abroad,
will often accept, with gratitude, a bit of embroidery
done by a friend, a poem inscribed to them by an author;
a painting executed by some artist; who would not
care for the most expensive bauble that was offered
them. Mere costliness does not constitute the soul of a
present; it is the kind feeling that it manifests which
gives it its value. People who possess noble natures
do not make gifts where they feel neither affection nor
respect, but their gifts are bestowed out of the 'fullness
of kind hearts
GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT 271
A present should be acknowledged without delay, but
you must not follow it quickly by a return. It is to be
taken for granted that a gift is intended to afford pleas-
ure to the recipient, not to be regarded as a question
of investment or exchange. Never allude to a present
you have given, unless you have reason to believe that it
has not been received by the person to whom it was
Unmarried ladies should not accept presents from
gentlemen who are neither related nor engaged to them,
nor indebted to them for some marked favors. A mar-
ried lady may accept presents from a gentleman who is
indebted to her for hospitality.
In presenting a book to a friend, do not write in it
the name of the person to whom it is given. But this
is a rule better honored in its breach than in its observ-
ance, when the giver of the book is its author.
Presents made by a married lady to a gentleman,
should be in the name of both herself and her husband.
Never refuse a present if offered in kindness, unless
the circumstances are such that you cannot, with pro-
priety, receive it. Nor, in receiving a present, make
such comments as would seem to indicate that your
friend cannot afford to make the present. On the other
hand, never make a present which you cannot afford to
make. In that case the recipient, if he or she knows
anything of your circumstances, will think that you had
better kept it yourself.
272 GENERAL KULES OF CONDUCT.
GOVERNING OUR MOODS.
We should subdue our gloomy moods before we enter
society. To look pleasantly and to speak kindly is a
duty we owe to others. Neither should we afflict them
with any dismal account of our health, state of mind or
outward circumstances. Nevertheless, if another makes
us the confidant of his woes, we should strive to appear
sympathetic, and if possible help him to be stronger
under them. A lady who shows by act, or expresses in
plain, curt words, that the visit of another is unwelcome,
may perhaps pride herself upon being no hypocrite.
But she is, in reality, worse. She is grossly selfish.
Courtesy requires her, for the time being, to forget her
own feelings, and remember those of her visitor, and
thus it is her duty to make that visitor happy while she
A LADY DRIVING WITH A GENTLEMAN.
When a lady offers to drive a gentleman in her phae-
ton, he should walk to her house, if he accepts the invi-
tation, unless, the distance being great, she should pro-
pose to call for him. In that case he will be on the
watch, so as not to keep her waiting, and, if possible,
meet her on the way.
AN INVITATION CANNOT BE RECALLED.
An invitation, once given, cannot be recalled, even
from the best motives, without subjecting the one who
recalls it to the charge of being either ignorant or re-
gardless of all conventional rules of politeness. There
GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT. 273
is but one exception to this rule, and that is when the
invitation has been delivered to the wrong person.
AVOID TALKING OF PERSONALITIES.
Avoid speaking of your birth, your travels and of all
personal matters, to those who may misunderstand you,
and consider it boasting. When induced to speak of
them, do not dwell too long upon them, and do not
ABOUT PERSONS' NAMES.
Do not speak of absent persons, who are not relatives
or intimate friends, by their Christian names or sur-
names, but always as Mr. , or Mrs. , or Miss
. Never name anyone by the first letter of his
name, as "Mr. C." Give a foreigner his name in full
when speaking of him.
SHUN GOSSIP AND TALE-BEARING.
Gossip and tale-bearing are always a personal confes-
sion either of malice or imbecility. The young of both
sexes should not only shun these things, but, by the
most thorough culture, relieve themselves from all temp-
tation in that direction.
REMOVING THE HAT.
A gentleman never sits in the house with his hat OB
in the presence of ladies. Indeed, a gentleman instinc-
tively removes his hat as soon as he enters a room, the
habitual resort of ladies. A gentleman never retain*
274: GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT.
his hat in a theatre or other place of public entertain-
TREATMENT OF INFERIORS.
Never affect superiority. In the company of an in-
ferior never let him feel his inferiority. If you invite
an inferior as your guest, treat him with all the polite-
ness and consideration you would show an equal.
INTRUDING ON PRIVACY.
Never enter a private room anywhere without knock-
ing. Sacredly respect the private property of others,
and let no curiosity tempt you to pry into letters, desks,
packets, trunks, or other belongings of another. It is
ill-mannered to read a written paper lying upon a table
or desk; whatever it may be, it is certainly no business
of yours. No person should ever look over the shoulder
of another who is reading or writing. You must not
question a servant or child upon family affairs. Never
betray an implied confidence, even if you have not been
bound to secrecy.
