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´╗┐Title: Bashfulness Cured - Ease and Elegance of Manner Quickly Gained
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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                          BASHFULNESS CURED:

                      Ease and Elegance of Manner


                        "Manners Make the Man."

                        SETH CONLY, PUBLISHER,

                      NO. 524 SIXTH AVENUE, N. Y.

                          BASHFULNESS CURED:

                      EASE AND ELEGANCE OF MANNER
                            QUICKLY GAINED.

                               NEW YORK:
                        SETH CONLY, PUBLISHER,
                         NO. 524 SIXTH AVENUE.

      Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by
                              SETH CONLY.
     In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.



 Bashfulness--Diffidence--Definition                                 5

 Natural Diffidence                                                  7

 Causes and Cure of Natural Diffidence                              20

 Bashfulness from lack of Education.--How to Overcome it            23

 Bashfulness from Ignorance of the Ways of Society.--The Cure       31

 Bashfulness from Ill-Dress.--The Cure                              36

 Bashfulness Caused by Ill-Health.--To Remove                       42

 How to acquire Elegance and Fluency of Expression--Ease and
    Polish of Manner--a Graceful, Pleasing and Dignified
    Bearing--a Handsome Well-developed Chest--a Deep, Rich
    Voice. How to Dress Cheaply and Elegantly--How to be
    Attractive by certain attentions to Personal Habits. To
    the Debilitated: what to use to become Strong (new).
    How to Please greatly by delicate Flattery of Eye and
    Manner. A Secret of being Popular with the Ladies. How to
    easily Train, Brighten, and Sharpen the Intellect. To be
    Well-informed and Well-cultivated                             9-48



We do not see why SIDNEY should have termed _diffidence_ "rustic
shame." Very many nice and proper persons who live in rural parts, and
who are exceedingly bashful, are far from being shame-faced. "Excessive
or extreme modesty," Webster defines bashfulness, and this is the
better definition, though not literally correct, as many who are rough,
impudent and vulgar in the privacy of their own homes, are wretchedly
bashful when in company of strangers, or those whom they consider their

No emotion is more painful than bashfulness. Without feeling guilty,
its subject feels crushed. Says one, "I am troubled with a painful
sense of timidity and bashfulness in the presence of company on being
spoken to, especially at the table; and no matter whether the person
be my equal or my inferior, I blush from the cravat to the hair, and
the very consciousness that I am blushing, and that my embarrassment is
discovered, tends to deepen the blush and heighten the embarrassment.
Now, I have a good personal appearance; I have a good education; I
occupy a good position in society; I have been trusted by my friends
with official position, and feel myself competent to fill it, and
when I sit down to meditate I feel no cause for embarrassment or
bashfulness; I can converse for hours with persons of culture and
superior ability, and feel no cause of shame at the part I am enabled
to act; still, if then spoken to suddenly or abruptly, this terrible
diffidence comes upon me like a spell, and makes me stammer; my
head seems splitting with excitement; my face turns red; my heart
palpitates, and I am no longer, for the moment, myself. Now all this is
very distressing." Yes, this is distressing, as very many can testify
from disagreeable experience.

There are many influences that may directly and indirectly be mentioned
as being the


Among them is a certain peculiarity of constitution known as "_natural
diffidence_;" then, _bashfulness from ignorance of the ways of
society; lack of education; ill-dress; ill-health; nervousness_.


Many persons are constitutionally timid and diffident. They were
bashful in childhood, bashful at school, bashful in society, always
bashful. In business they are not generally your pushing, go-ahead
operators. They shrink from contact with the bustling crowds. They
prefer, and will usually be found doing quiet brain work in dim back

Bashful young ladies, to the rightly constituted masculine mind, are
rather attractive than otherwise. The timid, retiring manner; the
modest, downcast look; the soft blushes--all are particularly engaging,
especially to those who have been long in society, and accustomed to
the cool self-possession and calm assurance of fashionable ladies.

The genuine diffident girl is not the product of cities. She is not
found in the crash of town life, but in the seclusion of quiet country

There is no class of girls in the world so easy to get along with after
they get acquainted with you, as bashful ones. And the courting them
is an easy and delightful affair; they are so loving and confiding;
no reserve, no distrust, no coquetting; but frank, open-hearted and
generous. Even if you are unsuccessful in your suit they never mortify
you in their refusal. It is generally given in so frank and candid a
manner as to command your admiration.


