Colonial Table

THE SERVING OF MEALS from Home Life in Colonial Days, by Alice Morse Earle, 1898

Perhaps no greater difference exists between any mode of the olden times and that of to-day, than can be seen in the manner of serving the meals of the family. In the first place, the very dining-table of the colonists was not like our present ones; it was a long and narrow board, sometimes but three feet wide, with no legs attached to it. It was laid on supports or trestles, shaped usually something like a saw-horse. Thus it was literally a board, and was called a table-board, and the linen cover used at meals was not called a tablecloth, but a board-cloth or board-clothes.

As smoothly sawed and finished boards were not so plentiful at first in the colonies as might naturally be thought when we remember the vast encircling forests, all such boards were carefully treasured, and used many times to avoid sawing others by the tedious and wearying process of pit-sawing. Hence portions of packing-boxes, or chests which had carried stores from England to the colonies, were made into table-boards. One such oaken table-board, still in existence, has on the under side in quaint lettering the name and address of the Boston settler to whom the original packing-box was sent in 1638.

The old-time board-cloth was in no way inferior in quality or whiteness to our present table-linen; for we know how proud colonial wives and daughters were of the linen of their own spinning, weaving, and bleaching. The linen tablecloth was either of holland, huckaback, dowlas, osnaburg, or lockram—all heavy and comparatively coarse materials—or of fine damask, just as to-day; some of the handsome board-cloths were even trimmed with lace.

The colonists had plenty of napkins; more, as a rule, than families of corresponding means and station own to-day. They had need of them, for when America was first settled forks were almost unknown to English people—being used for eating in luxurious Italy alone, where travellers having seen and found them useful and cleanly, afterwards introduced them into England. So hands had to be constantly employed for holding food, instead of the forks we now use, and napkins were therefore as constantly necessary. The first fork brought to America was for Governor John Winthrop, in Boston, in 1633, and it was in a leather case with a knife and a bodkin. If the governor ate with a fork at the table, he was doubtless the only person in the colony who did so. Thirty or forty years later a few two-tined iron and silver forks were brought across the water, and used in New York and Virginia, as well as Massachusetts; and by the end of the century they had come into scant use at the tables of persons of wealth and fashion. The first mention of a fork in Virginia is in an inventory dated 1677; this was of a single fork. The salt-cellar, or saler, as it was first called, was the centrepiece of the table—”Sett in the myddys of the tabull,” says an old treatise on laying the table. It was often large and high, of curious device in silver, and was then called a standing salt. Guests of honor were seated “above the salt,” that is, near the end of the table where sat the host and hostess side by side; while children and persons who were not of much dignity or account as guests were placed “below the salt,” that is, below the middle of the table.

There is owned by Harvard University, and here shown in an illustration, “a great silver salt” given to the college in 1644, when the new seat of learning was but eight years old. At the table it divided graduates, the faculty, and such, from the undergraduates. It was valued at £5 1s. 3d., at five shillings an ounce, which was equal to a hundred dollars to-day; a rich gift, which shows to me the profound affection of the settlers for the new college. It is inscribed with the name of the giver, Mr. Richard Harris. It is of simple English design well known during that century, and made in various sizes. There is no doubt that many of similar pattern, though not so heavy or so rich, were seen on the tables of substantial colonists. They are named in many wills. Often a small projecting arm was attached to one side, over which a folded napkin could be thrown to be used as a cover; for the salt-cellar was usually kept covered, not only to preserve cleanliness, but in earlier days to prevent the ready introduction of poison.

There are some very entertaining and curious old English books which were written in the sixteenth century to teach children and young rustics correct and elegant manners at the table, and also helpful ways in which to serve others. These books are called The Babees Boke, The Boke of Nurture, The Boke of Curteseye, etc., and with the exception of variations in the way of serving a dinner, and a few obsolete customs, and in the names and shapes and materials of the different dishes, plates, etc., used at the table, these books are just as instructive and sensible to-day as then. From them we learn that the only kind of table furnishings used at that time were cups to drink out of; spoons and knives to eat with; chafing-dishes to serve hot food; chargers for display and for serving large quantities of food; salt-cellars, and trenchers for use as plates. There were very few other table appointments used on any English table, either humble or great, when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.

