Saturday, November 19, 2016

Of Queens, Privilege and Etiquette

As much cannot be said of the prima donna or the great tragic or comic actress. But, whether it should be or not, the queens of the stage, while exposed to at least as fierce a light as that which "beats upon a throne," stand equally with the enthroned ones above the reach of conventional etiquette.

Privileged Women

According to Honore de Balzac, only two kinds ot women are permitted to make advances to men—to take that "first step" which, after all, costs very little. The women specially excepted from the general rule are Queens and actresses; and, with all due respect for the throne and for the stage, it must be admitted that members of these two privileged classes have, in many cases, profited largely by the permission accorded to them.

Queens and actresses, meaning in the latter case, "
Queens of the Theatre," and not the whole crowd of women and girls who have entered upon the dramatic career, are surrounded by homage; so that what on the part of other women would be active selection is but passive selection on theirs. They are no way exposed to the ignomy of a rebuff. A Queen, moreover, is strictly forbidden by etiquette to receive an unhidden declaration of love, or a spontaneous invitation of any kind. From a dancing partner to a partner for life she must signify her choice. 


As much cannot be said of the prima donna or the great tragic or comic actress. But, whether it should be or not, the queens of the stage, while exposed to at least as fierce a light as that which "beats upon a throne," stand equally with the enthroned ones above the reach of conventional etiquette. – Los Angeles Herald, 1883

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia