Having bestowed some pains to cultivate the personal movements of the bog-trotter, it now remained to endeavour to improve his manners. This the Captain undertook himself, and though he had not read Chesterfield, yet he had some common ideas of decency, and delicacy in habits, and behavior. On this point, addressing his pupil, he began.
Teague, said he, you have now got, in literal terms your rough coat off; that is, you have some better dress, than what you used to wear; you have also had some lessons, in what manner to stand, or move your feet, as there may be occasion; it now remains to instruct you with regard to habits of delicacy, in some matters. You must be careful to keep your hands and face clean; pair your nails, and let no black be under them. Wash the inside of your mouth, and brush your teeth; keep a handkerchief, and wipe your nose with this, not with your bare hand; when you cough, spit out, even should there be nothing to spit, lest the imagination of another, may suppose that there is.
In the next place you will be careful to avoid scratching your head, or putting your hand in the waistband of your breeches, or turning your back to the fire, and pulling up your coat behind, which is the way of the vulgar. Put but a small quid of tobacco in your mouth, not swell to the cheeks as if you had robbed a weaver of a ball of yarn, and put it there. Do not spit on a floor, if you must spit. In eating, sit close to the table; do not put your nose too near the plate; put but a little in your mouth at once; do not speak while your mouth is full, or while you chew. If any one speaks to you in this predicament, bow, as much as to say, I will answer you presently: yu will avoid picking your teeth with a fork; or sucking your fingers after fish. Drink healths sparingly, if at all. Do not blow in your cup to cool your tea. Keep your infirmities to yourself, and do not complain of costiveness, or laxativeness; of pains in the bowels, &c. A gentleman should have no complaints, unless to his physician, of any thing but the gout, or a fever, or the like. Give no information of a bad digestion, or food being heavy or light to your stomach; of your agreeing with this or that food, but its not agreeing with you, as the vulgar say; that is, as we shall understand you, it gives you the belly-ache. Take care not to value yourself on your eating, as that will show a gross mind; or on your drinking much, as that is but a low ambition. Sing no bawdy songs, especially amongst ladies, such as Brian OLinn, and Arthur OBradly; or that about Tristram Shandy O. For though these were suitable enough to your former station, and such as you have been accustomed to sing among the girls at the taverns, yet they will not pass amongst more refined company. You must get some more fashionable airs, such as the Bird, or Guardian Angels, or the like.
Even at clubs, amongst gentlemen, I would recommend it to you to avoid lewd and indecent songs; especially if they are of the gross and disgusting kind. As you are an Irishman, a verse or two of Lango Lee might be excuseable. It is true, that in the higher ranks, among both males and females, the double entendre is sometimes used; but unless it is with great delicacy, and relieved by singular wit, it is not admissible.
There are rules of good manners which you are to observe. Such as when you walk with any person, let them walk next the wall; if you are about to enter a room with another, let him enter first: or if about to sit down, give way to another who is also about to sit down. Decline the higher seat. You must not talk too much; especially about yourself, boasting, as I have heard you do sometimes, of jumping and trotting, and how you could wrestle. I am afraid, Teague, that after all the pains I am taking with you, you will spoil the broth, by some out-breakings of your old tricks and habits, in some way or other. However, since I have suffered myself to be persuaded to try the matter, let it go on, we shall see the issue of it.
These are the outlines of some of the hints upon manners given by the Captain.