Googled: Dining arrangements, seating arrangements, Victorian dining etiquette, Captain's table, dining saloon, Emily Post's Etiquette, Mrs Beeton.
Now, we are on board an ocean liner in the 1890s and this is the first night of the journey. The jolly old friendly captain wishes to dine with his most prestigious passengers and has set up a 10-seater Captain's table, placed in the center of the dining saloon. Invitations has been sent out and... I'm a little lost at the seating arrangements.
From my understanding, during a formal dinner, the seating is usually determined by the hostess based on the importance and congeniality of the guests. But this is the Captain's table and while the man knows his passengers and their background, he doesn't know them too well. So how will the seating arrangements be in such a case?
I've listed the characters to give you a better idea on the situation:
Mr Gentleman. Perceived as the richest man on the ship just because he paid for four out of the six special cabins (parlour suites). Highly educated, well-travelled, considerably good-looking and a complete gentleman (most of the time). Has a tendency to overworry... a lot. An Eurasian in his late twenties.
Ms (Distressing) Damsel. Mr Gentleman's beautiful outspoken cousin, also his biggest headache. Is absolutely clueless about social etiquettes due to her upbringing. An Eurasian but can be passed off as Caucasian, looks around 18...
Mr Friend. Mr Gentleman's friend. Gentle and soft-spoken. Similar social standing to Mr Gentleman.
Ms Friend. Mr Gentleman's lady friend. Well-mannered but fidgety. Similar social standing to Mr Gentleman.
Mr Romeo. A charming, handsome, wealthy young man who wishes to extend his friendship to Ms Damsel (with good intentions), much to Mr Gentleman's utter dismay. His family has some connections but he has just recently graduated and travelling alone.
Baron Oldworld. Financially ruined. Detest the nouveau riche but willing to tolerate them to seek a match for his daughter.
Baroness Oldword. Financially ruined. Haughty old goose who thinks they are better than anyone on the ship.
Ms Oldworld. Shy, timid, obedient and unable to defend herself against her parents.
Mrs Captain/Mrs Chatterbox: Undecided, a character to round up the number for now.
The Captain will take the seat at one end on the table, but who's going to sit on the other end? Also, I'm assuming that the men and women will be sitting alternately and partners will not be placed to each other? Personally, I'm hoping to separate Mr Gentleman and Ms Damsel just so the poor man has something to wreck his brains over for the entire night and worry if she might make any faux pas with him sitting so far away. Of course, if Mr Romeo finds himself seated next to Ms Damsel, it would just be adding fuel to fire and a disaster waiting to happen (to Mr Gentleman at least).
Thanks and all help and suggestions are appreciated.