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■ one look forward ■with unblenched e into the probable future, and ask him
wlint he is likely to gain by cumbering
earth a few years longer. Care and row increase with age, and most of the est who have declined far into the vale ■e been glad to lie down and rest. We know the sors inevilabilis. Preachers
telling it to us; funerals meet us in the iet. The poet has expressed the voice iiimanity in Hamlet's soliloquy. Our titer has shown us the Voyage of Life. ly should we live? Is there any moS when we look into the very truth of »gs, which should hold us here any ger? Can we by argument convince selves that it is not better to be out of
world at once? suppose, then, we were to yield to what jears most reasonable, and truly "utter ■selves," what other could we say than ,et us depart in peace?" The united ce of mankind would testify that there lothing in life worth living for. And i same voice would also bear witness it as far as appears to our reason, there \o life beyond the grave. But this is written for a Christian audi:e, and here is no place for a sermon. e point is this: we have seen that manrs are the fruit of the conscious reason, it they and the reason which controls ■m are not all of us. We are imperfect, an imperfect world, and our religion iches us to bear up bravely to the end, spite of reason.* Wc are here, in short, i it is noble as well as our duty to make ? best of life till the king of terrors Mes and takes us away. We must look ward. We must persevere in those .ys which are best for ourselves, and idest for those around us. We must nember in whose image we were created, d not hate our fellow-men. We must itate the loftiness of our great poets, and ver lay down the love of knowledge and
Perhaps we shall be sneered at for not omitting a literary article the religious consideration lich here naturally arises. Some remnant of ristian faith is, however, not inconsistent wilh Talure. The following from Shakspeare's will, .iniis as if not intended as merely an idle form of irds i
'First. I commend my soul into the hands of >d my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, ■ough the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, be made partaker of life everlasting; and my dy to the earth whereof it is made."
beauty, and the heart's gallantry. Age must not wither us, nor the petty cares of existence break our spirits.
Or if we must consider life apart from the all-commanding precepts of our religion, there is a proud satisfaction in bearing the banner of strength as a signal for others, and in saying, "We feel—we feel it all, but we will not yield!"
"The innocent brightness of a new-born day
Is lovely yet; The clouds that gather round the setting sun Do take a sober coloring from an eye That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality."
Considering it, not as a duty, but as a natural impulse of our nature, we do feel a satisfaction in giving others as much as possible of the fruit of our experience. Every one that is not a bad man wishes well to those around him. He desires to help in the work of progress, to instruct those who know less, to learn of those who know more, to make the world lie lives in happier. He has compassion for suffering, and pity for ignorance. He wishes to smooth the asperities of the rough journey to himself and all with whom he is brought in contact.
Now, the question is, in what way can we accomplish most to the purpose? It must be recollected that every one, how benevolent soever he may be, must live the greater portion of his life for himself. He must attend to his business, and he has a right to domestic comforts. What is the best mode of bettering others with the least inconvenience to oneself?
If manners, using the word as heretofore, in its most comprehensive sense, are not a conventional affectation, but a necessary consequence of our conscious presiding reason, it would seem that so potent a means of influence might be brought to bear without unlawfulness. In other words, we have as much right to assume a certain deportment towards those whom we desire to benefit, as we have to operate on them through their understandings or their fears. Manners are catching. The world readily distinguishes those who have been well associated. Good communications refine bad manners, as well as evil corrupt good ones. In a word, since by the constitution of our nature tee are objective to ourselves as well as to each other, we each one of us have the right, in spile of all our sinfulness and badness, to assume the air of an imagined loftiness of being, and thus to use the respect of others to make them belter. To conquer conceit we have a right to assume dignity; to assist timidity we may put on a feigned familiarity. We are at liberty to retain with all a personal reserve which shall permit us to be alone everywhere, which shall be, if possible, impervious to the most searching glance of man or woman. It is permitted us to take for granted the certainty of what we know, and to use our knowledge either through arguments, similes, or personal sway, not as uttering ourselves, but as working a machine, while standing aloof, in a secret, undisturbed serenity.
And it is in such a use, we apprehend, that the true answer is to be found to the question propounded in the previous paragraph. All grades and conditions of life are separated by manners. The rude have one species, the refined another. The best manners, those which are most graceful, while they permit, when it is needed, the completest personal reserve with the utmost delicacy towards others, are at once the offspring and the defence of refinement.
