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Title: The Etiquette of To-day

Author: Edith B. Ordway

Release date: August 27, 2007 [eBook #22417]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Suzanne Lybarger and Emmy




by Edith B. Ordway

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George Sully & Company




Revised and Enlarged



Author of "The Opera Book," etc.



Copyright, 1918
By Sully and Kleinteich

Revised Edition, Copyright, 1920
By George Sully and Company
All rights reserved




The customs of social life need frequent restating and adaptation to new needs. They are customs because they are the best rules of conduct that have been garnered from the experiences of succeeding generations under common conditions.

To know them, to catch their spirit, and to follow them in an intelligent way, without slavish punctiliousness but with careful observance, make one skillful in the art of social intercourse, and at home in any society.

Etiquette will not take the place of character, nor of an accurate knowledge of human nature and the arts of practical life. Given these, however, it will unlock to any man or woman doors of success and profit and real happiness which, without it, would have remained forever closed.

E. B. O.


"We feel 'at home' wherever we know how to conduct ourselves."
T. L. Nichols



I.The Rewards of Etiquette1
III.Family Etiquette20
 Obligations of the Married20
 General Rules of Conduct26
 Table Etiquette33
 The Giving of Presents41
 Intimate Friends42
 Illness in the Home44
 Courtesy to Servants45
IV.Conversation and Correspondence48
 The Art of Conversation48
 Sealing, Stamping, and Directing of Envelopes59
 Salutation, Conclusion, and Signature of Letters    66
 Letters of Introduction70
 Letters of Recommendation73
 Third-person Letters74
 Informal Invitations and Announcements74
 Letters of Condolence75
[vi] Answering Letters76
V.Casual Meetings and Calls78
 Greetings and Recognitions78
 Social Calls of Men92
 First Calls94
VI.The Personal Card and the Engraved Invitation96
 Form of Card96
 The Engraved Invitation105
 Dining and Party Invitations108
 Wedding Invitations and Announcements114
 Various Announcement Cards119
VII.Behavior in Public122
VIII.The Art of Being a Guest137
IX.Duties of Host and Hostess145
 Breakfasts and Luncheons148
 The Formal Dinner149
 Special Duties of the Country Hostess161
 Public Functions165
X.Duties of the Chaperon169
XI.Etiquette of the Marriage Engagement174
 The Proposal174
 Announcement of Engagement179
 Bridal "Showers"181
 The Broken Engagement183
 Preparation for a Wedding185
XII.The Conduct of a Wedding194
 The Church Wedding194
 The Home Wedding201
[vii] The Wedding Breakfast204
 The Wedding Journey208
 The Wedding Fee208
 Wedding Presents210
 The Country Wedding212
XIII.Etiquette for Children214
XIV.Etiquette of Mourning224
XV.Military, Naval, and Flag Etiquette231
 The Formal Military Wedding231
 Naval and Yachting Usage232
 Etiquette of the Flag233


"The secret of success in society is a certain heartiness and sympathy. A man who is not happy in the company cannot find any word in his memory that will fit the occasion. All his information is a little impertinent. A man who is happy there finds in every turn of the conversation equally lucky occasions for the introduction of that which he has to say. The favorites of society, and what it calls whole souls, are able men, and of more spirit than wit, who have no uncomfortable egoism, but who exactly fill the hour and the company, contented and contenting, at a marriage or a funeral, a ball or a jury, a water party or a shooting match."






Society is a game which all men play. "Etiquette" is the name given the rules of the game. If you play it well, you win. If you play it ill, you lose. The prize is a certain sort of happiness without which no human being is ever quite satisfied.

Because the demand for social happiness is thus fundamental in human nature, the game has to be played quite seriously. If played seriously, it is perforce successful, even when the outward signs of triumph are lacking. Played seriously, it becomes a worthy part of the great enterprise of noble living, the science of which is called "Ethics." Therefore the best etiquette is that which is based upon the fundamental principles of ethics.[2]

The etiquette, as well as the ethics, of to-day may well be summed up in the one maxim known as the "Golden Rule": "Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you." Or in the philosophic statement of it, given by Kant: "Act so that the maxim of thy conduct shall be fit to be universal law."

A certain social sense is, therefore, the foundation upon which all concerted action rests; and this, permeating the character and winning conformity in the life, produces a social order which is at once the criterion of civilization and the source of its power.

Every social code presupposes the trained personality, that is, the individual who is intelligent enough and controlled enough to conform to the rules prescribed for the good of all. It is only in the common good that true individual good can be found. Therefore is it so essential that every man regard his brother's welfare as anxiously as his own, and permit himself to be curbed in his extravagances, limited in the indulgence of even legitimate desires, in order that he may not defraud another, or menace the general well-being.

Not only in social life, but in business, politics, and international relations, this principle of the common good as the ultimate goal, the supreme authority for conduct, holds good. To it society approaches, now by direct progress and[3] now by seeming reaction, but ever with a higher evaluation of justice. This is shown in the fulfillment of both small and large obligations.

Following the rules of courtesy, men give to each other that deference which each believes is his own due, and each receives in return twofold the deference that he sincerely gives. Men show, at home and abroad, the courtesy to women in general that they would wish shown to those of their family, and thereby the standard of respect for woman is so lifted that even the city street at night is a safe place for a woman to pass unaccosted, if it is necessary for her to go unattended.

Rigidly do we hold ourselves to the established rules of good breeding, endeavoring to make of ourselves all that Nature will permit; and we are surprised to find that Nature's own gentlemen and gentlewomen gather about us, and rare souls look to us for companionship, as finding in us kindred spirits.

No field so surely bears a like harvest as the one sown with the seeds of good-will and consideration for others.

Etiquette tells us how to accomplish what we desire,—to make clear the path to the goal of high companionship with many worthy minds,—and enables us to get out of social intercourse the honey that is hidden there. Without it, as social beings, we should be as[4] workmen without tools, architects without material, musicians without instruments.

After all, however, etiquette is only a tool, and should never be mistaken for the finished work itself. How you carry yourself at a reception is not a matter of so great moment, as is the fact that you went, and there exchanged certain worth-while thoughts with certain people. It is the people, the thoughts they gave you and you gave them, and the practical influence on your life of those people and those thoughts, which are of moment.

Just as, from a musicale, you must carry the music away in your soul, either in definite memories or in a refreshed and more joyous frame of mind, or it is of no avail that you attended, so from social intercourse it is absolutely necessary that you carry away the inspiration of meeting others and the thoughts that they have given you, and garner from those help and guidance in your life, or the most elaborate of toilets, the most perfect of manners, and the most ceremonious of customs are of little worth.

The tool, however, becomes invaluable when the master desires to create. Therefore, if we wish to gain from social life the enjoyment and happiness and help which it should yield, we should become familiar with the practice of the best forms of etiquette, so that we[5] shall have skill and aptitude in their application.

The rewards of etiquette are, therefore, both spiritual and material. That fine poise of soul which restrains all selfish and unlovely tendencies, that clear insight which sees the individual as but a single unit in the composite of the human race, that high aspiration which culls only the best from the mingled elements of life,—all these come from a true and sincere adherence to the spirit of courteous observances, and each of these is its own reward.

On the other hand, human hearts open only to gentle influences, and all that it is in the power of human beings to bestow upon one another comes most readily and most lavishly to those who outrage no social instinct. To be highly and sincerely honored socially means to be well loved, and that must mean to be lovable. Wealth and family position are matters of chance as far as the individual is concerned, but good breeding is a matter of personal desire and effort. It makes for power and influence, and often literally commands the wealth and position which the accident of birth has refused. It is the necessary colleague of intellectual ability in winning the farthest heights of success, and makes the plains of mediocre attainment habitable and pleasant.[6]



The social world is a world of personalities. Each individual has a value and importance according to the sum total of his characteristics, physical, mental, and moral. Other and more external facts enter into his social position, but in the circle of his friends and acquaintances, in whatever grade of society he may move, his place is determined by his personality. Personality alone is the final test of a man's worth to society.

A man's worth to the business world as a doer, maker, or as any other executive, his worth to the state as an incorruptible official, his worth to his family as a devoted husband and father, his worth to literature or art as a thinker or maker,—these values are imprinted upon his personality, howbeit with almost imperceptible lines.

If a man would present a pleasing personality as his claim for recognition in society, he must not neglect his mental attitude, his appearance,[7] his manners, or his speech. They are all true expressions of his real self, and they, together with his deeds, are all that his fellow men have by which to appraise his real worth.

Character is the foundation of all true courtesy, for manners are but minor morals, as many a writer has shown. It is not the part of a book on etiquette to tell how to keep out of prison, or to explain that one should be honorable and should do no murder. No book or person, however, can inculcate etiquette without showing that the roots of all true courtesy lie deep in the spirit of unselfish consideration for others. To master this spirit until it becomes one's own is the best fitting one can have for social achievement. Such consideration is the touchstone by which all social customs are tried, to see whether they be worthy of perpetuation or not. It is the sure test of correct conduct under all circumstances, and can be so utilized in case of doubt.

A veneer of virtue long passes as currency in no society. It is necessary to have character in order to be respected. As etiquette is founded upon certain simple virtues, it is necessary, at least, to affect the semblance of them. To be long effective they must be sincere, as a little experience shows.

Among the minor moral virtues which in[8] social life are of major importance are those of self-control, sincerity, and unselfishness.

There is no place for anger in social life. To give expression among a group of people to any strong feeling, no matter how justified it may be, is not courteous, because you may be inadvertently treading upon the beliefs or prejudices of some of your hearers. There are times when debate and the taking of sides on questions of common interest are in order, but that is not usually in the mixed society of men and women, who are supposedly dropping, for a time, the burdens of life for the sake of enjoyment and recreation.

Self-control is necessary not only in the constant curbing of anger and the more violent emotions, but in pushing into the background one's personal desires in order that one may do one's social duty. A bridesmaid may have assumed the obligations of that honor, and then found that, for personal reasons, they were distasteful to her. She should not, however, permit herself to fail in one iota of her duty. The always-remembered disappointment of the bride, or bridegroom, if either bridesmaid or best man should fail, at a time when life should be as full of happiness as it possibly could, should more than offset the pain of even difficult control on the part of the chosen friend, in order to carry out his or her obligations satisfactorily.[9]

In thousands of minor circumstances the need of absolute self-command for the sake of social virtues is evident. The man and woman who can so control themselves, and think only of others, win warm places in the hearts of their friends.

It is a dreary thing to be always sustaining a sham of any sort. Sincerity has its pleasure as well as its virtue. One should seek to be sincere, as perhaps no social virtue is of greater importance than this. The possibilities of development of character and of the betterment of social customs depend upon the exercise of this virtue. For that reason it is well to follow carefully the acknowledged rules of etiquette, in the hope and expectation of growing into the attitude of mind which will make them a natural expression of one's self.

"The little observances of social life," says Dr. T. L. Nichols in his book on "Social Life," "are more important than many people think them. The outward signs or expressions of any sentiment not only manifest it to others, but help to keep it active in ourselves. This is the use of all ceremony and ritualism in religion . . . and the same principle governs all social ceremonies and observances."

Without unselfishness and a fine consideration for others, the art of etiquette would be impossible. True etiquette learns no maxims[10] to practise mechanically. Rather, it learns all the maxims upon which it may have to draw, and practises them only as the considerate heart sees an opportunity and desires to embrace it.

Personal appearance is next to character in importance. The most important factors in this, with the average person, are not those that Nature alone is responsible for, but those that the individual himself is alone responsible for. Beauty is a pleasant thing, and not to be despised, although beauty alone is of little worth. The social conquests of history have not been confined to the possessors of beauty, and there have been many notable cases where decided plainness and even ugliness was the lot of one who nevertheless was a person of great charm.

One's figure and bearing count perhaps for most, as they give the first and distant impression, and are, as it were, the outlines of the picture.

Self-consciousness, for any reason and to even the slightest degree, is a great barrier to social intercourse and to mental freedom. It shows as often in a person's carriage as in his words or features. It should be broken down at all costs, and this can be done only by the person himself. It may be done, usually with comparative ease, by becoming and staying interested in something. Then awkwardness, and[11] a defiant attitude of spirit and body, will vanish. Haughtiness is usually the outward sign of a great inner self-consciousness. All of these traits, as well as their opposites, stamp themselves upon the bearing of the body, and reveal there the clearest manifestations of character.

Dress is almost as essential. By this is not meant a rigid adherence to fashion,—the stamp of a weak mind,—or even good taste, but an eye to the appropriate and fitting. First of all, dress should be subordinated to character, that is, it should be no more costly than the wearer can afford, and no more striking than modesty and good taste allow.

Good taste in dress means plain and simple styles, but material as elegant, serviceable, and pleasing as one's purse permits. It means also a few things well chosen and kept in good order, rather than many things more or less untidy; that one's wardrobe will be harmonious,—not a cheap, shabby garment to-day, and an expensive, showy one to-morrow. It means also that the wardrobe throughout, not only the external garments, is equally well chosen and well cared for.

One should not mix one's wardrobe. A coat of one suit and the skirt of another should not be worn together. A carriage parasol should not be used on a sunny promenade, nor an umbrella in a carriage, or open automobile.[12]

It is necessary to wear a dress appropriate to the occasion in order to be well dressed. No matter how excellent one's costume may be, if it does not suit the time and place it is absurd and incongruous. Some of the major rules for appropriate dress are as follows:

Full evening dress demands one's most elaborate gown, made of silk, satin, velvet, lace, or crêpe-de-chine, as costly as one's purse permits, with décolleté effects, gained by either actual cut or the use of lace and chiffon. One should wear delicate shoes, white or light-colored gloves, and appropriate jewels, of which it is not good taste to have too lavish a display.

As hostess at an afternoon reception or luncheon one may wear an elaborate gown of the richest materials, with either long sleeves and high neck, or elbow sleeves and slightly low neck. As guest one may wear a walking suit, with pretty blouse, white gloves, and decorative hat.

The usual dress for a formal breakfast is much the same as for a luncheon,—a pretty afternoon street costume, with a dainty blouse, gloves, and "picture" hat, which is not removed. In summer, a gown of light material, such as organdie, muslin, or other soft goods, dainty and somewhat elaborate, is in good taste. Hat and gloves are invariably worn with this gown if the affair is ceremonious.

For church wear, a quiet, rather simple street[13] dress, which does not proclaim that either money or time has been spent upon it to any notable extent, is by far the most appropriate. The suit should be becoming but inconspicuous.

Ball costume is conventionally gay and elaborate, the lightest of materials being used, especially by those who intend to take part in the dancing, and a dainty effect being sought. Any costly, rich-looking materials are used, and a wide range of fashion is permitted. The gown is cut short-sleeved and décolleté, and the dancing shoes are of satin or very fine kid. Jewels are worn but sparingly by young women in their first season in society. The costume of a débutante at her first ball is usually white.

At an informal dinner, any pretty gown may be worn, with special attention to the coiffure.

Black should never be worn at a wedding. If one does not care to lay it aside for the time being, one should not attend.

For men, the proper costume for an early morning breakfast is the black cutaway coat with gray trousers, and other details as for a formal breakfast. In summer a gray morning suit with fancy waistcoat, or white flannels or linen, with appropriate hat, shoes, and tie, is permissible.

At a formal breakfast men wear frock coats, fancy waistcoats, gray trousers, patent-leather shoes, large ties, high hats, and gray gloves.

Afternoon dress for formal functions between[14] noon and evening consists of a double-breasted black frock coat, or a black cutaway coat, with either light or dark waistcoat, gray trousers, patent-leather shoes, light four-in-hand tie, and light gloves.

Evening dress is the correct attire for all occasions after six o'clock. It consists of a black suit,—coat cut "swallow-tail," and waistcoat cut low and in the shape of a "U,"—with white lawn tie, patent-leather pumps, black silk stockings, white gloves, and no jewelry but shirt studs, cuff links, and an inconspicuous watch fob. A black overcoat of some stylish cut and a silk hat or crush or opera hat is also worn.

Full evening dress is a man's costume for a formal dinner. The Tuxedo or short dinner coat with a black tie is intended only for dinners where women are not present. Although its use on other occasions is common, it is not correct, and ill accords with the elaborate gown which is usually worn at the formal dinner.

One should always have the appearance of being "well-groomed." It is a minor matter to add to habits of personal cleanliness, which every man and woman of refinement adheres to with scrupulous conscientiousness, that attention to the little details and finishing touches of dressing, which give the impression conveyed in that graphic expression "well-groomed." The[15] niceties of life are always matters of small care but great moment.

The aim to be beautiful is a legitimate one, and worthy of the attention of every lover of beauty. To make the most of one's self, both for one's own sake and that of those about one, is a duty. Much can be done if good taste is consulted, and one's salient good points studied and emphasized. One can at least dress characteristically, and so bring out the ideals to which one gives adherence.

For instance, the business woman, in business hours, dresses with that same effort after efficiency and economy of time and strength that she has to put into her business to make it successful. She is, therefore, besides being scrupulously neat, perfectly plainly and yet durably and comfortably dressed. The sudden storm does not catch her unprepared, for she cannot afford to lose even an hour's work next day because she "caught cold." She permits no fussing with her garments, therefore they have to be in perfect working order, as fussing takes time, and time is money. Her hair is done neatly, and as becomingly as possible, but securely for the day.

If, on the other hand, the business woman be a milliner, whose own artistic personality must be her best advertisement, she takes pains to dress artistically even though she wear less[16] serviceable and more elaborate costumes. She should, however, give the same impression of neatness and businesslike serviceableness, with the additional artistic impression which is going to show her customer that she knows how to bring out the telling points in her own personality, and create a charming effect.

The housewife needs, in her choice of morning garments, the same effectiveness as the business woman, for she must also work with real efficiency; but, in addition, she needs to give the impression of homelike abandon, as well as beauty and grace, which shall appear restful.

The art of correct speech and intelligent conversation is one which every one who wishes to hold an envied place in society should possess. There is no more attractive accomplishment. Others have only a limited use and give only an occasional pleasure, while good conversation is appropriate to almost any occasion, and amuses and entertains when all other interests have palled.

If one does not undertake to cultivate the art of conversation, one should at least be correct in speech. One should not permit slovenly expressions, or slang, or the thousand and one faults of mispronunciation and ungrammatical construction into which people fall, to be characteristic of one's speaking. For if one has time to go into society, one should have time and[17] money enough to make one's self presentable mentally as well as physically, and nothing so clearly shows lack of intelligence and appreciation of the matters of the intellect, as carelessness and neglect of the words one uses and the thoughts one utters. No physical defect is more glaring than the mental defect revealed in every sentence of such a person.

Mannerisms of speech or act are glaring flaws in the personality which would delight to charm, and successfully preclude the possibility of popularity among refined people. Many a man and woman of character have been barred from the pleasurable enjoyment of society, even by people of less character though of more surface refinement than themselves, because they lacked the intelligence and the good sense to abolish certain mannerisms of act or expression, which, though they may have had normal and logical causes, were not such as society could enjoy or approve, and would not tend to anything but harm if characteristic of many people.

Certain rather glaring faults are quite conspicuous among all classes of women, for reasons which are hard to determine, but which must be general as the faults are so prevalent. Women, as a rule, do not respect an appointment and keep it punctually, interrupt conversation repeatedly and ruthlessly, keep visitors waiting by needless delays, and do not seem to notice or[18] regret the sacrifice that some courtesy to them may have caused another.

The arraignment of women for these faults is indeed serious, for social misdemeanors could not easily be much worse. It means that the deep heart-feeling of courtesy is quite lacking from certain classes of women,—classes not to be marked off distinctly from any grade of wealth or learning. If the ladies of a fashionable and progressive intellectual club will not, after two or three years of repeated requests, make it a habit, one and all, to remove their hats during a dinner and the subsequent speeches in a crowded and level-floored club dining-room, it is useless to look for any finer courtesy among the "cultured" than among the work-worn "laboring" classes.

As a rule the women least at fault in these matters are the business women, a fact which would seem to prove that lack of business and professional training was in part responsible for the general apathy and indifference toward these matters of ordinary courtesy.

Courtesy, like honesty, is the best policy in all our dealings with our fellow men. Therefore, we cannot afford to neglect to exercise it.

Politeness and interest in others alike lead one to make those inquiries concerning friends and their families which show real concern in their welfare, and which are exceedingly gratifying[19] to all. Often this kindly trait alone gives one a reputation for charm, although it has its disadvantages, to be sure, in its demands upon one's sympathy and patience.

We each know that we are worth while. We should, therefore, treat others on that assumption, and thereby make them rise to their potential worth. The good that a person, who thus calls out the good within people, may do is limited only by his acquaintance.

Personality is, after all, one's greatest asset in life. No thought or effort should be spared in making it pleasing and inspiring,—a fit expression of one's character and ideals, and a worthy gift to the world.[20]



The permanence of a courteous manner is the test of its sincerity. If one is polite invariably everywhere but at home, one's politeness is as superficial as a disguise, and as easily penetrated by the discerning.

Unselfish consideration for others meets its sternest discipline in the home and in family relations, and becomes, under that discipline, a reliable guide, instinctively consulted in every emergency.

Without manners at home, it is impossible to preserve the real nobility and unselfishness of character which make a man or a woman socially desirable.

Obligations of the Married

The marriage relation, while based upon certain fundamental principles, and not to be preserved without adherence to them, has some little etiquette of its own which adds to its happiness.[21]

The solemnization of marriage is a sacred ceremony and should be observed in a reverent spirit. To partake of its home intimacies for the first time as of a sacrament, and to perpetuate that same spirit on the anniversaries of the day, will do much toward making it a holy and a happy union.

Every marriage should be at least a perfect friendship; so a married couple should observe with each other the same little courtesies that they would observe if still only friends, being as deferential in greeting one another in public, as careful of each other's feelings, and as observant of each other's preferences.

A woman should remember to accept from her husband, as her due and without surprise or awkwardness, the little attentions which she expects and receives in society. A man, also, should expect, and not be disappointed in receiving, the graceful little appreciations and courtesies which the woman of charm extends to the man of achievement in her social circle. The difference between the appreciations of society and those of the family is mainly that, in society, only the men of mark receive them, while, in the home, every man should receive his due; for there his efforts are known, even though they are not signal enough for society to recognize.

As equality is the only basis upon which the[22] authority of the home can happily rest, so a complete union of interests is the only basis for the successful financing of a home.

While all the virtues of good management of her household, economy in the expenditure of money, taste in dressing herself and her children, and promptness and charm in fulfilling her social duties are expected of a wife, and should be fulfilled to the best of her ability, there are some minor things which make for happiness which should not be neglected.

The wife who shines socially should remember that her family needs the charm of her presence more than society does, and it should be a daily household quality rather than for use only on state occasions.

The wife should confide in her husband on every matter of importance. She should not trouble him with trivial things, but, if a matter is of concern to her, she should not fail to let him know about it, and get his advice upon it. The cement of love is mutual confidence.

If a wife takes pains to understand her husband, to be his companion, and to do her full duty by him, by her children, and by her home, she cannot fail, under the ordinary circumstances of the American home, of winning happiness and making her husband happy. It is in the lack of desire to understand and love that the real menace to the happiness of the[23] home lies. The deep-hearted and thoughtful people approach nearest the ideal of love.

It is taken for granted that the husband will perform the major duties of his relation, such as being a good citizen, a good business man, and hence a good provider for his family, and that he will in all things seek the mutual happiness of his family and himself.

He must be considerate to his wife if he would keep her love and respect. He should confide his business to her as far as she, in her inexperience, is able to grasp it, and he should teach her the things about it which it is important for her to know. Through his conversation alone she can get the rudiments of a good business training, and she will at least be able to comprehend the changes he may make or the difficulties in which he may find himself, and, seeing their cause, thus be able to sympathize, and not to blame, if reverses come. He should so train her in business ways and methods that, in case of his death or disability, she could attend to the business of his estate, even though she could not, or need not, earn money for the family.

The work of adjusting the labors of each to those of the other, so that there shall be time for recreation and social life together, should be a matter of mutual effort, and should not be dropped until solved to mutual satisfaction. If[24] the members of the family cannot move in the same social circle, and together, a serious breach of family happiness is threatened.

There is no marriage license which gives the right to constant harping upon one another's faults. In this, as in all other respects, the rule of friendship should prevail.

A husband should not open his wife's letters, nor should a wife her husband's.

All invitations are sent to a husband and wife jointly, except those for such occasions as a stag dinner, or a luncheon or "shower" to which ladies only are invited. If for any reason either the husband or the wife cannot attend a function, the other also must decline. The exceptions to this rule are those cases where a man or a woman of particular talent moves in a circle the interests of which are not especially enjoyable to the other one of the couple, or where the health of the one precludes the possibility of attendance upon affairs of which the other should not be deprived. Too long or too frequent use of the excuses which cover these exceptions, reflects seriously upon the marital happiness of the pair.

Although present together at a function, husband and wife are not paired off together in their entertainment. He takes some other woman out to dinner, and she is escorted by some other man. Even at dances and balls it[25] is not good form for them to dance together too frequently, except at public dances where they are two of a private party of four or six, in which case rotation of partners would bring them together more frequently than if a larger number of their personal friends were present.

In America a wife never shares her husband's titles.

Consultation and advice together on everything which concerns either is one of the privileges as well as the duties of marriage.

To reproach for errors which were made with good motives and the best of judgment available at the time is always unjust.

Always to greet and to part from each other with affection is the source of much happiness.

Neither parent should be overambitious. Their personalities make the home, and if they are overworked and crowded with care, the home is not happy.

The mother should always remember that home comes first, and should not absent herself from it save at those times and for that length of time when she is really not needed there.

Neither husband nor wife should confide family matters to any one but each other, nor discuss each other with any other person.

Companionship means the willingness to let one's own mood be dominated by another. Therefore, if they would be companionable, a[26] husband and wife should meet each other's moods halfway. For what is lost personally now and then, far more of greater mutual value is obtained; and it is largely by a habit of companionableness that the happiness of the home can be made so satisfying that there can arise no question of its permanence.

To keep one's self up to one's best standard of speech and conduct is necessary, for only thus can the family standard be kept high.

An arbitrary disposition in the home ruins the comfort of all. Companionship and mutual authority and helpfulness are the only foundations for a happy home.

General Rules of Conduct

Seek the companionship of the refined and the gentle-mannered if you would be the same. Move in that society in whose ways you are versed and whose rules you practice, if you would be appreciated or met with like courtesy.

Never fail to say kind words to those in distress whom you meet. The kindness, however, must be genuine, and come from the heart, never in stereotyped and hollow phrases.

The courtesy which offers attentions should be met with graciousness in receiving them. Surprise is a sign that one rates one's self lower than did the person who showed the courtesy.[27] Attentions should be warmly accepted, and the gratitude expressed should be of the sort which does not forget.

A woman, when in the presence of the men of the family, should expect that doors will be opened for her, that she will pass through them first, that packages will be carried, and errands run. She should not, however, let these little attentions be paid her by her father or an elderly relative.

Enter a room filled with people in a dignified manner and with a slight bow to the general company. "We all do stamp our value on ourselves" is true enough, and our private stamp is never more conspicuous than when we confront a roomful of people. If we show modesty but intense self-respect in our bearing, there is no one who will not raise his personal estimate of us no matter what it was.

The head should be well up, the body squarely erect, the chest out. Self-consciousness at such a time is a mistake, if natural, and shows the actual littleness which one is trying by an upright bearing to conceal. One should train one's self until the meeting of people, no matter who they may be, whether singly or in large numbers, is a matter of no particular concern as to deportment.

Never enter a room noisily, nor fail to close a door after you, without slamming.[28]

Never take another's seat unless you give it up upon his return.

Dignified postures in sitting are marks of respect to yourself and the company you are with. A gentleman does not sit astride a chair, nor with legs spread out, nor a lady with her legs crossed. Never put out your foot, in the street car or elsewhere, or place it where it may trouble others in passing by.

When several people enter a room in a private house where you are sitting, always rise, especially if they are older than you. When an elderly person enters the room alone, it is always a graceful show of deference for all younger than he to rise and remain standing until he is seated.

The greetings of night and morning are due to all members of one's household, and should not be omitted. The one who enters a room where others are assembled gives the salutation first.

