Care should be taken that plates for the hot dishes are warm, but not hot, and that for the cold dishes they are not lukewarm.
The plate holding the shell-fish is placed upon the one already on the table; this under plate is used also to hold the soup plate, but double plates are not again used until the end of the dinner, when the dessert plate holding the finger-bowl plate is put on. In case a hot sweet dish is served, the double plates, being intended for ices, fruits, and bonbons, are not put on until after that course. Silver serving-dishes are much used; lacking these, all the china used in the same course should match when possible.
A different set of plates may be used with each course. In the matter of china the greatest latitude of taste and expense is possible, some china being more valuable than its weight in silver. When handsome china is being used, which demands great care in handling, it is well to have a table in the pantry reserved for its use, where it can be carefully piled and left until the following morning to be washed. With daylight and ample time, it can be given the care it might not receive if washed after the fatigue and late hours of a long dinner. This need not necessarily mean leaving a disordered pantry for the night, although that would be of less consequence than the extra risk of having valuable china nicked or broken. The same care is recommended for handsome glass.