kissing is regarded as unbefitting his priestly dignity, but when the answer comes short and shrewd, "Kiss away," he bows to Mrs Black and—smack!—gives her a couple of hearty kisses right on her mouth. Madame was thoroughly frightened, but that did not avail, but every time he swang round with her, she got a proper, smacking kiss.
But it is evident from Romeo and Juliet that even in England there were dances in which a gentleman was allowed to kiss his partner. All know the beautiful words with which Romeo claims his right:
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.(I. 5.)
One can still take the same liberty at Christmastide under the mistletoe. I know a young English lady who was offended with an American gentleman who did not dare to avail himself of his privilege, because he thought that this custom was obsolete in Europe.
Kissing in our time still plays an important part in France in the refrains of dance songs. Le Bouquet de ma Mie ends with:
Bell' bergère, embrasse-moi,
Embrasse, embrasse, embrasse!