One of the most important articles for setting the table was the trencher. These were made of wood, and often were only a block of wood, about ten or twelve inches square and three or four deep, hollowed down into a sort of bowl in the middle. In this the food was placed,—porridge, meat, vegetables, etc. Each person did not have even one of these simple dishes; usually two children, or a man and his wife, ate out of one trencher. This was a custom in England for many years; and some very great people, a duke and his wife, not more than a century and a half ago, sat side by side at the table and ate out of one plate to show their unity and affection. It is told of an old Connecticut settler, a deacon, that as he had a wood-turning mill, he thought he would have a trencher apiece for his children. So he turned a sufficient number of round trenchers in his mill. For this his neighbors deemed him deeply extravagant and putting on too many airs, both as to quantity and quality, since square trenchers, one for use by two persons, were good enough for any one, even a deacon. So great a warrior and so prominent a man in the colony as Miles Standish used wooden trenchers at the table, as also did all the early governors. Nor did they disdain to name them in their wills, as valued household possessions. For many years college boys at Harvard ate out of wooden trenchers at the college mess-table.

I have seen a curious old table top, or table-board, which permitted diners seated at it to dispense with trenchers or plates. It was of heavy oak about six inches thick, and at intervals of about eighteen inches around its edge were scooped out deep, bowl-shaped holes about ten inches in diameter, in which each individual’s share of the dinner was placed. After each meal the top was lifted off the trestles, thoroughly washed and dried, and was ready for the next meal.

Poplar-wood is an even, white, and shining wood. Until the middle of this century poplar-wood trenchers and plates were used on the table in Vermont, and were really attractive dishes. From earliest days the Indians made and sold many bowls and trenchers of maple-wood knots. One of these bowls, owned by King Philip, is at the rooms of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. Old wooden trenchers and “Indian bowls” can be seen at the Memorial Hall in Deerfield. Bottles were made also of wood, and drinking-cups and “noggins,” which were a sort of mug with a handle. Wood furnished many articles for the table to the colonist, just as it did in later days on our Western frontiers, where trenchers of wood and plates of birch-bark were seen in every log-cabin.

The word tankard was originally applied to a heavy and large vessel of wood banded with metal, in which to carry water. Smaller wooden drinking tankards were subsequently made and used throughout Europe, and were occasionally brought here by the colonists. The plainly shaped wooden tankard, made of staves and hoops and here shown, is from the collection at Deerfield Memorial Hall. It was found in the house of Rev. Eli Moody. These commonplace tankards of staves were not so rare as the beautiful carved and hooped tankard, and which is in the collection of Mrs. Samuel Bowne Duryea, of Brooklyn. I have seen a few other quaintly carved ones, black with age, in American families of Huguenot descent; these were apparently Swiss carvings.

The chargers, or large round platters found on every dining-table, were of pewter. Some were so big and heavy that they weighed five or six pounds apiece. Pewter is a metal never seen for modern table furnishing, or domestic use in any form to-day; but in colonial times what was called a garnish of pewter, that is, a full set of pewter platters, plates, and dishes, was the pride of every good housekeeper, and also a favorite wedding gift. It was kept as bright and shining as silver. One of the duties of children was to gather a kind of horse-tail rush which grew in the marshes, and because it was used to scour pewter, was called scouring-rush.

Pewter bottles of various sizes were sent to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1629. Governor Endicott had one, but they were certainly far from common. Dram cups, wine mugs, and funnels of pewter were also occasionally seen, but scarcely formed part of ordinary table furnishings. Metheglin cans and drinking-mugs of pewter were found on nearly every table. Pewter was used until this century in the wealthiest homes, both in the North and South, and was preferred by many who owned rich china. Among the pewter-lovers was the Revolutionary patriot, John Hancock, who hated the clatter of the porcelain plates.

Porringers of pewter, and occasionally of silver, were much used at the table, chiefly for children to eat from. These were a pretty little shallow circular dish with a flat-pierced handle. Some had a “fish-tail” handle; these are said to be Dutch. These porringers were in many sizes, from tiny little ones two inches in diameter to those eight or nine inches across. When not in use many housekeepers kept them hanging on hooks on the edge of a shelf, where they formed a pretty and cheerful decoration. The poet Swift says:—

“The porringers that in a row
Hung high and made a glittering show.”

