Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/151

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137
THE KISS OF RESPECT

his gratitude in an extraordinarily polite manner.[1]

In an old comedy of Marivaux, "Harlequin poli par l'Amour," a fairy falls in love with a rustic lout. She carries him off, entertains him in her castle, and tries in every possible way to gain his love; but he remains utterly callous to all her blandishments, and behaves all the time in a most foolish manner. He takes a fancy to a valuable ring the fairy is wearing; she removes it from her finger and gives it to him, but when he scarcely says "Thank you" for it, she says to chide him: Mon cher Arlequin, un beau garçon comme vous, quand une dame lui presente quelque chose, doit baiser la main en la reçevant.[1] Arlequin takes hold of the fairy's hand and kisses it; but she corrects him again, and says: "He does not understand me once, but I like his mistake. It is your own hand, you know, that you should kiss."[2]

This usage still prevails amongst old peasants in Jutland, and is termed receiving something with "kissed hand," or "kiss

  1. 1.0 1.1 My dear Arlequin, a handsome lad like you, when a lady offers him anything, ought to kiss the hand when he receives it.
  2. Omitted in the last edition.