Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part II
 Back Cover

Group Title: The gentleman and lady's book of politeness and propriety of deportment : Dedicated to the youth of both sexes
Title: The gentleman and lady's book of politeness and propriety of deportment
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001957/00001
 Material Information
Title: The gentleman and lady's book of politeness and propriety of deportment Dedicated to the youth of both sexes
Alternate Title: Book of politeness
Physical Description: xvii, 214 p. : ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Celnart, Elisabeth, 1796-1865
Lippincott, Grambo & Co ( Publisher )
T.K. and P.G. Collins ( Printer )
Publisher: Lippincott, Grambo & Co.
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Manufacturer: T.K. & P.G. Collins
Publication Date: 1852, c1835
Copyright Date: 1835
Edition: 5th Amer. ed.
Subject: Etiquette for children and teenagers   ( lcsh )
Etiquette books -- 1852   ( rbgenr )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852   ( rbbin )
Bookplates (Provenance) -- 1853   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: Etiquette books   ( rbgenr )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Bookplates (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Statement of Responsibility: by Mme. Celnart <pseud.> ; Translated from the sixth Paris edition, enlarged and improved.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00001957
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002223535
oclc - 43556135
notis - ALG3785
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page 1
        Front page 2
        Front page 3
        Front page 4
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
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        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Part II
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
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        Page 215
    Back Cover
        Page 216
        Page 217
Full Text


T? /I0 .l

The Baldwin Library
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I~PeLI I II I ~I n ~ 3rm











liftt) limer(can u Ution.

No. 14, N. FOURTH ST.

Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 18315
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of

Printed by T. K. & P 0. Clins.



Tuz unprecedented demand for the first edition of
the Gentleman and Lady's Book of Politeness, nas
called for another edition much sooner than was
anticipated. Advantage has been taken of this op-
portunity, carefully to revise the work, and the pub.
lshers feel confident, that its present improved state
will render it still more acceptable to the American



THE unprecedented demand for the Gentleman
and Lady's Book of Politeness, translated from the
French of Madame Celnart, has induced the publish-
er to stereotype the work, in order to enable him to
supply the public with this excellent manual in the
cheapest possible form, consistent with the style of
publication appropriate to a work of this class.
The original, as is well known, has already gone
through numerous editions in France within a short
time; and in this country there have been two edi
tions of the present translation, which has now obtain
ed the character and rank of a standard work.


THE present work has had an extensive cir.
culation in France, the country which we are
accustomed to consider as the genial soil of
politeness; and the publishers have thought it
would be rendering a useful service on this side
of the Atlantic to issue a translation of it
Some foreign visitors in our country, whose
own manners have not always given them a right
to be censors of others, have very freely told us
what we ought not to do; and it will be useful to
know from respectable authority, what is done in
polished society in Europe, and, of course, what
we ought to do, in order to avoid all just censure.
This object, we are confident, will be more effect-
ually accomplished by the study of the principles
and rules contained in the present volume, than
by any other of the kind.
By persons who are deemed competent judges
in such a case, this little work has been pro-
nounced to be one of the most useful and practi-
cal works extant upon the numerous and delicate,
topics which are discussed in it. We are aware

that a man can no more acquire the ease and
elegance of a finished gentleman, by any manual
of this kind, than in the fine arts he could be-
come a skilful painter or sculptor by studying
books alone, without practice. It is, however,
equally true, that the principles of Politeness
may be studied, as well as the principles of the
arts. At the same time, intercourse with polite
society, in other words, practice, as in the case of
tne arts, must do the rest.
The reader will find in this volume some rules
founded on customs and usages peculiar to France
and other countries, where the Roman Catholic
religion is established. But it was thought bet-
ter to retain them in the work, than to mutilate
it, by making such material alterations as would
have been occasioned by expunging every thing
of that description. In our liberal and tolerant
country, these peculiarities will give offence to
none; while to many, their novelty, at least, will
)e interesting.
Boston, May 6, 1833.



Of Propriety of Deportment, and its Advantages ziii

Of Propriety of Conduct in Relation to Religious
Duties ...... 1
SECT. 1. Of respectful Deportment at Church ibid.
2. Of religious Propriety in our Intercourse
with the World 6

Of Propriety of Conduct in Relation to Domestio
Duties ...... 9

Of Propriety of Conduct in Conjugal and Domes-
tic Relations 19

Of Propriety as regards one's self 19
SECT. 1. Of the Toilet ibid.
2. Of Reputation 27

Of Propriety in regard to one's Business or Profes.
sion 3
SECT. 1. Politeness of Shopkeepers and Customers ib
2. Politeness between Persons in Office and
the Public 38
3. Politeness of Lawyers and their Clients 39
4. Politeness of Physicians and their Pa-
tients 40
5. Politeness of Artists and Authors, and
the deference due to then 42
6. Politeness of Military Men 46
7. Politeness of Ecclesiastics and Females
of Religious Orders; and the defer-
ence due to them 48



Of Deportment in the Street 50




Of different kinds of Visits 9.

Of the Manner of receiving Visitors 75

Of the Carriage of the Body 8

Of Physical Proprieties in Conversation 88
SECT. 1. Physical Observances in Conversation ibid.
2. Of Gestures 90
3. Of the Talent of listening to others 92
4. Of Pronunciation 97
5. Of Correctness in Speaking 100

Of the Moral Observances in Conversation 104
SEcT. 1. Of Formal and Vulgar Usages ibid.
2. Of Questions and frequently recurring
Expressions 110
3. Of Narrations, Analysis, and Digres-
sions 111
4. Of Suppositions and Comparisons 118
5. Of Discussions and Quotations 119
6. Of Pleasantry, Proverbs, Puns, and Bon
Mots 121



SECT. 7. Of Eulogiums, Complainings, Improprie-
ties in general, and Prejudioes 106

Of Epistolary Composition 130
SECT. 1. Of Propriety in Letter Writing ibid.
2. Of the Interior and Exterior Form of
Letters ..... 136

Additional Rules in respect to the Social Rela-
tions ... 146
SECT. 1. Of an obliging Deportment ibid.
2. Of Presents 151
3. Of Advice ..... 154
4. Of Discretion 155'

Of Travelling 159




Of Entertainments -

- 163

Of Promenades, Parties, and Amusements 171
SECT. 1. Of Promenades .* ibid.
2. Of Parties and Amt;sements 175
3. Little Sports and Games of Society 180

Of Balls, Concerts, and Public Shows 182
SECT. 1. Of Balls ..... ibid.
2. Of Concerts 188
3. Of Public Shows and Spectacles 189

Of the Duties of Hospitality 193



Of Marriage and Baptism 196
SECT. 1. Of Marriage ..... ibid.
2. Of Baptism 202

Of Duties toward the Unfortunate 206
SECT. 1. Of Duties toward the Sick, Infirm, and
Unfortunate ibid.
2. Of Funerals and Mourning 206





Of Propriety of Deportment, and its Advantages.

PROPRIETY of deportment, or bienseance, is a happy
union of the moral and the graceful; it should be
considered in two points of view, and ought there-
fore to direct us in our important duties, as well as
our more trifling enjoyments. When we regard it
only under this last aspect, some contend that mere
intercourse with the world gives a habit and taste for
those modest and obliging observances which con-
stitute true politeness; but this is an error. Pro-
priety of deportment, is the valuable result of a
knowledge of one's self, and of respect for the rights
of others; it is a feeling of the sacrifices which are
imposed on self-esteem by our social relations; it is, in
short, a sacred requirement of harmony and affection.
But the usage of the world is merely the gloss, or
rather the imitation of propriety, since instead of
being like that, based upon sincerity, modesty and
courtesy, it consists, in not being constant in an,


thing, and in amusing itself by playing off its feel-
ings and ridicule, against the defects and excellences
of others, provided it is done with grace, and never
carried so far as to wound the self-esteem of any one.
Thanks to custom, it is sufficient in order to be re-
cognised as amiable, that he who is the subject of
a malicious pleasantry may laugh as well as the
author of it. The usage of the world is therefore
often nothing more than a skilful calculation of
vanity, a futile game, a superficial observance of
form, a false politeness which would lead to frivolity
or perfidy, did not true politeness animate it with
delicacy, reserve and benevolence. Would that cus-
tom had never been separated from this virtuous ami-
ableness! We should then never see well-intention-
ed and good people suspicious of politeness; and
when victims to the deceitful, justly exclaim with
bitterness, This is your man of politeness; nor should
we ever have made a distinction between the fixed
principles of virtue, and what is fit and expedient.
The love of good, in a word, virtue, is then the soul
of politeness; and the feeling of a just harmony be
tween our interest and our social relations, is indis
pensable to this agreeable quality. Excessive
gaiety, extravagant joy, great depression, anger
love, jealousy, avarice, and generally all the pas-
sons, are too often dangerous shoals to propriety of

deportment. Moderation in every thing is so essen
trial, that it is even a violation of propriety itself to
affect too much the observance of it.
It is to propriety, its justice and attractions, that
we owe all the charm, I might almost say, the
being able to live in society. At once the effect and
cause of civilization, it avails itself of the grand
spring of the human mind, self-love, in order to
purify and ennoble it; to substitute for pride and all
those egotistical or offensive feelings which it gen-
erates, benevolence, with all the amiable and gen-
erous sentiments, which it inspires. In an assem-
bly of truly polite people, all evil seems to be un-
known; what is just, estimable, and good, or what
we call fit or suitable, is felt on all sides; and
actions, mahners and language alike indicate it.
Now if we place in this select assembly, a per-
son who is a stranger to the advantages of a po-
lite education, he will at once be made sensible of
the value of it, and will immediately desire to dis-
play the same urbanity by which he has himself been
If politeness is necessary in general, it is not less
so in particular cases. Neither rank, talents, for-
tune, nor beauty, can dispense with this amenity of
manners; nor can any thing inspire regard or love,
without that graceful affability, that mild dignity, and
that elegant simplicity, which render the name of




Frencean synonymous with amiable, ad maae
Paris dear, to whatever has understanding and taste.
If all the world feels the truth of the verse which is
now a proverb,
Cette grace plus belle encores que la beauty,'
every one also is sensible, that grace in conferring
a favor, affects us more than the favor itself, and
that a kind smile, or an affectionate tone, penetrate
the heart more deeply than the most brilliant elocu-
As to the technical part of politeness, or forms
alone, the intercourse of society, and good advice,
are undoubtedly useful; but the grand secret of
never failing in propriety of deportment, is to have
an intention of always doing what is right. With
such a disposition of mind, exactness in observing
what is proper, appears to all to possess a charm and
influence; and then not only do mistakes become
excusable, but they become even interesting from
their thoughtlessness and nalvet6. After the man-
ner of St. Augustin, who used to say, Love God
and then do what you wish, we would say to those,
just making their debut in society, Be modest,
benevolent, and do not distress yourself on account
of the mistakes of your inexperience; a little atten.

