In or On an Omnibus

The humble omnibus.

It is now used by all classes.

A fine field for true courtesy.

The man who wants all the room.

The humble omnibus may be thought by some readers too democratic a kind of conveyance to be considered in a book on Manners. Not at all! There are several reasons why it should have a place in such a volume. The first is, that during the last ten years or so the omnibus has been largely used by women of the educated, cultured, and well-dressed classes. Another and stronger reason is that no considerations of the kind should affect a man’s manners. If he can behave like a gentleman in a carriage, he is almost certain to do so in an omnibus, and vice versâ. It is even more difficult in the humbler vehicle. In a carriage one is seldom crowded up to the degree that often occurs in the plebeian “’bus.” In fact, there are far more opportunities for the display of good manners in the latter than in the former. Many of them are of a negative character. True courtesy, for instance, will prevent a man from infringing the rights of his neighbours on either side by occupying more than his own allotted space. Very stout men are obliged to do so, but at least they need not spread out their knees in a way that is calculated to aggravate the evil. Nor need they arrange themselves in a comfortable oblique position, with the result of enhancing the inconvenience they must necessarily cause to those near them. Even a thin man can take up a quantity of room by thus disposing himself at an angle of forty-five with the other occupants of an omnibus.

The “newspaper” offender.

The morning paper may be converted into an offensive weapon in the hands of the rude and careless, who open it out to its fullest width, regardless of the comfort of those sitting next them. Newspapers are rather unwieldy things to turn and twist about in a limited space, but this very circumstance affords a man an opportunity of displaying his skill in manipulating the large, wide sheets, without dashing them in the face of his nearest neighbour, or knocking up against anybody in a series of awkward movements that a little care could easily convert into leisurely, graceful ones.

The wet umbrella nuisance.

The rights of the absent.

There is another way in which men are apt to be careless, and that is in the disposal of a wet umbrella. Woman are even more so, but these remarks are intended particularly for men, and beyond acknowledging that members of my own sex are equal sinners, I must leave them out of the question. When any one takes a dripping umbrella into an omnibus, he must charge himself with the task of seeing that it annoys no one but himself. If he can, at the same time, protect himself, well and good; but he must be altruistic in the matter and care for others first; the alternative being to prove himself lacking in one form of good manners. He must not even let his wet umbrella lean up against a vacant part of the cushioned seat, rendering it damp for the next comer. His social conscience cannot be up to its work if he permits himself to ignore the right of the absent to consideration, merely because they are absent.

Carrying umbrellas and sticks.

Allowing umbrellas and sticks to protrude so as to trip up unwary passengers is another thing to be avoided. Carrying a stick or umbrella under the arm with the ferule protruding at the back and threatening the eyes of those who walk behind, is always a reprehensible practice, and one that is fraught with danger, and it is perhaps more than ever dangerous when the proprietor is ascending or descending the steps of an omnibus. At such moments passengers are liable to sudden checks from various causes, and the resultant backward jerk can be quite annoying enough to those behind without the aggravation of a

  By PanEris using Melati.

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