This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
DO NOT speak disrespectfully to the waiters, nor apologize to them for making them trouble; it is their business to bring forward the food called for. It is courtesy, however, when asked if you desire a certain article, to reply, "If you please;" "Not any, I thank you," etc.; when calling for an article, to say, "Will you please bring me," etc.; and 'when the article has been furnished, to say, "Thank you."
Never eat very fast.
Never fill the mouth very full.
Never open your mouth when chewing.
Never make noise with the mouth or throat.
Never attempt to talk with the mouth full.
Never leave the table with food in the mouth.
Never soil the table-cloth if it is possible to avoid it.
Never carry away fruits and confectionery from the table.
Never encourage a dog or cat to play with you at the table.
Never use anything but fork or spoon in feeding yourself.
Never explain at the table why certain foods do not agree with you.
Never introduce disgusting or unpleasant topics for conversation.
Never cut bread; always break it, spreading with butter each piece as you eat it.
Never come to the table in your shirt-sleeves, with dirty hands or disheveled hair.
Never express a choice for any particular parts of a dish, unless requested to do so.
Never hesitate to take the last piece of bread or the last cake; there are probably more.
Never hold bones in your fingers while you eat from them. Cut the meat with a knife.
Never use your own knife when cutting butter. Always use a knife assigned to that purpose.
Never pare an apple, peach or pear for another at the table without holding it with a fork.
Never wipe your fingers on the table-cloth, nor clean them in your mouth. Use the napkin.
Never allow butter, soup or other food to remain on your whiskers. Use the napkin frequently.
Never wear gloves at the table, unless the hands from some special reason are unfit to be seen.
Never, when serving others, overload the plate nor force upon them delicacies which they decline.
Never pour sauce over meat and vegetables when helping others. Place it at one side, on the plate.
Never make a display of finding fault with your food. Very quietly have it changed if you want it different.
Never pass your plate with knife and fork on the same. Remove them, and allow them to rest upon a piece of bread.
Never make a display when removing hair, insects or other disagreeable things from your food. Place them quietly under the edge of your plate.
Never make an effort to clean your plate or the bones you have been eating from too clean; it looks as if you left off hungry.
Never tip back in your chair nor lounge upon the table; neither assume any position that is awkward or ill-bred.
Never feel obliged to cut off the kernels with a knife when eating green corn; eaten from the cob, the corn is much the sweetest.
Never eat so much of any one article as to attract attention, as some people do who eat large quantities of butter, sweet cake, cheese or other articles.
Never expectorate at the table; also avoid sneezing or coughing. It is better to arise quietly from the table if you have occasion to do either. A sneeze is prevented by placing the finger firmly on the upper lip.
Never spit out bones, cherry pits, grape skins, etc., upon your plate. Quietly press them from your mouth upon the fork, and lay them upon the side of your plate.
Never allow the conversation at the table to drift into anything but chit-chat; the consideration of deep and abstruse principles will impair digestion.
Never permit yourself to engage in a heated argument at the table. Neither should you use gestures, nor illustrations made with a knife or fork on the table-cloth. The accompanying engraving (Fig. 11) very forcibly illustrates several faults to which many people are addicted.
Never pass forward to another the dish that has been handed to you, unless requested to do so; it may have been purposely designed for you, and passing it to another may give him or her what is not wanted.
Never put your feet so far under the table as to touch those of the person on the opposite side; neither should you curl them under nor at the side of your chair.
Never praise extravagantly every dish set before you; neither should you appear indifferent Any article may have praise.
Fig. ii. BAD MANNERS AT THE TABLE.
No.l. Tips back his chair.
"2. Eats with his mouth too full.
"3. Feeds a dog at the table.
"4. Holds his knife improperly.
"5. Engages in violent argument at the meal-time.
"6. Lounges upon the table.
"7. Brings a cross child to the table.
No. 8. Drinks from the saucer, and laps with his tongue the last drop from the plate. "9. Comes to the table in his shirt-sleeves, and puts his feet beside his chair. "10. Picks his teeth with his fingers. "11. Scratches her head and is frequently unnecessarily getting up from the table.