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Title: Never: - A Hand-Book for the Uninitiated and Inexperienced Aspirants - to Refined Society's Giddy Heights and Glittering - Attainments.
Author: Urner, Nathan Dane
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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  _A Hand-Book for the Uninitiated
  and Inexperienced
  Aspirants to Refined Society’s
  Giddy Heights
  and Glittering Attainments._


  Over a MILLION Sold

  Queenie Hetherton

  For Sale Everywhere

  Price, $1.50.



  _A Hand-Book for the Uninitiated
  and Inexperienced
  Aspirants to Refined Society’s
  Giddy Heights
  and Glittering Attainments._

              “Shoot Folly as it flies,
  And catch the manners living as they rise.”


  [Illustration: colophon]


  BY _G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers_.

  Stereotyped by
  42 DEY STREET, N. Y.




_This little book is cordially recommended to all parties just
hesitating on the plush-padded, gilt-edged threshold of our highest
social circles._

_In purely business affairs, it may not be as useful as_ Hoyle’s Games,
_or_ Locke on the Human Understanding, _but a careful study of its
contents cannot but prove the “Open Sesame” to that jealously-guarded
realm,--good society,--in which you aspire to circulate freely and
shine with becoming luster_.

_“It is easier for a needle to pass through a camel’s eye,” says Poor
Richard, or some one else, “than for a poor young man to enter the
mansions of the rich.” And I, the author of this code of warnings, as
truly say unto you, that a contemptuous disregard of the same will be
likely to lead you into mortification and embarrassment, if not into
being incontinently kicked out of doors._

_While intended chiefly for the young, not the less may the old, the
decrepit, and the infirm like-wise rejoice in the possession of the
rules and prohibitions herein contained, and hasten to commit them to

_But the memory is treacherous._

_It would, therefore, be well for such persons to carry the Hand Book
constantly with them, to be referred to on short notice wherever they
may chance to be--in the street-car, in the drawing-room, on the
promenade, on the ball-room floor, at table, while visiting, and so on._

_In this way the Hand Book will be like the magic ring that pricked
the wearer’s finger warningly whenever about to yield to an unworthy
impulse. Its instructively reiterated “Never” will become, indeed, a
blessing--not in disguise, but rather in guardian angel’s habiliments._

_It will be, in truth, a bosom companion in the happiest sense of the
term, a mutely eloquent monitor of deportment, a still, small voice as
to what is in good form and what is not._






  Making and Receiving Calls      11

  At Breakfast                    23

  At Luncheon                     31

  At Dinner                       36

  While Walking                   49

  In the Use of Language          57

  Dress and Personal Habits       73

  At Public Entertainments        86






Making and Receiving Calls.

Never, however formal your visit, neglect to wipe your feet on the
door-mat, in lieu of the hall or stair-carpet. A private hall-way is
not a stable entrance.

Never bound into the drawing-room unannounced, with your hat, overcoat
and overshoes on, nor with your umbrella in your hand, especially if it
has been raining hard.

Never, particularly if a comparative stranger, hail your host as
“Old Cock,” nor grab your hostess’s jeweled hand, whether offered
to you or not, as if it were a rope’s end, and you in danger of
drowning. Neither, if other guests are present with whom you have no
acquaintance, prance around amongst them, poking them in the ribs,
slapping them on the back, etc. True breeding is not synonymous with
monkey capers and bar-room manners.

Never be icy or contemptuous; but never, on the other hand, be fiery or
too familiar. Emulate neither the iceberg nor the volcano; there is a
happy medium that can be cultivated to advantage.

Never loll at full length on the sofa, or bestride a chair with your
elbows resting on the back, and the soles of your boots plainly visible
to your _vis-a-vis_. Sofas are not beds, nor are chairs vaulting-horses.

Never, even when sitting in your chair, tilt it far back, with your
heels resting on the mantel-piece, and your back to the rest of the
company present. Are you a gentleman or an orang-outang?

Never, either, keep twisting and squirming about in your chair as if
sitting on a hornet’s nest, nor keep crossing and recrossing the legs
every second and a half, nor carve your initials on the furniture with
your penknife. St. Vitus’ dance is one thing, dignified repose another.

Never, in being introduced to a lady, make a pun on her name, if it is
a homely one, or jokingly allude to rouge-pots and whited sepulchers,
if she is no longer young, with an air of having resorted to
preservative aids. Illogical but intuitive, the feminine mind is swift
to imagine and resent an innuendo where perhaps none was intended.

Never, if the lady be young but homely, at once patronizingly remark
that, after all, handsome is as handsome does, and you have even known
the dowdiest and most unattractive girls make good matches through
tact and perseverance. However laudable your intention, there may be a
muscular brother inconveniently in the background.

Never attempt to sing or play, even though pressed to do so, if you
are absolutely ignorant of both vocal and instrumental music. Effects
might, indeed, be produced, but would they be desirable?

Never be so self-conscious as to fancy yourself a cave-bear and other
people but field-mice. “True politeness will betray no hoggishness,” as
an ancient writer has sagely observed.

Never, especially with your superiors, buttonhole people, or shake your
fist in their faces, or pound them in the ribs when you have occasion
to address them. This is more appropriate to a horse auction than a
drawing-room, and is in violation of good form.

Never lean across one person with your hands on his knees and your
back-hair in his face, to talk to another.

Never bawl out at the top of your lungs, or try to monopolize all the
talk; you are neither in the stock exchange nor a cattle yard.

Never, if bald and warm, mop and rub up your head, ears and neck with
your handkerchief. A reception or drawing-room is not a barber-shop.

Never intrude your maladies upon the general conversation. People
cannot be so much interested in your bunions or backache as you are.

Never violently abuse people who may overhear you, nor be bitingly
witty at another’s expense.

Never interrupt the general conversation by reading long-winded
newspaper reports aloud.

Never contemptuously criticise the furniture, the pictures, or the
wall-paper as being cheap and mean. This is but a scurvy return for the
hospitality you are enjoying.