That grace, which is more beautiful than beauty


tion, and the advice of a friend, will soon correct these
trifling errors. Such a friend, I wish to be to you.
In undertaking to revise, and almost entirely remodel,
the Manual of Good Society, I have wished and have
engaged to be useful to you. A more methodical ar-
rangement of the work, more precise and varied de-
tails, in short, important applications to all conditions
and circumstances of life, I venture to believe. will
make this treatise worthy of its design.

2* B


Of Propriety of Conduct in Relation to Rdigiou

WE have said, that propriety ought to preside
over the highest instructions of morality, as it also
regulates the gayest movements of pleasure. We
proceed first, therefore, to consider religious deport-


Of Respectful Deportment at Church

Religious sentiment is the great, perhaps the only
difference which we find between man and other
animals. However it may absorb you by its inten-
sity, exalt you with delight, or withdraw from you in
misfortune, this mysterious and sublime sentiment
ought always to command your respect. Therefore,
without adverting to particular differences of worship,
never enter a church without submitting to the re


quirements of religion.* Observe silence, or at least
speak seldom, and in a low voice; uncover yourself;
advance with a slow and grave step; stop, at the
same time making an inclination of your body, if any
ceremony engages the assembly. Whether the church
be Jewish, Catholic or Protestant, recollect, that in
that place men honor the Creator of the Universe;
that here they seek consolation in their troubles, and
pardon of their sins.
If you visit a church or any similar edifice, from
curiosity, endeavor to do it out of the time of service.
Contemplate silently the pictures, monuments, &c.;
beware of imitating those vandals, who deface with
their obscure and ephemeral names those monuments
which are destined to endure for ages. Do not like
them forget, that the only thing which you can ex-
pect is a smile of contempt from all enlightened
friends of the arts. Do not wait till the keepers re-
mind you of the remuneration due to their kindness
in conducting you,-but offer it to them with your
thanks on taking leave; and in order to this, go
always provided with small change. The respect

The directions which here follow, are obviously in-
tended for those who' profess the Catholic religion; but
most of them are also applicable to other denominations
of Christians.-T


due to the place requires us to abstain from every
thing which resembles the cares of business.
I have thus far spoken only the language of
toleration, and of religious worship in general, but I
am now going to use that of faith and devotion. Let
the neatness and modesty of your apparel, and your
discreet and respectful deportment, show that you
perceive what is due to the house of God. Incline
your body on entering; take the holy water; then
advance by the shortest way, and without precipita-
tion, to the place which you are to occupy; if pos-
sible, do not change it; neither put yourself in the
passages, nor carry the chairs to a distance; take
two together, to avoid turning your seat as circum-
stances may require in the course of the ceremony.'

*This refers to the usage in Catholic churches, in
which the consecrated or holy water is kept in a vase,
appropriated to the purpose, near the entrance and in
other parts of the church.-T.
t These directions are more particularly applicable to
Catholic churches in foreign countries, where it is not
the general custom, as in the United States, to have
pews. The whole floor is an open area, and supplied
with chairs; each person, during service takes two, one
f which he sits in, and places the other before him to
ineel upon. This custom of using chairs, however, is
tot universal even in Europe; and the author observes


If the services have commenced, place yourself in
the rear, in order not to disturb those present by
your coming. The same motive ought to prevent
your going away before the close of the services,
except from pressing necessity.
If you are accompanied by a lady to whom you
owe deference, advance and present to her the holy
water; prepare two chairs for her, and place your-
self near. In leaving church, clear the passage for
her; carry her prayer-book, present her again with
the holy water, and hold the door open to let her
pass. Indeed, these two last marks of politeness
should be shown indiscriminately by well-bred peo-
ple to any who happen to be near them, in entering
or leaving the church. Kind regards towards our
neighbors are a worthy accompaniment of devotion.
If on a crowded occasion you have two chairs, it
is well to offer one of them to those who have none;
a man ought even to give his own to a lady who
might be standing. Every one knows that it is
contrary to the sanctity of the place, to walk in a

in a note, that it were to be wished that in all parts of
France they would adopt the custom observed at Havre,
Dieppe, and other cities of Normandy, where, instead of
having chairs, the churches are furnished throughout
with fled seats or benches, by which means the service
is conducted with much more order and deco', m.-T.


church as upon a public promenade; to converse
there as in a private house; to cast looks of curiosity
on one side and the other; to have a mien which
displays uneasiness or weariness; to balance your-
self upon the seat, or shake in an annoying manner
that of the person before you; to carry with you dogs,
packets, &c.
During the sermon, it is necessary to endeavor to
make no noise, and to bow with profound respect
every time the preacher pronounces the sacred name
of Jesus Christ.*
Whether you give or withhold an offering to the
mendicants of either sex, they should be answered by
a kind salutation.
It is entirely contrary to religious propriety to
press forward, in going to the altar; you ought to
wait in silence your turn, without trying to supplant
those before you; however, should you have any
urgent motives, you can make them known with
mildness and politeness. Disputes which arise with
regard to this, are at the same time an absurdity and
When you take a place at the holy table, you
should lay aside gloves, book, cane, &c. It is well

*This latter direction is more particularly applicable
to Catholic usage.-T.


for ladies to cover themselves with a veil half drawn;
it is a mark of reverence as well as modesty.


Of Religious Propriety in our Intercourse with the

If it is a fundamental principle of propriety of con-
duct not to wound any one in his self-esteem, his
tastes, or interests, much more is it necessary to re-
spect his religious opinions. To make sport of faith,
that powerful, deep and involuntary sentiment, be-
fore which the law yields; to cause the pain of
doubting to hearts just become pious and tranquil; to
awaken a spirit of fanaticism and religious excesses;
to cause one's self to be considered by some as an im-
prudent, by others an unworthy person, and by all as
an enemy to politeness and tolerance,--are the sad re-
suits of raillery against religious observances, raillery,
too, almost always dictated by a desire of showing off
one's talents.
These results take place without any exception;
impious sarcasms constantly do injury to serious
people; but they become still more revolting in the
mouths of females, who, like angels, ought ever to
show themselves lovely, pure, and free from pas


sion; whom Bernardin Saint Pierre designates with
much feeling and justice the pious sex.
We ought not however to proscribe entirely deli-
cate and happy allusions, or comparisons drawn from
the sacred books, and made in a proper spirit. It is
useless, I think, to adduce instances; suffice it to add,
that rigor alone can reprove them, and that the occa-
sion sometimes renders them very seasonable.
As to religious discussions, they above all de-
mand the most reserve and care, since without our
knowledge conscience frequently becomes in them
auxiliary to pride. If then you are unable to com-
mand yourself; if you do not feel enough of logical
power, enough of grace, or at least of exactness of
elocution, to contend with success, avoid controver-
sies; avoid them through fear of committing, in the
eyes of weak people, that religion which you defend,
and of exposing yourself to lasting ridicule. But,
whatever be the skill which you exhibit in eluding
the arguments of your adversary, whatever be your
triumph, and although your disposition should urge
you, never turn a serious discussion into jest; from
that moment you will lose all your advantages,
Sand, although overthrown, your antagonist will re-
cover himself with this just reflection, that nothing
is proved by a jest.'
Finally, while you manifest on every occasion a


sincere and profound respect for religion, beware
above all things of making a proclamation of your
piety. Avoid talking with those in your parish, about
your confessor, and your religious observances. If
you do not distinguish yourself from the crowd, they
will take you for a hypocrite, or a person of small
mind. If you recommend yourself, on the contrary,
by superior merit, they will think that you take
pleasure in showing the contrast which exists be-
tween your exalted talents and your humble faith.
Between ourselves, would they be in the wrong ?



Of Propriety of Conduct in 'Relon to Domestie
Slacz we admit that there are duties of propriety
relative to piety, there are also duties relative to
filial piety, that other worship, that familiar venera.
tion of the Deity, whom our parents represent on
earth. The most sublime, the most touching marks
of religion and of nature unite in commanding us to
love and honor those from whom we have received
life. We shall not offend our readers by supposing
it requisite to insist upon the necessity of fulfilling
a duty which is felt by all correct minds and all
good hearts.
The custom has prevailed of addressing the father
and mother in the second person.* This mark of
great confidence, and affectionate freedom, ought
never to degenerate into an offensive familiarity.
We ought always to address them in a respectful
and kind tone; to anticipate them in every thing,

This is an allusion to the idiom of the French lan.
guage, and is inapplicable in Enghsh.-T.


to ask their advice; to receive their reproofs witn
submission; to be silent with regard to the errors
they may commit; to show them a lively gratitude
on every occasion; in short, whatever advantage you
have over them, be careful to conceal it, and con
sider them always your superiors, your benefactors
and your guides.
Besides the daily marks of deference which we
should show to our parents, there are other particu-
lar attentions for which our affection should seek
every occasion. At certain periods, such as the
new year, the birth day, or day of baptism, we should
offer them tender congratulations, or ingeniously de-
v.sed presents. We are not allowed to dispense with
these delicate attentions. If you have had success
in the sciences or arts, make appropriate presents to
those from whom you have derived the benefits o/
your education.
If you are separated from your father and mother,
write to them frequently; let your style be impressed
with a devoted affection; repeat more particularly at
the end of your letters the sentiments of respect and
PC love with which you should be inspired.
As to what'your uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters
and cousins require of you, you will know what
are the duties of propriety in that respect, if you
feel how dear family ties are; you will show to.


wards some a respectful, and towards the others
a friendly politeness. They should claim on ev-
ery occasion your first visits and your first atten
tions; you should identify yourself with them iL
all their prosperity or adversity; invite them above
all others to fetes and meetings at your house,
unless when you assemble a party on a special occa-
sion, at which they would be entire strangers. You
should always take care to invite your relations by
themselves from time to time, to prove that you
have no intention of slighting them. You may be
more intimate with some of your family, and give
them particular proofs of affection, but at these meet-
ings you will do well to abstain from every act of
Without being at all wanting in cordiality, a little
more ceremony should be used towards your relations
by marriage, to whom you indeed owe as much re
spect as to your own relations




