Friday, June 17, 2016

A Fateful Breach of Etiquette

Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve was a literary critic of French literature, but evidently not a student of Tuileries' exacting etiquette.
Under the French Third Republic, Charles Augustin Sainte–Beuve brought disgrace upon himself because at breakfast at the Tuileries, he carelessly opened his napkin and placed it over his two knees. To this, he added the crime of cutting his egg in two, at the middle.

Court etiquette prescribed that the half-folded napkin should be on the left knee, and the top of the egg was to be merely broken with the edge of the spoon and drained with the tip of the spoon. For his failings in these respects, Sainte–Beuve's name was struck off the Imperial visiting list.  London Chronicle, 1909

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