Never chew tobacco, or smoke a pipe at receptions. If you must do the
one or the other, be sure to use the cuspidor; but it is safer to let
up on tobacco until out-of-doors, or in your own room.

Never calumniate people, or give a false coloring to your statements.
In other words, don’t lie any more than you can help. Be diplomatic.

Never, above all, fail in tact. For instance, don’t say that the room
is as cold as a barn, even if you think so. Tact and fact may not
always go hand-in-hand.

Never interrupt or contradict overbearingly, or with a sort of snort.
Either of these faults is directly opposed to the canons of good

Never be explosive or pugnacious, accompanying your side of an argument
with roaring explosives and furious gesticulations. A lady’s parlor is
not a bear-garden.

Never, on the other hand, be cowering and sniveling, as though desirous
of some one to kick you as a boon. In deportment, the demeanor of the
rabbit is no more to be emulated than that of the famished wolf.

Never, in the midst of a discussion upon solemn topics, retail
antediluvian jokes, and then ha, ha! boisterously at them when no one
else can see anything to laugh at. In fine, don’t be an unmitigated

Never gape, yawn, “heigh ho,” or stamp your feet disapprovingly, when
others are talking. This is blighting, if not fairly irritating.

Never be unduly “stuck up.” Because you are yourself is no reason why
you are William H. Vanderbilt or George Francis Train.

Never sulk and growl under your breath, like a bear with a sore head,
because you fancy yourself neglected. Brighten up, and even snicker,
rather than adopt this gloomy course. Moroseness is dispiriting.

Never even murder a persistent bore until you get outside. To send for
the police might cause an inconvenience.

Never, if playing cards with ladies, spit on your hands when dealing,
or mark the bowers and aces with pencil-marks or knife-punctures.
Englishmen would be especially horrified at such a proceeding.

Never rave, tear your hair, or swear there has been cheating all
around, even if you have lost ten cents on the game. Either bear your
losses with equanimity, or never gamble.

Never treat aged and venerable persons like budding hoodlums, or make
riotous fun of their wrinkles or their bald heads. You may be old
yourself, some time, if not assassinated for your bad manners.

Never neglect to give precedence to ladies, both on entering and
quitting a room. A brutal disregard of this injunction might cause you
to be led out by the ear.

Never, as hostess, insist that a casual caller shall send for his trunk
and stay a week or two.

Never, as host, ask him hilariously if he is well over his last drunk,
and getting primed for another. This is not in good taste.

Never hurry your departure, as if your legs were sticks and your body a

Never, on the other hand, tarry from, say, four in the afternoon till
three in the morning. A light, flying visit is one thing, taking root




At Breakfast.

Never descend to the breakfast-room without having washed your face and
brushed your hair. Cleanliness is a part of good breeding.

Never appear at breakfast, even in sultry weather, without your coat,
waistcoat, collar and necktie. Are you a gentleman or a Hottentot?

Never, even in winter, take your seat at the table in your top-boots,
with your overcoat buttoned to the chin, and with a sealskin cap drawn
down to your eyebrows. But if you are breakfasting in Franz Josef’s
Land, this warning may be disregarded.

Never fail to help the ladies first, before gorging every edible in
sight. You will thus cultivate a reputation for self-abnegation that
may stand you in stead.

Never, if a guest, inspect the butter suspiciously, smelling and
tasting it, and then say, “Pretty good butter--what there is of it!”
Never, having perceived your blunder, hasten to rectify it by calling
out, “Ay, and plenty of it, too--such as it is! Ha, ha, ha!” Better
abstain from criticism altogether, since nothing is costing you

Never insist on starting this meal with soup. _Cazuela_, or breakfast
soup, is a Spanish-American custom that has not yet been imported.

Never, before expressing your preference for tea or coffee, ask your
hostess which she would recommend as the least poisonous? She might not
consider the insinuation as complimentary to herself.

Never dispose of eggs by biting off the small end, throwing the head
far back, and noisily sucking them out of the shells. A spoon, or even
a fork, is preferable. Besides you might encounter a bad one when too

Never wipe your nose on your napkin, or use it in dusting off your
boots on rising. Napkins have their legitimate uses, handkerchiefs

Never, on finishing with your napkin, fastidiously fold it away in its
ring, nor carelessly hang it on the chandelier. Use judgment in little

Never cool your tea or coffee by pouring it back and forth from cup
to saucer and from saucer to cup in a high arching torrent, after the
manner of a diamond-fastened bar-tender with a cocktail or julep.
There’s a time and place for everything.

Never suck your knife contemplatively, and then dive it in the
butter-dish. This is wholly indefensible.

Never use the butter-knife in besmearing and plastering your bread with
butter an inch thick. Better tear up the bread in small chunks, and sop
up the butter with it.

Never cut meat with your teaspoon, sip tea from a fork, or painfully
suggest sword-swallowing by eating with your knife. Try to appear

Never convey the impression that you are shoveling food down an
excavation rather than eating it. Cultivated people eat, barbarians

Never smack the lips and roll the eyes while masticating, accompanying
the operation with such expressions as, “Oh, golly, but that’s good!”
“Aha, that touches the spot!” Give your neighbors a show.

Never reach far over the table with both hands for a coveted morsel.
Ask for it, call a servant, or circulate around the table behind the
other breakfasters’ chairs.

Never shake your fist at the waiters, or swear at them in loud and
imperious tones. This is not the best form even in a restaurant.

Never pounce on a particular morsel, intended for an invalid, like a
hawk on a June-bug. First, say to yourself reflectively, “Am I in a
private breakfast-room or a barn?”

Never try to dispose of beefsteak, peach-jam and coffee at the same
mouthful. Failure, complete and ignominious, will be the result.

Never, if at a tenth-rate boarding-house, insist upon having broiled
game. In the bright lexicon of the boarding-house there’s no such word
as quail.

Never, unless you are John L. Sullivan, indicate your irritation by
upsetting the table, or shying muffins at the landlord. Equability of
temper and a good appetite should go hand in hand.

