Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/80

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Vestal virgin took this douceur in such ill part that, in her wrath, she gave him a sound box on the ears. He gave a start, and every one expected he was going to pay her back in the same coin; but, to show his respect for the fair sex, he made a low bow, and kissed the very hand that had but lately struck him. All present praised this act of courtesy, on his part." Holberg, on the contrary, does not commend the man's politeness; like the German jurist, he sees nothing wrong about a kiss—indeed, he even goes so far as to say that the young man ought to have given the maiden a box on the ears in return. This coarse way of looking at the subject from a bachelor's point of view is wittily defended in the following rather startling way:

"I candidly confess that if anything of the kind had happened to me I should have returned the good lady's salutation in the same way, and that not out of anger or desire of being revenged, but for the purpose of showing the courtesy with which one ought to treat a woman; for kissing the lady on the hand which has boxed his ears is equivalent to saying: 'As you are a feeble creature of no importance, and cannot hurt me,