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Title: Etiquette
Author: Morton, Agnes H.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Etiquette" ***

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Copyright, 1892, By the Penn Publishing Company





             Cards for Men;
             Cards for Women;
             Cards for Young Women;
             After Marriage Cards.
             Calling in Person;
             Card-leaving in Lieu of Personal Calls;
             Cases in which Personal Card-leaving is Required;
             Cards by Messenger or by Post;
             Card-leaving by Proxy.






























As a rule, books of etiquette are written from the standpoint of the
ultra-fashionable circle.  They give large space to the details of
behavior on occasions of extreme conventionality, and describe minutely
the conduct proper on state occasions.  But the majority in every town
and village are people of moderate means and quiet habits of living, to
whom the extreme formalities of the world of fashion will always remain
something of an abstraction, and the knowledge of them is not of much
practical use except to the few who are reflective enough to infer
their own particular rule from any illustration of the general code.

Though it is interesting as a matter of information to know how a state
dinner is conducted, still, as a matter of fact, the dinners usually
given within this broad zone of "the average" are served without the
assistance of butler, footman, or florist; innocent of wines and minus
the more elaborate and expensive courses; and though served _à la
Russe_ the service is under the watchful supervision of the hostess
herself and executed by the more or less skillful hand of a demure
maid-servant.  Yet, in all essential points, the laws of etiquette
controlling the conduct of this simple dinner of the American democrat
are the same as those observed in the ceremonious banquet of the
ambitious aristocrat.  The degree of formality varies; the quality of
courtesy is unchanging.

Well-mannered people are those who are at all times thoughtfully
observant of _little_ proprieties Such people do not "forget their
manners" when away from home.  They eat at the hotel table as daintily
and with as polite regard for the comfort of their nearest neighbor as
though they were among critical acquaintances.  They never elbow
mercilessly through crowded theatre aisles, nor stand up in front of
others to see the pictures of a panorama, nor allow their children to
climb upon the car seats with muddy or rough-nailed shoes; nor do a
score of other things that every day are to be observed in public
places, the mortifying tell-tale marks of an _habitual_ ill-manners.

The importance of constant attention to points of etiquette cannot be
too earnestly emphasized.  The long lecture of instruction to the
little Ruggles', preparatory to their visit to the Birds, is a
comical--if burlesque--illustration of the emergency that sometimes
faces some people, that of suddenly preparing to "behave themselves" on
a great occasion.  Although the little Ruggles' were fired with
ambition to do themselves credit, their crude preparation was not equal
to the occasion.  The best of intentions could not at once take the
place of established custom.  One might as well hastily wrap himself in
a yard or two of uncut broadcloth expecting it to be transformed, by
instant miracle, into a coat.  The garment must be cut and fitted, and
adjusted and worn for a space of time before it can become the
well-fitting habit, worn with the easy grace of unconsciousness which
marks the habitually well-mannered.

In this brief volume I have endeavored to suggest some of the
fundamental laws of good behavior in every-day life.  It is hoped that
the conclusions reached, while not claiming to be either exhaustive or
infallible, may be useful as far as they go.  Where authorities differ
as to forms I have stated the rule which has the most widespread
sanction of good usage.



Etiquette is the term applied to correct behavior in social life, and
refers to the manner of actions and the expression of a proper social
spirit through the medium of established forms and ceremonies.  Polite
usage recognizes certain minute distinctions between the mannerly and
the unmannerly ways of performing every act of life that affects the
comfort and happiness of others.

By one whose experience in life has been a hardening process tending in
the direction of a crystallized selfishness the rules of etiquette are
regarded with contempt and alluded to with a sneer.  No more
disheartening problem faces the social reformer than the question how
to overcome the bitter hostility to refined manners which marks the
ignorant "lower classes."  On the other hand, there is no more hopeful
sign of progress in civilization than the gradual softening of these
hard natures under the influence of social amenities.  The secret of
successful missionary work lies primarily, not in tracts, nor in
dogmas, nor in exhortations, but in the subtle attraction of a refined,
benevolent spirit, breathing its very self into the lives of those who
have hitherto known only the rasping, grasping selfishness of their
fellow-men, and to whom this new gospel of brotherly kindness and
deference is a marvelous revelation and inspiration.  The result of
such missionary work is a triumph of sanctified courtesy, a triumph not
unworthy the disciples of Him who "went about doing good" while
teaching and exemplifying the "golden rule" upon which all rules of
etiquette, however "worldly," are based.

Perhaps it may sometimes seem that there is little relation, possibly
even some antagonism, between the sincerity of perfect courtesy and the
proprieties of formal etiquette.  At times etiquette requires us to do
things that are not agreeable to our selfish impulses, and to say
things that are not literally true if our secret feelings were known.
But there is no instance wherein the laws of etiquette need transgress
the law of sincerity when the ultimate purpose of each action is to
develop and sustain social harmony.

Sometimes, for example, we invite people to visit us, and we pay visits
in return, when both occasions are, on the face of it, a bore.  Yet
there may be good reasons why we should sacrifice any mere impulse of
choice and exert ourselves to manifest a hospitable spirit toward
certain people who are most uncongenial to us.  Sometimes for the sake
of another who is dear to us, and who, in turn, is attached to these
same unattractive people, we make the third line of the triangle
cheerfully, and even gladly, no matter how onerous the task, how
distasteful the association forced upon us.  These are not happy
experiences, but they are tests of character that we are all liable to
meet and which prove a most excellent discipline if they are met with
discretion and patience.  Moreover, in the conscientious effort to be
agreeable to disagreeable people we are tacitly trying to persuade
ourselves that they are not so disagreeable after all, and indeed such
is our surprising discovery in many instances.  Let us hope that others
who exercise a similar forbearance toward ourselves are equally
flattering in the conclusions which they reach.

Etiquette requires that we shall treat all people with equal courtesy,
given the same conditions.  It has a tendency to ignore the
individuality of people.  We may not slight one man simply because we
do not like him, nor may we publicly exhibit extreme preference for the
one whom we do like.  In both cases the rebel against the restraints of
social mice shouts the charge of "insincerity."  Well, perhaps some of
the impulses of sincerity are better held in check; they are too
closely allied to the humoring of our cherished prejudices.  If "tact
consists in knowing what not to say," etiquette consists in knowing
what not to do in the direction of manifesting our impulsive likes and

Besides, etiquette is not so much a manifestation _toward others_ as it
is an exponent of _ourselves_.  We are courteous to others, first of
all, because such behavior only is consistent with our own claim to be

Bearing this in mind we can behave with serenity in the presence of our
most aggravating foe; his worst manifestation of himself fails to
provoke us to retort in kind.  We treat him politely, not because he
deserves it, but because we owe it to ourselves to be gentle-mannered.
Etiquette _begins at self_.  There is no worthy deference to others
that does not rest on the basis of self-respect.

  "To thine own self be true;
  And it must follow, as the night the day,
  Thou canst not then be false to any man."

It is a superficial judgment that descries nothing but insincerity in
the unvarying suavity of a well-bred manner; that regards the
conventional code of behavior as merely a device for rendering social
life artificial.  The _raison d'être_ is always to be found in the
established rules of etiquette; and probably the most exacting and
seemingly unnecessary of formalities has its foundation in some good
common sense principle not far removed in spirit from "the rule golden."

In short, manners and morals are twin shoots from the same root.  The
essentially well-bred man is he whose manners are the polite expression
of moral principle, magnanimity, and benevolence.



The personal, or visiting, card is the representative of the individual
whose name it bears.  It goes where he himself would be entitled to
appear, and in his absence it is equivalent to his presence.  It is his
"double," delegated to fill all social spaces which his
variously-occupied life would otherwise compel him to leave vacant.

Since the card is to be received as the equivalent of one's self, it is
important that it shall be discreetly sent upon its embassy.  In every
case where personal cards are correctly used the owner is accredited
with having performed _de facto_ whatever the card expresses for him,
be it a "call," a "regret," a "congratulation," an "apology," an
"introduction," a "farewell-taking," or whatever.

The rules guiding the uses of visiting cards are based upon this idea
of representation.  The deputy is on duty only in the absence of his
superior, so the card is usually superfluous when the owner himself is

A card sent at a wrong time suggests the possibility that the owner
might blunder similarly in his personal appearing.  The neglect to send
a card at a proper time is equivalent to a _personal_ neglect.  The man
who comes himself and hands you his card also is apt to have too many
elbows at a dinner, too many feet at a ball.  He has about him a
suggestion of awkward superfluousness that is subtly consistent with
his duplicate announcement of himself.

For want of the much-needed genderless singular pronoun I have been
using the masculine form; but upon reflection I remember that it is the
women of society who have the most diverse responsibility in the
management of personal cards, their duties extending even to the care
and oversight of the cards of their socially careless and negligent
male relatives.  But no matter who attends to the proprieties, the
relation of the card to its owner is the same in all cases.  If his
card blunders, he gets the discredit of it.  If his card always
flutters gracefully into the salver at exactly the right time and
place, the glory is all his own, even though his tireless wife or
mother or sister has done all the hard thinking bestowed on the matter.
Happy the man allied by the ties of close kindred to a gifted society
woman, for lo! his cards shall never be found missing, wherever _he_
may stray.


The prevailing shape of cards for women is nearly square (about 2 1/2 x
3 inches).  A fine dull-finished card-board of medium weight and
stiffness is used.

A man's card is smaller, and narrower proportionately; and is of
slightly heavier card-board.

The color is pearl white, not cream.  Tinted cards are not admissible.

The engraving is plain script, or elaborate text; as the fashion may
for the time decree.

The responsibility of furnishing the correct style of card rests with
the engraver, whose business it is to know the ruling fashion of the
day.  Any one may have an elegant card by intrusting the choice to a
first-class stationer.  But it is not half the battle to secure an
elegant card.  An elegant use of the card distinguishes the
well-informed in social usage.  This distinction shows when the
distribution of cards begins.



If the surname is short, the full name may be engraved.  If the names
are long, and the space does not admit of their full extension, the
initials of given names may be used.  The former style is preferred,
when practicable.

In the absence of any special title properly accompanying the name--as
"Rev.," "Dr.," "Col.," etc.,--"Mr." is always prefixed.  Good form
requires this on an engraved card.  If in any emergency a man _writes_
his own name on a card he does _not_ prefix "Mr."

What titles may properly be used on a man's visiting-card?  The
distinctions made in the use of titles seem arbitrary unless some
reason can be discovered.

The rule should be, to omit from visiting-cards all titles that signify
_transient offices_, or _occupations not related to social life_; using
such titles only as indicate a rank or profession that is _for life_;
and which has become a part of the man's _identity_, or which is
distinctly allied to his _social conditions_.

To illustrate:--The rank of an officer in the army or the navy should
be indicated by title on his card, his connection with the service
being _for life_, and _a part of his identity_.  His personal card is
engraved thus: "General Schofield"--the title in full when only the
surname is used; or, "Gen. Winfield Scott," "Gen. W. S. Hancock"--the
title abbreviated when the given names, or their initials, are used.
The first style is appropriate to the Commander-in-chief, or the senior
officer; or in any case where no other officer of the same name and
rank is on the roster.

Officers on the retired list, and veteran officers of the late war who
rose from the volunteer ranks, retain their titles by courtesy.  And
very appropriately so, since the war record of many a gallant soldier
is inseparable from the man himself, in the minds of his
fellow-citizens.  He may have retired to private life again, but his
distinguished services have outlived the brief hour of action; and his
hero-worshiping countrymen will always recognize him in his most
salient character, "every inch a soldier."  It is quite impossible to
call him "Mr.," or at once to know who is meant if his card reads--for
instance--"Mr. Lucius Fairchild."  Nothing but the title of his
well-earned rank gives an adequate idea of the man.

The official cards of political officers and ambassadors, which bear
the title and office of the man--with or without his name--should be
used only on official or State occasions, and during the term of
office.  When the incumbent "steps down and out," this card is also
"relegated."  His friends may continue to greet him as "Governor," but
he no longer _uses_ the title himself.  In strictly social life, the
personal card of the ex-Governor is like that of any other private
citizen, subject to the same rules.

Similarly, professional or business cards that bear ever so slight an
advertisement of occupations are not allowable for social purposes.

The three "learned" professions, theology, medicine, and law, are
equally "for life."  But the occupation of the lawyer is distinctly
related to business matters, and not at all to social affairs.  His
title, or sub-title, _Esquire_, is properly ignored on his
visiting-card, and socially he is simply "Mr. John Livingstone."  On
the other hand, the callings of the clergyman and the physician
respectively, are closely allied to the social side of life, closely
identified with the man himself.  Therefore "Rev.," or "Dr." may with
propriety be considered as forming an inseparable compound with the
name.  The title is an important identifying mark, and its omission, by
the clergyman, at least, is not strictly dignified.  "Office hours" are
not announced on a physician's social card.

It is not good form to use _merely honorary titles_ on visiting-cards.
In most cases, a man should lay aside all pretension to special office
or rank, and appear in society simply as "Mr. John Brown," to take his
chances in the social world strictly on his own merits; assured that if
he has any merit, other people will discover it without an ostentatious
reminder of it in the shape of a pompous visiting-card.  Of course this
suggestion of democratic simplicity refers to the engraving of _one's
own card_; other people _address_ the man properly by his official or
honorary title, with all due respect for the worth which the world
recognizes--even though the wearer of such honors ignores his own claim
to high distinction.  "Blow your own trumpet, if you would hear it
sound," is a sharply sarcastic bit of advice, since only hopeless
mediocrity could ever profit by the injunction.  Real merit needs no
trumpeter.  Mrs. Grant could afford to call her husband "Mr." Grant, as
was her modest custom; because all the world knew that he was the
General of our armies, and the President of the republic.  It is some
"Mayor Puff," of Boomtown, who can hardly be persuaded by the engraver
from giving himself the satisfaction of incidentally announcing on his
visiting-cards the result of the last borough election.

A man's address may be engraved beneath his name at the lower right
corner, the street and number _only_ if in a city, or the name of a
country-seat if out of town; as, "The Leasowes."  Bachelors who belong
to a club may add the club address in the lower left corner; or, if
they live altogether at the club, this address occupies the lower right
corner.  An engraved address implies some permanency of location.
Those who are liable to frequent changes of address would better omit
this addition to the visiting-card, writing the address in any
emergency that requires it.

No _messages_ are _written_ on a man's card, and no penciling is
allowed, except as above, to give (or correct) the address, or in the
case of "_P. p. c._" cards, sent by post.


The rules in regard to titles are simple and brief.

A woman's name should never appear on a visiting-card without either
"Mrs." or "Miss" prefixed.  The exception would be in the case of women
who have regularly graduated in theology or medicine.  Such are
entitled, like their brothers, to prefix "Rev." or "Dr." to their names.

A married woman's card is engraved with her husband's name, with the
prefix "Mrs."  No matter how "titled" the husband may be, his _titles_
do not appear on his wife's visiting-card.  The wife of the President
is not "Mrs. President Harrison," but "Mrs. Benjamin Harrison."  She is
the wife of the _man_, not the wife of his _office_ or his _rank_.

A widow may, if she prefers, retain the card engraved during her
husband's lifetime, unless by so doing she confuses her identity with
that of some other "Mrs. John Brown," whose husband is still living.
It is more strictly correct for a widow to resume her own given name,
and to have her card engraved "Mrs. Mary Brown," or, if she chooses to
indicate her own patronymic, "Mrs. Mary Dexter Brown."

An unmarried woman's card is engraved with her full name, or the
initials of given names, as she prefers, but always with the prefix
"Miss" (unless one of the professional titles referred to takes its

The address may be engraved or written in the lower right corner.

If a society woman has a particular day for receiving calls, that fact
is announced in the lower left corner.  If this is engraved, it is
understood to be a fixed custom; if written, it may be a transient
arrangement.  If a weekly "at home" day is observed, the name of the
day is engraved, as "Tuesdays."  This means that during "calling hours"
on _any_ Tuesday the hostess will be found at home.  If hours are
limited, that is also indicated, as "from 4 to 6."  Further limitations
may be specified, as "Tuesdays in February," "Tuesdays until Lent,"
"Tuesdays after October," etc.  Any definite idea of time may be given
to meet the facts, the wording being made as terse as possible.  If the
regular "at home" day is Tuesday (unlimited), and the card is so
engraved, any of the special limitations may be penciled in to meet
special conditions.  Sometimes an informal invitation is thus conveyed;
as, by the addition, "Tea, 4 to 6," etc.

_Other penciling_.--Cards left or sent, before leaving town, have "_P.
p. c._"--(_Pour prendrè congé_)--penciled in the lower left corner.

A holiday, a birthday, a wedding anniversary, or other event in a
friend's life may be remembered by sending a card, upon which is
penciled "Greeting," "Congratulations," "Best wishes," or some similar
expression.  Such cards may be sent alone, or may accompany gifts.

Any brief message may be penciled on a woman's card, provided the
message is sufficiently personal to partake of the nature of a social
courtesy.  But the card message should not be sent when courtesy
requires the more explicit and respectful form of a _note_.


In strictly formal circles a young woman, during her first year in
society, pays no visits alone.  She accompanies her mother or chaperon.
She has no separate card, but her name is engraved, or may be written,
beneath that of her mother (or chaperon) on a card employed for these
joint visits.  After a year or so of social experience (the period
being governed by the youth or maturity of the debutante, or by the
exigency of making way for a younger sister to be chaperoned), the
young woman becomes an identity socially, and has her separate card,
subject to the general rules for women's cards, even though she
continues to pay her most formal visits in company with her mother.


During the first year after marriage cards engraved thus: "Mr. and Mrs.
Henry Bell Joyce," may be used by the couple in paying calls, or
returning wedding civilities.  Such cards are also used when jointly
sending presents at any time.  For general visiting, after the first
year, husband and wife have separate cards.


A too profuse use of visiting-cards indicates crudity.  The trend of
fashion is toward restricting the quantity of paste-board, and
employing cards always when they are required, never when they are


When one calls in person the name of the caller is given verbally to
the servant who opens the door.  The card is not usually sent up,
except by a stranger.  But sometimes there is difficulty in making the
servant understand the name or properly distinguish it from some other
similar name.  In this case to avoid mistakes the card is sent up.

If the hostess is not at home a card is left by the disappointed caller.

On the occasion of a _first_ call a card is left on the hall table, or
other place provided, _even though the caller has been received by the
hostess_.  This serves as a reminder that the acquaintance has been
duly and formally begun.

On the occasion of subsequent calls, when the hostess is at home, no
cards are employed, except, as before stated, to avert servants'
mistakes.  Such is the sensible dictum of good authorities, and one in
harmony with the idea that the personal card is the _representative_ of
its owner, not his _accompaniment_.

This idea is more pointedly illustrated in quiet neighborhoods, where
even the wealthy live simply of choice, and, like their neighbors of
moderate means, employ but one domestic, or, it may be, none.  In such
households often the guest is met at the door by a member of the
family, possibly the hostess herself.  The use of a visiting-card then
is plainly incongruous, not to say absurd.  The visitor who is paying a
"first call" under these informal conditions may find opportunity to
drop a card unobtrusively into the basket, if such receptacle be within
reach; but if this cannot be done without conspicuous effort the card
is better ignored, and its place as a remembrancer filled by the genial
impression which the visitor leaves, and of which an appreciative
hostess needs no card reminder.  Besides, people "living quietly" visit
so little, comparatively, that it is no severe tax on the memory to
recollect who has called, especially as the infrequency of calls gives
ample time for each one to make an individual impression.  This is not
possible when a steady stream of visitors is pouring in and out of a
drawing-room on a fashionable woman's "at home" day, scarcely giving
the hostess opportunity to gaze upon one face before another has
displaced it; so that at the end of the hour her memory recalls a
composite photograph.  Cards are her indispensable aids in resolving
this picture into its component elements.  But those who "live
quietly," receiving but few calls, have no such bewildering complexity
to deal with.

At the same time, these people thus quietly environed may represent the
most refined and cultivated circle.  They may know perfectly well what
formal etiquette would demand in the matter of cards if the conditions
were more formal.  The omission of cards whenever their use would be
forced, so far from indicating ignorance, is a proof of discrimination.

Personal calls are made in the following cases:

In returning a first visit, made in person.

After a dinner party to which one has been invited, whether the
invitation was accepted or not.

After any entertainment other than a dinner it is allowable to leave or
send cards instead of paying a personal call.  This is a wise rule in
cases where a hostess, has a long visiting list, and entertains
frequently.  To receive afterward personal visits from all of her
guests would be practically impossible.  The majority will express
their acknowledgments by card, leaving it to the most intimate friends
of the hostess to pay their respects in person.  But among quiet
people, where one "Tea" is the extent of a hostess' efforts for the
season, the personal call is desirable as showing greater respect and
friendliness.  Among congenial friends only the plea of a busy life can
make the card acknowledgment quite as graceful and acceptable as the
personal visit.  But if the guest is a comparative stranger, and, for
any reason, there is a wish not to extend the acquaintance, the sending
of a card meets all the requirements of etiquette, without committing
the sender to any further intimacy.

(The alternative for personal calls, is personal card-leaving; the next
point to be considered.)


When personal calls are not practicable, nor desirable, the leaving of
cards is accepted as an equivalent.

A few years ago, fashion demanded that all visiting-cards expressing or
acknowledging social civilities should be left in person; the
alternative in emergencies being to send them by the hand of a private
messenger, never through the post-office.  There was good excuse for
this fashion in our grandmother's day, when the post was a slow coach,
or a storm-stayed postillion; but the admirable system of our postal
service to-day leaves no excuse for the prejudice in favor of the
private messenger; and it is not surprising that fashion has yielded to
common sense in allowing that many of these cards of courtesy may, with
perfect propriety, be sent by post.

The following instances illustrate the present correct usage in regard
to these three ways of leaving cards.


After a _first hospitality_, whether accepted or not.

Calls of condolence.

After-dinner calls by cards.

_Alternative_.--In such cases, when _personal_ card-leaving is
_impossible_, the card is sent by a private messenger, and an
explanation, or apology, is sent by _note_.

Cards of condolence may be sent by _post_ by friends at a distance; but
not by persons residing in the near vicinity.


In all cases where personal card-leaving is not imperative, cards may
be sent either by messenger or by post.

As the former is still regarded by many persons--especially elderly
people--as the only strictly polite medium of transfer, it is
considerate to send cards, invitations, etc., to such people by the
good old-fashioned messenger, rather than to shock unnecessarily a
crystallized sense of propriety by ruthless innovations.  But in
general it is more convenient and quite as neat and reliable to send by
post; and the fashion of so doing is now fully adopted by the younger
generation, and no longer subject to criticism.

In stating what _may_ be done, in the way of escaping personal tasks,
we are merely marking the bounds of propriety in one direction.  On the
other hand, in most cases, those who choose may make personal calls
instead of those several formal card-leavings.  When good form allows
alternatives, each one must judge for himself which form of expression
is most appropriate in any given case.  Frank cordiality, amounting to
informality, may be in the best taste in some oases; whereas, in other
instances, only the most conventional and reserved expression of
respect is either agreeable or discreet.  In the latter case, let your
card speak _for_ you, and at "long range"--the longer the better.


One of the peculiar permissions of "good form" is that which allows a
man to delegate the distribution of his visiting-cards to a near female
relative, whenever it becomes impracticable for him to attend to the
matter personally.  Only the women of his own household, or a relative
with whom he habitually pays visits, can thus represent a man by proxy.

In this country, where most society men--certainly the better
element--are "business men," whose days are filled with earnest work
and crowned with the achievements of industry, it is not to be expected
that men of affairs will always be ready to respond to social
invitations, or to pay all the calls of civility which fashion decrees
shall be paid during the hours usually devoted to business.  In theory,
each man and woman in society is supposed to attend to his or her own
social duties.  _While it is expected that a man will make all
reasonable effort to do this, and that he will not altogether neglect
it_, still, so long as he occasionally appears personally, with a
genial demeanor that proves the sincerity of his "good intentions," it
will be accepted in good part if, in a large number of instances, his
card, instead of himself, appears, brought by another hand.  But let
men remember that the "good excuse" must be obvious.  Any suspicion of
indifference robs the proxy card-leaving of all effect as a compliment.

