Forty years ago when the dollar was strong and pound was weak, John and I spent a whole month at the 700 year old Bear Hotel in Woodstock, England. We wrote so enthusiastically about it that our friends Len and Catherine Lesourd flew over to join us.
A scene I will never forget occurred as they arrived. I had filled out the reservation form for them and where it asked for "first name, middle name, last name" had put down "Leonard Earl Lesourd."
Len and Catherine were to take a taxi to Woodstock from the Oxford train station. John's and my room faced the street and about the time we expected them, we looked out the window. The entire hotel staff, from the august manager himself to the lowliest boot-boy -- waiters, porters, chambermaids, probably twenty-five people -- were lined up in two rows flanking the door. A black cab drew up. The head porter opened the car door and out stepped Len and Catherine while the maids curtsied and the menservants bowed.
Of course! They must have read Len's name as Leonard, Earl Lesourd.
We'd told Len and Catherine that the hotel staff was attentive: extremely attentive, they probably thought! As fast as we could we ran down the stairs and whispered to the Lesourds that they were nobility -- high nobility -- and shouldn't correct the mistake since the staff were so obviously gratified by this visitation.
Len went along gamely, but Catherine was in her element. She carried off the role of Lady Lesourd as to the manner born: gracious and dignified. For the ten days of their stay it was "milord" and "my lady," and even John and I for the rest of the month got the special service due to those acquainted with exalted personages.