NATURAL DIFFIDENCE is the result, as already stated, of certain
peculiarities of constitution. There is a want of confidence in one's
self--a shrinking dread of intercourse with strangers, especially
those of the opposite sex, and he, or she, can give no reason for this
diffident feeling. He may be well educated; of attractive personal
appearance, of good conversational abilities, and well dressed, yet
from that strange feeling of natural bashfulness, so well known, yet
difficult to describe, he is a timid, shrinking creature, subject to
trials of which a self-reliant man has no conception. He blushes and
becomes confused if suddenly addressed. His heart beats painfully
at the idea of entering a well-lighted room filled with ladies and
gentlemen. And this feeling is the result, in a great measure, of
his small _self-esteem_. Your truly diffident person is of extremely
sensitive, retiring disposition, and while he is apt to accord to
others superiorities they do not possess, he entertains for his own
abilities, personal and mental qualities, the most humble opinion. And
thus he does himself great injustice and injury. He does not attain
that position in society nor that success in professional or business
life that he would were he not shackled by his foolish timidity--his
deference to others.

A bold, self-confident man, with a mere fraction of a bashful man's
ability and attainments, will invariably distance him in the affairs of
life. "BRASS" always tells. The world don't stop to analyze a man for
his real merit. It takes him at his own valuation, and if a man puts a
low estimate upon himself and goes through life with a hanging head
and blushing face, he has small success, and less pity. The good things
of this world--the successes in love, in business, in politics, &c.,
are invariably won by those who have a good opinion of themselves; who
have faith in their special talents and abilities, and who push ahead
in accordance with this faith.

There never was a truer saying than that faint heart never won fair
lady. While women have a genuine admiration for the truly modest and
pure-minded men, they have a genuine contempt for your chicken-hearted,
bashful, tongue-tied fellows.

Although a good many screeching females in these Women's Rights,
Advanced Female days can not lay special claims to any superfluous
amount of modesty, still the softer sex have not yet lost those
endearing qualities of gentleness, modesty, and loving trustfulness
in the opposite sex. Since that time when Eve cast her first loving
glances towards robust Adam, women's love and admiration have gone out
to bold and gallant men. As she is timid and weak, so the more does
she admire the qualities of strength and courage. Man is her natural
protector, and she looks up to him and clings to him in love and

Women are pre-eminently romantic in all that concerns love. Her
heroes are those who do brave and perilous deeds; who scorn ease and
effeminacy, and who laugh at danger--captains who go down to the sea
in ships and sail away over the mysterious ocean to strange, far-away
lands--men who with shut jaws, gleaming eyes, and fixed bayonets go
digging over fort walls, from which come unceasing flashes of fire and
a pitiless rain of death.

(How the officers and men who came home from The War were honored, and
almost caressed, especially by the ladies; and what a host of marriages
took place among the gallant fellows!)

It has been truly said that no woman really loves who has not
discovered some traits in her lover's character that she considers
noble and heroic. It is a glory for a woman to be able to be proud of
her lover or husband--of his superior intellect, his dignity and strong
manhood and loving care and tenderness, and it is proverbial how a true
woman overlooks and endeavors to conceal the faults and weaknesses of
her husband. He was her hero at marriage, and though the illusion may
have passed, she still bravely tries to maintain it.

It often happens that a bright, superior girl marries a quiet, bashful
fellow, in whom her friends do not see anything worth marrying for. But
it is certain the girl has discovered under all the young man's reserve
and diffidence, superior traits of character that have secured her
attention and love.

This may be illustrated by an incident in which the actors are
personally known to the writer.

Frank W---- was a young man of more than common intelligence and
strength of character, but he was so obstinately bashful and retiring
that his real worth was entirely unappreciated by his acquaintances.
He rarely ventured out to parties, &c., and when he did, was entirely
eclipsed by all the ready-tongued young men in the room. Now this
Frank W---- was irretrievably in love with the most charming young
lady in town, Miss Louisa L----, who understood and appreciated W----,
and often gave his society marked preference, to the surprise and
disgust of the before-mentioned ready-tongued fellows, yet was careful
to give no indication by which W---- could hope he had secured her
affections. Thus matters went on a couple of years, and W---- was
almost in despair, though he had really made more progress than he
had imagined. But an accident occurred that brought matters to an
agreeable termination. They were out for a ride, with a spirited horse
one autumn afternoon, and in going down a steep hill a rein broke, and
the animal dashed forward at a tremendous pace. W---- turned quietly
towards Miss L----, and giving her an assuring look, placed a foot
on the dasher-board, and with a leap placed himself fairly astride
the animal. Leaning forward and seizing the beast by the nostrils he
twisted her head suddenly to one side, and brought the whole affair to
a stand-still within half-a-dozen rods. Soothing the excited horse by a
little gentle stroking, W---- united the rein, and then coolly drove on
as if nothing had happened.

"I then and there decided to marry him," said Miss L----, relating the
incident. "I concluded that one who could perform such a daring and
dangerous act, and regard it with quiet indifference, was a true and
noble man, and one whom I could implicitly trust." And she was right,
for a woman never secured a better or more faithful husband.