"Good morning" is the appropriate greeting till noon. "Good afternoon" and "Good evening" are the greetings for the later hours of the day. "Good-by" is, however, the common and most acceptable form of farewell. After an evening's entertainment, it is permissible also to say "Good night" instead. "Good day," "Good afternoon," and "Good evening," used in farewell, are provincial.[29]

"I beg pardon," spoken with an inquiring inflection, is much better than simply "What?" when you do not hear what is said. The abruptness of the latter savors of rudeness.

Whispering is not permissible in company, and it is not necessary in private. Therefore, whisper not at all, especially not in a sick-room or in church, where the whisper is far more penetrating than a low, distinct tone.

The calling up or down stairs is inconsiderate, for you attract the attention of two floors of people, as well as publish your message. To carry on a conversation over the banisters is also equally bad. Even a word of inquiry should usually be spoken at short distance in a hall which leads to several rooms, and where many people may hear or be disturbed by the noise. Such calling should never be permitted to servants or children, for once begun its convenience will demand its continuance.

Interrupting another's conversation is a serious breach of courtesy.

Finding fault is a very disturbing feature of home life, no matter how glaring the faults which may be criticised. Faults have to be remedied, but every effort should be made to do it skillfully, and not make the remedy worse than the disease.

Do not open your letters in company, except in case of emergency, and in the latter, ask the[30] permission of the company to do so. Never, under any circumstances, open a private letter addressed to another. If the one to whom it is addressed is near enough to give you permission to open it, he can usually open it himself; if he is not by to give permission, the letter should go to his legal representative, who then acts according to the law.

Politeness as well as pity impel one to be especially polite to the caller or visitor who is uncongenial, or stupid, or unattractive. By even an excess of hospitality one should try to make up for the inevitable slight which society always puts upon such a one.

Impartial courtesy is the right of all guests. The close friend and the distant and far less welcome relative are entitled to equal courtesy.

The holding of a grudge, and the failing to forgive a slight for which apology has been made, are the height of discourtesy. It is invariably true that the same spirit with which you mete out social slights will be shown you in return. Resent each one, whether intentional or a mere oversight, and you will surely crush the spontaneity out of all attentions shown you, and be met only with distrust.

When applied to for a favor, if you intend to grant it, grant it graciously and readily; if you intend to refuse, refuse with equal civility even though firmly. None but the unmannerly[31] will urge a request when the slightest token of refusal has been given.

A gentleman may offer personal service to a lady, if there is need, tying her shoe, or hooking or buttoning her dress, or doing any other little act which she cannot herself do.

In a company of people, it is the height of rudeness to call attention to the form or features or dress of any one present.

In using a handkerchief, always do so unobtrusively. At the dining table it should be used very sparingly. Better retire than be obnoxious to even the most fastidious.

Never look over the shoulder of any one who is reading or writing, whether in the home, of in a car, or at a concert, or anywhere else.

Do not touch any one in order to arrest his attention, but address him.

To lend a borrowed article is an appropriation of it which is next to stealing, unless one has permission of the owner to do so.

Self-control in excitement of any sort is a most valuable trait. It always makes for comfort of one's self and of others, and often for safety.

Do not pass between two persons who are talking together, if avoidable. If it is not, then apologize.

Never refuse to receive an apology. Courtesy requires, no matter how unforgivable the of[32]fense, that an apology should be accepted. Friendship may not be restored, but friendly courtesy should always thereafter be maintained.

Never neglect to perform a commission which a friend intrusted to you. Forgetfulness denotes lack of regard for the friend.

Never fail to be punctual at the time appointed, in keeping every engagement.

To make yourself the hero of your own story, or to speak much of your own performances, denotes deep-seated self-conceit, and may be very distasteful to others, who also have achieved.

One's social obligations should never be neglected unless one is determined to drop out from one's place entirely. To acknowledge one invitation and not another is surely to be discredited with all.

Never question a child or a servant upon family matters.

Fulfill your promises,—or do not promise.

Deaf persons should be treated with special consideration. Act as though they could hear what is being said, yet without laying the burden of reply upon them, and without permitting it to be conspicuous in any way that they may have lost the drift of the talk. It is well to talk both louder and more expressively when they are present, but always more distinctly, and somewhat more slowly. Never shout at[33] them, or attract their attention by touching them suddenly. This latter is not polite to any one, but the stronger impulse to do it in case of the deaf must be withstood. It is always better to come within the range of their vision before speaking to them.

Table Etiquette

A man should not seat himself at the dinner table until his wife or his hostess is seated. This rule holds good in the home, for if it is not practised there, it will not be observed gracefully in society.

Seat yourself not too close to nor too far from the table.

Erect position at table is the first requisite. One should so place one's seat that correct position is possible, and then should keep it.

Elbows should never be placed upon the table.

The hands should be kept quietly in the lap while not busy with the food. One should sit quietly at the table, without handling the cutlery or making useless motions, while waiting to be served. If there is some form of grace said, or some simple ceremony preliminary to the meal, one should pay respectful attention silently.

Do not seem impatient to be served. The meal is a social occasion and the food is an adjunct to friendly intercourse. The success of[34] the meal depends equally perhaps upon the food and the conversation. Because of the interruptions of service, conversation cannot be long continued, or deeply thoughtful. It must be on subjects of no great moment nor grave interest, or on such subjects lightly touched; but it should be on bright, cheerful topics, and as witty as the talent of the company affords.

Eating should be slow, and mastication of the food thorough, for reasons of health as well as for the sake of appearance. No meal can be eaten properly and adequately in less than thirty minutes, but more than an hour for a meal is sheer waste of both time and food, unless the company is large, the times of waiting between courses long, and the portions served very small.

Eat silently. The noise of food being masticated is very distressing, and except in cases of crusts and crisp vegetables, perfectly unnecessary.

The napkin is unfolded and spread over the lap. One is supposed to be skillful enough in raising food to the lips not to need the napkin in front of the dress or coat to prevent injury.

In case you do not care for a course, you should not refuse it. Receive it, and take what part of it you desire, trying to take some; or, if you wish, leave it untouched, but do not have the appearance of being neglected or ill-[35]provided for, even if you do not eat of it. A little more attention to conversation on your part may make unnoticeable to those about you the fact that you do not eat of a certain course.

If your preference is consulted as to food, whether the matter be trivial to you or not, express some preference so that the one who is serving, and who has asked to be guided, may be so far assisted.

Never place food or waste matter upon the tablecloth. An exception to this may be made in regard to hard breads and celery, when individual dishes for these are not furnished. Always use the side of some one of the dishes about you for chips and scraps.

The fork is used in general except with semi-liquid sauces, where a spoon is of necessity used. It is not permissible to eat peas with a spoon.

The mouth should be closed while it contains food. It should not be too full, as it is often necessary to reply to some question when there is food in the mouth.

Do not leave the table until you have quite ceased chewing.

Be dainty and skillful in using your napkin and cutlery, avoiding soiling the tablecloth.

Discussions and unpleasant topics of conversation should never be introduced. One should regard not only one's own aversions but those of the others present.[36]

Never put your finger in your mouth at table, nor pick your teeth.

Tidiness of personal appearance is never at a higher premium than at the dining table. Soiled hands, negligee dress, shirt sleeves, and disheveled hair are disgusting there.

It is quite proper to take the last helping of any dish which may be passed you. To refrain looks as if you doubted the supply.

Bread is not cut, but broken into fairly small pieces. One should never nibble from a large piece.

It is permissible to eat crackers, olives, celery, radishes, salted nuts, crystallized fruits, corn on the cob, bonbons, and most raw fruits from the fingers. Apples, pears, and peaches are quartered, peeled, and then cut into small pieces. Cherries, plums, and grapes are eaten one by one, the stones being removed with the fingers and laid upon the plate.

Cheese may be laid in small pieces on bread or crackers, and conveyed to the mouth in that way.

Asparagus should be eaten with the fork, the part which is not readily broken off by it being left.

At a formal meal a second helping of a dish is never offered, and should never be asked for; but at an informal dinner party it is not out of place to accept a second helping, if one is of[37]fered, but is complimentary to the hostess, who is responsible for the cook.

In passing the plate for a second helping, the knife and fork should be laid across it full length,—not held in the hand until the plate returns.

One may ask the waiter for a second or third glass of water, as even at a formal dinner that is always permissible.

Lettuce, cress, and chicory are never cut with a knife, but rolled up on the fork and so conveyed to the mouth.

Never leave the spoon in any cup while drinking from it. Liquid bouillon,—not jellied,—should be drunk from the bouillon cup.

Spoons are used for grape fruit and oranges, when cut in halves and put upon a plate, for soft-boiled eggs, puddings, custards, and gelatins.

With fruit, finger-bowls should always be passed. A bowl half-full of water is placed upon a plate covered with a doily. Unless the fruit is passed upon a second plate, the bowl and doily are removed from this and set at one side, the fruit being eaten from this plate. The fingers are then dipped, one hand at a time, into the water, and wiped upon the napkin.

Salt should never be put upon the tablecloth, but always on the side of the plate, unless the individual salts are provided.[38]

Never spit out a prune, peach, or cherry stone.

Never hold food on the fork while you are talking, ready as soon as you reach a period to be put into your mouth. Having once picked it up, eat it promptly.

A bit of bread, but nothing else, may be used, if necessary, to help one put food upon the fork.

If one tastes of something which one does not care to swallow, it may be removed from the mouth with the closed left hand and placed on the plate. This should be done silently and with as little attention as possible.

Never take a chicken or chop bone in the fingers. Cut the meat from the bone, leaving all that does not readily separate.

Bread and butter plates, with the butter spreader, are always used, except at formal dinners, when the dinner-roll is laid in the fold of the napkin.

The knife is used only for cutting, and for spreading butter on bread in the absence of butter spreaders.

Almost all foods are eaten with the fork, which should always be used in the right hand with the tines up. It may be held in the left hand, tines down, when one is cutting, the knife being in the right hand.

The soup spoon is an almost circular and quite deep spoon. Therefore it is obvious that[39] the soup should be noiselessly sipped from the side of it. When the oval dessert spoon is used for soup, it is especially necessary to sip the liquid from the side.

Special spoon-shaped forks are provided for salads, ices, and creams, but for these spoons may always be substituted.

No hot drink should be poured from the cup into the saucer to cool it.

Toothpicks should not be passed at the table. They may be left on the sideboard, and if one is needed, it may be requested of the waiter or taken as you leave the room, but always used in private.

Wherein elderly people do differently from the established ways of to-day, they are not to be criticised. Manners change even several times within a generation, and such may be simply following the customs they were taught. When the three-tined fork was the only one in common use, the blade of the knife was much more in requisition than now.

On leaving the table the dishes of the last course should be left exactly as used, and the napkin left unfolded by the side of the plate. In case one is at home, or visiting a friend, and the napkins usually serve for two or three meals, then neatly fold it. Many families have clean napkins once a day, that is, at dinner.

The chair should either be pushed quite back[40] from the table, or close to it, so that others may easily pass by.

If obliged to leave the table in the midst of a meal, one should address the hostess, saying, "Please excuse me," as he rises.


The observance of family festivals is a great bond of union when there are different ages and temperaments and interests represented in the family circle. In the home holidays, all meet on a common ground, and get once more into touch with each other. Yet the observance of such festivals should never be more elaborate than the purse will justify, nor should it be allowed to become a burden upon any one, even the most willing. The festive spirit is lost if it becomes obligatory.

The observance of wedding anniversaries is usually an honored custom in the case of happy marriages, where children grow up who take delight in making much of the days which are sacred to their parents. Where this observance is not a matter of form or done with any ulterior motive, but is spontaneous and joyous, it adds much to the family happiness and strengthens the bonds, not only between parents but between parents and children.

It is customary to make gifts of the sort signified[41] in the name of the anniversary, and much ingenuity can be exercised in carrying out the idea. The anniversaries are named as follows:

At the end of the first year comes a cotton wedding; at the end of the second, a paper wedding; the third, a linen wedding; the fifth, a wooden; the tenth, a tin wedding; the fifteenth, a crystal; the twentieth, linen; the twenty-fifth, silver; the thirtieth, pearl; fortieth, ruby; fiftieth, a golden wedding; and the sixtieth, a diamond wedding.

These anniversaries may be added to, as by celebrating a leather wedding the third year, instead of two of linen; a woolen one the seventh; and a china one the twelfth.

A birthday anniversary is a momentous event in the life of a child. Disregard of it is a heart-breaking slight. The celebrations of these events, even in families where they are numerous and resources few, can be made joyous if there is love enough to do it, even without money.

The Giving of Presents

The members of a family who have each other's welfare at heart, often have the impulse to give each other something which they may know is needed or wanted. While this impulse should be cultivated even with the most limited[42] means, and the sense of generosity preserved even among the poorest,—where, to be frank, it is more apt to be found than among the rich,—there should be no counting upon such presents, nor obligation to make them imposed. This destroys their value as expressions of affection, and makes the custom harmful. For that reason it is not well to adhere to times and seasons, but at any time when the right opportunity offers and the impulse moves, give the gift that one desires to give.

Where such an impulse is characteristic of a family, the members will naturally take pride in expressing in that way their appreciation of individual achievement, as when a member graduates from a high school or college, or attains his majority, or makes some special advance in any way. The spirit which welcomes achievement and recognizes it, becomes an incentive, perhaps the strongest there is, and surely the most noble, that of satisfying and pleasing a loved one. Life holds too much of defeat for the average person, for its minor victories to be passed over in silence and indifference.

Intimate Friends

One's attitude toward intimate friends is either a pleasant memory or a sad revelation.[43] If one holds them a little lower than one's family, and expends upon them effort to charm second only to the effort habitually given to those whom one loves, then intimacy becomes a privilege, no matter what the circumstances, and a lifelong gratification and pleasure. If, however, one considers that intimate friends are entitled to less courtesy than the public, and are to be made to serve one's purpose more effectually than mere acquaintances do, then the burden of friendship is great, and soon dropped. Affection is not mercenary.

One word in regard to the single monopolizing friendship. Many a marriage has been wrecked, and many a mother's friendship turned away, because some one friend, of about one's own age and tastes, of pronounced influence and exorbitant demands, has usurped, at first perhaps unconsciously but ever surely, the place in one's life, and at last in one's heart, that some member of the family should have taken.

Some people seem naturally predisposed to this sort of friendship, and as soon as the intellectual zest is gone from absorbing companionship with one person, they turn to another. One such instance showed through twenty years a series of such friendships on the part of a well-meaning but foolish woman, in which her husband figured briefly, passing on[44] and off the stage as violently as, and even more speedily than, the other "friends."

Too great familiarity with new acquaintances is impolite as well as unwise. It cannot fail of seeming forced, and even if the friendship is to be close and permanent, a hastily-laid foundation is never the most secure.

One should never call a friend by his Christian name until he requests one to do so.

Illness in the Home

Illness means that the order of the home life must be seriously disturbed. Consideration for the one who is ill, and effort to alleviate the suffering, should take the place of every other thought and ambition. It is necessary, of course, that the routine of living should be sufficiently preserved for the health of the others not to be affected, but matters of comfort and well-being for all take precedence of everything else.

The well should make all wise sacrifices for the sake of the ill, such as being quiet about the house; never complaining at late or simple meals; setting aside personal plans and comfort in order to assist, if needed, in the care of the ill; looking out for the relief and comfort of the nurse, upon whom the major part of the responsibility rests; never grudging time or money in the effort to restore health; and,[45] above all, making these sacrifices in the spirit of love and not in that of martyrdom. Many people, who make even unreasonable sacrifices for others in times of emergency, do it so ungraciously, that one does not feel that they are entitled to the thanks which they still actually deserve and should receive.

Courtesy demands that the claims of the nurse and doctor be settled promptly and generously. They were prompt in meeting the emergency. There should be no delay in acknowledging the obligation to them, even though their promptness is looked upon, by them and by society, as part of their professional duty.

The convalescent takes such abnormally keen delight in being remembered, that it is obligatory upon the rest of his family and his friends not to forget him. Kindly messages should be frequent. Trifling gifts frequently are better than large gifts occasionally, unless the large gift is something greatly desired.

One should never fail to offer the easiest and best seat in the room to an invalid, an elderly person, or a lady.

Courtesy to Servants

It is safe to predict that, if the acumen of the business man, and the courtesy of the social leader and woman of true refinement were[46] brought to bear upon the servant problem, that would soon assume a different aspect.

If the consideration that would be shown an ailing guest were shown an ailing servant, service would be more generously and more faithfully rendered.

The waitress at the table is entitled to courtesy, but not to apologetic efforts to diminish her task. Appreciation may be shown in a "Thank you," or, "If you please," but such notice of her should be unobtrusively spoken, so as not to interfere with the general conversation about the table.

The servant has every human right to civility, and the withholding of wages is no more culpable, if more illegal, than is the withholding of civil treatment, and the infliction of the indignity of impatience and harsh and unmerited reproof.

All servants need careful training.

Neatness is the first requisite. The lack of it most seriously reflects upon the management of the household.

Servants should be trained to answer the door-bell promptly, reply civilly to questions, and in all things represent their master and mistress in a dignified and courteous way. They should not admit one person who calls socially, and deny another, unless under special and exceptional orders. They should not fail[47] to deliver promptly all notes, messages, and cards which may be received. Verbal messages should be received and given with accuracy.

The direct neglect of orders is unpardonable in an intelligent servant who has been well trained, and will not occur, even in the absence of the mistress, if the training has been explicit and complete and the servant is honorable,—as he should be in order to retain any position. A certain degree of initiative, too, should be cultivated in a servant who is given responsibility, so that he may meet an emergency with resourcefulness, in the absence of orders or specific instructions.

The servant needs to respect his master and mistress. The firm, strong, honest, and just control is respected by servants, and is much preferred to the irresolute one, even when the latter overflows frequently in lax kindness. Each man needs to be made to do his duty, and the power that forces him to do it should be gracious but must be firm.

To be familiar with servants is a fatal mistake, and eventually upsets and destroys all discipline.

Servants should never be reproved in the presence of guests, or members of the family, or other servants, but should be talked with singly, and considerately, but plainly.[48]



The Art of Conversation

Conversation is a game we all play, but most of us with ill success. We do not take pains to learn the rules, and we do not consider the honor of winning sufficiently great. It is, however, an accomplishment that all who will may possess, that consumes a great deal of the time of all of us, and that yields great pleasure and profit if skillfully used.

The subject of conversation should be pertinent, and of interest to all, or at least the majority, of those in the group of talkers. The treasures of experience and of knowledge should be grouped about the topic, and every one who contributes should take care to proffer nothing that the conversation has not logically called forth. Then the pleasure and the success of the time thus spent is measured only by the wit and mental resources of the talkers.

News which has a universal interest is always[49] a legitimate subject of discussion. Personal news which has only the interest of gossip or scandal is never permitted among cultured people, no more than are physiological facts or the records of criminology. It is a safe rule to speak of things rather than of persons.

The brilliant conversationalist never monopolizes the talk, as such a method would prevent his most telling points or his keenest wit from having dramatic expression. If he tells an anecdote which holds the attention of the table or of the circle of listeners, he permits his duller neighbor to tell the next, not only that his own wit may have a foil, but that his next anecdote may meet the sharp edge of whetted appetites.

If dining out or being entertained, do not play the host or hostess by leading the conversation, even though your talent in that direction be far superior to theirs. You thereby do them an injustice which is exceedingly discourteous on the part of one who has accepted of hospitality.

Never interrupt. It kills the expression of any thought to interrupt the speaker, and every person, no matter how badly he may express himself, has a right to the effort and to what he can win of the hearer's attention.

To supply a word which seems to fail the speaker is perhaps a friendly service, if he be a foreigner, but should never be tendered to a[50] countryman, nor often to even the most grateful wrestler with the English language. It confuses any one, and the only polite way is to wait quietly until the speaker collects himself and finds his words.

Do not contend any point. Among intelligent people questions may be pleasantly and earnestly debated, arguments weighed and tested, and yet the conversation be absolutely courteous, although conviction be deep on both sides. The impossibility, among untrained people, of debate without great emotion is what retards the progress of the intellectual life in many circles.

One should never answer questions in general company that have been put to another.

One should not note the points of discrepancy in the remarks of another, or the points of divergence in opinion. In society the subjects of conversation are subordinated to the human interest of the gathering, and points of harmony and agreement should be emphasized, leaving all others unnoted. One does not need to conceal his opinions, but he should not arrogantly or dogmatically publish them. Not opinions but individuals are of greater interest at that time, and the battle of ideas should be fought in another arena.

This is the only safe rule to follow in mixed companies, or with people imperfectly trained[51] socially. With highly intelligent people of congenial tastes, people who have ideas and convictions of great worth, and who are controlled enough to express them without undue or foolish emotion, the battle of ideas is fought most effectively and most to the benefit of society, in the drawing-room of that host and hostess whose own talents make them able to draw talent about them.

Here all the rules of polite society may be observed, and yet the inner convictions, whether political, religious, or moral, of the circle, may find welcome expression and fair hearing. The growth of ideas and the progress of ideals in such a society is rapid and along the right lines.

Never try to have the last word, but always refrain from saying it.

Do not enter into tête-à-tête conversation in the presence of others, or refer to any topic of conversation which is not of common interest and commonly known. Mysterious allusions or assumed understandings with one or two members of a group are insults to the others.

Inquiries into private affairs should never be made, but those on the subjects of age and income are especially obnoxious, and merit for the inquirer the cool silence which they usually obtain.

The loud-voiced, aggressive person, whose opinions are alone of vital moment in his estimation,[52] and who will not yield a point in an argument, is much to be dreaded in any company, and effectually brings to an end any general conversation into which he intrudes.

When addressing people face to face, it is necessary to give them their social or professional titles, if the latter be such as have influence on social rank, no matter if such titles are not inscribed on the visiting card of the person possessing them, or are purely honorary.

It is not now customary to add "Madam," or "Sir," or the colloquial equivalent of the former,—"m'am" or "m'm,"—to "Yes" and "No," even by children.


Letter writing is a high art, and can give great pleasure to one's friends. It must not, however, be intemperately indulged in, either in frequency, length of letters, or freedom of expression. A timely note is a great binder of friendship, and may give comfort and satisfaction much greater than a longer letter at a less important moment.

The danger of letter writing is that one is tempted to pour out one's inmost feelings with thoughtless abandon, and find later that the relative or friend to whom the letter was addressed was unworthy of the confidence, or, if[53] not unworthy, was repelled by it, or indiscreet in guarding it. It is always wise for one to restrain his expression of himself, when writing or speaking, within the bounds of dignity and a self-respecting reserve.

The classic letters of literature are usually those the fervor of expression and self-revelation of which gave them a strong human interest, but in the preservation and publication of which sacred confidence was violated. The average letter of the average man or woman is by no means a classic, or worthy of preservation. It should be destroyed when it has fulfilled the immediate purpose for which it was written. It may otherwise sometime be instrumental in bringing ridicule, if not shame, upon the unsuspecting writer.

As letter writing is the most common form of composition, the general rules pertaining to that art should be observed in even the most informal of letters.

All letters should be concise and definite. An involved style is a great waste of time and mental power, and has no advantage.

A letter should be written on consecutive pages, unless it be very short, in which case it is preferable to use the first and third, rather than only the first and second, pages. It should never be written so that the sheet has to be turned around and the pages read at different[54] angles. The turning over of the pages should be all that is necessary.

If, however, social note paper is used for a short business letter to a business man, open the sheet out flat, turn it so that the left side becomes the top of the sheet, and use as you would a single large sheet of commercial paper. This enables the reader to see the whole matter at a glance.

Do not scrawl your letter over the page; but do not, on the other hand, appear to economize in paper. Make the place and date lines clear and distinct. Set off the salutation from the body of the letter, and make the form of the letter upon the page artistic and concise. Paper is cheap, and the delight of receiving a letter well framed in even margins and written on regular, if invisible, lines is a pleasure easily afforded a friend.

The letter should be begun about two inches down from the upper edge of the paper. The left-hand margin should be three-quarters of an inch, with paragraph indention an inch more. The lower margin also should be three-quarters of an inch, and the right margin should be kept even and, for best effect, almost as wide as the left margin.

Do not run on the letter without paragraphing it, but place each subject in a paragraph by itself.[55]

A business letter should always go straight to the point.

A note of apology should be direct, and say but the one thing which is its subject.

A note asking a favor should do it simply and without unnecessary preamble. The sense of freedom or intimacy which permits one to ask a favor, should be great enough to obviate the necessity of long explanation, which seems like coaxing.

The refusal of a request requires tact, and may necessitate less directness than courteous explanation: but it should not be so extended as to be apologetic.

A letter of thanks is difficult, but too great effusiveness is as disgusting as too great abruptness is unsatisfactory. The elusive but happy medium is the work of the socially well-trained.


The grade of paper used is a matter of no small moment. Some people affect a fastidiousness in color and quality quite out of keeping with the purpose to which the paper is to be put. Others affect an opposite slovenliness, which shows equal disregard of use and effectiveness.

A good quality of paper is essential to elegance. Plain white or cream white paper, unlined,[56] with either rough or smooth finish, is always correct, and is the only kind for formal social correspondence. For more intimate letters ladies sometimes use a pale blue, delicate pearl-gray, light lavender or heliotrope, or a Colonial buff. There has lately been imported the style of an envelope with lining of another color and paper to match, in a variety of bright tints and striking designs. These styles, even in the daintier variations of them, appeal only to the younger members of the "smart set." Gentlemen never use any but white stationery.

Correspondence cards are a great convenience for the very shortest of messages, where even the small note paper is too large. They are to social letter writing what the postal is in business. They, like the postal, should be used only for brief messages of no special importance, or for notifications.

It is a matter of taste and of expense to have one's monogram or home address engraved at the top of choice note paper or letter paper. This may be in gilt, silver, or colors.

The more common forms of heading are centered an inch below the top of the paper, but may be placed somewhat lower down, and to the right, leaving about three-quarters of an inch margin. In this case the date line follows. Engraved and embossed headings are the most elegant, and printed ones should be used only[57] for business purposes. There can, however, be no objection to a very neatly printed small heading for personal business correspondence, if it is tastefully done in a quiet color. While it would not be acceptable for formal social correspondence, it does very well on more intimate letters and saves the necessity of writing each time the home address. It is best to use printed letterheads, rather than commit the blunder now so common, among those who do not habitually use engraved paper, of omitting the address from the letter. This, in case the letter is misdirected, and travels to the Dead-Letter Office, prevents effectually its restoration to the writer.

The size of note paper suited to the letter to be written should be used. Do not start with a small note size, and run on over several sheets. The letter size should have been taken in the first place, as the note is only for such messages as are essentially short.

The forms of heading which are permissible at the top of the personal letter paper are the following: a crest, monogram, or the separate initials; the name of the home if, as an estate, it has a special title; the name of the city and state; or the street address, with the name of the city and state beneath.

When in mourning, it is customary to use a note paper and envelopes surrounded with a narrow black border. The border should not[58] exceed three-eighths of an inch in width, and three-sixteenths of an inch during the period of half mourning. Sometimes only a black line with the monogram is used.

Scented note paper is not in good taste, except perhaps that which has a very faint odor of violets or of orris root, or, in the Southland, of orange blossoms.


Colored inks are not liked or approved of by society. A good blue-black ink is the best for all writing.

Pale inks, too faint to be easily seen, and too lacking in stock to last any length of time, are useless.


Illegibility in handwriting, or a stilted and difficult hand, is a great waste of time and energy, mainly the would-be reader's. There is no excuse, in these days of the typewriter and of common knowledge of stenography, for an illegible letter or manuscript, and the carelessness which writes too hurriedly to form the letters is excusable only in the gravest emergency and between intimate friends, where the inconvenience caused by it will be, for personal[59] reasons, gladly forgiven. Some handwritings which are thoroughly legible are extremely tiring to the reader, and the simpler, less ornate hand is for every purpose preferable.

The affectation of a handwriting which enables you to put but few words on a page, is absurd and vulgar in the extreme. Yet, on the other hand, a too delicate or minute hand is not desirable. Legibility, neatness, and clearness are the salient virtues of a letter.

The use of the typewriter is confined to business. It is still very bad form to use it for personal letters; but should elegant script and small, clear forms of type, such as are furnished by one or two of the machines now on the market, be in common use, there is little doubt but what the speed of service and the advantages of clearness would bring the typewriter into use in intimate, and perhaps at last into more formal, social correspondence. The tendency seems to lie in that direction.