Nothing is more rude than to make an engagement,
be it of business or pleasure, and break it. If your
memory is not sufficiently retentive to keep all the en-
gagements you make, carry a little memorandum book,
and enter them there.
VALUE OF POLITENESS.
Chesterfield says: "As learning, honor and virtue
are absolutely necessary to gain you the esteem and
GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT. 275
admiration of mankind, politeness and good-breeding
are equally necessary to make you welcome and agree-
able in conversation and common life. Great talents,
such as honor, virtue, learning and arts, are above the
generality of the world, who neither possess them them-
selves, nor judge of them rightly in others; but all peo-
ple are judges of the lesser talents, such as civility, affa-
bility, and an obliging, agreeable address and manner;
because they feel the good effects of them, as making
society easy and pleasing."
ADAPTING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.
Conform your conduct as far as possible to the com-
pany you chance to be with, only do not throw your-
self into improper company. It is better even to laugh
at and join in with vulgarity, so that it do not degen-
erate into indecency, than to set yourself up as better,
and better-mannered than those with whom you may
chance to be associated. True politeness and genuine
good manners often not only permit but absolutely
demand a temporary violation of the ordinary obliga-
tions of etiquette.
A WOMAN'S GOOD NAME.
Let no man speak a word against a woman at any
time, or mention a woman's name in any company where
it should not be spoken. " Civility," says Lord Chester-
field, "is particularly due to all women; and remember
that no provocation whatsoever can justify any man in
not being civil to every woman; and the greatest man
276 GENEBAL BULKS OP CONDUCT.
would justly be reckoned a brute if he were not civil to
the meanest woman. It is due to their sex, and is the
only protection they have against the superior strength
DO NOT CONTBADICT.
Never directly contradict anyone. Say, " I beg your
pardon, but I think you are mistaken or misinformed,"
or some such similar phrase which shall break the weight
of direct contradiction. Where the matter is unimport-
ant it is better to let it pass without correction.
EXPBESSING UNFAVOBABLE OPINIONS.
You should be exceedingly cautious about expressing
an unfavorable opinion relative to a young lady to a
young man who appears to be attracted by, and atten-
tive to her. If they should marry, the remembrance of
your observations will not be pleasurable to yourself nor
the married parties.
A CONVEBSATION CHECKED.
If a person checks himself in a conversation, you
should not insist on hearing what he intended to say.
There is some good reason for checking himself, and it
might cause him unpleasant feelings to urge him to carry
out his first intentions.
Some of the acts which may be classed as vulgarities
when committed in the presence of others are given:
To sit with your back to a person, without asking to
GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT. 277
To stand or sit with the feet wide apart.
To hum, whistle or sing in suppressed tones.
To stand with the arms akimbo; to lounge or yawn,
or to do anything which shows disrespect, selfishness or
To correct inaccuracies in the statements of others, or
their modes of speech.
To use profane language, or stronger expression than
the occasion justifies.
To chew tobacco and its unnecessary accompaniment,
spitting, are vulgar in the extreme.
A gentleman precedes a lady passing through a crowd;
ladies precede gentlemen under ordinary circumstances.
Give your children, unless married, their Christian
names only, or say "my daughter" or "my son," in
speaking of them to any one except servants.
Ladies in escorting each other, never offer to take the
Acknowledge an invitation to stop with a friend, or
any unusual attention without delay.
Never boast of birth, money or friends, or of any su-
perior advantages you may possess.
Never ridicule others, be the object of your ridicule
present or absent.
Always show respect for the religious opinions and
observances of others, no matter how much they may
differ from your own.
278 GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT.
You should never scratch your head, pick your teeth,
clean your nails or pick your nose in company.
Never lean your head against the wall, as you may
disgust your wife or hostess by soiling the paper of her
Never slam a door or stamp noisily on entering a
Always be punctual. You have no right to waste
the time of others by making them wait for you.
Always hand a chair for a lady, pick up her glove and
perform any little service she may seem to require.
Never attract attention to yourself by talking or
laughing loudly in public gatherings.
Keep yourself quiet and composed under all circum-
stances. Do not get fidgety. If you feel that time
drags heavily, do not let this be apparent to others by
any visible sign of uneasiness.
Refrain from absent-mindedness in the presence of
others. You pay them a poor compliment if you thus
Never refuse to accept an apology for an offense, and
never hesitate to make one, if one is due from you.
Never answer another rudely or impatiently. Reply
courteously, at whatever inconvenience to yourself.
Never intrude upon a business man or woman in
business hours unless you wish to see them on busi-
Never engage a person in private conversation in
presence of others, nor make any mysterious allusions
which no one else understands.
GENERAL KTTLES OF CONDUCT. 279
On entering a room, bow slightly as a general saluta-
tion, before speaking to each of the persons assembled.
Do not seem to notice by word or glance, the deform-
ity of another.
