Montreal Daily Star, 1 December 1911, page 8


Manners in Public


“How these people shove and push,” said one woman to another, coming out of a meeting the other day.  “One would suppose it was a matter of life and death getting out as quickly as possible.”  “No not that,” was the reply, “simply the ordinary Canadian dearth of good manners.”  This little conversation, which is reported exactly as it took place, led one to think it is characteristic of Canadians to have bad manners. There is a little cheap in more sense than one London paper, called “John Bull” which takes a delight in saying all the evil things it can about Canada and Canadians.  One of the utterances of its companion paper, “Mrs John Bull” recently was, that Canadian women were sullen, selfish and mannerless.  Is this accusation deserved? It ascribed the last mentioned characteristic to conceit and envy.  Whatever the causes may be there is little doubt that our manners are not so good on this side of the ocean as they are on the other.  It might even be said that our manners are not as good as across the line. A Canadian mother living in the States, who constantly travels to and fro with a large little family said she noticed the difference as soon as the line was crossed. The people were not so friendly, not so ready to do kind actions.  But my conclusions, arrived at from constant thought and long study of the public, is that our poor manners arise not from a bad heart, but from lack of early training, combined with a certain shyness and diffidence. There is also a noticeable lack of thought, which is of course, the result of a lack of right training in youth.  There are not nearly as many “thank yous” and “pleases” as there should be.  Every kind deed should be met with a smile and a hearty word of thanks. Persons open doors for others, give up their seat for others pass, and all without a word of thanks. One of the Boy Scout rules is that a good deed must be done each day.  An excellent rule for one and all is that every good deed should receive its meed of thanks. It is scarcely possible to be too hearty, too grateful, for favours received. Thoughtfulness for others and an appreciation of kindnesses, such are the foundation s of good manners.  AC