(за ссылку спасибо не помню точно кому, но по-моему, miram)
If a continental youth wants to declare his love to a girl, he kneels down, tells her that she is the sweetest, the most charming and ravishing person in the world, that she has something in her, something peculiar and individual which only a few hundred thousand other women have and that he would be unable to live one more minute without her. Often, to give a little more emphasis to the statement, he shoots himself on the spot. This is a normal, week-day declaration of love in the more temperamental continental countries. In England the boy pats his adored one on the back and says softly: "I don't object to you, you know." If he is quite mad with passion, he may add: "I rather fancy you, in fact."
If he wants to marry a girl he says: "I say ... would you? ..."
If he wants to make an indecent proposal: "I say ... what about ..."
Overstatement, too, plays a considerable part in English social life. This takes mostly the form of someone remarking: "I say ..." and then keeping silent for three days on end.