This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers.

Explanatory Notes

The image of the hall-mark in the first paragraph is expanded in the last paragraph but one, in a fashion not frequently found in 'Samuel'.

In the last paragraph 'company' suddenly takes on its business sense, reinforced by the caption to the third illustration.

The final illustration is presumably intended to be funny. —— David Skilton

Decorated initial I

n country districts where the 'polite letter writer' is unknown, and where books on etiquette are still unstudied, it is usual when a youth and a maiden walk out in the evenings together, and are seen at church in the same pew on Sundays, to say that they are 'keeping company,' which is another way of stating that they are investigating each other's characters with a view to the tying of a matrimonial knot which shall make them both into one. But there are other kinds of company than that sought after by residents in the country with views amourous [sic] and matrimonial.

Good Company

Company is, in reality, only another name for companionship, and, though there are, even in this nineteenth century, men and women of lonely dispositions who live hermit's lives, the world generally would be a dull and insipid place without it. It is to his boy companions that the schoolboy tells his little confidences, and as he grows up he tells them to his new and larger-minded ones.

When a man is in company he tries to show himself at his best, and many a man, who with his 'company' manners on is voted a real good fellow may in private be the quintessence of a cad. In company all eyes are upon his action, speech, and manners [which?] are open to the criticism of all present, and therefore he avoids such small slips as would point to the absence of the hall-mark of the genuine article. 'Good company' is the name frequently bestowed upon men of points, men who can keep a conversation going and who can tell a good story.

I recently talked to a friend about a man who was generally known to his friends and acquaintances as 'an outsider.' 'Well,' said my friend, 'he has his good points. You know he's capital company.'

Keeping Company

This virtue in the eyes of the kindly critic was supposed to cover a multitude of vices, and there is no doubt the world takes many men's vices and virtues much in the same way.

The habitual diner-out, always well-dressed but of no known address, is simply fed and asked out because he is good company and can keep the table in a roar with a good joke, or take away the character of a friend by the repetition of the latest piece of scandal. But this latter attainment is not looked upon as objectionable by those who think it provides good company. It is part and parcel of his stock-in-trade, deprived of which he would sink to the dull level of mediocrity and become one of the crowd.

A Company Promoter

Bad company is of various kinds, from the man who is dull to the man who is innately vicious. Once let a youth get into such company and he is doomed. Paradoxical as it may apply, bad company is not unfrequently close on to the track of good company in many of its component parts. The men whom we class as bad company are often the best 'company,' so far as joviality and the provision of fun and amusement go, but they are fatal when they make up their minds to turn rook and pluck the poor and foolish pigeons who have fallen into their unrelentless [sic] hands. They have no mercy, and laugh to scorn the victim, who finding he has fallen into evil hands pleads for mercy or a chance to recover himself.

Bad Company

There is something insidious about the ways of bad company, and young men are lured into it almost before they are aware of it. It looks so much like good company, and the mark on its plate is so close an imitation of genuine silver that the unsuspecting victim is snared with ease. It is easier to preach than to practise; but if the victims of bad company looked further before they leaped there would be fewer wrecks in the world than there are at present.

A kind of company to be studiously avoided is that floated by persons with a view to their own gains, and not with a view to anyone else's. Bogus companies are to be found on all sides, and those who desire to enter a newly-formed company should make every inquiry ere they do so.

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Last modified 2 May 2022