RULES OF CIVILITY
THE RULES OF CIVILITY.
Among the manuscript books of George Washington, preserved in the State Archives at Washington City, the earliest bears the date, written in it by himself, 1745. Washington was born February 11, 1731 O.S., so that while writing in this book he was either near the close of his fourteenth, or in his fifteenth, year. It is entitled "Forms of Writing," has thirty folio pages, and the contents, all in his boyish handwriting, are sufficiently curious. Amid copied forms of exchange, bonds, receipts, sales, and similar exercises, occasionally, in ornate penmanship, there are poetic selections, among them lines of a religious tone on "True Happiness." But the great interest of the book centres in the pages headed: "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation." The book had been gnawed at the bottom by Mount Vernon mice, before it reached the State Archives, and nine of the 110 Rules have thus suffered, the sense of several being lost.
Every Action done in Company ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
All actions done before others should be with some sign of
respectful feeling to the entire company.
When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body not usually Discovered.
In the presence of any one, never put your hand to any part of the person not usually uncovered. As for the hands and face they are usually visible. In order to form a habit in this point of decency, practise it even when with your intimate friend.
Shew Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.
Show nothing to your companion that may grieve him.
In the Presence of Others sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum, with your Fingers or Feet.
Do not seek amusement in singing to yourself, unless beyond the hearing of others, nor drum with your hands or feet.
If you Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud, but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.
Whenever you cough or sneeze, if you can control these efforts of nature, do not let the sound be high or strong. Do not heave sighs so piercing as to attract attention. Do not breathe heavily, or make noises in yawning. If you can, abstain from yawning, especially while with any one, or in conversation. For it is a plain sign of a certain dislike of those with whom you dwell. If you cannot keep from yawning, at least be careful not to speak while doing so, and not to gape excessively; press your mouth adroitly or n turning a little from the company.
Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you should hold your Peace, walk not when others Stop
It is an incivility and an impertinence to doze while the company is conversing, to be seated while the rest stand, to walk on when others pause, and to speak when you should be silent, or listen. For those in authority, as a Master in school, there are times and places when it is admissible to walk alone.
Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out of your Chamber half Drest.
It is not seemly to leave your bed disarranged, to dress or undress before others, or to leave your chamber half-dressed, covered with a hood, or night-cap, or to remain standing in your room or at your desk with open gown. And although you have a servant to make your bed, nevertheless, take care when you go out to leave it uncovered.
At Play and at Fire its Good manners to give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than ordenary.
It is impolite at play, or at the fireside, to make the new-comers wait for places too long.
When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them
When seated, the feet should be placed well on the ground, in even distance with the legs, and neither a leg or a foot should be crossed on the other.
Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.
It is insufferably impolite to stretch the body, extend the arms,
or to assume different postures.
Do not pare your nails in public, much less gnaw them.
Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys, lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by appr[oaching too nea]r [when] you Speak.
Shake not the head, nor fidget the legs, nor roll the eyes, nor frown, nor make mouths. Be careful not to let saliva escape with your words, nor any spittle fly into the faces of those with whom you converse. To avoid such accident do not approach them too near, but keep at a reasonable distance.
Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off
Do not stop to kill a flea, or other disgusting insect of the kind, in the presence of any one. If anything disgusting offends the sight on the ground, as phlegm, etc., put your foot on it. If it be on any garment of one to whom you are talking, do not show it to him or another, but do your best to remove it unobserved. If any one oblige you in a thing of that kind make him your acknowledgments.
Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes lean not upon any one.
When one meets people, it is very unbecoming in speaking to them to turn one's back and shoulders to them. It is an impertinent action to knock against the table, or to shake the desk, which another person is using for reading or writing. It is uncivil to lean against any one, or to pluck his dress when speaking to him, or while entertaining him in conversation.
Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean, yet without Shewing any great Concern for them
Take good care not to stop, in any sort of conversation, to adjust your bands, or to pull up your stockings to make them join so as to look more gallant. Do not let your nails be full of dirt or too long. Have a great regard for the cleanliness of your hands, but do not be finikin about it.
Do not puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the lips too open or too close.
It is very low to puff out the cheeks, to put out the tongue, to pull one's beard, rub one's hands, poke out or bite the lips, or to keep them too tightly closed or too open.
Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play'd Withal.
Do not flatter or wheedle any one with fair words, for he who aspires to gain another person by his honied words shows that he does not hold him in high esteem and that he deems him far from sensible or clever, in taking him for a man who may be tricked in this manner: do not play practical jokes on those who do not like it.
Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask'd also look not nigh when another is writing a
It is an act directly opposed to politeness to read a book, letters or anything else during ordinary conversation, if it be not a pressing matter, or only for a few moments, and even in that case it is proper to ask leave unless you are, possibly, the highest in rank of the company. It is even worse to handle other people's work, their books or other things of that nature, to go close to them, to look at them closely without the permission of the owner, and also to praise or find fault with them before your opinion has been asked; to come too close to any one near by, when he is reading his letters or anything else.
Let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave
The face should not look fantastic, changeable, absent, rapt in admiration, covered with sadness, various and volatile, and it should not show any signs of an unquiet mind. On the contrary, it should be open and tranquil, but not too expansive with joy in serious affairs, nor too self-contained by an affected gravity in the ordinary and familiar conversation of human life.
The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon
Hawkins i. 30. Let the gestures of thy body, be agreeable to the matter of thy discourse. For it hath been ever held a solaesime in oratory, to poynt to the Earth, when thou talkest of Heaven.
Reproach none for their Infirmities—avoid it equally when they are natural ones—and do not take pleasure in uttering words that cause any one shame, whoever it may be.
Shew not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy
When thou shalt heare the misfortunes of another, shew not thy selfe gladed for it, though it happ to thy enemy, for that will argue a mind mischievous, and will convict thee of a desire to have executed it thy selfe, had either power or opertunity seconded thy will.
When thou seest justice executed on any, thou maist inwardly take delight in his vigilancy, to punish offenders, because it tends to publique quiet, yet shew pity to the offender, and ever Constitute the defect of his morality, thy precaution.
Do not laugh too loud or/ too much at any Publick [spectacle, lest you cause yourself to be laughed at.
Laugh not too much or too Loud, in any publique spectacle least for thy so doing, thou present thy selfe, the only thing worthy to be laughed at.
Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected
Though it is right to avoid too great care in practising an affected civility, yet one must be exact in observing what is necessary and advantageous in order to show a good education, and all that cannot be omitted without shocking those with whom one is conversing.
In pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen, &c make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Persons. Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom.
Show your respect for illustrious and honourable men,—such as Ecclesiastics, Magistrates, or other persons of quality,—hat in hand, holding the inside of the removed hat towards you; make your reverence to them by inclining your body as much as the dignity of each and the custom of well-bred youth seems to demand. And, as it is very rude not to uncover the head before those to whom one owes such respect, in order to salute them, or to wait till your equal should perform this duty towards you first, so also, to do it when it is not fitting savours of affected politeness: but it is shameful impertinence to be anxious for the return of one's salute. Finally, it seems most fitting to salute any one in words, a compliment which the politest persons are in the habit of using.
Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it's due. Likewise he that makes too much haste to Put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to Put it on at the first, or at most the Second time of being ask'd; now what is herein Spoken, of Qualification in behaviour in Saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of Place, and Sitting down for ceremonies without Bounds is troublesome.
It is very impolite to ask a superior to be covered, as it is not to do so in the case of one with regard to whom it is proper. And the man who is in haste to put his hat on, especially in talking to a person of quality, or who, having been urged several times to do so, refuses, shocks good manners; for this reason, after the first or second request, it is allowable to put the hat on, unless in some province or kingdom where the usage is otherwise. In fact, amongst equals, or with those who are older, or who belong to religious orders, or domestics, it is allowable to grant that request to one's equal or to a younger man, at the very first time. However, those of equal rank, or between whom there is little difference of rank, usually make the request and put on their hats at the same time. All the remarks here made on polite conduct, must also be extended to the order to be observed in taking places, and in sitting down; for the pleasure taken in ceremonies and compliments is really irksome.
If any one come to Speak to you while you are Sitting Stand up tho he be your Inferiour, and when you Present Seats let it be to every one according to his Degree.
If you are sitting down when any one pays you a call rise as soon as he comes near; whether his position demands that deference, as having precedence over you, or if he be your equal, or inferior; but not if he is on very intimate terms with you. If you are in your own house, having any seat to offer, manage to treat each guest according to his station.
When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight place to give way for him to Pass
["If you meet a superior in a narrow way, stop, and press to make him more room."]
In meeting those to whom you should shew respect beyond the salutations which are their due, you should stop a little, or retreat to a threshold, or to the corner of the street, so as to make way for them.
In walking the highest Place in most Countrys Seems to be on the right hand therefore Place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to Honour: but if three walk together the middle Place is the most Honourable the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.
