Barristers don’t do non-U

I overheard OldSmoothie lecturing one of the pupils yesterday. “If a solicitor approaches you and says ‘How d’you do?’ you will never again answer in that annoying nasal accent of yours, “Very well, thank you.’ Never. Understand? Non-U and barristers don’t do non-U. Solicitiors might visit the toilet and have settees in their lounges but not barristers. Do you understand?”

He may as well have been speaking double-dutch as far as the pupil was concerned who simply stood there mute, presumably fearing that opening his mouth to say anything would cause far more harm than the rabbit in the headlights look he was managing so well.
“Do you understand?” repeated OldSmoothie.
The pupil raised his eyebrows and nodded tentatively as if seeking reassurance.
“So what do you answer?” boomed OldSmoothie, now on a roll and aware of the audience which was gathering.
The pupil’s brow now furrowed and it looked like he was about to make a run for it.
“Speak up,” said OldSmoothie. “I can’t hear you.”
The silence fell so heavily that it looked as if it was almost crushing the pupil into the floor.
Then OldSmoothie let up and said somewhat theatrically, “Well, let’s give it a try. You pretend to be the solicitor.”
This the pupil could do and put out his hand and said, “How d’you do?”
To which OldSmoothie replied “How d’you do?” and turned on his heels leaving the pupil with a look which by now had turned to complete bewilderment.

The all-inclusive modern Bar.

September 15, 2015 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized

2 Responses

  1. Curious Black Cat - February 4, 2010

    Never ceases to amuse me Baby B…

  2. JS - February 4, 2010

    Glad to see someone is still teaching good etiquette.