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Title: Manners and Social Usages
Author: Sherwood, M. E. W. (Mary Elizabeth Wilson)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Manners and Social Usages" ***

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"Manners are the shadows of great virtues."--Whateley

"Solid Fashion is funded politeness."--Emerson


JUN 11 1887


This etiquette manual was probably originally a series of columns
in a newspaper or a magazine like Harper's, as the chapters on
weddings in the different seasons refer to how the fashions have
changed since the last one--by the original copyright, 1884,
though the book version appeared in 1887. Notable features among
the usual: how to dance the German, or Cotillon; remarks and four
chapters on English, French, or others in contrast to American
customs, making it a guide to European manners; proper behavior
for the single woman past girlhood; appropriate costumes for many
occasions; three chapters on staff and servants.


There is no country where there are so many people asking what is
"proper to do," or, indeed, where there are so many genuinely
anxious to do the proper thing, as in the vast conglomerate which
we call the United States of America. The newness of our country
is perpetually renewed by the sudden making of fortunes, and by
the absence of a hereditary, reigning set. There is no aristocracy
here which has the right and title to set the fashions.

But a "reigning set," whether it depend upon hereditary right or
adventitious wealth, if it be possessed of a desire to lead and a
disposition to hospitality, becomes for a period the dictator of
fashion to a large number of lookers-on. The travelling world,
living far from great centres, goes to Newport, Saratoga, New
York, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, and gazes on what is
called the latest American fashion. This, though exploited by what
we may call for the sake of distinction the "newer set," is
influenced and shaped in some degree by people of native
refinement and taste, and that wide experience which is gained by
travel and association with broad and cultivated minds. They
counteract the tendency to vulgarity, which is the great danger of
a newly launched society, so that our social condition improves,
rather than retrogrades, with every decade.

There may be many social purists who will disagree with us in this
statement. Men and women educated in the creeds of the Old World,
with the good blood of a long ancestry of quiet ladies and
gentlemen, find modern American society, particularly in New York
and at Newport, fast, furious, and vulgar. There are, of course,
excesses committed everywhere in the name of fashion; but we
cannot see that they are peculiar to America. We can only answer
that the creed of fashion is one of perpetual change. There is a
Council of Trent, we may say, every five years, perhaps even every
two years, in our new and changeful country, and we learn that,
follow as we may either the grand old etiquette of England or the
more gay and shifting social code of France, we still must make an
original etiquette of our own. Our political system alone, where
the lowest may rise to the highest preferment, upsets in a measure
all that the Old World insists upon in matters of precedence and
formality. Certain immutable principles remain common to all
elegant people who assume to gather society about them, and who
wish to enter its portals; the absent-minded scholar from his
library should not ignore them, the fresh young farmer from the
countryside feels and recognizes their importance. If we are to
live together in unity we must make society a pleasant thing, we
must obey certain formal rules, and these rules must conform to
the fashion of the period.

And it is in no way derogatory to a new country like our own if on
some minor points of etiquette we presume to differ from the older
world. We must fit our garments to the climate, our manners to our
fortunes and to our daily lives. There are, however, faults and
inelegancies of which foreigners accuse us which we may do well to
consider. One of these is the greater freedom allowed in the
manners of our young women a freedom which, as our New World fills
up with people of foreign birth, cannot but lead to social
disturbances. Other national faults, which English writers and
critics kindly point out, are our bumptiousness, our spread-
eagleism, and our too great familiarity and lack of dignity, etc.

Instead of growing angry over these criticisms, perhaps we might
as well look into the matter dispassionately, and see if we cannot
turn the advice in some degree to our advantage. We can, however,
decide for ourselves on certain points of etiquette which we
borrow from nobody; they are a part of our great nation, of our
republican institutions, and of that continental hospitality which
gives a home to the Russian, the German, the Frenchman, the
Irishman, man, and the "heathen Chinee." A somewhat wide and
elastic code, as boundless as the prairies, can alone meet the
needs of these different citizens. The old traditions of stately
manners, so common to the Washington and Jefferson days, have
almost died out here, as similar manners have died out all over
the world. The war of 1861 swept away what little was left of that
once important American fact--a grandfather. We began all over
again; and now there comes up from this newer world a flood of
questions: How shall we manage all this? How shall we use a fork?
When wear a dress-coat? How and when and on whom shall we leave
our cards? How long and for whom shall we wear mourning? What is
the etiquette of a wedding? How shall we give a dinner-party?
The young housekeeper of Kansas writes as to the manners she shall
teach to her children; the miner's wife, having become rich, asks
how she shall arrange her house, call on her neighbors, write her
letters? Many an anxious girl writes as to the propriety of
"driving out with a gentleman," etc. In fact, there is one great
universal question, What is the etiquette of good society?

Not a few people have tried to answer these questions, and have
broken down in the attempt. Many have made valuable manuals, as
far as they went; but writers on etiquette commonly fail, for one
or two different reasons. Many attempt to write who know nothing
of good society by experience, and their books are full of
ludicrous errors. Others have had the disadvantage of knowing too
much, of ignoring the beginning of things, of supposing that the
person who reads will take much for granted. For a person who has
an intuitive knowledge of etiquette, who has been brought up from
his mother's knee in the best society, has always known what to
do, how to dress, to whom to bow, to write in the simplest way
about etiquette would be impossible; he would never know how
little the reader, to whose edification he was addressing himself,
knew of the matter.

If, however, an anxious inquirer should write and ask if "mashed
potato must be eaten with a knife or a fork," or if "napkins and
finger bowls can be used at breakfast," those questions he can

It is with an effort to answer thousands of these questions,
written in good faith to Harper's Bazar, that this book is
undertaken. The simplicity, the directness, and the evident desire
"to improve," which characterize these anonymous letters, are all
much to be commended. Many people have found themselves suddenly
conquerors of material wealth, the most successful colonists in
the world, the heirs of a great inheritance, the builders of a new
empire. There is a true refinement manifested in their questions.
Not only do men and women like to behave properly themselves, but
all desire to know what is the best school of manners, that they
may educate their children therein. Such minds are the best
conservators of law and order. It is not a communistic spirit that
asks, "How can I do this thing in a better way?" It is that wise
and liberal conservatism which includes reverence for law, respect
for age, belief in religion, and a desire for a refined society. A
book on etiquette, however patiently considered and honestly
written, must have many shortcomings, and contain disputed
testimony. All we can do is endeavor to mention those fashions and
customs which we believe to be the best, remembering always, as we
have said, that the great law of change goes on forever, that our
stately grandfathers had fashions which we should now consider
gross and unbecoming, while we have customs, particularly of
speech, which would have shocked them. This law of change is not
only one which time modifies, but with us the South, the North,
the East, and the West differ as to certain points of etiquette.
All, however, agree in saying that there is a good society in
America whose mandates are supreme. All feel that the well-bred
man or woman is a "recognized institution." Everybody laughed at
the mistakes of Daisy Miller, and saw wherein she and her mother
were wrong. Independent American girls may still choose to travel
without a chaperon, but they must be prepared to fight a
well-founded prejudice if they do. There is a recognition of the
necessity of good manners, and a profound conviction, let us hope,
that a graceful manner is the outcropping of a well-regulated mind
and of a good heart.


I. Women as Leaders ... 13
II. Optional Civilities ... 29
III. Good and Bad Society ... 36
IV. On Introducing People ... 44
V. Visiting ... 58
VI. Invitations, Acceptances, and Regrets ... 66
VII. Cards of Compliment, Courtesy, Condolence, and Congratulation
... 74
VIII. The Etiquette of Weddings ... 82
IX. Who Pays for the Cards ... 94
X. Weddings after Easter ... 102
XI. Summer Weddings ... 110
XII Autumn Weddings ... 117
XIII. Before the Wedding and After ... 125
XIV. Gold, Silver, and Tin Weddings ... 133
XV. The Etiquette of Balls ... 142
XVI. Fashionable Dancing ... 150
XVII. Letters and Letter Writing ... 159
XVIII. Costly thy Habit ... 167
XlX. Dressing for Driving ... 174
XX. Incongruities of Dress ... 181
XXI. Etiquette of Mourning ... 188
XXII. Mourning and Funeral Usages ... 200
XXIII. Letters of Condolence ... 207
XXIV. Chaperons and Their Duties ... 214
XXV. Etiquette for Elderly Girls ... 223
XXVI. New Year's Calls ... 230
XXVII. Matin‚es And Soir‚es ... 239
XXVIII. Afternoon Tea ... 247
XXIX. Caudle And Christening Cups and Ceremonies ... 255
XXX. Modern Dinner Table ... 261
XXXI. Laying the Dinner-table ... 269
XXXII. Favors and Bonbonni‚res ... 277
XXXIII. Dinner Table Novelites ... 285
XXXIV. Summer Dinners ... 292
XXXV. Luncheons, Informal and Social ... 300
XXXVI. Supper Parties ... 307
XXXVII. Simple Dinners ... 314
XXXVIII. The Small Talk of Society ... 320
XXXIX. Garden Parties ... 328
XL. Silver Weddings and Other Wedding Anniversaries ... 335
XLI. Spring And Summer Entertainments ... 343
XLII. Floral Tributes and Decorations ... 353
XLIII. The Fork and the Spoon ... 359
XLIV. Napkins and Table-cloths ... 364
XLV. Servants, their Dress and Duties ... 371
XLVI. House with One Servant ... 380
XLVII. House with Two Servants ... 886
XLVIII. House with Many Servants ... 394
XLIX. Manners: A Study For The Awkward and the Shy ... 401
L. How To Treat A Guest ... 408
LI. Lady And Gentleman ... 415
LIL The Manners of the Past ... 424
LIII. The Manners of the Optimist ... 484
LIV. The Manners of the Sympathetic ... 441
LV. Certain Questions Answered ... 450
LVI. English Table Manners and Social Usages. ... 457
LVII. American And English Etiquette Contrasted ... 465
LVIII. How To Treat English People ... 473
LIX. A Foreign Table D'H“te, and Casino Life Abroad ... 480



Nothing strikes the foreigner so much (since the days of De
Tocqueville, the first to mention it) as the prominent position of
woman in the best society of America. She has almost no position
in the political world. She is not a leader, an _intrigante_ in
politics, as she is in France. We have no Madame de Stael, no
Princess Belgioso, here to make and unmake our Presidents; but
women do all the social work, which in Europe is done not only by
women, but by young bachelors and old ones, statesmen, princes,
ambassadors, and _attaches_. Officials are connected with every
court whose business it is to visit, write and answer invitations,
leave cards, call, and perform all the multifarious duties of the
social world.

In America, the lady of the house does all this. Her men are all
in business or in pleasure, her sons are at work or off yachting.
They cannot spend time to make their dinner calls--"Mamma, please
leave my cards" is the legend written on their banners.

Thus to women, as the conductors of social politics, is committed
the card--that pasteboard protocol, whose laws are well defined
in every land but our own.

Now, in ten different books on etiquette which we have consulted
we find ten different opinions upon the subject of first calls, as
between two women. We cannot, therefore, presume to decide where
so many doctors disagree, but give the commonly received opinions
as expressed by the customs of New York society.

When should a lady call first upon a new and a desirable
acquaintance? Not hastily. She should have met the new and
desirable acquaintance, should have been properly introduced,
should feel sure that her acquaintance is desired. The oldest
resident, the one most prominent in fashion, should call first;
but, if there is no such distinction, two women need not forever
stand at bay each waiting for the other to call. A very admirable
and polite expedient has been: substituted for a first call in the
sending out of cards, for several days in the month, by a lady who
wishes to begin her social life, we will say, in a new city. These
may or may not be accompanied by the card of some well-known
friend. If these cards bring the desired visits or the cards of
the desired guests, the beginner may feel that she has started on
her society career with no loss of self respect. Those who do not
respond are generally in a minority. Too much haste in making new
acquaintances, however--"pushing," as it is called-cannot be too
much deprecated.

First calls should be returned within a week. If a lady is invited
to any entertainment by a new acquaintance, whether the invitation
come through a friend or not, she should immediately leave cards,
and send either a regret or an acceptance. To lose time in this
matter is a great rudeness. Whether she attend the entertainment
or not, she should call after it within a week. Then, having done
all that is polite, and having shown herself a woman of
good-breeding, she can keep up the acquaintance or not as she
pleases. Sometimes there are reasons why a lady does not wish to
keep up the acquaintance, but she must not, for her own sake, be
oblivious to the politeness extended. Some very rude people in New
York have sent back invitations, or failed to recognize the first
attempt at civility, saying, "We don't know the people." This is
not the way to discourage unpleasant familiarity. In New York,
Boston, and Philadelphia, and in the large cities of the West, and
generally in the country: towns, residents call first upon
new-comers; but in Washington this custom is reversed, and the
new-comer calls first upon the resident. Every one--officials of
the highest down to the lowest grade returns these cards. The
visitor generally finds himself invited to the receptions of the
President and his Cabinet, etc. This arrangement is so convenient
that it is a thousand pities it does not go into operation all
over the country, particularly in those large cities where the
resident cannot know if her dearest friend be in town unless
informed in some such way of the fact.

This does not, as might be supposed, expose society to the
intrusion of unwelcome visitors. Tact, which is the only guide
through the mazes of society, will enable a woman to avoid
anything like an unwelcome intimacy or a doubtful acquaintance,
even if such a person should "call first."

Now the question comes up, and here doctors disagree: When may a
lady call by proxy, or when may she send her card, or when must
she call in person?

After a dinner-party a guest must call in person and inquire if
the hostess is at home. For other entertainments it is allowed, in
New York, that the lady call by proxy, or that she simply send her
card. In sending to inquire for a person's health, cards may be
sent by a servant, with a kindly message.

No first visit should, however, be returned by card only; this
would be considered a slight, unless followed by an invitation.
The size of New York, the great distances, the busy life of a
woman of charities, large family, and immense circle of
acquaintances may render a personal visit almost impossible. She
may be considered to have done her duty if she in her turn asks
her new acquaintance to call on her on a specified day, if she is
not herself able to call.

Bachelors should leave cards (if they ever leave any) on the
master and mistress of the house, and, in America, upon the young
ladies. A gentleman does not turn down the corners of his
card--indeed, that fashion has become almost obsolete, except,
perhaps, where a lady wishes it distinctly understood that she has
called in person. The plainer the card the better. A small, thin
card for a gentleman, not glazed, with his name in small script
and his address well engraved in the corner, is in good taste. A
lady's card should be larger, but not glazed or ornamented in any
way. It is a rule with sticklers for good-breeding that after any
entertainment a gentleman should leave his card in person,
although, as we have said, he often commits it to some feminine

No gentleman should call on a lady unless she asks him to do so,
or unless he brings a letter of introduction, or unless he is
taken by a lady who is sufficiently intimate to invite him to
call. A lady should say to a gentleman, if she wishes him to call,
"I hope that we shall see you," or, "I am at home on Monday," or
something of that sort. If he receives an invitation to dinner or
to a ball from a stranger, he is bound to send an immediate
answer, call the very next day, leave his card, and then to call
after the entertainment.

This, at least, is foreign etiquette, and we cannot do better than
import it. This rule holds good for the entertainments of
bachelors, who should leave their cards on each other after an
entertainment, unless the intimacy is so great that no card-
leaving is expected.

When a lady returns to town, after an absence in Europe or in the
country, it is strict etiquette that she should leave cards on all
her acquaintances and friends if she expects to entertain or to
lead a gay, social winter; but as distances in our great cities
are formidable, as all ladies do not keep a carriage, as most
ladies have a great deal else to do besides making visits, this
long and troublesome process is sometimes simplified by giving a
tea or a series of teas, which enables the lady, by staying at
home on one evening of a week, or two or three afternoons of a
month, to send out her cards to that effect, and to thus show her
friends that she at least remembers them. As society and
card-leaving thus become rapidly complicated, a lady should have a
visiting-book, into which her list is carefully copied, with
spaces for days and future engagements.

A servant must be taught to receive the cards at the door,
remember messages, and recollect for whom they are left, as it is
not proper in calling upon Mrs. Brown at a private house to write
her name on your card. At a crowded hotel this may be allowed, but
it is not etiquette in visiting at private houses. In returning
visits, observe the exact etiquette of the person who has left the
first card. A call must not be returned with a card only, or a
card by a call. If a person send you a card by post, return a card
by post; if a personal visit is made, return it by a personal
visit; if your acquaintance leave cards only, without inquiring if
you are at home, return the same courtesy. If she has left the
cards of the gentlemen of her family, return those of the
gentlemen of your family.

A young lady's card should almost always be accompanied by that of
her mother or her chaperon. It is well, on her entrance into
society, that the name of the young lady be engraved on her
mother's card. After she has been out a year, she may leave her
own card only. Here American etiquette begins to differ from
English etiquette. In London, on the other hand, no young lady
leaves her card: if she is motherless, her name is engraved
beneath the name of her father, and the card of her chaperon is
left with both until she becomes a maiden lady of somewhat mature
if uncertain age.

It is rare now to see the names of both husband and wife engraved
on one card, as "Mr. and Mrs. Brown." The lady has her own card,
"Mrs. Octavius Brown," or with the addition, "The Misses Brown."
Her husband has his separate card; each of the sons has his own
card. No titles are used on visiting-cards in America, save
military, naval, or judicial ones; and, indeed, many of our most
distinguished judges have had cards printed simply with the name,
without prefix or affix. "Mr. Webster," "Mr. Winthrop," "Henry
Clay" are well-known instances of simplicity. But a woman must
always use the prefix "Mrs." or "Miss." A gentleman may or may not
use the prefix "Mr.," as he pleases, but women must treat
themselves with more respect. No card is less proper than one
which is boldly engraved "Gertrude F. Brown;" it should be "Miss
Gertrude F. Brown."

A married lady always bears her husband's name, during his life,
on her card. Some discussion is now going on as to whether she
should continue to call herself "Mrs. Octavius Brown" or "Mrs.
Mary Brown" after his death. The burden of opinion is in favor of
the latter--particularly as a son may bear his father's name, so
there will be two Mrs. Octavius Browns. No lady wishes to be known
as "old Mrs. Octavius Brown," and as we do not use the convenient
title of Dowager, we may as well take the alternative of the
Christian name. We cannot say "Mrs. Octavius Brown, Jr.," if the
husband has ceased to be a junior. Many married ladies hesitate to
discard the name by which they have always been known. Perhaps the
simple "Mrs. Brown" is the best, after all. No lady should leave
cards upon an unmarried gentleman, except in the case of his
having given entertainments at which ladies were present. Then the
lady of the house should drive to his door with the cards of
herself and family, allowing the footman to leave them.

The young ladies' names, in such a case as this, should be
engraven on their mother's card.

"We have no leisure class," as Henry James says in his brilliant
"International Episode;" but still young men should try to make
time to call on those who entertain them, showing by some sort of
personal attention their gratitude for the politeness shown them.
American young men are, as a rule, very remiss about this matter
of calling on the hostess whose hospitality they accept.

A gentleman should not call on a young lady without asking for her
mother or her chaperon. Nor should he leave cards for her alone,
but always leave one for her mother.

Ladies can, and often do, write informal invitations on the
visiting-card. To teas, readings, and small parties, may be added
the day of reception. It is convenient and proper to send these
cards by post. Everything can be sent by post now, except an
invitation to dinner, and that must always be sent by private
hand, and an answer must be immediately returned in the same
formal manner.

After balls, amateur concerts, theatrical parties, garden-parties,
or "at homes," cards should be left by all invited guests within a
week after the invitation, particularly if the invited guest has
been obliged to decline. These cards may be left without inquiring
for the hostess, if time presses; but it is more polite to inquire
for the hostess, even if it is not her day. If it is her reception
day, it would be rude not to inquire, enter, and pay a personal
visit. After a dinner, one must inquire for the hostess and pay a
personal visit. It is necessary to mention this fact, because so
many ladies have got into the habit (having large acquaintances)
of leaving or sending cards in by a footman, without inquiring for
the hostess (who is generally not at home), that there has grown
up a confusion, which leads to offence being taken where none is

It is not considered necessary to leave cards after a tea. A lady
leaves her cards as she enters the hall, pays her visit, and the
etiquette of a visiting acquaintance is thus established for a
year. She should, however, give a tea herself, asking all her

If a lady has been invited to a tea or other entertainment through
a friend without having known her hostess, she is bound to call
soon; but if the invitation is not followed up by a return card or
another invitation, she must understand that the acquaintance is
at an end. She may, however, invite her new friend, within a
reasonable time, to some entertainment at her own house, and if
that is accepted, the acquaintance goes on. It is soon ascertained
by a young woman who begins life in a new city whether her new
friends intend to be friendly or the reverse. A resident of a town
or village can call, with propriety, on any new-comer. The
newcomer must return this call; but, if she does not desire a
further acquaintance, this can be the end of it. The time of
calling must in every town be settled by the habits of the place;
after two o'clock and before six is, however, generally safe.

In England they have a pleasant fashion of calling to inquire for
invalids or afflicted friends, and of pencilling the words "kind
inquiries." It has not obtained that popularity in America which
it deserves, and it would be well to introduce it. If a lady call
on a person who is a stranger to her, and if she has difficulty in
impressing her name on the servant, she sends up her card, while
she waits to see if the lady will receive her. But she must never
on any occasion hand her own card to her hostess. If she enters
the parlor and finds her hostess there, she must introduce herself
by pronouncing her own name distinctly. If she is acquainted with
the lady, she simply gives her name to the servant, and does not
send up her card.

Wedding-cards have great prominence in America, but we ignore
those elaborate funeral-cards and christening-cards, and printed
cards with announcements of engagements, and many other cards
fashionable abroad. With us the cards of the bride and her
parents, and sometimes of the _fianc‚_, are sent to all friends
before the wedding, and those of the invitation to the wedding to
a few only, it may be, or to all, as the family desire. After the
marriage, the cards of the married pair, with their address, are
sent to all whose acquaintance is desired.

Husbands and wives rarely call together in America, although there
is no law against their doing so. It is unusual because, as we
have said, we have no "leisure class." Gentlemen are privileged to
call on Sunday, after church, and on Sunday evenings. A mother and
daughter should call together, or, if the mother is an invalid,
the daughter can call, leaving her mother's card.

"Not at home" is a proper formula, if ladies are not receiving;
nor does it involve a falsehood. It merely means that the lady is
not at home to company. The servant should also add, "Mrs. Brown
receives on Tuesdays," if the lady has a day. Were not ladies able
to deny themselves to callers there would be no time in crowded
cities for any sort of work, or repose, or leisure for self-
improvement. For, with the many idle people who seek to rid
themselves of the pain and penalty of their own vapid society by
calling and making somebody else entertain them, with the
wandering book-agents and beggars, or with even the overflow of
society, a lady would find her existence muddled away by the
poorest and most abject of occupations--that of receiving a number
of inconsiderate, and perhaps impertinent, wasters of time.

It is well for all house-keepers to devote one day in the week to
the reception of visitors--the morning to tradespeople and those
who may wish to see her on business, and the afternoon to those
who call socially. It saves her time and simplifies matters.

Nothing is more vulgar than that a caller should ask the servant
where his mistress is, when she went out, when she will be in, how
soon she will be down, etc. All that a well-bred servant should
say to such questions is, "I do not know, madam." A mistress
should inform her servant after breakfast _what he is to say_ to
all comers. It is very offensive to a visitor to be let in, and
then be told that she cannot see the lady of the house. She feels
personally insulted, and as if, had she been some other person,
the lady of the house would perhaps have seen her.

If a servant, evidently ignorant and uncertain of his mistress and
her wishes, says, "I will see if Mrs. Brown will see you," and
ushers you into the parlor, it is only proper to go in and wait.
But it is always well to say, "If Mrs. Brown is going out, is
dressing, or is otherwise engaged, ask her not to trouble herself
to come down." Mrs. Brown will be very much obliged to you. In
calling on a friend who is staying with people with whom you are
not acquainted, always leave a card for the lady of the house. The
lack of this attention is severely felt by new people who may
entertain a fashionable woman as their guest--one who receives
many calls from those who do not know her hostess. It is never
proper to call on a guest without asking for the hostess.

Again, if the hostess be a very fashionable woman, and the visitor
decidedly not so, it is equally vulgar to make one's friend who
may be a guest in the house a sort of entering wedge for an
acquaintance; a card should be left, but unaccompanied by any
request to see the lady of the house. This every lady will at once
understand. A lady who has a guest staying with her who receives
really calls should always try to place a parlor at her disposal
where she can see her friends alone, unless she be a very young
person, to whom the chaperonage of the hostess is indispensable.

If the lady of the house is in the drawing-room when the visitor
arrives to call on her guest, she is, of course, introduced and
says a few words; and if she is not in the room, the guest should
inquire of the visitor if the lady of the house will see him or
her, thus giving her a chance to accept or decline.

In calling on the sons or the daughters of the house, every
visitor should leave a card for the father and mother. If ladies
are at home, cards should be left for the gentlemen of the family.

In Europe a young man is not allowed to ask for the young ladies
of the house in formal parlance, nor is he allowed to leave a card
on them--socially in Europe the "_jeune fille_" has no existence.
He calls on the mother or chaperon; the young lady may be sent
for, but he must not inquire for her first. Even if she is a young
lady at the head of a house, he is not allowed to call upon her
without some preliminaries; some amiable female friend must manage
to bring them together.

In America the other extreme has led to a very vicious system of
etiquette, by which young ladies are recognized as altogether
leaders of society, receiving the guests and pushing their mothers
into the background. It would amaze a large number of ambitious
young ladies to be told that it was not proper that young men
should call on them and be received by them alone. But the
solution would seem to be that the mother or chaperon should
advance to her proper place in this country, and while taking care
of her daughter, appearing with her in public, and receiving
visits with her, still permit that good-natured and well-intended
social intercourse between young men and women which is so seldom
abused, and which has led to so many happy marriages. It is one of
the points yet debatable how much liberty should be allowed young
ladies. Certainly, however, we do not wish to hold our young girls
up to the scorn and ridicule of the novelist or the foreign critic
by ignoring what has been a recognized tenet of good manners since
society was formed. The fact that the chaperon is a necessary
institution, and that to married ladies and to elderly ladies
should be paid all due respect, is a subject of which we shall
treat later. No young lady who is visiting in a strange city or
country town should ever receive the visits of gentlemen without
asking her hostess and her daughters to come down and be
introduced to them; nor should she ever invite such persons to
call without asking her hostess if it would be agreeable. To
receive an ordinary acquaintance at any hour, even that of the
afternoon reception, without her hostess would be very bad
manners. We fear the practice is too common, however. How much
worse to receive a lover, or a gentleman who may aspire to the
honor of becoming one, at unusual hours, without saying anything
to the lady of the house! Too many young American girls are in the
habit of doing so: making of their friend's house a convenience by
which an acquaintance with a young man may be carried on--a young
man too, perhaps, who has been forbidden her own home.

A bride receives her callers after she has settled down in her
married home just as any lady does. There is no particular
etiquette observed. She sends out cards for two or three reception
days, and her friends and new acquaintances call or send cards on
these days. She must not, however, call on her friends until they
have called upon her.

As many of these callers--friends, perhaps, of the bridegroom--are
unknown to the bride, it is well to have a servant announce the
names; and they should also leave their cards in the hall that she
may be able to know where to return the visits.

What has so far been said will serve to give a general idea of the
card and its uses, and of the duties which it imposes upon
different members of society. Farther on in this volume we will
take up, in much more particular fashion, the matters only alluded
to in this opening chapter.

We may say that cards have changed less in the history of
etiquette and fashion than anything else. They, the shifting
pasteboards, are in style about what they were fifty--nay, a
hundred--years ago.

The plain, unglazed card with fine engraved script cannot be
improved upon. The passing fashion for engraved autographs, for
old English, for German text, all these fashions have had but a
brief hour. Nothing is in worse taste than for an American to put
a coat-of-arms on his card. It only serves to make him ridiculous.

A lady should send up her card by a servant, but not deliver it to
the lady of the house; a card is yourself, therefore if you meet a
lady, she does not want two of you. If you wish to leave your
address, leave a card on the hall table. One does right in leaving
a card on the hall table at a reception, and one need not call
again. An invitation to one's house cancels all indebtedness. If a
card is left on a lady's reception, she should make the next call,
although many busy society women now never make calls, except when
they receive invitations to afternoon teas or receptions.

When a gentleman calls on ladies who are at home, if he knows them
well he does not send up a card; the servant announces his name.
If he does not know them well, he does send up a card. One card is
sufficient, but he can inquire for them all. In leaving cards it
is not necessary to leave seven or eight, but it is customary to
leave two--one for the lady of the house, the other for the rest
of the family or the stranger who is within their gates. If a
gentleman wishes particularly to call on any one member, he says
so to the servant, as "Take my card up to Miss Jones," and he
adds, "I should like to see all the ladies if they are at home."
The trouble in answering this question is that authorities differ.
We give the latest London and New York fashion, so far as we know,
and also what we believe to be the common-sense view. A gentleman
can ask first for the lady of the house, then for any other member
of the family, but he need never leave more than two cards. He
must in this, as in all etiquette, exercise common-sense. No one
can define all the ten thousand little points.


There are many optional civilities in life which add very much to
its charm if observed, but which cannot be called indispensable.
To those which are harmless and graceful we shall give a cursory
glance, and to those which are doubtful and perhaps harmful we
shall also briefly allude, leaving it to the common-sense of the
reader as to whether he will hereafter observe in his own manners
these so-called optional civilities.

In France, when a gentleman takes off his hat in a windy street or
in an exposed passage-way, and holds it in his hand while talking
to a lady, she always says, "_Couvrez vous_" (I beg of you not to
stand uncovered). A kind-hearted woman says this to a boatman, a
coachman, a man of low degree, who always takes off his hat when a
lady speaks to him. Now in our country, unfortunately, the cabmen
have such bad manners that a lady seldom has the opportunity of
this optional civility, for, unlike a similar class in Europe,
those who serve you for your money in America often throw in a
good deal of incivility with the service, and no book of etiquette
is more needed than one which should teach shop-girls and shop-men
the beauty and advantages of a respectful manner. If men who drive
carriages and street cabs would learn the most advantageous way of
making money, they would learn to touch their hats to a lady when
she speaks to them or gives an order. It is always done in the Old
World, and this respectful air adds infinitely to the pleasures of
foreign travel.

In all foreign hotels the landlords enforce such respect on the
part of the waiters to the guests of the hotel that if two
complaints are made of incivility, the man or woman complained of
is immediately dismissed. In a livery-stable, if the hired
coachman is complained of for an uncivil answer, or even a silence
which is construed as incivility, he is immediately discharged. On
the lake of Como, if a lady steps down to a wharf to hire a boat,
every boatman takes off his cap until she has finished speaking,
and remains uncovered until she asks him to put on his hat.

Now optional civilities, such as saying to one's inferior, "Do not
stand without your hat," to one's equal, "Do not rise, I beg of
you," "Do not come out in the rain to put me in my carriage,"
naturally occur to the kind-hearted, but they may be cultivated.
It used to be enumerated among the uses of foreign travel that a
man went away a bear and came home a gentleman. It is not natural
to the Anglo-Saxon race to be overpolite. They have no _petits
soins_. A husband in France moves out an easy-chair for his wife,
and sets a footstool for every lady. He hands her the morning
paper, he brings a shawl if there is danger of a draught, he
kisses her hand when he comes in, and he tries to make himself
agreeable to her in the matter of these little optional
civilities. It has the most charming effect upon all domestic
life, and we find a curious allusion to the politeness observed by
French sons towards their mothers and fathers in one of Moliere's
comedies, where a prodigal son observes to his father, who comes
to denounce him, "Pray, sir, take a chair," says Prodigal; "you
could scold me so much more at your ease if you were seated."

If this was a piece of optional civility which had in it a bit of
sarcasm, we can readily see that civility lends great strength to
satire, and take a hint from it in our treatment of rude people. A
lady once entering a crowded shop, where the women behind the
counter were singularly inattentive and rude even for America,
remarked to one young woman who was lounging on the counter, and
who did not show any particular desire to serve her,

"My dear, you make me a convert to the Saturday-afternoon
early-closing rule, and to the plan for providing seats for
saleswomen, for I see that fatigue has impaired your usefulness to
your employer."

The lounger started to her feet with flashing eyes. "I am as
strong as you are," said she, very indignantly.

"Then save yourself a report at the desk by showing me some lace,"
said the lady, in a soft voice, with a smile.

She was served after this with alacrity. In America we are all
workers; we have no privileged class; we are earning money in
various servitudes, called variously law, medicine, divinity,
literature, art, mercantile business, or as clerks, servants,
seamstresses, and nurses, and we owe it to our work to do it not
only honestly but pleasantly. It is absolutely necessary to
success in the last-mentioned profession that a woman have a
pleasant manner, and it is a part of the instruction of the
training-school of nurses, that of civility. It is not every one
who has a fascinating manner. What a great gift of fortune it is!
But it is in every one's power to try and cultivate a civil

In the matter of "keeping a hotel"--a slang expression which has
become a proverb--how well the women in Europe understand their
business, and how poorly the women in America understand theirs!
In England and all over the Continent the newly arrived stranger
is received by a woman neatly dressed, with pleasant, respectful
manners, who is overflowing with optional civilities. She conducts
the lady to her room, asks if she will have the blinds drawn or
open, if she will have hot water or cold, if she would like a cup
of tea, etc.; sends a neat chambermaid to her to take her orders,
gets her pen and paper for her notes--in fact, treats her as a
lady should treat a guest. Even in very rural districts the
landlady comes out to her own door to meet the stranger, holds her
neat hand to assist her to alight, and performs for her all the
service she can while she is under her roof.

In America a lady may alight in what is called a tavern, weary,
travel-stained, and with a headache. She is shown into a
waiting-room where sits, perhaps, an overdressed female in a
rocking-chair violently fanning herself. She learns that this is
the landlady. She asks if she can have a room, some hot water,
etc. The answer may be, "I don't know; I don't have to work;
perhaps Jim will tell you." And it is to the man of the house that
the traveller must apply. It is a favorable sign that American men
are never ashamed to labor, although they may not overflow with
civility. It is a very unfavorable sign for the women of America
when they are afraid or ashamed of work, and when they hesitate to
do that which is nearest them with civility and interest.

Another test of self-respect, and one which is sometimes lacking
in those whom the world calls fashionable, those who have the
possessions which the majority of us desire, fine houses, fine
clothes, wealth, good position, etc., is the lack or the presence
of "fine courtesy," which shall treat every one so that he or she
is entirely at ease.

"Society is the intercourse of persons on a footing of apparent
equality," and if so, any one in it who treats other people so as
to make them uncomfortable is manifestly unfit for society. Now an
optional courtesy should be the unfailing custom of such a woman,
we will say, one who has the power of giving pain by a slight, who
can wound _amour propre_ in the shy, can make a _d‚butante_
stammer and blush, can annoy a shy youth by a sneer. How many a
girl has had her society life ruined by the cruelty of a society
leader! how many a young man has had his blood frozen by a
contemptuous smile at his awkwardness! How much of the native
good-will of an impulsive person has been frozen into a caustic
and sardonic temper by the lack of a little optional civility? The
servant who comes for a place, and seats herself while the lady
who speaks to her is standing, is wanting in optional civility.
She sins from ignorance, and should be kindly told of her offence,
and taught better manners. The rich woman who treats a guest
impolitely, the landlady who sits in her rocking-chair while the
traveller waits for those comforts which her house of call
invites, all are guilty of the same offence. It hurts the landlady
and the servant more nearly than it does the rich woman, because
it renders their self-imposed task of getting a living the more
difficult, but it is equally reprehensible in all three.

Good manners are said to be the result of a kind heart and careful
home training; bad manners, the result of a coarse nature and
unwise training. We are prone to believe that bad manners in
Americans are almost purely from want of thought. There is no more
generous, kindly, or better people in the world than the standard
American, but he is often an untrained creature. The thousands of
emigrants who land on our shores, with privileges which they never
thought to have thrust upon them, how can they immediately learn
good manners? In the Old World tradition of power is still so
fresh that they have to learn respect for their employers there.
Here there are no such traditions.

The first duty, then, it would seem, both for those to whom
fortune has been kind and for those who are still courting her
favors, would be to study optional civility; not only the
decencies of life, but a little more. Not only be virtuous, but
have the shadows of virtue. Be polite, be engaging; give a cordial
bow, a gracious smile; make sunshine in a shady place. Begin at
home with your optional civility. Not only avoid those serious
breaches of manners which should cause a man to kick another man
down-stairs, but go further than good manners--have _better_
manners. Let men raise their hats to women, give up seats in cars,
kiss the hand of an elderly lady if she confers the honor of her
acquaintance upon them, protect the weak, assist the fallen, and
cultivate civility; in every class of life this would oil the
wheels; and especially let American women seek to mend their

Optional civility does not in any way include familiarity. We
doubt whether it is not the best of all armor against it.
Familiarity is "bad style." It is not civility which causes one
lady to say to another, "Your bonnet is very unbecoming; let me
beg of you to go to another milliner." That is familiarity, which
however much it may be supposed to be excess of friendship, is
generally either caused by spite or by a deficiency of respect The
latter is never pardonable. It is in doubtful taste to warn people
of their faults, to comment upon their lack of taste, to carry
them disagreeable tidings, under the name of friendship. On the
Continent, where diffidence is unknown, where a man, whoever he
may be, has a right to speak to his fellow-man (if he does it
civilly), where a woman finds other women much more polite to her
than women are to each other in this country, there is no
familiarity. It is almost an insult to touch the person; for
instance, no one places his hand on the arm or shoulder of another
person unless there is the closest intimacy; but everywhere there
is an optional civility freely given between poor and poor, rich
and poor, rich and rich, superiors and inferiors, between equals.
It would be pleasant to follow this out in detail, the results are
so agreeable and so honorable.


Many of our correspondents ask us to define what is meant by the
terms "good society" and "bad society." They say that they read in
the newspapers of the "good society" in New York and Washington
and Newport, and that it is a record of drunkenness, flirtation,
bad manners and gossip, backbiting, divorce, and slander. They
read that the fashionable people at popular resorts commit all
sorts of vulgarities, such as talking aloud at the opera, and
disturbing their neighbors; that young men go to a dinner, get
drunk, and break glasses; and one ingenuous young girl remarks,
"We do not call that good society in Atlanta."

Such a letter might have been written to that careful chronicler
of "good society" in the days of Charles II., old Pepys of courtly
fame. The young maiden of Hertfordshire, far from the Court, might
well have thought of Rochester and such "gay sparks," and the
ladies who threw glasses of wine at them, as not altogether
well-bred, nor entitled to admission into "good society." We
cannot blame her.

It is the old story. Where, too, as in our land, pleasure and
luxury rule a certain set who enjoy no tradition of good manners,
the contradiction in terms is the more apparent. Even the external
forms of respect to good manners are wanting. No such overt
vulgarity, for instance, as talking aloud at the opera will ever
be endured in London, because a powerful class of really well-born
and well-bred people will hiss it down, and insist on the quiet
which music, of all other things, demands. That is what we mean by
a tradition of good manners.

In humbler society, we may say as in the household of a Scotch
peasant, such as was the father of Carlyle, the breaches of
manners which are often seen in fashionable society would never
occur. They would appear perfectly impossible to a person who had
a really good heart and a gentle nature. The manners of a young
man of fashion who keeps his hat on when speaking to a lady, who
would smoke in her face, and would appear indifferent to her
comfort at a supper-table, who would be contradictory and
neglectful--such manners would have been impossible to Thomas or
John Carlyle, reared as they were in the humblest poverty. It was
the "London swell" who dared to be rude in their day as now.

But this impertinence and arrogance of fashion should not prevent
the son of a Scotch peasant from acquiring, or attempting to
acquire, the conventional habits and manners of a gentleman. If he
have already the grace of high culture, he should seek to add to
it the knowledge of social laws, which will render him an
agreeable person to be met in society. He must learn how to write
a graceful note, and to answer his invitations promptly; he must
learn the etiquette of dress and of leaving cards; he must learn
how to eat his dinner gracefully, and, even if he sees in good
society men of external polish guilty of a rudeness which would
have shocked the man who in the Scotch Highlands fed and milked
the cows, he still must not forget that society demands something
which was not found in the farm-yard. Carlyle, himself the
greatest radical and democrat in the world, found that life at
Craigenputtock would not do all for him, that he must go to London
and Edinburgh to rub off his solitary neglect of manners, and
strive to be like other people. On the other band, the Queen of
England has just refused to receive the Duke of Marlborough
because he notoriously ill-treated the best of wives, and had
been, in all his relations of life, what they call in England a
"cad." She has even asked him to give back the Star and Garter,
the insignia once worn by the great duke, which has never fallen
on shoulders so unworthy as those of the late Marquis of
Blandford, now Duke of Marlborough. For all this the world has
great reason to thank the Queen, for the present duke has been
always in "good society," and such is the reverence felt for rank
and for hereditary name in England that he might have continued in
the most fashionable circles for all his bad behaviour, still
being courted for name and title, had not the highest lady in the
land rebuked him.

She has refused to receive the friends of the Prince of Wales,
particularly some of his American favorites, this good Queen,
because she esteems good manners and a virtuous life as a part of
good society.

Now, those who are not "in society" are apt to mistake all that is
excessive, all that is boorish, all that is snobbish, all that is
aggressive, as being a part of that society. In this they are
wrong. No one estimates the grandeur of the ocean by the rubbish
thrown up on the shore. Fashionable society, good society, the
best society, is composed of the very best people, the most
polished and accomplished, religious, moral, and charitable.

The higher the civilization, therefore, the better the society,
it being always borne in mind that there will be found, here and
there, the objectionable outgrowths of a false luxury and of an
insincere culture. No doubt, among the circles of the highest
nobility, while the king and queen may be people of simple and
unpretending manners, there may be some arrogant and
self-sufficient master of ceremonies, some Malvolio whose
pomposity is in strange contrast to the good-breeding of Olivia.
It is the lesser star which twinkles most. The "School for
Scandal" is a lasting picture of the folly and frivolity of a
certain phase of London society in the past, and it repeats itself
in every decade. There is always a Mrs. Candour, a Sir Benjamin
Backbite, and a scandalous college at Newport, in New York,
Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Saratoga,
Long Branch, wherever society congregates. It is the necessary
imperfection, the seamy side. Such is the reverse of the pattern.
Unfortunately, the right side is not so easily described. The
colors of a beautiful bit of brocade are, when seen as a whole, so
judiciously blended that they can hardly be pronounced upon
individually: one only admires the _tout ensemble_, and that
uncritically, perhaps.

That society is bad whose members, however tenacious they be of
forms of etiquette and elaborate ceremonials, have one code of
manners for those whom they deem their equals, and another for
those whom they esteem to be of less importance to them by reason
of age, pecuniary condition, or relative social influence. Bad
manners are apt to prove the concomitant of a mind and disposition
that are none too good, and the fashionable woman who slights and
wounds people because they cannot minister to her ambition,
challenges a merciless criticism of her own moral shortcomings. A
young girl who is impertinent or careless in her demeanor to her
mother or her mother's friends; who goes about without a chaperon
and talks slang; who is careless in her bearing towards young men,
permitting them to treat her as if she were one of themselves;
who accepts the attention of a young man of bad character or
dissipated habits because he happens to be rich; who is loud in
dress and rough in manner--such a young girl is "bad society," be
she the daughter of an earl or a butcher. There are many such
instances of audacity in the so-called "good society" of America,
but such people do not spoil it; they simply isolate themselves.

A young man is "bad society" who is indifferent to those older
than himself, who neglects to acknowledge invitations, who sits
while a lady stands, who goes to a ball and does not speak to his
host, who is selfish, who is notoriously immoral and careless of
his good name, and who throws discredit on his father and mother
by showing his ill-breeding. No matter how rich, how externally
agreeable to those whom he may wish to court, no matter how much
varnish of outward manner such a man may possess, he is "bad

A parvenue who assumes to keep other people out of the society
which she has just conquered, whose thoughts are wholly upon
social success (which means, with her, knowing somebody who has
heretofore refused to know her), who is climbing, and throwing
backward looks of disdain upon those who also climb--such a woman,
unfortunately too common in America, is, when she happens to have
achieved a fashionable position, one of the worst instances of bad
society. She may be very prominent, powerful, and influential. She
may have money and "entertain," and people desirous of being
amused may court her, and her bad manners will be accepted by the
careless observer as one of the concomitants of fashion. The
reverse is true. She is an interloper in the circles of good
society, and the old fable of the ass in the lion's skin fits her
precisely. Many a duchess in England is such an interloper; her
supercilious airs betray the falsity of her politeness, but she is
obliged by the rules of the Court at which she has been educated
to "behave like a lady;" she has to counterfeit good-breeding; she
cannot, she dare not, behave as a woman who has suddenly become
rich may sometimes, nay does, behave in American society, and
still be received.

It will thus be seen, as has been happily expressed, that "fashion
has many classes, and many rules of probation and admission." A
young person ignorant of its laws should not be deluded, however,
by false appearances. If a young girl comes from the most secluded
circles to Saratoga, and sees some handsome, well-dressed,
conspicuous woman much courted, lionized, as it were, and observes
in her what seems to be insolent pretence, unkindness, frivolity,
and superciliousness, let her inquire and wait before she accepts
this bit of brass for pure gold. Emerson defines "sterling fashion
as funded talent." Its objects may be frivolous or objectless;
but, in the long-run, its purposes are neither frivolous nor
accidental. It is an effort for good society; it is the bringing
together of admirable men and women in a pleasant way.
Good-breeding, personal superiority, beauty, genius, culture, are
all very good things. Every one delights in a person of charming
manners. Some people will forgive very great derelictions in a
person who has charming manners, but the truly good society is the
society of those who have virtue and good manners both.

Some Englishman asked an American, "What sort of a country is
America?" "It is a country where everybody can tread on
everybody's toes," was the answer.

It is very bad society where any one wishes to tread on his
neighbor's toes, and worse yet where there is a disposition to
feel aggrieved, or to show that one feels aggrieved. There are
certain people new in society who are always having their toes
trodden upon. They say: "Mrs. Brown snubbed me; Mrs. Smith does
not wish to know me; Mrs. Thompson ought to have invited me. I am
as good as any of them." This is very bad society. No woman with
self-respect will ever say such things. If one meets with
rudeness, take no revenge, cast no aspersions. Wit and tact,
accomplishments and social talents, may have elevated some woman
to a higher popularity than another, but no woman will gain that
height by complaining. Command of temper, delicacy of feeling, and
elegance of manner--all these are demanded of the persons who
become leaders of society, and would remain so. They alone are
"good society." Their imitators may masquerade for a time, and
tread on toes, and fling scorn and insult about them while in a
false and insecure supremacy; but such pretenders to the throne
are soon unseated. There is a dreadful Sedan and Strasburg
awaiting them. They distrust their own flatterers; their
"appanage" is not a solid one.

People who are looking on at society from a distance must remember
that women of the world are not always worldly women. They forget
that brilliancy in society may be accompanied by the best heart
and the sternest principle. The best people of the world are those
who know the world best. They recognize the fact that this world
should be known and served and treated with as much respect and
sincerity as that other world, which is to be our reward for
having conquered the one in which we live now.


A lady in her own house can in these United States do pretty much
as she pleases, but there is one thing in which our cultivated and
exclusive city fashionable society seems agreed, and that is, that
she must not introduce two ladies who reside in the same town. It
is an awkward and an embarrassing restriction, particularly as the
other rule, which renders it easy enough--the English rule--that
the "roof is an introduction," and that visitors can converse
without further notice, is not understood. So awkward, however,
are Americans about this, that even in very good houses one lady
has spoken to another, perhaps to a young girl, and has received
no answer, "because she had not been introduced;" but this state
of ignorance is, fortunately, not very common. It should be met by
the surprised rejoinder of the Hoosier school-mistress: "Don't yer
know enough to speak when yer spoken to?" Let every woman
remember, whether she is from the backwoods, or from the most
fashionable city house, that no such casual conversation can hurt
her. It does not involve the further acquaintance of these two
persons. They may cease to know each other when they go down the
front steps; and it would be kinder if they would both relieve the
lady of the house of their joint entertainment by joining in the
conversation, or even speaking to each other.

A hostess in this land is sometimes young, embarrassed, and not
fluent. The presence of two ladies with whom she is not very well
acquainted herself, and both of whom she must entertain, presents
a fearful dilemma. It is a kindness to her, which should outweigh
the dangers of making an acquaintance in "another set," if those
ladies converse a little with each other.

If one lady desires to be introduced to another, the hostess
should ask if she may do so, of course unobtrusively. Sometimes
this places one lady in an unlucky position towards another. She
does not know exactly what to do. Mrs. So-and-so may have the gift
of exclusiveness, and may desire that Mrs. That-and-that shall not
have the privilege of bowing to her. Gurowski says, in his very
clever book on America, that snobbishness is a peculiarity of the
fashionable set in America, because they do not know where they
stand. It is the peculiarity of vulgar people everywhere, whether
they sit on thrones or keep liquor-shops; snobs are born--not
made. If, ever, a lady has this gift or this drawback of
exclusiveness, it is wrong to invade her privacy by introducing
people to her.

Introducing should not be indiscriminately done either at home or
in society by any lady, however kind-hearted. Her own position
must be maintained, and that may demand a certain loyalty to her
own set. She must be careful how she lets loose on society an
undesirable or aggressive man, for instance, or a great bore, or a
vulgar, irritating woman. These will all be social obstacles to
the young ladies of her family, whom she must first consider. She
must not add to the embarrassments of a lady who has already too
large a visiting list. Unsolicited introductions are bad for both
parties. Some large-hearted women of society are too generous by
half in this way. A lady should by adroit questions find out how a
new acquaintance would be received, whether or not it is the
desire of both parties to know each other; for, if there is the
slightest doubt existing on this point, she will be blamed by
both. It is often the good-natured desire of a sympathetic person
that the people whom she knows well should know each other. She
therefore strives to bring them together at lunch or dinner, but
perhaps finds out afterwards that one of the ladies has particular
objections to knowing the other, and she is not thanked. The
disaffected lady shows her displeasure by being impolite to the
pushing lady, as she may consider her. Had no introduction taken
place, she argues, she might have Still enjoyed a reputation for
politeness. Wary women of the world are therefore very shy of
introducing two women to each other.

This is the awkward side. The more agreeable and, we may say,
humane side has its thousands and thousands of supporters, who
believe that a friendly introduction hurts no one; but we are now
not talking of kindness, but of etiquette, which is decidedly
opposed to indiscriminate introductions.

Society is such a complicated organization, and its laws are so
lamentably unwritten, yet so deeply engraved on certain minds,
that these things become important to those who are always winding
and unwinding the chains of fashion.

It is therefore well to state it as a received rule that no
gentleman should ever be introduced to a lady unless her
permission has been asked, and she be given an opportunity to
refuse; and that no woman should be introduced formally to another
woman unless the introducer has consulted the wishes of both
women. No delicate-minded person would ever intrude herself upon
the notice of a person to whom she had been casually introduced in
a friend's drawing-room; but all the world, unfortunately, is not
made up of delicate-minded persons.

In making an introduction, the gentleman is presented to the lady
with some such informal speech as this: "Mrs. A, allow me to
present Mr. B;" or, "Mrs. A, Mr. B desires the honor of knowing
you." In introducing two women, present the younger to the older
woman, the question of rank not holding good in our society where
the position of the husband, be he judge, general, senator, or
president even, does not give his wife fashionable position. She
may be of far less importance in the great world of society than
some Mrs. Smith, who, having nothing else, is set down as of the
highest rank in that unpublished but well-known book of heraldry
which is so thoroughly understood in America as a tradition. It is
the proper thing for a gentleman to ask a mutual friend or an
acquaintance to introduce him to a lady, and there are few
occasions when this request is refused. In our crowded ballrooms,
chaperons often ask young men if they will be introduced to their
charges. It is better before asking the young men of this present
luxurious age, if they will not only be introduced, but if they
propose to dance, with the young lady, else that young person may
be mortified by a snub. It is painful to record, as we must, that
the age of chivalry is past, and that at a gay ball young men
appear as supremely selfish, and desire generally only
introductions to the reigning belle, or to an heiress, not
deigning to look at the humble wall-flower, who is neither, but
whose womanhood should command respect. Ballroom introductions are
supposed to mean, on the part of the gentleman, either an
intention to dance with the young lady, to walk with her, or to
talk to her through one dance, or to show her some attention.

Men scarcely ever ask to be introduced to each other, but if a
lady, through some desire of her own, wishes to present them, she
should never be met by indifference on their part. Men have a
right to be exclusive as to their acquaintances, of course; but at
a lady's table, or in her parlor, they should never openly show
distaste for each other's society before her.

In America it is the fashion to shake hands, and most women, if
desirous of being cordial, extend their hands even on a first
introduction; but it is, perhaps, more elegant to make a bow only,
at a first introduction.

In her own house a hostess should always extend her hand to a
person brought to her by a mutual friend, and introduced for the
first time. At a dinner-party, a few minutes before dinner, the
hostess introduces to a lady the gentleman who is to take her down
to the dining-room, but makes no further introductions, except in
the case of a distinguished stranger, to whom all the company are
introduced. Here people, as we have said, are shy of speaking, but
they should not be, for the room where they meet is a sufficient
guarantee that they can converse without any loss of dignity.

At large gatherings in the country it is proper for the lady to
introduce her guests to each other, and it is perfectly proper to
do this without asking permission of either party. A mother always
introduces her son or daughter, a husband his wife, or a wife her
husband, without asking permission.

A gentleman, after being introduced to a lady, must wait for her
to bow first before he ventures to claim her as an acquaintance.

This is Anglo-Saxon etiquette. On the Continent, however, the
gentleman bows first. There the matter of the raising the hat is
also important. An American gentleman takes his hat quite off to a
lady; a foreigner raises it but slightly, and bows with a
deferential air. Between ladies but slightly acquainted, and just
introduced, a very formal bow is all that is proper; acquaintances
and friends bow and smile; intimate male friends simply nod, but
all gentlemen with ladies raise the hat and bow if the lady
recognizes a friend.

Introductions which take place out-of-doors, as on the lawn-tennis
ground, in the hunting field, in the street, or in any casual way,
are not to be taken as necessarily formal, unless the lady chooses
so to consider them. The same may be said of introductions at a
watering-place, where a group of ladies walking together may meet
other ladies or gentlemen, and join forces for a walk or drive.
Introductions are needful, and should be made by the oldest lady
of the party, but are not to be considered as making an
acquaintance necessary between the parties if neither should
afterwards wish it. It is universally conceded now that this sort
of casual introduction does not involve either lady in the
net-work of a future acquaintance; nor need a lady recognize a
gentleman, if she does not choose to do so, after a watering-place
introduction. It is always, however, more polite to bow; that
civility hurts no one.

There are in our new country many women who consider themselves
fashionable leaders--members of an exclusive set--and who fear if
they should know some other women out of that set that they would
imperil their social standing. These people have no titles by
which they can be known, so they preserve their exclusiveness by
disagreeable manners, as one would hedge a garden by a border of
prickly-pear. The result is that much ill-feeling is engendered in
society, and people whom these old aristocrats call the "_nouveaux
riches_," "parvenus," etc., are always having their feelings hurt.
The fact remains that the best-bred and most truly aristocratic
people do not find it necessary to hurt any one's feelings. An
introduction never harms anybody, and a woman with the slightest
tact can keep off a vulgar and a pushing person without being
rude. It is to be feared that there are vulgar natures among those
who aspire to be considered exclusive, and that they are gratified
if they can presumably increase their own importance by seeming
exclusive; but it is not necessary to dwell on such people.

The place given here to the ill-bred is only conceded to them that
one may realize the great demands made upon the tact and the good
feeling of a hostess. She must have a quick apprehension; she may
and will remember, however, that it is very easily forgiven, this
kind-heartedness--that it is better to sin against etiquette than
to do an unkind thing.

Great pains should be taken by a hostess to introduce shy people.
Young people are those whose pleasure must depend on

It is well for a lady in presenting two strangers to say something
which may break the ice, and make the conversation easy and
agreeable; as, for instance, "Mrs. Smith, allow me to present Mr.
Brown, who has just arrived from New Zealand;" or, "Mrs. Jones,
allow me to present Mrs. Walsingham, of Washington--or San
Francisco," so that the two may naturally have a question and
answer ready with which to step over the threshold of conversation
without tripping.

At a five-o'clock tea or a large reception there are reasons why a
lady cannot introduce any one but the daughter or sister whom she
has in charge. A lady who comes and knows no one sometimes goes
away feeling that her hostess has been inattentive, because no one
has spoken to her. She remembers Europe, where the roof-tree has
been an introduction, and where people spoke kindly to her and did
not pass her by. Dinner-parties in stiff and formal London have
this great attraction: a gentleman steps up and speaks to a lady,
although they have never met before, and often takes her down to
dinner without an introduction. The women chat after dinner like
old friends; every one knows that the roof is a sufficient
guarantee. This is as it should be; but great awkwardness results
in the United States if one lady speaks to another and receives no
answer. "Pray, can you tell me who the pianist is?" said a leader
of society to a young girl near her at a private concert. The
young lady looked distressed and blushed, and did not answer.
Having seen a deaf-mute in the room whom she knew, the speaker
concluded that this young lady belonged to that class of persons,
and was very much surprised when later the hostess brought up this
silent personage and introduced her.

"I could not speak to you before because I had not been
introduced--but the pianist is Mr. Mills," remarked this
punctilious person. "I, however, could speak to you, although we
had not been formally presented. The roof was a sufficient
guarantee of your respectability, and I thought from your not
answering that you were deaf and dumb," said the lady.

The rebuke was deserved. Common-sense must interpret etiquette;
"nice customs courtesy to great kings." Society depends upon its
social soothsayers for all that is good in it. A disagreeable
woman can always find precedents for being formal and chilling; a
fine-tempered woman can always find reasons enough for being
agreeable. A woman would rather be a benediction than a curse, one
would think. We hold it proper, all things considered, that at
dinner-parties and receptions a hostess may introduce her friends
to each other. So long as there is embarrassment, or the mistake
made by the young lady above mentioned who would not answer a
civil question; so long as these mistakes and others are made, and
the result be stupidity and gloom, and a party silent and
thumb-twisting, instead of gayly conversing, as it should be; so
long as people do not come together easily--it is manifestly
proper that the hostess should put her finger on the social
pendulum, and give it a swing to start the conversational clock.
All well-bred people recognize the propriety of speaking to even
an enemy at a dinner-party, although they would suffer no
recognition an hour later. The same principle holds good, of
course, if, in the true exercise of her hospitality, the hostess
should introduce some person whom she would like to commend. These
are the exceptions which form the rule.

Care should be taken in presenting foreigners to young ladies;
sometimes titles are dubious. Here, a hostess is to be forgiven if
she positively declines. She may say, politely, "I hardly think I
know you well enough to dare to present you to that young lady.
You must wait until her parents (or guardians, or chaperon) will
present you."

But the numbers of agreeable people who are ready and waiting to
be introduced are many. The woman of literary distinction and the
possessor of an honored name may be invincibly shy and afraid to
speak; while her next neighbor, knowing her fame perhaps, and
anxious to make her acquaintance, misconstrues shyness for
pride--a masquerade which bashfulness sometimes plays; so two
people, with volumes to say to each other, remain silent as
fishes, until the kindly magician comes along, and, by the open
sesame of an introduction, unlocks the treasure which has been so
deftly hidden. A woman of fashion may enter an assembly of
thinkers and find herself dreaded and shunned, until some kind
word creates the _entente cordiale_. In the social entertainments
of New York, the majority prefer those where the hostess
introduces her guests--under, of course, these wise and proper

As for forms of introduction, the simplest are best. A lady should
introduce her husband as "Mr. Brown," "General Brown," "Judge
Brown." If he has a title she is always to give it to him. Our
simple forms of titular respect have been condemned abroad, and we
are accused of being all "colonels" and "generals;" but a wife
should still give her husband his title. In addressing the
President we say "Mr. President," but his wife should say, "Allow
me to introduce the President to you." The modesty of Mrs. Grant,
however, never allowed her to call her many-titled husband
anything but "Mr. Grant," which had, in her case, a sweetness
above all etiquette.

Introductions in the homely German fatherland are universal,
everybody pronouncing to everybody else the name of the lady to
whom he is talking; and among our German fellow-citizens we often
see a gentleman convoying a lady through a crowded assemblage,
introducing her to everybody. It is a simple, cordial, and
pleasant thing enough, as with them the acquaintance stops there;
and a bow and smile hurt nobody.

No one of heart or mind need feel afraid to talk and be agreeable,
whether introduced or not, at a friend's house; even if she meets
with the rebuff of a deaf-and-dumb neighbor, she need not feel
heart-broken: she is right, and her stiff acquaintance is wrong.

If a gentleman asks to be presented to a lady, she should signify
her assent in a pleasant way, and pay her hostess, through whom
the request comes, the compliment of at least seeming to be
gratified at the introduction. Our American ladies are sometimes a
little lacking in cordiality of manner, often receiving a new
acquaintance with that part of their conformation which is known
as the "cold shoulder." A brusque discourtesy is bad, a very
effusive courtesy and a too low bow are worse, and an overwhelming
and patronizing manner is atrocious. The proper salutation lies
just between the two extremes: the_ juste milieu_ is the proper
thing always. In seeking introductions for ourselves, while we
need not be shy of making a first visit or asking for an
introduction, we must still beware of "push." There are instincts
in the humblest understanding which will tell us where to draw the
line. If a person is socially more prominent than ourselves, or
more distinguished in any way, we should not be violently anxious
to take the first step; we should wait until some happy chance
brought us together, for we must be as firm in our self-respect as
our neighbor is secure in her exalted position. Wealth has
heretofore had very little power to give a person an exclusively
fashionable position. Character, breeding, culture, good
connections--all must help. An aristocrat who is such by virtue of
an old and honored name which has never been tarnished is a power
in the newest society as in the oldest; but it is a shadowy power,
felt rather than described. Education is always a power.

To be sure, there is a tyranny in large cities of what is known as
the "fashionable set," formed of people willing to spend money;
who make a sort of alliance, offensive and defensive; who can give
balls and parties and keep certain people out; who have the place
which many covet; who are too much feared and dreaded. If those
who desire an introduction to this set strive for it too much,
they will be sure to be snubbed; for this circle lives by
snubbing. If such an aspirant will wait patiently, either the
whole autocratic set of ladies will disband--for such sets
disentangle easily--or else they in their turn will come knocking
at the door and ask to be received. _L'art de tenir salon_ is not
acquired in an hour. It takes many years for a new and an
uninstructed set to surmount all the little awkwardnesses, the
dubious points of etiquette, that come up in every new shuffle of
the social cards; but a modest and serene courtesy, a civility
which is not servile, will be a good introduction into any

And it is well to have that philosophical spirit which puts the
best possible interpretation upon the conduct of others. Be not in
haste to consider yourself neglected. Self-respect does not easily
receive an insult. A lady who is fully aware of her own
respectability, who has always lived in the best society, is never
afraid to bow or call first, or to introduce the people whom she
may desire should know each other. She perhaps presumes on her
position, but it is very rare that such a person offends; for tact
is almost always the concomitant of social success.

There has been a movement lately towards the stately bows and
courtesies of the past in our recent importation of Old-World
fashions. A lady silently courtesies when introduced, a gentleman
makes a deep bow without speaking. We have had the custom of
hand-shaking--and a very good custom it is--but perhaps the latest
fashion in ceremonious introduction forbids it. If a gentleman
carries his crush hat, and a lady her fan and a bouquet,
hand-shaking may not be perfectly convenient. However, if a lady
or gentleman extends a hand, it should be taken cordially. Always
respond to the greeting in the key-note of the giver.


No term admits of a wider interpretation than this; no subject is
capable of a greater number of subdivisions. The matter of formal
visiting has led to the writing of innumerable books. The decay of
social visiting is a cause of regret to all the old-fashioned
people who remember how agreeable it was; but our cities have
grown too large for it, and in our villages the population changes
too quickly. The constant effort to make the two systems shake
hands, to add cordiality to formality, and to provide for all the
forced conditions of a rapidly growing and constantly changing
society, these are but a few of the difficulties attending this

The original plan of an acquaintance in a formal city circle was
to call once or twice a year on all one's friends personally, with
the hope and the remote expectation of finding two or three at
home. When society was smaller in New York, this was possible, but
it soon grew to be impossible, as in all large cities. This
finally led to the establishment of a reception day which held
good all winter. That became impossible and tiresome, and was
narrowed down to four Tuesdays, perhaps, in one month; that
resolved itself into one or two five-o'clock teas; and then again,
if a lady got lame or lazy or luxurious, even the last easy method
of receiving her friends became too onerous, and cards were left
or sent in an envelope.

Now, according to the strict rules of etiquette, one card a year
left at the door, or one sent in an envelope, continues the
acquaintance. We can never know what sudden pressure of calamity,
what stringent need of economy, what exigencies of work, may
prompt a lady to give up her visiting for a season. Even when
there is no apparent cause, society must ask no questions, but
must acquiesce in the most good-natured view of the subject.

Still, there must be uniformity. We are not pleased to receive
Mrs. Brown's card by post, and then to meet her making a personal
visit to our next neighbor. We all wish to receive our personal
visits, and if a lady cannot call on all her formal acquaintances
once, she had better call on none.

If she gives one reception a year and invites all her "list," she
is then at liberty to refrain from either calling or sending a
card, unless she is asked to a wedding or dinner, a ladies' lunch
or a christening, or receives some very particular invitation
which she must return by an early personal call--the very formal
and the punctilious say within a week, but that is often

And if a lady have a day, the call should be made on that day; it
is rude to ignore the intimation. One should try to call on a
reception day. But here in a crowded city another complication
comes in. If a lady have four Thursdays in January and several
other ladies have Thursdays, it may be impossible to reach all
those ladies on their reception day. There is nothing for it,
then, but to good-naturedly apologize, and to regret that calling
hours are now reduced to between four and six in large cities.

Some people have too many acquaintances. If they hope to do
anything in the world but drive about and leave cards, they must
exonerate themselves from blame by giving a reception, having a
day or an evening for receiving, and then trust to the good-nature
of society, or its forgetfulness, which is about the same thing,
to excuse them.

Happy those ladies who can give up an evening a week to their
friends; that rubs out the score on the social slate, besides
giving a number of people a chance to spend a very agreeable hour
in that society which gathers around a hospitable lamp.

The danger of this kind of hospitality is that it is abused by
bores, who are too apt to congregate in numbers, and to wear out
the lady of the house by using her parlor as a spot where they are
safe from the rain and cold and free to bestow their tediousness
on anybody, herself included. Then a lady after committing herself
to a reception evening often wishes to go out herself. It requires
unselfishness to give up an evening to that large circle, some of
whom forget it, some go elsewhere, some come too often, and
sometimes, alas! no on e calls. These are the drawbacks of an
"evening at home." However, it is a laudable custom; one could
wish it were more common.

No one can forget the eloquent thanks of such men as Horace
Walpole, and other persons of distinction, to the Misses Berry, in
London, who kept up their evening receptions for sixty years. But,
from the trials of those who have too much visiting, we turn to
the people who have all the means and appliances of visiting and
no one to visit.

The young married woman who comes to New York, or any other large
city, often passes years of loneliness before she has made her
acquaintances. She is properly introduced, we will say by her
mother-in-law or some other friend, and then, after a round of
visits in which she has but, perhaps, imperfectly apprehended the
positions and names of her new acquaintances, she has a long
illness, or she is called into mourning, or the cares of the
nursery surround her, and she is shut out from society until it
has forgotten her; and when she is ready to emerge, it is
difficult for her to find her place again in the visiting-book. If
she is energetic and clever, she surmounts this difficulty by
giving a series of receptions, or engaging in charities, or
working on some committee, making herself of use to society in
some way; and thus picks up her dropped stitches. But some young
women are without the courage and tact to do this thing; they
wait, expecting that society will find them out, and, taking them
up, will do all the work and leave them to accept or refuse
civilities as they please. Society never does this; it has too
much on its hands; a few conspicuously beautiful and gifted people
may occasionally receive such an ovation, but it is not for the
rank and file.

Every young woman should try to make at least one personal visit
to those who are older than herself, and she should show charity
towards those who do not return this visit immediately. Of course,
she has a right to be piqued if her visit be persistently ignored;
and she should not press herself upon a cold or indifferent
acquaintance, but she should be slow to wrath; and if she is once
invited to the older lady's house, it is worth a dozen calls so
far as the intention of civility is concerned.

It is proper to call in person, or to leave a card, after an
acquaintance has lost a relative, after an engagement is
announced, after a marriage has taken place, after a return from
Europe, and of course after an invitation has been extended; but,
as society grows larger and larger, the first four visits may be
omitted, and cards sent if it is impossible to pay the visits
personally. Most ladies in large cities are invisible except on
their days; in this way alone can they hope to have any time for
their own individual tastes, be these what they may--china
painting, authorship, embroidery, or music. So the formal visiting
gets to be a mere matter of card-leaving; and the witty author who
suggested that there should be a "clearing-house for cards," and
who hailed the Casino at Newport as a good institution for the
same, was not without genius. One hates to lose time in this world
while greasing the machinery, and the formal, perfunctory
card-leaving is little else.

Could we all have abundant leisure and be sure to find our friends
at home, what more agreeable business than visiting? To wander
from one pleasant interior to another, to talk a little harmless
gossip, to hear the last _mot_, the best piece of news, to see
one's friends, their children, and the stranger within their
gates--all this is charming; it is the Utopia of society; it would
be the apotheosis of visiting--if there were such a thing!

Unfortunately, it is impossible. There may be here and there a
person of such exalted leisure that he can keep his accounts to
society marked in one of those purple satin manuals stamped
"Visites," and make the proper marks every day under the heads of
"address," "received," "returned visits," and "reception days,"
but he is a _rara avis_.

Certain rules are, however, immutable. A first call from a new
acquaintance should be speedily returned. These are formal calls,
and should be made in person between the hours of four and six in
New York and other large cities. Every town has its own hours for
receiving, however. When calling for the first time on several
ladies not mother and daughters in one family, a card should be
left on each. In the first call of the season, a lady leaves her
own card and those of her husband, sons, and daughters.

A lady has a right to leave her card without asking for the lady
of the house if it is not her day, or if there is any reason--such
as bad weather, pressure of engagements, or the like--which
renders time an important matter.

