The true art of being agreeable is to appear well pleased with all the company, and rather to seem well entertained with them than to bring entertainment to them. A man thus disposed may have not much learning, nor any wit; but if he has common sense, and something friendly in his behavior, it conciliates men's minds more than the brightest parts without this disposition.
One may now know a man that never conversed in the world, by his excess of good breeding. A polite country esquire shall make you as many bows in half an hour, as would serve a courtier for a week.
Complaisance renders a superior amiable, an equal agreeable, and an inferior acceptable. It smoothes distinction, sweetens conversation, and makes every one in the company pleased with himself. It produces good nature and mutual benevolence, encourages the timorous, soothes the turbulent, humanizes the fierce, and distinguishes a society of civilized persons from a confusion of savages.
Good breeding shows itself most, where to an ordinary eye it appears least.
Nothing is more reasonable and cheap than good manners.
Good manners and good morals are sworn friends and fast allies.
A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden, swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air.
Always behave as if nothing had happened no matter what has happened.
Nothing, except what flows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasing.
Bad manners are a species of bad morals; a conscientious man will not offend in that way.
It is easier to polish the manners than to reform the heart, to disguise a fault than to conquer it. He who can venture to appear as he is, must be what he ought to be,—a difficult and arduous task, which often requires the sacrifice of many a darling inclination and the exertion of many a painful effort.
There are peculiar ways in men, which discover what they are, through the most subtle feints and closest disguise. A blockhead cannot come in, nor go away, nor sit, nor rise, nor stand, like a man of sense.
With virtue, capacity, and good conduct, one still can be insupportable. The manners, which are neglected as small things, are often those which decide men for or against you. A slight attention to them would have prevented their ill judgments.
The distinguishing trait of people accustomed to good society is a calm, imperturbable quiet which pervades all their actions and habits, from the greatest to the least. They eat in quiet, move in quiet, live in quiet, and lose even their money in quiet; while low persons cannot take up either a spoon or an affront without making an amazing noise about it.
There is certainly something of exquisite kindness and thoughtful benevolence in that rarest of gifts,—fine breeding.
What a rare gift is that of manners! How difficult to define; how much more difficult to impart!—Better for a man to possess them, than to have wealth, beauty, or talent; they will more than supply all.
There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world either to get a good name, or to supply the want of it.
Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend. The law can touch us here and there, now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and color to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them.
Manners are stronger than laws.
No man is a true gentleman who does not inspire the affection and devotion of his servants.
A man's own good breeding is the best security against other people's ill manners.
The manner of a vulgar man has freedom without ease; the manner of a gentleman, ease without freedom.
Adorn yourself with all those graces and accomplishments which, without solidity, are frivolous; but without which, solidity is to a great degree useless.
Good breeding is the result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them.
Good manners are the settled medium of social, as specie is of commercial, life; returns are equally expected from both; and people will no more advance their civility to a bear than their money to a bankrupt.
A man's fortune is frequently decided by his first address. If pleasing, others at once conclude he has merit; but if ungraceful, they decide against him.
How often have I seen the most solid merit and knowledge neglected, unwelcome, and even rejected, while flimsy parts, little knowledge, and less merit, introduced by the Graces, have been received, cherished, and admired!
Prepare yourself for the world, as the athletes used to do for their exercise; oil your mind and your manners, to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength alone will not do.
The immoral man, who invades another's property, is justly punished for it; and the ill bred man, who by his ill manners invades and disturbs the quiet and comforts of private life, is by common consent as justly banished society. For my own part, I really think, next to the consciousness of doing a good action, that of doing a civil one is the most pleasing; and the epithet which I should covet the most, next to that of Aristides (the Just), would be that of well bred.
Manners must adorn knowledge and smooth its way in the world; without them it is like a great rough diamond, very well in a closet by way of curiosity, and also for its intrinsic value; but most prized when polished.
Good breeding carries along with it a dignity that is respected by the most petulant. Ill breeding invites and authorizes the familiarity of the most timid.
A man's own manner and character is what most becomes him.
The happy gift of being agreeable seems to consist not in one, but in an assemblage of talents tending to communicate delight; and how many are there, who, by easy manners, sweetness of temper, and a variety of other undefinable qualities, possess the power of pleasing without any visible effort, without the aids of wit, wisdom, or learning, nay, as it should seem, in their defiance; and this without appearing even to know that they possess it.
I don't believe in the goodness of disagreeable people.
Knowledge of men and manners, the freedom of habitudes, and conversation with the best company of both sexes, is necessary to the perfection of good manners.
We perhaps never detect how much of our social demeanor is made up of artificial airs, until we see a person who is at once beautiful and simple; without the beauty, we are apt to call simplicity awkwardness.
Defect in manners is usually the defect of fine perceptions. Elegance comes of no breeding, but of birth.
Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.
Coolness, and absence of heat and haste, indicate fine qualities. A gentleman makes no noise; a lady is serene.
I have seen manners that make a similar impression with personal beauty, that give the like exhilaration and refine us like that; and in memorable experiences they are certainly better than beauty, and make that superfluous and ugly. But they must be marked by fine perception, and must always showcontrol; you shall not be facile, apologetic, or leaky, but king over your word; and every gesture and action shall indicate power at rest. They must be inspired by the good heart. There is no beautifier of complexion, or form or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy, and not pain, around us.
