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trade they profess. For, being wholly illiterate, and conversing chiefly with each other, they reduce the whole system of breeding within the forms and circles of their several offices : and, as they are below the notice of ministers, they live and die in court under all revolutions, with great obsequiousness to those who are in any degree of credit or favour, and with rudeness and insolence to every body else. Whence I have long concluded, that good manners are not a plant of the court growth: for if they were, those people, who have understandings directly of a level for such acquirements, who have served such long apprenticeships to nothing else, would certainly have picked them up. For, as to the great officers, who attend the prince's person or councils, or preside in his family, they are a transient body, who have no better a title to good manners than their neighbours, nor will probably have recourse to gentlemen ushers for instruction. So that I know little to be learned at court upon this head, except in the material circumstance of dress; wherein the authority of the maids of honour must indeed be allowed to be almost equal to that of a favourite actress.
I remember a passage my lord Bolingbroke told me; that going to receive prince Eugene of Savoy at his landing, in order to conduct him immediately to the queen, the prince said, he was much concerned that he could not see her majesty that night ; for monsieur Hoffman (who was then by) had assured his highness that he could not be admitted into her presence with a tied up periwig; that his equipage was not arrived ; and that he had endeavoured in vain to borrow a long one among all his valets and pages. My lord turned the matter into a jest, and brought
the prince to her majesty ; for which he was highly censured by the whole tribe of gentlemen ushers; among whom monsieur Hoffman, an old dull resident of the emperor's, had picked up this material point of ceremony; and which, I believe, was the best lesson he had learned in five and twenty years residence.
I make a difference between good manners and good breeding; although, in order to vary my expression, I am sometimes forced to confound them. By the first, I only understand the art of remembering and applying certain settled forms of general be. haviour. But good breeding is of a much larger extent; for, beside an uncommon degree of literature sufficient to qualify a gentleman for reading a play or a political pamphlet, it takes in a great compass of knowledge; no less than that of dancing, fighting, gaming, making the circle of Italy, riding the great horse, and speaking French; not to mention some other secondary or subaltern accomplishments, which are more easily acquired. So that the difference between good breeding and good manners lies in this; that the former cannot be attained to by the best understandings without study and labour : whereas a tolerable degree of reason will instruct us in every part of good manners, without other assistance.
I can think of nothing more useful upon this subject, than to point out some particulars, wherein the very essentials of good manners are concerned, the neglect or perverting of which does very much disturb the good commerce of the world, by introducing a traffick of mutual uneasiness in most companies. First, a necessary part of good manners is a punctual observance of time at our own dwellings, or those of others, or at third places ; whether upon malter of civility, business, or diversion ; which rule, though it be a plain dictate of common reason, yet the greatest minister I ever knew was the greatest trespasser against it; by which all his business doubled upon him, and placed him in a continual arrear. Upon which I often used to rally him, as deficient in point of good manners. I have known more than one ambassador, and secretary of state, with a very moderate portion of intellectuals, execute their offices with good success and applause, by the mere force of exactness and regularity. If you duly observe time for the service of another, it doubles the obligation ; if upon your own account, it would be manifest folly, as well as ingratitude, to neglect it; if both are concerned, to make your equal or.inferiour attend on you to his own disadvantage, is pride and injustice.
Ignorance of forms cannot properly be styled ill manners: because forms are subject to frequent changes; and consequently, being not founded upon reason, are beneath a wise man's regard. Besides, they vary in every country; and after a short period of time, very frequently in the same ; so that a man, who travels, must needs be at first a stranger to them in every court through which he passes ; and, perhaps, at his return, as much a stranger in his own; and after all, they are easier to be remembered or forgotten than faces or names.
Indeed, among the many impertinencies that superficial young men bring with them from abroad, this bigotry of forms is one of the principal, and more predominant than the rest; who look upon them not
only as if they were matters capable of admitting of choice, but even as points of importance; and are therefore zealous upon all occasions to introduce and propagate the new forms and fashions they have brought back with them: So that, usually speaking, the worst bred
is just returned from abroad.
MRS. JOHNSON (STELLA).
THIS day, being Sunday, January 28th, 1727-8, about eight o'clock at night, a servant brought me a note, with an account of the death of the truest, most virtuous, and valuable friend, that I, or perhaps any other person, was ever blessed with. She expired about six in the evening of this day; and as soon as I am left alone, which is about eleven at night, I resolve, for my own satisfaction, to say something of her life and character.
She was born at Richmond in Surry, on the thirteenth day of March, in the year 1681. Her father was a younger brother of a good family in Nottinghamshire, her mother of a lower degree ; and indeed she had little to boast of her birth. I knew her from six years old, and had some share in her education, by directing what books she should read, and
perpetually instructing her in the principles of honour and virtue ; from which she never swerved in any one action or moment of her life. She was sickly from her childhood until about the age of fifteen, but then