Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 121 pages of information about Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750.
with that disposition, and, in a friendly manner, tell you of any little slip or error.  The Duke de Nivernois—­[At that time Ambassador from the Court of France to Rome.]—­would, I am sure, be charmed, if you dropped such a thing to him; adding, that you loved to address yourself always to the best masters.  Observe also the different modes of good-breeding of several nations, and conform yourself to them respectively.  Use an easy civility with the French, more ceremony with the Italians, and still more with the Germans; but let it be without embarrassment and with ease.  Bring it by use to be habitual to you; for, if it seems unwilling and forced; it will never please.  ‘Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et res’.  Acquire an easiness and versatility of manners, as well as of mind; and, like the chameleon, take the hue of the company you are with.

There is a sort of veteran women of condition, who having lived always in the ‘grande monde’, and having possibly had some gallantries, together with the experience of five-and-twenty, or thirty years, form a young fellow better than all the rules that can be given him.  These women, being past their bloom, are extremely flattered by the least attention from a young fellow; and they will point out to him those manners and attentions that pleased and engaged them, when they were in the pride of their youth and beauty.  Wherever you go, make some of those women your friends; which a very little matter will do.  Ask their advice, tell them your doubts or difficulties as to your behavior; but take great care not to drop one word of their experience; for experience implies age; and the suspicion of age, no woman, let her be ever so old, ever forgives.  I long for your picture, which Mr. Harte tells me is now drawing.  I want to see your countenance, your air, and even your dress; the better they all three are, the better I am not wise enough to despise any one of them.  Your dress, at least, is in your own power, and I hope that you mind it to a proper degree.  Yours, Adieu.


London, January 18, O. S. 1750

My dear friend:  I consider the solid part of your little edifice as so near being finished and completed, that my only remaining care is about the embellishments; and that must now be your principal care too.  Adorn yourself with all those graces and accomplishments, which, without solidity, are frivolous; but without which solidity is, to a great degree, useless.  Take one man, with a very moderate degree of knowledge, but with a pleasing figure, a prepossessing address, graceful in all that he says and does, polite, ‘liant’, and, in short, adorned with all the lesser talents:  and take another man, with sound sense and profound knowledge, but without the above-mentioned advantages; the former will not only get the better of the latter, in every pursuit of every kind, but in truth there will be no sort of competition between them.  But can every man acquire these advantages?  I say, Yes, if he please, suppose he is in a situation and in circumstances to frequent good company.  Attention, observation, and imitation, will most infallibly do it.

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Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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