What were our ancestors thinking? Etiquette of Yesteryear will surprise you with questionable manners that our parents and their relatives may have observed regularly. But these stricter approaches to interactions and relationships—many quite strange—have mercifully faded into the mists of time. As Mark Twain so aptly noted, “Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.” Here is an example of a cast off convention:
In East Lancashire, Friday evening is not considered a correct or suitable time for courtship. The first person spying a couple so engaged enters the house, seizes the frying pan, and beats on it a tattoo. This arouses the neighbours, who give a warm reception to the offending couple if they do not withdraw hurriedly.
—Peter H. Ditchfield’s Old English Customs, 1896
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