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Mannerly

While I was at the Adoration Chapel recently, an older Italian gentleman came in to pray. After taking some time before the Blessed Sacrament, he approached my chair. Standing at a respectful distance, he said something along the lines of, "It is very warm today. May I turn the fan on for you?"No thank you, I said."Please do let me know you would like me to turn it on later, or perhaps open the doors for you."I was struck by his dignified demeanour. He was carefully, though not formally dressed. He didn't crouch by my chair or put his hand familiarly on my shoulder. He didn't press his case, and he deferred to my preference. I was comfortable in his presence and felt cared for - by this complete stranger.This episode came to mind again a few days ago when watching a movie set in the early 1960s. The opening montage showed students of a London school for girls going through their paces: walking with a book balanced on their head, taking dance lessons, le…