It should be stated that the word porringer, as used by English collectors, usually refers to a deep cup with a cover and two handles, while what we call porringers are known to these collectors as bleeding-basins or tasters. Here we apply the term taster, or wine-taster, to a small, shallow silver cup with bosses in the bottom to reflect the light and show the color and quality of wine. I have often seen the item wine-taster in colonial inventories and wills, but never bleeding-basin; while porringers were almost universal on such lists. Some families had a dozen. I have found fifteen in one old New England farmhouse. The small porringers are sometimes called posnets, which is an old-time word that may originally have referred to a posset-cup.

“Spoons,” says the learned archæologist, Laborde, “if not as old as the world, are as old as soup.” All the colonists had spoons, and certainly all needed them, for at that time much of their food was in the form of soup and “spoon-meat,” such as had to be eaten with spoons when there were no forks. Meat was usually made into hashes or ragouts; thick stews and soups with chopped vegetables and meats were common, as were hotch-pots. The cereal foods, which formed so large a part of English fare in the New World, were more frequently boiled in porridge than baked in loaves. Many of the spoons were of pewter. Worn-out pewter plates and dishes could be recast into new pewter spoons. The moulds were of wood or iron. The spoon mould of one of the first settlers of Greenfield, Massachusetts, named Martindale, is here shown with a pewter spoon. In this mould all his spoons and those of his neighbors were cast. It is now in the Deerfield Memorial Hall.

A still more universal spoon material was alchymy, also called occamy, alcamy, arkamy, etc., a metal never used now, which was made of a mixture of pan-brass and arsenicum. Wooden spoons, too, were always seen. In Pennsylvania and New York laurel was called spoonwood, because the Indians made pretty white spoons from that wood to sell to the colonists. Horn was an appropriate and available material for spoons. Many Indian tribes excelled as they do to-day in the making of horn spoons. The vulgar affirmation, “By the great horn spoon,” has perpetuated their familiar use.

Every family of any considerable possessions or owning good household furnishings had a few silver spoons; nearly every person owned at least one. At the time America was settled the common form of silver spoon in England had what was known as a baluster stem and a seal head; the assay mark was in the inner part of the bowl. But the fashion was just changing, and a new and much altered form was introduced which was made in large numbers until the opening reign of George I. This shape was the very one without doubt in which many of the spoons of the first colonists were made; and wherever such spoons are found, if they are genuine antiques, they may safely be assigned a date earlier than 1714. The handle was flat and broad at the end, where it was cleft in three points which were turned up, that is, not toward the back of the spoon. This was known as the “hind’s-foot handle.” The bowl was a perfectly regular ellipse and was strengthened by continuing the handle in a narrow tongue or rat-tail, which ran down the back of the bowl. The succeeding fashion, in the early part of the eighteenth century, had a longer elliptical bowl. The end of the handle was rounded and turned up at the end, and it had a high sharp ridge down the middle. This was known as the old English shape, and was in common use for half a century. About the period of our Revolutionary War a shape nearly like the one in ordinary present use became the mode; the bowl became egg-shaped, and the end of the handle was turned down instead of up. The rat-tail, which extended down the back of the bowl, was shortened into a drop. Apostle spoons, and monkey spoons for extraordinary use were occasionally made, and a few are still preserved; examples of five types of spoons are shown from the collection of Edward Holbrook, Esq., of New York.

Families of consequence had usually a few pieces of silver besides their spoons and the silver salt. Some kind of a drinking-cup was the usual form. Persons of moderate means often owned a silver cup. I have seen in early inventories and lists the names of a large variety of silver vessels: tankards, beer-bowls, beakers, flagons, wine cups, wine bowls, wine cans, tasters, caudle-cups, posset-cups, dram-cups, punch-bowls, tumblers, mugs, dram bottles, two-eared cups, and flasks. Virginians and Marylanders in the seventeenth century had much more silver than New Englanders. Some Dutch merchants had ample amounts. It was deemed a good and safe investment for spare money. Bread-baskets, salvers, muffineers, chafing-dishes, casters, milk pitchers, sugar boxes, candlesticks, appear in inventories at the end of the century. A tankard or flagon, even if heavy and handsome, would be placed on the table for every-day use; the other pieces were usually set on the cupboard’s head for ornament.

