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Title: Manners And Conduct In School And Out

Author: Anonymous

Release Date: December 21, 2004 [EBook #14408]

Language: English

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Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Melissa Er-Raqabi and the Online
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The gentle minde by gentle deeds is knowne; For a man by nothing is so well bewrayed As by his manners.



Norwood Press
J.S. Gushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



"The supreme business of the school is to develop a sense of justice, the power of initiative, independence of character, correct social and civic habits, and the ability to coöperate toward the common good."—Dr. Frank Crane.

How do you develop correct social habits, the habits of a gentleman or a lady?

You develop correct social habits just as you develop correct habits in playing ball, or in swimming,—you discover the rules; then you practise, practise, practise. A good general rule is, Do what a kind heart prompts; for,

Politeness is to do and say
The kindest thing in the kindest way.

We earnestly hope this little book may help girls and boys to become happier, more agreeable, and more effective citizens.



Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us dare to do our duty as we understand it.


Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.


Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.


The secret of success is constancy of purpose.


Evil communications corrupt good manners.


Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long;
And so make life, death, and that vast forever
One grand sweet song.
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
In vain we call old notions fudge,
And bend our conscience to our dealing;
The Ten Commandments will not budge,
And stealing will continue stealing.


Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.


Girls, the word lady should suggest, ideally, a girl (or a woman) who keeps herself physically fit, her thinking on a high plane, and her manners gentle and winsome.

Boys, the word gentleman means, ideally, a fine, athletic, manly fellow who is an all round good sport in the best sense, and who has manners that do not prevent other people from seeing how fine he is.


Remember this,—that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life.

—Marcus Aurelius.

1) If you are well brought up, girls, you will not loiter on the street to talk to one another; much less to boys. Street visiting is taboo.

2) Boys, a gentleman does not detain on street corners a girl or woman friend. If he meets one with whom he wishes to speak more than a moment, he asks permission to walk a little way with her. During the moment that he does detain her, a gentleman talks with his hat in his hand.

3) You know that a boy should lift his hat or cap in recognition of a girl or woman acquaintance whom he meets on the street. But perhaps you don't know that the same courtesy may well be offered to a man, and must be, if the man is walking with a girl or a woman.

4) To spit on the street or sidewalk is likely to endanger the health of others, and to make you seem vulgar and "horrid." Use your handkerchief.


Immodest words admit of no defence,
For want of decency is want of sense.
—Earl of Roscommon.

1) Avoid rushing ahead of others to secure a seat in a street-car, or to secure any other special advantage. Some one must be last; why not you? If advancing out of turn is necessary, a little deliberation accompanied with, "I beg your pardon," or "Excuse me, please" will most quickly and pleasantly open the way; otherwise, respect "the line."

2) In a street-car, boys, you should touch your hat politely and offer your seat to a woman, a girl, or an elderly man who is standing. Your courtesy should be accepted with a bow and, "Thank you."

3) Girls, if a seat is offered you, accept it at once with "Thank you." Don't explain that you don't mind standing.

4) On the street, in street-cars, and in all public places, if your voice or conduct attracts attention you will be considered "loud," "common," vulgar.

5) The chewing of gum in a street-car, in church, or in any other place outside of your own private room stamps you at once as "common."


Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint.


1) Avoid all running in the corridors; start in time, and walk.

2) Avoid crowding on stairways. Avoid crowding through Assembly Hall doors. When in a mass of people, move slowly and try to keep breathing space about yourself.

3) Avoid tossing paper on to the lockers. Avoid dropping it on the floor; but if paper is there, train yourself to see it and to pick up at least one piece every time you enter the corridor. This is what Dr. Crane calls a "civic habit."

4) Boys, hats off on entering the building; don't put them on again before you are at the outer door ready to leave, even though you should see grown men violating this rule.

5) Hold a door open for a girl or an older person to precede you in passing through; then glance over your shoulder to prevent the door from swinging back into the face of any person who may be following.

