Sunday, July 8, 2018

Manners and Mistaken Identities

Evidently, Lady Violet was not the first person to make this mistake! 

“Celebrities” Graciously Accepting Tips

Visitors at an English country house are allowed to do whatever they like during the forenoon. An eminent geologist, who was entertained at one of these houses, asked for coffee early one morning and started out with a suit of old clothes and a bag of tools to make a special study of the rock ledges of the estate. During the forenoon, one of the country gentry came upon him by the roadside, and supposing him to be a workman entered into conversation with him. The geologist was seated on a ledge of rock and was making vigorous use of mallet and chisel.

The stranger talked with him in a patronizing way, and, while not receiving an intelligible account of the work on which he was engaged, was impressed with the supposed workman's intelligence and good manners. Indeed, he fumbled in his pocket and brought out a half crown, which he tossed to the man with the mallet. The geologist seemed surprised, but picked it up and put it in his pocket after thanking the gentleman. There was a dinner party at the country house in the evening and the same gentleman was introduced to the eminent geologist, who at once began to laugh. “I have the half crown,” he said at once, “and I shall not give it up. It is the first tip I ever received, and I shall show it to my friends as a trophy of superior intelligence.” 

Lord James once had a similar experience. He was strolling through the Temple Gardens in London when a party of tourists encountered him and asked to be directed to some of the most interesting places. He volunteered to show them about, and took them first to the Temple Church and Goldsmith's Grave, and finally to the famous Elizabethan Hall of the Middle Temple. His explanations were lucid and interesting, and when he parted from his new acquaintances, one of them gave him a schilling, and remarked that few guides were equally intelligent. The nobleman took the shilling demurely and thanked the stranger. He is said to have kept it to this day, and to have frequently told the story of his experience with the innocent tourists in the Temple Gardens. 

Another story is related of an English Duke who was standing at the door of his house when a carriage rolled up. A near-sighted gentleman alighted, asked if it was the Duke's residence, and on receiving a respectful nod from the supposed servant, gave him a shilling. The Duke, perceiving that he had been mistaken for a footman, kept the shilling, raised his hand to his forehead and made the usual salute. The near-sighted gentleman went into the house, and in due time was presented to the Duke, and never had a suspicion that he had tipped one of the highest members of the British aristocracy at his own door. The Duke could hardly have offered a more striking proof that he was a gentleman by instinct, as well as by birth, than by pocketing the unintentional affront to his dignity. – San Francisco Call, 1898

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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