UNWISE EXPRESSION OF OPINION.
Another class of people, actuated by the best of intentions, seem to consider it a duty to parade their opinions upon all occasions, and in all places without reflecting that the highest truth will suffer from an unwise and over-zealous advocacy. Civility requires that we give to the opinions of others the same toleration that we exact for our own, and good sense should cause us to remember that we are never likely to convert a person to our views when we begin by violating his notions of propriety and exciting his prejudices. A silent advocate of a cause is always better than an indiscreet one.
No gentleman uses profane language. It is unnecessary to add that no gentleman will use profane language in the presence of a lady. For profanity there is no excuse. It is a low and paltry habit, acquired from association with low and paltry spirits, who possess no sense of honor, no regard for decency and no reverence or respect for beings of a higher moral or religious nature than themselves. The man who habitually uses profane language, lowers his moral tone with every oath he utters. Moreover, the silliness of the practice, if no other reason, should prevent its use by every man of good sense.
PUBLIC MENTION OF PRIVATE MATTERS.
Do not parade merely private matters before a public or mixed assembly or to acquaintances. If strangers really wish to become informed about you or your affairs, they will find the means to gratify their curiosity without your advising them gratuitously. Besides, personal and family affairs, no matter how interesting they may be to the parties immediately concerned, are generally of little moment to outsiders. Still less will the well-bred person inquire into or narrate the private affairs of any other family or individual.
OSTENTATIOUS DISPLAY OF KNOWLEDGE.
In refined and intelligent society one should always display himself at his best, and make a proper and legitimate use of all such acquirements as he may happen to have. But there should be no ostentatious or pedantic show of erudition. Besides being vulgar, such a show subjects the person to ridicule.
Avoid an affectation of excessive modesty. Do not use the word “limb” for “leg.” If legs are really improper, then let us, on no account, mention them. But having found it necessary to mention them, let us by all means give them their appropriate name.
No person of decency, still less of delicacy, will be guilty of double entendre. A well-bred person always refuses to understand a phrase of doubtful meaning. If the phrase may be interpreted decently, and with such interpretation would provoke a smile, then smile to just the degree called for by such interpretation, and no more. The prudery which sits in solemn and severe rebuke at a double entendre is only second in indelicacy to the indecency which grows hilarious over it, since both must recognize the evil intent. It is sufficient to let it pass unrecognized.