In Notorious Vow, Vivien finds her mother’s middle-class family has varying reactions to her new friendship with Lady Diana. Her cousin Susan is brimming with curiosity over what the viscountess wears. Her uncle in particular, a solid man of business, blames it all on the horse she mysteriously received as a gift.
“Aha. It all comes back to that horse. I expect you will keep the animal?”
Vivien smiled. “Of course, Uncle.”
He rose and held out his arm to escort her into the dining room for dinner. Meals at Camden Place were complex affairs with multiple courses and every formality observed. If Uncle Camden did not care what how the upper class dined, Vivien knew her aunt certainly did.
“You must find our supper paltry after dining at Northam’s table,” Mrs. Camden said as she entered with her daughter, Miss Susan Camden, a lively girl with a bouncing sort of prettiness.
“It was only a light repast, Aunt. Not above two courses and served on a buffet.”
“Two courses only?”
Mrs. Scorton was a lavish housewife, and prided herself upon the table she kept. When the soup was removed, the manservant, assisted by a page and two female servants, set a boiled leg of lamb with spinach before his master, a roast sirloin of beef before his mistress, and filled up all the remaining space on the board with dishes of baked fish, white collops, fricassee of chicken, two different vegetables, and several sauce-boats…
Eliza asked (Kitty) how many courses Lady Buckhaven in general sat down to. When she learned that her ladyship contented herself with a very much lighter diet, she exclaimed at it; and Mrs. Scorton blessed herself to think that she should keep a better table than a baroness.