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Title: The American Gentleman's Guide to Politeness and Fashion - or, Familiar Letters to his Nephews
Author: Lunettes, Henry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  The good old name of GENTLEMAN.

  People sometimes complain of writers who talk of "I, I." * * * * When
  I speak to you of myself, I am speaking to you of yourself, also. Is it
  possible that you do not feel that it is so?              VICTOR HUGO.



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



    "I lang ha'e thought, my youthful friends,
        A something to have sent you,
      Tho' it may serve no other end
        Than just a kind memento:
      But how the subject-theme may gang
        Let time and chance determine;
      Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
        Perhaps turn out a sermon."




  PROPRIETY of conforming to Fashion, with a due Regard for
  individual Peculiarities of Appearance--Eccentricity of Taste
  in Dress--Obedience to the Laws of Convention--The vagaries of
  Genius, in this respect--Absurdity and Affectation originated
  by the Example of Byron--All indifference and neglect to be
  avoided, with regard to Dress--Anecdote of Dr. Johnson and the
  Siddons--Porson, the Greek Scholar--Horace Greeley--Aphorism--
  Habits of a distinguished Parisian _savant_--Example and opinion
  of Washington with reference to Dress--Partiality of Americans
  for Black, as the color of dress-clothes--Practice of Men in
  other Countries, in the selection of Colors--Morning Costume of
  an English Gentleman--Every English Gentleman usefully employed
  during a Portion of each Day--Dr. Johnson's Test of good Taste
  in Dress--The golden mean in Matters of Dress--Ceremonious
  Costume of a Gentleman--Mode of wearing the Hair and Beard--
  Necessity for artistic Taste in one's Barber--All extremes of
  Fashion in bad Taste--Various Absurdities in this respect,
  inconsistent with the "keeping" of modern Costume--Collars,
  their size, shape, &c.--Sleeve-buttons--Bad taste of wearing
  flash Stones--Use of Diamonds In Dress--Simplicity in the
  Appendages of Dress, the characteristic of true refinement--
  Signet-rings--Distinctive Points of difference between the
  exterior of a Gentleman and of a Loafer--All staring
  patterns in Gentlemen's clothes exceptionable--A white suit
  throughout, for warm Weather--Thin Cravats--Body Linen--
  Kotzebue's test of high-breeding--Strength and Comfort
  the essential Characteristics of working Garments--Fitness
  and propriety even in matters of Dress, indicative of a
  well-regulated Mind--Every American should aim to be a true
  Gentleman--Importance of Trifles, when viewed in the
  aggregate--Influence of Dress, etc., upon Character and
  Manner--Wearing Gloves in Dancing--White Gloves alone
  unexceptionable for ceremonious Evening Occasions--Gloves
  suitable for the Street and Morning Visits--Bright-colored
  Gloves in bad _ton_--Illustrative Anecdote--Over-Garments--
  Variety sanctioned by Fashion--Becomingness of different
  Styles--Inconvenience and ill-appearance of Shawls--When
  Suitable--South American Poncho--Anecdote--New reading of
  Lord Nelson's celebrated Naval Orders--Difference between
  Talking and Writing, the Author's Apology for numerous
  Defects--The Mill-boy of the Slashes--The Author unacquainted
  with the Elegancies of modern Fashionable Nomenclature--Terms
  of agreement between the Author and his Correspondents,            25




  THE HERO OF THE BALL-ROOM.--The Author's Liking for Mass
  Meetings--A Fête--Louis Philippe and the Militia Officer--A
  real Soldier conquered by the Fair!--The "Observed of all
  Observers"--A Morning Visit--Dissection of the "Observed of
  all Observers"--The Hero of the Ball-Room is consigned to the
  "Tomb of the Capulets" in a bright, pea-green, thin Muslin
  Shooting-Jacket!                                                   43

  Anecdote of Bulwer, the Novelist,                                  48

  The Green Mountain Boy and his New Cloak,                          49

  Count Orloff at the "Peace Convention,"                            50

  THE FASHIONABLE HAT.--A Young Clergyman resolves to Visit
  "the City"--His Plans for Economy--A new Black Coat--A Secret
  Design--Fashionable Ridicule--The Young Clergyman makes the
  mortifying Discovery that he is wearing a "Shocking Bad
  Hat"--Reluctantly determines to buy a New One--A Traveller in
  an Old "Kossuth"--Test of what is Admissible in the Dress of
  the Clergy--Reflections of a "Sadder and a Wiser" Man--The
  Uncle and his Little Nephew--"Bradbrook's" and the "Pretty
  Coat"--Another Secret "Design--The Tyrant of Social Life,          50

  The Chief Justice--and the Travelling Gloves of an Exquisite,      54

  GOV. MARCY AND THE PARISIANS.--The American Secretary of
  Legation at St. Cloud, at a Court Dinner--Address of the
  Turkish Ambassador--The Distinctive Mark of a Gentleman,           56

  THE RED CORNELIAN PÂTÉ.--Sketch of an Elegant leaning upon a
  Bass-viol--Poetry of the Female Voice--An Alpine Party--A
  Lady's Avowal--Coxcombs--A Mysterious Stranger--My Lundy-Lane
  Sword--A Figure of Speech appropriate to a Sportsman's
  Daughter--The "Weed" and the Shawl--An Apple--The "Tug of
  War"--The Pitiable Finger! and the Cranberry Pâté--Design of
  the "Mysterious Stranger"--Jack the Giant-Killer and his
  Victim--A Revelation--The Dove and the Vulture,                    58

  Postscript to Letter II.--Letter to the Author from a
  Distinguished Man of Fashion--Directions for the Details of
  Gentlemen's Dress, on various Occasions--Wedding Costume--
  Morning and Evening--Evening Dress--Dress for Morning
  Visits--Costume for Bachelors' Dinner-Parties--General
  Remarks upon Colors, etc.--Effect of Black Dress--Blue--
  Brown--Anecdote of Beau Brummel--Opinion of a French
  Critic--Importance of the "Cut" of Garments--Ease the First
  Essential--An Artistic Air--Wadding, or Stuffing, to be
  used in moderation--Sensible Observations of a Man of
  Discriminating Taste,                                              63



  APHORISM of a Celebrated Observer of Human Nature--Manner
  indicative of Character--Benefits of Care and Attention in
  Youth--The Fashionable Manner of the Day--Danger of
  Affectation in Manner--Americans too often Caricature their
  European Models--Good Sense and Manly Independence the best
  Guides in the Formation of Manner--True Politeness--Elegant
  definition of Politeness by a celebrated Author--Good
  Breeding inseparable from the Character of a Gentleman--Sir
  Philip Sidney, a Christian Gentleman--Manner the proper
  expression of Mental Qualities--The Laws of Convention--Their
  proper Use and Applicability--Conduct towards Superiors in
  Age and Station one Test of Good Breeding--Example of
  Washington in this respect--Polished Manners of the Men of
  Revolutionary Days--Bad Taste of Slang Language and
  Disrespectful Familiarity in speaking of Superiors or
  Parents--Reverence rendered to Age by the Ancients--Rudeness
  of "Young America" in this respect--The Law of Kindness a
  sure Correction--Possibility of Benefit to be derived from
  the consideration of those who have seen the World--
  Disadvantages of early Neglect of Manner--Improvement
  always possible, at any age--Benefit of the early Acquisition
  of Habits of Self-Control and Self-Possession--Advantage of
  proper Examples in this respect,                                   72

  THE HANDSOME ENGINEER.--A Railroad Dépót and a Dilemma--The
  Field-Book and Soiled Boots--The Blessings of Civilization--
  An Honest Saxon Word--The Charge--The Arrival--A Recognition
  --A Metamorphosis--The Economy of driving in Dress-Boots--
  A Whisper--The Secret of the Charm of Manner,                      79

  AN AFTER-DINNER COTERIE.--The St. Nicholas Hotel and Santa
  Claus--A Pleasant Meeting--A Social Re-Union--The _Dramatis
  Personæ_ of the Occasion--A Sketch--"Willard's," at
  Washington--The weary Child--The Courteous Strangers--A
  Grateful Tribute--Charge against American Ladies--Southern
  Manner--The Stupid Porter and the _contre-temps_--An
  Inference--A Scene in a Country Tavern--A French-Woman and a
  Yankee-Woman--Jonathan and the Snuff-box--A Tooth-ache and a
  Rocking-chair--Sympathy and Vivacity--The Climax of
  Impatience!                                                        82

  A POLITE YOUNG IRELANDER,--A Fight--An Exclamation--A Fair
  Vision,                                                            91



  PRACTICAL DIRECTIONS.--Senator Sumner's appropriate
  Sentence--Primary importance of Manner at Home--A reiterated
  Charge--Manner to Parents--Unvarying confidence and reverence
  due to a Father--Tenderness of Manner to a Mother--Example of
  Washington--A Revolutionary Ball--Nature the best Teacher of
  Duty--Too great familiarity, even with Relations, objectionable
  --Manner to Brothers and Sisters--No assumption of superiority
  justified by Birthright, or Circumstances--Every Man the
  Guardian of his Sisters--A Sister's Love--Manner to a Wife--
  The preservation of her Affection--The "Spectator," and a
  Sketch of an Old-School Husband--Impressive Teaching--A Plea
  for Old-Fashioned Authors--Reverence for the _Lares_ should
  be inviolate--The Graces of Manner always discerned by the
  Gentler Sex--The Sensibility of Woman--Domestic Politeness--
  Cheerful Manner in conferring Favors--Importance of Trifles,
  in this respect--The true nobleness of Manhood--Aphorism of
  the Latinists--Manner to Children--Their Innocence and
  Susceptibility--The Influence of Example in this regard--
  Children judges of Character--Power of the Law of Love over
  the Young--Supremacy of Moral Obligation--Manner not to be
  regarded as insignificant by the Christian Gentleman--Manner
  to the Unfortunate--Towards Servants and Inferiors--Arrogance
  to be avoided--Mode of addressing Domestics--Queen Elizabeth
  and her Courtiers--Effect of a pleasant Word and a pleasant
  Tone--Peculiar sensitiveness of the Uneducated In this respect
  --The professional figure of an old Soldier!--Manifestations
  of Sympathy for Inferiors in Station--Readily instructed by
  a kind Manner,                                                     98


  EMPERORS NOT ALWAYS WELL-BRED.--Manner of Napoleon le Grand
  to Women--A Family Levee--Reply of the Mother of Bonaparte to
  her Son--Napoleon's stringent enforcement of Court Rules--The
  First Consul and the Lady's Train--Josephine's timidity and
  her Husband's brutality--Maria Louise's Bridal-Scene--An
  almost sacrilegious Misnomer,                                     104

  A FATHER'S REBUKE.--A Steamer on the Ohio--The two Friends--
  Cabin-Chit-chat--Youthful mirth reproved--The effect of a
  Scene--The fortunate Guest--A Family Mansion and Family
  Group--A "Study,"                                                 105

  The Moral Sublime: An Anecdote,                                   110

  The Sailor and his Mother,                                        111

  THE BROTHERS.--Early Separation--Home Meetings--The pomposity
  of the Alderman--A Family Quarrel--The respectful Son--The
  Recording Angel--Charley visits the City--A Morning Call--Its
  Result,                                                           111

  Washington Irving's Sketch of an old English Gentleman,           113

  The Poet Rogers and his Man Friday,                               114

  Soldier Weather-bound--A Morning Sortie--An Invitation--
  Youthful Hospitality--A Nursery Fixture--The "Eldest Son and
  Hope of the House"--A playful Salutation--The "Land of
  Promise"--An Armful--Lunch--An unexpected Interposition--An
  Overland Journey--A Catastrophe--Rubicon Crossing--The
  Dolphin--The baked Apple--A "Poor Man"--The "Cup of Cold
  Water"--A Stick for each--Spectacled Reconnoitering--Cheerful
  Words--Devotional Scene--Scientific Inquiry--A Capture--Escape
  by Stratagem--Almost a Martyr--The old Soldier re-visits the
  "Mess" of his Camp-ground--A dangerous Invader--Green-room
  Asides--A Rehearsal--College Comforts--A Sketch by one of
  'em--A Stage-Trick--Anecdote of John Kemble, the Actor--A
  Disclaimer and a Commentary--Exit of a "Star"--Table-Talk,        115



  MANNER IN THE STREET--Upon Meeting a Friend or Acquaintance--
  Proper Mode of Salutation--"Drawing" Gloves--Stopping to
  Talk--Tact and Ease--Leaving a Companion in the Street--
  Manner to Inferiors in the Street--Rule, when meeting a
  Gentleman-Acquaintance walking with Ladies whom you do not
  know--When you are acquainted with both Ladies and Gentlemen
  whom you may meet--Shaking Hands with Ladies in the Street at
  Meeting or at Parting--Courteous Phrases--Parting Ceremonies
  --Precedence in the Street--Taking the Arm of another Man--
  Walking with Ladies--Proper relative Position--Opening Doors,
  etc.--When meeting Ladies--Upon being stopped by a Lady--
  Manner to a Stranger Lady--When you wish to Speak with
  a Lady in the Street--When wishing to join a Lady in her
  Promenade--Proper Caution in this respect--Rule respecting
  the Recognition of a Lady--An Awkward Third--Considerations
  due to Ladies in case of Street-Accidents--Courtesy to
  Ladies who are alighting from a Carriage--Custom of offering
  the Arm to Ladies in the Street, when ascending Steps, etc.
  --On entering Church, etc., with Ladies--As one of a
  Travelling-Party, etc.--Gait in walking with elderly Persons
  or Ladies generally--Staring at Ladies in Public Places--
  Manner to Ladies entering an Opera House, at a Pump-Room,
  etc.--Audible Comments upon Strangers,                            128


  THE "CUT" PORTUGUESE.--Newspapers and Coffee--West Point and
  a Discussion--A Foreigner's Revenge,                              135

  The Broken Fan: a Lady's Lament,                                  136

  The "Iron Duke," and Youthful Reminiscences,                      137

  Unexpected Rencontre--A Stroll and a Compliment--A Gentleman
  of the Old School in the Street--A Tribute--A Daughter's
  Boast--A Wedding--The Bridal Tour--The Rail-Car--An
  Intruder--True Politeness--The Glass of Medical-water--The
  Denouement,                                                       137

  THE LETTER-BOX.--An Exciting Exclamation--A Group for a
  Painter--A Query--Entreaties--An Explanatory Prelude--The
  Fruitless Search--The Appeal--A Dialogue--An Admission--
  Musical Sounds--A Prosy Inquiry--The Summing up--The Damper
  --The Wish of a True Woman--An Insinuation--A Description
  drawn from Life--A Valuable Portrait--A Tribute to American
  Gentlemen--An Illustration--Stage Politeness to a Lady--
  Acted Poetry: the Poetry of Real Life!                            141

  THE PRISONER OF THE COLLISEUM.--A Moonlight Walk--A Secret
  Appeal--The Fair Epicurean--The Recitation--An Apparition
  --The Lasso--A Witty Reply--The Guerdon--The Clarion-note--
  A Brilliant--Horseback on the Campagnia of Rome--The Pope's
  Cortège--A Recognition--A Denouement--A Confession and the
  Retort Courteous--A Sudden Transformation--The Beautiful
  Arm--Powers' Studio--The Artist's Discovery--An Intimation,        149




  Aversion to Ceremonious Morning Visits--Proper Hours--Suitable
  Brevity--Character of Conversation--Card of Announcement--
  Visits made at Hotels--Precautionary Rules--Mode of entering
  a Drawing-Room--Drawing-Room Rules--When Meeting other
  Visitors--When interrupted--When wishing to leave a Message
  or make an Appointment, etc.--Proper Courtesy when Visitors
  are taking Leave--Short Visits of mere Ceremony--Attendance
  upon Ladies making Morning Visits--Attentions Suitable--
  Introducing--Ladies to take precedence in rising to go away
  --Gentlemen calling together--Dress, etc.,--When awaiting
  Ladies in a Public Parlor--Standing when Ladies are Standing
  --Offering the Arm--Suitable Gait--Minutia of Politeness--
  Morning Wedding-Receptions--Whom you should Congratulate--
  General Directions--Tact and Good Taste--Leaving Cards--Visits
  on New-Year's Day--Ceremonious Intercourse with Superiors--
  Manner at Church--Mrs. Chapone's Rule--Self-possession one of
  the Distinctive Characteristics of Good-Breeding--Whispering,
  Laughing, Staring, etc., to be avoided--Retaining the Hat not
  admissible--Salutations at Church--Attending Ladies at
  Concerts, Lectures, Opera, etc. etc.--Propriety of Retaining
  the Seat you take on Entering--Incommoding Others--Courtesy
  due to Those near you--Manner of well-bred Persons in a
  Picture Gallery, etc.,--Reverence due to the Beautiful and
  the Good--Partaking of Refreshments in Public Places--
  Discourtesy of any Semblance of Intrusiveness--Etiquette in
  Joining a Party--Politeness not to be laid aside in
  Business-intercourse--Elaborate ceremony unsuitable, at
  times--The Secret of Popularity--Manner at a Public Table--
  Courtesy to Others--Self-importance a Proof of Vulgarity--
  "Fast" Feeding--Pardonable Luxuriousness--Staring--Listening
  to Private Conversations--Rudeness of Loud Talking and
  Laughing, Shrugs, Glances, or Whispers--Courtesy due to a
  Lady entering a Dining-Room--To Older Persons--Meeting or
  passing Ladies in Public Houses--Influence of Trifles in the
  Formation of Character--Frequent Discourtesy in ignoring the
  Presence of Ladies in Public Parlors, etc. etc.--Politeness
  due to Women, in Practical Emergencies--Nocturnal
  Peccadilloes--Travelling--True Rules--Courtesy to Ladies, to
  Age, to the Suffering--Indecorum of using Tobacco, etc. etc.,
  in Public Conveyances--Ceremony a Shield, but not an
  Excuse--A Challenge Extraordinary--Anecdote of P----, the
  Poet--Practice and Tact essential to secure Polish of
  Manner--Life-long Stumbling--Practical Rules, the result of
  Annoying Experience--Carriage Hire--Driving with Ladies,
  etc.,--Manner in Social Intercourse--As Host--Etiquette of
  Dinners at Home--Precedence--Distinguished Guests--A Lady--A
  Gentleman--Reception and Introduction of Guests--True
  Hospitality as Host, better than mere Ceremony--Manner
  towards those unacquainted with Conventional Rules--Manner at
  Routs, at Home--Attention to Guests compatible with good
  _ton_--Anecdote--Respect to be rendered to all one's
  Acquaintances in General Society--To Married Ladies--To
  Strangers--The Distinction thus Exhibited between the
  Under-bred and the genuine Man of the World--No one
  entitled to Self-Excuses in this Regard,                          157


  A PROPHESY.--Table-Talk--A Rescue and a Lady's Gratitude
  --Jealousy Disarmed--Backwoodsmen--Cordiality--Costume and
  Courtesy--Retort Courteous--An Interpolation and a Protest
  --Mr. Clay's Popularity with the Fair--Secret of his Success
  in Society--Mr. Clay and the _Belle Esprit_--A Definition
  of Politeness--A Comical Illustration--A Pun--A well-turned
  Compliment--Unconsciousness of Self--A Stranger's Impressions
  --A Poetic Tribute,                                               179

  THE DEVOTEE OF THE BEAUTIFUL.--A Morning Drive--Anticipation
  --Spiritual Enjoyment--Discord--A Disappointment,                 184

  THE SOLDIER'S WIFE AND THE GHOUL.--A Journey--The truly Brave
  --The Arrival--A Chapter of Accidents--Self-Reproach--The
  Ghoul--The Calmness of Despair--The Versatility of Woman--
  But a Step from the Sublime to the Ridiculous--The Ghoul
  again--A Defiant Spirit--Punctilious Ceremony,                    186

  A FAIR CHAMPION.--A Query and its Solution--A Sketch--Raillery
  --A Tête-à-Tête--An Interruption--"Fashionable" Hospitality--
  Genuine Hospitality--A Mother's Advice--An indignant Spirit--
  Rebellion,                                                        193

  THE MAN OF ONE IDEA.--An Object for Worship--A Soirée--A
  Polite Colloquy--The Host at Ease--A pleasing Hostess--The
  Climax,                                                           198

  Young America--an Anecdote,                                       200

  THE PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHER.--A handsome Aristocrat--An
  Accusation--A Courteous Neighbor--Fall of a "Fixed Star"
  --Favorite Aphorism of Mrs. Combe--The Daughter of the
  Siddons,                                                          201




  The True Basis of Health--Temperance an inclusive Term
  --Foundation of the Eminence of J. Q. Adams--His Life a
  Model for the Young--His early Habits--Vigorous Old Age--
  Example of Franklin in regard to Temperance--Illustrations
  afforded by our National History--The Bath--Varying Opinions
  and Constitutions--Imprudent use of the Bath--Bishop Heber--
  General Directions--The Art of Swimming--Sponging--
  Deficiencies of the Toilet in England--Collateral Benefits
  arising from habitual Sponge-bathing--The Hair--All Fantastic
  Dressing of the Hair in bad taste--Use of Pomades--Vulgarity
  of using Strong Perfumes--The Teeth--Use of Tobacco--Smoke
  Dispellers--The Nails--The Feet--A complete Wardrobe essential
  to Health--Early Rising--Its manifold Advantages--Example of
  Washington, Franklin, etc., in this respect--Daniel Webster's
  Eulogy upon Morning--Retiring early--Truth of a Medical Dogma
  --Opposition of Fashion and Health--Early Hours essential to
  the Student--Importance of the early Acquisition of Correct
  Habits in this Regard--Illustration--A combination of Right
  Habits essential to Health--Exercise--Walking--Pure Air--The
  Lungs of a City--Superiority of Morning Air--An Erect Carriage
  of the Body in Walking--Periodical Exercise--Necessary Caution
  --The Unwise Student--A Warning--A Knowledge of Dietetics and
  Physiology requisite to the Preservation of Health--Suitable
  Works on these Subjects--Riding and Driving the Accomplishments
  of a Gentleman--A Horse a desirable Possession--Testimony of
  Dr. Johnson--The Pride of Skill--Needful Caution--Judicious
  Selection of _Locale_ for these Modes of Exercise--Dr. Beatie's
  Tribute to Nature--Importance of Temperance in Eating and
  Drinking, as regards Health--The Cultivation of Simple Tastes
  in Eating--Proper Preparation of Food Important to Health--
  Re-action of the Human Constitution--Effect of Bodily Health
  upon the Mind--The pernicious Use of Condiments, etc., etc.
  --YOUNG AMBITION'S LADDER.--Hours for Meals--Dining Late--
  Injurious Effects of Prolonged Abstinence--The Stimulus of
  Distension--Repletion--Necessity of deliberate and thorough
  Mastication--Judicious Use of Time in Eating--The Use of Wine,
  Tobacco, etc.--The truly Free!--Dr. Johnson's Opinion--Novel
  Argument against the Habits of Smoking and Drinking--Advice
  of Sir Walter Raleigh to the Young--Then and Now--Council of
  a "Looker-on" in this Utilitarian Age--Erroneous Impressions
  --Authority of a celebrated Writer--Social Duties--The unbent
  Bow--Rational Enjoyment the wisest Obedience to the Natural
  Laws--A determined Pursuit in Life essential to Happiness and
  Health--Too entire Devotion to a Single Object of Pursuit,
  unwise--Arcadian Dreams--Attainable Realities--Truisms--Decay
  of the Social and Domestic Virtues--Human Sacrifices--
  Relaxations and Amusements requisite to Health--Superiority
  of Amusements in the Open Air for Students and Sedentary
  Persons generally--Benefits of Cheerful Companionship--
  Objection to Games, etc., that require Mental Exertion--
  Converse Rule--Fashionable Watering-places ill adapted to
  Health--Avocations of the Farmer, Tastes as a Naturalist,
  Travel, Sporting, etc., recommended--Depraved Public Taste
  --Slavery to Fashion--Habits of Europeans, in this respect,
  superior to our own--Modern Degeneracy--Folly thralled by
  Pride,                                                            203


  TO GIVE ETERNITY TO TIME.--The Senate-Chamber and the Dying
  Statesman--The Moral Sublime,                                     225

  --Dinner-table Sallies--Grave Charges--Yankee Rejection of
  Cold Meats--Self-Preservation the First Law of Nature!--
  A Mystery Solved--National Impartiality--Anecdote--Storming
  a Fort--Successful Defence, by a Lady, of herself!--A
  Stratagem--The Daughter of a Gun--An Explanation--The
  Tortures of Outraged Modesty,                                     226

  Dr. Abernethy and his Yankee Patient,                             232

  COSMOPOLITAN CHIT-CHAT.--A Heterogeneous Party--The Golden
  Horn--Contemplations in a Turkish Caique--A Discussion--
  "Christian Dogs" and the Dogs of Constantinople--An
  unpleasant Discovery--A Magical Touch--The Song of the
  Caidjis--A National Example,                                      232

  THE IMPERTURBABLE GUEST.--A Dinner-Table Scene,                   238

  The Youth and the Philosopher: Lines by Whitehead,                239



  Importance of this Branch of Education--Its Frequent Neglect
  --Usual Faults of the Epistolary Style--Applicability of
  the rule of the Lightning-Tamer--Variety of Styles appropriate
  to varying Subjects and Occasions--Impossibility of laying
  down all-inclusive General Rules--Requisites of Letters of
  Business--Legibility in Caligraphy--Affectation in this
  respect--Avoidance of Servile Imitation--Advantage of
  possessing a good Business-hand--Time-saving Importance of
  Rapidity--Letters of Introduction--Form Suitable for Ordinary
  Purposes--Specimen of Letters Introducing a Person in Search
  of a Business Situation, Place of Residence, etc., etc.--
  Introduction of Artists, Professional Men, etc.--Presenting a
  Celebrity by Letter--Proper Attention to Titles, Modes of
  abbreviating Titles, etc., etc.--Letters of Introduction to
  be unsealed--Manner of Delivering Letters of Introduction--
  Cards, Envelopes, Written Messages, etc., proper on such
  Occasions--Appointments and due Courtesy, etc.--Form of
  Letter to a Lady of Fashion--Etiquette in regard to Addresses
  --Letters Presenting Foreigners--Personal Introductions--
  Common Neglect of Etiquette in this respect--Proper Mode of
  Introducing Young Persons, or those of inferior social
  position--Of Introducing Men to Women, very Young Ladies,
  etc.--Voice and Manner on such Occasions--Explanations due to
  Strangers--Common Social Improprieties--American Peculiarity
  --Hotel Registers, etc.--Courtesy due to Relations as well as
  to Strangers--Impropriety of indiscriminate Introductions--
  Preliminary Ceremonies among Men--In the Street--At Dinners
  --Evening-Parties--Receptions--Conventional Rules subject to
  Changes, dictated by good-sense--Supremacy of the Law of
  Kindness--Visiting Cards--European Fashion of Cards--Style
  usual in America--Place of Residence--Phrases for Cards
  --Business Cards: Ornaments, Devices, Color, Size,
  Legibility, etc.--Letters of Recommendation--Moral
  Characteristic--Proper Style of Letters of Condolence--
  Form of Letters of Congratulation--Admissibility of Brevity
  --Letters to Superiors--Ceremonious Form for such
  Communications--Proper Mode of Addressing Entire Strangers
  --Common Error in this respect--Punch's Sarcasm--Diplomats
  and Public Functionaries should be Models in Letter-writing
  --An Enigma--Diplomatic Letters--Letters of Friendship and
  Affection--General Requisites of Epistolary Composition--
  Letters a Means of conferring and Receiving Pleasure--
  Distinctive Characteristic of the Epistolary Style--
  Peccadilloes--Aids facilitating the Practice in this
  Accomplishment--Notes of Invitation, Acceptance, Regret
  --Observance of Usage--Simplicity the best _ton_ and taste
  --Etiquette with regard to Invitations to Dinner--Courtesy
  in Matters of Social Life--Error of an American Author--
  Ceremony properly preceding taking an uninvited Friend to
  a Party--Abstract good-breeding the best Test of Propriety
  --Proper form of Ceremonious Notes of Invitation--Use of
  the Third Person in writing Notes--Mailed Letters--Local
  Addresses, Form of Signature, etc., etc.--Requisites of
  Letter-Superscription--Writing-Materials--Small Sheets,
  Margins, etc.--Colored Paper, Fanciful Ornaments, Initials,
  &c.--Envelopes and Superscription--Wax, Seals, etc.--European
  Letters--Rule--Promptitude in Letter-writing--Study of
  Published Models beneficial to the Young--Scott, Byron,
  Moore, Horace Walpole, Washington--Sir W. W. Pepys, etc.
  --Curiosities of the Epistolary Style--Anticipated Pleasure,      241


  amid the Ruins of Thebes--Mustapha Aga and the Temple of
  Karnac--The Arrival--The Distribution--Delights,
  Disappointments, and Despair,                                     268

  Anecdote of the Mighty Wizard of the North,                       273

  Intruder--Paternal Authority--Condemnation--Comments and
  Criticisms--A Compliment--A fair Bevy--Wit and Wisdom--
  Sport and Seriousness--A Model Note and a Fair Eulogist--
  Paternal Approbation--What American Merchants should be
  --An Anecdote--Discoveries and Accessions--_Apropos_--Fair
  Play and a _Ruse_--A Group of Critics--An Invitation--A
  Rival--An Explanation and an Admission--A Rescue and Retreat
  --An Old Man's Privilege--Seventeen and Eighty-two--May and
  December,                                                         273

  The First Billet-Doux,                                            284



  Comparative Importance of Accomplishments--Difference between
  Europeans and Americans in this regard--Self-Education the
  most Useful--Peculiar Incentives to Self-Culture possessed by
  Americans--Cultivation of a Taste for the Ideal Arts--
  Desirableness of a Knowledge of Drawing--Incidental Benefit
  resulting from the Practice of this Art--A Taste for Music--
  Mistaken Conceptions of the Importance of this Accomplishment
  --Advantage of learning Dancing--Desirableness of Riding and
  Driving--Various Athletic Exercises--A ready and graceful
  Elocution of great Importance--A Source of Social Enjoyment
  --The Art of Conversation--Use of Slang Phrases--Disadvantages
  of Occasional Lenity towards the Corruptions of Language--
  The only Safe Rule--Common want of Conversational Power--
  The Superiority of the French over all other People in this
  Respect--The Salons of Paris--Pleasures of the _Canaille_--
  French Children--Practice essential to Success--The
  Embellishments of Conversation--Habits of a Celebrated Talker
  --Anecdote of Sheridan--Some Preparation not Unsuitable before
  going into Society--Qualities most essential to secure
  Popularity in General Society--The "Guilt of giving
  Pain"--Avoidance of Personalities--The Language of
  Compliment--Two Good Rules--Reprehensibleness of the Habit of
  indulging in Gossip, Scandal, or Puerile Conversation--The
  Records of "Heaven's High Chancery"--Importance of Exact
  Truthfulness in Conversation--The Capacity of adapting
  Language to Occasions of Importance--Use of Foreign Phrases
  or Words--Tact and Good-Breeding the Safest Guides in such
  Matters--Advantage of the Companionship of Cultivated
  Persons, in Promoting Conversational Skill--Misuse of Strong
  Language--Conversational Courtesies--Aphorism by Mr.
  Madison--Modesty Proper to the Young in this Respect--Bad
  taste of talking of one's self in Society--The World an
  Unsuitable Confidant--Quotation from Carlyle--Sympathy with
  Others--The softer graces of Social Intercourse--Cheerfulness
  universally Agreeable--A Glee in which Everybody can join
  --Anecdote--Human Sunbeams--Judicious selection of
  Conversational Topics--Avoidance of Assumption and
  Dictatorialness--Proper Regard for the Right of Opinion
  --Courtesy due to Ladies and Clergymen--Folly of
  Promulgating Peculiarities of Religious Opinion--Rudeness
  of manifesting Undue Curiosity respecting the Affairs of
  Others--Boasting of Friends--Anecdote--Quickness at Repartee,
  one of the Colloquial Graces--Dean Swift and his "fellow"--
  Anecdote of the Elder Adams--A Ready and Graceful Reply
  to a Compliment not to be Disregarded among the Elegancies
  of Conversation--The Retort Courteous--Lady Hamilton and
  Lord Nelson--Specimens of Polite Phraseology--General
  Conversation with Ladies--Essential Characteristics of
  Light Conversation--Improprieties and Familiarities--
  Disagreeable Peculiarities--A Dismal Character--Anecdote
  of Cuvier--Tact in Avoiding Personal Allusions--Peculiarity
  of American Society--Ages of the Loves and Graces--A Young
  Jonathan and an English Girl--Violation of Confidence--
  Sacredness of Private Conversations--Politeness of a Ready
  Compliance with the Wishes of Others in Society,                  286


  SANG FROID AND SANDWICHES.--A Ride with a Duke--The eager
  young Sportsman--A Rencontre--A Query and a Response--A
  substantial _Bonne Bouche_,                                       312

  A Frenchman's Relaxation,                                         314

  Polemics and Politeness--Watering-place Society--Omnibus
  Orations--Sulphur-water and Sacrifices--Religionists, Ladies
  and License, Reaction and Remorse,                                315

  An unexpected Declaration--Parisian _furore_--The unknown
  Patient--Practice and Pathos,                                     317

  The Three Graces--Honor to whom Honor was Due--A Group for a
  Sculptor--Woman's Wit,                                            318

  Scene in a Drawing-room,                                          320

  Musical Mania--Guitar playing and the play of Intellect,          321

  A Fair Discussion,                                                323

  National Dialect--A Bagatelle,                                    324

  A Murillo and a Living Study--A Morning in the Louvre with a
  congenial Friend--A Painter's Advice--True Epicureanism,          326

  Ready Elocution and Ready Wit--A Congressional Sketch,            327



  HABIT always Indicative of Character--Its Importance not
  properly estimated by the Young--Rudeness and Republicanism
  too often Synonymous--Fashion not always Good-breeding--
  Social American Peculiarities--Manners of Americans abroad
  --Rowdyism at the Tuileries--The Propriety of Learning from
  Older Nations the lighter Elegancies of Life--Madame Soulé
  and the Queen of Spain--The tie of a Cravat and the Affairs
  of "Change"--George Peabody a Model American--The distinctive
  name of Gentleman--Great Importance of Suitable Associates--
  Spanish Proverb--The true Social Standard--Safeguard against
  Eccentricity--Habits of Walking, Standing, Sitting--
  Directions--Aaron Burr and De Witt Clinton--Bachelor
  Privileges--Decorum in the presence of Ladies--Carrying the
  Hat, ease of Attitude, etc.--Benefits of habitual
  Self-Restraint--Habits at Table--Eating with a Knife--Soiling
  the Lips, Picking the Teeth, etc., etc.--Nicety In Matters of
  Detail--Courtesy due to others--Manner to Servants in
  Attendance at Table--Avoidance of Sensuousness of Manner--
  French Mode of Serving Dinners--The Art of Carving--Helping
  Ladies at Table--Rule in Carving Joints of Meat--Changing the
  Plate--Proper Mode of Taking Fish--Game--Butter at Dinner--
  English Custom--Details of Habit at Table--Rights of Freemen--
  A Just Distinction--Unhealthfulness of drinking too much at
  Dinner--Fast Eating of Fast Americans--Sitting upon two Legs
  of a Chair--Anecdote--Habits of using the Handkerchief--Toying
  with the Moustache, etc., etc.--Ladies careful Observers of
  Minutiæ--Belief of the Ancient Gauls respecting Women--Habits
  of Swaggering in Public Places--General Suggestions--Ladies
  and Invalids in Terror of a Human War-Horse--Courtesy due
  while playing Chess and other Games--Self-control in Sickness
  --Premature adoption of Eye-Glasses--Affectation in this
  respect--Proper Attitude while Reading or Studying--Habits
  of Early Rising--A Poetic Superstition unwarranted by Health
  and Truth--Variance between Health and Fashion in regard to
  Early Hours--Aphorism by Gibbon--Habit of taking Nostrums--
  Avoidance of Quacks--Habit of acting as the Protectors of
  the Dependent Sex--Effect of Trifling Habits upon the
  Opinions formed of us by Women--Habits of handling Prints,
  Bijouterie, and Boquets, of Smoking, Whispering and Ogling,
  to be shunned--Importance of Methodical Habits of Reading
  and Studying--Value of the Gold Dust of Time--Anecdote--
  True Rule for Reading to Advantage--Habit of Reading aloud
  --Great Importance of a Habit of Industry--The Superiors of
  mere Genius--Habits of Cheerfulness and Contentment not to
  be overlooked by the Young--Cultivation of Habitual
  Self-Respect--Pride and Poverty not Necessarily Antagonistic
  --Self-Respect a Shield against the Shafts of Calumny--True
  Honor not affected by Occupation or Position--Benefits of
  a Habit of Self-Examination--The habitual Study of the
  Scriptures recommended--CHRIST, the Great Model of Humanity
  --Ungentlemanly Habit of being late at Church, etc.--
  Pernicious Effects of prevalent Materialism--Personal
  Enjoyment resulting from habitually idealizing all Mental
  Associations with Women--Defencelessness an Impassable
  Barrier to Oppression from true Manhood--Impropriety of
  speaking loudly to Ladies in public Places, of attracting
  Attention to them, their Names and Prerogatives--Safe Rule in
  this regard--The Habit of Sympathy with Human Suffering a
  Christian duty--Mistaken Opinion of Young Men in this
  respect--The Examples presented by the Lives of the Greatly
  Good--Mighty Achievements in the Cause of Humanity in the
  Power of a Few--Habits of Good-Humor, Neatness, Order and
  Regularity due to others--Fastidious Nicety in Matters of the
  Toilet, demanded by proper respect for our daily Associates
  --The Importance of Habits of Exercise, Temperance and
  Relaxation--Economy to be Cultivated as a Habit--Economy
  not Degrading--Habit of Punctuality--Slavery to mere System
  condemned--Remark of Sir Joshua Reynolds--Habit of
  Perseverance--Value of the Habit of putting Ideas into
  Words--Of Habits of Reflection and Observation--Of rendering
  Respect to Age, etc.--Culture of Esthetical Perceptions--
  American Peculiarity--Curiosity not tolerated among the
  well-bred--The inestimable value of Self-Possession--Its
  Natural Manifestations--Concluding Advice,                        329


  JONATHAN AND QUEEN VICTORIA.--A Stroll through the World's
  Palace--A Royal Party--The Yankee Enthroned--A Confession,        362

  DAMON AND PYTHIAS MODERNIZED.--A Family Council--A Celebrity
  and a Hotel Dinner--A Discovery--A Sketch--Telegraphing and
  Triumph--Beer and a Break-down--Drawing-room Chit-chat--A
  Young Lady's Eulogy--Retort Courteous--A New Acquaintance--
  An Explanation--Dinner the Second--Sense and Sensibility--A
  Ruse--A Request and Appointment--A Contrast--Catastrophy--A
  Note and a Disappointment--Fair Frankness--An Unexpected
  Rencontre--The Re-union--Pictures and Pleasantries--The
  Protector of the Helpless,                                        363

  A VISIT TO ABBOTSFORD.--Sir Walter Scott as Colonel of
  Dragoons, Sheriff of the County, Host, Friend, and Author
  --Mrs. Hemans and Little "Charley"--Courteous Hospitality
  --At Driburg with Mr. Lockhart--Solution of a Mystery--
  Sir Walter's favorite "Lieutenant,"                               382

  Confession of a Celebrated Orator,                                385

  THE LEMON AND THE CARNATION.--A Stage-Coach Adventure--A
  fair Passenger--Churlishness and Cheerfulness--A Comic
  Duet--Stage-Sickness--An impromptu Physician--Offerings
  --Acknowledgments--A Docile Patient--Welcome Home--Arrival
  --A Family Group--A Discovery--Recognition--An Invitation
  --Hospitality--Sunday Evening at the Rectory--The Honorable
  Occupation of Teaching Young Ladies--A Prophesy--Family Jars
  --A Compliment,                                                   386

  A Notability and his Newfoundland Dog,                            400

  EXTREMES MEET.--European Travelling-Companion--A cool
  Place and a "cool" Character--A Foreigner's Criticism--
  Fair Commentators--Dinner-table Sketch--Three Parties in
  a Rail-Car--Sunshine and Showers--An Earth-Angel--Anecdote
  of Thorwalsden, the Danish Sculptor--A Scene--Gentlemanly
  Inquiries--Paddy's Explanation,                                   401

  HAVE YOU BEEN IMPATIENT?--A Broken Engagement--About a Horse
  --Charley's Orphan Cousin--Ideas of Luxury--Novel Experiences
  --The freed Bird--Bless God for Flowers and Friends!--A
  Recoil--A Tirade--The Bird Re-caged--Self-Examination--
  Retrospection and Resolution--A Note and a Boquet--A Blush
  Transfixed,                                                       412



  The Author's Conscious Incapacity--Education within the Power
  of All--Americans not Socially Trammelled--The Two Attributes
  of Mind essential to Self-Culture--Prospective Discernment--
  The most enlightened System of Education--Duty of Cultivating
  the Moral as well as the Intellectual Nature--The Acquisition
  of Wealth not to be regarded as the highest Human Attainment
  --Definition of Self-Culture--Reading for Amusement only,
  Unwise--"Aids and Appliances" of Judicious Reading--Example
  of a Great Man--Fictitious Literature--Pernicious Effects
  often resulting from a Taste for Light Reading--Condemnation
  of Licentious Novels--Advantages of Noting Choice Passages
  in Reading--Carlyle's Criticism of Public Men--The Study of
  History of Great Importance--Benefits resulting from the
  Perusal of well-selected Biographies--Enumeration of
  celebrated Works of this Character--Newspaper and Magazine
  Reading--A Cultivated Taste in Literature and Art the result
  of thorough Mental Training--Affectation and Pretention in
  this regard to be avoided--Critical Assumption condemned--
  Impressions produced upon observing Judges by a Pretentious
  Manner--"The World's Dread Laugh"--Advantages of Foreign
  Travel--Misuse of this Advantage--Knowledge of Modern
  Languages essential to a complete Education--False Impression
  prevalent on this point--Philosophic Wisdom--Wise Covetousness
  --Tact the Result of General Self-Culture--An Individual Moral
  Code of advantage--Example of Washington--Education not
  completed by a Knowledge of Books--Definition of True
  Education--The Development of the Moral Perceptions promotive
  of Intellectual Advancement--Undue Exaltation of Talent over
  Virtue--Religious Faith the legitimate Result of
  rightly-directed Education--Needful Enlightenment of
  Conscience--The Life of Jesus Christ the best Moral
  Guide-Book--Charity to the Faults of others the Result of
  Self-Knowledge--The Golden Rule of the Great Teacher--The
  highest Aim of Humanity--Reverence for the Spiritual Nature
  of Man the Result of Self-Culture--Danger of Self-Indulgence
  in regard to trifling Errors--Caution against the Infidel
  Philosophy of the Times--The establishment of Fixed
  Principles of Action--The True Mode of computing Life,            438

  The Attainment of Knowledge under Difficulties--Necessity the
  Nurse of True Greatness--The Learned Blacksmith--The Wagoner
  --The Mill-Boy of the Slashes--Franklin and Webster,              439

  A Peep at Passers-by, from the "Loopholes of Retreat,"            440

  The Force of Genius--A Man about Town--Anecdote--Manly
  Indignation,                                                      441

  Old-Fashioned Honor,                                              442

  Webster on Biblical Studies,                                      443

  The Young Frenchman and the Pyramids,                             443

  Davy--Tribute to Religion,                                        446



  RULE to be observed in the Selection of Associates--Advantage
  of the Companionship of Persons of more Experience than
  Ourselves--False Sentiments entertained by Lord Byron
  regarding Friendship--Self-Consciousness affords the best
  Contradiction to these Erroneous Opinions--Value of
  Friendship--Importance of the Judicious Selection of
  Confidants--Folly of demanding Perfection in one's Friends
  --Selection of Employment--The first Consideration in this
  Relation--Thorough Education should not be confined to
  Candidates for the Learned Professions--The Merchant Princes
  of America--Avenues for Effort--All Honest Occupations
  dignified by Right Conduct--The Pursuit of Wealth as an
  End--Freedom the Prerogative of the Worker--A Professional
  Manner Condemned--Individual Insignificance--Advantages of
  Early Marriage--Cause of prevalent Domestic Unhappiness--Each
  Individual the best Judge of his own Conjugal Requisites--
  Health, Good-Temper, and Education essential in a Wife--
  Accomplishments not essential to Domestic Happiness--
  Disadvantages resulting from a previous Fashionable Career
  --A True Wife--Respect due to the proper Guardians of a Lady
  by her Suitor--Advantages of a Friendship with a Married Lady
  --Reserve and Respect of Manner due to Female Friends--Manly
  Frankness as a Suitor the only Honorable Course--Attachment
  to one Woman no Excuse for Rudeness to others--The Art of
  Pleasing--Presents, Complimentary Attentions, etc.--Nicety
  of Perception usual in Women--Power of the Law of Kindness
  in Home-Life--The Slightest Approach to Family Dissension to
  be carefully avoided--The Duty of a Husband to exert a Right
  Influence over his Wife--Union of Spirit the only Satisfying
  Bond--More than Roman Sternness assumed by some--Sacredness
  of all the Better Emotions of the Human Heart--Expressive
  Synonymes--Pecuniary Matters--The Pernicious Effects of
  Boarding--An Old Man's Advice--Household Gods--Propriety of
  Providing for Future Contingencies--Slavery Imposed by Pride
  and Poverty--Comfort and Refinement compatible with Moderate
  Resources--Books and Works of Art to be preferred to Fine
  Furniture--Importance of Cherishing the Esthetical Tastes of
  Children--"Keeping" a great Desideratum in Social and
  Domestic Life,                                                    447


  THE MOOTED POINT.--A Morning Visit and Morning Occupations--
  Macaulay and the Blanket Coat--Curate's Daughters and the
  Daughters of New-England--A Sybarite--A Disclaimer and a
  Witticism--Not a Gentleman--"Trifles make the sum of Human
  Things"--The Slough of Despond--A Gift--Reading Poetry--
  A Soldier's Tactics--The "Unpardonable Sin"--A Fair Champion
  and a Noble Sentiment,                                            463

  Anecdotes of a British Minister, an Ex-Governor, and an
  American Statesman,                                               470

  Chief-Justice Marshall and the Young Man of Fashion,              472

  Habits of Early Friends,                                          478

  THE PROPHECY FULFILLED.--A Denouement--Cupid turned Carrier--
  Wedding-Cards and Welcome News--A True Woman's Letter,            478

  Uncle Hal's Farewell,                                             480





As you are already, to some extent, acquainted with the design and scope
of the Letters I propose to address to you, there is no necessity for an
elaborate prelude at the commencement of the series.

We will, with your permission, devote our attention first to _Dress_--to
the external man--and advance, in accordance with the true rules of Art,
gradually, towards more important subjects.

Whatever may be the abstract opinions individually entertained
respecting the taste and regard for comfort evinced in the costume now,
with trifling variations, almost universally adopted by men in all
civilized lands, few will dispute the practical utility of conforming to
the general requisitions of Fashion.

Happily for the gratification of fancy, however, the all-potent goddess,
arbitrary and imperative as are her laws, permits, at least to some
extent, such variations from her general standard as personal
convenience, physical peculiarities, or varying circumstances may

But a due regard for these and similar considerations by no means
involves the exhibition of _eccentricity_, which I hold to be
inconsistent with good taste, whether displayed in dress or manner.

A violation of the established rules of Convention cannot easily be
defended, except when required by our obligations to the more strenuous
requirements of duty. Usually, however, departures from conventional
propriety evince simply an ill-regulated character. The Laws of
Convention, like all wise laws, are instituted to promote "the greatest
good of the greatest number." They constitute a _Code of Politeness and
Propriety_, adapted to the promotion of social convenience, varying
somewhat with local circumstances, it may be, but everywhere
substantially the same. It is common to talk of the eccentricities of
genius, as though they are essential concomitants of genius itself.
Nothing can be more unfounded and pernicious than this impression. The
eccentricities that sometimes characterize the intellectually gifted,
are but so many humiliating proofs of the imperfection of human nature,
even when exhibiting its highest attributes. Hence the affectation of
such peculiarities simply subjects one to ridicule, and, in many
instances, to the contempt of sensible people.

Some years since, when Byron was the "bright, particular star"
worshipped by young Sophs, it was quite a habit among our juvenile
collegians to drink gin, wear their collars _à la mode de Byron_,
cultivate misanthropy upon system, and manifest the most concentrated
horror of seeing women eat! In too many instances, the sublimity of
genius was meagerly illustrated by these aspirants for notoriety. In
place of catching an inspiration, they only caught cold; their gloomy
indifference to the hopes, the enjoyments, and pursuits of ordinary
life, distressed no one, save, perhaps, their _ci-devant_ nurses, or the
"most tender of mothers;" their "killing" peculiarities of costume were
scarcely daguerreotyped even upon the impressible hearts of the
school-girls whose smiling observance they might chance passingly to
arrest; women of sense and education pertinaciously adhered to a liking
for roast beef, with variations, and manifested an equally decided
partiality for the society and attention of men who were not indebted
for the activity of their intellects to the agency of the juniper berry!
Falling into such absurdities as these, a man cannot hope to escape the
obnoxious imputation of being _very young_!

But while care is taken to avoid the display of undue attention to the
adornment of the outer man, everything approaching to indifference or
neglect, in that regard, should be considered equally reprehensible. No
one entertains a more profound respect for the prodigious learning of
Dr. Johnson, from knowing that he often refused to dine out rather than
change his linen; nor are we more impressed by the gallant tribute to
kindred genius that induced his attending Mrs. Siddons to her carriage,
when she visited him in the third-floor rooms he continued to occupy
even in his old age, because his trunk-hose were dangling about his
heels, as he descended the stairs with his fair guest. One does not envy
Porson, the greatest of modern Greek scholars, his habitually dirty and
shabby dress, because it is forever associated with his learned
celebrity! Neither is Greeley a better, or more influential editor, that
he is believed to be invisible to mortal eyes except when encased in a
long drab-colored overcoat. He, however, seems to have adopted an axiom
laid down in a now almost-forgotten novel much admired in my
youth--"Thaddeus of Warsaw," I think--"Acquire the character of an
oddity, and you seat yourself in an easy-chair for life." The
supposition of monomania most charitably explains the indulgence in
habits so disgusting as those well-known to have characterized the
distinguished _savant_ ----, who died recently at Paris. Had he slept in
a clean bed, and observed the decencies of life, generally, the race
would have been equally benefited by his additions to scientific lore,
and his country the more honored that he left a name in no degree in
_bad odor_ with the world!

But to return:--No better uninspired model for young Americans exists
than that afforded, in the most minute details, of the life and
character of Washington; and even upon a point comparatively so
insignificant as that we are at present discussing, he has left us his
recorded opinion: "Always," he writes to his nephew, "have your clothes
made of the best materials, by the most accomplished persons in their
business, whose services you can command, and in the prevailing

With such illustrious authority for the advice, then, I unhesitatingly
counsel you to dress _in the fashion_.

To descend to particulars designed to include all the minutiæ of a
gentleman's wardrobe, were as futile as useless; but a few hints upon
this point, may, nevertheless, not be wholly out of place in epistles so
frank, practical and familiar as these are intended to be.

The universal partiality of our countrymen for _black_, as the color of
dress clothes, at least, is frequently remarked upon by foreigners.
Among the best dressed men on the continent, as well as in England,
black, though not confined to the clergy, is in much less general use
than here. They adopt the darker shades of blue, brown and green, and
for undress almost as great diversity of colors as of fabrics. An
English gentleman, for instance, is never seen in the morning (which
means abroad all that portion of the twenty-four hours devoted to
business, out-door amusements and pursuits, &c.;--it is always _morning_
until the late dinner hour has passed) in the half-worn coat of fine
black cloth, that so inevitably gives a man a sort of shabby-genteel
look; but in some strong-looking, rough, knock-about "fixin,"
frequently of nondescript form and fashion, but admirably adapted both
in shape and material for use--for work. Of this, by the way, every man,
worthy of the name, has a daily portion to perform, in some shape or
other--from the Duke of Devonshire, with a fortune that would purchase
half-a-dozen consort-king-growing German principalities, and leave a
princely inheritance for his successors, to the youngest son of a
youngest son, who, though proud of the "gentle blood" in his veins,
earns, as an _employé_ in the service of the government,--in some one of
its ten thousand forms of patronage and power--the limited salary that
barely suffices, when eked out by the most ingenious economy, to supply
the hereditary necessities of a gentleman. But this is a digression. As
I was saying in the morning, during work-hours, whatever be a man's
employment, and wherever, his outside garb should be suited to ease and
convenience, its only distinctive marks being the most scrupulous
cleanliness, and the invariable accompaniment of fresh linen.

Coming to the discussion of matters appertaining to a toilette elaborate
enough for occasions of ceremony, I think of no better general rule than
that laid down by Dr. Johnson (in his character of a shrewd observer of
men and manners, rather than as himself affording an illustration of the
axiom, perhaps)--"_the best dressed persons are those in whose attire
nothing in particular attracts attention_."

There is an indescribable air of refinement, a _je ne sais quoi_, as
the French have it, at an equal remove from the over-washed look of your
thorough Englishman (their close-cropped hair always reminds me of the
incipient stage of preparation for assuming a strait-jacket!) and the
walking tailor's advertisement that perambulates Fifth Avenue,
Chestnut-street, the Boston Mall, and other fashionable promenades in
our cis-Atlantic cities, in attendance upon the locomotive milliner's
show-cases, yclept "belles"--God save the mark!

The essentials of a gentleman's dress, for occasions of ceremony are--a
stylish, well-fitting cloth coat, of some dark color, and of
unexceptionable quality; nether garments to correspond, or in warm
weather, or under other suitable circumstances, white pants of a
fashionable material and make; the finest and purest linen, embroidered
in white, if at all; a cravat and vest, of some dark or neutral tint,
according to the physiognomical peculiarities of the wearer, and the
_prevailing mode_; a fresh-looking, fashionable black hat and
carefully-fitted, modish boots, light-colored gloves, and a soft, thin,
white handkerchief.

Perhaps, the most arbitrary of earthly divinities permits her subjects
more license in regard to the arrangement of the hair and beard, than
with respect to any other matter of the outer man. A real artist, and
such every man should be, who meddles with the "human face divine" or
its adjuncts, will discern at a glance the capabilities of each head
submitted to his manipulation. Defects will thus be lessened, or wholly
concealed, and good points brought out.

If you wear your beard, wear it in moderation--extremes are always
vulgar! Avoid all fantastic arrangements of the hair--turning it under
in a huge roll, smooth as the cylinder of a steam-engine, and as little
suggestive of good taste and comfort as would be the coil of a boa
constrictor similarly located, parting it in Miss Nancy style, and
twisting it into love [soap?] locks with a curling-tongs, or allowing it
to straggle in long and often, seemingly, "uncombed and unkempt" masses
over the coat-collar. This last outrage of good-taste is so gross a
violation of what is technically called "keeping," as to excite in me
extreme disgust. Ill, indeed, does it accord with the trim, compact,
easily-portable costume of our day, and a miserable imitation, it is of
the flowing hair that, in days of yore, fell naturally and gracefully
upon the broad lace collar turned down over the velvet or satin
short-cloak of the cavaliers and appropriately adorning shoulders upon
which, with equal fitness, drooped a long, waving plume, from the
wide-brimmed, steeple-crowned, picturesque hat that completed the

While on this subject of _collars_, etc., let us stop to discuss for a
moment the nice matter of their size and shape. Just now, like the
"life" of a "poor old man," they have "dwindled to the shortest span,"
under the pruning shears of the operatives of the mode. Whether this is
the result of a necessity growing with the lengthening beards that
threaten wholly to ignore their existence, you must determine for
yourselves, but I must enter my protest against the total extinction of
this relieving line of white, so long, at least, as the broad wristband,
now so appropriately accompanying the wide coat-sleeve, shall remain in

The mention of this last tasteful appendage naturally brings to mind the
highly ornate style of sleeve-buttons now so generally adopted. Eschew,
I pray you, all _flash stones_ for these or any other personal ornament.
Nothing is more unexceptionable for sleeve-buttons and the fastenings of
the front of a shirt, than _fine gold_, fashioned in some simple form,
sufficiently massive to indicate use and durability, and skillfully and
handsomely wrought, if ornamented at all. Few young men can consistently
wear diamonds, and they are, if not positively exceptionable, in no
degree requisite to the completion of the most elaborate toilette. But
those who do sport them, should confine themselves to genuine stones of
unmistakable water, and never let their number induce in the minds of
beholders the recollection that a travelling Jew--whether from
hereditary distrust of the stability of circumstances, or from some
other consideration of personal convenience, usually carries his entire
fortune about his person! Better the simplest fastenings of
mother-of-pearl than such staring vulgarity of display. And so of a
watch and its appendages. A _gentleman_ carries a watch for convenience,
and secures it safely upon his person, wearing with it no useless
ornament, paraded to the eye. It is, like his pencil and purse, good of
its kind, and if he can afford it, handsome, but it is never _flashy_!

The fashion of sporting _signet-rings_ is not so general, perhaps, as it
was a little while since, but it still retains a place among the minutiæ
of our present theme. Here, again, the same general rules of good taste
apply as to other ornaments. When worn at all, everything of this sort
should be most unexceptionably and unmistakably tasteful and genuine.
Any deviation from good _ton_, in this regard, will as inevitably give a
man the air of a loafer as an ill-fitting boot will, or the slightest
declension from the perpendicular in his hat!

In connection with my earnest advice in regard to all flash ornaments,
to whatever purpose applied, I must not omit to record my protest
against staring patterns in pants, cravats, vests, etc. Carefully avoid
all the large, many-colored plaids and stripes, of which (as _Punch_ has
demonstrated) it takes more than one ordinary-sized man to show the
pattern; and all glaring colors as well. I have no partiality, as I
believe I have intimated, for the eternal dead black which, abroad at
least, belongs, by usage, primarily to the clergy; but this is a better
extreme than that which has for its original type the sign-board
getting-up of a horse-jockey.

A fashion has of late years obtained extensively, which has always,
within my remembrance, had its admirers--that of a _white suit
throughout_, for very warm weather. This has the great merit of comfort,
and some occupations permit its adoption without inconvenience. But
even the use of thin summer cravats (which should always be of some
unconspicuous color) wonderfully mitigates the sufferings incident to
the dog-days, and these are admissible for dress occasions, when
corresponding with the general effect of the vest and nether

To recur once more to the important item of body linen;--never wear a
_colored_[1] shirt--have no such article in your wardrobe. Figures and
stripes do not conceal impurity, nor should this be a desideratum with
any decent man. The now almost obsolete German author, Kotzebue--whose
plays were very much admired when I was young, and whom your modern
students of German should read in the original--I remember, makes one of
his female characters, a sensible, observing woman, say that she
detected a _gentleman_ in the disguise of a menial by observing the
_fineness of his linen_! If your occupation be such as to require
strong, rough-and-tumble garments, wear them, unhesitatingly, when you
are at work, but have them good of their kind, and keep them clean.
While your dress handkerchief should not look, either for size or
quality, as if you had, for the nonce, perverted the proper use of
bed-linen--in the woods, for pioneer travelling, rough riding, etc., a
bandanna is more sensible, as is a cut-away coat, or something of that
sort, with ample pockets, loose, strong, and warm, and a "soft"
broad-brimmed, durable hat, or cap, as the case may be--not an old, fine
black cloth dress-coat, surmounted by a narrow-rimmed "segment of a
stove-pipe," with a satin cravat, though it be half-worn! In short, my
dear boys, study fitness and propriety in all things. This is the
legitimate result of a well regulated mind, the characteristic of a true
Gentleman--which every American should aim to be--not a thing made up of
dress, perfumery, and "boos," as Sir Archy McSycophant styled them; but
a right-minded, self-respecting man, with Excelsior for his motto, and
our broad, free, glorious land "all before him, where to choose" the
theatre of a useful, honorable life. Matters like those I have dwelt on
in this letter, are trifles, comparatively; but trifles, in the
aggregate, make life, and, thus viewed, are not unworthy the subordinate
attention of a man of sense. They are collateral, I admit, but they go
to make up the perfect whole--to assist in the attainment of the true
standard which every young man should keep steadily in view. And,
insignificant as the effect of attention to such matters may appear to
you, depend upon it, that habits of propriety and refinement in regard
to such personal details, have more than a negative influence upon
character in general. The man who preserves inviolable his self-respect,
in regard to all personal habits and surroundings, is, _ceteris
paribus_, far less likely to acquire a relish for low company and
profligate indulgences, and to cultivate correspondent mental and moral
attributes. It occurs to me that, going into detail, as I have, your
attention should, in the proper connection, have been called to a little
matter of dress etiquette, of which you moderns are strangely
neglectful, as it appears to an old stickler for propriety like me. To
have offered an ungloved hand to a lady, in the dance, would, in days
when I courted the graces, have been esteemed a peccadillo, and
over-punctilious as you may think me, it seems very unhandsome to me. A
dress costume is no more complete without gloves than without boots, and
to touch the pure glove of a lady with uncovered fingers

  [1] It will be understood, of course, that the necessities and the
  regulations of military life are here excepted.

Here, again, let me condemn all fancy display. A fresh white, or, what
amounts at night to the same thing, pale yellow glove, is the only
admissible thing for balls, other large evening parties, ceremonious
dinners, and wedding receptions; but for making ordinary morning visits,
or for the street, some dark, unnoticeable color is in quite as good
taste and _ton_. Bright-colored gloves bring the hands into too much
conspicuousness for good effect, and, to my mind, give the whole man a
plebeian air. I remember once being, for a long time, unable to divine
what a finely-dressed young fellow, in whom I thought I recognised the
son of an old college chum, could be carrying in each hand, as he walked
towards me across the Albany Park; of similar size and color, he seemed,
John Gilpin like, to have

    ----"hung a bottle on each side
    To keep the balance sure!"

When I could, in sailor phrase, "make him out," behold a pair of great
fat hands, incased in tight-fitting gloves, closely resembling in hue
the brightest orange-colored wrapping-paper!

You will expect me not entirely to overlook the important topic of

As in all similar matters, it is the best taste not to deviate so much
from the prevailing modes as to make one's self remarkable. Fortunately,
however, for the infinite diversity presented by the human form, a
sufficient variety in this respect is offered by fashion to gratify the
greatest fastidiousness. And no point of dress, perhaps, more
imperatively demands discrimination, with regard to its selection. Thus,
a tall, slender figure, with narrow shoulders and ill-developed arms, is
displayed to little advantage in the close-fitting, long-skirted
overcoat that would give desirable compactness to the rotund person of
our short, portly friend, Alderman D., while the defects of the same
form would be almost wholly concealed by one of the graceful and
convenient Talmas that so successfully combine beauty and comfort, and
afford, to an artistically-cultivated eye, the nearest approach to an
abstract standard of taste, presented by masculine attire, since the
flowing short cloak of the so-called Spanish costume was in vogue.

Here, again, one is reminded of the propriety of regarding _fitness_ in
the selection of garments especially designed to promote comfort.
Nothing can well be more ungainly than the appearance of a man in one of
the large woollen shawls that have of late obtained such general favor,
at least as they are frequently worn, slouching loosely from the
shoulders, and almost necessarily accompanied by a stoop, the more
readily to retain them in place. They are well adapted to night travel,
to exposed riding and driving (when properly secured about the chest),
and are useful as wrappers when a man is dressed for the opera or a
ball. But that any sensible person should encumber himself with such an
appendage in _walking_--for daily street wear--is matter for surprise.
They have by no means the merit for this purpose of the South American
_poncho_, which is simply a large square shawl of thick woollen cloth,
with an opening in the centre for passing it over the head, thus
securing it in place, and giving the wearer the free use of his arms and
hands, a desideratum quite overlooked in the usual arrangement, or
rather _non_-arrangement of these dangling "M'cGregors." But the way, I
well remember, that one of the young T----s of Albany, not very many
years ago, was literally mobbed in the streets of that ancient asylum of
Dutch predilections, upon his appearance there in a _poncho_ brought
with him on his return from Brazil! So much for the mutations of fashion
and opinion!

To sum up all, let me slightly paraphrase the laconic and invariable
advice of the immortal Nelson to the young middies under his command.
"Always obey your superior officer," said the English hero, "and hate a
Frenchman as you would the devil!" Now then, for my "new reading:"--In
DRESS, _always obey the dictates of Fashion, regulated by good sense,
and hate shabby gentility as you would the devil_!

Well, you young dogs, here ends the substance of my first old-fashioned
letter of advice to you. I will confess that upon being convinced, as I
was at the very outset, how much easier it is to think and talk than to
write, I was more than half inclined to recall my promise to you all.
The pen of your veteran uncle, my boys, has little of "fuss and
feathers," though it may be "rough and ready." The "Mill-Boy of the
Slashes" used often to say, when we were both young men, and constantly
associated in business matters as well as in friendship, "Let Lunettes
do that, he holds the readier pen;" but times are changed since then,
and you must not expect fine rhetorical flourishes, or the elegances of
modern phraseology in these straight-forward effusions. I learned my
English when "Johnson's Dictionary" was the only standard of our
language, and the "Spectator" regarded as affording an unexceptionable
model of style. With this proviso, I dare say, we shall get on bravely,
now that we are once fairly afloat; and, perhaps, some day we'll get an
enterprising publisher in our Quaker City to shape these effusions into
a "_prent book_" for _private circulation_--a capital idea! at least for
redeeming my crabbed hieroglyphics from being "damned with faint praise"
by my "numerous readers," a thought by no means palatable to the
sensitive mind of your old relative.

I believe it was "nominated in the bond," that the subjects treated of
in each of my promised letters shall be illustrated by stories, or
anecdotes, drawn from what you were pleased to style "the ample stores
furnished by a life of large observation and varied experience." It
occurs to me, however, that as this, my first awkward essay to gratify
your united wishes, has already grown to an inconceivable length, it
were well to reserve for another occasion the fulfillment of the latter
clause of your request, as more ample space and a less lagging pen may
then second the efforts of

  Your affectionate

P. S.--In my next, I will include some practical directions respecting
the details of costume suitable for various ceremonious occasions--the
opera, dinners, weddings, etc., etc.

"Whew!" methinks I hear you all exclaim, "our old uncle setting himself
up as

    "'The glass of fashion and the mould of form!'

He may indeed be able to

    ----"'hold the mirror up to Nature;'

but to attempt to reflect the changeful hues of mere

Not too fast, my young friends! Do not suppose me capable of such folly.
But, for the benefit of such of you as are so far removed from the
centre of _ton_ as to require such assistance, I have invoked the aid
of a good-humored friend, thoroughly _au fait_ in such matters, the
"observed of all observers" in our American Belgravia, a luminary in
whose rays men do gladly sun themselves.

  H. L.




In accordance with the promise with which I concluded my last letter, I
will give you, in this, narrated in my homely way, some anecdotes,
illustrative of the opinions I have expressed upon the subject of DRESS.

       *       *       *       *       *

Liking, sometimes, to amuse myself by a study of the masses, in holyday
attire and holyday humor,--to see the bone and sinew of our great
country, the people who make our laws, and for whose good they are
administered by their servants, enjoying a jubilee, and wishing also to
meet some old friends who were to be there (among others, Gen. Wool,
who, though politicians accused him of going to lay pipe for the
presidency, is a right good fellow, and the very soul of old-fashioned
hospitality), I went on one occasion to a little city in western New
York, to attend a State Fair.

On the night of the _fête_ that concluded the affair, your cousins,
Grace and Gerté, to whom you all say I can refuse nothing, however
unreasonable, insisted that I should be their escort, and protested
warmly against my remonstrances upon the absurdity of an old fellow like
me being kept up until after midnight to watch, like a griffin guarding
his treasures, while two silly girls danced with some "whiskered
Pandoor," or some "fierce huzzar," who would be as much puzzled to tell
where he won his epaulettes as was our (militia) Gen. ----, of whom,
when he was presented to that sovereign, on the occasion of a court
levee, Louis Philippe asked, "where he had served!"

It would not become me to repeat half the flattering things by which
their elegant _chaperon_, Mrs. B. seconded the coaxing declarations of
your cousins, that they would be "enough more proud to go with Uncle Hal
than with all the half-dozen beaux together," whose services had been
formally tendered and accepted for the occasion.

"Yes, indeed," cried Gerté, "for Uncle Hal is a _real_ soldier!" And I
believe the wheedling rogue actually pressed her velvety lips to the
ugly sabre scar that helps to mar my time-worn visage.

"Col. Lunettes is too gallant not to lay down his arms when ladies are
his assailants!" said Mrs. B. with one of her conquering smiles. "Well,
ladies," said I, "I cry you mercy--

    "'Was ever colonel by such sirens wooed,
    Was ever colonel by such sirens won!'"

I have no intention to inflict upon you a long description of the
festivities of the evening. Suffice it to say upon that point, that the
"beauty and fashion," as the newspapers phrase it, not only of the
Empire State, but of the Old Dominion, and others of the fair sisterhood
of our Union, were brilliantly represented.

When our little party entered the dancing-room, which we did at rather a
late hour, for we had been listening to some good speaking in another
apartment--the ladies declared that they preferred to do so, as they
could dance at any time, but rarely had an opportunity of hearing
distinguished men speak in public,--the "observed of all observers,"
among the fairer part of the assembly, and the envy, of course, of all
the male candidates for admiration, was young "General ----," one of the
_aids-de-camp_ of the Governor of the State. In attendance upon his
superior officer, who was present with the rest of his staff, our
juvenile Mars was in full military dress, and made up, as the ladies
say, in the most elaborate and accepted style of love-locks (I have no
idea what their modern name may be), whiskers and moustaches. The glow
that mantled the cheeks of the triumphant Boanerges could not have been
deeper dyed had his "_modesty_," like that of Washington, when
overpowered by the first public tribute rendered to him by Congress,
"been equalled only by his bravery!"

    "He above the rest in shape and gesture,
    Proudly eminent."

but apparently, wholly unconscious of the attention of which he was the
subject, was smilingly engrossed by his devotion to the changes of the
dance, and to his fair partner; and the last object that attracted my
eye, as we retired from the field of his glory, were the well-padded
military coat, the curling moustaches and sparkling eyes of
"Adjutant-Gen. ----!"

True to my old-fashioned notions of propriety, I went the next morning
to pay my respects to Mrs. B., and to look after your cousins,--especially
that witch Gerté, whom her father had requested me to "keep an eye upon,"
when placing her under my care for the journey to the Fair.

I found the whole fair bevy assembled in the drawing-room, and in high

After the usual inquiries put and answered, Grace cried out, "Oh! Uncle
Hal, I must tell you! Gen. ---- has been here this morning! He was
wearing such a beautiful coat!--his dress last night was nothing to
it!--it fairly took all our hearts by storm!"

At these words, a merry twinkle, as bright and harmless as sheet
lightning, darted round the circle.

The master of the house entered at that moment, and before the
conversation he had interrupted was fairly renewed, invited me into the
adjoining dining-room to "take a mouthful of lunch."

While my host and I sat at a side-table, sipping a little excellent old
Cognac, with just a dash of ice water in it (a bad practice, a very bad
practice, by the by, my boys, which I would strenuously counsel you not
to fall into; but an inveterate habit acquired by an old soldier when no
one thought of it being very wrong) the lively chit-chat in the
drawing-room occasionally reached my ears.

"It was tissue, I am quite sure!" said Miss ----.

"No matter about the material--the color would have redeemed anything!"
cried Grace.

"Sea-green!" chimed in the flute notes of another of the gay junto,
"what can equal the General's _verdancy_?"

"What?" (here I recognized the animated voice of the lady of the
mansion); "why, only his _mauvais ton_, in 'congratulating' me upon
having 'so many' at my reception for Governor and Mrs. ----, the other
evening, and his equally flattering assurance that he had not seen so
'brilliant a military turn-out in a long time'--meaning, of course, his
elegant self! You are mistaken, however, Laura, about his coat being of
_tissue_, it was _lawn_, and had just come home from his _lawn-dress_,
when he put it on. I distinctly saw the mark of the smoothing-iron on
the cuff, as well as that his wristband was soiled considerably."

"He had only had time to 'change' his coat since he went 'home with the
girls in the morning,'" chimed in some one, "and his hair, I noticed as
he rose to make what he called his '_farewell bow of exit_,' was filled
with the dust of that dirty ball-room."

"Which couldn't be brushed out without taking out the curl, too, I
suppose!" This last sally emanated I believe, from one of the most
amiable, usually, of the group.