The handsome silver tankard owned by Sarah Jansen de Rapelje is here shown. She was the first child of European parents born in New Netherland. The tankard was a wedding gift from her husband, and a Dutch wedding scene is graven on the lid.

There was a great desire for glass, a rare novelty to many persons at the date of colonization. The English were less familiar with its use than settlers who came from Continental Europe. The establishment of glass factories was attempted in early days in several places, chiefly to manufacture sheet-glass, but with slight success. Little glass was owned in the shape of drinking-vessels, none used generally on the table, I think, during the first few years. Glass bottles were certainly a great rarity, and were bequeathed with special mention in wills, and they are the only form of glass vessel named. The earliest glass for table use was greenish in color, like coarse bottle glass, and poor in quality, sometimes decorated in crude designs in a few colors. Bristol glass, in the shape of mugs and plates, was next seen. It was opaque, a milky white color, and was coarsely decorated with vitrifiable colors in a few lines of red, green, yellow, or black, occasionally with initials, dates, or Scriptural references.

Though shapes were varied, and the number was generally plentiful, there was no attempt made to give separate drinking-cups of any kind to each individual at the table. Blissfully ignorant of the existence or presence of microbes, germs, and bacteria, our sturdy and unsqueamish forbears drank contentedly in succession from a single vessel, which was passed from hand to hand, and lip to lip, around the board. Even when tumbler-shaped glasses were seen in many houses,—flip-glasses, they were called,—they were of communal size,—some held a gallon,—and all drank from the same glass. The great punch-bowl, not a very handy vessel to handle when filled with punch, was passed up and down as freely as though it were a loving-cup, and all drank from its brim. At college tables, and even at tavern boards, where table neighbors might be strangers, the flowing bowl and foaming tankard was passed serenely from one to another, and replenished to pass again.

Leather was perhaps the most curious material used. Pitchers, bottles, and drinking-cups were made of it. Great jugs of heavy black leather, waxed and bound, and tipped with silver, were used to hold metheglin, ale, and beer, and were a very substantial, and at times a very handsome vessel. The finest examples I have ever seen are here represented. The stitches and waxed thread at the base and on the handles can plainly be perceived. They are bound with a rich silver band, and have a silver shield bearing a date of gift to Samuel Brenton in 1778; but they are probably a century older than that date. They are the property by inheritance of Miss Rebecca Shaw, aged ninety-six years, of Wickford, Rhode Island.

The use of these great leather jacks, in a clumsier form than here shown, led to the amusing mistake of a French traveller, that the English drank their ale out of their boots. These leather jugs were commonly called black jacks, and the larger ones were bombards. Giskin was still another and rarer name.

Drinking-cups were sometimes made of horn. A handsome one has been used since colonial days on Long Island for “quince drink,” a potent mixture of hot rum, sugar, and quince marmalade, or preserves. It has a base of silver, a rim of silver, and a cover of horn tipped with silver. A stirrup-cup of horn, tipped with silver, was used to “speed the parting guest.” Occasionally the whole horn, in true mediæval fashion, was used as a drinking-cup. Often they were carved with considerable skill, as the beautiful ones in the collection of Mr. A. G. Richmond, of Canajoharie, New York.

Gourds were plentiful on the farm, and gathered with care, that the hard-shelled fruit might be shaped into simple drinking-cups. In Elizabeth’s time silver cups were made in the shape of these gourds. The ships that brought “lemmons and raysins of the sun” from the tropics to the colonists, also brought cocoanuts. Since the thirteenth century the shells of cocoanuts have been mounted with silver feet and “covercles” in a goblet shape, and been much sought after by Englishmen. Mounted in pewter, and sometimes in silver, or simply shaped with a wooden handle attached, the shell of the cocoanut was a favorite among the English settlers. To this day one of the cocoanut-shell cups, or dippers, is a favorite drinking-cup of many. A handsome cocoanut goblet, richly mounted in silver, is shown in the accompanying illustration. It was once the property of the Revolutionary patriot, John Hancock, and is now in the custody of the Bostonian Society, at the Old State House, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Popular drinking-mugs of the English, from which specially they drank their mead, metheglin, and ale, were the stoneware jugs which were made in Germany and England, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in great numbers. An English writer in 1579, spoke of the English custom of drinking from “pots of earth, of sundry colors and moulds, whereof many are garnished with silver, or leastwise with pewter.” Such a piece of stoneware is the oldest authenticated drinking-jug in this country, which was brought here and used by English colonists. It was the property of Governor John Winthrop, who came to Boston in 1630, and now belongs to the American Antiquarian Society, in Worcester, Massachusetts. It stands eight inches in height, is apparently of German Gresware, and is heavily mounted in silver. The lid is engraved with a quaint design of Adam and Eve and the tempting serpent in the apple-tree. It was a gift to John Winthrop’s father from his sister, Lady Mildmay, in 1607, and was then, and is still now, labelled, “a stone Pot tipped and covered with a Silver Lydd.” Many other Boston colonists had similar “stone juggs,” “fflanders juggs,” “tipt juggs.” What were known as “Fulham juggs” were also much prized. The most interesting ones are the Georgius Rex jugs, those marked with a crown, the initials G. R., or a medallion head of the first of the English Georges. I know one of these jugs which has a Revolutionary bullet imbedded in its tough old side, and is not even cracked. Many of them had pewter or silver lids, which are now missing. Some have the curious hound handle which was so popular with English potters.