Never fail in urbanity with those around you. Loud squabbling, fighting
with the feet under the table, and open rivalry for the smiles of a
pretty waitress are altogether alien to the higher culture.

Never make a pretense, on quitting the table, of mistaking the napkin
for your handkerchief. This is an old, old dodge.

Never stretch yourself, gulch, gape and yawp on rising. You should have
finished all that in bed.

Never refer to the meal you have disposed of under the generic name of
“hash.” The commonness of this fault does not excuse it.

Never fail in bowing gracefully when abandoning the table, and, in
lighting your cigar, never strike a match on your hostess’s back.
Be keenly observant of your well-bred neighbors, and you will at
last learn to avoid these little breaches of etiquette that are so
painstakingly enumerated for your cultivation.




At Luncheon.

Never become notorious as that most unfortunate and reprehensible of
mortals--the Lunch Fiend. If at a _pseudo_ free-lunch, drink something
at the bar first, if only a glass of water.

Never gorge at a luncheon, as if there were never to be a dinner-hour.
A gentleman is never supposed to be ravenous.

Never indiscriminately mix your liquors at this hour. A little whisky
or brandy as an appetizer, with not more than four varieties of wine
while eating, and topping off with a few mugs of beer, should be quite

Never, if at a fashionable collation, discuss business, politics or
abstruse scientific problems with the fair creatures present. Sink the
shop, if only for ten minutes.

Never jocosely give wrong names to well-known dishes before you. To
denominate breaded cutlets “fried horse,” cold corned beef “mule-meat,”
and sliced tongue “larded elephants’ ears,” may be humorous, but hardly
in keeping with the light festivities of the occasion.

Never, if ignorant of certain dishes, attempt to denominate them at
all. If found palatable, eat and ask no questions.

Never fail to let a lady sip out of your glass, if she entreats you to
that effect. You can secretly throw away the contents afterward, but a
direct insult was not embodied in the request.

Never refuse to hold a lady’s saucer of ice-cream for her, and feed her
with a spoon, at her earnest request. This betrays a guileless trust in
you that should be esteemed as complimentary.

Never be detected in surreptitiously stuffing your pockets with
raisins, fruit-cake and peanuts. It will not be so much the theft as
the detection that will cause the honest blush to mantle in your virile

Never attract a lady’s attention by playfully signaling her across
the table with melon-rinds or banana-peel. To trundle a napkin-ring
straight over into her lap were in better taste.

Never regale the company with detailed descriptions of similar repasts
that you have enjoyed in Pekin, but where puppy-dog roasts, rat-pie
and sharks’ fins were the most appetizing features. Though roars of
laughter reward your recital, you are not now in the antipodes.

Never give in in a contest over a favorite turkey-bone with a spoiled
child of the family. Even if his howls shatter the frescoes, never
forget that you are his senior, hence his superior.

Never feed your hostess’s favorite cat or lap-dog at the lunch-table,
by setting the pretty creature on your shoulder, and tossing up scraps
to him between your own mouthfuls. This may be artless, but is not in
the best taste.

Never neglect to quit the table after all the other guests have
retired. To continue gorging and guzzling in solitary state is to make
a show of yourself to the menials.

Never fail, when you have at last fully decided to give the repast a
rest, to quit the room easily, though with a dignified air. To dance
away with a hop, skip and a jump, while trolling out “a careless,
careless tavern-catch,” or with painful grimaces, while convulsively
clutching the pit of the stomach with both hands, is to hint a
reflection upon the hospitality you have enjoyed. This might subject
you to unflattering comment.



At Dinner.

Never forget that this is the repast _par excellence_.

Never, as an invited guest, be more than two hours late. Your host and
hostess, as well as the other guests, may have starved themselves for a
fortnight for this particular gorge.

Never, in handing in a lady, struggle desperately to pass through
the dining-room doorway two abreast, if said aperture admits but one
at a time sidewise. Even if it break your proud heart, give the lady
precedence always.

Never sit six feet off from the table, nor yet so crunched up against
it as to cause you indescribable torture. Well within feeding distance,
with ample elbow-room for knife-and-fork play, is your safest rule.

Never tuck your napkin all around under your collar-band, nor make a
child’s bib of it. You are not in a barber’s chair nor at a baby-farm.

Never suck up your soup with a straw, nor, with your elbows on the
table and the plate-rim at your lips, drink it down with happy gurgles
and impetuous haste. Go for it with a spoon for all you are worth.
Never ask for more than a fourth service of soup.

Never bury your nose in your plate, while using your knife, fork
and spoon at the same time, after the manner of Chinese chop-sticks.
Maintain as erect an attitude as you can without endangering your
spinal column, though not as if you had swallowed a poker.

Never exhibit surprise or irritation, should you overturn your soup in
your lap. Rise majestically, and while the waiter is wiping it off,
calmly declare that you were born under a lucky star, since not a drop
has spattered your clothes.

Never snap off your bread in enormous chunks, to be filtered and washed
down by gravy or wine. Rather than this, crumb it off into pellets, to
be skillfully tossed into the mouth as occasion may demand.

Never ram your knife more than half-way down your throat. Hack with
your knife, claw up with your fork; that is what they’re made for.
Never take up a great meat-slice on your fork, and then leisurely
nibble around the corners, making steady inroads till your teeth strike
silver. This is a method rigidly interdicted among the highest circles.

Never eat fish with a spoon, if the silver butter-knife can be
appropriated for that purpose.

Never eat as if you had bet high on getting away with the entire
banquet in six minutes and a half. This may be complimentary to the
viands, but is somewhat vulgar.

Never, when the champagne begins to circulate, snatch the bottle
from the waiter’s hand, hang on to the nozzle, tilt up the butt, and
ingurgitate for dear life, while approvingly patting your stomach with
your disengaged hand. This is little short of an enormity.

Never devour spinach with a mustard-spoon, spear beans with a wooden
tooth-pick, or mistake the gravy for another course of soup. Take your
cue from such of your neighbors as appear least like hogs.