To administer reproof to anyone in the presence of
others is very impolite. To scold at any time is unwise.
Never undertake a commission for a friend and neg-
lect to perform it.
Never play a practical joke upon anyone, or answer a
serious remark by a flippant one.
Never lend a borrowed book, and never keep such a
book a single day after you are done with it.
Never pass between two persons who are talking to-
gether; and never pass before persons when it is possible
to pass behind them. When such an act is absolutely
necessary, always apologize for so doing.
" Never speak of a man's virtues before his face, or
his faults behind his back," is a maxim to be remembered.
Another maxim is, "In private watch your thoughts;
in your family watch your temper; in society watch
Never address a mere acquaintance by his or her
Christian name. It is a presumption at which the ac-
quaintance may take offense.
Haughtiness and contempt are among the habits to
be avoided. The best way is to deal courteously with
the rude as well as with the courteous.
In the presence of others, talk as little of yourself as
possible, or of the business or profession in which you
280 GENERAL KULE8 OF CONDUCT.
It shows a want of courtesy to consult your watch,
either at home or abroad. If at home, it appears as
though you were tired of your company, and wished
them to be gone. If abroad, it appears as though the
hours dragged heavily, and you were calculating how
soon you would be released.
Do not touch or handle any of the ornaments in the
house where you visit. They are intended to be ad-
mired, not handled by visitors.
Do not read in company. A gentleman or lady may,
however, look over a book of engravings or a collection
of photographs with propriety.
Every species of affectation should be avoided, as it is
always detected, and exceedingly disagreeable.
Mr. Sparks, in his biography of Washington, has
given to the public a collection of Washington's direc-
tions as to personal conduct, which he called his " Rules
of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company." We
give these rules entire, as the reader may be interested
in learning the principles which governed the conduct
of the " Father of his Country."
Every action in company ought to be with some sign
of respect to those present.
In the presence of others sing not to yourself with a
humming voice, nor drum with your fingers or feet.
Speak not when others speak, sit not when others
aland, and walk not when others stop.
Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking;
GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT. 281
jog not the table or desk on which another reads or
writes; lean not on anyone.
Be no flatterer, neither play with anyone that delights
not to be played with.
Read no letters, books or papers in company; but
when there is a necessity for doing it, you must not
leave. Come not near the books or writings of anyone
so as to read them unasked; also look not nigh when
another is writing a letter.
Let your countenance be pleasant, but in serious mat-
ters somewhat grave.
Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another,
though he were your enemy.
They that are in dignity or office have in all places
precedency, but whilst they are young, they ought to
respect those that are their equals in birth or other
qualities, though they have no public charge.
It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak
before ourselves, especially if they be above us.
Let your discourse with men of business be short and
In visiting the sick do not presently play the physician
if you be not knowing therein.
In writing or speaking, give to every person his due
title according to his degree and the custom of the
Strive not with your superiors in argument, but al-
ways submit your judgment to others with modesty.
Undertake not to teach your equal in the art he him-
self professes; it savors arrogancy.
When a man does all he can though it succeeds not
well, blame not him that did it.
Being to advise or reprehend anyone, consider whether
it ought to be in public or in private, presently or at
some other time, also in what terms to do it; and in
282 GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT.
reproving show no signs of choler, but do it with sweet-
ness and mildness.
Mock not nor jest at anything of importance; break
no jests that are sharp or biting, and if you deliver any-
thing witty or pleasant, abstain from laughing thereat
Wherein you reprove another be unblamable yourself,
for example is more prevalent than precept.
Use no reproachful language against any one, neither
curses or revilings.
Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the dispar-
agement of anyone.
In your apparel be modest, and endeavor to accom-
modate nature rather than procure admiration. Keep
to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and
orderly with respect to time and place.
Play not the peacock, looking everywhere about you
to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if
your stockings set neatly and clothes handsomely.
Associate yourself with men of good quality if you
esteem your reputation, for it is better to be alone than
in bad company.
Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for
it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature; and
in all cases of passion admit reason to govern.
Be not immodest in urging your friend to discover a
Utter not base and frivolous things amongst grown
and learned men, nor very difficult questions or subjects
amongst the ignorant, nor things hard to be believed.
Speak not of doleful things in time of mirth nor at
the table ; speak not of melancholy things, as death and
wounds; and if others mention them, change, if you
can, the discourse. Tell not your dreams but to your
GENERAL KULES OF CONDUCT. 283
Break not a jest when none take pleasure in mirth.
Laugh not aloud, nor at all without occasion. Deride
no man's misfortunes, though there seem to be some
Speak not injurious words, neither in jest nor earnest.
Scoff at none, although they give occasion.
Be not forward, but friendly and courteous, the first
to salute, hear and answer, and be not pensive when it
is time to converse.
