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Lord Chesterfield Quotes


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Learning is acquired by reading books, but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men, and studying all the various facets of them.
[Learning]
 

Let them show me a cottage where there are not the same vices of which they accuse the courts.
 

Let your enemies be disarmed by the gentleness of your manner, but at the same time let them feel, the steadiness of your resentment.
 

Let your letter be written as accurately as you are able - I mean as to language, grammar, and stops; but as to the matter of it the less trouble you give yourself the better it will be. Letters should be easy and natural, and convey to the persons to whom we send just what we should say if we were with them.
 

Little, vicious minds abound with anger and revenge, and are incapable of feeling the pleasure of forgiving their enemies.
[Forgiveness]
 

Look in the face of the person to whom you are speaking if you wish to know his real sentiments, for he can command his words more easily than his countenance.
 

Loud laughter is the mirth of the mob, who are only pleased with silly things; for true wit or good sense never excited a laugh since the creation of the world. - A man of parts and fashion, therefore, is only seen to smile, but never heard to laugh.
 

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
 

Manners must adorn knowledge and smooth its way in the world; without them it is like a great rough diamond, very well in a closet by way of curiosity, and also for its intrinsic value; but most prized when polished.
[Manners]
 

Many new years you may see, but happy ones you cannot see without deserving them. These virtue, honor, and knowledge alone can merit, alone can produce.
[Virtue]
 

Men are much more unwilling to have their weaknesses and their imperfections known than their crimes.
 

Men, as well as women, are oftener led by their hearts than their undertandings. - The way to the heart is through the senses; please the eyes and ears, and the work is half done.
[Heart]
 

Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise.
[Modesty]
 

Mutual comulaisances, attentions, and sacrifices of little conveniences, are as natural an implied compact between civilized people, as protection and obedience are between kings and subjects; whoever, in either case, violates that compact, justly forfeits all advantages arising from it.
[Politeness]
 

Never hold any one by the button or the hand in order to be heard out; for if people are unwilling to hear you, you had better hold your tongue than them.
[Conversation]
 

Never seem wiser, nor more learned, than the people you are with. Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not merely pull it out and strike it; merely to show that you have one.
 

Next to clothes being fine, they should be well made, and worn easily: for a man is only the less genteel for a fine coat, if, in wearing it, he shows a regard for it, and is not as easy in it as if it were a plain one.
 

Next to doing things that deserve to be written, nothing gets a man more credit, or gives him more pleasure than to write things that deserve to be read.
 

No man can possibly improve in any company for which he has not respect enough to be under some degree of restraint.
[Companionship]
 

Not to perceive the little weaknesses and the idle but innocent affectations of the company may be allowable as a sort of polite duty. The company will be pleased with you if you do, and most probably will not be reformed by you if you do not.
[Politeness]
 


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