Never hold your companion in conversation by the button-hole. If you are obliged to detain him forcibly in order to say what you wish, you are pressing upon him what is disagreeable or unwelcome, and you commit a gross breach of etiquette in so doing.
Especially avoid contradictions, interruptions and monopolizing all conversation yourself. These faults are all intolerable and very offensive.
To speak to one person in a company in ambiguous terms, understood by him alone, is as rude as if you had whispered in his ear.
Avoid stale and trite remarks on commonplace subjects; also all egotism and anecdotes of personal adventure and exploit, unless they should be called out by persons you are conversing with.
To make a classical quotation in a mixed company is considered pedantic and out of place, as is also an ostentatious display of your learning.
A gentleman should avoid talking about his business or profession, unless such matters are drawn from him by the person with whom he is conversing. It is in bad taste, particularly, to employ technical or professional terms in general conversation.
Long arguments or heated discussions are apt to be tiresome to others, and should be avoided.
It is considered extremely ill-bred for two persons to whisper in society, or to converse in a language with which all persons are not familiar.
Avoid talking too much, and do not inflict upon your hearers interminably long stories, in which they can have but little interest.
Dinner Giving and Dining Out.
Dining should be ranked among the fine arts. A knowledge of dinner-table etiquette is all important in many respects; but chiefly in this: that it is regarded as one of the strong tests of good breeding. Dinners are generally looked upon as entertainments for married people and the middle aged, but it is often desirable to have some young unmarried persons among the guests.
WHOM TO INVITE.
Those invited should be of the same standing in society. They need not necessarily be friends, nor even acquaintances, but, at dinner, as people come into closer contact than at a dance, or any other kind of a party, those only should be invited to meet one another who move in the same class of circles. Care must, of course, be taken that those whom you think agreeable to each other are placed side by side around the festive board. Good talkers are invaluable at a dinner party—people who have fresh ideas and plenty of warm words to clothe them in; but good listeners are equally invaluable.