Our Deportment eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 348 pages of information about Our Deportment.


Never affect superiority.  In the company of an inferior never let him feel his inferiority.  If you invite an inferior as your guest, treat him with all the politeness and consideration you would show an equal.


Never enter a private room anywhere without knocking.  Sacredly respect the private property of others, and let no curiosity tempt you to pry into letters, desks, packets, trunks, or other belongings of another.  It is ill-mannered to read a written paper lying upon a table or desk; whatever it may be, it is certainly no business of yours.  No person should ever look over the shoulder of another who is reading or writing.  You must not question a servant or child upon family affairs.  Never betray an implied confidence, even if you have not been bound to secrecy.


Nothing is more rude than to make an engagement, be it of business or pleasure, and break it.  If your memory is not sufficiently retentive to keep all the engagements you make, carry a little memorandum book, and enter them there.


Chesterfield says:  “As learning, honor and virtue are absolutely necessary to gain you the esteem and admiration of mankind, politeness and good-breeding are equally necessary to make you welcome and agreeable in conversation and common life.  Great talents, such as honor, virtue, learning and arts, are above the generality of the world, who neither possess them themselves, nor judge of them rightly in others; but all people are judges of the lesser talents, such as civility, affability, and an obliging, agreeable address and manner; because they feel the good effects of them, as making society easy and pleasing.”


Conform your conduct as far as possible to the company you chance to be with, only do not throw yourself into improper company.  It is better even to laugh at and join in with vulgarity, so that it do not degenerate into indecency, than to set yourself up as better, and better-mannered than those with whom you may chance to be associated.  True politeness and genuine good manners often not only permit but absolutely demand a temporary violation of the ordinary obligations of etiquette.


Let no man speak a word against a woman at any time, or mention a woman’s name in any company where it should not be spoken.  “Civility,” says Lord Chesterfield, “is particularly due to all women; and remember that no provocation whatsoever can justify any man in not being civil to every woman; and the greatest man would justly be reckoned a brute if he were not civil to the meanest woman.  It is due to their sex, and is the only protection they have against the superior strength of ours.”

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Our Deportment from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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