Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/150

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to a Spanish lady I expressed my gladness at making her acquaintance by kissing her hand—only, however, by figure of speech—but her husband at once pointed out to me in a laughing way, that I had failed to show her proper respect. One can only kiss a Spanish lady's feet: Beso à usted los pies or à los pies de usted (I kiss your feet), as they say.

Before leaving the subject of the kiss reverential I will mention two different ways in which it has been used. Formerly it was the custom, at least at the French Court, for pages to first kiss the articles they were to hand to distinguished personages. Henri Estienne tells an anecdote about a page who had to carry a letter to the Princess of Naples. It was expressly enjoined on him to kiss it (baisez-la), but the page pretended he had misunderstood the words, so when he had to leave the letter he first kissed the unsuspecting princess.

We find another peculiar form of the kiss reverential in the cases when a person kisses his own hand before offering it to the guest he would especially honour, or before accepting a present for which he wishes to show