If you happen to take a walk with them, always give them the place of honour, which is that pointed out by usage. To speak generally, it appears that several nations have made it a custom that the right should always be held as a mark of esteem, so that, when any one wishes to honour another, he will put him on his right, himself taking the left. When three are walking together, he of the highest quality always has the middle: he who takes the right has the second place, and the other who remains on the left has the third. But in France, when walking by the side of a wall, that place being almost always higher and cleaner because of the slope, the custom almost always is that it be yielded to the man of the highest quality, and particularly when two are walking together.
If any one far Surpasses others, either in age Estate, or Merit [yet, in any particular instance,] would give Place to a meaner than himself [in his own house or elsewhere] the one ought not to except it, So [the other, for fear of making him appear uncivil, ought not to press] it above once or twice.
If he who is much the older, or has the advantage of rank, wishes, in his house or elsewhere, to honour his inferior, as it is not fitting that such inferior should think himself worthy, so also the superior must not press him too much or show such deference more than once or twice, lest the assiduity of his reiterated requests lower somewhat the good opinion which he who refuses, had conceived of his tact and courtesy, or lest, at last, it cause him to be guilty of some incivility.
To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the chief Place in your Lodging and he to who 'tis offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness
But amongst equals, it is quite right, in receiving any one into one's house, to give him the most honourable place; and the person to whom one accords such a good reception ought at first rather to refuse it, but, when his friend insists a second time, he ought to obey him.
They that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Preceedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualitys, though they have no Publick charge.
In every company the first place is always given to those in command, or in power, or who exercise judicial charges. But these, if young, should realise that they ought to respect those who belong to houses as noble as their own, or who are much older, and those honoured with the degree of Doctor, though not exercising any public function; and moreover they ought, at first, to return an offer of the highest place, and afterwards receive that honour modestly, as a favour.
It is good Manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.
It is the height of politeness always to speak better of those with whom we have to converse than of ourselves. And particularly when they are persons of a superior rank to ourselves, with whom we ought never to dispute in any fashion.
Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.
Time and place, age and the difference between persons, ought to regulate the whole custom of compliments as is done amongst the most polite, especially compliments that consist in words. But one should cut matters short with men of business, and not put one's fine flowerets under their nose; one should spare them, and make himself understood rather by looks than words.
Artificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and highly Honour them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affibility & Courtesie, without Arrogancy
As the care for the most refined politeness ought not to trouble much the minds of artizans and of the dregs of the people, as regards Nobles and Magistrates, while it is reasonable that they should take care to honour such, so it is also right that the nobility should treat them gently, spare them, and avoid all manner of arrogance.
In Speaking to men of Quality do not lean nor Look them full in the Face, nor approach too near them at lest Keep a full Pace from them.
In speaking to persons of quality, do not lean your body on any thing; do not raise your eyes to their face; do not go too near, and manage to keep a full step from them.
In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physicion if you be not Knowing therein.
When you go to see any sick person do not immediately act the physician if you are not experienced in that science.
In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place.
In addressing letters to persons held in public esteem, you will be regulated by the Customs of the country and the degree of their dignity. When you have finished your letters, read them over again so as to correct mistakes; sand the writing, when necessary, and never fold your paper until the letters are quite dry, lest they be effaced.
Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty
Strive not with thy Superiours, in argument or discourse, but alwayes submit thy opinion to their riper judgment, with modesty; since the possibility of Erring, doth rather accompany greene than gray hairs.
Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself Professes; it flavours of arrogancy.
Doe not undertake to teach thy equal, in the Art himself professeth, for that will savour of Arrogancy, and serve for little other than to brand thy judgment with Rashnesse.
Let your ceremonies in/ curtesie be proper to the Dignity of his place [with whom you converse; it is absurd to ac]t ye same with a Clown and a Prince.
. Let thy Seremonyes in Courtesy be proper to the dignity and place, of him with whom thou conversest. For it is absurd to honour a Clown with words courtly and of magnificence.
Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery
Do not thou expresse joy before one sick, or in paine; for that contrary passion, will aggravate his misery. But do thou rather sympathize his infirmityes, for that will afford a gratefull easement, by a seeming participation.
When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.
The man who does all he can to advance your business, even though he should not bring it about, and may not be able to obtain the success you hoped for, ought not to hear reproaches, since he is more worthy of praise than of blame.
Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in publick or in Private; presently, or at Some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving Shew no signs of Cholar but do it with all Sweetness and Mildness
If you have to exhort or to reproach any one, consider whether it be better to do so in private or in public; at this time or another and, above all, what words you should use: and particularly when some one having been already reprimanded at other times does not correct himself of his past faults, and does not promise any amendment. And if you give any advice, or impart any reprimand, carefully avoid anger; on the contrary, do such acts with moderation and sweetness.
Take all Admonitions thankfully in what Time or Place Soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a Time or Place Convenient to let him know it that gave them.
Also when any one takes the trouble to rebuke you, no matter how, where, or when he does it, hear him for your part with much feeling of goodwill and acknowledgment. And after that, if innocent, and it seems right to prove yourself so, you will be quite at liberty to do so; being careful, however, to choose a proper time, and rather to make him see the truth, and relieve him from anxiety,—the more if you are in his charge or depend on his authority—than to defend yourself with some excuse.
Mock not nor Jest at anything of Importance break no Jest that are Sharp Biting, and if you Deliver anything witty and Pleasent abtain from Laughing thereat yourself.
Do not divert yourself with equivoques, either in important or in mean matters. If you find good occasion for a joke, be careful not to bite, still less to tear, like a dog. Witticisms and repartee should be to the point, and should have elegance and appropriateness without exciting the indignation of any. Do not let your pleasantries degenerate into those of buffoons, who raise laughter by extravagant representations and indecent action. If you are clever in repartee, if you say a good thing, manage if possible, in making others laugh, to abstain from it yourself.
Wherein wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is is more prevalent than Precepts
Be sure thy conversation be in that poynt vertuous, wherein thou art desirous to retaine another, least thy Actions render thy advice unprofitable. Since the ratification of any advice is the serious prosecution of that vertue. For example hath ever been more prevalent than precept.
Use no Reproachfull Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile
. Use no reproachfull language against any man, nor Curse, or Revile. For improperations and imprecations will rather betray thy affections than in any manner, hurt him against whom thou utters them.
Be not hasty to believe flying Reports to the Disparagement of any
Thou oughtest not too suddenly to believe a flying Rumour of a friend, or any other. But let charity guid thy judgment, untill more certainty: for by this meanes thou securest his Reputation, and frees thy self of rashness.
Wear not your Cloths, foul, unript or Dusty but See they be Brush'd once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any Uncleanness
Do not let your clothes be dirty, torn, covered with dust or threadbare. Have them brushed at least once a day. And take care also in what place you sit down, or kneel, or rest your elbows, that it be not unfit or filthy. Do not carry your cloak over your arm after the manner of swaggerers. And when you take off your coat or cloak, fold them neatly and carefully, and take care where you put them.
In your Apparel be Modest and endeavour to accomodate Nature, rather than to procure Admiration keep to the Fashion of your equals Such as are Civil and orderly with respect to Times and Places
Always choose clothes like those of your companions who pass for the most genteel and moderate, in discreet consideration of time and place: and more, make it a point to be the most simply and modestly dressed of all your equals, rather than to affect the finest raiment.
Run not in the Streets, neither go too slowly nor with Mouth open go not Shaking y'r Arms [stamping, or shuffling; nor pull up your stockings in the street. Walk] not upon the toes, nor in a Dancing [or skipping manner, nor yet with measured steps. Strike not the heels together, nor stoop when there is no occasion]
In walking guard against hurried steps, or having your mouth open and gaping; and do not move your body too much, or stoop, or let your hands hang down, or move and shake your arms; walk without striking the ground too hard or throwing your feet this way and that. That sort of action also demands these conditions,—not to stop to pull up one's stockings in the street, not to walk on the toes, or in a skipping rising as in dancing; do not stoop, nor bend the head; do not advance with measured steps; do not strike the heels against each other on entering church, nor leave it bareheaded, unless devotion requires it, as in accompanying the Holy Sacrament.
Play not the Peacock, looking everywhere about you, to See if you be well Deck't, if your Shoes fit well if your Stockings Sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.
Do not delight in strutting like a peacock, or look proudly around to see if you are well decked, if your breeches and other clothes fit well. Do not leave your room carrying your pen in your mouth or behind your ear. Do not indulge yourself by putting flowers in your ears, cap, or hat. Do not hold your pocket-handkerchief in your hand, hanging from your mouth, at your girdle, under your armpit, on your shoulder, or stuffed under your coat. Put it in some place where it cannot be seen, but from whence you may easily draw it when you want it. Never offer it to anybody unless it be quite clean, or hardly unfolded.
Eat not in the Streets, nor in ye House, out of Season.
Never walk on the roads eating, whether alone or in company, especially amid the crowd in a town. Do not set to eating even in the house out of meal-times; at least abstain from it in the presence of others.
Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad Company.
If you wish to pass as genteel, always go with well-bred people; if you cannot get the chance,—from not knowing any, or any other reason,—it is always better to go alone than in bad company.
In walking up and Down in a House, only with One in Company if he be Greater than yourself, at the first give him the Right hand and Stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him, it he be a Man of Great Quality, walk not with him Cheek by Jowl but Somewhat behind him; but yet in such a Manner that he may easily Speak to you.
If you are walking about the house alone with a person whose rank demands some deference, at the very first step be sure and give him the right hand: Do not stop walking if he does not wish to stop: Be not the first to change the diversion, and, in turning, never show him your shoulder but always your face. If he has a high public appointment take care not to walk quite side by side with him but a very little behind him with so much exactness and moderation that he may be able to speak to you without inconvenience. If he is your equal in rank, keep step with him during the whole walk, and do not always turn first at every end of the walk. Do not stop often midway without reason, such liberty touches his dignity and gives dissatisfaction. He who is the centre of the company by whom he is surrounded ought, if those of whom it consists are equal or nearly equal in rank, always to turn to the right once during the walk, and if they are manifestly unequal, he should oftenest turn towards the most distinguished. Lastly those who are about him should always turn round towards his side and at the same time as he, neither before nor after, as he is, so to say, the object of the walk.
let your conversation be without malice or envy, for 'tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature: & in all causes of passion admit reason to govern
Let thy conversation be without malice or envye, for that is a signe of a tractable and commendable nature. And in all causes of passion, admit reason for thy governesse. So shall thy Reputation be either altogether inviolable, or at the least not stayned with common Tinctures.
Never express anything unbecoming, nor Act against the Rules Moral before your inferiours
'A man should not divertise himself with his Inferiors, nor make his Servants privy to his infirmities and failures.']
Never expresse any thing unbeseeming, nor act against the Rules morall, before thy inferiours, For in these things, thy own guilt will multiply Crimes by example, and as it were, confirme Ill by authority.
Be not immodest in urging your Friends to Discover a Secret
Be not immodest in urging thy friend to discover his secrets; lest an accidentall discovery of them work a breach in your amitye.
Utter not base and frivilous things amongst grave and Learn'd Men nor very Difficult Questions or Subjects, among the Ignorant or things hard to be believed, Stuff not your Discourse with Sentences amongst your Betters nor Equals
When talking with learned and clever men, do not introduce trifles, and do not bring forward too advanced conversation before ignorant people which they cannot understand nor easily believe. Do not always begin with proverbs, especially among your equals, and still less with your superiors. Do not speak of things out of place, or of such as may shock your hearers. At banquets and on days of rejoicing do not bring up sorrowful news or accounts of sad calamities, no filth, nothing improper, nothing afflicting. On the contrary, if such conversation is begun by any one else, do your best adroitly to turn the subject. Never relate your dreams except to your confidants, and then only to profit by their interpretation, taking care not to put the least belief in it.
Speak not of doleful Things in a Time of Mirth or 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 intimate Friend
A well-bred person never makes parade of his good actions, wit, virtue, and other good and praiseworthy qualities; on the contrary, one ought never to speak with another about his high birth, the nobility of his parents, his wealth or dignities, unless obliged to do so. But one need not efface himself altogether.
Break not a Jest where none take pleasure in mirth Laugh not aloud, nor at all without Occasion, deride no man's Misfortune, tho' there seem to be Some cause
Jesting must be avoided when it is out of season. Beware of bursting out into laughter, beyond the limits of decorum, and of doing so without reasonable cause, merely from an inclination to laugh. Never laugh at the misfortunes of others, although they seem in some sort laughable
Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion
Never give nicknames, whether in fun or not. Take care not to hurt anybody, whoever it may be; do not mock any one, especially persons of distinction, although there be occasion.
Be not forward but friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it's a time to converse.
Do not be glum and unfriendly of approach; but affable, prompt in rendering kind offices, and always the first to salute. Listen carefully to what is said and respond; do not keep aloof when duty requires you to take a share in the conversation.
Detract not from others neither be excessive in Commending.
'Carry even between adulation and soureness.'
Take care not to speak ill of any one or to gossip of other people's affairs. At the same time do not forget moderation in your praises.
Do not force yourself into interviews or consultations at which you are not sure of being welcome. Never give your advice on matters when it has not been asked, unless you happen to be the highest in authority; and do not let it be done out of place or without prospect of any benefit. When your opinion is requested, be brief, and reach quickly the knot of the matter under discussion.
