Sunday, October 9, 2016

Etiquette and Madagascar's Queen

Throughout her reign, Queen Ranavalona III utilized diverse tactics such as strengthening trade and diplomatic relations with the United States and Great Britain in the hope of staving off impending colonization.
(source: afrikanwomen)

The Palace of the Queen is 2,500 feet above the level of the sea, the capital being located on an elevated plateau. By the time Mr. Finklemeir reached the city he was out of food; the Queen, however, sent him a fat ox for food, and the Chief Minister sent turkeys, geese, chickens, lamb, onions, rice, potatoes and other things in abundance; so they fared well.

Next day, the Queen sent to ask how he endured the fatigues of the journey, and notified him that she would see him on the next Sunday, the 8th of December. On Sunday she sent an escort of Palace officers to conduct him to the throne, where she sat in state with her Ministers around her, and large numbers of ladies and gentlemen, all in European costumes, the Queen wearing white brocade with a Hammelyn cloak hanging from the shoulder. 


She arose and extended her hand for him to kiss as Mr. Finklemeir entered, and he kissed her white kid gloves according to Court etiquette. The Queen is about fifty years of age, quite tall and well educated, and quite graceful. Mr. Finklemeir was astonished to see her skin was what we in America would call "white," and looking young for her age. Mr. Finklemier was next introduced to all the ministers and guests. 

A great deal of gold and embroidery was displayed in the Court dresses of those preterit, and the display was really quite brilliant. After fifteen minutes he witndrew. The officers afterward told Mr. Finklemeir that the Queen was very well pleased with his appearance. The Queen asked him during the interview if he had served in the late war in America, and if he had a family. 

The next day he dined with the Chief Minister, per invitation. The dinner took from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 at night, and was given in a splendid hall, with a fine band of music playing before the forty guests. The dinner and wine could not be excelled even in Europe. The finest of china and silver sets adorned the table. 

Mr. Finklemeir toasted the Queen in the American language, and the Chief Minister toasted the President and Secretary Seward. Mr. Finklemeir remained in the Capital until the 8th of January, when he bade his adieu, and returned as he came. —1867


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