Of Propriety of Conduct in Conjugal and Domrestic

IF any thing can render politeness ridiculous, and
even odious, it is the disposition of certain persons,
who in society are moderate, amiable, and gracious,
but in private show themselves morose, rough, and
ill-natured. This fault, much too common, is one of
the greatest inconsistencies of the human mind.
You use all your exertions to please the world
which you only see cursorily, and in which you
have only power to procure a few moments of pleas-
ure, and you neglect to be agreeable to your hus-
band or wife, from whom you expect the happiness
of a whole life. Perhaps it would be better to be
continually capricious or harsh, for the contrast of
your politeness in the drawing-room with your
impoliteness at home makes you appear still more
odious. Conjugal intimacy, it is true, dispenses
with the etiquette established by politeness, but it
does not dispense with attentions. In the presence
of your wife or husband, you ought never to do
those things which carry with them an idea of dis-
gust, nor perform those duties of the toilet, which


before any one but yourself offend decency and
cleanliness.* One ought never to permit disorder in
his wardrobe under the excuse that he is just up,
or at his own house. To dress with neatness, and
elegant simplicity is important, even at home.
The conversation of husband and wife cannot be
elegant, and sustained in the same manner that it is
in society; it would indeed be superlatively ridicu-
lous that it should not have interruption or relaxa-
tion, but it should be free from all impoliteness
and indelicacy. If at any time the society of your
husband or wife causes you ennui, you ought
neither to say so, nor give any suspicion of the
cause by abruptly changing the conversation. In
all discussions you should watch yourself attentively,
lest domestic familiarity raise itself by degrees to
the pitch of a quarrel. It is especially to females
that this advice is addressed, and to the impressive
words of Scripture, 'woman was not created for
wrath,' we may add these, 'she was created for
To entertain with a politeness particularly affec-
tionate the friends of the person with whom you are
connected by marriage; to respect inviolably the
letters which she writes or receives; to avoid pry

As washing the feet, cutting the nails, &c



ing into the secrets which she conceals from yoo
through delicacy; never to act contrary to her in-
clinations, unless they are injurious to herself, and
even in this case not to oppose her, but to endeavor
to check them with address and kindness; to be-
ware of confiding to strangers or to domestics the
little vexations which she causes you; to dread like
poison marks of contempt, coldness, suspicion, or
reproaches; to apologize promptly and in an affec-
tionate manner if you have allowed yourself to run
into any ill humor; to receive her counsels with
attention and benevolence, and to execute them as
quickly as possible-these are the obligations of pro-
priety and love, to which married persons of gen-
tleness bind themselves, by the sanctity of the
vows which they have taken before God. There
is a still more rigorous duty for a new married
and well married persons; they must abstain in
public from every mark of affection too conspic-
uous, and every exclusive attention. Married per-
sons who, in society, place themselves continual-
ly near one another, and who converse and dance
together, do not escape the ridicule to which their
feelings blind them. In society, we ought above
every thing to avoid being personal; for a husband
or a wife, is another self; and we must forget tha


Mothers, in particular, spare no caresses towards
your children, occupy yourselves entirely with them,
unless perhaps you fear to render them proud, dif.
ficult and insupportable; if you fatigue people by
having them always present, if you encourage or
repeat their prattle and their sports; if, on the
other hand, you treat them with severity before
strangers, if you reprimand or punish them, be as-
sured every one will consider you unreasonable as
well as ridiculous.
Domestic propriety, which is at once a duty of
justice, religion and humanity, is also a source of
peace and pleasure. Servants treated with suitable
regard, are attentive, zealous and grateful, and con-
sequently every thing is done with order and affec-
tion. Who does not know the charm and value of
this ?
Duties of this class require that you should never
command your domestics with hauteur and harsh-
ness. Every time that they render you a service,
it claims an expression, a gesture, or at least a look
of thankfulness; it requires that you should be still
more affectionate towards the domestics of your ac-
quaintances, and especially towards those of your
friends, whom you ought always to treat kindly.
As to your own domestics, you should carefully
beware of addressing to them any confidential or



even useless conversation, for fear of rendering them
insolent or familiar; but propriety requires you to
listen to them with kindness, and give them salutary
advice when it is for their interest. It commands
us also to show them indulgence frequently, in order
to be able, when there is cause, to reprove them
with firmness, without being obliged to have recourse
to the false energy of anger.
The ton of domestics ordinarily announces that of
their masters. Never suffer them to remain seated
while answering distinguished persons who ask for
you. Take care that they do it always in a civil
and polite manner; let them lose no time, if there
is occasion, in relieving your visitors of their over
shoes, umbrellas, cloaks, &c.; let them go before,
to save your visitors the trouble of opening and
shutting the door. When an announcement is
made, let them inform themselves respectfully of
the name of the person, and pronounce it while hold-
ing open for them the door of your room. If you
are not there, let them offer a seat, requesting the
guests to wait a moment while they go to call you.
When visitors take leave, domestics ought to
manifest a promptness in opening the outer door;
they should hold the -door by the handle, while you
converse with the person whom you re-conduct;
they should present them respectfully with what-

BOOK or o! POLiSn 3. 17

ever garments they may have thrown off, and aid
them in again putting them on; and should, if occa.
sion requires, light them to the door, going slowly
behind them.
Accustom your domestics never to appear before
you too poorly, or too much dressed; never to sit in
your presence, especially while waiting upon the
table; not to enter into conversation; never to an-
swer by signs, or in coarse terms.
It is only among the badly educated people of the
small towns that they say, the 'maid,' the 'boy,'
the domestic,' the 'servant;' and among the proud,
ill-bred fashionables, who ape grandeur; the 'lack-
ey,' the valet,' my people;' well-bred persons
simply say, the nurse,' the cook,' the 'chamber-
maid,' &c.; and what is still better, they designate
their domestics by their christian names.
If you have ever met with those merciless house
keepers who give you a whole tariff of the commodi-
ties which they have been to market to purchase,
attended by their maid; who entertain you con-
stantly with the insults and unfaithfulness of their
domestics; who fly into a passion before you on ac-
count of a glass broken, of which they require the
value, and make you witness and judge of pert
discussions occasioned by servants' mistakes; if you
have had the misfortune to dine with such per


sons, and have seen them hand reluctantly to their
sullen maid-servants one key after another, to ar-
range the dessert brought out with a good supply
of ill-humor; if you have seen them go to the
cellar themselves, and when they have just left
the table, to arrange in a surly manner the wine,
sugar, and delicacies, tell me, poor guest, if, turning
your head away with confusion and disgust, you
have not an hundred times said to yourself, '0!
what living and disgusting models of upstarts or
provincials '



Of Propriety as Regards One's Self.

ATTENTION to one's person and reputation is also a
duty. If vanity, pride, or prudery, have frequently
given to these attentions the names of coquetry, am-
bition, or folly, this is a still stronger reason, why we
should endeavor to clear up these points.


Of the Toilet.
Propriety requires that we should always be
clothed in a cleanly and becoming manner, even in
private, in leaving our bed, or in the presence of no
one. It requires that our clothing be in keeping
with our sex, fortune, profession, age, and form, as
well as with the season, the different hours of the
day, and our different occupations.
Let us now descend to the particulars of theie
general rules.
The dress for a man on his first rising, is a cap of
cotton, or silk and cotton, a morning gown, or a
vest with sleeves; for a lady, a small muslin cap



(bonnet de percale,) a camisole or common robe. It
is well that a half corset should precede the full cor-
set, which last is used only when one is dressed,
for it is bad taste for a lady not to be laced at all.
The hair papers which cannot be removed on rising,
(because the hair would not keep in curl till eve-
ning,) should be concealed under a bandeau of lace,
or of the hair. They should be removed as soon as
may be. In this dress, we can receive only intimate
friends, or persons who call upon urgent or indispen-
sable business; even then we ought to offer some
apology for it. To neglect to take off this morning
dress as soon as possible, is to expose one's self to
embarrassments often very painful, and to the ap-
pearance of a want of education. Moreover, it is
well to impose upon yourself a rule to be dressed
at some particular hour, (the earliest possible,) since
occupations will present themselves to hinder your
being ready for the day; and you will easily ac-
quire the habit of this. Such disorder of the toilet
can be excused when it occurs rarely, or for a short
time, as in such cases it seems evidently owing to a
temporary embarrassment; but if it occur daily, or
constantly; if it seems the result of negligence and
slovenliness, it is unpardonable, particularly in ladies,
whose dress seems less designed for clothing than


To suppose that great heat of weather will au-
Jiorize this disorder of the toilet, and will permit us
.o go in slippers, or with our legs and arms bare, or to
ake nonchalant or improper attitudes, is an error of
persons of a low class, or destitute of education.
Even the weather of dog-days would not excuse
this; and if we would remain thus dressed, we must
give directions that we are not at home. On the
other hand, tb think that cold and rainy weather
excuses like liberties, is equally an error. You ought
not to be in the habit of wearing large socks, (this is
addressed particularly to ladies,) as socks of list and
similar materials; much less noisy shoes, such as
wooden ones, galoches lined with fur, shoes with
wooden soles, socks, &c.; this custom is in the worst
taste. When you go to see any one, you cannot
dispense with taking off your socks or clogs before
you are introduced into the room. For to make a
noise in walking is entirely at variance with good
However pressed one may be, a lady of good
ton should not go out in a morning dress, neither
with an apron nor cap, even if it is made of
fine cloth and trimmed with ribands; nor should
a well-bred man show himself in the street in a
waistcoat only, a jacket without sleeves, &c. We
sid before that the dress should be adapted to the



different hours of the day. Ladies should make
morning calls in an elegant and simple n6glig6, all
the details of which we cannot give, on account of
their multiplicity and the numerous modifications
of fashion. We shall only say that ladies generally
should make these calls in the dress which they
wear at home. Gentlemen may call in an outside
coat, in boots and pantaloons, as when they are on
-their ordinary business. In short, this dress is proper
for gentlemen's visits in the middle of the day.
With regard to ladies, it is necessary for them when
visiting at this time, to arrange their toilet with more
care. Ceremonious visits, evening visits, and espe-
cially balls, require more attention to the dress of
gentlemen, and a more brilliant costume for ladies.
There are for the latter, head-dresses particularly
designed for such occasions, and for no other, such
as rich blond caps, ornamented with flowers, bril-
liant berrets and toques, appropriate to the drawing-
The nicest cloth, new and very fine linen, an ele-
gant but plain waistcoat; a beautiful watch, to which
is attached a single costly key, thin and well polished
shoes, an entirely new hat, of a superior quality-
is a dress at once recherche and rigorously exact,
for gentlemen of good taste and ton. One's profession
requires very little modification of this costume;


we should observe, however, that men of science
(savans) and literary men and those in the profession
of the law, should avoid having a fashionable or mil-
itary costume, which is generally adopted by stu-
dents, commercial men, and exquisites, for the sake of
ton, or for want of something to do.
Situation in the world determines among ladies
those differences which, though otherwise well
marked, are becoming less so every day. Every one
knows that whatever be the fortune of a young lady,
her dress ought always, in form as well as orna-
ments, to exhibit less of a recherche appearance, and
should be less showy than that of married ladies.
Costly cashmeres, very rich furs, and diamonds, as
well as many other brilliant ornaments, are to be
forbidden a young lady; and those who act in defi-
ance of these rational marks of propriety make us
believe that they are possessed of an unrestrained
love of luxury, and deprive themselves of the pleas-
ure of receiving these ornaments from the hand of
the man of their choice.
All ladies cannot use indiscriminately the privilege
which marriage confers upon them in this respect,
and the toilet of those whose fortune is moderate
should not pass the bounds of an elegant simplicity.
Considerations of a more elevated nature, as of good
domestic order, the dignity of a wife, and the duties


of a mother, come in support of this law of propriety
for it concerns morality in all its branches.
We must beware of a shoal in this case; frequently
a young lady of small fortune, desiring to appear
decently in any splendid assembly, makes sacrifices
in order to embellish her modest attire. But these
sacrifices are necessarily inadequate; a new and bril-
liant article of dress is placed by the side of a mean
or old one. The toilet then wants harmony, which is
the soul of elegance as well as of beauty. Moreover,
whatever be the opulence which you enjoy, luxury
encroaches so much upon it, that no riches are able
to satisfy its demands; but fortunately propriety, al-
ways in accordance with reason, encourages by this
maxim social and sensible women. Neither too high,
nor too low, it is alike ridiculous either to pretend
to be the most showy, or to display the meanest attire
in an assembly.
The rules suitable to age resemble those which
mediocrity of fortune imposes; for instance, old
ladies ought to abstain from gaudy colors, recherche
designs, too late fashions, and graceful ornaments,
as feathers, flowers, and jewels. A lady in her de-
cline wearing her hair dressed, and having short
sleeves, and adorned with necklaces, bracelets, &c.
offends against propriety as much as against her in.
terest and dignity.


