This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"The buffet was shaped in the convenient horse-shoe style, and dressed with the usual holly, mistletoe, bay, laurel, and rosemary; also a goodly show of chrysanthemums and hot-house flowers - the latter arranged in baskets. A plentiful supply of French-grown feathermoss, sent in boxes, was a wonderful help to the buffet dressing. One feature of the decorations must not be forgotten, and it is a point that caterers would do well to insist on being adopted, as it is good for trade and a real boon to the guests. I refer to the coterie nooks in the ball-rooms, ante-rooms, and conservatories. In this case they were replicas of a moonlight 6cene. The landscape painted in distemper on canvas at the back. The moon, full or crescent, let into the canvas and made of oiled paper, and a lamp hung behind; a bed of moss reached slantwise from the scene to the ground; chairs and 'sociables' were placed amongst palms, shrubs, etc. Fairy rings were made of mushrooms (edible ones, too, for they were formed of sugar-work); in the moss, and at a square coterie table, stood a neat-handed Phyllis, with pins, needles and threads, perfumes, and a light array of light refreshments - ices, sherry, champagne syphon, and aerated waters; also plain iced water, eau sucre, and fruits.
It saves partners leaving to rush to the salle\-manger in search of ices, wines, etc., for their lady friends, and if slight accidents occur to the pretty, fairy-like or gorgeous toilets of the fair dancers, they are soon repaired without the inevitable withdrawal to the cloak-room. Fairy lamps, in wreaths, and peeping out from the foliage, completed most harmonious scenes".