The pests of the small courts are the importance attached to etiquette and the thin skinnedness and jealousy of the courtiers. Great pests of all courts, but chiefly of the greater, are the hosts of fussy people, humbugs of all kinds and projectors who want to secure royal patronage as a means of advertisement. They are much more likely to get it than the deserving because their instinct tells them how to make their approach.
Queens are now pestered all over Europe with individuals who imagine money is to be made in getting up unions to secure artistic and literary employment for women. The poor weak things would go to the wall if they were not brought into droves. The larger the drove the greater the number of subscriptions and the better for the drover.
The Empress Frederick is ready to help feminine unions, but for handicrafts requiring trained skill and talent, and not to get poor scribbling or painting shot into the market. The Queens of Sweden and Denmark are of the same mind. But the Queen of Sweden likes to patronize authoresses on the side of religion and good morals. The Empress of Russia feels her way.
My maid of honor tells me that the Prince of Wales' daughters are credited in northern courts with shrewdness and insight into the motives of fussy philanthropists. The most pleasant court for maids of honor is that of St. Petersburg. The Countess Gamba Guiccioli was there on a visit and wondered whether there were limits to the liberties of the courtiers.
One sex is as free as the other. The ladies smoke, skate, dance, take sentimental drives in the long daylike summer nights, flirt with grand dukes or with no matter whom, throw themselves into love, diplomatic, palace and even political intrigues. The latter may lead to Siberia. But the gambling spirit is strong in them. Danger gives zest to enterprise and forbidden fruit is sweetest. —Paris Correspondent for The London Truth, 1896
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia