Item of the Day: The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure [1777]

Full Title: The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure: Containing News, Letters, Debates, Poetry, Musick, Biography, History, Geography, Voyages, Criticism, Translations, Philosophy, Mathematicks, Husbandy, Gardening, Cookery, Chemistry, Mechanicks, Trade, Navigation Architecture and Other Arts and Sciences, which may render it Instructive and Entertaining to Gentry, Merchants, Farmers, and Tradesmen: to which occasionally will be added An Impartial Account of Books in several Languages and of the Store of Learning in Europe Also of the Stage, New Operas Plays and Oratorios. Vol. LXI. Published Monthly according to Act of Parliament, by John Hinton, at the King’s Arms in Paternoster Row, near Warwick-Lane, London. [1777]

August, 1777.

ANECDOTE of Robert, the Norman.

The following curious anecdote may serve both as a proof and illustration of the wit, politeness, and generosity of the Normans. When Robert, Duke of Normandy, father of William the Conqueror,was at Constantinople, in his way to the Holy Land, he lived in uncommon splendor, and was greatly celebrated for his wit, his offability, his liberality, and other virtues. Of these, many remarkable examples were related to the Emperor, who resolved to put the reality of them to a trial. With this view, he invited the Duke, and all his nobles, to a feast, in the great hall of the imperial palace, but took care to have all the tables and seats filled with guests, before the arrival of the Normans, of whom he commanded to take no notice. When the Duke, followed by his nobles in their richest dresses, entered the hall, observing that all the seats were filled with guests, and that none of them returned his civilities, or offered him any accommodation, he walked without the least appearance of surprise or discomposure, to an empty space, at one end of the room, took off his cloak, folded it very carefully, laid it open upon the floor, and sat down upon it; in all which he was imitated by his followers. In this posture they dined, on such dishes as were set before them, with every appearance of the most perfect satisfaction with their entertainment. When the feast was ended, the Duke and his nobles arose, took leave of the company in the most grateful manner, and walked of the hall in their doublets, leaving their cloaks, which were of great value, behind them, on the floor. The Emperor, who had admired their whole behaviour, was quite surprised at this last part of it; and sent one of his Courtiers to intreat the Duke and his followers to put on their cloaks: “go, (said the Duke) and tell your master, that it is not the custom of the Normans to carry about with them the seats which they use at an entertainment.” –Could any thing be more delicate than this refusal, or more noble, polite, and manly, than this deportment.


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Filed under 1770's, Culture, Great Britain, Magazine, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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