"Well," said the hostess, with a half-sigh of relief, "he seldom
inflicts himself upon me! His grand _entrée_ this morning, in the
character of a katy-did, gotten up _à la mode naturelle_," (here there
was a general clapping of hands, accompanied by _bravos_ that would have
rejoiced the heart of a prima donna), "was, no doubt, occasioned by his
having heard some one say that, what vulgar people style a '_party
call_,' was incumbent upon him after my reception. What a pity his
informant had not also enlightened him on another point of _ettiquetty_,
as old Mr. Smith calls it, and so spared me the mortification, my dears,
of presenting to you, as a specimen of the beaux of ----, and one of the
aids-de-camp of Governor ----, a man making a visit of ceremony in a
_bright, pea-green, thin muslin shooting-jacket_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Bulwer, the novelist, when I was last in London, some two or three years
ago--and for aught I know he still continues the practice--used to
appear in his seat in the English House of Commons one day in
light-colored hair, eye-brows and whiskers, with an entire suit to
correspond; and the next, perhaps, in black hair, etc., accompanied by a
black coat, neckcloth, and so on throughout the catalogue. A proof of
the admitted _eccentricities of genius_, I suppose.

       *       *       *       *       *

D----, who is now a very respectable veteran lawyer, and well known in
the courts of the Empire State, was originally a Green Mountain
Boy--tall, a trifle ungainly, with a laugh that might have shaken his
native hills, rather unmanageable hair, each individual member of the
fraternity, instead of regarding the true democratic principle, often
choosing to keep "Independence" on its own account, and a walk that
required the whole breadth of an ordinary side-walk to bring out all its
claims to admiration. Though D---- did not sacrifice to the graces, he
really wrote very clever "Lines;" but his shrewd native sense taught him
that a reputation as a magazine poet would not have a direct tendency to
increase the number of his clients. So the sometime devotee of the Muse
of Poetry, bravely eschewing the open use of a talent that, together
with his ever-ready good-humor and quiet Yankee drollery, had brought
him somewhat into favor in society, despite his natural disadvantages,
entered into partnership with an old practitioner in A----, and bent
himself to his career with sturdy energy of purpose.

"New Year" coming round again in the good old Dutch city where D---- had
pitched his tent, some of his friends offered to take him with them in
their round of calls, and introduce him to such of their fair friends as
it was desirable to know; hinting, at the same time, that this would
afford a suitable occasion for donning a suit of new and fashionable

On the first of January, therefore, agreeable to appointment, his broad,
pock-marked face--luminous as a colored lantern outside an
oyster-saloon--and his gait more than usually _diffusive_, D---- was
seen coming along from his lodgings, to meet his companions for the
day's expedition, and evidently with sails full set. It soon became
apparent to all beholders, not only that the grub had been transformed
into a full-fledged butterfly of fashion, but--that he wore his long,
wide, ample-caped, new cloak _wrong side out_!

       *       *       *       *       *

At the recent Peace Convention in Paris, even those strenuous adherents
to _things as they were_, the Turks, wore the usual dress of Europeans
and Americans throughout, with the single exception of the _fez_, which,
I believe, no adherent of Mahomet will renounce, except with his
religion. Young Charles P---- told me that Count Orloff's sable-lined
_talma_ was of the most unexceptionable Parisian cut.

       *       *       *       *       *

An agreeable young friend of mine, the Rev. Mr. H., contrives to support
a family (Heaven only knows how!) upon the few hundred dollars a year
that make the usual salary of a country clergyman. He indulges himself,
at rare intervals, in a visit to his fashionable city relatives, by way
of necessary relaxation, and to brush up a little in matters of taste,
literature, etc. Perhaps, too, he thinks it well, occasionally, to
return, with his wife and children, the long visits made every summer by
a pretty fair representation of his numerous family circle at the
pleasant little rectory, where refinement, industry, and the ingenuity
of a practical housekeeper, create a charm often lacking in more
pretentious establishments.

On one of these important occasions, it was decided that the handsome
young rector should avail himself of his city jaunt to purchase a new
suit of clothes, his best clerical coat, notwithstanding the most
careful use and the neatest repairing, being no longer presentable for
ceremonious purposes. (I make no doubt that the compatibility of the
contemplated journey and the new clothes, both in the same year, was
anxiously discussed in family council.)

As soon as possible after his arrival in town, my clerical friend
broached the all-important subject of the tailor, to one of his
brothers, a youth of unquestionable authority in such matters, and
invoked his assistance.

"With all my heart, Will, we'll drop in at my own place, as we go down
this morning; they get everything up there artistically." "And at
artistic prices, I fear," soliloquized the new candidate for the honors
of the cloth, with a slight quaking at heart, as a long-cherished plan
for adding, without her previous knowledge, a shawl to the waning bridal
outfit of his self-sacrificing wife, rose before his mental vision.

"But, I say, Will," inquired his modish brother, of our young clergyman,
in a tone of good-humored banter, as they sauntered down Broadway
together, after breakfast, "where did you buy your new _chapeau_?"

"At A----, before leaving home"----

"Excuse me, my dear fellow, but it's a nondescript! It will never do
with your new suit, allow me to say, frankly."

"But the person of whom I bought it had just returned from New York, and
he assured me it was the latest fashion! I gave him eight dollars for
it, at any rate."

"Preposterous!" ejaculated the man of fashion, in a tone portentous as
that which ushered in the "prodigious" of Dominie Sampson, when
astounded by _his_ discoveries in the mysteries of the toilet. "It first
saw the light in the 'rural districts,' depend on't!"

The quizzical glances with which his companion ever and anon scrutinized
the crowning glory of his neat morning attire, as he had previously
thought it, gradually overpowered the philosophy of my friend,--clergyman
though he was--the admitted Adonis of his class in college, and the
favorite of ladies, old and young. The church's

      ----"favorites are _but men_.
    And who e'er felt the stoic when
    First conscious of"----

wearing a "shocking bad hat!" The result was, that the condemned article
was exchanged at a fashionable establishment for one fully meeting the
approbation of the modish critic.

"What! another new hat?" cried the young wife, whose quick woman's eye
at once caught the _je ne sais quoi_--the air of the thing, as her
husband rejoined her later in the day.

The gentleman explained;--"And you thought the other so becoming too,
Belle," he added, in a half-deprecatory tone; "but Chauncey was so
strenuous about it, and I knew he would appeal to you, and that you
would not be satisfied without"----

"But they allowed you really nothing for the other, though it was quite
new, and certainly a nice hat. What a pity, now, that you did not travel
in your old one, though it was a little worse for wear, or even in the
cap you bought to fish in. There was Mr. ---- in the same car with us,
looking anything but _elegant_, I am sure, with the queerest-looking old
'Kossuth,' I believe they are called, on, and the roughest overcoat!"

"But, you know, Belle, dear, such a dress is not considered admissible
for the clergy."

"No! well, whatever is sensible and convenient _should_ be, I am
convinced now, if I was not before."

Our young clergyman, as he turned the still-cherished plan of the new
shawl anxiously in his mind, a "sadder and a wiser" man than before,
determined never again to buy a new dress hat expressly to perform a
journey in, especially when going directly from the "rural districts" to
a large city; besides laying up for future use some other collateral
resolutions and reflections of an equally wise and practical character.

"Why, Belle," said the "superb" Chauncey to his fair sister-in-law,
drawing her little son nearer to him, as he leaned on his mother's lap
after dinner, "this is really a magnificent boy, 'pon-my-word!--you
should take him to 'Bradbrook's' and fit him up! Would you like a velvet
jacket, eh, my fine fellow?"

The curly-headed child pointed his dimpled forefinger towards the pretty
garment he was wearing, and said, timidly, "Pretty new coata, mamma made
for him."

"I believe," responded the young mother, quietly, bending her beaming
eyes upon the little face lovingly upturned to hers, "that Willie will
have to do without a velvet jacket for the present; mamma intended to
get one for him in New York, but"----the sentence was finished mentally
with "papa's second new hat has taken the money." This will reveal the
secretly-cherished plan of the young rector's wife, with which a faint
sketch of a pretty cap to crown the shining curls of her darling, had
dimly mingled, almost unconsciously to herself, until brought out by the
power of that "tide in the affairs of men"--necessity!

       *       *       *       *       *

Sitting in the same seat in a railroad car with ex-Chief-Justice ----,
than whom there is no more eminent jurist nor finished gentleman in the
land, discoursing earnestly of old times and new, our conversation was
suddenly interrupted, as we stopped to feed our iron steed, by the loud
salutation of a youth who seemed to take more pains than the _law_
requires under such circumstances, to enunciate the name of my
companion. "Pleasant morning, Judge!--if I don't intrude" (a glance at
me, and no introduction by the chief-justice), "is this seat
unoccupied?" And down he sat _vis-à-vis_ to us.

He had the talk pretty much to himself, for a while. By-and-by, our
uninvited guest apologized for his gloves, half-worn fine black kid.
They were "really too bad; must have taken them up by mistake, in the
hurry of getting off," etc.

"I always keep an old pair expressly for these abominably dirty cars,
but, I believe, I have forgotten to put them on this morning," said the
venerable lawyer, in a peculiarly quiet tone, unfolding, as he spoke,
the ample, old-fashioned, travel-worn camlet cloak, beneath which his
arms had hitherto been crossed, and thus revealing his neat, simple
dress, and the warm, clean lining of his outer garment. Taking a
well-worn pair of soft beaver gloves from an inside pocket, the judge,
with an air of peculiar deliberation, drew them upon hands, "small to a
fault," as the novels say, and as white as those myths are supposed to
be, and re-adjusted his arms and cloak with the same deliberation. A
nice observer might note a slight gleam of the well-known smile, whose
expressive sarcasm had so often withstood professional insolence and
ignorance, as the chief justice turned his head, and cursorily surveyed
his fellow-passengers.

"Who is that young man, sir?" I inquired, when we were, soon after,
upon again stopping, relieved of the presence of this jackanapes.

"His name is ----," replied the judge. "A scion of the law, I think
now--a son of the ----, who made a fortune, you may remember, by the
sudden rise of West India molasses, some few years ago (a pause). I
never rate a man by his antecedents, Colonel, but a little modesty is
always suitable and becoming, in _very young persons_," added the
chief-justice, somewhat sententiously.

       *       *       *       *       *

You will, perhaps, remember the commotion created by the promulgation of
Marcy's edict respecting the dress to be worn on state occasions, by our
representatives abroad.

Our accomplished young countryman, Mr. H. S----, though nominally
Secretary of Legation, was virtually our minister, at St. Cloud, when
this order was published. In simple compliance with his instructions,
the American secretary appeared at a court dinner in the suit of plain
black, prescribed by his government. The premonitions of a revolution
could scarcely have created more consternation among the officials of
the Tuileries, and even the diplomatic dignitaries assembled,
experienced a sensation. The Turkish ambassador was surprised out of the
usually imperturbable stoicism of a devout follower of the mighty
prophet of Moslemdom.

"What are you doing here," he growled, as the young republican arrested
his attention, in language more remarkable for Oriental figurativeness
than for Parisian elegance, "a raven among so many birds of gay

The newspaper writers of the day, commenting upon this, said that the
minister from Venezuela--the most insignificant government represented,
was most bedizened with gold lace, stars, and trumpery of every sort.
These letters, prepared for home perusal, were re-published in the Paris
papers, and of course, met the eyes of all the parties alluded to!

S---- told one of my friends that among the annoyances to which the
whole affair subjected him, was that of being subsequently constantly
thrown in contact with the various personages with whose names his own
had been, without his previous knowledge, unceremoniously, associated.

No doubt, however, his skillful diplomacy carried him as triumphantly
through this difficulty as through others of vital importance.

Dining with this polished young diplomate, at the Tremont in Boston,
where we met soon after his return home, the conversation turned upon
the personal appearance of Louis Napoleon, and from his wire-drawn
moustaches diverged to the subject of beards in general.

"The truth is, Col. Lunettes," said Mr. S----, in French,--which by the
way, he both speaks and writes, _as he does his native tongue_, with
great purity and propriety, and this to our shame be it said, is far
enough from being generally the case with our various officials abroad,
"the truth is, Col. Lunettes, (I detected a just perceptible glance at
my furrowed cheek, which was, however, smooth-shaven as his own) that _a
clean face is getting to be the distinctive mark of a gentleman_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"My dear Miss ----," said I to a charming woman, whose cordial smile of
recognition drew me within the magic circle of her influence, at a ball,
where I had been for some little time a 'quiet looker-on,' "will you
pardon the temerity of an old friend in inquiring what induced your
chilling reception of the handsome stranger whom I saw presented to you
with such _empressement_ by our host a little while ago? If you could
have seen the admiration with which he long regarded you at a distance,
'his eye in a fine frenzy rolling,'--as he leaned against the--the
corner of the big fiddle, there, while the music was at supper!--could
you have seen this, as others saw it, and then the look of deep
desperation with which he swallowed a bottle of champagne at a standing,
when he fled from your frowns to the supper-room!--Really, Miss ----, I
have seldom had my sympathies so excited for a stranger"--

By this time her ringing laugh stirred the blood into quicker pulsations
through my time-steeled heart; "Oh, Colonel, Colonel!" cried she, in
tones, mirth-engendering as the silvery call of Dian, goddess of the
dewy morn, (is that poetry, I wonder?) "I see you are just as
delightfully quizzical as during our Alpine journey together. I have
never quite forgiven the Fates for robbing our party of so inimitable a
_compagnon de voyage_, and me of"--"so devout an admirer!" I chimed in:
"and me of so devout an admirer," proceeded the lady, with a quick
spirit-flash in her deep violet eyes, "and when we were just becoming so
well acquainted, too! It was too provoking! Do you remember the
amusement we had from recalling the various characteristic exclamations
of the different members of our party, when the Italian plains burst
upon our view, out-spread before us in the morning sunlight, after that
horrid night in the shepherd's hut?"

"If I recollect, it was your avowed slave, 'gentleman John' as you
called him, who shouted, 'O, ye Gods and little fishes!--nothing bad
about that, by thunder?' That fellow carried the ladies, as he did
everything else, by storm"--

"No, no, Colonel, not _all_ the ladies; but I was going to tell you
about this 'mysterious stranger,' or 'romantic stranger'--what
_sobriquet_ did you give him? Suppose we go nearer the door, it is so
warm here," and she twined an arm that threw Powers into a rapture,[2]
confidingly around the support proffered her by an old soldier, and we
gradually escaped from the crowd (any one of the men would willingly
have stillettoed me, I dare say!) into a cool corner of the hall.

  [2] Remind me to tell you about that some other time.

"I am sorry you thought me rude, colonel," she began, a tint, soft as
the shadow of a crimson rose flitting over her expressive face.

I entered a protest.

"I dare say my manner was peculiar," resumed my fair companion, "but I
fear 'no rule of courtly grace to measured mood' will ever 'train' my
_face_; and--the truth is, Colonel, that, though I love and honor my own
countrymen beyond the men of all other lands, I _do_ wish they would
imitate well-bred foreigners in some respects. I hate coxcombs! I
believe every woman does at heart. Now, here is this person, Colonel
C----, I think, if I heard the name?"

"Wherefore _Colonel_, and of what?" thought I, but I only
answered--"Really, I am not able to say."

"Well, at any rate, I identified the man, beyond a peradventure, as the
same individual who sufficed for my entertainment during a little
journey from home to G----, the other day. As papa, in his stately way,
you know, committed me to the care of the conductor, saying that 'Miss
----'s friends would receive her at G----,' I observed (luckily, my
fastidious father _did not_) the broad stare with which a great bearded
creature, at a little distance from us, turned round in his seat and
surveyed us. When I withdrew from the window, from which I had looked to
receive--to say good-bye, again, to papa"--

I would have given--I think I would have given--my Lundy-Lane sword, to
have occasioned the momentary quiver in that musical voice, and the
love-light in that half-averted eye! After a scarce perceptible pause,
the lovely narrator proceeded:

"There was that huge moon-struck face--["_sun-struck_, perhaps?" I
queried, receiving a slight fan-pass for my pains]--such a contrast to
papa's! staring straight at me, still. I busied myself with a book
behind my veil, and presently knew, without looking, that the
_gentleman_ had gradually returned to his former position. Now came my
turn to scrutinize, though the 'game was scarcely worth the powder.'"

"Spoken like the true daughter of a gentleman-sportsman!" I exclaimed,
and this time was rewarded with an irradiating smile.

"Well, such a rolling about of that alderman-like figure, such a
buttoning and unbuttoning! But this was all nothing to his steam-engine
industry in the use of the 'weed.' I turned sick as I observed part of
the shawl of a lady sitting before the creature hanging over near him.
After a while, he sallied forth, at one of the stopping-places, and soon
returned with--(expressive hue!)--_an immense green apple_! It seemed
for a time likely to prove the apple of discord, judging from the hungry
glances cast at it by a long, lank, thinly-clad old man across the car.
But now came the 'tug of war.' It scarce required my woman's wit to
divine the motive that had prompted the tasteful selection of the
alderman's lunch. A glove was pompously drawn off, and--behold! a great
_pâté_ of a ring on the smallest, I cannot truthfully say
_little_-finger, set with a huge red cornelian, that looked for all the
world like a cranberry-jam in a setting of puff-paste! As the big apple
slowly diminished under the greedy eyes of the venerable spectator of
this rich Tantalus-feast, my heart melted with pity."

A well-affected look of surprise on the part of her auditor, here
claimed the attention of the fair speaker.

"Don't alarm yourself, Colonel! 'Pity 'tis, 'tis true,' my compassion
was excited _only_ towards the poor finger that, stout as it looked,
must soon be worn to the bone, if often compelled to do duty at the
speed with which it was worked that day. Imagine the poor thing stuck
straight out with that heavy stone _pâté_ upon it, while the proprietor
plied his hand from his mouth to the car-window _behind_ him, with the
industrious regularity of a steam ferry-boat, professedly laden with
little bits of apple-skin, but really intended--oh, most flattering
tribute to my discriminating powers!--_to captivate my fancy, through my

When my amusement had somewhat subsided, I said to my fair friend:

"I suppose the doughty alderman finished his repast, like Jack the
Giant-killer, by eating up the famishing old man who had the insolence
to watch him while breakfasting?"

"I am happy to be able to say," replied she, "that the long, lean, lanky
representative of our fallen race, not only escaped being thoroughly
masticated and thrown by little handfuls out of the car-window, but when
Jack the Giant-killer, and almost every one else had gone out of the
car, was presented by a lady with two nice large sandwiches that she
happened not to need."

"And that benevolent lady was"----

A movement among the dancers here crowded several acquaintances into
such close contact with us that we could not avoid overhearing their

"Do you know that large man, wearing so much beard, Mr. Jerome?"

"Know him? certainly I do, Miss Blakeman. That's C----, Col. C----, the
rich New York grocer. He is one of the city aldermen--they talk of him
for the legislature--quite a character, I assure you."

"He evidently thinks so himself," rejoined one of the group; "just
notice him in that polka! I heard him telling a lady, a moment ago, that
he had not missed a single set, and wouldn't for anything."

"They say," pursued a lady, "that he is paying his addresses to that
pretty little Miss S----, who was so much admired here, last winter; she
is an orphan, I think, and quite an heiress."

A perceptible shiver ran through the clinging arm that still graced my
own, and as I moved away with my sweet charge, she murmured, in the
musical tongue of the Beautiful Land, as she ever calls Italy, "the
gentle dove for the vulture's mate!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Will that do for this time, boys? Or do you require that, in imitation
of the little Grecian Hunch-back, a _moral_ shall be appended to each of
his narratives, by your


P. S.--In accordance with my promise, there follow the admirable
directions and remarks of the elegant and obliging friend referred to
in my previous letter. He will, I trust, permit me thus to tender him,
renewedly, my very grateful acknowledgment of his flattering politeness,
and to express my sense of the important addition made by his kindness
to my unpretending epistles.

       *       *       *       *       *


"I regard myself as highly complimented that so distinguished a
representative of the _ancien régime_, as yourself, one so entirely
_comme il faut_, as all admit, in matters of taste, should esteem my
opinion, even in regard to minor points of etiquette, as worth his

"I need scarcely add, dear sir, an assurance of my conviction of the
honor you do me by affording me a place in your remembrance, and that I
make no doubt your profound knowledge of the world, united with your
unusual opportunities for extensive observation--long _un habitué de
belle société_, in various countries, as you have been--will afford a
rich treat, as well as much instruction, to those who may be favored
with the perusal of your proposed _Letters_. That he may have the honor
to be thus fortunate, is the hope of, dear sir,

  "Your very respectful
  "And obedient servant,
  "---- ----

  "BELGRAVIA, _Tuesday Morn.,
  "May 6th, '56_."

GENTLEMEN'S DRESS.--The subject now to be treated of, may be divided
into several classes:--_morning, promenade_ or _visiting_, and _evening_
or _ball_ dress; which again may be subdivided into others, such as
_riding-dress_, dress suitable for _bachelors' dinner-parties_, or
_opera_ (when unaccompanied by ladies). Besides these again, we have
dresses suitable for _fishing_, _shooting_, and _yachting_ purposes,
which, however, scarcely call for, or admit of, the display of much
taste, inasmuch as the occupations for which such costumes are designed
partake rather of the nature of healthy exercise than of that quiet and
gentlemanly repose necessary to give full effect to the graces of the
more elaborate "_toilette_." Military, Naval, and Court dresses may also
be considered out of the scope of the remarks in this letter, because
their being made scrupulously in accordance with rigid _Regulation
Rules_, leaves no room for taste, but substitutes the _dicta_ of
official routine.

To commence our exemplifications with a _Wedding-Suit_, which, from the
wearer's approximate connection with the ladies deserves the "_pas_"--it
may be remarked that the time of day in which the ceremony is solemnized
should determine the character of the costume, that is to say, whether
it should be morning or evening. In either case, however, general usage
allows (not to say demands), a more marked style than is generally worn
in morning or evening usual wear. Should the wedding take place in the
_evening_, a very elegant costume is, a dark claret dress-coat, white
ribbed-silk, or _moire antique_, waistcoat, white silk neckcloth, black
trowsers, silk stockings, and shoes. The lining of the sleeves, also, of
white silk, coming to the extreme edge of the cuff, imparts a singularly
light and elegant appearance to the hand and glove. An equally elegant
_Morning Wedding-Dress_ might consist of a rich, deep-brown frock-coat;
waistcoat of black cashmere, with a small violet-colored palm-leaf
figure; neck-tie of silk, combining colors of black and cherry, or brown
and deep blue; trowsers of delicate drab, or stone-color; gloves
primrose, or slate-colored kid.

The usual _Evening-Dress_ is so imperiously insisted on, that it might
be almost classed in the category of _uniforms_, being almost invariably
composed of _black_ coat, vest, and trowsers. Two items, however, in
this costume, admit of disquisition amongst "men who dress," viz., the
_vest_ and the _tie_--both of which may be either white or black,
without any infraction of the laws of _bienseance_. This, therefore,
must be settled by the taste of the wearer, who should remember that
black, having the effect of apparently diminishing a man's size, and
white that of increasing it, it would, therefore, be judicious for a
person of unusual size to tone down his extra bulk by favoring black in
both these garments, while he who is below the average standard could,
if not actually increase his height or size, at least create the
impression of more generous proportions. I, however, must confess a
decided partiality for a _white neck-tie_, at least; because, although
subject to the disadvantage of being _de rigueur_ amongst waiters and
other members of the Yellow Plush Family, it is, nevertheless, always
considered unexceptionable, at any season, or hour, in any rank,
profession, or capacity.

A _Morning Call_ should be made in a _frock-coat_, or at least one in
which this style predominates. It must, however, be constantly borne in
mind that it is quite impossible to furnish even general rules on any
one of these points that shall prove immutable, since not only each
successive year, but every varying season produces decided changes in
the standard established by Taste and Fashion.

_Bachelors' Dinner-parties_ are pleasant, social _reunions_, at which
gentlemen enjoy themselves with more _abandon_ than would, perhaps, be
considered consistent with the quiet and more retired respect due to the
presence of the "_beau sexe_;" and, as a natural consequence, admit of a
more _négligé_ style of costume. Still, however, a certain regard must
be had to the requirements of good society; and as many of these
parties, when they break up, adjourn to the opera, or theatre, where
they are pretty sure to meet ladies of their acquaintance, a costume
half-way between morning and evening is, by tacit agreement, prescribed;
for instance:--a coat of some dark color (generally termed
"_medley-colored_"), cut rounded over the hips; black cap; inner vest,
buttoning rather high in the breast; dark-grey trowsers, and black silk
neckerchief, or ribbed silk scarf.

Instead of giving sketches of particular costumes, it would, perhaps, be
better and tend more to develop the importance of dress, if a few
remarks were made on the general rules which should guide one in
selections for his own wear.

The _four staple colors for men's wear, are black, blue, brown, and
olive_. Other colors, such as drab, grey, mixed, etc., being so far as
the principal garments go, what are termed "fancy colors," should be
very cautiously used.

As was remarked above, _black has the effect of diminishing size_, but
it has another more important effect, which is to test, in the severest
way, the wearer's claims to a _distinguished appearance_. It is a very
high compliment to any man to tell him that black becomes him, and it is
probably owing to this property that black is chosen, _par excellence_,
for _evening_ or _ball dress_. Men, therefore, of average or ordinary
pretensions to stylish contour, should bear this in mind, and, when such
color is not indispensable, should be careful how far they depend on
their own intrinsic dignity.

_Blue_, of almost any shade, becomes a light complexion, besides being
an admirable set-off to black velvet, which can, in almost all cases, be
judiciously used in the collar, in which case, a _lighter shade of
blue_ (also becoming such a complexion) can be worn without _killing_
(as it is technically termed), the darker shade of the coat--the velvet
harmonizing both.

_Brown_ being what is termed a _warm_ color, is eminently adapted for
fall and winter wear--_olive_ and _dark green_, for summer.

When Beau Brummel was asked what constituted a well-dressed man, he
replied, "_Good linen--plenty of it, and country washing_." This,
perhaps, is rather _too_ primitive. The almost equally short opinion of
the French critic is decidedly more comprehensive--"_un homme bien
coiffé, et bien chaussé, peut se présenter partout_." Under any
circumstances, however, it may be laid down as immutable, that the
_extremities_ are most important parts, when considered as objects for
dress, and that _a well appointed hat, faultlessly-fitting gloves, and
immaculate boots_, are three essentials to a well-dressed man, without
which the otherwise best constituted dress will appear unfinished.

Besides the necessity for the greatest care required in the selection of
colors, with regard to their harmonizing with each other, and their
general adaptation to the complexion or contour of the wearer, there is
another matter of the first importance, and this is, the _cut_. Of
course, everything should be sacrificed to _perfect ease_, as any
garment which pinches, or incommodes the wearer, will strongly militate
against the easy deportment of even the most graceful, and tend to give
a contracted and constrained appearance. _Every garment, therefore,
should leave the wearer perfectly free and uncontrolled in every
motion_; and, having set out with this proviso, the _artiste_ may
proceed to invest his work with all the minute and seemingly immaterial
graces and touches, which, although scarcely to be remarked, still
impart _an air_ or _character_, which is unmistakable, and is expressed
in the French word _chique_.

_Wadding_, or _stuffing_, should be avoided as much as possible. A
little may be judiciously used to round off the more salient points of
an angular figure, but when it is used for the purpose of creating an
egregiously false impression of superior form, it is simply _snobbish_.
Some one has called hypocrisy "the homage which vice pays to virtue."
_Wadding is the homage which snobbishness pays to symmetry!_

A well-dressed man will never be the first to set a new fashion; he will
allow others to hazard the innovation, and decline the questionable
honor of being the first to advertise a _novelty_. Two lines of Pope (I
believe), admirably illustrate the middle course:--

    _"Be not the first by whom the new is tried,
    Nor yet the last by whom 'tis set aside."_

Besides which he will find it far easier to become a _critic_ than an
_author_; and as there is sure to be a vast number of men who "greatly
daring" dress, he will merely be at the trouble of discriminating which
is worthy of selection or rejection; he will thus verify the old saw,
that "fools make feasts and wise men eat thereof," and avoid, by means
of his own knowledge of _the becoming_, the solecisms which are pretty
certain to occur in a number of experiments.





In the order of sequence adopted at the commencement of our
correspondence, the subject of _manner_ comes next in succession.

It was the shrewd aphorism of one of the most profound observers of
human nature that "_Manner is something to all, and everything to

As indicative of character, which it undoubtedly is, to a certain
extent, it is well worthy the attention of all youthful aspirants to the
honors of the world. And though, like every other attribute, it should
bear indubitable murks of individuality, care and attention, before
habit has rendered change and improvement difficult, will enable every
man to acquire that propriety and polish, in this respect, the
advantages of which through life can scarcely be overrated.

It has been somewhat paradoxically said, that the fashionable manner of
the present day is _no manner at all_! which means simply--that the
manners of the best bred people are those that are least obtruded upon
the notice of others,--those most _quiet, natural, and unassuming_.

There is, however, a possibility of carrying this modish manner to such
an extreme as to make it the very height of affectation. If Talleyrand's
favorite axiom admits of some qualification, and _language_ is not
_always_ used to "conceal our ideas," then should _manner_, which is the
natural adjunct that lends additional expressiveness to words, be in a
degree modified by circumstances--be _individualized_.

Every approach to a rude, noisy, boisterous, manner, is reprehensible,
for the obvious reason that it interferes with the comfort, and,
consequently, with the rights of others; but this is at a wide remove
from the ultra-modishness that requires the total suppression of every
manifestation of natural emotion, and apparently, aims to convert beings
influenced by the motives, feelings, and principles that constitute
humanity, into mere moving automata!

In this, as in too many similar matters, Americans are prone to excess.
Because _scenes_ are considered bad _ton_, in good society abroad, and
because the warm-hearted hospitality of olden time sometimes took shape
a little more impressingly and noisily than kindness required, some of
our fashionable imitators of European models move through the world like
resuscitated ghosts, and violate every law of good feeling in an
endeavor to sustain at home a character for modish _nonchalance_! Now,
take it as a rule through life, my young friends, that _all servile
imitation degenerates into caricature_, and let your adoption and
illustration of every part of your system of life be modified by
circumstances, and regulated by good sense and manly independence.

I need scarcely tell you that true politeness is not so much a thing of
forms and ceremonies, as of right feelings and nicety of perception. The
Golden Rule habitually illustrated in word and action, would produce the
most unexceptionable good breeding--politeness so cosmopolitan that it
would be a passport to "good society" everywhere.

One of the most polished and celebrated of American authors has given us
as fine and laconic a definition of politeness as I remember to have met
with--"Self-respect, and a delicate regard for the rights and feelings
of others."

The good breeding of a true gentleman is not an appendage put off and on
at the dictate of caprice, or interest, it is essentially _a part of
himself_--a constituent of his being, as much as his sense of honesty or
honor, and its requirements are no more forgotten or violated than those
of any other essential attribute of manhood. You will all remember Sir
Philip Sidney's immortal action in presenting the cup of water to the
dying soldier. This was a spontaneous result of the habitual
self-possession and self-restraint that form the basis of all true good
breeding. It is one of the most perfect exhibitions on record of the
_moral sublime_; but it was, also, only a legitimate result of the
_instinctive politeness of a Christian gentleman_!

Manner, then, may be regarded as the expression of inherent qualities,
and though it must, necessarily, and should properly, to some extent,
at least, vary with the variations of character, it may readily be
rendered a more correct and effective exponent of existing
characteristics of mind and heart, by judicious and attentive training.

While true good breeding must, from its very nature be, as I have said,
in all persons and under every modification of circumstance
substantially the same, the proper mode of exemplifying it, must, with
equal propriety, be modified by the exercise of practical good sense and
discrimination. Thus, the laws of convention,--which, as I have before
remarked, is but another name for the rules of politeness, established
and adhered to by well-bred people, for mutual convenience--though in
some respects as immutable as those of the Medes and Persians, will
always be adapted, by persons of good sense, to the mutations of
circumstance and the inviolable requisitions of that "higher law," whose
vital principle is "_kindness kindly expressed_!" Having now established
general principles, let us turn to the consideration of practical

There is, perhaps, no better test of good manners afforded by the
intercourse of ordinary life, than that of conduct towards superiors in
age or station, ("Young America" seems loth to admit that he has any
superiors, but we will venture to assume these premises). The
general-in-chief of the Revolutionary Army of America is well known to
have always observed the most punctilious respect towards his _mother_,
in his personal intercourse with her, as well as in every other
relation of life. My word for it, he never spoke of her as the "old
woman;" nor could one of the youthful members of his military family
have alluded, in his hearing, to a parent as the "governor," or the "old
governor," without exciting the disapproving surprise of Washington and
his co-patriots. And yet our young republic has known no more high-bred
and polished men than those of that day,--the stately and elegant
Hancock, even when broken by time and disease, a graceful and
punctilious observer of all the ceremonious courtesies of life; the
courtly Carroll, whose benignant urbanity was the very impersonation of
a long line of old English gentlemen; and the imposing stateliness of
the commander-in-chief, ever observant of the most minute details of
propriety, whether in the familiar intercourse of daily life, or while
conducting the most momentous affairs of his country. But to return from
this unpremeditated digression. Never let youthful levity, or the
example of others, betray you into forgetfulness of the claims of your
parents or elders, to a certain deference. Depend upon it, the
preservation of a just self-respect demands this.

Your historical studies will have furnished you with evidence of the
respect habitually rendered to superiors by those nations of antiquity
most celebrated for advancement in civilization; and you will not have
failed, also, to remark that nothing more surely heralded the decay of
ancient empires than degeneracy in this regard.

Next to the reverence ever due to parents, may be ranked that which
should be rendered to virtuous age, irrespective of station or other
outward attributes. I should deem this instinctive with all right-minded
young persons, did I not so often, in the street, at church, in social
life, in public places generally, observe the manner in which elderly
persons are, apparently, wholly overlooked.

Here, the universally-applicable _law of kindness_ claims regard. Those
of the pilgrims of earth, whose feet are descending the narrowing vale
that leads to the dim obscure unpenetrated by mortal eyes, are easily
pained by even the semblance of indifference or neglect. They are
sensitively alive to every intimation that their places in the busy
arena of active life are already better filled by others; that they are
rather tolerated than essential. Those who are most worthy of regard are
least likely to be insensible to such influences. Remember, then, that
you should never run the race of life so "fast" as to encroach upon the
established claims of your predecessors in the course. Nor would the
most prematurely sage young man be entirely unbenefited, it may be, by
availing himself occasionally of the accumulated experience, erudition,
and knowledge of the world, possessed by many a quiet "old fogy," whose
unassuming manners, modest self-respect, and pure integrity present a
just model to "Young America," albeit, perchance, too old-fashioned to
be deemed worthy of attention!

While the general proposition--that manner is, to a considerable extent
_character in action_, is undoubtedly correct, we occasionally see the
exact converse painfully exemplified. It sometimes occurs that the most
amiable persons labor through life under the disadvantage of a diffident
or awkward manner, which does great injustice to their intrinsic
excellences. And this is but another evidence of the necessity of the
earliest attention to this subject.

Though no one should be discouraged in an endeavor to remedy the defects
arising from neglect, in this respect (and, indeed, it may properly be
considered as affording room for ceaseless advancement, like every other
portion of the earthly education of immortal beings), few persons,
perhaps, ever completely overcome the difficulties arising from
inattention to this important branch of education, while youthful
pliancy renders the formation of habits comparatively easy.

The early acquisition of habits of self-possession and self-control,
will furnish the surest basis for the formation of correct manners. With
this should be united, as far as is practicable, constant association
with well-educated and well-bred persons, there is no friction like this
to produce external polish, nor can the most elaborate rules furnish an
effectual substitute for the ease that practice alone secures.

Lose no opportunity, therefore, for studiously observing the best
_living models_, not for the purpose of attempting an undiscriminating
imitation of even the most perfect, but, as an original and gifted
artist derives advantage from studying works of genius, by the great
masters of art, to avail yourself of the matured knowledge resulting
from experience.

       *       *       *       *       *

But now for an exemplary anecdote or two:--

"Colonel Lunettes, do you know some gentleman going to U---- in this
train?" inquired my friend ex-Governor T----, extending his hand to me
in the car-house of one of our western cities. "I wish to place a very
pretty young lady under the care of some suitable person for a short
time, until she joins a party of friends."

"Really, my dear sir, I regret that I have just arrived," returned I;
"you tempt me to turn about and go over the ground again."

"Uncle T----, there is H---- B---- just getting out of that car," cried
a young lady, approaching us, with two or three fair companions,
"perhaps he is going on."

At this moment a young man, in a dress that might have been that of the
roughest back-woodsman, approached the group.

He wore a very broad-brimmed, coarse straw hat, capable of serving the
double purpose of umbrella and _chapeau_, his hands were incased in
strong gauntlet-gloves, and he carried a large engineer's field-book
under one arm.

Removing his hat, as he somewhat hesitatingly advanced, and passing his
hand over a beard of several days' growth, glancing downward, at the
same time, upon heavy-soled boots, thickly encrusted with dry mud--

"Ladies," said he, "I am too dirty to come near you; I have been
surveying in the swamps in this neighborhood for several days past,
camping out, and jumped upon the cars a few miles back, bound for my
stationary quarters and--the _blessings of civilization_!" And, with the
color deepening in his sun-burnt face, he bowed to us all, with a grace
that Count d'Orsay could scarcely have exceeded.

The youth was very cordially welcomed by his friends; little Kitty, who
is privileged to say anything, declared she "never saw him look so
handsome;" and, I confess, that even my flinty old heart was favorably
moved towards the young engineer. I admired the good taste that dictated
an explanation of the soiled condition of his clothes (his thick linen
shirt, however, was _clean_); not an absurd apology for not being
_well-dressed_, and I liked his use of the good, significant Saxon word
that most truthfully described his condition.

After an exchange of civilities, turning respectfully to the governor,
he said: "Governor T----, can I be of any service? You seemed to be
looking for some one."

An explanation of the circumstances resulted in the resignation of his
fair charge to the temporary care of this same toil-worn, "dirty" young
engineer, by my friend, who is himself one of the most fastidious and
world-polished of men!

A few days after this trifling adventure, I went, by invitation, to
pass a day with my friend the ex-governor, at his beautiful residence a
little out of the city.

Standing near one of the drawing-room windows, just before dinner, I
observed a gentleman alighting from a carriage, at the entrance of the
mansion. I was struck with his elegant air, as he kissed his hand to
some one who was, like myself, an observer on the occasion.

"There is H---- B----!" exclaimed the joyous voice of pretty Kitty, the
niece of my host, and a little scrutiny, while he was paying his
compliments to the several members of the family, enabled me to
recognize in this graceful stranger the rough-looking youth I had
previously seen at the dépôt. But what a metamorphosis! He now wore an
entirely modish dinner-dress, exquisitely tasteful in all its
appointments; his coat of the most faultless fit, and boots that
displayed a very small and handsome foot to admirable advantage. I
afterwards noticed, too, that "camping out" in the "swamps" had not,
apparently, impaired the smoothness of the slender fingers and
carefully-cut nails that came under my observation while listening, in
the course of the evening, to the rich voice and guitar accompaniment of
Mr. B----.

"Did Mr. B---- come out in a carriage?" inquired one of the ladies of
the family, in a low tone, of my host, near whom I was standing, when
arrangements were to be made for the return of the guests to town.

"Certainly he did," answered the governor, "Mr. B---- is too much of a
sybarite to heat himself by walking out here to dinner, on such a day as

"And too economical, I have no doubt, judging from his good sense in
other respects," I added, "to spoil a pair of costly dress boots in such

"Mrs. M----, one moment, if you please," said a voice behind us, and
Mrs. M---- (who is the acting mistress of the mansion) took the arm
politely proffered her, and stepped out upon the portico. Presently she

"Uncle T----," whispered she ("excuse me, Col. Lunettes), John need not
get up our carriage; Mr. B---- has been so polite as to insist upon our
sending the girls home in his, saying that he really prefers to sit
outside, and that the carriage in which he drove out is to be here in a
few minutes."

"He happened to know that John has to be up with the lark, about another
matter," remarked the host, "and"----

"How kind!" returned the lady; "but Mr. B---- does everything so
agreeably that one does not know which to admire most--the charm of his
_manner_, or"----

"The _good breeding_, from which it springs!" exclaimed the governor,
finishing the eulogy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Attending a lady from the dinner-table at the St. Nicholas, in New York,
she begged me to wait with her for a few minutes, near the passage
conducting to the drawing-rooms, saying, playfully, that she wished to
way-lay a gentleman. "I have been all the morning," she then explained,
"trying to meet a Russian friend of ours, who is certainly staying
here, though we cannot succeed in seeing him. My husband charged me,
before we parted this morning, as he was obliged to go out of town for
the day, with a message for our friend, which he said _must_ be
delivered by me in person. Ah, there he is now!" and she advanced a step
towards an elderly gentleman accompanying a lady.

I released her arm from mine, of course, and retired a little; the other
lady also simultaneously withdrawing. I bowed respectfully to her.

"Have you ever chanced to remark this picture?" inquired the fair
stranger of me, as we stood thus near each other, turning towards the
painting of the patron saint of the Knickerbockers, which graced the
main staircase of the hotel; "it is very appropriately selected."

Nothing could be more unmistakably refined and high-bred than the
bearing of the interlocutor, while we chatted a moment or two longer.

"I beg your pardon, madam, for depriving you of your cavalier; nothing
but necessity could excuse it"--began the lady, who had been talking
earnestly in the meanwhile with the Russian, approaching us. She was at
once relieved from making further explanation.

"Pray don't name it--and allow me to renew my slight acquaintance with
you," offering her hand.

"With pleasure," returned my fair friend, instantly; but she looked a
little puzzled, despite her courtesy.

"I see you do not recollect the weary traveller who was so much obliged
to your politeness in the hotel in Washington, the other night. The only
stranger-lady (turning to her attendant) I have met in this country, who
has rendered me the slightest civility."

All this was, of course, quite unintelligible to me, but later in the
evening I had the honor of being introduced to these strangers, and,
incidentally, received a solution of the mystery.

While a pleasant party with which I had the good fortune to be
associated, was cozily gathered in one of the quiet little drawing-rooms
of the St. Nicholas, the conversation turned upon the difference of
manners in different nations. Let me premise a brief explanation, that
you may the better understand what follows. The Russian gentleman, whom
I had seen in the passage, is Dr. de H----, a distinguished _savant_,
travelling in the service of his imperial master, and the lady whom he
was attending from dinner a Frenchwoman of high birth and breeding. My
fair charge is the wife of an officer of our army, who nearly lost his
life in the late Mexican war, returning home covered alike with wounds
and honors, and with still I don't know how many bullets in his body, as
life-long tokens of his bravery. His heroic young wife, when she learned
that he had landed at New Orleans, as soon after the conclusion of peace
as his condition enabled him to be conveyed to the sea-board and make
the voyage, set out to join him at the South, with an infant of only a
few weeks old, and herself in enfeebled health.--They had been married
but a short time, when Col. V---- was ordered to the seat of war, and
the lady was a belle and a beauty, of scarce nineteen--the cherished
idol of wealth and affection. These persons, and one or two others were,
with myself, seated, as I have said, cozily together for a little talk,
after dinner.

Taking advantage of the temporary absence of Mrs. V----, the
Frenchwoman, turning to Dr. de H----, said: "What a charming person! I
must tell you about my first meeting with her. You know we are just
returned from a little tour at the south of this country. Well, at
Washington, the other evening we have arrived, my husband and I, with my
little daughter, Lorrette, very tired and covered with dust, at the
hotel. A friend had engaged apartments for us, two or three days before,
but we were not conducted to them. They led us into a sort of corridor,
where gentlemen and ladies were walking, in dinner dress, and left us to
stand against the wall for some time. At last Victor told me to be
patient, and he would go and see. I have thought I should fall down with
fatigue and vexation, and poor little Lorrette leaned against me and was
almost quite asleep. At this moment, a lady and gentleman who were
sitting in a little alcove, which was in the corridor, observed us, as I
saw, though I tried to turn myself from all. They came immediately to
us. The gentleman brought a light chair in his hand. 'Madam,' said the
gentleman, 'allow me to offer you a seat; I am surprised that Mr.
Willard has no reception room for travellers.' Before I could thank
them, properly, the lady said, seeing how Lorrette had begun to cry, 'Do
come and sit over there in the little recess; there is a larger chair in
which the little girl can lie down until you can get your rooms. Pray
come'--and all this with such a sweet manner. Seeing that the gentleman
was already looking for another chair to bring to us, I went away with
the lady; saying, however, that I was so sad to come with her in this
dress, and to trouble her. When we were in the little alcove, almost by
ourselves, she placed Lorrette on a little couch, and forced me to sit
on the only good chair, saying that she preferred to stand a little, and
so many other polite, kind words! Then, while the gentleman talked a
little with me, she began to tell Lorrette that her papa would soon take
her to a nice supper, and made her look, when she was no longer so
tired, at some nice drawings of colored birds that her friend was
showing her when they came to carry us to them."

You must picture to yourselves the animated gestures, the expressive
tones, and the slight Gallic accent that gave double significance to
this little sketch, to form a correct idea of the pleasing effect
produced upon us all by the narration. Observing Mrs. V---- re-entering
the room, the charming Frenchwoman only added, enthusiastically: "Really
these were persons so agreeable, that I could not forget them; as I have
told you to-day, Dr. de H----, it is the only stranger American lady who
has ever been polite in our journey."

"Are the ladies of our country, then, so remiss in politeness?" said a
young American lady present, in a deprecatory tone.

"I beg your pardon, madam," returned the foreigner, "the Americans are
the most kind-hearted people in the world, but _they do not say it_! it
is the--_manner_!"

"I shall really begin to think," said Mrs. V----, "that there is some
other cause than my being a brunette for my being so often taken for a
foreigner. I am often asked whether I am from New Orleans, or of French

"I am not surprised," exclaimed Dr. de H----, "my friend Sir C----
G----, who saw you this morning, asked me afterwards what country was
you of?"

"Why, how was that?"

"He told me he had just given a servant, that stupid old man in the
hall, the house-porter, I believe you call him, a card, to take to some
room, when you met him, and directed him to go to the office with a
message; but, observing the card in his hand, and that a gentleman stood
there, you immediately told him to go first with the card and you would
wait for him."

Here the silvery laugh of Mrs. V---- interrupted the Russian. "Excuse
me," said she, "I remember it!--that old porter, who always makes a
mistake, if it is possible, has so often annoyed me, that this time I
was determined, as it was a person I much wished to see, not to lose my
visitor through him, so, after waiting some time in one of these rooms,
I went to him to inquire, and sent him to the office, when I found that
my poor friend was waiting _there_, while I waited _here_. Observing a
gentleman who seemed already to have required his services, I bade him
go first for him, of course. '_Apres vous, madame, je vous prie_,'[3]
said he, with the most courtly air;--so that was Sir C---- G----?"

  [3] After you are served, madam, I beg.

"Yes, madam," answered the _savant_, "but it was _your_ air that was
remarkable! Sir C---- told me that while you both were waiting there you
addressed some polite remark to him, _pour passer le temps_, and that he
thought you were not an American lady, _because you spoke to him_!"

"Speaking of _not speaking_," said I, when the general amusement had
abated, "reminds me of an amusing little scene that I once witnessed in
the public parlor of a New England tavern, where I was compelled to wait
several hours for a stage-coach. Presently there entered a bustling,
sprightly-looking little personage, who, after frisking about the room,
apparently upon a tour of inspection, finally settled herself very
comfortably in the large cushioned rocking-chair--the only one in the
room--and was soon, as I had no reason to doubt, sound asleep. It was
not long, however, before a noise of some one entering aroused her, and
a tall, gaunt old Yankee woman, hung round with countless bags,
bonnet-boxes, and nondescript appendages of various sizes and kinds,
presented herself to our vision. After slowly relieving herself of the
numberless incumbrances that impeded her progress in life, she turned to
a young man who accompanied her, and said, in a tone so peculiarly
shrill, that it might have been mistaken, at this day, for a railroad

"'Now, Jonathan, don't let no grass grow under your feet while you go
for them tooth-ache drops; I am a'mos' crazy with pain!' laying a hand
upon the affected spot as she spoke; 'and here,' she called out, as the
door was closing upon her messenger, 'just get my box filled at the same
time!' diving, with her disengaged hand, into the unknown depths of,
seemingly, the most capacious of pockets, and bringing to light a
shining black box, of sufficient size to hold all the jewels of a modern
belle, 'I thought I brought along my snuff-bladder, but I don't know
where I put it, my head is so stirred up.'

"By this time the little woman in the rocking-chair was fairly aroused,
and rising, she courteously offered her seat to the stranger, her accent
at once betraying her claim to be ranked with the politest of nations (a
bow, on my part, to the fair foreigner in the group). With a prolonged
stare, the old woman coolly ensconced herself in the vacated seat,
making not the slightest acknowledgment of the civility she had
received. Presently, she began to groan, rocking herself furiously at
the same time. The former occupant of the stuffed chair, who had retired
to a window, and perched herself in one of a long row of high wooden
seats, hurried to the sufferer. 'I fear, madame,' said she, 'that you
suffare ver' much:--vat can I do for you?' The representative of
Yankeedom might have been a wooden clock-case for all the response she
made to this amiable inquiry, unless her rocking more furiously than
ever might be construed into a reply.

"The little Frenchwoman, apparently wholly unable to class so anomalous
a specimen of humanity, cautiously retreated.

"Before I was summoned away, the tooth-ache drops and the snuff together
(both administered in large doses!) seemed to have gradually produced
the effect of oil poured upon troubled waters.

"The sprightly Frenchwoman again ventured upon the theatre of action.

"'You find yourself now much improved, madame?' she asked, with
considerable vivacity. A very slight nod was the only answer.

"'And you feel dis _fauteuil_, really ver' _com-for-ta-ble_?' pursued
the little woman, with augmented energy of voice. Another nod was just

"No intonation of mine can do justice to the very ecstasy of impatience
with which the pertinacious questioner now actually _screamed_ out:

"'_Bien_, madame, _vil you say so_, if you please!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

I meant to repeat an impressive little story told us by my lovely
friend, Mrs. V----, before our merry little party separated that night;
but, even were this letter not already too "long drawn out," I find my
head in very much the condition of that of the old Yankee woman, whom, I
trust, I have immortalized, and will, therefore, reserve it for another
time, hoping that you will pay me the compliment to recollect my
description of my _dramatis personæ_ until then.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, here is one other anecdote for you:

During my usual morning ride, one day lately, I stopped to breathe my
horse on the top of a little hill, in the suburbs of one of the villages
upon the banks of the Hudson. While enjoying the beauty of the fine
landscape before me, my horse, all on a sudden, started violently. I
presently discovered the cause of his fright. Some little rascals were
at play in the unenclosed yard of an old building near, and one of them
was throwing lumps of earth, pieces of broken crockery, rusty
sheet-iron, etc., upon the plank-walk in front. As I turned my head
towards them, a little urchin who was perched upon a knob of the root of
a tree, with his hands upon his knees, cried out, energetically: "There
now, look-a there! Ain't you a pretty fellow? dirtying up the walk so,
when people are going by." His little freckled face expressed real
concern, as he looked fixedly up the walk. Glancing in the same
direction, I saw an elegantly-dressed lady carefully gathering up her
dress, preparatory to encountering the sharp obstacles in her path, and
at once understood the cause of the reproof I had overheard, and which I
assure you, I have transcribed _verbatim_, though the phrase "pretty
fellow" may seem incongruous in the mouth of a dirty little Irish boy. I
only hope the lady--whose gentle smile indicated that she too understood
the scene--was compensated for being so incommoded, by discerning the
_inbred politeness_ of her little champion.

       *       *       *       *       *

As it is your desire that I should deal rather with practical realities
than with generalities or theories, let us come in my next, without
preliminaries, to plain suggestions, presented somewhat in detail, with
the usual simplicity and frankness of that "plain, blunt man,"

  Your affectionate uncle




If I rightly remember, I concluded my last letter to my young
correspondents with a promise of attempting in my next, some _practical
directions_ in regard to Manner. I will, then, commence, at once
premising only in the impressive words of the immortal senator, who just
at present holds so large a space in the world's eye: "In now opening
this great matter, I am not insensible to the austere demands of the

Important as Manner undoubtedly is, in every relation of life, the
cultivation of an unexceptionable deportment _at home_, may, perhaps, be
regarded as of primary consequence, in securing the happiness at which
all aim, though by means,

       ----"variable as the shade,
    By the light, quivering aspen made."

I think I have already incidentally alluded to the bad taste, to give it
no severer name, so commonly exhibited by young persons in this
country, in their conduct towards _parents_. Let nothing tempt _you_, I
pray you, into habits so discreditable. Manhood is never depreciated by
any true estimate, when yielding tribute to the claims of age.--Towards
your _father_ preserve always a deferential manner, mingled with a
certain frankness, indicating that thorough confidence, that entire
understanding of each other, which is the best guarantee of good sense
in both, and of inestimable value to every young man, blessed with a
right-minded parent. Accept the advice dictated by experience with
respect, receive even reproof without impatience of manner, and hasten
to prove afterwards, that you cherish no resentful remembrance of what
may even have seemed to you too great severity, or too manifest an
assumption of authority. Heed the counsel of an old man, who "through
the loop-holes of retreat" looks calmly on the busy tide of life rolling
forever onward, and let the sod that closes over the heart that throbs
no more even with affection and anxiety for you, leave for you only the
pain of parting--not the haunting demon of _remorse_. Allow no false
pride, no constitutional obstinacy, to interfere with the better
impulses of your nature, in your intercourse with your father, or to
interrupt for an hour the manly trust that should be between you. And in
the inner temple of _home_, as well as when the world looks on, render
him reverence due.

There should be mingled with the habitual deference and attention that
marks your manner to your _mother_, the indescribable tenderness and
rendering back of care and watchfulness that betokens remembrance of
her love in earlier days. No other woman should ever induce you to
forget this truest, most disinterested friend, nor should your manner
ever indicate even momentary indifference to her wishes or her
affection. Permit me again to refer you to the example of _our country's
pride_ in this regard. You will all remember his marked attention,
through life, to his only parent, and the fact that his first appearance
in public, on a festive occasion, after the triumph of Yorkstown, was in
attendance upon his mother at the ball given at Fredericksburgh, in
celebration of that event. A fair friend of mine, who has written the
most enthusiastically-appreciative description of this memorable scene
that I remember to have read, characterizes the manner of Washington as
illustrating the _moral sublime_, to a degree that filled all beholders
with admiration. But no one needs the examples of history, or the
promptings of friendship, to convince him of a duty to which the
impulses of nature unmistakably direct him: all that I, for a moment,
suppose you require, is to be reminded that no thoughtlessness should
permit your _manner_ to do injustice to your feelings, in this sacred
relation of life.

The familiarity of domestic intercourse should never degenerate into a
rude disregard for the restraints imposed by refinement, nor an
unfeeling indifference to the feelings of others. With brothers and
sisters even, the sense of equality should be tempered by habitual
self-restraint and courtesy. "No man is great to his _valet de
chambre_"--no man grows, by the superior gifts of nature, or by the
power of circumstance, beyond the genial familiarity of domestic
intercourse. You may be older and wiser than your _brothers_, but no
prerogatives of birthright, of education, or of intellect can excuse
assumption, or make amends for the rupture of the natural tie that is
best strengthened by affectionate consideration and respect.

To his _sisters_, every man owes a peculiar obligation arising from the
claim nature gives them to his protection, as well as to his love and
sympathy. Nor is this relative claim wholly abrogated even by their
being older than he. The attributes and the admitted rights of our sex
give even younger brothers the privilege,--and such every well
constituted man will consider it,--of assuming towards such relations
the position of a friend, confidant and guardian. And the manner of _a
gentleman_ will always indicate, unmistakably, the delicacy, the
consideration and the respect he considers due to them. I will not
assume the possibility of your being indifferent to their love and
interest; suffice it to say, that both will be best deserved and
preserved by a careful admingling of the observances of politeness
practised towards other women, with the playful freedom sanctioned by
consanguinity. The world will give you no substitutes for the friends
nature provides--they are bound to you by all ties unitedly. Be ever
mindful that no rude touch of yours, sunders or even weakens the
tenderest chords of the heart.


    ----"modest the manners by Nature bestowed
    On Nature's most exquisite child,"

a man's conduct towards his _wife_ should always indicate respect as
well as politeness. No rude familiarity should outrage the delicacy that
veils femininity, no outward indifference or neglect betoken disregard
of the sacred claims of the woman, whom, next to his mother, every man
is bound in honor, to distinguish beyond all others, by courteous
observance. If you consider the affection you doubtless took some pains,
originally, to win, worth preserving, if you think it of any moment to
retain the attributes ascribed to you by the object of that affection,
while you made the endeavor to do full justice to yourself in the eyes
of your _mistress_,[4] would it be wise to prefer no further claims to
such characteristics by your manner to your _wife_? I have never
forgotten the impression made upon me in youth by an exquisite letter in
one of Addison's Spectators, purporting to be written by an old woman,
in regard, if I remember, to the very point we are now discussing. It
contains, as inclosed to the Solon of polite laws in that day, a note
represented to have been written to her, by the husband of the lady,
from a London coffee-house, upon some emergency, which is the very
embodiment of gentle courtesy, and concluding with a respectful apology
for the coarse paper, and other unseemly appliances of the
communication. "Could you see the withered hand that indites this, dear
Mr. Spectator," says the correspondent of Addison, "you would be still
more impressed by the gallantry that remains thus unimpaired by time,"
or words to that effect. I have not the original to transcribe from, and
the copy in my _mental tablets_ is a little dimmed by the wear of years.
But though the exact phraseology of the number I allude to is
indistinct, I repeat that I have a thousand times recalled the substance
with the same pure pleasure and admiration. I have not half done justice
to it, and, indeed, I am almost ashamed to have so poorly sketched a
picture whose beauty you may best appreciate by personal inspection. No
tyro should attempt a copy of the production of an _old
master_--especially when the mental magician fails to place the original
before his mind's eye,

    "Pictured fair, in memory's mystic glass."

But if you do not despise such old-fashioned literature as the writings
of the English classic authors--and certainly, without undue prejudice
in their favor, I may venture, I think, to say, that a knowledge of the
writings of such men as Johnson, Goldsmith, Burke, and Addison, should
make part of the education of every gentleman--if you will look up this
elegant essay, and read it for yourselves, I can safely promise you
ample remuneration for your trouble.

  [4] I shall take the liberty to use the word "_mistress_," throughout
  these letters, in the sense appropriated to it by Addison, Johnson, and
  other English classic authors. _Sweetheart_ is too old-fashioned.
  "_Lady-love_" suits the style of my fashionable nieces, better than
  mine. _Mistress_ is an authorized Saxon word, of well-defined meaning,
  though, like some others, perverted to a bad use, at times.

Do not degrade your own ideal by a too minute scrutiny, nor forget that
the shrine of the _Lares_, though it may be approached with the simplest
offerings, is desecrated by even a momentary forgetfulness that its
votaries should be

    "_Content to dwell in decencies, forever!_"

The chosen friend of your life, the presiding genius of your home, the
mother of your children, then, not only claims the high place of trust
and confidence, but _the proof afforded by manner_ of the existence and
dominance of these sentiments.

Many men, with the kindest feelings and the clearest perceptions of
duty, are, from mere inadvertency, unobservant of the fact that they
habitually give pain to those dependent on them for consideration, by
neglecting those _graces of manner_ that lend a charm to the most
trifling actions. Remember, while you are forming habits, in this
respect, how sensitively constituted are the gentler sex, how easily
pained, how easily pleased. The more discriminating and affectionate is
woman, the more readily is she wounded. Like a harp of a thousand
strings, her nature, if rudely approached, is jarred responsively, while
the gentlest touch elicits an harmonious thrill. The delightful
_abandon_ that constitutes one of the most exquisite enjoyments of home,
is not augmented, for a man of true refinement, by a total disregard of
ceremony and self-restraint. Selfishness, ill-humor, and a spirit of
petty tyranny, rest assured, though their manifestation be confined to
home intercourse, and borne in silence there, will gradually undermine
character and essentially diminish domestic happiness.

Earnestly, therefore, do I admonish my youthful relatives to cultivate a
careful observance of the requisitions of what has been well designated
as "_domestic politeness_." Confer favors with ready cheerfulness, or,
if necessary, refuse them with an expression of regret, or a polite
explanation. Never repel solicitations, much less caresses, with
impatience, nor allow your bearing to indicate the reluctant discharge
of a duty that should also be a pleasure. A smile, an intonation of
affection, a glance of appreciation or acknowledgment--small artillery
all, I grant, my boys, but they will suffice to make a _feu-de-joie_ in
a loving heart, that will, each and every one of them, cause you to be
followed in the thorny path of daily life by a blessing that will not
harm you; they will secure you a welcome, when, world-worn, you shall
'homeward plod your weary way,' worth all the gold you have gathered,
and well rewarding all the toil you have encountered.

I will only add, in this connection, that manhood is ennobled by the
habitual exercise of delicate forbearance towards _helplessness_ and
_dependence_, and that a high test of character is the right _use of
power_. Those, then, whom nature teaches to look to you for affection,
as well as for care and protection--your mother, wife, sisters--should
invariably derive from your _manner_ evidence of the steadfastness of
your interest and regard for them.

Like most of the aphorisms of the ancients for subtle wisdom, is the
saying, "We should reverence the presence of children." Fresh from the
creating hand of Deity, they are committed to us. While yet unstained by
the pollutions of the world, should we not render a certain homage to
their pristine purity and innocence? Should we not hesitate by
exhibitions of such qualities of our nature as are happily still dormant
in them, to force them into precocious development? The silent _teaching
of example_ tells most effectively upon the young for the reason that
they are insensibly forming in imitation of the models before them,
without the disadvantages of previous habit, or of diminished
impressibility. It is no light sin, then, either in our manner towards
them, or towards others in their presence, to obtrude a false standard
of propriety upon their notice. If manner be, as we have assumed, active
manifestation of character, the ductile minds of these nice observers
and ceaseless imitators must be indeed seriously under its influences.
That careful study of individual peculiarities which paternal duty
imperatively demands, will readily suggest the proper modification of
manner demanded by each different child in a household. It is said that
children are never mistaken judges of character. Certain it is, at
least, that they instinctively discern their true friends, and that of
the "Kingdom of Heaven," as by divine assertion they are--the _Law of
Love_, attempered in its administration by practical good sense, is the
most effective influence that can be brought to bear upon them. Permit
me to recall to your remembrance the _tenderness_ that distinguished the
manner of Christ towards little children.

Pre-supposing as I have done, thus far in this letter, and as I shall
continue to do, throughout our correspondence, that you regard moral
obligation as the grand incentive to the correct discipline even of the
outer man, arrogating to myself only the office of the lapidary,--that
of endeavoring to polish, not create, the priceless jewel of
_principle_, I shall make no apology for the suggestion, that manner
should not be regarded as beneath the attention of a Christian
gentleman, in his intercourse with such inmates of his household as may
from any circumstance be peculiarly sensitive to indications of
negligent observance. The _aged_, the _infirm_, the _insignificant_, the
_dependent_; all, in short, who are particularly afflicted "in mind,
body, or estate," are suitable recipients of the most expressive
courtesies of manner.

Perhaps no single phase of _manner at home_ more correctly illustrates
nice mental and moral perceptions than the treatment of _servants_ and
_inferiors_ generally. One may be just to the primary obligations
evolved by this relation to others, and yet always receive the service
of fear rather than of affection. All needless assumption of authority
or superiority, in connection with this position, is indicative of
inherent vulgarity, and is at as great a remove from a true standard as
is undue familiarity. Never to manifest pleasure even by a smile, never
to make an acknowledgment in words, of the kindly offices that money
cannot adequately reward, may be very grand and stately, but such
sublime elevation above one's fellow-creatures raises the heart to
rather an Alpine attitude--to a height at which the _milk of human
kindness_ even, may congeal!

Always accept voluntary service with the slight acknowledgment that
suffices to indicate your consciousness of it, nor deem it unworthy of
one pilgrim upon the great highway of life to cheer another upon whom
the toil and burden falls heaviest, by a smile or a word of
encouragement. The language of request is, as a rule, in better taste
than that of command, and, in most instances, elicits more ready, as
well as cheerful obedience. Scott makes Queen Elizabeth say, on a
momentous occasion, "Sussex, I entreat; Leicester, I command!" "But,"
adds the author, "the entreaty sounded like a command, and the command
was uttered in a tone of entreaty." Can you make only a lesson in
elocution out of this; or will it also illustrate our present theme?

Few persons who have not had their attention called to this subject,
have any just conception of the real benefits that may be conferred upon
those beneath us in station by a _pleasant word uttered in a pleasant
tone_. Like animals and young children, uneducated persons are
peculiarly susceptible to all external influences. They are easily
amused, easily gratified--shall I add, easily _satisfied_, mentally?
The comparatively vacant mind readily admits an impression from without;
hence, he who "whistles for want of thought," will whistle more cheerily
for the introduction of an agreeable remembrance, into the unfurnished
"chambers of imagery," and the humble plodder who relieves us of a
portion of the dead weight that oppresses humanity, will go on his way
rejoicing; ofttimes for many a weary mile, impelled by a single word of
encouragement from his superior officer in the "Grand Army" of life. But
I hear you say, "Uncle Hal grows military--'the ruling passion strong'
even in letter-writing. Like the dying Napoleon, his last words will be
'_Tête d'Armée!_'"--Well, well, boys! pardon an old man's
diffuseness!--his twilight dullness!

There are occasions when to _talk_ to servants and other employés, make
part of a humane bearing towards them. To converse with them in relation
to _their_ affairs rather than our own, is the wiser course, and to
mingle a little appropriate instruction withal, may not be amiss.
Remember, too, how easily undisciplined persons are frightened by an
imperious, or otherwise injudicious, manner on the part of their
superiors, out of the self-possession essential to their comprehension
of our wants and language.

       *       *       *       *       *

I believe even the American author who has long concentrated his mental
energies in elaborating the literary apotheosis of _Napoléon le Grand_,
has not ascribed to his idol excessive _refinement of manner_. His
attempts at playfulness always degenerated into buffoonery, and his
habitual bearing towards women, in whatever relation they stood to him,
was unmistakable evidence of his utter want of nicety of perception on
this point.

Holding a reception, on one occasion, in a gallery of the Tuileries for
his relatives, his mother was present, with others of his family. The
emperor proffered his hand to each in turn to kiss. Last of all, his
venerable parent approached him. As before, he proffered his hand. With
an air worthy of the severe dignity of a matron of early Grecian days,
"Madame Mère" waved it aside, and, extending her own, said, "You are the
king, the emperor, of all the rest, but you are _my son_!" Would a man
imbued with

    "The fair humanities of old religion"

have needed such a rebuke, from such a source, think you?

Bonaparte was quite as stringent in his enforcement of court rules,
in regard to dress and all matters of detail, as Louis XIV.
himself, and often quite as absurd as the "_Grand Monarque_" in
his requisitions.--Abruptly approaching a high-born lady of the old
_régime_, one of the members of Josephine's household, who from illness
(and, perhaps, disgust commingled) had disobeyed an edict commanding
_full dress_ at an early hour on a particular morning, as she leaned
against a window in this same gallery of the Tuileries, the First Consul
contemptuously kicked aside her train, at the same time addressing the
wearer in an outburst of coarse vituperation.

Madame Junot records a characteristic illustration of Napoleon's unmanly
disregard of the constitutional timidity of his first wife, as well as
of his manner towards her in general.

As they were about to cross a turbulent stream upon an insecure-looking
bridge, in a carriage, the Empress expressed a wish to alight. Napoleon
forcibly interfered, but permitted the fair narrator of the incident,
who was in the carriage with them, to do so, upon her informing him with
the _naïveté_ of a true French-woman, that there was a special reason
for her avoiding a fright! Josephine wept in helpless terror, even when
the ordeal was safely passed. By-and-by, the whole _cortége_ stopped,
and every one alighted; the imperial tyrant rudely seizing the empress
by the arm, dragged her towards the destination of the party, in a
neighboring wood, saying, as he urged her forward: "You look ugly when
you cry!"

One of Napoleon's biographers has said of him that many passages in his
letters to Josephine were such as no decent Englishman would address to
his 'lady light o' love,' and it is well known that his earliest
intercourse with the proud daughter of the House of Hapsburg--the
shrinking representative of the hereditary refinement of a long line of
high-bred women--was marked by the merest brutality. It was left to a
citizen of our Republic to discover, in the year of our Lord one
thousand, eight hundred and fifty-five, that this man was the
"_Washington of France!_" and to communicate the marvellous fact to the
present occupant of the imperial throne of the Great Captain--who is, by
the way, _the grandson of the repudiated Josephine_!

       *       *       *       *       *

Steaming along the Ohio, some years ago, I had the good-fortune to fall
in with the most agreeable companions, a father and son, Kentuckians, of
education and good-breeding. The father had won high public honors in
his native State, and the son was just entering upon a career demanding
the full exercise of his fine natural gifts. I was particularly
attracted by the cordial confidence and affection these gentlemen
manifested towards each other, and by the manly deference rendered by
the youth to his venerable sire.

A storm drove us all into the cabin, in the evening, and, while the
elder of my two new friends and I pursued a quiet conversation in one
part of the room, his son joined a group of young men at some distance
from us. Gradually the mirth of those youngsters became so roisterous as
to disturb our talk. Hot and hotter waged their sport, loud and louder
grew their laughter, until our voices were fairly drowned, at intervals.
More than once, I saw the punctilious gentleman of the old school glance
towards the merry party, of which, by the way, his son was one of the
least boisterous. At length he spoke, and his clear, calm voice rang
like a trumpet-note through the apartment:

"Frederick!"--there was an instant lull in the storm, and the faces of
each of the group turned to us--"make a little less noise, if you

The youth rose immediately and advanced towards us: "Gentlemen," said
he, with a heightened color and a respectful bow, "I beg your pardon! I
really was not aware of being so rude."

I said something about the very natural buoyancy of youthful spirits;
but I did _not_ say that this little scene had the effect upon me that
might be produced by unexpectedly meeting, in the log-hut of a
back-woodsman, with a painting by an old master, representing some fine
incident of classical or chivalrous history--as, for instance, the
youthful Roman restoring the beautiful virgin prisoner to her friends
with the words, "far be it from Scipio to purchase pleasure at the
expense of virtue!"

My pleasure in observing the intercourse of these amiable relatives in
some degree prepared me for the enjoyment in store for the favored
guest, who, at the earnest instance of both father and son, a few days
afterwards, turned aside in his journey to seek them, _at home_. It was
a scene worthy the taste and the pen of Washington Irving himself, that
quaint-looking old family mansion,--in the internal arrangements of
which there was just enough of modern comfort and adornment to typify
the softened conservatism of the host,--and the family group that
welcomed the stranger, with almost patriarchal simplicity and
hospitality. Really it was a strange episode in busy American life. My
venerable friend sat, indeed, "under the shadow of his own vine and
fig-tree, with none to make him afraid," reaping the legitimate reward
of an honorable, well-spent life, and beside him the friend who had kept
her place through the heat and burden of the day, and now shared the
serene repose of the evening of his life. What placid beauty still
lingered in that matron face, what "dignity and love" marked every
action! And the fair daughters of the house, who, like Desdemona, "ever
and anon would come again and gather up our discourse," in the intervals
of household duty, or social obligation--they seemed to vie with each
other and with their brother in every thoughtful and graceful observance
towards their parents and towards me, and the noble boy--for he really
was scarcely more, even reckoned by the estimate of this "fast"
age--unspoiled by the dangerous prerogatives of an only son, manifestly
regarded the bright young band of which he still made one, with the
mingled tenderness and pride that would ever shield them from

    "The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."

These all surrounded my venerable host and hostess, as they gently and
calmly turned their feet towards the downward path of life, with
intertwining hearts and hands--like a garland of roses enwreathing
time-worn twin-trees--ever on the watch to lighten each burden they
would fain have wholly assumed, and with loving care striving to put far
off for them the evil day when the "grasshopper shall be a burden."

But I essay a vain task when I would picture such a scene for you, my
friends. If I may hope that I have made _a study_, from which you will
catch a passing suggestion for future use, in the limning of your own
life-portraits, it is well.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chancellor K----, who was my life-long friend, retained, even in the
latest years of his lengthened life, an almost youthful sprightliness of
feeling and manner. His son, himself a learned and distinguished son of
the law, thought no duty more imperative, even in the prime of his
manhood and in mid career in his honorable profession, than that of
devotion to his father, in his declining years. He fixed his residence
near, or with, his venerable parent, and, like the son of ancient Priam,
long sustained the failing steps of age. Few things have impressed me
more favorably, in my intercourse with the world, than this noble

No one unacquainted with my vivacious friend can appreciate the full
expressiveness of his characteristic remark to me, on an occasion when
his son happened to be the theme of conversation between us. "_I like
that young man amazingly!_" said the chancellor.

