She was a commoner, and had been sent here on her bridal night by Sir Breuse Sance Pite, a neighboring lord whose vassal her father was, and to which said lord she had refused what has since been called le droit du seigneur
, and, moreover, had opposed violence to violence and spilt half a gill of his almost sacred blood.
It's called "droit du seigneur
," French for "right of the lord," which was the practice of the feudal lord of sleeping first with the bride of his workers.
Indeed, the late eighteenth century saw the development of a principally French continental literary trend that invoked droit du seigneur
or jus prima noctis--the mythical aristocratic privilege by which a lord could lay sexual claim on any new vassal bride on her wedding night--in order to challenge Ancien Regime social and political hierarchies.
That idea does not happen to come from the peasantry: Droit du seigneur
was an ancient privilege enjoyed by feudal lords over the women in their realm.
Miranda mediates a kind of truce that at least keeps Tetro from kicking Bennie out and, at length, revelations leak out in conversation and color flashbacks about deep, disturbing family secrets centering on Carlo, his unbridled egomania and sense of droit du seigneur
They am ours not by birth, but literally by courtesy, and they provide a line of defense for us commoners who prefer not to allow random dukes, earls, or telephone solicitors to assert droit du seigneur
with our first names.
Instead, the program printed a standard synopsis about a Count who renounces "his privilege over his female servants" (polite reference to the 18th-century droit du seigneur
regulatory actions that are sure to follow, that it did not include a droit du seigneur
with Hollinger shareholders.
Once you agree that the United States had droit du seigneur
over the hemisphere, these questions become quibbles.
Have we Filipinos become too accustomed to corruption and abuse by public officials that we're willing to tolerate it as part of their privilege, a broadened version of droit du seigneur
that allows them the right to steal the people's money?
But imagine the press conference question: "Have you ever attempted adultery with an alien in wartime?" The issue barely needs raising over Kennedy, and LBJ's cozy financial deals on TV franchises would have done for him, even without his serial exercise of the Presidential droit du seigneur
The problem is not with the product--who doesn't want an honest ballot or a cold drink or a Springsteen album?--but with the trappings that come with it: the press, the pollsters, the poll watchers, the political fixers and finaglers, the consultants, the arrogant advice and the unshakable assumption that Americans have a droit du seigneur
to go anywhere in the world and arrange everybody's life.