Aside-- though the food at the banquet was plentiful and there were many
dishes, I have been told that the diners could only help themselves to
the dishes on either side. The gentlemen helped the lady nearest them
to food. If one wanted turkey but sat next to the veal ragoo one was out
of luck. Some commentators say that at this time there was little real
ceremony on going into dinner except that the women went first with
some attention to precedence. the women took their seats where they
willed. when the men entered they went to sit by the lady in whom they
were interested. I do not know how the food was served when the men and
women sat on opposite sides of the table .
In jane Austen's novels we learn that married women went into dinner
ahead of their single sisters. Also learned that a bride took
precedence. In persuasion, Elizabeth Elliot , Sir Walter's oldest
daughter, had been following Lady Russell in and out of dining rooms
for most of the decade.
Any way, in DJ, stanza LXXIV the guests were seated according to their
Juan sat between Aurora and lady Adeline.
Aurora sat with that indifference and that indifference caught Juan's
attention. His bon mots and sweet nothings both are met with blandness.
She identified Juan with the crowd of flatterers