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Title: Etiquette
Author: Post, Emily, 1873-1960
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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[Illustration: A BRIDE'S BOUQUET






    Author of "Purple and Fine Linen," "The Title Market," "Woven in the
    Tapestry," "The Flight of a Moth," "Letters of a Worldly
    Godmother," etc., etc.







    [Printed in the United States of America]
    First Edition published in July 1922
    Second Edition published in September, 1922

    August 11, 1910.










Richard Duffy

Many who scoff at a book of etiquette would be shocked to hear the least
expression of levity touching the Ten Commandments. But the Commandments
do not always prevent such virtuous scoffers from dealings with their
neighbor of which no gentleman could be capable and retain his claim to
the title. Though it may require ingenuity to reconcile their actions with
the Decalogue--the ingenuity is always forthcoming. There is no intention
in this remark to intimate that there is any higher rule of life than the
Ten Commandments; only it is illuminating as showing the relationship
between manners and morals, which is too often overlooked. The polished
gentleman of sentimental fiction has so long served as the type of smooth
and conscienceless depravity that urbanity of demeanor inspires distrust
in ruder minds. On the other hand, the blunt, unpolished hero of melodrama
and romantic fiction has lifted brusqueness and pushfulness to a pedestal
not wholly merited. Consequently, the kinship between conduct that keeps
us within the law and conduct that makes civilized life worthy to be
called such, deserves to be noted with emphasis. The Chinese sage,
Confucius, could not tolerate the suggestion that virtue is in itself
enough without politeness, for he viewed them as inseparable and "saw
courtesies as coming from the heart," maintaining that "when they are
practised with all the heart, a moral elevation ensues."

People who ridicule etiquette as a mass of trivial and arbitrary
conventions, "extremely troublesome to those who practise them and
insupportable to everybody else," seem to forget the long, slow progress
of social intercourse in the upward climb of man from the primeval state.
Conventions were established from the first to regulate the rights of the
individual and the tribe. They were and are the rules of the game of life
and must be followed if we would "play the game." Ages before man felt the
need of indigestion remedies, he ate his food solitary and furtive in some
corner, hoping he would not be espied by any stronger and hungrier fellow.
It was a long, long time before the habit of eating in common was
acquired; and it is obvious that the practise could not have been taken up
with safety until the individuals of the race knew enough about one
another and about the food resources to be sure that there was food
sufficient for all. When eating in common became the vogue, table manners
made their appearance and they have been waging an uphill struggle ever
since. The custom of raising the hat when meeting an acquaintance derives
from the old rule that friendly knights in accosting each other should
raise the visor for mutual recognition in amity. In the knightly years, it
must be remembered, it was important to know whether one was meeting
friend or foe. Meeting a foe meant fighting on the spot. Thus, it is
evident that the conventions of courtesy not only tend to make the wheels
of life run more smoothly, but also act as safeguards in human
relationship. Imagine the Paris Peace Conference, or any of the later
conferences in Europe, without the protective armor of diplomatic

Nevertheless, to some the very word etiquette is an irritant. It implies a
great pother about trifles, these conscientious objectors assure us, and
trifles are unimportant. Trifles are unimportant, it is true, but then
life is made up of trifles. To those who dislike the word, it suggests all
that is finical and superfluous. It means a garish embroidery on the big
scheme of life; a clog on the forward march of a strong and courageous
nation. To such as these, the words etiquette and politeness connote
weakness and timidity. Their notion of a really polite man is a dancing
master or a man milliner. They were always willing to admit that the
French were the politest nation in Europe and equally ready to assert that
the French were the weakest and least valorous, until the war opened their
eyes in amazement. Yet, that manners and fighting can go hand in hand
appears in the following anecdote:

In the midst of the war, some French soldiers and some non-French of the
Allied forces were receiving their rations in a village back of the lines.
The non-French fighters belonged to an Army that supplied rations
plentifully. They grabbed their allotments and stood about while hastily
eating, uninterrupted by conversation or other concern. The French
soldiers took their very meager portions of food, improvised a kind of
table on the top of a flat rock, and having laid out the rations,
including the small quantity of wine that formed part of the repast, sat
down in comfort and began their meal amid a chatter of talk. One of the
non-French soldiers, all of whom had finished their large supply of food
before the French had begun eating, asked sardonically: "Why do you
fellows make such a lot of fuss over the little bit of grub they give you
to eat?" The Frenchman replied: "Well, we are making war for civilization,
are we not? Very well, we are. Therefore, we eat in a civilized way."

To the French we owe the word etiquette, and it is amusing to discover its
origin in the commonplace familiar warning--"Keep off the grass." It
happened in the reign of Louis XIV, when the gardens of Versailles were
being laid out, that the master gardener, an old Scotsman, was sorely
tried because his newly seeded lawns were being continually
trampled upon. To keep trespassers off, he put up warning signs or
tickets--_etiquettes_--on which was indicated the path along which to
pass. But the courtiers paid no attention to these directions and so the
determined Scot complained to the King in such convincing manner that His
Majesty issued an edict commanding everyone at Court to "keep within the
_etiquettes_." Gradually the term came to cover all the rules for correct
demeanor and deportment in court circles; and thus through the centuries
it has grown into use to describe the conventions sanctioned for the
purpose of smoothing personal contacts and developing tact and good
manners in social intercourse. With the decline of feudal courts and the
rise of empires of industry, much of the ceremony of life was discarded
for plain and less formal dealing. Trousers and coats supplanted doublets
and hose, and the change in costume was not more extreme than the change
in social ideas. The court ceased to be the arbiter of manners, though the
aristocracy of the land remained the high exemplar of good breeding.

Yet, even so courtly and materialistic a mind as Lord Chesterfield's
acknowledged a connection between manners and morality, of which latter
the courts of Europe seemed so sparing. In one of the famous "Letters to
His Son" he writes: "Moral virtues are the foundation of society in
general, and of friendship in particular; but attentions, manners, and
graces, both adorn and strengthen them." Again he says: "Great merit, or
great failings, will make you respected or despised; but trifles, little
attentions, mere nothings, either done or reflected, will make you either
liked or disliked, in the general run of the world." For all the wisdom
and brilliancy of his worldly knowledge, perhaps no other writer has done
so much to bring disrepute on the "manners and graces" as Lord
Chesterfield, and this, it is charged, because he debased them so heavily
by considering them merely as the machinery of a successful career. To the
moralists, the fact that the moral standards of society in Lord
Chesterfield's day were very different from those of the present era
rather adds to the odium that has become associated with his attitude. His
severest critics, however, do concede that he is candid and outspoken, and
many admit that his social strategy is widely practised even in these

But the aims of the world in which he moved were routed by the onrush of
the ideals of democratic equality, fraternity, and liberty. With the
prosperity of the newer shibboleths, the old-time notion of aristocracy,
gentility, and high breeding became more and more a curio to be framed
suitably in gold and kept in the glass case of an art museum. The crashing
advance of the industrial age of gold thrust all courts and their sinuous
graces aside for the unmistakable ledger balance of the counting-house.
This new order of things had been a long time in process, when, in the
first year of this century, a distinguished English social historian, the
late The Right Honorable G.W.E. Russell, wrote: "Probably in all ages of
history men have liked money, but a hundred years ago they did not talk
about it in society.... Birth, breeding, rank, accomplishments, eminence
in literature, eminence in art, eminence in public service--all these
things still count for something in society. But when combined they are
only as the dust of the balance when weighed against the all-prevalent
power of money. The worship of the Golden Calf is the characteristic cult
of modern society." In the Elizabethan Age of mighty glory, three hundred
years before this was said, Ben Jonson had railed against money as "a thin
membrane of honor," groaning: "How hath all true reputation fallen since
money began to have any!" Now the very fact that the debasing effect of
money on the social organism has been so constantly reprehended, from
Scriptural days onward, proves the instinctive yearning of mankind for a
system of life regulated by good taste, high intelligence and sound
affections. But, it remains true that, in the succession of great
commercial epochs, coincident with the progress of modern science and
invention, _almost_ everything can be bought and sold, and so _almost_
everything is rated by the standard of money.

Yet, this standard is precisely not the ultimate test of the Christianity
on which we have been pluming ourselves through the centuries. Still, no
one can get along without money; and few of us get along very well with
what we have. At least we think so--because everybody else seems to think
that way. We Americans are members of the nation which, materially, is
the richest, most prosperous and most promising in the world. This idea is
dinned into our heads continually by foreign observers, and publicly we
"own the soft impeachment." Privately, each individual American seems
driven with the decision that he must live up to the general conception of
the nation as a whole. And he does, but in less strenuous moments he might
profitably ponder the counsel of Gladstone to his countrymen: "Let us
respect the ancient manners and recollect that, if the true soul of
chivalry has died among us, with it all that is good in society has died.
Let us cherish a sober mind; take for granted that in our best
performances there are latent many errors which in their own time will
come to light."

America, too, has her ancient manners to remember and respect; but, in the
rapid assimilation of new peoples into her economic and social organism,
more pressing concerns take up nearly all her time. The perfection of
manners by intensive cultivation of good taste, some believe, would be the
greatest aid possible to the moralists who are alarmed over the decadence
of the younger generation. Good taste may not make men or women really
virtuous, but it will often save them from what theologians call
"occasions of sin." We may note, too, that grossness in manners forms a
large proportion of the offenses that fanatical reformers foam about.
Besides grossness, there is also the meaner selfishness. Selfishness is at
the polar remove from the worldly manners of the old school, according to
which, as Dr. Pusey wrote, others were preferred to self, pain was given
to no one, no one was neglected, deference was shown to the weak and the
aged, and unconscious courtesy extended to all inferiors. Such was the
"beauty" of the old manners, which he felt consisted in "acting upon
Christian principle, and if in any case it became soulless, as apart from
Christianity, the beautiful form was there, into which the real life might

As a study of all that is admirable in American manners, and as a guide to
behavior in the simplest as well as the most complex requirements of life
day by day, whether we are at home or away from it, there can be no
happier choice than the present volume. It is conceived in the belief that
etiquette in its broader sense means the technique of human conduct under
all circumstances in life. Yet all minutiæ of correct manners are included
and no detail is too small to be explained, from the selection of a
visiting card to the mystery of eating corn on the cob. Matters of clothes
for men and women are treated with the same fullness of information and
accuracy of taste as are questions of the furnishing of their houses and
the training of their minds to social intercourse. But there is no
exaggeration of the minor details at the expense of the more important
spirit of personal conduct and attitude of mind. To dwell on formal
trivialities, the author holds, is like "measuring the letters of the
sign-boards by the roadside instead of profiting by the directions they
offer." She would have us know also that "it is not the people who make
small technical mistakes or even blunders, who are barred from the paths
of good society, but those of sham and pretense whose veneered vulgarity
at every step tramples the flowers in the gardens of cultivation." To her
mind the structure of etiquette is comparable to that of a house, of which
the foundation is ethics and the rest good taste, correct speech, quiet,
unassuming behavior, and a proper pride of dignity.

To such as entertain the mistaken notion that politeness implies all give
and little or no return, it is well to recall Coleridge's definition of a
gentleman: "We feel the gentlemanly character present with us," he said,
"whenever, under all circumstances of social intercourse, the trivial, not
less than the important, through the whole detail of his manners and
deportment, and with the ease of a habit, a person shows respect to others
in such a way as at the same time implies, in his own feelings, and
habitually, an assured anticipation of reciprocal respect from them to
himself. In short, the gentlemanly character arises out of the feeling of
equality acting as a habit, yet flexible to the varieties of rank, and
modified without being disturbed or superseded by them." Definitions of a
gentleman are numerous, and some of them famous; but we do not find such
copiousness for choice in definitions of a lady. Perhaps it has been
understood all along that the admirable and just characteristics of a
gentleman should of necessity be those also of a lady, with the charm of
womanhood combined. And, in these days, with the added responsibility of
the vote.

Besides the significance of this volume as an indubitable authority on
manners, it should be pointed out that as a social document, it is without
precedent in American literature. In order that we may better realize the
behavior and environment of well-bred people, the distinguished author has
introduced actual persons and places in fictional guise. They are the
persons and the places of her own world; and whether we can or can not
penetrate the incognito of the Worldlys, the Gildings, the Kindharts, the
Oldnames, and the others, is of no importance. Fictionally, they are real
enough for us to be interested and instructed in their way of living. That
they happen to move in what is known as Society is incidental, for, as the
author declares at the very outset: "Best Society is not a fellowship of
the wealthy, nor does it seek to exclude those who are not of exalted
birth; but it is an association of gentlefolk, of which good form in
speech, charm of manner, knowledge of the social amenities, and
instinctive consideration for the feelings of others, are the credentials
by which society the world over recognizes its chosen members."

The immediate fact is that the characters of this book are thoroughbred
Americans, representative of various sections of the country and free from
the slightest tinge of snobbery. Not all of them are even well-to-do, in
the postwar sense; and their devices of economy in household outlay, dress
and entertainment are a revelation in the science of ways and means. There
are parents, children, relatives and friends all passing before us in the
pageant of life from the cradle to the grave. No circumstance, from an
introduction to a wedding, is overlooked in this panorama and the
spectator has beside him a cicerone in the person of the author who clears
every doubt and answers every question. In course, the conviction grows
upon him that etiquette is no flummery of poseurs "aping the manners of
their betters," nor a code of snobs, who divide their time between licking
the boots of those above them and kicking at those below, but a system of
rules of conduct based on respect of self coupled with respect of others.
Meanwhile, to guard against conceit in his new knowledge, he may at odd
moments recall Ben Jonson's lines:

    "Nor stand so much on your gentility,
    Which is an airy, and mere borrowed thing,
    From dead men's dust, and bones: And none of yours
    Except you make, or hold it."




"Society" is an ambiguous term; it may mean much or nothing. Every human
being--unless dwelling alone in a cave--is a member of society of one sort
or another, and therefore it is well to define what is to be understood by
the term "Best Society" and why its authority is recognized. Best Society
abroad is always the oldest aristocracy; composed not so much of persons
of title, which may be new, as of those families and communities which
have for the longest period of time known highest cultivation. Our own
Best Society is represented by social groups which have had, since this is
America, widest rather than longest association with old world
cultivation. Cultivation is always the basic attribute of Best Society,
much as we hear in this country of an "Aristocracy of wealth."

To the general public a long purse is synonymous with high position--a
theory dear to the heart of the "yellow" press and eagerly fostered in the
preposterous social functions of screen drama. It is true that Best
Society is comparatively rich; it is true that the hostess of great
wealth, who constantly and lavishly entertains, will shine, at least to
the readers of the press, more brilliantly than her less affluent sister.
Yet the latter, through her quality of birth, her poise, her inimitable
distinction, is often the jewel of deeper water in the social crown of her

The most advertised commodity is not always intrinsically the best, but is
sometimes merely the product of a company with plenty of money to spend on
advertising. In the same way, money brings certain people before the
public--sometimes they are persons of "quality," quite as often the
so-called "society leaders" featured in the public press do not belong to
good society at all, in spite of their many published photographs and the
energies of their press-agents. Or possibly they do belong to "smart"
society; but if too much advertised, instead of being the "queens" they
seem, they might more accurately be classified as the court jesters of


New York, more than any city in the world, unless it be Paris, loves to be
amused, thrilled and surprised all at the same time; and will accept with
outstretched hand any one who can perform this astounding feat. Do not
underestimate the ability that can achieve it: a scintillating wit, an
arresting originality, a talent for entertaining that amounts to genius,
and gold poured literally like rain, are the least requirements.

Puritan America on the other hand demanding, as a ticket of admission to
her Best Society, the qualifications of birth, manners and cultivation,
clasps her hands tight across her slim trim waist and announces severely
that New York's "Best" is, in her opinion, very "bad" indeed. But this is
because Puritan America, as well as the general public, mistakes the
jester for the queen.

As a matter of fact, Best Society is not at all like a court with an
especial queen or king, nor is it confined to any one place or group, but
might better be described as an unlimited brotherhood which spreads over
the entire surface of the globe, the members of which are invariably
people of cultivation and worldly knowledge, who have not only perfect
manners but a perfect manner. Manners are made up of trivialities of
deportment which can be easily learned if one does not happen to know
them; manner is personality--the outward manifestation of one's innate
character and attitude toward life. A gentleman, for instance, will never
be ostentatious or overbearing any more than he will ever be servile,
because these attributes never animate the impulses of a well-bred person.
A man whose manners suggest the grotesque is invariably a person of
imitation rather than of real position.

Etiquette must, if it is to be of more than trifling use, include ethics
as well as manners. Certainly what one is, is of far greater importance
than what one appears to be. A knowledge of etiquette is of course
essential to one's decent behavior, just as clothing is essential to one's
decent appearance; and precisely as one wears the latter without being
self-conscious of having on shoes and perhaps gloves, one who has good
manners is equally unself-conscious in the observance of etiquette, the
precepts of which must be so thoroughly absorbed as to make their
observance a matter of instinct rather than of conscious obedience.

Thus Best Society is not a fellowship of the wealthy, nor does it seek to
exclude those who are not of exalted birth; but it _is_ an association of
gentle-folk, of which good form in speech, charm of manner, knowledge of
the social amenities, and instinctive consideration for the feelings of
others, are the credentials by which society the world over recognizes its
chosen members.




The word "present" is preferable on formal occasions to the word
"introduce." On informal occasions neither word is expressed, though
understood, as will be shown below. The correct formal introduction is:

    "Mrs. Jones, may I present Mr. Smith?"


    "Mr. Distinguished, may I present Mr. Young?"

The younger person is always presented to the older or more distinguished,
but a gentleman is always presented to a lady, even though he is an old
gentleman of great distinction and the lady a mere slip of a girl.

No lady is ever, except to the President of the United States, a cardinal,
or a reigning sovereign, presented to a man. The correct introduction of
either a man or woman:

To the President,


    "Mr. President, I have the honor to present Mrs. Jones, of

To a Cardinal,


    "Your Eminence, may I present Mrs. Jones?"

To a King:

Much formality of presenting names on lists is gone through beforehand; at
the actual presentation an "accepted" name is repeated from functionary to
equerry and nothing is said to the King or Queen except: "Mrs. Jones."

But a Foreign Ambassador is presented, "Mr. Ambassador, may I present you
to Mrs. Jones."

Very few people in polite society are introduced by their formal titles. A
hostess says, "Mrs. Jones, may I present the Duke of Overthere?" or "Lord
Blank?"; never "his Grace" or "his Lordship." The Honorable is merely Mr.
Lordson, or Mr. Holdoffice. A doctor, a judge, a bishop, are addressed and
introduced by their titles. The clergy are usually Mister unless they
formally hold the title of Doctor, or Dean, or Canon. A Catholic priest is
"Father Kelly." A senator is always introduced as Senator, whether he is
still in office or not. But the President of the United States, once he is
out of office, is merely "Mr." and not "Ex-president."


In the briefer form of introduction commonly used,

    "Mrs. Worldly, Mrs. Norman,"

if the two names are said in the same tone of voice it is not apparent who
is introduced to whom; but by accentuating the more important person's
name, it can be made as clear as though the words "May I present" had been

The more important name is said with a slightly rising inflection, the
secondary as a mere statement of fact. For instance, suppose you say, "Are
you there?" and then "It is raining!" Use the same inflection exactly and
say, "Mrs. Worldly?"--"Mrs. Younger!"

    Are you there?--It is raining!
    Mrs. Worldly?--Mrs. Younger!

The unmarried lady is presented to the married one, unless the latter is
very much the younger. As a matter of fact, in introducing two ladies to
each other or one gentleman to another, no distinction is made. "Mrs.
Smith; Mrs. Norman." "Mr. Brown; Mr. Green."

The inflection is:

    I think--it's going to rain!
    Mrs. Smith--Mrs. Norman!

A man is also often introduced, "Mrs. Worldly? Mr. Norman!" But to a very
distinguished man, a mother would say:

    "Mr. Edison--My daughter, Mary!"

To a young man, however, she should say, "Mr. Struthers, have you met my
daughter?" If the daughter is married, she should have added, "My
daughter, Mrs. Smartlington." The daughter's name is omitted because it is
extremely bad taste (except in the South) to call her daughter "Miss Mary"
to any one but a servant, and on the other hand she should not present a
young man to "Mary." The young man can easily find out her name afterward.


Other permissible forms of introduction are:

"Mrs. Jones, do you know Mrs. Norman?"


"Mrs. Jones, you know Mrs. Robinson, don't you?" (on no account say "Do
you not?" Best Society always says "don't you?")


"Mrs. Robinson, have you met Mrs. Jones?"


"Mrs. Jones, do you know my mother?"


"This is my daughter Ellen, Mrs. Jones."

These are all good form, whether gentlemen are introduced to ladies,
ladies to ladies, or gentlemen to gentlemen. In introducing a gentleman to
a lady, you may ask Mr. Smith if he has met Mrs. Jones, but you must not
ask Mrs. Jones if she has met Mr. Smith!


Do not say: "Mr. Jones, shake hands with Mr. Smith," or "Mrs. Jones, I
want to make you acquainted with Mrs. Smith." Never say: "make you
acquainted with" and do not, in introducing one person to another, call
one of them "my friend." You can say "my aunt," or "my sister," or "my
cousin"--but to pick out a particular person as "my friend" is not only
bad style but, unless you have only one friend, bad manners--as it implies
Mrs. Smith is "my friend" and you are a stranger.

You may very properly say to Mr. Smith "I want you to meet Mrs. Jones,"
but this is not a form of introduction, nor is it to be said in Mrs.
Jones' hearing. Upon leading Mr. Smith up to Mrs. Jones, you say "Mrs.
Jones may I present Mr. Smith" or "Mrs. Jones; Mr. Smith." Under no
circumstances whatsoever say "Mr. Smith meet Mrs. Jones," or "Mrs. Jones
meet Mr. Smith." Either wording is equally preposterous.

Do not repeat "Mrs. Jones? Mrs. Smith! Mrs. Smith? Mrs. Jones!" To say
each name once is quite enough.

Most people of good taste very much dislike being asked their names. To
say "What is your name?" is always abrupt and unflattering. If you want to
know with whom you have been talking, you can generally find a third
person later and ask "Who was the lady with the grey feather in her hat?"
The next time you see her you can say "How do you do, Mrs. ----" (calling
her by name).


When gentlemen are introduced to each other they always shake hands.

When a gentleman is introduced to a lady, she sometimes puts out her
hand--especially if he is some one she has long heard about from friends
in common, but to an entire stranger she generally merely bows her head
slightly and says: "How do you do!" Strictly speaking, it is always her
place to offer her hand or not as she chooses, but if he puts out his
hand, it is rude on her part to ignore it. Nothing could be more ill-bred
than to treat curtly any overture made in spontaneous friendliness. No
thoroughbred lady would ever refuse to shake any hand that is honorable,
not even the hand of a coal heaver at the risk of her fresh white glove.

Those who have been drawn into a conversation do not usually shake hands
on parting. But there is no fixed rule. A lady sometimes shakes hands
after talking with a casual stranger; at other times she does not offer
her hand on parting from one who has been punctiliously presented to her.
She may find the former sympathetic and the latter very much the contrary.

Very few rules of etiquette are inelastic and none more so than the
acceptance or rejection of the strangers you meet.

There is a wide distance between rudeness and reserve. You can be
courteously polite and at the same time extremely aloof to a stranger who
does not appeal to you, or you can be welcomingly friendly to another whom
you like on sight. Individual temperament has also to be taken into
consideration: one person is naturally austere, another genial. The latter
shakes hands far more often than the former. As already said, it is
unforgivably rude to refuse a proffered hand, but it is rarely necessary
to offer your hand if you prefer not to.


Best Society has only one phrase in acknowledgment of an introduction:
"How do you do?" It literally accepts no other. When Mr. Bachelor says,
"Mrs. Worldly, may I present Mr. Struthers?" Mrs. Worldly says, "How do
you do?" Struthers bows, and says nothing. To sweetly echo "Mr.
Struthers?" with a rising inflection on "--thers?" is not good form.
Saccharine chirpings should be classed with crooked little fingers, high
hand-shaking and other affectations. All affectations are bad form.

Persons of position do not say: "Charmed," or "Pleased to meet you," etc.,
but often the first remark is the beginning of a conversation. For

Young Struthers is presented to Mrs. Worldly. She smiles and perhaps says,
"I hear that you are going to be in New York all winter?" Struthers
answers, "Yes, I am at the Columbia Law School," etc., or since he is much
younger than she, he might answer, "Yes, Mrs. Worldly," especially if his
answer would otherwise be a curt yes or no. Otherwise he does not continue
repeating her name.


After an introduction, when you have talked for some time to a stranger
whom you have found agreeable, and you then take leave, you say, "Good-by,
I am very glad to have met you," or "Good-by, I hope I shall see you again
soon"--or "some time." The other person answers, "Thank you," or perhaps
adds, "I hope so, too." Usually "Thank you" is all that is necessary.

In taking leave of a group of strangers--it makes no difference whether
you have been introduced to them or merely included in their
conversation--you bow "good-by" to any who happen to be looking at you,
but you do not attempt to attract the attention of those who are unaware
that you are turning away.


This is never done on formal occasions when a great many persons are
present. At a small luncheon, for instance, a hostess always introduces
her guests to one another.

Let us suppose you are the hostess: your position is not necessarily near,
but it is toward the door. Mrs. King is sitting quite close to you, Mrs.
Lawrence also near. Miss Robinson and Miss Brown are much farther away.

Mrs. Jones enters. You go a few steps forward and shake hands with her,
then stand aside as it were, for a second only, to see if Mrs. Jones goes
to speak to any one. If she apparently knows no one, you say,

"Mrs. King, do you know Mrs. Jones?" Mrs. King being close at hand
(usually but not necessarily) rises, shakes hands with Mrs. Jones and sits
down again. If Mrs. King is an elderly lady, and Mrs. Jones a young one,
Mrs. King merely extends her hand and does not rise. Having said "Mrs.
Jones" once, you do not repeat it immediately, but turning to the other
lady sitting near you, you say, "Mrs. Lawrence," then you look across the
room and continue, "Miss Robinson, Miss Brown--Mrs. Jones!" Mrs. Lawrence,
if she is young, rises and shakes hands with Mrs. Jones, and the other two
bow but do not rise.

At a very big luncheon you would introduce Mrs. Jones to Mrs. King and
possibly to Mrs. Lawrence, so that Mrs. Jones might have some one to talk
to. But if other guests come in at this moment, Mrs. Jones finds a place
for herself and after a pause, falls naturally into conversation with
those she is next to, without giving her name or asking theirs.

A friend's roof is supposed to be an introduction to those it shelters. In
Best Society this is always recognized if the gathering is intimate, such
as at a luncheon, dinner or house party; but it is not accepted at a ball
or reception, or any "general" entertainment. People always talk to their
neighbors at table whether introduced or not. It would be a breach of
etiquette not to! But if Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Norman merely spoke to each
other for a few moments, in the drawing-room, it is not necessary that
they recognize each other afterwards.


New York's bad manners are often condemned and often very deservedly. Even
though the cause is carelessness rather than intentional indifference, the
indifference is no less actual and the rudeness inexcusable.

It is by no means unheard of that after sitting at table next to the guest
of honor, a New Yorker will meet her the next day with utter
unrecognition. Not because the New Yorker means to "cut" the stranger or
feels the slightest unwillingness to continue the acquaintance, but
because few New Yorkers possess enthusiasm enough to make an effort to
remember all the new faces they come in contact with, but allow all those
who are not especially "fixed" in their attention, to drift easily out of
mind and recognition. It is mortifyingly true; no one is so ignorantly
indifferent to everything outside his or her own personal concern as the
socially fashionable New Yorker, unless it is the Londoner! The late
Theodore Roosevelt was a brilliantly shining exception. And, of course,
and happily, there are other men and women like him in this. But there are
also enough of the snail-in-shell variety to give color to the very just
resentment that those from other and more gracious cities hold against New

Everywhere else in the world (except London), the impulse of
self-cultivation, if not the more generous ones of consideration and
hospitality, induces people of good breeding to try and make the effort to
find out what manner of mind, or experience, or talent, a stranger has;
and to remember, at least out of courtesy, anyone for whose benefit a
friend of theirs gave a dinner or luncheon. To fashionable New York,
however, luncheon was at one-thirty; at three there is something else
occupying the moment--that is all.

Nearly all people of the Atlantic Coast dislike general introductions, and
present people to each other as little as possible. In the West, however,
people do not feel comfortable in a room full of strangers. Whether or not
to introduce people therefore becomes not merely a question of propriety,
but of consideration for local custom.


The question as to when introductions should be made, or not made, is one
of the most elusive points in the entire range of social knowledge.
"Whenever necessary to bridge an awkward situation," is a definition that
is exact enough, but not very helpful or clear. The hostess who allows a
guest to stand, awkward and unknown, in the middle of her drawing-room is
no worse than she who pounces on every chance acquaintance and drags
unwilling victims into forced recognition of each other, everywhere and on
all occasions. The fundamental rule never to introduce unnecessarily
brings up the question:


First, in order of importance, is the presentation of everyone to guests
of honor, whether the "guests" are distinguished strangers for whom a
dinner is given, or a bride and groom, or a débutante being introduced to
society. It is the height of rudeness for anyone to go to an entertainment
given in honor of some one and fail to "meet" him. (Even though one's
memory is too feeble to remember him afterward!)


The host must always see that every gentleman either knows or is presented
to the lady he is to "take in" to dinner, and also, if possible, to the
one who is to sit at the other side of him. If the latter introduction is
overlooked, people sitting next each other at table nearly always
introduce themselves. A gentleman says, "How do you do, Mrs. Jones. I am
Arthur Robinson." Or showing her his place card, "I have to introduce
myself, this is my name." Or the lady says first, "I am Mrs. Hunter
Jones." And the man answers, "How do you do, Mrs. Jones, my name is
Titherington Smith."

It is not unusual, in New York, for those placed next each other to talk
without introducing themselves--particularly if each can read the name of
the other on the place cards.


Even in New York's most introductionless circles, people always introduce:

A small group of people who are to sit together anywhere.

Partners at dinner.

The guests at a house party.

Everyone at a small dinner or luncheon.

The four who are at the same bridge table.

Partners or fellow-players in any game.

At a dance, when an invitation has been asked for a stranger, the friend
who vouched for him should personally present him to the hostess. "Mrs.
Worldly, this is Mr. Robinson, whom you said I might bring." The hostess
shakes hands and smiles and says: "I am very glad to see you, Mr.

A guest in a box at the opera always introduces any gentleman who comes to
speak to her, to her hostess, unless the latter is engrossed in
conversation with a visitor of her own, or unless other people block the
distance between so that an introduction would be forced and awkward.

A newly arriving visitor in a lady's drawing-room is not introduced to
another who is taking leave. Nor is an animated conversation between two
persons interrupted to introduce a third. Nor is any one ever led around a
room and introduced right and left.

If two ladies or young girls are walking together and they meet a third
who stops to speak to one of them, the other walks slowly on and does not
stand awkwardly by and wait for an introduction. If the third is asked by
the one she knows, to join them, the sauntering friend is overtaken and an
introduction always made. The third, however, must not join them unless
invited to do so.

At a very large dinner, people (excepting the gentlemen and ladies who are
to sit next to each other at table) are not collectively introduced. After
dinner, men in the smoking room or left at table always talk to their
neighbors whether they have been introduced or not, and ladies in the
drawing-room do the same. But unless they meet soon again, or have found
each other so agreeable that they make an effort to continue the
acquaintance, they become strangers again, equally whether they were
introduced or not.

Some writers on etiquette speak of "correct introductions" that carry
"obligations of future acquaintance," and "incorrect introductions," that
seemingly obligate one to nothing.

Degrees of introduction are utterly unknown to best society. It makes not
the slightest difference so far as any one's acceptance or rejection of
another is concerned how an introduction is worded or, on occasions,
whether an introduction takes place at all.

Fashionable people in very large cities take introductions lightly; they
are veritable ships that pass in the night. They show their red or green
signals--which are merely polite sentences and pleasant manners--and they
pass on again.

When you are introduced to some one for the second time and the first
occasion was without interest and long ago, there is no reason why you
should speak of the former meeting.

If some one presents you to Mrs. Smith for the second time on the same
occasion, you smile and say "I have already met Mrs. Smith," but you say
nothing if you met Mrs. Smith long ago and she showed no interest in you
at that time.

Most rules are elastic and contract and expand according to circumstances.
You do not remind Mrs. Smith of having met her before, but on meeting
again any one who was brought to your own house, or one who showed you an
especial courtesy you instinctively say, "I am so glad to see you again."


On occasions it happens that in talking to one person you want to include
another in your conversation without making an introduction. For instance:
suppose you are talking to a seedsman and a friend joins you in your
garden. You greet your friend, and then include her by saying, "Mr. Smith
is suggesting that I dig up these cannas and put in delphiniums." Whether
your friend gives an opinion as to the change in color of your flower bed
or not, she has been made part of your conversation.

This same maneuver of evading an introduction is also resorted to when you
are not sure that an acquaintance will be agreeable to one or both of
those whom an accidental circumstance has brought together.


You must never introduce people to each other in public places unless you
are certain beyond a doubt that the introduction will be agreeable to
both. You cannot commit a greater social blunder than to introduce, to a
person of position, some one she does not care to know, especially on
shipboard, in hotels, or in other very small, rather public, communities
where people are so closely thrown together that it is correspondingly
difficult to avoid undesirable acquaintances who have been given the wedge
of an introduction.

As said above, introductions in very large cities are unimportant. In New
York, where people are meeting new faces daily, seldom seeing the same one
twice in a year, it requires a tenacious memory to recognize those one
hoped most to see again, and others are blotted out at once.

People in good society rarely ask to be introduced to each other, but if
there is a good reason for knowing some one, they often introduce
themselves; for instance, Mary Smith says:

"Mrs. Jones, aren't you a friend of my mother's? I am Mrs. Titherington
Smith's daughter." Mrs. Jones says:

"Why, my dear child, I am so glad you spoke to me. Your mother and I have
known each other since we were children!"

Or, an elder lady asks: "Aren't you Mary Smith? I have known your mother
since she was your age." Or a young woman says: "Aren't you Mrs. Worldly?"
Mrs. Worldly, looking rather freezingly, politely says "Yes" and waits.
And the stranger continues, "I think my sister Millicent Manners is a
friend of yours." Mrs. Worldly at once unbends. "Oh, yes, indeed, I am
devoted to Millicent! And you must be ----?"

"I'm Alice."

"Oh, of course, Millicent has often talked of you, and of your lovely
voice. I want very much to hear you sing some time."

These self-introductions, however, must never presumingly be made. It
would be in very bad taste for Alice to introduce herself to Mrs. Worldly
if her sister knew her only slightly.


A lady who goes to see another to get a reference for a servant, or to ask
her aid in an organization for charity, would never consider such a
meeting as an introduction, even though they talked for an hour. Nor would
she offer to shake hands in leaving. On the other hand, neighbors who are
continually meeting, gradually become accustomed to say "How do you do?"
when they meet, even though they never become acquaintances.


Let us suppose some one addresses you, and then slightly disconcerted
says: "You don't remember me, do you?" The polite thing--unless his manner
does not ring true, is to say "Why, of course, I do." And then if a few
neutral remarks lead to no enlightening topic, and bring no further
memory, you ask at the first opportunity who it was that addressed you. If
the person should prove actually to be unknown, it is very easy to repel
any further advances. But nearly always you find it is some one you ought
to have known, and your hiding the fact of your forgetfulness saves you
from the rather rude and stupid situation of blankly declaring: "I don't
remember you."

If, after being introduced to you, Mr. Jones calls you by a wrong name,
you let it pass, at first, but if he persists you may say: "My name is
Simpson, not Simpkin."

At a private dance, young men nowadays introduce their men friends to
young women without first asking the latter's permission, because all
those invited to a lady's house are supposed to be eligible for
presentation to everyone, or they would not be there.

At a public ball young men and women keep very much to their own
particular small circle and are not apt to meet outsiders at all. Under
these circumstances a gentleman should be very careful not to introduce a
youth whom he knows nothing about to a lady of his acquaintance--or at
least he should ask her first. He can say frankly: "There is a man called
Sliders who has asked to meet you. I don't know who he is, but he seems
decent. Shall I introduce him?" The lady can say "Yes"; or, "I'd rather


An introduction by letter is far more binding than a casual spoken
introduction which commits you to nothing. This is explained fully and
example letters are given in the chapter on Letters.

A letter of introduction is handed you unsealed, always. It is correct for
you to seal it at once in the presence of its author. You thank your
friend for having written it and go on your journey.

If you are a man and your introduction is to a lady, you go to her house
as soon as you arrive in her city, and leave the letter with your card at
her door. Usually you do not ask to see her; but if it is between four and
six o'clock it is quite correct to do so if you choose. Presenting
yourself with a letter is always a little awkward. Most people prefer to
leave their cards without asking to be received.

If your letter is to a man, you mail it to his house, unless the letter is
a business one. In the latter case you go to his office, and send in your
card and the letter. Meanwhile you wait in the reception room until he has
read the letter and sends for you to come into his private office.

If you are a woman, you mail your letter of social introduction and do
nothing further until you receive an acknowledgment. If the recipient of
your letter leaves her card on you, you in return leave yours on her. But
the obligation of a written introduction is such that only illness can
excuse her not asking you to her house--either formally or informally.

When a man receives a letter introducing another man, he calls the person
introduced on the telephone and asks how he may be of service to him. If
he does not invite the newcomer to his house, he may put him up at his
club, or have him take luncheon or dinner at a restaurant, as the
circumstances seem to warrant.




As explained in the foregoing chapter, the correct formal greeting is:
"How do you do?" If Mrs. Younger is presented to Mrs. Worldly, Mrs.
Worldly says "How do you do?" If the Ambassador of France is presented to
her, she says "How do you do?" Mrs. Younger and the Ambassador likewise
say "How do you do?" or merely bow.

There are a few expressions possible under other circumstances and upon
other occasions. If you have, through friends in common, long heard of a
certain lady, or gentleman, and you know that she, or he, also has heard
much of you, you may say when you are introduced to her: "I am very glad
to meet you," or "I am delighted to meet you at last!" Do not use the
expression "pleased to meet you" then or on any occasion. And you must not
say you are delighted unless you have reason to be sure that she also is
delighted to meet you.

To one who has volunteered to help you in charitable work for instance,
you would say: "It is very good of you to help us," or, "to join us."

In business a gentleman says: "Very glad to meet you," or "Delighted to
meet you." Or, if in his own office: "Very glad to see you!"


Informal greetings are almost as limited as formal, but not quite; for
besides saying "How do you do?" you can say "Good morning" and on
occasions "How are you?" or "Good evening."

On very informal occasions, it is the present fashion to greet an intimate
friend with "Hello!" This seemingly vulgar salutation is made acceptable
by the tone in which it is said. To shout "Hul_low_!" is vulgar, but
"Hello, Mary" or "How 'do John," each spoken in an ordinary tone of voice,
sound much the same. But remember that the "Hello" is spoken, not called
out, and never used except between intimate friends who call each other by
the first name.

There are only two forms of farewell: "Good-by" and "Good night." Never
say "Au revoir" unless you have been talking French, or are speaking to a
French person. Never interlard your conversation with foreign words or
phrases when you can possibly translate them into English; and the
occasions when our mother tongue will not serve are extremely rare.

Very often in place of the over-worn "How do you do," perhaps more often
than not, people skip the words of actual greeting and plunge instead into
conversation: "Why, Mary! When did you get back?" or "What is the news
with you?" or "What have you been doing lately?" The weather, too, fills
in with equal faithfulness. "Isn't it a heavenly day!" or "Horrid weather,
isn't it?" It would seem that the variability of the weather was purposely
devised to furnish mankind with unfailing material for conversation.

In bidding good-by to a new acquaintance with whom you have been talking,
you shake hands and say, "Good-by. I am very glad to have met you." To one
who has been especially interesting, or who is somewhat of a personage you
say: "It has been a great pleasure to meet you." The other answers: "Thank


People do not greet each other in church, except at a wedding. At weddings
people do speak to friends sitting near them, but in a low tone of voice.
It would be shocking to enter a church and hear a babel of voices!

Ordinarily in church if a friend happens to catch your eye, you smile, but
never actually bow. If you go to a church not your own and a stranger
offers you a seat in her pew, you should, on leaving, turn to her and
say: "Thank you." But you do not greet anyone until you are out on the
church steps, when you naturally speak to your friends. "Hello" should not
be said on this occasion because it is too "familiar" for the solemnity of
church surroundings.


Gentlemen always shake hands when they are introduced to each other.
Ladies rarely do so with gentlemen who are introduced to them; but they
usually shake hands with other ladies, if they are standing near together.
All people who know each other, unless merely passing by, shake hands when
they meet.

A gentleman on the street never shakes hands with a lady without first
removing his right glove. But at the opera, or at a ball, or if he is
usher at a wedding, he keeps his glove on.


A handshake often creates a feeling of liking or of irritation between two
strangers. Who does not dislike a "boneless" hand extended as though it
were a spray of sea-weed, or a miniature boiled pudding? It is equally
annoying to have one's hand clutched aloft in grotesque affectation and
shaken violently sideways, as though it were being used to clean a spot
out of the atmosphere. What woman does not wince at the viselike grasp
that cuts her rings into her flesh and temporarily paralyzes every finger?

The proper handshake is made briefly; but there should be a feeling of
strength and warmth in the clasp, and, as in bowing, one should at the
same time look into the countenance of the person whose hand one takes. In
giving her hand to a foreigner, a married woman always relaxes her arm and
fingers, as it is customary for him to lift her hand to his lips. But by a
relaxed hand is not meant a wet rag; a hand should have life even though
it be passive. A woman should always allow a man who is only an
acquaintance to shake her hand; she should never shake his. To a very old
friend she gives a much firmer clasp, but he shakes her hand more than she
shakes his. Younger women usually shake the hand of the older; or they
both merely clasp hands, give them a dropping movement rather than a
shake, and let go.


It is the height of rudeness for young people not to go and shake hands
with an older lady of their acquaintance when they meet her away from
home, if she is a hostess to whose house they have often gone. It is not
at all necessary for either young women or young men to linger and enter
into a conversation, unless the older lady detains them, which she should
not do beyond the briefest minute.

Older ladies who are always dragging young men up to unprepossessing
partners, are studiously avoided and with reason; but otherwise it is
inexcusable for any youth to fail in this small exaction of polite
behavior. If a young man is talking with some one when an older lady
enters the room, he bows formally from where he is, as it would be rude to
leave a young girl standing alone while he went up to speak to Mrs.
Worldly or Mrs. Toplofty. But a young girl passing near an older lady can
easily stop for a moment, say "How do you do, Mrs. Jones!" and pass on.

People do not cross a room to speak to any one unless--to show politeness
to an acquaintance who is a stranger there; to speak to an intimate
friend; or to talk to some one about something in particular.




A gentleman takes off his hat and holds it in his hand when a lady enters
the elevator in which he is a passenger, but he puts it on again in the
corridor. A public corridor is like the street, but an elevator is
suggestive of a room, and a gentleman does not keep his hat on in the
presence of ladies in a house.

This is the rule in elevators in hotels, clubs and apartments. In office
buildings and stores the elevator is considered as public a place as the
corridor. What is more, the elevators in such business structures are
usually so crowded that the only room for a man's hat is on his head. But
even under these conditions a gentleman can reveal his innate respect for
women by not permitting himself to be crowded too near to them.

When a gentleman stops to speak to a lady of his acquaintance in the
street, he takes his hat off with his left hand, leaving his right free to
shake hands, or he takes it off with his right and transfers it to his
left. If he has a stick, he puts his stick in his left hand, takes off his
hat with his right, transfers his hat also to his left hand, and gives her
his right. If they walk ahead together, he at once puts his hat on; but
while he is standing in the street talking to her, he should remain
hatless. There is no rudeness greater than for him to stand talking to a
lady with his hat on, and a cigar or cigarette in his mouth.

A gentleman always rises when a lady comes into a room. In public places
men do not jump up for every strange woman who happens to approach. But if
any woman addresses a remark to him, a gentleman at once rises to his
feet as he answers her. In a restaurant, when a lady bows to him, a
gentleman merely makes the gesture of rising by getting up half way from
his chair and at the same time bowing. Then he sits down again.

When a lady goes to a gentleman's office on business he should stand up to
receive her, offer her a chair, and not sit down until after she is
seated. When she rises to leave, he must get up instantly and stand until
she has left the office.

It is not necessary to add that every American citizen stands with his hat
off at the passing of the "colors" and when the national anthem is played.
If he didn't, some other more loyal citizen would take it off for him.
Also every man should stand with his hat off in the presence of a funeral
that passes close or blocks his way.


Lifting the hat is a conventional gesture of politeness shown to strangers
only, not to be confused with bowing, which is a gesture used to
acquaintances and friends. In lifting his hat, a gentleman merely lifts it
slightly off his forehead and replaces it; he does not smile nor bow, nor
even look at the object of his courtesy. No gentleman ever subjects a lady
to his scrutiny or his apparent observation.

If a lady drops her glove, a gentleman should pick it up, hurry ahead of
her--on no account nudge her--offer the glove to her and say: "I think you
dropped this!" The lady replies: "Thank you." The gentleman should then
lift his hat and turn away.

If he passes a lady in a narrow space, so that he blocks her way or in any
manner obtrudes upon her, he lifts his hat as he passes.

If he gets on a street car and the car gives a lurch just as he is about
to be seated and throws him against another passenger, he lifts his hat
and says "Excuse me!" or "I beg your pardon!" He must _not_ say "Pardon
_me_!" He must not take a seat if there are ladies standing. But if he is
sitting and ladies enter, should they be young, he may with perfect
propriety keep his seat. If a very old woman, or a young one carrying a
baby, enters the car, a gentleman rises at once, lifts his hat slightly,
and says: "Please take my seat." He lifts his hat again when she thanks

If the car is very crowded when he wishes to leave it and a lady is
directly in his way, he asks: "May I get through, please?" As she makes
room for him to pass, he lifts his hat and says: "Thank you!"

If he is in the company of a lady in a street car, he lifts his hat to
another gentleman who offers her a seat, picks up something she has
dropped, or shows her any civility.

He lifts his hat if he asks anyone a question, and always, if, when
walking on the street with either a lady or a gentleman, his companion
bows to another person. In other words, a gentleman lifts his hat whenever
he says "Excuse me," "Thank you," or speaks to a stranger, or is spoken to
by a lady, or by an older gentleman. And no gentleman ever keeps a pipe,
cigar or cigarette in his mouth when he lifts his hat, takes it off, or


The standing bow, made by a gentleman when he rises at a dinner to say a
few words, in response to applause, or across a drawing-room at a formal
dinner when he bows to a lady or an elderly gentleman, is usually the
outcome of the bow taught little boys at dancing school. The instinct of
clicking heels together and making a quick bend over from the hips and
neck, as though the human body had two hinges, a big one at the hip and a
slight one at the neck, and was quite rigid in between, remains in a
modified form through life. The man who as a child came habitually into
his mother's drawing-room when there was "company," generally makes a
charming bow when grown, which is wholly lacking in self-consciousness.
There is no apparent "heel-clicking" but a camera would show that the
motion is there.

In every form of bow, as distinct from merely lifting his hat, a
gentleman looks at the person he is bowing to. In a very formal standing
bow, his heels come together, his knees are rigid and his expression is
rather serious.


The informal bow is merely a modification of the above; it is easy and
unstudied, but it should suggest the ease of controlled muscles, not the
floppiness of a rag doll.

In bowing on the street, a gentleman should never take his hat off with a
flourish, nor should he sweep it down to his knee; nor is it graceful to
bow by pulling the hat over the face as though examining the lining. The
correct bow, when wearing a high hat or derby, is to lift it by holding
the brim directly in front, take it off merely high enough to escape the
head easily, bring it a few inches forward, the back somewhat up, the
front down, and put it on again. To a very old lady or gentleman, to show
adequate respect, a sweeping bow is sometimes made by a somewhat
exaggerated circular motion downward to perhaps the level of the waist, so
that the hat's position is upside down.

If a man is wearing a soft hat he takes it by the crown instead of the
brim, lifts it slightly off his head and puts it on again.

The bow to a friend is made with a smile, to a very intimate friend often
with a broad grin that fits exactly with the word "Hello"; whereas the
formal bow is mentally accompanied by the formal salutation: "How do you


The reputation of Southern women for having the gift of fascination is
perhaps due not to prettiness of feature more than to the brilliancy or
sweetness of their ready smile. That Southern women are charming and
"feminine" and lovable is proverbial. How many have noticed that Southern
women always bow with the grace of a flower bending in the breeze and a
smile like sudden sunshine? The unlovely woman bows as though her head
were on a hinge and her smile sucked through a lemon.

Nothing is so easy for any woman to acquire as a charming bow. It is such
a short and fleeting duty. Not a bit of trouble really; just to incline
your head and spontaneously smile as though you thought "Why, _there_ is
Mrs. Smith! How glad I am to see her!"

Even to a stranger who does her a favor, a woman of charm always smiles as
she says "Thank you!" As a possession for either woman or man, a ready
smile is more valuable in life than a ready wit; the latter may sometimes
bring enemies, but the former always brings friends.


Under formal circumstances a lady is supposed to bow to a gentleman first;
but people who know each other well bow spontaneously without observing
this etiquette.

In meeting the same person many times within an hour or so, one does not
continue to bow after the second, or at most third meeting. After that one
either looks away or merely smiles. Unless one has a good memory for
people, it is always better to bow to some one whose face is familiar than
to run the greater risk of ignoring an acquaintance.


For one person to look directly at another and not acknowledge the other's
bow is such a breach of civility that only an unforgivable misdemeanor can
warrant the rebuke. Nor without the gravest cause may a lady "cut" a
gentleman. But there are no circumstances under which a gentleman may
"cut" any woman who, even by courtesy, can be called a lady.

On the other hand, one must not confuse absent-mindedness, or a forgetful
memory with an intentional "cut." Anyone who is preoccupied is apt to pass
others without being aware of them, and without the least want of
friendly regard. Others who have bad memories forget even those by whom
they were much attracted. This does not excuse the bad memory, but it
explains the seeming rudeness.

A "cut" is very different. It is a direct stare of blank refusal, and is
not only insulting to its victim but embarrassing to every witness.
Happily it is practically unknown in polite society.




A gentleman, whether walking with two ladies or one, takes the curb side
of the pavement. He should never sandwich himself between them.

A young man walking with a young woman should be careful that his manner
in no way draws attention to her or to himself. Too devoted a manner is
always conspicuous, and so is loud talking. Under no circumstances should
he take her arm, or grasp her by or above the elbow, and shove her here
and there, unless, of course, to save her from being run over! He should
not walk along hitting things with his stick. The small boy's delight in
drawing a stick along a picket fence should be curbed in the nursery! And
it is scarcely necessary to add that no gentleman walks along the street
chewing gum or, if he is walking with a lady, puffing a cigar or

All people in the streets, or anywhere in public, should be careful not to
talk too loud. They should especially avoid pronouncing people's names, or
making personal remarks that may attract passing attention or give a clue
to themselves.

One should never call out a name in public, unless it is absolutely
unavoidable. A young girl who was separated from her friends in a baseball
crowd had the presence of mind to put her hat on her parasol and lift it
above the people surrounding her so that her friends might find her.

Do not attract attention to yourself in public. This is one of the
fundamental rules of good breeding. Shun conspicuous manners, conspicuous
clothes, a loud voice, staring at people, knocking into them, talking
across anyone--in a word do not attract attention to yourself. Do not
expose your private affairs, feelings or innermost thoughts in public. You
are knocking down the walls of your house when you do.


Nearly all books on etiquette insist that a "gentleman must offer to carry
a lady's bundles." Bundles do not suggest a lady in the first place, and
as for gentlemen and bundles!--they don't go together at all. Very neat
packages that could never without injury to their pride be designated as
"bundles" are different. Such, for instance, might be a square, smoothly
wrapped box of cigars, candy, or books. Also, a gentleman might carry
flowers, or a basket of fruit, or, in fact, any package that looks
tempting. He might even stagger under bags and suitcases, or a small
trunk--but carry a "bundle"? Not twice! And yet, many an unknowing woman,
sometimes a very young and pretty one, too, has asked a relative, a
neighbor, or an admirer, to carry something suggestive of a pillow, done
up in crinkled paper and odd lengths of joined string. Then she wonders
afterwards in unenlightened surprise why her cousin, or her neighbor, or
her admirer, who is one of the smartest men in town, never comes to see
her any more!


To an old lady or to an invalid a gentleman offers his arm if either of
them wants his support. Otherwise a lady no longer leans upon a gentleman
in the daytime, unless to cross a very crowded thoroughfare, or to be
helped over a rough piece of road, or under other impeding circumstances.
In accompanying a lady anywhere at night, whether down the steps of a
house, or from one building to another, or when walking a distance, a
gentleman always offers his arm. The reason is that in her thin
high-heeled slippers, and when it is too dark to see her foothold clearly,
she is likely to trip.

Under any of these circumstances when he proffers his assistance, he
might say: "Don't you think you had better take my arm? You might trip."
Or--"Wouldn't it be easier if you took my arm along here? The going is
pretty bad." Otherwise the only occasions on which a gentleman offers his
arm to a lady are in taking her in at a formal dinner, or taking her in to
supper at a ball, or when he is an usher at a wedding. Even in walking
across a ballroom, except at a public ball in the grand march, it is the
present fashion for the younger generation to walk side by side, never arm
in arm. This, however, is merely an instance where etiquette and the
custom of the moment differ. Old-fashioned gentlemen still offer their
arm, and it is, and long will be, in accordance with etiquette to do so.
But etiquette does _not_ permit a gentleman to take a lady's arm!

In seeing a lady to her carriage or motor, it is quite correct for a
gentleman to put his hand under her elbow to assist her; and in helping
her out he should alight first and offer her his hand. He should not hold
a parasol over her head unless momentarily while she searches in her
wrist-bag for something, or stops perhaps to put on or take off her glove,
or do anything that occupies both hands. With an umbrella the case is
different, especially in a sudden and driving rain, when she is often very
busily occupied in trying to hold "good" clothes out of the wet and a hat
on, as well. She may also, under these circumstances, take the gentleman's
arm, if the "going" is thereby made any easier.


The owner always sits on the right hand side of the rear seat of a
carriage or a motor, that is driven by a coachman or a chauffeur. If the
vehicle belongs to a lady, she should take her own place always, unless
she relinquishes it to a guest whose rank is above her own, such as that
of the wife of the President or the Governor. If a man is the owner, he
must, on the contrary, give a lady the right hand seat. Whether in a
private carriage, a car or a taxi, a lady must _never_ sit on a
gentleman's left; because according to European etiquette, a lady "on the
left" is _not_ a "lady." Although this etiquette is not strictly observed
in America, no gentleman should risk allowing even a single foreigner to
misinterpret a lady's position.


It is becoming much less customary than it used to be for a gentleman to
offer to pay a lady's way. If in taking a ferry or a subway, a young woman
stops to buy magazines, chocolates, or other trifles, a young man
accompanying her usually offers to pay for them. She quite as usually
answers: "Don't bother, I have it!" and puts the change on the counter. It
would be awkward for him to protest, and bad taste to press the point. But
usually in small matters such as a subway fare, he pays for two. If he
invites her to go to a ball game, or to a matinée or to tea, he naturally
buys the tickets and any refreshment which they may have.

Very often it happens that a young woman and a young man who are bound for
the same house party, at a few hours' distance from the place where they
both live, take the same train--either by accident or by pre-arrangement.
In this case the young woman should pay for every item of her journey. She
should not let her companion pay for her parlor car seat or for her
luncheon; nor should he, when they arrive at their destination, tip the
porter for carrying her bag.

A gentleman who is by chance sitting next to a lady of his acquaintance on
a train or boat, should never think of offering to pay for her seat or for
anything she may buy from the vendor.


Notwithstanding the fact that he is met, all dressed in his best store
clothes, with his "lady friend" leaning on his arm, in the pages of
counterfeit society novels and unauthoritative books on etiquette, there
is no such actual person known to good society--at least not in New York
or any great city--as an escort, he is not only unknown, but he is

In good society ladies do not go about under the "care of" gentlemen! It
is unheard of for a gentleman to "take" a young girl alone to a dance or
to dine or to parties of any description; nor can she accept his
sponsorship anywhere whatsoever. A well behaved young girl goes to public
dances only when properly chaperoned and to a private dance with her
mother or else accompanied by her maid, who waits for her the entire
evening in the dressing room. It is not only improper, it is impossible
for any man to take a lady to a party of any sort, to which she has not
been personally invited by the hostess.

A lady may never be under the "protection" of a man _anywhere_! A young
girl is not even taken about by her betrothed. His friends send
invitations to her on his account, it is true, and, if possible, he
accompanies her, but correct invitations must be sent by them to her, or
she should not go.

Older ladies are often thoughtless and say to a young man: "Bring your
fiancée to see me!" His answer should be: "Indeed, I'd love to any time
you telephone her"; or, "I know she'd love to come if you'd ask her." If
the lady stupidly persists in casually saying, "Do bring her," he must
smile and say lightly: "But I can't bring her without an invitation from
you." Or, he merely evades the issue, and does not bring her.


Everyone has at some time or other been subjected to the awkward moment
when the waiter presents the check to the host. For a host to count up the
items is suggestive of parsimony, while not to look at them is
disconcertingly reckless, and to pay before their faces for what his
guests have eaten is embarrassing. Having the check presented to a hostess
when gentlemen are among her guests, is more unpleasant. Therefore, to
avoid this whole transaction, people who have not charge accounts, should
order the meal ahead, and at the same time pay for it in advance,
including the waiter's tip. Charge customers should make arrangements to
have the check presented to them elsewhere than at table.


Lack of consideration for those who in any capacity serve you, is always
an evidence of ill-breeding, as well as of inexcusable selfishness.
Occasionally a so-called "lady" who has nothing whatever to do but drive
uptown or down in her comfortable limousine, vents her irritability upon a
saleswoman at a crowded counter in a store, because she does not leave
other customers and wait immediately upon her. Then, perhaps, when the
article she asked for is not to be had, she complains to the floor-walker
about the saleswoman's stupidity! Or having nothing that she can think of
to occupy an empty hour on her hands, she demands that every sort of
material be dragged down from the shelves until, discovering that it is at
last time for her appointment, she yawns and leaves.

Of course, on the other hand, there is the genuinely lethargic saleswoman
whose mind doesn't seem to register a single syllable that you have said
to her; who, with complete indifference to you and your preferences,
insists on showing what you distinctly say you do not want, and who caps
the climax by drawling "They" are wearing it this season! Does that sort
of saleswoman ever succeed in selling anything? Does anyone living buy
anything because someone, who knows nothing, tells another, who is often
an expert, what an indiscriminating "They" may be doing? That kind of a
saleswoman would try to tell Kreisler that "They" are not using violins
this season!

There are always two sides to the case, of course, and it is a credit to
good manners that there is scarcely ever any friction in stores and shops
of the first class. Salesmen and women are usually persons who are both
patient and polite, and their customers are most often ladies in fact as
well as "by courtesy." Between those before and those behind the counters,
there has sprung up in many instances a relationship of mutual goodwill
and friendliness. It is, in fact, only the woman who is afraid that
someone may encroach upon her exceedingly insecure dignity, who shows
neither courtesy nor consideration to any except those whom she considers
it to her advantage to please.


Consideration for the rights and feelings of others is not merely a rule
for behavior in public but the very foundation upon which social life is

Rule of etiquette the first--which hundreds of others merely paraphrase or
explain or elaborate--is:

Never do anything that is unpleasant to others.

Never take more than your share--whether of the road in driving a car, of
chairs on a boat or seats on a train, or food at the table.

People who picnic along the public highway leaving a clutter of greasy
paper and swill (not, a pretty name, but neither is it a pretty object!)
for other people to walk or drive past, and to make a breeding place for
flies, and furnish nourishment for rats, choose a disgusting way to repay
the land-owner for the liberty they took in temporarily occupying his



Excepting a religious ceremonial, there is no occasion where greater
dignity of manner is required of ladies and gentlemen both, than in
occupying a box at the opera. For a gentleman especially no other
etiquette is so exacting.

In walking about in the foyer of the opera house, a gentleman leaves his
coat in the box--or in his orchestra chair--but he always wears his high
hat. The "collapsible" hat is for use in the seats rather than in the
boxes, but it can be worn perfectly well by a guest in the latter if he
hasn't a "silk" one. A gentleman must always be in full dress, tail coat,
white waistcoat, white tie and white gloves whether he is seated in the
orchestra or a box. He wears white gloves nowhere else except at a ball,
or when usher at a wedding.

As people usually dine with their hostess before the opera, they arrive
together; the gentlemen assist the ladies to lay off their wraps, one of
the gentlemen (whichever is nearest) draws back the curtain dividing the
ante-room from the box, and the ladies enter, followed by the gentlemen,
the last of whom closes the curtain again. If there are two ladies besides
the hostess, the latter places her most distinguished or older guest in
the corner nearest the stage. The seat furthest from the stage is always
her own. The older guest takes her seat first, then the hostess takes her
place, whereupon the third lady goes forward in the center to the front of
the box, and stands until one of the gentlemen places a chair for her
between the other two. (The chairs are arranged in three rows, of one on
either side with an aisle left between.)

One of the duties of the gentlemen is to see that the curtains at the back
of the box remain tightly closed, as the light from the ante-room shining
in the faces of others in the audience across the house is very
disagreeable to them.

A gentleman never sits in the front row of a box, even though he is for a
time alone in it.


It is the custom for a gentleman who is a guest in one box to pay visits
to friends in other boxes during the entr'actes. He must visit none but
ladies of his acquaintance and must never enter a box in which he knows
only the gentlemen, and expect to be introduced to the ladies. If Arthur
Norman, for instance, wishes to present a gentleman to Mrs. Gilding in her
box at the opera, he must first ask her if he may bring his friend James
Dawson. (He would on no account speak of him as Mr. Dawson unless he is an
elderly person.) A lady's box at the opera is actually her house, and only
those who are acceptable as visitors in her house should ask to be

But it is quite correct for a gentleman to go into a stranger's box to
speak to a lady who is a friend of his, just as he would go to see her if
she were staying in a stranger's house. But he should not go into the box
of one he does not know, to speak to a lady with whom he has only a slight
acquaintance, since visits are not paid quite so casually to ladies who
are themselves visitors. Upon a gentleman's entering a box it is
obligatory for whoever is sitting behind the lady to whom the arriving
gentleman's visit is addressed, to relinquish his chair. Another point of
etiquette is that a gentleman must never leave the ladies of his own box
alone. Occasionally it happens that the gentlemen in Mrs. Gilding's box,
for instance, have all relinquished their places to visitors and have
themselves gone to Mrs. Worldly's or Mrs. Jones' or Mrs. Town's boxes.
Mrs. Gilding's guests must, from the vantage point of the Worldly, Jones
or Town boxes, keep a watchful eye on their hostess and instantly return
to her support when they see her visitors about to leave, even though the
ladies whom they are momentarily visiting be left to themselves. It is of
course the duty of the other gentlemen who came to the opera with Mrs.
Worldly, Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Town to hurry to them.

A gentleman must never stay in any box that he does not belong in, after
the lowering of the lights for the curtain. Nor, in spite of cartoons to
the contrary, does good taste permit conversation during the performance
or during the overture. Box holders arriving late or leaving before the
final curtain do so as quietly as possible and always without speaking.


A "brilliant opera night," which one often hears spoken of (meaning merely
that all the boxes are occupied, and that the ladies are more elaborately
dressed than usual) is generally a night when a leader of fashion such as
Mrs. Worldly, Mrs. Gilding, or Mrs. Toplofty, is giving a ball; and most
of the holders of the parterre boxes are in ball dresses, with an unusual
display of jewels. Or a house will be particularly "brilliant" if a very
great singer is appearing in a new rôle, or if a personage be present, as
when Marshal Joffre went to the Metropolitan.


One gentleman, at least, must wait in the carriage lobby until all the
ladies in his party have driven away. _Never_ under any circumstances may
"the last" gentleman leave a lady standing alone on the sidewalk. It is
the duty of the hostess to take all unattended ladies home who have not a
private conveyance of their own, but the obligation does not extend to
married couples or odd men. But if a married lady or widow has ordered her
own car to come for her, the odd gentleman waits with her until it
appears. It is then considerate for her to offer him a "lift," but it is
equally proper for her to thank him for waiting and drive off alone.


New Yorkers of highest fashion almost never occupy a box at the theater.
At the opera the world of fashion is to be seen in the parterre boxes (not
the first tier), and in boxes at some of the horse shows and at many
public charity balls and entertainments, but those in boxes at the theater
are usually "strangers" or "outsiders."

No one can dispute that the best theater seats are those in the center of
the orchestra. A box in these days of hatlessness has nothing to recommend
it except that the people can sit in a group and gentlemen can go out
between the acts easily, but these advantages hardly make up for the
disadvantage to four or at least three out of the six box occupants who
see scarcely a slice of the stage.


There is no more popular or agreeable way of entertaining people than to
ask them to "dine and go to the play." The majority do not even prefer to
have "opera" substituted for "play," because those who care for serious
music are a minority compared with those who like the theater.

If a bachelor gives a small theater party he usually takes his guests to
dine at the Fitz-Cherry or some other fashionable and "amusing"
restaurant, but a married couple living in their own house are more likely
to dine at home, unless they belong to a type prevalent in New York which
is "restaurant mad." The Gildings, in spite of the fact that their own
chef is the best there is, are much more apt to dine in a restaurant
before going to a play--or if they don't dine in a restaurant, they go to
one for supper afterwards. But the Normans, if they ask people to dine and
go to the theater, invariably dine at home.

A theater party can of course be of any size, but six or eight is the
usual number, and the invitations are telephoned: "Will Mr. and Mrs.
Lovejoy dine with Mr. and Mrs. Norman at seven-thirty on Tuesday and go to
the play?"

Or "Will Mr. and Mrs. Oldname dine with Mr. Clubwin Doe on Saturday at the
Toit d'Or and go to the play?"

When Mr. and Mrs. Oldname "accept with pleasure" a second message is
given: "Dinner will be at 7.30."

Mrs. Norman's guests go to her house. Mr. Doe's guests meet him in the
foyer of the Toit d'Or. But the guests at both dinners are taken to the
theater by their host. If a dinner is given by a hostess who has no car of
her own, a guest will sometimes ask: "Don't you want me to have the car
come back for us?" The hostess can either say to an intimate friend "Why,
yes, thank you very much," or to a more formal acquaintance, "No, thank
you just the same--I have ordered taxis." Or she can accept. There is no
rule beyond her own feelings in the matter.

Mr. Doe takes his guests to the theater in taxis. The Normans, if only the
Lovejoys are dining with them, go in Mrs. Norman's little town car, but if
there are to be six or eight, the ladies go in her car and the gentlemen
follow in a taxi. (Unless Mrs. Worldly or Mrs. Gilding are in the party
and order their cars back.)


Before inviting anyone to go to a particular play, a hostess must be sure
that good tickets are to be had. She should also try to get seats for a
play that is new; since it is dull to take people to something they have
already seen. This is not difficult in cities where new plays come to town
every week, but in New York, where the same ones run for a year or more,
it is often a choice between an old good one or a new one that is poor. If
intimate friends are coming, a hostess usually asks them what they want to
see and tries to get tickets accordingly.

It is really unnecessary to add that one must never ask people to go to a
place of public amusement and then stand in line to get seats at the time
of the performance.


The host, or whichever gentleman has the tickets, (if there is no host,
the hostess usually hands them to one of the, gentlemen before leaving her
house), goes down the aisle first and gives the checks to the usher, and
the others follow in the order in which they are to sit and which the
hostess must direct. It is necessary that each knows who follows whom,
particularly if a theater party arrives after the curtain has gone up. If
the hostess "forgets," the guests always ask before trooping down the
aisle "How do you want us to sit?" For nothing is more awkward and stupid
than to block the aisle at the row where their seats are, while their
hostess "sorts them"; and worse yet, in her effort to be polite, sends the
ladies to their seats first and then lets the gentlemen stumble across
them to their own places. Going down the aisle is not a question of
precedence, but a question of seating. The one who is to sit eighth from
the aisle, whether a lady or a gentleman, goes first, then the seventh,
then the sixth, and if the gentleman with the checks is fifth, he goes in
his turn and the fourth follows him.

If a gentleman and his wife go to the theater alone, the question as to
who goes down the aisle first depends on where the usher is. If the usher
takes the checks at the head of the aisle, she follows the usher.
Otherwise the gentleman goes first with the checks. When their places are
shown him, he stands aside for his wife to take her place first and then
he takes his. A lady never sits in the aisle seat if she is with a


In passing across people who are seated, always face the stage and press
as close to the backs of the seats you are facing as you can. Remember
also not to drag anything across the heads of those sitting in front of
you. At the moving pictures, especially when it is dark and difficult to
see, a coat on an arm passing behind a chair can literally devastate the
hair-dressing of a lady occupying it.

If you are obliged to cross in front of some one who gets up to let you
pass, say "Thank you," or "Thank you very much" or "I am very sorry." Do
_not_ say "Pardon _me_!" or "Beg pardon!" Though you can say "I beg your
pardon." That, however, would be more properly the expression to use if
you brushed your coat over their heads, or spilled water over them, or did
something to them for which you should actually _beg_ their pardon. But
"Beg pardon," which is an abbreviation, is one of the phrases never said
in best society.

Gentlemen who want to go out after every act should always be sure to get
aisle seats. There are no greater theater pests than those who come back
after the curtain has gone up and temporarily snuff out the view of
everyone behind, as well as annoy those who are obliged to stand up and
let them by.

Between the acts nearly all gentlemen go out and smoke at least once, but
those wedged in far from the aisle, who file out every time the curtain
drops are utterly lacking in consideration for others. If there are five
acts, they should at most go out for two entr'actes and even then be
careful to come back before the curtain goes up.


Nothing shows less consideration for others than to whisper and rattle
programmes and giggle and even make audible remarks throughout a
performance. Very young people love to go to the theater in droves called
theater parties and absolutely ruin the evening for others who happen to
sit in front of them. If Mary and Johnny and Susy and Tommy want to talk
and giggle, why not arrange chairs in rows for them in a drawing-room,
turn on a phonograph as an accompaniment and let them sit there and

If those behind you insist on talking it is never good policy to turn
around and glare. If you are young they pay no attention, and if you are
older--most young people think an angry older person the funniest sight
on earth! The small boy throws a snowball at an elderly gentleman for no
other reason! The only thing you can do is to say amiably: "I'm sorry, but
I can't hear anything while you talk." If they still persist, you can ask
an usher to call the manager.

The sentimental may as well realize that every word said above a whisper
is easily heard by those sitting directly in front, and those who tell
family or other private affairs might do well to remember this also.

As a matter of fact, comparatively few people are ever anything but well
behaved. Those who arrive late and stand long, leisurely removing their
wraps, and who insist on laughing and talking are rarely encountered; most
people take their seats as quietly and quickly as they possibly can, and
are quite as much interested in the play and therefore as attentive and
quiet as you are. A very annoying person at the "movies" is one who reads
every "caption" out loud.


At the evening performance in New York a lady wears a dinner dress; a
gentleman a dinner coat, often called a Tuxedo. Full dress is not correct,
but those going afterwards to a ball can perfectly well go to the theater
first if they do not make themselves conspicuous. A lady in a ball dress
and many jewels should avoid elaborate hair ornamentation and must keep
her wrap, or at least a sufficiently opaque scarf, about her shoulders to
avoid attracting people's attention. A gentleman in full dress is not

And on the subject of theater dress it might be tentatively remarked that
prinking and "making up" in public are all part of an age which can not
see fun in a farce without bedroom scenes and actors in pajamas, and
actresses running about in negligés with their hair down. An audience
which night after night watches people dressing and undressing probably
gets into an unconscious habit of dressing or prinking itself. In other
days it was always thought that so much as to adjust a hat-pin or glance
in a glass was lack of breeding. Every well brought up young woman was
taught that she must finish dressing in her bedchamber. But to-day young
women in theaters, restaurants, and other public places, are continually
studying their reflection in little mirrors and patting their hair and
powdering their noses and fixing this or adjusting that in a way that in
Mrs. Oldname's girlhood would have absolutely barred them from good
society; nor can Mrs. Worldly or Mrs. Oldname be imagined "preening" and
"prinking" anywhere. They dress as carefully and as beautifully as
possible, but when they turn away from the mirrors in their dressing rooms
they never look in a glass or "take note of their appearance" until they
dress again. And it must be granted that Lucy Gilding, Constance Style,
Celia Lovejoy, Mary Smartlington and the other well-bred members of the
younger set do not put finishing touches on their faces in public--as yet!


Most people are at times "obliged" to take tickets for various charity
entertainments--balls, theatricals, concerts or pageants--to which, if
they do not care to go themselves, they give away their tickets. Those who
intend giving tickets should remember that a message, "Can you use two
tickets for the Russian ballet to-night?" sent at seven o'clock that same
evening, after the Lovejoys have settled themselves for an evening at home
(Celia having decided not to curl her hair and Donald having that morning
sent his only dinner coat to be re-faced) can not give the same pleasure
that their earlier offer would have given. An opera box sent on the
morning of the opera is worse, since to find four music-loving people to
fill it on such short notice at the height of the season is an undertaking
that few care to attempt.


A big theater party is one of the favorite entertainments given for a
débutante. If fifty or more are to be asked, invitations are sometimes

                    Mrs. Toplofty

               requests the pleasure of

       [_Name of guest is written on this line._]

    company at the theater and a small dance afterward

              in honor of her great-niece

                Miss Millicent Gilding

            on Tuesday the sixth of January

              at half past eight o'clock


But--and usually--the "general utility" invitation (see page 118) is
filled in, as follows:

           [HW: To meet Miss Millicent Gilding]

                     Mrs. Toplofty

                 requests the pleasure of

                 [HW: Miss Rosalie Gray's]

    company at [HW: the Theater and at a dance]

    on [HW: Tuesday the sixth of January]

    at [HW: 8:15]


Or notes in either wording above are written by hand.

All those who accept have a ticket sent them. Each ticket sent a débutante
is accompanied by a visiting card on which is written:

    "Be in the lobby of the Comedy Theater at 8.15. Order your motor
    to come for you at 010 Fifth Avenue at 1 A.M."

On the evening of the theater party, Mrs. Toplofty herself stands in the
lobby to receive the guests. As soon as any who are to sit next to each
other have arrived, they are sent into the theater; each gives her (or
his) ticket to an usher and sits in the place alloted to her (or him). It
is well for the hostess to have a seat plan for her own use in case
thoughtless young people mix their tickets all up and hand them to an
usher in a bunch! And yet--if they do mix themselves to their own
satisfaction, she would better "leave them" than attempt to disturb a plan
that may have had more method in it than madness.

When the last young girl has arrived, Mrs. Toplofty goes into the theater
herself (she does not bother to wait for any boys), and in this one
instance she very likely sits in a stage box so as to "keep her eye on
them," and with her she has two or three of her own friends.

After the theater, big motor busses drive them all either to the house of
the hostess or to a hotel for supper and to dance. If they go to a hotel,
a small ballroom must be engaged and the dance is a private one; it would
be considered out of place to take a lot of very young people to a public

Carelessly chaperoned young girls are sometimes, it is true, seen in very
questionable places because some of the so-called dancing restaurants are
perfectly fit and proper for them to go to; many other places however, are
not, and for the sake of general appearances it is safer to make it a rule
that no very young girl should go anywhere after the theater except to a
private house or a private dance or ball.

Older people, on the other hand, very often go for a supper to one of the
cabarets for which New York is famous (or infamous?), or perhaps go to
watch a vaudeville performance at midnight, or dance, or do both together.

Others, if they are among the great majority of "quiet" people, go home
after the theater, especially if they have dined with their hostess (or
host) before the play.


When you are dining before going to the opera or theater you must arrive
on the stroke of the hour for which you are asked; it is one occasion when
it is inexcusable to be late.

In accepting an invitation for lunch or dinner after which you are going
to a game, or any sort of performance, you must not be late! Nothing is
more unfair to others who are keen about whatever it is you are going to
see, than to make them miss the beginning of a performance through your
thoughtless selfishness.

For this reason box-holders who are music-lovers do not ask guests who
have the "late habit" to dine before the opera, because experience has
taught them they will miss the overture and most of the first act if they
do. Those, on the other hand, who care nothing for music and go to the
opera to see people and be seen, seldom go until most if not all of the
first act is over. But these in turn might give music-loving guests their
choice of going alone in time for the overture and waiting for them in the
box at the opera, or having the pleasure of dining with their hostess but
missing most of the first part.


Considerate and polite behavior by each member of an audience is the same
everywhere. At outdoor games, or at the circus, it is not necessary to
stop talking. In fact, a good deal of noise is not out of the way in
"rooting" at a match, and a circus band does not demand silence in order
to appreciate its cheerful blare. One very great annoyance in open air
gatherings is cigar smoke when blown directly in one's face, or worse yet
the smoke from a smouldering cigar. It is almost worthy of a study in air
currents to discover why with plenty of space all around, a tiny column of
smoke will make straight for the nostrils of the very one most nauseated
by it!

The only other annoyance met with at ball games or parades or wherever
people occupy seats on the grandstand, is when some few in front get
excited and insist on standing up. If those in front stand--those behind
naturally have to! Generally people call out "down in front." If they
won't stay "down," then all those behind have to stay "up." Also umbrellas
and parasols entirely blot out the view of those behind.




Ideal conversation should be a matter of equal give and take, but too
often it is all "take." The voluble talker--or chatterer--rides his own
hobby straight through the hours without giving anyone else, who might
also like to say something, a chance to do other than exhaustedly await
the turn that never comes. Once in a while--a very long while--one meets a
brilliant person whose talk is a delight; or still more rarely a wit who
manipulates every ordinary topic with the agility of a sleight-of-hand
performer, to the ever increasing rapture of his listeners.

But as a rule the man who has been led to believe that he is a brilliant
and interesting talker has been led to make himself a rapacious pest. No
conversation is possible between others whose ears are within reach of his
ponderous voice; anecdotes, long-winded stories, dramatic and pathetic,
stock his repertoire; but worst of all are his humorous yarns at which he
laughs uproariously though every one else grows solemn and more solemn.

There is a simple rule, by which if one is a voluble chatterer (to be a
good talker necessitates a good mind) one can at least refrain from being
a pest or a bore. And the rule is merely, to stop and think.


Nearly all the faults or mistakes in conversation are caused by not
thinking. For instance, a first rule for behavior in society is: "Try to
do and say those things only which will be agreeable to others." Yet how
many people, who really know better, people who are perfectly capable of
intelligent understanding if they didn't let their brains remain asleep
or locked tight, go night after night to dinner parties, day after day to
other social gatherings, and absent-mindedly prate about this or that
without ever taking the trouble to _think_ what they are saying and to
whom they are saying it! Would a young mother describe twenty or thirty
cunning tricks and sayings of the baby to a bachelor who has been
helplessly put beside her at dinner if she _thought_? She would know very
well, alas! that not even a very dear friend would really care for more
than a _hors d'oeuvre_ of the subject, at the board of general

The older woman is even worse, unless something occurs (often when it is
too late) to make her wake up and realize that she not only bores her
hearers but prejudices everyone against her children by the unrestraint of
her own praise. The daughter who is continually lauded as the most
captivating and beautiful girl in the world, seems to the wearied
perceptions of enforced listeners annoying and plain. In the same way the
"magnificent" son is handicapped by his mother's--or his
father's--overweening pride and love in exact proportion to its displayed
intensity. On the other hand, the neglected wife, the unappreciated
husband, the misunderstood child, takes on a glamor in the eyes of others
equally out of proportion. That great love has seldom perfect wisdom is
one of the great tragedies in the drama of life. In the case of the
overloving wife or mother, some one should love _her_ enough to make her
_stop and think_ that her loving praise is not merely a question of boring
her hearers but of handicapping unfairly those for whom she would gladly
lay down her life--and yet few would have the courage to point out to her
that she would far better lay down her tongue.

The cynics say that those who take part in social conversation are bound
to be either the bores or the bored; and that which you choose to be, is a
mere matter of selection. And there must be occasions in the life of
everyone when the cynics seem to be right; the man of affairs who, sitting
next to an attractive looking young woman, is regaled throughout dinner
with the detailed accomplishments of the young woman's husband; the woman
of intellect who must listen with interest to the droolings of an
especially prosy man who holds forth on the super-everything of his own
possessions, can not very well consider that the evening was worth
dressing, sitting up, and going out for.

People who talk too easily are apt to talk too much, and at times
imprudently, and those with vivid imagination are often unreliable in
their statements. On the other hand the "man of silence" who never speaks
except when he has something "worth while" to say, is apt to wear well
among his intimates, but is not likely to add much to the gaiety of a

Try not to repeat yourself; either by telling the same story again and
again or by going back over details of your narrative that seemed
especially to interest or amuse your hearer. Many things are of interest
when briefly told and for the first time; _nothing_ interests when too
long dwelt upon; little interests that is told a second time. The
exception is something very pleasant that you have heard about A. or more
especially A.'s child, which having already told A. you can then tell B.,
and later C. in A.'s presence. Never do this as a habit, however, and
never drag the incident into the conversation merely to flatter A., since
if A. is a person of taste, he will be far more apt to resent than be
pleased by flattery that borders on the fulsome.

Be careful not to let amiable discussion turn into contradiction and
argument. The tactful person keeps his prejudices to himself and even when
involved in a discussion says quietly "No. I don't think I agree with you"
or "It seems to me thus and so." One who is well-bred never says "You are
wrong!" or "Nothing of the kind!" If he finds another's opinion utterly
opposed to his own, he switches to another subject for a pleasanter
channel of conversation.

When some one is talking to you, it is inconsiderate to keep repeating
"What did you say?" Those who are deaf are often, obliged to ask that a
sentence be repeated. Otherwise their irrelevant answers would make them
appear half-witted. But countless persons with perfectly good hearing say
"What?" from force of habit and careless inattention.


The joy of joys is the person of light but unmalicious humor. If you know
any one who is gay, beguiling and amusing, you will, if you are wise, do
everything you can to make him prefer your house and your table to any
other; for where he is, the successful party is also. What he says is of
no matter, it is the twist he gives to it, the intonation, the personality
he puts into his quip or retort or observation that delights his hearers,
and in his case the ordinary rules do not apply.

Eugene Field could tell a group of people that it had rained to-day and
would probably rain to-morrow, and make everyone burst into laughter--or
tears if he chose--according to the way it was said. But the ordinary rest
of us must, if we would be thought sympathetic, intelligent or agreeable,
"go fishing."


The charming talker is neither more nor less than a fisherman.
(Fisherwoman rather, since in America women make more effort to be
agreeable than men do.) Sitting next to a stranger she wonders which "fly"
she had better choose to interest him. She offers one topic; not much of a
nibble. So she tries another or perhaps a third before he "rises" to the


There are people whose idea of conversation is contradiction and flat
statement. Finding yourself next to one of these, you venture:

"Have you seen any good plays lately?"

"No, hate the theater."

"Which team are you for in the series?"

"Neither. Only an idiot could be interested in baseball."

"Country must have a good many idiots!" mockingly.

"Obviously it has." Full stop. In desperation you veer to the personal.

"I've never seen Mrs. Bobo Gilding as beautiful as she is to-night."

"Nothing beautiful about her. As for the name 'Bobo,' it's asinine."

"Oh, it's just one of those children's names that stick sometimes for

"Perfect rot. Ought to be called by his name," etc.

Another, not very different in type though different in method, is the
self-appointed instructor whose proper place is on the lecture platform,
not at a dinner table.

"The earliest coins struck in the Peloponnesus were stamped on one side
only; their alloy----" etc.

Another is the expounder of the obvious: "Have you ever noticed," says he,
deeply thinking, "how people's tastes differ?"

Then there is the vulgarian of fulsome compliment: "Why are you so
beautiful? It is not fair to the others----" and so on.


Tactless people are also legion. The means-to-be-agreeable elderly man
says to a passée acquaintance, "Twenty years ago you were the prettiest
woman in town"; or in the pleasantest tone of voice to one whose only son
has married. "Why is it, do you suppose, that young wives always dislike
their mothers-in-law?"

If you have any ambition to be sought after in society you must not talk
about the unattractiveness of old age to the elderly, about the joys of
dancing and skating to the lame, or about the advantages of ancestry to
the self-made. It is also dangerous, as well as needlessly unkind, to
ridicule or criticize others, especially for what they can't help. If a
young woman's familiar or otherwise lax behavior deserves censure, a
casual unflattering remark may not add to your own popularity if your
listener is a relative, but you can at least, without being shamefaced,
stand by your guns. On the other hand to say needlessly "What an ugly
girl!" or "What a half-wit that boy is!" can be of no value except in
drawing attention to your own tactlessness.

The young girl who admired her own facile adjectives said to a casual
acquaintance: "How _can_ you go about with that moth-eaten, squint-eyed,
bag of a girl!" "Because," answered the youth whom she had intended to
dazzle, "the lady of your flattering epithets happens to be my sister."

It is scarcely necessary to say that one whose tactless remarks ride
rough-shod over the feelings of others, is not welcomed by many.


A bore is said to be "one who talks about himself when you want to talk
about yourself!" which is superficially true enough, but a bore might more
accurately be described as one who is interested in what does not interest
you, and insists that you share his enthusiasm, in spite of your
disinclination. To the bore life holds no dullness; every subject is of
unending delight. A story told for the thousandth time has not lost its
thrill; every tiresome detail is held up and turned about as a morsel of
delectableness; to him each pea in a pod differs from another with the
entrancing variety that artists find in tropical sunsets.

On the other hand, to be bored is a bad habit, and one only too easy to
fall into. As a matter of fact, it is impossible, almost, to meet anyone
who has not _something_ of interest to tell you if you are but clever
enough yourself to find out what it is. There are certain always
delightful people who refuse to be bored. Their attitude is that no
subject need ever be utterly uninteresting, so long as it is discussed for
the first time. Repetition alone is deadly dull. Besides, what is the
matter with trying to be agreeable yourself? Not _too_ agreeable. Alas!
it is true: "Be polite to bores and so shall you have bores always round
about you." Furthermore, there is no reason why you should be bored when
you can be otherwise. But if you find yourself sitting in the hedgerow
with nothing but weeds, there is no reason for shutting your eyes and
seeing nothing, instead of finding what beauty you may in the weeds. To
put it cynically, life is too short to waste it in drawing blanks.
Therefore, it is up to you to find as many pictures to put on your blank
pages as possible.


Unless you wish to stamp yourself a person who has never been out of
"provincial" society, never speak of your husband as "Mr." except to an
inferior. Mrs. Worldly for instance in talking with a stranger would say
"my husband," and to a friend, meaning one not only whom she calls by her
first name, but anyone on her "dinner list," she says, "Dick thought the
play amusing" or "Dick said----". This does not give her listener the
privilege of calling him "Dick." The listener in return speaks of her own
husband as "Tom" even if he is seventy--unless her hearer is a very young
person (either man or woman), when she would say "my husband." Never "Mr.
Older." To call your husband Mr. means that you consider the person you
are talking to, beneath you in station. Mr. Worldly in the same way speaks
of Mrs. Worldly as "my wife" to a gentleman, or "Edith" in speaking to a
lady. _Always._

In speaking about other people, one says "Mrs.," "Miss" or "Mr." as the
case may be. It is bad form to go about saying "Edith Worldly" or "Ethel
Norman" to those who do not call them Edith or Ethel, and to speak thus
familiarly of one whom you do not call by her first name, is unforgivable.
It is also effrontery for a younger person to call an older by her or his
first name, without being asked to do so. Only a very underbred,
thick-skinned person would attempt it.

Also you must not take your conversation "out of the drawing-room."
Operations, ills or personal blemishes, details and appurtenances of the
dressing-room, for instance, are neither suitable nor pleasant topics, nor
are personal jokes in good taste.


Why a man, because he has millions, should assume that they confer
omniscience in all branches of knowledge, is something which may be left
to the psychologist to answer, but most of those thrown much in contact
with millionaires will agree that an attitude of infallibility is typical
of a fair majority.

A professor who has devoted his life to a subject modestly makes a
statement. "You are all wrong," says the man of millions, "It is this
way----". As a connoisseur he seems to think that because he can pay for
anything he fancies, he is accredited expert as well as potential owner.
Topics he does not care for are "bosh," those which he has a smattering
of, he simply appropriates; his prejudices are, in his opinion, expert
criticism; his taste impeccable; his judgment infallible; and to him the
world is a pleasance built for his sole pleasuring. But to the rest of us
who also have to live in it with as much harmony as we can, such persons
are certainly elephants at large in the garden. We can sometimes induce
them to pass through gently, but they are just as likely at any moment to
pull up our fences and push the house itself over on our defenseless

There are countless others of course, very often the richest of all, who
are authoritative in all they profess, who are experts and connoisseurs,
who are human and helpful and above everything respecters of the garden
enclosure of others.


In conversation the dangers are very much the same as those to be avoided
in writing letters. Talk about things which you think will be agreeable to
your hearer. Don't dilate on ills, misfortune, or other unpleasantnesses.
The one in greatest danger of making enemies is the man or woman of
brilliant wit. If sharp, wit is apt to produce a feeling of mistrust even
while it stimulates. Furthermore the applause which follows every witty
sally becomes in time breath to the nostrils, and perfectly
well-intentioned, people, who mean to say nothing unkind, in the flash of
a second "see a point," and in the next second, score it with no more
power to resist than a drug addict can resist a dose put into his hand!

The mimic is a joy to his present company, but the eccentric mannerism of
one is much easier to imitate than the charm of another, and the subjects
of the habitual mimic are all too apt to become his enemies.

You need not, however, be dull because you refrain from the rank habit of
a critical attitude, which like a weed will grow all over the place if you
let it have half a chance. A very good resolve to make and keep, if you
would also keep any friends you make, is never to speak of anyone without,
in imagination, having them overhear what you say. One often hears the
exclamation "I would say it to her face!" At least be very sure that this
is true, and not a braggart's phrase and then--nine times out of ten think
better of it and refrain. Preaching is all very well in a text-book,
schoolroom or pulpit, but it has no place in society. Society is supposed
to be a pleasant place; telling people disagreeable things to their faces
or behind their backs is _not_ a pleasant occupation.

Do not be too apparently clever if you would be popular. The cleverest
woman is she who, in talking to a man, makes _him_ seem clever. This was
Mme. Recamier's great charm.


The faults of commission are far more serious than those of omission;
regrets are seldom for what you left unsaid.

The chatterer reveals every corner of his shallow mind; one who keeps
silent can not have his depth plumbed.

Don't pretend to know more than you do. To say you have read a book and
then seemingly to understand nothing of what you have read, proves you a
half-wit. Only the very small mind hesitates to say "I don't know."

Above all, stop and _think_ what you are saying! This is really the first,
last and only rule. If you "stop" you can't chatter or expound or flounder
ceaselessly, and if you _think_, you will find a topic and a manner of
presenting your topic so that your neighbor will be interested rather than

Remember also that the sympathetic (not apathetic) listener is the delight
of delights. The person who looks glad to see you, who is seemingly eager
for your news, or enthralled with your conversation; who looks at you with
a kindling of the face, and gives you spontaneous and undivided attention,
is the one to whom the palm for the art of conversation would undoubtedly
be awarded.




It is difficult to explain why well-bred people avoid certain words and
expressions that are admitted by etymology and grammar. So it must be
merely stated that they have and undoubtedly always will avoid them.
Moreover, this choice of expression is not set forth in any printed guide
or book on English, though it is followed in all literature.

To liken Best Society to a fraternity, with the avoidance of certain
seemingly unimportant words as the sign of recognition, is not a fantastic
simile. People of the fashionable world invariably use certain expressions
and instinctively avoid others; therefore when a stranger uses an
"avoided" one he proclaims that he "does not belong," exactly as a
pretended Freemason proclaims himself an "outsider" by giving the wrong
"grip"--or whatever it is by which Brother Masons recognize one another.

People of position are people of position the world over--and by their
speech are most readily known. Appearance on the other hand often passes
muster. A "show-girl" may be lovely to look at as she stands in a
seemingly unstudied position and in perfect clothes. But let her say "My
Gawd!" or "Wouldn't that jar you!" and where is her loveliness then?

And yet, and this is the difficult part of the subject to make clear, the
most vulgar slang like that quoted above, is scarcely worse than the
attempted elegance which those unused to good society imagine to be the
evidence of cultivation.

People who say "I come," and "I seen it," and "I done it" prove by their
lack of grammar that they had little education in their youth.
Unfortunate, very; but they may at the same time be brilliant, exceptional
characters, loved by everyone who knows them, because they are what they
seem and nothing else. But the caricature "lady" with the comic picture
"society manner" who says "Pardon _me_" and talks of "retiring," and
"residing," and "desiring," and "being acquainted with," and "attending"
this and that with "her escort," and curls her little finger over the
handle of her teacup, and prates of "culture," does not belong to Best
Society, and _never_ will! The offense of pretentiousness is committed
oftener perhaps by women than by men, who are usually more natural and
direct. A genuine, sincere, kindly American man--or woman--can go anywhere
and be welcomed by everyone, provided of course, that he is a man of
ability and intellect. One finds him all over the world, neither aping the
manners of others nor treading on the sensibilities of those less
fortunate than himself.

Occasionally too, there appears in Best Society a provincial in whose
conversation is perceptible the influence of much reading of the Bible.
Such are seldom if ever stilted or pompous or long-worded, but are
invariably distinguished for the simplicity and dignity of their English.

There is no better way to cultivate taste in words, than by constantly
reading the best English. None of the words and expressions which are
taboo in good society will be found in books of proved literary standing.
But it must not be forgotten that there can be a vast difference between
literary standing and popularity, and that many of the "best sellers" have
no literary merit whatsoever.

To be able to separate best English from merely good English needs a long
process of special education, but to recognize bad English one need merely
skim through a page of a book, and if a single expression in the left-hand
column following can be found (unless purposely quoted in illustration of
vulgarity) it is quite certain that the author neither writes best English
nor belongs to Best Society.

        NEVER SAY:                       CORRECT FORM:
    In our residence we retire       At our house we go to bed
    early (or arise)                 early (or get up)

    I desire to purchase             I should like to buy

    Make you acquainted with         (See Introductions)

    Pardon _me_!                     I beg your pardon. Or,
                                     Excuse me! Or, sorry!

    Lovely food                      Good food

    Elegant home                     Beautiful house--or place

    A stylish dresser                She dresses well, or she
                                     wears lovely clothes

    Charmed! or Pleased to           How do you do!
    meet you!

    Attended                         Went to

    I trust I am not trespassing     I hope I am not in the way
                                     (unless trespassing on private
                                     property is actually

    Request (meaning ask)            Used only in the third person
                                     in formal written invitations.

    Will you accord me permission?   Will you let me? or May I?

    Permit me to assist you          Let me help you

    Brainy                           Brilliant or clever

    I presume                        I suppose

    Tendered him a banquet           Gave him a dinner

    Converse                         Talk

    Partook of liquid refreshment    Had something to drink

    Perform ablutions                Wash

    A song entitled                  Called (proper if used in
                                     legal sense)

    I will ascertain                 I will find out

    Residence or mansion             House, or big house

    In the home                      In some one's house or At

    Phone, photo, auto               Telephone, photograph,

"Tintinnabulary summons," meaning bell, and "Bovine continuation," meaning
cow's tail, are more amusing than offensive, but they illustrate the
theory of bad style that is pretentious.

As examples of the very worst offenses that can be committed, the
following are offered:

"Pray, accept my thanks for the flattering ovation you have tendered me."

"Yes," says the preposterous bride, "I am the recipient of many admired
and highly prized gifts."

"Will you permit me to recall myself to you?"

Speaking of bridesmaids as "pretty servitors," "dispensing hospitality,"
asking any one to "step this way."

Many other expressions are provincial and one who seeks purity of speech
should, if possible, avoid them, but as "offenses" they are minor:

Reckon, guess, calculate, or figure, meaning think.

Allow, meaning agree.

Folks, meaning family.

Cute, meaning pretty or winsome.

Well, I declare! 'Pon my word!

Box party, meaning sitting in a box at the theater.

Visiting with, meaning talking to.

There are certain words which have been singled out and misused by the
undiscriminating until their value is destroyed. Long ago "elegant" was
turned from a word denoting the essence of refinement and beauty, into
gaudy trumpery. "Refined" is on the verge. But the pariah of the language
is culture! A word rarely used by those who truly possess it, but so
constantly misused by those who understand nothing of its meaning, that it
is becoming a synonym for vulgarity and imitation. To speak of the proper
use of a finger bowl or the ability to introduce two people without a
blunder as being "evidence of culture of the highest degree" is precisely
as though evidence of highest education were claimed for who ever can do
sums in addition, and read words of one syllable. Culture in its true
meaning is widest possible education, _plus_ especial refinement and

The fact that slang is apt and forceful makes its use irresistibly
tempting. Coarse or profane slang is beside the mark, but "flivver,"
"taxi," the "movies," "deadly" (meaning dull), "feeling fit," "feeling
blue," "grafter," a "fake," "grouch," "hunch" and "right o!" are typical
of words that it would make our spoken language stilted to exclude.