In case a man is legitimately prevented, by business cares, from paying
calls or leaving his cards in person, it is proper for his wife or
mother or sister, or other near relative, to leave or send his card
with her own.  When a woman calls upon another woman she leaves her
husband's card.  If the hostess is married, a second card is left for
the host.  She may leave the cards of a son, a brother, or other
relative, if such responsibility rests upon her.  This formality should
be observed when paying the first call of the season.

While every well-informed woman should know that it is her place to
leave her husband's cards for him, it is a fact that many women,
otherwise attentive to social forms, habitually neglect this particular
duty.  The result is that the man who has not time to pay visits
becomes a social nonentity, and society, in some circles, is simply a
"world of women."  Why does the husband, thus neglected, get out of
going to the occasional party whenever he can, and when he does allow
himself to be dragged thither, why does he sulk, leaning against a
chilly mantel-piece, eying his fragile coffee cup with disdain, and
enacting the _rôle_ of martyr generally, until he can persuade his wife
to go home again?  Why, indeed; but because he feels out of place.  His
rare and incidental appearance is a journey into a far country, of
which he has little knowledge, and in which he has no interest.  But
when a man goes--ever so seldom--where he knows that his card
_habitually_ goes, he feels that he is on familiar ground, and he will
go in person, of choice, oftener than he otherwise would.

Some men, unaccustomed to exact social observances, would ridicule the
idea at first, if their wives should announce the intention of leaving
their husband's cards for them.  But, however much a man might demur, a
lurking vanity would develop into complacent satisfaction, as he became
aware of the increasing geniality of the social atmosphere about him;
and the pleasing glow would take the ultimate form of gratitude to his

That the permission to leave cards by proxy is often abused by selfish
and indolent men is no doubt true.  But the social advantage which it
gives to a large class of men who are neither selfish nor indolent more
than counterbalances any disadvantages, and saves to "society" a solid
element that might be entirely given over to business, if it were not
for judicious feminine co-operation in the distribution of

"Solid" men would go "into society" far more frequently and with
greater alacrity if they felt assured that the way had been smoothly
paved with their own visiting-cards, well laid in place by the deft
fingers of their skillful women folk, who have left no flaw in the
mosaic of social proprieties.


When a married, or elderly woman tacitly invites a man to call on her
by telling him what are her "at home" days or hours, it is obligatory
upon him to acknowledge the courtesy.  If unable to call personally he
should explain that fact and express regret, and should be particular
to send a card on her next receiving day during the hours that she has
mentioned.  It is a special courtesy to send also a card for her
husband, if he is a venerable man, or if, by reason of ill health, he
is usually at home.

A woman older, or busier, or occupying some position of acknowledged
distinction, may send her card, indicating her receiving days and
hours, to a younger or less occupied woman.  This is accepted as a
call, and an invitation to return the same.  If the recipient chooses
she may respond in person.  If she does not care to establish a calling
acquaintance she may respond by sending one of her own cards on the
receiving day.  In case opportunity occurs for explanation some polite
reason may be given for not adding to one's visiting list; but unless
one has the tact to do this without snobbishness, it were better to
keep silence.

Cards of introduction are simply visiting-cards upon which the owner
writes, above his own name, "Introducing Mr. ----."  The card is
inclosed in an unsealed envelope, addressed to the person to whom the
introduction is to be made, and with the words "Introducing Mr. ----,"
written in the lower left corner.  It is a delicate matter to refuse a
card or letter of introduction, but it is a far more delicate matter to
take the _liberty_ to give one.  If one is in doubt about the readiness
of the third party to receive the person introduced it is better to
find some polite excuse for declining to be the medium of the
introduction.  Fortunately, if the blunder is made of introducing
uncongenial people they can easily drift apart again without rudeness
on the part of either.

When any one is invited to a church wedding and cannot attend it is
proper to send, on the day of the marriage, a card or cards to those
who issued the invitations; one card, if one parent, or a guardian,
invites; if the invitation is sent in the names of both parents, a card
for each, inclosed in an envelope and addressed to both.  If the
invited guest attends the wedding he leaves or sends cards within a
week, similarly addressed.  A personal call is allowable if intimacy
warrants it.  Those friends of the groom who are not acquainted with
the bride's family should merely send cards.

When a man wishes to make the acquaintance of another man he may call
and send in his card.  This may or may not be accompanied with some
explanatory message.  If the man on whom the call is made does not wish
to receive the caller he will express some polite reason for declining,
or suggest another time for receiving the visitor.  Usually a man will
receive another man who makes polite overtures; but if the host does
not wish to continue the acquaintance he will not return the call in
person, but simply send his card by post.  This distant rejoinder
practically ends the brief acquaintance without any discourteous
rebuff.  It is one of the mistakes of the vulgar to be rude and gruff
in order to repel an undesired acquaintance.  In reality, nothing
freezes out a bore more effectually than the icy calm of dignified
courtesy.  There are exquisitely polite ways of sending every
undesirable person to limbo.  The perfect self-command of the well-bred
man enables him to do this to perfection, but without giving offense.
Moreover, as most people worth seeking are men and women of earnest
lives and crowded occupations, no one need feel personally chagrined by
the failure to establish a coveted acquaintance with some gifted man or

Cards of condolence are left as soon as possible after learning of the
affliction.  If in town, cards are left in person or sent by a
messenger with a message.  If out of town a card is sent by the first
post.  Nothing is written upon these cards.

A visiting card, with "Congratulations" written upon it, is sent to
felicitate a friend upon any happy event in which friends may
sympathize.  Such cards are sent by messenger or by post.  If a card is
left in person with a kind message, nothing is written upon the card.

When a man calls and sees his hostess, but not the host, he should
leave a card for the latter.  If the hostess is not at home, two cards
should be left.

When a man entertains formally, each man invited, whether he accepts or
not, should acknowledge the courtesy within a week.  He may call in
person, or leave a card, or send a card by mail, or write a note of
thanks, whichever he prefers.  This is one of the important formalities
between men, and the neglect of it argues either ignorance or insolence.

When a man calls upon a woman while she is the guest of a family with
whom he is not acquainted, he inquires for both his friend and her
hostess, and, as he is a stranger in the house, he sends up a card for
each (instead of announcing himself _verbally_, as at the house of a
friend).  If the hostess receives him on this occasion, but extends no
further hospitality, he has no claim upon her recognition beyond the
hour.  If the hostess subsequently offers him any hospitality during
the time his friend is her guest he must call upon her; but if he
defers this until after the departure of the guest, he must leave a
card for the hostess without intruding a personal call, unless he has
been distinctly invited to continue the acquaintance.  If the man who
pays the call does not wish to continue the acquaintance with his
friend's hostess, after she has offered him hospitality, he must at
least call and leave a card for her, with a polite inquiry for her
health.  This is obligatory; but nothing further is required.

A visiting card is employed in sending informal invitations to a tea or
afternoon reception.  The care of the hostess is used, and in addition
to the name of the regular receiving day the special date, as "January
19," and some other specific words, as "Tea, 4 to 6," are written in
the lower left corner.  (In this informal _written_ message _numbers_
are indicate by _figures_, where _formal_ invitations require the
_words_ to be written in full.)  This card is accepted by the
recipients as equivalent to a call paid by the sender, and they respond
in person at the time indicated, leaving cards with the servant as they
enter, and also, on their departure, leaving the cards of such male
members of their respective families as have been invited, but are
unable to attend.  As few men can leave business at this hour these
occasions become prominent illustrations of "proxy" card-leaving.  If
any one invited cannot be present (and in case of a man no female
relative is there authorized to represent him) a card must be sent by
post or messenger on the receiving day.

After a change of residence, or after a prolonged absence from home,
cards of the entire family are sent to notify an acquaintance of their
re-establishment and of their readiness to resume the social

It is customary for the younger society men to pay a round of calls
after returning from the usual summer "outing," or to leave cards in
lieu of a call.

When leaving for a long absence, or when parting from transient, but
agreeable acquaintances, as companion tourists, etc., when time does
not admit of farewell calls, visiting-cards are sent by post with "P.
p. c." (_Pour prendrè congé_--to take leave) written upon them.  This
is equivalent to saying, "If ever we meet again we will meet on the
footing of friends, not strangers."  It is a pleasant way of showing
appreciation of the pleasure afforded by another's society, and the
formality should not be neglected by one who would be esteemed
thoughtfully polite and kind.

Only people who cling to old-fashioned customs still fold over the
right side of a visiting-card to show that the card was left _in
person_, and also fold over the _left side_ to show that the call was
intended for _all_ the women of the household.  This custom is
practically obsolete.  Another fashion that has had its day was that of
leaving a separate card for each of the women of the household.  Now,
_one_ card answers the purpose, the inquiry accompanying it indicates
whether the call was intended for one or for all of the family.  In
case a _guest_ of the household is included in the call a separate card
is left for her.



These occasions are more formal than the ordinary afternoon tea.
Special cards are engraved, and if any special entertainment is
provided, the fact may be indicated by the words, "Music," or
"Miscellaneous Program" (when readings and music are interspersed).
Or, the announcement may be omitted, and the program furnish a pleasant
surprise for the guests.  But when "Dancing" is the recreation provided
for, it must appear on the card, so that guests may prepare for it.
The card for a "_musicale_" or similar occasion, is simply engraved:

             At Home
   Wednesday, October fifth, from
       four to seven o'clock.
  Dancing.           119 Park Ave.

be engraved with a blank space left for the name of the invited guest;
or, the form may be filled out, and the name of the guest appear on the
envelope only.  It may read:

      request the pleasure of
    company on Tuesday evening
    June sixth, at nine o'clock,
              to meet
        Rev. John D. Loring.
    R.S.V.P.         29 Rice St.

or, the wording may be "request the pleasure of your company," etc.
The former has the rhetorical advantage of uniformity, the third person
being used throughout; and it also indicates a personal recognition of
each guest; but the latter form presents a neater appearance.

As to the use of "R.S.V.P.," or any of the phrases now preferred by
many, as, "Please reply;" "The favor of an answer is requested," etc.,
this may be said: some authorities claim that _all_ invitations should
be _answered_; and that therefore these _requests_ for a reply are a
reflection on the good manners of the people invited.  But such is not
the popular understanding.  All invitations that are _plainly limited
to a certain number of guests_, as dinners, card parties, and certain
exclusive receptions, should be answered at once, in order that
vacancies may be filled.  Whether the invitation is accompanied with
the request for a reply or not, all thoughtful people will recognize
the propriety.  But on many occasions where numbers are not necessarily
limited, only the hostess can say whether the reply is urgent or not;
since it is a question of her personal convenience, the limits of
house-room, or some other individual matter.  As no one class of
entertainments is given always under the same conditions, it is well to
allow the hostess to choose whether she will add or omit the request
for a reply to her invitations.

Meanwhile, the punctilious may reply to every invitation of a strictly
social character, and even if the host or hostess did not expect it,
such reply can give no offense; whereas, the _neglect_ of a _necessary_
reply might prove very awkward and annoying.

A private ball is only a more elaborate form of a dancing party.  The
invitations are phrased in the same language, but the hour is usually
not earlier than 9.30 P. M.

The same form of invitation can be adapted to almost any reception,
party or other social entertainment, with such variations in the
phrasing as suit the circumstances.

It may be said that it is unnecessary to give explicit directions about
invitations, inasmuch as the engraver is the one ultimately responsible
for the accuracy of these things.  But on occasions when small numbers
are invited--but undiminished formality is observed--the formal
invitation is requisite, yet the engraved card is a needless expense.
In such cases one may have cards _written_ in due form.  But, for
written invitations of this formal character, it is imperative that the
paper shall be of superior quality, and the penmanship neat, and
_thoroughly stylish_ in effect.

CARDS OF INVITATION TO A WEDDING are issued in the name of the bride's
parents, or, if she is an orphan, by her guardian, or some relative or
friend who gives her the wedding.  All expenses are paid by the bride's

It is not etiquette for the groom to bear any of the expense, except
the fee to the clergy man; nor to furnish anything for his own wedding,
except the ring and the bouquet for the bride, presents for the
brides-maids and best man, and some little token for the ushers.

The hostess (who invites) requests the groom to furnish her with two
lists of names--one list of those of his friends whom he wishes to be
present to witness the ceremony, and another list of those whom he
would like to see at the reception also.  These, with similar lists of
the bride's friends, make up the number of guests to be invited.
Wedding invitations are usually sent out two weeks before the day fixed
for the ceremony.  The invitation is engraved and printed upon a note
sheet, in handsome plain script, the lines broken to give distinction
to the several ideas, and the wording made as terse as possible.  The
formula is nearly unvarying:

                MR. AND MRS. GEORGE LATHROP
            request the pleasure of your company
              (or the honor of your presence)
             at the marriage of their daughter,
                      MARY ADELAIDE,
                 MR. WILLIAM HENRY BISHOP,
                  at St. Philip's Church,
  On Wednesday evening, October twelfth, at seven o'clock.

If the marriage is to be solemnized at home the date follows the names
in succession, and the place of residence is given last.  The
invitation may vary, "the wedding reception of their daughter," etc.
Or, accompanying the church wedding invitation may be a square card
bearing the lines: "Reception from half-past seven until nine o'clock,"
with place of residence on the line below.

Also, to avoid a crowd at the church, a smaller card is sometimes sent
with the invitations bearing, for example, the words: "Please present
this card at St. Philip's Church, Wednesday evening, October twelfth,
at seven o'clock."  This card of admission is also given to
dependents--the domestics of the family or such persons as may be
entitled to the kind notice, but who are not, strictly speaking,
invited guests.  The number of such cards should never be greater than
the comfortable capacity of the church, lest their original purpose be

In case the ceremony is private the immediate family and chosen friends
are invited verbally.  It is then optional whether or not a formal
announcement shall be made to a wider circle of friends by sending out
engraved cards the day after the ceremony.  These are, like the
invitations, printed on note sheets, and are phrased briefly, as

  announce the marriage of their daughter,
             MARY ADELAIDE,
    Wednesday evening, October twelfth,
           St. Philip's Church.

"At Home" cards sometimes accompany this announcement, or they may be
sent out later by the young couple themselves, if a long wedding trip

The private wedding and after announcement is often the most
suitable--in fact, the only appropriate method to adopt when a bride is
comparatively alone in the world, or has no near relatives to take
charge of wedding formalities.  In such a case the announcement is
worded: "Mr. William Henry Bishop and Miss Mary Adelaide Lathrop,
married, Wednesday, October twelfth, 149 Willow St."  If no other place
is given this is understood to be the place where to address cards of
congratulation.  If the young couple are to receive later, in a new
home, that address, with date of the "at home," is also given, thus,
"At home, after November fifteenth, 1129 Lake St."  If the change of
residence is to another town, the name of the town is also given.

For the proper style of "displaying" the phrases of an invitation or
announcement one may apply to a first-class stationer.  Plain script
and the finest white paper are always correct.  Any show of
ornamentation is out of taste.

When the circle of acquaintances is very large and invitations must be
limited to a certain number, the announcement cards may be sent to

A wedding invitation, unless it includes a wedding breakfast, limited
in number, requires no reply.  Cards sent afterward are all that is
necessary.  These cards, and whatever congratulations are sent, are
addressed to the ones in whose name the invitation or announcement was
sent out--usually the parents of the bride.  A congratulatory note to
the bride is always in order among intimate friends, _but this bears no
relation to a response to the invitation_.

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY INVITATIONS are simply, "Mr. and Mrs. George
Lathrop, at home," etc., with date and residence.  They are printed on
cards or note sheets, preferably the latter, and the character of the
occasion is indicated by a monogram at the top of the page, in the
centre, flanked by the two annual dates, as "1837 [monogram] 1887."  If
for a golden wedding this heading is lettered in gold; if for a silver
wedding, in silver, the invitation being, as usual, printed in black
ink.  It is good form to engrave "No presents" in the lower left
corner, if such is the wish of "the bride and groom."

DINNER CARDS OF INVITATION may have this form:

           request the pleasure
  Of ....................................
      company at dinner on Thursday,
    ................ at seven o'clock.
             95 Willow Street.

The above form may be engraved for perennial use by a host or hostess
who frequently give dinners, and always on the same day of the week.
Blanks are left to be filled in with the name of the invited guest and
the exact date.  Or for a single occasion the form may be without any
blank spaces, and the phrasing read, "Request the pleasure of your

A dinner given in honor of some distinguished guest requires an
invitation card specially engraved.  This form is most deferential:

               To meet
          request the honor
  of ........................ company
               at dinner
        on Wednesday, May tenth,
            at eight o'clock.
            95 Willow Street.

If the honored guest is esteemed on the score of personal friendship
rather than public distinction his name will be given last, instead of
first, on the card, the phrasing of the invitation remaining the same.

Invitations to dinner should be answered at once, and no one should
accept if there is the least doubt about being able to be present.
Only the most serious detentions suddenly arising will excuse a failure
to keep a dinner engagement once made.  If such contingency does occur
at the eleventh hour an explanation and apology should be sent to the
host or hostess without delay in order to give opportunity for securing
"the fourteenth man."

FOR A FORMAL LUNCHEON OR BREAKFAST the invitation cards are similar in
form to dinner cards.  But since the manner of serving, the numbers
invited, etc., are not so definitely fixed it is proper to add R.S.V.P.
on cards that especially call for a reply in the judgment of the
hostess.  Otherwise many people with vague ideas of the "informality"
of these occasions might omit to send replies.


The sexton should be duly informed what preparations to make at the
church; the awning at the entrance, the ribbon barrier across the
aisle, the floral decorations, etc., by whomever arranged and executed
are under the supervision of this functionary, who is responsible for
having everything in order.

It is no longer good form for a bride to be late at her own wedding.
Now, when the invitation says "seven o'clock" it is expected that the
ceremony will begin at that hour precisely, accidents aside.

The organist is engaged by some one interested in making the
arrangements, and is supposed to be in his place for a half-hour or so
before the hour of the ceremony; and while the guests are assembling he
discourses music appropriate to the occasion--a rambling, meditative
_pot-pourri_ of sweet and pathetic sentimental songs being a popular
and effective choice.  In churches having a vested choir it is possible
to secure very beautiful effects in the musical adjuncts, the
processional adding greatly to the grace and dignity of the ceremonial.

The sexton, or his deputy, stands at the door, salver in hand, to
receive the admission cards as people enter the church.  The invited
guests are met at the foot of the centre aisle by the ushers.  An usher
offers his arm to a lady and conducts her to a seat, the friends of the
bride being seated at the left and the friends of the groom at the
right of the middle aisle.  When, as often happens, the groom is "from
a distance," and few of his far-away acquaintances can be present, this
separation of guests is not observed.

At the appointed hour, the clergyman appears at the altar rail; the
groom, accompanied by his best man, emerges from the vestry, and takes
his place at the right, awaiting the arrival of the bride.  At this
instant, the organist stops dreaming, wakes up, and starts boldly into
the wedding march, as the bridal party move up the aisle, in the
following order: First, the ushers, in pairs, then the bridesmaids,
also in pairs.  Sometimes a little "maid of honor," carrying flowers,
precedes the bride.  The bride, leaning on the arm of her father, comes
last.  The ushers and the bridesmaids separate as they reach the altar,
and go to the right and to the left.  At the altar the groom receives
the bride from her father's hand.  The latter steps back a few paces,
but remains near enough to "give away the bride."  When this point in
the ceremony has been passed, the father quietly joins the mother in
the front pew.

If the processional has been the "Lohengrin" march, it is thought by
many to be very effective for the organist, all through the ceremony,
to continue on the swell organ a dreamy _sotto voce_ improvisation, in
the course of which a varied reiteration of "Faithful and true" serves
as an affecting expression of the sentiment of the hour.  The most
enjoyable tears are shed by the emotional under this inspiration.  But
other people prefer the solemn stillness, broken only by the voice of
the priest and the responses of the high contracting parties.  It is a
matter of taste and feeling; and those interested are at liberty to
indulge either fancy.

The bride stands at the left of the groom during the ceremony; and also
takes his left arm at the close.  When the ceremony is concluded, the
officiating clergyman congratulates the couple, but does not kiss the
bride as formerly.  In the Episcopal Church, and any other churches
where it is the duty of the contracting parties to sign the parish
register, the clergyman, the newly wedded pair, and their witnesses,
now retire to the sacristry for this purpose.  On their return to the
chancel, the organ peals forth the Wedding March; the bride and groom
lead the bridal party in returning down the aisle, the bridesmaids and
ushers following in due order, and after them the nearest relatives;
and all, entering their carriages, are driven at once to the home of
the bride's parents.

After a morning, or "high noon" wedding, a "breakfast" is usually
served.  If the ceremony has been a nuptial mass, in the Catholic or
High Church ritual, the bridal party have--presumably--observed the
fast, before the mass; therefore, the "breakfast" is really a
breakfast.  However, the term is popularly used by non-ritualists, when
the ceremony bears no relation to the mass; and regardless of the fact
that the real breakfast has been taken at the usual hour.

A bride may wear full dress at any hour, day or evening; but
_decolleté_ dress is not good form at a church wedding, nor is it
allowed in the Catholic church.  White is the preferred color for a
young bride.  A widow-bride, on the contrary, should choose some other
color; and she wears neither veil nor orange-blossoms.

Details of fashion vary so constantly that specific directions cannot
be given with any assumption of final authority.  A fashionable modiste
should be consulted in the emergency.

The dress worn by a guest at a wedding may be as rich as desired, but
should not have a bridal appearance.  Sometimes a recent bride wears
her own wedding gown at a friend's wedding; but it is in better taste
not to do so, nor in any other way to invite comparisons.  The bride
should be permitted to be the conspicuous figure at her own wedding,
and while her friends may pay her the compliment of wearing handsome
toilettes on that occasion, still, other women should dress just a
little less elaborately, rather than commit the solecism of
"out-dressing the bride."  Fortunately, one may show all delicate
consideration in this matter, and yet be beautifully and becomingly


Hospitality shares what it has.  It does not attempt to _give_ what it
_has not_.  The finest hospitality is that which welcomes you to the
fireside and permits you to look upon the picture of a home-life so
little disturbed by your coming that you are at once made to feel
yourself a part of the little symphony--the rare bit of color just
needed to complete the harmonic combination.  With this flattering fact
impressed upon your glowing memory you will hardly be able to recall
the material adjuncts of the occasion.  It is a sign of a gross nature
to measure hospitality by the loaves and fishes, forgetting the miracle
that goes with them.  And it is equally a mistake for a host to be
afraid to offer humble entertainment when richer offers are beyond his
means.  To a refined perception "the life is more than the meat," and
the personality of the host, not the condition of his larder, decides
whether or not it is an honor to be his guest.  Delightful though it be
to be able to afford one's guest a rare and beautiful entertainment,
one must dismiss the idea that a graceful and acceptable hospitality
depends on material things.  Sir Launfal, sharing his crust with the
beggar at the gate, was still Sir Launfal.  The impoverished hostess
may preside at her frugal board with the spirit and the manner of a
queen, whereas the coarse-fibred vulgarian vainly heaps his platters
with choicest game and rarest fruit, the while he serves the banquet
like the churl that he is.

Whatever your entertainment, rich or poor, remember, first of all, to
give _yourself_ to your guest; then, if he is appreciative, he will not
criticise your simple dinner, nor grumble at the flavor of your wine.
One of the wits of the day has gravely reported that at a banquet in
the Athens of America, "the _menu_ consisted of two baked beans and
readings from Emerson."  Despite its grotesque exaggeration, the _mot_
contains the kernel of a dignified truth: that material things are of
secondary importance on all social occasions worthy of the name.

