C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Good-breeding is surface Christianity.


Virtue itself often offends when coupled with bad manners.


A man’s good-breeding is the best security against another’s bad manners.


One may know a man that never conversed in the world, by his excess of good-breeding.


Good-breeding shows itself most where to an ordinary eye it appears the least.


Good qualities are the substantial riches of the mind; but it is good breeding that sets them off to advantage.


The scholar without good breeding is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable.


There are few defects in our nature so glaring as not to be veiled from observation by politeness and good-breeding.


As ceremony is the invention of wise men to keep fools at a distance, so good-breeding is an expedient to make fools and wise men equals.


Good-breeding is as necessary a quality in conversation, to accomplish all the rest, as grace in motion and dancing.

Sir Wm. Temple.

Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy is the best bred in the company.


It is not wit merely, but temper, which must form the well-bred man. In the same manner it is not a head merely, but a heart and resolution, which must complete the real philosopher.


Good-breeding carries along with it a dignity that is respected by the most petulant. Ill-breeding invites and authorizes the familiarity of the most timid.


The highest point of good-breeding, if any one can hit it, is to show a very nice regard to your own dignity, and with that in your heart, to express your value for the man above you.


Good-breeding is the art of showing men, by external signs, the internal regard we have for them. It arises from good sense, improved by conversing with good company.


A man endowed with great perfections, without good-breeding, is like one who has his pockets full of gold, but always wants change for his ordinary occasions.


One principal object of good-breeding is to suit our behaviour to the three several degrees of men,—our superiors, our equals, and those below us.


Good-breeding is the result of much good sense, some good-nature, and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them.


Perhaps the summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rule. “Behave unto all men as you would they should behave unto you.” This will most certainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing that we desire more than to be treated so by them.


Some young people do not sufficiently understand the advantages of natural charms, and how much they would gain by trusting to them entirely. They weaken these gifts of heaven, so rare and fragile, by affected manners and an awkward imitation. Their tones and their gait are borrowed; they study their attitudes before the glass until they have lost all trace of natural manner, and, with all their pains, they please but little.

La Bruyère.

We see a world of pains taken and the best years of life spent in collecting a set of thoughts in a college for the conduct of life, and after all the man so qualified shall hesitate in his speech to a good suit of clothes, and want common sense before an agreeable woman. Hence it is that wisdom, valour, justice and learning cannot keep a man in countenance that is possessed with these excellencies, if he wants that inferior art of life and behaviour called good-breeding.


There is no society or conversation to be kept up in the world without good-nature, or something which must bear its appearance, and supply its place. For this reason mankind have been forced to invent a kind of artificial humanity, which is what we express by the word “good-breeding.” For, if we examine thoroughly the idea of what we call so, we shall find it to be nothing else but an imitation and mimicry of good-nature, or, in other terms, affability, complaisance, and easiness of temper reduced into an art.