Never clean up and polish off your plate, as if it were a magnifying
lens, before sending it for a second installment. There are scullions
in the kitchen, or ought to be.

Never spit back rejected morsels on your plate, nor toss fruit-stones
under the table, nor hide fish-bones under the ornamental
center-pieces. An obdurate piece of gristle should be bolted at all
hazards, fruit-stones may be dexterously transferred to your neighbor’s
plate, and fish-bones may be cleverly utilized as a garniture for the
salt-cellars and butter-plates.

Never hurry matters when fully half-gorged, when there is a ringing
in your ears, and things begin to swim before your eyes. These are
warnings to taper off slowly, in preparation for dessert.

Never adhere wholly to champagne throughout the repast. A few glasses
of claret as between-drinks, with now and then a quencher of brown
sherry, afford an agreeable variety.

Never forget to occasionally look after the lady under your care. She
may, moreover, be useful in passing you dishes during the temporary
vanishings of the servant.

Never attempt a flirtation, or even a sustained conversation, during
the repast. Gastronomy is a noble but jealous mistress, who permits no
division of your allegiance.

Never, when dessert is served, wade into the jellies and riot amid the
tarts and cakes as if you were just getting up your wind for a fresh
onslaught. Be moderate.

Never ask for a soup-plate of ice-cream. It is better form to have
your saucer replenished again and again.

Never talk when your mouth is fairly crammed, nor in a smothered,
wheezy tone of voice. It is more dignified to bow blandly, point to
your mouth in explanation of your predicament, and wag your head.

Never be so pre-occupied with drinking as not to be on the look-out for
the lady under your care. She has a right to her share of the liquids.

Never be embarrassed. Retain your self-possession if you are choking.

Never forget your own wants under any circumstances. Remember that
self-respect is as much of a virtue as respect for others.

Never be self-conscious. Guzzle quietly, and let others take care of

Never, on the other hand, push self-depreciation to the wall. Never
lose sight of the fact that, while you are a gentleman, you are also an
American sovereign feasting at some one else’s expense. All sovereigns
do that.

Never, if called upon for a toast, be afraid to pledge yourself. It you
don’t blow your own trumpet, who will blow it for you?

Never use your fork for a tooth-pick, nor the edge of the table-cloth
for a napkin. Summon a servant, and make known your wants in imperious,
stentorian tones.

Never lounge back in your chair, and request the waiter to pour wine
down your throat, if too unsteady to longer hold a glass. This is apt
to be noticeable.

Never rest both elbows on the table, while shuffling your feet
nervously underneath it, and trying to steer one more glass to your
lips. If paralysis threatens, request to be led out.

Never lose your temper. “When a man has well-dined,” says an old
playwright, “he should feel in a good humor with all the world.”

Never fail to rise when the ladies are leaving the table, and to remain
standing somehow, no matter how unsteadily, until the last petticoat
has disappeared. Then, your duty having been performed, you can roll
under the table, if you want to, or see-saw back to your anchorage, and
see if you can hold any more wine.

Never drink too much wine. True, there are a variety of opinions as
to how much is too much; but be prudent, be resolved, never make an
exhibition of yourself, at least _try_ to knock off before being
paralyzed, and be happy.

Never, however, yield to the jocular propensities of your brother
guests. Should they prop you in a corner of the room, with your hair
drawn over your eyes and a lamplighter in your mouth for a cigar, and
then jocosely vociferate “Speech! speech!” heroically reach for the
nearest bottle, back with your head, and guzzle away. A philosopher, a
real gentleman, will never be laughed down, sneered under, or rubbed

Never, if called on for a speech in a complimentary way, however, make
a rostrum of the table at which you have dined. Rather essay your own
chair, the window-sill, or even the mantel-piece.

Never fail in courtesy, even when grossly intoxicated. Apologize,
even if you have slumbered on your neighbor’s shoulder, and murmur
your excuses even while disappearing under the table. An exponent of
high breeding never forgets to be a gentleman under the most adverse

Never whistle, sing ditties, or jeer irrelevantly while another
guest is responding to a popular toast. You surely should not wish
to monopolize the entire oratorical effects of the occasion; and,
moreover, boorish interruption is always in equivocal form.




While Walking.

Never fail to maintain a firm but easy attitude. The willow, not the
lightning-rod, will afford you the best suggestions.

Never walk over people, but around them. Men and women are not
stepping-stones or door-mats, save to monarchs and rich corporations.

Never neglect to apologize if you stamp on a man’s corns, or jostle him
into an excavation.

Never howl with laughter at any peculiarity of aspect, manner or
dress. Be a gentleman always.

Never crush and shoulder your way through groups of ladies
at shop-windows, with your cane menacingly twirled aloft,
shillelah-fashion. Analogy between a fashionable promenade and
Donnybrook Fair is wholly apocryphal.

Never smoke in the street, unless you can afford a good article.
Chinese cigarettes, long nines, and black cutty pipes are decidedly in
bad form.

Never, if you must smoke, whiffle your smoke in others’ faces, or
playfully burn them in the back of the neck, or ask a lady for a light.
Walter Raleigh, the father of tobacco-using, even carried his own

Never munch nuts or gorge fruits in public. A lady or gentleman on the
afternoon promenade, with a peeled pineapple in one hand, a huge slice
of watermelon in the other, and the jaws industriously working, is not
an edifying spectacle.

Never forget, if with a lady, that she is under your protection, not
you under hers.

Never rush her past an oyster-saloon at a run, or wildly distract
her attention from a confectioner’s window. As a woman, she has her

Never drag her, pell-mell, with you through a mob of fighting roughs.

Never forget to be kind, even while feigning deafness to all
insinuations as to refreshment. “Kindness iz an instinkt,” says Josh
Billings, “while politeness iz only an art.”

Never neglect to give her at least a portion of your umbrella, when
escorting her through the rain. If it should rain cats and dogs, as the
saying goes, an adjournment beneath an awning, or front-stoop, might be
deemed advisable.