6) In order to appear to the best advantage, keep your hands out of your pockets.

[5]7) Try not to jostle one another. If by chance you do, say, "Pardon me."

8) Observe, boys, that well-bred men rise when addressed by a woman who is standing.

9) Avoid whistling in the school building, and even in a private home, for your whistling may be annoying to some who cannot help hearing it.

10) Never, never, be so disgusting as to spit on the floor, on the stairs, or into the waste-paper box; use your handkerchief.

11) Care for your finger-nails, your face, your hair, in your room at home, not before mirrors on your locker doors, or in any other public place. After making your toilet as well as you can, forget it.

12) Boys, it is not necessary to help the girls mount the stairs in school unless they are blind or crippled.

13) Girls, it is better not to twine your arms about one another in the corridors and on the stairs; also, not to kiss one another tenderly if you separate for a few moments. Love your friends dearly; but be sensible, not sentimental.

14) Boys, observe that the moment a woman or a girl enters a passenger elevator, gentlemen there remove their hats,—unless conditions prevent.


In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold,
Alike fantastic if too new or old:
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

1) When you enter your classroom, as well as when you leave it, glance towards your teacher and, if she is looking, bow pleasantly.

2) Say, "Yes, Miss Brown"; not merely "Yes," if you know the name of the one addressed. If you do not know her name, let your tone and manner indicate so fully your feeling of respect that the omission of the name will not be noted. Say "Yes, Sir," to men. And remember,—

Hearts, like doors, will ope with ease
To very, very little keys;
And don't forget that two of these
Are: "Thank you, sir," and "If you please."

3) When sitting, push back as far as you can in the chair and lean forward from your hips, keeping your spine straight, not curved. The way you sit or walk or stand shows culture or lack of it.

4) When reciting, stand erect with your hands at your sides. Your attitude will invite favorable attention if you stand with one foot slightly in [7]advance of the other, and the weight of the body on the forward foot.

5) Speak so distinctly that everyone in the room must hear you; otherwise, not everyone will get your thought.

6) Avoid raising your hand when you wish to ask or to answer a question. Instead, rise quietly, face your teacher, and wait for her to recognize you as though you were at a club meeting.

7) Never "tell" when another is trying to recite. Such "telling" destroys the other person's chance to think, and helps to make a sneak of you.


Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence of God.


1) See that your hands are clean.

2) Avoid rushing into or through the Lunch Room. Walk.

3) When carrying your food to your table, pay strict attention to getting it to its destination in safety.

4) Eat in the Lunch Room,—not in the corridors, nor in the Assembly Hall, nor on the street. Give four excellent reasons for this direction.

5) Eat slowly and noiselessly; don't "feed." Avoid talking when your mouth is full. Take small mouthfuls, so that you may talk without giving offense. Keep your lips closed when chewing. Never use your knife to carry food to your mouth.

6) In the Lunch Room, as elsewhere, sit with your knees together and with both of your feet on the floor, not on the rounds of your chairs.

7) Don't throw paper and refuse into the receptacles provided; drop it there.

8) Avoid boisterous talking and laughing. The tones of the voice proclaim quite accurately the [9]social background of the boy, the girl, the man, the woman.

Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle, and low,—an excellent thing in woman.

9) Keep elbows and wraps off the Lunch Room tables; furthermore, do not sit on the tables.

10) Leave your place in the Lunch Room tidy and spotless, with your chair pushed up to the table.

11) Rise when an older person enters the room; remain standing until your courtesy is acknowledged, or until the older person is seated. (Optional with the teacher in the schoolroom.)

12) Boys, when a girl or an older person drops a pencil, a book, or anything of the sort, pick it up and return it unobtrusively, but with a little bow.

13) Avoid rushing from the room when the bell rings. Walk.

14) Open the door, boys, but let the girls pass out first, whenever practicable. When many are passing in opposite directions, keep to the right.

15) Never laugh at the accidents or misfortunes of others, even if they have a ridiculous side. Nothing shows ill-breeding so surely.

He who laughs at others' woes
Finds few friends and many foes.


There is a time for some things, and a time for all things;
a time for great things, and a time for small things.

Actions wholly appropriate to the gymnasium or the playground may be quite out of character in the Assembly Hall. Think about it.

1) Avoid all running, romping, and making of unnecessary noise in the Assembly Hall.

2) Avoid using the Assembly Hall as a thoroughfare. On entering, take a seat immediately, and remain in it until the next bell rings. Talk in gentle tones.

3) Avoid eating anything in the Assembly Hall.

4) Avoid dropping paper on the floor. Help to keep the room orderly and tidy.

5) For a program on the stage, and for general singing, gather quietly in the center sections if your Assembly Hall is large. You should do this without waiting to be asked. Use your judgment.

6) The appearance on the platform of one who is to speak to you should be your signal for immediate silence and attention. Don't wait to be called to order; call yourselves to order.

[11]7) Sing so well that you make the general singing a delight. You will find it far more fun than trying to spoil the program. Why will you? Because it is your nature to feel more satisfaction in coöperating and helping by doing your best, than in hindering and thwarting by doing your worst. (This is the basis of all good manners, and of civic spirit.)

8) You should be attentive and silent, not only when some one is talking to you from the platform and when a "number" of any kind is being given, but also during a "movie." People who visit while others are trying to entertain them are a public nuisance. Don't let yourselves slip into that class. Also do not tell the plot of a play or a movie to your neighbor.

9) Never, in the Assembly Hall or in any other place where there is a large group of people, should you stand and beckon, whistle, or "hoo-hoo" to attract the attention of your friends.

10) If you enter the Assembly Hall after the program has begun, find a seat so noiselessly as to escape notice.

11) Show your appreciation cordially, but avoid excessive applause. Never stamp your feet or whistle. Carried beyond a certain point, applause ceases to be a courtesy. Cultivate good taste in this matter. Moderation is a mark of good taste.


Her air, her manners, all who saw admir'd;
Courteous though coy, and gentle though retir'd;
The joy of youth and health her eyes display'd,
And ease of heart her every look convey'd.

1) Remind your sponsor (or adviser) of your meeting two or three days in advance of the time.

2) Before acting on any plan, be sure of the approval of your sponsor.

3) So treat your sponsor that she (or he) will delight to be with you.


Cleanliness is next to godliness.

1) In school, in a store, in a club, on trains, in short, wherever you use a public wash bowl, leave it as clean as possible.

2) Do not scatter toilet paper about. Keep the toilet rooms neat and clean and free from all writing on doors, walls, windows.

3) Do not loiter or visit in toilet rooms.


Though her mien carries much more invitation than command, to behold her is an immediate check to loose behaviour; to love her was a liberal education.


At school receptions, sleigh-rides, class meetings at private homes, and so on, there is always a chaperon, who is giving her time for your enjoyment. Her kindness should be repaid by your courtesy.

1) As soon as possible after greeting your hostess, greet your chaperon.

2) Also, just before leaving, speak to her again cordially and gratefully.

3) See that your chaperon is not often left alone. If the function is a dance, invite her to dance; or sit out a dance with her, sometimes. Make her enjoy being your chaperon.

4) Never tease to stay when the time comes to go.

5) Don't hinder your chaperon by loitering over your wraps; be ready when she is, and leave the building with her.


But evil is wrought by want of thought,
As well as want of heart.

1) Before talking with others at a party greet your hostess; then the older people present; finally, the young people.

2) As a guest you are not expected to say good-by to everybody; but never leave without saying good-by to your hostess and expressing appreciation of her efforts to give you pleasure.

3) Coöperate with your hostess in trying to make everyone present happy. If you fail to pay this courtesy to your hostess, you stamp yourself as an undesirable guest.