All colloquial expressions are little foxes that spoil the grapes of
perfect diction, but they are very little foxes; it is the false elegance
of stupid pretentiousness that is an annihilating blight which destroys
root and vine.

In the choice of words, we can hardly find a better guide than the lines
of Alexander Pope:

    "In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
    Alike fantastic, if too new, or old:
    Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
    Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."


Traits of pronunciation which are typical of whole sections of the
country, or accents inherited from European parents must not be confused
with crude pronunciations that have their origin in illiteracy. A
gentleman of Irish blood may have a brogue as rich as plum cake, or
another's accent be soft Southern or flat New England, or rolling
Western; and to each of these the utterance of the others may sound too
flat, too soft, too harsh, too refined, or drawled, or clipped short, but
not uncultivated.

To a New York ear, which ought to be fairly unbiased since the New York
accent is a composite of all accents, English women chirrup and twitter.
But the beautifully modulated, clear-clipped enunciation of a cultivated
Englishman, one who can move his jaws and not swallow his words whole,
comes as near to perfection in English as the diction of the Comédie
Française comes to perfection in French.

The Boston accent is very crisp and in places suggestive of the best
English but the vowels are so curiously flattened that the speech has a
saltless effect. There is no rhyming word as flat as the way they say
"heart"--"haht." And "bone" and "coat"--"bawn," "cawt," to rhyme with awe!

Then South, there is too much salt--rather too much sugar. Every one's
mouth seems full of it, with "I" turned to "ah" and every staccato a
drawl. But the voices are full of sweetness and music unknown north of the

The Pennsylvania burr is perhaps the mother of the Western one. It is
strong enough to have mothered all the r's in the wor-r-rld!
Philadelphia's "haow" and "caow" for "how" and "cow," and "me" for "my" is
quite as bad as the "water-r" and "thot" of the West.

N'Yawk is supposed to say "yeh" and "Omurica" and "Toosdeh," and
"puddin'." Probably five per cent. of it does, but as a whole it has no
accent, since it is a composite of all in one.

In best New York society there is perhaps a generally accepted
pronunciation which seems chiefly an elimination of the accents of other
sections. Probably that is what all people think of their own
pronunciation. Or do they not know, whether their inflection is right or
wrong? Nothing should be simpler to determine. If they pronounce according
to a standard dictionary, they are correct; if they don't, they have an
"accent" or are ignorant; it is for them to determine which. Such
differences as between saying wash or wawsh, ad_ver_tisement or
adver_tise_ment are of small importance. But no one who makes the least
pretence of being a person of education says: kep for kept, genelmun or
gempmun or laydee, vawde-vil, or eye-talian.


First of all, remember that while affectation is odious, crudeness must be
overcome. A low voice is always pleasing, not whispered or murmured, but
low in pitch. Do not talk at the top of your head, nor at the top of your
lungs. Do not slur whole sentences together; on the other hand, do not
pronounce as though each syllable were a separate tongue and lip exercise.

As a nation we do not talk so much too fast, as too loud. Tens of
thousands twang and slur and shout and burr! Many of us drawl and many
others of us race tongues and breath at full speed, but, as already said,
the speed of our speech does not matter so much. Pitch of voice matters
very much and so does pronunciation--enunciation is not so
essential--except to one who speaks in public.

Enunciation means the articulation of whatever you have to say distinctly
and clearly. Pronunciation is the proper sounding of consonants, vowels
and the accentuation of each syllable.

There is no better way to cultivate a perfect pronunciation; apart from
association with cultivated people, than by getting a small pronouncing
dictionary of words in ordinary use, and reading it word by word, marking
and studying any that you use frequently and mispronounce. When you know
them, then read any book at random slowly aloud to yourself, very
carefully pronouncing each word. The consciousness of this exercise may
make you stilted in conversation at first, but by and by the "sense" or
"impulse" to speak correctly will come.

This is a method that has been followed by many men handicapped in youth
through lack of education, who have become prominent in public life, and
by many women, who likewise handicapped by circumstances, have not only
made possible a creditable position for themselves, but have then given
their children the inestimable advantage of learning their mother tongue
correctly at their mother's knee.




First of all, it is necessary to decide what one's personal idea of
position is, whether this word suggests merely a social one, comprising a
large or an exclusive acquaintance and leadership in social gaiety, or
position established upon the foundation of communal consequence, which
may, or may not, include great social gaiety. In other words, you who are
establishing yourself, either as a young husband or a stranger, would you,
if you could have your wish granted by a genie, choose to have the
populace look upon you askance and in awe, because of your wealth and
elegance, or would you wish to be loved, not as a power conferring favors
which belong really to the first picture, but as a fellow-being with an
understanding heart? The granting of either wish is not a bit beyond the
possibilities of anyone. It is merely a question of depositing securities
of value in the bank of life.


Life, whether social or business, is a bank in which you deposit certain
funds of character, intellect and heart; or other funds of egotism,
hard-heartedness and unconcern; or deposit--nothing! And the bank honors
your deposit, and no more. In other words, you can draw nothing out but
what you have put in.

If your community is to give you admiration and honor, it is merely
necessary to be admirable and honorable. The more you put in, the more
will be paid out to you. It is too trite to put on paper! But it is
astonishing, isn't it, how many people who are depositing nothing
whatever, expect to be paid in admiration and respect?

A man of really high position is always a great citizen first and above
all. Otherwise he is a hollow puppet whether he is a millionaire or has
scarcely a dime to bless himself with. In the same way, a woman's social
position that is built on sham, vanity, and selfishness, is like one of
the buildings at an exposition; effective at first sight, but bound when
slightly weather-beaten to show stucco and glue.

It would be very presumptuous to attempt to tell any man how to acquire
the highest position in his community, especially as the answer is written
in his heart, his intellect, his altruistic sympathy, and his ardent civic
pride. A subject, however, that is not so serious or over-aweing, and
which can perhaps have directions written for it, is the lesser ambition
of acquiring a social position.


A bride whose family or family-in-law has social position has merely to
take that which is hers by inheritance; but a stranger who comes to live
in a new place, or one who has always lived in a community but unknown to
society, have both to acquire a standing of their own. For example:


The bride of good family need do nothing on her own initiative. After her
marriage when she settles down in her own house or apartment, everyone who
was asked to her wedding breakfast or reception, and even many who were
only bidden to the church, call on her. She keeps their cards, enters them
in a visiting or ordinary alphabetically indexed blank book, and within
two weeks she returns each one of their calls.

As it is etiquette for everyone when calling for the first time on a
bride, to ask if she is in, the bride, in returning her first calls,
should do likewise. As a matter of fact, a bride assumes the intimate
visiting list of both her own and her husband's families, whether they
call on her or not. By and by, if she gives a general tea or ball, she can
invite whom, among them, she wants to. She should not, however, ask any
mere acquaintances of her family to her house, until they have first
invited her and her husband to theirs. But if she would like to invite
intimate friends of her own or of her husband, or of her family, there is
no valid reason why she should not do so.

Usually when a bride and groom return from their wedding trip, all their
personal friends and those of their respective parents, give "parties" for
them. And from being seen at one house, they are invited to another. If
they go nowhere, they do not lose position but they are apt to be
overlooked until people remember them by seeing them. But it is not at all
necessary for young people to entertain in order to be asked out a great
deal; they need merely be attractive and have engaging manners to be as
popular as heart could wish. But they must make it a point to be
considerate of everyone and never fail to take the trouble to go up with a
smiling "How do you do" to every older lady who has been courteous enough
to invite them to her house. That is not "toadying," it is being merely
polite. To go up and gush is a very different matter, and to go up and
gush over a prominent hostess who has never invited them to her house, is
toadying and of a very cheap variety.

A really well-bred person is as charming as possible to all, but effusive
to none, and shows no difference in manner either, to the high or to the
lowly when they are of equally formal acquaintance.


The bride who is a stranger, but whose husband is well known in the town
to which he brings her, is in much the same position as the bride noted
above, in that her husband's friends call on her; she returns their
visits, and many of them invite her to their house. But it then devolves
upon her to make herself liked, otherwise she will find herself in a
community of many acquaintances but no friends. The best ingredients for
likeableness are a happy expression of countenance, an unaffected manner,
and a sympathetic attitude. If she is so fortunate as to possess these
attributes her path will have roses enough. But a young woman with an
affected pose and bad or conceited manners, will find plenty of thorns.
Equally unsuccessful is she with a chip-on-her-shoulder who, coming from
New York for instance, to live in Brightmeadows, insists upon dragging New
York sky-scrapers into every comparison with Brightmeadows' new
six-storied building. She might better pack her trunks and go back where
she came from. Nor should the bride from Brightmeadows who has married a
New Yorker, flaunt Brightmeadows standards or customs, and tell Mrs.
Worldly that she does not approve of a lady's smoking! Maybe she doesn't
and she may be quite right, and she should not under the circumstances
smoke herself; but she should not make a display of intolerance, or she,
too, had better take the first train back home, since she is likely to
find New York very, very lonely.


When new people move into a community, bringing letters of introduction to
prominent citizens, they arrive with an already made position, which ranks
in direct proportion to the standing of those who wrote the introductions.
Since, however, no one but "persons of position" are eligible to letters
of importance, there would be no question of acquiring position--which
they have--but merely of adding to their acquaintance.

As said in another chapter, people of position are people of position the
world over, and all the cities strung around the whole globe are like so
many chapter-houses of a brotherhood, to which letters of introduction
open the doors.

However, this is off the subject, which is to advise those who have no
position, or letters, how to acquire the former. It is a long and slow
road to travel, particularly long and slow for a man and his wife in a big
city. In New York people could live in the same house for generations, and
do, and not have their next door neighbor know them even by sight. But no
other city, except London, is as unaware as that. When people move to a
new city, or town, it is usually because of business. The husband at least
makes business acquaintances, but the wife is left alone. The only thing
for her to do is to join the church of her denomination, and become
interested in some activity; not only as an opening wedge to
acquaintanceships and possibly intimate friendships, but as an occupation
and a respite from loneliness. Her social position is gained usually at a
snail's pace--nor should she do anything to hurry it. If she is a real
person, if she has qualities of mind and heart, if she has charming
manners, sooner or later a certain position will come, and in proportion
to her eligibility.

One of the ladies with whom she works in church, having gradually learned
to like her, asks her to her house. Nothing may ever come of this, but
another one also inviting her, may bring an introduction to a third, who
takes a fancy to her. This third lady also invites her where she meets an
acquaintance she has already made on one of the two former occasions, and
this acquaintance in turn invites her. By the time she has met the same
people several times, they gradually, one by one, offer to go and see her,
or ask her to come and see them. One inviolable rule she must not forget:
it is fatal to be pushing or presuming. She must remain dignified always,
natural and sympathetic when anyone approaches her, but she should not
herself approach any one more than half way. A smile, the more friendly
the better, is never out of place, but after smiling, she should pass on!
Never grin weakly, and--cling!

If she is asked to go to see a lady, it is quite right to go. But not
again, until the lady has returned the visit, or asked her to her house.
And if admitted when making a first visit, she should remember not to
stay more than twenty minutes at most, since it is always wiser to make
others sorry to have her leave than run the risk of having the hostess
wonder why her visitor doesn't know enough to go!


The outsider enters society by the same path, but it is steeper and longer
because there is an outer gate of reputation called "They are not people
of any position" which is difficult to unlatch. Nor is it ever unlatched
to those who sit at the gate rattling at the bars, or plaintively peering
in. The better, and the only way if she has not the key of birth, is
through study to make herself eligible. Meanwhile, charitable, or civic
work, will give her interest and occupation as well as throw her with
ladies of good breeding, by association with whom she can not fail to
acquire some of those qualities of manner before which the gates of
society always open.


When her husband belongs to a club, or perhaps she does too, and the
neighbors are friendly and those of social importance have called on her
and asked her to their houses, a newcomer does not have to stand so
exactly on the chalk line of ceremony as in returning her first visits and
sending out her first invitations.

After people have dined with each other several times, it is not at all
important to consider whether an invitation is owed or paid several times
over. She who is hospitably inclined can ask people half a dozen times to
their once if she wants to, and they show their friendliness by coming.
Nor need visits be paid in alternate order. Once she is really accepted by
people she can be as friendly as she chooses.

When Mrs. Oldname calls on Mrs. Stranger the first time, the latter may do
nothing but call in return; it would be the height of presumption to
invite one of conspicuous prominence until she has first been invited by
her. Nor may the Strangers ask the Oldnames to dine after being merely
invited to a tea. But when Mrs. Oldname asks Mrs. Stranger to lunch, the
latter might then invite the former to dinner, after which, if they
accept, the Strangers can continue to invite them on occasion, whether
they are invited in turn or not; especially if the Strangers are
continually entertaining, and the Oldnames are not. But on no account must
the Strangers' parties be arranged solely for the benefit of any
particular fashionables.

The Strangers can also invite to a party any children whom their own
children know at school, and Mrs. Stranger can quite properly go to fetch
her own children from a party to which their schoolmates invited them.


Bachelors, unless they are very well off, are not expected to give
parties; nor for that matter are very young couples. All hostesses go on
asking single men and young people to their houses without it ever
occurring to them that any return other than politeness should be made.

There are many couples, not necessarily in the youngest set either, who
are tremendously popular in society in spite of the fact that they give no
parties at all. The Lovejoys, for instance, who are clamored for
everywhere, have every attribute--except money. With fewer clothes perhaps
than any fashionable young woman in New York, she can't compete with Mrs.
Bobo Gilding or Constance Style for "smartness" but, as Mrs. Worldly
remarked: "What would be the use of Celia Lovejoy's beauty if it depended
upon continual variation in clothes?"

The only "entertaining" the Lovejoys ever do is limited to afternoon tea
and occasional welsh-rarebit suppers. But they return every bit of
hospitality shown them by helping to make a party "go" wherever they are.
Both are amusing, both are interesting, both do everything well. They
can't afford to play cards for money, but they both play a very good game
and the table is delighted to "carry them," or they play at the same table
against each other.

This, by the way, is another illustration of the conduct of a gentleman;
if young Lovejoy played for money he would win undoubtedly in the long run
because he plays unusually well, but to use card-playing as a "means of
making money" would be contrary to the ethics of a gentleman, just as
playing for more than can be afforded turns a game into "gambling."


The sense of whom to invite with whom is one of the most important, and
elusive, points in social knowledge. The possession or lack of it is
responsible more than anything else for the social success of one woman,
and the failure of another. And as it is almost impossible, without
advice, for any stranger anywhere to know which people like or dislike
each other, the would-be hostess must either by means of natural talent or
more likely by trained attention, read the signs of liking or prejudice
much as a woodsman reads a message in every broken twig or turned leaf.

One who can read expression, perceives at a glance the difference between
friendliness and polite aloofness. When a lady is unusually silent,
strictly impersonal in conversation, and entirely unapproachable,
something is not to her liking. The question is, what? Or usually, whom?
The greatest blunder possible would be to ask her what the matter is. The
cause of annoyance is probably that she finds someone distasteful and it
should not be hard for one whose faculties are not asleep to discover the
offender and if possible separate them, or at least never ask them
together again.




Who was it that said--in the Victorian era probably, and a man of
course--"The only mechanical tool ever needed by a woman is a hair-pin"?
He might have added that with a hair-pin and a visiting card, she is ready
to meet most emergencies.

Although the principal use of a visiting card, at least the one for which
it was originally invented--to be left as an evidence of one person's
presence at the house of another--is going gradually out of ardent favor
in fashionable circles, its usefulness seems to keep a nicely adjusted
balance. In New York, for instance, the visiting card has entirely taken
the place of the written note of invitation to informal parties of every
description. Messages of condolence or congratulation are written on it;
it is used as an endorsement in the giving of an order; it is even tacked
on the outside of express boxes. The only employment of it which is not as
flourishing as formerly is its being left in quantities and with frequency
at the doors of acquaintances. This will be explained further on.


The card of a lady is usually from about 2-3/4 to 3-1/2 inches wide, by 2
to 2-3/4 inches high, but there is no fixed rule. The card of a young girl
is smaller and more nearly square in shape. (About 2 inches high by 2-1/2
or 2-5/8 inches long, depending upon the length of the name.) Young girls
use smaller cards than older ladies. A gentleman's card is long and
narrow, from 2-7/8 to 3-1/4 inches long, and from 1-1/4 to 1-5/8 inches
high. All visiting cards are engraved on white unglazed bristol board,
which may be of medium thickness or thin, as one fancies. A few years ago
there was a fad for cards as thin as writing paper, but one seldom sees
them in America now. The advantage of a thin card is that a greater
quantity may be carried easily.

The engraving most in use to-day is shaded block. Script is seldom seen,
but it is always good form and so is plain block, but with the exception
of old English all ornate lettering should be avoided. All people who live
in cities should have the address in the lower right corner, engraved in
smaller letters than the name. In the country, addresses are not
important, as every one knows where every one else lives. People who have
town and country houses usually have separate cards, though not
necessarily a separate plate.


The economically inclined can have several varieties of cards printed from
one plate. The cards would vary somewhat in size in order to "center" the


The plate:

    Mr. and Mrs. Gilding
            Miss Gilding

                      00 FIFTH AVENUE
                        GOLDEN HALL

may be printed.

Miss Gilding's name should never appear on a card with both her mother's
and father's, so her name being out of line under the "Mr. and Mrs."
engraving makes no difference.


    Mr. and Mrs. Gilding

                 GOLDEN HALL


    Mrs. Gilding
         Miss Gilding

                 00 FIFTH AVENUE


    Mrs. Gilding

                GOLDEN HALL

The personal card is in a measure an index of one's character. A fantastic
or garish note in the type effect, in the quality or shape of the card,
betrays a lack of taste in the owner of the card.

It is not customary for a married man to have a club address on his card,
and it would be serviceable only in giving a card of introduction to a
business acquaintance, under social rather than business circumstances, or
in paying a formal call upon a political or business associate. Unmarried
men often use no other address than that of a club; especially if they
live in bachelor's quarters, but young men who live at home use their home


To be impeccably correct, initials should not be engraved on a visiting
card. A gentleman's card should read: Mr. John Hunter Titherington Smith,
but since names are sometimes awkwardly long, and it is the American
custom to cling to each and every one given in baptism, he asserts his
possessions by representing each one with an initial, and engraves his
cards Mr. John H.T. Smith, or Mr. J.H. Titherington Smith, as suits his
fancy. So, although, according to high authorities, he should drop a name
or two and be Mr. Hunter Smith, or Mr. Titherington Smith, it is very
likely that to the end of time the American man, and necessarily his wife,
who must use the name as he does, will go on cherishing initials.

And a widow no less than a married woman should always continue to use her
husband's Christian name, or his name and another initial, engraved on her
cards. She is Mrs. John Hunter Titherington Smith, or, to compromise, Mrs.
J.H. Titherington Smith, but she is _never_ Mrs. Sarah Smith; at least not
anywhere in good society. In business and in legal matters a woman is
necessarily addressed by her own Christian name, because she uses it in
her signature. But no one should ever address an envelope, except from a
bank or a lawyer's office, "Mrs. Sarah Smith." When a widow's son, who has
the name of his father, marries, the widow has Sr. added to her own name,
or if she is the "head" of the family, she very often omits all Christian
names, and has her card engraved "Mrs. Smith," and the son's wife calls
herself Mrs. John Hunter Smith. Smith is not a very good name as an
example, since no one could very well claim the distinction of being _the_
Mrs. Smith. It, however, illustrates the point.

For the daughter-in-law to continue to use a card with Jr. on it when her
husband no longer uses Jr. on his, is a mistake made by many people. A
wife always bears the name of her husband. To have a man and his mother
use cards engraved respectively Mr. J.H. Smith and Mrs. J.H. Smith and the
son's wife a card engraved Mrs. J.H. Smith, Jr., would announce to
whomever the three cards were left upon, that Mr. and Mrs. Smith and
_their_ daughter-in-law had called.

The cards of a young girl after she is sixteen have always "Miss" before
her name, which must be her real and never a nick-name: Miss Sarah Smith,
not Miss Sally Smith.

The fact that a man's name has "Jr." added at the end in no way takes the
place of "Mr." His card should be engraved Mr. John Hunter Smith, Jr., and
his wife's Mrs. John Hunter Smith, Jr. Some people have the "Jr." written
out, "junior." It is not spelled with a capital J if written in full.

A boy puts Mr. on his cards when he leaves school, though many use cards
without Mr. on them while in college. A doctor, or a judge, or a minister,
or a military officer have their cards engraved with the abbreviation of
their title: Dr. Henry Gordon; Judge Horace Rush; The Rev. William Goode;
Col. Thomas Doyle.

The double card reads: Dr. and Mrs. Henry Gordon; Hon. and Mrs., etc.

A woman who has divorced her husband retains the legal as well as the
social right to use her husband's full name, in New York State at least.
Usually she prefers, if her name was Alice Green, to call herself Mrs.
Green Smith; not Mrs. Alice Smith, and on no account Mrs. Alice
Green--unless she wishes to give the impression that she was the guilty
one in the divorce.


That very little children should have visiting cards is not so "silly" as
might at first thought be supposed. To acquire perfect manners, and those
graces of deportment that Lord Chesterfield so ardently tried to instil
into his son, training can not begin early enough, since it is through
lifelong familiarity with the niceties of etiquette that much of the
distinction of those to the manner born is acquired.

Many mothers think it good training for children to have their own cards,
which they are taught not so much to leave upon each other after
"parties," as to send with gifts upon various occasions.

At the rehearsal of a wedding, the tiny twin flower girls came carrying
their wedding present for the bride between them, to which they had
themselves attached their own small visiting cards. One card was bordered
and engraved in pink, and the other bordered and engraved in blue, and the
address on each read "_Chez Maman_."

And in going to see a new baby cousin each brought a small 1830 bouquet,
and sent to their aunt their cards, on which, after seeing the baby, one
had printed "He is very little," and the other, "It has a red face." This
shows that if modern society believes in beginning social training in the
nursery, it does not believe in hampering a child's natural expression.


The double card, reading Mr. and Mrs., is sent with a wedding present, or
with flowers to a funeral, or with flowers to a débutante, and is also
used in paying formal visits.

The card on which a débutante's name is engraved under that of her mother,
is used most frequently when no coming-out entertainment has been given
for the daughter. Her name on her mother's card announces, wherever it is
left, that the daughter is "grown" and "eligible" for invitations. In the
same way a mother may leave her son's card with her own upon any of her
own friends--especially upon those likely to entertain for young people.
This is the custom if a young man has been away at school and college for
so long that he has not a large acquaintance of his own. It is, however,
correct under any circumstances when formally leaving cards to leave those
of all sons and daughters who are grown.


This is merely a visiting card, whether of a lady or a gentleman, on which
the initials P.P.C. (_pour prendre congé_--to take leave) are written in
ink in the lower left corner. This is usually left at the door, or sent by
mail to acquaintances, when one is leaving for the season, or for good. It
never takes the place of a farewell visit when one has received especial
courtesy, nor is it in any sense a message of thanks for especial
kindness. In either of these instances, a visit should be paid or a note
of farewell and thanks written.


In cities where there is no Social Register or other printed society list,
one notifies acquaintances of a change of address by mailing a visiting

Cards are also sent, with a temporary address written in ink, when one is
in a strange city and wishes to notify friends where one is stopping.

It is also quite correct for a lady to mail her card with her temporary
address written on it to any gentleman whom she would care to see, and who
she is sure would like to see her.


When not intending to go to a tea or a wedding reception (the invitation
to which did not have R.s.v.p. on it and require an answer), one should
mail cards to the hostess so as to arrive on the morning of the
entertainment. To a tea given for a débutante cards are enclosed in one
envelope and addressed:

    Mrs. Gilding
    Miss Gilding

        00 Fifth Avenue
              New York

For a wedding reception, cards are sent to Mr. and Mrs. ----, the mother
and father of the bride, and another set of cards sent to Mr. and
Mrs. ----, the bride and bridegroom.


Not so many years ago, a lady or gentleman, young girl or youth, who
failed to pay her or his "party call" after having been invited to Mrs.
Social-Leader's ball was left out of her list when she gave her next one.
For the old-fashioned hostess kept her visiting list with the precision
of a bookkeeper in a bank; everyone's credit was entered or cancelled
according to the presence of her or his cards in the card receiver. Young
people who liked to be asked to her house were apt to leave an extra one
at the door, on occasion, so that theirs should not be among the missing
when the new list for the season was made up--especially as the more
important old ladies were very quick to strike a name off, but seldom if
ever known to put one back.

But about twenty years ago the era of informality set in and has been
gaining ground ever since. In certain cities old-fashioned hostesses, it
is said, exclude delinquents. But New York is too exotic and intractable,
and the too exacting hostess is likely to find her tapestried rooms rather
empty, while the younger world of fashion flocks to the crystal-fountained
ballroom of the new Spendeasy Westerns. And then, too, life holds so many
other diversions and interests for the very type of youth which of
necessity is the vital essence of all social gaiety. Society can have
distinction and dignity without youth--but not gaiety. The country with
its outdoor sports, its freedom from exacting conventions, has gradually
deflected the interest of the younger fashionables, until at present they
care very little whether Mrs. Toplofty and Mrs. Social-Leader ask them to
their balls or not. They are glad enough to go, of course, but they don't
care enough for invitations to pay dull visits and to live up to the
conventions of "manners" that old-fashioned hostesses demand. And as these
"rebels" are invariably the most attractive and the most eligible youths,
it has become almost an issue; a hostess must in many cases either invite
none but older people and the few young girls and men whose mothers have
left cards for them, or ignore convention and invite the rebels.

In trying to find out where the present indifference started, many ascribe
it to Bobo Gilding, to whom entering a great drawing-room was more
suggestive of the daily afternoon tea ordeal of his early nursery days,
than a voluntary act of pleasure. He was long ago one of the first to
rebel against old Mrs. Toplofty's exactions of party calls, by saying he
did not care in the least whether his great-aunt Jane Toplofty invited him
to her stodgy old ball or not. And then Lucy Wellborn (the present Mrs.
Bobo Gilding) did not care much to go either if none of her particular men
friends were to be there. Little she cared to dance the cotillion with old
Colonel Bluffington or to go to supper with that odious Hector Newman.

And so, beginning first with a few gilded youths, then including young
society, the habit has spread until the obligatory paying of visits by
young girls and men has almost joined the once universal "day at home" as
belonging to a past age. Do not understand by this that visits are never
paid on other occasions. Visits to strangers, visits of condolence, and of
other courtesies are still paid, quite as punctiliously as ever. But
within the walls of society itself, the visit of formality is decreasing.
One might almost say that in certain cities society has become a family
affair. Its walls are as high as ever, higher perhaps to outsiders, but
among its own members, such customs as keeping visiting lists and having
days at home, or even knowing who owes a visit to whom, is not only
unobserved but is unheard of.

But because punctilious card-leaving, visiting, and "days at home" have
gone out of fashion in New York, is no reason why these really important
observances should not be, or are not, in the height of fashion elsewhere.
Nor, on the other hand, must anyone suppose because the younger
fashionables in New York pay few visits and never have days at home, that
they are a bit less careful about the things which they happen to consider
essential to good-breeding.

The best type of young men pay few, if any, party calls, because they work
and they exercise, and whatever time is left over, if any, is spent in
their club or at the house of a young woman, not tête-a-tête, but
invariably playing bridge. The Sunday afternoon visits that the youth of
another generation used always to pay, are unknown in this, because every
man who can, spends the week-end in the country.

It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that not alone men, but many young
married women of highest social position, except to send with flowers or
wedding presents, do not use a dozen visiting cards a year. But there are
circumstances when even the most indifferent to social obligations must
leave cards.


Etiquette absolutely demands that one leave a card within a few days after
taking a first meal in a lady's house; or if one has for the first time
been _invited_ to lunch or dine with strangers, it is inexcusably rude not
to leave a card upon them, whether one accepted the invitation or not.

One must also unfailingly return a first call, even if one does not care
for the acquaintance. Only a real "cause" can excuse the affront to an
innocent stranger that the refusal to return a first call would imply. If
one does not care to continue the acquaintance, one need not pay a second

Also a card is always left with a first invitation. Supposing Miss
Philadelphia takes a letter of introduction to Mrs. Newport--Mrs. Newport,
inviting Miss Philadelphia to her house, would not think of sending her
invitation without also leaving her card. Good form demands that a visit
be paid before issuing a _first invitation_. Sometimes a note of
explanation is sent asking that the formality be waived, but it is _never_
disregarded, except in the case of an invitation from an older lady to a
young girl. Mrs. Worldly, for instance, who has known Jim Smartlington
always, might, instead of calling on Mary Smith, to whom his engagement is
announced, write her a note, asking her to lunch or dinner. But in
inviting Mrs. Greatlake of Chicago she would leave her card with her
invitation at Mrs. Greatlake's hotel.

It seems scarcely necessary to add that anyone not entirely heartless
must leave a card on, or send flowers to, an acquaintance who has suffered
a recent bereavement. One should also leave cards of inquiry or send
flowers to sick people.


Books on etiquette seem agreed that sending an invitation does not cancel
the obligation of paying a visit--which may be technically correct--but
fashionable people, who are in the habit of lunching or dining with each
other two or three times a season, pay no attention to visits whatever.
Mrs. Norman calls on Mrs. Gilding. Mrs. Gilding invites the Normans to
dinner. They go. A short time afterward Mrs. Norman invites the
Gildings--or the Gildings very likely again invite the Normans. Some
evening at all events, the Gildings dine with the Normans. Someday, if
Mrs. Gilding happens to be leaving cards, she may leave them at the
Normans--or she may not. Some people leave cards almost like the "hares"
in a paper chase; others seldom if ever do. Except on the occasions
mentioned in the paragraph before this, or unless there is an illness, a
death, a birth, or a marriage, people in society invite each other to
their houses and don't leave cards at all. Nor do they ever consider whose
"turn" it is to invite whom.


When a servant at a door says "Not at home," this phrase means that the
lady of the house is "Not at home to visitors." This answer neither
signifies nor implies--nor is it intended to--that Mrs. Jones is out of
the house. Some people say "Not receiving," which means actually the same
thing, but the "not at home" is infinitely more polite; since in the
former you know she is in the house but won't see you, whereas in the
latter case you have the pleasant uncertainty that it is quite possible
she is out.

To be told "Mrs. Jones is at home but doesn't want to see you," would
certainly be unpleasant. And to "beg to be excused"--except in a case of
illness or bereavement--has something very suggestive of a cold shoulder.
But "not at home" means that she is not sitting in the drawing room behind
her tea tray; that and nothing else. She may be out or she may be lying
down or otherwise occupied. Nor do people of the world find the slightest
objection if a hostess, happening to recognize the visitor as a particular
friend, calls out, "Do come in! I _am_ at home to _you!_" Anyone who talks
about this phrase as being a "white lie" either doesn't understand the
meaning of the words, or is going very far afield to look for untruth. To
be consistent, these over-literals should also exact that when a guest
inadvertently knocks over a tea cup and stains a sofa, the hostess instead
of saying "It is nothing at all! Please don't worry about it," ought for
the sake of truth to say, "See what your clumsiness has done! You have
ruined my sofa!" And when someone says "How are you?" instead of answering
"Very well, thank you," the same truthful one should perhaps take an hour
by the clock and mention every symptom of indisposition that she can
accurately subscribe to.

While "not at home" is merely a phrase of politeness, to say "I am _out_"
after a card has been brought to you is both an untruth and an inexcusable
rudeness. Or to have an inquiry answered, "I don't know, but I'll see,"
and then to have the servant, after taking a card, come back with the
message "Mrs. Jones is out" can not fail to make the visitor feel
rebuffed. Once a card has been admitted, the visitor _must_ be admitted
also, no matter how inconvenient receiving her may be. You may send a
message that you are dressing but will be very glad to see her if she can
wait ten minutes. The visitor can either wait or say she is pressed for
time. But if she does not wait, then _she_ is rather discourteous.

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance always to leave directions at
the door such as, "Mrs. Jones is not at home." "Miss Jones will be home at
five o'clock," "Mrs. Jones will be home at 5.30," or Mrs. Jones "is at
home" in the library to intimate friends, but "not at home" in the
drawing-room to acquaintances. It is a nuisance to be obliged to remember
either to turn an "in" and "out" card in the hail, or to ring a bell and
say, "I am going out," and again, "I have come in." But whatever plan or
arrangement you choose, no one at your front door should be left in doubt
and then repulsed. It is not only bad manners, it is bad housekeeping.


It is doubtful if the present generation of New Yorkers knows what a day
at home is! But their mothers, at least, remember the time when the
fashionable districts were divided into regular sections, wherein on a
given day in the week, the whole neighborhood was "at home." Friday sounds
familiar as the day for Washington Square! And was it Monday for lower
Fifth Avenue? At all events, each neighborhood on the day of its own,
suggested a local fête. Ladies in visiting dresses with trains and bonnets
and nose-veils and tight gloves, holding card cases, tripped demurely into
this house, out of that, and again into another; and there were always
many broughams and victorias slowly "exercising" up and down, and very
smart footmen standing with maroon or tan or fur rugs over their arms in
front of Mrs. Wellborn's house or Mrs. Oldname's, or the big house of Mrs.
Toplofty at the corner of Fifth Avenue. It must have been enchanting to be
a grown person in those days! Enchanting also were the C-spring victorias,
as was life in general that was taken at a slow carriage pace and not at
the motor speed of to-day. The "day at home" is still in fashion in
Washington, and it is ardently to be hoped that it also flourishes in many
cities and towns throughout the country or that it will be revived, for it
is a delightful custom--though more in keeping with Europe than America,
which does not care for gentle paces once it has tasted swift. A certain
young New York hostess announced that she was going to stay home on
Saturday afternoons. But the men went to the country and the women to the
opera, and she gave it up.

There are a few old-fashioned ladies, living in old-fashioned houses, and
still staying at home in the old-fashioned way to old-fashioned friends
who for decades have dropped in for a cup of tea and a chat. And there are
two maiden ladies in particular, joint chatelaines of an imposingly
beautiful old house where, on a certain afternoon of the week, if you come
in for tea, you are sure to meet not alone those prominent in the world of
fashion, but a fair admixture of artists, scientists, authors; inventors,
distinguished strangers--in a word Best Society in its truest sense. But
days at home such as these are not easily duplicated; for few houses
possess a "salon" atmosphere, and few hostesses achieve either the social
talent or the wide cultivation necessary to attract and interest so varied
and brilliant a company.


The modern New York fashion in card-leaving is to dash as fast as possible
from house to house, sending the chauffeur up the steps with cards,
without ever asking if anyone is home. Some butlers announce "Not at home"
from force of habit even when no question is asked. There are occasions
when the visitors _must_ ask to see the hostess (see page 88); but cards
are left without asking whether a lady is at home under the following

Cards are left on the mother of the bride, after a wedding, also on the
mother of the groom.

Cards are also left after any formal invitation. Having been asked to
lunch or dine with a lady whom you know but slightly you should leave your
card whether you accepted the invitation or not, within three days if
possible, or at least within a week, of the date for which you were
invited. It is not considered necessary (in New York at least) to ask if
she is at home; promptness in leaving your card is, in this instance,
better manners than delaying your "party call" and asking if she is at
home. This matter of asking at the door is one that depends upon the
customs of each State and city, but as it is always wiser to err on the
side of politeness, it is the better policy, if in doubt, to ask "Is Mrs.
Blank at home?" rather than to run the risk of offending a lady who may
like to see visitors.

A card is usually left with a first invitation to a stranger who has
brought a letter of introduction, but it is more polite--even though not
necessary--to ask to be received. Some ladies make it a habit to leave a
card on everyone on their visiting list once a season.

It is correct for the mother of a débutante to leave her card as well as
her daughter's on every lady who has invited the daughter to her house,
and a courteous hostess returns all of these pasteboard visits. But
neither visit necessitates closer or even further acquaintance.


Paying visits differs from leaving cards in that you must ask to be
received. A visit of condolence should be paid at once to a friend when a
death occurs in her immediate family. A lady does not call on a gentleman,
but writes him a note of sympathy.

In going to inquire for sick people, you should ask to be received, and it
is always thoughtful to take them gifts of books or fruit or flowers.

If a relative announces his engagement, you must at once go to see his
fiancée. Should she be out, you do not ask to see her mother. You do,
however, leave a card upon both ladies and you ask to see her mother if
received by the daughter.

A visit of congratulation is also paid to a new mother and a gift
invariably presented to the baby.


"With sympathy" or "With deepest sympathy" is written on your visiting
card with flowers sent to a funeral. This same message is written on a
card and left at the door of a house of mourning, if you do not know the
family well enough to ask to be received.

"To inquire" is often written on a card left at the house of a sick
person, but not if you are received.

In going to see a friend who is visiting a lady whom you do not know,
whether you should leave a card on the hostess as well as on your friend
depends upon the circumstances: if the hostess is one who is socially
prominent and you are unknown, it would be better taste not to leave a
card on her, since your card afterward found without explanation might be
interpreted as an uncalled-for visit made in an attempt for a place on her
list. If, on the other hand, she is the unknown person and you are the
prominent one, your card is polite, but unwise unless you mean to include
her name on your list. But if she is one with whom you have many interests
in common, then you may very properly leave a card for her.

In leaving a card on a lady stopping at a hotel or living in an apartment
house, you should write her name in pencil across the top of your card, to
insure its being given to her, and not to some one else.

At the house of a lady whom you know well and whom you are sorry not to
find at home, it is "friendly" to write "Sorry not to see you!" or "So
sorry to miss you!"

Turning down a corner of a visiting card is by many intended to convey
that the visit is meant for all the ladies in the family. Other people
mean merely to show that the card was left at the door in person and not
sent in an envelope. Other people turn them down from force of habit and
mean nothing whatever. But whichever the reason, more cards are bent or
dog-eared than are left flat.


Someone somewhere asked whether or not to answer an engraved card
announcing an engagement. The answer can have nothing to do with
etiquette, since an engraved announcement is unknown to good society. (For
the proper announcement of an engagement see page 304.)


Five o'clock is the informal hour when people are "at home" to friends.
The correct hour for leaving cards and paying formal visits is between
3.30 and 4.30. One should hesitate to pay a visit at the "tea hour" unless
one is sure of one's welcome among the "intimates" likely to be found
around the hostess's tea-table.

Many ladies make it their practise to be home if possible at five o'clock,
and their friends who know them well come in at that time. (For the
afternoon tea-table and its customs, see page 171.)


For instance, instead of ringing her door-bell, Mrs. Norman calls Mrs.
Kindhart on the telephone: "I haven't seen you for weeks! Won't you come
in to tea, or to lunch--just you." Mrs. Kindhart answers, "Yes, I'd love
to. I can come this afternoon"; and five o'clock finds them together over
the tea-table.

In the same way young Struthers calls up Millicent Gilding, "Are you going
to be in this afternoon?" She says, "Yes, but not until a quarter of six."
He says, "Fine, I'll come then." Or she says, "I'm so sorry, I'm playing
bridge with Pauline--but I'll be in to-morrow!" He says, "All right, I'll
come to-morrow."

The younger people rarely ever go to see each other without first
telephoning. Or since even young people seldom meet except for bridge,
most likely it is Millicent Gilding who telephones the Struthers youth to
ask if he can't possibly get uptown before five o'clock to make a fourth
with Mary and Jim and herself.


In very large cities, neighbors seldom call on each other. But if
strangers move into a neighborhood in a small town or in the country, or
at a watering-place, it is not only unfriendly but uncivil for their
neighbors not to call on them. The older residents always call on the
newer. And the person of greatest social prominence should make the first
visit, or at least invite the younger or less prominent one to call on
her; which the younger should promptly do.

Or two ladies of equal age or position may either one say, "I wish you
would come to see me." To which the other replies "I will with pleasure."
More usually the first one offers "I should like to come to see you, if I
may." And the other, of course, answers "I shall be delighted if you

The first one, having suggested going to see the second, is bound in
politeness to do so, otherwise she implies that the acquaintance on second
thought seems distasteful to her.

Everyone invited to a wedding should call upon the bride on her return
from the honeymoon. And when a man marries a girl from a distant place,
courtesy absolutely demands that his friends and neighbors call on her as
soon as she arrives in her new home.


On the hall table in every house, there should be a small silver, or other
card tray, a pad and a pencil. The nicest kind of pad is one that when
folded, makes its own envelope, so that a message when written need not be
left open. There are all varieties and sizes at all stationers.

When the door-bell rings, the servant on duty, who can easily see the
chauffeur or lady approaching, should have the card tray ready to present,
on the palm of the left hand. A servant at the door must never take the
cards in his or her fingers.


When the visitor herself rings the door-bell and the message is "not at
home," the butler or maid proffers the card tray on which the visitor lays
a card of her own and her daughter's for each lady in the house and a card
of her husband's and son's for each lady and gentleman. But three is the
greatest number ever left of any one card. In calling on Mrs. Town, who
has three grown daughters and her mother living in the house, and a Mrs.
Stranger staying with her whom the visitor was invited to a luncheon to
meet, a card on each would need a packet of six. Instead, the visitor
should leave three--one for Mrs. Town, one for all the other ladies of the
house, and one for Mrs. Stranger. In asking to be received, her query at
the door should be "Are any of the ladies at home?" Or in merely leaving
her cards she should say "For all of the ladies."


The butler or maid must stand with the front door open until a visitor
re-enters her motor, or if she is walking, until she has reached the
sidewalk. It is bad manners ever to close the door in a visitor's face.

When a chauffeur leaves cards, the door may be closed as soon as he turns


When the door is opened by a waitress or a parlor-maid and the mistress of
the house is in the drawing-room, the maid says "This way, please," and
leads the way. She goes as quickly as possible to present the card tray.
The guest, especially if a stranger, lags in order to give the hostess
time to read the name on the card.

The maid meanwhile moves aside, to make room for the approaching visitor,
who goes forward to shake hands with the hostess. If a butler is at the
door, he reads the card himself, picking it up from the tray, and opening
the door of the drawing-room announces: "Mrs. Soandso," after which he
puts the card on the hall table.

The duration of a formal visit should be in the neighborhood of twenty
minutes. But if other visitors are announced, the first one--on a very
formal occasion--may cut her visit shorter. Or if conversation becomes
especially interesting, the visit may be prolonged five minutes or so. On
no account must a visitor stay an hour!

A hostess always rises when a visitor enters, unless the visitor is a
very young woman or man and she herself elderly, or unless she is seated
behind the tea-table so that rising is difficult. She should, however,
always rise and go forward to meet a lady much older than herself; but she
never rises from her tea-table to greet a man, unless he is quite old.

If the lady of the house is "at home" but up-stairs, the servant at the
door leads the visitor into the reception room, saying "Will you take a
seat, please?" and then carries the card to the mistress of the house.

On an exceptional occasion, such as paying a visit of condolence or
inquiring for a convalescent, when the question as to whether he will be
received is necessarily doubtful, a gentleman does not take off his coat
or gloves, but waits in the reception room with his hat in his hand. When
the servant returning says either "Will you come this way, please?" or
"Mrs. Town is not well enough to see any one, but Miss Alice will be down
in a moment," the visitor divests himself of his coat and gloves, which
the servant carries, as well as his hat, out to the front hall.

As said before, few men pay visits without first telephoning. But perhaps
two or three times during a winter a young man, when he is able to get
away from his office in time, will make a tea-time visit upon a hostess
who has often invited him to dinner or to her opera box. Under ordinary
circumstances, however, some woman member of his family leaves his card
for him after a dinner or a dance, or else it is not left at all.

A gentleman paying visits, always asks if the hostess is at home. If she
is, he leaves his hat and stick in the hall and also removes and leaves
his gloves--and rubbers should he be wearing them. If the hour is between
five and half-past, the hostess is inevitably at her tea-table, in the
library, to which, if he is at all well known to the servant at the door,
he is at once shown without being first asked to wait in the reception
room. A gentleman entering a room in which there are several people who
are strangers, shakes hands with his hostess and slightly bows to all the
others, whether he knows them personally or not. He, of course, shakes
hands with any who are friends, and with all men to whom he is introduced,
but with a lady only if she offers him her hand.


To know how to enter a drawing-room is supposed to be one of the supreme
tests of good breeding. But there should be no more difficulty in entering
the drawing-room of Mrs. Worldly than in entering the sitting-room at
home. Perhaps the best instruction would be like that in learning to swim.
"Take plenty of time, don't struggle and don't splash about!" Good manners
socially are not unlike swimming--not the "crawl" or "overhand," but
smooth, tranquil swimming. (Quite probably where the expression "in the
swim" came from anyway!) Before actually entering a room, it is easiest to
pause long enough to see where the hostess is. Never start forward and
then try to find her as an afterthought. The place to pause is on the
threshold--not half-way in the room. The way _not_ to enter a drawing-room
is to dart forward and then stand awkwardly bewildered and looking about
in every direction. A man of the world stops at the entrance of the room
for a scarcely perceptible moment, until he perceives the most
unencumbered approach to the hostess, and he thereupon walks over to her.
When he greets his hostess he pauses slightly, the hostess smiles and
offers her hand; the gentleman smiles and shakes hands, at the same time
bowing. A lady shakes hands with the hostess and with every one she knows
who is nearby. She bows to acquaintances at a distance and to strangers to
whom she is introduced.


Having shaken hands with the hostess, the visitor, whether a lady or a
gentleman, looks about quietly, without hurry, for a convenient chair to
sit down upon, or drop into. To sit gracefully one should not perch
stiffly on the edge of a straight chair, nor sprawl at length in an easy
one. The perfect position is one that is easy, but dignified. In other
days, no lady of dignity ever crossed her knees, held her hands on her
hips, or twisted herself sideways, or even _leaned back in her chair!_
To-day all these things are done; and the only etiquette left is on the
subject of how not to exaggerate them. No lady should cross her knees so
that her skirts go up to or above them; neither should her foot be thrust
out so that her toes are at knee level. An arm a-kimbo is _not_ a graceful
attitude, nor is a twisted spine! Everyone, of course, leans against a
chair back, except in a box at the opera and in a ballroom, but a lady
should never throw herself almost at full length in a reclining chair or
on a wide sofa when she is out in public. Neither does a gentleman in
paying a formal visit sit on the middle of his backbone with one ankle
supported on the other knee, and both as high as his head.

The proper way for a lady to sit is in the center of her chair, or
slightly sideways in the corner of a sofa. She may lean back, of course,
and easily; her hands relaxed in her lap, her knees together, or if
crossed, her foot must not be thrust forward so as to leave a space
between the heel and her other ankle. On informal occasions she can lean
back in an easy chair with her hands on the arms. In a ball dress a lady
of distinction never leans back in a chair; one can not picture a
beautiful and high-bred woman, wearing a tiara and other ballroom jewels,
leaning against anything. This is, however, not so much a rule of
etiquette as a question of beauty and fitness.

A gentleman, also on very formal occasions, should sit in the center of
his chair; but unless it is a deep lounging one, he always leans against
the back and puts a hand or an elbow on its arms.


A lady never calls on another under the sponsorship of a gentleman--unless
he is her husband or father. A young girl can very properly go with her
fiancé to return visit paid to her by members or friends of his family;
but she should not pay an initial visit unless to an invalid who has
written her a note asking her to do so.

If, when arriving at a lady's house, you find her motor at the door, you
should leave your card as though she were not at home. If she happens to
be in the hall, or coming down the steps, you say "I see you are going
out, and I won't keep you!"

If she insists on your coming in, you should stay only a moment. Do not,
however, fidget and talk about leaving. Sit down as though your leaving
immediately were not on your mind, but after two or three minutes say
"Good-by" and go.

A young man may go to see a young girl as often as he feels inclined and
she cares to receive him. If she continually asks to be excused, or shows
him scant attention when he is talking to her, or in any other way
indicates that he annoys or bores her, his visits should cease.

It is very bad manners to invite one person to your house and leave out
another with whom you are also talking. You should wait for an opportunity
when the latter is not included in your conversation.

In good society ladies do not kiss each other when they meet either at
parties or in public.

It is well to remember that nothing more blatantly stamps an ill-bred
person than the habit of patting, nudging or taking hold of people. "Keep
your hands to yourself!" might almost be put at the head of the first
chapter of every book on etiquette.

Be very chary of making any such remarks as "I am afraid I have stayed too
long," or "I must apologize for hurrying off," or "I am afraid I have
bored you to death talking so much." All such expressions are
self-conscious and stupid. If you really think you are staying too long or
leaving too soon or talking too much--don't!


It is not necessary that an invalid make any attempt to return the visits
to her friends who are attentive enough to go often to see her. But if a
stranger calls on her--particularly a stranger who may not know that she
is always confined to the house, it is correct for a daughter or sister
or even a friend to leave the invalid's card for her and even to pay a
visit should she find a hostess "at home." In this event the visitor by
proxy lays her own card as well as that of the invalid on the tray
proffered her. Upon being announced to the hostess, she naturally explains
that she is appearing in place of her mother (or whatever relation the
invalid is to her) and that the invalid herself is unable to make any

A lady never pays a party call on a gentleman. But if the gentleman who
has given a dinner has his mother (or sister) staying with him and if the
mother (or sister) chaperoned the party, cards should of course be left
upon her.

Having risen to go, _go_! Don't stand and keep your hostess standing while
you say good-by, and make a last remark last half an hour!

Few Americans are so punctilious as to pay their dinner calls within
twenty-four hours; but it is the height of correctness and good manners.

When a gentleman, whose wife is away, accepts some one's hospitality, it
is correct for his wife to pay the party call with (or for) him, since it
is taken for granted that she would have been included had she been at

In other days a hostess thought it necessary to change quickly into a best
dress if important company rang her door-bell. A lady of fashion to-day
receives her visitors at once in whatever dress she happens to be wearing,
since not to keep them waiting is the greater courtesy.




As an inheritance from the days when Mrs. Brown presented her compliments
and begged that Mrs. Smith would do her the honor to take a dish of tea
with her, we still--notwithstanding the present flagrant disregard of
old-fashioned convention--send our formal invitations, acceptances and
regrets, in the prescribed punctiliousness of the third person.

All formal invitations, whether they are to be engraved or to be written
by hand (and their acceptances and regrets) are invariably in the third
person, and good usage permits of no deviation from this form.


The invitation to the ceremony is engraved on the front sheet of white
note-paper. The smartest, at present, is that with a raised margin--or
plate mark. At the top of the sheet the crest (if the family of the bride
has the right to use one) is embossed without color. Otherwise the
invitation bears no device. The engraving may be in script, block, shaded
block, or old English. The invitation to the ceremony should always
request "the honour" of your "presence," and never the "pleasure" of your
"company." (Honour is spelled in the old-fashioned way, with a "u" instead
of "honor.")

_Enclosed in Two Envelopes_

Two envelopes are never used except for wedding invitations or
announcements; but wedding invitations and all accompaning cards are
always enclosed first in an inner envelope that has no mucilage on the
flap, and is superscribed "Mr. and Mrs. Jameson Greatlake," without
address. This is enclosed in an outer envelope which is sealed and

    Mr. and Mrs. Jameson Greatlake,
        24 Michigan Avenue,

To those who are only "asked to the church" no house invitation is


The proper form for an invitation to a church ceremony is:

(_Form No. 1._)

    Mr. and Mrs. John Huntington Smith
    request the honour of your presence
     at the marriage of their daughter
             Mary Katherine
          Mr. James Smartlington
      on Tuesday the first of November
            at twelve o'clock
          at St. John's Church
         in the City of New York

(_Form No. 2._)

      Mr. and Mrs. John Huntington Smith
            request the honour of
          [HW: Miss Pauline Town's]
    presence at the marriage of their daughter
               Mary Katherine
          Mr. James Smartlington
      on Tuesday the first of November
             at twelve o'clock
            at St. John's Church

(_The size of invitations is 5-1/8 wide by 7-3/8 deep._)

(_When the parents issue the invitations for a wedding at a house other
than their own._)

         Mr. and Mrs. Richard Littlehouse

              request the honour of

    presence at the marriage of their daughter



             Mr. Frederic Robinson

       on Saturday the fifth of November

                at four o'clock

    at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Sterlington

                 Tuxedo Park

                  New York


No variation is permissible in the form of a wedding invitation. Whether
fifty guests are to be invited or five thousand, the paper, the engraving
and the wording, and the double envelope are precisely the same.

_Church Card of Admittance_

In cities or wherever the general public is not to be admitted, a card of
about the size of a small visiting card is enclosed with the church

      Please present this card,
          at St. John's Church
    on Tuesday the first of November

_Cards to Reserved Pews_

To the family and very intimate friends who are to be seated in especially
designated pews:

    Please present this to an usher
              Pew No.
     on Thursday the ninth of May

Engraved pew cards are ordered only for very big weddings where twenty or
more pews are to be reserved. The more usual custom--at all small and many
big weddings--is for the mother of the bride, and the mother of the
bridegroom each to write on her personal visiting card:

    [HW: Pew No. 7]

       Mrs. John Huntington Smith


A card for the reserved enclosure but no especial pew is often inscribed
"Within the Ribbons."


The invitation to the breakfast or reception following the church ceremony
is engraved on a card to match the paper of the church invitation and is
the size of the latter after it is folded for the envelope:

    Mr. and Mrs. John Huntington Smith

        request the pleasure of

    [HW: Mr. & Mrs. James Greatlake's]

    company on Tuesday the first of November
        at half after four o'clock
      at Four West Thirty-sixth Street



Occasionally, especially for a country wedding, the invitation to the
breakfast or the reception is added to the one to the ceremony:

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Chatterton request the
honour of

           [HW: Mr. & Mrs. Worldly's]

   presence at the marriage of their daughter



             Mr. James Town, junior

          on Tuesday the first of June

                at three o'clock

              at St. John's Church

          and afterwards at Sunnylawn



Or the invitation reads "at twelve o'clock, at St. John's Church, and
afterwards at breakfast at Sunnylawn"; but "afterwards to the reception at
Sunnylawn" is wrong.


Is precisely the same except that "at Sunnylawn" or "at Four West
Thirty-sixth Street" is put in place of "at St. John's Church," and an
invitation to stay on at a house, to which the guest is already invited,
is not necessary.

_The Train Card_

If the wedding is to be in the country, a train card is enclosed:

    A special train will leave Grand Central Station at 12:45 P.M.,
    arriving at Ridgefield at 2:45. Returning, train will leave
    Ridgefield at 5:10 P.M., arriving New York at 7.02 P.M.

    _Show this card at the gate._


It sometimes happens that the bride prefers none but her family at the
ceremony, and a big reception. This plan is chosen where the mother of the
bride or other very near relative is an invalid. The ceremony may take
place at a bedside, or it may be that the invalid can go down to the
drawing-room with only the immediate families, and is unequal to the
presence of many people.

Under these circumstances the invitations to the breakfast or reception
are sent on sheets of note paper like that used for church invitations,
but the wording is:

           Mr. and Mrs. Grantham Jones

      request the pleasure of your company

    at the wedding breakfast of their daughter



             Mr. Burlingame Ross, Jr.

         on Saturday the first of November

               at one o'clock

         at Four East Thirty-Eighth Street

    The favor of an
    answer is requested

The "pleasure of your company" is requested in this case instead of the
"honour of your presence."


If a wedding is to be so small that no invitations are engraved, the notes
of invitation should be personally written by the bride:

    Sally Dear:

    Our wedding is to be on Thursday the tenth at half-past twelve,
    Christ Church Chantry. Of course we want you and Jack and the
    children! And we want all of you to come afterward to Aunt
    Mary's, for a bite to eat and to wish us luck.



    Dear Mrs. Kindhart:

    Dick and I are to be married at Christ Church Chantry at noon on
    Thursday the tenth. We both want you and Mr. Kindhart to come to
    the church and afterward for a very small breakfast to my
    Aunt's--Mrs. Slade--at Two Park Avenue.

    With much love from us both,


If no general invitations were issued to the church, an announcement
engraved on note paper like that of the invitation to the ceremony, is
sent to the entire visiting list of both the bride's and the groom's

        Mr. and Mrs. Maynard Barnes

        have the honour to announce

       the marriage of their daughter



          Mr. Eben Hoyt Leaming

    on Tuesday the twenty-sixth of April

    One thousand nine hundred and twenty-two

           in the City of New York



Invitations to the marriage of a widow--if she is very young--are sent in
the name of her parents exactly as were the invitations to her first
wedding, excepting that her name instead of being merely Priscilla is now
written Priscilla Barnes Leaming, thus:

        Mr. and Mrs. Maynard Barnes
    request the honour of your presence
      at the marriage of their daughter
          Priscilla Barnes Leaming




For a young widow's marriage are also the same as for a first wedding:

    Mr. and Mrs. Maynard Barnes
      have the honour to announce
    the marriage of their daughter
       Priscilla Barnes Leaming
        Mr. Worthington Adams

etc. But the announcement of the marriage of a widow of maturer years is
engraved on note paper and reads:

        Mrs. Priscilla Barnes Leaming
             Mr. Worthington Adams
    have the honour to announce their marriage
         on Monday the second of November
              at Saratoga Springs
                   New York


If the bride and groom wish to inform their friends of their future
address (especially in cities not covered by the Social Register), it is
customary to enclose a card with the announcement:

    Mr. and Mrs. Worthington Adams

          will be at home

      after the first of December

     at Twenty-five Alderney Place

Or merely their visiting card with their new address in the lower right

    Mr. and Mrs. Worthington Adams

                    25 Alderney Place


For a wedding anniversary celebration, the year of the wedding and the
present year are usually stamped across the top of an invitation.
Sometimes the couple's initials are added.


        Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Johnson

         request the pleasure of

         [HW: Mr. & Mrs. ILLEGIBLE]

             company at the

  Twenty-fifth Anniversary of their marriage

       on Wednesday the first of June

              at nine o'clock

         Twenty-four Austin Avenue



An invitation to the church only requires no answer whatever. An
invitation to the reception or breakfast is answered on the first page of
a sheet of note paper, and although it is written "by hand" the spacing of
the words must be followed as though they were engraved. This is the form
of acceptance:

    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gilding, Jr.,
        accept with pleasure
    Mr. and Mrs. John Huntington Smith's
        kind invitation for
     Tuesday the first of June

The regret reads:

        Mr. and Mrs. Richard Brown
    regret that they are unable to accept
    Mr. and Mrs. John Huntington Smith's
           kind invitation for
        Tuesday the first of June


All other formal invitations are engraved (never printed) on cards of thin
white matte Bristol board, either plain or plate-marked like those for
wedding reception cards. Note paper such as that used for wedding
invitations is occasionally, but rarely, preferred.

Monograms, addresses, personal devices are not used on engraved

The size of the card of invitation varies with personal preference from
four and a half to six inches in width, and from three to four and a half
inches in height. The most graceful proportion is three units in height to
four in width.

The lettering is a matter of personal choice, but the plainer the design,
the better. Scrolls and ornate trimmings are bad taste always. Punctuation
is used only after each letter of the R.s.v.p. and it is absolutely
correct to use small letters for the s.v.p. Capitals R.S.V.P. are
permissible; but fastidious people prefer "R.s.v.p."


The word "ball" is never used excepting in an invitation to a public one,
or at least a semi-public one, such as may be given by a committee for a
charity or a club, or association of some sort.

For example:

       The Committee of the Greenwood Club

       request the pleasure of your company

                  at a Ball

      to be held in the Greenwood Clubhouse

      on the evening of November the seventh

               at ten o'clock.

             for the benefit of

         The Neighborhood Hospital

    Tickets five dollars

Invitations to a private ball, no matter whether the ball is to be given
in a private house, or whether the hostess has engaged an entire floor of
the biggest hotel in the world, announce merely that Mr. and Mrs. Somebody
will be "At Home," and the word "dancing" is added almost as though it
were an afterthought in the lower left corner, the words "At Home" being
slightly larger than those of the rest of the invitation. When both "At"
and "Home" are written with a capital letter, this is the most punctilious
and formal invitation that it is possible to send. It is engraved in
script usually, on a card of white Bristol board about five and a half
inches wide and three and three-quarters of an inch high. Like the wedding
invitation it has an embossed crest without color, or nothing.

The precise form is:

    Mr. and Mrs. Titherington de Payster

                  At Home

      On Monday the third of January

              at ten o'clock

        One East Fiftieth Street

    The favour of an answer
    is requested                              Dancing


    Mr. and Mrs. Davis Jefferson

            At Home

    On Monday the third of January

        at ten o'clock

      Town and Country Club

    Kindly send reply to
    Three Mt. Vernon Square                  Dancing

(_If preferred, the above invitations may be engraved in block or shaded
block type._)


Very occasionally an invitation is worded

    Mr. and Mrs. Davis Jefferson

       Miss Alice Jefferson

            At Home

if the daughter is a débutante and the ball is for her, but it is not
strictly correct to have any names but those of the host and his wife
above the words "At Home."

The proper form of invitation when the ball is to be given for a
débutante, is as follows:

              Mr. and Mrs. de Puyster

              request the pleasure of

            [HW: Miss Rosalie Gray's]

    company at a dance in honour of their daughter

               Miss Alice de Puyster

      on Monday evening, the third of January

                 at ten o'clock

            One East Fiftieth Street



       Mr. and Mrs. Titherington de Puyster

            Miss Alice de Puyster

            request the pleasure of

        [HW: Mr. and Mrs. Greatlake's]

    company on Monday evening the third of January

               at ten o'clock

          One East Fiftieth Street


The form most often used by fashionable hostesses in New York and Newport

         Mr. and Mrs. Gilding

        request the pleasure of

        company at a small dance

     on Monday the first of January

      at Ought Ought Fifth Avenue

Even if given for a débutante daughter, her name does not appear, and it
is called a "small dance," whether it is really small or big. The request
for a reply is often omitted, since everyone is supposed to know that an
answer is necessary. But if the dance, or dinner, or whatever the
entertainment is to be, is given at one address and the hostess lives at
another, both addresses are always given:

       Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Oldname

          request the pleasure of

           company at a dance

    on Monday evening the sixth of January

            at ten o'clock

           The Fitz-Cherry

    Kindly send response to

If the dance is given for a young friend who is not a relative, Mr. and
Mrs. Oldname's invitations should

       request the pleasure of

    company at a dance in honour of

          Miss Rosalie Grey


One may never ask for an invitation for oneself anywhere! And one may not
ask for an invitation to a luncheon or a dinner for a stranger. But an
invitation for any general entertainment may be asked for a
stranger--especially for a house-guest.


    Dear Mrs. Worldly,

    A young cousin of mine, David Blakely from Chicago, is staying
    with us.

    May Pauline take him to your dance on Friday? If it will be
    inconvenient for you to include him, please do not hesitate to
    say so frankly.

    Very sincerely yours,
    Caroline Robinson Town.


    Dear Mrs. Town,

    I shall be delighted to have Pauline bring Mr. Blakely on the

    Sincerely yours,
    Edith Worldly.


A man might write for an invitation for a friend. But a very young girl
should not ask for an invitation for a man--or anyone--since it is more
fitting that her mother ask for her. An older girl might say to Mrs.
Worldly, "My cousin is staying with us, may I bring him to your dance?" Or
if she knows Mrs. Worldly very well she might send a message by telephone:
"Miss Town would like to know whether she may bring her cousin, Mr.
Michigan, to Mrs. Worldly's dance."


Invitations to important entertainments are nearly always especially
engraved, so that nothing is written except the name of the person
invited; but, for the hostess who entertains constantly, a card which is
engraved in blank, so that it may serve for dinner, luncheon, dance,
garden party, musical, or whatever she may care to give, is indispensable.

The spacing of the model shown below, the proportion of the words, and the
size of the card, are especially good.

        Mrs. Stevens

        requests the pleasure of

        company at


            at          o'clock

            Two Elm Place


The blank which may be used only for dinner:

    Mr. and Mrs. Huntington Jones

       request the pleasure of

         company at dinner


         at eight o'clock

    at Two Thousand Fifth Avenue

(_For type and spacing follow model on p. 118._)


Invitations to receptions and teas differ from invitations to balls in
that the cards on which they are engraved are usually somewhat smaller,
the words "At Home" with capital letters are changed to "will be at home"
with small letters, and the time is not set at the hour. Also, except on
very unusual occasions, a man's name does not appear. The name of the
débutante for whom the tea is given is put under that of her mother, and
sometimes under that of her sister or the bride of her brother.

            Mrs. James Town

        Mrs. James Town, junior

           Miss Pauline Town

            will be at home

    On Tuesday the eighth of December

      from four until six o'clock

       Two Thousand Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Town's name would probably appear with that of his wife if he were an
artist, and the reception was given in his studio to view his pictures, or
if a reception were given to meet a distinguished guest such as a bishop
or a governor, in which case "In honour of the Right Reverend William
Powell," or "To meet His Excellency the Governor," is at the top of the


When the formal invitation to dinner or lunch is written instead of
engraved, note paper stamped with house or personal device is used. The
wording and spacing must follow the engraved models exactly.

        350 PARK AVENUE

     Mr. and Mrs. John Kindhart

     request the pleasure of

  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gilding Jr.'s

        company at Dinner

  on Tuesday the sixth of December

        at eight o'clock.

It must _not_ be written:



Mr. & Mrs. J. Kindhart request the pleasure of Mr. & Mrs. James
Town's Company at Dinner on Tuesday etc.

The foregoing example has four faults:

(1) Letters in the third person must follow the prescribed form. This does
not. (2) The writing is crowded against the margin. (3) The telephone
number should be used only for business and informal notes and letters.
(4) The full name John should be used instead of the initial "J." "Mr. and
Mrs." is better form than "Mr. & Mrs."


If for illness or other reason invitations have to be recalled the
following forms are correct. They are always printed instead of engraved,
there being no time for engraving.

           Owing to sudden illness
        Mr. and Mrs. John Huntington Smith
      are obliged to recall their invitations
         for Tuesday the tenth of June.

The form used when the invitation is postponed:

      Mr. and Mrs. John Huntington Smith
             regret exceedingly
    that owing to the illness of Mrs. Smith
     their dance is temporarily postponed.

When a wedding is broken off after the invitations have been issued:

    Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Nottingham
    that the marriage of their daughter
            Mary Katharine
         Mr. Jerrold Atherton
         will not take place


Acceptances or regrets are always written. An engraved form to be filled
in is vulgar--nothing could be in worse taste than to flaunt your
popularity by announcing that it is impossible to answer your numerous
invitations without the time-saving device of a printed blank. If you have
a dozen or more invitations a day, if you have a hundred, hire a staff of
secretaries if need be, but answer "by hand."

The formal acceptance to an invitation, whether it is to a dance, wedding
breakfast or a ball, is identical:

    Mr. and Mrs. Donald Lovejoy

       accept with pleasure

       Mr. and Mrs. Smith's

     kind invitation for dinner

    on Monday the tenth of December

        at eight o'clock

The formula for regret:

              Mr. Clubwin Doe
    regrets extremely that a previous engagement
          prevents his accepting
           Mr. and Mrs. Smith's
        kind invitation for dinner
      on Monday the tenth of December


        Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Kerry

    regret that they are unable to accept

          Mr. and Mrs. Smith's

        kind invitation for dinner

      on Monday the tenth of December

In accepting an invitation the day and hour must be repeated, so that in
case of mistake it may be rectified and prevent one from arriving on a day
when one is not expected. But in declining an invitation it is not
necessary to repeat the hour.


With the exception of invitations to house-parties, dinners and luncheons,
the writing of notes is past. For an informal dance, musical, picnic, for
a tea to meet a guest, or for bridge, a lady uses her ordinary visiting

     To meet Miss Millicent Gilding

          =MRS. JOHN KINDHART=

Tues. Jan. 7. Dancing at 10. o'ck. 350 PARK AVENUE


   Wed. Jan. 8. Bridge at 4. o'ck.


    R.s.v.p. 350 PARK AVENUE

Answers to invitations written on visiting cards are always formally
worded in the third person, precisely as though the invitation had been


The informal dinner and luncheon invitation is not spaced according to set
words on each line, but is written merely in two paragraphs. Example:

    Dear Mrs. Smith:

    Will you and Mr. Smith dine with us on Thursday, the seventh of
    January, at eight o'clock?

    Hoping so much for the pleasure of seeing you,

    Very sincerely,

           Caroline Robinson Town.


    Dear Mrs. Town:

    It will give us much pleasure to dine with you on Thursday the
    seventh, at eight o'clock.

    Thanking you for your kind thought of us,

    Sincerely yours,

             Margaret Smith.



    Dear Mrs. Town:

    My husband and I will dine with you on Thursday the seventh, at
    eight o'clock, with greatest pleasure.

    Thanking you so much for thinking of us,

    Always sincerely,

                Margaret Smith.


    Dear Mrs. Town:

    We are so sorry that we shall be unable to dine with you on the
    seventh, as we have a previous engagement.

    With many thanks for your kindness in thinking of us,

    Very sincerely,

          Ethel Norman.


To an intimate friend:

    Dear Sally:

    Will you and Jack (and the baby and nurse, of course) come out
    the 28th (Friday), and stay for ten days? Morning and evening
    trains take only forty minutes, and it won't hurt Jack to commute
    for the weekdays between the two Sundays! I am sure the country
    will do you and the baby good, or at least it will do me good to
    have you here.

    With much love, affectionately,
                          Ethel Norman.

To a friend of one's daughter:

    Dear Mary:

    Will you and Jim come on Friday the first for the Worldly dance,
    and stay over Sunday? Muriel asks me to tell you that Helen and
    Dick, and also Jimmy Smith are to be here and she particularly
    hopes that you will come, too.

    The three-twenty from New York is the best train--much. Though
    there is a four-twenty and a five-sixteen, in case Jim is not
    able to take the earlier one.

    Very sincerely,

                          Alice Jones.

Confirming a verbal invitation:

    Dear Helen:

    This note is merely to remind you that you and Dick are coming
    here for the Worldly dance on the sixth. Mother is expecting you
    on the three-twenty train, and will meet you here at the station.


Invitation to a house party at a camp:

    Dear Miss Strange:

    Will you come up here on the sixth of September and stay until
    the sixteenth? It would give us all the greatest pleasure. There
    is a train leaving Broadway Station at 8.03 A.M. which will get
    you to Dustville Junction at 5 P.M. and here in time for supper.

    It is only fair to warn you that the camp is very primitive; we
    have no luxuries, but we can make you fairly comfortable if you
    like an outdoor life and are not too exacting. Please do not
    bring a maid or any clothes that the woods or weather can ruin.
    You will need nothing but outdoor things: walking boots (if you
    care to walk), a bathing suit (if you care to swim in the lake),
    and something comfortable rather than smart for evening (if you
    care to dress for supper). But on no account bring evening, or
    any _good_ clothes!

    Hoping so much that camping appeals to you and that we shall see
    you on the evening of the sixth,

    Very sincerely yours,
    Martha Kindhart.


Custom which has altered many ways and manners has taken away all
opprobrium from the message by telephone, and with the exception of those
of a very small minority of letter-loving hostesses, all informal
invitations are sent and answered by telephone. Such messages, however,
follow a prescribed form:

    "Is this Lenox 0000? Will you please ask Mr. and Mrs. Smith if
    they will dine with Mrs. Grantham Jones next Tuesday the tenth at
    eight o'clock? Mrs. Jones' telephone number is Plaza, one two
    ring two."

The answer:

    "Mr. and Mrs. Huntington Smith regret that they will be unable to
    dine with Mrs. Jones on Tuesday the tenth, as they are engaged
    for that evening.


    "Will you please tell Mrs. Jones that Mr. and Mrs. Huntington
    Smith are very sorry that they will be unable to dine with her
    next Tuesday, and thank her for asking them."


    "Please tell Mrs. Jones that Mr. and Mrs. Huntington Smith will
    dine with her on Tuesday the tenth, with pleasure."

The formula is the same, whether the invitation is to dine or lunch, or
play bridge or tennis, or golf, or motor, or go on a picnic.

    "Will Mrs. Smith play bridge with Mrs. Grantham Jones this
    afternoon at the Country Club, at four o'clock?"

    "Hold the wire please * * * Mrs. Jones will play bridge, with
    pleasure at four o'clock."

In many houses, especially where there are several grown sons or
daughters, a blank form is kept in the pantry:

                   with M
    on the
    at            o'clock.            Telephone number

These slips are taken to whichever member of the family has been invited,
who crosses off "regret" or "accept" and hands the slip back for
transmission by the butler, the parlor-maid or whoever is on duty in the

If Mr. Smith and Mrs. Jones are themselves telephoning there is no long
conversation, but merely:

    Mrs. Jones:

    "Is that you Mrs. Smith (or Sarah)? This is Mrs. Jones (or
    Alice). Will you and your husband (or John) dine with us
    to-morrow at eight o'clock?"

    Mrs. Smith:

    "I'm so sorry we can't. We are dining with Mabel."


    "We have people coming here."

Invitations to a house party are often as not telephoned:

    "Hello, Ethel? This is Alice. Will you and Arthur come on the
    sixteenth for over Sunday?"

    "The sixteenth? That's Friday. We'd love to!"

    "Will you take the 3:20 train? etc."




Every house has an outward appearance to be made as presentable as
possible, an interior continually to be set in order, and incessantly to
be cleaned. And for those that dwell within it there are meals to be
prepared and served; linen to be laundered and mended; personal garments
to be brushed and pressed; and perhaps children to be cared for. There is
also a door-bell to be answered in which manners as well as appearance
come into play.

Beyond these fundamental necessities, luxuries can be added indefinitely,
such as splendor of architecture, of gardening, and of furnishing, with
every refinement of service that executive ability can produce. With all
this genuine splendor possible only to the greatest establishments, a
little house can no more compete than a diamond weighing but half a carat
can compete with a stone weighing fifty times as much. And this is a good
simile, because the perfect little house may be represented by a corner
cut from precisely the same stone and differing therefore merely in size
(and value naturally), whereas the house in bad taste and improperly run
may be represented by a diamond that is off color and full of flaws; or in
some instances, merely a piece of glass that to none but those as ignorant
as its owner, for a moment suggests a gem of value.

A gem of a house may be no size at all, but its lines are honest, and its
painting and window curtains in good taste. As for its upkeep, its path or
sidewalk is beautifully neat, steps scrubbed, brasses polished, and its
bell answered promptly by a trim maid with a low voice and quiet courteous
manner; all of which contributes to the impression of "quality" evens
though it in nothing suggests the luxury of a palace whose opened bronze
door reveals a row of powdered footmen.

But the "mansion" of bastard architecture and crude paint, with its brass
indifferently clean, with coarse lace behind the plate glass of its
golden-oak door, and the bell answered at eleven in the morning by a
butler in an ill fitting dress suit and wearing a mustache, might as well
be placarded: "Here lives a vulgarian who has never had an opportunity to
acquire cultivation." As a matter of fact, the knowledge of how to make a
house distinguished both in appearance and in service, is a much higher
test than presenting a distinguished appearance in oneself and acquiring
presentable manners. There are any number of people who dress well, and in
every way appear well, but a lack of breeding is apparent as soon as you
go into their houses. Their servants have not good manners, they are not
properly turned out, the service is not well done, and the decorations and
furnishings show lack of taste and inviting arrangement.

The personality of a house is indefinable, but there never lived a lady of
great cultivation and charm whose home, whether a palace, a farm-cottage
or a tiny apartment, did not reflect the charm of its owner. Every visitor
feels impelled to linger, and is loath to go. Houses without personality
are a series of rooms with furniture in them. Sometimes their lack of
charm is baffling; every article is "correct" and beautiful, but one has
the feeling that the decorator made chalk-marks indicating the exact spot
on which each piece of furniture is to stand. Other houses are filled with
things of little intrinsic value, often with much that is shabby, or they
are perhaps empty to the point of bareness, and yet they have that
"inviting" atmosphere, and air of unmistakable quality which is an
unfailing indication of high-bred people.


Suitability is the test of good taste always. The manner to the moment,
the dress to the occasion, the article to the place, the furniture to the
background. And yet to combine many periods in one and commit no
anachronism, to put something French, something Spanish, something
Italian, and something English into an American house and have the
result the perfection of American taste--is a feat of legerdemain that has
been accomplished time and again.

OWNER." [Page 132.]]

A woman of great taste follows fashion in house furnishing, just as she
follows fashion in dress, in general principles only. She wears what is
becoming to her own type, and she puts in her house only such articles as
are becoming to it.

That a quaint old-fashioned house should be filled with quaint
old-fashioned pieces of furniture, in size proportionate to the size of
the rooms, and that rush-bottomed chairs and rag-carpets have no place in
a marble hall, need not be pointed out. But to an amazing number of
persons, proportion seems to mean nothing at all. They will put a huge
piece of furniture in a tiny room so that the effect is one of painful
indigestion; or they will crowd things all into one corner--so that it
seems about to capsize; or they will spoil a really good room by the
addition of senseless and inappropriately cluttering objects, in the
belief that because they are valuable they must be beautiful, regardless
of suitability. Sometimes a room is marred by "treasures" clung to for
reasons of sentiment.


It is almost impossible for any of us to judge accurately of things which
we have throughout a lifetime been accustomed to. A chair that was
grandmother's, a painting father bought, the silver that has always been
on the dining table--are all so part of ourselves that we are
sentiment-blind to their defects.

For instance, the portrait of a Colonial officer, among others, has always
hung in Mrs. Oldname's dining-room. One day an art critic, whose knowledge
was better than his manners, blurted out, "Will you please tell me why you
have that dreadful thing in this otherwise perfect room?" Mrs. Oldname,
somewhat taken back, answered rather wonderingly: "Is it
dreadful?--Really? I have a feeling of affection for him and his dog!"

The critic was merciless. "If you call a cotton-flannel effigy, a dog! And
as for the figure, it is equally false and lifeless! It is amazing how
any one with your taste can bear looking at it!" In spite of his rudeness,
Mrs. Oldname saw that what he said was quite true, but not until the fact
had been pointed out to her. Gradually she grew to dislike the poor
officer so much that he was finally relegated to the attic. In the same
way most of us have belongings that have "always been there" or perhaps
"treasures" that we love for some association, which are probably as bad
as can be, to which habit has blinded us, though we would not have to be
told of their hideousness were they seen by us in the house of another.

It is not to be expected that all people can throw away every esthetically
unpleasing possession, with which nearly every house twenty-five years ago
was filled, but those whose pocket-book and sentiment will permit, would
add greatly to the beauty of their houses by sweeping the bad into the ash
can! Far better have stone-ware plates that are good in design than
expensive porcelain that is horrible in decoration.

The only way to determine what is good and what is horrible is to study
what is good in books, in museums, or in art classes in the universities,
or even by studying the magazines devoted to decorative art.

Be very careful though. Do not mistake modern eccentricities for "art."
There are frightful things in vogue to-day--flamboyant colors, grotesque,
triangular and oblique designs that can not possibly be other than bad,
because aside from striking novelty, there is nothing good about them. By
no standard can a room be in good taste that looks like a perfume
manufacturer's phantasy or a design reflected in one of the distorting
mirrors that are mirth-provokers at county fairs.


In buying an article for a house one might formulate for oneself a few
test questions:

First, is it useful? Anything that is really useful has a reason for

Second, has it _really_ beauty of form and line and color?

(Texture is not so important.) Or is it merely striking, or amusing?

Third, is it entirely suitable for the position it occupies?

Fourth, if it were eliminated would it be missed? Would something else
look as well or better, in its place? Or would its place look as well
empty? A truthful answer to these questions would at least help in
determining its value, since an article that failed in any of them could
not be "perfect."

Fashion affects taste--it is bound to. We abominate Louis the Fourteenth
and Empire styles at the moment, because curves and super-ornamentation
are out of fashion; whether they are really bad or not, time alone can
tell. At present we are admiring plain silver and are perhaps exacting
that it be too plain? The only safe measure of what is good, is to choose
that which has best endured. The "King" and the "Fiddle" pattern for flat
silver, have both been in use in houses of highest fashion ever since they
were designed, so that they, among others, must have merit to have so long

In the same way examples of old potteries and china and glass, at present
being reproduced, are very likely good, because after having been for a
century or more in disuse, they are again being chosen. Perhaps one might
say that the "second choice" is "proof of excellence."


The subject of furnishings is however the least part of this
chapter--appointments meaning decoration being of less importance (since
this is not a book on architecture or decoration!), than appointments
meaning _service_.

But before going into the various details of service, it might be a good
moment to speak of the unreasoning indignity cast upon the honorable
vocation of a servant.

There is an inexplicable tendency, in this country only, for working
people in general to look upon domestic service as an unworthy, if not
altogether degrading vocation. The cause may perhaps be found in the fact
that this same scorning public having for the most part little opportunity
to know high-class servants, who are to be found only in high-class
families, take it for granted that ignorant "servant girls" and "hired
men" are representative of their kind. Therefore they put upper class
servants in the same category--regardless of whether they are uncouth and
illiterate, or persons of refined appearance and manner who often have
considerable cultivation, acquired not so much at school as through the
constant contact with ultra refinement of surroundings, and not
infrequently through the opportunity for world-wide travel.

And yet so insistently has this obloquy of the word "servant" spread that
every one sensitive to the feelings of others avoids using it exactly as
one avoids using the word "cripple" when speaking to one who is slightly
lame. Yet are not the best of us "servants" in the Church? And the highest
of us "servants" of the people and the State?

To be a slattern in a vulgar household is scarcely an elevated employment,
but neither is working in a sweat-shop, or belonging to a calling that is
really degraded; which is otherwise about all that equal lack of ability
would procure. On the other hand, consider the vocation of a lady's maid
or "_courier_" valet and compare the advantages these enjoy (to say
nothing of their never having to worry about overhead expenses), with the
opportunities of those who have never been out of the "factory" or the
"store" or further away than the adjoining town in their lives. As for a
nurse, is there any vocation more honorable? No character in E.F. Benson's
"Our Family Affairs" is more beautiful or more tenderly drawn than that of
"Beth," who was not only nurse to the children of the Archbishop of
Canterbury but one of the most dearly beloved of the family's members--her
place was absolutely next to their mother's in the very heart of the
household always.

Two years ago, Anna, who had for a lifetime been Mrs. Gilding's personal
maid, died. Every engagement of that seemingly frivolous family was
cancelled, even the invitations for their ball. Not one of the family but
mourned for what she truly was, their humble but nearest friend. Would it
have been so much better, so much more dignified, for these two women, who
lived long useful years in closest association with every cultivating
influence of life, to have lived on in their native villages and worked in
a factory, or to have had a little store of their own? Does this false
idea of dignity--since it _is_ false--go so far as that?


It stands to reason that one may expect more perfect service from a
"specialist" than from one whose functions are multiple. But small houses
that have a double equipment--meaning an alternate who can go in the
kitchen, and two for the dining-room--can be every bit as well run, so far
as essentials go, as the palaces of the Gildings and the Worldlys, though
of course not with the same impressiveness. But good service is badly
handicapped if, when the waitress goes out, there is no one to open the
door, or when the cook goes out, there is no one to prepare a meal.

For what one might call "complete" service, (meaning service that is
adequate for constant entertaining and can stand comparison with the most
luxurious establishments,) three are the minimum--a cook, a butler (or
waitress) and a housemaid. The reason why luncheons and dinners can not be
"perfectly" given with a waitress alone is because two persons are
necessary for the exactions of modern standards of service. Yet one alone
can, on occasion, manage very well, if attention is paid to ordering an
especial menu for single-handed service--described on page 233. Aside from
the convenience of a second person in the dining-room, a house can not be
run very comfortably and smoothly without alternating shifts in staying in
and going out. The waitress being on "duty" to answer bell and telephone
and serve tea one afternoon, and the housemaid taking her place the next.
They also alternate in going out every other evening after dinner.

It should be realized that above the number necessary for essentials, each
additional chambermaid, parlor-maid, footman, scullery maid or useful man,
is made necessary by the size of the house and by the amount of
entertaining usual, rather than (as is often supposed) for the mere reason
of show. The seemingly superfluous number of footmen at Golden Hall and
Great Estates are, aside from standing on parade at formal parties, needed
actually to do the immense amount of work that houses of such size entail;
whereas a small apartment can be fairly well looked after by one alone.

All house employees and details of their several duties, manners, and
appearances, are enumerated below. Beginning with the greatest and most
complicated establishments possible, the employee of highest rank is:


The position of companion, which is always one of social equality with her
employer, exists only when the lady of the house is an invalid, or very
elderly, or a widow, or a young girl. (In the latter case the "companion"
is a "chaperon.")

Her secretarial duties consist in writing impersonal letters and notes and
probably paying bills; she may have occasional invitations to send out,
and to answer, though a lady needing a companion is not apt to be greatly
interested in social activities. The companion never performs the services
of a maid--but she occasionally does the housekeeping. Otherwise her
duties can not very well be set down, because they vary with individual
requirements. One lady likes continually to travel and merely wants a
companion, (usually a poor relative or friend) to go with her. Another who
is a semi-invalid never leaves her room, and the duties of her companion
are almost those of a trained nurse. The average requirement is in being
personally agreeable, tactful, intelligent, and--companionable!

A companion dresses as any other lady does; according to the occasion, her
personal taste, her age, and her means.


The private secretary to a diplomat, since, he must first pass the
diplomatic examination in order to qualify, is invariably a young man of
education, if not of birth, and his social position is always that of a
member of his "chief's" family.

The position of an ordinary private secretary is sometimes that of an
upper servant, or, on the other hand, his own social position may be much
higher than that of his employer. A secretary who either has position of
his own or is given position by his employer, is in every way treated as a
member of the family; he is present at all general entertainments; and
quite as often as not at lunches and dinners. The duties of a private
secretary are naturally to attend to all correspondence, take shorthand
notes of speeches or conversations, file papers and documents and in every
way serve as extra eyes and hands and supplementary brain for his


The position of social secretary is an entirely clerical one, and never
confers any "social privileges" unless the secretary is also "companion."

Her duties are to write all invitations, acceptances, and regrets; keep a
record of every invitation received and every one sent out, and to enter
in an engagement book every engagement made for her employer, whether to
lunch, dinner, to be fitted, or go to the dentist. She also writes all
impersonal notes, takes longer letters in shorthand, and writes others
herself after being told their purport. She also audits all bills and
draws the checks for them, the checks are filled in and then presented to
her employer to be signed, after which they are put in their envelopes,
sealed and sent. When the receipted bills are returned, the secretary
files them according to her own method, where they can at any time be
found by her if needed for reference. In many cases it is she (though it
is most often the butler) who telephones invitations and other messages.

Occasionally a social secretary is also a social manager; devises
entertainments and arranges all details such as the decorations of the
house for a dance, or a programme of entertainment following a very large
dinner. The social secretary very rarely lives in the house of her
employer; more often than not she goes also to one or two other
houses--since there is seldom work enough in one to require her whole

Miss Brisk, who is Mrs. Gilding's secretary, has little time for any one
else. She goes every day for from two to sometimes eight or nine hours in
town, and at Golden Hall lives in the house. Usually a secretary can
finish all there is to do in an average establishment in about an hour, or
at most two, a day, with the addition of five or six hours on two or three
other days each month for the paying of bills.

Supposing she takes three positions; she goes to Mrs. A. from 8.30 to 10
every day, and for three extra hours on the 10th and 11th of every month.
To Mrs. B. from 10.30 to 1 (her needs being greater) and for six extra
hours on the 12th, 13th and 14th of every month. And to Mrs. C. every day
at 3 o'clock for an indefinite time of several hours or only a few

Her dress is that of any business woman. Conspicuous clothes are out of
keeping as they would be out of keeping in an office; which, however, is
no reason why she should not be well dressed. Well-cut tailor-made suits
are the most appropriate with a good-looking but simple hat; as good shoes
as she can possibly afford, and good gloves and immaculately clean shirt
waists, represent about the most dignified and practical clothes. But why
describe clothes! Every woman with good sense enough to qualify as a
secretary has undoubtedly sense enough to dress with dignity.


In a very big house the housekeeper usually lives in the house. Smaller
establishments often have a "visiting housekeeper" who comes for as long
as she is needed each morning. The resident housekeeper has her own
bedroom and bath and sitting-room always. Her meals are brought to her by
an especial kitchen-maid, called in big houses the "hall girl," or
occasionally the butler details an under footman to that duty.

In an occasional house all the servants, the gardener as well as the cook
and butler and nurses, come under the housekeeper's authority; in other
words, she superintends the entire house exactly as a very conscientious
and skilled mistress would do herself, if she gave her whole time and
attention to it. She engages the servants, and if necessary, dismisses
them; she sees the cook, orders meals, goes to the market, or at least
supervises the cook's market orders, and likewise engages and apportions
the work of the men servants.

Ordinarily, however, she is in charge of no one but the housemaids,
parlor-maids, useful man and one of the scullery maids. The cook, butler,
nurses and lady's maid do not come under her supervision. But should
difficulties arise between herself and them it would be within her
province to ask for their dismissal which would probably be granted; since
she would not ask without grave cause that involved much more than her
personal dislike. A good housekeeper is always a woman of experience and
tact, and often a lady; friction is, therefore, extremely rare.


The management of a house of greatest size, is divided usually into
several distinct departments, each under its separate head. The
housekeeper has charge of the appearance of the house and of its contents;
the manners and looks of the housemaids and parlor-maids, as well as their
work in cleaning walls, floors, furniture, pictures, ornaments, books, and
taking care of linen.

The butler has charge of the pantry and dining-room. He engages all
footmen, apportions their work and is responsible for their appearance,
manners and efficiency.

The cook is in charge of the kitchen, under-cook and kitchen-maids.

The nurse and the personal maid and cook are under the direction of the
lady of the house. The butler and the valet as well as the chauffeur and
gardener are engaged by the gentleman of the house.


The butler is not only the most important servant in every big
establishment, but it is by no means unheard of for him to be in supreme
command, not only as steward, but as housekeeper as well.

At the Worldly's for instance, Hastings who is actually the butler, orders
all the supplies, keeps the household accounts and engages not only the
men servants but the housemaids, parlor-maids and even the chef.

But normally in a great house, the butler has charge of his own department
only, and his own department is the dining-room and pantry, or possibly
the whole parlor floor. In all smaller establishments the butler is always
the valet--and in many great ones he is valet to his employer, even though
he details a footman to look after other gentlemen of the family or

In a small house the butler works a great deal with his hands and not so
much with his head. In a great establishment, the butler works very much
with his head, and with his hands not at all.

At Golden Hall where guests come in dozens at a time (both in the house
and the guest annex), his stewardship--even though there is a
housekeeper--is not a job which a small man can fill. He has perhaps
thirty men under him at big dinners, ten who belong under him in the house
always; he has the keys to the wine cellar and the combination of the
silver safe. (The former being in this day by far the greater
responsibility!) He also chooses the china and glass and linen as well as
the silver to be used each day, oversees the setting of the table, and the
serving of all food. When there is a house party every breakfast tray that
leaves the pantry is first approved by him.

At all meals he stands behind the chair of the lady of the house--in other
words, at the head of the table. In occasional houses, the butler stands
at the opposite end as he is supposed to be better able to see any
directions given him. At Golden Hall the butler stands behind Mr. Gilding
but at Great Estates Hastings invariably stands behind Mrs. Worldly's
chair so that at the slightest turn of her head, he need only take a step
to be within reach of her voice. (The husband by the way is "head of the
house," but the wife is "head of the table.")

At tea time, he oversees the footmen who place the tea-table, put on the
tea cloth and carry in the tea tray, after which Hastings himself places
the individual tables. When there is "no dinner at home" he waits in the
hall and assists Mr. Worldly into his coat, and hands him his hat and
stick, which have previously been handed to the butler by one of the

_The Butler in a Smaller House_

In a smaller house, the butler also takes charge of the wines and silver,
does very much the same as the butler in the bigger house, except that he
has less overseeing of others and more work to do himself. Where he is
alone, he does all the work--naturally. Where he has either one footman or
a parlor-maid, he passes the main courses at the table and his assistant
passes the secondary dishes.

He is also valet not only for the gentleman of the house but for any
gentleman guests as well.

_What the Butler Wears_

The butler never wears the livery of a footman and on no account knee
breeches or powder. In the early morning he wears an ordinary sack
suit--black or very dark blue--with a dark, inconspicuous tie. For
luncheon or earlier, if he is on duty at the door, he wears black
trousers, with gray stripes, a double-breasted, high-cut, black waistcoat,
and black swallowtail coat without satin on the revers, a white
stiff-bosomed shirt with standing collar, and a black four-in-hand tie.

In fashionable houses, the butler does not put on his dress suit until
six o'clock. The butler's evening dress differs from that of a gentleman
in a few details only: he has no braid on his trousers, and the satin on
his lapels (if any) is narrower, but the most distinctive difference is
that a butler wears a black waistcoat and a white lawn tie, and a
gentleman always wears a white waistcoat with a white tie, or a white
waistcoat and a black tie with a dinner coat, but never the reverse.

Unless he is an old-time colored servant in the South a butler who wears a
"dress suit" in the daytime is either a hired waiter who has come in to
serve a meal, or he has never been employed by persons of position; and it
is unnecessary to add that none but vulgarians would employ a butler (or
any other house servant) who wears a mustache! To have him open the door
collarless and in shirt-sleeves is scarcely worse!

A butler never wears gloves, nor a flower in his buttonhole. He sometimes
wears a very thin watch chain in the daytime but none at night. He never
wears a scarf-pin, or any jewelry that is for ornament alone. His
cuff-links should be as plain as possible, and his shirt studs white
enamel ones that look like linen.


All house servants who assist in waiting on the table come under the
direction of the butler, and are known as footmen. One who never comes
into the dining-room is known as a useful man. The duties of the footmen
(and useful man) include cleaning the dining-room, pantry, lower hall,
entrance vestibule, sidewalk, attending to the furnace, carrying coal to
the kitchen, wood to all the open fireplaces in the house, cleaning the
windows, cleaning brasses, cleaning all boots, carrying everything that is
heavy, moving furniture for the parlor-maids to clean behind it, valeting
all gentlemen, setting and waiting on table, attending the front door,
telephoning and writing down messages, and--incessantly and ceaselessly,
cleaning and polishing silver.

In a small house, the butler polishes silver, but in a very big house one
of the footmen is silver specialist, and does nothing else. Nothing! If
there is to be a party of any sort he puts on his livery and joins the
others who line the hall and bring dishes to the table. But he does not
assist in setting the table or washing dishes or in cleaning anything
whatsoever--except silver.

The butler also usually answers the telephone--if not, it is answered by
the first footman. The first footman is deputy butler.

The footmen also take turns in answering the door. In houses of great
ceremony like those of the Worldlys' and the Gildings', there are always
two footmen at the door if anyone is to be admitted. One to open the door
and the other to conduct a guest into the drawing-room. But if formal
company is expected, the butler himself is in the front hall with one or
two footmen at the door.

_The Footmen's Livery_

People who have big houses usually choose a color for their livery and
never change it. Maroon and buff, for instance, are the colors of the
Gildings; all their motor cars are maroon with buff lines and
cream-colored or maroon linings. The chauffeurs and outside footmen wear
maroon liveries. The house footmen, for everyday, wear ordinary footmen's
liveries, maroon trousers and long-tailed coats with brass buttons and
maroon-and-buff striped waistcoats.

For gala occasions, Mrs. Gilding adds as many caterer's men as necessary,
but they all are dressed in her full-dress livery, consisting of a "court"
coat which comes together at the neck in front, and then cuts away to long
tails at the back. The coat is of maroon broadcloth with frogs and
epaulets of black braiding. There is a small standing collar of buff
cloth, and a falling cravat of pleated cream-colored lace worn in front.
The waistcoat is of buff satin, the breeches of black satin, cream-colored
stockings, pumps, and the hair is powdered. It is first pomaded and then
thickly powdered. Wigs are never worn.

Mrs. Worldly however compromises between the "court" footman and the
ordinary one, and puts her footmen in green cloth coats cut like the
everyday liveries, with silver buttons on which the crest is raised in
relief, but adds black velvet collars, and black satin waistcoats in place
of the everyday striped ones. Black satin knee breeches, black silk
stockings, and pumps with silver buckles, and their ordinary hair, cut

The powdered footman's "court" livery is, as a matter of fact, very rarely
seen. Three or four houses in New York, and one or two otherwhere, would
very likely include them all. Knee breeches are more usual, but even those
are seen in none but very lavish houses.

To choose servants who are naturally well-groomed is more important than
putting them in smart liveries. Men must be close shaven and have their
hair well cut. Their linen must be immaculate, their shoes polished, their
clothes brushed and in press, and their finger nails clean and well cared
for. If a man's fingers are indelibly stained he would better wear white
cotton gloves.


