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Presentation at Court

lord, ladies, gentlemen, days and sovereign

COURT, PRESENTATION AT. The honor of being presented at court, or introduced to the sovereign, is only to be obtained by persons of respectable position, and is a thing sought after not only for the éclat of the ceremonial, but as giving a certain stamp of character; for, having been received by the sovereign, a person may with justice expect to be received anywhere. Valuable so far as a credential, a reception at court is carefully guarded from abuse. At the court of her majesty, queen Victoria; there is a scrupulous and very proper exclusion of all parties, male or female, of damaged reputation. Those who aim at the distinction of being presented at court belong chiefly to what arc called the higher circles—nobility and landed gentry; officers in the army, navy, and higher departments of the civil service; judges, magistrates, church-dignitaries, members of the learned professions; and the wives and daughters of these respective classes. Men of scientific, literary, or artistic attainments do not generally attempt to appear at court, and neither, of course, do the classes engaged in trade. It is usual to be presented on taking office, or on attaining some personal dignity, or on arriving from an important and distant expedition. Young ladies of good family are said " to come out," on being pre sented at court. What perhaps contributes more than anything else to secure selectness, is the obligation of appearing in "court-dress,'' an expensive and somewhat fantastic costume of old date; from which only those who assume professional uniforms are exempted. As is well known, the court-dresses of ladies are superb. It will thus be seen that the notions prevailing among foreigners arriving in England—those from the 'United States in particular—as to the practicability of indiscriminate presentation at court, are erroneous. It is the duty of the lord chariffierlain at St. James's to furnish

information regarding the steps to be adopted by those who desire to be presented at court, either at levees, which are restricted to gentlemen. or at drawing-rooms, which are chiefly, though not exclusively, intended for ladies. The days on which these receptions take place are advertised in the newspapers some days before, with the neces sary directions for preventing confusion. Her majesty's birthday is the occasion on which the greatest reception of the year takes place, but there are no new presentations ou tha day. Any British subject who has been presented at court in England, can claim to be presented by the British ambassador at any foreign court. Those who wish to be mere spectators, can obtain tickets to the corridor, where they see the company passing in and out, by applying to the lord chamberlain. For this purpose, however, an introduction is required. It is indispensable that the names of gentlemen desiring to be presented; and of the nobleman or gentleman who is to present them, be sent to the lord chamber lain's office several days previously, in order that they may be submitted for the queen's approbation. Gentlemen are also requested to bring with them two large cards, with their names clearly written upon them, one of which is left with the queen's page in the presence-chamber, and the other is delivered to the lord chamberlain, who announces the name to her majesty. The same rules apply to ladies. Lists of presentations appear next day in the principal London newspapers,