Appointments and Punctuality

[This is taken from the Laws of Etiquette.]

When you make an appointment, always be exact in observing it. In some places, and on some occasions, a quarter of an hour’s grace is given. This depends on custom, and it is always better not to avail yourself of it. In Philadelphia it is necessary to be punctual to a second, for there everybody breathes by the State-house clock If you make an appointment to meet anywhere, your body must be in a right line with the frame of the door at the instant the first stroke of the great clock sounds. If you are a moment later, your character is gone. It is useless to plead the evidence of your watch, or detention by a friend. You read your condemnation in the action of the old fellows who, with polite regard to your feelings, simultaneously pull out their vast chronometers, as you enter. The tardy man is worse off than the murderer. He may be pardoned by one person, (the Governor); the unpunctual is pardoned by none. Haud inexpectus loquor.

If you make an appointment with another at your own house, you should be invisible to the rest of the world, and consecrate your time solely to him.

If you make an appointment with a lady, especially if it be upon a promenade, or other public place, you must be there a little before the time.

If you accept an appointment at the house of a public officer, or a man of business, be very punctual, transact the affair with despatch, and retire the moment it is finished.




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