“Rank” has been on my mind a great deal for the last few weeks. I have been struggling with a scene in the sequel, Though the Mist: Reunion. The first draft needed revision in certain areas of the book. This particular scene did not work. To be blunt, it never would have happened that way. (OK – yes, time travel itself is pretty far-fetched, but still….)
When I compare the different ways we preserve the distinction of rank in society, I am struck by how certain details have changed. The customs are different, yet it is still clear that expectations are set for all classes of society. I doubt that will ever change.
As I work on this scene, I must be careful not to apply the 21st century customs when speaking from the viewpoint of a 19th century person. For example, we might think nothing of calling someone by his or her first name. A couple of centuries ago, that was a shocking breach of etiquette unless one was on very intimate terms with a person.
No matter in what time period we live, rank will always be rank.