       *       *       *       *       *

I still remember the impression made on me, when a boy, by meeting, in
the streets of my native city, a stalwart young sailor, arrayed in
holiday dress, and walking with his mother, a little, withered old
woman, in a decent black dress, hanging upon his arm. How often that
powerful form, the impersonation of youth, health, and physical
activity, has risen up before my mind's eye, in contrast with the
little, tremulous figure he supported with such watchful care, and upon
which such protecting tenderness breathed from every feature of his
honest, weather-embrowned face.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bob and Charley grew side by side, like two fine young saplings in a
wood, for some years. After awhile, however, the brothers were
separated. Bob went to a large city, became a merchant, grew rich, lived
in a fine house, was a Bank Director, and an Alderman. His younger
brother, pursuing a more modest, but equally manly and elevated career,
seldom met Bob during some years, and then only briefly at their
father's house, when there was a family gathering at Thanksgiving, or on
some other similar occasion.

Once, when I chanced to see these young men together, thus, I remarked
that, while the sisters of each clung round the neck of the unassuming,
but true-hearted, right-minded Charley, at his coming, and lost no
opportunity of being with him, the repellant manner of the elder brother
held all more or less aloof, though none failed in polite observance
towards him. Egotistical and pompous, he seemed to regard those about
him as belonging to an inferior race. As his brother and I sat talking
together near a table upon which were refreshments, he actually had the
rudeness to reach between us for a glass, without the slightest word or
token of apology, with his arm so near to his brother's face as almost
to touch it! There was more of shame than indignation expressed in that
fine, ingenuous countenance when it again met my unobstructed gaze, and
I thought I detected a slight tremor in the sentence he uttered next in
the order of our conversation.

Before my visit that day was at an end, I found myself exceedingly
embarrassed as an unwilling auditor of a political discussion between
Bob and his father, which grew, at length, into an angry dispute, little
creditable to, at least, the younger of the two word-combatants.

As I stood in the hall that night, awaiting my carriage, I saw Charley
advance to the door of the library, opening near, and knock lightly. The
voice of his aged father bade him enter. Opening the door, the young
man, taking his hat quite off, and bowing almost reverentially, said
only, "I bid you good night, sir," and quietly closed it again. When
they turned towards me, there was almost a woman's softness in eyes that
would have looked undimmed upon the fiercest foe or the deadliest
peril.--Think you the Recording Angel flew up to Heaven's high Chancery
with a testimony of that day's deeds and words?

Once, after this, Charley had occasion to visit the city where Bob
resided. Breakfast over, at his hotel, he sallied forth to call on Bob,
at his own house, and attend, subsequently, to other matters.

He was shown into an elegant drawing-room, where the master of the
mansion sat reading a newspaper. Without rising, he offered his hand,
coldly, and before inviting his visitor to sit, took occasion to say
that his wife's having an engagement to spend the day out of town would
prevent his inviting his brother to dine!

As Charley descended the steps of his brother's stately mansion, at the
termination of his brief call that day, he silently registered a vow
never again to cross his threshold, unless impelled by imperative duty.
And yet Bob is not only a rich merchant, an Alderman, and a Bank
Director, but a _man of fashion_!

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the most discriminating and truthful delineators of life and
manners whom we boast among our native authors, prominent among the
characteristic traits he ascribes to an old English gentleman, of whom
he gives us an exquisite portraiture, is that of such considerate
kindness towards an old servant as to make him endure his peevishness
and obstinacy with good humor, and affect to consult and agree with
him, until he gains an important practical point with "time-honored

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustrative of our subject is one of the anecdotes recorded of the poet
Rogers, in his recently published life:

"Mr. Rogers," said the body-servant, who had long attended him in his
helpless years, "_we_ are invited to dine with Miss Coutts." The
italicizing is mine. Is it not suggestive?

You remember the rest of the anecdote; Rogers had the habit, during the
latter years of his life, of writing, when able to use his pen, notes to
be dated and directed as occasion required, in this established form
"Pity me, I am engaged." So, on this occasion, the careful attendant
added: "The _pity-me's_ are all gone!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Weather-bound during the long, cold winter of 18--, by a protracted
snow-storm and a severe cold, in the house of an old friend, I left my
comfortable private quarters one morning for a little walk up and down
the corridor into which my own apartment and those of the family opened.

By and by the active step of my hostess crossed my sauntering way.

"Perhaps it may amuse you to come into the nursery, a little while,
colonel," said she, "it will be a novelty, at least, to you, to see
behind the scenes."

"I feel myself honored by the permission, I assure you; the _green-room_
always has an interest for me!" returned I; and I was soon ensconced in
a large, cushioned-chair, in a cozy corner, near the open, old-fashioned
"franklin" in which blazed a cheerful wood-fire. The rosy-cheeked
juveniles among whom I found myself vied with each other in efforts to
promote my comfort. One brought her own little chair, and placed it to
support my feet; another climbed up and stuffed a soft cushion greatly
larger than his own rotund, dumpling of a figure, between me and the
chair-back, assuring me with a grave shake of the head, in which I saw
the future Esculapius, "it is so nice ven your head do ache--mamma say
so, ven I put him on her always!" and bright-eyed little Bessie, between
whom and me a very good understanding already existed, crowned the
varied hospitalities of my initiatory visit by offering me the use of
her tiny muff!

My hostess, though she kept an observant eye upon us, from her seat by
her work-table over against my arm-chair, had too much tact to interfere
with the proceedings of my ministering cherubs; except to prevent the
possibility of my being annoyed.

When I had leisure to reconnoitre a little, I discovered, among the
other fixtures in the large, well-lighted, cheerful-looking apartment,
an old woman with a good-humored face and portly person, seated near a
window, sewing, with a large, well-stored basket of unmended linen and
hosiery before her.

Presently, the eldest son, a fine manly boy of some sixteen years
entered, hat and cane in hand. Used, I suppose, to a jumble of faces and
forms, in this human kaleidoscope, he evidently did not observe the
quiet figure in the high-backed chair. "Mother," he exclaimed in a tone
in which boyish animation and the utmost affection were singularly
united, striding across the room, like the Colossus of Rhodes, suddenly
endued with powers of locomotion: "Mother, you are the most beautiful
and irresistible of your beautiful and irresistible sex!" and stooping,
he pressed his full, cherry lips gently upon her rounded cheek.

A flash of amusement, mingled with the love-light in the soft eyes that
met those of the boy. He turned quickly. A scarcely-discernible
embarrassment of manner, and a quick flush in the bright young face,
were all that I had time to note, before he was at my side with a
cordial greeting and a playful welcome to "Mother's Land of Promise."

"Land of Nod, say rather," replied the presiding genius of the scene,
pointing to the quiescent form of little Bessie, who--her curly head
pillowed on her chubby arm--was just losing all consciousness of the
world, upon the rug at her mother's feet.

"George, what an armful!" said the youth, in a sort of half undertone,
as he tenderly lifted the little lay figure, and bore it to a crib.
"Don't get up, mother, I can cover her nicely. I say, mammy [an arch
glance over his shoulder towards the ancient matron of the
sewing-basket], how heavy bread and milk is, though, eh!"

"Speaking of bread and milk, here comes lunch," continued my hero for
the nonce, rubbing his hands energetically, and only desisting to give a
table the dextrous twirl that would bring it near his mother, and assist
the labors of the servant who had entered with a tray.

"Will, you immense fellow, take yourself out of the way! Colonel, permit
me to give your sedan-chair just the slightest impulse forward, and so
save you the trouble of moving. My adorable mother, allow me the honor
of being your Ganymede. Here we are, all right! Now, let's see what
there is--ham, baked apples, cold roast beef, hot cocoa--not so bad,
'pon my word. Colonel, I hope this crispy morning has given you some
appetite, after your hard cold--allow me"--

"Mammy fust," here interposed little Will, authoritatively, "'cause she
older dan us!" and, carefully holding the heaped-up plate his mother
placed in both hands, he deliberately adventured an overland journey to
the distant object of his affectionate solicitude.

At this juncture, it was discovered that the servant-man who brought up
the tray, had forgotten the sugar, and a young nursery-maid was
dispatched for it. Upon her return she contrived, by some awkwardness in
closing the door, to spill the whole result of her mission to the
pantry upon the floor. Her arms dropped by her sides, as if suddenly
paralyzed, and I noticed a remarkable variety in the shade of her broad
Irish physiognomy.

"There is no great harm done, Biddy," said my hostess, immediately, in a
peculiarly quiet, gentle voice, "just step down to John for another
bowlful. While poor Biddy is collecting her scattered senses on the
stairs, my son, will you kindly assist Willie in picking up the most
noticeable lumps?--put them in this saucer, my dear. She is just
learning, you know and--she would not cross that Rubicon as bravely as
the classic hero you were reading of last night."

"While we are so literary, mother--what is it about the dolphin? If I
remember rightly Bid was a pretty good exemplification"----

"Hush!--I am glad you thought to bring up more apples, Biddy. Colonel,
here is the most tempting spitzenberg--so good for a cold, too. Take
this to mammy will you, Biddy? The one I sent you before, was not so
nice as these, mammy--your favorite kind, you know."

Amused with the new scene in which I found myself, I accepted the
assurance of the fair _home mother_, as the Germans have it, that I was
not in the way, and lingered a little longer.

By and by, John came up to tell his mistress that there was an old man
at the door with a basket of little things to sell, and that he had sent
a box of sealing-wax for her to look at.

"Poo' man! poo' man?" said little Will, running up to my knee, with such
a sorrowful look in his innocent face--"an' it so-o-o col'," he added,
catching his mother's words, as if by instinct.

"Take him down the money, John," I overheard, in the intervals between
the discourse of my juvenile instructor, "and this cup of chocolate--it
will warm him. Ask him to sit by the hall stove, while he drinks it."
Nothing was said about the exceedingly portly brace of sandwiches that
were manufactured by the busiest of fingers, and which, through the
golden veil of Willie's light curls, I saw snugly tucked in, on either
side of the saucer.

"Now, young ladies," continued my amiable friend, addressing a bevy of
her rosy-cheeked young nieces, who had just before entered the room,
"here is a stick of fancy-colored wax, for each of us--make your own
choice. Luckily there is a red stick for Col. Lunettes" (a half
deprecatory glance at me), "the only color gentlemen use. And," as she
received the box again--"there is some for mammy and me--we are in
partnership, you know, mammy!"

A pleased look from the centre of the wide cap-frills by the window, was
the only response to this appeal; but I had repeatedly observed that,
despite her industry, mammy's huge spectacles took careful cognizance of
the various proceedings around her.

As I was about, for very shame, to beat a retreat, a cheery--"good
morning, Colonel, I tapped at your door, as I came up, and thought you
were napping it," arrested my intended departure. "So wifie has coaxed
you in here! Just like her! She thinks she can take the best care of you

"With the rest of the children!" I interrupted.

"My _loving spou_," as Bessie says, when she recites John Gilpin, "may I
trouble you to tie my cravat?" And with that important article of attire
in his hand, my friend knelt upon a low foot-stool, before his household

"Thompson," said I, "I always knew you were one of the luckiest fellows
in the whole world; but may I ask--just as a point of scientific
inquiry--whether that office is always performed for you,

    'One fair spirit for your minister?'"

"Not a bit of it! No indeed, 'pon my word! only when I go to a dinner,
as to-day--or to church, or--I say, Will, you unmitigated rogue, how
dare you! you'll spoil my cravat--don't you see mamma is just tying it!"

The little fellow thus objurgated, his eyes scintillating with mirth,
now fairly astride of his father's shoulders, clung tenaciously to his
prize, and petitioned for a ride in his familiar seat.

Resorting to stratagem, where force would ill apply, the father, rising
with a "thank you, dear wifie," retired backward towards a wide bed,
and, by a dextrous movement, suddenly landed his youthful captor in a
heap in the middle.

To lose no time, the brave boy, "conquered, but not subdued," made the
best use of his lungs, while reducing his arms and legs to order, and
Bessie, opening her beaming eyes, at this outcry, stretched out her arms
to aid her pathetic appeal to papa to "p'ay one little hos" with her,
"_only but one_!"

Evidently fearful of being out-generalled, the invader beat a rapid
retreat from the enemy's camp, with the words "thank you, love, I
believe the little rascal didn't tumble it, though I came within an ace,
like a real alderman, of _dying of a dinner_--before it was eaten!"

After this initiatory visit to the nursery of my fair friend, Mrs.
Thompson, I was allowed to come and go at my own pleasure, during the
remainder of my visit beneath her hospitable roof, and I found myself so
interested and amused by what I witnessed there, as often to leave the
solitude of my own apartment, though surrounded there by every possible
"aid and appliance" of comfort and enjoyment that refinement and
courtesy could supply, to learn the most beautiful lessons of practical
wisdom and goodness from the most unpretending of teachers.

One morning when the _habitué_ had sought his accustomed post of
observation, a young lady presented herself at the door, and seeing me,
was about to retreat with something about its being very early for a
visit, when Mrs. Thompson recalled her with a "Come in, my dear, and let
me have the pleasure of presenting you to Colonel Lunettes, the friend
of whom you have heard us all speak so often."

After the usual courtesies, this lovely earth-angel, with some
hesitation, and drawing her chair nearer her friend, explained her

Making a little screen of a cherub-head, as was my wont, I regaled
myself unobserved, with the music of sweet voices and the study of
pretty faces. I caught--"my old drawing-teacher"--"her husband was a
brute in their best days"--"this long, hard winter"--"not even a
carpet"--"the poor child on a wooden-bottomed chair, with a little dirty
pillow behind her head, and so emaciated!"--here there was a very
perceptible quiver in the low tones, followed by a little choking sort
of pause.

"I am really grateful to you for coming--I have been unusually occupied
lately by the baby's illness and other duties--the weather has given me
more than one twinge of conscience"--this accompanied by a quiet
transfer from one purse to another, and then I heard, as the two ladies
bent over the crib of the sleeping infant--"is there a stout boy among
the children? There are the barrels of pork and beef, always ready in
the cellar--each good and wholesome of their kind--husband always has
them brought from the farm on purpose to give away; and we have
abundance of fine potatoes--John could not readily find the place, and
really, just now, he is pretty busy; still, perhaps, they have the
natural pride of better days--if you think it well, I will try to
send"--the gentle ministers of mercy left the room together, and I heard
no more.

Presently, the youth of whom I have before spoken, still at home
enjoying his holiday's college vacation, joined me, and, between the
exercises of an entertaining gymnastic exhibition, in which he and
Willie were the chief performers, regaled me with humorous sketches of
college adventures, anecdotes of the professors, etc., in the details of
some of which I think he had his quiet old nurse in his mind's eye, as
well as his father's guest.

When Mrs. Thompson resumed her accustomed seat at her business-table, as
it might well be called, my agreeable young entertainer slid away from
the group about the fire, and was soon snugged down, in his own favorite
fashion, with his legs comfortably crossed over the top of the chair
sustaining mammy's implements, cheek-by-jowl with the venerable genius
of the sewing-basket, dipping into a newspaper, and chatting, at
intervals, with his humble friend. Once in a while I caught a sentence
like this:

"I say, mammy, you can't begin to think how glad I am you are getting
down to my shirts! Such work as they make washing for a fellow at
college! My black washerwoman (and such a beauty as she is--such a
little rosebud of a mouth!) pretends to fasten the loose buttons--now,
there is a specimen of her performances--just look! The real truth is,
Mrs. Welch, that mother and you are the only women I know of who can sew
on a button worth a pin--just the only two, by George! Now, there's
Pierre de Carradeaux, one of our young fellows down there--his friends
all live in Hayti, or some other unknown and uninhabitable region, you
know, over the sea--I wish you could see his clothes! The way they mend
at the tailors! But the darns in his stockings are the funniest. He
rooms with me, and so I hear him talking to himself, in French. I am
afraid he swears, sometimes--but the way he fares is enough to make a
saint swear!" And then followed a detail that caused mammy to wipe her
eyes in sympathy with this strange phase of human woe, in alternation
with an occasional exclamation of amusement--like, "You'll surely be the
death of me, Master Sidney!" apparently forced spasmodically from her
lips, despite the self-imposed taciturnity which, I shrewdly suspected,
my presence created.

"Mother, my revered maternal primitive, may I read you this anecdote?
Colonel, will you allow me?"--a respectful glance at the book in my
hand. And squeezing himself in from behind, by some utterly
inconceivable india-rubber pliancy, between the fire and his
much-enduring parent, the tall form of the stripling slowly subsided
until I could discern nothing but a mass of wavy black hair reposing
amid the soft folds of his mother's morning-gown, and a bit of his
newspaper. Thus disposed, apparently to the entire satisfaction of all
concerned, he read:

"Once, while the celebrated John Kemble, the renowned actor and acute
critic, was still seated at the dinner-table of an English nobleman,
with whom he had been dining, a servant announced that Mrs. Kemble
awaited her husband in a carriage at the door. Some time elapsed, and
the impersonator of Shakspeare's mighty creations remained immovable.
At length the servant, re-entering, said: 'Mrs. Kemble bids me say, sir,
that she is afraid of getting the _rheumatiz_.' 'Add _ism_,' replied the
imperturbable critic of language, and quietly continued his discourse
with his host."

"If I should ever be compelled to marry--which, of course, I never shall
unless you disinherit me, mother, or mammy insists upon leaving us to
keep house for that handsome widower, in the long snuff
overcoat--[though the respectable female thus alluded to did not even
glance up from her stitching, I plainly marked a little nod of virtuous
defiance, and a fluttering in the crimpings of the ample cap-border,
that plainly expressed desperation to the hopes of the widower
aforesaid]--but if fate _should_ decree my 'attaining knowledge under
difficulties,' upon this subject, I hope I'll be a little too decent to
keep my wife sitting out doors in a London fog (I shall make a bridal
tour to Europe, of course), while I am imbibing, even with a 'nobleman.'
Speaking of the tyranny of fate, I am, most reluctantly, compelled to
deprive you of my refreshing conversation, my dear and excellent mother.
If my dilapidated linen is restored to its virgin integrity: in other
words, if my shirt is done, I propose retiring to the deepest shades of
private life, and getting myself up, without the slightest consideration
for the financial affairs of my honored masculine progenitor, for a
morning call upon ----, the fortunate youthful beauty I, at present,
honor with my particular adoration." So saying, Sir Hopeful slowly
emerged from his 'loop-hole of retreat,' and making a profound obeisance
to his guardian spirit, and another to me, a shade less lowly, he took
himself off, with his linen over his arm, and a grand parting flourish
at the door, with his hat upon his walking-stick, for the especial
benefit of his little brother, which elicited a shout of unmingled
admiration from the juvenile spectators that need not have been despised
by Herr Alexander himself.

During dinner that day, as the varied and most bountiful course of
pastry, etc., was about to be removed, young Sidney said:

"Mother, allow me to relieve you of the largest half of that
solitary-looking piece of mince-pie. I am sorry I cannot afford to take
the whole of it under my protecting care."

"My dear son," replied my hostess, pleasantly, "let me suggest the
attractions of variety. You have already done your _devoir_ to this pie.
Your father pronounces the cocoanut excellent"--and then, as if in reply
to the look of surprise that met her good-humored sally, she added, in a
tone meant only for the ears of the youth, "this happens to be the last,
and mammy eats no other, you remember."

"No great matter, either; to-morrow will be baking-day. Now I know why
you took none yourself, mother," answered Sidney, cheerfully, in the
same "aside" manner; and the placid smile on the hospitable face of the
'home-mother' alone acknowledged her recognition of the ascription of
self-denial to her; for it is not occasionally, but always, that

    "In the clear heaven of her delightful eye,
    An angel guard of loves and graces lie."





Though good breeding is always and everywhere essentially the same,
there are phases of daily life, especially demanding its exhibition.
_Manner in the street_ is one of these.

Even in hours most exclusively devoted to business, do not allow
yourself to hurry along with a clouded, absent face and bent head, as if
you forever felt the foot of the earth-god on your neck! Carry an erect
and open brow into the very midst of the heat and burden of the day.
Take time to see your friends, as they cross you in the busy
thoroughfares of life and, at least by a passing smile or a gesture of
recognition, give token that you are not resolved into a mere
money-making machine, and both will be better for this fleeting
manifestation of the inner being.

During business hours and in crowded business-streets no man should ever
stop another, whom he knows to be necessarily constantly occupied at
such times, except upon a matter of urgent need, and then if he alone
is to be benefited by the detention, he should briefly apologize and
state his errand in as few words as possible.

But the habit of a cheerful tone of voice, a cordial smile, and friendly
grasp of the hand, when meeting those with whom one is associated in
social life, is not to be regarded as unimportant.

If you do not intend to stop, when meeting a gentleman friend, recognize
him as you approach, by a smile, and touching your hat salute him
audibly with--"Good morning, sir," or "I hope you are well, sir," or
(more familiarly), "Ah, Charley!--good morning to you." But don't say,
"How d' ye do, sir," when you cannot expect to learn, nor call back as
you pass, something that will cause him to linger, uncertain what you

If you wish to stop a moment, especially in a thoroughfare, retain the
hand you take, while you retire a little out of the human current; and
never fall into the absurdity of attempting to draw a tight or moistened
glove while another waits the slow process. It is better to offer the
gloved hand as a rule, without apology, in the street.

If you are compelled to detain a friend, when he is walking with a
stranger, briefly but politely apologize to the stranger, and keep no
one "in durance vile" longer than absolute necessity requires. When thus
circumstanced yourself, respond cheerfully and courteously to the
apologetic phrase offered, and, drawing a little aside, occupy yourself
with anything beside the private conversation that interrupts your
walk. Sometimes circumstances render it decorous to pass on with some
courteous phrase, to step into some neighboring bookseller's, etc., or
to make a rapid appointment for a re-union. Cultivate the quick
discernment, the ready tact, that will engender _ease of manner_ under
those and similar circumstances requiring prompt action.

Never leave a friend suddenly in the street, either to join another, or
for any other reason, without an apology; the briefest phrase, expressed
in a _cordial tone_, will suffice, in an emergency.

Upon passing servants, or other inferiors in station, whom you wish to
recognize, in the street, it is a good practice, without bowing or
touching the hat, to salute them in a kindly voice.

When you meet a gentleman whom you know, walking with one or more
ladies, with whom you are not acquainted, bow with grave respect to them

Politeness requires that upon meeting ladies and gentlemen together,
with both of whom one is acquainted, that one should lift the hat as he
approaches them, and bowing first to the ladies, include the gentleman
in a sweeping motion, or a succeeding bow, as the case permits. Should
you stop, speak first to the lady, but do not offer to shake hands with
a lady in full morning costume, should your glove be dark-colored or
your hand uncovered. Again lift your hat to each, in succession of age
or rank, as a substitute for this dubious civility, with some playful
expression, as "I am sorry my glove is not quite fresh, Mrs. ----, but
you need no assurance of my being always the most devoted of your
friends" or "admirers," or "Really, Miss ----, you are so beautifully
dressed, and looking so charmingly, that I dare not venture too near!"
And as you part, again take your hat quite off, letting the party _pass
you_, and on the wall side of the street, if that be practicable.

In the street with other men, carefully give that precedence to superior
age or station which is so becoming in the young, by taking the outer
side of the pavement, or that nearer the counter current, as
circumstances may make most polite. When you give, or have an arm,
carefully avoid all erratic movements, and _keep step_, like a
well-trained soldier!

Towards _ladies_, in the streets, the most punctilious observance of
politeness is due. Walking with them, one should, of course, assume the
relative position best adapted to protect them from inconvenience or
danger, and carefully note and relieve them from the approach of either.
In attending them into a store, &c., always give them precedence,
holding the door open from without, if practicable. If compelled to pass
before them, to attend to this courtesy, say, "allow me," or "with your
permission," etc. Meeting ladies, the hat should be taken off as you
bow, and replaced when you have passed, or, if you pause to address
them, politely raised again as you quit them.

When you are stopped by a lady friend in the street, at once place
yourself so as best to shield her from the throng, if you are in a
crowd, or from passing vehicles, etc., and never by your manner
indicate either surprise or embarrassment upon such an occasion. Allow
_her_ to terminate the interview, and raise your hat quite off as you
take leave of her.

When a stranger lady addresses an inquiry to you in the street, or when
you restore something she has inadvertently dropped, touch your hat
ceremoniously, and with some phrase or _accent_ of respect, add grace to
a civility.

If you have occasion to speak more than a word or two to a lady whom you
may meet in walking, turn and accompany her while you say what you wish,
and, taking off your hat, when you withdraw, express your regret at
losing the further enjoyment of her society, or the like.

If you wish to join a lady whom you see before you, be careful in
hurrying forward not to incommode her (or others, indeed), and do not
speak so hurriedly, or loudly, as to startle her, or arrest attention,
and should you have only a slight acquaintance with her, say, as you
assume a position at her side, "With your permission, madam, I will
attend you," or "Give me leave to join your walk, Miss ----" etc.

Of course, no well-bred man ever risks the possibility of intrusion in
this way, or ever speaks first to a lady to whom he has only had a
passing introduction. In the latter case, you look at a lady as you
advance towards her, and await her recognition.

Speaking of an intrusion, you should be well assured that you will not
make an _awkward third_ before you venture to attach yourself to a lady
and gentleman walking together, though you may even know them very
well; and the same rule holds good in a picture-gallery, rococo-shop, or
elsewhere, when two persons, or a party, sit or walk together.

Every man is bound by the laws of courtesy, to note any street accident
that imperils ladies, and at once to hasten to render such service as
the occasion requires. Promptitude and self-possession may do good
service to humanity and the fair, at such a juncture.

Should you observe ladies whom you know, unattended by a gentleman,
alighting from or entering a carriage, especially if there is no
footman, and the driver maintains his seat, at once advance, hold the
door open, and offer your hand, or protect a dress from the wheel, or
the like, and bowing, pass on, all needed service rendered; or, if more
familiarity and your own wish sanction it, accompany them where they may
chance to be entering.

No general rule can be laid down respecting offering the arm to ladies
in the street. Where persons are known and reside habitually, local
custom will usually be the best guide. At night, the arm should always
be tendered, and so in ascending the multiplied steps of a public
building, etc., for equally obvious reasons. For similar cause, you go
before ladies into church, into a crowded concert-room, etc., wherever,
in short, they are best aided in securing seats, and escaping jostling,
by this precedence of them. When attending a stranger lady, in visiting
the noted places of your own city, or the like, and when one of a party
for a long walk, or of travellers, it may often be an imperative
civility to proffer the arm. To relatives, or elderly ladies, this is
always a proper courtesy, as it is to every woman, when you can thus
most effectually secure her safety or her comfort.

Do not forget, when walking with elderly people, or ladies, to moderate
the headlong speed of your usual step.

I will here enter my most emphatic protest against a practice of which
ladies so justly complain,--the too-frequent rudeness of men in
stationing themselves at the entrance of churches, concert-rooms, opera
houses, etc., for the express purpose, apparently, of staring every
modest woman who may chance to enter, out of countenance. No one
possessed of true good-breeding will indulge in a practice so at
variance with propriety. If occasion demands your thus remaining
stationary upon the steps or in the portico of a public edifice, make
room, at once, for ladies who may be entering, and avoid any appearance
of curiosity regarding them. A similar course is suitable when occupying
a place upon the steps, or at the windows of a pump-room at a
watering-place, or of a hotel. Carefully avoid all semblance of staring
at ladies passing in the street, alighting from a carriage, etc., and
make no comment, even of a complimentary nature, in a voice that can
possibly reach their ears. So, when walking in the street, if beauty or
grace attract your attention, let your regard be respectful, and, even
then, not too fixed. An audible comment or exclamation, addressed to a
companion, a laugh, a familiar stare, are each and all, when any
stranger, and more especially a _woman_, is the subject of them,
unhandsome in the extreme.

       *       *       *       *       *

Breakfasting one morning, at West Point, with an agreeable Portuguese,
we chatted for some time over the newspapers and our coffee, as we sat
within view of one of the most beautiful landscapes it has ever been my
fortune to behold. At length our _un-American_ indulgence in this
respect, became the theme of conversation between us.

"Pardon me," said the elegant foreigner, "but though the Americans are
very kind--a very pleasant people, they do not take enough of time for
these things, at all. They do not only eat in a hurry, but they even
_pass their friends_ in the street, sometimes, _without speaking to
them_! I remember last winter, in Philadelphia, where I was some months,
I met one day, in Chestnut street, a gentleman whom I knew very well,
and he passed me without speaking. I made up my mind at once, that this
shall not happen again, so the next time I saw him coming, I looked into
a shop window, or at something, and did not see him. He came to me and
said--"Good morning, Mr. A----! what is the matter with you, that you do
not speak to me?" or something like that. I answered, that he had _cut_
me in the street (I think that is what you call it!) two or three days
before, and that I never will permit myself to be treated in this
manner. Then he said, that I must excuse him, that he must have been
_in business_ and did not see me, and so on. But this is not the way of
a _gentleman_ in my country!"

You must imagine for yourselves the double effect, lent to the words of
my companion by his foreign action and imperfect pronunciation, and the
slight curl of his dark moustache as he emphasized the words I have

       *       *       *       *       *

"What a harum-scarum fellow that James Condon is!" exclaimed a young
lady, in my hearing. "I had reason to repent declining to drive to the
concert last night, I assure you! The moon, upon which I had counted,
was obscured, and he not only hurried me along (though we had plenty of
time, as I was quite ready when he came), at breathless speed, but
actually dragged me over a heap of rubbish, in crossing the street, upon
which I nearly tumbled down, though I had his arm. When we reached the
place, I was so heated and flurried that I could not half enjoy the
music, and this morning I find not only that my handsome new boots are
completely spoiled, but that I have any quantity of lime upon the bottom
of the dress I wore, and my pretty fan, which he must needs insist upon
carrying for me, sadly broken!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"I have seen everything and everybody I wish, in London, except the Duke
of Wellington," said a sprightly lady whose early morning walk past
Apsley House--the town residence of the Iron Duke--I was attending some
years since, "every distinguished man, except the Hero of Waterloo. I
hope I shall not lose that pleasure!"

"You may have that pleasure now, madam!" exclaimed a gentleman, passing
us and rapidly walking forward, in whose erect figure and very narrow
brimmed hat, I at once recognized the object of my companion's hitherto
unsatisfied curiosity.

Strolling in Kensington Park, during that same morning, and at an hour
too unfashionably early for a crowd, with my fair charge, I drew her
gently aside, as she leaned on my arm, from some slight obstruction in
our path, which she did not observe, and which might otherwise have
incommoded her.

"Really Colonel Lunettes," said she, "your watchful politeness reminds
me of my dear father's. You gentlemen of the old school so much surpass
modern beaux in courtesy! I well remember the last walk I had in
Broadway with papa, before we sailed. Mrs. W---- and I were making a
morning visit, quite up town for us Brooklynites--in Union Place, upon a
bride, when who should also arrive but papa. When we took leave, he
accompanied us, and finding that we had taken a fancy to walk all the
way to the ferry, insisted upon going with us--only think, at his age,
and so luxurious in his habits, too! As he is a little hard of hearing,
and likes always to talk with Mrs. W----, who is a great favorite of
his, I insisted upon his walking between us--that I might have his arm,
and yet not interfere with his conversation. This, of course, brought me
on the outside. But I cannot describe to you the watchful care he had
for me, all the way. At the slightest crowding he held me so firmly--saw
every swerve of the vehicles towards us, and would hold my dress away
from every rough box or so, that lumbered the sidewalk, and every now
and then he would say--'Minnie, wouldn't you be more comfortable on my
other arm? I am afraid you will be hurt there!' At the Brooklyn ferry he
was to leave us, as he could not go over to dine that day. Seeing a
crowd at the door of the office, he hastened a little before us to pay
the fare, and then saw us safely through the press, taking leave of me
as politely as of Mrs. W----. 'What an elegant gentleman your father
is!' cried out Mrs. W----, as soon as he was gone, 'he always reminds me
of the descriptions we read of the chivalrous courtesy of knights of
olden time; it is like listening to a heroic ballad to be with him, and
receive his politeness.' I know you won't laugh at me, Colonel, when I
say that the memory of that simple incident is still as fresh in my
heart, as though no ocean voyage and long travel had come between; and I
can truly say that I was prouder of my _cavalier attendant_ that day,
than I ever was of all the young men together, who ever walked Broadway,
with me." The tremulous tones, the glistening eyes, and the glowing
cheeks of the fair young speaker attested the truth of her filial
boast, and I--but you must draw your own morals!

Presently we resumed our chat, and the theme of the moment together.

"I well recollect," said my companion, in the course of our discussion,
"the impression produced upon me, in my girlhood, by the manners of a
young gentleman, who was my groomsman at the wedding of a young friend.
Some of the lessons of good breeding taught me by his example, I shall
never forget, I think. I was the most bashful creature in the world at
that time, and he quite won my heart by the politeness with which he set
me at ease, at once, when he came to take me away in a carriage to join
my young friends. But that was not the point: the next morning after the
wedding, we were all to attend the 'happy pair' as far as Saratoga, on
their wedding-tour; that is, the bridesmaids and bridesmen. At
Schenectady, we were put into an old-fashioned car, divided into
compartments. Just as we were about to start, a singularly tall, gaunt,
Yankeefied-looking elderly woman scrambled into our little box of a
place, and seated herself. We were fairly off, before she seemed fully
to realize the trials of her new position. She did not say, in the
language of the popular song,

    'I think there must be danger
        'Mong so many sparks!'

but she looked as though she feared having fallen among the Philistines;
and, I am ashamed to say that some of our merry party made no scruple of
privately amusing themselves with her peculiarities of dress and manner.
Mr. Henry, however (my groomsman), addressed some polite remarks to her,
in so grave and respectful a manner as soon to convince her of his
sincerity, and as carefully watched the sparks that fell upon her thick
worsted gown, as those that annoyed the rest of us. At the first
stopping-place, you may be very sure that the unwilling intruder was in
haste to change her seat.

"'Do you wish to get out, madam!' inquired Mr. Henry; 'allow me to help
you;' and bounding out, he assisted her down the high step, as carefully
and respectfully as though she were some high dame of rank and fashion.
I am afraid that, though I did not actually join in the merriment of my
thoughtless friends, I deserved the sting of conscience that served to
fasten this little incident so firmly in my remembrance. Perhaps I was,
for this reason, the more impressed by another proof of the ever-ready
politeness of this gentleman, who made such an impression upon my
girlish fancy. We dined at Ballston, on our way to Saratoga, and after
dinner, I asked Mr. Henry, with whom, in spite of my first awe of his
superiority of years and polish, I began to feel quite at ease, to run
down with me to one of the Springs, for a glass of water, before we
should resume our journey. So he good-naturedly left the gentlemen
(_now_ I know that he may have wished to smoke) together at the table,
and accompanied me. But now for my _dénoûment_. Just as we were in a
narrow place, between a high, steep bank and the track, the cars came
rushing towards us. In an instant, _quicker_ than thought, Mr. Henry had
transferred me from the arm next the cars--because more removed from the
edge of the bank--to the other arm, thus placing his person between me
and any passing danger, and with such a quiet, re-assuring manner! You
smile, Colonel--but, really--well, you see what an impression it made
upon my youthful sensibilities!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, girls, such a charming adventure as I had this evening!" exclaimed
Margaret, as a bevy of fair young creatures clustered together before
the fire in a drawing-room where I was seated after dinner, with my
newspaper. My attention was arrested by the peculiar animation with
which these words were pronounced, and I glanced at the group, over the
top of my spectacles. They reminded me of so many brilliant-hued
butterflies, in their bright-colored winter dresses, and with their
light, wavy motions as they settled themselves, one on a pile of
cushions, others on a low ottoman, and two pretty fairies on the
hearth-rug, each uttering some exclamation of gratification at the
prospect of amusement.

"Now, don't expect anything extraordinary or dreadful, you silly
creatures; I have no 'hair-breadth 'scapes by land or sea' to entertain
you with. Can't one have a 'charming adventure,' and yet have nothing
to tell?"

"But do tell us all there is to tell, dear Miss ----. Do, please, this
very moment," entreated one of the fairies, linking her arms around her
companion, and mingling her golden ringlets with the darker locks of the
head upon which her own lovingly rested. And a little concert of similar
pleadings followed. This prelude over, the tantalizing adventuress

"Before I went over to New York this morning, I wrote a little note to
Mary Bostwick, telling her all about our arrangements for the
Christmas-tree, and charging her not to fail to come to us on Christmas
eve, and all about it, for fear that, as I had so much to accomplish, I
might not be able to go up to Twenty-third street, and return home in
time to meet you all here. My plan was to keep it until I was decided,
and then, if obliged to send it, to put it in one of the City Express
letter-boxes. Well, by the time I was through with all my important
errands, it was time for me to turn my steps homeward. So, happening
last at Tiffany's, to get the--I mean, I asked at Tiffany's for one of
the places where a box is kept in that neighborhood, and was told that
there was one in a druggist's, quite near--just above. Hurrying along, I
must have passed the place, and stopped somewhere not far below
'Taylor's,' to see exactly where I was. Time was flying, and it was
really almost growing dark; so I ventured to inquire of a gentleman who
was passing, though an entire stranger, for the druggist's.

"'I think it is below, near the Astor House,' said he, with such an
appearance of interest as to embolden me to mention what I was in search

"'If that is all,' he replied, 'I dare say there is one nearer. Let me
see,' glancing around, 'I think there is one on the opposite corner--I
will see.'

"'I have no right to give you that trouble, sir,' said I.

"'Yes you have--it is what every man owes to your sex.'

"'You are very good, sir; but I am sure I can make the inquiry for

"'No, it is a tavern, where you cannot properly go alone! Remain here,
and I will ascertain for you.'

"Before I could repeat my thanks, the gentleman was half across the

"Hoping to facilitate matters, I followed him to the opposite pavement,
and stood where he would observe me upon coming out of the door I had
seen him enter. I held the note and my porte-monnaie ready in my hand.

"'There is a box here,' said my kind friend, returning, 'if you will
intrust me with your letter, I will deposit it for you.'

"'You are very good, sir; I would like to pay it,' I answered, opening
my porte-monnaie.

"He took the letter quickly, and prevented my intended offer of the
postage so decidedly, that I did not dare insist. But, by this time, I
really could not refrain from the expression of more than an ordinary

"'I have to thank you, sir,' said I, 'not only for a real kindness to a
stranger, but for a _pleasant memory_, which I shall not soon lose. Such
courtesy is too unusual to be soon forgotten! 'How far one little candle
sometimes throws its rays!'--many thanks and good evening, sir!'

"I had still one more errand in Canal street, but I stayed on the
'unfashionable side' of the street, and went up, to avoid the
awkwardness of re-crossing with the gentleman, and the possibility of
imposing any further tax upon his politeness--bless him! I wasn't half
as weary after I met him, and my heart has been in a glow ever since!"

"Bravo!" "Bravissimo!" echoed round the room, in various waves of
silvery sound.

"Is that all, Miss ----?" inquired the only _boy_ of the party, unless
you except the approach to second childhood ensconced behind the
newspaper, and now acting the amiable part of _reporter_, for your

"All, unless I add that I occasionally glanced cautiously over, to catch
the form of my kind friend, as I hurried along, that I might not again
cross his path; but I did not 'calculate' successfully after all; for,
as I ran across Broadway, at Canal street corner, he was a little nearer
than I had expected. I bowed slightly, and hurried on:--but wasn't it
beautiful? Such chivalrous sentiments towards women: '_It is what we all
owe your sex!_' And his manner was more expressive than his words--so
gentle and quiet! No stage effect"----

"But you quoted Shakespeare," insinuated a pretty piece of malice on the

"I couldn't help it, if I did! I was surprised out of the use of
ordinary language by an extraordinary occasion. If you are going to
ridicule me, I shall be sorry I told you; for it is one of the
pleasantest things that has happened to me in a great while! There was
I, in my _incognito-dress_, as I call it, weary and pale, nothing about
me to attract interest, I am sure! I wish such men were more common in
this world, they would elevate the race!"

"I declare, cousin Maggie, you are growing enthusiastic! I haven't seen
such beaming eyes and such a brilliant color for a long time! Was this
most gallant knight of yours a _young_ gentleman, may I ask?"

The lady thus questioned seemed to reflect a moment before she replied:

"If you mean to inquire whether he was a whiskered, moustached
_élégant_, not a bit of it! I should not have addressed such a man in
the street. On the contrary, he was"----

"_Married_, I am afraid!" interrupted pretty mischief on the ottoman,
giggling behind her next neighbor.

"I dare say he may have been," pursued the narrator, quietly. "No very
young man, even if he had wished to be polite to a stranger neither
young nor beautiful, which is very doubtful, would have exhibited the
graceful self-possession and easy politeness of this gentleman:--he was,
probably, going to his home in the upper part of the city after a
business-day. As I remember his dress, though, of course, I had no
thought about it at the time, it was the simple, unnoticeable attire of
an American gentleman when engaged in business occupations--everything
about him, as I recall his presence, was in keeping--unostentatious,
quiet, appropriate! I shall long preserve his portrait in my
picture-gallery of memory, and I am proud to believe that he is my own

"Cousin Maggie always says," remarked one of her auditors, "that
Americans are the most truly polite men she has met"----

"Yes," returned the enthusiast, "though sometimes wanting in mere

    'Where'er I roam, whatever lands I see,
    My heart, untravelled, fondly turns to'----

my own dear, honored countrymen--more truly chivalrous, more truly just
towards our sex, than the men of any other land! I never yet appealed to
one of them for aid, for courtesy, _as a woman, and as a woman should_,
in vain. And I never, scarcely, am so placed as to have occasion for
kindness--real kindness--without receiving it, unasked. The other day,
for instance, caught in a sudden shower, I stood waiting for a stage,
'down town,' in Broadway. There was such a jam that I was afraid to try
and get into one that stopped quite near the sidewalk. A policeman, at
that moment, asked me whether I wished to get in, and, holding my arm,
stepped over the curb with me. 'I don't know what the ladies would do
without the aid of your corps, sometimes, in these crowds,' said I.

"'If the ladies will accept our services, we are proud, madam,' answered

"'I am very glad to do so,' returned I; and well I might, for, at that
instant, as I was on the point of setting my foot on the step of the
omnibus, the horse attached to a cart next behind suddenly started
forward, and left no space between his head and the door of the stage. I
shrunk back, as you may imagine, and said I would walk, in spite of the
rain. But the policeman encouraged me, and called out to the carman to
fall back. At that instant, I observed a gentleman come out upon the
step of the stage. With a single imperious gesture, and the sternest
face, he drove back the horse, and springing into the omnibus, held the
door open with one hand, and extended the other to me. To be sure, the
policeman almost pinched my arm in two, in his effort to keep me safe,
but I was, at last, seated with whole bones and a grateful heart, at the
side of my brave, kind champion. As soon as I recovered breath, I was
curious to see again the face whose expression had arrested my attention
(of course, I did not wait for breath to _thank_ him), and to note the
external characteristics of a man who would impulsively render such
service to a woman--like Charles Lamb--(dear, gentle Charles Lamb!)
holding his umbrella over the head of a washerwoman, because she was a
_woman_! Well, my friend was looking straight before him, apparently
wholly unconscious of the existence of the trembling being he had so
humanely befriended, with the most impenetrable face imaginable, and a
sort of abstracted manner. Presently I desired to open the window behind
me--still not quite recovered from my fright and flutter. Almost before
my hand was on the glass, my courteous neighbor relieved me of my task.
Again I rendered cordial thanks, and again, as soon as delicacy
permitted, glanced furtively at the face beside me. Nothing to reward my
scrutiny was there revealed; the same absorbed, fixed expression, the
same seeming unconsciousness! But can you doubt that a noble, manly
nature was veiled beneath that calm face and quiet manner--a nature that
would gleam out in an instant, should humanity prompt, or wrong excite?
And I could tell you numberless such anecdotes--all illustrative of my
favorite theory."

"So could we all," said another lady, "I have no doubt, if we only
remembered them."

"I never forget anything of that kind," returned Margaret. "It is to me
like a strain of fine music, _acted poetry_, if I may use such a phrase.
Such incidents make, for me, the _poetry of real life_, indeed! They
inspire in my heart,

    'The still, _sweet_ music of humanity.'"

One magnificent moonlight night, while I was in Rome with your cousins
and the W----s, a party was formed to visit the Coliseum. That whimsical
creature, Grace, whom I had more than once detected in a disposition to
fall behind the rest of the company, as we strolled slowly through the
ruins, at length stole up to me, as I paused a little apart from the
group, and twining her arm within mine, whispered softly:

"_Do_, dear Uncle Hal, come this way with me for a few moments!"

Yielding to the impulse she gave me, we were presently disengaged from
our companions, and, leaning, as if by mutual agreement, against a

"What a luxury it is to be quiet!" exclaimed your cousin, with a sigh of
relief. "How that little Miss B---- _does_ chatter! Really it is
profanation to think or speak of common things to-night, and here!"

"Well, my fair Epicurean," returned I, "since

    ----'Silence, like a poultice comes
    To heal the blows of sound,'

you shall reward me for my indulgence in attending you, by repeating
some of Byron's _apropos_ lines, for me as we stand here"--

"At your pleasure, dear uncle."

Presently she began, in a subdued tone, as if afraid of disturbing the
dreams of another, or as if half listening while she spoke to the tread
of those

    'Whose distant footsteps echo
    Through the corridors of Time;'

but gradually losing all consciousness, save that of the inspiration of
the bard, our fair enthusiast reached a climax of eloquence with the

                                       'The azure gloom
    Of an Italian night, where the deep skies assume
    Hues which have words, and speak to ye of Heaven,
    Floats o'er this vast and wondrous monument,'--

and she stretched out her arm, with an impulsive gesture, as she spoke.
I perceived a sudden recoil, at the instant, of her dilating form, and,
before I could devise an explanation, heard the words, "You are my
prisoner, madam," and discovered a gentleman standing in the deep shadow
of the pillar, close at her side, busily endeavoring to disentangle the
fringe of her shawl from the buttons of his coat.

I remembered, afterwards, having noticed in passing, sometime before, a
shadowy figure standing with folded arms and upturned face, half lost in
the deep shadow of a pillar, apparently quite unconscious of the
vicinity of the chattering ephemera fluttering by his retreat. I at once
surmised that Grace and I had approached from the other side, and
inadvertently stationed ourselves near this æsthetical devotee--so near
that your cousin, in the excitement of her eloquence, had fastened a
lasso upon the dress of the stranger.

"You are my prisoner, madam," he said, in French. The words were simple
enough, not so apposite but that many an one might have uttered them
under similar circumstances. Yet they were replete with meaning,
conveyed by the subtle aid of intonation and of _manner_. The most
chivalrous courtesy, the most exquisite refinement, were fully expressed
in that brief sentence.

"I have no fears either for my purse, or my life," returned the
quick-witted lady thus addressed, aiding in the required

"You need have none," rejoined the gentleman, "though the laws of
chivalry entitle me to demand a goodly ransom for so fair a
prize"--glancing politely towards me.

"Accept, at least, the poor guerdon of this token of my thanks," said
the enthusiast of the moment, tendering a beautiful flower, which was
opportunely loosened from her bosom by the slight derangement of her

"It will be a treasured memento," answered the stranger, receiving the
proffered gift with graceful respect, and, bowing with the most courtly
deference, he walked rapidly away, as loth, by lingering one needless
moment, to seem intrusive.

"What a voice!" exclaimed Grace, as the retreating figure disappeared
behind the fragment of a fallen column, "blithe as the matin tone of a
lark, and"----

"Clear as the note of the clarion that startled you so upon the Appian
Way, the other day," I suggested, "and indeed, I am not sure that there
was not a little tremor in your fingers, this time, my brave lady, and
that you did not hold just a little tighter fast the arm of your old

"What nonsense, Uncle Hal!--could anything be more delicately
reassuring--admitting that I was startled, at first,--than the whole
bearing of the gentleman?"

"Should you know him again?" I questioned.

"I think I should, were it only by the diamond he wore," she replied,
with a little laugh at the woman's reason. "Did you observe it uncle, as
his macintosh was opened by the pulling of that silly fringe--really it
might grace the crescent of Dian herself, on a gala-night--it was a
young star! but I also saw his face distinctly as he raised his hat."

Well, now for the _dénoûment_ of my story--for every romantic adventure
should properly have a _dénoûment_.

As we were all riding on the Campagna a few days afterwards, the usual
intimation was given of the approach of the _cortége_ of the Pope. Of
course we went through the mummery of withdrawing, while the poor old
man was hurried along in his airing. Standing thus together, a party of
gentlemen rode rapidly up, and, recognizing some of our party, joined

Scarcely were the usual greetings over, when Grace, reining her horse
near me, said, in a low tone: "Uncle, there is the 'bright particular
star' of the other night in the Coliseum; I know I am not mistaken."

And so it proved--the polished, graceful stranger was not a Prince
_incognito_, not even an acreless count, whose best claim to respect
consisted in hereditary titles and courtly manners, but a _young
American artist_, full of activity, enthusiasm and genius, who had not
forgotten to give beauty to the casket, because it enshrined a gem of
high value.

_Apropos_ of gems--I afterwards learned that the superb brilliant he
always wore on his breast was a token of the gratitude of a
distinguished and munificent patron and friend, for whom this child of
feeling and genius had successfully incarnated all that was earthly of
one loved and lost.

We subsequently became well acquainted with our gifted countryman, and a
right good fellow he proved. We met him constantly in society, while at
Florence--the Italian _Paradise of Americans_, as Miss ---- always called
it--where his genial manners, the type of a genial nature, made him a
general favorite, as well with natives as foreigners.

Soon after he was named to me that day on the Campagna, your cousin, who
had again moved from my side, turned her face towards us. The movement
arrested the attention of my companion--he glanced inquiringly at me.

"I think I am not mistaken, sir; have we not met before?" and the same
exquisite courtesy illumined his face that had so impressed me
previously. "May I ask the honor of a presentation to my sometime

"Really, sir," I overheard Grace confessing, in her sprightliest tones,
as, the two parties uniting for the nonce, we all rode on together;
"really, sir, I remember to have been secretly rejoiced at having left
my heart, watch, and other valuables, safely locked up at home, when I
found myself in such a dangerous-looking neighborhood."

"And _I_ still indulge the regret that my profession did not fully
entitle me to retain possession, not only of the shawl, which, no doubt,
was a camel's hair of unknown value, but of the embodied poetry it

"You seem quite to overlook the fact that I was guarded, like a damsel
of old, by a doughty knight."

I wish I could half describe the dextrous twirl of the moustache, and
the quickly-shadowed brow that suddenly transformed that luminous and
honest face into that of the dark, moody brigand, as, fumbling in his
bosom the while, as about to unsheath a dagger, he growled, in
mock-heroic manner--"It were easy to find means to silence such an
opponent, with such a reward in view!"

The merry laugh with which Grace received this sally, proved that she,
at least, liked the _versatility of manner_ possessed by her gallant

       *       *       *       *       *

Touching the electric chain of memory, causes another link to vibrate,
and I am reminded of my promise, made in a former letter, to tell you
about the American girl whose beautiful arm threw Powers into raptures.

You will, perhaps, recollect that I alluded to my having met abroad the
heroine of the _cornelian pâté_ anecdote. I assure you, I had ample
occasion, more than once, to be proud of my lovely countrywoman, in the
most distinguished European circles--and by that term I do not refer to
distinction created by mere rank. But to my tale:

One day, during our mutual sojourn in her well-named Italian "Paradise,"
Miss ----, and her father, in accordance with a previous arrangement,
called at my lodgings, to take me with them to a dinner at the Palace de

"I propose, as we have purposely come early, Col. Lunettes, in the hope
of finding you at leisure, that we shall drop in at Powers' studio, a
few minutes; it is in our direct way, and he will be there, as I happen
to know. I so wish to know your impression of papa's bust."

While I was enjoying a chat with the presiding genius of the scene, a
little apart from a group gathered about some object of peculiar
interest, a sudden glow of enthusiasm lighted his eye, as with
Promethean fire.

"Heavens, what an arm!" exclaimed Powers. "Oh, for the art to _petrify_
it!" he added, with an expressive gesture, the _furore_ of the artist
rapidly enkindling.

Following the direction of his glance, I beheld what might well excite
admiration in a less discriminating spectator. The velvet mantle that
had shrouded the gala dress of Miss ---- having fallen from her
shoulders, disclosed the delicate beauty of the uncovered arm and hand,
which she was eagerly extending towards the marble before her.

"Remain just as you now stand, for a moment," said I, "and let me see
what I can do for you."

"Miss ----," I asked, advancing towards my fair friend, "will you let me
invite your attention to this new study? It is entitled 'The Artist's
Prayer,' and is supposed to impersonate the petition, 'Petrify it, O, ye

Of course, this led to a brief and laughing explanation.

"Happily, no earthly Powers can achieve that transformation!" exclaimed
the Lucifer of the Coliseum, who was present, "but all will join in the
entreaty that we may be permitted to possess an _imitation_ of so
beautiful an original."

I am not permitted to disclose the secrets of the inner temple; but many
of you will yet behold the loveliness that so charmed the lovers of art,
moulded into eternal marble.





Having attempted, in my last two letters, with what success you will
best judge, to give you some practical hints respecting manner at home
and in the street, suppose we take up, next, the consideration of the
conduct proper in _Visiting_, and on public occasions, generally.

Among the minor obligations of social life, perhaps few things are
regarded as more formidable by the unpractised, than ceremonious
_morning visits to ladies_. And perhaps, among the simple occurrences of
ordinary existence, few serve more fully to illustrate individual tact,
self-possession, and conversational skill.

Without aiming at much method in so doing, I will endeavor to furnish
you with a few directions of general applicability.

Hours for making morning calls are somewhat varied by place and
circumstance; but, as a rule, twelve o'clock is the earliest hour at
which it is admissible to make a visit of ceremony. From that time until
near the prevailing dinner-hour, in a small town, or that known to be
such in particular instances, one may suit one's convenience.

It is obviously unsuitable, usually, to prolong an interview of this
kind beyond a very moderate length, and hence, as well as for other
reasons, the conversation should be light, varied, and appropriate to
outward circumstances.

It is proper to send your card, not only to announce yourself to
strangers to whom you may wish to pay your respects, but to all ladies
with whom you are not upon very intimate terms, and at a private house,
to designate intelligibly to the servant who receives your card, the
individual, or the several persons, whom you wish to see.

If you go to a hotel, etc., for this purpose, write the name of the lady
or ladies, for whom your visit is designed, upon your card, _above_ your
own name, in a legible manner, and await the return of the messenger, to
whom you intrust it, _where you part from him_. If, upon his return, you
are to remain for your friends, and there be a choice of apartments for
that purpose, unless you choose to station yourself within sight of the
stairs they must of need descend, or the corridor through which they
must pass, let the porter in attendance distinctly understand not only
your name, but where you are to be found, and if possible, give him some
clue to the identification of the friends you wish to see. After a few
vexatious mistakes and misapprehensions, you will admit the wisdom of
these precautionary measures, I have no doubt. When you are shown into
the drawing-room of a private residence, if the mistress of the mansion
is present, at once advance towards her. Should she offer her hand, be
prompt to receive it, and for this purpose, take your hat, stick, and
right-hand glove (unless an occasion of extreme ceremony demands your
wearing the latter), in your left hand, as you enter. If your hostess
does not offer her hand, when she rises to receive you, simply bow, as
you pay your compliments, and take the seat she designates, or that the
servant places for you. When there are other ladies of the same family
present, speak to each, in succession, according to age, or other proper
precedence, before you seat yourself. If there are ladies in the room
whom you do not know, bow slightly to them, also, and if you are
introduced, after you have assumed a seat, rise and bow to them. When
men are introduced, they usually mutually advance and shake hands; but
the intimation that this will be agreeable to her, should always be the
test when you are presented to a lady, or when you address a lady

Some tact is necessary in deciding your movements when you find yourself
preceded by other visitors, in making a morning call. If you have no
special reason, as a message to deliver, or an appointment to make, for
lingering, and discover that you are interrupting a circle, or when you
are in the midst of strangers, where the conversation does not at once
become general, upon your making one of them, address a few polite
phrases to your hostess, if you can do so with ease and propriety from
your position with regard to her, and take leave, approaching her nearly
enough, when you rise to go, to make your adieu audible, or to receive
her hand, should she offer it. To strangers, even when you have been
introduced, you, ordinarily, only bow passingly, as you are about to
quit the room.

Should you have a special object in calling upon a lady, keep it
carefully in view, that you may accomplish it before you leave her
presence. When other visitors, or some similar circumstance, interfere
with the accomplishment of your purpose, you may write what you wish
upon a card in the hall, as you go out, and intrust it to a servant, or
leave a message with him, or in case of there being objections to either
of those methods of communication, resort to an appointment requested
through him, or subsequently write a note to that effect, or containing
an explanation of the object of your visit. When you determine to
outstay others at a morning reception, upon the rising of ladies to
depart, you rise also, under all circumstances; and when they are
acquaintances, and unattended by a gentleman, accompany them to the
street-door, and to their carriage, if they are driving, and then return
to your hostess. Unacquainted, you simply stand until ladies leave the
room, politely returning their parting salutation, if they make one. Any
appearance of a wish on the part of those whom you chance to meet thus,
for an _aside_ conversation, will, of course, suggest the propriety of
occupying yourself until your hostess is at leisure, with some subject
of interest in the room--turn to a picture, open a book, examine some
article of _bijouterie_, and, thus civilly unobtrusive, observe only
when it is proper for you to notice the separation of the company.

As I have before said, in making a visit of mere politeness, some
passing topic of interest should succeed the courteous inquiries, etc.,
that naturally commence the conversation. Visiting a lady practised in
the usages of society, relieves one, very naturally, from any necessity
for _leading_ the conversation.

When your object is to make an appointment, give an invitation, etc.,
repeat the arrangement finally agreed upon, distinctly and deliberately,
upon rising to go away, that both parties may distinctly understand it,
beyond the possibility of mistake.

In attending ladies who are making morning visits, it is proper to
assist them up the steps, ring the bell, write cards, etc. Entering,
always _follow_ them into the house and into the drawing-room, and wait
until they have finished their salutations, unless you have to perform
the part of presenting them. In that case, you enter with them, or stand
within the door until they have entered, and advance beside them into
the apartment.

Ladies should always be the first to rise, in terminating a visit, and
when they have made their adieux, their cavaliers repeat the ceremony,
and follow them out.

When gentlemen call together, the younger, or least in rank, gives
careful precedence to others, rendering them courtesies similar to those
due to ladies.

Soiled over-shoes, or wet over-garments, should, on no account, be worn
into an apartment devoted to the use of ladies, unless they cannot be
safely left outside--as in the passage of a public house. In such case,
by no means omit an apology for the necessary discourtesy.

When ladies are not in the apartment where you are to pay your respects
to them, advance to meet them upon their entrance; and in the public
room of a hotel, meet them as near the door as possible, especially if
there is no gentleman with them, or the room be previously occupied, and
conduct them to seats.

Never remain seated in the company of ladies with whom you are
ceremoniously associated, while they are standing. Follow them to any
object of interest to which they direct your attention; place a seat for
them, if much time will be required for such a purpose; ring the bell,
bring a book; in short, courteously relieve them from whatever may be
supposed to involve effort, fatigue, or discomfort of any kind. It is,
for this reason, eminently suitable to offer the arm to ladies when
ascending stairs. Nothing is more absurd than the habit of _preceding
them_ adopted by some men--as if by following just behind, as one
should, if the arm is disengaged, there can be any violation of
propriety. Soiled frills or unmended hose must have originated this
vulgarity! Tender the arm on the wall side of a lady, mounting a stairs,
that she may have the benefit of the railing, and the fewer steps upon a
landing; and in assisting an invalid, or aged person, it is often well
to keep one step in advance. It is always decorous to suit your pace to
those you would assist.

It is also a proper courtesy, always to relieve ladies of their parcels,
parasols, shawls, etc., when ever this will conduce to their
convenience, which is especially the case, of course, when they are
occupied with the care of their dresses in ascending steps, entering a
carriage, or passing through a crowd.

The rules of etiquette properly observable in making ordinary
ceremonious morning-visits, are also applicable to _Morning
Wedding-Receptions_ with slight variations. Of course, you do not then
announce yourself by a card. When previously acquainted with her, you
advance immediately to the bride, and offer your _wishes for her future
happiness_. Never _congratulate_ a lady upon her marriage; such
felicitations are, with good taste, tendered to the bridegroom, not to
the bride.

Having paid your compliments to the bride, you shake hands with the
groom, and bow to the bride-maids, when you know them. The mother of
the bride should then be sought. Here, again refinement dictates the
avoidance of too eager congratulations. While expressing a cordial hope
that the parents have added to their prospects of future pleasure in
receiving a new member into their family, do not insinuate, by your
manner, the conviction that they have no natural regret at resigning
their daughter

    "To another path and guide,
    To a bosom yet untried."

It is not usual to sit down on such occasions; and it is as obviously
unsuitable to remain long, as it is to engage the attention of those
whom others may be waiting to approach, beyond the utterance of a few
brief, well-chosen sentences.

When you require an introduction to the bride, but are acquainted with
her husband, you may speak first to him, and so secure a presentation.
Usually a groomsman, or some other gentleman, is in readiness to present
unknown visitors. In that case, should he, too, be a stranger to you,
mention your name to him, and any little circumstance by which he may
afford a passing theme or explanation, when he introduces you--as, that
you are a friend of her father--promised your particular friend, her
sister, to pay your respects, etc.

On this, as in the instance of all similar occasions, tact and
good-taste must suggest the variations of manner required by the greater
or less degree of ceremony prevailing, and your individual relations to
those you visit.

In this connection I will add that a card may sometimes be properly made
a substitute for paying one's respects in person--with a pencilled
phrase of politeness, or accompanied by a note. In either case, an
envelope of the most unexceptionable kind should be used, and a note
written with equal attention to ceremony.

A _Visit of Condolence_ is often most tastefully made by going in person
to the residence of your friend, and leaving a courteous message, and
your card, with a servant. Much politeness is sometimes expressed by the
earliest possible call upon friends just arrived from a journey, etc.,
or by leaving or sending a card, with a pencilled expression of
pleasure, and of the intention of availing yourself of the first
suitable moment for paying your compliments in person.

Visits upon New-Year's Day should be short, as a rule, for the reasons
before suggested, and it is not usual to sit down, except when old
friends urge it, or when the presence of an elderly person, or an
invalid, demands the appearance of peculiar consideration.

On all occasions of ceremonious intercourse with superiors in age and
station, one or both, manner should be regulated, as respects
familiarity, or even cordiality, _by them_. "He approached me with
_familiarity_, I repulsed him with _ceremony_," said a man of rank,
alluding to an impertinence of this kind. Never be the first, under such
circumstances, to violate the strict rules of convention. Their
observance is often the safeguard of sensibility, as well as of

Simple good-taste will dictate the most quiet, unnoticeable bearing at
_Church_. The saying of the celebrated Mrs. Chapone, that "it was part
of her religion not to disturb the religion of others," is all
inclusive. To enter early enough to be fully established in one's seat
before the service commences, to attend politely, but very
unostentatiously, to the little courtesies that may render others
comfortable, to avoid all rude staring, and all appearance of
inattention to the proper occupations of the occasion, as well as every
semblance of irreverence, will occur to all well-bred persons as
obviously required by decorum. When necessitated to go late to church,
one should, as on all similar occasions, endeavor to disturb others as
little as possible; but with equal studiousness avoid the vulgar
exhibition of discomposure, of over-diffidence, or of any consciousness,
indeed, of being observed, which so unmistakably savors of low-breeding.
I cannot too frequently remind you that _self-possession_ is one of the
grand distinctive attributes of a gentleman, and that it is often best
illustrated by a simple, quiet, successful manner of meeting the
exigencies and peculiarities of circumstances.

Never wear your hat into church. Remove it in the vestibule, and on no
account resume it until you return thither, unless health imperatively
demands your doing so just before reaching the door opening into it.

All nodding, whispering, and exchanging of glances in church, is in bad
taste. Even the latter should not be indulged in, unless a very charming
woman is the provoking cause of the peccadillo, and then very stealthily
and circumspectly!

Salutations, even with intimate friends, should always be very quietly
exchanged, while one is still within the body of the sacred edifice, and
the "outer court" of the house of God were better not the scene of
boisterous mirth, or rude jostling. Let me add, here, that it is always
proper, when compelled to hurry past those of right before you, at
church, or elsewhere in a crowd, to apologize, briefly, but politely,
for discommoding any one.

Whenever you are in attendance upon ladies, as at the opera, concerts,
lectures, etc., there is entire propriety in remaining with them in the
seat you have paid for, or secured by early attendance. No gentleman
should be expected to separate himself from a party to give his place to
a lady under such circumstances, and in no country but ours would such a
request or intimation be made. But while it is quite justifiable to
retain the seat taken upon entering such a public place, nothing is more
wholly inadmissible than crowding in and out of your place repeatedly,
talking and laughing aloud, mistimed applauding, and the like. If you
are not present for the simple purpose of witnessing the performance,
whatever it may be, there are, doubtless, those who are; and it is not
only exceedingly vulgar, but _immoral_, to invade their rights in this
regard. Be careful, therefore, to secure your _libretto_, concert-bill,
or programme, as the case may be, before assuming your seat; and when
you have ladies with you, or are one of a party, especially, as then you
cannot so readily accept the penalty of carelessness, by not returning
to your first seat. Should any unforeseen necessity compel you to crowd
past others, and afterwards resume your seat, presume as little as
possible upon their polite forbearance, by great care of dresses, toes,
etc., and each time politely apologize for the inconvenience you
occasion. Let me repeat that no excuse exists for the too-frequent
rudeness of disturbing others by fidgeting, whispering, laughing, or
applauding out of time. And even when standing or moving about between
the exercises, on any public occasion, or the acts at a play-house, or
opera, well-bred people are never disregardful of the rights and comfort
of others.

In a picture-gallery, at an exhibition of marbles, etc., nothing can be
more indicative of a want of refinement sufficient to appreciate true
art, than the impertinence exhibited in audible comments upon the
subjects before you, and in interfering with the enjoyment of others by
passing before them, moving seats noisily, talking and laughing aloud,
etc. With persons of taste and refinement, there is an almost religious
sacredness in the presence of the creations of genius, to desecrate
which, is as vulgar as it is irreverential of the beautiful and the
good. Always then, carry out the most scrupulous regard of the rights
and feelings of others, when yourself a devotee at the shrine of
Æsthetics, by attention to the minutest forms of courtesy. This will
dictate leaving your place the moment you rise, carrying everything with
you belonging to you, and never stopping to shawl ladies, don an
overcoat, or dispose of an opera-glass, until you can do so without
interrupting the comfort of those you leave behind you.

When you wish to take refreshments, or to offer them to ladies, at
public entertainments, it is better to repair to the place where they
are served, as a rule, unless it be in the instance of a single glass of
water, or the like; except when a party occupy an opera-box, etc.,

Be careful never to attach yourself to a party of which you were not
originally one, at any time, or place, unless fully assured of its being
agreeable to the gentlemen previously associated with ladies; or if a
gentleman's party only, attracts you, make yourself quite sure that no
peccadillo be involved in your joining it, and in either case, let your
manner indicate your remembrance of the circumstance of your properly
standing in the relation of a _recipient_ of the civilities due to the

Some men practically adopt the opinion that the courteous observances of
social and domestic life are wholly inapplicable to _business
intercourse_. A little consideration will prove this a solecism. Good
breeding is not a thing to be put off and on with varying outward
circumstance. If genuine, inherent, it will always exhibit itself as
certainly as integrity, or any other unalienable quality of an
individual. The manifestations of this characteristic by _manner_, will,
of course, vary with occasion, but it will, nevertheless, be apparent at
all times, and to all observers, when its legitimate influence is
rightly understood and admitted.

Hence, then, though the observance of elaborate ceremony in the more
practical associations of busy outer life would be absurdly
inappropriate, that careful respect for the rights and feelings of
others, which is the basis of all true politeness, should not, under
these circumstances, be disregarded.

The secret of the superior popularity of some business men with their
compeers and _employés_, lies often, rather in _manner_ than in any
other characteristic. You may observe, in one instance, a universal
favorite, to whom all his associates extend a welcoming hand, as though
there were magic in the ready smile and genial manner, and who is served
by his inferiors in station with cheerfulness and alacrity, indicating
that a little more than a mere business bond draws them to him; and
again, an upright, but externally-repulsive man, though always
commanding respect from his compeers, holds them aloof by his frigidity,
and receives the service of fear rather than of love from those to whom
he may be always just, and even humane, if never sympathizing and

As I have before remarked, there is no occasion where we are associated
with others, that does not demand the exhibition of a polite manner.
Thus at a _public table_, no man should allow himself to feed like a
mere animal, wholly disregardful of those about him, and, as too
frequently happens, forgetful of the proprieties that are observed when
eating in private. Only at the best conducted hotels are all things so
well and liberally appointed as to render those who meet at public
tables wholly independent of each in little matters of comfort and
convenience, and a well-bred man may be recognized there, as everywhere
else, by his manner to those who may chance to be near him. He will
neither call loudly to a servant, nor monopolize the services that
should be divided with others. His quick eye will discern a lady alone,
or an invalid, and his ready courtesy supply a want, or proffer a
civility, and he will not grudge a little self-denial, or a few minutes'
time, in exchange for the consciousness of being true to himself, even
in trifles. Nor will he _ever_ eat as though running a race of life and
death with Time! Health and decency will alike prompt him to abstain
wholly from attempting to take a meal, rather than assimilate himself to
a ravenous brute, to gratify his appetite. Let no plea of want of time
ever induce you, I entreat, to acquire the American habit of thus eating
in public. Even in the compulsatory haste of travelling, there is no
valid excuse for this unhealthy and disgusting practice. And, with
regard to daily life at one's hotel, or the like, the man who is
habitually regardful of the value and right use of time, may well and
wisely permit himself the simple indulgence and relaxation of _eating
like a gentleman_!

While on this subject, permit me to remind you of the impropriety of
staring at strangers, listening to conversation in which you have no
part, commenting audibly upon others, laughing and talking boisterously,
etc., etc. Let not even admiration tempt you to put a modest woman out
of countenance, by a too fixed regard, nor let her even suspect that a
nod, a shrug, a significant whisper or glance had her for their object.
Good-breeding requires one to hear as little as possible of the
conversation of strangers, near whom he may chance to be seated. We
quietly ignore their presence (as they should ours), unless some
exigency demands a courtesy; but we do not disturb our neighbors by
vociferousness, even in the height of merriment, however harmless in

Should a lady, even though an entire stranger, be entering an
eating-hall alone, or attended by another gentleman, at the same moment
with yourself, give precedence to her, with a slight bow; and so, when
quitting the room, as well as to your acknowledged superiors in age or
position generally, and carefully avoid such self-engrossment as shall
engender inattention to their observances. So, too, when meeting a lady
on a public stairs, or in a passage-way, give place sufficiently to
allow her to pass readily, touching your hat at the same moment. In the
same manner remove a chair, or other obstacle that obstructs the way of
a lady in a hotel parlor, or on a piazza; avoid placing a seat so as to
crowd a lady, encroach upon a party, or compel you to sit before others.

I admit that these are the _minutiæ_ of manners, my dear fellows; but
attention to them will increase your self-respect, and give elevation to
your general character, just in proportion as _self_ is subdued, and the
baser propensities of our nature kept habitually in subserviency to the
nobler qualities illustrated by habitual good-breeding.

But to return. Though the circumstances must be peculiar that sanction
your addressing a lady with whom you are unacquainted, in a public
parlor, or the like, you are not required by convention to appear so
wholly unconscious of her presence as to retain your seat just in front
of the only fire in the room on a cold day, in the only comfortable
chair, or a place so near the only airy window on a hot one, as to
preclude her approach to it. Nor are you bound to sit in one seat and
keep your legs across another, on the deck of a steamer, in a railroad
car, in a tavern, at a public exhibition, while women _stand_ near you,
compelled by your _not knowing_ them! Let me hope, too, that no kinsman
of mine will ever feel an inclination, when appealed to for information
in some practical emergency, by one of the dependent sex, to repulse her
with laconic coldness, though the appeal should chance when he is
hurrying along the public highway of life, or through the most secluded
of its by-paths.

Few young men, I must believe, ever remember when in a large hotel, at
night, with their companions, that--opening into the corridors through
which they tramp like a body of mounted cavalry upon a foray, with
appropriate musical accompaniments--may be the apartments of the weary
and the sick; or, that, separated from the room in which they prolong
their nocturnal revels, by only the thinnest of partitions, lies a timid
and lonely woman, shrinking and trembling more and more nervously at
each successive burst of mirth and song, or worse, that effectually robs
her of repose. Yet Sir Walter Raleigh, or Sir Philip Sidney, might,
perchance, have thought even such a trifling peccadillo not

The same general rules that are applicable to manner in public places,
at hotels, etc., are almost equally so in _travelling_, modified only by
circumstances and good sense.

A due consideration for the rights and feelings of others, will be a
better guide to true politeness than a whole battery of
conventionalisms. Courtesy to ladies, to age, to the suffering, will
here, as ever, mark the true gentleman, as well as that habitual
refinement which interdicts the offensive use of tobacco, where women
sit or stand, or any other slovenliness or indecorum.