There was no china in common use on the table, and little owned even by persons of wealth throughout the seventeenth century, either in England or America. Delft ware was made in several factories in Holland at the time the Dutch settled in New Netherland; but even in the towns of its manufacture it was not used for table ware. The pieces were usually of large size, what were called state pieces, for cabinet and decorative purposes. The Dutch settlers, however, had “purslin cupps” and earthen dishes in considerable quantities toward the end of the century. The earthen was possibly Delft ware, and the “Purslin” India china, which by that time was largely imported to Holland. Some Portuguese and Spanish pottery was imported, but was not much desired, as it was ill fired and perishable. It was not until Revolutionary times that china was a common table furnishing; then it began to crowd out pewter. The sudden and enormous growth of East India commerce, and the vast cargoes of Chinese pottery and porcelain wares brought to American ports soon gave ample china to every housewife. In the Southern colonies beautiful isolated pieces of porcelain, such as vast punch-bowls, often were found in the homes of opulent planters; but there, as in the North, the first china for general table use was the handleless tea-cups, usually of some Canton ware, which crept with the fragrant herb into every woman’s heart—both welcome Oriental waifs.

It may well be imagined that this long narrow table—with a high salt-cellar in the middle, with clumsy wooden trenchers for plates, with round pewter platters heaped high with the stew of meat and vegetables, with a great noggin or two of wood, a can of pewter, or a silver tankard to drink from, with leather jacks to hold beer or milk, with many wooden or pewter and some silver spoons, but no forks, no glass, no china, no covered dishes, no saucers—did not look much like our dinner tables to-day.

Even the seats were different; there were seldom chairs or stools for each person. A long narrow bench without a back, called a form, was placed on each side of the table. Children in many households were not allowed to sit, even on these uncomfortable forms, while eating. Many times they had to stand by the side of the table during the entire meal; in old-fashioned families that uncomfortable and ungracious custom lasted till this century. I know of children not fifty years ago standing thus at all meals at the table of one of the Judges of the Supreme Court. He had a bountiful table, was a hospitable entertainer and well-known epicure; but children sat not at his board. Each stood at his own place and had to behave with decorum and eat in entire silence. In some families children stood behind their parents and other grown persons, and food was handed back to them from the table—so we are told. This seems closely akin to throwing food to an animal, and must have been among people of very low station and social manners.

In other houses they stood at a side-table; and, trencher in hand, ran over to the great table to be helped to more food when their first supply was eaten.

The chief thought on the behavior of children at the table, which must be inferred from all the accounts we have of those times is that they were to eat in silence, as fast as possible (regardless of indigestion), and leave the table as speedily as might be. In a little book called A Pretty Little Pocket Book, printed in America about the time of the Revolution, I found a list of rules for the behavior of children at the table at that date. They were ordered never to seat themselves at the table until after the blessing had been asked, and their parents told them to be seated. They were never to ask for anything on the table; never to speak unless spoken to; always to break the bread, not to bite into a whole slice; never to take salt except with a clean knife; not to throw bones under the table. One rule read: “Hold not thy knife upright, but sloping; lay it down at right hand of the plate, with end of blade on the plate.” Another, “Look not earnestly at any other person that is eating.” When children had eaten all that had been given them, if they were “moderately satisfied,” they were told to leave at once the table and room.

