Friday, February 3, 2017

Etiquette and Esterhazy Temper

The Holy Week religious scene  at the Calvary at the Prater was imposing; but it is on record lhat it led to much secular love-making, which was deplored by the clergy.— Esterházy is a Hungarian noble family with origins in the Middle Ages. Since the 17th century, they were among the great landowner magnates of the Kingdom of Hungary during the time it was part of the Habsburg Empire and later Austria-Hungary.

The mania for etiquette and piety which prevailed at Vienna under Maria Theresa and Joseph the Second was exactly suited to the Esterhazy temper. The Duke of Richelieu complains bitterly that during one Lent when he was Minister at Vienna he spent 100 hours at church with the Emperor; the Esterhazys did not mind that, they rather enjoyed it. They were spared the infliction of dining with his Majesty; no one ever did that. 

The Emperor dined with his hat on in the presence of his wife and her ladies of honor, and at some distance from the table stood the foreign Embassadors, also with their hats on. They remained standing, 'til the Emperor had taken his first draught of wine, when they retired. The Esterhazys and other nobles remained in an anteroom.

They fared better at the "taverns" and "Sledge" parties. Each gentleman sent to the Master of Ceremonies, a card bearing the name of the lady of his choice, and for that evening she belonged to him. She drove with him, danced with him, supped with him; everybody was masked, and naturally there was a good deal of fun. Etiquette required each gentleman to pay for the dress and mask  of his lady. 

In Holy Week it generally devolved on an Esterhazy to conduct the procession illustrating the Passion. The Wise Men of the East, Herod and Pilate, the Virgin Mary and Joseph, the Twelve Apostles, Mary Magdalen, all mounted on asses and led by Esterhazy, journeyed to the Calvary in the Prater, followed by a stream of men with false beards, some flagellating themselves, some carrying a placard on which their sins were enumerated, some bearing crosses. The scene was imposing; but it is on record that it led to much secular love-making, which was deplored by the clergy. — San Francisco Call, 1897


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