Novans are extremely conscious of manners. Manners are the key to social status; even the richest lout has no hope of climbing the social ladder. As a corollary, all manners are to some extent “nobles’ manners.” Nobles and social climbers need to display their manners to demonstrate the confluence between their moral and social superiority. Those who are content with their social status can be less inhibited.

Social Manners

In public, a polite Novan:

  1. Refrains from public displays of affection, including hand-holding;
  2. Does not swear;
  3. Looks others in the eye;
  4. Does not speak to social superiors without being spoken to;
  5. Does not turn one’s back on social superiors, backing out of a room if necessary;
  6. Introduces social superiors to social inferiors first, and then vice versa;
  7. Bows when greeting a social superior;
  8. Touches one’s knuckle to one’s forehead or one’s first two fingers to the brim of one’s hat when passing a social superior in the street;
  9. Inclines one’s head when greeting a social inferior.

Table Manners

When eating, a polite Novan:

  1. Stands upon the head of the household entering or leaving the room;
  2. Stands upon guests of higher estate entering or leaving the room, unless those guests are of lower estate than the head of the household;
  3. Brings and uses one’s own knife and spoon to eat;
  4. Brings and serves oneself from the table platters with one’s own fork, but never eats with it;
  5. Picks up food from one’s plate with one’s knife, but then removes the food from the fingertips to eat (the knife never goes in the mouth);
  6. When choosing food from the table platters, does not fill one’s plate;
  7. Keeps one’s elbows off the table while eating;
  8. Does not belch or spit at the table;
  9. Does not stuff one’s mouth full;
  10. Does not dip meat or fingers directly into the salt bowl, but uses the tip of one’s knife;
  11. Does not leave one’s spoon in a dish when finished;
  12. Does not use the knife to pick one’s teeth;
  13. Does not take all the choicest morsels for oneself;
  14. Cuts meat from the joint;
  15. Cuts bread, rather than breaking it;
  16. May select fruits, tarts and other sweet morsels with one’s fingers;
  17. Uses one’s spoon for broth or soup, rather than lifting the dish to one’s mouth;
  18. Does not eat one’s the trencher (plate of stale bread);
  19. Places a napkin over one’s left shoulder or left wrist;
  20. Wipes one’s mouth on a napkin, not one’s sleeve;
  21. Takes a cup with both hands to drink if it is shared;
  22. Wipes one’s mouth on a napkin before drinking from a shared vessel;
  23. If offered a drink from the host’s cup, does not pass the cup on to other guests.


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