What to Say/Do in the Countryside

May 29th, 2009

As summer starts to extend its delicate tendrils, one’s mind turns to houses in the countryside, and the possiblity of being invited thereto. How should one comport oneself if given the nod? There would seem to be two ways to go here. Both routes have been captured on film, and both are exemplified by women of a certain age.

The first is from Matt Tyrnauer’s wonderful documentary, “Valentino: The Last Emperor”–coming soon to a theater near you–and is recounted by a waiter at a sumptuous party thrown by Signor Valentino at his chateau outside Paris. The waiter, referring to the exigent and stylish guest Jacqueline de Ribes, alerts one of his colleagues,

“The Comtesse de Ribes has brought her own vodka.”

The other comes from the lips of Maggie Smith in Robert Altman’s “Gosford Park”:

“Tomorrow it’s breakfast in bed and then straight into tweeds.”

Either way, you can’t go wrong. In combination: possibly deadly.