Etiquette of Royal Courts
That It Calls for Some Queer Proceedings Is Here Shown
In the Austrian Court it is contrary to custom for perishable articles to appear twice on the Imperial table. The result is large perquisites for the attendants. To one man fall all the uncorked bottles, to another the joints, and to another still the game or the sweets. Every morning a sort of market is held in the basement of the palace, where the Viennese come readily to purchase the remains. And there is no other means of procuring Imperial Tokay than this.
Long ago in England even the greatest men in the land were pleased to receive such perquisites. In the reign of Henry II, for instance, the Lord Chancellor was entitled to the candle ends of one great, and forty small, candles per day. And the aquarius, who must be a Baron in rank, received 1 penny for drying towels on every ordinary occasion of the King's bathing.
The ceremonial that the Revolution swept away, the first Emperor Napoleon was careful to revive in a less extreme form, and it is characteristic of the man that he made a special study of it, and went so far as to prescribe the special forms to be used on great occasions. Before his coronation, M. Isabey, the miniature painter, gave seven rehearsals with wooden dolls, appropriately dressed, of the seven ceremonials that were to be enacted. And one ceremony being especially intricate, the functionaries rehearsed it in person in the Gallery of Diana at the Tuileries, a plan having been carefully traced with chalk on the floor. This was the sort of thing in which Napoleon especially rejoiced, and he himself arranged beforehand all the details of the entry of Maria Louisa into France, and of his subsequent marriage with her.
Among other particulars on reaching what was then French territory, the Archduchess was conducted into the eastward room of a three roomed house near Braunau; the French Commissioner entered westward; while the third room in the middle was occupied by the rest of the party. And M. de Bausset, who gives an account of the proceedings, having bored holes with a gimlet in the door of the middle room, had a splendid view of the unconscious Princess. But, he quaintly adds, it was the ladies who took advantage of his forethought.
The ceremonial of the Chinese Court is somewhat exacting. It used to include, if it does not now, complete prostration before the throne. Last century a Persian envoy refused to go through the degrading ordeal. Directions were given to the officials to compel him by stratagem to do so. On arriving one day at the entrance to the hall of audience, the envoy found no means of going in except by a wicket, which would compel him to stoop very low. With great presence of mind and considerable audacity, the Embassador turned around and entered backward, thus saving the honor of his country. — New York Evening Post, 1895
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