Sealing, Stamping, and Directing Envelopes

Neatness is especially necessary in the folding of letters, and in addressing, stamping, and sealing the envelopes. Haste and slovenliness here take away the suggestion of compliment in the courtesy of the note, and are as insulting as any rudeness of manner can well be.[60]

The fastidious and leisurely still seal their envelopes with wax, imprinting thus their monogram. The well-gummed envelope now in vogue makes this superfluous for the ordinary informal letter. Addresses should be written with an eye to legibility, and the stamp should be affixed to the upper right-hand corner of the envelope with care and neatness. Social invitations, although engraved and therefore containing no handwriting, should always be sent with letter postage.

Letters should be plainly and completely addressed to insure their safe and prompt delivery.

Persons who have a large business correspondence should use for it envelopes on which their name and post office address are printed in the upper left-hand corner. In social correspondence these should be clearly written or engraved upon the back of the envelope.

Sometimes where a business firm is small or little known, it facilitates the delivery of a business letter to place the number of the office room in a building upon the envelope. Where, however, the firm is so large that probably the entire mail is carried from the post office in bags, or where a post office box is doubtless made use of instead of the carriers' delivery, even the street number is superfluous. Letters for departments should be so marked.[61]

If the city is one of the largest in the country, the name of the state is not added; as, New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia would stand alone.

Only a business letter should have the word "City" in place of the name of the city, and it is better to write the name, omitting, if you choose, the state. This is permissible only when the central post office is used, as the postmark of any suburban station might cause confusion, and railway post office clerks, especially, should not be expected to guess accurately the intents of a writer.

When street addresses like "Broadway," "Park Row," "Aborn Drive," are written, it is superfluous to write "St." after them.

The older form of writing an address was to end each line with a comma. The more recent style, and one coming into quite common use, is to omit the comma, using only such punctuation as the sense of the words within the line demands. Either way is permissible.

Uniformity and concise clearness are characteristics of a well-written address. An address should be written as follows:

Mr. Frankel Banchman,
15 Westland Avenue,


If the directions are to be included, then the following arrangement is better:

Mrs. Arthur L. Casson,
North Maplewood,
Chestnut County,
Care of Mr. Hiram Casson.               N. Y.

The sign of per cent is no longer used to signify "care of."

A clergyman is addressed "The Reverend John L. Wrigley, D. D.," or, less correctly, "Rev. John L. Wrigley, D. D.," which may be transposed to "Rev. Dr. John L. Wrigley." The omission of the article before the word "Reverend" is quite common.

A physician is properly addressed, "Algernon Brigham, M. D.," and the salutation is "Dear Dr. Brigham," or "Dear Doctor," if he is an intimate friend. A man having the title of Doctor with any other significance than that of Doctor of Medicine, is usually addressed "Dr. Frederic V. Harlan." A very formal way, however, would be to address such a one,—supposing each of the titles to be his,—as "Professor Frederic V. Harlan, Ph. D." For the letter, the salutations "Dear Professor Harlan" and "Dear Dr. Harlan" are equally correct.

A letter to the President of the United States[63] should be addressed simply with that title and with no further specification of name, whether it be official or social: as, "To the President of the United States, Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C." The salutation should be simply "Sir." The conclusion should be, "I have the honor to remain Your obedient servant." If a social letter it may be addressed either formally or "To the President of the United States, (Christian name and surname), Executive Mansion," etc. The salutation would then be "My dear Mr. President."

The Vice President should be addressed officially in the same form; that is, "To the Vice President, Hon. Chester A. Arthur." He should be saluted, officially, "Mr. Vice President, Sir;" socially, "My dear Mr. Arthur."

In addressing the governor of a state the superscription should be, "To His Excellency, The Governor of Massachusetts, State House, Boston." The salutation should be "Sir," if official, but "Dear Governor Barnard," if social. The conclusion of an official letter should read, "I have the honor to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient servant."

The mayor of a city is addressed, "To His Honor, The Mayor of Chicago." Within, he is saluted officially as "Your Honor," socially as "My dear Mayor Sewall."

Ambassadors of any country, whatever their[64] personal distinction, may be given the title of "Honorable," and their rank placed after the surname. As, "Honorable Whitelaw Reid, Ambassador to the Court of St. James." They may always be addressed as "Your Excellency."

The members of the Cabinet of the President of the United States are always addressed as "Honorable," and the name of their department, or their title added: as, "The Honorable, The Secretary of State." To give the name would be superfluous, as in the case of the President. On formal invitations, however, when the Secretary and his wife are entertaining, the form is, "The Secretary of State and Mrs. Hay request the honor," etc.

Invitations which come to one because of his official position are not intended for personal compliments, hence are addressed to the office, not to the man personally.

An invitation from the President of the United States is equal to a command, and may not be declined. Other engagements must be broken for it, and only grave calamity or illness should excuse one, the excuse being frankly stated instead of mere formal expressions of regret.

In ceremonious notes abbreviations should never be used.

Should one address the ruler of England, the superscription would be, "His Majesty, The[65] King, London." The salutation would be, "Sir;" the conclusion, "I have the honor to be, Sir, Your Majesty's most obedient servant."

"His Grace the Duke of Fife" is the form of address for a Duke; "My Lord Duke" being the salutation, and "Your Grace's most obedient servant" the subscription.

In writing to the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, one should address the letter to "His Holiness, Pope ——, Rome." The salutation should be "Your Holiness," but the conclusion remains the same form as for other dignitaries. A Cardinal of the same church is addressed "To His Eminence (Christian name) Cardinal (surname)," and greeted as "Your Eminence." Formality should be strictly observed.

An Archbishop of the Church of England is addressed, "The Most Reverend (name) His Grace the Lord Archbishop of (name of bishopric)." The salutation is "My Lord Archbishop;" the subscription, "I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, Your Grace's most humble servant." A Bishop is addressed "The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of (name of diocese)." He is saluted "My Lord Bishop."

In the United States the Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who are not here Lords, are addressed, singly, as "The Right Reverend (Christian name and surname).[66] D. D.," or "The Right Reverend Bishop of (name of diocese)." They are saluted, singly, "Most Reverend Sir."

The word "To" may precede a formal or ceremonious address, adding to the formality.

An envelope containing a letter or card of introduction should never be sealed, if presented in person by the party introduced. If, however, he should deliver it by messenger,—an exceptional procedure, and one not to be followed by a man except in unusual circumstances,—the envelope may be sealed.

No letter sent through the kindness of a friend should ever be sealed. The envelope should bear, in the lower left-hand corner, the acknowledgment of the favor in words like "Kindness of Miss Hallowell."

Salutation, Conclusion, and Signature of Letters

A stranger should be saluted as follows: "Mr. Eugene Motley, My dear Sir;" "Mrs. Alonzo Parmenter, Dear Madam;" or "Eugene Motley, Esq., My dear Sir." These are forms slightly more formal than "My dear Mr. Motley," or "My dear Mrs. Parmenter," which in America are strangely considered more formal than "Dear Mr. Motley," or "Dear Mrs. Parmenter," although in England the reverse is true. Therefore, a mere acquaintance[67] is addressed "My dear Mrs. Judson," while a friend is addressed "Dear Mr. Clark."

A married woman signs her name, as "Ethel Husted," and then puts her formal name, "Mrs. Hollis Husted," in brackets a little to the left of and a little below the other.

Never sign a title. The name only is your signature. It may be necessary to write the title in brackets and at the left, as "(Miss)" or "(Mrs.)," but it should never be part of the signature. Such notes as demand the use of the title are put in the third person.

The date should be at the end of a social note, in the lower left-hand corner, and should be written out, with the name of the year omitted and no figures used. The grammatical form is "The ninth of December," never "December the ninth," nor "December ninth."

In business letters the salutation for a firm name is "Dear Sir," or "Gentlemen." Where two married women go into business together, there seems to be in English no combined title to take the place of the French, so that is generally used, and that is "Mesdames," abbreviated "Mmes." before their names.

The formal conclusions of letters are: "Respectfully yours," used to a superior; "Sincerely yours," or "Truly yours," used largely in business, or the same forms with the adverb "Very" preceding them. Less formal terms[68] are: "Cordially yours," "Fraternally yours," or the pronoun with any appropriate adverb which the originality of the writer may suggest. Less abrupt, but not less formal, endings are: "With best regards, I am," etc.; "With kindest regards, I remain," etc.; "Believe me Very sincerely yours."

For intimate letters either to relatives or friends no specified suggestions are needed. The ordinary form, "Your affectionate daughter," or "niece," etc., may, however, be employed, in dearth of special inspiration.

Distinction is sometimes made between business and social letters by the position of "Yours,"—it being placed before the adverb in social correspondence, and after in business. The tone of the letter may be left to guide in this matter. There is an abruptness always somewhat unpleasant in the use of the adverb alone.

Make the beginning and ending of a letter the same in degree of cordiality. Do not begin formally "My dear Madam," and end "Cordially yours."

Every letter should be signed with the full name of the writer. A possible exception might be made of those addressed to members of one's own family, where the use of the Christian name only would mean no ambiguity, or where the signing of the surname gives a touch of formality. It is well, however, to remember[69] that letters placed in the post take the chances of fortune, and, with the plainest of addresses, may, by the absence of the person or for some other cause, bring up in the Dead-Letter Office. Their resurrection there will depend upon their containing the full name of the sender as well as his address. If a letter is valuable enough to send, it is valuable enough to sign, even if the signature be double,—first the familiar or given name, and then, in the lower left-hand corner, the full name.

It is well to use always the name which is your legal signature. This will prevent confusion, and forestall the possibility of your putting, from force of habit, the wrong form of your name upon a legal document.

It is well to write one's name in full. Three complete names are none too many for individual distinction in so crowded a world as is ours. If, however, the middle one is represented by an initial only, always write it uniformly. It is better, if the form with initial only has not become really established, to use the full name, although it may be long.

The form of one's signature and the style of the handwriting soon become habitual. Therefore, every effort should be made to make and keep it legible. An illegible signature is unpardonable,—save perhaps on a page at the top of which a printed or engraved letterhead[70] gives the name in full. There is, however, the danger that the writer of the illegible signature will sometime sign his name on a legal document, or a sheet not bearing his letterhead, and the signature stand for nothing.

Letters of Introduction

A letter of introduction should never be requested. If it is offered it is a sign of great regard. If it is greatly desired, it might be well to acquaint the person, in whose power it is to offer it, with the circumstances and interests which make it desirable, but never to do more than this.

The advisability of giving letters of introduction depends upon the circumstances. Between business acquaintances and for business purposes, it is a common form of establishing connection among various interests, and, if done with discrimination, is to be approved. It should, however, even in business be done sparingly, as it is a matter of personal friendship, usually, and as no one has a right to make numerous or exacting demands upon one's friends.

Socially it is a matter of great delicacy, and should have even more restrictions put upon it than does the introduction in company. For the written introduction is used because distance[71] prevents the personal one, and that usually throws the recipient of such a letter into the position of host to the traveler or newcomer, or at least of benefactor to some degree. It places upon him an obligation not involved in the verbal introduction, and the presumption is that he is to do some favor, or show some special attention.

Letters of introduction may be explanatory or brief. Brevity is preferable, but circumstances must determine.

A visiting card is often used with the words "Introducing Mr. Allan Golding to Mr. Morris," or similar form, written across the top. The card should be enclosed in a small envelope and left unsealed.

A brief form of letter simply says: "Permit me to introduce to your favorable notice Mr. Silas Emerson."

A more explicit form would be a letter the body of which would resemble the following:

"The bearer, Mr. Mark W. Allen, who is an old friend and neighbor of mine, represents the Altmann Irrigation Company, and is desirous of obtaining information in regard to the system of waterways lately put into your county. Knowing your influential position in regard to all matters of public interest, I have sent him to you in the hope that you may be able to put him in touch with the people who will give him[72] the desired information. Any favor that you may do Mr. Allen, or any courtesy that you may extend to him, will be deeply appreciated by me."

A purely social letter of introduction would say in substance: "Mrs. Arthur L. Westmore, who presents this letter to you, is an intimate and cherished friend of mine, and one whom I know you would desire to meet. She is to spend some little time in your city, and any courtesy that you may do her I shall deeply appreciate. I have told her of our friendship, and she knows how highly I value you, and is eager to meet you."

When a letter of introduction is given, it is well to write the receiver concerning the friend who will present it, that he may not be taken unawares, nor continue long ignorant of the claims of that friend upon him.

A gentleman usually presents such a letter by calling in person and sending in the letter, together with one of his personal cards, by the servant who answers the bell, or by the office boy. A lady usually mails the letter and one of her cards giving her address. She should receive an acknowledgment with a call or offer of hospitality within a day or two.

A person who makes use of a letter of introduction should acknowledge to the giver the courtesy he has received, with due gratitude.[73]

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation should be sparingly given. It is becoming less and less important, in the minds of experienced employers, to demand references. The personality of the applicant counts, and the varying traits which different positions cultivate make the experiences of the past of but little guidance, save in a broad and general way.

The giving of recommendations at random, "To whom it may concern," is also less done than formerly, as there is such uncertainty in regard to their use. Instead of this, the servant is told that she may use the former mistress's name as reference. The new, would-be employer then writes a note of inquiry to the former employer.

In replying to such a note great conscientiousness should be shown. Full justice should be done the servant. Only the truth should be told, and as much of it as a generous heart and wise conscience, coupled with a sense of responsibility toward the inquirer, permit. These letters should be brief and not effusive on any point, nor evasive of the issue at stake.

Never write to another, asking for information, or a favor of any kind, without enclosing a stamped and addressed envelope for reply.[74]

Third-person Letters

Letters are written in the third person in answer to formal invitations so worded, and in correspondence between people but slightly acquainted or known to each other only by reputation, persons not social equals, and by tradespeople and their patrons.

Great care should be taken to preserve the impersonal diction throughout the letter, and to refrain from signing it. The tone should always be formal and very polite.

An order may take the form of a request, as "Will Mr. Sutherland please . . . and oblige," with the signature of the writer.

Informal Invitations and Announcements

In inviting a friend to visit you, it is customary to mention the length of the visit, setting a definite date for it and limit to it. This makes it possible for both hostess and guest to arrange other engagements.

A time-table of the trains, if the guest comes from the distance, with an account of the trolley lines, if from near at hand, should be enclosed.

The engagement of a daughter may be announced by informal notes to one's whole circle of friends and acquaintances. The following[75] form of note may serve as a suggestion: "I am sure that you will join our household in sympathy with Eleanor in her happiness when I tell you that she has just announced her engagement to Mr. Harold Farnham, a man of whom her father and I thoroughly approve. The wedding will not take place for some months, but felicitations are in order."

Letters of Condolence

A letter of condolence should be short and quite sincere, or else the courteous custom of sending it is more honored in the breach than in the observance.

Such letters should be sent very promptly.

To expatiate to any extent whatever upon the bereavement is heartless or thoughtless, and as there is no danger of ambiguity, the letter does not need to account for itself in any way.

The following letter is as explicit as any letter of condolence need ever be, and the second form is preferable, unless great intimacy makes the less abrupt one permissible.

"Dear Mr. Legrow:

I have read of your bereavement with the deepest sorrow. I cannot tell you how fully I sympathize with you and your children, or how my heart aches for you in your loneliness. May[76] you have strength and grace to bear up under the great loss you have sustained.

Sincerely yours,
Margaret Edelstone."

"Dear Mrs. Hilcox:

You have my deepest sympathy.

Ever cordially yours,
Mildred Hasseltine."

Answering Letters

Business letters should be answered by return mail, as should also all invitations to dinner or luncheon.

All invitations should be answered within a day if possible, because delay looks like a reluctance to accept. They should certainly be answered, either personally or by letter, within a week after the invitation is received.

Friendly letters should have such promptness of response as circumstances and the intimacy of the friendship demand.

Notes of congratulation and felicitation should be sent promptly after receiving the card or note announcement of an engagement or a birth, and in the latter case at least, should be followed by a call.

A personal visiting card, with the words "Thank you for sympathy" written over the[77] name, is sufficient acknowledgment of letters of condolence. To very intimate friends, however, the spontaneous note of thanks would be more courteous. As it is almost impossible, at such a time, to attend to matters of social intercourse, the sending of the card is always permissible, and can occasion no offense, even if the more intimate acknowledgment was hoped for.[78]



Greetings and Recognitions

The bow and the handshake are the accepted forms of greeting in the United States to-day. The bow varies from a very slight inclination of the head, as one gentleman passes another, or from the quick touching of the hat with the hand, in a sort of reminiscence of the military salute, to the various degrees of elaborate bow which savors of European ceremonial courtesy.

The usual form is a bending of the head and shoulders, with the eyes kept on those of the person greeted, the hat being removed from the head and held in the right hand during the bow,—which is at once brief, deferential, and dignified. It may be accompanied by the handshake, in which case the hat is lifted by the left hand.

The degree of the depth of the bow is usually spontaneous, determined by the deference felt, or the emotions which the meeting may summon. It is useless to bow low to conceal scorn[79] or real disdain, for they are sure to reveal themselves in the artificiality of the pose, or in the carriage of the shoulders, or in the movement of an eyelash, and usually nobody is deceived.

The correct position for an extreme bow is with the feet near together, the legs straight, and the entire body inclined from the hips. This is somewhat too extreme for common use, and should be modified always in public, the less elaborate bow being much preferable upon the street or in public places.

A woman bows more erectly than a man does, and gives perhaps as cordial an impression by the greater expressiveness of her greeting, which should always be characteristic, and never mechanical, or in imitation of others, whose natural traits may be far different, however admirable she may consider their style to be. It is only when she meets some one her senior, or in much more important social position, or one whom she specially delights to honor, that she elaborates her bow, or curtsies if not in public and if the occasion admit of the formality.

A lady should be straightforward in her greeting, never condescending to the coquettish mannerism of letting the eyes fall during the bow. She should sink her personal consciousness in the fact of meeting another, and should not intrude it into the intellectual interest of such a meeting.[80]

The handshake is accomplished by extending the right hand horizontally from the elbow and clasping, between the closed four fingers and thumb of the hand, the closed four fingers of the friend's right hand, then quietly shaking it. This is sometimes varied by lifting the clasped hands,—not the elbow,—to the height of the shoulders, and there mildly shaking them, or clasping them with a slight pressure and letting them drop,—styles savoring of affectation. The impulse prompting the handshake,—that of getting together in intimate personal greeting,—is accomplished when the clasp is ended, and vigorous and prolonged shaking, or special pressure, or continued holding of the hand, are all alike unpardonable.

The bow is the least sign of recognition, and may mean little or much, but its significance is known only to the two concerned. While it is permissible in public places to make its cordiality, or lack of it, apparent, it is not permissible to greet fellow guests at any private social function with either more or less than a uniform and impartial courtesy.

The bow does not mean that one has a calling acquaintance. It may mean only a casual knowledge of one another's existence, due to some brief coming together. Intentionally to neglect to bow, after a bowing acquaintance has once been established, is an open affront, and[81] denotes either extreme rudeness or veiled insult. The dropping of an acquaintance by refusal to recognize, may, in our complicated social system, sometimes be necessary, but it is only justified by the necessity for society to safeguard itself against some of the more flagrant social abuses.

It is a woman's privilege, in meeting a man whom she knows, to bow first. Indeed, the man always waits for her to do so, unless he is a very intimate friend. A woman should always be sure, before bowing to a man, that she knows him and that she has caught his eye.

When a gentleman is walking with a lady, he lifts his hat when she bows to an acquaintance, even if the person is not known to him. So, also, when he is alone and meets a man whom he knows, who is in the company of a lady, he lifts his hat. When, walking with a lady, he meets a gentleman whom he knows, he removes his hat.

When a gentleman meets a party of ladies or stops to speak with one only, it is customary for him to retain his hat in his hand until she requests him to replace it. This is done with social superiors and to show great respect, being more ceremonial than finds common acceptance among Americans.

When he is with a gentleman who bows to a lady, he also lifts his hat. It is proper for him[82] to lift the hat when offering any courtesy to a lady, even though a total stranger, and upon leaving a lady with whom he or a person accompanying him has been talking.

It is well to return a bow which is directed to you, even if you do not know the one bowing. This often saves considerable embarrassment to the one who has for the moment mistaken you for some one else.

When passing before ladies seated in a lecture hall, or concert, a gentleman always asks their pardon for troubling them.

In passing or repassing on the street or promenade, a single bow is sufficient recognition, even though you may meet an acquaintance several times.

A lady, receiving in her own home, shakes hands with the stranger with the same cordiality as with the friend.

A gentleman when greeting a lady never takes the initiative in hand-shaking. If a lady offers her hand, however, it would be very rude indeed for a gentleman not to accept the courtesy.

Persons who have met at the house of a mutual friend, but have not been introduced, are under no obligation to bow when they meet elsewhere afterward, and usually do not.

When a man passes a lady on a staircase, in the corridor of a hotel, in the elevator of a[83] private apartment house, or in the public rooms of a hotel, he lifts his hat although she may be a stranger.

This rule does not prevail on the staircases and in the corridors of office buildings, with the exception, perhaps, of banks and such offices as people of wealth frequent; for a new fineness of courtesy has made men feel that, as women are winning an equality of position in the business field, a delicate way of recognizing that equality is by giving them a comradely deference rather than paying them the social attentions. Another marked expression of this is in the fact that a business man, when walking on the street with a business woman, does not interrupt their conversation by changing sides with her in order to keep constantly on the outside of the walk.

An indication of the two kinds of courtesy, social and business, is often grotesquely shown when a woman in social life, perhaps the wife of one of the men present, enters an office where there are both men and women of equal business importance and social rank. There is an elaborate social courtesy paid to the wife, who is in private life, which would not be paid, and would seem grotesque and ill-mannered if paid, to the business woman, even though she were at once the active vice president of the corporation and wife of the president.[84]


The usual form of introduction is, "Mrs. Allen, may I present Mr. Brown?" Or, "Mrs. Allen, let me present Mr. Brown." Or, "Mrs. Caldwell, allow me to present Colonel Glazier." Where, however, the permission need not be suggested, and the relative standing of the people is the same, the form may be only, "Mrs. Gleason, Mr. Ansel."

When it is necessary to introduce one person to several, the form is, "Mrs. Gladstone, I want you to meet Mrs. Falmouth, Miss Washburn, Mr. Cronkshaw, and Mr. Edgerton." The one introduced simply repeats each name and smiles as she greets each in turn.

Another form much in use is, "Miss Hanscom, I want you to know my friend, Mr. Thompson, the artist," and is preferable because of its definiteness.

The response to an introduction is, "I am happy to meet you," or, "I am very glad to meet you."

If one does not catch the name of the person introduced, it is proper to ask it, saying, "Pardon me, but I did not understand the name."

Introductions should always be spoken distinctly, [85]especially the names. If, in introducing, one can add a sentence which will give a subject of conversation, the preliminaries of acquaintance may be speedily passed, and memorable information and real profit be gleaned from even a casual meeting.

It is a mark of intelligence and social instinct to be quick to catch and retain in memory a face and name from even a brief introduction, and the tacit compliment to the person so remembered is apt to win his favor.

Persons who have not been introduced are not considered acquainted. The exceptions to this rule are the guests under a common roof, while they are there.

Introductions should never be indiscriminately made. There should be willingness, if not eagerness, on the part of both to meet. A hostess is, however, warranted in introducing two people who she knows will be congenial, or if they have before expressed a desire to become acquainted. If any doubt exists as to how the introduction will be received by either, they should not be introduced.

One should never introduce two acquaintances who reside in the same town but move in different social circles, unless each had desired the introduction.

If there is a difference of station or age, then it is necessary only to ask the older or more prominent person whether the introduction[86] would be acceptable. This should be done quietly, and quite out of hearing or knowledge of the other person concerned.

A gentleman should ask a mutual friend for an introduction to a lady whom he wishes to meet. Unless there is no possible objection, the mutual friend should not introduce the gentleman until he has made sure that the lady is willing.

It is not well to introduce gentlemen to one another indiscriminately, nor should ladies be so introduced. One wishes to keep the boundaries of one's acquaintance within certain definite limits, and choice is easier made before acquaintance than after. So, one shows great care in offering introductions to others, and exercises the same care for one's self.

If a hostess and her guest are out walking together, the hostess would introduce to her guest every friend who happened to stop and speak with her, and the guest, should she meet acquaintances of her own, would introduce each of them to her hostess. This is practically the only case where indiscriminate introducing is good form, and here the obligations of hospitality safeguard it.

A lady usually offers her hand to a gentleman who has been introduced to her, but a bow, a smile, and a repetition of the name are all that is necessary where several introductions are[87] being made, as at a large reception or dancing party.

A gentleman always offers his hand to another gentleman on being introduced.

An elderly lady may offer her hand in all introductions with perfect propriety.

If, while walking out with a friend, you meet another, do not introduce the two. A transient meeting is of no particular moment to them, and their friendship or acquaintance with you is not necessarily of strong enough interest to make them desire acquaintance. If, however, you meet at some public place, and are detained there together for several minutes, then the introduction should be given.

When meeting at the house of a mutual acquaintance, friends may introduce friends, but it is preferable to leave the introductions to the hostess.

It is no longer necessary to introduce each guest to everybody else at a party. Introductions are made as opportunity or necessity may dictate. This abolishing of promiscuous and wholesale introductions relieves two very embarrassing situations,—that of being introduced by announcement to a whole roomful of people, and that of being taken around and introduced to them singly.

A mother may present her son, or a sister her brother, or a wife her husband, if she so desires,[88] without any question as to the propriety of it. A man should not, on the other hand, introduce another man to his wife, or a son or brother make a presentation of a man to his mother or sister, unless he knows that such acquaintance could not but be agreeable to the lady, and unless it meets with his own approval. For it is a man's place always to safeguard a woman against undesirable acquaintances.

A woman, in introducing her husband, gives him his title, if he has one, as "Judge Hartwell," "Doctor Foley." The wife of the President of the United States speaks of him only as "The President," and in presenting people to him, he is always addressed as "Mr. President," with the invariable omission of his surname.

A friend or acquaintance, no matter how distinguished, is always presented to one's father or mother or one's intimate relative, where the intimacy of the relation makes an honor more distinguishing, in the mind of the introducer, than any of reputation or position.

A young man should be introduced to an older man, a young woman to an older woman.

A man is always presented to a woman, never the reverse.

If a lady is seated and a man is presented to her, she need not rise. If two ladies, both seated, are introduced to each other, they should[89] rise, unless one is old or an invalid, in which case both remain seated. Two gentlemen, though both are seated, rise and shake hands when introduced.

A young lady always rises when an elderly person is introduced.

Introductions are not made at table. The guests at a dinner party should be presented to one another in the drawing-room before coming to the table, and if that is impossible, as many should be introduced as may be, especially those who are to sit beside or near or opposite each other. If one is seated beside a guest whom he has not met, the man takes the initiative in speaking a few words as soon as he takes his seat, to which the lady responds always cordially, keeping up more or less of a conversation during the dinner.

At dancing parties all those who are giving the party, as well as all the ushers and those who receive, make introductions as general as possible, so as to insure the pleasure of the guests during the evening.

An introduction at a dance carries with it the obligation on the part of the man to ask the woman for a dance, and on her part to grant his request unless her card is full.

When traveling great care should be taken as to introductions.

As a guest one should be ready and willing[90] to meet any one whom his host or hostess may introduce, even though it be an enemy. The obligations of hospitality rest nowhere more heavily than in this matter. They demand that impartial courtesy should be shown to every one.


Calls must be made in person, rather than by card left by messenger or post, after an invitation to dinner, luncheon, supper, or similar function, and that within a week or, at farthest, two weeks of the date of the affair. One should also call in person within two weeks of any entertainment to which one has been asked, especially if one has attended.

One need repay formal calls, where no invitation to any social occasion has been received, only once a year. Even in this case, cards may be sent by mail. In the country it is usual to go in person, though one does not ask if the lady of the house is at home.

Calls should be made upon the "At Home" day, if one is engraved upon the card. If a person is ill, a near relative, or intimate friend, may leave a card for her at the house of the friend upon whom she wished to call.

Society holds young people who are free to attend parties and entertainments under ste[91]rn obligation to pay their social calls. Young mothers, professional women, students, invalids, and semi-invalids are not expected to conform rigidly to the same rules. If a young woman can go to a party to amuse herself, she must call afterwards to acknowledge the courtesy of the invitation.

