Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/149

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135
THE KISS OF RESPECT

homage received by Benjamin Franklin at the French Court. Mme. de Campan, in her Mémoires, says: "At one of the splendid entertainments given in Franklin's honour, I saw how the most beautiful of the three hundred ladies present was chosen to place a laurel crown on the white locks of the American philosopher and imprint a kiss on each of the old man's cheeks."

The kiss of admiration and respect has, I suppose, been the longest to survive in the form of kissing ladies' hands. Formerly, in many countries, it constituted a friendly greeting on meeting a lady or saying good-bye to her; but nowadays this custom has grown obsolete in most places; nevertheless we have certain literary reminiscences of it. In Austria people say Küss die Hand, gnädige Frau, and Sârut mâna in Roumania, but still it is comparatively rare that this expression is followed by actual kisses, as was formerly the case. Je vous baise les mains is now only used in an ironical sense in France. Ceremonial kisses, however, still flourish in Spain to a marked degree, not only in the language of the Court, but also in general conversation. When I was first presented