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If the child can avoid it, he will do well not to dine at a house where he finds so many curious things in his food.
Or he might prefer a request for fewer luxuries.
I think it best to leave a portion of the next regulation in the original French. It is an ostrich-like proceeding, adopted on both sides of the Channel, that of veiling slightly repugnant ideas under the cloak of a language that is not easily understanded' by those who would rather not understand.
N'écurez pas vos dents avec votre couteau ou votre fourchette. Do not give too generous a view of the interior of your mouth; and be especially attentive not to speak with your mouth full. Do not crack bones and knock them on your plate to extract the marrow.
It is highly ungenteel to give your advice upon the dishes which are put upon the table. If you are asked to do so, let your answers always be as complimentary as possible.
Do not always give the company to know what food pleases you most and what you particularly dislike. For example, do not say: 'I never eat beef'; *I loathe the smell of ham'; • Haricot beans make me feel unwell': and so on.
Before drinking, wipe your lips and your fingers with your table-napkin. Do not study too closely what you are going to drink; take it all off at one victorious effort, not in little gulps. A politely dissimulated but fairly close inspection of the contents of the tumbler is, all the same, to be recommended. If you discover no particularly repugnant objects in your wine, down with it!
When you drink, do not roll your eyes from side to side; when you have finished, refrain from heaving an enormous sigh of satisfaction.
If anyone drinks your health, bow your acknowledgments modestly.
By no means imitate those ungenteel gourmands who pocket fruits, bonbons, and other little delicacies, and carry them from the table.
Let us leave the table at which these ungentlemanly gourmands are behaving so atrociously. Surely the rule of the Sixpenny Strawberry Gardens ought to be the rule at all meals à l'aimable? You eat as much as you can hold, but you take nothing away with you.
I pass over the hints that Monsieur Quérolle gives to the jeunesse of France for their demeanour in school and in the playground, merely observing that if the masters are all that they are stated to be, and the children all that they are recommended to be, I shall not be at all surprised to find that Monsieur the Instituteur conceals a halo under his dilapidated straw hat, and that wings are sprouting on the shoulders of his exemplary scholars. Let us go on and study What it is necessary to do or to avoid doing when one is in company, either at home or abroad.
There are thirty-one rules under this head, equivalent, with bye-laws and minor regulations, to about one hundred and fifty. Here are some of the most important.
When you are seated, do not stretch yourself or cross your legs, or swing your body to and fro; but sit upright with your feet on the ground. A girl holds on her knees any parcel she is carrying, or places one hand on the other. A boy, during visits, should keep his hat on his knees, carefully concealing the interior. The interior of his hat, that is, not of his knees. The next regulation might be headed' Concerning Ceremonies, why some be abolished and some retained.'
Wherever you chance to be, and whatever the occasion, avoid most scrupulously rendering yourself ridiculous by a needless multiplication of ceremonials.
Do not make yourself a nuisance to the ladies and gentlemen present by running or otherwise circulating about them, going very near them, staring at them, leaning on their chairs, breathing on them, or passing lighted candles in front of them.
Be prompt to remove out of smelling range of those in whose company you find yourself anything that has a disagreeable odour, and never volunteer to smell such an object yourself.
It is highly ungenteel to withdraw the chair of a person who is about to seat himself, or to snatch away his pocket-handkerchief while he is blowing his nose.
It is against the rules of gentility to touch one's hair in company and to curl it or otherwise arrange it, and it is rude to scratch oneself.
Of Sniffing, Sneezing, and Ornamental Nose-blowing.
Blow your nose as often as necessary, but do it with infinite precaution and regard for the feelings of your neighbours, for it is ridiculous to imitate the trumpet in performing this operation. It is not genteel to sniff. You should avoid sneezing with violence, which is a common fault of the absolutely uneducated. If anyone sneezes in your presence, do not say God bless you,' or anything similar. It is sufficient to make a slight reverence, regarding the sneezer modestly.
I am extremely glad to be able to adduce a passage in support of this last important regulation, and to indicate to my elegant English friends how to conduct themselves genteelly in France in the presence of a sneeze, This is a passage from Monsieur Charles Rozan’s ‘Petites Ignorances de la Conversation':
Those who give the tone to our elegant society appear to have resolved to proscribe these expressions which have been appropriated by the vulgar, as • Dieu vous bénisse !''A vos souhaits !'. Tout ce que votre cour désire!' and so on. But, not to introduce confusion into popular ideas by suppressing too brusquely an ancient custom, they bave decided, as a transitionary measure, to return to the rererence of antiquity. It is then not an expression of interest that is demanded of us, but a mark of respect. We no longer take off our hats, as the soldiers of Cyrus doffed their helmets, but we bow deferentially after the fashion set by the Emperor Tiberius.