If a mother cannot call in person, her daughter or some one else may pay the necessary calls in her stead. Or she may invite the people whom she would otherwise call on, to an afternoon tea, which is more of a compliment than a call.

In calling at a house, should the door be opened by a member of the family, the caller does not present her card to the lady or gentleman, but steps in, asking for the person whom she wants to see. She may leave her card unobtrusively on the table when she goes out.

If a maid opens the door, the card is handed to her and received on a small tray. No well-trained maid ever extends her hand to receive a visiting card.

If a caller wishes to be very formal, she leaves a card for every lady in the family on whom she wishes to call.

In the beginning of the season a wife always leaves her husband's card with her own, and she usually does this also when making a call at the close of the season.[92]

An unmarried woman calling on a married friend leaves only one card. If the friend has daughters or is entertaining a guest, a card may be left for each.

A lady always rises to receive a visitor.

It takes good judgment to know when to go, but it should be cultivated and practised. Lingering in taking one's leave is a great weariness, to one's hostess if not to one's self.

After a birth calls are made upon the mother after the child is a month old.

After a death the friends of the family should call in person inside of a month. The members of the family do not receive them, however, unless they wish to do so.

Social Calls of Men

A man never carries or leaves the cards of other men, nor can he leave cards for any of the women of his family.

A gentleman who calls on a lady's afternoon at home leaves in the card tray, on entering the house, a card for his hostess and one for his host. The card for his host must be left, even if that gentleman does not appear in the drawing-room, provided the caller is acquainted with him, and providing he is calling in acknowledgment of some hospitality recently received.

If there is a host, hostess, and young lady[93] daughter in the house, and the caller is a friend of the latter, he leaves three cards.

The man who is making his first or last call for the season on the regular afternoon at home, leaves one card for each of the ladies, and each one of the men of the household whose acquaintance he can claim.

When a man calls on a lady's day at home, and his call has no reference to any social debts, he leaves only one card in the tray. If he is somewhat intimate in the house where the call is paid, he leaves no card at all.

A man does not call upon a woman unless she invites him, or some member of her family does, or he goes with a mutual friend who has made sure of his welcome. A woman may say to a man, "Mother and I are usually at home Fridays, and would like to have you call," or some other form of invitation which denotes cordiality.

A man who desires to call in particular upon one lady, in a family where there are several, hands his card to the servant with the words, "Please give this to Miss Curley, and I would like to see all the other ladies also." The ladies appear and greet him, withdrawing that he may call upon the one he especially wished to see.

If calling upon a guest in a home, you always ask for the hostess also.[94]

A man retains his hat, gloves, and walking stick in hand during a formal call, though he may have left his overcoat in the hall.

First Calls

In America it is the usual custom for residents of the city or town to call first upon newcomers. Washington is a well-known exception to this rule, as strangers there call first upon government officials and their families. In most European cities newcomers call first upon those already in residence. The residents, from the officials down, return their cards, and the visitor or newcomer receives invitations to social functions.

In practice the resident does not usually know anything about the stranger, and may not have even heard of her arrival. Sometimes the newcomer sends out cards for several days in a month, to those with whom she would like to become acquainted. If she can enclose the card of a mutual friend, as a silent voucher for her social standing, her position is more quickly and more surely granted her.

Clergymen and their families, brides, and persons of note are entitled to receive first calls. The older residents of the community are expected to lead in the list of callers who welcome the newcomers.[95]

First calls should be promptly returned, within a week at the very latest.

A married woman making a first call upon a married friend sends one of her own and two of her husband's cards to her new acquaintance.



The Personal Card and the Engraved Invitation

Form of Card

A man's card is usually one and a half by three inches in size, and made of fairly stiff bristol board. A woman's card is usually about two and three-sixteenths by three inches, and made of dull-finish, fine, medium-weight bristol board.

The color of cards is a fine pearl white. Cream or tinted cards are never in good form.

The engraving varies from plain script to elaborate Old English text, or shaded Roman type, according to the fashion. The engraver may be trusted to know the style and stock most in use.

The card of an unmarried lady should be somewhat smaller than that of the married. This distinction is made, however, only in case of the card of the débutante.[97]


If there is room across the card the full name should be engraved. If the names are too long, only the initials of given names should be used.

All inscriptions on one card should be in the same style of type.

"Mr." is prefixed, unless there is a special title, such as, "Reverend," "Doctor," "Colonel," etc. If a man should, in an emergency, write his own name on a card, he would not prefix the "Mr.," or any other title. The name should be written in full and should be an autograph.

A married lady should have her husband's full name, or such form or parts of it as he uses, with the title "Mrs.," and not her own name.

A young woman has the title "Miss" engraved before her name, even though she be only a schoolgirl.

A young man has no title at all on his card, but simply his full name.

The newly married couple use a card with the title of "Mr. and Mrs." for the first year after marriage, in returning their ceremonious calls after the wedding, and paying formal calls when the husband is unable to accompany the wife. These cards should have the address in[98] the lower right-hand corner, and the reception day or days in the lower left. After the first year they are seldom used in paying calls, but can be used for condolence, congratulation, or farewell where both husband and wife desire to be formally represented.

A woman who is personally distinguished, who occupies a high social position, or whose husband stands at the head of his family, may have only "Mrs. Barnaby," not "Mrs. John Barnaby," upon her cards. It is better, however, not to do so unless one has the indisputable right to be considered as the Mrs. Barnaby of the locality. It is customary for the wife of the oldest brother of the oldest branch of the family alone to have the privilege of this form.

The same rule of precedence applies to single women. The oldest unmarried daughter of the oldest brother, and she alone, has the right to use "Miss Campbell" on her card, although she may have a cousin who is much older than herself, but who is the daughter of a younger brother of the same family.

A widow has no cards during her year of mourning, as she makes no formal visits. After that, cards with black border to any depth desired may be used.

A widow has no legal right to retain her husband's Christian name, but she often prefers to do so, and it is entirely proper, the question[99] being one of sentiment alone. In case there is a married son of the same name as the father, then it is proper for the mother to put "Sr." for Senior, at the end of her name, should she desire still to retain her husband's Christian name.

In such a case widows occasionally prefer to use their own names or initials.

In this country a married woman merges her name with that of her husband. It is not uncommon nowadays for married women to sign their own Christian name, their maiden surname, and their husband's surname as their signature. There is value in this as it preserves the family identity of the married woman, but the question of its legality may always be raised.

The name of daughter or daughters is often engraved below that of the mother on her card, before the young woman enters formally into society. The form "The Misses Smith" may be used, or the names given separately. In New York in some circles the débutante is not given a separate card until she has been in society a year. As American schoolgirls often have a card with the prefix "Miss," the débutante may use this among her girl friends.

To write anything on an engraved card except "Condolences," "Congratulations," "P. p. c.," is not considered good style, although a lady may use her visiting card with[100] "Five o'clock tea," "Music," or a special date written upon it as an informal invitation to a musical or "At Home."

A business or professional woman may have, in addition to her society card, a card with her own name for business purposes. This usually has a word or two denoting her profession in the lower left-hand corner, and her business address in the lower right.

A lady's card should always contain her home address in the lower right-hand corner. Her afternoon "At Home" is usually given in the lower left.

The address is often omitted from cards for men, being engraved on those of the women of the family. Men belonging to a fashionable or well-known club put its name, instead of their residence, on their cards. This is especially the case when they do not live at home. If living at a club, the address is put on the lower left-hand corner; if living at home, the lower right-hand corner.

On a man's business cards the title "Mr." is omitted, the name of his firm, their business, and address, being engraved in the lower left-hand corner.


Titles which signify permanent rank, or profession that lasts for life, and which are allied[101] to a man's identity or distinctly bear upon his social standing, should be used.

Temporary titles, which have no special social rank or bearing, or professional titles, such as "Esquire" for lawyers, which have no social significance, are not used.

For the same reason that temporary or technical titles are not used, honorary titles are omitted. There should be no pretense in regard to social position, as pretense is easy and futile. A man appears in society simply as an ordinary individual, to win favor and position by force of his personality, or to lose it thereby.

An army or a naval officer, a physician, a judge, or a clergyman may use his title on his card, as, for instance, "Captain James Smith," "Judge Henry Gray," "Rev. Thomas Jones, D. D." The card of an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court at Washington reads "Mr. Justice Holmes." Military or complimentary titles are not used, nor are coats of arms. In this republican country it is considered an affectation and bad taste so to make use of them. Political and judicial titles are also omitted, as are academic titles, such as Chancellor, Dean, and Professor.

No title below the rank of Captain is used on the card in military circles. A lieutenant's card would give his full name with the prefix "Mr." and below it the words, "Lieutenant of Fifth[102] Cavalry, United States Army," or simply, "United States Coast Guard Service."


The etiquette of the visiting card is a fluctuating one. It cannot be laid down for all time, or even for next season.

On entering at a reception, or afternoon tea, one leaves a card in the salver offered by the butler or attendant who opens the door, or upon the hall table, as a reminder to the hostess, who can hardly be expected to remember, if entertaining a large number, every one who has been there.

One does not leave cards at a wedding reception, however.

At an afternoon tea, it is no longer necessary to leave a card apiece from all the members of the invited families to all the members of the family of the hostess and her guests also. The single card for the host and hostess is all that is required.

Should one be invited to a series of receptions, one leaves cards only once although one may attend twice. Leaving cards in person after a tea or reception is good form only for ceremonious affairs. After the usual private reception one should certainly call.

If only one member of a family can attend[103] a reception to which the others have been invited, she may leave the cards of the others, together with her own, with perfect propriety.

Also when one is not able to attend a reception or an afternoon tea, cards may be sent by mail, although it is better to send them by messenger, to arrive on the day of the entertainment. One should call within a fortnight.

It is not now considered necessary to call in person where formerly it was so held. The sending of the personal card often takes the place of the call. Nor need this be done by messenger. Cards for any purpose may now be sent by mail.

After removing from one part of the city to another, it is customary for ladies to send engraved cards with their new address and with their reception day to all of their circle of acquaintances.

A woman who is stopping for a brief time in a city where she has friends, sends to them her card containing her temporary address and the length of her stay, as "Here until June second," or "Here until Sunday."

A man, however, calls upon his friends, and if they are absent leaves his card giving the same information.

If a son old enough to go into society wishes to do so, his card is left with his father's and mother's at the beginning of the season. He[104] will then be invited to the functions given by the friends of his parents.

When there is illness or mourning in the household, friends leave their cards with the words "To inquire," "Sincere condolence," or "Sympathy" written upon them.

The card which accompanies wedding gifts should be the joint card of "Mr. and Mrs.," if the gift is sent jointly, and may well have the words "Best wishes and congratulations," written upon it.

The initials "P. p. c.," meaning "Pour prendre congé," or "To take leave," are written upon one's personal cards, which are then sent out to one's friends when one is going away from a place either permanently or for a long time. They are usually written in the lower left-hand corner of the card. These cards may be sent by post, when the person leaving town has not the time to make a personal visit. They are not used when leaving town for the summer.

It is quite proper to send or leave "P. p. c." cards when one goes away from a summer resort, especially if the people to whom they are sent do not live during the year in the same town or city with the sender.

It is no longer permissible to fold over the ends of a card, to signify that it was intended for all the members of the family.

The birth of a child may be announced by a[105] small card containing the full name of the child daintily engraved, with the date of the birth in the lower left-hand corner. The card is tied to the mother's card by white ribbon, and both are enclosed in one envelope and sent by post.

Visiting cards for those who are in mourning are the same size as the ordinary card. The width of the black border is regulated by the degree of the relationship to the deceased.

The Engraved Invitation

A fine grade of heavy, unglazed, pure white paper, suède finish, in double sheet folded to a size about five by seven and a half inches, or less, inserted in an envelope of the same width but half the length, is used for the billet on which wedding invitations and announcements are engraved. The impress of the plate demarks a margin of about an inch.

A heavy or medium grade of white bristol board is used for invitations to "At Homes," dinner, receptions, dances, and all like social functions for which the common visiting card is not used. The size used varies with the number of words in the invitation, and may be quite large, as for a club or society reception, or formal openings or special occasions where a business corporation is the host. These cards have the same plate margin[106] as the wedding invitation, although it is much narrower. Only the most formal invitations have space left for the writing in of the name of the guest.

The billet, however, has certain advantages, especially where the occasion is very formal and select, and the information which should be furnished the guest is considerable. Elegance of this sort is now very costly.

Several styles of type are in use: namely, the script having close round letters, and being as nearly black as Roman or Old English when engraved; a script lighter and more cursive; an Old English lettering; a shaded Roman letter, which is constantly growing in popularity; shaded Caxton; solid and shaded French script; and a plain Roman block letter.

The script is the type most commonly used, both because of its beauty and legibility, and because of the comparative inexpensiveness of engraving, the cost being about half of that of either the Old English or the shaded Roman type.

It is obvious that the size of page in this book will not permit facsimile reproductions of specimens of invitations and other social forms, which in nearly every case require a different proportion of space than the page offers. Therefore, to reproduce the style of lettering used for these forms has not been attempted.[107] The examples present correct wording and proportionate arrangement.

The following plates, which are exact photographs of steel and copper engraving, present several styles of script, Old English, and shaded and plain Roman faces, but do not represent more than a few sizes, and those the most common.

Type styles and sizes for invitations


Type styles and sizes for invitations

Dining and Party Inviations

The engraved card invitation for a luncheon is usually worded as follows:

Mrs. Everetts S. Sinclair
requests the pleasure of your company
at Luncheon
on Tuesday, February nineteenth
at one o'clock
Hotel Willard


The dinner invitation is identical, except that for "Luncheon" is substituted "Dinner," and the hour is usually half after seven or eight o'clock. To this, or to any other dining invitation, may be added in the lower left-hand corner the words "Please reply," or, "The favor of a reply is requested."

The party invitation may take either of the two following forms:

Mrs. Harold Harmon Williams
requests the pleasure of your company
at a dancing party to be given
at the Glendale Country Club
Wednesday evening, December the twenty-ninth
from eight until eleven o'clock

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Fairfield Watson
request the pleasure of

company at The Somerset Club
on the evening of Friday the ninth of February
from nine until one o'clock
Dancing and Bridge          95 Jackson Boulevard

The blank invitation is very convenient, as it may be sent out at short notice, and is definite and personal. The following is a form which lends itself to any one of the usual kinds of home entertainment:[110]

Mr. and Mrs. St. John Ambrose Lockwood
request the pleasure of

company at...............................................................
97 Washington Avenue

When, on an engraved invitation of any sort, be it wedding or dinner or any other, a blank line or lines are left for the insertion of the name of the guest, there is danger that, unless this is done with great care and by an able penman, the beauty of the invitation be ruined, and therefore its cost thrown away. For that reason a wholly engraved invitation is perhaps better, unless the work of addressing them and inserting the name is to be done by a professional penman. Of course, when this is done and well done, there is a personal touch, a suggestion of individual welcome, which can be gained in no other way, and which the wholly engraved invitation lacks.

When an entertainment is given by a family at some place other than their home, the invitations have the name of the place and the street address put in at the usual place on the invitation, and then in the lower right-hand corner the words "Please reply," with the home address.[111]

A bachelor or widower uses his name alone at the top of the invitation. He will, of course, provide a chaperon, who in many respects takes the place of a hostess and so acts, but her name does not appear upon his invitation, unless she be his sister or near relative. The invitation then becomes a joint one, after the usual form.

A widower with daughters may send out invitations headed in either of the following forms:

Mr. John Marquand
Miss Marquand
Miss Estelle Marquand


Mr. John Marquand
The Misses Marquand

For a dinner followed by a dance there are two invitations, the one a dinner invitation at an early hour for the favored few, the other a dancing party invitation at a later hour.

Clubs have blanks which may be filled in by their members when they wish to entertain. These are issued in the club name, and are like any other private invitation, except that at the bottom and to the left "Compliments of" is[112] engraved, and the name of the member who is special host is written in.

Invitations containing the words "Bal Poudre" signify that the entertainment is a masquerade or fancy dress party, and the guests are expected to come in fancy costume with powdered hair.

The word "ball" is used of an elaborate formal dance, usually a public one given by some club or for charity, and rarely of a private dance.

In spite of the predominance of the engraved invitation for the most formal affairs, still small dinners, and even receptions and dancing parties, are sometimes announced by the handwritten invitations. The form should be the same as the engraved one, although to very intimate friends it should be changed to a friendly note.

Acceptances are in the form of the invitation. If that is an informal note, the acceptance or regret is sent in the same style. If the invitation is formal, the reply also should be written in the third person and be about as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Allston B. Sinclair
accept with pleasure the kind invitation of
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Emanuel Farrington
for dinner
on Thursday, the ninth of December
at half after eight o'clock


The reply to an invitation should be sent to the person or persons who issued it, never to any other member of the family, although such a one may be better known.

To write the word "Regrets" on one's visiting card and send it in declination of any invitation is bad form, even if the invitation come in similar shape. One should always write a note of regret.

Bachelors and widowers, who entertain at their apartments or studio or club, and army and navy officers never use the words "At Home," but always "request the pleasure (or honour) of your presence."

If one is entertaining a guest and an invitation is received, one may with propriety ask the hostess for an invitation for one's guest, if the form of entertainment is so general as to make this right and reasonable; otherwise one must decline the invitation. It would not be right to ask for another dinner invitation, or one to a select group of people, where the guest would be an intruder.

It is preferable and a much later form to use the words "Please reply," or "An early reply is requested," rather than the abbreviation "R. s. v. p." for "Rèpondez, s'il vous plaît," meaning "Reply, if you please."

If a son should return from college or other absence, and the parents wish to entertain for[114] him, their invitations would have at the bottom the word "For" followed by his name.

In sending out invitations, one should be sent to the father and mother jointly, one to each son separately, and one to the daughters jointly, the latter being addressed "The Misses Estabrook."

Invitations should be sent to people in mourning, although they are not expected to accept. They should not be slighted or forgotten during such a period.

Wedding Invitations and Announcements

The following are the usual forms of wording for the wedding invitation:

Mr. and Mrs. Reinhard Ernst Ormond
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Dr. Otto Bertelli
on Wednesday, the first of April
nineteen hundred and thirteen
at twelve o'clock
Church of the Messiah
St. Louis, Missouri


Mr. Arnold Hamilton Forsyth
requests the pleasure of your company
at the marriage reception of his daughter
Mr. Walter Mallory
on the evening of Wednesday, the twenty-ninth
of June
one thousand nine hundred and twelve
from eight until ten o'clock
17 Elm Hill Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvanis
R. s. v. p.

Dr. and Mrs. Maurice Howe Cavanaugh
request the honour of

presence at the marriage of their daughter
Rebecca Falmouth
Mr. Charles Hunnewell Clark
on Monday, the ninth of July
at eight o'clock
Church of the Redeemer

The usual form of marriage announcement is as follows:[116]

Mr. and Mrs. William T. Kimball
announce the marriage of their daughter
Dorothy Lucinda
Mr. LeRoy L. Hallock
on Wednesday, the first day of December
one thousand nine hundred and twelve
Chicago, Illinois

Mr. Arthur Edmand Sawyer
Miss Emma Pauline Farrington
announce their marriage
on Sunday the sixteenth of July
one thousand nine hundred and ten
at Boston, Massachusetts

The "At Home" card of the bridal couple, which goes with a wedding invitation, does not have the name of the couple upon it, but reads simply

At Home
after the first of November
1219 Pennsylvanis Avenue

When an "At Home" card is included in a wedding announcement, however, the name of the couple appears upon it, as follows:[117]

Mr. and Mrs. Albion Frederick Marston

Will be at home          763 Chapel Avenue
after the first of August                     Toronto

For the card of invitation to the wedding reception the wording is as follows:

immediately after the ceremony
Eight Salem Street


immediately after the ceremony
in the church parlors

In the case of a church wedding, it is always well to enclose with the invitation a small card reading: "Please present this card at the church on August the third."

In case the wedding takes place in the country and invitations are sent to many friends in the city, a card giving directions as to what train to take, and where, which is to be presented to the conductor instead of a ticket, and which entitles the possessor to special accommodations, is enclosed with the invitation.

Wedding invitations, or announcements, and their accompanying cards, are enclosed in two[118] envelopes, one within the other, of the same stock as the billets. Upon the outer is written the name of the person and his street address; upon the inner only the name of the one for whom it is intended.

Wedding invitations should be addressed to "Mrs. Chandler Jones," on the outside envelope. Within this is a second envelope addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Chandler Jones." The older custom is to address the outside envelope to "Mr. and Mrs. Chandler Jones," as well as the inside. The lady of the house is now, however, beginning to be looked upon as head of its social affairs, as her husband is of its business affairs, and hence the style of addressing invitations to her.

The words "And Family" are no longer used after the parents' names, but separate invitations are sent to the members.

It is quite the courteous thing to include among the people invited to a wedding, especially if it is to be in a church, the special business friends and associates of the bridegroom-elect, his father, and the bride's father.

In case the invitations are for the ceremony only at a church wedding, the address of the bride's parents should be embossed upon the outside envelope.

Acquaintances purely professional do not receive cards to a wedding. One's physician,[119] however, if his family is prominent socially, may be included among the guests.

Announcement cards should be quite ready to post immediately after the ceremony. They should be sent to all the circle of friends and acquaintances of both the bride's and the bridegroom's families, save to those who have been invited to the marriage or the wedding reception.

The announcement of an "At Home" or reception should always be made on a separate card,—not on a corner of the wedding invitation or announcement.

An immediate reply is necessary when one is invited to a home wedding. If the wedding is a church wedding, and there is no reception following it, one makes no reply if one intends to be present, but sends one's card upon the date set, if one cannot attend.

Various Announcement Cards

In case of the postponement of a wedding or a dinner or reception because of some grave accident or illness, the cancellation of the invitations, or the announcement of the postponement, should be engraved and sent out at the earliest possible date.

For a wedding it may read somewhat as follows:[120]

Mr. and Mrs. Maynard S. Taylor
regret to announce
that on account of serious illness in the family
the marriage of their daughter
Emmeline and Mr. Fosdick Arlington
will be indefinitely postponed

A family which has passed through a period of calamity and bereavement may wish to make some acknowledgment of the attentions of friends, and may do so in some such form as follows:

The brothers and sisters of
Dr. Ralph J. Harkins
gratefully acknowledge
your kind expression of sympathy

The special "At Home" card which is used for a reception in honor of a friend or guest may contain the name of the friend either on the first or the last line of the invitation, with the words "To meet" before it; as:

Mrs. Ernest L. Lafricain
At Home
Thursday, December twenty-third
from four to six
275 Grand Pré Avenue, Montreal
To meet Mrs. Jackson Seymour Montgomery


For a general reception the following form is good:

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Illington Bray
Mr. and Mrs. Harold Bray
request the honor of your presence
on New Year's Day
from four until half after seven o'clock
174 Albemarle Street

The private engraved card for Christmas and New Year greetings, which may be sent to one's entire list of friends, is much in favor. Great distinction and individuality of design and selection of sentiment may be obtained by this means. The following is an appropriate form:

"The glory breaks
And Christmas comes once more"

Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Clarke Sutherland
cordially greet

with every good wish of the Season




The test of the depth of one's courtesy is found in one's attitude to strangers and the public at large. If one observes toward them the little courtesies, then one may be safely trusted to keep to the highest ideal of social intercourse in times of emergency and rigid testing.

Always in a public place the real gentleman and lady will be unobtrusive, speaking quietly, and showing in their manner that they each believe himself and herself but a single unit in the world of humanity, and therefore not entitled to monopolize attention. They will go about their business with none of that idle curiosity which forms the street crowd.

In places of public amusement, they will show true courtesy by not coming in late,—that is, by being on time or missing the performance. They will not rustle their programs needlessly. They will so dispose of their coats and wraps that others will not be inconvenienced[123] by them, even if it takes them an extra ten minutes at the close of the evening to obtain them from the cloak room.

They will not talk or whisper to each other during speaking or singing on the stage, or at any time when so doing will make it difficult for others to hear what is going on. They will applaud temperately, and with only that degree of fervor which is for the best interests of the audience and the actors as a whole. That is, at a concert they will not so applaud one artist as to break up the program.

At formal business meetings they will take pains to conform to Parliamentary usage, which is really only the etiquette of debate, and will not insist upon rights which have been ruled out, or in word or manner express a disorderly spirit. "The greatest good of the largest number" will be the rule of their deportment in public.

At a social occasion of any sort, every one present is under obligation to do what he can to add to the general pleasure. If he cannot or will not, he should remain away. If he is asked to play a musical instrument or sing, he should do so without urging, for his talents, except in very special cases wherein he would not be asked, are or should be at the disposal of the company, or at the request of his hostess. Any voluntary or requested performance of this sort[124] may be as brief as he pleases, and should be brief, unless his talent is so great that there can be no possible doubt of its acceptability, and he is in a generous mood,—a combination of circumstances rare in any but the most talented circles.

If you turn the pages of music for a musician, do so in a quiet and self-forgetful manner. Interest in you is quite subordinate to interest in the performer.

Do not by extravagant applause encourage parlor recitations, for mediocre talent is always profuse.

It is a mark of good breeding to control or at least conceal one's moods, so that in company one always appears to be content, if not happy. It adds much to the happiness of others to give this impression, and is therefore generous as well as wise.

It is always rude to interrupt with conversation, or yawning, or any motion, a musical performance, or any entertainment whether public or private, in which those about one are interested. One should retire if he cannot refrain.

Behavior in church may be taught in one great principle, providing that principle is fundamental enough. The sense of reverence for the things of the spiritual life may be felt, if not comprehended, by even the child. No amount of "Don't's," if the spirit of worship[125] be not instilled, will avail to make the child of any age an attentive and reverent worshiper or even attendant at church.

The sense of worship will forbid whispering and chatting with friends, the noisy turning of the leaves of hymn-book or Bible, or an indifferent or scornful attitude when any are in prayer.

Another sign of the same reverence is the careful observance of punctuality at the service. A church service is, by its very nature, a more intimate and important service to the attendant than any other. Therefore, to come in late, thus distracting the attention of those who have gone to church for meditation or worship, is a far more flagrant offense against the rights of others, than is the disturbing of their pleasure at a theatre or a concert by a tardy entrance.

The habit of a vacant or absent mind in company is a grave fault, and works greatly to the detriment of one's reputation for intelligence, in spite of all else that one may do to establish it.

Straightforward attentiveness is the attitude of most profit and enjoyment in society. One learns then what other people are thinking about, and becomes more and more active mentally. Such an attitude establishes the confidence of others in one's sincerity and intelligence.[126]

Inquisitiveness is fatal to real charm. No one cares to talk twice with a person who, no matter what his wit or ability to entertain, has betrayed one into divulging facts or making remarks which he regrets.

Upon the street a gentleman always takes the outside of the walk, when with a lady, the custom having come down from the days when dangers beset the path, and the man had to be at the point of vantage for the protection of the woman.

When a married woman and an unmarried girl are walking together, the married woman takes the outside of the walk.

In passing single file other people or some obstacle, the gentleman always steps back and allows the lady to precede him. If, however, the way is crowded or there is necessity that she should be protected, he goes first.

In entering a hotel dining-room the lady always goes first.

A lady never takes a gentleman's arm unless she is blind, infirm, or crippled, or in a turbulent crowd.

The considerate person will not enter even a public hotel late at night, much less a home, his own or any other, in a noisy, careless fashion. Those who are asleep deserve as great consideration as if they were awake, and more also.[127]

The modern courtesy of letting each one pay for himself in a car, a train, a restaurant, or a theatre, is a much more rational one than the older form of permitting one to act as host, as if he were in his own house. A gentleman might offer to pay for others, if he wished to, but he should not insist upon paying; nor should any one carelessly or designedly permit his expenses to be paid by another, unless he himself expects to offer equal hospitality at another time.

In entering a carriage or automobile, one should step promptly, without either loitering or haste. If one is to sit facing the horses or the front of the automobile, and there is but one step to take, one puts the left foot on it. If there are two steps, the right foot should take the first, the left the second. If one is to face in the opposite direction from what the vehicle is going, one should use the right foot first in case of the one step, and the left foot first in case of the two.