The rigorous simplicity of the dress of men estab-
lishes but very little difference between that of
young and old. The latter, however, ought to choose
grave colors, not to follow the fashions too closely;
to avoid garments too tight or too short, and not to
have in view in their toilet any other object but
ease and neatness. Unless the care of their health,
or complete baldness, requires them to wear a wig,*
it is more proper that old persons should show their
white and noble heads. Old ladies, whom custom
requires to conceal this respectable sign of a long
life, should at least avoid hair too thick or too full of
If they would not appear ridiculous and clothed in
a manner disagreeable or offensive, ladies ought to
adopt in summer light garments, and delicate colors,
and in winter, furs, thick and warm fabrics, and full
colors. Men till lately wre almost free from this
obligation; they used to be constantly clothed in
broadcloth in all seasons: but now, although this may
form the basis of their toilet, they must select stuffs
for winter or summer, as may be suitable. It is in
good ton for gentlemen to wear a rich cloak; an outer
Young people who become bald, should not hesitate
to have recourse to wigs. Nothing more saddens the
appearance, than those bald skulls, which seem always
to invite the observation. of the anatomist



garment over the coat (especially one of silk,) is left
for men of a certain age. It only belongs to septuage-
narians and ecclesiastics to wear doublets or wadded
outer coats.
To finish our instructions relative to the toilet, it
only remains for us to make a few observations.
It is superlatively ridiculous for a lady to go on
foot, with her head dressed or attired for the draw-
ing-room or a ball. If one dwells in a provincial town
where it is not customary to use carriages, they
should go in a sedan chair. Who does not perceive
how laughable it is to see a lady who is clothed in
satin, lace, or velvet, laboriously walking in the dust
or mud.
Vary your toilet as much as possible, for fear that
idlers and malignant wits, who are always a majority
in the world, should amuse themselves by making
your dress the description of your person.
Certain fashionables seek to gain a kind of reputa-
tion by the odd choice of their attire, and by their
eagerness to seize upon the first caprices of the fash-
ions. Propriety with difficulty tolerates these fancies
of a spoilt child: but it applauds a woman of sense
and taste, who is not in a hurry to follow the fashions,
and asks how long they will probably last before
adopting them; finally, who selects and modifies
them with success according to her size and figure.


It would be extremely clownish to carry dirt on
one's shoes into a decent house, especially on a cere-
monious visit; and, when there is much mud, or when
we cannot walk with skill, it is proper to go in a car-
nage, or at least to put in requisition the services of
a shoeblack at a short distance from the house.


Of Reputation.

Among the cares which propriety obliges us to
take of our person, to please is but an accessary cir-
cumstance; the principal end is to indicate by clean-
liness, and the suitableness of apparel, that good order,
a sense of what is right, and politeness in all things,
direct our thoughts and actions. In this point of
view, we see that a regard to reputation is the neces.
sary consequence of the duties of propriety toward
one's self.
To inspire esteem and consideration, is then the
grand object of propriety of conduct; for without this
treasure, the relations of society would be a humilia-
tion and punishment. They are obtained by the dis
charge of our obligations of family and of our pro-
fession; by our probity and good manners; by our
fortune and situation in society.



Consideration is not acquired by words; an article
so precious demands a real value; it demands also the
assistance of discretion. So that we must begin by
fulfilling exactly our duties towards relations, but we
must beware of making public those petty quarrels,
and little differences of interest, of ill-humor or opin-
ion, which sometimes trouble families most closely
united. These momentary clouds, soon dissipated by
affection and confidence, would be engraven on the
memory of others as a proof of your domestic discords,
and in the end, of your faults.*
Probity, that powerful means of obtaining consid-
eration, by its elevated and religious nature, is not
within our investigation of the principles of polite-
This is not the case with that consideration which
is attached to purity of morals. The proof of probity
is in probity itself; but, thanks to the delicate shades
of reputation, in regard to chastity, there exists, in-
dependently of good conduct, a multitude of cares,
and precautions, which, however minute and em
barrassing at times ought never to be neglected. La-
dies, to whom the advice contained in this paragraph

*As to the means' of obtaining consideration, in per-
forming the duties appertaining to our station in life, see
the following chapters.

"oOK of PoutWPEnss.

is particularly addressed, know how the shadow of
suspicion withers and torments them. This shadow,
it is necessary to avoid at all hazards, and on that
account to submit to all the requirements of pro
Young married ladies are at liberty to visit by
themselves their acquaintances, but they cannot pre-
seat themselves in public without their husband, or
an aged lady. They are at liberty however to walk
with young married ladies or unmarried ones, while
the latter should never walk alone with their compan-
ions. Neither should they show themselves except
with a gentleman of their family, and then he should
be a near relation or of respectable age.
Except in certain provincial towns, where there is a
great strictness in behavior, young married ladies re-
ceive the visits of gentlemen; they permit their com*
pany in promenades, without suffering the least injury
to their reputation, provided it is always with men of
good morals, and that they take care to avoid every
appearance of coquetry. Young widows have equal
liberty with married ladies.
A lady ought not to present herself alone in a li
brary, or a museum, unless she goes there to study
or work as an artist.
A lady ought to have a modest and measured gait,
too great hurry injures the grace which ought to



characterize her. She should not turn her head on
one side and the other, especially in large towns,
where this bad habit seems to be an invitation to the
impertinent. If such persons address her in any
flattering or insignificant terms, she should take
good care not to answer them a word. If they per-
sist, she should tell them in a brief and firm, though
polite tone, that she desires to be left to herself. If
a man follow her in silence, she should pretend not
to perceive him, and at the same time hasten a little
her step.
Towards the close of the day, a young lady would
conduct herself in an unbecoming manner, if she
should walk alone; and if she passes the evening with
any one, she ought to see that a domestic comes to
accompany her, if not, to request the person whom
she is visiting, to allow some one to do so. But
however much this may be considered proper, and
consequently an obligation, a married lady well edu-
cated will disregard it if circumstances prevent her
being able, without trouble, to find a conductor.
If the master of the house wishes to accompany
you himself, you must excuse yourself politely from
giving him so much trouble, but finish however by
accepting. On arriving at your house, you should
offer him your thanks. In order to avoid these two
inconveniences, it will be well to request your hus-


band, or some one of your relations to come and wait
upon you; you will in this way avoid still another
inconvenience; in small towns, where malice is ex-
cited by ignorance and want of something to do, they
frequently censure the most innocent acts; it is not
uncommon to hear slanderous and silly gossips ob-
serve, that madame such-a-one goes to madame such-
a-one's for the sake of returning with her husband.
The seeds of such an imputation, once sown, quickly
come to maturity.
The care of the reputation of ladies further de-
mands, that they should have a modest deportment,
should abstain from forward manners, and flee

5 D



Of Propriety, in Regard to One's Business or Pro-

BESIDES general politeness, that ready money which
is current with all, there is a polite deportment suit.
ed to every profession. Interest, custom, and the
desire of particular esteem, the necessity of moderat-
ing the enthusiasm which almost constantly animates
us;-are the motives which determine the different
kinds of politeness that we are going to consider as
regards shopkeepers, people in office, lawyers, phy.
sicians, artists, military men, and ecclesiastics. As
all this politeness is mutual, we shall necessarily
speak of the obligations imposed upon people who
have intercourse with these different persons.


Politeness of Shopkeepers and Customers.

Politeness in shopkeepers is a road to fortune,
which the greater part of them are careful not to
neglect, especially at Paris, where we find particu.
larly the model of a well-bred shopkeeper. It is

BOOK or P.L.TrmSS.

this model that we wish to hold up even to some Pa
risians, and to the retail dealers of the provincial
towns, as well as to those who are unacquainted with
trade, but are destined to that profession.
When a customer calls, the shopkeeper should sa-
lute him politely, without inquiring after his health,
unless he be intimately acquainted with him. He
then waits until the customer has made known his
wishes, advances toward him, or brings forward a
seat; then shows him, with great civility, the articles
for which he has inquired. If the purchaser be diffi-
cult to suit, capricious, ridiculous, or even disdainful,
the shopkeeper ought not to appear to perceive it*
ie may, however, in such cases, show a little cold-
ness of manner.
The part which shopkeepers have to act is fre-
quently painful, we must allow; there are some peo-
ple who treat them like servants; there are some
capricious fashionables, who go into a shop only to
pass the time, to see the new fashions, and who
with this object, make the shopkeeper open a hun.
dred bundles, show heaps of goods, and finish by
going out, saying in a disdainful tone, that nothing
suits them. There are some merciless purchasers
who contend for a few cents with all the tenacity of
avarice, obstinacy and pride; however, under all
these vexations, the shopkeeper mast show constant



urbanity. He waits upon such imperious purchasers
with readiness, but nevertheless in silence, for he
must be convinced that the more complying we are
to people of this sort, the more haughty and difficult
they show themselves.
With capricious fashionables, his patience should
never forsake him; and although he well knows what
will be the result of their fatiguing call, he neverthe-
less should show them his goods, as if he thought
they really intended to buy; for sometimes this
tempts them to purchase. Even though his polite-
ness should be all lost, he should still express his
regret at not having been able to suit the lady, and
hope to be more fortunate another time; he should
then conduct her politely to the door, which he should
hold open until her carriage leaves it.
A shopkeeper who wishes to save time, words, and
vexation, who even feels the dignity of his profes-
sion, ought to sell at a fixed price, or if he does not
announce that he sells in that mode, he ought at least
to adopt it, and not to have what is ca led an asking
prior. If, however, he has to do with those gossips
who think themselves cheated unless something is
abated, or who design to impose sacrifices on the
shopkeepers, it is necessary to carry on this ridicu-
lous skirmisling politely, and to yield by degrees,
without exhibiting any marks of displeasure at these


