If Confucius saw someone in mourning, or in full ceremonial dress, or a blind person— even if they were younger than him—he would arise. If he had to pass by them, he would do so quickly.
When Confucius saw a person wearing clothes of mourning, even if it was someone he saw every day, his face would express grief. When he saw someone wearing a court cap or a blind person, even if it was someone he saw every day, he would become solemn.
If Confucius was riding in his carriage and he came across someone in mourning, or someone carrying official documents, he would bow down and grasp the crossbar.
If he was served a rare delicacy at a banquet, he would rise and express his appreciation.
He would also change his expression at the clap of thunder or a strong gust of wind.
The Music Master Mian came for a visit. As he came to the stairs, Confucius said, “Here are the steps.” When they came to the mats, Confucius said, “Here is the mat.” When everyone was seated, Confucius said, “So-and-so is here, and so-and-so is over there.”
After Mian had left, Zizhang asked, “Is this the way of speaking to a music master.”
Confucius replied, “Yes, indeed. This is the way of speaking to a music master.”
Confucius said, “There are three kinds of mistakes to avoid when serving a ruler. To speak out of turn is impetuous. To be silent when it is time to speak is secrecy. To speak without noticing the ruler’s expression is blindness.”