Never, if walking with a tramp, introduce him to every acquaintance
you chance to meet. It is a free country, but the line must be drawn

Never, if you have occasion to address a strange lady, scrape, cringe
and wriggle before her in an agony of politeness. To raise your hat
gravely, place your hand on your heart, and yield her a low, sweeping
obeisance, with your shoulders shrugged considerably higher than your
ears, is sufficient. You are not supposed to be a Corean ambassador in
the presence of Jay Gould.

Never address questions to strangers indiscriminately, especially as to
their secret and private affairs. Communicativeness is not a necessary
outcome of a total lack of sodality.

Never, even in questioning a policeman, fan him with his own club, note
down his number, and ask him if he has yet got the hair off his teeth.
Though in livery, he may yet be above the brute creation.

Never ask questions at all, but consult this Hand Book.

Never, if suddenly confronted on the promenade by a hostile
acquaintance, accept his proposition to fight him in the gutter for a
pot of beer. You are not a Prize Fighter.

Never forget to pick up a lady’s handkerchief, if she lets it fall by
accident; not with effusive familiarity, but daintily on the end of
your cane or umbrella. Common civility is one of the cardinal points of
good breeding.

Never pick it up at all, if she drops it purposely. You needn’t set
your foot on it, or scowl at her; but coquetry is one of the vices
deserving of silent reproof.

Never pick up anything that even your companion may drop, unless he
should be very drunk. You may pick him up also, if he should drop.

Never, even if in haste, rush through a crowded thoroughfare at a
breakneck gait, with your hair flying, your necktie over your ears,
and shouting “Clear the track!” at every jump. Hire a cab, or obtain
roller-skates. Repose of manner should never be sacrificed to emotional

Never pose on street corners, attitudinize before show-case mirrors, or
whistle an opera bouffe air while watching a funeral cortege.

Never, if with a lady, ask her to wait for you on the curb while you
step into an adjacent bar-room to see a man. The ruse is a transparent
one, and, moreover, she may be thirsty herself.

Never hilariously address a stranger with an obvious defect of vision
as “Squinty,” nor ask another how many barrels of whisky it has taken
to paint his nose. Such familiarities may possibly be resented.

Never, on the other hand, be so over-civil as to be mistaken for a
dancing master or a bunco-steerer.

Never forget that a gentleman is a gentleman everywhere. Even McGilder
was occasionally taken for one.

Never have your shoes polished in the middle of the sidewalk while
hanging on to an awning-beam for support. It may create the impression
that all the polish you have is upon your shoes.



In the Use of Language.

Never cease trying to make yourself understood. Learn to read and write
before you are of age.

Never pronounce with your teeth clenched, through the nose, or by
ripping up the sounds laboriously from the pit of the stomach. Speak
gently, but with clarion-like distinctness.

Never squeal like a rat, grunt like a pig, or roar like a bull.
Cultivate a pleasing voice.

Never smother your meaning out of sight with slang. “Soup should be
seasoned, not red-hot,” says an old writer.

Never swear, anathematize, or fairly drip with profanity, especially
in the presence of delicate ladies and small children. Undue emphasis
often defeats itself.

Never indicate a mere passing surprise by such expressions as “Holy
smoke!” “Gosh almighty!” “I’m teetotally dashed!” and the like. A mere
lifting of the eyebrows, a convulsive gasp, or a wild, staggered look,
while smiting the forehead with the fist, will be demonstrative enough.

Never say _sir_ to a bootblack and _old chap_ to a minister of the
gospel in the same breath. Exercise tact.

Never say “No, mum” or “Yessum,” in addressing a lady, or “Not much,
old hoss,” or “yezzur,” in speaking to a gentleman, even if these
chance to be your parents or near relatives. “No, dad,” “Yes, mommy,”
“No, granny,” “Yes, nunksy,” and so on, are more affectionate.

Never address a young lady as _Jen._, _Mol._, _Pol._, _Bet._, _Suke._,
or by any other abbreviation of her given name. _Miss So-and-so_, or
plain _miss_, is in better form.

Never address a young married lady as _old girl_, even if you were
intimate with her before her marriage. Her husband may not apprehend
your facetiousness.

Never mispronounce. Never say _purtect_ for _protect_, _yer_ for _you_,
_tater_ for _potato_, _this ’ere_ for _this here_, _tommytoes_ for
_tomatoes, oilent_ for _violent_, _aborgoyne_ for _aborigine_, or
_busted_ for _bursted_. “Take her up tenderly, lift her with care.”

Never say _kin_ for _can_, _they’se_ for _they’re_, _feller_ for
_fellow_, _gal_ for _girl_, _wuz_ for _was_, _whar_ for _where_,
_thar_ for _there_, _har_ for _hair_, _hev_ for _have_, _wull_ for
_will_, _cud_ for _could_, nor _wud_ for _would_. Never imagine that
ignoramuses only fall into these errors. The greatest scholars in the
world have been known to fairly revel in them when suffering from
_delirium tremens_, or otherwise off their guard.

Never forget that _duty_ rhymes with _beauty_, not with _booty_,
and that _morn_ doesn’t rhyme with _dawn_ at all--poetasters to the
contrary notwithstanding. Even a gentleman of the world will not
wholly despise the soft demands of rhythm.

Never say _idear_ for _idea_, nor _wahm_ for _warm_. The addition of
the _r_ in the one case is as indefensible as its omission in the other.

Never say _pants_ for _trousers_, _vest_ for _waistcoat_, _boiled rag_
for _shirt_, nor _trotter cases_ for _boots_ and _shoes_. As a sole
alternative, let your language be choice to fastidiousness.

Never allude to a _cuss_, meaning a _man_. Even _pure cussedness_ for
_sheer contrariety_ is becoming the property of the common herd.

Never say “the old woman,” alluding to your wife. Is marriage of
necessity the grave of respect?

Never speak of your father as “the governor,” “the old man,” “the
money-bag,” and the like. Perhaps, he is a very good sort of person.

Never say _castor_ for hat, nor _gun-boats_ for _overshoes_, nor _duds_
for _clothes_ in general. A multiplication of these synonyms may be
creditable to the invention, but is apt to be confusing.