The most expensive entertainment given by any one should be merely an
incidental illustration of his already recognized financial means.  It
should never be so beyond his usual ability as to arouse among his
neighbors the wonder, how he could afford it?  When people who are
known to have only a moderate income give "spreads" disproportionate to
their daily mode of living, the thoughtful observer instinctively
questions their taste and good sense.  Usually such ostentatious
display brings more or less derision on the ones who are foolish enough
to spend more money to make their neighbors stare for a day than they
use to make themselves comfortable for a year.  No matter how elaborate
the entertainment the guests should not be allowed to suspect that
their host has exhausted his resources, or that he might not be able to
do this same thing at any time that he chose.

As already suggested, the character of the entertainment in a private
house should never be such as to involve a total departure from the
habitual customs of the household.  It is granted that provision must
be made on a grander scale for larger numbers; the _quantity_ of things
will necessarily be augmented, and mere bulk wears a certain air of the
imposing, and when to this is added the vital element--the magnetism of
a brilliant company--the participant will seem to breathe a rarified
atmosphere, and to an extent to be exalted above the level of everyday
life.  Yet that level should not be lost to sight nor cease to be the
basis of measurement.  The quality of elegant serving and mannerly
eating should be just what is every day observed at the family dinner
of the same household.  The guest should get a correct idea of the home
atmosphere of the house, even though it be slightly congealed by the
formality and reserve which the presence of strangers naturally

When people assume to entertain socially they should not give a false
showing of themselves or of their means.  The proudest spirit
acknowledges the limitations of poverty with dignified truthfulness; it
is the moral coward who seeks to hide these limitations by a greater
display than his circumstances warrant.  And he reaps as he sows.  His
"entertainments" fill an idle hour for the class of visitors who
gravitate mainly to the supper-room, while the giver of the feast,
under the tension of this social effort, suffers a weariness of the
spirit as well as of the flesh, and gives a sigh of relief when the
door closes upon the last guest, and the pitiful farce is declared
"over."  We wonder "Why do they thus spend their strength for that
which profiteth not?"  Surely, few things in the course of a misspent
life are less profitable than such over-strained efforts at showy
entertainment.  The "banquet hall deserted" presents on the following
day a grim reminder of the petty economies that for weeks hence must
secretly be contrived in order to restore the balance of an overdrawn
bank account.  The folly of _living_ beyond one's means may have this
extenuating feature, that it is often an error due to generous, though
indiscreet impulse, or to inexperience; but the folly of spending money
lavishly on a few ostentatious "spreads" that are "beyond one's means"
has no redeeming points.  The deception seldom long deceives.  It is a
social blunder, the effect of which is to depreciate rather than to
enhance the social importance of the family thus entertaining.

It will be understood that this refers to cases when the motive of
extravagance is to gratify vanity.  It does not mean to imply that the
Christmas dinner, or the birthday party, or the wedding anniversary may
not be a time when all the energies of a poor and usually frugal
household may be concentrated to prepare for one occasion of feasting
and rejoicing.  The Cratchetts may have their roast goose; even the
Micawbers may be indulged in their occasional banquet.  And the
carefully planned birthday party may be all the more gratefully
appreciated by the honored one when it is known that every choice
provision for the occasion represents some thoughtful contriving and
some self-sacrifice prompted by affection.  Such occasions are
"red-letter days" in the homes of people of limited means; and pathos
is never more delicately suggested than when the poor man forgets his
poverty in the wealth of a home-gathering and a feast of remembrance.
"Let not a stranger intermeddle with their joy."

In the two cases the financial conditions may seem to be parallel, but
in essential spirit there is no resemblance.  What is done from
sentiment and affection is above commercial measurement.  What is done
for the sake of ostentation is, by its own act, made a legitimate
object of popular criticism.

Another point of good taste in entertaining is that one who is
wealthier than others of his social circle should not conspicuously
outshine his neighbors by giving them a kind and degree of
entertainment which will make their return of civilities seem poor and
mean by comparison.  Unless the rich man is so greatly beyond others in
the scale of wealth that comparisons cease to be odious, it is more
considerate for him to keep within the degree of expense and display
possible to the average of his associates.

There is still another reason why the very rich should be chary of
giving magnificent entertainments.

The dazzled community, gazing spell-bound upon the spectacle of a
flower-decked mansion, brilliant with colored lights and echoing to
bewildering strains of music, is apt to forget, in this aggregation of
the energies of florist, caterer, and band-master, the one man who is
supposed to be, but is not, the author of this occasion.

George (descanting on the glories of the "crush of the season")--"The
music--the champagne--the----"

Montague--"Ah! yes; and how did 'mine host' bear himself?"

George--"The host! (ruefully).  B'Jove!  I forgot to hunt him up!"

Unfortunately, mine host had allowed his surroundings to belittle
himself.  Many a brilliant "social event" might properly be chronicled
under the head-line: "Total Eclipse of the Host!" so insignificant does
the man become when he carries his standards of social entertaining in
his pocket-book instead of in his brains.

However, one need not be very rich in order to make this same mistake.
It is made every time that social life ceases to be social, and becomes
merely a contest of rival displays.  This folly is observed in small
villages quite as often as in the metropolis.  In contrast, how
refreshing it is to cross the threshold of a refined and cultivated
home, and find awaiting us a cordial welcome and a genuine hospitality,
so true to its author's personality and environment that whether water
or wine be offered we know not, grateful that our host gives us his
best, whatever it is, and, best of all, gives himself.


Fashions in entertaining have changed within the memory of "those now
living."  Once, large parties were given, hundreds of invitations were
issued, a house was crowded from veranda to attic, and the occasion was
one of the few notable social events of the season.  Then came the
fashion--partly for exclusiveness, partly for novelty, largely for
convenience--of giving during the season several small parties or
receptions, which in the aggregate might include all of one's visiting
list.  The disadvantage of this plan, as an exclusive method of solving
the problem of social entertaining, was that slights were liable to
occur, and were sure to be bitterly felt and resented.  Yet, what was a
hostess to do?  To go back to the old-time crowded party, superadding
the increased luxury of modern entertaining, would be to re-establish
an inconvenient and expensive fashion.  But some way must be devised to
bring one's friends together, in larger numbers, and with more prompt
and direct expression of hospitality and good fellowship than could be
conveyed by the slow and stately process of a series of dinners.

"Necessity is the mother of invention."  Someone, probably having
reflected upon the easy social character of the English five o'clock
tea, solved the problem for the American hostess by instituting the
afternoon reception, which, somewhere between the hours of four and
six, summons a host of friends to cross one's threshold and meet
informally, chatting for a while over a sociable cup of tea, each group
giving place to others, none crowding, all at ease, every one the
recipient of a gracious welcome from the hostess, who by the
hospitality thus offered has tacitly placed each guest on her visiting
list for the season.

The afternoon reception is much the same affair, whether it be a tea
merely, or a _musicale_, or a literary occasion.  If merely a
reception, conversation and the desultory chat of society, the drifting
about and the greeting of friends, and incidentally the cup of tea and
its dainty accessories, fill a half-hour or so very pleasantly; and
though inconsequent so far as any plan or motive is concerned, such
meeting and mingling may have all the desired effect as a promoter of
social pleasure and harmony.

When a _musicale_ is given at these afternoon hours, usually it is in
honor of some brilliant amateur, a pianist or singer, or, if the
program is miscellaneous, a gifted elocutionist.  Or, it is an occasion
when some lion of the professional stage has been captured, either
socially or professionally, and the hostess gives to her less fortunate
friends an opportunity to see and hear at close range the celebrity
usually visible only through opera-glasses and beyond the foot-lights.
Or, some lady of well-known musical taste may be the patron of some
newly-arrived professor of music; and she invites her musical friends
to meet him, with the benevolent purpose to give him a profitable
introduction to a promising class of patrons.

When under any of these or similar conditions a formal program is
arranged, the hour is fixed, and is stated on the invitation card; as
"Music at 4."  The guests should be prompt at the hour, so that no
interruption or confusion shall occur.  When the reception is merely
social, guests come and leave at any time within the hours specified on
the invitation card; as, "Tea, 4 to 6."

When admitted to the house each one hands a card to the servant in
waiting.  The guest repairs to the dressing-room to lay aside outer
wraps, and attend to any detail of the toilet which wind or accident
may have disarranged.  Upon entering the parlor each guest is greeted
by the hostess, who stands near the door, surrounded by her aids.  If
her husband's name appears on the card of invitation, he, also, is in
the receiving group, contributing, in so far as a man humbly may, to
the success of the occasion.  The aids, besides assisting in receiving
the guests, are attentive to entertaining; and they see that no shy
person is overlooked in the invitation to partake of refreshments.

The tea is served in the same room when the guests are few, and in
another room of the suite if the reception is large.  Usually a single
table is set, with coffee or chocolate at one end, and tea at the
other, served by young ladies, friends of the hostess.  To be invited
to preside at the coffee urn, or to manipulate the swinging tea-kettle,
is accounted a high compliment.

Besides the tea, the refreshments, which are served from the table, may
be very thin slices of bread and butter, or wafers, or similar trifles;
but if the occasion approaches the nature of a formal reception, a more
elaborate preparation is made; _bouillon_, oysters, salads, ice-cream
and cakes, delicate rolls and bon-bons may be offered.  The gradations
by which the frugal tea passes into the superabundant supper are not
easily classified.  Each hostess will judge how much or how little
prominence to give to these provisions for the inner man.  Usually,
however, very simple refreshments, daintily served, are all that is
desirable, as the guests go home to their dinners.

If a guest is a comparative stranger to others present, she is at
liberty to address any one in a chatty, agreeable way, without
introduction.  Also, if any one observes another guest who seems to be
alone and neglected, it is a graceful and kind overture to open a
pleasant conversation.

One should not linger too long at an afternoon tea.  Three-quarters of
an hour is a happy medium.

Allied to the afternoon tea are various phases of informal daytime
entertaining.  For example, there is the "shower" for a bride-elect
("linen," "culinary," or what you will).  A friend of the bride-to-be
invites a coterie of girl friends to meet the guest of honor, giving
each girl time to provide some beautiful or useful gift, the
presentations to be made with amusing ceremonies.

The "thimble bee," a favorite diversion of the quiet matronly set, each
one bringing her own bit of needlework to while away an hour or so in
pleasant conversation.  One of the number may read aloud, with pauses
for comment at will.  The thimble bee is a modern version of the good
old-fashioned "spend the afternoon and take tea."  Both the shower and
the thimble bee may be given in the forenoon, if preferred.



_Table-Linen, etc._--Table-cloths of white damask, double or single, as
fine as the owner's purse admits, are used for the dinner-table, with
large square white napkins to correspond.

The table should first be covered with a mat of double-faced cotton
flannel wide enough to fall six inches below the edge of the table, all
around.  This under mat greatly improves the appearance of the
table-cloth, which can be laid much more smoothly over this soft
foundation.  Besides, the mat protects the table from too close contact
with hot dishes.  Small table mats for the purpose of protecting the
cloth are not fashionable at present, though many careful housekeepers
retain them rather than risk injury to fine table linen.

Carving-cloths are used when carving is done at the table, but are not
needed when dinner is served _à la Russe_.

Napkin rings are discarded by many who hold that a napkin should be
used but once, and must be re-laundried before reappearing on the table.

Practically, such a fastidious use of table linen would exhaust most
linen supplies, and overcrowd the laundry.  The neat use of a napkin
renders this extreme nicety superfluous as a rule of home dining, Care
should certainly be taken to remove all soiled table linen.  Nothing is
more disgusting than a dirty napkin, but the snowy linen that comes
spotless through one using may, with propriety, be retained in the ring
to be used several times.  This, of course, refers to every-day dining
at home.  On formal occasions no napkin rings appear on the table; the
napkins are always fresh, and used for that time only.  At the close of
the dinner they are left carelessly on the table; not rolled or folded
in any orderly shape.

Small fringed napkins of different colors are used with a dessert of
fruits.  Fancy doylies of fine linen embroidered with silk are
sometimes brought in with the finger-bowls; but these are not for
utility, the dinner napkin doing service, while the embroidered "fancy"
adds a dainty bit of effect to the table decoration.

_China, Glassware, Cutlery, Silverware, etc._--Chinaware for the dinner
service should be of good quality.  Fashions in china decoration are
not fixed; the fancy of the hour is constantly changing, but a matched
set is eminently proper for the dinner table, leaving the "harlequin"
china for luncheons and teas.  In the latter style the aim is to have
no two pieces alike in decoration, or at least, to permit an unlimited
variety; a fashion that is very convenient when large quantities of
dishes are liable to be needed.  But for a dinner served in orderly
sequence, the orderly correspondence of a handsome "set" seems more in
keeping.  But even with this, the harlequin idea may come in with the
dessert; fruit plates, ice-cream sets, after-dinner coffees, etc., may
display any number of fantasies in shape and coloring.

Artistic glassware is a very handsome feature of table furnishing.
Carafes and goblets for water are always needed at dinner; wine
glasses, possibly; and the serving of fruits and bon-bons gives
opportunity to display the most brilliant cut-glass, or its
comparatively inexpensive substitutes, which are scarcely less pretty
in effect.  Fine glass is infinitely more elegant than common
plated-ware, and though more liable to breakage is less trouble to keep
in order.

The best dinner-knife is of steel, of good quality, with handle of
ivory, ebony, or silver.  Silver-plated knives are much used; they do
not discolor so readily as steel, and are easily kept polished.  They
answer the purpose for luncheon, but they rarely have edge enough to be
really serviceable at dinner or breakfast.

Many people who own solid silverware store it away in bank vaults and
use its _fac simile_ in quadruple plate, and thus escape the constant
dread of a possible burglar.  For the sense of security that it gives,
one may value the finest quality of plated ware, but it should be
inconspicuous in style and not too profuse in quantity, since its
utility, rather than its commercial value, should be suggested.  Any
ostentation in the use of plated ware is vulgar.  But one may take a
pride and satisfaction in the possession of solid silver.  Every
ambitious housekeeper will devise ways of securing, little by little,
if not all at once, a neat collection of solid spoons and forks.  The
simplest table takes on dignity when graced with these "sterling"
accompaniments.  The fancy for collecting "souvenir" spoons, one at a
time, suggests a way to secure a valuable lot of spoons without feeling
the burden of the expense.  Yet, on the other hand, these spoons are
much more expensive than equally good plain silver, the extra price
being paid for the "idea;" but the expenditure is worth while to those
who value historical associations.  One may find in the silver-basket
salient reminders of all important epochs in our national life, a sort
of primer of United States history, to say nothing of the innumerable
"souvenirs" of Europe.  Its subtle testimony to the intelligent taste
of its owner gives the souvenir collection its chief "touch of

The towering "castor," once the central glory of the dinner table, is
out of style.  The condiments are left on the sideboard, and handed
from there in case any dish requires them, the supposition being that,
as a rule, the several dishes are properly seasoned before they are
served.  Individual salt-cellars are placed on the table, and may be
accompanied with salt spoons; if these are omitted, it is understood
that the salt-cellar is emptied and refilled each time that it is used.
On the family dinner-table the condiment line is not so severely drawn;
vinegar in cut-glass cruets, mustard in Satsuma pots, and individual
"peppers"--in silver, china, or glass, and of quaint designs--are
convenient and allowable.

A table covered with white damask, overlaid with sparkling china and
cut-glass, and reflecting the white light of polished silver, is a
pretty but lifeless sight.  Add one magic touch--the centre-piece of
flowers--and the crystallized beauty wakes to organic life.

In arranging the modern dinner-table, when the service is to be _à la
Russe_, floral decorations are almost indispensable.  Without something
attractive for the eye to rest upon, the desert stretch of linen looks
like the white ghost of famine mocking the feast.

The shape of the table, the available space, and the nature of the
occasion decide the quantity and distribution of the flowers.  It is a
matter in which wide latitude is given to individual taste and
ingenuity, original designs and odd conceits being always in order,
subject only to the law of appropriateness.

For a square or extra wide table a large centre-piece, either round or
oblong, is usually chosen, with endless varieties in its component
arrangement.  It may be low and flat, like a floral mat, in the middle
of the table, or it may be a lofty _epergne_, or an inter-lacing of
delicate vine-wreathed arches, or a single basket of feathery
maidenhair fern--in fact, anything that is pretty and which the
inspiration of the moment may suggest.  In early autumn, in country
homes or in suburban villas, nothing is more effective than masses of
golden-rod and purple asters, gathered by the hostess or her guests
during their afternoon drive, and all the more satisfactory because of
the pleasure taken in their impromptu arrangement.  Wild flowers should
be neatly trimmed and symmetrically grouped to avoid a ragged or weedy

Fortunately, even quite elaborate floral decorations need not be
expensive.  Nature has bestowed some of her choicest touches upon the
lilies of the field, and an artistic eye discerns their possibilities.
At the same time, art in floriculture has produced marvels, and those
who can afford it may revel in mammoth roses and rare orchids, lilies
of the valley in November, and red clovers in January, if it please
them to pay the florist's bill for the same.

For narrow "extension" tables, slender vases ranged at intervals may be
the most convenient disposition of the flowers; or, if the ends of the
table are not occupied, a broad, low basket may stand at each end, with
a tall, slender vase in the middle of the table.

On choice occasions a handsome centre-piece may be, for example, a
large bowl of La France roses, with small bundles of the same (groups
of three are pretty), tied with ribbon of the same hue, laid by each
plate.  Any other single flower may be disposed similarly, or variety
may rule, and no two floral "favors" be alike, in which case it is a
delicate compliment to give to each guest a flower known to be a
favorite, or one that seems especially appropriate--a lily to Lilian, a
daisy to Marguerite, etc.  These little marks of thoughtfulness never
fail to be appreciated, and add much to the grace of entertaining.

An elaborate centre-piece may stand upon a rich velvet mat, or on a
flat mirror provided for the purpose.  The latter is a clever idea for
a centre-piece of pond-lilies or other aquatic plants, simulating a
miniature lake, its edges fringed with moss or ferns.


The mat is first adjusted upon the table, and the table-cloth smoothly
and evenly laid over it.  The cloth should fall about half-way to the
floor all around.

The floral accessories are then put in place; and also the fruits and
bon-bons, which may be commingled with the flowers in working out a
decorative design, or they may be placed, in ornamental dishes, at the
four corners of a wide table, to balance the flowers in the centre; or,
they may be arranged along the middle of a long table.  For fruit,
silver-gilt baskets, or _epergnes_ of glass are especially pretty.  The
fruit may later constitute a part of the dessert, or may be merely
ornamental in its office.  Carafes containing iced water are placed
here and there on the table, at convenient points.

The next step is the laying of the covers; a cover signifying the place
prepared for one person.  For a dinner in courses a cover consists of a
small plate (on which to set the oyster plate), two large knives, three
large forks (for the roast, the game, and _entrées_), one small knife
and fork (for the fish), one tablespoon (for the soup), one
oyster-fork.  The knives and forks are laid at the right and left of
the plate, the oyster-fork and the spoon being conveniently to hand.  A
glass goblet for water is set at the right, about eight inches from the
edge of the table; if wine is to be served the requisite glasses are
grouped about the water goblet.

The napkin is folded square, with one fold turned back to inclose a
thick piece of bread; or, the napkin may be folded into a triangle that
will stand upright, holding the bread within its folds.  This is the
only way in which bread is put on the dinner-table, though a plate of
bread is on the sideboard to be handed to those who require a second
piece.  It is entirely proper to ask for it, when desired.  Butter is
not usually placed on the dinner-table, but is handed from the
sideboard if the _menu_ includes dishes that require it; as, sweet
corn, sweet potatoes, etc.  Small butter-plates are included in the
"cover" in such cases.

The oysters, which form the initial course, are usually on the table
before the guests take their places.  A majolica plate, containing four
or six of the bivalves with a bit of lemon in the midst, is placed at
each cover; or, oyster cocktails may be served.  The soup tureen and
plates are brought in to the side table.  All is now in readiness.


While these preparations have been going on in the dining-room, the
guests have been assembling in the drawing-room.  It is proper to
arrive from five to fifteen minutes before the hour mentioned in the
invitation, allowing time to pay respects to the host and hostess,
without haste of manner, before the dinner is announced.

A gentleman wears a dress suit at dinner.  A lady wears a handsome
gown, "dinner dress" being "full dress;" differing, however, from the
evening party or reception gown in the kind of fabrics used.  The most
filmy gauzes are suitable for a ball costume; while dinner dress--for
any but very young ladies--is usually of more substantial
materials--rich silk or velvet softened in effect with choice lace, or
made brilliant with jet trimmings.

When the dinner party is strictly formal, and the company evenly
matched in pairs, the following order is observed:

Each gentleman finds in the hall, as he enters, a card bearing his name
and the name of the lady whom he is to take out; also, a small
_boutonnière_, which he pins on his coat.  If the lady is a stranger,
he asks to be presented to her, and establishes an easy conversation
before moving toward the dining-room.


When dinner is ready the fact is made known to the hostess by the
butler, or maid-servant, who comes to the door and quietly says "Dinner
is served."  A bell is never rung for dinner, nor for any other formal

The host leads the way, taking out the lady who is given the place of
first consideration; the most distinguished woman, the greatest
stranger, the most elderly--whatever the basis of distinction.  Other
couples follow in the order assigned to them, each gentleman seating
the lady on his right.  The hostess comes last, with the most
distinguished male guest.  If there is a footman, or more than one, the
chairs are deftly placed for each guest; but if only a maid is in
waiting, each gentleman arranges his own and his partner's chairs as
quietly as possible.

As soon as the company are seated, each one removes the bread; and the
napkin, partially unfolded, is laid across the lap.  It is not tucked
in at the neck or the vest front, or otherwise disposed as a
feeding-bib.  It is a towel, for wiping the lips and fingers in
emergencies, but should be used unobtrusively--not flourished like a
flag of truce.


The servant is ready to hand from the side-board any condiments desired
for the oysters, which are promptly disposed of.  It may be remarked at
the outset, that everything at table is handed at the left, _except
wine_, which is offered at the right.  Ladies are served first.

After the oyster-plates are removed, the soup is served from the side
table--a half ladleful to each plate being considered the correct
quantity.  The rule regarding soup is double, you must, and you must
not.  You must accept it (whether you eat it or merely pretend to), but
you must not ask for a second helping, since to do so would prolong a
course that is merely an "appetizer" preparatory to the substantials.

The soup-plates are removed, and the fish immediately appears, served
on plates with mashed potatoes or salad, or sometimes both, in which
case a separate dish is provided for the salad.  The _entrées_ follow
the fish, hot plates being provided, as required.  Dishes containing
the _entrées_ should have a large spoon and fork laid upon them, and
should be held low, so that the guest may help himself easily.

Again the dishes are removed.  Here we may pause to remark that the
prompt and orderly removal of the dishes after each successive course
is a salient feature of skillful waiting.  The accomplished waiter
never betrays haste or nervousness, but his every movement "tells," and
that, too, without clatter, or the dropping of small articles, or the
dripping of sauces.  The plates, etc., vanish from the table--whither,
we observe not.  The waiter in the dining-room must have the
co-operation of the servant behind the scenes, to receive and convey
the relays of dishes to the kitchen.  However it is managed, and it
_must be managed_, the nearer the operation can appear to be a "magic
transformation," the better.

To return; the roast is the next course.  The carving is done at the
side table.  Guests are consulted as to their preference for "rare" or
"well-done;" and the meat, in thin slices, is served on hot plates,
with vegetables at discretion on the same plate, separate vegetable
dishes--except for salads--not being used on private dinner tables.
Certain vegetables, as sweet corn on the cob, may be regarded as a
course by themselves, being too clumsy to be disposed of conveniently
on a plate with other things.

The game course is next in order (if it is included, as it generally is
in an elaborate dinner).  Celery is an appropriate accompaniment of the
game course.  The salad is sometimes served with the game; otherwise it
follows as a course by itself.

The salad marks the end of the heavy courses.  The crumb tray is
brought, and the table-cloth is cleared of all stray fragments.  A
rolled napkin makes a quiet brush for this purpose, especially on a
finely polished damask cloth.

The dessert is now in order.  Finger-bowls and doylies are brought in
on the dessert-plates.  Each person at once removes the bowl and doyley
to make ready for whatever is to be put on the plate.