The kitchen is always in charge of the cook. In a small house, or in an
apartment, she is alone and has all the cooking, cleaning of kitchen and
larder, to do, the basement or kitchen bell to answer, and the servants'
table to set and their dishes to wash as well as her kitchen utensils. In
a bigger house, the kitchen-maid lights the kitchen fire, and does all
cleaning of kitchen and pots and pans, answers the basement bell, sets the
servants' table and washes the servants' table dishes. In a still bigger
house, the second cook cooks for the servants always, and for the children
sometimes, and assists the cook by preparing certain plainer portions of
the meals, the cook preparing all dinner dishes, sauces and the more
elaborate items on the menu. Sometimes there are two or more kitchen-maids
who merely divide the greater amount of work between them.

In most houses of any size, the cook does all the marketing. She sees the
lady of the house every morning, and submits menus for the day. In smaller
houses, the lady does the ordering of both supplies and menus.

_How a Cook Submits the Menu_

In a house of largest size--at the Gildings for instance, the chef writes
in his "book" every evening, the menus for the next day, whether there is
to be company or not. (None, of course, if the family are to be out for
all meals.) This "book" is sent up to Mrs. Gilding with her breakfast
tray. It is a loose-leaf blank book of rather large size. The day's menu
sheet is on top, but the others are left in their proper sequence
underneath, so that by looking at her engagement book to see who dined
with her on such a date, and then looking at the menu for that same date,
she knows--if she cares to--exactly what the dinner was.

If she does not like the chef's choice, she draws a pencil through and
writes in something else. If she has any orders or criticisms to make, she
writes them on an envelope pad, folds the page, and seals it and puts the
"note" in the book. If the menu is to be changed, the chef re-writes it,
if not the page is left as it is, and the book put in a certain place in
the kitchen.

The butler always goes into the kitchen shortly after the book has come
down, and copies the day's menus on a pad of his own. From this he knows
what table utensils will be needed.

This system is not necessary in medium sized or small houses, but where
there is a great deal of entertaining it is much simpler for the butler to
be able to go and "see for himself" than to ask the cook and--forget. And
ask again, and the cook forget, and then--disturbance!--because the butler
did not send down the proper silver dishes or have the proper plates
ready, or had others heated unnecessarily.


The kitchen-maids are under the direction of the cook, except one known
colloquially as the "hall girl" who is supervised by the housekeeper. She
is evidently a survival of the "between maid" of the English house. Her
sobriquet comes from the fact that she has charge of the servants' hall,
or dining-room, and is in fact the waitress for them. She also takes care
of the housekeeper's rooms, and carries all her meals up to her. If there
is no housekeeper, the hall girl is under the direction of the cook.


The parlor-maid keeps the drawing-room and library in order. The useful
man brings up the wood for the fireplaces, but the parlor-maid lays the
fire. In some houses the parlor-maid takes up the breakfast trays; in
other houses, the butler does this himself and then hands them to the
lady's maid, who takes them into the bedrooms. The windows and the brasses
are cleaned by the useful man and heavy furniture moved by him so she can
clean behind them.

The parlor-maid assists the butler in waiting at table, and washing
dishes, and takes turns with him in answering the door and the telephone.

In huge houses like the Worldlys' and the Gildings', the footmen assist
the butler in the dining-room and at the door--and there is always a
"pantry maid" who washes dishes and cleans the pantry.


The housemaid does all the chamber work, cleans all silver on
dressing-tables, polishes fixtures in the bathroom--in other words takes
care of the bedroom floors.

In a bigger house, the head housemaid has charge of the linen and does the
bedrooms of the lady and gentleman of the house and a few of the spare
rooms. The second housemaid does the nurseries, extra spare rooms, and the
servants' floor. The bigger the establishment, the more housemaids, and
the work is further divided. The housemaid is by many people called the


In all houses of importance and fashion, the parlor-maid and the
housemaids, and the waitress (where there is no butler), are all dressed
alike. Their "work" dresses are of plain cambric and in whatever the
"house color" may be, with large white aprons with high bibs, and Eton
collars, but no cuffs (as they must be able to unbutton their sleeves and
turn them up.) Those who serve in the dining-room must always dress before
lunch, and the afternoon dresses vary according to the taste--and
purse--of the lady of the house. Where no uniforms are supplied, each maid
is supposed to furnish herself with a plain black dress for afternoon, on
which she wears collars and cuffs of embroidered muslin usually (always
supplied her), and a small afternoon apron, with or without shoulder
straps, and with or without a cap.

In very "beautifully done" houses (all the dresses of the maids are
furnished them), the color of the uniforms is chosen to harmonize with the
dining-room. At the Gildings', Jr., for instance, where there are no men
servants because Mr. Gilding does not like them, but where the house is as
perfect as a picture on the stage, the waitress and parlor-maid wear in
the blue and yellow dining-room, dresses of Nattier blue taffeta with
aprons and collars and cuffs of plain hemstitched cream-colored organdie,
that is as transparent as possible; blue stockings and patent leather
slippers with silver buckles, their hair always beautifully smooth.
Sometimes they wear caps and sometimes not, depending upon the waitress'
appearance. Twenty years ago, every maid in a lady's house wore a cap
except the personal maid, who wore (and still does) a velvet bow, or
nothing. But when every little slattern in every sloppy household had a
small mat of whitish Swiss pinned somewhere on an untidy head, and was
decked out in as many yards of embroidery ruffling on her apron and
shoulders as her person could carry, fashionable ladies began taking caps
and trimmings off, and exacting instead that clothes be good in cut and
hair be neatly arranged.

A few ladies of great taste dress their maids according to individual
becomingness; some faces look well under a cap, others look the contrary.
A maid whose hair is rather fluffy--especially if it is dark--looks pretty
in a cap, particularly of the coronet variety. No one looks well in a
doily laid flat, but fluffy fair hair with a small mat tilted up against
a knot of hair dressed high can look very smart. A young woman whose hair
is straight and rebellious to order, can be made to look tidy and even
attractive in a headdress that encircles the whole head. A good one for
this purpose has a very narrow ruche from 9 to 18 inches long on either
side of a long black velvet ribbon. The ruche goes part way, or all the
way, around the head, and the velvet ribbon ties, with streamers hanging
down the back. On the other hand, many extremely pretty young women with
hair worn flat do not look well in caps of any description--except "Dutch"
ones which are, in most houses, too suggestive of fancy dress. If no caps
are worn the hair must be faultlessly smooth and neat; and of course where
two or more maids are seen together, they must be alike. It would not do
to have one wear a cap and the other not.


A first class lady's maid is required to be a hairdresser, a good packer
and an expert needlewoman. Her first duty is to keep her lady's clothes in
order and to help her dress, and undress. She draws the bath, lays out
underclothes, always brushes her lady's hair and usually dresses it, and
gets out the dress to be worn, as well as the stockings, shoes, hat, veil,
gloves, wrist bag, parasol, or whatever accessories go with the dress in

As soon as the lady is dressed, everything that has been worn is taken to
the sewing room and each article is gone over, carefully brushed if of
woolen material, cleaned if silk. Everything that is mussed is pressed,
everything that can be suspected of not being immaculate is washed or
cleaned with cleaning fluid, and when in perfect order is replaced where
it belongs in the closet. Underclothes as mended are put in the clothes
hamper. Stockings are looked over for rips or small holes, and the maid
usually washes very fine stockings herself, also lace collars or small
pieces of lace trimming.

Some maids have to wait up at night, no matter how late, until their
ladies return; but as many, if not more, are never asked to wait longer
than a certain hour.

But the maid for a débutante in the height of the season, between the
inevitable "go fetching" at this place and that, and mending of party
dresses danced to ribbons and soiled by partner's hands on the back, and
slippers "walked on" until there is quite as much black part as satin or
metal, has no sinecure.

_Why Two Maids?_

In very important houses where mother and daughters go out a great deal
there are usually two maids, one for the mother and one for the daughters.
But even in moderate households it is seldom practical for a débutante and
her mother to share a maid--at least during the height of the season. That
a maid who has to go out night after night for weeks and even months on
end, and sit in the dressing-rooms at balls until four and five and even
six in the morning, is then allowed to go to bed and to sleep until
luncheon is merely humane. And it can easily be seen that it is more
likely that she will need the help of a seamstress to refurbish
dance-frocks, than that she will have any time to devote to her young
lady's mother--who in "mid-season," therefore, is forced to have a maid of
her own, ridiculous as it sounds, that two maids for two ladies should be
necessary! Sometimes this is overcome by engaging an especial maid "by the
evening" to go to parties and wait, and bring the débutante home again.
And the maid at home can then be "maid for two."

_Dress of a Lady's Maid_

A lady's maid wears a black skirt, a laundered white waist, and a small
white apron, the band of which buttons in the back.

In traveling, a lady's maid always wears a small black silk apron and some
maids wear black taffeta ones always. In the afternoon, she puts on a
black waist with white collar and cuffs. Mrs. Gilding, Jr., puts her maid
in black taffeta with embroidered collar and cuffs. For "company
occasions," when she waits in the dressing-room, she wears light gray
taffeta with a very small embroidered mull apron with a narrow black
velvet waist-ribbon, and collar and cuffs of mull to match--which is
extremely pretty, but also extremely extravagant.


The valet (pronounced val-et not vallay) is what Beau Brummel called a
gentleman's gentleman. His duties are exactly the same as those of the
lady's maid--except that he does not sew! He keeps his employer's clothes
in perfect order, brushes, cleans and presses everything as soon as it has
been worn--even if only for a few moments. He lays out the clothes to be
put on, puts away everything that is a personal belonging. Some gentlemen
like their valet to help them dress; run the bath, shave them and hold
each article in readiness as it is to be put on. But most gentlemen merely
like their clothes "laid out" for them, which means that trousers have
belts or braces attached, shirts have cuff links and studs; and waistcoat
buttons are put in.

The valet also unpacks the bags of any gentleman guests when they come,
valets them while there, and packs them when they go. He always packs for
his own gentleman, buys tickets, looks after the luggage, and makes
himself generally useful as a personal attendant, whether at home or when

At big dinners, he is required (much against his will) to serve as a
footman--in a footman's, not a butler's, livery.

The valet wears no livery except on such occasions. His "uniform" is an
ordinary business suit, dark and inconspicuous in color, with a black tie.

In a bachelor's quarters a valet is often general factotum; not only
valeting but performing the services of cook, butler, and even housemaid.


Everybody knows the nurse is either the comfort or the torment of the
house. Everyone also knows innumerable young mothers who put up with
inexcusable crankiness from a crotchety middle-aged woman because she was
"so wonderful" to the baby. And here let it be emphasized that such an one
usually turns out to have been not wonderful to the baby at all. That she
does not actually abuse a helpless infant is merely granting that she is
not a "monster."

Devotion must always be unselfish; the nurse who is _really_ "wonderful"
to the baby is pretty sure to be a person who is kind generally. In
ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the sooner a domineering nurse--old or
young--is got rid of, the better. It has been the experience of many a
mother whose life had been made perfectly miserable through her belief
that if she dismissed the tyrant the baby would suffer, that in the
end--there _is_ always an end!--the baby was quite as relieved as the rest
of the family when the "right sort" of a kindly and humane person took the
tyrant's place.

It is unnecessary to add that one can not be too particular in asking for
a nurse's reference and in never failing to get a personal one from the
lady she is leaving. Not only is it necessary to have a sweet-tempered,
competent and clean person, but her moral character is of utmost
importance, since she is to be the constant and inseparable companion of
the children whose whole lives are influenced by her example, especially
where busy parents give only a small portion of time to their children.


In a dignified house, a servant is never spoken to as Jim, Maisie, or
Katie, but always as James or Margaret or Katherine, and a butler is
called by his last name, nearly always. The Worldly's butler, for
instance, is called Hastings, not John. In England, a lady's maid is also
called by her last name, and the cook, if married, is addressed as Mrs.
and the nurse is always called "Nurse." A chef is usually called "Chef" or
else by his last name.

Always abroad, and every really well-bred lady or gentleman here, says
"please" in asking that something be brought her or him. "Please get me
the book I left on the table in my room!" Or "Please give me some bread!"
Or "Some bread, please." Or one can say equally politely and omit the
please, "I'd like some toast," but it is usual and instinctive to every
lady or gentleman to add "please."

In refusing a dish at the table, one must say "No, thank you," or "No,
thanks," or else one shakes one's head. A head can be shaken politely or
rudely. To be courteously polite, and yet keep one's walls up is a thing
every thoroughbred person knows how to do--and a thing that everyone who
is trying to become such must learn to do.

A rule can't be given because there isn't any. As said in another chapter,
a well-bred person always lives within the walls of his personal reserve,
a vulgarian has no walls--or at least none that do not collapse at the
slightest touch. But those who think they appear superior by being rude to
others whom fortune has placed below them, might as well, did they but
know it, shout their own unexalted origin to the world at large, since by
no other method could it be more widely published.


The fact that you live in a house with two servants, or in an apartment
with only one, need not imply that your house lacks charm or even
distinction, or that it is not completely the home of a lady or gentleman.
But, as explained in the chapter on Dinners, if you have limited service
you must devise systematic economy of time and labor or you will have
disastrous consequences.

Every person, after all, has only one pair of hands, and a day has only so
many hours, and one thing is inevitable, which young housekeepers are apt
to forget, a few can not do the work of many, and do it in the same way.
It is all very well if the housemaid can not get into young Mrs. Gilding's
room until lunch time, nor does it matter if its confusion looks like the
aftermath of a cyclone. The housemaid has nothing to do the rest of the
day but put that one room and bath in order. But in young Mrs. Gaily's
small house where the housemaid is also the waitress, who is supposed to
be "dressed" for lunch, it does not have to be pointed out that she can
not sweep, dust, tidy up rooms, wash out bathtubs, polish fixtures, and at
the same time be dressed in afternoon clothes. If Mrs. Gaily is out for
lunch, it is true the chambermaid-waitress need not be dressed to wait on
table, but her thoughtless young mistress would not be amiable if a
visitor were to ring the door-bell in the early afternoon and have it
opened by a maid in a rumpled "working" dress.

Supposing the time to put the bedroom in order is from ten to eleven each
morning: it is absolutely necessary that Mrs. Gaily take her bath before
ten so that even if she is not otherwise "dressed" she can be out of her
bedroom and bath at ten o'clock promptly. She can go elsewhere while her
room is done up and then come back and finish dressing later. In this case
she must herself "tidy" any disorder that she makes in dressing; put away
her négligé and slippers and put back anything out of place. On the days
when Mr. Gaily does not go to the office he too must get up and out so
that the house can be put in order.


But where one maid alone cooks, cleans, waits on table, and furthermore
serves as lady's maid and valet, she must necessarily be limited in the
performance of each of these duties in direct proportion to their number.
Even though she be eagerly willing, quality must give way before quantity
produced with the same equipment, or if quality is necessary then quantity
must give way. In the house of a fashionable gay couple like the Lovejoys'
for instance, the time spent in "maiding" or "valeting" has to be taken
from cleaning or cooking. Besides cleaning and cooking, the one maid in
their small apartment can press out Mrs. Lovejoy's dresses and do a little
mending, but she can not sit down and spend one or two hours going over a
dress in the way a specialist maid can. Either Mrs. Lovejoy herself must
do the sewing or the housework, or one or the other must be left undone.


It is certainly a greater pleasure and incentive to work for those who are
appreciative than for those who continually find fault. Everyone who did
war work can not fail to remember how easy it was to work for, or with,
some people, and how impossible to get anything done for others. And just
as the "heads" of work-rooms or "wards" or "canteens" were either
stimulating or dispiriting, so must they and their types also be to those
who serve in their households.

This, perhaps, explains why some people are always having a "servant
problem"; finding servants difficult to get, more difficult to keep, and
most difficult to get efficient work from. It is a question whether the
"servant problem" is not more often a mistress problem. It must be!
Because, if you notice, those who have woes and complaints are invariably
the same, just as others who never have any trouble are also the same. It
does not depend on the size of the house; the Lovejoys never have any
trouble, and yet their one maid of all work has a far from "easy" place,
and a vacancy at Brookmeadows is always sought after, even though the
Oldnames spend ten months of the year in the country. Neither is there any
friction at the Golden Hall or Great Estates, even though the latter house
is run by the butler--an almost inevitable cause of trouble. These houses
represent a difference in range of from one alone, to nearly forty on the
household payroll.


It might be well for those who have trouble to remember a few rules which
are often overlooked: Justice must be the foundation upon which every
tranquil house is constructed. Work must be as evenly divided as possible;
one servant should not be allowed liberties not accorded to all.

It is not just to be too lenient, any more than it is just to be
unreasonably strict. To allow impertinence or sloppy work is inexcusable,
but it is equally inexcusable to show causeless irritability or to be
overbearing or rude. And there is no greater example of injustice than to
reprimand those about you because you happen to be in a bad humor, and at
another time overlook offenses that are greater because you are in an
amiable mood.

There is also no excuse for "correcting" either a servant or a child
before people.


And when you do correct, do not forget to make allowances, if there be
any reason why allowance should be made.

If you live in a palace like Golden Hall, or any completely equipped house
of important size, you overlook _nothing!_ There is no more excuse for
delinquency than there is in the Army. If anything happens, such as
illness of one servant, there is another to take his (or her) place. A
huge household is a machine and it is the business of the engineers--in
other words, the secretary, housekeeper, chef or butler, to keep it going

But in a little house, it may not be fair to say "Selma, the silver is
dirty!" when there is a hot-air furnace and you have had company to every
meal, and you have perhaps sent her on errands between times, and she has
literally not had a moment. If you don't know whether she has had time or
not, you could give her the benefit of the doubt and say (trustfully, not
haughtily) "You have not had time to clean the silver, have you?" This--in
case she has really been unable to clean it--points out just as well the
fact that it is not shining, but is not a criticism. Carelessness, on the
other hand, when you know she has had plenty of time, should never be

Another type that has "difficulties" is the distrustful--sometimes
actually suspicious--person who locks everything tight and treats all
those with whom she comes in contact as though they were meddlesomely
curious at least, or at worst, dishonest. It is impossible to overstate
the misfortune of this temperament. The servant who is "watched" for fear
she "won't work," listened to for fear she may be gossiping, suspected of
wanting to take a liberty of some sort, or of doing something else she
shouldn't do, is psychologically encouraged, almost driven, to do these
very things.

The perfect mistress expects perfect service, but it never occurs to her
that perfect service will not be voluntarily and gladly given. She, on her
part, shows all of those in her employ the consideration and trust due
them as honorable, self-respecting and conscientious human beings. If she
has reason to think they are not all this, a lady does not keep them in
her house.


The well-trained high-class servant is faultlessly neat in appearance,
reticent in manner, speaks in a low voice, walks and moves quickly but
silently, and is unfailingly courteous and respectful. She (or he) always
knocks on a door, even of the library or sitting-room, but opens it
without waiting to hear "Come in," as knocking on a downstairs door is
merely politeness. At a bedroom door she would wait for permission to
enter. In answering a bell, she asks "Did you ring, sir?" or if especially
well-mannered she asks "Did Madam ring?"

A servant always answers "Yes, Madam," or "Very good, sir," never "Yes,"
"No," "All right," or "Sure."

Young people in the house are called "Miss Alice" or "Mr. Ollie," possibly
"Mr. Oliver," but they are generally called by their familiar names with
the prefix of Miss or Mister. Younger children are called Miss Kittie and
Master Fred, but never by the nurse, who calls them by their first names
until they are grown--sometimes always.

All cards and small packages are presented on a tray.


No doubt in the far-off districts there are occasional young women who
work long and hard and for little compensation, but at least in all
cities, servants have their definite time out. Furthermore, they are
allowed in humanely run houses to have "times in" when they can be at home
to friends who come to see them. In every well-appointed house of size
there is a sitting-room which is furnished with comfortable chairs and
sofa if possible, a good droplight to read by, often books, and always
magazines (sent out as soon as read by the family). In other words, they
have an inviting room to use as their own exactly as though they were
living at home. If no room is available, the kitchen has a cover put on
the table, a droplight, and a few restful chairs are provided.


Are maids allowed to receive men friends? Certainly they are! Whoever in
remote ages thought it was better to forbid "followers" the house, and
have Mary and Selma slip out of doors to meet them in the dark, had very
distorted notions to say the least. And any lady who knows so little of
human nature as to make the same rule for her maids to-day is acting in
ignorant blindness of her own duties to those who are not only in her
employ but also under her protection.

A pretty young woman whose men friends come in occasionally and play cards
with the others, or dance to a small and not loud phonograph in the
kitchen, is merely being treated humanly. Because she wears a uniform
makes her no less a young girl, with a young girl's love of amusement,
which if not properly provided for her "at home" will be sought for in
sinister places.

This responsibility is one that many ladies who are occupied with
charitable and good works elsewhere often overlook under their own roof.
It does not mean that the kitchen should be a scene of perpetual revelry
and mirth that can by any chance disturb the quiet of the neighborhood or
even the family. Unseemly noise is checked at once, much as it would be if
young people in the drawing-room became disturbing. Continuous company is
not suitable either, and those who abuse privileges naturally must have
them curtailed, but the really high-class servant who does not appreciate
kindness and requite it with considerate and proper behavior is rare.



For a wedding, or a ball, and sometimes for teas and big dinners, there is
an awning from curb to front door. But usually, especially in good
weather, a dinner or other moderate sized evening entertainment is
prepared for by stretching a carpet (a red one invariably!) down the front
steps and across the pavement to the curb's edge. At all important
functions there is a chauffeur (or a caterer's man) on the sidewalk to
open the door of motors, and a footman or waitress stationed inside the
door of the house to open it on one's approach. This same servant, or more
often another stationed in the hall beyond, directs arriving guests to the


Houses especially built for entertaining, have two small rooms on the
ground floor, each with its lavatory, and off of it, a rack for the
hanging of coats and wraps. In most houses, however, guests have to go
up-stairs where two bedrooms are set aside, one as a ladies', and the
other as a gentlemen's coat room.

At an afternoon tea in houses where dressing-rooms have not been installed
by the architect, the end of the hall, if it is wide, is sometimes
supplied with a coat rack (which may be rented from a caterer) for the
gentlemen. Ladies are in this case supposed to go into the drawing-room as
they are, or go up-stairs to the bedroom put at their disposal and in
charge of a lady's maid or housemaid.

If the entertainment is very large, checks are always given to avoid
confusion in the dressing-rooms exactly as in public "check rooms." In the
ladies' dressing-room--whether downstairs or up--there must be an array of
toilet necessities such as brushes and combs; well-placed mirrors,
hairpins, powder with stacks of individual cotton balls, or a roll of
cotton in a receptacle from which it may be pulled. In the lavatory there
must be fresh soap and plenty of small hand towels. The lady's personal
maid and one or two assistants if necessary, depending upon the size of
the party, but one and all of them as neatly dressed as possible, assist
ladies off and on with their wraps, and give them coat checks.

A lady's maid should always look the arriving guests over--not boldly nor
too apparently, but with a quick glance for anything that may be amiss. If
the drapery of a dress is caught up on its trimming, or a fastening
undone, it is her duty to say: "Excuse me, madam (or miss), but there is a
hook undone"--or "the drapery of your gown is caught--shall I fix it?"
Which she does as quietly and quickly as possible. If there is a rip of
any sort, she says: "I think there is a thread loose, I'll just tack it.
It will only be a moment."

The well-bred maid instinctively makes little of a guest's accident, and
is as considerate as the hostess herself. Employees instinctively adopt
the attitude of their employer.

In the gentlemen's coat room of a perfectly appointed house the valet's
attitude is much the same. If a gentleman's coat should have met with any
accident, the valet says: "Let me have it fixed for you, sir, it'll only
take a moment!" And he divests the gentleman of his coat and takes it to a
maid and asks her please to take a stitch in it. Meanwhile he goes back to
his duties in the dressing-room until he is sure the coat is finished,
when he gets it and politely helps the owner into it.

In a small country house where dressing-room space is limited, the quaint
tables copied from old ones are very useful, screened off at the back of
the downstairs hall, or in a very small lavatory. They look, when shut,
like an ordinary table, but when the top is lifted a mirror, the height of
the table's width, swings forward and a series of small compartments and
trays both deep and shallow are laid out on either side. The trays of
course are kept filled with hairpins, pins and powder, and the
compartments have sunburn lotion and liquid powder, brush, comb and
whiskbroom, and whatever else the hostess thinks will be useful.


The butler's duty is to stand near the entrance to the reception or
drawing-room, and as each guest arrives (unless they are known to him) he
asks: "What name, please?" He then leads the way into the room where the
hostess is receiving, and says distinctly: "Mr. and Mrs. Jones." If Mrs.
Jones is considerably in advance of her husband, he says: "Mrs. Jones!"
then waits for Mr. Jones to approach before announcing: "Mr. Jones!"

At a very large party such as a ball, or a very big tea or musical, he
does not leave his place, but stands just outside the drawing-room, and
the hostess stands just within, and as the guests pass through the door,
he announces each one's name.

It is said to be customary in certain places to have waitresses announce
people. But in New York guests are never announced if there are no men
servants. At a very large function such as a ball or tea, a hostess who
has no butler at home, always employs one for the occasion. If, for
instance, she is giving a ball for her daughter, and all the sons and
daughters of her own acquaintance are invited, the chances are that not
half or even a quarter of her guests are known to her by sight, so that
their announcement is not a mere matter of form but of necessity.


When the butler on entering the room to announce dinner, happens to catch
the attention of the hostess, he merely bows. Otherwise he approaches
within speaking distance and says, "Dinner is served." He never says,
"Dinner is ready."

At a large dinner where it is quite a promenade to circle the table in
search of one's name, the butler stands just within the dining-room and
either reads from a list or says from memory "right" or "left" as the case
may be, to each gentleman and lady on approaching. In a few of the
smartest houses a leaf has been taken from the practise of royalty and a
table plan arranged in the front hall, which is shown to each gentleman at
the moment when he takes the envelope enclosing the name of his partner at
dinner. This table plan is merely a diagram made in leather with white
name cards that slip into spaces corresponding to the seats at the table.
On this a gentleman can see exactly where he sits and between whom; so
that if he does not know the lady who is to be on his left as well as the
one he is to "take in," he has plenty of time before going to the table to
ask his host to present him.

At the end of the evening, the butler is always at the front door--and by
that time, unless the party is very large, he should have remembered
their names, if he is a perfect butler, and as Mr. and Mrs. Jones appear
he opens the door and calls down to the chauffeur "Mr. Jones' car!" And in
the same way "Mr. Smith's car!" "Miss Gilding's car!" When a car is at the
door, the chauffeur runs up the steps and says to the butler: "Miss
Gilding's car" or "Mrs. Jones' car." The butler then announces to either
Mr. or Mrs. Jones, "Your car, sir," or "Your car, madam," and holds the
door open for her to go out, or he may say, "Your car, Miss," if the
Gilding car comes first.


Supper at a ball in a great house (big enough for a ball) is usually in
charge of the butler, who by "supper time" is free from his duties of
"announcing" and is able to look after the dining-room service. The
sit-down supper at a ball is served exactly like a dinner--or a wedding
breakfast; and the buffet supper of a dance is like the buffet of a
wedding reception.

At a large tea where the butler is on duty "announcing" at the same time
that other guests are going into the dining-room for refreshments, the
dining-room service has to be handed over to the first footman and his
assistants or a capable waitress is equally able to meet the situation.
She should have at least two maids with her, as they have to pour all cups
of tea and bouillon and chocolate as well as to take away used cups and
plates and see that the food on the table is replenished.

At a small tea where ladies perform the office of pouring, one man or maid
in the dining-room is plenty, to bring in more hot water or fresh cups, or
whatever the table hostesses have need of.


Many, and very fastidious, people, who live in big houses and entertain
constantly, have neither men servants nor employ a caterer, ever.
Efficient women take men's places equally well, though two services are
omitted. Women never (in New York at least) announce guests or open the
doors of motors. But there is no difference whatsoever in the details of
the pantry, dining-room, hall or dressing-room, whether the services are
performed by men or women. (No women, of course, are ever on duty in the
gentlemen's dressing-rooms.)

At an evening party, the door is opened by the waitress, assisted by the
parlor-maid who directs the way to the dressing-rooms. The guests, when
they are ready to go in the drawing-room, approach the hostess
unannounced. A guest who may not be known by sight does not wait for her
hostess to recognize her but says at once, "How do you do, Mrs. Eminent,
I'm Mrs. Joseph Blank"; or a young girl says, "I am Constance Style" (not
"Miss Style," unless she is beyond the "twenties"); or a married woman
merely announces herself as "Mrs. Town." She does not add her husband's
name as it is taken for granted that the gentleman following her is Mr.




Except at a wedding, the function strictly understood by the word
"reception" went out of fashion, in New York at least, during the reign of
Queen Victoria, and its survivor is a public or semi-public affair
presided over by a committee, and is a serious, rather than a merely
social event.

The very word "reception" brings to mind an aggregation of personages,
very formal, very dressed up, very pompous, and very learned, among whom
the ordinary mortal can not do other than wander helplessly in the
labyrinth of the specialist's jargon. Art critics on a varnishing day
reception, are sure to dwell on the effect of a new technique, and the
comment of most of us, to whom a painting ought to look like a "picture,"
is fatal. Equally fatal to meet an explorer and not know where or what he
explored; or to meet a celebrated author and not have the least idea
whether he wrote detective stories or expounded Taoism. On the other hand
it is certainly discouraging after studying up on the latest Cretan
excavations in order to talk intelligently to Professor Diggs, to be
pigeon-holed for the afternoon beside Mrs. Newmother whose interest in
discovery is limited to "a new tooth in baby's head."

Yet the difference between a reception and a tea is one of atmosphere
only, like the difference in furnishing twin houses. One is enveloped in
the heavy gloom of the mid-Victorian period, the other is light and
alluring in the fashion of to-day.

A "tea," even though it be formal, is nevertheless friendly and inviting.
One does not go in "church" clothes nor with ceremonious manner; but in an
informal and every-day spirit, to see one's friends and be seen by them.


The afternoon tea with dancing is usually given to "bring out" a daughter,
or to present a new daughter-in-law. The invitations are the same whether
one hundred or two thousand are sent out. For instance:

           Mrs. Grantham Jones

            Miss Muriel Jones

            will be at home

    on Tuesday, the third of December

      from four until seven o'clock

            The Fitz-Cherry


As invitations to formal teas of this sort are sent to the hostess'
"general" visiting list, and very big houses are comparatively few, a
ballroom is nearly always engaged at a hotel. Many hotels have a big and a
small ballroom, and unless one's acquaintance is enormous the smaller room
is preferable.

Too much space for too few people gives an effect of emptiness which
always is suggestive of failure; also one must not forget that an
undecorated room needs more people to make it look "trimmed" than one in
which the floral decoration is lavish. On the other hand, a "crush" is
very disagreeable, even though it always gives the effect of "success."

The arrangements are not as elaborate as for a ball. At most a screen of
palms behind which the musicians sit (unless they sit in a gallery),
perhaps a few festoons of green here and there, and the débutante's own
flowers banked on tables where she stands to receive, form as much
decoration as is ever attempted.

Whether in a public ballroom or a private drawing-room, the curtains over
the windows are drawn and the lights lighted as if for a ball in the
evening. If the tea is at a private house there is no awning unless it
rains, but there is a chauffeur or coachman at the curb to open motor
doors, and a butler, or caterer's man, to open the door of the house
before any one has time to ring.

Guests as they arrive are announced either by the hostess' own butler or a
caterer's "announcer." The hostess receives everyone as at a ball; if she
and her daughter are for the moment standing alone, the new arrival, if a
friend, stands talking with them until a newer arrival takes his or her

After "receiving" with her mother or mother-in-law for an hour or so, as
soon as the crowd thins a little, the débutante or bride may be allowed to

The younger people, as soon as they have shaken hands with the hostess,
dance. The older ones sit about, or talk to friends or take tea.

At a formal tea, the tea-table is exactly like that at a wedding
reception, in that it is a large table set as a buffet, and is always in
charge of the caterer's men, or the hostess' own butler or waitress and
assistants. It is never presided over by deputy hostesses.


Only tea, bouillon, chocolate, bread and cakes are served. There can be
all sorts of sandwiches, hot biscuits, crumpets, muffins, sliced cake and
little cakes in every variety that a cook or caterer can devise--whatever
can come under the head of "bread and cake" is admissible; but nothing
else, or it becomes a "reception," and not a "tea." At the end of the
table or on a separate table near by, there are bowls or pitchers of
orangeade or lemonade or "punch" (meaning in these days something cold
that has fruit juice in it) for the dancers, exactly as at a ball.

Guests go to the table and help themselves to their own selection of bread
and cakes. The chocolate, already poured into cups and with whipped cream
on top, is passed on a tray by a servant. Tea also poured into cups, not
mixed but accompanied by a small pitcher of cream, bowl of sugar, and dish
of lemon, is also passed on a tray. A guest taking her plate of food in
one hand and her tea or chocolate in the other, finds herself a chair
somewhere, if possible, near a table, so that she can take her tea without


Afternoon teas without dancing are given in honor of visiting celebrities
or new neighbors or engaged couples, or to "warm" a new house; or, most
often, for a house-guest from another city.

The invitation is a visiting card of the hostess with "to meet Mrs.
So-and-So" across the top of it and "Jan. 10, Tea at 4 o'clock" in the
lower corner, opposite the address.

At a tea of this description, tea and chocolate may be passed on trays or
poured by two ladies, as will be explained below.

Unless the person for whom the tea is given is such a celebrity that the
"tea" becomes a "reception," the hostess does not stand at the door, but
merely near it so that anyone coming in may easily find her. The ordinary
afternoon tea given for one reason or another is, in winter, merely and
literally, being at home on a specified afternoon with the blinds and
curtains drawn, the room lighted as at night, a fire burning and a large
tea-table spread in the dining-room or a small one near the hearth. An
afternoon tea in summer is the same, except that artificial light is never
used, and the table is most often on a veranda.


This is Best Society's favorite form of invitation. It is used on nearly
every occasion whether there is to be music or a distinguished visitor, or
whether a hostess has merely an inclination to see her friends. She writes
on her personal visiting card: "Do come in on Friday for a cup of tea and
hear Ellwin play, or Farrish sing, or to meet Senator West, or Lady X." Or
even more informally: "I have not seen you for so long."

Invitations to a tea of this description are never "general." A hostess
asks either none but close friends, or at most her "dining" list;
sometimes this sort of a "tea" is so small that she sits behind her own
tea-table--exactly as she does every afternoon.

But if the tea is of any size, from twenty upwards, the table is set in
the dining-room and two intimate friends of the hostess "pour" tea at one
end, and chocolate at the other. The ladies who "pour" are always
especially invited beforehand and always wear afternoon dresses, with
hats, of course, as distinguished from the street clothes of other guests.
As soon as a hostess decides to give a tea, she selects two friends for
this duty who are, in her opinion, decorative in appearance and also who
(this is very important) can be counted on for gracious manners to
everyone and under all circumstances.

It does not matter if a guest going into the dining-room for a cup of tea
or chocolate does not know the deputy hostesses who are "pouring." It is
perfectly correct for a stranger to say "May I have a cup of tea?"

The one pouring should answer very, responsively, "Certainly! How do you
like it? Strong or weak?"

If the latter, she deluges it with hot water, and again watching for the
guest's negative or approval, adds cream or lemon or sugar. Or, preferring
chocolate, the guest perhaps goes to the other end of the table and asks
for a cup of chocolate. The table hostess at that end also says
"Certainly," and pours out chocolate. If she is surrounded with people,
she smiles as she hands it out, and that is all. But if she is unoccupied
and her momentary "guest by courtesy" is alone, it is merest good manners
on her part to make a few pleasant remarks. Very likely when asked for
chocolate she says: "How nice of you! I have been feeling very neglected
at my end. Everyone seems to prefer tea." Whereupon the guest ventures
that people are afraid of chocolate because it is so fattening or so hot.
After an observation or two about the weather, or the beauty of the china
or how good the little cakes look, or the sandwiches taste, the guest
finishes her chocolate.

If the table hostess is still unoccupied the guest smiles and slightly
nods "Good-by," but if the other's attention has been called upon by
someone else, she who has finished her chocolate, leaves unnoticed.

If another lady coming into the dining-room is an acquaintance of one of
the table hostesses, the new visitor draws up a chair, if there is room,
and drinks her tea or chocolate at the table. But as soon as she has
finished, she should give her place up to a newer arrival. Or perhaps a
friend appears, and the two take their tea together over in another part
of the room, or at vacant places farther down the table. The tea-table is
not set with places; but at a table where ladies are pouring, and
especially at a tea that is informal, a number of chairs are usually ready
to be drawn up for those who like to take their tea at the table.

In many cities, strangers who find themselves together in the house of a
friend in common, always talk. In New York smart people always do at
dinners or luncheons, but never at a general entertainment. Their
cordiality to a stranger would depend largely upon the informal, or
intimate, quality of the tea party; it would depend on who the stranger
might be, and who the New Yorker. Mrs. Worldly would never dream of
speaking to anyone--no matter whom--if it could be avoided. Mrs. Kindhart
on the other hand, talks to everyone, everywhere and always. Mrs.
Kindhart's position is as good as Mrs. Worldly's every bit, but perhaps
she can be more relaxed; not being the conspicuous hostess that Mrs.
Worldly is, she is not so besieged by position-makers and
invitation-seekers. Perhaps Mrs. Worldly, finding that nearly every one
who approaches her wants something, has come instinctively to avoid each
new approach.



The every-day afternoon tea table is familiar to everyone; there is not
the slightest difference in its service whether in the tiny bandbox house
of the newest bride, or in the drawing-room of Mrs. Worldly of Great
Estates, except that in the little house the tray is brought in by a
woman--often a picture in appearance and appointment--instead of a butler
with one or two footmen in his wake. In either case a table is placed in
front of the hostess. A tea-table is usually of the drop-leaf variety
because it is more easily moved than a solid one. There are really no
"correct" dimensions; any small table is suitable. It ought not to be so
high that the hostess seems submerged behind it, nor so small as to be
overhung by the tea tray and easily knocked over. It is usually between 24
and 26 inches wide and from 27 to 36 inches long, or it may be oval or
oblong. A double-decked table that has its second deck above the main
table is not good because the tea tray perched on the upper deck is
neither graceful nor convenient. In proper serving, not only of tea but of
cold drinks of all sorts, even where a quantity of bottles, pitchers and
glasses need space, everything should be brought on a tray and not
trundled in on a tea-wagon!

A cloth must always be first placed on the table, before putting down the
tray. The tea cloth may be a yard, a yard and a half, or two yards square.
It may barely cover the table, or it may hang half a yard over each edge.
A yard and a quarter is the average size. A tea cloth can be colored, but
the conventional one is of white linen, with little or much white
needlework or lace, or both.

On this is put a tray big enough to hold everything except the plates of
food. The tray may be a massive silver one that requires a footman with
strong arms to lift it, or it may be of Sheffield or merely of effectively
lacquered tin. In any case, on it should be: a kettle which ought to be
already boiling, with a spirit lamp under it, an empty tea-pot, a caddy of
tea, a tea strainer and slop bowl, cream pitcher and sugar bowl, and, on a
glass dish, lemon in slices. A pile of cups and saucers and a stack of
little tea plates, all to match, with a napkin (about 12 inches square,
hemstitched or edged to match the tea cloth) folded on each of the plates,
like the filling of a layer cake, complete the paraphernalia. Each plate
is lifted off with its own napkin. Then on the tea-table, back of the
tray, or on the shelves of a separate "curate," a stand made of three
small shelves, each just big enough for one good-sized plate, are always
two, usually three, varieties of cake and hot breads.


The top dish on the "curate" should be a covered one, and holds hot bread
of some sort; the two lower dishes may be covered or not, according to
whether the additional food is hot or cold; the second dish usually holds
sandwiches, and the third cake. Or perhaps all the dishes hold cake;
little fancy cakes for instance, and pastries and slices of layer cakes.
Many prefer a simpler diet, and have bread and butter, or toasted
crackers, supplemented by plain cookies. Others pile the "curate" until it
literally staggers, under pastries and cream cakes and sandwiches of pâté
de foie gras or mayonnaise. Others, again, like marmalade, or jam, or
honey on bread and butter or on buttered toast or muffins. This
necessitates little butter knives and a dish of jam added to the already
overloaded tea tray.

Selection of afternoon tea food is entirely a matter of whim, and new
food-fads sweep through communities. For a few months at a time, everyone,
whether in a private house or a country club, will eat nothing but English
muffins and jam, then suddenly they like only toasted cheese crackers, or
Sally Lunn, or chocolate cake with whipped cream on top. The present fad
of a certain group in New York is bacon and toast sandwiches and fresh hot
gingerbread. Let it be hoped for the sake of the small household that it
will die out rather than become epidemic, since the gingerbread must be
baked every afternoon, and the toast and bacon are two other items that
come from a range.

Sandwiches for afternoon tea as well as for all collations, are made by
buttering the end of the loaf, spreading on the "filling" and then cutting
off the prepared slice as thin as possible. A second slice, unspread,
makes the other side of the sandwich. When it is put together, the crust
is either cut off leaving a square and the square again divided diagonally
into two triangular sandwiches, or the sandwich is cut into shape with a
regular cutter. In other words, a "party" sandwich is not the sort of
sandwich to eat--or order--when hungry!

The tea served to a lady who lives alone and cares for only one dish of
eatables would naturally eliminate the other two. But if a visitor is
"received," the servant on duty should, without being told, at once bring
in at least another dish and an additional cup, saucer, plate and napkin.

Afternoon tea at a very large house party or where especially invited
people are expected for tea, should include two plates of hot food such as
toast or hot biscuits split open and buttered, toasted and buttered
English muffins, or crumpets, corn muffins or hot gingerbread. Two cold
plates should contain cookies or fancy cakes, and perhaps a layer cake. In
hot weather, in place of one of the hot dishes, there should be pâté or
lettuce sandwiches, and always a choice of hot or iced tea, or perhaps
iced coffee or chocolate frappé, but rarely if ever, anything else.


As tea is the one meal of intimate conversation, a servant never comes to
the room at tea-time unless rung for, to bring fresh water or additional
china or food, or to take away used dishes. When the tray and curate are
brought in, individual tables, usually glass topped and very small and
low, are put beside each of the guests, and the servant then withdraws.
The hostess herself "makes" the tea and pours it. Those who sit near
enough to her put out their hands for their cup-and-saucer. If any ladies
are sitting farther off, and a gentleman is present, he, of course, rises
and takes the tea from the hostess to the guest. He also then passes the
curate, afterward putting it back where it belongs and resuming his seat.
If no gentleman is present, a lady gets up and takes her own tea which the
hostess hands her, carries it to her own little individual table, comes
back, takes a plate and napkin, helps herself to what she likes and goes
to her place.

If the cake is very soft and sticky or filled with cream, small forks must
be laid on the tea-table.

As said above, if jam is to be eaten on toast or bread, there must be
little butter knives to spread it with. Each guest in taking her plate
helps herself to toast and jam and a knife and carries her plate over to
her own little table. She then carries her cup of tea to her table and
sits down comfortably to drink it. If there are no little tables, she
either draws her chair up to the tea-table, or manages as best she can to
balance plate, cup and saucer on her lap--a very difficult feat!

In fact, the hostess who, providing no individual tables, expects her
guest to balance knife, fork, jam, cream cake, plate and cup and saucer,
all on her knees, should choose her friends in the circus rather than in


The garden party is merely an afternoon tea out of doors. It may be as
elaborate as a sit-down wedding breakfast or as simple as a miniature
strawberry festival. At an elaborate one (in the rainy section of our
country) a tent or marquise with sides that can be easily drawn up in fine
weather and dropped in rain, and with a good dancing floor, is often put
up on the lawn or next to the veranda, so that in case of storm people
will not be obliged to go out of doors. The orchestra is placed within or
near open sides of the tent, so that it can he heard on the lawn and
veranda as well as where they are dancing. Or instead of a tea with
dancing, if most of the guests are to be older, there may be a concert or
other form of professional entertainment.

On the lawn there are usually several huge bright-colored umbrella tents,
and under each a table and a group of chairs, and here and there numerous
small tables and chairs. For, although the afternoon tea is always put in
the dining-room footmen or maids carry varieties of food out on large
trays to the lawn, and the guests hold plates on their knees and stand
glasses on tables nearby.

At a garden party the food is often much more prodigal than at a tea in
town. Sometimes it is as elaborate as at a wedding reception. In addition
to hot tea and chocolate, there is either iced coffee or a very melted
café parfait, or frosted chocolate in cups. There are also pitchers of
various drinks that have rather mysterious ingredients, but are all very
much iced and embellished with crushed fruits and mint leaves. There are
often berries with cream, especially in strawberry season, on an estate
that prides itself on those of its own growing, as well as the inevitable
array of fancy sandwiches and cakes.

At teas and musicales and all entertainments where the hostess herself is
obliged to stand at the door, her husband or a daughter (if the hostess is
old enough, and lucky enough to have one) or else a sister or a very close
friend, should look after the guests, to see that any who are strangers
are not helplessly wandering about alone, and that elderly ladies are
given seats if there is to be a performance, or to show any other
courtesies that devolve upon a hostess.


The atmosphere of hospitality is something very intangible, and yet
nothing is more actually felt--or missed. There are certain houses that
seem to radiate warmth like an open wood fire, there are others that
suggest an arrival by wireless at the North Pole, even though a much
brighter actual fire may be burning on the hearth in the drawing-room of
the second than of the first. Some people have the gift of hospitality;
others whose intentions are just as kind and whose houses are perfection
in luxury of appointments, seem to petrify every approach. Such people
appearing at a picnic color the entire scene with the blue light of their
austerity. Such people are usually not masters, but slaves, of etiquette.
Their chief concern is whether this is correct, or whether that is
properly done, or is this person or that such an one as they care to know?
They seem, like _Hermione_ (Don Marquis's heroine), to be anxiously asking
themselves, "Have I failed to-day, or have I not?"

Introspective people who are fearful of others, fearful of themselves, are
never successfully popular hosts or hostesses. If you for instance, are
one of these, if you are _really_ afraid of knowing some one who might
some day prove unpleasant, if you are such a snob that you can't take
people at their face value, then why make the effort to bother with people
at all? Why not shut your front door tight and pull down the blinds and,
sitting before a mirror in your own drawing-room, order tea for two?





If the great world of society were a university which issued degrees to
those whom it trains to its usages, the _magna cum laude_ honors would be
awarded without question, not to the hostess who may have given the most
marvelous ball of the decade, but to her who knows best every component
detail of preparation and service, no less than every inexorable rule of
etiquette, in formal dinner-giving.

To give a perfect dinner of ceremony is the supreme accomplishment of a
hostess! It means not alone perfection of furnishing, of service, of
culinary skill, but also of personal charm, of tact. The only other
occasion when a hostess must have equal--and possibly even greater
ability--is the large and somewhat formal week-end party, which includes a
dinner or two as by no means its least formidable features.

There are so many aspects to be considered in dinner giving that it is
difficult to know whether to begin up-stairs or down, or with furnishing,
or service, or people, or manners! One thing is certain, no novice should
ever begin her social career by attempting a formal dinner, any more than
a pupil swimmer, upon being able to take three strokes alone, should
attempt to swim three miles out to sea. The former will as surely drown as
the latter.


When Mrs. Worldly gives a dinner, it means no effort on her part
whatsoever beyond deciding upon the date and the principal guests who are
to form the nucleus; every further detail is left to her
subordinates--even to the completion of her list of guests. For instance,
she decides that she will have an "older" dinner, and finding that the
tenth is available for herself, she tells her secretary to send out
invitations for that date. She does not have especial cards engraved but
uses the dinner blank described in the chapter on Invitations. She then
looks through her "dinner list" and orders her secretary to invite the
Oldworlds, the Eminents, the Learneds, the Wellborns, the Highbrows, and
the Onceweres. She also picks out three or four additional names to be
substituted for those who regret. Then turning to the "younger married"
list she searches for a few suitable but "amusing" or good-looking ones to
give life to her dinner which might otherwise be heavy. But her favorites
do not seem appropriate. It will not do to ask the Bobo Gildings, not
because of the difference in age but because Lucy Gilding smokes like a
furnace and is miserable unless she can play bridge for high stakes, and,
just as soon as she can bolt through dinner, sit at a card table; while
Mrs. Highbrow and Mrs. Oncewere quite possibly disapprove of women's
smoking and are surely horrified at "gambling." The Smartlings won't do
either, for the same reason, nor the Gaylies. She can't ask the Newell
Riches either, because Mrs. Oldworld and Mrs. Wellborn both dislike
vulgarity too much to find compensation in qualities which are merely
amusing. So she ends by adding her own friends the Kindharts and the
Normans, who "go" with everyone, and a few somewhat younger people, and
approves her secretary's suggestions as to additional names if those first
invited should "regret."

The list being settled, Mrs. Worldly's own work is done. She sends word to
her cook that there will be twenty-four on the tenth; the menu will be
submitted to her later, which she will probably merely glance at and send
back. She never sees or thinks about her table, which is in the butler's

On the morning of the dinner her secretary brings her the place cards,
(the name of each person expected, written on a separate card) and she
puts them in the order in which they are to be placed on the table, very
much as though playing solitaire. Starting with her own card at one end
and her husband's at the other, she first places the lady of honor on
his right, the second in importance on his left. Then on either side of
herself, she puts the two most important gentlemen. The others she fits in
between, trying to seat side by side those congenial to each other.

HOUSE." [Page 179.]]

When the cards are arranged, the secretary attends to putting the name of
the lady who sits on each gentleman's right in the envelope addressed to
him. She then picks up the place cards still stacked in their proper
sequence, and takes them to the butler who will put them in the order
arranged on the table after it is set.

Fifteen minutes before the dinner hour, Mrs. Worldly is already standing
in her drawing-room. She has no personal responsibility other than that of
being hostess. The whole machinery of equipment and service runs seemingly
by itself. It does not matter whether she knows what the menu is. Her cook
is more than capable of attending to it. That the table shall be perfect
is merely the every-day duty of the butler. She knows without looking that
one of the chauffeurs is on the sidewalk; that footmen are in the hall;
that her own maid is in the ladies' dressing-room, and the valet in that
of the gentlemen; and that her butler is just outside the door near which
she is standing.

So with nothing on her mind (except a jewelled ornament and perfectly
"done" hair) she receives her guests with the tranquillity attained only
by those whose household--whether great or small--can be counted on to run
like a perfectly coordinated machine.


This is the contrasting picture to the dinner at the Worldly's--a picture
to show you particularly who are a bride how awful an experiment in dinner
giving can be.

Let us suppose that you have a quite charming house, and that your wedding
presents included everything necessary to set a well-appointed table. You
have not very experienced servants, but they would all be good ones with a
little more training.

You have been at home for so few meals you don't quite know how
experienced they are. Your cook at least makes good coffee and eggs and
toast for breakfast, and the few other meals she has cooked seemed to be
all right, and she is such a nice clean person!

So when your house is "in order" and the last pictures and curtains are
hung, the impulse suddenly comes to you to give a dinner! Your husband
thinks it is a splendid idea. It merely remains to decide whom you will
ask. You hesitate between a few of your own intimates, or older people,
and decide it would be such fun to ask a few of the hostesses whose houses
you have almost lived at ever since you "came out." You decide to ask Mrs.
Toplofty, Mr. Clubwin Doe, the Worldlys, the Gildings, and the Kindharts
and the Wellborns. With yourselves that makes twelve. You can't have more
than twelve because you have only a dozen of everything; in fact you
decide that twelve will be pretty crowded, but that it will be safe to ask
that number because a few are sure to "regret." So you write notes (since
it is to be a formal dinner), and--they all accept! You are a little
worried about the size of the dining-room, but you are overcome by the
feeling of your popularity. Now the thing to do is to prepare for a
dinner. The fact that Nora probably can't make fancy dishes does not
bother you a bit. In your mind's eye you see delicious plain food passed;
you must get Sigrid a dress that properly fits her, and Delia, the
chambermaid (who was engaged with the understanding that she was to serve
in the dining-room when there was company), has not yet been at table, but
she is a very willing young person who will surely look well.

Nora, when you tell her who are coming, eagerly suggests the sort of menu
that would appear on the table of the Worldlys or the Gildings. You are
thrilled at the thought of your own kitchen producing the same. That it
may be the same in name only, does not occur to you. You order flowers for
the table, and candy for your four compotiers. You pick out your best
tablecloth, but you find rather to your amazement that when the waitress
asks you about setting the table, you have never noticed in detail how the
places are laid. Knives and spoons go on the right of the plate, of
course, and forks on the left, but which goes next to the plate, or
whether the wine glasses should stand nearer or beyond the goblet you can
only guess. It is quite simple, however, to give directions in serving;
you just tell the chambermaid that she is to follow the waitress, and pass
the sauces and the vegetables. And you have already explained carefully to
the latter that she must not deal plates around the table like a pack of
cards, or ever take them off in piles either. (_That_ much at least you do
know.) You also make it a point above everything that the silver must be
very clean; Sigrid seems to understand, and with the optimism of youth,
you approach the dinner hour without misgiving. The table, set with your
wedding silver and glass, looks quite nice. You are a little worried about
the silver--it does look rather yellow, but perhaps it is just a shadow.
Then you notice there are a great many forks on the table! You ask your
husband what is the matter with the forks? He does not see anything wrong.
You need them all for the dinner you ordered, how can there be less? So
you straighten a candlestick that was out of line, and put the place cards

Then you go into the drawing-room. You don't light the fire until the last
moment, because you want it to be burning brightly when your guests
arrive. Your drawing-room looks a little stiff somehow, but an open fire
more than anything else makes a room inviting, and you light it just as
your first guest rings the bell. As Mr. Clubwin Doe enters, the room looks
charming, then suddenly the fire smokes, and in the midst of the smoke
your other guests arrive. Every one begins to cough and blink. They are
very polite, but the smoke, growing each moment denser, is not to be
overlooked. Mrs. Toplofty takes matters in her own hands and makes Mr. Doe
and your husband carry the logs, smoke and all, and throw them into the
yard. The room still thick with smoke is now cheerlessly fireless, and
another factor beginning to distress you is that, although everyone has
arrived, there is no sign of dinner. You wait, at first merely eager to
get out of the smoke-filled drawing-room. Gradually you are becoming
nervous--what can have happened? The dining-room door might be that of a
tomb for all the evidence of life behind it. You become really alarmed.
Is dinner never going to be served? Everyone's eyes are red from the
smoke, and conversation is getting weaker and weaker. Mrs.
Toplofty--evidently despairing--sits down. Mrs. Worldly also sits, both
hold their eyes shut and say nothing. At last the dining-room door opens,
and Sigrid instead of bowing slightly and saying in a low tone of voice,
"Dinner is served," stands stiff as a block of wood, and fairly shouts:
"Dinner's all ready!"

You hope no one heard her, but you know very well that nothing escaped any
one of those present. And between the smoke and the delay and your
waitress' manners, you are already thoroughly mortified by the time you
reach the table. But you hope that at least the dinner will be good. For
the first time you are assailed with doubt on that score. And again you
wait, but the oyster course is all right. And then comes the soup. You
don't have to taste it to see that it is wrong. It looks not at all as
"clear" soup should! Its color, instead of being glass-clear amber, is
greasy-looking brown. You taste it, fearing the worst, and the worst is
realized. It tastes like dish-water--and is barely tepid. You look around
the table; Mr. Kindhart alone is trying to eat it.

In removing the plates, Delia, the assistant, takes them up by piling one
on top of the other, clashing them together as she does so. You can feel
Mrs. Worldly looking with almost hypnotized fascination--as her attention
might be drawn to a street accident against her will. Then there is a
wait. You wait and wait, and looking in front of you, you notice the bare
tablecloth without a plate. You know instantly that the service is wrong,
but you find yourself puzzled to know how it should have been done.
Finally Sigrid comes in with a whole dozen plates stacked in a pile, which
she proceeds to deal around the table. You at least know that to try to
interfere would only make matters worse. You hold your own cold fingers in
your lap knowing that you must sit there, and that you can do nothing.

The fish which was to have been a _mousse_ with Hollandaise sauce, is a
huge mound, much too big for the platter, with a narrow gutter of water
around the edge and the center dabbed over with a curdled yellow mess. You
realize that not only is the food itself awful, but that the quantity is
too great for one dish. You don't know what to do next; you know there is
no use in apologizing, there is no way of dropping through the floor, or
waking yourself up. You have collected the smartest and the most critical
people around your table to put them to torture such as they will never
forget. Never! You have to bite your lips to keep from crying. Whatever
possessed you to ask these people to your horrible house?

Mr. Kindhart, sitting next to you, says gently, "Cheer up, little girl, it
doesn't really matter!" And then you know to the full how terrible the
situation is. The meal is endless; each course is equally unappetizing to
look at, and abominably served. You notice that none of your guests eat
anything. They can't.

You leave the table literally sick, but realizing fully that the giving of
a dinner is not as easy as you thought. And in the drawing-room, which is
now fireless and freezing, but at least smokeless, you start to apologize
and burst into tears!

As you are very young, and those present are all really fond of you, they
try to be comforting, but you know that it will be years (if ever) before
any of them will be willing to risk an evening in your house again. You
also know that without malice, but in truth and frankness, they will tell
everyone: "Whatever you do, don't dine with the Newweds unless you eat
your dinner before you go, and wear black glasses so no sight can offend

When they have all gone, you drag yourself miserably up-stairs, feeling
that you never want to look in that drawing-room or dining-room again.
Your husband, remembering the trenches, tries to tell you it was not so
bad! But you _know!_ You lie awake planning to let the house, and to
discharge each one of your awful household the next morning, and then you
realize that the fault is not a bit more theirs than yours.

If you had tried the chimney first, and learned its peculiarities; if you
yourself had known every detail of cooking and service, of course you
would not have attempted to give the dinner in the first place; not at
least until, through giving little dinners, the technique of your
household had become good enough to give a big one.

On the other hand, supposing that you had had a very experienced cook and
waitress; dinner would, of course, not have been bungled, but it would
have lacked something, somewhere, if you added nothing of your own
personality to its perfection. It is almost safe to make the statement
that no dinner is ever really well done unless the hostess herself knows
every smallest detail thoroughly. Mrs. Worldly pays seemingly no
attention, but nothing escapes her. She can walk through a room without
appearing to look either to the right or left, yet if the slightest detail
is amiss, an ornament out of place, or there is one dull button on a
footman's livery, her house telephone is rung at once!

Having generalized by drawing two pictures, it is now time to take up the
specific details to be considered in giving a dinner.


The requisites at every dinner, whether a great one of 200 covers, or a
little one of six, are as follows:

Guests. People who are congenial to one another. This is of first

Food. A suitable menu perfectly prepared and dished. (Hot food to be
_hot_, and cold, _cold_.)

Table furnishing. Faultlessly laundered linen, brilliantly polished
silver, and all other table accessories suitable to the occasion and

Service. Expert dining-room servants and enough of them.

Drawing-room. Adequate in size to number of guests and inviting in

A cordial and hospitable host.

A hostess of charm. Charm says everything--tact, sympathy, poise and
perfect manners--always.

And though for all dinners these requisites are much the same, the
necessity for perfection increases in proportion to the formality of the


The proper selection of guests is the first essential in all entertaining,
and the hostess who has a talent for assembling the right people has a
great asset. Taste in house furnishings or in clothes or in selecting a
cook, is as nothing compared to taste in people! Some people have this
"sense"--others haven't. The first are the great hosts and hostesses; the
others are the mediocre or the failures.

It is usually a mistake to invite great talkers together. Brilliant men
and women who love to talk want hearers, not rivals. Very silent people
should be sandwiched between good talkers, or at least voluble talkers.
Silly people should never be put anywhere near learned ones, nor the dull
near the clever, unless the dull one is a young and pretty woman with a
talent for listening, and the clever, a man with an admiration for beauty,
and a love for talking.

Most people think two brilliant people should be put together. Often they
should, but with discretion. If both are voluble or nervous or
"temperamental," you may create a situation like putting two operatic
sopranos in the same part and expecting them to sing together.

The endeavor of a hostess, when seating her table, is to put those
together who are likely to be interesting to each other. Professor Bugge
might bore _you_ to tears, but Mrs. Entomoid would probably delight in
him; just as Mr. Stocksan Bonds and Mrs. Rich would probably have
interests in common. Making a dinner list is a little like making a
Christmas list. You put down what _they_ will (you hope) like, not what
you like. Those who are placed between congenial neighbors remember your
dinner as delightful--even though both food and service were mediocre; but
ask people out of their own groups and seat them next to their pet
aversions, and wild horses could not drag them to your house again!


Nearly every hostess keeps a dinner list--apart from her general visiting
list--of people with whom she is accustomed to dine, or to invite to
dinner or other small entertainments. But the prominent hostess, if she
has grown daughters and continually gives parties of all sorts and sizes
and ages, usually keeps her list in a more complete and "ready reference"

Mrs. Gilding, for instance, has guest lists separately indexed. Under the
general heading "Dinners," she has older married, younger married, girls,
men. Her luncheon list is taken from her dinner list. "Bridge" includes
especially good players of all ages; "dances," young married people, young
girls, and dancing men. Then she has a cross-index list of "Important
Persons," meaning those of real distinction who are always the foundation
of all good society; "Amusing," usually people of talent--invaluable for
house parties; and "New People," including many varieties and unassorted.
Mrs. Gilding exchanges invitations with a number of these because they are
interesting or amusing, or because their parties are diverting and
dazzling. And Mrs. Gilding herself, being typical of New York's Cavalier
element rather than its Puritan strain, personally prefers diversion to
edification. Needless to say, "Boston's Best," being ninety-eight per
cent. Puritan, has no "new" list. Besides her list of "New People," she
has a short "frivolous" list of other Cavaliers like herself, and a
"Neutral" list, which is the most valuable of all because it comprises
those who "go" with everyone. Besides her own lists she has a "Pantry"
list, a list that is actually made out for the benefit of the butler, so
that on occasions he can invite guests to "fill in." The "Pantry" list
comprises only intimate friends who belong on the "Neutral" list and fit
in everywhere; young girls and young and older single men.

Allowing the butler to invite guests at his own discretion is not quite as
casual as it sounds. It is very often an unavoidable expedient. For
instance, at four o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Blank telephones that he
cannot come to dinner that same evening. Mrs. Gilding is out; to wait
until she returns will make it too late to fill the place. Her butler who
has been with her for years knows quite as well as Mrs. Gilding herself
exactly which people belong in the same group. The dinner cards being
already in his possession, he can see not only who is expected for dinner
but the two ladies between whom Mr. Blank has been placed, and he
thereupon selects some one on the "Pantry" list who is suitable for Mr.
Blank's place at the table, and telephones the invitation. Perhaps he
calls up a dozen before he finds one disengaged. When Mrs. Gilding returns
he says, "Mr. Blank telephoned he would not be able to come for dinner as
he was called to Washington. Mr. Bachelor will be happy to come in his
place." Married people are seldom on this list, because the butler need
not undertake to fill any but an odd place--that of a gentleman
particularly. Otherwise two ladies would be seated together.


Since no one but a fairly intimate friend is ever asked to fill a place,
this invitation is always telephoned. A very young man is asked by the
butler if he will dine with Mrs. Gilding that evening, and very likely no
explanation is made; but if the person to be invited is a lady or an older
gentleman (except on such occasions as noted above), the hostess herself

"Can you do me a great favor and fill a place at dinner to-night?" The one
who receives this invitation is rather bound by the rules of good manners
to accept if possible.


Dinner invitations must be answered immediately; engraved or written ones
by return post, or those which were telephoned, by telephone and at once!
Also, nothing but serious illness or death or an utterly unavoidable
accident can excuse the breaking of a dinner engagement.

To accept a dinner at Mrs. Nobody's and then break the obligation upon
being invited to dine with the Worldlys, proclaims anyone capable of such
rudeness an unmitigated snob, whom Mrs. Worldly would be the first to cut
from her visiting list if she knew of it. The rule is: "Don't accept an
invitation if you don't care about it." Having declined the Nobody
invitation in the first place, you are then free to accept Mrs. Worldly's,
or to stay at home. There are times, however, when engagements between
very close friends or members of the family may perhaps be broken, but
only if made with the special stipulation: "Come to dinner with us alone
Thursday if nothing better turns up!" And the other answers, "I'd love
to--and you let me know too, if you want to do anything else." Meanwhile
if one of them is invited to something unusually tempting, there is no
rudeness in telephoning her friend, "Lucy has asked us to hear Galli-Curci
on Thursday!" and the other says, "Go, by all means! We can dine Tuesday
next week if you like, or come Sunday for supper." This privilege of
intimacy can, however, be abused. An engagement, even with a member of
one's family, ought never to be broken twice within a brief period, or it
becomes apparent that the other's presence is more a fill-in of idle time
than a longed-for pleasure.


It may be due to the war period, which accustomed everyone to going with
very little meat and to marked reduction in all food, or it may be, of
course, merely vanity that is causing even grandparents to aspire to
svelte figures, but whatever the cause, people are putting much less food
on their tables than formerly. The very rich, living in the biggest houses
with the most imposing array of servants, sit down to three, or at most
four, courses when alone, or when intimate friends who are known to have
moderate appetites, are dining with them.

Under no circumstances would a private dinner, no matter how formal,
consist of more than:

1. Hors d'oeuvre
2. Soup
3. Fish
4. Entrée
5. Roast
6. Salad
7. Dessert
8. Coffee

The menu for an informal dinner would leave out the entrée, and possibly
either the hors d'oeuvre or the soup.

As a matter of fact, the marked shortening of the menu is in informal
dinners and at the home table of the well-to-do. Formal dinners have been
as short as the above schedule for twenty-five years. A dinner interlarded
with a row of extra entrées, Roman punch, and hot dessert is unknown
except at a public dinner, or in the dining-room of a parvenu. About
thirty-five years ago such dinners are said to have been in fashion!


One should always try to choose well-balanced dishes; an especially rich
dish balanced by a simple one. Timbale with a very rich sauce of cream and
pâté de foie gras might perhaps be followed by French chops, broiled
chicken or some other light, plain meat. An entrée of about four broiled
mushrooms on a small round of toast should be followed by boned capon or
saddle of mutton or spring lamb. It is equally bad to give your guests
very peculiar food unless as an extra dish. Some people love highly
flavored Spanish or Indian dishes, but they are not appropriate for a
formal dinner. At an informal dinner an Indian curry or Spanish enchillada
for one dish is delicious for those who like it, and if you have another
substantial dish such as a plain roast which practically everyone is able
to eat, those who don't like Indian food can make their dinner of the
other course.

It is the same way with the Italian dishes. One hating garlic and onions
would be very wretched if onions were put in each and every course, and
liberally. With Indian curry, a fatally bad selection would be a very
peppery soup, such as croute au pot filled with pepper, and fish with
green peppers, and then the curry, and then something casserole filled
again with peppers and onions and other throat-searing ingredients,
finishing with an endive salad. Yet more than one hostess has done exactly
this. Or equally bad is a dinner of flavorless white sauces from beginning
to end; a creamed soup, boiled fish with white sauce, then vol au vent of
creamed sweetbreads, followed by breast of chicken and mashed potatoes and
cauliflower, palm root salad, vanilla ice cream and lady-cake. Each thing
is good in itself but dreadful in the monotony of its combination.

Another thing: although a dinner should not be long, neither should it
consist of samples, especially if set before men who are hungry!

The following menu might seem at first glance a good dinner, but it is one
from which the average man would go home and forage ravenously in the ice

A canapé (good, but merely an appetizer)
Clear soup (a dinner party helping, and no substance)
Smelts (one apiece)
Individual croutards of sweetbreads (holding about a dessert-spoonful)
Broiled squab, small potato croquette, and string beans
Lettuce salad, with about one small cracker apiece
Ice cream

The only thing that had any sustaining quality, barring the potato which
was not more than a mouthful, was the last, and very few men care to make
their dinner of ice cream. If instead of squab there had been filet of
beef cut in generous slices, and the potato croquettes had been more
numerous, it would have been adequate. Or if there had been a thick cream
soup, and a fish with more substance--such as salmon or shad, or a baked
thick fish of which he could have had a generous helping--the squab would
have been adequate also. But many women order trimmings rather than food;
men usually like food.


All of us old enough to remember the beginning of this century can bring
to mind the typical (and most fashionable) dinner table of that time.
Occasionally it was oblong or rectangular, but its favorite shape was
round, and a thick white damask cloth hung to the floor on all sides.
Often as not there was a large lace centerpiece, and in the middle of it
was a floral mound of roses (like a funeral piece, exactly), usually red.
The four compotiers were much scrolled and embossed, and the four
candlesticks, also scrolled, but not to match, had shades of perforated
silver over red silk linings, like those in restaurants to-day. And there
was a gas droplight thickly petticoated with fringed red silk. The plates
were always heavily "jewelled" and hand painted, and enough forks and
knives and spoons were arrayed at each "place" for a dozen courses. The
glasses numbered at least six, and the entire table was laden with little
dishes--and spoons! There were olives, radishes, celery and salted nuts in
glass dishes; and about ten kinds of sugar-plums in ten different styles
of ornate and bumpy silver dishes; and wherever a small space of
tablecloth showed through, it was filled with either a big "Apostle" spoon
or little Dutch ones criss-crossed.

Bread was always rolled in the napkin (and usually fell on the floor) and
the oysters were occasionally found already placed on the table when the
guests came in to dinner! Loading a table to the utmost of its capacity
with useless implements which only in rarest instances had the least
value, would seem to prove that quantity without quality must have been
thought evidence of elegance and generous hospitality! And the astounding
part of the bad taste epidemic was that few if any escaped. Even those who
had inherited colonial silver and glass and china of consummate beauty,
sent it dust-gathering to the attic and cluttered their tables with stuffy
and spurious lumber.

But to-day the classic has come into its own again! As though recovering
from an illness, good taste is again demanding severe beauty of form and
line, and banishing everything that is useless or superfluous. During the
last twenty years most of us have sent an army of lumpy dishes to the
melting-pot, and junky ornaments to the ash heap along with plush table
covers, upholstered mantel-boards and fern dishes! To-day we are going
almost to the extreme of bareness, and putting nothing on our tables not
actually needed for use.


It is scarcely necessary to point out that the bigger and more ambitious
the house, the more perfect its appointments must be. If your house has a
great Georgian dining-room, the table should be set with Georgian or an
_earlier_ period English silver. Furthermore, in a "great" dining-room,
all the silver should be real! "Real" meaning nothing so trifling as
"sterling," but genuine and important "period" pieces made by Eighteenth
Century silversmiths, such as de Lamerie or Crespell or Buck or Robertson,
or perhaps one of their predecessors. Or if, like Mrs. Oldname, you live
in an old Colonial house, you are perhaps also lucky enough to have
inherited some genuine American pieces made by Daniel Rogers or Paul
Revere! Or if you are an ardent admirer of Early Italian architecture and
have built yourself a Fifteenth Century stone-floored and frescoed or
tapestry-hung dining room, you must set your long refectory table with a
"runner" of old hand-linen and altar embroidery, or perhaps Thirteenth
Century damask and great cisterns or ewers and beakers in high-relief
silver and gold; or in Callazzioli or majolica, with great bowls of fruit
and church candlesticks of gilt, and even follow as far as is practicable
the crude table implements of that time. It need not be pointed out that
Twentieth Century appurtenances in a Thirteenth or Fifteenth Century room
are anachronisms. But because the dining-table in the replica of a palace
(whether English, Italian, Spanish or French) may be equipped with great
"standing cups" and candelabra so heavy a man can scarcely lift one, it
does not follow that all the rest of us who live in medium or small
houses, should attempt anything of the sort. Nothing could be more out of
proportion--and therefore in worse taste. Nor is it necessary, in order to
have a table that is inviting, to set it with any of the completely
exquisite things which all people of taste long for, but which are
possessed (in quantity at least) only through wealth, inheritance, or
"collector's luck."


Enchanting dining-rooms and tables have been achieved with an outlay
amounting to comparatively nothing.

There is a dining-room in a certain small New York house that is quite as
inviting as it is lacking in expensiveness. Its walls are rough-plastered
"French gray." Its table is an ordinary drop-leaf kitchen one painted a
light green that is almost gray; the chairs are wooden ones, somewhat on
the Windsor variety, but made of pine and painted like the table, and the
side tables or consoles are made of a cheap round pine table which has
been sawed in half, painted gray-green, and the legless sides fastened to
the walls. The glass curtains are point d'esprit net with a deep flounce
at the bottom and outside curtains are (expensive) watermelon pink
changeable taffeta. There is a gilt mirror over a cream (absolutely plain)
mantel and over each console a picture of a conventional bouquet of
flowers in a flat frame the color of the furniture, with the watermelon
color of the curtains predominating in a neutral tint background. The
table is set with a rather coarse cream-colored linen drawn-work
centerpiece (a tea cloth actually) big enough to cover all but three
inches of table edge. In the middle of the table is a glass bowl with a
wide turn-over rim, holding deep pink flowers (roses or tulips) standing
upright in glass flower holders as though growing. In midwinter, when real
flowers are too expensive, porcelain ones take their place--unless there
is a lunch or dinner party. The compotiers are glass urns and the only
pieces of silver used are two tall Sheffield candelabra at night, without
shades, the salts and peppers and the necessary spoons and forks. The
knives are "ivory" handled.


Everything on the table must be geometrically spaced; the centerpiece in
the actual center, the "places" at equal distances, and all utensils
balanced; beyond this one rule you may set your table as you choose.

If the tablecloth is of white damask, which for dinner is always good
style, a "felt" must be put under it. (To say that it must be smooth and
white, in other words perfectly laundered, is as beside the mark as to say
that faces and hands should be clean!) If the tablecloth has lace
insertions, it must on no account be put over satin or over a color. In a
very "important" dining-room and on a very large table, a cloth of plain
and finest quality damask with no trimming other than a monogram (or
crest) embroidered on either side, is in better taste than one of linen
with elaborations of lace and embroidery. Damask is the old-fashioned but
essentially conservative (and safely best style) tablecloth, especially,
suitable in a high-ceilinged room that is either English, French, or of no
special period, in decoration. Lace tablecloths are better suited to an
Italian room--especially if the table is a refectory one. Handkerchief
linen tablecloths embroidered and lace-inserted are also, strangely
enough, suited to all quaint, low-ceilinged, old-fashioned but beautifully
appointed rooms; the reason being that the lace cloth is put over a bare
table. The lace cloth must also go over a refectory table without felt or
other lining.

Very high-studded rooms (unless Italian) on the other hand, seem to need
the thickness of damask. To be sure, one does see in certain houses--at
the Gildings' for instance--an elaborate lace and embroidery tablecloth
put on top of a plain one which in turn goes over a felt, but this
combination is always somewhat overpowering, whereas lace over a bare
table is light and fragile.

Another thing--very ornate, large, and arabesqued designs, no matter how
marvellous as examples of workmanship, inevitably produce a vulgar effect.

All needlework, whether to be used on the table or on a bed, must, in a
beautifully finished house, be fine rather than striking. Coarse linen,
coarse embroideries, all sorts of Russian drawn-work, Italian needlework
or mosaic (but avoiding big scrolled patterns), are in perfect
keeping--and therefore in good taste--in a cottage, a bungalow or a house
whose furnishings are not too fine.

But whatever type of cloth is used, the middle crease must be put on so
that it is an absolutely straight and unwavering line down the exact
center from head to foot. If it is an embroidered one, be sure the
embroidery is "right side out." Next goes the centerpiece which is always
the chief ornament. Usually this is an arrangement of flowers in either a
bowl or a vase, but it can be any one of an almost unlimited variety of
things; flowers or fruit in any arrangement that taste and ingenuity can
devise; or an ornament in silver that needs no flowers, such as a covered
cup; or an epergne, which, however, necessitates the use of fruit, flowers
or candy. Mrs. Wellborn, for instance, whose heirlooms are better than her
income, rarely uses flowers, but has a wonderful old centerpiece that is
ornament enough in itself. The foundation is a mirror representing a lake,
surrounded by silver rocks and grass. At one side, jutting into the lake,
is a knoll with a group of trees sheltering a stag and doe. The ornament
is entirely of silver, almost twenty inches high, and about twenty inches
in diameter across the "lake."

The Normans have a full-rigged silver ship in the center of their table
and at either end rather tall lanterns, Venetian really, but rather
appropriate to the ship; and the salt cellars are very tall ones (about
ten inches high), of sea shells supported on the backs of dolphins.

However, to go back to table setting: A cloth laid straight; then a
centerpiece put in the middle; then four candlesticks at the four corners,
about half-way between the center and the edge of the table, or two
candelabra at either end halfway between the places of the host and
hostess and the centerpiece. Candles are used with or without shades.
Fashion at the moment, says "without," which means that, in order to bring
the flame well above people's eyes, candlesticks or candelabra must be
high and the candles as long as the proportion can stand. Longer candles
can be put in massive candlesticks than in fragile ones. But whether
shaded or not, there are candles on all dinner tables always! The center
droplight has gone out entirely. Electroliers in candlesticks were never
good style, and kerosene lamps in candlesticks--horrible! Fashion says,
"Candles! preferably without shades, but shades if you insist, and few or
many--but candles!"

Next comes the setting of the places. (If it is an extension table, leaves
have, of course, been put in; or if it is stationary, guests have been
invited according to its size.) The distance between places at the table
must never be so short that guests have no elbow room, and that the
servants can not pass the dishes properly; when the dining-room chairs are
very high backed and are placed so close as to be almost touching, it is
impossible for them not to risk spilling something over some one. On the
other hand, to place people a yard or more apart so that conversation has
to be shouted into the din made by everyone else's shouting, is equally
trying. About two feet from plate center to plate center is ideal. If the
chairs have narrow and low backs, people can sit much closer together,
especially at a small round table, the curve of which leaves a spreading
wedge of space between the chairs at the back even if the seats touch at
the front corners. But on the long straight sides of a rectangular table
in a very large--and impressive--dining-room there should be at least a
foot of space between the chairs.


The necessary number of plates, with the pattern or initials right side
up, are first put around the table at equal distances (spaced with a tape
measure if the butler or waitress has not an accurate eye). Then on the
left of each plate, handle towards the edge of the table, and prongs up,
is put the salad fork, the meat fork is put next, and then the fish fork.
The salad fork, which will usually be the third used, is thus laid
nearest to the plate. If there is an entrée, the fork for this course is
placed between the fish fork and that for the roast and the salad fork is
left to be brought in later. On the right of the plate, and nearest to it,
is put the steel meat knife, then the silver fish knife, the edge of each
toward the plate. Then the soup spoon and then the oyster fork or grape
fruit spoon. Additional forks and knives are put on the table during

In putting on the glasses, the water goblet is at the top and to the right
of the knives, and the wine glasses are either grouped to the right of the
goblet, or in a straight line slanting down from the goblet obliquely
towards the right. (Butter plates are never put on a dinner table.) A
dinner napkin folded square and flat is laid on each "place" plate; very
fancy foldings are not in good taste, but if the napkin is very large, the
sides are folded in so as to make a flattened roll a third the width of
its height. (Bread should _not_ be put in the napkin--not nowadays.) The
place cards are usually put above the plate on the tablecloth, but some
people put them on top of the napkin because they are more easily read.

When the places have been set, four silver dishes (or more on a very big
table), either bowl or basket or paten shaped, are put at the four
corners, between the candlesticks (or candelabra) and the centerpiece; or
wherever there are four equally spaced vacancies on the table. These
dishes, or compotiers, hold candy or fruit, chosen less for taste than for
decorative appearance.

On a very large table the four compotiers are filled with candy, and two
or four larger silver dishes or baskets are filled with fruit and put on
alternately with the candy dishes. Flowers are also often put in two or
four smaller vases, in addition to a larger and dominating one in the

Peppers and salts should be put at every other place. For a dinner of
twelve there should be six salt cellars at least, if not six pepper pots.

Olives and radishes are served from the side table, but salted nuts are
often put on the dinner table either in two big silver dishes, or in small
individual ones.


Lots of people who would not dream of using a wrinkled tablecloth or
chipped glass or china, seem perfectly blind to dirty silver--silver that
is washed clean of food of course, but so dull that it looks like
jaundiced pewter.

Don't put any silver on your table if you can't have it cleaned.
Infinitely rather have every ornament of glass or china--and if knives and
forks have crevices in the design of their handles that are hard to clean,
buy plain plated ones, or use tin! Anything is better than yellow-faced
dirty-finger-nailed silver. The first thing to ask in engaging a waitress
is, "Can you clean silver?" If she can't, she would better be something

Of course no waitress and no single-handed butler can keep silver the way
it is kept in such houses as the Worldlys', nor is such perfection
expected. The silver polishing of perfection in huge houses is done by
such an expert that no one can tell whether a fork has that moment been
sent from the silversmiths or not. It is not merely polished until it is
bright, but burnished so that it is new! Every piece of silver in certain
of the great establishments, or in smaller ones that are run like a great
one, is never picked up by a servant except with a rouged chamois. No
piece of silver is ever allowed by the slightest chance to touch another
piece. Every piece is washed separately. The footman who gathers two or
three forks in a bunch will never do it a second time, and keep his place.
If the ring of a guest should happen to scratch a knife handle or a fork,
the silver-polisher may have to spend an entire day using his thumb or a
silver buffer, and rub and rub until no vestige of a scratch remains.
Perfection such as this is attainable only in a great house where servants
are specialists of super-efficiency; but in every perfectly run house,
where service is not too limited, every piece of silver that is put on the
table, at every meal, is handled with a rouged chamois and given a quick
wipe-off as it is laid on the dining table. No silver should ever be
picked up in the fingers as that always leaves a mark.

And the way "moderate" households, which are nevertheless perfectly run
for their size and type, have burnished silver, is by using not more than
they can have cleaned.

In view of the present high cost of living (including wages) and the
consequent difficulty, with a reduced number of servants, of keeping a
great quantity of silver brilliant, even the most fashionable people are
more and more using only what is essential, and in occasional instances,
are taking to china! People who are lucky enough to have well-stored
attics these days are bringing treasures out of them.

But services of Swansea or Lowestoft or Spode, while easily cleaned, are
equally easily broken, so that genuine Eighteenth Century pieces are more
apt to see a cabinet than a dinner table.

But the modern manufacturers are making enchanting "sets" that are
replicas of the old. These tea sets with cups and saucers to match and
with a silver kettle and tray, are seen almost as often as silver services
in simple houses in the country, as well as in the small apartment in


Don't put ribbon trimmings on your table. Satin bands and bows have no
more place on a lady's table than have chop-house appurtenances. Pickle
jars, catsup bottles, toothpicks and crackers are not private-house table
ornaments. Crackers are passed with oyster stew and with salad, and any
one who wants "relishes" can have them in his own house (though they
insult the cook!). At all events, pickles and tomato sauces and other cold
meat condiments are never presented at table in a bottle, but are put in
glass dishes with small serving spoons. Nothing is ever served from the
jar or bottle it comes in except certain kinds of cheese, Bar-le-Duc
preserves (only sometimes) and wines. Pickles, jellies, jams, olives, are
all put into small glass dishes.

Saucers for vegetables are contrary to all etiquette. The only extra
plates ever permitted are the bread and butter plates which are put on at
breakfast and lunch and supper above and to the left of the forks, but
_never_ at dinner. The crescent-shaped salad plate, made to fit at the
side of the place plate, is seen rarely in fashionable houses. When two
plates are made necessary by the serving of game or broiled chicken or
squab, for which the plate should be very hot, at the same time as the
salad which is cold, the crescent-shaped plate is convenient in that it
takes little room.

A correct and very good serving dish for a family of two, is the vegetable
dish that has a partition dividing it into two or even three divisions, so
that a small quantity of two or three vegetables can be passed at the same

Napkin rings are unknown in fashionable houses outside of the nursery. But
in large families where it is impossible to manage such a wash as three
clean napkins a day entail, napkin rings are probably necessary. In most
moderately run houses, a napkin that is unrumpled and spotless after a
meal, is put aside and used again for breakfast; but to be given a napkin
that is not perfectly clean is a horrid thought. Perhaps though, the
necessity for napkin rings results in the achievement of the immaculate
napkin--which is quite a nice thought.


Whether there are two at table or two hundred, plates are changed and
courses presented in precisely the same manner.

For faultless service, if there are many "accompanied" dishes, two
servants are necessary to wait on as few as two persons. But two can also
efficiently serve eight; or with unaccompanied dishes an expert servant
can manage eight alone, and with one assistant, he can perfectly manage

In old-fashioned times people apparently did not mind waiting tranquilly
through courses and between courses, even though meat grew cold long
before the last of many vegetables was passed, and they waited endlessly
while a slow talker and eater finished his topic and his food. But people
of to-day do not like to wait an unnecessary second. The moment fish is
passed them, they expect the cucumbers or sauce, or whatever should go
with the fish, to follow immediately. And when the first servant hands the
meat course, they consider that they should not be expected to wait a
moment for a second servant to hand the gravy or jelly or whatever goes
with the meat. No service is good in this day unless swift--and, of
course, soundless.

A late leader of Newport society who had a world-wide reputation for the
brilliancy of her entertainments, had an equally well-known reputation for
rapidly served dinners. "Twenty minutes is quite long enough to sit at
table--ever!" is what she used to say, and what her household had to live
up to. She had a footman to about every two guests and any one dining with
her had to cling to the edge of his plate or it would be whisked away! One
who looked aside or "let go" for a second found his plate gone! That was
extreme; but, even so, better than a snail-paced dinner!


In America the dinner hour is not a fixture, since it varies in various
sections of the country. The ordinary New York hour when "giving a dinner"
is eight o'clock, half past eight in Newport. In New York, when dining and
going to the opera, one is usually asked for seven-fifteen, and for
seven-thirty before going to a play. Otherwise only "quiet" people dine
before eight. But invitations should, of course, be issued for whatever
hour is customary in the place where the dinner is given.


When the dinner guests enter the dining-room, it is customary for the
butler to hold out the chair of the mistress of the house. This always
seems a discourtesy to the guests. And an occasional hostess insists on
having the chair of the guest of honor held by the butler instead of her
own. If there are footmen enough, the chair of each lady is held for her;
otherwise the gentleman who takes her in to dinner helps her to be seated.
Ordinarily where there are two servants, the head one holds the chair of
the hostess and the second, the chair on the right of the host. The
hostess always seats herself as quickly as possible so that the butler may
be free to assist a guest to draw her chair up to the table.

In a big house the butler always stands throughout a meal back of the
hostess' chair, except when giving one of the men under him a direction,
or when pouring wine. He is not supposed to leave the dining-room himself
or ever to handle a dish. In a smaller house where he has no assistant, he
naturally does everything himself; when he has a second man or
parlor-maid, he passes the principal dishes and the assistant follows with
the accompanying dishes or vegetables.

So-called "Russian" service is the only one known in New York which merely
means that nothing to eat is ever put on the table except ornamental
dishes of fruit and candy. The meat is carved in the kitchen or pantry,
vegetables are passed and returned to the side table. Only at breakfast or
possibly at supper are dishes of food put on the table.


From the setting of the table until it is cleared for dessert, a plate
must remain at every cover. Under the first two courses there are always
two plates. The plate on which oysters or hors d'oeuvres are served is put
on top of the place plate. At the end of the course the used plate is
removed, leaving the place plate. The soup plate is also put on top of
this same plate. But when the soup plate is removed, the underneath plate
is removed with it, and a hot plate immediately exchanged for the two
taken away. The place plate merely becomes a hot fish plate, but it is
there just the same.

_The Exchange Plate_

If the first course had been a canapé or any cold dish that was offered in
bulk instead of being brought on separate plates, it would have been eaten
on the place plate, and an exchange plate would have been necessary before
the soup could be served. That is, a clean plate would have been
exchanged for the used one, and the soup plate then put on top of that.
The reason for it is that a plate with food on it can never be exchanged
for a plate that has had food on it; a clean one must come between.

If an entrée served on individual plates follows the fish, clean plates
are first exchanged for the used ones until the whole table is set with
clean plates. Then the entrée is put at each place in exchange for the
clean plate. Although dishes are always presented at the left of the
person served, plates are removed and replaced at the right. Glasses are
poured and additional knives placed at the right, but forks are put on as
needed from the left.

_May the Plates for Two Persons Be Brought in Together?_

The only plates that can possibly be brought into the dining-room one in
each hand are for the hors d'oeuvres, soup and dessert. The first two
plates are placed on others which have not been removed, and the dessert
plates need merely be put down on the tablecloth. But the plates of every
other course have to be exchanged and therefore each individual service
requires two hands. Soup plates, two at a time, would better not be
attempted by any but the expert and sure-handed, as it is in placing one
plate, while holding the other aloft that the mishap of "soup poured down
some one's back" occurs! If only one plate of soup is brought in at a
time, that accident at least cannot happen. In the same way the spoon and
fork on the dessert plate can easily fall off, unless it is held level.
"Two plates at a time" therefore is not a question of etiquette, but of
the servant's skill.

_Plate Removed When Fork Is Laid Down_

Once upon a time it was actually considered impolite to remove a single
plate until the last guest at the table had finished eating! In other days
people evidently did not mind looking at their own dirty plates
indefinitely, nor could they have minded sitting for hours at table. Good
service to-day requires the removal of each plate as soon as the fork is
laid upon it; so that by the time the last fork is put down, the entire
table is set with clean plates and is ready for the next course.


At every well-ordered dinner, there should be a double service for ten or
twelve persons; that is, no hot dish should, if avoidable, be presented to
more than six, or nine at the outside. At a dinner of twelve, for
instance, two dishes each holding six portions, are garnished exactly
alike and presented at opposite ends of the table. One to the lady on the
right of the host, and the other to the lady at the opposite end of the
table. The services continue around to the right, but occasional butlers
direct that after serving the "lady of honor" on the right of the host,
the host is skipped and the dish presented to the lady on his left, after
which the dish continues around the table to the left, to ladies and
gentlemen as they come. In this event the second service starts opposite
the lady of honor and also skips the first gentleman, after which it goes
around the table to the left, skips the lady of honor and ends with the
host. The first service when it reaches the other end of the table skips
the lady who was first served and ends with the gentleman who was skipped.

It is perhaps more polite to the ladies to give them preference, but it is
complicated, and leaves another gentleman as well as the host, sitting
between two ladies who are eating while he is apparently forgotten. The
object (which is to prevent the lady who is second in precedence from
being served last) can be accomplished by beginning the first service from
the lady on the right of the host and continuing on the right 6 places;
the second service begins with the lady on the left of the host and
continues on the left five places, and then comes back to the host. The
best way of all, perhaps, is to vary the "honor" by serving the entrée and
salad courses first to the lady on the left instead of to the lady on the
right and continue the service of these two courses to the left.

A dinner of eighteen has sometimes two services, but if _very_ perfect,
three. Where there are three services they start with the lady of honor
and the sixth from her on either side and continue to the right.


As soon as the guests are seated and the first course put in front of
them, the butler goes from guest to guest on the right hand side of each,
and asks "Apollinaris or plain water!" and fills the goblet accordingly.
In the same way he asks later before pouring wine: "Cider, sir?" "Grape
fruit cup, madam?" Or in a house which has the remains of a cellar,
"Champagne?" or "Do you care for whiskey and soda, sir?"

But the temperature and service of wines which used to be an essential
detail of every dinner have now no place at all. Whether people will offer
frappéd cider or some other iced drink in the middle of dinner, and a
warmed something else to take the place of claret with the fish, remains
to be seen. A water glass standing alone at each place makes such a meager
and untrimmed looking table that most people put on at least two wine
glasses, sherry and champagne, or claret and sherry, and pour something
pinkish or yellowish into them. A rather popular drink at present is an
equal mixture of white grape-juice and ginger ale with mint leaves and
much ice. Those few who still have cellars, serve wines exactly as they
used to, white wine, claret, sherry and Burgundy warm, champagne ice cold;
and after dinner, green mint poured over crushed ice in little glasses,
and other liqueurs of room temperature. Whiskey is always poured at the
table over ice in a tall tumbler, each gentleman "saying when" by putting
his hand out. The glass is then filled with soda or Apollinaris.

As soon as soup is served the parlor-maid or a footman passes a dish or a
basket of dinner rolls. If rolls are not available, bread cut in about
two-inch-thick slices, is cut cross-ways again in three. An old-fashioned
silver cake basket makes a perfect modern bread-basket. Or a small wicker
basket that is shallow and inconspicuous will do. A guest helps himself
with his fingers and lays the roll or bread on the tablecloth, always. No
bread plates are ever on a table where there is no butter, and no butter
is ever served at a dinner. Whenever there is no bread left at any one's
place at table, more should be passed. The glasses should also be kept


Dishes are presented held flat on the palm of the servant's right hand;
every hot one must have a napkin placed as a pad under it. An especially
heavy meat platter can be steadied if necessary by holding the edge of the
platter with the left hand, the fingers protected from being burned by a
second folded napkin.

Each dish is supplied with whatever implements are needed for helping it;
a serving spoon (somewhat larger than an ordinary tablespoon) is put on
all dishes and a fork of large size is added for fish, meat, salad and any
vegetables or other dishes that are hard to help. String beans, braised
celery, spinach en branche, etc., need a fork and spoon. Asparagus has
various special lifters and tongs, but most people use the ordinary spoon
and fork, putting the spoon underneath and the fork, prongs down, to hold
the stalks on the spoon while being removed to the plate. Corn on the cob
is taken with the fingers, but is _never_ served at a dinner party. A
galantine or mousse, as well as peas, mashed potatoes, rice, etc., are
offered with a spoon only.


The serving table is an ordinary table placed in the corner of the
dining-room near the door to the pantry, and behind a screen, so that it
may not be seen by the guests at table. In a small dining-room where space
is limited, a set of shelves like a single bookcase is useful.

The serving table is a halfway station between the dinner table and the
pantry. It holds stacks of cold plates, extra forks and knives, and the
finger bowls and dessert plates. The latter are sometimes put out on the
sideboard, if the serving table is small or too crowded.

At little informal dinners all dishes of food after being passed are left
on the serving table in case they are called upon for a second helping.
But at formal dinners, dishes are never passed twice, and are therefore
taken direct to the pantry after being passed.


At dinner always, whether at a formal one, or whether a member of the
family is alone, the salad plates, or the plates of whatever course
precedes dessert, are removed, leaving the table plateless. The salt
cellars and pepper pots are taken off on the serving tray (without being
put on any napkin or doily, as used to be the custom), and the crumbs are
brushed off each place at table with a folded napkin onto a tray held
under the table edge. A silver crumb scraper is still seen occasionally
when the tablecloth is plain, but its hard edge is not suitable for
embroidery and lace, and ruinous to a bare table, so that a napkin folded
to about the size and thickness of an iron-holder is the crumb-scraper of


The captious say "dessert means the fruit and candy which come after the
ices." "Ices" is a misleading word too, because suggestive of the
individual "ices" which flourished at private dinners in the Victorian
age, and still survive at public dinners, suppers at balls, and at wedding
breakfasts, but which are seen at not more than one private dinner in a
thousand--if that.

In the present world of fashion the "dessert" is ice-cream, served in one
mold; not ices (a lot of little frozen images). And the refusal to call
the "sweets" at the end of the dinner, which certainly include ice cream
and cake, "dessert," is at least not the interpretation of either good
usage or good society. In France, where the word "dessert" originated,
"ices" were set apart from dessert merely because French chefs delight in
designating each item of a meal as a separate course. But chefs and
cook-books notwithstanding, dessert means everything sweet that comes at
the end of a meal. And the great American dessert is ice cream--or pie.
Pie, however, is not a "company" dessert. Ice cream on the other hand is
the inevitable conclusion of a formal dinner. The fact that the spoon
which is double the size of a teaspoon is known as nothing but a dessert
spoon, is offered in further proof that "dessert" is "spoon" and not
"finger" food!

_Dessert Service_

There are two, almost equally used, methods of serving dessert. The first
or "hotel method," also seen in many fashionable private houses, is to put
on a china plate for ice cream or a first course, and the finger bowl on a
plate by itself, afterwards. In the "private house" service, the entire
dessert paraphernalia is put on at once.

In detail: In the two-course, or hotel, service, the "dessert" plate is of
china, or if of glass, it must have a china one under it. A china dessert
plate is just a fairly deep medium sized plate and it is always put on the
table with a "dessert" spoon and fork on it. After the inevitable ice
cream has been eaten, a fruit plate with a finger bowl on it, is put on in
exchange. A doily goes under the finger bowl, and a fruit knife and fork
on either side.

In the single course, or private house, service, the ice cream plate is of
glass and belongs under the finger bowl which it matches. The glass plate
and finger bowl in turn are put on the fruit plate with a doily between,
and the dessert spoon and fork go on either side of the finger bowl
(instead of the fruit knife and fork). This arrangement of plates is seen
in such houses as the Worldlys' and the Oldnames', and in fact in most
very well done houses. The finger bowls and glass plates that match make a
prettier service than the finger bowl on a china plate by itself; also it
eliminates a change--but not a removal--of plates. In this service, a
guest lifts the finger bowl off and eats his ice cream on the glass plate,
after which the glass plate is removed and the china one is left for

Some people think this service confusing because an occasional guest, in
lifting off the finger bowl, lifts the glass plate too, and eats his
dessert on his china plate. It is merely necessary for the servants to
notice at which place the china plate has been used and to bring a clean
one; otherwise a "cover" is left with a glass plate or a bare tablecloth
for fruit. Also any one taking fruit must have a fruit knife and fork
brought to him. Fruit is passed immediately after ice-cream; and
chocolates, conserves, or whatever the decorative sweets may be, are
passed last.

