Manners in Borrowing
It is an old saying, "He that goes borrowing goes sorrowing"; but it might often be more truly said of the one to whom the borrower goes.
We should be more careful of a borrowed article than if it were our own. If we are so unfortunate as to injure or lose it, we should replace it, if it can be done; if not, make the best possible apology. We have no right to lend a borrowed thing to an other without the owner's permission. Perhaps nothing is treated in this way oftener than a book. People who consider themselves honest and just will lend a borrowed book to half a neighborhood, and if it is defaced or lost will give themselves no concern about it.
It is not polite to borrow a garment to wear except of a relative or intimate friend. Neither is it good manners to ask for a garment or pattern to cut one by for ourselves: the owner may prefer not to have it copied. If a person admires a garment or pattern belonging to us, and we are willing to lend it, it is our place to offer it without its being asked for.
If a book or article to read is lent us, we should read it promptly, and when we return it say whatever pleasant things we can of it with truth. To send it back without expressing an opinion, or making acknowledgment of the kindness, is inexcusable.
If we borrow something which is not to be returned itself, but its equivalent, we should be careful to return what is of as good or better quality, and as much in quantity, if not a little more, to make up for the trouble of the one who lends to us.
It is not polite to keep a borrowed article long; and if a time for returning it is specified, we should be careful not to neglect doing it when the time comes. If possible, we should return it ourselves, not give it to the owner to carry home or send it by another; and we should never omit to thank the lender. To compel the owner to send for his property is a gross violation of good manners on the part of the borrower. The owner should not send unless he feels that he can wait no longer, or unless the borrower is habitually careless and needs to be taught a lesson. —Edith Wiggin, 1884
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