Attending an aristocratic English dinner during the Georgian era wasn’t all fun and games, especially if you were French. They would complain about the use of forks and the huge number of toasts. And I can’t say I blame about the latter!
When French visitors attended aristocratic dinners they had difficulty with the table forks, and the English predilection for toasts bored them witless. Regarding the former, the usual complaint, as expressed by Faujas de Saint-Fond, was that they “prick my mouth or my tongue with their little sharp steel tridents”. Regarding the latter, it was their inordinate number. The practice of proposing and replying continued throughout the dinner and with even more vigour after the women had left. Toasting the ladies, the food, each other and whatever else came to mind went on for so long there were chamber pots in each corner, and “the person who has occasion to use it does not even interrupt his talk during the operation”. André Parreaux, Daily Life, p.36.
The Duchess by Amanda Foreman