If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your Opinion, in Things indiferent be of the Major side.
'Thrust not your self to be Moderator or Umpire in Controversies, till required’
If two persons have anything to decide between themselves do not take the part of either unless some pressing reason obliges you to do so. Do not maintain your ideas too obstinately. In matters in which opinions are free, always take the side which has the most support.
Reprehend not the imperfections of others for that belongs to Parents Masters and Superiors.
Do not be the censor and judge of other peoples' faults, for that only belongs to masters, fathers, and those who have some superiority. But it is nevertheless allowable for you to show an aversion you have conceived. And at times you may give advantageous advice to those who are in the wrong.
Gaze not at 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
Take no pleasure in examining curiously defects or blemishes, although natural, especially if they be in the face, nor enquire what they proceed from. What you would readily say in the ear of a friend ought to be preserved under the key of silence when you are in society.
Speak not in an unknown Tongue in Company but in your own Language and that as those of Quality do and not as y'e Vulgar; Sublime matters treat Seriously.
In your conversation never use a language with which you are not thoroughly acquainted and familiar, unless in some very urgent case to render your idea more clearly. Always speak in your native and mother tongue, not coarsely like the dregs of the people, or poor chamber-maids, but like the most refined and well-to-do citizens, with erudition and elegance. And in your discourse take care to observe the rules of decorum and modesty, and be sure to avoid rather risky tales; do not whisper such to another, and do not indulge them too frequently in sport. Do not use low, base or vulgar expressions when treating of serious and sublime subjects.
Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly and Distinctly
Do not begin speaking unless you are quite prepared, and have well studied your subject. In ordinary conversation do not seek periphrases, subtleties, or figures of speech. Do not let your words become confused by too abrupt or hesitating a delivery, and do not let your speech be so slow and broken as to become tedious.
When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended
[Sidenote: Hawkins: 'If any drawl forth his words, help him not']
[Sidenote: The later French book has: 'It is not Civil when a Person of Quality hesitates or stops in his discourse for you to strike in, though with pretence of helping his memory.']
When another person is speaking, beware of drawing off the attention of his hearers; and as for yourself, listen to him favourably and attentively, without turning your eyes aside or directing your thoughts elsewhere. If any one finds difficulty in expressing himself, do not amuse yourself by suggesting words to him, so as to show a desire to assist the speaker unless he so requests or you are quite in private, and the person is also one of your most intimate and familiar friends. Above all, do not interrupt him, and in nowise reply to him until he has finished.
In the midst of Discourse ask [not what it is about], but if you Perceive any Stop because of [your arrival, rather request the speaker] to Proceed: If a Person of Quality comes in while your Conversing its handsome to Repeat what was said before
'It is seemely to make a little Epilogue and briefe collection of what thou deliveredst.
If you arrive in the middle of any discussion, do not ask what it is about; for that is too bold and savours of one in authority. Rather ask, genteelly and courteously, that it may be continued, if you see that the speaker has paused on your arrival, out of civility. On the other hand, if any one comes whilst you are speaking, and particularly if it be a person of quality or of merit, it is in accordance with good manners to give a slight recapitulation of what has been advanced, and then carry out the deduction of all the rest of the matter.
While you are talking, Point not with your Finger at him of Whom you Discourse nor Approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face
Do not point your finger at the person of whom you are speaking, and do not go too near any one with whom you are conversing, especially not near his face, which should always be held in some reverence.
Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others
If you have any particular matter to communicate to one of two persons or of several, who are talking together, finish it off in three words, and do not whisper in his ear what you have to say; if the matter be secret, take him aside a little, if possible, and nothing prevents; speak to him in the language which those present understand.
Make no Comparisons and if any of the Company be Commended for any brave act of Virtue, commend not another for the Same
Abstain from drawing comparisons between different persons; and if any one is praised for a good action, or for his virtue, do not praise another for the same. For all comparisons are odious.
Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not
'Discover not the secret of a friend, it argues a shallow understanding and a weakness.'
Be not apt to relate rumours of events, if you know not their truth. And in repeating such things do not mention your authority, unless you are sure he will like it. Always keep the secret confided to you; tell it to no one, lest it be divulged.
Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith
If you are relating or reading anything, or arguing any point, be brief,—particularly when the subject is of small importance, or if you detect weariness in the listeners.
Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach to those that Speak in Private
Do not show any curiosity about other people's affairs, and do not
go near the place where persons are talking in private.
Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Carefull to keep your Promise
Do not undertake anything that you cannot perform; keep your promise.
When you deliver a matter do it without Passion & with Discretion, however mean y'e Person be you do it too
When you fulfil a mission, deliver a report, or undertake the opening of any matter, try to do it dispassionately and discreetly, whether those with whom you have to treat be of humble or high position.
When your Superiours talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh
When your Superiors talk to any one, do not speak, laugh, or listen.
In Company of these of Higher Quality than yourself Speak not till you are ask'd a Question then Stand upright put of your Hat & Answer in few words
Being with persons of higher position than yourself, and especially if they have authority over you, do not speak until you are interrogated; then rise, remove your hat, and answer in few words,—unless indeed you are invited to remain seated, or to keep your hat on.
In Disputes, be not so Desirous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to y'e Judgment of y'e Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.
In disputes that arise, especially in conversation, be not so desirous to overcome as not to leave each one liberty to deliver his opinion; and whether you be wrong or right you should acquiesce in the judgment of the majority, or even of the most persistent, all the more if they are your masters or patrons, or judges of the discussion.
[Let your bearing be such] as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive [to what is said, without being too serious. Contradict not at every turn what others Say
35. Let your bearing be that of a moderately grave, serious man, and attentive to what is said so as to avoid having to say every moment: 'How did that happen? I did not understand you,'—and other similar foolish remarks.
33. Do not continually contradict what others say, by disputing and saying: 'That is not the case, it is as I say;' but defer to the opinion of others, especially in matters of small consequence.
Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressions, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse
Do not take a year in your preface, or in certain long apologies or ceremonies, such as: 'Pardon me Sir if I do not know how to express myself sufficiently well, &.c.; nevertheless in order to obey you,' &c., and other similarly tedious and stupid circumlocutions; but enter promptly on the subject, as far as possible, with moderate boldness; then continue to the end without hesitation. Do not be prolix; avoid digressions; do not often reiterate the same expression.
Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust
Speak not evill of one absent, for it is unjust to detract from the worth of any, or besmeare a good name by condemning, where the party is not present, to clear himselfe, or undergo a rationall conviction.
Being Set at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there's a Necessity for it
Being seated at the table, do not scratch yourself, and if you can help it, do not spit, cough, or blow your nose; should either be necessary do it adroitly, with least noise, turning the face aside.
(In the Washington MS. there is a notable omission of all that is
said in the French and English books concerning grace before meat. At Washington's table grace was never said.)
Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.
(At Washington's table it was a custom to invite each guest to call for the wine he preferred.)
Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.
In taking salt be careful that the knife is not greasy: when necessary your knife or fork may with propriety be cleaned on a piece of bread,—or, as is done in some places, with the napkin,—but it must never be wiped on the whole loaf.
Entertaining any one at table it is decent to present him w't meat, Undertake not to help others undesired by y'e Master
When entertaining any one it is polite to serve him at table and to present the dishes to him, even such as are near him. When invited by another it is more seemly to wait to be served by the host, or some one else, than to take the dishes oneself, unless the host begs the guests to help themselves freely, or one is at home in the house. One ought also not to be officious in helping others when out of one's own house, where one has but little authority, unless the guests are very numerous and the host cannot attend to everything; in that case we may help those nearest us.
If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self
If you dip bread or meat into the gravy, do not do so immediately after biting a piece off, but dip each time a moderately-sized morsel which can be eaten at one mouthful. (11.) Do not blow on the viands, but if they are hot, wait till they cool. Soup may be cooled by stirring it gently with a spoon, but it is not becoming to drink up the soup at table. It should be taken with a spoon.
Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pye upon a Dish nor cast anything under the table
Do not carry a morsel to your mouth, knife in hand, like the rustics. (16.) Moreover, it does not seem well bred to spit out the kernels of prunes, cherries, or anything of the kind, on your plate, but, as already said, they should be decently collected in the left hand (raised to the mouth), and placed on the edge of the plate. (15.) Bones, peel, wine, and the like, should not be thrown under the table.
Its unbecoming to Stoop much to one's Meat Keep your Fingers clean& when foul wipe them on a Corner of your Table Napkin.
It is ill-bred to stoop too close to one's porringer or the meat. It suffices to bend a little when conveying a soaked morsel to one's mouth, in order to avoid soiling oneself, then straighten up again. (25.) Do not clean your hands on a loaf; if very greasy you might, it would seem, partly clean them on a bit of bread you are about to eat, then on your napkin, so as not to soil the latter too much: this will rarely happen if you know how to use spoon and fork in the most approved manner. Much less should you lick your fingers, especially not suck them noisily.
