There aren’t many people who actively want to be rude. Or, at least, I certainly hope so! However, if you were to somehow find yourself swept back into the past, perhaps by an I-don’t-think-we’re-in-Kansas-anymore style twister, or maybe because Dr. Who turns up on your doorstep, how long would you last before you make a faux pas? Or even caused serious offence? After all, it’s often said that the past is like another country, and that they do things differently there.
Well, because none of us can ever be sure what great adventures life holds in store, it’s always good to be prepared for every eventuality. So, to that end, I’m here to help. Here are five key (well, to be fair, probably not-so-key but interesting nonetheless) etiquette tips to help you out, should you ever find yourself facing a stern Mr Darcy, or formidable Lady Catherine de Burgh:
- A lady should never wear diamonds or pearls in the morning.
- The aforementioned lady should also note that the morning didn’t actually end until 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
- If this lady is walking with a gentleman, it is the gentleman who should be walking closest to the road. Beware: if this lady is nearest to the road, she should have a care. The man is probably not a gentleman!
- If ascending or descending stairs with a gentleman, the gentleman must go first when going up, but the lady must go first when coming down. Again, beware of men masquerading as gentlemen!
- It was acceptable for a lady to take snuff, but she would only do so with a spoon. Only men may use their fingers.
Don’t worry – as this probably isn’t enough for even the most intrepid time-traveller, I’ll be back soon with more helpful advice!