The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette
The Manual of Politeness
By Cecil B. Hartley
Man was not intended to live like a bear or a hermit, apart from others of his own nature, and, philosophy and reason will each agree with me, that man was born for sociability and finds his true delight in society. Society is a word capable of many meanings, and used here in each and all of them. Society, par excellence; the world at large; the little clique to which he is bound by early ties; the companionship of friends or relatives; even society tete a tete with one dear sympathizing soul, are pleasant states for a man to be in.
Taking the word in its most extended view, it is the world; but in the light we wish to impress in our book it is the smaller world of the changing, pleasant intercourse of each city or town in which our reader may chance to abide.
This society, composed, as it is, of many varying natures and elements, where each individual must submit to merge his own identity into the universal whole, which makes the word and state, is divided and subdivided into various cliques, and has a pastime for every disposition, grave or gay; and with each division rises up a new set of forms and ceremonies to be observed if you wish to glide down the current of polite life, smoothly and pleasantly.
The young man who makes his first entrance into the world of society, should know how to choose his friends, and next how to conduct himself towards them. Experience is, of course, the best guide, but at first starting this must come second hand, from an older friend, or from books.
A judicious friend is the best guide; but how is the young man to know whom to choose? When at home this friend is easily selected; but in this country, where each bird leaves the parent nest as soon as his wings will bear him safely up, there are but few who stay amongst the friends at home.