The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice
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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year , by G. Man was not intended to live like a bear or a hermit, apart from others of his own nature, and, philosophy and reason will each agree with me, that man was born for sociability and finds his true delight in society. Society is a word capable of many meanings, and used here in each and all of them. Society, par excellence ; the world at large; the little clique to which he is bound by early ties; the companionship of friends or relatives; even society tete a tete with one dear sympathizing soul, are pleasant states for a man to be in. Taking the word in its most extended view, it is the world; but in the light we wish to impress in our book it is the smaller world of the changing, pleasant intercourse of each city or town in which our reader may chance to abide. The young man who makes his first entrance into the world of society, should know how to choose his friends, and next how to conduct himself towards them.
Imagine giving a modern day young man a handbook telling him how to behave at a dinner party. Or perhaps a manual on the proper ways to court and ultimately marry a young woman. One can only imagine his reaction. Many guides were published in the 19th century that were useful for a gentleman in his everyday life. Some focused on general advice for young men on such topics as their duties and conduct in various social and work scenarios. Others provided education on recreational activities such as hunting, horse riding, football and croquet. Many of the etiquette guides and manuals for gentlemen back in the day revolved around the fairer sex.