SATIRE AND RIDICULE.
Young persons appear ridiculous when satirizing or ridiculing books, people or things. Opinions to be worth the consideration of others should have the advantage of coming from mature persons. Cultivated people are not in the habit of resorting to such weapons as satire and ridicule. They find too much to correct in themselves to indulge in coarse censure of the conduct of others, who may not have had advantages equal to their own.
In addressing persons with titles always add the name; as “what do you think of it, Doctor Hayes?” not “what do you think of it, Doctor?” In speaking of foreigners the reverse of the English rule is observed. No matter what the title of a Frenchman is, he is always addressed as Monsieur, and you never omit the word Madame, whether addressing a duchess or a dressmaker. The former is “Madame la Duchesse,” the latter plain “Madame.” Always give a foreigner his title. If General Sherman travels in Europe and is received by the best classes with the dignity that his worth, culture and position as an American general demand, he will never be called Mr. Sherman, but his title will invariably precede his name. There are persons who fancy that the omission of the title is annoying to the party who possesses it, but this is not the ground taken why the title should be given, but because it reveals either ignorance or ill-breeding on the part of those omitting it.
There is a class of persons, who from ignorance of the customs of good society, or from carelessness, speak of persons by their Christian names, who are neither relations nor intimate friends. This is a familiarity which, outside of the family circle, and beyond friends of the closest intimacy, is never indulged in by the well-bred.
Interruption of the speech of others is a great sin against good-breeding. It has been aptly said that if you interrupt a speaker in the middle of a sentence, you act almost as rudely as if, when walking with a companion, you were to thrust yourself before him and stop his progress.
ADAPTABILITY IN CONVERSATION.
The great secret of talking well is to adapt your conversation, as skillfully as may be, to your company. Some men make a point of talking commonplace to all ladies alike, as if a woman could only be a trifler. Others, on the contrary, seem to forget in what respects the education of a lady differs from that of a gentleman, and commit the opposite error of conversing on topics with which ladies are seldom acquainted, and in which few, if any, are ever interested. A woman of sense has as much right to be annoyed by the one, as a woman