This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Whether a daughter of the house or a waitress waits on the table, these rules hold good.
Prepare for the meal so carefully and during it watch so attentively that nothing will have to be asked for. Fill glasses to within three-fourths of an inch from the top as soon as people are seated and keep them filled. Offer bread, butter, or a relish (as celery, pickles, jelly) at any time to any one who has eaten the portion he had.
Carry plates and dishes on a small round or oval tray covered with a doily. When waiting to take a plate or cup from the person filling it, stand at the left.
It is proper to serve the hostess first; so that guests not quite sure what to do may follow her example. Serve the others in order, but do not serve the same person first all the time. Offer at the left a dish that may be accepted or refused, holding it low enough for the guest to help himself easily. Place from the right a plate with food upon it or anything about which no choice is to be made, except when an extra plate, for asparagus, for example, is used. Place this at the person's left before offering the asparagus. As soon as possible after the main dish of a course has been served pass whatever vegetables, sauce, or other things are to be eaten with it.
Remove everything pertaining to one course before serving the next, taking first food, second, soiled dishes, third, clean dishes. Relishes may be left throughout the meal until the dessert. Remove soiled plates, from the right, one at a time, if you can take time, but at an informal meal, you may pile them on the tray, laying knives and forks on the tray beside them. If bread has been laid on the table to be eaten with soup, remove the fragments on a plate after taking away the soup-plates. Before bringing dessert remove crumbs with scraper and crumb-tray or napkin and plate.
Work noiselessly, avoiding rattling of dishes or silver.