Thursday, 30 June 2016

11 September 1880 - Answers to Correspondents - Miscellaneous

W.A.A. - You ask no question, or we should have had more than ordinary pleasure in answering one who sends such a charmingly-expressed and gracious a letter, solely to express her thanks to the editor and his staff of contributors. Any trouble we take is amply rewarded by the receipt of letters like yours.

GLADYS - 1. It is very ill-bred to reply, "It is granted" when a person begs pardon for some trifling accident or little breach of etiquette, because by so doing you imply that such pardon was required. On the contrary, you should repudiate the idea that you had received any injury or slight, ad so set your friend at ease. "Not at all," "Don't mention it," or some such words suitable to the occasion, would be in better taste. 2. Never omit to thank either man, woman, or child (whether gentle or simple) for any little service or attention. Say "Thank you," or, "I am obliged to you," if to a gentleman, and you wish to be formal; never say "thanks" -it is a vulgar abbreviation, and to an inferior would be much too familiar. From so constantly hearing the word, even well-bred people have fallen into the habit of using it. 3. Be careful not to make any one repeat what they have said. Rather guess what has been said, and let them correct your mistake. To say, "I beg your pardon" has become such a trick amongst young people that they make themselves quite a nuisance. Never pass any acquaintance as if unknown to you; but a slight smile and equally slight inclination of the head would be sufficient, should your eyes meet the second time of passing them. 4. You should not say, "You are welcome" when a tradesman thanks you for paying his bill. 5. The lady has the right of bowing first; circumstances must regulate the question of which speaks first after the recognition.

GREEN PEA PODS - 1. Yes. 2. Feed your toy terrier as often as you feed yourself. Share your meals with it, but give plenty of exercise, else it will get fat. 3. No, we certainly do not admire your handwriting.

MAROON - So long as you find that your gums are not irritated by cleaning your teeth with soot, and that it does not go between the gums and teeth, you may continue its use.

CORA - I fear that you would not be suitable for a companion, as you do not express yourself in good English, for you should be able to undertake the correspondence of your employer, if required. The qualifications of a companion are similar, in many respects, to those of a governess. She should play fairly well, and be able to accompany any one who sings; should be a good needlewoman; understand something of both nursing and housekeeping, should be an agreeable reader, understanding how to modulate her voice, and where to lay the emphasis of any sentence. She should be equally agreeable in conversation, pleasing in manner; knowing how to maintain a certain degree of reserve, and how to keep up her own dignity, and yet not to place herself on an equality with her employer, which requires a good deal of tact. You say that you "move in genteel society"; this is a vulgarism, and if you made use of such an expression to the lady about to engage you - if a well-bred person herself - she would judge you by it, and decline your services.

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