ETIQUETTE, n. A code of social rites, ceremonies and observances, constituting a vulgarian’s claim to toleration. The fool’s credentials.
When first Society was founded,
It was discovered, as time sped,
That men of sense and taste abounded,
But they were mostly dead.
While, of the women fitted to adorn
The social circle, few had yet been born.
Those, then, that met were rather lonely,
And scarce could call themselves “our set”;
So they, to swell their numbers only,
And said: “Such fools as will observe these rules
May meet us, though they’re all the greater fools.”
Straightway the fools then fell to study
The laws of conduct à la mode,
And though their minds were somewhat muddy
They soon had learned the code.
Then, seeing its authors hadn’t, plainly told them
They’d make Society too hot to hold them.