Ices, sweets (pastry and confections), cheese, follow in course; and,
finally, the fruits and bon-bons.  Strong coffee is served last of all,
in small cups.  Fashion decrees _café noir_, and few lovers of cream
care to rebel on so formal an occasion as a dinner; but when the
formality is not too rigid, the little cream jug may be smuggled in for
those who prefer _café au lait_.

Water is the staple drink of the American dinner-table.  A palatable
table water, like Apollinaris, well iced, is an elegant substitute for
wine when habit or conscience forbids the latter.

When wine is served with the different courses at dinner, the
appropriate use is as follows: with soup, sherry; with the fish,
chablis, hock, or sauterne; with the roast, claret and champagne; after
the game course, Madeira and port; with the dessert, sherry, claret, or
Burgundy.  After dinner are served champagne and other sparkling wines,
just off the ice, and served without decanting, a napkin being wrapped
around the wet bottle.

While wine may be accounted indispensable by many, the growing
sentiment in favor of its total banishment from the dinner-table has
this effect on the etiquette of the case, that the neglect to provide
wine for even a very formal dinner is not now the breach of good form
which it would have been held to be some years ago.  Such neglect has
been sanctioned by the example of acknowledged social leaders; and when
it is the exponent of a temperance principle it has the respect of
every diner-out, whatever his private choice in the matter.  No
_gentleman_ will grumble at the absence of wine at his host's table.
It is good form for a host to serve or _not_ serve wine, as he chooses;
it is very bad form for his guest to comment on his choice.  When any
one who is conscientiously opposed to wine-drinking, or for any reason
abstains, is present at a dinner where wine is served, he declines it
by simply laying his hand on the rim of his glass as the butler
approaches.  No words are necessary.  Apollinaris will take the place
of stronger waters, and no embarrassment follows to either host or
guest.  As to the moral involved, a silent example may be quite as
influential as an aggressive exhibition of one's principles.  Questions
of manners and morals are constantly elbowing one another, and it is a
nice point to decide when and how far duty requires one to defy
conventionality.  It is safe to say that only in extreme cases is this
ever necessary, or even permissible.  The hostess who simply _does not
offer wine to any guest under any circumstances_, is using her
influence effectively and courteously, especially when she supplies the
deficiency with delicious coffee and cocoa, fragrant tea, and, best and
_rarest_ of all, crystal clear, sparkling cold water.  By pointing out
a "more excellent way," she is adding to her faith _virtue_.


Extra knives and forks are brought in with any course that requires
them.  The preliminary lay-out is usually meant to provide all that the
scheme of the dinner will call for; but one must have a goodly supply
of silver and cutlery to avoid altogether the necessity for having some
of it washed and returned to the table during the progress of the
dinner.  It is very desirable to be amply equipped, as it facilitates
the prompt and orderly serving of the courses.

Fruit-knives are required, and ice-spoons, orange-spoons, and other
unique conceits in silver utensils may be provided with the dessert, if
one happens to own them; otherwise, plain forks and spoons do duty as
required.  The fork bears the chief burden of responsibility, being
used for everything solid or semi-solid, leaving the spoon to the
limited realm of soft custards and fruits that are so juicy as to elude
the tines of the fork.

The knife is held in hand as little as possible, being used only when
cutting is actually necessary, the fork easily separating most
vegetables, etc.  In the fish course, however, the knife is used to
assist in removing the troublesome small bones.

In holding the knife the fingers should not touch the blade, except
that the forefinger rests upon the upper edge not far below the shank
when the cutting requires some firmness of pressure.  The dinner knife
should be sharp enough to perform its office without too much muscular
effort, or the possible accident of a duck's wing flying unexpectedly
"from cover" under the ill-directed stress of a despairing carver's
hand.  I have seen the component parts of a fricasseed chicken leave
the table, not _untouched_--oh! no; every one had been _sawing_ at it
for a half-hour--but uneaten it certainly was, for obvious reasons.
The cutlery was pretty, but practically unequal to even spring chicken.

The fork is held with the tines curving downward, that position giving
greater security to the morsel, and is raised laterally, the points
being turned, as it reaches the mouth, just enough to deposit the
morsel between the slightly-parted lips.  During this easy movement the
elbow scarcely moves from its position at the side, a fact gratefully
appreciated by one's next neighbor.  What is more awkward than the arm
projected, holding the fork pointing backward at a right angle to the
lips, the mouth opening wide like an automatic railway gate to an
approaching locomotive--the labored and ostentatious way in which food
is sometimes transported to its destination?  Nor, once in the mouth,
is it lost to sight forever.  Other people, seated opposite, are
compelled to witness it in successive stages of the grinding process,
as exhibited by the constant opening and shutting of the mouth during
mastication, or laughing and talking with the mouth full--faults of
heedless people of energetic but not refined manners.

Liquids are sipped from the side of the spoon, without noise or
suction.  In serving vegetables the tablespoon is inserted laterally,
not "point first."

Celery is held in the fingers, asparagus also, unless the stalks are
too tender.  Green corn may be eaten from the cob, a good set of
natural teeth being the prime requisite.  It may be a perfectly
graceful performance if daintily managed.

The management of fruits in the dessert is another test of dainty
skill.  Oranges may be eaten in different ways.  Very juicy fruit may
be cut in halves across the sections and scooped out with a spoon.  The
drier "seedless" oranges are better peeled and separated.  With a fruit
knife, remove the tough skin of each peg, leaving enough dry fiber to
hold it by, in conveying it to the mouth.  Practice enables one easily
to "make way with" an orange.  Bananas are cut in two, the skin
removed; the fruit is held in the fingers, or--preferably--eaten with a
fork.  Juicy pears and peaches may be managed in the same way, at
discretion, the rule being that the fingers should touch as little as
possible fruits that are decidedly mushy.

The finger-bowl stands ready to repair all damages of the nature
suggested.  The fingers are dipped in the water and gently rinsed, and
then passed lightly over the lips, and both mouth and fingers are wiped
upon the napkin.

At a signal from the hostess, the ladies rise and return to the
drawing-room.  The gentlemen follow immediately, or remain a short time
for another glass of wine, when such is the provision of the host.


The conversation at the dinner-table should be general, unless the
company is large, and the table too long to admit of it.  But in any
case, each one is responsible first of all for keeping up a pleasant
chat with his or her partner, and not allowing that one to be neglected
while attention is riveted on some aggressively brilliant talker at the
other end of the table.  No matter how uninteresting one's partner may
be, one must be thoughtful and entertaining; and such kind attention
may win the life-long gratitude of a timid _débutante_, or the equally
unsophisticated country cousin.

Dinner-table talk should be affable.  The host and hostess must be
alert to turn the conversation from channels that threaten to lead to
antagonisms of opinion; and each guest should feel that it is more
important just now to make other people happy than to gratify his
impulse to "floor" them on the tariff question.  In short, at dinner,
as under most social conditions, the watchword ever in mind should be,
"Not to myself alone."


The informal dinner, daily served in thousands of refined American
homes, is a much less pretentious affair than the name "dinner"
technically implies.  In most cases the service is but partially _à la
Russe_, most courses, and all the _entrées_, being set on the table,
the serving and "helping" being done by some member of the family; the
presence of a waitress being sometimes dispensed with except at
transition points; as, when the table is cleared before the dessert.
This formality is the most decided dinner feature of the meal, which
throughout its progress has been conducted more like a luncheon.  Yet,
in all essential points of mannerliness, the family dinner is governed
by the same rules that control the formal banquet.

It is perhaps needless to remark that the _diner à la Russe_ in its
perfection cannot be carried out without a number of competent
servants.  These may be hired when some special occasion warrants extra
preparations for due formality.  But for customary "entertaining,"
those who "live quietly," with possibly but one domestic to assist with
the dinner, will show good sense in not attempting anything more
imposing than they are able to compass successfully.  The "family
dinner" has a dignity of its own when in keeping with all the
conditions; and though its _menu_ may be simple, its service
unpretentious, it may be the gracious exponent of a hospitality "fit
for a king."

At the informal dinner it is customary to seat the guests in the order
in which they enter the dining-room, without assigning any place of
distinction; all the places at table being held of equal honor--comfort
and convenience being the things chiefly considered.


The most elastic word in the whole vocabulary of entertaining is the
term _luncheon_.  It is applied to a mid-day meal occurring any time
between 11 A. M. and 3 P. M., and may mean anything, from a brilliant
_à la Russe_ banquet, to the hastily gathered together fragments left
from yesterday's dinner.

It may describe an hour of absolute leisure, and the most delightful
conversational interchange, or it may signify the five minutes' grab
from the side-board between the games of a closely-contested amateur
tennis tournament.

In general, we may say that the most formal of luncheons, resembling
the dinner in the main features of its serving, has these points of
distinction; the number of guests is irregular, usually uncertain, they
go to the table singly; they come dressed in any way that the hour of
the day, or their recent occupations warrant--men dropping in dressed
for business or sporting, and ladies in promenade costumes, with
bonnets or hats; the hour is not rigidly fixed,--luncheon, being
largely of cold dishes, is not spoiled by a half-hour's tardiness--a
late comer is greeted as cordially as the first arrival; and "the more
the merrier" seems to be the motto of the hostess who keeps "open
house" at luncheon time.

The formal luncheons for which engraved invitations are issued, are
usually "ladies' luncheons;" and the formality of the serving is
equalled by the elegance of the toilets.  Men have little leisure for
day-time entertainments, except during the brief outing at some summer
resort, where the easy-going lunch is the ruling fashion.

The _menu_ of the cold luncheon may present great variety, and provide
for many guests with little trouble.  For a smaller, or more definite,
number a hot luncheon may be prepared--a tender steak with mashed
potatoes and asparagus, or something equally simple--and a dessert of
cakes, ice-cream, and fruits; in all respects a little "informal

The large buffet luncheon, like the four o'clock tea, gives opportunity
for displaying all the pretty china that one owns.  Flowers and fruits
may decorate the table or tables, and the most artistic effects may be
secured by a little attention to blending and grouping.  A hostess _who
knows how_ can make her rooms look like a festal bower for these
occasions without much money outlay; and if she also is clever in the
compounding of made dishes and salads, she can give luncheons that are
remembered as the epitome of good style, albeit the bills for the same
were surprisingly small.  Such a gifted woman enjoys a sense of
exultation that is unknown to her richer sister, who merely fills out a
cheque for the cost and leaves all else to the caterer, as one must,
when the luncheon is given at a club or tea room.

In general, the buffet luncheon is much the same on all occasions, when
entertaining large companies at home.  The difference is not so much in
the way of serving, as in the kind of refreshments proffered.  The tea
may be a light affair, if you will; merely a bit and a sip for good
fellowship.  But the luncheon is one of the solid meals of the day,
requiring something substantial.  Such sustaining things as chicken
salad, appetizing sandwiches, bouillon (hot or jellied), cold sliced
ham, with relishes, as celery, olives, seasonable fruits, etc., satisfy
the normal hunger at noontime; and delicious cakes and ices with coffee
make a festal finale.  Almost any attractive luncheon dish may be
included, preferably things that are not hurt by standing; as the
luncheon service for a large party fills an hour or two.  For this
reason, coffee is the most manageable beverage to serve.

The refreshments are arranged on the dining-table.  A fine table-cloth
may be used; or handsome doylies if the table itself is of handsome
finish.  The salad bowl is set on one side, the platters of sandwiches,
etc., on the other; with the coffee urn at one end, the ices at the
other, if there is room; otherwise, the cake and ices are served from a
side table.  Another side table is desirable, to hold the stacks of
dishes and napkins.

As the hostess must give her entire attention to receiving her guests,
she intrusts the oversight of the dining-room to several matrons, who
are aided by a bevy of the younger girls (the young men also, at an
evening party).  At the proper time these young people pass the napkins
and plates (usually with the salad already served) to the guests
scattered around the rooms.  Other things are promptly brought, the
coffee being served immediately after, by another set of helpers.
Since all cannot be seated, small tables placed here and there in the
suite of rooms will give the standing ones a chance to set a coffee cup
down now and then.  Candy in tiny reception sticks may be passed with
the cake; or bonbon dishes may be set in unexpected places about the
rooms, where any one who discovers them may nibble at will.

The family waitress, with extra help if needed, should be in attendance
near the dining-room exit, to receive the used dishes and remove them
at once from the scene.  This is a nice point; for a congestion of
dishes in the dining-room spoils the effect of an otherwise
well-managed service.  The maid will also keep the stack of plates,
etc., replenished; and she will carry back and forth from the pantry
the salad bowl and platters for replenishing.

Cutlery is limited to a fork for the salad, a spoon for the coffee, and
a fork or spoon for the ice cream.  The ices may be in fancy individual
shapes, if one chooses to take that much trouble; but the brick,
brought in ready sliced for serving, is always suitable, and easier to

Much of this is so generally understood that further details seem
superfluous.  The least experienced hostess need not be overanxious
about small points, if the general order is observed; for luncheon
guests are a genial crowd, and nobody notices little mishaps.  I am
assuming that your guests are all very nice people, in sympathy with
you, and aiding you to the extent of their ability to make things
pleasant.  Those who have this sincere disposition need no instruction
in behavior.  Each one's conduct will be guided by her own instinctive
sense of propriety.  One who is habitually polite is not likely to make
any blunders at a luncheon, since there are no rigid conventionalities
to be infringed.

If the luncheon hour is much past noon, the guests should be careful
not to remain too long after, as they might thus be detaining the
hostess from later afternoon engagements.


A supper is a late evening meal, and may be an entertainment by itself,
or be served in connection with some social event.  A supper is
understood to consist prevailingly of hot dishes, which distinguishes
the supper from the collation--which might be served on similar
occasions--and which is mainly of cold dishes.  The distinction is not
absolute, however.

A formal supper, or banquet, is served _à la Russe_, and resembles the
dinner in its general conduct; but instead of the heavy roast and
vegetables, the game is the conspicuous course, and various
preparations of oysters, lobster, terrapin, etc., crowd the _menu_
card, with salads of all kinds.  Nine o'clock is a fashionable hour for
the sit-down supper.  The supper served at a dance or a reception is
timed to suit the leading features of the evening.  The _menu_ for
these "crush" suppers covers the ground of the hot supper and the cold
collation combined, and there are few things within the range of dainty
cookery that are not permissible.

The most "social" and enjoyable suppers--with the doctor's
permission--are those that are served an home after the hostess and her
guests have returned from the theatre or opera, lecture or concert.
Tiny biscuit, sandwiches, fried oysters, chicken salad, and golden
coffee, with ice-cream and some superior cake, served like a luncheon,
make a supper easily arranged, and one which winds up a pleasant
evening in a very satisfactory way.


A formal breakfast has little distinctive character.  It differs very
slightly from an early luncheon, except that the viands are more
distinctly breakfast dishes; as, toast, hot muffins, omelettes and other
preparations of eggs, delicate farinaceous foods, _café au lait_, etc.
If it is the veritable breaking of the fast the guests must be very late
risers indeed, as 11 o'clock, or even 12, noon, is a fashionable hour for
this so-called breakfast, which is a phase of social entertaining
reserved for the "leisure class," or only at odd intervals possible to
people of active pursuits.  The morning hours are precious to the hurried
man of business, and the care-environed housekeeper; and "promptness and
dispatch" is the motto of the breakfast table in most houses.

The _real_ breakfast of everyday life is the meal where we least expect
to meet guests--unless it be some one who is staying at the house.  It is
a rare thing for a friend to "drop in" to breakfast, and to invite him to
do so is perhaps the rarest expression of hospitality, and will probably
remain so, while we remain a nation of brain and hand workers.

During the summer vacation, when we pause for a breathing spell, no more
charming hospitality can be offered than a dainty breakfast, especially
in the country.  It may be the preliminary to an all-day house party, or
a picnic excursion; or the breakfast may be the goal of an early morning
drive by carriage or motor, and the hour may be early or late, just as
you please; for is not vacation a period of emancipation from the tyranny
of the clock?  But let not the hour be too early, for tired people are
heavy sleepers; yet not too late either, lest the heat of the sun may
have become too suggestive of the approaching noon-tide; late enough for
weary eyelids to unclose willingly, early enough for the fresh dewy odor
still to cling to the vines on the porch.

The conventional breakfast in town is given very seldom as compared with
dinners and luncheons.  It is peculiarly a holiday hospitality, reserved
until the men are at leisure; for breakfast without the man of the house
would be Hamlet with the prince left out.

There is another significant distinction: the guests are chosen from the
inner circle.  When, on Christmas morning, Mr. and Mrs. A.  entertain Mr.
and Mrs. B. and Mr. and Mrs. C. at breakfast, we infer at once their
intimate friendship and congenial companionship.  One may lunch
impersonally with comparative strangers; one may dine formally touching
elbows with one's dearest foe but one does not of choice breakfast with
any one but a friend, or a friend of a friend--graciously accepted on
trust.  Breakfast is the most intimate breaking of bread; not even the
festive elaboration can make the friendly breakfast seem like anything
but "playing at" formality.  The service is essentially the same as it
usually is in that household, except that the children are not at the
table.  The more homelike it is, the better; for home atmosphere is
revealed as at no other meal, and on no other occasion can a visitor be
made to feel so entirely "one of the family."

The guests remain but a short time after a breakfast, chatting in a
leisurely way, but leaving rather promptly.

The problem of the family breakfast is complicated by the modern stress
of business life.  In suburban towns the typical "commuter" must flee
away with little ceremony; for the 7:08 will not wait, and the 7:10 is a
way train.  In most families breakfast is on the European plan, so to
speak.  For this very reason, perhaps, the occasional holiday breakfast
is the more attractive.  With no train to "catch," no boat to "make," no
office hours to "keep," no demon of driving work to lash one to the
treadmill, how delightful to be able to breakfast with the serenity of
the genial "Autocrat" himself; and how very odd it seems to find oneself
sociably disposed at this unwonted hour!  May it not convey the gentle
admonition that we might be more social every day, if we only thought so?

Psychologically, the breakfast is peculiar.  It is the first commingling
of the day; and whether it be the late holiday feast, or the usual family
gathering, it sets the pace for the twenty-four hours.  A cheerful start
in the morning may give an optimistic momentum for all-day hill-climbing;
or, one may slip dejectedly down hill if leaden-weighted with a "morning
grouch" (one's own, or somebody else's).  Even fellow "boarders" might
reflect on this, with profit.  Preoccupied with our own affairs, we
forget to be mutually considerate.  We habitually wake to rush and worry,
taking social recreation chiefly at the close of day, when too weary to
appreciate it.  Might it not sometimes be well to get ourselves into a
good humor the first thing in the morning, and then work afterward?  Few
people are of such a happy, self-contained disposition that they do not
need the sustaining influence of other cheerful spirits.  Most of us
would have more of sunshine in our hearts if the first business of the
morning had been to put ourselves in harmony with our fellow-creatures
socially.  And if we cannot do this every day, nor even often, according
to our ideal, we at least doubly appreciate the rare occasions when it
has been possible, and we feel impulsively grateful to the hostess whose
thoughtful kindness has made our holiday so bright at its dawning.  Other
ways of entertaining may be more imposing; none are more delightful.  Bid
whom you will to dine with you, but ask me to _breakfast_.


This general term includes a variety of social entertainments, and
suggests all degrees of formality, from the stately reception to the
"surprise party."  With a range so varied, classification is not
readily made.  Some features are always present: a host and hostess
always receive; a guest always first pays his respects to his
entertainers, and then mingles agreeably with the throng.  He makes
himself useful in any way that tact and courtesy suggest.  Supper is
served, usually the buffet collation.  It is more formal, and less
confusing, if the guests go to the dining-room--convenient numbers at a
time--instead of being served in the parlors, as at a luncheon.  On
formal occasions professional readers and musicians are often engaged
as entertainers.  Sometimes the amusement is furnished by clever
amateurs among the guests, who may read, sing, or whistle, or what not.
In a circle where all are well acquainted, some of the pleasantest
evening parties are those to the success of which each one contributes
his mite, cheerfully singing in the chorus when nature has denied him a
solo voice, and not allowing any dark jealousy of superior gifts to
deprive the harmony of his one little note.

Invitations to these informal parties are cordial and personal in tone.
If the guest is expected to make preparation, in costume or to fill
some part on the programme, that fact is briefly stated.  For practical
suggestions, consult "Parlor Games," adding any novel features that you
can devise.  A hostess with original ideas for entertainments is always
successful and popular.  Elderly people as well as the young enjoy
these parties; and they are a safe resource for mixed companies, when a
form of entertainment must be chosen that will please all and offend

Children's parties, usually afternoon affairs, are often merely
childish "good times"; but again, they are conducted in close imitation
of an evening party for adults, and thus made a means of education in
the social ceremonial.  When sensibly managed, the children's party
affords a fine opportunity for training the little people in polite

When the children are almost grown up, but not "out," pleasant little
parties for "the younger set" are given by the mothers, to accustom the
"buds" to conventionalities, and prepare the débutantes and their young
brothers to take their place gracefully in the larger social world.
These younger-set parties are like a grown-up party, except that they
are conspicuously chaperoned, and all responsibility is assumed by the
mothers and godmothers.

The two extreme phases of the evening party are the conventional ball,
and the rural "sociable."

The special requirements for a ball are good music, and large
well-ventilated rooms, from which all superfluous furniture has been
removed.  For music, an orchestra of four or six pieces may be
sufficient.  For space, we must make the best of what we have, if the
ball is given at home.  This is practicable only where the rooms are
reasonably spacious.  Nowadays, a ball in a private house is rare, for
hotels, clubs, and first class caterers furnish charming ballrooms for
rental to exclusive patrons.

But whether in her own house or in a hired ballroom, the hostess is for
the time "at home"; and the general conduct of the ball is the same in
both cases.  Decorations, floral and otherwise, are important; and a
supper, served either during the progress, or at the close of the
dance--or both--is an indispensable feature.

The guests arrive at the hour designated, not earlier than nine
o'clock.  The hostess is stationed at some point near the entrance of
the drawing-room, where she remains during the evening to receive the
guests, who must pay their respects to her, first of all.  A gentleman
will also lose no time in finding his host, and paying him the courtesy
of a deferential greeting.

As the hostess cannot delegate her special duty of receiving, she has
usually several aids, young matrons, who keep a watchful eye upon the
dancing throng, and see to it that partners are not lacking for those
who might otherwise be overlooked; and in any way that the emergency
may suggest, or tact devise, they radiate the hospitality from its
centre--the hostess.

A gentleman in American society does not ask a lady to dance until he
has been introduced to her.  He may seek an introduction for this
purpose, or the hostess may request him to be introduced.  In either
case, the lady and the gentleman both cheerfully acquiesce.  A lady
usually accepts the invitation to dance, unless the dance is already
engaged.  She should be careful to inspect her tablets; and not promise
the same dance to two different partners, an awkward accident that
sometimes happens to a heedless belle.  After a dance, a gentleman
promenades with his partner, chats with her for awhile, and, finally,
with a graceful bow, leaves her once more in the care of her chaperone.

If a man has made an engagement to take a particular lady out to
supper, he must not forget himself and linger talking to another lady
until supper is fairly announced, since etiquette then requires him to
take out the lady with whom he is at the moment talking.  He should
seek the one he has chosen, some moments before, and leave the other
lady free to receive other invitations to supper.

Any gentleman who observes a lady who is not being served with
refreshments, should courteously offer to bring her something.  If he
is a total stranger he will attempt no conversation beyond the
civilities of the case; but these he will cordially though
unobtrusively offer.  The young man who does these little things with
the gentle grace of a knight errant, may not know that he is simply
charming, from a woman's standpoint; but the fact remains.

