Thursday, June 4, 2009

Excerpt from "Etiquette for Children"

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While browsing through an antique store several years ago, I came upon a book, entitled "The New Century Perfect Speaker." It looked full of useful and good things to read, so I bought it. Upon further perusal at home, I discovered it to be from 1901, and that it seemed that several page numbers were skipped, and yet that was not the case. What I had bought was a salesman's sample book, and to get the "rest of the story" one would have bought a subscription to whatever books he was selling. It was rather disappointing, as right in the middle of a profound statement, or an interesting story, the next page would launch into the middle of "how to dress for tea." However, it gave me a glimpse into the ways and thoughts of another time.

Here is an excerpt from a section called
"Etiquette for Children."

"Home is the school for all things, especially good manners. And yet there is a higher thought in connection with instilling good manners- the wonderful power which the parents have, especially the mother, in molding the lives of their children so that their future may be rich in promise of a better life even beyond the grave. Immortal life- what mother does not pray that it may be a glorious one for her darlings.

"And to that end she must interweave the lessons of politeness and kindness with the beauty of virtue, of self-denial, of unselfish aims, which alone can be obtained by constant and earnest effort. So many thoughts crowd in at this stage that we scarce can number them; but first, let every mother teach her daughter that only a good man is worthy of her- that wealth and position can never take the place of a lack of respect for the husband she chooses; that she should be modest, faithful to all her duties, and demand like qualities in others.

"And to her sons a true mother will instruct that a sweet-tempered, intelligent, refined girl, even though she be not wealthy, will make a far better wife than a vain, selfish, exacting nature, whose only aim is to get all that she can out of life, irrespective of anyone else's wishes or rights."
I'm sorry I cannot give you the rest of the chapter! Perhaps someone has one of these books in their attics?

Bouquet of Flowers
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