If ladies are receiving, and she is admitted, the visitor should
leave her husband's cards for the gentlemen of the family on the
hall table. Strangers staying in town who wish to be called upon
should send their cards by post, with address attached, to those
whom they would like to see. There is no necessity of calling
after a tea or general reception if one has attended the
festivity, or has left or sent a card on that day.

For reception days a lady wears a plain, dark, rich dress, taking
care, however, never to be overdressed at home. She rises when her
visitors enter, and is careful to seat her friends so that she can
have a word with each. If this is impossible, she keeps her eye on
the recent arrivals to be sure to speak to every one. She is to be
forgiven if she pays more attention to the aged, to some
distinguished stranger, or to some one who has the still higher
claim of misfortune, or to one of a modest and shrinking
temperament, than to one young, gay, fashionable, and rich. If she
neglects these fortunate visitors they will not feel it; if she
bows low to them and neglects the others, she betrays that she is
a snob. If a lady is not sure that she is known by name to her
hostess, she should not fail to pronounce her own name. Many
ladies send their cards to the young brides who have come into a
friend's family, and yet who are without personal acquaintance.
Many, alas! forget faces, so that a name quickly pronounced is a
help. In the event of an exchange of calls between two ladies who
have never met (and this has gone on for years in New York,
sometimes until death has removed one forever), they should take
an early opportunity of speaking to each other at some friend's
house; the younger should approach the elder and introduce
herself; it is always regarded as a kindness; or the one who has
received the first attention should be the first to speak.

It is well always to leave a card in the hall even if one is
received, as it assists the lady's memory in her attempts to
return these civilities. Cards of condolence must be returned by a
mourning-card sent in an envelope at such reasonable time after
the death of a relative as one can determine again to take up the
business of society. When the separate card of a lady is left,
with her reception day printed in one corner, two cards of her
husband should be left, one for the lady, the other for the
master, of the house; but after the first call of the season, it
is not necessary to leave the husband's card, except after a
dinner invitation. It is a convenience, although not a universal
custom, to have the joint names of husband and wife, as "Dr. and
Mrs. J. B. Watson," printed on one card, to use as a card of
condolence or congratulation, but not as a visiting-card. These
cards are used as "P. P. C." cards, and can be sent in an envelope
by post. Society is rapidly getting over its prejudice against
sending cards by post. In Europe it is always done, and it is much
safer. Etiquette and hospitality have been reduced to a system in
the Old World. It would be much more convenient could we do that
here. Ceremonious visiting is the machinery by which an
acquaintance is kept up in a circle too large for social visiting;
but every lady should try to make one or two informal calls each
winter on intimate friends. These calls can be made in the morning
in the plainest walking-dress, and are certainly the most
agreeable and flattering of all visits.


The engraving of invitation-cards has become the important
function of more than one enterprising firm in every city, so that
it seems unnecessary to say more than that the most plain and
simple style of engraving the necessary words is all that is

The English ambassador at Rome has a plain, stiff, unglazed card
of a large size, on which is engraved,

 Sir Augustus and Lady Paget
 request the pleasure of ______ company
 on Thursday evening, November fifteenth, at ten o'clock.
 The favor of an answer is requested.

The lady of the house writes the name of the invited guest in the
blank space left before the word "company." Many entertainers in
America keep these blanks, or half-engraved invitations, always on
hand, and thus save themselves the trouble of writing the whole

Sometimes, however, ladies prefer to write their own dinner
invitations. The formula should always be,

 Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brown
 request the pleasure of
 Mr. and Mrs. Jones's company at dinner.
 November fifteenth, at seven o'clock,
 132 Blank St. West.

These invitations should be immediately answered, and with a
peremptory acceptance or a regret. Never enter into any discussion
or prevision with a dinner invitation. Never write, saying "you
will come if you do not have to leave town," or that you will "try
to come," or, if you are a married pair, that you will "one of you
come." Your hostess wants to know exactly who is coming and who
isn't, that she may arrange her table accordingly. Simply say,

 Mr. and Mrs. James Jones
 accept with pleasure the polite invitation of
 Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brown for dinner
 on November fifteenth,
 at seven o'clock.

Or if it is written in the first person, accept in the same
informal manner, but quickly and decisively.

After having accepted a dinner invitation, if illness or any other
cause interfere with your going to the dinner, send all immediate
note to your hostess, that she may fill your place. Never
selfishly keep the place open for yourself if there is a doubt
about your going. It has often made or marred the pleasure of a
dinner-party, this hesitancy on the part of a guest to send in
time to her hostess her regrets, caused by the illness of her
child, or the coming on of a cold, or a death in the family, or
any other calamity. Remember always that a dinner is a most formal
affair, that it is the highest social compliment, that its happy
fulfilment is of the greatest importance to the hostess, and that
it must be met in the same formal spirit. It precludes, on her
part, the necessity of having to make a first call if she be the
older resident, although she generally calls first. Some young
neophytes in society, having been asked to a dinner where the
elderly lady who gave it had forgotten to enclose her card, asked
if they should call afterwards. Of course they were bound to do
so, although their hostess should have called or enclosed her
card. However, one invitation to dinner is better than many cards
as a social compliment.

We have been asked by many, "To whom should the answer to an
invitation be addressed?" If Mr. and Mrs. Brown invite you, answer
Mr. and Mrs. Brown. If Mrs. John Jones asks you to a wedding,
answer Mrs. John Jones. Another of our correspondents asks, "Shall
I respond to the lady of the house or to the bride if asked to a
wedding?" This seems so impossible a confusion that we should not
think of mentioning so self-evident a fact had not the doubt
arisen. One has nothing to say to the bride in answering such an
invitation; the answer is to be sent to the hostess, who writes.

Always carefully observe the formula of your invitation, and
answer it exactly. As to the card of the English ambassador, a
gentleman should write: "Mr. Algernon Gracie will do himself the
honor to accept the invitation of Sir Augustus and Lady Paget." In
America he would be a trifle less formal, saying, "Mr. Algernon
Gracie will have much pleasure in accepting the polite invitation
of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brown." We notice that on all English cards
the "R.S.V.P." is omitted, and that a plain line of English script
is engraved, saying, "The favor of an answer is requested."

In this country the invitations to a dinner are always in the name
of both host and hostess, but invitations to a ball, "at home," a
tea, or garden-party, are in the name of the hostess alone. At a
wedding the names of both host and hostess are given. And if a
father entertains for his daughters, he being a widower, his name
appears alone for her wedding; but if his eldest daughter presides
over his household, his and her name appear together for dinners,
receptions, and "at homes." Many widowed fathers, however, omit
the names of their daughters on the invitation. A young lady at
the head of her father's house may, if she is no longer very
young, issue her own cards for a tea. It is never proper for very
young ladies to invite gentlemen in their own name to visit at the
house, call on them, or to come to dinner. The invitation must
come from the father, mother, or chaperon.

At the Assembly, Patriarchs', Charity ball, or any public affair,
the word "ball" is used, but no lady invites you to a "ball" at
her own house. The words "At Home," with "Cotillion" or "Dancing"
in one corner, and the hour and date, alone are necessary. If it
is to be a small, informal dance, the word "Informal" should be
engraved in one corner. Officers of the army and navy giving a
ball, members of the hunt, bachelors, members of a club, heads of
committees, always "request the pleasure," or, "the honor of your
company." It is not proper for a gentleman to describe himself as
"at home;" he must "request the pleasure." A rich bachelor of
Utopia who gave many entertainments made this mistake, and sent a
card--"Mr. Horatio Brown. At Home. Tuesday, November fourteenth.
Tea at four"--to a lady who had been an ambassadress. She
immediately replied: "Mrs. Rousby is very glad to hear that Mr.
Horatio Brown is at home--she hopes that he will stay there; but
of what possible consequence is that to Mrs. Rousby?" This was a
piece of rough wit, but it told the young man of his mistake.
Another card, issued with the singular formula, "Mrs. Ferguson
hopes to see Mrs. Rousby at the church," on the occasion of the
wedding of a daughter, brought forth the rebuke, "Nothing is so
deceitful as human hope," The phrase is an improper one. Mrs.
Ferguson should have "requested the pleasure."

In asking for an invitation to a ball for friends, ladies must be
cautious not to intrude too far, or to feel offended if refused.
Often a hostess has a larger list than she can fill, and she is
not able to ask all whom she would wish to invite. Therefore a
very great discretion is to be observed on the part of those who
ask a favor. A lady may always request an invitation for
distinguished strangers, or for a young dancing man if she can
answer for him in every way, but rarely for a married couple, and
almost never for a couple living in the same city, unless newly

Invitations to evening or day receptions are generally "at home"
cards. A lady may use her own visiting cards for five-o'clock tea.
For other entertainments, "Music," "Lawn-tennis," "Garden-party,"
"Readings and Recitals," may be engraved in one corner, or written
in by the lady herself.

As for wedding invitations, they are almost invariably sent out by
the parents of the bride, engraved in small script on note-paper.
The style can always be obtained of a fashionable engraver. They
should be sent out a fortnight before the wedding-day, and are not
to be answered unless the guests are requested to attend a
"sit-down" breakfast, when the answer must be as explicit as to a
dinner. Those who cannot attend the wedding send or leave their
visiting-cards either on the day of the wedding or soon after.
Invitations to a luncheon are generally written by the hostess on
note-paper, and should be rather informal, as luncheon is an
informal meal. However, nowadays ladies' luncheons have become
such grand, consequential, and expensive affairs, that invitations
are engraved and sent out a fortnight in advance, and answered
immediately. There is the same etiquette as at dinner observed at
these formal luncheons. There is such a thing, however, as a
"stand-up" luncheon--a sort of reception with banquet, from which
one could absent one's self without being missed.

Punctuality in keeping all engagements is a feature of a well-bred
character, in society as well as in business, and it cannot be too
thoroughly insisted upon.

In sending a "regret" be particular to word your note most
respectfully. Never write the word "regrets" on your card unless
you wish to insult your hostess. Send a card without any
pencilling upon it, or write a note, thus: "Mrs. Brown regrets
that a previous engagement will deprive her of the pleasure of
accepting the polite invitation of Mrs. Jones."

No one should, in the matter of accepting or refusing an
invitation, economize his politeness. It is better to err on the
other side. Your friend has done his best in inviting you.

The question is often asked us, "Should invitations be sent to
people in mourning?" Of course they should. No one would knowingly
intrude on a house in which there is or has been death within a
month; but after that, although it is an idle compliment, it is
one which must be paid; it is a part of the machinery of society.
As invitations are now directed by the hundreds by hired
amanuenses, a lady should carefully revise her list, in order that
no names of persons deceased may be written on her cards; but the
members of the family who remain, and who have suffered a loss,
should be carefully remembered, and should not be pained by seeing
the name of one who has departed included in the invitations or
wedding-cards. People in deep mourning are not invited to dinners
or luncheons, but for weddings and large entertainments cards are
sent as a token of remembrance and compliment. After a year of
mourning the bereaved family should send out cards with a narrow
black edge to all who have remembered them.

Let it be understood that in all countries a card sent by a
private hand in an envelope is equivalent to a visit. In England
one sent by post is equivalent to a visit, excepting after a
dinner. Nothing is pencilled on a card sent by post, except the
three letters "P.P.C." No such words as "accepts," "declines,"
"regrets" should be written on a card. As much ill-will is
engendered in New York by the loss of cards for large receptions
and the like, some of which the messenger-boys fling into the
gutter, it is a thousand pities that we cannot agree to send all
invitations by mail. People always get letters that are sent by
post, particularly those which they could do without. Why should
they not get their more interesting letters that contain
invitations? It is considered thoroughly respectful in England,
and as our people are fond of copying that stately etiquette, why
should they not follow this sensible part of it?

It is in every sense as complimentary to send a letter by the post
as by the dirty fingers of a hired messenger. Very few people in
this country can afford to send by their own servants, who, again,
rarely find the right address.


A distinguished lady of New York, on recovering from a severe
illness, issued a card which is a new departure. In admiring its
fitness and the need which has existed for just such a card, we
wonder that none of us have before invented something so compact
and stately, pleasing and proper--that her thought had not been
our thought. It reads thus, engraved in elegant script, plain and
modest: "Mrs. ____ presents her compliments and thanks for recent
kind inquiries." This card, sent in an envelope which bears the
family crest as a seal, reached all those who had left cards and
inquiries for a useful and eminent member of society, who lay for
weeks trembling between life and death.

This card is an attention to her large circle of anxious friends
which only a kind-hearted woman would have thought of, and yet the
thought was all; for after that the engraver and the secretary
could do the rest, showing what a labor-saving invention it is to
a busy woman who is not yet sufficiently strong to write notes to
all who had felt for her severe suffering. The first joy of
convalescence is of gratitude, and the second that we have created
an interest and compassion among our friends, and that we were not
alone as we struggled with disease. Therefore we may well
recommend that this card should become a fashion. It meets a
universal want.

This may be called one of the "cards of compliment"--a phase of
card-leaving to which we have hardly reached in this country. It
is even more, it is a heartfelt and friendly blossom of etiquette,
"just out," as we say of the apple-blossoms.

Now as to the use of it by the afflicted: why would it not be well
for persons who have lost a friend also to have such a card
engraved? "Mr. R____ begs to express his thanks for your kind
sympathy in his recent bereavement," etc. It would save a world of
letter-writing to a person who does not care to write letters, and
it would be a very pleasant token to receive when all other such
tokens are impossible. For people leave their cards on a mourner,
and never know whether they have been received or not.
Particularly is this true of apartment-houses; and when people
live in hotels, who knows whether the card ever reaches its
destination? We generally find that it has not done so, if we have
the courage to make the inquiry.

Those cards which we send by a servant to make the necessary
inquiries for a sick friend, for the happy mother and the new-born
baby, are essentially "cards of compliment." In excessively
ceremonious circles the visits of ceremony on these occasions are
very elaborate--as at the Court of Spain, for instance; and a lady
of New York was once much amused at receiving the card of a superb
Spanish official, who called on her newly arrived daughter when
the latter was three days old, leaving a card for the "new
daughter." He of course left a card for the happy mamma, and did
not ask to go farther than the door, but he came in state.

In England the "family" were wont to send christening cards after
a birth, but this has never been the fashion in this country, and
it is disappearing in England. The complimentary card issued for
such events is now generally an invitation to partake of caudle--a
very delicious porridge made of oatmeal and raisins, brandy,
spices, and sugar, and formally served in the lady's chamber
before the month's seclusion is broken. It will be remembered that
Tom Thumb was dropped into a bowl of fermity, which many
antiquarians suppose to have been caudle. Nowadays a caudle party
is a very gay, dressy affair, and given about six weeks after
young master or mistress is ready to be congratulated or condoled
with on his or her entrance upon this mundane sphere. We find in
English books of etiquette very formal directions as to these
cards of compliment. "Cards to inquire after friends during
illness must be left in person, and not sent by post. On a lady's
visiting-card must be written above the printed name, 'To
inquire,' and nothing else should be added to these words."

For the purpose of returning thanks, printed cards are sold, with
the owner's name written above the printed words. These printed
cards are generally sent by post, as they are despatched while the
person inquired after is still an invalid. These cards are also
used to convey the intelligence of the sender's recovery.
Therefore they would not be sent while the person was in danger or
seriously ill. But this has always seemed to us a very poor and.
business-like way of returning "kind inquiries." The printed card
looks cheap. Far better the engraved and carefully prepared card
of Mrs. ____, which has the effect of a personal compliment.

We do not in this country send those hideous funeral or memorial
cards which are sold in England at every stationer's to apprise
one's friends of a death in the family. There is no need of this,
as the newspapers spread the sad intelligence.

There is, however, a very elaborate paper called a "_faire part_,"
issued in both England and France after a death, in which the
mourner announces to you the lamented decease of some person
connected with him. Also on the occasion of a marriage, these
elaborate papers, engraved on a large sheet of letter-paper, are
sent to all one's acquaintances in England and on the Continent.

Visits of condolence can begin the week after the event which
occasions them. Personal visits are only made by relatives or very
intimate friends, who will of course be their own judges of the
propriety of speaking fully of the grief which has desolated the
house. The cards are left at the door by the person inquiring for
the afflicted persons, and one card is as good as half a dozen. It
is not necessary to deluge a mourning family with cards. These
cards need not be returned for a year, unless our suggestion be
followed, and the card engraved as we have indicated, and then
sent by post. It is not yet a fashion, but it is in the air, and
deserves to be one.

Cards of congratulation are left in person, and if the ladies are
at home the visitor should go in, and be hearty in his or her good
wishes. For such visits a card sent by post would, among intimate
friends, be considered cold-blooded. It must at least be left in

Now as to cards of ceremony. These are to be forwarded to those
who have sent invitations to weddings, carefully addressed to the
person who invites you; also after an entertainment to which you
have been asked, within a week after a dinner (this must be a
personal visit), and on the lady's "day," if she has one; and we
may add here that if on making a call a lady sees that she is not
recognized, she should hasten to give her name. (This in answer to
many inquiries.) Only calls of pure ceremony are made by handing
in cards, as at a tea or general reception, etc. When cards have
been left once in the season they need not be left again.

Under the mixed heads of courtesy and compliment should be those
calls made to formally announce a betrothal. The parents leave the
cards of the betrothed pair, with their own, on all the
connections and friends of the two families. This is a formal
announcement, and all who receive this intimation should make a
congratulatory visit if possible.

As young people are often asked without their parents, the
question arises, What should the parents do to show their sense of
this attention? They should leave or send their cards with those
of their children who have received the invitation. These are
cards of courtesy. Cards ought not to be left on the daughters of
a family without also including the parents in courteous
formality. Gentlemen, when calling on any number of ladies, send
in only one card, and cards left on a reception day where a person
is visiting are not binding on the visitor to return. No separate
card is left on a guest on reception days.

When returning visits of ceremony, as the first visit after a
letter of introduction, or as announcing your arrival in town or
your intended departure, one may leave a card at the door without
inquiring for the lady.

Attention to these little things is a proof at once of
self-respect and of respect for one's friends. They soon become
easy matters of habit, and of memory. To the well-bred they are
second nature. No one who is desirous of pleasing in society
should neglect them.

A lady should never call on a gentleman unless professionally or
officially. She should knock at his door, send in her card, and be
as ceremonious as possible, if lawyer, doctor, or clergyman. On
entering a crowded drawing-room it may be impossible to find the
hostess at once, so that in many fine houses in New York the
custom of announcing the name has become a necessary fashion. It
is impossible to attempt to be polite without cultivating a good
memory. The absent or self-absorbed person who forgets names and
faces, who recalls unlucky topics, confuses relationships, speaks
of the dead as if they were living, or talks about an unlucky
adventure in the family, who plunges into personalities, who
metaphorically treads on a person's toes, will never succeed in
society. He must consider his "cards of courtesy."

The French talk of "_la politesse du foyer_." They are full of it.
Small sacrifices, little courtesies, a kindly spirit,
insignificant attentions, self-control, an allowance for the
failings of others--these go to make up the elegance of life. True
politeness has its roots very deep. We should not cultivate
politeness merely from a wish to please, but because we would
consider the feelings and spare the time of others. Cards of
compliment and courtesy, therefore, save time as well as express a
kindly remembrance. Everything in our busy world--or "whirl," as
some people call it--that does these two things is a valuable

A card of courtesy is always sent with flowers, books,
bonbonnieres, game, sweetmeats, fruits--any of the small gifts
which are freely offered among intimate friends. But in
acknowledging these gifts or attentions a card is not a sufficient
return. Nor is it proper to write "regrets" or "accepts" on a
card. A note should be written in either case.

A card of any sort must be scrupulously plain. Wedding cards
should be as simple and unostentatious as possible.

The ceremony of paying visits and of leaving cards has been
decided by the satirist as meaningless, stupid, and useless; but
it underlies the very structure of society. Visits of form, visits
of ceremony, are absolutely necessary. You can hardly invite
people to your house until you have called and have left a card.
And thus one has a safeguard against intrusive and undesirable
acquaintances. To stop an acquaintance, one has but to stop
leaving cards. It is thus done quietly but securely.

Gentlemen who have no time to call should be represented by their
cards. These may well be trusted to the hands of wife, mother,
daughter, sister, but should be punctiliously left.

The card may well be noted as belonging only to a high order of
development. No monkey, no "missing link," no Zulu, no savage,
carries a card. It is the tool of civilization, its "field-mark
and device." It may be improved; it may be, and has been, abused;
but it cannot be dispensed with under our present environment.


Scarcely a week passes during the year that the fashionable
journals do not publish "answers to correspondents" on that
subject of all others most interesting to young ladies, the
etiquette of weddings. No book can tell the plain truth with
sufficient emphasis, that the etiquette at a grand wedding is
always the same. The next day some one writes to a newspaper

"Shall the bridegroom wear a dress-coat at the hour of eleven
A.M., and who pays for the wedding-cards?" The wedding of to-day
in England has "set the fashion" for America. No man ever puts on
a dress-coat before his seven-o'clock dinner, therefore every
bridegroom is dressed in a frock-coat and light trousers of any
pattern he pleases; in other words, he wears a formal morning
dress, drives to the church with his best man, and awaits the
arrival of the bride in the vestry-room. He may wear gloves or not
as he chooses. The best man is the intimate friend, sometimes the
brother, of the groom. He accompanies him to the church, as we
have said, follows him to the altar, stands at his right hand a
little behind him, and holds his hat during the marriage-service.
After that is ended he pays the clergyman's fee, accompanies, in a
coup‚ by himself, the bridal party home, and then assists the
ushers to introduce friends to the bridal pair.

The bridegroom is allowed to make what presents he pleases to the
bride, and to send something in the nature of a fan, a locket, a
ring, or a bouquet to the bridesmaids; he has also to buy the
wedding-ring, and, of course, he sends a bouquet to the bride; but
he is not to furnish cards or carriages or the wedding-breakfast;
this is all done by the bride's family. In England the groom is
expected to drive the bride away in his own carriage, but in
America even that is not often allowed.

The bride meantime is dressed in gorgeous array, generally in
white satin, with veil of point-lace and orange blossoms, and is
driven to the church in a carriage with her father, who gives her
away. Her mother and other relatives having preceded her take the
front seats. Her bridesmaids should also precede her, and await
her in the chancel of the church.

The ushers then proceed to form the procession with which almost
all city weddings are begun. The ushers first, two and two; then
the bridesmaids, two and two; then some pretty
children--bridesmaids under ten; and then the bride, leaning on
her father's right arm. Sometimes the child bridesmaids precede
the others. As the cortege reaches the lowest altar-step the
ushers break ranks and go to the right and left; the bridesmaids
also separate, going to the right and left, leaving a space for
the bridal pair. As the bride reaches the lowest step the
bridegroom advances, takes her by her right hand, and conducts her
to the altar, where they both kneel. The clergyman, being already
in his place, signifies to them when to rise, and then proceeds to
make the twain one.

The bridal pair walk down the aisle arm-in-arm, and are
immediately conducted to the carriage and driven home; the rest
follow. In some cases, but rarely in this country, a bridal
register is signed in the vestry.

Formerly brides removed the whole glove; now they adroitly cut the
finger of the left-hand glove, so that they can remove that
without pulling off the whole glove for the ring. Such is a church
wedding, performed a thousand times alike. The organ peals forth
the wedding-march, the clergyman pronounces the necessary vows to
slow music, or not, as the contracting parties please. Music,
however, adds very much to this ceremony. In a marriage at home,
the bridesmaids and best man are usually dispensed with. The
clergyman enters and faces the company, the bridal pair follow and
face him. After the ceremony the clergyman retires, and the wedded
pair receive congratulations.

An attempt has been made in America to introduce the English
fashion of a wedding-breakfast. It is not as yet acclimated, but
it is, perhaps, well to describe here the proper etiquette. The
gentlemen and ladies who are asked to this breakfast should be
apprised of that honor a fortnight in advance, and should accept
or decline immediately, as it has all the formality of a dinner,
and seats are, of course, very important. On arriving at the house
where the breakfast is to be held, the gentlemen leave their hats
in the hall, but ladies do not remove their bonnets. After
greeting the bride and bridegroom, and the father and mother, the
company converse for a few moments until breakfast is announced.
Then the bride and groom go first, followed by the bride's father
with the groom's mother, then the groom's father with the bride's
mother, then the best man with the first bridesmaid, then the
bridesmaids with attendant gentlemen, who have been invited for
this honor, and then the other invited guests, as the bride's
mother has arranged. Coffee and tea are not offered, but bouillon,
salads, birds, oysters, and other hot and cold dishes, ices,
jellies, etc., are served at this breakfast, together with
champagne and other wines, and finally the wedding-cake is set
before the bride, and she cuts a slice.

The health of the bride and groom is then proposed by the
gentleman chosen for this office, generally the father of the
groom, and responded to by the father of the bride. The groom is
sometimes expected to respond, and he proposes the health of the
bridesmaids, for which the best man returns thanks. Unless all are
unusually happy speakers, this is apt to be awkward, and
"stand-up" breakfasts are far more commonly served, as the French
say, _en buffet_. In the first place, the possibility of asking
more people commends this latter practice, and it is far less
trouble to serve a large, easy collation to a number of people
standing about than to furnish what is really a dinner to a number
sitting down.

Wedding presents are sent any time within two months before the
wedding, the earlier the better, as many brides like to arrange
their own tables artistically, if the presents are shown. Also,
all brides should write a personal note thanking each giver for
his gift, be it large or small.

All persons who send gifts should be invited to the wedding and to
the reception, although the converse of this proposition does not
hold true; for not all who are asked to the wedding are expected
to send gifts.

Wedding presents have now become almost absurdly gorgeous. The old
fashion, which was started among the frugal Dutch, of giving the
young couple their household gear and a sum of money with which to
begin, has now degenerated into a very bold display of wealth and
ostentatious generosity, so that friends of moderate means are
afraid to send anything. Even the cushion on which a wealthy bride
in New York was lately expected to kneel was so elaborately
embroidered with pearls that she visibly hesitated to press it
with her knee at the altar. Silver and gold services, too precious
to be trusted to ordinary lock and key, are displayed at the
wedding and immediately sent off to some convenient safe. This is
one of the necessary and inevitable overgrowths of a luxury which
we have not yet learned to manage. In France they do things
better, those nearest of kin subscribing a sum of money, which is
sent to the bride's mother, who expends it in the bridal
trousseau, or in jewels or silver, as the bride pleases.

So far has this custom transcended good taste that now many
persons of refined minds hesitate to show the presents.

After giving an hour and a half to her guests, the bride retires
to change her dress; generally her most intimate friends accompany
her. She soon returns in her travelling-dress, and is met at the
foot of the stairs by the groom, who has also changed his dress.
The father, mother, and intimate friends kiss the bride, and, as
the happy pair drive off, a shower of satin slippers and rice
follows them. If one slipper alights on the top of the carriage,
luck is assured to them forever.

Wedding-cake is no longer sent about. It is neatly packed in
boxes; each guest takes one, if she likes, as she leaves the

Wedding-favors made of white ribbon and artificial flowers are
indispensable in England, but America has had the good taste to
abjure them until lately. Such ornaments are used for the horses'
ears and the servants' coats in this country. Here the groom wears
a _boutonniere_ of natural flowers.

A widow should never be accompanied by bridesmaids, or wear a veil
or orange-blossoms at her marriage. She should at church wear a
colored silk and a bonnet. She should be attended by her father,
brother, or some near friend.

It is proper for her to remove her first wedding-ring, as the
wearing of that cannot but be painful to the bridegroom.

If married at home, the widow bride may wear a light silk and be
bonnetless, but she should not indulge in any of the signs of
first bridal.

It is an exploded idea that of allowing every one to kiss the
bride. It is only meet that the near relatives do that.

The formula for wedding-cards is generally this:

 Mr. and Mrs. Brown
 request the pleasure of your company
 at the wedding of their daughter Maria to John Stanley,
 at Ascension Church,
 on Tuesday, November fifteenth,
 at two o'clock.

These invitations are engraved on note-paper.

If friends are invited to a wedding-breakfast or a reception at
the house, that fact is stated on a separate card, which is
enclosed in the same envelope.

Of course in great cities, with a large acquaintance, many are
asked to the church and not to the house. This fact should never
give offence.

The smaller card runs in this fashion:

 Reception at
 99 B Street, at half-past two.

To these invitations the invited guests make no response save to
go or to leave cards. All invited guests, however, are expected to
call on the young couple and to invite them during the year.

Of course there are quieter weddings and very simple arrangements
as to serving refreshments: a wedding-cake and a decanter of
sherry often are alone offered to the witnesses of a wedding.

Many brides prefer to be married in travelling-dress and hat, and
leave immediately, without congratulations.

The honey-moon in our busy land is usually only a fortnight in the
sky, and some few bridal pairs prefer to spend it at the quiet
country house of a friend, as is the English fashion. But others
make a hurried trip to Niagara, or to the Thousand Islands, or go
to Europe, as the case may be. It is extraordinary that none stay
at home; in beginning a new life all agree that a change of place
is the first requisite.

After the return home, bridal dinners and parties are offered to
the bride, and she is treated with distinction for three months.
Her path is often strewed with flowers from the church to her own
door, and it is, metaphorically, so adorned during the first few
weeks of married life. Every one hastens to welcome her to her new
condition, and she has but to smile and accept the amiable
congratulations and attentions which are showered upon her. Let
her parents remember, however, in sending cards after the wedding,
to let the bride's friends know where she can be found in her
married estate.

Now as to the time for the marriage. There is something
exquisitely poetical in the idea of a June wedding. It is the very
month for the softer emotions and for the wedding journey. In
England it is the favorite month for marriages. May is considered
unlucky, and in an old almanac of 1678 we find the following
notice: "Times prohibiting marriage: Marriage comes in on the 13th
day of January and at Septuagesima Sunday; it is out again until
Low Sunday, at which time it comes in again and goes not out until
Rogation Sunday. Thence it is forbidden until Trinity Sunday, from
whence it is unforbidden until Advent Sunday; but then it goes out
and comes not in again until the 18th of January next following."

Our brides have, however, all seasons for their own, excepting
May, as we have said, and Friday, an unlucky day. The month of
roses has very great recommendations. The ceremony is apt to be
performed in the country at a pretty little church, which lends
its altar-rails gracefully to wreaths, and whose Gothic windows
open upon green lawns and trim gardens. The bride and her maids
can walk over the delicate sward without soiling their slippers,
and an opportunity offers for carrying parasols made entirely of
flowers. But if it is too far to walk, the bride is driven to
church in her father's carriage with him alone, her mother,
sisters, and bridesmaids having preceded her. In England etiquette
requires that the bride and groom should depart from the church in
the groom's carriage. It is strict etiquette there that the groom
furnish the carriage with which they return to the
wedding-breakfast and afterwards depart in state, with many
wedding-favors on the horses' heads, and huge white bouquets on
the breasts of coachman and footman.

It is in England, also, etiquette to drive with four horses to the
place where the honey-moon is to be spent; but in America the
drive is generally to the nearest railway-station.

Let us give a further sketch of the duties of the best man. He
accompanies the groom to the church and stands near him, waiting
at the altar, until the bride arrives; then he holds the groom's
hat. He signs the register afterwards as witness, and pays the
clergyman's fee, and then follows the bridal procession out of the
church, joining the party at the house, where he still further
assists the groom by presenting the guests. The bridesmaids
sometimes form a line near the door at a June wedding, allowing
the bride to walk through this pretty alley-way to the church.

The bridegroom's relatives sit at the right of the altar or
communion rails, thus being on the bridegroom's right hand, and
those of the bride sit on the left, at the bride's left hand. The
bridegroom and best man stand on the clergyman's left hand at the
altar. The bride is taken by her right hand by the groom, and of
course stands on his left hand; her father stands a little behind
her. Sometimes the female relatives stand in the chancel with the
bridal group, but this, can only happen in a very large church;
and the rector must arrange this, as in high churches the
marriages take place outside the chancel.

After the ceremony is over the clergyman bends over and
congratulates the young people. The bride then takes the left arm
of the groom, and passes down the aisle, followed by her
bridesmaids and the ushers.

Some of our correspondents have no good asked us what the best man
is doing at this moment? Probably waiting in the vestry, or, if
not, he hurries down a side aisle, gets into a carriage, and
drives to the house where the wedding reception is to be held.

October is a good month for both city and country weddings. In our
climate, the brilliant October days, not too warm, are admirable
for the city guests, who are invited to a country place for the
wedding, and certainly it is a pleasant season for the wedding
journey. Travelling costumes for brides in England are very
elegant, even showy. Velvet, and even light silks and satins, are
used; but in our country plain cloth and cashmere costumes are
more proper and more fashionable.

For weddings in families where a death has recently occurred, all
friends, even the widowed mother, should lay aside their mourning
for the ceremony, appearing in colors. It is considered unlucky
and inappropriate to wear black at a wedding. In our country a
widowed mother appears at her daughter's wedding in purple velvet
or silk; in England she wears deep cardinal red, which is
considered, under these circumstances, to be mourning, or proper
for a person who is in mourning.

We should add that ushers and groomsmen are unknown at an English
wedding. The sexton of the church performs the functions which are
attended to here by ushers.

Note.--The young people who are about to be married make a list
together as to whom cards should be sent, and all cards go from
the young lady's family. No one thinks it strange to get cards for
a wedding. A young lady should write a note of thanks to every one
who sends her a present before she leaves home; all her husband's
friends, relatives, etc., all her own, and to people whom she does
not know these notes should especially be written, as their gifts
may be prompted by a sense of kindness to her parents or her
_fianc‚_, which she should recognize. It is better taste to write
these notes on note-paper than on cards. It is not necessary to
send cards to each member of a family; include them all under the
head of "Mr. and Mrs. Brown and family." It would be proper for a
young lady to send her cards to a physician under whose care she
has been if she was acquainted with him socially, but it is not
expected when the acquaintance is purely professional. A
fashionable and popular physician would be swamped with
wedding-cards if that were the custom. If, however, one wishes to
show gratitude and remembrance, there would be no impropriety in
sending cards to such a gentleman.


We have received a number of letters from our correspondents
asking whether the groom pays for the wedding cards. This question
we have answered so often in the negative that we think it well to
explain the philosophy of the etiquette of weddings, which is
remotely founded on the early savage history of mankind, and which
bears fruit in our later and more complex civilization, still
reminding us of the past. In early and in savage days the man
sought his bride heroically, and carried her off by force. The
Tartar still does this, and the idea only was improved in
patriarchal days by the purchase of the bride by the labor of her
husband, or by his wealth in flocks and herds. It is still a
theory that the bride is thus carried off. Always, therefore, the
idea has been cherished that the bride is something carefully
guarded, and the groom is looked upon as a sort of friendly enemy,
who comes to take away the much-prized object from her loving and
jealous family. Thus the long-cherished theory bears fruit in the
English ceremonial, where the only carriage furnished by the groom
is the one in which he drives the bride away to the spending of
the honeymoon. Up to that time he has had no rights of
proprietorship. Even this is not allowed in America among
fashionable people, the bride's father sending them in his own
carriage on the first stage of their journey. It is not etiquette
for the groom to furnish anything for his own wedding but the ring
and a bouquet for the bride, presents for the bridesmaids and the
best man, and some token to the ushers. He pays the clergyman.

He should _not_ pay for the cards, the carriages, the
entertainment, or anything connected with the wedding. This is
decided in the high court of etiquette. That is the province of
the family of the bride, and should be insisted upon. If they are
not able to do this, there should be no wedding and no cards. It
is better for a portionless girl to go to the altar in a
travelling dress, and to send out no sort of invitations or
wedding cards, than to allow the groom to pay for them. This is
not to the disparagement of the rights of the groom. It is simply
a proper and universal etiquette.

At the altar the groom, if he is a millionaire, makes his wife his
equal by saying, "With all my worldly goods I thee endow;" but
until he has uttered these words she has no claim on his purse for
clothes, or cards, or household furnishing, or anything but those
articles which come under the head of such gifts as it is a
lover's province to give.

A very precise, old-time aristocrat of New York broke her
daughter's engagement to a gentleman because he brought her a
dress from Paris. She said, if he did not know enough _not_ to
give her daughter clothes while she was under her roof, he should
not have her. This is an exaggerated feeling, but the principle is
a sound one. The position of a woman is so delicate, the relations
of engaged people so uncertain, that it would bring about an
awkwardness if the gentleman were to pay for the shoes, the gowns,
the cards of his betrothed.

Suppose, as was the case twice last winter, that an engagement of
marriage is broken after the cards are out. Who is to repay the
bridegroom if _he_ has paid for the cards? Should the father of
the bride send him a check? That would be very insulting, yet a
family would feel nervous about being under pecuniary indebtedness
to a discarded son-in-law. The lady can return her ring and the
gifts her lover has made her; they have suffered no contact that
will injure them. But she could not return shoes or gowns or

It is therefore wisely ordered by etiquette that the lover be
allowed to pay for nothing that could not be returned to him
without loss, if the engagement were dissolved, even on the
wedding morning.

Of course in primitive life the lover may pay for his lady-love,
as we will say in the case of a pair of young people who come
together in a humble station. Such marriages are common in
America, and many of these pairs have mounted to the very highest
social rank. But they must not attempt anything which is in
imitation of the etiquette of fashionable life unless they can do
it well and thoroughly.

Nothing is more honorable than a marriage celebrated in the
presence only of father, mother, and priest. Two young people
unwilling or unable to have splendid dresses, equipages, cards,
and ceremony, can always be married this way, and go to the Senate
or White House afterwards. They are not hampered by it hereafter.
But the bride should never forget her dignity. She should never
let the groom pay for cards, or for anything, unless it is the
marriage license, wherever it is needful in this country, and the
clergyman's fee. If she does, she puts herself in a false

A very sensible observer, writing of America and its young people,
and the liberty allowed them, says "the liberty, or the license,
of our youth will have to be curtailed. As our society becomes
complex and artificial, like older societies in Europe, our
children will be forced to approximate to them in status, and
parents will have to waken to a sense of their responsibilities."

This is a remark which applies at once to that liberty permitted
to engaged couples in rural neighborhoods, where the young girl is
allowed to go on a journey at her lover's expense. A girl's
natural protectors should know better than to allow this. They
know that her purity is her chief attraction to man, and that a
certain coyness and virginal freshness are the dowry she should
bring her future husband. Suppose that this engagement is broken
off. How will she be accepted by another lover after having
enjoyed the hospitality of the first? Would it not always make a
disagreeable feeling between the two men, although No. 2 might
have perfect respect for the girl?

Etiquette may sometimes make blunders, but it is generally based
on a right principle, and here it is undoubtedly founded in truth
and justice. In other countries this truth is so fully realized
that daughters are guarded by the vigilance of parents almost to
the verge of absurdity. A young girl is never allowed to go out
alone, and no man is permitted to enter the household until his
character has undergone the closest scrutiny. Marriage is a unique
contract, and all the various wrongs caused by hasty marriages,
all the troubles before the courts, all the divorces, are
multiplied by the carelessness of American parents, who,
believing, and truly believing, in the almost universal purity of
their daughters, are careless of the fold, not remembering the one
black sheep.

This evil of excessive liberty and of the loose etiquette of our
young people cannot be rooted out by laws. It must begin at the
hearth-stone, Family life must be reformed; young ladies must be
brought up with greater strictness. The bloom of innocence should
not be brushed off by careless hands. If a mother leaves her
daughter matronless, to receive attentions without her dignified
presence, she opens the door to an unworthy man, who may mean
marriage or not. He may be a most unsuitable husband even if he
_does_ mean marriage. If he takes the young lady about, paying for
her cab hire, her theatre tickets, and her journeyings, and then
drops her, whom have they to thank but themselves that her bloom
is brushed off, that her character suffers, that she is made
ridiculous, and marries some one whom she does not love, for a

Men, as they look back on their own varied experience, are apt to
remember with great respect the women who were cold and distant.
They love the fruit which hung the highest, the flower which was
guarded, and which did not grow under their feet in the highway.
They look back with vague wonder that they were ever infatuated
with a fast girl who matured into a vulgar woman.

And we must remember what a fatal effect upon marriage is the
loosing of the ties of respect. Love without trust is without
respect, and if a lover has not respected his _fianc‚e_, he will
never respect his wife.

It is the privilege of the bride to name the wedding day, and of
her father and mother to pay for her trousseau. After the wedding
invitations are issued she does not appear in public.

The members of the bride's family go to the church before the
bride; the bridegroom and his best man await them at the altar.

The bride comes last, with her father or brother, who is to give
her away. She is joined at the altar step by her _fianc‚_, who
takes her hand, and then she becomes his for life.

All these trifles mean much, as any one can learn who goes through
with the painful details of a divorce suit.

Now when the circle of friends on both sides is very extensive, it
has of late become customary to send invitations to some who are
not called to the wedding breakfast to attend the ceremony in
church. This sometimes takes the place of issuing cards. No one
thinks of calling on the newly married who has not received either
an invitation to the ceremony at church or cards after their
establishment in their new home.

Now one of our correspondents writes to us, "Who pays for the
_after_-cards?" In most cases these are ordered with the other
cards, and the bride's mother pays for them. But if they are
ordered after the marriage, the groom may pay for these as he
would pay for his wife's ordinary expenses. Still, it is stricter
etiquette that even these should be paid for by the bride's

People who are asked to the wedding send cards to the house if
they cannot attend, and in any case send or leave cards within ten
days after, unless they are in very deep mourning, when a
dispensation is granted them.

The etiquette of a wedding at home does not differ at all from the
etiquette of a wedding in church with regard to cards. A great
confusion seems to exist in the minds of some of our
correspondents as to whom they shall send their return cards on
being invited to a wedding. Some ask: "Shall I send them to the
bride, as I do not know her mother?" Certainly not; send them to
whomsoever invites you. Afterwards call on the bride or send her
cards, but the first and important card goes to the lady who gives
the wedding.

The order of the religious part of the ceremony is fixed by the
church in which it occurs. The groom must call on the rector or
clergyman, see the organist, and make what arrangements the bride
pleases, but, we repeat, all _expenses_, excepting the fee to the
clergyman, are borne by the bride's family.

The sexton should see to it that the white ribbon is stretched
across the aisle, that the awning and carpet are in place, and it
would be well if the police regulations could extend to the group
of idlers who crowd around the church door, to the great
inconvenience of the guests.

A wedding invitation requires no answer, unless it be to a
sit-down wedding breakfast. Cards left afterwards are
all-sufficient. The separate cards of the bride and groom are no
longer included in the invitation. Nothing black in the way of
dress but the gentlemen's coats is admissible at a wedding.


We may expect a great deal of color in the coming bridal
trousseau, beginning at the altar. The bridesmaids have thus lost
one chance of distinguishing themselves by a different and a
colored dress. But although some eccentric brides may choose to be
married in pink, we cannot but believe, from the beautiful dresses
which we have seen, that the greater number will continue to be
wedded in white; therefore dressmakers need not turn pale.

And all our brides may rejoice that they are not French brides. It
is very troublesome to be married in France, especially if one of
the high contracting parties be a foreigner. A certificate of
baptism is required, together with that of the marriage of the
father and mother, and a written consent of the grandfather and
grandmother, if either is alive and the parents dead. The names of
the parties are then put up on the door of the _mairie_, or
mayor's office, for eleven days.

In England there are four ways of getting married. The first is by
special license, which enables two people to be married at any
time and at any place; but this is very expensive, costing fifty
pounds, and is only obtainable through an archbishop. Then there
is the ordinary license, which can be procured either at Doctors'
Commons or through a clergyman, who must also be a surrogate, and
resident in the diocese where the marriage is to take place; both
parties must swear that they are of age, or, if minors, that they
have the consent of their parents. But to be married by banns is
considered the most orthodox as well as the most economical way of
proceeding. The banns must be published in the church of the
parish in which the lady lives for three consecutive Sundays prior
to the marriage, also the same law holds good for the gentleman,
and the parties must have resided fifteen days in the parish. Or
the knot may be tied at a licensed chapel, or at the office of a
registrar, notice being given three weeks previously.

We merely quote these safeguards against imprudent marriages to
show our brides how free they are. And perhaps, as we sometimes
find, they are too free; there is danger that there may be too
much ease in tying the knot that so many wish untied later,
judging from the frequency of divorce.

However, we will not throw a damper on that occasion which for
whirl and bustle and gayety and excitement is not equalled by any
other day in a person's life. The city wedding in New York is
marked first by the arrival of the caterer, who comes to spread
the wedding breakfast; and later on by the florist, who appears to
decorate the rooms, to hang the floral bell, or to spread the
floral umbrella, or to build a grotto of flowers in the bow-window
where the happy couple shall stand. Some of the latest freaks in
floral fashion cause a bower of tall-growing ferns to be
constructed, the ferns meeting over the bridal pair. This is, of
course, supposing that the wedding takes place at home. Then
another construction is a house entirely of roses, large enough to
hold the bride and bridegroom. This is first built of bamboo or
light wood, then covered thick with roses, and is very beautiful
and almost too fragrant. If some one had not suggested
"bathing-house," as he looked at this floral door to matrimony, it
would have been perfect. It also looks a little like a
confessional. Perhaps a freer sweep is better for both bride and
groom. There should not be a close atmosphere, or too many
overfragrant flowers; for at a home wedding, however well the
arrangements have been anticipated, there is always a little time
spent in waiting for the bride, a few presents arrive late, and
there is always a slight confusion, so that the mamma is apt to be
nervous and flushed, and the bride agitated.

A church wedding involves a great deal more trouble with carriages
for the bridesmaids and for the family, and for the bride and her
father, who must go together to the church.

Fortunately there is no stern law, if every one is late at church,
for the hour appointed, as in England. There the law would read,
"The rite of marriage is to be performed between the hours of 8
A.M. and noon, upon pain of suspension and felony with fourteen
years' transportation." Such is the stern order to the officiating

The reason for this curious custom and the terrible penalty
awaiting its infringement is traceable, it is said, to the wrongs
committed on innocent parties by the "hedge" parsons. Also, alas!
because our English ancestors were apt to be drunk after midday,
and unable to take an oath.

Here the guests arrive first at the church. The groom emerges from
the vestry, supported by his best man, and then the organ strikes
up the Wedding March.

Two little girls, beautifully dressed in Kate Greenaway hats and
white gowns, and with immense sashes, carrying bouquets, come in
first; then the bridesmaids, who form an avenue. Then the bride
and her father walk up to the altar, where the groom claims her,
and her father steps back. The bride stands on the left hand of
the bridegroom; her first bridesmaid advances nearly behind her,
ready to receive the glove and bouquet. After the ceremony is
over, the bride and groom walk down the aisle first, and the
children follow; after them the bridesmaids, then the ushers, then
the father and mother, and so on. Sometimes the ushers go first,
to be ready to cloak the bride, open the doors, keep back the
people, and generally preserve order.

The signing of the register in the vestry is not an American
custom, but it is now the fashion to have a highly illuminated
parchment certificate signed by the newly married pair, with two
or three witnesses, the bridesmaids, the best man, the father and
mother, and so on, generally being the attesting parties.

If a sit-down wedding breakfast has been arranged, it occurs about
half an hour after the parties return from church. An attempt is
being made to return to the manners of the past, and for the
bridegroom (_… la_ Sir Charles Grandison) to wait on the guests
with a napkin on his arm. This often makes much amusement, and
breaks in on the formality. Of course his waiting is very much of
a sinecure and a joke.

The table for a wedding breakfast of this sort should be of a
horseshoe shape. But for a city wedding, where many guests are to
be invited in a circle which is forever widening, this sort of an
exclusive breakfast is almost impossible, and a large table is
generally spread, where the guests go in uninvited, and are helped
by the waiters.

Eight bridesmaids is a fashionable number; and the bride has, of
course, the privilege of choosing the dresses. The prettiest
toilettes we have seen were of heliotrope _gaze_ over satin; and
again clover red, lighted up with white lace. The bonnets were of
white chip, with feathers of red, for this last dress; broad hats
of yellow satin, with yellow plumes, will surmount the heliotrope
bridesmaids. One set of bridesmaids will wear Nile-green dresses,
with pink plumes in their coiffures; another set, probably those
with the pink bride, will be in white satin and silver.

A bride's dress has lately been ornamented with orange blossoms
and lilacs. The veil was fastened on with orange flowers; the
corsage bouquet was of orange flowers and lilacs mixed; the lace
over-dress was caught up with lilac sprays; the hand bouquet
wholly of lilacs; The gardener's success in producing these dwarf
bushes covered with white lilacs has given us the beautiful flower
in great perfection. Cowslips are to be used as corsage and hand
bouquets for bridesmaids' dresses, the dresses being of pale blue
surah, with yellow satin Gainsborough hats, and yellow plumes.
White gloves and shoes are proper for brides. The white undressed
kid or Swedish glove will be the favorite; and high princesse
dresses with long sleeves are still pronounced the best style.

As for wedding presents, great favor is shown to jewelry and
articles somewhat out of the common. Vases of costly workmanship,
brass wine-coolers, enamelled glass frames, small mirrors set in
silver, belt clasps, pins of every sort of conceit for the hair,
choice old Louis Treize silver boxes of curious design, and
watches, even old miniatures, are all of the order of things most
desired. So many of our spring brides are going immediately to
Europe that it seems absurd to load them down with costly dinner
sets, or the usual lamps and pepper-casters. These may come later.
How much prettier to give the bride something she can wear!

Wedding presents, if shown, will be in the second-story front
room, spread on tables and surrounded by flowers. Some brides will
give an afternoon tea the day before to show the presents to a few
intimate friends. Each present will bear the name of the giver on
his or her card.

One bride intends to make a most original innovation. Instead of
going immediately out of town, she will remain at home and attend
the Bachelors' Ball, in the evening, leaving for Philadelphia at
three in the morning. At several of the church weddings the guests
are only bidden there; there will be no reception.

Widows who are to be married again should be reminded that they
can neither have wedding favors nor wear a veil or orange
blossoms. A widow bride should wear a bonnet, she should have no
bridesmaids, and a peach-blossom silk or velvet is a very pretty
dress. At a certain up-town wedding all the gentlemen will wear a
wedding favor excepting the groom. He always wears only a flower.

Wedding favors should be made of white ribbon and silver leaves.
Large bouquets of white flowers should ornament the ears of the
horses and the coats of the coachmen and footmen.

It is a matter of taste whether the bride wears her gloves to the
altar or whether she goes up with uncovered hands. "High-Church"
brides prefer the latter custom, The bride carries a prayer-book,
if she prefers, instead of a bouquet. The Holy Communion is
administered to the married pair if they desire it.

One correspondent inquires, "Who should be asked to a wedding?" We
should say all your visiting list, or none. There is an unusual
feeling about being left out at a wedding, and no explanation that
it is "a small and not general invitation" seems to satisfy those
who are thus passed over. It is much better to offend no one on so
important an occasion.

Wedding cards and wedding stationery have not altered at all. The
simple styles are the best. The bridal linen should be marked with
the maiden name of the bride.

If brides could only find out some way to let their friends know
where they are to be found after marriage it, would be a great

The newest style of engagement ring is a diamond and a ruby, or a
diamond and a sapphire, set at right angles or diagonally. Bangles
with the bridal monogram set in jewels are very pretty, and a
desirable ornament for the bridesmaids' gifts, serving as a
memento and a particularly neat ornament. They seem to have
entirely superseded the locket. The bride's name cut in silver or
gold serves for a lace pin, and is quite effective.


A new fashion in the engraving of the wedding note-paper is the
first novelty of the early summer wedding. The card is entirely
discarded, and sheets of note-paper, with the words of the
invitation in _very fine_ running script, are now universally
used, without crests or ciphers. We are glad to see that the very
respectful form of invitation, "Mr. and Mrs. John H. Brown request
the honor of your presence," etc., is returning to fashionable
favor. It never should have gone out. Nothing is more
self-respecting than respect, and when we ask our friends to visit
us we can well afford to be unusually courteous. The brief, curt,
and not too friendly announcement, "Mr. and Mrs. John H. Brown
request your presence," etc., etc., may well yield to the much
more elegant and formal compliment.

From high social authority in New York we have an invitation much
simpler and more cordial, also worthy of imitation: "Mr. and Mrs.
Winslow Appleblossom request the pleasure of your company at the
wedding reception of their daughter, on Tuesday afternoon June the
sixteenth." This is without cards or names, presuming that the
latter will follow later on.

Another very comprehensive and useful announcement of a wedding,
from a lady living out of town, conveys, however, on one sheet of
paper the desired information of where to find the bride:

  _Mrs. Seth Osborne
  announces the marriage of her daughter
  Mr. Joseph Wendon,
  Wednesday, September the ninth,
  Bristol, Connecticut.

  At Home after January first,
  at 758 Wood Street._

This card of announcement is a model of conciseness, and answers
the oft-repeated question, "Where shall we go to find the married
couple next winter?"

In arranging the house for the spring wedding the florists have
hit upon a new device of having only _one_ flower in masses; so we
hear of the apple-blossom wedding, the lilac wedding, the lily
wedding, the rose wedding and the daffodil wedding, the violet
wedding, and the daisy wedding. So well has this been carried out
that at a recent daisy wedding the bride's lace and diamond
ornaments bore the daisy pattern, and each bridesmaid received a
daisy pin with diamond centre.

This fashion of massing a single flower has its advantages when
that flower is the beautiful feathery lilac, as ornamental as a
plume; but it is not to be commended when flowers are as sombre as
the violet, which nowadays suggests funerals. Daffodils are lovely
and original, and apple-blossoms make a hall in a Queen Anne
mansion very decorative. No one needs to be told that roses look
better for being massed, and it is a pretty conceit for a bride to
make the flower which was the ornament of her wedding _her_ flower
for life.

The passion for little girls as bridesmaids receives much
encouragement at the spring and summer weddings. One is reminded
of the children weddings of the fifteenth century, as these
darlings, wearing Kate Greenaway hats, walk up the aisle,
preceding the bride. The young brother of the bride, a mere boy,
who, in the fatherless condition of his sister, recently gave her
away, also presented a touching picture. It has become a fashion
now to invoke youth as well as age to give the blessings once
supposed to be alone at the beck and call of those whom Time had

The bridal dresses are usually of white satin and point lace, a
preference for tulle veils being very evident. A pin for the veil,
with a diamond ornament, and five large diamonds hanging by little
chains, makes a very fine effect, and is a novelty. The groom at a
recent wedding gave cat's-eyes set round with diamonds to his
ushers for scarf pins, the cat's-eye being considered a very lucky

The ushers and the groom wear very large _boutonnieres_ of
stephanotis and gardenias, or equally large bunches of
lilies-of-the-valley, in their button-holes.

At one of the country weddings of the spring a piper in full
Scotch costume discoursed most eloquent music on the lawn during
the wedding ceremony. This was a compliment to the groom, who is a
captain in a Highland regiment.

A prevailing fashion for wedding presents is to give heavy pieces
of furniture, such as sideboards, writing-tables, cabinets, and

A favorite dress for travelling is heliotrope cashmere, with
bonnet to match. For a dark bride nothing is more becoming than
dark blue tailormade with white vest and sailor collar. Gray
cashmere with steel passementerie has also been much in vogue. A
light gray mohair, trimmed with lace of the same color, was also
much admired.

We have mentioned the surroundings of the brides, but have not
spoken of the background. A screen hung with white and purple
lilacs formed the background of one fair bride, a hanging curtain
of Jacque-minot roses formed the appropriate setting of another.
Perhaps the most regal of these floral screens was one formed of
costly orchids, each worth a fortune. One of the most beautiful of
the spring wedding dresses was made of cream-white satin over a
tulle petticoat, the tulle being held down by a long diagonal band
of broad pearl embroidery, the satin train trimmed with bows of
ribbon in true-lovers' knots embroidered in seed-pearls; a shower
of white lilacs trimmed one side of the skirt.

Another simple dress was made of white silk, trimmed with old
Venetian point, the train of striped ivory point and white satin
depending _… la_ Watteau from the shoulders, and fastened at the
point of the waist. At the side three large pleats formed a
drapery, which was fringed with orange-blossoms.

From England we hear of the most curious combinations as to
travelling-dresses. Biscuit-colored canvas, embroidered around the
polonaise in green and gold, while the skirt is edged with a broad
band of green velvet. The new woollen laces of all colors make a
very good effect in the "going-away dress" of a bride.

We are often asked by summer brides whether they should wear
bonnets or round hats for their travelling-dress. We
unhesitatingly say bonnets. A very pretty wedding bonnet is made
of lead-colored beads without foundation, light and transparent;
strings of red velvet and a bunch of red plums complete this
bonnet. Gold-colored straw, trimmed with gold-brown velvet and
black net, makes a pretty travelling-bonnet. Open-work black straw
trimmed with black lace and red roses, very high in the crown,
with a "split front," is a very becoming and appropriate bonnet
for a spring costume.

A pretty dress for the child bridemaids is a pink faille slip
covered with dotted muslin, not tied in at the waist, and the
broadest of high Gainsborough hats of pale pink silk with immense
bows, from the well-known pictures of Gainsborough's pretty women.

But if a summer bride must travel in a bonnet, there is no reason
that her trousseau should not contain a large Leghorn hat, the
straw caught up on the back in long loops, the spaces between
filled in with bows of heliotrope ribbon. The crown should be
covered with white ostrich tips. This is a very becoming hat for a
lawn party.

It would be a charming addition to our well-known and somewhat
worn-out Wedding-March, always played as the bride walks up the
aisle, if a chorus of choir boys would sing an epithalamium, as is
now done in England. These fresh young voices hailing the youthful
couple would be in keeping with the child bridesmaids and the
youthful brothers. Nay, they would suggest those frescoes of the
Italian villas where Hymen and Cupid, two immortal boys, always
precede the happy pair.

It is a pleasant part of weddings everywhere that the faithful
domestics who have loved the bride from childhood are expected to
assist by their presence at the ceremony, each wearing a wedding
favor made by the fair hand of the bride herself. An amusing
anecdote is told of a Yorkshire coachman, who, newly arrived in
America, was to drive the bride to church. Not knowing him,
particularly as he was a new addition to the force, the bride sent
him his favor by the hands of her maid. But Yorkshire decided
stoutly against receiving such a vicarious offering, and remarked,
"Tell she I'd rather 'ave it from she." And so "she" was obliged
to come down and affix the favor to his livery coat, or he would
have resigned the "ribbons." The nurses, the cook, the maids, and
the men-servants in England always expect a wedding favor and a
small gratuity at a wedding, and in this country should be
remembered by a box of cake, and possibly by a new dress, cap, or
bonnet, or something to recall the day.

The plan of serving the refreshments at a buffet all through the
reception retains its place as the most convenient and appropriate
of forms. The wedding breakfast, where toasts are drunk and
speeches made, is practicable in England, but hardly here, where
we are not to the manner born. The old trained domestics who serve
such a feast can not be invented at will in America, so that it is
better to allow our well-filled tables to remain heavily laden, as
they are, with dainties which defy competition, served by a corps
of waiters.

The pretty plan of cutting the bride cake and hunting for a ring
has been long exploded, as the bridesmaids declare that it ruins
their gloves, and that in these days of eighteen buttons it is too
much trouble to take off and put on a glove for the sake of
finding a ring in a bit of greasy pastry. However, it might
supplement a wedding supper.


The first thing which strikes the eye of the fortunate person who
is invited to see the bridal gifts is the predominance of
silver-ware. We have now passed the age of bronze and that of
brass, and silver holds the first place of importance. Not only
the coffee and tea sets, but the dinner sets and the whole
furniture of the writing-table, and even brooms and brushes, are
made with repouss‚ silver handles--the last, of course, for the
toilette, as for dusting velvet, feathers, bonnets, etc.

The oxidized, ugly, discolored silver is not so fashionable as it
was, and the beautiful, bright, highly polished silver, with its
own natural and unmatchable color, has come in. The salvers afford
a splendid surface for a monogram, which is now copied from the
old Dutch silver, and bears many a true-lovers' knot, and every
sort and kind of ornamentation; sometimes even a little verse, or
posy, as it was called in olden time. One tea-caddy at a recent
wedding bore the following almost obsolete rhyme, which Corydon
might have sent to Phyllis in pastoral times:

  "My heart to you is given;
  Oh do give yours to me:
  We'll lock them up together,
  And throw away the key."

It should be added that the silver tea-caddy was in the shape of a
heart, and that it had a key. Very dear to the heart of a
housewife is the tea-caddy which can be locked.

Another unique present was a gold tea scoop of ancient pattern,
probably once a baby's pap spoon. There were also apostle-spoons,
and little silver canoes and other devices to hold cigarettes and
ashes; little mysterious boxes for the toilette, to hold the tongs
for curling hair, and hair-pins; mirror frames, and even
chair-backs and tables--all of silver.

Several beautiful umbrellas, with all sorts of handles, recalled
the anecdote of the man who said he first saw his wife in a storm,
married her in a storm, lived with her in a hurricane, but buried
her in pleasant weather; parasols with jewelled handles, and
beautiful painted fans, are also favorite offerings to the newly

Friends conspire to make their offerings together, so that there
may be no duplicates, and no pieces in the silver service which do
not match. This is a very excellent plan. Old pieces like silver
tankards, Queen Anne silver, and the ever beautiful Baltimore
workmanship, are highly prized.

It is no longer the fashion to display the presents at the
wedding. They are arranged in an upper room, and shown to a few
friends of the bride the day before the ceremony. Nor is it the
fashion for the bride to wear many jewels. These are reserved for
her first appearance as a married woman.

Clusters of diamond stars, daisies, or primroses that can be
grouped together are now favorite gifts. In this costly gift
several friends join again, as in the silver presentation. Diamond
bracelets that can be used as necklaces are also favorite
presents. All sorts of vases, bits of china, cloisonn‚, clocks
(although there is not such a stampede of clocks and lamps as a
few years ago), choice etchings framed, and embroidered
table-cloths, doyleys, and useful coverings for bureau and
wash-stands, are in order.

The bride now prefers simplicity in her dress--splendid and costly
simplicity. An elegant white-satin and a tulle veil, the latter
very full, the former extremely long and with a sweeping train,
high corsage, and long sleeves, long white gloves, and perhaps a
flower in the hair--such is the latest fashion for an autumn
bride. The young ladies say they prefer that their magnificence
should wait for the days after marriage, when their jewels can be
worn. There is great sense in this, for a bride is interesting
enough when she is simply attired.

The solemnization of the marriage should be in a church, and a
high ecclesiastical functionary should be asked to solemnize it.
The guests are brought in by the ushers, who, by the way, now wear
pearl-colored kid-gloves, embroidered in black, as do the groom
and best man. The front seats are reserved for the relatives and
intimate friends, and the head usher has a paper on which are
written the names of people entitled to these front seats. The
seats thus reserved have a white ribbon as a line of demarcation.
Music should usher in the bride.

The fashion of bridesmaids has gone out temporarily, and one
person, generally a sister, alone accompanies the bride to the
altar as her female aid. The bride, attended by her father or near
friend, comes in last, after the ushers. After her mother, sister,
and family have preceded her, these near relatives group
themselves about the altar steps. Her sister, or one bridesmaid,
stands near her at the altar rail, and kneels with her and the
bridegroom, as does the best man. The groom takes his bride from
the hand of her father or nearest friend, who then retires and
stands a little behind the bridal pair. He must be near enough to
respond quickly when he hears the words, "Who giveth this woman to
be married to this man?" The bride and groom walk out together
after the ceremony, followed by the nearest relatives, and proceed
to the home where the wedding breakfast is served. Here the bridal
pair stand under an arch of autumn-leaves, golden-rod, asters, and
other seasonable flowers, and receive their friends, who are
presented by the ushers.

The father and mother do not take any stated position on this
occasion, but mingle with the guests, and form a part of the
company. In an opulent countryhouse, if the day is fine, little
tables are set out on the lawn, the ladies seat themselves around,
and the gentlemen carry the refreshments to them; or the piazzas
are beautifully decorated with autumn boughs and ferns, flowers,
evergreens, and the refreshments are served there. If it is a bad
day, of course the usual arrangements of a crowded buffet are in
order; there is no longer a "sit-down" wedding breakfast; it does
not suit our American ideas, as recent experiments have proved. We
have many letters asking if the gentlemen of the bride's family
should wear gloves. They should, and, as we have indicated, they
should be of pearl-colored kid, embroidered in the seams with

The one bridesmaid must be dressed in colors. At a recent very
fashionable wedding the bridesmaid wore bright buttercup yellow, a
real Directoire dress, white lace skirt, yellow bodice, hat
trimmed with yellow--a very picturesque, pretty costume. The silk
stockings and slippers were of yellow, the hat of Leghorn, very
large, turned up at one side, yellow plumes, and long streamers of
yellow-velvet ribbon. Yellow is now esteemed a favorite color and
a fortunate one. It once was deemed the synonym for envy, but that
has passed away.

The carrying of an ivory prayer-book was found to be attended with
inconvenience, therefore was discontinued. Still, if a young lady
wishes to have her prayer-book associated with her vows at the
altar, she can properly carry it. Brides are, however, leaving
their bouquets at home, as the immense size of a modern bouquet
interfered with the giving and taking of the ring.

A very pretty bit of ornamentation for an autumn wedding is the
making of a piece of tapestry of autumn leaves to hang behind the
bride as she receives. This can be done by sewing the leaves on a
piece of drugget on which some artist has drawn a clever sketch
with chalk and charcoal. We have seen some really elaborate and
artistic groups done in this way by earnest and unselfish girl
friends. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Ophelia, Tristan and Iseult,
can thus be made to serve as decorations.

The walls of the church can, of course, be exquisitely decorated
with palms in an Oriental pattern, flowers, and leaves. The season
is one when nature's bounty is so profuse that even the fruits can
be pressed into service. Care should be taken not to put too many
tuberoses about, for the perfume is sickening to some.

The engagement ring should be worn on the third finger of the left
hand. It should have a solitaire stone--either a diamond or a
colored stone. Colored stones and diamonds, set diagonally, as a
sapphire and a diamond, are also worn; but not a pearl, as,
according to the German idea, "pearls are tears for a bride." The
wedding ring is entirely different, being merely a plain gold
ring, not very wide nor a square band, as it was a few years
since, and the engagement ring is worn as a guard above the
wedding ring. It is not usual for the bride expectant to give a
ring to her intended husband, but many girls like to give an
engagement gift to their betrothed. Inside the engagement ring is
the date of the engagement and the initials of each of the
contracting parties. The wedding ring has the date of the marriage
and the initials.

If the marriage takes place at home, the bride and groom enter
together, and take their place before the clergyman, who has
already entered; then come the father and mother and other
friends. A pair of hassocks should be arranged for the bridal pair
to kneel upon, and the father should be near to allow the
clergyman to see him when he asks for his authority.

For autumn weddings nothing is so pretty for the travelling-dress
as a tailor-made costume of very light cloth, with sacque to match
for a cold day. No travelling-dress should of itself be too heavy,
as our railway carriages are kept so very warm.

We have been asked to define the meaning of the word "honeymoon."
It comes from the Germans, who drank mead, or metheglin--a
beverage made of honey--for thirty days after the wedding.

The bride-cake is no longer cut and served at weddings; the
present of cake in boxes has superseded that. At the wedding
breakfast the ices are now packed in fancy boxes, which bear
nuptial mottoes and orange-blossoms and violets on their surfaces.
As the ring is the expressive emblem of the perpetuity of the
compact, and as the bride-cake and customary libations form
significant symbols of the nectar sweets of matrimony, it will not
do to banish the cake altogether, although few people eat it, and
few wish to carry it away.

Among the Romans, June was considered the most propitious month
for marriage; but with the Anglo-Saxons October has always been a
favorite and auspicious season. We find that the festival has
always been observed in very much the same way, whether druidical,
pagan, or Christian.

We have been asked, Who shall conduct the single bridesmaid to the
altar? It should be the brother of the groom, her own _fianc‚_, or
some chosen friend--never the best man; he does not leave his
friend the groom until he sees him fairly launched on that hopeful
but uncertain sea whose reverses and whose smiles are being
constantly tempted.

"That man must lead a happy life
 Who is directed by a wife.
 Who's freed from matrimonial claims
 Is sure to suffer for his pains."

This is a "posy" for some October silver.


The reception of an engaged girl by the family of her future
husband should be most cordial, and no time should be lost in
giving her a warm welcome. It is the moment of all others when she
will feet such a welcome most gratefully, and when any neglect
will be certain to give her the keenest unhappiness.

It is the fashion for the mother of the groom to invite both the
family of the expectant bride and herself to a dinner as soon as
possible after the formal announcement of the engagement. The two
families should meet and should make friendships at once. This is

It is to these near relatives that the probable date of the
wedding-day is first whispered, in time to allow of much
consultation and preparation in the selection of wedding gifts. In
opulent families each has sometimes given the young couple a
silver dinner service and much silver besides, and the rooms of
the bride's father's house look like a jeweller's shop when the
presents are shown. All the magnificent ormolu ornaments for the
chimney-piece, handsome clocks and lamps, fans in large
quantities, spoons, forks by the hundred, and of late years the
fine gilt ornaments, furniture, camel's-hair shawls,
bracelets--all are piled up in most admired confusion. And when
the invitations are out, then come in the outer world with their
more hastily procured gifts; rare specimens of china, little
paintings, ornaments for the person--all, all are in order.

A present is generally packed where it is bought, and sent with
the giver's card from the shop to the bride directly. She should
always acknowledge its arrival by a personal note written by
herself. A young bride once gave mortal offence by not thus
acknowledging her gifts. She said she had so many that she could
not find time to write the notes, which was naturally considered
boastful and most ungracious.

Gifts which owe their value to the personal taste or industry of
the friend who sends are particularly complimentary. A piece of
embroidery, a painting, a water-color, are most flattering gifts,
as they betoken a long and predetermined interest.

No friend should be deterred from sending a small present, one not
representing a money value, because other and richer people can
send a more expensive one. Often the little gift remains as a most
endearing and useful souvenir.

