This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
The gentleman who dances with a lady in the last dance before supper, conducts her to the supper-room, attends on her while there, and escorts her back to the ballroom. At a private ball, the lady of the house may ask a gentleman to take a lady down to supper, and he is bound to comply, and to treat her with the politest attention.
In either case a gentleman will not sup with the ladies, but stand by and attend to them, permitting himself a glass of wine with them; but taking a subsequent opportunity to secure his own refreshment.
Refreshments must be provided for the guests during the evening; and, as nothing should be handed round in the ball-room, a refreshment room is necessary. This should, if possible, be on the same floor as the ballroom, because it is not only inconvenient, but dangerous, for ladies heated by the dance to encounter the draught of the staircases.
In the refreshment-room, lemonade, tea and coffee, ices, biscuits, wafers, cakes and cracker bonbons should be provided. Some persons add wine to the list.
The supper table should be set in a separate room. It is usually opened to the guests about 12.30 o'clock, and may consist of hot and cold dishes, including oysters, bouillon, game, croquettes, filet of beef, salads, pates, ices, cakes, sweets, jellies, fruits, and champagne, punch, lemonade and mineral waters, or such combinations or variations of these viands as may be decided upon. Small tables are frequently used at balls, so that four or six people may sit at one table and eat their supper comfortably in courses.
In private parties the character of the supper will, of course, depend upon the taste and resources of those who give the ball. To order it in from a good caterer is the simplest plan, but may often prove too expensive. If provided at home, let it be done on a liberal, but not too profuse a scale.