When I was a child, my parents would regularly say to me, “Children should be seen and not heard.” It did not seem odd to me and it was standard that children would have to be silent to allow grown-ups converse although, children could, of course, leave (I found out the hard way that swinging silently but thrillingly from the curtains in the room until eventually bringing down the pelmet was not an approved activity). It didn’t seem harsh or inhuman or anything other than completely normal. My husband was astonished when he heard this and it feeds further into his belief that I had the last Victorian childhood in Ireland. He, of course, was raised by hippies (well, relative hippies,I mean his father was a captain of industry but a very right-on one), so I was unsurprised. I checked with my bookclub and while I was not alone in hearing this expression brandished about, I was a definite minority. I feel that it was reasonably widespread but the unscientific evidence seems to be against me on this point. Gentle readers, did your parents say it to you?