As for showing the wedding gifts, that is a thing which must be
left to individual taste. Some people disapprove of it, and
consider it ostentatious; others have a large room devoted to the
display of the presents, and it is certainly amusing to examine

As for the conduct of the betrothed pair during their engagement,
our American mammas are apt to be somewhat more lenient in their
views of the liberty to be allowed than are the English. With the
latter, no young lady is allowed to drive alone with her _fianc‚_;
there must be a servant in attendance. No young lady must visit in
the family of her _fianc‚_, unless he has a mother to receive her.
Nor is she allowed to go to the theatre alone with him, or to
travel under his escort, to stop at the same hotel, or to relax
one of those rigid rules which a severe chaperon would enforce;
and it must be allowed that this severe and careful attention to
appearances is in the best taste.

As for the engagement-ring, modern fashion prescribes a diamond
solitaire, which may range in price from two hundred and fifty to
two thousand dollars. The matter of presentation is a secret
between the engaged pair.

Evening weddings do not differ from day weddings essentially,
except that the bridegroom wears evening dress.

If the wedding is at home, the space where the bridal party is to
stand is usually marked off by a ribbon, and the clergyman comes
down in his robes before the bridal pair; they face him, and he
faces the company. Hassocks are prepared for them to kneel upon.
After the ceremony the clergyman retires, and the bridal party
take his place, standing to receive their friends'

Should there be dancing at a wedding, it is proper for the bride
to open the first quadrille with the best man, the groom dancing
with the first bridesmaid. It is not, however, very customary for
a bride to dance, or for dancing to occur at an evening wedding,
but it is not a bad old custom.

After the bridal pair return from their wedding-tour, the
bridesmaids each give them a dinner or a party, or show some
attention, if they are so situated that they can do so. The
members of the two families, also, each give a dinner to the young

It is now a very convenient and pleasant custom for the bride to
announce with her wedding-cards two or more reception days during
the winter after her marriage, on which her friends can call upon
her. The certainty of finding a bride at home is very pleasing. On
these occasions she does not wear her wedding-dress, but receives
as if she had entered society as one of its members. The wedding
trappings are all put away, and she wears a dark silk, which may
be as handsome as she chooses. As for wearing her wedding-dress to
balls or dinners after her marriage, it is perfectly proper to do
so, if she divests herself of her veil and her orange-blossoms.

The bride should be very attentive and conciliatory to all her
husband's friends, They will look with interest upon her from the
moment they hear of the engagement, and it is in the worst taste
for her to show indifference to them.

Quiet weddings, either in church or at the house, are very much
preferred by some families. Indeed, the French, from whom we have
learned many--and might learn more--lessons of grace and good
taste, infinitely prefer them.

For a quiet wedding the bride dresses in a travelling dress and
bonnet, and departs for her wedding-tour. It is the custom in
England, as we have said, for the bride and groom to drive off in
their own carriage, which is dressed with white ribbons, the
coach-man and groom wearing white bouquets, and favors adorning
the horses' ears, and for them to take a month's honeymoon. There
also the bride (if she be Hannah Rothschild or the Baroness
Burdett-Coutts) gives her bridesmaids very elegant presents, as a
locket or a bracelet, while the groom gives the best man a
scarf-pin or some gift. The American custom is not so universal.
However, either bride or groom gives something to the bridesmaid
and a scarf-pin to each usher. Thus a wedding becomes a very
expensive and elaborate affair, which quiet and economical people
are sometimes obliged to avoid.

After the marriage invitations are issued, the lady does not
appear in public.

The period of card-leaving after a wedding is not yet definitely
fixed. Some authorities say ten days, but that in a crowded city,
and with an immense acquaintance, would be quite impossible.

If only invited to the church, many ladies consider that they
perform their whole duty by leaving a card sometime during the
winter, and including the young couple in their subsequent
invitations. Very rigorous people call, however, within ten days,
and if invited to the house, the call is still more imperative,
and should be made soon after the wedding.

But if a young couple do not send their future address, but only
invite one to a church-wedding, there is often a very serious
difficulty in knowing where to call, and the first visit must be
indefinitely postponed until they send cards notifying their
friends of their whereabouts.

Wedding invitations require no answer. But people living at a
distance, who cannot attend the wedding, should send their cards
by mail, to assure the hosts that the invitation has been
received. The usual form for wedding-cards is this:

  Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Chapman
  request your presence at the
  marriage of their daughter, on Wednesday evening,
  November fourth, at eight o'clock.
  Grace Church.

The card of the young lady, that of her intended husband, and
another card to the favored--

  At Home
  after the ceremony,
  7 East Market Street--

is also enclosed.

People with a large acquaintance cannot always invite all their
friends, of course, to a wedding reception, and therefore invite
all to the church. Sometimes people who are to give a small
wedding at home request an answer to the wedding invitation; in
that case, of course, an answer should be sent, and people should
be very careful not to ignore these flattering invitations. Any
carelessness is inexcusable when so important an event is on the
_tapis_. Bridesmaids, if prevented by illness or sudden
bereavement from officiating, should notify the bride as soon as
possible, as it is a difficult thing after a bridal cort‚ge is
arranged to reorganize it.

As to the wedding-tour, it is no longer considered obligatory, nor
is the seclusion of the honey-moon demanded. A very fashionable
girl who married an Englishman last summer at Newport returned in
three days to take her own house at Newport, and to receive and
give out invitations. If the newly married pair thus begin
house-keeping in their own way, they generally issue a few "At
Home" cards, and thereby open an easy door for future
hospitalities. Certainly the once perfunctory bridal tour is no
longer deemed essential, and the more sensible fashion exists of
the taking of a friend's house a few miles out of town for a

If the bridal pair go to a watering-place during their early
married days, they should be very careful of outward display of

Such exhibitions in the cars or in public places as one often
sees, of the bride laying her head on her husband's shoulder,
holding hands, or kissing, are at once vulgar and indecent. All
public display of an affectionate nature should be sedulously
avoided. The affections are too sacred for such outward showing,
and the lookers-on are in a very disagreeable position. The French
call love-making _l'...... deux_, and no egotism is agreeable.
People who see a pair of young doves cooing in public are apt to
say that a quarrel is not far off. It is possible for a lover to
show every attention, every assiduity, and not to overdo his
demonstrations. It is quite possible for the lady to be fond of
her husband without committing the slightest offence against good

The young couple are not expected, unless Fortune has been
exceptionally kind, to be immediately responsive in the matter of
entertainments. The outer world is only too happy to entertain
them. Nothing can be more imprudent than for a young couple to
rush into expenditures which may endanger their future happiness
and peace of mind, nor should they feel that they are obliged at
once to return the dinners and the parties given to them. The time
will come, doubtless, when they will be able to do so.

But the announcement of a day on which the bride will receive her
friends is almost indispensable. The refreshments on these
occasions should not exceed tea and cake, or, at the most, punch,
tea, chocolate, and cakes, which may stand on a table at one end
of the room, or may be handed by a waiter. Bouillon, on a cold day
of winter, is also in order, and is perhaps the most serviceable
of all simple refreshments. For in giving a "four-o'clock tea," or
several day receptions, a large entertainment is decidedly vulgar.


Very few people have the golden opportunity of living together for
fifty years in the holy estate of matrimony. When they have
overcome in so great a degree the many infirmities of the flesh,
and the common incompatibility of tempers, they deserve to be
congratulated, and to have a wedding festivity which shall be as
ceremonious as the first one, and twice as impressive. But what
shall we give them?

The gifts of gold must be somewhat circumscribed, and therefore
the injunction, so severe and so unalterable, which holds good at
tin and silver weddings, that no presents must be given of any
other metal than that designated by the day, does not hold good at
a golden wedding. A card printed in gold letters, announcing that
John Anderson and Mary Brown were married, for instance, in 1830,
and will celebrate their golden wedding in 1880, is generally the
only golden manifestation. One of the cards recently issued reads
in this way:

 1831. 		1881.

  _Mr. and Mrs. John Anderson,
  At Home November twenty-first, 1881,
  Golden Wedding,
  17 Carmichael Street,
at eight o'clock._

All done in gold, on white, thick English paper, that is nearly
all the exhibition of gold necessary at a golden wedding, unless
some friend gives the aged bride a present of jewellery. The bride
receives her children and grandchildren dressed in some article
which she wore at her first wedding, if any remain. Sometimes a
veil, or a handkerchief, or a fan, scarcely ever the whole dress,
has lasted fifty years, and she holds a bouquet of white flowers.
A wedding-cake is prepared with a ring in it, and on the frosting
is the date, and the monogram of the two, who have lived together
so long.

These golden weddings are apt to be sad. It is not well for the
old to keep anniversaries--too many ghosts come to the feast.
Still, if people are happy enough to wish to do so, there can be
no harm in it. Their surroundings may possibly surpass their
fondest dreams, but as it regards themselves, the contrast is
painful. They have little in common with bridal joys, and unless
it is the wish of some irrepressible descendant, few old couples
care to celebrate the golden wedding save in their hearts. If they
have started at the foot of the ladder, and have risen, they may
not wish to remember their early struggles; if they have started
high, and have gradually sunk into poverty or ill health, they
certainly do not wish to photograph those better days by the
fierce light of an anniversary, It is only the very exceptionally
good, happy, and serene people who can afford to celebrate a
golden wedding.

Far otherwise with the silver wedding, which comes in this country
while people are still young, in the very prime of life, With much
before them, and when to stop midway to take an account of one's
friends and one's blessings is a wise and a pleasant thing. The
cards are issued, printed in silver, somewhat in this style:

 1856. 		1881.

_Mr. and Mrs. Carter
request the pleasure of your company
on Wednesday, October the twenty-seventh,
at eight o'clock.
Silver Wedding.

John Carter.		 Sarah Smith._

Such, at least, is one form. Many people do not, however, add
their names at the end; while, again, some go even farther; and
transcribe the marriage notice from the newspaper of the period.

Gifts of silver being comparatively inexpensive, and always
useful, almost all friends who are invited send a gift of
silver-ware, marked "Silver Wedding" or, still better, marked
with an appropriate motto, and the initials of the pair, engraved
in a true-lover's knot.

In old Dutch silver these pretty monograms and the lover's knot
are very common. This was probably put upon the original wedding
silver, and we know that the art was studied by such men as
Albrecht Drer, Benvenuto Cellini, and Rubens, for we find among
their drawings many monograms and such devices. It adds very much
to the beauty of a piece of silver to bear such engraving, and it
is always well to add a motto, or a "posy," as the bid phrase has
it, thus investing the gift with a personal interest, in our
absence of armorial bearings. Since many pretty ornaments come in
silver, it is possible to vary the gifts by sometimes presenting
_flacons_ (a pendant _flacon_ for the _chatelaine_: some very
artistic things come in this pretty ornament now, with colored
plaques representing antique figures, etc.). Sometimes a costly
intaglio is sunk in silver and set as a pin. Clocks of silver,
bracelets, statuary in silver, necklaces, picture-frames, and
filigree pendants hanging to silver necklaces which resemble
pearls; beautiful jewel-cases and boxes for the toilet;
dressing-cases well furnished with silver; hand-mirrors set in
fretted silver; bracelets, pendant seals, and medallions in high
relief--all come now for gifts in the second precious metal. A
very pretty gift was designed by a young artist for his mother on
the celebration of her silver wedding. It was a monogram and
love-knot after the fashion of the seventeenth century, and made,
when joined, a superb belt-clasp, each little ornament of the
relief repeating the two dates. Mantle clasps of solid silver
ornamented with precious stones, and known in the Middle Ages as
_fermillets_, are pretty presents, and these ornaments can be also
enriched with gold and enamel without losing their silver
character. Chimerical animals and floral ornaments are often used
in enriching these _agrafes_.

Mirrors set in silver are very handsome for the toilet-table;
also, brushes and combs can be made of it. All silver is apt to
tarnish, but a dip in water and ammonia cleans it at once, and few
people now like the white foamy silver; that which has assumed a
gray tint is much more admired. Indeed, artistic jewellers have
introduced the hammered silver, which looks like an old tin
teapot, and to the admirers of the real silver tint is very ugly;
but it renders the wearing of a silver _chƒtelaine_ very much
easier, for the chains and ornaments which a lady now wears on her
belt are sure to grow daily into the fashion. Silver parasol
handles are also very fashionable. We have enlarged upon this
subject of gifts of silver in answer to several questions as to
what it is proper to give at a silver wedding. Of course the
wealthy can send pitchers, vases, vegetable dishes, soup tureens,
and waiters. All the beautiful things which are now made by our
silversmiths are tempting to the purse. There are also handsome
silver necklaces, holding old and rare coins, and curious watches
of silver, resembling fruits, nuts, and animals. The farther back
we go in the history of silver-ware, the better models we are sure
to obtain.

As for the entertainment, it includes the inevitable cake, of
course, and the bride puts the knife into it as she did
twenty-five years ago. The ring is eagerly sought for. Then a
large and plentiful repast is offered, exactly like that of any
reception-table. Champagne is in order, healths are drunk, and
speeches made at most of these silver weddings.

Particularly delightful are silver weddings which are celebrated
in the country, especially if the house is large enough to hold a
number of guests. Then many a custom can be observed of peculiar
significance and friendliness; everybody can help to prepare the
feast, decorate the house with flowers, and save the bride from
those tearful moments which come with any retrospect. All should
try to make the scene a merry one, for there is no other reason
for its celebration.

Tin weddings, which occur after ten years have passed over two
married heads, are signals for a general frolic. Not only are the
usual tin utensils which can be used for the kitchen and household
purposes offered, but fantastic designs and ornaments are gotten
up for the purpose of raising a laugh. One young bride received a
handsome check from her father-in-law, who labelled it "Tin," and
sent it to her in a tin pocket-book elaborately constructed for
the purpose. One very pretty tin fender was constructed for the
fireplace of another, and was not so ugly. A tin screen, tin
chandeliers, tin fans, and tin tables have been offered. If these
serve no other purpose, they do admirably for theatrical
properties later, if the family like private plays, etc., at home.

Wooden weddings occur after five years of marriage, and afford the
bride much refurnishing of the kitchen, and nowadays some
beautiful presents of wood-carving. The wooden wedding, which was
begun in jest with a step-ladder and a rolling-pin several years
ago, now threatens to become a very splendid anniversary indeed,
since the art of carving in wood is so popular, and so much
practised by men and women. Every one is ready for a carved box,
picture-frame, screen, sideboard, chair, bureau, dressing-table,
crib, or bedstead. Let no one be afraid to offer a bit of wood
artistically carved. Everything is in order but wooden nutmegs;
they are ruled out.

At one of the golden weddings of the Rothschilds we read of such
presents as a solid gold dinner service; a chased cup of Benvenuto
Cellini in solid gold, enriched with precious stones; a box, with
cover of gold, in the early Renaissance, with head of Marie de
Medicis in oxidized gold; of rings from Cyprus, containing
sapphires from the tombs of the Crusaders; of solid crystals cut
in drinking cups, with handles of gold; of jade goblets set in
gold saucers; of singing-birds in gold; and of toilet appliances,
all in solid gold, not to speak of chains, rings, etc. This is
luxury, and as such to be commended to those who can afford it.
But it must entail great inconvenience. Gold is so valuable that a
small piece of it goes a great way, and even a Rothschild would
not like to leave out a gold dressing-case, lest it might tempt
the most honest of waiting-women.

No doubt some of our millionaire Americans can afford such golden
wedding-presents, but of course they are rare, and even if common,
would be less in keeping than some less magnificent gifts. Our
republican simplicity would be outraged and shocked at seeing so
much coin of the realm kept out of circulation.

There are, however, should we wish to make a present to a bride of
fifty years' standing, many charming bits of gold jewellery very
becoming, very artistic, and not too expensive for a moderate
purse. There are the delicate productions of Castellani, the gold
and enamel of Venice, the gold-work of several different colors
which has become so artistic; there are the modern antiques,
copied from the Phoenician jewellery found at Cyprus--these made
into pins for the cap, pendants for the neck, rings and bracelets,
boxes for the holding of small sweetmeats, so fashionable many
years ago, are pretty presents for an elderly lady. For a
gentleman it is more difficult to find souvenirs. We must
acknowledge that it is always difficult to select a present for a
gentleman. Unless he has as many feet as Briareus had hands, or
unless he is a centipede, he cannot wear all the slippers given to
him; and the shirt-studs and sleeve-buttons are equally
burdensome. Rings are now fortunately in fashion, and can be as
expensive as one pleases. But one almost regrets the disuse of
snuff, as that gave occasion for many beautiful boxes. It would be
difficult to find, however, such gold snuffboxes as were once
handed round among monarchs and among wealthy snuffers. The giving
of wedding-presents has had to endure many changes since its first
beginning, which was a wise and generous desire to help the young
pair to begin house-keeping. It has become now an occasion of
ostentation. So with the gifts at the gold and silver weddings.
They have almost ceased to be friendly offerings, and are oftener
a proof of the giver's wealth than of his love.

No wonder that some delicate-minded people, wishing to celebrate
their silver wedding, cause a line to be printed on their
invitations, "No presents received."

Foreigners have a beautiful custom, which we have not, of
remembering every fˆte day, every birthday, every saint's day, in
a friend's calendar. A bouquet, a present of fruit, a kind note, a
little celebration which costs nothing, occurs in every family on
papa's birthday or mamma's fˆte day. But as we have nothing of
that sort, and as most people prefer that, as in the case of the
hero of the _Pirates_, a birthday shall only come once in four
years, it is well for us to celebrate the tin, silver, and golden

The twentieth anniversary of one's wedding is never celebrated. It
is considered very unlucky to do so. The Scotch think one or the
other will die within the year if the twentieth anniversary is
even alluded to.


A hostess must not use the word "ball" on her invitation-cards.
She may say,

_Mrs. John Brown requests the pleasure of the company of
 Mr. and Mrs. Amos Smith
 on Thursday evening, November twenty-second,
 at nine o'clock.

Dancing. 		R.S.V.P._


_Mrs. John Brown
 At Home
 Thursday evening, November twenty-second,
 at nine o'clock.

Cotillion at ten.		 R. S. V. P._

But she should not indicate further the purpose of her party. In
New York, where young ladies are introduced to society by means of
a ball at Delmonico's, the invitation is frequently worded,

_Mr. and Mrs. Amos Smith request the pleasure
of your company
 Thursday evening, November twenty-second,
 at nine o'clock.

  Delmonico' s._

The card of the young d‚butante is sometimes (although not always)

If these invitations are sent to new acquaintances, or to
strangers in town, the card of the gentleman is enclosed to
gentlemen, that of both the gentleman and his wife to ladies and
gentlemen, if it is a first invitation.

A ballroom should be very well lighted, exceedingly well
ventilated, and very gayly dressed. It is the height of the gayety
of the day; and although dinner calls for handsome dress, a ball
demands it. Young persons of slender figure prefer light,
diaphanous dresses; the chaperons can wear heavy velvet and
brocade. Jewels are in order. A profusion of flowers in the hands
of the women should add their brightness and perfume to the rooms.
The great number of bouquets sent to a d‚butante is often
embarrassing. The present fashion is to have them hung, by
different ribbons, on the arm, so that they look as if almost a
trimming to the dress.

Gentlemen who have not selected partners before the ball come to
their hostess and ask to be presented to ladies who will dance
with them. As a hostess cannot leave her place while receiving,
and people come at all hours to a ball, she generally asks two or
three well-known society friends to receive with her, who will
take this part of her duty off her hands, for no hostess likes to
see "wall-flowers" at her ball: she wishes all her young people to
enjoy themselves. Well-bred young men always say to the hostess
that they beg of her to introduce them to ladies who may be
without partners, as they would gladly make themselves useful to
her. After dancing with a lady, and walking about the room with
her for a few times, a gentleman is at perfect liberty to take the
young lady back to her chaperon and plead another engagement.

A great drawback to balls in America is the lack of convenience
for those who wish to remain seated. In Europe, where the elderly
are first considered, seats are placed around the room, somewhat
high, for the chaperons, and at their feet sit the debutantes.
These red-covered sofas, in two tiers, as it were, are brought in
by the upholsterer (as we hire chairs for the crowded _musicales_
or readings so common in large cities), and are very convenient.
It is strange that all large halls are not furnished with them, as
they make every one comfortable at very little expense, and add to
the appearance of the room. A row of well-dressed ladies, in
velvet, brocade, and diamonds, some with white hair, certainly
forms a very distinguished background for those who sit at their

Supper is generally served all the evening from a table on which
flowers, fruits, candelabra, silver, and glass are displayed, and
which is loaded with hot oysters, boned turkey, salmon, game
_pƒt‚s_, salads, ices, jellies, and fruits, from the commencement
of the evening. A hot supper, with plentiful cups of bouillon, is
served again for those who dance the german.

But if the hostess so prefer, the supper is not served until she
gives the word, when her husband leads the way with the most
distinguished lady present, the rest of the company following. The
hostess rarely goes in to supper until every one has been served.
She takes the opportunity of walking about her ballroom to see if
every one is happy and attended to. If she does go to supper, it
is in order to accompany some distinguished guest--like the
President, for instance. This is, however, a point which may be
left to the tact of the hostess.

A young lady is not apt to forget her ballroom engagements, but
she should be sure not to do so. She must be careful not to offend
one gentleman by refusing to dance with him, and then accepting
the offer of another. Such things, done by frivolous girls, injure
a young man's feelings unnecessarily, and prove that the young
lady has not had the training of a gentlewoman. A young man should
not forget if he has asked a young lady for the german. He must
send her a bouquet, and be on hand to dance with her. If kept away
by sickness, or a death in his family, he must send her a note
before the appointed hour.

It is not necessary to take leave of your hostess at a ball. All
that she requires of you is to bow to her on entering, and to make
yourself as agreeable and happy as you can while in her house.

Young men are not always as polite as they should be at balls.
They ought, if well-bred, to look about, and see if any lady has
been left unattended at supper, to ask if they can go for
refreshments, if they can lead a lady to a seat, go for a
carriage, etc. It is not an impertinence for a young man thus to
speak to a lady older than himself, even if he has not been
introduced; the roof is a sufficient introduction for any such

The first persons asked to dance by the young gentlemen invited to
a house should be the daughters of the house. To them and to their
immediate relatives and friends must the first attentions be paid.

It is not wise for young ladies to join in every dance, nor should
a young chaperon dance, leaving her proteg‚e sitting. The very bad
American custom of sending several young girls to a ball with a
very young chaperon--perhaps one of their number who has just been
married--has led to great vulgarity in our American city life, not
to say to that general misapprehension of foreigners which offends
without correcting our national vanity. A mother should endeavor
to attend balls with her daughters, and to stay as long as they
do. But many mothers say, "We are not invited: there is not room
for us." Then her daughters should not accept. It is a very poor
American custom not to invite the mothers. Let a lady give two or
three balls, if her list is so large that she can only invite the
daughters. If it be absolutely necessary to limit the invitations,
the father should go with the daughters, for who else is to escort
them to their carriage, take care of them if they faint, or look
to their special or accidental wants? The fact that a few
established old veterans of society insist upon "lagging
superfluous on the stage" should not deter ladies who entertain
from being true to the ideas of the best society, which certainly
are in favor of chaperonage.

A lady should not overcrowd her rooms. To put five hundred people
into a hot room, with no chairs to rest in, and little air to
breathe, is to apply a very cruel test to friendship. It is this
impossibility of putting one's "five hundred dear friends" into a
narrow house which has led to the giving of balls at public
rooms--an innovation which shocked a French woman of rank who
married an American. "You have no safeguard for society in
America," she observed, "but your homes. No aristocracy, no king,
no courts, no traditions, but the sacred one of home. Now, do you
not run great risks when you abandon your homes, and bring out
your girls at a hotel?" There is something in her wise remarks;
and with the carelessness of chaperonage in cities which are now
largely populated by irresponsible foreigners the dangers

The first duty of a gentleman on entering a ballroom is to make
his bow to the lady of the house and to her daughters; he should
then strive to find his host--a very difficult business sometimes.
Young men are to be very much censured, however, who do not find
out their host, and insist on being presented to him.
Paterfamilias in America is sometimes thought to hold a very
insignificant place in his own house, and be good for nothing but
to draw checks. This is indicative of a very low social condition,
and no man invited to a gentleman's house should leave it until he
has made his bow to the head thereof.

It is proper for intimate friends to ask for invitations for other
friends to a ball, particularly for young gentlemen who are
"dancing men." More prudence should be exercised in asking in
behalf of ladies, but the hostess has always the privilege of
saying that her list is full, if she does not wish to invite her
friends' friends. No offence should be taken if this refusal be
given politely. In a majority of luxurious houses a tea-room is
open from the beginning to the end of a ball, frequently on the
second story, where bouillon, tea, coffee, and macaroons are in
order, or a plate of sandwiches, or any such light refreshment,
for those who do not wish a heavy supper. A large bowl of iced
lemonade is also in this room--a most grateful refreshment after
leaving a hot ballroom.

The practice of putting crash over carpets has proved so unhealthy
to the dancers, on account of the fine fuzz which rises from it in
dancing, that it is now almost wholly abandoned; and parquet
floors are becoming so common, and the dancing on them is so much
more agreeable in every way, that ladies have their heavy parlor
carpets taken up before a ball rather than lay a crash.

A smoking-room, up or down stairs, is set apart for the gentlemen,
where, in some houses, cigars and brandy and effervescent waters
are furnished. If this provision be not made, it is the height of
indelicacy for gentlemen to smoke in the dressing-rooms.

The bad conduct of young men at large balls, where they abuse
their privileges by smoking, getting drunk at supper, eating
unreasonably, blockading the tables, and behaving in an unseemly
manner, even coming to blows in the supper-rooms, has been dwelt
upon in the annals of the past, which annals ever remain a
disgrace to the young fashionables of any city. Happily, such
breaches of decorum are now so rare that there is no need to touch
upon them here.

Many of our correspondents ask the embarrassing question, "Who is
it proper to invite to a first ball?" This is a question which
cannot be answered in a general way. The tact and delicacy of the
host must decide it.

At public balls there should be managers, ushers, stewards, and,
if possible, a committee of ladies to receive. It is very much
more conducive to the elegance of a ball if there be a recognized
hostess, or committee of hostesses: the very aspect of the room is
thus improved. And to a stranger from another city these ladies
should be hospitable, taking care that she be introduced and
treated with suitable attention.

An awning and carpet should be placed at the front entrance of a
house in which a ball is to be given, to protect the guests
against the weather and the gaze of the crowd of by-standers who
always gather in a great city to see the well-dressed ladies
alight. Unfortunately, in a heavy rain these awnings are most
objectionable; they are not water-proof, and as soon as they are
thoroughly wet they afford no protection whatever.

The cotillion styled the German was first danced by the German
court just after the battle of Waterloo, probably at the ball at
Aix-la-Chapelle given to the allied sovereigns. Favors are given
merely to promote enjoyment and to give variety. It is not
necessary that people be matrimonially engaged to dance it. One
engages his partner for it as for any other dance. It had been
fashionable in Europe many years before it came to this country,
but has been danced here for over forty years, first coming out at


The return to quadrilles at some of the latest balls at
Delmonico's in the winter of 1884 was an important epoch in the
history of dancing, reiterating the well-known proverb of the
dressmakers that everything comes round in fifty years. Fashion
seems to be perennial in this way, for it is almost fifty
years--certainly forty--since the quadrille was at the height of
fashion. In Germany, where they dance for dancing's sake, the
quadrille was long ago voted _rococo_ and stiff. In England and at
court balls it served always as a way, a dignified manner, for
sovereigns and people of inconveniently high rank to begin a ball,
to open a festivity, and it had a sporadic existence in the
country and at Washington even during the years when the Lancers,
a much livelier dance, had chased it away from the New York balls
for a long period of time.

The quadrille is a stately and a conversational dance. The figures
are accurate, and every one should know them well enough to
respond to the voice of the leader. But inasmuch as the figures
are always calling one away from his partner, the first law is to
have a large supply of small-talk, so that, on rejoining, a remark
and a smile may make up for lost time. A calm, graceful carriage,
the power to make an elegant courtesy, are necessary to a lady. No
one in these days takes steps; a sort of galop is, however,
allowed in the rapid figures of the quadrille. A defiant manner,
sometimes assumed by a bashful man, is out of place, although
there are certain figures which make a man feel rather defiant.
One of these is where he is obliged, as _cavalier seul_, to
advance to three ladies, who frequently laugh at him. Then a man
should equally avoid a boisterous demeanor in a quadrille; not
swinging the lady round too gayly. It is never a romping dance,
like the Virginia reel, for instance.

All people are apt to walk through a quadrille slowly, to music,
until they come to the "ladies' chain" or the "promenade." It is,
however, permissible to add a little swinging-step and a graceful
dancing-movement to this stately promenade. A quadrille cannot go
on evenly if any confusion arises from the ignorance, obstinacy,
or inattention of one of the dancers. It is proper, therefore, if
ignorant of the figures, to consult a dancing-master and to learn
them. It is a most valuable dance, as all ages, sizes, and
conditions of men and women can join in it. The young, old, stout,
thin, lazy, active, maimed, or single, _without loss of caste_,
can dance a quadrille. No one looks ridiculous dancing a
quadrille. It is decidedly easier than the German, makes a break
in a _tˆte-…-tˆte_ conversation, and enables a gentleman to be
polite to a lady who may not be a good dancer for waltz or polka.
The morality of round dances seems now to be little questioned. At
any rate, young girls in the presence of their mothers are not
supposed to come to harm from their enjoyment. Dancing is one of
the oldest, the most historical, forms of amusement. Even Socrates
learned to dance. There is no longer an excommunication on the
waltz, that dance which Byron abused.

In England the _valse … deux temps_ is still the most fashionable,
as it always will be the most beautiful, of dances. Some of the
critics of all countries have said that only Germans, Russians,
and Americans can dance it. The Germans dance it very quickly,
with a great deal of motion, but render it elegant by slacking the
pace every now and then. The Russians waltz so quietly, on the
contrary, that they can go round the room holding a brimming glass
of champagne without spilling a drop. This evenness in waltzing is
very graceful, and can only be reached by long practice, a good
ear for music, and a natural gracefulness. Young Americans, who,
as a rule, are the best dancers in the world, achieve this step to
admiration. It is the gentleman's duty in any round dance to guide
his fair companion gracefully; he must not risk a collision or the
chance of a fall. A lady should never waltz if she feels dizzy. It
is a sign of disease of the heart, and has brought on death.
Neither should she step flat-footed, and make her partner carry
her round; but must do her part of the work, and dance lightly and
well, or not at all. Then, again, neither should her partner waltz
on the tip of his toes, nor lift his partner too much off the
floor; all should be smooth, graceful, delicate.

The American dance of the season is, however, the polka--not the
old-fashioned "heel and toe," but the step, quick and gay, of the
Sclavonic nationalities. It may be danced slowly or quickly. It is
always, however, a spirited step, and the music is undoubtedly
pretty. The dancing-masters describe the step of a polka as being
a "hop, three glides, and a rest," and the music is two-four time.
In order to apply the step to the music one must make it in
four-eight time, counting four to each measure of the music, each
measure taking about a second of time by the watch. The polka
redowa and the polka mazourka are modifications of this step to
different times.

The galop is another fashionable dance this winter. It is very
easy, and is danced to very quick music; it is inspiriting at the
end of a ball.

The _minuet de la cour_ was first danced in the ancient province
of Poitou, France. In Paris, in 1653, Louis XIV., who was
passionately fond of it, danced it to perfection. In 1710, Marcel,
the renowned dancing-master, introduced it into England. Then it
went out for many years, until Queen Victoria revived it at a _bal
costum‚_ at Buckingham Palace in 1845. In New York it was revived
and ardently practised for Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt's splendid fancy
ball in 1883, and it was much admired. There seems no reason why
the grace, the dignity, the continuous movement; the courtesy, the
_pas grace_, the skilfully-managed train, the play with the fan,
should not commend this elegant dance to even our republican
dancers; but it has not been danced this winter. It is possibly
too much trouble. A dancing-master worked all winter to teach it
to the performers of the last season.

To make a courtesy (or, as we are fond of saying, a _curtsy_)
properly is a very difficult art, yet all who dance the quadrille
must learn it. To courtesy to her partner the lady steps off with
the right foot, carrying nearly all her weight upon it, at the
same time raising the heel of the left foot, thus placing herself
in the second position, facing her partner, counting _one_. She
then glides the left foot backward and across till the toe of the
left foot is directly behind the right heel, the feet about one
half of the length of the foot apart. This glide commences on the
ball of the left foot, and terminates with both feet flat upon the
floor, and the transfer of the weight to the backward foot. The
bending of the knees and the casting down of the eyes begin with
the commencement of the glide with the left foot, and the
genuflection is steadily continued until the left foot reaches the
position required, counting _two_; then, without changing the
weight from the backward foot, she gradually rises, at the same
time raising the forward heel and lifting the eyes, until she
recovers her full height, counting _three_; and finally transfers
the weight to the forward foot, counting _four_. Such is the
elaborate and the graceful courtesy. It should be studied with a

The "German" (the "Cotillon," as the French call it) is, however,
and probably long will be, the most fashionable dance in society.
It ends every ball in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia,
and Newport; it is a part of the business of life, and demands
consummate skill in its leadership. Any number may join in it; it
often reaches twice around a large ballroom. All the couples in it
are regarded as introduced to each other. No lady can refuse to
dance with any gentleman who is brought to her in the German. So
long as she remains in the charmed circle she must dance with any
one in it. Therefore the German must only be introduced at select
assemblies, not at a public ball. The leader opens the German by
motioning to certain couples to make a _tour de valse_ round the

Many of our correspondents write to ask us what are the latest and
the favorite figures in the German. This is a difficult question
to answer, as the leader always has his own favorite figures. The
German generally begins with _l'avant trois double_, which may be
generally described thus: the leader, having performed the _tour
de valse_ with his partner, leaves her, and brings forward two
other ladies; his lady brings forward two other gentlemen; the two
_trios_ place themselves opposite each other, then forward and
back, and each gentleman with the lady in front of him performs a
_tour de valse_. Should the company be large, two or more couples
may start together, each couple choosing other ladies and
gentlemen in the same manner as the first couple. Then comes _La
Chaise_ after the _tour de valse_. The leader places his partner
in a chair in the centre of the room; he then brings forward two
gentlemen and presents them to the lady, who chooses one of them,
after which he seats the gentleman who is rejected, and brings to
him two ladies; he also selects a partner, and the leader dances
with the refused lady to her place. This figure may be danced by
any number of couples.

_Les Drapeaux_ is a favorite figure. Five or six duplicate sets of
small flags of national or fancy devices must be in readiness. The
leader takes a flag of each pattern, and his partner takes the
duplicate. They perform a _tour de valse_. The conductor then
presents his flags to five or six ladies, and his partner presents
the corresponding flags to as many gentlemen. The gentlemen then
seek the ladies having the duplicates, and with them perform a
_tour de valse_, waving the flags as they dance. Repeated by all
the couples.

_Les Bouquets_ brings in the favors. A number of small bouquets
and boutonnieres are placed upon a table or in a basket. The first
couple perform a _tour de valse_; they then separate. The
gentleman takes a bouquet, and the lady a boutonniere. They now
select new partners, to whom they present the bouquet and
boutonniere, the lady attaching the boutonniere to the gentleman's
coat. They perform a _tour de valse_ with their new partners.
Repeated by all the couples. Other favors are frequently
substituted for bouquets and boutonnieres, such as rosettes,
miniature flags, artificial butterflies, badges, sashes, bonbons,
little bells (the latter being attached to small pieces of ribbon
and pinned to the coat or dress), scarf-pins, bangles, fans, caps,
imitation antique coins, breastpins, lace pins, lockets; and even
gifts of great value, such as shawls, scarfs, vases,
picture-frames, writing-desks, and chairs (represented, of course,
by tickets) have been this winter introduced in the german. But
the cheap, light, fantastic things are the best, and contribute
more to the amusement of the company.

Some of the figures of the German border on the romp. One of these
is called _La Corde_. A rope is stretched by the leading couple
across the room, and the gentlemen jump over it to reach their
partners. Much amusement is occasioned by the tripping of
gentlemen who are thrown by the intentional raising of the rope.
After all have reached their partners they perform a _tour de
valse_, and regain their seats. This is a figure not to be
commended. Still less is the figure called _Les Masques_. The
gentlemen put on masques resembling "Bully Bottom" and other
grotesque faces and heads of animals. They raise these heads above
a screen, the ladies choosing partners without knowing them; the
gentlemen remain _en masque_ until the termination of the _tour de
valse_. This figure was danced at Delmonico's and at the Brunswick
last winter, and the mammas complained that the fun grew rather
too fast and furious. _Les Rubans_ is a very pretty figure. Six
ribbons, each about a yard in length, and of various colors, are
attached to one end of a stick about twenty-four inches in length,
also a duplicate set of ribbons, attached to another stick, must
be in readiness. The first couple perform a _tour de valse_, then
separate; the gentleman takes one set of ribbons, and stops
successively in front of the ladies whom he desires to select to
take part in the figure; each of these ladies rises and takes hold
of the loose end of the ribbon; the first lady takes the other set
of ribbons, bringing forward the six gentlemen in the same manner.
The first couple conduct the ladies and gentlemen towards each
other, and each gentleman dances with the lady holding the ribbon
duplicate of his own; the first gentleman dances with his partner.

We might go on indefinitely with these figures, but have no more
space. The position of a dancer should be learned with the aid of
a teacher. The upper part of the body should be quiet; the head
held in a natural position, neither turned to one side nor the
other; the eyes neither cast down nor up. The gentleman should put
his arm firmly around a lady's waist, not holding her too close,
but firmly holding her right hand with his left one; the lady
turns the palm of her right hand downward; her right arm should be
nearly straight, but not stiff. The gentleman's left arm should be
slightly bent, his elbow inclined slightly backward. It is very
inelegant, however--indeed, vulgar--to place the joined hands
against the gentleman's side or hip; they should be kept clear of
the body. The step should be in unison; if the gentleman bends his
right elbow too much, he draws the lady's left shoulder against
his right, thereby drawing the lady too close. The gentleman's
right shoulder and the lady's left should be as far apart as the
other shoulders. If a gentleman does not hold his partner
properly, thereby causing her either to struggle to be free or
else to dance wildly for want of proper support, if he permits
himself and partner to collide with other couples, he cannot be
considered a good dancer.


The person who can write a graceful note is always spoken of with
phrases of commendation. The epistolary art is said to be
especially feminine, and the novelists and essayists are full of
compliments to the sex, which is alternately praised and
objurgated, as man feels well or ill. Bulwer says: "A woman is the
genius of epistolary communication. Even men write better to a
woman than to one of their own sex. No doubt they conjure up,
while writing, the loving, listening face, the tender, pardoning
heart, the ready tear of sympathy, and passionate confidences of
heart and brain flow rapidly from the pen." But there is no such
thing now as an "epistolary style." Our immediate ancestors wrote
better and longer letters than we do. They covered three pages of
large letter-paper with crow-quill handwriting, folded the paper
neatly, tucked one edge beneath the other (for there were no
envelopes), and then sealed it with a wafer or with sealing-wax.
To send one of these epistles was expensive--twenty-five cents
from New York to Boston. However, the electric telegraph and cheap
postage and postal-cards may have been said, in a way, to have
ruined correspondence in the old sense; lovers and fond mothers
doubtless still write long letters, but the business of the
letter-writer proper is at an end. The writing of notes has,
however, correspondingly increased; and the last ten years have
seen a profuse introduction of emblazoned crest and cipher,
pictorial design, and elaborate monogram in the corners of
ordinary note-paper. The old illuminated missal of the monks, the
fancy of the Japanese, the ever-ready taste of the French, all
have been exhausted to satisfy that always hungry caprice which
calls for something new.

The frequency with which notes upon business and pleasure must fly
across a city and a continent has done away, also, with the
sealing-wax, whose definite, red, clear, oval was a fixture with
our grandfathers, and which is still the only elegant, formal, and
ceremonious way acknowledged in England, of sealing a letter.

There were, however, serious objections to the use of wax in this
country, which were discovered during the early voyages to
California. The intense heat of the Isthmus of Panama melted the
wax, and letters were irretrievably glued together, to the loss of
the address and the confusion of the postmaster. So the glued
envelope--common, cheap, and necessary--became the almost
prevailing fashion for all notes as well as letters.

The taste for colored note-paper with flowers in the corner was
common among the belles of thirty years ago--the "rose-colored
and scented _billet-doux_" is often referred to in the novels of
that period. But colored note-paper fell into disuse long ago, and
for the last few years we have not seen the heavy tints. A few
pale greens, grays, blues, and lilacs have, indeed, found a place
in fashionable stationery, and a deep coffee-colored, heavy paper
had a little run about three years ago; but at the present moment
no color that is appreciable is considered stylish, unless it be
_‚cru_, which is only a creamy white.

A long truce is at last bidden to the fanciful, emblazoned, and
colored monogram; the crest and cipher are laid on the shelf, and
ladies have simply the address of their city residence, or the
name of their country place, printed in one corner (generally in
color), or, latest device of fashion, a fac-simile of their
initials, carefully engraved, and dashed across the corner of the
note-paper. The day of the week, also copied from their own
handwriting, is often impressed upon the square cards now so much
in use for short notes, or on the note-paper.

There is one fashion which has never changed, and will never
change, which is always in good taste, and which, perhaps, would
be to-day the most perfect of all styles, and that is, good,
plain, thick, English notepaper, folded square, put in a square
envelope, and sealed with red sealing-wax which bears the imprint
of the writer's coat of arms. No one can make any mistake who uses
such stationery as this in any part of the world. On such paper
and in such form are ambassadors' notes written; on such paper and
in such style would the Princess Louise write her notes.

However, there is no law against the monogram. Many ladies still
prefer it, and always use the paper which has become familiar to
their friends. It is, however, a past rather than a present

The plan of having all the note-paper marked with the address is
an admirable one, for it effectually reminds the person who
receives the note where the answer should be sent--information of
which some ladies forget the importance, and which should always
be written, if not printed, at the head of a letter. It also gives
a stylish finish to the appearance of the note-paper, is simple,
unpretending, and useful.

The ink should invariably be black. From the very superior,
lasting qualities of a certain purple fluid, which never became
thick in the inkstand, certain ladies, a few years ago, used the
purple and lilac inks very much. But they are not elegant; they
are not in fashion; the best note-writers do not use them. The
plain black ink, which gives the written characters great
distinctness, is the only fashionable medium.

Every lady should study to acquire an elegant, free, and educated
hand; there is nothing so useful, so sure to commend the writer
everywhere, as such a chirography; while a cramped, poor,
slovenly, uneducated, unformed handwriting is sure to produce the
impression upon the reader that those qualities are more or less
indicative of the writer's character. The angular English hand is
at present the fashion, although less legible and not more
beautiful than the round hand. We cannot enter into that great
question as to whether or not handwriting is indicative of
character; but we hold that a person's notes are generally
characteristic, and that a neat, flowing, graceful hand, and a
clean sheet, free from blots, are always agreeable to the eye. The
writer of notes, also, must carefully discriminate between the
familiar note and the note of ceremony, and should learn how to
write both.

Custom demands that we begin all notes in the first person, with
the formula of "My dear Mrs. Smith," and that we close with the
expressions, "Yours cordially," "Yours with much regard," etc. The
laws of etiquette do not permit us to use numerals, as 3, 4, 5,
but demand that we write out _three, four, five_. No abbreviations
are allowed in a note to a friend, as, "Sd be glad to see you;" one
must write out, "I should be glad to see you." The older
letter-writers were punctilious about writing the first word of
the page below the last line of the page preceding it. The date
should follow the signing of the name.

A great and very common mistake existing among careless
letter-writers is the confusion of the first and third persons; as
a child would write, "Miss Lucy Clark will be happy to come to
dinner, but I am going somewhere else." This is, of course, wildly
ignorant and improper.

A note in answer to an invitation should be written in the third
person, if the invitation be in the third person. No
abbreviations, no visible hurry, but an elaborate and finished
ceremony should mark such epistles. For instance, an acceptance of
a dinner invitation must be written in this form:

_Mr. and Mrs. Cadogan
have great pleasure in accepting the polite
invitation of
Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland
for dinner on the seventeenth inst., at seven o'clock.
18 Lombard Square.
July sixth._

One lady in New York was known to answer a dinner invitation
simply with the words, "Come with pleasure." It is unnecessary to
add that she was never invited again.

It is impossible to give persons minute directions as to the style
of a note, for that must be the outgrowth of years of careful
education, training, and good mental powers. "To write a pretty
note" is also somewhat of a gift. Some young men and young girls
find it very easy, others can scarcely acquire the power. It is,
however, absolutely necessary to strive for it.

In the first place, arrange your ideas, know what you want to say,
and approach the business of writing a note with a certain
thoughtfulness. If it is necessary to write it hastily, summon all
your powers of mind, and try to make it brief, intelligible, and

Above all things, _spell correctly_. A word badly spelled stands
out like a blot on a familiar or a ceremonious note.

Do not send a blurred, blotted, slovenly note to any one; it will
remain to call up a certain prejudice against you in the mind of
the recipient. The fashion is not now, as it once was, imperative
that a margin be left around the edge of the paper. People now
write all over the paper, and thus abolish a certain elegance
which the old letters undoubtedly possessed. But postage is a
consideration, and all we can ask of the youthful letter-writers
is that they will not _cross_ their letters. Plaid letters are the
horror of all people who have not the eyes of a hawk.

No letter or note should be written on ruled paper. To do so is
both inelegant and unfashionable, and savors of the school-room.
Every young person should learn to write without lines.

The square cards are much used, and are quite large enough for the
transmission of all that a lady ordinarily wishes to say in giving
or accepting an invitation. The day of the week and the address
are often printed on the card.

Square envelopes have also driven the long ones from the table of
the elegant note-writer, and the custom of closing all ceremonious
notes with sealing-wax is still adhered to by the most fastidious.
It would be absurd, however, to say that it is nearly as common as
the more convenient habit of moistening the gummed envelope, but
it is far more elegant, and every young person should learn how to
seal a note properly. To get a good impression from an engraved
stone seal, anoint it lightly with linseed-oil, to keep the wax
from adhering; then dust it with rouge powder to take off the
gloss, and press it quickly, but firmly, on the melted wax.

Dates and numerical designations, such as the number of a house,
may be written in Arabic figures, but quantities should be
expressed in words. Few abbreviations are respectful. A married
lady should always be addressed with the prefix of her husband's
Christian name.

In this country, where we have no titles, it is the custom to
abbreviate everything except the title of "Reverend," which we
always give to the clergy. But it would be better if we made a
practice of giving to each person his special title, and to all
returned ambassadors, members of Congress, and members of the
Legislature the title of "Honorable." The Roman Catholic clergy
and the bishops of the Episcopal and Methodist churches should be
addressed by their proper titles, and a note should be, like a
salutation, infused with respect. It honors the writer and the
person to whom it is written, while a careless letter may injure


We are often asked as to the appropriate dress to be worn at
afternoon tea, at balls, at dinners, christenings, etc.

Neatness and simple elegance should always characterize a lady,
and after that she may be as expensive as she pleases, if only at
the right time. And we may say here that simplicity and plainness
characterize many a rich woman in a high place; and one can always
tell a real lady from an imitation one by her style of dress.
Vulgarity is readily seen even under a costly garment. There
should be harmony and fitness, and suitability as to age and times
and seasons. Every one can avoid vulgarity and slovenliness; and
in these days, when the fashions travel by telegraph, one can be
_… la mode_.

French women have a genius for dress. An old or a middle-aged
woman understands how to make the best of herself in the assorting
and harmonizing of colors; she never commits the mistake of making
herself too youthful. In our country we often see an old woman
bedizened like a _Figurante_, imagining that she shall gain the
graces of youth by borrowing its garments. All this aping of
youthful dress "multiplies the wrinkles of old age, and makes its
decay more conspicuous."

For balls in this country, elderly women are not expected to go in
low neck unless they wish to, so that the chaperon can wear a
dress such as she would wear at a dinner--either a velvet or
brocade, cut in Pompadour shape, with a profusion of beautiful
lace. All her ornaments should match in character, and she should
be as unlike her charge as possible. The young girls look best in
light gossamer material, in tulle, crepe, or tarlatan, in pale
light colors or in white, while an elderly, stout woman never
looks so badly as in low-necked light-colored silks or satins,
Young women look well in natural flowers; elderly women, in
feathers and jewelled head-dresses.

If elderly women with full figure wear low-necked dresses, a lace
shawl or scarf, or something of that sort, should be thrown over
the neck; and the same advice might be given to thin and scrawny
figures. A lady writes to us as to what dress should be worn at
her child's christening. We should advise a high-necked dark silk;
it may be of as handsome material as she chooses, but it should be
plain and neat in general effect. No woman should overdress in her
own house; it is the worst taste. All dress should correspond to
the spirit of the entertainment given. Light-colored silks,
sweeping trains, bonnets very gay and garnished with feathers,
lace parasols, and light gloves, are fit for carriages at the
races, but they are out of place for walking in the streets. They
may do for a wedding reception, but they are not fit for a picnic
or an excursion. Lawn parties, flower shows, and promenade
concerts, should all be dressed for in a gay, bright fashion; and
the costumes for these and for yachting purposes may be as
effective and coquettish as possible; but for church, for
readings, for a morning concert, for a walk, or a morning call on
foot, a tailor-made costume, with plain, dark hat, is the most to
be admired. Never wear a "dressy" bonnet in the street.

The costumes for picnics, excursions, journeys; and the sea-side
should be of a strong fabric, simple cut, and plain color. Things
which will wash are better for our climate. Serge, tweed, and
piqu‚ are the best.

A morning dress for a late breakfast may be as luxurious as one
pleases. The modern fashion of imitation lace put on in great
quantities over a foulard or a gingham, a muslin or a cotton, made
up prettily, is suitable for women of all ages; but an old
"company dress" furbished up to do duty at a watering-place is
terrible, and not to be endured.

It has been the fashion this season to wear full-dress at
weddings. The bride and her maids have appeared with low neck and
short sleeves in the cold morning air at several fashionable
churches. The groom at the same time wearing morning costume. It
is an era of low necks. The pendulum of fashion is swinging that
way. We have spoken of this before, so only record the fact that
the low neck will prevail in many summer evening dresses as well
as for morning weddings.

The very tight fashion of draping skirts should make all women
very careful as to the way they sit down. Some Frenchman said he
could tell a gentleman by his walk; another has lately said that
he can tell a lady by the way she sits down. A woman is allowed
much less freedom of posture than a man. He may change his
position as he likes, and loll or lounge, cross his legs, or even
nurse his foot if he pleases; but a woman must have grace and
dignity; in every gesture she must be "ladylike." Any one who has
seen a great actress like Modjeska sit down will know what an
acquired grace it is.

A woman should remember that she "belongs to a sex which cannot
afford to be grotesque." There should never be rowdiness or

The mania for extravagant dress on the stage, the _pieces des
robes_, is said to be one of the greatest enemies of the
legitimate drama. The leading lady must have a conspicuous display
of elaborate gowns, the latest inventions of the modistes. In
Paris these stage costumes set the fashions, and bonnets and caps
and gowns become individualized by their names. They look very
well on the wearers, but they look very badly on some elderly,
plain, middle-aged, stout woman who has adopted them.

Plain satins and velvet, rich and dark brocades, made by an
artist, make any one look well. The elderly woman should be able
to move without effort or strain of any kind; a black silk well
made is indispensable; and even "a celebrity of a by-gone day" may
be made to look handsome by a judicious but not too brilliant

The dress called "complimentary mourning," which is rather a
contradiction in terms, is now made very elegant and dressy. Black
and white in all the changes, and black bugles and bead trimming,
all the shades of lilac and of purple, are considered by the
French as proper colors and trimmings in going out of black; while
for full mourning the English still preserve the cap, weepers, and
veil, the plain muslin collar and cuffs, the crape dress, large
black silk cloak, crape bonnet and veil.

Heavy, ostentatious, and expensive habiliments are often worn in
mourning, but they are not in the best taste. The plain-surfaced
black silks are commendable.

For afternoon tea in this country the hostess generally wears a
handsome high-necked gown, often a combination of stamped or
brocaded velvet, satin, and silk. She rarely wears what in England
is called a "tea-gown," which is a semi-loose garment. For
visiting at afternoon teas no change is made from the ordinary
walking dress, unless the three or four ladies who help receive
come in handsome reception dresses. A skirt of light brocade with
a dark velvet over-dress is very much worn at these receptions,
and if made by a French artist is a beautiful dress. These dark
velvets are usually made high, with a very rich lace ruff.

The high Medicean collar and pretty Medicean cap of velvet are in
great favor with the middle-aged ladies of the present day, and
are a very becoming style of dress for the opera. The present
fashion of full dress at the opera, while it may not improve the
music, certainly makes the house look very pretty and stately.

Too many dresses are a mistake, even for an opulent woman. They
get out of fashion, and excepting for a girl going out to many
balls they are entirely unnecessary. A girl who is dancing needs
to be perpetually renewed, for she should be always fresh, and the
"wear and tear" of the cotillion is enormous. There is nothing so
poor as a dirty, faded, and patched-up ball-dress; the dancer had
better stay at home than wear such.

The fashion of sleeves should be considered. A stout woman looks
very badly in a loose sleeve of hanging lace which only reaches
the elbow. It makes the arm look twice as large. She should wear,
for a thin sleeve, black lace to the wrist, with bands of velvet
running down, to diminish the size of the arm. All those lace
sleeves to the elbow, with drops of gold, or steel trimming, or
jets, are very unbecoming; no one but the slight should wear them.

Tight lacing is also very unbecoming to those who usually adopt
it--women of thirty-eight or forty who are growing a little stout.
In thus trussing themselves up they simply get an unbecoming
redness of the face, and are not the handsome, comfortable-looking
creatures which Heaven intended they should be. Two or three
beautiful women well known in society killed themselves last year
by tight lacing. The effect of an inch less waist was not apparent
enough to make this a wise sacrifice of health and ease of

At a lady's lunch party, which is always an occasion for handsome
dress, and where bonnets are always worn, the faces of those who
are too tightly dressed always show the strain by a most
unbecoming flush; and as American rooms are always too warm, the
suffering must be enormous.

It is a very foolish plan, also, to starve one's self, or
"_bant_," for a graceful thinness; women only grow wrinkled, show
crow's-feet under the eyes, and look less young than those who let
themselves alone.

A gorgeously dressed woman in the proper place is a fine sight. A
well-dressed woman is she who understands herself and her


No one who has seen the coaching parade in New York can have
failed to observe the extraordinary change which has come over the
fashion in dress for this conspicuous occasion. Formerly ladies
wore black silks, or some dark or low-toned color in woollen or
cotton or silk; and a woman who should have worn a white dress on
top of a coach would, ten years ago, have been thought to make
herself undesirably conspicuous.

Now the brightest colored and richest silks, orange, blue, pink,
and lilac dresses, trimmed with lace flounces, dinner dresses, in
fact--all the charming confections of Worth or Piugat--are freely
displayed on the coach-tops, with the utmost graciousness, for
every passer-by to comment on. The lady on the top of a coach
without a mantle appears very much as she would at a full-dress
ball or dinner. She then complains that sometimes ill-natured
remarks float up from the gazers, and that the ladies are
insulted. The fashion began at Longchamps and at Ascot, where,
especially at the former place, a lady was privileged to sit in
her victoria, with her lilac silk full ruffled to the waist, in
the most perfect and aristocratic seclusion. Then the fast set of
the Prince of Wales took it up, and plunged into rivalry in
dressing for the public procession through the London streets,
where a lady became as prominent an object of observation as the
Lord Mayor's coach. It has been taken up and developed in America
until it has reached a climax of splendor and, if we may say so,
inappropriateness, that is characteristic of the following of
foreign fashions in this country. How can a white satin, trimmed
with lace, or an orange silk, be the dress in which a lady should
meet the sun, the rain, or the dust of a coaching expedition? Is
it the dress in which she feels that she ought to meet the gaze of
a mixed assemblage in a crowded hotel or in a much frequented
thoroughfare? What change of dress can there be left for the

We are glad to see that the Princess of Wales, whose taste seems
to be as nearly perfect as may be, has determined to set her
pretty face against this exaggerated use of color. She appeared
recently in London, on top of a coach, in a suit of navy-blue
flannel. Again, she and the Empress of Austria are described as
wearing dark, neat suits of _drap d'‚t‚_, and also broadcloth
dresses. One can see the delicate figures and refined features of
these two royal beauties in this neat and inconspicuous dress,
and, when they are contrasted with the flaunting pink and white
and lace and orange dresses of those who are not royal, how vulgar
the extravagance in color becomes!

Our grandmothers travelled in broadcloth riding-habits, and we
often pity them for the heat and the distress which they must have
endured in the heavy, high-fitting, long-sleeved garments; yet we
cannot but think they would have looked better on top of a coach
than their granddaughters--who should remember, when they complain
of the rude remarks, that we have no aristocracy here whose
feelings the mob is obliged to respect, and that the plainer their
dress the less apt they will be to hear unpleasant epithets
applied to them. In the present somewhat aggressive Amazonian
fashion, when a woman drives a man in her pony phaeton (he sitting
several inches below her), there is no doubt much audacity
unintentionally suggested by a gay dress. A vulgar man, seeing a
lady in white velvet, Spanish lace, a large hat--in what he
considers a "loud" dress--does not have the idea of modesty or of
refinement conveyed to his mind by the sight; he is very apt to
laugh, and to say something not wholly respectful. Then the lady
says, "With how little respect women are treated in large cities,
or at Newport, or at Saratoga!" Were she more plainly dressed, in
a dark foulard or an inconspicuous flannel or cloth dress, with
her hat simply arranged, she would be quite as pretty and better
fitted for the matter she has in hand, and very much less exposed
to invidious comment. Women dress plainly enough when tempting the
"salt-sea wave," and also when on horseback. Nothing could be
simpler than the riding-habit, and yet is there any dress so
becoming? But on the coach they should not be too fine.

Of course, women can dress as they please, but if they please to
dress conspicuously they must be ready to take the consequences. A
few years ago no lady would venture into the street unless a
mantle or a scarf covered her shoulders. It was a lady-like
precaution. Then came the inglorious days of the "tied-backs," a
style of dress most unbecoming to the figure, and now happily no
more. This preposterous fashion had, no doubt, its influence on
the manners of the age.

Better far, if women would parade their charms, the courtly
dresses of those beauties of Bird-cage Walk, by St. James's Park,
where "Lady Betty Modish" was born--full, long, _bouffant_
brocades, hair piled high, long and graceful scarfs, and gloves
reaching to the elbow. Even the rouge and powder were a mask to
hide the cheek which did or did not blush when bold eyes were
fastened upon it. Let us not be understood, however, as extolling
these. The nineteenth-century beauty mounts a coach with none of
these aids to shyness. No suggestion of hiding any of her charms
occurs to her. She goes out on the box seat without cloak or
shawl, or anything but a hat on the back of her head and a gay
parasol between her and a possible thunder-storm. These ladies are
not members of an acclimatization society. They cannot bring about
a new climate. Do they not suffer from cold? Do not the breezes go
through them? Answer, all ye pneumonias and diphtherias and

There is no delicacy in the humor with which the funny papers and
the caricaturists treat these very exaggerated costumes. No
delicacy is required. A change to a quieter style of dress would
soon abate this treatment of which so many ladies complain. Let
them dress like the Princess of Wales and the Empress of Austria,
when in the conspicuous high-relief of the coach, and the result
will be that ladies, married or single, will not be subjected to
the insults of which so many of them complain, and of which the
papers are full after every coaching parade.

Lady riders are seldom obliged to complain of the incivility of a
passer-by. Theirs are modest figures, and, as a general thing
nowadays, they ride well. A lady can alight from her horse and
walk about in a crowded place without hearing an offensive word:
she is properly dressed for her exercise.

Nor, again, is a young lady in a lawn-tennis suit assailed by the
impertinent criticisms of a mixed crowd of by-standers. Thousands
play at Newport, Saratoga, and other places of resort, with
thousands looking on, and no one utters a word of rebuke. The
short flannel skirt and close Jersey are needed for the active
runner, and her somewhat eccentric appearance is condoned. It is
not considered an exhibition or a show, but a good, healthy game
of physical exercise. People feel an interest and a pleasure in
it. It is like the old-fashioned merry-making of the May-pole, the
friendly jousts of neighbors on the common play-ground of the
neighborhood, with the dances under the walnut-trees of sunny
Provence. The game is an invigorating one, and even those who do
not know it are pleased with its animation. We have hitherto
neglected that gymnastic culture which made the Greeks the
graceful people they were, and which contributed to the
cultivation of the mind.

Nobody finds anything to laugh at in either of these costumes; but
when people see a ball-dress mounted high on a coach they are very
apt to laugh at it; and women seldom come home from a coaching
parade without a tingling cheek and a feeling of shame because of
some comment upon their dress and appearance. A young lady drove
up, last summer, to the Ocean House at Newport in a pony phaeton,
and was offended because a gentleman on the piazza said, "That
girl has a very small waist, and she means us to see it." Who was
to blame? The young lady was dressed in a very conspicuous manner:
she had neither mantle nor jacket about her, and she probably did
mean that her waist should be seen.

There is a growing objection all over the world to the hour-glass
shape once so fashionable, and we ought to welcome it as the best
evidence of a tendency towards a more sensible form of dress, as
well as one more conducive to health and the wholesome discharge
of a woman's natural and most important functions. But if a woman
laces herself into a sixteen-inch belt, and then clothes herself
in brocade, satin, and bright colors, and makes herself
conspicuous, she should not object to the fact that men, seeing
her throw aside her mantle, comment upon her charms in no measured
terms. She has no one to blame but herself.

We might add that by this over-dressing women deprive themselves
of the advantage of contrast in style. Lace, in particular, is for
the house and for the full-dress dinner or ball. So are the light,
gay silks, which have no fitness of fold or of texture for the
climbing of a coach. If bright colors are desired, let ladies
choose the merinos and nuns' veilings for coaching dresses; or,
better still, let them dress in dark colors, in plain and
inconspicuous dresses, which do not seem to defy both dust and sun
and rain as well. On top of a coach they are far more exposed to
the elements than when on the deck of a yacht.

Nor, because the fast set of the Prince of Wales do so in London,
is there any reason why American women should appear on top of a
coach dressed in red velvet and white satin. Let them remember the
fact that the Queen had placed Windsor Castle at the disposal of
the Prince for his use during Ascot week, but that when she
learned that two somewhat conspicuous American beauties were
expected, she rescinded the loan and told the Prince to entertain
his guests elsewhere.


We are all aware of the value of a costume, such as the dress of
the Pompadour era: the Swiss peasant's bodice, the Normandy cap,
the _faldetta_ of the Maltese, the Hungarian national dress, the
early English, the Puritan square-cut, the Spanish mantilla, the
Roman scarf and white cap--all these come before us; and as we
mention each characteristic garment there steps out on the canvas
of memory a neat little figure, in which every detail from shoe to
head-dress is harmonious.

No one in his wildest dreams, however, could set out with the
picture of a marquise, and top it off with a Normandy cap. Nor
could he put powder on the dark hair of the jaunty little
Hungarian. The beauty of these costumes is seen in each as a
whole, and not in the parts separately. The marquise must wear
pink or blue, or some light color; she must have the long waist,
the square-cut corsage, the large hoop, the neat slipper, with
rosette and high heel, the rouge and patches to supplement her
powdered hair, or she is no marquise.

The Swiss peasant must have the short skirt, the white chemisette,
the black velvet bodice, the cross and ribbon, the coarse shoes,
and the head-dress of her canton; the Normandy peasant her dark,
striking dress, her high-heeled, gold-buckled shoe, and her white
apron; the Hungarian her neat, military scarlet jacket, braided
with gold, her scant petticoat and military boot, her high cap and
feather. The dress of the English peasant, known now as the
"Mother Hubbard" hat and cloak, very familiar to the students of
costumes as belonging to the countrywomen of Shakspeare's time,
demands the short, bunched-up petticoat and high-heeled, high-cut
shoes to make it perfect.

We live in an age, however, when fashion, irrespective of artistic
principle, mixes up all these costumes, and borrows a hat here and
a shoe there, the effect of each garment, diverted from its
original intention, being lost.

If "all things by their season seasoned are," so is all dress (or
it should be) seasonable and comprehensive, congruous and
complete. The one great secret of the success of the French as
artists and magicians of female costume is that they consider the
_entire figure_ and its demands, the conditions of life and of
luxury, the propriety of the substance, and the needs of the
wearer. A lady who is to tread a velvet carpet or a parqueted
floor does not need a wooden shoe; she needs a satin slipper or
boot. Yet in the modern drawing-room we sometimes see a young lady
dancing in a heavy Balmoral boot which is only fitted for the bogs
and heather of a Scotch tramp. The presence of a short dress in a
drawing-room, or of a long train in the street, is part of the
general incongruity of dress.

The use of the ulster and the Derby hat became apparent on English
yachts, where women learned to put themselves in the attitude of
men, and very properly adopted the storm jib; but, if one of those
women had been told that she would, sooner or later, appear in
this dress in the streets of London, she would have been shocked.

In the days of the French emigration, when highborn ladies escaped
on board friendly vessels in the harbor of Honfleur, many of them
had on the long-waisted and full-skirted overcoats of their
husbands, who preferred to shiver rather than endure the pain of
seeing their wives suffer from cold. These figures were observed
by London tailors and dress-makers, and out of them grew the
English pelisse which afterwards came into fashion. On a stout
Englishwoman the effect was singularly absurd, and many of the
early caricatures give us the benefit of this incongruity; for
although a small figure looks well in a pelisse, a stout one never
does. The Englishwoman who weighs two or three hundred pounds
should wear a sacque, a shawl, or a loose cloak, instead of a
tight-waisted pelisse. However, we are diverging. The sense of the
_personally becoming_ is still another branch of the great subject
of dress. A velvet dress, for instance, demands for its trimmings
expensive and real lace. It should not be supplemented by Breton
or imitation Valenciennes. All the very pretty imitation laces are
appropriate for cheap silks, poplins, summer fabrics, or dresses
of light and airy material; but if the substance of the dress be
of the richest, the lace should be in keeping with it.

So, also, in respect to jewellery: no cheap or imitation jewellery
should be worn with an expensive dress. It is as foreign to good
taste as it would be for a man to dress his head and body in the
most fashionable of hats and coats, and his legs in white duck.
There is incongruity in the idea.

The same incongruity applies to a taste for which our countrymen
have often been blamed--a desire for the magnificent, A woman who
puts on diamonds, real lace, and velvets in the morning at a
summer watering-place is decidedly incongruous. Far better be
dressed in a gingham, with Hamburg embroidery, and a straw hat
with a handkerchief tied round it, now so pretty and so
fashionable. She is then ready for the ocean or for the mountain
drive, the scramble or the sail. Her boots should be strong, her
gloves long and stout. She thus adapts her attire to the occasion.
In the evening she will have an opportunity for the delicate boot
and the trailing gauze or silk, or that deft combination of all
the materials known as a "Worth Costume."

In buying a hat a woman should stand before a long Psyche glass,
and see herself from head to foot. Often a very pretty bonnet or
hat which becomes the face is absolutely dreadful in that wavy
outline which is perceptible to those who consider the effect as a
whole. All can remember how absurd a large figure looked in the
round poke hat and the delicate Fanchon bonnet, and the same
result is brought about by the round hat. A large figure should be
topped by a Gainsborough or Rubens hat, with nodding plumes. Then
the effect is excellent and the proportions are preserved.

Nothing can be more incongruous, again, than a long, slim,
aesthetic figure with a head-gear so disproportionately large as
to suggest a Sandwich-Islander with his head-dress of mats. The
"aesthetic craze" has, however, brought in one improvement in
costume. It is the epauletted sleeve, which gives expansion to so
many figures which are, unfortunately, too narrow. All
physiologists are speculating on the growing narrowness of chest
in the Anglo-Saxon race. It is singularly apparent in America. To
remedy this, some ingenious dress-maker devised a little puff at
the top of the arm, which is most becoming. It is also well
adapted to the "cloth of gold" costume of the days of Francis I.,
which modern luxury so much affects. It is a Frond sort of
costume, this nineteenth-century dress, and can well borrow some
of the festive features of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, if they be not incongruous. We, like those rich nobles
and prosperous burghers, have lighted on piping times of peace; we
have found a new India of our own; our galleons come laden with
the spoils of all countries; we are rich, and we are able to wear
velvet and brocade.

But we should be as true as they to the proprieties of dress. In
the ancient burgher days the richest citizen was not permitted to
wear velvet; he had his own picturesque collar, his dark-cloth
suit, his becoming hat. He had no idea of aping the cian, with his
long hat and feather. We are all patricians; we can wear either
the sober suit or the gay one; but do let us avoid incongruity.

A woman, in dressing herself for an evening of festivity, should
remember that, from her ear-rings to her fan, all must suggest and
convey the idea of luxury. A wooden fan is very pretty in the
morning at a watering-place, but it will not do in the evening.
None of the modern _chƒtelaine_ arrangements, however ornamental,
are appropriate for evening use. The _chƒtelaine_ meant originally
the chain on which the lady of the house wore her keys; therefore
its early association of usefulness remains: it is not luxurious
in intention, however much modern fashion may have adorned it.

Many a fashion has, it is true, risen from a low estate. The Order
of the Garter tells of a monarch's caprice; the shoe-buckle and
the horseshoe have crept up into the highest rank of ornaments.
But as it takes three generations to make a gentleman, so does it
take several decades to give nobility to low-born ornament. We
must not try to force things.

A part of the growing and sad incongruity of modern dress appears
in the unavoidable awkwardness of a large number of bouquets. A
belle cannot leave the insignia of belledom at home, nor can she
be so unkind as to carry Mr. Smith's flowers and ignore Mr.
Brown's; so she appears with her arms and hands full, to the
infinite detriment of her dress and general effect. Some
arrangement might be devised whereby such trophies could be
dragged in the train of the high-priestess of fashion.

A little reading, a little attention to the study of costume (a
beautiful study, by-the-way), would soon teach a young woman to
avoid the incongruous in dress. Some people have taste as a
natural gift: they know how to dress from a consultation with
their inner selves. Others, alas! are entirely without it. The
people who make hats and coats and dresses for us are generally
without any comprehension of the history of dress. To them the hat
of the Roundhead and that of the Cavalier have the same meaning.
To all people of taste and reading, however, they are very
different, and all artists know that the costumes which retain
their hold on the world have been preferred and have endured
because of their fitness to conditions of climate and the grace
and ease with which they were worn.