This single service may sound as though it were more complicated than the
two-course service, but actually it is less. Few people use the wrong
plate and usually the ice-cream plates having others under them can be
taken away two at a time. Furthermore, scarcely any one takes fruit, so
that the extra knives and forks are few, if any.

Before finishing dessert, it may be as well to add in detail, that the
finger bowl doiley is about five or six inches in diameter; it may be
round or square, and of the finest and sheerest needlework that can be
found (or afforded). It must always be cream or white. Colored
embroideries look well sometimes on a country lunch table but not at
dinner. No matter where it is used, the finger bowl is less than half
filled with cold water; and at dinner parties, a few violets, sweet peas,
or occasionally a gardenia, is put in it. (A slice of lemon is never seen
outside of a chop-house where eating with the fingers may necessitate the
lemon in removing grease. Pretty thought!)

Black coffee is never served at a fashionable dinner table, but is brought
afterwards with cigarettes and liqueurs into the drawing-room for the
ladies, and with cigars, cigarettes and liqueurs into the smoking room for
the gentlemen.

If there is no smoking-room, coffee and cigars are brought to the table
for the gentlemen after the ladies have gone into the drawing-room.


The place cards are usually about an inch and a half high by two inches
long, sometimes slightly larger. People of old family have their crest
embossed in plain white; occasionally an elderly hostess, following a
lifelong custom, has her husband's crest stamped in gold. Nothing other
than a crest must ever be engraved on a place card; and usually they are
plain, even in the houses of old families.

Years ago "hand-painted" place cards are said to have been in fashion. But
excepting on such occasions as a Christmas or a birthday dinner, they are
never seen in private houses to-day.


Small, standing porcelain slates, on which the menu is written, are seen
on occasional dinner tables. Most often there is only one which is placed
in front of the host; but sometimes there is one between every two guests.


As has already been observed, the most practical way to seat the table is
to write the names on individual cards first, and then "place" them as
though playing solitaire; the guest of honor on the host's right, the
second lady in rank on his left; the most distinguished or oldest
gentleman on the right of the hostess, and the other guests filled in


The guest of honor is the oldest lady present, or a stranger whom you wish
for some reason to honor. A bride at her first dinner in your house, after
her return from her honeymoon, takes, if you choose to have her,
precedence over older people. Or if a younger woman has been long away
she, in this instance of welcoming her home, takes precedence over her
elders. The guest of honor is always led in to dinner by the host and
placed on his right, the second in importance sits on his left and is
taken in to dinner by the gentleman on whose right she sits. The hostess
is always the last to go into the dining-room at a formal dinner.


In an envelope addressed to each gentleman is put a card on which is
written the name of the lady he is to take down to dinner. This card just
fits in the envelope, which is an inch or slightly less high and about two
inches long. When the envelopes are addressed and filled, they are
arranged in two neat rows on a silver tray and put in the front hall. The
tray is presented to each gentleman just before he goes into the
drawing-room, on his arrival.


A frame made of leather, round or rectangular, with small openings at
regular intervals around the edge in which names written on cards can be
slipped, shows the seating of the table at a glance. In a frame holding
twenty-four cards, twelve guests would be indicated by leaving every other
card place blank, or for eight, only one in three is filled. This diagram
is shown to each gentleman upon his arrival, so that he can see who is
coming for dinner and where he himself is placed. At a dinner of ten or
less this diagram is especially convenient as "envelopes" are used only at
formal dinners of twelve and over.


When the number of guests is a multiple of four, the host and hostess
never sit opposite each other. It would bring two ladies and two gentlemen
together if they did. At a table which seats two together at each end, the
fact that the host is opposite a gentleman and the hostess opposite a lady
is not noticeable; nor is it ever noticeable at a round table. But at a
narrow table which has room for only one at the end, the hostess
invariably sits in the seat next to that which is properly her own,
putting in her place a gentleman at the end. The host usually keeps his
seat rather than the hostess because the seat of honor is on his right;
and in the etiquette governing dinners, the host and not the hostess is
the more important personage!

When there are only four, they keep their own places, otherwise the host
and hostess would sit next to each other. At a dinner of eight, twelve,
sixteen, twenty, etc., the host keeps his place, but at supper for eight
or twelve, the hostess keeps _her_ place and the host moves a place to the
right or left because the hostess at supper pours coffee or chocolate. And
although the host keeps his seat at a formal dinner in honor of the lady
he takes in, at a little dinner of eight, where there is no guest of
honor, the host does not necessarily keep his seat at the expense of his
wife unless he carves, in which case he must have the end place; just as
at supper she has the end place in order to pour.


One can be pretty sure on seeing a red velvet carpet spread down the steps
of a house (or up! since there are so many sunken American basement
entrances) that there are people for dinner. The carpet is kept rolled, or
turned under near the foot (or top) of the steps until a few minutes
before the dinner hour when it is spread across the width of the pavement
by the chauffeur or whoever is on duty on the sidewalk. Very big or formal
dinners often have an awning, especially at a house where there is much
entertaining and which has an awning of its own; but at an ordinary house,
for a dinner of twelve or so, the man on the pavement must, if it is
raining, shelter each arriving guest under his coachman's umbrella from
carriage to door. If it does not rain, he merely opens the doors of
vehicles. Checks are never given at dinners, no matter how big; every
motor is called by address at the end of the evening. The Worldly car is
not shouted for as "Worldly!" but "xox Fifth Avenue!" The typical coachman
of another day used to tell you "carriages are ordered for ten-fifteen."
Carriages were nearly always ordered for that hour, though with slow and
long dinners no one ever actually left until the horses had exercised for
at least an hour! But the chauffeur of to-day opens the door in
silence--unless there is to be a concert or amateur theatricals, when he,
like the coachman says, "Motors are ordered for twelve o'clock," or
whatever hour he is told to say.

In this day of telephone and indefinite bridge games, many people prefer
to have their cars telephoned for, when they are ready to go home. Those
who do not play bridge leave an eight o'clock dinner about half past ten,
or at least order their cars for that hour.

In all modern houses of size there are two rooms on the entrance floor,
built sometimes as dressing-rooms and nothing else, but more often they
are small reception rooms, each with a lavatory off of it. In the one
given to the ladies, there is always a dressing-table with toilet
appointments on it, and the lady's maid should be on duty to give whatever
service may be required; when there is no dressing-room on the ground
floor, the back of the hall is arranged with coat-hangers and an
improvised dressing-table for the ladies, since modern people--in New York
at least--never go up-stairs to a bedroom if they can help it. In fact,
nine ladies out of ten drop their evening cloaks at the front door,
handing them to the servant on duty, and go at once without more ado to
the drawing-room. A lady arriving in her own closed car can't be very much
blown about, in a completely air tight compartment and in two or three
minutes of time!

Gentlemen also leave their hats and coats in the front part of the hail. A
servant presents to each a tray of envelopes, and if there is one, the
table diagram. Envelopes are not really necessary when there is a table
diagram, since every gentleman knows that he "takes in" the lady placed on
his right! But at very big dinners in New York or Washington, where many
people are sure to be strangers to one another, an absent-minded gentleman
might better, perhaps, have his partner's name safely in his pocket.


A gentleman always falls behind his wife in entering the drawing-room. If
the butler knows the guests, he merely announces the wife's name first and
then the husband's. If he does not know them by sight he asks whichever is
nearest to him, "What name, please?" And whichever one is asked, answers:
"Mr. and Mrs. Lake."

The butler then precedes the guests a few steps into the room where the
hostess is stationed, and standing aside says in a low tone but very
distinctly: "Mrs. Lake," a pause and then, "Mr. Lake." Married people are
usually announced separately as above, but occasionally people have their
guests announced "Mr. and Mrs. ----."


All men of high executive rank are not alone announced first, but take
precedence of their wives in entering the room. The President of the
United States is announced simply, "The President and Mrs. Harding." His
title needs no qualifying appendage, since he and he solely, is _the_
President. He enters first, and alone, of course; and then Mrs. Harding
follows. The same form precisely is used for "The Vice-President and Mrs.
Coolidge." A governor is sometimes in courtesy called "Excellency" but the
correct announcement would be "the Governor of New Jersey and Mrs.
Edwards." He enters the room and Mrs. Edwards follows. "The Mayor and Mrs.
Thompson" observe the same etiquette; or in a city other than his own he
would be announced "The Mayor of Chicago and Mrs. Thompson."

Other announcements are "The Chief Justice and Mrs. Taft," "The Secretary
of State and Mrs. Hughes." "Senator and Mrs. Washington," but in this case
the latter enters the room first, because his office is not executive.

According to diplomatic etiquette an Ambassador and his wife should be
announced, "Their Excellencies the Ambassador and Ambassadress of Great
Britain." The Ambassador enters the room first. A Minister
Plenipotentiary is announced "The Minister of Sweden." He enters a moment
later and "Mrs. Ogren" follows. But a First Secretary and his wife are
announced, if they have a title of their own, "Count and Countess
European," or "Mr. and Mrs. American."

The President, the Vice-President, the Governor of a State, the Mayor of a
city, the Ambassador of a foreign Power--in other words, all
executives--take precedence over their wives and enter rooms and vehicles
first. But Senators, Representatives, Secretaries of legations and all
other officials who are not executive, allow their wives to precede them,
just as they would if they were private individuals.

Foreigners who have hereditary titles are announced by them: "The Duke and
Duchess of Overthere." "The Marquis and Marchioness of Landsend," or "Sir
Edward and Lady Blank," etc. Titles are invariably translated into
English, "Count and Countess Lorraine," not "M. le Comte et Mme. la
Comtesse Lorraine."


On all occasions of formality, at a dinner as well as at a ball, the
hostess stands near the door of her drawing-room, and as guests are
announced, she greets them with a smile and a handshake and says something
pleasant to each. What she says is nothing very important, charm of
expression and of manner can often wordlessly express a far more gracious
welcome than the most elaborate phrases (which as a matter of fact should
be studiously avoided). Unless a woman's loveliness springs from
generosity of heart and sympathy, her manners, no matter how perfectly
practised, are nothing but cosmetics applied to hide a want of inner
beauty; precisely as rouge and powder are applied in the hope of hiding
the lack of a beautiful skin. One device is about as successful as the
other; quite pleasing unless brought into comparison with the real.

Mrs. Oldname, for instance, usually welcomes you with some such sentences
as, "I am very glad to see you" or "I am so glad you could come!" Or if it
is raining, she very likely tells you that you were very unselfish to
come out in the storm. But no matter what she says or whether anything at
all, she takes your hand with a firm pressure and her smile is really a
_smile_ of welcome, not a mechanical exercise of the facial muscles. She
gives you always--even if only for the moment--her complete attention; and
you go into her drawing-room with a distinct feeling that you are under
the roof, not of a mere acquaintance, but of a friend. Mr. Oldname who
stands never very far from his wife, always comes forward and, grasping
your hand, accentuates his wife's more subtle but no less vivid welcome.
And either you join a friend standing near, or he presents you, if you are
a man, to a lady; or if you are a lady, he presents a man to you.

Some hostesses, especially those of the Lion-Hunting and the
New-to-Best-Society variety are much given to explanations, and love to
say "Mrs. Jones, I want you to meet Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith is the author
of 'Dragged from the Depths,' a most enlightening work of psychic
insight." Or to a good-looking woman, "I am putting you next to the
Assyrian Ambassador--I want him to carry back a flattering impression of
American women!"

But people of good breeding do not over-exploit their distinguished guests
with embarrassing hyperbole, or make personal remarks. Both are in worst
possible taste. Do not understand by this that explanations can not be
made; it is only that they must not be embarrassingly made to their faces.
Nor must a "specialist's" subject be forced upon him, like a pair of
manacles, by any exploiting hostess who has captured him. Mrs. Oldname
might perhaps, in order to assist conversation for an interesting but
reticent person, tell a lady just before going in to dinner, "Mr. Traveler
who is sitting next to you at the table, has just come back from two years
alone with the cannibals." This is not to exploit her "Traveled Lion" but
to give his neighbor a starting point for conversation at table. And
although personal remarks are never good form, it would be permissible for
an older lady in welcoming a very young one, especially a débutante or a
bride, to say, "How lovely you look, Mary dear, and what an adorable
dress you have on!"

But to say to an older lady, "That is a very handsome string of pearls you
are wearing," would be objectionable.


The host stands fairly near his wife so that if any guest seems to be
unknown to all of the others, he can present him to some one. At formal
dinners introductions are never general and people do not as a rule speak
to strangers, except those next to them at table or in the drawing-room
after dinner. The host therefore makes a few introductions if necessary.
Before dinner, since the hostess is standing (and no gentleman may
therefore sit down) and as it is awkward for a lady who is sitting, to
talk with a gentleman who is standing, the ladies usually also stand until
dinner is announced.


It is the duty of the butler to "count heads" so that he may know when the
company has arrived. As soon as he has announced the last person, he
notifies the cook. The cook being ready, the butler, having glanced into
the dining-room to see that windows have been closed and the candles on
the table lighted, enters the drawing-room, approaches the hostess, bows,
and says quietly, "Dinner is served."

The host offers his arm to the lady of honor and leads the way to the
dining-room. All the other gentlemen offer their arms to the ladies
appointed to them, and follow the host, in an orderly procession, two and
two; the only order of precedence is that the host and his partner lead,
while the hostess and her partner come last. At all formal dinners, place
cards being on the table, the hostess does not direct people where to sit.
If there was no table diagram in the hall, the butler, standing just
within the dining-room door, tells each gentleman as he approaches "Right"
or "Left."

"R" or "L" is occasionally written on the lady's name card in the
envelopes given to the gentlemen, or if it is such a big dinner that there
are many separate tables, the tables are numbered with standing placards
(as at a public dinner) and the table number written on each lady's name


First of all, a hostess must show each of her guests equal and impartial
attention. Also, although engrossed in the person she is talking to, she
must be able to notice anything amiss that may occur. The more competent
her servants, the less she need be aware of details herself, but the
hostess giving a formal dinner with uncertain dining-room efficiency has a
far from smooth path before her. No matter what happens, if all the china
in the pantry falls with a crash, she must not appear to have heard it. No
matter what goes wrong she must cover it as best she may, and at the same
time cover the fact that she is covering it. To give hectic directions,
merely accentuates the awkwardness. If a dish appears that is
unpresentable, she as quietly as possible orders the next one to be
brought in. If a guest knocks over a glass and breaks it, even though the
glass be a piece of genuine Steigel, her only concern must seemingly be
that her guest's place has been made uncomfortable. She says, "I am so
sorry, but I will have it fixed at once!" The broken glass is _nothing!_
And she has a fresh glass brought (even though it doesn't match) and
dismisses all thought of the matter.

Both the host and hostess must keep the conversation going, if it lags,
but this is not as definitely their duty at a formal, as at an informal
dinner It is at the small dinner that the skilful hostess has need of what
Thackeray calls the "showman" quality. She brings each guest forward in
turn to the center of the stage. In a lull in the conversation she says
beguilingly to a clever but shy man, "John, what was that story you told
me----" and then she repeats briefly an introduction to a topic in which
"John" particularly shines. Or later on, she begins a narrative and
breaks off suddenly, turning to some one else, "_You_ tell them!"

These examples are rather bald, and overemphasize the method in order to
make it clear. Practise and the knowledge of human nature, or of the
particular temperament with which she is trying to deal, can alone tell
her when she may lead or provoke this or that one to being at his best, to
his own satisfaction as well as that of the others who may be present. Her
own character and sympathy are the only real "showman" assets, since no
one "shows" to advantage except in a congenial environment.


A polite hostess waits twenty minutes after the dinner hour, and then
orders dinner served. To wait more than twenty minutes, or actually
fifteen after those who took the allowable five minutes grace, would be
showing lack of consideration to many for the sake of one. When the late
guest finally enters the dining-room, the hostess rises, shakes hands with
her, but does not leave her place at table. She doesn't rise for a
gentleman. It is the guest who must go up to the hostess and apologize for
being late. The hostess must never take the guest to task, but should say
something polite and conciliatory such as, "I was sure you would not want
us to wait dinner!" The newcomer is usually served with dinner from the
beginning unless she is considerate enough to say to the butler, "Just let
me begin with this course."

Old Mrs. Toplofty's manners to late guests are an exception: on the last
stroke of eight o'clock in winter and half after eight in Newport, dinner
is announced. She waits for no one! Furthermore, a guest arriving after a
course has been served, does not have to protest against disarranging the
order of dinner since the rule of the house is that a course which has
passed a chair is not to be returned. A guest missing his "turn" misses
that course. The result is that everyone dining with Mrs. Toplofty arrives
on the stroke of the dinner hour; which is also rather necessary, as she
is one of those who like the service to be rushed through at top speed,
and anyone arriving half an hour late would find dinner over.

It would be excellent discipline if there were more hostesses like her,
but no young woman could be so autocratic and few older ones care (or
dare) to be. Nothing shows selfish want of consideration more than being
habitually late for dinner. Not only are others, who were themselves
considerate, kept waiting, but dinner is dried and ruined for everyone
else through the fault of the tardy one. And though expert cooks know how
to keep food from becoming uneatable, no food can be so good as at the
moment for which it is prepared, and the habitually late guest should be
made to realize how unfairly she is meeting her hostess' generosity by
destroying for every one the hospitality which she was invited to share.

On the other hand, before a formal dinner, it is the duty of the hostess
to be dressed and in her drawing-room fifteen, or ten minutes at least,
before the hour set for dinner. For a very informal dinner it is not
important to be ready ahead of time, but even then a late hostess is an
inconsiderate one.


Ladies always wear gloves to formal dinners and take them off at table.
Entirely off. It is hideous to leave them on the arm, merely turning back
the hands. Both gloves and fan are supposed to be laid across the lap, and
one is supposed to lay the napkin folded once in half across the lap too,
on top of the gloves and fan, and all three are supposed to stay in place
on a slippery satin skirt on a little lap, that more often than not slants

It is all very well for etiquette to say "They stay there," but every
woman knows they don't! And this is quite a nice question: If you obey
etiquette and lay the napkin on top of the fan and gloves loosely across
your satin-covered knees, it will depend merely upon the heaviness and
position of the fan's handle whether the avalanche starts right, left or
forward, onto the floor. There is just _one_ way to keep these four
articles (including the lap as one) from disintegrating, which is to put
the napkin cornerwise across your knees and tuck the two side corners
under like a lap robe, with the gloves and the fan tied in place as it
were. This ought not to be put in a book of etiquette, which should say
you must do nothing of the kind, but it is either do that or have the
gentleman next you groping under the table at the end of the meal; and it
is impossible to imagine that etiquette should wish to conserve the
picture of "gentlemen on all fours" as the concluding ceremonial at


The turning of the table is accomplished by the hostess, who merely turns
from the gentleman (on her left probably) with whom she has been talking
through the soup and the fish course, to the one on her right. As she
turns, the lady to whom the "right" gentleman has been talking, turns to
the gentleman further on, and in a moment everyone at table is talking to
a new neighbor. Sometimes a single couple who have become very much
engrossed, refuse to change partners and the whole table is blocked;
leaving one lady and one gentleman on either side of the block, staring
alone at their plates. At this point the hostess has to come to the rescue
by attracting the blocking lady's attention and saying, "Sally, you cannot
talk to Professor Bugge any longer! Mr. Smith has been trying his best to
attract your attention."

"Sally" being in this way brought awake, is obliged to pay attention to
Mr. Smith, and Professor Bugge, little as he may feel inclined, must turn
his attention to the other side. To persist in carrying on their own
conversation at the expense of others, would be inexcusably rude, not only
to their hostess but to every one present.

At a dinner not long ago, Mr. Kindhart sitting next to Mrs. Wellborn and
left to himself because of the assiduity of the lady's farther partner,
slid his own name-card across and in front of her, to bring her attention
to the fact that it was "his turn."


One inexorable rule of etiquette is that you must talk to your next door
neighbor at a dinner table. You _must_, that is all there is about it!

Even if you are placed next to some one with whom you have had a bitter
quarrel, consideration for your hostess, who would be distressed if she
knew you had been put in a disagreeable place, and further consideration
for the rest of the table which is otherwise "blocked," exacts that you
give no outward sign of your repugnance and that you make a pretence at
least for a little while, of talking together.

At dinner once, Mrs. Toplofty, finding herself next to a man she quite
openly despised, said to him with apparent placidity, "I shall not talk to
you--because I don't care to. But for the sake of my hostess I shall say
my multiplication tables. Twice one are two, twice two are four ----" and she
continued on through the tables, making him alternate them with her. As
soon as she politely could she turned again to her other companion.


It used to be an offense, and it still is considered impolite, to refuse
dishes at the table, because your refusal implies that you do not like
what is offered you. If this is true, you should be doubly careful to take
at least a little on your plate and make a pretence of eating some of it,
since to refuse course after course can not fail to distress your hostess.
If you are "on a diet" and accepted the invitation with that stipulation,
your not eating is excusable; but even then to sit with an empty plate in
front of you throughout a meal makes you a seemingly reproachful table
companion for those of good appetite sitting next to you.


When a dinner has been prepared by a chef who prides himself on being a
decorative artist, the guest of honor and whoever else may be the first to
be served have quite a problem to know which part of an intricate
structure is to be eaten, and which part is scenic effect!

The main portion is generally clear enough; the uncertainty is in whether
the flowers are eatable vegetables and whether the things that look like
ducks are potatoes, or trimming. If there are six or more, the chances are
they are edible, and that one or two of a kind are embellishments only.
Rings around food are nearly always to be eaten; platforms under food
seldom, if ever, are. Anything that looks like pastry is to be eaten; and
anything divided into separate units should be taken on your plate
complete. You should not try to cut a section from anything that has
already been divided into portions in the kitchen. Aspics and desserts
are, it must be said, occasionally Chinese puzzles, but if you do help
yourself to part of the decoration, no great harm is done.

Dishes are _never_ passed from hand to hand at a dinner, not even at the
smallest and most informal one. Sometimes people pass salted nuts to each
other, or an extra sweet from a dish near by, but not circling the table.


At the end of dinner, when the last dish of chocolates has been passed and
the hostess sees that no one is any longer eating, she looks across the
table, and catching the eye of one of the ladies, slowly stands up. The
one who happens to be observing also stands up, and in a moment everyone
is standing. The gentlemen offer their arms to their partners and conduct
them back to the drawing-room or the library or wherever they are to sit
during the rest of the evening.

Each gentleman then slightly bows, takes leave of his partner, and
adjourns with the other gentlemen to the smoking-room, where after-dinner
coffee, liqueurs, cigars and cigarettes are passed, and they all sit where
they like and with whom they like, and talk.

It is perfectly correct for a gentleman to talk to any other who happens
to be sitting near him, whether he knows him or not. The host on
occasions--but it is rarely necessary--starts the conversation if most of
the guests are inclined to keep silent, by drawing this one or that into
discussion of a general topic that everyone is likely to take part in. At
the end of twenty minutes or so, he must take the opportunity of the first
lull in the conversation to suggest that they join the ladies in the

In a house where there is no smoking-room, the gentlemen do not conduct
the ladies to the drawing-room, but stay where they are (the ladies
leaving alone) and have their coffee, cigars, liqueurs and conversation
sitting around the table.

In the drawing-room, meanwhile, the ladies are having coffee, cigarettes,
and liqueurs passed to them. There is not a modern New York hostess,
scarcely even an old-fashioned one, who does not have cigarettes passed
after dinner.

At a dinner of ten or twelve, the five or six ladies are apt to sit in one
group, or possibly two sit by themselves, and three of four together, but
at a very large dinner they inevitably fall into groups of four or five or
so each. In any case, the hostess must see that no one is left to sit
alone. If one of her guests is a stranger to the others, the hostess draws
a chair near one of the groups and offering it to her single guest sits
beside her. After a while when this particular guest has at least joined
the outskirts of the conversation of the group, the hostess leaves her and
joins another group where perhaps she sits beside some one else who has
been somewhat left out. When there is no one who needs any especial
attention, the hostess nevertheless sits for a time with each of the
different groups in order to spend at least a part of the evening with all
of her guests.


When the gentlemen return to the drawing-room, if there is a particular
lady that one of them wants to talk to, he naturally goes directly to
where she is, and sits down beside her. If, however, she is securely
wedged in between two other ladies, he must ask her to join him elsewhere.
Supposing Mr. Jones, for instance, wants to talk to Mrs. Bobo Gilding, who
is sitting between Mrs. Stranger and Miss Stiffleigh: Mr. Jones saunters
up to Mrs. Gilding--he must not look too eager or seem too directly to
prefer her to the two who are flanking her position, so he says rather
casually, "Will you come and talk to me?" Whereupon she leaves her
sandwiched position and goes over to another part of the room, and sits
down where there is a vacant seat beside her. Usually, however, the ladies
on the ends, being accessible, are more apt to be joined by the first
gentleman entering than is the one in the center, whom it is impossible to
reach. Etiquette has always decreed that gentlemen should not continue to
talk together after leaving the smoking-room, as it is not courteous to
those of the ladies who are necessarily left without partners.

At informal dinners, and even at many formal ones, bridge tables are set
up in an adjoining room, if not in the drawing-room. Those few who do not
play bridge spend a half hour (or less) in conversation and then go home,
unless there is some special diversion.


Very large dinners of fifty or over are almost invariably followed by some
sort of entertainment. Either the dinner is given before a ball or a
musicale or amateur theatricals, or professionals are brought in to dance
or sing.

In this day when conversation is not so much a "lost" as a "wilfully
abandoned" art, people in numbers can not be left to spend an evening on
nothing but conversation. Grouped together by the hundred and with bridge
tables absent, the modern fashionables in America, and in England, too,
are as helpless as children at a party without something for them to do,
listen to, or look at!


A dinner of sixty, for instance, is always served at separate tables; a
center one of twenty people, and four corner tables of ten each. Or if
less, a center table of twelve and four smaller tables of eight. A dinner
of thirty-six or less is seated at a single table.

But whether there are eighteen, eighty, or one or two hundred, the setting
of each individual table and the service is precisely the same. Each one
is set with centerpiece, candles, compotiers, and evenly spaced plates,
with the addition of a number by which to identify it; or else each table
is decorated with different colored flowers, pink, yellow, orchid, white.
Whatever the manner of identification, the number or the color is written
in the corner of the ladies' name cards that go in the envelopes handed to
each arriving gentleman at the door: "pink," "yellow," "orchid," "white,"
or "center table."

In arranging for the service of dinner the butler details three footmen,
usually, to each table of ten, and six footmen to the center table of
twenty. There are several houses (palaces really) in New York that have
dining-rooms big enough to seat a hundred or more easily. But sixty is a
very big dinner, and even thirty does not "go" well without an
entertainment following it.

Otherwise the details are the same in every particular as well as in table
setting: the hostess receives at the door; guests stand until dinner is
announced; the host leads the way with the guest of honor. The hostess
goes to table last. The host and hostess always sit at the big center
table and the others at that table are invariably the oldest present. No
one resents being grouped according to "age," but many do resent a
segregation of ultra fashionables. You must never put all the prominent
ones at one table, unless you want forever to lose the acquaintance of
those at every other.

After dinner, the gentlemen go to the smoking-room and the ladies sit in
the ballroom, where, if there is to be a theatrical performance, the stage
is probably arranged. The gentlemen return, the guests take their places,
and the performance begins. After the performance the leave-taking is the
same as at all dinners or parties.


That the guest of honor must be first to take leave was in former times so
fixed a rule that everyone used to sit on and on, no matter how late it
became, waiting for her whose duty it was, to go! More often than not, the
guest of honor was an absent-minded old lady, or celebrity, who very
likely was vaguely saying to herself, "Oh, my! are these people never
going home?" until by and by it dawned upon her that the obligation was
her own!

But to-day, although it is still the obligation of the guest who sat on
the host's right to make the move to go, it is not considered
ill-mannered, if the hour is growing late, for another lady to rise first.
In fact, unless the guest of honor is one _really_, meaning a stranger or
an elderly lady of distinction, there is no actual precedence in being the
one first to go. If the hour is very early when the first lady rises, the
hostess, who always rises too, very likely says: "I hope you are not
thinking of going!"

The guest answers, "We don't want to in the least, but Dick has to be at
the office so early!" or "I'm sorry, but I must. Thank you so much for
asking us."

Usually, however, each one merely says, "Good night, thank you so much."
The hostess answers, "I am so glad you could come!" and she then presses a
bell (not one that any guest can hear!) for the servants to be in the
dressing-rooms and hall. When one guest leaves, they all leave--except
those at the bridge tables. They all say, "Good night" to whomever they
were talking with and shake hands, and then going up to their hostess,
they shake hands and say, "Thank you for asking us," or "Thank you so

"Thank you so much; good night," is the usual expression. And the hostess
answers, "It was so nice to see you again," or "I'm glad you could come."
But most usually of all she says merely, "Good night!" and suggests
friendliness by the tone in which she says it--an accent slightly more on
the "good" perhaps than on the "night."

In the dressing-room, or in the hall, the maid is waiting to help the
ladies on with their wraps, and the butler is at the door. When Mr. and
Mrs. Jones are ready to leave, he goes out on the front steps and calls,
"Mr. Jones' car!" The Jones' chauffeur answers, "Here," the butler says to
either Mr. or Mrs. Jones, "Your car is at the door!" and they go out.

The bridge people leave as they finish their games; sometimes a table at a
time or most likely two together. (Husbands and wives are never, if it
can be avoided, put at the same table.) Young people in saying good night
say, "Good night, it has been too wonderful!" or "Good night, and thank
you _so_ much." And the hostess smiles and says, "So glad you could come!"
or just "Good night!"


The little dinner is thought by most people to be the very pleasantest
social function there is. It is always informal, of course, and intimate
conversation is possible, since strangers are seldom, or at least very
carefully, included. For younger people, or others who do not find great
satisfaction in conversation, the dinner of eight and two tables of bridge
afterwards has no rival in popularity. The formal dinner is liked by most
people now and then (and for those who don't especially like it, it is at
least salutary as a spine stiffening exercise), but for night after night,
season after season, the little dinner is to social activity what the
roast course is to the meal.

The service of a "little" dinner is the same as that of a big one. As has
been said, proper service in properly run houses is never relaxed, whether
dinner is for eighteen or for two alone. The table appointments are
equally fine and beautiful, though possibly not quite so rare. Really
priceless old glass and china can't be replaced because duplicates do not
exist and to use it three times a day would be to court destruction;
replicas, however, are scarcely less beautiful and can be replaced if
chipped. The silver is identical; the food is equally well prepared,
though a course or two is eliminated; the service is precisely the same.
The clothes that fashionable people wear every evening they are home
alone, are, if not the same, at least as beautiful of their kind. Young
Gilding's lounge suit is quite as "handsome" as his dinner clothes, and he
tubs and shaves and changes his linen when he puts it on. His wife wears a
tea gown, which is classified as a negligé rather in irony, since it is
apt to be more elaborate and gorgeous (to say nothing of dignified) than
half of the garments that masquerade these days as evening dresses! They
wear these informal clothes only if very intimate friends are coming to
dinner alone. "Alone" may include as many as eight!--but never includes a

IS." [Page 228.]]

Otherwise, at informal dinners, the host wears a dinner coat and the
hostess a simple evening dress, or perhaps an elaborate one that has been
seen by everyone and which goes on at little dinners for the sake of
getting some "wear out of it." She never, however, receives formally
standing, though she rises when a guest comes into the room, shakes hands
and sits down again. When dinner is announced, gentlemen do not offer
their arms to the ladies. The hostess and the other ladies go into the
dining-room together, not in a procession, but just as they happen to
come. If one of them is much older than the others, the younger ones wait
for her to go ahead of them, or one who is much younger goes last. The men
stroll in the rear. The hostess on reaching the dining-room goes to her
own place where she stands and tells everyone where she or he is to sit.
"Mary, will you sit next to Jim, and Lucy on his other side; Kate, over
there, Bobo, next to me," etc.


Carving is sometimes seen at "home" dinner tables. A certain type of man
always likes to carve, and such a one does. But in forty-nine houses out
of fifty, in New York at least, the carving is done by the cook in the
kitchen--a roast while it is still in the roasting pan, and close to the
range at that, so that nothing can possibly get cooled off in the carving.
After which the pieces are carefully put together again, and transferred
to an intensely hot platter. This method has two advantages over table
carving; quicker service, and hotter food. Unless a change takes place in
the present fashion, none except cooks will know anything about carving,
which was once considered an art necessary to every gentleman. The boast
of the high-born Southerner, that he could carve a canvas-back holding it
on his fork, will be as unknown as the driving of a four-in-hand.

Old-fashioned butlers sometimes carve in the pantry, but in the most
modern service all carving is done by the cook. Cold meats are, in the
English service, put whole on the sideboard and the family and guests cut
off what they choose themselves. In America cold meat is more often sliced
and laid on a platter garnished with finely chopped meat jelly and water
cress or parsley.


A man's dinner is sometimes called a "stag" or a "bachelor" dinner; and as
its name implies, is a dinner given by a man and for men only. A man's
dinner is usually given to celebrate an occasion of welcome or farewell.
The best-known bachelor dinner is the one given by the groom just before
his wedding. Other dinners are more apt to be given by one man (or a group
of men) in honor of a noted citizen who has returned from a long absence,
or who is about to embark on an expedition or a foreign mission. Or a
young man may give a dinner in honor of a friend's twenty-first birthday;
or an older man may give a dinner merely because he has a quantity of game
which he has shot and wants to share with his especial friends.

Nearly always a man's dinner is given at the host's club or his bachelor
quarters or in a private room in a hotel. But if a man chooses to give a
stag dinner in his own house, his wife (or his mother) should not appear.
For a wife to come downstairs and receive the guests for him, can not be
too strongly condemned as out of place. Such a maneuver on her part,
instead of impressing his guests with her own grace and beauty, is far
more likely to make them think what a "poor worm" her husband must be, to
allow himself to be hen-pecked. And for a mother to appear at a son's
dinner is, if anything, worse. An essential piece of advice to every woman
is: No matter how much you may want to say "How do you do" to your
husband's or your son's friends--_don't!_




People who live all the year in the country are not troubled with formal
dinner giving, because (excepting on great estates) formality and the
country do not go together.

For the one or two formal dinners which the average city dweller feels
obliged to give every season, nothing is easier than to hire
professionals; it is also economical, since nothing is wasted in
experiment. A cook equal to the Gildings' chef can be had to come in and
cook your dinner at about the price of two charwomen; skilled butlers or
waitresses are to be had in all cities of any size at comparatively
reasonable fees.

The real problem is in giving the innumerable casual and informal dinners
for which professionals are not only expensive, but inappropriate. The
problem of limited equipment would not present great difficulty if the
tendency of the age were toward a slower pace, but the opposite is the
case; no one wants to be kept waiting a second at table, and the world of
fashion is growing more impatient and critical instead of less.

The service of a dinner can however be much simplified and shortened by
choosing dishes that do not require accessories.


Nothing so delays the service of a dinner as dishes that must immediately
be followed by necessary accessories. If there is no one to help the
butler or waitress, no dish must be included on the menu--unless you are
only one or two at table, or unless your guests are neither critical nor
"modern"--that is not complete in itself.

For instance, fish has nearly always an accompanying dish. Broiled fish,
or fish meunière, has ice-cold cucumbers sliced as thin as Saratoga chips,
with a very highly seasoned French dressing, or a mixture of cucumbers and
tomatoes. Boiled fish always has mousseline, Hollandaise, mushroom or egg
sauce, and round scooped boiled potatoes sprinkled with parsley. Fried
fish must always be accompanied by tartar sauce and pieces of lemon, and a
boiled fish even if covered with sauce when served, is usually followed by
additional sauce.

Many meats have condiments. Roast beef is never served at a dinner
party--it is a family dish and generally has Yorkshire pudding or roast
potatoes on the platter with the roast itself, and is followed by pickles
or spiced fruit.

Turkey likewise, with its chestnut stuffing and accompanying cranberry
sauce, is not a "company" dish, though excellent for an informal dinner.
Saddle of mutton is a typical company dish--all mutton has currant jelly.
Lamb has mint sauce--or mint jelly.

Partridge or guinea hen must have two sauce boats--presented on one
tray--browned bread-crumbs in one, and cream sauce in the other.

Apple sauce goes with barnyard duck.

The best accompaniment to wild duck is the precisely timed 18 minutes in a
quick oven! And celery salad, which goes with all game, need not be
especially hurried.

Salad is always the accompaniment of "tame game," aspics, cold meat dishes
of all sorts, and is itself "accompanied by" crackers and cheese or cheese
soufflé or cheese straws.


One person can wait on eight people if dishes are chosen which need no
supplements. The fewer the dishes to be passed, the fewer the hands needed
to pass them. And yet many housekeepers thoughtlessly order dishes within
the list above, and then wonder why the dinner is so hopelessly slow, when
their waitress is usually so good!

The following suggestions are merely offered in illustration; each
housekeeper can easily devise further for herself. It is not necessary to
pass anything whatever with melon or grapefruit, or a macédoine of fruit,
or a canapé. Oysters, on the other hand, have to be followed by tabasco
and buttered brown bread. Soup needs nothing with it (if you do not choose
split pea which needs croutons, or petite marmite which needs grated
cheese). Fish dishes which are "made" with sauce in the dish, such as sole
au vin blanc, lobster Newburg, crab ravigote, fish mousse, especially if
in a ring filled with plenty of sauce, do not need anything more. Tartar
sauce for fried fish can be put in baskets made of hollowed-out lemon
rind--a basket for each person--and used as a garnishing around the dish.

Filet mignon, or fillet of beef, both of them surrounded by little clumps
of vegetables share with chicken casserole in being the life-savers of the
hostess who has one waitress in her dining-room. Another dish, but more
appropriate to lunch than to dinner, is of French chops banked against
mashed potatoes, or purée of chestnuts, and surrounded by string beans or
peas. None of these dishes requires any following dish whatever, not even
a vegetable.

Fried chicken with corn fritters on the platter is almost as good as the
two beef dishes, since the one green vegetable which should go with it,
can be served leisurely, because fried chicken is not quickly eaten. And a
ring of aspic with salad in the center does not require accompanying
crackers as immediately as plain lettuce.

Steak and broiled chicken are fairly practical since neither needs gravy,
condiment, or sauce--especially if you have a divided vegetable dish so
that two vegetables can be passed at the same time.

If a hostess chooses not necessarily the above dishes but others which
approximately take their places, she need have no fear of a slow dinner,
if her one butler or waitress is at all competent.


In giving informal or little dinners, you need never worry because you
cannot set the dishes of a "professional" dinner-party cook before your
friends or even strangers; so long as the food that you are offering is
good of its kind.

It is by no means necessary that your cook should be able to make the
"clear" soup that is one of the tests of the perfect cook (and practically
never produced by any other); nor is it necessary that she be able to
construct comestible mosaics and sculptures. The essential thing is to
prevent her from attempting anything she can't do well. If she can make
certain dishes that are pretty as well as good to taste, so much the
better. But remember, the more pretentious a dish is, the more it
challenges criticism.

If your cook can make neither clear nor cream soup, but can make a
delicious clam chowder, better far to have a clam chowder! On no account
let her attempt clear green turtle, which has about as good a chance to be
perfect as a supreme of boned capon--in other words, none whatsoever! And
the same way throughout dinner. Whichever dishes your own particular Nora
or Selma or Marie can do best, those are the ones you must have for your
dinners. Another thing: it is not important to have variety. Because you
gave the Normans chicken casserole the last time they dined with you is no
reason why you should not give it to them again--if that is the "specialty
of the house" as the French say. A late, and greatly loved, hostess whose
Sunday luncheons at a huge country house just outside of Washington were
for years one of the outstanding features of Washington's smartest
society, had the same lunch exactly, week after week, year after year.
Those who went to her house knew just as well what the dishes would be as
they did where the dining-room was situated. At her few enormous and
formal dinners in town, her cook was allowed to be magnificently
architectural, but if you dined with her alone, the chances were ten to
one that the Sunday chicken and pancakes would appear before you.


Typical dinner-party dishes are invariably the temptation no less than the
downfall of ambitious ignorance. Never let an inexperienced cook _attempt
a new dish_ for company, no matter how attractive her description of it
may sound. Try it yourself, or when you are having family or most intimate
friends who will understand if it turns out all wrong that it is a "trial"
dish. In fact, it is a very good idea to share the testing of it with some
one who can help you in suggestions, if they are needed for its
improvement. Or supposing you have a cook who is rather poor on all dinner
dishes, but makes delicious bread and cake and waffles and oyster stew and
creamed chicken, or even hash! You can make a specialty of asking people
to "supper." Suppers are necessarily informal, but there is no objection
in that. Formal parties play a very small rôle anyway compared to informal
ones. There are no end of people, and the smartest ones at that, who
entertain only in the most informal possible way. Mrs. Oldname gives at
most two formal dinners a year; her typical dinners and suppers are for


The "dishing" is quite as important as the cooking; a smear or thumb-mark
on the edge of a dish is like a spot on the front of a dress!

Water must not be allowed to collect at the bottom of a dish (that is why
a folded napkin is always put under boiled fish and sometimes under
asparagus). And dishes must be hot; they cannot be too hot! Meat juice
that has started to crust is nauseating. Far better have food too hot to
eat and let people take their time eating it than that others should
suffer the disgust of cold victuals! Sending in cold food is one of the
worst faults (next to not knowing how to cook) that a cook can have.


Just as it is better to hire a professional dinner-party cook than to run
the risk of attempting a formal dinner with your own Nora or Selma unless
you are very sure she is adequate, in the same way it is better to have a
professional waitress as captain over your own, or a professional butler
over your own inexperienced one, than to have your meal served in spasms
and long pauses. But if your waitress, assisted by the chambermaid,
perfectly waits on six, you will find that they can very nicely manage
ten, even with accompanied dishes.


If an inexperienced servant blunders, you should pretend, if you can, not
to know it. Never attract anyone's attention to anything by apologizing or
explaining, unless the accident happens to a guest. Under ordinary
circumstances "least said, soonest mended" is the best policy. If a
servant blunders, it makes the situation much worse to take her to task,
the cause being usually that she is nervous or ignorant. Speak, if it is
necessary to direct her, very gently and as kindly as possible; your
object being to restore confidence, not to increase the disorder. Beckon
her to you and tell her as you might tell a child you were teaching: "Give
Mrs. Smith a tablespoon, not a teaspoon." Or, "You have forgotten the fork
on that dish." Never let her feel that you think her stupid, but encourage
her as much as possible and when she does anything especially well, tell
her so.


Nearly all people are quick to censure but rather chary of praise.
Admonish of course where you must, but censure only with justice, and
don't forget that whether of high estate or humble, we all of us like
praise--sometimes. When a guest tells you your dinner is the best he has
ever eaten, remember that the cook cooked it, and tell her it was praised.
Or if the dining-room service was silent and quick and perfect, then tell
those who served it how well it was done. If you are entertaining all the
time, you need not commend your household after every dinner you give, but
if any especial willingness, attentiveness, or tact is shown, don't forget
that a little praise is not only merest justice but is beyond the purse of
no one.




Although the engraved card is occasionally used for an elaborate luncheon,
especially for one given in honor of a noted person, formal invitations to
lunch in very fashionable houses are nearly always written in the first
person, and rarely sent out more than a week in advance. For instance:

    Dear Mrs. Kindhart (or Martha):

    Will you lunch with me on Monday the tenth at half after one

    Hoping so much to see you,

    Sincerely (or affectionately),
                         Jane Toplofty.

If the above lunch were given in honor of somebody--Mrs. Eminent, for
instance--the phrase "to meet Mrs. Eminent" would have been added
immediately after the word "o'clock." At a very large luncheon for which
the engraved card might be used, "To meet Mrs. Eminent" would be written
across the top of the card of invitation.

Informal invitations are telephoned nearly always.

Invitation to a stand-up luncheon (or breakfast; it is breakfast if the
hour is twelve or half after, and lunch if at one, or one-thirty), is
either telephoned or written on an ordinary visiting card:

    [HW: Sat. Oct. 2.
    Luncheon at 1 o'clock]

    Mr. and Mrs. Gilding

                 GOLDEN HALL

If R.s.v.p. is added in the lower corner, the invitation should be
answered, otherwise the hostess is obliged to guess how many to provide

Or, if the hostess prefers, a personal note is always courteous:

    Dear Mrs. Neighbor:

    We are having a stand-up luncheon on Saturday, October Second, at
    one o'clock, and hope that you and your husband and any guests
    who may be staying with you will come,

               Very sincerely yours,

                          Alice Toplofty Gilding.
    Golden Hall
    Sept. 27.

A personal note always exacts a reply--which may however be telephoned,
unless the invitation was worded in the formal third person. A written
answer is more polite, if the hostess is somewhat of a stranger to you.


Luncheon, being a daylight function, is never so formidable as a dinner,
even though it may be every bit as formal and differ from the latter in
minor details only. Luncheons are generally given by, and for, ladies,
but it is not unusual, especially in summer places or in town on Saturday
or Sunday, to include an equal number of gentlemen.

But no matter how large or formal a luncheon may be, there is rarely a
chauffeur on the sidewalk, or a carpet or an awning. The hostess, instead
of receiving at the door, sits usually in the center of the room in some
place that has an unobstructed approach from the door. Each guest coming
into the room is preceded by the butler to within a short speaking
distance of the hostess, where he announces the new arrival's name, and
then stands aside. Where there is a waitress instead of a butler, guests
greet the hostess unannounced. The hostess rises, or if standing takes a
step forward, shakes hands, says "I'm so glad to see you," or "I am
delighted to see you," or "How do you do!" She then waits for a second or
two to see if the guest who has just come in speaks to anyone; if not, she
makes the necessary introduction.

When the butler or waitress has "counted heads" and knows the guests have
arrived, he or she enters the room, bows to the hostess and says,
"Luncheon is served."

If there is a guest of honor, the hostess leads the way to the
dining-room, walking beside her. Otherwise, the guests go in twos or
threes, or even singly, just as they happen to come, except that the very
young make way for their elders, and gentlemen stroll in with those they
happen to be talking to, or, if alone, fill in the rear. The gentlemen
_never_ offer their arms to ladies in going in to a luncheon--unless there
should be an elderly guest of honor, who might be taken in by the host, as
at a dinner. But the others follow informally.


Candles have no place on a lunch or breakfast table; and are used only
where a dining-room is unfortunately without daylight. Also a plain damask
tablecloth (which must always be put on top of a thick table felt) is
correct for dinner but not for luncheon. The traditional lunch table is
"bare"--which does not mean actually bare at all, but that it has a
centerpiece, either round or rectangular or square, with place mats to
match, made in literally unrestricted varieties of linen, needlework and
lace. The centerpiece is anywhere from 30 inches to a yard and a half
square, on a square or round table, and from half a yard to a yard wide by
length in proportion to the length of a rectangular table. The place mats
are round or square or rectangular to match, and are put at the places.

Or if the table is a refectory one, instead of centerpiece and doilies,
the table is set with a runner not reaching to the edge at the side, but
falling over both ends. Or there may be a tablecloth made to fit the top
of the table to within an inch or two of its edge. Occasionally there is a
real cloth that hangs over like a dinner cloth, but it always has lace or
open-work and is made of fine linen so that the table shows through.

The decorations of the table are practically the same as for dinner:
flowers, or a silver ornament or epergne in the center, and flower dishes
or compotiers or patens filled with ornamental fruit or candy at the
corners. If the table is very large and rather bare without candles, four
vases or silver bowls of flowers, or ornamental figures are added.

If the center ornament is of porcelain, four porcelain figures to match
have at least a logical reason for their presence, or a bisque "garden"
set of vases and balustrades, with small flowers and vines put in the
vases to look as though they were growing, follows out the decoration.
Most people, however, like a sparsely ornamented table.

The places are set as for dinner, with a place plate, three forks, two
knives and a small spoon. The lunch napkin, which should match the table
linen, is much smaller than the dinner napkin, and is not folded quite the
same: it is folded like a handkerchief, in only four folds (four
thicknesses). The square is laid on the place plate diagonally, with the
monogrammed (or embroidered) corner pointing down toward the edge of the
table. The upper corner is then turned sharply under in a flat crease for
about a quarter of its diagonal length; then the two sides are rolled
loosely under, making a sort of pillow effect laid sideways; with a
straight top edge and a pointed lower edge, and the monogram displayed in
the center.

Another feature of luncheon service, which is always omitted at dinner, is
the bread and butter plate.

_The Bread and Butter Plate_

The butter plate has been entirely dispossessed by the bread and butter
plate, which is part of the luncheon service always--as well as of
breakfast and supper. It is a very small plate about five and a half to
six and a half inches in diameter, and is put at the left side of each
place just beyond the forks. Butter is sometimes put on the plate by the
servant (as in a restaurant) but usually it is passed. Hot breads are an
important feature of every luncheon; hot crescents, soda biscuits, bread
biscuits, dinner rolls, or corn bread, the latter baked in small pans like
pie plates four inches in diameter. Very thin bread that is roasted in the
oven until it is curled and light brown (exactly like a large Saratoga
chip), is often made for those who don't eat butter, and is also suitable
for dinner. This "double-baked" bread, toast, and one or two of the above
varieties, are all put in an old-fashioned silver cake-basket, or actual
basket of wicker, and passed as often as necessary. Butter is also passed
(or helped) throughout the meal until the table is cleared for dessert.
Bread and butter plates are always removed with the salt and pepper pots.


The service is identical with that of dinner. Carving is done in the
kitchen and no food set on the table except ornamental dishes of fruit,
candy and nuts. The plate service is also the same as at dinner. The
places are never left plateless, excepting after salad, when the table is
cleared and crumbed for dessert. The dessert plates and finger bowls are
arranged as for dinner. Flowers are usually put in the finger bowls, a
little spray of any sweet-scented flower, but "corsage bouquets" laid at
the places with flower pins complete are in very bad taste.


Five courses at most (not counting the passing of a dish of candy or
after-dinner coffee as a course), or more usually four actual courses, are
thought sufficient in the smartest houses. Not even at the Worldlys' or
the Gildings' will you ever see a longer menu than:

  1. Fruit, or soup in cups
  2. Eggs
  3. Meat and vegetables
  4. Salad
  5. Dessert


  1. Fruit
  2. Soup
  3. Meat and vegetables
  4. Salad
  5. Dessert


  1. Fruit
  2. Soup
  3. Eggs
  4. Fowl or "tame" game with salad
  5. Dessert

An informal lunch menu is seldom more than four courses and would
eliminate either No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 5.

The most popular fruit course is a macédoine or mixture of fresh orange,
grape fruit, malaga grapes, banana, and perhaps a peach or a little
pineapple; in fact, any sort of fruit cut into very small pieces, with
sugar and maraschino, or rum, for flavor--or nothing but sugar--served in
special bowl-shaped glasses that fit into long-stemmed and much larger
ones, with a space for crushed ice between; or it can just as well be put
in champagne or any bowl-shaped glasses, after being kept as cold as
possible in the ice-box until sent to the table.

If the first course is grape fruit, it is cut across in half, the sections
cut free and all dividing skin and seeds taken out with a sharp vegetable
knife, and sugar put in it and left standing for an hour or so. A slice
of melon is served plain.

Soup at luncheon, or at a wedding breakfast or a ball supper, is never
served in soup plates, but in two-handled cups, and is eaten with a
teaspoon or a bouillon spoon. It is limited to a few varieties: either
chicken, or clam broth, with a spoonful of whipped cream on top; or
bouillon, or green turtle, or strained chicken, or tomato broth; or in
summer, cold bouillon or broth.

Lunch party egg dishes must number a hundred varieties. (See any cook
book!) Eggs that are substantial and "rich," such as eggs Benedict, or
stuffed with pâté de foie gras and a mushroom sauce, should then be
"balanced" by a simple meat, such as broiled chicken and salad, combining
meat and salad courses in one. On the other hand, should you have a light
egg course, like "eggs surprise," you could have meat and vegetables, and
plain salad; or an elaborate salad and no dessert. Or with fruit and soup,
omit eggs, especially if there is to be an aspic with salad.

The menu of an informal luncheon, if it does not leave out a course, at
least chooses simpler dishes. A bouillon or broth, shirred eggs or an
omelette; or scrambled eggs on toast which has first been spread with a
pâté or meat purée; then chicken or a chop with vegetables, a salad of
plain lettuce with crackers and cheese, and a pudding or pie or any other
"family" dessert. Or broiled chicken, chicken croquettes, or an aspic, is
served with the salad in very hot weather. While cold food is both
appropriate and palatable, no meal should ever be chosen without at least
one course of hot food. Many people dislike cold food, and it disagrees
with others, but if you offer your guests soup, or even tea or chocolate,
it would then do to have the rest of the meal cold.


It is an American custom--especially in communities where the five o'clock
tea habit is neither so strong nor so universal as in New York, for the
lady of a house to have the tea set put before her at the table, not only
when alone, but when having friends lunching informally with her, and to
pour tea, coffee, or chocolate. And there is certainly not the slightest
reason why, if she is used to these beverages and would feel their
omission, she should not "pour out" what she chooses. In fact, although
tea is never served hot at formal New York luncheons, iced tea is
customary in all country houses in summer; and chocolate, not poured by
the hostess, but brought in from the pantry and put down at the right of
each plate, is by no means unusual at informal lunch parties.

Iced tea at lunch in summer is poured at the table by a servant from a
glass pitcher, and is prepared like a "cup" with lemon and sugar, and
sometimes with cut up fresh fruit and a little squeezed fruit juice. Plain
cold tea may be passed in glasses, and lemon and sugar separately. At an
informal luncheon, cold coffee, instead of tea, is passed around in a
glass pitcher, on a tray that also holds a bowl of powdered sugar and a
pitcher of cold milk, and another of as thick as possible cream. The
guests pour their coffee to suit themselves into tall glasses half full of
broken ice, and furnished with very long-handled spoons.

If tea or coffee or chocolate are not served during the meal, there is
always a cup of some sort: grape or orange juice (in these days) with
sugar and mint leaves, and ginger ale or carbonic water.

If dessert is a hot pudding or pastry, the "hotel service" of dessert
plates should be used. The glass plate is particularly suitable for ice
cream or any cold dessert, but is apt to crack if intensely hot food is
put on it.


Gentlemen leave their coats, hats, sticks, in the hall; ladies leave heavy
outer wraps in the hall, or dressing-room, but always go into the
drawing-room with their hats and gloves on. They wear their fur neck
pieces and carry their muffs in their hands, if they choose, or they leave
them in the hall or dressing-room. But fashionable ladies _never_ take off
their hats. Even the hostess herself almost invariably wears a hat at a
formal luncheon in her own house, though there is no reason why she
should not be hatless if she prefers, or if she thinks she is prettier
without! Guests, however, do not take off their hats at a lunch party even
in the country. They take off their gloves at the table, or sooner if they
choose, and either remove or turn up, their veils. The hostess does not
wear gloves, ever. It is also very unsuitable for a hostess to wear a face
veil in her own house, unless there is something the matter with her face,
that must not be subjected to view! A hostess in a veil does not give her
guests the impression of "veiled beauty," but the contrary. Guests, on the
other hand, may with perfect fitness keep their veils on throughout the
meal, merely fastening the lower edge up over their noses. They must _not_
allow a veil to hang loose, and carry food under and behind it, nor must
they eat with gloves on. A veil kept persistently over the face, and
gloves kept persistently over the hands, means one thing: Ugliness behind.
So unless you have to--don't!

The wearing of elaborate dresses at luncheons has gone entirely out of
fashion; and yet one does once in a while see an occasional lady--rarely a
New Yorker--who outshines a bird of paradise and a jeweler's window; but
New York women of distinction wear rather simple clothes--simple meaning
untrimmed, not inexpensive. Very conspicuous clothes are chosen either by
the new rich, to assure themselves of their own elegance--which is utterly
lacking--or by the muttons dressed lamb-fashion, to assure themselves of
their own youth--which alas, is gone!

Gentlemen at luncheon in town on a Sunday wear cutaway coats; in other
words, what they wear to church. On a Saturday, they wear their business
suits, sack coat with either stiff or pleated-bosom shirts, and a starched
collar. In the country, they wear country clothes.



A butler wears his "morning" clothes; cutaway coat, gray striped trousers,
high black waistcoat, black tie. A "hired waiter" wears a dress suit, but
never a butler in a "smart" house; he does not put on his evening clothes
until after six o'clock. In a smart house, the footmen wear their dress
liveries, and a waitress and other maids wear their best uniforms.


The usual lunch hour is half past one. By a quarter to three the last
guest is invariably gone, unless, of course, it is a bridge luncheon, or
for some other reason they are staying longer. From half an hour to
three-quarters at the table, and from twenty minutes to half an hour's
conversation afterwards, means that by half past two (if lunch was prompt)
guests begin leaving. Once in a while, especially at a mixed lunch where
perhaps talented people are persuaded to become "entertainers" the
audience stays on for hours! But such parties are so out of the usual that
they have nothing to do with the ordinary procedure, which is to leave
about twenty minutes after the end of the meal.

The details for leaving are also the same as for dinners. One lady rises
and says good-by, the hostess rises and shakes hands and rings a bell (if
necessary) for the servant to be in the hall to open the door. When one
guest gets up to go, the others invariably follow. They say "Good-by" and
"Thank you so much."

Or, at a little luncheon, intimate friends often stay on indefinitely; but
when lunching with an acquaintance one should never stay a moment longer
than the other guests. The guest who sits on and on, unless earnestly
pressed to do so, is wanting in tact and social sense. If a hostess
invites a stranger who might by any chance prove a barnacle, she can
provide for the contingency by instructing her butler or waitress to tell
her when her car is at the door. She then says: "I had to have the car
announced, because I have an appointment at the doctor's. Do wait while I
put on my things--I shall be only a moment! And I can take you wherever
you want to go!" This expedient should not be used when a hostess has
leisure to sit at home, but on the other hand, a guest should never create
an awkward situation for her hostess by staying too long.

In the country where people live miles apart, they naturally stay somewhat
longer than in town.

Or two or three intimate friends who perhaps (especially in the country)
come to spend the day, are not bound by rules of etiquette but by the
rules of their own and their hostess' personal preference. They take off
their hats or not as they choose, and they bring their sewing or knitting
and sit all day, or they go out and play games, and in other ways behave
as house-guests rather than visitors at luncheon. The only rule about such
an informal gathering as this is, that no one should ever go and spend the
day and make herself at home unless she is in the house of a really very
intimate friend or relative, or unless she has been especially and
specifically invited to do that very thing.


This is nothing more nor less than a buffet lunch. It is popular because
it is a very informal and jolly sort of party--an indoor picnic
really--and never attempted except among people who know each other well.

The food is all put on the dining table and every one helps himself. There
is always bouillon or oyster stew or clam chowder. The most "informal"
dishes are suitable for this sort of a meal, as for a picnic. There are
two hot dishes and a salad, and a dessert which may be, but seldom is, ice

Stand-up luncheons are very practical for hostesses who have medium sized
houses, or when an elastic number of guests are expected at the time of a
ball game, or other event that congregates a great many people.

A hunt breakfast is usually a stand-up luncheon. It is a "breakfast" by
courtesy of half an hour in time. At twelve-thirty it is breakfast, at one
o'clock it is lunch.

Regular weekly stand-up luncheons are given by hospitable people who have
big places in the country and encourage their friends to drive over on
some especial day when they are "at home"--Saturdays or Sundays
generally--and intimate friends drop in uninvited, but always prepared
for. On such occasions, luncheon is made a little more comfortable by
providing innumerable individual tables to which people can carry the
plates, glasses or cups and sit down in comfort.


Supper is the most intimate meal there is, and since none but family or
closest friends are ever included, invitations are invariably by word of

The atmosphere of a luncheon is often formal, but informal luncheons and
suppers differ in nothing except day and evening lights, and clothes.
Strangers are occasionally invited to informal luncheons, but only
intimate friends are bidden to supper.


The table is set, as to places and napery, exactly like the lunch table,
with the addition of candlesticks or candelabra as at dinner. Where supper
differs from the usual lunch table is that in front of the hostess is a
big silver tea-tray with full silver service for tea or cocoa or chocolate
or breakfast coffee, most often chocolate or cocoa and either tea or
coffee. At the host's end of the table there is perhaps a chafing
dish--that is, if the host fancies himself a cook!

A number of people whose establishments are not very large, have very
informal Sunday night suppers on their servants' Sundays out, and forage
for themselves. The table is left set, a cold dish of something and salad
are left in the icebox; the ingredients for one or two chafing dish
specialties are also left ready. At supper time a member of the family,
and possibly an intimate friend or two, carry the dishes to the table and
make hot toast on a toaster.

This kind of supper is, in fact as well as spirit, an indoor picnic;
thought to be the greatest fun by the Kindharts, but little appreciated by
the Gildings, which brings it down, with so many other social customs, to
a mere matter of personal taste.



A ball is the only social function in America to which such qualifying
words as splendor and magnificence can with proper modesty of expression
be applied. Even the most elaborate wedding is not quite "a scene of
splendor and magnificence" no matter how luxurious the decorations or how
costly the dress of the bride and bridesmaids, because the majority of the
wedding guests do not complete the picture. A dinner may be lavish, a
dance may be beautiful, but a ball alone is prodigal, meaning, of course,
a private ball of greatest importance.

On rare occasions, a great ball is given in a private house, but since few
houses are big enough to provide dancing space for several hundred and
sit-down supper space for a greater number still, besides smoking-room,
dressing-room and sitting-about space, it would seem logical to describe a
typical ball as taking place in the ballroom suite built for the purpose
in nearly all hotels.


The hostess who is not giving the ball in her own house goes first of all
to see the manager of the hotel (or of whatever suitable assembly rooms
there may be) and finds out which evenings are available. She then
telephones--probably from the manager's office--and engages the two best
orchestras for whichever evening both the orchestras and the ballroom are
at her disposal. Of the two, music is of more importance than rooms. With
perfect music the success of a ball is more than three-quarters assured;
without it, the most beautiful decorations and most delicious supper are
as flat as a fallen soufflé. You cannot give a ball or a dance that is
anything but a dull promenade if you have dull music.

To illustrate the importance that prominent hostesses attach to music: a
certain orchestra in New York to-day is forced to dash almost daily, not
alone from party to party, but from city to city. Time and again its
leader has conducted the music at a noon wedding in Philadelphia, and a
ball in Boston; or a dancing tea in Providence and a ball that evening in
New York; because Boston, Providence, New York and Philadelphia hostesses
all at the present moment clamor for this one especial orchestra. The men
have a little more respite than the leader since it is his "leading" that
every one insists upon. Tomorrow another orchestra will probably make the
daily tour of various cities' ballrooms.

At all balls, there must be two orchestras, so that each time one finishes
playing the other begins. At very dignified private balls, dancers should
not stand in the middle of the floor and clap as they do in a dance hall
or cabaret if the music ends. On the other hand, the music should not end.

Having secured the music and engaged the ballroom, reception rooms,
dressing-rooms and smoking-room, as well as the main restaurant (after it
is closed to the public), the hostess next makes out her list and orders
and sends out her invitations.


The fundamental difference between a ball and a dance is that people of
all ages are asked to a ball, while only those of approximately one age
are asked to a dance. Once in a while a ball is given to which the hostess
invites every person on her visiting list. Mr. and Mrs. Titherington de
Puyster give one every season, which although a credit to their intentions
is seldom a credit to their sense of beauty!

Snobbish as it sounds and _is_, a brilliant ball is necessarily a
collection of brilliantly fashionable people, and the hostess who gathers
in all the oddly assorted frumps on the outskirts of society cannot expect
to achieve a very distinguished result.

Ball invitations properly include all of the personal friends of the
hostess no matter what their age, and all her better-known social
acquaintances--meaning every one she would be likely to invite to a formal
dinner. She does not usually invite a lady with whom she may work on a
charitable committee, even though she may know her well, and like her. The
question as to whether an outsider may be invited is not a matter of a
hostess' own inclination so much as a question whether the "outsider"
would be agreeable to all the "insiders" who are coming. If the co-worker
is in everything a lady and a fitting ornament to society, the hostess
might very possibly ask her.

If the ball to be given is for a débutante, all the débutantes whose
mothers are on the "general visiting list" are asked as well as all young
dancing men in these same families. In other words the children of all
those whose names are on the general visiting list of a hostess are
selected to receive invitations, but the parents on whose standing the
daughters and sons are asked, are rarely invited.

_When a List is Borrowed_

A lady who has a débutante daughter, but who has not given any general
parties for years--or ever, and whose daughter, having been away at
boarding-school or abroad, has therefore very few acquaintances of her
own, must necessarily in sending out invitations to a ball take the list
of young girls and men from a friend or a member of her family. This of
course could only be done by a hostess whose position is unquestioned, but
having had no occasion to keep a young people's list, she has not the
least idea who the young people of the moment are, and takes a short-cut
as above. Otherwise she would send invitations to children of ten and
spinsters of forty, trusting to their being of suitable age.

To take a family or intimate friend's list is also important to the
unaccustomed hostess, because to leave out any of the younger set who
"belong" in the groups which are included, is not the way to make a party
a success. Those who don't find their friends go home, or stay and are
bored, and the whole party sags in consequence. So that if a hostess
knows the parents personally of, let us say, eighty per cent. of young
society, she can quite properly include the twenty per cent. she does not
know, so that the hundred per cent. can come together. In a small
community it is rather cruel to leave out any of the young people whose
friends are all invited. In a very great city on the other hand, an
habitual hostess does not ask any to her house whom she does not know, but
she can of course be as generous as she chooses in allowing young people
to have invitations for friends.

_Asking for an Invitation to a Ball_

It is always permissible to ask a hostess if you may "bring" a dancing man
who is a stranger to her. It is rather difficult to ask for an invitation
for an extra girl, and still more difficult to ask for older people,
because the hostess has no ground on which she can refuse without being
rude; she can't say there is no room since no dance is really limited, and
least of all a ball. Men who dance are always an asset, and the more the
better; but a strange young girl hung around the neck of the hostess is
about as welcome as a fog at a garden party. If the girl is to be brought
and "looked after" by the lady asking for the invitation--who has herself
been already invited--that is another matter, and the hostess can not well
object. Or if the young girl is the fiancée of the man whose mother asks
for the invitation, that is all right too; since he will undoubtedly come
with her and see that she is not left alone. Invitations for older people
are never asked for unless they are rather distinguished strangers and
unquestionably suitable.

Invitations are never asked for persons whom the hostess already knows,
since if she had cared to invite them she would have done so. It is,
however, not at all out of the way for an intimate friend to remind her of
some one who in receiving no invitation has more than likely been
overlooked. If the omission was intentional, nothing need be said; if it
was an oversight, the hostess is very glad to repair her forgetfulness.

_Invitations for Strangers_

An invitation that has been asked for a stranger is sent direct and
without comment. For instance, when the Greatlakes of Chicago came to New
York for a few weeks, Mrs. Norman asked both Mrs. Worldly and Mrs. Gilding
to send them invitations; one to a musicale and the other to a ball. The
Greatlakes received these invitations without Mrs. Norman's card enclosed
or any other word of explanation, as it was taken for granted that Mrs.
Norman would tell the Greatlakes that it was through her that the
invitations were sent. The Greatlakes said "Thank you very much for asking
us" when they bid their hostess good night, and they also left their cards
immediately on the Worldlys and Gildings after the parties--but it was
also the duty of Mrs. Norman to thank both hostesses--verbally--for
sending the invitations.


So far as good taste is concerned, the decorations for a ball cannot be
too lavish or beautiful. To be sure they should not be lavish if one's
purse is limited, but if one's purse is really limited, one should not
give a ball! A small dance or a dancing tea would be more suitable.

Ball decorations have on occasions been literally astounding, but as a
rule no elaboration is undertaken other than hanging greens and flowers
over the edge of the gallery, if there is a gallery, banking palms in
corners, and putting up sheaves of flowers or trailing vines wherever most
effective. In any event the hostess consults her florist, but if the
decorations are to be very important, an architect or an artist is put in
charge, with a florist under him.


Certain sounds, perfumes, places, always bring associated pictures to
mind: Restaurant suppers; Paris! Distinguished-looking audiences; London!
The essence of charm in society; Rome! Beguiling and informal joyousness;
San Francisco! Recklessness; Colorado Springs! The afternoon visit;
Washington! Hectic and splendid gaiety; New York! Beautiful balls; Boston!

There are three reasons (probably more) why the balls in Boston have what
can be described only by the word "quality." The word "elegance" before it
was misused out of existence expressed it even better.

First: Best Society in Boston having kept its social walls intact,
granting admission only to those of birth and breeding, has therefore
preserved a quality of unmistakable cultivation. There are undoubtedly
other cities, especially in the South, which have also kept their walls up
and their traditions intact--but Boston has been the wise virgin as well,
and has kept her lamp filled.

Second: Boston hostesses of position have never failed to demand of those
who would remain on their lists, strict obedience to the tenets of
ceremonies and dignified behavior; nor ceased themselves to cultivate
something of the "grand manner" that should be the birthright of every
thoroughbred lady and gentleman.

Third: Boston's older ladies and gentlemen always dance at balls, and they
neither rock around the floor, nor take their dancing violently. And the
fact that older ladies of distinction dance with dignity, has an
inevitable effect upon younger ones, so that at balls at least, dancing
has not degenerated into gymnastics or contortions.

The extreme reverse of a "smart" Boston ball is one--no matter
where--which has a roomful of people who deport themselves abominably, who
greet each other by waving their arms aloft, who dance like Apaches or
jiggling music-box figures, and who scarcely suggest an assemblage of even
decent--let alone well-bred--people.


A sit-down supper that is served continuously for two or three hours, is
the most elaborate ball supper. Next in importance is the sit-down supper
at a set time. Third, the buffet supper which is served at dances but not
at balls.

At the most fashionable New York balls, supper service begins at one and
continues until three and people go when they feel like it. The
restaurant is closed to the public at one o'clock; the entrance is then
curtained or shut off from the rest of the hotel. The tables are decorated
with flowers and the supper service opened for the ball guests. Guests sit
where they please, either "making up a table," or a man and his partner
finding a place wherever there are two vacant chairs. At a private ball
guests do not pay for anything or sign supper checks, or tip the waiter,
since the restaurant is for the time being the private dining-room of the
host and hostess.

At a sit-down supper at a set hour, the choice of menu is unlimited, but
suppers are never as elaborate now as they used to be. Years ago few balls
were given without terrapin, and a supper without champagne was as unheard
of. In fact, champagne was the heaviest item of expenditure always.
Decorations might be very limited, but champagne was as essential as
music! Cotillion favors were also an important item which no longer
exists; and champagne has gone its way with nectar, to the land of fable,
so that if you eliminate elaborate decorations, ball-giving is not half
the expense it used to be.


When the service of supper continues for several hours, it is necessary to
select food that can be kept hot indefinitely without being spoiled. Birds
or broiled chicken, which should be eaten the moment they are cooked, are
therefore unsuitable. Dishes prepared in sauce keep best, such as lobster
Newburg, sweetbreads and mushrooms, chicken à la King, or creamed oysters.
Pâtés are satisfactory as the shells can be heated in a moment and hot
creamed chicken or oysters poured in. Of course all cold dishes and salads
can stand in the pantry or on a buffet table all evening.

The menu for supper at a ball is entirely a matter of the hostess'
selection, but whether it is served at one time or continuously, the
supper menu at an important ball includes:

1. Bouillon or green turtle (clear) in cups.

2. Lobster a la Newburg (or terrapin or oyster pâté or another hot dish of
shell-fish or fowl).

3. A second choice hot dish of some sort, squab, chicken and peas (if
supper is served at a special hour) or croquettes and peas if continuous.

4. Salad, which includes every variety known, with or without an aspic.

5. Individual ices, fancy cakes.

6. Black coffee in little cups.

Breakfast served at about four in the morning and consisting of scrambled
eggs with sausages or bacon and breakfast coffee and rolls is an
occasional custom at both dances and balls.

There is always an enormous glass bowl of punch or orangeade--sometimes
two or three bowls each containing a different iced drink--in a room
adjoining the ballroom. And in very cold climates it is the thoughtful
custom of some hostesses to have a cup of hot chocolate or bouillon
offered each departing guest. This is an especially welcome attention to
those who have a long drive home.


A dance is merely a ball on a smaller scale, fewer people are asked to it
and it has usually, but not necessarily, simpler decorations.

But the real difference is that invitations to balls always include older
people--as many if not more than younger ones--whereas invitations to a
dance for a débutante, for instance, include none but very young girls,
young men and the merest handful of the hostess' most intimate friends.

Supper may equally be a simple buffet or an elaborate sit-down one,
depending upon the size and type of the house.

Or a dance may equally well as a ball be given in the "banquet" or smaller
ballroom of a hotel, or in the assembly or ballroom of a club.

A formal dance differs from an informal one merely in elaboration, and in
whether the majority of those present are strangers to one another; a
really informal dance is one to which only those who know one another well
are invited.


There is always an awning and a red carpet down the steps (or up), and a
chauffeur to open the carriage doors and a policeman or detective to see
that strangers do not walk uninvited into the house. If there is a great
crush, there is a detective in the hall to "investigate" anyone who does
not have himself announced to the hostess.

All the necessary appurtenances such as awning, red carpet, coat hanging
racks, ballroom chairs, as well as crockery, glass, napkins, waiters and
food are supplied by hotels or caterers. (Excepting in houses like the
Gildings,' where footmen's liveries are kept purposely, the caterer's men
are never in footmen's liveries.)

Unless a house has a ballroom the room selected for dancing must have all
the furniture moved out of it; and if there are adjoining rooms and the
dancing room is not especially big, it adds considerably to the floor
space to put no chairs around it. Those who dance seldom sit around a
ballroom anyway, and the more informal grouping of chairs in the hall or
library is a better arrangement than the wainscot row or wall-flower
exposition grounds. The floor, it goes without saying, must be smooth and
waxed, and no one should attempt to give a dance whose house is not big


New York's invitations are usually for "ten o'clock" but first guests do
not appear before ten-thirty and most people arrive at about eleven or
after. The hostess, however, must be ready to receive on the stroke of the
hour specified in her invitations, and the débutante or any one the ball
may be given for, must also be with her.

It is not customary to put the débutante's name on the formal "At Home"
invitation, and it is even occasionally omitted on invitations that
"request the pleasure of ----" so that the only way acquaintances can know
the ball is being given for the daughter is by seeing her standing beside
her mother.

              Mr. & Mrs. Robert Gilding

               request the pleasure of

            [Name of guest is written here]

    company on Tuesday, the twenty-seventh of December

                   at ten o'clock

                 at the Fitz-Cherry

    Dancing                         R.s.v.p.
                                    Twenty-three East Laurel Street

The hostess never leaves her post, wherever it is she is standing, until
she goes to supper. If, as at the Ritz in New York, the ballroom opens on
a foyer at the head of a stairway, the hostess always receives at this
place. In a private house where guests go up in an elevator to the
dressing rooms, and then walk down to the ballroom floor, the hostess
receives either at the foot of the stairway, or just outside the ballroom.


Guests arriving are announced, as at a dinner or afternoon tea, and after
shaking hands with the hostess, they must pass on into the ballroom. It is
not etiquette to linger beside the hostess for more than a moment,
especially if later arrivals are being announced. A stranger ought never
go to a ball alone, as the hostess is powerless to "look after" any
especial guests; her duty being to stand in one precise place and receive.
A stranger who is a particular friend of the hostess would be looked after
by the host; but a stranger who is invited through another guest should be
looked after by that other.

A gentleman who has received an invitation through a friend is usually
accompanied by the friend who presents him. Otherwise when the butler
announces him to the hostess, he bows, and says "Mrs. Norman asked you if
I might come." And the hostess shakes hands and says "How do you do, I am
very glad to see you." If other young men or any young girls are standing
near, the hostess very likely introduces him. Otherwise, if he knows no
one, he waits among the stags until his own particular sponsor appears.

After supper, when she is no longer receiving, the hostess is free to talk
with her friends and give her attention to the roomful of young people who
are actually in her charge.

When her guests leave she does not go back to where she received, but
stands wherever she happens to be, shakes hands and says "Good night."
There is one occasion when it is better not to bid one's hostess good
night, and that is, if one finds her party dull and leaves again
immediately; in this one case it is more polite to slip away so as to
attract the least attention possible, but late in the evening it is
inexcusably ill mannered not to find her and say "Good night" and "Thank

The duty of seeing that guests are looked after, that shy youths are
presented to partners, that shyer girls are not left on the far
wall-flower outposts, that the dowagers are taken in to supper, and that
the elderly gentlemen are provided with good cigars in the smoking-room,
falls to the host and his son or son-in-law, or any other near male member
of the family.


Vouchers or tickets of admission like those sent with invitations to
assembly or public balls should be enclosed in invitations to a
masquerade; it would be too easy otherwise for dishonest or other
undesirable persons to gain admittance. If vouchers are not sent with the
invitations, or better yet, mailed afterwards to all those who have
accepted, it is necessary that the hostess receive her guests singly in a
small private room and request each to unmask before her.


If you analyze the precepts laid down by etiquette you will find that for
each there is a perfectly good reason. Years ago a lady never walked
across a ballroom floor without the support of a gentleman's arm, which
was much easier than walking alone across a very slippery surface in
high-heeled slippers. When the late Ward McAllister classified New York
society as having four hundred people who were "at ease in a ballroom," he
indicated that the ballroom was the test of the best manners. He also said
at a dinner--after his book was published and the country had already made
New York's "Four Hundred" a theme for cartoons and jests--that among the
"Four hundred who were at ease," not more than ten could gracefully cross
a ballroom floor alone. If his ghost is haunting the ballrooms of our
time, it is certain the number is still further reduced. The athletic
young woman of to-day strides across the ballroom floor as though she were
on the golf course; the happy-go-lucky one ambles--shoulders stooped, arms
swinging, hips and head in advance of chest; others trot, others shuffle,
others make a rush for it. The young girl who could walk across a room
with the consummate grace of Mrs. Oldname (who as a girl of eighteen was
one of Mr. McAllister's ten) would have to be very assiduously sought for.

How does Mrs. Oldname walk? One might answer by describing how Pavlowa
dances. Her body is perfectly balanced, she holds herself straight, and
yet in nothing suggests a ramrod. She takes steps of medium length, and,
like all people who move and dance well, walks from the hip, not the knee.
On no account does she swing her arms, nor does she rest a hand on her
hip! Nor when walking, does she wave her hands about in gesticulation.

Some one asked her if she had ever been _taught_ to cross a ballroom
floor. As a matter of fact, she had. Her grandmother, who was a Toplofty,
made all her grandchildren walk daily across a polished floor with
sand-bags on their heads. And the old lady directed the drill herself. No
shuffling of feet and no stamping, either; no waggling of hips, no
swinging of arms, and not a shoulder stooped. Furthermore, they were
taught to enter a room and to sit for an indefinite period in
self-effacing silence while their elders were talking.

Older gentlemen still give their arms to older ladies in all "promenading"
at a ball, since the customs of a lifetime are not broken by one short and
modern generation. Those of to-day walk side by side, except in going down
to supper when supper is at a set hour.

At public balls when there is a grand march, ladies take gentlemen's arms.


The glittering display of tinsel satin favors that used to be the featured
and gayest decoration of every ballroom, is gone; the cotillion leader,
his hands full of "seat checks," his manners a cross between those of Lord
Chesterfield and a traffic policeman, is gone; and much of the distinction
that used to be characteristic of the ballroom is gone with the cotillion.
There is no question that a cotillion was prettier to look at than a mob
scene of dancers crowding each other for every few inches of progress.

The reason why cotillions were conducive to good manners was that people
were on exhibition, where now they are unnoticed components of a general
crowd. When only a sixth, at most, of those in the room danced while
others had nothing to do but watch them, it was only natural that those
"on exhibition" should dance as well as they possibly could, and since
their walking across the room and asking others to dance by "offering a
favor" was also watched, grace of deportment and correct manners were not
likely to deteriorate, either.

The cotillion was detested and finally banned by the majority who wanted
to dance ceaselessly throughout the evening. But it was of particular
advantage to the very young girl who did not know many men, as well as to
what might be called the helpless type. Each young girl, if she had a
partner, had a place where she belonged and where she sat throughout the
evening. And since no couple could dance longer than the few moments
allowed by the "figure," there was no chance of anyone's being "stuck"; so
that the average girl had a better chance of being asked to dance than
now--when, without programmes, and without cotillions, there is nothing to
relieve the permanency of a young man's attachment to an unknown young
girl once he asks her to dance.


Instead of being easier, it would seem that time makes it increasingly
difficult for any but distinct successes to survive the ordeal by
ballroom. Years ago a débutante was supposed to flutter into society in
the shadow of mamma's protecting amplitude; to-day she is packed off by
herself and with nothing to relieve her dependence upon whoever may come
near her. To liken a charming young girl in the prettiest of frocks to a
spider is not very courteous; and yet the rôle of spider is what she is
forced by the exigencies of ballroom etiquette to play. She _must_ catch a
fly, meaning a trousered companion, so as not to be left in placarded
disgrace; and having caught him she must hang on to him until another
takes his place.

There should be drastic revision of ballroom customs. There is a desperate
need of what in local dancing classes was called the "Dump," where without
rudeness a gentleman could leave a lady as soon as they had finished

There used to be a chaperon into whose care a young girl could be
committed; there used to be the "dance card", or programme (still in vogue
at public balls) that allotted a certain dance to a certain gentleman and
lady equally. There used to be the cotillion which, while cruel, at least
committed its acts of cruelty with merciful dispatch. When the cotillion
began, the girl who had no partner--went home. She had to. Now, once she
has acquired a companion, he is planted beside her until another takes his
place. It is this fact and no other which is responsible for the dread
that the average young girl feels in facing the ordeal of a ballroom, and
for the discourteous unconcern shown by dancing men who under other
conditions would be friendly.

The situation of a young girl, left cruelly alone, draws its own picture,
but the reason for the callous and ill-mannered behavior of the average
dancing man, may perhaps need a word of explanation.

For instance: Jim Smartlington, when he was a senior at college, came down
to the Toploftys' ball on purpose to see Mary Smith. Very early, before
Mary arrived, he saw a Miss Blank, a girl he had met at a dinner in
Providence, standing at the entrance of the room. Following a casual
impulse of friendliness he asked her to dance. She danced badly. No one
"cut in" and they danced and danced, sat down and danced again. Mary
arrived. Jim walked Miss Blank near the "stag" line and introduced several
men, who bowed and slid out of sight with the dexterity of eels who
recognized a hook. From half-past ten until supper at half-past one, Jim
was "planted." He was then forced to tell her he had a partner for supper,
and left her at the door of the dressing-room. There was no other place to
"leave her." He felt like a brute and a cad, even though he had waited
nearly three hours before being able to speak to the girl he had come
purposely to see.

There really is something to be said on the man's side; especially on that
of one who has to get up early in the morning and who, only intending to
see one or two particular friends and then go home, is forced because of
an impulse of courtesy not only to spend an endless and exhausting
evening, but to be utterly unfit for his work next day.

One is equally sorry for the girl! But in the example above her stupid
handling of the situation not only spoiled one well-intentioned man's
evening, but completely "finished" herself so far as her future chances
for success were concerned. Not alone her partner but every brother-stag
who stood in the doorway mentally placarded her "Keep off." It is
suicidal for a girl to make any man spend an entire evening with her. If
at the end of two dances, there is no intimate friend she can signal to,
or an older lady she can insist on being left with, she should go home;
and if the same thing happens several times, she should not go to balls.

For the reasons given above, there is little that a hostess or host can
do, unless a promise of "release" is held out, and that in itself is a
deplorable situation; a humiliation that no young girl's name should be
submitted to. And yet there it is! It is only necessary for a hostess to
say "I want to introduce you to a charming----" And she is already speaking
to the air.

Boston hostesses solve the problem of a young girl's success in a ballroom
in a way unknown in New York, by having ushers.


Each hostess chooses from among the best known young men in society, who
have perfect address and tact, a number to act as ushers. They are
distinguished by white boutonnières, like those worn by ushers at a
wedding, and they are deputy hosts. It is their duty to see that
wall-flowers are not left decorating the seats in the ballroom and it is
also their duty to relieve a partner who has too long been planted beside
the same "rosebud."

The ushers themselves have little chance to follow their own inclinations,
and unless the "honor" of being chosen by a prominent hostess has some
measure of compensation, the appointment--since it may not be refused--is
a doubtful pleasure. An usher has the right to introduce anyone to anyone
without knowing either principal personally and without asking any lady's
permission. He may also ask a lady (if he has a moment to himself) to
dance with him, whether he has ever met her or not, and he can also leave
her promptly, because any "stag" called upon by an usher must dance. The
usher in turn must release every "stag" he calls upon by substituting
another; and the second by a third and so on. In order to make a ball
"go," meaning to keep everyone dancing, the ushers have on occasions to
spend the entire evening in relief work.

At a ball where there are ushers, a girl standing or sitting alone would
at once be rescued by one of them, and a rotation of partners presented to
her. If she is "hopeless"--meaning neither pretty nor attractive nor a
good dancer--even the ushers are in time forced to relieve her partners
and take her to a dowager friend of the hostess, beside whom she will be
obliged to sit until she learns that she must seek her popularity
otherwhere than at balls.

On the other hand, on an occasion when none of her friends happen to be
present, the greatest belle of the year can spend an equally deadly


The program or dance-card of public balls and college class dances, has
undeniable advantages. A girl can give as many dances as she chooses to
whomever she chooses; and a man can be sure of having not only many but
uninterrupted dances with the one he most wants to be with--provided "she"
is willing. Why the dance-card is unheard of at private balls in New York
is hard to determine, except that fashionable society does not care to
take its pleasure on schedule! The gilded youth likes to dance when the
impulse moves him; he also likes to be able to stay or leave when he
pleases. In New York there are often two or three dances given on the same
evening, and he likes to drift from one to the other just as he likes to
drift from one partner to another, or not dance at all if he does not want
to. A man who writes himself down for the tenth jazz must be eagerly
appearing on the stroke of the first bar. Or if he does not engage his
partners busily at the opening of the evening, he can not dance at all--he
may not want to, but he hates not being able to.

So again we come back to the present situation and the problem of the
average young girl whose right it is, because of her youth and sweetness,
to be happy and young--and not to be terrified, wretched and neglected.
The one and only solution seems to be for her to join a group.


If a number of young girls and young men come together--better yet, if
they go everywhere together, always sit in a flock, always go to supper
together, always dance with one another--they not only have a good time
but they are sure to be popular with drifting odd men also. If a man knows
that having asked a girl to dance, one of her group will inevitably "cut
in," he is eager to dance with her. Or if he can take her "to the others"
when they have danced long enough, he is not only delighted to be with her
for a while but to sit with her "and the others" off and on throughout
that and every other evening, because since there are always "some of them
together" he can go again the moment he chooses.

Certain groups of clever girls sit in precisely the same place in a
ballroom, to the right of the door, or the left, or in a corner. One might
almost say they form a little club; they dance as much as they like, but
come back "home" between whiles. They all go to supper together, and
whether individuals have partners or not is scarcely noticeable, nor even
known by themselves.

No young girl, unless she is a marked favorite, should ever go to a ball
alone. If her especial "flock" has not as yet been systematized, she must
go to a dinner before every dance, so as to go, and stay, with a group. If
she is not asked to dinner, her mother must give one for her; or she must
have at least one dependable beau--or better, two--who will wait for her
and look out for her.


A young girl who goes to a ball without a chaperon (meaning of course a
private ball), takes a maid with her who sits in the dressing-room the
entire evening. Not only is it thought proper to have a maid waiting, but
nothing can add more to the panic of a partnerless girl than to feel she
has not even a means of escape by going home; she can always call a taxi
as long as her maid is with her, and go. Otherwise she either has to stay
in the ballroom or sit forlorn among the visiting maids in the


Much of the above is so pessimistic one might suppose that a ballroom is
always a chamber of torture and the young girl taken as an example above,
a very drab and distorted caricature of what "a real young girl" should be
and is. But remember, the young girl who is a "belle of the ballroom"
needs no advice on how to manage a happy situation; no thought spent on
how to make a perfect time better. The ballroom is the most wonderful
stage-setting there is for the girl who is a ballroom success. And for
this, especial talents are needed just as they are for art or sport or any
other accomplishment.

The great ballroom success, first and foremost, dances well. Almost always
she is pretty. Beauty counts enormously at a ball. The girl who is
beautiful and dances well is, of course, the ideal ballroom belle.
But--this for encouragement--these qualities can in a measure at least be
acquired. All things being more or less equal, the girl who dances best
has the most partners. Let a daughter of Venus or the heiress of Midas
dance badly, and she might better stay at home.

To dance divinely is an immortal gift, but to dance well can (except in
obstinate cases, as the advertisements say) be taught. Let us suppose
therefore, that she dances well, that she has a certain degree of looks,
that she is fairly intelligent. The next most important thing, after
dancing well, is to be unafraid, and to look as though she were having a
good time. Conversational cleverness is of no account in a ballroom; some
of the greatest belles ever known have been as stupid as sheep, but they
have had happy dispositions and charming and un-self-conscious manners.
There is one thing every girl who would really be popular should learn, in
fact, she must learn--self-unconsciousness! The best advice might be to
follow somewhat the precepts of mental science and make herself believe
that a good time exists in her own mind. If she can become possessed with
the idea that she is having a good time and look as though she were, the
psychological effect is astonishing.


When one of the "stags" standing in the doorway sees a girl dance past
whom he wants to dance with, he darts forward, lays his hand on the
shoulder of her partner, who relinquishes his place in favor of the
newcomer, and a third in turn does the same to him. Or, the one, who was
first dancing with her, may "cut in on" the partner who took her from him,
after she has danced once around the ballroom. This seemingly far from
polite maneuver, is considered correct behavior in best society in Boston,
New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago, San Francisco, and
therefore most likely in all parts of America. (Not in London, nor on the

At dances organized during the War in the canteens for soldiers and
sailors on furlough, the men refused to "cut in" because they thought it
was rude and undoubtedly it is, except that custom has made it acceptable.
If, however, it still seems "rude" to the young men of Othertown to "cut
in," then they should not do so.


On the other hand, if a girl is sitting in another room, or on the stairs
with a man alone, a second one should not interrupt, or ask her to dance.
If she is sitting in a group, he can go up and ask her, "Don't you want to
dance some of this?" She then either smiles and says, "Not just now--I am
very tired," or if she likes him, she may add, "Come and sit with us!"

To refuse to dance with one man and then immediately dance with another is
an open affront to the first one--excusable only if he was intoxicated or
otherwise actually offensive so that the affront was both intentional and
justifiable. But under ordinary circumstances, if she is "dancing," she
must dance with everyone who asks her; if she is "not dancing," she must
not make exceptions.

An older lady can very properly refuse to dance and then perhaps dance
briefly with her son or husband, without hurting her guest's proper pride,
but having refused to dance with one gentleman she must not change her
mind and dance later with another.

A young girl who is dancing may not refuse to change partners when another
"cuts in." This is the worst phase of the "cutting in" custom; those who
particularly want to dance together are often unable to take more than a
dozen steps before being interrupted. Once in a while a girl will shake
her head "No" to a "stag" who darts toward her. But that is considered
rude. A few others have devised dancing with their eyes shut as a signal
that they do not want to be "cut in on." But this is neither customary nor
even a generally known practise.

It is always the privilege of the girl to stop dancing; a man is supposed
to dance on and on, until she--or the music--stops.


When a gentleman is introduced to a lady he says, "May I have some of
this?" or "Would you care to dance?"

A lady never asks a gentleman to dance, or to go to supper with her,
though she may if she is older, or if she is a young girl who is one of a
"flock," she may say "Come and sit at our table!" This however would not
imply that in sitting at "their" table he is supposed to sit next to her.

In asking a lady to go to supper, a gentleman should say "Will you go to
supper with me?" Or "May I take you to supper?" He should never say, "Have
you a partner?" as she is put in an awkward position in having to admit
that she has none.


Since a girl may not without rudeness refuse to dance with a man who "cuts
in," a man who does not know how to dance is inexcusably inconsiderate if
he "cuts in" on a good dancer and compels a young girl to become
instructress for his own pleasure with utter disregard of hers. If at
home, or elsewhere, a young girl volunteers to "teach" him, that is
another matter, but even so, the ballroom is no place to practise--unless
he is very sure that his dancing is not so bad as to be an imposition on
his teacher.


"The scene represents the palace and garden at Versailles. There were only
four tables. Singers appeared on the balcony during dinner, other
performers danced, sang and juggled on the pathways. After the dinner the
pathways of grass were taken up to permit dancing by the guests." [Page


Formal occasions demand strict conventions. At an important wedding, at a
dinner of ceremony, at a ball, it is not only bad form but shocking to
deviate from accepted standards of formality. "Surprize" is an element
that must be avoided on all dignified occasions. Those therefore, who
think it would be original and pleasing to spring surprizes on their
guests at an otherwise conventional and formal entertainment, should save
their ideas for a children's party where surprizes not only belong, but
are delightedly appreciated. To be sure, one might perhaps consider that
scenic effects or unusual diversions, such as one sees at a costume ball
or a "period" dinner, belong under the head of "surprize." But in the
first place such entertainments are not conventional; and in the second,
details that are in accordance with the period or design of the ball or
dinner are "conventions" after all.

On the other hand, in the country especially, nothing can be more fun or
more appropriate than a barn dance, or an impromptu play, or a calico
masquerade, with properties and clothes made of any old thing and in a few
hours--even in a few minutes.

Music need not be an orchestra but it must be good, and the floor must be
adequate and smooth. The supper is of secondary importance. As for
manners, even though they may be "unrestrained," they can be meticulously
perfect for all that! There is no more excuse for rude or careless or
selfish behavior at a picnic than at a ball.


A public ball is a ball given for a benefit or charity. A committee makes
the arrangements and tickets are sold to the public, either by being put
on sale at hotels or at the house of the secretary of the committee. A
young girl of social position does not go to a public ball without a
chaperon. To go in the company of one or more gentlemen would be an
unheard-of breach of propriety.


These are often of greater importance in a community than any number of
its private balls. In Boston and Philadelphia for instance, a person's
social standing is dependent upon whether or not she or he is "invited to
the Assemblies." The same was once true in New York when the Patriarch and
Assembly Balls were the dominating entertainments. In Baltimore too, a
man's social standing is non-existent if he does not belong to the "Monday
Germans," and in many other cities membership in the subscription dances
or dancing classes or sewing circles distinctly draws the line between the
inside somebodies and the outside nobodies.

Subscription dances such as these are managed and all invitations are
issued by patronesses who are always ladies of unquestioned social
prominence. Usually these patronesses are elected for life, or at least
for a long period of years. When for one reason or another a vacancy
occurs, a new member is elected by the others to fill her place. No
outsider may ever ask to become a member. Usually a number of names are
suggested and voted on at a meeting, and whoever wins the highest number
of votes is elected.

The expenses of balls such as Assemblies, are borne by the patronesses
collectively, but other types of dances are paid for by subscribers who
are invited to "take tickets"--as will be explained.

_How Subscription Dances Are Organized_

Whether in city, town or village, the organization is the same: A small
group of important ladies decide that it would be agreeable to have two or
three balls--or maybe only one--a season. This original group then
suggests additional names until they have all agreed upon a list
sufficient in size to form a nucleus. These then are invited to join, and
all of them at another meeting decide on the final size of the list and
whom it is to include. The list may be a hundred, or it may stay at the
original group of a half dozen or so. Let us for example say the complete
list is fifty. Fifty ladies, therefore, the most prominent possible, are
the patronesses or managers, or whatever they choose to call themselves.
They also elect a chairman, a vice-chairman, a secretary, and a treasurer.
They then elect seven or eight others who are to constitute the managing
committee. The other thirty-eight or forty are merely "members" who will
pay their dues and have the right to a certain number of tickets for each
of the balls. These tickets, by the way, are never actually sent by the
members themselves, who merely submit the names of the guests they have
chosen to the committee on invitations. This is the only practical way to
avoid duplication. Otherwise, let us say that Mrs. Oldname, Mrs. Worldly,
Mrs. Norman and Mrs. Gilding each send their two tickets to the young
Smartlingtons, which would mean that the Smartlingtons would have to
return three, and those three invitations would start off on a second
journey perhaps to be returned again.

On the other hand, if each patroness sends in a list, the top names which
have not yet been entered in the "invitation book" are automatically
selected, and the committee notify her to whom her invitations went.