When it is needed, we say, that is when our comfort or our benevolence demands it. But in general the endeavor to conform to certain manners has a reflex influence upon the character. What is at first assumed, in time becomes more real, and habit finally makes it almost second nature. Thus the consciousness of manner, which we can assume at will, is not ever-present with us, and hence this personal reserve, which we are at liberty to use in circumstances trying to the nerves, or for the purpose of improving others, is not by any means to be confounded with an intolerable self-inspection. We are as unconstrained with good manners as with bad ones; the only difference is in the magnitude of our sphere. With the manners of a clown we should feel uncomfortable (supposing we had the wit to distinguish) among gentlemen; but with the manners of a gentleman we are not to be disconcerted by the presence of clowns. We can affect ease, and retire into ourselves.
To recur now to the question, " what is the best mode of bettering others with the
least inconvenience to oneself?" * answer, not by teaching alone, K» i argument alone, or persuasion or sa» ty, or any laborious agitation, bat k a silent power of the imagination open through our deportment. There ire tm young around us all agog with sb^ philosophy; we cannot spare the ua t explain everything to them; ther w| believe us if we attempt it. Tbert^ many old also quite ignorant and opaa ated—many conceited who canargtf'' ever—many stubborn, unpleasant, c cious, coxcombical: must we tell '4 whole truth to every one, and be art <M for an impertinent meddlesome fe£.*i No. Yet we owe it to ourselves, »■ -than to our Maker, to do as much gwij we can in our day and generation, a so wisely ordered is the system of u universe, that we can accomplish cd through our simple behavior, and witU interrupting seriously our own bit3K*. interfering greatly with our rational«; ment—merely in the course of oorc-1 walk and conversation—by means of ~i
There are two sorts of mannas, fp< manners and bad. Just as in the »d among all classes there are two sorts i men—one including those who k«p a world up ; the other those who bear it W These sorts of men and manners <ti under all conventionalities and in all fort and races. The roughest old sailor 1*1 ever sailed the sea may be a good Cj and may have good manners. Ilia' f • may be an honest fellow, full of h^ resolution, hope, progress, and all Jmi without knowing it, and may so bear he self as to have a certain healthful fi sustaining influence upon his shipmi-He may be incapable of litUene* meanness, and his nervous system (f» '■ comes to that in the extremes of en*** may be so firm that he shall impartlilV»^vigor to those who are brought in co**1 therewith. On the other hand, a ■M.*T be nursed in the usages of the most re* society, and still be very bad-manner*—perpetual irritation to his associates.
This does not affect our doctrine of<* necessity of manners and the W«i** and advantage of good ones. Sefc' does it admit that manners, thougfc c ■ sense dependent on character, can** * sidered and discussed separately. All *<5L men are not good-mannered, nor all L ones perceptibly ill-mannered. There many benevolent persons who make mselves and every one else rather rse than better for being with them; L there are also plenty who by the charm manners deceive eyes as keen as el's,
he sharpest-sighted spirit of all in Heaven."
[ lence it is not only lawful to use man's as a means of improvement, but we st do so, if we would not have the battle ifjht in our own country instead of the imy's. Hence also it is not enough to ow much and mean well, and then to
out to argue and vex and perplex the ■ I'M under the notion of reforming it. :nce, in fine, there is a reason for putting
the best manners, and a reason why the sregard of manners is wrong. We have
right to condescend to equalize ourIves with our inferiors in endless wordnflicts, when, by maintaining towards em a benevolent and polite intangibility, a may encourage them to strive for a gher position. We have no right to ;grade our rank in social life. A man ho after long study and rough experience is gained a position where he ought to aim some respect, is not at the mercy of rery talker; it is his duty to keep himself here he knows he belongs. It is imjssible to be refined and at the same time > imitate the unrefined. True progress, ■■-• speak in abstract words) gives birth to deportment which attracts the inferior to ie superior, to a dignity in the high which is most beneficial in the low to emulate, to lanners which elevate by the force of imilaion.