Never fear to say you are _sick_, if you are so. Englishmen are
_h’ill_, and Frenchmen are at liberty to be _indisposé_. We never say
“an ill room,” or “an indisposed bed,” but “a sick room” or “a sick
bed,” as the case may be.

Never ask if the railroad has come in, but if the train has come in.
The track can no more come and go than can the station itself.

Never pile on the adjectives. A painting may be meritorious
without being “stunning;” a handsome wall-paper is not necessarily
“excruciating;” and you should hardly call a choice dish of ham and
eggs “divine.” Let not your enthusiasm overleap itself.

Never say _naw_, _nixy_, _not by a blamed sight_, nor _nary a time_,
for pure and simple _no_. Let the negative be swift, clear and
decisive, even in declining a drink.

Never say _yis_, _yaw_ nor _ya-as_, for _yes_, unless you swear by the
shamrock, the Bologna sausage, or the roast beef of old England.

Never say that you believe you’ll take root or come to anchor, when you
intend sitting down, nor say “squatty-vous” to a friend in requesting
him to take a seat.

Never, if you must use slang, fail to make a judicious choice of it.
Who was it said, “Let me but make the slang of a people, and he who
will make their laws?” But no matter; since there is plenty of it
ready-made. Never attempt to add thereto, but be content to separate
the wheat from the chaff, the fine gold from the dross.

Never speak of a bar-room as “a h’istery,” “a whisky ranch,” “a
rum-hole,” or “a jig-water dispensary.” Plain old Anglo-Saxon
“gin-mill” must hold its own against the innovations of storming time.

Never, in speaking confidentially to a young lady of her father’s
tippling habits, refer to him as “an old soaker,” “a rum-head,”
“a guzzler,” “a perambulating beer-keg,” or “a happy-go-lucky old
swill-tub.” Far better to slur matters gently by recommending an
inebriate asylum, or suggesting that the old gentleman be locked up
with a whisky-barrel, with a fair chance of his drinking himself to

Never, at social gatherings, speak of elderly ladies as “old hens,” nor
of the children of the house as “kids.” But a careful study of the very
best society will soon make these pitfalls apparent to you.

Never, in entreating a young lady to sing, ask her if she can’t chirp
or twitter a bit.

Never, after she has sung, and with obvious effort, playfully suggest
that she has a bellows to mend. To gaze into her eyes lingeringly,
and whisper that you did not mean to knock her endwise, would be more
considerate and soothing.

Never say, _smeller_, _horn_, _bugle_, or _snoot_ for _nose_. Never say
_peepers_ for _eyes_, _potato-trap_ for _mouth_, nor _bread-basket_
for _stomach_, at least not in the very highest circles. _Olfactor_,
_optics_ and _paunch_ are a choice disguise for the Queen’s English, if
that is the end in view.

Never say that a man was “howling mad” or “jumping crazy,” meaning that
he was very angry, when you have such tempting morsels as “hopping
mad,” “frothing at the mouth,” “mad as a hatter,” and “crazy as a
bedbug” at your disposal.

Never say, “Well, I should smile,” meaning that you assent to something
said or proposed, when honest old “You can bet your boots I will” is
coyly nestling near at hand, craving a caress.

Never ask, “How in ---- am I going to do it?” when silvery “Do it
youself, and be blowed!” may lend a mingled suavity and conciseness to
the situation.

Never say, “busted in the snoot” for “thumped in the proboscis.” This
is wholly inexcusable.

Never say “I _seed_” for “I _saw_,” “I _heerd_” for “I _heard_,” or “I
_thunk_” for “I _thought_.” Notwithstanding that these gross mistakes
may be in vogue among highly-educated men, newspaper editors and
professional linguists, erect a standard of your own rather than follow
in their unworthy lead.

Never say, “Him an’ me is goin’ to the circus,” when “He and I _are_
going to the circus” is meant. This scarcely perceptible inaccuracy
brings many a conscientious student to grief.

Never say, “They is well, but I are not.” Painstaking discernment will
enable you to make the correction.

Never say “Between you and I and the pump-handle,” meaning “Between you
and me.”

Never speak of dinner as “grub,” “hash” or “trough-time,” nor refer to
the dessert as “an after-clap.”

Never, if you have been on a spree, allude to it as a “boose,” a
“toot,” a “twist,” a “rolling big drunk,” a “bust,” or a “bump,” when
strong, sensible “budge,” “bender” and “jamboree” are peeping wistfully
from the catalogue.

Never proclaim that you are “chocked to the throat,” meaning simply
that you have dined plentifully.

Never be afraid to call a spade a “spade,” even if you have bet on
hearts or diamonds.

Never, if intoxicated, say that you are “weaving the winding way,”
“slopping over,” “six sheets in the wind,” or “screwed.” The latter is
wholly British, and not yet adopted with us.

Never repeat worn-out saws and proverbs, such as “It’s a long turn
that makes no lane,” “It’s an ill wind that blows your hat off,” and
the like. Better use your own invention than harp forever on a moldered

Never, moreover, repeat much-used quotations, no matter how celebrated
they may once have been. “We have met the enemy and we are theirs,” and
“Whoever undertakes to shoot down the American flag, haul him on the
spot,” may be patriotic, but they weary, they weary!

Never call a pretender a “cad,” when either “fraud” or “dead-beat” can
safely give odds to the importation.

Never allude to your time-piece as a “cracker,” a “turnip” or a
“ticker,” nor to your hands as “mawlies,” “fins” or “flippers,” nor
to your fingers as “digits.” The use of any one of these slang terms
indicates a want of higher culture.

Never, in referring to an enemy, say that you will “put a head on him
bigger than a bushel-basket,” merely meaning that you will punch him.

Never say “peart” for clever.

Never say _oncommon_ for _uncommon_, nor comment upon a delicacy by
saying that it is “licking good.”

Never say, in commenting upon a lady’s appearance, that she looked like
a “fright,” like a “frump,” or like “a bundle of bones tied up with
rags.” You have “dowdy” and “scarecrow” to fall back on.

