I bought a couple of little mementos of my visit to Britannia - one of which is a small book called 'Hints on Etiquette and the usages of Society' published for the first time 150 years ago. Did you realise that etiquette is "the barrier which polite society draws around itself as a protection against offences the law cannot touch - a shield against the intrusion of the impertinent, the improper, and the vulgar - a guard against those obtuse persons who, having neither talent nor delicacy, would be continually thrusting themselves into the society of men to whom their presence might (from the difference of feeling and habit) be offensive, and even insupportable."

This is going to give me hours of amusement, I can tell. Did you know that "well-bred people arrive as nearly at the appointed dinner hour as they can. It is a very vulgar assumption of importance purposely to arrive half an hour behind time; besides the folly of allowing eight or ten hungry people such a tempting opportunity of discussing your foibles."

I'll never be late for anything again!


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