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Message 15238 · SallenNic · 18 Dec 1998 21:25:23 · Top

In a message dated 18/12/1998 12:51:36 pm, you wrote:

>My understanding is that this particular custom originated much
>earlier, when the idea was to be farther out from the houses so as to
>avoid the chamber pots being emptied in the mornings.

Absolutely not. This came to be seen as another advantage of the courtesy, but
without a shadow of a doubt the origin of the custom is defence of a lady. And
while on the subject, Ron referred to it as a pre-war custom: this is also not
the case. I was born during the war, and was taught by my Mother after the war
that it is the duty of a gentleman to walk on the outside of a lady when
walking along a road; furthermore, my son, born in the middle seventies, has
also been brought up to do the same. I think there is nothing to be gained by
abandoning such customs.
Nicolas Broadbridge, Lanark, Scotland.

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Message 15239 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 18 Dec 1998 21:51:03 · Top

> >My understanding is that this particular custom originated much
> >earlier, when the idea was to be farther out from the houses so as to
> >avoid the chamber pots being emptied in the mornings.

There are so many engineers and scientists on this list that I expected to
see messages commenting on the fallacy of this reasoning. But perhaps it
takes being an engineer and a female to appreciate the extend of the
problem. If I had been a chambermaid of yore, I would have given the
rounded pot extra impetus to get the contents away from the outside wall
and street frontage that it was my responsibility to keep clean. And I
probably would have been humming a favorite dance tune as I did it. (Have
to stay on topic.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

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Message 15241 · Benjamin Stein · 18 Dec 1998 23:24:45 · Top

Of course Nic are both right. The idea was that the slops from the chambe=
r
pots splashed and the person nearest the curb received the brunt of it,
both persons being under the second floor overhang. Thus the man, on the
outside, protected his companion.Despite the fact that I agree with the
concept that we should not be perpetuating the sexist roles I still,
consciously or otherwise, take the outter position when walking with a
female companion! Manners and habit are hard things to change.

Ben Stein

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Message 15242 · Cecilia Stolzer Grote · 18 Dec 1998 23:56:11 · Top

...My understanding is that this particular custom originated much
earlier, when the idea was to be farther out from the houses so as to
avoid the chamber pots being emptied in the mornings. Not exactly a
gallant motive! ;-)...

Perhaps, but my architectural history background discovers that many olde=
r
houses had the second (British first, as opposed to ground) floor jutting=

out beyond the ground floor. That would provide a nice roof over the
lady's head.

Cecilia LSG

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Message 15245 · Blaine L. Peet · 19 Dec 1998 04:10:57 · Top

>My understanding is that this particular custom originated much
>earlier, when the idea was to be farther out from the houses so as to
>avoid the chamber pots being emptied in the mornings. Not exactly a
>gallant motive! ;-)

My mum (who's just started taking her first SCD classes, to keep _this_
reply on topic), reports that the ladies who were responsible for her
upbringing in Canada mentioned there was also a verbal warning for this
action which 'proper' chambermaids called out: 'guard 'e loo!',
translating roughly from 'on guard, the loo!'

Blaine Peet
Maryland
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Message 15249 · SallenNic · 19 Dec 1998 16:39:12 · Top

The cry "gardy loo!" was as far as I know peculiar to the city of Edinburgh,
and there are two generally accepted explanations as to its origin: (a) It is
a corruption of "Gardez l'eau", meaning "watch out, water!": (b) It is a
corruption of "Gardex loup" ("walk in wolf file/Indian file/single file"),
also to warn against jettisoned and descending slops (of all kinds, not just
chamber pots, or "chanteys", in the vernacular).
To return "on-topic", I feel that Country dancing of all kinds has its
origins in an age when these courtesies were "de rigeur", and that the whole
structure of the art form is based on the differences between Women and Men
(Ladies and Gentlemen). It is not, and has never been , a gender free
occupation, any more than is Ballet for example, and if one cannot accept
these conventions one should seek a dance form which is gender free, such as
Disco dancing or line dancing.
I cannot, and have never been able to think, that celebrating the differences
between the two sexes necessarily demeans either.
Nicolas B.

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