A dinner is the one meal with which liberties can not be taken. Yet there are rash souls who have attempted it and have even introduced at a dinner a course cooked in a chafing-dish. Such efforts may meet with the approval of a few youthful and frivolous souls, but they can only shock those who have a proper appreciation of the esthetics and ethics of gastronomy.
All this applies to the formal dinner, to which guests are invited long in advance and where the staid succession of courses can be compared only to the progress of the units of the solar system. One can understand the dismay of these when a comet darts across their established orbits. Such is the effect produced upon the graduate diner-out when variations are attempted in the solemn dinner of state.
But there is another sort of a dinner - The Little Dinner. It would never claim capitals on its own account, but they are bestowed willingly by those who have fallen victims to its charms. At the little dinner the bill of company is considered as well as the bill of fare, and neither is chosen without deep thought. No chances are taken when there can be but four or six or eight to sit down to the table and where the courses are few enough to demand perfection in each.
As a matter of course, this can not be managed without labor. The hostess must give close attention to every item on the menu. She must see that her table is all it should be in appearance and that there is no chance for any hitch in the proceedings. For while not so tremendous an affair as the many-coursed dinner, the little dinner still has a dignity all its own and with this one may not trifle.