Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Are We Well Mannered?


I suppose no one of us likes to be told that we are not well mannered, writes Mrs. Lyman Abbott in The Ladies' Home Journal.

Yet what one of us is free from all charge of misconduct? I do not refer to those lapses from etiquette which are the result of ignorance of those unwritten rules of society which every community makes for itself, but to a disregard of those social laws which have their foundation in character: And, after all, how many of the much sneered at ordinances which politeness lays upon us are really founded on deep and noble principles?

Courtesy is but the expression of kindness. Table manners are much transgressed, not simply by eating with the knife and drinking from the saucer, not by offending the taste, but by wounding the heart by sarcastic and contemptuous remarks thoughtlessly uttered, and, quite as often, by indifference and inattention. One may say that the heart should not be wounded so easily, but if the heart be hardened so that it does not feel wounds it will soon become too hard to feel and express sympathy.

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