Never wish aloud that a man may be hanged, drawn and quartered, simply
because he owes you a dollar and a quarter. Fiendish resentment is not
one of the shining characteristics of a true gentleman.

Never, when in doubt as to any particular form of expression, fail to
consult this Hand Book. It is the one faithful lamp by which your steps
may be guided.




Dress and Personal Habits.

Never forget to wash yourself and brush your hair (if you have any)
before quitting your room in the morning. To make your toilet at the
kitchen sink, or even at a convenient fire-plug, is to set the canons
of good society at naught.

Never re-appear in the morning with a dirty shirt, a crushed hat, and
with your necktie under your ear. This might convey the impression that
you had gone to bed in your clothes.

Never be filthy in anything. Cleanliness is a virtue that even a
recognized gentleman cannot afford to hold in contempt.

Never appear in other than subdued colors, for the most part. “Give me
plain red and yellow,” said the negro minister, in his advice to his
flock on the vanities of dress.

Never wear anything over-dainty. Never--of course, we are now
addressing the male reader, for whom this invaluable Hand Book is
chiefly designed--wear anything that the gentler sex have made
exclusively their own. To appear in public with a nosegay in lieu of a
throat-stud, or even with a sunflower at the waist, would be likely to
excite remark.

Never wear check-shirts, children’s dickies, nor ’longshoremen’s
jumpers. An immaculate shirt-front with a clean collar to match, is
always _en règle_.

Never wear full evening dress in the early morning, especially if you
intend working in the garden, or whitewashing the back fence, before
going down town.

Never wear dancing pumps in rainy or snowy weather, or arctics if it is
warm and fine. But long-continued observation will finally enable you
to discriminate for yourself in these minor matters.

Never appear among ladies with your boots covered with mud, and your
whole person suggestive of having been rolled in the gutter. If you
haven’t a servant or wife to clean you up, undertake the task yourself,
however distasteful.

Never wear your hat tilted far over your nose, with a cigar meeting
its brim at a rising angle of forty-five degrees from your lips. The
Volunteer Fire Department, though once the arbiter of manly deportment,
is a thing of the past.

Never wear pinchbeck jewelry, loud breast-pins, nor steel, silver or
washed-gold watch-guards. Secret-society regalia, conspicuously worn,
and multitudinous finger-rings are also in questionable taste.

Never walk with a high-and-mighty stud-horse gait, nor yet slouch and
slink along as if you had robbed a hen-roost, nor yet with a bounding
hoop-la sort of prance, like a clown in the circus-ring. Never, either,
walk bow-legged or club-footed, if you can help it. Cultivate a grand,
regal, easy and flowing carriage, but without swagger or bombast.

Never walk, especially if in haste, with your arms folded, nor with
your hands in your coat-tail pockets.

Never improvise tooth-picks out of fence splints, and then chew them
industriously in public. Tobacco and chewing-gum still assert their

Never expectorate all around you at every step you take, without an
instant’s intermission. If you are troubled with bronchitis, remain at
home. If the same old drunk persistently lingers, try a B. and S., or a
gin fizz, according to your judgment.

Never whistle like a locomotive, nor attempt a Tyrolese _jodel_, while
walking with a lady or ladies on a fashionable promenade.

Never whittle sticks, play on a jewsharp, or essay to catch flies on
window-panes in public. Such recreations, innocent in themselves,
should only be pursued in the privacy of one’s own apartment.

Never permit the quality or cut of your wearing-apparel to deteriorate,
if you have to live on pork and beans to keep up your end in this
regard. “Never retrench in your wardrobe expenses, whatever you do,”
said old Samuel Pepys. “All the world knows how you appear, but no one
need know how you live.” A frequent change of residence might serve to
disconcert the tailors, should they prove troublesome.

Never allow your shoes to run down at the heel, nor out at the toes.
Nothing is more incongruous than a fine gentleman, in other respects
quite the swell, with his foot-leather burst out around the instep, his
stocking heels wabbling up and down at every jump, and his bare toes
courting the public gaze.

Never hiccough or sneeze without intermission, unless greatly
inebriated. In this dilemma, lose no time in drinking yourself sober,
or in seeking temporary retirement, if only on a park-bench.

Never let your lower lip hang down on your breast, like a motherless
calf’s. “Put up or shut up,” says the Coptic proverb.

Never, on the other hand, screw up your lips under your nose, as
though constantly subjected to an overpowering odor. Even a prevailing
ecstatic, attar-of-roses haunted expression is in preferable form to

Never fail to keep your nose clean. If you have no handkerchief, use
your coat-tail.

Never cultivate a broad, teeth-husking smile, unless your ivories are
in good order. Tobacco-stained fangs are at an especial disadvantage in
this form.

Never fail to cleanse the teeth at least once a week. A tooth-brush is

Never wear your hat in church, in a boudoir, nor at a marriage or
burial service; never, on the other hand, take it off when overtaken by
a blizzard or a cyclone. If neither the blizzard nor the cyclone does
that much for you, you may consider yourself fortunate.

Never doff your hat nor make your bow indiscriminately. A Cyrus Field,
for instance, would be justified in expecting greater courtesy than
would be accorded to a Jesse James; though, if cornered by one of the
latter type on his own stamping-ground, it would doubtless be well not
to slight him too conspicuously. Be diplomatic.

Never fail to cultivate an off-hand judgment of men and women who
are strangers to you. A man with a head like a monkey’s is not
necessarily a savant; nor are putty-like faces, with idiotic lips and
China-blue eyes, in women, necessarily Elizabeth Cady Stantonesque
in intellectual scope and oratorical brilliancy. You would scarcely
mistake Red Leary for Herbert Spencer.

Never carry a lighted cigar into a millinery store or powder-magazine.

Never be over servile to good clothes for themselves alone. The
professional thief who lost his life in a double tragedy in Sixth
avenue not long ago, was one of the best dressed men in New York.