There is no possibility of touching upon the subject of death and
burial, and the conditions under which funerals should be
conducted, without hurting some one's feelings. The Duke of
Sutherland's attempt in England to do away with the dreadful shape
which causes a shudder to all who have lost a friend--that of the
coffin--was called irreverent, because he suggested that the dead
should be buried in wicker-work baskets, with fern-leaves for
shrouds, so that the poor clay might the more easily return to
mother earth. Those who favor cremation suffer again a still more
frantic disesteem; and yet every one deplores the present gloomy
apparatus and dismal observances of our occasions of mourning.

Death is still to the most Christian and resigned heart a very
terrible fact, a shock to all who live, and its surroundings, do
what we will, are painful. "I smell the mould above the rose,"
says Hood, in his pathetic lines on his daughter's death.
Therefore, we have a difficulty to contend with in the wearing of
black, which is of itself, to begin with, negatory of our
professed belief in the resurrection. We confess the logic of
despair when we drape ourselves in its gloomy folds. The dress
which we should wear, one would think, might be blue, the color of
the sky, or white, in token of light which the redeemed soul has

Custom, which makes slaves of us all, has decreed that we shall
wear black, as a mark of respect to those we have lost, and as a
shroud for ourselves, protesting against the gentle ministration
of light and cheerfulness with which our Lord ever strives to
reach us. This is one side of the question; but, again, one word
as to its good offices. A mourning dress does protect a woman
while in deepest grief against the untimely gayety of a passing
stranger. It is a wall, a cell of refuge. Behind a black veil she
can hide herself as she goes out for business or recreation,
fearless of any intrusion.

The black veil, on the other hand, is most unhealthy: it harms the
eyes and it injures the skin. As it rubs against the nose and
forehead it is almost certain to cause abrasions, and often makes
an annoying sore. To the eyes enfeebled by weeping it is sure to
be dangerous, and most oculists now forbid it.

The English, from whom we borrow our fashion in funeral matters,
have a limitation provided by social law which is a useful thing.
They now decree that crape shall only be worn six months, even for
the nearest relative, and that the duration of mourning shall not
exceed a year. A wife's mourning for her husband is the most
conventionally deep mourning allowed, and every one who has seen
an English widow will agree that she makes a "hearse" of herself.
Bombazine and crape, a widow's cap; and a long; thick veil--such
is the modern English idea. Some widows even have the cap made of
black _crˆpe lisse_, but it is generally of white. In this country
a widow's first mourning dresses are covered almost entirely with
crape, a most costly and disagreeable material, easily ruined by
the dampness and dust--a sort of penitential and self-mortifying
dress, and very ugly and very expensive. There are now, however,
other and more agreeable fabrics which also bear the dead black,
lustreless look which is alone considered respectful to the dead,
and which are not so costly as crape, or so disagreeable to wear.
The Henrietta cloth and imperial serges are chosen for heavy
winter dresses, while for those of less weight are tamise cloth,
Bayonnaise, grenadine, nuns' veiling, and the American silk.

Our mourning usages are not overloaded with what may be called the
pomp, pride, and circumstance of woe which characterize English
funerals. Indeed, so overdone are mourning ceremonies in
England--what with the hired mutes, the nodding plumes, the costly
coffin, and the gifts of gloves and bands and rings, etc.--that
Lady Georgiana Milnor, of Nunappleton, in York, a great friend of
the Archbishop, wrote a book against the abuse, ordered her own
body to be buried in a pine coffin, and forbade her servants and
relatives to wear mourning. Her wishes were carried out to the
letter. A black, cloth-covered casket with silver mountings is
considered in the best taste, and the pall-bearers are given at
most a white scarf and a pair of black gloves. Even this is not
always done. At one time the traffic in these returned bands and
gloves was quite a fortune to the undertaker. Mourning is very
expensive, and often costs a family more than they can well
afford; but it is a sacrifice that even the poorest gladly make,
and those who can least afford it often wear the best mourning, so
tyrannical is custom. They consider it--by what process of
reasoning no one can understand, unless it be out of a hereditary
belief that we hold in the heathen idea of propitiating the manes
of the departed--an act of disrespect to the memory of the dead if
the living are not clad in gloomy black.

However, our business is with the etiquette of mourning. Widows
wear deep mourning, consisting of woollen stuffs and crape, for
about two years, and sometimes for life, in America. Children wear
the same for parents for one year, and then lighten it with black
silk, trimmed with crape. Half-mourning gradations of gray,
purple, or lilac have been abandoned, and, instead, combinations
of black and white are used. Complimentary mourning is black silk
without crape. The French have three grades of mourning--deep,
ordinary, and half mourning. In deep mourning, woollen cloths only
are worn; in ordinary mourning, silk and woollen; in half
mourning, gray and violet. An American lady is always shocked at
the gayety and cheerfulness of French mourning. In France,
etiquette prescribes mourning for a husband for one year and six
weeks--that is, six months of deep mourning, six of ordinary, and
six weeks of half mourning. For a wife, a father, or a mother, six
months--three deep and three half mourning; for a grandparent, two
months and a half of slight mourning; for a brother or a sister,
two months, one of which is in deep mourning; for an uncle or an
aunt, three weeks of ordinary black. In America, with no fixity of
rule, ladies have been known to go into deepest mourning for their
own relatives or those of their husbands, or for people, perhaps,
whom they have never seen, and have remained as gloomy monuments
of bereavement for seven or ten years, constantly in black; then,
on losing a child or a relative dearly loved, they have no
extremity of dress left to express the real grief which fills
their lives--no deeper black to go into. This complimentary
mourning should be, as in the French custom, limited to two or
three weeks. The health of a delicate child has been known to be
seriously affected by the constant spectacle of his mother in deep

The period of a mourner's retirement from the world has been very
much shortened of late. For one year no formal visiting is
undertaken, nor is there any gayety in the house. Black is often
worn for a husband or wife two years, for parents one year, and
for brothers and sisters one year; a heavy black is lightened
after that period. Ladies are beginning to wear a small black
gauze veil over the face, and are in the habit of throwing the
heavy crape veil back over the hat. It is also proper to wear a
quiet black dress when going to a funeral, although this is not
absolutely necessary.

Friends should call on the bereaved family within a month, not
expecting, of course, to see them. Kind notes expressing sympathy
are most welcome to the afflicted from intimate friends, and gifts
of flowers, or any testimonial of sympathy, are thoughtful and
appropriate. Cards and note-paper are now put into mourning by
those who desire to express conventionally their regret for the
dead; but very broad borders of black look like ostentation, and
are in undoubted bad taste. No doubt all these things are proper
enough in their way, but a narrow border of black tells the story
of loss as well as an inch of coal-black gloom. The fashion of
wearing handkerchiefs which are made with a two-inch square of
white cambric and a four-inch border of black may well be
deprecated. A gay young widow at Washington was once seen dancing
at a reception, a few months after the death of her soldier
husband, with a long black veil on, and holding in her
black-gloved hand one of these handkerchiefs, which looked as if
it had been dipped in ink. "She should have dipped it in blood,"
said a by-stander. Under such circumstances we learn how much
significance is to be attached to the grief expressed by a
mourning veil.

The mourning which soldiers, sailors, and courtiers wear has
something pathetic and effective about it. A flag draped with
crape, a gray cadet-sleeve with a black band, or a long piece of
crape about the left arm of a senator, a black weed on a hat,
these always touch us. They would even appear to suggest that the
lighter the black, the more fully the feeling of the heart is
expressed. If we love our dead, there is no danger that we shall
forget them. "The customary suit of solemn black" is not needed
when we can wear it in our hearts.

For lighter mourning jet is used on silk, and there is no doubt
that it makes a very handsome dress. It is a singular fact that
there is a certain comfort to some people in wearing very handsome
black. Worth, on being asked to dress an American widow whom he
had never seen, sent for her photograph, for he said that he
wished to see "whether she was the sort of woman who would relish
a becoming black."

Very elegant dresses are made with jet embroidery on crape--the
beautiful soft French crape--but lace is never "mourning." Even
the French, who have very light ideas on the subject, do not trim
the most ornamental dresses with lace during the period of even
second mourning, except when they put the woolen yak lace on a
cloth cloak or mantilla. During a very dressy half mourning,
however, black lace may be worn on white silk; but this is
questionable. Diamond ornaments set in black enamel are allowed
even in the deepest mourning, and also pearls set in black. The
initials of the deceased, in black brilliants or pearls, are now
set in lockets and sleeve-buttons, or pins. Gold ornaments are
never worn in mourning.

White silk, embroidered with black jet, is used in the second
stage of court mourning, with black gloves. Deep red is deemed in
England a proper alternative for mourning black, if the wearer be
called upon to go to a wedding during the period of the first
year's mourning. At St. George's, Hanover Square, therefore, one
may often see a widow assisting at the wedding of a daughter or a
son, and dressed in a superb red brocade or velvet, which,
directly the wedding is over, she will discard for her solemn

The question of black gloves is one which troubles all who are
obliged to wear mourning through the heat of summer. The black kid
glove is painfully warm and smutty, disfiguring the hand and
soiling the handkerchief and face. The Swedish kid glove is now
much more in vogue, and the silk glove is made with such neatness
and with such a number of buttons that it is equally stylish, and
much cooler and more agreeable.

Mourning bonnets are worn rather larger than ordinary bonnets. In
England they are still made of the old-fashioned cottage shape,
and are very useful in carrying the heavy veil and in shading the
face. The Queen has always worn this style of bonnet. Her widow's
cap has never been laid aside, and with her long veil of white
falling down her back when she appears at court, it makes the most
becoming dress that she has ever worn. For such a grief as hers
there is something appropriate and dignified in her adherence to
the mourning-dress. It fully expresses her sad isolation: for a
queen can have no near friends. The whole English nation has
sympathized with her grief, and commended her black dress. Nor can
we criticise the grief which causes a mother to wear mourning for
her children. If it be any comfort to her to wrap herself in
crape, she ought to do so. The world has no right to quarrel with
those who prefer to put ashes on their heads.

But for the mockery, the conventional absurdities, and the
affectations which so readily lend themselves to caricature in the
name of mourning, no condemnation can be too strong. There is a
ghoul-like ghastliness in talking about "ornamental," or
"becoming," or "complimentary" mourning. People of sense, of
course, manage to dress without going to extremities in either
direction. We see many a pale-faced mourner whose quiet
mourning-dress tells the story of bereavement without giving us
the painful feeling that crape is too thick, or bombazine too
heavy, for comfort. Exaggeration is to be deprecated in mourning
as in everything.

The discarding of mourning should be effected by gradations. It
shocks persons of good taste to see a light-hearted young widow
jump into colors, as if she had been counting the hours. If black
is to be dispensed with, let its retirement be slowly and
gracefully marked by quiet costumes, as the feeling of grief,
yielding to the kindly influence of time, is shaded off into
resignation and cheerfulness. We do not forget our dead, but we
mourn for them with a feeling which no longer partakes of anguish.

Before a funeral the ladies of a family see no one but the most
intimate friends. The gentlemen, of course, must see the clergyman
and officials who manage the ceremony. It is now the almost
universal practice to carry the remains to a church, where the
friends of the family can pay the last tribute of respect without
crowding into a private house. Pallbearers are invited by note,
and assemble at the house of the deceased, accompanying the
remains, after the ceremonies at the church, to their final
resting-place. The nearest lady friends seldom go to the church or
to the grave. This is, however, entirely a matter of feeling, and
they can go if they wish. After the funeral only the members of
the family return to the house, and it is not expected that a
bereaved wife or mother will see any one other than the members of
her family for several weeks.

The preparations for a funeral in the house are committed to the
care of an undertaker, who removes the furniture from the
drawing-room, filling all the space possible with camp-stools. The
clergyman reads the service at the head of the coffin, the
relatives being grouped around. The body, if not disfigured by
disease, is often dressed in the clothes worn in life, and laid in
an open casket, as if reposing on a sofa, and all friends are
asked to take a last look. It is, however, a somewhat ghastly
proceeding to try to make the dead look like the living. The body
of a man is usually dressed in black. A young boy is laid out in
his every-day clothes, but surely the young of both sexes look
more fitly clad in the white cashmere robe.

The custom of decorating the coffin with flowers is a beautiful
one, but has been, in large cities, so overdone, and so purely a
matter of money, that now the request is generally made that no
flowers be sent.

In England a lady of the court wears, for her parent, crape and
bombazine (or its equivalent in any lustreless cloth) for three
months. She goes nowhere during that period. After that she wears
lustreless silks, trimmed with crape and jet, and goes to court if
commanded. She can also go to concerts without violating
etiquette, or to family weddings. After six months she again
reduces her mourning to black and white, and can attend the
"drawing-room" or go to small dinners. For a husband the time is
exactly doubled, but in neither case should the widow be seen at a
ball, a theatre, or an opera until after one year has elapsed.

In this country no person in mourning for a parent, a child, a
brother, or a husband, is expected to be seen at a concert, a
dinner, a party, or at any other place of public amusement, before
three months have passed, After that one may be seen at a concert.
But to go to the opera, or a dinner, or a party, before six months
have elapsed, is considered heartless and disrespectful. Indeed, a
deep mourning-dress at such a place is an unpleasant anomaly. If
one choose, as many do, not to wear mourning, then they can go
unchallenged to any place of amusement, for they have asserted
their right to be independent; but if they put on mourning they
must respect its etiquette, By many who sorrow deeply, and who
regard the crape and solemn dress as a mark of respect to the
dead, it is deemed almost a sin for a woman to go into the street,
to drive, or to walk, for two years, without a deep crape veil
over her face. It is a common remark of the censorious that a
person who lightens her mourning before that time "did not care
much for the deceased;" and many people hold the fact that a widow
or an orphan wears her crape for two years to be greatly to her

Of course, no one can say that a woman should not wear mourning
all her life if she choose, but it is a serious question whether
in so doing she does not injure the welfare and happiness of the
living. Children, as we have said, are often strangely affected by
this shrouding of their mothers, and men always dislike it.

Common-sense and common decency, however, should restrain the
frivolous from engaging much in the amusements and gayeties of
life before six months have passed after the death of any near
friend. If they pretend to wear black at all, they cannot be too
scrupulous in respecting the restraint which it imposes.


Nothing in our country is more undecided in the public mind than
the etiquette of mourning. It has not yet received that hereditary
and positive character which makes the slightest departure from
received custom so reprehensible in England. We have not the
mutes, or the nodding feathers of the hearse, that still form part
of the English funeral equipage; nor is the rank of the poor clay
which travels to its last home illustrated by the pomp and
ceremony of its departure. Still, in answer to some pertinent
questions, we will offer a few desultory remarks, beginning with
the end, as it were--the return of the mourner to the world.

When persons who have been in mourning wish to re-enter society,
they should leave cards on all their friends and acquaintances, as
an intimation that they are equal to the paying and receiving of
calls. Until this intimation is given, society will not venture to
intrude upon the mourner's privacy. In eases where cards of
inquiry have been left, with the words "To inquire" written on the
top of the card, these cards should be replied to by cards with
"Thanks for kind inquiries" written upon them; but if cards for
inquiry had not been left, this form can be omitted.

Of course there is a kind of complimentary mourning which does not
necessitate seclusion--that which is worn out of respect to a
husband's relative whom one may never have seen. But no one
wearing a heavy crape veil should go to a gay reception, a
wedding, or a theatre; the thing is incongruous. Still less should
mourning prevent one from taking proper recreation: the more the
heart aches, the more should one try to gain cheerfulness and
composure, to hear music, to see faces which one loves: this is a
duty, not merely a wise and sensible rule. Yet it is well to have
some established customs as to visiting and dress in order that
the gay and the heartless may in observing them avoid that which
shocks every one--an appearance of lack of respect to the memory
of the dead--that all society may move on in decency and order,
which is the object and end of the study of etiquette.

A heartless wife who, instead of being grieved at the death of her
husband, is rejoiced at it, should be taught that society will not
respect her unless she pays to the memory of the man whose name
she bears that "homage which vice pays to virtue," a commendable
respect to the usages of society in the matter of mourning and of
retirement from the world. Mourning garments have this use, that
they are a shield to the real mourner, and they are often a
curtain of respectability to the person who should be a mourner
but is not. We shall therefore borrow from the best English and
American authorities what we believe to be the most recent usages
in the etiquette of mourning.

As for periods of mourning, we are told that a widow's mourning
should last eighteen months, although in England it is somewhat
lightened in twelve. For the first six months the dress should be
of crape cloth, or Henrietta cloth covered entirely with crape,
collar and cuffs of white crape, a crape bonnet with a long crape
veil, and a widow's cap of white crape if preferred. In America,
however, widows' caps are not as universally worn as in England.
Dull black kid gloves are worn in first mourning; after that
_gants de Suede_ or silk gloves are proper, particularly in
summer. After six months' mourning the crape can be removed, and
grenadine, copeau fringe, and dead trimmings used, if the smell of
crape is offensive, as it is to some people. After twelve months
the widow's cap is left off, and the heavy veil is exchanged for a
lighter one, and the dress can be of silk grenadine, plain black
gros-grain, or crape-trimmed cashmere with jet trimmings, and
crˆpe lisse about the neck and sleeves.

All kinds of black fur and seal-skin are worn in deep mourning.

Mourning for a father or mother should last one year. During half
a year should be worn Henrietta cloth or serge trimmed with crape,
at first with black tulle at the wrists and neck. A deep veil is
worn at the back of the bonnet, but not over the head or face like
the widow's veil, which covers the entire person when down. This
fashion is very much objected to by doctors, who think many
diseases of the eye come by this means, and advise for common use
thin nun's-veiling instead of crape, which sheds its pernicious
dye into the sensitive nostrils, producing catarrhal disease as
well as blindness and cataract of the eye. It is a thousand pities
that fashion dictates the crape veil, but so it is. It is the very
banner of woe, and no one has the courage to go without it. We can
only suggest to mourners wearing it that they should pin a small
veil of black tulle over the eyes and nose, and throw back the
heavy crape as often as possible, for health's sake.

Jet ornaments alone should be worn for eighteen months, unless
diamonds set as mementoes are used. For half-mourning, a bonnet of
silk or chip, trimmed with crape and ribbon. Mourning flowers, and
crˆpe lisse at the hands and wrists, lead the way to gray, mauve,
and white-and-black toilettes after the second year.

Mourning for a brother or sister may be the same; for a stepfather
or stepmother the same; for grandparents the same; but the
duration may be shorter. In England this sort of respectful
mourning only lasts three months.

Mourning for children should last nine months, The first three the
dress should be crape-trimmed, the mourning less deep than that
for a husband. No one is ever ready to take off mourning;
therefore these rules have this advantage--they enable the friends
around a grief-stricken mother to tell her when is the time to
make her dress more cheerful, which she is bound to do for the
sake of the survivors, many of whom are perhaps affected for life
by seeing a mother always in black. It is well for mothers to
remember this when sorrow for a lost child makes all the earth
seem barren to them.

We are often asked whether letters of condolence should be written
on black-edged paper. Decidedly not, unless the writer is in
black. The telegraph now flashes messages of respect and sympathy
across sea and land like a voice from the heart. Perhaps it is
better than any other word of sympathy, although all who can
should write to a bereaved person. There is no formula possible
for these letters; they must be left to the individual's good
taste, and perhaps the simplest and least conventional are the
best. A card with a few words pencilled on it has often been the
best letter of condolence.

In France a long and deeply edged mourning letter or address,
called a _faire part_, is sent to every one known to the family to
advise them of a death. In this country that is not done, although
some mention of the deceased is generally sent to friends in
Europe who would not otherwise hear of the death.

Wives wear mourning for the relatives of their husbands precisely
as they would for their own, as would husbands for the relatives
of their wives. Widowers wear mourning for their wives two years
in England; here only one year. Widowers go into society at a much
earlier date than widows, it being a received rule that all
gentlemen in mourning for relatives go into society very much
sooner than ladies.

Ladies of the family attend the funeral of a relative if they are
able to do so, and wear their deepest mourning. Servants are
usually put in mourning for the head of the family--sometimes for
any member of it. They should wear a plain black livery and weeds
on their hats; the inside lining of the family carriage should
also be of black.

The period of mourning for an aunt or uncle or cousin is of three
months' duration, and that time at least should elapse before the
family go out or into gay company, or are seen at theatres or
operas, etc.

We now come to the saddest part of our subject, the consideration
of the dead body, so dear, yet so soon to leave us; so familiar,
yet so far away--the cast-off dress, the beloved clay. Dust to
dust, ashes to ashes!

As for the coffin, it is simpler than formerly; and, while lined
with satin and made with care, it is plain on the outside--black
cloth, with silver plate for the name, and silver handles, being
in the most modern taste. There are but few of the "trappings of
woe." At the funeral of General Grant, twice a President, and
regarded as the saviour of his country, there was a gorgeous
catafalque of purple velvet, but at the ordinary funeral there are
none of these trappings. If our richest citizen were to die
to-morrow, he would probably be buried plainly. Yet it is touching
to see with what fidelity the poorest creature tries to "bury her
dead dacent." The destitute Irish woman begs for a few dollars for
this sacred duty, and seldom in vain. It is a duty for the rich to
put down ostentation in funerals, for it is an expense which comes
heavily on those who have poverty added to grief.

In dressing the remains for the grave, those of a man are usually
"clad in his habit as he lived." For a woman, tastes differ: a
white robe and cap, not necessarily shroudlike, are decidedly
unexceptionable. For young persons and children white cashmere
robes and flowers are always most appropriate.

The late cardinal, whose splendid obsequies and whose regal "lying
in state" were in keeping with his high rank and the gorgeous
ceremonial of his Church, was strongly opposed to the profuse use
of flowers at funerals, and requested that none be sent to deck
his lifeless clay. He was a modest and humble man, and always on
the right side in these things; therefore let his advice prevail.
A few flowers placed in the dead hand, perhaps a simple wreath,
but not those unmeaning memorials which have become to real
mourners such sad perversities of good taste, such a misuse of
flowers. Let those who can afford to send such things devote the
money to the use of poor mothers who cannot afford to buy a coffin
for a dead child or a coat for a living one.

In the course of a month after a death all friends of the deceased
are expected to leave cards on the survivors, and it is
discretionary whether these be written on or not. These cards
should be carefully preserved, that, when the mourner is ready to
return to the world, they may be properly acknowledged.


Probably no branch of the epistolary art has ever given to
friendly hearts so much perplexity as that which has to do with
writing to friends in affliction. It is delightful to sit down and
wish anybody joy; to overflow with congratulatory phrases over a
favorable bit of news; to say how glad you are that your friend is
engaged or married, or has inherited a fortune, has written a
successful book, or has painted an immortal picture. Joy opens the
closet of language, and the gems of expression are easily found;
but the fountain of feeling being chilled by the uncongenial
atmosphere of grief, by the sudden horror of death, or the more
terrible breath of dishonor or shame, or even by the cold blast of
undeserved misfortune, leaves the individual sympathizer in a mood
of perplexity and of sadness which is of itself a most
discouraging frame of mind for the inditing of a letter.

And yet we sympathize with our friend: we desire to tell him so.
We want to say, "My friend, your grief is my grief; nothing can
hurt you that does not hurt me. I cannot, of course, enter into
all your feelings, but to stand by and see you hurt, and remain
unmoved myself, is impossible." All this we wish to say; but how
shall we say it that our words may not hurt him a great deal more
than he is hurt already? How shall we lay our hand so tenderly on
that sore spot that we may not inflict a fresh wound? How can we
say to a mother who bends over a fresh grave, that we regret the
loss she has sustained in the death of her child? Can language
measure the depth, the height, the immensity, the bitterness of
that grief? What shall we say that is not trite and
commonplace--even unfeeling? Shall we be pagan, and say that "whom
the gods love die young," or Christian, and remark that "God does
not willingly afflict the children of men?" She has thought of
that, she has heard it, alas! often before--but too often, as she
thinks now.

Shall we tell her what she has lost--how good, how loving, how
brave, how admirable was the spirit which has just left the flesh?
Alas! how well she knows that! How her tears well up as she
remembers the silent fortitude, the heroic patience under the pain
that was to kill! Shall we quote ancient philosophers and modern
poets? They have all dwelt at greater or less length upon death
and the grave. Or shall we say, in simple and unpremeditated
words, the thoughts which fill our own minds?

The person who has to write this letter may be a ready writer, who
finds fit expression at the point of his pen, and who overflows
with the language of consolation--such a one needs no advice; but
to the hundreds who do need help we would say that the simplest
expressions are the best. A distant friend, upon one of these
occasions, wrote a letter as brief as brief might be, but of its
kind altogether perfect. It ran thus: "I have heard of your great
grief, and I send you a simple pressure of the hand." Coming from
a gay and volatile person, it had for the mourner great
consolation; pious quotations, and even the commonplaces of
condolence, would have seemed forced. Undoubtedly those persons do
us great good, or they wish to, who tell us to be resigned--that
we have deserved this affliction; that we suffer now, but that our
present sufferings are nothing to what our future sufferings shall
be; that we are only entering the portals of agony, and that every
day will reveal to us the magnitude of our loss. Such is the
formula which certain persons use, under the title of "letters of
condolence." It is the wine mixed with gall which they gave our
Lord to drink; and as He refused it, so may we. There are, no
doubt, persons of a gloomy and a religious temperament combined
who delight in such phrases; who quote the least consolatory of
the texts of Scripture; who roll our grief as a sweet morsel under
their tongues; who really envy the position of chief mourner as
one of great dignity and considerable consequence; who consider
crape and bombazine as a sort of royal mantle conferring
distinction. There are many such people in the world. Dickens and
Anthony Trollope have put them into novels--solemn and ridiculous
Malvolios; they exist in nature, in literature, and in art. It
adds a new terror to death when we reflect that such persons will
not fail to make it the occasion of letter-writing.

But those who write to us strongly and cheerfully, who do not
dwell so much on our grief as on our remaining duties--they are
the people who help us. To advise a mourner to go out into the
sun, to resume his work, to help the poor, and, above all, to
carry on the efforts, to emulate the virtues of the deceased--this
is comfort. It is a very dear and consoling thing to a bereaved
friend to hear the excellence of the departed extolled, to read
and re-read all of the precious testimony which is borne by
outsiders to the saintly life ended--and there are few so
hard-hearted as not to find something good to say of the dead: it
is the impulse of human nature; it underlies all our philosophy
and our religion; it is the "stretching out of a hand," and it
comforts the afflicted. But what shall we say to those on whom
disgrace has laid its heavy, defiling hand? Is it well to write to
them at all? Shall we not be mistaken for those who prowl like
jackals round a grave, and will not our motives be misunderstood?
Is not sympathy sometimes malice in disguise? Does not the phrase
"I am so sorry for you!" sometimes sound like "I am so glad for
myself?" Undoubtedly it does; but a sincere friend should not be
restrained, through fear that his motive may be mistaken, from
saying that he wishes to bear some part of the burden. Let him
show that the unhappy man is in his thoughts, that he would like
to help, that he would be glad to see him, or take him out, or
send him a book, or at least write him a letter. Such a wish as
this will hurt no one.

Philosophy--some quaint and dry bit of old Seneca, or modern
Rochefoucauld--has often helped a struggling heart when disgrace,
deserved or undeserved, has placed the soul in gyves of iron.
Sympathetic persons, of narrow minds and imperfect education,
often have the gift of being able to say most consolatory things.
Irish servants, for instance, rarely hurt the feelings of a
mourner. They burst out in the language of Nature, and, if it is
sometimes grotesque, it is almost always comforting. It is the
educated and conscientious person who finds the writing of a
letter of condolence difficult.

Perhaps much of our dread of death is the result of a false
education, and the wearing of black may after all be a mistake. At
the moment when we need bright colors, fresh flowers, sunshine,
and beauty, we hide ourselves behind crape veils and make our
garments heavy with ashes; but as it is conventional it is in one
way a protection, and is therefore proper. No one feels like
varying the expressions of a grief which has the Anglo-Saxon
seriousness in it, the Scandinavian melancholy of a people from
whom Nature hides herself behind a curtain of night. To the sunny
and graceful Greek the road of the dead was the Via Felice; it was
the happy way, the gate of flowers; the tombs were furnished as
the houses were, with images of the beloved, and the veriest
trifles which the deceased had loved. One wonders, as the tomb of
a child is opened on the road out of Tanagra, near Athens, and the
toys and hobby-horse and little shoes are found therein, if, after
all, that father and mother were not wiser than we who, like
Constance, "stuff out his vacant garments with his form." Is there
not something quite unenlightened in the persistence with which we
connect death with gloom?

Our correspondents often ask us when a letter of condolence should
be written? As soon as possible. Do not be afraid to intrude on
any grief, It is generally a welcome distraction; to even the most
morbid mourner, to read a letter; and those who are So stunned by
grief as not to be able to write or to read will always have some
willing soul near them who will read and answer for them.

The afflicted, however, should never be expected to answer
letters, They can and should receive the kindest and the most
prompt that their friends can indite, Often a phrase on which the
writer has built no hope may be the airy-bridge over which the
sorrowing soul returns slowly and blindly to peace and
resignation. Who would miss the chance, be it one in ten thousand,
of building such a bridge? Those who have suffered and been
strong, those whom we love and respect, those who have the honest
faith in human nature which enables them to read aright the riddle
of this strange world, those who by faith walk over burning
ploughshares and dread no evil, those are the people who write the
best letters of condolence. They do not dwell on our grief, or
exaggerate it, although they are evidently writing to us with a
lump in the throat and a tear in the eye--they do not say so, but
we feel it. They tell us of the certain influence of time, which
will change our present grief into our future joy. They say a few
beautiful words of the friend whom we have lost, recount their own
loss in him in a few fitting words of earnest sympathy which may
carry consolation, if only by the wish of the writer. They beg of
us to be patient. God has brought life and immortality to light
through death, and to those whom "he has thought worthy to
endure," this thought may ever form the basis of a letter of

"Give me," said the dying Herder, "a great thought, that I may
console myself with that." It is a present of no mean value, a
great thought; and if every letter of condolence could bear with
it one broad phrase of honest sympathy it would be a blessed
instrumentality for carrying patience and resignation, peace and
comfort, into those dark places where the sufferer is eating his
heart out with grief, or where Rachel "weeps for her children, and
will not be comforted, because they are not."


It is strange that the Americans, so prone to imitate British
customs, have been slow to adopt that law of English society which
pronounces a chaperon an indispensable adjunct of every unmarried
young woman.

The readers of "Little Dorrit" will recall the exceedingly witty
sketch of Mrs. General, who taught her young ladies to form their
mouths into a lady-like pattern by saying "papa, potatoes, prunes,
and prism." Dickens knew very little of society, and cared very
little for its laws, and his ladies and gentlemen were pronounced
in England to be as great failures as his Little Nells and Dick
Swivellers were successes; but he recognized the universality of
chaperons. His portrait of Mrs. General (the first luxury which
Mr. Dorrit allowed himself after inheriting his fortune) shows how
universal is the necessity of a chaperon in English society, and
on the Continent, to the proper introduction of young ladies, and
how entirely their "style" depends upon their chaperon. Of course
Dickens made her funny, of course he made her ridiculous, but he
put her there. An American novelist would not have thought it
worth mentioning, nor would an American papa with two motherless
daughters have thought it necessary, if he travelled with them, to
have a chaperon for his daughters.

Of course, a mother is the natural chaperon of her daughters, and
if she understand her duties and the usages of society there is
nothing further to be said. But the trouble is that many American
mothers are exceedingly careless on this point. We need not point
to the wonderful Mrs. Miller--Daisy's mother--in Henry James,
Jr.'s, photograph of a large class of American matrons--a woman
who loved her daughter, knew how to take care of her when she was
ill, but did not know in the least how to take care of her when
she was well; who allowed her to go about with young men alone, to
"get engaged," if so she pleased, and who, arriving at a party
after her daughter had appeared, rather apologized for coming at
all. All this is notoriously true, and comes of our crude
civilization. It is the transition state. Until we learn better,
we must expect to be laughed at on the Pincian Hill, and we must
expect English novelists to paint pictures of us which we resent,
and French dramatists to write plays in which we see ourselves
held up as savages.

Europeans have been in the habit of taking care of young girls, as
if they were the precious porcelain of human clay. The American
mamma treats her beautiful daughter as if she were a very common
piece of delft indeed, and as if she could drift down the stream
of life, knocking all other vessels to pieces, but escaping injury
to herself.

Owing to the very remarkable and strong sense of propriety which
American women innately possess--their truly healthy love of
virtue, the absence of any morbid suspicion of wrong--this rule
has worked better than any one would have dared hope. Owing, also,
to the exceptionally respectful and chivalrous nature of American
men, it has been possible for a young lady to travel unattended
from Maine to Georgia, or anywhere within the new geographical
limits of our social growth. Mr. Howells founded a romance upon
this principle, that American women do not need a chaperon. Yet we
must remember that all the black sheep are not killed yet, and we
must also remember that propriety must be more attended to as we
cease to be a young and primitive nation, and as we enter the
lists of the rich, cultivated, luxurious people of the earth.

Little as we may care for the opinion of foreigners we do not wish
our young ladies to appear in their eyes in a false attitude, and
one of the first necessities of a proper attitude, one of the
first demands of a polished society, is the presence of a
chaperon. She should be a lady old enough to be the mother of her
charge, and of unexceptionable manner. She must know society
thoroughly herself, and respect its laws. She should be above the
suspicion of reproach in character, and devoted to her work. In
England there are hundreds of widows of half-pay
officers--well-born, well-trained, well-educated women--who can be
hired for money, as was Mrs. General, to play this part. There is
no such class in America, but there is almost always a lady who
will gladly perform the task of chaperoning motherless girls
without remuneration.

It is not considered proper in England for a widowed father to
place an unmarried daughter at the head of his house without the
companionship of a resident chaperon, and there are grave
objections to its being done here. We have all known instances
where such liberty has been very bad for young girls, and where it
has led to great scandals which the presence of a chaperon would
have averted.

The duties of a chaperon are very hard and unremitting, and
sometimes very disagreeable. She must accompany her young lady
everywhere; she must sit in the parlor when she receives
gentlemen; she must go with her to the skating-rink, the ball, the
party, the races, the dinners, and especially to theatre parties;
she must preside at the table, and act the part of a mother, so
far as she can; she must watch the characters of the men who
approach her charge, and endeavor to save the inexperienced girl
from the dangers of a bad marriage, if possible. To perform this
feat, and not to degenerate into a Spanish duenna, a dragon, or a
Mrs. General--who was simply a fool--is a very difficult task.

No doubt a vivacious American girl, with all her inherited hatred
of authority, is a troublesome charge. All young people are
rebels. They dislike being watched and guarded. They have no idea
what Hesperidean fruit they are, and they object to the dragon

But a wise, well-tempered woman can manage the situation. If she
have tact, a chaperon will add very much to the happiness of her
young charge. She will see that the proper men are introduced;
that her young lady is provided with a partner for the german;
that she is asked to nice places; that she goes well dressed and
properly accompanied; that she gives the return ball herself in
handsome style.

"I owe," said a wealthy widower in New York, whose daughters all
made remarkably happy marriages--"I owe all their happiness to
Mrs. Constant, whom I was so fortunate as to secure as their
chaperon. She knew society (which I did not), as if it were in her
pocket. She knew exactly what girls ought to do, and she was so
agreeable herself that they never disliked having her with them.
She was very rigid, too, and would not let them stay late at
balls; but they loved and respected her so much that they never
rebelled, and now they love her as if she were really their

A woman of elegant manners and of charming character, who will
submit to the slavery--for it is little less--of being a chaperon,
is hard to find; yet every motherless family should try to secure
such a person. In travelling in Europe, an accomplished chaperon
can do more for young girls than any amount of fortune. She has
the thing they want--that is, knowledge. With her they can go
everywhere--to picture-galleries, theatres, public and private
balls, and into society, if they wish it. It is "etiquette" to
have a chaperon, and it is the greatest violation of it not to
have one.

If a woman is protected by the armor of work, she can dispense
with a chaperon. The young artist goes about her copying
unquestioned, but in society, with its different laws, she must be
under the care of an older woman than herself.

A chaperon is indispensable to an engaged girl. The mother, or
some lady friend, should always accompany a young _fianc‚e_ on her
journeys to the various places of amusement and to the

Nothing is more vulgar in the eyes of our modern society than for
an engaged couple to travel together or to go to the theatre
unaccompanied, as was the primitive custom. This will, we know,
shock many Americans, and be called a "foolish following of
foreign fashions." But it is true; and, if it were only for the
"looks of the thing," it is more decent, more elegant, and more
correct for the young couple to be accompanied by a chaperon until
married. Society allows an engaged girl to drive with her _fianc‚_
in an open carriage, but it does not approve of his taking her in
a close carriage to an evening party.

There are non-resident chaperons who are most popular and most
useful. Thus, one mamma or elderly lady may chaperon a number of
young ladies to a dinner, or a drive on a coach, a sail down the
bay, or a ball at West Point. This lady looks after all her young
charges, and attends to their propriety and their happiness. She
is the guardian angel, for the moment, of their conduct. It is a
care which young men always admire and respect--this of a kind,
well-bred chaperon, who does not allow the youthful spirits of her
charges to run away with them.

The chaperon, if an intelligent woman, and with the sort of social
talent which a chaperon ought to have, is the best friend of a
family of shy girls. She brings them forward, and places them in a
position in which they can enjoy society; for there is a great
deal of tact required in a large city to make a retiring girl
enjoy herself. Society demands a certain amount of handling, which
only the social expert understands. To this the chaperon should be
equal. There are some women who have a social talent which is
simply Napoleonic. They manage it as a great general does his
_corps de bataille_.

Again, there are bad chaperons. A flirtatious married woman who is
thinking of herself only, and who takes young girls about merely
to enable herself to lead a gay life (and the world is full of
such women), is worse than no chaperon at all. She is not a
protection to the young lady, and she disgusts the honorable men
who would like to approach her charge. A very young chaperon, bent
on pleasure, who undertakes to make respectable the coaching
party, but who has no dignity of character to impress upon it, is
a very poor one. Many of the most flagrant violations of
propriety, in what is called the fashionable set, have arisen from
this choice of young chaperons, which is a mere begging of the
question, and no chaperonage at all.

Too much champagne is drunk, too late hours are kept, silly
stories are circulated, and appearances are disregarded by these
gay girls and their young chaperons; and yet they dislike very
much to see themselves afterwards held up to ridicule in the pages
of a magazine by an Englishman, whose every sentiment of
propriety, both educated and innate, has been shocked by their

A young Frenchman who visited America a few years ago formed the
worst judgment of American women because he met one alone at an
artist's studio. He misinterpreted the profoundly sacred and
corrective influences of art. It had not occurred to the lady that
if she went to see a picture she would be suspected of wishing to
see the artist. Still, the fact that such a mistake could be made
should render ladies careful of even the appearance of evil.

A chaperon should in her turn remember that she must not open a
letter, She must not exercise an unwise surveillance. She must not
_suspect_ her charge. All that sort of Spanish _espionage_ is
always outwitted. The most successful chaperons are those who love
their young charges, respect them, try to be in every way what the
mother would have been. Of course, all relations of this sort are
open to many drawbacks on both sides, but it is not impossible
that it may be an agreeable relation, if both parties exercise a
little tact.

In selecting a chaperon for a young charge, let parents or
guardians be very particular as to the past history of the lady.
If she has ever been talked about, ever suffered the bad
reputation of flirt or coquette, do not think of placing her in
that position. Clubs have long memories, and the fate of more than
one young heiress has been imperilled by an injudicious choice of
a chaperon. If any woman should have a spotless record and
admirable character it should be the chaperon. It will tell
against her charge if she have not. Certain needy women who have
been ladies, and who precariously attach to society through their
families, are always seeking for some young heiress. These women
are very poor chaperons, and should be avoided.

This business of chaperonage is a point which demands attention on
the part of careless American mothers. No mother should be
oblivious of her duty in this respect. It does not imply that she
doubts her daughter's honor or truth, or that she thinks she needs
watching, but it is proper and respectable and necessary that she
should appear by her daughter's side in society. The world is full
of traps. It is impossible to be too careful of the reputation of
a young lady, and it improves the tone of society vastly if an
elegant and respectable woman of middle age accompanies every
young party. It goes far to silence the ceaseless clatter of
gossip; it is the antidote to scandal; it makes the air clearer;
and, above all, it improves the character, the manners, and
elevates the minds of the young people who are so happy as to
enjoy the society and to feel the authority of a cultivated, wise,
and good chaperon.


A brisk correspondent writes to us that she finds our restrictions
as to the etiquette which single women should follow somewhat
embarrassing. Being now thirty-five, and at the head of her
father's house, with no intention of ever marrying, she asks if
she requires a chaperon; if it is necessary that she should
observe the severe self-denial of not entering an artist's studio
without a guardian angel; if she must never allow a gentleman to
pay for her theatre tickets; if she must, in short, assume a
matron's place in the world, and never enjoy a matron's freedom.

From her letter we can but believe that this young lady of
thirty-five is a very attractive person, and that she does "not
look her age." Still, as she is at the head of her father's house,
etiquette does yield a point and allows her to judge for herself
as to the proprieties which must bend to her. Of course with every
year of a woman's life after twenty-five she becomes less and less
the subject of chaperonage. For one thing, she is better able to
judge of the world and its temptations; in the second place, a
certain air which may not be less winning, but which is certainly
more mature, has replaced the wild grace of a giddy girlhood. She
has, with the assumption of years, taken on a dignity which, in
its way, is fully the compensation for some lost bloom. Many
people prefer it.

But we must say here that she is not yet, in European opinion,
emancipated from that guardianship which society dispenses with
for the youngest widow. She must have a "companion" if she is a
rich woman; and if she is a poor one she must join some party of
friends when she travels. She can travel abroad with her maid, but
in Paris and other Continental cities a woman still young-looking
had better not do this. She is not safe from insult nor from
injurious suspicion if she signs herself "Miss" Smith, and is
without her mother, an elderly friend, a companion, or party.

In America a woman can go anywhere and do almost anything without
fear of insult. But in Europe, where the custom of chaperonage is
so universal, she must be more circumspect.

As to visiting an artist's studio alone, there is in art itself an
ennobling and purifying influence which should be a protection.
But we must not forget that saucy book by Maurice Sand, in which
its author says that the first thing he observed in America was
that women (even respectable ones) went alone to artists' studios.
It would seem wiser, therefore, that a lady, though thirty-five,
should be attended in her visits to studios by a friend or
companion. This simple expedient "silences envious tongues," and
avoids even the remotest appearance of evil.

In the matter of paying for tickets, if a lady of thirty-five
wishes to allow a gentleman to pay for her admission to
picture-galleries and theatres she has an indisputable right to do
so. But we are not fighting for a right, only defining a law of
etiquette, when we say that it is not generally allowed in the
best society, abroad or here. In the case of young girls it is
quite unallowable, but in the case of a lady of thirty-five it may
be permitted as a sort of _camaraderie_, as one college friend may
pay for another. The point is, however, a delicate one. Men, in
the freedom of their clubs, recount to each other the clever
expedients which many women of society use to extort from them
boxes for the opera and suppers at Delmonico's. A woman should
remember that it may sometimes be very inconvenient to young men
who are invited by her to go to concerts and theatres to pay for
these pleasures. Many a poor fellow who has become a defaulter has
to thank for it the lady who first asked him to take her to
Delmonico's to supper. He was ashamed to tell her that he was
poor, and he stole that he might not seem a churl.

Another phase of the subject is that a lady in permitting a
gentleman to expend money for her pleasures assumes an obligation
to him which time and chance may render oppressive.

With an old friend, however, one whose claim to friendship is well
established, the conditions are changed. In his case there can be
no question of obligation, and a woman may accept unhesitatingly
any of those small attentions and kindnesses which friendly
feeling may prompt him to offer to her.

Travelling alone with a gentleman escort was at one time allowed
in the West. A Kentucky woman of that historic period, "before the
war," would not have questioned the propriety of it, and a Western
man of to-day still has the desire to pay everything, everywhere,
"for a lady."

The increase in the population of the Western States and the
growth of a wealthy and fashionable society in the large towns
have greatly modified this spirit of unwise chivalry, and such
customs are passing away even on the frontier. Mr. Howells's
novel, "The Lady of the Aroostook," has acquainted American
readers with the unkind criticism to which a young lady who
travels in Europe without a chaperon is subjected, and we believe
that there are few mammas who would desire to see their daughters
in the position of Miss Lydia Blood.

"An old maid," as our correspondent playfully calls herself, may
do almost anything without violating etiquette, if she consents to
become a chaperon, and takes with her a younger person. Thus an
aunt and niece can travel far and wide; the position of an elder
sister is always dignified; the youthful head of a house has a
right to assert herself--she must do it--therefore etiquette bows
to her (as "nice customs courtesy to great kings").

There is very much in the appearance of a woman. It is a part of
the injustice of nature that some people look coquettish who are
not so. Bad taste in dress, a high color, a natural flow of
spirits, or a loud laugh have often caused a very good woman to be
misinterpreted. Such a woman should be able to sit in judgment
upon herself; and remembering that in a great city, at a crowded
theatre, or at a watering-place, judgments must be hasty and
superficial, she should tone down her natural exuberance, and take
with her a female companion who is of a different type from
herself. Calm and cold Puritanical people may not be more
respectable than the fresh-colored and laughing "old maids" of
thirty-five, but they look more so, and in this world women must
consult appearances. An elderly girl must ever think how she
looks. A woman who at a watering-place dresses conspicuously,
wears a _peignoir_ to breakfast, dyes her hair, or looks as if she
did, ties a white blond veil over her locks and sits on a hotel
piazza, showing her feet, may be the best, the most cultivated
woman in the house, but a superficial observer will not think so.
In the mind of every passer-by will lurk the feeling that she
lacks the first grace of womanhood, modesty--and in the criticism
of a crowd there is strength. A man passing such a person, and
contrasting her with modestly dressed and unobtrusive ladies,
would naturally form an unfavorable opinion of her; and were she
alone, and her name entered on the books of the house as "Miss"
Smith, he would not be too severe if he thought her decidedly
eccentric, and certainly "bad style." If, however, "Miss" Smith
were very plain and quiet, and dressed simply and in good taste,
or if she sat on the sands looking at the sea, or attended an
invalid or a younger friend, then Miss Smith might be as
independent as she pleased: she would suffer from no injurious
comments. Even the foreigner, who does not believe in the
eccentricities of the English _mees_, would have no word to say
against her. A good-looking elderly girl might say, "There is,
then, a premium on ugliness;" but that we do not mean. Handsome
women can conduct themselves so well that the breath of reproach
need not and does not touch them, and ugly women may and do
sometimes gain an undeserved reproach.

There are some people who are born with what we call, for want of
a better name, a pinchbeck air. Their jewellery never looks like
real gold; their manner is always bad; they have the _faux air_ of
fashion, not the real one. Such people, especially if single,
receive many a snub which they do not deserve, and to a woman of
this style a companion is almost necessary. Fortunately there are
almost always _two_ women who can join forces in travelling or in
living together, and the independence of such a couple is
delightful. We have repeated testimony in English literature of
the pleasant lives of the Ladies of Llangollen, of the lives of
Miss Jewsbury and Lady Morgan, and of the model sisters Berry. In
our own country we have almost abolished the idea that a companion
is necessary for women of talent who are physicians or artists or
musicians; but to those who are still in the trammels of private
life we can say that the presence of a companion need not destroy
their liberty, and it may add very much to their respectability
and happiness. There is, no doubt, a great pleasure in the added
freedom of life which comes to an elderly girl. "I can wear a
velvet dress now," said an exceedingly handsome woman on her
thirtieth birthday. In England an unmarried woman of fifty is
called "_Mrs._," if she prefers that title. So many delightful
women are late in loving, so many are true to some buried love, so
many are "elderly girls" from choice, and from no neglect of the
stronger sex, that to them should be accorded all the respect
which is supposed to accrue naturally to the married. "It takes a
very superior woman to be an old maid," said Miss Sedgwick.


"Le jour de l'an," as the French call the first day of January, is
indeed the principal day of the year to those who still keep up
the custom of calling and receiving calls. But in New York it is a
custom which is in danger of falling into desuetude, owing to the
size of the city and the growth of its population. There are,
however, other towns and "much country" (as the Indians say)
outside of New York, and there are still hospitable boards at
which the happy and the light-hearted, the gay and the thoughtful,
may meet and exchange wishes for a happy New-Year.

To those who receive calls we would say that it is well, if
possible, to have every arrangement made two or three days before
New-Year's, as the visiting begins early--sometimes at eleven
o'clock--if the caller means to make a goodly day. A lady should
have her hair dressed for the day when she rises, and if her dress
be not too elaborate she should put it on then, so that she may be
in the drawing-room when the first visitor arrives. In regard to
the question of dress, we should say that for elderly ladies black
satin or velvet, or any of the combination dresses so fashionable
now, with handsome lace, and Swedish gloves of pearl or tan color
(not white kids; these are decidedly rococo, and not in fashion),
would be appropriate. A black satin, well made, and trimmed with
beaded _passementerie_, is perhaps the handsomest dress that could
be worn by any one. Brocaded silk, plain gros grain, anything that
a lady would wear at the wedding reception of her daughter is
suitable, although a plain dress is in better taste.

For young ladies nothing is so pretty as a dress of light cashmere
and silk, cut high at the throat. These dresses, in the very
pretty tints worn now, are extremely becoming, warm-looking, and
appropriate for a reception, when the door is being often opened.
White dresses of thick silk or cashmere, trimmed around the neck
with lace, are also very elegant. In all countries young married
women are allowed to be as magnificent as a picture of Marie de
Medici, and can wear on New-Year's day rose-colored and white
brocaded silks, with pearl trimmings, or plain ciel blue, or
prawn-colored silk over white, or embossed velvet, or what they
please, so that the dress is cut high, and has sleeves to the
elbow. Each lady should have near her an ermine cloak, or a small
camel's-hair shawl in case of draughts. It is not good taste to
wear low-necked or sleeveless dresses during the day-time. They
are worn by brides on their wedding-day sometimes, but at
receptions or on New-Year's day scarcely ever.

While much magnificence is permissible, still a plain black or
dark silk dress, if well made, with fresh ruffles at neck and
wrists, is quite as proper as anything else, and men generally
admire it more. But where a lady has several daughters to receive
with her, she should study the effect of her rooms, and dress the
young ladies in prettily contrasting colors. This may be cheaply
done by using the soft, fine merinoes, which are to be had in all
the delicate and fashionable shades. Short dresses of this
material are much used; but now that imported dresses are so
easily obtained, a mother with many daughters to dress cannot do
better than buy costumes similar to those worn by economical
French ladies on their _jour de l'an_. One article of dress is _de
rigeur_. With whatever style of costume, gloves must be worn.

A lady who expects to have many calls, and who wishes to offer
refreshments, should have hot tea and coffee and a bowl of punch
on a convenient table; or, better still, a silver kettle filled
with bouillon standing in the hall, so that a gentleman coming in
or going out can take a cup of it unsolicited. If she lives in an
English basement house, this table can be in the lower
dining-room. In a house three rooms deep the table and all the
refreshments can be in the usual dining-room or in the upper
back-parlor. Of course, her "grand spread" can be as gorgeous as
she pleases. Hot oysters, salads, boned turkey, quail, and hot
terrapin, with wines _ad libitum_, are offered by the wealthy; but
this is a difficult table to keep in order when ten men call at
one o'clock, and forty at four, and none between. The best table
is one which is furnished with boned turkey, jellied tongues, and
_pƒt‚s_, sandwiches, and similar dishes, with cake and fruit as
decorative additions. The modern and admirable adjunct of a
spirit-lamp under a teakettle keeps the bouillon, tea, and coffee
always hot, and these, with the teacups necessary to serve them,
should be on a small table at one side. A maid-servant, neatly
dressed, should be in constant attendance on this table, and a
man-servant or two will be needed to attend the door and to wait
at table.

The man at the door should have a silver tray or card-basket in
which to receive the cards of visitors. If a gentleman is not
known to the lady of the house, he sends in his card; otherwise he
leaves it with the waiter, who deposits it in some receptacle
where it should be kept until the lady has leisure to examine the
cards of all her guests. If a gentleman is calling on a young
lady, and is not known to the hostess, he sends in his card to the
former, who presents him to the hostess and to all the ladies
present. If the room is full, an introduction to the hostess only
is necessary. If the room is comparatively empty, it is much
kinder to present a gentleman to each lady, as it tends to make
conversation general. As a guest is about to depart, he should be
invited to take some refreshment, and be conducted towards the
dining-room for that purpose. This hospitality should never be
urged, as man is a creature who dines, and is seldom willing to
allow a luncheon to spoil a dinner. In a country neighborhood,
however, or after a long walk, a visitor is almost always glad to
break his fast and enjoy a pickled oyster, a sandwich, or a cup of

The etiquette of New-Year's day commands, peremptorily, that a
gentleman shall not be asked to take off his overcoat nor to be
relieved of his hat. He will probably prefer to wear his overcoat,
and to carry his hat in his hand during his brief visit. If he
wishes to dispose of either, he will do so in the hall; but on
that point he is a free moral agent, and it is not a part of the
duty of a hostess to suggest what he shall do with his clothes.

Many letters come to us asking "What subjects should be talked
about during a New-Year's call." Alas! we can only suggest the
weather and the good wishes appropriate to the season. The
conversation is apt to be fragmentary. One good _mot_ was evolved
a few years ago, when roads were snowy and ways were foul. A
gentleman complained of the mud and the dirty streets. "Yes," said
the lady, "but it is very bright overhead." "I am not going that
way," replied the gentleman.

A gentleman should not be urged to stay when he calls. He has
generally but five minutes in which to express a desire that old
and pleasant memories shall be continued, that new and cordial
friendships shall be formed, and after that compliment, which
every wall-bred man pays a lady, "How remarkably well you are
looking to-day!" he wishes to be off.

In France it is the custom for a gentleman to wear a dress-coat
when calling on a great public functionary on New-Year's day, but
it is not so in America. Here he should, wear the dress in which
he would make an ordinary morning visit. When he enters a room he
should not remove his gloves, nor should he say, as he greets his
hostess, "Excuse my glove." He should take her gloved hand in his
and give it a cordial pressure, according to our pleasant American
fashion. When leaving, the ceremony is very brief--simply,
"Good-morning," or "Good-evening," as the case may be.

It is proper for gentlemen to call late in the evening of
New-Year's day, and calls are made during the ensuing evenings by
people who are otherwise occupied in the daytime. If the family
are at dinner, or the lady is fatigued with the day's duties, the
servant must say at the door that Mrs._____ desires to be excused.
He must not present the card to her, and thus oblige her to send
to her visitor a message which might be taken as a personal
affront. But she must have the servant instructed to refuse all at
certain hours; then none can be offended.

Many ladies in New York are no longer "at home" on New-Year's day;
and when this is the case a basket is tied at the door to receive
cards. They do this because so many gentlemen have given up the
custom of calling that it seems to be dying out, and all their
preparations for a reception become a hollow mockery. How many
weary women have sat with novel in hand and luncheon-table spread,
waiting for the callers who did not come! The practice of sending
cards to gentlemen, stating that a lady would be at home on
New-Year's day, has also very much gone out of fashion, owing to
the fact that gentlemen frequently did not respond to them.

It is, however, proper that a married lady returning to her home
after a long absence in Europe, or one who has changed her
residence, or who is living at a hotel or boarding-house (or who
is visiting friends), should send her card to those gentlemen whom
she wishes to receive. It must be remembered that many gentlemen,
generally those no longer young, still like very much the fashion
of visiting on New-Year's day, and go to see as many people as
they can in a brief winter's sunshine. These gentlemen deplore the
basket at the door, and the decadence of the old custom in New
York. Family friends and old friends, those whom they never see at
any other time, are to be seen--or they should be seen, so these
old friends think--on New-Year's day.

A personal call is more agreeable than a card. Let a gentleman
call, and in person, or take no notice of the day. So say the most
trustworthy authorities, and their opinion has an excellent
foundation of common-sense.

Could we only go back to the old Dutch town where the custom
started, where all animosities were healed, all offences
forgotten, on New-Year's day, when the good Dutch housewives made
their own cakes and spiced the loving-cup, when all the women
stayed at home to receive and all the men called, what a different
New-Year's day we should enjoy in New York. Nowadays, two or three
visitors arrive before the hostess is ready to receive them; then
one comes after she has appeared, vanishes, and she remains alone
for two hours; then forty come. She remembers none of their names,
and has no rational or profitable conversation with any of them.

But for the abusers of New-Year's day, the pretenders who, with no
right to call, come in under cover of the general hospitality of
the season--the bores, who on this day, as on all days, are only
tiresome--we have no salve, no patent cure. A hostess must receive
them with the utmost suavity, and be as amiable and agreeable as

New-Year's day is a very brilliant one at Washington. All the
world calls on the President at twelve o'clock; the diplomats in
full dress, officers of the army and navy in full uniform, and the
other people grandly attired. Later, the heads of departments,
cabinet ministers, judges, etc., receive the lesser lights of

In Paris the same etiquette is observed, and every clerk calls on
his chief.

In a small city or village etiquette manages itself, and ladies
have only to let it be known that they will be at home, with hot
coffee and oysters, to receive the most agreeable kind of
callers--those who come because they really wish to pay a visit,
to express goodwill, and to ask for that expression of friendship
which our reserved Anglo-Saxon natures are so prone to withhold.

In New York a few years ago the temperance people made a great
onslaught on ladies who invited young men to drink on New-Year's
day. It was said to lead to much disorder and intemperance; and
so, from fear of causing one's brother to sin, many have banished
the familiar punch-bowl. In a number of well-known houses in New
York no luncheon is offered, and a cup of bouillon or coffee and a
sandwich is the usual refreshment in the richest and most stylish
houses. It will be seen, therefore, that it is a day of largest
liberty. There are no longer any sumptuary laws; but it is
impossible to say why ladies of the highest fashion in New York do
not still make it a gala-day. The multiplicity of other
entertainments, the unseen yet all-powerful influence of fashion,
these things mould the world insensibly. Yet in a thousand homes,
thousands of cordial hands will be extended on the great First of
January, and to all of them we wish a Happy New Year.


A matin‚e in America means an afternoon performance at the theatre
of a play or opera. In Europe it has a wider significance, any
social gathering before dinner in France being called a _matin‚e_,
as any party after dinner is called a _soir‚e_.

The improper application of another foreign word was strikingly
manifested in the old fashion of calling the President's evening
receptions _levees_. The term "levee," as originally used, meant
literally a king's getting up. When he arose, and while he was
dressing, such of his courtiers as were privileged to approach him
at this hour gathered in an anteroom-waiting to assist at his
toilet, to wish him good morning, or perhaps prefer a request. In
time this morning gathering grew to be an important court
ceremonial, and some one ignorant of the meaning of the word named
President Jackson's evening receptions "the President's levees."
So with the word _matin‚e_. First used to indicate a day reception
at court, it has now grown to mean a day performance at a theatre.
Sometimes a lady, bolder than her neighbors, issues an invitation
for "a _matin‚e dansante_," or "a _matin‚e musicale_," but this
descriptive style is not common.

There are many advantages in a morning party. It affords to ladies
who do not go to evening receptions the pleasure of meeting
informally, and is also a well-chosen occasion for introducing a
new pianist or singer.

For a busy woman of fashion nothing can be more conveniently timed
than a _matin‚e_, which begins at two and ends at four or half
past. It does not interfere with a five-o'clock tea or a drive in
the park, nor unfit her for a dinner or an evening entertainment.
Two o'clock is also a very good hour for a large and informal
general lunch, if a lady wishes to avoid the expense, formality,
and trouble of a "sit-down" lunch.

While the busy ladies can go to a _matin‚e_, the busy gentleman
cannot; and as men of leisure in America are few, a morning
entertainment at a theatre or in society is almost always an
assemblage of women. To avoid this inequality of sex, many ladies
have their _matin‚e_s on some one of the national
holidays--Washington's Birthday, Thanksgiving, or Decoration-day.
On these occasions a _matin‚e_, even in busy New York, is well
attended by gentlemen.

When, as sometimes happens, a prince, a duke, an archbishop, an
author of celebrity, a Tom Hughes, a Lord Houghton, a Dean
Stanley, or some descendant of our French allies at Yorktown,
comes on a visit to our country, one of the most satisfactory
forms of entertainment that we can offer to him is a morning
reception. At an informal _matin‚e_ we may bring to meet him such
authors, artists, clergymen, lawyers, editors, statesmen, rich and
public-spirited citizens, and beautiful and cultivated women of
society, as we may be fortunate enough to know.

The primary business of society is to bring together the various
elements of which it is made up--its strongest motive should be to
lighten up the momentous business of life by an easy and friendly
intercourse and interchange of ideas.

But if we hope to bring about us men of mind and distinction, our
object must be not only to be amused but to amuse.

To persuade those elderly men who are maintaining the great
American name at its present high place in the Pantheon of nations
to spend a couple of hours at a _matin‚e_, we must offer some
tempting bait as an equivalent. A lady who entertained Dean
Stanley said that she particularly enjoyed her own _matin‚e_ given
for him, because through his name she for the first time induced
the distinguished clergy of New York to come to her house.

Such men are not tempted by the frivolities of a fashionable
social life that lives by its vanity, its excitement, its rivalry
and flirtation. Not that all fashionable society is open to such
reproach, but its tendency is to lightness and emptiness; and we
rarely find really valuable men who seek it. Therefore a lady who
would make her house attractive to the best society must offer it
something higher than that to which we may give the generic title
fashion. Dress, music, dancing, supper, are delightful
accessories-they are ornaments and stimulants, not requisites. For
a good society we need men and women who are "good company," as
they say in England--men and women who can talk. Nor is the
advantage all on one side. The free play of brain, taste, and
feeling is a most important refreshment to a man who works hard,
whether in the pulpit or in Wall Street, in the editorial chair or
at the dull grind of authorship. The painter should wash his
brushes and strive for some intercourse of abiding value with
those whose lives differ from his own. The woman who works should
also look upon the _divertissements_ of society as needed
recreation, fruitful, may be, of the best culture.

On the other hand, no society is perfect without the elements of
beauty, grace, taste, refinement, and luxury. We must bring all
these varied potentialities together if we would have a real and
living social life. For that brilliant thing that we call society
is a finely-woven fabric of threads of different sizes and colors
of contrasting shades. It is not intrigue, or the display of
wealth, or morbid excitement that must bind together this social
fabric, but sympathy, that pleasant thing which refines and
refreshes, and "knits up the ravelled sleeve of care," and leaves
us strong for the battle of life.

And in no modern form of entertainment can we better produce this
finer atmosphere, this desirable sympathy between the world of
fashion and that of thought, than by _matin‚es_, when given under
favorable circumstances. To be sure, if we gave one every day it
would be necessary, as we have said, to dispense with a large
number of gentlemen; but the occasional _matinee_ is apt to catch
some very good specimens of the _genus homo_, and sometimes the
best specimens. It is proper to offer a very substantial _buffet,
as people rarely lunch before two o'clock, and will be glad of a
bit of bird, a cup of bouillon, or a leaf of salad. It is much
better to offer such an entertainment earlier than the
five-o'clock tea; at which hour people are saving their appetites
for dinner.

A _soir‚e_ is a far more difficult affair, and calls for more
subtle treatment. It should be, not a ball, but what was formerly
called an "evening party." It need not exclude dancing, but
dancing is not its excuse for being. It means a very bright
_conversazione_, or a reading, or a _musicale_, with pretty
evening dress (not necessarily ball dress), a supper, and early
hours. Such, at least, was its early significance abroad.

It has this advantage in New York, that it does attract gentlemen.
They like very much the easy-going, early-houred _soir‚e_. We
mean, of course, those gentlemen who no longer care for balls, and
if aristocracy is to be desired, "the rule of the best," at
American entertainments, all aspirants for social distinction
should try to propitiate those men who are being driven from the
ballroom by the insolence and pretension of the lower elements of
fashionable society. In Europe, the very qualities which make a
man great in the senate, the field, or the chamber of commerce,
give him a corresponding eminence in the social world. Many a
gray-mustached veteran in Paris leads the german. A senator of
France aspires to appear well in the boudoir. With these men
social dexterity is a requisite to success, and is cultivated as a
duty. It is not so here, for the two great factors of success in
America, wealth and learning, do not always fit a man for society,
and still less does society adapt itself to them.

The _soir‚e_, if properly conducted, is an entertainment to which
can be brought the best elements of our society: elderly,
thoughtful, and educated men. A lady should not, however, in the
matter of dress, confound a _soir‚e_ with a concert or reception.
It is the height of impropriety to wear a bonnet to the former, as
has been done in New York, to the everlasting disgust of the

When a hostess takes the pains to issue an invitation to a
_soir‚e_ a week or a fortnight before it is to occur, she should
be repaid by the careful dressing and early arrival of her guests.
It may be proper to go to an evening reception in a bonnet, but
never to a _soir‚e_ or an evening party.

There is no doubt that wealth has become a power in American
society, and that we are in danger of feeling that, if we have not
wealth, we can give neither _matin‚es_ nor _soir‚es_; but this is
a mistake. Of course the possession of wealth is most desirable.
Money is power, and when it is well earned it is a noble power;
but it does not command all those advantages which are the very
essence of social intercourse. It may pamper the appetite, but it
does not always feed the mind. There is still a corner left for
those that have but little money. A lady can give a _matinee_ or a
_soiree_ in a small house with very little expenditure of money;
and if she has the inspiration of the model entertainer, every one
whom she honors with an invitation will flock to her small and
unpretending _menage_. There are numbers of people in our large
cities who can give great balls, dazzle the eye, confuse and
delight the senses, drown us in a sensuous luxury; but how few
there are who, in a back street and in a humble house, light that
lamp by which the Misses Berry summoned to their little parlor the
cleverest and best people!

The elegant, the unpretentious, the quiet _soir‚e_ to which the
woman of fashion shall welcome the _litt‚rateur_ and the artist,
the aristocrat who is at the top of the social tree and the
millionaire who reached his culmination yesterday, would seem to
be that _Ultima Thule_ for which all people have been sighing ever
since society was first thought of. There are some Americans who
are so foolish as to affect the pride of the hereditary
aristocracies, and who have some fancied traditional standard by
which they think to keep their blue blood pure. A good old
grandfather who had talent, or patriotism, or broad views of
statesmanship, "who did the state some service," is a relation to
be proud of, but his descendants should take care to show, by some
more personal excellence than that of a social exclusiveness,
their appreciation of his honesty and ability. What our
grandfathers were, a thousand new-comers now are. They made their
way--the early American men--untrammelled by class restraints;
they arrived at wealth and distinction and social eminence by
their own merits; they toiled for the money which buys for their
grandsons purple and fine linen. And could they see the pure and
perfect snob who now sometimes bears the name which they left so
unsullied, they would be exasperated and ashamed, Of course, a
certain exclusiveness must mark all our _matin‚es_ and _soir‚es_;
they would fail of the chief element of diversion if we invited
everybody. Let us, therefore, make sure of the aesthetic and
intellectual, the sympathetic and the genial, and sift out the
pretentious and the impure. The rogues, the pretenders, the
adventurers who push into the penetralia of our social circles are
many, and it is to the exclusion of such that a hostess should
devote herself.

It is said that all women are born aristocrats, and it is
sometimes said in the same tone with which the speaker afterwards
adds that all women are born fools. A woman, from her finer sense,
enjoys luxury, fine clothing, gorgeous houses, and all the
refinements that money can buy; but even the most idle and
luxurious and foolish woman desires that higher luxury which art
and intelligence and delicate appreciation can alone bring; the
two are necessary to each other. To a hostess the difficulty of
entertaining in such a manner as to unite in a perfect whole the
financiers, the philosophers, the cultivated foreigners, the
people of fashion, the sympathetic and the artistic is very great;
but a hostess may bring about the most genial democracy at the
modern _matin‚e_ or _soir‚e_ if she manages properly.


The five-o'clock tea began in England, and is continued there, as
a needed refreshment after a day's hunting, driving, or
out-of-door exercise, before dressing for dinner--that very late
dinner of English fashion. It is believed that the Princess of
Wales set the fashion by receiving in her boudoir at some
countryhouse in a very becoming "tea gown," which every lady knows
to be the most luxurious change from the tight riding-habit or
carriage-dress. Her friends came in, by her gracious invitation,
to her sanctum, between five and seven, to take a cup of tea with
her. The London belles were glad to have an excuse for a new
entertainment, and gradually it grew to be a fashion, at which
people talked so fast and so loud as to suggest the noise of a
drum--a kettledrum, the most rattling of all drums. Then it was
remembered that an old-fashioned entertainment was called a drum,
and the tea suggested kettle, and the name fitted the
circumstances. In England, where economy is so much the fashion,
it was finally pronounced an excellent excuse for the suppression
of expense, and it came over to New York during a calamitous
period, just after "Black Friday." Ladies were glad to assemble
their friends at an hour convenient for their servants, and with
an entertainment inexpensive to their husbands. So a kettledrum
became the most fashionable of entertainments. People after a
while forgot its origin, and gave a splendid ball by daylight,
with every luxury of the season, and called it tea at five
o'clock, or else paid off all their social obligations by one
sweeping "tea," which cost them nothing but the lighting of the
gas and the hiring of an additional waiter. They became so popular
that they defeated themselves, and ladies had to encompass five,
six, sometimes nine teas of an afternoon, and the whole of a cold
Saturday--the favorite day for teas--was spent in a carriage
trying to accomplish the impossible.

The only "afternoon tea" that should prevail in a large city like
New York is that given by one or two ladies who are usually "at
home" at five o'clock every afternoon. If there is a well-known
house where the hostess has the firmness and the hospitality to be
always seated in front of her blazing urn at that hour, she is
sure of a crowd of gentlemen visitors, who come from down-town
glad of a cup of tea and a chat and rest between work and dinner.
The sight of a pretty girl making tea is always dear to the
masculine heart. Many of our young lawyers, brokers, and gay men
of the hunt like a cup of hot tea at five o'clock. The mistake was
in the perversion of the idea, the making it the occasion for the
official presentation of a daughter, or the excuse for other and
more elaborate entertainments. So, although many a house is opened
this winter at the same convenient hour, and with perhaps only the
bouillon and tea-kettle and bit of cake or sandwich (for really no
one wants more refreshment than this before dinner and after
luncheon), the name of these afternoon entertainments has been by
mutual consent dropped, and we no longer see the word "kettledrum"
or "afternoon tea" on a card, but simply the date and the hour.