Put not another bit into your Mouth till the former be Swallowed let not your Morsels be too big for the jowls
Carry not another morsel to the mouth till the other be swallowed, and let each be such as will not stretch the jaws beyond measure; do not take both hands to raise a morsel to the mouth, but, usually, serve yourself with the right hand.
Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking
Do not drink with your mouth full of food; do not ask anything while drinking, nor talk, nor turn round; and do not drink because your neighbour does, or the head of the table. (33.) While drinking, gaze not here and there.
Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips breath not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for its uncivil
Drink neither too slowly nor too hastily, nor as if gulping the wine, nor too frequently, nor without water—as drunkards do. Wipe your lips before and after drinking, and do not breathe too loudly then or at any other time, for that is very inelegant.
Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if Others do it let it be done w't a Pick Tooth
Do not clean your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, finger, fork, or knife. It were still more objectionable to do so with the nails. Use a toothpick. It also does not appear well-bred to pick them at table, unless others do so, and where such is a custom of the more gentlemanly.
Rince not your Mouth in the Presence of Others
Do not rinse your mouth with wine, to be rejected in the presence of others; but, having left the table, accustom yourself to wash your hands with the rest. As to the mouth, it does not appear proper to wash it in company at all, and consequently when an opportunity of washing is offered, even at the table, the hands only should be washed.
It is out of use to call upon the Company often to Eat nor need you Drink to others every Time you Drink
It is not commendable, and now almost out of fashion, to call on the company to eat, especially to invite them too often and urgently, for it appears to take away their freedom. Much less should you drink to others every time you drink: if one drinks to you, it is permissible to decline modestly, thanking him gracefully, and acknowledging your response; or you may well sip a little wine for courtesy, especially with people who are accustomed to it, and who are offended by refusal.
In Company of your Betters be not [longer in eating] than they are lay not your Arm but ar[ise with only a touch on the edge of the table.]
When the rest have finished eating, you should do the same quickly; do not hold your arms on the table, but only place your hands on the edge of it.
It belongs to y'e Chiefest in Company to unfold his Napkin and fall to Meat first, But he ought to begin in time & to Dispatch with Dexterity that y'e Slowest may have time allowed him
It is for the most distinguished member of the company to unfold first his napkin and touch the food, and the rest should wait quietly, without laying hand on anything before he does. (46.) On the other hand, he ought in due time to commence, to consider everything, entertaining the guests, and managing all so adroitly as to give time to the more dilatory to eat at their leisure; if necessary for this, slowly tasting the viands, or, when table-talk is permissible, introducing a little chat during the meal, so that the others can finish at their ease.
Be not Angry at Table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, Shew it not put on a Chearfull Countenance especially if there be Strangers for good Humour makes one Dish of Meat a Feast
'A cheerefull countenance makes one dish a Feast.'
Never be angry at table, no matter what may happen, or even if you have cause for anger, do not show it, especially if strangers are present.
Set not yourself at y'e upper [end] of y'e Table but if it be your Due or that y'e Master of y'e house will have it so, Contend not least you Should Trouble y'e company.
'Desire not the highest place, nor be troublesome with impertinent debasing yourself by refusing,' etc.
Seat not yourself voluntarily at the top; but if the place properly belongs to you, or the master of the house so wills, do not offer so much resistance to its acceptance as to annoy the company.
If others talk at Table be attentive but talk not with Meat in your Mouth
If there be reading or chat at table, be attentive, and if you have to speak, do not speak with your mouth full.
When you Speak of God or his Attributes, let it be Seriously & [with words of] Reverence. Honour & obey your Natural Parents altho they be Poor
Let thy speeches be seriously reverent when thou speakest of God or his Attributes, for to jest or utter thy selfe lightly in matters divine, is an unhappy impiety, provoking heaven to justice, and urging all men to suspect thy beliefe.—vii. (unnumbered) Honour and obey thy natural parents although they be poor; for if thy earthly Parents cannot give thee riches and honour, yet thy heavenly Father hath promised thee length of days.
Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull.
Let thy recreations be manful not sinful; there is a great vanity in the baiting of Beasts, the Bears and Bulls lived quietly enough before the fall; it was our sin that set them together by the ears, rejoyce not therefore to see them fight, for that would be to glory in thy shame.
Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire called Conscience.
Labour to keep alive in thy breast, that little sparke of Celestial fire called Conscience, for Conscience to an evil man is a never dying worm, but unto a good man its a perpetual feast.