Detract not from others, but neither be excessive in
Go not thither where you know not whether you shall
be welcome or not. Give not advice without being
asked; and when desired, do it briefly.
If two contend together, take not the part of either
unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your opinions;
in things indifferent be of the major side.
Reprehend not the imperfection of others, for that
belongs to parents, masters and superiors.
Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others, and ask
not how they came. What you may speak in secret to
your friend deliver not before others.
Speak not in an unknown tongue in company, but in
your own language; and that as those of quality do,
and not as the vulgar. Sublime matters treat seriously.
Think before you speak; pronounce not imperfectly,
nor bring out your words too heartily, but orderly and
When another speaks, be attentive yourself, and dis-
turb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words,
help him not, nor prompt him without being desired;
interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech be
Treat with men at fit times about business, and whis-
per not in the company of others.
284 GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT.
Make no comparisons; and if any of the company be
commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not
another for the same.
Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth
thereof. In discoursing of things that you have heard,
name not your author always. A secret discover not.
Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither
approach to those who speak in private.
Undertake not what you cannot perform; but be
careful to keep your promise.
When you deliver a matter, do it without passion and
indiscretion, however mean the person may be you do it
When your superiors talk to anybody, hear them;
neither speak nor laugh.
In disputes be not so desirous to overcome as not to
give liberty to each one to deliver his opinion, and sub-
mit to the judgment of the major part, especially if they
are judges of the dispute.
Be not tedious in discourse, make not many digress-
ions, nor repeat often the same matter of discourse.
Speak no evil of the absent, for it is unjust.
Be not angry at table, whatever happens; and if you
have reason to be so show it not; put on a cheerful
countenance, especially if there be strangers, for good
humor makes one dish a feast.
Set not yourself at the upper end of the table; but if
it be your due, or the master of the house will have it
so, contend not, lest you should trouble the company.
When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be
seriously, in reverence and honor, and obey your natural
Let your recreations be manful, not sinful.
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of
celestial fire called conscience.
HE custom of celebrating anniversary
weddings has, of late years, been
largely practiced, and they have
become a very pleasant means of
social reunion among the relatives
and friends of both husband and
wife. Often this is the only reason
for celebrating them, and the occasion is
sometimes taken advantage of to give a
large party, of a more informal nature
than could be given under other circum-
stances. The occasion becomes one of the
memorable events in the life of the couple
whose wedding anniversary is celebrated. It
is an occasion for recalling the happy event which
brought to each a new existence, and changed the cur-
rent of their lives. It is an occasion for them to receive
congratulations upon their past married life, and wishes
for many additional years of wedded bliss.
Upon these occasions the married couple sometimes
appear in the costumes worn by them on their wedding
286 ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS.
day, which they have preserved with punctilious care,
and when many years have intervened the quaintness
and oddity of the style of dress from the prevailing
style is a matter of interest, and the occasion of pleasant
comments. The couple receive their guests together,
who upon entering the drawing-room, where they are
receiving, extend to them their congratulations and
wishes for continued prosperity and happiness. The
various anniversaries are designated by special names,
indicative of the presents suitable on each occasion,
should guests deem it advisable to send presents. It
may be here stated that it is entirely optional with par-
ties invited as to whether any presents are sent or taken.
At the earlier anniversaries, much pleasantry and amuse-
ment is occasioned by presenting unique and fantastic
articles, gotten up for the occasion. When this is con-
templated, care should be taken that they should not be
such as are liable to give offense to a person of sensitive
THE PAPER, COTTON AND LEATHER WEDDING.
The first anniversay of the wedding-day is called the
Paper Wedding, the second the Cotton Wedding, and
the third the Leather Wedding. The invitations to the
first should be issued on a grey paper, representing thin
cardboard. Presents, if given should be solely articles
made of paper.
The invitations for the cotton wedding should be
neatly printed on fine white cloth, and presents should
be of articles of cotton cloth.
ANNIVERSARY WEDDINGS. 287
For the leather wedding invitations should be issued
upon leather, tastily gotten up, and presents, of course,
should be articles made of leather.
THE WOODEN WEDDING.
The wooden wedding is the fifth anniversay of the
marriage. The invitations should be upon thin cards
of wood, or they may be written on a sheet of wedding
note paper, and a card of wood enclosed in the envelope.
The presents suitable to this occasion are most numer-
ous, and may range from a wooden paper knife or tri-
fling article for kitchen use up to a complete set of
parlor or kitchen furniture.
THE TIN WEDDING.
The tenth anniversary of the marriage is called the tin
wedding. The invitations for this anniversary may be
made upon cards covered with a tin card inclosed. The
guests, if they desire to accompany their congratula-
tions with appropriate presents, have the whole list of
articles manufactured by the tinner's art from which to
THE CRYSTAL WEDDING.
The crystal wedding is the fifteenth anniversary.