When two ladies who are guest and hostess are driving together, the guest should enter first, taking the farther seat, facing the front of the carriage, so that it will not be necessary for her hostess to pass her. When a mother and daughter enter a carriage, the mother precedes, and the daughter sits by her side if no other lady is present. In case of two daughters, the[128] elder sits by the side of the mother, and the younger sits opposite.

The fashionable hours for driving are from two-thirty to five in the winter, and from three to six-thirty in the summer.

Young women never ride horseback in cities or in public parks without an escort. In the country the rule is not so rigidly enforced. In case a groom is the escort, he rides slightly behind, keeping watch that he may be of service.

A riding-habit should be absolutely neat, simple, and inconspicuous. The hat should be plain, the hair compactly done, and the whole effect of the costume trim serviceableness and grace, rather than prettiness.

In mounting a horse a woman gathers up her habit in her left hand, and stands close to the horse with her right hand on the pommel of the saddle. The man who assists her stoops and places his right hand with the palm up at a convenient distance from the ground. The lady then puts her left foot into his hand, and springs up into the saddle with his assistance.

It is necessary, first, to have a firm seat; secondly, a skillful hand on the rein. One should sit in the middle of the saddle, in an easy, natural position, with the body not stiff but supple and responsive to the motion of the horse. The elbows should be well in to the side, in a line with the shoulders, and the hands[129] should be relaxed and yet responsive to the slightest pull of the rein.

It is no longer considered wise and necessary for a woman to use a side saddle. In the freedom of a graceful divided skirt, she strides the saddle as do the men, and therefore has an equal chance with them to ride gracefully and safely,—a privilege which fashion long denied.

To keep to the right always is the only safe rule in the United States. In England and Canada the rule of keeping to the left is observed with the same rigidity.

In business life it is not good form to dine with your employer. This does not include a ban upon those business dinners, where there is a group of people, the majority of them men, with one or two unmarried business women of equal or superior business standing, who meet over the dinner table to talk of business problems. That occasion has its own etiquette, and one which the business man or woman readily fashions for himself or herself, and which follows the rules of business expediency rather than social life.

It is not necessary to recognize in society a strictly business acquaintance unless you wish to do so.

Neatness demands that the traveler always carry his own toilet articles, and not depend upon the public supplies, which are, however,[130] supposedly safe and sanitary for use in emergencies.

The dress for traveling should be plain and simple, suited to the need rather than elaborate. The effect of crumpled finery is so very unpleasant that no person of taste will make a display of it in a public conveyance.

If you wish to leave your seat in a train, a coat or bag placed upon it is sufficient to reserve it for you. The removal of a coat or bag so placed is a very great rudeness.

A gentleman will give up his seat to two ladies, or to a gentleman and lady traveling together, as he can be more readily accommodated in the single seats than can they.

It is courteous for a gentleman who has a vacant place in the seat with him to offer it to a lady who is standing, and so prevent her from feeling that she is intruding in taking it, if there are no other seats vacant.

When a man opens a door for a woman who is a stranger, or offers her any other civility, or begs pardon for some blunder, he takes off his hat to her.

While traveling alone, it is not necessary or wise to be resentful of polite remarks or attentions. They should be met with equal politeness. Quiet dignity and tact will terminate without offense any conversation which has grown too familiar or tedious.[131]

The comfort of all in the car, not of one individual, should be consulted in the opening of windows and doors, and the consent of those sitting near should be gained.

It is a grave breach of good manners to monopolize a dressing-room for quite a period of time. One should be as expeditious as possible, and should not seriously inconvenience others, even if he deprives himself of some of the comfort he desires.

It is not well to travel unless you can afford it. If you can and do travel, deal courteously and generously with those who serve you.

Ask questions only of officials of the road or the ship, or of policemen in the street.

The exchange of visiting cards with strangers, unless under unusual circumstances, is unwise and bad form.

Ordinarily a lady pays her fare herself, unless she is under escort of a relative or intimate friend to whom she gives the right to pay for her. When she enters a car alone and there meets an acquaintance, she always pays her own fare, unless the acquaintance may be an old and intimate friend.

When a lady is taking a long trip under escort of some gentleman friend, it is proper for her to reimburse him for his expenditures in her behalf. She should hand him her purse with which to purchase her ticket.[132]

The munching of nuts, fruit, or candy in a crowded public conveyance is a serious offense against those about you. A neat lunch, quietly eaten at an appropriate hour, is not offensive and is quite permissible. But one should not impose even the odor of food upon people who are forced to be near, and who may find it extremely disagreeable.

The recent passage and enforcement of laws regarding expectoration in public places is a great step in advance, and must be rigidly maintained for the sake of the public health. The chewing of gum, while no menace to society, is as unesthetic and disgusting as expectoration, and should fall under as righteous if not as severe a ban.

In a car or train do not fan yourself so vigorously that the person in front of you feels the air current upon the back of his neck. A book or newspaper should not be placed so that it rubs constantly against the hat of the person in the seat in front.

Pushing, shoving, and all like methods of getting people to move out of your way, or of getting ahead of others, are marks of great rudeness, and have a tendency to retard rather than aid one's progress through a crowd or into a car. The quiet, good-natured crowd disperses most rapidly.

At the ferry and all prepayment places, have[133] the right change in hand, so that you do not keep back those who are in a rush to catch a boat or a car, by fumbling for your money or making the receiver make change.

Do not carry an umbrella carelessly. You are as culpable if you injure another as another would be if he injured you.

To converse in loud tones or talk of personal matters anywhere in public shows great lack of fine feeling and good breeding.

Never show hostility, nor permit people to quarrel with you. The irritability which crowded conditions aggravate makes it necessary to adhere, from principle, to the rule of strict good-will toward all.

If you are escorting a woman, do not permit her to suffer any discomfort; but if, by chance, she does, do not pick a quarrel with the person who caused it. Firmly but quietly afford her protection, but do not demand satisfaction for discomforts or insults for which there is no satisfaction and whose discussion only increases the offense.

A lady need feel no embarrassment if she is obliged to spend a few days in a hotel alone. Upon entering she would go to the desk and make arrangements for a room. When the choice is made she surrenders her hand bag to the bell-boy, who conducts her to her room. She should, for her own convenience and protection,[134] deposit valuables or large sums of money with the hotel proprietor in the office safe. Then the responsibility becomes his, but he does not assume it if they are left in the room. Upon leaving her room, she should lock her trunks and door, and leave the key with the clerk at the desk.

A lady's deportment in a hotel is that of quiet reserve, but not of haughty distance. She should dress simply and plainly, so as not to attract attention, as she is in a public place. The only time when elegant dress is permissible at a hotel is when one is with an escort, or is one of a group of people so dressed in order to attend some function.

A lady will not stand or linger in the halls of a hotel, will not loiter about the hotel office, or walk out alone upon the piazza or any conspicuous place, or stand at the windows of the parlor. She will remember that she is in a public place, where she may encounter all classes of people, so she will not permit herself any of the liberties of a home. She will not go through the halls humming or singing, or take a book or newspaper from the public parlor and carry it off to her room, even if she does shortly return it. She will not, even in her own room, make such noise as will attract attention or disturb other guests.

She will not call a cab herself, but will summon[135] a bell-boy and have him attend to it. After her baggage is packed she will let the servants attend to it, even to the handing her of her umbrella and hand bag after she is in the carriage. She will never take the liberty of chiding a servant, but will make a necessary complaint to the clerk at the desk.

To open a window in the parlor of a hotel, when others are by and may be discomforted, is a breach of politeness. Also it is not right that even an accomplished musician or singer should use the piano of the hotel parlor, if others are in the room, unless he has received a unanimous invitation to do so.

One may greet fellow guests in the parlor or the dining-room without being thought forward or intrusive, and also may respond to such greetings without compromise, as such acquaintance does not imply or demand recognition elsewhere.

A lady, when alone at a hotel dining table, will decide quickly what dishes she wishes, and order them distinctly but quietly. She will wait patiently to be served, without any display of embarrassment. It is allowable to read a newspaper while waiting for breakfast, but not good taste to bring books to the table at any time. If she desires a dish which she sees, but the name of which she does not know, she will not point to it, but will indicate[136] it to the waiter by her glance and her description.

If she has friends or makes table acquaintances, she will talk with them in a low tone. She will never talk with some one at another table, nor laugh loudly. If any civility, such as the passing of food, is offered her by either a lady or a gentleman, she will express her thanks, but will not start a conversation.

The usual good manners of cultivated people, emphasized by the additional restraint which the presence of the public imposes, is a safe standard of etiquette in a hotel.[137]



Just as the host and hostess, in sending out an invitation, obligate themselves to make everything as enjoyable as possible for their guest, so a guest, in accepting, obligates himself or herself to meet the efforts of the host and hostess at least halfway. Success in the art of being a guest depends more upon the spirit in which one accepts of entertainment than upon the entertainment offered.

A formal dinner is one of the most solemn obligations of society. After having once accepted the invitation, only death or mortal illness is an excuse for not attending.

One may attend a formal reception and not expend more than twenty minutes of time, if one wishes to be very prompt. The round of social duty there is brief. A lady removes her wrap, but not her hat or gloves, in the dressing-room, and thence goes directly to the drawing-room. The guest here greets the host and hostess, briefly if the reception is large and the[138] flow of incoming guests constant, then passes to the room where the refreshments are served. After partaking of these, the guest may leave without bidding adieu to the hostess, unless the reception is small and she is free to speak a second time with her guests.

If one is present at an afternoon tea or reception, it is not always necessary to call afterwards; yet, many hostesses expect such a call if the affair has been formal. One should certainly call after a tea given to introduce a débutante, or a wedding reception, or one given in honor of some special person or event.

If a guest is not pleased with the food provided at a luncheon or dinner, or for any special reason cannot eat of any one dish, he should try and satisfy himself with something else, and make no comment upon it, doing his utmost to prevent his hostess from thinking that she has not well provided for him.

At a dancing party a young man should assist his hostess in seeing that all the young ladies have an equal chance to dance, and that none are obliged to sit out dances because of a dearth of partners. His obligation to his hostess and to society should be thus honored, as it is not, of course, a private affair for his own amusement, and as upon him, more than upon the young women, depends its success.

It is necessary that introductions be freely[139] made at a dancing party, in order that all may enjoy the evening, and every one should try to make all his friends acquainted with each other.

A young woman remains seated by the side of her chaperon until asked to dance. After a dance her partner returns with her to the chaperon.

If the son of the hostess requests a dance of a young woman, she should give it unless her program is quite full. If for any reason she refuses a dance to one man, she should not give it to another, but should sit it out. A woman, having once promised a dance, should fulfill her promise unless too ill to do so, in which case she will dance no more during the evening. The young man who is thus refused is free, having returned with her to her chaperon, to seek another partner.

Unless a young couple are engaged to each other, they should not dance together so often as to be conspicuous. Nor may they disappear into secluded corners and sit out dances. It is poor taste and very questionable etiquette, even if engaged.

When asked to dance, a woman hands the man her program, saying, "I am not engaged for that dance, and will be pleased to give it to you." After the dance the man may thank the woman for it, and she may make some remark to express her pleasure in it.[140]

If a man is delayed in claiming a woman for the promised dance, he should make profuse apologies.

A man dances first with the woman he escorts, or with the daughters of the hostess, or her guests in the house. Afterward he may choose for himself, always remembering that he should assist his hostess in giving a good time to all.

A woman always makes the first move toward going home at every social gathering. At a dance it is not necessary to say good-night to the hostess unless there is a good opportunity.

If a man is suddenly called away, he should try to find partners for the ladies with whom he engaged dances, and should explain his leaving to them.

It is not obligatory, but simply a pleasant custom, for a man to send flowers to the young woman whom he is going to escort to a dancing party. When she is his fiancée, it is especially appropriate and appreciated.

When one is on a visit, or at a house or weekend party, one has to follow the style of dress of the people whom one is visiting, so no hard and fast rules can be laid down. One should have suitable garments for each of the forms of recreation which one is to enjoy, and should follow quite closely the requirements of the hour.

When traveling, small, plain hats and tidily[141] draped veils are necessary. For mountain visits, thicker clothing and heavier wraps will be in demand, than are used in the city. When it is the custom to dress for dinner, one should always adhere to it, and so plan one's hours that nothing interferes with so doing and being prompt as well.

A guest should not claim the entire time of her hostess. The hours between breakfast and lunch belong to the hostess for the doing of her household and family duties, and the guest should entertain herself during them.

No guest should ever accept an invitation to an entertainment, a drive, or any other amusement without first consulting with her hostess. If, having friends in the same city or town, she has invitations from them for special occasions, she should inform her hostess of them promptly, that two plans may not be made for the same date.

Unless a guest is ill or very old and feeble, she never suggests retiring. That is the duty of the hostess.

A guest should take pains to arrive when expected. If she has promised a visit, she should keep her promise, unless matters of serious illness or grave moment forbid it, in which case a prompt and explanatory apology is imperative.

The guest should decide with her hostess, early in her stay, upon the date of her departure,[142] if that has not been already settled in the form of the invitation, and should then abide rigidly by it, allowing nothing but the most earnest importunity on the part of her hostess personally, and for clearly shown and newly arising reasons, to detain her longer.

The guest should be pleased and well entertained with everything that is done for her amusement, or should appear to be so. If she cannot give herself up to the enjoyment of the sort of entertainment which her host and hostess provide, she should not accept the invitation to visit them.

The guest should be punctual at meals and conform in every particular to the ways of the household. She should not arrive in the living-room or drawing-room at hours when there will be none to entertain her, and when it would embarrass her hostess to know that she was unattended. To sit up after the family has gone to bed, to lie in bed after the entire family have risen, to be late at meals, to be writing an important letter or doing some mending when the carriage is at the door for a drive, or wish to go to drive when the carriage has been dismissed, to be too tired to attend the dinner or reception given in one's honor, to fail to keep appointments for the stroll or some sport because one wants to do something else,—these things show a total lack of consideration on the[143] part of the guest, and make it impossible to enjoy her stay or wish for her return.

At times which seem appropriate it is well to retire to one's room and leave the family by themselves. It is not necessary for the family life and comfort to be sacrificed constantly to the guest. Hospitality would be more generously shown if it did not make so many unnecessary demands upon the time and comfort of the members of the family.

The guest should never take sides in any family discussion, and if anything unpleasant occurs, she should ignore it entirely, and not seem to know anything about it or take any interest in it.

It is an unpardonable breach of loyalty to one's hosts to retail any information one may have acquired on a visit, or discuss their characteristics and management with any one.

A guest need not attend religious services, or be present at the calls of commonplace people, or enter into local philanthropies, unless he wishes to do so. True hospitality relieves him from all sense of obligation in these matters. If, however, carriages are provided so that guests may attend church, or guests are told of the hour for family worship and are invited to be present, it is more courteous to attend.

Guests at country houses should be willing to take hold and help in any emergency, such[144] as the absence or sickness of the servants, and should be willing to join heartily in the country frolics where work is usually to be shared by all.

In the country people visit in large parties, so when one is invited to go on an excursion or with a crowd to visit some neighbor, one should not hesitate for fear of being one too many.

One should follow the wish of the host or hostess in regard to giving the servants some gratuity for service rendered, if that wish is known; otherwise, unless there is an accepted rule to the contrary, it is well to give, when leaving, a small gift of money to such of the servants as have been especially helpful. One should always treat servants with consideration and kindness, if not with generosity. It is better to be less lavish with money and more painstaking in remembering personally the people who have served you, renewing acquaintance with them if opportunity offers, treating them in a human way, and not with the indifference with which you would treat a mechanism.

If a gift is given, it should be done unostentatiously. The tactful, quiet way of doing it, free from patronage, and showing only good-will and gratitude for service rendered, is the only polite way. Money never compensates for haughtiness and brusqueness, and the gentleman or lady in spirit will not be unmindful of the feelings of even an incompetent servant.[145]



Hospitality is a great pleasure to people of a sociable nature, and its obligations have a most refining influence. The generous consideration of others reaches its acme when one is constantly entertaining little circles of friends, with no thought but to give happiness.

The pleasant custom of serving tea each day at five o'clock is one which admits of great enjoyment. The man of the house tries to be at home for the quiet social hour before the family dinner. The young people of the family are gathering after the day's dispersion. The friends, who are out calling or on their way home, drop in for a pleasant chat; and the charming hostess has time for many glimpses of friends, and chance also to say the right word to some friend in need of cheer, who knew that she could be found at her daily hour of welcome.

The custom of receiving on a certain day of the week is a sensible and hospitable one. If one has such an "At Home" day, it is more[146] polite for friends to call on that day than on any other. If a lady has, however, sent out cards announcing that she is "At Home" on "Wednesdays in January and February," one should not call on those days unless one has received the card having the special invitation.

Some receive once a month during the season. They have the day engraved on their card, as "The first Friday until Lent," or "The second Wednesday until April."

The custom of sending out cards for a certain day throughout one month avoids a "crush" on any one day, and enables a hostess to receive informally without giving up a great part of her time.

The informal entertainment is a greater compliment to guests than any formal entertainment, however splendid.

The hostess should preserve the happy medium between neglecting and overattending to her guests.

When a hostess wishes to have her friends meet an expected guest, she should inform them of the intended visit beforehand, and so enable them to make an engagement to meet her, or plan entertainment for her. Invitations to a reception in honor of a friend can well be, and should be, sent out in advance of her coming, if her stay is to be short, and if the dates of her stay are definitely known.[147]

At a reception for the introduction of a friend, the hostess and the guest of honor will stand near the door of the drawing-room and receive. If the reception is very large, the butler announces the names of the guests as they enter. The hostess gives her hand to the newcomer, and presents her to the guest of honor. After a few words of greeting, the caller passes on into the room where the refreshments are served.

The refreshments usually consist of dainty sandwiches, salads, perhaps creamed oysters or chicken, bouillon, chocolate, coffee, or lemonade.

Afternoon teas are less formal and less elaborate than receptions. The refreshments consist of tea, with thin slices of bread and butter, thin biscuits, and cake.

At a dancing party the hostess receives, together with her daughters and any guests whom she honors by asking. The host may receive, as well, but his chief duty is to keep a watchful eye upon his guests, looking out for the chaperons, and seeing that the young people are supplied with partners for the dances.

At a débutante party the mother stands nearest the drawing-room door, the daughter next her, and the father beyond. The mother greets each guest and then introduces the daughter. At the supper or dinner her brother or father takes out the débutante, who sits at her father's[148] left. In case her brother takes her out, her father takes out the oldest or most honored lady present.

The successful host and hostess see to it that all their guests are introduced to each other, if this is possible, so that the best of cordiality and the least restraint may characterize their mingling.

Breakfasts and Luncheons

Breakfasts may be homelike, informal affairs, or quite ceremonious. The hour of this meal is at any time before one o'clock, usually twelve or twelve-thirty. After one o'clock the affair becomes a luncheon.

Men are invited to a breakfast, but usually at a luncheon the guests are all women.

A real breakfast menu, such as is often served on Sunday mornings in the country, consists of fruit, cereal, a chop, or steak, or fishballs, with potatoes, eggs in some form, muffins or hot rolls, and coffee, waffles or hot cakes, or, in New England, doughnuts.

The menu for luncheon consists usually of soup, fruit, lobster in cutlets or croquettes, with mushrooms, or omelet, or fish; broiled chicken, or lamb chops, with green peas and potatoes; a salad, crackers and cheese; ice cream, with coffee, tea, or chocolate.[149]

At a breakfast or luncheon, as at a dinner, every effort should be made to be punctual. The success of such an occasion may be ruined by a tardy guest.

At a luncheon one removes wraps and veils in the dressing-room, retaining one's hat and gloves, the latter being removed at table, and resumed in the drawing-room after the meal, unless cards are the form of entertainment.

As the guests enter the drawing-room the hostess shakes hands with them and introduces them to one another before going to the dining-room. When no men are present the hostess leads the way to the dining-room, and the guests find their places at the table by the name cards. When men are present the procedure to the dining-room follows the custom at a formal dinner.

It is becoming customary to use the daylight as much as possible at all social functions; and, indeed, at no affair, unless it be very late in the afternoon and very ceremonious, is the daylight excluded and the candles and chandeliers lighted.

The Formal Dinner

The most enjoyable dinner is that with four or six guests, which is served in a simple and only semiformal way. This enables a hostess[150] to bring together only congenial people, and the group is small enough for the talk to be largely general, and thence especially valuable, as each brings his wittiest stories, his clearest thoughts, and his best self to the appreciative and inspiring circle.

The formal dinner is usually set for seven o'clock, or half after, or eight. The elaborate dinner will take from an hour to two hours, according to the number of courses and the efficiency of the service. There should be a waiter for every six people, although at a small dinner an efficient maid may serve eight covers without much delay.

The invitations to a formal dinner are sent out two weeks ahead. No more people should be asked than can be comfortably seated and speedily served. Twenty inches at the very least should be allowed to each cover. Children are never present at a ceremonious dinner.

In choosing guests every effort should be made to have them congenial, with no glaring divergence of opinions, which would by any means make any one uncomfortable if the conversation were to become general. In seating the guests, only congenial people should be placed side by side. The intellectual harmony of a dinner is as important as the culinary harmony.

Ladies wear gloves at a formal dinner, and[151] remove them only at table, resuming them when dinner is over and the guests have returned to the drawing-room.

The dining-room must be quietly but well lighted. There should be no glaring lights, but a soft radiance which is so general as to make everything clear. An electric light hanging eighteen inches above the table, or a tall lamp whose light is at about the same height, either of them well shaded, are satisfactory additions to the candlelight.

Sometimes high lights are dispensed with and only candles used. Candles should always be lighted three minutes before the dinner is announced. For a dinner of not more than eight covers four candles are sufficient light.

Relatives are not seated side by side, as the effort is to have a general mingling of the company. A clever hostess will see that her guests at a small dinner party are all introduced to each other before they enter the dining-room.

The table may be round, oval, or rectangular, but if too narrow it cannot be made to look well.

The tablecloth is always spread for a dinner. A thick pad of felt or double-faced cotton flannel should go under the tablecloth. The damask should be immaculate and of good quality. The tablecloth should hang almost to the floor at the corners.

At each place there is a card on which the[152] guest's name is written. These place cards often have the monogram of the hostess in the center and are otherwise blank, except for the name written on.

The place cards at a dinner should be laid immediately before the plates of the guests or on the napkins, which are folded squarely, and of sufficient size to be of real usefulness.

In setting the table, the spoons for soup, dessert, and coffee are arranged at the top of the plate; the knives and forks, the latter of several sizes, are placed on either hand, in order of use, and the small plate for bread, olives, etc., is on the right.

In eating, the oyster fork is the first used, and then one takes the next in order. Should one be in doubt, the rule is to glance at the hostess and adopt her method, whatever that may be.

On elegant tables, each cover, or plate, is accompanied by two large silver knives, a small silver knife, and fork for fish, a small fork for oysters on the half-shell, a large tablespoon for soup, and three large forks. The folded napkin is laid in the center, with a piece of bread in it. Fish should be eaten with silver knife and fork.

A half-ladleful of soup is quite enough for each person, unless at a country dinner, where a full ladleful may be given without offense.

Individual salts or salt cellars are now placed[153] at each plate, and it is not improper to take salt with the tip of the knife in lieu of a spoon.

The place plates stand under the oyster or soup plates and under any course when it is desirable to have them. Plates must be warmed or chilled according to the temperature of the food which is to be served in them.

The indispensable courses of a dinner are soup, fish, roast, salad, and dessert. In arranging her menu, however, each hostess will suit herself to her pocketbook and to what she considers good form in the amount and kind of food.

The formal dinner should be served in a very leisurely style.

At the daily family dinner as well as at formal dinners, all the ladies of the house and among the guests should be helped before any of the men are served, even if some distinguished guest is among the latter.

It is not necessary to wait until all are served before beginning to eat at a dinner, but wait until the hostess has commenced to eat.

Butter is not served at a formal dinner, and bread is laid in the napkin beside the plate.

There should be no urging of guests to eat. It is assumed that a guest is not afraid to eat as much as he wants.

When the fruit napkin is brought in, the user takes it from the glass plate on which it is laid,[154] and either places it at his right hand, or on his knees. The doily beneath the finger bowl is not meant for use, but should be laid on the table beside the finger bowl.

After the dinner has been eaten, and dessert is reached, everything is cleared off but the tablecloth, which is now never removed. A dessert spoon is put before each guest, and a gold or silver spoon, a silver dessert spoon and fork, and often a queer little combination of fork and spoon called an ice spoon. For the after-dinner coffee a very small spoon is used.

Coffee may be served in demi-tasse at the table, or later in the drawing-room. Cream is never served with a demi-tasse.

The napkin should be left lying loosely beside the plate after a meal.

In case either a guest or a servant meets with any accident one should pass it over with as much speed as possible and turn the attention of all immediately toward some interesting matter. A mistake should be completely ignored by both hosts and guests.

Whenever a course is offered which you do not enjoy, never decline it, but accept it, and endeavor to take a small portion at least of it. You avoid then the tacit criticism of the taste of those who like it, and put your hostess at ease.

No personal preferences in foods are to be[155] consulted or mentioned when one is a guest at dinner. If one cannot accept of the fare offered, one should have declined the invitation.

Should a guest be late, the hostess need not wait more than fifteen minutes for him, after which time, if he appear, the host rises from the table to greet him and cover the interruption of his entrance, but the hostess does not leave her place. If he does not come until after the second course, he is served only as the others are served, and no attempt is made to serve the previous courses to him.

When dinner is ready, the maid or butler appears in the drawing-room door, catches the eye of the hostess, and announces quietly that dinner is served.

Upon the signal, the host gives his arm to the guest of honor, and they lead the way, the lady being seated at the right of her host. After them come the other couples as the hostess has planned. Each man has found upon the dressing-room table an envelope addressed to him, in which is the name of the lady whom he is expected to take out to dinner, and also in the corner "R" or "L" to indicate on which side of the table he and his lady are to sit.

After all the others have passed out, the hostess brings up the rear with the gentleman guest of honor, who will sit at her right.

Evening dress should always be worn. For[156] a lady a gown with low neck and short sleeves or elbow sleeves; for a gentleman, a dress coat and its accompanying trousers, vest, and tie of regulation cut and color.

Arrival a few minutes before the hour is customary in order for the guests to assemble in the drawing-room, greet their host and each other, and proceed together to the table.

When the meal is finished, the hostess catches the eye of the guest at her husband's right, smiles understandingly, and they immediately rise, and, followed by the rest of the ladies, leave the room, the men standing meanwhile. The men linger for a half-hour or so over their cigars and coffee, or liqueurs, before following the ladies into the drawing-room.

In the United States it is more usual for the men and women to leave the dining-room together, and the hostess to serve the coffee in the drawing-room, than it is for the men to linger by themselves at the table.

After a dinner party one should bid good-night to the lady one has taken out to the table, to one's host and hostess. It is not good form to omit the latter, for she should be assured that you at least have enjoyed the evening, and that her effort at hospitality has been appreciated by you. It is not necessary to take a formal leave of the other guests. If you choose you may wish them a general good-night.[157]

A ceremonious dinner begins with a tiny bit of caviare on a tiny bit of toast.

Then comes the fruit. It may be melons, peaches, strawberries, or grape fruit. It must be in perfection, and should be on ice up to the moment of serving, and must tempt the eye as well as the palate.

Next comes the course of oysters or clams on the half-shell, which should be served on crushed ice, on oyster plates made with hollows for the shells, and picked up with silver forks made for the purpose. Or they may be served more daintily without the ice, immediately after they have been taken from the cooler, and without delay.

Then a clear soup. It may be served from a silver tureen by the hostess, or may be brought in soup plates to the guests by the waiter.

Then fish. This may be served by the host or arranged in a dainty mince and served in shells to the separate guests. If served by the host, potatoes very daintily cooked may accompany it.

Throughout the dinner olives, salted almonds, radishes, and similar relishes may be passed. These are the only articles of food on the table when the guests take their seats.

After the fish there can be an entrée or two of some delicate dish, but the roast properly comes next. It may be turkey, beef, mutton,[158] or lamb. The host may carve it if he pleases, and the waiter receive portions from him and carry them to the guests. In many houses the lady of the house is served first, and next the guest of honor, who is the lady at the right of the host. With the roast some vegetables are served.

Then comes a salad, and with the salad cheese and crackers are served.