Under such circumstances, as many others in real life, never let cold
ceremony deter you from rendering a real service to a fellow-being,
though you readily avail yourself of its barriers to repel impertinence
or vulgarity. It is authentically recorded of one of the loyal subjects
of the little crowned lady over the ocean, that, as soon as he was
restored to the privileges of civilization, after having been cast away
upon a desert island with only one other person, he at once challenged
his companion in misfortune for having spoken to him, during their
mutual exile, without an introduction!

Should you indulge in any skepticism respecting the literal truthfulness
of this historical record, I can personally vouch for the following: Our
eccentric and unhappy countryman, the gifted poet, P----, was once,
while travelling, roused from a moody and absorbing reverie, by the
address of a stranger, who said: "Sir, I am Mr. W----, the author--you
have no doubt heard of me." The dreamy eye of the contemplative
solitaire lighted with a sudden fire, as he deliberately scrutinized the
intruder, then quickly contracting each feature so that his physiognomy
changed at once to a very respectable imitation of a spy-glass, he
coolly inquired: "_Who the devil did you say you are?_"

Practice and tact combined, can alone give a man ease and grace of
manner amid the varying demands of social life, but systematic attention
to details will soon simplify whatever may seem formidable in regard to
it. No one but a fool or a monomaniac goes on stumbling through his
allotted portion of existence, when he may easily learn to go without
stumbling at all, or only occasionally.

Thus, after experiencing the embarrassment of keeping ladies, with whom
you have been driving in a hired carriage, standing in the rain, or sun,
or in a jostling crowd, while you are waiting for change to pay your
coach, or submitting to extortion, or searching for your purse, you
will, perhaps, resolve, when you are next so circumstanced, to ascertain
before-hand, if possible, exactly what you should lawfully pay, to have
your money ready before reaching your final destination, and to leave
the ladies seated in quiet while you alight, pay your fare and then
secure shawls, etc., and make every other arrangement and inquiry that
will facilitate their speedy and comfortable transit from the carriage.

Thus much for _manner in public_.

Now then, a few words relative to the bearing proper in social
intercourse, and I will release you.

In the character of _Host_, much is requisite that would be unsuitable
elsewhere, since the youngest and most modest man must, of necessity,
then take the lead. Thus, when you have guests at dinner, some care and
tact are required in the simple matter, even, of disposing of your
visitors with due regard to proper precedents. Of course, when there are
only men present, you desire him whom you wish to distinguish, to
conduct the mistress of the mansion to the table, and are, yourself, the
last to enter the dining-room. When there are ladies, the place of honor
accorded to age, rank, or by some temporary relative circumstance, is
designated as being at your right hand, and you precede your other
guests, in attendance upon such a lady. A stranger lady, for whom an
entertainment is given, should be met by her host before she enters the
drawing-room, and conducted to the hostess. A gentleman, under similar
circumstances, must be received at the door of the reception-room. In
both instances, introductions should at once be given to those who are
_invited to meet such guests_.

Persons living in large cities may, if they possess requisite pecuniary
means, always procure servants so fully acquainted with the duties
properly belonging to them as to relieve themselves, when they have
visitors, from all attention to the details of the table. But it is only
in the best appointed establishments that hospitality does not enjoin
some regard to these matters. It may be unfashionable to keep an eye to
the comfort of one's friends, when we are favored with their company, to
consult their tastes, to humor their peculiarities, to convince them,
by a thousand nameless acts of consideration and deference, that we have
pleasure in rendering them honor due;--this may not be in strict
accordance with the cold ceremony of modern fashion, but it, nevertheless,
illustrates one of the most beautiful of characteristics--one ranked
by the ancients as a _virtue_--Hospitality!

Permit me, also, to remind you that sometimes the most worthy people are
not high-bred--not familiar with conventional proprieties; that they
even have a dread of them, on account of this ignorance; and that they
are, therefore, not fit subjects towards whom to display strict
ceremony, or from whom to expect it. But always remember, that, though
they may not understand conventionalisms, they will fully appreciate
genuine _kindness_, the talismanic charm that will always place the
humblest and most self distrustful guest at ease. And never let a
vulgar, degrading fear of compromising your claims to gentility, tempt
you to the inhumanity of wounding the feelings of the humblest of your
humble friends!

If you have a large rout at your house, it will, necessarily, be
impossible for you to render special attention to each guest; but you
should, notwithstanding, quietly endeavor to promote the enjoyment of
the company, by bringing such persons together as are best suited to the
appreciation of each other's society, by drawing out the diffident,
tendering some civility to an elderly, or particularly unassuming
visitor, and, in short, by a manner that, without in any degree savoring
of over-solicitude, or bustling self-importance, shall save you from a
fate similar to that of a gentleman of whom I lately read the following

A stranger at a large party, observing a gentleman leaning upon the
corner of a mantel-piece, with a peculiarly melancholy expression of
countenance, accosted him thus:--"Sir, as we both seem to be entire
strangers to all here, suppose we both return home?" He addressed his

In general society, do not let your pleasure in the conversation of one
person whom you may chance to meet, or your being attached to a pleasant
party, tempt you to forget the respect due to other friends, who may be
present. Married ladies, whose hospitalities you have shared, strangers
who possess a claim upon you, through your relations with mutual
friends, gentlemen whose politeness has been socially extended to you,
should never be rudely overlooked, or discourteously neglected. Such a
manner would indicate rather a vulgar eagerness for selfish enjoyment
than the collected self-possession, the well-sustained good-breeding, of
a _man of the world_. Do not let a sudden attack of the modesty suitable
to youth and insignificance, induce you to regard those proprieties as
of no importance in your particular case--exclaiming, "What's Hecuba to
me, or I to Hecuba?" Believe me, no one is so unimportant as to be
unable to give pleasure by politeness; and no one having a place in
society, has a right to self-abnegation in this respect.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Husband, do you know a young Mr. V----, in society here--a lawyer, I
think?" inquired a lady-friend of mine, of a distinguished member of the
Legislature of our State, with whom I was dining, at his hotel.

"V----? That I do! and a right clever fellow he is:--why, my dear?"

"Oh, nothing, I met him somewhere the other morning, and was struck with
his pleasing manners. This morning I was really indebted to his
politeness. You know how slippery it was--well, I had been at Mrs.
S----'s reception, and was just hesitating on the top of the steps, on
coming away, afraid to call the man from his horses, and fearful of
venturing down alone, when Mr. V---- ran up, like a chamois-hunter, and
offered his assistance. He not only escorted me to the sleigh, but
tucked up the furs, gave me my muff, and inquired for your health with
such good-humor and cordiality as really quite won my heart!"

"I should be exceedingly jealous, were it not that he made exactly the
same impression upon me, a few evenings before you joined me here. It
was at Miss T----'s wedding. Of course, I had a card of invitation to
the reception, after the ceremony, but, disliking crowds as I do, and as
you were not here, I decided not to go.--The truth is, Colonel, [turning
to me] we backwoodsmen are a little shy of these grand state occasions
of ceremony and parade."--

"Backwoodsmen, as you are pleased to term them, sometimes confer far
more honor upon such occasions than they upon him," returned I.

"You are very polite, sir. Well, as I was saying, in the morning I met
the bride's father, who was one of my early college friends, in the
street, and he urged me, with such old-fashioned, hearty cordiality to
come, that I began to think the homely charm of _hospitality_ might not
be wholly lacking, even at a fashionable entertainment, in this most
fashionable city. So the upshot of the matter was my going, though with
some misgivings about my _court-costume_, as my guardian-angel had
deserted me." Really, boys, I wish you could have seen the chivalrous
courtesy that lighted the fine eye and shone over the manner of the
speaker, as, with these last words, he bowed to the fair companion of
his life for something like half a century.

"You forget, my dear," rejoined the lady, as a soft smile, and a softer
blush stole over her still beautiful face, "that Mrs. M---- wrote me you
were quite the lion of the occasion, and that half the young ladies
present, including the bride herself, were"--

"My dear! I cry you mercy!--Bless my soul!--an old fellow like me!"----

"But K----, my dear friend," I exclaimed, "don't be personal"----

"Lunettes, you were always, and still are, irresistible with the ladies,
but--you are _an exception_."

"I protest!" cried Mrs. K----, joining in our laughter, "Mr. Clay, to
his latest day, was in high favor with ladies, young and old--there was
no withstanding the _charm of his manner_. At Washington, one winter
that I spent there, wherever I met him, he was encircled by the fairest
and most distinguished of our sex, all seeming to vie with each other
for his attentions--and this was not because of his political rank, for
others in high position did not share his popularity;--it was his grace,
his courtesy, his _je ne sais quoi_, as the French say."

"Mr. Clay was as remarkable for quiet self-possession and tact, in
social as in public life," said I. "When I had the honor to be his
colleague, I often had occasion to observe and admire both. I remember
once being a good deal amused by a little scene between him and a Miss
----, then a reigning belle at Washington, and a great favorite of Mr.
Clay's. Returning late one night from the Capitol, excessively fatigued
by a long and exciting debate, in which he had borne an active part, he
dropped into the ladies' parlor of our hotel, on his way up stairs,
hoping, I dare say, Mrs. K., to enjoy the soothing influence of gentler
smiles and tones than those he had left. The room was almost deserted,
but, ensconced in one corner of a long, old-fashioned sofa, sat Miss
----, reading. His keen eye detected his fair friend in a moment, and
his lagging step quickened as he approached her. A younger and handsomer
man might well have envied the warm welcome he received. After sitting a
moment beside the lady, Mr. Clay said, abruptly:--

"'Miss ----, what is your definition of true politeness?'

"'Perfect ease,' she replied.

"'I have the honor to agree with you, madam, and, with your entire
permission, will take leave to assume the correctness of _this
position_!' As he spoke, with a dextrous movement, the statesman
disposed a large cushion near Miss ----'s end of the sofa, and
simultaneously, down went his head upon the cushion, and up went his
heels at the other extreme of the sofa! But, my dear fellow, we are
losing your adventures at the great wedding party, all this time"----

"Very true, my dear," added Mrs. K----, wiping her eyes, "you fell in
love with Mr. V----, you know"--

"Oh, yes," returned my host, "I did, indeed; but I had no adventures, in
particular. V---- was one of the _aids-de-camp_, on the occasion, as I
knew by the white love-knot (what is the fashionable name, wife?) he
wore on his breast. He was in the hall when I came down stairs, to act
in his office of groomsman. Upon seeing me, he advanced, and asked
whether he could be of any service to me. I explained, while I drew on
my gloves, that I did not know the bride, and feared that even her
mother might have forgotten an early friend. His young eyes found the
button of my glove quicker than mine, and as he released my hand, he
said, showing a sad rent in his own, "you are fortunate in not having
split them, sir,--but you _gentlemen of the old school_," he added with
a respectful bow, "always surpass us youngsters in matters of dress, as
well as everything else." As he said this, the young rogue glanced
politely over my plain black suit, and offered me his arm as
deferentially as though I had been an Ex-President, at least; and so on,
throughout the evening, with apparent _unconsciousness of self_. I
should have thought him wholly devoted to my enjoyment of everything and
everybody, had I not observed that others, equally, or more, in need of
his attention than I, shared his courtesy--from an elderly lady in a
huge church-tower of a cap, who seemed fearfully exercised less she
should not secure her full share of the wedding-cake boxes, to one of
the little sisters of the bride, who clung to her dress and sobbed as if
her heart must break--all seemed to like him and _depend_ on him."

"I have not the pleasure of Mr. V----'s acquaintance," said I, "but I
prophesy that _he will succeed in life_!"

"Yes, and make friends at every step!" responded Mrs. K----, warmly.
"After we parted this morning, I had an agreeable sort of
half-consciousness that something pleasant had happened to me, and when
I analised the feeling, Wordsworth's lines seemed to have been
impersonated to me:--

    'A face with gladness overspread!
    Soft smiles, by human kindness bred!
    And seemliness complete, that sways
    Thy courtesies, about thee plays!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

I have known few persons with as exquisite æsthetical perceptions as my
lovely friend Minnie. So I promised myself great pleasure in taking her
to see Cole's celebrated series of pictures--THE COURSE OF TIME. It was
soon after Cole's lamented death; and, as Minnie had been some time
living where she was deprived of such enjoyments, she had never seen
these fine pictures.

As we drove along towards the Art Union Gallery, the fair enthusiast was
all eager expectation. "How often my kind friend Mr. S---- B. R----,
used to talk to me of Cole," said she, "and promise me the pleasure of
knowing him. When he died I felt as though I had lost a dear friend, as
I had indeed, for all who worship art, have a friend in each child of

"Cole was emphatically one of these," returned I, "as his conceptions
alone prove."

"Yes, indeed," replied Minnie, "I always think of him as the
_poet-painter_, since I saw his first series--the 'Progress of Empire.'
Only a poet's imagination could conceive his subjects."

I placed my sweet friend in the most favorable position for enjoying
each picture in succession, and seated myself at her side, rather for
the gratification of listening to the low murmurs of delight that should
be breathed by her kindred soul, than to view the painter's skill, as
that no longer possessed the attraction of novelty for me.

We had just come to the sublime portraiture of "_Manhood_," and Minnie
seemed wholly absorbed in her own thoughts and imaginings. Suddenly a
silly giggle broke the charmed stillness. The Devotee of the Beautiful
started, as if abruptly awakened from a dream, and a slight shiver ran
through her sensitive frame.

Turning, I perceived, standing close behind us, a group of young
persons, chattering and laughing, and pointing to different parts of the
picture before us. Their platitudes were not, perhaps, especially
stupid, nor were they more noisy and rude than I have known _free-born
republicans_ before, under somewhat similar circumstances; but poor
Minnie endured absolute torture; her idealized delight vanished before a
coarse reality. I well remember the imploring and distressed look with
which she whispered: "Let us go, dear Colonel;" and one glance at her
pale face satisfied me that the spell was irrevocably broken for her,
and that her long anticipated "joy," in beholding "a thing of beauty"
had indeed been cruelly alloyed.

If my memory serves me aright, I told you something, in a former letter,
of an interesting lady, a friend of mine, whose husband was shot all to
pieces in the Mexican War, and after lying for many months in an almost
hopeless condition, finally so far recovered as to be removed to the
sea-board, to take ship for New Orleans. When informed of this, his
beautiful young wife--a belle, a beauty, and the petted idol of a large
family circle before her marriage--set out, at mid-winter, accompanied
by one of her brothers and taking with her the infant-child, whom its
soldier-father had never seen, to meet her husband on his homeward
route. This explanation will render intelligible the following incident,
which she herself related to me.

"My brother remained with us some time at New Orleans," said the fair
narrator; "but, as Ernest began to improve, I entreated him to return
home, as both his business and his family demanded his attention; and
you know, Colonel Lunettes," she added, with a sad smile, "that a
_soldier's wife_ must learn to be brave, for her own sake as well as for
his. Ernest had with him an excellent, faithful servant, who was fully
competent to such service as I could not render, and my little boy's
nurse was with me, of course. So we made our homeward journey by slow
stages, but with less suffering to my husband than we could have hoped,
and I grew strong as soon as we were re-united, and felt adequate to
anything, almost."

The fair young creature added the last word with the same mournful smile
that had before flitted over her sweet face, and as if rather in reply
to the doubtful expression she read in my countenance, than from any
remembrance of having failed, in the slightest degree, in the task of
which she spoke.

"On the night of our arrival at A----, however," pursued Mrs. V----, "we
seemed to reach such a climax of fatigue and trial, as to make further
endurance literally impossible for poor Ernest. Our little child had
been taken ill the day before, so that I could not devote myself so
entirely to him as I could have wished; and, as we drew near home, his
impatience seemed to increase the pain of his wounds, so that, on this
evening, he was almost exhausted both in body and mind. We stopped at
the D---- House, as being nearest the depot, which was a great point
with us; but such a comfortless, shiftless place!"----

"An abominable hole!" I ejaculated; "one never gets anything fit to eat

"That was the least of our difficulties," returned the lady, "as we had
to leave our man-servant to look after our luggage, it was with great
difficulty that my poor husband was assisted up stairs into the public
parlor, and he almost fainted while I gave a few hurried directions
about a room. Such a scene as it was! The poor baby, weary and sleepy,
began to cry for mamma, and nurse had as much as she could do with the
care of him. Ernest had sunk down upon the only sofa in the room--a
huge, heavy machine of a thing, that looked as though never designed to
be moved from its place against the wall. I gave my husband a
restorative, but in vain. He grew so ghastly pale that"----a sob here
choked the utterance of the speaker.

"My dear child," said I, taking her hand, "do not say another word; I
cannot forgive myself for asking you these particulars--all is well
now--do not recall the past!"

"Excuse me, dear Colonel, I _wish_ to tell you, I want you to know, how
we were treated by a brute in human form--to ask you whether you could
have believed in the existence of such a being--so utterly destitute of
common politeness, not to say humanity."

"I hope no one who could aid you, in this extremity, failed to do so."

"You shall hear. Ernest was shivering with cold, as well as exhaustion,
and whispered to me that he would try to sit by the fire until the room
was prepared. I looked round the place for an easy-chair; there was but
one, and that was occupied by a man who was staring at us, as though we
were curiosities exhibited for his especial benefit."

"'Ernest,' said I aloud, 'you are too weak to sit in one of these chairs
without arms, and with nothing to support your head.'

"'I will try, love,' he replied, 'for I am so cold!'

"'I will ask that man for his chair,' I whispered. Poor Ernest! his
eyes flashed. 'No! No!' said he, 'if he has not the decency to offer it,
you shall not speak to him!'

"Of course, I would not irritate him by opposition, but placed an
ordinary chair before the fire, and, supporting him into it, held his
head on my shoulder, while I chafed his benumbed hands. In the
meanwhile, the wail of the baby did not help to quiet us, nor to shorten
the time of waiting; and it seemed as if John would never make his
appearance, nor the room I had ordered be prepared. By my direction,
nurse rang the bell. I inquired of the very placid individual who
answered it, whether the room was ready for us, and upon being told that
they were making the fire, entreated the emblem of serenity to hasten
operations, and at once to bring me a cup of hot tea. Minutes seemed
hours to me, as you may suppose, and the dull eyes that were fastened
upon us from the centre of the stuffed chair, I so longed for, really
made me nervous. I felt as though it might be some horrid ghoul, rather
than anything human, thus looking upon our misery. 'Good G----, Lu!'
said Ernest, at last, 'isn't the bed ready yet?'

"I could bear it no longer. Gently withdrawing my support from the
weary, weary head, I flew to my boy, snatched him from nurse, and
signifying my design to her, we united our powers, and, laying baby on
the sofa, we succeeded in pushing it up to the side of the fire-place.
Then, while I hushed the child on my breast, we piled up our wrappings
and placed my husband upon the couch, so as to rest his poor wounded
frame (you know, Colonel, his spine was injured). The groan, half of
relief and half of torture, that broke from his lips, as he rested his
head, was like to be the 'last straw' that broke my heart--but the
soldier's wife! How often did I repeat to myself, during that long

    'Remember thou'rt a _soldier's wife_,
    Those tears but ill become thee!'

"Well! by this time, John made his appearance, and, consigning his
master temporarily to his care, I took nurse with me, and went to see
what a woman's ready hand could do in expediting matters elsewhere. When
showed to the room we were expected to occupy, I found it so filled with
smoke, and so dreadfully cold, as to be wholly uninhabitable, and in
despair sent for the steward, or whoever he was, to whom I had given
directions at first. No other room with two beds could be secured. By
the glimmering light of the small lamp in the hand of the Irishman, who
was laboring with the attempt at a fire, I investigated a little; the
smouldering coals belched forth volumes of smoke into my face. Nothing
daunted by this ('twas not the 'smoke of battle,' though I felt as
though in the midst of a conflict of life and death), I bade the man
remove the blower. Behold the draught closed by the strip of stone
sometimes used for that purpose, after a hard coal fire is fully
ignited! I think, Colonel, you would have admired the laconic,
imperiously cool tone and manner with which I speedily effected the
removal of the entire mass of cold hard coal, substituted for it, light,
dry wood, and covering up my boy, as he still rested in my arms,
dissipated the smoke that contended with the close, shut-up sort of air
in the room, for disagreeability, by opening the windows, had the most
comfortable looking of the beds drawn near the fire, and opened to air
and warm, ordered up the trunks we wanted, opened them, hung a warm
flannel dressing-gown near the fire, placed his slippers and everything
else Ernest would want just _where_ they would be wanted, near the best
chair I could secure, and the table that was to receive his supper when
he should be ready for it, and, in short _put the matter through_, as
Ernest would say, with the speed of desperation. It was wonderful how
quickly all this, and more, was effected by the people about me chiefly
through my ability to tell them exactly what to do and how to do it.
Excuse me if I boast; it was the deep calmness of despair that inspired
me! _Now_ I can smile at the look of blank amazement with which Paddy
received my announcement of the necessity of taking out all the coals
from the grate, before he could hope to kindle a fire, and the stare of
the _man of affairs_ for the D---- House, as he entered upon the field
of my efforts to say that tea was ready."

"There is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous!" I exclaimed,
laughing, in spite of my sympathy with my fair friend. "And what became
of the barbarian in the large chair?"

"Oh, when I returned to the parlor to have Ernest removed to our own
room, there he sat, still, lolling comfortably back in his chair, with
his hat on, and his feet laid up before him, and apparently as much
occupied as ever in staring at the strangers, and no more

    'On hospitable thoughts intent'

than when I quitted the room, the horrid ghoul! I was so rejoiced to
escape with my treasures safe from his blighting gaze! But now for the
_moral_ of my story, dear Colonel, for every story has its moral, I
suppose,--John, Ernest's man, told nurse, who, by the way, was so highly
indignant on the occasion, as to assure me afterwards, that if she had
been a man, she'd have just pitched the selfish brute beast out of the
chair, and taken it for Mr. V----, without so much as a 'by your

I could not refrain from interrupting Mrs. ---- to say that I thought I
should have been sorely tempted to some such act myself, under the

"Yes," pursued Mrs. V----, "nurse still recurs to that 'awful cold night
in A----' with an invariable malediction upon the '_bad speret_ as kept
the chair.' But, as I was saying, John told her afterwards that the
ghoul asked him who that sick gentleman was, and said that his wife
appeared to be in so much trouble that he should have offered to help
her along a little, but he _wasn't acquainted with her_!"

"Uncle Hal, isn't an artist _a gentleman_?" inquired Blanche of me one
morning, during a recent visit to our great Commercial Metropolis, as
the newspaper writers call it. "What do you mean, child," said I, "you
cannot mean to ask whether artists _rank as gentlemen_ in society, for
that does not admit of question." I saw there was something troubling
her, the moment she came down, for she did not welcome her old uncle
with her usual sparkling smile, though she snugged close up to me on the
sofa, and kept my hand in both of hers, while we were arranging some
matters about which I had called.

"Is not an _engraver_ an artist?" she inquired, with increased
earnestness of tone. "Does not an engraver who has a large _atelier_,
numbers of _employés_, and does all kinds of beautiful prints, heads,
and landscapes, and elegant figures, take rank in social life with other

"Certainly, my dear; but tell me what you are thinking of; what troubles
you my child?"

"Well, you remember, dear uncle, perhaps, the young orphan boy in whom
papa and all of us used to be so interested the summer you spent with
us, long ago, when we were all children at home. He is now established
in this city, after years of struggle with difficulties that would have
crushed a less noble spirit, and his sisters, for whom he has always
provided, in a great degree, though at the cost of almost incredible
self-denial, as I happen to know, are now nearly prepared for teachers.
We have always retained our interest in them all; and they always make
us a visit when they are at D----. Indeed, papa always says he knows few
young men for whom he entertains so high a regard; and I am sure he is
very good-looking, and though he may not be very fashionable,--you
needn't smile, uncle Hal, I"----

"My dear, I am charmed with your sketch, and shall go, at once, and have
my old visage engraved by your handsome artist-friend; and when I
publish my auto-biography, it shall be accompanied by a 'portrait of the
author,' superbly engraved by a 'celebrated artist.'"

"He _is_ celebrated, uncle, really; you have no idea of the vast number
of orders he has from all parts of the country, nor how beautifully he
gets up everything. But I must tell you," proceeded the sensitive little
thing, with more cheerfulness, for I had succeeded in my design of
cheering her up a little--"Mr. Zousky--Henry, as we always call him, has
been engraving the head of one of our friends at home for a literary
affair--some biographical book, or something of that sort, and he came
up to show me one of the 'first impressions,' as I think he calls them,
and to bring a message from his sister, last evening--wishing me to
'_criticise_,' he told me, as he had nothing but rather an indifferent
daguerreotype to copy from. It was just before tea that he
called--because he is busy all day, I suppose, and perhaps, he thought
he should be sure of finding me, then. Indeed, he said something about
fearing to intrude later, when there might be other visitors--he is the
most sensitive and unobtrusive being! Well, just as we were having a
nice little chat about old times at D----, cousin Charles came home and
came into the parlor. Of course, he knows Henry very well, for he has
seen him often and often at our house, when he used to be there in
vacations with my brothers; and, indeed, once before Henry came here to
live, was one of a party of us, who went to his little studio, to see
his self-taught paintings and sketches. When he entered the room, I
said, 'cousin Charles, our friend Mr. Zousky does not need an
introduction to you, I am sure.' I cannot describe his manner. I did not
so much mind its being cold and indifferent, but it was not that of _an
equal_--of one gentleman to another, and without sitting down, even for
a moment, he walked back to the dining-room, and I heard him ask the
servant whether tea was ready. Henry rose in a moment, and took my hand
to say good-bye--oh, uncle, I cannot tell you how hurt I was! His voice
was as low and gentle as ever, but his face betrayed him! I know he
noticed cousin Charles' manner. I was determined that he should not go
away so; so I didn't get up, but drew him to a seat by me on the sofa,
and said that he must not go yet, unless he had an engagement, for that
I had not half done telling him what I wished, and rattled on, hardly
knowing what I _did_ say, for I was so grieved and mortified. He said he
would come again, as it was my tea-time, but I insisted that my tea was
of no consequence, and that I much preferred talking to a friend--all
the while hoping that either cousin Maria or cousin Charles would come
and invite him to take tea. Presently I heard cousin Maria come down,
and then the glass doors were closed between the rooms, and I knew they
were at tea. Why, uncle Hal, papa would no more have done such a thing
in _his_ house, than he would have robbed some one! What! wound the
feelings of any one for fear of not being '_genteel!_' that's the word,
I suppose--I hear cousin Maria use it very often! We were always taught
by dear mamma, while she lived, to be particularly polite and attentive
to those who might not be as happy or prosperous as ourselves. She used
to say that fashionable and distinguished people were the least likely
to observe those things, but that the sensitive and self-distrustful
were apt to be almost morbidly alive to every indication of neglect.
'Never brush rudely by the human sensitive plant, my dears,' she used to
say, 'lest you should bruise the tender leaves; and never forget that it
most needs the _sunshine of smiles_!' Dear mamma! she used to be so
polite to Henry--not _patronizing_, but so friendly, so
considerate--always she put him at ease when there was other company at
our house (though he never came in when he knew there were other
visitors), and she used to do so many kind things to assist his first
efforts in his art! I only hope he understood that _I_ have no rights
here. I am sure I _feel_ that I have not! But I would rather be treated
a hundred times over again as I was last night, myself, than to have
Henry's feelings wounded; still, I must say that I should not think,
because she happened to be detained past the exact tea-hour, of sending
away the tea-things and keeping cold slops in a pitcher for any guest in
_my_ house, if I had one"----

"Hush, Blanche! I never heard you talk so indiscreetly before!"

"Well, I don't care! Papa _made_ me come here to stay, because he said
they had visited us, and came out to Bel's wedding, and all; but I do so
wish I was at the St. Nicholas with you and the Clarks, uncle, dear!
Cousin Charles ain't like himself since he married his fashionable New
York wife; even when he comes to pa's he isn't, though _there_ he throws
off his cold, ceremonious manner somewhat. But I really feel as if I was
in a straight-jacket here!"

"Why, Blanche, what's the trouble? I am sure everything is very elegant
and fashionable here!"

"Yes, too elegant and fashionable for poor little me! I am not used to
that, and don't care for it. I'd rather have a little more friendliness
and sociability than all the splendor. I am constantly reminded of my
utter insignificance; and you know, uncle, poor Blanche is spoiled, as
you often say, and not used to being reduced to a mere nonentity!"

With this the silly child actually began to cry, and when I tried to
soothe her, only sobbed out, in broken words: "I wouldn't be such a
goose as to mind it, if Henry Zousky had not been treated so so,

Looking over some letters from a sprightly correspondent of mine, the
other day, I laid aside one from which I make the following extract, as
apposite to my subject:

"You asked me to give you some account of the social position, etc., and
an idea of the husband of your former favorite, M---- S----. 'What is
Dr. J---- like?' you inquire:--Like nothing in heaven above, or in the
earth beneath, I answer; and, therefore, he might be worshipped without
a violation of the injunction of the Decalogue! How such a vivacious
creature as M---- S---- came to tie herself for life to such a mule,
passes my powers of solution. Dr. J---- is very accomplished in his
profession, for a young man, I hear, and much respected for his
professional capacity--but socially he is--_nothing!_--the merest cipher
conceivable! A man may be _very quiet_ at home, now-a-days, and yet pass
muster; but there are times when he _must act_, as it seems to me; but
M----'s husband seems to be a _man of one idea_, and that never,
seemingly, suggests the duties of host. But you shall judge for
yourself.--While I was in A----, we were all invited there one evening,
to meet a bride, an old friend of M----'s, stopping in town on her
marriage tour. M---- said it was too early in the season for a large
party, and that we were expected quite _en famille_; but it was, in
reality, quite an occasion, nevertheless, as the bride and her party
were fashionable Bostonians. I happened to be near the hostess, when
_the_ guests of the evening entered. She received them with her usual
_Frenchy_ ease and playfulness of manner, and it seemed that the
gentleman was an old friend of hers, but did not know her husband. He
expressed the hope that Dr. J----'s professional duties would not
deprive them of his society the whole evening, as he much desired the
pleasure of his acquaintance. I saw, by the heightening of her color,
that M----, woman of the world though she be, felt the unintended
sarcasm of this polite language; for Dr. J. was calmly ensconced in the
deep recess of a large _fauteuil_ in the corner of the fire-place,
apparently enjoying the glowing coal-fire that always adds its cheerful
influence to the elegant belongings of M----'s splendid drawing-room.
Throughout the entire evening our effigy of a host kept his post, where
we found him on entering. People went to him, chatted a while, and moved
away; we danced, refreshments were served, wine was quaffed,

    'All went merry as a marriage bell;'

M---- glided about from group to group, with an appropriate word, or
courteous attention for each one, and, in addition to the flowers that
adorned the rooms, presented the bride of her old friend with an
exquisite bouquet, saying, in her pretty way, that she would have been
delighted to receive her in a bower of roses, when she learned from Mr.
---- how much she liked flowers, but that Flora was in a pet with her
since she had given up her old conservatory at her father's. As the
evening waned, I observed her weariness, despite the hospitable smile;
and well she might be! Several times she slipped away to her babe; once,
when I stood near her, she started slightly: 'I thought I heard a
_nursery-cry_,' she whispered to me, 'my little boy is not well
to-night;' and I missed her soon after. When I went away, I, of course,
sought the master of the house to say good-night. He half rose, with a
half smile, in recognition of my adieu, and re-settled himself,
apparently wholly unconscious of any possible occasion for further
effort! But the climax, in true epic style, was reserved for the
_finale_. It was a frightfully stormy night, and when we came down to
the street door to go away, there stood M----, in her thin dress, the
cold wind and sleet-rain rushing in when the door was opened, enough to
carry away her fairy figure, _seeing off her friend and his bride_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"My dear Miss C----," exclaimed a gentleman after listening to the
complaint of a lady who had just been charging the lords of creation
with the habitual discourtesy of retaining their hats when speaking to
ladies, in stores and shops, as well as in public halls and even in the
drawing-room; "My dear Miss C----, don't you know that 'Young America'
_always wears his hat and boots whenever he can_?"

"Does he _sleep in them_?" inquired the lady.

"Well, my dears," I overheard a high-bred and exceedingly handsome man
inquiring of two lovely English girls, on board a steamer the other day,
"how did you succeed in your efforts to dine to-day? I will not again
permit you to be separated from your aunt and me, if we find the table
ever so crowded."

"But we had Charley, you know, sir," returned one of the fair
interlocutors, with a smile worthy of Hebe herself.

"True, but Charley is only a child; and boys as well as women fare ill
at public tables in this 'land of liberty and equality,' unless aided by
some powerful assistant!"

"I thought we had found such a champion to-day," exclaimed the other
lady, "in the person who sat next me at dinner. His hands were so nice
that I should not have objected in the least to his offering me such
dishes as were within his reach, especially as there seemed to be no
servant to attend us, and we really sat half through the first course
without bread or water. Having nothing else to do, for some time, I
quietly amused myself with observing my courteous neighbor. So wholly
absorbed did he seem in his own contemplations, so utterly oblivious of
everything around him, except the contents of his heaped-up plate, that
I soon became convinced that I had the honor to be in close proximity to
a philosopher, at least, and probably to some fixed star in the realms
of science!"

"Oh, Clare! I am so sorry to tell you, but I learned afterwards,
accidentally, that your profound-looking neighbor is--_a dentist_!"

"And, therefore, accustomed only to the _most painful associations with
the mouths of others_!" chimed in the aristocrat, laughing in chorus:
"Well, as our shrewd, sensible friend, the daughter of the Siddons, used
to say, after her return from America, 'if the Americans profess to be
all _equal_, they should be _equally well bred_!'"

With a repetition of this doubly sarcastic apothegm, my dear friends,
for the present,





Since no man can fulfill his destiny as an actively-useful member of
society without _Health_, perhaps a few practical suggestions on this
important subject may not be inconsistent with our present purpose.

The only reliable foundation upon which to base the hope of securing
permanent possession of this greatest of earthly blessings, is the early
acquisition of _Habits of Temperance_.

In a proper sense of the word, Temperance is an all-inclusive term--it
does not mean abstaining from strong drink, only, nor from over-eating,
nor from any one form of self-indulgence or dissipation; but it requires
_moderation in all things_, for its full illustration.

It was this apprehension of the term that was truthfully exhibited in
the long, useful, consistent life of our distinguished countryman, John
Quincy Adams. Habits formed in boyhood, in strict accordance with this
principle, and adhered to in every varying phase of circumstance
throughout his prolonged existence, were the proximate cause of his
successful and admirable career. And what a career! How triumphantly
successful, how worthy of admiration! More than half a century did he
serve his country, at home and abroad, dying at last, with his armor
on,--a watchman, faithful, even unto death, upon the ramparts of the
Citadel, where Justice, Truth, and Freedom have found a last asylum.
Think you that the intellectual and moral purposes of his being could
have been borne out by the most resolute exercise of will, but for the
judicious training of the _physique_? Or could the higher attributes of
his nature have been developed, indeed, in conjunction with a body
'cabined, cribbed and confined' by the enervating influence of youthful
self-indulgence? Born on--

    "Stern New-England's rocky shore,"

no misnamed luxury shrouded his frame from the discipline of that
Teacher, "around whose steps the mountain breezes blow, and from whose
countenance all the virtues gather strength." You are, doubtless, all
familiar with Mr. Adams' habits of early rising, bathing, etc. The
latter, even, he maintained until within two years of his death, bathing
in an open stream each morning, if his locality permitted the enjoyment,
at a very early hour. I have his own authority for the fact that he,
during the different periods of his public sojourn abroad, laved his
vigorous frame in almost every river of Europe! Franklin, too, ascribed
his triumph over the obstacles that obstructed his early path to a
strict adherence to the rules of Temperance. And so, indeed, with most
of the truly great men whose names illumine the pages of our country's
history:--I might multiply examples almost _ad infinitum_, but your own
reading will enable you to endorse the correctness of my assertion.

Since we have, incidentally, alluded to the _Bath_, in connection with
the example of Mr. Adams, let us commence the consideration of personal
habits, with this agreeable and essential accessory of Health.

Though authorities may differ respecting some minor details with regard
to bathing, I believe medical testimony all goes to sanction its
adoption by all persons, in some one of its modifications.
Constitutional peculiarities should always be consulted in the
establishment of individual rules,--hence no general directions can be
made applicable to all persons. The cold bath, though that most
frequently adopted by persons in health, is, no doubt, injurious in some
cases, and careful observation alone can enable each individual to
establish the precise temperature at which his ablutions will be most

But, while the most scrupulous and unvarying regard for cleanliness
should be considered of primary importance, the indiscreet use of the
bath should be avoided with equal care. Bishop Heber, one of the best
and most useful of men, sacrificed himself in the midst of a career of
eminent piety, to an imprudent use of this luxury, arising either from
ignorance or inadvertency. After rising very early to baptize several
native converts recently made in India, the field of his labors, he
returned to his bungalow in a state of exhaustion from excitement and
abstinence, and, without taking any nourishment, threw himself into a
bath, and soon after expired!--No one can safely resort to the bath when
the bodily powers are much weakened, by whatever cause; and though it is
unwise to use it directly after taking a full meal, it should not
immediately precede the chief meal of the day, if that be taken at a
late hour, and after prolonged abstinence and exertion.

The _art of swimming_ early acquired, affords the most agreeable and
beneficial mode of bathing, not to dwell upon its numerous
recommendations in other respects; but when this enjoyment cannot be
secured, nor even the luxury of an immersion bath, luckily for health,
comfort, and propriety, the means of _sponge bathing_ may always be
secured, at least in this country (wherever it has risen above
barbarism), though I must say that frequently during my travels in
England, and even through towns boasting good hotels, I found water and
towels at a high premium, and very difficult of acquisition at that!
Sponging the whole person upon rising, either in cold or tepid water, as
individual experience proves best, with the use of the Turkish towel, or
some similar mode of friction, is one of the best preparations for a day
of useful exertion.

This practice has collateral advantages, inasmuch as it naturally leads
to attention to all the details of the toilet essentially connected with
refinement and health--to proper care of the Hair, Teeth, Nails,
etc.,--in short, to a neat and suitable arrangement of the dress before
leaving one's apartment in the morning. To slippered age belongs the
indulgence of a careless morning toilet; but with the morning of life we
properly associate readiness for action in some pursuit demanding steady
and prolonged exertion, early begun, and with every faculty and
attribute in full exercise.

Fashion sanctions so many varying modes of wearing or not wearing the
_hair_, that no directions can be given in relation to it, except such
as enjoin the avoidance of all fantastic dressing, and the observance of
entire neatness with relation to it. Careful brushing, together with
occasional ablutions, will best preserve this natural ornament; and I
would, also, suggest the use of such _pomades_ only as are most
delicately scented. No gentleman should go about like a walking
perfumer's shop, redolent, not of--

    "Sabean odors from the spicy shores
      Of Araby the Blest,"

but of spirits of turpentine, musk, etc., 'commixed and commingled' in
'confusion worse confounded' to all persons possessed of a nicety of
nervous organization. All perfumes for the handkerchiefs, or worn about
the person, should be, not only of the most unexceptionable kind, but
used in very moderate quantities. Their profuse use will ill supply the
neglect of the bath, or of the proper care of the teeth and general

The _Teeth_ cannot be too carefully attended to by those who value good
looks, as well as health. And nothing tends more towards their
preservation than the habitual use of the brush, before retiring, as
well as in the morning. The use of some simple uninjurious adjunct to
the brush may be well; but pure water and the brush, faithfully applied,
will secure cleanliness--the great preservative of these essential
concomitants of manly beauty. If you use tobacco--(and I fervently hope
none of you who have not the habit will ever allow yourselves to acquire
it!)--but if you are, unfortunately, enslaved by the habit, never omit
to rinse the mouth thoroughly after smoking (I will not admit the
possibility, that any _young man_, in this age of progressive
refinement, is addicted to habitual _chewing_), and never substitute the
use of a strong odor for this proper observance, especially when going
into the society of ladies. Smoke dispellers must yield the palm to the
purifying effects of the unadulterated element, after all.

The utmost nicety in the care of the _Nails_, is an indispensable part
of a gentleman's toilet. They should be kept of a moderate length, as
well as clean and smooth. Avoid all absurd forms, and inconvenient
length, in cutting them, which you will find it easiest to do neatly
while they are softened by washing, and the use of the nail-brush.

Properly fitted boots and shoes, together with frequent bathing, will
best secure _the feet_ from the torturing excrescences by which poor
mortals are so often afflicted. The addition of _salt_ to the foot-bath,
if persevered in, will greatly protect them from the painful effects of
over-walking, etc.

I think that under the head of Dress, in one of my earliest letters, I
expressed my opinion regarding the essentials of refinement and comfort
as connected with this branch of the toilet. I will only say, in this
connection, that a liberal supply of linen, hosiery, etc., should be
regarded as of more importance than outside display, and that the most
enlightened economy suggests the employment of the best materials, the
most skillful manufacturers, and the unrestrained use of these "aids and
appliances" of gentleman-like propriety, comfort, and health.

The best and surest mode of securing ample and certain leisure for
needful attention to the minutiæ of the toilet is _Early Rising_, a
habit that, in addition to the healthful influence it exerts upon the
physique, collaterally, promotes the minor moralities of life in a
wonderful degree, and really is one of the fundamentals of success in
whatever pursuit you may be engaged. Here, again, permit me to refer you
to the examples of the truly great men of history--those of our own land
will suffice--Washington, Franklin, Adams, and, though inconsistent with
his habits in some other respects, Webster. Of the latter, it is well
known, that he did not trim the midnight lamp for purposes of
professional investigation or mental labor of any kind, but rose early
to such tasks, with body and mind invigorated for ready and successful
exertion. I have seen few things from his powerful pen, more pleasingly
written than his _Eulogy upon Morning_, as it may properly be called,
though I don't know that to be the title of an article written by him in
favor of our present theme, in which erudition and pure taste contend
for supremacy with convincing argument.

But to secure the full benefit of _early rising_, my young friends, you
must also, establish the habit of _retiring early_ and regularly. No one
dogma of medical science, perhaps, is more fully borne out by universal
experience than this, that "two hours' sleep before midnight is worth
all obtained afterwards." To seek repose before the system is too far
over-taxed for quiet, refreshing rest, and before the brain has been
aroused from the quiescence natural to the evening hours, into renewed
and unhealthy action, is most consistent with the laws of health. And,
depend upon it, though the elasticity of youthful constitutions may, for
a time, resist the pernicious effects of a violation of these laws, the
hour will assuredly come, sooner or later, to all, when the _lex
talionis_ will be felt in resistless power. Fashion and Nature are sadly
at war on this point, as I am fully aware; but the edicts of the one are
immutable, those of the other are proverbially fickle.

Students, especially, should regard obedience to the wiser of the two
as imperative. The mental powers, as well as the physical, demand
this--the "_mind's eye_" as well as the organs of outward vision, will
be found, by experiment, to possess the clearer and quicker discernment
during those hours when, throughout the domains of Nature, all is
activity, healthfulness and visible beauty. And no peculiarity of
circumstance or inclination will ever make that healthful which is
_unnatural_. Hence the wisdom of _establishing habits_ consistent with
health, while no obstacle exists to their easy acquisition. There is an
experiment on record made by two generals, each at the head of an army
on march, in warm weather, over the same route. The one led on his
troops by day, the other chose the cooler hours for advancing, and
reposed while the sun was abroad. In all other respects, their
arrangements were similar. At the end of ten or twelve days, the result
convincingly proved that exertion even under mid-summer heat is most
healthfully made while the stimulus of solar light sustains the system,
and that sleep is most refreshing and beneficial in all respects when
sought while the hush and obscurity of the outer world assist repose.

But if, as the nursery doggerel wisely declares,

    "Early to bed and early to rise,
    Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,"

there must be united with this rational habit, others each equally
important to the full advantage to be derived from all combined.

Among these, _Exercise_ holds a prominent rank. As with the bath, this
is most effectually employed for health before the system is exhausted
by mental labor.

Among the numerous modes of exercise, none is so completely at command
at all times and under all circumstances, as _walking_. But the full
benefit of this exercise, is not often enjoyed by the inhabitants of
cities, by reason of the impure air that is almost necessarily inhaled
in connection with it. Still, it is not impossible to obviate this
difficulty by a little pains. The _early riser_ and the _rapid
pedestrian_ may in general, easily secure time to seek daily one of the
few and limited breathing-places that, though in this regard we are
vastly inferior to Europeans in taste and good sense, even our American
cities supply, either, like what they indeed are, _lungs_, in the very
centre of activity, or at no unapproachable distance from it. Do not
forget that vegetation, while it sends forth noxious influences _at
night_, exales oxygen and other needful food for vitality, _in the
morning_, especially; nor that an erect carriage, which alone gives
unobstructed play to the organs of respiration and digestion, is
requisite, together with considerable activity of movement, to secure
the legitimate results of walking.

Students, and others whose occupations are of a sedentary character,
sometimes adopt the practice of taking a long walk periodically. This
is, no doubt, promotive of health, provided it is not at first carried
to an extreme. All such habits should be gradually formed, and their
formation commenced and pursued with due respect for physiological
rules. Mr. Combe, the distinguished phrenologist--in his "Constitution
of Man," I think, relates an instance of a young person, in infirm
health and unaccustomed to such exertion, who undertook a walk of twenty
miles, to be accomplished without interruption. The first seven or eight
miles were achieved with ease and pleasure to the pedestrian, but
thenceforth discomfort and final exhaustion should have been a
sufficient warning to the tyro to desist from his self-appointed task. A
severe illness was the consequence and punishment of his ignorant
violation of physiological laws.

By the way, I cannot too strongly recommend to your careful perusal the
various works of Dr. Andrew Combe, long the physician of the amiable
King of Belgium, in relation to that and kindred subjects. His
"Physiology as applied to Mental Health," is replete with practical
suggestions and advice of the most instructive and important nature, as
are also his "Dietetics," etc.

Himself an incurable invalid, he maintained the vital forces through
many years of eminent usefulness to others, only by dint of the most
strenuous adherence to the strictest requirements of the Science of the
Physique. The writings of his brother, Mr. George Combe, and especially
the work I have just mentioned, the "Constitution of Man," also abound
in lessons of practical usefulness, which may be adopted irrespective of
his peculiar phrenological views. In the multitude of newer
publications these admirable books are already half-forgotten, but my
limited reading has afforded me no knowledge of anything superior to
them, as text-books for the young.

_Riding_ and _driving_ need no recommendation to insure their
popularity, as means of exercise. Both have many pleasure and
health-giving attractions.

Every young man should endeavor to acquire a thorough knowledge of both
riding and driving, not from a desire to emulate the ignoble
achievements of a horse-jockey, but as proper _accomplishments_ for a

The possession of a fine horse is a prolific source of high and innocent
enjoyment, and may often be secured by those whose purses are not taxed
for _cigars and wine_! Nothing can be more exhilarating than the
successful management of this spirited and generous animal, whether
under the saddle or in harness! Even plethoric, ponderous old Dr.
Johnson, admitted that "few things are so exciting as to be drawn
rapidly along in a post-chaise, over a smooth road, by a fine horse!"

Let me repeat, however, that young men should be content to promote
health and enjoyment by the moderate, gentleman-like gratification of
the pride of skill, in this respect. Like many other amusements, though
entirely innocent and unexceptionable when reasonably indulged in, its
abuse leads inevitably to the most debasing consequences.--Our dusty
high-roads very ill supply the place of the extensive public Parks and
gardens that furnish such agreeable places of resort for both riding and
driving, as well as for pedestrians, in most of the large cities of
Europe, but one may, at least, secure better air and more freedom of
space by resorting to them than to the streets, for every form of
exercise. And as it is a well established fact that agreeable and novel
associations for both the eye and the mind are essential concomitants of
beneficial exercise, we have every practical consideration united to
good taste in favor of eschewing the streets whenever fate permits.

    "Oh! how canst thou renounce the boundless store
    Of charms which Nature to her votaries yields,--
    The warbling woodland, the resounding shore,
    The pomp of groves and garniture of fields;
    All that the genial ray of morning gilds,
    And all that echoes to the song of even,
    All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields,
    And all the dread magnificence of Heaven;--
    O! how canst thou renounce and hope to be forgiven!"


_Eating_ and _drinking_ are too closely connected with our general
subject of health, to be forgotten here.

That regard for Temperance which I have endeavored to commend to you, of
course yields a prominent place to habits in these respects.

In relation to _eating_, I strongly recommend the cultivation of _simple
tastes_, and the careful avoidance of every indulgence tending towards

Some knowledge of _Dietetics_ is essential to the adoption
of right opinions and practice on this point. For instance, no man
should wait for dire experience to enforce the truths that roast and
broiled meats possess the most nutritious qualities; that all _fried_
dishes are, necessarily, more or less unwholesome; that animal oils and
fatty substances require stronger digestive force for their assimilation
than persons of sedentary life usually possess; that warm bread, as a
rule, is unsuited to the human stomach, etc., etc. No one should
consider these matters unworthy of serious attention, though temporarily
free from inconvenience arising from neglecting them. Eventually, every
human constitution will exhibit painful proofs of all outrages committed
upon the laws by which its operations are governed; and the greater the
license permitted in youth, the severer will be the penalty exacted in
after years.

    ----"Mind and Body are so close combined,
      Where Health of Body, Health of Mind you find."

Preserve, then, as you value the means of usefulness, the perfect play
of your mental powers--so easily trammelled by the clogging of the
machinery of the body--the unadulterated taste that is content with a
sufficiency of wholesome, well-cooked food to satisfy the demands of
healthful appetite. Cultivate no love of condiments, sauces and
stimulants; indulge no ambition to excel in dressing salads, classifying
_ragouts_, or in demonstrating, down to the nicety of a single
ingredient, the distinction between a home-made and an imported _pâté de
foie gras_! Distinctions such as these may suffice for the worn-out
society of a corrupt civilization, but our countrymen--MEN--should shout

Abstract rules in relations to the hours proper for taking meals,
however carefully adapted to the security of health, in themselves
considered, must, of necessity, give place to those artificially imposed
by custom and convenience. Thus, though the practice of _dining late_ is
not sanctioned by Hygeia, it admits of question, whether, as the usages
of the business-world at present exists, it is not a wiser custom than
any other permitted by circumstance.

All who have given any attention to the subject know, that neither
bodily nor mental labor can be either comfortably or successfully
pursued directly after a full meal. Hence, then, those whose occupations
require their attention during several successive hours, may find the
habit of dining after the more imperative labors of the day are
accomplished, most conducive to health as well as convenience.

Still, it should not be forgotten, that long abstinence is likely to
produce the exhaustion that tells so surely and seriously upon the
constitution, of young persons especially. This may be prevented by
taking, systematically, a little light, simple nutriment, sufficient to
produce what is aptly termed the _stimulus of distention_ in that much
abused organ--the stomach. This practice regularly adhered to, will also
promote a collateral advantage, by acting as a security against the too
keen sharpening of appetite that tends to repletion in eating, and which
sometimes produces results similar to those exhibited by a
boa-constrictor after dining upon a whole buffalo, swallowed without the
previous ceremony of carving! One should never dine so heartily as to be
unfitted for the subsequent enjoyment of society, or of the lighter
pursuits of literature. _Deliberate and thorough mastication_ will more
beneficially, and quite as pleasurably, prolong the enjoyments of the
table, as a more hurried disposal of a large quantity of food. And
really I do not know how the most rigid economist of time, or the most
self-sacrificing devotee either of Mammon or of Literature, can more
judiciously devote an hour of each day than to the single purpose of

Happily for those whose self-respect does not always furnish the
sustaining power requisite for the maintenance of a principle, fashion
no longer requires of any man the use of even _wine_, much less of
stronger beverages. And with reference to the use of all alcoholic
stimulants, as well as of tobacco, I would remind you that _those only
who are not enslaved by appetite, are_ FREE! If you have acquired a
liking for wine or tobacco, and would abjure either, or both, you will
soon be convinced, by experiment, of the truth of Dr. Johnson's saying,
of which, by the way, his own life furnished a striking illustration,
that "_abstinence is easier than temperance_."

To prolong arguments against the habits of smoking and drinking, were a
work of supererogation, here. I will advance but one, which may,
possibly, possess the merit of novelty. Both have the effect, materially
to limit our enjoyment of the presence and conversation of

    "Heaven's last, best gift to man!"

I cannot better dismiss this important topic than by quoting the
following passage from the writings of Sir Walter Raleigh:

"Except thou desire to hasten thy end, take this for a general
rule--that thou never add any artificial heat to thy body by wine or
spice, until thou find that time hath decayed thy natural heat; the
sooner thou dost begin to help nature the sooner she will forsake thee,
and leave thee to trust altogether to art."

In my youth, advice to young men was constantly commingled--whatever its
general tenor--with admonitions regarding the necessity for industry and
perseverance in those who would achieve worldly success. In these
utilitarian times, when all seem borne along upon a resistless current,
hurrying to the attainment of some practical end, engrossed by schemes
of political ambition, or devoted to the acquisition of wealth, a quiet
looker-on--as I am wont to regard myself--is tempted to counsel
"moderation in all things," contentment with the legitimate results of
honorable effort, the cultivation of habits of daily relaxation from the
severity of toil, of daily rest from the mental tension that is demanded
for successful competition in the arena of life.

The impression that _sleep_ is a sufficient restorative from the wearing
effects of otherwise ceaseless labor, or that _change of occupation_
furnishes all the relief that nature requires in this respect, is,
undoubtedly, erroneous. "The man," says an eminent student of humanity,
"who does not now allow himself two hours for relaxation after dinner,
will be _compelled_ to devote more time than that daily to the care of
his health, eventually."

To allow one's self to be so engrossed by any pursuit, however laudable
in itself, as to reserve no leisure for the claims of Society, of
Friendship, of Taste, is so irrational as to need nothing but reflection
to render it apparent. In a merely utilitarian view, it is unwise,
since, as Æsop has demonstrated, the bow that is never unbent soon
ceases to be fit for use; but there is, surely, a higher consideration,
addressed to the reason of man. Pope embodies it, in part, in the lines

    ----"God is paid when man receives,
          _To enjoy is to obey_!"

To have an aim, a purpose in life, sufficiently engrossing to act as an
incentive to the exercise of all the powers of being, is essential to
health and happiness. But to pursue any one object to the exclusion of
all considerations for self-culture and intellectual enjoyment, is
destructive of everything worthy that name.

They who devote all the exertions of youth and manhood to the acquisition
of political distinction, or of gold, for instance--cherishing, meanwhile,
a sort of Arcadian dream of ultimately enjoying the pleasures of
intellectual communion, or the charms of the natural world, when the
heat and burden of the conflict of life shall be done--exhibit a most
deplorable ignorance of the truth that they will possess in age only
the crippled capacities that disuse has almost wholly robbed of vitality,
together with such as are prematurely worn out by being habitually

On the contrary, those who believe that

    "It is not all of life to live,"

and early establish a true standard of excellence, and acquaint
themselves with the immutable laws of our being, will so commingle
self-ennobling pursuits and enjoyments with industrious and
well-directed attention to the needful demands of practical life, as to
secure as much of _ever-present happiness_ as falls to the lot of
humanity, together with the enviable retrospection of an exalted
ambition, rightly fulfilled. They may also hope for the invaluable
possession of intellectual and moral developments to be matured in that
state of existence of which this is but the embryo. These are truisms, I
admit, my young friends, yet the spirit of the age impels their
iteration and re-iteration!

Burke's musical periods lamented the departure of the "age of chivalry."
Would that one gifted as he may revive the waning existence of the
social and domestic virtues, and inspire my young countrymen with an
ambition too lofty in its aspirations to permit the sacrifice of mental
and moral powers, of natural affections, and immortal aspirations, upon
the altars of Mammon!--shrines now yearly receiving from our country a
holocaust of sacrifices, to which battle-fields are as naught in

But to return from this unpremeditated digression. Natural tastes and
individual circumstances must, to a considerable extent, determine the
relaxations and amusements most conducive to enjoyment and health.

You will scarcely need to be told that persons of sedentary habits, and
especially those devoted to literary occupations, should make _exercise
in the open air_ a daily recreation, and that it will best subserve the
purposes of pleasure and health when united with the advantages arising
from _cheerful companionship_.

Hence the superiority of walking, riding, driving, boating, and sporting
in its various forms, to all in-door exercises and amusements--and
especially to those tending rather to tax the brain than exercise the
body--for those whose mental powers are most taxed by their avocations.

On the other hand, there are those to whom the lighter investigations of
literature and science afford the most appropriate relief from the toils
of business.

Permit me, however, to enter my protest against the belief that a change
from the labors and duties of city life to the close sleeping-rooms, the
artificiality and excitement of a fashionable watering-place affords a
proper and healthful relief to a weary body and an overwrought brain.
Life at a watering-place is no more an equivalent for the pure air, the
simple habits, the wholesome food, the _repose of mind and heart_,
afforded by unadulterated country life, than immersion in a bathing-tub
is a satisfactory substitute for swimming in a living stream, or a
contemplation of the most exquisite picture of rural scenes, for a
glorious canter amid green fields and over breezy hills! Nor will
dancing half the night in heated rooms, late suppers, bowling-alleys and
billiards, not to speak of still more objectionable indulgences, restore
these devotees to study or business to their city-homes re-invigorated
for renewed action, as will the least laborious employments of the
farmer, the "sportive toil" of the naturalist, the varied enjoyments of
the traveller amid the wonders of our vast primeval forests, or of the
voyager who explores the attractions of our unrivalled chain of inland
lakes. People who do their thinking by proxy, and regulate their
enjoyments by the _on dit_ of the fashionable world, yearly spend money
enough at some crowded resort of the _beau monde_ (heaven save the
mark!) to enable them to make the tour of Europe, or buy a pretty villa
and grounds in the country, or do some deed "twice blessed," in that "it
blesseth him that gives and him that takes." In Scotland, in England, in
the North of Europe generally, men and women whose social position
necessarily involves refinement of habits and education, go, in little
congenial parties, into the mountains and among the lakes, visit spots
renowned in song and story, collect specimens of the wonders of nature,
"camp out," as they say at the West, eat simply, dress rationally--in
short, _really rusticate_, in happy independence alike of the thraldom
of fashion and the supremacy of convention. Thus in the Old World, among
the learned, the accomplished, the high-born. Here in Young America--let
the sallow cheek, the attenuated limbs, the dull eye and _blasé_ air of
the youthful scions of many a noble old Revolutionary stock, attest only
too truly, a treasonous slavery to the most arbitrary and remorseless of
tyrants! Would that they may serve, at least, as beacons to warn you,
seasonably, against adding yourselves to the denizens of haunts where

    "Unwieldly wealth, and cumbrous pomp repose;
    And every want to luxury allied,
    And every pang that _folly pays to pride_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

I would that all my young countrymen might have looked upon the last
hours of my revered friend, John Quincy Adams, and thus learned the
impressive lessons taught by that solemn scene; lessons that--to use his
own appropriate language--

       ----"bid us seize the moments as they pass,
    Snatch the retrieveless sun-beam as it flies,
        Nor lose one sand of life's revolving glass--
          Aspiring still, with energy sublime,
          By virtuous deeds to give _Eternity to Time_!"[5]

  [5] Concluding lines of Mr. Adams' "Address to the _Sun-Dial_ under the
  window of the Hall of the House of Representatives."

It was, indeed, a fitting close of his long, noble life! Faithful to his
duty to his country, he maintained his post to the last, and fell, like
a true defender of liberty--renouncing his weapons only with his life.
Borne from the arena of senatorial strife to a couch hastily prepared
beneath the same roof that had so often echoed his words of dauntless
eloquence, attended by mourning friends, and receiving the tender
ministrations of the companion alike of his earlier and later manhood,
the flickering lamp of life slowly expired. After, apparently, reviewing
the lengthened retrospection of a temperate, rational, useful life, from
the boyish years

    "Whose distant footsteps echoed through the corridors of Time,"

to the dying efforts of genius and patriotism, the hushed stillness of
that hallowed chamber at length rendered audible the sublime words--"IT

I think it was during the administration of Sir Charles Bagot, the
immediate successor of Lord Durham, as Governor General of the Canadas,
that I had the pleasure to dine one day, at the house of a distinguished
civilian who held office under him, in company with the celebrated
traveller L----, and his friend, the well-known E---- G---- W----, a man
who, despite wealth, rank, and talent, paid a life-long penalty for a
youthful error. There were, also, present several members of the
Provincial Parliament, then in session at Kingston, which was, at that
time, the seat of government, and a number of ladies--those of the party
of Americans with whom I was travelling, and some others.

The conversation, very naturally, turned upon the national peculiarities
of the _Yankees_--as the English call, not the inhabitants of New
England alone, but the people of the North American States generally--in
consequence of the fact that the world-wide traveller had just completed
his first visit to our country. Some one asked him a leading question
respecting his impressions of us as a people, and more than one
good-humored sally was given and parried among us. At length L---- said,
so audibly and gravely as to arrest the attention of the whole company:

"I have really but two serious faults to charge upon Jonathan."

"May we be permitted to inquire what those are?" returned I.

"That he _repudiates his debts_, and _doesn't take time to eat his

When the general laugh had subsided, Mr. W---- remarked that, except when
at the best hotels in the larger cities, he had found less inducement
for dining deliberately in the United States than in most civilized
lands he had visited, in consequence of the prevalent bad cookery.

"The words of Goldsmith," said he,--

    "'Heaven sends us good meat, but the devil sends cooks!'

were always present to my mind when at table there! They eschew honest
cold roast beef, as though there were poison in meat but once cooked,
served a second time, though Hamlet is authority for _our_ taste in that
respect.--The cold venison you did me the honor to compliment so highly,
at lunch, this morning, L----, would have been offered you _fried_ by
our good Yankee cousins!"

"The patron saint of _la cuisine_ forefend!" cried a smooth-browed
Englishman--"not re-cooked, I hope?"

"Assuredly!" returned W----, "I trust these ladies and Colonel Lunettes
will pardon me,--but such infamous stupidity is quite common. I soon
learned, however, the secret of preserving my "capacious stomach" in
unimpaired capacity for action, [an irresistibly comic glance downward
upon his portly person] and could, I thought, very readily explain--

                'What is't that takes from _them_
    Their stomach, pleasures, and their golden sleep,
    Why they do bend their eyes upon the earth,

           *       *       *       *       *

    In thick ey'd musing and curs'd melancholy!'"

If the frank denunciations of this eccentric observer of life and
manners might otherwise have been regarded as impolite, his more severe
comments upon his own countrymen proved, at least, that no national
partiality swayed his judgment.

I remember his telling me the following anecdote, as we chatted over our
coffee, after joining the ladies in the evening:--In answer to some
inquiry on my part, respecting the social condition of _the people_--the
peasantry, as he called them, of the Provinces, he spoke in unmitigated
condemnation of their ignorance, and especially of their insolence and
boorishness. "Get L---- to tell you," said he, "how nearly he and his
servants were frozen to death one fierce night, while an infernal
gate-keeper opposed his road-right. Then, again, the other morning, Mrs.
M---- (our hostess) who like every other lady here, except, perhaps,
Lady Bagot, goes to market every day, was referred by a man, from whom
she inquired for potatoes, to an old crone, with the words--'This _lady_
sell them,--here is _a woman_ who wants to buy potatoes!'"

The following morning, while our American party were driving out to the
superb Fort that protects the Harbor of Kingston, to visit which we had
been politely furnished with a permit by an official friend, I
endeavored to draw from a very charming and accomplished lady the secret
of her unusual silence and reserve at dinner the evening before. She is
really a celebrity, as much for her remarkable conversational powers, as
for any other reason, perhaps, and I had, therefore, the more regretted
her not joining in the conversation.

"What made the mystery more difficult of solution," said one of the
other ladies, "was the equally imperturbable gravity of that handsome
Frenchman who sat beside Virginia."

"Handsome!" retorted Virginia, "do you call that man handsome!--his high
cheek bones and swarthy complexion show his Indian blood rather too
plainly for my taste, I must confess."

"That commingling of races is very common here, Virginia," said I, "Mr.
E---- is a somewhat prominent member of the Canadian Parliament. I heard
a speech from him, in French, yesterday morning, which was listened to
with marked attention. There were a number of ladies in the
_side-boxes_, too, and it is evident from his attention to his dress, if
for no other reason, that Mr. E---- is an _élégant_!"

"All that may be," rejoined Virginia, "but I have no fancy for light
blue 'unwhisperables,' as Tom calls them, nor for ruffled shirts!"

"A change has come o'er the spirit of your dream, most queenly daughter
of the 'sunny South!'--is this the sprightly _Américaine_ who won all
hearts the other day on the St. Lawrence,--from that magnificent British
officer, to the quiet old priest whose very beard seemed to laugh, at

"That, indeed, Col. Lunettes!--but for your ever-ready gallantry I would

    'Man delights me not, nor woman either!'

but here we are at the entrance of the famous donjon keep!"

We spent some time in examining the--to the ladies--novel attractions of
the place. By-and-by, the fair Virginia, who had strayed off a little by
herself, called to me to come and explain the mode of using a port-hole
to her. In a few minutes, she said, in a low tone, sitting down, as she
spoke upon a dismounted cannon, "Col. Lunettes, I beg you not to allude
again to that--to the dinner, yesterday, or, at least, to my

"Your embarrassment, my dear girl!" I exclaimed, "you astonish me! Do
explain yourself"----

"Hush," returned my companion, looking furtively over her shoulder,
"that young Englishman seems to be engrossing the attention of the rest
of the party, and, perhaps, I shall have time to tell you"----

"Do, my dear, if anything has annoyed you--surely so old a friend may
claim your confidence."

"I have heard of the 'son of a gun,'" replied she, evidently making a
strong effort to recall the natural sprightliness that seemed so
singularly to have deserted her of late; "I don't see why I am not the
_daughter of a gun_, at this moment, and so entitled to be very brave!
But about this Mr. E----, Colonel," she almost whispered, bending her
head so as to screen her face from my observation. "You know Mrs. M----
called for me the other morning to go and walk with her alone, because,
as she said, she wanted to talk a little about old times, when we were
in the convent school at C---- together. Well, as we came to a little
"shop," as she styled it--a hardware store, _we_ should say--she begged
me to go in with her a moment, while she gave some directions about a
hall-stove, saying, with an apology: "We wives of government officers
here, do all these things, as a matter of course." While she walked back
in the place, I very naturally remained near the door, amusing myself by
observing what was passing in the street. Presently, a fine horse
arrested my eye, as he came prancing along. His rider seemed to have
some ado to control him, as I thought, at first, but I suddenly became
aware that he was endeavoring to stop him, in mid career, and that, when
he succeeded--he--I--there was no mistaking it--his glance almost
petrified me, in short, and I had only just power to turn quickly in
search of Mrs. M----."

The slight form of the speaker quivered visibly, and she paused

"Why, my poor child," said I, soothingly, "never mind it! How can you
allow such a thing to distress you in this way?"

"If anything of the kind had ever happened to me before, I should have
thought it my fault, in some way; but when I got back to our hotel, and
reviewed the whole matter, and--but there come the rest of the
party"--she added, hurriedly. "Do you wonder now at my manner at the
dinner? I knew his face the moment the man entered the dining room; and
when Mr. M---- introduced him, and requested him to conduct me, the
burning glow that flashed over his swarthy brow convinced me that he,
too, recognized me. I would sooner have encountered a basilisk than your
elegant, parliamentary Frenchman!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"Doctor, what may I eat?" inquired a dyspeptic American, who had just
received a prescription from Abernethy--the eccentric and celebrated
English physician.

"_Eat?_" thundered the disciple of Galen, "the poker and tongs, if you
will _chew them well_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

What a commingling of nations and characters there was in the little
party of which I made one, on a serene evening, lang-syne, at
Constantinople! We floated gently over the placid bosom of the
sunset-tinted Golden Horn, rowed by four stout Mussulmans, and bound for
that point of the shore of the Marmora nearest the suburb of Ezoub
where horses awaited us for a brisk canter of some miles back to the
city. There were, Lord ----, an English nobleman; a Hungarian refugee; a
Yankee sea-captain; a dark-eyed youth from one of the Greek Islands; and
myself--men severed by birth and education from communion of thought and
feeling, yet united, for the moment, by a similarity of purpose;
associated by the subtle influence of circumstance, into a serene
commingling of one common nature, and capacitated for the interchange of
impressions and ideas, at least in an imperfect degree, through the
medium of a strange jargon, compounded originally of materials as varied
as the native languages of the several individuals composing the group
in our old Turkish _Caique_, which may have been, for aught we knew, the
identical one that followed Byron in his Leander-swim!

The conversation naturally partook in character of the scene before
us:--Near, towered the time-stained walls of the Seraglio--so long the
cradling-place of successive Sultans, and then furnishing the embryo of
the voluptuous pleasures of their anticipated paradise. Beyond, rose the
ruin-crowned heights, the domes and minarets of old Stamboul, rich in
historic suggestions, glowing now in the warmly-lingering smile of the
departing day-god,

    "Not, as in Northern climes, obscurely bright,
    But one unclouded blaze of living light!"

Before us, in our way over the crystal waters, loomed up the gloomy,
verdure-draped turrets of the "Irde Koule" of this oft-rebelling and
oft-conquered seat of Oriental splendor and imperial power. As with the
"Tower" of London, the mere sight of this now silent and deserted
castle, conjured up recollections replete with deeds of wild romance,
and darker scenes of blood and crime. Around us flowed the waters whose
limpid depths had so oft received the sack-shrouded form of helpless
beauty, when midnight blackness rivalled the horror of the foul murder
it veiled forever from mortal ken. Argosies and fleets had been borne
upon these waves, whose names or whose conflicts were of world-wide
renown--from the mythical adventurers of the Golden-Fleece to the
triumphant squadrons of the Osmanlis, all seemed to float before the eye
of fancy!

From the broken sentences that, for some time, seemed most expressive of
the contemplative mood engendered both by our surroundings and by the
placidity of the hour, there gradually arose a somewhat connected
discussion of the present condition of the Ottoman Porte.

It is not my purpose to inflict upon you a detailed report of our
discourse; but only to relate, for your amusement, a fragment of it,
which somehow has, strangely enough, floated upwards from the darkened
waters of the past, with sufficient distinctness to be snatched from the
oblivion to which its utter insignificance might properly consign it.

"There is not," said the British noble--a man curious in literature, and
a somewhat speculative observer of life--"there is not a single purely
literary production in the Turkish language, written by a living author;
not a poem, nor romance, nor essay. The Koran would almost seem to
constitute their all of earthly lore and heavenly aspiration. What an
anomaly in the biography of modern peoples!"

This last sentence was addressed especially to the sea-captain and me,
the _idiomatical_ English in which the passing fancy of the speaker
found expression being wholly unintelligible to all except ourselves.

"Their total want of a national literature," said the American, "does
not so materially affect my comfort, I must confess, as the utter
absence of decent civilization in their renowned capital. For instance,
they have not an apology for a night-police in their confoundedly dark
streets, except the infernal dogs that infest them. The other night,
returning to my quarters, with my 'Ibrahim' pilot in front with a
lantern, I was persuaded, as one of these 'faithful guardians' fastened
his glistening ivories in my boot-top, that, like one of your 'lone
stars' at New York, Colonel Lunettes, he had 'mistaken his man,' and
supposed me to be the returned spirit of some one of the countless
throng of infidel dogs, upon whom his public education had instructed
him to make war to--_the teeth_!"

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the Greek, in tones as musical as his dress and
attitude were picturesque, from the pile of boat cloaks upon which he
reposed in the bow of the boat, and opening his dark eyes till one saw
far down into the dreamy depths of his half-slumbering soul through his
quick-lit orbs. He had caught enough of the _sense_ of the captain's
nonsense, to imagine the joke to the full. "Ha, ha, ha!" laughed he,
again, and the shadowy walls of the blood-stained "Chateau of Seven
Towers," by which we were gliding, gave back the clear, clarion-like
tone; "but, while this brave _fils de la mer_[6] thus sports with the
terrors of my country's enslaver [here a frown, deep, dark, threatening,
and a quick clenching of the jewelled handle of the yataghan he wore in
his belt], the gates of fair Stamboul will close, and nor foe, nor
Frank, nor friend, be given to the dogs."

  [6] Son of the sea.

"By thunder!" shouted the American, shaking himself up, as if at sea,
with a suspicious sail in sight, "he is more than half right. Would you
have thought it so late?"

"Even a Yankee, like Captain ----, a fair representative of the
'universal nation,' learns to dream and linger here," responded the
Englishman, good-humoredly.

Upon this, I made use of the little knowledge I possessed of the
Turkish, to interrogate our _Caidjis_ respecting the time further
required to reach our landing-place.

"Allah is great, and Mohammed is his Prophet!" was all I could fully
apprehend of his slowly-delivered reply.

It was now the captain's turn to laugh, and as his sonorous peal
rippled over the Marmora, he quietly insinuated his fore-finger and
thumb into the disengaged palm of the devout Mussulman I had so
touchingly adjured.

The only response of the devotee of the Prophet was a gutteral
repetition of "Pekee! good! pekee! pekee!" But by an influence as
effective as it was mysterious, our swan-like movement was exchanged for
a most hope-encouraging velocity.