There is also another very important reason for the sending in of every
name to the committee: exclusiveness. Otherwise the balls would all too
easily deteriorate into the character of public ones. Every name must be
approved by the committee on invitations, who always hold a special
meeting for the purpose, so that no matter how willing a certain careless
member would be to include Mr. and Mrs. Unsuitable, she is powerless to
send them tickets if they are not approved of.

As a matter of fact there is rarely any question of withholding
invitations, since a serious objection would have to be sustained against
one to warrant such an action on the part of the committee.

_Number of Invitations Issued_

With fifty members, each might perhaps be allowed, besides her own ticket,
two ladies' invitations and four gentlemen's. That would make three
hundred and fifty invitations available altogether. The founders can of
course decide on whatever number they choose. Patronesses can also
exchange tickets. One who might want to ask a double number of guests to
the "First Assembly" can arrange with another to exchange her "Second
Assembly" invitations for "First" ones. Also it often happens that the
entire list sent in by a member has already been included, and not wanting
to use her tickets, she gives them to another member who may have a
débutante daughter and therefore be in need of extra ones.

Bachelor Balls (like the "Monday Germans" of Baltimore) are run by the
gentlemen instead of the ladies. Otherwise they are the same as the

_Other Forms of Subscription Dances_

Other forms are somewhat different in that instead of dividing the
expenses between members who jointly issue invitations to few or many
guests, the committee of ten, we will say, invites either all the men who
are supposed to be eligible or all the young girls, to subscribe to a
certain number of tickets.

For instance, dances known usually as Junior Assemblies or the Holiday
Dances are organized by a group of ladies--the mothers, usually, of
débutantes. The members of the organization are elected just as the others
are, for life. But they are apt after a few years, when their daughters
are "too old," to resign in favor of others whose daughters are beginning
to be grown. The débutantes of highest social position are invited to
become members. Each one pays "dues" and has the privilege of asking two
men to each dance. Mothers are not expected to go to these dances unless
they are themselves patronesses. Sometimes young women go to these dances
until they marry; often they are for débutantes, but most often they are
for girls the year before they "come out," and for boys who are in

_Patronesses Receive_

At a subscription dance where patronesses take the place of a hostess,
about four of these ladies are especially selected by the ball committee
to receive. They always stand in line and bow to each person who is
announced, but do not shake hands. The guest arriving also bows to the
hostesses collectively (not four times). A lady, for instance, is
announced: she takes a few steps toward the "receiving line" and makes a
slight courtesy; the ladies receiving make a courtesy in unison, and the
guest passes on. A gentleman bows ceremoniously, the way he was taught in
dancing school, and the ladies receiving incline their heads.




Any one of various entertainments may be given to present a young girl to
society. The favorite and most elaborate of these, but possible only to
parents of considerable wealth and wide social acquaintance, is a ball.
Much less elaborate, but equal in size, and second in favor to-day, is an
afternoon tea with dancing. Third, and gaining in popularity, is a small
dance, which presents the débutante to the younger set and a few of her
mother's intimate friends. Fourth, is a small tea without music. Fifth,
the mere sending out of the mother's visiting card with the daughter's
name engraved below her own, announces to the world that the daughter is
eligible for invitations.


A ball for a débutante differs in nothing from all other balls excepting
that the débutante "receives" standing beside the hostess, and furthest
from the entrance, whether that happens to be on the latter's right or
left. The guests as they mount the stairs or enter the ballroom and are
"announced," approach the hostess first, who, as she shakes hands with
each, turns to the débutante and says "Mrs. Worldly, my daughter." Or
"Cynthia, I want to present you to Mrs. Worldly." ("Want to" is used on
this occasion because "may I" is too formal for a mother to say to her
child.) A friend would probably know the daughter; in any event the
mother's introduction would be, "You remember Cynthia, don't you?"

Each arriving guest always shakes hands with the débutante as well as with
the hostess, and if there is a queue of people coming at the same time,
there is no need of saying anything beyond "How do you do?" and passing on
as quickly as possible. If there are no others entering at the moment,
each guest makes a few pleasant remarks. A stranger, for instance, would
perhaps comment on how lovely, and many, the débutante's bouquets are, or
express a hope that she will enjoy her winter, or talk for a moment or two
about the "gaiety of the season" or "the lack of balls," or anything that
shows polite interest in the young girl's first glimpse of society. A
friend of her mother might perhaps say "You look too lovely, Cynthia dear,
and your dress is enchanting!"

Personal compliments, however, are proper only from a close friend. No
acquaintance, unless she is quite old, should ever make personal remarks.
An old lady or gentleman might very forgivably say "You don't mind, my
dear, if I tell you how sweet I think you look," or "What a pretty frock
you have on." But it is bad taste for a young woman to say to another
"What a handsome dress you have on!" and worst of all to add "Where did
you get it?" The young girl's particular friends are, of course, apt to
tell her that her dress is wonderful, or more likely, "simply divine."

It is customary in most cities to send a débutante a bouquet at her
"coming out" party. They may be "bouquets" really, or baskets, or other
decorative flowers, and are sent by relatives, friends of the family, her
father's business associates, as well as by young men admirers. These
"bouquets" are always banked near and if possible, around the place the
débutante stands to receive. If she has great quantities, they are placed
about the room wherever they look most effective. The débutante usually
holds one of the bouquets while receiving, but she should remember that
her choice of this particular one among the many sent her is somewhat
pointed to the giver, so that unless she is willing to acknowledge one
particular beau as "best" it is wiser to carry one sent by her father, or
brother, especially if either send her one of the tiny 1830 bouquets that
have been for a year or two in fashion, and are no weight to hold.

These bouquets are about as big around as an ordinary saucer, and just as
flat on top as a saucer placed upside down. The flowers chosen are
rosebuds or other compact flowers, massed tightly together, and arranged
in a precise pattern; for instance, three or four pink rosebuds are put in
the center, around them a row of white violets, around these a single row
of the pink roses, surrounded again by violets, and so on for four or five
rows. The bouquet is then set in stiff white lace paper, manufactured for
the purpose, the stems wrapped in white satin ribbon, with streamers of
white and pink ribbons about a quarter of an inch wide and tied to hang
twenty inches or so long. The colors and patterns in which these little
bouquets may be made are unlimited.


At a ball, where the guests begin coming about half past ten, the
débutante must stand beside the hostess and "receive" until at least
twelve o'clock--later if guests still continue to arrive.

At all coming-out parties, the débutante invites a few of her best girl
friends to receive with her. Whether the party is in the afternoon or
evening, these young girls wear evening dresses and come early and stay
late. Their being asked to "receive" is a form of expression merely, as
they never stand in line, and other than wearing pretty clothes and thus
adding to the picture, they have no "duties" whatsoever.


The débutante goes to supper with a partner who has surely spoken for the
privilege weeks or even months beforehand. But the rest of her own table
is always made up by herself; that is, it includes the young girls who are
her most intimate friends, and their supper partners. Her table is usually
in the center of the dining-room, but, there is no especial decoration to
distinguish it, except that it is often somewhat larger than the other
tables surrounding it, and a footman or waiter is detailed to tell any who
may attempt to take it, that it is "reserved."

After supper the débutante has no duties and is free to enjoy herself.

The afternoon tea with dancing is described in the chapter on Teas and
needs no further comment, since its etiquette is precisely the same as
that for a ball. The débutante's bouquets are arranged as effectively as
possible, and she receives with her mother, or whoever the hostess may be,
until the queue of arriving guests thins out, after which she need be
occupied with nothing but her own good time, and that of her friends.

Those of smaller means, or those who object to hotel rooms, ask only
younger people, and give the tea in their own house. Where there are two
rooms on a floor--drawing-room in front, dining-room back, and a library
on the floor above, the guests are received in the drawing-room, but
whether they dance in the dining-room or up in the library, depends upon
which room is the larger. In either case the furniture is moved out. If
possible the smallest room should be used to receive in, the largest to
dance in, and the tea-table should be set in the medium one.


A hostess should never try to pack her house beyond the limits of its
capacity. This question of how many invitations may safely be sent out is
one which each hostess must answer for herself, since beyond a few obvious
generalities no one can very well advise her.

Taking a hostess of "average" social position, who is bringing out a
daughter of "average" attractiveness and popularity, it would be safe to
say that every débutante and younger man asked to a party of any kind
where there is dancing, will accept, but that not more than from half to
one-third of the older people asked will put in an appearance.


A ball, by the way, is always a general entertainment, meaning that
invitations are sent to the entire dinner list--not only actual but
potential--of the host and hostess, as well as to the younger people who
are either themselves friends of the débutante, or daughters and sons of
the friends, and acquaintances of the hostess.

A dance differs from a ball in that it is smaller, less elaborate and its
invitations are limited to the contemporaries of the débutante, or at most
the youngest married set.

Invitations to a tea are even more general and should include a hostess'
entire visiting list, irrespective of age or even personal acquaintance.
The old-fashioned visiting list of the young hostess included the entire
list of her mother, plus that of her mother-in-law, to which was added all
the names acquired in her own social life. It can easily be seen that this
list became a formidable volume by the time her daughter was old enough to
"come out," and yet this entire list was supposed to be included in all
"general" invitations!

In the present day, however, at least in New York, there is a growing
tendency to eliminate these general or "impersonal" invitations. In
smartest society, it is not even considered necessary that a "general"
entertainment be given to introduce a daughter. In New York last winter
there were scarcely a dozen private balls all told. Many of the most
fashionable (and richest) hostesses gave dances limited to young girls of
their daughters' ages and young dancing men. Even at many of the
teas-with-dancing none but young people were asked.

Anyone who likes to sit on the bank and watch the tides of fashion rise
and fall, cannot fail to notice that big and lavish entertainments are
dwindling, and small and informal ones increasing. It is equally apparent,
contrary to popular opinion, that extravagance of expenditure is growing
less and less. It is years since any one has given such a ball, for
instance, as the Venetian fête the Gildings gave to bring out their eldest
daughter, when the entire first floor of the Fitz-Cherry was turned into a
replica of Venice--canals, gondolas, and all. Or the Persian ball of the
Vanstyles where the whole house was hung, as a background for Oriental
costumes, with copper-gold draperies, against which stood at intervals
Maxfield Parrish cypress trees. Or the moonlight dance of the Worldlys
which was not a fancy dress one, but for which the ballroom was turned
into a garden scene, lighted by simulated moonlight that would have added
to the renown of Belasco.

Such entertainments as these seem almost "out of key" with the attitude of
to-day. For although fancy-dress and elaborate parties are occasionally
given, they are not usually given for débutantes, nor on the scale of
those mentioned above.


At a ball, the débutante wears her very prettiest ball dress.
Old-fashioned sentiment prefers that it be white, and of some diaphanous
material, such as net or gauze or lace. It ought not to look
overelaborate, even though it is spangled with silver or crystal or is
made of sheer lace. It should suggest something light and airy and gay
and, above all, young. For a young girl to whom white is unbecoming, a
color is perfectly suitable as long as it is a pale shade. She should not
wear strong colors such as red, or Yale blue, and on no account black! Her
mother, of course, wears as handsome a ball dress as possible, and "all
her jewels."

At an afternoon tea the débutante wears an evening dress--a very simple
evening dress, but an evening dress all the same. Usually a very pale
color, and quite untrimmed, such as she might wear at home for dinner. Her
mother wears an afternoon dress, not an evening one. Both mother and
daughter wear long gloves, and neither they, nor the young girls
receiving, wear hats.

To describe the details of clothes is futile. Almost before this page
comes from the printer, the trend may quite likely change. But the
tendency of the moment is toward greater simplicity--in effect at all


Let us pretend a worldly old godmother is speaking, and let us suppose
that you are a young girl on the evening of your coming-out ball. You are
excited, of course you are! It is your evening, and you are a sort of
little princess! There is music, and there are lights, and there are
flowers everywhere--a great ballroom massed with them, tables heaped with
bouquets--all for you! You have on an especially beautiful dress--one that
was selected from among many others, just because it seemed to you the
prettiest. Even your mother and married sister who, "_en grande tenue_,"
have always seemed to you dazzling figures, have for the moment become,
for all their brocades and jewels, merely background; and you alone are
the center of the picture. Up the wide staircase come throngs of
fashionables--who mean "the world." They are coming on purpose to bow to
you! You can't help feeling that the glittering dresses, the tiaras, the
ropes of pearls and chains of diamonds of the "dowagers," the stiff white
shirt-fronts and boutonnières and perfectly fitting coats of the older
gentlemen, as well as the best clothes of all the younger people, were all
put on for you.

You shake hands and smile sweetly to a number of older ladies and shake
hands with an equal number of gentlemen, all very politely and properly.
Then suddenly, half way up the stairs you see Betty and Anne and Fred and
Ollie. Of course your attention is drawn to them. You are vaguely
conscious that the butler is shouting some stupid name you never heard
of--that you don't care in the least about. Your mother's voice is saying
"Mrs. zzzzzz----,"

Impatiently you give your hand to someone--you haven't the slightest idea
who it is. So far as your interest is concerned, you might as well be
brushing away annoying flies. Your smiles are directed to Betty and Anne.
As they reach the top of the stairs you dart forward and enter into an
excited conversation, deliberately overlooking a lady and gentleman who,
without trying further to attract your attention, pass on. Later in the
winter you will perhaps wonder why you alone among your friends are never
asked to Great Estates. The lady and gentleman of whom you are so rudely
unaware, happen to be Mr. and Mrs. Worldly, and you have entirely
forgotten that you are a hostess, and furthermore that you have the whole
evening, beginning at supper, when you can talk to these friends of yours!
You can dance with Fred and Ollie and Jimmy all the rest of the evening;
you can spend most of your time with them for the rest of your life if you
and they choose. But when you are out in public, above all at a party
which is for _you_, your duty in commonest civility is to overcome your
impulses, and behave as a grown-up person--and a well-bred grown-up person
at that!

It takes scarcely more than ten seconds to listen to the name that is said
to you, to look directly and attentively at the one to whom the name
belongs, to put out your hand firmly as you would take hold of something
you like, (not something that you feel an aversion to), and with a smile
say "How do you do." At your ball your mother says "Mrs. Worldly, my
daughter." You look directly at Mrs. Worldly, put out your hand, say "How
do you do, Mrs. Worldly." And she passes on. It takes no longer to be
cordial and attentive than to be distrait and casual and rude, yet the
impression made in a few seconds of actual time may easily gain or lose a
friend for life. When no other guests are arriving, you can chatter to
your own friends as much as you like, but as you turn to greet another
stranger, you must show pleasure, not annoyance, in giving him your

A happy attitude to cultivate is to think in your own mind that new people
are all packages in a grab-bag, and that you can never tell what any of
them may prove to be until you know what is inside the outer wrappings of
casual appearances. To be sure, the old woman of the fairy tale, who turns
out to be a fairy in disguise, is not often met with in real life, but
neither is her approximate counterpart an impossibility.

As those who have sent you flowers approach, you must thank them; you must
also write later an additional note of thanks to older people. But to
your family or your own intimate friends, the verbal thanks--if not too
casually made--are sufficient.


Don't think that because you have a pretty face, you need neither brains
nor manners. Don't think that you can be rude to anyone and escape being
disliked for it.

Whispering is always rude. Whispering and giggling at the same time have
no place in good society. Everything that shows lack of courtesy toward
others is rude.

If you would be thought a person of refinement, don't nudge or pat or
finger people. Don't hold hands or walk arm-about-waist in public. Never
put your hand on a man, except in dancing and in taking his arm if he is
usher at a wedding or your partner for dinner or supper. Don't allow
anyone to paw you. Don't hang on anyone for support, and don't stand or
walk with your chest held in, and your hips forward, in imitation of a
reversed letter S.

Don't walk across a ballroom floor swinging your arms. Don't talk or laugh
loud enough to attract attention, and on no account force yourself to
laugh. Nothing is flatter than laughter that is lacking in mirth. If you
only laugh because something is irresistibly funny, the chances are your
laugh will be irresistible too. In the same way a smile should be
spontaneous, because you _feel_ happy and pleasant; nothing has less
allure than a mechanical grimace, as though you were trying to imitate a
tooth-paste advertisement.


In olden days and until a comparatively short while ago, a young girl's
social success was invariably measured by her popularity in a ballroom. It
was the girl who had the most partners, who least frequently sat "against
the wall," who carried home the greatest quantity of the baubles known as
"favors," who was that evening's and usually the season's belle.

But to-day although ballroom popularity is still important as a test by
which a young girl's success is measured, it is by no means the beginning
and end that it used to be.

As repeated several times in this book, the day of the belle is past;
beaux belong to the past too. To-day is the day of woman's equality with
man, and if in proving her equality she has come down from a pedestal, her
pedestal was perhaps a theatrical "property" at best and not to be
compared for solid satisfaction with the level ground of the entirely real
position she now occupies.

A girl's popularity in a ballroom is of importance to be sure, but not
greatly more so than the dancing popularity of a youth.

There was a time when "wall-flowers" went to balls night after night where
they either sat beside a chaperon or spent the evening in the
dressing-room in tears. To-day a young girl who finds she is not a
ballroom success avoids ballrooms and seeks her success otherwhere. She
does not sit in a corner and hope against hope that her "luck will turn"
and that Prince Charming will surely some evening discover her. She sizes
up the situation exactly as a boy might size up his own chances to "make"
the crew or the football team.


The girl of to-day soon discovers, if she does not know it already, that
to be a ballroom belle it is necessary first of all to dance really well.
A girl may be as beautiful as a young Diana or as fascinating as Circe,
but if she is heavy or steps on her first partner's toes, never again will
he ask her to dance. And the news spreads in an instant.

The girl of to-day therefore knows she must learn to dance well, which is
difficult, since dancers are born, not made; or she must go to balls for
supper only, or not go to balls at all, _unless_--she plays a really good
game of bridge! In which case, her chances for popularity at the bridge
tables, which are at all balls to-day, are quite as good as though she
were a young Pavlowa in the ballroom. Or perhaps she skates, or hunts, or
plays a wonderful game of tennis or golf, each one of which opens a vista
leading to popularity, and the possibilities for a "good time" which was
after all the mainspring of old-fashioned ballroom success.

And since the day of femininity that is purely ornamental and utterly
useless is gone by, it is the girl who does things well who finds life
full of interests and of friends and of happiness. The old idea also has
passed that measures a girl's popular success by the number of trousered
figures around her. It is quality, not quantity, that counts; and the girl
who surrounds herself with indiscriminate and possibly "cheap" youths does
not excite the envy but the derision of beholders. To the highest type of
young girl to-day it makes very little difference whether, in the
inevitable "group" in which she is perpetually to be found, there are more
men than girls or the opposite.

This does not mean that human nature has changed--scarcely! There always
are and doubtless always will be any number of women to whom admiration
and flirtation is the very breath of their nostrils, who love to parade a
beau just as they love to parade a new dress. But the tendencies of the
time do not encourage the flirtatious attitude. It is not considered a
triumph to have many love affairs, but rather an evidence of stupidity and
bad taste.


A young man playing tennis with a young girl a generation ago would have
been forced patiently to toss her gentle balls and keep his boredom to
himself, or he would have held her chin in his hand, while he himself
stood shivering for hours in three feet of water, and tried his best to
disguise his opinion as to the hopelessness of her ever learning to swim.

To-day he would frankly tell her she had better play tennis for a year or
two with a "marker" or struggle at swimming by herself, and any sensible
girl would take that advice!


Instead of depending upon beauty, upon sex-appeal, the young girl who is
"the success of to-day" depends chiefly upon her actual character and
disposition. It is not even so necessary to do something well as to
refrain from doing things badly. If she is not good at sports, or games,
or dancing, then she must find out what she is good at and do that! If she
is good for nothing but to look in the glass and put rouge on her lips and
powder her nose and pat her hair, life is going to be a pretty dreary
affair. In other days beauty was worshiped for itself alone, and it has
votaries of sorts to-day. But the best type of modern youth does not care
for beauty, as his father did; in fact, he doesn't care a bit for it, if
it has nothing to "go with it," any more than he cares for butter with no
bread to spread it on. Beauty _and_ wit, _and_ heart, _and_ other
qualifications or attributes is another matter altogether.

A gift of more value than beauty, is charm, which in a measure is another
word for sympathy, or the power to put yourself in the place of others; to
be interested in whatever interests them, so as to be pleasing to them, if
possible, but not to occupy your thoughts in futilely wondering what they
think about you.

Would you know the secret of popularity? It is unconsciousness of self,
altruistic interest, and inward kindliness, outwardly expressed in good




Of course there are chaperons and chaperons! But it must be said that the
very word has a repellent schoolteacherish sound. One pictures
instinctively a humorless tyrant whose "correct" manner plainly reveals
her true purpose, which is to take the joy out of life. That she can
be--and often is--a perfectly human and sympathetic person, whose
unselfish desire is merely to smooth the path of one who is the darling of
her heart, in nothing alters the feeling of gloom that settles upon the
spirit of youth at the mention of the very word "chaperon."


As a matter of fact the only young girl who is really "free," is she whose
chaperon is never very far away. She need give conventionality very little
thought, and not bother about her P's and Q's at all, because her chaperon
is always a strong and protective defense; but a young girl who is
unprotected by a chaperon is in the position precisely of an unarmed
traveler walking alone among wolves--his only defense is in not attracting
their notice.

To be sure the time has gone by when the presence of an elderly lady is
indispensable to every gathering of young people. Young girls for whose
sole benefit and protection the chaperon exists (she does not exist for
her own pleasure, youthful opinion to the contrary notwithstanding), have
infinitely greater freedom from her surveillance than had those of other
days, and the typical chaperon is seldom seen with any but very young
girls, too young to have married friends. Otherwise a young married woman,
a bride perhaps scarcely out of her teens, is, on all ordinary occasions,
a perfectly suitable chaperon, especially if her husband is present. A
very young married woman gadding about without her husband is not a proper

There are also many occasions when a chaperon is unnecessary! It is
considered perfectly correct for a young girl to drive a motor by herself,
or take a young man with her, if her family know and approve of him, for
any short distance in the country. She may play golf, tennis, go to the
Country Club, or Golf Club (if near by), sit on the beach, go canoeing,
ride horseback, and take part in the normal sports and occupations of
country life. Young girls always go to private parties of every sort
without their own chaperon, but the fact that a lady issues an invitation
means that either she or another suitable chaperon will be present.


Ethically the only chaperon is the young girl's own sense of dignity and
pride; she who has the right attributes of character needs no
chaperon--ever. If she is wanting in decency and proper pride, not even
Argus could watch over her! But apart from ethics, there are the
conventions to think of, and the conventions of propriety demand that very
young woman must be protected by a chaperon, because otherwise she will be


No young girl may live alone. Even though she has a father, unless he
devotes his entire time to her, she must also have a resident chaperon who
protects her reputation until she is married or old enough to protect it
herself--which is not until she has reached a fairly advanced age, of
perhaps thirty years or over if she is alone, or twenty-six or so if she
lives in her father's house and behaves with such irreproachable
circumspection that Mrs. Grundy is given no chance to set tongues

It goes without saying that a chaperon is always a lady, often one whose
social position is better than that of her charge; occasionally she is a
social sponsor as well as a moral one. Her position, if she is not a
relative, is very like that of a companion. Above all, a chaperon must
have dignity, and if she is to be of any actual service, she must be kind
of heart and have intelligent sympathy and tact. To have her charge not
only care for her, but be happy with her, is the only possible way such a
relationship can endure.

Needless to say a chaperon's own conduct must be irreproachable and her
knowledge of the world such as can only be gained by personal experience;
but she need not be an old lady! She can perfectly well be reasonably
young, and a spinster.

Very often the chaperon "keeps the house," but she is never called a
"housekeeper." Nor is she a "secretary" though she probably draws the
checks and audits the bills.

It is by no means unusual for mothers who are either very gay or otherwise
busy, and cannot give most of their time to their grown and growing
daughters, to put them in charge of a resident chaperon. Often their
governess--if she is a woman of the world--gives up her autocracy of the
schoolroom and becomes social guardian instead.


It is unnecessary to say that a chaperon has no right to be inquisitive or
interfering unless for a very good reason. If an objectionable
person--meaning one who can not be considered a gentleman--is inclined to
show the young girl attentions, it is of course her duty to cut the
acquaintance short at the beginning before the young girl's interest has
become aroused. For just such a contingency as this it is of vital
importance that confidence and sympathy exist between the chaperon and her
charge. No modern young girl is likely to obey blindly unless she values
the opinions of one in whose judgment and affection she has learned to


Usually if a young girl is an orphan, living with a chaperon, a ball or
formal party would be given in the name of an aunt or other near relative.
If her father is alive, the invitations go out in his name of course, and
he receives with her. But if it should happen that she has no near family
at all, or if her chaperon is her social sponsor, the chaperon's name can
be put on invitations. For example:

       Miss Abigail Titherington

           Miss Rosalie Gray

           will be at home

    on Saturday the fifth of December

       from four until six o'clock

            The Fitz-Cherry

Rosalie has no very near relatives and Miss Titherington has brought her

In sending out the invitations for a dinner (a young girl would not be
giving a formal dinner) Rosalie telephones her friends "Will you dine with
me (or us) next Monday?" or, "On the sixteenth?" It is not necessary to
mention Miss Titherington because it is taken for granted that she will be

It is also not considered proper for a young girl ever to be alone as
hostess. When she invites young girls and men to her house, Miss
Titherington either "receives" them or comes into the room while they are
there. If the time is afternoon, very likely she pours tea and when
everyone has been helped, she goes into another room. She does not stay
with them ever, but she is never very far away.

The chaperon (or a parent) should never go to bed until the last young
man has left the house. It is an unforgivable breach of decorum to allow a
young girl to sit up late at night with a young man--or a number of them.
On returning home from a party, she must not invite or allow a man to
"come in for a while." Even her fiancé must bid her good night at the door
if the hour is late, and some one ought always to sit up, or get up, to
let her in. No young girl ought to let herself in with a latch-key.

In old-fashioned days no lady had a latch-key. And it is still fitting and
proper for a servant to open the door for her.

A young girl may not, even with her fiancé, lunch in a road house without
a chaperon, or go on a journey that can by any possibility last over
night. To go out with him in a small sail-boat sounds harmless enough, but
might result in a questionable situation if they are becalmed, or if they
are left helpless in a sudden fog. The Maine coast, for example, is
particularly subject to fogs that often shut down without warning and no
one going out on the water can tell whether he will be able to get back
within a reasonable time or not. A man and a girl went out from Bar Harbor
and did not get back until next day. Everyone knew the fog had come in as
thick as pea-soup and that it was impossible to get home; but to the end
of time her reputation will suffer for the experience.


At a dinner party given for young people in a private house, a somewhat
older sister would be a sufficient chaperon. Or the young hostess' mother
after receiving the guests may, if she chooses, dine with her husband
elsewhere than in the dining-room, the parents' roof being supposedly
chaperonage enough.

In going to tea in a college man's room, or in a bachelor's apartment, the
proper chaperon should be a lady of fairly mature years. To see two or
three apparently young people going into a bachelor's quarters would be
open to criticism. There are many places which are unsuitable for young
girls to go to whether they are chaperoned or not. No well brought up
young girl should be allowed to go to supper at a cabaret until she is
married, or has passed the age when "very young" can be applied to her.


In New York, for instance, no young girl of social standing may, without
being criticized, go alone with a man to the theater. Absolutely no lady
(unless middle-aged-and even then she would be defying convention) can go
to dinner or supper in a restaurant alone with a gentleman. A lady, not
young, who is staying in a very dignified hotel, can have a gentleman dine
with her. But any married woman, if her husband does not object, may dine
alone in her own home with any man she pleases or have a different one
come in to tea every day in the week without being criticized.

A very young girl may motor around the country alone with a man, with her
father's consent, or sit with him on the rocks by the sea or on a log in
the woods; but she must not sit with him in a restaurant. All of which is
about as upside down as it can very well be. In a restaurant they are not
only under the surveillance of many eyes, but they can scarcely speak
without being overheard, whereas short-distance motoring, driving, riding,
walking or sitting on the seashore has no element of protection certainly.
Again, though she may not lunch with him in a restaurant, she is sometimes
(not always) allowed to go to a moving picture matinée with him! Why
sitting in the dark in a moving picture theater is allowed, and the
restaurant is tabu is very mysterious.

Older girls and young married women are beginning to lunch with men they
know well in some of the New York restaurants, but not in others. In many
cities it would be scandalous for a young married woman to lunch with a
man not her husband, but quite all right for a young girl and man to lunch
at a country club. This last is reasonable because the room is undoubtedly
filled with people they know--who act as potential chaperons. Nearly
everywhere it is thought proper for them to go to a dancing club for tea,
if the "club" is managed by a chaperon.

As said above, interpretation of what is proper shifts according to
locality. Even in Victorian days it was proper in Baltimore for a young
girl to go to the theater alone with a man, and to have him see her home
from a ball was not only permitted but absolutely correct.


Of course every one has his own portrait of Mrs. Grundy, and some idea of
the personality she shows to him; but has any one ever tried to ferret out
that disagreeable old woman's own position; to find out where she lives
and why she has nothing to do but meddle in affairs which do not concern
her. Is she a lady? One would imagine she is not. One would also imagine
that she lives in a solid well-repaired square brown stone house with a
cupola used as a conning tower and equipped with periscope and telescope
and wireless. Furthermore, her house is situated on a bleak hill so that
nothing impedes her view and that of her two pets, a magpie and a jackal.
And the business in life of all three of them is to track down and destroy
the good name of every woman who comes within range, especially if she is
young and pretty--and unchaperoned!

The pretty young woman living alone, must literally follow Cinderella's
habits. To be out of the house late at night or sitting up, except to
study, are imprudences she can not allow herself. If she is a widow her
conduct must be above criticism, but if she is young and pretty and
divorced, she must literally live the life of a Puritan spinster of Salem.
The magpie never leaves her window sill and the jackal sits on the
doormat, and the news of her every going out and coming in, of every one
whom she receives, when they come, how long they stay and at what hour
they go, is spread broadcast.

No unprotected woman can do the least thing that is unconventional without
having Mrs. Grundy shouting to everyone the worst possible things about


The bachelor girl is usually a worker; she is generally either earning her
living or studying to acquire the means of earning her living. Her days
are therefore sure to be occupied, and the fact that she has little time
for the gaiety of life, and that she is a worker, puts her in a somewhat
less assailable position. She can on occasion go out alone with a man (not
a married one), but the theater she goes to must be of conventional
character, and if she dines in a restaurant it is imperative that a
chaperon be in the party; and the same is true in going to supper at
night. No one could very well criticize her for going to the opera or a
concert with a man when neither her nor his behavior hints a lack of

But a girl whose personal dignity is unassailable is not apt to bring
censure upon herself, even though the world judges by etiquette, which may
often be a false measure. The young woman who wants really to be free from
Mrs. Grundy's hold on her, must either live her own life, caring nothing
for the world's opinion or the position it offers, or else be chaperoned.


Barring the one fact that a chaperon must be on hand before young or
"single" women guests arrive, and that she may not leave until after those
whom she has chaperoned have left, there is no difference whatsoever in an
entertainment given at the house of a bachelor and one given by a hostess.
A bachelor can give dinners or theater parties or yachting parties or
house parties or any parties that a hostess can give.

It is unnecessary to say no lady may dine alone in a gentleman's rooms, or
house; nor may she dine with a number of gentlemen (unless one of them is
her husband, in which case she is scarcely "alone"). But it is perfectly
correct for two or more ladies to dine at a gentleman's rooms if one of
the ladies is elderly or the husband of one is present.

A bachelor entertaining in bachelor's quarters, meaning that he has only a
man servant, must be much more punctilious, and must arrange to have the
chaperon bring any young woman guests with her, since no young girls could
be seen entering bachelor's quarters alone, and have their "good name"
survive. If he has a large establishment, including women servants, and if
furthermore he is a man whose own reputation is unblemished, the chaperon
may be met at his house. But since it is more prudent for young women to
arrive under her care, why run the unnecessary risk of meeting Mrs.
Grundy's jackal on the doorstep?

At the house of a bachelor such as described above, the chaperon could be
a husbandless young married woman, or in other words, the most careless
chaperon possible, without ever giving Mrs. Grundy's magpie cause for
ruffling a feather. But no young woman could dine or have tea, no matter
how well chaperoned, in the "rooms" of a man of morally bad reputation
without running a very unpleasant risk of censure.


Bachelors frequently have house parties at their country places. A married
lady whose husband is with her is always the chaperon unless the host's
mother or sister may be staying--or living--in his house.

There is always something unusually alluring about a bachelor's
entertaining. Especially his house parties. Where do all bachelors get
those nice and so very respectable elderly maid servants? They can't all
have been their nurses! And a bachelor's house has a something about it
that is very comfortable but entirely different from a lady's house,
though it would be difficult to define wherein the difference lies. He is
perhaps more attentive than a hostess, at least he meets his guests at the
station if they come by train, or, if they motor to his house, he goes out
on the front steps to greet them as they drive up.

A possible reason why bachelors seem to make such good hosts is that only
those who have a talent for it make the attempt. There is never any
obligation on a gentleman's part to invite ladies to stay with him,
whereas it is part of every lady's duty at least occasionally to be a
hostess, whether she has talent, or even inclination, for the position or

A gentleman can return the courtesies of hostesses to him by occasionally
sending flowers, or books, or candy, and by showing them polite attention
when he meets them out.

If a bachelor lives in a house of his own, especially in a country
community, he is under the same obligations as any other householder to
return the hospitality shown by his neighbors to him.


The bachelor's invitations are the same as those sent out by a hostess.
There is absolutely no difference. His butler or waitress telephones "Will
Mr. and Mrs. Norman dine with Mr. Bachelor on Wednesday?" Or he writes a
note or uses the engraved dinner card. In giving an informal dance it is
quite correct, according to New York fashion, for him to write on his
visiting card:

[HW: Monday Jan.^y 3^rd

At 10 o'clock]

Mr. Frederick Bachelor

[HW: Small Dance] 2 Pormanto Place

Or an artist sends his card with his studio address and

[HW: Saturday April 7.
at 4 o'ck]


[HW: To hear Tonini Play] Park Studio

No invitation of a gentleman mentions that there will be a chaperon
because that is taken for granted. No gentleman invites ladies of position
to a party unless one or many chaperons are to be present.

A very young girl never goes even to an unmarried doctor's or a
clergyman's (unless the latter is very elderly) without a chaperon, who in
this instance may be a semi-elderly maid.

A lady having her portrait painted always takes a woman friend, or her
maid, who sits in the studio, or at least within sight or hearing.




So long as Romance exists and Lochinvar remains young manhood's ideal,
love at first sight and marriage in a week is within the boundaries of
possibility. But usually (and certainly more wisely) a young man is for
some time attentive to a young woman before dreaming of marriage. Thus not
only have her parents plenty of time to find out what manner of man he is,
and either accept or take means to prevent a serious situation; but the
modern young woman herself is not likely to be "carried away" by the
personality of anyone whose character and temperament she does not pretty
thoroughly understand and weigh.

In nothing does the present time more greatly differ from the close of the
last century, than in the unreserved frankness of young women and men
towards each other. Those who speak of the domination of sex in this day
are either too young to remember, or else have not stopped to consider,
that mystery played a far greater and more dangerous rôle when sex, like a
woman's ankle, was carefully hidden from view, and therefore far more
alluring than to-day when both are commonplace matters.

In cities twenty-five years ago, a young girl had beaux who came to see
her one at a time; they in formal clothes and manners, she in her "company
best" to "receive" them, sat stiffly in the "front parlor" and made
politely formal conversation. Invariably they addressed each other as Miss
Smith and Mr. Jones, and they "talked off the top" with about the same
lack of reservation as the ambassador of one country may be supposed to
talk to him of another. A young man was said to be "devoted" to this young
girl or that, but as a matter of fact each was acting a rôle, he of an
admirer and she of a siren, and each was actually an utter stranger to the


To-day no trace of stilted artificiality remains. The tête-a-tête of a
quarter of a century ago has given place to the continual presence of a
group. A flock of young girls and a flock of young men form a little group
of their own--everywhere they are together. In the country they visit the
same houses or they live in the same neighborhood, they play golf in
foursomes, and tennis in mixed doubles. In winter at balls they sit at the
same table for supper, they have little dances at their own homes, where
scarcely any but themselves are invited; they play bridge, they have tea
together, but whatever they do, they stay in the pack. In more than one
way this group habit is excellent; young women and men are friends in a
degree of natural and entirely platonic intimacy undreamed of in their
parents' youth. Having the habit therefore of knowing her men friends
well, a young girl is not going to imagine a stranger, no matter how
perfect he may appear to be, anything but an ordinary human man after all.
And in finding out his bad points as well as his good, she is aided and
abetted, encouraged or held in check, by the members of the group to which
she belongs.

Suppose, for instance, that a stranger becomes attentive to Mary;
immediately her friends fix their attention upon him, watching him.
Twenty-five years ago the young men would have looked upon him with
jealousy, and the young women would have sought to annex him. To-day their
attitude is: "Is he good enough for Mary?" And, eagle-eyed, protective of
Mary, they watch him. If they think he is all right he becomes a member of
the group. It may develop that Mary and he care nothing for each other,
and he may fall in love with another member, or he may drift out of the
group again or he may stay in it and Mary herself marry out of it. But if
he is not liked, her friends will not be bashful about telling Mary
exactly what they think, and they will find means usually--unless their
prejudice is without foundation--to break up the budding "friendship" far
better than any older person could do. If she is really in love with him
and determined to marry in spite of their frankly given opinion, she at
least makes her decision with her eyes open.

There are also occasions when a young woman is persuaded by her parents
into making a "suitable marriage"; there are occasions when a young woman
persists in making a marriage in opposition to her parents; but usually a
young man either belongs in or joins her particular circle of intimate
friends, and one day, it may be to their own surprize, though seldom to
that of their intimates, they find that each is the only one in the world
for the other, and they become engaged.


If a young man and his parents are very close friends it is more than
likely he will already have told them of the seriousness of his
intentions. Very possibly he has asked his father's financial assistance,
or at least discussed ways and means, but as soon as he and she have
definitely made up their minds that they want to marry each other, it is
the immediate duty of the man to go to the girl's father or her guardian,
and ask his consent. If her father refuses, the engagement cannot exist.
The man must then try, through work or other proof of stability and
seriousness, to win the father's approval. Failing in that, the young
woman is faced with dismissing him or marrying in opposition to her
parents. There are, of course, unreasonable and obdurate parents, but it
is needless to point out that a young woman assumes a very great risk who
takes her future into her own hands and elopes. But even so, there is no
excuse for the most unfilial act of all--deception. The honorable young
woman who has made up her mind to marry in spite of her parents'
disapproval, announces to them, if she can, that on such and such a day
her wedding will take place. If this is impossible, she at least refuses
to give her word that she will not marry. The height of dishonor is to
"give her word" and then break it.


Usually, however, when the young man enters the study or office of her
father, the latter has a perfectly good idea of what he has come to say
and, having allowed his attentions, is probably willing to accept his
daughter's choice; and the former after announcing that the daughter has
accepted him, goes into details as to his financial standing and
prospects. If the finances are not sufficiently stable, the father may
tell him to wait for a certain length of time before considering himself
engaged, or if they are satisfactory to him, he makes no objection to an
immediate announcement. In either case, the man probably hurries to tell
the young woman what her father has said, and if he has been very
frequently at the house, very likely they both tell her mother and her
immediate family, or, more likely still, she has told her mother first of


As soon as the young woman's father accepts the engagement, etiquette
demands that the parents of the bridegroom-elect call at once (within
twenty-four hours) upon the parents of the bride-to-be. If illness or
absence prevents one of them, the other must go alone. If the young man is
an orphan, his uncle, aunt or other nearest relative should go in the
parents' place. Not even deep mourning can excuse the failure to observe
this formality.


It is doubtful if he who carries a solitaire ring enclosed in a little
square box and produces it from his pocket upon the instant that she says
"Yes," exists outside of the moving pictures! As a matter of fact, the
accepted suitor usually consults his betrothed's taste--which of course
may be gratified or greatly modified, according to the length of his
purse--or he may, without consulting her, buy what ring he chooses. A
solitaire diamond is the conventional emblem of "the singleness and
endurability of the one love in his life," and the stone is supposed to be
"pure and flawless" as the bride herself, and their future together--or
sentiments equally beautiful. There is also sentiment for a sapphire's
"depth of true blue." Pearls are supposed to mean tears; emeralds,
jealousy; opals, the essence of bad luck; but the ruby stands for warmth
and ardor: all of which it is needless to say is purest unfounded

In the present day, precious stones having soared far out of reach of all
but the really rich, fashion rather prefers a large semi-precious one to a
microscopic diamond. "Fashion," however, is merely momentary and local,
and the great majority will probably always consider a diamond the only
ring to have.

It is not obligatory, or even customary, for the girl to give the man an
engagement present, but there is no impropriety in her doing so if she
wants to, and any of the following articles would be suitable: A pair of
cuff links, or waistcoat buttons, or a watch chain, or a key chain, or a
cigarette case. Probably because the giving of an engagement ring is his
particular province, she very rarely gives him a ring or, in fact, any
present at all.

The engagement ring is worn for the first time "in public" on the day of
the announcement.


Usually a few days before the formal announcement--and still earlier for
letters written abroad or to distant States--both young people write to
their aunts, uncles, and cousins, and to their most intimate friends, of
their engagement, asking them not to tell anyone until the determined

As soon as they receive the news, all the relatives of the groom-elect
must call on the bride. She is not "welcomed by the family" until their
cards, left upon her in person, assure her so. She must, of course, return
all of these visits, and as soon as possible.

If his people are in the habit of entertaining, they should very soon ask
her with her fiancé to lunch or to dinner, or after the engagement is
publicly announced, give a dinner or tea or dance in her honor. If, on the
other hand, they are very quiet people, their calling upon her is
sufficient in itself to show their welcome.

In case of a recent death in either immediate family, the engagement
cannot be publicly announced until the first period of mourning is past.
(It is entirely dignified for a private wedding to take place at the
bedside of a very ill parent, or soon after a deep bereavement. In that
case there is, of course, no celebration, and the service is read in the
presence of the immediate families only.)

The announcement is invariably made by the parents of the bride-elect. It
is a breach of etiquette for a member of the young man's family to tell of
the engagement until the formal announcement has been arranged for.


On the evening before the day of the announcement, the bride's mother
either sends a note, or has some one call the various daily papers by
telephone, and says: "I am speaking for Mrs. John Huntington Smith. Mr.
and Mrs. Smith are announcing the engagement of their daughter, Mary, to
Mr. James Smartlington, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Brown Smartlington, of
2000 Arcade Avenue."

If either the Huntington Smiths or the Arthur Smartlingtons are socially
prominent, reporters will be sent to get further information. Photographs
and details, such as entertainments to be given, or plans for the wedding,
will probably be asked for. The prejudices of old-fashioned people against
giving personal news to papers is rapidly being overcome and not even the
most conservative any longer object to a dignified statement of facts,
such as Mrs. Smith's telephone message.

It is now considered entirely good form to give photographs to magazines
and newspapers, but one should never send them unless specially

On the eve of the announcement, a dinner is sometimes given by the young
girl's parents, and the news is told by her father, who at about salad
course or dessert, proposes the health of his daughter and future


The host after directing that all glasses at the table be filled, rises,
lifts his own glass and says: "I propose we drink to the health of my
daughter Mary and the young man she has decided to add permanently to our
family, James Smartlington."


    "A standing toast: To my Mary and to her--Jim!"


"I want you to drink the happiness of a young pair whose future welfare is
close to the hearts of all of us: Mary (holding up his glass and looking
at her) and Jim!" (holding it up again and looking at him). Every one
except Mary and Jim rises and drinks a swallow or two (of whatever the
champagne substitute may be). Every one then congratulates the young
couple, and Jim is called upon for a "speech"!

Generally rather "fussed," Jim rises and says something like:
"I--er--we--thank you all very much indeed for all your good wishes," and
sits down. Or if he is an earnest rather than a shy youth, perhaps he
continues: "I don't have to tell you how lucky _I_ am, the thing for me to
do is to prove, if I can, that Mary has not made the mistake of her life
in choosing me, and I hope that it won't be very long before we see you
all at our own table with Mary at the head of it and I, where I belong, at
the foot."


    "I can't make a speech and you know it. But I certainly am lucky
    and I know it."


The prevailing custom in New York and other big cities is for the party to
be given on the afternoon or evening of the day of announcement. The
engagement in this case is never proclaimed to the guests as an assembled
audience. The news is "out" and everyone is supposed to have heard it.
Those who have not, can not long remain ignorant, as the groom-elect is
either receiving with his fiancée or brought forward by her father and
presented to every one he does not know. Everybody congratulates him and
offers the bride-to-be good wishes for her happiness.

A dinner or other entertainment given to announce an engagement is by no
means necessary. "Quiet people" very often merely write notes of
announcement and say they will be at home on such an afternoon at tea
time. The form and detail are exactly the same as on an habitual day at
home except that the bride and groom-elect both receive as well as her


If the families and friends of the young couple are at all in the habit of
entertaining, the announcement of an engagement is the signal always for a
shower of invitations.

The parents of the groom-elect are sure to give a dance, or a "party" of
one kind or another "to meet" their daughter-to-be. If the engagement is a
short one, their life becomes a veritable dashing from this house to that,
and every meal they eat seems to be one given for them by some one. It is
not uncommon for a bride-elect to receive a few engagement presents.
(These are entirely apart from wedding presents which come later.) A small
afternoon teacup and saucer used to be the typical engagement gift, but it
has gone rather out of vogue, along with harlequin china in general.
Engagement presents are usually personal trifles sent either by her own
very intimate friends or by members of her fiancé's family as especial
messages of welcome to hers--and as such are very charming. But any
general fashion that necessitates giving engagement as well as wedding
presents may well be looked upon with alarm by those who have only
moderately filled pocketbooks!


There is said to be still preserved somewhere in Massachusetts a
whispering reed through the long hollow length of which lovers were wont
to whisper messages of tenderness to each other while separated by a
room's length and the inevitable chaperonage of the fiancée's entire

From those days to these is a far cry, but even in this era of liberty and
naturalness of impulse, running the gauntlet of people's attention and
criticism is no small test of the good taste and sense of a young couple.

The hall-mark of so-called "vulgar people" is unrestricted display of
uncontrolled emotions. No one should ever be made to feel like withdrawing
in embarrassment from the over-exposed privacy of others. The shrew who
publicly berates her husband is no worse than the engaged pair who snuggle
in public. Every one supposes that lovers kiss each other, but people of
good taste wince at being forced to play audience at love scenes which
should be private. Furthermore, such cuddling gives little evidence of the
deeper caring--no matter how ardent the demonstration may be.

Great love is seldom flaunted in public, though it very often shows itself
in pride--that is a little obvious, perhaps. There is a quality of
protectiveness in a man's expression as it falls on his betrothed, as
though she were so lovely a breath might break her; and in the eyes of a
girl whose love is really deep, there is always evidence of that most
beautiful look of championship, as though she thought: "No one else can
possibly know how wonderful he is!"

This underlying tenderness and pride which is at the base of the attitude
of each, only glints beneath the surface of perfect comradeship. Their
frank approval of whatever the other may do or say is very charming; and
even more so is their obvious friendliness toward all people, of wanting
the whole world beautiful for all because it is so beautiful to them. That
is love--as it should be! And its evidence is a very sure sign-post
pointing to future happiness.


It is unnecessary to say that an engaged man shows no attention whatever
to other women. It should be plain to every one, even though he need not
behave like a moon-calf, that "one" is alone in his thoughts.

Often it so happens that engaged people are very little together, because
he is away at work, or for other reasons. Rather than sit home alone, she
may continue to go out in society, which is quite all right, but she must
avoid being with any one man more than another and she should remain
visibly within the general circle of her group. It always gives gossip a
chance to see an engaged girl sitting out dances with any particular man,
and slander is never far away if any evidence of ardor creeps into their
regard, even if it be merely "manner," and actually mean nothing at all.


Unless the engaged couple are both so young, or by temperament so
irresponsible, that their parents think it best for them to wait until
time is given a chance to prove the stability of their affection, no one
can honestly advocate a long-delayed marriage.

Where there is no money, it is necessary to wait for better finances. But
the old argument that a long engagement was wise in that the young couple
were given opportunity to know each other better, has little sense to-day
when all young people know each other thoroughly well.

A long engagement is trying to everyone--the man, the girl, both
families, and all friends. It is an unnatural state, like that of waiting
at the station for a train, and in a measure it is time wasted. The minds
of the two most concerned are centered upon each other; to them life seems
to consist in saying the inevitable good-by.

Her family think her absent-minded, distrait, aloof and generally useless.
His family never see him. Their friends are bored to death with them--not
that they are really less devoted or loyal, but her men friends withdraw,
naturally refraining from "breaking in." He has no time between business
and going to see her to stop at his club or wherever friends of his may
be. Her girl friends do see her in the daytime, but gradually they meet
less and less because their interests and hers no longer focus in common.
Gradually the stream of the social world goes rushing on, leaving the two
who are absorbed in each other to drift forgotten in a backwater. He works
harder, perhaps, than ever, and she perhaps occupies herself in making
things for her trousseau or her house, or otherwise preparing for the more
contented days which seem so long in coming.

Once they are married, they no longer belong in a backwater, but find
themselves again sailing in midstream. It may be on a slow-moving current,
it may be on a swift,--but their barge sails in common with all other
craft on the river of life.

_Should a Long Engagement Be Announced?_

Whether to announce an engagement that must be of long duration is not a
matter of etiquette but of personal preference. On the general principle
that frankness is always better than secretiveness, the situation is
usually cleared by announcing it. On the other hand, as illustrated above,
the certain knowledge of two persons' absorption in each other always
creates a marooned situation. When it is only supposed, but not known,
that a man and girl particularly like each other, their segregation is not
nearly so marked.


At some time before the wedding, it is customary for the two families to
meet each other. That is, the parents of the groom dine or lunch at the
house of the parents of the bride to meet the aunts, uncles and cousins.
And then the parents of the bride are asked with the same purpose to the
house of the groom-elect.

It is not necessary that any intimacy ensue, but it is considered fitting
and proper that all the members of the families which are to be allied
should be given an opportunity to know one another--at least by sight.


The question of a chaperon differs with locality. In Philadelphia and
Baltimore, custom permits any young girl to go alone with a young man
approved by her family to the theater, or to be seen home from a party. In
New York or Boston, Mrs. Grundy would hold up her hands and run to the
neighbors at once with the gossip.

It is perhaps sufficient to say that if a man is thought worthy to be
accepted by a father as his daughter's husband, he should also be
considered worthy of trust no matter where he finds himself alone with
her. It is not good form for an engaged couple to dine together in a
restaurant, but it is all right for them to lunch, or have afternoon tea;
and few people would criticize their being at the opera or the
theater--unless the performance at the latter was of questionable
propriety. They should take a chaperon if they motor to road-houses for
meals--and it goes without saying that they cannot go on a journey alone
that can possibly last over night.


The fiancée of a young man who is "saving in order to marry," would be
lacking in taste as well as good sense were she to encourage or allow him
extravagantly to send her flowers and other charming, but wasteful,
presents. But on the other hand, if the bridegroom-elect has plenty of
means, she may not only accept flowers but anything he chooses to select,
except wearing apparel or a motor car or a house and furniture--anything
that can be classified as "maintenance."

It is perfectly suitable for her to drive his car, or ride his horse, and
she may select furniture for their house, which he may buy or have built.
But, if she would keep her self-respect, the car must not become hers nor
must she live in the house or use its furniture until she is given his
name. He may give her all the jewels he can afford, he may give her a fur
scarf, but not a fur coat. The scarf is an ornament, the coat is wearing
apparel. If she is very poor, she may have to be married in cheese-cloth,
or even in the dress she wears usually, but her wedding dress and the
clothes she wears away, must not be supplied by the groom or his family.
There is one exception: if his mother, for instance, has some very
wonderful family lace, or has kept her own wedding dress and has no
daughter herself, and it would please her to have her son's wife wear her
lace or dress, it is proper for the bride to consent. But it would be
starting life on a false basis, and putting herself in a category with
women of another class, to be clothed by any man, whether he is soon to be
her husband or not.

If the engagement should be so unfortunate as to be broken off, the
engagement ring and all other gifts of value must be returned.



To begin with, before deciding the date of the wedding, the bride's mother
must find out definitely on which day the clergyman who is to perform the
ceremony is disengaged, and make sure that the church is bespoken for no
other service. If it is to be an important wedding, she must also see that
the time available for the church is also convenient to the caterer.

Sundays, and days in Lent, are not chosen for weddings, and Friday being a
"fast" day in Catholic and very "high" Episcopal churches, weddings on
that day, if not forbidden, are never encouraged. But the superstition
that Friday and the month of May are unlucky, is too stupid to discuss.

Having settled upon a day and hour, the next step is to decide the number
of guests that can be provided for, which is determined by the size of the
church and the house, and the type of reception intended.


The bride-elect and her mother then go to the stationer and decide
details, such as size and texture of paper and style of engraving, for the
invitations. The order is given at once for the engraving of all the
necessary plates, and probably for the full number of house invitations,
especially if to a sit-down breakfast where the guests are limited. There
are also ordered a moderate number of general church invitations or
announcements, which can be increased later when the lists are completed
and the definite number of guests more accurately known.


The bride's mother then consults with the groom, or more likely, with his
mother, as to how the house-list is to be divided between them. This never
means a completely doubled list, because, if the two families live in the
same city, many names are sure to be in duplicate. If the groom's people
live in another place, invitations to the house can be liberally sent, as
the proportion of guests who will take a long trip seldom go beyond those
of the immediate family and such close friends as would be asked to the
smallest of receptions.

Usually if Mrs. Smith tells Mrs. Smartlington that two hundred can be
included at the breakfast, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Smartlington will each make
a list of one hundred and fifty, certain that one hundred will be in

Invitations to a big church wedding are always sent to the entire visiting
list, and often the business acquaintances of both families, no matter how
long the combined number may be, or whether they can by any chance be
present or not. Even people in deep mourning are included as well as those
who live thousands of miles away, as the invitations not merely proffer
hospitality but are messengers carrying the news of the marriage.

After a house wedding, or a private ceremony where invitations were
limited to relatives and closest personal friends of the young couple,
general announcements are sent out to the entire visiting list.


Those who keep their visiting list in order have comparatively little
work. But those who are not in the habit of entertaining on a general
scale, and yet have a large unassorted visiting list, will have quite a
piece of work ahead of them, and cannot begin making it soon enough.

In the cities where a Social Register or other Visiting Book is published,
people of social prominence find it easiest to read it through, marking
"XX" in front of the names to be asked to the house, and another mark,
such as a dash, in front of those to be asked to the church only, or to
have announcements sent them. Other names which do not appear in the
printed list may be written as "thought of" at the top or bottom of pages.
In country places and smaller cities, or where a published list is not
available, or of sufficient use, the best assistant is the telephone book.

List-making should be done over as long a period and for as short sessions
as possible, in order that each name as it is read may bring to memory any
other that is similar. Long reading at a time robs the repetition of names
of all sense, so that nothing is easier than to pass over the name of a
friend without noticing it.

A word of warning: To leave out old friends because they are neither rich
nor fashionable and to include comparative strangers because they are of
great social importance, not alone shows a want of loyalty and proper
feeling, but is to invite the contempt of those very ones whom such
snobbery seeks to propitiate.

Four lists, therefore, are combined in sending out wedding invitations;
the bride and the groom make one each of their own friends, to which is
added the visiting list of the bride's family (made out by her mother, or
other near relative) and the visiting list of the groom's family made out
by his mother, or a relative. Each name is clearly marked, of course,
whether for "house" or "church" invitation.

When the four lists are completed, it is the duty of some one to arrange
them into a single one by whatever method seems most expedient. When lists
are very long, the compiling is usually done by a professional secretary,
who also addresses the envelopes, encloses the proper number of cards, and
seals, stamps and posts the invitations. The address of a professional
secretary can always be furnished by the stationer. Very often, especially
where lists do not run into inordinate length, the envelopes are addressed
and the invitations sent out by the bride herself and some of her friends
who volunteer to help her.


This is the huge wedding of the daughter of ultra rich and prominent
people in a city such as New York, or, more probably, a high-noon wedding
out of town. The details would in either case he the same, except that the
"country setting" makes necessary the additional provision of a special
train which takes the guests to a station where they are met by dozens of
motors and driven to the church. Later they are driven to the house, and
later again, to the returning special train.

Otherwise, whether in the city or the country, the church (if Protestant)
is decorated with masses of flowers in some such elaborateness as
standards, or arches, or hanging garlands in the church itself, as well as
the floral embellishment of the chancel. The service is conducted by a
bishop or other distinguished clergyman, with assistant clergymen, and
accompanied by a full choral service, possibly with the addition of a
celebrated opera soloist. The costumes of the bride and her maids are
chosen with painstaking attention to perfection, and with seeming
disregard of cost.

Later, at the house, there is not only a floral bower under which the
bridal couple receive, but every room has been turned into a veritable
woodland or garden, so massed are the plants and flowers. An orchestra--or
two, so that the playing may be without intermission--is hidden behind
palms in the hall or wherever is most convenient. A huge canopied platform
is built on the lawn or added to the veranda (or built out over the yard
of a city house), and is decorated to look like an enclosed formal garden.
It is packed with small tables, each seating four, six, or eight, as the
occasion may require.


The more usual fashionable wedding is merely a modification of the one
outlined above. The chancel of the church is decorated exactly the same,
but except in summer when garden flowers are used, there is very little
attempted in the body of the church other than sprays of flowers at the
ends of the ten to twenty reserved pews, or possibly only at the ends of
the first two pews and the two that mark the beginning of the ribboned
section. There is often a choral service and a distinguished officiating
clergyman. The costumes of bride and bridesmaids are usually the same in
effect, though they may be less lavish in detail.

The real difference begins at the breakfast, where probably a hundred
guests are invited, or two hundred at most, instead of from five hundred
to a thousand, and except for the canopied background against which the
bride and groom receive, there is very little floral decoration of the
house. If a tent is built, it is left as it is--a tent--with perhaps some
standard trees at intervals to give it a decorated appearance. The tables,
even that of the bride, their garniture, the service, and the food are all
precisely the same, the difference being in the smaller number of guests
provided for.


A small wedding is merely a further modification of the two preceding
ones. Let us suppose it is a house wedding in a moderate-sized house.

A prayer bench has been placed at the end of the drawing-room or
living-room. Back of it is a screen or bower of palms or other greens. One
decoration thus serves for chancel and background at the reception. A
number of small tables in the dining-room may seat perhaps twenty or even
fifty guests, besides the bride's table placed in another room. If the
bride has no attendants, she and the groom choose a few close friends to
sit at the table with them. Or, at a smaller wedding, there is a private
marriage in a little chapel, or the clergyman reads the service at the
house of the bride in the presence of her parents and his and a small
handful of guests, who all sit down afterwards at one table for a wedding

Or there may be a greater number of guests and a simpler collation, such
as a stand-up afternoon tea, where the refreshments are sandwiches, cakes,
tea and chocolate.


No matter whether a wedding is to be large or tiny, there is one
unalterable rule: the reception must be either at the house of the bride's
parents or grandparents or other relative of hers, or else in assembly
rooms rented by her family. Never under any circumstances should a wedding
reception be given at the house of the groom's family. They may give a
ball or as many entertainments of whatever description they choose for the
young couple after they are married, but the wedding breakfast and the
trousseau of the bride must be furnished by her own side of the house!

When a poor girl marries, her wedding must be in keeping with the means of
her parents. It is not only inadvisable for them to attempt expenditure
beyond what they can afford, but they would lay themselves open to far
greater criticism through inappropriate lavishness, than through
meagerness of arrangement--which need not by any means lack charm because


Some years ago there was a wedding when a girl who was poor married a man
who was rich and who would gladly have given her anything she chose, the
beauty of which will be remembered always by every witness in spite of, or
maybe because of, its utter lack of costliness.

It was in June in the country. The invitations were by word of mouth to
neighbors and personal notes to the groom's relatives at a distance. The
village church was decorated by the bride, her younger sisters, and some
neighbors, with dogwood, than which nothing is more bridelike or
beautiful. The shabbiness of her father's little cottage was smothered
with flowers and branches cut in a neighboring wood. Her dress, made by
herself, was of tarlatan covered with a layer or two of tulle, and her
veil was of tulle fastened with a spray, as was her girdle, of natural
bridal wreath and laurel leaves. Her bouquet was of trailing bridal wreath
and white lilacs. She was very young, and divinely beautiful, and fresh
and sweet. The tulle for her dress and veil and her thin silk stockings
and white satin slippers represented the entire outlay of any importance
for her costume. A little sister in smock of pink sateen and a wreath and
tight bouquet of pink laurel clusters, toddled after her and "held" her
bouquet--after first laying her own on the floor!

The collation was as simple as the dresses of the bride and bridesmaid. A
home-made wedding cake, "professionally" iced and big enough for every one
to take home a thick slice in waxed paper piled near for the purpose, and
a white wine cup, were the most "pretentious" offerings. Otherwise there
were sandwiches, hot biscuits, cocoa, tea and coffee, scrambled eggs and
bacon, ice cream and cookies, and the "music" was a victrola, loaned for
the occasion. The bride's "going away" dress was of brown Holland linen
and her hat a plain little affair as simple as her dress; again her only
expenditure was on shoes, stockings and gloves. Later on, she had all the
clothes that money could buy, but in none of them was she ever more lovely
than in her fashionless wedding dress of tarlatan and tulle, and the plain
little frock in which she drove away. Nor are any of the big parties that
she gives to-day more enjoyable, though perfect in their way, than her
wedding on a June day, a number of years ago.


The fashionable wedding hour in New York is either noon, or else in the
afternoon at three, three-thirty or four o'clock, with the reception
always a half hour later. High noon, which means that the breakfast is at
one o'clock, and four o'clock in the afternoon, with the reception at half
after, are the conventional hours.


In San Francisco and generally throughout the West altogether smart
weddings are celebrated at nine o'clock in the evening. The details are
precisely the same as those of morning or afternoon. The bride and
bridesmaids wear dresses that are perhaps more elaborate and "evening" in
model, and the bridegroom as well as all men present wear evening clothes,
of course. If the ceremony is in a church, the women should wear wraps
and an ornament or light scarf of some sort over their hair, as ball
dresses are certainly not suitable, besides which church regulations
forbid the uncovering of women's heads in consecrated places of worship.


To some, nine o'clock in the morning may sound rather eccentric for a
wedding, but to people of the Atlantic Coast it is not a bit more so than
an evening hour--less so, if anything, because morning is unconventional
anyway and etiquette, never being very strong at that hour, is not defied,
but merely left quiescent.

If, for any reason, such as taking an early morning train or ship--an
early morning wedding might be a good suggestion. The bride should, of
course, not wear satin and lace; she could wear organdie (let us hope the
nine o'clock wedding is in summer!), or she could wear very simple white
crêpe de chine. Her attendants could wear the simplest sort of morning
dresses with garden hats; the groom a sack suit or flannels. And the
breakfast--really breakfast--could consist of scrambled eggs and bacon and
toast and coffee--and griddle cakes!

The above is not written in ridicule; the hour would be "unusual," but a
simple early morning wedding where every one is dressed in morning
clothes, and where the breakfast suggests the first meal of the day--could
be perfectly adorable! The evening wedding on the other hand, lays itself
open to criticism because it is a function--a function is formal, and the
formal is always strictly in the province of that austere and inflexible
lawmaker, Etiquette. And Etiquette at this moment says: "Weddings on the
Atlantic seaboard are celebrated not later than four-thirty o'clock in the


And now let us return to the more particular details of the wedding of our
especial bride.

The invitations are mailed about three weeks before the wedding. As soon
as they are out, the presents to the bride begin coming in, and she
should enter each one carefully in her gift book. There are many published
for the purpose, but an ordinary blank book, nicely bound, as she will
probably want to keep it, about eight to ten inches square, will answer
every purpose. The usual model spreads across the double page, as follows:

_Present                                                                Date of
received                                  Sender's         Where        thanks
date     Article      Sent by             Address          Bought       written_
May 20   Silver Dish  Mr. and Mrs. White  1 Elinore Place  Tiffany's    May 20
May 21   12 Plates    Mr. and Mrs. Green  2 North Street   Collamore's  May 21

All gifts as they arrive should be put in a certain room, or part of a
room, and never moved away until the description is carefully entered. It
will be found a great help to put down the addresses of donors as well as
their names so that the bride may not have to waste an unnecessary moment
of the overcrowded time which must be spent at her desk.


The bride who is happy in receiving a great number of presents spends
every spare moment in writing her notes of thanks, which must always be
written by her personally. Telephoning won't do at all, and neither will a
verbal "Thank you so much," as she meets people here and there. She must
write a separate letter for each present--a by no means small undertaking!
A bride of this year whose presents, because of her family's great
prominence, ran far into the hundreds, never went to bed a single night
before her wedding until a note of thanks was checked against every
present received that day. To those who offered to help her through her
overwhelming task, she, who is supposed to be very spoiled, answered: "If
people are kind enough to go out and buy a present for me, I think the
least I can do is to write at once and thank them." That her effort was
appreciated was evident by everyone's commenting on her prompt and
charming notes.

Notes of thanks can be very short, but they should be written with as
little delay as possible. When a present is sent by a married couple, the
bride writes to the wife and thanks both: "Thank you for the lovely
present you and Mr. Jones sent me."


Not so much in an effort to parade her possessions as to do justice to the
kindness of the many people who have sent them, a bride should show her
appreciation of their gifts by placing each one in the position of
greatest advantage. Naturally, all people's tastes are not equally
pleasing to the taste of the bride--nor are all pocketbooks equally
filled. Very valuable presents are better put in close contrast with
others of like quality--or others entirely different in character. Colors
should be carefully grouped. Two presents, both lovely in themselves, can
be made completely destructive to each other if the colors are allowed to

Usually china is put on one table, silver on another, glass on another,
laces and linens on another. But pieces that jar together must be
separated as far apart as possible and perhaps even moved to other
surroundings. A crudely designed piece of silverware should not be left
among beautiful examples, but be put among china ornaments, or other
articles that do not reveal its lack of fineness by too direct comparison.
For the same reason imitation lace should not be put next to real, nor
stone-ware next to Chinese porcelain. To group duplicates is another
unfortunate arrangement. Eighteen pairs of pepper pots or fourteen
sauce-boats in a row might as well be labeled: "Look at this stupidity!
What can she do with all of us?" They are sure to make the givers feel at
least a little chagrined at their choice.


When Mrs. Smith orders a present sent to a bride, she encloses a card
reading: "Mr. & Mrs. John Huntington Smith." Nearly every married woman
has a plate engraved with both names, but if she hasn't, then she encloses
Mr. Smith's card with hers.

Some people write "All good wishes" or "With best wishes," but most people
send cards without messages.


If because of illness or absence, a present is not sent until after the
wedding, a short note should accompany it, giving the reason for the


There is absolutely no impropriety in showing the presents at the wedding
reception. They are always shown at country weddings, and, more often than
not, at the most fashionable town houses. The only reason for not showing
them, is lack of room in an apartment house. In a town house, an up-stairs
library, or even a bedroom, from which all the furniture has been removed,
is suitable. Tables covered with white damask (plain) tablecloths are put
like counters around the sides, and down the center of the room. The cards
that were sent with the gifts are sometimes removed, but there is no
impropriety in leaving them on, and it certainly saves members of the
family from repeating many times who sent this one, and who sent that!

If the house is small so that there is no room available for this display
at the wedding, the presents are shown on the day before, and intimate
friends are especially asked to come in for tea, and to view them. This is
not done if they are to be displayed at the wedding.

Very intimate friends seldom need to be asked; the chances are they will
come in often, to see what has come since they were in last!

Wedding presents are all sent to the bride, and are, according to law, her
personal property. Articles are marked with her present--not her
future--initials. Mary Smith who is going to marry Jim Smartlington is
fortunate as M.S. stands for her future as well as her present name. But
in the case of Muriel Jones who is to marry Ross, not a piece of linen or
silver in "Ross house" will be marked otherwise than "M.J." It is one of
the most senseless customs: all her life which will be as Muriel Ross, she
uses linen and silver marked with a "J." Later on many people who go to
her house--especially as Ross comes from California where she will
naturally be living--will not know what "J" stands for, and many even
imagine that the linen and plate have been acquired at auction! Sounds
impossible? It has happened more than once.

Occasional brides who dislike the confusing initials, especially ask that
presents be marked with their marriage name.

The groom receives few presents. Even those who care about him in
particular and have never met his bride, send their present to her, unless
they send two presents, one in courtesy to her and one in affection to
him. Occasionally some one does send the groom a present, addressed to him
and sent to his house. Rather often friends of the groom pick out things
particularly suitable for him, such as cigar or cigarette boxes, or rather
masculine looking desk sets, etc., which are sent to her but are obviously
intended for his use.


Some people think it discourteous if a bride changes the present chosen
for her. All brides exchange some presents, and no friends should allow
their feelings to be hurt, unless they are very close to the bride and
have chosen the present with particular sentiment. A bride never changes
the presents chosen for her by her or the groom's family--unless
especially told that she may do so. But to keep twenty-two salt cellars
and sixteen silver trays when she has no pepper-pots or coffee spoons or
platters or vegetable dishes, would be putting "sentiment" above "sense."


A trousseau, according to the derivation of the word, was "a little trusse
or bundle" that the bride carried with her to the house of her husband. In
modern times, the "little bundle" often requires the services of a van to

The wrappers and underclothes of a young girl are usually very simple, but
when she is to be a bride, her mother buys her, as lavishly as she can,
and of the prettiest possible assortment of lace trimmed lingerie, tea
gowns, bed sacques and caps, whatever may be thought especially becoming.
The various undress garments which are to be worn in her room or at the
breakfast table, and for the sole admiration of her husband, are of far
greater importance than the dresses and hats to be worn in public.

In Europe it is the custom to begin collecting linen for a girl's
trousseau as soon as she is born, but the American bride cares nothing for
dozens upon dozens of stout linen articles. She much prefers gossamer
texture lavishly embellished with equally perishable lace. Everything must
be bought for beauty; utility is not considered at all. No stout
hand-woven underwear trimmed with solidly stitched needlework! Modern Miss
Millions demands handkerchief linen and Valenciennes lace of a quality
that used to be put as trimming on a ball gown, and Miss Smallpurse asks
for chiffon and less expensive but even more sheer and perishable laces.
Not long ago a stocking was thought fine if it could be run through a
wedding ring; to-day no stocking is considered "fit to put on" for town or
evening wear unless several together can slip through the measure once the
test for one.


The most lavish trousseau imaginable for the daughter of the very rich
might be supposed to comprise:

_House Linen_

One to six dozen finest quality embroidered or otherwise "trimmed" linen
sheets with large embroidered monogram.

One to six dozen finest quality linen sheets, plain hemstitched, large

One to six dozen finest quality linen under-sheets, narrow hem and small

Two pillow cases and also one "little" pillow case (for small down pillow)
to match each upper sheet.

One to two dozen blanket covers (these are of thin washable silk in white
or in colors to match the rooms) edged with narrow lace and breadths put
together with lace insertion.

Six to twelve blankets.

Three to twelve wool or down-filled quilts.

Two to ten dozen finest quality, extra large, face towels, with Venetian
needlework or heavy hand-made lace insertion (or else embroidered at each
end), and embroidered monogram.

Five to ten dozen finest quality hemstitched and monogrammed but otherwise
plain, towels.

Five to ten dozen little hand towels to match the large ones.

One to two dozen very large bath towels, with embroidered monogram, either
white or in color to match the border of towels.

Two to four dozen smaller towels to match.

One tablecloth, six or eight yards long, of finest but untrimmed damask
with embroidered monogram on each side, or four corners. Three dozen
dinner napkins to match. (Lace inserted and richly embroidered tablecloths
of formal dinner size are not in the best taste.)

One tablecloth five to six yards long with two dozen dinner napkins to

One to four dozen damask tablecloths two and a half to three yards long,
and one dozen dinner napkins to match each tablecloth. All tablecloths and
napkins to have embroidered monogram or initials.

Two to six medium sized cut-work, mosaic or Italian lace-work tablecloths,
with lunch napkins to match.

Two to six centerpieces, with doilies and lunch napkins to match.

Four to a dozen tea cloths, of filet lace or drawn work or Russian
embroidery, with tiny napkins to match. Table pieces and tea-cloths have
monograms if there is any plain linen where a monogram can be embroidered,
otherwise monograms or initials are put on the napkins only.

One or two dozen damask tablecloths, plain, with monogram, and a dozen
napkins to match each.

In addition to the above, there are two to four dozen servants' sheets
and pillow cases (cotton); six to twelve woolen blankets, six to twelve
wool filled quilts, four to six dozen towels, and one or two dozen bath
towels; six to twelve white damask (cotton or linen and cotton mixed)
tablecloths and six to twelve dozen napkins, all marked with machine

Two to six dozen kitchen and pantry towels and dishcloths complete the

_Personal Trousseau_

How many dresses can a bride wear? It all depends--is she to be in a big
city for the winter season, or at a watering place for the summer? Is she
going to travel, or live quietly in the country? It is foolish to get more
"outside" clothes than she has immediate use for; fashions change too
radically. The most extravagant list for a bride who is to "go out"
continually in New York or Newport, would perhaps include a dozen evening
dresses, two or three evening wraps, of varying weights. For town there
would be from two to four street costumes, a fur coat, another long coat,
a dozen hats and from four to ten house dresses. In this day of week-ends
in the country, no trousseau, no matter how town-bred the bride, is
complete without one or two "country" coats, of fur, leather or woolen
materials; several homespun, tweed or tricot suits or dresses; skirts with
shirt-waists and sweaters in endless variety; low or flat heeled shoes;
woolen or woolen and silk mixture stockings; and sport hats.

If the season is to be spent "out of town"--even in Newport or Palm
Beach--the most extravagant bride will find little use for any but country
clothes, a very few frocks for Sunday, and possibly a lot of evening
dresses. Of course, if she expects to run to town a great deal for lunch,
or if she is to travel, she chooses her clothes accordingly.

So much for the outer things. On the subject of the under things, which
being of first importance are saved for the last, one can dip into any of
the women's magazines devoted to fashion and fashionables, and understand
at first sight that the furnishings which may be put upon the person of
one young female would require a catalogue as long and as varied as a
seedsman's. An extravagant trousseau contains every article
illustrated--and more besides--in quality _never_ illustrated--and by the
dozens! But it must not for a moment be supposed that every fashionable
bride has a trousseau like this--especially the household linen which
requires an outlay possible only to parents who are very rich and also
very indulgent.


The moderate trousseau simple cuts the above list into a fraction in
quantity and also in quality. There is nothing of course that takes the
place of the smooth fineness of really beautiful linen--it can no more be
imitated than can a diamond, and its value is scarcely less. The "linen"
of a really modest trousseau in this day of high prices must of necessity
be "cotton." Fortunately, however, many people dislike the chill of linen
sheets, and also prefer cotton-face towels, because they absorb better,
and cotton is made in attractive designs and in endless variety.

For her personal trousseau, a bride can have everything that is charming
and becoming at comparatively little expense. She who knows how to do fine
sewing can make things beautiful enough for any one, and the dress made or
hat trimmed at home is often quite as pretty on a lovely face and figure
as the article bought at exorbitant cost at an establishment of
reputation. Youth seldom needs expensive embellishment. Certain things
such as footwear and gloves have to be bought, and are necessary. The
cost, however, can be modified by choosing dresses that one-color slippers
look well with.

In cities such as New York, Washington or Boston, it has never been
considered very good taste to make a formal display of the trousseau. A
bride may show an intimate friend or two a few of her things, but her
trousseau is never spread out on exhibition. There can, however, be no
objection to her so doing, if it is the custom of the place in which she


The costumes of the bridesmaids, slippers, stockings, dresses, bouquets,
gloves and hats, are selected by the bride, without considering or even
consulting them as to their taste or preferences. The bridesmaids are
always dressed exactly alike as to texture of materials and model of
making, but sometimes their dresses differ in color. For instance, two of
them may wear pale blue satin slips covered with blue chiffon and cream
lace fichus, and cream-colored "picture" hats trimmed with orchids. The
next two wear orchid dresses, cream fichus, and cream hats trimmed with
pale blue hydrangeas. The maid of honor likewise wears the same model, but
her dress is pink chiffon over pink satin and her cream hat is trimmed
with both orchids and hydrangeas. The bouquets would all be alike of
orchids and hydrangeas. Their gloves all alike of cream-colored suede, and
their slippers, blue, orchid, and pink, with stockings to match. Usually
the bridesmaids are all alike in color as well as outline, and the maid of
honor exactly the same but in reverse colors. Supposing the bridesmaids to
wear pink dresses with blue sashes and pink hats trimmed in blue, and
their bouquets are of larkspur--the maid of honor wears the same dress in
blue, with pink sash, blue hat trimmed with pink, and carries pink roses.

At Lucy Gilding's wedding, her bridesmaids were dressed in deep shades of
burnt orange and yellow, wood-colored slippers and stockings, skirts that
shaded from brown through orange to yellow; yellow leghorn hats trimmed
with jonquils, and jonquil bouquets. The maid of honor wore yellow running
into cream, and her hat, the of the same shape of leghorn, was trimmed
with cream feathers, and she carried a huge cream feather fan.

As in the case of the wedding dress, it is foolish to enter into
descriptions of clothes more than to indicate that they are of light and
fragile materials, more suitable to evening than to daytime. Flower girls
and pages are dressed in quaint old-fashioned dresses and suits of satin
with odd old-fashioned bonnets--or whatever the bride fancies as being
especially "picturesque."

If a bridesmaid is in mourning, she wears colors on that one day, as
bridesmaids' dresses are looked upon as uniforms, not individual costumes.
Nor does she put a black band on her arm. A young girl in deepest mourning
should not be a bridesmaid--unless at the very private wedding of a bride
or groom also in mourning. In this case she would most likely be the only
attendant and wear all white.

As a warning against the growing habit of artifice, it may not be out of
place to quote one commentary made by a man of great distinction who,
having seen nothing of the society of very young people for many years,
"had to go" to the wedding of a niece. It was one of the biggest weddings
of the spring season in New York. The flowers were wonderful, the
bridesmaids were many and beautiful, the bride lovely. Afterwards the
family talked long about the wedding, but the distinguished uncle said
nothing. Finally, he was asked point blank: "Don't you think the wedding
was too lovely? Weren't the bridesmaids beautiful?"

"No," said the uncle, "I did not think it was lovely at all. Every one of
the bridesmaids was so powdered and painted that there was not a sweet or
fresh face among them--I can see a procession just like them any evening
on the musical comedy stage! One expects make-up in a theater, but in the
house of God it is shocking!"

It is unnecessary to add--if youth, the most beautiful thing in the world,
would only appreciate how beautiful it is, and how opposite is the false
bloom that comes in boxes and bottles! Shiny noses, colorless lips, sallow
skins hide as best they may, and with some excuse, behind powder or
lip-stick; but to rouge a rose--!


With the exception of parasols, or muffs or fans, which are occasionally
carried in place of bouquets and presented by the bride, every article
worn by the bridesmaids, flower girls or pages, although chosen by the
bride, must be paid for by the wearers.

It is perhaps an irrefutable condemnation of the modern wedding display
that many a young girl has had to refuse the joy of being in the wedding
party because a complete bridesmaid outfit costs a sum that parents of
moderate means are quite unable to meet for popular daughters. And it is
seldom that the bride is herself in a position to give six or eight
complete costumes, much as she may want all of her most particular friends
with her on her day of days. Very often a bride tries especially to choose
clothes that will not be expensive, but New York prices are New York
prices, and the chic which is to make the wedding a perfect picture is the
thing of all others that has to be paid for.

Even though one particular girl may be able to dress herself very smartly
in homemade clothes of her own design and making, those same clothes
duplicated eight times seldom turn out well. Why this is so, is a mystery.
When a girl looks smart in inferior clothes, the merit is in her, not in
the clothes--and in a group of six or eight, five or seven will show a
lack of "finish," and the tender-hearted bride who, for the sake of their
purses sends her bridesmaids to an average "little woman" to have their
clothes made, and to a little hat-place around the corner, is apt to have
a rather dowdy little flock fluttering down the aisle in front of her.


This question is answered by: How many friends has she whom she has
"always promised" to have with her on that day? Has she a large circle of
intimates or only one or two? Her sister is always maid of honor; if she
has no sister, she chooses her most intimate friend.

A bride may have a veritable procession: eight or ten bridesmaids, a maid
of honor, flower girls and pages. That is, if she follows the English
custom, where every younger relative even including the little boys as
pages, seems always to be brought into a perfect May-pole procession of
ragged ages and sizes.

Or she may have none at all. She almost always has at least one maid, or
matron, of honor, as the picture of her father standing holding her
bouquet and stooping over to adjust the fall of her dress, would be
difficult to witness with gravity.

At an average New York wedding, there are four or six bridesmaids--half of
the "maids" may be "matrons," if most of the bride's "group" of friends
have married before her. It is, however, not suitable to have young
married women as bridesmaids, and then have an unmarried girl as maid of


The bridegroom always has a best man--his brother if he has one, or his
best friend. The number of his ushers is in proportion to the size of the
church and the number of guests invited. At a house wedding, ushers are
often merely "honorary" and he may have many or none--according to the
number of his friends.

As ushers and bridesmaids are chosen only from close friends of the bride
and groom, it is scarcely necessary to suggest how to word the asking!
Usually they are told that they are expected to serve at the time the
engagement is announced, or at any time as they happen to meet. If school
or college friends who live at a distance are among the number, letters
are necessary. Such as:

"Mary and I are to be married on the tenth of November, and, of course,
you are to be an usher." Usually he adds: "My dinner is to be on the
seventh at eight o'clock at ----," naming the club or restaurant.

It is unheard of for a man to refuse--unless a bridegroom, for snobbish
reasons, asks some one who is not really a friend at all.


A brother of the bride, or if she has no brother, then her "favorite
cousin" is always asked by the groom to be usher out of compliment to her.

The bride returns the compliment by asking the sister of the groom who is
nearest her own age, to be bridesmaid, or if he has no sister, she asks a
cousin or even occasionally shows her courtesy by asking the groom to name
a particular friend of his. The bride in asking her does not say:

"Will you be one of my bridesmaids because Jim wants me to ask you." If
the bridesmaid is not a particular friend of the bride, she knows
perfectly that it is on Jim's account that she has been asked. It is the
same with the bride's usher. The groom merely asks him as he asks all of
the others.

When a foreigner marries an American girl, his own friends being too
distant to serve, the ushers are chosen from among the friends of the


A whole outfit of new clothes is never considered necessary for a
bridegroom, but shabby ones are scarcely appropriate. Whatever his
wardrobe may stand in need of should be bought, if possible. He should
have, not necessarily new, plenty of good shirts of all kinds,
handkerchiefs, underwear, pajamas, socks, ties, gloves, etc., and a
certain number of fresh, or as good as new, suits of clothes.

There was a wedding not long ago which caused quite a lot of derisive
comment because the groom's mother provided him with a complete and
elaborate trousseau from London, enormous trunks full of every sort of
raiment imaginable. That part of it all was very nice; her mistake was in
inviting a group of friends in to see the finery. The son was so mortified
by this publicity that he appeared at the wedding in clothes conspicuously
shabby, in order to counteract the "Mama's-darling-little-newly-wed"
effect that the publicity of her generous outlay had produced.

It is proper and fitting for a groom to have as many new clothes as he
needs, or pleases, or is able to get--but they are never shown to
indiscriminate audiences, they are not featured, and he does not go about
looking "dressed up."


If he does not already possess a well fitting morning coat (often called a
cutaway) he must order one for his wedding. The frock coat is out of
fashion at the moment. He must also have dark striped gray trousers. At
many smart weddings, especially in the spring, a groom (also his best
man) wears a white piqué high double-breasted waistcoat, because the more
white that can be got into an otherwise sombre costume the more
wedding-like it looks; conventionally he wears a black one to match his
coat, like the ushers. The white edge to a black waistcoat is not, at
present, very good form. As to his tie, he may choose an "Ascot" of black
and white or gray patterned silk. Or he may wear a "four-in-hand" matching
those selected for the ushers, of black silk with a narrow single, or
broken white stripe at narrow or wide intervals. At one of the ultra smart
weddings in New York last spring, after the London fashion, the groom and
all the men of the wedding party wore bow ties of black silk with small
white dots.

White buckskin gloves are the smartest, but gray suede are the most
conventional. White kid is worn only in the evening. It is even becoming
the fashion for ushers at small country weddings not to wear gloves at
all! But at every wedding, great or small, city or country, etiquette
demands that the groom, best man, and ushers, all wear high silk hats, and
that the groom carry a walking stick.

Very particular grooms have the soles of their shoes blacked with
"water-proof" shoe polish so that when they kneel, their shoes look dark
and neat.


The best man wears precisely what the groom wears, with only one small
exception: the groom's boutonnière is slightly different and more
elaborate. The groom and best man often wear ties that are different from
those worn by the ushers, and occasionally white waistcoats. Otherwise the
two principal men are dressed like the ushers.


It is of greatest importance that in dress each usher be an exact
counterpart of his fellows, if the picture is to be perfect.

Everyone knows what a ragged-edged appearance is produced by a company of
recruits whose uniforms are odd lots. An after-effect of army training
was evident at one or two smart New York weddings where the grooms were in
each case ex-officers and their ushers turned out in military uniformity.
Each of these grooms sent typewritten instructions to his ushers, covering
every detail of the "equipment" exacted. Few people may have reasoned why,
but scarcely any one failed to notice "what smart looking men all the
ushers were." It is always just such attention to detail that produces a
perfectly finished result. The directions sent by one of the grooms was as

    "Wedding rehearsal on Tuesday, St. Bartholomew's at 5 P.M.

    Wedding on Wednesday at 4 P.M.

    Please wear:

        Black calfskin low shoes.
        Plain black silk socks.
        Gray striped trousers (the darkest you have).
        Morning coat and single-breasted black waistcoat.
        White dress shirt (see that cuffs show three-quarters of
        an inch below coat sleeves).
        Stand-up wing collar.
        Tie and gloves are enclosed.
        Boutonnière will be at the church.
        Be at the church yourself at three o'clock, sharp."


Usually there is no "head usher," but in certain localities courtesy
designates the usher who is selected to take the bride's mother up the
aisle as the "head," or "first" usher.

Very occasionally, too, a nervous groom appoints an especially "reliable"
friend head usher so as to be sure that all details will be carried
out--including the prompt and proper appearance at the church of the other
ushers. Usually, the ushers divide the arrangements among themselves. The
groom decides who goes on which aisle. One of them volunteers or is asked
to look out for the bride's coming and to notify the groom, another is
especially detailed to take the two mothers up the aisle. But very often
this arrangement is arbitrarily decided by height. If one mother is very
tall and the other very short, they generally go up with different ushers,
the tallest being chosen for the taller lady, and one of medium height for
the shorter.


In many sections of America, especially in the country and in small towns,
brides make an especial feature of asking their bridesmaids to a farewell
luncheon. The table is elaborately decorated (invariably in pink with
bridesmaids' roses), there is a bride's cake (lady cake) and there are
favors in the cake, and mottoes, and altogether it is a "lovely party." In
New York there is nothing like that at all. If the bride chooses to give a
luncheon to her bridesmaids on whatever day suits her best, there is no
objection to her doing so, or in fact, to her inviting whom she pleases to
whatever sort of a party her mother is willing she should give. It is not
a question of approved etiquette but of her own inclination seconded by
the consent of her mother!

If her mother "keeps open house," probably they lunch with her many times
before the wedding; if, on the other hand, it is not the habit of the
family to have "people running in for meals," it is not necessary that she
ask them to lunch at all. But whether they lunch often or never, the
chances are that they are in and out of her house every day, looking at
new presents as they come, perhaps helping her to write the descriptions
in the gift book, and in arranging them in the room where they are to be

The bride usually goes to oversee the last fittings of the bridesmaids'
dresses in order to be sure that they are as she wants them. This final
trying-on should be arranged for several days at least before the wedding,
so there may be sufficient time to make any alterations that are found
necessary. Often the bride tries on her wedding dress at the same time so
that she may see the effect of the whole wedding picture as it will be, or
if she prefers, she tries on her dress at another hour alone.

Usually her bridesmaids lunch quite informally with her, or come in for
tea, the day before the wedding, and on that day the bride gives them each
"her present" which is always something to wear. It may be the muffs they
are to carry, or parasols, if they have been chosen instead of bouquets.
The typical "bridesmaid's present" is a bangle, a breast pin, a hat pin,
which, according to the means of the bride, may have great or scarcely any
intrinsic value.


If a wedding is being held in the country, or where most of the
bridesmaids or ushers come from a distance, and they are therefore
stopping at the bride's house, or with her neighbors, there is naturally a
"dinner" in order to provide for the visitors. But where the wedding is in
the city--especially when all the members of the bridal party live there
also--the custom of giving a dinner has gone rather out of fashion.

If the bridal party is asked to dine at the house of the bride on the
evening before the wedding, it is usually with the purpose of gathering a
generally irresponsible group of young people together, and seeing that
they go to the church for rehearsal, which is of all things the most
important. More often the rehearsal is in the afternoon, after which the
young people go to the bride's house for tea, allowing her parents to have
her to themselves on her last evening home, and giving her a chance to go
early to bed so as to be as pretty as possible on the morrow.


Popularly supposed to have been a frightful orgy, and now arid as the
Sahara desert and quite as flat and dreary, the bachelor dinner was in
truth more often than not, a sheep in wolf's clothing.

It is quite true that certain big clubs and restaurants had rooms
especially constructed for the purpose, with walls of stone and nothing
breakable within hitting distance, which certainly does rather suggest
frightfulness. As a matter of fact, "an orgy" was never looked upon with
favor by any but silly and wholly misguided youths, whose idea of a
howling good time was to make a howling noise; chiefly by singing at the
top of their lungs and--breaking crockery. A boisterous picture, but
scarcely a vicious one! Especially as quantities of the cheapest glassware
and crockery were always there for the purpose.

The breaking habit originated with drinking the bride's health and
breaking the stem of the wine glass, so that it "might never serve a less
honorable purpose." A perfectly high-minded sentiment! And this same
time-honored custom is followed to this day. Toward the latter end of the
dinner the groom rises, and holding a filled champagne glass aloft says:
"To the bride!" Every man rises, drinks the toast standing, and then
breaks the delicate stem of the glass. The impulse to break more glass is
natural to youth, and probably still occurs. It is not hard to understand.
The same impulse is seen at every county fair where enthusiastic youths
(and men) delight in shooting, or throwing balls, at clay pipes and ducks

Aside from toasting the bride and its glass-smashing result, the groom's
farewell dinner is exactly like any other "man's dinner," the details
depending upon the extravagance or the frugality of the host, and upon
whether his particular friends are staid citizens of sober years or mere
boys full of the exuberance of youth. Usually there is music of some sort,
or "Neapolitans" or "coons" who sing, or two or three instrumental pieces,
and the dinner party itself does the singing. Often the dinner is short
and all go to the theater.


The groom's presents to his ushers are always put at their places at the
bachelor dinner. Cuff links are the most popular gift; scarf-pins in
localities where they are still fashionable. Silver or gold pencils, belt
buckles, key-rings in gold, key-chains in silver, cigarette cases,
bill-folders, card-cases, or other small and personal articles are

The present to the best man is approximately the same, or slightly
handsomer than the gift to the ushers.


The bride always directs her wedding rehearsal, but never herself takes
part in it, as it is supposed to be bad luck. Some one else--anyone who
happens to be present--is appointed understudy.

Nearly always a few especial friends happen in, generally those who are
primed with advice as to how everything should be done, but the opinion of
the bride or the bride's mother is final.


Most of us are familiar with the wedding service, and its form seems
simple enough. But, unless one has by experience learned to take care of
seemingly non-existent details, the effect (although few may be able to
say why) is hitchy and disjointed, and all the effort spent in preparation
is wasted. It is not that gauche happenings are serious offenses, no
matter how awkward the incident. Even were the wedding party to get
hopelessly entangled, no "crime" would have been committed; but any detail
that destroys the smoothness of the general impression is fatal to
dignity--and dignity is the qualification necessary above all else in
ceremonial observances.


The organist must always be at the rehearsal, as one of the most important
details is marking the time of the wedding march. Witnesses of most
weddings can scarcely imagine that a wedding march is a _march_ at all;
more often than not, the heads of ushers and bridesmaids bob up and down
like something boiling in a pan. A perfectly drilled wedding procession,
like a military one, should move forward in perfect step, rising and
falling in a block or unit. To secure perfection of detail, the bars of
the processional may be counted so that the music comes to an end at
precisely the moment the bride and groom stand side by side at the
chancel steps. This is not difficult; it merely takes time and attention.

A wedding rehearsal should proceed as follows:

First of all, it is necessary to determine the exact speed at which the
march is to be played. The ushers are asked to try it out. They line up at
the door, walk forward two and two. The audience, consisting of the bride
and her mother, and the bridesmaids, decides whether the pace "looks
well." It must not be fast enough to look brisk, or so slow as to be
funereal. At one wedding the ushers counted two beats as one and the pace
was so slow that they all wabbled in trying to keep their balance. The
painfulness to everyone may be imagined. On the other hand it is
unsuitable to "trot" up the aisle of a church.

The "audience" having decided the speed, and the organist having noted the
tempo, the entire procession, including the bridesmaids and a substitute,
instead of the real bride, on her father's arm, go out into the vestibule
and make their entry. Remember, the father is an important factor in the
ceremony, and must take part in the rehearsal.

The procession is arranged according to height, the two shortest ushers
leading--unless others of nearly the same height are found to be more
accurate pacemakers. The bridesmaids come directly after the ushers, two
and two, also according to height, the shortest in the lead. After the
bridesmaids, the maid (or matron) of honor walks alone; flower girls come
next (if there are any) and last of all, the understudy bride leaning on
the arm of the father, with pages (if she has any) holding up her train.
Each pair in the procession follows the two directly in front by four
paces or beats of time. In the vestibule, every one in the procession must
pay attention to the feet directly in front, the pacemakers can follow the
army sergeant's example and say very softly "left, left!" At the end the
bride counts eight beats before she and the father put "left foot"
forward. The whole trick is starting; after that they just walk naturally
to the beat of the music, but keeping the ones in front as nearly as
possible at the same distance.

At the foot of the chancel, the ushers divide. In a small church, the
first two go up the chancel steps and stand at the top; one on the right,
the other on the left. The second two go to a step or two below the first.
If there are more, they stand below again. Chalk marks can be made on the
chancel floor if necessary, but it ought not to be difficult, except for
very little children who are flower girls or pages, to learn their

[Illustration: Diagram of Church]

Or in a big church they go up farther, some of them lining the steps, or
all of them in front of the choir stalls. The bridesmaids also divide,
half on either side, and always stand in front of the ushers. The maid of
honor's place is on the left at the foot of the steps, exactly opposite
the best man. Flower girls and pages are put above or below the
bridesmaids wherever it is thought "the picture" is best.

The grouping of the ushers and bridesmaids in the chancel or lining the
steps also depends upon their number and the size of the church. In any
event, the bridesmaids stand in front of the ushers; half of them on the
right and half on the left. They never stand all on the bride's side, and
the ushers on the groom's.


The clergyman who is to perform the marriage comes into the chancel from
the vestry. At a few paces behind him follows the groom, who in turn is
followed by the best man. The groom stops at the foot of the chancel steps
and takes his place at the right, as indicated in the accompanying
diagram. His best man stands directly behind him. The ushers and
bridesmaids always pass in front of him and take their places as noted
above. When the bride approaches, the groom takes only a step to meet her.

A more effective greeting of the bride is possible if the door of the
vestry opens into the chancel so that on following the clergyman, the
groom finds himself at the top instead of the foot of the chancel steps.
He goes forward to the right-hand side (his left), his best man behind
him, and waits where he is until his bride approaches, when he goes down
the steps to meet her--which is perhaps more gallant than to stand at the
head of the aisle, and wait for her to join him.

The real bride watches carefully how the pseudo bride takes her left hand
from her father's arm, shifts her fan, or whatever represents her bouquet,
from her right hand to her left, and gives her right hand to the groom. In
the proper maneuver the groom takes her right hand in his own right hand
and draws it through his left arm, at the same time turning toward the
chancel. If the service is undivided, and all of it is to be at the altar,
this is necessary as the bride always goes up to the altar leaning on the
arm of the groom.

If, however, the betrothal is to be read at the foot of the chancel (which
is done at most weddings now) he may merely take her hand in his left one
and stand as they are.


The organist stops at the moment the bride and groom have assumed their
places. That is the cue to the organist as to the number of bars necessary
for the procession. After the procession has practised "marching" two or
three times, everything ought to be perfect. The organist, having counted
up the necessary bars of music, can readily give the leading ushers their
"music cue"--so that they can start on the measure that will allow the
procession and the organ to end together. The organist can, and usually
does, stop off short, but there is a better finish if the bride's giving
her hand to the groom and taking the last step that brings her in front of
the chancel is timed so as to fall precisely on the last bars of the

No words of the service are ever rehearsed, although all the "positions"
to be taken are practised.

