This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
If you have wit, or fancy you have, which is oftener the case, it is well to use it with caution and judgment, and particularly to avoid seeking butts for your wit among your associates. Wit is a quality which all admire, yet which most fear, and which no one enjoys being made the victim of. If used in a satirical manner it is often malignant in character, and any man possessed of this cutting weapon may find much better occasions for its use than against the self-love or the foibles of his acquaintances. A wise man, indeed, will live as much within his wit as within his income, and it is far better to be content with good sense and reason, which can never hurt, than with this shining but cutting plaything of wit. However you may be admired for your sharpness of repartee, it is still true that respect and affection can be won only by good sense and amiable consideration of the feelings of others.
There is a species of minor wit, that known as raillery, which is much used, and much abused. It is a dangerous and mischievous weapon in unskilful hands, and had better be left entirely alone. In truth, the injustice of a bad man is often more quickly forgiven than the insults of a witty one. The former injures us in property; the latter hurts us in soul, mortifying that secret pride which we all possess. Raillery, indeed, is not always offensive; it may even be used to flatter, as when we accuse one of faults which they are notoriously free from. But this sort of raillery needs a skilled hand to manage, and had better be left quite alone if it cannot be handled judiciously.