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A LESSON IN POLITENESS
Jonathan Swift, the famous English writer and the author of .Gulliver's Travels* was not very generous. He seldom gave anything to the servants or those who sent him presents. But once he received a lesson from a boy who very often carried him hares, partridges, and other game.
One day the boy arrived with a heavy basket contain ing fish, fruit, and game. He knocked at the door and Swift by chance opened it himself. «Неге», said the boy gruffly, «my master has sent you a basket full of things*.
Swift, feeling displeased at the boy's rude manner, said to him: «Соте here, my boy, and I will teach you how to deliver a message a little more politely; come, imagine yourself Jonathan Swift, and I will be the boy*. Then taking off his hat very politely, and addressing himself to the boy, he said. «Sir, my master sends you a little present, and begs you will do him the honour to accept it*.
•Oh, very well, my boy», replied the boy, «tell your master I am much obliged to him, and there is half a crown for yourself*. Swift laughed heartily, and gave the boy a crown for his wit.
One of the most striking features of English life is the self-discipline and courtesy of people of all classes. There is little noisy behaviour, and practically no loud disputing in the street. People do not rush excitedly for seats in buses or trains, but take their seats in queues at bus stops in a quiet and orderly manner.
Englishmen are naturally polite and are never tired in saying •Thank you*, «I'm sorry*, •Beg your pardon*. If you follow anyone who is entering a building or a room, he will hold a door open for you. Many foreigners have commented on a remarkable politeness of the English people. ,
English people don't like displaying their emotions even in dangerous and tragic situations, and ordinary people seem to remain good-tempered and cheerful un der difficulties.
The Englishman does not like any boasting or show ing off in manners, dress or speech. Sometimes he con ceals his knowledge: a linguist, for example, may not mention his understanding of a foreigner's language.
The Englishman prefers his own house to an apart ment in a block-of flats, because he doesn't wish his doing to be overlooked by his neighbours. «An English man's house is his castle*.
Many Englishmen help their wives at home in many ways. They clean the windows on Saturday afternoon
They often wash up the dishes after supper in the evening. Sunday is a very quiet day in London. All the shops are
Closed, and so are the theatres and most of the cinemas. Londoners like to get out of town on Sundays. The sea
Is not far — only fifty or sixty miles away and people like to go down to the sea in summer or somewhere to the country for skiing in winter.
American society seems to be much more informal than the British and, in some ways, is characterised by less social distinction. Students do not rise when a teacher enters the room. One does not always address a person by his title, such as «Major» or «General» or «Doctor». The respectful «Sir» is not always used in the northern and western parts of the country.
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