The pseudo bride takes the groom's left arm and goes slowly up the steps
to the altar.

The best man follows behind and to the right of the groom, and the maid of
honor (or "first" bridesmaid) leaves her companions and advances behind
and to the left of the bride. The pseudo bride (in pantomime) gives her
bouquet to the maid of honor; the best man (also in pantomime) hands the
ring to the groom, this merely to see that they are at a convenient
distance for the services they are to perform. The recessional is played,
and the procession goes out in reversed order. Bride and groom first, then
bridesmaids, then ushers, again all taking pains to fall into step with
the leaders.

On no account must the bridesmaids walk either up or down the aisle with
the ushers! Once in a while the maid of honor takes the arm of the best
man and together they follow the bride and groom out of the church. But it
gives the impression of a double wedding and spoils the picture.


In order that the first days of their life together may be as perfect as
possible, the groom must make preparations for the wedding trip long ahead
of time, so that best accommodations can be reserved. If they are to stop
first at a hotel in their own city, or one near by, he should go days or
even weeks in advance and personally select the rooms. It is much better
frankly to tell the proprietor, or room clerk, at the same time asking
him to "keep the secret." Everyone takes a friendly interest in a bridal
couple, and the chances are that the proprietor will try to reserve the
prettiest rooms in the house, and give the best service.

If their first stop is to be at a distance, then he must engage train
seats or boat stateroom, and write to the hotel of their destination far
enough in advance to receive a written reply, so that he may be sure of
the accommodations they will find.


Just as it is contrary to all laws of etiquette for the bride to accept
any part of her trousseau or wedding reception from the groom, so it is
unthinkable for the bride to defray the least fraction of the cost of the
wedding journey, no matter though she have millions in her own right, and
he be earning ten dollars a week. He must save up his ten dollars as long
as necessary, and the trip can be as short as they like, but convention
has no rule more rigid than that the wedding trip shall be a
responsibility of the groom.

There are two modifications of this rule: a house may be put at their
disposal by a member of her family, or, if she is a widow, they may go to
one of her own, provided it is not one occupied by her with her late
husband. It is also quite all right for them to go away in a motor
belonging to her, but driven by him, and all garage expenses belong to
him; or if her father or other member of the family offers the use of a
yacht or private railway car, the groom may accept but he should remember
that the incidental and unavoidable expense of such a "gift" is sometimes
greater than the cost of railway tickets.


It is quite usual for the bride to go with the groom when he buys the
wedding ring, the reason being that as it stays for life on her finger,
she should be allowed to choose the width and weight she likes and the
size she finds comfortable.


He is a very exceptional and enviable man who is financially able to take
his fiancée to the jeweler's and let her choose what she fancies. Usually
the groom buys the handsomest ornament he can afford--a string of pearls
if he has great wealth, or a diamond pendant, brooch or bracelet, or
perhaps only the simplest bangle or charm--but whether it is of great or
little worth, it must be something for her personal adornment.


Gifts must be provided for his best man and ushers, as well as their ties,
gloves and boutonnières, a bouquet for his bride, and the fee for the
clergyman, which may be a ten dollar gold piece or one or two new one
hundred dollar bills, according to his wealth and the importance of the
wedding. Whatever the amount, it is enclosed in an envelope and taken in
charge by the best man who hands it to the clergyman in his vestry-room
immediately after the ceremony.



No one is busier than the best man on the day of the wedding. His official
position is a cross between trained nurse, valet, general manager and

Bright and early in the morning he hurries to the house of the groom,
generally before the latter is up. Very likely they breakfast together; in
any event, he takes the groom in charge precisely as might a guardian. He
takes note of his patient's general condition; if he is normal and "fit,"
so much the better. If he is "up in the air" or "nervous" the best man
must bring him to earth and jolly him along as best he can.


His first actual duty is that of packer and expressman; he must see that
everything necessary for the journey is packed, and that the groom does
not absent-mindedly put the furnishings of his room in his valise and
leave his belongings hanging in the closet. He must see that the clothes
the groom is to "wear away" are put into a special bag to be taken to the
house of the bride (where he, as well as she, must change from wedding
into traveling clothes). The best man becomes expressman if the first
stage of the wedding journey is to be to a hotel in town. He puts all the
groom's luggage into his own car or a taxi, drives to the bride's house,
carries the bag with the groom's traveling suit in it to the room set
aside for his use--usually the dressing-room of the bride's father or the
bedroom of her brother. He then collects, according to pre-arrangement,
the luggage of the bride and drives with the entire equipment of both
bride and groom to the hotel where rooms have already been engaged, sees
it all into the rooms, and makes sure that everything is as it should be.
If he is very thoughtful, he may himself put flowers about the rooms. He
also registers for the newly-weds, takes the room key, returns to the
house of the groom, gives him the key and assures him that everything at
the hotel is in readiness. This maneuver allows the young couple when they
arrive to go quietly to their rooms without attracting the notice of any
one, as would be the case if they arrived with baggage and were
conspicuously shown the way by a bell-boy whose manner unmistakably
proclaims "Bride and Groom!"

Or, if they are going at once by boat or train, the best man takes the
baggage to the station, checks the large pieces, and fees a porter to see
that the hand luggage is put in the proper stateroom or parlor car chairs.
If they are going by automobile, he takes the luggage out to the garage
and personally sees that it is bestowed in the car.


His next duty is that of valet. He must see that the groom is dressed and
ready early, and plaster him up if he cuts himself shaving. If he is wise
in his day he even provides a small bottle of adrenaline for just such an
accident, so that plaster is unnecessary and that the groom may be whole.
He may need to find his collar button or even to point out the "missing"
clothes that are lying in full view. He must also be sure to ask for the
wedding ring and the clergyman's fee, and put them in his own waistcoat
pocket. A very careful best man carries a duplicate ring, in case of one
being lost during the ceremony.


With the bride's and groom's luggage properly bestowed, the ring and fee
in his pocket, the groom's traveling clothes at the bride's house, the
groom in complete wedding attire, and himself also ready, the best man has
nothing further to do but be gentleman-in-waiting to the groom until it is
time to escort him to the church, where he becomes chief of staff.


Meanwhile, if the wedding is to be at noon, dawn will not have much more
than broken before the house--at least below stairs--becomes bustling.

Even if the wedding is to be at four o'clock, it will still be early in
the morning when the business of the day begins. But let us suppose it is
to be at noon; if the family is one that is used to assembling at an early
breakfast table, it is probable that the bride herself will come down for
this last meal alone with her family. They will, however, not be allowed
to linger long at the table. The caterer will already be clamoring for
possession of the dining-room--the florist will by that time already have
dumped heaps of wire and greens into the middle of the drawing-room, if
not beside the table where the family are still communing with their eggs.
The door-bell has long ago begun to ring. At first there are telegrams and
special delivery letters, then as soon as the shops open, come the
last-moment wedding presents, notes, messages and the insistent clamor of
the telephone.

Next, excited voices in the hall announce members of the family who come
from a distance. They all want to kiss the bride, they all want rooms to
dress in, they all want to talk. Also comes the hairdresser, to do the
bride's or her mother's or aunt's or grandmother's hair, or all of them;
the manicure, the masseuse--any one else that may have been thought
necessary to give final beautifying touches to any or all of the female
members of the household. The dozen and one articles from the caterer are
meantime being carried in at the basement door; made dishes, and dishes in
the making, raw materials of which others are to be made; folding chairs,
small tables, chinaware, glassware, napery, knives, forks and spoons--it
is a struggle to get in or out of the kitchen or area door.

The bride's mother consults the florist for the third and last time as to
whether the bridal couple had not better receive in the library because of
the bay window which lends itself easily to the decoration of a
background, and because the room, is, if anything, larger than the
drawing-room. And for the third time, the florist agrees about the
advantage of the window but points out that the library has only one
narrow door and that the drawing-room is much better, because it has two
wide ones and guests going into the room will not be blocked in the
doorway by others coming out.

The best man turns up and wants the bride's luggage.

The head usher comes to ask whether the Joneses to be seated in the fourth
pew are the tall dark ones or the blond ones, and whether he had not
better put some of the Titheringtons who belong in the eighth pew also in
the seventh, as there are nine Titheringtons and the Eminents in the
seventh pew are only four.

A bridesmaid-elect hurries up the steps, runs into the best man carrying
out the luggage; much conversation and giggling and guessing as to where
the luggage is going. Best man very important, also very noble and silent.
Bridesmaid shrugs her shoulders, dashes up to the bride's room and dashes
down again.

More presents arrive. The furniture movers have come and are carting lumps
of heaviness up the stairs to the attic and down the stairs to the cellar.
It is all very like an ant-hill. Some are steadily going forward with the
business in hand, but others who have become quite bewildered, seem to be
scurrying aimlessly this way and that, picking something up only to put it
down again.


Here, where the bride and groom are to receive, one can not tell yet what
the decoration is to be. Perhaps it is a hedged-in garden scene, a palm
grove, a flowering recess, a screen and canopy of wedding bells--but a
bower of foliage of some sort is gradually taking shape.


The dining-room, too, blossoms with plants and flowers. Perhaps its space
and that of a tent adjoining is filled with little tables, or perhaps a
single row of camp chairs stands flat against the walls, and in the center
of the room, the dining table pulled out to its farthest extent, is being
decked with trimmings and utensils which will be needed later when the
spaces left at intervals for various dishes shall be occupied. Preparation
of these dishes is meanwhile going on in the kitchen.


The caterer's chefs in white cook's caps and aprons are in possession of
the situation, and their assistants run here and there, bringing
ingredients as they are told; or perhaps the caterer brings everything
already prepared, in which case the waiters are busy unpacking the big tin
boxes and placing the _bain-marie_ (a sort of fireless cooker receptacle
in a tank of hot water) from which the hot food is to be served. Huge tubs
of cracked ice in which the ice cream containers are buried are already
standing in the shade of the areaway or in the back yard.


Back again in the drawing-room, the florist and his assistants are still
tying and tacking and arranging and adjusting branches and garlands and
sheaves and bunches, and the floor is a litter of twigs and strings and
broken branches. The photographer is asking that the central decoration be
finished so he can group his pictures, the florist assures him that he is
as busy as possible.

The house is as cold as open windows can make it, to keep the flowers
fresh, and to avoid stuffiness. The door-bell continues its ringing, and
the parlor maid finds herself a contestant in a marathon, until some one
decides that card envelopes and telegrams had better be left in the front

A first bridesmaid arrives. She at least is on time. All decoration
activity stops while she is looked at and admired. Panic seizes some one!
The time is too short, nothing will be ready! Some one else says the
bridesmaid is far too early, there is no end of time.

Upstairs everyone is still dressing. The father of the bride (one would
suppose him to be the bridegroom at least) is trying on most of his
shirts, the floor strewn with discarded collars! The mother of the bride
is hurrying into her wedding array so as to be ready for any emergency, as
well as to superintend the finishing touches to her daughter's dress and


Everyone knows what a wedding dress is like. It may be of any white
material, satin, brocade, velvet, chiffon or entirely of lace. It may be
embroidered in pearls, crystals or silver; or it may be as plain as a
slip-cover--anything in fact that the bride fancies, and made in whatever
fashion or period she may choose.

As for her veil in its combination of lace or tulle and orange blossoms,
perhaps it is copied from a head-dress of Egypt or China, or from the
severe drapery of Rebecca herself, or proclaim the knowing touch of the
Rue de la Paix. It may have a cap, like that of a lady in a French print,
or fall in clouds of tulle from under a little wreath, such as might be
worn by a child Queen of the May.

The origin of the bridal veil is an unsettled question.

Roman brides wore "yellow veils," and veils were used in the ancient
Hebrew marriage ceremony. The veil as we use it may be a substitute for
the flowing tresses which in old times fell like a mantle modestly
concealing the bride's face and form; or it may be an amplification of the
veil which medieval fashion added to every head-dress.

In olden days the garland rather than the veil seems to have been of
greatest importance. The garland was the "coronet of the good girl," and
her right to wear it was her inalienable attribute of virtue.

Very old books speak of three ornaments that every virtuous bride must
wear, "a ring on her finger, a brooch on her breast and a garland on her

A bride who had no dowry of gold was said nevertheless to bring her
husband great treasure, if she brought him a garland--in other words, a
virtuous wife.

At present the veil is usually mounted by a milliner on a made foundation,
so that it need merely be put on--but every young girl has an idea of how
she personally wants her wedding veil and may choose rather to put it
together herself or have it done by some particular friend, whose taste
and skill she especially admires.

If she chooses to wear a veil over her face up the aisle and during the
ceremony, the front veil is always a short separate piece about a yard
square, gathered on an invisible band, and pinned with a hair pin at
either side, after the long veil is arranged. It is taken off by the maid
of honor when she gives back the bride's bouquet at the conclusion of the

The face veil is a rather old-fashioned custom, and is appropriate only
for a very young bride of a demure type; the tradition being that a maiden
is too shy to face a congregation unveiled, and shows her face only when
she is a married woman.

Some brides prefer to remove their left glove by merely pulling it inside
out at the altar. Usually the under seam of the wedding finger of her
glove is ripped for about two inches and she need only pull the tip off to
have the ring put on. Or, if the wedding is a small one, she wears no
gloves at all.

Brides have been known to choose colors other than white. Cloth of silver
is quite conventional and so is very deep cream, but cloth of gold
suggests the habiliment of a widow rather than that of a virgin maid--of
which the white and orange blossoms, or myrtle leaf, are the emblems.

If a bride chooses to be married in traveling dress, she has no
bridesmaids, though she often has a maid of honor. A "traveling" dress is
either a "tailor made" if she is going directly on a boat or train, or a
morning or afternoon dress--whatever she would "wear away" after a big

But to return to our particular bride; everyone seemingly is in her room,
her mother, her grandmother, three aunts, two cousins, three bridesmaids,
four small children, two friends, her maid, the dressmaker and an
assistant. Every little while, the parlor-maid brings a message or a
package. Her father comes in and goes out at regular intervals, in sheer
nervousness. The rest of the bridesmaids gradually appear and distract the
attention of the audience so that the bride has moments of being allowed
to dress undisturbed. At last even her veil is adjusted and all present
gasp their approval: "How sweet!" "Dearest, you are too lovely!" and
"Darling, how wonderful you look!"

Her father reappears: "If you are going to have the pictures taken, you
had better all hurry!"

"Oh, Mary," shouts some one, "what have you on that is

    Something old, something new,
    Something borrowed, something blue,
    And a lucky sixpence in your shoe!"

"Let me see," says the bride, "'old,' I have old lace; 'new,' I have lots
of new! 'Borrowed,' and 'blue'?" A chorus of voices: "Wear my ring," "Wear
my pin," "Wear mine! It's blue!" and some one's pin which has a blue stone
in it, is fastened on under the trimming of her dress and serves both
needs. If the lucky sixpence (a dime will do) is produced, she must at
least pay discomfort for her "luck."

Again some one suggests the photographer is waiting and time is short.
Having pictures taken before the ceremony is a dull custom, because it is
tiring to sit for one's photograph at best, and to attempt anything so
delaying as posing at the moment when the procession ought to be starting,
is as trying to the nerves as it is exhausting, and more than one wedding
procession has consisted of very "dragged out" young women in consequence.

At a country wedding it is very easy to take the pictures out on the lawn
at the end of the reception and just before the bride goes to dress.
Sometimes in a town house, they are taken in an up-stairs room at that
same hour; but usually the bride is dressed and her bridesmaids arrive at
her house fully half an hour before the time necessary to leave for the
church, and pictures of the group are taken as well as several of the
bride alone--with special lights--against the background where she will
stand and receive.


Whether the pictures are taken before the wedding or after, the
bridesmaids always meet at the house of the bride, where they also receive
their bouquets. When it is time to go to the church, there are several
carriages or motors drawn up at the house. The bride's mother drives away
in the first, usually alone, or she may, if she chooses, take one or two
bridesmaids in her car, but she must reserve room for her husband who will
return from church with her. The maid of honor, bridesmaids and flower
girls go in the next vehicles, which may be their own or else are supplied
by the bride's family; and last of all, comes the bride's carriage, which
always has a wedding appearance. If it is a brougham, the horses'
headpieces are decorated with white flowers and the coachman wears a white
boutonnière; if it is a motor, the chauffeur wears a small bunch of white
flowers on his coat, and white gloves, and has all the tires painted white
to give the car a wedding appearance. The bride drives to the church with
her father only. Her carriage arrives last of the procession, and stands
without moving, in front of the awning, until she and her husband (in
place of her father) return from the ceremony and drive back to the house
for the breakfast or reception.

If she has no father, this part is taken by an uncle, a brother, a cousin,
her guardian, or other close male connection of her family.

If it should happen that the bride has neither father nor very near male
relative, or guardian, she walks up the aisle alone. At the point in the
ceremony when the clergyman asks who gives the bride, if the betrothal is
read at the chancel steps, her mother goes forward and performs the office
in exactly the same way that her father would have done.

If the entire ceremony is at the altar, the mother merely stays where she
is standing in her proper place at the end of the first pew on the left,
and says very distinctly, "I do."


Meanwhile, about an hour before the time for the ceremony, the ushers
arrive at the church and the sexton turns his guardianship over to them.
They leave their hats in the vestry, or coat room. Their boutonnières,
sent by the groom, should be waiting in the vestibule. They should be in
charge of a boy from the florist's, who has nothing else on his mind but
to see that they are there, that they are fresh and that the ushers get
them. Each man puts one in his buttonhole, and also puts on his gloves.
The head usher decides (or the groom has already told them) to which
ushers are apportioned the center, and to which the side aisles. If it is
a big church with side aisles and gallery, and there are only six ushers,
four will be put in the center aisle, and two in the side. Guests who
choose to sit up in the gallery find places for themselves.

Often, at a big wedding, the sexton or one of his assistants guards the
entrance to the gallery and admission is reserved by cards for the
employees of both families, but usually the gallery is open to those who
care to go up. An usher whose "place" is in the side aisle may escort
occasional personal friends of his own down the center aisle if he happens
to be unoccupied at the moment of their entrance. Those of the ushers who
are the most likely to recognize the various close friends and members of
each family are invariably detailed to the center aisle. A brother of the
bride, for instance, is always chosen for this aisle because he is best
fitted to look out for his own relatives and to place them according to
their near or distant kinship. A second usher should be either a brother
of the groom or a near relative who would be able to recognize the family
and close friends of the groom.

The first six to twenty pews on both sides of the center aisle are fenced
off with white ribbons into a reserved enclosure. The parents of the bride
always sit in the first pew on the left (facing the chancel); the parents
of the groom always sit in the first pew on the right. The right hand side
of the church is the groom's side always, the left is that of the bride.

[Illustration: A CHURCH WEDDING
"In the city or country the church is
decorated with masses of flowers, greens and sprays of flowers at the ends
of the six to twenty reserved pews." [Page 354.]]


It is the duty of the ushers to show all guests to their places. An usher
offers his arm to each lady as she arrives, whether he knows her
personally or not. If the vestibule is very crowded and several ladies are
together, he sometimes gives his arm to the older and asks the others to
follow. But this is not done unless the crowd is great and the time short.

If the usher thinks a guest belongs in front of the ribbons though she
fails to present her card, he always asks at once "Have you a pew number?"
If she has, he then shows her to her place. If she has none, he asks
whether she prefers to sit on the bride's side or the groom's and gives
her the best seat vacant in the unreserved part of the church. He
generally makes a few polite remarks as he takes her up the aisle. Such

"I am so sorry you came late, all the good seats are taken further up." Or
"Isn't it lucky they have such a beautiful day?" or "Too bad it is
raining." Or, perhaps the lady is first in making a similar remark or two
to him.

Whatever conversation there is, is carried on in a low voice, not,
however, whispered or solemn. The deportment of the ushers should be
natural but at the same time dignified and quiet in consideration of the
fact that they are in church. They must not trot up and down the aisles in
a bustling manner; yet they must be fairly agile, as the vestibule is
packed with guests who have all to be seated as expeditiously as possible.

The guests without reserved cards should arrive first in order to find
good places; then come the reserved seat guests; and lastly, the immediate
members of the families, who all have especial places in the front pews
held for them.

It is not customary for one who is in deep mourning to go to a wedding,
but there can be little criticism of an intimate friend who takes a place
in the gallery of the church from which she can see the ceremony and yet
be apart from the wedding guests. At a wedding that is necessarily small
because of mourning, the women of the family usually lay aside black for
that one occasion and wear white.

_In Front of the Ribbons_

There are two ways in which people "in front of the ribbons" are seated.
The less efficient way is by means of a typewritten list of those for whom
seats are reserved and of the pews in which they are to be seated, given
to each usher, who has read it over for each guest who arrives at the
church. From every point of view, the typewritten list is bad; first, it
wastes time, and as everyone arrives at the same moment, and every lady is
supposed to be taken personally up the aisle "on the arm" of an usher, the
time consumed while each usher looks up each name on several gradually
rumpling or tearing sheets of paper is easily imagined. Besides which, one
who is at all intimate with either family can not help feeling in some
degree slighted when, on giving one's name, the usher looks for it in

The second, and far better method, is to have a pew card sent, enclosed
with the wedding invitation, or an inscribed visiting card sent by either
family. A guest who has a card with "Pew No. 12" on it, knows, and the
usher knows, exactly where she is to go. Or if she has a card saying
"Reserved" or "Before the ribbons" or any special mark that means in the
reserved section but no especial pew, the usher puts her in the "best
position available" behind the first two or three numbered rows that are
saved for the immediate family, and in front of the ribbons marking the
reserved enclosure.

It is sometimes well for the head usher to ask the bride's mother if she
is sure she has allowed enough pews in the reserved section to seat all
those with cards. Arranging definite seat numbers has one disadvantage;
one pew may have every seat occupied and another may be almost empty. In
that case an usher can, just before the procession is to form, shift a
certain few people out of the crowded pews into the others. But it would
be a breach of etiquette for people to re-seat themselves, and no one
should be seated after the entrance of the bride's mother.


Meanwhile, about fifteen minutes before the wedding hour, the groom and
his best man--both in morning coats, top-hats, boutonnières and white
buckskin (but remember not shiny) gloves, walk or drive to the church and
enter the side door which leads to the vestry. There they sit, or in the
clergyman's study, until the sexton or an usher comes to say that the
bride has arrived.


At a perfectly managed wedding, the bride arrives exactly one minute (to
give a last comer time to find place) after the hour. Two or three
servants have been sent to wait in the vestibule to help the bride and
bridesmaids off with their wraps and hold them until they are needed after
the ceremony. The groom's mother and father also are waiting in the
vestibule. As the carriage of the bride's mother drives up, an usher goes
as quickly as he can to tell the groom, and any brothers or sisters of the
bride or groom, who are not to take part in the wedding procession and
have arrived in their mother's carriage, are now taken by ushers to their
places in the front pews. The moment the entire wedding party is at the
church, the doors between the vestibule and the church are _closed_. No
one is seated after this, except the parents of the young couple. The
proper procedure should be carried out with military exactness, and is as

The groom's mother goes down the aisle on the arm of the head usher and
takes her place in the first pew on the right; the groom's father follows
alone, and takes his place beside her; the same usher returns to the
vestibule and immediately escorts the bride's mother; he should then have
time to return to the vestibule and take his place in the procession. The
beginning of the wedding march should sound just as the usher returns to
the head of the aisle. To repeat: _No other person should be seated after
the mother of the bride._ Guests who arrive later must stand in the
vestibule or go into the gallery.

The sound of the music is also the cue for the clergyman to enter the
chancel, followed by the groom and his best man. The two latter wear
gloves but have left their hats and sticks in the vestry-room.

The groom stands on the right hand side at the head of the aisle, but if
the vestry opens into the chancel, he sometimes stands at the top of the
first few steps. He removes his right glove and holds it in his left hand.
The best man remains always directly back and to the right of the groom,
and does _not_ remove his glove.


The description of the procession is given in detail on a preceding page
in the "Wedding Rehearsal" section.

Starting on the right measure and keeping perfect time, the ushers come,
two by two, four paces apart; then the bridesmaids (if any) at the same
distance exactly; then the maid of honor alone; then the flower girls (if
any); then, at a _double distance_, the bride on her father's right arm.
She is dressed always in white, with a veil of lace or tulle. Usually she
carries a bridal bouquet of white flowers, either short, or with streamers
(narrow ribbons with little bunches of blossoms on the end of each) or
trailing vines, or maybe she holds a long sheaf of stiff flowers such as
lilies on her arm. Or perhaps she carries a prayer book instead of a


As the bride approaches, the groom waits at the foot of the steps (unless
he comes down the steps to meet her). The bride relinquishes her father's
arm, changes her bouquet from her right to her left, and gives her right
hand to the groom. The groom, taking her hand in his right puts it through
his left arm--just her finger tips should rest near the bend of his
elbow--and turns to face the chancel as he does so. It does not matter
whether she takes his arm or whether they stand hand in hand at the foot
of the chancel in front of the clergyman.


Her father has remained where she left him, on her left and a step or two
behind her. The clergyman stands a step or two above them, and reads the
betrothal. When he says "Who giveth this woman to be married?" the father
goes forward, still on her left, and half way between her and the
clergyman, but not in front of either, the bride turns slightly toward her
father, and gives him her right hand, the father puts her hand into that
of the clergyman and says at the same moment: "I do!" He then takes his
place next to his wife at the end of the first pew on the left.


A soloist or the choir then sings while the clergyman slowly ascends to
the altar, before which the marriage is performed. The bride and groom
follow slowly, the fingers of her right hand on his left arm.

The maid of honor, or else the first bridesmaid, moves out of line and
follows on the left hand side until she stands immediately below the
bride. The best man takes the same position exactly on the right behind
the groom. At the termination of the anthem, the bride hands her bouquet
to the maid of honor (or her prayer-book to the clergyman) and the bride
and groom plight their troth.

When it is time for the ring, the best man produces it from his pocket. If
in the handling from best man to groom, to clergyman, to groom again, and
finally to the bride's finger, it should slip and fall, the best man must
pick it up if he can without searching; if not, he quietly produces the
duplicate which all careful best men carry in the other waistcoat pocket,
and the ceremony proceeds. The lost ring--or the unused extra one--is
returned to the jeweler's next day. Which ring, under the circumstances,
the bride keeps, is a question as hard to answer as that of the Lady or
the Tiger. Would she prefer the substitute ring that was actually the one
she was married with? Or the one her husband bought and had marked for
her? Or would she prefer not to have a substitute ring and have the whole
wedding party on their knees searching? She alone can decide. Fortunately,
even if the clergyman is very old and his hand shaky, a substitute is
seldom necessary.

The wedding ring must not be put above the engagement ring. On her wedding
day a bride either leaves her engagement ring at home when she goes to
church or wears it on her right hand.


At the conclusion of the ceremony, the minister congratulates the new
couple. The organ begins the recessional. The bride takes her bouquet from
her maid of honor (who removes the veil if she wore one over her face).
She then turns toward her husband--her bouquet in her right hand--and puts
her left hand through his right arm, and they descend the steps.

The maid of honor, handing her own bouquet to a second bridesmaid, follows
a short distance after the bride, at the same time stooping and
straightening out the long train and veil. The bride and groom go on down
the aisle. The best man disappears into the vestry room. At a perfectly
conducted wedding he does not walk down the aisle with the maid of honor.
The maid of honor recovers her bouquet and walks alone. If a bridesmaid
performs the office of maid of honor, she takes her place among her
companion bridesmaids who go next; and the ushers go last.

The best man has meanwhile collected the groom's belongings and dashed out
of the side entrance and around to the front to give the groom his hat and
stick. Sometimes the sexton takes charge of the groom's hat and stick and
hands them to him at the church door as he goes out. But in either case
the best man always hurries around to see the bride and groom into their
carriage, which has been standing at the entrance to the awning since she
and her father alighted from it.

All the other conveyances are drawn up in the reverse order from that in
which they arrived. The bride's carriage leaves first, next come those of
the bridesmaids, next the bride's mother and father, next the groom's
mother and father, then the nearest members of both families, and finally
all the other guests in the order of their being able to find their

The best man goes back to the vestry, where he gives the fee to the
clergyman, collects his own hat, and coat if he has one, and goes to the
bride's house.

As soon as the recessional is over, the ushers hurry back and escort to
the door all the ladies who were in the first pews, according to the order
of precedence; the bride's mother first, then the groom's mother, then the
other occupants of the first pew on either side, then the second and third
pews, until all members of the immediate families have left the church.
Meanwhile it is a breach of etiquette for other guests to leave their
places. At some weddings, just before the bride's arrival, the ushers run
ribbons down the whole length of the center aisle, fencing the
congregation in. As soon as the occupants of the first pews have left, the
ribbons are removed and all the other guests go out by themselves, the
ushers having by that time hurried to the bride's house to make themselves
useful at the reception.


An awning makes a covered way from the edge of the curb to the front door.
At the lower end the chauffeur (or one of the caterer's men) stands to
open the carriage door; and give return checks to the chauffeurs and their
employers. Inside the house the florist has finished, an orchestra is
playing in the hall or library, everything is in perfect order. The bride
and groom have taken their places in front of the elaborate setting of
flowering plants that has been arranged for them.

The bride stands on her husband's right and her bridesmaids are either
grouped beyond her or else divided, half on her side and half on the side
of the groom, forming a crescent with bride and groom in the center.


At a small wedding the duty of ushers is personally to take guests up to
the bride and groom. But at a big reception where guests outnumber ushers
fifty or a hundred to one, being personally conducted is an honor accorded
only to the very old, the very celebrated or the usher's own best friends.
All the other guests stand in a long congested line by themselves. The
bride's mother takes her place somewhere near the entrance of the room,
and it is for her benefit that her own butler or one furnished by the
caterer, asks each guest his name and then repeats it aloud. The guests
shake hands with the hostess, and making some polite remark about the
"beautiful wedding" or "lovely bride," continue in line to the bridal


What you should say in congratulating a bridal couple depends on how well
you know one, or both of them. But remember it is a breach of good manners
to congratulate a bride on having secured a husband.

If you are unknown to both of them, and in a long queue, it is not even
necessary to give your name. You merely shake hands with the groom, say a
formal word or two such as "Congratulations!"; shake hands with the bride,
say "I wish you every happiness!" and pass on.

If you know them fairly well, you may say to him "I hope your good luck
will stay with you always!" or "I certainly do congratulate you!" and to
her "I hope your whole life will be one long happiness," or, if you are
much older than she, "You look too lovely, dear Mary, and I hope you will
always be as radiant as you look to-day!" Or, if you are a woman and a
relative or really close friend, you kiss the groom, saying, "All the luck
in the world to you, dear Jim, she certainly is lovely!" Or, kissing the
bride, "Mary, darling, every good wish in the world to you!"

To all the above, the groom and bride answer merely "Thank you."

A man might say to the groom "Good luck to you, Jim, old man!" Or, "She is
the most lovely thing I have ever seen!" And to her, "I hope you will
have every happiness!" Or "I was just telling Jim how lucky I think he is!
I hope you will both be very happy!" Or, if a very close friend, also
kissing the bride, "All the happiness you can think of isn't as much as I
wish you, Mary dear!" But it cannot be too much emphasized that
promiscuous kissing among the guests is an offense against good taste.

To a relative, or old friend of the bride, but possibly a stranger to the
groom, the bride always introduces her husband saying, "Jim, this is Aunt
Kate!" Or, "Mrs. Neighbor, you know Jim, don't you?" Or formally, "Mrs.
Faraway, may I present my husband?"

The groom on the approach of an old friend of his, says, "Mary, this is
cousin Carrie." Or, "Mrs. Denver, do you know Mary?" Or, "Hello, Steve,
let me introduce you to my wife; Mary, this is Steve Michigan." Steve says
"How do you do, Mrs. Smartlington!" And Mary says, "Of course, I have
often heard Jim speak of you!"

The bride with a good memory thanks each arriving person for the gift sent
her: "Thank you so much for the lovely candlesticks," or "I can't tell you
how much I love the dishes!" The person who is thanked says, "I am so glad
you like it (or them)," or "I am so glad! I hoped you might find it
useful." Or "I didn't have it marked, so that in case you have a
duplicate, you can change it."

Conversation is never a fixed grouping of words that are learned or
recited like a part in a play; the above examples are given more to
indicate the sort of things people in good society usually say. There is,
however, one rule: Do not launch into long conversation or details of
_yourself_, how you feel or look or what happened to you, or what _you_
wore when you were married! Your subject must not deviate from the young
couple themselves, their wedding, their future.

Also be brief in order not to keep those behind waiting longer than
necessary. If you have anything particular to tell them, you can return
later when there is no longer a line. But even then, long conversation,
especially concerning yourself, is out of place.


The groom's mother always receives either near the bride's mother or else
continuing the line beyond the bridesmaids, and it is proper for every
guest to shake hands with her too, whether they know her or not, but it is
not necessary to say anything. The bride's father sometimes stands beside
his wife but he usually circulates among his guests just as he would at a
ball or any other party where he is host.

The groom's father is a guest and it is not necessary for strangers to
speak to him, unless he stands beside his wife and, as it were,
"receives," but there is no impropriety in any one telling him how well
they know and like his son or his new daughter-in-law.

The guests, as soon as they have congratulated the bride and groom, go out
and find themselves places (if it is to be a sit-down breakfast) at a


Unless the house is remarkable in size, there is usually a canopied
platform built next to the veranda or on the lawn or over the yard of a
city house. The entire space is packed with little tables surrounding the
big one reserved for the bridal party, and at a large breakfast a second
table is reserved for the parents of the bride and groom and a few close,
and especially invited, friends.

Place cards are not put on any of the small tables. All the guests, except
the few placed at the two reserved tables, sit with whom they like;
sometimes by pre-arrangement, but usually where they happen to find
friends--and room!

The general sit-down breakfast--except in great houses like a few of those
in Newport--is always furnished by a caterer, who brings all the food,
tables, chairs, napery, china and glass, as well as the necessary waiters.
The butler and footmen belonging in the house may assist or oversee, or
detail themselves to other duties.

Small _menu_ cards printed in silver are put on all the tables. Sometimes
these cards have the crest of the bride's father embossed at the top, but
usually the entwined initials of the bride and groom are stamped in silver
to match the wedding cake boxes.


Lobster Newburg
Suprême of Chicken
Aspic of Foie Gras
Celery Salad

Instead of bouillon, there may be caviar or melon, or grape fruit, or a
purée, or clam broth. For lobster Newburg may be soft-shell crabs or
oyster pâté, or other fish. Or the bouillon may be followed by a dish such
as sweetbreads and mushrooms, or chicken pâtés, or broiled chicken (a half
of a chicken for each guest) or squab, with salad such as whole tomatoes
filled with celery. Or the chicken or squab may be the second course, and
an aspic with the salad, the third. Individual ices are accompanied by
little cakes of assorted variety. There used always to be champagne; a
substitute is at best "a poor thing," and what the prevailing one is to
be, is as yet not determined. Orange juice and ginger ale, or white grape
juice and ginger ale with sugar and mint leaves are two attempts at a
satisfying cup that have been offered lately.


The feature of the wedding breakfast is always the bride's table. Placed
sometimes in the dining-room, sometimes on the veranda or in a room apart,
this table is larger and more elaborately decorated than any of the
others. There are white garlands or sprays or other arrangement of white
flowers, and in the center as chief ornament is an elaborately iced
wedding cake. On the top it has a bouquet of white or silver flowers, or
confectioner's quaint dolls representing the bride and groom. The top is
usually made like a cover so that when the time comes for the bride to cut
it, it is merely lifted off. The bride always cuts the cake, meaning that
she inserts the knife and makes one cut through the cake, after which each
person cuts herself or himself a slice. If there are two sets of favors
hidden in the cake, there is a mark in the icing to distinguish the
bridesmaids' side from that of the ushers. Articles, each wrapped in
silver foil, have been pushed through the bottom of the cake at intervals;
the bridesmaids find a ten-cent piece for riches, a little gold ring for
"first to be married," a thimble or little parrot or cat for "old maid," a
wish-bone for the "luckiest." On the ushers' side, a button or dog is for
the bachelor, and a miniature pair of dice as a symbol of lucky chance in
life. The ring and ten-cent piece are the same.

If a big piece of the wedding cake is left, the bride's mother has it
wrapped in tin foil and put in a sealed tin box and kept for the bride to
open on her first anniversary.

The evolution of the wedding cake began in ancient Rome where brides
carried wheat ears in their left hands. Later, Anglo-Saxon brides wore the
wheat made into chaplets, and gradually the belief developed that a young
girl who ate of the grains of wheat which became scattered on the ground,
would dream of her future husband. The next step was the baking of a thin
dry biscuit which was broken over the bride's head and the crumbs divided
amongst the guests. The next step was in making richer cake; then icing
it, and the last instead of having it broken over her head, the bride
broke it herself into small pieces for the guests. Later she cut it with a


The table of the bride's parents differs from other tables in nothing
except in its larger size, and the place cards for those who have been
invited to sit there. The groom's father always sits on the right of the
bride's mother, and the groom's mother has the place of honor on the
host's right. The other places at the table are occupied by distinguished
guests who may or may not include the clergyman who performed the
ceremony. If a bishop or dean performed the ceremony, he is always
included at this table and is placed at the left of the hostess, and his
wife, if present, sits at the bride's father's left. Otherwise only
especially close friends of the bride's parents are invited to this table.


In addition to the big cake on the bride's table, there are at all
weddings, near the front door so that the guests may each take one as they
go home, little individual boxes of wedding cake, "black" fruit cake. Each
box is made of white moiré or gros-grain paper, embossed in silver with
the last initial of the groom intertwined with that of the bride and tied
with white satin ribbon. At a sit-down breakfast the wedding cake boxes
are sometimes put, one at each place, on the tables so that each guest may
be sure of receiving one, and other "thoughtless" ones prevented from
carrying more than their share away.


The standing breakfast differs from the sit-down breakfast in service
only. Instead of numerous small tables at which the guests are served with
a course luncheon, a single long one is set in the dining-room. (The
regular table pulled out to its farthest extent.) It is covered with a
plain white damask cloth--or it may be of embroidered linen and lace
insertion. In the center is usually a bowl or vase or other centerpiece,
of white flowers. On it are piles of plates, stacks of napkins and rows of
spoons and forks at intervals, making four or possibly six piles
altogether. Always there are dishes filled with little fancy cakes, chosen
as much for looks as for taste. There is usually a big urn at one end
filled with bouillon and one at the other filled with chocolate or tea.
In four evenly spaced places are placed two cold dishes such as an aspic
of chicken, or ham mousse, or a terrine de foie gras, or other aspic. The
hot dishes may be a boned capon, vol-au-vent of sweetbread and mushrooms,
creamed oysters, chicken à la King, or chicken croquettes; or there may be
cold cuts, or celery salad, in tomato aspic. Whatever the choice may be,
there are two or three cold dishes and at least two hot. Whatever there
is, must be selected with a view to its being easily eaten with a fork
while the plate is held in the other hand! There are also rolls and
biscuits, pâté de foie gras or lettuce and tomato sandwiches, the former
made usually of split "dinner" rolls with pâté between, or thin sandwiches
rolled like a leaf in which a moth has built a cocoon. Ices are brought in
a little later, when a number of persons have apparently finished their
"first course." Ice cream is quite as fashionable as individual "ices." It
is merely that caterers are less partial to it because it has to be cut.

After-dinner coffee is put on a side table, as the champagne used to be.
From now on there will probably be a bowl or pitchers of something with a
lump of ice in it that can be ladled into glasses and become whatever
those gifted with imagination may fancy.

Unless the wedding is very small, there is always a bride's table,
decorated exactly as that described for a sit-down breakfast, and placed
usually in the library, but there is no especial table for the bride's
mother and her guests--or for anyone else.


By the time the sit-down breakfast has reached its second course and the
queue of arriving guests has dwindled and melted away, the bride and groom
decide that it is time they too go to breakfast. Arm in arm they lead the
way to their own table followed by the ushers and bridesmaids. The bride
and groom always sit next to each other, she on his right; the maid of
honor (or matron) is on his left, and the best man is on the right of the
bride. Around the rest of the table come bridesmaids and ushers
alternately. Sometimes one or two others--sisters of the bride or groom or
intimate friends, who were not included in the wedding party, are asked to
the table, and when there are no bridesmaids this is always the case.

The decoration of the table, the service, the food, is exactly the same
whether the other guests are seated or standing. At dessert, the bride
cuts the cake, and the bridesmaids and ushers find the luck pieces.


On leaving their table, the bridal party join the dancing which by now has
begun in the drawing-room where the wedding group received. The bride and
groom dance at first together, and then each with bridesmaids or ushers or
other guests. Sometimes they linger so long that those who had intended
staying for the "going away" grow weary and leave--which is often exactly
what the young couple want! Unless they have to catch a train, they always
stay until the "crowd thins" before going to dress for their journey. At
last the bride signals to her bridesmaids and leaves the room. They all
gather at the foot of the stairs; about half way to the upper landing as
she goes up, she throws her bouquet, and they all try to catch it. The one
to whom it falls is supposed to be the next married. If she has no
bridesmaids, she sometimes collects a group of other young girls and
throws her bouquet to them.


The bride goes up to the room that has always been hers, followed by her
mother, sisters and bridesmaids, who stay with her while she changes into
her traveling clothes. A few minutes after the bride has gone up-stairs,
the groom goes to the room reserved for him, and changes into the ordinary
sack suit which the best man has taken there for him before the ceremony.
He does _not_ wear his top hat nor his wedding boutonnière. The groom's
clothes should be "apparently" new, but need not actually be so. The
bride's clothes, on the other hand, are always brand new--every article
that she has on.


A bride necessarily chooses her going-away dress according to the journey
she is to make. If she is starting off in an open motor, she wears a
suitably small motor hat and a wrap of some sort over whatever dress (or
suit) she chooses. If she is going on a train or boat, she wears a
"traveling" dress, such as she would choose under ordinary circumstances.
If she is going to a nearby hotel or a country house put at her disposal,
she wears the sort of dress and hat suitable to town or country occasion.
She should not dress as though about to join a circus parade or the
ornaments on a Christmas tree, unless she wants to be stared at and
commented upon in a way that no one of good breeding can endure.

The average bride and groom of good taste and feeling try to be as
inconspicuous as possible. On one occasion, in order to hide the fact that
they were "bride and groom," a young couple "went away" in their oldest
clothes and were very much pleased with their cleverness, until, pulling
out his handkerchief, the groom scattered rice all over the floor of the
parlor car. The bride's lament after this was--"Why had she not worn her
prettiest things?"

The groom, having changed his clothes, waits up-stairs, in the hall
generally, until the bride emerges from her room in her traveling clothes.
All the ushers shake hands with them both. His immediate family, as well
as hers, have gradually collected--any that are missing must unfailingly
be sent for. The bride's mother gives her a last kiss, her bridesmaids
hurry downstairs to have plenty of rice ready and to tell everyone below
as they descend "They are coming!" A passage from the stairway and out of
the front door, all the way to the motor, is left free between two rows of
eager guests, their hands full of rice. Upon the waiting motor the ushers
have tied everything they can lay their hands on in the way of white
ribbons and shoes and slippers.


At last the groom appears at the top of the stairs, a glimpse of the bride
behind him. It surely is running the gauntlet! They seemingly count "one,
two, three, go!" With shoulders hunched and collars held tight to their
necks, they run through shrapnel of rice, down the stairs, out through the
hall, down the outside steps, into the motor, slam the door, and are off!

The wedding guests stand out on the street or roadway looking after them
for as long as a vestige can be seen--and then gradually disperse.

Occasionally young couples think it clever to slip out of the area-way, or
over the roofs, or out of the cellar and across the garden. All this is
supposed to be in order to avoid being deluged with rice and having labels
of "newly wed" or large white bows and odd shoes and slippers tied to
their luggage.

Most brides, however, agree with their guests that it is decidedly "spoil
sport" to deprive a lot of friends (who have only their good luck at
heart) of the perfectly legitimate enjoyment of throwing emblems of good
luck after them. If one white slipper among those thrown after the motor
lands right side up, on top of it, and stays there, greatest good fortune
is sure to follow through life.

There was a time when the "going away carriage" was always furnished by
the groom, and this is still the case if it is a hired conveyance, but
nowadays when nearly everyone has a motor, the newly married couple--if
they have no motor of their own--are sure to have one lent them by the
family of one of them. Very often they have two motors and are met by a
second car at an appointed place, into which they change after shaking
themselves free of rice. The white ribboned car returns to the house, as
well as the decorated and labeled luggage, which was all empty--their real
luggage having been bestowed safely by the best man that morning in their
hotel or boat or train. Or, it may be that they choose a novel journey,
for there is, of course, no regulation vehicle. They can go off in a
limousine, a pony cart, a yacht, a canoe, on horseback or by airplane.
Fancy alone limits the mode of travel, suggests the destination, or
directs the etiquette of a honeymoon.


At the end of the wedding there is one thing the bride must not forget. As
soon as she is in her traveling dress, she must send a bridesmaid or
someone out into the hall and ask her husband's parents to come and say
good-by to her. If his parents have not themselves come up-stairs to see
their son, the bride must have them sent for at once!

It is very easy for a bride to forget this act of thoughtfulness and for a
groom to overlook the fact that he can not stop to kiss his mother good-by
on his way out of the house, and many a mother seeing her son and new
daughter rush past without even a glance from either of them, has returned
home with an ache in her heart.

It sounds improbable, doesn't it? One naturally exclaims, "But how stupid
of her, why didn't she go up-stairs? Why didn't her son send for her?"
Usually she does, or he does. But often the groom's parents are strangers;
and if by temperament they are shy or retiring people they hesitate to go
up-stairs in an unknown house until they are invited to. So they wait,
feeling sure that in good time they will be sent for. Meanwhile the bride
"forgets" and it does not occur to the groom that unless he makes an
effort while up-stairs there will be no opportunity in the dash down to
the carriage to recognize them--or anyone.


A completely beautiful wedding is not merely a combination of wonderful
flowers, beautiful clothes, smoothness of detail, delicious food. These,
though all necessary, are external attributes. The spirit, or soul of it,
must have something besides; and that "something" is in the behavior and
in the expression of the bride and groom.

The most beautiful wedding ever imagined could be turned from sacrament to
circus by the indecorous behavior of the groom and the flippancy of the
bride. She, above all, must not reach up and wig-wag signals while she is
receiving, any more than she must wave to people as she goes up and down
the aisle of the church. She must not cling to her husband, stand
pigeon-toed, or lean against him or the wall, or any person, or thing. She
must not run her arm through his and let her hand flop on the other side;
she must not swing her arms as though they were dangling rope; she must
not switch herself this way and that, nor must she "hello" or shout. No
matter how young or "natural" and thoughtless she may be, she _must_,
during the ceremony and the short time that she stands beside her husband
at the reception, assume that she has dignity.

It is not by chance that the phrase "happy pair" is one of the most trite
in our language, for happiness above all is the inner essential that must
dominate a perfect wedding. An unhappy looking bride, an unwilling looking
groom, turns the greatest wedding splendor into sham; without love it is a
sacrament inadvisedly entered into, and the sight of a tragic-faced bride
strikes chill to the heart.

The radiance of a truly happy bride is so beautifying that even a plain
girl is made pretty, and a pretty one, divine. There is something glad yet
sweet, shy yet triumphant, serious yet--radiant! There is no other way to
put it. And a happy groom looks first of all protective--he, too, may have
the quality of radiance, but it is different--more directly glad. They
both look as though there were sunlight behind their eyes, as though their
mouths irresistibly turned to smiles. No other quality of a bride's
expression is so beautiful as radiance; that visible proof of perfect
happiness which endears its possessor to all beholders and gives to the
simplest little wedding complete beauty.


A house wedding involves slightly less expenditure but has the
disadvantage of limiting the number of guests. The ceremony is exactly the
same as that in a church, excepting that the procession advances through
an aisle of white satin ribbons from the stairs down which the bridal
party descends, to the improvised altar. A small space near the altar is
fenced off with other ribbons, for the family. There is a low rail of some
sort back of which the clergyman stands, and something for the bride and
groom to kneel on during the prayers of the ceremony. The prayer bench is
usually about six or eight inches high, and between three and four feet
long; at the back of it an upright on either end supports a crosspiece--or
altar rail. It can be made in roughest fashion by any carpenter, or
amateur, as it is entirely hidden under leaves and flowers. On the
kneeling surface of the bench are placed cushions rather than flowers,
because the latter stain. All caterers have the necessary standards to
which ribbons are tied, like the wires to telegraph poles. The top of each
standard is usually decorated with a spray of white flowers.

At a house wedding the bride's mother stands at the door of the
drawing-room--or wherever the ceremony is to be--and receives people as
they arrive. But the groom's mother merely takes her place near the altar
with the rest of the immediate family. The ushers are purely ornamental,
unless the house is so large that "pews" have been installed, and the
guests are seated as in a church. Otherwise the guests stand wherever they
can find places behind the aisle ribbons. Just before the bride's
entrance, her mother goes forward and stands in the reserved part of the
room. The ushers go up to the top of the stairway. The wedding march
begins and the ushers come down two and two, followed by the bridesmaids,
exactly as in a church, the bride coming last on her father's arm. The
clergyman and the groom and best man have, if possible, reached the altar
by another door. If the room has only one door, they go up the aisle a few
moments before the bridal procession starts.

The chief difference between a church and house wedding is that the bride
and groom do not take a single step together. The groom meets her at the
point where the service is read. After the ceremony, there is no
recessional. The clergyman withdraws, an usher removes the prayer bench,
and the bride and groom merely turn where they stand, and receive the
congratulations of their guests, unless, of course, the house is so big
that they receive in another room.

[Page 374.]]

When there is no recessional, the groom always kisses the bride before
they turn to receive their guests--it is against all tradition for any one
to kiss her before her husband does.

There are seldom many bridal attendants at a house wedding, two to four
ushers, and one to four bridesmaids, unless the house is an immense one.

In the country a house wedding includes one in a garden, with a wedding
procession under the trees, and tables out on the lawn--a perfect plan for
California or other rainless States, but difficult to arrange on the
Atlantic seaboard where rain is too likely to spoil everything.


Those whose houses are very small and yet who wish to have a general
reception, sometimes give the wedding breakfast in a hotel or assembly
rooms. The preparations are identical with those in a private house, the
decorations and menu may be lavish or simple. Although it is perfectly
good form to hold a wedding reception in a ballroom, a breakfast in a
private house, no matter how simple, has greater distinction than the most
elaborate collation in a public establishment. Why this is so, is hard to
determine. It is probably that without a "home" atmosphere, though it may
be a brilliant entertainment, the sentiment is missing.


The detail of a spinster's wedding is the same whether she marries a
bachelor or a widower, the difference being that a widower does not give a
"bachelor" dinner.

The marriage of a widow is the same as that of a maid except that she
cannot wear white or orange blossoms, which are emblems of virginity, nor
does she have bridesmaids. Usually a widow chooses a very quiet wedding,
but there is no reason why she should not have a "big wedding" if she
cares to, except that somber ushers and a bride in traveling dress, or at
best a light afternoon one with a hat, does not make an effective
processional--unless she is beautiful enough to compensate for all that is

A wedding in very best taste for a widow would be a ceremony in a small
church or chapel, a few flowers or palms in the chancel the only
decoration, and two to four ushers. There are no ribboned-off seats, as
only very intimate friends are asked. The bride wears an afternoon street
dress and hat. Her dress for a church ceremony should be more conventional
than if she were married at home, where she could wear a semi-evening gown
and substitute a headdress for a hat. She could even wear a veil if it is
colored and does not suggest the bridal white one.

A celebrated beauty wore for her second wedding in her own house, a dress
of gold brocade, with a Russian court headdress and a veil of yellow tulle
down the back. Another wore a dress of gray and a Dutch cap of silver
lace, and had her little girl in quaint cap and long dress, to match her
own, as maid of honor.

A widow has never more than one attendant and most often none. There may
be a sit-down breakfast afterwards, or the simplest afternoon tea; in any
case, the breakfast is, if possible, at the bride's own house, and the
bridal pair may either stay where they are and have their guests take
leave of them, or themselves drive away afterwards.

Very intimate friends send presents for a second marriage but general
acquaintances are never expected to.


All the expenses of a wedding belong to the bride's parents; the
invitations are issued by them, the reception is at their house, and the
groom's family are little more than ordinary guests. The cost of a wedding
varies as much as the cost of anything else that one has or does. A big
fashionable wedding can total far up in the thousands and even the
simplest entails considerable outlay, which can, however, be modified by
those who are capable of doing things themselves instead of employing
professional service at every point.


1. Engraved invitations and cards.

2. The service of a professional secretary who compiles a single list from
the various ones sent her, addresses the envelopes, both inner and outer;
encloses the proper number of cards, seals, stamps and mails all the
invitations. (This item can be omitted and the work done by the family.)

3. The biggest item of expense--the trousseau of the bride, which may
consist not alone of wearing apparel of endless variety and lavish detail,
but household linen of finest quality (priceless in these days) and in
quantity sufficient for a lifetime; or it may consist of the wedding
dress, and even that a traveling one, and one or two others, with barest
essentials and few accessories.

4. Awnings for church and house. This may be omitted at the house in good
weather, at the church, and also in the country.

5. Decorations of church and house. Cost can be eliminated by amateurs
using garden or field flowers.

6. Choir, soloists and organist at church. (Choir and soloists

7. Orchestra at house. (This may mean fifty pieces with two leaders or it
may mean a piano, violin and drum, or a violin, harp and guitar.)

8. Carriages or motors for the bridal party from house to church and back.

9. The collation, which may be the most elaborate sit-down luncheon or the
simplest afternoon tea.

10. Boxes of wedding cake.

11. Champagne--used to be one of the biggest items, as a fashionable
wedding without plenty of it was unheard of. Perhaps though, pocketbooks
may have less relief on account of its omission than would at first seem
probable, since what is saved on the wine bill is made up for on the
additional food necessary to make the best wineless menu seem other than

12. The bride's presents to her bridesmaids. (May be jewels of value or
trinkets of trifling cost.)

13. A wedding present to the bride from each member of her family--not
counting her trousseau which is merely part of the wedding.

14. The bride gives a "wedding present" or a "wedding" ring or both to the
groom, if she especially wants to. (Not necessary nor even customary.)


1. The engagement ring--as handsome as he can possibly afford.

2. A wedding present--jewels if he is able, always something for her
personal adornment.

3. His bachelor dinner.

4. The marriage license.

5. A personal gift to his best man and each of his ushers.

6. To each of the above he gives their wedding ties, gloves and

7. The bouquet carried by the bride. In many cities it is said to be the
custom for the bride to send boutonnières to the ushers and for the groom
to order the bouquets of the bridesmaids. In New York's smart world, the
bridesmaids' bouquets are looked upon as part of the decorative
arrangement, all of which is in the province of the bride's parents.

8. The wedding ring.

9. The clergyman's fee.

10. From the moment the bride and groom start off on their wedding trip,
all the expenditure becomes his.


   1 year, paper
   5 years, wood
  10 years, tin
  15 years, crystal
  20 years, china
  25 years, silver
  50 years, gold
  75 years, diamond

Wedding anniversaries are celebrated in any number of ways. The "party"
may be one of two alone or it may be a dance. Most often it is a dinner,
and occasionally, an afternoon tea.

In Germany a silver wedding is a very important event and a great
celebration is made of it, but in America it is not very good form to ask
any but intimate friends and family to an anniversary party--especially as
those bidden are supposed to send presents. These need not, however, be of
value; in fact the paper, wooden and tin wedding presents are seldom
anything but jokes. Crystal is the earliest that is likely to be taken
seriously by the gift-bearers. Silver is always serious, and the golden
wedding a quite sacred event.

Most usually this last occasion is celebrated by a large family dinner to
which all the children and grandchildren are bidden. Or the married couple
perhaps choose an afternoon at home and receive their friends and
neighbors, who are, of course, supposed to brings presents made of gold.



A child can, of course, be christened without making a festivity of it at
all--just as two people can be married with none but the clergyman and two
witnesses--but nearly every mother takes this occasion to see her friends
and show her baby to them.

Invitations to a christening are never formal, because none but the family
and a very few intimate friends are supposed to be asked. In this day
invitations are nearly all sent over the telephone, except to those who
are at a distance, or else friends are asked verbally when seen; but it is
both correct and polite to write notes. Such as:

    Dear Mrs. Kindhart:

    The baby is to be christened here at home, next Sunday at half
    past four, and we hope you and Mr. Kindhart--and the children if
    they care to--will come.

    Lucy Gilding.

If a telephone message is sent, the form is:

    "Mr. and Mrs. Gilding, Jr. would like Mr. and Mrs. Norman to come
    to the baby's christening on Sunday at half past four, at their


Before setting the date for the christening, the godmothers (two for a
girl and one for a boy) and the godfathers (two for a boy and one for a
girl) have, of course, already been chosen.

If a godfather (or mother) after having given his consent is abroad or
otherwise out of reach at the time of the christening, a proxy takes part
in the ceremony instead, and without thereby becoming a godfather. Since
godparents are always most intimate friends, it is natural to ask them
when they come to see the mother and the baby (which they probably do
often) or to write them if at a distance. Sometimes they are asked at the
same time that the baby's arrival is announced to them, occasionally even

The Gilding baby, for instance, supposedly sent the following telegram:

    Mrs. Richard Worldly,
      Great Estates.

    I arrived last night and my mother and father were very glad to
    see me, and I am now eagerly waiting to see you.

    Your loving godson,
          Robert Gilding, 3d.

But more usually a godparent at a distance is telegraphed:

    John Strong,
       Equitrust, Paris.

    It's a boy. Will you be godfather?

But in any case a formally worded request is out of place. Do _not_ write:

"My husband and I sincerely hope that you will consent to be our son's
godmother," etc. Any one so slightly known as this wording implies would
not be asked to fill so close a position as that of godmother without
great presumption on your part.

You must never ask any one to be a godmother or godfather whom you do not
know intimately well, as it is a responsibility not lightly to be
undertaken and impossible to refuse. Godparents should, however, be chosen
from among friends rather than relatives, since the sole advantage of
godparents is that they add to the child's relatives, so that if it
should be left alone in the world, its godparents become its protectors.
But where a child is born with plenty of relatives who can be called upon
for advice and affection and assistance in event of his or her becoming an
orphan, godparents are often chosen from among them. Nothing could be more
senseless, however, than choosing grandparents, since the relationship is
as close as can be anyway, and the chances that the parents will outlive
their own parents make such a choice still more unsuitable.

In France, the godmother is considered, next to the parents and
grandparents, the nearest relative a child can have. In some European
countries, the Queen or another who is above the parents in rank, assumes
a special protectorate over her godchild. In this instance the godmother
appoints herself.

In America a similar situation cannot very well exist; though on rare
occasions an employer volunteers to stand as godfather for an employee's
child. Godparents must, of course, give the baby a present, if not before,
at least at the christening. The standard "gift" is a silver mug, a
porringer, or a knife, fork and spoon, marked usually with the baby's name
and that of the giver.

    Robert Gilding, 3d
    From his godfather
    John Strong

Or the presents may be anything else they fancy. In New England a very
rich godfather sometimes gives the baby a bond which is kept with interest
intact until a girl is eighteen or a boy twenty-one.


In other days of stricter observances a baby was baptized in the Catholic
and high Episcopal church on the first or at least second Sunday after its
birth. But to-day the christening is usually delayed at least until the
young mother is up and about again; often it is put off for months and in
some denominations children need not be christened until they are several
years old. The most usual age is from two to six months.

If the family is very high church or the baby is delicate and its
christening therefore takes place when it is only a week or two old, the
mother is carried into the drawing-room and put on a sofa near the
improvised font. She is dressed in a becoming negligé and perhaps a cap,
and with lace pillows behind her and a cover equally decorative over her
feet. The guests in this event are only the family and the fewest possible
intimate friends.


In arranging for the ceremony the clergyman, of course, is consulted and
the place and hour arranged. If it is to be in church, it can take place
at the close of the regular service on Sunday, but if a good deal is to be
made of the christening, a week day is chosen and an hour when the church
is not being otherwise used.

The decorations, if any at all, consist of a few palms or some flowering
plants grouped around the font, and the guests invited for the christening
take places in the pews which are nearest to the font, wherever that
happens to be. As soon as the clergyman appears, the baby's coat and cap
are taken off (in any convenient pew, not necessarily the nearest one),
and the godmother, holding the baby in her arms, stands directly in front
of the clergyman. The other godparents stand beside her and other
relatives and friends nearby.

The godmother who is holding the baby must be sure to pronounce its name
distinctly--in fact it is a wise precaution if it is a long or an unusual
one, to show the name printed on a slip of paper to the clergyman
beforehand--as more than one baby has been given a name not intended for
it. And whatever name the clergyman pronounces is fixed for life. The
little Town girl who was to have been called Marian is actually Mary Ann!

As soon as the ceremony is over, the godmother hands the baby back to its
nurse, who puts on its cap and coat, and it is then driven with all its
relatives and friends to the house of its parents or grandparents, where a
lunch or an afternoon tea has been arranged.


Unless forbidden by the church to which the baby's parents belong, the
house christening is by far the easier, safer and prettier. Easier,
because the baby does not have to have wraps put on and off and be taken
out and brought in; safer, because it is not apt to catch cold; and
prettier, for a dozen reasons.

The baby in the first place looks much prettier in a dress that has not
been crushed by having a coat put over it and taken off and put on and off
again. In the second place, a baby brought down from the nursery without
any fussing is generally "good," whereas one that has been dressed and
undressed and taken hither and yon is apt to be upset and therefore to
cry. If it cries in church it just has to cry! In a house it can be taken
into another room and be brought back again after it has been made "more
comfortable." It is trying to a young mother who is proud of her baby's
looks, to go to no end of trouble to get exquisite clothes for it, and ask
all her friends in, and then have it look exactly like a tragedy mask
carved in a beet! And you can scarcely expect a self-respecting baby who
is hauled and mauled and taken to a strange place and handed to a strange
person who pours cold water on it--not to protest. And alas! it has only
one means.

The arrangements made for a house christening are something like those
made for a house wedding--only much simpler. The drawing-room or wherever
the ceremony is to be performed is often decorated with pots of pale pink
roses, or daisies, or branches of dogwood or white lilacs. Nothing is
prettier than the blossoms of fruit trees (if they can be persuaded to
keep their petals on) or any other spring flowers. In summer there are all
the garden flowers. In autumn, cosmos and white chrysanthemums, or at any
season, baby's breath and roses.

The "font" is always a bowl--of silver usually--put on a small high table.
A white napkin on the table inevitably suggests a restaurant rather than a
ritual and is therefore unfortunate, and most people of taste prefer to
have the table covered with old church brocade and an arrangement of
flowers either standing behind or laid upon it so that the stems are
toward the center and covered by the base of the bowl.

If the clergyman is to wear vestments, a room must be put at his disposal.

At the hour set for the ceremony, the clergyman enters the room first and
takes his place at the font. The guests naturally make way, forming an
open aisle. If not, the baby's father or another member of the family
clears an aisle. The godmother carries the baby and follows the clergyman;
the other two godparents walk behind her, and all three stand near the
font. At the proper moment the clergyman takes the baby, baptizes it and
hands it back to the godmother, who holds it until the ceremony is over.


The christening dress is always especially elaborate and beautiful. Often
it is one that was worn by the baby's mother, father, or even its grand or
great-grandparent. Baby clothes should be as sheer as possible and as
soft. The ideal dress is of mull with much or little valenciennes lace
(real) and finest hand embroidery. But however much or little its
trimming, it must be exquisite in texture. In fact, everything for a baby
ought to be hand-made. It can be as plain as a charity garment, but of
fine material and tiny hand stitches. If the baby is very little, it is
usually laid on a lace trimmed pillow. (This lace, too, must be

The godmother or godmothers should wear the sort of clothes that they
would wear at an afternoon tea. The godfather or fathers should wear
formal afternoon clothes. The other guests wear ordinary afternoon
clothes and the mother--unless on the sofa--wears a light-colored
afternoon dress. She should not wear black on this occasion.

As soon as the ceremony is performed, the clergyman goes to the room that
was set apart for him, changes into his ordinary clothes and then returns
to the drawing-room to be one of the guests at luncheon or tea. The
godmother hands the baby to the nurse, or maybe to its mother, and
everyone gathers around to admire it. And the party becomes exactly like
every informal afternoon tea.

The only difference between an ordinary informal tea and a christening is
that a feature of the latter is a christening cake and caudle. The
christening cake is generally a white "lady" cake elaborately iced,
sometimes with the baby's initials, and garlands of pink sugar roses. And
although according to cook-books caudle is a gruel, the actual "caudle"
invariably served at christenings is a hot eggnog, drunk out of little
punch cups. One is supposed to eat the cake as a sign that one partakes of
the baby's hospitality, and is therefore its friend, and to drink the
caudle to its health and prosperity. But by this time the young host (or
hostess) is peacefully asleep in the nursery.



At no time does solemnity so possess our souls as when we stand deserted
at the brink of darkness into which our loved one has gone. And the last
place in the world where we would look for comfort at such a time is in
the seeming artificiality of etiquette; yet it is in the moment of deepest
sorrow that etiquette performs its most vital and real service.

All set rules for social observance have for their object the smoothing of
personal contacts, and in nothing is smoothness so necessary as in
observing the solemn rites accorded our dead.

It is the time-worn servitor, Etiquette, who draws the shades, who muffles
the bell, who keeps the house quiet, who hushes voices and footsteps and
sudden noises; who stands between well-meaning and importunate outsiders
and the retirement of the bereaved; who decrees that the last rites shall
be performed smoothly and with beauty and gravity, so that the poignancy
of grief may in so far as possible be assuaged.


As soon as death occurs, some one (the trained nurse usually) draws the
blinds in the sick-room and tells a servant to draw all the blinds of the

If they are not already present, the first act of some one at the bedside
is to telephone or telegraph the immediate members of the family, the
clergyman and the sexton of the church to which the family belong, and
possibly one or two closest friends, whose competence and sympathy can be
counted on--as there are many things which must be done for the stricken
family as well as for the deceased. (The sexton of nearly every Protestant
church is also undertaker. If he is not, then an outside funeral director
is sent for.)

If the illness has been a long one, it may be that the family has become
attached to the trained nurse and no one is better fitted than she to turn
her ministrations from the one whom she can no longer help, to those who
have now very real need of just such care as she can give.

If the death was sudden, or the nurse unsympathetic or for other reasons
unavailable, then a relative or a near friend of practical sympathy is the
ideal attendant in charge.


Persons under the shock of genuine affliction are not only upset mentally
but are all unbalanced physically. No matter how calm and controlled they
seemingly may be, no one can under such circumstances be normal. Their
disturbed circulation makes them cold, their distress makes them unstrung,
sleepless. Persons they normally like, they often turn from. No one should
ever be forced upon those in grief, and all over-emotional people, no
matter how near or dear, should be barred absolutely. Although the
knowledge that their friends love them and sorrow for them is a great
solace, the nearest afflicted must be protected from any one or anything
which is likely to overstrain nerves already at the threatening point, and
none have the right to feel hurt if they are told they can neither be of
use nor be received. At such a time, to some people companionship is a
comfort, others shrink from dearest friends. One who is by choice or
accident selected to come in contact with those in new affliction should,
like a trained nurse, banish all consciousness of self; otherwise he or
she will be or no service--and service is the only gift of value that can
be offered.


First of all, the ones in sorrow should be urged if possible to sit in a
sunny room and where there is an open fire. If they feel unequal to going
to the table, a very little food should be taken to them on a tray. A cup
of tea or coffee or bouillon, a little thin toast, a poached egg, milk if
they like it hot, or milk toast. Cold milk is bad for one who is already
over-chilled. The cook may suggest something that appeals usually to their
taste--but very little should be offered at a time, for although the
stomach may be empty, the palate rejects the thought of food, and
digestion is never in best order.

It sounds paradoxical to say that those in sorrow should be protected from
all contacts, and yet that they must be constantly asked about
arrangements and given little time to remain utterly undisturbed. They
must think of people they want sent for, and they must decide the details
of the funeral; when they would like it held, and whether in church or at
the house, whether they want special music or flowers ordered, and where
the interment is to be.


A friend or a servant is always stationed in the hall to open the door,
receive notes and cards, and to take messages. In a big house the butler
in his day clothes should answer the bell, with the parlor-maid to assist
him, until a footman can procure a black livery and take his or her place.
A parlor-maid or waitress at the door should wear either a black or gray
dress, with her plainest white apron, collar and cuffs.


A close friend or male member of the family should be--if not at the
door--as near the front hall as possible to see the countless people with
whom details have to be arranged, to admit to a member of the family
anyone they may want to see, and to give news to, or take messages from,

As people come to the house to enquire and offer their services, he gives
them commissions the occasion requires. The first friend who hurries to
the house (in answer to the telephone message which announced the death)
is asked to break the news to an invalid connection of the family, or he
may be sent to the florist to order the bell hung, or to the station to
meet a child arriving from school.


The sexton (or other funeral director) sends the notices to the daily
papers announcing the death, and the time and place of the funeral. The
form is generally selected by a member of the family from among those
appearing in that day's newspapers. These notices are paid for by the
sexton and put on his bill.

With the exception of the telephone messages or telegrams to relatives and
very intimate friends, no other notices are sent out. Only those persons
who are expected to go to the house at once have messages sent to them;
all others are supposed to read the notice in the papers. When the notice
reads "funeral private" and neither place nor time is given, very intimate
friends are supposed to ask for these details at the house; others
understand they are not expected.


As a rule the funeral director hangs crepe streamers on the bell; white
ones for a child, black and white for a young person, or black for an
older person. This signifies to the passerby that it is a house of
mourning so that the bell will not be rung unnecessarily nor long.

If they prefer, the family sometimes orders a florist to hang a bunch of
violets or other purple flowers on black ribbon streamers, for a grown
person; or white violets, white carnations--any white flower without
leaves--on the black ribbon for a young woman or man; or white flowers on
white gauze or ribbon for a child.


It is curious that long association with the sadness of death seems to
have deprived an occasional funeral director of all sense of moderation.
Whether the temptation of "good business" gradually undermines his
character--knowing as he does that bereaved families ask no questions--or
whether his profession is merely devoid of taste, he will, if not checked,
bring the most ornate and expensive casket in his establishment: he will
perform every rite that his professional ingenuity for expenditure can
devise; he will employ every attendant he has; he will order vehicles
numerous enough for the cortège of a president; he will even, if thrown in
contact with a bewildered chief-mourner, secure a pledge for the erection
of an elaborate mausoleum.

Some one, therefore, who has the family's interest at heart and knows
their taste and purse, should go personally to the establishment of the
undertaker, and not only select the coffin, but go carefully into the
specification of all other details, so that everything necessary may be
arranged for, and unnecessary items omitted.

This does not imply that a family that prefers a very elaborate funeral
should not be allowed to have one; but the great majority of people have
moderate, rather than unlimited means, and it is not unheard of that a
small estate is seriously depleted by vulgarly lavish and entirely
inappropriate funeral expenses. One would be a poor sort who for the sake
of friends would not willingly endure a little troublesome inquiry, rather
than witness a display of splurge and bad taste and realize at the same
time that the friends who might have been protected will be deluged with
bills which it cannot but embarrass them to pay.


The member of the family who is in charge will ask either when they come
to the house, or by telephone or telegraph if they are at a distance, six
or eight men who are close friends of the deceased to be the pallbearers.
When a man has been prominent in public life, he may have twelve or more
from among his political or business associates as well as his lifelong
social friends. Near relatives are never chosen, as their place is with
the women of the family. For a young woman, her own friends or those of
her family are chosen. It is a service that may not under any
circumstances except serious ill-health, be refused.

The one in charge will tell the pallbearers where they are to meet. It
used to be customary for them to go to the house on the morning of the
funeral and drive to the church behind the hearse, but as everything
tending to a conspicuous procession is being gradually done away with, it
is often preferred to have them wait in the vestibule of the church.

Honorary pallbearers serve only at church funerals; They do not carry the
coffin for the reason that, being unaccustomed to bearing such a burden,
one of them might possibly stumble, or at least give an impression of
uncertainty or awkwardness that might detract from the solemnity of the
occasion. The sexton's assistants are trained for this service, so as to
prevent in so far as is humanly possible a blundering occurrence.


Among those who come to the house there is sure to be a woman friend of
the family whose taste and method of expenditure is similar to theirs. She
looks through the clothes they have, to see if there is not a black dress
or suit that can be used, and makes a list of only the necessary articles
which will have to be procured.

All dressmaking establishments give precedence to mourning orders and will
fill a commission within twenty-four hours. These first things are made
invariably without bothering the wearer with fitting. Alterations, if
required, are made later.

Or the mourning departments of the big stores and specialty shops are
always willing to send a selection on approval, so that a choice can be
made by the family in the privacy of their own rooms. Nearly always
acquaintances who are themselves in mourning offer to lend crepe veils,
toques and wraps, so that the garments which must be bought at first may
be as few as possible. Most women have a plain black suit, or dress, the
trimming of which can quickly be replaced with crepe by a maid or a

Most men are of standard size and can go to a clothier and buy a
ready-made black suit. Otherwise they must borrow, or wear what they have,
as no tailor can make a suit in twenty-four hours.


Unless the deceased was a prelate or personage whose lying-in-state is a
public ceremony, or unless it is the especial wish of the relatives, the
solemn vigil through long nights by the side of the coffin is no longer
essential as a mark of veneration or love for the departed.

Nor is the soulless body dressed in elaborate trappings of farewell
grandeur. Everything to-day is done to avoid unnecessary evidence of the
change that has taken place. In case of a very small funeral the person
who has passed away is sometimes left lying in bed in night clothes, or on
a sofa in a wrapper, with flowers, but no set pieces, about the room, so
that an invalid or other sensitive bereft one may say farewell without
ever seeing the all too definite finality of a coffin. In any event the
last attentions are paid in accordance with the wish of those most nearly


Kindness of heart is latent in all of us, and servants, even if they have
not been long with a family, rise to the emergency of such a time as that
of a funeral, which always puts additional work upon them and often leaves
them to manage under their own initiative. The house is always full of
people, family and intimate friends occupy all available accommodation,
but it is a rare household which does not give sympathy as generously
below stairs as above; and he or she would be thought very heartless by
their companions who did not willingly and helpfully assume a just share
of the temporary tax on energy, time and consideration.


The church funeral is the more trying, in that the family have to leave
the seclusion of their house and face a congregation. On the other hand,
many who find solemnity only in a church service with the added beauty of
choir and organ, prefer to take their heartrending farewell in the House
of God.


An hour before the time for the service, if the family is Protestant, one
or two woman friends go to the church to arrange the flowers which are
placed about the chancel. Unless they have had unusual practise in such
arrangement they should, if possible, have the assistance of a florist, as
effective grouping and fastening of heavy wreaths and sprays is apt to
overtax the ingenuity of novices, no matter how perfect their usual taste
may be.

Whoever takes charge of the flowers must be sure to collect carefully all
the notes and cards. They should always take extra pencils in case the
points break, and write on the outside of each envelope a description of
the flowers that the card was sent with.

"Spray of Easter lilies and palm branches tied with white ribbon."
"Wreath of laurel leaves and gardenias."
"Long sheaf of pink roses and white lilacs."

These descriptions will afterwards help identify and recall the flowers
when notes of thanks are sent.

As the appointed time for the funeral draws near, the organ plays softly,
the congregation gradually fills the church. The first pews on either side
of the center aisle are left empty.


At the appointed time the funeral procession forms in the vestibule. If
there is to be a choral service the minister and the choir enter the
church from the rear, and precede the funeral cortège. Directly after the
choir and clergy come the pallbearers, two by two, then the coffin covered
with flowers and then the family--the chief mourner comes first, leaning
upon the arm of her closest male relative. Usually each man is escort for
a woman, but two women or two men may walk together according to the
division of the family. If the deceased is one of four sons where there is
no daughter, the mother and father walk immediately behind the body of
their child, followed by the two elder sons and behind them the younger,
with the nearest woman relative. If there is a grandmother, she walks with
the eldest son and the younger two follow together. If it is a family of
daughters who are following their father, the eldest daughter may walk
with her mother, or the mother may walk with her brother, or a son-in-law.
Although the arrangement of the procession is thus fixed, those in
affliction should be placed next to the one whose nearness may be of most
comfort to them. A younger child who is calm and soothing would better be
next to his mother than an older who is of more nervous temperament.

At the funeral of a woman, her husband sometimes walks alone, but usually
with his mother or his daughter. A very few intimate friends walk at the
rear of the family, followed by the servants of the household. At the
chancel the choir take their accustomed places, the minister stands at the
foot of the chancel steps, the honorary pallbearers take their places in
the front pews on the left, and the coffin is set upon a stand previously
placed there for the purpose. The bearers of the coffin walk quietly
around to inconspicuous stations on a side aisle. The family occupy the
front pews on the right, the rest of the procession fill vacant places on
either side. The service is then read.


Upon the conclusion of the service, the procession moves out in the same
order as it came in excepting that the choir remain in their places and
the honorary pallbearers go first. Outside the church, the coffin is put
into the hearse, the family getting into carriages or motors waiting
immediately behind, and the flowers are put into a covered vehicle. (It is
very vulgar to fill open landaus with displayed floral offerings and
parade through the streets.)


If the burial is in the churchyard or otherwise within walking distance,
the congregation naturally follows the family to the graveside. Otherwise,
the general congregation no longer expects, nor wishes, to go to the
interment which (excepting at a funeral of public importance) is witnessed
only by the immediate family and the most intimate friends, who are asked
if they "care to go." The long line of carriages that used to stand at the
church ready to be filled with a long file of mere acquaintances is a
barbarous thing of the past.


Many people prefer a house funeral--it is simpler, more private, and
obviates the necessity for those in sorrow to face people. The nearest
relatives may stay apart in an adjoining room or even upon the upper
floor, where they can hear the service but remain in unseen seclusion.

Ladies keep their wraps on. Gentlemen wear their overcoats or carry them
on their arms and hold their hats in their hands.


To many people there is lack of solemnity in a service outside of a church
and lacking the accompaniment of the organ. It is almost impossible to
introduce orchestral music that does not sound either dangerously
suggestive of the gaiety of entertainment or else thin and flat. A quartet
or choral singing is beautiful and appropriate, if available, otherwise
there is usually no music at a house funeral.


Some authorities say that only the flowers sent by very close friends
should be shown at a house funeral, and that it is ostentatious to make a
display. But when people, or societies, have been kind enough to send
flowers, it would certainly be wanting in appreciation, to say the least,
to relegate their offerings to the back yard--or wherever it is that the
cavilers would have them hid!

In a small house where flowers would be overpowering, it is customary to
insert in the death notice: "It is requested that no flowers be sent," or
"Kindly omit flowers."

Arrangement for the service is usually made in the drawing-room, and the
coffin is placed in front of the mantel, or between the windows, but
always at a distance from the door, usually on stands brought by the
funeral director, who also brings enough camp chairs to fill the room
without crowding. A friend, or a member of the family, collects the cards
and arranges the flowers behind and at the side and against the stands of
the coffin. If there is to be a blanket or pall of smilax or other leaves
with or without flowers, fastened to a frame, or sewed on thin material
and made into a covering, it is always ordered by the family. Otherwise,
the wreaths to be placed on the coffin are chosen from among those sent by
the family.


As friends arrive, they are shown to the room where the ceremony is to be
held, but they take their own places. A room must be apportioned to the
minister in which to put on his vestments. At the hour set for the funeral
the immediate family, if they feel like being present, take their places
in the front row of chairs. The women wear small hats or toques and long
crepe veils over their faces, so that their countenances may be hidden.
The minister takes his stand at the head of the coffin and reads the

At its conclusion the coffin is carried out to the hearse, which, followed
by a small number of carriages, proceeds to the cemetery.

It is very rare nowadays for any but a small group of relatives and
intimate men friends to go to the cemetery, and it is not thought unloving
or slighting of the dead for no women at all to be at the graveside. If
any women are to be present and the interment is to be in the ground, some
one should order the grave lined with boughs and green branches--to lessen
the impression of bare earth.


In the country where relatives and friends arrive by train, carriages or
motors must be provided to convey them to the house or church or cemetery.
If the clergyman has no conveyance of his own, he must always be sent for,
and if the funeral is in a house, a room must be set apart for him in
which to change his clothes.

It is unusual for a family to provide a "special car." Sometimes the hour
of the funeral is announced in the papers as taking place on the arrival
of a certain train, but everyone who attends is expected to pay his own
railway fare and make, if necessary, his own arrangements for lunch.

Only when the country place where the funeral is held is at a distance
from town and a long drive from the railway station, a light repast of
bouillon, rolls and tea and sandwiches may be spread on the dining-room
table. Otherwise refreshments are never offered--except to those of the
family, of course, who are staying in the house.


While the funeral cortège is still at the cemetery, some one who is in
charge at home must see that the mourning emblem is taken off the bell,
that the windows are opened, the house aired from the excessive odor of
flowers, and the blinds pulled up. Any furniture that has been displaced
should be put back where it belongs, and unless the day is too hot a fire
should be lighted in the library or principal bedroom to make a little
more cheerful the sad home-coming of the family. It is also well to
prepare a little hot tea or broth, and it should be brought them upon
their return without their being asked if they would care for it. Those
who are in great distress want no food, but if it is handed to them, they
will mechanically take it, and something warm to start digestion and
stimulate impaired circulation is what they most need.


A generation or two ago the regulations for mourning were definitely
prescribed, definite periods according to the precise degree of
relationship of the mourner. One's real feelings, whether of grief or
comparative indifference, had nothing to do with the outward manifestation
one was obliged, in decency, to show. The tendency to-day is toward
sincerity. People do not put on black for aunts, uncles and cousins unless
there is a deep tie of affection as well as of blood.

Many persons to-day do not believe in going into mourning at all. There
are some who believe, as do the races of the East, that great love should
be expressed in rejoicing in the re-birth of a beloved spirit instead of
selfishly mourning their own earthly loss. But many who object to
manifestations of grief, find themselves impelled to wear mourning when
their sorrow comes and the number of those who do not put on black is
still comparatively small.


If you see acquaintances of yours in deepest mourning, it does not occur
to you to go up to them and babble trivial topics or ask them to a dance
or dinner. If you pass close to them, irresistible sympathy compels you
merely to stop and press their hand and pass on. A widow, or mother, in
the newness of her long veil, has her hard path made as little difficult
as possible by everyone with whom she comes in contact, no matter on what
errand she may be bent. A clerk in a store will try to wait on her as
quickly and as attentively as possible. Acquaintances avoid stopping her
with long conversation that could not but torture and distress her. She
meets small kindnesses at every turn, which save unnecessary jars to
supersensitive nerves.

Once in a great while, a tactless person may have no better sense than to
ask her abruptly for whom she is in mourning! Such people would not
hesitate to walk over the graves in a cemetery! And fortunately, such
encounters are few.

Since many people, however, dislike long mourning veils and all crepe
generally, it is absolutely correct to omit both if preferred, and to wear
an untrimmed coat and hat of plainest black with or without a veil.


In the first days of stress, people sometimes give away every colored
article they possess and not until later are they aware of the effort
necessary, to say nothing of the expense, of getting an entire new
wardrobe. Therefore it is well to remember:

Dresses and suits can be dyed without ripping. Any number of fabrics--all
woolens, soft silks, canton crepe, georgette and chiffon, dye perfectly.
Buttonholes have sometimes to be re-worked, snaps or hooks and eyes
changed to black, a bit of trimming taken off or covered with dull braid,
silk or crepe, and the clothes look every bit as well as though newly

Straw hats can be painted with an easily applied stain sold in every drug
and department store for the purpose. If you cannot trim hats yourself, a
milliner can easily imitate, or, if necessary, simplify the general
outline of the trimming as it was, and a seamstress can easily cover dyed
trimmings on dresses with crepe or dull silk. Also tan shoes--nearly all
footwear made of leather--can be dyed black and made to look like new by
any first class shoemaker.


Lustreless silks, such as crepe de chine, georgette, chiffon, grosgrain,
peau de soie, dull finish charmeuse and taffeta, and all plain woolen
materials, are suitable for deepest mourning. Uncut velvet is as deep
mourning as crepe, but cut velvet is not mourning at all! Nor is satin or
lace. The only lace permissible is a plain or hemstitched net known as

Fancy weaves in stockings are not mourning, nor is bright jet or silver. A
very perplexing decree is that clothes entirely of white are deepest
mourning but the addition of a black belt or hat or gloves produces second

Patent leather and satin shoes are not mourning.

People in second mourning wear all combinations of black and white as well
as clothes of gray and mauve. Many of the laws for materials seem
arbitrary, and people interpret them with greater freedom than they used
to, but never under any circumstances can one who is not entirely in
colors wear satin embroidered in silver or trimmed with jet and lace! With
the exception of wearing a small string of pearls and a single ring,
especially if it is an engagement ring, jewelry with deepest mourning is
never in good taste.


Nor should a woman ever wear a crepe veil to the theater or restaurant, or
any public place of amusement. On the other hand, people left long to
themselves and their own thoughts grow easily morbid, and the opera or
concert or an interesting play may exert a beneficial relaxation. Gay
restaurants with thumping strident musical accompaniment or entertainments
of the cabaret variety, need scarcely be commented upon. But to go to a
matinée with a close friend or relative is becoming more and more
usual--and the picture theaters where one may sit in the obscurity and be
diverted by the story on the silver screen which, requiring no mental
effort, often diverts a sad mind for an hour or so, is an undeniable
blessing. An observer would have to be much at a loss for material who
could find anything to criticise in seeing a family together under such

One generally leaves off a long veil, however, for such an occasion and
drives bareheaded, if it be evening, or substitutes a short black face
veil over one's hat on entering and leaving a building in the daytime.


Except for church, crepe veils and clothes heavily trimmed with crepe are
not appropriate in the country--ever! Mourning clothes for the summer
consist of plain black serge or tweed, silk or cotton material, all black
with white organdy collar and cuffs, and a veil-less hat with a brim. Or
one may dress entirely in dull materials of white.


A widow used never to wear any but woolen materials, made as plain as
possible, with deep-hemmed turn-back cuffs and collar of white organdy. On
the street she wore a small crepe bonnet with a little cap-border of white
crepe or organdy and a long veil of crepe or nun's veiling to the bottom
edge of her skirt, over her face as well as down her back. At the end of
three months the front veil was put back from over her face, but the long
veil was worn two years at least, and frequently for life. These details
are identical with those prescribed to-day excepting that she may wear
lustreless silks as well as wool, the duration of mourning may be shorter,
and she need never wear her veil over her face except at the funeral
unless she chooses.

A widow of mature years who follows old-fashioned conventions wears deep
mourning with crepe veil two years, black the third year and second
mourning the fourth. But shorter periods of mourning are becoming more and
more the custom and many consider three or even two years conventional.


The young widow should wear deep crepe for a year and then lighter
mourning for six months and second mourning for six months longer. There
is nothing more utterly captivating than a sweet young face under a
widow's veil, and it is not to be wondered at that her own loneliness and
need of sympathy, combined with all that is appealing to sympathy in a
man, results in the healing of her heart. She should, however, never
remain in mourning for her first husband after she has decided she can be
consoled by a second.

There is no reason why a woman (or a man) should not find such
consolation, but she should keep the intruding attraction away from her
thoughts until the year of respect is up, after which she is free to put
on colors and make happier plans.


A mother who has lost a grown child wears the same mourning as that
prescribed for a widow excepting the white cap ruche. Some mothers wear
mourning for their children always, others do not believe in being long in
black for a spirit that was young, and, for babies or very young children,
wear colorless clothes of white or gray or mauve.


A daughter or sister wears a long veil over her face at the funeral. The
length of the veil may be to her waist or to the hem of her skirt, and it
is worn for from three months to a year, according to her age and
feelings. An older woman wears deep black for her parents, sisters and
brothers for a year, and then lightens her mourning during the second
year. A young girl, if she is out in society or in college, may wear a
long veil for her parents or her betrothed, if she wants to, or she wears
a thin net veil edged with crepe and the corners falling a short way down
her back--or none at all.

Very young girls of from fourteen to eighteen wear black for three months
and then six months of black and white. They never wear veils of any sort,
nor are their clothes trimmed in crepe. Children from eight to fourteen
wear black and white and gray for six months for a parent, brother, sister
or grandparent. Young children are rarely put into mourning, though their
clothes are often selected to avoid vivid color. They usually wear white
with no black except a hair ribbon for the girls and a necktie for the
boys. Very little children in black are too pitiful.


Fancy clothes in mourning are always offenses against good taste, because
as the word implies, a person is in _mourning_. To have the impression
of "fashion" dominant is contrary to the purpose of somber dress; it is a
costume for the spirit, a covering for the visible body of one whose soul
seeks the background. Nothing can be in worse taste than crepe which is
gathered and ruched and puffed and pleated and made into waterfalls, and
imitation ostrich feathers as a garnishing for a hat. The more absolutely
plain, the more appropriate and dignified is the mourning dress. A "long
veil" is a shade pulled down--a protection--it should never be a flaunting
arrangement to arrest the amazed attention of the passerby.

The necessity for dignity can not be overemphasized.


Mourning observances are all matters of fixed form, and any deviation from
precise convention is interpreted by the world at large as signifying want
of proper feeling.

How often has one heard said of a young woman who was perhaps merely
ignorant of the effect of her inappropriate clothes or unconventional
behavior: "Look at her! And her dear father scarcely cold in his grave!"
Or "Little she seems to have cared for her mother--and such a lovely one
she had, too." Such remarks are as thoughtless as are the actions of the
daughter, but they point to an undeniable condition. Better far not wear
mourning at all, saying you do not believe in it, than allow your unseemly
conduct to indicate indifference to the memory of a really beloved parent;
better that a young widow should go out in scarlet and yellow on the day
after her husband's funeral than wear weeds which attract attention on
account of their flaunting bad taste and flippancy. One may not, one must
not, one _can not_ wear the very last cry of exaggerated fashion in crepe,
nor may one be boisterous or flippant or sloppy in manner, without giving
the impression to all beholders that one's spirit is posturing, tripping,
or dancing on the grave of sacred memory.

This may seem exaggerated, but if you examine the expressions, you will
find that they are essentially true.

Draw the picture for yourself: A slim figure, if you like, held in the
posture of the caterpillar slouch, a long length of stocking so thin as to
give the effect of shaded skin above high-heeled slippers with sparkling
buckles of bright jet, a short skirt, a scrappy, thin, low-necked,
short-sleeved blouse through which white underclothing shows various
edgings of lace and ribbons, and on top of this, a painted face under a
long crepe veil! Yet the wearer of this costume may in nothing but
appearance resemble the unmentionable class of women she suggests; as a
matter of fact she is very likely a perfectly decent young person and
really sad at heart, and her clothes and "make up" not different from
countless others who pass unnoticed because their colored clothing
suggests no mockery of solemnity.


The necessity of business and affairs which has made withdrawal into
seclusion impossible, has also made it customary for the majority of men
to go into mourning by the simple expedient of putting a black band on
their hat or on the left sleeve of their usual clothes and wearing only
white instead of colored linen.

A man never under any circumstances wears crepe. The band on his hat is of
very fine cloth and varies in width according to the degree of mourning
from two and a half inches to within half an inch of the top of a high
hat. On other hats the width is fixed at about two and a half or three
inches. The sleeve band, from three and a half to four and a half inches
in width, is of dull broadcloth on overcoats or winter clothing, and of
serge on summer clothes. The sleeve band of mourning is sensible for many
reasons, the first being that of economy. Men's clothes do not come
successfully from the encounter with dye vats, nor lend themselves to
"alterations," and an entire new wardrobe is an unwarranted burden to

Except for the one black suit bought for the funeral and kept for Sunday
church, or other special occasion, only wealthy men or widowers go to the
very considerable expense of getting a new wardrobe. Widowers--especially
if they are elderly--always go into black (which includes very dark gray
mixtures) with a deep black band on the hat, and of course, black ties and
socks and shoes and gloves.


Although the etiquette is less exacting, the standards of social
observance are much the same for a man as for a woman. A widower should
not be seen at any general entertainment, such as a dance, or in a box at
the opera, for a year; a son for six months; a brother for three--at
least! The length of time a father stays in mourning for a child is more a
matter of his own inclination.


Coachmen and chauffeurs wear black liveries in town. In the country they
wear gray or even their ordinary whipcord with a black band on the left

The house footman is always put into a black livery with dull buttons and
a black and white striped waistcoat. Maids are not put into mourning with
the exception of a lady's maid or nurse who, through many years of
service, has "become one of the family," and who personally desires to
wear mourning as though for a relative of her own.


In the case of a very prominent person where messages of condolence, many
of them impersonal, mount into the thousands, the sending of engraved
cards to strangers is proper, such as:

        Mr. W. Ide Bonds
    wishes to gratefully acknowledge
    your kind expression of sympathy


      Senator and Mrs. Michigan
    wish to express their appreciation of

    [HW: Miss Millicent Gildings]

    sympathy in their recent bereavement

Under no circumstances should such cards be sent to intimate friends, or
to those who have sent flowers or written personal letters.

When some one with real sympathy in his heart has taken the trouble to
select and send flowers, or has gone to the house and offered what service
he might, or has in a spirit of genuine regard, written a personal letter,
the receipt of words composed by a stationer and dispatched by a
professional secretary is exactly as though his outstretched hand had been
pushed aside.

A family in mourning is in retirement from all social activities. There is
no excuse on the score of their "having no time." Also no one expects a
long letter, nor does any one look for an early reply. A personal word on
a visiting card is all any one asks for. The envelope may be addressed by
some one else.

It takes but a moment to write "Thank you," or "Thank you for all
sympathy," or "Thank you for your kind offers and sympathy." Or, on a
sheet of letter paper:

    "Thank you, dear Mrs. Smith, for your beautiful flowers and your
    kind sympathy."


    "Your flowers were so beautiful! Thank you for them and for your
    loving message."


    "Thank you for your sweet letter. I know you meant it and I
    appreciate it."

Many, many such notes can be written in a day. If the list is overlong, or
the one who received the flowers and messages is in reality so prostrated
that she (or he) is unable to perform the task of writing, then some
member of her immediate family can write for her:

    "Mother (or father) is too ill to write and asks me to thank you
    for your beautiful flowers and kind message."

Most people find a sad comfort as well as pain, in the reading and
replying to letters and cards, but they should not sit at it too long; it
is apt to increase rather than assuage their grief. Therefore, no one
expects more than a word--but that word should be _seemingly personal_.


Upon reading the death notice of a mere acquaintance you may leave your
card at the house, if you feel so inclined, or you may merely send your

Upon the death of an intimate acquaintance or friend you should go at once
to the house, write, "With sympathy" on your card and leave it at the
door. Or you should write a letter to the family; in either case, you send
flowers addressed to the nearest relative. On the card accompanying the
flowers, you write, "With sympathy," "With deepest sympathy," or "With
heartfelt sympathy," or "With love and sympathy." If there is a notice in
the papers "requesting no flowers be sent," you send them only if you are
a very intimate friend.

Or if you prefer, send a few flowers with a note, immediately after the
funeral, to the member of the family who is particularly your friend.

If the notice says "funeral private" you do not go unless you have
received a message from the family that you are expected, or unless you
are such an intimate friend that you know you are expected without being
asked. Where a general notice is published in the paper, it is proper and
fitting that you should show sympathy by going to the funeral, even though
you had little more than a visiting acquaintance with the family. You
should _not_ leave cards nor go to a funeral of a person with whom you
have not in any way been associated or to whose house you have never been

But it is heartless and delinquent if you do not go to the funeral of one
with whom you were associated in business or other interests, or to whose
house you were often invited, or where you are a friend of the immediate
members of the family.

You should wear black clothes if you have them, or if not, the darkest,
the least conspicuous you possess. Enter the church as quietly as
possible, and as there are no ushers at a funeral, seat yourself where you
approximately belong. Only a very intimate friend should take a position
far up on the center aisle. If you are merely an acquaintance you should
sit inconspicuously in the rear somewhere, unless the funeral is very
small and the church big, in which case you may sit on the end seat of the
center aisle toward the back.



The difference between the great house with twenty to fifty guest rooms,
all numbered like the rooms in a hotel, and the house of ordinary good
size with from four to six guest rooms, or the farmhouse or small cottage
which has but one "best" spare chamber, with perhaps a "man's room" on the
ground floor, is much the same as the difference between the elaborate
wedding and the simplest--one merely of degree and not of kind.

To be sure, in the great house, week-end guests often include those who
are little more than acquaintances of the host and hostess, whereas the
visitor occupying the only "spare" room is practically always an intimate
friend. Excepting, therefore, that people who have few visitors never ask
any one on their general list, and that those who fill an enormous house
time and time again necessarily do, the etiquette, manners, guest room
appointments and the people who occupy them, are precisely the same.
Popular opinion to the contrary, a man's social position is by no means
proportionate to the size of his house, and even though he lives in a
bungalow, he may have every bit as high a position in the world of fashion
as his rich neighbor in his palace--often much better!