cndless debates. But the dealer of bon ton abstains
from those lofty assurances, those laughable adjura-
tions, declarations of loss, and of preference, as, I lose
all profit, it is because it is you, and other foolish
things, which make a lackey's office of a truly re-
spectable profession.
The clerks should carry the articles purchased to
the desk, whither they should politely conduct t.e
purchaser; they then should make up the bundle
which they should not deliver until the bill is set
tied, and the purchaser is ready to depart. If the
latter is not on foot, the bundle should not be deliv-
ered until he is seated in a carriage, and the door is
ready to be shut. If, on the contrary, the purchaser
is not in a carriage, he must be asked whether he
wishes to have the bundle carried home. This po-
liteness is indispensable if the bundle is large, and es-
pecially if the purchaser be a lady.
It is further necessary that the person at the desk
should offer small change for the balance of the pur
chase and should apologize if he is obliged to give
copper or heavy money; he ought to present a bill
of the articles, and not show any ill-humor if the pur-
chaser thinks proper to look over it.
There is one circumstance which tries the polite-
ness of the most civil shopkeepers; it is when an
assortment is wanted. It is indeed irksome enough



to show a great quantity of goods, and give patterns
of them, with the certainty almost that all you do
will avail nothing. But it ought not to be forgotten,
that like all other qualities, politeness has its trials,
and that perhaps the person who has thus chanced
to call at their shop, will be induced by this amenity
of behavior, to continue always a customer.
We trust that the shopkeepers' clerks, in the re-
commendations which we are now about to give
them, will not see any silly attempt to address them
with smart sayings.
By enjoining upon them to avoid volubility--a
disrespectful familiarity toward ladies-extravagant
praises of their goods-an affected zeal in serving
rich persons-an impolite tardiness, and disdainful
inattention to people of a diffident manner-the ri-
diculous habit of wishing to make conversation-to
urge people to buy whether they wish to or not-
to stun them with the names of all the goods in the
shop-by enjoining upon them to avoid these things,
we intend less to unite in, than to preserve them from
the reproaches of fault-finders.
Every civility ought to be reciprocal, or nearly so.
If the officious politeness of the shopkeeper does
not require an equal return, he has at least a claim
to civil treatment; and, finally, if this politeness
Proceed from interest, is this a reason why purchase


ers should add to the unpleasantness of his profes-
son, and disregard violating the laws of politeness?
Many very respectable people allow themselves so
many infractions in this particular, that I think it my
duty to dwell upon it.
You should never say, I want such a thing, but
have the goodness to show me, or show me, if you
please, that article, or use some other polite form of ad-
dress. If they do not show you at first the articles
you desire, and you are obliged to examine a great
number, apologize to the shopkeeper for the trouble
you give him. If after all you cannot suit yourself,
renew your apologies, when you go away.
If you make small purchases, say, I ask your par
don, or I am sorry for having troubled you for so tri-
fling a thing. If you spend a considerable time in
the selection of articles, apologize to the shopkeeper
who waits for you to decide.
If the price seems to you too high, and the
shop has not fixed prices, ask an abatement in brief
and civil terms, and without ever appearing to sus-
pect the good faith of the shopkeeper. If he does
not yield, do not enter into a contest with him, but
go away, after telling him politely that you think
you can obtain the article cheaper elsewhere, but if
not, that you will give him the preference. If his
clerk inquires whether you wish for any other



article, answer always in a manner to encourage
him that you will call again. We should never ne
glect to be agreeable. Thank him always when you
go out.


Politeness between Persons in Office and the Public.

This kind of politeness is not much famed; nor can
it be, since the desire of pleasing and the expectation
of gain, have here no influence. Besides, as we re-
main but a moment with these gentlemen, and as
they have business with a great many people, the
observances and forms of politeness would be mis-
placed. The following are points to be observed by
them, and are by no means rigid; the greater there-
fore the reason for conforming to them.
A man in office is not obliged to rise and salute
people, nor to offer them a seat; it is enough for
him to receive them by an inclination of the head,
and make a sign with the hand, to intimate to them
to be seated The business being finished, he salutes
them on leaving, as before, but never conducts them
back to the door. It would be ridiculous to be of
fended with these bureaucratic forms, and still more
so, to wish to enter into conversation, to make inqui


ties concerning the health, &c. In proportion to
their official habits, those in office ought, in society
to watch themselves with care.


Politeness of Lawyers and their Clients.

Politeness is a very difficult thing for this respect
ble class, who see constantly before their eyes peo-
ple under the influence of a feeling which renders
them little amiable, namely, interest. Besides, being
in the habit of refuting their adversaries, and being
obliged to do it promptly, they acquire, in general, a
kind of bluntness, a decisive tone, a spirit of contra-
diction, against which they ought to be on their guard
in company, as also in their places of business. The
familiar usage of common inquiries after the health is
not customary between attorneys or advocates and
their clients, unless they hate before been acquaint-
ed with them. They are however bound to observe
attentions which are not practised by persons in
office. They rise to salute their clients, offer them
a seat, and conduct them to the door when they
take leave; they observe what is due to sex, rank,
and age.
As to clients, they ought to conform to the ordis



nary rules of civility; they ought, moreover, not
to exhibit any signs of impatience while waiting
until they can be received. They should take
care to be clear and precise in the narration of
their business, and not to importune by vain repeti-
tions or passionate declamations, the counsellor who
is listening to them. They should also consider
that his moments are precious, and retire as soon as
they shall have sufficiently instructed him in their


Politeness of Physicians and their Patients.

The observances adopted in the offices of lawyers,
are likewise practised in regard to physicians; but
sympathy should give to the tone or manner of
the latter a more affectionate character. Patients,
well educated, will beware of abusing it, and will
keep to themselves all complaints which are useless
towards a knowledge of their malady. They will
answer the questions of the doctor in a clear, brief
and polite manner; and when these questions do not
embrace the observations which they may themselves
have made on their disorder, they will say so, at the
same time offering some excuse like the following; I

"IoK 01 POLTw4eess. 41

ak wyur pardon; this observation is perhaps idle, but
being myself ignorant, and wishing to omit nothing
I submit it to your good judgment.
You ought to give frequent and heartfelt thanks
to the physician who affords you his advice or atten.
tions. The circumstance of his being unsuccessful
does not exonerate you from these testimonies of
gratitude; it renders them perhaps more obligatory.
"or delicacy requires that you should not appear
.acitly to reproach him on account of his having
neen unfortunate in his efforts.
Being obliged to speak of different wants and of
different parts of the body, for which politeness has
no appropriate language, the physician ought to
avoid being obscure or gross, particularly when ad.
dressing ladies. A forgetfulness of these forms often
renders insupportable even a meritorious and learned'
Every one knows, with what delicate precautions
a physician ought to speak before the patient and
his family, of the nature of the illness and of the
probable consequences when there exists any danger;
in what guarded terms he should at last disclose to
them a fatal termination, if unfortunately it has be.
tome inevitable. Every body knows, also, that how.
ever poignant may be the grief of parents, they
ought never to let it appear in their conversations


with the physician, that they regard him as th
caure of their affliction.


Politeness of Artists and Authors, and the Deference
due to them.

Do artists come under the common rule, it may
perhaps be asked ? and I, in my turn, shall ask : Do
they live like others,- these men, always absorbed
in one strong and single conception, with which
they, like the Creator, wish to animate matter?-
who seek every where the secret of the beautiful
which goads, infatuates, and evades them ? pas.
sIonate, absorbed in thought, ingenuous, almost al-
ways strangers to calculation, to pleasure, and to
the occupations of the world ? No, they have a
separate existence, one which the world does not
comprehend, and which they ought to conceal from
the world.
If, as we shall see .hereafter, one should avoid
speaking of his profession, and of his personal affairs,
for a still stronger reason, ought an artist to be silent
about his own labors, his success, and his hopes.
People will accuse him of arrogance, of vanity, and
perhaps even of madness; for enthusiasm is not : -


eluded in, nor admitted into society, because there
the ridiculous is feared above every thing, and from
the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step. Let
him, then, reserve only for his friends, for true friends
of the arts, his noble and striking bursts of inspira-
People are also generally prone to suspect artists
of jealousy. In order to escape this accusation, and
at the same time preserve the right of telling their
thoughts, they ought to commend warmly what ap-
pears to them good, and criticise with much modera
tion and without any raillery what is defective.
These observations are addressed equally to au-
thors, but with this important addition. Besides the
charge of arrogance, people are much disposed to ac.
cuse them of pedantry. Let them therefore be care-
ful, and check constantly the desire of entering into
conversation upon the interesting subjects with
which they are continually occupied. Let them al.
ways be in fear of obtaining the name of a bel esprit,
a name which calls up so many recollections of ped-
antry and affectation.
S A graceful simplicity, a happy mixture of eleva-
tion and nalveth, should characterise authors and
artists, but particularly female authors and artists.
Ladies who handle the pen, the lyre, or the pen.
Qil, ought to be well persuaded that any vestige


of prejudice raises against them, especially in pro-
vincial places, a multitude of unfavorable observa-
tions. And besides, so many half-instructed women
have had so much the air and manners of upstarts,
that this opinion is almost excusable. Now this
prejudice lays it down as a rule, that every female
author or artist may be known at first sight, by her
oddities, her want of modesty, or her pedantic folly.
Do away this unjust prejudice, my female friends:
it will be both easy and pleasant; you will have only
to follow the influence of an elevated soul, and pure
taste; you will have but to remind yourselves that
simplicity is the coquetry of genius.
But if people who cultivate literature and the arts
ought to apply themselves without reluctance or ill-
humor to all the requirements of society; if they
ought to strip themselves of all pretension, and for-
get themselves, others should not forget them. Po-
liteness requires that we converse with an author
concerning his works; that we congratulate him
on his success; and bestow upon him suitable and
delicate praises. If any of his works are unknown to
us, we should ask of him the loan of it with earnest-
ness; we should read it with promptitude, and prove
to him by our citations that we have a thorough ac-
quaintance with it. If he make us a present of any
of his productions, we shall owe him a call, or at


least a billet of thanks. Handsome compliments,
and lively testimonials of acknowledgment, ought to
fill up this visit or billet. Remember, also, that to
please an artist, it is necessary to flatter at once his
taste, his self-esteem, and his cultivation of the fine
arts. Speak to him, therefore, like a connoisseur or
at least an admirer of music, or of painting. Ask the
favor of seeing his pictures, or of hearing his sym-
phonies. Contemplate the former a long time) 1us
ten to the latter with great attention; address to him
lively congratulations mingled with thanks; then, by
an adroit transition, put to him questions which prove
your desire to be initiated into a knowledge of the
When an artist or a writer obtains any honorable
distinction, as a prize, a medal, dramatic success, or
an academical title, his friends and acquaintances
should lose no time in offering him their compli-
ments. Those at a distance may perform this duty of
politeness by writing
Not only authors by profession, but literary per-
sons who publish a discourse, a little work, or a
pamphlet, should send, in an envelope, a copy to
their family, friends, professional brethren, authors
who have addressed to them similar presents, to their
intimate acquaintances, their superiors, and to those
persons to whom they owe respect-according to the



nature of the work,--and to the people with whom
they have relations of plersure, or of business. It is
an affectionate and very polite custom for the author
to write with his own hand at the top of the first leaf,
or of the cover, some kind or respectful words, ac-
cording to the person to whom it is addressed. These
words, which are designed to make of the gift a re-
membrance or homage, are always written under the
name of the person, and signed by the author. We
will here speak of a dedication only to observe,
that we cannot dedicate a work to any one, without
having previously obtained his consent, either ver-
bally or by writing. When it is to the king, queen,
or princes, it is necessary to write to their secretary,
to know their wish in this respect. As to any oth-
er person of dignity, we may write to him without
any intermediate agency. If the members of the
royal family have accepted the dedication, the author
as generally allowed the honor of presenting his work
to them.

