|He dresses himself well if his means will allow; be he ever so poor he must be clean. If he commits any little error at the dinner table he must learn to be composed; he must be deaf and blind to the errors of others in society.|
Attention to Minor Manners
To descend to the lowest thing about a gentleman, we should remember that his minor manners must be attended to; he does not swear or smoke in the presence of women, he does not eat his dinner in a hurry, he does not crumble his bread about, making it into pills; he does not eat his soup with a hissing sound, or tip the plate to get the last drop; he mends his table manners if they are bad. He dresses himself well if his means will allow; be he ever so poor he must be clean. If he commits any little error at the dinner table he must learn to be composed; he must be deaf and blind to the errors of others in society.
But etiquette never means stiffness. The best bred people are the unconscious of the manners of others around them. So sudden are the rises in American society, that many a man has been invited to a dinner party to eat his dinner off the plate which he lately washed. A politician may rise from being a waiter to being President of the United States. And he is a better man and a better diner and a better president. If, when he was a waiter, he had good manners and was obedient. “He also serves who only stands and waits” has a greater master than the one who pays him his wages. The noble quotation can be read two ways. A man may thus be a gentleman at heart, even in a state of servitude.—Philadelphia Times, 1888
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia©️ Etiquette Encyclopedia