A bashful young man who had the appearance of no great amount of
spirit, complained to his father of his want of success in winning the
esteem of a certain proud young lady. "You can swim, Sam?" "Yes, sir."
"Well, the next time you go sailing with that girl, manage to dip her
into the stream, without letting her suspect you; then rescue her like
a man. Or do anything else that will show that you have some life and
pluck, and you'll find she has an improved opinion of you directly."

And the pith of wisdom is in this bit of paternal advice.

[Illustration: NOT BASHFUL.]

Rather than be a bashful, blushing, stuttering booby, it would be much
better for a young man to be over-confident and bold. With the latter
qualities his chances of success in any direction in life, would be
infinitely better. And it is the stout, true heart that finds favor
with the ladies. Women love to be sought, and have attention paid them.
It is their nature to be timid, trustful and confiding. They love to
rely upon and feel the support of manly strength. Now a timid, bashful
fellow does not possess those qualities that women most admire, and to
possess them should be a bashful person's foremost ambition.

The boy who hangs his head and sucks his thumb when spoken to by a
stranger, and who is generally to be found moping behind the kitchen
fire, looking at a picture book, is not the mother's favorite. The
saucy little chap who sticks his fists into his breeches pocket, and
don't see anything in strangers to fear; who rides the colts bare-back;
who don't like the girls because they can't climb after bird's eggs;
who sails about the pond on a six foot plank; and is the leader in all
kinds of boyish mischief;--this is the brave and fearless boy that
fills his mother's heart with secret pride and joy. "The spunky little
cuss," though coarse and jarring, is far more pleasant to the mother's
ear than "Poor child, he is so sensitive and bashful."

And again we repeat, women do not admire bashful men. While they may
pity, a woman secretly despises a man who is really or appears to be
_afraid of women_. A diffident fellow never was nor never will be
a favorite with the ladies. It is your easy-going, self-possessed,
talking chaps who are the popular ones. This is illustrated in any
assemblage of both sexes. Take a party, for instance, early in the
evening when matters are a little frigid. The ladies are inclined
to congregate in groups by themselves, with shy glances towards the
gentlemen, whose inclinations seem to be that of making wall-ornaments
of themselves. Presently there will enter the room a fellow who is not
quite certain if he understands what the word "bashfulness" means. He
goes up to a group of ladies, smiles and bows to all, shakes hands with
some, and is in felicity right away, to the envy and admiration of the
wall-ornament chaps.

While young ladies are timid and retiring, they dislike the exhibition
of these qualities by men. This cannot be better illustrated than by
noticing how a young man from the city, with his easy manners, his
self-assurance, and ready ways, will go into a country village and
"cut out" the fellows right and left, making himself a favorite with
the girls in an amazing short time. And this fellow may be only
a shallow-brained fop from some city dry goods store, where he is
engaged measuring out ribbons from 8 A. M. till 6 P. M. His education
is not worth speaking of; he smokes; he gets drunk making New Year's
calls; he don't go to church; his moral character will not bear severe
inspection, and yet this fellow goes to the country, and even the
sensible girls rather admire him, and are well pleased to see him
coming up the walk for an evening's visit. The best of the country
beaux have received a good education at the academy; they are clear
in head and sound in body, they are able to marry, owning their own
business, or soon to do so, and yet the company of a pop-in-jay chap
from the city is openly preferred to that of these substantial and
worthy country young men. And they do not understand it, though it is
plain enough. The city fellow brings with him an air of the great world
outside this country village. For years he has read the morning paper
as regularly as he has taken his breakfast, therefore he is informed
of all the events of the day. He can tell you the present mental
condition of Queen Victoria, what the latest news is from Mormondom,
or how Prince Jim Jund is progressing with his railroad enterprise
in Africa. He can discuss politics with the father, talk with mother
concerning the last General Religious Convention, and with the young
ladies fairly effervesces with small talk. And here he has at immense
advantage the country young men, whose current literature probably
consists of the Weekly County paper, fearfully dry and dull, a city
story, or Agricultural paper, and Ayre's last Almanac. With these only
for his mental food, how can a young man make himself entertaining and
agreeable with chatty talk on the light topics of the day?


The city chap is brim full of pleasant gossip. He don't sit
cross-legged, twisting his hat and talking tedious farm-talk to the
"old man," while he is dying to be visiting with the women-folks.

He has long been in contact with people--the world--and constant
friction has rubbed out any awkwardness he may have possessed years
ago. There is an agreeable ease and freedom in his manner, as there
is in that of all genuine city people, and it could not well be
otherwise. In his capacity of salesman in a large city retail store,
he has come in contact with all classes of ladies. He don't blush now
when addressed by one of them. The sight of bright eyes and pretty
ankles does not throw him into a state of flutteration, as it does
our country friend. He isn't afraid of the women much--not much. He
does not class them with the angel species, to converse with whom
requires great courage and moral force. He has learned by considerable
unpleasant experience that a great many of the gentler sex have brisk
little tempers, and some spiteful, harassing ways, and tongues that
can say sharp things:--in fact, who are very much mortal, and so, not
considering them either doves or angels, he experiences no trepidation
in their society whatever.

