"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Leave some for the Duke of Rutland

When I was young it was expected that one would finish the food that was put on one’s plate. Whilst some minor concessions might be made for one’s likes and dislikes, as a rule children were expected to eat what was put before them. Fortunately our parents were not as strict as Mum’s parents had been.

By contrast, the upper classes of many earlier generations expected their children to leave some food on their plate – it was considered both good manners and Biblically correct since the good book says ‘Leave off first for manners’ sake; and be not unsatiable, lest thou offend.’

And where did the Duke of Rutland come in? The family name of the Dukes of Rutland was Manners so parents would use his name as a way of warning children to mind their manners.

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