eleventh scene in Les Précieuses ridicules, when Mascarille and Jodelet fall into each other's arms with many warm kisses. In Le Misanthrope Alceste reproaches Philinte with embracing and kissing every one, and "when I ask you who it is, you scarcely know his name!"
Vous chargez la fureur de vos embrassements;
Et quand je vous demande après, quel est cet homme,
À peine pouvez-vous dire comme il se nomme.
La Bruyère has, time after time, satirised this foolish custom, which, especially at Court, seems to have assumed colossal dimensions; but even in middle-class circles etiquette required men to salute ladies with a kiss.
In an old comedy entitled Le Gentilhomme guespin a father presents his son, who is extraordinarily awkward and clumsy. The latter does not know how he ought to behave to the ladies of the house, so the father in despair gives him a dig in the ribs, and whispers in his ear: "He's bashful. Kiss the lady. One always greets a lady with a kiss."
... Il est honteux. Là, baisez done Madame;
C'est toujours en baisant qu'on salue une femme.