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can in the wilderness, and gave them back their noise, with interest. Then I lay down again, and moralized. This, thought I, is life. What would my poor mother
say, if she were alive now? I have read books of adven5 tures, but never read anything like this. I fell asleep,
without farther ado.
LESSON LX.LTHOUGHTS ON POLITENESS.GEO. S. HILLARD.
The common notion about politeness is, that it is a thing of the body, and not of the mind; and that he is a polite man who makes certain motions in a graceful manner, and at proper times and places. We
the dancing mas5 ter to teach our children “inanners," as well as the art of
cutting awkward capers to music. But the truth is, that we degrade politeness by making it anything less than a cardinal virtue.
The happiness of life is made up of an infinite number 10 of little things, and not of startling events and great emo
tions; and he who daily and hourly diffuses pleasure around him by kind offices, frank salutations and cheerful looks, deserves as well of his species, as he, who, neglect
ing or despising all these, makes up for it by occasional 15 acts of generosity, justice, or benevolence. Besides, the
opportunity of doing great things but rarely occurs, while a man has some dozens of chances, every day of his life, to show whether he be polite or not.
A truly polite man must, in the first place, have gift 20 of good sense, for without that foundation, it is idle to
think of rearing any, even the smallest superstructure. He must know when to violate that code of conventional forms, which common consent has established, and when
not; for it is equally a mark of weakness, to be a slave 25 to these forms, or to despise them.
He must have penetration and tact enough, to adapt his conversation and manner to circumstances and individuals; for that which is politeness in the drawing-room, may be downright rude
ness in the bar-room or the stage-coach, as well as the 30 converse.
Above all, he must have that en arged and catholic spirit of humility, which is the child of self-knowledge, and the parent of benevolence, (indeed, politeness itself is
merely benevolence, seen through the little end of a spy35 glass,) which, not content with bowing low to this rich man or that fine lady, respects the rights, and does justice to the claims, of every member of the great human family.
As for the fastidious and exclusive persons, who look down upon a man created and upheld by the same power 5 as themselves, and heir to the same immortal destinies,
because he does not dress in a particular style, or visit in certain houses, they are out of the question. If they are too weak to perceive the grotesque absurdity of their own
conduct, they have not capacity enough to master the al10 phabet of good manners. If angelic natures be susceptible
of ludicrous emotions, we know of nothing more likely to call them forth, than the sight of an insect inhabitant of this great ant-bill, assuming airs of superiority over his
brother emmet, because he has a few more grains of bar 15 ley in his granary, or some other equally cogent reason.
LESSON LXI.-SAME SUBJECT CONCLUDED.-ID.
Of the gentlemen, young and old, whiskered and unwhiskered, that may be seen in Washington street any sunshiny day, there is not one who does not think himself
a polite man, and who would not very much resent any 5 insinuation to the contrary. Their opinion is grounded
on reasons something like the following. When they go to a party, they make a low bow to the mistress of the house, and then look round after somebody that is young
and pretty to make themselves agreeable to. 10 At a ball
, they will do their utmost to entertain their partner, unless the fates have given them to some one who is ugly and awkward; and they will listen to her remarks with their most bland expression. If they are invited
to a dinner party, they go in their best coats, praise their 15 entertainer's wine, and tell the lady they hope her chil
dren are all well. If they tread on the toes of a welldressed person, they will beg his pardon. They never spit on a carpet ; and, in walking with a lady, they always
give her the inside; and, if the practice be allowable, they 20 offer her their arm.
So far, very good ; but I must always see a man in certain situations, before I decide whether he be polite or not. I should like to see how he would act, if placed at
dinner between an ancient maiden lady, and a country 25 clergyman with a small salary and a rusty coat, and with
some distinguished person opposite to him. I want to see him on a hot and dusty day, sitting on the back seat of a stage-coach, when the driver takes in some poor lone wo
man, with may be a child in her arms, and tells the gen5 tlemen, that one of them must ride outside and make room for her.
I want to be near him, when his washer-woman makes some very good excuse to him for not bringing home his
clothes at the usual time, or not doing up an article in 10 exactly the style he wished. I want to hear the tone and
emphasis with which he gives orders to servants in steamboats and taverns. I mark his conduct, when he is walking with an umbrella, on a rainy day, and overtakes an
old man, or an invalid, or a decent looking woman, who 15 are exposed, without protection, to the violence of the
storm. If he be in company with those whom he thinks his inferiors, I listen to hear, if his conversation be entirely about himself. If some of the number be very distin
guished, and some quite unknown, I observe whether he 20 acts, as if he were utterly unconscious of the presence of these last.
