Cabbages and Kings PDF ePub eBook

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Cabbages and Kings free pdf Excerpt from Cabbages and Kings: England and the English, the Kaiser and His Court, the Scandinavian Democracies, the Czar and His People, and the Courts of Italy In 1887, Queen Christina ordered me to go to England to represent her at the festivities with which the Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign was celebrated. Wearing a mantilla, in order to make it plain to the public that Spain was taking a part in the national rejoicings, I was taken through the streets of London in the triumph of the great queen. As a rule, on such occasions, one fixes ones face in a smile, tries to think of something agreeable, and bows from side to side with the regularity of a clockwork figure. As it was, I was interested to watch the crowd lining the streets through which the procession passed, for I had not been in England before, and was curious to see all I could of the English people. And as I looked at the sea of faces, it seemed to me that they were thousands of masks, the changeless expression of which gave no clue to the thoughts of the wearers. And whenever I have seen an English crowd, even at a foot-ball match, the expressionless faces have baffled me, and I have felt my inability to understand it. Indeed, although I have spent a great part of my life in England, I have never been able to understand the English people. I have been at court, stayed in fashionable houses, hidden myself for weeks at a time in the homes of middle-class people. I know Cornwall and Yorkshire, have stayed in London, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, and a dozen other places, but all the same England remains for me a puzzle which I cannot understand. Certain features of English life, however, have impressed me. To begin with, I was amazed at the extravagance and luxury of the wealthy and the stupidity of the lives the majority of them lead. History teaches that luxury is the death of a nation, and unless the improbable happens and the upper classes set to work to simplify their lives, there is nothing to save England from ruin. The nobility has been corrupted by cosmopolitan financiers, and now demands a standard of luxury unknown in the households of great nobles on the Continent. Country houses are turned into hotels, at which board and lodging are supplied free of charge, and the guests make their own arrangements with as much freedom as they would were a bill presented at the end of their visit. Accustomed to this mode of life, Englishmen do not usually realize that in foreign countries customs are different, and that, as a rule, the luxury they are used to at home is beyond the means of even the rich. I well remember the consternation that reigned in the palace at Madrid when some of the gentlemen who attended the present queen, when she came to Spain for her marriage with my nephew, King Alfonso, behaved as if they were in an English country house, and ordered the court lackeys to bring bottles of royal port and other delicacies to their rooms. There was not a grandee about the court to whom it had ever occurred that guests could behave in such a fashion. When I say that Spaniards were shocked at such conduct, I am speaking mildly. With luxury has come a great decline in English manners- in fact, so far as I am able to judge, it appears to be considered smart to affect bad manners, if one has not the good luck to have them naturally. Good form now requires that the little courtesies of life, the dignity which used to be considered a sign of good breeding, should be set aside and forgotten. Here is a case in point. I was staying in a country house, and one morning had occasion to pass through the smoking-room, where I remarked a well-known duke sprawling on a sofa, with his feet propped up on the cushions at the end. "Good morning, ma'am," he said when he saw me enter, and he continued to read his paper without making any effort to change his ungainly attitude.

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Details Book

Author : H R H
Publisher : Forgotten Books
Data Published : 27 September 2015
ISBN : 133043238X
EAN : 9781330432389
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 38 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
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