The tablecloth would be drawn, so that the shiny sweets and luscious jellies glittered in the candlelight and were reflected in the mahogany table. A few decades later in England, the dessert course had become such a cult that special banqueting houses would be built in gardens (or even on the roof of the main house) so that guests had a little exercise before the fun of the sweets course.
I regret the lack of posts this week — unfortunately I spend only a small portion of each day becoming acquainted with confectionary history, and a large portion of each day toiling in a thoroughly charmless litigation mine in midtown, without so much as a canary to let me know when I've been exposed to dangerous levels of bloated ego. Or distasteful levels of self-important preening. Etc. Sigh.