Good Manners Serve a Moral Purpose

A couple of columns ago I wrote about an incident that took place at the Eagle Club here in Gstaad. I indicated that if cowardice prevailed, I would go into details. I had two weeks to think about these details. Well, the trouble is that cowardice did prevail, and although the Eagle has not lived up to the requirements of a club, what happens in a club stays in a club, and I need to live up to the standards of someone who joined it sixty years ago and generously contributed to it financially when it was floundering and about to go under.

As I wrote two weeks ago, the mix of gentlemen and lowlifes is a toxic one; the latter is bound to step out of line and revert to type. Like throwing a punch from behind after misinterpreting a joke, or lying about what took place beforehand. Fraudsters should not be invited as guests in clubs, not because they might set up a crooked deal—which they would if they could—but because manners go step-by-step with morals, and a fraudster lacks both. A toxic mix indeed. Finally, when my wife, born a serene highness in a 900-year-old noble family, and one who has never in her life had a snobby thought toward a fellow human being, feels insulted enough to commiserate with a woman by telling her she’s sorry the woman had to marry a man so common—no use going into details about that particular incident—it’s time to call it a day. I’m off for good. The irony is that I no longer like the place. A club cannot be run by a Mrs. Danvers who, although an employee, chooses who comes in or not. She, of course, will bring in lowlifes. Having said all that, I wish the place well. My children are members and my grandchildren use it, but the next time I cross its portals I will be a transgender black woman wearing…

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