The Pillowbook of Prudence . . . part 3.
Things that are elegant:
Manners. There has to be nothing like a display of manners. A door opened by a stranger so that one may pass through, someone saying thank you for something one may have done. Perfect table manners. Pulling the chair out for a woman at a dinner table. Standing when a woman walks into the room. ‘The less is more’ philosophy. Chanel’s advice: always take that last look in the mirror before leaving home and remove something. A Georgian façade. Pointed toe shoes of impeccable quality: a Ferragamo? Classical ballet in traditional costume. Prix St George dressage. Veuve Cliquot. And finally, and above and beyond French wines and Italian shoes, the most elegant thing in the world is utter simplicity.
Things that are inelegant:
Jack Russells taking their mistress for a walk; one cannot be elegant when one’s dogs bark and snarl at every other dog that walks by. Women who persist in wearing some form of rubber boot with their winter clothes and who believe that elegance is the product of a foreign name. Dirt under the fingernails. People who are unable to control flatulence or who do it deliberately. Eating spaghetti. Cluttered houses. A rugby scrum.
On meeting old aquaintances:
Yesterday, I met an acquaintance who had taught myself and my family how to work a sheepdog. It brought back memories of dog schools with Paul at ‘Mona Vale,’ at ‘Camden’ and at ‘Rachael’s’, of rain and snow, of lying in the grass in winter sunshine. Of the dogs, 20 of them, black and tan kelpies tied along the edges of the yards, ears pricked, desperate for their chance to shine. Of the commands: Back! Over! Of patience with animals. Of love for those same animals. And for sitting around a shearing shed with a group of likeminded folk. Smelling the lanolin, the dust. Feeling the cold, the heat. And of listening to a good yarn because no one tells a yarn like an Australian.