"Bravo!" exclaimed my lord.

"Bravissima!" intonated the Hun.

"Go it, boys!" shouted the "old salt."

"By the soul of Mithridates and the deeds of Thermopolæ!" chimed in the
scion of the "isles of Greece," catching the instinctively-intelligible
contagion of the sportive moment.

"And what said Uncle Hal?" you wonder, perhaps. Oh, I was listening to
the low, melancholy, semi-howl in which the imperturbable Moslems were
slowly chanting "_Güzal! pek güzal!_"[7] as they turned their dull eyes
lingeringly towards their fast-receding mosques and minarets.

  [7] My beautiful! my most beautiful!

But, meeting the questioning glances of my companions, as their mirth
began to subside, I contributed my humble quota to the general stock of
fun by saying, with extreme gravity of voice and manner:

"When will wonders cease in the Golden Horn! At first, even its
unquestionable antiquity did not redeem this vessel from my
contempt--now I consider it an '_irresistible duck_!'--and I wish,
moreover, to publish my conviction that, though barbarous in matters of
literature and art, the Turks impressively teach their boastful
superiors a _religious respect for cleanliness_."

       *       *       *       *       *

I remember to have been singularly impressed, when I read it, with an
anecdote somewhat as follows:

As too frequently happens on such occasions, a discussion in relation to
some insignificant matter, into which a large party of men, who had
dined together, and were lingering late over their wine, had fallen,
gradually increased in vehemence and obstinacy of opinion, until
frenzied excitement ruled the hour.

    "From words they almost came to blows,
    When luckily"

the attention of one of the most furious of the disputants was suddenly
arrested by the appearance of one of the gentlemen present. There was no
angry flush on his brow, no "laughing devil" in his eye, and he sat
quietly regarding the scene before him, serene and self-possessed as
when he entered the apartment hours before. His astonished companion
inquired the cause of such placidity, in the midst of anger and

The gentleman pointed, with a smile, to a half-empty water-bottle beside
him, and replied: "While the rest of the company have been industriously
occupied in endeavoring to drown the distinctive attribute of
man--reason--I have preserved its supremacy by simply confining myself
to a non-intoxicating beverage."

       *       *       *       *       *

I trust you will not think the following somewhat quaint verses, from
the pen of an old and now almost forgotten poet, a _mal-à-propos_
conclusion to this letter:


    A Grecian youth, of talents rare,
    Whom Plato's philosophic care
    Had formed for Virtue's nobler view,
    By precept and example too,
    Would often boast his matchless skill
    To curb the steed, and guide the wheel;
    And as he passed the gazing throng
    With graceful ease, and smack'd the thong,
    The idiot wonder they expressed,
    Was praise and transport to his breast.

    At length, quite vain, he needs would show
    His master what his art could do;
    And bade his slaves the chariot lead
    To Academus' sacred shade.
    The trembling grove confessed its fright,
    The wood-nymphs started at the sight;
    The Muses drop the learned lyre,
    And to their inmost shades retire.
    Howe'er, the youth, with forward air,
    Bows to the Sage, and mounts the car;
    The lash resounds, the coursers spring,
    The chariot marks the rolling ring;
    And gathering crowds, with eager eyes,
    And shouts, pursue him as he flies.

    Triumphant to the goal returned,
    With nobler thirst his bosom burned;
    And now along the indented plain
    The self-same track he marks again;
    Pursues with care the nice design,
    Nor ever deviates from the line.
    Amazement seized the circling crowd;
    The youths with emulation glowed;
    E'en bearded sages hailed the boy,
    And all but Plato gazed with joy.

    For he, deep-judging sage, beheld
    With pain the triumph of the field:
    And when the charioteer drew nigh,
    And, flushed with hope, had caught his eye,
    "Alas! unhappy youth," he cried,
    "Expect no praise from me," (and sighed);
    "With indignation I survey
    _Such skill and judgment thrown away:
    The time profusely squandered there
    On vulgar arts, beneath thy care,
    If well employed, at less expense,
    Had taught thee Honor, Virtue, Sense;
    And raised thee from a coachman's fate,
    To govern men, and guide the state_."

One seldom finds a nicer selection of words than those of the last lines
of these admonitory stanzas. With the wish that they may gratify your
literary acumen, I am, as ever,

  Your faithful friend,




There is, perhaps, no form of composition with which it is as desirable
to be practically familiar, and in which all educated persons should be
accomplished, as that of _letter-writing_; yet no branch of an elegant
education is more frequently neglected. Consequently, the grossest
errors, and the utmost carelessness, are tolerated in regard to it.
Rhetorical faults, and even ungrammatical expressions, are constantly
overlooked, and illegibility has almost come to be regarded as an
essential characteristic.

Following the homely rule of the lightning-tamer, that "_nothing is
worth doing at all that is not worth doing well_," you will not need
argument to convince you of the propriety of attention to this subject,
while forming habits of life.

Different occasions and subjects require, of course, as various styles
of epistolary composition. Thus the laconic language adapted to a formal
business letter, would be wholly unsuited to one of friendship; and the
playfulness that might be appropriate in a congratulatory
communication, would be quite out of place in a letter of condolence.

While it is impossible that any general rules can be laid down that will
be always applicable in individual cases, a few directions of universal
application may, not inappropriately, be introduced in connection with
our present purpose.

The principal requisites of _Letters of Business_ are,
_intelligibility_, _legibility_, and _brevity_. To secure the first of
these essentials, a clear, concise, expressive selection of language is
required. Each word and sentence should express _exactly_ and
_unequivocally_ the idea intended to be conveyed, and in _characters_
that will not obscure the sense by doubtful _legibility_. A legible hand
should certainly be as essential as intelligible utterance. We pity the
man who by stammering, or stuttering, not only taxes the time and
patience of his hearers, but leaves them, at times, uncertain of his
meaning, despite their efforts to comprehend him. What, then, is the
misfortune of those who, like the most genial of wits, 'decline to read
their own writing, after it is twenty-four hours old!' Do not, I pray
you, let any absurd impression respecting the excusableness of this
defect, on the score that _genius is superior to the trifles of detail_,
etc., lead you either into carelessness or indifference on the subject.
Few men have the excuse of possessing the dangerous gift of genius, and
to affect the weaknesses by which it is sometimes accompanied, is
equally silly and contemptible. A man of sense will aim at attaining a
true standard of right, not at caricaturing a defective model. Depend
upon it, a _good business-hand_ is no small recommendation to young men
seeking employment in any of the occupations of life. The propriety of
_brevity_ in letters of business, will at once commend itself to your
attention. Time--the wealth of the busy--is thus saved for two parties.
But remember, I repeat, that, while this precious treasure is best
secured by expressing what you wish to communicate in as few words as
possible, nothing is gained by leaving your precise meaning doubtful, by
unauthorized abbreviations, confused sentences, or the omission of any
essential--as a date, address, proper signature, important question, or
item of information. Let me add, that _rapidity of mechanical execution_
is of no mean importance in this regard.

_Letters of Introduction_ should be so expressed as to afford the reader
a clue to the particular purpose of the bearer in desiring his
acquaintance, if any such there be. This will prevent the awkwardness of
a personal explanation, and furnish a convenient theme for the
commencement of a conversation between strangers. Thus, if it be simply
a friend, travelling in search of pleasure and general information, whom
you wish to commend to the general civilities of another friend, some
such form as the following will suffice:

  ---- ---- ----


  Allow me the pleasure of introducing to you my friend, Mr. ----
  ----, a gentleman whose intelligence and acquirements render his
  acquaintance an acquisition to all who are favored with his
  society. Mr. ---- visits your city [or town, or part of the
  country, or, your celebrated city, or, your enterprising town, or
  your far-famed State, etc.] merely as an _observant traveller_.
  Such attentions as it may be agreeable to you to render him will

  Your sincere friend,
  and obedient servant,
  ---- ----.

  To Hon. ---- ----

When you wish to write a letter of introduction for a person seeking a
situation in business, a place of residence, scientific information, or
the like; briefly, but distinctly, state this to your correspondent,
together with any circumstance creditable to the bearer, or which it
will be advantageous to him to have known, which you can safely venture
to avouch. (No one is in any degree bound by individual regard to impair
his reputation for probity or veracity in this, or any other respect.)

A letter introducing an Artist, a Lecturer, etc., should contain some
allusion to the professional reputation of the bearer--thus:

  ---- ---- ----


  This will be presented to you by our distinguished countryman, Mr.
  ---- ----, who proposes a brief visit to your enterprising city,
  chiefly for professional purposes. It affords me great pleasure to
  be the means of securing to friends whom I so highly value, the
  gratification I feel assured you and Mr. ---- will derive from
  knowing each other.

  With the best wishes for your mutual success and happiness, I am,
  my dear sir,

  Very truly yours,
  ---- ----.

  To ---- ----, Esq.

In the instance of a celebrity, occupying at the time a space in the
world's eye, something like this will suffice:

  BOSTON, _August 1st, 1863_.


  It gives me pleasure to present to your acquaintance a gentleman
  from whose society you cannot fail to derive high enjoyment. Mr.
  ---- [or the Hon. ----, or Gen. ----][8] needs no eulogy of mine
  to render his reputation familiar to you, identified as it is with
  the literature of our country [or the scientific fame, or the
  eloquence of the pulpit, etc.] Commending my friend to your
  courtesy, believe me, my dear Jones,

  Truly your friend and servant,
  ---- ----.
  Rev. ---- ----.

    [8] Always be scrupulously careful to give _titles_, and with
    accuracy. The proper designation of a _gentleman_ not in office,
    is--_Esquire_. (This, of course, should not be given to a tradesman,
    or menial.) That of a judge, member of Congress, mayor of a city,
    member of a State legislature, etc., etc., is--_Honorable_; that of a
    clergyman--_Reverend_; that of a bishop--_Right Reverend_. You are,
    of course, familiar with the proper _abbreviations_ for these titles.
    In writing the address of a letter, it is desirable to know the
    _Christian_ name of the person to whom it is to be directed. Thus, if
    a physician, "Charles Jones, M. D.," is better than "Dr. Jones." So,
    "Dr. De Lancey," or "Bishop Potter," are obviously improper. The
    correct form to be used in this instance, is:

    "_To the "Right Rev. Alonzo Potter, D. D._"

    The proper address of a _Minister_ representing our government
    abroad, is--"the Honorable ---- ----, Minister for the U.S. of
    America, near the Court of St. James, or St. Cloud," etc. That of a
    _Chargé d'Affaires_, or Consul, etc., varies with their respective
    offices. A _Chargé d'Affaires_ is sometimes familiarly spoken of as
    "_Our Chargé_," at such a Court--or as the "_American Chargé_."

    A clergyman may be addressed as "_Rev. Mr._ ----," if you do not know
    the first name, or _initial_, and so may a doctor of divinity; but in
    the latter case it would, perhaps, be better to write--"Rev. Dr.
    James,"--though the more accurate mode will still be, if attainable,
    "Rev. William James, D.D."

    Gentlemen of the Army and Navy should always be designated by their
    proper titles, and it is well not to be ignorant that a man in either
    of these professions, when

               "He hath got his sword ...
        And seems to know the use on't,"

    may not like to be reminded that the _slow promotion_ he has attained
    is _unknown to his friends_!

Letters of introduction should always be _unsealed_, and, as a rule,
should relate only to the affairs of the bearer, not even passingly to
those of the writer or his correspondent. When it is desirable to write
what cannot, for any reason, be properly introduced into the open
letter, a separate and _sealed_ communication may be written and sent,
with a polite apology, or brief explanation, with the other.

When letters of introduction are delivered in person, they should be
sent by the servant who admits you, together with your card, to the lady
or gentleman to whom they are addressed, as the most convenient mode of
announcing yourself, and the object of your visit.

When you do not find the person you wish to see, write your _temporary
address_ upon your card, as "At the American Hotel"--"With Mrs. Henry,
22 Washington-st."--"At Hon. John Berkley's," etc. Should you _send_
your letter, accompany it by your card and _present_ address, and
inclose both together in an envelope directed to the person for whom
they are designed. When your stay is limited and brief, it is suitable
to add upon your card, together with an accurate _date_--"For to-day,"
or, "To remain but two or three days." And in case of any explanation,
or apology, or request being requisite, such as you would have made in a
_personal_ interview, write _a note_, to be inclosed with the letter of
presentation. Every omission of these courtesies that may occasion
trouble, or inconvenience to others, is ill-bred, and may easily serve
to prejudice strangers against you.

Sometimes it is well to make an appointment through the card you leave,
or send, with a letter, or for a stranger whom you wish to meet, as--"At
the Globe Hotel, _this evening_," with a date, or thus--"Will pay his
respects to Mrs. ----, to-morrow morning, with her permission."

A letter introducing a young man, still "unknown to fame," to a lady of
fashion, or of distinguished social position, may be expressed somewhat
in this manner:

  Mrs. Modish,[9]
  No. 14 Belgrave Place,
  Charleston, S. C._

  ASTOR HOUSE, NEW YORK, _Jan. 27th, 1863_.


  Permit me to present to you my friend, Mr. James Stuart--a
  gentleman whose polished manners and irreproachable character
  embolden me to request for him the honor of an acquaintance with
  even so fastidious and accomplished an arbiter of fashion as

  Mr. Stuart will be able to give you all the information you may
  desire respecting our mutual friends and acquaintances in society

  Do me the honor to make my very respectful compliments to the
  Misses Modish, and to believe me, dear madam,

  Most respectfully,
  Your friend and servant,


    [9] It is etiquette to address communications to a lady according to
    the style she adopts for _her card_. Thus, the elder of two married
    ladies, bearing the same name and of the same family, may properly
    designate herself simply as Mrs. ----, without any Christian name
    (her position in society and the addition upon her card, of her
    _locale_ being supposed sufficient to identify her). The wives of her
    youngest brother, or those of her sons, are then "Mrs. N. C. ----,"
    "Mrs. Charles ----," and so on. The eldest of a family of sisters is,
    "Miss ----," the younger are "Miss Nellie ----," "Miss Julia ----,"
    etc. In writing to, or conversing with them, you thus individualize
    them. But when you are upon ceremonious terms with them, _in the
    absence of the elder,_ you address one of the younger sisters, with
    whom you are conversing, as "Miss ----," only, omitting the
    individualizing Christian name. Of course, when writing under such
    circumstances, a note of ceremony designed for the young ladies of a
    family, collectively, should be addressed to "_The Misses_ ----;" and
    if for one of them, alone, to "Miss ----," or, "Miss Mary G. ----,"
    as the case may be.

Letters presenting _foreigners_, should designate the country and
particular locality to which they belong, as well as the purpose of
their tour, as--"The Chevalier Bonné, of Berne, Switzerland whose object
in visiting our young Republic is not only the wish to compare our
social and political institutions with those of his own country, but the
collection of _specimens_ and _information_ respecting the _Natural
History_ of the United States. Such assistance as you may be able to
render my learned friend, in facilitating his particular researches,
will confer a favor upon me, my dear sir, which I shall ever gratefully
remember," etc., etc.

The subject of letters of introduction naturally suggests that of
_personal introductions_, in relation to which the grossest mistakes and
the greatest carelessness are prevalent, even among well-bred people.

In making persons acquainted with each other, the form of words may vary
almost with every different occasion, but there are certain rules that
should never be overlooked, since they refer to considerations of
abstract propriety.

Younger persons and inferiors in social rank, should, almost invariably,
be _presented to_ their seniors and superiors. Thus, one should not
say--"Mr. Smith, let me introduce Mr. Washington Irving to you," but
"Mr. Irving, will you allow me to introduce Mr. John Smith to you?" Or,
"Permit me to present Mr. Smith to you, sir," presupposing that Mr.
Smith does not need to be informed to whom he is about to be introduced.
It is difficult to express upon paper the difference of signification
conveyed by the mode of _intonating_ a sentence. "General Scott, Mr.
Jones," may be so pronounced as to present the latter gentlemen to our
distinguished countryman, in a simple, but admissible manner, or it may
illustrate the impropriety of naming a man of mark to a person who makes
no pretensions to social equality with him.

Usually, men should be introduced to women, upon the principle that
precedence is always yielded to the latter; but, even in this case, an
exception may properly be made in the instance of an introduction
between a _very young_, or, otherwise, wholly unindividualized woman,
and a man of high position, or of venerable age. A half-playful
variation from the ordinary phraseology of this ceremony, may sometimes
be adopted, under such circumstances, with good taste, as--"This young
lady desires the pleasure of knowing you, sir--Miss Williams," or, "Mr.
Prescott, this is my niece, Miss Ada Byron Robinson."

When there is a "distinction without a difference" between two persons,
or when hospitality interdicts your assuming to decide a nice point in
this regard, it may be waived by merely _naming_ the parties in such a
way as to give precedence to neither--thus: "Gentlemen, allow me--Mr.
W----, Mr. V----," or, "Gentlemen, allow me the pleasure of making you
known to each other," and then simply pronounce the names of the two

By the way, let me call your attention to the importance of an _audible_
and _distinct_ enunciation of _names_, when assuming to make an
introduction. A _quiet, self-possessed manner_, and _intelligibility_
should be regarded as essential at such times.

When introducing persons who are necessarily wholly unacquainted with
each other's antecedents of station or circumstance, it is eminently
proper to add a brief explanation, as--"Mr. Preudhomne, let me introduce
my brother-in-law, General Peters,--Mr. Preudhomne, of Paris," or; "Mrs.
Blandon, with your permission, I will present to you Señor Abenno, a
Spanish gentleman. Señor A. speaks French perfectly, but is unacquainted
with our language;" or, "Mr. Smithson, this is my friend Mr. Brown, of
Philadelphia--like ourselves, _a merchant_;" or, "My dear, this is
Captain Blevin, of the good ship Neversink,--Mrs. Nephews, sir."

Never say "My wife," or "My daughter," or "My sister," "My
father-in-law," or the like, without giving each their proper
ceremonious title. How should a stranger know whether your "daughter"

    "Sole daughter of your house and heart,"

or Miss "Lucy," or "Belinda," the third or fourth in the order of time,
and, consequently, of precedence, or what may chance to be the name of
your father-in-law, or half-sister, etc., etc.

Well-bred people address each other by name, when conversing, and hence
the awkwardness occasioned by this vulgar habit, which is only equalled
by that of speaking of your wife as "My wife,"[10] or worse still, "_my
lady!_" Is it not enough, when your friends know that you are married,
and are perfectly familiar with your own name, to speak of "Mrs. ----,"
and to introduce them to the mistress of your house by that designation?

It is a solecism in good manners to suppose it unsuitable to designate
the members of your own family by their proper titles under all
circumstances that would render it suitable and convenient to do so in
the instance of other persons. Never fall into the _American_
peculiarity on this point, I entreat you. Say--"My father, Dr. V----,"
or "My sister, Miss V----," "Mrs. Col. V----, my sister-in-law," or, "My
sister, Mrs. John Jenkins," with as scrupulous a regard for rank and
precedence, as though dealing with strangers. Indeed, you virtually
_ignore all personal considerations_, while acting in a social relation

  [10] This reminds me of another habit that is becoming prevalent in
  this _new_ land of ours--that of men's entering themselves upon the
  Registers of Hotels, Ocean Steamers, etc., as "M. A. Timeson and
  _lady_!" or, "Mr. G. Simpson and _wife_." What can possibly be the
  objection to the good old established form of "Mr. and Mrs. M. A.
  Timeson," or "George and Mrs. Simpson," or "Mr. G. Simpson. Mrs. and
  the Misses Simpson?"

The rules of etiquette very properly interdict _indiscriminate
introductions_ in general society. No one has a right to thrust the
acquaintance of persons upon each other without their permission, or, at
least, without some assurance that it will be agreeable to them to know
each other. Strangers meeting at the house of a mutual friend, in a
morning visit, or the like, converse with each other, or join in the
general conversation without an introduction, which it is not usual
among fashionable people to give under such circumstances. If you wish
to present a gentleman of your acquaintance to a lady, you first ask her
permission, either in person or by note, to take him to her house, if
she be married, or to do so at a party, etc., where you may chance to
meet her. In the instance of a very young lady, propriety demands your
obtaining the consent of one of her parents before adding to her list of
male acquaintances, unless you are upon such terms of intimacy with her
family and herself, as to render this superfluous; and so with all your
friends. It is better, however, even where unceremoniousness is
admissible, to err upon the safer side.

Among men, greater license may be taken; but, _as a rule_, I repeat,
persons are _not_ introduced in the street, in pump-rooms, in the public
parlors of hotels, or watering-places, meeting incidentally at
receptions or at morning visits, etc.; and not even when they are your
guests at large dinners, or soirées, without their previous assent or

Of course, such rules, like all the laws of convention, are established
and followed for convenience, and should not be regarded, like those of
the Medes and Persians, as unchangeable. Good sense and good feeling
will vary them with the changes of circumstance. No amiable person, for
instance, will hesitate to set them aside for the observance of the more
imperative law of kindness, when associated with those who are ignorant
of their existence (as many really excellent persons are), and would be
pained by their strict observance. Neither should the most punctilious
sticklers for form think it necessary to make a parade of the mere
letter of such rules, at any time. It is the spirit we want, for the
promotion of social convenience and propriety.

Perhaps it may be as well in this connection as in any other, to say a
word about the matter of _visiting cards_.

Fashion sanctions a variety of forms for this necessary appendage. In
Europe, it is very common to affix the professional or political title
to the name, as "---- ----, Professor in the University of Heidelburg,"
or, "---- ----, Conseiller d'Etat,"; and an Englishman in public life
often has on his card the cabalistic characters--"In H.M.S."--(in Her
Majesty's Service). Among the best-bred Americans, I think the prevalent
usage is to adopt the _simple signature_, as "Henry Wise," or to prefix
the title of Mr., as "Mr. Seward." Sometimes,--particularly for cards to
be used away from home--the place of residence is also engraved in one
corner below the name.[11]

  [11] Persons belonging to the Army and Navy use their full titles, with
  the addition of "U.S.A.," or "U.S.N."

Europeans occasionally adopt the practice of having the corners of the
reverse side of their cards engraven across with such convenient words
as "_Pour dire Adieu_" (to say good bye). "_Congratulation_" (to offer
congratulations). "_Pour affaire_" (on an errand, or on business).
"_Arrivé_" (tantamount to "_in town_"). The appropriate corner is turned
over, as occasion requires, and the sentence is thus brought into notice
on the _same side with the name_.

_Business cards_ should never be used in social life, nor should
flourishes, ornamental devices, or generally unintelligible characters
be employed. A smooth, _white_ card, of moderate size, with a plain,
legible inscription of the name, is in unexceptionable taste and _ton_,
suitable for all occasions, and sufficient for all purposes, with the
addition, when circumstances require it, of a pencilled word or
sentence. But to return to our main subject.

_Letters of Recommendation_ partake of the general character of those of
introduction. It is sufficient to add, in regard to them, that they
should be _conscientiously_ expressed. All that can be truthfully said
for the advantage of the bearer, should be included; but, as I have
before remarked, no one is obliged to compromise his own integrity to
advance the interests of others in this manner, more than in any other.

_Letters of Condolence_ require great care and delicacy of composition.
They should relate chiefly, as a rule, to the subject by which they are
elicited, and express _sympathy_ rather than aim at _administering
consolation_. No general directions can be made to embrace the
peculiarities of circumstance in this regard. Suffice it to say that the
inspiration of genuine feeling will dictate rather expressions of kindly
interest for the sufferer you address, of respect and regard for a
departed friend, or an appreciation of the magnitude of the misfortune
you deplore, rather than coldly polished sentences and prolonged
reference to one's self.

_Letters of Congratulation_ should embody cheerfulness and cordiality of
sentiment, and be at an equal remove from an exaggeration of style,
suggesting the idea of insincerity or of covert ridicule, and from
chilling politeness, or indications of indifference. To "rejoice with
those who rejoice" is indeed a pleasing and easy task for those who are
blessed with a genial nature, and enrich themselves by partaking in the
good fortune of others. Letters expressing this pleasure admit of a
little more egotism than is sanctioned by decorum in some other cases.
One may be allowed to allude to one's own feelings when so pleasurably
associated with those of one's correspondent.

_Brevity_ is quite admissible in letters both of condolence and
felicitation--referring, as they properly do, chiefly to _one topic_; it
is in better taste not to introduce extraneous matter into them,
especially when they are of a merely ceremonious nature.

_Letters to Superiors in Station or Age_ demand a respectful and laconic
style. No familiarity of address, no colloquialisms, pleasantries, or
digressions, are admissible in them. They should be commenced with a
ceremoniously-respectful address carefully and concisely expressed, and
concluded with an elaborate formula, of established phraseology. The
name of the person to whom they are written should be placed near the
lower, left hand edge of the sheet, together with his ceremonious title,
etc. No abbreviations of words--and none of titles, unsanctioned by
established usage, should be introduced into such letters, and they
should bear at the commencement, below the date, and on the left hand
side of the paper, the name of the person addressed, thus:

  WASHINGTON CITY, _Feb. 2d, 1863_.


       *       *       *       *       *

       *       *       *       *       *

  I am, sir,
  Very respectfully,
  Your humble servant,

  Secretary of State, for the U. S.

Be careful to remember that it is unsuitable to commence a communication
to an _entire stranger_ an official letter, or one of ceremony, in reply
to a gentleman acting in the name of a committee, etc., etc., with "Dear
Sir." This familiarity is wholly out of place under such circumstances,
and it is matter of surprise that our public men so frequently fall into
it, even in addressing public functionaries representing foreign
countries here, etc. In this respect, as in many others, their
"quality," as that most discerning satirist, _Punch_, has recently said
of the style of one of our men in high office--is not "_strained_!" The
veterans of Diplomatic or of Congressional life should let us see that
practice has refined their style of speaking and writing, rather than
remind us that they have come to the _lees_ of intellect!

I have, for several years past, remarked the published letters of one of
the distinguished men of the Empire State, as models of graceful
rhetoric and good taste. I refer now, not to the political opinions they
may have expressed, but to their _literary execution_. They indicate the
pen of genius--no matter what the occasion--whether declining to break
ground for a canal, to lay the corner-stone of a university,
acknowledging a public serenade, or expounding a political dogma, a
certain indescribable something always redeems them alike from
common-place ideas, and from inelegance of language. See if your
newspaper profundity will enable you to "guess" the name of the
individual to whom I refer.

_Diplomatic Letters_ require a style peculiar to themselves, in relation
to which it would be the height of temerity in me to adventure even a
hint. The Public Documents of our own country and of England, afford
models for those of you who shall have occasion for them, as members of
the "Corps Diplomatique."

_Letters of Friendship and Affection_ must, of course, vary in style
with the occasions and the correspondents that elicit them. A light,
easy, playful style is most appropriate. And one should aim rather at
correctness of diction than at anything like an elaborate parade of

_Grammatical inaccuracies_ and _vulgarisms_ are _never_ allowable among
educated people, whether in speaking or writing; nor is _defective
spelling_ excusable.

_Punctuation_ and attention to the general rules of composition should
not be overlooked, as thus only can unmistakable intelligibleness be

Avoid all ambitious pen-flourishes, and attempts at ornamental
caligraphy, and aim at the acquisition of a legible, neat,
gentleman-like hand, and a pure, manly, expressive style, in this most
essential of all forms of composition.

The possession of excellence in this accomplishment will enable you to
disseminate high social and domestic pleasure. Nothing affords so
gratifying a solace to friends, when separated, as the reception of
those tokens of remembrance and regard. They only who have wandered far,
far away from the ties of country, friends, and home, can fully
appreciate the delight afforded by the reception of letters of a
satisfactory character. And the welcome assurances of the safety,
health, and happiness of the absent and loved, is the best consolation
of home-friends.

_Practice_, _patience_, and _tact_, are equally essential to the
acquisition of ease and grace in this desirable art. _Wit_, _humor_, and
_playfulness_ are its proper embellishments, and _variety_ should
characterize its themes. A certain _egotism_, too, is not only
pardonable, but absolutely requisite, and may even become delicately
complimentary to the recipient of one's confidence.

Let me remind you, too, that--though "offence of _spoken_ words" may be
excused by the excitement of passing feeling--the deliberate commission
of unkind, or, worse still, of unjust, untruthful, injurious language,
to paper, argues an obliquity of moral vision little likely to secure
the writer either

    "What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy,
    The _soul's calm sunshine_,"

or the respect and regard of others.

Facility in writing familiar letters may be increased by the habit of
_mentally_ recording, before inditing them, as opportunity affords
material, such incidents of travel, items of personal interest, or
gossiping intelligence, etc., as may be thought best suited to the
tastes of your correspondents. And it is well, before closing such
communications, not only to glance over them to satisfy yourself of
their freedom from mistakes, but by that means to recall any omission
occasioned by forgetfulness.

Notes of _Invitation_, of _Acceptance_, and _Regret_, require, of
course, brevity and simplicity of expression. The _prevailing mode_ of
the society you are connected with, is usually the proper guide in
relation to these matters of form, for the time being. Thus the mere
formula of social life at Washington, Boston, Charleston, Paris, or St.
Petersburg, may be somewhat varied, as _usage_ alone frequently
determines these niceties, and all eccentricities and peculiarities in
this respect, as in most others, are in bad taste. Cards, or Notes, of
Invitation to Dinners and Soirées, are frequently printed, and merely
names and dates supplied in writing. The example of the _best society_
(in the most elevated sense of that much-abused phrase) everywhere,
sanctions only the most unpretending mode of expression and general
style, for such occasions. The utmost beauty and exquisiteness of finish
in the mere _material_, but the absence of all pretentious ornament, is
thought most unexceptionable.

_Invitations to Dinner_ should be acknowledged at your earliest
convenience, and--whether accepted or declined--in courteously
ceremonious phraseology. In the instance of invitations[12] to Balls and
Evening-Parties, Weddings, etc., haste is not so essential; but a
seasonable reply to such civilities should by no means be neglected.

  [12] I was somewhat surprised lately, in perusing an agreeable novel,
  written by one of our countrywomen, to observe her use of the word
  "_ticket_" as synonymous with _invitation_, or _card of invitation_. A
  "_ticket_" admits one to a concert, the opera, or theatre but one
  receives an "_invitation_," or "_card of invitation_" to a dinner,
  ball, or evening-party, at a friend's house. All misnomers of this kind
  savor of under-breeding--they are _vulgarisms_, in short, unsanctioned
  either by taste or fashion.

When you wish to take a friend--who is a stranger to the hostess--with
you to an evening entertainment, and are upon sufficiently established
terms with her to make it quite proper to do so, acknowledge your
invitation at once, and request permission to take your friend--thus
affording an opportunity, if it is requisite, for the return of an
invitation enclosed to you for your proposed companion. Some form like
the following will answer the purpose:

  Mr. Thomas Brown has the honor to accept Mrs. Mason's very polite
  invitation for next Thursday evening.

  With Mrs. Mason's permission, Mr. Brown will be accompanied by his
  friend, Mr. Crawford, of Cincinnati, who is at present temporarily
  in New York.

  _Monday morning, December 28th_.

Among intimate friends, it is sometimes most courteous, when _declining
an invitation_, in place of a mere formal "regret" to indite a less
ceremonious note, briefly explanatory, or apologetic. _Essential
good-breeding_ is the best guide in these occasional deviations from
ceremonious rules.

Formal notes of invitation, and the like, should not be addressed to
several persons inclusively. Of course, a gentleman and his wife are
invited in this inclusive way, as are the unmarried sisters of a family,
when residing in the same house; but visitors to one's friends, a
married lady and her daughters, as well as the younger gentlemen of a
family, should, severally, have separate notes, directed to them
individually, where ceremony is requisite, though all may, for
convenience, be enclosed in the same envelope, with a general direction
to the elder lady of the house.

Letters, or notes, commenced in the _third person_, should be continued
throughout in the same form. It is obviously incorrect (though of
frequent occurrence), to adopt such phraseology as--"Mr. Small presents
his compliments to Miss Jones," etc., and to conclude with "Yours
respectfully, G. Small." This mode of expression (the third person), is
only adapted to brief communications of a formal nature. No _address and
signature_ are required when the names of the recipient and of the
writer are introduced into the body of the note, as they necessarily
are. The place of residence (if written), and the date, are placed at
the left hand side of the paper, _below_ the principal contents.

Letters designed to be mailed--such as are written to persons living at
a distance from your own place of residence--should have your proper
_mail address_ legibly written on the right hand side of your sheet,
_above_ the rest of the communication, together with the date.

Notes addressed to persons residing in the same place with yourself,
require only the name of the street you reside in, and your number, with
the _day of the week_--as "Clinton Place, Thursday P. M.," or, "No. 6
Great Jones St., Monday morning"--which is usually placed below the
other portions of the missive. It is usual to write _short notes of
ceremony_ so as to have the few lines composing them in _the middle_ of
the small sheet used.

Forms of signature and address vary in accordance with the general tenor
of letters. When they are of an entirely ceremonious character, or
addressed to superiors, usage requires an elaborate address and
subscription; but the style of familiar epistles permits throughout
every variety of language that good taste and good feeling may invent or
sanction. Only let there be a general harmony in your compositions. Do
not fall into the inadvertency of the person who addressed a missive
full of the most tender expressions of regard to his mistress, and
signed it--"Yours respectfully, Clark, Smith & Co."

_Legibility_, _Intelligibility_, and _Accuracy_ are requisite in the
_direction_ of all epistolary compositions.

Correct taste demands some attention to the subject of
_Writing-Materials_. It is now becoming the practice to use small-sized
paper for communications of ceremony and friendship, continuing the
contents through several sheets, if necessary, and numbering each in
proper succession. It is, also, usual to write ceremonious letters on
but one side of a sheet, and to leave a wide margin upon the left hand
side, and a narrower one on the opposite edge of the paper.

The finest, smoothest paper should always be used, except for mere
business matters; and, though some passing fashion may sanction tinted
paper, pure white is always unexceptionable. All fancy ornaments,
colored designs, etc., etc., are in questionable taste. If ornamental
bordering, or initial lettering is adopted, the most chaste and
unpretending should be preferred.

Except for _mailing_, envelopes should correspond exactly with the sheet
inclosed. Envelopes sent by post should be strong and large-sized.
Sometimes it is well to re-enclose a small envelope, corresponding with
the written sheet, in a large, firm cover, and to write the full
direction upon that.

Sealing wax should always be used for closing all epistles, except those
of an entirely business nature. _Stamps_ and _seals_ may vary with
taste. A plain form with an unbroken face, suffices; or initials, a
device and motto, one or both; or hereditary heraldic designs may be

Letters intended to go by mail on the continent of Europe, should be
written on a single, large sheet of _thin_ paper, and _not enveloped_.

_It is as ill-bred not to reply to a communication requiring an
acknowledgment, or to neglect proper attention to all the several
matters of importance to which it relates, as it is not to answer a
question directly and personally addressed to you._

_Promptitude_ is also demanded by good-breeding, in this regard.
Necessity only can excuse the impoliteness of subjecting a friend, or
business-correspondent, to inconvenience or anxiety, occasioned by delay
in replying to important letters.

Tyros in epistolary composition may derive advantage from noting the
peculiar excellences of the published letters of celebrated authors and
others; not for the purpose of servile imitation, but as affording
useful general models, or guides. Miscellaneous readers may note the
genial humor and patient elaborateness characterizing the letters of the
"Great Unknown," the felicities of expression sometimes observable in
the familiar missives of Byron, and of his friend Tom Moore (when the
latter is not writing to his much-put-upon London publisher for
table-supplies, etc.!) amuse himself with the gossiping capacity for
details exhibited by those of Horace Walpole, and con, with wondering
admiration, the epistolary illustrations of the well-disciplined,
thoroughly-balanced character of the great American model, of whose
writings it may always be said--whether an "order," written on a
drum-head, or the draught of a document involving the interests of all
humanity is the subject--that they are "_well done_."

Among the collections of letters I remember to have read, none now occur
to me as offering more variety of style than those included in the
"Memoirs of H. More." They are a little old-fashioned now, perhaps; but
some of them, both for matter and manner, are, in their way, unsurpassed
in English literature. Some of those of _Sir W. W. Pepys_, I recollect
as peculiarly pleasing.

Several of the published letters of Dr. Johnson, and one or two of those
of our own Franklin, are to be regarded as among the curiosities of
literature, rather than as precedents which circumstances will ever
render available, or desirable. Johnson's celebrated letter to Lord
Chesterfield, declining his proffered patronage, for instance--and
Franklin's, concluding with the witty sarcasm--

  "You are now my enemy, and I am


At some future time, perhaps, the literary treasures of our country will
be enriched by specimens of the correspondence of such of our
contemporaries as inspire the highest admiration for their general style
of composition. Who could fail to peruse with interest, letters from the
pen of Prescott, who never makes even such a physical infirmity as his,
a plea for inaccuracy, or carelessness of expression? And who would not
hail with delight any draught presented by the bounteous hand of Irving,

    "The well of English undefiled,"

whence he himself has long quaffed the highest inspiration!

       *       *       *       *       *

"There they are!" shouted James.

"Here they come!" exclaimed Miss Mary Marston.

"They have made good time, the lazy dogs, for once!" said I.

"Oh, I'm so glad!" echoed the silvery cadences of Nettie Brown, who
seemed about to dance to the music of her own merry voice.

"I hope"----began the dove-like murmur of a fair invalid: she ceased,
and her dewy eyes told all she would have said.

"God grant us good news!" said our venerable _compagnon de voyage_,
fervently, a shade of anxiety clouding his usually benignant

"Ladies, excuse me! I beg you to remember that they may not bring
anything--let me prepare you for a disappointment!" These words were
uttered, with apparent reluctance, by a young man, whose pale face and
dark melancholy eyes seemed to lend almost prophetic emphasis to his
warning tones.

Nettie ceased to clap her little hands; "Jovial James" looked as grave
as his usually rollicking, fun-twinkling eyes permitted; the stately
Mary could only look fixedly towards the approaching Arabs, the serenity
of our patriarchal friend was more than ever disturbed; sweet Isidore
grew marble pale, and leaned heavily back upon the sculptured pillar
against which we had secured her camp-seat, and your uncle Hal--well!
he is a "proverbial philosopher," you know!

There we were, amid the solemn magnificence of the ruined palaces and
temples of once-mighty Thebes.

Our little party was gathered in front of the great Propylon of the
famous Temple of Luxor, whose mysterious grandeur we had come many
thousands of miles to behold. Massive pillars, covered with
minutely-finished picture-writing and mystic hieroglyphics, sufficient
for the life-long study of the curious student; enormous architraves,
half-buried colossi, far-reaching colonnades, "grand, gloomy and
peculiar;" the world-famed Memnon; the grim, tomb-hallowed
mountains--all the wonders of the Nile, of _El Uksorein_, of Karnac,
surrounded us!

But humiliating reflections upon the mutability of human greatness and
human power, the eager speculations of the disciples of Champollion,
sarcophagi and sculptured ceilings, and scarabæi and Sesostris, alike
sunk into matters of insignificance and indifference when compared with
the expectation of _Letters from Home_!

That most amiable and hospitable of Mussulmans, Mustapha Aga, _the
traveller's friend_, had engaged the Sheik (heaven spare the mark!) of
one of the squalid Arab villages, whose mud walls cluster upon the roofs
of the grand halls and porticoes of ancient Thebes--reminding one of
_animalculoe_ by comparison--to accompany my servant and one or two
of our dusky satellites to a point in the vicinity, to which the
American and English consuls at Cairo had engaged to forward our
letters, etc.

Our motley band of couriers was now seen advancing along the low bank of
the river, and all was eager anticipation and impatience.

The ceremony of distribution was speedily accomplished, and an observer
of the scene, like our calm, silent host, the kindly Mustapha, might
almost read the contents of the different letters of the several members
of our little group reflected in the faces of each.

"Jovial James" sunk down at once at the feet of the fair Nettie, who had
sacrilegiously seated herself upon the edge of an open sarcophagus, with
a lap full of treasures, before which her hoarded antiques--and she was
the most indefatigable _collector_ of our corps--relapsed again into the
nothingness from which her admiration had, for a time, redeemed them.
Something very much like a tear glistened in the bright eyes of the
frolicksome youth as he murmured, half-unconsciously "Mother," and
sunshine and shadow played in quick succession over the mirroring
features of the fair girl.

The usually placid Mary Marston fairly turning her back upon us, beat a
retreat towards a prostrate column and half-concealed herself among its
crumbling fragments; and our sweet, fast-fading flower, for whose
comfort each vied with the other, the beautiful Isidore, clasped her
triple prizes between her slight palms, and folding them to her meek
bosom, lifted her soft eyes toward the heaven that looked alike on Egypt
and on her native land, and whispered "_Home!_ Oh, father take me

"Not one word does Frank say about _remittances_--the most important of
all subjects!" cried James, with his elbows on his knees, and a
half-filled sheet held out before him in both hands. "He is the most
provoking fellow!--just look, Nettie, how much blank paper, too, sent
all the way from Manhattan Island to Upper Egypt," he added, with a
serio-comic tap on the paper.

"Good enough for you!" retorted his frequent tormentor; "you wouldn't
write from Rome to him, as I begged you to"----

"But, most amiable Miss _Consolation 'on a monument_, smiling at grief,'
don't you recollect that _you_ favored him with three 'great big'
sheets, crammed, crossed, and kissed"----

"Do go away, James Wilson! you are a regular _squatter_, as they say at
home; really, if you are not established on my skirt!" laughed his merry
companion, reddening, however, at his skillful sally.

James, well used to repulses, made not even a pretence of removing his
quarters; but, tracing with his forefinger in the sand, began to tease
his pretty neighbor for news from home, protesting that _men_ were the
poorest letter-writers, and that _his_ correspondents in particular,
_never said anything_!

But what had become of the thoughtful friend whose warning voice had
checked too eager expectation in his companions, whilst

    ----"thou, oh Hope, with eyes so fair,"

made wild tumult in each eager breast? I marked his face, as he stood
apart from the excited group gathered about the bearer of our
dispatches. It was almost as immobile and coldly calm as those of the
polished colossi around us, save for the burning eyes that seemed
actually to devour the several directions that were glanced over, or
read aloud by others. His hands, too, were tightly clutched, as though
he were thus self-sustained.--Poor fellow! I had frequently noticed his
manner before, where the happiness of others arrested attention; it
indicated, to me, a serenity like that of the expiring hero who waved
his life-draught to another, hiding, with a smile, the outward signs of
tortured nature! Almost before the last package was unfolded, he was
advancing with rapid strides along the majestic avenue leading from our
stand-point towards the ruins of Karnac, and was soon lost to sight amid
its massive ornaments. How easily might some friendly hand have shed
balm upon his sad and solitary spirit, on that memorable day in far-off
Nile-Land, when so many hearts were gladdened with the sweet sunlight
enkindled by _letters_!--so many faces illumined with smiles reflected
from the ever-glowing altars of COUNTRY and HOME!

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir Walter Scott, as his son-in-law informed me, despite the vast amount
of intellectual labor he otherwise imposed upon himself, with as little
flinching, apparently, as though his mind were a powerful
self-regulating steam-engine, had the habit of _always answering letters
on the day of their reception_! Mr. Lockhart told me that, during the
researches he made among the private papers of his immortal friend,
while preparing materials for his biography, he almost invariably
remarked, from the careful notations upon them, that when any delay had
occurred in replying to a letter, it arose from the necessity of some
previous investigation, or the like. My astonishment upon perusing the
long, elaborately-written epistles that Mr. Lockhart subsequently gave
to the world, was augmented by my knowledge of this fact, and by my
remembrance of the innumerable demands made upon his time by social and
public duties. But "we ne'er shall look on his like again!" Well might
his pen be styled the wand of the mighty Wizard of the North.

       *       *       *       *       *

A gentle tap at the library-door interrupted the after-dinner chat of my
old friend and myself. A fair young face presented itself in answer to
the bidding of my host, and, upon seeing me was quickly withdrawn.

"Come in, my daughter, come--what will you have?"

I rose immediately to withdraw, as the young lady, thus encouraged,
somewhat timidly advanced towards her father.

"Pray, do not disturb yourself, Colonel Lunettes," said she; "I only
want to speak to pa one moment; don't think of going away, I beg"----

My host, too, interposed to prevent my leaving the room, and I,
therefore, took up a book and re-seated myself.

"Excuse me for interrupting you, pa, but may I"--here a whisper, and
then so audibly that I could not help overhearing--"do please, dear pa!"

"Well, we'll see about it--when is the concert?" rang out the clear
voice of the father.

"But, pa, I ought to answer the note to-night or very early to-morrow
morning--it would not be polite to keep Mr. Blakeman"----

"A note, eh?" interrupted the old gentleman, "let me see it--go bring it
to me."

I thought I could not be mistaken in the indication of reluctance to
obey this direction evinced by the slow step of my usually
sprightly-motioned young favorite.

"Come, Fanny, come," said her father, when she re-entered, "you have no
objection to showing _me_"----

"Oh, no, indeed, pa,--but you are so critical," the young lady began to

"Critical! am I though!" exclaimed the parent, with some vivacity,
"perhaps so--at least I judge somewhat, of a man's claims to the
acquaintance of my daughter by these things." And, adjusting his
spectacles, he opened the note his daughter offered. "Bless my soul!" he
cried, at the first glance, "what bright-colored paper, and how many
grand flourishes--really, my dear!" There was a brief silence and then
the father said mildly, but firmly, "Fanny, I prefer that you should not
accept this invitation."

"Will you tell me why, pa?"

"Because the writer is not a _gentleman_! No man of taste and refinement
would write such a note as this to a lady, with whom he has only the
ceremonious acquaintance that this young man has with you. He is
evidently _illiterate_, too,--his note is not only inelegantly
expressed, but it is mis-spelled"----

"Oh, pa"----

"I assure you it is so. Your own education is more defective than it
should be with the advantages you have had, if you cannot perceive
this--read it again, and tell me what word is mis-spelled," said her
father, returning the production under discussion to Fanny.

The young lady sat down by the lamp to con the task assigned her, and my
host said to me--"It is unpardonable, now-a-days, for a young man to be
ignorant in such matters as these. When _we_ were young, Hal, the means
of acquiring knowledge generally, were limited by circumstances; but who
that wishes, lacks them at present?--Well, my daughter"----

"Yes, pa, I see,--of course it was a mere slip of the pen"----

"A slip of the pen!" retorted the father, "and is that a sufficient
excuse? Proper respect will teach a young man of right feelings towards
your sex, to take good care that no such carelessness retains a place in
his first billet to a lady--it is an _indication of character_, my
child! Depend upon it, that the man who writes in this way,--encircling
some of his words with a flourish, abbreviating others, mis-spelling,
and all upon mottled paper, with a highly _ornate_ border, does not
understand himself, and will be guilty of other solecisms in good
manners and good taste, that will be very likely to embarrass and shock
a young lady accustomed to"----

"The society of _gentlemen of the old school_, like pa and Col.
Lunettes!" exclaimed Fanny, in her usual laughing manner, snatching up
the condemned missive, and flying out of the room.

In the course of the evening, my old friend and I joined the ladies in
the drawing-room.

A merry group around a centre-table, attracted me, and as the fair Fanny
made a place beside her agreeable little self for me, I was soon settled
to my satisfaction in the midst of the fair bevy.

"What are you all so busy about?" I inquired, as I seated myself.

"Oh, criticising!" cried one.

"Acquiring knowledge under difficulties," replied another.

"Accomplishing ourselves in the Art Epistolary, by the study of models!"
returned a third.

And sure enough,--the table was strewed with cards, and notes, and an
empty fancy-basket told where these sportive critics had obtained their
materials. I soon gathered that the scrutiny Fanny's note had undergone
in the library, was the moving cause of this sudden resuscitation of
defunct billet-doux and forgotten cards.

"Only look at this one, Col. Lunettes!" exclaimed a pretty girl opposite
me, handing across a visiting card, with the name written with ink, in
rather cramped characters, and surrounded with a variety of awkward
attempts at ornamental flourishes. "Isn't that sufficient to condemn the
perpetrator to 'durance vile' in the _paradise of fools_?"

"Well, here is a beautiful note, at any rate," exclaimed the eldest
daughter of the house, "even papa would not find fault with this"--

"What are you saying about papa?" inquired the master of the mansion,
pausing in his walk up and down the room, and leaning upon the back of
his daughter's chair.

"Won't you join us, sir?" returned the young lady, making a motion to
rise; "let me give you my seat."

"No, no, sit still, child--let us hear the note that you think

"It is as simple as possible," said she, "but though it only relates to
a matter of business, I remember noticing, when I opened it, the elegant
writing and"----

"Well, let us hear it, my daughter."

Thus impelled, the fair reader began:

  "Henry Wynkoop presents his respectful compliments to Miss Campbell,
  and begs leave to inform her that the goods for which she inquired, a
  few days since, have arrived, and are now ready for her inspection.

  "240 MAIN ST.,
  _Wednesday Morning, May 22d._"

"I should have said," added Miss Campbell, "that I had simply requested
Mr. Wynkoop to send me word about some shawls, when any of the family
happened in there, and did not think of troubling him to send a note."

"Let me see," said her father, taking the paper from her hand, "yes!
just what one might expect from that young fellow--fine, handsome, plain
paper [a glance at poor Fanny] and a neat modest seal--all because _a
lady_ was in question; and one can read the writing as if it were print.
Look at it, Lunettes! A promising young merchant--a friend of ours,
here. An _educated_ merchant--what every man should be, who wishes to
succeed in mercantile life in this country."

"Yes," returned I, "ours is destined, if I do not greatly mistake, to be
a land of _merchant princes_, like Venice of old, and I quite agree with
you that American merchants should be _educated gentlemen_!"

"This young Wynkoop," continued my friend, "is destined yet to fill some
space in the world's eye, unless I have lost my power to judge of men.
He seems to find time for everything--the other evening he was
here--(the girls had some young friends)--and, happening to step into
the library, I found him standing with one of the book-cases open, and
just reaching down a volume--'I beg your pardon, sir, if I intrude,'
said he, 'but I was going to look for a passage in the "Deserted
Village," as I am not so fortunate as to possess a copy of Goldsmith.'
Of course I assured him that the books were all at his service, and
apologized for closing the door, and seating myself at my desk, saying
that a rascally Canadian lawyer had sent me a letter so badly written
that I could scarcely puzzle it out, and that his bad French was almost
unintelligible at that. I confess I was surprised when he offered to
assist me, saying very modestly, that nothing was more confusing than
_patois_ to the uninitiated, but that he had chanced to have some
experience in it. So he helped me out very cleverly, in spite of my
protestations at his losing so much time, and when he found he could not
aid me farther, looked up his lines, put back my book, and quietly
bowing, slipped out of the room. When I went back to the girls, later in
the evening, I heard my young friend singing with some lady, in a fine
clear voice, and, soon after, discovered him in another room dancing,
'_money musk_' with my own wife for his partner!"

While this little sketch was in progress of narration, the inspection of
the miscellaneous display upon the table had been silently progressing.
And each pretty critic had made some discovery.

"Here is a 'regret' sent for the other night," said Fanny, "what do you
think of that, Col. Lunettes?" And a large sheet of note paper was put
into my hand, clumsily folded, and containing only the words "Mr.
Augustus Simpkin regrets."

"A good deal is left for the imagination," I replied, "regrets what?"

"_That he is a numskull_, perhaps, but I fear there is not that
encouragement for his improvement!" broke in the Chairman of this
Committee of Investigation.

The general laugh that followed this spicy comment had no sooner
subsided, than another note caught my eye, by its handsome penmanship.
Glancing it over, I handed it to one of the young ladies without
comment. She 'looked unutterable things,' as she quietly refolded the
missive, and was about to slip it out of sight; but the dancing eyes of
the lively Fanny had caught the whole movement, and she insisted upon
what she called _fair play_. So the paper was again subjected to
perusal--this time aloud.

  BALTIMORE, _July 24, '61_.

  "William Jones takes this means of making an apology for not calling
  for Miss Mary last evening. I assure you no offence was intended, and
  hope you did not take it so.

  "Yours affectionately,


"How did that get into the card-basket?" exclaimed Miss Campbell, in
consternation, "it ought to have been destroyed at the time"----

"It has risen up in judgment against the writer now," said Fanny, "but
he is much improved since then. He knows better now than to say 'the
_Miss Campbells_', or"----

"Or sign himself 'Yours affectionately,' to a document commenced in the
third person. So he does, child, and he proved himself essentially
polite by writing the note--the hand is really very commendable. I have
no doubt the young man will yet acquire considerable _note-ability_!"
And throwing the tell-tale paper into the fire, the charitable
commentator proceeded in his walk.

"_A propos_"--"_A propos_" was echoed round the merry circle, as a
servant handed a note to Miss Campbell.

"Miss Fanny Campbell," read her sister, and resigned the billet to its
rightful owner.

Every one protested that it should be common property, unless its
contents were a secret; and the blushing, half-pouting beauty was
constrained to open and inspect her note where she sat.

"I insist upon _fair play_ in Miss Fanny's case, also," said I, coming
to the rescue, "and shall do myself the honor of acting as her
champion." With that I spread out her gossamer handkerchief, and
throwing it over the top of my cane, affected to screen the rosy face
beside me. Taking advantage of my _ruse_, my pretty favorite opened her
note, and, partly retreating behind my broad shoulder, soon possessed
herself of its contents.

"There," said she, throwing it into the middle of the table, "you may
all read it and welcome!"

Brown heads and black, sunny curls and chestnut "bands," were
immediately clustered together over the prize, and Fanny, springing
away, like a bird, was, in a moment, perched on an arm of the large
chair in which her father was now ensconced, with her arm around his
neck, and her beaming eyes glancing out from his snowy locks.

"Let Colonel Lunettes see it, you rude creatures!" exclaimed my lively
favorite, from her retreat, and the note was immediately presented to
me. Wiping my glasses with deliberation suitable to the occasion, I
"pressed my hand upon my throbbing heart," and read as follows:

  "It will afford Mr. Howard Parkman great pleasure to attend Miss Fanny
  Campbell to a Concert to be given by the "Hungarian Family," to-morrow

  "If she will permit him that honor, Mrs. and Miss Parkman, accompanied
  by Mr. P., will call for Miss Campbell at half past seven o clock.

  "_Tuesday P. M._"

"That's another rival for you, Colonel Lunettes," exclaimed one of the

"I fear my doom is sealed!" returned the old soldier thus addressed,
with an air of mock resignation. "But who is this formidable youth, Miss

"A Bostonian, I believe," replied the young lady; "cousin Charley
introduced him to us at Mrs. Gay's ball the other evening, and asked us
to call upon his mother and sister--they are friends of his. He was here
this morning with cousin Charley, but we were out."

"How stylish!" said one of our critical circle, re-examining the elegant
billet of the stranger.

"Quite _au fait_, too, you see, young ladies," I added, "he invites Miss
Fanny to go with a proper _chaperon_ to the concert, as he is so
slightly acquainted with her."

As I limped across the room towards them, I heard my friend say to his
daughter, who still retained her seat, "certainly, unless you prefer to
go with Mr. Blakeman."

"Oh, pa!" protested the sweet girl, "but what excuse shall I make to Mr.

"Tell him, in terms, that your father does not permit you to go anywhere,
alone, with a young man with whom he has no acquaintance--Lunettes,
you're not going?" rising as he spoke.

"It is high time--my carriage must be waiting. Miss Fanny, permit me the
privilege of an old friend,"--kissing her glowing cheek--and, as she
skipped out into the hall with her father and me, I whispered--"About
this young Bostonian? Is it all over with him?"

"What, Hal--jealous?" exclaimed her father, laughing--"do you fear the
flight of our gazelle, here?"

"No danger of my eloping! No, indeed! at least with any one
except--_Colonel Lunettes_!" replied the charming little witch, as her
nimble fingers fastened my wrappings.

"Bravo!" cried her father; "that would be glorious! Seventeen and"----

"Eighty-two," interrupted your old uncle; "May and December! But,
happily for me, fair Fanny, _my heart_ can never grow old while I have
the happiness of knowing you."

       *       *       *       *       *

I hope none of you will ever, even when writing in a foreign language,
fall into the mistake made by a young Pole, with whom I once had a
slight acquaintance. He was paying his addresses to a young lady, and,
while most assiduously making his court to the fair object of his
passion, was temporarily separated from her, by her leaving home on a
pleasure excursion. At the first stopping-place of her party, the lady
found a letter awaiting her, written in the neatest manner, and in
excellent English--which her lover _spoke_ in a _very_ imperfect manner.
It appeared to the recipient of this complimentary effusion, however, at
the first glance, that its contents were not especially relevant to the
occasion of a first _billet-doux_ from her admirer. Reading it more
deliberately, something familiar in the language struck her suddenly,
and after pondering a moment, she turned over the leaves of a new book
which was among the literary stores of our travelling-party, and soon
came to the exact counterpart of passage after passage, as recorded in
the letter of the gallant Pole!

The volume was, I think, "Hannah More's Memoirs," which had probably
been recommended to the young student of our language by his teacher, or
some friend, as containing good _specimens of the epistolary style_!

       *       *       *       *       *

With the hope that you may all escape being the subjects of such
merriment as was occasioned by the discovery of my fair friend, I remain,
as ever,

  Affectionately yours,




Though accomplishments are a very poor substitute for the more
substantial portions of a thorough education, no one should be so
indifferent to the embellishments of life as wholly to neglect their

With Europeans some attention to this subject always makes part of a
thorough education, but among a _new people_, differing so essentially
from the nations of the Old World in social habits, the leisure and
inclination that induce such a system of early discipline are both still
wanting--speaking generally. It is not the lack of wealth--of that we
have enough--but of a cultivated, discriminating taste, the growth of
time and favoring circumstances, which is not yet diffused among us.
But, though our young men, even of the more favored class, do not enjoy
the carefully-elaborated system of early training, common abroad,
personal effort will produce a result similar in effect, if
well-directed and steadfastly pursued, and the best of all
knowledge--that most beneficial in its influence upon character--is
acquired by unaided individual exertion. Young Americans, above the men
of all other countries, should lack no incentive to add, as occasion may
permit, tasteful polish to the more essential solidity of mental

I know of nothing better calculated to foster refinement and purity of
life than the cultivation of a _Taste_ for the _Fine Arts_. I do not
refer to a _dillettante_ affectation of familiarity with the
technicalities of artistic language, or to fashionable pretension and an
assumption of connoisseurship, but to honest, manly, æsthetical
perceptions, quickened and elevated by familiarity with the true
principles of Art, and by the study of the highest productions of

Some knowledge of the practice, as well as of the principles of
_drawing_, is a very agreeable and useful accomplishment, and one that
may be acquired with little or no instruction, save that to be obtained
from books.

Among the advantages collaterally arising from familiarity with this
art, is the increased quickness and enjoyment it lends to a _discernment
of the beautiful_ in nature, both in its minute manifestations and its
grand developments. A fondness for _sketching_ leads, also, to a
partiality for rural excursions, and for the physical sciences; and all
those tastes where the main purposes of life permit their indulgence,
serve to elevate, refine, and expand the higher faculties, to give them
habitual dominion over the propensities and to restrain sensuous
enjoyments within their legitimate limits.

_A Taste for Music_ must, of course, be ranked among the elegances of
social life, but it should not be forgotten that a _practical knowledge_
of any one branch of this Art has no direct effect to enlarge the mind,
like that of Painting, for instance. It is only a sensuous pleasure,
though a refined one, and is, as I have had frequent occasion to remark,
too frequently permitted to engross both time and faculties that should
properly be, in part, at least, more diffusively employed. Musical
skill, though a pleasant acquirement, is not a sufficient substitute for
an acquaintance with general Literature and Art; nor will its most
exquisite exhibitions always furnish an equivalent for intellectual
pleasures, whether of a personal or social nature.

_Dancing_ should be early learned, not only because, like musical
knowledge, it is a source of social and domestic enjoyment, but as
materially assisting in the acquirement of an easy and graceful carriage
and manner. It is a good antidote, too, to _mauvaise honte_, and almost
essential among the minor accomplishments of a man of the world.

_Riding_ and _Driving_ should never be neglected by those who possess
the means of becoming familiar with them. Convenience, health and
pleasure combine to recommend both. No indulgence of the _pride of
skill_, however, should be permitted to exalt these accessories of a
polite education into the main business of life, as I believe I have
before reminded you.

The _broadsword exercise_, _pistol-shooting_, _athletic sports and
games_, _sporting_, _gymnastic exercises_, etc., etc., may be ranked
among the minor manly accomplishments with which it is desirable to be

Of no small importance, and of no insignificant rank as an
accomplishment, is a _ready and graceful elocution_. Possessed by
professional men, its value can scarcely be overrated, and no young man,
whatever his aims in life, should esteem it unworthy of attention, since
private as well as public life afford constant occasion for its
exercise. To read _intelligibly_, _audibly_, and _agreeably_, to speak
with taste and elegance, to address an audience--whether a mass
assemblage of the sovereign people, or the servants of the people, in
Congress assembled, or an intelligent audience gathered for intellectual
instruction and enjoyment, each require careful and persevering
practice, critical discrimination and disciplined taste. And what young
American--with that control of circumstances which especially
distinguishes us from all other peoples, with the high aspirations and
purposes to which all are equally entitled--shall say that he will not
have the most urgent occasion for, and derive high advantage from the
acquisition of the _Art of Elocution_? But, apart from considerations of
utility, correct speaking and writing are indispensable requisites to
the privileges of good society, and elegant polish in this respect is
the desirable result and certain indication of natural refinement.

I will only add that elocutionary skill always affords the possessor the
means of promoting social and domestic enjoyment, and that the finest
sentiments and the most eloquent language lose half their proper effect
when uttered in a mumbling or muttering tone, as well as in too loud or
too low a voice.

Closely allied to the accomplishment of which we have been speaking, is
that of _Conversational ease and elegance_, an art in which all other
nations are excelled by the French, and in which we, perhaps, most
successfully emulate them.

Unfortunately for our social advancement in this respect,

    "_The well of English undefiled_"

is not the only source from which the _vehicle of thought_ is derived.
The use of slang phrases, of crack words, even among the better educated
classes of society--and that in writing as well as in conversation--is
becoming noticeably prevalent. Nothing can be more detrimental to the
advancement of those who desire to acquire colloquial polish than the
habit of using this inelegant language, and there is nothing into which
one may glide more insensibly, when it becomes familiar from

You will, perhaps, say that the amusement afforded to others by the
occasional adoption of these mirth-provoking vulgarisms affords an
apology for their use; and that would be a legitimate excuse, did the
matter end there. But who can hope successfully to establish the line of
demarcation that shall separate the legitimate sphere of their
applicability from that in which they cannot properly claim a place? We
know how much we are all under the dominion of _habit_ in regard to the
artificial observances of life, and that once established, any practice
in which we indulge ourselves may manifest itself unconsciously to us.
Hence, then, it is no more safe to acquire the habit of interlarding our
discourse with inelegances of expression, ungrammatical language,
Yankeeisms, _localisms_ (to coin a word if it be not one, more
expressive here than _provincialisms_) or vulgarisms of any kind, than
to permit ourselves the perpetration of other solecisms in
good-breeding, with the protection only of a _mental limitation_ to
their undue encroachment upon our claims to refined associations.

There is, therefore, no safe rule, except that dictating the unvarying
adoption of the _purest and most expressive idiomatic English_ we can
command. I remember to have heard it said of a celebrated
conversationist, whom I knew in my younger days, that he not only always
used a _good_ word to express his meaning, but the _very best_ word
afforded by our language.

The habit of _thinking clearly_ might naturally be supposed to produce
the power of conveying ideas to others with distinctness, were not the
impression controverted by much evidence to the contrary. I must
believe, however, that the difference between persons, in this respect,
arises more frequently from want of attention to the subject, than from
all other causes combined. I know of no other way of sufficiently
explaining the awkward, slipshod, unsatisfactory mode of talking so
common even among educated people. Were we accustomed to regarding
conversational pleasures as among the highest enjoyments of existence,
and of making them a part of our daily life--as the French of all ranks
do--a vast difference would exist between what is, and what might be.
With what intensity of interest, with what vivacity of manner do the
polite and cultivated French _talk_! The _salons_ of the leaders of
_ton_ in Paris are nightly filled with the literati, the artists, the
soldiers and statesmen concentered in that brilliant capitol. And they
assemble not to eat, not even to dance, to the exclusion of all other
gratifications, but to _talk_--to exchange ideas upon topics and
incidents of passing interest--to receive and to communicate
instruction, as well as enjoyment. And even the common people--whether
eating their frugal evening repast at a little table placed in the
street, or seated in groups in the garden of the Tuileries--how they
talk! with what _abandon_--to use their own word--with what geniality,
with what sprightliness! The very children, sporting like so many birds
of gorgeous plumage, and musical tones, in the public gardens and
promenades, prattle of matters interesting to them, with a graceful
vivacity nowhere else to be seen. All classes give _themselves up to
it--take time for it_, as one of the necessities of daily life! But I
should apologize for this digression.

The advantage of _habitual practice_, then, cannot be too highly
commended to those who would acquire colloquial skill. There is, also,
no better mode of fastening knowledge in the mind than by accustoming
one's self to clothing ideas in spoken language, and the mere attempt to
do so, gives distinctness to thought.

But while fluency and ease are the results of practice, the
_embellishments_ of _conversation_ require careful culture. Wit, Humor,
Repartee, though to some extent natural gifts, may undoubtedly be
improved, if not attained, by artificial training.

It is said that Sheridan, one of the most celebrated wits and
conversationists of his day, prepared himself for convivial occasions,
like an intellectual gladiator, ready to enter the lists in a valiant
struggle for supremacy. He may be said to have made Conversation a
_Profession_, to which he gave his whole attention, as did the
celebrated youth who exceeded all his fellows in the tie of his
neck-cloth, to that mysterious art!

Sheridan's practice was, to make brief notes, before going into society,
of appropriate topics and witticisms for each occasion, upon which he
relied for sustaining his reputation as a boon companion and
accomplished talker. There is a good story told of his being
exceedingly nonplussed, on some important occasion, by having his
memoranda purloined by a friend, who, while waiting to accompany the wit
to an entertainment to which both were invited, stole his thunder from
his dressing-table, where it had been placed in readiness. The unlucky
literary Boanerges was as powerless as Jupiter robbed of his bolts!

But if one would not desire preparation as elaborately artificial as
that ascribed to this spoiled fondling of English aristocracy, there
seems to be a propriety in making some mental, as well as external
arrangements before entering society. Thus, passingly to reflect, while
making one's toilet for such an occasion, upon the general character of
the company one is to meet, and upon the subjects most appropriate for
conversation with those with whom one will probably be individually
associated, may not be amiss. Nor will it be unwise to recall such
reminiscences of personal adventures, popular intelligence, etc., as the
day may have furnished.

Happily, however, for those who distrust their power to surprise by
erudition, or delight by wit, _good-sense_, accompanied by _good-humor_
and _courtesy_, render their possessors the most enduringly agreeable of
social and domestic companions. The _favorites of society_ are usually
those who wound no one's self-love, either by imposing upon others a
painful sense of inferiority, or by rudeness, impertinence, or
assumption. Few have sufficient magnanimity to _forgive superiority_,
but good-nature and politeness need no excuse with any.

    "Oh, let the ungentle spirit learn from hence,
    _A small unkindness is a great offence_!

           *       *       *       *       *

    _All may shun the guilt of giving pain._"

Wit, however racy, should never find a place in conversation when
pointed at the expense of another, and, indeed, _personalities_, even
when free from condemnation on this score, are usually in bad taste.
People of sensibility and refinement are much more likely to be annoyed
than gratified by being made the auditors of conversation, even when
politely intended, which brings them into especial notice.

Hence, nothing requires more delicacy and tact than the _language of
compliment_, which should always be carefully distinguished from that of
mere flattery. The one is the expression of well-bred courtesy, the
other is oppressive and embarrassing to all rightly constituted persons,
and discreditable to the taste by which it is dictated.

As a general rule, it is better to talk of things than of persons, and
William Penn's rule to "_say nothing of others, unless you can say
something good of them_," should have no exception. Let nothing tempt
you into the habit of indulging in gossip, scandal, and unmanly
puerility--not even a good-natured desire to assimilate yourself to the
companionship of temporary associates. In this respect, as in many

    "Vice is a monster of such hideous mien,
    As to be hated, needs but to be seen;
    But seen too oft, familiar with her face,
    We first endure, then pity, then embrace."

No conscientiously-enlightened man can reflect for a moment upon the
heinousness of _slander_, or indeed of evil speaking when not allied
with falsehood, without abhorrence; and yet, how few can assume that, in
Heaven's High Chancery, there is no such dark record against them.

Permit me to remind you that a mere difference of _intonation_ or of
_emphasis_, in repeating conversational remarks, will sometimes suffice
to convey a wholly erroneous impression to others, and that a mysterious
glance, a nod, a shrug, a smile, may be made equivalent to the "offense
of _spoken words_."

I have recommended the adoption of good, pure English as the most
unexceptionable colloquial coin. Recurring to this point, let me express
the opinion that the most pretentious, or erudite language, is not
always that best adapted to the purposes of practical life. No one is
bound to speak ungrammatically or incorrectly, even when communicating
with the illiterate, but the _simplest_ phraseology, as well as the most
laconic, is often the most appropriate and expressive, under such

Companionship with the educated justifies the use, without justly
incurring the charge of _pedantry_, of every mode of conveying ideas
that we are assured is _intelligible_ to them. Thus classical scholars
may use the learned languages, if they will, in mutual intercourse; and
the popular and familiar words and phrases we have borrowed from the
French, are often a convenient resource, under similar circumstances.
All this is best regulated by good-breeding and taste. It is always
desirable to err on the safe side, where there is a possibility of
misapprehension, or of incurring the imputation of affectation, or of a
love of display.

This last consideration, by the way, affords an additional incentive to
the selection of such companionship as is best suited to elicit the
exercise of conversational grace, and stimulate the mental cultivation
upon which it must be based. In addition to this advantage, is that thus
afforded of familiarizing one's self with the usages of those who may be
regarded as _models_ for the inexperienced. The modesty so becoming in
the young, will inspire a wish to _listen_ rather than talk; but--though
to be an attentive and interested listener is one of the most agreeable
and expressive of compliments--remember that _practice_, if judiciously
directed, cannot be too soon attempted, to secure this desirable

These remarks, I am fully aware, have been desultory and digressive, but
they were designed to be rather suggestive than satisfactory; and
experimental knowledge will, I trust, more than compensate you for my
conscious deficiencies. I will add only a general remark or two, and
then no longer tax your patience.

The ladies--dear creatures!--are most prone, it must be admitted, to the
use of _exaggerated_ language, in conversation; with them the
superlative form of the adjective will alone suffice for the full
expression of feeling or opinion. But this peculiarity is by no means
confined to those in whom enthusiasm and its natural expression are most
becoming. The sterner sex are far from being exempt from this habit,
which often involves _looseness of thought_, _inaccuracy of statement_,
or _positive untruthfulness_. It is desirable, as _a point of ethics_,
to practise care in this regard. Using the strongest forms of expression
on ordinary occasions, leaves one no _reserved corps_ of language for
those requiring unusual impressiveness. _Accuracy_ is the great
essential, many times, in the choice of language. A clear idea, clearly
and unequivocally expressed, is indicative of a good and
well-disciplined intellect, each, as I have before intimated, the result
of _attention_ and _practice_.

Well-bred people are careful, when obliged to differ with others in
conversation, to do so in polite language, and never to permit the
certainty of being in the right to induce a dictatoral or assuming
manner. When only a difference of opinion or of taste is involved, young
persons, particularly, should scrupulously abstain from any appearance
of obstinacy, or self-sufficiency, and defend their impressions, if at
all, with a courteous deference to others. Usually, nothing is gained by
argument in general society. No one is convinced, because no one wishes
to be, and many persons, even when 'convinced, will argue still,'
because unwilling, from wounded self-love, to admit it. Much acrimony of
feeling is engendered in this way--pertinacity often causing an
unpleasant conclusion to what was begun in entire good-feeling. No one
is bound to renounce a claim to his individual rights in this respect,
but modesty and courtesy will never sit ill upon the young, while
steadfastly defending even a point of principle. "Never," said Mr.
Madison, in an admirable letter of advice to a nephew, "_never forget
that, precisely in proportion as you differ from others in opinion, they
differ with you_." Let me add, that they who are honestly seeking
knowledge and truth, will carefully review and re-weigh opinions,
tastes, and principles in regard to which they find themselves differing
essentially with those whom age, experience, and learning render their
admitted superiors.

And if contradiction and opinionativeness are inadmissible in good
society, at least equal taste and tact are required in conveying
information to others. Some graceful phrase, some self-renouncing
admission or explanation, which may secure you from the envy or dislike
that wounded vanity might otherwise engender, should not be forgotten
when circumstance or education give you an advantage over others in the
intercourse of domestic or social life.

    "As in smooth oil the razor best is whet,
    So wit is by politeness sharpest set;
    Their want of edge from their offense is seen,
    Both pain us least when exquisitely keen,
    _The fame men give is for the joy they find_!"

