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chained_bear commented on the word service bell
"Well-trained domestic help was crucial to the successful execution of an elaborate Victorian dinner party. The service bell, a popular affectation, allowed the hostess to get around the rule that she must never speak to the help during the meal: all instructions were given in advance and carried out wordlessly at the genteel tone of the bell."
—Susan Williams, Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 153
May 3, 2010