Etiquette From Catherine The Great

Catherine II by Andrey Chorny  |  Treasures of Catherine the Great  |  Abrams, 2000The following rules of etiquette were posted by Catherine the Great at her Hermitage and are reprinted from the 2000 exhibition catalog of Treasures of Catherine the Great:

1. All ranks shall be left outside the doors,similarly hats, and particularly swords.
2. Orders of precedence and haughtiness,and anything of such like which might result from them,shall be left at the doors.
3. Be merry, but neither spoil nor break anything,nor indeed gnaw at anything.
4. Be seated, stand or walk as it best pleases you,regardless of others.
5. Speak with moderation and not too loudly,so that others present have not an earache or headache.
6. Argue without anger or passion.
7. Do not sigh or yawn, neither bore nor fatigue others.
8. Agree to partake of any innocent entertainmentsuggested by others.
9. Eat well of good things, but drink with moderationso that each should be able always to find his legson leaving these doors.
10. All disputes must stay behind closed doors;and what goes in one ear should go out the otherbefore departing through the doors.

If any shall infringe the above, on the evidence of two witnesses,for any crime each guilty party shall drink a glass of cold water,ladies not excepted, and read a page from the Telemachida* out loud.
Who infringes three points on one evening,shall be sentenced to learn three lines from the Telemachida by heart.
If any shall infringe the tenth point,he shall no longer be permitted entry.

* A poem of 1766 by Vasily Trediakovsky, relating to the adventures of Telemachus, son of Odysseus. Over-long, old-fashioned and heavy, the poem was perceived by contemporaries as the very model of bad poetry..