Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Picture this next time there's a Jane Austen movie.

"There are some customs here not quite consistent with the scrupulous delicacy of which the English pique themselves. Towards the end of dinner, and before the ladies retire, bowls of coloured glass full of water are placed before each person. All (women as well as men) stoop over, sucking up some water, and returning it, perhaps more than once, and, with a spitting and washing sort of noise, quite charming -- the operation frequently assisted by a finger elegantly thrust in the mouth! This done, and the hands dipped also, the napkins, and sometimes the table-cloth, are used to wipe hand and mouth."

From Journal of a Tour and Residence in Great Britain (1810-1811) by Louis Simond, a French born American.

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