A ball, proper, is a strictly formal affair.  A dancing party, while
observing similar regulations on the dancing floor, may be, in the
social intervals between dances, as informal as a village "sociable."
That is to say, as informal as the sociable ever _ought_ to be;
possibly not as informal as the sociable sometimes _is_.  People who
have "grown up" together, as villagers often have, are apt to consider
a life-long acquaintance the proper basis for unlimited off-hand
familiarity.  To a certain extent, and in a certain sense, such
acquaintance, being second in intimacy only to near relationship, does
warrant a cordial and trustful informality.  The cautious reserve that
marks one's conduct toward a recent acquaintance might justly be
resented by a tried and trusted friend of one's youth.  But even
relationship does not warrant undignified behavior, or rude liberties
of speech or action.  The boy and girl who went to school together grow
up to be the young man and woman of society; and while the memory of
school days is a bond of hearty friendliness between them, it is not
necessary that they should evince their mutual regard by a
free-and-easy demeanor.

Country sociables, attended largely by the younger members of families
long acquainted and associated, are apt to be rather rollicking, not to
say "rough and tumble," affairs, where practical jokes and unmerciful
"guying" are the characteristic wit, and such smart tricks as bumping
an unsuspecting comrade's head against the wall are applauded with
shrieks of admiring laughter.  The onlookers may be excused for their
tacit countenance of the rudeness, since some element of drollery--that
might have been wit, under better conditions--compels a smile, in spite
of a dignified disapproval of the performance.  A young student, unused
to such scenes, standing a little apart from such a group once remarked
judicially to a lady near him, "I do not care for such _dare-devil
sociability_."  Nor would other young people cherish it as their ideal
of a "good time" if they could learn how much more charming altogether
it is to exchange the delicate courtesies that make up refined social
companionship.  The difference in social culture is what distinguishes
the vulgar wag from the urban wit.  The crude humor of the former,
often marred by coarseness, is like ore in which the dross greatly
out-weighs the pure metal.  The brilliant _mots_ of the latter, refined
by the processes of culture, are like the gold nuggets separated from
their base surroundings.

How to eliminate the "dare-devil" from the sociability of country life,
without substituting an artificial stiffness, is the problem for every
thoughtful and refined man and woman in rural circles.  How to "be
kindly affectioned one to another, in brotherly love, in honor
preferring one another"--perhaps that would furnish the keynote of it
all, alike for the citizen and the rustic.


The preceding chapters describe established customs in home
entertaining.  Such rules remain in force for the home conditions.

But who can live in this electric-motor age without noting the gradual
variation in "the ways of doing things"--changes that are directly
traceable to the influence of modern inventions?  The trolley lines
have brought large areas within the city limits; the swift automobile
has reduced miles to furlongs.  Town and country are intermingled as
never before, and each is sensibly modified by the other.  By its very
name, the "Town and Country" club recognizes this new community of
interests.  Its members, living even twenty miles away, outdo
Sheridan's ride, in arriving at the club on time for luncheon, golf, or

Which brings to mind this fact: that to-day a large part of formal
entertaining in cities is no longer _at home_.  Elaborate dinners,
teas, and luncheons are given at one's club, or at _cafés_, exclusive
"tea rooms," and in the elegantly appointed private dining-rooms now
provided by the best hotels.  After-theatre suppers are almost
invariably taken at a fashionable restaurant--doubtless greatly to the
relief of both the hostess and her housemaids.  While cooperative
housekeeping is still an undeveloped scheme, things seem to be trending
that way.

The multiplication of huge apartment houses (and diminutive apartments)
is the other prime factor in the case.  While the hotel dinner may have
come into fashion first as the dire necessity of the "cliff dwellers,"
its convenience appeals to many householders who formerly would not
have dreamed of offering their guests the hospitality of a _café_.
Many conservative people still deplore the innovation; but fashion
approves, and the custom grows.

Entertaining at one's club is governed by the rules of that particular
club.  When entertaining at tea rooms, or _cafés_, one has simply to
arrange with the superintendent or the head waiter, for tables or
private dining-room, for the date chosen; to choose the _menu_, and
order the decorations.  This done, the entertainers and their friends
have but to appear at the stated hour and play their respective rôles
with care-free grace.  These dinners may be given by a bachelor, to a
mixed company, or to a bevy of the débutantes, with the co-operation of
a society matron or a married couple to chaperone the affair.  This is
a very pleasant way for a bachelor to make return for the social
attentions showered on himself.

This way of entertaining may be lavishly expensive, but it is not
necessarily so; all things considered, it may not greatly exceed the
cost of similar entertaining at home.  In this land of the free, any
one who will may give a tea room luncheon.  But the semi-publicity of
these functions invites criticism; and people of moderate income
discreetly forbear attempting anything too ambitious for their obvious
means.  Elegant simplicity is always good form.

The universal use of the telephone is another factor in the
modification of social customs.  Among familiar friends, the little
chat over the 'phone largely takes the place of the informal call.
Also, invitations to any but strictly formal functions are now sent by
telephone, if agreeable to both parties; though it is still considered
better to adhere to the more respectful written form if there is any
doubt about the new way being acceptable to the party of the second
part.  While I counsel conservatism in these changes, I am convinced
that the new dynasty of wire and wireless is destined to dominate us;
and as discovery continues and inventions multiply, the time is near
when _immediate communication_ will be had at long range; possibly
telepathy--who knows?  Or, possibly tele-photography with it--why not?
Then, the slow, laborious writing of messages will be as much out of
date as the super-annuated stage-coach.

But--not yet; we are still in the process of evolution.  It is still
safe to heed Pope's famous advice:

  "Be not the first by whom the new is tried,
  Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."


It is the duty of the host or hostess to give a polite and cheerful
welcome to the guest whom they have invited to cross their threshold.
During the time that she remains under their roof they have the
responsibility of making her comfortable, and as happy as possible.  To
do this, attention to details is of the greatest consequence.  It is
possible to give dinners, and _musicales_, and receptions for a guest,
and to introduce her to a choice circle of friends; to plan drives and
excursions for sight-seeing to points of interest; to bring out the
best preserves from the store-room, and put on the table all the
delicacies of the season; and yet something may be lacking.  A subtle
expression of discomfort may at times cloud the face of the guest, and
greatly disturb the anxious hostess, who redoubles her efforts to think
of something else in the way of entertainment and diversion.  If this
well-meaning hostess will accompany me to the guest-room while its
temporary occupant is reading on the "front porch," perhaps I can point
out to her some things that will give a clue to the mystery.

The guest-room is large and airy, and "well-furnished," as the phrase
goes, with a soft carpet prevailingly blue, and a prettily carved oaken
"set."  The bed is covered with a lace counterpane over a blue silk
quilt, and downy pillows invite to slumber.  Curtains of blue silk and
white lace are draped at the windows; cushions, tidies, sachets,
gim-cracks of every description load the bureau, and lie around in
profusion; a pretty rug of fluffy fur is spread before a comfortable
couch, and a rocking-chair and foot-stool are in the cozy window
recess.  A small table with a vase of flowers upon it occupies one
space against the wall.  The wash-stand bears the regulation "toilet
set," bowl and pitcher, soap-dish, etc., with the china jar set in the
corner.  Plenty of damask towels hang on the rack, and the "splasher"
is a marvel of needlework.  Well, is not this a pretty comfortable room?

It seems ungracious to answer nay; but truth compels me to say that it
proves to be a most _un_comfortable room, as managed.  Since the guest
arrived, this three-quart pitcher has been filled each morning with
cold water.  Beyond this, no offer of the aqueous element in any form
has been made.  The guest, accustomed at home to an abundance of hot
water, and the luxury of a bath daily--or oftener, at will--has been
suffering the greatest privation rather than trouble her hostess with a
request for something which is so evidently not thought of in this
house.  With soap that "chaps," and a stiff nail-brush she has
painfully scrubbed her cold knuckles to remove the grime which several
days of imperfect ablution has rendered almost immovable--except as the
skin comes with it.  And as to her customary bath, she has substituted
so much of hasty sponging as chattering teeth will allow, finishing off
with a dry polish when prudence forbids further risk of a chill; and
she has completed her toilet with a sense of self-disgust, and a
dissatisfaction with her surroundings which makes her long for the day
set for the termination if this visit, which might have been so
pleasant, if she had been made physically comfortable.  When she goes
home she will answer, to the kind inquiries of her mother: "Oh! yes; I
had a lovely time!--or that is, I should have had, if only I could have
had a _bath_!"

Whether it is that some people do not care for bathing, and therefore
do not realize its necessity to the comfort of other people; or whether
they have an idea that a "guest" is a being who, while in that _rôle_,
needs none of the ordinary comforts of every-day life; or, whatever the
reason may be, this failure to provide bath facilities is one of the
most common and flagrant neglects of hospitality.

When the guest-room has no private bath attached, and it is
impracticable to offer the use of the family bath-room, a small tub of
zinc or granite ware should be included in the furnishing of the
guest-room, together with a square of thin oil-cloth to spread on the
carpet.  The guest should be informed that hot water is always in
readiness to be brought to her room whenever she requires it.  In
country houses having no "modern conveniences," every kitchen stove may
have an ample boiler always filled with clean water, so that at all
times hot water may be available for bathing purposes.  It is
unpardonable to live without at least this much provision for an
essential condition of civilized life--"the cleanliness that is next to

In addition to the water supply, the guest-room should contain other
requisites for a comfortable toilet.  Presumably, every guest who comes
for a several-days' stay brings with her the small articles she will
need; but oversights are frequent in hurried packing, and the resources
of the guest-room should be equal to any such emergency, even though
only a part of the provision is required in any one case.  A neat,
close cabinet, with a closet beneath and shelves above, is a desirable
piece of furniture.  In the closet the bath-tub can be stored, and
bath-brushes, "loofahs," and sponges can be hung up while the shelves
may hold a supply of toilet sundries; for example, a flask of bay rum,
and one of violet-water; a bottle of spirits of ammonia, a bottle of
alcohol, a spirit lamp and curling tongs, tooth-powder, rosewater, and
glycerine; a jar of fine cold-cream, hair-brush and combs, a
clothes-brush, a whisk broom, a reserve supply of soap--"Ivory" (if the
water is hard, this soap is superior for the bath) and fine castile,
and a delicately-scented soap of first quality.  The cheap "scented"
abominations should not be inflicted on a guest.

The dressing-table should have a supply of pins in variety, including
hairpins; a work-box, containing needles and thread, a thimble,
scissors, tape, shoe-buttons, etc.  A bottle of cologne and also of
some first-class "triple extract" should stand on the bureau.

With all this provided, one is not likely to lack any comfort for the
toilet; yet, with it all, the hostess should make her guest understand
that the motto is: "If you don't see what you want, ask for it."  This
freedom will not be taken by a sensitive guest unless it is clearly
invited.  The self-complacent way in which a hostess sometimes ushers a
guest into the "best room," and then leaves her to the mercy of what
she can find--or, rather, _cannot_ find--forestalls all requests for
additional supplies.  In the midst of all the satin and lace flummery,
it is pathetic to suffer in silence for the lack of a little beggarly
hot water.  And yet, such is the experience of many an "honored guest."

Beside the toilet comforts, there are other things that may well be
added to the equipment of the guest-room.  One, in particular, is a
well-appointed little writing-desk, containing all the requisites for
letter-writing, including stamps.  Perhaps the guest has brought these
things with her, more likely she has forgotten them, and it may be a
matter of great convenience to her to find this little desk awaiting
her.  If there is a shelf above, a selection of standard and
entertaining books may be placed thereon.  The Bible, a book of Common
Prayer, a hymnal, may be included; a copy of Shakespeare, a dictionary,
some clever and interesting book, like _Curious Questions_, and a
volume or two of sketches and essays, ranging in style from Emerson to
Jerome K. Jerome, may agreeably fill the mid-day hour of rest which the
guest takes in her room before dressing for the afternoon.  The only
trouble is that the guest who is made so thoroughly comfortable may
forget to go home.  At all events, she will no doubt hail with delight
a second invitation to come.

It may be objected that to keep the guest-room supplied to this extent
would involve a considerable expense; but that would depend on the
character of the guest.  No well-bred woman would depend on these
"supplies" for the entire period of a long visit.  They are there to
meet the emergency of a belated trunk, of something forgotten or
overlooked, or the delays in making necessary purchases after her
arrival.  She will gratefully accept the cologne until her own flask is
unpacked, but she leaves the guest-room supply but little diminished
when she departs.

The hostess who has been embittered by seeing only a train of empty
bottles in the wake of a departing guest may naturally feel discouraged
about offering unlimited hospitality in the matter of druggists'
sundries.  But it is merely that she has been unfortunate in her
guests.  She should revise her visiting list.  In entertaining the
right sort of people, she will have no such experience.  She will be
fully rewarded for every care she bestows to make her house a home-like
resort, and she will find that the cost amounts to very little compared
with the large return it brings in the way of social appreciation, to
say nothing of the satisfaction afforded to her own benevolent
impulses.  "It is more blessed to give than to receive," as the ideal
hostess can testify.


The responsibilities of a visit are not all on the shoulders of a
hostess.  The guest has also a duty in the matter.

The phrase of welcome quoted above is variously interpreted, if we may
judge by the various ways in which the injunction is obeyed.  To some
people, "make yourself at home" is a free permit to take possession of
everything on the premises; to cut the choicest roses in the garden, to
call for the carriage at capricious will, to consult no one's comfort
but their own, and to impose upon the polite forbearance of every one
else, regardless--in short, to behave as no one can behave at home for
any length of time without disrupting that home.

To _make one's self_ at home is to _adapt one's self_ to one's
environment.  If things are different from what we are accustomed to,
we must try to accustom ourselves to _them_, and the mannerly guest
will strive to do this, not as a cross, but as a pleasure.  She will
meet cordially the friends of her hostess who are introduced to her,
however little they attract her; she will cheerfully accompany the
family to their church, even though it be of a different faith from her
own; and she will listen respectfully to the sermon, and refrain from
ungracious criticism of the choir or the minister.  She will take an
interest in any local happenings that are of vital interest to her
entertainers; she will show lively appreciation of everything done for
her entertainment, even though it may be but a commonplace and dull
affair, in her private judgment.  She will measure her grateful duty to
them, not so much by the degree of pleasure which they actually give
her, as by the amount of effort which they obviously make.  It is very
ungracious for a guest of wide social experience to be apathetic when
some unsophisticated little hostess offers what to her seems a novel
treat, but which to her worldly-wise guest is a threadbare device.  No
matter if the device is threadbare; the spirit of kindness which
prompts the effort is immortal; and though we have seen "rainbow teas"
until we are weary of them, we will enter cheerfully into the spirit of
this one, because our little hostess in the innocence of her heart has
worked so hard to make it ready in our honor.

The guest should avoid giving extra trouble to the hostess, or to the
servants.  She may offer assistance when circumstances warrant her
doing so, but must refrain from meddling with household matters when
her help is evidently not desired.  She should entertain herself easily
when the hostess is otherwise busy, yet never seem to have any
absorbing occupation that would prevent her from being ready at once to
join the family in any project.  If there are children in the house,
she should be cordial and affectionate with them, without gushing
insincerity or indiscreet petting, and she should not betray any
annoyance if they are noisy and occasionally troublesome--as the best
of children will be at times.  She should aim to feel and act as though
the interests and pleasures of the family were her own, and not make
remarks that are tacit comparisons to their disadvantage.  If there are
glaring faults in the domestic management, it is not her province to
correct them, except so far as a quiet example may be subtly
influential, as it will be, if at heart she makes herself a part of the
circle of sympathy.  After her return to her own home, she should write
a letter to her hostess, expressing the pleasure which the memory of
her visit gives her, and gracefully thanking her friend for all that
made the sojourn so restful and happy.

There is something singularly inspiring in the idea of "making one's
self at home," in the sense of finding the _value_ in every environment
which fate, or chance, or Providence may place us in.  And when, as
welcome guests, we listen to this hearty greeting, we resolve that in
all ways consistent with our duty to our entertainers, and with all
grateful appreciation of their kindness to us, we will "make ourselves
at home."


Every one theoretically admits the importance of early training.  It is
demonstrated in the animal and the vegetable kingdoms, wherever organic
life unfolds and grows; and that the human child is no exception is
promptly recognized in theory, however fatally practice ignores it.

Not that parents mean to ignore it; but there is a "happy-go-lucky"
impression that somehow "he will come out all right;" that "as he gets
older, his own good sense will assert itself," and so on.  Happily,
this is partly true.  A native good disposition and good sense saves
many a child from the ruin which an unwise course of training has done
its best to precipitate.  The wonder is that they "turn out" as well as
they do.  Perhaps Providence, in visiting its judgments, is lenient to
the young and inexperienced parents, themselves undisciplined; to the
helpless child, at the mercy of his blind guides.

There is too much negative, too little positive, in child-training; too
much querulous reiteration of "don't," too little intelligent teaching
how to _do_.  Little children like to be "shown how;" they are
fascinated with the games and gifts of the kindergarten, which aims to
_teach something_, not to _repress everything_.  Children are delighted
to learn little polite phrases; to make a bow; to hold a fork daintily;
to offer little courtesies, and to receive a smiling approbation.  They
would rather do things prettily than not.  They are _not "contrary,"_
exceptional cases of hereditary ugliness aside.  They are apt pupils,
whether their tutor be a philosopher or a fool.  And if a faulty
example be a child's most constant and influential teacher, what wonder
that the lessons, well-learned, are put in practice?  And just then, if
you listen, you will hear some one issue the emphatic but vacuous
command, "Don't!"  And the baby _doesn't_, for the space of a few
seconds; after which, unable to get any new suggestions out of the
idea-less instructions given him, he proceeds to do the same thing
over, only to be again commanded to desist, a spanking for
"disobedience" this time varying the monotony of the universal

The profane poll-parrot is not a more startling witness to the
character of its surroundings than the "terrible infant," whose rude
snatchings, pert contradictions, and glib slang phrases are sure to be
most effectively "shown off" in the presence of visitors.  It is of
little use to affect grieved surprise, or stern reprobation, when one's
children are merely exhibiting their daily discipline.  Most parents
feel keenly the embarrassment of having the infant misbehave so
inopportunely, and they are apt to offer a tacit apology and a vague
self-defense by sharply reprimanding the child in words that are meant
to give the visitor the idea that they--the parents--never _heard_ or
_saw_ such conduct before, and are now frozen with amazement.  The
nonchalant or incredulous or impish way in which the children receive
these reproofs only confirms the suspicion that such scenes have been
frequent, and the discipline attending them has been inconsequent.

One parent I have heard acknowledge the truth of the matter.  An
elderly clergyman was his guest, and the four-year-old daughter of the
house was entertaining the "grandpa" with a toy puzzle, which he
fumbled with in vain, unable to put it together or to take it apart.
Impatient at last, the little girl hastily snatched it from his hand
with a childish growl of contempt, and proceeded to show him the trick,
saying, with an airy mingling of criticism and condescension, "By Jove!
your name is Dennis; _you_ are not in it!"  The old gentleman paused,
instinctively prepared to hear the usual "Why, daughter! papa is
_astonished_ to hear his little girl," etc, etc., after the fashion of
the parental hypocrite.  But this candid young father met the dignified
eyes squarely, and said promptly, "I'm sorry, Doctor, but there's no
use denying it; she is just giving _me_ away."  He had the sense to
recognize his own teaching, the honesty to admit it.  Whether he has
the discretion to reform his methods remains to be seen.

For right here is another point: that people think it is "cute" for a
_little_ child to say and do things that in a child a few years older
would be most unattractively rude.  But they must reflect that this
same cute little child will soon be a few years older, and will carry
into that riper age the fixed habits that are forming now; and it will
not be so easy a task to transform the child's manners as it is to
dress him in a larger suit of clothes.

A choice rose was grafted upon a wild, thorny stock, and planted beside
a veranda trellis.  The owner watched it carefully for a year or so,
cutting down the rank shoots of the wild stock as they sprang
aggressively from the root, allowing the grafted branch to grow in full
luxuriance, bearing carmine clusters that filled the garden with spicy
odor.  The next spring an ignorant gardener pruned away the branches,
cutting down the slenderest and leaving what to his unpracticed eye
were the most desirable, because the thriftiest, shoots; and when the
time of blossoms came, nothing appeared but the ragged petals of the
wild thorn.

So, in "the rosebud garden of girls"--or boys.  If the choice graft of
cultured manners (for it _is_ a graft on the sturdy but wayward stock
of human nature) is left to be choked out by the rank, wild growth of
impulse, or if by some flagrant error in example and discipline it is
practically cut down at the main branch, what can the careless trainer
expect?  He may weep to find no velvet-petaled rose when he comes to
look for it; but he has no right to blame the rose-bush, nor can he, at
this late day, hide the tact of his blundering pruning by righteously
affirming that he is "perfectly astonished."  His neighbors, who have
quietly noted the methods pursued in his kindergarten, are not in the
least surprised.

Another resource for escaping blame is that of explaining that the
children "learn these things at school."  Presumably they do not mean
from the teachers.  It is "from the other children," who seem to be a
most injurious class of society.  It is their influence which makes
_our_ children so rude and so ungrammatical; and, strangely enough,
though these other children never dine with our children, so subtle and
far-reaching is their baleful influence that our children's defective
manners at the table are directly traceable to the same evil source.

Granted, a measure of truth in the charge; for large mirthfulness and
large imitation lead children to do things "just for fun," which all
the time they know better than to persist in.  But, as a fact,
demonstrated by observation, a very small percentage of the children
who are habituated to correct behavior at home are ever seriously
affected by outside influences.  A superficial effect may show in
little things; but such lapses of speech or manner are transient, and
in no degree control the development of the child when his home
training is irreproachable.  On the other hand, the efforts of an
untiring teacher, laboring five hours a day to teach correct language
and enunciation, may be of little permanent value, when the remaining
hours of the day are spent in a home where the English grammar hourly
meets a violent death.

And what is true of grammar is equally true of morals and manners.  The
school and society may be measurably influential; but the home casts
the deciding vote.  And when people note the manners--good or bad--of
your boys and girls, they do not ask, "What school do they attend?"
"What children do they associate with?" but, "_Whose children are

Would you have them mannerly?  Teach them; by precept, certainly; but
above all things, by example.


Henry the Fifth, of England, disposed of certain troublesome
restrictions of etiquette by remarking that "nice customs curtsey to
great kings:" but in the twentieth century, customs are more likely to
curtsey to the common sense of the community at large.

City codes and country customs present some contradictious.  The exact
rules of etiquette in social formalities, which are derived from the
established usage of fashionable circles in the city, are constantly
subject to modifications when they are applied under the conditions
found in rural neighborhoods.  This is plainly illustrated in the
comminglings of social "Young America."  Whereas the city-bred girl is
carefully chaperoned, the village girl of equal social standing,
intrinsically speaking, is accustomed to go about unconcernedly, either
alone or under the escort of some youth, with whom she makes
engagements to drive, or walk, or row, or attend picnics, without
either of them, as a rule, thinking it necessary to ask her mother to
join them, or even to give her permission, that being taken for
granted, since it has probably never been denied.  And the question
naturally arises, Why _should_ it be denied, when the young man is a
trusted chum of her brother, and as safe an escort for her as her own
father would be?  It is a very different case from the similar instance
in the city, where the gallant is a comparative stranger, who may or
may not be reliable, and where a conventional world is coldly looking

But, moreover, if this young country girl chooses, she goes alone to a
little evening party a few doors away, or to the evening "meeting" at
the village church, and this same youth, or some other one, escorts her
home in an impromptu fashion.  The young lady probably invites him into
the house, if the hour is early and the family are still circled about
the parlor lamp.  Or, if it is late, she does not ask him in, but
invites him to call.  She does not thank him for his escort, unless it
has been given at obvious inconvenience to himself or others, and is
therefore not so much a matter of gallantry as of neighborly
accommodation.  In the latter case she does thank him frankly for his

When the young man calls to see her, she receives him with or without
the presence of her mother or other members of the family.  She may
invite him to tea, with her mother's serene but passive approval; and,
in fact, the goings and comings of these young people are more like the
comradery of two girls than like the formal association of a young man
and young woman in society.

