So few people have proper manners these days. Fine examples are hard to come by.

J. K. Rowling writes her slightly regal character Albus Dumbledore as grace under fire:

pp. 48-49 Dumbledore appeared unexpectedly at the Dursley residence. The progression of polite protocol ensues:

  1. He noted their surprise and gently takes over an awkward situation since “Dursley” and “manners” were not a usual combination.
  2. Ever the teacher, Dumbledore adds: “…let us assume that you have invited me warmly into your house.”
  3. He remarked on the well-being of the plant from last visit. This honours the effort put into the home. Normally the hosts would be pleased a guest would be so attentive. Dumbledore took the high ground with this added touch.
  4. In response to a rude introduction of “I don’t mean to be rude…”, Dumbledore continues to guide the situation: “–yet accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often…Best to say nothing at all, my dear man.”
  5. Not missing a beat, Dumbledore notices the hostess and wastes no time with the niceties: “Ah, and this must be Petunia.”
  6. As no one was about to introduce him to Petunia, Dumbledore introduced himself and reminded her of previous correspondence. Although the letter was quite expressive, he did not emphasise its nature, avoiding unnecessary embarrassment.
  7. Breaking the prolonged silence, Dumbledore’s politeness was further pressed into service. “Shall we assume that you have invited me into your sitting room?”

The rest of the chapter continued with the visit and proved to be quite humorous in classic Rowling style.

Albus Dumbledore persevered to his last breath at the end of the book:

“Good evening, Amycus,” said Dumbledore calmly, as though welcoming the man to a tea party. “And you’ve brought Alecto too…charming…”

The woman gave an angry little titter.

“Think your little jokes’ll help you on your death bed, then?” she jeared.

“Jokes? No, no, these are manners,” replied Dumbledore.

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