Suppose A., for example, to be a ;entleman of learning and good taste; let t. be also a gentleman of a little learning ,nd less taste, but very much disposed to vaporate in opinions. Their relative rank ii the intellectual scale shall be expressed hus—
and endeavors to talk him up, he only lowers himself. Thus—
For B. does not like to be taught when he
thinks he knows; he is only confirmed in
error by the discovery how well he can
use his battledore with A. Whereas if A.
remains quietly in his original position, by
and-by B. begins to admit that what used
to seem conceit to him, seemed so only
on account of the point from which he
viewed it. He lives on and finds out more
and more that A. has been before him in
many particulars, and gained some true
ideas. Thus in process of time he gains
in knowledge and refinement, till he
stands where A. did when the progress
B. is now in his turn leading on C. And thus we obtain for a result a constant advancement; whereas by the other course we fall into perpetual declension.
That it is a difficult and often an unpleasant duty to preserve a high station, need not be remarked to those whom circumstances have compelled to mingle much with their inferiors in social rank. For persons of quick sensibility and genial temper, it is a very hard matter to sustain sufficient aloofness from all sorts of people with whom they are brought in contact for the good of either. Some, it is true, can "keep up their dignity," as the saying has it, quite instinctively; but the very ease with which they accomplish it arises from a want of sympathy, and hence is of little benefit to others, while it prevents them from profiting by the knowledge that others are improving through their example. These sort of people care very little, in fact, whether either are being bettered or made worse; they think only of themselves, and love display or power. Such dignity as theirs belongs not to good manners; it is not politeness, but the indulgence of selfish egotism. In the young it is the upstart propensity which it is part of the business of the truly well-mannered to check and eradicate. In the old it is pomposity, which it is not in every instance against good manners to ridicule.
In presuming, however, that we are addressing sensible readers, we avoid the necessity of making over-nice distinctions. The "high station" and "aloofness" which superiors ought to maintain towards inferiors is not a stiff, haughty, or reserved demeanor, a painful rigidity of muscle, speech, or action. Such manners separate the parties too far, and give rise to a reciprocity, not of good feeling, but of contempt. The true dignity is assumed out of kindness and tempered with sincerity. It is of the kind which separates the orders of the angels in Heaven,
"Where honor and due reverence none neglects."
It is a behavior put on and worn out of benevolence to others. Or, if we must have everything from selfish motives, to keep one's nerves quiet.
Every man acquires somewhat of this by the compulsion of experience. Among schoolboys it is not regarded too great familiarity to strike one another over the back, or make one's wishes known by tweaks and pinches. Very soon, however, except in the most vulgar and promiscuous castes and among intimate companions, young men find it necessary to fence themselves about with ceremonies. Sudden blows and grips disturb the nerves, and wound the self-respect. Most people have, or aught to have, too good an opinion of themselves to permit their persons to be treated with so much indignity. Noli me tanrjere. should be the first precept of gentlemanly etiquette. The only contact of man with man should be a brief pressure of hands, or touching of noses, such as is practised among the New Zealanders. Frenchmen may embrace one another— pah! One should as lief embrace a boa or a bear as the best friend he has in the world. We knew a man who made it a cause of instant reproof when another slapped him on the knee—and justly, too. Such familiarities are unbecoming in gentlemen; not because they are against the code of etiquette, but because they do not comport with the refined individuality which gentlemen wish to preserve. Indeed we are not certain that there is not in sucli extreme freedoms, as we have instanced, a perceptible magnetic repulsion. At all events, they shock the verves to that
extent that they are inadmissible innfts intercourse.
Some will say, "What foolery b lie I As if it made much difference how « fc have towards each other among frit*!' long as we are decently clad and dk>-l to be agreeable!" Well, it is w. • such persons that we are writing. T:*i will not be,able to follow the thoccV a this piece, and will be ready to thro* a Review aside and doubt whether tbey*l subscribe another year to such a mesa cy production. But there are son*? «*] influential individuals who have nem-« well as we. We allude to the Am*---a Fair. We mean not to be schoolms-'V:i>i or precise, but only to show, that is ■■' siring us savages to have some regard M each other's feelings and behave rtl courtesy to one another, our sisters cousins are less unreasonable than they" aware of.
