A Lesson in Manners
Fifty Famous People
One morning there was a loud knock at Dean Swift's door. The servant opened it. A man who was outside handed her a fine duck that had lately been killed, and said,—"Here's a present for the Dean. It's from Mr. Boyle."
Then, without another word, he turned and walked away.
A few days afterward the man came again. This time he brought a partridge. "Here's another bird from Mr. Boyle."
Now, Mr. Boyle was a sporting neighbor who spent a good deal of time in shooting. He was a great admirer of Dean Swift, and took pleasure in sending him presents of game.
The third time, the man brought a quail. "Here's something else for the Dean," he said roughly, and tossed it into the servant's arms.
The servant complained to her master. "That fellow has no manners," she said.
"The next time he comes," said the Dean, "let me know, and I will go to the door."
It was not long until the man came with another present. The Dean went to the door.
"Here's a rabbit from Mr. Boyle," said the man.
"See here," said the Dean in a stern voice, "that is not the way to deliver a message here. Just step inside and make believe that you are Dean Swift. I will go out and make believe that I am bringing him a present. I will show you how a messenger ought to behave."
"I'll agree to that," said the man; and he stepped inside. The Dean took the rabbit and went out of the house. He walked up the street to the next block. Then he came back and knocked gently at the door.
The door was opened by the man from Mr. Boyle's. The Dean bowed gracefully and said, "If you please, sir, Mr. Boyle's compliments, and he wishes you to accept of this fine rabbit."
"Oh, thank you," said the man very politely. Then, taking out his purse, he offered the Dean a shilling. "And here is something for your trouble."
The lesson in manners was not forgotten; for, always after that, the man was very polite when he brought his presents. And the Dean also took the hint; for he always remembered to give the man a "tip" for his trouble. Jonathan Swift, often called Dean Swift, was famous as a writer on many subjects. Among other books he wrote "Gulliver's Travels," which you, perhaps, will read some time.