Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/147

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133
THE KISS OF RESPECT

trate on his knees in the middle of the market-place, bows down, and, amidst the laughter and derision of the bystanders, kisses the dirty ground with ecstasy and delight.

In Europe, at least, we no longer kiss the ground before the feet of the mighty, any more than we salute them by kissing their hands or feet; a bow more or less gracious, according to circumstances, serves the same purpose generally. Nevertheless, at certain courts, such as the Spanish, English, and Russian, kissing the hand is still customary as a sort of ceremonial salutation; but its practice is usually confined to certain solemn occasions.

Individuals of princely rank excepted, the kiss of respect to superiors is to be regarded as all but extinct; but even in the eighteenth century, kissing the hem of their garments is mentioned as a salutation befitting ladies of exalted rank, and in Holberg's Politiske Kandestøber (the Political Pewterer), we see how Madame Abrahamsen and Madame Sanderus even kissed Gedske on the apron.

Kissing, as expressive of admiration, still undoubtedly occurs, but can scarcely be said