When the table-board described herein was set with snowy linen cloth and napkins, and ample fare, it had some compensations for what modern luxuries it lacked, some qualifications for inducing contentment superior even to our beautiful table-settings. There was nothing perishable in its entire furnishing: no frail and costly china or glass, whose injury and destruction by clumsy or heedless servants would make the heart of the housekeeper ache, and her anger nourish the germs of ptomaines within her. There was little of intrinsic value to watch and guard and worry about. There was little to make extra and difficult work,—no glass to wash with anxious care, no elaborate silver to clean,—only a few pieces of pewter to polish occasionally. It was all so easy and so simple when compared with the complex and varied paraphernalia and accompaniments of serving of meals to-day, that it was like Arcadian simplicity.

In Virginia the table furnishings were similar to those in New England; but there were greater contrasts in table appointments. There was more silver, and richer food; but the negro servants were so squalid, clumsy, and uncouth that the incongruity made the meals very surprising and, at times, repellent.

When dinners of some state were given in the larger towns, the table was not set or served like the formal dinner of to-day, for all the sweets, pastry, vegetables, and meats were placed on the table together, with a grand “conceit” for the ornament in the centre. At one period, when pudding was part of the dinner, it was served first. Thus an old-time saying is explained, which always seemed rather meaningless, “I came early—in pudding-time.” There was considerable formality in portioning out the food, especially in carving, which was regarded as much more than a polite accomplishment, even as an art. I have seen a list of sixty or seventy different terms in carving to be applied with exactness to different fish, fowl, and meats. An old author says:—

“How all must regret to hear some Persons, even of quality say, ‘pray cut up that Chicken or Hen,’ or ‘Halve that Plover’; not considering how indiscreetly they talk, when the proper Terms are, ‘break that Goose,’ ‘thrust that Chicken,’ ‘spoil that Hen,’ ‘pierce that Plover.’ If they are so much out in common Things, how much more would they be with Herons, Cranes, and Peacocks.”

It must have required good judgment and constant watchfulness never to say “spoil that Hen,” when it was a chicken; or else be thought hopelessly ill-bred.

There were few state dinners, however, served in the American colonies, even in the large cities; there were few dinners, even, of many courses; not always were there many dishes. There were still seen in many homes more primitive forms of serving and eating meals, than were indicated by the lack of individual drinking-cups, the mutual use of a trencher, or even the utilization of the table top as a plate. In some homes an abundant dish, such as a vast bowl of suppawn and milk, a pumpkin stewed whole in its shell, or a savory and mammoth hotchpot was set, often smoking hot, on the table-board; and from this well-filled receptacle each hungry soul, armed with a long-handled pewter or wooden spoon, helped himself, sometimes ladling his great spoonfuls into a trencher or bowl, for more moderate and reserved after-consumption,—just as frequently eating directly from the bountiful dish with a spoon that came and went from dish to mouth without reproach, or thought of ill-manners. The accounts of travellers in all the colonies frequently tell of such repasts; some termed it eating in the fashion of the Dutch. The reports of old settlers often recall the general dish; and some very distinguished persons joined in the circle around it, and were glad to get it. Variety was of little account, compared to quantity and quality. A cheerful hospitality and grateful hearts filled the hollow place of formality and elegance.

By the time that newspapers began to have advertisements in them—about 1750—we find many more articles for use at the table; but often the names were different from those used to-day. Our sugar bowls were called sugar boxes and sugar pots; milk pitchers were milk jugs, milk ewers, and milk pots. Vegetable dishes were called basins, pudding dishes twifflers, small cups were called sneak cups.

We have still to-day a custom much like one of olden times, when we have the crumbs removed from our tables after a course at dinner. Then a voider was passed around the table near the close of the dinner, and into it the persons at the table placed their trenchers, napkins, and the crumbs from the table. The voider was a deep wicker, wooden, or metal basket. In the Boke of Nurture, written in 1577, are these lines:—

“When meate is taken quyte awaye
And Voyders in presence,
Put you your trenchour in the same
and all your resydence.
Take you with your napkin & knyfe
the croms that are fore the,
In the Voyder your Napkin leave
for it is a curtesye.”