Politeness has been well defined as benevolence in trifles. Like benevolence on a larger scale, it includes a feeling in the mind as well as the performance of those outward actions by which that feeling is manifested. The internal feeling, which is an essential part of true politeness, is the same all over the world, however much its manifestations may differ.
It is the desire to put those whom we meet perfectly at their ease, and save them from every kind of petty discomfort and annoyance. Benevolence in its ordinary sense implies love of our fellow-men and a desire to do all we can to promote their permanent happiness.
The limited part of benevolence called politeness requires only an inclination to make them happy temporarily, while they are in our presence, and when this can be done without any sacrifice on our part or only with a slight sacrifice of personal comfort.