Ronald Reagan: Parlous Situation

One evening Ronald Reagan attended a formal state dinner in honor of French President Francois Mitterrand:


[Mitterrand] and his wife and Nancy and I finished the receiving line," Reagan later recalled, "and the four of us walked from the East Room into the State Dining Room. As was customary, everyone in the room was to stand until Nancy led Francois to her table and I led Mrs. Mitterrand to my table at the opposite side of the room.

"Nancy and Francois headed for their table, but Mrs. Mitterrand stood frozen, even after a butler motioned at her that she was to walk toward our table. I whispered, 'We're supposed to go over there to the other side.' But she wouldn't move. She said something to me very quietly in French, which I didn't understand. Then she repeated it, and I shook my head. I still didn't know what she was saying; suddenly an interpreter ran up to us and said, 'She's telling you that you're standing on her gown!'"

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