THE bride-to-be asks again and again: "What shall I buy for my table?" forgetting how much will depend upon her place in the world and the amount of entertaining required of her. The extent of her purchases must vary with her circumstances, but in no condition of life, if a table is to be properly set, can she neglect certain fundamentals. There must be napkins, china, silver, and glass. There should be candlesticks and flowers. The candlesticks and flowers are quite as important as the tumblers. A table which has four lighted candles round a bunch of pink roses, polished silver and glass by each plate, with no other furnishing than pretty saltcellars and pepper pots, is a table to which any one may be invited. Splendor may be added by richer and more numerous appointments, but refinement is not dependent upon any additions that mere wealth may make.

For the convenience of the perplexed, then, a list of articles for the table is submitted. The list is subject to amplifications. The size of the family, or the number of guests a dining-room will hold, must govern the number of articles to be purchased.

Tablecloths for breakfast, luncheon, and dinner. Many persons, possessing valuable specimens of old oak, will never at home dine except on a bare table. Bare mahogany, too, is always in order for luncheons and "high teas," but most of the world inclines to the tablecloth. In camps and simple cottages, a blue cotton, or linen stamped in white, is used for luncheon, a piece of embroidered white linen in the centre of the table under a bowl of flowers; but the best tablecloths are invariably white. They are never sold by the yard, being specially woven in different sizes, so that the top of the table, when set, shows a design covering most of the surface. When marked with monograms or ciphers (never initials) the lettering appears in white at either side of the centre. The letters are from two to three or more inches in height. A cloth finely fringed adds to the air of a table, a coarse fringe only destroys it. Better effects are obtained with a heavy lace insertion separated from the lace border by a band of linen. A greater elaboration carries one into cloths made with a centre of heavy church, or Italian, lace, then a band of linen falling well over the edge of the table, finished with a deep edge of lace like that of the centre. A cloth like this is of course reserved for special luncheons and dinners. Nothing, however, can quite take the place of a fine damask linen cloth for the dinner-table.

Napkins for breakfast, luncheon, and dinner are of different sizes, the largest being reserved for dinner, and to be marked with a monogram in the centre. The breakfast napkins may be marked with initials just above the hem, in the middle. Lace like that on the tablecloth trims the napkins belonging to certain sets, but the inexperienced are safer when not venturing among these elaborations.

Plain fine linen damasks are always in order, whatever the occasion. No mistakes can be made in buying them, but whenever lace and embroidery become fashionable in the more elaborate sorts, imitations quickly follow.

Fringed tea-napkins. These can be laid on small trays when glasses of water are handed.

Doilies of drawn-work, lace, or embroidery.

A few centrepieces to be used on occasion. I say "occasion," because the fashion is ever changing. A few years since one saw pieces of costly lace, velvet, and satin on dinner-tables. Now the reaction has carried us back to white tablecloths with their woven patterns in damask. On the luncheon-table a square of old church lace is often used on the bare board.

Covers for tea and breakfast trays. A folded napkin is always proper on a tray, but some of the drawn or embroidered linens are prettier. They must be easily washed to be endurable.

Linen or embroidered cover for the tea-table. The tea-table must, like the dinner-table, be arranged only when it is to be used, never left standing with tea-cups in a parlor from day to day.

Sideboard covers. Embroidered or drawn linen has the stamp of general approval. Fluffy lace is never admissible, neither are dotted muslin or linen cambrics. Ribbons are unheard of. I wish that I could say as much for the red-bordered napkin and cloth seen on sideboards in country places.

Asbestos mats covered with Canton flannel and overlaid with doilies, to be placed under hot plates when a table is bare.

A piece of thick Canton flannel, or the regular table felt, to place under the tablecloth.

Candlesticks or candelabra for the table of silver, gold, delft, quaint china, glass, or brass, according to the tastes and the circumstances of the householder, but the cheaper the candlestick, the simpler and more unpretentious must be its form. Solid silver and gold candlesticks are often finished with elaborate designs in high relief. China, when it is the product of a famous manufactory, like Sevre, Dresden, Majolica, represents a distinct creation and stands for itself, so that the question of simplicity or elaboration of design does not enter in; but it does enter in when both the material and the design are cheap and yet are made ornate. The conventional candle-shade of to-day is of perforated or cut silver put on over a colored silk under-shade with a plain silk fringe to match. The colored under-shades can be changed when pink, yellow, or white flowers are used in decorating the table.

