The Elms — one of the many Gilded Age mansions that line the coast of Newport, RI. These gigantic, opulent structures were used for eight to ten weeks a year as summer homes. We did the 1/2 hour tour, which means we didn’t learn all that much about the family. But a couple of tidbits were garnered: the owner’s sister was an avid bridge player and if she couldn’t get a table of equals together, she’d recruit the butler to play. He had to stand for the entire game.
At dinner, not only was one not allowed to show appreciation for the food being served — (no ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the lifting of the metal domes), one wasn’t even supposed to watch to see what was there!
I never would have survived.