|Men who tuck their napkins under their chin, who partake of their soup audibly, and who flourish toothpicks at the table, in the corridors and on the verandas... are to be met with everywhere in this land.|
Long on Money, Short on Manners
At any one of our seashore resorts in the summer, or our winter resort hotels, one may encounter men and women by the score who have been successful in the battle for worldly wealth, but whose early education lacked training in this special direction of refined manners.
Men who tuck their napkins under their chin, men and women who partake of their soup audibly, and who flourish toothpicks at the table, in the corridors and on the verandas, and even men and women who convey food to the mouth by means of the knife, forgetting that the knife is only appropriate for cutting and not for carrying food, are to be met with everywhere in this land.
Many of our early Puritan fathers were very indifferent to these matters as they were opposed to all things ornamental and beautiful in life. They taught only the stern virtues, and principles, and an austere religion. The ornamental, the gracious, the courteous sides of life they considered of no value. The New England world has changed many of its ideas in modern times, but it needs to change still more, and to carry its modern ideas still farther, by introducing instruction in good manners into our school systems.
It is only the exceptionally well bred little boy who does not rush ahead of older people, thrust women and children aside and force himself into public conveyances in a hurry to obtain a seat. Not one small boy in one thousand ever rises and offers an older person a seat. Not more than one in one thousand has been taught to rise when a lady enters a room.
These small courtesies mark the well bred man when he is grown and their absence marks the boor. The world would be a more agreeable place, and man and women more agreeable companions were our public schools to introduce a department for teaching good manners. —Ella Wheeler - Wilcox
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