Saturday, May 6, 2017

Black Forest Table Etiquette

The Black Forest, or "Schwarzwald," as it is called in German, is not precisely a land unknown to American tourists, though it is not so well known as it deserves. Pedestrians find it a kind of paradise in good weather. No part of Europe is better situated for excursions.

European Letter —

One of the best centres in the Black Forest is Frieberg, where there is an excellent hotel—the "Schwarzwald," — in an excellent situation. From this point the tourist can branch out in all directions. It has a railway station, and the line of the railway from Frieberg to Hausach is one of the most remarkable pieces of engineering in Europe, and quite as remarkable as the Semmering between Vienna and Gratz. Frieberg is famous for clocks and watches; and it is to be remarked that over one of the largest clock-making establishments in the village there is a large clock which has no hands, and that, almost without exception, every clock to be seen in the hotels or other places is either stopped altogether, or is entirely wrong as to the time.

The etiquette of German bathing places is very peculiar. In one of them the following is written in French on the bedroom doors; "Those persons recently arrived will place themselves at the foot of the table. A bather desiring to have a visiting friend near him at the table, may be accorded this privilege for one repast only. Such favors as selecting a place of his own choice, passing immediately to the head of the table, or of sitting opposite whom one pleases, will not be accorded for the reason that they would result in the juxtaposition of persons not agreeable to one another." 

The advancement to the head of the table is not coveted merely as a matter of distinction; for it includes the appreciable advantage of a first presentation of dishes at dinner and supper; and the difference of a plate as it comes from the chef, and the same plate when it has passed a file of hungry Germans, male and female, after their kind, is very marked. But the final right to sit opposite whom one pleases has possibly a more romantic signification, and may be intended as a check on the too ardent gallantry of susceptible youths who want to sit opposite the prettiest girls. – From C. A. S. in The Marin Journal, 1878

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