|The use of "finger glasses," or "finger bowls" after dinner is quite a modern innovation in Germany, introduced from England.|
The use of finger glasses after dinner is quite a modern innovation in Germany, introduced from England. Until about ten years ago, glasses were indeed brought round at dessert at the very end of the meal, but this was for the purpose of rinsing the mouth, and a very comical sight it was indeed to see gentlemen and ladles, in plain dress or en grande tenue. washing their mouths at a sumptuously furnished table —or for the matter of that, in any private or public assembly room—instead of retiring to some private chamber for this purpose. In Bavaria it often happens that persons of talent, but without much knowledge of the manners of what is called polite society, are invited to dine with royalty, and not unseldom has the mistake above referred to been made there.
The following little anecdote, however, contains the details of a practical joke played by a number of artists on a colleague still living who had for the first time received an invitation to dine with the Prince Regent at the schloss at Munich. Several masters of the brush had received similar invitations, and, as the painter in question was somewhat elated and excited by the honor conferred upon him, and at the same time singularly nervous and inquiring as to the way he would be expected to behave at the royal table, his confreres put their heads together and determined to play a practical joke upon him. He was accordingly told:
“The first time anybody is invited to dine at Court, a special drink is handed round in glass bowls and the newly-invited guest is expected, according to strict etiquette, to take one of these bowls in his hand and to rise and exclaim, ‘I drink to the health of his Royal Highness,’ and then to quaff the contents of the bowl at a draught, make a profound bow towards the Prince Regent, and so resume his seat!’” The gentleman in question acted to the letter according to the instructions given him. To the manners of the Court must be attributed the suppression of all suspicion of a giggle, and it is stated that the royal host did not appear in the least disconcerted, but afterwards over the beer the merriment was unrestrained.— London Telegraph, 1901
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