On your feet


Most of us know that it is traditional to have a round of toasts (or to use a more period term, healths) at some time during any feast. The usual pattern is Atlantia’s Monarchs, visiting Royals, Atlantia’s Crown Prince and Princess, if there be such, the local Baronage, and any visiting Baronials.

Most of us also should know that all ought to rise for these healths. There is a belief in some quarters that ladies need not rise, but in fact they should. Exempting ladies from rising is a modern, probably American, innovation.

But apparently this is not as universally known as I thought. At a recent event, our Baron rose to drink the health of Their Majesties, and fully half the men in the hall remained seated. So dismayed was I by this apparent lack of respect for our Monarchs that I called aloud, “My lords! On your feet, in the King’s name!” At this admonition, the men – and many of the ladies – did rise.

Have so many of us forgotten our manners? Or, I wondered on reflection, are such things not common knowledge among the populace, so that we need to teach them? From the reaction of those at the event, I suspect – indeed hope – that it was a simple lack of knowledge, not a deliberate lack of respect, that kept those gentles in their seats.

So let me begin with the case in question. When healths are drunk at a feast or at any event, all should rise, unless unable to do so. That last provision includes infirmity, injury, or a hall so cramped as to make rising en masse impractical. No one should feel uneasy if they are unable or indisposed to rise.

For the following examples, let me reiterate that there is always an exception given for infirmity or injury, and to those working at a registration table or the Minister of the Lists table, or in the kitchen. Musicians are also exempted when actually playing, as are those actively engaged in craft, art, or trade. There are of course other exceptions dictated by common sense.

It is respectful and courteous to rise when addressed by a person of higher rank than yourself; indeed, it is truly courteous to rise when addressed by an equal, and more courteous still to rise for one of lower rank. But it is truly discourteous to remain seated (unless unable to rise) when approached or addressed by a person of particularly high rank, especially a Royal.[1]

You ought also to rise when a Royal enters a room, except a really large public room, in which case you need rise only if the Royal is announced.

You should rise when a Royal passes near you while you are seated.

A gentle lord, when approached or addressed by a lady while seated, will rise to greet or respond to her.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady enters a small room.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady comes to a table at which he is seated, and if the seat she will take is near to his, will assist her to sit by holding her chair.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady or a person of high rank, seated at the same table, rises.

I pray you remember that this Society of which we are members fosters the practice of courtesy and chivalry. The acts I list above are truly basic courtesies. Indeed some of us can recall when they were practised in the modern world. But the lack of such observance by so many of our mundane contemporaries should not discourage us from practising and encouraging them.

[1] (How many of you were as aghast as I when Chancellor Palpatine remained seated when speaking with the standing Queen Amidala of Naboo?)

Originally published in the .pdf version of the Key in April and May of 2011 with the permission of the Author Master Donal Mac Ruiseart

Most of us also should know that all ought to rise for these healths. There is a belief in some quarters that ladies need not rise, but in fact they should. Exempting ladies from rising is a modern, probably American, innovation.

But apparently this is not as universally known as I thought. At a recent event, our Baron rose to drink the health of Their Majesties, and fully half the men in the hall remained seated. So dismayed was I by this apparent lack of respect for our Monarchs that I called aloud, “My lords! On your feet, in the King’s name!” At this admonition, the men – and many of the ladies – did rise.

Have so many of us forgotten our manners? Or, I wondered on reflection, are such things not common knowledge among the populace, so that we need to teach them? From the reaction of those at the event, I suspect – indeed hope – that it was a simple lack of knowledge, not a deliberate lack of respect, that kept those gentles in their seats.

So let me begin with the case in question. When healths are drunk at a feast or at any event, all should rise, unless unable to do so. That last provision includes infirmity, injury, or a hall so cramped as to make rising en masse impractical. No one should feel uneasy if they are unable or indisposed to rise.

For the following examples, let me reiterate that there is always an exception given for infirmity or injury, and to those working at a registration table or the Minister of the Lists table, or in the kitchen. Musicians are also exempted when actually playing, as are those actively engaged in craft, art, or trade. There are of course other exceptions dictated by common sense.

It is respectful and courteous to rise when addressed by a person of higher rank than yourself; indeed, it is truly courteous to rise when addressed by an equal, and more courteous still to rise for one of lower rank. But it is truly discourteous to remain seated (unless unable to rise) when approached or addressed by a person of particularly high rank, especially a Royal.[1]

You ought also to rise when a Royal enters a room, except a really large public room, in which case you need rise only if the Royal is announced.

You should rise when a Royal passes near you while you are seated.

A gentle lord, when approached or addressed by a lady while seated, will rise to greet or respond to her.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady enters a small room.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady comes to a table at which he is seated, and if the seat she will take is near to his, will assist her to sit by holding her chair.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady or a person of high rank, seated at the same table, rises.

I pray you remember that this Society of which we are members fosters the practice of courtesy and chivalry. The acts I list above are truly basic courtesies. Indeed some of us can recall when they were practised in the modern world. But the lack of such observance by so many of our mundane contemporaries should not discourage us from practising and encouraging them.

[1] (How many of you were as aghast as I when Chancellor Palpatine remained seated when speaking with the standing Queen Amidala of Naboo?)

Originally published in the .pdf version of the Key in April and May of 2011 with the permission of the Author Master Donal Mac Ruiseart

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