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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Family, People and Relationships

Gentlemanly Conduct

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -
Gentlemanly Conduct…. GENTLEMANLY CONDUCT. – Self-respect is the safest prevention against quarrelling. The man who is sure of his own position is the slowest to suspect another of any design to question it; - and hence the art of avoiding altercations has generally been deemed one of the peculiar characteristics of a gentleman. Never to seem afraid of being put upon, as the phrase goes – never to argue a question merely lest people should think you can not argue it – never to fight simply for fear the lookers on might think you a coward – these are some of the maxims on which all men of superior minds act, habitually and unconsciously; and it is this habit which gives to such men that air of repose and self-possession before which fools stand abashed and dandies are wile with envy.

Few men can have mingled, even in the slightest degree, in society, without noticing that one prominent feature is the character of a parvenue, is his proneness to take offence. His ankles are sharper, his corns “more tender,” than those of other people. There is really no knowing where to be safe with him. The moment you put your finger on him, his bristles stand out like a hedgehog’s. The best plan, of course, is to leave such a character alone. We should do our best to avoid infringing on their ramified irritability. It is senseless to provoke a man, whoever he may be, who has the power to be mischievous. The man who wants to fight you in the streets because you push against him, may be a low fellow, but that will be no consolation if you go home with a black eye. Neither will it much mend the matter if you give him two in return. On the whole, you will consider it a very disagreeable business, and wish devoutly you had never to into it.