Being a gentleman is complicated business, but at some point in the last few decades, people got squeamish about explaining how to do it. So in search of a proper etiquette guide, we had to go all the way back to 1866, with Martine’s Hand-Book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness.
It’s a single guide to every situation a gentleman might face—from dressing well to encountering unattended ladies in the street (a novel experience at the time). And since you’re too busy to peruse the full 163 pages, we’ve pulled out 30 of the most useful tidbits. Here’s a taste:
An unassuming simplicity in dress should always be preferred, as it prepossesses everyone in favor of the wearer.
The modest man is seldom the object of envy.
Think like the wise; but talk like ordinary people.
It is a great and difficult talent to be a good listener, but it is one which the well-bred man has to acquire, at whatever pains.
There is a graceful manner of holding a hat, which every well-bred man understands.