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Location: Masterton, New Zealand

I survived school history despite the best efforts of the education system to bore me to death. Many years later, I discovered Treaties, dates, the movement of nations, are mere context. The fascination is in the details.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773) bombarded his son with hundreds of letters instructing him "with endless insistence as to his bearing in society." They were an 18th century version of 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'.
On 9th March 1748, he offered this gem -
"Having mentioned laughing, I must particularly warn you against it; and I would heartily wish that you may often be seen to smile, but never heard to laugh while you live.
Frequent and loud laughter is the characteristic of folly and ill-manners; it is the manner in which the mob express their silly joy at silly things; and they call it being merry.
In my mind there is nothing so illiberal, and so ill-bred, as audible laughter. I am neither of a melancholy nor a cynical disposition, and am as willing and as apt to be pleased as anybody; but I am sure that since I have had the full use of my reason nobody has ever heard me laugh."

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