Of all the great courts of the continent, the German imperial court during the reign of Charles VI. relinquished the least of its ancient etiquette, and was the least inclined to adopt the French manners and fashions. The emperor commonly ate with the empress and the archduchesses; and both their majesties were always waited upon at table by the first officers of their court. The only difference between the common and the gala tables of the imperial family was, that, at the latter, the dinner was attended with music. The imperial palaces, pleasure-houses, gardens, and furniture were so mean as to produce a disagreeable impression on all foreigners. The court appeared in its greatest brilliancy on the name-days of the emperor and empress. The emperor was more devout than gallant, and had a great partiality for religious festivals. He obliged not only all the ladies and gentlemen of his court but likewise the foreign ambassadors to attend all his exercises of devotion.
The inhabitants of Vienna took part with great zeal in all the religious festivals, and multiplied those of the court and of private families as much as possible. The Baron von Põllnitz gives a rather complete picture of the women of the time.
“They are,” says he, “rather more handsome than pleasing. They are tall, well shaped, and walk well; but when they courtesy, they do it in such an awkward manner, that you would think their backs in danger of breaking. In dress they are gaudy rather than elegant. Excepting few, none of them use rouge and much less white paint. In a word, they have nothing about them that denotes coquetry. They do not easily become familiar, and, notwithstanding their vanity, they are cold like all German women.
“They are not so fond of gallantry as of gaming, luxury, and magnificence. They know no books but their prayer books, are consequently very credulous and regard exercises of devotion as the essentials of religion. This ignorance renders their conversation rather insipid, unless it be animated by love. They have at least as high a notion of Vienna, as the women of Paris have of that metropolis. All these little defects, however, are compensated by a certain greatness of soul and uncommon generosity. They are warm friends of those whose interests they once espouse.”
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.