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Posts tagged 18th century

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Speaking here of etiquette … I mean those minute ceremonies that were pursued towards our Kings in their inmost privacies, in their hours of pleasure, in those of pain, and even during the most revolting of human infirmities.

These servile rules were drawn up into a kind of code; they offered to a Richelieu, a La Rochefoucauld and a Duras, in the exercise of their domestic functions, opportunities of intimacy useful to their interests; and their vanity was flattered by customs which converted the right to give a glass of water, to put on a dress, and to remove a basin, into honorable prerogatives.

… This sort of etiquette, which led our Princes to be treated in private as idols, made them in public martyrs to decorum. Marie Antoinette found in the Chateau of Versailles a multitude of established customs which appeared to her insupportable.

—the memoirs of Madame Campan

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