It's afternoon, in the Baroque court of some ruler. His Majesty is promenading through the gardens, much to the dis...we're not going to call it "pleasure", but "comfort" gets it well...of the court. It's hot and sticky, and no one's wearing shoes that will deal with the gravel underneath. All of a sudden, the King signals something is awry. The Court is stunned..could there be some error, some flower fading, some walk not well raked? No. The King has an urgent call of his bladder. All at once, the Chair-Bearers step up with their needful shelter, to which the King repairs. A tent is thrown over the whole affair, in case he needs something more than simple relief, a rearrangement of his clothing, some rags, some water to wash his hands...He emerges, much refreshed, and resumes his walk.
Some historians have called it "the worst job in the Court". Others have pointed out that really, most of the time, it called for simply porting a sedan chair with a covered chamber pot, to other people, with shall we say, more utilitarian clothing, who had to deal with the actual matter at hand. Still, since what happened under the tent was never spoken of, there are rumors...We owe the phrase 'brown-nosing' to this practice.