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My North & South Anniversary 2/7. Dinning at the Thorntons

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I am continuing on the celebratory  theme of  North & South, you can catch my previous post on life in Industrial Manchester here.

You are cordially invited to Mrs Thorntons annual dinner party!

Upon agreeing on the size of the party, and establishing the list of distinguished guests, invitations are sent out.

 None of the guests should be superior, and all should be from the same social circle.

The invitations, dispatched by a special messanger, will arrive roughly 10 to 12  days prior to the event.

Should the invitation be declined, a messanger is to be sent immediatly, stating the reason for the non-acceptance. This will allow the hostess to invite other guests to make up the party.

The number of men and women should be equal, as every gentleman is given charge of a lady of similar rank to accompany her into the dining room.

His role is also to ensure pleasant conversation during the meal.

Punctuality is key.

The guests are expected to arrive 10 minutes prior to the time stated on the invitation. Keeping the dinner, and other guests, waiting will be regarded as a serious offence.

First, the guests assemble in the parlour.

Then, in order of rank, each man escorts the lady into the dining room, which Mrs. Thornton  will have decorated with oppulence.

Ladies wear gloves at dinner parties, which they remove in the dining-room.

The aim of the dinner party is to impress the guests, and to flaunt the status of the hosts.

 This means bringing out the finest silver, china dishes, stemware, and table-cloth.

The hostess will place an emphasis on the setting, menu, food selection, social pairing of her guests.

The furniture should be arranged so it does not interfear with the guests view of one another.

A card are to be placed with the name of each guest, next to the plate, if their is  large number of guests.

The host should sit at the foot of the table, the hostess at the head.

The food is served in two possible ways: a la Francaise (meaning that the course is placed in front of the hostess, carved, and passed around) and a la

Russe (meaning that the already cut courses are brought to the table).

The topics of conversation at the table should be agreeing and pleasing.

Two topics are best avoided— religion and politics.

The hostess who possesses tact will not discuss music or painting with persons who have no taste for either.

Finger bowls with a sliver of lemon in the water signal the end of the meal.

When all the guests have finished eating, the hostess will rise and move to the drawing-room, followed by her female guests.

The ladies retired to the drawing-room while the men linger in the dining room or retired to the library for cigars and port.

Be sure to thank your hostess by visiting her within the week.

As men are far to busy, other female family members should perform this duty.

About AgzyM

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons". A fangirl through and through, anglophile, and admirer of beauty whereever I can find it. I love books and art, and spend too much time admiring Richard Armitage and other amazing British actors.

11 responses »

  1. What a protocol!! Brazilians would have many problems to attend this dinner as punctuality is something people over here don’t follow!! However, it wouldn’t be a problem at all for me to arrive early in the Thornton’s annual dinner party! Guess I wouln’t care much about the menu as just the thought of being in the same room with Mr. Thorton would be enough to me!!!😉

    Reply
    • Mr. Thornton would make me arrive in the morning and spy on him preparing, tying his cravat, putting on his jacket😉 I was raised never to be late, it’s a family thing, and it’s also connected with my job. Even when I try to be a bit late, so I don’t have to wait for my friends, I still end up being 5 minutes ahead of time. Perhaps, if we generalise, the otter the climate of the country, the less chance people will arrive on time. Everyone’s waiting for it to cool down🙂

      Reply
      • Spying Mr. Thornton… you’re not a fool… LOL!!!
        Well, I wouldn’t blame the weather. It’s cultural unfortunately!!! Differently from ‘my people’, I try to be always punctual, but this is a family trace and I get mad very often waiting for friends!!

        Reply
        • Can you imagine Mrs. Thorntons reaction, if she had to wait for her guests? She’s give them such a stern look, they’d soon lose theor appetite😉

          Reply
          • Probably she would kill each late guest just with her stern look…. lol

          • I adore Mrs. Thornton, and I really can’t judge her harshly. She’s a strong woman, with a sense of duty. Let’s be honest, Thornton wouldn’t be the man he is without her. I doubt you could break her spirit, and I adore how protective she is of Fanny, eithen though her daughter is one of the silliest women in Milton!

  2. Mmm, now I’m hungry! But my appetite would disappear if I saw Thornton wearing all his splendor. ♥

    Reply
    • I bet Margaret would end up having a 20th century body shape by the time she had her bored of Thornton😉 Just picking at her food and staring. Looking at him (and I do, often…), I think it would be possible to live on simply love, air, and Thornton😉

      Reply
  3. This is a charming, informative post! I love tea parties and having the crystal and silver out to sparkle under the chandelier! The Victorian invitation, menu, and photographs of the period food served makes this perfect. Thanks for sharing your research with us! Have a great weekend!:)

    Reply
    • Thanks Kate! It’s been my pleasure to research this period, it really was fascinating, although I’m sure I’m not as accutare as a historian would be! Any reason to dabble with N&S! I’ve seen it so many times, that I decided a fresh persepctive would be interesting.
      I’d love to have themed tea parties, and I dream of a themed book club, where everyone dresses up and snacks are served to compliment the spirit of the book that has been read.
      Have a wonderful weekend🙂

      Reply
  4. Pingback: My North & South Anniversary. Fanny Thornton’s Big Day « I Want to be a Pin-Up

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