A Little Pleasantry
He tried it on the Duchess, according to the rules
If seated next to a lady at dinner and if at a loss for a topic, touch lightly on the weather. Then turn to dress. If that fails, try a little pleasantry.” With these words from “Etiquette For the Populace” stamped upon his memory. Mr. Quickrich, who had made a million out of candles and thus gained a sudden entry into society, escorted the Duchess of Dash into the dining room. The multiplicity of forks and knives and spoons staggered him. The soup nearly made him faint. But he took his courage and an olive in both hands, and launched forth pluckily.
“Bloomin’ dull day, Duch, ain't it?” he began, recalling topic number one. “Ahem!" he coughed as he remembered the next topic, dress. “Er– do you wear flannel next the skin?” A marble shoulder nearly knocked him in the eye– a very cold and frigid shoulder. “Hum.” muttered Quickrich. “Rather hard to get along with. Let's see. I'll try a pleasantry.” The Duchess of Dash’s back was turned to him. He protruded a fore finger and jabbed her in the ribs. “Click!” he cried playfully. And that absolutely did it, and himself with it.– London Answers, 1910
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