Again, our city fellow, rusticating in the country, and having it very
much his own way with the damsels, is _well dressed_. His clothes are
probably not of expensive material, but they are of excellent fit, and
gives his person a stylish, genteel appearance.

That a person well dressed receives respect and attention that would
not possibly be shown him were he poorly or slovenly clothed is a fact
so familiar to all that it would be absurd to discuss it.

The matter of Dress is of so much importance as concerns the feeling of
_Bashfulness_, that we shall consider it fully in another chapter.


Consists:--1. _In cultivating_ SELF-ESTEEM,--_in exalting your own
opinion of yourself_. BEING PROUD.

2. _Going into company;--associating with miscellaneous people._

1. Who ever knew a really proud person to be bashful and diffident?
What is pride? Is it not self-esteem; self-appreciation and valuation;
self-respect and reliance; nobleness, independence and dignity?

A proud-spirited person excites in us something of that feeling of
respect and admiration we have for a spirited, mettlesome horse.

But to possess true spirit and personal pride, we must possess points
of real or imagined merit; of education, accomplishments, personal
beauty, or mental, or physical superiority. How can a person of scanty
information--ignorant of the world and its doings, carry a proud
bearing with a high and noble spirit?

"How proud and stuck up them Brown girls are since they got home from
Boston," whispers Mrs. Smith to a neighbor, as the "Brown girls" sail
into church, dressed in city style, and with something of "city airs."
They have brought home with them the same warm, generous hearts--but
they are proud. Have they not some reason for being so? For two years
they have been in Madame C.'s fashionable city boarding-school, and in
this time they have learned several things outside their school books.
Their rustic ways quickly disappeared, and they soon acquired quiet
dignity of manners, and that perfect self-control we all admire. It was
taught them also that the face is not the proper place for exhibiting
our emotions and feelings, so often to our disadvantage; and also that
the "sweet, low voice" that men love so well, is much more effective
than the loud, harsh tones of so many rustic maidens.


They were also trained to receive introductions from gentlemen without
simpering and blushing, and also that it was possible for a gentleman
to call upon them several times, and even invite them to a concert, and
still have no intentions of "proposing."

And so the Brown girls go home with their varied accomplishments, and
are "proud." But it is a personal pride to be approved of, and which
all who are bashful and backward should strive to acquire.

Are you ambitious? Do you aspire to better things? If you consider
yourself a nobody, do you care to be somebody? Do you care to be
considered an intelligent, interesting capable person? Then analyze
yourself; take yourself to pieces, and see what there is really of
you. We take it for granted, of course, that you are a person of
ordinary common sense. Has your school education been neglected? then
you must rectify this by a selected course of reading; for the first
and most important step towards removing a feeling of bashfulness and
inferiority, is to become well informed on general topics. We maintain
that it is absurd for any intelligent person to feel awkward and
bashful who is well-informed and neatly dressed.

To make up for deficiencies of education, any person determined can
go through a special course of reading in a comparatively short time,
that will make him or her a well informed person. The books we would
particularly recommend, are:--A concise Modern History; a small
Ancient History; Natural Philosophy (Comstock's High School, or any
other good, well illustrated work); Youman's New Chemistry, which
you will find very interesting and highly instructive; Quackenbos'
Composition and Rhetoric. If you read carefully Kame's Elements of
Criticism you would be richly repaid in the pleasure derived, and in
the gain of a rich store of valuable information. Any person who would
be pre-eminently quick-witted must not fail to read Shakespeare--at
least the principal plays. Shakespeare's knowledge of the world--of
the secret springs of human action--of _human nature_--was something
wonderful. No human being has yet equalled him in this respect. But
you cannot read his plays as you can a newspaper. They must be slowly
read and digested like a rare dinner. The Bible perhaps excepted, no
book has yet been printed that contains so great an amount of profound
worldly wisdom as the works of Shakespeare. Nothing will so quickly
sharpen and polish a dull and untrained intellect.

Now here are enumerated less than a dozen books, within the reach of
any one capable of earning his clothes, and which, if read at least
twice, carefully, will make a person feel that he really knows
something--had really entered the great temple of knowledge.

Of course, one should not be confined to the above. The extent of one's
intelligence and information will depend upon the extent of his reading
and thinking; but the above-mentioned books, thoroughly read, will
educate and elevate more than the perusal of an entire library read
hastily and thoughtlessly.