The person who screams, or uses the superlative degree, or converses with heat, puts whole drawing-rooms to flight. If you wish to be loved, love measure. You must have genius or a prodigious usefulness if you will hide the want of measure.
I could better eat with one who did not respect the truth or the laws, than with a sloven and unpresentable person. Moral qualities rule the world, but at short distances the senses are despotic.
Nature is the best posture-master.
Comport thyself in life as at a banquet. If a plate is offered thee, extend thy hand and take it moderately; if it is to be withdrawn, do not detain it. If it come not to thy side, make not thy desire loudly known, but wait patiently till it be offered thee.
Men are like wine; not good before the lees of clownishness be settled.
In conversation use some, but not too much ceremony; it teaches others to be courteous, too. Demeanors are commonly paid back in their own coin.
Let thy carriage be friendly, but not foolishly free; an unwary openness causeth contempt, but a little reservedness, respect; and handsome courtesy, kindness.
The society of women is the element of good manners.
Unbecoming forwardness oftener proceeds from ignorance than impudence.
Striking manners are bad manners.
Our manners and customs go for more in life than our qualities.—The price we pay for our civilization is the fine yet impassible differentiation of these.
What better school for manners than the company of virtuous women; where the mutual endeavor to please must insensibly polish the mind, where the example of female softness and modesty must communicate itself to their admirers, and where the delicacy of the sex puts every one on his guard lest he give offence?
Among well bred people, a mutual deference is affected; contempt of others disguised; authority concealed; attention given to each in his turn; and an easy stream of conversation maintained, without vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority.
Good manners are a part of good morals; and it is as much our duty as our interest to practise both.
The prince of darkness may be a gentleman, as we are told he is, but, whatever the God of earth and heaven is, he can surely be no gentleman.
Simplicity of manner is the last attainment. Men are very long afraid of being natural, from the dread of being taken for ordinary.
A man, whose great qualities want the ornament of exterior attractions, is like a naked mountain with mines of gold, which will be frequented only till the treasure is exhausted.
Good breeding consists in having no particular mark of any profession, but a general elegance of manners.
Fine manners are a stronger bond than a beautiful face. The former binds; the latter only attracts.
In manners, tranquillity is the supreme power.
Manners easily and rapidly mature into morals.
Manner is everything with some people, and something with everybody.
Virtue itself offends when coupled with forbidding manners.
Civility costs nothing, and buys everything.
A well bred man is always sociable and complaisant.
To be good and disagreeable is high treason against the royalty of virtue.
Manners are minor morals.
Better were it to be unborn than to be ill bred.
I can forgive a crime; it may have some grand motive; but never an awkwardness.
Grace is to the body, what good sense is to the mind.
Nothing so much prevents our being natural as the desire of appearing so.
There is a deportment which suits the figure and talents of each person; it is always lost when we quit it to assume that of another.
Rules of conduct, whatever they may be, are not sufficient to produce good results unless the ends sought are good.
A company attitude is rarely anybody's best.
The manner of saying or of doing anything goes a great way in the value of the thing itself. It was well said of him that called a good office, if done harshly and with an ill will, a stony piece of bread: "It is necessary for him that is hungry to receive it, but it almost chokes a man in the going down."
There is not any benefit so glorious in itself, but it may yet be exceedingly sweetened and improved by the manner of conferring it. The virtue rests in the intent; the profit in the judicious application of the matter; but the beauty and ornament of an obligation lies in the manner of it.
Those that are good manners at the court are as ridiculous in the country, as the behavior of the country is most mockable at the court.
It is certain that either wise bearing, or ignorant carriage is caught, as men take diseases, one from another; therefore let men take heed of their company.
Good manners, which give color to life, are of greater importance than laws, which are but one of their manifestations. The law touches us here and there, but manners are about us everywhere.
Manners are the shadows of virtues; the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow creatures love and respect. If we strive to become, then, what we strive to appear, manners may often be rendered useful guides to the performance of our duties.
Manners are the shadows of virtues, the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow-creatures love and respect.
We are to carry manner from the hand to the heart, to improve a ceremonial nicety into a substantial duty and the modes of civility into the realities of religion.
Wisdom, valor, justice, and learning cannot keep in countenance a man that is possessed with these excellences, if he wants that inferior art of life and behavior called good breeding.
Hail! ye small sweet courtesies of life, for smooth do ye make the road of it, like grace and beauty which beget inclinations to love at first sight; 'tis ye who open the door and let the stranger in.
Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse; whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy, is the best bred man in company.
Pride, ill nature, and want of sense are the three great sources of ill manners; without some one of these defects, no man will behave himself ill for want of experience, or what, in the language of fools, is called knowing the world.
There is a policy in manner. I have heard one, not inexperienced in the pursuit of fame, give it his earnest support, as being the surest passport to absolute and brilliant success.
We cannot always oblige, but we can always speak obligingly.
The over-formal often impede, and sometimes frustrate business by a dilatory, tedious, circuitous, and fussy way of conducting the simplest transactions. They have been compared to a dog which cannot lie down till he has made three circuits round the spot.
To be always thinking about your manners is not the way to make them good; the very perfection of manners is not to think about yourself.
An imposing air should always be taken as an evidence of imposition.—Dignity is often a veil between us and the real truth of things.
Good manners are the small coin of virtue.