A tea-set. When this is not a wedding present and must be purchased, care should be expended in its selection. A tea-set is a daily companion: like other household possessions, it helps educate our children in taste and in manners. It becomes an heirloom, the pride of generations. Inartistic and tawdry styles should be avoided; old models should be studied for proportion. The beautiful old Sheffield plate is, when genuine, practically beyond the reach of most purchasers; but there are articles of plated-ware manufactured by well-known silversmiths which are excellent. But until a study of good examples has been made, one cannot properly judge modern manufactures.

When silver in any form is impossible and china must be chosen, the Japanese and Chinese wares will be found cheap and most satisfactory. The blue and white Canton now sold is always good form: Old Canton is only found among collectors. Nankin china is more interesting but more costly. Cantigalli tea-sets are good; Dresden and Copenhagen most certainly are, but their cost very nearly equals that of good plated silver. There are, of course, as we all know, rare and costly china tea-sets to be hidden behind glass, and used only on occasions; sets of exquisite fine porcelain, beautiful in color and in form, which collectors might envy; but unless they have been inherited, no person of limited means need hope to possess them.

A small silver or small china tea-set to be used on the breakfast tray that is carried upstairs. When it is possible, a tray specially appointed and dainty with porcelain should be provided for the invalid. Such a tray, with all its pretty service, by the way, makes a charming Christmas or birthday present for some one shut up in a sick-room.

"Small silver," - breakfast, dinner, dessert, and fish forks; tea, soup, desserts, and fruit spoons; ladles of different sizes, and fancy spoons for various uses.

Plates of every kind, description, and size - small bread-and-butter plates matching the breakfast and luncheon plates; soup plates matching the dinner plates; salad plates, dessert plates, large dinner plates. Blue and white Canton china will prove a most satisfactory purchase, but the purse of the purchaser must govern her choice, when she goes into more elaborate manufactures. Even when choosing among these her problems are not more simple. All costly china is not beautiful: some of it is atrociously ugly; little of it is adaptable. Like the ball dress of a young girl, it serves one occasion only. For unvarying adaptability nothing is better than white china with a gold border, marked with a gold monogram, but its appropriateness is apt to appear severe. Greater softness is had with plates bordered by a color, and having a colored design in the centre. Plates covered with flowers are often most charming, - tiny roses or violets scattered over a white surface. These may or may not be expensive. Sometimes, indeed, the very pretty ones are also cheap. The decorated plates and platters seen in shop windows, in studios, and country houses, are interesting for special courses, but are not to be recommended for a large table: the effect might be tiresome. People of limited means should choose simple things of established worth.

China vegetable dishes and platters should match the dinner plates, but platters are preferable plated or solid silver. They last a lifetime, outwearing many a china dish nicked or cracked by careless hands. A soup tureen is no longer a necessity, though a change of fashion may at any time revive it, and necessitate it on our table.

Saltcellars of glass, silver, or china, of a quaint and pretty design, always a thing from which the salt may be taken with a spoon. Pepper may be shaken, not salt.

Large dishes for fruit; smaller one for sweets.

When no special dish for a made dessert is possible - an ice cream or a pudding - a napkin must be folded and laid under it on a platter.

Tumblers, wine-glasses, finger-bowls - of plain, thin glass, when fine cut-glass is not possible. Plain glass pitchers, when nothing else is to be had, - never the highly ornamented cheap glass.

On no account permit any of the following articles on a table.

A tablecloth of linen so coarse that it cannot be ironed to lie smooth: heavy linen is another affair, and not to be confused with this.

Tablecloths and napkins with red borders and fringe.

Small individual butter plates of china, glass, or silver.

Salt-holders in the shape of bottles with perforated metal tops.

Decorated sets of cheap china that come by the quantity, and which in design and color exactly repeat those used on washstands, - sets of china never seen in stores of any reputation, but which are sent to entrap the unwary of small towns and country districts.

Cheap colored glass pitchers and tumblers, - glass in blues, reds, and greens decorated with flowers, - which are not to be confused with colored claret glasses, though these glasses cost little, or with Bohemian glass.

Cheap plated silver, with much tracing and pretentious flourishes about the borders.

Cheap silver trays which can never be polished without the silver rubbing off and showing a dark metal underneath.

Silver treated with shellac to keep it from tarnishing.

Vessels of any kind for holding spoons, bowls up: spoons should be laid flat.

Fancy designs and combinations, arrangements in silver for salts, peppers, and spoons.

Crocheted cotton mats for putting under the vegetable dishes.

Crumb brushes with colored tin receptacles for the scraps of bread: a silver crumb-scraper, or, better still, a napkin and plate should be used; the pieces of bread being first removed with a fork and laid on an empty plate.

Ordinary stone or china pitchers for water or for milk: glass and silver are proper, unless the china pitcher is blue and white Canton, Dresden, or the interesting product of some well-known factory.