It is not given to every man to be a brilliant talker, or to express himself in writing with elegance or force. Both of these are gifts of the few, not possessions of the many. There is, however, no reason why any person who goes into society should be ignorant of the rules of polite intercourse, or fail to master all the customary forms of address.

It is almost useless to repeat that your conversation should be adapted to your company, for that is a golden rule which

one should know almost by intuition. In mixed groups one should sedulously avoid all such mooted points as politics and religion, and every topic likely to excite argument or lead to heated discussion.

You cannot be too careful in avoiding, in mixed assemblages, subjects which may prove to point directly to some persons present. For instance, do not speak of the laxity of the divorce laws when Mr. M. or Mrs. N. may, unknown to you, have passed through the divorce court. And do not express yourself strongly against second marriages, when there may, perhaps, be one or two examples among your listeners, If a sudden silence, with perhaps a conscious look, follows your words, you had better change the subject as quickly as possible, and be glad that you have escaped from a hornets' nest without a sting.