It is in much the same way that the simple and heartfelt . Granted, I am sure,' following an apology, has been abandoned to the use of the ungenteel English. The polished Briton of the upper classes acknowledges the attention with a stony stare or an agonised grin, according to circumstances. It is not graceful, but it is effective. And if anyone sneezes we make no reverence, but inquire if the sufferer wears flannel next to his skin.
What an example Guguste and Lulu set us! If I sneeze, they look modestly at me and bow; and if I sneeze sixteen times -I am quite ungenteel both in the quantity and quality of my sneezing—they look at me modestly sixteen times and make sixteen pretty reverences !
But this is a long digression. Let us return to our Petit Manuel.'
Be very careful not to yawn, to whistle, or to hum an air through your teeth.
Never laugh in violent explosions, battering the ground with your feet, and twisting your body.
Do not wrinkle up your forehead or stare at an object with a distracted air. In a word, do not give to your face an expression that is ridiculous or opposed to that which animates you at the moment. There is a decidedly ‘Alice-in-Wonderland’ flavour about the last clause.
Do not imitate the lack of gentility of certain gentlemen, who stand with their backs to the fire with their coat-tails tucked up. Not only do they fail in the respect which they owe to the company, but they deprive others of the warmth of the fire, which is kindled for the benefit of all.
Politeness does not allow you to take off your shoes in order to warm your feet, especially if there are in the company persons to whom respect is due.
Of the hints on the proprieties of conversation I need only quote one:
Be careful not to join any one of the titles Monsieur, Madame, &c., to a word which has an uncomplimentary signification. It would be very rude to say, for example: 'I have been eating cheese and calf's head, Monsieur.' 'My father had a fine mule, Madam.' 'He was riding on a donkey, my lord.' You should say rather, 'I have been eating cheese, Monsieur, and calf's head.' My father, Madame, had a fine mule.' *My lord, he was riding on a donkey.' The change of the order of words will eliminate the innuendo.
Did I not say that Monsieur Quérolle had pegged out the course very carefully? He is somewhat of an ass, gentle readerI beg a thousand pardons-Gentle reader, he is somewhat of an ass. That is better.
And so I leave the matter, as I said to begin with, in the
hands of papa and mamma, begging them once more to remember the fate of the too-communicative missionary. decides to instruct Tom and Mary on Monsieur Quérolle's lines, I will tell him the correct appearance and position to adopt, as I have gathered them from the illustration which graces the outside of the book.
He should be tall-about seven feet with thick white hair, neat white mutton-chop whiskers, a weak mouth, no chin, but blue spectacles. He should wear a long frock-coat, a light waistcoat (extremely décolleté), a nice little white bow, and grey trousers, falling plenteously over boots such as the Noah's Ark gentleman sports. He should stand with his head slightly inclined forward, as if he felt a ladybird on his neck; his right leg should be bent somewhere about the knee. His hands should be behind his back, and in them he should hold, for moral support and purposes of reference, 'Le petit Manuel de politesse et de savoir-vivre à l'usage de la jeunesse.'
THE AMERICAN CHLOE.
Cette femme peut ne pas être aimée. Elle n'a pas besoin d'être aimée.'
MR. HENRY JAMES's Daisy Miller took the world in her own wayquite in her own way-first at Vevey and then in Rome, with the civilisation of the Old World for a contrasting background. Daisy Miller as I knew her had for her setting one of those summer hotels which, in their distinctive features, seem to be limited to the other side of the Atlantic.
The young lady is queen of the place. Mademoiselle, and the wants of Mademoiselle, and the likes and dislikes of Mademoiselle, stand first.
It was the Empire of Youth at the ‘Haymakers' House.' Of unadulterated pleasure and irresponsibility. The young lady was bent on having a good time; but it was all to be play. There was no arrière-pensée in her gaiety; that underlying thought of an establishment which is the foundation of so much pleasing and being pleased in older civilisations was conspicuous by its absence.
They mostly do marry ultimately. How they look when that is to be the end I often wondered, but had no opportunity of judging.
Matrimony is not the first aim of the American girl. Spinsterhood has so many compensations that, looked at as a matter of expediency, a husband is not a necessity. The 'plain gold ring' brings her no more freedom than she has hitherto enjoyed; it sometimes ties her with responsibilities, while it, in a way, puts her aside, since the pursuit of the young married woman has not become the fashion in trans-Atlantic circles of which I am writing.
If matrimony has not too many material advantages for the ladies of the land of emancipation,' neither does anything within their own natures drive them towards it. The American girl does not regard it, like the jeune fille in France, as the hall-mark of her success as a woman. She does not admit that all else is but second best, as the majority of English do; she does not go placidly but persistently towards it as her one hope of importance as Fräulein does. She certainly does not sentimentalise about it. It was not of her that Byron wrote ‘love is woman's whole existence.' She looks on that as a thing which may come or may not, which perhaps, on
Copyright, 1904, by Miss Marian Bower, in the United States of America.