It is usually in bad taste to talk of one's self in general society.
Humility of language, in this respect, may easily be interpreted into
insincerity, and it is at least equally difficult, on the other hand, to
avoid the imputation of egotism. Frankness with those to whom you are
bound by the ties of friendship, will, many times, be the best proof you
can give of the sincerity of your confidence and regard, but this will
in no degree interfere with a certain _self-abnegation_ in ordinary
social intercourse. Politeness may dictate our being listened to with a
semblance of interest, when our own health, affairs, adventures, or
misfortunes are the subject of detailed discourse on our part, but the
sympathy of the world is not easily enkindled, and pity is often mingled
with contempt. People go into society to be amused, not to have their
courtesy taxed by appeals to sensibilities upon which others have no
claim. Carlyle has well said, "_Silently swallow the chagrins of your
position; every position has them_." And it is so; but one's "private
griefs" are not lessened by exposure, nor made more endurable by being
constantly the theme, either of one's thoughts or conversation. Let me
add that their legitimate use is to teach us a ready sympathy with the
sorrows and trials of others, rather than a hardened self-engrossment.

While you endeavor, therefore, to

    "Conceal yoursel' as weel's ye can
      Frae critical dissection,"

seek to excel in personal agreeability, not for the sake of superiority
so much as to secure the means of giving pleasure to others, and of
entitling yourself to the favorable regard of those whose society it is
desirable to enjoy. Even the readiest admirers of wit may weary of the
very brilliancy of its flashes, if the coruscations too constantly
recur, as the eye tires of sheet-lightning, often repeated; but who will
weary of geniality, amiability, and

    "Good breeding, the blossom of good sense,"

any sooner than will the eye of the lambent light of fair Diana?

No single characteristic of conversation, perhaps, so universally
commends the possessor to the favor of society, as _cheerfulness_. "_A
laugh_," said an eminent observer of society, "_is the best vocal music;
it is a glee in which everybody can take part!_" I remember, once, being
for some weeks in a hotel with a number of invalids, one of whom, though
a constant sufferer, always met me with a pleasant smile, and uttered
his passing salutations in a voice cheery as a hunter's horn. Really,
his simple "Good morning, Colonel Lunettes," was so replete with
good-humor, courtesy, and cheerfulness, as to do one good like a
cordial. It so impressed me that, at length, I responded, "Good morning,
_cheerful sir_,--I believe you never fail to greet your friends in a
manner that gives them pleasure." His pleasant smile grew pleasanter,
and his bright eye brighter, as he replied--"I always make _a principle_
of speaking cheerfully to the sick, especially--they, of all others, are
most susceptible to outward impressions." "There is a world of
philosophy, as well as of humanity, in what you say," returned I, "and I
can personally testify to the good effects of your kindly habit."

But it is not alone the sick, the sad, or the sensitive who hail a
cheerful companion with delight--these _Human Sunbeams_ bring warmth and
gladness to all--even the least susceptible feel the effects of their
genial presence, almost unconsciously, and frequently seek and enjoy
their conversation when even elegance and erudition would fail of

The same tact and self-respect that will preserve you from exhibitions
of vanity and egotism, will dictate discrimination in the selection of
topics of conversation, bearing upon matters of taste and sentiment, as
well as of opinion and principle.--All affectation or assumption of
superiority in this respect is offensive and worse than useless. Those
with whom you have mental affinities will understand and appreciate you;
but beware, especially if sensitively constituted, how you expose your
sensibilities to the ridicule, or your principles to the professed
distrust of those with whom, for any reason, you cannot measure
colloquial weapons upon entirely equal terms.

On the contrary, again, no well-bred man ever rudely assails either the
predilections or the principles of others in general society. This is no
more the proper arena for intellectual conflicts than for political
sparring, or theological disputes. Whatever tends to disturb the general
harmony of a circle, or to give pain to any one present, is
inexcusable, however truthful and important in the abstract, however
wise or witty in itself considered, may be observations tending to
either or both results.

This brings me to dwelling a moment upon a kindred point--the
discourtesy sometimes exhibited by young men towards ladies and
clergymen, in the use of equivocal language, and the introduction of
exceptionable subjects in their hearing. Anything that will crimson the
cheek of true womanhood, or invade the _unconsciousness_ of _innocence_,
is unworthy and unmanly, to a degree of which it is not easy to find
language to express sufficient abhorrence. The defencelessness of the
dependent sex, in this, as in all other respects, is their best
protection with all who--

    "Give the world assurance of a _man_!"

And the same shield is presented by those whose profession precludes
their adopting the means of self-defence permitted to the world at
large. Nothing can be more vulgar--setting aside the immorality of the
thing--than to speak disrespectfully of religion, or of its advocates
and professors, in society--what then shall be said of those who assail
the ears of the acknowledged champions of Christianity with infidel
sentiments, contemptuous insinuations, or profane expletives? Depend
upon it, a _man of the world_, whatever his honest doubts, or unorthodox
convictions, will be as little likely to present himself as a mark in
regard to these matters for the _suspicious distrust_, or the _palpable
misapprehension_ of society, as to subject himself to the charges of
extreme _juvenility_ and _low breeding_ by assailing a clergyman with
ridicule, or a woman with libertinism, however exquisite may be his wit
in the one case, or apparently refined his insinuations, in the other.

While recommending to your attention the selection of suitable and
tasteful subjects of general conversation, I should not omit to remind
you that nothing but acknowledged intimacy sanctions the manifestation
of curiosity respecting the affairs of others. As a rule, _direct
questions_ are inadmissible in good society. Listen with politeness to
what may be voluntarily communicated to you by your associates,
regarding themselves, but on no account, indulge an impertinent
curiosity in such matters; and when courtesy sanctions the manifestation
of interest, express your desire for information in polite language, and
with a half-apologetic manner, that will permit reserve, without
embarrassment to either party. Let me add, that an uncalled-for
exhibition of your familiarity with the private affairs of a friend,
when his own presence and manner should furnish your proper clue to his
wishes, is to prove yourself unworthy of his confidence. As well might
one boast of his acquaintance with the great, or assume an unceremonious
manner towards them, on unsuitable occasions. In either case, one is
liable to the repulse sustained by an unfortunate candidate for
fashionable distinction, who, approaching a member of English _haut ton_
in the streets of London, said, "I believe I had the honor of knowing
you in the country, sir."--"_When we again meet in the country_," was
the reply, "I shall be pleased to renew the acquaintance!"

_Quickness of repartee_ may be reckoned among the graces of the
colloquial art, and those who are gifted with activity of intellect, and
have acquired facility in the use of expressive language, should possess
the power thus to embellish their social intercourse. Every one is now
and then inspired in this way, I believe; but few persons,
comparatively, even among the most practised conversationists, excel in
this respect. How few, for instance, would have responded as readily, in
an emergency, as did the half-drunk servant of Swift:

"Is my fellow here?" inquired the Dean, pushing open the door of a low
tavern much frequented by his often-missing _valet_.

A nondescript figure came staggering forward, and stuttered out--"_Your
L-Lordship's f-a-l-l-o-w can't b-be f-found in all I-Ire-Ireland!_"

I have lately met, somewhere in my reading, with the following anecdote
of the elder Adams, as he is frequently called. I remember, at this
moment no better illustration of ready repartee:

"How are you this morning, sir?" asked a friend who called to pay his
respects to this patriotic son of New England, during the latter days of
his life.

"Not well," replied the invalid; "I am not well. I inhabit a weak,
frail, decayed tenement, open to the winds, and broken in upon by the
storms, and what is worse, _from all I can learn, the landlord does not
intend to make repairs_!"

_A ready and graceful reply to a compliment_, may, also, be regarded as
a conversational embellishment. It is not polite to _retort_ to the
language of courtesy with a charge of insincerity, or of flattery.
_Playfulness_ frequently affords the best resource, or the _retort
courteous_, as in Lord Nelson's celebrated reply to Lady Hamilton's
questions of "Why do you differ so much from other men? Why are you so
superior to the rest of your sex?" "If there were more Emmas, there
would be more Nelsons." One may say, "I fear I owe your commendation to
the partiality of friendship;" or, "I trust you may never be undeceived
in regard to my poor accomplishments;" or, "Really, madam, your
penetration enables you to make discoveries for me." Then again, to one
of the lenient sex, one may reply--"Mrs. Blank sees all her friends
through the most becoming of glasses--her own eyes." And to an older
gentleman, who honors you with the fiat of a compliment, thus proving
that it may sometimes be false that

    "The vanquished have no friends,"

"Really, sir, I do not know whether I am most overwhelmed by admiration
for your wit and politeness, or by gratitude for your kindness." Or some
phrase like this will occasionally be appropriate--"I am afraid, sir, I
shall plume myself too highly upon your good opinion. You do me much
honor;" or, "It will be my _devoir_, as well as my happiness, for the
future, to deserve your commendation, sir;" or, "You inspire as much as
you encourage me, dear sir--if I possess any claim to your flattering
compliment, you have yourself elicited it." To a compliment to one's
wit, or the like, one may reply--"Dullness is always banished by the
presence of Miss ----;" or, "Who could fail to be, in some degree, at
least, inspired in such a presence?" Then, again, a reply like this will
suffice--"I am only too happy in being permitted to amuse you, madam."

Permit me in this connection, a few words respecting _conversation with
ladies_. Though all mere silliness and twaddle should be regarded as
equally unworthy of them and yourselves, yet, in general association
with the fairest ornaments of creation, _agreeability_, rather than
profundity, should be your aim, in the choice of topics. Sensitive,
tasteful, refined,

    "And variable as the shade
    By the light quivering aspen made,"

their vividness of imagination and sportiveness of fancy demand
similarity of intellectual gifts, or the graceful tribute of, at least,
temporary assimilation. _Playfulness_, _cheerfulness_, _versatility_,
and _courtesy_ should characterize colloquial intercourse with ladies;
but the deference due them should never degenerate into mere servile
acquiescence, or mawkish sentimentality.

The utmost _refinement of language and of matter_ should always be
regarded as essential, under such circumstances, to the discourse of a
well-bred man; and should, of course, distinguish his _manner_ as well.
Thus, all slang phrases, everything approaching to _double entendre_,
all familiarity of address, unsanctioned by relationship or acknowledged
intimacy, all mis-timed or unsanctioned use of nick-names and Christian
names, are as inadmissible in good society as are personal
familiarities, nudging, winking, whispering, etc.

Too much care cannot be taken in avoiding all subjects that may have the
effect to wound or distress others. I think I have before remarked that
people go into society for enjoyment--relaxation from the grave duties
and cares of life--not to be depressed by the misanthropy of others, or
disturbed by details of scenes of horror. I have known persons who had
such a morbid taste for such things as always to insist upon reading
aloud, even in the hearing of children and ladies, the frightful
newspaper details of rail-road accidents and steamboat explosions. I
remember, in particular, once having the misfortune to be acquainted
with such a social incubus, to whom a death in the neighborhood was a
regular God-send, and to whom the wholesale slaughter made by the
collision of rail-cars served as colloquial capital for weeks--indeed
until some provident body corporate supplied new material for his
cormorant powers of mental digestion! His letters to distant friends
were a regular _bill of mortality_, filled with minute accounts of the
peculiar form of disease by which every old woman of his acquaintance
was enabled to shuffle off this mortal coil, and of every accident that
occurred in the country for miles around--from the sudden demise of a
poor widow's cow, to the broken leg of a robber of bird's-nests! I shall
never forget the revulsion of feeling he produced for me, one serene
summer evening, as I was placidly strolling over the sands by the
sea-shore, drinking in the glory of old Neptune's wide-spread realm, by
inflicting upon me, not only _himself_--which was enough for mortal
patience--but a long rigmarole about the great numbers of fishes washed
upon the shore by a recent storm, who had had their eyes picked out by
birds of prey, while still struggling for life in an uncongenial
element! On another occasion, I had the misfortune to be present when a
young lady was thrown into violent hysterics by his mentioning, with as
much _gusto_ as an inveterate "collector" would have exhibited in
boasting the possession of a _steak_ from the celebrated "antediluvian
beef," immortalized by Cuvier,[13] that he had picked up a small foot
with a lady's boot on it, while visiting the scene of a late rail-road

  [13] Speaking in one of his public lectures, of the recent discovery
  (amid the eternal snows of Siberia, I think), of the carcass of a
  _mastodon_, upon which the hunting-dogs of the explorers had
  fed--"_Thus_," said the great naturalist, "_did modern dogs gorge
  themselves upon antediluvian beef!_"

But avoiding these aggravated forms of grossness is not enough. True
politeness requires attention to the peculiarities of each of the
company you are with--teaching, for instance, your abstaining from
allusions to their personal defects or misfortunes, to the embarrassment
of conversing with deaf persons, in the presence of those thus
afflicted, to lameness, when some one present has lost a limb, to the
peculiarities of age, in the hearing of elderly persons, to the vulgar
impression that all lawyers are knaves, when one of the sons of that
noble profession is among your auditors--to the murderous reputation of
the disciples of Esculapius, etc. This rule will teach, too, the use of
a less offensive term than that of "old maid," when speaking of women of
no particular age, in the hearing of such as are by courtesy only,
without the pale alluded to; and the propriety of not appealing to such
authority in relation to matters of remote personal remembrance!

In no country with the social institutions of which I am familiar, do
the peculiar opinions obtain, which prevail in this country respecting
_age_. "Young America" regards every one as old, apparently, who has
attained majority, and _women_, in particular, are subjected to a most
unjust ordeal in this respect. The French have a popular saying that no
woman is agreeable until she is forty; and in both France and England,
_marriage_--which first entitles a young lady to a decided position in
society--usually occurs at a much later period in her life than with
us. In neither of those countries are girls _brought out_ at an age when
here they are frequently already mothers! But to return: nothing is more
ill-bred, than this too frequent assumption of the claims of women to be
exempt from social obligations and deprived of their proper places in
society, in this country, while still retaining all their pristine
claims to agreeability. Polished manners, cultivated tastes and personal
attractions, are not to have their claims abrogated by Time. You
remember the poet says:

    "The little Loves are infants ever,
    The Graces are of every age!"

I well remember being intensely chagrined by an exhibition of
under-breeding in this way while making a morning visit, with a young
countryman of ours, upon a beautiful English girl, a distant relative of

After discussing London fogs, and other kindred topics, Jonathan
suddenly burst forth, as if suddenly inspired with a bright thought.

"How's the old lady?"

The largest pair of blue eyes, opening to their full extent, turned
wonderingly upon the querist.

"Your _mother_,--is she well this morning?"

"Mamma is pretty well, thank you; but it is not possible that you regard
her as _old_! Mamma is in the very prime of life, only just turned of
five and forty! Dear mother! she is looking very pale and sad in her
widow's cap, but we have never thought of her as _old_," and a shadow,
like the sudden darkening of a fair landscape, dimmed those deep blue
eyes and that fine forehead.

But enough upon this collateral point.

I trust you will need no argument to convince you of the vulgarity and
immorality of permitting yourselves the practice of _repeating private
conversation_. Nothing will more surely tend to deprive you of the
respect and friendship of well-bred people, since nothing is more
thoroughly understood in good society, than a tacit recognition of that
essential security to social confidence and good-feeling which utterly
interdicts the repetition of private conversation.

Let me only add to these rambling observations the assurance that a
_ready compliance_ with the wishes of others, in exercising any personal
accomplishment, is a mark of genuine good-breeding.

       *       *       *       *       *

During one of my visits to London, some years since, the Duke of ----
invited me to run down with him, for a few days, to his magnificent
estate in ----shire.

Riding one morning with my host and a numerous party of his guests, we
paused to breathe our horses, and enjoy the fine prospect, upon the
summit of a hill overlooking the wide-spread acres of his lordship.

"Here the estate of my neighbor, Mr. ----, joins my land," said the
Duke, pointing, with his riding-whip, towards a narrow, thickly-wooded
valley, at our feet. "You catch a glimpse of his turrets through the
oaks yonder. This spot always reminds me," pursued our host, laughing,
"of an amusing incident of which it was the scene, years ago, when the
family of my neighbor had not become as distinguished as it now is,
among the philanthropists of the age. A young friend of ours, who was
spending the shooting-season here with my sons, while eagerly pursuing
his game, one morning, unconsciously trespassed upon the preserves of
Mr. ----. The report of his fowling-piece brought Mr. ---- suddenly to
his side, just as he was triumphantly bagging his bird. My excellent
neighbor, with all his admirable qualities, is sometimes a little
choleric, and you know, Col. Lunettes, [bowing and smiling] that nothing
sooner rouses the ire of a true Englishman, than an invasion of the
_Game Laws_."

"'Sir!' cried Mr. ----, in a voice trembling with ill-suppressed fury,
'do you know that you are trespassing,--that these are _my_ grounds?'

"My young guest was not permitted fully to explain, before the angry man
again burst forth with a tirade, which he concluded, by asking--'What
would you do yourself, sir, under such circumstances? How would you feel
disposed to treat a gentleman who had encroached upon your rights in
this way?'

"'Well, really, sir, since you ask me, I think I should _invite him to
go with me to the house and take a mouthful of lunch_!'

"This was irresistible! Even ----'s indignation was cooled by such
inimitable _sang froid_, and he at once adopted the suggestion of the
young sportsman. My witty guest not only secured the refreshment he
needed, but, eventually, helped himself to a _bonne bouche_ of more
substantial character, by his marriage with one of the blooming
daughters of my neighbor, to whom he was introduced on that memorable

       *       *       *       *       *

A young American of my acquaintance, met, not long since, in the
_salons_ of a distinguished _Parisienne_, one of the most learnedly
scientific of the French authors of our times.

"I am as much surprised as I am delighted, to meet you here to-night,
Mr. ----," said my friend, "I supposed you too much occupied in profound
research and study, to find time for such enjoyments."

"I am, indeed, much occupied at present," returned the _savant_; "but I
can neither more agreeably nor more profitably spend a portion of my
time than in the society of my refined and cultivated friend, Madame
----, and that of the intellectual and accomplished visitors I always
meet at her house."

       *       *       *       *       *

Speaking, in the body of this letter, of the uselessness of _arguing_
with the hope of convincing others, reminded me, by association, of a
little incident illustrative of my opinion, of which I was once a
witness, during a summer sojourn at Avon Springs--a little quiet
watering-place in the Empire State, as you may know.

There was a pleasant company of us, and our intercourse was agreeable
and friendly--all, apparently, disposed to contribute to the general
stock of amusement, and to make the most of our somewhat limited
resources in the way of general entertainment. There were pretty
daughters and managing mammas, heiresses, and ladies without fortune,
who were quite as attractive as those whose fetters were of gold, the
usual complement of brainless youths, antiquated bachelors and
millionaire widowers (so reputed), with a sprinkling of nondescripts and
old soldiers, like myself.

It was our custom to muster, in great force, every morning, and go in a
mammoth omnibus from our hotel to the "Spring" to bathe and drink the
delectable sulphur-water, there abounding. On these occasions, every one
was good-humored, obliging, and cheerfully inclined to make sacrifices
for the comfort and convenience of others. The _ladies_, especially,
were the objects of particular care and courtesy, being always politely
assisted up and down the high, awkward steps of our lumbering
conveyance, with their bathing parcels, etc.

    ----"All went merry as a marriage bell,"

until one unlucky day when some theological point became matter of
discussion between two men of opposite opinions, just as we were
commencing our return-ride from the Spring. Others were soon drawn,
first into listening, and then into a participation in the conversation,
until almost every man in the company had betrayed a predilection for
the distinctive tenets of some particular religious sect. Thus,
Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians,
Unitarians, and Romanists stood revealed, each the ardent champion of
his own peculiar views. The ladies had the good sense to remain silent,
with the exception of an "Equal Rights" woman, whose wordy interposition
clearly proved that

    "_Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!_"

Well! of course, no one was convinced by this sudden outbreak of varied
eloquence of the fallacy of opinions he had previously entertained, and
of the superior wisdom of those of any one of his companions. Indeed, so
eager was each in the maintenance of his own ground, as scarcely to heed
the arguments of his opponents, except as furnishing a fresh impulse for
advancing his own with increasing pertinacity.

Presently, flushed cheeks, angry glances, and louder tones gave token
that the meek spirit of the long-suffering _Prince of Peace_ was not
dominant in the breasts of these, the professed advocates of his
doctrines. Rude language, too, gradually took the place of the professed
courtesy with which the discussion had begun, and the ladies looked
uneasily from the windows, as if to satisfy themselves that escape from
such disagreeable association was near at hand. Happily for them, our
Jehu, though unmindful of any particular occasion for haste, at length
drew up before Comstock's portico. But, in place of the usual patient
waiting of each for his turn to alight, and the usual number of extended
hands that were wont to aid the ladies in their descent, every one of
the angry combatants crowded hastily out of the vehicle, almost before
it had fairly stopped, wholly disregardful alike of the toes of his
neighbors and the claims before universally accorded to the gentler
portion of our company, and hurried up the steps, apparently forgetful
of everything except the uncomfortable chafings of wounded self-love!
Each man, evidently, regarded himself as the most abused of mortals, and
the rest as a parcel of obstinate fools, for whom it were a great waste
of ammunition to assume the martyr's fate! And I am by no means sure,
that the cheerful amicability that had before prevailed among us was
ever fully restored after this unhappy outbreak of _religious feeling_!

       *       *       *       *       *

The gayest of capitals experienced a sensation! The wittiest of circles,
where all was wit, were, for once, content to listen only! The brave,
the great, the learned, and the fair, contended for the smiles and the
society of the Marquis de Plusesprit, the handsomest, the most
accomplished, and the wittiest man in Paris!

One day, while this social _furore_ was at its height, a celebrated
physician received a professional visit from an unknown, whose pale
cheeks and sunken eyes bore testimony to the suffering to which he
described himself as being a prey. The man of science prepared a
prescription, but assured his patient that what would most speedily
effect his restoration was change of scene and agreeable society.

"Seek in congenial companionship relief from the mental anxiety by which
you are evidently oppressed," said the modern Esculapius--"fly from
study and self-contemplation;--above all, _court the society of the
Marquis de Plusesprit_!"

"Alas! doctor," returned the stranger, "_I am Plusesprit!_"

       *       *       *       *       *

Speaking of Repartee, reminds me of a pretty scene of which I was a
witness, not long since, while ruralizing for a week with an old friend
and his charming daughters, at their beautiful and hospitable home, on
the banks of the Hudson. By the way, I have before introduced you to
their acquaintance--the pleasant family of _letter-writing memory_!--

An elderly foreign gentleman, of large information and agreeable
manners, but not one of fortune's favorites, had been dining with us, by
special invitation, and the lovely daughters of my host had vied with
each other in doing honor to one in whom sensitiveness may have been
rendered a little morbid by the effect of the tyrant Circumstance. Every
hour succeeding his arrival had served more effectually to melt away a
certain constraint of manner, by which he seemed at first oppressed, and
his expressive face grew bland and genial under the sunny influences of
courteous respect and appreciation, until when he rose to go away at
sunset, he seemed almost metamorphosed out of the man of the morning.

The sisters three, accompanied their agreeable visitor to the
vine-draped veranda, where I was already seated, attracted by the beauty
of the evening, and of my local surroundings. I had been particularly
admiring a fine large orange-tree, at the entrance of the porch, which
was laden with flowers and fruit, and, with glittering pearls from a
shower just bestowed upon it by the gardener.

"Will you not come again, before Colonel Lunettes leaves us, Mr. ----?"
asked my sweet young friend Fanny, in her most cordial tones, linking
her arm in that of one sister, and clasping the waist of the other, as
she spoke, "we will invoke the Loves and Graces to attend you"----

"The Graces!" exclaimed the guest, quickly,--extending his hands towards
the group, and bowing profoundly--"then you will come yourselves!--_the
Graces are before me!_" And then he added, with a courtly air--"Really,
Miss Fanny, you too highly honor a rusty old man"----

"An old man," interrupted Fanny, with the utmost vivacity, dissolving
the "linked sweetness" that had intwined her with her sisters, and
extending her beautiful arm towards the superb orange-tree before her,
"an old man!--here is a fitting emblem of our friend Mr. ----;--all the
attractiveness of youth still mingled with the matured fruit of

Charming Fanny! God bless her!--she is one of those earth-angels whose
manifold gifts seem used only to give happiness to others!

       *       *       *       *       *

I called one evening, not long since, to pay my respects to the daughter
of a recently-deceased and much-valued friend. She had been persuaded
into a journey to a distant city, in search of the health and spirits
that had been exceedingly impaired by watching beside the death-bed of
her departed mother. Her appearance could scarcely fail, as it seemed to
me, to interest the most insensible stranger to her history;--for
myself, I was inexpressibly touched by the language of the colorless
face and languid eyes to which a simple black robe lent additional

Just as I began to indulge a hope that the faint smile my endeavors at
cheerful conversation had caused to flicker about her lips--as a
rose-tint illumines for a moment the white summit of an Alpine
height--there entered the drawing-room of our hostess a bevy of noisy
women, young and old, who gathered about the sofa, where my friend and I
were seated near our hostess, and rattled away like so many pieces of
small (very small!) artillery.

I saw plainly that the mere noise was almost too much for the nerves of
the silent occupant of the sofa corner; but what was my surprise at
hearing them go into the most minute particulars respecting the recent
death of a gentleman of our acquaintance! His dying words, his very
death-struggles were carefully reported, and the grief of the survivors
graphically described!

Unfortunately, having relinquished my seat beside the mourner to one of
these women, I was powerless in my intense wish to attract her attention
from the subject of their discourse; but my eyes were riveted upon her,
with the keenest sympathy for the torture she must be undergoing. Her
pale face had gradually grown white as a moonbeam, until, at length, as
though strengthened by desperation, she sprang from her seat, and
essayed to leave the room. One step forward, a half-stifled sob, and the
slender form lay extended on the floor in hapless insensibility.

       *       *       *       *       *

"While Mr. Smith is tuning his guitar, let us beg Mrs. Williams to
redeem her promise of reciting Campbell's 'Last Man' for us," said a
graceful hostess, mindful of the truth that some of her guests preferred
eloquence and poetry to sweet sounds, and desirous, too, of drawing out
the accomplishments of all her guests.

Mrs. Williams, gifted with

    "The vision and the faculty divine,"

glanced a little uneasily at the ever-twanging guitar as she politely
assented to the requests that eagerly seconded that of her hostess. Mr.
Smith still continued to hum broken snatches of an air, twisting the
screws of his instrument with complete self-engrossment, the while.

"I will not interrupt Mr. Smith," said the lady, in more expressive
tones than were ever elicited from catgut by the efforts of that
gentleman, moving with a step graceful as that of a gazelle to the other
end of the room.

Our little circle gathered about her, and enjoyed, in an exquisite

    "The feast of reason, and the flow of soul,"

that so far surpasses the merely sensuous pleasure afforded by music,
when not associated with exalted sentiment.

As the company broke into little groups, after thanking Mrs. Williams
for the high gratification for which we were her debtors, I overheard
Mr. Smith say, with a discontented air, to a youth with a "_lovely
moustache_," who had "accompanied" him in his previous musical
endeavors, "I'll never bring my instrument _here_ again!"

At this critical moment, our hostess approached with a water-ice, as a
propitiatory offering, and expressed the hope that the guitar was now
renewed for action. The musician, with offended dignity, only
condescended to reply, as he deposited his idol in a corner--

"Thank you, ma'am; I supposed your friends were _fond of music_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Discussing the mooted subject of _beards_ one morning lately, with some
sprightly young ladies of my acquaintance, the following specimen of
quickness of repartee was elicited. I record it for your amusement.

"Among the ancients, I believe," said a fair girl, "a long, snowy beard
was considered an emblem of the wisdom of the possessor."

"And how is it in modern times?" inquired another lady, "does wisdom
keep pace, in exact proportion with length of beard?"

"No, indeed," exclaimed the first speaker, laughingly, "for,

    "If beards long and bushy true wisdom denote,
    Then Plato must bow to a hairy he-goat!"

       *       *       *       *       *

What would an educated foreigner--Kossuth, for instance, who learned
English _by the study of Shakspeare_--make of the following specimens of
colloquial American language?

"Do tell, Jul," exclaimed a young lady, "where _have_ you been
marvelling to? You look like Time in the primer!"

"No you don't," returned the young lady addressed, "you can't come it
over dis chil'!"

"No, no," chimed in a youth of the party, "you can't come it quite, Miss
Lib! Don't try to poke fun at us!"

"You've all been _sparking_ in the woods, I guess!"

"Oh, ho," laughed one of the speakers, "I thought you'd get it through
your hair, at last--that's rich!"

"Why!" retorted the interlocutor, tartly, "do you think I don't know
tother from which?"

"I think you 'know beans' as well as most Hoosiers," replied her
particular admirer, in a tone of unmistakable blandishment.

"Everybody knows Jul's _some pumpkins_," admitted one of her fair

"Come, Jul, rig yourself in a jiffy," said a bonny lassie, who had not
yet spoken, "you are in for a spree!"

"What's in the wind--who's to stand the shot?" cautiously inquired the
damsel addressed.

"We're bound on a spree, I tell you! You must be _green_ to think we'll
own the corn now! Come, fix up, immediately, if not sooner!" so saying,
the energetic speaker seized her friend round the waist and gallopaded
her out of the room.

Presently some one said, "Well, Jul and Lotty have made themselves
scarce!--I----by George, it makes a fellow open his potato-trap to hang
around waitin' so," and an expansive yawn attested the sincerity of this

"I could scare up my traps a heap sight quicker, I reckon, and tote 'em
too, from here to the river, nigger fashion," rejoined a Southerner, of
the group.

"Some chicken fixins and pie doins wouldn't be so bad--would they,
though?" whispered a tall, Western man to his next neighbor.

"And a little suthin to wet your whistle, too," added another,
overhearing the remark--"you're a trump, anyhow!"

"Then you do _kill a snake_, sometimes, Mr. Smith," inquired one of his
auditors, smiling significantly.

"Does your anxious mother know you're out?" retorted Mr. Smith, twirling
his fingers on his nose.

"Don't be wrathy, Smith--what's your tipple, old fellow?" put in one of
the young men, soothingly stroking the broad shoulders of that
interesting youth.

"You're E Pluribus--you're a brick," returned Mr. Smith, softening, "but
where in thunder are those female women? They'ave sloped and given us
the mitten, I spose"----

"You ain't posted up, my boy, if you think they'd given us the slip,"
answered his friend.

"By jingo! it takes the patience of all the world and the rest of
mankind to dance attendance upon them--they ain't as peart as our _gals
o' wind_!" cried Mr. Smith, in an ecstasy of impatience.

"How's your ma, Mr. John Smith?" inquired the merry voice of "Jul," who
had entered unperceived, "you'd better dry up!"

"Here we are, let's be off," shouted a young gentleman.

"All aboard," echoed another.

"Now we'll go it with a rush!" burst from a third, and, suiting the
action to the word, my _dramatis personæ_ vanished like the wind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having the happiness to pass a morning at the _Louvre_ with my early and
lamented friend, Washington Allston, he said to me, as arm in arm we
sauntered slowly through one of the Galleries--"Come and study one of my
particular favorites with me--one might as well attempt to taste all the
nondescript dishes at a Chinese state-dinner as to enjoy every picture
in a collection, at a single visit. I do not even glance at more than
one or two, unless I know that I shall have months before me for
renewing my inspection--better take away one distinct recollection, to
add to one's _private collection_, than half a dozen confused, imperfect

I think it was a _Murillo_ before which the artist paused while
speaking; the celebrated work representing a monk, who had been
interrupted by death while writing his own biography, as being permitted
to return to earth to complete his self-imposed task. I am not sure but
this picture, however, was added some years later to the treasures of
the Louvre, by Napoleon--for we were both young men then--however, it
matters not. I was quite as much occupied in observing the _living
picture_ before me, as that of the great master. And, though memory has
proved somewhat treacherous, I still vividly recollect the spiritualized
face of this true child of genius, as he contemplated the magnificent
impersonation. His brow grew radiant, and his eye! ah, who shall portray
that soul-lit eye, or justly record the poetic language that fell,
almost unconsciously, from his half-inspired lips! Sacredly are they
cherished among the hoarded memories of youthful friendship? It was only
my purpose to recall for your benefit the opinion and practice of one so
fully competent to advise in relation to our subject.

What Disraeli has somewhere said of eating, may, with equal nicety of
epicureanism, be applied to the enjoyment of Ideal Art, and of that of
which it is the type--natural beauty:--"To eat, really to eat," asserts
the discriminatingly sensuous Jew, "one should eat alone, in an easy
dress, by a soft light, and of a single dish at a time!" For myself--but
there's no accounting for tastes!--I should desire on all such

    "One fair spirit for my minister,"

or rather, for my sympathizing companion!

       *       *       *       *       *

As an illustration of the advantage to a man in public life, of _ready
elocution and ready wit_, let me sketch for you a little scene of which
I was the amused and interested witness, one morning some months ago,
while on a visit at Washington.

A _Chaplain_ was to be elected for the House of Representatives. General
Granger, of New York, proposed a Soldier of the Revolution as well as of
the Cross--the Rev. Mr. Waldo--adding a few impressive facts in relation
to his venerable and interesting friend--as that he was then in his
ninety-fourth year, had borne arms for his country in his youth, etc.

Upon this, some member, upon the _opposition benches_, as the English
say, called out:

"What are his claims? where did he serve?"

"The gentleman will permit me to refer him to the Pension Office,"
returned General Granger, with the most smiling urbanity; "he will there
find the more satisfactory answer to his queries."

"What are Mr. Waldo's politics?"

"Though a most amiable gentleman and devout Christian, he belongs, sir,
to--the _Church Militant_!"

"Is he a _Filibuster_?"

"Even so, sir! Mr. Waldo filibustered for the _Old Thirteen_, against
George the Third, in the American Revolution!"

  I am, my dear boys, as ever,
  Your affectionate,




If you wish to have power to say, in the words of the imperial slave of
the beautiful Egyptian,

    "Let me, . . . . . . .
    With those hands that grasp'd the heaviest club,
    Subdue my worthiest _self_,"

you must not wholly overlook the importance of _Habit_, while
establishing your system of life.

Always indicative of character, habit may yet, to a certain extent, do
us the greatest injustice, through mere inadvertency. Indeed, few young
persons attach much importance to such matters, until compelled by
necessity to unlearn, with a painful effort, what has been insensibly

Permit me, then, a few random suggestions, intended rather to awaken
your attention to this branch of a polite education, than to furnish
elaborate directions in relation to it.

Judging from the prevalent tone of social intercourse among our
countrymen, both at home and abroad, one might naturally make the
inference, that most of them regard _Rudeness_ and _Republicanism_ as
synonymous terms. Depend upon it, that as a people, we are retrograding
on this point. Our upper class--or what would fain be deemed such--in
society, may more successfully imitate the fashionable follies and
conventional peculiarities of the Old World, than their predecessors
upon the stage of action did; but fashion is not good breeding, any more
than arrogant assumption, or a defiant independence of the amenities of
life, is true manliness. Breaking away from the ceremonious old school
of habit and manner, we are rapidly running into the opposite extreme,
and the masses who, with little time or inclination for personal
reflection, on such subjects, naturally take their clue, to some extent,
from the assumed exponents of the laws of the fickle goddess,
exaggerating the value of the defective models they seek to imitate,
into the grossest caricature of the whole, and, mistaking rudeness for
ease, and impudence for independence, so defy all abstract propriety,
as, if not to "make the angels weep," at least to mortify and disgust
all observant, thinking men, whose love and pride of country sees in
trifles even, indications more or less auspicious to national

All this defiance of social restraint, this professed contempt for the
suavities and graces that should redeem existence from the complete
engrossment of actualities, is bad enough at home; but its exhibition
abroad is doubly humiliating to our national dignity. Every American who
visits foreign countries, whether as the accredited official
representative of his government, or simply in the character of a
private citizen, owes a duty to his native land, as one of those by the
observance of whom strangers are forming an estimate of the social and
political advancement of the people who are making the great experiment
of the world, and upon whom the eyes of all are fixed with a peculiar
and scrutinizing interest.

It has been well said of us, in this regard, that "_our worst slavery is
the slavery to ourselves_." Trammelled by the narrowest social
prejudices at home, Americans, breaking loose from these restraints
abroad, run riot, like ill-mannered school-boys, suddenly released from
the discipline which, from its very severity, prompts them to indulge in
the extreme of license. Thus, we lately had accounts of the humiliating
conduct of some Americans, who, being guests one night at the Tuileries,
actually so far forgot all decency as to intrude their drunken
impertinence upon the personal observation of the Emperor! And, when
informed, the next morning, that, at the instance of their insulted
host, the police had followed them, when they left the palace, to
ascertain whether they were not suspicious characters who had
surreptitiously obtained admittance to the imperial fête, they are
reported to have pronounced the intelligence "_rich!_" Shame on such
exhibitions!--they disgrace us nationally.

If our countrymen would be content to learn from older peoples on these
points, it would be well. In the Elegant and Ideal Arts, in Literature,
in general Science, the superiority of our predecessors in the history
of Progress, is cheerfully admitted. Can we, then, learn nothing from
the matured civilization of the Old World in regard to the _Art of
Living_? Shall we defy the race to which we belong, on this point alone?
This secret is possessed in greatest perfection by those who have
longest studied its details, and some long existent nations who display
little practical wisdom in matters of political science, are greybeard
sages here. So then, let us learn from them what they can easily save us
the trouble of acquiring by difficult experiments for ourselves, and,
concentrating our energies upon higher objects, give them back a full
equivalent for their knowledge of the best mode of serving the _Lares_,
the _Muses_, and the _Graces_, by a successful illustration of the
truth, that _as a people we are capable of self-government_! We shall,
then, no longer have the wife of an American minister ignorantly
invading the Court Rules at Madrid, by sporting the colors sacred to
royal attire there, and so giving occasion for national offense, as well
as individual conflict, nor furnish Punch with material for the
admonitory reflection that the bond of family union between John Bull
and his cousin Jonathan must be somewhat uncertain "when so small a
matter as the _tie of a cravat can materially affect the price of
stocks_!" And, when vulgar bluster and braggadocio are no longer
mistaken for the proper assertion of national and individual
independence, we shall not have an American gentleman who, like our
justly-distinguished countryman, George Peabody, constantly exhibits
the most urbane courtesy, alike towards foreigners and towards the
citizens of the native country to which his life has been one prolonged
pæan, accused of _toadying_, because he quietly conforms to the social
usages of the people among whom he lives!

But pardon me these generalities. I have been unintentionally led into
them, I believe, by my keen sense of mortification at some of the
incidents to which I have alluded.

Coming then to details, let us, primarily, resolve to be slaves to
nothing and to no one--neither to others nor to ourselves; and to
endeavor to establish such habits as shall entitle each of us, in the
estimation of discriminating observers, to the distinctive name of

_Constant association with well-bred and well-educated society_, cannot
be too highly estimated as an assistant in the acquisition of the
attributes of which we propose to speak. A taste for such companionship
may be so strengthened by habit as to form a strong barrier to the
desired indulgence of grosser inclinations. "Show me your friends, and
I'll tell you what you are," is a pithy Spanish proverb. Choose yours, I
earnestly entreat, in early life, with a view to self-improvement and
self-respect. And, while on this point, permit me to warn you against
mistaking pretension, wealth, or position, for intrinsic merit; or the
advantages of equality in elevated social rank, for an equivalent to
mental cultivation, or moral dignity.

One of the collateral benefits resulting from proper social
associations, will be an escape from _eccentricities_ of manner, dress,
language, etc.; erroneous habits in relation to which, when once
established, often cling to a man through all the changes of time and

But, as observation proves that this, though a safeguard, is by no means
always a sufficient defense, it is well to resort to various
precautions, additionally--as a prudent general not only carefully
inspects the ramparts that guard his fortress, but stations sentinels,
who shall be on the look-out for approaching foes.

So then, my dear boys, do not regard me as descending to puerilities
unworthy of myself and you, when I call your attention to such matters
as your attitude in standing and sitting, or any other little
individualizing peculiarities.

Some men fall into a habit of walking and standing with their heads run
out before them, as if doubtful of their right to keep themselves on a
line with their fellow-creatures. Others, again, either elevate the
shoulders unnaturally, or draw them forward so as to impede the full,
healthful play of the lungs. This last is too much the peculiar habit of
_students_, and contracted by stooping over their books, undoubtedly.
Then again, you see persons swinging their arms, and see-sawing their
bodies from side to side, so as to monopolize a good deal more than
their rightful share of a crowded thoroughfare, steamer cabin, or
drawing-room floor. Nothing is more uncomfortable than walking arm in
arm with such a man. He pokes his elbows into your ribs, pushes you
against passers-by, shakes you like a reed in the wind, and, perhaps,
knocks your hat into the gutter with his umbrella--and all with the most
good-humored unconsciousness of his annoying peculiarity. If you are so
unfortunate as to be shut up in a carriage with him, his restless
propensity relieves itself to the great disturbance of the reserved
rights of ladies, and the frequent impalement upon his protruding elbows
of fragments of fringe, lace, and small children! At table, if it be
possible, his neighbors gently and gradually withdraw from his immediate
vicinity, leaving a _clearing_ to his undisputed possession. He usually
may be observed to stoop forward, while eating, with his plate a good
foot from the customary locality of that convenience, pushed before him
towards the middle of the table, and his arms so adjusted that his
elbows play out and in, like the sweep of a pair of oars.

A little seasonable attention to these things will effectually prevent a
man of sense from falling into such peculiarities. Early acquire the
habit of standing and walking with your chest thrown out--your head
erect--your abdomen receding rather than protruding--not leaning back
any more than forward--with your arms _scientifically_ adjusted--your
hat on the _top_ (not on the back, or on one side) of your head--with a
self-poised and firm, but elastic tread; not a tramp, like a war-horse;
not a stride, like a fugitive bandit; not a mincing step, like a
conjurer treading on eggs; but, with a compact, manly, homogeneous sort
of bearing and movement.

Where there has been any discipline at least, if not always, inklings of
character may be drawn from these tokens in the outer man. For
instance--the light, quick, cat-like step of Aaron Burr, was as much a
part of the man as the Pandemonium gleam that lurked in the depths of
his dark, shadowed eyes. I remember the one characteristic as distinctly
as the other, when I recall his small person and peculiar face. So with
the free, firm pace by which the noble port of De Witt Clinton was
accompanied--one recognized, at a glance, the high intellect, the lofty
manhood, embodied there.

Crossing the legs, elevating the feet, lounging on one side, lolling
back, etc., though quite excusable in the _abandon_ of bachelor
seclusion, should never be indulged in where ceremony is properly
required. In the company of ladies, particularly, too much care cannot
be exhibited in one's attitudes. It is then suitable to sit upright,
with the feet on the floor, and the hands quietly adjusted before one,
either holding the hat and stick (as when paying a morning visit), or
the dress-hat carried in the evening, or, to give ease, on occasion, a
book, roll of paper, or the like. Habits of refinement once established,
a man feels at ease--he can trust himself, without watching, to be
_natural_--and nothing conduces more to grace and elegance than this
quiet consciousness. Let me add, that true comfort, real enjoyment are
no better secured under any circumstances, by indulging in anything
that is _intrinsically unrefined_, and that a certain _habitual
self-restraint_ is the best guarantee of ease, propriety and elegance,
when a man would fain do entire justice to himself.

Habits connected with matters of the table, as indeed with all sensuous
enjoyments, should always be such as not to suggest to others ideas of
merely selfish animal gratification. Among minor characteristics, few
are so indicative of genuine good-breeding as a man's mode of _eating_.
Upon Poor Richard's principle, that "nothing is worth doing at all that
is not worth doing well," one may very properly attach some consequence
to the formation of correct habits in relation to occasions of such very
frequent recurrence. It is well, therefore, to learn to sit uprightly at
table, to keep one's individual "aids and appliances" compactly
arranged; to avoid all noise and hurry in the use of these conveniences;
neither to mince, nor fuss with one's food; nor yet to swallow it as a
boa-constrictor does his,--rolled over in the mouth and bolted _whole_;
or worse still, to open the mouth, to such an extent as to remind
observers that alligators are _half mouth_. Eating with a knife, or with
the fingers; soiling the lips; using the fork or the fingers as a
tooth-pick; making _audible_ the process of mastication, or of drinking;
taking soup from the _point_ of a spoon; lolling forward upon the table,
or with the elbows upon the table; soiling the cloth with what should be
kept upon the plate; putting one's private utensils into dishes of
which others partake; in short, everything that is odd, or coarse,
should nowhere be indulged in.

Cut your meat, or whatever requires the use of the knife, and, leaving
that dangerous instrument conveniently on one side of your plate, eat
with your fork, using a bit of bread to aid, when necessary, in taking
up your food neatly.

When partaking of anything too nearly approaching a liquid to be eaten
with a fork, as stewed tomato, or cranberry, _sop_ it with small pieces
of bread;--a _spoon_ is not used while eating meats and their
accompaniments. Never take up large bones in the fingers, nor bite
Indian corn from a mammoth ear. (In the latter case, a long _cob_
running out of a man's mouth on either side, is suggestive of the mode
in which the snouts of dressed swine are adorned for market!) If you
prefer not to cut the grain from the ear, break it into small pieces and
cut the rows lengthwise, before commencing to eat this vegetable.

When you wish to send your plate for anything, retain your knife and
fork, and either keep them together in your hand, or rest them upon your
bread, so as not to soil the cloth.

Should you have occasion for a tooth-pick, hold your napkin, or your
hand, before your mouth while applying it, and on no account resort to
the _perceptible_ assistance of the tongue in freeing the mouth or teeth
from food.

Have sufficient self-control, when so unfortunate as to be disgusted
with anything in your food, to refrain from every outward manifestation
of annoyance, and if possible, to conceal from others all participation
in your discovery.

Accustom yourself to addressing servants while at table, in a low, but
intelligible tone, and to a good-natured endurance of their blunders.

Avoid the appearance of self-engrossment, or of abstraction while
eating, and, for the sake of health of mind and body, acquire the
practice of a cheerful interchange of both civilities and ideas with
those who may be, even temporarily, your associates.

It is now becoming usual among fashionable people in this country to
adopt the French mode of conducting ceremonious dinners, that of placing
such portions of the dessert as will admit of it, upon the table,
together with plateaux of flowers, and other ornaments, and having the
previous courses served and carved upon side-tables, and offered to each
guest by the attendants. But it will be long before this custom obtains
generally, as a daily usage, even among the wealthier classes. It will,
so far continue rather an exception than a rule, that the _art of
carving_ should be regarded as well worth acquiring, both as a matter of
personal convenience, and as affording the means of obliging others.
Like every other habit connected with matters of the table, exquisite
_neatness_ and discrimination should characterize the display of this
gentlemanly accomplishment. Aim at dexterous and rapid manipulation, and
shun the semblance of hurry, labor, or fatigue. Familiarity with the
_anatomy_ of poultry and game, will greatly facilitate ease and grace in

Always help ladies with a remembrance of the moderation and
fastidiousness of their appetites. If possible, give them the choice of
selection in the cuts of meats, especially of birds and poultry.

Never pour gravy upon a plate, without permission. A little of the
filling of fowls may be put with portions of them, because that is
easily laid aside, without spoiling the meat, as gravy does, for many

All meats served in mass, should be carved in _thin slices_, and each
laid upon one side of the plate, carefully avoiding soiling the edge, or
offending the delicacy of ladies, in particular, by too-ensanguined

Different kinds of food should never be mixed on the plate. Keep each
portion of the accompaniments of your meats neatly separated, and, where
you _pay for decency and comfort_, take it as a matter of course that
your plate, knife, and fork are to be changed as often as you partake of
a different dish of meat.

_Fish_ is eaten with bread and condiments only; and the various kinds of
meat with vegetables appropriate to each. _Game_, when properly cooked
and served, requires only a bit of bread with it.

By those who best understand the art of eating, _butter_ is never taken
with meats or vegetables. The latter, in their simple state, as
potatoes, should be eaten with salt; most of them need no condiment, in
addition to those with which they are dressed before coming to table.
Salads, of course, are prepared according to individual taste; but the
well-instructed take butter at dinner only after, or as a substitute
for, the course of pastry, etc. with bread, if at all. The English make
a regular course of bread, cheese, and butter, preceding the dessert
proper--nuts, fruit, etc.; but they never eat both butter and cheese at
the same time.

Skins of baked potatoes, rinds of fruit, etc., etc., should never be put
upon the cloth; but _bread_, both at dinner and breakfast, is placed on
the table, at the left side of the plate, except it be the small bit
used to facilitate the use of the fork.

Never drum upon the table between the courses, fidget in your chair, or
with your dress, or in any manner indicate impatience of due order and
deliberation, or indifference to the conversation of those about you. A
_gentleman_ will take time to dine decorously and comfortably. Those
whose subserviency to _anything, or any one_, prevents this, are not

Holding, as I do, that

    "_To enjoy is to obey,_"

let me call your attention, in this connection, to the truth that the
pleasures of the table consist not so much in the _quantity_ eaten as in
the _mode of eating_. A moderate amount of simple food, thoroughly and
deliberately masticated, and partaken of with the agreeable accessories
of quiet, neatness and social communion, will not only be more
beneficial to the physical man, but afford more positive enjoyment, than
a larger number of dishes, when hurriedly eaten in greater quantities.

I have frequently remarked among our young countrymen a peculiarity
which a moment's reflection will convince you is exceedingly injurious
to health--that of swallowing an enormous amount of fluid at every meal.
Reflect that the human stomach is scarcely so large as one of the
goblets which is repeatedly emptied at dinner, by most men, and that all
liquids taken into that much-abused organ, must be absorbed before the
assimilation of solid food commences, and you will see, at once, what a
violation of the natural laws this practice involves. Here, again, is
one of the evil effects of the fast-eating of fast Americans. Hurrying
almost to feverishness, at table, and only half masticating their food,
the assistance of _ice-water_ is invoked to facilitate the process of
swallowing, and to allay the more distressing symptoms produced by haste
and fatigue!

Before we leave these little matters, let us return for an instant, to
that of the _position_ assumed while _sitting_. The "_Yankee_"
peculiarity, so often ridiculed by foreigners, of tipping the chair back
upon the two hind feet, is not yet obsolete, even in our "best society."
Occasionally some uninstructed rustic finds his way into a fashionable
drawing-room, where "modern antique furniture," as the manufacturers
call it in their advertisements, elicits all the proverbial ingenuity
of his native land, to enable him to indulge in his favorite attitude.
"I thought I saw the ghost of my chair!" said a fair friend to me, as
soon as a visitor had left us together, one morning, not long since. "I
was really distressed by his efforts to tilt it back--these fashionable
chairs are so frail, and he would have been intensely mortified had he
broken it! Have you seen the last 'Harper,' Colonel?"

Do not permit yourself, through an indifference to trifles, to fall into
any unrefined habits in the use of the handkerchief, etc., etc. Boring
the ears with the fingers, chafing the limbs, sneezing with unnecessary
sonorousness, and even a too fond and ceaseless caressing of the
moustache, are in bad taste. Everything connected with _personal_
discomfort, with the mere physique, should be as unobtrusively attended
to as possible.

When associated with women of cultivation and refinement--and you should
addict yourself to no other female society--you cannot attend too
carefully to the niceties of personal habit. Sensitive, fastidious, and
very observant of _minutiæ_--indeed often judging of character by
_details_--you will inevitably lose ground with these discriminating
observers, if neglectful of the trifles that go far towards constituting
the _amenities of social life_. An elegant modern writer is authority
for the fact that the Gauls attributed to woman, "an additional
sense--the _divine sense_." Perhaps the Creator may have bestowed this
gift upon the defenseless sex, as a counterpoise to the superior
strength and power of man, even as he has given to the more helpless of
the lower creatures swiftness of motion, instead of capacity for
resistance. But be that as it may, no man should permit himself any
habit that will not bear the scrutiny of this _divine sense_--much less,
one that will outrage all its fine perceptions.

Apropos of _details_--I will take leave to warn you against the
_swaggering manner_ that some young men, whose bearing is otherwise
unexceptionable, fall into among strangers, apparently with the mistaken
idea that they will thus best sustain their claims to an unequivocal
position in society. So in the sitting-rooms at hotels, in the
pump-rooms at watering-places, on the decks of steamers, etc., persons
whose juvenility entitles them to be classed with those who have nursery
authority for being "seen and not heard," are frequently the most
conspicuous and noisy. Shallow, indeed, must be the discernment of
observers who conceive a favorable impression of a young man from such
an exhibition!

In company, do not stand, or walk about while others sit, nor sit while
others stand--especially ladies. Acquire a light step, particularly for
in-door use, and a _quiet_ mode of conducting yourself, generally.
Ladies and invalids will not then dread your presence as dangerous--like
that of a rampant war-horse, ill-taught to

    "Caper nimbly in a lady's chamber!"

If you are fond of playing at chess and other games, it will be worth
your while to observe yourself until you have fixed habits of entire
politeness, under such circumstances. All unnecessary movements, every
manifestation of impatience or petulance, and all exultation when
successful, should be repressed. Thus, while seeking amusement, you may
acquire self-control.

Begin early to remember that health and good spirits are easily
impaired, and that _habit_ will materially assist us in the patient
endurance of suffering we should manifest for the sake of those about
us--attendants, friends, "the bosom-friend dearer than all," whom no
philosophy can teach insensibility to the semblance of unkindness from
one enthroned in her affections.

Don't fall into the habit, because you are a branch of the _Lunettes_
family, of using glasses prematurely. _Students_ are much in error here.
Every young divinity-student, especially, seems emulous of this
troublesome appendage. Depend on it, this is all wrong, either absurd
affectation, or ignorance equally unfortunate.

Ladies, it is said, are the _readers_ of America, but who ever sees the
dear creatures donning spectacles in youth? Enter a female college and
look for the glasses that, were the youthful devotees of learning there
assembled of the other sex, would deform half the faces you observe.
Much better were it to inform yourselves of the laws of optics, and use
the organs now so generally abused by the young, judiciously, resting
them, when giving indications of being overtaxed, rather than
endeavoring to supply artificial aid to their natural strength.
Students, especially, should always read and write with the _back to the
light_, so seated that the light falls not upon the eyes, but upon the
book or paper before them. That reminds me, too, how important it is
that one should not _stoop forward_ more constantly than is necessary,
while engaged in sedentary pursuits, but lean back rather than forward,
as much as possible, throwing out the chest at the same time. Many books
admit of being raised in the hand, in aid of this practice, and the
habit of rising occasionally, and expanding the chest, and straightening
the limbs will be found to relieve the weariness of the sedentary.

But nothing so effectually prevents injury to health, from studious
habits, as _early rising_. This gives time for the out-door exercise
that is so requisite as well as for the use of the eyes by _daylight_.
There is a great deal of nonsense mixed up with our literature, which
seizes the fancy of the young, because embodied in poetry, or clothed
with the charm of fiction. Of this nature is what we read about,
"trimming the midnight lamp," to search for the Pierean spring. Obey the

    "Breezy call of incense-breathing morn,"

and she will environ you with a joyous band of blooming Hours, and guide
you gaily and lightly towards sparkling waters, whose properties are
Knowledge and Health!

But if you would habitually rise early, you must not permit every
trivial temptation to prevent your also _retiring early_. The laws of
fashionable life are sorely at variance with those of Health, on this
point, as well as upon many others; but, happily, they are not
_absolute_, and those who have useful purposes to accomplish each day,
must withstand the tyranny of this arbitrary despot. Time for the
toilet, for exercise, for intellectual culture and mental relaxation, is
thus best secured. By using the earlier hours of each day for our most
imperative occupations, we are far less at the mercy of contingent
circumstances than we can become by any other system of life.
"Solitude," says Gibbon, "is the school of Genius," and the advantages
of this tuition are most certainly secured before the idlers of
existence are abroad!

Avoid the habit of regarding yourself as an invalid, and of taking
nostrums. A knowledge and observance of the rules of _Dietetics_ are
often better than the concentered wisdom of a Dispensary, abstinence
more effective than medical applications, and the recuperative power of
Nature, when left to work out her own restoration, frequently superior
to the most skillful aid of learned research. But when compelled to
avail yourself of medical assistance, seek that which _science_ and
_integrity_ render safest. No sensible man, one would think, will
intrust the best boon of earth to the merciless experiments of
unprincipled and ignorant charlatans, or credulously swallow quack
medicines recommended by old women: and yet, while people employ the
most accomplished hatter, tailor, and boot-maker, whose services they
can secure, they will give up the _inner_ man to the influence of such
impositions upon the credulity of humanity!

Assuming, as an accepted truth, that it is your purpose, through life,
to admit the rights of our fair tyrants

    "In court or cottage, wheresoe'er their home,"

I will commend to you the early acquisition of habits appropriate to our
relations to women as their _protectors_. In dancing, riding, driving,
walking, boating, travelling, etc., etc.,--wherever the sexes are
brought together in this regard (and where are they not, indeed, when
commingled at all?)--observe the gentle courtesies, exhibit the watchful
care, that go far towards constituting the settled charms of such
intercourse. It is not to be forgotten, as I think I have before
remarked, that women judge of character, often, from trifling details;
thus, any well-bred woman will be able to tell you which of her
acquaintances habitually removes his hat, or throws aside his cigar,
when addressing her, and who, of all others, is most watchful for her
comfort, when she is abroad under his escort. Be sure, too, that this
same fair one could confess, if she would make a revelation on the
subject, exactly what men she shuns because they break her fans,
disarrange her bouquets, tear her flounces, touch her paintings and
prints with moist fingers (instead of merely _pointing_ to some part)
handle delicate _bijouterie_ with dark gloves, dance with uncovered
hands, etc., etc. But even if you are her _confidant_, she will not tell
you how often her quick sensibility is wounded by fancying herself the
subject of the _smirks_, _whispers_, and _knowing glances_ in which some
men indulge when grouped with their kindred bipeds, in society!

At the risk of subjecting myself to the charge of repetition, I will
endeavor, before concluding this letter, to enumerate such Habits as, in
addition to those of which I have already spoken, I deem most entitled
to the attention of those who are establishing a system of life.

_Habits of reading and studying_ once thoroughly formed, are invaluable,
not only as affording a ready resource against _ennui_, or idleness,
everywhere and under all circumstances, but as necessarily involving the
acquisition of knowledge, even when of the most desultory character. It
is wonderful how much general information may be gleaned by this
practice of reading _something_ whenever one has a few spare grains of
the "_gold-dust of Time_,"--minutes. I once found a remarkably
well-informed woman of my acquaintance waiting to make breakfast for her
husband and me, with a little old _dictionary_ open in her hand. "For
what word are you looking, so early?" I inquired, as I discovered the
character of the volume she held. "For no one in particular," returned
she, "but one can always add to one's stores from any book, were it
only in the matter of _spelling_." But the true way, of course, to
derive most advantage from this enjoyment is to _systematize_ in
relation to it, reading well-selected books with care and attention
sufficient to enable us permanently to add the information they contain
to our previous mental possessions.

You will only need to be reminded how much ease and elegance in _Reading
aloud_ depend upon _habit_.

Without the _Habit of Industry_, good resolutions, the most sincere
desire for self-improvement, and the most desirable natural gifts, will
be of comparatively little avail for the practical purposes of
existence. This unpretending attribute, together with _System_ and
_Regularity_, has achieved more for the good of the race, than all the
erratic efforts of genius combinedly.

"Don't run about," says a sensible writer, "and tell your acquaintances
you have been unfortunate; people do not like to have unfortunate men
for acquaintances. Add to a vigorous determination, a cheerful spirit;
if reverses come, bear them like a philosopher, and get rid of them as
soon as you can." _Cheerfulness_ and _Contentment_, like every other
mental quality, may be cultivated until they materially assist us in

    "The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,"

and early attention to the attainment of these mental habits is a matter
of both personal and relative duty.

Cherish _self-respect_ as, next to a firm religious faith, the best
safeguard to respectability and peace of mind. Entirely consistent
with--indeed, in a degree, productive of the most careful consideration
of the rights of others, the legitimate development of this quality will
tend to preserve you from unwise confidences, from injudicious
intimacies, and from gross indulgences and unworthy pursuits. This will
sustain you in the manly acknowledgment of _poverty_, if that shall
chance to be your lot, when pride and principle contend for the mastery
in practical matters, and enable you to realize fully, that

    "To bear, is to conquer our fate!"

This will strengthen you to the endurance of that which nothing but
absolute insignificance can escape--_calumny_. It will preserve you
alike from an undue eagerness in defending yourself from unjust
aspersion, and from a servile fear of "the world's dread laugh," from
meriting and from resenting scandal, and convince you that its most
effectual contradiction consists in a _virtuous life_. By listening to
the dictates of this powerful _coadjutor of conscience_, you will
believe with the poet, that

    "Honor and Fame from no _condition_ rise,"

and thus, with straightforward and unvarying purpose, illustrate your
adoption of the motto,

    "_Act well your part_, there all the honor lies!"

While I would earnestly counsel you to avoid that constant
_self-consciousness_ which is nearly allied to vanity and egotism, if
not identical with them, you will find the habitual practice of
_self-examination_ greatly conducive to improvement. A calm, impartial
analysis of words and actions, tracing each to their several motives,
must tend to assist us to _know ourselves_, which an ancient
philosopher, you may remember, pronounced the highest human attainment.
Arraign yourself, without the advantage of _special pleading_, to borrow
a legal phrase, at the bar of conscience, regarding this arbiter as the
voice of Divinity enshrined within us, whenever assailed by doubts
respecting any course of conduct you have adopted, or propose to adopt,
and where you are thus taught to draw the line of demarcation between
right and wrong,

    "Let that aye be your border."

In this connection permit me to recommend the regular study of the
_Bible_, and a systematic attendance upon public worship on the Sabbath.
Do not read this most wonderful of books as _a task_, nor yet permit the
trammels of early associations, hereditary prejudice, or blind
superstition, to interfere with your search for the truths contained in
its pages. Try to read the Scriptures as you would any other book, with
the aid of such collateral information as you may be able to obtain
respecting the origin of the several, and wholly, distinct productions
of which it is composed, the authors of each, the purposes for which
they were composed, and, in short, possess yourself of every available
means of giving reality, simplicity, and truthfulness to your
investigations. Study the _Life of Christ_, as written by the personal
friends who were most constantly and intimately associated with him.
Ponder upon his familiar sayings, remembered, and recorded in their
simple memoranda, by the unlettered men who most frequently listened to
them, compare the acts of Christ with his doctrines as a teacher, and
judge for yourselves whether history, ancient or modern, has any
parallel for the _Perfection of the Model_ thus exhibited to the human
race. Decide whether he was not the only earthly being who "never did an
injury, never resented one done to him, never uttered an untruth, never
practised a deception, and never lost an opportunity of doing good."
Having determined this point in your own minds, adopt this glorious
pattern for imitation, and adhere to it, until you find a truer and
better model. We have nothing to do in judging of this matter with the
imperfect illustrations afforded by the lives of professed imitators of
Christ of the perfectibility to which his teachings tend. Why look to
indifferent copies, when the great original is ever before us! Why seek
in the frailty and fallibility of human nature a justification of
personal distrust and indifference?

No _gentleman_--to come to practicalities again--will indulge in
ridiculing what intelligent, enlightened persons receive as truth, on
any point, much less upon this. Nor will a well-bred man permit himself
the habit of being _late at church_--were it only that those who stand
in a _servile relation to others_, are often deprived of time for
suitable preliminaries of the toilet, etc., he will carefully avoid this

The tendency to _materialism_, so strongly characterizing the age in
which we live, produces, among its pernicious collateral effects, a
disposition to reduce "Heaven's last, best gift to man" to the same
practical standard by which we judge of all matters of the outer
life,--of _each other_ especially. Well might Burke deplore the
departure of the Age of Chivalry! But not even the prophetic eye of
genius could discern the degeneracy that was to increase so rapidly,
from the day in which he wrote, to this. As a mere matter of personal
gratification, I would cherish the inclination to _idealize_ in regard
to the fairer part of creation! There is enough that is stern, hard,
baldly utilitarian, in life; we have no need to rob this "one fair
spirit" of every poetic attribute, by system! Few habits have so much
the effect to elevate us above the clods we tread ploddingly over in the
dreary highway of mortal existence, as that of investing woman with the
purest, highest attributes of our common nature, and bearing ourselves
towards her in accordance with these elevated sentiments. And when
compelled, in individual instances, to set aside these cherished
impressions, let nothing induce us to forget that _passive, silent
forbearance_ is our only resource. True manhood can never become the
active antagonist of _defencelessness_.

I am almost ashamed to remind you of the gross impropriety of speaking
loosely and loudly of ladies of your acquaintance in the hearing of
strangers, of desecrating their names by mouthing them in bar-rooms and
similar public places, scribbling them upon windows, recording them,
without their permission, in the registers kept at places visited from
curiosity, etc., etc. _You have no moral right to take such liberties in
this respect, as you would not tolerate in the relation of brother, son,
or husband._

_Think_, then, and _speak_, ever, with due reverence of those guardian

    "Into whose hands from first to last,
    This world with all its destinies,
    Devotedly by Heaven seems cast!"

If you determine to conform yourselves, as far as in you lies, to the
model presented for your imitation by Him who said--"Be ye, therefore,
perfect, even as I am perfect," you will not disregard the cultivation
of a _ready sympathy_ with the sufferings and trials of your fellow
beings. In place of adopting a system that will not only steel your
heart, but infuse into your whole nature distrust and suspicion, you
will, like Him who went about doing good, quickly discern suffering, in
whatever form it presents itself, and minister, at least, the balm of a
kind word, when naught else may be offered. You will thus learn not only
to pity the erring, but, perchance, sometimes to ask yourselves in
profound humility--"_who hath made me to differ_?"

Young men sometimes fall into the impression that a mocking
insensibility to human woe is manly--something grand and distinguished.
So they turn with lofty scorn from a starving child, make the
embarrassment and distress of a poor mother with a wailing infant the
subject of audible mirth in a rail-car, or stage-coach, ridicule the
peevishness of illness, the tears of wounded sensibility, or the
confessions of the penitent! Now, it seems to me, that all this is
super-human in its sublime elevation! My small knowledge of the history
of the greatly good, affords no parallels for the adoption of such a
creed. I have read of a Howard who terminated a life devoted to the
benefit of his race, in a noisome dungeon, where he sought to minister
to human suffering; of a Fenelon, and a Cheverus whose _Catholic_ spirit
broke the thralling restrains of sectarianism, in favor of general
humanity; of the graceful chivalry and large benevolence of Sir Walter
Raleigh and Sir Philip Sidney; of triumphant soldiers who bound up the
wounds and preserved the lives of a fallen foe; of a Wilberforce, a
Pease, and a Father Mathew; of Leigh Richmond, Reginald Heber, and
Robert Hall; of the parable of the good Samaritan, and of its Divine
Author--and I believe the mass of mankind agree with me in, at least, an
abstract admiration for the characters of each! And though no great
achievements in the cause of Philanthropy may be in our power, though no
mighty deeds may embalm our memories amid the imperishable records of
Time, let us not overlook those small acts of kindness, those trifling
proofs of sympathy, which all have at command. A look, a word, a
smile--what talismanic power do even these sometimes possess! Remember,
then, that,

                  "----Heaven decrees
    To all the _gift of ministering to ease_!"

In close association with the wish to minister to the happiness of
others, as far as in us lies, is that of avoiding every self-indulgence
that may interfere with the comfort or the rights of others. Hence the
cultivation of _good-humor_, and of habits of _neatness_, _order_, and
_regularity_. Prompted by this rule, we will not _smoke_ in the streets,
in rail-cars, on the decks of steamers, at the entrance of concert and
lecture rooms, or in parlors frequented by ladies. We will not even
forget that neglect of _matters of the toilet_, in the nicest details,
may render us unpleasant companions for those accustomed to
fastidiousness upon these points.

To the importance of well-regulated habits of Exercise, Temperance, and
Relaxation, I have already called your attention in a previous Letter.

Nothing tends more effectually to the production of genuine
independence, than personal _Economy_. No habit will more fully enable
you to be generous as well as just, and to gratify your better impulses
and more refined tastes, than the exercise of this unostentatious art.

Remember that _meanness_ is not economy, any more than it is integrity.

To be wisely economical requires the exercise of the reflective
faculties united with practical experience, self-denial, and moral
dignity. Rightly viewed, there is nothing in it degrading to the noblest

_Punctuality_ both in pleasure and in business engagements, is alike due
to others, and essential to personal convenience. You will, perhaps,
have observed that this was one of the distinguishing traits of

Somebody says--"Ceremony is the Paradise of Fools." The same may be said
with equal truth, of _system_. To be truly _free_, one should not be the
slave of any one rule, nor of many combined. _System_, like other
agencies, if judiciously regulated, materially aids the establishment of
good habits generally, and thus places us beyond the dominion of

    "_Circumstance, that unspiritual god._"

Sir Joshua Reynolds used to remark that "Nothing is denied to
well-directed effort." Let _Perseverance_ then, be united with
_Excelsior_ in your practical creed.

I think I have made some allusion to the _Art of Conversation_. Let me
"make assurance doubly sure," by the emphatic recommendation of
_practice_ in this elegant accomplishment. All mental acquisitions are
the better secured by the habit of _putting ideas into words_. By this
process, thought becomes clearer, more _tangible_, so to speak, and new
ideas are actually engendered, while we are giving expression to those
previously in our possession.

In addition to the individual advantage accruing from this excellent
mode of training yourselves for easy and effective _extemporaneous
public speaking_, it should not be overlooked, as affording the means of
conferring both pleasure and benefit upon others. Taciturnity and
self-engrossment, you may remark, are not the prominent characteristics
of the favorites of society.

Nor does the practice of ready speaking necessarily interfere with
habits of _Reflection_ and _Observation_. On the contrary, the mental
activity thus promoted, naturally leads to the accumulation of
intellectual material by every available means. Discrimination in
judging of character, and true _knowledge of the world_, without which
all abstract knowledge is comparatively of little avail, can never be
attained except through the persevering exercise of these powers.

Shall I venture to remind you, my dear young friends, that the
manifestation of _respect for misfortune, suffering, and age_, may
become one of your attributes by the force of habit strengthening good

Will you think me deficient in utilitarianism if I recommend to you a
cultivation of the _power to discern the Beautiful_, as a perpetual
source of pure and exalted enjoyment? Hard, grinding, soul-trammelling,
is the dominion of real life; will we be less worthy of our immortal
destinies, that we cherish an _inner sense_, by which we readily
perceive moral beauty, shining as a ray from the very altar of Divinity,
or the tokens of the presence of that Divinity afforded by the wonders
of the natural world? Let us not be mere beasts of burden, so laden with
the cares, the anxieties, or even the duties of life, as to have no eye
for the unobtrusive, but often fragrant and lovely flowers, that bloom
along the most neglected of our daily paths.

Speaking of the Beautiful, reminds me that ours is the only civilized
land where the æsthetical perceptions of the people are not a sufficient
safeguard to the preservation of _Works of Art_, in their humblest as
well as most magnificent exhibitions. Nothing short of the brutalizing
influence of a Reign of Terror will tempt a Parisian populace to the
desecration of these expressions of refinement, taste, and beauty; while
among us, not even an ornamental paling, inclosing a private residence,
or the colonnade of a public edifice, escapes staring tokens of the
presence of this gothic barbarism in our midst.

You will scarcely need to be cautioned against confounding mere
_curiosity_ with a liberal and enlightened observation of life and
manners. All those indications of undue curiosity respecting the private
affairs of others, expressed by listening to conversation not intended
for the general ear, watching the _asides_ of society, glancing at
letters addressed to another, or asking direct questions of a personal
nature, are unmistakable proofs of ignorance of the rules of polished
life, though they are not as reprehensible as _evil-speaking_, a love
of _scandal_, or the practice of violating either the _confidence_ of
friends or the _sacredness of private conversation_.

Though a vast difference is created in this respect by difference of
temperament, yet no man can hope to acquire the degree of
_self-possession_ that shall fit him for a successful encounter with the
ever-varying emergencies demanding its illustration, without repeated
and re-repeated struggles and discomfitures. But so invaluable is the
treasure, so essential to the legitimate exercise of every faculty of
our being, that defeat should only render more indomitable the "will to
do, the soul to dare," in persevering endeavors to secure its permanent

Let me impress upon you the truth that self-possession is the legitimate
result of a _well-disciplined mind_, and that it is properly expressed
by a _quiet_ and _modest bearing_.

In conclusion, let me earnestly and affectionately assure you that the
formation of right habits, though necessarily attended, for a time, by
failures, difficulties, or discouragements, will eventually prove its
own all-sufficient reward. Habitude of thought, language, appointment,
and manner that shall entitle you to claim

    "The good old name of _Gentleman_,"

once yours, and you will be armed, point of proof, against the exacting
capriciousness of fashion, and forever exempted from the tortures often
inflicted upon the sensitive, by the insidious invasions of

       *       *       *       *       *

Strolling through the Crystal Palace at London, soon after it was
opened, with a young fellow-countryman, he suddenly broke out
with--"Will you just look at that fellow, colonel?" Turning and
following the direction indicated by his eye (not his finger or
walking-stick, he was too well-bred _to point_!) I discerned, in a
different part of the building, Queen Victoria, accompanied by Prince
Albert and two of the royal children, examining some articles in the
American Department. Very near the stopping-place of this distinguished
party, a representative of the "universal Yankee nation," had stationed
himself--perhaps in a semi-official capacity--upon the apex of some
elevation, with his hat on, and his long legs dangling down in front,
nearly on a level with the heads of passers-by.