4) If the function is a dance, boys, avoid too many consecutive dances with the same girl. Confining your attentions noticeably to the same girl makes her conspicuous and mars the general pleasure.

5) Girls, decline consecutive dances with the same boy. Do it graciously, explaining that you would like to accept, but must not be selfish. If he is the right sort, he will understand at once, or come to his senses later. If he is offended, don't worry about it; it is not worth while.

[15]6) Pay some kindly attention to the girls who do not dance all of the time. They will feel grateful, your hostess will feel grateful, you will feel better satisfied than if you neglect them.

7) Never refrain from dancing if any girl present is without a partner for that number. To refrain is selfish in you, and discourteous to both the girl and your hostess.

8) Girls, don't quit one of your friends to go and whisper with another. Such an action is sure to be considered unkind and inconsiderate.

9) Train your eye to see how you may add to the enjoyment of all, or of a single one, and act promptly. Incidentally, you thus add to your own enjoyment. Often think of Tennyson's words:—

For manners are not idle, but the fruit
Of loyal nature and of noble mind.


If it is not seemly, do it not; if it is not true, speak it not.

—Marcus Aurelius.

1) After dancing with a girl thank her and walk back with her to her seat, to her chaperon, or to her next partner. Never leave her standing alone in the middle of the floor.

2) Girls, if your partner doesn't dance well, take it pleasantly—but not as too much of a joke—and help him to do better.

3) Avoid looking at a boy with your soul in your eyes. A girl holds the key to the social situation. She should keep such a situation at school on a cordial but wholly matter-of-fact basis,—absolutely free from sentimentality.

4) Base your friendships on good comradeship, not on maudlin emotion, nor on propinquity. The right kind of girl and boy friendships may give joy for a lifetime; the wrong kind must be a continual menace.

5) Don't be prudes, girls, but let every boy know that he must keep his hands off from you. If he presumes, a cool glance on your part will usually restrain him. If it does not, avoid him; he is unworthy of your friendship.

[17]6) Boys, you can easily tell what girls would have you sit very close to them, and hold their hands, and put your arms around them. But, be manly. Always protect a girl; protect her from yourself, even from herself. If she does not wish to be so protected, avoid her as you would the plague.

7) When you call on a girl, you shouldn't remain after ten o'clock even though the girl wants you to. Girls, you should not urge. And, girls, observe how your boy friends fit themselves into the family group.

8) A gift you should acknowledge at once and cordially. But, boys, let your gifts to girls be rare, and restricted to candy, books, and flowers.

9) To force your presence upon those who seem not to want you, tends to crystallize their feeling of antagonism. On the other hand, nothing more quickly disarms this feeling of antagonism than evidence of delicacy on your part.

10) Girls, it is poor policy to call up boys often by telephone, and bad manners to whistle to attract their attention.

11) For you to sit at a social gathering with hat and coat on, girls,—even though you must leave in a few moments,—is discourteous both to your hostess and to the other guests.


The mildest manners, and the gentlest heart.


1) Show especial deference—not indifference—to your superiors in age, office, and the like. Do this not once, but always. Watch for opportunities.

2) Rise, when an older person who is standing begins to talk to you.

3) If you wish to become a musician, you seek help from the finest musical instructor within reach. Just so in the greater art of living effectively, seek help from those who have learned wisdom. As a rule, your parents and your teachers are your best counsellors. They have traveled the road before you, and have your highest interests at heart. Listen to them. Don't make your life a wild experiment in blundering; it doesn't pay.

4) Never regard age, even advanced age, as a joke. To do so blunts your own sensibilities.


That man may last, but never lives,
Who much receives, but nothing gives.

1) If you receive a written invitation, send a written reply. Let the reply accord with the invitation in being either formal, or informal.

2) You will be thought discourteous if you fold your note carelessly, write on soiled or ragged paper, use pencil instead of ink, or delay your reply.

3) Accepting an invitation binds you, in honor, to carry out your engagement. If circumstances prevent, at once inform the one who invited you; and do it in a considerate manner.