We are accustomed to call such a code a country code, because of its
almost universal following in small towns and villages.  But similar
freedom of association is also observed in city circles outside of the
exclusive bounds of fashionable life.  Indeed, some of the fashions
called "countryfied" are equally "cityfied," if we judge by the extent
of the usage.  But what has been quite safe and sensible and refined in
the particular instance in the country, may be a most unsafe freedom in
the city, where every circle is constantly being invaded, more or less,
by new-comers and by a floating contingent of transient people, whose
record is not known even to the people who introduce them.  The frank
friendliness that is usually good form in the village circle is usually
a great mistake in the city.  It is better that young ladies, whether
nominally chaperoned or not, should be guarded against making
acquaintances too readily, especially among young men.  If a young man
is deserving of social recognition, let the young lady's mother grant
it to him by inviting him to her house and permitting his association
with her own young people.

A young girl should not extend these invitations to call unless she is
well acquainted with the young man, or unless she gives the invitation
in her mother's name, and with the understanding that he will be
received by her mother as well as herself.  Usually, the mother should
be the one to extend the hospitality.

In the case of an unmarried woman who is no longer young, it is
presumed that discretion will guide her as to when it is dignified and
proper to give invitations to call, the conservative side being the
safe side where strangers are concerned.

The ideal condition of Americanized chaperonage is far from being
realized in the great mass of American society.  A small and exclusive
circle observes the English code in this matter; the rest of society
ignore the whole idea--as an idea--though the thoughtful mother
instinctively guards her daughter in a desultory way, perhaps meeting
the spirit of the idea in the main, but flagrantly disregarding the
letter of the formal code.  The two extremes we have; but a real,
systematic code of chaperonage that is not French, nor English, nor
Spanish, but wholesome, sensible, thorough-going American _mother's_
guardianship we are yet to see definitely carried out.  The occasional
instance of it which we now and then observe has taught us to
appreciate what would be the happiest development in our social life,
if once attained.

Meanwhile, the average American girl will probably continue to shine as
the startling exception to the rule; and in her remarkable escapes from
serious blunders, will continue to bear the palm for self-command and
good sense.  Her ability to ignore a law, while consciously cherishing
all that the law was devised to protect, is a flattering indication of
her mental and moral integrity.  Even a dull-witted person can follow a
set rule; it requires some genius to make a legitimate exception, and
it also involves some temerity.  It is like gathering mushrooms;
perhaps they are edible, perhaps they are poisonous; for the various
fungi look very much alike.  If it happens to be right, it is right; if
it happens to be wrong, it is sheer disaster.

A social code that borrows no artifice from foreign lands and
institutions, but which, true to the spirit of our own country, guards
the liberty of young girls on the one hand, while on the other it
shields them from license, will be welcomed by all thoughtful people.
The American chaperone is the coming woman.  The girls of the next
generation will rise up and call her blessed.


The question of the chaperone in America is peculiarly perplexing.  The
consternation of the hen whose brood of ducklings took to the water is
a fit symbol of the horrified amazement with which an old-world
"duenna" would be filled if she attempted to "look after" a bevy of
typical American girls, with their independent--yet confused--ideas of
social requirements in the matter of chaperonage.

In Europe, where social lines are distinctly drawn, a young woman
either belongs "in society" or else she does not.  In the former case
she is constantly attended by a chaperone.  In the latter case she is
merely a young person, a working girl, for whom "society" makes no
laws.  In our country there is a leisure class of "society women," so
recognized.  If these alone constituted good society in America, we
might simply adopt the European distinctions, and settle the chaperone
question by a particular affirmative referring to these alone.  But we
reflect that our thoughts throughout this little volume are mainly for
those who dwell within the broad zone of the average heretofore
referred to.  In this republican land no one can say that the bounds of
good society lie arbitrarily here and there; certainly they are not
marked by a line drawn between occupation and leisure.  The same young
girl--after leaving school, at the period when society life begins--may
be "in society" during leisure hours and in business during working
hours.  It is accounted perfectly lady-like and praiseworthy for a
young woman, well born and bred, to support herself by some
remunerative employment that holds her to "business hours."  She may be
a teacher, an artist, a scribe, an editor, a stenographer, a
book-keeper--what may she _not_ do, with talent, training, and good
sense?  And she may do this without being one iota less a lady--_if she
is one to begin with_.

Now appears the complication.  As a business woman, the self-reliant
young girl does not need a chaperone.  As a society woman, this
inexperienced, sensitive, human-nature-trusting child _does_ need a
chaperone.  She is, therefore, subject to what we may call intermittent
chaperonage.  Business, definite, serious occupation of any kind, is a
coat of mail.  The woman or girl who is plainly absorbed in some
earnest and dignified _work_ is shielded from misinterpretation or
impertinent intrusion while engaged in that work.  She may go
unattended to and from her place of business, for her destination is
understood, and her purpose legitimate.  She needs no guardian, for her
capacity to take care of herself _under these conditions_, is
demonstrated to a respectful public.  The spectacle of a stately
middle-aged woman accompanying each girl book-keeper to her desk every
morning would be burlesque in the extreme.  The girl who is thus
allowed to go alone to an office in business hours, sometimes thinks it
absurd for any one to say that she must not go alone to a drawing-room,
and she _does_ go alone.  Right here this independent girl makes a
mistake.  It is granted that the girl with brains and principle to bear
herself discreetly during office hours is probably able--in the
abstract--to exercise the same good sense at a party.

But _the conditions are changed_ to the eye of the onlooker.  The girl
who went to the office wearing the shield and armor of her work, now
appears in society _without that shield_.  To the observer she differs
in no wise from the banker's daughter, who "toils not."  Like the
latter, she needs on social occasions the watchful chaperonage that
should be given to all young girls in these conditions.  The woman who
is in society at all must conform to its conventional laws, or lose
caste in proportion to her defiance of these laws.  She cannot defy
them without losing the dignity and exclusiveness that characterize a
well-bred woman, and without seeming to drift into the careless and
doubtful manners of "Bohemia."  The fairy-story suggests the principle;
Cinderella could work alone in the dust and ashes undisturbed; but the
fairy-god-mother must needs accompany her when she went to the ball.
In the best circles everywhere, at home and abroad, every young girl
during her first years in society is "chaperoned."  That is to say, on
all formal social occasions she appears under the watch and ward of an
older woman of character and standing--her mother, or the mother's
representative.  The young woman's calls are made, and her visits
received, in the company of this guardian of the proprieties; and she
attends the theatre or other places of amusement, only under the same
safe conduct.

Society to the young girl is May-fair.  With the happy future veiled
just beyond, she goes to meet a possible romance, and to traverse a
circle of events that may haply round up in a wedding-ring.  It is of
the utmost importance that she shall not be left at the mercy of
accidental meetings, indiscreet judgments, and the heedless impulses of
inexperienced youth, which may effectually blight her future in its
bud.  A parent or guardian does a girl incalculable injury in allowing
her to enter upon society life without chaperonage, and the unremitting
watch-care and control which only a discreet, motherly woman can give
to girlhood.  Men respect the chaperoned girl.  Honorable men respect
her as something that is worth taking care of; men who are not
honorable respect her as something with which they dare not be unduly
familiar--though they account it "smart" to be "hail fellow well met"
with the girl who ignorantly goes about unattended, or with other
unchaperoned girls, on social occasions.  A girl must have an unusual
measure of native dignity, as well as native innocence, always to
escape the disagreeable infliction of either "fresh" or _blasé_
impertinence, if she has no mother's wing to flutter under.

This absolute condition of chaperonage exists during the novitiate of
the young society woman.  The requirement grows less and less rigid as
the young woman grows more and more experienced, and learns to meet
social emergencies for herself.  That delicate ignoring of a woman's
age which is shown in calling her a "girl" until she is married also
permits her to be a chaperoned member of society until that event.  But
when obviously past her youth, it is no longer required that she shall
wear the demeanor of a _débutante_.  Nor does propriety demand her
mother's constant presence, when years of training have taught the
daughter her mother's discretion, and when the mother's own serene
dignity looks out of the daughter's eyes.

We are proud of the ideal American girl.  I mean the one _who is
essentially a lady_, whether rich or poor, the one whose sterling good
sense is equal to her emergencies; the one who is self-reliant without
being bold, firm without being overbearing, brainy without being
masculine, strong of nerve--"but yet a woman."  Let her be equipped for
the battle of life, which in our state of society so many girls are
fighting single-handed.  Instruct her in business principles; teach her
to use the discretion needed to move safely along the crowded
thoroughfare and to follow the routine of the office or the studio,
trusting that with busy head and busy hands she may be safe wherever
duty leads her tireless feet.  But in her hours of social recreation,
when she will meet and solve the vital problems of her own personal
life, she needs a subtle _something more_; the mother's wisdom to
supply the deficiencies of her inexperience, the mother's love to
enfold her in unspoken sympathy, the mother's approbation to rest upon
her dutiful conduct like a benediction.

Let no young girl regard this watch-care as a trammel placed on her
coveted liberty.  On the contrary, she will find that she has far more
social freedom with the countenance of her mother's presence than she
could have without it.  And in after years, when her life has developed
safely and happily under this discreet leadership, she will look back
to her _début_, and her first seasons in society, with profound
gladness that--thanks to somebody wiser than herself--she has escaped
the follies that have in more or less measure injured the prospects of
her young friends who were too "independent" to submit to the
restraints of chaperonage, and who, for lack of it, to-day find
themselves to a relative extent depreciated in social estimation.


The proverb, "The beginning is half the battle," applies in a multitude
of ways.  In the first instant of a greeting between two people, the
ground upon which they meet should be indicated.  Cordiality, reserve,
distrust, confidence, caution, condescension, deference--whatever the
real or the assumed attitude may be, should be shown unmistakably when
eyes meet and heads bend in the ceremony of greeting.

To put into this initial manner the essence of the manner which one
chooses to maintain throughout is one of the fine touches of diplomacy.
People fail to do this when their effusively gracious condescension
subsequently develops into snobbishness, or when an austere stiffness
of demeanor belies the friendliness which they really intend to
manifest.  The latter fault is often due to diffidence or awkward
self-consciousness; the former is usually traceable to the caprice of
an undisciplined nature, and is a significant mark of ill-breeding.

The vital part of a greeting is in the expression of the eyes.  This is
so nearly spontaneous that the most guarded cannot altogether veil the
spirit that looks out of these "windows of the soul."  The studied
attitude and genuflection fail to hide surliness or contempt; and
hostility, bitter and implacable, may reveal itself by the smoldering
spark of anger in the eye, and destroy the effect of the most artful
obsequiousness of manner.  Since we cannot control this one
impulsively-truthful medium of expression, it becomes a matter of
policy as well as of morals to harbor no spirits whose "possession" of
us would be an unpleasant and inconvenient revelation.

Next to the eyes, the pose of the figure indicates the sentiment of the
moment.  Arrogant assumption of superiority may be read in the expanded
chest, the stiffened neck, and the head thrown backward at a decided
angle; or, subservient humility is seen in the forward-bending head and
the wilted droop of the shoulders.  And again, the difference between a
real humility and the artificial deference which gallantry prompts is
easily detected.  The gallant's head and shoulders are bowed, but not
in meekness, for there is a certain tension in the controlled muscles
that suggests that he can "straighten up" at will, whereas the really
humble man appears to have no power to lift his bowed head or equally
drooping spirit.

The bending of the head and trunk, or the "bow," is the final and most
active exponent of the spirit of the greeting.  In its degrees and
gradations are marked the degrees of deference, real or formal.

The bow begins at the head, and may observe the following gradations:

It may be an inclination of the head only, differing from a "nod" in
the dignity of movement.

The inclination may extend to the shoulders, causing a slightly
perceptible forward leaning.  This inclination may continue to the
waist line.

The extreme inclination bends the entire trunk from the hips.  The legs
are straight and the feet near together, in the attitude of "position"
in free gymnastics.

In every bow, of whatever gradation, the movement should be slow, the
eye steady, the face serene, and the whole demeanor expressive of
polite interest in the object.  An averted eye is disrespectful, and
suggests insincerity or treachery.  Not that it always means either;
the "drooping eyelash" is affected by many women as gracefully
expressive of feminine modesty.  It may be coquettish, but there is
nothing particularly womanly in never looking a man in the eye.  Search
the face that confronts you, and learn what manner of man this is whom
you are receiving into your company and fellowship.  If he quails under
the inquisition, so much the worse for him.  If he is worth looking at,
it is a pity to miss the sight.  Moreover, we more than half suspect
that a woman's face is more attractive if her eyes occasionally "look
up clear," instead of allowing the downcast lids to hide all of their
vivacity and expression.

The gayety or the gravity of the countenance may serve to measure the
cordiality or the reserve which respectively distinguish two
"bows"--exactly alike as to movement, and equally courteous, the one
inviting confidence, the other repelling familiarity.  The time, the
place, and the occasion, and the mutual relations of people, decide the
essential character of the appropriate bow.  It must always be the
exponent of the nature and disposition of the individual, and of his
relation to the person whom he greets.  No one has precisely the _same
manner_ for any two people of his acquaintance--that is, if he has any
vital manner at all.  We are to others largely what they inspire us to
be, and only lifeless indifference reduces "manner" to one same
automatic manifestation.  The life of a social greeting is in its
exclusive spirit, and though the variations of outward manner are
difficult to trace, it is a graceful and flattering thing to make this
specialty of manner felt in every greeting extended.  Perhaps, after
all, it is the eye that controls this, as the spirit within controls
the eye.

In general, the manner of a greeting should be optimistic, free from
ungracious suspicion, and indicating a cheerful willingness to take
people at their best; and even when most sternly forbidding
intrusiveness, it should appear that the repulse is for good cause, and
is not merely the expression of a capricious and unfounded arrogance.
The latter quality, quite as often as not, characterizes the manner of
snobs toward people who are infinitely their superiors in all that
indicates character and breeding.

The "curtsey"--or "courtesy"--is a feature of the minuet, and revived
with the old-fashioned dance.  It is a pretty bit of old-time grace,
and is appropriate in responding to formal introductions and greetings
in the drawing-room, especially when paying respect to elderly people.
It is most effective when executed in a costume of voluminous
draperies.  It is a woman's ceremonial; no man ever "curtseys."  The
regulation "bow" is the only "deference" that gracefully combines with
a dress suit.

The _courtesy_ is a strictly formal obeisance, and the courtly
reverence which it embodies is something more abstract than concrete,
not necessarily inspired by the person to whom its deference is shown.
Like all greetings exchanged in the midst of crowds or in public
places, it is somewhat impersonal in manner.  Personal recognitions and
distinctions are reserved for more private occasions.  One's greetings
to fellow-guests at a reception are uniformly affable, irrespective of
personal preferences.  Though our dearest friend and our direst foe
both be present, we must not pointedly discriminate between them; we
are not at liberty to use the parlors of our host for either a lover's
tryst or a duelling-ground.

A guest's first duty on entering a parlor or drawing-room is to pay his
or her respects to the hostess and the ladies who are receiving with
her.  Gentlemen should also make it a point to find the host as soon as
possible, and extend to him a similar courtesy.  The host, in turn,
when not receiving formally with the hostess, roams at large, giving a
hospitable greeting to each lady among his guests.

In America, when a lady and gentleman meet, after being duly
introduced, it is the lady's privilege to bow first.  This rule
protects her from the intrusion of an unwelcome acquaintance.  But when
the acquaintance is established and mutually agreeable, the rule is

In general, the elder or the more distinguished person bows first.  But
if the one who for any reason would be the proper one to take the
initiative is known to be near-sighted, and liable to overlook an
acquaintance unintentionally, it is more polite for the other person
not to stand on ceremony.

It is interesting to note that on the continent of Europe the rule
regarding recognitions is exactly reversed.  The subject bows first to
the king, the courtier to the lady; deference to a superior, rather
than social equality, being expressed by the bow.

One of the moot questions of the day is, "When is it proper to
introduce people to each other?"  The strictest etiquette forbids
casual social introductions, or the introducing of any two people at
any time without the consent of both parties.  It is argued that people
who meet in a drawing-room as fellow-guests are introduced, by that
mere fact, sufficiently for the social purposes of the hour; and they
may engage in conversation, if they choose, without the least
hesitancy; both understanding that this interchange involves no
acquaintance beyond the present occasion.  By this arrangement an
awkward silence is averted, and it certainly seems as if the chief
argument in favor of "introducing people" is met; since, with "the
roof" as their transient introduction, they are perfectly at ease
without personal introductions.  When people are used to this idea it
is altogether the most sensible and agreeable solution of the question;
but many social assemblies demonstrate that a large number of people
are yet waiting to be introduced, and not without some feeling of
resentment when this ceremony is neglected.  Let it be understood that
any one is at liberty to speak to a fellow-guest without an
introduction; also, that such a "talk" does not warrant any subsequent
claim of acquaintance.  If in the course of this impromptu chat mutual
interest is awakened, either one may later seek an introduction in due
form through some common friend.

On informal occasions, when few guests are present, especially in
country towns, it may be more kindly and social to give personal
introductions; and the good sense of this idea, probably, is founded on
the fact that under these conditions a hostess can be reasonably sure
that the acquaintance will be congenial.  To the villager many of the
extreme rules of etiquette are unreasonable, because the conditions
that enforce them in town life are not present in the life of the quiet
hamlet.  The rule regarding introductions is one which must be modified
to suit circumstances.  It is one of the cases when various delicate
considerations may justify exceptions.  The lady who in her city home
introduces nobody, may in her country home introduce everybody, if that
seems best.  In the matter of delicate exceptions we observe the most
significant display of tact.

When introductions are made, gentlemen should be presented to ladies,
younger people to older people, etc.  The formula for introductions may
be abbreviated to a mere announcement of the two names: "Mr.
Smith--Mrs. Jones"--the pause and inflection filling the ellipsis; and
really, upon the tone and manner depends the courtesy of the
introduction so barren of phrasing.  A formal presentation is made in
this form:--"Miss Smith, allow me to present Mr. Jones."

Tact suggests that a hostess shall avoid bringing uncongenial people
together; but if this unfortunately happens through ignorance or
thoughtlessness, tact with equal urgency requires that the guests thus
inauspiciously mingled shall not allow any one, not even the hostess
herself, to discover the mistake.  The same rule which allows perfect
strangers to be agreeably social for an hour, and then part as
strangers yet, certainly will grant to enemies a similar privilege.

The woman who conscientiously, and _perfectly_, hides her personal
animosities rather than mar the harmony of the social circle, is doing
her part to keep the world in tune.

The offer of the social right hand of fellowship is a tacit recognition
of equality.  Hand-shaking is said to be an American habit.  Certainly
the social conditions in a republic are favorable to such a custom.  It
is a pity that a mode so adapted to express the warmth and loyalty of
friendship should be indiscriminately employed in casual greetings.
The pressure of the hand should mean more than it can mean, when, as
now, it is bestowed with equal alacrity on life-long friend and recent

Fastidious and sensitive people are rather conservative in
hand-shaking.  Etiquette allows considerable latitude.  It is proper
and graceful, but not required, for two men to shake hands when
introduced.  A lady does not usually shake hands with a new
acquaintance, unless the circumstances of the introduction make her
responsible for allowing special cordiality, as when a person is
introduced to her in her own house.  A host and hostess shake hands
with a guest; they may omit to shake hands with the same person when
they meet him elsewhere.

Whatever one's personal impulse, it is polite to defer to the evident
preference of another; and to shake hands heartily if a hand is
cordially extended, or to refrain from proffering the hand when reserve
is evident in the manner of the other person.

Hand-shaking as a conventional ceremony should be as impersonal and as
void of significance as possible.  The clasp of the hand should be firm
but brief; not hasty, yet not prolonged; and the fingers should relax
and loosen their hold at once, not dropping listlessly, nor retaining a
lingering pressure.  When a lady gives her hand to a guest she expects
to get it back again almost immediately, and in an uncrushed condition.
To hold another's hand until he or she is conscious of the detaining
grasp is a liberty that only trusted friends may take.

At the same time, a hearty manner of greeting may be the fashion in
some places; and to meet it otherwise than cheerfully would seem
churlish, according to local standards.  It is always well-bred--as
well as politic--to conform to local customs so far as is consistent
with dignity.

Another custom, gradually going out, is the woman's fashion of kissing
effusively each woman-friend of her acquaintance.  This senseless habit
has no excuse for being.  When kissing is the language of impulsive
affection, etiquette has nothing to say about it except to demand that
the general public shall not be called upon to witness the ceremony.
Public thoroughfares and thronged social assemblies we not the proper
places for such demonstrations.  Nothing is less interesting than other
people's kisses, unless it be the gushing recital of private affairs
with which these unguarded people also entertain every stranger within
earshot.  When scenes like these are observed at railroad stations and
on board of trains when demonstrative leave-taking is in progress, we
may forgive the exhibition since the circumstances warrant more than
usual impulsiveness and forgetfulness of surroundings.  But when the
most common-place meeting of acquaintances, who see each other every
day, is attended with these phenomena, etiquette, as well as
common-sense, enters a severe protest.  The kiss, which should be the
most exclusive symbol of friendship, becomes the most insignificant
form of greeting.

It is not proper, according to strict etiquette, to give the kiss of
greeting in public places; but when near relatives or cherished friends
do choose thus to greet each other, the kiss should be exchanged
unobtrusively and with dignity; conversation on private matters should
be conducted in subdued tones, and a well-bred gravity--quite
consistent with cheerfulness--should characterize the manner.

It would be well if every person in society should register a solemn
resolution never to kiss _anybody_ unless prompted to do so by the
irresistible impulse of affection.  It is safe to say that nine-tenths
of the kisses of social greeting would be dispensed with.  The quality
of the remaining tenth would doubtless be proportionately improved.


People understand and "make allowances" for many things that, to say
the least, are thoughtless in the behavior of people whom they know
well.  Not so "the general public," which measures every man's conduct
by the strict law of propriety, and accredits him with so much
intelligence and refinement as his manners display--no more.  And,
happily, no less; for this "general public" is a dispassionate critic
on the whole, and if it severely condemns our faults, it has no grudge
against us to keep it from equally appreciating our merits.

A "regard for appearances" is--and should be--a leading consideration
when ordering one's conduct in public.  It is not enough that _we know_
ourselves to be above reproach; we must take care that the stranger who
observes us gets no impression to the contrary.  Friends who know her
irresistibly mirthful disposition, may excuse the girl who laughs
boisterously on the street-car; but she will not be able to explain to
the severe-looking stranger opposite that she did _not_ do this to
attract attention.

Conduct in public should be characterized by reserve.  The promenade,
the corridors of public buildings--post-office, railway stations,
etc.--the elevators and arcades of buildings devoted to shops and
offices; museums and picture-galleries, the foyer of the theatre, and
the reading-rooms of public libraries may all be regarded as thorough
fares, where the general public is our observant critic.  Greetings
between acquaintances casually meeting in such places should be quiet
and conventional; friends should avoid calling each other by name, and
conversation should be confined to such remarks as one does not object
to have accidentally overheard.  Subdued, but natural, tones of voice
should be used, and the manner should be perfectly "open and above
board."  Cautious whispering is conspicuous, sometimes suspicious, and
always ill-mannered.  If confidential matters are to be discussed, the
office or the parlor is the proper place for the conference.

When acquaintances meet on the promenade, recognitions are exchanged by
a slight bow, with or without a spoken greeting.

On the crowded walk, if two acquaintances pass and re-pass each other
several times in the course of the same promenade, it is not necessary
to exchange greetings after the first meeting.

Canes and umbrellas should not be carried under the arm horizontally,
endangering the eyes and ribs of other pedestrians.

A man, when bowing, lifts his hat in the following instances:

When bowing to a lady.

When, walking with a lady, he bows to another man of his acquaintance.

When bowing to an elderly man, or a superior in office.

When bowing to a man who is walking with a lady.

When, walking with a lady, he joins her in saluting any gentlemen of
her acquaintance, but strangers to himself; or, when walking with
gentlemen, he joins them in saluting a lady of their acquaintance, but
a stranger to himself.

When offering any civility (as a seat in the street-car), to a lady,
whether a stranger or an acquaintance.

