Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/139

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125
THE KISS OF RESPECT

briefly and graphically in the Roman de Rou:—

Quant baisier dut le pie, baisier ne le deigna,
La main tendi aual, le pie al rei leua,
A sa bouche le traist e le rei enuersa;
Asez s'en ristrent tuit, e li reis se dreça.[1]

They also kissed their liege lords on the thigh, and this method of kissing can be traced down to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; but the kiss on the hand was undoubtedly most frequently in use; and it was the general custom for the vassal at the same time to hand his lord a present, which is the reason why the word baise-main (hand-kiss) gradually got this meaning.

If the lord was absent when the vassal waited on him, the latter had to kiss the door, the lock or bolt, which was regarded as a valid substitution for kissing the hand. From this arose the expressions, baiser l'huis, (the door), baiser le verrouil, (the bolt), which were used partly as an expression of slavish

  1. And when he had to kiss Charles' foot—such kissing Rollo spurned—
    He thrust his hand forth downward, and to the monarch turned.
    He raised the king's foot to his lips, and overturned the king,
    Who quickly rose upon his feet whilst mirth around did ring.

    W. F. H.