Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Quiver Well Stored

I have only now to say that,
if you wish to be agreeable,
which is certainly a good... desire,
you must both study how to be so,
and take the trouble to put your studies
into constant practice.
The fruit you will soon reap.
~Arthur Martine, 1866

From Arthur Martine's
Handbook of Etiquette and Guide to True Politeness (1866):

MORE "General Rules for Conversation"

Nothing is more nauseous than apparent self-sufficiency. For it shows the company two things which are extremely disagreeable: 

that you have a high opinion
of yourself,
that you have comparatively
a mean opinion of them.

It is but seldom that very remarkable occurrences fall out in life. The evenness of your temper will be in most danger of being troubled by trifles which take you by surprise.

Good humor is the only shield to keep off the darts of the satirical railer. If you have a quiver well stored, and are sure of hitting him between the joints of the harness, do not spare him. But you had better not bend your bow than miss your aim.

You will forbear to interrupt a person who is telling a story, even though he is making historical mistakes in dates and facts. If he makes mistakes it is his own fault, and it is not your business to mortify him by attempting to correct his blunder in [the] presence of those with whom he is ambitious to stand well.

Do not dispute in a party of ladies and gentlemen. If a gentleman advances an opinion which is different from ideas you are known to entertain, either appear not to have heard it, or differ with him as gently as possible. You will not say, "Sir, you are mistaken!" "Sir, you are wrong!" or that you "happen to know better!" but you will rather use some such phrases as, "Pardon me-- if I am not mistaken," etc. This will give him a chance to say some such civil thing as that he regrets to disagree with you; and if he has not the good manners to do it, you have, at any rate, established your own manners as those of a gentleman[/lady] in the eyes of the company. And when you have done that, you need not trouble yourself about any opinions he may advance contrary to your own.

~Martine's Hand-Book of Etiquette,
Guide to True Politeness:
A complete manual for those who desire to understand the rules of good breeding,
the customs of good society, and to avoid incorrect and vulgar habits

By Arthur Martine
Originally published in 1866 (Dick and Fitzgerald)


  1. This is such a good reminder to keep quiet versus putting ones foot in their mouth.

    Have a Happy 4th of July!

    1. You're right. Mr. Martine had sage advice and wisdom. Not preaching to the choir today either. I'm appalled at how Western language, speech, euphemisms and what's acceptable to discuss has crept across the ocean to foreign lands. I wish it were not so, but I think I've opened another can of worms in this reply...

      Hugs and happy highways to you,

  2. Loved this, Kelley! I reminds me of some of the things I have read in George Washington's rules of etiquette. In all, there is a common denominator of recognizing the other person. Isn't that where it all starts?

    In our modern culture, we seem to be constantly at odds with one another, trying to best each other with a better view. I can't tell you how much I long to be part of a society that is simply more civil.

    This is such a timely reminder that the one party I can control is myself.

    And now, I'm heading to old posts to be inspired some more. I've been out of town and out of sorts.
    The good news is that my out of town adventure was of the romantic variety! Grin.

    1. Hi, Debbie! Good to hear from you. Grand of you to drop in.

      I agree: I can only control my self. I need to keep those arrows in that quiver!

      Happy weekend,


I always reply to your comments here. THANKS for dropping by to creatively express some joy on your journey! Warm island regards, Kelley~