Thursday, October 20, 2011

Diplomatic Banquet

There is a story about a diplomatic banquet that was held in London in about 1850. Queen Victoria was hosting a dinner in honor of a visiting African Chieftain.

The evening was going well. The food was good. The table conversation was interesting. But after the meal was over the waiters brought a finger bowl and placed it in front of every one of the diners. They were supposed to politely make sure that their hands were unsoiled.

The Chieftain, bless his heart, had never seen a finger bowl and didn't know what to do with it. So he looked at it, took it with both hands, put it to his lips and drank the water in it.

Well, every one of those high society, dignified Brits were aghast. It was a scandal. The whispering began until Queen Victoria picked up her finger bowl and downed its contents. Slowly each guest followed her lead.

It is more important to make people feel at home than it is to practice proper etiquette.

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