As dinner is announced, the host or hostess will request you to escort one of the ladies. Offer the lady your left ann, and then at the table remain standing until every lady is seated. Then take your place assigned you by the hostess.
1) Then you leave the parlor for the dining room, pass out the door first, and allow the lady to follow you, holding your arm lightly. At the door of the dining room, the lady will drop your arm, you should then pass in and wait at one side of the entrance until she passes you. Having arrived at the table salute the lady, and she in turn, bows and takes her seat. Do not lean to one side or the other in your chair, back in your chair. Do not place elbows on the table.
2) Gloves are not worn at the dinner table.
3) It is vulgar to take fish or soup for a second time. It is selfish and it slows up the movement of the dinner.
4) Sip your soup quietly. Do not blow on it, or try to cool it.
5) Be careful not to touch either your knife or fork until after you have finished eating your soup. Leave you soup spoon on your soup plate. If you are requested to help serve, if it be soft do not pour it over the food, but to one side. Do not load a person s plate. If it is soup, one ladle full is enough . Fish should always be divided by a fork and aided by a piece of bread. Never use a knife on fish as it will destroy it s delicacy of flavor.
6) Host and hostess are always helped last.
7) Do not eat too slow or too rapid, as it it would appear that you either did not like your dinner, or that you were afraid you would not get enough.
8) Do not make noise or breathe hard at the dinner table. The sign of ill—breeding.
9) Avoid picking your teeth at the table, under any circumstances.
10) Unless you are requested, do not select any particular part of a dish.
11) If your host or hostess passes you a plate, keep it, especially if you have chosen food upon it, as the next person may prefer a different plate.
12) If a dish is distasteful to you, decline it but make not remarks about it.
13) Do not discuss at a table unpleasant things you have seen with similar dishes or with the live animal from which the dish has been made.
14) If the meat or fish on your plate is too rare or too done, don t eat it. Do not tell you host or hostess that it is not to your liking.
15) If a gentleman is seated by the side a lady or an elderly person, it is up to him to pour their drink and obtain whatever else they might want at the table.
16) It is sometime polite to divide a very large pear with another person, but never peel an apple or a pear for a lady unless she desires you to, and then be careful to use your fork to hold it.
17) It is not good taste to taste every dish, as some may not be good, but you also must not ignore a dish.
18) It is not appropriate for the host or hostess to brag upon their wine or the food being served.
19) Do not command, but ask a waiter if you need something. If you command, the tone of your voice will only make other people think that you were a servant at one time yourself.
20) If a servant breaks something, do not turn around to notice what it is.
21) Never speak with food in your mouth.
22) If you have occasion to pass your plate, or to change plates, be careful to remove your knife and fork. After you have finished your dinner cross the knife and fork on your plate, so that the servant may know to take it away.
23) Do not put butter on your bread at dinner. Do not cut or bite your bread from the slice. Break a small piece off and put these in your mouth with your fingers.
24) Do not dip a piece of bread into preserves or gravy on your plate. If you wish to eat it this way, break them, and eat them together in small pieces with your fork.
25) Do not put bones or seeds of fruit on the tablecloth.
26) Do not use your own knife, spoon, or fingers, to help yourself to butter, salt or sugar.
27) When finger glasses are passed around at the end of the dinner, merely wet your fingertips and your mouth. Do not rinse your mouth.
28) Upon leaving the table, lay your napkin beside your plate but do not fold it.
29) Do not leave the table until the lady of the house has given a signal, and then offer your arm to the lady whom you escorted to the table.
30) Ladies generally retain their seats at the table until the end of the feast, but if they should withdraw beforehand, all gentlemen will rise and remain standing until the ladies have left the room.
31) It is rude to leave the house as soon as dinner is over. You should remain at least one hour after the meal in the parlor.
32) Never use a spoon for anything but liquids, and never touch anything edible with your fingers, except bread. Though usually eaten with a fork, macaroni may be eaten with fingers, as sucking asparagus is more pleasant than chewing it. Most fresh fruits, may also be eaten with the hands, however an orange should be peeled with a spoon and once an apple or orange has been peeled, it should be cut with the aid of a fork.
33) Never put your hands above the table, except to carve, eat or
34) You should try to talk to the lady on your right while waiting for the first course of soup.
