Thursday, January 28, 2016

Etiquette for Snuff

Offering a pinch of snuff —Throughout the 17th Century, the use of snuff was growing in Europe, however it was Louis XV of France who banned the use of snuff from the French Court, during his reign.

On Snuff Etiquette 
The art of snuff taking has historically had a variety of etiquette rules and hidden references of significance in one's social status. There has been wide use amongst noblemen and the common man alike, but the more elegant the manner in which snuff was stored and taken, the higher the social status of the snuffer. 
The French historian Henri d'Allemagne aptly describes this: "To take snuff, people of noble birth were meant to tap on the lid, take a few grains with the tip of their slender fingers, to make a slight gesture and to inhale the powder with ecstasy. 
On the contrary, the countryman digged his thumb and forefinger inside the snuff box in order to take out a large pinch of tobacco, putting it on the back of his left hand and snorted it in a noisy way while rubbing his nose."          

According to the book, "Drugs in Society," snuffing first became fashionable in the court of France during King Louis XIII's reign, though he actually would not permit it in his presence.  It was considered daintier and more elegant than inhaling smoke.
“As snuff-taking is merely an idle, dirty habit, practised by stupid people in the unavailing endeavor to clear their stolid intellect, and is not a custom particularly offensive to their neighbors, it may be left to each individual taste as to whether it be continued or not. An "Elegant" cannot take much snuff without decidedly "losing caste." 
"Doctor," said an old gentleman, who was an inveterate snuff-taker, to a physician, "is it true that snuff destroys the olfactory nerves, clogs, and otherwise injures the brain ? " " It cannot be true," was the caustic reply, " since those who have any brains never take snuff at all.” — George Stewart Rippey, 1895   
“Snuffing, hawking and expectorating must never be done in society."John H. Young, 1881 
“Never refuse with disdain a pinch of snuff, and rather than disoblige people, take one, even if you throw it away, after having pretended to take it. Beware of presenting to ladies, in balls or assemblies, a box of sweet things, under penalty of having the air of a caricature.” Elisabeth Celnart, 1833 
“Never take the chair usually occupied by the lady or gentleman of the house, even though they be absent, nor use the snuff-box of another, unless he offers it.” Arthur Martine, 1866

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