|Diane's Antique Book Collection|
The Art of Conversing with Fluency and Propriety
Speaking of the absent.- Never volunteer unnecessarily in speaking ill of anybody. You may indeed be placed in circumstances in which it may be proper and even necessary that you should express an unfavorable opinion of characters; that you should state facts concerning them of the most disagreeable nature.
What is objectionable is that you should do this when circumstances do not require it, and when no good will be likely to result from it; for it at once indicates a bad disposition, and is a means by which that disposition will gain strength. But in no case allow yourself to make any unfavorable representation of a character, unless you have ample evidence that it is accordant with truth. By neglecting to observe this suggestion, you may irretrievably injure an innocent person, and procure for yourself an undesirable name.
Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884