The wide range of information gained by the regular perusal of a good
city daily newspaper, and a first class monthly magazine is of too
great value to be over-estimated. If you cannot afford a daily paper,
you certainly can a semi-weekly, a large one, like the Semi-Weekly
Tribune, for instance. Of the magazines, _Harper's_ or _Scribner's_
will bring you treasures of interesting knowledge in the most
attractive form.

We will now suppose that you are well informed of the news and topics
of the day, etc., and that you have no cause to feel diffident and
reserved from a general lack of information. "But my self-esteem is
small, I have a poor opinion of myself." Well, change that opinion! Be
proud; resolve to walk like a MAN and a gentleman--not like an uncouth
boy. Hold up your head, and throw back your shoulders. If you want a
magnificent chest, and a deep, sonorous voice; practice ten minutes,
night and morning, filling the lungs as full as possible through a
small tube, three inches long, and with a hole the size of a quill;
allow the breath to pass out slowly through the tube. To insure an easy
and graceful carriage, practice walking in your room with a small bag
filled with grain poised on your head. Consider yourself as good as
other people, _and a little better_. Train yourself to act always in a
quiet and dignified manner--not with vulgar "stiffness," but with that
ease and moderation of action, easily acquired, and which always shows
the well-bred person. _Act_ the gentleman or lady, and you will be one.
Nothing so indicates ill-breeding as a nervous, fidgetty, restless
manner. The real lady or gentleman will be composed and undisturbed
under every trying circumstance. They have taught themselves
_self-control_, and this is readily learned by those with inclination
and determination to learn.

2. _Go into Society._--To learn to swim you must go into the water. To
overcome the feeling of bashfulness, and to be at ease in company,
you must go into company. On no account should you neglect this duty
which you owe to yourself. Take every opportunity to attend balls,
picnics, parties, sociables, etc., and always rank yourself as one of
the most desirable and popular young men of the occasion, and you will
undoubtedly be so. Remember the fact that others will estimate you as
you estimate yourself. And here we again repeat, _Do not be, or act,
afraid of the girls_. They won't hurt you. Walk boldly up and make
yourself agreeable. They will meet you half way. If at any time you
feel a little fluttering of the heart, don't subside into a corner with
the say-nothings and do-nothings, but "circulate around," and you will
be surprised how easily you will find yourself at home and at ease,
chatting with some nice people.


For removing Bashfulness, awkwardness, and all manner of similar
disagreeable things, there could not possibly be a better place than
the dancing-school. Young men who live away from villages, and who have
but few, or no desirable associates outside the family circle, and who
are distressingly awkward in speech and manner, if they can have a few
terms at a dancing-school, will be so improved in address, manners, and
general appearance as to surprise all who know them. We are acquainted
with a person, now an old man, large, heavy, clumsy, who weighed one
hundred and eighty pounds the day he was sixteen, and was six feet and
an inch high. He was so awkward, to use his own statement, that he
could hardly get into a room where there was company without hitting
both sides of the door, and could scarcely sit down without knocking
over his chair, knowing not what to do with his feet, his hands, nor
himself. He chanced to have an opportunity to attend a dancing-school
for three months--they were very uncommon in the locality where
he resided--and he was there trained in the common civilities and
courtesies of society; how to enter and leave a room, how to receive
introductions, how to receive and dismiss company, etc. Though he is a
farmer, not much used to society, there is to-day an easy, quiet grace,
and a polish of manners that would pass anywhere acceptably; and he
attributes it to the brief tuition in a dancing-school. While he may
not remember much that he learned as a dancer, he remembers all that he
learned that is necessary for performing the common courtesies of the
parlor. So attend all the dances possible, and under all circumstances
remember that you are a MAN and a GENTLEMAN.

Many often hesitate and become diffident from a lack of readiness
in expressing their ideas, and from a fear that they do not speak
correctly and elegantly. Now speaking grammatically is a mere matter
of education. If lacking in this respect, the use of any good grammar,
and particularly "COMPOSITION AND RHETORIC," already mentioned, with
"LIVE AND LEARN;" or "1000 MISTAKES CORRECTED," will be all you require
in this direction. "ONE THOUSAND MISTAKES CORRECTED," is better than
half-a-dozen living teachers.

To express one's self with fluency in conversation is an art that
can be acquired by a little practice, in adopting the method of the
great orator Clay, in gaining quick readiness in speech. "I owe my
success in life," said he, "chiefly to one circumstance--that at the
age of twenty-seven I commenced, and continued for years the practice
of daily reading and speaking upon the contents of some historical
or scientific book. These off-hand efforts were made sometimes in
a cornfield, at others in the forest, and not unfrequently in some
distant barn, with the horse and the ox for my auditors. It is to
this early practice of the art of all arts, that I am indebted for my
subsequent destiny."

