This book is a riotous spillage (in a reserved British kind of way) of amusing anecdotes, rules and instructions for life, for aspiring sloanes, or anyone wanting to recognise them or poke fun at them. It takes a brisk, light-hearted trek through every aspect of Henry & Caroline's lifestyle from birth to death, describing their conception of 'what really matters', much of which they derive from the nearby royalty (Buckingham Palace not being very far from Sloane Square) and the need to be a part of the establishment.
This would include (quote from the front cover) "Why it really matters to * WEAR navy blue * EAT jelly with a fork * READ Dick Francis and the FT [ie. the Financial Times] * GIGGLE in bed * CRY when you sing carols * NOT CRY at funerals" ... " * KILL salmon * DRINK seriously * PUT the 'Great' into Britain and the 'Hooray' into Henry and LIVE IN THE COUNTRY (or, failing that, Kensington Square)"
The text is mixed up liberally with all kinds of off-the-wall photographs, diagrams, cartoons, rhymes, and lists, appropriate to the popular London style magazine 'Harpers & Queen', and is a solid 150 pages of reasonably small print.
One of my favourite sections details table manners. Eg: "Fish Knives. Sloanes make a joke about not owning these. They're not supposed to - the Georgians didn't - but many do, because Sloane fortunes were _Victorian_ fortunes. _Rule relaxed_. (N.B. The Great Sloane Question: Does the Queen have fish knives? Answer: No.)"
At its core however, is a detailed, genuine description of who sloanes really are and how they live - their insistence on perfect grammer, exactly which "non-U" words to avoid, the games they play, how to behave in social situations, and so on, which can be taken for fact as the book was written by 2 sloanes, and might educate the most casual of readers.
My writing style here is probably not doing it justice - the book is quite simply very funny, and was a bestseller in its day. You only have to search the internet to find how many fans it has. Admittedly it does appear dated now (since 1982 - especially the 25 pages on fashionable clothes & where to buy them!), but has lost little of its humour. The fashions may have changed, but the people haven't.
I discovered it in a charity shop 12 months ago, and have been _so_very_amused_ that it hasn't left my coffee table since!