Introduce a man to a woman, a boy to a girl, a younger person to an older, thus: Mrs. Jones, may I present (or introduce) my friend Miss Holbrook? or, Miss Brown, my friend Mr. Williams; or, Father, this is Ethel Reed. Let your manner and voice be dignified and gracious, your words simple. But avoid,—Mrs. Jones, meet Miss Holbrook; or, Mr. Brown, shake hands with Mr. Smith.


Come and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe.

The National Association of Dancing Masters is responsible for the following rules. You may well think those dancers who disregard them either ignorant, or awkward, or vulgar.

1) Face your partner at a distance of six or eight inches, bodies parallel, shoulders parallel.

2) If you are leading, place your right hand between the shoulders of your partner, keeping your right elbow well away from your body.

3) See that above, but not resting on this arm, is your partner's left arm, at right angles with her body, her hand just back of the curve of your shoulder.

4) Let your left hand, palm up, clasp your partner's right. A line from these hands to the opposite elbows should be parallel with your parallel bodies.

5) Remember,—bobbing and wriggling are taboo. Let the spring come from the ankles and the knees. Imitate the grace of the swallow.


Socrates said, "Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live."


1) Keep your refreshments simple and inexpensive. After you are better acquainted, omit them frequently.

2) Boys, you should be alert to help serve, but use your judgment; don't go off in a group to enjoy yourselves in the business of serving or eating.

3) Avoid dropping crumbs on the floor or scattering them over the serving tables. Avoid placing anything hot or moist on a surface that may be disfigured by it.

4) Pay special attention to any who seem shy or afraid to mingle with the other guests. See that everybody has a good time.

5) Help clean up at once, boys, what should be cleaned up, and leave the room you use in perfect order. Don't walk off and let the girls do it all. Make yourselves useful until the work is finished.


Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

1) Do you know that table manners proclaim at once your social training?

2) Boys, at a dining table, draw back the chair for the girl or the woman next to you, push it under her as she sits down, and then take your own seat.

3) Girls and boys, let your napkin lie open across your lap.

4) At home leave your napkin folded neatly, or in its ring, if there is a ring. But, let it lie loose beside your plate when you are at a hotel; partly folded, when you are a guest in a private home.

5) Never use a toothpick at the table or in the presence of others. If it seems absolutely necessary to use one at the table, cover your lips with your napkin; elsewhere, with your handkerchief.

6) Hold your knife in your right hand, not as though it were a penholder, but so that you may easily press down on the back of the knife with your right forefinger.

[23]7) In a similar position, when cutting food, hold your fork tines down with your left hand. But, in carrying food to your mouth, have the tines curve up, not down, and take your fork in your right hand between your thumb and forefinger, so that it rests comfortably near the tip of the second finger.

8) Never should your table knife be used for conveying food to your mouth.

9) You find your small bread and butter plate and butter spreader at your left. Never spread at once an entire slice of bread; break off a half or a quarter and spread it on your bread and butter plate,—not on the palm of your hand.

10) When your plate is passed for a second helping, let your knife and fork remain on it, side by side; also, when you have finished. Never rest your knife or fork partly on the table and partly on your plate or your napkin ring. Avoid mixing your food on your plate.

11) Use a fork when eating vegetables and salad,—and ice-cream, if an ice-cream fork is provided.

12) If cutting the lettuce leaves of your salad is necessary, cut with your fork.

13) Make the least possible noise in chewing, and none at all in taking food from a spoon. Some[24]times, in eating crisp toast, for example, it is very difficult to avoid a crunching sound, but eat slowly, taking very small mouthfuls, and you can avoid noise.

14) Don't drink from a cup while it holds a spoon. When not using your teaspoon, let it lie on the saucer. Do not drink from your saucer. Stir quietly, and lay your spoon in your saucer at once.

15) At the table, keep your hands in your lap when you are not eating; toying with articles on the table is bad form.