In Cincinnati, perhaps, several y» ago, we lived at a large boarding-!*'* where among other guests was a V actor, whose name was—well—" thews; a mere walking gentleman oa' boards, a "perfect stick," in fact, >■='* what advanced in years, but made up ** care, and looking ordinarily a pak' *-'• somewhat careworn bachelor of thirty-i or forty. He was as poor as poverty: Is salary in the best of seasons could not :j^ been more than ten dollars per week ."J more frequently it was nothing at ''-'How he contrived to keep on good t''~! with the landlady was a mystery; J*5" did so, and so far as was known spen' rl man's money but his own. In coat?;rhats he was obliged to economize, anil «?■ might behold the same individual on i-v stage in the evening whom he had soon ■"■ the side-walk in the morning. Bat linen he allowed himself more Island after his landlady's, the next beav~ of his bills was probably that of hfc b* dress. Poor Matthews! And ye'. *'■ out his presence Mrs. Feedum'* bwS would not have been fit to live in.' he sat at the foot of the table and *TM the turkey, and was the medium t)uw which everybody endeavored to a""** everybody else. He was esteemed . everybody, and everybody on amvinf » the house was told that Mr. Matthe*5*1"' a "gentleman," which, as rarely biff'*
pp«ned in this instance to be the truth. »r this was Matthews's strong point, le first belief of his mind and the first irpose of his will was, that he was and auld be "a gentleman." Poor, broken ►wn, apparently, (for he was educated iove his circumstances,) without much, rtsiinly, to look forward to, nothing could ake him forego this pleasing hallucinaJx\. He was "a gentleman." He would Ik and act in accordance with this idea. rid his idea of gentility was by no means low one. Probably from acting them > often, he fancied himself some such a erson as Horatio or the brother-in-law of everley. Nothing could disturb the fixIness of this notion. You might jest ith him, (he was a shocking punster,) or ou might differ in opinion and outargue im, but you could not (you would not •y) make him understand low or mean Uusions; and when the wild young fel>ws about him suffered themselves, as hey sometimes did, to fall into not very efined expressions, he would stare at hem with such an expression of ignorance m his face, such incapacity to perceive the loint, that they could not but be confused. Jut this was not from innocence always, or actors are perhaps as familiar with and ;een-scented to unsavoriness as any class n the world. It was his manner. When my tempers were by chance ruffled a lit.le, he was sure to break in with something jay and familiar, as though all had been smooth as oil. Sometimes the young fellows in the house would annoy him sorely, but they could never quite master him. Once one of them, for some reason, was tjoing to insult another and provoke a duel. Matthews took him aside and said, "Now that won't do. If you offer to do that I will never speak to you again as long as I live. It is unyenllemanly." The duel was never fought. To another, a very ignorant, impudent boy, he was one day obliged to say, "You are impertinent!" It did the boy more good than if he had been talked with for an hour. Matthews had a great loyalty towards the Queen, and once lost his equanimity when a narrow-minded Yankee would persist in ridiculing her personally, after he had urged that it was unpleasant to his English ears; finally, said he, "Because I am an actor and you are a merchant, I suppose you
think you can insult me with impunity: but I can avoid it; I can leave the table;" and he did so in evident anger. The Yankee, who meant no harm, made a proper apology after dinner, and the next day Matthews grew eloquent upon the character of Washington and the perfection of the American Constitution, for both which he entertained a high respect, though no persuasion could ever induce him to presume so much as to be naturalized and vote. A thousand such little occurrences were perpetually happening, out of which he always came not merely untarnished, but with increased brightness.
The single high notion of what his life ought to be, sustained him through poverty, and enabled him to command respect and esteem in a profession which is looked upon with peculiar suspicion. It also had an elevating effect upon those about him, which may have been the means of preserving some of the younger boarders who used to sit near him from contracting vulgar associations. Much of this was due to his good sense and kind feeling, but his profession led him to cultivate good manners, and those gave him the means of accomplishing what his sense and feeling prompted. He was an example of a true artist in manners.
—In Jeffersonville, not quite a hundred years ago, there was and is still published a paper called the Oracle, edited by a genius whose name is—Job Stew. This Job Stew is the sort of creature whose presence is enough to vulgarize a whole county. Let any one who has ever been at Jeffersonville think of the place, and instantly comes up the image of Job Stew. For Job is determined to be conspicuous, and to have somewhat to say respecting the management of everything. He takes part in all public meetings—he discusses in his paper all sorts of topics, Mesmerism, Abolition, Homoeopathy, Swedenborgianism—no matter what—always settling them forever, without the least trouble. On the saltpetre Question he was particularly positive, and brought out many technical words to show that saltpetre either would or would not explode, to use his forcible expression, "under any circumstances whatever." He affects great fairness and candor, all the while he is as cunning as a fox. In the opinion of the bet