Reading aloud from some book, enunciating every word clearly and
distinctly, with a dictionary at hand to settle instantly in your own
mind any question as to the proper pronunciation of particular words,
is a practice so abundantly fruitful of good results, that those who
will practise it even for a short time, will scarcely be induced to
relinquish it. In reading, cultivate the purely conversational tone. It
is as easy to read as it is to talk, yet there are few good readers.
The tone of voice, modulation, accent, etc., should be precisely as if
you were in conversation, not as if you were preaching in a drawling,
monotonous way. Read well and you will converse well, and both are
superior accomplishments, acquired with facility; though the orator
who pours forth his thoughts with such apparent ease, achieves his
wonderful power only by means of patient labor, after much repetition,
and, like Disraeli, often after bitter disappointments.

So take courage, young men, and if you have a difficulty to overcome,
grapple with it at once; facility will come with practice, and strength
and success with repeated effort. And always recollect, that the mind
and character may be trained to almost perfect discipline, enabling it
to move with a grace, spirit and freedom almost incomprehensible to
those who have not subjected themselves to a similar training.

Take a raw recruit; he stoops, he walks in a shuffling, slouchy manner;
he is painfully awkward. A few weeks under the Drill-Sergeant, and he
walks forth erect, dignified, with the true soldierly bearing. Life
seems but for the purpose of mere drilling. In one form or another we
cannot escape it; neither should we desire to do so.


It is certainly very embarrassing and conducive of bashfulness to be
thrust into a glittering room filled with people superior to one's
self in position, and equally cultured in the knowledge of what is
due to the place and occasion. A sensitive, uncultured man or maiden,
with rustic garb and rustic speech, and little knowledge respecting
correct manners, introduced at once to the presence of cultured ladies
and gentlemen, does not know what to do with hands nor feet; whether to
sit or to stand, or to hide. Is it to be wondered at that such a person
acts and feels cheap and diminutive?

But, diffident reader, do not be discouraged, for general good breeding
is very easy of attainment. You must possess simply _common sense_,
_self-possession_, and a _habit of observation_.

The exercise of a good common sense will show you plainly enough what
is right and wrong--what is proper and improper. Self-possession will
prevent from doing awkward and bungling things; and by observation you
will soon learn the manners of the well-bred.

"But I won't know how to act, mother," said a lad as he was about
starting to his first party. "Keep your eyes open, and just do as the
others do," was the answer, and better advice could not have been given.

Quiet self-possession will enable a person quite unacquainted with
the usages of society to conduct himself very acceptably even in the
most superior company. It is the foolish feeling of timidity that
causes the trepidation and bashfulness, and consequent uneasy manners
when in company, with the class of persons for whose benefit this book
was written. _Why_ should you be timid and backward, and show by your
hesitating ways that you do not feel at ease? You surely can notice how
those about you conduct themselves, and conduct yourself accordingly.
Why should you not enter a room filled with company like any other
well-bred person, in an easy, unconcerned manner, and addressing
those about you, even those with whom you are not acquainted, without
restraint, and without embarrassment? If you cannot muster sufficient
spirit to do this, you had better turn travelling agent and call from
house to house till you are not afraid of associating and conversing
with strangers.

Yet to be well-bred without ceremony; easy without carelessness;
self-possessed and dignified with modesty; polite without affectation;
pleasing without servility; cheerful without being noisy; frank
without indiscretion; and secret without mysteriousness; to know the
proper time and place for whatever you say or do, and do it with the
air of the well-bred--all this requires time and close observation.
"MANNERS MAKE THE MAN." Old, but good. The power or influence of an
easy, pleasing, deferential manner; of a polite, gracious and genteel
address, is shown in a multitude of ways, and is acknowledged by high
and low, and could not be better illustrated than by the success of
great Counterfeiters, Forgers, and "Confidence men" generally. They
are invariably men of the most polished and insinuating address.
They listen to you with a consummate, well-bred air of interest
and attention. They flatter you unconsciously, but none the less
powerfully by the deep respect they apparently show to every word
of your conversation; and when they address you it is as if to a
person deserving of the highest consideration. And all this with
such a combination of suavity, self-respect and dignity that it is
most powerful to please. And these accomplished rascals have trained
themselves to polished address and perfection of manners solely for the
purpose of winning in their schemes with men.

Judicious flattery is incomparable as a means of pleasing. No person is
proof against it, and one of its most delicate and effective forms is
in showing a seeming deference to us--our conversation--opinions and
advice. The ladies are particularly susceptible to polite and urbane
manners. The act of a gentleman raising his hat and bowing gracefully
to a lady, is really, or seemingly, a mark of esteem and respect, and
the lady is pleased, as she should be. Little attentions thoughtfully
shown are certain to please, and to secure that regard the person
showing them is entitled to receive.

