Table manners…a thing of the past. Manners in general seem to be much of a thing of the past everyone revels in the culture of ‘I’. Of course for those of us who are still interested in some semblance of dignity we move forward with Routledges Manual of Etiquette
To be acquainted with every detail of the etiquette pertaining to this subject is of the highest importance to every gentleman.
Ease, savoir faire, and good breeding are nowhere more indispensable than at the dinner-table, and the absences of them are nowhere more apparent.
How to eat soup and what to do with a cherry-stone are weighty considerations when taken as the index of social status ; and it is not too much to say, that a man who elected to take claret with his fish, or ate peas with his knife, would justly risk the punishment of being banished from good society. As this subject is one of the most important of which we have to treat.
I think it’s fair to say there is nothing more off putting than someone shovelling food into their food hole like it is an bottomless pit and then, God help us, watching as they eat with their mouths open…! So manners maketh man (and of course women)!
An invitation to dine should be replied to immediately, and unequivocally accepted or declined. Once accepted, nothing but an event of the last importance should cause you to fail in your engagement.
To be exactly punctual is the strictest politeness on these occasions. If you are too early, you are in the way; if too late; you spoil the dinner, annoy the hostess, and are hated by the rest of the guests. Some authorities are even of opinion that in the question of a dinner-party “never” is better than “late;” and one author has gone so far as to say, if you do not reach the house till dinner is served, you had better retire to a restaurateur’s, and thence send an apology, and not interrupt the harmony of the courses by awkward excuses and cold acceptance.”
Lateness I am glad to say i still considered rude by most people. Now when I am cooking for friends I have a lateness limit, 15 minutes is usually fine but any more than that and I tend to get a little impatient especially when you have spent 2 or 3 hours cooking.
When the party is assembled, the mistress or master of the house will point out to each gentleman the lady whom he is to conduct to table. If she be a stranger, you had better seek an introduction; if a previous acquaintance, take care to be near her when the dinner is announced, offer your arm, and go down according to precedence of rank. This order of precedence must be arranged by the host or hostess, as the guests are probably unacquainted, and cannot know each other’s social rank.
Social rank is a rather odd thing nowadays. It seems to me that there now Continue reading