Politeness of Military .Men.

Military politeness has, as we know, some partic-
ular characteristics. Officers and soldiers do not
uncover themselves on entering a church, if they are


under arms; only during the elevation of the host,*
they raise the right hand to the front part of their
helmet, cap, or shako.t When soldiers converse
with their superiors, they constantly hold the edge
of the hand to their forehead. On entering a draw-
ing room an officer lays down his sabre or sword.
It is not in good ton for a man to present himself
before ladies, in the uniform of the national guard,
unless some circumstance excuses or authorises this
In a citizen's dress, officers may wear a black
If we are acquainted with military men, in address-
ing them, we call them only general, or captain; for
it would be uncivil to give them the title of an infe-
rior grade; thus we should not say lieutenant.

This has reference, of course, to Catholic countries
t A kind of military cap.






Politeness of Ecclesiastics and Females of Religious
Orders; and the Deference due to them.*

A priest should be considered in two points of
view; when he is exercising his holy office, and
when he is taking part in the relations of society.
In the first case, he is an object of special respect;
even the title to be given him, the words to be ad-
dressed to him, and the attitude to be taken in speaking
to him, are regulated by the liturgy. But, although
the ecclesiastic be not now in society an object of
religious veneration, he has, as the representative
of God, or as a minister of the altar, a claim to much
respect and deference. Too light conversation, danc-
ing and love songs, would be out of place in his
Ecclesiastics have two shoals to avoid. Their cus.
tom of preaching a severe and sacred morality, and
of catechising or censuring with authority the pen-

See note page 2.


itent, gives them sometimes a dogmatical and rigid
tone, a pedantry of morality altogether contrary to
social affability. Sometimes, also, to guard against
this result, which they feel to be almost inevitable,
ecclesiastics, especially the more aged, indulge them-
selves in unsuitable pleasantries, which they would
not dare to allow in men of the world. A mild gravity,
a moderate gaiety, a noble and affectionate urbanity
-these are the characteristics which ought to dis-
tinguish the ecclesiastic, in society.





Of Deportment in the Street.

SOME readers will perhaps be surprised to see me
commence a chapter with the duty we owe to persons
passing in the street; but if they reflect upon it, they
will see that there are, even on this subject, a suffi-
cient number of things proper to be mentioned.
When you are passing in the street, and see coming
towards you a person of your acquaintance, whether
a lady, a man raised to dignity, or an elderly person,
you should offer them the wall, that is to say, the
side next the houses.
If a carriage happen to stop in such a manner as
to leave only a narrow passage between it and the
houses, beware of elbowing and rudely crowding the
passengers, with a view to getting by more expedi-
tiously: wait your turn, and if any one of the per-
sons before mentioned comes up, you should edge up


tO the wall, in order to give them the place. They
also. as they pass, ought to bow politely to you.
If stormy weather has made it necessary to lay a
plank across the gutters, which have become sud-
denly full of water, it is not proper to crowd before
another, in order to pass over the frail bridge.
Further,-a young man of good breeding should
promptly offer his hand to ladies, even if they are not
acquaintances, when they pass such a place.
You must pay attention to your manner of walking,
for fear of throwing mud around you, and spattering
yourself as well as those who accompany you, or who
walk behind you. Any person, particularly a lady,
who walks in this improper manner, whatever her
education may be in other respects, will always ap-
pear awkward and clumsy.
Every one knows that the Parisian ladies are cel-
ebrated for their skill in walking: we see them in
white stockings and thin shoes, passing through
long, dirty, blocked up streets, gliding by care-
less persons, and by vehicles crossing each other in
every direction, and yet return home after a walk of
several hours, without soiling their clothes in the
To arrive at this astonishing result, which causes
the wonder and vexation of provincial visitors on
their first coming to Paris, we must be careful to put



the foot on the middle of the paving stones, and
never on the edges, for, in that case, one inevitably
slips into the interstice between one pavement and
another: we must begin by supporting the toe, be
fore we do the heel; and even when the mud is quite
deep, we must put down the heel but seldom. When
the street becomes less muddy, we can compensate
ourselves for this fatigue, of which, however, in the
end, we are hardly sensible.
This manner of walking is strictly necessary when
you offer your arm to any one. When tripping over
the pavement, (as the saying is) a lady should grace
fully raise her dress a little above her ancle. With
the right hand she should hold together the folds of
her gown and draw them towards the right side. To
raise the dress on both sides, and with both hands, is
vulgar. This ungraceful practice can be tolerated
only for a moment, when the mud is very deep.
It is an important thing in the streets of a large
city to edge one's self along; that is to avoid jostling
and being jostled by those who are passing. A neg.
lect of this attention, will make you appear not only
awkward and ridiculous, but you will receive or give
dangerous blows. One can edge along by turning
sideways, contracting his arms, and watching with
his eye the direction which it is best to take in order
not to come in contact with the person who meets


bim. A little practice and care will soon make tins
duty familiar.
To make our way along, becomes more difficult
when we have a packet or an umbrella to carry, es-
pecially if the latter is open. It is then necessary to
lower or raise it, or to turn it on one side. If you
neglect these precautions, you run the risk of striking
it against those who are coming and going, or of see-
ing it twirled round, and of being thrown against a
carriage, or against some one who will complain bit-
terly of your incivility and awkwardness.
If you have no umbrella, and find yourself over-
taken by a sudden shower, and any person provided
with one is going in the same direction, you may re-
quest them to shelter you; they should receive your
request with much politeness, inform themselves of
the place where you wish to stop, and offer to con-
duct you there, unless it is too much out of the way,
or they be pressed for business; in this case, they
should express their regret at not being able to ac-
company you so far as you wish.
What we are now about to say, proves that a per-
son truly polite, will not wait for you to make this
request, but will use every exertion to anticipate it:
we must observe however, whether age, sex, or dress,
present no objection; for sometimes one would be
treated with ill-humor and contempt; and if you ar



a lady, particularly arrived at a certain age, it would
be extremely unpleasant to accost a person, who, on
his part, ought never to offer thistfavor, nor any other,
to ladies, and whose air and immodest manners indi-
cate at once his vulgarity. It would be equally out
of place to address such a request to those of a very
low class; but if such a one asks the favor of you,
it is proper to receive it with politeness.
Another not uncommon point of propriety to be
observed, consists in asking and pointing out the
different streets. If you have occasion for this ser-
vice, you speak politely, and say in a kind tone,
Madam, or Sir, where is such a street, if you please?
You should be careful to give this title to persons
whom you address, even if they should be porters or
hucksters. It is particularly to these that you should
have recourse, for in addressing persons passing by,
you are liable to meet those who, as well as your-
self, are strangers to the neighborhood, or to hinder
those who are busy; it is moreover, impolite to
trouble shopkeepers in their places of business. The
direction being given us, we should thank them, at
the same time bowing. Parisians are justly celebrat-
ed for the politeness and complaisance with which
they show the way to passengers, and you ought to
imitate them, every time that occasion offers. If
you are a man, and a lady or distinguished person


ssa& this favor of you, you should take off your hat
while answering them.
There are some ill-mannered and malicious persons,
who take pleasure in misleading strangers by wrong
directions. It will be enough to mention such imper-
tinence in order to despise it as we ought.
As to those young men who entertain a false idea
that Parisian ladies are coquettes or forward in their
manners, and besides, that every thing is allowable
in a large city, let them be assured that a man who
dares (as often happens) to address improper compli-
ments to ladies, to follow them, to listen to their con-
versation, or to finish a sentence which they have
begun, is a model of rudeness, an object of aversion
to ladies, and of contempt to gentlemen. A young
man of good manners ought not to look at a lady too
narrowly, or he will pass for an impertinent fellow
who, as the saying is, stares people full in the face,
(sous le nez.)
It is especially when there are many persons as-
sembled in one place that these boors play off their
rude tricks, to which they give the name of hoaxes
for the multitude; at first because they are unper-
ceived, and afterwards, because the least bad among
them think that the crowd are out of the jurisdiction
of propriety. This opinion, which obtains among
some persons, is an error. Politeness becomes still


56 GRTL7MMIh AND L&)t'5

more indispensable, in proportion to the assembage.
Why are crowds usually so disagreeable, and even
dangerous? It is because they are composed of
people without education, who rudely push against
their neighbours, with their fist or elbow, who neglect
to follow the movement of going and coming, who,
on occasion of the slightest collision, raise loud com-
plaints, and, by their lamentations, their cries, and
continual trepidation, render insupportable a situa-
tion which, without this, would be troublesome
When we meet, in the street, a person of our ac-
quaintance, we salute them, if there is occasion, by
knowing and uncovering ourselves. Sometimes it is
not enough to give a simple salutation, but we must
go to the person and inquire how they are, if we see
them frequently. While we are speaking, if there
is occasion, and it be a lady, or an aged and respect-
able man, we remain uncovered: it is fbr the latter,
who see how troublesome this politeness is in win-
ter, to insist that the person addressing them should
put on his hat. It also belongs to the person who is
the more important of the two, to take leave first.
For example, in a meeting of this kind, a gentleman
never leaves a lady until she takes leave of him; nor
is a young lady allowed to leave first a married or
elderly lady. During this interview, which should


be very short, the speaker of least importance ought
to take the lower part of the side-walk, in order to
keep the person with whom he is conversing, from
the neighborhood of the carriages. It would be su-
premely ridiculous to enter into a long conversation,
and thus detain, against their will, the person ac-
costed. If we have any thing urgent to say, we
may ask permission to accompany them. We will
add, that at Paris, a young man ought to avoid ap-
proaching, and even saluting a young lady of his
acquaintance, out of regard to the natural timidity of
her sex.
If there is a stranger with the one whom we meet,
we must be contented with saluting the latter with-
out stopping, otherwise we put his companion in a
disagreeable position. This civility becomes a rigor-
ous duty if they are accompanied by a lady. An-
cient gallantry required that in this last case, we not
only should not stop, but still more, that we should
not salute an acquaintance, or friend who may pass;
this is in order not to force her companion to salute
an unknown person (for one should bow every time
that the person bows with whom we are;) but this
custom may be modified. If it is a friend, or young
man, one may be content with making merely a mo-
tion ; but if it be an elderly man, a distinguished
character, or a lady, it is necessary to salute them,



saying to the companion: I take the liberty to salute
Mr. or Madam JN.
If a person of your acquaintance is at a window, and
you are thought to perceive them, you ought to address
to them a salutation. But it is necessary to avoid
speaking to them from the street, or making signs,
for this is a custom of bad ton.
To enter into a long conversation with common and
low people, who make their door-step their parlor,
shows you to be almost as ill bred as they themselves



Of Different Kinds of Visits.