When bidding good-bye to a lady after an "open-air" conference, when
the hat has been worn.  Punctilious etiquette requires a man to stand
with head uncovered in the presence of ladies, until requested to
replace the hat.  But in our changeable climate, the risk of "taking
cold" suggests the good sense of wearing the hat out-of-doors, and
allowing the graceful lifting of the same at greeting and parting to
express all the deference that the uncovered head is meant to symbolize.

The greater the crowd, the shorter the range at which greetings are
exchanged.  One might "halloo" to an old acquaintance forty rods
distant, down a country lane; but on Broadway he bows only to the ones
whom he meets point blank.

If two friends meet and pause to shake hands, they should step aside
from the throng, and not blockade the sidewalk.  Ladies should make
these pauses very brief, and beware of entering into exhaustive
interchanges of family news.  Two men may linger, if they choose, and
hold a few moments' conversation.  But if a man meets a lady, and
wishes to chat with her, he should, after greeting her, ask permission
to join her, and walk with her for a short distance; he should by no
means detain her standing on the sidewalk.  He should not accompany her
all the way to her destination, nor prolong such a casual conversation
beyond a few moments.  He should leave her at a corner, and lift his
hat respectfully as he bids her good-bye.

If several people walking together on a sidewalk of average width meet
other groups of promenaders, both parties should fall into single line
as they pass, allowing each group a fair share of the walk.  This is
especially incumbent when on a narrow crossing.  It is very rude for
groups of three or more to walk abreast without heeding the people whom
they meet, and often crowding the latter off the curbstone.  Young
girls are sometimes very thoughtless in this matter.  "Turn to the
right, as the law directs" is an injunction that holds good for the
crowded sidewalk.

If one, walking briskly, overtakes slower walkers ahead, and the crowd
allows no space to get past them, one should watch for a chance to slip
through a gap in the phalanx, rather than "elbow through."  If no
chance seems likely to occur, and haste is imperative, a polite man has
no recourse but to step outside the curb and walk rapidly ahead,
returning to the sidewalk a few paces in advance.  A lady similarly
hurried may slip through a small space, if one offers, with an
apologetic "I beg pardon."  But in no case should pushing be resorted
to.  It is very unmannerly for a party of loiterers to string
themselves thus across the width of a sidewalk, and then saunter
slowly, regardless of the fact that they are impeding the progress of
busier people.  A policeman should call their attention to the fact.

If the sidewalk is "blocked" by an orderly crowd, as it frequently is
on the occasion of parades and other public demonstrations, a man may
push his way through gently, saying, "I beg pardon" to those whom he is
compelled to jostle.  The fine breeding of a gentleman never shows more
conspicuously than in his manner of getting through a crowd.  The
beauty of it is, or, perhaps, I might say, the utility of it is, that
courtesy in such a case is very much more effective than "bluff," for
the majority in an orderly crowd are inclined to be obliging, and
quickly respond to a good-humored request; whereas, if one aggressive
elbow begins to push, a hundred other elbows are set rigidly akimbo,
and the solid mass becomes ten-fold more unyielding than before.

If accosted by a stranger with a request for information as to streets,
directions, etc., one should kindly reply, and, if not able to give the
desired information, should, if possible, direct the stranger where to
make further inquiries.  Cheerful interest in the perplexities of a
bewildered sojourner in the city costs nothing and is always highly
appreciated.  Only a pessimist or a snob would dismiss such a question

If a lady's dress has been torn, or trimming or braid ripped and left
trailing after contact with the nails in a packing-box on the sidewalk,
or from some similar accident, it is polite to call her attention to
the disaster.  A gentleman may do this with perfect propriety if he
sees that she is not aware of it.  He should preface the information
with "Pardon me," and should lift his hat, as always when offering any

When attending to business at banks, post-office, railroad
ticket-offices, etc., one should pay no attention to other people,
further than to guard against allowing one's absorbing interest in
one's own affairs to make one regardless of the just rights of others
in the matter of "turn" at ticket or stamp windows, or in the use of
the public desk, pens, etc.--trifling tests of good manners that
distinguish the well-bred, _and which illustrate very pointedly the
truth that selfishness is always vulgar, and that an unfailing habit of
considering other people's comfort is a mark of gentle breeding_.

A lady should say "Thank you" to a gentleman who gives up a seat to her
in a street-car or other public conveyance, where, having _paid_ for a
seat, he has a _right_ to it, and his voluntary relinquishment of it is
a matter of _personal courtesy_ on his part.  The woman who slides into
a place thus offered without acknowledging the obligation is very
thoughtless, or else she has erroneous ideas of how far chivalry is
bound to be the slave of selfishness.  If the lady is accompanied by a
gentleman, he, too, should say "Thank you," and lift his hat.  He
should also be thoughtful not to take the next vacated seat himself
without first offering it to the polite stranger.

A young woman, strong and well, may properly give up her seat to a
fragile woman, or a mother with a baby, or to an elderly man or woman.

Young ladies of leisure, who are not weary, should not be too ready to
"oust" tired clerks and laboring men whose ride home at six o'clock is
their first chance to sit down, for ten hours.  A _gentleman_ is
chivalrous; and there is a corresponsive quality in a _lady_, which
makes her delicately sensitive about unjustly imposing on that
chivalry, or which, in emergencies of sickness or disaster, enables
_her_ to be the _chivalrous in spirit_, and bear on her slender
shoulders the burden that is temporarily dropped when some stroke of
Providence lays the strong man low.

On the other hand, there are women of coarse fibre, who imagine that
they vastly increase their own importance by being selfishly exacting
in the matter of men's self-sacrificing attentions.  They may browbeat
the men who are in their power; but, outside of this narrow world of
their own, they are held in thorough contempt by the very men whose
admiration they had hoped to gain by their aggressive and ill-tempered

Men who smoke on the street should avoid the crowded promenade, where
ladies "most do congregate;" since it is nearly impossible to avoid
annoying some one with the smoke.

In most towns, the Board of Health ordinance forbidding spitting on
floors, sidewalks, etc., is not only a hygienic safe-guard, but a much
needed enforcement of good manners.  Comment is superfluous.

Based upon an idea borrowed from olden days--that the right arm, the
"sword arm," should be free for defense--a custom formerly prevailed
for a man, walking with a lady, to place her always at his left side.
Then later--also with some idea of shielding her from danger--it was
the custom for a man to walk next to the curbstone, whether it happened
to be left or right.  This is still the rule, unless the sidewalk is
crowded; in which case a man walks at the side next the opposing
throng, in order to shield a lady from the elbows of the passers-by.

Authorities are divided on the subject of elevator etiquette, some
denouncing in round terms the man who is so rude as to keep his hat on
in an elevator where there are ladies; arguing that the elevator is a
"little room," an "interior," not a thoroughfare.  Others are equally
emphatic in asserting that the elevator _is_ a thoroughfare, _merely_;
and that hats are not to be removed, except under the same conditions
that would call for their removal in the street--as the greeting of
acquaintances, or the exchange of civilities.  The good sense of this
view is apparent.  A hat held in the hand in a crowded elevator is sure
to be in the way, and liable to be crushed.  A gentleman who wishes to
compromise between stolid ignoring of the ladies who are strangers, and
superfluous recognition of their presence, may lift his hat and replace
it immediately, when a lady enters the elevator, or when he enters an
elevator where ladies already are.  Such a courtesy differs from a
greeting in this: a stranger offering this elevator civility _does not
look at the lady_, nor does he bend his head; and his lifted hat is an
impersonal tribute to the sex.  A lady makes _no response_ to such a
courtesy; yet there is in her general bearing a subtle something, hard
to describe, but which every gentleman will readily recognize, that
shows whether or not she observes and appreciates his little act of
deference.  The atmosphere of good manners may be as invisible as the
air about us; but we know when we are breathing it.

During a promenade in the day-time, a lady does not take a man's arm
unless she is feeble from age or ill-health, and needs the support.  In
the evening, a gentleman walking with a lady may offer her his arm.  On
no account should a man take a woman's arm.  This is a disrespectful
freedom, that might be supposed to be the specialty of the rustic beau,
if it were not so frequently observed in city thoroughfares.

The "cut direct" is the rudest possible way of dropping an
acquaintance; and is allowable only in the case of some flagrant
offender who deserves public and merciless rebuke.  Ordinarily, the
result sought--of ending an undesired acquaintance--is attained by a
persistently cold courtesy, supplemented by as much avoidance as
possible; drifting apart, not sinking each other's craft without

As crowds are distracting, and people bent on their own errands are
often oblivious of their surroundings, it is quite possible for a
seeming cut to have been an unconscious oversight.  When an
acquaintance seems not to see one, though close at baud, it is possible
that something closer yet to his consciousness is absorbing all his
thoughts.  Only clear and unmistakable evidence of _intention_ should
lead one to infer a slight.  It is not only more _polite_, but more
_self-respecting_, to "take offense" _slowly_.


At the theatre or opera, at concerts, or popular lectures, at
"commencements," and other prosperous and happy public entertainments,
a certain gayety of manner may be in harmony with the occasion; but it
should be under control, a smiling cheerfulness, not a free-and-easy
jollity.  Before the play, or the programme, begins, social
conversation is usually allowable in quiet tones that do not disturb
the surrounding people.  A gentle hum of lively voices is not an
unpleasant overture on such occasions.  But the moment the orchestra
begins, if at the theatre, or the instant that the meeting is called to
order by any initial feature of the programme, silence should fall upon
the assembly, and not a whisper be heard.  Polite attention should be
given to each feature of the hour.  Programmes should be folded and
arranged for easy reference before the exercises begin, so that no
rustling of papers shall mar the effect of the music, or interfere with
the speakers or listeners.  The noisy handling of programmes is a most
exasperating exhibition of thoughtlessness, and can easily be avoided
by a little caution.

It should be accounted a matter of good form not to be late in arriving
at the theatre, opera, etc.  People sometimes think that because their
seats are secured by their ticket-coupons, it makes no difference
whether they are in their places before the curtain rises or not.  But
it is inconsistent for people who would be thought to be well-mannered,
to inflict on others so much annoyance as is the result of coming late
and making a commotion arranging seats, etc., after a drama is in
progress, or a lecture or concert begun.  When this happens, it should
be the rare and unavoidable accident of detention, not the habitual and
perhaps even ostentatious custom that it seems to be with some people.
The noise about the swing-doors, and the rustle in the aisles, the
banging of hinged seats, and the occasional parley with the usher,
render the seats under the galleries practically valueless during the
first half of the performance, since the speakers cannot be heard in
the midst of the confusion.  The "sense" of the opening act being lost,
the entire play is marred simply because forty or fifty people are ten
or fifteen minutes late.  If managers would combine and agree to order
the doors closed several minutes before the performance begins, it
would soon remedy the trouble, and a host of patrons would applaud
their course.  The most aggravating thing about annoyances of this kind
is that they are inflicted by the very few, and suffered by the very

In crowded theatres and lecture halls, heavy coats and wraps must be
disposed within each owner's own territory.  They should not lie over
the top of the seat or bulge over into the adjoining seats to encroach
upon other people.  Nor should the owner of a big overcoat double it up
into a cushion and sit upon it, to raise himself six inches higher, to
the disadvantage of the person seated back of him--a selfish
preparation to see the sights which we sometimes observe, even in the
parquet centre.

The fashion, now almost universal, of removing hats at all spectacular
entertainments, does away with what was formerly a conspicuous source
of annoyance.  For awhile this downfall of view-obstructing millinery
promised a "square deal" to the occupants of the back rows.  But of
late vanity has re-asserted itself in the guise of elaborate
hair-dressing, until the aigrette and the bow have become as great an
imposition as was their predecessor, the flaring hat.  This evasion of
the issue will be more difficult to control by public prohibition.  It
remains for the polite woman to avoid adopting, for such occasions, the
towering head-dress that evokes not admiration but execration from the
people seated behind her.  No woman need risk annoying others in order
to be attractive herself; there are numerous styles that are both
unobtrusive and becoming.  Moreover, the woman in good society has
ample opportunity to exhibit her elaborate coiffure at private social

People who wish to leave the theatre between the acts should make it a
point to secure end seats and not _scrape_ past half a dozen other
people three or four times during the performance.  If it is necessary
to trouble other people to rise and step aside to allow one to take or
to leave his seat, the person thus obliged should preface the action
with "I beg pardon," or "May I trouble you to allow me to pass;"--and
should acknowledge the obligation by saying "Thank you."  This may not
lessen the inconvenience to other people, but it may mollify the
feeling of irritability that such things naturally arouse.

It ought to be superfluous to say that talking aloud, or continuous
whispering during the progress of a play or opera or concert, usually
on topics foreign to the occasion, is a rudeness to the performers and
a bold impertinence to the rest of the audience.  Some people are
guilty of this insolence wittingly and unblushingly.  For such we have
no word of advice.  Such instances should be met by something more
effective than "gentle influence."  But many, especially young people,
talk and laugh thoughtlessly, and from mere exuberance of animal
spirits.  It is to be hoped that on pausing to reflect they will
carefully avoid forming a habit of public misbehavior that will
ultimately rank them in the social scale as confirmed vulgarians.  An
_intelligent_ listener never interrupts.  Between the scenes of a play,
or the successive numbers of a concert programme, there are pauses long
enough for a brief exchange of comment between two friends who are
sharing an entertainment, and they may enjoy the pleasure of thus
comparing notes without once disturbing the order of the time and place.

At a spectacular entertainment, it is very rude for those in front to
stand up in order to see better, thus cutting off all view for those
back of them.  The disposition to do this is very strong in rural
audiences, where the flat floor of the school-house or hall gives
little chance for the observers seated back of the first few "rows."
But one may better lose part of the "tableau" on the stage than to
furnish _another_ one on the floor of the house.

At a lecture, a special personal respect is due to the speaker.  This
is shown by a courteous attention and a general demeanor of interest
and appreciation.  If applause is merited, it should be given in a
refined manner.  The stamping of the feet is coarse, and the pounding
of the floor with canes and umbrellas is as lazy as it is noisy.  The
clapping of hands is a natural language of delight, and, when
skillfully done, is an enthusiastic expression of approbation.  Some
effort is being made to substitute the waving of handkerchiefs as a
symbol of approval or greeting to a favorite speaker, but it is quite
probable that this silent signal will not take the place of the more
active demonstration of clapping the hands, except on very quiet and
intellectual occasions.

Shall ladies join in applause?  As a matter of fact, women seldom
applaud, but not because propriety necessarily forbids; it is chiefly
because the tight-fitting kid glove renders "clapping" a mechanical
impossibility.  Feminine enthusiasm is quite equal to it at times, as,
for instance, when listening to a favorite elocutionist or violinist.
There is no reason why ladies may not "clap," if they _can_.  It
certainly is quite as lady-like and orderly as for them to give vent to
their enthusiasm, as many do, in audible exclamations of "Too sweet for
_anything_!" "Just too _lovely_!" etc., all of which might have been
"conducted off" at the finger-tips if hand-clapping had been a feasible
medium of expression.

Applause may be a very effective and graceful exponent of gentlemanly
appreciation if given with discrimination; but if too ready and
frequent, it ceases to have any point, and becomes commonplace.  While
a man of taste will applaud heartily on occasion, he will refrain from
extravagant and continuous clapping.

The observance of the proprieties of time, place, and occasion are
nowhere more urgent than at church.  Much of the liberty that is
granted on secular occasions is entirely out of place in church.

While quiet greetings may be exchanged at the church door, or in the
outer vestibules, before and after service, it is not decorous to chat
sociably along the aisles, or hold a gossiping conference in whispers
with some one in the neighboring pew.  I have in mind one woman, who
ought to have known better, whose sibilant utterances--just five pews
distant--came to be a regular part of the five minutes' pause
immediately before the service began.  Her conversation was usually
directed to another woman, who, likewise, should have known better than
to listen.  The silent vault of the church roof echoed to the vigorous
whispering up to the instant that the clergyman began, in low monotone,
"The Lord is in His holy temple"--a fact which the whisperer had
obviously forgotten--"let all the earth keep silence before Him"--an
injunction which she never seemed to be able to remember from week to

It is one of the worst violations of good form to behave with levity in
church.  To devout people the church is the place for meditation and
prayer, and nothing should be allowed to disturb the restful calm that
is sought within its sacred walls.  A well-bred agnostic will respect
the religious sentiments of other people, whatever his own beliefs or
disbeliefs in matters theological.  If no higher law is recognized, at
least every one will regard the etiquette of the case, which requires
that the demeanor of every one within the walls of the church shall be

It is proper to dress plainly and _neatly_ for church; to enter the
portal quietly, to walk up the aisle in a leisurely but direct way, and
be seated at once with an air of repose.  If cushions or books require
rearranging, it should be done with as little effort as possible.
Every movement should be quiet, and the rattling of fans and of books
in the rack, and "fidgeting" changes of position should be avoided.
The movements in rising, sitting, and kneeling should be deliberate
enough for grace, and cautious enough to avert accidents, like hitting
the pew-railings, knocking down umbrellas, or kicking over footstools.
No sounds but the inevitable rustle of garments should attend the
changes of posture during the service.  Not unfrequently several canes
and as many hymn-books clatter to the floor with each rise of the
congregation, because of somebody's nervous haste.  Children are often
responsible for these little accidents, and of course are excusable,
but they should be early taught to observe caution in these little

The clergyman should have the undivided attention of his hearers.
During the lesson and the sermon, one should watch the face of the
reader, or speaker, and give to the minister all the inspiration that
an earnest expounder may find in the face of an intelligent listener.
It is probably thoughtless, not intentional, disrespect--but still
disrespect--for a person to spend "sermon time" studying the
stained-glass windows or the symbolical fresco, interesting as these
things may be.

The singing of the choir may be good; if so, one should not listen to
it with the air of a _connoisseur_ at a grand concert.  Or the singing
may be very poor; that fact should not be emphasized by the scowling
countenance of the critic in the pews.  A mind absorbed in true
devotion does not measure church singing by secular standards.  The
_spirit_ may be woefully lacking in the most artistic rendition: it may
be vitally present in the most humble song of worship.  While we may
with righteous indignation condemn the sacrilege of a _spiritless_ or
irreverent singing of the sublime service of the church, it is very bad
form to sneer at the earnest and sincere work of a choir whose
"limitations," in natural gifts or culture, render their work somewhat
commonplace.  It is good form to respect all that is _honest_ in
religion, and to reserve sharp criticism for the shams and hypocrisies
that cast discredit on the church.

A regular "pew-owner" in a church should be hospitable to strangers,
and cheerfully give them a place in his pew, offering them books and
hymnals, and aiding them to follow the service if they seem to be
unaccustomed to its forms.  At the same time it is only fair to say
that this duty becomes a heavy tax on generosity and patience when, as
in some very popular churches, a floating crowd of sight-seers each
Sunday invade the pews, to the serious discomfort of the regular
occupants.  People who attend church as strangers should remember that
they do so by courtesy of the regular attendants.  A broad view of the
church opening its doors to all the world is theoretically true, but
practically subject to provisos.  A church visitor who observes much
the same care not to be intrusive which good form would require him to
observe if visiting at a private house, will usually be rewarded with a
polite welcome.

The stranger attending church should wait at the foot of the aisle
until an usher conducts him to a seat, as the usher will know where a
stranger can be received with least inconvenience to others in the pew.
The stranger should not take possession of family hymn-books, or fans,
or select the best hassock, or otherwise appropriate the comforts of
the pew, unless invited to do so by the owner, whose guest he is, in a
sense.  If attentions are not shown him, he must not betray surprise or
resentment, nor look around speculatively for the hymn-book that is not
forthcoming.  If the service is strange to him, he should at least
conform to its salient forms, rising with the congregation, and not
sitting throughout like a stolid spectator of a scene in which he has
no part.

The head should be bowed during the prayers, and the eyes at least
_cast down_, if not closed.  To sit and stare at a minister while he is
praying is a grotesque rudeness worthy of a heathen barbarian, yet one
sometimes committed by the civilized Caucasian.  The incident may
escape the knowledge of the well-mannered portion of the congregation,
who are themselves bowed in reverent attitude; but the roving eye of
some infant discovers the fact, and it is at once announced; and worst
of all, the child unconsciously gets an influential lesson in
misbehavior in church from the "important" man who thus disregards the


Physical culture may be a "fad," but its aesthetic results are conceded.
The graceful control of the body is the basis of a fine manner.

It is an opinion of long standing that children should be taught to dance
in order to develop grace of movement.  Yet dancing, _merely_, gives but
a limited training of the muscles compared with the all-round exercise
now taken in gymnasiums and classes for physical culture.  It is
recommended that all who are deficient in "manner," or who suffer an
embarrassing self-consciousness because of their awkwardness of pose or
movement, should take a course of training under an intelligent teacher,
until every muscle learns its proper office.  With the self-command which
this training gives, ease of manner and dignity of bearing follow
naturally; to say nothing of the serenity of mind that lies back of all
this pleasing exterior.

The effect of this bodily grace is to prepossess the beholder.  First
impressions are received through the eye.  Before a word is spoken, the
pose and carriage convey a significant announcement of character and

A thorough practical knowledge of elocution and constant application of
its principles to conversational utterances are requisite to refined
speech.  Errors in pronunciation, hasty and indistinct enunciation, the
dropping out of entire syllables in curt phrasing, are common faults of
careless people _who know better_, and who would be very much chagrined
to find themselves accounted to be as ignorant as their speech might
indicate them to be.

A varied vocabulary used with discrimination indicates intelligence and
culture.  A single word uttered may reveal grace, or betray awkwardness.
In the social interchange, one must not only suit the action to the word,
but equally suit the word to the action.  Careless speech often belies
civil intentions.

Say "Thank-you," not "Thanks,"--a lazy and disrespectful abbreviation.
If you say "Pardon me," let your manner indicate a dignified apology.  "I
beg your pardon," is sometimes only the insolent preface to a flat and
angry contradiction.  In most phrases of compliment, the words derive
their real significance from the manner of the speaker.

There is a difference of opinion as to whether people of social equality
should add "Sir" and "Ma'am" to the responses "Yes" and "No"; and
especially, whether children should be taught to do so.  The English
fashion--largely copied by Americans--does not favor it.  Certainly,
children can learn to say "Yes" and "No" with the courteous manner that
implies all that the added "Sir" might convey.  But, are not some young
Americans too ready to take advantage of this permitted lapse of verbal
deference?  And, back of the verbal lapse is there not a distinct lapse
of the deference itself?  It might be well to begin to counteract this
irreverent tendency of the age, by cultivating a more respectful and
appreciative spirit.  Then, the polite word will come spontaneously to
the lips.  It will be a matter of morals, essentially: of manners,

Deplorable as a heedless curtness of speech is, it is hardly more
unpleasant than the artificial mincing of words that some children are
drilled into (or learn by imitation of their elders).  This superficial
effusiveness, supposed to be "pretty" manners, is related more to
subjective vanity than to objective courtesy.  Not allowed to say "Sir,"
they substitute the name or title of the person addressed,--which, when
introduced occasionally and unobtrusively, is a graceful personal
recognition; but when overdone, as too often observed, the constant
iteration of "Yes, Mr. Brown,"--"No, Mrs. Black," etc., grows to be a
maddening exposition of precocious affectation.

Having observed the vagaries of this fashion in phrasing for several
years, I have come to the conclusion that the plain "Sir" of former
times,--which, to the "well-brought-up" child, was a practical
application of the Fifth Commandment,--is much to be preferred to the
fussy elaboration of personal address that has superseded it.
Indications at present are, that the old-fashioned "Sir" and "Madam" are
coming into their own again, among truly courteous people.

But whatever the fickle fashion of the hour may be, it is important to
enforce the truth that the spirit of words and deeds is the essence of
good manners.  If this right spirit be lacking, no words can fill the
blank.  If an ugly spirit dwells within, no word of compliment can veil
its evil face.

But though the good spirit be there, with all its generous impulses and
kindly feeling, it needs the concrete expression; otherwise, its very
existence may remain unknown.  "A man that hath friends must show himself
friendly."  Pose, bearing, facial expression, the winning smile,--all
these are silently eloquent; but, to convey the perfect message from soul
to soul, there must be added the "word fitly spoken."


