A New York millionaire and his wife, desperate to throw off the mantle of the nouveau riche, decided to throw a lavish party, and, to add 'class' to the evening they engaged the great Austrian violinist, Fritz Kreisler, to play for the guests after dinner. Kreisler demanded a fee of ten thousand dollars, in the hope that this would prevent him from having to accept the engagement, but to his amazement the fee was paid by return of post and he was obliged to fulfil his half of the bargain.
Bearing in mind the intimacy of the recital he thought he had better wear a dinner-jacket, instead of his normal evening dress, but when his host saw what he was wearing he took him to one side for a few admonitory words, to the effect that the great violinist would not be required to mingle with the guests after he had finished playing. Kreisler apologized for his misunderstanding and said to the man:
'Had I known that I was not expected to mix with the guests, I would of course have come for three thousand.'
That woman's terribly class conscious. She hasn't any class and everyone's conscious of it.
W. C. Fields, one of the great drinkers of Hollywood, was asked by one prying enquirer why he never drank water.
'Fish fuck in it,' he answered.
He's the sort of man who'd send flowers to a funeral with a card saying 'Get well soon'.
While Woodrow Wilson was State Governor of New Jersey he answered a phone call informing him of the death of one of his great friends, who represented the state in Congress. He was still trying to take in the sudden news when the phone rang a few minutes later and another New Jersey politician asked him if he could take the deceased Senator's place.
'Well, you may quote me as saying that's perfectly agreeable to me if it's agreeable to the undertaker,' Wilson told him.
As far as he's concerned refinement is a matter of knowing which fingers to use when you whistle for service.
Early in her acting career Ethel Barrymore played opposite a popular old actor who was still turning out first rate performances in spite of his age and increasing deafness. One evening a party of late arrivers came into one of the boxes near the stage, and in spite of the scene in progress made no effort to lower their voices as they settled into their seats and looked through their programmes. In the end Miss Barrymore could not stand their interruption any more and walking over to their side of the stage said to them:
'Excuse me, I can hear every word you're saying, but m,y colleague is slightly hard of hearing. I wonder if you could speak up for his benefit?'
They say that he was only brought along as a contact —all con and no tact.
A lady invited to an embassy dinner noticed that according to the strict rule of precedent she had been placed too far down the table once the guests had been seated. Hasty enquiries with the attendants confirmed that she should in fact be seated next to the ambassador himself and everyone on her side of the table was asked to change places. When they had settled themselves again she tried to make amends for the trouble she had caused.
'I imagine you and your wife must find these questions of precedence very troublesome, your excellency,' she said.
'Not really,' answered the ambassador. 'Experience has taught us that those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.'
She's the sort of woman who notices that a friend's name is no longer in the phone book and promptly asks why they were cut off, instead of asking why they've gone ex-directory.
At one dinner-party Dorothy Parker found herself next to a middle-aged woman who couldn't take her eyes of a young army officer seated opposite her. The young man was clearly embarrassed by her attention and left the table for some time during the desert course. Sensing Dorothy Parker's disapproval the woman whispered to her:
'It's his uniform. I can't help it. I just love soldiers.'
'Yes, dear,' said Mrs. Parker. 'You have in every war.'
His approach is about as delicate as a pneumatic drill.
Oliver Herford was in the middle of lunch, in his club one day, when a stranger came up to him, slapped him on the back and said jovially:
'Hello, Ollie, old boy, how are you?'
'I don't know your name and I don't know your face, but your manners are very familiar,' Herford replied.