Probably in no one way does a woman better indicate her early home life than through her table. Its service and belongings, the manners of her children, and her own demeanor show quickly if she be to the manner born. If, as it is said, it takes a hundred years to make a perfect lawn, it may also be asserted that several generations are required to produce a perfect mistress of a gentleman's board, whether she be presiding at the ordinary family meal or with guests assembled about her. The ease that can come only from a lifetime familiarity with a well-appointed table and the adjustment of herself with her surroundings, which is a part of having known no other environment, is a charm that not all hostesses possess.
Too much care cannot be given in any family to the ethics of the dining room. At its best, the eating process has in it the elements of coarseness and the most “delicate feasting” partakes of the animal side of life. No matter how simple the routine of the household may be, nor how moderate the domestic purse, it is possible, if the mistress be so educated, to have at all times a well-served and well-mannerod, well-ordered table. From such are graduated children who will suffer no mortifications in after-life on the score of table etiquette, but who will be ready to sup with Princes and eat in the palaces of Kings at any time.– The New York Times, 1890
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia