Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIX
AS COMMISSIONER TO THE PARIS EXPOSITION OF 1878

M Y next experience was of a quasi-diplomatic sort, in connection with the Paris Exposition of 1878, and it needs some preface.

During the Centennial Exposition of 1876 at Philadelphia, I had been appointed upon the educational jury, and, as the main part of the work came during the university long vacation, had devoted myself to it, and had thus been brought into relations with some very interesting men.

Of these may be named, at the outset, the Emperor Dom Pedro of Brazil. I first saw him in a somewhat curious way. He had landed at New York in the morning, and early in the afternoon he appeared with the Empress and their gentlemen and ladies in waiting at Booth's Theater. The attraction was Shakspere's "Henry V," and no sooner was he seated in his box than he had his Shakspere open before him. Being in an orchestra stall, I naturally observed him from time to time, and at one passage light was thrown upon his idea of his duties as a monarch. The play was given finely, by the best American company of recent years, and he was deeply absorbed in it. But presently there came the words of King Henry -- the noted passage:

"And what have kings, that privates have not too, Save ceremony, save general ceremony? And what art thou, thou idol ceremony?"

Whereupon the Emperor and Empress, evidently moved by the same impression, turned their heads from the stage,

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