Continue to read Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home, by Emily Post, 1922 via Bartleby.
If the great world of society were a university which issued degrees to those whom it trains to its usages, the magna cum laude honors would be awarded without question, not to the hostess who may have given the most marvelous ball of the decade, but to her who knows best every component detail of preparation and service, no less than every inexorable rule of etiquette, in formal dinner-giving.
To give a perfect dinner of ceremony is the supreme accomplishment of a hostess! It means not alone perfection of furnishing, of service, of culinary skill, but also of personal charm, of tact. The only other occasion when a hostess must have equal—and possibly even greater ability—is the large and somewhat formal week-end party, which includes a dinner or two as by no means its least formidable features.
There are so many aspects to be considered in dinner giving that it is difficult to know whether to begin upstairs or down, or with furnishing, or service, or people, or manners! One thing is certain, no novice should ever begin her social career by attempting a formal dinner, any more than a pupil swimmer, upon being able to take three strokes alone, should attempt to swim three miles out to sea. The former will as surely drown as the latter.