There is a great deal to be said in this matter on both sides. The
primal idea was a good one. To have a gathering of people without
the universal oyster was at first a great relief. The people who
had not money for grand "spreads" were enabled to show to their
more opulent neighbors that they too had the spirit of
hospitality. All who have spent a winter in Rome remember the
frugal entertainment offered, so that an artist with no plentiful
purse could still ask a prince to visit him. It became the
reproach of Americans that they alone were ashamed to be poor, and
that, unless they could offer an expensive supper, dinner, or
luncheon, they could not ask their friends to come to see them.
Then, again, the doctors, it was urged, had discovered that tea
was the best stimulant for the athlete and for the brain-worker.
English "breakfast tea" kept nobody awake, and was the most
delightful of appetizers. The cup of tea and a sandwich taken at
five o'clock spoiled no one's dinner. The ladies of the house
began these entertainments, modestly receiving in plain but pretty
dresses; their guests were asked to come in walking-dress. But
soon the other side of the story began to tell. A lady going in
velvet and furs into a heated room, where gas added its discomfort
to the subterranean fires of a furnace, drank her hot cup of tea,
and came out to take a dreadful cold. Her walking dress was
manifestly a dress inappropriate to a kettledrum. Then the hostess
and the guests both became more dressy, the afternoon tea lost its
primitive character and became a gay reception. Then, again, the
nerves! The doctors condemn even the afternoon cup of tea, and
declare that it is the foundation of much of the nervous
prostration, the sleeplessness, and the nameless misery of our
overexcited and careworn oxygen driven people. We are overworked,
no doubt. We are an overcivilized set, particularly in the large
cities, and every one must decide for himself or herself if "tea"
is not an insidious enemy. That the introduction of an informal
and healthful and inexpensive way of entertaining is a grand
desideratum no one can fail to observe and allow. But with the
growth of an idea the tea blossomed into a supper, and the little
knot into a crowd, and of course the name became a misnomer.

The ideal entertainment would seem to be a gathering between four
and seven, which is thoroughly understood to be a large
gas-lighted party, which a lady enters properly dressed for a hot
room, having a cloak which she can throw off in the hall, and
where she can make her call long or short, as she pleases, and can
find a cup of hot bouillon if she is cold, or tea if she prefers
it, or a more elaborate lunch if her hostess pleases; and this
ideal entertainment is _not_ afternoon tea; it is a _reception_.
It is well enough indicated by the date on the card, and does not
need a name.

The abuse of the "afternoon tea" was that it took the place of
other entertainments. It has almost ruined the early evening
party, which was so pleasant a feature of the past. People who
could well afford to give breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and balls,
where men and women could meet each other, and talk, and know each
other well, did not give them; they gave an afternoon tea.

It may be because we have no "leisure class" that we do not give
breakfasts. In all our Anglomania it is strange that we have not
copied that plain, informal thing, an English breakfast, such as
Sydney Smith was wont to give. Mr. Webster writes home in 1839:
"In England the rule of politeness is to be quiet, act naturally,
take no airs, and make no bustle. This perfect politeness has cost
a great deal of drill." He delighted in the English breakfasts,
where he met "Boz," Tom Moore, Wordsworth, Rogers (who never gave
any entertainment but breakfasts). We are all workers in America,
yet we might have an occasional breakfast-party. Dinners and
ladies' lunches we know very well how to give, and there are
plenty of them. Perhaps the only objection to them is their
oversumptuousness. The ideal dinners of the past at Washington,
with the old Virginia hospitality, the oysters, terrapin, wild
turkeys, venison, served by negro cooks and waiters, the hostess
keeping the idea of agreeability before her, instead of caring
principally for her china, her glass, and her table-cloth. These
gave way long ago in New York to the greater luxury of the
prosperous city, and if there was any loss, it was in the
conversation. New York women have been forced into a life of
overdressing, dancing, visiting, shopping, gaining the
accomplishments, and showing them off, and leading the life of
society at its height; the men have been overwhelmingly engaged in
commerce, and later in Wall Street. No wonder that four o'clock
was an hour at which both paused, and called for a "cup of tea."

Nor because the name has passed away-temporarily, perhaps--will
the fashion pass. People will still gather around the steaming
urn. Young ladies find it a very pretty recreation to make the
tea-table attractive with the floral arrangements, the basket of
cake, the sandwiches, the silver tea-caddy, the alcohol lamp
burning under the silver or copper kettle, the padded "cozy" to
keep the tea warm, the long table around which young gentlemen and
young ladies can sit, while mamma, patient American
mamma--receives the elder people in the parlor.

It is no longer the elderly lady who presides at the tea-kettle;
the tabbies do not make or drink the teas; the younger pussies are
the queens of four-o'clock tea. It is whispered that it is a
convenient _alias_ for flirtation, or something even sweeter--that
many engagements have been made at "four-o'clock teas."

Certainly it is a very good opportunity for showing one's
tea-cups. The handsome china can be displayed at a four-o'clock
tea, if it is not too large, to the best advantage. The very early
assumption of a grand social entertainment under the name of
"four-o'clock tea" rather blotted out one of the prettiest
features of the English tea, that of the graceful garment the _tea

Tea gowns in France, under the _r‚gime_ of Worth, have become most
luxurious garments. They are made of silk, satin, velvet, and
lined with delicate surah. They are trimmed with real and
imitation lace, and are of the most delicate shades of pink, blue,
lavender, and pearl-color; cascades of lace extend down the front.
In these, made loose to the figure, but still very elegant and
most becoming, do the English princess, the duchess, and the
Continental coroneted or royal dame, or the queen of fashion,
receive their guests at afternoon tea. No wonder that in each
bridal trousseau do we read of the wonderful "tea gowns." In
America ladies have been in the habit of always receiving in the
tight-fitting and elegant combinations of silk, surah, brocade,
velvet, and cashmere which fill the wardrobe of modern fashion.
The dresses of delicate cashmere, so becoming to young girls, are
always very much patronized for afternoon tea. Indeed, the young
lady dressed for afternoon tea was dressed for dinner. In this, as
our American afternoon teas have been managed, the American young
lady was right, for it is not _convenable_, according to European
ideas, to wear a loose flowing robe of the tea-gown pattern out of
one's bedroom or boudoir. It has been done by ignorant people at a
watering-place, but it never looks well. It is really an undress,
although lace and satin may be used in its composition. A plain,
high, and tight-fitting g‚arment is much the more elegant dress
for the afternoon teas as we give them.

Call it what you will--reception, kettledrum, afternoon tea, or
something without a name--we have unconsciously, imitating a very
different sort of informal gathering, gained an easy and a
sensible entertainment in society, from four to seven; which seems
to address itself to all kinds of needs. We are prone in America
(so foreigners say) to overdo a thing--perhaps, also, to underdo
it. Be that as it may, all agree with Lord Houghton, who laughed
at the phrase, that we know how "to have a good time."


We are asked by many young mammas as to the meaning of the phrase
"caudle parties."

Formerly the persons who called to congratulate the happy
possessor of a new boy or girl were offered mulled wine and
plum-cake. Some early chronicler thinks that the two got mixed,
and that caudle was the result.

Certain it is that a most delicious beverage, a kind of oatmeal
gruel, boiled "two days," with raisins and spices, and fine old
Madeira (some say rum) added, makes a dish fit to set before a
king, and is offered now to the callers on a young mamma. The old
English custom was to have this beverage served three days after
the arrival of the little stranger. The caudle-cups, preserved in
many an old family, are now eagerly sought after as curiosities;
they have two handles, so they could be passed from one to
another. They were handed down as heirlooms when these candle
parties were more fashionable than they have been, until a recent
date. Now there is a decided idea of reintroducing them. In those
days the newly-made papa also entertained his friends with a stag
party, when bachelors and also Benedicks were invited to eat
buttered toast, which was sugared and spread in a mighty
punch-bowl, over which boiling-hot beer was poured. After the
punch-bowl was emptied, each guest placed a piece of money in the
bowl for the nurse. Strong ale was brewed, and a pipe of wine laid
by to be drunk on the majority of the child.

This greasy mess is fortunately now extinct, but the caudle, a
really delicious dish or drink, is the fashion again. It is
generally offered when master or miss is about six weeks old, and
mamma receives her friends in a tea gown or some pretty
convalescent wrap, very often made of velvet or plush cut in the
form of a belted-in jacket and skirt, or in one long princesse
robe, elaborately trimmed with cascades of lace down the front.
The baby is, of course, shown, but not much handled. Some parents
have the christening and the caudle party together, but of this,
it is said, the Church does not approve.

The selection of god-parents is always a delicate task. It is a
very great compliment, of course, to ask any one to stand in this
relation, highly regarded in England, but not so much thought of
here. Formerly there were always two godfathers and two
godmothers, generally chosen from friends and relations, who were
expected to watch over the religious education of the young child,
and to see that he was, in due time, confirmed. In all old
countries this relationship lasts through life; kindly help and
counsel being given to the child by the godfather--even to
adoption in many instances--should the parents die. But in our new
country, with the absence of an established Church, and with our
belief in the power of every man to take care of himself, this
beautiful relationship has been neglected. We are glad to see by
our letters that it is being renewed, and that people are thinking
more of these time-honored connections.

After a birth, friends and acquaintances should call and send in
their cards, or send them by their servants, with kind inquiries.
When the mother is ready to see her friends, she should, if she
wishes, signify that time by sending out cards for a "caudle
party." But let her be rather deliberate about this unless she has
a mother, or aunt, or sister to take all the trouble for her.

The godfather and godmother generally give some little present; a
silver cup or porringer, knife, fork, and spoon, silver basin,
coral tooth-cutter, or coral and bells, were the former gifts;
but, nowadays, we hear of one wealthy godfather who left a check
for $100,000 in the baby's cradle; and it is not unusual for those
who can do so to make some very valuable investment for the child,
particularly if he bears the name of the godfather.

Some people--indeed, most people--take their children to church to
be baptized, and then give a luncheon at home afterwards to which
all are invited, especially the officiating clergyman and his
wife, as well as the sponsors. The presents should be given at
this time. Old-fashioned people give the baby some salt and an egg
for good luck, and are particular that he should be carried
up-stairs before he is carried down, and that when he goes out
first he shall be carried to the house of some near and dear

Confirmation is in the Episcopal Church the sequel to baptism; and
in France this is a beautiful and very important ceremony. In the
month of May the streets are filled with white doves--young girls,
all in muslin and lace veils, going with their mothers or
chaperons to be confirmed. Here the duty of the godfather or the
godmother comes in; and if a child is an orphan, or has careless
or irreligious parents, the Church holds the godparent responsible
that these children be brought to the bishop to be confirmed.

Notices of confirmation to be held are always given out in the
various churches some weeks prior to the event; and persons
desirous of being admitted to the rite are requested to make known
their wish and to give their names to their clergyman. Classes are
formed, and instruction and preparation given during the weeks
preceding the day which the bishop has appointed. In England a
noble English lady is as much concerned for her goddaughter
through all this important period as she is for her daughter. In
France the obligation is also considered sacred. We have known of
a lady who made the journey from Montpellier to Paris--although
she could scarcely afford the expense--to attend the confirmation
of her goddaughter, although the young girl had a father and

It is a ceremony well worth seeing, either in England or France.
The girls walk in long processions through the streets; the dress
uniformly of white with long veils. Youths follow in black suits,
black ties, and gloves; they enter one aisle of the church, the
girls the other. When the time arrives for the laying on of hands,
the girls go first, two and two; they give their card or
certificate into the hands of the bishop's chaplain, who stands
near to receive them. The candidates kneel before the bishop, who
lays his hands severally on their heads.

Of course persons not belonging to the Episcopal Church do not
observe this rite. But as a belief in baptism is almost universal,
there is no reason why the godfather and godmother should not be
chosen and adhered to. We always name our children, or we are apt
to, for some dear friend; and we would all gladly believe that
such a friendship, begun at the altar when he is being consecrated
to a Christian life, may go with him and be a help to the dear
little man. In our belligerent independence and our freedom from
creeds and cant we have thrown away too much, and can afford to
reassert our belief in and respect for a few old customs.

Royalty has always been a respecter of these powers. King Edward
VI. and his sisters were each baptized when only three days old,
and the ceremony, which lasted between two and three days, took
place at night, by torch-light. The child was carried under a
canopy, preceded by gentlemen bearing in state the sponsors'
gifts, and attended by a flourish of trumpets.

At a modern caudle party the invitations are sent out a week in
advance, and read thus:

_"Mr. and Mrs. Brown request the pleasure of your company on
Tuesday afternoon, at three o'clock. 18 West Kent Street. Caudle.
'No presents are expected.'_"

For the honor of being a godfather one receives a note in the
first person, asking the friend to assume that kindly office, and
also mentioning the fact that the name will be so and so. If the
baby is named for the godfather, a very handsome present is
usually made; if not, the godfather or godmother still sends some
little token of regard. This, however, is entirely a matter of
fancy. No one is obliged to give a present, of course.

The baby at his christening is shown off in a splendid robe, very
much belaced and embroidered, and it is to be feared that it is a
day of disturbance for him. Babies should not be too much excited;
a quiet and humdrum existence, a not too showy nurse, and regular
hours are conducive to a good constitution for these delicate
visitors. The gay dresses and jingling ornaments of the Roman
nurses are now denounced by the foreign doctors as being too
exciting to the little eyes that are looking out on a new world.
They are very pretty and picturesque, and many a travelling mamma
goes into a large outlay for these bright colors and for the
peasant jewelry. The practice of making a child ride backward in a
push-wagon is also sternly denounced by modern physicians.

Fashionable mammas who give caudle parties should remember that in
our harsh climate maternity is beset by much feebleness as to
nerves in both mother and child; therefore a long seclusion in the
nursery is advised before the dangerous period of entertaining
one's friends begins. Let the caudle party wait, and the
christening be done quietly in one's own bedroom, if the infant is
feeble. Show off the young stranger at a later date: an ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure.


The appointments of the modern dinner-table strikingly indicate
that growth of luxury of which the immediate past has been so
fruitful. Up to twenty years ago a dinner, even in the house of a
merchant prince, was a plain affair. There was a white tablecloth
of double damask; there were large, handsome napkins; there was a
rich service of solid silver, and perhaps some good china.
Flowers, if used at all, were not in profusion; and as for
glasses, only a few of plain white, or perhaps a green or a red
one for claret or hock, were placed at the side of the plate.

Of course there were variations and exceptions to this rule, but
they were few and far between. One man, or often one maid-servant,
waited at the table; and, as a protection for the table-cloth,
mats were used, implying the fear that the dish brought from the
top of the kitchen-range, if set down, would leave a spot or
stain. All was on a simple or economical plan. The grand dinners
were served by caterers, who sent their men to wait at them, which
led to the remark, often laughed at as showing English stupidity,
made by the Marquis of Hartington when he visited New York at the
time of our war. As he looked at old Peter Van Dyck and his
colored assistants, whom he had seen at every house at which he
had dined, he remarked, "How much all your servants resemble each
other in America!" It was really an unintentional sarcasm, but it
might well have suggested to our _nouveaux riches_ the propriety
of having their own trained servants to do the work of their
houses instead of these outside men. A degree of elegance which we
have not as a nation even yet attained is that of having a
well-trained corps of domestic servants.

A mistress of a house should be capable of teaching her servants
the method of laying a table and attending it, if she has to take,
as we commonly must, the uneducated Irishman from his native bogs
as a house-servant. If she employs the accomplished and
well-recommended foreign servant, he is too apt to disarrange her
establishment by disparaging the scale on which it is conducted,
and to engender a spirit of discontent in her household. Servants
of a very high class, who can assume the entire management of
affairs, are only possible to people of great wealth, and they
become tyrants, and wholly detestable to the master and mistress
after a short slavery. One New York butler lately refused to wash
dishes, telling his mistress that it would ruin his finger-nails.
But this man was a consummate servant, who laid the table and
attended it, with an ease and grace that gave his mistress that
pleasant feeling of certainty that all would go well, which is the
most comfortable of all feelings to a hostess, and without which
dinner-giving is annoyance beyond all words.

The arrangement of a dinner-table and the waiting upon it are the
most important of all the duties of a servant or servants, and any
betrayal of ignorance, any nervousness or noise, any accident, are
to be deplored, showing as they do want of experience and lack of

No one wishes to invite his friends to be uncomfortable. Those
dreadful dinners which Thackeray describes, at which people with
small incomes tried to rival those of large means, will forever
remain in the minds of his readers as among the most painful of
all revelations of sham. We should be real first, and ornamental

In a wealthy family a butler and two footmen are employed, and it
is their duty to work together in harmony, the butler having
control. The two footmen lay the table, the butler looking on to
see that it is properly done. The butler takes care of the wine,
and stands behind his mistress's chair. Where only one man is
employed, the whole duty devolves upon him, and he has generally
the assistance of the parlor-maid. Where there is only a
maid-servant, the mistress of the house must see that all
necessary arrangements are made.

The introduction of the extension-table into our long, narrow
dining-rooms has led to the expulsion of the pretty round-table,
which is of all others the most cheerful. The extension-table,
however, is almost inevitable, and one of the ordinary size, with
two leaves added, will seat twelve people. The public caterers say
that every additional leaf gives room for four more people, but
the hostess, in order to avoid crowding, would be wise if she
tested this with her dining-room chairs. New York dinner-parties
are often crowded, sixteen being sometimes asked when the table
will only accommodate fourteen. This is a mistake, as heat and
crowding should be avoided. In country houses, or in Philadelphia,
Boston, Washington, and other cities where the dining-rooms are
ordinarily larger than those in a New York house, the danger of
crowding, of heat, and want of ventilation, is more easily
avoided; but in a gas-lighted, furnace-heated room in New York the
sufferings of the diners-out are sometimes terrible.

The arrangements for the dinner, whether the party be ten or
twenty, should be the same. Much has been said about the number to
be invited, and there is an old saw that one should not invite
"fewer than the Graces nor more than the Muses." This partiality
to uneven numbers refers to the difficulty of seating a party of
eight, in which case, if the host and hostess take the head and
foot of the table, two gentlemen and two ladies will come
together. But the number of the Graces being three, no worse
number than that could be selected for a dinner-party; and nine
would be equally uncomfortable at an extension-table, as it would
be necessary to seat three on one side and four on the other. Ten
is a good number for a small dinner, and easy to manage. One
servant can wait on ten people, and do it well, if well-trained.
Twenty-four people often sit down at a modern dinner-table, and
are well served by a butler and two men, though some luxurious
dinner-givers have a man behind each chair. This, however, is

A lady, if she issue invitations for a dinner of ten or twenty,
should do so a fortnight in advance, and should have her cards
engraved thus:

_Mr. and Mrs. James Norman
request the pleasure of
Mr. and Mrs. John Brown's company at dinner
on Thursday, February eighth,
at seven o'clock._

These engraved forms, on note-paper, filled up with the necessary
time and date, are very convenient and elegant, and should be
answered by the fortunate recipient immediately, in the most
formal manner, and the engagement should be scrupulously kept if
accepted. If the subsequent illness or death of relatives, or any
other cause, renders this impossible, the hostess should be
immediately notified.

A gentleman is never invited without his wife, nor a lady without
her husband, unless great intimacy exists between the parties, and
the sudden need of another guest makes the request imperative.

The usual hour for dinner-parties in America is seven o'clock; but
whatever the hour, the guests should take care to be punctual to
the minute. In the hall the gentleman should find a card with his
name, and that of the lady whom he is to take in, written on it,
and also a small _boutonniere_, which he places in his
button-hole. On entering the drawing-room the lady goes first, not
taking her husband's arm. If the gentleman is not acquainted with
the lady whom he is to take in to dinner, he asks his hostess to
present him to her, and he endeavors to place himself on an
agreeeble footing with her before they enter the dining-room.

When the last guest has arrived, dinner is ready, and the butler
makes his announcement. The host leads the way, with the lady to
whom the dinner is given, and the hostess follows last, with the
gentleman whom she wishes to honor.

The people who enter a modern dining-room find a picture before
them, which is the result of painstaking thought, taste, and
experience, and, like all works of art, worthy of study.

The first thought of the observer is, "What a splendid bit of
color!" The open-work, white tablecloth lies on a red ground, and
above it rests a mat of red velvet, embroidered with peacock's
feathers and gold lace. Above this stands a large silver salver or
oblong tray, lined with reflecting glass, on which Dresden swan
and silver lilies seem floating in a veritable lake. In the middle
of this long tray stands a lofty vase of silver or crystal, with
flowers and fruit cunningly disposed in it, and around it are
placed tropical vines. At each of the four corners of the table
stand four ruby glass flagons set in gold, standards of beautiful
and rare designs. Cups or silver-gilt vases, with centres of cut
glass, hold the bonbons and smaller fruits. Four candelabra hold
up red wax-candles with red shades, and flat, glass troughs,
filled with flowers, stand opposite each place, grouped in a
floral pattern.

At each place, as the servant draws back the chair, the guest sees
a bewildering number of glass goblets, wine and champagne glasses,
several forks, knives, and spoons, and a majolica plate holding
oysters on the half shell, with a bit of lemon in the centre of
the plate. The napkin, deftly folded, holds a dinner-roll, which
the guest immediately removes. The servants then, seeing all the
guests seated, pass red and black pepper, in silver pepper-pots,
on a silver tray. A small, peculiarly-shaped fork is laid by each
plate, at the right hand, for the oysters. Although some ladies
now have all their forks laid on the left hand of the plate, this,
however, is not usual. After the oysters are eaten, the plates are
removed, and two kinds of soup are passed--a white and a brown

During this part of the dinner the guest has time to look at the
beautiful Queen Anne silver, the handsome lamps, if lamps are used
(we may mention the fact that about twenty-six candles will well
light a dinner of sixteen persons), and the various colors of lamp
and candle shades. Then the beauty of the flowers, and, as the
dinner goes on, the variety of the modern Dresden china, the
Sevres, the Royal Worcester, and the old blue can be discussed and

The service is _… la Russe_; that is, everything is handed by the
servants. Nothing is seen on the table except the wines (and only
a few of these), the bonbons, and the fruit. No greasy dishes are
allowed. Each lady has a bouquet, possibly a painted reticule of
silk filled with sugar-plums, and sometimes a pretty fan or ribbon
with her name or monogram painted on it.

At his right hand each guest finds a goblet of elegantly-engraved
glass for water, two of the broad, flat, flaring shape of the
modern champagne glass (although some people are using the long
vase-like glass of the past for champagne), a beautiful Bohemian
green glass, apparently set with gems, for the hock, a ruby-red
glass for the claret, two other large white claret or Burgundy
glasses, and three wine-glasses of cut or engraved glass.
Harlequin glasses, which give to the table the effect of a bed of
tulips, are in fashion for those who delight in color and variety.

The hostess may prefer the modern napery, so exquisitely
embroidered in gold thread, which affords an opportunity to show
the family coat of arms, or the heraldic animals--the lion and the
two-headed eagle and the griffin--intertwined in graceful shapes
around the whole edge of the table and on the napkins.

As the dinner goes on the guest revels in unexpected surprises in
the beauty of the plates, some of which look as if made of solid
gold; and when the Roman punch is served it comes in the heart of
a red, red rose, or in the bosom of a swan, or the cup of a lily,
or the "right little, tight little" life-saying boat. Faience,
china, glass, and ice are all pressed into the service of the
Roman punch, and sometimes the prettiest dish of all is hewn out
of ice.

We will try to see how all this picture is made, beginning at the
laying of the table, the process of which we will explain in
detail in the next chapter.


The table, after being drawn out to its proper length, should be
covered with a cotton-flannel tablecloth--white, if the table-cover
is the ordinary damask; red, if the open work table-cover is to be
used. This broad cotton flannel can be bought for eighty cents a
yard. The table-cloth, if of white damask, should be perfectly
ironed, with one long fold down the middle, which must serve the
butler for his mathematical centre. No one can be astray in using
fine white damask. If a lady wishes to have the more rare Russian
embroidery, the gold embroidered on the open-work table-cloth, she
can do so, but let her not put any cloth on her table _that will not
wash_. The mixed-up things trimmed with velvet or satin or ribbon,
which are occasionally seen on vulgar tables, are detestable.

The butler then lays the red velvet carpet, or mat, or ornamental
cover--whatever it may be called--down the centre of the table, to
afford a relief of color to the _‚pergne_.

This is a mere fanciful adjunct, and may be used or not; but it has
a very pretty effect over an openwork, white table-cloth, with the
silver tray of the _‚pergne_ resting upon it. In many families there
are silver _‚pergnes_ which are heirlooms. These are now valued for
old association's sake; as are the silver candlesticks and silver
_compotiers_. But where a family does not possess these table
ornaments, a centre piece of glass is used. The flat basket of
flowers, over which the guests could talk, has been discarded, and
the ornaments of a dinner-table are apt to be high, including the
lamps and candelabra which at present replace gas.

The table-cloth being laid, the centre and side ornaments placed,
the butler sees that each footman has a clean towel on his arm, and
then proceeds to unlock the plate chest and the glass closet.
Measuring with his hand, from the edge of the table to the end of
his middle finger, he places the first glass. This measurement is
continued around the table, and secures a uniform line for the water
goblet, and the claret, wine, hock, and champagne glasses, which are
grouped about it. He then causes a plate to be put at each place,
large enough to hold the majolica plate with the oysters, which will
come later. One footman is detailed to fold the napkins, which
should be large, thick, fine, and serviceable for this stage of the
dinner. The napkins are not folded in any hotel device, but simply
in a three-cornered pyramid that will stand holding the roll or
bread. The knives, forks, and spoons, each of which is wiped by the
footman with his clean towel, so that no dampness of his own hand
shall mar their sparkling cleanliness, are then distributed. These
should be all of silver; two knives, three forks, and a soup-spoon
being the usual number laid at each plate.

Before each plate is placed a little salt-cellar, either of silver
or china, in some fanciful shape. Tiny wheelbarrows are much used. A
_carafe_ holding water should be put on very late, and be fresh from
the ice-chest.

Very thin glasses are now used for choice sherry and Madeira, and
are not put on until the latter part of the dinner, as they may be

Menu-holders or card-holders of china or silver are often placed
before each plate, to hold the card on which the name of the guest
is printed and the bill of fare from which he is to choose. These
may be dispensed with, however, and the menu and name laid on each

The butler now turns his attention to his sideboards and tables,
from whence he is to draw his supplies. Many people make a most
ostentatious display of plate and china on their sideboards, and if
one has pretty things why not show them? The poorer and more modest
have, on their sideboards, simply the things which will be needed.
But there should be a row of large forks, a row of large knives, a
row of small ones, a row of table-spoons, sauce-ladles, dessert-
spoons, fish-slice and fork, a few tumblers, rows of claret, sherry,
and Madeira glasses, and the reserve of dinner-plates.

On another table or sideboard should be placed the finger-bowls and
glass dessert-plates, the smaller spoons and coffee cups and
saucers. On the table nearest the door should be the carving-knives
and the first dinner-plates to be used. Here the head footman or the
butler divides the fish and carves the _piece de resistance_, the
fillet of beef, the haunch of venison, the turkey, or the saddle of
mutton. It is from this side-table that all the dinner should be
served; if the dining-room is small, the table can be placed in the
hall or adjacent pantry. As the fish is being served, the first
footman should offer Chablis, or some kind of white wine; with the
soup, sherry; with the roast, claret and champagne, each guest being
asked if he will have dry or sweet champagne.

As the plates are removed they should not be kept in the dining-
room, but sent to the kitchen immediately, a maid standing outside
to receive them, so that no disorder of the dinner may reach the
senses of the guests, nor even an unpleasant odor. As each plate is
removed a fresh plate must be put in its place--generally a very
beautiful piece of Sevres, decorated with a landscape, flowers, or

Sparkling wines, hock and champagne, are not decanted, but are kept
in ice-pails, and opened as required. On the sideboard is placed the
wine decanted for Use, and poured out as needed; after the game has
been handed, decanters of choice Madeira and port are placed before
the host, who sends them round to his guests.

In England a very useful little piece of furniture, called a dinner-
wagon, is in order. This is a series of open shelves, on which are
placed the extra napkins or _serviettes_ to be used; for in England
the first heavy napkin is taken away, and a more delicate one
brought with the Roman punch, with the game another, and with the
ices still another. On this dinner-wagon are placed all the dessert-
plates and the finger-glasses. On the plate which is to serve for
the ice is a gold ice-spoon, and a silver dessert-knife and fork
accompany the finger-bowl and glass plate. This dinner-wagon also
holds the salad-bowl and spoon, of silver, the salad-plates, and the
silver bread-basket, in which should be thin slices of brown bread-
and-butter. A china dish in three compartments, with cheese and
butter and biscuits to be passed with the salad, the extra sauces,
the jellies for the meats, the relishes, the radishes and celery,
the olives and the sifted sugar-all things needed as accessaries of
the dinner-table-can be put on this dinner-wagon, or _‚tagere_, as
it is called in France.

No table-spoons should be laid on the table, except those to be used
for soup, as the style of serving _… la Russe_ precludes their being
needed; and the extra spoons, cruets, and casters are put on the

To wait on a large dinner-party the attendants average one to every
three people, and when only a butler and one footman are kept, it is
necessary to hire additional servants.

Previous to the announcement of the dinner, the footman places the
soup-tureens and the soup-plates on the side-table. As soon as the
oysters are eaten, and the plates removed, the butler begins with
the soup, and sends it round by two footmen, one on each side, each
carrying two plates. Each footman should approach the guests on the
left, so that the right hand may be used for taking the plate. Half
a ladleful of soup is quite enough to serve.

Some ladies never allow their butler to do anything but hand the
wine, which he does at the _right_ hand (not the left), asking each
person if he will have Sauterne, dry or sweet champagne, claret,
Burgundy, and so on. But really clever butlers serve the soup,
carve, and pour out the wine as well. An inexperienced servant
should never serve the wine; it must be done briskly and neatly, not
explosively or carelessly. The overfilling of the glass should be
avoided, and servants should be watched, to see that they give
champagne only to those who wish it, and that they do not overfill
glasses for ladies, who rarely drink anything.

A large plate-basket or two, for removing dishes and silver that
have been used, are necessary, and should not be forgotten. The
butler rings a bell which communicates with the kitchen when he
requires anything, and after each _entr‚e_ or course he thus gives
the signal to the cook to send up another.

Hot dinner-plates are prepared when the fish is removed, and on
these hot plates the butler serves all the meats; the guests are
also served with hot plates before the _entr‚es_, except _p t‚ de
foie gras_, for which a cold plate is necessary.

Some discretion should be shown by the servant who passes the
_entr‚es_. A large table-spoon and fork should be placed on the
dish, and the dish then held low, so that the guest may help himself
easily, the servant standing at his left hand. He should always have
a small napkin over his hand as he passes a dish. A napkin should
also be wrapped around the champagne bottle, as it is often dripping
with moisture from the ice-chest. It is the butler's duty to make
the salad, which he should do about half an hour before dinner.
There are now so many provocatives of appetite that it would seem as
if we were all, after the manner of Heliogabalus, determined to eat
and die. The best of these is the Roman punch, which, coming after
the heavy roasts, prepares the palate and stomach for the canvas-
back ducks or other game. Then comes the salad and cheese, then the
ices and sweets, and then _cheese savourie_ or _cheese fondu_. This
is only toasted cheese, in a very elegant form, and is served in
little silver shells, sometimes as early in the dinner as just after
the oysters, but the favorite time is after the sweets.

The dessert is followed by the _liqueurs_, which should be poured
into very small glasses, and handed by the butler on a small silver
waiter. When the ices are removed, a dessert-plate of glass, with a
finger-bowl, is placed before each person, with two glasses, one for
sherry, the other for claret or Burgundy, and the grapes, peaches,
pears, and other fruits are then passed. After the fruits go round,
the sugar-plums and a little dried ginger--a very pleasant conserve
--are passed before the coffee.

The hostess makes the sign for retiring, and the dinner breaks up.
The gentlemen are left to wine and cigars, _liqueurs_ and cognac,
and the ladies retire to the drawing-room to chat and take their

In the selection of the floral decoration for the table the lady of
the house has the final voice. Flowers which have a very heavy
fragrance should not be used. That roses and pinks, violets and
lilacs, are suitable, goes without saying, for they are always
delightful; but the heavy tropical odors of jasmine, orange-blossom,
hyacinth, and tuberose should be avoided. A very pretty decoration
is obtained by using flowers of one color, such as Jacqueminot
roses, or scarlet carnations, which, if placed in the gleaming
crystal glass, produce a very brilliant and beautiful effect.

Flowers should not be put on the table until just before dinner is
served, as they are apt to be wilted by the heat and the lights.

We have used the English term footman to indicate what is usually
called a waiter in this country. A waiter in England is a hired
hotel-hand, not a private servant.

Much taste and ingenuity are expended on the selection of favors for
ladies, and these pretty fancies--_bonbonnieres_, painted ribbons
and reticules, and fans covered with flowers--add greatly to the
elegance and luxury of our modern dinner-table.

A less reasonable conceit is that of having toys--such as imitation
musical instruments, crackers which make an unpleasant detonation,
imitations of negro minstrels, balloons, flags, and pasteboard
lobsters, toads, and insects--presented to each lady. These articles
are neither tasteful nor amusing, and have "no excuse for being"
except that they afford an opportunity for the expenditure of more


Truly "the world is very young for its age." We are never too old to
admire a pretty favor or a tasteful _bonbonniere_; and, looking back
over the season, we remember, as among the most charming of the
favors, those with flowers painted upon silken banners, with the
owner's name intertwined. The technical difficulties of painting
upon silk are somewhat conquered, one would think, in looking at the
endless devices composed of satin and painted flowers on the lunch-
tables. Little boxes covered with silk, in eight and six sided
forms, with panels let in, on which are painted acorns and oak
leaves, rosebuds or lilies, and always the name or the cipher of the
recipient, are very pretty. The Easter-egg has long been a favorite
offering in silk, satin, plush, and velvet, in covered, egg-shaped
boxes containing bonbons; these, laid in a nest of gold and silver
threads in a _cloisonn‚_ basket, afford a very pretty souvenir to
carry home from a luncheon.

Menu-holders of delicate gilt-work are also added to the other
favors. These pretty little things sometimes uphold a photograph, or
a porcelain plate on which is painted the lady's name, and also a
few flowers. The little porcelain cards are not larger than a
visiting-card, and are often very artistic. The famous and familiar
horseshoe, in silver or silver-gilt, holding up the menu-card, is
another pretty favor, and a very nice one to carry home, as it
becomes a penholder when it is put on the writing-table. Wire rests,
shaped like those used for muskets in barracks yards, are also used
for the name and menu-cards. Plateaus, shells, baskets, figurettes,
vases holding flowers, dolphins, Tritons, swan, sea animals (in
crockery), roses which open and disclose the sugarplums, sprays of
coral, and gilt conch-shells, are all pretty, especially when filled
with flowers.

Baskets in various styles are often seen. One tied with a broad
ribbon at the side is very useful as a work-basket afterwards.
Open-work baskets, lined with crimson or scarlet or pink or blue
plush, with another lining of silver paper to protect the plums, are
very tasteful. A very pretty basket is one hung between three gilt
handles or poles, and filled with flowers or candies. Silvered and
gilded beetles, or butterflies, fastened on the outside, have a
fanciful effect.

Moss-covered trays holding dried grasses and straw, and piles of
chocolates that suggest ammunition, are decorative and effective.

Wheelbarrows of tiny size for flowers are a favorite conceit. They
are made of straw-work, entirely gilded, or painted black or brown,
and picked out with gold; or perhaps pale green, with a bordering of
brown. A very pretty one may be made of old cigarbox wood; on one
side a monogram painted in red and gold, on the other a spray of
autumn leaves. Carved-wood barrows fitted with tin inside may hold a
growing plant--stephanotis, hyacinths, ferns, ivy, or any other
hardy plant--and are very pleasing souvenirs.

The designs for reticules and _chƒtelaines_ are endless. At a very
expensive luncheon, to which twenty-four ladies sat down, a silk
reticule a foot square, filled with Maillard's confections and
decorated with an exquisitely painted landscape effect, was
presented to each guest. These lovely reticules may be any shape,
and composed of almost any material. A very handsome style is an
eight-sided, melon-shaped bag of black satin, with a decoration of
bunches of scarlet flowers painted or embroidered. Silk braided with
gold, brocade, and plush combined, and Turkish towelling with an
_applique‚_ of brilliant color, are all suitable and effective.

In the winter a shaded satin muff, in which was hidden a
_bonbonniere_, was the present that made glad the hearts of twenty-
eight ladies. These are easily made in the house, and a plush muff
with a bird's head is a favorite "favor."

A pair of bellows is a pretty and inexpensive _bonbonniere_. They
can be bought at the confectioner's, and are more satisfactory than
when made at home; but if one is ingenious, it is possible, with a
little pasteboard, gilt paper, silk, and glue, to turn out a very
pretty little knickknack of this kind. However, the French do these
things so much better than we do that a lady giving a lunch-party
had better buy all her favors at some wholesale place. There is a
real economy in buying such articles at the wholesale stores, for
the retail dealers double the price.

Bronze, iron, and glass are all pressed into the service, and
occasionally we have at a lunch a whole military armament of cannon,
muskets, swords, bronze helmets, whole suits of armor, tazza for
jewellery, miniature cases, inkstands, and powder-boxes, all to hold
a few sugar-plums.

At a christening party all the favors savor of the nursery--splendid
cradles of flowers, a bassinet of brilliante trimmed with ribbons
for a _bonbonniere_, powder-boxes, puffs, little socks filled with
sugar instead of little feet, an infant's cloak standing on end
(really over pasteboard), an infant's hood, and even the flannel
shirt has been copied. Of course the baptismal dish and silver cup
are easily imitated.

Perfumery is introduced in little cut-glass bottles, in leaden tubes
like paint tubes, in perfumed artificial flowers, in _sachets_ of
powder, and in the handles of fans.

Boxes of satinwood, small wood covers for music and blotting cases,
painted by hand, are rather pretty favors. The plain boxes and book
covers can be bought and ornamented by the young artists of the
family. Nothing is prettier than an owl sitting on an ivy vine for
one of these. The owl, indeed, plays a very conspicuous part at the
modern dinner-table and luncheon. His power of looking wise and
being foolish at the same time fits him for modern society. He
enters it as a pepper-caster, a feathered _bonbonniere_, a pickle-
holder (in china), and is drawn, painted, and photographed in every
style. A pun is made on his name: "Should owled acquaintance be
forgot?" etc. He is a favorite in jewellery, and is often carved in
jade. Indeed, the owl is having his day, having had the night always
to himself.

The squirrel, the dog, "the frog that would a-wooing go," the white
duck, the pig, and the mouse, are all represented in china, and in
the various silks and gauzes of French taste, or in their native
skins, or in any of the disguises that people may fancy. Bears with
ragged staffs stand guard over a plate of modern faience, as they do
over the gates of Warwick Castle. Cats mewing, catching mice,
playing on the Jews-harp, elephants full of choicest confectionery,
lions and tigers with chocolate insides, and even the marked face
and long hair of Oscar Wilde, the last holding within its ample
cranium caraway-seeds instead of brains, played their part as

The green enamelled dragon-fly, grasshoppers and beetles, flies and
wasps, moths and butterflies, bright-tinted mandarin ducks,
peacocks, and ostriches, tortoises cut in pebbles or made of
pasteboard, shrimps and crabs, do all coldly furnish forth the
lunch-table as favors and _bonbonnieres_. Then come plaster or
pasteboard gondolas, skiffs, wherries, steamships, and ferry-boats,
all made with wondrous skill and freighted with caramels. Imitation
rackets, battledoor and shuttlecock, hoops and sticks, castanets,
cup and ball, tambourines, guitars, violins, hand-organs, banjos,
and drums, all have their little day as fashionable favors.

Little statuettes of Kate Greenaway's quaint children now appear as
favors, and are very charming. Nor is that "flexible curtain," the
fan, left out. Those of paper, pretty but not expensive, are very
common favors. But the opulent offer pretty satin fans painted with
the recipient's monogram, or else a fan which will match flowers and
dress. Fans of lace, and of tortoise-shell and carved ivory and
sandal-wood, are sometimes presented, but they are too ostentatious.
Let us say to the givers of feasts, be not too magnificent, but if
you give a fan, give one that is good for something, not a thing
which breaks with the "first fall."

A very pretty set of favors, called "fairies," are little groups of
children painted on muslin, with a background of ribbon. The muslin
is so thin that the children seem floating on air. The lady's name
is also painted on the ribbon.

We find that favors for gentlemen, such as sunflowers, pin-cushions,
small purses, scarf-pins, and sleeve-buttons, are more useful than
those bestowed upon ladies, but not so ornamental.

Very pretty baskets, called _huits_ (the baskets used by the vine-
growers to carry earth for the roots of the vines), are made of
straw ornamented with artificial flowers and grasses, and filled
with bonbons.

Little Leghorn hats trimmed with pompons of muslin, blue, pink, or
white, are filled with natural flowers and hung on the arm. These
are a lovely variation.

Fruits--the apple, pear, orange, and plum, delightfully realistic--
are made of composition, and open to disclose most unexpected seeds.

At trowel, a knife, fork, and spoon, of artistically painted wood,
and a pair of oars, all claim a passing notice as artistic

Bags of plush, and silk embroidered with daisies, are very handsome
and expensive favors; heavily trimmed with lace, they cost four
dollars apiece, but are sold a little cheaper by the dozen. Blue
sashes, with flowers painted on paper (and attached to the sash a
paper on which may be written the menu), cost eighteen dollars a
dozen. A dish of snails, fearfully realistic, can be bought for one
dollar a plate, fruits for eighteen dollars a dozen, and fans
anywhere from twelve up to a hundred dollars a dozen.

A thousand dollars is not an unusual price for a luncheon, including
flowers and favors, for eighteen to twenty-four guests. Indeed, a
luncheon was given last winter for which the hostess offered a prize
for copies in miniature of the musical instruments used in
"Patience." They were furnished to her for three hundred dollars.
The names of these now almost obsolete instruments were rappaka,
tibia, archlute, tambour, kiffar, quinteme, rebel, tuckin,
archviola, lyre, serpentine, chluy, viola da gamba, balalaika, gong,
ravanastron, monochord, shopkar. The "archlute" is the mandolin.
They represented all countries, and were delicate specimens of toy

We have not entered into the vast field of glass, china, porcelain,
_cloisonn‚_, Dresden, faience jugs, boxes, plates, bottles, and
vases, which are all used as favors. Indeed, it would be impossible
to describe half of the fancies which minister to modern
extravagance. The _bonbonniere_ can cost anything, from five to five
hundred dollars; fifty dollars for a satin box filled with candy is
not an uncommon price. Sometimes, when the box is of oxidized
silver--a quaint copy of the antique from Benvenuto Cellini--this
price is not too much; but when it is a thing which tarnishes in a
month, it seems ridiculously extravagant.

We have seen very pretty and artistic cheap favors. Reticules made
of bright cotton, or silk handkerchiefs with borders; cards painted
by the artists of the family; palm-leaf fans covered with real
flowers, or painted with imitation ones; sunflowers made of
pasteboard, with portfolios behind them; pretty little parasols of
flowers; Little Red Riding-hood, officiating as a receptacle for
stray pennies; Japanese teapots, with the "cozy" made at home;
little doyleys wrought with delightful designs from "Pretty Peggy,"
and numberless other graceful and charming trifles.


One would think that modern luxury had reached its ultimatum in the
delicate refinements of dinner-giving, but each dinner-table reveals
the fact that this is an inexhaustible subject. The floral world is
capable of an infinity of surprises, and the last one is a cameo of
flowers on a door, shaped like a four-leaved clover. The guests are
thus assured of good-luck. The horseshoe having been so much used
that it is now almost obsolete, except in jewelry, the clover-leaf
has come in. A very beautiful dinner far up Fifth Avenue had this
winter an entirely new idea, inasmuch as the flowers were put
overhead. The delicate vine, resembling green asparagus in its
fragility, was suspended from the chandelier to the four corners of
the room, and on it were hung delicate roses, lilies-of-the-valley,
pinks, and fragrant jasmine, which sent down their odors, and
occasionally dropped themselves into a lady's lap. This is an
exquisite bit of luxury.

Then the arrival, two months before Easter, of the fragrant,
beautiful Easter lilies has added a magnificent and stately effect
to the central bouquets. It has been found that the island of
Bermuda is a great reservoir of these bulbs, which are sent up, like
their unfragrant rivals the onions, by the barrelful. Even a piece
of a bulb will produce from three to five lilies, so that these fine
flowers are more cheap and plenty in January than usually in April.
A dining-room, square in shape, hung with richly-embroidered, old-
gold tapestry, with a round table set for twenty, with silver and
glass and a great bunch of lilies and green ferns in the middle, and
a "crazy quilt" of flowers over one's head, may well reproduce the
sense of dreamland which modern luxury is trying to follow.

Truly we live in the days of Aladdin. Six weeks after the ground was
broken in Secretary Whitney's garden in Washington for his ballroom,
the company assembled in a magnificent apartment with fluted gold-
ceiling and crimson brocade hangings, bronzes, statues, and Dresden
candlesticks, and a large wood fire at one end, in which logs six
feet long were burning--all looking as if it were part of an old
baronial castle of the Middle Ages.

The florists will furnish you red clovers in January if you give
your order in October. Great bunches of flowers, of a pure scarlet
unmixed with any other color, are very fashionable, and the effect
in a softly-lighted room is most startling and beautiful.

The lighting of rooms by means of lamps and candles is giving
hostesses great annoyance. There is scarcely a dinner-party but the
candles set fire to their fringed shades, and a conflagration
ensues. Then the new lamps, which give such a resplendent light,
have been known to melt the metal about the wick, and the
consequences have been disastrous. The next move will probably be
the dipping of the paper in some asbestos or other anti-inflammable
substance, so that there will be no danger of fire at the dinner-
table. The screens put over the candles should not have this paper-
fringe; it is very dangerous. But if a candle screen takes fire,
have the coolness to let it burn itself up without touching it, as
thus it will be entirely innocuous, although rather appalling to
look at. Move a plate under it to catch the flying fragments, and no
harm will be done; but a well-intentioned effort to blow it out or
to remove it generally results in a very much more wide-spread

China and glass go on improving; and there are jewelled goblets and
centre-pieces of yellow glass covered with gold and what looks like
jewels. Knives and forks are now to be had with crystal handles set
in silver, very ornamental and clean-looking; these come from
Bohemia. The endless succession of beautiful plates are more and
more Japanese in tone.

Satsuma vases and jugs are often sent to a lady, full of beautiful
roses, thus making a lasting souvenir of what would be a perishable
gift. These Satsuma jugs are excellent things in which to plant
hyacinths, and they look well in the centre of the dinner-table with
these flowers growing in them.

Faded flowers can be entirely restored to freshness by clipping the
stems and putting them in very hot water; then set them away from
the gas and furnace heat, and they come on the dinner-table fresh
for several days after their disappearance in disgrace as faded or
jaded bouquets. Flowers thus restored have been put in a cold
library, where the water, once hot, has frozen stiff, and yet have
borne these two extremes of temperature without loss of beauty--in
fact, have lasted presentably from Monday morning to Saturday night.
What flowers cannot stand is the air we all live in--at what cost to
our freshness we find out in the spring--the overheated furnace and
gas-laden air of the modern dining-room. The secret of the hot-water
treatment is said to be this: the sap is sent up into the flower
instead of lingering in the stems. Roses respond to this treatment

The fashion of wearing low-necked dresses at dinner has become so
pronounced that the moralists begin to issue weekly essays against
this revival as if it had never been done before. Our virtuous
grandmothers would be astonished to hear that their ball-dresses
(never cut high) were so immoral and indecent. The fact remains that
a sleeveless gown, cut in a Pompadour form, is far more of a
revelation of figure than a low-necked dinner-dress properly made.
There is no line of the figure so dear to the artist as that one
revealed from the nape of the neck to the shoulder. A beautiful back
is the delight of the sculptor. No lady who understands the fine-art
of dress would ever have her gown cut too low: it is ugly, besides
being immodest. The persons who bring discredit on fashion are those
who misinterpret it. The truly artistic modiste cuts a low-necked
dress to reveal the fine lines of the back, but it is never in
France cut too low in front. The excessive heat of an American
dining-room makes this dress very much more comfortable than the
high dresses which were brought in several years ago, because a
princess had a goitre which she wished to disguise:

No fulminations against fashion have ever effected reforms. We must
take fashion as we find it, and strive to mould dress to our own
style, not slavishly adhering to, but respectfully following, the
reigning mode, remembering that all writings and edicts against this
sub-ruler of the world are like sunbeams falling on a stone wall.
The sunbeams vanish, but the stone wall remains.

The modern married belle at a dinner is apt to be dressed in white,
with much crystal trimming, with feathers in her hair, and with
diamonds on her neck and arms, and a pair of long, brown Swedish
gloves drawn up to her shoulders; a feather fan of ostrich feathers
hangs at her side by a ribbon or a chain of diamonds and pearls. The
long, brown Swedish gloves are an anomaly; they do not suit the rest
of this exquisite dress, but fashion decrees that they shall be
worn, and therefore they are worn.

The fine, stately fashion of wearing feathers in the hair has
returned, and it is becoming to middle-aged women. It gives them a
queenly air. Young girls look better for the simplest head-gear;
they wear their hair high or low as they consider becoming.

Monstrous and inconvenient bouquets are again the fashion, and a
very ugly fashion it is. A lady does not know what to do with her
two or three bouquets at a musicale or a dinner, so they are laid
away on a table. The only thing that can be done is to sit after
dinner with them in her lap, and the _prima donna_ at a musicale
lays hers on the grand piano.

More and more is it becoming the fashion to have music at the end of
a dinner in the drawing-room, instead of having it played during
dinner. Elocutionists are asked in to amuse the guests, who, having
been fed on terrapin and canvas-back ducks, are not supposed to be
in a talking mood. This may be overdone. Many people like to talk
after dinner with the people who are thus accidentally brought
together; for in our large cities the company assembled about a
dinner-table are very often fresh acquaintances who like to improve
that opportunity to know each other better.

We have spoken of the dress of ladies, which, if we were to pursue,
would lead us into all the details of velvet, satin, and brocade,
and would be a departure from our subject; let us therefore glance
at the gentlemen at a modern, most modern, dinner. The vests are cut
very low, and exhibit a piqu‚ embroidered shirt front held by one
stud, generally a cat's-eye; however, three studs are permissible.
White plain-pleated linen, with enamel studs resembling linen, is
also very fashionable. A few young men, sometimes called dudes--no
one knows why--wear pink coral studs or pearls, generally black
pearls. Elderly gentlemen content themselves with plain-pleated
shirt-fronts and white ties, indulging even in wearing their watches
in the old way, as fashion has reintroduced the short vest-chain so
long banished.

It is pleasant to see the old-fashioned gold chain for the neck
reappearing. It always had a pretty effect, and is now much worn to
support the locket, cross, or medallion portrait which ladies wear
after the Louis Quinze fashion. Gold is more becoming to dark
complexions than pearls, and many ladies hail this return to gold
necklaces with much delight.

Gentlemen now wear pearl-colored gloves embroidered in black to
dinners, and do not remove them until they sit down to table. Seal
rings for the third finger are replacing the sunken jewels in dead
gold which have been so fashionable for several years for gentlemen.

All the ornamentation of the dinner-table is high this winter--high
candlesticks, high vases, high glasses for the flowers, and tall
glass compotiers. Salt-cellars are looking up; and a favorite device
is a silver vase, about two inches high, with a shell for salt.

Silver and silver-gilt dishes, having been banished for five years,
are now reasserting their pre-eminent fitness for the modern dinner-
table. People grew tired of silver, and banished it to the plate-
chest. Now all the old pieces are being burnished up and
reappearing; and happy the hostess who has some real old Queen Anne.
As the silver dollar loses caste, the silver soup tureen, or, as the
French say, the _soupiere_ (and it is a good word), rises in
fashion, and the teapot of our grandmothers resumes its honored


There is a season when the lingerers in town accept with pleasure an
invitation to the neighboring country house, where the lucky
suburban cit likes to entertain his friends. It is to be doubted,
however, whether hospitality is an unmixed pleasure to those who
extend it. With each blessing of prosperity comes an attendant evil,
and a lady who has a country house has always to face the fact that
her servants are apt to decamp in a body on Saturday night, and
leave her to take care of her guests as best she may. The nearer to
town the greater the necessity for running a servant's omnibus,
which shall take the departing offender to the train, and speed the
arrival of her successor.

No lady should attempt to entertain in the country who has not a
good cook and a very competent waiter or waitress. The latter, if
well trained, is in every respect as good as a man, and in some
respects more desirable; women-servants are usually quiet, neater
than men-servants, as a rule, and require less waiting upon. Both
men and women should be required to wear shoes that do not creak,
and to be immaculately neat in their attire. Maid-servants should
always wear caps and white aprons, and men dress-coats, white
cravats, and perfectly fresh linen.

As the dinners of the opulent, who have butler, waiters, French
cook, etc., are quite able to take care of themselves, we prefer to
answer the inquiries of those of our correspondents who live in a
simple manner, with two or three servants, and who wish to entertain
with hospitality and without great expense.

The dining-room of many country houses is small, and not cheerfully
furnished. The houses built recently are improved in this respect,
however, and now we will imagine a large room that has a pretty
outlook on the Hudson, carpeted with fragrant matting, or with a
hard-wood floor, on which lie India rugs. The table should be oval,
as that shape brings guests near to each other. The table-cloth
should be of white damask, and as fresh as sweet clover, for dinner:
colored cloths are permissible only for breakfast and tea. The
chairs should be easy, with high, slanting backs. For summer, cane
chairs are much the most comfortable, although those covered with
leather are very nice. Some people prefer arm-chairs at dinner, but
the arms are inconvenient to many, and, besides, take a great deal
of room. The armless dinner-chairs are the best.

Now, as a dinner in the country generally occurs after the gentlemen
come from town, the matter of light has to be considered. If our
late brilliant sunsets do not supply enough, how shall we light our
summer dinners? Few country houses have gas. Even if they have, it
would be very hot, and attract mosquitoes.

Candles are very pretty, but exceedingly troublesome. The wind blows
the flame to and fro; the insects flutter into the light; an unhappy
moth seats himself on the wick, and burning into an unsightly
cadaver makes a gutter down one side; the little red-paper shades
take fire, and there is a general conflagration. Yet light is
positively necessary to digestion, and no party can be cheerful
without it. Therefore, try carcel or moderator lamps with pretty
transparent shades, or a hanging lamp with ground-glass shade. These
lamps, filled with kerosene--and it must be done neatly, so that it
will not smell--are the best lamps for the country dinner. If
possible, however, have a country dinner by the light of day; it is
much more cheerful.

Now for the ornamentation of the dinner. Let it be of flowers--wild
ones, if possible, grasses, clovers, buttercups, and a few fragrant
roses or garden flowers. There is no end to the cheap decorative
china articles that are sold now for the use of flowers. A
contemporary mentions orchids placed in baskets on the shoulders of
Arcadian peasants; lilies-of-the-valley, with leaves as pale as
their flowers, wheeled in barrows by Cupids or set in china
slippers; crocuses grown in a china pot shaped like a thumbed copy
of Victor Hugo's "Notre Dame de Paris;" or white tulips in a cluster
of three gilt _sabots_, large enough to form a capital flower-stand,
mounted on gilt, rustic branches. Stout pitchers, glass bowls, china
bowls, and even old teapots, make pretty bouquet-holders. The Greek
vase, the classic-shaped, old-fashioned champagne glass, are,
however, unrivalled for the light grasses, field daisies, and fresh
garden flowers.

Pretty, modern English china, the cheap "old blue," the white and
gold, or the French, with a colored border, are all good enough for
a country dinner; for if people have two houses, they do not like to
take their fragile, expensive china to the country. Prettily-shaped
tureens and vegetable dishes add very much to the comfort and
happiness of the diners, and fortunately they are cheap and easily
obtained. Glass should always be thin and fine, and tea and coffee
cups delicate to the lip: avoid the thick crockery of a hotel.

For a country dinner the table should be set near a window, or
windows, if possible; in fine weather, in the hall or on the wide
veranda. If the veranda have long windows, the servant can pass in
and out easily. There should be a side-board and a side, table,
relays of knives, forks and spoons, dishes and glasses not in use,
and a table from which the servant can help the soup and carve the
joint, as on a hot day no one wishes to see these two dishes on the
table. A maid-servant should be taught by her mistress how to carve,
in order to save time and trouble. Soup for a country dinner should
be clear bouillon, with macaroni and cheese, _creme d'asperge_, or
Julienne, which has in it all the vegetables of the season. Heavy
mock-turtle, bean soup, or ox-tail are not in order for a country
dinner. If the lady of the house have a talent for cookery, she
should have her soups made the day before, all the grease removed
when the stock is cold, and season them herself.

It is better in a country house to have some cold dish that will
serve as a resource if the cook should leave. Melton veal, which can
be prepared on Monday and which will last until Saturday, is an
excellent stand-by; and a cold boiled or roast ham should always be
on the side-board. A hungry man can make a comfortable dinner of
cold ham and a baked potato.

Every country householder should try to have a vegetable garden, for
pease, beans, young turnips, and salads fresh gathered are very
superior to those which even the best grocer furnishes. And of all
the luxuries of a country dinner the fresh vegetables are the
greatest. Especially does the tired citizen, fed on the esculents of
the corner grocery, delight in the green pease, the crisp lettuce,
the undefiled strawberries. One old epicure of New York asks of his
country friends only a piece of boiled salt pork with vegetables, a
potato salad, some cheese, five large strawberries, and a cup of
coffee. The large family of salads help to make the country dinner
delightful. Given a clear beef soup, a slice of fresh-boiled salmon,
a bit of spring lamb with mint sauce, some green pease and fresh
potatoes, a salad of lettuce, or sliced tomatoes, or potatoes with a
bit of onion, and you have a dinner fit for a Brillat-Savarin; or
vary it with a pair of boiled chickens, and a _jardiniere_ made of
all the pease, beans, potatoes, cauliflower, fresh beets, of the day
before, simply treated to a bath of vinegar and oil and pepper and
salt. The lady who has conquered the salad question may laugh at the
caprices of cooks, and defy the hour at which the train leaves.

What so good as an egg salad for a hungry company? Boil the eggs
hard and slice them, cover with a _mayonnaise_ dressing, and put a
few lettuce leaves about the plate, and you have a sustaining meal.

Many families have cold meats and warm vegetables for their midday
dinner during the summer. This is not healthy. Let all the dinner be
cold if the meats are; and a dinner of cold roast beef, of salad,
and cold asparagus, dressed with pepper, oil, and vinegar, is not a
bad meal.

It is better for almost everybody, however, to eat a hot dinner,
even in hot weather, as the digestion is aided by the friendly power
of the caloric. Indeed dyspepsia, almost universal with Americans,
is attributed to the habit which prevails in this country above all
others of drinking ice-water.

_Carafes_ of ice-water, a silver dish for ice, and a pair of ice-
tongs, should be put on the table for a summer dinner. For desserts
there is an almost endless succession, and with cream in her dairy,
and a patent ice-cream freezer in her _cuisine_, the house-keeper
need not lack delicate and delicious dishes of berries and fruits.
No hot puddings should be served, or heavy pies; but the fruit tart
is an excellent sweet, and should be made _… ravir_; the pastry
should melt in the mouth, and the fruit be stewed with a great deal
of sugar. Cream should be put on the table in large glass pitchers,
for it is a great luxury of the country and of the summer season.

The cold custards, Charlotte-Russe, and creams stiffened with
gelatine and delicately flavored, are very nice for a summer dinner.
So is home-made cake, when well made: this, indeed, is always its
only "excuse for being."

Stewed fruit is a favorite dessert in England, and the gooseberry,
which here is but little used, is much liked there. Americans prefer
to eat fruit fresh, and therefore have not learned to stew it.
Stewing is, however, a branch of cookery well worth the attention of
a first-class house-keeper. It makes even the canned abominations
better, and the California canned apricot stewed with sugar is one
of the most delightful of sweets, and very wholesome; canned peaches
stewed with sugar lose the taste of tin, which sets the teeth on
edge, and stewed currants are delicious.

Every house-keeper should learn to cook macaroni well. It is worth
while to spend an hour at Martinelli's, for this Italian staple is
economical, and extremely palatable if properly prepared. Rice, too,
should have a place in a summer bill of fare, as an occasional
substitute for potatoes, which some people cannot eat.

For summer dinners there should never be anything on the table when
the guests sit down but the flowers and the dessert, the ice-
pitchers or _carafes_, and bowls of ice, the glass, china, and
silver: the last three should all be simple, and not profuse.

Many families now, fearing burglars, use only plated spoons, knives,
forks, and dishes at their country houses. Modern plate is so very
good that there is less objection to this than formerly; but the
genuine house-keeper loves the real silver spoons and forks, and
prefers to use them.

The ostentatious display of silver, however, is bad taste at a
country dinner. Glass dishes are much more elegant and appropriate,
and quite expensive enough to bear the title of luxuries.

Avoid all greasy and heavy dishes. Good roast beef, mutton, lamb,
veal, chickens, and fresh fish are always in order, for the system
craves the support of these solids in summer as well as in winter;
but do not offer pork, unless in the most delicate form, and then in
small quantities. Fried salt pork, if not too fat, is always a
pleasant addition to the broiled bird.

Broiled fish, broiled chicken, broiled ham, broiled steaks and
chops, are always satisfactory. The grid-iron made St. Lawrence fit
for Heaven, and its qualities have been elevating and refining ever
since. Nothing can be less healthy or less agreeable to the taste at
a summer dinner than fried food. The frying-pan should have been
thrown into the fire long ago, and burned up.

The house-keeper living near the sea has an ample store to choose
from in the toothsome crab, clam, lobster, and other crustacea. The
fresh fish, the roast clams, etc., take the place of the devilled
kidneys and broiled bones of the winter. But every housewife should
study the markets of her neighborhood. In many rural districts the
butchers give away, or throw to the dogs, sweetbreads and other
morsels which are the very essence of luxury. Calf's head is
rejected by the rural buyer, and a Frenchman who had the
_physiologie du go–t_ at his finger-ends, declared that in a country
place, not five miles from New York, he gave luxurious dinners on
what the butcher threw away.


The informal lunch is perhaps less understood in this country than
in any other, because it is rarely necessary. In the country it is
called early dinner, children's dinner, or ladies' dinner; in the
city, when the gentlemen are all down town, then blossoms out the
elaborate ladies' lunch.

But in England, at a country house, and indeed in London, luncheon
is a recognized and very delightful meal, at which the most
distinguished men and women meet over a joint and a cherry tart, and
talk and laugh for an hour without the restraint of the late and
formal dinner.

It occupies a prominent place in the history of hospitality, and
Lord Houghton, among others, was famous for his unceremonious
lunches. As it is understood to be an informal meal, the invitations
are generally sent only a short time before the day for which the
recipient is invited, and are written in the first person. Lord
Houghton's were apt to be simply, "Come and lunch with me to-morrow."
At our prominent places of summer resort, ladies who have
houses of their own generally give their male friends a _carte
blanche_ invitation to luncheon. They are expected to avail
themselves of it without ceremony, and at Newport the table is
always laid with the "extra knife and fork," or two or three, as may
be thought necessary. Ladies, however, should be definitely asked to
this meal as to others.

It is a very convenient meal, as it permits of an irregular number,
of a superfluity of ladies or gentlemen; it is chatty and easy, and
is neither troublesome nor expensive.

The hour of luncheon is stated, but severe punctuality is not
insisted upon. A guest who is told that he may drop in at half-past
one o'clock every day will be forgiven if he comes as late as two.

Ladies may come in their hats or bonnets; gentlemen in lawn-tennis
suits, if they wish. It is incumbent upon the hostess but not upon
the host to be present. It is quite immaterial where the guests sit,
and they go in separately, not arm-in-arm.

Either white or colored table-cloths are equally proper, and some
people use the bare mahogany, but this is unusual.

The most convenient and easy-going luncheons are served from the
buffet or side-table, and the guests help themselves to cold ham,
tongue, roast beef, etc. The fruit and wine and bread should stand
on the table.

Each chair has in front of it two plates, a napkin with bread, two
knives, two forks and spoons, a small salt-cellar, and three
glasses--a tumbler for water, a claret glass, and a sherry glass.

Bouillon is sometimes offered in summer, but not often. If served
well, it should be in cups. Dishes of dressed salad, a cold fowl,
game, or hot chops, can be put before the hostess or passed by the
servant. Soup and fish are never offered at these luncheons. Some
people prefer a hot lunch, and chops, birds on toast, or a
beefsteak, with mashed potatoes, asparagus, or green pease, are
suitable dishes.

It is proper at a country place to offer a full luncheon, or to have
a cold joint on the sideboard; and after the more serious part of
the luncheon has been removed, the hostess can dismiss the servants,
and serve the ice-cream or tart herself, with the assistance of her
guests. Clean plates, knives, and forks should be in readiness.

In England a "hot joint" is always served from the sideboard. In
fact, an English luncheon is exactly what a plain American dinner
was formerly--a roast of mutton or beef, a few vegetables, a tart,
some fruit, and a glass of sherry. But we have changed the practice
considerably, and now our luxurious country offers nothing plain.

In this country one waiter generally remains during the whole meal,
and serves the table as he would at dinner--only with less ceremony.
It is perfectly proper at luncheon for any one to rise and help
himself to what he wishes.

Tea and coffee are never served after luncheon in the drawing-room
or dining-room. People are not expected to remain long after
luncheon, as the lady of the house may have engagements for the

In many houses the butler arranges the luncheon, table with flowers
or fruit, plates of thin bread-and butter, jellies, creams, cakes,
and preserves, a dish of cold salmon _mayonnaise_, and decanters of
sherry and claret. He places a cold ham or chicken on the sideboard,
and a pitcher of ice-water on a side-table, and then leaves the
dining-room, and takes no heed of the baser wants of humanity until
dinner-time. An underman or footman takes the place of this lofty
being, and waits at table.

In more modest houses, where there is only a maid-servant or one
man, all arrangements for the luncheon and for expected guests
should be made immediately after breakfast.

If the children dine with the family at luncheon, it, of course,
becomes an important meal, and should include one hot dish and a
simple dessert.

It is well for people living in the country, and with a certain
degree of style, to study up the methods of making salads and cold
dishes, for these come in so admirably for luncheon that they often
save a hostess great mortification. By attention to small details a
very humble repast may be most elegant. A silver bread-basket for
the thin slices of bread, a pretty cheese-dish, a napkin around the
cheese, pats of butter in a pretty dish, flowers in vases, fruits
neatly served--these things cost little, but they add a zest to the
pleasures of the table.

If a hot luncheon is served, it is not etiquette to put the
vegetables on the table as at dinner; they should be handed by the
waiter. The luncheon-table is already full of the articles for
dessert, and there is no place for the vegetables. The hot _entr‚es_
or cold _entr‚es_ are placed before the master or mistress, and each
guest is asked what he prefers. The whole aspect of luncheon is thus
made perfectly informal.

If a lady gives a more formal lunch, and has it served _… la Russe_,
the first _entr‚e_--let us say chops and green pease--is handed by
the waiter, commencing with the lady who sits on the right hand of
the master of the house. This is followed by vegetables. Plates
having been renewed, a salad and some cold ham can be offered. The
waiter fills the glasses with sherry, or offers claret. When
champagne is served at lunch, it is immediately after the first dish
has been served, and claret and sherry are not then given unless
asked for.

After the salad a fresh plate, with a dessert-spoon and small fork
upon it, is placed before each person. The ice-cream, pie, or
pudding is then placed in front of the hostess, who cuts it, and
puts a portion on each plate. After these dainties have been
discussed, a glass plate, _serviette_, and finger-bowl are placed
before each guest for fruit. The servant takes the plate from his
mistress after she has filled it, and hands it to the lady of first
consideration, and so on. When only members of the family are
present at luncheon, the mistress of the house is helped first.

Fruit tarts, pudding, sweet omelette, jellies, blancmange, and ice-
cream are all proper dessert for luncheon; also luncheon cake, or
the plainer sorts of loaf-cake.

It is well in all households, if possible, for the children to
breakfast and lunch with their parents. The teaching of table
manners cannot be begun too soon. But children should never be
allowed to trouble guests. If not old enough to behave well at
table, guests should not be invited to the meals at which they are
present. It is very trying to parents, guests, and servants.

When luncheon is to be an agreeable social repast, which guests are
expected to share, then the children should dine elsewhere. No
mother succeeds better in the rearing of her children than she who
has a nursery dining-room, where, under her own eye, her bantlings
are properly fed. It is not so much trouble, either, as one would

Table mats are no longer used in stylish houses, either at luncheon
or at dinner. The waiter should have a coarse towel in the butler's
pantry, and wipe each dish before he puts it on the table.

Menu-cards are never used at luncheon. Salt-cellars and small water
_carafes_ may be placed up and down the luncheon-table.

In our country, where servants run away and leave their mistress
when she is expecting guests, it is well to be able to improvise a
dish from such materials as may be at hand. Nothing is better than a
cod _mayonnaise_. A cod boiled in the morning is a friend in the
afternoon. When it is cold remove the skin and bones. For sauce put
some thick cream in a porcelain saucepan, and thicken it with corn-
flour which has been mixed with cold water. When it begins to boil,
stir in the beaten yolks of two eggs. As it cools, beat it well to
prevent it from becoming lumpy, and when nearly cold, stir in the
juice of two lemons, a little tarragon vinegar, a pinch of salt, and
a _soup‡on_ of Cayenne pepper. Peel and slice some very ripe
tomatoes or cold potatoes; steep them in vinegar, with Cayenne,
powdered ginger, and plenty of salt; lay these around the fish, and
cover with the cream sauce. This makes a very elegant cold dish for
luncheon. The tomatoes or potatoes should be taken out of the
vinegar and carefully drained before they are placed around the

Some giblets carefully saved from the ducks, geese, or chickens of
yesterday's dinner should be stewed in good beef stock, and then set
away to cool. Put them in a stewpan with dried split pease, and boil
them until they are reduced to pulp; serve this mixture hot on
toast, and, if properly flavored with salt and pepper, you have a
good luncheon dish.