VISITS are a very important part of the social rela-
tions, they are not merely the simple means of corn
municatipn established by necessity, since they have
at once for their object, duty and pleasure, and they
enter into almost all the acts of life.
There are many kinds of visits, but we shall con-
fine ourselves to the principal ones; as for those
which only occur under peculiar circumstances, the
reader will find them mentioned in the course of this
work. The first are the visits on new year's day,
next, those of friendship and of ceremony: we shall
not speak of visits of business, as what we have said
in speaking of propriety in relation to different pro-
fessions, will dispense with our entering into new
At the return of each new year, custom and duty re-
quire us to present ourselves to our relations first;
afterwards to our patrons, our friends, and those who
have done any kindness for us.
These visits are divided into several classes; those
of the evening or afternoon, which are the most
polite; of the morning, which are the most friendly



and respectful; by cards, and presenting one's self,
and by cards without presenting one's self; visits
weekly, which are confined to acquaintances with
whom we have not very close relations; monthly
which are less ceremonious, but however partake
of coldness: it is at Paris more than any other
place, that these visits are permitted; such calls de-
mand much attention to the toilet; they should be
as short as possible; a visit of quarter of an hour is
long enough, and we should be careful to retire when
other persons come in.
It should appear ridiculous to wish persons a hap-
py new year, in ceremonious visits.
I shall not mention friendly calls, except to re-
mind my readers, that almost all ceremony should
be dispensed with. They are made at all hours,
without preparation, without dressing; a too bril-
liant attire would be out of place, and if the engage
ments of the day carry you in such a costume to the
house of a friend, you ought obligingly to make an
explanation. Should you not find them at home, do
not leave a card; such useless ceremony would as-
tonish your friends. Merely remind the domestics
to mention your calling, and leave your card, only
when the servants are absent; then the card should
be rolled up, and put in the key-hole. It will be well
to call again soon.



With a friend, or relation whom we treat as such,
we do not keep an account of our visits. The one
who has most leisure, calls upon him who has the
least; but this privilege ought not to be abused; it
is necessary to make our visits of friendship at suita-
ble times.
On the contrary, a visit of ceremony should never
be made without keeping an account of it, and we
should even remember the intervals at which they
are returned; for it is indispensably necessary to let
a similar interval elapse. People in this way give
you notice whether they wish to see you often or
seldom. There are some persons whom one goes to
see once in a fortnight, others once a month, &c.;
others, however, less frequently. In order not to
omit visits, which are to be made, or to avoid making
them from misinformation, when a preceding one
has not been returned, persons who have an exten-
sive acquaintance, will do well to keep a little memo
randum for this purpose.
We cannot make ceremonious visits in a becom-
ing manner, if we have any slight indisposition which
may for the time affect our appearance, or voice-
which may embarrass our thoughts, and render
our company fatiguing; such for instance as a
swelled face, cold, or a slight headache; in that case
it would appear impolite and familiar. On the


contrary, make visits of friendship under such cir.
cumstances, and then you will appear more amiable
and zealous.
To take a suitable time, is as indispensable in visit-
ing, as in any thing else.
One can obtain this, by remembering the habits of
the person he is going to see; by making his ar-
rangements so as not to call at the time of taking
meals, in moments of occupation, and when his
friends are walking. This time necessarily varies;
but as a general rule we must take care not to make
ceremonious visits, either before the middle of the
day, or after five o'clock. To do otherwise would,
on the one hand, look like importunity, by presenting
one's self too early; and on the other, might interfere
with arrangements that had been made for the eve-
After making one's toilet with care, visitors should
furnish themselves with cards, that is, with small
pieces of card or pasteboard, upon which their name
is printed or well written. Gentlemen ought simply
to put their cards into their pocket, but ladies may
carry them in a small elegant portfolio, called a card
case. This they can hold in their hand, and it
will contribute essentially (with an elegant handker-
chief of embroidered cambric,) to give them an air of
good taste


We shall here make a digression in relation to
cards. It was not considered impolite, formerly, to
take the cards of a cast off pack, cut them crosswise
into three parts, and write one's name upon them;
this, however, is now a subject of ridicule, and is
only seen in provincial towns, where they some-
times also substitute for these cards small pieces of
thick paper. Next to these cards come those made
of thin pasteboard, smooth, gilt-edged, watered, and
intended to have the name in writing. These are
suitable for young gentlemen and young ladies, and
they answer for half ceremonious visits. After these
come lithographic cards, then printed ones, ana last
those which are engraved. Some cards are figured
in a rich manner, presenting every degree of expen-
sive elegance. Every one will choose these accord-
ing to his taste; but it is well to observe that cards
ornamented with borders, and those of the color of
the rose, and sky blue,.are not suitable for men, nor
for ladies of mature years, because they have an air
of over-nicety.
The title is usually placed under the name, and in
large cities, the address, at the bottom of the card
and in smaller letters. Mourning cards are sur-
mounted with a black margin; half mourning ones are
of a bright gray.
It is bad ton to keep the cards you have received



around the frame of a looking glass; such an expo-
sure shows that you wish to make a display of the
names of distinguished visitors. At the beginning of
a new year, or when from some cause or other which
multiplies visitors at your house, (such as a funeral
or a marriage,) you are obliged to return these nu-
merous calls, it is not amiss to preserve the cards
in a convenient place, and save yourself the trouble
of writing a list; but if, during the year, your glass
is always seen bristling with smoke-dried cards, it
will be attributed without doubt, to an ill-regulated
self-esteem. But let us return to our visitors.
If the call is made in a carriage, the servant will
ask if the lady you wish to see is at home. If per-
sons call in a hired carriage, or on foot, they go
themselves to ask the servants. Servants are con-
sidered as soldiers on duty; if they reply that the
person has gone out, we should by no means urge
the point, even if we were certain it was not the
case; and if by chance we should see the person,
we should appear not to have noticed it, but leave
our card and retire. When the servant informs us
that the lady or gentleman is unwell, engaged in
business, or dining, we must act in a similar man-
We should leave as many cards as there are per-
sons we wish to see in the house; for example, one

BooF OF POLItWltSS. 68

for the husband, another for his wife, another for the
aunt, &o. When admitted, we should lay aside our
overshoes, umbrella, cloak, &c. in the antechamber;
even ladies should lay aside their cloaks in the houses
of distinguished persons. In the provincial towns
they commonly keep them on. We are then an-
nounced by the servant, if it is the custom of the
house, or at least we wait until (without announcing
us,) he opens the door of the apartment.
In case of the absence of the servants, you ought
not to enter immediately, but knock gently with the
finger, and wait until some one opens the door or
bids you come in. If he does neither, you open the
door slowly and softly: should you find no one, do
not go about and open other doors, or pass into an
inner room, but retrace your steps immediately, re.
turn to the ante-room, and remain until some one
comes to give you an introduction. If you are
obliged to stay very long, you can leave your card on
a piece of furniture or with the porter. This is a
case of rare occurrence, but it is well to provide for
it, in order not to be taken unawares. When admit-
ted, a gentleman presents himself with his hat in
his hand, and advancing towards the lady, salutes
her gracefully and respectfully. As soon as he ob-
serves the lady is looking for a seat to offer him, he
must lose no time in providing one for himself (com


only a chair) which he places towards the door by
which he entered, and at some distance from the
lady, to whom he should leave the upper part of the
room. He ought by no means to sit, except she is
seated; and holding his hat upon his knee must not
balance himself or sink down in his chair, but pre-
serve an easy, polite and becoming attitude. It would
be familiar and bad ton to put down the hat or cane,
before the gentleman, and particularly the lady of
the house, has invited you to do so. Even then it is
proper to refuse, and not to do it until asked two or
three times. In putting down the hat, we should not
do it carelessly, nor ought we to place it on a couch,
for this is impolite. The couch, which in ancient
times was regarded as a sanctuary, ought neither to
be touched nor approached by a man. It is best to
put the hat on a bracket or chandelier stand, &c.
The lady of a house does not attempt to take the hats
of gentlemen, except she wishes to treat them with
familiarity, which is seldom done in calls of pure
These remarks will apply also to ladies. Within
fifteen years past it has been their custom to take off
their.hats and shawls; but that supposes an intima-
cy, which would authorise their abstaining from it
at the houses of those with whom they are not much
acquainted; and, if they are invited to lay them aside,



they should refuse. The short time devoted to a
ceremonious visit, the necessity of consulting a glasq
in replacing the head-dress, and of being assisted in
putting on the shawl, prevent ladies from accepting
the invitation to lay them aside. If they are slightly
familiar with the person they are visiting, and
wish to be more at ease, they should ask permission,
which we should grant them, at the same time rising
to assist them in taking off their hat and shawl. An
arm-chair, or a piece of furniture at a distant part of
the room should receive these articles; they should
not be placed upon the couch, without the mistress
of the house puts them there. At the house of a
person we visit habitually, we can lay them aside
without saying a word, and a lady can even adjust
her hair and handkerchief, (ficher) before the glass,
provided she occupies only a few moments in doing
If the person you call upon is preparing to go out,
or to sit down at table, you ought, although she asks
you to remain, to retire as soon as possible. The
person visited so unseasonably, should, on her part,
be careful to conceal her knowledge that the other
wishes the visit ended quickly. We should always
appear delighted to receive a visitor, and should he
make a short visit, we must express to him our re.
gret. Ceremonious visits should be short; if the

