Horace had been properly taught to be polite and to say nice things to people.
At his first stag dance in junior high school he found himself struggling with a more than plump partner.
When his parents asked him how he enjoyed the evening, he was only half enthusiastic. After some prodding he finally admitted that he hadn't enjoyed his dance with the chubby miss. "But, dad," he hurried to explain. "I did say something nice to her."
"What was it, son?"
"I told her, 'You sweat less than any fat girl I ever danced with.'"
'Love does not behave itself unseemly but is always courteous, polite, and becoming in demeanor,' says J. Oswald Sanders in Light on Life's Problems. Then he recounts an incident told of Louis XIV of France.
On one occasion he was narrating a story before his courtiers at Versailles, when suddenly he ended it very lamely. A few minutes after, a prince left the room. The king then said, 'You must have noticed how lamely my story ended. I forgot that it reflected on an ancestor of the prince who has just left the room; and I thought it better to spoil a good story than to distress a good man.' That was courtesy.
(1 Pet. 3. 8)
The mayor of a French town had, in accordance with the regulations, to make out a passport for a rich and highly respectable lady of his acquaintance, who, in spite of a slight disfigurement, was very vain of her personal appearance. His native politeness prompted him to gloss over the defect, and, after a moment's reflection, he wrote among the items of personal description: "Eyes dark, beautiful, tender, expressive, but one of them missing."
Mrs. Taft, at a diplomatic dinner, had for a neighbor a distinguished French traveler who boasted a little unduly of his nation's politeness.
"We French," the traveler declared, "are the politest people in the world. Every one acknowledges it. You Americans are a remarkable nation, but the French excel you in politeness. You admit it yourself, don't you?"
Mrs. Taft smiled delicately.
"Yes," she said. "That is our politeness."
Justice Moody was once riding on the platform of a Boston street car standing next to the gate that protected passengers from cars coming on the other track. A Boston lady came to the door of the car and, as it stopped, started toward the gate, which was hidden from her by the man standing before it.
"Other side, lady," said the conductor.
He was ignored as only a born-and-bred Bostonian can ignore a man. The lady took another step toward the gate.
"You must get off the other side," said the conductor.
"I wish to get off on this side," came the answer, in tones that congealed that official. Before he could explain or expostulate Mr. Moody came to his assistance.
"Stand to one side, gentlemen," he remarked quietly. "The lady wishes to climb over the gate."
The witness was obviously a rustic and quite new to the ways of a court-room. So, the judge directed him:
"Speak to the jury, sir—the men sitting behind you on the benches."
The witness turned, bowed clumsily and said: