THE IMPORTANCE OF TRIFLES.
Some people are wont to depreciate these kind and tender qualities as trifles; but trifles, it must be remembered, make up the aggregate of human life. The petty incivilities, slight rudenesses and neglects of which men are guilty, without thought, or from lack of foresight or sympathy, are often remembered, while the great acts performed by the same persons are often forgotten. There is no society where smiles, pleasant looks and animal spirits are not welcomed and deemed of more importance than sallies of wit, or refinements of understanding. The little civilities, which form the small change of life may appear separately of little moment, but, like the spare pennies which amount to such large fortunes in a lifetime, they owe their importance to repetition and accumulation.
VALUE OF PLEASING MANNERS.
The man who succeeds in any calling in life is almost invariably he who has shown a willingness to please and to be pleased, who has responded heartily to the advances of others, through nature and habit, while his rival has sniffed and frowned and snubbed away every helping hand. “The charming manners of the Duke of Marlborough,” it is said, “often changed an enemy to a friend, and to be denied a favor by him was more pleasing than to receive one from another. It was these personal graces that made him both rich and great. His address was so exquisitely fascinating as to dissolve fierce jealousies and animosities, lull suspicion and beguile the subtlest diplomacy of its arts. His fascinating smile and winning tongue, equally with his sharp sword, swayed the destinies of empires.” The gracious manners of Charles James Fox preserved him from personal dislike, even when he had gambled away his last shilling, and politically, was the most unpopular man in England.
MANNERS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE.
A charming manner not only enhances personal beauty, but even hides ugliness and makes plainness agreeable. An ill-favored countenance is not necessarily a stumbling-block, at the outset, to its owner, which cannot be surmounted, for who does not know how much a happy manner often does to neutralize the ill effects of forbidding looks? The fascination of the demagogue Wilkes’s manner triumphed over both physical and moral deformity, rendering even his ugliness agreeable; and he boasted to Lord Townsend, one of the handsomest men in Great Britain, that “with half an hour’s start he would get ahead of his lordship in the affections of any woman in the kingdom.” The ugliest Frenchman, perhaps, that ever lived was Mirabeau; yet such was the witchery of his manner, that the belt of no gay Lothario was hung with a greater number of bleeding female hearts than this “thunderer of the tribune,” whose looks were so hideous that he was compared to a tiger pitted with the small-pox.