35) Should you encounter a bone, such as in fish, to remove it place your napkin up to your plate, take the bone, and then place it unnoticeably upon your plate.
36) Do not begin eating before everyone else at the table is ready.
37) Never use a knife to cut anything that a fork will do.
38) It is time for wine and desert — offer either to the ladies. Do not drink wine before the ladies. You need not eat your desert until the ladies have gone, if you prefer, but you must offer them whatever is nearest to you.
39) There has been enough wine, desert is over, now for coffee and tea.
40) At a home dinner carving the food properly before the guests is im" portant, for if it is carved improperly, it may destroy one s appetite.
41) Never stand up to carve.
Wine at the Table
1) Every gentleman has wine at his table whenever he invites guests.
2) If there is a gentleman who is known to be in total abstinence, you will not encourage him to drink. His glass will be filled, he will lift the glass to his lips in toast, but it will remain undrunk and no one will notice it.
3) It is expected that every lady will be properly helped to wine by the gentleman who takes her to the table or sits next to her. A lady or a gentleman is invited to take wine at the table, they must never refuse. They do not have to drink, however.
4) Always wipe your mouth before drinking, as it is- very ill bred to grease your glass with your lips.
5) It is your host s privelege to invite you to take wine. Do not propose to do so with him.
6) It is usually preferrable that you drink the same wine as the person with whom you are drinking. However, it if that is unpalatable to you, then you may ask for his permission to drink another.
7) If you are inviting a lady to take wine with you at a table, you should say, "Shall I have a pleasure of a glass of wine?", then either hand her the bottle of wine you have selected, or send it by the waiter. Afterward, fill your own glass. You will politely and silently bow to each other as you raise the wine to your lips.
8) On raising the first glass of wine to the lips, it is customary for a gentleman to bow to the lady of the house.
9) It is not customary to propose toasts or to drink too deeply at a family table. There are other dinner parties which are given for gentlemen who like to consume themselves into intoxication.
10) Whenever there is a servant to help you, never help yourself.
19th Century TABLE MANNERS
A refined person nowhere shows his, or her, refinement more conspicuously necessarily than at the table. Study such a one then and you will learn that when taking your meals you are to eat slowly; to keep your elbows off the table; to take small mouthfuls; to chew with closed lips; never to use your knife to carry food to your mouth, though elegant people in some of the countries of Europe do thus; not to overload your fork; to use your spoon for all "wet dishes;" not to put your spoon too far into your mouth; not to pass your plate without removing your knife and fork; to speak only when your mouth is empty; neither to cough, sneeze, blow your nose, nor make any disagreeable noise; to break, not cut, your bread into small pieces, buttering each piece as used, and on the plate, not hand to use the butter knife only in taking butter from the general butter dish; to serve no one with your own knife, or fork, or spoon; to wait until asked what portion you wish; not to stint anyone, but yet not to put too much on a plate in serving; to keep your fingers from all unnecessary contact with your food; in eating corn from the cob, having broken the cob if long, to hold it with one hand only; not to feel constrained to eat every morsel on your plate; to be carefully dressed, hair in order, hands clean, clothes brushed; never to appear in shirt-sleeves or without a necktie, if you are a man, or in disheveled, or with hair in papers, if you are a woman; to talk low and avoid irritating discussions; to address servants quietly; to avoid any disparaging remarks concerning the viands or the service; not to indulge in any extravagant praise of them; not to talk of such subjects as sickness, scandal, financial troubles; to use your napkin whenever required to cleanse the lips or the fingers; to stir your tea or coffee, or chocolate, gently; to sip it from the cup without noise; not to put your cup on the tablecloth; not to pour your tea, or coffee, or chocolate, into your saucer; not to pare for another person -an orange, or apple or peach, holding it in your hand, but to use a clean fork; when you help others to sauce, to place it on the side of the plate; not to sit on your feet; not to curl them around your chair; not to push them out so as to touch those of the person opposite to you; to keep your knife and fork on your plate and your spoon on your saucer; not to loll in your chair; not to pick your teeth; to leave only when excused and for good reasons, the board before the others; to take nothing, as fmit or cake, from the table; not to go away with anything in your mouth; to finish your last morsel before rising, having placed your knife and fork side by side on your plate.
Excerpted from ‘Thompsons .