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Civility is a perfectly smooth surface when politeness is a polished surface

Civility is a perfectly smooth surface when politeness  is a polished surface Civility is a perfectly smooth surface when politeness  is a polished surface
Source: Marcus Stone (British, 1840-1921) – In Love
True politeness
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True politeness
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Civility and politeness essentially consist, if I am not deceived, in a kind way of dealing and conversing with others in society. They are, then, the expression or the counterfeit of social virtues; the ex-pression if true, the counterfeit if false.

Observe attentively the difference between the one and the other; for, as you know, there do not exist two terms precisely synonymous. There is, therefore, a difference between civility and politeness, a sort of gradation from the first to the second. To be polite means more than to be civil. A polite person is necessarily civil; but a person simply civil is not polite. Politeness, therefore, not only supposes civility, but adds to it. The latter is by communication with men what public devotion is in regard to God, an exterior and sensible testimony of the interior sentiments that ought to animate us; and even in this it is precious as inspiring exterior deference and kindness. It is an open confession of the esteem and benevolence that ought to reign within.

Politeness adds to civility what fervor gives to public devotion: namely, the marks of a more effective piety. In the former case, it is indicative of a more expansive benevolence, a grander forgetful-ness of self-interest, a greater devotedness to the neighbor, with a nature or disposition more occupied with others' weals and woes, more refined and more exquisite. Hence it is more difficult to acquire polite-ness than to possess mere civility. The latter is a ceremonial that has its conventional rules, which we cannot divine, but which are, so to say, palpable, and to discover which a little attention suffices.

Politeness, on the contrary, consists in doing nothing, in saying nothing displeasing to others; in doing everything, in saying everything pleasing to them, as far as conscience permits, and this in such a way as to express one's self cleverly in an easy, engaging, affable manner without affectation. It supposes culture of the natural qualities, perfected by habit, kindness, and sweetness; refinement of sentiment; delicacy to discern quickly what is suitable in our relations with various persons or circumstances; that pliancy of temper to make one's self all to all in as much as is according to the law of God; facility to enter into the dispositions and adopt the sentiments of those with whom the present occasion brings us in contact, and the power to stifle all that  might be opposed to this. For this reason even a simple peasant For this reason even a simple peasant may, after some lessons, become civil; but it is only a person of culture, one graced by education or possessed of the spirit of God, that can be really polite. Let us re-view the whole question: civility consists in care to avoid in manner, gesture, or words all that could shock or wound the neighbor. It is like a perfectly smooth surface. Politeness is a manner of comporting one's self, of speaking and acting, that is full of suavity and condescension. It is like a polished surface.

(...)

True politeness is something more refined, more delicate and exquisite, than civility. It, therefore, supposes less reserve of manner, more tact to discern the strong and weak points of those that sur-round us daily or whom we meet occasionally; more abnegation and self-renunciation; in a word, more charity.

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