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Her Ladyship’s Notebook: A collection of wisdom, inspiration and advice on being a lady.  Sometimes useful, sometimes beautiful, sometimes a bit dated, sometimes timeless!

I have some beautiful words for you today from the wonderful Florence Hartley.

Too often when people talk about politeness they think of saying the right words, using the right fork and remembering the right term of address when you meet the Queen, but that doesn’t do justice to the spirit of politeness that should lie behind every graceful gesture or word.

Mrs Hartley explains it as follows:

True politeness is the language of a good heart, and those possessing that heart will never, under any circumstances be rude. They may not enter a crowded saloon gracefully; they may be entirely ignorant of the forms of good society; they may be awkward at table, ungrammatical in speech; but they will never be heard speaking so as to wound the feelings of another; they will never be seen making others uncomfortable by seeking sorely for their own personal convenience; they will always endeavor to set every one around them at ease; they will be self-sacrificing, friendly, unselfish; truly in word and deed, polite

When I think of politeness in these terms I think it becomes a noble ambition to reach for. Politeness isn’t about an outward show of acceptable behaviour but about choosing, again and again, to be considerate, to be kind towards the people around you.

I think that is a goal that is attainable for everyone.

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