He spoke of the Crimean campaign; of that chivalrous war when the officers of both armies, enemies to each other, exchanged politenesses and cigars during the suspension of arms. He told fine military anecdotes, and Madame Roger, seeing her son's face excited with enthusiasm at these heroic deeds, became gloomy at once. Maurice noticed it first. "Take care, Colonel," said he.
She caught it back and reproved it. We went through the green gate in the high garden wall. I held it open for her to pass through, for this was one of my restricted stock of stiff politenesses, and then for a second she was near touching me. So we came to the trim array of flower-beds near the head gardener's cottage and the vistas of "glass" on our left.
Those, however, who act in this way naturally, because their profession obliges them to lead a recluse life, or because their character rebels against feigned politenesses and conventional usage, ought in common justice to be tolerated. What claim by right have you on him? Why should you force him to take part in those vain pastimes, which his love for a quiet life induces him to shun?
"Men who live in the wilderness," continued Lumley, merely answering the interruption with a smile, "ought to be unusually particular about keeping up all the politenesses of civilised life, instead of dropping them, and ought to be inexpressibly thankful when a soft and civilising influence, like Miss Macnab, condescends to visit them with a ray of sunshine from the old country."
The Guru is coming to tiffin with me, Georgie. Cannot I persuade you to stop?" "Delighted!" said Georgie. "We met before in a sort of way, didn't we?" "Yes, indeed. So pleased," said the Guru. "Let us go in," said Lucia, "It is close on lunch-time." Georgie followed, after a great many bowings and politenesses from the Guru. He was not sure if he had the makings of a Bolshevist.
He was a reserved man with a really cold nature. He disliked fuss and what he called "ebullitions of affection;" he hated kissing and fondling. He liked to treat even his nearest and dearest with ceremony, but he was a perfect host the little attentions, the small politenesses which the rôle of host requires, suited his character exactly.
Patricius married to be like everybody else and also because he was well over forty, and his mother an old woman who would soon be no longer able to run his house. Monnica also had her mother. The two old women had a meeting, with many politenesses and ceremonious bowings, and because the thing appeared to them reasonable and most suitable, they settled the marriage.
Odo Russell, and around him Manning set to work to spin his spider's web of delicate and clinging diplomacy. Preliminary politenesses were followed by long walks upon the Pincio, and the gradual interchange of more and more important and confidential communications. Soon poor Mr. Russell was little better than a fly buzzing in gossamer.
"What I meant was that I wouldn't trust people generally, because it's a selfish world, and such is the depravity of the human mind that if it appears at all convenient, we are apt, you know, to sacrifice other people to our own interests; so, with all the little kindnesses and politenesses which are current in society, it is still the common practice and if is best that it should be so to keep, in the main, a sharp look out for 'Number One!"
For an hour he wrote trivial politenesses to hostesses who had extended hospitality or were going to do so; there was a reply to a literary agent, one to a moving-picture concern, an answer to a critic, and a note of thanks to an admirer.