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The 1920s:

April 2023
1min read

“Should Politeness Ever Be Met With Cheap Sarcasm?”

If a man who is smoking in the street sees the motor of a woman he knows stop beside him and he goes to speak to her, should he throw away his cigar or cigarette?

If the interview is to last only an instant, he might hold his cigar in his hand; if the lady stopped to talk for several minutes or if she invited him to drive with her, he would naturally throw it away; at the very least, he would offer to do so. A woman of his own age who did not mind smoking might beg him to keep his cigar.

Should we recognize our tradespeople or others who serve us when they are met on the street?

Why not, if we know them? If we are on pleasant conversational terms with the butcher, the baker, and candlestick maker in their shops, we should naturally recognize them in the street or anywhere.

Should politeness ever be met with cheap sarcasm?

Never. A wife who accepts some small politeness from her husband by saying “You must have a guilty conscience” or “You must want me to do something for you,” instead of a grateful “Thank you,” discourages further civility.

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