The dessert follows the salad, and black coffee concludes the repast. This last may be served at the dining table, or later in the drawing-room by the hostess.

The dessert may consist of ices, fruit, pastry, or confections. Frequently there is a final course after the sweets, consisting of crackers and toasted cheese.


It is now considered quite proper for the host or hostess to specify the length of time covered by an invitation for a visit. The complication of duties in our present-day life makes the assignment of even pleasures to definite periods necessary. This is as important as the arrangement of trains and methods by which the guest may arrive and leave.

The English manner of entertaining is a very excellent one, as it gives the guest his freedom[159] and makes his visit of the utmost profit to himself and also to his host. The English host sets the time of arrival, has his servant meet the guest at the station with conveyance, has him met at the house door again by a servant, and shown to his room, where he is made at home by being offered some light refreshments. He is told at what hour he will be received by his host and hostess in the drawing-room, usually a short time before dinner. Then throughout his stay he does not see his hostess till midday, although she provides amusement for her guests, which he is at liberty to enjoy or ignore as he chooses.

After the noon meal he may do as he chooses through the afternoon, appearing only at dinner, which is the formal meal of the day, and at the general gathering of the family and guests in the evening. The various members of the family are ready to show the visitors the place, or the countryside, or play their favorite games during the day; but there is no effort to make the entertainment formal or to force it upon the guest. We do not wish to see even our most honored guests or our dearest friends all of the time, and this arrangement makes the meeting at dinner all the more enjoyed and valued.

Before inviting guests it is necessary to see to the comfort which is represented in the[160] guest chamber. This should be as dainty and comfortable as any chamber in the house, and, in addition to the usual furnishings, should have other fittings intended to supply all the comforts of one's home. A full line of towels, toilet articles, and even night robe, bathrobe, and slippers should be ready for the use of the guest in the event that her trunk and suitcase do not arrive at the expected time.

If the bed is fitted out with finery as well as with all the linen, blankets, and comfortables which a well-set-up bed requires, the care of the finery, its removal at night and folding up, should not be left to the guest. This should be attended to before bedtime by the maid, and the bed turned down ready for occupancy.

There should, of course, be vacant bureau drawers and wardrobe. The guest, especially if her visit be for a short time, and she has not brought her workbox, will much appreciate a small workbasket fitted out with needles, thread, thimble, and scissors. A desk fitted with stationery, pens, and postage stamps adds much to the comfort, of a guest chamber, for, no matter how brief the stay, facilities for writing to the distant home are needed promptly and constantly.

The guest's comfort should be provided for before her entertainment or amusement, and she should be made to feel perfectly at home in[161] her room, and her possession of it be absolute for the time of her stay.

It is a compliment to a guest to remember her favorite dishes, or to arrange things to suit her known tastes and preferences.

It is the duty of the hostess to give the signal for retiring. This should be done with a fine regard for the desires of guests, rather than according to one's personal wishes.

Special Duties of the Country Hostess

The country hostess should make her entertaining distinctive from that of the city. Every one should, at times, return to the country, for both physical and mental well-being. So when he is there, it is of great importance that he get country fare and country life, rather than make a fruitless attempt to live in the country as he does in the city.

The country hostess should not attempt to entertain unless she can depend upon her servants. Her relations with them should be such that there is no likelihood of having a houseful of guests and the servants thereupon suddenly weary of the quiet of the country, or for any other trivial reason promptly departing. The country hostess will, however, fit herself to meet any emergency which may arise, both on her own and her family's account, as well as on that of her guests.[162]

Therefore, housekeeping and entertaining should be simplified as much as possible, and the most unexpected of emergencies should be anticipated and provided for, as far as may be. Unless the country hostess is herself competent to cook and to tend the fires, she will never be safe in the sending out of invitations. For the same reason, other members of the family should be trained in helpfulness, so that an emergency will simply mean the adoption of emergency tactics previously agreed upon and practiced to the point of efficiency.

The country hostess should remember that to her guests the charm and novelty of the fresh air and outdoor life are perhaps the greatest attractions of her home. So she should see to it that guests are left untrammeled, to go and wander where they may wish; and also that the guest chambers and all other rooms are kept filled with fresh air even in the coldest of weather.

Often the change to the invigorating country air makes the guest feel colder than the actual temperature of the room warrants. The hostess should remember this, and should provide that at all times the living-rooms and guest chambers be warmed as well as ventilated. The open fireplace is needed in addition to steam or furnace heat in an isolated country house.

"Simple things need to be excellent." The[163] hostess should provide fresh fruit, chickens, eggs, vegetables, cream, and milk, the products of the country, rather than the elaborate dishes of the city.

The hostess should enjoy the country and teach her guests to enjoy it. She should know the attractive walks and drives, the places of real interest, and she should be able to point out the picturesque spots, and the points of vantage for especially fine views, and to make others feel the charm of the country.

The hostess should furnish outdoor occupations, should interest her guests in making collections of curious plants from the woodlands, and in getting acquainted with the trees. There should be some popular sports provided even in midwinter, and all the necessities for the enjoyment of these should be furnished, as well as a library, games, and all sorts of indoor entertainment and pastimes for the possible days of storm which shall block all exit from the house.

The serving of meals out of doors, if the season and weather permit, is a distinctive feature of country hospitality, and very enjoyable to city dwellers. Breakfast and afternoon tea are especially easy to serve on the lawn or piazza, but more elaborate meals may be so served if there are servants and facilities enough. Simple meals out of doors are preferable[164] to more elaborate meals within. In order to do this enjoyably or successfully, it is necessary to have the piazza or garden somewhat secluded. A hedge, in the absence of other protection from the curious, easily makes this possible.

The informality possible in country entertaining is its greatest charm. Neighbors should be encouraged to "drop in" at any hour, as the monotony of country life may thus be greatly relieved.

The hostess who, in order to meet an emergency, is obliged to do much herself, should either simplify her plans of entertainment, so that she could carry them through without too great weariness to play her part as hostess by being with her guests, or should call upon them to assist her, and make it a companionable visit at any rate.

Rural festivities are usually festivals of labor, in which all join first in the work and later in the play. One should endeavor to do one's part of the work cheerfully, and in the spirit of good comradeship, as well as share in the fun.

One of the most enjoyable resources of the country hostess is the picnic. This idea may be varied to suit any circumstances and any surroundings. It may take the form of an athletic frolic for the young people, or of a reading party in some secluded and shady glen[165] on a hot day, if the company be intellectual, or various other forms.

Public Functions

Men and women of prominence are often called upon to act as special hosts and hostesses at public or semipublic functions, such as club dinners or luncheons, society receptions, school or college graduations, receptions given by the heads of business houses on anniversaries or at openings, civil or state receptions, charitable social affairs, and the like.

As a rule, the etiquette and duties of such occasions do not vary greatly from those of the more private affairs, but usually greater formality is observed, and there is less responsibility on the part of the public entertainers for the details of the service.

At a club reception and luncheon, the president and chief officers of the club, with the guests of the day, stand in line and receive for a half-hour or more, in the parlors of the club. When all the guests, or the most of them, have assembled, the procession to the dining-room is headed by the president with the guest of greatest distinction, who is seated at his right. The other officers follow in order of rank, with the other guests in order of distinction.

After dinner, when the last course is completed[166] and the débris removed, so that the tables present a neat appearance with their decorations intact, the president rises and raps for order. Then, after a few introductory remarks, he begins the program of the day. These programs vary greatly, but usually include after-dinner speeches of the light and happy or only semiserious order,—unless the purpose for which all are gathered is of serious moment,—music both instrumental and vocal, by excellent performers, and the responses to the speeches, either by the president or by others of the officers who may be called upon for brief and pertinent remarks. A spirit of good-will and enthusiasm should characterize such a gathering, whatever the object of it.

When one is appointed on the entertainment committee of a club, or of a city, or other body of people, for the holding of a congress of any sort, it is necessary to provide in minute detail for the entertainment of guests for a period covering the entire time of their stay. Such guests should be met at the depot or boat landing, should be given every assistance toward making them acquainted with the officers of the congress and club, and with the city, and every detail of provision for their comfort should be looked out for. Personal social claims upon their time should not be so made as to conflict with their real interest in coming, or with the[167] advantages they may have sought in the visit, for carrying out their personal plans.

When one is a guest on such an occasion, he should remember that while his entertainment may have been official, his obligation for it is personal, and that he should personally thank his hosts and, in particular, his special host and hostess, as if he had been their only guest. No matter how absorbing the business of the congress or conference, no matter how strenuous his own official duties, his obligation socially is imperative, and must be met.

When one is a member of the graduating class of a school or college, or of any small group of people who, as a society, are entertaining, one should show the courtesy of host or hostess to every guest. This does not mean that one is responsible to every guest, to see that he or she is well entertained, but that, aside from his personal responsibilities to his own guests, he should be, at all the public functions, in the attitude of host to any stranger to whom he may show even the slightest hospitality.

As for his own guests, there are one or two points of special courtesy because of the nature of the entertainment. If he is inviting young women, or even only one, to whom he intends to give his whole, or a large part of his time, he must also invite her mother or chaperon. This rule is invariable for the high-school boy[168] graduate, for the graduate of the men's college, and for the man graduate of a co-educational university.

In addition to the usual provision for guests, he must provide for their entertainment overnight or during their stay, if they be from the distance. He should, in addition, and early in their visit, acquaint them with the peculiarities of the local college customs. These customs are distinctive with each college, and their etiquette should be made clear to one who, though unused to them, is about to share them.[169]



The need of the chaperon is recognized in communities where there are large populations, and people are necessarily of many classes and unknown to one another. For this reason the system of chaperonage of the small communities of rural America has not been as elaborate or as strictly adhered to as that of the cities.

The chaperon is the accepted guardian of very young girls, taking oversight of them in their social life as soon as the governess gives up her charge. The chaperon is only a poor substitute for the rightful care of a mother, or takes the place of a mother when the latter cannot be present, or performs in the person of one the duties of several mothers.

Young girls should never go about the streets of a city or large town unaccompanied by an older person or a maid. This rule is not so much for physical protection as for the example of teaching her that fine conduct and discretion which will forestall the possibility of unpleasant experiences.[170]

When a group of young people go to some public place of amusement or instruction, an older person should always accompany them. Such an attendant, who should be one of the fathers or mothers of the young people, if possible, would be in so great sympathy with the spirit of the group that his presence would impose no restraint and spoil no fun, yet it would be a curb on undue or undignified gaiety, and a protection against criticism.

The day is not very far distant when it was expected that if a daughter entertained a young man in the drawing-room, her father or mother would be present during the whole of the call. For débutante daughters the custom still holds good. For a daughter who has been out in society for one or more seasons, it seems somewhat rigorous and unnecessary, as the presence of the father or mother for a part of the call serves all the purposes of cordiality, and gives, as well, the young people a chance to talk without constraint of interests which seem perhaps foolish and trivial to any but young people. The wise father and mother or chaperon know when to trust young people, and when it is best to throw them quite upon their honor. It is only by having responsibility for their actions thrust thus upon them, that they ever attain to natural dignity and self-reliance.

It is sometimes permitted to a young woman[171] to be escorted to a party or entertainment alone by a young man, but only by one who is well-known to the family as quite to be trusted, and only to such parties as are presided over by responsible patronesses. This should be exceptional for any but the young woman who has been left without immediate family and who has been already in society more than one season. The duenna who acts as her natural guardian and chaperon, ordinarily accompanies her.

It may be objected that there are large numbers of young women who are of necessity unprotected by adequate chaperonage,—through loss of relatives, financial limitations, or the following of some business calling or profession,—and that they are not, in general, treated with less respect than the young woman carefully guarded in her home. It yet remains true that the independent girl must needs provide for herself a chaperon upon certain occasions, or lose that consideration which she would keep at all costs. A strong character welcomes the aid of a careful observance of conventions.

Even the spinster of recognized professional standing finds herself somewhat restricted in social pleasures. She cannot go out socially with one man more than occasionally; she has little pleasure in going unattended; she can entertain but infrequently and in a small way, if at all, and never without an older married woman[172] to assist her. She may, however, have her regular afternoon or evening "At Home," provided she has with her this friend; and with that friend present, she may entertain a gentleman caller until ten o'clock in the evening, but she may not offer him cigarettes, nor any beverage but tea, coffee, chocolate, or lemonade.

In fashionable life in the cities, the chaperon is an important and ever-present personage. Wherever the young débutante goes in society,—to every place of amusement, when walking or driving in the park, when shopping or calling,—and during her calling hours at home, the chaperon is her faithful and interested attendant.

The common usage of smaller towns, seashore places, and country villages differs in degree of attendance. The only wise rule is to follow the custom of the place in which one may happen to be, remembering always that the principle at the basis of the custom is wise and valuable, and that there should be good and sufficient reason for failing to follow it in its entirety. It is, however, not the letter of the law but the spirit of it which saves. Experience shows that not always the completely chaperoned girl is safe and the quite-free girl in real danger. Everything depends upon the girl, and the spirit of the chaperonage she receives. The relations with one's chaperon should[173] be the most intimate and reliable and trustworthy of one's whole life; or they may be a mere farce and evasion. As a rule, however, too strict observance of the dictates of society in this connection is better than too lax.

The careless way in which many parents allow their sons and daughters to go off with a group of boys and girls of their own age, unattended by any adult, is to be deplored. Among the parents of several young people there certainly is some parent, who cares enough about his children and their associates to become a chum, and be at once a magnet to draw them to more mature and valuable ways of thinking, and a safeguard against that group folly towards which the irresponsibility of youth tends.

Until a girl makes her début in society, she is not seen at a party of adults except in her own home, and not there at a formal entertainment unless it be a birthday party, a marriage, or a christening.

Even after an engagement is announced, the chaperon is still the attendant of the young couple in fashionable circles, when they go to any place of public amusement.[174]



It is a wise and courteous action on the part of a lover to consult with the parents of the young woman and win their consent to his proposals before he presents them to her. This is largely a form in America, for the reason that in a well-ordered home the young man has not had much opportunity to pay attention to the daughter, unless the father and mother have considered him eligible for their daughter's friendship; also, the daughter, rather than the parents, does the choosing, and few parents would have the temerity to refuse a young man, whom they had permitted to enter their home, a chance to try his fate. Should they have good cause for such refusal, they should have used their influence and authority to counteract any favorable impression the young man may have made, before matters came to a crisis.

The Proposal

In matters of great moment, where the emotions are deeply stirred, the trivialities of etiquette are at once superfluous and important.[175]

One may be so greatly overwrought as to do the unintentionally cruel and inconsiderate thing, unless habitual good breeding comes to the rescue, and steadies one by showing what is the conventional thing to do.

No woman should permit a friendship to culminate in a proposal of marriage unless she is free to entertain such a proposal and has not decided in her own mind upon a negative answer. Of course, there are times when she receives, without power to check it, an unwelcome proposal. Her refusal then should be very decisive but very considerate. She should express regret at the situation, and her appreciation of the honor which has been done her, at the same time leaving no opportunity for future hope. In case she is already engaged, she should tell him so.

If the proposal be written, it requires an immediate answer. Urgency of response is determined by the importance to the sender.

The return of a letter unopened, even if the woman have good reason to think that it contains a proposal which she must refuse, is extremely rude, and should be done under no circumstances but flagrant breach of confidence. If a letter is received by a woman from a man whom she has refused and whose persistency she has sought to end, she may place the letter in the hands of her parents, or guardians, or[176] legal representatives, to be acted on as they think best.

The manner of a proposal is the touchstone of character. No man and woman, having passed through this experience together, can fail to have obtained at least a glimpse of the depths or the shallows of each other's character.

In a great majority of cases in America, at least, where access to the young woman is gained through a thousand social channels, the real declaration of love comes spontaneously, and is accepted or rejected before there is opportunity even for the formal proposal. For by a thousand half-unconscious signs does that state of mind reveal itself. So it happens that when the opportunity offers to settle the matter, there is little doubt in the mind of the lover and little hesitation on the part of the woman. This is true in that society where really well-bred and noble-minded women hold sway, for no woman of character permits the man to be long in doubt of her withdrawal of herself, when she sees he is attracted and yet knows that she cannot respond to his advances.

The method of proposing is not a matter for a book on etiquette. It concerns, along with all major matters of morals, those deeper things of life, for which there is no instruction beyond the inculcation of high ideals.

When the engagement is a fact and so acknowledged[177] in the home, it is not a wise or courteous thing for the engaged couple to monopolize each other. Consideration on the part of the family would see to it that they have some time to be alone together. Yet the lovers should be as careful to keep their place in the social life of the home as if there were no special attachment. For social exclusiveness shows an absorption in each other which, if selfishly indulged, will bring its own penalty. That a couple are engaged denotes expectation of a future when they will be thrown largely upon each other's society; and, because it is essential for those who are to marry to become thoroughly acquainted, they should together mingle with other people, for so are the actual traits of character best brought out. This does not mean that they should avoid or neglect being alone together at times, but they should not obviously and selfishly absent themselves.

The young woman should be formally courteous to her affianced husband, and should never slight him because he is pledged to her, nor unduly exalt him for the same reason. She should now remember that the broad world of her social interests is narrowing as they intensify, and she should not attempt in any way to break the bounds set for the engaged girl. She should not go alone with other young men to places of amusement or entertainment. She should[178] maintain her dignity so carefully as an affianced wife, that her betrothed shall not have the slightest reason to be jealous of the attention she gives to the men whom she meets in society. On the other hand she must not cater to the man she is to marry, to the extent of failing to do her social duty, or of making others feel that she has no interest in them.

As members of the same social set, the engaged couple will naturally meet much in society. They should not meet with effusion, or sufficiently marked discrimination to make others about them embarrassed. They should not spend too much time with each other. Their hostess will send them out to dinner together,—which is in marked contrast to the custom later when they are married, for then they will always be separated when in society. The young woman should be careful not to permit her fiancé to take her away in a corner from other guests for a long time, and he should remember to do his social duty by other young ladies present, even if he wishes to devote himself to one.

The task of meeting each other's friends, after the engagement is announced, is one which should be most interesting and enjoyable, and should have nothing of that embarrassment which comes from the sense of critical scrutiny. The great ordeal of winning each other is decided,[179] and the die cast. The smaller matter of establishing friendships on a mutual basis should be a pleasure and not an object of dread. Real affection and deep sincerity will make all prominent roughnesses smooth.

An engaged couple are apt to be in the foreground of any social event which they may both grace with their presence. The common human interest of the unengaged, and the reminiscent interest of the married, tend to focus all eyes upon them. For this reason they will try and be as little conspicuous as may be.

Announcement of Engagement

The announcement of an engagement may be made in several ways, but always first by the family of the young woman. If a public newspaper announcement is desired, a notice similar to the following, signed with a name and address, must be sent to the society editor of the local paper or papers:

"Mr. and Mrs. Howard Abbott announce the engagement of their daughter Ethel to Mr. Hayden B. Bradley, of Cleveland. The date of the wedding has not been fixed, but it will probably take place soon after Easter."

Or it may read: "Miss Ethel Abbott announces her engagement to Mr. Hayden B. Bradley," etc.[180]

If a less public announcement is desired, the young couple may each write personal notes to their friends. In these notes one or two afternoons are mentioned when the young woman with her mother will be "At Home." This gives an opportunity for the relatives and friends of the young man to meet his fiancée.

The entertainment will be an informal afternoon tea, in which she and her mother receive, the former wearing a pretty but not too rich-looking gown with long or elbow sleeves. Sandwiches, cakes, and tea should be served.

If an engagement is to be for long, it would be well to have the announcement of it as quiet as possible, or not to announce it until the time for the wedding draws near, and, also, for the young people not to be seen very much together until its final stages.

Immediately upon the announcement of an engagement, the mother of the man should at once call upon the young woman and her mother, and invite them, or the entire family, to dinner.

The family of the young man should be the first to make advances. The other members of the young man's family should call upon the young woman promptly, even if they have never met her before, or, if calling is impossible, they should write and express their approval and good wishes. According to the position of the[181] family, should the elaborateness of entertainment be. It is a nice custom, when the young lady lives in another city and has never met the family of her fiancé, for them to invite her to come and visit them.

The calls of his family upon her, and their letters to her, should be very promptly returned or answered.

If the young woman live in the country, her father will invite the young man for a visit.

Bridal "Showers"

The bestowal of engagement presents has of late years taken on a wholesale aspect. Instead of the occasional receipt of a present from one or another of her friends and relatives, the bride-elect is often now the guest of honor at one or more parties called "showers," and the recipient of numerous gifts which are literally showered upon her. There are many kinds of "showers," as many as the ingenuity and financial resources of friends may admit of. When, however, any one bride is to be made the object of a series of such attentions, it is well for the girl's friends who have the matter in hand to see to it that no one person is invited to more than one shower, or, if so invited, that it be at her own request and because she wishes to make several gifts to her friend.[182]

These affairs should be purely spontaneous and informal, and occasions of much fun and jollity. Nevertheless, there is danger of overdoing the idea, and making the recipient feel burdened rather than gratified by the zeal of her friends in her behalf.

Effort should be made not to have the articles given at a "shower" duplicate each other. They should be some simple, useful gifts, which will be of immediate service, and need not be either expensive or especially durable, unless the giver so desires. A "shower" is usually given when a wedding is in prospect, and the necessity of stocking up the new home confronts the young home-makers. The aim is to take a kindly interest in the new home and help to fit it out, more in the way of suggestion than in any extravagant way, which would make the recipients feel embarrassed or indebted, or overload them with semidesirable gifts.

The "shower" is usually in the afternoon, and is joined in almost exclusively by the girl friends of the bride-elect, with perhaps a few of her older women friends and relatives. If, however, it comes in the evening, the men of the bridal party are usually also invited. The refreshments are simple and the style of entertainment informal. The invitations to a "shower" are usually given by the hostess verbally, or she sends her cards by post with the[183] words "Linen shower for Miss Hanley on Wednesday at four."

There is a wide range of possible kinds of "showers," but the only rational way is to choose for a donation party of this sort only such objects as will be needed in quantity and variety, and in the choice of which one has not too strong and distinctive taste, as, for instance, the following: Linen, towels, glass, books, fancy china, silver, spoons, aprons, etc. Of course, the furnishings of some one room, as the bath-room, laundry, or kitchen, might be the subject of a "shower," but usually a housewife would prefer to have what she wanted and nothing else for use in these places.

The Broken Engagement

When an engagement is broken the young woman should return to the young man all letters and presents, and may ask, by a brief, courteous, but dignified, note, for the return of her letters to him. It would not be necessary, ordinarily, to write such a note, as the man would take the sending back of his gifts as final, and to mean the return of hers also.

In case the wedding is near, so that wedding presents have been received from friends, the no longer "bride-elect" should return them to the givers with an explanatory note. The note[184] should mention nothing beyond the fact that the engagement has been broken.

The mother of the young woman is the one to announce the breaking of the engagement. She quietly does so, by word of mouth or notes to friends. In case of a broken engagement, it is not delicate to allude to it, unless one is a very intimate friend, and then it is better to leave the first broaching of the subject to the one most concerned.

It is customary for the privilege to be granted the woman of terminating an engagement without offering any explanation other than her will. Nevertheless, she will not use this privilege arbitrarily, without casting a shadow upon her reputation and character for faithfulness and integrity. A man is expected to make no explanation, even privately, as to the reason for the breaking of the engagement, as the release must at least appear to come from the woman. Whatever she chooses to say, or however unjust the remarks of friends seem, he is in honor bound to show great reserve, and not to cast any shadow upon her reputation, even if his own suffers instead.

However, in many circles to-day it is enough to say that an engagement has been broken mutually, even though no reason is obvious. This should be so, for if too much comment attaches to the breaking of a marriage engagement,[185] marriages will be entered into the almost certain outcome of which is the divorce court.

A lady should never accept any but trivial gifts, such as flowers, a book, a piece of music, or a box of confectionery, from a gentleman who is not related to her. Even a marriage engagement does not make the acceptance of costly gifts wise.

Preparation for a Wedding

The preparation which the bridegroom makes for the new home, is, of course, by far the larger share of its establishment. He provides the home, furnishes it with everything but the linen, which the bride will bring, and the ornamental decorations, including silver for the table, which the wedding guests may, in these days of lavish presents, be expected to furnish.

Even if he does not choose to set up a house-home at once, the provision for the future is all his, and he has to bring to the wedding the wherewithal to make a home, whether it be in household furniture or only the certificates of wealth with which to provide for the bride. This is a matter of pride with even the poorest lover,—with all save that small class of men who, either from the most worldly of motives or, in the very opposite extreme, from motives so high that they will not permit personal pride[186] to stand in the way of the real union of hearts, submit to the indignity of becoming pensioners rather than donors.

Whatever the custom for the division of responsibility in regard to the home and the future, in actual life, in every true home responsibility is equal, and convenience alone decrees what the bride and the bridegroom shall each contribute to the common hoard.

The bridegroom also provides a part of the wedding, and although his share is minimized, yet it is often a costly and important part. He should provide the flowers which the bride and her attendants carry. The bride usually chooses her flowers, which are ordinarily white roses, lilies of the valley, or fragrant white flowers of her favorite kind.

Besides providing the wedding ring, the bridegroom usually presents to the bride some gift. It is perhaps the deed of the house he has bought and furnished for her. Or it may be jewelry, or anything else that she desires and that he may have it in his power to bestow. The bride makes him no special gift other than her hand, as that is her supreme gift.

The personal provision of the bridegroom sometimes consists of a new wardrobe throughout, besides his wedding suit. If he is wise he will wear his new suits somewhat before he appears in them as newly married. His wedding[187] suit will consist of evening dress, if he is to be married in the evening, complete with white gloves and tie, and boutonnière of the same flowers as the bride's bouquet. If married in the afternoon, or any time before six o'clock, he will wear a frock coat of black, white vest, gray trousers, and white tie and gloves. In case the wedding is in the evening and the bride is to wear her traveling dress, hat, and gloves, the bridegroom may wear the same suit as for an afternoon wedding, if he chooses.

The custom of having a new wardrobe throughout is not necessarily followed, of course. It is through the bridegroom's consideration for the bride, and his appreciation of the housewifely duties which she undertakes on his behalf, that he makes those as small as possible at first, knowing that the years will bring her her full share.

The bride's wedding wardrobe is made a matter of special moment, because it is for the last time that she is outfitted by her father. Therefore, he wishes to give her all that she needs for some time to come, that she may grow used to reliance upon her husband before he has to undertake the burden of her personal expenses in the matter of clothes.

The outlay, however, is limited in quantity to the probable needs of the first season of married life, if the bride is wise, as there is no wisdom[188] in having more garments than can be worn to advantage before the style changes.

No sensible woman will set a standard of expenditure too high for her future income, in what she buys for her wedding wardrobe. The only circumstances in which she should exceed the modest sum of her usual outlay,—beyond the fact that she needs more and special garments for the different social occasions, and has a pride in having them as nice as possible,—are those in which she marries a man of much higher social station and much larger income than her own. In that case it may be well for her to put some of her savings for the future into the gowns which she knows will be necessary for her in her new station.

The special gowns necessary for a bride are: Her wedding gown,—which is of pure white if a maiden, or pearl gray or some other delicate color if a widow,—the wedding veil, the traveling suit, a reception gown, a church suit, a somewhat elaborate visiting suit, a plain street suit, house dresses, a dainty wrapper, and a new outfitting of underclothing, in number and quality to suit her usual custom, or as nice as she can afford.

For the bride whose purse is not overfull the number of gowns and suits can be materially diminished; the wedding gown, with some slight changes, such as the removal of the high collar[189] and long sleeves, can be used as an evening dress; the traveling, church, and visiting suit may be one and the same; the house dresses may be reduced to a minimum by frequent washing. That one cannot provide an elaborate wardrobe with which to begin married life should not be a barrier to a marriage which in every other respect appears to be auspicious.

The bride's trousseau proper, or that store of linen which she provides for her new home, should consist of approximately the following:

For every bed three pairs of sheets, three pairs of pillow cases, three bolster cases, one or two pairs of blankets, two counterpanes, and an extra quilt.

For her bedrooms she should provide table, stand, and bureau covers, as the style of the furniture may suggest, and also such covers for couch pillows or armchairs as a thrifty housewife would desire for the sake of cleanliness.

For the bath-room there should be three dozen towels, a half-dozen bath towels. Towels for the maid should also be included.

