finger-glasses, hot-water plates


India - Hindi
The camp itself was sumptuous seven large tents (one for each), a dinining-tent, and a number of servants' tents. The dinner was very good, as Grandfather admitted afterwards; it was not often that one saw hot-water plates, finger-glasses, and seven or eight courses, in a tent in the forest ! But that was how things were done in the days of the Viceroys...... There were also some fifteen elephants, four of them with howdahs for the shikaris, and the others specially trained for taking part in the beat.

Please explain the bold ones. [I couldn't find it in a dictionary]
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  • mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    A finger bowl is a small bowl put next to your place setting on the table. It contains warm water and is used to wash off your fingers before you eat. It is usually accompanied with a small towel, other than your napkin, for drying your fingers. Most finger bowls have been replaced by a paper-plastic-and-aluminum packet that contains a pre-moistened towelette that is disposable.

    The point the author is making is that you usually see things like hot water plates and finger bowls in finer restaurants, not out on a camping trip or a safari.