Books: Rules of Civility

University of Virginia Press, 2003 | ISBN 0-8139-2218-6

These etiquette tips, copied by George Washington when he was a boy, helped turn a planter’s son at the edge of civilization into a republican statesman. How do you mold the inner man? Learn how to handle your fork and your hat.


[Rule #] 9 Spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it, neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat upon it.

Today we have stoves and central heat. But the basic point—don’t monopolize amenities, or spoil them for others—remains valid.

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