|Diane's Antique Book Collection|
Serving the dinner, carving, etc.- As soon as the guests are seated, the lady of the house serves, in plates, from a pile at her left hand, the soup, which she sends round, beginning with her neighbor’s right and left, and continuing till all are helped. These first plates usually pass twice, for every one endeavors to make his neighbor accept whatever is sent him.
The gentleman then carves, or causes to be carved by some expert guest, the large piece, in order afterwards to do the other honors himself. If you have no skill in carving meats, do not attempt it; nor should you ever discharge this duty except when your good offices are solicited by him; neither can we refuse anything sent us from his hand.
Conversation at the table. – It would be impolite to monopolize a conversation which ought to be general. If the company is large, we should converse with our neighbors, raising the voice only enough to make ourselves heard.
Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884