I am writing a story that takes place in 1924. One scene is at the dinner table. Could someone please tell me where people sat? In it there are several noblemen and women. A countess and a Viscount among them. Where did they sit at a table.
I would believe that the traditional dinner party would have the Host and Hostess sit at opposite ends of the table. The guests would have been seated in a more intermingled manner; as opposed to clumps of those who knew each other beforehand...thereby leaving the "new-comers" on their own. I think the old "boy-girl-boy-girl..." practice was in place.
Really, this was the era of Dining; not sitting about shoveling food into the mouth and scattering to the television. To create interesting conversation, mixing guests up to do just that, was what was considered a true dining experience. Remember: this was a time when people would DRESS for dinner- the highlight of the day; best make the most of it!
Ha! "ritzy"...hardly, Randy!
Although I do wish for the more lovely aspects of dining. I love to cook, and eat! but more importanly the sharing of company...with good food, music; people actually Talking to each other! It seems that is something only delegated to "occasians" anymore. Some may think it snobby, or pretentious...like how it was portrayed in Cameron's film. They made a joke of the place settings....I was like "Oh get Jack out there and put me in his seat!" Throwing the match-box accross the table...please! Smoking was not for mixed company....espescially at the dinner table! I think that changed later on, and I think in private (at home) gatherings might have been permissable, for some back then.
Oh- enough of me -
P.S. Mike- when I mentioned "boy-girl..." I should have added not necessarily "husband-wife...". If your story involves lovers and mistressess...well, they would be thrown among the "legals" too. Now THAT would be an interesting mix
Now I am far too young to have been around during the Gilded Age, or even the generation or two that came after. However, the most important influence of my young life was my very proper headmistress, at my very proper school. She was ancient, and a spinster, and firmly believed in bringing up her "Ladies" to Edwardian standards, which she saw no reason to modernise.
Some of her rules for our behaviour.
1. Ladies are never seen to bite into food. A lady cuts a piece of food into "pop it into the mouth" portions. Even and especially toast. One breaks a small piece of toast, butters it, jams it, and then pops it into the mouth to chew. Bread is never cut at the table, always broken.
2. Ladies may smoke, but they are never seen to smoke. Smoking is done in the privacy of a room, alone or with other ladies, or with a husband. Never in company, never at the dinner table. Gentlemen smoke at the table once the ladies have left. This rule is so important, that a friend of mine who was caught smoking, was told she was being punished not for smoking, but for smoking outside like a common workhouse girl!
3. A lady never eats standing up. Eating is never done in the street. If eating is done outside, a lady finds a place to sit to consume her food. Even sweets must be eaten this way. It does not need saying, but a lady would never chew chewing gum. That is vulgar.
If anyone is interested in more of Miss Holmes' gems of upbringing, I'm more than happy to share.
She left such a mark on we "ladies" that I still can't even scoff down hot dogs at a Fair, I need to find a chair to sit in. Aah! the great British brainwashing technique!
Fiona- you made my day with your posting. I love your headmistress- she reminds me of Mother Mary Laurence back at the convent school. One must not spit pips from fruit, in fact the word SPIT was taboo- one expectorated! But never in public. We learned how to get into a Bugati without showing "an expanse of underthings", how to bone a filet with panache and decorum, how to section a grapefruit, and how to remove a bone from one's mouth without drawing attention to the process. The year-? 1968! Those were the days.