These are a few, and but a few, of the tests by which 1 try a man; and I am sorry to say, there are very few, who
can stand them all. There is many a one who passes in 25 the world for a well-bred man, because he knows when to
bow and smile, that is down in my tablets for a selfish, vulgar, unpolite monster, that loves the parings of his own nails better than his neighbor's whole body.
man in a situation, where he is called upon to make a sa30 crifice of his own comfort and ease, without any equiva
lent in return, and you will learn the difference between true politeness, that sterling ore of the heart, and the counterfeit imitation of it, which passes current in draw
ing-rooms. Any man must be an idiot, not to be polite in 35 society, so called; for how else would he get his oysters
and Champagne ?
LESSON LXII.-COTTAGE ON THE SWISS ALPS.-_BUCKMLNSTER.
In one of the highest regions of the Swiss Alps, after a day of excessive labor, in reaching the summit of our journey, near those thrones erected ages ago for the majes
ty of Nature, we stopped, fatigued and dispirited, on a spot 5 destined to eternal barrenness, where we found one of these rude but hospitable inns open to receive us. There was not another human habitation, within many miles. All the soil, which we could see, had been brought thither,
and placed carefully round the cottage, to nourish a few 5 cabbages and lettuces. There were some goats, which
supplied the cottagers with milk; a few fowls lived in the house ; and the greatest luxuries of the place were newmade cheeses, and some wild alpine mutton, the rare pro
vision of the traveller. Yet here Nature had thrown off 10/the veil, and appeared in all her sublimity. Summits of
bare granite rose all around us. The snow-clad tops of the distant Alps, seemed to chill the moon-beams that lighted on them; and we felt all the charms of the picturesque,
mingled with the awe iņspired by unchangeable grandeur. 15 We seemed to have reached the original elevations of the
globe, o'ertopping forever the tumults, the vices, and the miseries of ordinary existence, far out of hearing of the murmurs of a busy. world, which discord ravages, and
luxury corrupts. We asked for the album, and a large 20 folio was brought to us, almost filled with the scrawls of
every nation on earth that could write. Instantly our fatigue was forgotten; and the evening passed away pleasantly in the entertainment which this book afforded us.
LESSON LXIII.—PETER STUYVESANT.-WASHINGTON IRVING.
Peter Stuyvesant was the last, and, like the renowned Wouter Van Twiller, he was also the best, of our ancient Dutch governors: Wouter having surpassed all who pre
ceded him, and Peter having never been equalled by any 5 successor
To say merely that he was a hero, would be doing him great injustice ;—he was in truth a combination of heroes; -for he was of a sturdy, raw-bone make, like Ajax Tela
mon, with a pair of round shoulders that Hercules would 10 have given his hide for, (meaning his lion's hide, when he
undertook to ease old Atlas of his load. He was, moreover, as Plutarch describes Coriolanus, not only terrible for the force of his arm, but likewise of his voice, which
sounded as though it came out of a barrel ; and like the 15 selfsame warrior, he possessed a sovereign contempt for
the sovereign people, and an iron aspect, which was enough of itself to make the very bowels of his adversaries quake with terror and dismay.
All this martial excellency was inexpressibly heightened by an accidental advantage, with which I am surprised that neither Homer nor Virgil have graced any of
their heroes. This was nothing less than a wooden leg, 5 which was the only prize he had gained, in bravely fight
ing the battles of his country, but of which he was so proud, that he was often heard to declare, he valued it more, than all his other limbs put together; indeed, so
highly did he esteem it, that he had it gallantly enchased 10 and relieved with silver devices, which caused it to be
related in divers histories and legends, that he wore a silver leg.
Like that choleric warrior, Achilles, he was somewhat subject to extempore bursts of passion, which were ofttimes 15 rather unpleasant to his favorites and attendants, whose
perceptions he was apt to quicken, after the manner of his illustrious imitator, Peter the Great, by anointing their shoulders with his walking-staff.
He was, in fact, the very reverse of his predecessors, 20 being neither tranquil and inert, like Walter, the Doubter.
nor restless and fidgeting, like William, the Testy; but a man, or rather a governor, of such uncommon activity and decision of mind, that he never sought or accepted the
advice of others; depending confidently upon his single 25 head, as did the heroes of yore upon their single arms, to
work his way through all difficulties and dangers. To tell the simple truth, he wanted no other requisite for a perfect statesman, than to think always right, for no one can
deny, that he always acted as he thought; and if he wanted 30 in correctness, he made up for it in perseverance,-an
excellent quality! since it is surely more dignified for a ruler to be persevering and consistent in error, than wavering and contradictory, in endeavoring to do what is
right. This much is certain, and it is a maxim worthy 35 the attention of all legislators, both great and small, who
stand shaking in the wind, without knowing which way to steer,-a ruler who acts according to his own will, is sure of pleasing himself, while he who seeks to satisfy
the wishes and whims of others, runs a great risk of 40 pleasing nobody. The clock that stands still
, and points steadfastly in one direction, is certain of being right twice in the four-and-twenty hours, while others may keep going continually, and continually be going wrong,
Nor did this magnanimous virtue escape the discern.