The always informative and entertaining Everybody’s Best Friend (n.d. but c 1939) devotes many pages to modern etiquette, some of which reminds us today of how much has changed over the intervening years.
Take, for instance, the etiquette of social occasions. ‘ At Homes ‘ were once common. Here is some advice.
I am attending a formal “At Home “ shortly. As this will be my first experience of this event, what may I expect the procedure to be?
Unless you receive a card stating a particular hour, do not arrive at the house earlier than 3.30 p.m., nor later that 5.30.A heavy coat or a rain-coat should be left in the hall, but the hat is not removed. You will be greeted by your hostess and introduced to other guests.
Usually the hostess will offer a cup of tea and a morsel of bread and butter or cake.
A visit on an “ At Home “ day normally lasts for twenty minutes to half an hour. You should not stay longer unless especially asked to do so by your hostess. Take your leave quietly. Friends who arrive later will not be leaving at the same time, so you do not want to interrupt the proceedings by your departure. Shake hands with your hostess and just smile and bow to the others.
There were specific rules for tea parties too.
I am thinking of asking to a little tea party some of the girls in the office where I worked before marriage. What sort of invitations should be issued and what should I put on the table?
Invitations to a tea-party take the form of little notes something like this:-
“ Dear _____,
“ I am having a few friends to tea on Saturday next, December18, at 4.30p.m., and should be happy if you would join us.
Found- some sheet music for the song The Cokey Cokey which later became the song (and dance) the Hokey Cokey. This is what it is all about… There are many theories about its origins – dealt with at Wikipedia and in a Mental Floss piece on its ‘dubious origins.’ Possibly the name came from the magician’s ‘hocus pocus’. This version was written in 1942 by Jimmy Kennedy (1902-1984). Jimmy Kennedy states that his version is based on ‘a traditional action song known long ago in the mining camps and saloons of the Canadian West. The word ‘Cokey’ means a dope fiend but what this has to do with the dance is not at all clear!’ As he says – it then came over in World War 2 with the Canadian troops. He explains on the back of the sheet music exactly how to do the dance:
This is one of the simplest dances ever. You hold your partner in the normal way and while the verse is being played you may fox-trot using any steps you like. When the chorus starts, that is, on the words, ‘Left arm out’, you put your left arm in line with your shoulder, continuing on the words ‘Left arm in’ by bending the left arm in and touching your shoulder, then ‘Left arm out’ as before. You hold your partner with the other arm. ‘Shake it all about’ explains itself —you simply shake your hand and arm with a circular motion. On the next line ‘You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around’ the appropriate action is to place the forefinger of the right hand pointing downward on top of your head and do a complete turnaround. ‘That’s what it’s all about’ ends the actions and you take hold of your partner in the normal way. Then the chorus starts over again with the right arm, then left foot and then the right foot etc., It should not be taken to fast..
This dance, since its introduction here by the Canadian forces, has caught on like wildfire and bids fair to out-rival some of the most sensational dance successes of the past.
Note: Alternatively the dance maybe performed by partners facing each other in line as in the Palais Glide and on the words ‘That’s what it’s all about’ both hands are spread out palm upwards. SEE?
Found in Words Etc.,: A Miscellany (Wordspress, Haslemere 1973) this piece by author, art teacher, botanist and curator Wilfrid Jasper Walter Blunt (1901 - 1987). His meeting with Hitler is admittedly fleeting, his meeting with Pavlova slightly more substantial, but he tells both anecdotes well..
My Friendships with the Famous
Name-dropping is a pleasant and a fairly innocuous pastime, indulged in even by Shakespeare's Hipolyta: "I was with Hercules and Cadmus once…". At a party, when conversation is flagging, I sometimes like to electrify the company by saying, quite casually, "The first time I met Hitler was…". Then, before I can be subjected to an embarrassing interrogation, I change the subject.
No publisher has ever shown the slightest eagerness to publish a full-length book on my relationship with the Führer; yet I feel that the world ought no longer to be deprived of some account of my first (and alas! last) unforgettable meeting with him. I cannot, unfortunately, remember the exact date but it was some time in the year 1929. I had gone with a German friend to the Café Hecht, in the Hofgarten in Munich; Hecht means "pike", but little did I guess how big a fish I was about to land. At the table next to ours six people were sitting - three men and three women - and on that table was a funny little flag with a swastika on it; I assumed that they were adherents of some esoteric oriental religious cult. The men were dressed in brown (like our Capuchins), and one of them sported a ridiculous little moustache.
Found in the first issue of The Dancing Annual (1923) from the Mayfair Press in London. Anna Pavlova had been living in London for over 12 years and this appears finely written, possibly ghosted, with some vehemence towards a style ('the lowest slang of dancing') that was prevalent in the early 1920s and has never strictly gone away...
The Art of Dancing by Anna Pavlova
To me, the fascination of dancing lies in this: you can express with it so many moods, and so many beautiful thoughts and poems.
People imagine that self-expression in dancing is only for those who, through many long years of training, have arrived at the perfection of their art in its highest forms of drama, poesy, or tragedy. But though this is true, so far as it goes, it does not mean that all those who are not expert ballet dancers are for that reason unable to enjoy some share of its pleasures.