"He is a perfect gentleman," from a lady simply means that he has been
generous in his gallant little attentions to her.

"A good listener,"--and how rare they are!--can not be otherwise than
a thoughtful, sensible, and pleasing person. By his apparent deep
interest in our conversation, he flatters our self-love; and whoever
does that, without seeming intention, has advanced in our good opinion.

There is nothing so grossly rude, nor so little forgiven, as
inattention from a person whom you are addressing. Many persons are so
thoughtlessly or ignorantly rude, that while you are speaking to them,
instead of looking at you with attention, they will look out of the
window, into the fire, or up at the ceiling, and, it may be, speak to,
or answer some other person, thus seeming to imply implicitly that the
most trifling object deserves their attention more than anything you
may be saying. The emphatic desire in every well-ordered mind to punish
such an offensively ill-bred person we consider highly commendable.

In regard to the ways and usages of society we do not propose to say
anything here, as they can be readily learned by observation, or from
any of the several good books on the subject, mentioned in another


A person may have the education of a College President, and possess
the wealth of an Astor, yet let him with soiled or slouchy clothes be
suddenly brought into the society of ladies and gentlemen, and he will
feel and act constrained and bashful in spite of his best endeavors.

Let a well-bred, well-dressed person make a call and discover, when it
is too late, that his boots are muddy, or his finger-nails not cleaned,
and he will inevitably act ill at ease, and be glad when he is safe in
the street again.

A mechanic going home at night in his work-day clothes, with traces
of toil on hands and face, walks along with the well-dressed crowd
in a subdued and humble manner. The same mechanic, two hours later,
thoroughly washed and shaved, and arrayed in his best holiday clothes,
taking his wife to a place of amusement, perhaps, has the appearance of
another man. He walks with an erect and manly air, and feels that he is
a man among men.

The question of dress is one of the utmost importance. It often
determines our characters and our success in life. A person meanly
dressed will feel meanly and act meanly. Everybody has experienced the
sudden and agreeable change in one's feelings from merely changing
from an old, poor suit of clothes to a new one. The dogs, with amazing
instinct, look upon the ragged beggar with suspicion, and meet him with
growls and snaps, while the well-dressed gentleman coming up the walk,
is welcomed with friendly wags of the tail.

    "Costly thy habit, as thy purse can buy,
    But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy,
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man."

This, from Shakespeare, is sound advice. City people, including those
who are in far more moderate circumstances than even the small farmers,
are far better dressed than the average of country people. The
farmer's wife going out for an evening's visit, or to church, "fixes
up," and makes a presentable appearance. The farmer going to town, ten
miles away, shaves, puts on his best suit, and feels respectable. They
are going into company--going to meet with people. On other days there
seems to be little regard for personal appearance as far as dress is
concerned. Now a resident of a city is always in company. He is on
perpetual exhibition. He is classed as he is dressed; if like a beggar,
then a beggar; if like a gentleman--a gentleman.

Now, young and diffident reader, we insist that you can never rid
yourself of the bashful feeling while in company so long as you are
poorly dressed. By "poorly" we do not refer to the material, only to
the style and shape. A person may wear pantaloons and coat of the
finest broadcloth, but if they are baggy and slouchy, will he be
considered well dressed? Coarse material for coat and trousers have
been popular for several years past, and a good suit of clothes can be
bought at moderate cost. If you live within a reasonable distance of a
city, always buy your clothes there, as you will be sure to have them
in the latest style--that is, if you notice what the style is. Never
select pantaloons with large checks or stripes. Light brown, or dark
material is the most becoming. If you are obliged to have your clothes
made in the country, have them cut, if possible, by a tailor. It don't
so much matter who makes them up.


The fit of a collar adds to or mars a person's appearance greatly. It
should turn down and both ends nearly meet at the buttonhole. A small
brown or black tie, with the ends tucked under the collar, or a plain,
narrow silk tie, or one of small white and black checks, will be neat
and becoming. A large neck-tie of a flaming color, so often worn by
country youths, is a prominent sign of an uncultivated taste.

THE HAIR, ETC.--City men, young and old, are very particular about
having their hair kept neatly and closely cut. Why those in the country
seem to delight in shocks of long hair we never could see; and we lived
in the country twenty years. Don't do it. Cultivate personal neatness
insiduously, and give an indication of it by keeping your hair neatly
trimmed. Don't let neighbor Smith do it with his sheep shears, thereby
saving a shilling or two; but go to a professional barber, even if he
is in the next town.

THE TEETH require particular attention. Use a tooth-pick always after
eating, rinsing the mouth at the same time. Scrub the teeth thoroughly
morning and night with a tooth-brush rubbed on a bit of soap. There is
no excuse for not doing this; a good brush will cost twenty cents, and
the time occupied about six minutes a day! The feeling of purity and
comfort experienced will amply recompense you for the trifling trouble.
Take a hot bath as often as you can, using soap and brush freely; and
be certain that no disagreeable foetid odor comes from your feet from
want of cleanliness.

