Mary of Plymouth - James Otis
Mother has written down some rules for me at table, so that I may do credit to my bringing up when at the house of a friend, and these I am copying for you, to the end that it shall be seen I am not so pampered by being allowed to sit while eating, as to forget what belongs to good breeding:
"Never sit down at the table till asked, and after the blessing.
"Ask for nothing; tarry till it be offered thee. Speak not.
"Bite not thy bread, but break.
"Take salt only with a clean knife. Dip not the meat in the same.
"Hold not thy knife upright, but sloping, and lay it down at the right hand of the plate with blade on plate.
"Look not earnestly at any other that is eating.
"When moderately satisfied, leave the table.
"Sing not, hum not, wriggle not."
You may see that if I follow these rules carefully, I shall not bring shame upon my mother. It is only when the large wooden bowl, which is called the voider, is placed on the table that I am most awkward, and mother insisted on my learning this poem, which contains many wholesome rules for behavior:
"When the meat is taken quite away,
And voiders in your presence laid,
Put you your trencher in the same
And all the crumbs which you have made.
Take you with your napkin and knife,
The crumbs that are before thee;
In the voider a napkin leave,
For it is a courtesy."