Saturday, September 9, 2017

More 1800s Etiquette Humor

"Every Saturday" was an American literary magazine published in Boston, Massachusetts, in the mid-19th century. Mark Twain was one contributor. By the amount of humorous articles Etiquipedia has found on dining etiquette, written during the Gilded Age in America, it is clear that those who did not have the benefit of dining at the finest tables, sought refuge in laughter at the peculiar seeming manners of those who did.

Table Etiquette
  • Bread should be broken, not cut; but if you don’t like bread, ‘cut’ it. In ‘breaking’ bread use a curb bit. 
  • Don’t fill your mouth too full; rather allow some of the food to get into your moustache. Split a biscuit with your fingers, instead of opening it with a knife like an oyster. lf the biscuit be hard, a beetle and wedge are admissible in the best society. 
  • Salt should never be put on the table cloth, but on the side of your plate. If, however, you want to pickle the tablecloth in brine, you must put salt on it, of course. 
  • Do not rattle your knife and fork. A knife and spoon will be found more musical. 
  • Eat your soup from the side of your spoon, either inside or outside. 
  • Do not take game in your fingers. This, however, does not apply to a game at cards. 
  • Do not rest your arms on the tablecloth. Stack your arms in a corner of the room before beginning dinner. 
  • When asked what part of the fowl you prefer, answer promptly. If you want the whole of it, don't hesitate to say so. 
  • Do not drink with the spoon in your cup; put it in your pocket. Forgetting it, you will be so much ahead. A close regard to this rule has enabled Ben Butler to accumulate a competency. 
  • Never leave the table until all are through, without sufficient excuse. The sudden entrance of a policeman with a warrant for your arrest, is generally considered sufficient excuse in polite circles. 
  • Never help yourself to articles of food with your knife or fork. Use a harpoon or lassoo. 
  • When you have finished your meal lay your knife and fork on your plate, side by side, with the handles toward the right, a little south by southwest, bearing northerly when the wind is off the side-board quarter. –Every Saturday, 1880

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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