Small Improprieties and Annoyances: A Quote Without Comment from Benjamin Franklin

J. A. Headington and Joseph Franklin. A Book of Gems, or Choice Selections from the Writings of Benjamin Franklin. St. Louis: John Burns, 1879, p. 409-410:

To pour the wine, or divide it into several cups, before thanks, at the Lord’s table.  We thank the Lord for the cup, and not cups.  Thanks should invariable be given for the one cup, while the wine is in the one cup.

For some one to start and push his way out through the assembly while an invitation is pending.  This is a most manifest impoliteness and disorder.

For some one that has eat about three dinners at once, to doze and nod in time of preaching, and in the midst of the exhortation, just when the preacher is trying to make an impression, to stretch his limbs, gape and crowd up to the pulpit, and get a drink to extinguish the fires burning within him.  This is ridiculous.

To see some great strapping saphead get up in the middle of a discourse, and go stamping out, thus interrupting the whole audience.  If these could see themselves as others see them, they would be very clear of showing themselves, as they frequently do.

To see a beautiful young lady sit in time of preaching, and then stand in time of invitation, with her mouth spread and a broad and supercilious grin upon her face.

To see some fellow draw his watch and snap it at the preacher, as he shuts down the case, as much as to say, “I consider it is time you would stop.” [410]

To see a lady sit and play with her infant, in time of preaching, laugh at its little pranks, and try to induce others around her also to laugh at them.

To see a lady get into a quarrel with her babe, in time pf preaching; slap it, jerk it, hold it, and this keep it squalling for about half an hour.  If the preacher can keep the thread of his discourse, in a case of that kind, he is a pretty good preacher.

To have some man standing near the preacher, in time of prayer, chewing an enormous quid of tobacco, and about once in half a minute, hear a large spoonful of the filthy spittle splash upon the floor.

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