I ..... -, Xaka6 o ,' I



conversation ceases without being again continued
oy the person you have come to see, and she gets up
from her seat under any pretext whatever, custom
requires you to make your salutation and withdraw.
If, before this tacit invitation to retire, other visit-
ers are announced, you should adroitly leave them
without saying any thing. In case the master of the
house, in waiting upon you to the door, should ask
you to remain longer, you should briefly reply to him,
that an indispensable engagement calls you, and you
must entreat him with earnestness not to detain you.
You should terminate your visit by briskly shutting
the door.
If, on entering the room, you find strangers engag-
ed in conversation, content yourself with the few
words which the master or mistress of the house
shall address to you; stop only a few moments,
make a general salutation, and conduct yourself as
in the preceding case. When you have happened
to meet the strangers elsewhere, they may unite
sometimes with the person you are visiting, to pre-
vent your taking leave; reply in a polite and flatter-
ing manner, but still persist in retiring. If while
you are present, a letter is brought to the person you
are visiting, and she should lay it down without
opening it, you must entreat her to read it; she will



not do it, and this circumstance will warn you to
shorten your visit.
When you make a half ceremonious call, and the
person you are visiting, insists upon your stopping,
it is proper to do so, but after a few minutes you
should rise to go; if you are urged still further, and
are taken by the hands and made to sit down as it
were by force, to leave immediately would be impo-
lite, but nevertheless you must, after a short interval,
get up a third time, and then certainly retire. If,
during your call, a member of the family enters the
room, you need not on this account take leave, but
content yourself by rising, and saluting the person.
If a lady, you must not seat yourself until she sits
down; if a gentleman, you can yield to the invita-
tion made you to take your seat, while the other re-
mains standing. If you make a visit with others
there are some points to be observed in relation to
your companions. In going up the staircase, it is
rigorously the custom to give precedence to those to
whom you owe respect, and to yield to such persons
the most convenient part of the stairs, which is that
next the wall. Above all do not forget this last cau-
tion if you accompany a lady; and a well-bred gen-
tleman, at such a time, should offer his arm. When
there are many persons, he should bestow this mark
of respect on the oldest. If you meet any one on

1 ~T*r7~crr r~s+ ~L,~C, ~~r.~ _~or~-~~ 'a~'Pr~-T~T~T~T~T~T~T~~C~-~-~7~Z;~


the staircase, place yourself on the side opposite to the
one he occupies. It would be vexatious and out of
place to make an everlasting ceremony as to who
should be announced first; the preference must be
given to ladies; next to them, to age and rank. The
time of taking leave should be also determined by
ladies, or by aged persons, and those who are of con-
sequence. It would be impolite to wish to retire be-
fore they gave the signal. We should add, that it is
unsuitable for more than three or four to visit together.
Persons of high ton are accompanied even to the ante-
room by one or two servants, who receive them again
when going out.
To carry children or dogs with one on a visit of cere-
mony, is altogether vulgar and provincial. Even in
half-ceremonious visits, it is necessary to leave one's
dog in the ante-room, as well as the nurse who holds
the infant, for this circumstance alone excuses such a
suite. As to animals, it is a thousand times better not
to have them at all.
We justly reproach inhabitants of the province
for lavishing salutations in meeting people, or in
taking leave of them. This custom, which may
make us contract a reservedness or too much famil-
iarity, is extremely ridiculous. Is it not difficult to
keep one s countenance, when we see a visitor sa-
lute every article of furniture, to turn and turn again


twenty times as you conduct him, and pour forth at
every pause a volley of salutations and adieus ? Our
readers will beware of this over politeness; they will
salute the first time at the moment they take leave,
and again when the person who conducts them back
shall have stopt at the door. We have before said
that when we do not find persons at home, or when
we are afraid of disturbing them, we leave a card;
but this is not what we call particularly visits by
card visitss par cartes.) In these last visits, it is not
our object to see the persons, since we do not ask
for them, and we confine ourselves to giving our
card to the porter or domestic. This custom, which
has been introduced necessarily among persons of
very general acquaintance, and especially at times
when every one ought to be visited, as on the new
year's day, is not considered ridiculous; but it be-
comes so by the great extent which has been given
to it for some time past. This extent consists in
making a visit without leaving our apartment; that
is to say, merely by sending our card by a domes-
tic, or indeed by means of an agency established
for this purpose. The practice of visits by cards.
seems to persons of good society the most imperti
nent and vulgar thing which can be imagined. Do
not then permit it, except when the question is about
returning visits made in this way; and do not use



such retaliations, except to prevent these ill-advised
visitors from thinking that you put yourself out to
oblige them.
In works devoted to the instruction of the laws of
propriety, we think only of fortune and affluence,
we entirely forget people of a more modest condition,
and when we find ourselves in connection with them,
we cry out against their impoliteness. It is an in-
justice, and in my opinion, a false calculation. An
injustice, because true politeness pertains less to rank,
than to uprightness and goodness of heart; a false
calculation, for to refuse to initiate people into what
renders the social relations easy and agreeable, is to
prepare for ourselves collision and vexation, and to re-
tard as much as is in our power, the practice of the
forms of civilization.
Despising then this foolish disdain, we shall ap-
plaud the great care of persons not in affluence, who,
having neither porter nor domestic, place at their
door a slate furnished with a pencil, that in their
absence visitors may write their names; for these
visitors are seldom such as carry cards. We shall
applaud the benevolent care of persons whose stair-
case is not lighted, or whose apartment is in the up-
per stories, and who leave with the porter a candle
which every one who arrives, takes, in order to as-
cend, and returns it again on descend;rn If any of


sur rich readers should be tempted to smile at the an
nouncement of these precautions of the more humble
citizens, we would remind them, that they are en-
tirely strangers to that spirit of politeness, of which
these precautions are a striking example.
This digression naturally leads us to the second
part of our task relative to visits, concerning the du-
ties which politeness imposes as to receiving them,
for it is not less important to receive people well,
than to present ourselves well to them.
Before passing to this important subject, it would
seem my duty to finish what remains for me to say
concerning visits, by the mention of visits of audi-
ence, of congratulation, of condolence, and of repasts;
but except the first, to which I am going to devote a
few words, details of all the others will be found in
the chapters devoted to conversation, to formalities of
repasts, of mourning, &c.
We should not merely call upon ministers, heads
of the public administration, and very distinguished
persons; we must beforehand request of them by
writing a place of meeting, and must specify the ob-
ject of our visit. We must call upon them at the
appointed hour; we must abstain from inquiring
after their health, and observe strictly the obliga.
tions of decorum. These visits which are the acme
of ceremony, ought necessarily to be very short.



We shall see, in the chapter on Epistolary Propri-
ety, what titles are proper to be given to these im
Dortant personages. It is well to be furnished with
a letter of admission, that in case of necessity we
may show it to the servant



Of the Manner of Receiving Visitors.

To receive visitors with ease and elegance, and
in such a manner that every thing in you, and about
you, shall partake of propriety and grace,- to endeavor
that people may always be satisfied when they leave
you, and be desirous to come again,-such are the
obligations of the master, and especially of the mistress
of a house.
Everything in the house, ought, as far as possible,
to offer English comfort, and French grace. Perfect
order, exquisite neatness and elegance which easily
dispense with being sumptuous, ought to mark the
entrance of the house, the furniture and the dress of
the lady.
In a house where affluence abounds, it is indis-
iensable to have a drawing room, for it is trouble-
some and in bad ton to receive visits in a lodging.
room, at one's own dwelling. This may indeed do
for a mere call; but it becomes almost ridiculous
when, after dinner, it is necessary to pass into this
room to take coffee, if you are receiving a small
company, &c. This custom is not any longer



adopted, except in the provincial towns and among
persons who do not pride themselves on their good
To receive company in a dining-room, is not
allowed except among those persons who cannot
bear the expense of furnishing a parlor or drawing
room. Simplicity, admitted into an apartment of
this kind, suited to the smallness of their means, we
cannot but approve, while we regret nevertheless,
the disagreeable things to which such a residence sub-
jects them. But we have, in this respect, an express
warning to hold out to people who give themselves up
to it unnecessarily, for it is altogether opposed to
the received usages of good society to put yourselves
in a situation which you cannot adorn, where you
cannot place arm-chairs, a chimney-piece, a glass,
a clock, and all things useful to persons who come
to see you; where you are exposed to receiving
twenty visits during dinner; of seeing as many in-
terruptions during the setting of your table, since it
Is impossible to spread the cloth while strangers re-
main; finally, of having them witness your domestic
cares while removing the remains of a repast, the
table-cloth, dishes, &e.
Young mothers of families who wish to have with
them their children, (troublesome guests, in a draw.
ing-room, as every one knows,) think that they may

SoOx o rPOLIT&r ms. 77

remain in the dining-room and have strange
conducted into an adjacent apartment. That this
may not be inconvenient, it is necessary to observe
three things; first, that strangers be admitted into
this apartment before seeing the mistress of the
house, because they would not fail to create difficult.
ties, by saying that they did not wish to disturb her;
second, that the apartment be constantly warmed in
winter; third, that in summer it should be furnished
precisely as an occupied chamber, for nothing is
worse than to conduct people into a room which
seems to be to let.
Unless from absolute inability, you ought to light
your staircase. If the practices of good domestic
economy regulated by the cares of civilization, were
more generally extended, a staircase not lighted
would not often be found.
After having thus cast a rapid glance into the inm
terior of the house, let us see in what manner it is
necessary to receive visitors.
When we see any one enter, whether announced
or not, we rise immediately, advance toward them,
request them to sit down, avoiding however the
old form of,' Take the trouble to be seated.' If it is a
young man, we offer him an arm-chair, or a stuffed
one; if an elderly man, we insist upon his accepting
the arm-chair; if a lady, we beg her to be seated


upon the ottoman. If the master of the house re-
ceives the visitors, he will take a chair and place
himself at a little distance from them; if, on the con-
trary, it is the mistress of the house, and if she is in-
timate with the lady who visits her, she will place
herself near her. If several ladies come at a time,
we give this last place to the one most distinguished
by rank. In winter, the most honorable places are
those at the corner of the fire-place; in proportion
as they place you in front of the fire, your seat is
considered inferior in rank. Moreover, when it hap-
pens to be a respectable married lady, and one to
whom we wish to do honor, we take her by the hand
and conduct her to the corner of the fire-place. If
this place is occupied by a young lady, she ought to
rise and offer her seat to the other lady, taking for
herself a chair in the middle of the circle.
A mistress of a house ought to watch anxiously
that they experience no restraint before her; conse-
quently, she will take care to present screens t6 the
ladies seated in front of the fire; she will move un-
der their feet tabourets, or what is better, pads, (cous-
sins) but never foot-stoves. If she is alone with an
intimate acquaintance, she will request her to take
her's; but she will never extend this politeness to a
If a door or window happens to be open in the

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