We could not hear the words of her Majesty, but it was apparent that she
addressed some inquiry to him of the legs. First ejecting a torrent of
tobacco-juice from his mouth, and rolling away the huge quid that
obstructed his utterance, he deliberately proceeded to give the
explanation desired, retaining not only his position, but his hat, the

Meantime, as soon as the Queen commenced addressing this person, her
Royal Consort removed his hat, and remained uncovered until she again
moved on. I shall not soon forget the face of my companion. Shame and
indignation contended for the mastery on his burning cheek!

"Good G----, Colonel!" he exclaimed, "to think of such a mere brute as
that being regarded as a fair specimen of the advance of civilization
among us! 'Tis enough to make a decent man disclaim his birthright here!
And yet, I have little enough to boast of myself! Only think of my
taking some English gentlemen who were in New-York a month or two ago,
to see our _parks_ (heaven save the mark!) among other objects of
interest in the city! Yesterday, Sir John ----, who was one of the
party, drove about London with me, and took me also to Kensington
Garden, St. James' and Regent's Parks! I don't know what would tempt me
again to undergo the thing! I rather think I am effectually cured,
henceforth and for ever, of any inclination to _boast of anything
whatever, personal or national_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"As you are the only 'gentleman of elegant leisure' in the family, at
present, Harry, suppose you take these girls to New York for a week or
two. For my part, it's as much as I can do to provide money for the
expedition," said your uncle William to me, one evening.

"Oh, do, dear uncle Hal!" exclaimed Ida, with great vivacity, sitting
down on a low stool at my feet, and clasping her hands upon my knee, "we
always love dearly to go with you anywhere, you are so good to us."

"Yes!" broke in William junior, "uncle Harry spoils you so completely by
indulgence that I can do nothing with you. You're a most unruly set, at
home and abroad."

A sudden twitch at the end of his cravat effectually demolished the
elegant tie upon which the young gentleman prides himself, as little
Julé, who was close beside him, pretending to get her French lesson, and
had perpetrated the mischief, cried out--"What's the reason, then, that
you always take us all along, when you go out in the woods, and off to
the shore--hey, Mr. Willie?"

"Do be quiet, children," interrupted Ida, reprovingly; "now, uncle dear,
won't you take us? I want some new traps badly."

"What kind of traps?--mouse traps?"

"_Man traps_, to be sure!"

"Well, that's honest, at least, Puss."

"My purposes are more murderous than Ida's," said Cornelia, laughing; "I
want to buy a new _mankiller_, as Willie calls them."

"It's too late in the season for mantillas," remarked Ida, profoundly.

"A fashionable cloak will serve Cornelia's purpose equally well,"
returned her father, quietly.

"And, like the mantle of charity, it will hide a multitude of sins,"
chimed in her brother.

"Your running commentaries are highly edifying, my dear nephew," said I,
and at the same moment a large red rose hit him full on the nose.

It was soon arranged that your fair cousins should accompany me to the
Empire City in a few days, and I, accordingly, sat down at once, and
wrote to the "Metropolitan" for rooms.

"What glorious times mother and I will have," I overheard William
exclaim. "I shall take Julé under my especial protection, and hear her
French lessons regularly."

"No you won't, either," returned that young lady, with great spirit;
"and I wish you'd stop tying my curls together, and mind your own
affairs. No doubt you'll make noise enough to kill ma and me, while
Corné and Dade are gone, drumming on the piano, and spouting your Latin
speech before the drawing-room glass. All I wish is, that uncle Hal
wasn't going away--he never lets you torment me."

As we were entering the dining-room of our hotel, on the day of our
arrival, our friend Governor S---- joined us, and, after shaking hands,
in his usual cordial way, with us all, said, as he courteously took
Cornelia's hand and folded it within his arm, "Will you allow me to
attend you, Miss Lunettes? Colonel, by your leave. Miss Ida, will you
let a lonely old fellow join your party? Where do you sit, Colonel?"

"We have but just arrived," I replied, "but our seats are, of course,
reserved; let me secure a seat for you with us, if possible. Ida, remain
here a moment with Cornelia and Governor S----;" and presently, finding
the proper person, the steward, or whatever the man of dining-room
affairs is called, I arranged with him to seat us together, without
interfering with other parties.

While I was taking my soup, I became suddenly conscious that something
was annoying your cousin Cornelia, who sat between me and S----.
Glancing at her face, I saw there, in addition to a heightened color, an
expression of mingled constraint and hauteur, quite inconsistent with
her usual graceful self-possession and animation.

Making some general remark to her, and showing no signs of curiosity, I
began quietly to cast about me for the cause of this unwonted
disturbance. Turning my head towards Ida, I overheard her saying,
playfully, though in an undertone, to the senator, with whom she was
already embarked upon the tide of talk: "He reminds me of an exquisite
couplet in an old valentine of mine:

    'Are not my ears as long as other asses', pray?
    Don't I surpass all other asses at a bray?'"

I was not long in detecting the secret cause of Cornelia's averted face
and Ida's sportive quotation.

"See here, John, get me some col' slaw and unions, will you--right off,"
shouted a young man seated a little below us, on the opposite side of
the table.

I wish you could have seen the half-repressed wonder depicted in the
countenance of the servant thus addressed, as he glanced at the piece
of "_Mackerel à la maître d'Hôtel_," as the bill of fare called the
_fish_ on his plate.

Oh, for a Hogarth to do justice to the figure that had arrested my
attention! The face was not bad, perhaps. A merry, dark eye, lit up with
the very spirit of mischief and impudence; a tolerably high, but narrow
forehead; thick, wild-looking black hair, parted on the top of the head,
and bushy whiskers--add large, handsome teeth, displayed by full, red,
ever-laughing lips, and you have the physiognomy. But the dress!

    "Ye powers of every name and grace,"

aid my poor endeavors to describe his toilette! A high shirt-collar,
flaring wide from the throat, by the pugnacious manifestations of the
sturdy whiskers aforesaid; a flashy neckcloth, tied in very broad bows,
and with the long ends laid off pretty well towards the tips of the
shoulders; a velvet waistcoat, of large pattern and staring colors,
crossed by a heavy gold chain, from which dangled a gold-mounted
eye-glass, broad ruffles to his shirt, fastened with huge studs of three
opposing, but equally brilliant colors! A shining Holland-linen
dust-coat completed this unique costume.

Presently, some one at a distance suddenly attracted the roving eyes of
our hero, and he began the most significant telegraphing with hands and
head, designed, apparently, to persuade the other to come and sit by
him. Turning, as if by accident, I saw a young man, near the entrance of
the room, shaking his head very positively in the negative. But this
was no quietus to our neighbor, who half rose from his seat.

"Not room for the gentleman here, sir," said a major domo, coming up.

"Yes there is, too, plenty of room! If you would just move _a leetle_,
ma'am--so," pushing at the chair of an elderly woman, who seemed
suddenly to grow more slender than ever, and at the same time hitching
his own nearer to that of the person next him on the other side, "that
will do, famously! Now, waiter, a plate! I hope I don't crowd you, sir
[to the gentleman next him], we don't wear _hoops_ you know! can keep
_tight_ without them!" The last, in a whisper, like a boatswain's
whistle upon which the respectable female, who illustrated the
mathematical definition of _a point_, bridled and reddened with virtuous

Luckily the table was not as closely filled as it often is, and in much
less time than it takes me to describe the scene, the triumph of the
youth was complete, and a well-dressed, gentlemanly-looking man came
forward, seemingly with considerable reluctance.

"How are you, Fred, how are you? Right glad to see you, 'pon my
soul--sit down! When'd you get in? Left all the folks well?"

There was no avoiding hearing this tide of questions, poured out in a
loud, hilarious tone, that rose over the subdued murmur of ordinary
conversation, like the notes of a bugle, sounding amid the twittering
of the feathered tenants of a grove. Apparently quite unconscious that
any one else in his vicinity possessed powers of hearing and seeing, and
wholly unobservant of the elevated eye-brows of some of his neighbors,
and the significant looks and ill-suppressed smiles of the servants, the
young man ran on with details of his own private affairs, interrogations
respecting those of his companion, interspersed with loud and multiplied
directions to the attendants. From my soul I pitied his victim! Deeper
and deeper grew the flush of shame and embarrassment in his handsome
face, more and more laconic and low-voiced his replies, and more uneasy
his restless movements and glances.

By and by two huge glasses of foaming strong-beer made their appearance.
Beau Brummel's celebrated saying--"A gentleman may _port_; but he never
_malts_," crossed my mind. With due deference to this high authority,
for my part, I think a glass of London brown-stout, or Scotch ale, a
pleasant accompaniment to a bit of cold meat and bread, when one is
inclined to sup; but taking beer _at dinner_ is quite another affair.

Well! there was a little lull for a time, only to be followed by a new
sensation. One of the quick, galvanic movements of the nondescript
overset a full bottle of wine, just as it was placed between himself and
his friend, and he was in the act of saying, "If you don't drink beer,
Fred, take some--by thunder that's too bad!"

The dark-colored liquor poured over the table-cloth, and, dividing into
numerous little streamlets, diverged in every direction from the parent
source. Servants hurried forward with napkins to stay the progress of
the flood, the gentleman next our hero coolly dammed up the stream that
most alarmingly threatened his safety, with a piece of bread, and the
slender female, whose slight pretentions to breadth had been so
unceremoniously ignored, fidgeted uneasily under the table, as though
apprehensive that the penetrating powers of the invading foe might be
working in ambush, to the detriment of her light-hued drapery. But the
face of the young stranger! It was positively mottled! His very
forehead, before smooth and fair, suddenly suggested the idea that he
was just recovering from the smallpox!

Meantime, our little party were quietly pursuing the even tenor of their
respective dinners. Suddenly I missed S----.

"What has become of the Governor?" said I to Cornelia, in an under-tone.

"A servant called him away," returned she, in the same unnoticeable
manner. The next moment I again remarked the same peculiar movement
towards me and the same expression of countenance, that had arrested my
attention when we first sat down. A woman's quick instinct never
deceives her! Apparently unheeding, I listened.

"Dev'lish handsome! like her air!--wouldn't object to taking the seat
myself, by George!" caught my ear.

I think that young man understood the _fixed look_ with which I regarded
him for the space of about half a minute! I was quite sure his companion

By this time, the dessert was on the table.

"Where're you going, Fred? you ain't done?" shouted the Hoosier, or
whatever he was.

"I have an engagement--I'll see you again," replied the gentleman thus
addressed, springing up, and eluding the detaining grasp of his
persecutor, quickly made good his escape.

No sooner were we seated in one of the parlors, than Ida's pent-up
merriment burst forth.

"Did you hear what that poor young man said, when the other commenced
reading the bill of fare, uncle," said she, "just before he darted out
of the room?"

"What, in particular, do you refer to, my dear? I heard a great deal
more than I wished."

"O, I mean when the _speaking-trumpet_, as Governor S---- called him,
shouted out--'_fricandeau de veau!_--What's he, Fred? Do tell a fellow.'
He was picking his teeth at the time, with a large goose-quill, with all
the feathers on!"

"Well, what was the answer?"

"The poor martyr was, by that time, reduced to the _calmness of
despair_," replied your cousin, laughing; "he answered, with a meaning
air, I thought, '_A calf's head!--one of the entrées!_' Corné, I hope
you did not lose the full effect of the great green and orange-colored
peaches sprinkled over the vest of your admirer. Love at first sight, my
dear! Never saw a more unmistakable smitation! What a triumph! Your
first conquest since your arrival in New York, I believe, Miss
Lunettes!" lisping affectedly, and bowing with mock deference.

"Ida, you'll be overheard! I'm ashamed of you," returned the stately
Cornelia, with an air of offended propriety.

"It will never do, Puss," said I; "Corné is right. But, Corné, what
happened to the senator?"

"How courteous he is!" exclaimed the young lady, with sudden enthusiasm.
"A servant came and whispered to him--'Miss Lunettes,' said he, turning
to me, 'the only man in the world who could tempt me from your side--my
best friend--asks for me on important business. Will you permit me to
leave you, after requesting the honor of attending you?' Of course, I
assented. 'Make my apologies to Miss Ida and Colonel Lunettes,' said he,
as we shook hands, 'I am very unfortunate.'"

"How quietly he slipped away," said Ida; "I knew nothing of it, until he
was gone."

"Well-bred people are always quiet," remarked the elder sister,

"Oh, dear me!" retorted Ida, coloring. "Well, it's too much to expect of
any one, not to laugh at such a nondescript specimen of humanity as that
young man."

The next morning, before I left my room, a card was brought to me,
inscribed with the name of "Frederick H. Alloway," and inclosed with the
following note:

  "The son of one of Colonel Lunettes' old friends begs leave to
  claim the honor of his acquaintance, and will do himself the
  pleasure to pay his respects, at any hour, this morning, that will
  be most agreeable to Colonel Lunettes.

  "_Metropolitan Hotel_,
  "_Wednesday Morn._"

A half-revived remembrance of a face once familiar, had haunted me at
the dinner table the day before, whenever I chanced to catch the eye of
the victimized youth I have alluded to. I was, therefore, not unprepared
to find him identical with the author of this note.

A certain constraint was evinced by his manner, when the first
complimentary phrases were over. At length his embarrassment found

"I am not sure, Colonel Lunettes," said he, "that I should have ventured
to intrude upon you this morning--much as I desired to make the
acquaintance of a gentlemen of whom I have so frequently heard my father
speak--had I not wished to make an apology, or at least an

He hesitated, and the mottled color of the day before mantled over his
ingenuous face. I hastened to say something polite.

"You are very good, sir--really--scandalously as that young fellow
behaved--he is not without redeeming qualities. My acquaintance with him
is slight, and entirely accidental. One of our successful Western
speculators, and a very good-hearted fellow--but sadly in need of

"So I perceived," returned I, gravely, "nor is that all. One can pardon
_ignorance_ much more readily than _impudence_."

"Very true, sir. I only hope that I was not so unfortunate as to incur
your displeasure. I--permit me to express the hope that the ladies of
your party did not regard me as in the most remote way implicated in an
intention to annoy them," and his voice actually trembled with manly

"By no means, my dear young friend; by no means. I assure you, on the
contrary, that you had our sympathy in your distress--comic as it was."

The intense ludicrousness of the affair now seemed, for the first time,
to take full possession of the perceptive faculties of my new

When our mutual merriment had in some degree subsided, I invited him to
dine with us, unless he preferred to resume his seat of the day before.

"Heaven forbid!" exclaimed he, with great vivacity; "I should have left
this house to-day, if that fellow had not--he is gone, I am rejoiced to

It was arranged that the "son of my old friend," as he indeed was,
should meet me in the drawing-room a few moments before dinner, and be
presented to your cousins. So we parted.

Almost the first person I saw as I was entering the public drawing-room,
to join my nieces, before dinner, on that day, was young Alloway. He
was evidently awaiting me, and, upon my recognizing him by a bow, at
once advanced.

"You are punctual, I see, Mr. Alloway," said I, as we seated ourselves;
"a very good trait, in a young man!"

"I fear, sir, there is little merit in being punctual with such a reward
in anticipation," replied he, laughing pleasantly, and bowing to the
ladies, as he spoke.

Our new acquaintance, very properly, offered his arm to the _younger_
sister, and I, of course, preceded them with the elder, and though, when
we were seated together, he was quite too well-bred to confine either
his attentions or his conversation to Ida, I must say that I have not
often seen two young people become more readily at ease in each other's
society than my lively favorite, and the "son of my old friend." They
seemed to find each other out by intuition, and talked together in the
most animated manner permitted by their unvarying regard for decorum.
Their nearest neighbors were not disturbed by their mirthfulness, nor
could persons seated opposite them hear their conversation, and yet
Alloway was evidently fast being remunerated for the chagrin and
embarrassment of his previous dinner.

"Uncle Hal," said Cornelia, leaning towards me, as we sat together on a
sofa, after leaving the table, glancing round to be sure that Ida heard
her, "don't you think Minnesota gentlemen, _generally_, must be rather

Her sister, turning

    "The trembling lustre of her dewy eyes"

upon the quizzical speaker, was interrupted in the spirited rejoinder
she evidently meditated, by the return of Alloway, who had been up to
his room for a pencil-sketch of the Falls of Minnehaha (between St.
Paul's and the Falls of St. Anthony, you know) which he told us he had
made on the spot, a few days before leaving his Western home.

"How beautiful it must be there!" exclaimed Ida, delightedly. "And you
are taking this to your mother! It reminds me of a 'Panorama of the
Western Wilds,' I think it was called, to which papa took us in New
York, last spring. I don't know when I saw anything so lovely! I had no
just conception before of the magnificence and variety of the scenery of
the far-West."

"Why, my dear," said I quietly, just for my own amusement, and to watch
the effect upon all parties, "you seem so charmed with these sketches of
the West, that I think I must try and show you the originals by-and-by.
How would you like to go with me to look after my Western investments
next month?"

"Just like uncle Hal!" I hear more than one of you crying. "He always
plays the mischief among the young folks!" So, to punish your
impertinence, I shall say nothing in particular, of the sudden light
that shone in the fine eyes of our new friend, nor of the enthusiasm
with which Ida clapped her hands and bravoed my proposition. Still more,
I am by no means sure that I shall feel justified in telling you what
came of all this in the future.

After a while, some other young men came to speak to the girls, and
Alloway, modestly withdrawing, lingered near me, as if wishing to
address me. A lady was saying something to me at the moment. When she
had finished speaking, I turned to my young friend.

"Colonel Lunettes," said he, in the most polite and respectful manner,
"the ladies inform me that they are to go with you to see some pictures,
in the morning. Will you permit me to attend them?"

Receiving my assent, he added, "My present mode of life affords few
facilities for the inspection of works of Art; and I am so mere a tyro,
too, that I shall be happy to have the benefit of your cultivated

"I dare say Mr. Alloway could instruct us all," interposed Ida, "that
is, sister and me. Uncle Lunettes has spent so many years abroad, that
he is, of course, quite _au fait_ in all such things."

"At what hour do you propose going, ladies?" inquired Alloway.

Twelve o'clock was fixed upon.

"I shall have great pleasure in again meeting you all at that time,"
said Alloway, and, as he shook hands with me, he added, with a
significant smile, "I will endeavor to be quite _punctual_, Colonel!"

"Who is that fine-looking young man, Colonel Lunettes?" asked the lady
with whom I had been conversing, as I reseated myself at her side. "His
manners are remarkably easy and graceful for so young a person. What a
contrast he is to young J----, there, who, with all the advantages of
education, foreign travel, and good society, is, and always will be, _a
clown_! Just look at him, now, talking to those girls! Sitting, _of
course_, upon two legs of his chair, and picking his teeth with a

"What would be the consequence," said I, "if he should lose his balance
and fall backward, with his mouth open in that way, and his knife held
by the tip end of the handle, poised upon his teeth?"

"It looks really dangerous, don't it," commented the same slender
female, whose _slight_ manifestations had interested me, at dinner, the
day before--"but I suppose he is so used to it that"----

A sudden movement arrested further philosophical speculation, on the
part of this profound observer of life and manners, and a young lady
whose flounces had been sadly torn by the very chair upon the occupant
of which she was commenting, passed hurriedly out of the room, with her
disordered dress gathered up in both hands.

The next morning, some time before the hour appointed for our visit to
the Dusseldorf Gallery, a servant brought me the following note:

  "Mr. Alloway regrets extremely that an unexpected, but imperative,
  engagement, deprives him of the anticipated pleasure of
  accompanying the Misses and Colonel Lunettes this morning.

  "Will Colonel Lunettes oblige Mr. Alloway by making his compliments
  acceptable to the Misses Lunettes, together with the most sincere
  expressions of his disappointment?

  "_Thursday Morning_."

"I am so sorry!" exclaimed Ida, when informed of this. "Uncle Hal is
always beau enough, but the more the merrier, you know, dear uncle,"
added she, linking her arm in mine, and looking artlessly up into my

"You are quite right, my dear," said I. "I like your frankness, and I am
sorry to lose Alloway myself."

As I was going out of the "Ladies' Entrance" with your cousins, I
perceived my young friend supporting the steps of a pale, emaciated
gentleman, who coughed violently, and walked with difficulty, even from
the carriage to the door, though sustained on the other side also by an
elderly lady. I drew the girls aside, that they might pass

"I hope you are well this morning, ladies," said Alloway, raising his
hat, as he caught sight of us. "Good morning, Colonel Lunettes."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Good morning, again, ladies!" said a cheerful, but subdued voice behind
us, as the girls and I were seated together, examining the merry
"Wine-tasters" of the Gallery, after having devoted some time to
subjects of a more elevated moral tone.

We turned our heads simultaneously. "Good morning, sir," said Alloway,
for it was he; "with your leave, I will join you now."

Your cousins made room for him between them. "I am so happy not wholly
to lose this," said he, bowing to each of the ladies. "I feared I could
not meet you here even as early as this."

"We would have waited for you," interposed Ida; "why didn't you tell

"I did not think for a moment of taking such a liberty," returned the
young man. "It would, perhaps, have interfered with your other
engagements. Indeed, I scarcely hoped to find you here, but could not
deny myself the pleasure of coming in search of you."

"Which is your favorite picture here, Miss Lunettes?" I heard Alloway
ask presently.

"Come and see," returned she, and, rising, she added, "come,
sister--uncle, we will return, do not disturb yourself."

Loitering along toward them, a while after, I remarked, as I approached,
the expressive faces of the group, and their graceful attitudes, as they
discussed Cornelia's "favorite," and reflected how much the poetry and
beauty that environ youth, when refined by nature and polished by
education, surpass the highest achievements of art.

"What innocence in that face! What dewy softness in the steadfast
eyes!" exclaimed Cornelia. "The very shoes have an appropriate
expression! dear little bird! one can't help loving her, and wanting to
know all about her."

"If she were not deaf and dumb," said her cavalier, "I am sure she would
rise and make a courtesy to such flattering admirers! I am getting
dreadfully jealous of her!"

"You needn't be, as far as I am concerned," retorted Ida; "for my part,
I don't like that brown stuff dress! She isn't _fixed up_ a bit, as
children always are, when they sit for their portraits." And she tripped
away to take another look at her especial admiration--the "_Peasants
Returning from the Harvest-field_," which is, indeed, a gem.

"What does Miss Ida mean?" inquired Alloway, smilingly, of her sister.

"I am sure I don't know," returned Cornelia, "she is full of sentiment,
which she always endeavors to hide."

"With your permission I will go and ask her," said the admirer of the
truant, and bowing politely to us both, he followed Ida.

I will just add, here, that I learned afterwards, accidentally, and not
even remotely through him, that the persons with whom we met Alloway
that morning, were the mother and brother of that scapegrace we first
saw him with. They had come to New York with the understanding that he
would meet them there, at an appointed time, and assist in the care
required by his dying relative; but this promising youth had suddenly
left the city, without leaving any clue to his proceedings, probably, in
pursuit of some pretty face, which, like Cornelia's, happened to attract
his attention. Luckily, the poor mother learned that Alloway, who was
slightly known to her, was in the city, and appealed to him for
assistance--with what success may be inferred from the little incident I
have narrated.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has always been a matter of marvel, with the learned in such matters,
how Sir Walter Scott accomplished such Herculean literary labors in
conjunction with the discharge of so many public and social duties. As
he himself used to say, he long had a "troop of dragoons galloping
through his head," to which, as their commanding officer, he devoted
much attention; he was sheriff of the county--(in the discharge of the
duties of this office, by the way, he used to march through the streets
of the shire-town, during court term, arrayed in a gown and bag wig, at
the head of his _posse comitatus_, greatly to his own amusement and that
of his friends)--and remarkable for the most urbane and diffusive
hospitality. After he ceased to be the _Great Unknown_, or rather, after
he was identified with that celebrity, Abbotsford became the resort of
innumerable visitors, attracted thither by curiosity, interest, or
friendship. Not only his beautiful residence, but the numerous points
of scenery and the superb ruins in the neighborhood of Abbotsford, which
had been rendered classic by his magic pen, were to be inspected by
these guests, and Scott always seemed to have time for a gallop among
the hills, an excursion to Dryburgh and Melrose Abbey, a pilgrimage
along the banks of the romantic river he has helped to immortalize, or a
lively chat with the ladies after dinner. And he never had that air of
pre-occupation that so often characterizes literary men, in general
society. He took part in the most genial and hearty manner, in the
conversation of the moment, bringing his full quota to the common stock
of mirth, anecdote and jest. I can almost see him, as I write, sitting
in the midst of a social circle, in his drawing-room, trotting the
curly-pated little son of Mrs. Hemans, who was at Abbotsford on a visit,
with her sister and this child, upon his _strong_ knee, and singing,

    "Charley my darling, my darling, Charley my darling,"

at intervals, for the amusement of the little fellow. I chanced, too, to
accompany him, when he attended the poetess to her post-chaise, on the
morning of her departure, and had occasion to remark his courteous
hospitality to the last. "There are some persons," said he, with his
cordial smile, as he offered his hand at parting, "whom one earnestly
desires to meet again. You, madam, are one of those." But I am quite
forgetting the object that induced my recurrence to these
well-remembered scenes.

In answer to some leading remark of mine, regarding the wonderful
versatility of his father-in-law, addressed to Mr. Lockhart, as we stood
together contemplating the ivy-mantled walls of Dryburgh, he informed me
of the secret of his extraordinary achievements with the pen: "When you
meet him at breakfast," said Mr. Lockhart, "he has already, as he
expresses it, 'broken the neck of the day's work'--_he writes in the
morning_. Eschewing the indulgences of late rising and slippered ease
(at the last he rails incontinently), he is up with the lark--by half
past four or five, dresses as you see him at a later hour, in out-door
costume, visits the stables, and then sets himself resolutely to work.
By nine o'clock, when he joins us, he has accomplished the labors of a
day, almost."

"His correspondence alone must occupy an immense deal of time," said I.

"And yet," returned my companion, "Sir Walter makes it a rule to answer
every letter on the day of its reception. It must be an urgent cause
that interferes with this habit. And I am often astonished at the length
and careful composition of his replies to the queries of literary
correspondents, as well as to his letters of friendship."

"One would suppose his health must be impaired by such severe mental
labor," I answered.

"His cheerful temper, and his power to _leave care behind him_ in his
study, are a great assistance to him," replied Mr. Lockhart, moving
towards our horses, as he spoke--"but here," he added, smilingly,
laying his hand on his saddle, "here is his grand preservative. It must
be foul weather, indeed, even for our Northern land of mists and clouds,
that keeps him from his _daily allowance of fresh air_."

"Sir Walter is an accomplished horseman, I observe," said I, as we
resumed our ride.

"You may well say that!" exclaimed his son-in-law, laughing. "I wish you
could have seen him at the head of his troop of horse, charging an
imaginary foe. Only the other day, his favorite steed broke the arm of a
groom who attempted to mount him; and yet, in Sir Walter's hands, he is
as docile as need be. There seems to be some secret understanding
between him and his horses and dogs. This very horse, though he will
never permit another man to mount him, seems to obey his master's
behests with real pride as well as pleasure. I believe he would kneel to
receive him on his back, were he bidden to do so."

       *       *       *       *       *

Dipping into an instructive and pleasant, though no longer new book,[14]
the other day, I came across the following passage: "Brougham has
recorded that the peroration of his speech in the Queen's case"--his
celebrated defence of Queen Caroline against her beastly husband--"was
written no less than ten times before he thought it fit for so august an
occasion. The same is probably true of similar passages in Webster's
speeches; it is known to be so of Burke's." What do you think of such
examples of industry and perseverance as these, young gentlemen?

  [14] Sketches of Reform and Reformers,--by _H. B. Stanton_.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Step in, ma'am, step in, if you please," said our Jehu, opening the
door of a stage-coach, in which I was making a journey through a region
not then penetrated by modern improvements, "would you like the back
seat?" Beside him stood a slightly-formed, delicate-looking girl, in a
hesitating attitude.

"I cannot ride backwards without being ill," said she, timidly, "and
I--I shall be sorry to disturb any one, but I would like to sit by a

A young man who was sitting on the middle seat with me immediately
alighted, to make room for the more convenient entrance of the stranger,
and, as he did so, the driver said decidedly--"Shall be obliged to ask
the gentlemen on the back seat to accommodate the lady." A low-browed,
surly-looking young fellow, who sat nearest the door of the vehicle, on
the seat designated, doggedly kept his place, muttering something about
having the first claim, "first come, first served," etc. Seeing how
matters stood, a good-natured, farmer-like looking old man, who occupied
the other end of the seat, called out cheerily, "The young woman is
welcome to my place, if I can only get out of it!" and he began at once
to suit the action to the word.

By this time the before pale face of the young girl was painfully
flushed, and she said, in a low, deprecating tone, "I am very sorry to
make so much trouble."

"No trouble at all, ma'am--none at all! Just reach me your hand and I'll
help you up--that's it!"

"I am much obliged to you, sir--very much! I hope you will find a good
seat for yourself," said the recipient of his kindness, gently.

"No doubt of it!" returned he of the cheery voice. "I ain't at all sorry
to change a little--them back seat's plaguy cramped up! They say," added
he, settling himself next the boot, "that the front seat's the easiest
of all. One thing, there's more room [stretching his legs with an air of
infinite relief between those of his opposite neighbors], a deuced

"Take your fare, gem'men," cried a bustling personage, at this moment.

"What is the fare from here to O----?" inquired the stationary biped in
the corner behind me.

"Six shillings, York money," was the ready response.

"Six shillings!" growled the other; "seems to me there's great extortion
all 'long this road. Yesterday I paid out three dollars, hard
money--twelve shillin' for lodgin', supper, and breakfast, back here to

"Take your fare _now_, sir," interrupted the bustling little man at the
door, stepping upon the wheel, in sublime indifference to the muttered
anathemas, half addressed to him. "What name, sir?"--preparing to write
on the "way-bill"--"_always_, sir! it is rulable--always put down the

The low voice of the lady, when she was reached, in due order, was
almost lost in the grumbling kept up by the agreeable occupant of the
corner seat. The most amusing commingling of opposite sounds reached my
ears, somewhat like the soft tones of a distant flute, and the
growling--not loud, but deep--of a hungry mastiff. "Julia
Peters"--"takes off the silver, by thunder!"--"Is my band-box put on?"
here a chinking, as of money counted, and then a hurried fumbling
appeared to take place in the "deepest depths" of various pockets. "How
soon will we be there," in silvery murmurs--"By George! I swear I
b'lieve I lost two shillin'!"--"Before dark!" chimed in the flute-notes.
"I am glad to hear it!" "I'll be hanged if any one shall come it over
me!" surged over the musical ripple. "When you stop at my
brother-in-law's," concluded the softer voice, in this unique duet.

Having been sometime on the wing, I fell into a doze, as we proceeded.
As I roused myself, at length, the young man who had alighted to make
room for the entrance of Miss Peters, whispered, "That young lady seems
very ill--what can we do for her relief?" A moment's attention convinced
me that the poor thing was horribly _stage-sick_. When she appeared to
rally a little, I turned round to her, and said, that I trusted she
would allow me to render her any service in my power. Forcing a smile,
she thanked me, and replied that she would soon be better she thought,
adding, in a still lower tone, that the _smell of tobacco_ always
affected her very sensibly. This last remark was at the time
unintelligible to me, but I afterwards learned that the animal on the
same seat with her had regaled himself upon the vilest of cigars while I
was napping, and that the only attempt at an apology he had offered was
a mumbled remark that, "as the wind blew the smoke out of the stage, he
s'posed no one hadn't no objections!"

Despite the hope expressed by my suffering neighbor, she did _not_ get
better, but continued to endure a most exhausting ordeal. Every decent
man in the coach seemed to sympathize with her, the rather that she so
evidently tried to make the best of it, and to avoid annoying others.
Every one had a different remedy to suggest, but, unfortunately, none of
them available, as there was no stopping place near. Though a somewhat
experienced traveller, my ingenuity could, until we should stop, effect
no more than disposing my large woollen shawl so as to aid in supporting
the weary head of the poor child.

As soon as we reached the next place for changing horses, I sprang out,
in common with the other passengers, and, inquiring for the nearest
druggist, hastened to procure a little reliable _brandy_.

Having previously arranged a change of seats with the harmless stripling
who had thus far occupied the middle back seat, I entered the stage, and
quietly told the young lady that, as there was no one of her own sex
aboard, I should claim the privilege of age, and prescribe for her, if
she would permit me.

"This is not a pleasant dose, I must warn you," said I, offering her a
_single teaspoonful of clear brandy_, "but I can safely promise you
relief, if you will swallow it; this is a nice, clean glass, too," I
added, smilingly, for I well knew how much that assurance would
encourage my patient.

"I do not know how to thank you sufficiently, sir," said the young lady,
striving to speak cheerfully, as she attempted to raise her head. Taking
the tumbler, with a trembling hand, she bravely swallowed my
prescription. I must own she gasped a little afterwards, but I could not
allow her the relief of water, without nullifying the proper effect, so
I assisted her in removing her bonnet (which the good-natured farmer,
who had re-entered the coach with me, carefully pinned upon the lining
of the vehicle, where it would safely swing), and in enveloping her head
in her veil, adjusting her shawl comfortably about her, and wrapping my
own about her feet.

"If I become your physician," said I, as I stooped to make the latter
process more effectual, "you must allow me the right to do as I think

"I shall be only too much obliged by your kindness, sir," returned she.
"All I fear is, that you will give yourself unnecessary trouble on my

"The gentleman don't seem to think it's no trouble," interposed the old
farmer, "'taint never no trouble to good-hearted folks to help a
fellow-cretur in distress! I wish my wife was here; she knows a great
sight better than I do, how to take care o' sick folks."

"I am sure," replied the invalid, "if kindness could make people well, I
should be restored. I feel myself greatly indebted to you, gentlemen."

The slight color called to her cheek by the genuine feeling with which
she uttered these words, was by no means decreased, as she gracefully
accepted the offerings of the youth who had first called my attention to
her indisposition. Coming up to the side of the stage, near her, he
expressed the hope that she was feeling better, and, saying that he had
known sea-sickness relieved by lemon-juice, presented a fine, fresh
lemon, and a superb carnation-pink, and quickly withdrew.

Mr. Benton--that I heard him tell the way-bill-man was his name--lost
something in not hearing and seeing all I did of the pleasure he
bestowed by his gifts; but he had his reward, as he re-seated himself
near us.

"You did not give me an opportunity to thank you for your politeness,
sir," the lady hastened to say, with a pretty, half-shrinking manner, "I
am so much obliged to you for the flower! it is so spicy and refreshing,
and so very beautiful."

"A very indifferent apology for a bouquet," returned the gentleman, "all
I could find, however. I am very happy if it affords you the slightest

No sooner were we fairly on our way again, than I insisted upon
supporting the head of my fair patient upon my shoulder, assuring her
that ten minutes' sleep would complete the cure already begun in her
case. She blushed, and hesitated a little, upon the plea that she would
tire me.

"Allow me to be the judge of that," I answered, with some gravity, "and
permit the freedom of an old man." With this, I placed my arm firmly
about her slight form, and, without more ado, the languid head dropped
upon my shoulder.

I very soon had the satisfaction to discover that "tired nature's sweet
restorer" had come to my assistance, and to discern the return of some
natural color to the pallid face of the poor sufferer; so gathering her
shawl more closely about her, and disposing myself more effectually to
support my light burden, I maintained my vigil until the sudden stopping
of the vehicle aroused us all.

"The lady gets out here," cried the driver, opening the door, and,
through the obscurity that had now gathered about us, I dimly discerned
the outlines of the small dwelling in front of which we were at a stand.
In another moment, the door was flung hurriedly open, and a gentleman
hastened forward to receive my fair charge, who, notwithstanding the
confusion of the moment, found time to acknowledge the insignificant
attentions she had received from her travelling companions, much more
warmly than they deserved. Our last glimpse of my interesting patient,
revealed her folded closely in the arms of a lady, who appeared in the
lighted passage, and embraced, simultaneously, by several curly-headed
children, who clung to her dress, and hung upon her neck with manifest
and noisy delight.

We lumbered along, across a dark, covered bridge, up hill and down, and
then I reached my destination, for the nonce, the "New York Hotel," as
the little tavern of the village of B---- was grand-eloquently styled.

"Well, I ain't sorry we're arrove!" exclaimed the elegant young man,
with whose courtesy of nature my story opened. "George!"--stretching his
ungainly limbs upon the porch of the house--"won't some tipple be fine?
Hotel tipple's good enough for me!"

Before I could decide in my own mind whether this last declaration was
intended as a fling at me, for not giving Miss Peters a match for his
disgusting tobacco-smoke, from the bar of the stage-house, when I came
to the rescue in her service, he was scuffling with some ragged boys for
his trunk, and, as he marched off with his prize, I heard a
characteristic growl over the prospective tax upon his purse.

The next day was Sunday, and, of course, I was temporarily at a
stand-still in my journey.

The sexton of the neat little church to which I found my way in the
morning, put me into a pew next behind that I surmised to be the
Rector's. A movement among its occupants arrested my attention, and I
soon became really interested in remarking the healthful beauty of the
children, who, disposed between the two ladies occupying the extreme
ends of the seat, seemed to find some difficulty in keeping as quiet as
decorum required.

"I want to sit by aunt Julia," I overheard, as a bright-eyed little
fellow began to nestle uneasily in his seat. Upon this, the lady at the
top of the pew turned her head, and, behold! the face of my young
stage-coach friend! She was too much engaged, however, in aiding their
mother, as I supposed her to be, in settling the children, before the
service should commence, to observe me, and I almost doubted whether the
happy, smiling face I saw, was identical with the worn and colorless one
that had reposed so helplessly upon my breast on the previous evening;
but there was no mistaking the soft, blue eyes, and the wavy hair,
almost as sunny in hue as that of the little fellow who, at length,
rested quietly, with his head pillowed on her arm.

Scarcely had we begun with the Psalter, before Miss Peters looked
quickly round, with a startled glance. A half-smile of recognition
lighted her sweet face, and then her gaze was as quickly withdrawn.

"Good morning, sir!" exclaimed my new acquaintance, advancing eagerly
toward me, and offering her hand, as soon as we were in the vestibule of
the church, at the conclusion of the service; "I did not anticipate this
pleasure--sister, this is the gentleman to whom I was so much indebted

"We are all much obliged by your kindness to Miss Peters sir," her
companion hastened to say, and both bowed most politely to my
disclaimers of merit for so ordinary an act of humanity as that to which
they referred, and to my inquiries for the health of my fair patient.

Then followed a cordial invitation to dinner, in which each vied with
the other in frank hospitality. I attempted to compromise the matter by
a promise to pay my respects to the ladies in the evening.

"We do not dine until five on Sunday, sir, and that is almost evening!
Mr. Y---- will walk over and accompany you--you are at the Hotel? It
will give us great pleasure if you will come, unceremoniously, and
partake of a simple family dinner. Miss Peters claims you as _a

There was no withstanding this, especially as each phrase of courtesy
was made doubly expressive, by the most ingenuously hospitable manner.

"Really, ladies," said I, as we reached the gate of the Rectory, "there
is no resisting such fair tempters! I will be most happy to exchange the
solitude of my dull room for the joys of your Eden."

And, insisting that I could not permit Mr. Y---- to add to his clerical
duties the fatigue of calling for me, I renewed my expressions of
gratification at the restoration of Miss Peters, and took my leave.

I was still engaged in laying off my overcoat and shoes, after sending
in my card, when Mr. Y---- came out to welcome me; and a most cordial
welcome it was! Such a warm hand-shaking as he gave me, and such
emphatic assurances of the pleasure it afforded him to make my
acquaintance! And when I entered the tasteful little parlor, where I
found the ladies, I was received with equally frank hospitality. The
children united with their seniors in making me feel, at once, that I
was among friends. One little circumstance, I remember, particularly
touched me. I was scarcely seated, when a little tottering thing, with a
toy in her hand, came and placed herself between my knees, and raising a
pair of large, truthful, blue eyes to mine, lisped out, "I does 'ouv 'ou
dearly!--'ou was 'o dood to aun' Dule!--I dive 'ou my pretty 'ittle
birdie!" and the little cherub presented me the toy.--It was many a long
day afterwards, believe me, my dear boys, before the warmth infused into
the heart of an old campaigner, by the simple adventures of that quiet
village Sabbath, ceased to glow cheerily in his heart!

After the unpretending, but pleasant, well-appointed dinner was
concluded, Miss Peters rose, and, with a slight apology to me, was
leaving the room, when her sister arrested her. Some playful, whispered
contest seemed to be going on between the two, of which I could not help
overhearing, in the sweet, silvery tones that had charmed me in the
stage-coach, "You know, dear, it's such a luxury to me!--you are always
with them. I will have my own way when I am here!" and away she flew
like a fawn.

Presently, the pattering of numerous tiny feet, and a commingling of
joyous voices, and the music of childish laughter, reached my ears, from
the stairs, and then all was for a moment hushed. Now there was
distinctly heard from above, the swelling notes of a simple, child's
hymn, sung by several voices, led by the musical one I had learned to
distinguish, and then followed a low-murmured "Our Father," as I

"Colonel Lunettes," said my hostess, drawing a chair to the sofa corner,
where I had been snugly ensconced by two of the children, before they
said good-night, "I will take advantage of sister's absence to express
my personal obligations to you for your kind care of her yesterday"----

"My dear Madam," I interposed, "I regard my meeting your sister as a
special Providence, for which I alone should be deeply grateful!"

"You are very polite, sir," answered the lady, "we, too, should be
grateful. Julia should never travel alone. Mr. Y---- always goes over to
O---- for her, when we expect her, and intended to do so this time, but
she insisted upon it in her last letter, that she _knew_ she wouldn't be
ill, and that he would only distress her by coming, as she was sure he
was necessarily very busy, preparing for the Bishop's visit, and,
indeed, she expected to come over with an elder lady teacher in the

"Then Miss Peters is instructing, Mrs. Y----?"

"She is, sir. We are orphans [a slight quiver in the tones] and Julia
prefers to make this effort for herself"----

"I am opposed to it," continued Mr. Y----, taking up the narrative, as
his wife half-paused, "and much prefer that Julia should be with
us,--she and Mrs. Y---- should not be separated. I am sure there is room
enough in our hearts for all _our children_, and Julia is one of them!"

The grateful, loving smile, and dewy eyes of the wife, alone expressed
her sense of pleasure at these words. For myself, I declare to you, I
did not like to trust myself to reply. I was turning over some new pages
of the history of human nature! Sometimes I think, as I did then, that
the soul of man never reaches the full development of its earthly
capacities, except when continually subjected to the blessed influences
of _nature_! The city--the beaten thoroughfares of existence--curb, if
they do not deaden, the better manifestations of the spirit, check
forever, the most beautiful, individualizing specialities of manner
even! But I did not mean to moralize.

When Miss Peters rejoined us, her brother-in-law rose (as I also did, of
course) and seated her between us, on the sofa.

"My dear young lady," said I, taking her hand respectfully in my own,
"permit me to say, as Dr. Johnson did to Hannah More, upon meeting her
for the first time, '_I understand that you are engaged in the useful
and honorable occupation of instructing young ladies_,'--if it were
possible more thoroughly to forget the brevity of our acquaintance, than
I have already done, this would have deepened my respect and interest
for you! Pardon me, if I take too great a liberty. You have, from the
commencement of our acquaintance, permitted me the privileges of an

"And of a _gentleman of the old school_!" she added, with great
vivacity, and with the most bewitching smile.

"Before I leave you, my dear Miss Peters, will you allow me to make a

"If you are a prophet of _good_, sir"----

"Can you doubt it, when your future fate is the subject?"

"Indeed, sir, I shall have great faith in your auguries!" returned my
fair neighbor, bestowing the twin of her first smile upon me.

"Well, then, my dear, it is my solemn conviction that you have not yet
learned all you will one day know of the depth of the impression you
have left upon the heart of Mr. Benton," I answered, with a gravity that
I intended should _tell_.

"Mr. Benton! so that's his name?" laughed Mrs. Y----, gaily. "Julia
pretended not to know his name! I thought it was a conquest! I have not
yet had an opportunity of looking out the '_language_' of a very large,
full blown carnation pink!"

"No doubt," interrupted Mr. Y----, "it is precisely the opposite of

Between laughing and blushing, the fair subject of this badinage made
but a faint show of resistance; but, at this juncture, she managed to
say, as she turned to me, with a most courteous bow.

"I very much question whether the sentiments expressed by any flower can
more readily touch the heart, than that _I_ have known conveyed by a
_teaspoonful of brandy_!"

"Bravo!" cried Mr. Y----.

"Well done, Julé!" echoed my hostess.

And I!--my feelings were too deep for words! I could only lay my hand
upon my heart, and raise my eyes to the ceiling.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps there is no better test of the unexceptionableness of a habit,
than to _suppose it generally adopted, and infer the consequences_. I
remember some such reflection, in connection with a little circumstance
that once fell under my observation:--Dining with a young Canadian, at
his residence in Kingston, C. W., I met, among other persons, an English
notability, of whom I had frequently heard and read. A slight pause in
the conversation, made doubly audible a loud yawn proceeding from one
corner of the dining-room, and, as a general look of surprise was
visible, a huge Newfoundland dog approached us, stretching his limbs,
and shaking from his shaggy coat anything but

    "Sabæan odors, from the spicy shores
    Of Araby the Blest!"

Our host endeavored to say something polite, and the animal, advancing
toward the celebrity, stationed himself, familiarly, at his master's
side, somewhat to the annoyance, probably, of the lady next him.

With the utmost _sang froid_, the "privileged character" held his
finger-bowl to his dog, and remarked, as he eagerly lapped the contents,
that he had eaten highly-seasoned venison at lunch!

       *       *       *       *       *

"Foreigners," says Madame de Stael, "are a kind of contemporaneous
posterity." This truth apart, I had sufficient reason to blush for my
country, on more than one occasion, lately, while travelling at the
West, in company with a well-bred young European. His own manners were
so pleasing as to render more striking the peculiarities of others, and
his habits so refined, as, when united with his large observation and
intelligence, to make him an exceedingly agreeable person to associate

One hot day, during a portion of our journey performed by steamer, I
looked up from my book, and saw him coming toward me.

"I have found a cool place, sir," said he, "and have come to beg you to
join me--we shall be undisturbed there."

I rose, and was about to take up my seat.

"Allow me, sir! I am the younger," said he; and he insisted upon
carrying my seat, as well as the one he had previously secured for
himself. And this was his habitual phrase, when there was any occasion
to allude to the difference in our years. He never said--"You are older
than I am," or insinuated that my lameness made me less active than he,
when he offered his arm, in our numerous promenades. The idea he seemed
ever studying to express was, that he had pleasure in the society of the
old soldier, and thought him entitled to respect and precedence on all
occasions. Aside from the personal gratification and comfort I derived
from these graceful and unremitting attentions, it was a source of
perpetual pleasure to me to observe his beautiful courtesy to all with
whom he came in contact. He had with him a land surveyor, or agent of
some sort; with this person he, apparently, found little in common, but,
when he had occasion to converse with him, I always remarked his
punctilious politeness. And so with his servant; he always _requested_,
never _ordered_, him to do what he wished. Reserved and laconic, when
giving him directions, there was yet a certain assuring kindliness in
his _voice_, that seemed to act like a talisman upon his man, who,
speaking our language very imperfectly, would have often suffered the
consequences of embarrassing mistakes, but for the clear, simple,
intelligible directions and explanations of his master. But to return.

Scarcely were we seated quietly in the retired spot so carefully
selected by my friend, when a couple of young fellows came swaggering
along, and stationing themselves near us, began smoking, spitting and
talking so loudly, as to disturb and annoy us, exceedingly.

"What a pity that this fine air should be so poisoned!" exclaimed my
companion, in French, glancing at the intruders. "For my part, _pure
air_ is good enough for me, without perfume!"

"Do you never smoke?" I asked, in the same tongue.

"Certainly! but I do not smoke _always_ and _everywhere_! Neither do I
think it decent to soil every place with tobacco-juice, as you do in
this country!"

"It is infamous!" returned I. "Now just look at those fellows! See how
near they are to that group of ladies, and then look at the condition of
the deck all around them." As I spoke, the lady nearest the nuisance,
apparently becoming suddenly aware of her dangerous proximity, hurriedly
gathered her dress closely about her, and moved as far away as she could
without separating herself from her party. Despite these indications,
the shower continued to fall plentifully around, and the smoke to blow
into the faces of those who were so unfortunate as to be seated in the

"Have you not regulations to prevent such annoyances," inquired the

"Every steamer professes to have them, I believe," returned I, "but if
such vulgar men as these choose to violate them, no one even thinks of
insisting upon their enforcement--every one submits, and every one is
annoyed--that is, all decent people are!"

"_Vive la Liberté et l'Egalité!_" exclaimed the European, laughing

As if echoing the mirth of my companion, a merry laugh from the group of
ladies near us, arrested my attention at this moment. Without appearing
to remark them, I soon ascertained that they were amusing themselves
with the ridiculous figure presented by one of the smokers. His
associate had left him "alone in his glory," and there he sat, fast
asleep, with his mouth wide open, his hat over one eye, and his feet
tucked across under the seat of his chair, which supported only on its
hind legs, was tilted back against the side of the cabin. My description
can give you but a poor idea of the ludicrousness of the thing. One of
those laughing girls would have done it better! I overheard more than
one of their droll comments.

"What if his chair should upset, when he 'catches fish!'" exclaimed a
pretty little girl, looking roguishly from under her shadowing round
straw hat.

"There is more danger that that wasp will fly down his throat," replied
another of the gay bevy. "What a yawning cavern it is! That wasp is
hovering over the 'crack of doom!'"

"He reminds me rather of Daniel in the lion's den," put in a third.

"Let's move our seats before he wakes up," cried one of the girls, as
the nondescript made a slight demonstration upon a fly that had invaded
his repose. "He is protected by the barricade he has surrounded himself
with--like a upas-tree in the centre of its own vile atmosphere--but
_we_, unwary travellers, are not equally safe!"

A day or two afterwards, these very young men were just opposite me at
table, in a hotel in one of our large Western cities.

They were well dressed (with the exception of _colored shirts_) and
well-looking enough, but, after what I had previously seen of them, I
was not surprised to observe their habits of eating. One would throw up
both arms, and clasp his hands over his head, while waiting for a
re-supply of food; the other stop, now and then, to _lay off_ his bushy
moustache, so as to make more room for the shovelling process he kept up
with his knife, for the more rapid disappearance of a large goblet of
water at one swallowing, or for the introduction of a mammoth ear of
corn, which he took both hands to hold, while he gobbled up row after
row, with inconceivable rapidity. Then one would manipulate an enormous
drum-stick, while he lolled comfortable back in his chair, grievously
belaboring his voluminous beard, the while, and leaving upon it an
all-sufficient substitute for maccassar, and the other, simultaneously
make a loud demonstration with his pocket-handkerchief, or upon his
head. Now one would stretch out his legs under the table, until he
essentially invaded my reserved rights, and then the other insert his
tongue first in one cheek, and then in the other, rolling it vigorously
round, as a cannoneer would swab out a great gun with his sponge, before
re-loading! Flushed, heated, steaming, the heaps of sweet-potato skins,
bones, and bits of food profusely scattered over the soiled cloth, fully
attested the might of their achievements!

Much of this, as I said, I was prepared for, but I was somewhat
surprised by what followed.

I had sent for a quail, I think, or some other small game, and was
preparing to discuss its merits, when one of these young men, reaching
over, stuck his fork into the bird, and transferred it to his own

I saw at a glance that no offense was intended to me--that the seeming
rudeness was simply the result of vulgarity and ignorance; so I very
quietly directed the servant to bring me another bird.

Scarcely was the second dish placed before me, when the other youth of
this delectable pair exactly repeated the action of his companion, and I
again found myself minus my game.

"_Mon Dieu!_" cried my young foreign friend, "if you can endure that,
you are a hero, sir!"

An hour or two subsequent to this agreeable incident, I was again seated
in the cars, and hearing a noise behind me, soon satisfied myself that
my neighbors at dinner that day were to be my neighbors still, and that
they were at present busily employed in disputing with the conductor
respecting a seat next their own, which they wished to monopolize for
the accommodation of their legs, and which, in consequence of the
crowded state of the cars, the man insisted upon filling with other
passengers. Presently there came in a pale, weary-looking woman, with a
wailing infant in her arms and another young child clinging to her
garments. She found a seat where she could, and sinking into it,
disposed of a large basket she had also carried, and commenced trying to
pacify the baby.

Here was a fit subject for the rude jests and jibes of the young fellows
I have described. And full use did they make of their vulgar license of
tongue. The poor mother grew more and more distressed as those unfeeling
comments reached her ears from time to time, and at each outbreak from
the infant strove more nervously to pacify it.

I observed that a good-humored looking, large, handsome man, who sat a
little before this woman, frequently glanced round at the child, and
sought to divert its attention by various little playful motions. At
length, when the cars stopped for a few minutes, out he sallied, in all
haste, and presently returned with his hands full of fruits and cakes.
Offering a liberal share of these to the woman and her little girl,
after distributing some to his party, he reserved a bright red apple,
and said cheerily to the mother: "Let me take your little boy, ma'am, I
think I can quiet him."

The little urchin set up a loud scream, as he found himself in the
strong grasp of the stranger; but, a few moments' perseverance effected
his benevolent purpose. Tossing the boy up, directing his attention to
the apple, and then carrying him through the empty car a turn or two,
sufficed to chase away the clouds and showers from what proved to be a
bright, pretty face, and very soon the amiable gentleman returned to his
seat, saying very quietly to the woman, as he passed her, "We will keep
your little child awhile, and take good care of him." The baby was
healthy-looking, and its clothes, though plain, were entirely clean--so
the poor thing was by no means a disagreeable plaything for the young
lady beside whom the gentleman was seated. For some little time they
amused themselves in this humane manner, and then the young man gently
snugged the weary creature down upon his broad chest, and there it lay
asleep, like a flower on a rock, nestled under a shawl, and firmly
supported by the enfolding arm that seemed unconscious of its light

Meantime the pale, tired mother regaled herself with the refreshments so
bountifully provided for her, watching the movements of the little group
before her with evident satisfaction; and at length settled herself for
a nap in the corner of her seat, with the other child asleep in her lap.

The noisy comments of the "fast" young men in the rear of the car became
less audible and offensive, I noticed, after the stranger came to the
rescue, and when I passed their seat, afterwards, I could not be
surprised at their comparative silence, upon beholding the enormous
quantity of pea-nut shells and fruit skins with which the floor was
strewn, and noticing the industry with which they were squirting tobacco
juice over the whole.

By-and-by the cars made another pause. The mother of the little boy
roused herself and looked hastily round for her treasures. Upon this the
young lady who occupied the seat with her new friend came to her and
seemed reassuring her. As soon as the thronging crowd had passed out, I
heard her saying, as I caught a peep at the sweetest face, bent
smilingly towards the woman--"I made a nice little bed for him, as soon
as the next seat was empty, and he is still fast asleep. Does he like
milk? Mr. Grant will get some when he wakes--it is so unpleasant for a
lady to get out of the cars." (Here the woman seemed to make some
explanation, and a shadow of sympathy passed over the smiling face I was
admiring, as one sees a passing cloud move above a sunny landscape.)
"Well, we will be glad to be of use to you, as far as we go on," pursued
the fair girl; "I will find out all about it, and tell you before we
leave the cars. Now, just rest all you can--let me put this shawl up a
little higher--there! It is such a relief to get off one's bonnet! I'll
put it up for you. The little girl had better come with me.--Oh, no, she
will not, I am sure! What's your name, dear? Mary! that's the prettiest
name in the world! everybody loves Mary! I have such a pretty book to
show you"--and having tucked up the object of her gentle care in quite a
cosy manner, while she was saying this, the good girl gave a pretty,
encouraging little nod to the woman, and went back, taking the other
juvenile with her, to her own place. When her companion joined her, she
looked up in his face with a beaming, triumphant sort of a smile, and,
receiving a response in the same expressive language, all seemed quite
understood between them.

"What an angel!" exclaimed the young European, in his favorite tongue,
as he re-entered the car, and caught part of this little by-scene. "Do
you know what she said to that poor woman?"

I gave him all the explanation in my power. His fine eyes kindled. "She
is as good as she is beautiful! Have you remarked the magnificent head
of the gentleman with her? What a superb profile he has--so classic!
And his broad chest--there's a model for a bust! I happened to be in the
studio of your celebrated countryman, Powers, at Florence, with my
father, who was sitting to him, when the great Thorwaldsen came to visit
him. Boy, as I was, at that time, I remember his words, as he stood
before the bust of your Webster: '_I cannot make such busts!_' But was
it not, sir, because he had no such _models_ as your country affords?"
These were courteous words; but I do them poor justice in the record; I
cannot express the voice and manner from which they received their

Well, at the risk of tiring you, I hasten to conclude my little sketch.
I amused myself by quietly watching the thing through, and noticed,
towards evening, that the amiable strangers went together to the woman
they had befriended, after the gentleman had been into the hotel, before
which we were standing, seemingly to make some inquiry for her. Both
talked for a few minutes, apparently very kindly, to her and to the
children, and seemed to encourage her by some assurance as they parted.
As they were turning away, the grateful mother rose, and, snatching the
hand first of one, and then of the other, burst out, with a "God bless
you both!" so fervent as to be audible where I sat.

"Don't speak of such a trifle!" returned the youth, in a clear, distinct
voice, raising his noble form to its full height, and flashing forth the
light of his falcon eye; "for my part, I am very glad to be able to do a
little good as I go along in the world!"

In a few moments the handsome stranger was seen carefully placing his
fair travelling companion in an elegant carriage, where a lady was
awaiting them, and upon which several trunks were already strapped.
While cordial greetings were still in progress between the trio, a
well-dressed servant gave the reins to a superb pair of dark bays, and
in another instant they were flying along in the direction of a
stately-looking mansion of which I caught sight in the distance.

"Who the d---- is that fellow?" shouted one of the pair in the rear. "I
say, porter," stretching his body far out of the car window, and
beckoning to a man on the steps of the neighboring building, "What's the
name of those folks in that carriage? dev'lish pretty girl, I swear!"

"Sir-r-r?" answered Paddy, coming to the side of the car, and pulling
his dirty cap on one side of his head with one hand, while he operated
upon his carroty hair with the fingers of the other; "what's yer honor's

"I say, what's the name of that gentleman who has just gone off in that
carriage there?"

"Oh! sure that's young Gineral Grant; him that owns the fine house
beyant--I hear tell he's the new Congressman, sir!"

"_Bien!_" whispered my foreign friend, laughing heartily, "this _is_ a
great country! you do things upon so large a scale here, that one must
not wonder when _extremes meet_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"What, coz, still sitting with your things on, waiting? Haven't you been

"Oh, no, not at all, I've been reading."

"Well, but, do you know it's twelve o'clock? We were to start at
half-past ten. What did you think of me for delaying so long?"

"I was afraid some accident had happened; but I could see nothing from
the window, and I did not like to go out on the portico alone."

"Then you did not think me careless, and were not vexed?"

"Not I, indeed! I was sure you would come if you could, and was only
anxious about you, as you were to try that new horse. I did not take off
my bonnet, because I kept expecting you every moment."

"And I kept expecting to come every moment--that devilish animal! I
tried to send you word, but I could not get sight of a servant--confound
the fellows! they are always out of the way when one wants them."

"But, Charley, dear, what about the horse? Has he really troubled you? I
am sorry you bought him."

"Oh, I've conquered him! it wouldn't have taken me so long before I had
that devilish fever! But, come, cozzy dear, will you go now, or is your
patience all gone?"

"I would like the drive--but, Charley, had we not better put it off
until to-morrow morning? You must be tired out, and, perhaps, the horse
will continue to trouble you."

"No, no--come, come along, if you are willing to go."

Now, Charley and his cousin were together at a little rural
watering-place, in search of change of air and scene. Charley had been
recently ill, and, as he chanced to be separated from his family at the
time, was particularly fortunate in having had the gentle ministrations
of Belle, as he usually called her, at command, during his

Belle was an orphan, without brothers, and she clung to Charley with the
tenacity of a loving heart, deprived of its natural resources.
Temporarily relieved from her duties as a teacher, her cousin invited
her to accompany him in this little tour, in pity for the languor that
was betrayed by her drooping eyes, and lagging step; and his kindly
nurse, flattering herself that her "occupation" was not yet quite
"gone," was only too happy to escape from her city prison, under such
safe and agreeable protection. Yielding and quiet, as she ordinarily
was, Belle had very strict notions of propriety on some points. So, when
she and her cousin were making their final arrangements, before
commencing their journey, she laid upon the table before him, a
bank-note of considerable amount, with the request that he would
appropriate it to the payment of her travelling expenses.

"Time enough for that, by-and-by, coz."

"No, if you please, Charley. It is enough that you will be burdened by
the care of me, without having your purse taxed, too. Just be so good as
to keep a little account of what you pay for me--remembering porterage,
carriage-hire, and such matters--ladies always have the most luggage."
And a little hand playfully smoothed the doubled paper upon the cuff of
Charley's coat-sleeve, and left it lying there.

Her cousin very well knew that this bank-note comprised a large portion
of Belle's quarterly salary, though she made no allusion to the matter;
and, though his own resources were moderate, men so much more easily
acquire money than women--well, never mind! people differ in their ideas
of _luxury_.

Charley had some new experiences in this little tour of his and Belle's.
He had an idea, previously, that "women are always a bother, in
travelling," and he found himself sorely puzzled to make out, exactly,
what trouble it was to have his cousin always ready to read to him, when
they sat together on the deck of a steamer, or while he lay on the sofa
at a hotel, to claim the comfortable seat at her side in a rail-car, to
have her keep his cane and book, while he went out to chat with an
acquaintance, watch when he grew drowsy, and softly gather his shawl
about his neck, and make a pillow of her own for him, or to see the tear
that sometimes gathered in her meek eyes, when she acknowledged any
little courtesy on his part. Then, when, after they were settled in
their snug quarters, at the watering-place, Belle, half-timidly, sat a
moment on his knee, and, looking proudly round upon the order she had
brought out of chaos, among his toilet articles, books, and clothes,
said--"Oh, what a happy week I have to thank you for, dear cousin
Charley! You have done so many, many kind things for me, all the way! I
have had to travel alone almost always since pa's--since"--he was really
quite at a loss to know what "kind things" she referred to, and said so.

"Why, Charley!" returned she, making a vigorous effort to get over the
choking feeling that had suddenly assailed her, upon alluding to her
deceased father, "don't you know--no, you don't know, what a happiness
it is to a poor, lonely thing, like me, to have some one to take care of
her luggage, and pay her fare, and all those things? I know, in this
country, women can travel alone, safely--quite so; but it isn't
pleasant, for all that, to go into crowds of rough men, without any one.
The other evening, at New Haven, for instance, it was quite dark, when
we landed, and those hackmen made such a noise, and crowded so--but I
felt just as safe, and comfortable, while sitting waiting for you in the
carriage, all the while you were gone back about our trunks! Oh, you
can't realize it, Charley, dear!" and the fair speaker shook her head,
with a mournful earnestness, that expressed almost as much sober
truthfulness, as appealing femininity.

But about this morning drive.

With the trusting confidence for which her sex have such an infinite
capacity, Belle yielded at once to the implied wish of her temporary
protector, and they were soon rolling along, in a light, open carriage,
through deeply-shadowing woods and across little brooklets which were
merrily disporting themselves under the trees.

The poor wild-wood bird, so long caged, yet ever longing to be free,
carolled and mused by turns, or permitted her joyous nature to gush out
in exclamations of delight.

"What delicious air!" she exclaimed. "Really it exhilarates one, like a
cordial. Oh, Charley, dear, look at those flowers! May I get out for
them? Do let me! I won't be gone a minute. Just you sit still, and hold
your war-steed. Don't be so ceremonious as to alight; I need no
assistance." And with a bound the happy creature was on her feet, and in
an instant dancing along, to the music of her own glad voice, over the
soft grass.

Too considerate to encroach upon his patience unduly, Belle soon
reseated herself beside Charley, with a lap full of floral treasures.

"Here are enough for bouquets for both our rooms," said she; "how fresh
and fragrant they are!

    'They have tales of the joyous woods to tell,
    Of the free blue streams and the glowing sky.'

Bless God for flowers--_and friends_!"

As the artless girl fervently uttered the last words, she turned a pair
of sweet blue eyes, into which tears of gratitude and pleasure had
suddenly started, upon the face of her companion. What a painful
revulsion of feeling was produced by that glance! She scarcely
recognized the face of her cousin, so completely had gloom and
discontent usurped the place of his usual hilarious expression. What
_could_ be the matter? Had she offended him!

Repressing, with quick tact, all manifestations of surprise, though her
frame thrilled, as if from a heavy blow, Belle was silent for a while,
and then said in a subdued tone that contrasted strangely with her
former bird-like glee--"Your horse goes nicely now, Charley, doesn't he?
You seem to have effectually conquered him; but I am sure you must be
tired, now, dear cousin, you have been out so long. Had we not better

"Why, you have had no ride at all yet, Isabella," returned the young
man, in a voice that was as startling to his sensitive auditor as his
altered countenance had been.

"Oh, yes, I have," she quickly answered, endeavoring to speak as
cheerfully as possible, "I have enjoyed myself so much that I ought to
be quite contented to go back, and I really think we'd better do so."

Charley's only response was turning his horse's head homeward. For a
while they drove on in silence, Belle's employment of arranging her
flowers now wholly mechanical, so engrossing was the tumult in her

Just as they came in sight of their hotel, the unruly animal that had
already occasioned his new owner so much trouble, stopped, and stood
like a wooden effigy in the middle of the road.

In vain did word and whip appeal to his locomotive powers. At length the
pent-up wrath that had apparently been gathering fury for the last hour
burst forth.

"Devilish brute! I never was so shamefully imposed upon! I wish to G----
I never had set foot in this infernal hole! There's no company here fit
for a decent fellow to associate with. I shall die of stupidity in a
week--particularly if I have to drive such a confounded concern as
this!" Here followed a volley of mingled blows and curses.

The terrified witness of this scene sat tremblingly silent, for a time,
clinging to the side of the carriage, as if to keep herself quiet.
Presently she said:

"Perhaps I'd better jump out and run to the house, and send some one out
to assist you."

"You may get out, if you choose," answered her cousin, gruffly, "but I
want no assistance about the horse. I'll break every bone in his body,
but I'll conquer his devilish temper!"

After another pause, Belle said, "Well, Charley, if you please, I will
walk on. I am sorry you are so annoyed," she added, timidly, carefully
averting her pale face from him; "but perhaps this is only a phase, and
he may never do so again."

Her companion broke into a loud, mocking laugh. "What in thunder do you
know about horses, Isabella?"

"Nothing, Charley--nothing in the world," returned his cousin, quickly,
in the gentlest voice, "I only"----

"Ye-es!" drawled the angry youth, "I know--some women think their
'_ready wit_' will enable them to talk upon any subject! Get up, now,
you rascal, will you?"

Belle knew her weakness too well to trust herself to speak, so, drawing
her veil closely about her face, and gathering up her shawl and her
flowers, she stepped from the low carriage with assumed composure, and
bowing slightly, walked towards the house.

Meeting a servant, at the foot of the stairs, she said, very quietly,
"Mr. Cunningham will be here in a few minutes with his horse; I hope
some one will be ready to take him," and passed on. This was all she
_dared_ to do, in aid of the exasperated youth.

Once in her own room, it seemed but the work of a moment for the
agitated girl to throw off her shawl and bonnet, and transport some
light refreshments she had previously prepared, across the passage to
her cousin's room, to draw up his lounging chair to the table, and with
a few skillful touches to give that air of comfort to the
simply-furnished apartment which it had been her daily pleasure to
impart to it.

This self-imposed task achieved, she flew, like a guilty intruder, to
her own little asylum, and locking the door, flung herself upon the bed,
burying her face in the pillows.

But though her quick, convulsive sobs were stifled, they shook her
slight, sensitive form till it quivered in every nerve, like a delicate
exotic suddenly exposed to the blasts of a northern winter.

By-and-by a sound roused her from this agony of tears.

"There is the first dinner-gong," said she, to herself, starting up,
"what shall I do? Perhaps Charley won't like it if I don't go to dinner.
My head aches dreadfully. I don't mind that so much, but (looking in the
glass) my face is so flushed. I wouldn't for the world vex Charley, I'm
sure." With this she began some hasty toilet preparations; but her hands
trembled so violently as to force her to desist.

Wrapping her shivering form in her shawl, she sat down on a low chair,
and again gave way to emotions which gradually shaped themselves thus:

"I am so sorry I came with Charley. He was never anything but kind till
we came here. And then I should have, at least, had nothing but pleasant
things to remember. But now--I am afraid Charley is ashamed of me; he
looked at my dress so scrutinizingly this morning, when he came to my
door. I know I'm not the least fashionable; but Mrs. Tillou is, and she
complimented me on this _négligé_--it is soiled now, and my pretty
slippers, too, walking back through the mud! 'Isabella!' How cold and
strange it sounded! I am so used to 'cozzy dear,' and have learned to
love it so. My poor heart!" pressing both hands upon her side as if to
still a severe pang. Then she rose, and creeping slowly along the floor,
swallowed some water, and seating herself at the table, drew writing
materials towards her. Steadying her hand with great effort, and every
moment pressing her handkerchief to her eyes, she achieved the following

  "Having a little headache to-day, dear Charley, I prefer not to
  dine, if you will excuse me. I will be quite ready to meet you in
  the parlor before tea.

  "Ever yours,

  "_Tuesday Morning._"

Designing to accompany this with some of the flowers she now remembered,
for the first time since her return from her ill-starred morning
excursion, Belle hastily re-arranged the prettiest of them in a little
bouquet. As she removed an already withered wild-rose from among its
companions, a solitary tear fell upon its shrivelled petals. "Perhaps,"
she murmured mournfully, with a heavy sigh, "I should have made another
idol,--perhaps I should soon have learned to _love Charley too well_, if
this chastening had not come upon me--could he have thought so?" As she
breathed this query, the small head was suddenly thrown back, like that
of a startled gazelle, and a blush so vivid and burning as to pale the
previous flush of agitation, flashed over cheek and brow.

Quickly ringing the bell, and carefully concealing herself from
observation, behind the door, when she half-opened it, the servant who
answered her summons was requested to hand the note and flowers to Mr.
Cunningham, if he was in his room, and if not, to place them where he
would "be sure to see them when he came up."

"When will I ever learn," said Belle, in a tone of bitter self-reproach,
as she re-locked the door, "not to cling and trust,--not

    ----"to make idols, and to find them clay!"

"I have not seen you looking so well since you came here, Miss
Cunningham," said a gentleman to Belle, joining her as she was entering
the public parlor that evening. "Do allow me to felicitate you! What a
brilliant color!--You were driving this morning, were you not? No doubt
you are indebted to your cousin for the bright roses in your cheeks!"

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, my dear young friends, let me only add, in concluding this
lengthened letter, that, had I early acquired the _habit of writing_,
you would, doubtless, have less occasion to criticise these
effusions--attempted, for your benefit, at too late a period of life to
enable me to render them what I could wish. Use them as _beacons_, since
they cannot serve as _models_!





Having touched, in our preceding letters, upon matters relating to
Physical Training, Manner, and the lighter accomplishments that
embellish existence, we come now to the _inner life_--to the Education
of the Mind and Heart, or Soul of Man.

Metaphysicians would, I make no doubt, find ample occasion to cavil at
the few observations I shall venture to offer you on these important
subjects, and, painfully conscious of my total want of skill to treat
them in detail, I will only attempt a few desultory suggestions,
intended rather to impress you with the importance I attach to
_self-culture_, than to furnish you with full directions regarding it.

The genius of our National Institutions pre-supposes the truth that
education is within the power of all, and that all are capable of
availing themselves of its benefits. Education, in the highest, truest
sense, does not involve the necessity of an elaborate system of
scientific training, with an expenditure of time and money entirely
beyond the command of any but the favored few who make the exception,
rather than the rule, in relation to the race in general.

Happily for the Progress of Humanity, the "will to do, the soul to
dare," are never wholly subject to the control of outer circumstance,
and here, in our free land, they are comparatively untrammeled.

