Thursday, October 15, 2009


Years ago my husband bought me a book about manners, originally published in 1880, called Don't: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties more or less prevalent in Conduct and Speech by Oliver Bell Bunce. It is humorous and entertaining to read, but full of a great deal of common sense about social situations. The following is advice on proper deportment in "the drawing room:"
~ Don't always make yourself the hero of your own stories.

~Don't show a disposition to find fault or depreciate. Indiscriminate praise is nauseating; but, on the other hand, indiscriminate condemnation is irritating....

~Don't be sulky if you imagine yourself neglected. Think only of pleasing; and try to please. You will end by being pleased.

~Don't show repugnance even to a bore. A supreme test of politeness is submission to various social inflictions without a wince.

~Don't fail in proper attention to elderly people. Young persons are often scandalously neglectful of the aged, especially if they are deaf or otherwise afflicted. Nothing shows a better heart, or a nicer sense of true politeness, than kindly attention to those advanced in years.

~Don't wear out your welcome by too long a stay; on the other hand, don't break up the company by a premature departure. A little observation and good sense will enable you to detect the right time to say "Good-night."


Julygirl said...

Keep up your posts on manners! I applaud them. These days one cannont be reminded enough to be mannerly, (which is just another way of showing respect.) I believe, if scientific studies were made, they would prove that acting and speaking in a respectful way to others causes the brain to release neuro-transmitters that help one feel better the same as laughing does.

Christina said...

Beautiful advice! The art of conversation is a difficult one to learn. I'm still working on striking the balance between talking too much and not enough. I also have to watch my bad tendency to turn a conversation in a group into a tete-a-tete between myself and someone I find particularly interesting. It's always better when everyone is able to contribute.

Anonymous said...

These are great, and they remind me a lot of Fr Lovasik's _The Hidden Power of Kindness_. Manners is the hallmark of kindness, which is Love in practice. Every Christian should be mindful of them!

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, they remind me a lot of Fr. Lovasik's book, too!