Their gifts were merely so many bribes, sent with a purpose which was easy enough to fathom. The donors wished to be invited to the wedding in the first place — after that, they sought to be included in our visiting-list, and foresaw invitations to our dinners and house-parties — and more than this, they calculated on our influence in society. (Marie Corelli, Sorrows of Satan)
“Because of her background it was easy to underestimate Raine Spencer”, who foiled a plan to raze Covent Garden and replace it with motorways and tower blocks. (What was her prejudicial background? She was married to an Earl.)
[Working-class writer Colin Wilson] fell for Joy immediately, partly because he was impressed with her middle-class background: ‘When I heard Joy, I thought, “Oh marvellous, that’s what I want.”
(Beautiful Idiots and Brilliant Lunatics: A Sideways Look at Twentieth-Century London, Rob Baker)
I know misery does exist, but we don’t want it in our drawing rooms. (Raine Spencer But thanks for saving Covent Garden, Raine.)
‘What did your mater mean when she asked who I was? She got my name right.’ ‘You’re not supposed to ask that sort of question,’ said Hendon, then relented. ‘She meant who was your mother before she married your father. Women are always totting up people’s relations.’
The fashion papers wrote of a world that anyone could enter who had conventional manners, a respectable record, and a sufficiency of money.
Possibly his father had never heard of the Radlington Club – the small social club of ‘the real people’ – the inner core – at Oxford... ‘How does one get into the Radlington?’ ‘Oh, I dunno! When you come “up”, somebody you know asks you if you’d like to be a member, and the other members know you, or your relations have told ’em to look out for you, and then the secretary sends you a chit.’ Without leaders, without tangible organization, without policy except the preservation of Britain, they held aloof from domestic politics, ignored elections, but subtly coiled themselves round Governments in being.
(The Department of Dead Ends, Roy Vickers)
Realising that henceforth I could no longer lay claim to the title of "young lady," but must consider myself only in the light of a "young person," I thought perhaps it would be better for me to remain in the hall, so I sat down on the hat-rack in orthodox servant-girl fashion. (Adventures of an American Girl in Victorian London, Elizabeth L. Banks She was a journalist who went undercover as a servant.)
Pamela Popham, square-jawed and resolute as a big game-huntress, stared round the room through her spectacles, drank three cocktails, said: ‘My God!’ twice, cut two or three of her friends, and stalked off to bed. (Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh Aristocrats can be as rude as they want to – they’ll never be socially excluded. And the girl who behaves like this is mysteriously more popular than the one who tries hard to be likeable.)
Not everyone can belong to a club catering to a certain social class. Not everyone can climb the social ladder. (George Simenon, Maigret at the Coroner’s Maigret visits America and wonders why there are so few bars, restaurants and cafés in an army town, and why the ones that exist are so empty and dreary. He learns, when he’s taken to one, that everyone belongs to a “club” that’s also a bar, a restaurant and perhaps a casino. You join the club that exists for people like yourself, and never have to mix with the others.)
Millions of Britons are not mixing with people from a different age or ethnicity to themselves. (Figures from Dec survey by social integration charity, The Challenge, quoted by Huffpost.)
In England it is bad manners to be clever. (George Mikes)
Once I heard that a local mother had smothered her kids’ faces in self-tan cream the night before the school photo to make them look “prettier”. My first thought was “Ugh! How common!” My second was: “I’d have killed for that.” (Carol Midgley)
Everybody is liberal... but when the mask slips, they're terrible snobs. (Hugo Rifkind on an American drama series)
Children ran free, in safety. They knew the seasons, from broad beans to mistletoe, the names of trees, wild flowers, what was edible and what wasn't. They knew every bird that flew, every fish in the sea, in the river. They lived off land and sea - a shop-bought cake was a blot on the character (although tinned pineapple was conceded as exotic birthday fare). (Playwright Pam Gems reminiscing about life between the wars. Typical middle-class romanticising about children foraging for their own food! And children hardly knew the name of “every bird and fish”.)
More here, and links to the rest.