We all of us know a Mr. Newgold who would give many of the treasures in
his marble palace for a single invitation to Mrs. Oldname's comparatively
little house, and half of all he possesses for the latter's knowledge,
appearance, manner, instincts and position--none of which he himself is
likely ever to acquire, though his children may! But in our description of
great or medium or small houses, we are considering those only whose
owners belong equally to best society and where, though luxuries vary from
the greatest to the least, house appointments are in essentials alike.

This is a rather noteworthy fact: all people of good position talk alike,
behave alike and live alike. Ill-mannered servants, incorrect liveries or
service, sloppily dished food, carelessness in any of the details that to
well-bred people constitute the decencies of living, are no more tolerated
in the smallest cottage than in the palace. But since the biggest houses
are those which naturally attract most attention, suppose we begin our
detailed description with them.


Perhaps there are ten or perhaps there are forty guests, but if there were
only two or three, and the house a little instead of a big one, the
details would be precisely the same.

A week-end means from Friday afternoon or from Saturday lunch to Monday
morning. The usual time chosen for a house party is over a holiday,
particularly where the holiday falls on a Friday or Monday, so that the
men can take a Saturday off, and stay from Friday to Tuesday, or Thursday
to Monday.

On whichever day the party begins, everyone arrives in the neighborhood of
five o'clock, or a day later at lunch time. Many come in their own cars,
the others are met at the station--sometimes by the host or a son, or, if
it is to be a young party, by a daughter. The hostess herself rarely, if
ever, goes to the station, not because of indifference or discourtesy but
because other guests coming by motor might find the house empty.

It is very rude for a hostess to be out when her guests arrive. Even some
one who comes so often as to be entirely at home, is apt to feel
dispirited upon being shown into an empty house. Sometimes a guest's
arrival unwelcomed can not be avoided; if, for instance, a man invited for
tennis week or a football or baseball game, arrives before the game is
over but too late to join the others at the sport.

When younger people come to visit the daughters, it is not necessary that
their mother stay at home, since the daughters take their mother's place.
Nor is it necessary that she receive the men friends of her son, unless
the latter for some unavoidable reason, is absent.

No hostess must ever fail to send a car to the station or boat landing for
every one who is expected. If she has not conveyances enough of her own,
she must order public ones and have the fares charged to herself.


The host always goes out into the front hall and shakes hands with every
one who arrives. He asks the guests if they want to be shown to their
rooms, and, if not, sees that the gentlemen who come without valets give
their keys to the butler or footman, and that the ladies without maids of
their own give theirs to the maid who is on duty for the purpose.

Should any of them feel dusty or otherwise "untidy" they naturally ask if
they may be shown to their rooms so that they can make themselves
presentable. They should not, however, linger longer than necessary, as
their hostess may become uneasy at their delay. Ladies do not--in
fashionable houses--make their first appearance without a hat. Gentlemen,
needless to say, leave theirs in the hall when they come in.

Travel in the present day, however, whether in parlor car or closed
limousines, or even in open cars on macadam roads, obviates the necessity
for an immediate removing of "travel stains," so that instead of seeking
their rooms, the newcomers usually go directly into the library or out on
the veranda or wherever the hostess is to be found behind the inevitable
tea tray.


As soon as her guests appear in the doorway, the hostess at once rises,
goes forward smiling, shakes hands and tells them how glad she is that
they have safely come, or how glad she is to see them, and leads the way
to the tea-table. This is one of the occasions when everyone is always
introduced. Good manners also demand that the places nearest the hostess
be vacated by those occupying them, and that the newly arrived receive
attention from the hostess, who sees that they are supplied with tea,
sandwiches, cakes and whatever the tea-table affords.

After tea, people either sit around and talk, or, more likely nowadays,
they play bridge. About an hour before dinner the hostess asks how long
every one needs to dress, and tells them the time. If any need a shorter
time than she must allow for herself, she makes sure that they know the
location of their rooms, and goes to dress.


It is almost unnecessary to say that in no well-appointed house is a
guest, except under three circumstances, put in a room with any one else.
The three exceptions are:

    1. A man and wife, if the hostess is sure beyond a doubt that
    they occupy similar quarters when at home.

    2. Two young girls who are friends and have volunteered, because
    the house is crowded, to room together in a room with two beds.

    3. On an occasion such as a wedding, a ball, or an
    intercollegiate athletic event, young people don't mind for one
    night (that is spent for the greater part "up") how many are
    doubled; and house room is limited merely to cot space, sofas,
    and even the billiard table.

But she would be a very clumsy hostess, who, for a week-end, filled her
house like a sardine box to the discomfort and resentment of every one.

In the well-appointed house, every guest room has a bath adjoining for
itself alone, or shared with a connecting room and used only by a man and
wife, two women or two men. A bathroom should never (if avoidable) be
shared by a woman and a man. A suitable accommodation for a man and wife
is a double room with bath and a single room next.


The perfect guest room is not necessarily a vast chamber decorated in an
historically correct period. Its perfection is the result of nothing more
difficult to attain than painstaking attention to detail, and its
possession is within the reach of every woman who has the means to invite
people to her house in the first place. The ideal guest room is never
found except in the house of the ideal hostess, and it is by no means
"idle talk" to suggest that every hostess be obliged to spend twenty-four
hours every now and then in each room that is set apart for visitors. If
she does not do this actually, she should do so in imagination. She should
occasionally go into the guest bathroom and draw the water in every
fixture, to see there is no stoppage and that the hot water faucets are
not seemingly jokes of the plumber. If a man is to occupy the bathroom,
she must see that the hook for a razor strop is not missing, and that
there is a mirror by which he can see to shave both at night and by
daylight. Even though she can see to powder her nose, it would be safer to
make her husband bathe and shave both a morning and an evening in each
bathroom and then listen carefully to what he says about it!

Even though she has a perfect housemaid, it is not unwise occasionally to
make sure herself that every detail has been attended to; that in every
bathroom there are plenty of bath towels, face towels, a freshly laundered
wash rag, bath mat, a new cake of unscented bath soap in the bathtub soap
rack, and a new cake of scented soap on the washstand.

It is not expected, but it is often very nice to find violet water, bath
salts, listerine, talcum powder, almond or other hand or sunburn lotion,
in decorated bottles on the washstand shelf; but to cover the
dressing-table in the bedroom with brushes and an array of toilet articles
is more of a nuisance than a comfort. A good clothes brush and whiskbroom
are usually very acceptable, as strangely enough, guests almost invariably
forget them.

A comforting adjunct to a bathroom that is given to a woman is a hot water
bottle with a woolen cover, hanging on the back of the door. Even if
the water does not run sufficiently hot, a guest seldom hesitates to ring
for that, whereas no one ever likes to ask for a hot water bag--no matter
how much she might long for it. A small bottle of Pyro is also convenient
for one who brings a curling lamp.


In the bedroom the hostess should make sure (by sleeping in it at least
once) that the bed is comfortable, that the sheets are long enough to tuck
in, that there are enough pillows for one who sleeps with head high. There
must also be plenty of covers. Besides the blankets there should be a
wool-filled or an eiderdown quilt, in coloring to go with the room.

There should be a night light at the head of the bed. Not just a
decorative glow-worm effect, but a light that is really good to lie in bed
and read by. And always there should be books; chosen more to divert than
to engross. The sort of selection appropriate for a guest room might best
comprise two or three books of the moment, a light novel, a book of
essays, another of short stories, and a few of the latest magazines.
Spare-room books ought to be especially chosen for the expected guest.
Even though one can not choose accurately for the taste of another, one
can at least guess whether the visitor is likely to prefer transcendental
philosophy or detective stories, and supply either accordingly.

There should be a candle and a box of matches--even though there is
electric light it has been known to go out! And some people like to burn a
candle all night. There must also be matches and ash receivers on the desk
and a scrap-basket beside it.

In hot weather, every guest should have a palm leaf fan, and in August,
even though there are screens, a fly killer.

In big houses with a swimming pool, bath-robes are supplied and often
bathing suits. Otherwise dressing-gowns are not part of any guest room

A comfortable sofa is very important (if the room is big enough) with a
sofa pillow or two, and with a lightweight quilt or afghan across the end
of it.

The hostess should do her own hair in each room to see if the
dressing-table is placed where there is a good light over it, both by
electric and by daylight. A very simple expedient in a room where massive
furniture and low windows make the daylight dressing-table difficult, is
the European custom of putting an ordinary small table directly in the
window and standing a good sized mirror on it. Nothing makes a more
perfect arrangement for a woman.

And the pincushion! It is more than necessary to see that the pins are
usable and not rust to the head. There should be black ones and white
ones, long and short; also safety pins in several sizes. Three or four
threaded needles of white thread, black, gray and tan silk are an addition
that has proved many times welcome. She must also examine the writing desk
to be sure that the ink is not a cracked patch of black dust at the bottom
of the well, and the pens solid rust and the writing paper textures and
sizes at odds with the envelopes. There should be a fresh blotter and a
few stamps. Also thoughtful hostesses put a card in some convenient place,
giving the post office schedule and saying where the mail bag can be
found. And a calendar, and a clock that _goes_! is there anything more
typical of the average spare room than the clock that is at a standstill?

There must be plenty of clothes hangers in the closets. For women a few
hat stands, and for men trouser hangers and the coat hangers that have a
bar across the shoulder piece.

It is unnecessary to add that every bureau drawer should be looked into to
see that nothing belonging to the family is filling the space which should
belong to the guest, and that the white paper lining the bottom is new.
Curtains and sofa pillows must, of course, be freshly laundered; the
furniture, floor, walls and ceiling unmarred and in perfect order.

When bells are being installed in new houses they should be on cords and
hung at the side of the bed. Light switches should be placed at the side
of the door going into the room and bathroom. It is scarcely practical to
change the wiring in old houses; but it can at least be seen that the
bells work.

People who like strong perfumes often mistakenly think they are giving
pleasure in filling all the bedroom drawers with pads heavily scented.
Instead of feeling pleasure, some people are made almost sick! But all
people (hay-fever patients excepted) love flowers, and vases of them
beautify rooms as nothing else can. Even a shabby little room, if
dustlessly clean and filled with flowers, loses all effect of shabbiness
and is "inviting" instead.

In a hunting country, there should be a bootjack and boothooks in the

Guest rooms should have shutters and dark shades for those who like to
keep the morning sun out. The rooms should also, if possible, be away from
the kitchen end of the house and the nursery.

A shortcoming in many houses is the lack of a newspaper, and the
thoughtful hostess who has the morning paper sent up with each breakfast
tray, or has one put at each place on the breakfast table, deserves a

At night a glass and a thermos pitcher of water should be placed by the
bed. In a few very specially appointed houses, a small glass-covered tray
of food is also put on the bed table, fruit or milk and sandwiches, or
whatever is marked on the guest card.


A clever device was invented by Mrs. Gilding whose palatially appointed
house is run with the most painstaking attention to every one's comfort.
On the dressing-table in each spare room at Golden Hall is a card pad with
a pencil attached to it. But if the guest card is used, a specimen is
given below.

Needless to say the cards are used only in huge houses that, because of
their size, are necessarily run more like a clubhouse than as a "home."

In every house, the questions below are asked by the hostess, though the
guests may not readily perceive the fact. At bedtime she always asks:
"Would you like to come down to breakfast, or will you have it in your
room?" If the guest says, in her room, she is then asked what she would
like to eat. She is also asked whether she cares for milk or fruit or
other light refreshment at bedtime, and if there is a special book she
would like to take up to her room.

The guest card mentioned above is as follows:


_What time do you want to be awakened? .......................
Or, will you ring? ..........................................
Will you breakfast up-stairs? ................................
Or down? ...................................................._


_Coffee, tea, chocolate, milk,
Oatmeal, hominy, shredded wheat,
Eggs, how cooked?
Rolls, muffins, toast,
Orange, pear, grapes, melon._


_Hot or cold milk, cocoa, orangeade,
Sandwiches, meat, lettuce, jam,
Cake, crackers,
Oranges, apples, pears, grapes._

Besides this list, there is a catalogue of the library with a card,
clipped to the cover, saying:

"Following books for room No. X." Then four or six blank lines and a place
for the guest's signature.


Every one goes down to dinner as promptly as possible and the procedure is
exactly that of all dinners. If it is a big party, the gentlemen offer
their arms to the ladies the host or hostess has designated. At the end of
the evening, it is the custom that the hostess suggest going up-stairs,
rather than the guests who ordinarily depart after dinner. But etiquette
is not very strictly followed in this, and a reasonable time after dinner,
if any one is especially tired he or she quite frankly says: "I wonder if
you would mind very much if I went to bed?" The hostess always answers:
"Why, no, certainly not! I hope you will find everything in your room! If
not, will you ring?"

It is not customary for the hostess to go up-stairs with a guest, so long
as others remain in her drawing-room. If there is only one lady, or a
young girl, the hostess accompanies her to her room, and asks if
everything has been thought of for her comfort.


Many older ladies adhere to former practise and always write personal
notes of invitation. All others write or telegraph to people at a
distance, and send telephone messages to those nearby.

When a house is to be filled with friends of daughters or sons of the
house, the young people in the habit of coming to the house, or young men,
whether making a first visit or not, do not need any invitation further
than one given them verbally by a daughter, or even a son. But a married
couple, or a young girl invited for the first time, should have the verbal
invitation of daughter or son seconded by a note or at least a telephone
message sent by the mother herself.

Every one is always asked for a specified time. Even a near relative comes
definitely for a week, or a month, or whatever period is selected. This is
because other plans have to be made by the owners of the house, such as
inviting another group of guests, or preparing to go away themselves.


Excepting when strangers bring influential letters of introduction, or
when a relative or very intimate friend recently married is invited with
her new husband or his bride, only very large and general house parties
include any one who is not an intimate friend.

At least seventy per cent of American house parties are young people,
either single or not long married, and, in any event, all those asked to
any one party--unless the hostess is a failure (or a genius)--belong to
the same social group. Perhaps a more broad-minded attitude prevails
among young people in other parts of the country, but wilfully
narrow-minded Miss Young New York is very chary of accepting an invitation
until she finds out who among her particular friends are also invited. If
Mrs. Stranger asks her for a week-end, no matter how much she may like
Mrs. Stranger personally, she at once telephones two ox three of her own
group. If some of them are going, she "accepts with pleasure," but if not,
the chances are she "regrets." If, on the other hand, she is asked by the
Gildings, she accepts at once. Not merely because Golden Hall is the
ultimate in luxury, but because Mrs. Gilding has a gift for entertaining,
including her selection of people, amounting to genius. On the other hand,
Miss Young New York would accept with equal alacrity the invitation of the
Jack Littlehouses, where there is no luxury at all. Here in fact, a guest
is quite as likely as not to be pressed into service as auxiliary nurse,
gardener or chauffeur. But the personality of the host and hostess is such
that there is scarcely a day in the week when the motors of the most
popular of the younger set are not parked at the Littlehouse door.


We enjoy staying with certain people usually for one of two reasons.
First, because they have wonderful, luxurious houses, filled with amusing
people; and visiting them is a period crammed with continuous and
delightful experience, even though such a visit has little that suggests
any personal intercourse or friendship with one's hostess. The other
reason we love to visit a certain house is, on the contrary, entirely
personal to the host or hostess. We love the house because we love its
owner. Nowhere do we feel so much at home, and though it may have none of
the imposing magnificence of the great house, it is often far more

Five flunkeys can not do more towards a guest's comfort than to take his
hat and stick and to show him the way to the drawing-room. A very smart
young New Yorker who is also something of a wag, says that when going to
a very magnificent house, he always tries to wear sufficient articles so
that he shall have one to bestow upon each footman. Some one saw him, upon
entering a palace that is a counterpart of the Worldlys,' quite solemnly
hand his hat to the first footman, his stick to the second, his coat to
the third, his muffler to the fourth, his gloves to the fifth, and his
name to the sixth, as he entered the drawing-room. Needless to say he did
this as a matter of pure amusement to himself. Of course six men servants,
or more, do add to the impressiveness of a house that is a palace and are
a fitting part of the picture. And yet a neat maid servant at the door can
divest a guest of his hat and coat, and lead the way to the sitting-room,
with equal facility.

Having several times mentioned Golden Hall, the palatial country house of
the Gildings, suppose we join the guests and see what the last word in
luxury and lavish hospitality is.

Golden Hall is not an imaginary place, except in name. It exists within a
hundred miles of New York. The house is a palace, the grounds are a park.
There is not only a long wing of magnificent guest rooms in the house,
occupied by young girls or important older people, but there is also a
guest annex, a separate building designed and run like the most luxurious
country club. The second floor has nothing but bedrooms, with bath for
each. The third floor has bachelor rooms, and rooms for visiting valets.
Visiting maids are put in a separate third floor wing. On the ground floor
there is a small breakfast room; a large living-room filled with books,
magazines, a billiard and pool table; beyond the living-room is a fully
equipped gymnasium; and beyond that a huge, white marble, glass-walled
natatorium. The swimming pool is fifty feet by one hundred; on three sides
is just a narrow shelf-like walkway, but the fourth is wide and is
furnished as a room with lounging chairs upholstered in white oilcloth.
Opening out of this are perfectly equipped Turkish and Russian baths in
charge of the best Swedish masseur and masseuse procurable.

In the same building are two squash courts, a racquet court, a court
tennis court, and a bowling alley. But the feature of the guest building
is a glass-roofed and enclosed riding ring--not big enough for games of
polo, but big enough for practise in winter,--built along one entire side
of it.

The stables are full of polo ponies and hunters, the garage full of cars,
the boathouse has every sort of boat--sailboats, naphtha launches, a motor
boat and even a shell. Every amusement is open-heartedly offered, in fact,
especially devised for the guests.

At the main house there is a ballroom with a stage at one end. An
orchestra plays every night. New moving pictures are shown and vaudeville
talent is imported from New York. This is the extreme of luxury in
entertaining. As Mrs. Toplofty said at the end of a bewilderingly lavish
party: "How are any of us ever going to amuse any one after _this_? I feel
like doing my guest rooms up in moth balls."

No one, however, has discovered that invitations to Mrs. Toplofty's are
any less welcome. Besides, excitement-loving youth and exercise-devotees
were never favored guests at the Hudson Manor anyway.


It matters not in the slightest whether the guest room's carpet is
Aubusson or rag, whether the furniture is antique, or modern, so long as
it is pleasing of its kind. On the other hand, because a house is little
is no reason that it can not be as perfect in every detail--perhaps more
so--as the palace of the multiest millionaire!

The attributes of the perfect house can not be better represented than by
Brook Meadows Farm, the all-the-year home of the Oldnames. Nor can
anything better illustrate its perfection than an incident that actually
took place there.

A great friend of the Oldnames, but not a man who went at all into
society, or considered whether people had position or not, was invited
with his new wife--a woman from another State and of much wealth and
discernment--to stay over a week-end at Brook Meadows. Never having met
the Oldnames, she asked something about their house and life in order to
decide what type of clothes to pack.

"Oh, it's just a little farmhouse. Oldname wears a dinner coat, of course;
his wife wears--I don't know what--but I have never seen her dressed up a

"Evidently plain people," thought his wife. And aloud: "I wonder what
evening dress I have that is high enough. I can put in the black lace day
dress; perhaps I had better put in my cerise satin----"

"The cerise?" asked her husband, "Is that the red you had on the other
night? It is much too handsome, much! I tell you, Mrs. Oldname never wears
a dress that you could notice. She always looks like a lady, but she isn't
a dressy sort of person at all."

So the bride packed her plainest (that is her cheapest) clothes, but at
the last, she put in the "cerise."

When she and her husband arrived at the railroad station, _that_ at least
was primitive enough, and Mr. Oldname in much worn tweeds might have come
from a castle or a cabin; country clothes are no evidence. But her
practised eye noticed the perfect cut of the chauffeur's coat and that the
car, though of an inexpensive make, was one of the prettiest on the
market, and beautifully appointed.

"At least they have good taste in motors and accessories," thought she,
and was glad she had brought her best evening dress.

They drove up to a low white shingled house, at the end of an
old-fashioned brick walk bordered with flowers. The visitor noticed that
the flowers were all of one color, all in perfect bloom. She knew no
inexperienced gardener produced that apparently simple approach to a door
that has been chosen as frontispiece in more than one book on Colonial
architecture. The door was opened by a maid in a silver gray taffeta
dress, with organdie collar, cuffs and apron, white stockings and silver
buckles on black slippers, and the guest saw a quaint hall and vista of
rooms that at first sight might easily be thought "simple" by an inexpert
appraiser; but Mrs. Oldname, who came forward to greet her guests, was
the antithesis of everything the bride's husband had led her to believe.

To describe Mrs. Oldname as simple is about as apt as to call a pearl
"simple" because it doesn't dazzle; nor was there an article in the
apparently simple living-room that would be refused were it offered to a

The tea-table was Chinese Chippendale and set with old Spode on a
lacquered tray over a mosaic-embroidered linen tea-cloth. The soda
biscuits and cakes were light as froth, the tea an especial blend imported
by a prominent connoisseur and given every Christmas to his friends. There
were three other guests besides the bride and groom: a United States
Senator, and a diplomat and his wife who were on their way from a post in
Europe to one in South America. Instead of "bridge" there was conversation
on international topics until it was time to dress for dinner.

When the bride went to her room (which adjoined that of her husband) she
found her bath drawn, her clothes laid out, and the dressing-table lights

That night the bride wore her cerise dress to one of the smartest dinners
she ever went down to, and when they went up-stairs and she at last saw
her husband alone, she took him to task. "Why in the name of goodness
didn't you tell me the truth about these people?"

"Oh," said he abashed, "I told you it was a little house--it was you who
insisted on bringing that red dress. I told you it was too handsome!"

"Handsome!" she cried in tears, "I don't own anything half good enough to
compare with the least article in this house. That 'simple' little woman
as you call her would, I think, almost make a queen seem provincial! And
as for her clothes, they are priceless--just as everything is in this
little gem of a house. Why, the window curtains are as fine as the best
clothes in my trousseau."

The two houses contrasted above are two extremes, but each a luxury. The
Oldnames' expenditure, though in no way comparable with the Worldlys' or
the Gildings,' is far beyond any purse that can be called moderate.

The really moderate purse inevitably precludes a woman from playing an
important rôle as hostess, for not even the greatest magnetism and charm
can make up to spoiled guests for lack of essential comfort. The only
exceptions are a bungalow at the seashore or a camp in the woods, where a
confirmed luxury-lover is desperately uncomfortable for the first
twenty-four hours, but invariably gets used to the lack of comfort almost
as soon as he gets dependent upon it; and plunging into a lake for bath,
or washing in a little tin basin, sleeping on pine boughs without any
sheets at all, eating tinned foods and flapjacks on tin plates with tin
utensils, he seems to lack nothing when the air is like champagne and the
company first choice.


If a visitor brings no maid of her own, the personal maid of the hostess
(if she has one--otherwise the housemaid) always unpacks the bags or
trunks, lays toilet articles out on the dressing-table and in the
bathroom, puts folded things in the drawers and hangs dresses on hangers
in the closet. If when she unpacks she sees that something of importance
has been forgotten, she tells her mistress, or, in the case of a servant
who has been long employed, she knows what selection to make herself, and
supplies the guest without asking with such articles as comb and brush or
clothes brush, or bathing suit and bath-robe.

The valet of the host performs the same service for men. In small
establishments where there is no lady's maid or valet, the housemaid is
always taught to unpack guests' belongings and to press and hook up
ladies' dresses, and gentlemen's clothes are sent to a tailor to be
pressed after each wearing.

In big houses, breakfast trays for women guests are usually carried to the
bedroom floor by the butler (some butlers delegate this service to a
footman) and are handed to the lady's maid who takes the tray into the
room. In small houses they are carried up by the waitress.

Trays for men visitors are rare, but when ordered are carried up and into
the room by the valet, or butler. If there are no men servants the
waitress has to carry up the tray.

When a guest rings for breakfast, the housemaid or the valet goes into the
room, opens the blinds, and in cold weather lights the fire, if there is
an open one in the room. Asking whether a hot, cool or cold bath is
preferred, he goes into the bathroom, spreads a bath mat on the floor, a
big bath towel over a chair, with the help of a thermometer draws the
bath, and sometimes lays out the visitor's clothes. As few people care for
more than one bath a day and many people prefer their bath before dinner
instead of before breakfast, this office is often performed at dinner
dressing time instead of in the morning.


The "tip-roll" in a big house seems to us rather appalling, but compared
with the amounts given in a big English house, ours are mere pittances.
Pleasant to think that _something_ is less expensive in our country than
in Europe!

Fortunately in this country, when you dine in a friend's house you do not
"tip" the butler, nor do you tip a footman or parlor-maid who takes your
card to the mistress of the house, nor when you leave a country house do
you have to give more than five dollars to any one whatsoever. A lady for
a week-end stay gives two or three dollars to the lady's maid, if she went
without her own, and one or two dollars to every one who waited on her.
Intimate friends in a small house send tips to all the servants--perhaps
only a dollar apiece, but no one is forgotten. In a very big house this is
never done and only those are tipped who have served you. If you had your
maid with you, you always give her a tip (about two dollars) to give the
cook (often the second one) who prepared her meals and one dollar for the
kitchen maid who set her table.

A gentleman scarcely ever "remembers" any of the women servants (to their
chagrin) except a waitress, and tips only the butler and the valet, and
sometimes the chauffeur. The least he can offer any of the men-servants is
two dollars and the most ever is five. No woman gets as much as that,
for such short service.

In a few houses the tipping system is abolished, and in every guest room,
in a conspicuous place on the dressing-table or over the bath tub where
you are sure to read it, is a sign, saying:

"Please do not offer tips to my servants. Their contract is with this
special understanding, and proper arrangements have been made to meet it;
you will not only create 'a situation,' but cause the immediate dismissal
of any one who may be persuaded by you to break this rule of the house."

The notice is signed by the host. The "arrangement" referred to is one
whereby every guest means a bonus added to their wages of so much per
person per day for all employees. This system is much preferred by
servants for two reasons. First, self-respecting ones dislike the
demeaning effect of a tip (an occasional few won't take them). Secondly,
they can absolutely count that so many visitors will bring them precisely
such an amount.



Breakfast customs are as varied in this country as the topography of the
land! Communities of people who have lived or traveled much abroad, have
nearly all adopted the Continental breakfast habit of a tray in their
room, especially on Sunday mornings. In other communities it is the custom
to go down to the dining-room for a heavy American (or English) meal. In
communities where the latter is the custom and where people are used to
assembling at a set hour, it is simple enough to provide a breakfast
typical of the section of the country; corn bread and kidney stew and
hominy in the South; doughnuts and codfish balls "way down East"; kippered
herring, liver and bacon and griddle cakes elsewhere. But downstairs
breakfast as a continuous performance is, from a housekeeper's point of
view, a trial to say the least.

However, in big houses, where men refuse to eat in their rooms and equally
refuse to get up until they feel like it, a dining-room breakfast is
managed as follows:


The table is set with a place for all who said they were "coming down." At
one end is a coffee urn kept hot over a spirit lamp, milk is kept hot
under a "tea cosy" or in a double pitcher, made like a double boiler. On
the sideboard or on the table are two or three "hot water" dishes (with or
without spirit lamps underneath). In one is a cereal, in the other "hash"
or "creamed beef," sausage, or codfish cakes, or whatever the housekeeper
thinks of, that can stand for hours and still be edible! Fruit is on the
table and bread and butter and marmalade, and the cook is supposed to make
fresh tea and eggs and toast for each guest as he appears.


The advantage of having one's guests choose breakfast up-stairs, is that
unless there is a separate breakfast room, a long delayed breakfast
prevents the dining-room from being put in order or the lunch table set.
Trays, on the other hand, stand "all set" in the pantry and interfere much
less with the dining-room work. The trays are either of the plain white
pantry variety or regular breakfast ones with folding legs. On each is put
a tray cloth. It may be plain linen hemstitched or scalloped, or it may be
much embroidered and have mosaic or filet lace.

Every bedroom has a set of breakfast china to match it. But it is far
better to send a complete set of blue china to a rose-colored room than a
rose set that has pieces missing. Nothing looks worse than odd crockery.
It is like unmatched paper and envelopes, or odd shoes, or a woman's skirt
and waist that do not meet in the back.

There is nothing unusual in a tray set, every china and department store
carries them, but only in "open" stock patterns can one buy extra dishes
or replace broken ones; a fact it is well to remember. There is a tall
coffee pot, hot milk pitcher, a cream pitcher and sugar bowl, a cup and
saucer, two plates, an egg cup and a covered dish. A cereal is usually
put in the covered dish, toast in a napkin on a plate, or eggs and bacon
in place of cereal. This with fruit is the most elaborate "tray" breakfast
ever provided. Most people who breakfast "in bed" take only coffee or tea,
an egg, toast and possibly fruit.


Of those elaborate ceremonials between host and guest familiar to all
readers of the Bible and all travelers in the East, only a few faint
traces remain in our country and generation. It is still unforgivable to
eat a man's bread and remain his enemy. It is unforgivable to criticize
your host, or in his presence to criticize his friends. It is unforgivable
to be rude to any one under your own roof or under the roof of a friend.
If you must quarrel with your enemy, seek public or neutral ground, since
quarrels and hospitality must never be mingled.

The Spaniard says to his guest: "All I have is yours." It is supposed to
be merely a pretty speech--but in a measure it is true of every host's
attitude toward his house guest. If you take some one under your roof, he
becomes part of, and sharer in, your life and possessions. Your horse,
your fireside, your armchair, your servants, your time, your customs, all
are his; your food is his food, your roof his shelter. You give him the
best "spare" room, you set before him the best refreshments you can offer,
and your "best" china and glass. His bed is made up with your best
"company" linen and blankets. You receive your guest with a smile, no
matter how inconvenient or troublesome or straining to your resources his
visit may be, and on no account do you let him suspect any of this.


In popular houses where visitors like to go again and again, there is
always a happy combination of some attention on the part of the host and
hostess, and the perfect freedom of the guests to occupy their time as
they choose.

The host and the men staying in the house arrange among themselves to rest
or play games or fish or ride or shoot clay pigeons or swim, etc. The
hostess, unless at the seashore where people go bathing in the morning,
generally leaves her guests to their own devices until lunch time, though
they are always offered whatever diversions the place or neighborhood
afford. They are told there is bathing, fishing, golf; and if they want to
do any of these things, it is arranged for them. But unless something
special, such as driving to a picnic or clambake, has been planned, or
there is a tennis tournament or golf match of importance, the hostess
makes her first appearance just before luncheon.

This is the same as any informal family meal. If there are thirty guests
it makes no difference. Sometimes there are place cards--especially if
other people have been invited in--sometimes people find places for

After luncheon something is usually arranged; perhaps those who play golf
go out for their game, and others who do not play go to the country club
at the hour the players are supposed to be coming in, so that they can all
have tea together. Those who like motoring perhaps go for a drive, or to a
neighbor's house for bridge, or neighbors come in for tea. There is always
bridge, sometimes there is dancing. In very big houses musicians are often
brought in after dinner, and dancing and bridge alternate till bedtime.

A houseful of young people very easily look after their own amusement. As
said before, a big house is run very much like a country club, and guests
are supposed to look after themselves.

Making an especial effort to entertain a guest who is to stay for a week
or longer has gone out of custom in the fashionable world, except for an
important personage. A visit from the President of the United States for
instance, would necessitate the most punctiliously formal etiquette, no
matter how close a friend of the family he may always have been. For such
a visitor a hostess would either arrange a series of entertainments or
none, according to her visitor's inclination.


The most trying thing to people of very set habits is an unusual breakfast
hour. When you have the unfortunate habit of waking with the dawn, and the
household you are visiting has the custom of sleeping on Sunday morning,
the long wait for your coffee can quite actually upset your whole day. On
the other hand, to be aroused at seven on the only day when you do not
have to hurry to business, in order to yawn through an early breakfast,
and then sit around and kill time, is quite as trying. The guest with the
"early" habit can in a measure prevent discomfort. He can carry in a small
case (locked if necessary) a very small solidified alcohol outfit and
either a small package of tea or powdered coffee, sugar, powdered milk,
and a few crackers. He can then start his day all by himself in the
barnyard hours without disturbing any one, and in comfort to himself. Few
people care enough to "fuss," but if they do, this equipment of an
habitual visitor with incurably early waking hours is given as a

Or perhaps the entire guest situation may be put in one sentence. If you
are an inflexible person, very set in your ways, don't visit! At least
don't visit without carefully looking the situation over from every angle
to be sure that the habits of the house you are going to are in accord
with your own.

A solitary guest is naturally much more dependent on his host (or her
hostess), but on the other hand, he or she is practically always a very
intimate friend who merely adapts himself or herself like a chameleon to
the customs and hours and diversions of the household.


When a guest asks to be called half an hour before breakfast, don't have
him called an hour and a half before because it takes you that long to
dress, nor allow him a scant ten minutes because the shorter time is
seemingly sufficient. Too often the summons on the door wakes him out of
sound sleep; he tumbles exhausted out of bed, into clothes, and down
stairs, to wait perhaps an hour for breakfast.

If a guest prefers to sit on the veranda and read, don't interrupt him
every half page to ask if he really does not want to do something else.
If, on the other hand, a guest wants to exercise, don't do everything in
your power to obstruct his starting off by saying that it will surely
rain, or that it is too hot, or that you think it is senseless to spend
days that should be a rest to him in utterly exhausting himself.

Don't, when you know that a young man cares little for feminine society,
fine-tooth-comb the neighborhood for the dullest or silliest young woman
to be found.

Don't, on the other hand, when you have an especially attractive young
woman staying with you, ask a stolid middle-aged couple and an
octogenarian professor for dinner, because the charm and beauty of the
former is sure to appeal to the latter.

Don't, because you personally happen to like a certain young girl who is
utterly old-fashioned in outlook and type from ultra modern others who are
staying with you, try to "bring them together." Never try to make any two
people like each other. If they do, they do; if they don't, they don't,
and that is all there is to it; but it is of vital importance to your own
success as hostess to find out which is the case and collect or separate
them accordingly.


The most casual hostess in the world is the fashionable leader in Newport,
she who should by the rules of good society be the most punctilious, since
no place in America, or Europe, is more conspicuously representative of
luxury and fashion. Nowhere are there more "guests" or half so many
hostesses, and yet hospitality as it is understood everywhere else, is
practically unknown. No one ever goes to stay in a Newport house excepting
"on his own" as it were. It is not an exaggerated story, but quite true,
that in many houses of ultra fashion a guest on arriving is told at which
meals he is expected to appear, that is at dinners or luncheons given by
his hostess. At all others he is free to go out or stay in by himself. No
effort is assumed for his amusement, or responsibility for his
well-being. It is small wonder that only those who have plenty of friends
care to go there--or in fact, are ever invited! Those who like to go to
visit the most perfectly appointed, but utterly impersonal house, find no
other visiting to compare with its unhampering delightfulness. The hostess
simply says on his (or her) arrival:

"Oh, howdo Freddie (or Constance)! They've put you in the Chinese room, I
think. Ring for tea when you want it. Struthers telephoned he'd be over
around five. Mrs. Toplofty asked you to dinner to-night and I accepted for
you--hope that was all right. If not, you'll have to telephone and get out
of it yourself. I want you to dinner to-morrow night and for lunch on
Sunday. Sorry to leave you, but I'm late for bridge now. Good-by." And she
is off.

The Newport hostess is, of course, an extreme type that is seldom met away
from that one small watering place in Rhode Island.


The energetic hostess is the antithesis of the one above, and far more
universally known. She is one who fusses and plans continually, who thinks
her guests are not having a good time unless she rushes them, Cook's
tourist fashion, from this engagement to that, and crowds with activity
and diversion--never mind _what_ so long as it is something to see or
do--every moment of their stay.

She walks them through the garden to show them all the nooks and vistas.
She dilates upon the flowers that bloomed here last month and are going to
bloom next. She insists upon their climbing over rocks to a summerhouse to
see the view; she insists on taking them in another direction to see an
old mill; and, again, every one is trouped to the cupola of the house to
see another view. She insists on every one's playing croquet before lunch,
to which she gathers in a curiously mixed collection of neighbors.
Immediately after lunch every one is driven to a country club to see some
duffer golf--for some reason there is never "time" in all the prepared
pleasures for any of her guests to play golf themselves. After twenty
minutes at the golf club, they are all taken to a church fair. The guests
are all introduced to the ladies at the booth and those who were foolish
enough to bring their purses with them from now on carry around an odd
assortment of fancy work. There is another entertainment that her guests
must not miss! A flower pageant of the darlingest children fourteen miles
away! Everyone is dashed to that. On some one's front lawn, daisies and
lilies and roses trip and skip--it is all sweetly pretty but the sun is
hot and the guests have been on the go for a great many hours. Soon,
however, their hostess leaves. "Home at last!" think they. Not at all.
They are going somewhere for tea and French recitations. But why go on?
The portrait is fairly complete, though this account covers only a few
hours and there is still all the evening and to-morrow to be filled in
just as liberally.


The anxious hostess does not insist on your ceaseless activity, but she is
no less persistent in filling your time. She is always asking you what you
would like to do next. If you say you are quite content as you are, she
nevertheless continues to shower suggestions. Shall she play the
phonograph to you? Would you like her to telephone to a friend who sings
too wonderfully? Would you like to look at a portfolio of pictures? If you
are a moment silent, she is sure you are bored, and wonders what she can
do to divert you!


The ideal hostess must have so many perfections of sense and character
that were she described in full, no one seemingly but a combination of
seer and angel could ever hope to qualify.

She must first of all consider the inclinations of her guests, she must
not only make them as comfortable as the arrangements and limits of her
establishment permit, but she must subordinate her own inclinations
utterly. At the same time, she must not fuss and flutter and get agitated
and seemingly make efforts in their behalf. Nothing makes a guest more
uncomfortable than to feel his host or hostess is being put to a great
deal of bother or effort on his account.

A perfect hostess like a perfect housekeeper has seemingly nothing
whatever to do with household arrangements which apparently run in oiled
grooves and of their own accord.

Certain rules are easy to observe once they are brought to attention. A
hostess should never speak of annoyances of any kind--no matter what
happens! Unless she is actually unable to stand up, she should not mention
physical ills any more than mental ones. She has invited people to her
house, and as long as they are under her roof, hospitality demands that
their sojourn shall be made as pleasant as lies in her power.

If the cook leaves, then a picnic must be made of the situation as though
a picnic were the most delightful thing that could happen. Should a guest
be taken ill, she must assure him that he is not giving the slightest
trouble; at the same time nothing that can be done for his comfort must be
overlooked. Should she herself or some one in her family become suddenly
ill, she should make as light of it as possible to her guests, even though
she withdraw from them. In that event she must ask a relative or intimate
friend to come in and take her place. Nor should the deputy hostess dwell
to the guests on the illness, or whatever it is that has deprived them of
their hostess.


The guest no one invites a second time is the one who runs a car to its
detriment, and a horse to a lather; who leaves a borrowed tennis racquet
out in the rain; who "dog ears" the books, leaves a cigarette on the edge
of a table and burns a trench in its edge, who uses towels for boot rags,
who stands a wet glass on polished wood, who tracks muddy shoes into the
house, and leaves his room looking as though it had been through a
cyclone. Nor are men the only offenders. Young women have been known to
commit every one of these offenses and the additional one of bringing a
pet dog that was not house trained.

Besides these actually destructive shortcomings, there are evidences of
bad upbringing in many modern youths whose lack of consideration is
scarcely less annoying. Those who are late for every meal; cheeky others
who invite friends of their own to meals without the manners or the
decency to ask their hostess' permission; who help themselves to a car and
go off and don't come back for meals at all; and who write no letters
afterwards, nor even take the trouble to go up and "speak" to a former
hostess when they see her again.

On the other hand, a young person who is considerate is a delight
immeasurable--such a delight as only a hostess of much experience can
perhaps appreciate. A young girl who tells where she is going, first
asking if it is all right, and who finds her hostess as soon as she is in
the house at night to report that she is back, is one who very surely will
be asked again and often.

A young man is, of course, much freer, but a similar deference to the
plans of his hostess, and to the hours and customs of the house, will
result in repeated invitations for him also.

The lack of these things is not only bad form but want of common civility
and decency, and reflects not only on the girls and boys themselves but on
their parents who failed to bring them up properly.


Courtesy demands that you, when you are a guest, shall show neither
annoyance nor disappointment--no matter what happens. Before you can hope
to become even a passable guest, let alone a perfect one, you must learn
as it were not to notice if hot soup is poured down your back. If you
neither understand nor care for dogs or children, and both insist on
climbing all over you, you must seemingly like it; just as you must be
amiable and polite to your fellow guests, even though they be of all the
people on earth the most detestable to you. You must with the very best
dissimulation at your command, appear to find the food delicious though
they offer you all of the viands that are especially distasteful to your
palate, or antagonistic to your digestion. You must disguise your hatred
of red ants and scrambled food, if everyone else is bent on a picnic. You
must pretend that six is a perfect dinner hour though you never dine
before eight, or, on the contrary, you must wait until eight-thirty or
nine with stoical fortitude, though your dinner hour is six and by seven
your chest seems securely pinned to your spine.

If you go for a drive, and it pours, and there is no top to the carriage
or car, and you are soaked to the skin and chilled to the marrow so that
your teeth chatter, your lips must smile and you must appear to enjoy the
refreshing coolness.

If you go to stay in a small house in the country, and they give you a bed
full of lumps, in a room of mosquitoes and flies, in a chamber over that
of a crying baby, under the eaves with a temperature of over a hundred,
you _can_ the next morning walk to the village, and send yourself a
telegram and leave! But though you feel starved, exhausted, wilted, and
are mosquito bitten until you resemble a well-developed case of chickenpox
or measles, by not so much as a facial muscle must you let the family know
that your comfort lacked anything that your happiest imagination could
picture--nor must you confide in any one afterwards (having broken bread
in the house) how desperately wretched you were.

If you know anyone who is always in demand, not only for dinners, but for
trips on private cars and yachts, and long visits in country houses, you
may be very sure of one thing: the popular person is first of all
unselfish or else extremely gifted; very often both.

The perfect guest not only tries to wear becoming clothes but tries to put
on an equally becoming mental attitude. No one is ever asked out very much
who is in the habit of telling people all the misfortunes and ailments she
has experienced or witnessed, though the perfect guest listens with
apparent sympathy to every one else's. Another attribute of the perfect
guest is never to keep people waiting. She is always ready for
anything--or nothing. If a plan is made to picnic, she likes picnics above
everything and proves her liking by enthusiastically making the sandwiches
or the salad dressing or whatever she thinks she makes best. If, on the
other hand, no one seems to want to do anything, the perfect guest has
always a book she is absorbed in, or a piece of sewing she is engrossed
with, or else beyond everything she would love to sit in an easy chair and
do nothing.

She never for one moment thinks of herself, but of the other people she is
thrown with. She is a person of sympathy always, and instantaneous
discernment. She is good tempered no matter what happens, and makes the
most of everything as it comes. At games she is a good loser, and a quiet
winner. She has a pleasant word, an amusing story, and agreeable comment
for most occasions, but she is neither gushing nor fulsome. She has merely
acquired a habit, born of many years of arduous practise, of turning
everything that looks like a dark cloud as quickly as possible for the
glimmer of a silver lining.

She is as sympathetic to children as to older people; she cuts out
wonderful paper dolls and soldier hats, always leisurely and easily as
though it cost neither time nor effort. She knows a hundred stories or
games, every baby and every dog goes to her on sight, not because she has
any especial talent, except that one she has cultivated, the talent of
interest in everyone and everything except herself. Few people know that
there is such a talent or that it can be cultivated.

She has more than mere beauty; she has infinite charm, and she is so well
born that she is charming to everyone. Her manner to a duke who happens to
be staying in the house is not a bit more courteous than her manner to the
kitchen-maid whom she chances to meet in the kitchen gardens whither she
has gone with the children to see the new kittens; as though new kittens
were the apex of all delectability!

She always calls the servants by name; always says "How do you do" when
she arrives, "Good morning" while there, and "Good-by" when she leaves.
And do they presume because of her "familiarity" when she remembers to ask
after the parlor-maid's mother and the butler's baby? They wait on her as
they wait on no one else who comes to the house--neither the Senator nor
the Governor, nor his Grace of Overthere!

This ideal guest is an equally ideal hostess; the principle of both is the
same. A ready smile, a quick sympathy, a happy outlook, consideration for
others, tenderness toward everything that is young or helpless, and
forgetfulness of self, which is not far from the ideal of womankind.


The sole difference between being a guest at a country house and a guest
on a private car or a yacht, is that you put to a very severe test tour
adaptability as a traveler. You live in very close quarters with your host
and hostess and fellow guests, and must therefore be particularly on your
guard against being selfish or out of humor. If you are on shore and don't
feel well, you can stay home; but off on a cruise, if you are ill you have
to make the best of it, and a sea-sick person's "best" is very bad indeed!
Therefore let it be hoped you are a good sailor. If not, think very, very
carefully before you embark!



"Roughing it" in the fashionable world (on the Atlantic coast) is rather
suggestive of the dairymaid playing of Marie Antoinette; the "rough" part
being mostly "picturesque effect" with little taste of actual discomfort.
Often, of course, the "roughing it" is real, especially west of the
Mississippi (and sometimes in the East too); so real that it has no place
in a book of etiquette at all. In the following picture of a fashionable
"camping party" it should perhaps be added, that not only the Worldlys but
most of the women really _think_ they are "roughing it."

At the same time there is nothing that a genuine dependent upon luxury
resents more than to be told he is dependent. It is he who has but newly
learned the comforts of living who protests his inability to endure

The very same people therefore who went a short time before to Great
Estates, women who arrived with their maids and luggage containing
personal equipment of amazing perfection and unlimited quantity (to say
nothing of jewels worth a king's ransom), and men who usually travel with
their own man-servants and every variety of raiment and paraphernalia, on
being invited to "rough it" with the Kindharts at Mountain Summit Camp,
are the very ones who most promptly and enthusiastically telegraph their
delighted acceptance. At a certain party a few years ago, the only person
who declined was a young woman of so little "position" that she was quite
offended that Mrs. Kindhart should suppose her able to endure discomfort
such as her invitation implied.

This year the Worldlys, the Normans, the Lovejoys, the "Bobo" Gildings,
the Littlehouses, Constance Style, Jim Smartlington and his bride, Clubwin
Doe and young Struthers make up the party. No one declined, not even the
Worldlys, though there is a fly in the amber of their perfect
satisfaction. Mrs. Kindhart wrote "not to bring a maid." Mrs. Worldly is
very much disturbed, because she cannot do her hair herself. Mr. Worldly
is even more perturbed at the thought of going without his valet. He has
never in the twenty years since he left college been twenty-four hours
away from Ernest. He knows perfectly well that Ernest is not expected. But
he means to take him--he will say nothing about it; he can surely find a
place for Ernest to stay somewhere.

The other men all look upon a holiday away from formality (which includes
valeting) as a relief, like the opening of a window in a stuffy room, and
none of the women except Mrs. Worldly would take her maid if she could.


The men all rummage in attics and trunk-rooms for those disreputable
looking articles of wearing apparel dear to all sportsmen; oil soaked
boots, water soaked and sun bleached woolen, corduroy, leather or canvas
garments and hats, each looking too shabby from their wives' (or valet's)
point of view to be offered to a tramp.

Every evening is spent in cleaning guns, rummaging for unprepossessing
treasures of shooting and fishing equipment. The women also give thought
to their wardrobes--consisting chiefly in a process of elimination.
Nothing perishable, nothing requiring a maid's help to get into, or to
take care of. Golf clothes are first choice, and any other old country
clothes, skirts and sweaters, and lots of plain shirt waists to go under
the sweaters. An old polo coat and a mackintosh is chosen by each. And for
evenings something "comfortable" and "easy to put on" in the way of a
house gown or ordinary summer "day dress." One or two decide to take tea
gowns in dark color and plainest variety.

All the women who sew or knit take something to "work on" in unoccupied
moments, such as the hours of sitting silent in a canoe while husbands

Finally the day arrives. Every one meets at the railroad station.
They are all as smart looking as can be, there is no sign of "rough"
clothes anywhere, though nothing in the least like a jewel case or parasol
is to be seen. At the end of somewhere between eight and eighteen hours,
they arrive at a shed which sits at the edge of the single track and is
labelled Dustville Junction, and hurrying down the narrow platform is
their host. Except that his face is clean shaven and his manners perfect,
he might be taken for a tramp. Three far from smart looking teams--two
buckboards and an express wagon--are standing near by. Kindhart welcomes
everyone with enthusiasm--except the now emerging Ernest. For once
Kindhart is nonplussed and he says to Worldly: "This isn't Newport, you
know--of course we can give him a bed somewhere, but this is really no
place for Ernest and there's nothing for him to do!"

Worldly, for the moment at a loss, explains lamely: "I thought he might be
useful--if you could find some corner for him to-night, then we can
see--that's all right, isn't it?"

Kindhart as host can't say anything further except to agree. Everyone is
bundled into the buckboards (except Ernest who goes on top of the luggage
in the express wagon), and a "corduroy" drive of six or eight miles


Summit Camp is a collection of wooden shacks like a group of packing cases
dumped in a clearing among the pine trees at the edge of a mountain lake.
Those who have never been there before feel some misgivings, those who
have been there before remember with surprise that they _had_ liked the
place! The men alone are filled with enthusiasm. The only person who is
thoroughly apprehensive of the immediate future is Ernest.

In front of the largest of the shacks, Mrs. Kindhart, surrounded by dogs
and children, waves and hurries forward, beaming. Her enthusiasm is
contagious, the children look blooming. That the "hardship" is not
hurting them, is evident! And when the guests have seen the inside of the
camps most of them are actually as pleased as they look. The biggest
"shack" is a living-room, the one nearest is the dining camp, four or five
smaller ones are sleeping camps for guests and another is the Kindharts'

The "living" camp is nothing but a single room about thirty feet wide and
forty feet long, with an open raftered roof for ceiling. It has windows on
four sides and a big porch built on the southeast corner. There is an
enormous open fireplace, and a floor good enough to dance on. The woodwork
is of rough lumber and has a single coat of leaf-green paint. The shelves
between the uprights are filled with books. All the new novels and
magazines are spread out on a long table. The room is furnished with
Navajo blankets, wicker furniture, steamer chairs, and hammocks are hung
across two of the corners. Two long divan sofas on either side of the
fireplace are the only upholstered pieces of furniture in the whole camp,
except the mattresses on the beds.

The guest camps are separate shacks, each one set back on a platform,
leaving a porch in front. Inside they vary in size; most have two, some
have four rooms, but each is merely one pointed-roofed space. The front
part has a fireplace and is furnished as a sitting-room, the rear half is
partitioned into two or more cubicles, like box-stalls, with partitions
about eight feet high and having regular doors. In each of the single
rooms, there is a bed, bureau, washstand, chair, and two shelves about six
or seven feet high, with a calico curtain nailed to the top one and
hanging to the floor, making a hat shelf and clothes closet. The few
"double" rooms are twice the size and have all furniture in duplicate.
There is also a matting or a rag rug on the floor, and that is all!

Each cottage has a bathroom but the hot water supply seems complicated. A
sign says your guide will bring it to you when needed. Mrs. Worldly,
feeling vaguely uncomfortable and hungry, is firmly determined to go home
on the next morning train. Before she has had much time to reflect, Mrs.
Kindhart reports that lunch is nearly ready. Guides come with canisters of
hot water, and everyone goes to dress. Town clothes disappear, and woods
clothes emerge. This by no means makes a dowdy picture. Good sport clothes
never look so well or becoming as when long use has given them an
"accustomed set" characteristic of their wearer. The men put on their
oldest country clothes too. Not their fishing "treasures" to sit at table
with ladies! The treasured articles go on in the early dawn, and the
guides are the only humans (except themselves) supposed worthy to behold

Presently a gong is sounded. The Kindhart children run to the guest houses
to call out that "the gong means dinner is ready!" And "dinner" means


In a short while the very group of people who only ten days before were
being shown to their places in the Worldlys' own tapestry-hung marble
dining-room at Great Estates by a dozen footmen in satin knee breeches,
file into the "dining camp" and take their places at a long pine table,
painted turkey red, on ordinary wooden kitchen chairs, also red! The
floral decoration is of laurel leaves in vases made of preserve jars
covered with birch bark. Glass and china is of the cheapest. But there are
a long centerpiece of hemstitched crash and crash doilies, and there are
"real" napkins, and at each plate a birch bark napkin ring with a number
on it. Mrs. Worldly looks at her napkin ring as though it were an insect.
One or two of the others who have not been there before, look mildly

Mrs. Kindhart smiles, "I'm sorry, but I told you it was 'roughing it.' Any
one who prefers innumerable paper napkins to using a washed one twice, is
welcome. But one napkin a day apiece is camp rule!" Mrs. Worldly tries to
look amiable, all the rest succeed.

The food is limited in variety but delicious. There are fresh trout from
the lake and venison steak; both well cooked in every way that can be
devised appear at every meal. All other supplies come in hampers from the
city. The head cook is the Kindharts' own, and so is the butler, with one
of the chauffeurs (when home) to help him wait on table. They wear
"liveries," evolved by Mrs. Kindhart, of gray flannel trousers, green
flannel blazers, very light gray flannel shirts, black ties, and

The table service, since there are only two to wait on twenty including
the children, is necessarily somewhat "farmer style"; ice, tea, rolls,
butter, marmalade, cake, fruit, are all on the table, so that people may
help themselves.


After luncheon Kindhart points out a dozen guides who are waiting at the
boat-house to take anyone who wants to be paddled or to sail or to go out
into the woods. There is a small swimming pool which can be warmed
artificially. Those who like it cold swim in the lake. All the men
disappear in groups or singly with a guide. The women go with their
husbands, or two together, with a guide. Should any not want to go out,
she can take to one of the hammocks, or a divan in the living-room, and a

At first sight, this hospitality seems inadequate, but its discomfort is
one of outward appearance only. The food is abundant and delicious,
whether cooked in the house or by the guides in the woods. The beds are
comfortable; there are plenty of warm and good quality, though not white,
blankets. Sheets are flannel or cotton as preferred. Pillow cases are
linen, towels of the "bath" variety because washing can be done by
"natives" near by, but ironing is difficult. Let no one, however, think
that this is a "simple" (by that meaning either easy or inexpensive) form
of entertainment! Imagine the budget! A dozen guides, teams and drivers,
natives to wash and clean and to help the cook; food for two or three
dozen people sent hundreds of miles by express!

It is true that the buildings are of the most primitive, and the
furnishings, too. The bureau drawers do stick, and there is only
"curtained" closet room, and mirrors are few and diminutive, and orders
for hot water have to be given ahead of time, but there is no discomfort,
except bathing in the cold! The huge fire, lighted early every morning by
one of the guides in each guest house, keeps the main part fairly warm but
the temperature of one of the bathrooms on a cold morning is scarcely


People do not "dress" for dinner, that is, not in evening clothes. After
coming in from walking or shooting or fishing, if it is warm they swim in
the pool or have their guides bring them hot water for a bath. Women
change into house gowns of some sort. Men put on flannel trousers, soft
shirts, and flannel or serge sack coats.

In the evening, if it is a beautiful night, every one sits on steamer
chairs wrapt in rugs around the big fire built out doors in front of a
sort of penthouse or windbreak. Or if it is stormy, they sit in front of a
fire, almost as big, in the living-room. Sometimes younger ones pop corn
or roast chestnuts, or perhaps make taffy. Perhaps some one tells a story,
or some one plays and everyone sings. Perhaps one who has "parlor tricks"
amuses the others--but as a rule those who have been all day in the open
are tired and drowsy and want nothing but to stretch out for a while in
front of the big fire and then turn in.

The etiquette of this sort of a party is so apparently lacking that its
inclusion perhaps seems out of place. But it is meant merely as a
"picture" of a phase of fashionable life that is not much exploited, and
to show that well-bred people never deteriorate in manner. Their behavior
is precisely the same whether at Great Estates or in camp. A gentleman may
be in his shirt sleeves actually, but he never gets into shirt sleeves
mentally--he has no inclination to.

To be sure, on the particular party described above, Mrs. Worldly wore a
squirrel fur cap in the evening as well as the daytime; she said it was
because it was so warm and comfortable. It was really because she could
not do her hair!

Perhaps some one asks about Ernest? At the end of two days of aloof and
distasteful idleness, Ernest became quite a human being; invaluable as
baiter of worms for the children's fish-hooks, as extra butler, and did
not scorn even temporary experiments as kitchen-maid. In fact, he proved
the half-hearted recommendation that he "might be useful" so thoroughly
that the first person of all to be especially invited for next year and
future years, was--exactly--Ernest.



In writing notes or letters, as in all other forms of social observance,
the highest achievement is in giving the appearance of simplicity,
naturalness and force.

Those who use long periods of flowered prolixity and pretentious
phrases--who write in complicated form with meaningless flourishes, do not
make an impression of elegance and erudition upon their readers, but
flaunt instead unmistakable evidence of vainglory and ignorance.

The letter you write, whether you realize it or not, is always a mirror
which reflects your appearance, taste and character. A "sloppy" letter
with the writing all pouring into one corner of the page, badly worded,
badly spelled, and with unmatched paper and envelope--even possibly a
blot--proclaims the sort of person who would have unkempt hair, unclean
linen and broken shoe laces; just as a neat, precise, evenly written note
portrays a person of like characteristics. Therefore, while it can not be
said with literal accuracy that one may read the future of a person by
study of his handwriting, it is true that if a young man wishes to choose
a wife in whose daily life he is sure always to find the unfinished task,
the untidy mind and the syncopated housekeeping, he may do it quite simply
by selecting her from her letters.


Some people are fortunate in being able easily to make graceful letters,
to space their words evenly, and to put them on a page so that the picture
is pleasing; others are discouraged at the outset because their fingers
are clumsy, and their efforts crude; but no matter how badly formed each
individual letter may be, if the writing is consistent throughout, the
page as a whole looks fairly well.

You can _make_ yourself write neatly and legibly. You can (with the help
of a dictionary if necessary) spell correctly; you can be sure that you
understand the meaning of every word you use. If it is hard for you to
write in a straight line, use the lined guide that comes with nearly all
stationery; if impossible to keep an even margin, draw a perpendicular
line at the left of the guide so that you can start each new line of
writing on it. You can also make a guide to slip under the envelope. Far
better to use a guide than to send envelopes and pages of writing that
slide up hill and down, in uncontrolled disorder.



Suitability should be considered in choosing note paper, as well as in
choosing a piece of furniture for a house. For a handwriting which is
habitually large, a larger sized paper should be chosen than for writing
which is small. The shape of paper should also depend somewhat upon the
spacing of the lines which is typical of the writer, and whether a wide or
narrow margin is used. Low, spread-out writing looks better on a square
sheet of paper; tall, pointed writing looks better on paper that is high
and narrow. Selection of paper whether rough or smooth is entirely a
matter of personal choice--so that the quality be good, and the shape and
color conservative.

Paper should never be ruled, or highly scented, or odd in shape, or have
elaborate or striking ornamentation. Some people use smaller paper for
notes, or correspondence cards, cut to the size of the envelopes. Others
use the same size for all correspondence and leave a wider margin in
writing notes.

The flap of the envelope should be plain and the point not unduly long. If
the flap is square instead of being pointed, it may be allowed greater
length without being eccentric. Colored linings to envelopes are at
present in fashion. Thin white paper, with monogram or address stamped in
gray to match gray tissue lining of the envelope is, for instance, in very
best taste. Young girls may be allowed quite gay envelope linings, but the
device on the paper must be minute, in proportion to the gaiety of the


Writing paper for a man should always be strictly conservative. Plain
white or gray or granite paper, large in size and stamped in the simplest
manner. The size should be 5-3/4 x 7-1/2 or 6 x 8 or 5-1/8 x 8-1/8 or

A paper suitable for the use of all the members of a family has the
address stamped in black or dark color, in plain letters at the top of the
first page. More often than not the telephone number is put in very small
letters under that of the address, a great convenience in the present day
of telephoning. For example:

       350 PARK AVENUE


As there is no such thing as heraldry in America, the use of a coat of
arms is as much a foreign custom as the speaking of a foreign tongue; but
in certain communities where old families have used their crests
continuously since the days when they brought their device--and their
right to it--from Europe, the use of it is suitable and proper. The sight
of this or that crest on a carriage or automobile in New York or Boston
announces to all those who have lived their lives in either city that the
vehicle belongs to a member of this or that family. But for some one
without an inherited right to select a lion _rampant_ or a stag _couchant_
because he thinks it looks stylish, is as though, for the same reason, he
changed his name from Muggins to Marmaduke, and quite properly subjects
him to ridicule. (Strictly speaking, a woman has the right to use a
"lozenge" only; since in heraldic days women did not bear arms, but no one
in this country follows heraldic rule to this extent.)


It is occasionally the fancy of artists or young girls to adopt some
especial symbol associated with themselves. The "butterfly" of Whistler
for instance is as well-known as his name. A painter of marines has the
small outline of a ship stamped on his writing paper, and a New York
architect the capital of an Ionic column. A generation ago young women
used to fancy such an intriguing symbol as a mask, a sphinx, a question
mark, or their own names, if their names were such as could be pictured.
There can be no objection to one's appropriation of such an emblem if one
fancies it. But Lilly, Belle, Dolly and Kitten are Lillian, Isabel,
Dorothy and Katherine in these days, and appropriate hall-marks are not
easily found.


In selecting paper for a country house we go back to the subject of
suitability. A big house in important grounds should have very plain, very
dignified letter paper. It may be white or tinted blue or gray. The name
of the place should be engraved, in the center usually, at the top of the
first page. It may be placed left, or right, as preferred. Slanting across
the upper corners or in a list at the upper left side, may be put as many
addresses as necessary. Many persons use a whole row of small devices in
outline, the engine of a train and beside it Ardmoor, meaning that Ardmoor
is the railroad station. A telegraph pole, an envelope, a telephone
instrument--and beside each an address. These devices are suitable for all
places, whether they are great or tiny, that have different addresses for
railroad, post-office, telephone telegraph.

[Illustration: (train) Stirlington, New York]

[Illustration: (telegraph pole and envelopes) Ringwood, New Jersey]

[Illustration: (telephone) Sloatsburg, Seven-three-two]

_For the Little House_

On the other hand, farmhouses and little places in the country may have
very bright-colored stamping, as well as gay-lined envelopes. Places with
easily illustrated names quite often have them pictured; the "Bird-cage,"
for instance, may have a bright blue paper with a bird-cage in supposed
red lacquer; the "Bandbox," a fantastically decorated milliner's box on
oyster gray paper, the envelope lining of black and gray pin stripes, and
the "Doll's House" might use the outline of a doll's house in grass green
on green-bordered white paper, and white envelopes lined with grass green.
Each of these devices must be as small as the outline of a cherry pit and
the paper of the smallest size that comes. (Envelopes 3-1/2 x 5 inches or
paper 4 x 6 and envelopes the same size to hold paper without folding.)

[Illustration: (three envelope corners with logos)]

It is foolish perhaps to give the description of such papers, for their
fashion is but of the moment. A jeweler from Paris has been responsible
for their present vogue in New York, and his clientele is only among the
young and smart. Older and more conservative women (and, of course, all
men) keep to the plain fashion of yesterday, which will just as surely be
the fashion of to-morrow.


Persons who are in mourning use black-edged visiting cards, letter paper
and envelopes. The depth of black corresponds with the depth of mourning
and the closeness of relation to the one who has gone, the width
decreasing as one's mourning lightens. The width of black to use is a
matter of personal taste and feeling. A very heavy border (from 3/8 to
7/16 of an inch) announces the deepest retirement.


Usually the date is put at the upper right hand of the first page of a
letter, or at the end, and to the left of the signature, of a note. It is
far less confusing for one's correspondent to read January 9, 1920, than
1-9-20. Theoretically, one should write out the date in full: the ninth of
January, Nineteen hundred and twenty-one. That, however, is the height of
pedantry, and an unswallowable mouthful at the top of any page not a

At the end of a note "Thursday" is sufficient unless the note is an
invitation for more than a week ahead, in which case write as in a letter,
"January 9" or "the ninth of January." The year is not necessary since it
can hardly be supposed to take a year for a letter's transportation.


If a note is longer than one page, the third page is usually next, as this
leaves the fourth blank and prevents the writing from showing through the
envelope. With heavy or tissue-lined envelopes, the fourth is used as
often as the third. In letters one may write first, second, third, fourth,
in regular order; or first and fourth, then, opening the sheet and turning
it sideways, write across the two inside pages as one. Many prefer to
write on first, third, then sideways across second and fourth. In certain
cities--Boston, for instance--the last word on a page is repeated at the
top of the next. It is undoubtedly a good idea, but makes a stuttering
impression upon one not accustomed to it.


As to whether a letter is folded in such a way that the recipient shall
read the contents without having to turn the paper, is giving too much
importance to nothing. It is sufficient if the paper is folded _neatly_,
once, of course, for the envelope that is half the length of the paper,
and twice for the envelope that is a third.


If you use sealing wax, let us hope you are an adept at making an even and
smoothly finished seal. Choose a plain-colored wax rather than one
speckled with metal. With the sort of paper described for country houses,
or for young people, or those living in studios or bungalows, gay sealing
wax may be quite alluring, especially if it can be persuaded to pour
smoothly like liquid, and not to look like a streaked and broken off slice
of dough. In days when envelopes were unknown, all letters had to be
sealed, hence when envelopes were made, the idea obtained that it was
improper to use both gum-arabic and wax. Strictly speaking this may be
true, but since all envelopes have mucilage, it would be unreasonable to
demand that those who like to use sealing wax have their envelopes made to


The most formal beginning of a social letter is "My dear Mrs. Smith." (The
fact that in England "Dear Mrs. Smith" is more formal does not greatly
concern us in America.) "Dear Mrs. Smith," "Dear Sarah," "Dear Sally,"
"Sally dear," "Dearest Sally," "Darling Sally," are increasingly intimate.

Business letters begin:

    Smith, Johnson & Co.,
    20 Broadway,
    New York.

    Dear Sirs:

Or if more personal:

    John Smith & Co.,
    20 Broadway,
    New York.

    My Dear Mr. Smith:


The close of a business letter should be "Yours truly," or "Yours very
truly." "Respectfully" is used only by a tradesman to a customer, an
employee to an employer, or by an inferior, never by a person of equal
position. No lady should ever sign a letter "respectfully," not even were
she writing to a queen. If an American lady should have occasion to write
to a queen, she should conclude her letter "I have the honor to remain,
Madam, your most obedient." (For address and close of letters to persons
of title, see table at the end of this chapter.)


It is too bad that the English language does not permit the charming and
graceful closing of all letters in the French manner, those little flowers
of compliment that leave such a pleasant fragrance after reading. But
ever since the Eighteenth Century the English-speaking have been busy
pruning away all ornament of expression; even the last remaining graces,
"kindest regards," "with kindest remembrances," are fast disappearing,
leaving us nothing but an abrupt "Yours truly," or "Sincerely yours."

_Closing a Formal Note_

The best ending to a formal social note is, "Sincerely," "Sincerely
yours," "Very sincerely," "Very sincerely yours," "Yours always
sincerely," or "Always sincerely yours."

"I remain, dear madam," is no longer in use, but "Believe me" is still
correct when formality is to be expressed in the close of a note.

    Believe me
    Very sincerely yours,


    Believe me, my dear Mrs. Worldly,
    Most sincerely yours,

This last is an English form, but it is used by quite a number of
Americans--particularly those who have been much abroad.

_Appropriate for a Man_

"Faithfully" or "Faithfully yours" is a very good signature for a man in
writing to a woman, or in any uncommercial correspondence, such as a
letter to the President of the United States, a member of the Cabinet, an
Ambassador, a clergyman, etc.

_The Intimate Closing_

"Affectionately yours," "Always affectionately," "Affectionately,"
"Devotedly," "Lovingly," "Your loving" are in increasing scale of

"Lovingly" is much more intimate than "Affectionately" and so is

"Sincerely" in formal notes and "Affectionately" in intimate notes are the
two adverbs most used in the present day, and between these two there is a
blank; in English we have no expression to fit sentiment more friendly
than the first nor one less intimate than the second.

_Not Good Form_

"Cordially" was coined no doubt to fill this need, but its
self-consciousness puts it in the category with "residence" and "retire,"
and all the other offenses of pretentiousness, and in New York, at least,
it is not used by people of taste.

"Warmly yours" is unspeakable.

"Yours in haste" or "Hastily yours" is not bad form, but is rather
carelessly rude.

"In a tearing hurry" is a termination dear to the boarding school girl;
but its truth does not make it any more attractive than the vision of that
same young girl rushing into a room with her hat and coat half on, to
swoop upon her mother with a peck of a kiss, and with a "--by, mamma!"
whirl out again! Turmoil and flurry may be characteristic of the manners
of to-day; both are far from the ideal of beautiful manners which should
be as assured, as smooth, as controlled as the running of a high-grade
automobile. Flea-like motions are no better suited to manners than to

_Other Endings_

"Gratefully" is used only when a benefit has been received, as to a lawyer
who has skilfully handled a case; to a surgeon who has saved a life dear
to you; to a friend who has been put to unusual trouble to do you a favor.

In an ordinary letter of thanks, the signature is "Sincerely,"
"Affectionately," "Devotedly"--as the case may be.

The phrases that a man might devise to dose a letter to his betrothed or
his wife are bound only by the limit of his imagination and do not belong
in this, or any, book.


Abroad, the higher the rank, the shorter the name. A duke, for instance,
signs himself "Marlborough," nothing else, and a queen her first name
"Victoria." The social world in Europe, therefore, laughs at us for using
our whole names, or worse yet, inserting meaningless initials in our
signatures. Etiquette in accord with Europe also objects strenuously to
initials and demands that names be always engraved, and, if possible,
written in full, but only very correct people strictly observe this rule.

In Europe all persons have so many names given them in baptism that they
are forced, naturally, to lay most of them aside, selecting one, or at
most two, for use. In America, the names bestowed at baptism become
inseparably part of each individual, so that if the name is overlong, a
string of initials is the inevitable result.

Since, in America, it is not customary for a man to discard any of his
names, and John Hunter Titherington Smith is far too much of a pen-full
for the one who signs thousands of letters and documents, it is small
wonder that he chooses J.H.T. Smith, instead, or perhaps, at the end of
personal letters, John H.T. Smith. Why shouldn't he? It is, after all, his
own name to sign as he chooses, and in addressing him deference to his
choice should be shown.

A married woman should always sign a letter to a stranger, a bank,
business firm, etc., with her baptismal name, and add, in parenthesis, her
married name. Thus:

    Very truly yours,
    Sarah Robinson Smith.
    (Mrs. J.H. Titherington Smith.)

Never under any circumstances sign a letter "Mr.", "Mrs.", or "Miss"
(except a note written in the third person). If, in the example above,
Sarah Robinson Smith were "Miss" she would put "Miss" in parenthesis to
the left of her signature:

(Miss) Sarah Robinson Smith.


Formal invitations are always addressed to Mr. Stanley Smith; all other
personal letters may be addressed to Stanley Smith, Esq. The title of
Esquire formerly was used to denote the eldest son of a knight or members
of a younger branch of a noble house. Later all graduates of universities,
professional and literary men, and important landholders were given the
right to this title, which even to-day denotes a man of education--a
gentleman. John Smith, esquire, is John Smith, gentleman. Mr. John Smith
may be a gentleman; or may not be one. And yet, as noted above, all
engraved invitations are addressed "Mr."

Never under any circumstances address a social letter or note to a married
woman, even if she is a widow, as Mrs. Mary Town. A widow is still Mrs.
James Town. If her son's wife should have the same name, she becomes Mrs.
James Town, Sr., or simply Mrs. Town.

A divorced woman, if she was the innocent person, retains the right if she
chooses, to call herself Mrs. John Brown Smith, but usually she prefers to
take her own surname. Supposing her to have been Mary Simpson, she calls
herself Mrs. Simpson Smith. If a lady is the wife or widow of "the head of
a family" she may call herself Mrs. Smith, even on visiting cards and

The eldest daughter is Miss Smith; her younger sister, Miss Jane Smith.

Invitations to children are addressed, Miss Katherine Smith and Master
Robert Smith.

Do not write "The Messrs. Brown" in addressing a father and son. "The
Messrs. Brown" is correct only for unmarried brothers.

Although one occasionally sees an envelope addressed to "Mr. and Mrs.
Jones," and "Miss Jones" written underneath the names of her parents, it
is better form to send a separate invitation addressed to Miss Jones
alone. A wedding invitation addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Jones and family is
not in good taste. Even if the Jones children are young, the Misses Jones
should receive a separate envelope, and so should Master Jones.


Write the name and address on the envelope as precisely and as legibly as
you can. The post-office has enough to do in deciphering the letters of
the illiterate, without being asked to do unnecessary work for you!


Business letters written by a private individual differ very little from
those sent out from a business house. A lady never says "Yours of the 6th
received and contents noted," or "Yours to hand," nor does she address the
firm as "Gentlemen," nor does she _ever_ sign herself "Respectfully." A
business letter should be as brief and explicit as possible. For example:

                  Tuxedo Park
                   New York
                                  May 17, 1922

    I. Paint & Co.,
      22 Branch St.,
          New York.

    Dear Sirs:

    Your estimate for painting my dining-room, library, south
    bedroom, and dressing-room is satisfactory, and you may proceed
    with the work as soon as possible.

    I find, on the other hand, that wainscoting the hall comes to
    more than I had anticipated, and I have decided to leave it as it
    is for the present.

            Very truly yours,
               C.R. Town.
    (Mrs. James Town)


There should be no more difficulty in writing a social note than in
writing a business letter; each has a specific message for its sole object
and the principle of construction is the same:

                                                 * Date
    Address (on business letter only)


    The statement of whatever is the purpose of the note.

                        Complimentary close,
    * Or date here

The difference in form between a business and a social note is that the
full name and address of the person written to is never put in the latter,
better quality stationery is used, and the salutation is "My dear ----" or
"Dear ----" instead of "Dear Sir:"


                          350 Park Avenue

    Dear Mrs. Robinson:

    I am enclosing the list I promised you--Luberge makes the most
    beautiful things. Mower, the dressmaker, has for years made
    clothes for me, and I think Revaud the best milliner in Paris.
    Leonie is a "little milliner" who often has pretty blouses as
    well as hats and is very reasonable.

    I do hope the addresses will be of some use to you, and that you
    will have a delightful trip,

                               Very sincerely,
                                    Martha Kindhart.






    Dear Mrs. Town:

    I do deeply apologize for my seeming rudeness in having to send
    the message about Monday night.

    When I accepted your invitation, I stupidly forgot entirely that
    Monday was a holiday and that all of my own guests, naturally,
    were not leaving until Tuesday morning, and Arthur and I could
    not therefore go out by ourselves and leave them!

    We were too disappointed and hope that you know how sorry we were
    not to be with you.

                       Very sincerely,
                               Ethel Norman.
    Tuesday morning.


    Dear Mrs. Neighbor:

    My gardener has just told me that our chickens got into your
    flower beds, and did a great deal of damage.

    The chicken netting is being built higher at this moment and they
    will not be able to damage anything again. I shall, of course,
    send Patrick to put in shrubs to replace those broken, although
    I know that ones newly planted cannot compensate for those you
    have lost, and I can only ask you to accept my contrite

    Always sincerely yours,
          Katherine de Puyster Eminent.


In the following examples of letters intimate and from young persons, such
profuse expressions as "divine," "awfully," "petrified," "too sweet," "too
wonderful," are purposely inserted, because to change all of the above
enthusiasms into "pleased with," "very," "feared," "most kind," would be
to change the vitality of the "real" letters into smug and self-conscious
utterances at variance with anything ever written by young men and women
of to-day. Even the letters of older persons, although they are more
restrained than those of youth, avoid anything suggesting pedantry and

Do not from this suppose that well-bred people write badly! On the
contrary, perfect simplicity and freedom from self-consciousness are
possible only to those who have acquired at least some degree of
cultivation. For flagrant examples of pretentiousness (which is the
infallible sign of lack of breeding), see page 61. For simplicity of
expression, such as is unattainable to the rest of us, but which we can at
least strive to emulate, read first the Bible; then at random one might
suggest such authors as Robert Louis Stevenson, E.S. Martin, Agnes
Repplier, John Galsworthy and Max Beerbohm. E.V. Lucas has written two
novels in letter form--which illustrate the best type of present day


Although all wedding presents belong to the bride, she generally words her
letters of thanks as though they belonged equally to the groom, especially
if they have been sent by particular friends of his.

_To Intimate Friends of the Groom_

    Dear Mrs. Norman:

    To think of your sending us all this wonderful glass! It is
    simply divine, and Jim and I both thank you a thousand times!

    The presents are, of course, to be shown on the day of the
    wedding, but do come in on Tuesday at tea time for an earlier

    Thanking you again, and with love from us both,




    Dear Mrs. Gilding:

    It was more than sweet of you and Mr. Gilding to send us such a
    lovely clock. Thank you, very, very much.

    Looking forward to seeing you on the tenth,

    Very sincerely,
          Mary Smith.

Sometimes, as in the two examples above, thanks to the husband are
definitely expressed in writing to the wife. Usually, however, "you" is
understood to mean "you both."


    Dear Mrs. Worldly:

    All my life I have wanted a piece of jade, but in my wanting I
    have never imagined one quite so beautiful as the one you have
    sent me. It was wonderfully sweet of you and I thank you more
    than I can tell you for the pleasure you have given me.

    Mary Smith.


    Dear Mrs. Eminent:

    Thank you for these wonderful prints. They go too beautifully
    with some old English ones that Jim's uncle sent us, and our
    dining-room will be quite perfect--as to walls!

    Hoping that you are surely coming to the wedding,

    Very sincerely,
           Mary Smith.

_To a Friend Who Is in Deep Mourning_

    Dear Susan:

    With all you have on your heart just now, it was so sweet and
    thoughtful of you to go out and buy me a present, and such a
    beautiful one! I love it--and your thought of me in sending
    it--and I thank you more than I can tell you.


_Very Intimate_

    Dear Aunt Kate:

    Really you are too generous--it is outrageous of you--but, of
    course, it _is_ the most beautiful bracelet! And I am so
    excited oven it, I hardly know what I am doing. You are too good
    to me and you spoil me, but I do love you, and it, and thank you
    with all my heart.



    Dear Mrs. Neighbor:

    The tea cloth is perfectly exquisite! I have never _seen_ such
    beautiful work! I appreciate your lovely gift more than I can
    tell you, both for its own sake and for your kindness in making
    it for me.

    Don't forget, you are coming in on Tuesday afternoon to see the


Sometimes pushing people send presents, when they are not asked to the
wedding, in the hope of an invitation. Sometimes others send presents,
when they are not asked, merely through kindly feeling toward a young
couple on the threshold of life. It ought not to be difficult to
distinguish between the two.


    My Dear Mrs. Upstart:

    Thank you for the very handsome candlesticks you sent us. They
    were a great surprize, but it was more than kind of you to think
    of us.

    Very sincerely,
    Mary Smith.


    Dear Mrs. Kindly:

    I can't tell you how sweet I think it of you to send us such a
    lovely present, and Jim and I both hope that when we are in our
    own home, you will see them often at our table.

    Thanking you many times for your thought of us,

    Very sincerely,
    Mary Smith.

_For a Present Sent After the Wedding_

    Dear Mrs. Chatterton:

    The mirror you sent us is going over our drawing-room mantel just
    as soon as we can hang it up! It is exactly what we most needed
    and we both thank you ever so much.

    Please come in soon to see how becoming it will be to the room.

    Yours affectionately,
            Mary Smith Smartlington.


    Dear Lucy:

    I really think it was adorable of you to have a chair like yours
    made for me. It was worth adding a year to my age for such a nice
    birthday present. Jack says I am never going to have a chance to
    sit in it, however, if he gets there first, and even the children
    look at it with longing. At all events, I am perfectly enchanted
    with it, and thank you ever and ever so much.


    Dear Uncle Arthur:

    I know I oughtn't to have opened it until Christmas, but I
    couldn't resist the look of the package, and then putting it on
    at once! So I am all dressed up in your beautiful chain. It is
    one of the loveliest things I have ever seen and I certainly am
    lucky to have it given to me I Thank you a thousand--and then
    more--times for it.


    Dear Kate:

    I am fascinated with my utility box--it is too beguiling for
    words! You are the cleverest one anyway for finding what no one
    else can--and every one wants. I don't know how you do it! And
    you certainly were sweet to think of me. Thank you, dear.



    Dear Mrs. Kindhart:

    Of course it would be! Because no one else can sew like you! The
    sacque you made the baby is the prettiest thing I have ever seen,
    and is perfectly adorable on her! Thank you, as usual, you dear
    Mrs. Kindhart, for your goodness to

                               Your affectionate,

    Dear Mrs. Norman:

    Thank you ever so much for the lovely afghan you sent the baby.
    It is by far the prettiest one he has; it is so soft and
    close--he doesn't get his fingers tangled in it.

    Do come in and see him, won't you? We are both allowed visitors
    (especial ones) every day between 4 and 5.30!

    Affectionately always,


When you have been staying over Sunday, or for longer, in some one's
house, it is absolutely necessary that you write a letter of thanks to
your hostess within a few days after the visit.

"Bread and butter letters," as they are called, are the stumbling-blocks
of visitors. Why they are so difficult for nearly every one is hard to
determine, unless it is that they are often written to persons with whom
you are on formal terms, and the letter should be somewhat informal in
tone. Very likely you have been visiting a friend, and must write to her
mother, whom you scarcely know; perhaps you have been included in a large
and rather formal house party and the hostess is an acquaintance rather
than a friend; or perhaps you are a bride and have been on a first visit
to relatives or old friends of your husband's, but strangers, until now,
to you.

As an example of the first, where you have been visiting a girl friend and
must write a letter to her mother, you begin "Dear Mrs. Town" at the top
of a page, and nothing in the forbidding memory of Mrs. Town encourages
you to go further. It would be easy enough to write to Pauline, the
daughter. Very well, write to Pauline then--on an odd piece of paper, in
pencil, what a good time you had, how nice it was to be with her. Then
copy your note composed to Pauline off on the page beginning "Dear Mrs.
Town." You have only to add, "love to Pauline, and thanking you again for
asking me," sign it "Very sincerely," and there you are!

Don't be afraid that your note is too informal; older people are always
pleased with any expressions from the young that seem friendly and
spontaneous. Never think, because you can not easily write a letter, that
it is better not to write at all. The most awkward note that can be
imagined is better than none--for to write none is the depth of rudeness,
whereas the awkward note merely fails to delight.


_From a Young Woman to a Formal Hostess After a House Party_

    Dear Mrs. Norman:

    I don't know when I ever had such a good time as I did at
    Broadlawns. Thank you a thousand times for asking me. As it
    happened, the first persons I saw on Monday at the Towns' dinner
    were Celia and Donald. We immediately had a threesome
    conversation on the wonderful time we all had over Sunday.

    Thanking you again for your kindness to me,

    Very sincerely yours,
    Grace Smalltalk.

_To a Formal Hostess After an Especially Amusing Week-End_

    Dear Mrs. Worldly:

    Every moment at Great Estates was a perfect delight! I am afraid
    my work at the office this morning was down to zero in
    efficiency; so perhaps it is just as well, if I am to keep my
    job, that the average week-end in the country is different--very.
    Thank you all the same, for the wonderful time you gave us all,
    and believe me

                                    Faithfully yours,
                                         Frederick Bachelor.

    Dear Mrs. Worldly:

    Every time I come from Great Estates, I realize again that there
    is no house to which I always go with so much pleasure, and leave
    on Monday morning with so much regret.

    Your party over this last week-end was simply wonderful! And
    thank you ever so much for having included me.

    Always sincerely,
    Constance Style.

_From a Young Couple_

    Dear Mrs. Town:

    We had a perfect time at Tuxedo over Sunday and it was so good of
    you to include us. Jack says he is going to practise putting the
    way Mr. Town showed him, and maybe the next time he plays in a
    foursome he won't be such a handicap to his partner.

    Thanking you both for the pleasure you gave us,

    Affectionately yours,
        Sally Titherington Littlehouse

_From a Bride to Her New Relatives-in-Law_

A letter that was written by a bride after paying a first visit to her
husband's aunt and uncle won for her at a stroke the love of the whole

This is the letter:

    Dear "Aunt Annie":

    Now that it is all over, I have a confession to make! Do you know
    that when Dick drove me up to your front door and I saw you and
    Uncle Bob standing on the top step--I was simply _paralyzed_ with

    "Suppose they don't like me," was all that I could think. Of
    course, I knew you loved Dick--but that only made it worse. How
    awful, if you _couldn't_ like me! The reason I stumbled coming up
    the steps was because my knees were actually knocking together!
    You remember, Uncle Bob sang out it was good I was already
    married, or I wouldn't be this year? And then--you were both so
    perfectly adorable to me--and you made me feel as though I had
    always been your niece--and not just the wife of your nephew.

    I loved every minute of our being with you, dear Aunt Annie, just
    as much as Dick did, and we hope you are going to let us come
    soon again.

    With best love from us both,

    Your affectionate niece,

The above type of letter would not serve perhaps if Dick's aunt had been a
forbidding and austere type of woman; but even such a one would be far
more apt to take a new niece to her heart if the new niece herself gave
evidence of having one.

_After Visiting a Friend_

    Dear Kate:

    It was hideously dull and stuffy in town this morning after the
    fresh coolness of Strandholm. The back yard is not an alluring
    outlook after the wide spaces and delicious fragrance of your

    It was good being with you and I enjoyed every moment. Don't
    forget you are lunching here on the 16th and that we are going to
    hear Kreisler together.

    Devotedly always,

_From a Man Who Has Been Ill and Convalescing at a Friend's House_

    Dear Martha:

    I certainly hated taking that train this morning and realizing
    that the end had come to my peaceful days. You and John and the
    children, and your place, which is the essence of all that a
    "home" ought to be, have put me on my feet again. I thank you
    much--much more than I can say for the wonderful goodness of all
    of you.


_From a Woman Who Has Been Visiting a Very Old Friend_

    I loved my visit with you, dear Mary; it was more than good to be
    with you and have a chance for long talks at your fireside. Don't
    forget your promise to come here in May! I told Sam and Hettie
    you were coming, and now the whole town is ringing with the news,
    and every one is planning a party for you.

    David sends "his best" to you and Charlie, and you know you
    always have the love of

    Your devoted

_To an Acquaintance_

After a visit to a formal acquaintance or when some one has shown you
especial hospitality in a city where you are a stranger:

    My dear Mrs. Duluth:

    It was more than good of you to give my husband and me so much
    pleasure. We enjoyed, and appreciated, all your kindness to us
    more than we can say.

    We hope that you and Mr. Duluth may be coming East before long
    and that we may then have the pleasure of seeing you at

    In the meanwhile, thanking you for your generous hospitality, and
    with kindest regards to you both, in which my husband joins,
    believe me,

    Very sincerely yours,
           Katherine de Puyster Eminent.


An engraved card of thanks is proper only when sent by a public official
to acknowledge the overwhelming number of congratulatory messages he must
inevitably receive from strangers, when he has carried an election or
otherwise been honored with the confidence of his State or country. A
recent and excellent example follows:


    My dear....

=I warmly appreciate your kind message of congratulation which has given
me a great deal of pleasure, and sincerely wish that it were possible for
me to acknowledge it in a less formal manner.=


            (_signed by hand_)

            An engraved form of thanks for sympathy, also from
            one in public life, is presented in the following example:

                      Mr. John Smith
            wishes to express his deep gratitude
                      and to thank you
            for your kind expression of sympathy

_But remember_: an engraved card sent by a private individual to a
personal friend, is not "stylish" or smart, but _rude_. (See also
engraved acknowledgment of sympathy, pages 406-7.)


A letter of business introduction can be much more freely given than a
letter of social introduction. For the former it is necessary merely that
the persons introduced have business interests in common--which are much
more easily determined than social compatibility, which is the requisite
necessary for the latter. It is, of course, proper to give your personal
representative a letter of introduction to whomever you send him.

On the subject of letters of social introduction there is one chief rule:

Never _ask_ for letters of introduction, and be very sparing in your
offers to write or accept them.

Seemingly few persons realize that a letter of social introduction is
actually a draft for payment on demand. The form might as well be: "The
bearer of this has (because of it) the right to _demand your interest_,
your time, your hospitality--liberally and at once, no matter what your
inclination may be."

Therefore, it is far better to refuse in the beginning, than to hedge and
end by committing the greater error of unwarrantedly inconveniencing a
valued friend or acquaintance.

When you have a friend who is going to a city where you have other
friends, and you believe that it will be a mutual pleasure for them to
meet, a letter of introduction is proper and very easy to write, but sent
to a casual acquaintance--no matter how attractive or distinguished the
person to be introduced--it is a gross presumption.


    Dear Mrs. Marks:

    Julian Gibbs is going to Buffalo on January tenth to deliver a
    lecture on his Polar expedition, and I am sending him a card of
    introduction to you. He is very agreeable personally, and I think
    that perhaps you and Mr. Marks will enjoy meeting him as much as
    I know he would enjoy knowing you.

    With kindest regards, in which Arthur joins,

    Very sincerely,
              Ethel Norman.

If Mr. Norman were introducing one man to another he would give his card
to the former, inscribed as follows:

    [HW: Introducing Julian Gibbs]



Also Mr. Norman would send a private letter by mail, telling his friend
that Mr. Gibbs is coming, as follows:

    Dear Marks:

    I am giving Julian Gibbs a card of introduction to you when he
    goes to Buffalo on the tenth to lecture. He is an entertaining
    and very decent fellow, and I think possibly Mrs. Marks would
    enjoy meeting him. If you can conveniently ask him to your house,
    I know he would appreciate it; if not, perhaps you will put him
    up for a day or two at a club.

    Arthur Norman.


    Dear Claire:

    A very great friend of ours, James Dawson, is to be in Chicago
    for several weeks. Any kindness that you can show him will be
    greatly appreciated by

    Yours as always,
    Ethel Norman.

At the same time a second and private letter of information is written
and sent by mail:

    Dear Claire:

    I wrote you a letter to-day introducing Jim Dawson. He used to be
    on the Yalvard football team, perhaps you remember. He is one of
    the best sort in the world and I know you will like him. I don't
    want to put you to any trouble, but do ask him to your house if
    you can. He plays a wonderful game of golf and a good game of
    bridge, but he is more a man's than a woman's type of man. Maybe
    if Tom likes him, he will put him up at a club as he is to be in
    Chicago for some weeks.

    Affectionately always,

Another example:

    Dear Caroline:

    A very dear friend of mine, Mrs. Fred West, is going to be in New
    York this winter, while her daughter is at Barnard. I am asking
    her to take this letter to you as I want very much to have her
    meet you and have her daughter meet Pauline. Anything that you
    can do for them will be the same as for me!

    Yours affectionately,
        Sylvia Greatlake.

The private letter by mail to accompany the foregoing:

    Dearest Caroline:

    Mildred West, for whom I wrote to you this morning, is a very
    close friend of mine. She is going to New York with her only
    daughter--who, in spite of wanting a college education, is as
    pretty as a picture, with plenty of come-hither in the eye--so do
    not be afraid that the typical blue-stocking is to be thrust upon
    Pauline! The mother is an altogether lovely person and I know
    that you and she will speak the same language--if I didn't, I
    wouldn't give her a letter to you. Do go to see her as soon as
    you can; she will be stopping at the Fitz-Cherry and probably
    feeling rather lost at first. She wants to take an apartment for
    the winter and I told her I was sure you would know the best real
    estate and intelligence offices, etc., for her to go to.

    I hope I am not putting you to any trouble about her, but she is
    really a darling and you will like her I know.

    Devotedly yours,

Directions for procedure upon being given (or receiving) a letter of
introduction will be found on pages 16 and 17.


In other days when even verbal messages began with the "presenting of
compliments," a social note, no matter what its length or purport, would
have been considered rude, unless written in the third person. But as in a
communication of any length the difficulty of this form is almost
insurmountable (to say nothing of the pedantic effect of its
accomplishment), it is no longer chosen--aside from the formal invitation,
acceptance and regret--except for notes to stores or subordinates. For

    Will B. Stern & Co. please send (and charge) to Mrs. John H.
    Smith, 2 Madison Avenue,

        1 paper of needles No. 9
        2 spools white sewing Cotton No. 70
        1 yard of material (sample enclosed).

    January 6.

To a servant:

    Mrs. Eminent wishes Patrick to meet her at the station on Tuesday
    the eighth at 11.03. She also wishes him to have the shutters
    opened and the house aired on that day, and a fire lighted in the
    northwest room. No provisions will be necessary as Mrs. Eminent
    is returning to town on the 5.16.

    Tuesday, March 1.

Letters in the third person are no longer signed unless the sender's
signature is necessary for identification, or for some action on the part
of the receiver, such as

    Will Mr. Cash please give the bearer six yards of material to
    match the sample enclosed, and oblige,

    Mrs. John H. Smith.[A]

[Footnote A: A note in 3rd person is the single occasion when a married
woman signs "Mrs." before her name.]


A letter of recommendation for membership to a club is addressed to the
secretary and should be somewhat in this form:

To the Secretary of the Town Club.

    My dear Mrs. Brown:

    Mrs. Titherington Smith, whose name is posted for membership, is
    a very old and close friend of mine. She is the daughter of the
    late Rev. Samuel Eminent and is therefore a member in her own
    right, as well as by marriage, of representative New York

She is a person of much charm and distinction, and her many friends will
agree with me, I am sure, in thinking that she would be a valuable
addition to the club.

    Very sincerely,
    Ethel Norman.


Although the written recommendation that is given to the employee carries
very little weight, compared to the slip from the employment agencies
where either "yes" or "no" has to be answered to a list of specific and
important questions, one is nevertheless put in a trying position when
reporting on an unsatisfactory servant.

Either a poor reference must be given--possibly preventing a servant from
earning her living--or one has to write what is not true. Consequently it
has become the custom to say what one truthfully can of good, and leave
out the qualifications that are bad (except in the case of a careless
nurse, where evasion would border on the criminal).

That solves the poor recommendation problem pretty well; but unless one is
very careful this consideration for the "poor" one, is paid for by the
"good." In writing for a very worthy servant therefore, it is of the
utmost importance in fairness to her (or him) to put in every merit that
you can think of, remembering that omission implies demerit in each trait
of character not mentioned. All good references should include honesty,
sobriety, capability, and a reason, other than their unsatisfactoriness,
for their leaving. The recommendation for a nurse can not be too
conscientiously written.

A lady does not begin a recommendation: "To whom it may concern," nor
"This is to certify," although housekeepers and head servants writing
recommendations use both of these forms, and "third person" letters, are
frequently written by secretaries.

A lady in giving a good reference should write:

    Two Hundred Park Square.

    Selma Johnson has lived with me for two years as cook.

    I have found her honest, sober, industrious, neat in her person
    as well as her work, of amiable disposition and a very good cook.

    She is leaving to my great regret because I am closing my house
    for the winter.

    Selma is an excellent servant in every way and I shall be glad to
    answer personally any inquiries about her.

                               Josephine Smith.
                               (Mrs. Titherington Smith)
    October, 1921.

The form of all recommendations is the same:

    ---- has lived with me ---- months years as ----. I have found
    him/ her ----. He/She is leaving because ----.

(Any special remark of added recommendation or showing interest)

    (Mrs. ----)




    Dear Mary:

    While we are not altogether surprized, we are both delighted to
    hear the good news. Jim's family and ours are very close, as you
    know, and we have always been especially devoted to Jim. He is
    one of the finest--and now luckiest, of young men, and we send
    you both every good wish for all possible happiness.

    Ethel Norman.

    Just a line, dear Jim, to tell you how glad we all are to hear of
    your happiness. Mary is everything that is lovely and, of course,
    from our point of view, we don't think her exactly unfortunate
    either! Every good wish that imagination can think of goes to you
    from your old friends.

    Ethel and Arthur Norman.

    I can't tell you, dearest Mary, of all the wishes I send for your
    happiness. Give Jim my love and tell him how lucky I think he is,
    and how much I hope all good fortune will come to you both.

         Aunt Kate.


    My dear Mrs. Brown:

    We have just heard of the honors that your son has won. How proud
    you must be of him! We are both so glad for him and for you.
    Please congratulate him for us, and believe me,

    Very sincerely,
        Ethel Norman.


    Dear Mrs. Brown:

    We are so glad to hear the good news of David's success; it was a
    very splendid accomplishment and we are all so proud of him and
    of you. Please give him our love and congratulations, and with
    full measure of both to you,

          Martha Kindhart.