16) Between courses, avoid lounging back in your chair; keep your spine straight, your body poised a little forward, and your mind occupied with the conversation which you are helping to make pleasant.

17) Eat a little less of everything than you might. Shrink from the slightest appearance of greediness.

18) Use knives, forks, and spoons in the order you find them. When in doubt, observe your hostess.

19) After dipping the tips of your fingers into your finger bowl, dry them lightly on your napkin.

20) When the hostess rises, boys, rise and draw back the chair of the girl or the woman next you as she rises, and let her precede you from the room.


This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

1) Take a complete bath at least three times a week; better still, every day.

2) Keep your hair, teeth, finger nails, and clothes in good condition. Look well groomed.

3) If you eat, sleep, and exercise properly, your health and your complexion will be at their best. Consult your gymnasium teacher on the subject, or consult a reliable book.

4) Girls, when you dress your hair too startlingly, wear waists that are too low or too thin, use powder and rouge, you remind boys and men of the wrong kind of woman. The best time for cosmetics, if you must use them, is not during your school days.

5) Of course dress as becomingly as you can; but, in the main, rely for your attractiveness on your attainments, your gentle manners, your tact, and your active desire to render others comfortable and happy.

6) Cultivate charm, girls and boys. The best teacher of "How to be charming," is a really kind heart. Every one of you can have that.

[26]7) If your heart is kind, you will learn to talk interestingly, and to listen intelligently.

8) Try, increasingly, to fit your word to your thought, and your thought to the fact. Being accurate does not mean being dull. Effective speech has much need for imagination, but very little for common slang. You understand and enjoy,—

These growing feathers plucked from Caesar's wing Will make him fly an ordinary pitch.

If, however, in slang phrase, a person spoke of "swiping Caesar's dope"; or of making Caesar "come off his perch," you would see that something fine in the thought had vanished. Practise expressing your ideas as attractively as possible.

9) Don't make cutting remarks about those who are absent; your wit may win a laugh, but its unkindness will cause others to like you the less. They will feel uncomfortable about what you may say of them in their absence.

10) Whenever you are curious about the wonderful experience which we call "birth," think of it reverently, and go at once for information to your father or mother; if you lack these, to some high-minded friend much older than you. Otherwise, inclose a stamped envelope addressed to yourself in a letter to the Y.M.C.A. or the Y.W.C.A.[27] or the Federal Bureau of Information, Washington, D.C., asking the title of the best book for a boy or a girl of your age, about the Beginnings of Life.

11) Never listen to explanations from the ignorant or the vulgar. Impure thoughts on this subject lead to the ruin of both body and spirit. Pure thoughts lead to the most precious possessions the world can give: father, mother, sister, brother, friend, husband, wife, children, home, country.

12) Be dependable. If any quality is most desirable, it is that of dependableness. In school you have wonderful opportunities for cultivating it.

13) Every one of you should aim to become economically independent. To that end, decide on a vocation and plan your studies accordingly. If you wish to change later, very well; but always work towards a definite goal.

14) Avoid showing your displeasure with an acquaintance by not bowing. To do so is crude. A formal bow should be bestowed even on an enemy. "Cut" an acquaintance only when you have reason to believe him an utterly unfit companion.

15) "Make up" at once with a friend. "I'm sorry," helps. But in case this fails, find a way that succeeds. Don't lose your friend.

16) Be courteous, frank, and friendly. Don't try to be popular by attracting attention. Popularity which has to be sought is of short duration.


Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam,—
His first, best country ever is at home.

1) The finer you are, the more certain you will be to practice in your own home every courtesy which you know is due elsewhere. If you are not polite and considerate in your home, you cannot help showing that fact away from home.

2) The spirit that aims at giving pleasure rather than annoyance or pain will not wish to take any "vacation." At first, the courteous thought and act may require conscious effort. Persistent practice, however, crystallizes this conscious effort into confirmed habit; the result is, a lady, a gentleman.

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