Vegetable salads of beet-root, potatoes, and lettuce are always
delicious, and the careful housewife who rises early in the morning
and provides a round of cold corned beef, plenty of bread, and a
luncheon cake, need not regret the ephemeral cook, or fear the
coming city guest.

Every country housewife should learn to garnish dishes with capers,
a border of water-cresses, plain parsley, or vegetables cut into
fancy forms.

Potatoes, eggs, and cold hashed meats, in their unadorned
simplicity, do not come under the head of luxuries. But if the
hashed meat is carefully warmed and well flavored, and put on toast,
if the potatoes are chopped and browned and put around the meat, if
the eggs are boiled, sliced, and laid around as a garnish, and a few
capers and a border of parsley added, you have a Delmonico ragout
that Brillat-Savarin would have enjoyed.


After a long retirement into the shades, the supper-party, the
"sit-down Supper," once so dear to our ancestors, has been again revived.
Leaders of society at Newport have found that, after the hearty
lunch which everybody eats there at one or three o'clock the twelve
or fourteen course dinner at seven o'clock, is too much; that people
come home reluctantly from their ocean drive to dress; and last
summer, in consequence, invitations were issued for suppers at nine
or half-past nine. The suppers at private houses, which had
previously fallen out of fashion by reason of the convenience and
popularity of the great restaurants, were resumed. The very late
dinners in large cities have, no doubt, also prevented the supper
from being a favorite entertainment; but there is no reason (except
the disapproval of doctors) why suppers should not be in fashion in
the country, or where people dine early. In England, where
digestions are better than here, and where people eat more heavily,
"the supper-tray" is an institution, and suppers are generally
spread in every English country house; and we may acknowledge the
fact that the supper--the little supper so dear to the hearts of our
friends of the last century--seems to be coming again into fashion
here. Nothing can be more significant than that _Harper's Bazar_
receives many letters asking for directions for setting the table
for supper, and for the proper service of the meats which are to
gayly cover the cloth and enrich this always pleasant repast.

In a general way the same service is proper at a supper as at a
dinner, with the single exception of the soup-plates. Oysters on the
half-shell and bouillon served in cups are the first two courses. If
a hot supper is served, the usual dishes are sweetbreads, with green
pease, _c“telettes … la financiere_, and some sort of game in
season, such as reed-birds in autumn, canvas-back ducks, venison, or
woodcock; salads of every kind are in order, and are often served
with the game. Then ices and fruit follow. Cheese is rarely offered,
although some _gourmets_ insist that a little is necessary with the

After each course all the dishes and knives and forks that have been
in use are replaced by fresh ones, and the order and neatness of the
table preserved to the end of the supper. We would think it
unnecessary to mention this most obvious detail of table decorum,
had not several correspondents asked to be informed concerning it.

There is, of course, the informal supper, at which the dishes are
all placed on a table together, as for a supper at a large ball.
Meats, dressed salmon, chicken _croquettes_, salads, jellies, and
ices are a part of the alarming _m‚lange_ of which a guest is
expected to partake, with only such discrimination as may be
dictated by prudence or inclination. But this is not the "sit down,"
elegant supper so worthy to be revived, with its courses and its
etiquette and its brilliant conversation, which was the delight of
our grandmothers.

A large centre-piece of flowers, with fruit and candies in glass
_compotiers_, and high forms of _nougat_, and other sugar devices,
are suitable standards for an elegant supper-table. Three sorts of
wine may be placed on the table in handsome decanters--sherry, or
Madeira, and Burgundy. The guests find oysters on the half-shell,
with little fish forks, all ready for them. The napkin and bread are
laid at the side or in front of each plate. These plates being
removed, other plain plates are put in their place, and cups of
bouillon are served, with gold teaspoons. This course passed, other
plates are put before the guest, and some chicken _croquettes_ or
lobster _farci_ is passed. Sherry or Madeira should already have
been served with the Oysters. With the third course iced champagne
is offered. Then follow game, or fried oysters, salads, and a slice
of _pƒt‚ de foie gras_, with perhaps tomato salad; and subsequently
ices, jellies, fruit, and coffee, and for the gentlemen a glass of
brandy or cordial. Each course is taken away before the next is
presented. Birds and salad are served together.

There is a much simpler supper possible, which is often offered by a
hospitable hostess after the opera or theatre. It consists of a few
Oysters, a pair of cold roast chickens, a dish of lobster or plain
salad, with perhaps a glass of champagne, and one sort of ice-cream,
and involves very little trouble or expense, and can be safely said
to give as much pleasure as the more sumptuous feast. This informal
refreshment is often placed on a red table-cloth, with a dish of
oranges and apples in the centre of the table, and one servant is
sufficient. There should be, however, the same etiquette as to the
changing of plates, knives, and forks, etc., as in the more
elaborate meal.

The good house-keeper who gives a supper every evening to her hungry
family may learn many an appetizing device by reading English books
of cookery on this subject. A hashed dish of the meat left from
dinner, garnished with parsley, a potato salad, a few slices of cold
corned beef or ham, some pickled tongues, bread, butter, and cheese,
with ale or cider, is the supper offered at nearly every English
house in the country.

The silver and glass, the china and the fruit, should be as
carefully attended to as for a dinner, and everything as neat and as
elegant as possible, even at an informal supper.

Oysters, that universal food of the American, are invaluable for a
supper. Fried oysters diffuse a disagreeable odor through the house,
therefore they are not as convenient in a private dwelling as
scalloped oysters, which can be prepared in the afternoon, and which
send forth no odor when cooking. Broiled oysters are very delicate,
and are a favorite dish at an informal supper. Broiled birds and
broiled bones are great delicacies, but they must be prepared by a
very good cook. Chicken in various forms hashed, fried, cold, or in
salad--is useful; veal may be utilized for all these things, if
chicken is not forthcoming. The delicately treated chicken livers
also make a very good dish, and mushrooms on toast are perfect in
their season. Hot vegetables are never served, except green pease
with some other dish.

Beef, except in the form of a fillet, is never seen at a "sit-down"
supper, and even a fillet is rather too heavy. Lobster in every form
is a favorite supper delicacy, and the grouse; snipe, woodcock,
teal; canvasback, and squab on toast, are always in order.

In these days of Italian warehouses and imported delicacies, the
pressed and jellied meats, _pƒt‚s_, sausages, and spiced tongues
furnish a variety for a cold supper. No supper is perfect without a

The Romans made much of this meal, and among their delicacies were
the ass, the dog, and the snail, sea-hedgehogs, oysters, asparagus,
venison, wild boar, sea-nettles, fish, fowl, game, and cakes. The
Germans to-day eat wild boar, head-cheese, pickles, goose's flesh
dried, sausages, cheese, and salads for supper, and wash down with
beer. The French, under Louis XIV., began to make the supper their
most finished meal. They used gold and silver dishes, crystal cups
and goblets, exquisite grapes crowned the _‚pergne_, and choicest
fruits were served in golden dishes. The cooks sent up piquant
sauces for the delicately cooked meats, the wines were drunk hot and
spiced. The latter are taken iced now. Many old house-keepers,
however, serve a rich, hot-mulled port for a winter supper. It is a
delicious and not unhealthy beverage, and can be easily prepared.

The doctors, as we have said, condemn a late supper, but the pros
and cons of this subject admit of discussion. Every one, indeed,
must decide for himself.

Few people can undergo excitement of an evening--an opera or play or
concert, or even the pleasant conversation of an evening party--
without feeling hungry. With many, if such an appetite is not
appeased it will cause sleeplessness. To eat lightly and to drink
lightly at supper is a natural instinct with people if they expect
to go to bed at once; but excitement is a great aid to digestion,
and a heavy supper sometimes gives no inconvenience.

Keats seems to have had a vision of a modern supper-table when he

"soft he set A table, and  ...threw thereon A cloth of woven
crimson, gold, and jet; ...from forth the closet brought a heap Of
candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd, With jellies soother
than the creamy curd, And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon, Manna
and dates: ...spiced dainties every one."

The supper being a meal purely of luxury should be very dainty.
Everything should be tasteful and appetizing; the wines should be
excellent, the claret not too cool, the champagne _frapp‚_, or
almost so, the Madeira and the port the temperature of the room, and
the sherry cool. If punch is served, it should be at the end of the

Many indulgent hostesses now allow young gentlemen to smoke a
cigarette at the supper-table, after the eating and drinking is at
an end, rather than break up the delicious flow of conversation
which at the close of a supper seems to be at its best. This,
however, should not be done unless every lady at the table
acquiesces, as the smell of tobacco-smoke sometimes gives women an
unpleasant sensation.

Suppers at balls and parties include now all sorts of cold and hot
dishes, even a haunch of venison, and a fillet of beef, with
truffles; a cold salmon dressed with a green sauce; oysters in every
form except raw--they are not served at balls; salads of every
description; boned and truffled turkey and chicken; _pƒt‚s_ of game;
cold partridges and grouse; _pƒt‚ de foie gras_; our American
specialty, hot canvas-back duck; and the Baltimore turtle, terrapin,
oyster and game patties; bonbons, ices, biscuits, creams, jellies,
and fruits, with champagne, and sometimes, of later years, claret
and Moselle cup, and champagne-cup--beverages which were not until
lately known in America, except at gentlemen's clubs and on board
yachts, but which are very agreeable mixtures, and gaining in favor.
Every lady should know how to mix cup, as it is convenient both for
supper and lawn-tennis parties, and is preferable in its effects to
the heavier article so common at parties--punch.


To achieve a perfect little dinner with small means at command is
said to be a great intellectual feat. Dinner means so much--a French
cook, several accomplished servants, a very well-stocked china
closet, plate chest, and linen chest, and flowers, wines, bonbons,
and so on. But we have known many simple little dinners given by
young couples with small means which were far more enjoyable than
the gold and silver "diamond" dinners.

Given, first, a knowledge of _how to do it_; a good cook (not a
_cordon bleu_); a neat maid-servant in cap and apron--if the lady
can carve (which all ladies should know how to do); if the gentleman
has a good bottle of claret, and another of champagne--or neither,
if he disapproves of them; if the house is neatly and quietly
furnished, with the late magazines on the table; if the welcome is
cordial, and there is no noise, no fussy pretence--these little
dinners are very enjoyable, and every one is anxious to be invited
to them.

But people are frightened off from simple entertainments by the
splendor of the great luxurious dinners given by the very rich. It
is a foolish fear. The lady who wishes to give a simple but good
dinner has first to consult what is _seasonable_. She must offer the
dinner of the season, not seek for those strawberries in February
which are always sour, nor peaches in June, nor pease at Christmas.
Forced fruit is never good.

For an autumnal small dinner here is a very good _menu_:

Sherry./Oysters on the half-shell./Chablis, Soupe … la Reine.
Blue-fish, broiled./Hock, Filet de Boeuf aux Champignons./Champagne


Roast Beef or Mutton./Claret. Roast Partridges./ Burgundy, or Sherry
Salad of Tomatoes. Cheese./Liqueurs

Of course, in these days, claret and champagne are considered quite
enough for a small dinner, and one need not offer the other wines.
Or, as Mrs. Henderson says in her admirable cook-book, a very good
dinner maybe given with claret alone. A table claret to add to the
water is almost the only wine drunk in France or Italy at an
every-day dinner. Of course no wine at all is expected at the tables
of those whose principles forbid alcoholic beverages, and who
nevertheless give excellent dinners without them.

A perfectly fresh white damask table-cloth, napkins of equally
delicate fabric, spotless glass and silver, pretty china, perhaps
one high glass dish crowned with fruit and flowers--sometimes only
the fruit--chairs that are comfortable, a room not too warm, the
dessert served in good taste, but not overloaded--this is all one
needs. The essentials of a good dinner are but few.

The informal dinner invitations should be written by the lady
herself in the first person. She may send for her friends only a few
days before she wants them to come. She should be ready five minutes
before her guests arrive, and in the parlor, serene and cool,
"mistress of herself, though china fall." She should see herself
that the dinner-table is properly laid, the champagne and sherry
thoroughly cooled, the places marked out, and, above all, the guests
properly seated.

"Ay, there's the rub." To invite the proper people to meet each
other, to seat them so that they can have an agreeable conversation,
that is the trying and crucial test. Little dinners are social;
little dinners are informal; little dinners make people friends. And
we do not mean _little_ in regard to numbers or to the amount of
good food; we mean _simple_ dinners.

All the good management of a young hostess or an old one cannot
prevent accident, however. The cook may get drunk; the waiter may
fall and break a dozen of the best plates; the husband may be kept
down town late, and be dressing in the very room where the ladies
are to take off their cloaks (American houses are frightfully
inconvenient in this respect). All that the hostess can do is to
preserve an invincible calm, and try not to care--at least not to
show that she cares. But after a few attempts the giving of a simple
dinner becomes very easy, and it is the best compliment to a
stranger. A gentleman travelling to see the customs of a country is
much more pleased to be asked to a modest repast where he meets his
hostess and her family than to a state dinner where he is ticketed
off and made merely one at a banquet.

Then the limitations of a dinner can be considered. It is not kind
to keep guests more than an hour, or two hours at the most, at
table. French dinners rarely exceed an hour. English dinners are too
long and too heavy, although the conversation is apt to be
brilliant. At a simple dinner one can make it short.

It is better to serve coffee in the drawing-room, although if the
host and hostess are agreed on this point, and the ladies can stand
smoke, it is served at table, and the gentlemen light their
cigarettes. In some houses smoking is forbidden in the dining-room.

The practice of the ladies retiring first is an English one, and the
French consider it barbarous. Whether we are growing more French or
not, we seem to be beginning to do away with the separation after

It is the custom at informal dinners for the lady to help the soup
and for the gentleman to carve; therefore the important dishes are
put on the table. But the servants who wait should be taught to have
sidetables and sideboards so well placed that anything can be
removed immediately after it is finished. A screen is a very useful
adjunct in a dining-room.

Inefficient servants have a disagreeable habit of running in and out
of the dining-room in search of something that should have been in
readiness; therefore the lady of the house had better see beforehand
that French rolls are placed under every napkin, and a silver basket
full of them ready in reserve. Also large slices of fresh soft bread
should be on the side table, as every one does not like hard bread,
and should be offered a choice.

The powdered sugar, the butter, the caster, the olives, the
relishes, should all be thought of and placed where each can be
readily found. Servants should be taught to be noiseless, and to
avoid a hurried manner. In placing anything on or taking anything
off a table a servant should never reach across a person seated at
table for that purpose. However hurried the servant may be, or
however near at hand the article, she should be taught to walk
quietly to the left hand of each guest to remove things, while she
should pass everything in the same manner, giving the guest the
option of using his right hand with which to help himself. Servants
should have a silver or plated knife-tray to remove the gravy-spoon
and carving knife and fork before removing the platter. All the
silver should be thus removed; it makes a table much neater.
Servants should be taught to put a plate and spoon and fork at every
place before each course.

After the meats and before the pie, pudding, or ices, the table
should be carefully cleared of everything but fruit and flowers--all
plates, glasses, carafes, salt-cellars, knives and forks, and
whatever pertains to the dinner should be removed, and the table-
cloth well cleared with brush or crumb-scraper on a silver waiter,
and then the plates, glasses, spoons, and forks laid at each plate
for the dessert. If this is done every day, it adds to a common
dinner, and trains the waitress to her work.

The dinner, the dishes, and the plates should all be hot. The
ordinary plate-warmer is now superseded by something far better, in
which a hot brick is introduced. The most _recherch‚_ dinner is
spoiled if hot mutton is put on a cold plate. The silver dishes
should be heated by hot water in the kitchen, the hot dinner plates
must be forthcoming from the plate-warmer, nor must the roasts or
_entr‚es_ be allowed to cool on their way from the kitchen to the
dining-room. A servant should have a thumb napkin with which to hand
the hot dishes, and a clean towel behind the screen with which to
wipe the platters which have been sent up on the dumb-waiter. On
these trifles depend the excellence of the simple dinner.


One of the cleverest questions asked lately is, "What shall I talk
about at a dinner-party?" Now if there is a woman in the world who
does not know what to talk about, is it not a very difficult thing
to tell her? One can almost as well answer such a question as, "What
shall I see out of my eyes?"

Yet our young lady is not the first person who has dilated of late
years upon the "decay of conversation," nor the only one who has
sometimes felt the heaviness of silence descend upon her at a modern
dinner. No doubt this same great and unanswerable question has been
asked by many a traveller who, for the first time, has sat next an
Englishman of good family (perhaps even with a handle to his name),
who has answered all remarks by the proverbial but unsympathetic
"Oh!" Indeed, it is to be feared that it is a fashion for young men
nowadays to appear listless, to conceal what ideas they may happen
to have, to try to appear stupid, if they are not so, throwing all
the burden of the conversation on the lively, vivacious, good-
humored girl, or the more accomplished married woman, who may be the
next neighbor. Women's wits are proverbially quick, they talk
readily, they read and think more than the average young man of
fashion is prone to do; the result is a quick and a ready tongue.
Yet the art of keeping up a flow of agreeable and incessant small-
talk, not too heavy, not pretentious or egotistical, not scandalous,
and not commonplace, is an art that is rare, and hardly to be prized
too highly.

It has been well said that there is a great difference between a
brilliant conversationalist and a ready small-talker. The former is
apt to be feared, and to produce a silence around him. We all
remember Macaulay and "his brilliant flashes of silence." We all
know that there are talkers so distinguished that you must not ask
both of them to dinner on the same day lest they silence each other,
while we know others who bring to us just an average amount of tact,
facility of expression, geniality, and a pleasant gift at a
quotation, a bit of repartee; such a person we call a ready small-
talker, a "most agreeable person," one who frightens nobody and who
has a great popularity. Such a one has plenty of small change, very
useful, and more easy to handle than the very large cheek of the
conversationalist, who is a millionaire as to his memory, learning,
and power of rhetoric, but who cannot and will not indulge in small-
talk. We respect the one; we like the other. The first point to be
considered, if one has no inspiration in regard to small-talk, would
seem to be this; try to consider what subject would most interest
the person next to you. There are people who have no other talent,
whom we never call clever, but who do possess this instinct, and who
can talk most sympathetically, while knowing scarcely anything about
the individual addressed. There are others who are deficient in this
gift, who can only say "Really" and "Indeed." These "Really" and
"Indeed" and "Oh" people are the despair of the dinner-giver. The
gay, chatty, light-hearted people who can glide into a conversation
easily, are the best of dinner-table companions, even if they do
sometimes talk too much about the weather and such commonplaces.

It is a good plan for a shy young person, who has no confidence in
her own powers of conversation, to fortify herself with several
topics of general interest, such as the last new novel, the last
opera, the best and newest gallery of pictures, or the flower in
fashion; and to invent a formula, if words are wanting in her
organization, as to how these subjects should be introduced and
handled. Many ideas will occur to her, and she can silently arrange
them. Then she may keep these as a reserve force, using them only
when the conversation drops, or she is unexpectedly brought to the
necessity of keeping up the ball alone. Some people use this power
rather unfairly, leading the conversation up to the point where they
wish to enter; but these are not the people who need help--they can
take care of themselves. After talking awhile in a perfunctory
manner, many a shy young person has been astonished by a sudden rush
of brilliant ideas, and finds herself talking naturally and well
without effort. It is like the launching of a ship; certain blocks
of shyness and habits of mental reserve are knocked away, and the
brave frigate _Small-Talk_ takes the water like a thing of life.

It demands much tact and cleverness to touch upon the ordinary
events of the day at a mixed dinner, because, in the first place,
nothing should be said which can hurt any one's feelings, politics,
religion, and the stock market being generally ruled out; nor should
one talk about that which everybody knows, for such small-talk is
impertinent and irritating. No one wishes to be told that which he
already understands better, perhaps, than we do. Nor are matters of
too private a nature, such as one's health, or one's servants, or
one's disappointments, still less one's good deeds, to be talked

Commonplace people also sometimes try society very much by their own
inane and wholly useless criticisms. Supposing we take up music, it
is far more agreeable to hear a person say, "How do you like
Nilsson?" than to hear him say, "I like Nilsson, and I have these
reasons for liking her." Let that come afterwards. When a person
really qualified to discuss artists, or literary people, or artistic
points, talks sensibly and in a chatty, easy way about them, it is
the perfection of conversation; but when one wholly and utterly
incompetent to do so lays down the law on such subjects he or she
becomes a bore. But if the young person who does not know how to
talk treats these questions interrogatively, ten chances to one,
unless she is seated next an imbecile, she will get some very good
and light small-talk out of her next neighbor. She may give a modest
personal opinion, or narrate her own sensations at the opera, if she
can do so without egotism, and she should always show a desire to be
answered. If music and literature fail, let her try the subjects of
dancing, polo-playing, and lawn-tennis. A very good story was told
of a bright New York girl and a very haw-haw-stupid Englishman at a
Newport dinner. The Englishman had said "Oh," and "Really," and
"Quite so," to everything which this bright girl had asked him, when
finally, very tired and very angry, she said, "Were you ever thrown
in the hunting-field, and was your head hurt?" The man turned and
gazed admiringly. "Now you've got me," was the reply. And he talked
all the rest of the dinner of his croppers. Perhaps it may not be
necessary or useful often to unlock so rich a _r‚pertoire_ as this;
but it was a very welcome relief to this young lady not to do all
the talking during three hours.

After a first introduction there is, no doubt, some difficulty in
starting a conversation. The weather, the newspaper, the last
accident, the little dog, the bric-…-brac, the love of horses, etc.,
are good and unfailing resources, except that very few people have
the readiness to remember this wealth of subjects at once. To
recollect a thing apropos of the moment is the gift of ready-witted
people alone, and how many remember, hours after, a circumstance
which would have told at that particular moment of embarrassment
when one stood twiddling his hat, and another twisted her
handkerchief. The French call "_l'esprit d'escalier_"--the "wit of
the staircase"--the gift of remembering the good thing you might
have said in the drawing-room, just too late, as you go up-stairs.
However, two new people generally overcome this moment of
embarrassment, and then some simple offer of service, such as, "Can
I get you a chair?" "Is that window too cold?" "Can I bring you some
tea?" occurs, and then the small-talk follows.

The only curious part of this subject is that so little skill is
shown by the average talker in weaving facts and incidents into his
treatment of subjects of everyday character, and that he brings so
little intelligence to bear on his discussion of them. It is not
given to every one to be brilliant and amusing, but, with a little
thought, passing events may always give rise to pleasant
conversation. We have lately been visited by a succession of
brilliant sunsets, concerning which there have been various
theories. This has been a charming subject for conversation, yet at
the average dinner we have heard but few persons mention this
interesting topic. Perhaps one is afraid to start a conversation
upon celestial scenery at a modern dinner. The things may seem too
remote, yet it would not be a bad idea.

Gossip may promote small-talk among those who are very intimate and
who live in a narrow circle. But how profoundly uninteresting is it
to an outsider!--how useless to the real man or woman of the world!
That is, unless it is literary, musical, artistic gossip. Scandal
ruins conversation, and should never be included even in a
definition of small-talk. Polite, humorous, vivacious, speculative,
dry, sarcastic, epigrammatic, intellectual, and practical people all
meet around a dinner-table, and much agreeable small-talk should be
the result. It is unfortunately true that there is sometimes a
failure in this respect. Let a hostess remember one thing: there is
no chance for vivacity of intellect if her room is too warm; her
flowers and her guests will wilt together. There are those also who
prefer her good dishes to talking, and the old gentleman in _Punch_
who rebuked his lively neighbor for talking while there were "such
_entr‚es_ coming in" has his counterparts among ourselves.

Some shy talkers have a sort of empirical way of starting a subject
with a question like this: "Do you know the meaning and derivation
of the term 'bric-…-brac?'" "Do you believe in ghosts?" "What do you
think of a ladies' club?" "Do you believe in chance?" "Is there more
talent displayed in learning the violin than in playing a first-rate
game of chess?" etc.

These are intellectual conundrums, and may be repeated indefinitely
where the person questioned is disposed to answer. With a flow of
good spirits and the feeling of case which comes from a knowledge of
society, such questions often bring out what Margaret Fuller called
"good talk."

But if your neighbor says "Oh," "Really," "Indeed," "I don't know,"
then the best way is to be purely practical, and talk of the chairs
and tables, and the existing order of things, the length of trains,
or the shortness of the dresses of the young ladies at the last
ball, the prevailing idea that "ice-water is unhealthy," and other
such extremely easy ideas. The sound of one's own voice is generally
very sweet in one's own ears; let every lady try to cultivate a
pleasant voice for those of other people, and also an agreeable and
accurate pronunciation. The veriest nothings sound well when thus
spoken. The best way to learn how to talk is, of course, to learn
how to think: from full wells one brings up buckets full of clear
water, but there can be small-talk without much thought. The fact
remains that brilliant thinkers and scholars are not always good
talkers, and there is no harm in the cultivation of the art of
conversation, no harm in a little "cramming," if a person is afraid
that language is not his strong point. The merest trifle generally
suffices to start the flow of small-talk, and the person who can use
this agreeable weapon of society is always popular and very much


Many of our correspondents ask us, "What shall we order for a
garden-party?" We must answer that the first thing to order is a
fine day. In these fortunate days the morning revelations of Old
Probabilities give us an almost exact knowledge of what of rain or
sunshine the future has in store.

A rain or tornado which starts from Alaska, where the weather is
made nowadays, will almost certainly be here on the third day; so
the hostess who is willing to send a hasty bidding can perhaps avoid
rain. It is the custom, however, to send invitations for these
garden-parties a fortnight before they are to occur. At Newport they
are arranged weeks beforehand, and if the weather is bad the
entertainment takes place in-doors.

When invitations are given to a suburban place to which people are
expected to go by rail or any public means of conveyance, a card
should also be sent stating the hours at which trains leave, which
train or boat to take, and any other information that may add to the
comfort of the guest. These invitations are engraved, and printed on
note-paper, which should be perfectly plain, or bear the family
crest in water-mark only, and read somewhat as follows:

_Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Smith request the pleasure of Mr. and Mrs.
Conway Brown's company on Tuesday, the thirtieth of July, at four

Garden Party. 		Yonkers, New York._

Then, on the card enclosed, might be printed,

_Carriages will meet the 3.30 train from Grand Central Depot._

If the invitation is to a country place not easy of access, still
more explicit directions should be given.

The garden-party proper is always held entirely in the open air. In
England the refreshments are served under a _marquee_ in the
grounds, and in that inclement clime no one seems to think it a
hardship if a shower of rain comes down, and ruins fine silks and
beautiful bonnets. But in our fine sunshiny land we are very much
afraid of rain, and our malarious soil is not considered always
safe, so that the thoughtful hostess often has her table in-doors,
piazzas filled with chairs, Turkey rugs laid down on the grass, and
every preparation made that the elderly and timid and rheumatic may
enjoy the garden-party without endangering their health.

A hostess should see that her lawn-tennis ground is in order, the
croquet laid out, and the archery tools all in place, so that her
guests may amuse themselves with these different games. Sometimes
balls and races are added to these amusements, and often a platform
is laid for dancing, if the turf be not sufficiently dry. A band of
musicians is essential to a very elegant and successful garden-
party, and a varied selection of music, grave and gay, should be
rendered. Although at a dinner-party there is reason to fear that an
orchestra may be a nuisance, at a garden-party the open air and
space are sufficient guarantees against this danger.

If the hostess wishes her entertainment to be served out-of-doors,
of course all the dishes must be cold. Salads, cold birds, and ham,
tongue, and _pƒt‚ de foie gras_, cold _pƒt‚s_, and salmon dressed
with a green sauce, jellies, Charlottes, ices, cakes, punch, and
champagne, are the proper things to offer. A cup of hot tea should
be always ready in the house for those who desire it.

At a garden-party proper the hostess receives out on the lawn,
wearing her hat or bonnet, and takes it for granted that the party
will be entirely out-of-doors. The carriages, however, drive up to
the door, and the ladies can go up-stairs and deposit their wraps
and brush off the dust, if they wish. A servant should be in
attendance to show the guests to that part of the grounds in which
the lady is receiving.

At Newport these parties are generally conducted on the principle of
an afternoon tea, and after the mistress of the house has received
her guests, they wander through the grounds, and, when weary, return
to the house for refreshment. _Pƒt‚ de foie gras_, sandwiches, cold
birds, plates of delicious jellied tongue, lobster salad, and
sometimes hot cakes and hot broiled chicken, are served at these
high teas. Coffee and tea and wine are also offered, but these are
at mixed entertainments which have grown out of the somewhat unusual
hours observed at Newport in the season.

There is a sort of public garden-party in this country which
prevails on semi-official occasions, such as the laying of a
foundation-stone for a public building, the birthday of a prominent
individual, a Sunday-school festival, or an entertainment given to a
public functionary. These are banquets, and for them the invitations
are somewhat general, and should be officially issued. For the
private garden-party it is proper for a lady to ask for an
invitation for a friend, as there is always plenty of room; but it
should also be observed that where this request is not answered
affirmatively, offence should not be taken. It is sometimes very
difficult for a lady to understand why her request for an invitation
to her friend is refused; but she should never take the refusal as a
discourtesy to herself. There may be reasons which cannot be

Ladies always wear bonnets at a garden-party, and the sensible
fashion of short dresses has hitherto prevailed; but it is rumored
that a recent edict of the Princess of Wales against short dresses
at her garden-parties will find followers on this side of the water,
notably at Newport, which out-Herods Herod in its respect to English

Indeed, a long dress is very pretty on the grass and under the
trees. At Buckingham Palace a garden-party given to the Viceroy of
Egypt several years ago presented a very Watteau-like picture.
Worth's handsomest dresses were freely displayed, and the lovely
grounds and old trees at the back of the palace were in fine full
dress for the occasion.

In fact, England is the land for garden-parties, with its turf of
velvet softness, its flowing lime-trees, its splendid old oaks, and
its finished landscape gardening. There are but few places as yet in
America which afford the clipped-box avenues, the arcades of
blossoming rose-vines, the pleached alleys, the finely kept and
perfect gravel-walks, or, Better than all, the quiet, old-fashioned
gardens, down which the ladies may walk, rivals of the flowers.

But there are some such places; and a green lawn, a few trees, a
good prospect, a fine day, and something to eat, are really all the
absolute requirements for a garden-party. In the neighborhood of New
York very charming garden-parties have been given: at the Brooklyn
Navy-yard and the camp of the soldier, at the head-quarters of the
officers of marines, and at the ever-lovely Governor's Island.

Up the Hudson, out at Orange (with its multitudinous pretty
settlements), all along the coast of Long Island, the garden-party
is almost imperatively necessary. The owner of a fine place is
expected to allow the unfortunates who must stay in town at least
one sniff of his roses and new-mown hay.

Lawn-tennis has had a great share in making the garden-party
popular; and in remote country places ladies should learn how to
give these parties, and, with very little trouble, make the most of
our fine climate. There is no doubt that a little awkwardness is to
be overcome in the beginning, for no one knows exactly what to do.
Deprived of the friendly shelter of a house, guests wander forlornly
about; but a graceful and ready hostess will soon suggest that a
croquet or lawn-tennis party be formed, or that a contest at archery
be entered upon, or that even a card-party is in order, or that a
game of checkers can be played under the trees.

Servants should be taught to preserve the proprieties of the feast,
if the meal be served under the trees. There should be no piles of
dishes, knives, forks, or spoons, visible on the green grass;
baskets should be in readiness to carry off everything as soon as
used. There should be a sufficient quantity of glass and china in
use, and plenty of napkins, so that there need be no delay. The
lemonade and punch bowls should be replenished from the dining-room
as soon as they show signs of depletion, and a set of neat maid-
servants can be advantageously employed in watching the table, and
seeing that the cups, spoons, plates, wine-glasses, and forks are in
sufficient quantity and clean. If tea is served, maid-servants are
better than men, as they are careful that the tea is hot, and the
spoons, cream, and sugar forthcoming. Fruit is an agreeable addition
to a garden-party entertainment, and pines, melons, peaches, grapes,
strawberries, are all served in their season. Pains should be taken
to have these fruits of the very best that can be obtained.

Claret-cup, champagne-cup, and soda-water, brandy and shandy-gaff,
are provided on a separate table for the gentlemen; Apollinaris
water, and the various aerated waters so fashionable now, are also
provided. Although gentlemen help themselves, it is necessary to
have a servant in attendance to remove the wine-glasses, tumblers,
and goblets as they are used, and to replenish the decanters and
pitchers as they are emptied, and to supply fresh glasses. Many
hospitable hosts offer their guests old Madeira, sherry, and port.

The decanters are placed on the regular luncheon-table, and glasses
of wine are carried by servants, on silver trays, to the ladies who
are sitting on the piazzas and under the trees. Small thin tumblers
are used for the claret and champagne cup, which should be held in
silver or glass pitchers.

If strawberries and cream are served, a small napkin should be put
between the saucer and plate, and a dessert spoon and fork handed
with each plate.

The servants who carry about refreshments from the tent or the table
where they are served should be warned to be very careful in this
part of the service, as many a fine gown has been spoiled, by a dish
of strawberries and cream or a glass of punch or lemonade being
overturned, through a servant's want of care.

Ices are now served at garden-parties in small paper cups placed on
ice-plates--a fashion which is very neat, and which saves much of
the _mussiness_ which has heretofore been a feature of these
entertainments. Numbers of small tables should be brought with the
camp-stools, and placed at convenient intervals, where the guests
can deposit their plates.

A lady should not use her handsome glass or china at these _al
fresco_ entertainments. It is sure to be broken. It is better to
hire all the necessary glass, silver, and china from the caterer, as
it saves a world of counting and trouble.

No doubt the garden-party is a troublesome affair, particularly if
the refreshments are out-of-doors, but it is very beautiful and very
amusing, and worth all the trouble. It is just as pleasant, however,
if the table is in-doors.


A very sensible reform is now being attempted in the matter of
silver weddings. It was once a demand on the purse of at least fifty
dollars to receive an invitation to a silver wedding, because every
one was expected to send a piece of silver. Some very rich houses in
New York are stocked with silver with the elaborate inscription,
"Silver Wedding." To the cards of to-day is appended, "No presents
received," which is a relief to the impecunious.

These cards are on plain white or silver-gray paper, engraved in
silver letters, with the name of the lady as she was known before
marriage appended below that of her husband; the date of the
marriage is also added below the names.

The entertainment for a silver wedding, to be perfect, should occur
at exactly the hour at which the marriage took place; but as that
has been found to be inconvenient, the marriage hour is ignored, and
the party takes place in the evening generally, and with all the
characteristics of a modern party. The "bridal pair" stand together,
of course, to receive, and as many of the original party of the
groomsmen and bridesmaids as can be got together should be induced
to form a part of the group. There can be no objection to the
sending of flowers, and particular friends who wish can, of course,
send other gifts, but there should be no _obligation_. We may say
here that the custom of giving bridal gifts has become an outrageous
abuse of a good idea. From being a pretty custom which had its basis
in the excellent system of our Dutch ancestors, who combined to help
the young couple by presents of bed and table linen and necessary
table furniture and silver, it has now sometimes degenerated into a
form of ostentation, and is a great tax on the friends of the bride.
People in certain relations to the family are even expected to send
certain gifts. It has been known to be the case that the bride
allowed some officious friend to suggest that she should have
silver, or pearls, or diamonds; and a rich old bachelor uncle is
sure to be told what is expected from him. But when a couple have
reached their silver wedding, and are able and willing to celebrate
it, it may be supposed that they are beyond the necessity of
appealing to the generosity of their friends; therefore it is a good
custom to have this phrase added to the silver-wedding invitation,
"No presents received."

The question has been asked if the ceremony should be performed over
again. We should say decidedly not, for great danger has accrued to
thoughtless persons in thus tampering with the wedding ceremony. Any
one who has read Mrs. Oliphant's beautiful story of "Madonna Mary"
will be struck at once with this danger. It is not safe, even in the
most playful manner, to imitate that legal form on which all
society, property, legitimacy, and the safety of home hang.

Now as to the dress of the bride of twenty-five years, we should
say, "Any color but black." There is an old superstition against
connecting black with weddings. A silver gray, trimmed with steel
and lace, has lately been used with much success as a second bridal
dress. Still less should the dress be white; that has become so
canonized as the wedding dress of a virgin bride that it is not even
proper for a widow to wear it on her second marriage. The shades of
rose-color, crimson, or those beautiful modern combinations of
velvet and brocade which suit so many matronly women, are all
appropriate silver-wedding dresses.

Ladies should not wear jewelry in the morning, particularly at their
own houses; so if the wedding is celebrated in the morning, the
hostess should take care not to be too splendid.

Evening weddings are, in these anniversaries, far more agreeable,
and can be celebrated with more elaborate dressing. It is now so
much the fashion to wear low-necked dresses (sleeveless dresses were
worn by bridesmaids at an evening wedding recently) that the bride
of twenty-five years can appear, if she chooses, in a low-cut short-
sleeved dinner dress and diamonds in the evening. As for the groom,
he should be in full evening dress, immaculate white tie, and pearl-
colored kid gloves. He plays, as he does at the wedding, but a
secondary part. Indeed, it has been jocosely said that he sometimes
poses as a victim. In savage communities and among the birds it is
the male who wears the fine clothes; in Christian society it is the
male who dresses in black, putting the fine feathers on his wife. It
is to her that all the honors are paid, he playing for the time but
a secondary part. In savage communities she would dig the earth,
wait upon her lord, and stand behind him while he eats; in the
modern silver wedding he helps her to fried oysters and champagne,
and stands while she sits.

Now as to who shall be invited. A correspondent writes asking if a
silver wedding celebrated in a new home would not be a good
opportunity for making the "first onset of hospitality," inviting
those neighbors who were not known before, or at least who were not
visiting acquaintances. We should think it a very happy idea. It is
a compliment to ask one's friends and neighbors to any ceremony or
anniversary in which our own deep feelings are concerned, such as a
christening, a child's wedding, and the celebration of a birthday.
Why not still more when a married pair have weathered the storms of
twenty-five years? People fully aware of their own respectability
should never be afraid to bow first, speak first, or call first.
Courtesy is the most cosmopolitan of good qualities, and politeness
is one of the seven capital virtues. No people giving such an
invitation need be hurt if it is received coldly. They only thus
find out which of their new neighbors are the most worth
cultivating. This sort of courtesy is as far as possible from the
dreadful word "pushing." As dress was made to dignify the human
body, so a generous courtesy clothes the mind. Let no one be afraid
of draping the spirit with this purple and gold.

And in all fresh neighborhoods the new-comers should try to
cultivate society. There is something in its attrition which
stimulates the mind. Society brightens up the wits, and causes the
dullest mind to bring its treasures to the surface.

The wedding anniversaries seem to begin with the fifth one--the
wooden wedding. Here unique and appropriate presents seem to be very
cheap. Cedar tubs and bowls and pails, wooden baskets filled with
flowers, Shaker rocking-chairs and seats for the veranda, carved
tables, cabinets of oak, wall brackets, paintings on wood, water-
colors framed in wood-carvings in bog oak, and even a load of
kindling wood, have been acceptably offered. The bride can dress as
gayly as she pleases at this early anniversary. Then comes the tin
wedding, which now is very much welcomed for the pretty tin
candlesticks that it brings, fresh from London furnishers.

We hear of gorgeous silver weddings in California, that land of gold
and silver, where the display of toilettes each represented a large
fortune. But, after all, _the sentiment_ is the thing,

"As when, amid the rites divine, I took thy troth, and plighted mine
To thee, sweet wife, my second ring A token and a pledge I bring.
This ring shall wed, till death us part, Thy riper virtues to my
heart--Those virtues which, before untried, The wife has added to
the bride."

The golden wedding is a rare festivity--the great marriage bell made
of wheat fully ripe; sheaves of corn; roses of the pure gold-color
(the Marshal Niel is the golden-wedding flower _par excellence_). We
can well imagine the parlors beautifully decorated with autumn
leaves and evergreens, the children grouped about the aged pair,
perhaps even a great-grandchild as a child bridesmaid, a bridal
bouquet in the aged white hand. We can fancy nothing more poetical
and pathetic than this festivity.

Whether or not a ring should be given by the husband to the wife on
this occasion we must leave to the individual taste of the parties.
No doubt it is a pleasant occasion for the gift,

"If she, by merit since disclosed,
Proved twice the woman I supposed,"

there is no doubt that she deserves another ring. We have read
somewhere of a crown-diamond wedding; it is the sixty-fifth
anniversary. Iron weddings are, we believe, the fifteenth
anniversary. With silver, golden, and diamond weddings we are
tolerably familiar, but, so far as we know, a crown-diamond wedding
such as was celebrated a short time ago at Maebuell, in the island
of Alsen, is a ceremony altogether without precedent in matrimonial
annals. Having completed their sixty-fifth year of conjugal bliss,
Claus Jacobsen and his venerable spouse were solemnly blessed by the
parson of their parish, and went, for the fifth time in their long
wedded life, through the form of mutual troth-plighting before the
altar at which they had for the first time been united before the
battle of Waterloo was fought. The united age of this crown-
diamantine couple amount to _one hundred and seventy-eight years_!

We doubt if this constant pair needed any ring to remind them of
their wedded duty. It is strange that the origin of the wedding ring
is lost in obscurity. The "fyancel," or wedding ring, is doubtless
of Roman origin, and was originally given at the betrothal as a
pledge of the engagement. Juvenal says that at the commencement of
the Christian era a man placed a ring on the finger of the lady whom
he betrothed. In olden times the delivery of a signet-ring was a
sign of confidence. The ring is a symbol of eternity and constancy.
That it was placed on the woman's left hand denotes her subjection,
and on the ring finger because it pressed a vein which communicates
directly with the heart. So universal is the custom of wearing the
wedding ring among Jews and Christians that no married woman is ever
seen without her plain gold circlet, and she regards the loss of it
as a sinister omen; and many women never remove it. This is,
however, foolish, and it should be taken off and put on several
times at first, so that any subsequent removal or loss need not jar
painfully on the feelings.

The bride-cake cut by the bride, with the wedding ring for some
fortunate future spouse, seems to be still potent. The twenty-five-
year-old bride should cut a few pieces, then leave others to pass
it; it is a day on which she should be waited upon.

Some persons, in celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding day, also
repeat their wedding journey, and we know a very pleasant little
route in England called the "silver-wedding journey," but this is,
of course, a matter so entirely personal that it cannot be
universally recommended.

The most graceful silver-wedding custom is for the bride and
bridegroom to receive the greetings of their friends at first
formally, then to leave the marriage bell or canopy of flowers and
to go about among the company, becoming again host and hostess. They
should spare their children, friends, and themselves tears and sad
recollections. Some opulent brides and bridegrooms make it a silver
wedding indeed by sending substantial presents to those who started
in life with them but have been less fortunate than themselves.


As the season advances and the country bursts into glorious sudden
spring, the garden party, the country dinner, the horseback
excursions, and the asparagus parties, the hunts and the yacht
voyages, the lawn-tennis and archery, the visits to the polo ground,
and the delights of a visit to the friends who live within an hour
of the city, at Orange and at Morristown, on the seagirt shore of
Long Island or up the Hudson, begin to loom up before the city-bound
worthy, and to throw a "rose hue o'er his russet cares."

Now the first question with the neophyte who would go to the hunts
(for they "break the ice" in more senses than one), as the first of
the spring out-of-door entertainments, is, What does a young girl
require who would "ride to hounds"? for "pale Diana," chaste and
fair, no longer hunts on foot, as she did in the days of Acteon.

She must have two thorough-bred hunters. She must have a groom, an
English habit, a carefully-considered outfit, and she must be a
perfect and a fearless horsewoman, and not mind a "cropper." One of
the young riders at the Meadow Brook Hunt was thrown over her
horse's head into a ditch last spring, and got up declaring she was
not even bruised. Yes, she must learn even how to fall off her horse
without breaking her ribs or her nose. It is an expensive amusement
to be Diana nowadays. The result, however, of long practice on
horseback seems to be that a woman becomes almost a centaur, and
more fearless than a man. Then the hunt includes as its adjuncts to
the young ladies certain men in pink. They "form" on a roadside, and
the master of the hunt says, "Ladies and gentlemen, will you hunt?"
and he motions to the whipper-in--a gallant creature in pink also--
to "throw off the dogs."

Then the prettiest forty dogs, all spotted, start on their mad
career. It is a beautiful sight, with the red-coated huntsmen
following, and it looks as if the real fox would be attainable after
a time, instead of the farce of an anise-seed bag which now serves
to make the ghost of a scent. The low, soft hat is a favorite with
our young riders, but there is this to say for the hard hat, it does
break a fall. Many a fair forehead has been saved from a terrible
scar by the resistant hard hat.

The habit of riding every day and of getting thoroughly accustomed
to one's seat should precede the daring attempt at a break-neck
"jump." No one should pretend to hunt who has not a good seat, a good
horse, and plenty of nerve. Much less should an incompetent rider
venture on a friend's horse. It has been said in England that "a man
will forgive you for breaking his own neck, but not that of his
favorite hunter."

As the day for driving has come, many correspondents write to ask
what is the best style of equipage for a young man. We can only say
that a tilbury and one horse is very showy, that a dog-cart is the
most "knowing," that a high chariot is very stately, but that the
two-seated Park wagon is the most appropriate in which to take out a
lady. There should always be a servant behind. The art of driving is
simple enough, but requires much practice. The good driver should
understand his horse well, and turn his curves gently and slowly; he
must know how to harness and unharness a horse, and be ready to mend
any trifling disarrangement if there is a break.

Now as to driving in a carriage with ladies, a correspondent writes
to ask the etiquette which should govern a gentleman's conduct. He
takes his seat with his back to the horses, opposite the ladies, nor
should he assume to sit beside a lady unless requested to do so.
When the carriage stops, he should jump out and assist her to
alight, walking with her up her own steps, and ringing the bell. In
entering the carriage he should put his left foot on the step, and
enter the carriage with his right foot. This is, however, supposing
that he sits facing the horses; if he sits with his back to the
horses, he reverses the process. A gentleman should avoid treading
on ladies' dresses, or shutting them in the door. Ladies who have
country-houses should learn to drive as well as to ride. Indeed, in
these days when young women drive alone in the Park in their pony
phaetons and little carts, we need hardly advise that they should
learn to drive well.

As to boating, which is practised so largely by men, we hear of but
few ladies who pull the oar about New York; but doubtless it will be
done on inland streams and lakes. One gentleman should stay in the
boat and help to steady it, unless the oarswomen are very expert.
Short dresses and round hats should be worn, with no superincumbent
drapery, As the seat of honor in a boat is that occupied by the
stroke oar, it is etiquette for the owner of the boat to offer it to
his friend if he be a rower.

The asparagus party is a sort of a long picnic, in which a party of
friends join, and drive or ride out to some convenient inn where a
good dinner can be served, with the advantage of the early vegetable
cut directly from the ground. As Long Island is famous for its
asparagus, these parties from New York generally select some
convenient locality there, near enough to the city to be not too
fatiguing a drive.

The new passion for driving a coach has now become so much of an
American taste that we need not describe the pastime here. At least
four coaches will start from New York for some neighboring town-New
Rochelle, Yonkers, etc.--during the summer, and there is no better
way of spending a May day than on top of one. As for _al fresco_
entertainments, game pie, patties, cold beef, pressed tongue, potted
meats, sandwiches, _pƒt‚ de foie gras_, champagne, are all taken out
in hampers, and served on top of the coach by the obedient valets at
the races, for those parties who go out with four horses and a
London coach to see the favorite run.

We are often asked what would be the appropriate costume for a lawn
party, and we can only answer that the costumes for these parties
should be of a useful character. If it is a lawn party at a very
elegant house, at Newport or up the Hudson, it may be, however, of a
delicacy and elegance not proper if one is asked out in the country
merely to "have a good time," when a person would be exposed to the
weather, the wear and tear of games, and of a long day in the sun,
Thick boots are indispensable. But if one is invited to a wedding in
the country, even if the "lawn" is to play a decided part in the
entertainment, one must dress very handsomely. At the regular lawn
party the lady of the house and her daughters should receive on the
lawn in their bonnets.

Yachting is a favorite "summer entertainment," and for those who
love the sea it is unparalleled for its excitement, Yachting dresses
should be made of serge or tweed, and possess warmth and durability,
and young women can trim them according to taste with the name and
insignia of their favorite yacht.

For a lawn-tennis party the players dress in flannels made for the
purpose, and for a lady the jersey is indispensable, as giving so
much freedom to the arms. These parties begin in May at all the
country-houses and country parks about our larger towns, and
certainly furnish as much healthful amusement as anything can do.

Archery has not yet become acclimated in America, but there are
clubs in certain circles which promise a future for this game.

Now for those who go to country-houses to stay "over Sunday," as is
the fashion about New York, let us give one word of advice. Always
hold yourself at the disposal of those at whose house you are
staying. If they propose a plan of action for you, fall in with it.
If your visit is prolonged for a week, endeavor to amuse yourself as
much as possible. Do not let your hostess see that you are dependent
on her for amusement. Remember, however welcome you may be, you are
not always wanted. A good hostess also learns when to let her guests
alone. A gentleman visitor who neither shoots, fishes, boats, reads,
writes letters, nor does anything but hang about, letting himself be
"amused," is an intolerable nuisance. He had better go to the
billiard-room and practice caroms by himself, or retire to the
stables and smoke.

A lady visitor should show a similar tact in retiring to her own
room to read or write letters, allowing her hostess to have her
mornings or her afternoons to herself, as she pleases. Some people
are "born visitors." They have the genius of tact to perceive, the
genius of finesse to execute, case and frankness of manner, a
knowledge of the world that nothing can surprise, a calmness of
temper that nothing can disturb, and a kindness of disposition that
can never be exhausted. Such a visitor is greatly in demand

A good-natured host and hostess place everything at the disposal of
a visitor--their horses, carriages, books, and grounds. And here the
utmost delicacy should be observed. Never ride a horse too fast or
too far. Never take the coachman beyond his usual limits. Never
pluck a flower in the ornamental grounds without asking permission,
for in these days of ornamental and fanciful gardening it is
necessary to be careful and remember that each flower is a tint in a
well-considered picture. Never dog's-ear or disfigure the books, or
leave them lying about; if you take them from their shelves, put
them back. Be thoughtful in your treatment of the servants, and give
those who immediately wait upon you some small gratuity. And if
family prayers are read, always try to be present.

So much for the possibility of a "summer entertainment" at a
country-house, one of the most agreeable of all, if the apple-
blossoms are just out, and the charm of spring is over the whole

We hear of a "rustic masquerade" as one of the spring entertainments
at a country-house in Orange. This, it would seem, might be very
suitable all over the country, if woods and water are near enough
for the shepherds and shepherdesses. A copy of the garden parties
which made Boucher the painter that he was, and in which we almost
hear the wind rustling through the sedge, the refreshing murmur of
the fountain, and see the gayly dressed marquise put her violet
slipper on the turf, and the elegant and stately gentlemen as they
light up the neighboring arbor with their fine silk coats in his
pictures--a copy of such garden parties as those which made
Watteau's fame (he has put them all on the fans, and the young
people have only to copy them)--this would indeed be a "rustic
masquerade," which might amuse and "draw" for a charity. Many of our
country towns on the borders of lakes, many of the places near New
York in their own fine grounds, would offer a terrestrial paradise
for such a garden party.

To drive out to Jerome Park to breakfast, to get the early
strawberry and the delicious cream--this is a spring entertainment
which many of our business men indulge in, coming back to their work
in New York refreshed and invigorated. The men of pleasure of this
period have, as they have always had, an ample provision of
amusement--not always the most useful, it is true--yet we are glad
to see that the out-of-door excitements begin to distance the
excitements of the gaming-table. Betting on the turf is not carried
to the ruinous extent here that it is in England, while the polo,
the base-ball, the boating, and the "riding to hounds "--open to
ridicule as it is, in some ways of looking at it--are all healthful.
The spring season has its little dinners, lunches, and weddings, but
very few evening entertainments.

After a young girl has ransacked the fashionable world all winter,
and been at all the fˆtes and balls, concerts, operas, and suppers,
she does not care for parties in May. Such infatuated ardor for
amusement would make sad havoc of her charms if she did. It is quite
enough if she finishes her exciting winter with a fancy dance or
private theatricals at some charitable entertainment.

A high tea is served in courses like a dinner, excepting with less
formality. The lady sits at one end of the table with the silver
tea-tray before her, while the gentleman has before him cold
chicken, or even, perhaps, a hot dish like roast partridges, to
carve. Frequently scalloped oysters are passed, and always salads,
so that those who are in the habit of dining at that hour have a
solid meal. There are hot cakes and biscuits and sweetmeats on the
table, so that it is really the old-fashioned tea of our
grandmothers re-enforced by some solid dishes. It is intended to
save the servants trouble on Sunday evening, but it is really more
trouble to them as now served, as it gives the waiter additional
dishes to wash, and quite as much service. It saves the cook,


When every steamer leaving these shores goes out laden with people
who are weighed down with flowers, it cannot but be a severe tax on
the ingenuity of the florist to devise novel and appropriate forms
for the typical basket that shall say _bon voyage_ in a thousand new
ways. Floral ships, anchors, stars, crosses, mottoes, monograms, and
even the national flag, have been used for these steamer

But the language of flowers, so thoroughly understood among the
Persians that a single flower expresses a complete declaration of
love, an offer of marriage, and, presumably, a hint at the
settlement, is, with our more practical visionaries and enthusiasts
of the nineteenth century, rather an echo of the stock market than a
poetical fancy. We fear that no prima donna looks at her flowers
without a thought of how much they have cost, and that the belle
estimates her bouquet according to the commercial value of a lily-
of-the-valley as compared with that of a Jacqueminot rose, rather
than as flowers simply. It is a pity that the overwhelming luxury of
an extravagant period involves in its all-powerful grasp even the
flowers of the field, those generous gifts of sunshine and of rain.

But so it is. It is a well-known fact that the lady who will give
her order three months in advance for the flowers needed for her
daughter's wedding, or for any other grand ceremonial, can, by
offering a sufficiently large amount of money, command any flower
she wishes. Even daisies and buttercups, red clover and white, the
delicate forget-me-not of the garden, nasturtiums and marigolds, the
shy and tender anemone, the dandelion and lilacs and lilies-of-the-
valley, may be forced into unnatural bloom in January. It is a
favorite caprice to put the field-flowers of June on a lunch-table
in January.

This particular table is the greatest of all the consumers of
flowers, therefore we may begin by describing some of the new
fancies developed by that extraordinarily luxurious meal. A lady's
lunch must show not only baskets of magnificent flowers up and down
the table; but it must also bear a basket or a bouquet for each

One of the most regal lunches, given to twenty-eight ladies, set the
fashion for using little gilt baskets, with covers opening on either
side of the handle--the kind of basket, of a larger size, in which,
in New England and in Old England, Dame Trot carried her
multifarious parcels home from market. These pretty and useful
baskets had on each side a bunch of flowers peeping out through the
open cover, and on the gilt handle was tied a ribbon corresponding
in color to the flowers. One of them, having soft pink rosebuds of
exceeding size and loveliness on one side and a bunch of lilies-of-
the-valley on the other, with a bow of pink satin ribbon on the
handle, was as pretty a picture as ever Kate Greenaway devised.
Another, showing the strong contrast of purple pansies and yellow
daffodils, and tied with a lovely purple satin ribbon, was a dream
of rich color.

The stiff, formal, flat bouquets of yellow daffodils and bunches of
violets, tied with purple ribbon, make a very fine effect laid in
regular order at each plate. Repetition of a favorite idea in
flowers is not ugly, although it seems at first very far from the
primeval and delicious confusion in which nature throws her bouquets
down upon upland and meadow.

In the arrangement of roses the most varied and whimsical fancies
may be displayed, although the most gorgeous effect is produced,
perhaps, by massing a single color or group. A basket of the pink
Gloire de Paris, however, with its redundant green foliage,
alternated with deep-red Jacqueminots, is a very splendid fancy, and
will fill a room with fragrance. In February these roses cost two
dollars apiece, and it was no rare sight to see four or six baskets,
each containing forty roses, on one table during the winter of 1884.

We advise all ladies going into the country to purchase some of the
little "Dame Trot" baskets, as they will be lovely when filled with
wild-flowers during the summer. Indeed, the gilt basket, fitted with
a tin pan to hold earth or water, is such a cheap and pretty
receptacle for either growing or cut flowers that it ought to be a
belonging of every dinner-table.

From the lunch-table, with its baskets and floral fancies, we come
to the dinner-table. Here the space is so valuable that the floral
bag, an ingenious plan by which roses may be hung at the side of the
wearer, has been invented. This is a novel and very pretty way of
wearing flowers. The roses or other flowers are tied together with
wires, in the shape of a reticule, and a ribbon and pin provided, so
that the lady may fasten her floral trophy at her side. The baskets
of flowers and the adornments of the _‚pergne_ for a dinner are very
apt to be all of one flower. If mixed, they are of two sorts, as
yellow roses and red ones, or white and pink, or, may be, half of
lilacs and half of roses, or purple pansies and bright yellow
flowers. Some tables are set with scarlet carnations alone, and the
effect is very fine.

For wedding decorations, houses are now filled with palm-trees in
pots and orange-trees in full bearing. An entire suite of rooms is
made into a bower of large-leaved plants. Mirrors are covered with
vines, wreaths, and climbing roses, trained across a trellis of
wire. The bride stands under a floral umbrella, which juts out into
the room. The monograms of bride and bridegroom are put in floral
shields against the wall, like the _cartouche_ on which the names
and the titles of an Egyptian king are emblazoned in the solitude of
the Pyramids. The bouquets carried by brides and bridesmaids are now
extraordinarily large, measuring a foot or more across the top.

Tulips have always been favorite ornaments for the dinner-table.
These flowers, so fine in drawing and so splendid in color, produce
an extremely brilliant effect in large masses. As Easter approaches,
lilies come in for especial notice, and the deep Japan cup-lily,
grouped with the stately callas, and the garden-lily, with its long
yellow stamens and rich perfume, worthily fill the _‚pergnes_.

Hyacinths are lovely harbingers of spring, and are beautiful in
color; but there is a strong objection to this flower as a
decoration, its heavy perfume being unpleasant to some people.

A fish-basket filled with bunches of lilies, mignonette, deep pink
moss-roses shaded to the pale tints of the rose known as the
Baroness de Rothschild, with a glowing centre of warm red
Jacqueminots and a fringe of purple pansies and Mar‚chal Niels, was
one of many beautiful floral ornaments on a magnificent dinner-

In spite of the attempt to prevent the extravagant use of flowers at
funerals, we still see on those sad occasions some new and rather
poetic ideas expressed by floral emblems. One of these, called the
"Gates Ajar," was very beautiful: the "gates" panelled with lilies,
and surmounted by doves holding sprays of passion-vines in their

Palms crossed, and clasped by roses and ribbons, an oblique cross of
roses lying on a bed of ivy, a basket made of ivy and autumn leaves,
holding a sheaf of grain and a sickle of violets, an ivy pillow with
a cross of flowers on one side, a bunch of pansies held by a knot of
ribbon at one corner, a cross made of ivy alone, a "harvest-field"
made of ears of wheat, are some of the many new funereal designs
which break the monotony of the dreadful white crosses, crowns, and
anchors, hearts and wreaths, of the past.

It is no longer necessary to exclude color from these tributes to
the dead. Indeed, some of the most beautiful designs noticed at
recent funerals have been composed of colored flowers.

For a christening, a floral cradle or swinging hammock, a bowl, a
silver cup full of the tiniest flowers, are all favorite designs. A
large table of flowers, with the baby's initials in the centre, was
sent to one happy young mother on a recent auspicious occasion; and
far more lovely was a manger of flowers, with the "Star of the East"
hanging above it, all made of that pretty white flower the Star of

Strange contrasts of flowers have been made: purple lilacs and the
blue forget-me-nots were a favorite combination--"stylish, not
pretty," was the whispered criticism.

The yellow marigold, a sort of small sunflower, has been the
favorite "caprice" for _bouquets de corsage_. This is as near to an
actual sunflower as the aesthetes have ventured to approach. With
us, perhaps, there is no more splendid yellow than this marigold,
and it admirably sets off a black or sage green dress.

An extravagant lady, at a ball, wore around her white dress skirt a
fringe of real violets. Although less effective than the artificial
ones, they had a pretty appearance until they drooped and faded.
This adornment cost one hundred and fifty dollars.

A rainbow has been attempted in flowers, but with poor success. It
will look like a ribbon--a very handsome ribbon, no doubt; but the
_arc-en-ciel_ evades reproduction, even in the transcendent
prismatic colors of flowers.

Ribbons have been used with flowers, and add much to their effect;
for, since the Arcadian days of Rosalind and Celia, a flower, a
ribbon, and a pretty girl, have been associated with each other in
prose, poetry, painting, and romance.

The hanging-baskets, filled with blooming plants, trailers, and
ferns, have been much used at weddings to add to the bower-like
appearance of the rooms; and altars and steps of churches have been
richly adorned with flowering plants and palm-trees and other
luxuriant foliage.

The prices paid for flowers have been enormous. One thousand dollars
for the floral decorations for a single dinner has not been an
uncommon price. But the expenditure of such large sums for flowers
has not been unprofitable. The flowers grow finer every day, and, as
an enterprising florist, who had given a "rose tea" to his patrons,
remarked, "Every large order inspires us to produce a finer flower."


A correspondent writes, "How shall I carry my fork to my mouth?" The
fork should be raised laterally to the mouth with the right hand;
the elbow should never be crooked, so as to bring the hand round at
a right angle, or the fork directly opposite the mouth. The mother
cannot begin too early to inculcate good manners at the table, and
among the first things that young children should learn is the
proper use of the fork.

Again, the fork should not be overloaded. To take meat and
vegetables and pack them on the poor fork, as if it were a beast of
burden, is a common American vulgarity, born of our hurried way of
eating at railway-stations and hotels. But it is an unhealthy and an
ill-mannered habit. To take but little on the fork at a time, a
moderate mouthful, shows good manners and refinement. The knife must
never be put into the mouth at any time--that is a remnant of

Another correspondent asks, "Should cheese be eaten with a fork?" We
say, decidedly, "Yes," although good authorities declare that it may
be put on a morsel of bread with a knife, and thus conveyed to the
mouth. Of course we refer to the soft cheeses--like Gorgonzola,
Brie, cream-cheese, Neufchatel, Limburger, and the like--which are
hardly more manageable than butter. Of the hard cheeses, one may
convey a morsel to the month with the thumb and forefinger; but, as
a general rule, it is better to use the fork.

Now as to the spoon: it is to be used for soup, for strawberries and
cream, for all stewed fruit and preserves, and for melons, which,
from their juiciness, cannot be conveniently eaten with a fork.
Peaches and cream, all the "wet dishes," as Mrs. Glasse was wont to
call them, must be eaten with a spoon. Roman punch is always eaten
with a spoon.

On elegant tables, each plate or "cover" is accompanied by two large
silver knives, a small silver knife and fork for fish, a small fork
for the oysters on the half-shell, a large table-spoon for soup, and
three large forks. The napkin is folded in the centre, with a piece
of bread in it. As the dinner progresses, the knife and fork and
spoon which have been used are taken away with the plate. This saves
confusion, and the servant has not to bring fresh knives and forks
all the time. Fish should be eaten with silver knife and fork; for
if it is full of bones, like shad, for instance, it is very
difficult to manage it without the aid of a knife.

For sweetbreads, cutlets, roast beef, etc., the knife is also
necessary; but for the _croquettes_, _rissoles_, _bouch‚es … la
Reine_, _timbales_, and dishes of that class, the fork alone is
needed. A majority of the made dishes in which the French excel are
to be eaten with the fork.

After the dinner has been eaten, and the dessert reached, we must
see to it that everything is cleared off but the table-cloth, which
is now never removed. A dessert-plate is put before each guest, and
a gold or silver spoon, a silver dessert spoon and fork, and often a
queer little combination of fork and spoon, called an "ice-spoon."

In England, strawberries are always served with the green stems, and
each one is taken up with the fingers, dipped in sugar, and thus
eaten. Many foreigners pour wine over their strawberries, and then
eat them with a fork, but this seems to be detrimental to the
natural flavor of the king of berries.

Pears and apples should be peeled with a silver knife, cut into
quarters, and then picked up with the fingers. Oranges should be
peeled, and cut or separated, as the eater chooses. Grapes should be
eaten from behind the half-closed hand, the stones and skin falling
into the fingers unobserved, and thence to the plate. Never swallow
the stones of small fruits; it is extremely dangerous. The pineapple
is almost the only fruit which requires both knife and fork.

So much has the fork come into use of late that a wit observed that
he took everything with it but afternoon tea. The thick chocolate,
he observed, often served at afternoon entertainments, could be
eaten comfortably with a fork, particularly the whipped cream on top
of it.

A knife and fork are both used in eating salad, if it is not cut up
before serving. A large lettuce leaf cannot be easily managed
without a knife, and of course the fork must be used to carry it to
the mouth. Thus, as bread, butter, and cheese are served with the
salad, the salad knife and fork are really essential. Salt-cellars
are now placed at each plate, and it is not improper to take salt
with your knife.

Dessert-spoons and small forks do not form a part of the original
"cover;" that is, they are not put on at the beginning of the
dinner, but are placed before the guests according as they are
needed; as, for instance, when the Roman punch arrives before the
game, and afterwards when the plum-pudding or pastry is served
before the ices.

The knives and forks are placed on each side of the plate, ready for
the hand.

For the coffee after dinner a very small spoon is served, as a large
one would be out of place in the small cups that are used. Indeed,
the variety of forks and spoons now in use on a well-furnished table
is astonishing.

One of our esteemed correspondents asks, "How much soup should be
given to each person?" A half-ladleful is quite enough, unless it is
a country dinner, where a full ladleful may be given without
offence; but do not fill the soup-plate.

In carving a joint of fowl the host ought to make sure of the
condition of both knife and fork. Of course a good carver sees to
both before dinner. The knife should be of the best cutlery, well
sharpened, and the fork long, strong, and furnished with a guard.

In using the spoon be very careful not to put it too far into the
mouth. It is a fashion with children to polish their spoons in a
somewhat savage fashion, but the guest at a dinner-party should
remember, in the matter of the dessert-spoon especially (which is a
rather large implement for the mouth), not to allow even the
clogging influences of cabinet pudding to induce him to give his
spoon too much leeway; as in all etiquette of the table, the spoon
has its difficulties and dangers. Particularly has the soup-spoon
its Scylla and Charybdis, and if a careless eater make a hissing
sound as he eats his soup, the well-bred diner-out looks round with

There are always people happy in their fashion of eating, as in
everything else. There is no such infallible proof of good-breeding
and of early usage as the conduct of a man or woman at dinner. But,
as every one has not had the advantage of early training, it is well
to study these minute points of table etiquette, that one may learn
how to eat without offending the sensibility of the well-bred.
Especially study the fork and the spoon. There is, no doubt, a great
diversity of opinion on the Continent with regard to the fork. It is
a common German fashion, even with princes, to put the knife into
the month. Italians are not always particular as to its use, and
cultivated Russians, Swedes, Poles, and Danes often eat with their
knives or forks indiscriminately.

But Austria, which follows French fashions, the Anglo-Saxon race in
England, America, and the colonies, all French people, and those
elegant Russians who emulate French manners, deem the fork the
proper medium of communication between the plate and the mouth.


The elegance of a table depends essentially upon its napery. The
plainest of meals is made a banquet if the linen be fresh, fine, and
smooth, and the most sumptuous repast can be ruined by a soiled and
crumpled table-cloth. The housewife who wishes to conduct her house
in elegance must make up her mind to use five or six sets of
napkins, and to have several dozens of each ready for possible

A napkin should never be put on the table a second time until it has
been rewashed; therefore, napkin-rings should be abandoned--
relegated to the nursery tea-table.

Breakfast napkins are of a smaller size than dinner napkins, and are
very pretty if they bear the initial letter of the family in the
centre. Those of fine, double damask, with a simple design, such as
a snow-drop or a mathematical figure, to match the table-cloth, are
also pretty. In the end, the economy in the wear pays a young house-
keeper to invest well in the best of napery--double damask, good
Irish linen. Never buy poor or cheap napkins; they are worn out
almost immediately by washing.

Coarse, heavy napkins are perhaps proper for the nursery and
children's table. If children dine with their parents, they should
have a special set of napkins for their use, and some very careful
mammas make these with tapes to tie around the youthful necks. It is
better in a large family, where there are children, to have heavy
and coarse table-linen for every-day use. It is not an economy to
buy colored cloths, for they must be washed as often as if they were
white, and no color stands the hard usage of the laundry as well as
pure white.

Colored napery is, therefore, the luxury of a well-appointed country
house, and has its use in making the breakfast and luncheon table
look a little unlike the dinner. Never use a parti-colored damask
for the dinner-table.

Those breakfast cloths of pink, or yellow, or light-blue and white,
or drab, are very pretty with napkins to match; but after having
been washed a few times they become very dull in tint, and are not
as agreeable to the eye as white, which grows whiter with every
summer's bleaching. Ladies who live in the city should try to send
all their napery to the country at least once a year, and let it lie
on the grass for a good bleaching. It seems to keep cleaner

For dinner, large and handsome napkins, carefully ironed and folded
simply, with a piece of bread inside, should lie at each plate.
These should be removed when the fruit course is brought, and with
each finger-bowl should be a colored napkin, with which to dry the

Pretty little fanciful doyleys are now also put under the finger-
bowl, merely to be looked at. Embroidered with quaint designs, these
little three-inch things are very ornamental; but the real and
serviceable doyley should not be forgotten, and may be laid either
beside or over the top of the finger-bowl.

Many ladies are so extravagant that they have a second napkin of
small size put on for that part of the dessert which precedes the
fruit, but this involves so much trouble to both the guest and the
waiter that it is not ordinarily done.

The napkins made at Berlin, with drawn thread and knotted fringe and
lace effects, are very handsome. They are also made at the South
Kensington schools, and in Paris, and by the Decorative Art Society
in New York, and are beautifully wrought with monogram and crest in
red, white, and blue thread. But no napkin is ever more thoroughly
elegant than the very thick, fine, and substantial plain damask,
which becomes more pure and smooth every time that it is cleansed.