    Dear John:

    We are overjoyed at the good news! For once the reward has fallen
    where it is deserved. Certainly no one is better fitted than
    yourself for a diplomat's life, and we know you will fill the
    position to the honor of your country. Please give my love to
    Alice, and with renewed congratulations to you from us both.

    Yours always,
    Ethel Norman.

Another example:

    Dear Michael:

    We all rejoice with you in the confirmation of your appointment.
    The State needs just such men as you--if we had more of your sort
    the ordinary citizen would have less to worry about. Our best

    John Kindhart.


Intimate letters of condolence are like love letters, in that they are too
sacred to follow a set form. One rule, and one only, should guide you in
writing such letters. Say what you truly feel. Say that and nothing else.
Sit down at your desk, let your thoughts dwell on the person you are
writing to.

Don't dwell on the details of illness or the manner of death; don't quote
endlessly from the poets and Scriptures. Remember that eyes filmed with
tears and an aching heart can not follow rhetorical lengths of writing.
The more nearly a note can express a hand-clasp, a thought of sympathy,
above all, a genuine love or appreciation of the one who has gone, the
greater comfort it brings.

Write as simply as possible and let your heart speak as truly and as
briefly as you can. Forget, if you can, that you are using written words,
think merely how you feel--then put your feelings on paper--that is all.

Supposing it is a young mother who has died. You think how young and sweet
she was--and of her little children, and, literally, your heart aches for
them and her husband and her own family. Into your thoughts must come some
expression of what she was, and what their loss must be!

Or maybe it is the death of a man who has left a place in the whole
community that will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill, and you
think of all he stood for that was fine and helpful to others, and how
much and sorely he will be missed. Or suppose that you are a returned
soldier, and it is a pal who has died. All you can think of is "Poor old
Steve--what a peach he was! I don't think anything will ever be the same
again without him." Say just that! Ask if there is anything you can do at
any time to be of service to his people. There is nothing more to be said.
A line, into which you have unconsciously put a little of the genuine
feeling that you had for Steve, is worth pages of eloquence.

A letter of condolence may be abrupt, badly constructed,
ungrammatical--never mind. Grace of expression counts for nothing;
sincerity alone is of value. It is the expression, however clumsily put,
of a personal something which was loved, and will ever be missed, that
alone brings solace to those who are left. Your message may speak merely
of a small incident--something so trifling that in the seriousness of the
present, seems not worth recording; but your letter and that of many
others, each bringing a single sprig, may plant a whole memory-garden in
the hearts of the bereaved.


As has been said above, a letter of condolence must above everything
express a genuine sentiment. The few examples are inserted merely as
suggestive guides for those at a loss to construct a short but appropriate
note or telegram.

_Conventional Note to an Acquaintance_

    I know how little the words of an outsider mean to you just
    now--but I must tell you how deeply I sympathize with you in your
    great loss.

_Note or Telegram to a Friend_

    All my sympathy and all my thoughts are with you in your great
    sorrow. If I can be of any service to you, you know how grateful
    I shall be.

_Telegram to a Very Near Relative or Friend_

    Words are so empty! If only I knew how to fill them with love and
    send them to you.


    If love and thoughts could only help you, Margaret dear, you
    should have all the strength of both that I can give.

_Letter Where Death Was Release_

The letter to one whose loss is "for the best" is difficult in that you
want to express sympathy but can not feel sad that one who has long
suffered has found release. The expression of sympathy in this case should
not be for the present death, but for the illness, or whatever it was that
fell long ago. The grief for a paralysed mother is for the stroke which
cut her down many years before, and your sympathy, though you may not have
realized it, is for that. You might write:

    Your sorrow during all these years--and now--is in my heart; and
    all my thoughts and sympathy are with you.


               | If you              |                            | Formal
               | are speaking,       |                            | beginning of
               | you say:            | Envelope addressed:        | a letter:
The President  | Mr. President       | The President of the       | Sir:
               | And occasionally    | United States              |
               | throughout a        |    or merely               |
               | conversation,       | The President,             |
               | Sir.                | Washington, D.C.           |
               |                     | (There is only one         |
               |                     | "President")               |
               |                     |                            |
               |                     |                            |
The            | Mr. Vice-President  | The Vice-President,        | Sir:
Vice-President | and then, Sir.      | Washington, D.C.           |
               |                     |                            |
Justice of     | Mr. Justice         | The Hon. William H. Taft,  | Sir:
Supreme Court  |                     | Chief Justice of the       |
               |                     | Supreme Court,             |
               |                     | Washington, D.C.           |
               |                     |                            |
               |                     |                            |
Member of the  | Mr. Secretary       | The Secretary of Commerce, | Dear Sir:
President's    |                     | Washington, D.C.   or:     | or
Cabinet        |                     | The Hon. Herbert Hoover,   | Sir:
               |                     | Secretary of Commerce,     |
               |                     | Washington, D.C.           |
United States  | Senator Lodge       | Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, | Dear Sir:
(or State)     |                     | Washington, D.C.           | or
Senator        |                     | or a private letter:       | Sir:
               |                     | Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, |
               |                     | (His house address)        |
               |                     |                            |
Member of      | Mr. Bell            | The Hon. H.C. Bell, Jr.,   | Dear Sir:
Congress (or   | or, you may say     | House of Representatives,  | or
Legislature)   | Congressman         | Washington, D.C.           | Sir:
               |                     | or: State Assembly,        |
               |                     | Albany, New York.          |
Governor       | Governor Miller     | His Excellency, The        |
               | (The Governor is    | Governor,                  | Your
               | not called          | Albany, New York.          | Excellency:
               | Excellency when     |                            |
               | spoken to and very  |                            |
               | rarely when he is   |                            |
               | announced. But      |                            |
               | letters are         |                            |
               | addressed and begun |                            |
               | with this title     |                            |
               | of courtesy.)       |                            |
Mayor          | Mr. Mayor           | His Honor the Mayor,       | Dear Sir:
               |                     | City Hall, Chicago.        | or
               |                     |                            | Sir:
Cardinal       | Your Eminence       | His Eminence John Cardinal | Your
               |                     | Gibbons, Baltimore, Md.    | Eminence:
               |                     |                            |
               |                     |                            |

(section 2)
|              |                     |                     |
| Informal     |                     |                     | Correct titles in
| beginning:   |    Formal Close:    |   Informal close:   |   introduction:
| My dear Mr.  | I have the honor to |                     |
| President:   |      remain,        | I have the honor to |
|              |  Most respectfully  |    remain,          |
|              |      yours,         |  Yours faithfully,  |
|              |        or           |          or         | The President.
|              | I have the honor to |     I am, dear      |
|              |   remain, sir,      |    Mr. President,   |
|              | Your most obedient  |  Yours faithfully.  |
|              |     servant.        |                     |
| My dear      |     Same as for     |     Believe me,     |      The
| Mr. Vice     |      President.     |  Yours faithfully.  | Vice-President.
| President:   |                     |                     |
| Dear Mr.     |     Believe me,     |                     | The Chief Justice
| Justice      |  Yours very truly,  |                     |       or,
| Taft:        |         or          |     Believe me,     |      if an
|              | I have the honor to |  Yours faithfully.  | Associate Justice,
|              |      remain,        |                     |   Mr. Justice
|              |  Yours very truly.  |                     |      Holmes.
| My dear Mr.  |                     |                     |  The Secretary
| Secretary:   |    Same as above.   |   Same as above.    |   of Commerce.
|              |                     |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
| Dear Senator |                     |                     |  Senator Lodge.
| Lodge:       |                     |                     |  On very formal
|              |    Same as above.   |   Same as above.    |   and unusual
|              |                     |                     |    occasions,
|              |                     |                     | Senator Lodge of
|              |                     |                     |  Massachusetts.
| Dear         |                     |                     |    Mr. Bell.
| Mr. Bell:    |     Believe me,     |                     |
| or           |  Yours very truly.  |  Yours faithfully.  |
| Dear         |                     |                     |
| Congressman: |                     |                     |
| Dear         |                     |                     |   The Governor
| Governor     | I have the honor to |     Believe me,     |(in his own state)
| Miller:      |      remain,        |  Yours faithfully.  | or, (out of it,)
|              |  Yours faithfully.  |                     |  The Governor of
|              |                     |                     |     Michigan.
|              |                     |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
| Dear Mayor   |    Believe me,      |  Yours faithfully.  |   Mayor Rolph.
| Rolph:       |  Very truly yours.  |                     |
|              |                     |                     |
| Your         | I have the honor to |                     |
| Eminence:    |       remain,       |   Your Eminence's   |   His Eminence.
|              |   Your Eminence's   |   humble servant.   |
|              |   humble servant.   |                     |


               |                      |                       |
               | If you are           | Envelope              | Formal beginning
               | speaking,  you say:  | addressed:            | of a letter
Roman Catholic | Your Grace           | The Most Reverend     | Most Reverend
Archbishop     |                      | Michael Corrigan,     | and dear Sir:
(There is no   |                      | Archbishop of         |
Protestant     |                      | New York.             |
Archbishop in  |                      |                       |
the United     |                      |                       |
States)        |                      |                       |
Bishop         | Bishop Manning       | To the Right Reverend | Most Reverend
(Whether Roman |                      | William T. Manning,   | and dear Sir:
Catholic or    |                      | Bishop of New York.   |
Protestant.)   |                      |                       |
               |                      |                       |
Priest         | Father or            | The Rev.              | Reverend
               | Father Duffy         | Michael Duffy.        | and dear Sir:
Protestant     | Mr. Saintly          | The Rev. Geo.         | Sir:
Clergyman      | (If he is D.D. or    | Saintly. (If you do   | or
               | LL.D., you call him  | not know his first    | My dear Sir:
               | Dr. Saintly.)        | name, write The       |
               |                      | Rev. ... Saintly.     |
               |                      | rather than the       |
               |                      | Rev. Mr. Saintly)     |
Rabbi          | Rabbi Wise           | Dr. Stephen Wise,     | Dear Sir:
               | (If he is D.D. or    | or Rabbi Stephen      |
               | LL.D., he is called  | Wise, or Rev.         |
               | Dr. Wise)            | Stephen Wise.         |
Ambassador     | Your Excellency      | His Excellency        | Your
               | or                   | The American          | Excellency:
               | Mr. Ambassador       | Ambassador,[B]        |
               |                      | American Embassy,     |
               |                      | London.               |
               |                      |                       |
               |                      |                       |
               |                      |                       |
Minister       | In English he is     | The Hon. J.D.         | Sir: is
Pleni-         | usually called "Mr.  | Prince, American      | correct but,
potentiary     | Prince," though it   | Legation,             | Your
               | is not incorrect to  | Copenhagen, or        | Excellency:
               | call him "Mr.        | (more courteously)    | is sometimes
               | Minister." The       | His Excellency, The   | used in
               | title "Excellency"   | American Minister,    | courtesy.
               | is also occasionally | Copenhagen, Denmark   |
               | used in courtesy,    |                       |
               | though it does not   |                       |
               | belong to him.       |                       |
               | In French he is      |                       |
               | always called        |                       |
               | _Monsieur le         |                       |
               | Ministre_            |                       |
Consul         | Mr. Smith            | If he has held office | Sir:
               |                      | as assemblyman or     | or
               |                      | commissioner, so that | My dear Sir:
               |                      | he has the right to   |
               |                      | the title of          |
               |                      | "Honorable" is        |
               |                      | addressed:            |
               |                      | The Hon. John Smith,  |
               |                      | otherwise:            |
               |                      | John Smith, Esq.,     |
               |                      | American Consul,      |
               |                      | Rue Quelque Chose,    |
               |                      | Paris.                |

(section 2)
|                   |                         |                | Correct
| Informal          |                         | Informal       | titles in
| beginning:        | Formal close:           | close:         | introduction:
| Most Reverend     | I have the honor        | Same as formal | The Most
| and Dear Sir:     | to remain,              | close.         | Reverend The
|                   | Your humble servant,    |                | Archbishop.
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
| My Dear Bishop    | I have the honor to     | Faithfully     | Bishop
| Manning:          | remain, Your obedient   | yours.         | Manning.
|                   | servant, or, to         |                |
|                   | remain,                 |                |
|                   | Respectfully yours,     |                |
| Dear Father       | I beg to remain,        | Faithfully     | Father
| Duffy:            | Yours faithfully,       | yours.         | Duffy.
| Dear Dr. Saintly: | Same as above,          | Faithfully     | Dr. (or Mr.)
| (or Dear Mr.      |                         | yours, or      | Saintly
| Saintly if he is  |                         | Sincerely      |
| not a D.D.)       |                         | yours,         |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
| Dear Dr. Wise:    | I beg to remain,        | Yours          | Rabbi Wise.
|                   | Yours sincerely,        | sincerely,     |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
| Dear Mr.          | I have the honor to     | Yours          | The
| Ambassador:       | remain, Yours           | faithfully,    | American
|                   | faithfully, or, Yours   |                | Ambassador.
|                   | very truly, or, Yours   |                |
|                   | respectfully. or very   |                |
|                   | formally: I have the    |                |
|                   | honor to remain, sir,   |                |
|                   | your obedient servant.  |                |
| Dear Mr.          | Same as above.          | Yours          | Mr. Prince,
| Minister:         |                         | faithfully,    | the American
| or  Dear          |                         |                | Minister, or
| Mr. Prince:       |                         |                | merely, The
|                   |                         |                | American
|                   |                         |                | Minister as
|                   |                         |                | everyone is
|                   |                         |                | supposed to
|                   |                         |                | know his name
|                   |                         |                | or find it
|                   |                         |                | out.
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
| Dear Mr. Smith:   | I beg to remain,        | Faithfully,    | Mr. Smith
|                   | Yours very truly.       |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |
|                   |                         |                |

[Footnote B: Although our Ambassadors and Ministers represent the United
States of America, it is customary both in Europe and Asia to omit the
words United States and write to and speak of the American Embassy and
Legation. In addressing a letter to one of our representatives in
countries of the Western Hemisphere, "The United States of America" is
always specified by way of courtesy to the Americans of South America.]

Foreign persons of title are not included in the foregoing diagram because
an American (unless in the Diplomatic Service) would be unlikely to
address any but personal friends, to whom he would write as to any others.
An envelope would be addressed in the language of the person written to:
"His Grace, the Duke of Overthere (or merely The Duke of Overthere), Hyde
Park, London"; "Mme. la Princess d'Acacia, Ave. du Bois, Paris"; "Il
Principe di Capri, Cusano sul Seveso"; "Lady Alwin, Cragmere, Scotland,"
etc. The letter would begin, Dear Duke of Overthere (or Dear Duke), Dear
Princess, Dear Countess Aix, Dear Lady Alwin, Dear Sir Hubert, etc., and
close, "Sincerely," "Faithfully," or "Affectionately," as the case might

Should an American have occasion to write to Royalty he would begin:
"Madam" (or Sir), and end: "I have the honor to remain, madam (or Sir),
your most obedient." ("Your most obedient servant" is a signature reserved
usually for our own President--or Vice-President.)



The art of general letter-writing in the present day is shrinking until
the letter threatens to become a telegram, a telephone message, a
post-card. Since the events of the day are transmitted in newspapers with
far greater accuracy, detail, and dispatch than they could be by the
single effort of even Voltaire himself, the circulation of general news,
which formed the chief reason for letters of the stage-coach and
sailing-vessel days, has no part in the correspondence of to-day.

Taking the contents of an average mail bag as sorted in a United States
post-office, about fifty per cent. is probably advertisement or appeal,
forty per cent. business, and scarcely ten per cent. personal letters and
invitations. Of course, love letters are probably as numerous as need be,
though the long distance telephone must have lowered the average of these,
too. Young girls write to each other, no doubt, much as they did in olden
times, and letters between young girls and young men flourish to-day like
unpulled weeds in a garden where weeds were formerly never allowed to

It is the letter from the friend in this city to the friend in that, or
from the traveling relative to the relative at home, that is gradually
dwindling. As for the letter which younger relatives dutifully used to
write--it has gone already with old-fashioned grace of speech and

Still, people do write letters in this day and there are some who possess
the divinely flexible gift for a fresh turn of phrase, for delightful
keenness of observation. It may be, too, that in other days the average
writing was no better than the average of to-day. It is naturally the
letters of those who had unusual gifts which have been preserved all
these years, for the failures of a generation are made to die with it, and
only its successes survive.

The difference though, between letter-writers of the past and of the
present, is that in other days they all tried to write, and to express
themselves the very best they knew how--to-day people don't care a bit
whether they write well or ill. Mental effort is one thing that the
younger generation of the "smart world" seems to consider it unreasonable
to ask--and just as it is the fashion to let their spines droop until they
suggest nothing so much as Tenniel's drawing in Alice in Wonderland of the
caterpillar sitting on the toad-stool--so do they let their mental
faculties relax, slump and atrophy.

To such as these, to whom effort is an insurmountable task, it might be
just as well to say frankly: If you have a mind that is entirely bromidic,
if you are lacking in humor, all power of observation, and facility for
expression, you had best join the ever-growing class of people who frankly
confess, "I can't write letters to save my life!" and confine your
literary efforts to picture post-cards with the engaging captions "X is my
room," or "Beautiful weather, wish you were here."

It is not at all certain that your friends and family would not rather
have frequent post-cards than occasional letters all too obviously
displaying the meagerness of their messages in halting orthography.


For most people the difficulty in letter-writing is in the beginning and
the close. Once they are started, the middle goes smoothly enough, until
they face the difficulty of the end. The direction of the Professor of
English to "Begin at the beginning of what you have to say, and go on
until you have finished, and then stop," is very like a celebrated
artist's direction for painting: "You simply take a little of the right
color paint and put it on the right spot."


Even one who "loves the very sight of your handwriting," could not
possibly find any pleasure in a letter beginning:

    "I have been meaning to write you for a long time but haven't had
    a minute to spare."


    "I suppose you have been thinking me very neglectful, but you
    know how I hate to write letters."


    "I know I ought to have answered your letter sooner, but I
    haven't had a thing to write about."

The above sentences are written time and again by persons who are utterly
unconscious that they are not expressing a friendly or loving thought. If
one of your friends were to walk into the room, and you were to receive
him stretched out and yawning in an easy chair, no one would have to point
out the rudeness of such behavior; yet countless kindly intentioned people
begin their letters mentally reclining and yawning in just such a way.


Suppose you merely change the wording of the above sentences, so that
instead of slamming the door in your friend's face, you hold it open:

    "Do you think I have forgotten you entirely? You don't know, dear
    Mary, how many letters I have written you in thought."


    "Time and time again I have wanted to write you but each moment
    that I saved for myself was always interrupted by _something_."

One of the frequent difficulties in beginning a letter is that your answer
is so long delayed that you begin with an apology, which is always a lame
duck. But these examples indicate a way in which even an opening apology
may be attractive rather than repellent. If you are going to take the
trouble to write a letter, you are doing it because you have at least
remembered some one with friendly regard, or you would not be writing at
all. You certainly would like to convey the impression that you want to be
with your friend in thought for a little while at least--not that she
through some malignant force is holding you to a grindstone and forcing
you to the task of making hateful schoolroom pot-hooks for her selfish

A perfect letter has always the effect of being a light dipping off of the
top of a spring. A poor letter suggests digging into the dried ink at the
bottom of an ink-well.

It is easy to begin a letter if it is in answer to one that has just been
received. The news contained in it is fresh and the impulse to reply needs
no prodding.

Nothing can be simpler than to say: "We were all overjoyed to hear from
you this morning," or, "Your letter was the most welcome thing the postman
has brought for ages," or, "It was more than good to have news of you this
morning," or, "Your letter from Capri brought all the allure of Italy back
to me," or, "You can't imagine, dear Mary, how glad I was to see an
envelope with your writing this morning." And then you take up the various
subjects in Mary's letter, which should certainly launch you without
difficulty upon topics of your own.


Just as the beginning of a letter should give the reader an impression of
greeting, so should the end express friendly or affectionate leave-taking.
Nothing can be worse than to seem to scratch helplessly around in the air
for an idea that will effect your escape.

"Well, I guess I must stop now," "Well, I must close," or, "You are
probably bored with this long epistle, so I had better close."

All of these are as bad as they can be, and suggest the untutored man who
stands first on one foot and then on the other, running his finger around
the brim of his hat, or the country girl twisting the corner of her apron.


An intimate letter has no end at all. When you leave the house of a member
of your family, you don't have to think up an especial sentence in order
to say good-by.

Leave-taking in a letter is the same:

    "Good-by, dearest, for to-day.


    "Best love to you all,


    "Will write again in a day or two.


    "Luncheon was announced half a page ago! So good-by, dear Mary,
    for to-day."

The close of a less intimate letter, like taking leave of a visitor in
your drawing-room, is necessarily more ceremonious. And the "ceremonious
close" presents to most people the greatest difficulty in letter-writing.

It is really quite simple, if you realize that the aim of the closing
paragraph is merely to bring in a personal hyphen between the person
writing and the person written to.

"The mountains were beautiful at sunset." It is a bad closing sentence
because "the mountains" have nothing personal to either of you. But if you
can add "--they reminded me of the time we were in Colorado together," or
"--how different from our wide prairies at home," you have crossed a
bridge, as it were.


"We have had a wonderful trip, but I do miss you all at home, and long to
hear from you soon again."

Or (from one at home):

"Your closed house makes me very lonely to pass. I do hope you are coming
back soon."

Sometimes an ending falls naturally into a sentence that ends with your
signature. "If I could look up now and see you coming into the room, there
would be no happier woman in the whole State than

    Your devoted mother."



First and foremost in the category of letters that no one can possibly
receive with pleasure might be put the "letter of calamity," the letter of
gloomy apprehension, the letter filled with petty annoyances. Less
disturbing to receive but far from enjoyable are such letters as "the
blank," the "meandering," the "letter of the capital I," the "plaintive,"
the "apologetic." There is scarcely any one who has not one or more
relatives or friends whose letters belong in one of these classes.

Even in so personal a matter as the letter to an absent member of one's
immediate family, it should be borne in mind, not to write _needlessly_ of
misfortune or unhappiness. To hear from those we love how ill or unhappy
they are, is to have our distress intensified in direct proportion to the
number of miles by which we are separated from them. This last example,
however, has nothing in common with the choosing of calamity and gloom as
a subject of welcome tidings in ordinary correspondence.

The chronic calamity writers seem to wait until the skies are darkest, and
then, rushing to their desk, luxuriate in pouring all their troubles and
fears of troubles out on paper to their friends.


"My little Betty ["My little" adds to the pathos much more than saying
merely "Betty"] has been feeling miserable for several days. I am worried
to death about her, as there are so many sudden cases of typhoid and
appendicitis. The doctor says the symptoms are not at all alarming as yet,
but doctors see so much of illness and death, they don't seem to
appreciate what anxiety means to a mother," etc.

Another writes: "The times seem to be getting worse and worse. I always
said we would have to go through a long night before any chance of
daylight. You can mark my words, the night of bad times isn't much more
than begun."

Or, "I have scarcely slept for nights, worrying about whether Junior has
passed his examinations or not."


Other perfectly well-meaning friends fancy they are giving pleasure when
they write such "news" as: "My cook has been sick for the past ten days,"
and follow this with a page or two descriptive of her ailments; or, "I
have a slight cough. I think I must have caught it yesterday when I went
out in the rain without rubbers"; or, "The children have not been doing as
well in their lessons this week as last. Johnny's arithmetic marks were
dreadful and Katie got an E in spelling and an F in geography." Her
husband and her mother would be interested in the children's weekly
reports, and her own slight cough, but no one else. How could they be?

If the writers of all such letters would merely read over what they have
written, and ask themselves if they could find pleasure in receiving
messages of like manner and matter, perhaps they might begin to do a
little thinking, and break the habit of cataleptic unthinkingness that
seemingly descends upon them as soon as they are seated at their desk.


The writer of the "blank" letter begins fluently with the date and "Dear
Mary," and then sits and chews his penholder or makes little dots and
squares and circles on the blotter-utterly unable to attack the cold,
forbidding blankness of that first page. Mentally, he seems to say: "Well,
here I am--and now what?" He has not an idea! He can never find anything
of sufficient importance to write about. A murder next door, a house
burned to the ground, a burglary or an elopement could alone furnish
material; and that, too, would be finished off in a brief sentence stating
the bare fact.

A person whose life is a revolving wheel of routine may have really very
little to say, but a letter does not have to be long to be welcome--it can
be very good indeed if it has a message that seems to have been spoken.

    Dear Lucy:

    "Life here is as dull as ever--duller if anything. Just the same
    old things done in the same old way--not even a fire engine out
    or a new face in town, but this is to show you that I am thinking
    of you and longing to hear from you."

    "I wish something really exciting would happen so that I might have
    something with a little thrill in it to write you, but everything goes
    on and on--if there were any check in its sameness, I think we'd all
    land in a heap against the edge of the town."


As its name implies, the meandering letter is one which dawdles through
disconnected subjects, like a trolley car gone down grade off the track,
through fences and fields and flower-beds indiscriminately. "Mrs. Blake's
cow died last week, the Governor and his wife were on the Reception
Committee; Mary Selfridge went to stay with her aunt in Riverview; I think
the new shade called Harding blue is perfectly hideous."

Another that is almost akin to it, runs glibly on, page after page of
meaningless repetition and detail. "I thought at first that I would get a
gray dress--I think gray is such a pretty color, and I have had so many
blue dresses. I can't decide this time whether to get blue or gray.
Sometimes I think gray is more becoming to me than blue. I think gray
looks well on fair-haired people--I don't know whether you would call my
hair fair or not? I am certainly not dark, and yet fair hair suggests a
sort of straw color. Maybe I might be called medium fair. Do you think I
am light enough to wear gray? Maybe blue would be more serviceable. Gray
certainly looks pretty in the spring, it is so clean and fresh looking.
There is a lovely French model at Benson's in gray, but I can have it
copied for less in blue. Maybe it won't be as pretty though as the gray,"
etc., etc. By the above method of cud-chewing, any subject, clothes,
painting the house, children's school, planting a garden, or even the
weather, need be limited only by the supply of paper and ink.


The letter of the "capital I" is a pompous effusion which strives through
pretentiousness to impress its reader with its writer's wealth, position,
ability, or whatever possession or attribute is thought to be rated most
highly. None but unfortunate dependents or the cringing in spirit would
subject themselves to a second letter of this kind by answering the first.
The letter which hints at hoped-for benefits is no worse!


The letter written by a person with an apologetic habit of mind, is
different totally from the sometimes necessary letter of genuine apology.
The former is as senseless as it is irritating:

"It was so good of you to come to my horrid little shanty. [The house and
the food she served were both probably better than that of the person she
is writing to.] I know you had nothing fit to eat, and I know that
everything was just all wrong! Of course, everything is always so
beautifully done at everything you give, I wonder I have the courage to
ask you to dine with me."


A pitfall that those of sharp wit have to guard against is the thoughtless
tendency toward writing ill-natured things. Ridicule is a much more
amusing medium for the display of a subject than praise, which is always
rather bromidic. The amusing person catches foibles and exploits them, and
it is easy to forget that wit flashes all too irresistibly at the expense
of other people's feelings, and the brilliant tongue is all too often
sharpened to rapier point. Admiration for the quickness of a spoken quip,
somewhat mitigates its cruelty. The exuberance of the retailer of verbal
gossip eliminates the implication of scandals but both quip and gossip
become deadly poison when transferred permanently to paper.


For all emotions written words are a bad medium. The light jesting tone
that saves a quip from offense can not be expressed; and remarks that if
spoken would amuse, can but piqué and even insult their subject. Without
the interpretation of the voice, gaiety becomes levity, raillery becomes
accusation. Moreover, words of a passing moment are made to stand forever.

Anger in a letter carries with it the effect of solidified fury; the words
spoken in reproof melt with the breath of the speaker once the cause is
forgiven. The written words on the page fix them for eternity.

Love in a letter endures likewise forever.

Admonitions from parents to their children may very properly be put on
paper--they are meant to endure, and be remembered, but momentary
annoyance should never be more than briefly expressed. There is no better
way of insuring his letters against being read than for a parent to get
into the habit of writing irritable or faultfinding letters to his


Do you ever see a man look through a stack of mail, and notice that
suddenly his face lights up as he seizes a letter "from home"? He tears it
open eagerly, his mouth up-curving at the corners, as he lingers over
every word. You know, without being told, that the wife he had to leave
behind puts all the best she can devise and save for him into his life as
well as on paper!

Do you ever see a man go through his mail and see him suddenly droop--as,
though a fog had fallen upon his spirits? Do you see him reluctantly pick
out a letter, start to open it, hesitate and then push it aside? His
expression says plainly: "I can't face that just now." Then by and by,
when his lips have been set in a hard line, he will doggedly open his
letter to "see what the trouble is now."

If for once there is no trouble, he sighs with relief, relaxes, and starts
the next thing he has to do.

Usually, though, he frowns, looks worried, annoyed, harassed, and you know
that every small unpleasantness is punctiliously served to him by one who
promised to love and to cherish and who probably thinks she does!


The letter we all love to receive is one that carries so much of the
writer's personality that she seems to be sitting beside us, looking at us
directly and talking just as she really would, could she have come on a
magic carpet, instead of sending her proxy in ink-made characters on mere

Let us suppose we have received one of those perfect letters from Mary,
one of those letters that seem almost to have written themselves, so
easily do the words flow, so bubbling and effortless is their spontaneity.
There is a great deal in the letter about Mary, not only about what she
has been doing, but what she has been thinking, or perhaps, feeling. And
there is a lot about us in the letter--nice things, that make us feel
rather pleased about something that we have done, or are likely to do, or
that some one has said about us. We know that all things of concern to us
are of equal concern to Mary, and though there will be nothing of it in
actual words, we are made to feel that we are just as secure in our corner
of Mary's heart as ever we were. And we finish the letter with a very
vivid remembrance of Mary's sympathy, and a sense of loss in her absence,
and a longing for the time when Mary herself may again be sitting on the
sofa beside us and telling us all the details her letter can not but leave


The mails carry letters every day that are so many packages of TNT should
their contents be exploded by falling into wrong hands. Letters that
should never have been written are put in evidence in court rooms every
day. Many can not, under any circumstances, be excused; but often silly
girls and foolish women write things that sound quite different from what,
they innocently, but stupidly, intended.

Few persons, except professional writers, have the least idea of the value
of words and the effect that they produce, and the thoughtless letters of
emotional women and underbred men add sensation to news items in the press
almost daily.

Of course the best advice to a young girl who is impelled to write letters
to men, can be put in one word, _don't_!

However, if you are a young girl or woman, and are determined to write
letters to an especial--or any other--man, no matter how innocent your
intention may be, there are some things you must remember--remember so
intensely that no situation in life, no circumstances, no temptation, can
ever make you forget. They are a few set rules, not of etiquette, but of
the laws of self-respect:

Never send a letter without reading it over and making sure that you have
said nothing that can possibly "sound different" from what you intend to

Never so long as you live, write a letter to a man--no matter who he
is--that you would be ashamed to see in a newspaper above your signature.

Remember that every word of writing is immutable evidence for or against
you, and words which are thoughtlessly put on paper may exist a hundred
years hence.

Never write anything that can be construed as sentimental.

Never take a man to task about anything; never ask for explanations; to do
so implies too great an intimacy.

Never put a single clinging tentacle into writing. Say nothing ever, that
can be construed as demanding, asking, or even being eager for, his

Always keep in mind and _never for one instant forget_ that a third
person, and that the very one you would most object to, may find and read
the letter.

One word more: It is not alone "bad form" but laying yourself open to
every sort of embarrassment and danger, to "correspond with" a man you
slightly know.


If you are engaged, of course you should write love letters--the most
beautiful that you can--but don't write baby-talk and other sillinesses
that would make you feel idiotic if the letter were to fall into strange

On the other hand, few can find objection to the natural, friendly and
even affectionate letter from a young girl to a young man she has been
"brought up" with. It is such a letter as she would write to her brother.
There is no hint of coquetry or self-consciousness, no word from first to
last that might not be shouted aloud before her whole family. Her letter
may begin "Dear" or even "Dearest Jack." Then follows all the "home news"
she can think of that might possibly interest him; about the Simpsons'
dance, Tom and Pauline's engagement, how many trout Bill Henderson got at
Duck Brook, how furious Mrs. Davis was because some distinguished visitor
accepted Mrs. Brown's dinner instead of hers, how the new people who have
moved onto the Rush farm don't know the first thing about farming, and so

Perhaps there will be one "personal" line such as "we all missed you at
the picnic on Wednesday--Ollie made the flap-jacks and they were too
awful! Every one groaned: 'If Jack were only here!'" Or, "we all hope you
are coming back in time for the Towns' dance. Kate has at last inveigled
her mother into letting her have an all-black dress which we rather
suspect was bought with the especial purpose of impressing you with her
advanced age and dignity! Mother came in just as I wrote this and says to
tell you she has a new recipe for chocolate cake that is even better than
her old one, and that you had better have a piece added to your belt
before you come home. Carrie will write you very soon, she says, and we
all send love.



One of the fundamental rules for the behavior of any man who has the
faintest pretension to being a gentleman, is that never by word or gesture
must he compromise a woman; he never, therefore, writes a letter that can
be construed, even by a lawyer, as damaging to any woman's good name.

His letters to an unmarried woman may express all the ardor and devotion
that he cares to subscribe to, but there must be no hint of his having
received especial favors from her.


Never typewrite an invitation, acceptance, or regret.

Never typewrite a social note.

Be chary of underscorings and postscripts.

Do not write across a page already written on.

Do not use unmatched paper and envelopes.

Do not write in pencil--except a note to one of your family written on a
train or where ink is unprocurable, or unless you are flat on your back
because of illness.

Never send a letter with a blot on it.

Never sprinkle French, Italian, or any other foreign words through a
letter written in English. You do not give an impression of cultivation,
but of ignorance of your own language. Use a foreign word if it has no
English equivalent, not otherwise unless it has become Anglicized. If
hesitating between two words, always select the one of Saxon origin rather
than Latin. For the best selection of words to use, study the King James
version of the Bible.



Far more important than any mere dictum of etiquette is the fundamental
code of honor, without strict observance of which no man, no matter how
"polished," can be considered a gentleman. The honor of a gentleman
demands the inviolability of his word, and the incorruptibility of his
principles; he is the descendant of the knight, the crusader; he is the
defender of the defenseless, and the champion of justice--or he is not a


A gentleman does not, and a man who aspires to be one must not, ever
borrow money from a woman, nor should he, except in unexpected
circumstances, borrow money from a man. Money borrowed without security is
a debt of honor which must be paid without fail and promptly as possible.
The debts incurred by a deceased parent, brother, sister, or grown child,
are assumed by honorable men and women, as debts of honor.

A gentleman never takes advantage of a woman in a business dealing, nor of
the poor or the helpless.

One who is not well off does not "sponge," but pays his own way to the
utmost of his ability.

One who is rich does not make a display of his money or his possessions.
Only a vulgarian talks ceaselessly about how much this or that cost him.

A very well-bred man intensely dislikes the mention of money, and never
speaks of it (out of business hours) if he can avoid it.

A gentleman never discusses his family affairs either in public or with
acquaintances, nor does he speak more than casually about his wife. A man
is a cad who tells anyone, no matter who, what his wife told him in
confidence, or describes what she looks like in her bedroom. To impart
details of her beauty is scarcely better than to publish her blemishes; to
do either is unspeakable.

Nor does a gentleman ever criticise the behavior of a wife whose conduct
is scandalous. What he says to her in the privacy of their own apartments
is no one's affair but his own, but he must never treat her with
disrespect before their children, or a servant, or any one.

A man of honor never seeks publicly to divorce his wife, no matter what he
believes her conduct to have been; but for the protection of his own name,
and that of the children, he allows her to get her freedom on other than
criminal grounds. No matter who he may be, whether rich, or poor, in high
life or low, the man who publicly besmirches his wife's name, besmirches
still more his own, and proves that he is not, was not, and never will be,
a gentleman.

No gentleman goes to a lady's house if he is affected by alcohol. A
gentleman seeing a young man who is not entirely himself in the presence
of ladies, quietly induces the youth to depart. An older man addicted to
the use of too much alcohol, need not be discussed, since he ceases to be
asked to the houses of ladies.

A gentleman does not lose control of his temper. In fact, in his own
self-control under difficult or dangerous circumstances, lies his chief
ascendancy over others who impulsively betray every emotion which animates
them. Exhibitions of anger, fear, hatred, embarrassment, ardor or
hilarity, are all bad form in public. And bad form is merely an action
which "jars" the sensibilities of others. A gentleman does not show a
letter written by a lady, unless perhaps to a very intimate friend if the
letter is entirely impersonal and written by some one who is equally the
friend of the one to whom it is shown. But the occasions when the letter
of a woman may be shown properly by a man are so few that it is safest to
make it a rule never to mention a woman's letter.

A gentleman does not bow to a lady from a club window; nor according to
good form should ladies ever be discussed in a man's club!

A man whose social position is self-made is apt to be detected by his
continual cataloguing of prominent names. Mr. Parvenu invariably
interlards his conversation with, "When I was dining at the Bobo
Gilding's"; or even "at Lucy Gilding's," and quite often accentuates, in
his ignorance, those of rather second-rate, though conspicuous position.
"I was spending last week-end with the Richan Vulgars," or "My great
friends, the Gotta Crusts." When a so-called gentleman insists on
imparting information, interesting only to the Social Register, _shun

The born gentleman avoids the mention of names exactly as he avoids the
mention of what things cost; both are an abomination to his soul.

A gentleman's manners are an integral part of him and are the same whether
in his dressing-room or in a ballroom, whether in talking to Mrs. Worldly
or to the laundress bringing in his clothes. He whose manners are only put
on in company is a veneered gentleman, not a real one.

A man of breeding does not slap strangers on the back nor so much as lay
his finger-tips on a lady. Nor does he punctuate his conversation by
pushing or nudging or patting people, nor take his conversation out of the
drawing-room! Notwithstanding the advertisements in the most dignified
magazines, a discussion of underwear and toilet articles and their merit
or their use, is unpleasant in polite conversation.

All thoroughbred people are considerate of the feelings of others no
matter what the station of the others may be. Thackeray's climber who
"licks the boots of those above him and kicks the faces of those below him
on the social ladder," is a, very good illustration of what a gentleman is

A gentleman never takes advantage of another's helplessness or ignorance,
and assumes that no gentleman will take advantage of him.


These words have been literally sprinkled through the pages of this book,
yet it is doubtful if they convey a clear idea of the attributes meant.

Unconsciousness of self is not so much unselfishness as it is the mental
ability to extinguish all thought of one's self--exactly as one turns out
the light.

Simplicity is like it, in that it also has a quality of self-effacement,
but it really means a love of the essential and of directness. Simple
people put no trimmings on their phrases, nor on their manners; but
remember, simplicity is not crudeness nor anything like it. On the
contrary, simplicity of speech and manners means language in its purest,
most limpid form, and manners of such perfection that they do not suggest
"manner" at all.


The instincts of a lady are much the same as those of a gentleman. She is
equally punctilious about her debts, equally averse to pressing her
advantage; especially if her adversary is helpless or poor.

As an unhappy wife, her dignity demands that she never show her
disapproval of her husband, no matter how publicly he slights or outrages
her. If she has been so unfortunate as to have married a man not a
gentleman, to draw attention to his behavior would put herself on his
level. If it comes actually to the point where she divorces him, she
discusses her situation, naturally, with her parents or her brother or
whoever are her nearest and wisest relatives, but she shuns publicity and
avoids discussing her affairs with any one outside of her immediate
family. One can not too strongly censure the unspeakable vulgarity of the
woman so unfortunate as to be obliged to go through divorce proceedings,
who confides the private details of her life to reporters.


Nothing so blatantly proclaims a woman climber as the repetition of
prominent names, the owners of which she must have struggled to know.
Otherwise, why so eagerly boast of the achievement? Nobody cares whom she
knows--nobody that is, but a climber like herself. To those who were born
and who live, no matter how quietly, in the security of a perfectly good
ledge above and away from the social ladder's rungs, the evidence of one
frantically climbing and trying to vaunt her exalted position is merely

All thoroughbred women, and men, are considerate of others less
fortunately placed, especially of those in their employ. One of the tests
by which to distinguish between the woman of breeding and the woman merely
of wealth, is to notice the way she speaks to dependents. Queen Victoria's
duchesses, those great ladies of grand manner, were the very ones who, on
entering the house of a close friend, said "How do you do, Hawkins?" to a
butler; and to a sister duchess's maid, "Good morning, Jenkins." A
Maryland lady, still living on the estate granted to her family three
generations before the Revolution, is quite as polite to her friends'
servants as to her friends themselves. When you see a woman in silks and
sables and diamonds speak to a little errand girl or a footman or a
scullery maid as though they were the dirt under her feet, you may be sure
of one thing; she hasn't come a very long way from the ground herself.



A club, as every one knows, is merely an organization of people--men or
women or both--who establish club rooms, in which they meet at specified
times for specified purposes, or which they use casually and individually.
A club's membership may be limited to a dozen or may include several
thousands, and the procedure in joining a club may be easy or difficult,
according to the type of club and the standing of the would-be member.

Membership in many athletic associations may be had by walking in and
paying dues; also many country golf-clubs are as free to the public as
country inns; but joining a purely social club of rank and exclusiveness
is a very different matter. A man to be eligible for membership in such a
club must not only be completely a gentleman, but he must have friends
among the members who like him enough to be willing to propose him and
second him and write letters for him; and furthermore he must be disliked
by no one--at least not sufficiently for any member to object seriously to
his company.

There are two ways of joining a club; by invitation and by making
application or having it made for you. To join by invitation means that
you are invited when the club is started to be one of the founders or
charter members, or if you are a distinguished citizen you may at the
invitation of the governors become an honorary member, or in a small or
informal club you may become an ordinary member by invitation or
suggestion of the governors that you would be welcome. A charter member
pays dues, but not always an initiation fee; an honorary member pays
neither dues nor initiation, he is really a permanent guest of the club. A
life member is one who pays his dues for twenty years or so in a lump sum,
and is exempted from dues even if he lives to be a hundred. Few clubs
have honorary members and none have more than half a dozen, so that this
type of membership may as well be disregarded.

The ordinary members of a club are either resident, meaning that they live
within fifty miles of the club; or non-resident, living beyond that
distance and paying less dues but having the same privileges.

In certain of the London clubs, one or two New York ones, and the leading
club in several other cities, it is not unusual for a boy's name to be put
up for membership as soon as he is born. If his name comes up while he is
a minor, it is laid aside until after his twenty-first birthday and then
put at the head of the list of applicants and voted upon at the next
meeting of the governors.

In all clubs in which membership is limited and much sought after, the
waiting list is sure to be long and a name takes anywhere from five to
more than ten years to come up.


Since a gentleman is scarcely likely to want to join a club in which the
members are not his friends, he tells a member of his family, or an
intimate friend, that he would like to join the Nearby Club, and adds, "Do
you mind putting me up? I will ask Dick to second me." The friend says,
"I'll be very glad to," and Dick says the same. It is still more likely
that the suggestion to join comes from a friend, who says one day, "Why
don't you join the Nearby Club? It would be very convenient for you." The
other says, "I think I should like to," and the first replies, "Let me put
you up, and Dick will be only too glad to second you."

It must be remembered that a gentleman has no right to ask any one who is
not really one of his best friends to propose or second him. It is an
awkward thing to refuse in the first place, and in the second it involves
considerable effort, and on occasion a great deal of annoyance and

For example let us suppose that Jim Smartlington asks Donald Lovejoy to
propose him and Clubwin Doe to second him. His name is written in the book
kept for the purpose and signed by both proposer and seconder:

    Smartlington, James
              Proposer: Donald Lovejoy
              Seconder: Clubwin Doe

Nothing more is done until the name is posted--meaning that it appears
among a list of names put up on the bulletin-board in the club house. It
is then the duty of Lovejoy and Doe each to write a letter of endorsement
to the governors of the club, to be read by them when they hold the
meeting at which his name comes up for election.


    Board of Governors,
    The Nearby Club.

    Dear sirs:

    It affords me much pleasure to propose for membership in the
    Nearby Club Mr. James Smartlington. I have known Mr. Smartlington
    for many years and consider him qualified in every way for

    He is a graduate of Yalvard, class 1916, rowed on the Varsity
    crew, and served in the 180th, as 1st Lieut., overseas during the
    war. He is now in his father's firm (Jones, Smartlington & Co.).

    Yours very truly,
            Donald Lovejoy.

Lovejoy must also at once tell Smartlington to ask about six friends who
are club-members (but not governors) to write letters endorsing him.
Furthermore, the candidate can not come up for election unless he knows
several of the governors personally, who can vouch for him at the
meeting. Therefore Lovejoy and Doe must one or the other take Smartlington
to several governors (at their offices generally) and personally present
him, or very likely they invite two or three of the governors and
Smartlington to lunch.

Even under the best of circumstances it is a nuisance for a busy man to
have to make appointments at the offices of other busy men. And since it
is uncertain which of the governors will be present at any particular
meeting, it is necessary to introduce the candidate to a sufficient number
so that at least two among those at the meeting will be able to speak for

In the example we have chosen, Clubwin Doe, having himself been a governor
and knowing most of the present ones very well, has less difficulty in
presenting his candidate to them than many other members might have, who,
though they have for years belonged to the club, have used it so seldom
that they know few, if any, of the governors even by sight.

At the leading woman's club of New York, the governors appoint an hour on
several afternoons before elections when they are in the visitors' rooms
at the club house on purpose to meet the candidates whom their proposers
must present. This would certainly seem a more practicable method, to say
nothing of its being easier for everyone concerned, than the masculine
etiquette which requires that the governors be stalked one by one, to the
extreme inconvenience and loss of time and occasionally the embarrassment
of every one.

As already said, Jim Smartlington, having unusually popular and well-known
sponsors and being also very well liked himself, is elected with little

But take the case of young Breezy: He was put up by two not well-known
members, who wrote half-hearted endorsements themselves and did nothing
about getting letters from others; they knew none of the governors, and
trusted that two who knew Breezy slightly "would do." His casual proposer
forgot that enemies write letters as well as friends--and that moreover
enmity is active where friendship is often passive. Two men who disliked
his "manner" wrote that they considered him "unsuitable," and as he had
no friends strong enough to stand up for him, he was turned down. A
gentleman is rarely "black-balled," as such an action could not fail to
injure him in the eyes of the world. (The expression "black ball" comes
from the custom of voting for a member by putting a white ball in a ballot
box, or against him by putting in a black one.) If a candidate is likely
to receive a black ball, the governors do not vote on him at all, but
inform the proposer that the name of his candidate would better be
withdrawn. Later on, if the objection to him is disproved or overcome, his
name can again be put up.

The more popular the candidate, the less work there is for his proposer
and seconder. A stranger--if he is not a member of the representative club
in his own city--would have need of strong friends to elect him to an
exclusive one in another, and an unpopular man has no chance at all.

However, in all except very rare instances events run smoothly; the
candidate is voted on at a meeting of the board of governors and is

A notice is mailed to him next morning, telling him that he has been
elected and that his initiation fee and his dues make a total of so much.
The candidate thereupon at once draws his check for the amount and mails
it. As soon as the secretary has had ample time to receive the check, the
new member is free to use the club as much or as little as he cares to.


The new member usually, but not necessarily, goes for the first time to a
club with his proposer or his seconder, or at least an old member; for
since in exclusive clubs visitors living in the same city are never given
the privilege of the club, none but members can know their way about. Let
us say he goes for lunch or dinner, at which he is host, and his friend
imparts such unwritten information as: "That chair in the window is where
old Gotrox always sits; don't occupy it when you see him coming in or he
will be disagreeable to everybody for a week." Or "They always play double
stakes at this table, so don't sit at it, unless you _mean_ to." Or
"That's Double coming in now, avoid him at bridge as you would the
plague." "The roasts are always good and that waiter is the best in the
room," etc.

A new member is given--or should ask for--a copy of the Club Book, which
contains besides the list of the members, the constitution and the by-laws
or "house rules," which he must study carefully and be sure to obey.


Country clubs are as a rule less exclusive and less expensive than the
representative city clubs, but those like the Myopia Hunt, the Tuxedo, the
Saddle and Cycle, the Burlingame, and countless others in between, are
many of them more expensive to belong to than any clubs in London or New
York, and are precisely the same in matters of membership and management.
They are also quite as difficult to be elected to as any of the exclusive
clubs in the cities--more so if anything, because they are open to the
family and friends of every member, whereas in a man's club in a city his
membership gives the privilege of the club to no one but himself
personally. The test question always put by the governors at elections is:
"Are the candidate's friends as well as his family likely to be agreeable
to the present members of the Club?" If not, he is not admitted.

Nearly all country clubs have, however, one open door--unknown to city
ones. People taking houses in the neighborhood are often granted "season
privileges"; meaning that on being proposed by a member and upon paying a
season subscription, new householders are accepted as transient guests. In
some clubs this season subscription may be indefinitely renewed; in others
a man must come up for regular election at the end of three months or six
or a year.

Apart from what may be called the few representative and exclusive country
clubs, there are hundreds--more likely thousands--which have very simple
requirements for membership. The mere form of having one or two members
vouch for a candidate's integrity and good behavior is sufficient.

Golf clubs, hunting clubs, political or sports clubs have special
membership qualifications; all good golf players are as a rule welcomed at
all golf clubs; all huntsmen at hunting clubs, and yet the Myopia would
not think of admitting the best rider ever known if he was not
unquestionably a gentleman. But this is unusual. As a rule, the great
player is welcomed in any club specially devoted to the sport in which he

In many clubs a stranger may be given a three (sometimes it is six)
months' transient membership, available in some instances to foreigners
only; in others to strangers living beyond a certain distance. A name is
proposed and seconded by two members and then voted on by the governors,
or the house committee.

The best known and most distinguished club of New England has an "Annex"
in which there are dining-rooms to which ladies as well as gentlemen who
are not members are admitted, and this annex plan has since been followed
by others elsewhere.

All men's clubs have private dining-rooms in which members can give stag
dinners, but the representative men's clubs exclude ladies absolutely from
ever crossing their thresholds.


Excepting that the luxurious women's club has an atmosphere that a man
rarely knows how to give to the interior of a house, no matter how
architecturally perfect it may be, there is no difference between women's
and men's clubs.

In every State of the Union there are women's clubs of every kind and
grade; social, political, sports, professional; some housed in enormous
and perfect buildings constructed for them, and some perhaps in only a
room or two.

When the pioneer women's club of New York was started, a club that aspired
to be in the same class as the most important men's club, various
governors of the latter were unflatteringly outspoken; women could not
possibly run a club as it should be run--it was unthinkable that they
should be foolish enough to attempt it! And the husbands and fathers of
the founders expected to have to dig down in their pockets to make up the
deficit; forgetting entirely that the running of a club is merely the
running of a house on a large scale, and that women, not men, are the
perfect housekeepers. To-day, no clubs anywhere are more perfect in
appointment or better run than the representative women's clubs. In fact,
some of the men's clubs have been forced to follow the lead of the
foremost of them and to realize that a club in which members merely sit
about and look out of the window is a pretty dull place to the type of
younger members they most want to attract, and that the combination of the
comfort and smartness of a perfectly run private house with every
equipment for athletics, is becoming the ideal in club-life and
club-building to-day.


Good manners in clubs are the same as good manners elsewhere--only a
little more so. A club is for the pleasure and convenience of many; it is
never intended as a stage-setting for a "star" or "clown" or "monologist."
There is no place where a person has greater need of restraint and
consideration for the reserves of others than in a club. In every club
there is a reading-room or library where conversation is not allowed;
there are books and easy chairs and good light for reading both by day and
night; and it is one of the unbreakable rules not to speak to anybody who
is reading--or writing.

When two people are sitting by themselves and talking, another should on
no account join them unless he is an intimate friend of both. To be a mere
acquaintance, or, still less, to have been introduced to one of them,
gives no privilege whatever.

The fact of being a club member does not (except in a certain few
especially informal clubs) grant any one the right to speak to strangers.
If a new member happens to find no one in the club whom he knows, he goes
about his own affairs. He either sits down and reads or writes, or "looks
out of the window," or plays solitaire, or occupies himself as he would if
he were alone in a hotel.

It is courteous of a governor or habitual member, on noticing a new member
or a visitor, especially one who seems to be rather at a loss--to go up
and speak to him, but the latter must on no account be the one to speak
first. Certain New York and Boston clubs, as well as those of London, have
earned a reputation for snobbishness because the members never speak to
those they do not know. Through no intent to be disagreeable, but just
because it is not customary, New York people do not speak to those they do
not know, and it does not occur to them that strangers feel slighted until
they themselves are given the same medicine in London; or going elsewhere
in America, they appreciate the courtesy and kindness of the South and

The fundamental rule for behavior in a club is the same as in the
drawing-room of a private house. In other words, heels have no place on
furniture, ashes belong in ash-receivers, books should not be abused, and
all evidence of exercising should be confined to the courts or courses and
the locker room. Many people who wouldn't think of lolling around the
house in unfit attire, come trooping into country clubs with their
steaming faces, clammy shirts, and rumpled hair, giving too awful evidence
of recent exertion, and present fitness for the bathtub.


The perfect clubman is another word for the perfect gentleman. He never
allows himself to show irritability to any one, he makes it a point to be
courteous to a new member or an old member's guest. He scrupulously
observes the rules of the club, he discharges his card debts at the
table, he pays his share always, with an instinctive horror of sponging,
and lastly, he treats everyone with the same consideration which he
expects--and demands--from them.


The informal club is often more suggestive of a fraternity than a club, in
that every member speaks to every other--always. In one of the best known
of this type, the members are artists, authors, scientists, sportsmen and
other thinkers and doers. There is a long table set every day for lunch at
which the members gather and talk, every one to every one else. There is
another dining-room where solitary members may sit by themselves or bring
in outsiders if they care to. None but members sit at the "round" table
which isn't "round" in the least!

The informal club is always a comparatively small one, but the method of
electing members varies. In some, it is customary to take the vote of the
whole club, in others members are elected by the governors first, and then
asked to join. In this case no man may ask to have his name put up. In
others the conventional methods are followed.


In every club in the United States a member is allowed to "introduce" a
stranger (living at least fifty miles away) for a length of time varying
with the by-laws of the club. In some clubs guests may be put up for a day
only, in others the privilege extends for two weeks or more.

Many clubs allow each member a certain number of visitors a year; in
others visitors are unlimited. But in all city clubs the same guest can
not be introduced twice within the year. In country clubs visitors may
always be brought in by members in unlimited numbers.

As a rule when a member introduces a stranger, he takes him to the club
personally, writes his name in the visitors' book, and introduces him to
those who may be in the room at the time--very possibly asking another
member whom he knows particularly well to "look out" for his guest. If for
some reason it is not possible for the stranger's host to take him to the
club, he writes to the secretary of the club for a card of introduction.


    The Town Club.

    Dear Sir:

    Kindly send Mr. A.M. Strangleigh a card extending the privileges
    of the Club for one week.

    Mr. Strangleigh is a resident of London.

    Yours very truly,
    Clubwin Doe.

The secretary then sends a card to Mr. Strangleigh:

      The Town Club

    Extends its privileges to

      Mr. [HW: Strangleigh]

    from [HW: Jan. 7.] to [HW: Jan. 14.]

    Through the courtesy of

    Mr. [HW: Clubwin Doe]

Mr. Strangleigh goes to the club by himself. A visitor who has been given
the privileges of the club has, during the time of his visit, all the
rights of a member excepting that he is not allowed to introduce others to
the club, and he can not give a dinner in the private dining-room. Strict
etiquette also demands, if he wishes to ask several members to dine with
him, that he take them to a restaurant rather than into the club
dining-room, since the club is their home and he is a stranger in it. He
may ask a member whom he knows well to lunch with him in the club rooms,
but he must not ask one whom he knows only slightly. As accounts are sent
to the member who put him up--unless the guest arranges at the club's
office to have his charges rendered to himself, he must be punctilious to
ask for his bill upon leaving, and pay it _without question_.

Putting a man up at a club never means that the member is "host." The
visitor's status throughout his stay is founded on the courtesy of the
member who introduced him, and he should try to show an equal courtesy to
every one about him. He should remember not to obtrude on the privacy of
the members he does not know. He has no right to criticise the management,
the rules or the organization of the club. He has, in short, no actual
rights at all, and he must not forget that he hasn't!


"In a very smart London club" (the words quoted are Clubwin Doe's) "you
keep your hat on and glare about! In Paris you take your hat off and
behave with such courtesy and politeness as seems to you an affectation.
In New York you take your hat off and behave as though the rooms were
empty; but as though you were being observed through loop-holes in the

In New York you are introduced occasionally, but you may never ask to be
introduced, and you speak only to those you have been introduced to. In
London, you are never introduced to any one, but if the member who has
taken you with him joins a group and you all sit down together, you talk
as you would after dinner in a gentleman's house. But if you are made a
temporary member and meet those you have been talking to when you are
alone the next day, you do not speak unless spoken to. In Paris, your host
punctiliously introduces you to various members and you must just as
punctiliously go the next day to their houses and leave your card upon
each one! This is customary in the strictly French clubs only. In any one
which has members of other nationalities--especially with Americans
predominating, or seeming to, American customs obtain. In French clubs a
visitor can not go to the club unless he is with a member, but there are
no restrictions on the number of times he may be taken by the same member
or another one.


Failure to pay one's debts, or behavior unbefitting a gentleman, is cause
for expulsion from every club; which is looked upon in much the same light
as expulsion from the Army. In certain cases expulsion for debt may seem
unfair, since one may find himself in unexpectedly straitened
circumstances, and the greatest fault or crime could not be more severely
dealt with than being expelled from his club; but "club honor"--except
under very temporary and mitigating conditions--takes no account of any
reason for being "unable" to meet his obligations. He _must_--or he is not
considered honorable.

If a man can not afford to belong to a club he must resign while he is
still "in good standing." If later on he is able to rejoin, his name is
put at the head of the waiting list, and if he was considered a desirable
member, he is re-elected at the next meeting of the governors. But a man
who has been expelled (unless he can show cause why his expulsion was
unjust and be re-instated) can never again belong to that, or be elected
to any other, club.



The popularity of bridge whist began a quarter of a century ago with the
older people and has increased slowly but steadily until it is scarcely an
exaggeration to say that those who do not play bridge, which means
"auction," are seldom asked out. And the epidemic is just as widespread
among girls and boys as among older people. Bridge is always taken
seriously; a bumble puppy game won't do at all, even among the youngest
players, and other qualifications of character and of etiquette must be
observed by every one who would be sought after to "make up a four."


That no one likes a poor partner--or even a poor opponent--goes without

The ideal partner is one who never criticises or even seems to be aware of
your mistakes, but on the contrary recognizes a good maneuver on your
part, and gives you credit for it whether you win the hand or lose;
whereas the inferior player is apt to judge you merely by what you win,
and blame your "make" if you "go down," though your play may have been
exceptionally good and the loss even occasioned by wrong information which
he himself gave you. Also, to be continually found fault with makes you
play your worst; whereas appreciation of good judgment on your part acts
as a tonic and you play seemingly "better than you know how."


There is nothing which more quickly reveals the veneered gentleman than
the card table, and his veneer melts equally with success or failure.
Being carried away by the game, he forgets to keep on his company polish,
and if he wins, he becomes grasping or overbearing, because of his
"skill"; if he loses he sneers at the "luck" of others and seeks to
justify himself for the same fault that he criticised a moment before in

A trick that is annoying to moderately skilled players, is to have an
over-confident opponent throw down his hand saying: "The rest of the
tricks are mine!" and often succeed in "putting it over," when it is quite
possible that they might not be his if the hand were played out. Knowing
themselves to be poorer players, the others are apt not to question it,
but they feel none the less that their "rights" have been taken from them.

A rather trying partner is the nervous player, who has no confidence in
his own judgment and will invariably pass a good hand in favor of his
partner's bid. If, for instance, he has six perfectly good diamonds, he
doesn't mention them because, his partner having declared a heart, he
thinks to himself "Her hearts must be better than my diamonds." But a much
more serious failing--and one that is far more universal--is the habit of


In poker you play alone and can therefore play as carefully or as
foolishly as you please, but in bridge your partner has to suffer with
you, and you therefore are in honor bound to play the best you know
how--and the best you know how is as far as can possibly be from

Remember that your partner, if he is a good player, counts on you for
certain definite cards that you announce by your bid to be in your hand,
and raises you accordingly. If you have not these cards you not only lose
that particular hand, but destroy his confidence in you, and the next time
when he has a legitimate raise for you, he will fail to give it. He
disregards you entirely because he is afraid of you! You _must study the
rules for makes_ and _never under any circumstances give your partner
misinformation_; this is the most vital rule there is, and any one who
disregards it is detested at the bridge table. No matter how great the
temptation to make a gambler's bid, you are in honor bound to refrain.

The next essential, if you would be thought "charming," is never to take
your partner to task no matter how stupidly he may have "thrown the hand."


Don't hold a "post-mortem" on anybody's delinquencies (unless you are
actually teaching).

If luck is against you, it will avail nothing to sulk or complain about
the "awful" cards you are holding. Your partner is suffering just as much
in finding you a "poison vine" as you are in being one--and you can
scarcely expect your opponents to be sympathetic. You must learn to look
perfectly tranquil and cheerful even though you hold nothing but
yarboroughs for days on end, and you must on no account try to defend your
own bad play--ever. When you have made a play of poor judgment, the best
thing you can say is, "I'm very sorry, partner," and let it go at that.

Always pay close attention to the game. When you are dummy you have
certain duties to your partner, and so do not wander around the room until
the hand is over. If you don't know what your duties are, read the rules
until you know them by heart and then--begin all over again! It is
impossible to play any game without a thorough knowledge of the laws that
govern it, and you are at fault in making the attempt.

Don't be offended if your partner takes you out of a bid, and don't take
him out for the glory of playing the hand. He is quite as anxious to win
the rubber as you are. It is unbelievable how many people regard their
partner as a third opponent.


Mannerisms must be avoided like the plague. If there is one thing worse
than the horrible "post-mortem," it is the incessant repetition of some
jarring habit by one particular player. The most usual and most offensive
is that of snapping down a card as played, or bending a "trick" one has
taken into a letter "U," or picking it up and trotting it up and down on
the table.

Other pet offenses are drumming on the table with one's fingers, making
various clicking, whistling, or humming sounds, massaging one's face,
scratching one's chin with the cards, or waving the card one is going to
play aloft in the air in Smart Alec fashion as though shouting, "I know
what you are going to lead! And my card is ready!" All mannerisms that
attract attention are in the long run equally unpleasant--even unendurable
to one's companions.

Many people whose game is otherwise admirable are rarely asked to play
because they have allowed some such silly and annoying habit to take its
hold upon them.


The good loser makes it an invariable rule never to play for stakes that
it will be inconvenient to lose. The neglect of this rule has been
responsible for more "bad losers" than anything else, and needless to say
a bad loser is about as welcome at a card table as rain at a picnic.

Of course there _are_ people who can take losses beyond their means with
perfect cheerfulness and composure. Some few are so imbued with the
gambler's instinct that a heavy turn of luck, in either direction, is the
salt of life. But the average person is equally embarrassed in winning or
losing a stake "that matters" and the only answer is to play for one that


Golf is a particularly severe strain upon the amiability of the average
person's temper, and in no other game, except bridge, is serenity of
disposition so essential. No one easily "ruffled" can keep a clear eye on
the ball, and exasperation at "lost balls" seemingly bewitches successive
ones into disappearing with the completeness and finality of puffs of
smoke. In a race or other test of endurance a flare of anger might even
help, but in golf it is safe to say that he who loses his temper is pretty
sure to lose the game.

Golf players of course know the rules and observe them, but it quite often
happens that idlers, having nothing better to do, walk out over a course
and "watch the players." If they know the players well, that is one thing,
but they have no right to follow strangers. A player who is nervous is
easily put off his game, especially if those watching him are so ill-bred
as to make audible remarks. Those playing matches of course expect an
audience, and erratic and nervous players ought not to go into
tournaments--or at least not in two-ball foursomes where they are likely
to handicap a partner.

In following a match, onlookers must be careful to stand well within
bounds and neither talk nor laugh nor do anything that can possibly
distract the attention of the players.

The rule that you should not appoint yourself mentor holds good in golf as
well as in bridge and every other game. Unless your advice is asked for,
you should not instruct others how to hold their clubs or which ones to
use, or how they ought to make the shot.

A young woman must on no account expect the man she happens to be playing
with to make her presents of golf-balls, or to caddy for her, nor must she
allow him to provide her with a caddy. If she can't afford to hire one of
her own, she must either carry her own clubs or not play golf.


There are fixed rules for the playing of every game--and for proper
conduct in every sport. The details of these rules must be studied in the
"books of the game," learned from instructors, or acquired by experience.
A small boy perhaps learns to fish or swim by himself, but he is taught by
his father or a guide--at all events, some one--how and how not to hold a
gun, cast a fly, or ride a horse. But apart from the technique of each
sport, or the rules of each game, the etiquette--or more correctly, the
basic principles of good sportsmanship, are the same.

In no sport or game can any favoritism or evasion of rules be allowed.
Sport is based upon impersonal and indiscriminating fairness to every one
alike, or it is not "sport."

And to _be_ a good sportsman, one must be a stoic and never show rancor in
defeat, or triumph in victory, or irritation, no matter what annoyance is
encountered. One who can not help sulking, or explaining, or protesting
when the loser, or exulting when the winner, has no right to take part in
games and contests.


If you would be thought to play the game, meaning if you aspire to be a
true sportsman, you must follow the rules of sportsmanship the world over:

Never lose your temper.

Play for the sake of playing rather than to win.

Never stop in the middle of a tennis or golf match and complain of a lame
ankle, especially if you are losing. Unless it is literally impossible for
you to go on, you must stick it out.

If you are a novice, don't ask an expert to play with you, especially as
your partner. If he should ask you in spite of your shortcomings, maintain
the humility proper to a beginner.

If you are a woman, don't ape the ways and clothing of men. If you are a
man, don't take advantage of your superior strength to set a pace beyond
the endurance of a woman opponent.

And always give the opponent the benefit of the doubt! Nothing is more
important to your standing as a sportsman, though it costs you the
particular point in question.

A true sportsman is always a cheerful loser, a quiet winner, with a very
frank appreciation of the admirable traits in others, which he seeks to
emulate, and his own shortcomings, which he tries to improve.



A certain rich man whose appointment to a foreign post of importance was
about to be ratified, came into the corridor of a Washington hotel and
stopped to speak with a lady for a few moments. During the whole
conversation he kept his hat on his head and a cigar in the corner of his
mouth. It happened that the lady was the wife of a prominent senator, and
she lost no time in reporting the incident to her husband, who in turn
brought the matter to the attention of certain of his colleagues with the
result that the appointment did not go through.

It is not unlikely that this man thinks "politics played against him,"
whereas the only factor against him was his exhibition of ill-breeding
which proved him unsuitable to represent the dignity of his country.

Etiquette would not seem to play an important part in business, and yet no
man can ever tell when its knowledge may be of advantage, or its lack may
turn the scale against him. The man who remains "planted" in his chair
when a lady (or an older man) speaks to him, who receives customers in his
shirt sleeves, who does not take off his hat when talking with a lady and
take his cigar out of his mouth when bowing or when addressing her, can
never be sure that he is not preparing a witness for the prosecution.


The above does not mean that a gentleman may never smoke in the presence
of ladies--especially in the presence of those who smoke themselves--but a
gentleman should not smoke under the following circumstances:

When walking on the street with a lady.

When lifting his hat or bowing.

In a room, an office, or an elevator, when a lady enters.

In any short conversation where he is standing near, or talking with a

If he is seated himself for a conversation with a lady on a veranda, in an
hotel, in a private house, anywhere where "smoking is permitted," he first
asks, "Do you mind if I smoke?" And if she replies, "Not at all" or "Do,
by all means," it is then proper for him to do so. He should, however,
take his cigar, pipe, or cigarette, out of his mouth while he is speaking.
One who is very adroit can say a word or two without an unpleasant
grimace, but one should not talk with one's mouth either full of food or
barricaded with tobacco.

In the country, a gentleman may walk with a lady and smoke at the same
time--especially a pipe or cigarette. Why a cigar is less admissible is
hard to determine, unless a pipe somehow belongs to the country. A
gentleman in golf or country clothes with a pipe in his mouth and a dog at
his heels suggests a picture fitting to the scene; while a cigar seems as
out of place as a cutaway coat. A pipe on the street in a city, on the
other hand, is less appropriate than a cigar in the country. In any event
he will, of course, ask his companion's permission to smoke.


If you had a commission to give and you entered a man's office and found
him lolling back in a tipped swivel chair, his feet above his head, the
ubiquitous cigar in his mouth and his drowsy attention fixed on the
sporting page of the newspaper, you would be impressed not so much by his
lack of good manners as by his bad business policy, because of the
incompetence that his attitude suggests. It is scarcely necessary to ask:
Would you give an important commission to him who has no apparent
intention of doing anything but "take his ease"; or to him who is found
occupied at his desk, who gets up with alacrity upon your entrance, and is
seemingly "on his toes" mentally as well as actually? Or, would you go in
preference to a man whose manners resemble those of a bear at the Zoo, if
you could go to another whose business ability is supplemented by
personal charm? And this again is merely an illustration of bad manners
and good.


One advantage of polish is that one's opponent can never tell what is
going on under the glazed surface of highly finished manners, whereas an
unfinished surface is all too easily penetrated. And since business
encounters are often played like poker hands, it is surely a bad plan to
be playing with a mind-reader who can plainly divine his opponent's cards,
while his own are unrevealed.

Manners that can by any possibility be construed as mincing, foppish or
effeminate are _not_ recommended; but a gentleman who says "Good morning"
to his employees and who invariably treats all women as "ladies," does not
half so much flatter their vanity as win their respect for himself as a
gentleman. Again, good manners are, after all, nothing but courteous
consideration of other people's interests and feelings. That being true,
does it not follow that all customers, superior officers and employees
prefer an executive whose good manners imply consideration of his
customer's, his company's and his employee's interest as well as merely
his own?


The president of a great industry, whose mastery of etiquette is one of
his chief assets, so submerges this asset in other and more apparent
qualifications, that every plain man he comes in contact with takes it for
granted that he is an equally "plain" man himself. He _is_ plain in so far
as he is straightforward in attitude and simple in manner. No red tape is
required apparently to penetrate into this president's private office,
whereas many "small" men are guarded with pretentiousness that is often an
effort to give an impression of "importance."

In this big man's employ there is an especial assistant chosen purposely
because of his tact and good manners. If an unknown person asks to see
Mr. President, this deputy is sent out (as from most offices) to find out
what the visitor's business is; but instead of being told bluntly the boss
doesn't know him and can't see him, the visitor is made to feel how much
the president will regret not seeing him. Perhaps he is told, "Mr.
President is in conference just now. I know he would not like you to be
kept waiting; can I be of any service to you? I am his junior assistant."
If the visitor's business is really with the president, he is admitted to
the chief executive's office, since it is the latter's policy to see every
one that he can.

He has a courteous manner that makes every one feel there is nothing in
the day's work half so important as what his visitor has come to see him
about! Nor is this manner insincere; for whatever time one sees him, he
gives his undivided attention. Should his time be short, and the moment
approach when he is due at an appointment, his secretary enters, a
purposely arranged ten minutes ahead of the time necessary for the close
of the present interview, and apologetically reminds him, "I'm sorry, Mr.
President, but your appointment with the 'Z' committee is due." Mr.
President with seeming unconcern, uses up most of the ten minutes, and his
lingering close of the conversation gives his visitor the impression that
he must have been late at his appointment, and wholly because of the
unusual interest felt in his caller.

This is neither sincerity nor insincerity, but merely bringing social
knowledge into business dealing. To make a pleasant and friendly
impression is not alone good manners, but equally good business. The crude
man would undoubtedly show his eagerness to be rid of his visitor, and
after offending the latter's self-pride because of his inattentive
discourtesy, be late for his own appointment! The man of skill saw his
visitor for fewer actual minutes, but gave the impression that
circumstances over which he had no control forced him unwillingly to close
the interview. He not only gained the good will of his visitor, but
arrived at his own appointment in plenty of time.

To listen attentively when one is spoken to, is merely one of the rules
of etiquette. The man who, while some one is talking to him, gazes out of
the window or up at the ceiling, who draws squares and circles on the
blotter, or is engrossed in his finger-nails or his shoes, may in his own
mind be "finessing," or very likely he is bored! In the first case, the
chances are he will lose the game; in the second, lots of people are
bored, hideously bored, and most often the fault is their own; always they
are at fault who show it.


When one thinks of a man who is known in politics and business as a "good
mixer," one is apt to think of him as a rough diamond rather than a
polished one. In picturing a gentleman, a man of high cultivation, one
instinctively thinks of one who is somewhat aloof and apart. A good mixer
among uncouth men may quite accurately be one who is also uncouth; but the
best "mixer" of all is one who adjusts himself equally well to finer as
well as to plainer society. Education that does not confer flexibility of
mind is an obviously limited education; the man of broadest education
tunes himself in unison with whomever he happens to be. The more subjects
he knows about, the more people he is in sympathy with, and therefore the
more customers or associates or constituents he is sure to have.

The really big man--it makes little difference whether he was born with a
gold spoon in his mouth or no spoon at all--is always one whose interest
in people, things, and events is a stimulating influence upon all those he
comes in contact with.

He who says, "That does not interest me," or "That bores me," defines his
own limitations. He who is unable to project sympathy into other problems
or classes than his own is an unimportant person though he have the birth
of a Cecil and the manners of a Chesterfield. Every gentleman has an
inalienable right to his own reserves--that goes without saying--and
because he can project sympathy and understanding where and when he
chooses, does not for one moment mean that he thereby should break down
the walls of his instinctive defenses.

It is not the latter type, but the "Gentleman Limited" who has belittled
the name of "gentleman" in the world of work; not so much because he is a
gentleman, as because he is not entirely one. He who is every inch a
gentleman as well as every inch a man is the highest type in the world
to-day, just as he has always been. The do-nothing gentleman is equally
looked down upon everywhere.


Etiquette, remember, is merely a collection of forms by which all personal
contacts in life are made smooth. The necessity for a "rough" man to
become polished so that he may meet men of cultivation on an equal
footing, has an equally important reverse. The time has gone by when a
gentleman by grace of God, which placed him in a high-born position, can
control numbers of other men placed beneath him. Every man takes his place
to-day according to born position plus the test of his own experience. And
just as an unlettered expert in business is only half authoritative to men
of high cultivation, so also is the gentleman, no matter how much he knows
of Latin, Greek, history, art and polish of manner, handicapped according
to his ignorance on the subject of another's expertness. Etiquette, in
reverse, prescribes this necessity for complete knowledge in every contact
in life. Through knowledge alone, does one prove one's right to authority.
For instance:

A man in a machine ship is working at a lathe. An officer of the company
comes into the shop, a gentleman in white collar and good clothes! He
stands behind the mechanic and "curses him out" because his work is
inefficient. When he turns away, the man at the lathe says, "Who was that
guy anyway? What business has he to teach me my job?" Instead of accepting
the criticism, he resents what he considers unwarranted interference by a
man in another "class."

But supposing instead of standing by and talking about inefficiency, the
"gentleman" had said, "Get out of there a moment!" and throwing off his
coat and rolling up his silk shirt sleeves, he had operated the lathe with
a smoothness and rapidity that could only have been acquired through long
experience at a bench. The result would be that the next time he came on a
tour of inspection that particular man (as well as all those who were
witnesses of the former scene) would not only listen to him with respect
but without resentment of his "class," because his expertness proved that
he had earned his right to good clothes and silk shirts, and to tell those
beneath him how work should be done.

The same test applies to any branch of experience: a man who knows as much
about any "specialty" as an expert does himself, makes the "expert" think
at once, "This man is a wonder!" The very fact that the first man is not
making the subject _his_ specialty, intensifies the achievement.
Everything he says after that on subjects of which the second man knows
nothing is accepted without question. Whenever you know as much as the
other man, whether you are socially above, or below him, you are on that
subject his equal; when you know more than he does, you have the


It is not in order to shine in society that grace of manner is an asset;
comparatively few people in a community care a rap about "society" anyway!
A man of affairs whose life is spent in doing a man's work in a man's way
is not apt to be thrilled at the thought of putting on "glad" clothes and
going out with his wife to a "pink" tea or a ball.

But what many successful men do not realize is that a fundamental
knowledge of etiquette is no less an asset in business or public life, or
in any other contact with people, than it is in society.

Just as any expert, whether at a machine bench, an accountant's desk, or
at golf, gives an impression of such ease as to make his accomplishment
seemingly require no skill, a bungler makes himself and every one watching
him uneasy if not actually fearful of his awkwardness. And as inexpertness
is quite as irritating in personal as in mechanical bungling, so there is
scarcely any one who sooner or later does not feel the need of social
expertness. Something, some day, will awaken him to the folly of scorning
as "soft," men who have accomplished manners; despising as "effeminate,"
youths who have physical grace; of being contemptuous of the perfect
English of the well-bred gentleman; of consoling himself with the thought
that his own crudeness is strong, and manly, and American!


But let "success" come to this same inexpert man--let him be appointed to
high office, let him then shuffle from foot to foot, never knowing what to
do or say, let him meet open derision or ill-concealed contempt from every
educated person brought in contact with him, let opprobrium fall upon his
State because its governor is a boor, and let him as such be written of in
the editorials of the press and in the archives of history! Will he be so
pleased with himself then? Does any one think of Theodore Roosevelt as
"soft" or "effeminate" because he was one of the greatest masters of
etiquette who ever bore the most exalted honor that can be awarded by the
people of the United States? Washington was completely a gentleman--and so
was Abraham Lincoln. Because Lincoln's etiquette was self-taught it was no
less masterly for that! Whether he happened to know a lot of trifling
details of pseudo etiquette matters not in the least. Awkward he may have
been, but the essence of him was courtesy--unfailing courtesy. No "rough,
uneducated" man has command of perfect English, and Lincoln's English is

One thing that some Men of Might forget is that lack of polish in its
wider aspects is merely lack of education. They themselves look down upon
a man who has to make an "X" mark in place of signing his name--but they
overlook entirely that to those more highly educated, they are themselves
in degree quite as ignorant.


And yet, speak to self-made men of the need of the social graces for their
sons, and nine out of ten stampede--for all the world as though it were
suggested to put them in petticoats. Do they think a poor unlettered lout
who shambles at the door, who stands unable to speak, who turns his cap in
his hands, who sidles into the room, and can't for the life of him get out
again, well trained for the battle of life?

Picture that Mr. Strong Man who thrusts his thumbs into his armholes and
sits tipped back in his chair with a cigar in the corner of his mouth and
his heels comfortably reposing on his solid mahogany desk. This is not in
criticism of his relaxation, it is his own desk and certainly he has a
right to put his heels on it if he wants to; likewise thumbs and armholes
are his own. It is merely a picture that leads to another: Supposing a
very great man comes into Mr. Strong Man's office--one whom he may
consider a great man, a president perhaps of a big industry or of a
railroad, or a senator--and shortly afterwards, Strong Man's own son comes
into the room. Would he like to see his son abashed, awkward,
spasmodically jerky, like the poor bumpkin who came the other day to ask
about removing the ashes, or worse yet, bold and boisterous or cheeky; or
would he like that boy of his to come forward with an entire lack of
self-consciousness, and as his father introduces him as "My Son!" have him
put out his hand in frank and easy and yet deferential friendliness? And
then saying quickly and quietly whatever it was he came to say, as quickly
and quietly make his way out again? Would he be sorry that the big man
thought, "Fine boy that! Ability too!" Why would he think he had ability?
Because the ease and dexterity with which he handled the social incident
automatically suggests ability to handle other situations!


Another point: Does the self-made man stop to realize that his authority
in business would be even greater than it is if he had the hall-marks, of
cultivation? For instance, when he comes in contact with college graduates
and other cultivated men, his opinions gain or lose in weight exactly in
proportion as he proves to be in their own "class" or below it.

A man unconsciously judges the authority of others by the standard of his
own expert knowledge. A crude man may be a genius in business management,
but in the unspoken opinion of men of education, he is in other contacts
inferior to themselves. He is an authority they grant, but in limited
lines only.

But when a man is met with who combines with business genius the advantage
of polished manners and evident cultivation, his opinion on any subject
broached at once assumes added weight. Doesn't it?



Clothes are to us what fur and feathers are to beasts and birds; they not
only add to our appearance, but they are our appearance. How we look to
others entirely depends upon what we wear and how we wear it; manners and
speech are noted afterward, and character last of all.

In the community where we live, admirableness of character is the
fundamental essential, and in order to achieve a position of importance,
personality is also essential; but for the transient impression that we
make at home, abroad, everywhere in public, two superficial attributes are
alone indispensable: good manners and a pleasing appearance.

It is not merely a question of vanity and inclination. In New York, for
instance, a woman must dress well, to pay her way. In Europe, where the
title of Duchess serves in lieu of a court train of gold brocade; or in
Bohemian circles where talent alone may count; or in small communities
where people are known for what they really are, appearance is of esthetic
rather than essential importance.

In the world of smart society--in America at any rate--clothes not only
represent our ticket of admission, but our contribution to the effect of a
party. What makes a brilliant party? Clothes. Good clothes. A frumpy party
is nothing more nor less than a collection of badly dressed persons.
People with all the brains, even all the beauty imaginable, make an
assemblage of dowds, unless they are well dressed.

Not even the most beautiful ballroom in the world, decorated like the
Garden of Eden, could in itself suggest a brilliant entertainment, if the
majority of those who filled it were frumps--or worse yet, vulgarians!
Rather be frumpy than vulgar! Much. Frumps are often celebrities in
disguise--but a person of vulgar appearance is vulgar all through.


Frumps are not very typical of America, vulgarians are somewhat more
numerous, but the greatest number of all are the quietly dressed,
unnoticeable men and women who make up the representative backbone in
every city; who buy good clothes but not more than they need, and whose
ambition is merely to be well enough dressed to fit in with their
background, whatever their background may be.

Less numerous, but far more conspicuous, are the dressed-to-the-minute
women who, like sheep exactly, follow every turn of latest fashion blindly
and without the slightest sense of distance or direction. As each new
season's fashion is defined, all the sheep run and dress themselves each
in a replica of the other, their own types and personalities have nothing
to do with the case. Fashion says: "Wear bolster cases tied at the neck
and ankle," or "A few wisps of gauze held in place with court plaster,"
and daughter, mother, grandmother, and all the neighbors wear the same. If
emerald green is the fashionable color, all of the yellowest skins will be
framed in it. When hobble skirts are the thing, the fattest wabble along,
looking for all the world like chandeliers tied up in mosquito netting. If
ball dresses are cut to the last limit of daring, the ample billows of the
fat will vie blandly with the marvels of anatomy exhibited by the thin.
Comfort, convenience, becomingness, adaptability, beauty are of no
importance. Fashion is followed to the letter--therefore they fancy, poor
sheep, they are the last word in smartness. Those whom the fashion suits
_are_ "smart," but they are seldom, if ever, distinguished, because--they
are all precisely alike.


The woman who is chic is always a little different. Not different in being
behind fashion, but always slightly apart from it. "Chic" is a borrowed
adjective, but there is no English word to take the place of "elegant"
which was destroyed utterly by the reporter or practical joker who said
"elegant dresses," and yet there is no synonym that will express the
individuality of beautiful taste combined with personal dignity and grace
which gives to a perfect costume an inimitable air of distinction. _Une
dame élégante_ is all of that! And Mrs. Oldname is just such a person. She
follows fashion merely so far as is absolutely necessary. She gets the
latest model perhaps, but has it adapted to her own type, so that she has
just that distinction of appearance that the sheep lack. She has even
clung with slight modifications to the "Worth" ball dress, and her
"wrapped" or fitted bodice has continued to look the smartest in every
ballroom in spite of the Greek drapery and one-piece meal bag and all the
other kaleidoscopic changes of fashion the rest of us have been through.

But the average would-be independent who determines to stand her ground,
saying, "These new models are preposterous! I shall wear nothing of the
sort!" and keeps her word, soon finds herself not at all an example of
dignity but an object of derision.


Fashion ought to be likened to a tide or epidemic; sometimes one might
define it as a sort of hypnotism, seemingly exerted by the gods as a joke.
Fashion has the power to appear temporarily in the guise of beauty, though
it is the antithesis of beauty nearly always. If you doubt it, look at old
fashion plates. Even the woman of beautiful taste succumbs occasionally to
the epidemics of fashion, but she is more immune than most. All women who
have any clothes sense whatever know more or less the type of things that
are their style--unless they have such an attack of fashionitis as to be
irresponsibly delirious.

To describe any details of dress, that will not be as "queer" to-morrow as
to-day's fashions are bound to be, would seem at the outset pretty much
like writing about next year's weather. And yet, there is one unchanging
principle which must be followed by every woman, man and child that is
well dressed--suitability. Nor does suitability mean merely that you must
choose clothes suitable to your age and appearance, and that you must get
a ball dress for a ball, and a street dress to walk in; it means equally
that you must not buy clothes out of proportion to your income, or out of
keeping with your surroundings.


About fifteen years ago the extravagance in women's dress reached such a
high-water mark that it was not unheard of for a New York woman to spend a
third of her husband's income on clothes. All women of fashion bought
clothes when it would not have occurred to them to buy furniture--when it
would have seemed preposterous to buy a piece of jewelry--but clothes,
clothes, and more clothes, each more hand-embroidered than the last, until
just as it seemed that no dress was fit to be seen if it hadn't a month or
two of some one's time embroidered on it, the work on clothes subsided,
until now we are at the other extreme; no work is put on them at all. At
least, clothes to-day are much more sensible, and let us hope the sense
will be lasting.

The war did at least make people realize that luxuries and trimmings could
go too far. Ten years ago the American woman who lived in a little
cottage, who walked when she went out or took the street car, wore the
same clothes exactly that Mrs. Gilding wore in her victoria, or trailed
over a Ming rug. The French woman has always been (and the American woman
of taste is now) too great an artist to sit in a little room with its
cotton-print slip covers, muslin curtains, and geranium pots on the window
ledge, in anything strikingly elaborate and expensive. Charming as her
dress may be in line and cut and color, she keeps it (no matter how
intrinsically good it may be) in harmony with her geranium pots and her

On the other hand, clothes that are too plain can be equally out of
proportion. Last winter, for instance, a committee of ladies met in what
might safely be called the handsomest house in New York, in a room that
would fit perfectly in the Palace of Versailles, filled with treasures
such as those of the Wallace collection. The hostess presided in a black
serge golf skirt, a business woman's white shirt-waist, and stout walking
boots, her hair brushed flat and tidily back and fastened as though for
riding, her face and hands redolent of soap. No powder, not a nail
manicured. Had she been a girl earning her living, she could not have been
more suitably dressed, but her millions and her palace background demand
that her clothes be at least moderately in keeping.

One does not have to be dowdy as an alternative to being too richly
dressed, and to define differences between clothes that are notable
because of their distinction and smartness, and clothes that are merely
conspicuous and therefore vulgar, is a very elusive point. However, there
are certain rules that seem pretty well established.


Vulgar clothes are those which, no matter what the fashion of the moment
may be, are always too elaborate for the occasion; too exaggerated in
style, or have accessories out of proportion. People of uncultivated taste
are apt to fancy distortions; to exaggerate rather than modify the
prevailing fashions.

For example: A conspicuous evidence of bad style that has persisted
through numberless changes in fashion, is the over-dressed and
over-trimmed head. The woman of uncultivated taste has no more sense of
moderation than the Queen of the Cannibals. She will elaborate her
hair-dressing to start with (this is all right, if elaboration really
suits her type) and then she will "decorate" it with everything in the way
of millinery and jewelry that she can lay her hands on. Or, in the
daytime, she fancies equally over-weighted hats, and rich-looking fur
coats and the latest edition in the most conspicuous possible footwear.
And she much prefers wearing rings to gloves. Maybe she thinks they do
not go together? She despises sensible clothing; she also despises plain
fabrics and untrimmed models. She also cares little (apparently) for
staying at home, since she is perpetually seen at restaurants and at every
public entertainment. The food she orders is rich, the appearance she
makes is rich; in fact, to see her often is like nothing so much as being
forced to eat a large amount of butter-plain.

Beau Brummel's remark that when one attracted too much notice, one could
be sure of being not well-dressed but over-dressed, has for a hundred
years been the comfort of the dowdy. It is, of course, very often true,
but not invariably. A person may be stared at for any one of many reasons.
It depends very much on the stare. A woman may be stared at because she is
indiscreet, or because she looks like a left-over member of the circus, or
because she is enchanting to look at.

If you are much stared at, what _sort_ of a stare do you usually meet? Is
it bold, or mocking, or is it merely that people look at you wistfully? If
the first, change your manner; if the second, wear more conventional
clothes; if the third, you may be left as you are. But be sure of your
diagnosis of this last.


Ostentation is always vulgar but extravagance is not necessarily
vulgar--not by any means. Extravagance can become dishonest if carried
beyond one's income.

Nearly everything that is beautiful or valuable is an extravagance--for
most of us. Always to wear new gloves is an extravagant item for one with
a small allowance--but scarcely vulgar! A laundry bill can be extravagant,
flowers in one's city house, a piece of beautiful furniture, a good
tapestry, each is an extravagance to an income that can not easily afford
the expenditure. To one sufficient to buy the tapestry, the flowers are
not an extravagance at all.

To buy quantities of things that are not even used after they are bought
is sheer wastefulness, and to buy everything that tempts you, whether you
can afford to pay for it or not, is, if you can not afford it, verging on
the actually dishonest.


Supposing, since clothes suitable to the occasion are the first requisite
of good taste, we take up a few details that are apart from fashion.

A dinner dress really means every sort of low, or half low evening dress.
A formal dinner dress, like a ball dress, is always low-necked and without
sleeves, and is the handsomest type of evening dress that there is. A ball
dress may be exquisite in detail but it is often merely effective. The
perfect ball dress is one purposely designed with a skirt that is becoming
when dancing. A long wrapped type of dress would make Diana herself look
like a toy monkey-on-a-stick, but might be dignified and beautiful at a
dinner. A dinner dress differs from a ball dress in little except that it
is not necessarily designed for freedom of movement.

Hair ornaments always look well at a ball but are not especially
appropriate (unless universally in fashion) on other occasions. A lady in
a ball dress with nothing added to the head, looks a little like being
hatless in the street. This sounds like a contradiction of the criticism
of the vulgarian. But because a tiara is beautiful at a ball, or a spray
of feathers, or a high comb, or another ornament, does not mean that all
of these should be put on together and worn in a restaurant; which is just
what the vulgarian would do. Whether, to wear a head-dress, however,
depends not alone upon fashion but upon the individual. If the type of
hair ornament at the moment in fashion is becoming, wear it, especially to
balls and in a box at the opera. But if it is not becoming, don't.

Ladies of fashion, by the way, do not have their hair especially dressed
for formal occasions. Each wears her hair a certain way, and it is put up
every morning just as carefully as for a ball. The only time it is
arranged differently is for riding. Ah informal dinner dress is merely a
modified formal one. It is low in front and high in the back, with long or
elbow sleeves--or perhaps it is Dutch neck and no sleeves.

When trains are in fashion, all older women should wear them. Fashion or
no fashion, no woman who has passed forty looks really well in a cut-off
evening dress. An effect of train, however, can very adequately be
produced with any arrangement or trimming that extends upon the floor.

The informal dinner dress is worn to the theater, the restaurant (of high
class), the concert and the opera. Informal dinner dresses are worn in the
boxes at the opera on ordinary nights, such as when no especially great
star is to sing, and when one is not going on to a ball afterward, but a
ball dress is never inappropriate, especially without head-dress. On gala
nights, ball dresses are worn in the boxes and head-dresses and as many
jewels as one chooses--or has.


Every one knows that a tea-gown is a hybrid between a wrapper and a ball
dress. It has always a train and usually long flowing sleeves; is made of
rather gorgeous materials and goes on easily, and its chief use is not for
wear at the tea-table so much as for dinner alone with one's family.

It can, however, very properly be put on for tea, and if one is dining at
home, kept on for dinner. Otherwise a lady is apt to take tea in whatever
dress she had on for luncheon, and dress after tea for dinner.

One does not go out to dine in a tea-gown except in the house of a member
of one's family or a most intimate friend. One would wear a tea-gown in
one's own house in receiving a guest to whose house one would wear a
dinner dress.


There is one rule that is fairly safe to follow: When in doubt, wear the
plainer dress. It is always better far to be under-dressed than
over-dressed. If you don't know whether to put on a ball dress or a dinner
dress, wear the dinner dress. Or, whether to wear cloth or brocade to a
luncheon, wear the cloth.


Your tea-gowns, since they are never worn in public, can literally be as
bizarre as you please, and if you are driving in a closed motor, you can
also wear an "original" type of dress. But in walking on the street,--if
you care to be taken for a well-bred person--never wear anything that is
exaggerated. If skirts are short, don't wear them two inches shorter than
any one else's; if they are long, don't go down the street dragging a
train and sweeping the dirt up on the under-flouncings. (Let us hope
_that_ fashion never comes back!) Don't wear too much jewelry; it is in
bad taste in the first place, and in the second, is a temptation to a
thief. And don't under any circumstances, distort your figure into a
grotesque shape.


Nothing so marks the "person who doesn't know" as inappropriate choice of
clothes. To wear elaborate clothes out of doors in the country, is quite
as out of place as to parade "sports" clothes on the streets in town.

It is safe to say that "sport" clothes are appropriate country
clothes--especially for all young people. Elderly ladies, needless to say,
should not don "sporting eccentricities" nor wear sweaters to lunch
parties; but sensible country clothes, such as have for many decades been
worn in England, of homespun or serge or jersey cloth or whatever has
replaced these materials, are certainly more appropriate to walk in than a
town costume--even for a lady of seventy! Young people going to the
country for the day wear sports clothes; which if seen early in the
morning in town and again late in the afternoon, merely show you have been
to the country. But town clothes in the country proclaim your ignorance of
fitness. Even for a lunch party at Golden Hall or Great Estates, every one
who is young wears smart country clothes.


Sport shoes are naturally adapted to the sport for which they are
intended. High-heeled slippers do not go with any country clothes, except
organdie or muslins or other distinctly feminine "summer" dresses.
Elaborate afternoon dresses of "painted" chiffons, embroidered mulls,
etc., are seen only at weddings, lawn parties, or at watering-places


No advice is intended for those who have a skin that either does not burn
at all, or turns a beautiful smooth Hawaiian brown; but a woman whose
creamy complexion bursts into freckles, as violent as they are hideous, at
the first touch of the sun need no longer stay perpetually indoors in
daytime, or venture out only when swathed like a Turk, if she knows the
virtue in orange as a color that defies the sun's rays. A thin veil of
red-orange is more effective than a thick one of blue or black.

Orange shirt-waists do not sound very conservative, but they are
mercifully conserving to arms sensitive to sunburn. Young Mrs. Gilding,
whose skin is as perishable as it is lovely, always wears orange on the
golf course. A skirt of burnt-orange serge of homespun or linen, and
shirt-waists of orange linen or crepe de chine. A hat with a brim and a
harem-veil (pinned across her nose under her eyes) of orange
marquisette,--which is easier to breathe through than chiffon--allows her
to play golf or tennis or to motor or even go out in a sailboat and keep
her skin without a blemish.

Constance Style, who also has a skin that the sun destroys, wears orange
playing tennis, but for bathing wears a high-neck and long-sleeved bathing
suit and "makes her face up" (also the backs of her hands) with theatrical
grease paint that has a good deal of yellow in it, and flesh color
ordinary powder on top. The grease paint withstands hot sun and water, but
it is messy. The alternative, however, is a choice between complexion or
bathing, as it is otherwise prohibitive for the "sun afflicted" to have


The distorted circus-mirror clothes seen on men who know no better, are
not a bit worse than the riding clothes seen on actresses in our best
theaters and moving pictures--who ought to know better. Nothing looks
worse than riding clothes made and worn badly, and nothing looks smarter
than they when well made and well put on.

A riding habit, no matter what the fashion happens to be, is like a
uniform, in that it must be made and worn according to regulations. It
must above all be meticulously trig and compact. Nothing must be sticking
out a thousandth part of an inch that can be flattened in.

A riding habit is the counterpart of an officer's uniform; it is not worn
so as to make the wearer look pretty! A woman to look well in a habit must
be smart or she is a sight! And nothing contributes so much to the
"sights" we see at present as the attempt to look pretty instead of
looking correct. The criticism is not intended for the woman who lives far
off in the open country and jumps on a horse in whatever she happens to
have on, but for those who dress "for looks" and ride in the parks of our
cities, or walk on the stage and before the camera, in scenes meant to
represent smart society!

To repeat, therefore, the young woman who wants to look pretty should
confine her exercise to dancing. She can also hold a parasol over her head
and sit in a canoe--or she can be pretty how and where she will, so long
as it is not on a horse in the park or hunting-field. (To mention
hunting-field is superfluous; the woman who can ride wel