The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness Being a Complete Guide for a Gentleman's Conduct in All His Relations Towards Society

The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness Being a Complete Guide for a Gentleman's Conduct in All His Relations Towards Society

By Cecil B. Hartley

  • Category: Social Science, Books, Nonfiction
  • Type: ebook
  • Release Date: 2018-03-18
  • File Size: 726.42KB
  • Developer: Cecil B. Hartley
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  • Price: $3.99
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The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness Being a Complete Guide for a Gentleman's Conduct in All His Relations Towards Society Details

Wit and vivacity are two highly important ingredients in the conversation of a man in polite society, yet a straining for effect, or forced wit, is in excessively bad taste. There is no one more insupportable in society than the everlasting talkers who scatter puns, witticisms, and jokes with so profuse a hand that they become as tiresome as a comic newspaper, and whose loud laugh at their own wit drowns other voices which might speak matter more interesting. The really witty man does not shower forth his wit so indiscriminately; his charm consists in wielding his powerful weapon delicately and easily, and making each highly polished witticism come in the right place and moment to be effectual. While real wit is a most delightful gift, and its use a most charming accomplishment, it is, like many other bright weapons, dangerous to use too often. You may wound where you meant only to amuse, and remarks which you mean only in for general applications, may be construed into personal affronts, so, if you have the gift, use it wisely, and not too freely.

The most important requisite for a good conversational power is education, and, by this is meant, not merely the matter you may store in your memory from observation or books, though this is of vast importance, but it also includes the developing of the mental powers, and, above all, the comprehension. An English writer says, “A man should be able, in order to enter into conversation, to catch rapidly the meaning of anything that is advanced; for instance, though you know nothing of science, you should not be obliged to stare and be silent, when a man who does understand it is explaining a new discovery or a new theory; though you have not read a word of Blackstone, your comprehensive powers should be sufficiently acute to enable you to take in the statement that may be made of a recent cause; though you may not have read some particular book, you should be capable of appreciating the criticism which you hear of it. Without such power—simple enough, and easily attained by attention and practice, yet too seldom met with in general society—a conversation which departs from the most ordinary topics cannot be maintained without the risk of lapsing into a lecture; with such power, society becomes instructive as well as amusing, and you have no remorse at an evening’s end at having wasted three or four hours in profitless banter, or simpering platitudes. This facility of comprehension often startles us in some women, whose education we know to have been poor, and whose reading is limited. If they did not rapidly receive your ideas, they could not, therefore, be fit companions for intellectual men, and it is, perhaps, their consciousness of a deficiency which leads them to pay the more attention to what you say. It is this which makes married women so much more agreeable to men of thought than young ladies, as a rule, can be, for they are accustomed to the society of a husband, and the effort to be a companion to his mind has engrafted the habit of attention and ready reply.”

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