However, as one of our great dinner-givers in New York has ordered
twenty-four dozen of the handsome, drawn-thread napkins from one
establishment at Berlin, we must conclude that they will become the

When breakfast is made a formal meal--that is, when company is
invited to come at a stated hour-_-serviettes_, or large dinner-
napkins, must be placed at each plate, as for a dinner. But they are
never used at a "stand-up" breakfast, nor are doyleys or finger-

If any accident happens, such as the spilling of a glass of wine or
the upsetting of a plate, the _d‚bris_ should be carefully cleared
away, and the waiter should spread a clean napkin over the
desecrated table-cloth. Large, white napkins are invariably used at
luncheon, and the smaller ones kept for breakfast and tea. Some
ladies like the little, fringed napkins for tea, but to look well
these must be very carefully washed and ironed.

Never fasten your napkin around your neck; lay it across your knees,
convenient to the hand, and lift one corner only to wipe the mouth.
Men who wear a mustache are permitted to "saw" the mouth with the
napkin, as if it were a bearing-rein, but for ladies this would look
too masculine.

Napkins at hotels are now folded, in a half-wet condition, into all
sorts of shapes: a goose, a swan, a ship, a high boot, are all
favorite and fanciful designs; but this is a dirty fashion,
requiring the manipulation of hands which are not always fresh, and
as the napkin must be damp at the folding, it is not always dry when
shaken out. Nothing is so unhealthy as a damp napkin; it causes
agony to a delicate and nervous lady, a man with the rose-cold, a
person with neuralgia or rheumatism, and is offensive to every one.
Never allow a napkin to be placed on the table until it has been
well aired. There is often a conspiracy between the waiter and the
laundress in great houses, both wishing to shirk work, the result of
which is that the napkins, not prepared at the proper time, are put
on the table damp.

A house-keeper should have a large chest to contain napery which is
not to be used every day. This reserved linen should be washed and
aired once a year at least, to keep it from moulding and becoming

Our Dutch ancestors were very fond of enriching a chest of this
kind, and many housewives in New York and Albany are to-day using
linen brought from Holland three hundred years ago.

The napery made in Ireland has, however, in our day taken the place
of that manufactured in other countries. It is good, cheap, and
sometimes very handsome, and if it can be bought unadulterated with
cotton it will last many years.

Very little starch should be put in napkins. No one wishes to wipe a
delicate lip on a board, and a stiff napkin is very like that

At dinner-parties in England, in the days of William the Fourth, a
napkin was handed with each plate. As the guest took his plate and
new napkin, he allowed the one which he had used to fall to the
floor, and when he went away from the table he left a snowy pile of
napery behind him.

The use of linen for the table is one of the oldest of fashions, The
early Italian tables were served with such beautiful lace-worked
napkins that we cannot equal them to-day. Queen Elizabeth's napkins
were edged with lace made in Flanders, and were an important item of
expense in her day-book.

Fringed, embroidered, and colored napkins made of silk are used by
Chinese and Japanese magnates. These articles may be washed, and are
restored to their original purity by detergent agents that are
unknown to us. The Chinese also use little napkins of paper, which
are very convenient for luncheon baskets and picnics.

One of our correspondents asks us if she should fold her napkin
before leaving the table. At a fashionable meal, no. At a social tea
or breakfast, yes, if her hostess does so. There is no absolute law
on this subject.

At a fashionable dinner no one folds his napkin. He lets it drop to
the floor, or lays it by the side of his plate unfolded. When the
fruit napkin is brought he takes it from the glass plate on which it
is laid, and either places it at his right hand or across his knee,
and the "illuminated rag," as some wit called the little embroidered
doyley, which is not meant for use, is, after having been examined
and admired, laid on the table, beside the finger-bowl. These pretty
little trifles can serve several times the purpose of ornamenting
the finger-bowl.

Napkins, when laid away in a chest or drawer, should have some
pleasant, cleanly herb like lavender or sweet-grass, or the old-
fashioned clover, or bags of Oriental orris-root, put between them,
that they may come to the table smelling of these delicious scents.

Nothing is more certain to destroy the appetite of a nervous
dyspeptic than a napkin that smells of greasy soap. There is a
laundry soap now in use which leaves a very unpleasant odor in the
linen, and napkins often smell so strongly of it as to take away the
desire for food.

Perhaps the influence of Delmonico upon the public has been in
nothing more strongly shown than in the effect produced by his
always immaculate napery. It was not common in American eating-
houses, when he began, to offer clean table-cloths and clean
napkins. Now no decent diner will submit to any other than a clean
napkin. Every lady, therefore, who aspires to elegant housekeeping,
should remember that she must never allow the same napkin to be put
on her table twice. Once used, it must be sent to the laundry before
it is put on the table again.


As we read that a West Point hotel-keeper has recently dismissed all
his waiters who would not shave off their mustaches, we must begin
to believe that the heretofore heedless American is considering the
appearance of his house and carriage-servants. In the early days of
the republic, before Thomas Jefferson tied his horse's rein to the
palings of the fence and sauntered into the Capitol to be
inaugurated, the aristocrats of the various cities had a livery for
their servants. But after such a dash of cold water in the face of
established usage by the Chief Magistrate of the Country, many of
the old forms and customs of Colonial times fell into disuse, and
among others the wearing of a livery by serving-men. A constantly
declining grade of shabbiness was the result of this, as the driver
of the horses wore a coat and hat of the same style as his master,
only less clean and new. Like many of our American ideas so good in
theory, the outcome of this attempt at "Liberty, Equality, and
Fraternity," was neither conducive to neatness nor elegance.

But so strongly was the prejudice against liveries instilled into
the public mind that only seven years ago a gentleman of the most
aristocratic circle of aristocratic Philadelphia declared that he
refrained from having a liveried servant behind his carriage from
fear of shocking public opinion. In New York the presence of a
large, foreign, social element long ago brought about a revulsion of
opinion in this matter, and now most persons who desire a neat,
plain, and appropriate style of dress for their coachmen and footmen
put them in a livery, for which the master pays. Those who are
particular in such matters do not allow a waiter or a footman to
wear a mustache, and require all men-servants to be clean-shaven,
except the coachman, who is permitted to wear whiskers. Each must
have his hair cut short, and the waiter must wear white gloves while
waiting at table or when handing refreshments; even a glass of water
on a silver salver must be brought with a gloved hand.

Many ladies have much trouble in impressing upon their men-servants
the necessity for personal neatness. The ordinary attire of a butler
is a black dress-coat, with white cravat and white cotton gloves. A
waiter who attends the door in a large establishment, and who is one
of many servants, is usually in a quiet livery--a frock-coat with
brass buttons, and a striped waistcoat. Some families affect the
scarlet waistcoat for their footman, which, indeed, may be used with
very good effect for the negro servant.

Neatness is indispensable; a slovenly and inattentive servant
betrays a slovenly household. Yet servants often do their employers
great injustice. They are slow to respond to the bell, they give
uncivil answers, they deny one person and admit another, they fail
to deliver notes, they are insolent, they neglect the orders of the
mistress when she is out. We cannot expect perfection in our
domestic service, but it is possible, by painstaking and patient
teaching, to create a respectable and helpful serving class.
Servants are very apt to take their tone from their employers--to be
civil if they are civil, and insolent if they are insolent. The head
of the house is very apt to be copied by his flunkies. One primal
law we must mention--a hostess should never reprove her servants in
the presence of her guests; it is cruel both to guest and servant,
and always shows the hostess in an unamiable light. Whatever may go
wrong, the lady of the house should remain calm; if she is
anguished, who can be happy?

We have not here, nominally, that helpful treasure known in England
as the parlor-maid. We call her a waitress, and expect her to do all
the work of one floor. Such a person can be trained by a good
housekeeper to be a most admirable servant. She must be told to rise
early, to attend to the sweeping of the door-steps, to open the
blinds, to light the fires, and to lay the breakfast-table. She must
appear in a neat calico dress, white apron and cap, and wait upon
the family at breakfast. After breakfast, the gentlemen will expect
her to brush their hats, to bring overcoats and overshoes, and to
find the umbrellas. She must answer the door-bell as well, so should
be nimble-footed and quick-witted. When breakfast is over, she must
remove the dishes and wash them, clean the silver, and prepare for
the next meal. In well-regulated households there is a day for
sweeping, a day for silver cleaning, a clay for mirror-polishing,
and another for making bright and neat the fireplaces; but each one
of these duties requires a certain share of attention every day. The
parlor must be dusted, and the fires attended to, of course, so the
parlor-maid, or the waitress, in a large family has much to do. The
best girls for this arduous situation are English, but they are very
difficult to procure. The Germans are not apt to remain long with
one family. The best available parlor-maids are Irishwomen who have
lived some time in this country.

A servant often sins from ignorance, therefore time spent in
teaching her is not wasted. She should be supplied with such
utensils as facilitate work, and one very good house-keeper declares
that the virtue of a waitress depends upon an infinity of crash. And
there is no doubt that a large supply of towels is a constant
suggestion of cleanliness that is a great moral support to a

In these days, when parlors are filled with bric-…-brac, a parlor-
maid has no time to do laundry-work, except such part of it as may
pertain to her personally. The best of all arrangements is to hire a
laundress, who will do all the washing of the house. Even in a very
economical household this has been found to be the best plan,
otherwise there is always an unexplained delay when the bell rings.
The appearance at the door of a dishevelled maid, with arms covered
with soapsuds, is not ornamental. If a cook can be found who will
also undertake to do the washing and ironing, it is a better and
more satisfactory arrangement. But in our growing prosperity this
functionary has assumed new and extraordinary importance, and will
do nothing but cook.

A young house-keeper beginning her life in a great city finds
herself frequently confronted with the necessity of having four
servants--a cook, a laundress, a waiter or parlor-maid (sometimes
both), and a chamber-maid. None of these excellent auxiliaries is
willing to do the other's work: they generally quarrel. So the first
experience of house-keeping is not agreeable. But it is possible to
find two servants who, if properly trained, will do all the service
of a small family, and do it well.

The mistress must carefully define the work of each, or else hire
them with the understanding that neither shall ever say, "This is
not my work." It is sometimes quite impossible to define what is the
exact duty of each servant. Our house-keeping in this country is so
chaotic, and our frequent changes of house and fortune cause it to
partake so much of the nature of a provisional government, that
every woman must be a Louis Napoleon, and ready for a _coup d'‚tat_
at any moment.

The one thing which every lady must firmly demand from her servants
is respect. The harassed and troubled American woman who has to cope
with the worst servants in the world--the ill-trained, incapable,
and vicious peasantry of Europe, who come here to be "as good as
anybody," and who see that it is easily possible to make a living in
America whether they are respectful or not--that woman has a very
arduous task to perform.

But she must gain at least outward respect by insisting upon having
it, and by showing her servants that she regards it as even a
greater desideratum than the efficient discharge of duties. The
mistress must not lose her temper. She must be calm, imperturbable,
and dignified, always. If she gives an order, she must insist, at
whatever personal cost, that it shall be obeyed. Pertinacity and
inflexibility on this point are well bestowed.

Where there are children, the nurse is, of course, a most important
part of the household, and often gives more trouble than any of the
other servants, for she is usually an elderly person, impatient of
control, and "set in her ways." The mistress must make her obey at
once. Nurses are only human, and can be made to conform to the rules
by which humanity is governed.

Ladies have adopted for their nurses the French style of dress--dark
stuff gowns, white aprons, and caps. French nurses are, indeed, very
much the fashion, as it is deemed all-important that children should
learn to speak French as soon as they can articulate. But it is so
difficult to find a French nurse who will speak the truth that many
mothers have renounced the accomplished Gaul and hired the Anglo-
Saxon, who is often not more veracious.

No doubt there was better service when servants were fewer, and when
the mistress looked well after the ways of her household, and
performed certain domestic duties herself. In those early days it
was she who made the best pastry and sweetmeats. It was she who
wrought at the quilting-frame and netted the best bed-curtains. It
was she who darned the table-cloth, with a neatness and exactness
that made the very imperfection a beauty. It was she who made the
currant wine and the blackberry cordial. She knew all the secrets of
clear starching, and taught the ignorant how to do their work
through her educated intelligence. She had, however, native
Americans to teach, and not Irish, Germans, or Swedes. Now, few
native-born Americans will become servants, and the difficulties of
the mistress are thereby increased.

A servant cannot be too carefully taught her duty to visitors.
Having first ascertained whether her mistress is at home or not, in
order to save a lady the trouble of alighting from her carriage, she
should answer the ring of the door-bell without loss of time. She
should treat all callers with respect and civility, but at the same
time she should be able to discriminate between friend and foe, and
not unwarily admit those innumerable cheats, frauds, and beggars
who, in a respectable garb, force an entrance to one's house for the
purpose of theft, or perhaps to sell a cement for broken crockery,
or the last thing in hair-dye.

Conscientious servants who comprehend their duties, and who try to
perform them, should, after a certain course of discipline, be
allowed to follow their own methods of working. Interference and
fault-finding injure the temper of an inferior; while suspicion is
bad for anybody, and especially operates against the making of a
good servant.

To assure your servants that you believe them to be honest is to fix
in them the habit of honesty. To respect their rights, their hours
of recreation, their religion, their feelings, to wish them good-
night and good-morning (after the pretty German fashion), to assist
them in the writing of their letters and in the proper investment of
their earnings, to teach them to read and write and to make their
clothes, so that they may be useful to themselves when they leave
servitude--all this is the pleasurable duty of a good mistress, and
such a course makes good servants.

All ignorant natures seek a leader; all servants like to be
commanded by a strong, honest, fair, judicious mistress. They seek
her praise; they fear her censure, not as slaves dread the whip of
the tyrant, but as soldiers respect their superior officer. Bad
temper, injustice, and tyranny make eye-service, but not heart-

Irresolute persons who do not know their own minds, and cannot
remember their own orders, make very poor masters and mistresses. It
is better that they should give up the business of house-keeping,
and betake themselves to the living in hotels or boarding-houses
with which our English cousins taunt us, little knowing that the
nomadic life they condemn is the outcome of their own failure to
make good citizens of those offscourings of jail and poorhouse and
Irish shanty which they send to us under the guise of domestic

Familiarity with servants always arouses their contempt; a mistress
can be kind without being familiar. She must remember that the
servant looks up to her over the great gulf of a different condition
of life and habit--over the great gulf of ignorance, and that, in
the order of nature, she should respect not only the person in
authority, but the being, as superior to herself. This salutary
influence is thrown away if the mistress descend to familiarity and
intimacy. Certain weak mistresses vary their attitude towards their
servants, first assuming a familiarity of manner which is
disgusting, and which the servant does not mistake for kindness, and
then a tyrannical severity which is as unreasonable as the
familiarity, and, like it, is only a spasm of an ill-regulated mind.

Servants should wear thin shoes in the house, and be told to step
lightly, not to slam doors, or drop china, or to rattle forks and
spoons. A quiet servant is the most certain of domestic blessings.
Neatness, good manners, and faithfulness have often insured a stupid
servant of no great efficiency a permanent home with a family. If to
these qualities be added a clear head, an active body, and a
respectful manner, we have that rare article--a perfect servant.


Many large families in this country employ but one servant. Although
when life was simpler it was somewhat easier than it is now to
conduct a house with such assistance as may be offered by a maid-of-
all-work, it was necessary even then for the ladies of the house to
do some portion of the lighter domestic work.

It is a very good plan, when there are several daughters in the
family, to take turns each to test her talent as a house-keeper and
organizer. If, however, the mistress keep the reins in her own
hands, she can detail one of these young ladies to sweep and dust
the parlors, another to attend to the breakfast dishes, another to
make sure that the maid has not neglected any necessary cleansing of
the bedrooms.

A mother with young children must have a thoroughly defined and
understood system for the daily work to render it possible for one
servant to perform it all.

The maid must rise very early on Monday morning, and do some part of
the laundry work before breakfast. Many old American servants (when
there were such) put the clothes in water to soak, and sometimes to
boil, on Sunday night, that night not having the religious
significance in New England that Saturday night had.

Nowadays, however, Irish girls expect to have a holiday every other
Sunday afternoon and evening, and it would probably be vain to
expect this service of them. But at least they should rise by five
o'clock, and do two hours' good work before it is time to prepare
the breakfast and lay the table.

A neat-handed Phyllis will have a clean gown, cap, and apron hanging
in the kitchen closet, and slip them on before she carries in the
breakfast, which she has cooked and must serve. Some girls show
great tact in this matter of appearing neat at the right time, but
many of them have to be taught by the mistress to have a clean cap
and apron in readiness. The mistress usually furnishes these items
of her maid's attire, and they should be the property of the
mistress, and remain in the family through all changes of servants.
They can be bought at almost any repository conducted in the
interest of charity for less than they can be made at home, and a
dozen of them in a house greatly improves the appearance of the

The cook, having prepared the breakfast and waited at table, places
in front of her mistress a neat, wooden tub, with a little cotton-
yarn mop and two clean towels, and then retreats to the kitchen with
the heavy dishes and knives and forks. The lady proceeds to wash the
glass, silver, and china, draining the things on a waiter, and
wiping them on her dainty linen towels. It is not a disagreeable
operation, and all gentlemen say they like to eat and drink from
utensils which have been washed by a lady.

Having put away the glass and china, the lady shakes the table-
cloth, folds it, and puts it away. She then takes a light brush
broom and sweeps the dining-room, and dusts it carefully, opening a
window to air the apartment. When this is done she sets the parlor
in order. The maid-of-all-work should, in the mean time, make a
visit to the bedrooms, and do the heavy work of turning mattresses
and making beds. When this is accomplished she must return to the
kitchen, and after carefully cleaning the pots and kettles that have
been in use for the morning meal, devote an undivided attention to
her arduous duties as laundress. A plain dinner for washing-day--a
beefsteak and some boiled potatoes, a salad, and a pie or pudding
made on the preceding Saturday--is all that should be required of a
maid-of-all-work on Monday.

The afternoon must be spent in finishing the washing, hanging out
the clothes, and preparing the tea--an easy and informal meal, which
should consist of something easy to cook; for, after all that she
has done during the day, this hard-worked girl must "tidy up" her
kitchen before she can enjoy a well-earned repose. It is so annoying
to a maid-of-all-work to be obliged to open the door for visitors
that ladies often have a little girl or boy for this purpose. In the
country it can be more easily managed.

Tuesday is ironing-day all over the world, and the maid must be
assisted in this time of emergency by her mistress. Most ladies
understand the process of clear starching and the best method of
ironing fine clothing; if they do not, they should. In fact, a good
house-keeper should know everything; and when a lady gives her
attention to this class of household duties she is invariably more
successful in performing them than a person of less education and

On Wednesday the maid must bake a part of the bread, cake, and pies
that will be required during the week. In this the mistress helps,
making the light pastry, stoning the raisins, washing the currants,
and beating the eggs. Very often a lady fond of cookery makes all
her dainty dishes, her desserts, and her cakes and pies. She should
help herself with all sorts of mechanical appliances. She should
have the best of egg-beaters, sugar-sifters, bowls in plenty, and
towels and aprons _ad libitum_. She has, if she be a systematic
house-keeper, a store closet, which is her pride, with its neat,
labelled spice-boxes, and its pots of pickles and preserves which
she has made herself, and which, therefore, must be nice.

The cooking of meat is a thing which so affects the health of people
that every lady should study it thoroughly. No roasts should be
baked. The formulary sounds like a contradiction; but it is the
custom in houses where the necessity of saving labor is an important
consideration, to put the meat that should be roasted in the oven
and bake it. This is very improper, as it dries up all the juice,
which is the life-giving, life-sustaining property of the meat.

Let every young house-keeper buy a Dutch oven, and either roast the
meat before the coals of a good wood fire, or before the grating of
a range, in which coals take the place of wood. By this method she
saves those properties of a piece of roast beef which are the most
valuable. Otherwise her roast meat will be a chip, a tasteless and a
dry morsel, unpalatable and indigestible.

The cooking of vegetables is also to be studied; potatoes should not
be over-boiled or underdone, as they are exceedingly unhealthy if
not properly cooked. Bread must be well kneaded and delicately
baked; a woman who understands the uses of fire--and every
householder should--has stolen the secret of Prometheus.

On Thursday the maid must sweep the house thoroughly, if there are
heavy carpets, as this is work for the strong-armed and the strong-
handed. The mistress can follow with the dusting-brush and the
cloth, and, again, the maid may come in her footstep with step-
ladder, and wipe off mirrors and windows.

Many ladies have a different calendar from this, and prefer to have
their work done on different days; but whatever may be the system
for the management of a house, it should be strictly carried out,
and all the help that may accrue from punctuality and order rendered
to a maid in the discharge of her arduous and multifarious duties.

Most families have a sort of general house-cleaning on Friday:
floors are scrubbed and brasses cleaned, the silver given a better
cleansing, and the closets examined, the knives are scoured more
thoroughly, and the lady puts her linen-closet in order, throwing
sweet lavender between the sheets. On Saturday more bread and cake
are baked, the Sunday's dinner prepared, that the maid may have her
Sunday afternoon out, and the busy week is ended with a clean
kitchen, a well-swept and garnished house, and all the cooking done
except the Sunday meat and vegetables.

To conduct the business of a house through the week, with three
meals each day, and all the work well done; by one maid, is a very
creditable thing to the mistress. The "order which is Heaven's first
law" must be her chief help in this difficult matter; she must be
willing to do much of the light work herself, and she must have a
young, strong, willing maid.


The great problem of the young or middle-aged house-keeper in large
cities is how to form a neat, happy, comfortable home, and so to
order the house that two servants can accomplish all its work.

These two servants we call the cook and the waiter, and they must do
all that there is to do, including the washing.

When life was simpler, this was done without murmuring; but now it
is difficult to find good and trained servants, particularly in New
York, who will fill such places. For to perform the work of a
family--to black the boots, sweep and wash the sidewalk, attend the
door and lay the table, help with the washing and ironing, and make
the fires, as well as sweep and dust, and take care of the silver--
would seem to require the hands of Briareus.

It is better to hire a girl "for general house-work," and train her
for her work as waitress, than to take one who has clone nothing
else but wait at table. Be particular, when engaging a girl, to tell
her what she has to do, as many of the lofty kind object
particularly to blacking boots; and as it must be done, it is better
to define it at once.

A girl filling this position should have, first, the advantage of
system, and the family must keep regular hours. She must rise at
six, or earlier, if necessary, open the front-door and parlor-
blinds, and the dining-room windows, and then proceed to cleanse the
front steps and sidewalk, polish the bell-pull, and make all tidy
about the mats. She must next make the fires, if fires are used in
the house, and carry down the ashes, carefully depositing them where
they will not communicate fire. She must then gather the boots and
shoes from the doors of the sleeping-rooms, and take them to the
laundry, where she should brush them, having a closet there for her
brushes and blacking. Having replaced the boots beside the
respective doors to which they belong, she should make herself neat
and clean, put on her cap and apron, and then prepare for laying the
table for breakfast. This she does not do until she has brushed up
the floor, caused the fire to burn brightly, and in all respects
made the dining-room respectable.

The laying of the table must be a careful and neat operation; a
clean cloth should be put on, with the fold regularly running down
the middle of the table, the silver and glass and china placed
neatly and in order, the urn-lamp lighted, and the water put to
boil, the napkins fresh and well-folded, and the chairs drawn up in
order on either side. It is well worth a mistress's while to preside
at this work for two or three mornings, to see that her maid
understands her wishes.

All being in order, the maid may ring a bell, or knock at the doors,
or rouse the family as they may wish. When breakfast is over she
removes the dishes, and washes the silver and china in the pantry.
After putting everything away, and opening a window in the dining-
room, she proceeds to the bedrooms.

Every one should, before leaving his bedroom, open a window and turn
back the clothes, to air the room and the bed thoroughly. If this
has been neglected, it is the servant's business to do it, and to
make the beds, wash the basins, and leave everything very clean. She
must also dust the bureaus and tables and chairs, hang up the
dresses, put away the shoes, and set everything in order.

She then descends to the parlor floor, and makes it neat, and thence
to the kitchen, where, if she has time, she does a little washing;
but if there is to be luncheon or early dinner, she cannot do much
until that is prepared, particularly if it is her duty to answer a
bell. In a doctor's house, or in a house where there are many calls,
some one to attend exclusively at the door is almost indispensable.

After the early dinner or lunch, the maid has a few hours' washing
and ironing before getting ready for the late dinner or tea, which
is the important meal of the day. If she is systematic, and the
family are punctual, a girl can do a great deal of washing and
ironing on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, even if she has to answer
the bell; but if she is not systematic, and the meals are not at
regular hours, she cannot do much.

On Thursday, which we have already designated as sweeping day, she
must sweep the whole house, all the carpets, shake the rugs in the
back yard, shake and sweep down the heavy curtains, and dust the
mirror-frames with a long feather-duster. The mistress can help her
by insisting that her family shall leave their rooms early, and by
herself refusing to see visitors on sweeping day.

On Friday, in addition to the usual daily work, the silver must be
polished, the brass rubbed, and the closets (which, in the hurry of
the week's work, may have been neglected), carefully cleaned and
ventilated, On Friday afternoon the napkins and towels should be

On Saturday these should be ironed, and everything, so far as
possible, made ready for Sunday.

The cook, meantime, should rise even earlier than the waiter; should
descend in time to receive the milkman, the iceman, and the
breadman; should unlock the basement-door, sweep out the hall, and
take in the barrels which have been left out with the ashes and
other refuse.

A cook should be instructed never to give away the beef-dripping,
as, if clarified in cold water, it is excellent for frying oysters,
etc., and saves butter. The cook should air the kitchen and laundry,
build the fire in the range, and sweep carefully before she begins
to cook.

A careful house-keeper takes care that her cook shall make her
toilet in her room, _not_ in the kitchen. Particularly should she be
made to arrange her hair upstairs, as some cooks have an exceedingly
nasty habit of combing their hair in the kitchen. It will repay a
house-keeper to make several visits to the kitchen at unexpected

Cooks vary so decidedly in their way of preparing meals that no
general directions can be given; but the best should be made to
follow certain rules, and the worst should be watched and guarded. A
great cleanliness as to pots and kettles, particularly the
teakettle, should be insisted upon, and the closets, pails, barrels,
etc., be carefully watched. Many a case of typhoid fever can be
traced to the cook's slop-pail, or closets, or sink, and no lady
should be careless of looking into all these places.

A cook, properly trained, can get up a good breakfast out of remains
of the dinner of the preceding day, or some picked-up cod-fish,
toast, potatoes sliced and fried, or mashed, boiled, stewed, or
baked. The making of good clear coffee is not often understood by
the green Irish cook. The mistress must teach her this useful art,
and also how to make good tea, although the latter is generally made
on the table.

With the sending up of the breakfast comes the first chance of a
collision between cook and waiter; and disagreeable, bad-tempered
servants make much of this opportunity. The cook in city houses puts
the dinner on the dumb-waiter and sends it up to the waiter, who
takes it off. All the heavy meat-dishes and the greasy plates are
sent down to the cook to wash, and herein lies many a grievance
which the mistress can anticipate and prevent by forbidding the use
of the dumb-waiter if it leads to quarrelling, and by making the
maids carry all the plates and dishes up and down. This course of
treatment will soon cure them of their little tempers.

In plain households the cook has much less to do than the waiter;
she should therefore undertake the greater part of the washing and
ironing. Many very good cooks will do all the washing and ironing
except the table linen and the towels used by the waiter; and if
this arrangement is made at first, no trouble ensues. The great
trouble in most households comes from the fact that the work is not
definitely divided, and that one servant declares that the other is
imposing upon her.

If a mistress is fair, honorable, strict, and attentive, she can
thus carry on a large household (if there are no young children)
with two energetic servants. She cannot, of course, have elegant
house-keeping; it is a very arduous undertaking to conduct a city
house with the assistance of only two people. Many young house-
keepers become discouraged, and many old ones do so as well, and
send the washing and ironing to a public laundry. But as small
incomes are the rule, and as most people must economize, it has been
done, and it can be done. The mistress will find it to her advantage
to have a very great profusion of towels and dusters, and also to
supply the kitchen with every requisite utensil for cooking a good
dinner, or for the execution of the ordinary daily work--such tools
as an ice-hammer, a can-opener, plenty of corkscrews, a knife-
sharpener and several large, strong knives, a meat-chopper and
bread-baskets, stone pots and jars. The modern refrigerator has
simplified kitchen-work very much, and no one who has lived long
enough to remember when it was not used can fail to bless its airy
and cool closets and its orderly arrangements.

The "privileges" of these hard-worked servants should be respected.
"An evening a week, and every other Sunday afternoon," is a formula
not to be forgotten. Consider what it is to them! Perhaps a visit to
a sick sister or mother, a recreation much needed, a simple
pleasure, but one which is to them what a refreshing book, a visit
to the opera, or a drive in the park, is to their employers. Only a
very cruel mistress will ever fail to keep her promise to a faithful
servant on these too infrequent holidays.

The early Sunday dinner is an inconvenience, but it is due to the
girls who count on their "Sunday out" to have it always punctually
given to them.

Many devout Catholics make their church-going somewhat inconvenient,
but they should not be thwarted in it. It is to them something more
than it is to Protestants, and a devout Catholic is to be respected
and believed in. No doubt there are very bad-tempered and
disagreeable girls who make a pretence of religion, but the mistress
should be slow to condemn, lest she wrong one who is sincerely

In sickness, Irish girls are generally kind and accommodating, being
themselves unselfish, and are apt to show a better spirit in a time
of trouble than the Swedes, the Germans, or the Scotch, although the
latter are possessed of more intelligence, and are more readily
trained to habits of order and system. The warm heart and the
confused brain, the want of truth, of the average Irish servant will
perplex and annoy while it touches the sympathies of a woman of
generous spirit.

The women who would make the best house-servants are New England
girls who have been brought up in poor but comfortable homes. But
they will not be servants. They have imbibed the foolish idea that
the position of a girl who does house-work is inferior in gentility
to that of one who works in a factory, or a printing-office, or a
milliner's shop. It is a great mistake, and one which fills the
country with incapable wives for the working-man; for a woman who
cannot make bread or cook a decent dinner is a fraud if she marry a
poor man who expects her to do it.

That would be a good and a great woman who would preach a crusade
against this false doctrine--who would say to the young women of her
neighborhood, "I will give a marriage portion to any of you who will
go into domestic service, become good cooks and waiters, and will
bring me your certificates of efficiency at the end of five years."

And if those who employ could have these clear brains and thrifty
hands, how much more would they be willing to give in dollars and
cents a month!


A lady who assumes the control of an elegant house without previous
training had better, for a year at least, employ an English house-
keeper, who will teach her the system necessary to make so many
servants work properly together; for, unless she knows how to manage
them, each servant will be a trouble instead of a help, and there
will be no end to that exasperating complaint, "That is not _my_

The English house-keeper is given full power by her mistress to hire
and discharge servants, to arrange their meals, their hours, and
their duties, so as to make the domestic wheels run smoothly, and to
achieve that perfection of service which all who have stayed in an
English house can appreciate. She is a personage of much importance
in the house. She generally dresses in _moire antique_, and is lofty
in her manners. She alone, except the maid, approaches the mistress,
and receives such general orders as that lady may choose to give.
The house-keeper has her own room, where she takes her meals alone,
or invites those whom she wishes to eat with her. Thus we see in
English novels that the children sometimes take tea "in the house-
keeper's room." It is generally a comfortable and snug place.

But in this country very few such house-keepers can be found. The
best that can be done is to secure the services of an efficient
person content to be a servant herself, who will be a care-taker,
and will train the butler, the footmen, and the maid-servants in
their respective duties.

Twelve servants are not infrequently employed in large houses in
this country, and in New York and at Newport often a larger number.
These, with the staff of assistants required to cook and wash for
them, form a large force for a lady to control.

The house-keeper should hire the cook and scullery-maid, and be
responsible for them; she orders the dinner (if the lady chooses);
she gives out the stores; the house linen is under her charge, and
she must attend to mending and replenishing it; she must watch over
the china and silver, and every day visit all the bedrooms to see
that the chamber-maids have done their duty, and that writing-paper
and ink and pens are laid on the tables of invited guests, and that
candles, matches, and soap and towels are in their respective

A house-keeper should be able to make fine desserts, and to attend
to all the sewing of the family, with the assistance of a maid--that
is, the mending, and the hemming of the towels, etc. She should be
firm and methodical, with a natural habit of command, and impartial
in her dealings, but strict and exacting; she should compel each
servant to do his duty, as she represents the mistress, and should
be invested with her authority.

It is she who must receive the dessert when it comes from the
dining-room, watch the half-emptied bottles of wine, which men-
servants nearly always appropriate for their own use, and be, in all
respects, a watch-dog for her master, as in large families servants
are prone to steal all that may fall in their way.

Unfortunately a bad house-keeper is worse than none, and can steal
to her heart's content. Such a one, hired by a careless, pleasure-
loving lady in New York, stole in a twelvemonth enough to live on
for several years.

The house-keeper and the butler are seldom friends, and consequently
many people consider it wise to hire a married couple competent to
perform the duties of these two positions. If the two are honest,
this is an excellent arrangement.

The butler is answerable for the property put in his charge, and for
the proper performance of the duties of the footmen under his
control. He must be the judge of what men can and should do. He is
given the care of the wine, although every gentleman should keep the
keys, only giving just so much to the butler as he intends shall be
used each day. The plate is given to the butler, and he is made
responsible for any articles missing; he also sees to the pantry,
but has a maid or a footman to wash the dishes and cleanse the
silver. All the arrangements for dinner devolve upon him, and when
it is served he stands behind his mistress's chair. He looks after
the footman who answers the bell, and takes care that he shall be
properly dressed and at his post.

In houses where there are two or three footmen the butler serves
breakfast, luncheon, tea, and dinner, assisted by such of his
acolytes as he may choose. He should also wait upon his master, if
required, see that the library and smoking-room are aired and in
order, the newspaper brought in, the magazines cut, and the paper-
knife in its place. Many gentlemen in this country send their
butlers to market, and leave entirely to them the arrangement of the

If there is but one footman in a large house, the butler has a great
deal to do, particularly if the family be a hospitable one. When the
footman is out with the carriage the butler answers the front-door
bell, but in very elegant houses there are generally two footmen, as
this is not strictly the duty of a butler.

A lady's-maid is indispensable to ladies who visit much, but this
class of servant is the most difficult to manage. Ladies'-maids must
be told, when hired, that they can have no such position in America
as they have in England: that they must make their own beds, wash
their own clothing, and eat with the other servants. They must be
first-rate hair-dressers, good packers of trunks, and understand
dress-making and fine starching, and be amiable, willing, and
pleasant. A woman who combines these qualifications commands very
high wages, and expects, as her perquisite, her mistress's cast-off

French maids are in great demand, as they have a natural taste in
all things pertaining to dress and the toilet, but they are apt to
be untruthful and treacherous. If a lady can get a peasant girl from
some rural district, she will find her a most useful and valuable
maid after she has been taught.

Many ladies educate some clever girl who has been maid for the
position of house-keeper, and such a person, who can be trusted to
hire an assistant, becomes invaluable. She often accomplishes all
the dress-making and sewing for the household, and her salary of
thirty dollars a month is well earned.

As the duties of a lady's-maid, where there are young ladies,
include attending them in the streets and to parties, she should be
a person of unquestioned respectability. The maid should bring up
the hot water for her ladies, and an early cup of tea, prepare their
bath, assist at their toilet, put their clothes away, be ready to
aid in every change of dress, put out their various dresses for
riding, dining, walking, and for afternoon tea, dress their hair for
dinner, and be ready to find for them their gloves, shoes, and other

A maid can be, and generally is, the most disagreeable of creatures;
but some ladies have the tact to make good servants out of most
unpromising materials.

The maid, if she does not accompany her mistress to a party and wait
for her in the dressing-room, should await her arrival at home,
assist her to undress, comb and brush her hair, and get ready the
bath. She should also have a cup of hot tea or chocolate in
readiness for her. She must keep her clothes in order, sew new
ruffles in her dresses, and do all the millinery and dress-making
required of her.

Very often the maid is required to attend to the bric-…-brac and
pretty ornaments of the mantel, to keep fresh flowers in the
drawing-room or bedroom, and, above all, to wash the pet dog. As
almost all women are fond of dogs, this is not a disagreeable duty
to a French maid, and she gives Fifine his bath without grumbling.
But if she be expected to speak French to the children, she
sometimes rebels, particularly if she and the nurse should not be
good friends.

A lady, in hiring a maid, should specify the extra duties she will
be required to perform, and thus give her the option of refusing the
situation. If she accepts it, she must be made strictly to account
for any neglect or omission of her work. A maid with an indulgent
mistress is free in the evenings, after eight o'clock, and every
Sunday afternoon.

In families where there are many children, two nurses are frequently
required--a head nurse and an assistant.

The nursery governess is much oftener employed now in this country
than in former years. This position is often filled by well-mannered
and well-educated young women, who are the daughters of poor men,
and obliged to earn their own living. These young women, if they are
good and amiable, are invaluable to their mistresses. They perform
the duties of a nurse, wash and dress the children, eat with them
and teach them, the nursery-maid doing the coarse, rough work of the
nursery. If a good nursery governess can be found, she is worth her
weight in gold to her employer. She should not cat with the
servants; there should be a separate table for her and her charges.
This meal is prepared by the kitchen-maid, who is a very important
functionary, almost an under-cook, as the chief cook in such an
establishment as we are describing is absorbed in the composition of
the grand dishes and dinners.

The kitchen-maid should be a good plain-cook, and clever in making
the dishes suitable for children. Much of the elementary cooking for
the dining-room, such as the foundation for sauces and soups, and
the roasted and boiled joints, is required of her, and she also
cooks the servants' dinner, which should be an entirely different
meal from that served in the dining-room. Nine meals a day are
usually cooked in a family living in this manner--breakfast for
servants, children, and the master and mistress, three; children's
dinner, servants' dinner, and luncheon, another three; and the grand
dinner at seven, the children's tea, and the servants' supper, the
remaining three.

Where two footmen are in attendance, the head footman attends the
door, waits on his mistress when she drives out, carries notes,
assists the butler, lays the table and clears it, and washes glass,
china, and silver. The under-footman rises at six, makes fires,
cleans boots, trims and cleans the lamps, opens the shutters and the
front-door, sweeps down the steps, and, indeed, does the rougher
part of the work before the other servants begin their daily duties.
Each should be without mustache, clean shaven, and clad in neat
livery. His linen and white neck-tie should be, when he appears to
wait on the family at table or in any capacity, immaculate.

The servants' meals should be punctual and plenteous, although not
luxurious. It is a bad plan to feed servants on the luxuries of the
master's table, but a good cook will be able to compound dishes for
the kitchen that will be savory and palatable.


It is a comfort to those of us who have felt the cold perspiration
start on the brow, at the prospect of entering an unaccustomed
sphere, to remember that the best men and women whom the world has
known have been, in their day, afflicted with shyness. Indeed, it is
to the past that we must refer when the terrible disease seizes us,
when the tongue becomes dry in the mouth, the hands tremble, and the
knees knock together.

Who does not pity the trembling boy when, on the evening of his
first party, he succumbs to this dreadful malady? The color comes in
spots on his face, and his hands are cold and clammy. He sits down
on the stairs and wishes he were dead. A strange sensation is
running down his back. "Come, Peter, cheer up," his mother says, not
daring to tell him how she sympathizes with him. He is afraid to be
afraid, he is ashamed to be ashamed. Nothing can equal this moment
of agony. The whole room looks black before him as some chipper
little girl, who knows not the meaning of the word "embarrassment,"
comes to greet him. He crawls off to the friendly shelter of a group
of boys, and sees the "craven of the playground,  the dunce of the
school," with a wonderful self-possession, lead off in the german
with the prettiest girl. As he grows older, and becomes the young
man whose duty it is to go to dinners and afternoon parties, this
terrible weakness will again overcome him. He has done well at
college, can make a very good speech at the club suppers, but at the
door of a parlor he feels himself a drivelling idiot. He assumes a
courage, if he has it not, and dashes into a room (which is full of
people) as he would attack a forlorn hope. There is safety in
numbers, and he retires to a corner.

When he goes to a tea-party a battery of feminine eyes gazes at him
with a critical perception of his youth and rawness. Knowing that he
ought to be supremely graceful and serene, he stumbles over a
footstool, and hears a suppressed giggle. He reaches his hostess,
and wishes she were the "cannon's mouth," in order that his
sufferings might be ended; but she is not. His agony is to last the
whole evening. Tea-parties are eternal: they never end; they are
like the old-fashioned ideas of a future state of torment--they grow
hotter and more stifling. As the evening advances towards eternity
he upsets the cream-jug. He summons all his will-power, or he would
run away. No; retreat is impossible. One must die at the post of
duty. He thinks of all the formulas of courage--"None but the brave
deserve the fair," "He either fears his fate too much, or his
deserts are small," "There is no such coward as self-consciousness,"
etc. But these maxima are of no avail. His feet are feet of clay,
not good to stand on, only good to stumble with. His hands are cold,
tremulous, and useless. There is a very disagreeable feeling in the
back of his neck, and a spinning sensation about the brain. A queer
rumbling seizes his ears. He has heard that "conscience makes
cowards of us all." What mortal sin has he committed? His moral
sense answers back, "None. You are only that poor creature, a
bashful youth." And he bravely calls on all his nerves, muscles, and
brains to help him through this ordeal. He sees the pitying eyes of
the woman to whom he is talking turn away from his countenance (on
which he knows that all his miserable shyness has written itself in
legible characters). "And this humiliation, too?" he asks of
himself, as she brings him the usual refuge of the awkward--a
portfolio of photographs to look at. Women are seldom troubled, at
the age at which men suffer, with bashfulness or awkwardness. It is
as if Nature thus compensated the weaker vessel. Cruel are those
women, however, and most to be reprobated, who laugh at a bashful

The sufferings of a shy man would fill a volume. It is a nervous
seizure for which no part of his organization is to blame; he cannot
reason it away, he can only crush it by enduring it: "To bear is to
conquer our Fate." Some men, finding the play not worth the candle,
give up society and the world; others go on, suffer, and come out
cool veterans who fear no tea-party, however overwhelming it may be.

It is the proper province of parents to have their children taught
all the accomplishments of the body, that they, like the ancient
Greeks, may know that every muscle will obey the brain. A shy,
awkward boy should be trained in dancing, fencing, boxing; he should
be instructed in music, elocution, and public speaking; he should be
sent into society, whatever it may cost him at first, as certainly
as he should be sent to the dentist's. His present sufferings may
save him from lifelong annoyance.

To the very best men--the most learned, the most graceful, the most
eloquent, the most successful--has come at some one time or other
the dreadful agony of bashfulness. Indeed, it is the higher order of
man being that it most surely attacks; it is the precursor of many
excellences, and, like the knight's vigil, if patiently and bravely
borne, the knight is twice the hero. It is this recollection, which
can alone assuage the sufferer, that he should always carry with
him. He should remember that the compound which he calls himself is
of all things most mixed.

"The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together."
Two antagonistic races--it may be his Grandfather Brown and his
Grandmother Williams--are struggling in him for the mastery; and
their exceedingly opposite natures are pulling his arms and legs
asunder. He has to harmonize this antagonism before he becomes
himself, and it adds much to his confusion to see that poor little
pretender, Tom Titmouse, talking and laughing and making merry.
There are, however, no ancestral diversities fighting for the
possession of Tom Titmouse. The grandfathers and grandmothers of Tom
Titmouse were not people of strong character; they were a decorous
race on both sides, with no heavy intellectual burdens, good enough
people who wore well. But does our bashful man know this? No. He
simply remembers a passage in the "Odyssey" which Tom Titmouse could
not construe, but which the bashful man read, to the delight of the

"O gods! How beloved he is, and how honored by all men to whatsoever
land or city he comes! He brings much booty from Troy, but we,
having accomplished the same journey, are returning home having
empty hands!" And this messenger from Troy is Tom Titmouse!

Not that all poor scholars and inferior men have fine manners, nor
do all good scholars and superior men fail in the drawing-room. No
rule is without an exception. It is, however, a comfort to those who
are awkward and shy to remember that many of the great and good and
superior men who live in history have suffered, even as they suffer,
from the pin-pricks of bashfulness. The first refuge of the
inexperienced, bashful person is often to assume a manner of extreme
hauteur. This is, perhaps, a natural fence--or defence; it is,
indeed, a very convenient armor, and many a woman has fought her
battle behind it through life. No doubt it is the armor of the many
so-called frigid persons, male and female, who must either suffer
the pangs of bashfulness, or affect a coldness which they do not
feel. Some people are naturally encased in a column of ice which
they cannot break, but within is a fountain which would burst out at
the lips in words of kindliness if only the tongue could speak them.
These limitations of nature are very strange; we cannot explain
them. It is only by referring to Grandfather Brown and Grandmother
Williams again that we understand them at all. One person will be
furnished with very large feet and very small hands, with a head
disproportionately large for the body, or one as remarkably small.
Differences of race must account for these eccentricities of nature;
we cannot otherwise explain them, nor the mental antagonisms, But
the awkward and the shy do not always take refuge in a cold manner;
Sometimes they study manner as they would the small-sword exercise,
and exploit it-with equal fervor. Exaggeration of manner is quite as
common a refuge for these unfortunates as the other extreme of
calmness. They render themselves ridiculous by the lowness of their
bows and the vivid picturesqueness of their speech. They, as it
were, burst the bounds of the calyx, and the flower opens too wide.
Symmetry is lost, graceful outline is destroyed. Many a bashful man,
thinking of Tom Titmouse, has become an acrobat in his determination
to be lively and easy. He should remember the _juste milieu_,
recommended by Shakespeare when he says,

"They are as sick that surfeit with too much. As they that starve
with nothing."

The happy people who are born unconscious of their bodies, who grow
through life more and more graceful, easy, cordial, and agreeable;
the happy few Who were never bashful, never nervous, never had
clammy hands, they need not read these pages--they are not written
for such blessed eyes. It is for the well-meaning, but shy and
awkward, people that the manners of artificial society are most

For the benefit of such persons we must "improve a ceremonial nicety
into a substantial duty," else we shall see a cultivated scholar
confused before a set of giggling girls, and a man who is all
Wisdom, valor and learning, playing the donkey at an evening party.
If he lack the inferior arts of polite behavior, who will take the
trouble to discover a Sir Walter Raleigh behind his cravat?

A man who is constrained, uneasy, and ungraceful, can spoil the
happiness of a dozen people. Therefore he is bound to create an
artificial manner, if a natural one does not come to him,
remembering always that "manners are shadows of virtues."

The manners of artificial society have this to commend them: they
meditate the greatest good to the greatest number. We do not like
the word "artificial," or to commend anything which is supposed to
be the antipodes of the word "sincere," but it is a recipe, a
doctor's prescription that we are recommending as a cure for a
disease. "Good manners are to special societies what good morals are
to society in general--their cement and their security. True
politeness creates perfect ease and freedom; it and its essence is
to treat others as you would have others treat you." Therefore, as
you know how embarrassing embarrassment is to everybody else, strive
not to be embarrassed.


No one possessed of his senses would invite a person to his country
house for the purpose of making him unhappy. At least so we should
say at first thought. But it is an obvious fact that very many
guests are invited to the country houses of their friends, and are
made extremely miserable while there. They have to rise at unusual
hours, eat when they are not hungry, drive or walk or play tennis
when they would prefer to do everything else, and they are obliged
to give up those hours which are precious to them for other duties
or pleasures; so that many people, after an experience of visiting,
are apt to say, "No more of the slavery of visiting for me, if you

Now the English in their vast country houses have reduced the custom
of visiting and receiving their friends to a system. They are said
to be in all respects the best hosts in the world, the masters of
the letting-alone system. A man who owns a splendid place near
London invites a guest for three days or more, and carefully
suggests when he shall come and when he shall go--a very great point
in hospitality. He is invited to come by the three o'clock train on
Monday, and to leave by the four o'clock train on Thursday. That
means that he shall arrive before dinner on Monday, and leave after
luncheon on Thursday. If a guest cannot accede to these hours, he
must write and say so. Once arrived, he rarely meets his host or
hostess until dinner-time. He is conducted to his room, a cup of tea
with some light refreshment is provided, and the well-bred servant
in attendance says at what hour before dinner he will be received in
the drawing-room. It is possible that some member of the family may
be disengaged and may propose a drive before dinner, but this is not
often done; the guest is left to himself or herself until dinner.
General and Mrs. Grant were shown to their rooms at Windsor Castle,
and locked up there, when they visited the Queen, until the steward
came to tell them that dinner would be served in half an hour; they
were then conducted to the grand salon, where the Queen presently
entered. In less stately residences very much the same ceremony is
observed. The hostess, after dinner and before the separation for
the night, tells her guests that horses will be at their disposal
the next morning, and also asks if they would like to play lawn-
tennis, if they wish to explore the park, at what hour they will
breakfast, or if they will breakfast in their rooms. "Luncheon is at
one; and she will be happy to see them at that informal meal."

Thus the guest has before him the enviable privilege of spending the
day as he pleases. He need not talk unless he choose; he may take a
book and wander off under the trees; he may take a horse and explore
the county, or he may drive in a victoria, phaeton, or any other
sort of carriage. To a lady who has her letters to write, her novel
to read, or her early headache to manage, this liberty is precious.

It must also be said that no one is allowed to feel neglected in an
English house. If a lady guest says, "I am a stranger; I should like
to see your fine house and your lovely park," some one is found to
accompany her. Seldom the hostess, for she has much else to do; but
there is often a single sister, a cousin, or a very intelligent
governess, who is summoned. In our country we cannot offer our
guests all these advantages; we can, however, offer them their
freedom, and give them, with our limited hospitality, their choice
of hours for breakfast and their freedom from our society.

But the questioner may ask, Why invite guests, unless we wish to see
them? We do wish to see them--a part of the day, not the whole day.
No one can sit and talk all day. The hostess should have her
privilege of retiring after the mid-day meal, with her novel, for a
nap, and so should the guest: Well-bred people understand all this,
and are glad to give up the pleasure of social intercourse for an
hour of solitude. There is nothing so sure to repay one in the long
run as these quiet hours.

If a lady invites another to visit her at Newport or Saratoga, she
should evince her thought for her guest's comfort by providing her
with horses and carriage to pay her own visits, to take her own
drives, or to do her shopping. Of course, the pleasure of two
friends is generally to be together, and to do the same things; but
sometimes it is quite the reverse.

The tastes and habits of two people staying in the same house may be
very different, and each should respect the peculiarities of the
other. It costs little time and no money for an opulent Newport
hostess to find out what her guest wishes to do with her day, and
she can easily, with a little tact, allow her to be happy in her own

Gentlemen understand this much better than ladies, and a gentleman
guest is allowed to do very much as he pleases at Newport. No one
asks anything about his plans for the day, except if he will dine at
home. His hostess may ask him to drive or ride with her, or to go to
the Casino, perhaps; but if she be a well-bred woman of the world
she will not be angry if he refuses. A lady guest has not, however,
such freedom; she is apt to be a slave, from the fact that as yet
the American hostess has not learned that the truest hospitality is
to let her guest alone, and to allow her to enjoy herself in her own
way. A thoroughly well-bred guest makes no trouble in a house; she
has the instinct of a lady, and is careful that no plan of her
hostess shall be disarranged by her presence. She mentions all her,
separate invitations, desires to know when her hostess wishes her
presence, if the carriage can take her hither and yon, or if she may
be allowed to hire a carriage.

There are hostesses, here and in England, who do not invite guests
to their houses for the purpose of making them happy, but to add to
their own importance. Such hostesses are not apt to consider the
individual rights of any one, and they use a guest merely to add to
the brilliancy of their parties, and to make the house more
fashionable and attractive. Some ill-bred women, in order to show
their power, even insult and ill treat the people who have accepted
their proffered hospitality. This class of hostess is, fortunately,
not common, but it is not unknown.

A hostess should remember that, when she asks people to visit her,
she has two very important duties to perform--one, not to neglect
her guests; the other, not to weary them by too much attention.
Never give a guest the impression that he is "being entertained,"
that he is on your mind; follow the daily life of your household and
of your duties as you desire, taking care that your guest is never
in an unpleasant position or neglected. If you have a tiresome guest
who insists upon following you around and weighing heavily on your
hands, be firm, go to your own room, and lock the door. If you have
a sulky guest who looks bored, throw open the library-door, order
the carriage, and make your own escape. But if you have a very
agreeable guest who shows every desire to please and be pleased,
give that model guest the privilege of choosing her own hours and
her own retirement.

The charm of an American country-house is, generally, that it is a
home, and sacred to home duties. A model guest never infringes for
one moment on the rights of the master of the house. She never
spoils his dinner or his drive by being late; she never sends him
back to bring her parasol; she never abuses his friends or the
family dog; she is careful to abstain from disagreeable topics; she
joins his whist-table if she knows how to play; but she ought never
to be obliged to rise an hour earlier than her wont because he
wishes to take an early train for town. These early-morning,
perfunctory breakfasts are not times for conversation, and they ruin
the day for many bad sleepers.

In a country neighborhood a hostess has sometimes to ask her guests
to go to church to hear a stupid preacher, and to go to her country
neighbors, to become acquainted with what may be the slavery of
country parties. The guest should always be allowed to refuse these
hospitalities; and, if he be a tired townsman, he will prefer the
garden, the woodland, the retirement of the country, to any church
or tea-party in the world. He cannot enter into his host's interests
or his neighbor's. Leave him to his solitude if in that is his

At Newport guest and hostess have often different friends and
different invitations. When this is understood, no trouble ensues if
the host and hostess go out to dinner and leave the guest at home.
It often happens that this is done, and no lady of good-breeding
takes offence. Of course a nice dinner is prepared for her, and she
is often asked to invite a friend to share it.

On the other hand, the guest often has invitations which do not
include the hostess. These should be spoken of in good season, so
that none of the hostess's plans may be disarranged, that the
carriage may be ordered in time, and the guest sent for at the
proper hour. Well-bred people always accept these contingencies as a
matter of course, and are never disconcerted by them.

There is no office in the world which should be filled with such
punctilious' devotion, propriety, and self-respect as that of
hostess. If a lady ever allows her guest to feel that she is a cause
of inconvenience, she violates the first rule of hospitality. If she
fail in any way in her obligations as hostess to a guest whom she
has invited, she shows herself to be ill-bred and ignorant of the
first principles of politeness. She might better invite twelve
people to dinner and then ask them to dine on the pavement than
ignore or withdraw from a written and accepted invitation, unless
sickness or death afford the excuse; and yet hostesses have been
known to do this from mere caprice. But they were necessarily ill-
bred people.


The number of questions asked by correspondents on the subject of
the proper use of the familiar words _lady_ and _woman_, and of the
titles of married women, induces the reflection that the "woman"
question is one which rivals in universal interest those of
Nihilism, Irish rebellion, and the future presidency. It is not,
however, of ultimate importance to a woman what she is called, as
arose by any other name would smell as sweet, but it _is_ of
importance to those who speak _of_ her, because by their speech
"shall ye know them," whether fashionable or unfashionable, whether
old or young, whether welt-bred or ill-bred, whether stylish or
hopelessly _rococo_!

Nothing, for instance, Can be in worse taste than to say "she is a
beautiful lady," or "a clever lady." One should always say
"beautiful _woman_," "clever _woman_." The would-be genteel make
this mistake constantly, and in the Rosa-Matilda style of novel the
gentleman always kneels to the lady, and the fair ladies are
scattered broadcast through the book, while the fine old Saxon word
"woman" is left out, or not properly used.

Now it would be easy enough to correct this if we could only tell
our correspondents always to use the word "woman." But unfortunately
we are here constrained to say that would be equally "bad form." No
gentleman would say, "I am travelling with women." He would say, "I
am travelling with ladies." He would not say, "When I want to take
my women to the theatre." He would say, "When I want to take my
ladies." He would speak of his daughters as "young ladies," etc.,
etc. But if he were writing a novel about these same young ladies,
he would avoid the word "lady" as feeble, and in speaking of
emotions, looks, qualities, etc., he would use the word "woman."

Therefore, as a grand generic distinction, we can say that "woman"
should be used when the realities of life and character are treated
of. "Lady" should be used to express the outside characteristics,
the conditions of cultivated society, and the respectful, distant,
and chivalric etiquette which society claims for women when members

Then, our querist may ask, Why is the term, "she is a beautiful
_lady_," so hopelessly out of style? Why does it betray that the
speaker has not lived in a fashionable set? Why must we say "nice
woman," "clever woman," "beautiful woman," etc.

The only answer to this is that the latter phraseology is a caprice
of fashion into which plain-spoken people were driven by the
affectations of the shabby-genteel and half-instructed persons who
have ruined two good words for us by misapplication. One is
"genteel," which means gentle, and the other is "lady," which means
everything which is refined, cultivated, elegant, and aristocratic.
Then as to the term "woman," this nomenclature has been much
affected by the universal _sans-culottism_ of the French Revolution,
when the queen was called _citoyenne_. Much, again, from a different
cause, comes from our own absurd want of self-respect, which has
accrued in this confusion of etiquette in a republic, as for
instance, "I am a lady--as much a lady as anybody--and I want to be
called a lady," remarked a nurse who came for a situation to the
wife of one of our presidents. "I have just engaged a colored _lady_
as a cook," remarked a _nouveau riche_. No wonder that when the word
came to be thus misapplied the lover of good English undefiled began
to associate the word "lady" with pretension, ignorance, and bad

Still, no "real lady" would say to her nurse, "A woman is coming to
stay with me." To servants the term "lady," as applied to a coming
guest, is indispensable. So of a gentleman she would say to her
servant, "A gentleman is coming to stay here for a week;" but to her
husband or son she would say, "He is a clever man," rather than, "He
is a clever gentleman."

We might almost say that no women talk to men about "gentlemen," and
no men talk to women about "ladies," in fashionable society. A woman
in good society speaks of the hunting men, the dancing men, the
talking men. She does not say "gentleman," unless in some such
connection as this, "No gentleman would do such a thing," if some
breach of etiquette had occurred. And yet no man would come into a
lady's drawing-room saying, "Where are the girls?" or "Where are the
women?" He would Say; "Where are the young ladies?"

It therefore requires a fine ear and a fine sense of  modern fashion
and of eternal propriety always to choose the right word in the
delicate and almost unsettled estate of these two epithets.
"Ladylike" can never go out of fashion. It is at once a compliment
of the highest order and a suggestion of subtle perfection. The word
"woman" does not reach up to this, because in its broad and strong
etymology it may mean a washer-woman, a fighting woman, a coarse
woman, alas! a drunken woman. If we hear of "a drunken lady," we see
a downfall, a glimpse of better days; chloral, opium, even cologne,
may have brought her to it. The word still saves her miserable
reputation a little. But the words "a drunken woman" merely suggest
whiskey, degradation, squalor, dirt, and the tenement-house.

It is evident, therefore, that we cannot do without the word "lady."
It is the outgrowth of years of chivalric devotion, and of that
progress in the history of woman which has ever been raising her
from her low estate. To the Christian religion first does she owe
her rise; to the institution of chivalry, to the growth of
civilization since, has woman owed her continual elevation. She can
never go back to the degradation of those days when, in Greece and
Rome, she was not allowed to eat with her husband and sons. She
waited on them as a servant. Now they in every country serve her, if
they are _gentlemen_. But, owing to a curious twist in the way of
looking at things, she is now undoubtedly the tyrant, and in
fashionable society she is often imperiously ill-bred, and requires
that her male slaves be in a state of servitude to which the
Egyptian bondage would have been light frivolity.

American women are said to be faulty in manners, particularly in
places of public amusement, in railway travelling, in omnibuses, and
in shops. Men complain very much that the fairer sex are very brutal
on these occasions. "I wish _women_ would behave like _ladies_,"
said a man at a _matin‚e_. "Yes," said his friend, "I wish they
would behave like _men_." Just then a sharp feminine elbow was
thrust into his chest. "I wish _gentlemen_ would not crowd so," was
the remark which accompanied the "dig under the fifth rib" from a
person whom no one could call a lady.

In speaking to a servant, either a lady or a gentleman will ever be
patient, courteous, kind, not presuming on his or her power. But
there should always be a certain ceremony observed, and a term of
respect to the person spoken of. Therefore a mistress will not say
"Have the _girls_ come in?" "Is _Lucy_ home?" She will say: "Have
the young ladies come in?" "Is Miss Lucy at home?" This sort of
dignified etiquette has the happiest and the most beneficial result
on the relations of mistress and servant.

In modern literature the terms man and woman have nearly obliterated
the words gentleman and lady, and we can hardly imagine a more
absurd phrase than the following: "I asked Mary what she thought of
Charles, and she said he was a beautiful gentleman, and Charles said
that Mary was a lovely lady; so it was quite natural that I should
try to bring them together," etc., etc.

Still, in poetry we like the word lady. "If my lady loves me true,"
is much better than "if my woman loves me true" would be; so there,
again, we have the contradiction, for the Anglo-Saxon rule of using
the word "woman" when anything real or sincere in emotion is in
question is here honored in the breach. But this is one of the many
shadowy conflicts which complicate this subject.

The term "lady" is like the word "gentry" in England--it is elastic.
All persons coming within the category of "gentry" may attend the
Queen's Drawing-room, yet it is well understood that birth, wealth,
association, and position give the _raison d'ˆtre_ for the use of
such a privilege, and in that carefully guarded English society the
wife or daughters of an officer in the navy or in a line regiment
whose means are slender and whose position is obscure would not be
justified in presenting themselves at court. The same remark holds
good of the wives and daughters of clergymen, barristers, doctors,
authors, and artists, although the husband, if eminent, might attend
a lev‚e if he wished. Yet these women are very tenacious of the
title of lady, and no tradesman's wife would deny it to them, while
she would not, if ever so rich, aspire to be called a lady herself.

"I ain't no lady myself, but I can afford to have 'em as
governesses," remarked a Mrs. Kicklebury on the Rhine. She was not
at all ashamed of the fact that she was no lady herself, yet her
compeer and equal in America, if she kept a gin-shop, would insist
upon the title of lady.

A lady is a person of refinement, of education, of fashion, of
birth, of prestige, of a higher grade of some sort, if we apply the
term rightly. She may be out of place through loss of fortune, or
she may have sullied her title, but a something tells us that she is
still a lady. We have a habit of saying, as some person, perhaps
well decked out with fortune's favors, passes us, "She is not a
lady," and every one will know what we mean. The phrase "vulgar
lady," therefore, is an absurdity; there is no such thing; as well
talk of a white blackbird; the term is self-contradictory. If she is
vulgar, she is not a lady; but there is such a thing as a vulgar
woman, and it is a very real thing.

In England they have many terms to express the word "woman" which we
have not. A traveller in the rural districts speaks of a "kindly old
wife who received me," or a "wretched old crone," or a "saucy
lassie," or a "neat maid," etc. We should use the word "woman," or
"old woman," or "girl," for all these.

Now as to the term "old woman" or "old lady." The latter has a
pretty sound. We see the soft white curls, so like floss silk, the
delicate white camel's-hair shawl, the soft lace and appropriate
black satin gown, the pretty old-fashioned manner, and we see that
this is a _real_ lady. She may have her tricks of old-fashioned
speech; they do not offend us. To be sure, she has no slang; she
does not talk about "awfully jolly," or a "ghastly way off;" she
does not talk of the boys as being a "bully lot," or the girls as
being "beastly fine;" she does not say that she is "feeling rather
seedy to-day," etc. No, "our old lady" is a "lady," and it would be
in bad taste to call her an "old woman," which somehow sounds

Therefore we must, while begging of our correspondents to use the
word "woman" whenever they can, tell them not entirely to drop the
word "lady." The real lady or gentleman is very much known by the
voice, the choice of words, the appropriate term. Nothing can be
better than to err on the side of simplicity, which is always better
than gush, or over-effort, or conceit of speech. One may be
"ignorant of the shibboleth of a good set," yet speak most excellent

Thackeray said of George the Fourth that there was only one reason
why he should not have been called the "first gentleman in Europe,"
and that was because he was not a gentleman. But of the young Duke
of Albany, just deceased, no one could hesitate to speak as a
gentleman. Therefore, while we see that birth does not always make a
gentleman, we still get the idea that it may help to make one, as we
do not readily connect the idea with Jeames, who was a "gentleman's
gentleman." He might have been "fine," but not "noble."

As for titles for married women, we have only the one word, "Mrs.,"
not even the pretty French "Madame." But no woman should write
herself "Mrs." on her checks or at the foot of her notes; nowhere
but in a hotel register or on a card should she give herself this
title, simple though it be. She is always, if she writes in the
first person, "Mary Smith," even to a person she does not know. This
seems to trouble some people, who ask, "How will such a person know
I am married?" Why should they? If desirous of informing some
distant servant or other person of that fact, add in a parenthesis
beneath "Mary Smith" the important addenda, "Mrs. John Smith."

When women are allowed to vote, perhaps further complications may
arise. The truth is, women have no real names. They simply are
called by the name of father or husband, and if they marry several
times may well begin to doubt their own identity. Happy those who
never have to sign but one new name to their letters!


In these days, amid what has been strongly stated as "the prevailing
mediocrity of manners," a study of the manners of the past would
seem to reveal to us the fact that in those days of ceremony a man
who was beset with shyness need then have suffered less than he
would do now in these days of impertinence and brass.

A man was not then expected to enter a room and to dash at once into
a lively conversation. The stately influence of the _minuet de la
cour_ was upon him; he deliberately entered a room, made a low bow,
and sat down, waiting to be spoken to.

Indeed, we may go farther back and imagine ourselves at the court of
Louis XIV., when the world was broadly separated into the two
classes--the noble and the _bourgeois_. That world which Moliere
divided in his _dramatis personae_ into the courtier, the provincial
noble, and the plain gentleman; and secondly, into the men of law
and medicine, the merchant, and the shopkeeper. These divisions
shall be for a moment considered. Now, all these men knew exactly,
from the day when they reached ten years of age, how they were
expected to behave in the sphere of life to which they were called.
The marquis was instructed in every art of graceful behavior, the
_bel air_ was taught him as we teach our boys how to dance, even
more thoroughly. The _grand seigneur_ of those days, the man who
would not arrange the folds of his own cravat with his own hands,
and who exacted an observance as punctilious from his valets as if
he were the king himself, that marquis of whom the great Moliere
makes such fun, the courtier whom even the _grand monarque_ liked to
see ridiculed--this man had, nevertheless, good manners. We see him
reflected with marvellous fidelity in those wonderful comedies of
the French Shakespeare; he is more than the fashion of an epoch--he
is one of the eternal types of human nature. We learn what a man
becomes whose business is "deportment." Even despicable as he is in
"Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme"---flattering, borrowing money, cheating
the poor citizen, and using his rank as a mask and excuse for his
vices--we still read that it was such a one as he who took poor
Moliere's cold hands in his and put them in his muff, when, on the
last dreadful day of the actor's life (with a liberality which does
his memory immortal honor), he strove to play, "that fifty poor
workmen might receive their daily pay." It was such a one as this
who was kind to poor Moliere. There was in these _gens de cour_ a
copy of fine feeling, even if they had it not, They were polite and
elegant, making the people about them feel better for the moment,
doing graceful acts courteously, and gilding vice with the polish of
perfect manners. The _bourgeois_, according to Moliere, was as bad a
man as the courtier, but he had, besides, brutal manners; and as for
the magistrates and merchants, they were harsh and surly, and very
sparing of civility. No wonder, when the French Revolution came,
that one of the victims, regretting the not-yet-forgotten marquis,
desired the return of the aristocracy; for, said he, "I would rather
be trampled upon by a velvet slipper than a wooden shoe."

It is the best definition of manners--"a velvet slipper rather than
a wooden shoe." We ask very little of the people whom we casually
meet but that the salutation be pleasant; and as we remember how
many crimes and misfortunes have arisen from sudden anger, caused
sometimes by pure breaches of good manners, we almost agree with
Burke that "manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in
a great measure, the laws depend."

Some one calls politeness "benevolence in trifles, the preference of
others to ourselves in little, daily, hourly occurrences in the
business of life, a better place, a more commodious seat, priority
in being helped at table," etc.

Now, in all these minor morals the marquis was a benevolent man; he
was affable and both well and fair spoken, "and would use strange
sweetness and blandishment of words when he desired to affect or
persuade anything that he took to heart"--that is, with his equals.
It is well to study this man, and to remember that he was not always
vile. The Prince of Cond‚ had these manners and a generous, great
heart as well. Gentleness really belongs to virtue, and a sycophant
can hardly imitate it well. The perfect gentleman is he who has a
strong heart under the silken doublet of a perfect manner.

We do not want all the decent drapery of life torn off; we do not
want to be told that we are full of defects; we do not wish people
to show us a latent antagonism; and if we have in ourselves the
elements of roughness, severity of judgment, a critical eye which
sees defects rather than virtues, we are bound to study how to tone
down that native, disagreeable temper--just as we are bound to try
to break the icy formality of a reserved manner, and to cultivate a
cordiality which we do not feel. Such a command over the
shortcomings of our own natures is not insincerity, as we often find
that the effort to make ourselves agreeable towards some one whom we
dislike ends in leading us to like the offending person. We find
that we have really been the offender, going about with a moral
tape-measure graduated by ourselves, and measuring the opposite
party with a serene conceit which has called itself principle or
honor, or some high-sounding name, while it was really nothing but

We should try to carry entertainment with us, and to seem
entertained with our company. A friendly behavior often conciliates
and pleases more than wit or brilliancy; and here we come back to
those polished manners of the past, which were a perfect drapery,
and therefore should be studied, and perhaps in a degree copied, by
the awkward and the shy, who cannot depend upon themselves for
inspirations of agreeability. Emerson says that "fashion is good-
sense entertaining company; it hates corners and sharp points of
character, hates quarrelsome, egotistical, solitary, and gloomy
people, hates whatever can interfere with total blending of parties,
while it values all particularities as in the highest degree
refreshing which can consist with good-fellowship."

