The host then offers his right arm to the lady who is to sit at his right, and leads the way into the dining-room; the other couples follow in any order that is convenient. The hostess, with the gentleman she honors with the seat at her right, are the last to leave the drawing-room. If a distinguished man is present, it is to him this courtesy is shown. Except in official and diplomatic circles, there is no other rule of precedence. If the President of the United States or a royal personage were being entertained, the hostess with this dignitary would then precede the others.
At each cover is laid a card on which is distinctly written the name of the person who is to occupy that place. Confusion is thus avoided in seating the guests. It has been a fashion to have these cards artistic and elaborate in design, but at present plain gilt-edged cards stamped with the family crest or monogram are more generally used.
When the dinner is finished, the gentlemen return to the drawing-room with the ladies, and then withdraw to the smoking-room for half an hour. Shortly after their return to the drawing-room the guests take their leave. If guests of honor are present, they are the first to go.