Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1868

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still more important, that such articles as silver-plated dishes, spoons, etc., after having gone through the ordinary process of washing-up, should be re-washed with soap and hot water, and well polished with a leather. Apart from the fact that silver thus treated always presents a bright and well-preserved appearance, there is the further consideration of the silver being kept in good condition without a frequent application of plate powder, which, however fine it may be, ultimately destroys the plated surface.

A baize covering for dining-tables cannot be too strongly recommended, for it enables the tablecloth to lie better, and it is more pleasant to the touch with some soft thick substance beneath it. Sometimes the baize is drawn under the edges of the table by means of a string run through the hem, but it may be stretched more tightly when fastened underneath with small tacks, and this without the least injury to the table. Grey felt is preferred by many, because it is less likely to stain the cloth than a coloured substance, and is also less expensive.

Tablecloths and table-napkins should be of as good a quality as means will afford, alike in design when possible, and in Chapter LXVI. will be found full instructions for folding serviettes.

Table-linen should be very slightly starched, for, if made too stiff, the corners of the tablecloths, instead of falling in natural folds, stand out in an awkward fashion, and the table-napkins are unpleasant to use.

A good rule is to allow 24 inches for each person's accommodation. Where the table is necessarily a little too large, a little more room does not matter, but on no account give less, for there is no greater misery than to be crowded.


Breakfast.—The word breakfast is an abbreviation of "breaking the fast." The German word for this is "Frühstück " (early bit), and the French give to their first meal the name of Déjeuner á la Tasse, because this early repast is a simple one, consisting merely of a roll, or bread and butter, and a cup of coffee or chocolate. The French Déjeuner á la Fourchette is almost identical with the English luncheon. It generally comprises a variety of more or less substantial dishes, served with wine or other beverages, but not tea or coffee, unless taken after the meal, and is termed "Fourchette," because it consists of food eaten with a fork. The French Dejeuner a la Tasse really corresponds with the English "early tea," or "early coffee," and, like it, is generally taken in the bedroom before dressing. Soup and bread constitute the morning meal of many of the working classes of France.

Breakfast Dishes.—The English breakfast, even when taken at an early hour, is usually a substantial one. This custom no doubt dates from a semi-barbarous age. when royal and noble ladies breakfasted