It does the awkward and the shy good to contemplate these words. It
may not immediately help them to become graceful and self-possessed,
but it will certainly have a very good effect in inducing them to

We find that the successful man of the world has studied the temper
of the finest sword. He can bend easily, he is flexible, he is
pliant, and yet he has not lost the bravery and the power of his
weapon. Men of the bar, for instance, have been at the trouble to
construct a system of politeness, in which even an offensive self-
estimation takes on the garb of humility. The harmony is preserved,
a trial goes on with an appearance of deference and respect each to
the other, highly, most highly, commendable, and producing law and
order where otherwise we might find strife, hatred, and warfare.
Although this may be a mimic humility, although the compliments may
be judged insincere, they are still the shadows of the very highest
virtues. The man who is guarding his speech is ruling his spirit; he
is keeping his temper, that furnace of all affliction, and the lofty
chambers of his brain are cool and full of fresh air.

A man who is by nature clownish, and who has what he calls a "noble
sincerity," is very apt to do injustice to the polished man; he
should, however, remember that "the manner of a vulgar man has
freedom without ease, and that the manner of a gentleman has ease
without freedom." A man with an obliging, agreeable address may be
just as sincere as if he had the noble art of treading on
everybody's toes. The "putter-down-upon-system" man is quite as
often urged by love of display as by a love of truth; he is
ungenerous, combative, and ungenial; he is the "bravo of society."

To some people a fine manner is the gift of nature. We see a young
person enter a room, make himself charming, go through the
transition period of boy to man, always graceful, and at man's
estate aim to still possess that unconscious and flattering grace,
that "most exquisite taste of politeness," which is a gift from the
gods. He is exactly formed to please, this lucky creature, and all
this is done for him by nature. We are disposed to abuse Mother
Nature when we think of this boy's heritage of joy compared with her
step-son, to whom she has given the burning blushes, the awkward
step, the heavy self-consciousness, the uncourtly gait, the
hesitating speech, and the bashful demeanor.

But nothing would be omitted by either parent or child to cure the
boy if he had a twisted ankle, so nothing should be omitted that
can, cure the twist of shyness, and therefore a shy young person
should not be expected to confront such a trial.

And to those who have the bringing up of shy young persons we
commend these excellent words of Whately: "There are many otherwise
sensible people who seek to cure a young person of that very common
complaint--shyness--by exhorting him not to be shy, telling him what
an awkward appearance it has, and that it prevents his doing himself
justice, all of which is manifestly pouring oil on the fire to
quench it; for the very cause of shyness is an over-anxiety as to
what people are thinking of you, a morbid attention to your own
appearance. The course, therefore, that ought to be pursued is
exactly the reverse. The sufferer should be exhorted to think as
little as possible about himself and the opinion formed of him, to
be assured that most of the company do not trouble their heads about
him, and to harden him against any impertinent criticisms that he
supposed to be going on, taking care only to do what is right,
leaving others to say and to think what they will."

All this philosophy is excellent, and is like the sensible
archbishop. But the presence of a set of carefully cultivated,
artificial manners, or a hat to hold in one's hand, will better help
the shy person when he is first under fire, and when his senses are
about deserting him, than any moral maxims can be expected to do.

Carlyle speaks of the fine manners of his peasant father (which he
does not seem to have inherited), and he says: "I think-that they
came from his having, early in life, worked for Maxwell, of Keir, a
Scotch gentleman of great dignity and worth, who gave to all those
under him a fine impression of the governing classes." Old Carlyle
had no shame in standing with his hat off as his landlord passed; he
had no truckling spirit either of paying court to those whose lot in
life it was to be his superiors.

Those manners of the past were studied; they had, no doubt, much
about them which we should now call stiff, formal, and affected, but
they were a great help to the awkward and the shy.

In the past our ancestors had the help of costume, which we have
not. Nothing is more defenceless than a being in a dress-coat, with
no pockets allowable in which he can put his hands. If a man is in a
costume he forgets the sufferings of the coat and pantaloon. He has
a sense of being in a fortress. A military man once said that he
always fought better in his uniform--that a fashionably cut coat and
an every-day hat took all heroism out of him.

Women, particularly shy ones, feel the effect of handsome clothes as
a reinforcement. "There is an _appui_ in a good gown," said Madame
de Sta‰l. Therefore, the awkward and the shy, in attempting to
conquer the manners of artificial society, should dress as well as
possible. Perhaps to their taste in dress do Frenchmen owe much of
their easy civility and their success in social politics; and herein
women are very much more fortunate than men, for they can always
ask, "Is it becoming?" and can add the handkerchief, fan, muff, or
mantle as a refuge for trembling hands. A man has only his pockets;
he does not wish to always appear with his hands in them.

Taste is said to be the instantaneous, ready appreciation of the
fitness of things. To most of us who may regret the want of it in
ourselves, it seems to be the instinct of the fortunate few. Some
women look as if they had simply blossomed out of their inner
consciousness into a beautiful toilet; others are the creatures of
chance, and look as if their clothes had been hurled at them by a

Some women, otherwise good and true, have a sort of moral want of
taste, and wear too bright colors, too many glass beads, too much
hair, and a combination of discordant materials which causes the
heart of a good dresser to ache with anguish. This want of taste
runs across the character like an intellectual bar-sinister, forcing
us to believe that their conclusions are anything but legitimate.
People who say innocently things which shock you, who put the
listeners at a dinner-table upon tenter-hooks, are either wanting in
taste or their minds are confused with shyness.

A person thus does great injustice to his own moral qualities when
he permits himself to be misrepresented by that disease of which we
speak. Shyness perverts the speech more than vice even. But if a man
or a woman can look down on a well-fitting, becoming dress (even if
it is the barren and forlorn dress which men wore to parties in
1882), it is still an _appui_. We know how it offends us to see a
person in a dress which is inappropriate. A chief-justice in the
war-paint and feathers of an Indian chief would scarcely be listened
to, even if his utterances were those of a Marshall or a Jay.

It takes a great person, a courageous person, to bear the shame of
unbecoming dress; and, no doubt, to a nature shy, passionate, proud,
and poor, the necessity of wearing poor or unbecoming clothes has
been an injury for life. He despised himself for his weakness, but
the weakness remained. When the French Revolution came in with its
_sans-culotteism_, and republican simplicity found its perfect
expression in Thomas Jefferson, still, the prejudices of powdered
hair and stiff brocades remained. They gradually disappeared, and
the man of the nineteenth century lost the advantages of becoming
dress, and began anew the battle of life stripped of all his
trappings. Manners went with these flowing accessaries, and the
abrupt speech, curt bow, and rather exaggerated simplicity of the
present day came in.

But it is a not unworthy study--these manners of the past. We are
returning, at least on the feminine side, to a great and magnificent
"princess," or queenly, style of dress. It is becoming the fashion
to make a courtesy, to flourish a fan, to bear one's self with
dignity when in this fine costume. Cannot the elegance, the repose,
and the respectfulness of the past return also?


It is very easy to laugh at the optimist, and to accuse him of
"poetizing the truth." No doubt, an optimist will see excellence,
beauty, and truth where pessimists see only degradation, vice, and
ugliness. The one hears the nightingale, the other the raven only.
To one, the sunsetting forms a magic picture; to the other, it is
but a presage of bad weather tomorrow. Some people seem to look at
nature through a glass of red wine or in a Claude Lorraine mirror;
to them the landscape has ever the bloom of summer or a spring-tide
grace. To others, it is always cloudy, dreary, dull. The desolate
ravine, the stony path, the blighted heath--that is all they can
find in a book which should have a chapter for everybody. And the
latter are apt to call the former dreamers, visionaries, fools. They
are dubbed in society often flatterers, people whose "geese are all

But are those, then, the fools who see only the pleasant side? Are
they alone the visionaries who see the best rather than the worst?
It is strange that the critics see only weakness in the "pleasant-
spoken," and only truth and safety in those who croak.

The person who sees a bright light in an eye otherwise considered
dull, who distrusts the last scandal, is supposed to be foolish, too
easily pleased, and wanting in that wise scepticism which should be
the handmaid of common-sense; and if such a person in telling a
story poetizes the truth, if it is a principle or a tendency to
believe the best of everybody, to take everybody at their highest
note, is she any the less canny? Has she necessarily less insight?
As there are always two sides to a shield, why not look at the
golden one?

An excess of the organ of hope has created people like Colonel
Sellers in the play, who deluded himself that there were "millions
in it," who landed in poverty and wrecked his friends; but this
excess is scarcely a common one. Far more often does discouragement
paralyze than does hope exalt. Those who have sunshine for
themselves and to spare are apt to be happy and useful people; they
are in the aggregate the successful people.

But, although good-nature is temperamental, and although some men
and women are, by their force of imagination and charity, forced to
poetize the truth, the question remains an open one, Which is the
nearest to truth, a pessimist or an optimist? Truth is a virtue more
palpable and less shadowy than we think; It is not easy to speak the
unvarnished, uncorrupted truth (so the lawyers tell us). The faculty
of observation differs, and the faculty of language is variable.
Some people have no intellectual apprehension of the truth, although
they morally believe in it. People who abstractly revere the truth
have never been able to tell anything but falsehoods. To such the
power of making a statement either favorable or prejudicial depends
upon the mood of the moment, not upon fact. Therefore a habit of
poetizing the truth would seem to be of either excess the safest.
Society becomes sometimes a hot-bed of evil passions--one person
succeeds at the expense of another. How severe is the suffering
proceeding from social neglect and social stabs! It might, much of
it, be smoothed away by poetizing the truth ever so little. Instead
of bearing an ill-natured message, suppose we carry an amiable one.
Instead of believing that an insult was intended, suppose a

"Should he upbraid, I'll own that he prevail, And sing more sweetly
than the nightingale! Say that he frown, I'll own his looks I view
Like morning roses newly dipped in dew."

People who are thus calmly serene and amiable through the frowns and
smiles, the ups and downs, of a social career are often called

Well, let us suppose that they are. Some author has wisely said:
"That the world should be full of worldliness seems as right as that
a stream should be full of water or a living body full of blood." To
conquer this world, to get out of it a full, abounding, agreeable
life, is what we are put here for. Else, why such gifts as beauty,
talent, health, wit, and a power of enjoyment be given to us? To be
worldly, or worldlings, is supposed to be incurring the righteous
anger of the good. But is it not improperly using a term of implied
reproach? For, although the world may be too much with us, and a
worldling may be a being not filled to the brim with the deeper
qualities or the highest aims, still he is a man necessary to the
day, the hour, the sphere which must be supplied with people fitted
to its needs. So with a woman in society. She must be a worldling in
the best sense of the word. She must keep up her corner of the great
mantle of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. She must fill the social
arena with her influence; for in society she is a most important

Then, as a "complex overgrowth of wants and fruitions" has covered
our world as with a banyan-tree, we must have something else to keep
alive our umbrageous growth of art, refinement, inventions,
luxuries, and delicate sensibilities. We must have wealth.

"Wealth is the golden essence of the outer world,"

and therefore to be respected.

Of course the pessimist sees purse-pride, pompous and outrageous
arrogance, a cringing of the pregnant hinges of the knee, false
standards, and a thousand faults in this admission. And yet the
optimist finds the "very rich," with but few exceptions, amiable,
generous, and kindly, often regretting that poorer friends will
allow their wealth to bar them off, wishing often that their
opulence need not shut them off from the little dinners, the homely
hospitality, the small gifts, the sincere courtesies of those whose
means are moderate, The cheerful people who are not dismayed by the
superior magnificence of a friend are very apt to find that friend
quite as anxious for sympathy and for kindness as are the poor,
especially if his wealth has caused him, almost necessarily, to live
upon the superficial and the external in life.

We all know that there is a worldly life, poor in aim and narrow in
radius, which is as false as possible. To live _only_ for this
world, with its changing fashions, its imperfect judgments, its
toleration of snobs and of sinners, its forgiveness of ignorance
under a high-sounding name, its exaggeration of the transient and
the artificial, would be a poor life indeed. But, if we can lift
ourselves up into the higher comprehension of what a noble thing
this world really is, we may well aspire to be worldlings.

Julius Caesar was a worldling; so was Shakespeare. Erasmus was a
worldling. We might increase the list indefinitely. These men
brought the loftiest talents to the use of worldly things. They
showed how great conquest, poetry, thought might become used for the
world. They were full of this world.

To see everything through a poetic vision (the only genuine
idealization) is and has been the gift of the benefactors of our
race. B‚ranger was of the world, worldly; but can we give him up? So
were the great artists who flooded the world with light--Titian,
Tintoretto, Correggio, Raphael, Rubens, Watteau. These men poetized
the truth. Life was a brilliant drama, a splendid picture, a garden
ever fresh and fair;

The optimist carries a lamp through dark, social obstructions. "I
would fain bind up many wounds, if I could be assured that neither
by stupidity nor by malice I need make one!" is her motto, the true

It is a fine allegory upon the implied power of society that the
poet Marvell used when he said he "would not drink wine with any one
to whom he could not trust his life."

Titian painted his women with all their best points visible. There
was a careful shadow or drapery which hid the defects which none of
us are without; but defects to the eye of the optimist make beauty
more attractive by contrast; in a portrait they may better be hid

To poetize the truth in the science of charity and forgiveness can
never be a great sin. If it is one, the recording angel will
probably drop a tear. This tendency to optimism is, we think, more
like that magic wand which the great idealist waved over a troubled
sea, or like those sudden sunsets after a storm, which not only
control the wave, but gild the leaden mass with crimson and
unexpected gold, whose brightness may reach some storm-driven sail,
giving it the light of hope, bringing the ship to a well-defined and
hospitable shore, and regulating, with a new attraction, the lately
distracted compass. Therefore, we do not hesitate to say that the
philosophy, and the creed, and the manners of the optimist are good
for society. However, his excellence may well be criticised; it may
even sometimes take its place amid those excesses which are
catalogued as amid the "deformities of exaggerated virtues." We may
be too good, some of us, in one single direction.

But the rounded and harmonious Greek calm is hard to find. "For
repose and serenity of mind," says a modern author, "we must go back
to the Greek temple and statue, the Greek epic and drama, the Greek
oration and moral treatise; and modern education will never become
truly effectual till it brings more minds into happy contact with
the ideal of a balanced, harmonious development of all the powers of
mind, body, conscience, and heart."

And who was a greater optimist than your Athenian? He had a
passionate love of nature, a rapt and infinite adoration of beauty,
and he diffused the splendid radiance of his genius in making life
more attractive and the grave less gloomy. Perhaps we of a brighter
faith and a more certain revelation may borrow something from this
"heathen" Greek.


Sympathy is the most delicate tendril of the mind, and the most
fascinating gift which nature can give to us. The most precious
associations of the human heart cluster around the word, and we love
to remember those who have sorrowed with us in sorrow, and rejoiced
with us when we were glad. But for the awkward and the shy, the
sympathetic are the very worst company. They do not wish to be
sympathized with--they wish to be with people who are cold and
indifferent; they like shy people like themselves. Put two shy
people in a room together, and they begin to talk with unaccustomed
glibness. A shy woman always attracts a shy man. But women who are
gifted with that rapid, gay impressionability which puts them _en
rapport_ with their surroundings, who have fancy and an excitable
disposition, a quick susceptibility to the influences around them,
are very charming in general society, but they are terrible to the
awkward and the shy. They sympathize too much, they are too aware of
that burning shame which the sufferer desires to conceal.

The moment that a shy person sees before him a perfectly
unsympathetic person, one who is neither thinking nor caring for
him, his shyness begins to flee; the moment that he recognizes a
fellow-sufferer he begins to feel a reinforcement of energy. If he
be a lover, especially, the almost certain embarrassment of the lady
inspires him with hope and with renewed courage. A woman who has a
bashful lover, even if she is afflicted with shyness, has been known
to find a way to help the poor fellow out of his dilemma more than
once. Hawthorne, who has left us the most complete and most tragic
history of shyness which belongs to "that long rosary on which the
blushes of a life are strung," found a woman (the most perfect
character, apparently, who ever married and made happy a great
genius) who, fortunately for him, was shy naturally, although
without that morbid shyness which accompanied him through life.
Those who knew Mrs. Hawthorne later found her possessed of great
fascination of manner, even in general society, where Hawthorne was
quite impenetrable. The story of his running down to the Concord
River and taking boat to escape his visitors has been long familiar
to us all. Mrs. Hawthorne, no doubt, with a woman's tact and a
woman's generosity, overcame her own shyness in order to receive
those guests whom Hawthorne ran away from, and through life remained
his better angel. It was through this absence of expressed sympathy
that English people became very agreeable to Hawthorne. He
describes, in his "Note Book," a speech made by him at a dinner in
England: "When I was called upon," he says, "I rapped my head, and
it returned a hollow sound."

He had, however, been sitting next to a shy English lawyer, a man
who won upon him by his quiet, unobtrusive simplicity, and who, in
some well-chosen words, rather made light of dinner-speaking and its
terrors. When Hawthorne finally got up and made his speech, his
"voice, meantime, having a far-off and remote echo," and when, as we
learn from others, a burst of applause greeted the few well-chosen
words drawn up from that full well of thought, that pellucid rill of
"English undefiled," the unobtrusive gentleman by his side
applauded, and said to him, "It was handsomely done." The compliment
pleased the shy man. It is the only compliment to himself which
Hawthorne ever recorded.

Now, had Hawthorne been congratulated by a sympathetic, effusive
American who had clapped him on the back, and who had said, "Oh,
never fear--you will speak well!" he would have said nothing. The
shy sprite in his own eyes would have read in his neighbor's eyes
the dreadful truth that his sympathetic neighbor would have
indubitably betrayed--a fear that he would not do well. The
phlegmatic and stony Englishman neither felt nor cared whether
Hawthorne spoke well or ill; and, although pleased that he did speak
well, invested no particular sympathy in the matter, either for or
against, and so spared Hawthorne's shyness the last bitter drop in
the cup, which would have been a recognition of his own moral dread.
Hawthorne bitterly records his own sufferings. He says, in one of
his books, "At this time I acquired this accursed habit of
solitude." It has been said that the Hawthorne family were, in the
earlier generation, afflicted with shyness almost as a disease--
certainly a curious freak of nature in a family descended from
robust sea-captains. It only goes to prove how far away are the
influences which control our natures and our actions.

Whether, if Hawthorne had not been a shy man, afflicted with a sort
of horror of his species at times, always averse to letting himself
go, miserable and morbid, we should have been the inheritors of the
great fortune which he has left us, is not for us to decide. Whether
we should have owned "The Gentle Boy," the immortal "Scarlet
Letter," "The House with Seven Gables," the "Marble Faun," and all
the other wonderful things which grew out of that secluded and
gifted nature, had he been born a cheerful, popular, and sympathetic
boy, with a dancing-school manner, instead of an awkward and shy
youth (although an exceedingly handsome one), we cannot tell. That
is the great secret behind the veil. The answer is not yet made, the
oracle has not spoken, and we must not invade the penumbra of

It has always been a comfort to the awkward and the shy that
Washington could not make an after-dinner speech; and the well-known
anecdote--"Sit down, Mr. Washington, your modesty is even greater
than your valor "--must have consoled many a voiceless hero.
Washington Irving tried to welcome Dickens, but failed in the
attempt, while Dickens was as voluble as he was gifted. Probably the
very surroundings of sympathetic admirers unnerved both Washington
and Irving, although there are some men who can never "speak on
their legs," as the saying goes, in any society.

Other shy men--men who fear general society, and show embarrassment
in the every-day surroundings--are eloquent when they get on their
feet. Many a shy boy at college has astonished his friends by his
ability in an after-dinner speech. Many a voluble, glib boy, who has
been appointed the orator of the occasion, fails utterly,
disappoints public expectation, and sits down with an uncomfortable
mantle of failure upon his shoulders. Therefore, the ways of shyness
are inscrutable. Many a woman who has never known what it was to be
bashful or shy has, when called upon to read a copy of verses, even
to a circle of intimate friends, lost her voice, and has utterly
broken down, to her own and her friends' great astonishment.

The voice is a treacherous servant; it deserts us, trembles, makes a
failure of it, is "not present or accounted for" often when we need
its help. It is not alone in the shriek of the hysterical that we
learn of its lawlessness, it is in its complete retirement. A bride,
often, even when she felt no other embarrassment, has found that she
had no voice with which to make her responses. It simply was not

A lady who was presented at court, and who felt--as she described
herself--wonderfully at her ease, began talking, and, without
wishing to speak loud, discovered that she was shouting like a
trumpeter. The somewhat unusual strain which she had put upon
herself, during the ordeal of being presented at the English court,
revenged itself by an outpouring of voice which she could not

Many shy people have recognized in themselves this curious and
unconscious elevation of the voice. It is not so common as a loss of
voice, but it is quite as uncontrollable.

The bronchial tubes play us another trick when we are frightened:
the voice is the voice of somebody else, it has no resemblance to
our own. Ventriloquism might well study the phenomena of shyness,
for the voice becomes bass that was treble, and soprano that which
was contralto.

"I dislike to have Wilthorpe come to see me," said a very shy woman
--"I know my voice will squeak so." With her Wilthorpe, who for some
reason drove her into an agony of shyness, had the effect of making
her talk in a high, unnatural strain, excessively fatiguing.

The presence of one's own family, who are naturally painfully
sympathetic, has always had upon the bashful and the shy a most evil

"I can never plead a cause before my father?" "Nor I before my son,"
said two distinguished lawyers. "If mamma is in the room, I shall
never be able to get through my part," said a young amateur actor.

But here we must pause to note another exception in the laws of

In the false perspective of the stage shyness often disappears. The
shy man, speaking the words, and assuming the character of another,
often loses his shyness. It is himself of whom he is afraid, not of
Tony Lumpkin or of Charles Surface, of Hamlet or of Claude Melnotte.
Behind their masks he can speak well; but if he at his own dinner-
table essays to speak, and mamma watches him with sympathetic eyes,
and his brothers and sisters are all listening, he fails.

"Lord Percy sees me fall."

Yet it is with our own people that we must stand or fall, live or
die; it is in our own circle that we must conquer our shyness.

Now, these reflections are not intended as an argument against
sympathy properly expressed. A reasonable and judiciously expressed
sympathy with our fellow-beings is the very highest attribute of our
nature. "It unravels secrets more surely than the highest critical
faculty. Analysis of motives that sway men and women is like the
knife of the anatomist: it works on the dead. Unite sympathy to
observation, and the dead Spring to life." It is thus to the shy, in
their moments of tremor, that we should endeavor to be calmly
unsympathetic; not cruel, but indifferent, unobservant.

Now, women of genius who obtain a reflected comprehension of certain
aspects of life through sympathy often arrive at the admirable
result of apprehending the sufferings of the shy without seeming to
observe them. Such a woman, in talking to a shy man, will not seem
to see him; she will prattle on about herself, or tell some funny
anecdote of how she was tumbled out into the snow, or how she
spilled her glass of claret at dinner, or how she got just too late
to the lecture; and while she is thus absorbed in her little
improvised autobiography, the shy man gets hold of himself and
ceases to be afraid of her. This is the secret of tact.

Madame R‚camier, the famous beauty, was always somewhat shy. She was
not a wit, but she possessed the gift of drawing out what was best
in others. Her biographers have blamed her that she had not a more
impressionable temper, that she was not more sympathetic. Perhaps
(in spite of her courage when she took up contributions in the
churches dressed as a Neo-Greek) she was always hampered by shyness.
She certainly attracted all the best and most gifted of her time,
and had a noble fearlessness in friendship, and a constancy which
she showed by following Madame de Sta‰l into exile, and in her
devotion to Ballenche and Chateaubriand. She had the genius of
friendship, a native sincerity, a certain reality of nature--those
fine qualities which so often accompany the shy that we almost, as
we read biography and history, begin to think that shyness is but a
veil for all the virtues.

Perhaps to this shyness, or to this hidden sympathy, did Madame
R‚camier owe that power over all men which survived her wonderful
beauty. The blind and poor old woman of the _Abbaye_ had not lost
her charm; the most eminent men and women of her day followed her
there, and enjoyed her quiet (not very eloquent) conversation. She
had a wholesome heart; it kept her from folly when she was young,
from a too over-facile sensitiveness to which an impressionable,
sympathetic temperament would have betrayed her. Her firm, sweet
nature was not flurried by excitement; she had a steadfastness in
her social relations which has left behind an everlasting renown to
her name.

And what are, after all, these social relations which call for so
much courage, and which can create so much suffering to most of us
as we conquer for them our awkwardness and our shyness? Let us pause
for a moment, and try to be just. Let us contemplate these social
ethics, which call for so much that is, perhaps, artificial and
troublesome and contradictory. Society, so long as it is the
congregation of the good, the witty, the bright, the intelligent,
and the gifted, is the thing most necessary to us all. We are apt to
like it and its excitements almost too well, or to hate it, with its
excesses and its mistakes, too bitterly. We are rarely just to

The rounded and harmonious and temperate understanding and use of
society is, however, the very end and aim of education. We are born
to live with each other and not for ourselves; if we are cheerful,
our cheerfulness was given to us to make bright the lives of those
about us; if we have genius, that is a sacred trust; if we have
beauty, wit, joyousness, it was given us for the delectation of
others, not for ourselves; if we are awkward and shy, we are bound
to break the crust and to show that within us is beauty,
cheerfulness, and wit. "It is but the fool who loves excess." The
best human being should moderately like society.


We are asked by a correspondent as to when a gentleman should wear
his hat and when take it off. A gentleman wears his hat in the
street, on a steamboat deck, raising it to a lady acquaintance; also
in a promenade concert-room and picture-gallery. He never wears it
in a theatre or opera-house, and seldom in the parlors of a hotel.
The etiquette of raising the hat on the staircases and in the halls
of a hotel as gentlemen pass ladies is much commended. In Europe
each man raises his hat as he passes a bier, or if a hearse carrying
a dead body passes him. In this country men simply raise their hats
as a funeral _cort‚ge_ passes into a church, or at the grave. If a
gentleman, particularly an elderly one, takes off his hat and stands
uncovered in a draughty place, as the _foyer_ of an opera-house,
while talking to ladies, it is proper for one of them to say, "Pray
resume your hat "--a delicate attention deeply prized by a
respectful man, who, perhaps, would not otherwise cover his head.

Again, our young lady friends ask us many questions on the subject
of _propriety_, showing how anxious they are to do right, but also
proving how far they are from apprehending what in Old-World customs
has been always considered propriety. In our new country the
relations of men and women are necessarily simple. The whole
business of etiquette is, of course, reduced to each one's sense of
propriety, and the standard must be changed as the circumstances
demand. As, for instance, a lady writes to know if she should thank
a gentleman for paying for her on an excursion. Now this involves a
long answer. In Europe no young lady could accept an invitation to
go as the guest of a young gentleman on "an excursion," and allow
him to pay for her, without losing much reputation. She would not in
either England or France be received in society again. She should be
invited by the gentleman through her father or mother, and one or
both should accompany an her. Even then it is not customary for
gentlemen to invite ladies to go on an excursion. He could invite
the lady's mother to chaperon a theatre party which he had paid for.

Another young lady asks if she could with propriety buy the tickets
and take a young gentleman to the theatre. Of course she could, if
her mother or chaperon would go with her; but even then the mother
or chaperon should write the note of invitation.

But in our free country it is, we hear, particularly in the West,
allowable for a young lady and gentleman to go off on, "an
excursion" together, the gentleman paying all the expenses. If that
is allowed, then, of course--to answer our correspondent's question
she should thank him. But if we were to answer the young lady's
later question, "Would this be considered etiquette?" we should say,
decidedly, No.

Another question which we are perpetually asked is this: How to
allow a gentleman a proper degree of friendly intimacy without
allowing him to think himself too much of a favorite. Here we cannot
bring in either etiquette or custom to decide. One very general law
would be not to accept too many attentions, to show a certain
reserve in dancing with him or driving with him. It is always proper
for a gentleman to take a young lady out to drive in his dog-cart
with his servant behind, if her parents approve; but if it is done
very often, of course it looks conspicuous, and the lady runs the
risk of being considered engaged. And she knows, of course, whether
her looks and words give him reason to think that he is a favorite.
She must decide all that herself.

Another writes to ask us if she should take a gentleman's hat and
coat when he calls. Never. Let him take care of those. Christianity
and chivalry, modern and ancient custom, make a man the servant of
women. The old form of salutation used by Sir Walter Raleigh and
other courtiers was always, "Your servant, madam," and it is the
prettiest and most admirable way for a man to address a woman in any

Another asks if she should introduce a gentleman who calls to her
mother. This, we should say, would answer itself did not the
question re-appear. Of course she should; and her mother should
always sit with her when she is receiving a call from a gentleman.

But if in our lesser fashionable circles the restrictions of
etiquette are relaxed, let a young lady always remember these
general principles, that men will like and respect her far better if
she is extremely particular about allowing them to pay for her, if
she refuses two invitations out of three, if she is dignified and
reserved rather than if she is the reverse.

At Newport it is now the fashion for young ladies to drive young men
out in their pony-phaetons with a groom behind, or even without a
groom; but a gentleman never takes out a lady in his own carriage
without a servant.

Gentlemen and ladies walk together in the daytime unattended, but if
they ride on horseback a groom is always in attendance on the lady.
In rural neighborhoods where there are no grooms, and where a young
lady and gentleman go off for a drive unattended, they have thrown
Old-World etiquette out of the window, and must make a new etiquette
of their own. Propriety, mutual respect, and American chivalry have
done for women what all the surveillance of Spanish duennas and of
French etiquette has done for the young girl of Europe. If a woman
is a worker, an artist, a student, or an author, she can walk the
Quartier Latin of Paris unharmed.

But she has in work an armor of proof. This is not etiquette when
she comes into the world of fashion. She must observe etiquette, as
she would do the laws of Prussia or of England, if she stands on
foreign shores.

Perhaps we can illustrate this. Given a pretty young girl who shall
arrive on the steamer _Germania_ after being several years at school
in Paris, another who comes in by rail from Kansas, another from
some quiet, remote part of Georgia, and leave them all at the New
York Hotel for a winter. Let us imagine them all introduced at a New
York ball to three gentlemen, who shall call on them the next day.
If the girl educated in Paris, sitting by her mamma, hears the
others talk to the young men she will be shocked. The girls who have
been brought up far from the centres of etiquette seem to her to
have no modesty, no propriety. They accept invitations from the
young men to go to the theatre alone, to take drives, and perhaps,
as we have said, to "go on an excursion."

To the French girl this seems to be a violation of propriety; but
later on she accepts an invitation to go out on a coach, with
perhaps ten or twelve others, and with a very young chaperon. The
party does not return until twelve at night, and as they walk
through the corridors to a late supper the young Western girl meets
them, and sees that the young men are already the worse for wine:
she is apt to say, "What a rowdy crowd!" and to think that, after
all, etiquette permits its own sins, in which she is right.

In a general statement it may be as well to say that a severe
etiquette would prevent a young lady from receiving gifts from a
young man, except _bonbonnieres_ and bouquets. It is not considered
proper for him to offer her clothing of any sort--as gowns, bonnets,
shawls, or shoes--even if he is engaged to her. She may use her
discretion about accepting a camel's-hair shawl from a man old
enough to be her father, but she should never receive jewellery from
any one but a relative or her _fianc‚_ just before marriage. The
reason for this is obvious. It has been abused--the privilege which
all men desire, that of decking women with finery.

A young lady should not write letters to young men, or send them
presents, or take the initiative in any way. A friendly
correspondence is very proper if the mother approves, but even this
has its dangers. Let a young lady always remember that she is to the
young man an angel to reverence until she lessens the distance
between them and extinguishes respect.

Young women often write to us as to whether it is proper for them to
write letters of condolence or congratulation to ladies older than
themselves. We should say, Yes. The respect of young girls is always
felt gratefully by older ladies. The manners of the present are
vastly to be objected to on account of a lack of respect. The rather
bitter Mr. Carlyle wrote satirically of the manners of young ladies.
He even had his fling at their laugh: "Few are able to laugh what
can be called laughing, but only sniff and titter from the throat
outward, or at best produce some whiffling husky cachinnations as if
they were laughing through wool. Of none such comes good." A young
lady must not speak too loud or be too boisterous; she must even
tone down her wit, lest she be misunderstood. But she need not be
dull, or grumpy, or ill-tempered, or careless of her manners,
particularly to her mother's old friends. She must not talk slang,
or be in any way masculine; if she is, she loses the battle. A young
lady is sometimes called upon to be a hostess if her mother is dead.
Here her liberty becomes greater, but she should always have an aunt
or some elderly friend by her side to play chaperon.

A young lady may do any manual labor without losing caste. She may
be a good cook, a fine laundress, a carver of wood, a painter, a
sculptor, an embroideress, a writer, a physician, and she will be
eligible, if her manners are good, to the best society anywhere. But
if she outrage the laws of good-breeding in the place where she is,
she cannot expect to take her place in society. Should she be seen
at Newport driving two gentlemen in her pony-phaeton, or should she
and another young woman take a gentleman between them and drive down
Bellevue Avenue, she would be tabooed. It would not be a wicked act,
but it would not look well; it would not be _convenable_. If she
dresses "loudly," with peculiar hats and a suspicious complexion,
she must take the consequences. She must be careful (if she is
unknown) not to attempt to copy the follies of well-known
fashionable women. What will be forgiven to Mrs. Well Known Uptown
will never be forgiven to Miss Kansas. Society in this respect is
very unjust--the world is always unjust--but that is a part of the
truth of etiquette which is to be remembered; it is founded on the
accidental conditions of society, having for its background,
however, the eternal principles of kindness, politeness, and the
greatest good of society.

A young lady who is very prominent in society should not make
herself too common; she should not appear in too many charades,
private theatricals, tableaux, etc. She should think of the "violet
by the mossy stone." She must, also, at a watering-place remember
that every act of hers is being criticised by a set of lookers-on
who are not all friendly, and she must, ere she allow herself to be
too much of a belle, remember to silence envious tongues.


In no respect can American and English etiquette be contrasted more
fully than in the matter of the every-day dinner, which in America
finds a lady in a plain silk dress, high-necked and long-sleeved,
but at which the English lady always appears in a semi-grand
toilette, with open Pompadour corsage and elbow sleeves, if not in
low-necked, full-dress attire; while her daughters are uniformly
sleeveless, and generally in white dresses, often low-necked in
depth of winter. At dinner all the men are in evening dress, even if
there is no one present at the time but the family.

The dinner is not so good as the ordinary American dinner, except in
the matter of fish, which is universally very fine. The vegetables
are few and poor, and the "sweets," as they call dessert, are very
bad. A gooseberry tart is all that is offered to one at an ordinary
dinner, although fine strawberries and a pine are often brought in
afterwards. The dinner is always served with much state, and
afterwards the ladies all combine to amuse the guests by their
talents. There is no false shame in England about singing and
playing the piano. Even poor performers do their best, and
contribute very much to the pleasure of the company. At the table
people do not talk much, nor do they gesticulate as Americans do.
They eat very quietly, and speak in low tones. No matters of family
history or religion or political differences are discussed before
the servants. Talking with the mouth full is considered an
unpardonable vulgarity. All small preferences for any particular
dish are kept in the background. No hostess ever apologizes, or
appears to hear or see anything disagreeable. If the _omelette
souffle_ is a failure, she does not observe it; the servant offers
and withdraws it, nor is any one disturbed thereby. As soon as one
is helped he must begin to eat, not waiting for any one else. If the
viand is too hot or too cold, or is not what the visitor likes, he
pretends to eat it, playing with knife and fork.

No guest ever passes a plate or helps to anything; the servant does
all that. Soup is taken from the side of the spoon noiselessly. Soup
and fish are not partaken of a second time. If there is a joint, and
the master carves, it is proper, however, to ask for a second cut.
Bread is passed by the servants, and must be broken, not cut,
afterwards. It is considered _gauche_ to be undecided as to whether
you will take clear soup or thick soup; decide quickly. In refusing
wine, simply say, "Thanks;" the servant knows then that you do not
take any.

The servants retire after handing the dessert, and a few minutes'
free conversation is allowed. Then the lady of the house gives the
signal for rising. Toasts and taking wine with people are entirely
out of fashion; nor do the gentlemen remain long in the dining-room.

At the English dinner-table, from the plainest to the highest, there
is etiquette, manner, fine service, and everything that Englishmen
enjoy. The wit, the courtier, the beauty, and the poet aim at
appearing well at dinner. The pleasures of the table, says Savarin,
bring neither enchantment, ecstasy, nor transports, but they gain in
duration what they lose in intensity; they incline us favorably
towards all other pleasures--at least help to console us for the
loss of them.

At very few houses, even that of a duke, does one see so elegant a
table and such a profusion of flowers as at every millionaire's
table in New York; but one does see superb old family silver and the
most beautiful table-linen even at a very plain abode. The table is
almost uniformly lighted with wax candles. Hot coffee is served
immediately after dinner in the drawing-room. Plum-pudding, a sweet
omelet, or a very rich plum-tart is often served in the middle of
dinner, before the game. The salad always comes last, with the
cheese. This is utterly unlike our American etiquette.

Tea is served in English country-houses four or five times a day. It
is always brought to your bedside before rising; it is poured at
breakfast and at lunch; it is a necessary of life at five o'clock;
it is drunk just before going to bed. Probably the cold, damp
climate has much to do with this; and the tea is never very strong,
but is excellent, being always freshly drawn, not steeped, and is
most refreshing.

Servants make the round of the table in pairs, offering the
condiments, the sauces, the vegetables, and the wines. The common-
sense of the English nation breaks out in their dinners. Nothing is
offered out of season. To make too great a display of wealth is
considered _bourgeois_ and vulgar to a degree. A choice but not
oversumptuous dinner meets you in the best houses. But to sit down
to the plainest dinners, as we do, _in plain clothes_, would never
be permitted. Even ladies in deep mourning are expected to make some
slight change at dinner.

Iced drinks are never offered in England, nor in truth are they

In England no one speaks of "sherry wine," "port wine;" "champagne
wine," he always says "sherry," "port," "claret," etc. But in France
one always says "vin de Champagne," "vin de Bordeaux," etc. It goes
to show that what is proper in one country is vulgar in another.

It is still considered proper for the man of the house to know how
to carve, and at breakfast and lunch the gentlemen present always
cut the cold beef, the fowl, the pressed veal and the tongue. At a
country-house dinner the lady often helps the soup herself. Even at
very quiet dinners a _menu_ is written out by the hostess and placed
at each plate. The ceremony of the "first lady" being taken in first
and allowed to go out first is always observed at even a family
dinner. No one apologizes for any accident, such as overturning a
glass of claret, or dropping a spoon, or even breaking a glass. It
is passed over in silence.

No English lady ever reproves her servants at table, nor even before
her husband and children. Her duty at table is to appear serene and
unruffled. She puts her guests at their ease by appearing at ease
herself. In this respect English hostesses are far ahead of American

In the matter of public holidays and of their amusements the English
people behave very unlike American people. If there is a week of
holidays, as at Whitsuntide, all the laboring classes go out of town
and spend the day in the parks, the woods, or the country. By this
we mean shop-girls, clerks in banks, lawyer's clerks, young artists,
and physicians, all, in fact, who make their bread by the sweat of
their brows. As for the privileged classes, they go from London to
their estates, put on plain clothes, and fish or bunt, or the ladies
go into the woods to pick wild-flowers. The real love of nature,
which is so honorable a part of the English character, breaks out in
great and small. In America a holiday is a day when people dress in
their best, and either walk the streets of a great city, or else
take drives, or go to museums or theatres, or do something which
smacks of civilization. How few put on their plain clothes and stout
shoes and go into the woods! How much better it would be for them if
they did!

At Whitsuntide the shop-girls of London--a hard worked class--go
down to Epping Forest, or to Hampton Court, or to Windsor, with
their basket of lunch, and everywhere one sees the sign "Hot Water
for Tea," which means that they go into the humble inn and pay a
penny for the use of the teapot and cup and the hot water, bringing
their own tea and sugar. The economy which is a part of every
Englishman's religion could well be copied in America. Even a
duchess tries to save money, saying wisely that it is better to give
it away in charity than to waste it.

An unpleasant feature of English life is, however, the open palm,
every one being willing to take a fee, from a penny up to a
shilling, for the smallest service. The etiquette of giving has to
be learned. A shilling is, however, as good as a guinea for ordinary
use; no one but an American gives more.

The carriage etiquette differs from ours, as the gentleman of the
family rides beside his wife, allowing his daughters to ride
backwards. He also smokes in the Park in the company of ladies,
which looks boorish. However, no gentleman sits beside a lady in
driving unless he is her husband, father, son, or brother. Not even
an affianced lover is permitted this seat.

It must be confessed that the groups in Hyde Park and in Rotten Row
and about the Serpentine have a solemn look, the people in the
carriages rarely chatting, but sitting up in state to be looked at,
the people in chairs gravely staring at the others. None but the
people on horseback seem at their ease; they chat as they ride, and,
all faultlessly caparisoned as they are, with well-groomed horses,
and servants behind, they seem gay and jolly. In America it is the
equestrian who always looks preoccupied and solemn, and as if the
horse were quite enough to manage. The footmen are generally
powdered and very neatly dressed in livery, in the swell carriages,
but the coachmen are not so highly gotten up as formerly.
Occasionally one sees a very grand fat old coachman in wig and knee-
breeches, but Jeames Yellowplush is growing a thing of the past even
in London.

A lady does not walk alone in the Park. She may walk alone to
church, or to do her shopping, but even this is not common. She had
better take a hansom, it now being proper for ladies to go out to
dinner alone in full dress in one of these singularly open and
exposed-looking carriages. It is not an uncommon sight to see a lady
in a diamond tiara in a London hansom by the blazing light of a
summer sun. Thus what we should shun as a very public thing the
reserved English woman does in crowded London, and regards it as
proper, while she smiles if she sees an American lady alone in a
victoria in Hyde Park, and would consider her a very improper person
if she asked a gentleman to drive out with her--as we do in our Park
every day of our lives--in an open carriage. Truly etiquette is a
curious and arbitrary thing, and differs in every country.

In France, where they consider English people frightfully _gauche_,
all this etiquette is reversed, and is very much more like ours in
America. A Frenchman always takes off his hat on entering or leaving
a railway carriage if ladies are in it. An Englishman never takes
his hat off unless the Princess of Wales is passing, or he meets an
acquaintance. He sits with it on in the House of Commons, in the
reading-room of a hotel, at his club, where it is his privilege to
sulk; but in his own house he is the most charming of hosts. The
rudest and almost the most unkind persons in the world, if you meet
them without a letter or an introduction in a public place, the
English become in their own houses the most gentle, lovely, and
polite of all people. If the ladies meet in a friend's parlor, there
is none of that snobbish rudeness which is the fashion in America,
where one lady treats another as if she were afraid of
contamination, and will not speak to her. The lady-in-waiting to
Queen Victoria, the duchess, is not afraid of her nobility; her
friend's roof is an introduction; she speaks.

There is a great sense of the value of a note. If a lady writes a
pretty note expressing thanks for civilities offered to her, all the
family call on her and thank her for her politeness. It is to be
feared that in this latter piece of good-breeding we are behind our
English cousins. The English call immediately after a party, an
invitation, or a letter of introduction. An elegant and easy
epistolary style is of great use in England; and indeed a lady is
expected even to write to an artist asking permission to call and
see his pictures--a thing rarely thought of in America.


No sooner does the American traveller land in England than are
forced upon his consideration the striking differences in the
etiquette of the two countries, the language for common things, the
different system of intercourse between the employee and the
employer, the intense respectfulness of the guard on the railway,
the waiter at the hotel, and the porter who shoulders a trunk, and
the Stately "manageress" of the hotel, who greets a traveller as "my
lady," and holds out her hand for a shilling. This _respect_ strikes
him forcibly. The American in a similar position would not show the
politeness, but she would disdain the shilling. No American woman
likes to take a "fee," least of all an American landlady. In England
there is no such sensitiveness. Everybody can be feed who does even
the most elevated service. The stately gentlemen who show Windsor
Castle expect a shilling. Now as to the language for common things.
No American must ask for an apothecary's shop; he would not be
understood. He must inquire for the "chemist's" if he wants a dose
of medicine. Apothecaries existed in Shakespeare's time, as we learn
from "Romeo and Juliet," but they are "gone out" since. The chemist
has been born, and very good chemicals he keeps. As  soon as an
American can divest himself of his habit of saying "baggage," and
remark that he desires his "luggage sent up by the four train," the
better for him. And it is the better for him if he learns the
language of the country quickly. Language in England, in all
classes, is a much more elaborate and finished science than with us.
Every one, from the cad to the cabinet minister, speaks his
sentences with what seems to us at first a stilted effort. There is
none of the easy drawl, the oblivion of consonants, which mark our
daily talk, It is very beautiful in the speech of women in England,
this clear enunciation and the proper use of words. Even the maid
who lights your fire asks your permission to do so in a studied
manner, giving each letter its place. The slang of England is the
affectation of the few. The "general public," as we should say,
speak our common language most correctly. At first it sounds
affected and strained, but soon the American ear grows to appreciate
it, and finds the pure well of English undefiled.

The American lady will be sure to be charmed with the manners of the
very respectable person who lets lodgings, and she will be equally
sure to be shocked at the extortions of even the most honest and
best-meaning of them. Ice, lights, an extra egg for breakfast, all
these common luxuries, which are given away in America, and
considered as necessaries of existence, are charged for in England,
and if a bath is required in the morning in the tub which always
stands near the wash-stand, an extra sixpence is required for that
commonplace adjunct of the toilette. If ladies carry their own wine
from the steamer to a lodging-house, and drink it there, or offer it
to their friends, they are charged "corkage." On asking the meaning
of this now almost obsolete relic of barbarism, they are informed
that the lodging-house keeper pays a tax of twenty pounds a year for
the privilege of using wine or spirits on the premises, and seven
shillings--equal to nearly two dollars of our money--was charged an
invalid lady who opened one bottle of port and two little bottles of
champagne of her own in a lodging-house in Half-moon Street. As it
was left on the sideboard and nearly all drunk up by the waiter, the
lady demurred, but she had no redress. A friend told her afterwards
that she should have uncorked her bottles in her bedroom, and called
it medicine.

These abuses, practised principally on Americans, are leading to the
far wiser and more generous plan of hotel living, where, as with us,
a man may know how much he is paying a day, and may lose this
disagreeable sense of being perpetually plucked. No doubt to English
people, who know how to cope with the landlady, who are accustomed
to dole out their stores very carefully, who know how to save a
sixpence, and will go without a lump of sugar in their tea rather
than pay for it, the lodging-house living has its conveniences. It
certainly is quieter and in some respects more comfortable than a
hotel, but it goes against the grain for any one accustomed to the
good breakfasts, the hearty lunch, and the excellent dinners of an
American hotel of the better class, to have to pay for a drink of
ice-water, and to be told that the landlady cannot give him soup and
fish on the same day unless her pay is raised. Indeed, it is
difficult to make any positive terms; the "extras" will come in.
This has led to the building of gigantic hotels in London on the
American plan, which arise rapidly on all sides. The Grand Hotel,
the Bristol, the First Avenue Hotel, the Midland, the Northwestern,
the Langham, and the Royal are all better places for an American
than the lodging-house, and they are very little if any more
expensive. In a lodging-house a lady must have a parlor, but in a
hotel she can sit in the reading-room, or write her letters at one
of the half-dozen little tables which she will find in each of the
many waiting-rooms.

London is a very convenient city for the writing and posting of
letters. Foreigners send out their letters of introduction and
cards, expecting a reply in a few days, when, lo! the visitor is
announced as being outside. Here, again, London has the advantage of
New York. The immediate attention paid to a letter of introduction
might shame our more tardy hospitality. Never in the course of the
history of England has self-respecting Londoner neglected a letter
of introduction. If he is well-to-do, he asks the person who brings
the letter to dinner; if he is poor, he does what he can. He is not
ashamed to offer merely the hospitality of a cup of tea if he can do
no more. But he calls, and he sends you tickets for the "Zoo," or he
does something to show his appreciation of the friend who has given
the letter. Now in America we are very tardy about all this, and
often, to our shame, take no notice of letters of introduction.

In the matter of dress the American lady finds a complete
_bouleversement_ of her own ideas. Who would not stare, on alighting
at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in the hot sunshine of a June evening, to
find ladies trooping in at the public entrance dressed in red and
blue and gold, with short sleeves or no sleeves, and very low
corsage, no cloak, no head-covering? And yet at the Grand Hotel in
London this is the nightly custom. These ladies are dressed for
theatre or opera, and they go to dine at a hotel first. No bonnet is
allowed at any theatre, so the full dress (which we should deem very
improper at Wallack's) is demanded at every theatre in London. Of
course elderly and quiet ladies can go in high dresses, but they
must not wear bonnets. The laws of the Medes and Persians were not
more strictly enforced than is this law by the custodians of the
theatre, who are neatly dressed women ushers with becoming caps.
Here, again, is a difference of custom, as we have no women ushers
in America, and in this respect the English fashion is the prettier.
It would be well, if we could introduce the habit of going to the
theatre bonnetless, for our high hats are universally denounced by
those who sit behind us.

The appearance of English women now to the stranger in London
partakes of a character of loudness, excepting when on the top of a
coach. There they are most modestly and plainly dressed. While our
American women wear coaching dresses of bright orange silks and
white satins, pink trimmed with lace, and so on, the English woman
wears a plain colored dress, with a black mantilla or wrap, and
carries a dark parasol. No brighter dress than a fawn-colored
foulard appears on a coach in the great London parade of the Four-

Here the London woman is more sensible than her American cousin. The
Americans who now visit London are apt to be so plain and
undemonstrative in dress that they are called shabby. Perhaps
alarmed at the comments once made on their loudness of dress, the
American woman has toned down, and finds herself less gay than she
sees is fashionable at the theatre and opera. But she may be sure of
one thing--she should be plainly dressed rather than overdressed.

As for dinner parties, one is asked at eight or half-past eight; no
one is introduced, but every one talks. The conversation is apt to
be low-voiced, but very bright and cordial--all English people
unbending at dinner. It is etiquette to leave a card next day after
a ball, and to call on a lady's reception day. For the out-of-door
_fˆtes_ at Hurlington and Sandhurst and the race days very brilliant
toilettes of short dresses, gay bonnets, and so on, are proper, and
as no one can go to the first two without a special invitation, the
people present are apt to be "swells," and well worth seeing. The
coaches which come out to these festivities have well-dressed women
on top, but they usually conceal their gay dresses with a wrap of
some sombre color while driving through London. No one makes the
slightest advance towards an acquaintance or an intimacy in London.
All is begun very formally by the presentation of letters, and after
that the invitation must be immediately accepted or declined, and no
person can, without offending his host, withdraw from a lunch or
dinner without making a most reasonable excuse. An American
gentleman long resident in London complains of his country-people in
this respect.

He says they accept his invitations to dinner, he gets together a
most distinguished company to meet them, and at the last moment they
send him word: "So sorry, but have come in tired from Richmond.
Think we won't come. Thank you."

Now where is his dinner party? Three or four angry Londoners, who
might have gone to a dozen different dinners, are sulkily sitting
about waiting for these Americans who take a dinner invitation so

The London luncheon, which is a very plain meal compared with ours--
indeed, only a family dinner--is a favorite hospitality as extended
to Americans by busy men. Thus Sir John Millais, whose hours are
worth twenty pounds apiece, receives his friends at a plain lunch in
his magnificent house, at a table at which his handsome wife and
rosy daughters assist. So with Alma Tadema, and the literary people
whose time is money. Many of the noble people, whose time is not
worth so much, also invite one to lunch, and always the meal is an
informal one.

English ladies are very accomplished as a rule, and sometimes come
into the drawing-room with their painting aprons over their gowns.
They never look so well as on horseback, where they have a
perfection of outfit and such horses and grooms as our American
ladies as yet cannot approach. The scene at the corner of Rotten Row
of a bright afternoon in the Derby week is unapproachable in any
country in the world.

Many American ladies, not knowing the customs of the country, have,
with their gentlemen friends, mounted a coach at the Langham Hotel,
and have driven to the Derby, coming home very much shocked because
they were rudely accosted.

Now ladies should never go to the Derby. It is not a "lady" race. It
is five hundred thousand people out on a spree, and no lady is safe
there. Ascot, on the contrary, _is_ a lady's race. But then she
should have a box, or else sit on the top of a coach. Such is the

It would be better for all Americans, before entering London
society, to learn the etiquette of these things from some resident.

In driving about, the most aristocratic lady can use the most
plebeian conveyance. The "four-wheeler" is the favorite carriage. A
servant calls them from the door-step with a whistle. They are very
cheap--one-and-sixpence for two miles, including a call not to
exceed fifteen minutes (the call). The hansom cab with one horse is
equally cheap, but not so easy to get in and out of. Both these
vehicles, with trunks on top of them, and a lady within, drive
through the Park side by side with the stately carriages. In this
respect London is more democratic than New York.


The highest lady in the realm, Queen Victoria, is always addressed
by the ladies and gentlemen of her household, and by all members of
the aristocracy and gentry, as "Ma'am," not "Madam," or "Your
Majesty," but simply, "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am." All classes not
coming within the category of gentry, such as the lower professional
classes, the middle classes, the lower middle classes, the lower
classes (servants), would address her as "Your Majesty," and not as
"Ma'am." The Prince of Wales is addressed as "Sir" by the
aristocracy and gentry, and never as "Your Royal Highness" by either
of these classes, but by all other people he is addressed as "Your
Royal Highness."

The other sons of Queen Victoria are addressed as "Sir" by the upper
classes, but as "Your Royal Highness" by the middle and lower
classes, and by all persons not coming within the category of
gentry; and by gentry, English people mean not only the landed
gentry, but all persons belonging to the army and navy, the clergy,
the bar, the medical and other professions, the aristocracy of art
(Sir Frederick Leighton, the President of the Royal Academy, can
always claim a private audience with the sovereign), the aristocracy
of wealth, merchant princes, and the leading City merchants and
bankers. The Princess of Wales and all the princesses of the blood
royal are addressed as "Ma'am" by the aristocracy and gentry, but as
"Your Royal Highness" by all other classes.

A foreign prince is addressed as "Prince" and "Sir" by the
aristocracy and gentry, and as "Your Serene Highness" by all other
classes; and a foreign princess would be addressed as "Princess" by
the aristocracy, or "Your Serene Highness" by the lower grades, but
never as "Ma'am."

An English duke is addressed as "Duke" by the aristocracy and
gentry, and never as "Your Grace" by the members of either of these
classes; but all other classes address him as "Your Grace." A
marquis is sometimes conversationally addressed by the upper classes
as "Markis," but generally as "Lord A--," and a marchioness as "Lady
B--;" all other classes would address them as "Marquis" or
"Marchioness." The same remark holds good as to earls, countesses,
barons, baronnesses--all are "Lord B--" or "Lady B--."

But Americans, who are always, if presented at court, entitled to be
considered as aristocracy and gentry, and as such are always
received, must observe that English people do not use titles often
even in speaking to a duke. It is only an ignorant person who
garnishes his conversation with these titles. Let the conversation
with Lord B flow on without saying "My lord" or "Lord B--" more
frequently than is absolutely necessary. One very ignorant American
in London was laughed at for saying, "That isn't so, lord," to a
nobleman. He should have said, "That isn't so, I think," or, "That
isn't so, Lord B--," or "my lord."

The daughters of dukes, marquises, and earls are addressed as "Lady
Mary," "Lady Gwendoline," etc. This must never be forgotten, and the
younger sons of dukes and marquises are called "Lord John B--,"
"Lord Randolph Churchill," etc. The wife of the younger son should
always be addressed by both the Christian and surname of her husband
by those slightly acquainted with her, and by her husband's
Christian name only by her intimate friends. Thus those who know
Lady Randolph Churchill well address her as "Lady Randolph." The
younger sons of earls, viscounts, and barons bear the courtesy title
of "Honorable," as do the female members of the family; but this is
never used colloquially under any circumstances, although always in
addressing a letter to them.

Baronets are addressed by their full title and surname, as "Sir
Stafford Northcote," etc., by persons of the upper classes, and by
their titles and Christian names by all lower classes. Baronets'
wives are addressed as "Lady B--"or "Lady C--." They should not be
addressed as "Lady Thomas B--'" that would be to give them the rank
of the wife of a younger son of a duke or marquis, instead of that
of a baronet's wife only.

In addressing foreigners of rank colloquially the received rule is
to address them by their individual titles without the addition of
the surname to their titles. In case of a prince being a younger son
he is addressed as "Prince Henry," as in the case of Prince Henry of
Battenberg. The sons of the reigning monarchs are addressed as "Your
Imperial Highness." A foreign nobleman is addressed as "Monsieur le
Duc," "Monsieur le Comte," "Monsieur le Baron," etc.; but if there is
no prefix of "de," the individual is addressed as "Baron
Rothschild," "Count Hohenthal," etc.

While it is proper on the Continent to address an unmarried woman as
mademoiselle, without the surname, in England it would be considered
very vulgar. "Miss" must be followed by the surname. The wives of
archbishops, bishops, and deans are simply Mrs. A--, Mrs. B--, etc.,
while the archbishop and bishop are always addressed as "Your Grace"
and as "My lord," their wives deriving no precedency and no title
from their husbands' ecclesiastical rank. It is the same with
military personages.

Peeresses invariably address their husbands by their title; thus the
Duchess of Sutherland calls her husband "Sutherland," etc. Baronets'
wives call their husbands "Sir John" or "Sir George," etc.

The order of precedency in England is strictly adhered to, and
English matrons declare that it is the greatest convenience, as it
saves them all the trouble of choosing who shall go in first, etc.
For this reason, among others, the "Book of the Peerage" has been
called the Englishman's Bible, it is so often consulted.

But the question of how to treat English people has many another
phase than that of mere title, as we look at it from an American
point of view.

When we visit England we take rank with the highest, and can well
afford to address the queen as "Ma'am." In fact, we are expected to
do so. A well-bred, well-educated, well-introduced American has the
highest position in the social scale. He may not go in to dinner
with a duchess, but he is generally very well placed. As for a well-
bred, handsome woman, there is no end to the privileges of her
position in England, if she observes two or three rules. She should
not effuse too much, nor be too generous of titles, nor should she
fail of the necessary courtesy due always from guest to hostess. She
should have herself presented at court by her Minister or by some
distinguished friend, if She wishes to enter fashionable society.
Then she has the privilege of attending any subsequent Drawing-room,
and is eligible to invitations to the court bails and royal
concerts, etc.

American women have succeeded wonderfully of late years in all
foreign society from their beauty, their wit, and their originality.
From the somewhat perilous admiration of the Prince of Wales and
other Royal Highnesses for American beauties, there has grown up,
however, a rather presumptuous boldness in some women, which has
rather speedily brought them into trouble, and therefore it may be
advisable that even a witty and very pretty woman should hold
herself in check in England.

English people are very kind in illness, grief, or in anything which
is inevitable, but they are speedily chilled by any step towards a
too sudden intimacy. They resent anything like "pushing" more than
any other people in the world. In no country has intellect, reading,
cultivation, and knowledge such "success" as in England. If a lady,
especially, can talk well, she is invited everywhere. If she can do
anything to amuse the company--as to sing well, tell fortunes by the
hand, recite, or play in charades or private theatricals--she is
almost sure of the highest social recognition. She is expected to
dress well, and Americans are sure to do this. The excess of
dressing too much is to be discouraged. It is far better to be too
plain than too fine in England, as, indeed, it is everywhere; an
overdressed woman is undeniably vulgar in any country.

If we could learn to treat English people as they treat us in the
matter of _introductions_, it would be a great advance. The English
regard a letter of introduction as a sacred institution and an
obligation which cannot be disregarded. If a lady takes a letter to
Sir John Bowring, and he has illness in his family and cannot ask
her to dinner, he comes to call on her, he sends her tickets for
every sort of flower show, the museums, the Botanical Garden, and
all the fine things; he sends her his carriage--he evidently has her
on his mind. Sir Frederick Leighton, the most courted, the busiest
man in London, is really so kind, so attentive, so assiduous in his
response to letters of introduction that one hesitates to present a
letter for fear of intruding on his industrious and valuable life.

Of course there are disagreeable English people, and there is an
animal known as the English snob, than which there is no Tasmanian
devil more disagreeable. Travellers everywhere have met this
variety, and one would think that formerly it must have been more
common than it is now. There are also English families who have a
Continental, one might say a cosmopolitan, reputation for
disagreeability, as we have some American families, well known to
history, who have an almost patrician and hereditary claim to the
worst manners in the universe. Well-born bears are known all over
the world, but they are in the minority. It is almost a sure sign of
base and ignoble blood to be badly mannered. And if the American
visitor treats his English host half as well as the host treats him,
he may feel assured that the _entente cordiale_ will soon be

One need not treat the average Englishman either with a too effusive
cordiality or with that half-contemptuous fear of being snubbed
which is of all things the most disagreeable. A sort of "chip on the
shoulder" spread-eagleism formerly made a class of Americans
unpopular; now Americans are in favor in England, and are treated
most cordially.


Life at a French watering-place differs so essentially from that at
our own Saratoga, Sharon, Richfield, Newport, and Long Branch, that
a few items of observation may be indulged in to show us what an
immense improvement we could introduce into our study of amusement
by following the foreign fashions of simplicity in eating and

The Continental people never eat that heavy early meal which we call
breakfast. They take in their rooms at eight o'clock a cup of coffee
and a roll, what they call _caf‚ complet_, or they may prefer tea
and oatmeal, the whole thing very simple. Then at Aix-les Rains or
Vichy the people under treatment go to the bath, taking a rest
afterwards. All this occupies an hour. They then rise and dress for
the eleven o'clock _d‚jeuner … la fourchette_, which is a formal
meal served in courses, with red wine instead of coffee or tea. This
is all that one has to do in the eating line until dinner. Imagine
what a fine clear day that gives one. How much uninterrupted time!
How much better for the housekeeper in a small boarding-house! And
at a hotel where the long, heavy breakfast, from seven to eleven,
keeps the dining-room greasy and badly ventilated until the tables
must be cleared for a one or two o'clock dinner, it is to contrast
order with disorder, and neatness with its reverse.

The foreign breakfast at eleven is a delicious meal, as will be seen
by the following bills of fare: _oeufs au beurre noir_; _saut‚
printanier_ (a sort of stew of meat and fresh vegetables); _viande
froide panach‚e_; _salade de saison_; _compote de fruit et
pƒtisserie_; _fromage_, _fruit_, _caf‚_.

Another breakfast is: _oeufs au plat_; _poulet … la Godard_;
_c'telettes de mouton grillees_; _reviere pommes de terre_; _flans
d'apricot_; and so on, with every variety of stewed pigeon, trout
from the lake, delicious preparations of spinach, and always a
variety of the cheeses which are so fresh and so healthful, just
brought from the Alpine valleys. The highly flavored Alpine
strawberries are added to this meal. Then all eating is done for the
day until the six or seven o'clock dinner. This gives the visitor a
long and desirable day for excursions, which in the neighborhood of
Aix are especially charming, particularly the drive to Chambery, one
of the most quaintly interesting of towns, through the magnificent
break in the Alps at whose southern portal stands La Grande
Chartreuse. All this truly healthy disposition of time and of eating
is one reason why a person comes home from a foreign watering-place
in so much better trim, morally, mentally, and physically, than from
the unhealthy gorging of our American summer resorts.

At twelve or one begins the music at the Casino, usually a pretty
building in a garden. In this shady park the mammas with their
children sit and listen to the strains of the best bands in Europe.
Paris sends her artists from the Chƒtelet, and the morning finds
itself gone and well into the afternoon before the outside pleasures
of the Casino are exhausted. Here, of course, trip up and down on
the light fantastic toe, and in the prettiest costumes of the day,
all the daughters of the earth, with their attendant cavaliers.
There are certain aspects of a foreign watering-place with which we
have nothing to do here, such as the gambling and the overdressing
of a certain class, but all is externally most respectable. At four
or earlier every one goes to drive in the _voiture de place_ or the
_voiture de remise_, the latter being a handsome hired carriage of a
superior class. But the _voiture de place_, with a Savoyard driver,
is good enough. He knows the road; his sturdy horse is accustomed to
the hills; he takes one for three francs an hour--about half what is
charged at Saratoga or Sharon or Richfield; he expects a few cents
as pourboire, that is all. The vehicle is a humble sort of victoria,
very easy and safe, and the drive is generally through scenery of
the most magnificent description.

Ladies at a foreign watering-place have generally much to amuse them
at the shops. Antiquities of all sorts, especially old china
(particularly old Saxe), also old carved furniture from the well-
known chateaux of Savoy, are found at Aix. The prices are so small
compared with what such curiosities would bring in New York that the
buyer is tempted to buy what she does not want, forgetting how much
it will cost to get it home. Old lace and bits of embroidery and
stuffs are brought to the door. There is nothing too rococo for the
peripatetic vender in these foreign watering-places.

The dinner is a very good one. Cooked by Italian or French cooks, it
may be something of this sort: _potage de riz_; _lavarets St.
Houlade_; filets de boeuf Beaumaire_ (a delicious sauce with basil
mixed in it, a slight taste of aniseed); _bouchers … la reine_;
_chapon roti au cresson_; _asperge au branches_; _glace au
chocolat_; _caf‚_; or: _potage au Cr‚cy_; _turbot aux cƒpres_;
_langue de boeuf_; _petits pois, lies au beurre_; _bombe vanille_;
with fruits, cheese, and cakes, and always the wine of the country,
for which no extra charge is made. These delicious meals cost--the
breakfast four francs (wine included), the dinner ten francs. It
would be difficult in our country to find such cooking anywhere, and
for that price simply impossible.

Music in the Casino grounds follows the dinner. The pretty women, by
this time in the short, gay foulards and in the dressy hats in which
they will appear later at the Casino ball, are tripping up and down
in the gas-lighted grounds. The scene is often illuminated by
fireworks. At eight and a half the whole motley crew has entered the
Casino, and there the most amusing dancing--valse, galop, and polka
--is in vogue. The Pole is known by his violent dancing; "he strikes
and flutters like a cock, he capers in the air, he kicks his heels
up to the stars." There is heartiness in the dancing of the Swedes
and Danes, there is mettle in their heels, but no people caper like
the Poles. The Russians and the Americans dance the best. They are
the elegant dancers of the world. French women dance beautifully:

"A fine, sweet earthquake, gently moved By the soft wind of their
dispersing silks."

No lady appears at the Casino bareheaded; it is always with hat or
bonnet, and she lives in her bonnet more or less even at the balls.

If a concert or a play is going on in the little theatre, the same
people take their places in boxes or seats, until every face becomes
familiar, as one knows one's shipmates. Sometimes pleasant
acquaintances are thus formed. A very free-and-easy system of
etiquette permits dancing between parties who have not been
introduced, and the same privilege extends to the asking of a party
of ladies to take an ice. All acquaintance ceases on leaving the
Casino, however, unless the lady chooses to bow to her cavalier.

Sometimes the steward of the Casino gets up a fancy-dress ball under
the patronage of some lady, and then the motley crew appear as
historical characters. It is a unique and gay spectacle. Here in the
land of the old masters some very fine representations of the best
pictures are hastily improvised, and almost without any apparent
effort the whole ball is gotten up with spirit and ingenuity. This,
too, among people who never met the day before yesterday. There is a
wide range of costume allowed for those who take part in these

The parquet floor of a foreign Casino is the most perfect thing for
good dancing. They understand laying these floors there better than
we do, and the climate does not alter them, as with us. They are the
pleasantest and easiest of all floors to dance upon.

Not the least striking episode to an American eye is the sight of
many priests and men in ecclesiastical garments at these Casinos.
The number of priestly robes everywhere strikes the visitor to a
French watering-place most emphatically. The schoolmasters are young
priests, and walk about with their boys, and the old priests are
everywhere. A solemn procession crosses the gay scene occasionally.
Three or four acolytes bearing censers, a group of mourners, a tall
and stately nun in gray robes and veil walking magnificently, and
moving her lips in prayer; then a group of people; then a priest
with book in hand saying aloud the prayers for the dead; then the
black box, the coffin, carried on a bier by men, the motley crowd
uncovering as the majesty passes; and the boys follow, chanting,

"The glories of our birth and state Are shadows, not substantial
things; There is no armor against fate; Death lays his icy hand on

Yes, and on the gay visitor at the Casino. These simple and
unostentatious funerals are very impressive. The priests always walk
bareheaded through the streets on these occasions, and on many
others. Indeed, the priestly head seems impatient of a hat.

The fˆtes of the peasants are things to go and see, and the
unalterable differences of rank are deeply impressed on the American
mind. An old peasant woman has brought cheese and milk into Aix for
forty years, and now, in her sixties, she still brings them, and
walks eight miles a day. There is no hope that her daughter will
ever join in the gayeties of the Casino, as in America she might
certainly aspire to do. The daughter will be a peasant, as her
mother was, and far happier and more respectable for it, and
certainly more picturesque. How many of the peasant dresses have
given an idea to the modiste! And one sees in the fields of Savoy
the high hat with conical crown, with brim either wide or flat,
which has now become so fashionable; also the flat mushroom hat of
straw with the natural bunch of corn and red poppy, which has gone
from Fanchon up to the duchess. They both come from the fields.

Of course horse-races, formed after the plan of Longchamps, are
inseparable from the amusements of a French watering-place; and in
proportion to the number of guests to be amused; the horses come
down from the various stables. Pigeon-shooting goes on all the time.

It is said that the French have a greater hatred of ennui than any
other people in the world. They do not know what it means. They
amuse themselves all the time, and are never at a loss. The well-
bred French women have as much energy and industry as any New
England woman, but they take their amusement more resolutely, never
losing music, gayety, and "distraction." Perhaps what amuses them
might not amuse the more sober Saxon, but the delicate embroidery of
their lives, with all that comes thus cheaply to them, certainly
makes them a very delightful set. Their manners are most
fascinating, never selfish, never ponderous, never self-conscious,
but always most agreeable. The French woman is _sui generis_. She
may no longer be very young; she never was very handsome. Every
sensation that the human mind can experience she has experienced;
every caprice, whim, and fancy that human imagination can conceive
she has gratified. She is very intelligent; she was born with a
perfect taste in dress; and she is--all the novelists to the
contrary notwithstanding--a very good wife, an excellent mother, a
charming companion, a most useful and sensible helpmeet, with a
perfect idea of doing her half of the business of life, and of
getting out of her hours of leisure all the amusement she can. At a
French watering-place the French women of the better class are most
entirely at home and intensely agreeable.

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