For the dining-room, four tablecloths and two dozen napkins for common use, with two finer tablecloths and two dozen napkins for special occasions, make ample provision for the average home. There should be doilies and tray cloths, covers for the sideboard, also mats and centerpieces for the table.[190]

For the kitchen, three dozen cloth towels for dishes, hand towels, cleaning cloths, holders, and every necessary sort of towel in abundance. With the increasing use of the paper towel, much of this provision for bath-room and kitchen may be dispensed with, as the paper towel is much neater and more economical.

The wedding gown, which is of white satin or silk, and usually as rich and elegant as the bride can afford, is always cut high in the neck and with long sleeves, or, if elbow sleeves, they are supplemented by long gloves, which are not removed even at the wedding breakfast. The custom is to wear white exclusively from veil to shoes. Whether or not the veil is worn, a hat is never provided for this gown.

It is customary, in case a bride is married in her traveling suit, for her to wear the hat and gloves which go with it. At a home wedding, however, this rule is not usually adhered to, unless the couple leave at once.

The bridal veil and orange blossoms are worn only at the first marriage of a woman, and usually only with a gown made with a train.

The bridegroom should acquaint himself with the rules and regulations in regard to the marriage license some weeks ahead of the date set for the wedding, if possible, as the rules vary in different states, and in some a period of residence or notification is necessary.[191]

A marriage certificate, furnishing easily available knowledge of the legality of the marriage and its date, is often of great convenience in the disposition of property, the probating of wills, and in the settlement of numerous questions which might arise in minor matters. This should be provided before the ceremony, filled out and signed immediately after it by the officiating clergyman, and signed by several witnesses.

The wedding ring is, by long established custom, a plain gold band. It should be of the best gold, and the fashion now is for it to be moderately narrow and thin rather than wide and thick. The ring, the unbroken circle, is symbolic of eternity. The bridegroom gives it into the keeping of the best man, whose duty it is to hand it promptly to him at the proper moment of the ceremony. The initials and date are engraved upon the inner surface of the ring. When wider rings were worn some appropriate sentiment was also often engraved.

Once placed upon the bride's finger, it is her pride to see that it is never removed. As Mrs. Sangster feelings says, "It is a badge of honor, and, worn on any woman's hand, a symbol of her right to belong to the ranks of worthy matrons."

It is well to rehearse the movements of the bridal procession within a day or two of the[192] ceremony, that there may be no flaw in the conduct of the actors in this dramatic bit of realism. If it is to be a church wedding, more than one rehearsal may be required. In that case the organist should be present, as well as every member of the bridal party, except the clergyman. The opening of the church for such rehearsal is included in the fee which the sexton receives, which ranges from ten to fifty dollars.

Usually refreshments, in the form of either a dinner or supper, follow the rehearsal, the bride entertaining at her home.

If the Episcopal service is to be used, or any other service in which the bride and bridegroom kneel, cushions for their use should be provided. These are usually covered in white satin, with outer covers of very sheer lawn upon which the initials may be worked.

The floral decorations of the church or home should be subordinated to the main interest; that is, they should not be too elaborate, take up too much room, or do other than furnish a fitting background for the bridal couple. The decorations usually follow some definite color scheme, although simply the white flowers with green foliage are appropriate and symbolic for a church wedding. A few palms, simple bouquets of flowers arranged naturally and gracefully, with foliage to contrast and fill the corners, will decorate an altar or make a pleasant[193] bower. When costliness rather than beauty is the effect of flowers, the display is vulgar.

An awning should be stretched from the house or church door to the sidewalk, so that the guests and bridal party may not be subjected to the gaze of curious passers-by as they leave the carriages. An attendant should be stationed at the sidewalk to open the doors of the carriages, and to give to the coachmen and guests numbers by which their carriages may be speedily called.

While the provision of the carriages belongs with all other things to the bride's family, the carriages for the bridegroom and his family are provided by them.[194]



In cities at present the most fashionable hour for the ceremony is "high noon," following the English custom, and in remembrance of the long-standing tradition which placed the wedding early in the day, before the night's fast had been broken.

The afternoon is a suitable time, as it enables friends to gather more conveniently from the distance, and as the reception with refreshments is much more easily arranged for than is a breakfast. For an afternoon wedding, three o'clock is the proper hour in the winter, four o'clock in the summer.

The evening was at one period the fashionable time, and it still retains its popularity and long will among the middle class of people and in the country, because a larger gathering of friends can be expected at that time, as all are free from business and household cares.

The Church Wedding

For the church wedding special arrangements must be made for the seating of the guests. A[195] certain number of pews in the center front of the church are reserved for the families and intimate friends of the bride and bridegroom. The reservation is indicated by a broad white ribbon barrier across the aisle, or a garland of flowers. The family of the bride is seated on one side of the aisle, and that of the bridegroom on the other.

The ushers should be at the church at least a half-hour before the guests begin to arrive. They wear small buttonhole bouquets of flowers like those used in the decorations of the church, which are sent them there by the florist.

In seating the guests they should take great care to seat in the reserved space only those whose names are on the list given them as belonging there. Therefore, they ask the name of each guest whom they do not know before assigning him his seat. Sometimes, however, each of these special guests is provided with a card which he gives to the usher.

When a gentleman and lady enter the church together, the usher offers his right arm to the lady, and the gentleman follows them as they proceed down the aisle. When several ladies arrive together, the usher offers his arm to the eldest, and requests the others to follow as he conducts her to her seat.

Each usher asks of each guest whether he is [196]friend of the bride or bridegroom, and seats him accordingly, upon the left of the church if a friend of the bride, upon the right if a friend of the groom. In case the bridegroom is from the distance, and therefore there are few of his friends present, this custom is not followed.

Immediately before the bridal party appears, the mother of the bride is escorted by the head usher to a seat in the front pew. Any sisters or brothers of the bride who may not be in the bridal procession enter with their mother.

Meanwhile the bridal party has been gathering, the bridesmaids going to the home of the bride and there receiving from her their bouquets, which are the gift of the bridegroom. Thence they take carriages to the church, where they all arrive at the hour set for the ceremony. When the first carriage arrives, containing two of the bridesmaids,—as the carriage of the bride and her father is the last,—the head usher closes the inner vestibule door, and the other ushers see that all entrance at side doors is barred. When the bride arrives the outer street doors are closed, and the procession forms. Two of the ushers have already carried the broad white ribbon down the sides of the main aisle, thus shutting in the pews, and have taken down the ribbon barrier across it.

The bridegroom and his best man have come in a carriage by themselves and entered the[197] church by the vestry door. They and the clergyman await the notice of the bride's arrival.

The organist, who has been playing appropriate selections while the guests were assembling, begins on the wedding march as the doors to the church are thrown open in signal that all is in readiness. The audience rises. The clergyman takes his place, and the bridgegroom and best man enter, the former standing at the clergyman's left, the latter just behind the bridegroom, who is facing the aisle down which the bride will come.

First come the ushers, two and two, keeping pace with the time of the music, which is a stately, dignified march. The bridesmaids follow, also two and two, with about six feet of space between each couple. The maid of honor alone, or the maid and matron of honor together, then come. The flower girl, or flower children follow, scattering flowers from a basket hung upon the left arm.

Then come the bride and her father, or nearest male relative, she with downcast eyes and leaning upon his right arm.

The procession divides as it reaches a spot opposite the place where the bride and bridegroom are to stand, or, in an Episcopal church, the top of the chancel steps; half go to the right and half to the left. The bridesmaids stand between the ushers, all being grouped in[198] a semicircle. The maid of honor stands at the left, in front of the bridesmaids and near the bride.

The bridegroom advances to meet the bride, who leaves her father and takes the bridegroom's hand, then accepts his left arm and is escorted by him to a position in front of the clergyman. The couple kneel for a moment before the ceremony begins.

At the place in the ceremony where the question is asked, "Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?" the father, who has been standing a few feet back, advances and places the bride's right hand in that of the clergyman, who places it in the right hand of the bridegroom. The father then takes his seat in the front pew with his wife, whom, as they leave the church, he escorts.

Should a widowed mother be the only one to respond to this inquiry, she simply rises from her seat and bows. In such a case the bridegroom usually enters with the bride, and the procession is less elaborate.

When the troth is being plighted and the ring is about to be given, the best man hands it to the bridegroom, who passes it to the bride. She hands it to the clergyman, who returns it to the bridegroom. Then the latter places it upon the third finger of the bride's left hand. The significance of the passing of the ring is that it[199] completes a circle, the symbol of eternity, of which the clergyman is one, thus symbolizing the sanction of the church.

After the ceremony the clergyman congratulates the newly wedded couple, and the bride takes the right arm of her husband, walking thus down the aisle, the bridal party following in reverse order, the ushers therefore last. Even at a stately church ceremonial it has been known for the bride to stop and kiss her mother before passing down the aisle.

The duties of the maid of honor during the service are to take from the bride her glove and bouquet as the clergyman asks the bride and bridegroom to join hands. Then it is her care to remove the veil from before the face of the bride when the ceremony is over, and to turn the train of her gown that it may fall rightly as she passes up the aisle.

Occasionally when there are two main aisles to the church, the bridal procession enters on the one amid the friends of the bride, and returns on that amid the friends of the groom, to signify that the bride has now become one of them.

The best man follows the clergyman to the vestry, hands him the fee, if the groom had not before done so, and passes down the side aisle to signal for the bridal carriage, and to give the bridegroom his hat and coat. He then goes[200] to the bride's house, where he assists the ushers in introducing the guests to the pair.

The organist starts up a very joyous march at the conclusion of the ceremony, and continues playing while the guests are dispersing.

Following the bridal procession the families and intimate friends of the couple pass out before the audience, as the ribbon barriers which reserve the aisle are not taken down until all have passed out. If the reception is at the home, this gives the bridal party time to enter the carriages; if the reception is in the church parlors, it gives time for them to take their places in the receiving line.

At the bride's home there is now time, before the guests arrive, for all of the bridal party to congratulate and felicitate the bride and bridegroom, and also to sign after them the register of the marriage, which is in the care of the best man. This is usually in the form of a book bound in white, with the initials of the bride and bridegroom embossed upon it, and opportunity is usually given for the wedding guests to add their signatures also.

The bride's mother, who is the real hostess of the occasion, stands near the entrance of the room in which the reception is held. In a receiving line at the head of the room stand the bride and bridegroom with half of the bridesmaids ranged on the bride's right and the other[201] half on the groom's left. The parents of the groom stand near and the father of the bride with them or with his wife, as host. The ushers present the guests to the bride and bridegroom, and then to their parents, as guests of honor. A few words of congratulation to the bridegroom and of best wishes to the bride are all that the few moments possible for each guest permit. The bride offers her hand to each guest, and presents to her husband her friends, as he does his to her.

The Home Wedding

The home wedding may be made in every way quite as ideal as the church wedding, and is much more simple, its privacy appealing to many. The house will be decorated with flowers in good taste and not too great profusion. Usually a canopy or bower of flowers and foliage is erected at the head of the drawing-room. This should not be too massive, as only a special grouping of the flowers is preferable to an arrangement which is too crowded or shaded.

As the guests arrive the mother and sisters of the bride receive them. The father of the bride does not appear, nor, of course, does the bride, until they enter together. A room is placed at the disposal of the bridegroom, the best man, and the clergyman.[202]

At the stroke of the hour appointed, the clergyman enters and takes his stand facing the company. The bridegroom and best man also enter and stand at the left of the clergyman, the best man somewhat behind. As in a church wedding, the broad white ribbon is used to mark the aisle. If bouquets are attached to the ends of it, they will hold it in place.

Then from the farthest corner of the room enters the bridal procession, formed as for a church wedding.

At a simple house wedding there are often no attendants, the bride and bridegroom entering the room together, the bride's father having taken his position near at hand, where he can readily respond at the right moment.

Another way of forming the procession, which has all the advantages of the more elaborate one, is for the best man to follow the ushers, then the one bridesmaid to enter immediately preceding the bride and bridegroom.

Music is often dispensed with at a home wedding.

When the ceremony is over the clergyman congratulates the couple and withdraws, and they, turning, face their friends, who then come to wish them happiness.

Whether the wedding take place in the home or at the church, the bridal pageant has only one object in view,—it is wholly for the sake[203] of the bridegroom. Every woman desires to come to her husband in all the glory of her womanhood and of her social position. By all custom the bridegroom does not see his bride upon the wedding day until she approaches him as he stands at the altar. So, with her family doing her the utmost honor that they can, she comes to him, bringing all that she has and is, and placing herself and her future in his care. The coming is just as real, however, though the utmost simplicity prevail.

Back of all the minute detail of wedding custom there is a symbolism. With the constant elevation of the standards of marriage, this symbolism and these customs grow purer and more in accord with the ideals. Just as it is always taken for granted that a marriage ceremony is uniting loving hearts, so little by little all that is at variance with that thought will drop away, as have already several minor details, and new forms and customs more in harmony with the new ideals take the place of the old. These changes, however, come very gradually, and should not be hastened, but should only keep pace with the new conceptions. Nevertheless, there should not be too tenacious a clinging to the old forms, which expressed lower conceptions, when the masterly thought of the day is forging out higher and purer ideals of marriage.[204]

The Wedding Breakfast

The wedding breakfast is the name given to the refreshments which follow the noon wedding. It is usually given when there are but few relatives and intimate friends, because it is an expensive feast if large numbers are invited. It is really a dinner, served in courses, at numerous small tables, each with a complete dinner service. One large table, placed in the center of the room or elsewhere conspicuously, is reserved for the bridal party.

The menu usually consists of "fruit, raw oysters, bouillon, fish or lobster in some fancy form, an entrée, birds and salad, ices, cakes, bonbons, and coffee," according to one recognized authority. Or it may be much simpler, and include only oysters or bouillon, sandwiches and salad, ices, cakes, and coffee.

Usually some punch is served in which to pledge the bride and bridegroom. If wine is used, champagne is customary for weddings.

The caterer usually supplies all the necessities for the wedding feast, even to china, linen, silver, candelabra, and flowers, should the bride's parents so wish.

At the wedding reception, after the congratulations and greetings are over, and the breakfast is announced, the bride and bridegroom[205] lead the way to the dining-room. Then comes the bride's father with the groom's mother. The bridegroom's father follows with some member of the bride's family, then come the best man and the maid of honor. The ushers and bridesmaids pair off, and other members of the bridal party or of the two families follow in pairs. Lastly, as hostess of the occasion, comes the bride's mother, with the officiating clergyman, or the senior and highest in rank of the clergymen, if there be more than one, as guest of honor.

The rest of the guests, who are not seated at the bridal table, find their seats as they choose, with friends, no place cards being used.

For an afternoon or evening reception the refreshments are served as for any reception. A large table in the dining-room is decorated with flowers and piled with the edibles, which are served by the waiters to the guests as they enter. The variety of food depends wholly upon the resources of the bride's parents and the size and elaborateness of the wedding. Many prefer a simple repast as the hour is unusual for a meal, and a dinner is not to be served.

When the bride and bridegroom enter and are served, the best man proposes a toast to their health and happiness, and all present stand, glass in hand, and pledge them.[206]

At a wedding breakfast the English custom is to have toasts and speeches, but it is not followed largely in this country. Where it is, usually at a small wedding party, the father of the bridegroom or the best man proposes the health of the bride and bridegroom. The father of the bride responds. Sometimes the bridegroom is called on to respond to this toast, which he does, proposing in turn the health of the bridesmaids. To this the best man responds.

The wedding cake is a rich dark fruit cake, which is at its best only when made months in advance and kept in a stone crock well covered. This is finely frosted and ornamented.

At the close of the wedding breakfast the wedding cake is set before the bride, who cuts the first slice from it. It is then passed to the others.

At a large wedding, where no breakfast is served, the wedding cake is usually cut into small pieces and placed in white boxes, which are decorated with the initials of the bride and bridegroom and are tied with white ribbon. These are placed upon a table in the hall near the door and the guests either each take one as he leaves, or one is handed him by a servant.

Sometimes a part of the wedding cake is put away in a tin box and sealed, to be opened by the couple on some future anniversary.[207]

The wedding cake is distinct from the bride's cake, which may be served by the latter at a dinner to her bridesmaids a day or more before the wedding, and in which a thimble, a coin, and a ring are hidden. The superstition is that the young women who by chance receive the slices containing these are respectively destined for a future of single blessedness, wealth, or domestic bliss.

At a reception the larger number of the guests depart before the bridal couple go to the dining-room. As soon as refreshments are served them, and the toast to them has been drunk, they retire to don suits for traveling. The bridegroom waits for the bride at the foot of the staircase, and the bridesmaids gather there too, as when she comes, she throws her bridal bouquet among them, and the bridesmaid who catches it will be the next bride, according to an old superstition.

As the outer door is opened to let the couple out, all the friends and relatives present throw flowers or confetti or rice after them, for good luck, and an old white slipper is thrown after the carriage as they drive off. The custom of thus showering the departing couple has been sometimes carried to such an extreme that many refrain from it. Rice is somewhat dangerous, and confetti is so distinctive as frequently to cause embarrassment when in a public train or[208] station. Flowers may appropriately be used, and are always at hand in the decorations of the home.

The Wedding Journey

The wedding journey is the bride and bridegroom's affair, and the knowledge of it is kept their secret and divulged only to the best man, who probably helps arrange for it, and to the father and mother of the bride, and they all are silent about it. The intrusion of even intimate friends upon such a trip is not considered good form.

The custom of taking a journey at this time is not so rigidly observed as it used to be, many young couples preferring to go direct to their new home, or to a quiet country house for the honeymoon.

The real wishes of the couple should be followed out at this time, because they are now more free from social obligations than they will be later, and a wise start upon married life is of all things most desirable and necessary.

Wedding Fee

The fee should be placed in an envelope or purse, and given to the clergyman by the best man or some friend of the bridegroom, just before[209] or just after the ceremony, as may be most convenient. It is sometimes handed to the clergyman by the bridegroom at the close of the ceremony and before the couple turn away from the altar. It should be always given quietly, privately, and with no display or comment.

The clergyman does not examine the fee or comment upon it, other than indicating his acceptance.

The size of the fee is a matter of individual taste. Because it is unostentatiously given, its size is known only to the bridegroom and the clergyman, and to none others unless they wish to tell. There are some people in fashionable circles who employ a minister only at marriages and funerals, and who labor under the impression that they are objects of charity and that by them even the small favor is always thankfully received. No one thing so denotes the degree of real refinement in a man as the fee he offers the clergyman for marrying him. The clergyman is one of the three principals in the marriage ceremony. The great majority of brides desire that their marriage should have the sanction and benediction of the religious body with which they worship, or which has standing in their community and among their people. At the very least, in the civil marriage, without a third party to represent either church or state a marriage ceremony and therefore a legalized[210] marriage is impossible. The third principal is therefore an important part of the affair. To treat him shabbily in any way denotes no real appreciation of his presence. So it is that the true gentleman is as willing to give a handsome fee to him, if his means permit it, as he is to give to his bride something which shall delight and please her, and which shall symbolize his appreciation of the gift of herself. The bridegroom's offering to the clergyman is indeed the touchstone of his refinement. Wedding fees vary from five to a thousand dollars, the usual amount being twenty-five dollars for the fairly affluent.

Wedding Presents

So extreme has become the custom of sending wedding presents that it is perhaps necessary to remind those who really desire to do the correct thing, that a perfunctory service, or gift, or courtesy has no intrinsic value, and the omission of it would often be far more satisfactory than its bestowal.

The usual form of wedding gift is something of use and ornament for the new house. Silver, linen, cut glass, or china for the dining-room, furniture, rugs, lamps, clocks, vases, books, and pictures, or bric-a-brac for the rest of the house, are all appropriate.[211]

If silver is given, it should not be marked, as the bride may have duplicates and prefer to exchange some pieces for others, or as she may have a special form of engraving which she prefers. The exchange of a gift, however, removes from it the personal thought of the giver, and makes its acceptance more a matter of mercenary than of friendly interest. If, however, such exchange is made at the suggestion or with the approval of the giver, it still remains a personal gift. The indefinite way in which many people choose wedding gifts for their friends, following only the conventional ideas of what is suitable, has taken a great deal of personal interest from the gift at the very first.

The wedding gift should be a real gift in spirit, something expressive of the giver's good wishes, and something which the bride and bridegroom can enjoy and appreciate for its worth to them. Foolish things, whether expensive or not, have no real utility or beauty, and have always the atmosphere of insult about them, or else always reflect upon the intelligence of the giver.

A bride should acknowledge all gifts as soon as they are received, and before her wedding day if possible. Spontaneous rather than stereotyped notes of thanks are preferable. They should show appreciation of the gift, and include the name of the bridegroom-elect in her[212] expression of their gratitude. A bride should remember that too elaborate notes, which are a grave tax on her strength or time in the busy days preceding a wedding, are unwise, as is any other unnecessary expenditure of energy.

It is never obligatory to send a wedding present. The wedding announcement and wedding invitation are equally suggestive of such gifts, for in either case, whether one is invited to the ceremony or not, one is perfectly free to do as he pleases about conferring a gift.

The Country Wedding

There is an especial attractiveness and simplicity about the out-door wedding in the country, for those who desire to get rid of the conventional and artificial. Such a wedding is, of course, a day wedding. The late afternoon might be chosen, but the twilight never. The weather must be warm.

A secluded corner in the garden, the shade of some stately tree on the lawn, or the flowery seclusion of some orchard tree make attractive chancels for the ceremony.

The grass should be cut close, and all leaves and débris swept away.

Somewhat removed from the place of the ceremony, but still on the lawn or piazza, small tables and chairs may be placed in groups, and refreshments served out of doors also.[213]

The simplicity and homelike yet solemn atmosphere of a wedding in a country church appeal to many. There much of the formality of a city church wedding may be dispensed with, and yet the whole of the religious spirit, which should attend a church wedding, and indeed any wedding, be retained. The country church lends itself more aptly to those private weddings where the bridal party, whether small or large, are the only spectators, than does the large city church. The sense of exclusiveness is preserved without the great sense of bareness and emptiness.

To many the private church wedding appeals with great force. The religious and sacramental nature of the ceremony is emphasized, without the pomp and display of the public service. Such a wedding usually takes place in the daytime rather than in the evening.[214]



One may be taught self-restraint and unselfish consideration for others at so early an age that such virtues become habitual, and minor maxims are to a large extent unnecessary. Of course, the child will still have to be shown the various ways in which he can show consideration, but he will quite frequently do of himself those acts which make for the comfort and well-being of others.

Habits of deference to elders spring from more complex motives, and the training in them may have to be more persistent and rigorous. Boys should be taught to take off their caps to their elders, both in the family and in the circle of friends, when they meet them on the street. They should rise when ladies enter the room, and remain standing until all are seated.

An important part in a child's bringing up is to teach him to put away his own garments and to clear up after his play or work. If this is instilled early into the child, there will never[215] be any need of the pain of counteracting slovenliness, and also never any of that disagreeable haughtiness toward servants, which is fostered by nothing so much as by the inch-by-inch waiting upon a child.

The child who has been made a companion of, and not repressed or driven away by the older people of the family, has a sort of instinctive respect for them, which, though it may overstep itself in some daring familiarity occasionally, is the basis of a strong authority over him. The child who has been spied on, and whose idea of all adults is that they are a sort of modified policemen, will show respect only under compulsion, and will fail in all those fine courtesies which the thoroughly well-bred child grows to delight in.

Self-control and self-repression are equal virtues to be cultivated in the child. To permit the child to be indifferent and inattentive when one is trying to amuse or entertain, to be impatient to get at the end of a story or a game, to keep yawning; or making other expressions of weariness when being reproved or reprimanded, cultivates in the child a mental laziness which is as bad as its opposite,—parrot-like facility for chattering and asking questions, which gives a child no chance to think, and makes him develop into a man of only surface intelligence and thoughtless flippancy. Even[216] a child can appreciate, if rightly taught, the motive back of a kind action, and can respect that even if the action does not interest him.

On the other hand, it is a serious matter to allow a child to be constantly bored with lectures on his conduct, or even with efforts to amuse him. He should be let alone, thrown upon his own resources, and not permitted to be taxed beyond adult endurance by well-meaning but futile efforts on his behalf.

Children should never be allowed to interrupt. For that reason parents, and those who have the care of children, should remember not to monopolize the conversation when there are children present, nor talk on and on for a long time, as no person, least of all a child, can follow such continuous talk without weariness.

Children should be taught that thinking will answer most of their questions for them, that they should wait and see if the answer will not be given by something that is said later on. Every effort made to drive the thought of a loquacious child back upon itself is an effort in the right direction; just as every effort made to express and reveal the thought of an imaginative child is much to the latter's benefit.

The sayings of a child should never be quoted in his presence, nor his doings related. He becomes hopelessly self-conscious thereby.

A child should be taught to respect the rights[217] of the father and mother to the easiest chairs in the room, or those which they may prefer, and should leave those chairs vacant until the father and mother are seated elsewhere.

The boy who has been brought up at home, both by precept and by his father's example, never to seat himself at the dining table or in the family sitting-room until his mother is seated, will not need to be told that he should rise in a crowded street car and give his seat to an elderly woman. He will do it so instinctively that it will not be a burden,—indeed, the regret would be more keen if he could not do it.

If children are present at the dining table, it is wiser to help them first, and the grown people last, than the reverse. In everything it is well to follow the etiquette of adult life, as, for instance, by helping the girls before the boys.

Children should be taught to be punctual at meals, not simply for the sake of health, but out of consideration for the cook and for those who might otherwise be obliged to wait for them. They should not be allowed to hurry through a meal because of their impatience to get at play, although they may be wisely excused when they are quite through. There is no value in making them the bored, squirming, or subdued listeners to conversation quite beyond their comprehension[218] or interest. They should be taught to eat leisurely, and to regard the mealtime as a chance to talk with their parents about interesting things, and not simply as a time to be shortened and slighted if possible.

Usually the child's first rigid lesson in punctuality comes at the beginning of school life. Then, most profitably, may be cultivated a sense of the rights of others, and of his individual responsibility toward the social group, represented for him by his teacher and schoolmates. If the emphasis is rightly laid upon the necessity of his not delaying the work of his classmates and teacher, he will naturally find many ways in which he may apply the same thought, greatly to his own advantage and to theirs as well, and to the permanent strengthening of his habits of work.

A keen sense of social oneness may also prevent the too frequent heart-burnings among shy and sensitive children. This is as easily cultivated as is the opposite, and is of great importance both in childhood and in later life. The seeming injustice of the teacher may often be made clear, and seen to be just, when the welfare of the whole school is taken into consideration. This is a matter of the natural enlargement of the child's mental horizon, and if the proper spirit has been fostered, the child will welcome it. Should it be done carefully and[219] wisely, the roots of many social weeds will at once be eliminated.

Fault-finding should be discouraged in school and at home. It is never the best method of fault correction, and should not be countenanced.

The bringing home of tales of the teacher and of schoolmates, in a spirit of complaint, should not be permitted. Pleasant accounts of happenings at school should be encouraged, but grumbling against rules, as well as personal gossip, should not be permitted. The authority of the home must support the authority of the school or the child will nowhere receive that discipline and training which he needs in order to meet the experiences of life.

The child should be allowed a certain sum of money, which, even in the most lavish homes, should be a little under what the wants of the child require. The giving of this money should be done regularly at a stated time, and there should never be any extra giving, or increase of the usual sum, except under very unusual circumstances, which should not be allowed to happen more than once a year.

The child should also be held accountable for his money. If he is old enough to have any money, or to spend any, he is old enough to tell how he spent it, even to the last penny. Unless all is accounted for, the habits of accuracy and[220] care are not formed. The record of this should be written down, even if done very simply and without special form, and later, as the child grows older, more conventional forms of bookkeeping should be required.

It should be also required that there be some saving, which is preferably a certain proportion of the whole, this for a beginning to which to add extra sums as the child may wish. This saved sum should be permanently put by, and drawing from it should not be permitted. It may be transferred to a bank at long intervals, always by the child himself, and his pride in doing it and keeping it there should be cultivated.

These matters may all be made a game and sheer fun. Their grave importance is apparent on every hand. For the child which has been taught early to do these things, will do them with such ease as to make it seem instinctive, and the child who does it will never, under any ordinary circumstances, come to want.

