Tandon notes its heroine's penchant for Chesterfieldian
aphorisms, for instance, and then there is Horwitz's witty characterization of Lady Susan itself as an "anti-conduct book." The Machiavellian dimension proposed here extends this dangerously preceptive tendency beyond the sphere of manners to encompass the moral economy of an age in which security and contingency waged perpetual war.
Every customer is treated with a studied politeness and the more urbane and Chesterfieldian
a clerk is, the better the manager likes it." Dawdling and rushing clerks were equally unappreciated.
Isenberg rejects the notion that Burr was "a Chesterfieldian
cad," instead arguing that he was a modern feminist (61).
Consider this passage from a long report, written by Liebling in 1938, called "The Jollity Building," which described the inhabitants of a certain edifice situated along Manhattan's Broadway in the upper Forties: "chiefly orchestra leaders, theatrical agents, bookmakers, and miscellaneous promoters [i.e., con men]." Liebling is describing "a tall Chesterfieldian
old man named Dr.
perfection, Frank uses Emma, just as he uses Mrs.
Abigail Adams admitted, for example, that despite the problems, "many excellent maxims and rules for the conduct of youth were strewn throughout the work."(69) If we miss this early affinity of middling folks for Chesterfieldian advice, we will miss the rising of the middle class.
Bushman and Wood see an "ambivalence" towards the spread of European notions of refinement in late eighteenth-century America, often expressed as criticism of "Chesterfieldian" behavior (see n.
The very next move of Practical Education is to distinguish the accouterments of convention--that is, ordinary insincerities--from the crimes associated with what the Edgeworths call the "Chesterfieldian
system of endeavouring to please by dissimulation," a system that they insist (protesting perhaps a little too much) "is obviously distinguishable by any common capacity from the usual forms of civility" (1: 195).