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And thus “manners,” as we know them, were born, and Emily Post, recently divorced but immaculately credentialed, lept into the breach, decreeing where there had been no decrees before, laying down the foundations for inferiority complexes that are still be sorted out by high-school guidance counselors and board-certified psychoanalysts. Post never made her peace with the concept of a house completely lacking in servers; it was only her spin-off successor, Amy Vanderbilt, who, trading upon the cachet of her own bourgeouis married name, dealt with hostesses who might actually have to cook their own dinners and hire in people to serve them, (In the worst of circumstances, they might also have to cook and serve, both at once, depending on the husband to mix the cocktails, and if he was sober enough, to pour the wine.) A etiquette guide published in 1948, under the putative editorship of Millicent Fenwick, took the issue even farther down the slope.

Ladies were even instructed in the stirring of cocktails.

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Her age was held to be 89, a semi-rumor that she never fully credentialed.Well-bred and well-heeled, she was an interloper, nonetheless, always faced with the challenge of living up to her grandmother-in-law’s grandeur.She was a Post, but only by marriage; her genes were not fossilized.The unwritten message, of course, was that, if you pretended to be anybody, you were intent on having “manners.” On the other hand, if you actually were somebody, and had been born that way, you could make up your own”manners” as you drove along.You could put your fork down anywhere you pleased, and the butler would pick it up, and put it where it might most conveniently go, considering the inevitability of the course next to come.