That you would go into the presence of ladies with soiled hands is not
probable, but be careful to notice that the nails are scrupulously

These various little attentions towards personal neatness and
comeliness will soon become a second nature. And after you have
instituted these reforms in regard to your toilet, etc., you will
not fail to observe that you are treated with a much greater respect
and consideration, especially by the ladies, than before. Your own
estimation of yourself has greatly increased, and you find that the
miserable bashful feeling formerly experienced when in the society of
those you considered your superiors, no longer troubles you.

It is important for those young men who are apt to disparage themselves
in comparison with their wealthy acquaintances, to bear in mind that
riches and rank have no necessary connection with genuine gentlemanly
qualities. The poor man may be a true gentleman in spirit and in daily
life. He may be honest, truthful, polite, temperate, courageous,
self-respecting, and self-helping--that is, _a true gentleman_. The
poor man with a rich spirit, is always superior to the rich man with a
mean spirit.


A person who has any noticeable physical deformity, or who has been
reduced by certain nervous diseases, cannot be expected to possess
that buoyancy and manliness of spirit that he would were circumstances
different. Persons with nerves that are naturally excitable, will
greatly increase their excitability by the habitual use of strong
tea, etc. As a result, they are nervous, fidgetty, and never quite
at ease. When in company they easily lose their self-possession and
do blundering things generally. There are certain habits known to
young men that cause a person to become bashful and sheep-faced to a
surprising degree.

We have no particular suggestions to offer where diffidence and
bashfulness are the result of prolonged illness or disease. Every means
should be taken to restore the health; and with the restoration will
come the old manly and courageous spirit.

When the nerves are weak and unsteady from physical debility, great
benefit will be immediately derived, in the majority of cases, from
the use, for two or three weeks at a time, of _Iodoform_, two or three
grains a day--taken at meal time on a bit of moist bread.

In case the voice and lungs are weak, read aloud daily, enunciating
every word clearly and distinctly. Commence by reading ten minutes at
a time, and finally half an hour. You will soon acquire a richness and
depth of tone to be proud of, besides greatly improving your health by
increasing the capacity of the lungs.


    --And these few precepts in thy memory
    Hold fast: "Give thy thoughts no tongue,
    Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.

    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar
    To the friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel:
    Beware of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, bear
    It, that the opposer may beware of thee.

    Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
    Neither a borrower, nor a lender be,
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend.

    This above all:--To thine own self be true;
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou can'st not be false to any man."


SECRESY is a characteristic of good breeding. A gentleman or lady will
never tell in one company what they see or hear in another; much less
divert the present company at the expense of the last. In conversation
there is generally a tacit reliance that what is said will not be
repeated. Tattlers are contemptable.

WHISPERING in company is an act of unmistakable ill-breeding. It seems
to imply that neither the persons whom we do not wish should hear are
unworthy our confidence, or that we are speaking improperly of them.

INCESSANT talkers are very disagreeable companions. Nothing can be
more rude than to engross the conversation to yourself, or to take the
words, as it were, out of another person's mouth. All generally like
to bear their part in a conversation, and for one to monopolize it,
is a tacit acknowledgment that he considers his conversation of more
importance, or more interesting than that of others. Long talkers are
unmitigated bores.

GIVING advice unasked is an impertinence. It is, in effect, declaring
ourselves wiser than those to whom we give it; reproaching them with
ignorance and inexperience. It is a freedom that ought not to be taken
with any common acquaintance.

IT is true politeness not to interrupt a person in a story, whether you
have heard it before or not.

MEN repent speaking ten times, for once they repent keeping silence.

YOU will be reckoned by the world nearly of the same character with
those whose company you keep.

IF you give yourself a loose tongue in company, you may almost depend
on being pulled to pieces as soon as your back is turned, however they
may seem entertained with your conversation.

IT is ill manners to trouble people with talking too much either of
yourself or your affairs. If you are full of yourself, consider that
you, and your affairs, are not so interesting to other people as to

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    SETH CONLY, Publisher

    No. 524 Sixth Avenue, New York.

    Transcriber's notes:

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    Page 10:

    Although a good many screaching females in these Women's Rights,
    Although a good many screeching females in these Women's Rights,

    Page 11:

    men who with shut jaws, gleaming eyes, and fixed byonets
    men who with shut jaws, gleaming eyes, and fixed bayonets

    Page 28:

    though he is a farmer, not much used to society, there is to-day
    Though he is a farmer, not much used to society, there is to-day

    Page 46:

    Salutes and Salutations, Calls, Conversations, Invtations,
    Salutes and Salutations, Calls, Conversations, Invitations,

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