The proper behavior in church should be taught rather by trying to inculcate the spirit of worship than by making rules to be followed. A child is very susceptible to impressiveness of any sort, and if the reason for it is made clear to him, he will be quicker to respond to it by a reverent attitude of spirit than does an older person. Even the obstreperous child i[221]s at least temporarily impressed, if he sees that others are, and if he knows the reason for it.

Children should realize that it is their privilege and duty to serve guests, whether their own or their parents. The sacrifice of one's own comfort for the sake of the guest takes, with a child, the form of a sort of play, usually because of the excitement of the arrival of a stranger, and the possibilities of fun in the enjoyment of the stranger's stay.

The child should be taught respect for the guest's person, and should not be allowed to take the same liberties with a gown or a glove that sometimes the mother or aunts permit, no matter how great the novelty of the texture or how it appeals to the child's sense of beauty. The privileges of being a guest should be always duly respected, and the child be thus taught at once his duty as a host and his position as a guest.

Children should never be allowed to play with a visitor's hat or cane, or handle furniture or ornaments in a strange house, or show by ill-mannerly conduct the curiosity which a child, in unaccustomed surroundings, naturally feels. They can be taught so great a respect for the possessions of others that they would become able to stifle their curiosity, or express it only at a fitting time.

Children should not be sent to the drawing-room[222] to entertain visitors, unless the visitors request it themselves. Nor should they be allowed to be troublesome to visitors or guests at any time, any more than servants should be allowed to be insolent. They should never be allowed the freedom of the rooms of the guests, nor to visit them often or long.

Children should not be permitted to enter into the pleasures of their elders when, to do so, would be to spoil the kind of sociability for which the occasion was intended. At all formal functions, children are out of place. When making formal calls, children are usually in the way, and the silent part they are forced to play is disagreeable for them. They are also out of place at a funeral, or in a cemetery, or anywhere that there is mourning. It is an injury to a child to see grief,—unless it be his great concern, and in that case it is no longer a matter of etiquette, but of necessary life experience.

Children should not dine out except by special invitation. It is as discourteous to permit a child thoughtlessly to inconvenience a neighbor, as it is wrong for the child to think that such uninvited visits are permissible.

A child should be taught never to touch what does not belong to it, except with the express permission of the owner. This applies to goods in a store, as well as to the furniture of places[223] other than his home, and to the belongings of others in his home.

A child should not be allowed to intrude into a drive, a walk, a call, or a conversation. It is unfair to the child, and awkward for him, and is no kindness, as it takes away the benefit which he might otherwise derive from the pleasure either by continually snubbing his self-respect, or by repressing his energy and curiosity to the danger point.

Children should not be allowed to go to picnic parties, unless they have been invited and entertainment prepared for them.

Children should be taught to treat servants with all the politeness with which they treat their elders, and with much more consideration. The converse of the servants with children should be of the same careful and pleasant quality that the best parents use and desire. This may well be insisted upon. On the other hand, the children should be taught that servants are busy people, that they should never be imposed upon, and that unnecessary work should not be made for them.[224]



Upon the occasion of a death in the family a reliable undertaker is at once notified and his suggestions followed as to the necessary preparations to be made for the funeral.

The shades are drawn throughout the front of the house, as a sign that the family is in retirement. The women of the family are not seen upon the street unless necessary, the men taking full charge of all business matters. The directions which the undertaker desires should be decided upon by the family, or nearest relative of the deceased, and then some one member of the family should be delegated to see that they are carried out. Palm leaves tied with ribbon or chiffon, spray bouquets of white flowers tied with ribbon, an ivy wreath broken with a bunch of purple everlasting, are much preferred to crape upon the door.

Press notices of the funeral and death should be sent to the newspapers. The conduct of the funeral should be arranged with the clergyman chosen to officiate, the superintendent of the[225] cemetery consulted (usually through the undertaker), and the notes of request sent to those chosen to act as pallbearers. Sometimes the latter are purely honorary, the undertaker furnishing the bearers. The honor is usually given to intimate family friends, or close business associates in case of a business man.

A carriage is always provided for the clergyman, and he is entitled to a fee, although clergymen do not charge it, either at a home or church funeral. If the service is held at a church, the sexton, organist and singers,—and the singers at a home funeral as well,—are entitled to recompense for their services.

Carriages are sent for the pallbearers, and are also provided to convey the family, and as many of the friends as may be invited to go, to the cemetery.

One may announce in the newspaper "Burial private," in which case it is understood that only the family attend at the grave; or "No flowers" if the family wish the usual sending of flowers dispensed with.

The clergyman usually consults the wishes of the family as to the form of service, the hymns or music, and remarks. The funeral service should be brief, and preferably a ritual service with no sermon or eulogy. The last are usually harrowing to the feelings of the mourners, and there should be every reasonable[226] effort made to relieve the tension of the occasion, for the sake of the living.

At a church funeral the pallbearers sit in the first pews at the left of the center aisle; the family in those to the right. At a home funeral it is customary to have the family in some secluded room near the one where the coffin is placed and to have the clergyman stand in the hall between, or at the entrance of the drawing-room, where he may be readily heard by all.

If the service at the grave immediately follows the funeral the house should meanwhile be aired, the shades lifted, the flowers all sent away to some hospital, and the rooms arranged in the usual way.

Before a funeral at the home, it is necessary for some member of the family to receive the relatives from the distance, and the very intimate friends, and see that they are given necessary refreshment, and their return to trains, if they must leave immediately after the funeral, thoroughly understood by the hackmen.

At a home funeral the singers should be somewhat distant from the family, so that the music is not loud.

The members of the family are dressed in hats and veils ready to enter the carriages, before the service. They pass to view the body,—if, according to a former custom, the casket is left open,—last of all, and enter the last [227]carriage before that of the pallbearers, which immediately precedes the hearse.

In sending flowers to a funeral, one's card is enclosed. There should be no slightest sense of obligation in the sending of flowers, and each piece should represent only real sympathy or respect.

The putting on of black garments as a sign that one has lost a near relative has been much modified by the good sense of the people, and the period of mourning shortened, especially in England. In stating the accepted mourning custom, the moderate observance of it has been given, both extremes being ignored.

Crape is the quality of goods most closely allied with mourning. Black dresses trimmed with black crape are usually worn for the first few months by women who have lost a near relative. The black veil worn by widows is now of moderate length, and usually not of the very thick material which was once in vogue. A ruche of white is now placed just inside the bonnet, which relieves the black effect somewhat. Black furs and sealskins are worn with mourning.

The English fashion of six months of the deepest mourning and six months of secondary is meeting with more and more approval in this country, although for a close relative a year is the first period and six months the second.[228]

One who is in mourning does not appear in society for the first six months; after that it is permissible to attend a concert or musical, but not the theater or a reception while severe mourning is worn.

During the mourning period, black-bordered stationery is used. The border on paper and envelopes is usually three-eighths of an inch for a close relative and half that for a more distant one, or during the secondary period of mourning, if one cares to make the change. The personal visiting card has a black border during this time.

The handkerchief is bordered with narrow black, or is of narrow-bordered, plain, sheer linen.

For relatives-in-law it is not customary to put on black, although for a father- or mother-in-law it is customary, in the best society, to dress nearly as for an own father or mother.

A widower wears a complete suit of black, white linen, dull-black silk neckties, dull-black leather shoes, black gloves, and a black ribbon of broader width upon his hat.

The mourning band sewed upon the coat sleeve is a discredited form of mourning. It does not denote the nearness of the loss, and has only the virtue of cheapness for those who cannot afford to show marked respect to the dead.[229]

Men do not observe the custom of withdrawing from society for as long a time as do the women, but usually reappear at the homes of intimate friends, at public places of entertainment, and at the club after two or three months. As long as the mourning band is worn upon the hat, however, no man should attend large and fashionable functions, as dinner or dancing parties, or the theater.

After six months a woman may resume calling, returning the calls of those who called upon her in the early weeks of her bereavement.

Children of fifteen years of age and under should not wear mourning.

The viewing of the body of the deceased as it lies in the casket is the privilege of only the family and the immediate friends, and should not be requested by others. Therefore, the casket is now usually closed before the funeral service, especially if that be at a church. In case of a man in public office, it is sometimes necessary that the body should lie in state for certain hours, when the public may pay their respects.

Punctuality is very necessary in regard to everything connected with a funeral service, as the overwrought nerves of those who are sorrowing should not be taxed to bear any extra tension.

Within ten days after the funeral, a card of[230] thanks for sympathy should be sent to all who have called upon the family or sent flowers or offered their services in any way.

When one is in mourning, one does not attend a wedding reception, though one may be present at the ceremony. Black should not be worn.

Mourners announce their return to society by sending out their cards to friends and acquaintances.[231]



The social usage in respect to military or naval officers follows ordinarily the customs of formal occasions or occasions of state in civilian life, or is provided for in the instructions of the army and the navy, which the members of those two departments of the service would alone be expected to know. There are, however, one or two occasions where the etiquette of social life is, or may be, modified by the formalities due to these representatives of the Government.

The Formal Military Wedding

The church or formal home wedding where the bridegroom and his attendants are all army men, may have the distinctive feature of the arch of swords or bayonets. The bridegroom and the ushers, in that case, are all in full dress uniform. The bride and bridesmaids are dressed daintily and fluffily to afford contrast. The church should be decorated with palms and lilies,[232] and with the national and the regimental flags in the chancel. As the organist begins the wedding-march, two color-bearers of the regiment, carrying one the national flag and the other the regimental colors, precede the bridegroom and the best man from the vestry. The latter take their usual places, and the color-bearers move to a position at either side of the chancel steps. After the ceremony, they move to the head of the aisle, and the ushers form a line to the foot of the chancel steps. The ushers then put on their caps, unsheathe their swords, or raise their bayonets, and form an arch with them. Under this arch pass the bride and bridegroom, and the bridesmaids. Then, sheathing their swords and removing their caps, the ushers fall into line at the end of the procession.

Naval and Yachting Usage

When one is the guest of the owners or the officers of a yacht, or of the officers of a government warship or other large vessel, it is well to know that in the lading of the gig for reaching and leaving the ship, the order of precedence is always as follows: Juniors in rank or official importance enter the gig first, and the one highest in rank immediately precedes the Captain, who is always the last to embark and the first to disembark. In[233] leaving the gig, the order is reversed from that on entering it, the junior in rank thus being the last to leave the boat.

The Etiquette of the Flag

The flag is displayed every day only on government buildings and schoolhouses. On state holidays, and like commemorative days when it is customary for the flag to be displayed on private buildings, it should be raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset. It should not be displayed on stormy days, nor left out over night. It should never be allowed to touch the ground. When it is to be displayed at half-mast only, it should be raised to the tip of the staff and then lowered halfway. It should never be festooned or draped, but always be hung flat.

On Memorial Day, May 30, the flag should be displayed at half-mast until twelve o'clock noon, and then raised to the top of the staff until sunset. The salute for the changing of the position of the flag at all army posts and stations having artillery, is as follows: immediately before noon, the band plays some appropriate air, and at the stroke of twelve the national salute of twenty-one guns is fired. After this the flag is hoisted to the peak of the staff, while everybody stands at attention, with hand[234] raised to the forehead ready for the salute. When the colors reach the top, the salute is given, and the band plays patriotic airs.

The salute to the flag is used at its formal raising, and when it passes on parade or in review. The hand salute according to the regulations of the United States Army is as follows:

"Standing at attention, raise the right hand to the forehead over the right eye, palm downward, fingers extended and close together, arm at an angle of forty-five degrees. Move hand outward about a foot, with a quick motion then drop to the side. When the colors are passing on parade or in review, the spectator should, if walking, halt, if sitting, arise, and stand at attention and uncover."

In schools two forms of salute are taught. The first, for primary children, is: "We give our heads and our hearts to God and our country; one country, one land, one flag." The second, for all other pupils, is: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

When the flag is carried on parade, it is dipped in salute to the official who is reviewing the parade. Whenever the flag is displayed with other flags,—whether the colors of a regiment or other military organization, or of alien nations,—it should be placed, or carried, or crossed, at[235] the right of the other flag or flags. When portrayed in illustrations by any process or for any purpose, it is so pictured that the staff will always be at the left and the fabric will float to the right.

The chief regulations governing the composition of the flag are as follows: In the field of the flag there should be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternating red and white, the first and the last stripes red. These stripes represent the thirteen original colonies. The colors red and white were chosen by George Washington, the red from the flag of England, the Mother Country, broken by the white, symbolizing liberty, to show the separation. The union of the flag—white stars on a field of blue—should be seven stripes high, and about seven-tenths of the height of the flag in length. "The stars should have five points, with one point directly upward."[A] The stars symbolize the States. "By an act of Congress on October 26, 1912, the flag now has forty-eight stars, arranged in six horizontal rows of eight each."




[A] Turkington, "My Country": Chapter XXIII, "Our Flag."


Abbreviations, 99, 113, 115
Absent-mindedness, 125
Acceptances, 112
Accidents at table, 154
Accounts for children, 219, 220
Acknowledgment of wedding gifts, 211
Addresses on cards, 100;
on envelopes, 60-66, 118;
on invitations, 114, 118
The President of the United States, 62, 63;
Vice President, 63;
Members of the Cabinet, 64;
Ambassadors, 63, 64;
Governors, 63;
Mayors, 63;
The King of England, 64;
Dukes, 65;
The Pope, 65;
Bishops and Archbishops, 65, 66;
strangers, 66, 67;
married women, 67
Addressing wedding invitations, 118
After-dinner speeches, 166
Afternoon tea, 145
Afternoon teas for the engaged girl, 180
Allowances for children, 219, 220
Amusement, places of, 122-124, 170
Anger, 8
Anniversaries, 40
Announcement of engagement, 179-181;
by newspaper notice, 179;
by personal note, 74
Announcements: engagement, 74, 179-181;
birth, 104, 105;
death, 224, 225;
marriage, 116;
postponements, 119, 120
Answering Letters, 76
Apology, 29, 31
Appearance, personal, 6, 10
Applauding, 124
Art of Being a Guest, The, 137-144
"At Home" days, 145, 146
"At Home" invitations of bridal couple, 116, 117
Attitude toward strangers, 132, 133, 135

Balls, 112
"Bal Poudre" invitations, 112
Beauty, 10, 15
Begging pardon, 29, 82, 130
Behavior in church, 124, 125;
public, 122-136
Best man, duties of, 8, 196-199, 201, 205, 208
Birth announcements, 104, 105
Birthday anniversaries, 41
Blank invitation, the, 109, 110
Bow, the, manner of, 78, 79;
significance of, 80-82
Breakfasts, 148, 149;
dress at, 12, 36;
menu of, 148;
wedding, 204-207
Bridal party:
at rehearsal, 191;
at "showers" and dinners, 181-183;
at church, 192
Bridal procession, formation of, 196, 202, 203;
at a church wedding, 197, 199;
at a home wedding, 202
Bridal "Showers," 181-183
Bridal veil, 190
Bridegroom's duties at ceremony, 196-199;
preparation of a home, 185;
share of expense of wedding, 186;
wedding outfit, 186, 187
[238]Bridesmaid, duties of a, 8, 196-200
Business acquaintances, 129
Business cards, 100
Business, etiquette of, 83, 129
Business introductions by correspondence, 70
Business letters, 54, 55, 60
Business meetings, 123
Business training of a wife, 23
Business women, social life of, 171, 172

wedding, 206;
bridal, 207
Calling upon one person, 93;
a guest, 93
after entertainment, 90, 138;
by men, 92;
first, 94, 95;
formal, 90;
friendly, 90, 93;
obligations of, 91, 138;
upon brides, 94;
clergymen, 94;
government officials in Washington, 94;
newcomers, 94;
people of note, 94;
return of, 90, 95;
time of, 90
Candles, use of, 151
Card, The Personal, 96-105;
form of, 96, 105;
form of name on, 97, 98;
inscription of, 97-100;
titles on, 97, 100, 101;
use of, 102-105;
after change of residence, 103;
announcing a birth, 104, 105;
announcing a departure, 104;
leaving, 90, 91, 103;
of sympathy, 104;
of congratulation, 104;
presenting at calls, 91, 95, 102;
when visiting or traveling, 103, 131
Cards, Place, 152
Carriages for wedding, 193, 196;
for funeral, 226
Casual Meetings, 78-90
Chaperon, Duties of the, 169-173;
necessity of, 169;
in public, 169, 170;
at calls, 170, 172;
with the engaged couple, 173;
for the débutante, 172;
relations with one's, 172, 173;
at a dancing party, 139, 147
Character, 7
Children, Etiquette for, 214-223;
and mourning, 222;
and servants, 214, 223;
and visitors, 221, 222;
at the dining table, 217;
in church, 220
Church, attendance, 143;
behavior in, 124, 125;
of children, 220
Church weddings, public, 194, 213;
private, 213;
invitations, 114-119
Cleanliness, 14
Club dinners or receptions, 165, 166
Club invitations, 111
Club officers, 165
Conclusions of letters, 66, 70
Coffee, service of, 154
Condolence, letters of, 75, 76;
acknowledgment, 76, 120
Congratulations, 76
Conformity to custom, 203
Congresses, guests at, 167
Consideration on the part of a guest, 141-143
Convalescence, 45
Conversation, 16, 48-52;
at table, 35, 46
Correspondence, 52-55
Correspondence cards, 56
Country, entertainment in the, 161-164;
parties, 144, 164
Country wedding, 117, 212, 213
Courses at formal dinner, 157, 158
Courtesy, 2, 3, 4, 5, 18, 19, 20;
to servants, 45, 46, 47, 144;
to nurse and doctor, 45;
to invalids, 44
Cutlery, arrangement of, 152

Dancing Parties, 138, 139, 140;
invitations, 109-111
Daylight, use of, 149
Deaf persons, 32
Debate, 50, 51
Débutante and the chaperon, 169, 172
Decorations for wedding, 192
Deference to elders, 214
Dessert, service of, 154, 158
Dinners, 149-158;
announcement of, 155;
choice of guests, 150;
conversation at, 49, 150;
formal, 137, 149;
invitations to, 109, 150;
lighting of, 151;
menu of, 157, 158;
place cards for, 152;
retiring from, 156;
seating guests at, 151, 155, 156;
service of, 152, 153;
[239]table-setting for, 151, 152
Discipline, 46, 47
Dress, 11, 36, 112, 128, 134, 140, 186-190
Dress for men:
afternoon, 13, 94;
early breakfast, 13;
formal breakfast, 13;
evening, 14, 156;
at weddings, 14, 186
Dress for women:
at home, 16;
ball, 13;
church, 12, 189;
dinner, 12, 13, 150, 155, 189;
formal breakfast, 12;
house party, 140;
luncheon, 12;
mourning, 13;
traveling, 130, 141;
visiting, 140;
wedding, 187-189;
as business woman, 15;
as hostess, 13;
as housewife, 16;
as milliner, 15
Driving, 127, 128
Duties of Host and Hostess, 145-168

Emerson, iv
Engaged couple, the:
at a dancing party, 139;
at home, 177;
duties to friends, 178;
in society, 177-179;
meeting each other's friends, 178, 179
Engagement announcements, 179-181
Engagement, The Broken, 183-185;
announcement of, 183, 184;
explanation of, 184
punctuality, 17, 32;
punctiliousness in keeping, 17
English customs of entertainment, 158, 159
Engraved Invitation, The, 105-121;
stock of, 105, 106;
type of, 106, 107, 108;
size of, 105, 106
Entering a room, 27
Entertainment, assisting in, 123, 124;
English customs of, 159;
for guests, 142, 162;
in the country, 163
Entertainment committees, duties of, 166
Envelopes, 118;
addressing, 59, 60, 61, 114, 118;
sealing, 59;
stamping, 59
Ethics, 1
Etiquette, an art, 2;
the end of, iii;
the need of, iii, 2;
The Rewards of, 1-5
Etiquette of Mourning, 224-230
Etiquette of the Marriage Engagement, The, 174-193

Family Etiquette, 20-47
Faults among women, 18
Fees, 144
Festivities, rural, 164
Finger bowls, 37
First Calls, 94, 95
Five o'clock tea, 145
Forms of wedding invitations, 114, 115;
announcements, 115, 116;
reception cards, 116, 117;
bridal "At Home" cards, 116, 117;
personal cards, 96-105;
dinner invitations, 109;
reception, 117; "At Home," 116, 117, 120;
party, 109;
New Year, 121
Forms of announcements of postponement, 119, 120;
gratitude for sympathy, 120
Friends, 21, 42-44

General Rules of Conduct, 26-33
Gifts, 40, 41, 42;
engagement, 181, 185;
for "showers," 181-183;
of bridegroom to bride, 186;
of bridegroom to ushers and bridesmaids, 186;
to servants, 144;
wedding, 210-213
Giving away the bride, 198
Gloves, 149, 151
Golden Rule, 2
Good-night formalities, 28;
at a reception, 138;
dancing party, 140;
dinner, 156
Graduations, 167, 168
Greeting guests at a luncheon, 149;
dinner, 156;
reception, 147
Greetings, 28, 78-83
Guest chamber, 160, 161
Guest, the art of being a, 137-144, 167
at afternoon tea, 137, 138;
a congress, etc., 166, 167;
country house, 159;
dancing party, 138;
reception, 138;
wedding, 195, 196, 201
[240]Guests, tardiness of, 155

Handshaking, 80, 82, 86, 87
Handwriting, 58
Haughtiness, 11
Home, founding the, 20-26
Home wedding, the, 201-203;
invitations, 115
Horseback riding, 128, 129
Hospitality, 145, 165-168
Hotel etiquette, 126, 127, 133-136;
dining-room civility, 135-136;
dress in, 134
House parties, 158, 159;
sports at, 163
Household management, 22
Host, duties of, 137, 166-168
Hostess, duties of, 127, 137

Illness, 44, 45
Impartiality, 30
Informality in entertaining, 164
Ink, 58
Inscriptions on cards, 97-100
Interruptions, 17, 49
Introduction, letters of, 70-72;
advisability of, for business, 70;
socially, 70, 71;
presentation of, 72;
obligations of, 72
Introductions, 84-89, 148;
at chance meetings, 87;
at a dancing party, 87, 89, 138, 139;
at a dinner, 89, 149;
by a guest, 86;
by a hostess, 86, 90;
discrimination in, 85;
form of, 84;
of a gentleman to a lady, 84, 86, 88;
responses to, 84;
responsibility for, 88;
to one's relatives, 88
Invitations (See "Engraved Invitation, The");
for dinner and dance, 111;
entertainment at club, 111;
formal, 105-121;
informal, 74, 112;
of widower, 111, 113;
bachelor, 111, 113;
widower with daughters, 111;
to call, 93;
to "Bal Poudre," 112;
dancing or other parties, 109;
dinners, 109;
luncheons, 108;
receptions, 117, 120, 121;
"showers," 182;
visits, 158;
weddings, 114-117;
to meet a guest, 120, 146;
to meet a son, 113;
to mourners, 114
Invitations, written, 110, 112;
acceptances of, 112;
replies to, 113

Jewelry, 12

Kant, 2

Letter writing, 52;
discretion in, 52, 53
Conclusion of, 66;
of classic literature, 53;
of condolence, 75, 76;
of Introduction, 70-72;
of recommendation, 73;
opening those of others, 24;
opening, in company, 29;
Salutation of, 66-68;
Signature of, 66-69;
to servants, 74;
to strangers, 74;
giving orders, 74
Letter-heads, 56, 57
Lifting the hat, 78, 81, 82, 83
Linen, for dinner, 151;
trousseau, 189, 190
Luncheon, 148, 149;
menu of, 148;
dress at, 12

Maid of honor, duties of, 197, 199
Management of household, 22
Mannerisms, 17
Manners, 7
Marriage, 20, 21;
ceremony, 197, 198;
certificate, 191;
customs, 203;
license, 190;
obligations of, 20-26
Men's cards, 96;
club name on, 100;
form of, 96;
inscription on, 97;
omission of address, 100;
titles on, 97, 100, 101
Monograms, 56
Monopoly of conversation, 49;
in friendship, 43, 44
Morals, 7
Mourning, dress of, 227-229;
Etiquette of, 224-230;
periods of, 227;
stationery of, 228
Music at a wedding, 197, 200, 202

Neatness, 14, 46, 129
Neglect of family, 22, 25
[241]Nichols, Dr. T. L., 9, title-page
Non-acknowledgment of courtesies, 18
Notes, apologetic 55;
congratulatory, 76;
requesting a favor, 55;
social, 57, 58;
sympathetic, 75, 76

Obligations of letters of introduction, 72
Old English type, 106-108
Openings, formal business, 165
Out-door weddings, 212

Paper for correspondence, 55
consideration for, 217;
consulting, 174;
duties of, 169, 170;
negligence of, 173
Party invitations, 109, 110, 112
Penmanship of invitations, 110
Personal Card, The, 96-105
Personality, 6-19
Picnics, 163, 161
Place cards, 151, 152
Plates, service of, 153
Position, 10;
at table, 33
Posture, 10, 28
"P. p. c." cards, 99
Presentation of letters of introduction, 72
Presents: birthday, 41;
graduation, 42;
to the ill, 45;
wedding, 40, 210-212
Press notices, of engagements, 179;
funerals, 224, 225
Privacy, 24
Professional cards, 100
Proposal of marriage, 174-179;
by letter, 175;
decision of, 175;
spontaneity of, 176;
warding off, 175
Public Behavior in, 122-136
Public functions, 165-168
Punctuality, 17, 32, 142, 149, 154;
at church, 125;
at funerals, 229;
for children, 217, 218

Receiving, at an afternoon tea, 147;
dancing party, 147;
débutante party, 147
Reception, guest at, 137, 138
Receptions, 137, 147;
business openings, 165;
college or school, 167;
club, 165
Recommendation, letters of, 73
Rehearsal for wedding, 191
Rejection of proposals, 175
Removing hats in public places, 18, 122
Replies to business letters, 76;
friendly letters, 76;
letters of introduction, 72;
notes of invitation, 76
Reply requests, 73
Reverence, 125
Riding dress, 128
"R. s. v. p.," 113
Rural festivities, 164

Sacrifices, 42, 45
Salutations, 28;
of letters, 66-68
Savings banks for children, 220
School behavior, 218, 219
Script type, 106-108
Sealing Envelopes, 59
Seating guests at table, 151, 165, 156
Self-consciousness, 10
Self-control, 8, 31, 215
Send-off of bridal couple, 207
Servants, 73, 144;
and children, 223;
in the country, 161
Service of a dinner, 152-158
Shaded Roman type, 106-108
"Showers," Bridal, 181-183
Signatures, 66-70
Simplicity in the country, 161-164
Sincerity, 7, 9
Social introductions by correspondence, 70-72
Social calls of men, 92-94
Social life of the married, 24
Speech, 7, 16
Speeches, after-dinner, 166;
at wedding breakfast, 206
Stamping Envelopes, 59
Stationery for mourning, 57, 228
Stock of invitations, 105, 106
Strangers, addressing, 66, 67;
attitude toward, 122, 124, 130-132, 135
Street etiquette, 129, 132, 133
Sympathy cards, 120

Table etiquette, 33-40;
[242]for children, 217
Third-person letters, 74
Time of wedding, 194
Tips, 144
Titles on cards, 97, 100, 101
Training of servants, 46
Traveling, 130, 131;
dress, 130;
expense, 131
Trousseau, 187-190
Type of invitations, 100-108

Unselfishness, 9
Use of cards, 102-106
Ushers, at wedding, duties of, 195-198, 201

Visits, 158-165;
being entertained, 142, 162, 164;
dress, 140;
entertainment, 158, 159, 163, 164;
length, 158;
prolonging, 142

Wardrobe of bride, 187-189;
of bridegroom, 186
Wedding, anniversaries, 40, 41;
breakfast, 204-206;
cake, 206, 207;
fee, 208-210;
invitations, 114-119;
journey, 208;
preparation for, 185-193;
presents, 210-212;
reception, 205, 207;
ring, 191;
suit for bridegroom, 186, 187;
wardrobe of bride, 187-189
Whispering, 29, 123
Withdrawal from society during mourning, 224, 227, 228
Writing on cards, 99

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

This text uses both out-door and outdoor. This was retained.

The remaining corrections made are indicated by dotted lines under the corrections. Scroll the mouse over the word and the original text will appear.