"There are two powers of the human soul," says one of our countrymen,
distinguished for a knowledge of Intellectual Science, "which make
self-culture possible, the _self-searching_, and the _self-forming_
power. We have, first, the faculty of turning the mind on itself; of
recalling its past, and watching its present operations; of learning its
various capacities and susceptibilities; what it can do and bear; what
it can enjoy and suffer; and of thus learning, in general, what our
nature is, and what it is made for. It is worthy of observation, that we
are able to discern not only what we already are, but what we may
become, to see in ourselves germs and promises of a growth to which no
bounds can be set; to dart beyond what we have actually gained, to the
idea of perfection at the end of our being."

Assuming that to be the most enlightened system of education which tends
most effectively to develop all the faculties of our nature, it is
impossible, practically, to separate moral and religious from
intellectual discipline. If we possess the _responsibility_ as well as
the capacity of self-training--that must be a most imperfect system, one
most unjust to our better selves, which cultivates the intellectual
powers at the expense of those natural endowments, without which, man
were fitter companion for fiends than for higher intelligences!

Pursued beyond a certain point, education, established upon this basis,
may not facilitate the acquisition of wealth; and if this were the
highest pursuit to which it can be made subservient, effort, beyond that
point, were useless. But if we regard the acquirement of money chiefly
important as affording the essential means of gratifying the tastes,
providing for the necessities, and facilitating the exercise of the
moral instincts of our being, we return, at once, to our former

"_He, therefore, who does what he can to unfold all his powers and
capacities, especially his nobler ones, so as to become a
well-proportioned, vigorous, excellent, happy being, practises

Those of you who have enjoyed the advantages of a regular course of
intellectual training, will need no suggestion of mine to aid you in
mental discipline; but possibly a few hints on this point may not be
wholly useless to others.

The general dissemination of literature, in forms so cheap as to be
within the reach of all, renders _reading_ a natural resource for
purposes of amusement as well as instruction. But they who are still so
young as to make the acquisition of knowledge the proper business of
life, should never indulge themselves in reading for _mere amusement_.
Never, therefore, permit yourselves to pass over words or allusions,
with the meaning of which you are unacquainted, in works you are
perusing. Go at once to the fountain-head--to a dictionary for
unintelligible words, to an encyclopedia for general information, to a
classical authority for mythological and other similar facts, etc., etc.
You will not read _as fast_, by adopting this plan, but you will soon
realize that you are, nevertheless, advancing much more rapidly, in the
truest sense. When you have not works of reference at command, adopt the
practice of making brief memoranda, as you go along, of such points as
require elucidation, and avail yourself of the earliest opportunity of
seeking a solution of your doubts. And do not, I beg of you, think this
too laborious. The best minds have been trained by such a course. Depend
upon it, _genius_ is no equivalent for the advantage ultimately derived
from patient perseverance in such a course. I remember well, that to the
latest year of his life, my old friend, De Witt Clinton, one of the
noblest specimens of the race it has been my fortune to know, would
spring up, like a boy, despite his stiff knee, when any point of doubt
arose, in conversation, upon literary or scientific subjects, and hasten
to select a book containing the desired information, from a little
cabinet adjoining his usual reception-room. His was a genuine _love of
learning_ for its own sake; and the toil and turmoil of political life
never extinguished his early passion, nor deprived him of a taste for
its indulgence.

Moralists have always questioned the wisdom of indulging a taste for
fictitious literature, even when time has strengthened habit and
principle into fixedness. The license of the age in which we live,
renders futile the elaborate discussion of this question of ethics. But,
while permitting yourselves the occasional perusal of works of poetry
and fiction, do not so far indulge this taste as to stimulate a
disrelish for more instructive reading. And, above all, do not permit
yourselves to acquire an inclination for the unwholesome stimulus of
licentiousness, in this respect. Every man of the world should know
something of the belle-lettre literature of his own language, at least,
and, as a rule, the more the better; but,

    "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise;"

and the vile translations from profligate foreign literature, which
have, of late years, united with equally immoral productions in our own,
to foster a corrupt popular taste, cannot be too carefully avoided by
all who would escape moral contagion.

You will find the practice of noting fine passages, felicitous modes of
expression, novel thoughts, etc., as they occur even in lighter literary
productions, not unworthy of your attention. It will serve,
collaterally, to assist in the formation of a pure style of conversation
and composition, a consideration of no small importance for those whose
future career will demand facility in this regard. Carlyle has somewhere
remarked that, "our public men are all gone to tongue!" This
peculiarity of the times, may, to some extent, have grown out of its new
and peculiar social and political necessities. But, whether that be so,
or not, since such is the actual state of things, let all new
competitors for public distinction seek every means of securing ready

While I would not, without reservation, condemn the perusal of
fictitious literature, I think you will need no elaborate argument to
convince you of the superior importance of a thorough familiarity with
_History_ and general _Science_.

Let me, also, commend to your attention, well-chosen _Biography_, as
affording peculiarly impressive incentives to individual effort, and,
often, a considerable amount of collateral and incidental information.
The Life of Johnson, by Boswell, for instance, which, as far as I know,
still retains its long-accorded place at the very head of this class of
composition (some critic has recorded his wonder that the best biography
in our language should have been written by a _fool_!) contains a world
of information, respecting the many celebrated contemporaries of that
great man, the peculiarities of social life in England, at his day, and
the general characteristics of elegant literature. So, of Lockhart's
Life of Scott, and other records of literary life. The lives of such men
as Shelley, and Coleridge, afford an impressive warning to the
young--teaching, better than a professed homily, how little talents,
unguided by steadfastness of purpose and principle, avail for usefulness
and happiness. The examples of Lord Nelson, Howard, Mungo Park, Robert
Hall, Franklin, and Washington, may well be studied, in detail, for the
lessons they impress upon all. And so, of many of the brave and the good
of our race--I but name such as passingly occur to me.

Do not permit newspaper and magazine reading to engross too much of your
time, lest you gradually fall into a sort of _mental dissipation_, which
will unfit you for more methodical literary pursuits.

A cultivated taste in Literature and Art, as, indeed, in relation to all
the embellishments and enjoyments of life, is, properly, one of the
indications, if not the legitimate result, of thorough mental education.
But, while you seek, by every means within your control, to enlarge the
sphere of your perceptions, and to elevate your standard of intellectual
pleasures, carefully avoid all semblance of conscious superiority, all
_dilettanti_ pretension, all needless technicalities of artistic
language. Remember that _modesty_ is always the accompaniment of true
merit, and that the smattering of knowledge, which the condition of Art
in our infant Republic alone enables its most devoted disciples to
acquire, ill justifies display and pretension, in this respect. So, with
regard to matters of literary criticism--enjoy your own opinions, and
seek to base them upon the true principles of art; but do not inflict
crudities and platitudes upon others, under the impression that, because
of recent acquisition to a tyro in years, and in learning, they are
likely to strike mature minds with the charm of novelty! Thus, too, with
scientific lore. If Sir Isaac Newton only gathered "pebbles on the
shore" of the limitless ocean of knowledge, we may well believe that

    ----"Wisdom is a pearl, with most success
         Sought in still water."

Let me add, while we are, incidentally, upon this matter of personal
pretension, that to observing persons such a manner often indicates
internal distrust of one's just claims to one's social position, while,
on the contrary, quiet self-possession, ease and simplicity, are equally
expressive of self-respect and of an entire certainty of the tacit
admission of one's rights by others. Nothing is more underbred than the
habit of taking offense, or fancying one's self slighted, on all
occasions. It betokens either intense egotism, or, as I have said,
_distrust of your rightful position_--that you are embittered by
struggling with the world--neither of which suppositions should be
betrayed by the bearing of a man of the world. Maintain outward
serenity, let the torrent rage as it may within, and _never allow the
world to know its power to wound you through your undue sensitiveness_!

Well has the poet asserted that

    "Truth's a discovery made by _travelled minds_."

No one who can secure the advantage of seeing life and manners in every
varying phase, should fail to add this to the other branches of a polite
education. Do not imbibe the impression, however, that merely going
abroad is _travelling_, in the just sense of the term.

    "Oft has it been my lot to mark,
    A proud, conceited, talking spark,
    Returning from his finished tour,
    Grown ten times perter than before.
    Whatever word you chance to drop,
    The travelled fool your mouth will stop:--
    'Sir, if _my_ judgment you'll allow,
    I've _seen_, and sure _I_ ought to know!'
    So begs you'll pay a due submission,
    And acquiesce in his decision."

Send a fool to visit other countries, and he will return--only a
"_travelled_ fool!" But give a rightly-constituted man opportunities for
thus enriching and expanding his intellectual powers, and he returns to
his native land, especially if he be an American, a better citizen, a
more enlightened, discriminating companion and friend, and a more
liberal, useful, catholic Christian!

Some knowledge of modern languages, especially of the French, has now
become an essential part of education. The value of this acquisition,
even for _home use_, can scarcely be over-estimated, and without a
familiarity with colloquial French, a man can hardly hope to pass muster
abroad. I will, however, hazard the general observation that, as a rule,
it is better to acquire a _thorough knowledge of one language_ (and of
French, pre-eminently, for practical availability) than a slight
acquaintance with several. Few persons, comparatively, in our active,
busy land, have leisure, at any period of life, for familiarizing
themselves with the literature of more than one language, besides their
own, and to possess the mere nomenclature of a foreign tongue is but to
have _the key_ to information. There is, of late, a fashion in this
matter, which has little else to recommend it than that it _is the
fashion_; and with persons of sense and intelligence there should be
some more powerful and satisfactory motive for the devotion of any
considerable portion of "_Time, nature's stock_."

_Apropos_ of this, nothing is more likely to teach a true estimate of
the _value_ of _time_ than that perfection of education pronounced by
the philosopher of old to be the knowledge that we _know nothing_! In
other words, they only, who in some sort discern, by the light of
education, the vast field that lies unexplored before them, can have any
adequate conception of the care and discrimination with which they
should use that treasure of which alone it is '_a virtue to be

Nothing, perhaps, more unmistakably indicates successful self-culture
than the habitual exhibition of Tact. It may almost be called another
sense, growing out of the proper training of the several faculties of
body and mind. And though there is a vast natural difference between
persons of similar outward circumstances, in this respect, much may be
effected by attention and practice, in the acquisition of this
invaluable possession. Like self-possession, tact is one of the
essential, distinctive characteristics of good-breeding--the legitimate
expression of natural refinement, quick perceptions and kindly
sympathies. Cultivate it, then, my young friends, in common with every
elegant embellishment of the true gentleman! Do not confound it with
dissimulation or hypocrisy, nor yet regard it as the antagonist of
truthfulness, self-respect and manly dignity. On the contrary, it is the
best safeguard of courtesy, as well as of sensibility.

Among useful methods of self-discipline, let me instance the benefit
resulting from the early adoption of a _code of private morality_, if
you will permit me to coin a phrase, composed of rules and maxims
adapted to your own personal needs and peculiarities of position and
mental constitution. Washington, I remember, adopted this practice, and
Mr. Sparks, or some one of his biographers, has preserved the record
from oblivion. It is many years since I came across these rules, and I
can no longer recall more than the fixed, though general, impression
that they embodied much practical wisdom and clearly indicated the
patient spirit of self-improvement for which the author was remarkable.
I commend them to you as a model. Perhaps the immortal biographer who
has now given the world a new life of his great namesake, will afford
you the means of satisfying yourselves personally of the correctness of
my impressions of them.

In preparing this code for yourselves, I can give you no better guide
than that afforded by the truth expressively conveyed in the following

    "_'Tis wisely great to talk with our past hours,
    To ask them what report they bore to Heaven,
    And how they might have borne more welcome news._"

That is a very imperfect conception of education which limits its
significance to _knowledge gained from books_. A profound acquaintance
with literary lore is often associated with total ignorance of the
actual world, of the laws that govern our moral and intellectual being,
and with an incapacity to discern the Beautiful, the True, the Good.
They only are _educated_, who have acquired that self-knowledge and
self-discipline which inspire a _disinterested love of our
fellow-beings, a reverence for Truth_--in the largest sense of the
term--_and the power of habitually exalting the higher faculties over
the animal propensities of our nature_.

It is only, therefore, when man unites moral discipline with
intellectual culture, that he can be said to be truly educated; and the
most ambitious student of books should always bear in mind the truth
that the _free play of the intellect is promoted by the development of
moral perceptions_, and that mental education, even, does not so much
consist in loading the memory with facts, as in strengthening the
capacity for independent action--for judging, comparing, reflecting.

"The connection between moral and intellectual culture is often
overlooked," says a celebrated ethical writer, "and the former
sacrificed to the latter. The exaltation of talent, as it is called,
above virtue and religion, is the curse of the age. Education is now
chiefly a stimulus to learning, and thus may acquire power without the
principles which alone make it a good. Talent is worshipped, but, if
divorced from rectitude, it will prove more of a demon than a god."

Holding the opinion, then, that a fixed religious belief is the
legitimate result of a thorough cultivation of the mental and moral
endowments, and that their united and co-equal development constitutes
education, you will permit me to impress upon your attention the
importance of securing all the aid afforded by the _best lights_
vouchsafed to us, in the search after Truth. Conscience is a blind
guide, until assisted by discriminating teaching, and honest,
persevering endeavors at self-enlightenment. For myself, my experience,
in this respect, has afforded me no assistance so reliable and efficient
as that to be gathered from the _Life of Jesus Christ_, as recorded by
his various biographers, and collected in the New Testament. I commend
its study, renewedly, to you, not in search of a substantiation of human
doctrines, not to determine the accuracy of particular creeds, but to
possess yourself of simple, intelligible, practicable directions for the
wise regulation of your daily life, and those ceaseless efforts at
self-advancement which should be the highest purpose of

    "A being breathing thoughtful breath,
    A creature between life and death!"

Accustomed to the standard established by Him who said, "Be ye,
therefore, perfect, even as I am perfect," we will not be deterred from
the steadfast pursuit of right by the imperfect exhibitions, so
frequently made, of its efficacy, in the lives of the professed
followers of the wonderful Nazarine. Conscious of the difficulties, the
temptations and the discomfitures that we ourselves encounter, we will
learn, not only to discriminate between the imperfections of the
disciple and the perfection of the Master, but to exercise that charity
toward others, of which self-examination teaches us the need, in our own
case. Thus, the Golden Rule, which so inclusively epitomizes the _moral
code_ of the Great Teacher, will come to be our guide in determining the
path of practical duty, and the course of self-culture, most essential
to the security of present happiness, and as a preparative for that
eternal state of existence, of which this is but the embryo.

Thus, making God and conscience--which is the voice of God speaking
within us--the arbiter between our better nature and the impulses
excited by the grosser faculties, we shall be less tempted by outward
influences to lower the abstract standard we originally establish, or to
reconcile ourselves to an imperfect conformity to its requisitions. Far
less, will we permit ourselves to indulge the delusion that we are not,
each of us, personally obligated, by our moral responsibilities, _to
develop all the powers with which we are endowed, to their utmost

    "They build too low who build below the skies!"

The most perfect of human beings was also the most humble and
self-sacrificing, so that they who endeavor to follow his example will
not only be devoid of self-righteous assumption, but actively devoted
to the good of their fellow-creatures, and, like Him, pityingly sensible
of the wants and the woes of humanity.

That reverence for the spiritual nature of man, as a direct emanation
from Deity, which all should cherish, is, also, to be regarded as a part
of judicious self-culture. Cultivate an habitual recognition of your
celestial attributes, and strive to elevate your whole being into
congenial association with the divinity within you:--this do for the
benefit of others,

    "Be noble! and the nobleness that lies
    In other men, sleeping, but never dead,
    Will rise, in majesty, to meet thine own!"

With so exalted an aim as I have proposed for your adoption, you will be
slow to tolerate _peccadilloes_, as of little moment, either in a
metaphysical or ethical point of view. Dread such tolerance, as sapping
the foundations of principle; learn to detect the insidious poison
lurking in Burke's celebrated aphorism, and in the infidel philosophy
that assumes the brightest semblances that genius can invent, the more
readily to deceive. Establish fixed principles of benevolence, justice,
truthfulness, religious belief, and adhere steadfastly to them, despite
the allurements of the world, the temptings of ambition, or weariness of

The _Pursuit of Happiness_ is but concentrated phraseology for the
purposes and endeavors of every human being. May you early learn to
distinguish between the _false_ and the _true_, between _pleasure_ and
_happiness_, early know your duty to yourselves, your country, and your

I will but add to these crude, but heart-engendered, observations, a few
lines, embodying my own sentiments, and in a form much more impressive
than I can command:--

    "We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
    In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
    We should count time by heart-throbs. _He most lives
    Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best._"

       *       *       *       *       *

I have somewhere met with a little bagatelle, somewhat like this:--

Apollo, the god of love, of music, and of eloquence, weary of the
changeless brilliancy of Olympus, determined to descend to earth, and to
secure maintenance and fame, in the guise of a mortal, by _authorship_.
Accordingly, the incognito divinity established himself in an attic,
after the usual fashion of the sons of genius, and commenced inditing a
poem--a long epic poem, plying his pen with the patient industry
inspired by necessity, the best stimulus of human effort. At length, the
task of the god completed, he, with great difficulty, procured the means
of offering it to the world in printed form. The Epic of Apollo, the god
of Poetry, _fell, pre-doomed, from the press_. No commendatory review
had been secured, no fashionable publisher endorsed its merits.
Disgusted with the pursuit of the wealth and honors of earth, Apollo
returned to Olympus, bequeathing to mortals, this advice:--"_Would you
secure earthly celebrity and riches, do not attempt intellectual and
moral culture, but_ INVENT A PILL!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Instances of the successful _pursuit of knowledge under difficulties_
frequently present themselves in our contemporaneous history, both in
our own country and in foreign lands. Indeed, the history of the human
mind goes far toward proving that, not the pampered scions of rank and
luxury, but the hardy sons of poverty and toil, have been, most
frequently, the benefactors of the race. Well has the poet said:--

    "The busy world shoves angrily aside
    The man who stands with arms a-kimbo set,
    Until occasion tell him what to do;
    And he who waits to have his task marked out,
    Shall die, and leave his errand unfulfilled."

The _Learned Blacksmith_, as he is popularly called, acquired thirty, or
more, different languages, while daily working at his laborious trade.
He was accustomed to study while taking his meals, and to have an open
book placed upon the anvil, while he worked. A celebrated physiological
writer, alluding to the habits of this persevering devotee of philology,
says, that nothing but his uninterrupted practice of his Vulcan-tasks
preserved his health under the vast amount of mental labor he imposed
upon himself.

Another of our distinguished countrymen, now a prominent popular orator,
is said to have accumulated food for future usefulness, while devoting
the energies of the outer man to the employment of _a wagoner_, amid the
grand scenic influences of the majestic Alleghanies. The early life of
Franklin, of the "Mill-boy of the Slashes," of Webster, and of many
others whose names have become watchwords among us, are, doubtless,
familiar to you, as examples in this respect.

       *       *       *       *       *

Looking upon the busy active world around me,--as I sometimes like to
do--from behind the screen of my newspaper, seated in the reading-room
of a hotel, I became the auditor of the following conversation, between
two young men, who were stationed near a window, watching the passing
throng of a crowded thoroughfare.

"By George! there's Van K----," exclaimed one, with unusual animation.

"Which one,--where?" eagerly interrogated his companion.

"That's he, this side, with the Byronic nose, and short steps--he's
great! What a fellow he is for making money, though!"

"Does it by his talents, don't he?--nobody like him, in the Bar of this
State, for genius,--that's a fact--carries everything through by the
_force of genius_!"

"Dev'lish clever, no doubt," assented the other, "but he used to study,
I tell you, like a hero, when he was younger."

"Never heard that of him," answered the other youth, "how the deuce
could he? He has always been a _man about town_--real fashionable
fellow--practised always, since he was admitted, and everybody knows no
one dines out, and goes to parties with more of a rush than Van K----,
and he always has."

"That may all be, but my mother, who has known him well for years, was
telling me, the other day, that those who were most charmed with his
wit, and belle-lettre scholarship, when he first came upon the _tapis_,
little knew the pains he took to accomplish himself. '_He exhibited the
result, not the machinery_,' she said, but he _did_ study, and study
hard, when other young fellows were asleep, or raising h----!"

"As for that," interrupted the other, "he always did his full share of
all the deviltry going, or I am shrewdly mistaken!"

"Nobody surpasses him at that, any more than at his regular trade,"
laughed his companion--"oh, but he's rich! Jim Williams was telling me
(Jim studies with S---- and Van K----) how he put down old S---- the
other day. It seems S---- had been laid on the shelf with a
tooth-ache--dev'lish bad--face all swelled up--old fellow real sick, and
no mistake. Well, one morning, after he'd been gone several days, he
managed to pull up, and make his appearance at the office. It was
early--no one there but Van K---- and the boys--Jim and the rest of the
fellows--tearing away at the books and papers. So old S---- dropped down
in an arm-chair by the stove, and began a hifalutin description of his
sorrows and sufferings while he had been sick--quite in the 'pile on the
agony' style! Well, just as the old boy got fairly warmed up, and was
going it smoothly, Van K---- bawled out:--'Y-a-s! Mr. S----! will you
have time, this morning, to look over these papers, in the case of Smith
against Brown?' Jim said he never saw an old rip so cut down in all his
life, and, as soon as he went out, there was a general bust up, at his

"How confounded heartless!" exclaimed the elder youth, rising--"by
Heaven, I hope a man needn't set aside the common sympathies and
decencies of humanity, to secure success in his profession, or in
society!" and as he passed me, I caught the flush of manly indignation
that mantled his beardless cheek, and the lightning-flash of youthful
genius that enkindled his large blue eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What are you doing there, sir?" inquired one of the early Presidents of
our Republic, of his nephew, who was standing before an open
writing-desk, in his private apartment.

"Only getting some paper and pencils, sir," replied the young man.

"That stationery, sir, belongs to the Federal Government!" returned the
American patriot, impressively, and sternly, and resumed his previous

       *       *       *       *       *

Daniel Webster, in conversation with a familiar friend, said:

"From the time that, at my mother's feet, or on my father's knees, I
first learned to lisp verses from the Sacred Writings, they have been my
daily study, and vigilant contemplation. If there be anything in my
style or thoughts worthy to be commended, the credit is due to my kind
parents, in instilling into my early mind a love for the Scriptures."

       *       *       *       *       *

"How long will it take you," inquired Napoleon, of the young
brother-in-law of Junot, "to acquaint yourself with the Coptic language,
and be prepared to go to Egypt on a secret service?"

"Three months, sire," replied the energetic Frenchman, with scarcely a
perceptible pause for consideration.

"_Bien!_" returned the great Captain, "begin at once." And he moved on
in his briefly-interrupted walk, through the _salon_ of the beautiful
mother of the youth, saying to the Turkish Ambassador, who accompanied
his stroll:--"There is such a son as one might expect from such a

Three months from that night there left the private cabinet of Napoleon,
a stripling, of slight form and yet unsunned brow, charged by him who
_knew men by intuition_, with a task of fearful risk and
responsibility; and, on the morrow, he was embarked on the blue waters
of the Mediterranean, speeding toward a land where, from the heights of
the Pyramids, a thousand years would behold his deeds!

       *       *       *       *       *

"I swear, I'll cut that woman! I'll never call there again, that I am
determined!" cried Paul Duncan, impetuously.

"But why, brother? Don't judge too hastily," replied his sister, gently.
"The whole family have always been so kind to us; for my part, I think
one seldom meets persons of more polished manners, and"----

"Polished manners!" interrupted the irritable man, rudely, "what do you
call _polished manners_? I gave up R---- himself, just because he is so
devilish _un_-polished, long ago. He passed me, once or twice, in
Wall-street, with his head down, and didn't even bow! after that I let
him run!"

"He is so engrossed in his philanthropic schemes that, I suppose, he
really did not see you," interposed his sister, mildly. "But the ladies
are not responsible for his peccadilloes."

"No, they cannot answer for their own, _to me_," retorted the other,
with bitterness. "When I went in, last evening, she and her mother were
both in the room. The old lady rose, civilly enough, but Mrs. R---- kept
her seat, partly behind a table, even when I went to her and shook

"Dear brother," expostulated his companion, "don't you know that Mrs.
R---- is not well? She has not been out in months."

"What the devil, then, does she make her appearance for, if she can't
observe the common proprieties of life?"

"I doubt whether you would have seen her, had she not been in the room
when you entered. Did she remain during the whole time of your call?"

"Certainly; but the old woman slipped out, when some bustle appeared to
be going on in the hall, and never made her appearance again, at all,
only sending in a servant, just as I was going away, to say that she
'hoped to be excused, as her father had just arrived.'"

"He is very aged, and she always attends upon him herself, when he is
there, even to combing his hair," explained the gentler spirit. "I
remember admiring her devotion to the old man, who is very peculiar, and
somewhat disagreeable to persons generally, when I was staying there a
day or two."

"Well, well; what has that to do with her treatment of me? Couldn't she
trust him with the rest of the family for a few minutes? There is a
tribe of women always on hand there, besides a retinue of servants."

"If you will permit me to say so, without offense, Charley," returned
the lady, with sudden determination of manner, "I fear you did not
display your usual _tact_ on the occasion, and that you, perhaps, took
offense at circumstances resulting from the embarrassment of our
friends, rather than from any intention to be impolite to you. Ladies
are not always equally well, equally self-possessed, equally in
company-mood, or company-dress. I don't know what might not befall any
of us, were we not judged of, by our friends rather by our general
manner to them, than by any little peculiarities, of which we may be
ourselves wholly unconscious at the time."

       *       *       *       *       *

If you are as much impressed as I was, upon first perusing them, with
the following sentences from Sir Humphrey Davy's pen, you will require
no apology from me, for transcribing them here.

"I envy no quality of mind or intellect in others--not of genius, power,
wit, or fancy; but, if I could choose what would be most delightful,
and, I believe, most useful, to me, I should prefer _a firm religious
belief_, to every other blessing, for it makes life a discipline of
goodness, creates new hope, when earthly hopes vanish, and throws over
the decay, the destruction, of existence, the most gorgeous of all
light; awakens life, even in death, and, from decay, calls up beauty and
divinity; makes an instrument of torture and shame the ladder of ascent
to Paradise; and, far above all combination of earthly hopes, calls up
the most delightful visions--palms and amaranths, the gardens of the
blessed, the security of everlasting joys, where the sensualist and the
skeptic view only gloom, decay, and annihilation."

With these sublime words, my dear nephews, I bid you, affectionately,





I think it was Burke who said that those who desire to improve, should
always choose, as companions, persons of more knowledge and virtue than
themselves. He had, however, the happy faculty of eliciting information
from all with whom he came in contact, even as the bee extracts
sweetness from the most insignificant and unattractive flower. It is
said of him, you are aware, that he never took refuge under a projecting
eave for five minutes, to escape a shower, with another man, without
either giving or receiving instruction.

His excellent habit in this respect, nevertheless, in no degree
invalidated the practical wisdom of the remark I have ascribed to this
celebrated statesman. It is not easy to attach too much importance to
the _choice of Companions and Friends_, especially during that period of
life when we are most susceptible to outward influences.

Much enjoyment is derived from association with those whose tastes,
pursuits, and sentiments are similar to our own; but, in making a
selection in this respect, it is better to seek the companionship of
persons whose influence will have the effect to elevate rather than to
depress our own mental and moral standard. Hence, young persons will be
most improved by the example of those whose greater maturity of years
and acquirement give them the advantage of _experience_.

Byron and others of the morbid school to which he belonged, or rather,
perhaps, which he originated, strove to establish as a truth, the
libellous charge that humanity is incapable of true, disinterested
friendship. Happily for the dignity and healthfulness of the youthful
mind, this affected misanthropy, having had its day, is dying the
natural death to which error is doomed, and we are again permitted to
respect our common nature without wholly renouncing our claims to poetic

It seems, to my poor perceptions, that there needs no better test of the
capacities of our fellow-creatures, with regard to the nobler
sentiments, than _our own self-consciousness_! If we know ourselves
capable of lofty aspirations, of self-sacrifice for others' good, of
rejoicing in the happiness of our friends, of deep, enduring affection
for them, by what arrogant right shall we assume ourselves superior to
the race to which we belong?

As the man who habitually rails at the gentler sex must, necessarily,
have been peculiarly unfortunate in his _earliest associations_ with
woman, so he who professes a disbelief in true friendship, may be
presumed, not only to have chosen his associates unwisely, but to be
himself ill-constituted and ill-disciplined. If

    ----"VIRTUE is more than a shade or a sound,
         And man may her voice, in this being, obey,"

then is friendship one of the purest and highest sources of human

Eschew, then, the debasing, soul-restraining maxims of Byron,
Rochefoucauld, and their imitators, and seek in communion with the
gifted and the good, elevated enjoyment and inspiring incentives to
noble purposes and manly achievements.

But if the old Spanish proverb, "_Show me your friends and I will tell
you what you are_," is applicable to the selection of ordinary
associates, of how much more significance is it in relation to
_confidants_! To require such a friend, pre-supposes the need of
_advice_, and only superiority in age and knowledge of the world and of
the human heart, can qualify any one for the responsibility thus
assumed. Nothing is more frequently volunteered by the inexperienced
than advice, while _they who properly appreciate its importance are the
least likely to give it unasked_.

In connection with the subject of confidences and confidants, ponder
well the concentrated wisdom contained in this brief sentence: "Be
careful _of whom you speak, to whom you speak, and how, and when, and

If from self-consciousness we draw conclusive proofs of the elevated
powers of our nature, we also learn, with equal certainty, the need that
all have of forbearance, lenity, and forgiveness. They who look for
_perfection_ in human companions, will entail upon themselves a
life-long solitude of spirit. Some one has prettily said that the fault
of a friend is like a flaw in a beautiful china vase; the defect is
remediless; let us overlook it, and dwell only upon what will give us

It is almost useless to attempt to give you any advice with respect to
the choice of an occupation in life. I trust, however, that you need no
argument to convince you that respectability and happiness unitedly
require, let your pecuniary circumstances be what they may, that you
should have such an incentive to the due exercise of your powers of body
and mind.

No consideration is, perhaps, more important than that of _following the
natural inclination_ in making this decision, provided outward
circumstances render it possible to do so; and in this country a man may
almost always overcome obstacles of this kind, by patient perseverance.

The impression, formerly so prevalent, that none but the three learned
professions, as they are called, require a thorough education, as a
prelude, is, I must believe, much less generally entertained, than when
I was a young man. And this is as it should be. There can be no human
employment that is not facilitated by the aid of a cultivated,
disciplined intellect, and our young countrymen, who so frequently make
some temporary and lucrative occupation the stepping-stone to
advancement, should always bear this in mind. One day, America, like
Venice of old, will be a land of merchant princes--but none will take
rank among these self-elevated patricians but they who add the polish,
the refinement and the wealth of intellect, to the power derived from
external circumstances.

The _Physical Sciences_ and the _Inventive_ and _Practical Arts_ are
claiming the attention of our times to a degree never before known; and
these afford new and sufficient avenues for the exercise of talents
tending rather to mechanical than to metaphysical exertion.

Remember, always, that a man may give dignity to any honest employment
to which he shall devote his energies--and better so, than to possess no
claims to respect except those bestowed by position. As the pursuit of
wealth as an end, rather than a means, is not the noblest of human
purposes, so mere occupation and external belongings do not determine
the real worth of mind or character.

    "I am brother to the _Worker_,
      And I love his manly look,
    As I love a thought of beauty,
      Living, star-like, in a book.
    I am brother to the humblest,
      In the world's red-handed strife,--
    Those who wield the sword of labor,
      In the battle ranks of life!

           *       *       *       *       *

           *       *       *       *       *

    Never let the worker falter,
      Nor his cause--for hope is strong;
    He shall live a monarch glorious
      In the people's coming throng.
    There's a sound comes from the future,
      Like the sound of many lays;
    FREEDOM _strikes her harp for toilers_,
      Loud as when the thunder plays!"

While on this subject, permit me to call your attention to a matter
which, though of minor importance, is not unworthy of consideration. Men
with but little knowledge of the world are apt to _betray their
occupation by their manner and conversation--to smell of the shop_, as
it is often, somewhat coarsely, expressed. Thus, an _artist_ will talk
habitually of such matters as arrest the peculiar perceptions he has
quickened into acuteness by culture, and even use the technicalities of
language which, though familiar to him, may be, and probably are,
unintelligible to persons of general cultivation only. A _physician_
will sometimes go about with a heavy, ivory-headed cane, and a grand,
pompous look, which may, perchance, be _professional_, but it is not the
less absurd, unless as a means of impressing the vulgar; and he often
falls into the impression that any sacrifice to the Graces, or any
regard for the weaknesses of humanity, when in a sick-room, are entirely
beneath his dignity. _Lawyers_ will use Latin phrases, and legal
technicalities, in the society of ladies, and the _gentlemen of the
black cloth_ not only carry the pulpit into the drawing-room, but permit
themselves to be lionized by devout old women, and sentimental young
ones, into the best seat in an apartment, or a carriage, the tit-bits at
table, and a sum-total of mawkish man-worship. As I have said, all this
savors of _ignorance of the world_, as it does of latent egotism, and
deficient self-respect. Note, therefore, the probable effects--when
unrestrained by self-scrutiny--of _moving in a limited sphere of
action_, and always bear in mind that your individual occupations and
interests, though of great personal importance, are comparatively
insignificant in the consideration of others; that you yourself make,
when viewed from a general stand-point, but _a single unit_ of the great
mass to whom your interests, purposes, and merits, are matters alike of
profound indifference and unquestioning ignorance.

"No man," says Jean Paul, _the only one_, as the Germans call him, "can
live piously or die righteously without a wife;" and one of the most
celebrated observers of human nature among our own countrymen, has
bequeathed us the recorded opinion that an early marriage with an
amiable and virtuous woman is, next to a firm religious faith, the best
safeguard to the happiness and principles of a young man.

In our prosperous land, where the means of living are diversified almost
equally with the necessities of life, it is far less hazardous to assume
the responsibilities arising from early marriage, than in other
countries. Everything is, in a certain sense, precocious here. Extreme
youth is no barrier to independence of effort and position--none to
self-reliance and success. It may be questioned whether the tax thus
prematurely imposed upon the intellect, as well as the physique, does
not, in some degree, tend, not only to eventual mediocrity of power,
but to quickened diminution of the vital energies.

Hence it is, doubtless, well to adopt the _golden mean_ in regard to
every important step in life. And though I would by no means counsel you
not to marry until you have accumulated a fortune, I would strenuously
advise you to possess yourselves of something like a prospective
certainty of maintenance, and of sound knowledge of human nature and of
_yourself_, before so far committing your future happiness.

One prominent cause of the multitude of unhappy unions, I am persuaded,
is the ignorance of their own true characters with which young persons
are so frequently united. Wholly immature in body and mind, when they
commence married life, as they develop, under the influence of time and
circumstance, they awaken to the discovery of an irreconcilable
difference, not only in taste, sentiment, and opinion, but, what is
worse, in principle. This is one extreme. On the contrary, the marriage
of persons of decided character, before habit has rendered it difficult
to mould themselves into conformity with the peculiarities from which
none are exempt, is desirable. The sooner those who are to tread the
path of life side by side, learn the assimilation that shall render the
way smoother and easier to both, the greater will be their share of
earthly contentment; and this will be most readily achieved, no doubt,
while youthful pliancy and adaptability still exist.

Every discriminating, self-informed man, should be the best judge of the
essential requisites for domestic happiness, in his individual case.
Such an one will not need to be reminded that all abstract or
generally-applicable rules must needs be modified, in many instances,
for personal usefulness. But no one will question the desirableness of
_health_, _good temper_, and _education_, in the companion of domestic

By education, I do not mean an acquaintance with all, or even with any
one, of what are termed _accomplishments_. A woman may be well-informed,
and self-disciplined, to a degree that will render her an admirable wife
for a man of sense, without being able to speak any but her vernacular
tongue, or play upon any instrument, save that _harp of a thousand
strings--the Human Heart_!

Do not understand me as undervaluing the graceful embellishments of
social and domestic life, as presented by the lovelier part of creation.
I wish only to express, in my plain, blunt way, the conviction that the
most elegant and varied accomplishments are a very poor equivalent for
_poverty of the head and heart_, in the woman who is to become the
friend and counsellor to whom you will look for enduring, discriminating
affection and sympathy, as well when the trials, the cares, and the
sorrows of mortal existence shall lower heavily over you, as while you
mutually dance along amid the flowers and the sunshine of youth.

A career of fashionable idleness, irresponsibility, and dissipation, is
not a desirable prelude to the systematic routine of quiet duties
essential to the home-happiness of a man of moderate resources and
retired habits. It may be questioned whether a woman who has been long
accustomed to the adulation and the excitement of a crowd, will be
content to find enjoyment, sufficient and enduring, in the simple
pleasures which alone will be at her command, thus circumstanced.

But, while even the incentives afforded by all the affection of which
such an ephemeral being is capable, will render conformity to this new
position difficult of attainment, she who is early accustomed to look
thoughtfully upon life as beautiful and bright indeed, but as involving
serious responsibilities and solemn obligations, will bring to a union
with one of similar perceptions and principles, a sense of right and
duty, which, if strengthened by a commingling of hearts, will make it no
discouraging task to her to _begin with her husband where he begins_.
Such an one will be content to tread on at an even pace beside him,
through the roughness that may beset his progress, cheerfully
encountering obstacles, resolute to conquer or endure, as the case may
be; and ever fully imbued with that patient, hopeful, loving spirit,
whose motto is "bear one another's burdens."

You will think it more consistent with the caution of an old man, than
the ardor natural to a young one, that I should advise you to pay proper
respect to the claims of the relations or guardians of any lady to whom
you wish to pay your addresses. I will, nevertheless, venture to assert
that, for many reasons, you will, in after life, have reason to
congratulate yourself upon pursuing a manly, open, honorable course in
relation to every feature of this important era in your career.

A friendship with a woman considerably older than himself (if she be
married, it will be all the better) and especially if he have not older
sisters, or is separated from them, is of incalculable advantage to a
young man, when based upon true principles of thought and action,--not
only in relation to subjects especially pertaining to affairs of the
heart, but respecting a thousand nameless practical matters, as well as
of mental culture, taste, sentiment, and conventional proprieties. Such
a female friend--matured by the advantages of nature and
circumstances--will secure you present enjoyment of an elevated
character, together with constant benefit and improvement, and expect
from you, in return for the great good she renders you, only those
graceful courtesies and attentions which a man of true good-breeding
always regards as equally obligatory and agreeable.

Let there be, however, a certain _gravity_ mingled with the
manifestations of regard you exhibit towards all married women, the
dominance of _respect_ in your manner towards them, and never permit any
consideration to induce you to forget the established right of every
husband to sanction or not, at his pleasure, the most abstractly
unexceptionable friendship between his wife and another man.

Every man with a nice sense of honor, will indicate, by his prevailing
bearing and language towards women a _felt_ distinction between the
intentions of friendship, and those of a suitor or lover. And while he
observes towards all women, and under all circumstances, the respectful
courtesy due to them, he will not hesitate to make his purpose
intelligible, _where he has conceived sufficient esteem to engender
matrimonial intentions_. Proper self-respect, as well as the
consideration due to a lady and her friends, demands this.

I repeat, that no degree of devotion to one, excuses incivility to other
female acquaintances in society; and I will add that the most acceptable
attentions to a woman of sense and delicacy, are not those that render
her generally conspicuous, but such as express an ever-present
remembrance of her comfort and a quick discernment of her real feelings
and wishes.

So in the matter of presents, and similar expressions of politeness,
good taste will dictate no lavish expenditure, unwarranted by pecuniary
resources, and inconsistent with the general surroundings of either
party, but rather a prevailing harmony that will be really a juster
tribute to the object of your regard, as well as a more creditable proof
of your own tact and judgment. All compliments, whether thus expressed,
or by word of mouth, should be characterized by delicate discrimination
and punctilious respect. It is said that women judge of character by
details: certain it is that what may seem trifles to us, often sensibly
influence their opinions of men. Their perceptions are so keen, their
sensibilities so acute, in comparison with ours, that we would err
materially in estimating them by the same gauge we apply to each other,
and thus the mysteries of the female heart will always remain in a
degree insoluble, even to the acutest masculine penetration.

But though the nicest shades of sentiment and feeling may escape our
coarser perceptions, we need no unusual discernment to perceive the
effects of kindness, gentleness, and forbearance in our domestic
relations. "I cannot much esteem the man," Rowland Hill remarked, "whose
wife, children, and servants, and even the cat and dog, are not sensibly
happier for his presence." Depend upon it, no fabled Genii could confer
on you a talisman so effective as the power bestowed by the enshrinement
in your heart of the _Law of Kindness_. In proportion to the delicacy of
woman's organization is her susceptibility to such influence, and he who
carelessly outrages the exquisite sensibilities that make the peculiar
charm of her nature, will too often learn, when the lesson brings with
it only the bitterness of experience,

                   ----"how light a cause
    May move dissension between hearts that love."

Shun, then, as you would the introduction into your physical system of
an insidious but irradicable poison,

    "_The first slight swerving of the heart,
    That words are powerless to express!_"

But while you seek to illustrate your constant remembrance that you
have, by the act of marriage, "bound yourself to be good-humored,
affable, discreet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to
frailties and imperfections to the end of life," bear in mind, also,
that your influence over another imposes duties of various kinds upon
you, and that you should use that influence with far-sighted wisdom, to
produce the greatest ultimate good. Thus you will be convinced that it
is the truest kindness to minister to the _intellect_ and the
_affections_ of woman, rather than to her vanity, and that in proportion
as you assist her to exalt her _higher nature_ into dominance, will you
be rewarded by a spirit-union commensurate to the most exalted
necessities of your own.

I have known men, in my time, who seemed to have a fixed belief that all
manifestations of the gentler instincts of humanity are unworthy of the
dignity of manhood, and who, by habitually repressing all exhibitions of
natural emotion, had apparently succeeded in steeling their hearts, as
well against all softening external impressions as to the inspiration of
the "still, sad music of" their better selves. All elevated emotions,
whether of an affectionate or religious character, are too sacred for
general observance: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet and _shut
the door_," was the direction of our great Teacher, and so with the
_religion of the heart_ (if you will permit me the phrase), it would be
desecrated, were it possible--which from its very nature it is not--to
parade its outward tokens to indifferent eyes. And yet I return to a
prior stand-point and insist that there is a middle-ground, even here,
the _juste milieu_, as the French say.--_Apropos_--the ancient Romans
used the same word to designate _family affection_ and _piety_.

Intimately connected with the happiness of domestic life is the due
consideration of _pecuniary affairs_.

But, before we proceed to their discussion, let me, as long a somewhat
scrutinizing observer of the varying phases of social life, in our own
country especially, enter my earnest protest against the practice so
commonly adopted by newly-married persons, of _boarding_, in place of at
once establishing for themselves the distinctive and ennobling
prerogatives of HOME. Language and time would alike fail me in an
endeavor to set forth the manifold evils inevitably growing out of this
fashionable system. Take the advice of an old man, who has tested
theories by prolonged experience, and at once establish your _Penates_
within four walls, and under a roof that will, at times, exclude all who
are not properly denizens of your household, upon assuming the rights
and obligations of married life. Do not be deterred from this step by
the conviction that you cannot shrine your home-deities upon pedestals
of marble. _Cover their bases with flowers_--God's free gift to all--and
the plainest support will suffice for them, if it be but _firm_.

With right views of the true aims and enjoyments of life, it will be no
impossible achievement to establish your household appointments within
the limits of your income, whatever that may be, and to entertain the
conviction that the duty of providing for possible, if not probable,
future contingencies, is imperative with those who have assumed conjugal
and paternal responsibilities.

Firm adherence to such a system of living will bring with it a thousand
collateral pleasures and privileges, and secure the only true
independence. Nothing is more unworthy than the sacrifice of genuine
hospitality, taste, and refinement, to the requisitions of mere fashion,
in such arrangements; no thraldom so degrading as that imposed by the
union of poverty and false pride. What latent egotism, too, in the
pre-supposed idea that the world at large takes careful cognizance of
the individualizing specialities of any man, save when he trenches on
the reserved rights of others.

True self-respect, then, as well as enlarged perceptions of real life,
will dictate a judicious adjustment of means to desired results, and
teach the willing adoption of safe moderation in all.

Happily, _comfort_ and _refinement_ may be secured without ruinous
expenditure, even by the most modest beginners in housekeeping.
Industry, ingenuity and taste, will lend embellishment to the simplest
home, and the young, at least, can well afford to dispense with
enervating luxury and pretentious display.

With due deference to individual taste, I would commend the cultivation
and gratification of a _love of books and works of art_, in preference
to the purchase of costly furniture, mirrors, and the like. Fine prints
(which are preferable to indifferent paintings) are now within
obtainable reach, by many who permit themselves few indulgences,
comparatively, and everything having a tendency to foster the æsthetical
perceptions and enjoyments of children, and to exalt these
gratifications into habitual supremacy over the grosser pleasures of
sense, or the exhibitions of vanity, is worthy of regard. And as no
avoidable demands of the outer life should be permitted to diminish the
resources of either the heart or the mind, well-selected _books_ will
take high rank among the belongings of a well-appointed house.

To sum up all, my dear friends, if you aim at rational happiness, let
there be what is artistically termed _keeping_ in your whole system of
life. Let your style of dress, your mode of housekeeping, and
entertaining, your relaxations, amusements, occupations, and resources,
be harmoniously combined.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Where and how is the most charming of Jewesses?" I asked one morning of
an old friend, upon whom I had been making an unreasonably early call,
rising to go.

"Here, sir, and very well," responded a cheerful voice from an adjoining
room. "Will you not come in a moment?"

The smiling "home-mother" opened wide the half-open door through which
my queries had been answered, and seconded her daughter's invitation.

There sat my fair young friend, with a small table before her, covered
with sewing materials, and a huge overcoat upon her lap. She was in a
simple, neat morning-dress, and plying the needle with great industry.
She apologized for not rising to receive me, but not for continuing her
occupation after I seated myself.

"As busily engaged as ever, I see," said I.

"Rather more so than usual, just now. Fred has come home in a very
dilapidated condition."

"And you are repairing him. But what are you doing with that huge,
bearish-looking coat? It's as much as you can do to lift it, I should

"Oh, I've been putting in new front-facings and sleeve-linings, and
fixing it up a little," returned she. "But, Colonel, do tell me, have
you read Macaulay's second volume?"

I replied that I had dipped into it, and added: "But, before we discuss
Macaulay, I want you to tell me how you learned to be so accomplished a

"Rebecca can do anything she wishes," said her mother, in a soft, gentle
voice, "_the heart is a good teacher_."

"Thank you, mother," rejoined the sweet girl, "Colonel Lunettes will
make allowance for your natural partiality."

"I would, were it necessary, my dear," I answered, "but I can decide for
myself in your case."

A bow, a blush, and a pleasant laugh responded, and, rising, she
deposited the heavy garment she had been repairing, upon the arm of a
chair, and immediately reseating herself, placed a large basket full of
woollen stockings, at her side, threaded a stout alderman-like-looking
darning needle with thick yarn, and began to mend a formidable hole in
one of the socks. Her brother is an engineer, and I divined at a glance,
that those strong, warm things were, like the blanket-coat, part of his
outfit for a campaign in the swamps.

"I am delighted with Macaulay's elaborate sketches of individuals,"
resumed the busy seamstress, drawing out her long needle and thread, and
returning it with the speed and accuracy of nicely-adjusted machinery;
"do you recollect his portraiture of the _Trimmer_?"

"It is very fine," I answered, like everything else Macaulay has
written. "Nothing, however, has impressed me more, thus far, in his
history, than his description of the condition of the clergy of the
Established Church, in the rural districts, during the reign of James,
and later even."

"I, too, was exceedingly interested in it," replied Rebecca. "And the
more, that I was reminded of the fate of the _daughters_ of English
country curates, even at this day; of 'gentle blude,' many times, born
and educated ladies, they are subjected, frequently, through life, to
toil and suffering that would excuse their envying the fate of a mere

"They are, usually, governesses for life, and never marry," continued I.

"Never marry--though they are so educated and disciplined, as to be
peculiarly well-fitted for the fulfillment of woman's dearest and
highest destiny! Thank God! I was born where such social thraldom, such
hateful monstrosities, are not!" And the face that turned its glance
upward, for an instant, with those last fervent words, was overspread
with a glow bright as the crimson hue of sunset.

But, though my friend Rebecca, was the last woman in the world to

    "Die of a rose, in aromatic pain,"

she was a perfect Sybarite, in some respects, as I will convince you.

Entering her mother's tasteful, pretty drawing-room, a few evenings
after this conversation, I found the charming "Jewess," as I sometimes
called her, in allusion to Scott's celebrated heroine, reading by the
light of an astral lamp. She was elegantly, and, I suppose fashionably,
dressed, and reclining in a large, luxurious-looking, stuffed chair,
with her daintily-slippered feet, half buried in a soft crimson cushion.
In short, she was the very impersonation of the "unbought grace" of one
of Nature's queens. Had I been younger, by some fifty years, I should
have been tempted, beyond a doubt, to do oriental homage to so much

"By the way, Rebecca," said I, after a few minutes' chat with my
hostess, "I must tell you of a witticism you elicited, this morning,
from one of your admirers!"

"One of my admirers! Who, pray?"

"Guess! Well, I won't tantalize you!--Howard Parker!"

"You tell me something, Colonel! I am not entitled to enter Mr. Parker
on my list of friends."

"What, what! that to me, my dear? I have a great mind to punish you, by
not telling you what he said."

"As you please, Colonel Lunettes!" with a coquettish toss of her long

"Please, tell _me_, Colonel!" interposed her mother, smilingly; "don't
mind Rebecca's nonsense--tell me!"

"In a whisper?" I inquired, laughing, and glancing at the "Jewess." "I
hardly dare to venture that! Well! meeting Howard, who is a great
favorite of mine, in the street, this morning, he told me he was coming
here, to call. 'Steel your heart, then,' said I--'Or _she will steal
it_!' he answered, as quick as thought."

"Quite a _jeu d'esprit_!" exclaimed Rebecca, laughing gaily. "But,
Colonel, Mr. Parker may be witty, accomplished, and intellectual, but he
is _not a gentleman_!"

"My daughter, you are severe," said her mother, deprecatingly.

"I don't mean to be, mother; but"--

"From what do you draw such a sweeping inference, my child?" I inquired.

"From _trifles_, dear sir, I admit; but

    ----'trifles make the sum of human things!'

and slight peculiarities often indicate character. For instance, Mr.
Parker keeps his hat on, when he is talking to ladies, and neglects his
teeth and hair--you needn't laugh, mamma! Yesterday morning, he joined
me in the street, and came home with me, or, nearly home; for he
stopped short, a little way from the house, let me cross a great
mud-puddle, as well as I could, alone, and open the gate for myself,
though I had my hands full of things. It's true, he had the grace to
color a little, when I said, significantly, as he bade me good morning,
that I was glad I had crossed the Slough of Despond, without accident."

"That showed that a sensible woman could correct his faults," I

"I don't know about that," replied my hostess. "Such things, as Rebecca
says, _indicate character_; and I would not advise any young lady to
marry a man, with the expectation of reforming him."

"Not of a cardinal vice, certainly," said I; "but there are"--

Here a servant interrupted me with--"Mr. Parker's compliments, Miss,"
and offered my fastidious young friend a large parcel, wrapped in a wet,
soiled newspaper, and tied with dirty red tape.

"Ugh!" exclaimed the Sybarite, recoiling, with unrepressed disgust.
"What is it, Betty? It can't be for me!"

"It _is_, Miss, an' no mistake--the boy said it got wet in the rain,
widout, as he was bringing it, an' no umberrellar wid him."

"Will you just take it into the hall, and take off the paper, Biddy? Be
careful not to let it get dirty and wet, inside, will you?"--With
studied _nonchalance_.

Presently Biddy laid down a large, handsomely-bound volume, and a note,
before the young lady.

"It is a copy of Macaulay's 'Lays of Ancient Rome,'" said she, skimming
over the note. "Mr. Parker was alluding to some passage in one of the
poems, this morning. He says I will find it marked and begs me to accept
the book, as a philopoena--oh, here are the lines--I thought them very
fine as he recited them. Shall I read them, mamma? And you, sir, will
you hear them?"

    "'Then none was for a party;
      Then all were for the state;
    Then the great man helped the poor,
      And the poor man loved the great;
    Then lands were fairly portioned;
      Then spoils were fairly sold:
    The Romans were like brothers,
      In the brave days of old.'"

The enthusiasm with which the appreciating reader read this spirited
passage, did not prevent my observing that she held her handkerchief
closely pressed upon the back of the exquisite antique binding of the
volume, in the hope, as I inferred, of drying the stain of wet which I
noticed, at once attracted her attention when she took up the gift. The
open note, as it lay upon the table, disclosed a torn, ragged edge, as
if it had been carelessly severed from a sheet of foolscap.

Whatever her reflections, the young lady had too much instinctive
delicacy to comment upon these peccadilloes, and so, of course, I could
institute no defense of my friend. I, therefore, _tacked_, as a sailor
would say.

"Howard's a noble fellow," said I, "in spite of his little oddities, but
he has one fault, unfortunately, which I fear will prevent his winning
much favor with the ladies."

"What is that?" inquired my young auditor, in a tone of seeming
indifference, but with a heightened color, and an eager glance.

"He is _poor_!"

"Do you mean that he _lives by his wits_, as the phrase is?" asked my

"By no means! simply this:--Parker began the world without a dollar, and
has had, thus far, to 'paddle his own canoe,' as he expresses it,
against wind and tide."

"That is quite the best thing I ever knew of him!" exclaimed Rebecca,
with animation. "It does him great credit, in my estimation! But,
Colonel, I cannot agree with you in thinking Mr. Parker, _poor_!"


"No, indeed! in my regard, _no man in our country is poor, who possesses
health, education, and an unblemished reputation_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

In the library of the only representative of the British government in
this country--and he was the lineal representative, as well, of one of
the oldest, wealthiest and most aristocratic of noble English
families--whose guest I remember to have been, I found great numbers of
books, which he had brought with him from home, but they were arranged
upon simple, unpainted pine shelves, put up for convenience, while the
owner should remain at Washington. He brought his books, because he
wanted them for constant use--but, though accustomed to the utmost
luxuriousness of appointment at home, he did not dream of bringing
furniture across the Atlantic, or of apologizing for the absence of more
than was demanded by necessity in his temporary residence.

I remember, too, to have heard it said that one of the recent governors
of the Empire State had not a single article of mahogany furniture in
his house at Albany; and yet, nobody complained of any want of
hospitality or courtesy on his part, while making this discovery. The
simple fact was, that, being without private fortune, and the salary of
his office insufficient for such expenditures, _he could not afford
it_--and no man, I believe, is bound to run in debt, to gratify either
the expectations or the vanity of his political constituents.

As a contrast to these anecdotes, how does the following incident
impress you?

Walking down Broadway, in New York, one bright morning with a
distinguished American statesman, he suddenly came to a full halt before
a show-window in which glittered, among minor matters, a superb
_candelabra_, in all the glory of gilding and pendants.

"That's a very handsome affair, Lunettes," said my companion; "let us
step in here a moment."

We entered accordingly. A salesman came forward.

"What is the price of that candelabra, in the window?" inquired the

"Six hundred dollars," replied the young man.

"Pack it up and send it to M----," replied my friend, turning to go.

"And the bill, sir?"

"You may send the bill to me--to D---- W----, at Washington."

I happened to know that the great man had, only within a day or two,
been released, by the generosity of several of his personal friends,
from an embargo upon his movements that would otherwise have prevented
his eloquent thunder from being heard in the National Senate!

       *       *       *       *       *

The massive head and stately bearing of John Marshall always rise before
my mind's eye, when I recall this characteristic illustration of his
native manliness:

The Chief Justice was in the habit of going to market himself, and
carrying home his purchases. He might frequently be seen at sunrise,
with poultry in one hand and vegetables in the other.

On one of these occasions, a young Northerner, who had recently removed
to Richmond, and thus become a fellow-townsman of the great Virginian,
was heard loudly complaining that no one could be found to carry home
his turkey.

The Chief Justice, who was unknown to the new-comer, advancing, inquired
where the stranger lived and on being informed, said, very
quietly--"That is on my way; I will take it for you;" and receiving the
turkey, walked briskly away.

When he reached the house that had been designated, Marshall awaited the
arrival of the owner, and delivered up his burden.

"What shall I pay you?" inquired the youth.

"Nothing, whatever," replied the biographer of Washington, "it was all
in my way, and not the slightest trouble--you are welcome;" and he
pursued his course.

"Who is that polite old man?" asked the young stranger of a by-stander.

He was answered--"_That is John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United

I well remember, too, how often I used to join my old friend, Chief
Justice Spencer, of New York, as he climbed the long hill leading to his
residence, at Albany, with a load of poultry in his hand. And I dare say
his great-hearted brother-in-law, De Witt Clinton, often did the same
thing. Certain I am, that he was the most unostentatious of human
beings, as simple and natural as a boy, to the end of his days.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have the vanity to believe that you will not have forgotten the little
sketch I gave you, in a previous letter, of my interesting young friend
Julia Peters. Not long after my brief acquaintance with her--that is,
within a year--I received a newspaper neatly inclosed, and sealed with a
fanciful device, in prettily-tinted wax, which being interpreted for me
by a fair adept in such matters, was said to read--"Love, or Cupid,
carrying a budget to you from me." The following paragraph was carefully

  "MARRIED:--In the Church of the Holy Innocents, in this village, on
  Tuesday, May 12th, by the Rev. B---- Y----, St. John Benton and
  Julia A. Peters, daughter of the late Fitz-James Peters, Esq., of
  Princeton, N. J."

Then followed this sentence, in large characters:

  SUPERB WEDDING-CAKE.- - - _May every blessing attend the happy

I, too, had my share of the wedding-cake, accompanied by very tasteful,
simple cards, as well as a previous invitation to the wedding, written
jointly by Mr. and Mrs. Y----, and in terms most flatteringly cordial,
and complimentary. Mrs. Y---- and I had, by this time, exchanged letters
more than once. I will give you, as a specimen of the agreeable
epistolary style of my fair friend, the following communication, which
reached me some two or three months after the marriage of her sister.

  "RECTORY, ----, _Aug. 22d_, ----.


  "I avail myself of my very first leisure to comply with the request
  contained in your most kind and acceptable letter of last week.
  Whether your amiable politeness does not overrate my capacity to
  write a 'true woman's letter--full of little significant details
  and particularities,' remains to be seen. I will do my best, at
  least, and 'naught extenuate, nor set down aught in malice.'

  "I hardly know where to begin, in answer to your query about the
  'possibility of the most economical young people managing to live
  on so small an income.' The truth is, Julia and I, thanks to a
  judicious mother, were _practically educated_, which makes all the
  difference in the world in a woman's capacity to 'make the worse
  appear the better reason' in matters of domestic management. The
  house they live in is their own. Mr. Benton, fortunately, possessed
  the means of fully paying for it (he was entirely frank with Mr.
  Y---- about all these matters, from the beginning) and Julia was
  able to furnish it simply, though comfortably. It is a small
  establishment, to be sure,--a little house and a little garden, but
  it is _their own_, and that gives it a charm which it would not
  otherwise possess. They feel that they will have the benefit of
  such improvements as they may make, and it is wonderful what an
  effect this consciousness produces. The house was a plain,
  bald-looking building enough, when Fitz-James bought it. Julia said
  it would be a bold poetic license to call it _a cottage_!--but he
  has studied architecture, at intervals, as he has had time, with a
  view to future advancement, and so he devised, and partly
  constructed, tasteful little ornaments to surmount the windows, and
  a very pretty rustic porch in front. The effect was really almost
  magical when united with the soft, warm color that took the place
  of the glaring white of which every one is becoming so tired. It is
  quite picturesque, I assure you, now. As a romantic young lady said
  of it--'it is like the cottages we read of,--quite a
  picture-place.' But, pretty and tasteful as it is _outside_, one
  must become an inmate of Julia's little Eden, to know half its
  claims to admiration. It is just the neatest, snuggest, cosiest
  little nest (by the way they call it '_Cosey Cottage_,' as you will
  please remember when you write, dear sir) you can imagine. There is
  nothing grand, or even elegant, perhaps, but every part is
  thoroughly furnished for convenience and comfort, and _everything
  corresponds_. It is not like some city houses I have been in, where
  everything was expended in glare and display in the two
  parlors--'_un_wisely kept for show,' and up-stairs and in the
  kitchen, the most scanty, comfortless arrangements. Julia's carpets
  and curtains are quite inexpensive, but the colors are well chosen
  for harmony of effect. (Julia rather prides herself upon having
  things _artistic_, as she expresses it, even to the looping up of a
  curtain.) There is a sort of indescribable _expression_ about the
  little parlor, which, by the way, they _really use_, daily--her
  friends say--'How much this is like Julia!' Some of Julia's crayon
  heads, and a sketch or two of Mr. Benton's are hung in the
  different rooms, and they have contrived, or rather imitated, (for
  I believe St. John said it was a French idea) the prettiest little
  _brackets_, which are disposed about the walls and corners of the
  parlor. They are only rough things that her husband makes up,
  covered by Julia, with some dark material, and ornamented with
  fringe, costing almost nothing, but so pretty in effect for
  supporting vases of flowers or little figures, or something of that
  kind. Then there is a tiny place, opening from the parlor,
  dignified with the name of _library_, where Julia and Benton
  'draped,' and 'adjusted,' and re-draped, and re-adjusted, to their
  infinite enjoyment and content, and somewhat to _my amusement_, I
  will confess to _you_, dear sir. Indeed they _trot in harness_, to
  borrow one of St. John's phrases,--most thoroughly _matched_, as
  well as _mated_, and go best together. _They_ think so, at least, I
  should infer, as they always _are_ together, if possible. Julia
  helps Benton in the garden--holds the trees and shrubs while he
  places them, and ties up the creeping-roses, and other things he
  arranges over the porch, and around the windows, and assists him
  with the lighter work of manufacturing rustic seats and stands, and
  baskets for the garden and summer-house; and Benton (who has quite
  a set of tools) puts up shelves and various contrivances of that
  sort, and _did_ help to lay the carpets, etc., Julia told me.
  Indeed, while I was with them, Mr. Benton's daily life constantly
  reminded me of the beautiful injunction--'Let every man show, by
  his kind acts and good deeds, how much of Heaven he has in him.'

  "But I only tire you, dear sir, by my poor attempts to portray my
  sister's simple happiness--_you must see it for yourself_! I make
  no apology for the minuteness of my details,--if they seem puerile,
  Colonel Lunettes has himself to thank for my frankness, but I have
  yet to learn that my valued friend says, or writes, what he does
  not mean.

  "I have left to the last--because so pleasant a theme,--some
  reference to Julia's pride and delight in your beautiful
  bridal-gift to her. She has, no doubt, long since, written to thank
  you; but I cannot deny myself the gratification of telling you how
  much she values and enjoys it,--from my own observation. It is
  really noticeable too, how exactly it suits with all the other
  table appointments she has--(unless perhaps it is a shade too
  handsome) only another proof of Colonel Lunettes' fine taste! Mr.
  Y----, to tease Julia, asked her one evening, when she was
  indulging in a repetition of her usual eulogy upon the gift and the
  giver, whether she really meant to say that she _preferred_ a china
  tea-pot, sugar-bowl, and cream-cup, to silver ones. 'Indeed I do,'
  said she, 'a silver tea-service for _me_, would be "sicklied o'er
  with the pale cast of thought!" It would not suit my style at all.'
  Julia says she shall never be perfectly happy until she makes tea
  for Colonel Lunettes, from her beautiful china, and Mr. Benton says
  Colonel Lunettes is the _only man in the world of whom he is
  jealous_! Upon this, there always follows a gentle (_very_ gentle)
  twitching of St. John's whiskers, of which, I will add, by way of a
  description of the _personnel_ of the young man, he has a pair as
  black and curling as Mr. Y----'s,--indeed, I must concede that
  Julia's husband is almost as handsome as my own!

  "We are all eagerly anticipating the fulfillment of your promise to
  visit our beautiful valley, while robed in the gorgeous hues of
  Autumn. Mr. Y---- and I, are arranging everything with reference to
  so agreeable an event;--'We will go there, or see that,' we say,
  'when Colonel Lunettes comes.' Julia, too, is looking forward, with
  much pleasure, to welcoming so coveted a guest. 'I hope we shall be
  able to make the Colonel _comfortable_, in our quiet way,' she
  always says, when speaking of your promised visit; 'you, and Mr.
  Y----, are so used to have the bishop, and other celebrities, that
  you don't know anything about being nervous, at such times; but
  poor me--just beginning, and such a novice!' Upon this, her husband
  always appeals to me, to say whether I have nicer things to eat,
  anywhere, 'even at home,' and whether any sensible man could not
  content himself, even in such a 'little box,' for a few days, at
  least; especially, when well assured how happy and honored a
  certain young lady will be, on the occasion. And I must say, for
  Julia, that her versatile powers are fully illustrated in her
  housekeeping. Mr. Y---- declares that nobody _but_ his wife can
  make such bread--a perfect cure for dyspepsia! and, as for the
  pumpkin-pies!--well, upon the whole, he has decided that we ought
  to spend _Thanksgiving_ at 'Cosey Cottage.'

  "I have omitted to mention that, at Julia's earnest instance, we
  left her little namesake--'Colonel Lunettes' pet,' as she delights
  to call herself--with her, when we were there. I hardly knew how to
  give her up, though but for a few weeks, even to her aunt. Just
  before we came away, I said to her, 'I hope Aunt Julia, and Uncle
  St. John, won't spoil you, my darling; your aunt has promised to
  scold you, when you are naughty.' 'Oh, but 'ou see, mamma, I don't
  never mean to _be_ naughty,' she answered, almost stopping my
  breath with her little chubby arms clinging about my neck.

  "Persuaded, dear sir, that you will have 'supped your full,' even
  to repletion, of a 'true woman's letter,' I will only add to Mr.
  Y----'s kindest remembrances and regards, the sincere assurance
  that I am, as ever,

  "Your attached and grateful
  "CECILIA D. Y----.


And now, my dear nephews, that the blessing of Heaven may rest upon you,
always, in

    "Life's earnest toil and endeavor,"

is the affectionate and heartfelt prayer and farewell of your



Transcriber's Note

I have used "=" to denote use of underlined text.

Inconsistencies have been retained in formatting, spelling,
hyphenation, punctuation, and grammar, except where indicated
in the list below:

  - Period added after "sermon" on Page vii
  - "PATÉ" changed to "PÂTÉ" on Page x
  - "Aquaintances" changed to "Acquaintances" on Page xiv
  - Period changed to a comma after "Regard" on Page xv
  - Period changed to a comma after "Tribute" on Page xv
  - Dash added after "etc." on Page xvi
  - Dash added after "Importance" on Page xviii
  - Period changed to a comma after "Society" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Bouche" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Relaxation" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Remorse" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Pathos" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Wit" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Drawing-room" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Intellect" on Page xvix
  - Comma moved from mid-line to immedately after "Discussion"
    on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Bagatelle" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Epicureanism" on Page xvix
  - Period changed to a comma after "Sketch" on Page xvix
  - "ONATHAN" changed to "JONATHAN" on Page xxi
  - "compatable" changed to "compatible" on Page xxiii
  - "s" changed to "his" on Page 45
  - "eminated" changed to "emanated" on Page 47
  - Double quotes changed to single quotes around "Kossuth,"
    on Page 53
  - "páté" changed to "pâté" on Page 62
  - "singlarly" changed to "singularly" on Page 66
  - "self control" changed to "self-control" on Page 78
  - Period added after "her" on Page 86
  - Quote added before "I" on Page 87
  - "Johnathan" changed to "Jonathan" on Page 89
  - Single rather than double quotes used around "and here," on
    Page 89
  - Double quotes changed to single quotes before "I" and after
    "madame," on Page 90
  - Double quotes changed to single quotes before "that" and
    after "you?" on Page 90
  - Double quote added before "The" on Page 90
  - Double quote added before "Before" on Page 90
  - Double quote added before "The" on Page 90
  - Double quote added before "You" and double quotes before "You"
    and after "madame?" changed to single quotes on Page 90
  - Double quote added before "And" and double quotes before "And"
    and after "com-for-ta-ble?" changed to single quotes on Page 90
  - Double quote added before "No" on Page 90
  - Double quote added before "Bien" and after "please!'" and
    spoken text placed within single quotes on Page 90
  - Quote removed after "you?" on Page 105
  - "nur sery" changed to "nursery" on Page 114
  - Single quote added before "cause" on Page 117
  - Double quote added after "minister?'" on Page 120
  - "dont" changed to "don't" on Page 120
  - "extertaining" changed to "entertaining" on Page 123
  - "primative" changed to "primitive" on Page 124
  - Period added after "door" on Page 124
  - Single dot replaced by colon after "said" on Page 125
  - Period added after "process" on Page 129
  - "the the" changed to "the" on Page 139
  - Quote removed after "morals!" on Page 139
  - "grooms man" changed to "groomsman" on Page 140
  - Quotation marks corrected to show single quotes for dialogue
    and double quotes at the start of paragraphs throughout the
    anecdote on pages 143 and 144
  - Double quote removed after "monument,'" on Page 150
  - "asthetical" changed to "æsthetical" on Page 150
  - "n" changed to "in" on Page 159
  - Double quotes in this paragraph changed to single quotes and
    double quote added at start of paragraph on Page 182
  - Double quotes in this paragraph changed to single quotes and
    double quote added at start of paragraph on Page 182
  - Double quotes in this paragraph changed to single quotes and
    double quote added at start of paragraph on Page 182
  - Comma removed after "said" on Page 188
  - Single quote added after "chair," on Page 188
  - Double quote added before "Well" on Page 190
  - Double quote removed before "'All" on Page 199
  - Double quote changed to a single quote before "I" on Page 200
  - Double quote changed to a single quote after "nursery-cry" on
    Page 200
  - Double quote changed to a single quote before "my" on Page
  - Double quote changed to a single quote after "to-night;" on
    Page 200
  - Period added after "rank" on Page 212
  - "achievments" changed to "achievements" on Page 214
  - Period added after "sensuality" on Page 215
  - "heath" changed to "health" on Page 220
  - Single quotes changed to double quotes around this quotation
    on Page 225
  - Single quote removed before "A" on Page 229
  - "univeral" changed to "universal" on Page 236
  - "appearace" changed to "appearance" on Page 238
  - "Never sink" changed to "Neversink" on Page
  - Quote added after "daughter," on Page 252
  - Quote added after "Simpson," on Page 253
  - "place" changed to "placed" on Page 257
  - Period added after "Mrs" on Page 262
  - "ceremoneous" changed to "ceremonious" on Page 263
  - "st." changed to "St." on Page 264
  - ""You are now my enemy, and I am" indented for ease of reading
    on Page 267
  - Comma removed after "and" on Page 270
  - "Mis" changed to "Miss" on Page 281
  - "sol dier" changed to "soldier" on Page 282
  - Comma removed after "sketching" on Page 287
  - Double quote removed at end of paragraph on Page 314
  - Double quote added before "This" on Page 314
  - Single quote changed to a double quote before "I" on Page 314
  - Comma removed before "us" on Page 319
  - "th" changed to "the" on Page 325
  - "strengthed" changed to "strengthened" on Page 333
  - "un comfortable" changed to "uncomfortable" on Page 334
  - Period added after "fatigue" on Page 339
  - "and-that" changed to "and that" on Page 361
  - "wan't" changed to "want" on Page 364
  - Quote removed before "Oh" on Page 367
  - Single quote changed to double quote after "them!" on Page 368
  - "twitter ing" changed to "twittering" on Page 368
  - "to" added after "happened" on Page 372
  - Period added after "friend" on Page 375
  - Comma changed to a period after "us" on Page 379
  - "duced" changed to "deuced" on Page 387
  - "Kiss" changed to "Miss" on Page 395
  - Quote removed before "As" on Page 403
  - "pretiest" changed to "prettiest" on Page 409
  - "acknowleded" changed to "acknowledged" on Page 414
  - "a" added after "like" on Page 417
  - Single quote changed to a double quote at end of paragraph
    on Page 422
  - Period added after "Lunettes" on Page 422
  - "dessultory" changed to "desultory" on Page 423
  - "intelleclectual" changed to "intellectual" on Page 424
  - Period changed to comma after "Howard" on Page 428
  - "Educacation" changed to "Education" on Page 434
  - "de voted" changed to "devoted" on Page 437
  - "stationary" changed to "stationery" on Page 442
  - "inter posed" changed to "interposed" on Page 444
  - Period added after "months" on Page 445
  - Period added after "be" on Page 450
  - "stand point" changed to "stand-point" on Page 460
  - Period added after "friends" on Page 466
  - "glancind" changed to "glancing" on Page 467
  - Period added after "lady" on Page 468
  - Comma changed to a period after "animation" on Page 470
  - Extra space added before and after this paragraph on Page 474
  - "Fitz James" changed to "Fitz-James" on Page 475
  - Period removed after "migical" on Page 475
  - Period removed after "Benton's" on Page 476
  - Double quote added before "Cecilia" on Page 476
  - Double quote removed after "Y----" on Page 480

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