A theme for a volume!  Briefly, it is the mark of a well-disciplined
mind to be able to meet all emergencies calmly.  Though china break,
and gravy spill, the hostess and the guest must not allow the accident
to ruffle their perfect serenity of manner.  Nor is it merely a point
of etiquette to be thus self-controlled.  Serious accidents sometimes
happen, like the igniting of fancy lamp-shades or filmy curtains, and
then the calm poise of a well-bred man becomes of practical value to
himself and others.  A habit of keeping cool--formed originally for
good manners' sake--may save one's life in some crisis of danger.

Control of temper is one of the most valuable results of training in
the etiquette of calm behavior.  Manifestations of ill-temper may be
the occasional outburst of a spirit that dwells under the shadow of an
ancestral curse, but which in its better moments grieves in sackcloth
and ashes over its yielding to wild, ungovernable impulse.  Such people
are often generous and self-sacrificing in the main, though causing so
much sorrow and disaster to others by these occasional whirlwinds of
passion.  In all that delicacy of feeling and usual regard for "the
amenities" indicate, they are "well-bred."  To say that they are not is
as ungenerous as to criticise the conduct of the insane.  But habitual,
cold-blooded, and willful ill-temper--the trade-mark of unmitigated
selfishness--is indisputably ill-bred.  Whatever the tendency,
temperament, or temptation, good form requires the cultivation and the
exhibition of good humor and a disposition to take a cheerful and
generous view of people and things.

This calm serenity does not mean weakness or moral cowardice.  The
dignity that forbids one to be rude also forbids one to endure
insolence.  A gentleman may scathe a liar in plain unvarnished terms,
and yet not lose a particle of his own repose of manner; and the higher
his own standards are, the more merciless will be his denunciation of
what he holds to be deserving of rebuke.  But through it all, he has
his own spirit well in hand, under curb and rein.  The ominous calm of
a well-bred man is a terror to the garrulous bully.  It is "the triumph
of mind over matter."

Next to the etiquette of self-control--and, if anything, harder to
comply with--is the etiquette of forbearance, which is often
overlooked; for people who have high standards themselves are apt to be
intolerant of gross offenders against social rules.  Those who by
inheritance or by culture are blessed with a logical mind and an
equable temper, should be lenient in judging cruder people, whose dense
ignorance aggravating their malicious intent, causes them to do
astounding violence to the principles of morality and etiquette alike,
by exhibitions of ugly temper.  Only by making allowances can the
conduct of some people be accounted less than criminal.

Let all reflect that it is impossible to be a _lady_, or a _gentleman_,
without _gentle_ manners.


Perfect congruity is the secret of successful dressing.

The first harmony to be observed is that between the dress and the
wearer's purse.  Good form considers not merely what can be _paid for_
without "going in debt," but what can be purchased without cramping the
resources in some other direction and destroying the proper balance of
one's expenditures.  The girl who uses a month's salary to buy one fine
gown, and denies herself in the matter of needed hosiery to make up for
the extravagance, is "dressing beyond her means," and is violating good
form in so doing.  A simple gown that allows for all _suitable
accessories_ is always lady-like.

The second point of harmony is the appropriateness of dress to the
occasion when it is worn.

Dinners, balls, and formal receptions are occasions that call for
handsome dress.  This may range in cost to include some very
inexpensive but artistic costumes, the quality of good style not being
confined to the richest fabrics.  But the inexpensive gown should have
a character of its own, and not be suspected of any attempt to imitate
its priceless rivals.

The degree of full-dress worn at dinner varies with the formality of
the occasion and the fashions prevailing in the social circle
represented.  On very grand occasions a very rich and stylish costume
may be required.  In general, a lady wears her choicest silk or velvet
gown at a dinner.  The intrinsic value of the fabric is more important
in dinner dress than in dress worn on other occasions, since the
company are few in number and thrown into close proximity, where
leisurely observation and criticism are inevitable.  A gown that would
pass muster in a crowd, may not stand the calm scrutiny of the
dinner-table fourteen.  The style of cut and the trimmings of a dinner
gown may be as severely plain or as voluminously dressy as the
character of the occasion and the _personnel_ of the company may
indicate and the wearer's instinctive sense of propriety may suggest.

A ball or a formal reception in the evening is a time to display one's
prettiest gowns and all the jewels which one possesses.  Fabrics of
infinite variety, from velvet and brocade to diaphanous tissues, are
suitable; and the possibilities in trimmings, in lace and flowers and
jeweled ornaments, are unlimited.  In the fancy costumes suitable for
these showy occasions there is wide opportunity for the ingenious girl
to make herself bewitching without greatly depleting her purse.  The
most becomingly dressed woman is not always the most expensively
dressed.  General effect strikes the eye of the observer who has not
time to study special quality in the kaleidoscopic scene presented by
the ball-room or reception throng.

At an afternoon tea, the hostess should dress richly enough for
dignity, but without ostentation.  As on all occasions, a woman should
never be over-dressed in her own house.  Her gown should not be so
gorgeous that any one of her guests, even the poorest, need feel
embarrassed by the contrast.

If several ladies join the hostess in receiving, they wear handsome
reception toilets.  Other guests come in ordinary walking dress, but it
should be stylish and well-kept.  A "second-best" gown, though neat
enough for informal calls, may not be elegant enough for a tea or for
formal visiting.  But if a lady's means are limited, and her
well-preserved old gown is the best that she can command, perfect
neatness and a delicate disposal of _lingerie_ will disguise the
ravages of time, and make the "auld cla'es look a'maist as weel's the

Indeed, effective dressing, ultimately resolved, is a matter of refined
ingenuity.  As David, subtly endued with power, with a smooth stone
from the brook vanquished the armor-clad Philistine giant, so the woman
with a genius for the artistic details of dress, even though it be a
last-year's gown, may triumph over another who has blindly clad herself
according to the latest conventional pattern, but without regard to
what is becoming to herself.

Happy the woman whose bank account permits her to give perfect
expression to her taste.  Not so happy, but still happy, the woman
whose taste meets the emergency, despite a slender purse.  But oh! most
miserable the woman of stolid, unimaginative nature, whose luxurious
wardrobe suggests nothing but the dollar-mark.

Not that I advance the poetical idea of "sweet simplicity" always and
everywhere.  Not that the rich gown is in itself objectionable, or the
inexpensive dress intrinsically beautiful.  It is not invariably true
that "beauty unadorned is most adorned."  It is not true that a "simple
calico" is more charming than a sheeny silk, nor is cotton edging to be
compared with point or duchess lace.

But the really beautiful in dress, as before stated, lies in its
perfect congruity.  According to this standard, the calico is sometimes
more effective than the silk, and _vice versa_; and neither is
effective if worn at inappropriate times, or under unsuitable

Fashion is _daring_, and every now and then announces some startling
innovation in the way of gay street-dress.  But the public sentiment of
refined people is so definitely fixed in favor of quiet dress for
public thoroughfares that these "daring" fashions soon become the sole
property of the ignorant class.

Dress for church, or for business, should be plain in design, and
subdued in color; and for most occasions when a lady walks to pay
visits or calls, a plain tailor-made costume is most suitable.
Carriage dress may be gayer in colors, and more dressy in style of cut
and trimmings.

When a party of ladies attend the theatre, unaccompanied by a male
escort, or with no conveyance but the street-car, ordinary walking
costume, with quiet bonnets or hats, is correct style.  Box parties,
presumably arriving in carriages, may dress as prettily as they choose,
subject to the general laws of taste.

A woman should not mix up her wardrobe, and wear a theatre bonnet to
church, or carry a coaching parasol to a funeral.

Black, or very subdued colors, should be worn to a funeral.

Any color, _except black_, may be worn by a guest at a wedding.  Black
lace may be used in the trimmings of rich-colored gowns (though white
lace is preferable); but solid black is not allowable.  Women who are
wearing mourning sometimes lay it aside to attend a wedding,
substituting a lavender or violet gown, or, in some places, a deep red,
usually in some rich fabric, as velvet or plush.

The etiquette of wearing mourning is less rigorous than formerly.  The
tendency is more and more to leave the matter to individual feeling.
When the mourning garb is adopted, the periods of wearing are shorter,
and the phases of change from heaviest to lightest are fewer and less

Whether a full mourning dress of _crêpe_ be worn, or not, it is
generally conceded that it is more respectful to wear plain black than
to appear in colors during the months immediately following the death
of a near relative.  The length of time that mourning dress should be
worn is a matter of taste; but it should not be laid aside too soon, as
though the wearing were an unpleasant duty; nor should it be worn too
long, for the sombre robe has a depressing effect on others, especially
invalids and children.

Those who prefer to follow a strict law of etiquette in mourning will
observe the following rules:

A widow wears deep mourning of woolen stuffs and _crêpe_ for two years.

Similar mourning is worn one year for a parent, or a brother or sister.

For other near relatives, from three to six months, according to
degrees of relationship, is considered a respectful period for mourning.

A man's wife wears the same degrees of mourning for his near relatives
that she would wear for members of her own family.

In all cases, the mourning should be "lightened" by degrees.  Plain
black silk, without _crêpe_, and trimmed with jet, belongs to a
secondary period.  Changes are made gradually through black and white
combinations, before colors are again worn.

During the period of heavy mourning, it is not proper to attend the
theatre or opera, or other gay place of amusement; nor to pay formal
visits, or attend receptions, except it may be the marriage of a near
friend, for which occasion the mourning dress is temporarily laid aside.

As a matter of respect, no invitations of a gay social character are
sent to the recently afflicted.  After three months, such invitations
may be sent; of course, not with any expectation that they will be
accepted, but merely to show that, though temporarily in seclusion, the
bereaved ones are kindly remembered.

For men the etiquette of mourning is less conspicuous but equally
formal as far as it goes.  The periods of wearing mourning are usually
shorter than those observed by women in similar cases, probably because
the life of business men is not confined to the social world, and its
restrictions are less binding upon them in details.

At the funeral of a near relative, a man wears black, including gloves,
and a mourning band around his hat.  Subsequently he may continue to
wear black for several months, or, if this is not feasible, the
hat-band of bombazine is accounted a sufficient mark of respect.  The
width of the band may be graduated, sometimes covering the surface to
within an inch of the top, sometimes being only two or three inches

As to the etiquette of men's dress in general, the tale is soon told.
The "dress-suit" is worn only at dinner and in the evening.  At any
hour after six o'clock, a man may with propriety appear anywhere in a
dress suit, though it is _required_ only on formal occasions.  Before
dinner, morning dress is worn--the frock coat, or a business suit with
its four-buttoned cut-away.  As to the minute details of cut and
dimensions, the prevailing style of linen and ties, etc.--very
appropriately called "notions"--these things vary from season to
season.  The well-dressed man will consult his tailor and furnisher.
Hats, boots, and gloves, the extremes of every perfect costume, are
important exponents of good style; and careful attention to their
choice and wearing is essential to complete and effective dressing.


Neatness in personal habits is the first mark of good breeding that
strikes the observer.  Not that a dandy is always a gentleman; but an
habitual sloven cannot be.  The clothing worn at work may be
unavoidably soiled; as also the hands, when occupations involve the
handling of dirty substances.  But "a little water clears us of this
deed; how easy is't then!"

The neatly-dressed hair, the fresh clean skin, the well-kept teeth, the
smooth polished nails, the spotless linen and the tasteful tie, the
well-brushed clothing and the tidy boots, are all points of good form
in personal appearance.

The toilet once made should be considered finished.  The hands should
not stray to the hair to re-adjust hair-pins--an absent-minded habit.
The nervous toying with ear-rings or brooches, or dress buttons, is
another mannerism to be guarded against.  The hands should learn the
grace of repose.  It is a great triumph of nervous control for a woman
_to hold her hands still_ when they are not definitely employed.

If the attitudes of sitting and standing are practiced under the
direction of the teacher of "physical culture," one will probably be
innocent of such solecisms as thrusting the feet out to display the
shoes; sitting sideways, or cross-legged; or slipping half-way down in
the chair; or bending over a book in round-shouldered position; rocking
violently; beating a noisy tattoo with impatient toes; or standing on
one foot with the body thrown out of line, etc., etc.

Scratching the head or ears, and picking the teeth, are operations that
are properly attended to in one's own dressing-room.  The conspicuous
use of the handkerchief is in bad form.  Blowing the nose is not a
pleasant demonstration at any time, and at the table is simply
unpardonable.  A person of fastidious taste will take care of the nose
in the quietest and most unobtrusive way, and refrain from disgusting
other people of fastidious taste.

"Familiarity breeds contempt."  Laying the hand upon another's head or
shoulder, clinging to the arms or about the waist, is a freedom that
only near relationship or close friendship will excuse.  Among slight
acquaintances it is an unwarrantable liberty.  Even at the impulsive
"school-girl age" young ladies should be taught to repel such
under-bred familiarities.


Those who accept a social invitation virtually pledge themselves to
bear a part in making the entertainment an agreeable success.  Whether
one's talent lies in conversation, or music, or in the rare gift for
_commingling_ and promoting harmonies in a social gathering, he or she
should feel bound to make some effort to add to the pleasure of the
occasion.  Young men who attend private balls should be obliging about
dancing, and amiably assist the hostess in finding partners for the shy
or unattractive girls, who are liable to be neglected by selfish young

_Not_ to make an effort to contribute to the success of the affair is a
negative fault, perhaps.  But what shall we say of those whose
influence is positively adverse?--those who attend a party with curious
eyes bent upon picking flaws, and who indulge in jealous depreciation;
or who, in a spirit of social rivalry, make a note of "points," with a
view to outdoing the hostess in the near future.  Such a spirit--and
its presence is not easily veiled--is a veritable Achan in the camp;
and a few such rude people can poison the atmosphere of an otherwise
genial reception.  Verily, they have their reward, for the stamp of
ill-breeding is set on their querulous _little_ faces.

But, if such spirits contribute nothing to the social fund,--because
they have nothing to contribute,--you, who have, must do double duty.
And nothing is more needed than tactful conversation.

The oddest criticism that I have ever encountered from a reviewer was
the laconic and cynical remark (commenting upon my rather altruistic
belief in the duty of giving one's best thought to the conversational
circle), that "Nowadays, people don't _talk_: if they have any good
ideas, they save them and write them out and _sell them_."  The critic
implied that, otherwise, in this age of universal scribbling, some
plagiarist would appropriate these ideas and hurry them to the magazine
market before the original thinker had time to fix the jewel in a
setting of his own.

Of course, the little brain thief is common enough; but it had never
occurred to me to be so wary.  It struck me "with the full force of
novelty," that any one should be deterred from speech by such a
consideration.  I have since wondered whether that particular phase of
serpent-wisdom accounts for the non-committal silences with which some
well-known wits entertain the social circle, the while a despairing
hostess is making the best of such help as a few lively chatterboxes
can give her.  Not that I ever saw any notably superior talkers struck
dumb in this way; Richard Brinsley Sheridan never was, if I recall
correctly.  Why should _you_ be?  If your bright idea is stolen, you
can spare it; if you are truly bright, you have many more where that
one came from.

But beware of forced brightness.  Wit is nothing if not spontaneous.
If nature has not endowed you with the instantaneous perception of
contrasts and incongruities, out of which flashes the swift conceit
called wit, do not imagine you are "dull" or uninteresting.  There are
other gifts and graces less superficial, far more rare, and ultimately
more influential, than wit.

And though you are witty, do not talk nonsense over-much.  Remember
that it is the "_little_ nonsense now and then" that is "relished by
the best of men."  It is perilously easy to weary people with the
"smart" style of talk.  But let your cheerful sense, grave or gay, be
as good an offering to your friends as you know how to make.  Your next
special occasion--for which you might have "saved" all these
things--will lose nothing of value.  It may rather gain fourfold, by
the reflex inspiration that replenishes every unselfish outpouring of
the nobler social spirit.


Travelers have certain rights guaranteed by their regularly-purchased
tickets.  Within such bounds they are privileged to claim all comforts
and immunities.

But the mannerly tourist will claim no more.  He will not take up more
room than he is entitled to while other passengers are discommoded.
Nor will he persist in keeping his particular window open when the
draught and the cinders therefrom are troublesome or dangerous to other

If travelers carry a lunch-basket, they should discuss its contents
quietly, and be careful not to litter the floor with crumbs, or the
_débris_ of fruits and nuts, nor to leave any trace of its presence
after the luncheon is finished.

If a lady is traveling under the escort of a gentleman, she will give
him as little trouble as possible.  She will amuse herself by reading,
or studying the landscape, leaving him at liberty to choose similar
diversions when conversation grows tedious.  She will carry few
parcels, and if possible will have arranged for some one to meet her at
her station, so that her obliging guardian need not be taxed to look
after her beyond the railway journey's end.  If the gentleman has
attended to the purchase of tickets, and the paying of dining-car fees,
etc., the lady will repay those expenditures, as a matter of course,
thanking him for the trouble that he has taken to give her "safe

A gentleman thus traveling as escort will attend to all matters of
tickets, the checking of baggage, etc.; and will see that the lady is
comfortably settled for her journey, with some thoughtful provision in
the way of magazines, and possibly a basket of fine fruit.  He will see
that the porter and the maid (if there is one) are attentive to her
comfort, and will not relinquish his charge until he leaves her, either
at her final destination, or in the care of some one authorized to
relieve him of the responsibility.  He will perform all these duties
cheerfully, and endeavor to convey the idea that it is a pleasure to
him; and this will be better shown in his manner than by any
conventional protestations.

There ought not to be such a thing as "hotel manners."  But there is;
and it suggests certain important injunctions.

Hotel partitions are usually thin, and sounds are penetrating.  Private
affairs should not be loudly discussed.  Tourists should learn to
converse in quiet tones, and to make as little "racket" as possible
with furniture, boots, etc., and to be polite enough not to keep other
guests awake late at night with the noise of music, laughter, or loud
talking.  The "manners" at table, in the reading-rooms, and about the
corridors should conform to whatever law of etiquette in private or
public life the incidents may indicate; since, at a hotel, one is both
_at_ home and _not_ at home, in two different aspects.

In driving with ladies, a gentleman gives them the seat facing the
horses, riding backward himself if any one must.  He will alight from
the carriage first, on the side nearest his seat, to avoid passing in
front of the ladies; and will assist them to alight, giving as much or
as little support as the case demands.  A light finger-tip on an elbow
is all the help that a sprightly girl may need, but her grandmother may
require to be tenderly lifted out bodily.  A gentleman will
discriminate, and not use an uncalled-for familiarity in helping a lady
out of a carriage.

When several ladies are driving, the youngest ones in the party will
ride backwards.  A hostess driving with her guests enters her carriage
_after_ them, unless they are noticeably younger than she is; but she
does not relinquish her usual seat to _any one_, unless she happens to
have a party of venerable ladies.


Wedding presents should be chosen with due reference to the
circumstances of the bride.  For the daughter of wealthy parents, who
weds a husband of large means--and to whom all desirable _useful_
things are assured--articles of _virtu_, and bewildering creations in
the way of costly "fancy articles," are suitable wedding gifts.  For a
quiet little bride who is going to housekeeping on a moderate income,
articles that are useful as well as beautiful are appropriate and
acceptable.  A handsome substantial chair, a cabinet for china, pretty
china to put in it, some standard books, a set of fine table
linen,--almost anything within the range of dainty house-furnishing
shows the good taste of the giver.

Presents that owe their creation to the ingenuity and labor of one's
friends--as hand-painted screens or china, embroidered work, or, if one
is artistic, a painting or etching--are peculiarly complimentary
wedding gifts.

In general, the exchange of gifts is desirable only between friends who
care enough for each other not only to _give_, but to be willing to
_accept_--the latter being a severer test of friendship.  Between two
women, or between two men, these matters adjust themselves.

A man should not offer valuable gifts to any lady outside of his own
family, unless she is very much his senior, and a friend of long
standing.  Similarly, a lady should not accept valuable gifts from a
gentleman unless his relationship to her warrants it.  Trifling tokens
of friendship or gallantry--a book, a bouquet, or a basket of
bon-bons--are not amiss; but a lady should not be under obligation to a
man for presents that plainly represent a considerable money value.

When a gift is accepted, the recipient should not make too obvious
haste to return the compliment, lest he or she seem unwilling to rest
under obligation.  It is polite to allow a generous friend some space
of time in which to enjoy the "blessedness of giving."

"Independence" is an excellent thing; but it becomes peculiarly rude
when it takes the form of refusing all trifling favors.  It is often
the greatest wisdom as well as kindness, to allow some one to do us a
favor.  Enemies have been transformed into friends by this tactful
process; for, as one always hates one whom he has injured, so, on the
reverse, he cannot help feeling an increased glow of kindliness toward
one whom he has benefited.

When some unsophisticated person innocently offers a gift that strict
conventionality would forbid one to accept, it is sometimes better to
suspend the rules and accept the token, than by refusal to hurt the
feelings of one who has perhaps offended the letter, but not the
spirit, of the law.

Gifts of flowers to the convalescent--tokens that the busy outside
world has not forgotten him--are among the most graceful expressions of
courteous interest.  Any one--even a total stranger--may send these, if
"the spirit moves," and the circumstances are such that the act could
bear no possible misinterpretation.


That a man enjoys the society of a charming woman, that a woman
delights in the conversation of a brilliant man, is no sign that either
of them is a flirt.

Few things are more vulgar than the readiness to infer a flirtation
from every case of marked mutual interest between a man and a woman.
The interchange of bright ideas, interspersed with the spontaneous
sallies of gallantry and the instinctive _repartee_ of innocent
coquetry--an archery of wit and humor, grave and gay,--this is one of
the salient features of civilized social life.  It has nothing in
common with the shallow travesty of sentiment that characterizes a
pointless flirtation.  The latter is _bad form_ whenever and wherever
existing.  A sincere sentiment is not reduced to the straits of
expressing itself in such uncertain language.  It is fair to conclude
that some insincerity, or some lack of a correct basis for sentiment,
is betrayed in every pointless flirtation.  It is hopelessly bad form.
Young people who gratify vanity by idle "conquests," so called, make a
sufficiently conspicuous show of ill-breeding; but a _married flirt_ is
worse than vulgar.

A woman may accept every tribute that a chivalrous man may offer to her
talent or wit, so long as it is expressed in a hearty spirit of good
comradeship, and with a clear and unmistakable deference to her
self-respecting dignity; but a well-bred woman will resent as an insult
to her womanhood any quasi-sentimental overtures _from a man who has
not the right to make them_.

Etiquette requires that the association of men and women in refined
circles shall be frank without freedom, friendly without familiarity.
"Flirting" is a plebeian diversion.  Every well-bred woman is a queen,
for whose sake every well-bred man will hold a lance in rets.


Since censoriousness is a quality utterly antagonistic to good manners,
it is well to reflect that, while etiquette lays down many laws, it
also indulgently grants generous absolution.  While we decide that
certain forms and methods of action are _correct_ and _good form_, we
must remember that all people, ourselves included, are liable to be
occasionally remiss in little things, and that we must not too hastily
decide a man's status on the score of breeding by his punctilious
observance of conventional laws.  There are some requirements of
etiquette that have their foundation in the idea of convenience or
feasibility; others that are essentially requisite as the exponent of
decency.  A man may easily be far from perfect in details of the former
class, and yet be a refined gentleman; but he cannot offend in the
latter class of instances without being a boor.  Something worse than
eating with his knife must ostracize a man, and something no greater
than spitting on the sidewalk should accomplish the feat at one fell

There is an infallible constancy in good breeding.  Like charity, of
which it is so largely an exponent, it "never faileth."  One's manner
to two different people, respectively, may not be _the same_, but it
should be _equally courteous_, whether it expresses the cordial
friendliness of social equals or the just esteem of one either higher
or lower than one's self in the social scale.  "No man is a hero to his
_valet_," because the heroic is confined to great and rare occasions.
But every gentleman is a _gentleman_ to his _valet_, for the qualities
that distinguish the gentleman are every day and every hour manifested.

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