Never, on the other hand venture to indiscriminately despise slovenly
dress in men or women. Lady Burdette-Coutts is said to occasionally
slouch around London like a charwoman just for the fun of the thing;
good old Steve Girard was wont to dress like a music-master in
distress; and some greasy, old, garlic-smelling tatterdemalion at your
elbow may be one of the most successful pawnbrokers of the Hebraic

Never burst, without notice, into any one’s private apartment like
a shot out of a gun. Even your excuse that you want to borrow your
car-fare may not be mollifying, and people have nerves.

Never keep gnawing your mustache, twisting your whiskers into fantastic
braids, nor making your hat wag about on your head through muscular
contraction of the scalp.

Never crackle your knuckles with sharp reports, grit your teeth, heave
deep, wheezing sighs, nor keep running your fingers through your hair
till it stands up like a brush-heap. If you imagine one or all of these
feats to be uniquely interesting, hire out to a dime museum.

Never take any more drinks in the early part of the day than are
absolutely necessary to brace you up. Three cocktails as eye-openers,
followed by two in the way of appetizers, ought to straighten you up
before breakfast, and, if not already a slave to tippling, a dozen
beers or so ought to satisfy you between then and noon. If tempted to
overdo the matter, recall the wax group of the Drunkard’s Family in
Barnum’s old museum, set the teeth hard, and shut down, shut down!

Never forget to say your prayers before going to sleep, if it is in
accordance with your religious Convictions.

Never fail to have convictions of some sort. A man without any is like
a cat shelling walnuts. Would you be a non-entity, a dolt, a jackass,
or a gentleman of distinction, a man of parts, a power in the land?




At Public Entertainments.

Never, if escorting one lady or several, scuffle and bandy oaths with
ticket-speculators at a theater-entrance. Cultivate an easy _hauteur_
of manner.

Never, under like environments, offer to bounce the attendant
policeman, boots, blue-coat and buttons, if he will only drop his club.
Your ladies may object, if the policeman does not.

Never, upon entering, seize an usher by the throat, rub your coupons
into his eyes, and loudly demand your seats or his life. A public
entertainment is not a rat-baiting.

Never retain your hat and take off your coat and waistcoat at theater
or opera. To shed the tile and retain the garments is in better form.

Never whistle, guffaw or make boisterous comments during the rendition
of pathetic scenes. Consistency’s a jewel.

Never testify your approbation by prolonged roars, cries of “Hear,
hear!” tossing your hat in the air, and making quartz-crushers of your
feet. Moderate your transports.

Never express your disapproval by furious catcalls, by pelting the
performers with stale eggs, or by vociferated injunctions to “choke
’em off,” to “burn the crib,” or to “run down the rag.” A pronounced
sibilation, accompanied by judicious barkings, will answer quite as

Never, even if slowly murdered by the orchestra, betray your sufferings
by idiotic grimaces, violent contortions and dismal groans. Remember
Talleyrand, who could have smiled his unconsciousness even if stabbed
in the back.

Never jocosely shout out “Fire!” if a red-haired lady should rustle
into a seat in front of you. Incendiarism is the legitimate mission of
stump-orators and fire-bugs.

Never bring your opera-glass to bear like a siege-gun, with your lips
spread open as over a Barmecides free-lunch. Even a harsh gritting of
the teeth, during the operation, is not in the best taste.

Never hold it for a lady to look through, while adjusting her line of
vision by the back of her head, and advising her in a hoarse whisper as
to the best method for “gunning” her object. Are you at the opera or
the race-course?

Never loudly discuss politics, divorce suits or ministerial scandals at
the theater or at a concert when the performance is going on. If speech
is silver and silence golden, discussion at such times is metallic to

Never, if compelled to quit the building before the entertainment is
finished, pass up the aisle on all fours, to avoid an interruption.
Siamese obsequiousness is out of place in well-bred audiences.

Never, at the close, hump your way boorishly through the well-dressed
throngs, or expedite an exit by flying leaps over the backs of the
seats. Even a break over the stage would be preferable to this form.

Never, after a brief adjournment to the open air, apologize to the
lady under your escort with a profuseness that will render the cloves,
burned coffee or smoked herring too apparent on your breath. Better
confess at once to a gin-sour, and be done with it. Frankness and
rankness rhyme but in materiality where truth is at stake.

Never send flowers to the stage in a market-basket, or bombard a
_diva_ with bouquets bigger than a cooking-stove. The language of
flowers should appeal to the inner sense.

Never enter a crowded auditorium with your thumbs in the arm-holes of
your waistcoat, head thrown back, chin in air, and the stub of a cigar
between the teeth. Self-consciousness may be pushed to an extreme.

Never lunch between acts, in full view of audience, on cheap
sandwiches, peanuts and ginger-beer, even if you have missed your
supper. Secretly tighten your waist-band, and think of Baron Trenck and
his fortitude in prison.

Never blow your nose with a loud trumpeting during an especially
interesting scene, or while a difficult aria is being sung. A fanfare
is not necessarily in sympathy with a _tremolo_.

Never, if with a lady, individualize the features of a ballet. A
grinning reticence in this regard is more delicate.

Never attempt to join in with the chorus, even at a negro minstrel
show. Even burnt-cork has its privileges.

Never permit a lady to pay for the tickets at the box-office. If you
havn’t any money, don’t go.

Never, on seeing a lady home, hint that ice-cream and oyster-saloons
are dangerous places at night, the common resorts of tramps, thieves,
prize-fighters and penniless adventurers. Veracity is one of the
characteristics of high breeding.

Never, if her residence is closed for the night, leave her on the
stoop, while you go for a policeman to batter in the door. Ring the
bell, and wait.

Never say, in wishing her good-night, that she has cost you a pot of
money, but that her society was something of an equivalent. If she
really esteems you, she will have inferred as much.

Never criticise her conduct during the evening, even if it may not have
come up to your standard. Respect her _amour propre_.



       *       *       *       *       *




  “A Bad Boy’s Diary.”


  Price 50 cents.

[Transcriber’s Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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