Thursday, June 30, 2016

Etiquette and Formal Dress

Traditional Parsi attire, including a black Astrakhan fez.
Big Plans Upset by Point of Etiquette 
Insistence on British Formal Dress of Parsi Deprives Governor of Funds for School

LONDON, Jan. 23.—A ridiculous insistence on etiquette has just caused the upsetting of the plans of a certain Anglo-Indian Governor. His excellency had long been desirous of immortalizing his name in India by the erection in his capital of a splendid series of collegiate buildings, and in response to his public appeals a well-known Parsi gentleman had privately offered His Excellency the necessary donation of ten lacs of rupees (nearly $350,000) for the purpose. 

The generosity of the rich Parsi community in this way is unexampled. The donor, in the ordinary course, received an invitation to His Excellency's levee and went dressed in the regulation frock coat and trousers, but wearing the black Astrakhan fez, now often affected by well-to-do Parsis.

At the entrance to the scene of the levee, he was informed by the official who represents what, at the Court of St. James, is called the "Court Tailor," that he could not be admitted unless he appeared in an English silk hat, as he was otherwise attired in European costume.

An orthodox Zoroastrian never appears in public, indoors or out, without his hat, and so the generous Parsi had to quit the scene of the levee. He promptly wrote to the Governor, cancelling his offer of the ten lacs, and for the time being, the collegiate buildings exist only on paper. The Governor's hopes of immortalization are also not likely to be realized.
 — Los Angeles Herald, 1910

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