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The Pocket Chesterfield
by Gordon Dorrance
Originally published in 1920 by our company founder Gordon Dorrance this reprint of The Pocket Chesterfield is his study to make the letters of Lord Chesterfield useful to every class of youth at the time.
The good Lord was born 1694, died 1773, and left an excellent reputation as wit, politician, letter-writer, gourmet, pamphleteer and practicing gentleman. As an orator, we hear, he was “Petronius.” His interests at an early age were gallantry and gaming, outwardly. As a Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, even then a parlous post, he had the friendship of tenantry; was usually a careless disinterested husband to his wife, the daughter of a king; throughout a good enemy of the Walpoles and not admired of Doctor Johnson; patron of literature, reformer of calendars.
A 1921 issue of a publication titled The Independent contains a review of the book, calling it a “little volume of gentlemanly wisdom.”
Dorrance describes the need for the book in the foreword:
Have you a shambling gait? Do you start, stammer, stutter? Does your blood need iron? Do you stumble upstairs, and fall down? Are you painfully veracious, silent, verbose—acidly formal, cruelly frank? Do you lose your breath, glide on your dancing partner’s feet, mumble your words, fumble your food? Have you a cultivated taste? Does your heart stop beating? Do you tuck your napkin in your vest, do toothpicks no longer satisfy? Have you weak knees, jumpy nerves, acute awkwardness, palpitation of the heart, a sharp tongue, cold feet, a hot head, blushes? Would you like a feather in your cap? (Answer freely.) Do you yearn to talk about the lovely weather? Are you sour-tempered, old-fashioned, bashful, cross-eyed? Do you lack backbone and stiff upper lips, drop your r’s, cross your i’s, dot your t’s manhandle consonants and vowels? Does your wickedness terrify— or your righteousness slay—all them that do socially seek you? Do you always put your foot in it? Do you wish you had never been born, or opened your mouth? Can you get mad and not swear? Do you drop knives, money, teeth, serviettes, hints? Are you a bore—boor—boar?
If so, you need Lord Chesterfield. He should be taken on arising, before-and-after meals and in the evenings. Ladies and Gentlemen! and you, sad friend or rich relation—
(2016, Hardcover, 154 pages)