I will tell you what some of these poison-labels are which frighten people away from boys and girls. One of them is slang. Now, of course, some girls and boys who are inwardly little ladies and gentlemen use slang, but usually slang is used by low-bred people who have not words enough to say what they want to. And consequently when you use slang, if people do not know that you are well-bred boys and girls, they think that you are coarse and vulgar, and they will have nothing to do with you.
Another poison-label that boys sometimes stick on is swearing. And of course that is always bad-mannered. Another is smoking. Another is bad company. I knew a boy who was really good at heart, but who persisted in going with bad boys, and no business man in town would take him into his business because of that terrible label.
Girls sometimes wear such poison-labels as forwardness; that is, they are always making themselves heard and seen. Others are proud. Others chew gum.
I have not time to mention all of these different labels. You can think of them for yourselves. What I want to say is that it is too bad for such good, useful, well-intentioned and wholesome boys and girls to put on labels which lead people to think less of them than they should think. For by these things they spoil their chances of getting into the company of well-bred people.
LIES THAT WALK
We usually think of a lie as a thing that is spoken. But there are other kinds of lies. Some girls that I once knew went to an office in New York and bought some labels with the pictures and names of hotels in Europe printed on them. They pasted these on their suit-cases.
Now, as you probably know, when people go to Europe some of the hotels paste labels on your suit-cases and trunks when they take your baggage to the station. Some people come home with their baggage quite covered over with these slips of paper, and one can easily see by these labels what a long distance the owners of the luggage have traveled.
These girls who bought those labels in New York, but had never been to Europe, were trying to make people believe that they, too, had traveled in foreign countries.
Of course you know what that sort of deception means: it is telling a lie without speaking it.
So you see these lies went with the suit-cases. And wherever those girls carried their bags, the lies walked along with them, and said to everyone who looked at them, “Our owners have been to Europe.”
Of course, no self-respecting boy or girl would do such a thing. But you must also be careful not to act falsehoods by pretending things in school, or acting at home as if you don’t know about things when you do. Don’t try to fool yourselves, then you will not try to fool other people.