Talleyrand, like most diplomatists, was famous for his attention to the details of etiquette. He prided himself on his ability to adjust his mode of address to the rank and position of the person to whom he was speaking. On one occasion, when a number of distinguished men were dining with him, he varied his formula when inviting them to partake of beef in such a manner as to suit the rank of the restorative persons.
"May I have the honor of sending your highness a little beef?" he asked a Prince of the blood. To a Duke he said: "Monsigneur, permit me to send you a little beef." "Marquis," he continued, "May I send you some beef?" "Viscount, pray have a little beef." "Baron, do you take beef?" ran the next interrogation. "Monsieur." he said to an untitled gentleman, "Some beef?" To his secretary, he remarked, casually, "Beef?" But there was one gentleman left who deserved even less consideration than the secretary, and Talleyrand, poising his knife in the air, favored him with a mere look of interrogation. —New York Evening World, 1890
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