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Downton Etiquette Explained - Series 3, Episode 3

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Obviously the worst kind of manners displayed in this episode, was Sir Anthony Strallen's ditching of Lady Edith at the altar. You don't have to be an expert to have spotted that one!

Episode 3, perhaps my favourite one of the series to date, contained relatively few etiquette slip-ups, which for a large chunk of the episode worried me that I would have nothing to say! But, panic not, I found some, as well as some other interesting matters of note.

Hanging offence (again)
Clearly Alfred the new footman has been giving Moseley - Matthew Crawley's stand-in valet - a few lessons in how to carry suits... or not, as the case may be. As I wrote last week, the habit of carrying garments casually slung over the arm is best avoided.

Note the napkins
I was watching this week's episode with a friend. Yes, I do have a few. Just a few, mind you. During one post-dinner scene, as the ladies were in the drawing room discussing kittens, knitting and flowers, the men had stayed behind to debate meatier subjects. The napkins of the departed diners had been (correctly) placed on the table. My friend commented on the size of the napkins, remarking at how large they looked. Dinner napkins are correctly anything from 22 inches to 26 inches - the ones in last night's episode would almost certainly have been 26 inches. Luncheon napkins would have been smaller, around 18-22 inches. The size of napkin changes depending on the size of the meal; thus, dinner being the main meal of the day, received the bigger sized napkins. [Perhaps you may enjoy reading my blog from last week on how to care for napkins?]

Sybil's stirring
Pass the smelling salts! Her table manners have already been documented as declining since moving to Ireland (see Ep 3.1's column), and now Lady Sybil's post-prandial coffee etiquette has taken a turn for the worse. She was seen sitting on a sofa stirring her coffee in circles. CIRCLES! Not how a lady of her breeding should/would have done it! The correct way to stir coffee is in a 6-12-6-12 motion, if one imagines the cup as a clock-face. Not only this, but she then blew on her coffee! I only hope my constitution is strong enough to cope with whatever horrors the youngest Crawley child does in future weeks.