Advice to Englishmen Abroad

by Instant Noodle

LWAYS take the wall in walking, especially when you meet a lady. Never hesitate, if need be, to force her off the pavement. This will show you are a free-born Briton, and can do as you like.

When introduced to a French gentleman, thrust your tongue into your cheek, and say familiarly, ” Comment-vous  portez vous, vieux coq?” When you meet him again, exclaim, as the French do, “Slap bang, voici nous encore !” This will serve completely to put him at his case, and show you are acquainted with the customs of the country.

Always when you can, walk in the middle of a street, and stare about as if the houses all belonged to you, and you were merely traveling to inspect your property.

To show that you were fortunately born in a free country, comment freely on whatever may excite your laughter, and particularly at the queer names over the shop windows, supposing that their owners can hear what you say.

When you hire a cab in Paris, you will do well to begin a conversation with the driver by calling him a “rouge gorge,” the French for robin red-breast. Then you may please him by pleasantly inquiring, ” Madame votre mere, sait-elle que vous n’etes pas chez vous?” This will manifest a lively interest in his family, and prove you are not proud, as Englishmen abroad are mostly thought to be.

On entering a church, if you so far condescend as to take your hat off, do so with a gesture that signifies contempt. Strut noisily about, and sarcastically criticise the pictures and tho shrines, paying no heed to the worshippers who are on their knees before thorn.

It’s nice to know the rules haven’t changed in 150 years.

(Preface to the 1867 Almanack)