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Title: Marion Harland's Complete Etiquette - A Young People's Guide to Every Social Occasion
Author: Harland, Marion
Language: English
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MARION HARLAND’S COMPLETE ETIQUETTE



    MARION HARLAND’S

    COMPLETE ETIQUETTE

    _A Young People’s Guide to Every Social Occasion_

    BY
    MARION HARLAND

    AND

    VIRGINIA VAN DE WATER

    _REVISED AND ENLARGED_

[Illustration]

    INDIANAPOLIS
    THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
    PUBLISHERS



    COPYRIGHT 1905, 1907, 1914
    THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY


    PRESS OF
    BRAUNWORTH & CO.
    BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS
    BROOKLYN, N. Y.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER                                                 PAGE
          I SENDING AND RECEIVING INVITATIONS                  1
         II CARDS AND CALLS                                   14
        III LETTER-WRITING                                    27
         IV INTRODUCTIONS                                     38
          V AFTER SIX O’CLOCK                                 43
         VI FUNCTIONS                                         52
        VII THE HOME WEDDING                                  69
       VIII THE CHURCH WEDDING                                78
         IX THE DINNER PARTY                                  88
          X THE EDUCATION OF A YOUNG GIRL                    111
         XI THE DÉBUTANTE                                    120
        XII MEN AND WOMEN                                    125
       XIII COEDUCATION SOCIALLY CONSIDERED                  136
        XIV THE CHAPERON                                     145
         XV THE MATTER OF DRESS                              152
        XVI MAKING AND RECEIVING GIFTS                       167
       XVII BACHELOR HOSPITALITY                             175
      XVIII THE VISITOR                                      182
        XIX THE VISITED                                      195
         XX HOSPITALITY AS A DUTY                            203
        XXI THE HOUSE OF MOURNING                            208
       XXII AT TABLE                                         216
      XXIII IN THE HOME                                      227
       XXIV IN PUBLIC                                        238
        XXV HOTEL AND BOARDING-HOUSE LIFE                    249
       XXVI IN THE RESTAURANT                                259
      XXVII WHEN TRAVELING                                   268
     XXVIII IN SPORT                                         280
       XXIX MRS. NEWLYRICH AND HER SOCIAL DUTIES             291
        XXX DELICATE POINTS FOR OUR GIRL                     306
       XXXI OUR OWN AND OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN              315
      XXXII OUR NEIGHBORS                                    323
     XXXIII CHURCH AND PARISH                                329
      XXXIV THE WOMAN’S CLUB                                 337
       XXXV CHARITIES, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE                    347
      XXXVI COURTESY FROM THE YOUNG TO THE OLD               355
     XXXVII MISTRESS AND MAID                                363
    XXXVIII THE WOMAN WITHOUT A MAID                         371
      XXXIX WOMAN IN BUSINESS RELATIONS                      380
         XL A FINANCIAL STUDY FOR OUR YOUNG COUPLE           387
        XLI MORE TALK ABOUT ALLOWANCES                       395
       XLII A FEW OF THE LITTLE THINGS THAT ARE BIG THINGS   399
      XLIII ON MANNER                                        418
       XLIV SELF-HELP AND OBSERVATION                        426
            INDEX                                            433



    MARION HARLAND’S
    COMPLETE ETIQUETTE



COMPLETE ETIQUETTE



CHAPTER I

SENDING AND RECEIVING INVITATIONS


THE sending and receiving of invitations underlies social obligations.
It therefore behooves both senders and recipients to learn the proper
form in which these evidences of hospitality should be despatched and
received.

In the majority of cases an invitation demands an answer. If one is in
doubt, it is well to err on the side of acknowledging an invitation,
rather than on that of ignoring it altogether.

       *       *       *       *       *

We will consider first such invitations as demand no acceptance but
which call for regrets if one can not accept. Such are cards to “At
Home” days, to teas and to large receptions. Unless any one of these
bears on its face the letters “R. s. v. p.” (_Répondez, s’il vous
plaît_—Answer if you please) no acceptance is required. If one can not
attend the function, one should send one’s card so that one’s friend
will receive it on the day of her affair.

[Sidenote: CARDS FOR AN AT HOME]

The cards for an “At Home” are issued about ten days before the
function. They bear the hostess’ name alone, unless her husband is to
receive with her, in which case the card may bear the two names, as
“Mr. and Mrs. James Smith.” The average American man does not, however,
figure at his wife’s “At Homes” when these are held in the afternoon.
The exigencies of counting-room and office hold him in thrall too often
for him to be depended on for such an occasion.

       *       *       *       *       *

A plain, heavy cream card, simply engraved, is now used for most formal
invitations in preference to the engraved notes that were the rule ten
years ago.

The card bears in the lower right-hand corner the address of the
entertainer; in the lower left-hand corner the date and the hours of
the affair,—as “Wednesday, October the nineteenth,” and under this
“From four until seven o’clock.”

If the tea be given in honor of a friend, or to introduce a stranger,
the card of this person is enclosed with that of the hostess, if the
affair be rather informal. If, however, it be a formal reception it is
well to have engraved upon the card of the hostess, directly under her
own name, “To meet Miss Smith.”

If a woman wishes to be at home for a guest unexpectedly arrived, and
there is not time for the engraving of cards, or if she prefers to be
informal, she may simply use her visiting-card, writing the name of her
guest beneath her own, and adding the date on which she will receive,
and the hours, in the lower left-hand corner. It is understood, of
course, that abbreviations—with the exception of “P. p. c.” and “R. s.
v. p.”—are never to be used on invitations and social notes.

The recipient, if sending cards instead of attending, encloses a card
for the guest or friend whom she has been invited to meet.

[Sidenote: THE EVENING RECEPTION]

The cards for an evening reception may be issued in the same style. If
not, they are in the form of a regular invitation, and in the third
person, as:

            “Mr. and Mrs. James Smith
       Request the pleasure of Mr. and Mrs.
                 Brown’s company
    On Wednesday evening, October the nineteenth,
           From eight to eleven o’clock.
              2 West Clark Street.”

If this formal invitation bears “R. s. v. p.” in one corner, it should
be accepted in the same person in which it is written, thus:

    “Mr. and Mrs. John Brown accept with pleasure Mr. and
    Mrs. Smith’s invitation for Wednesday evening, October
    the nineteenth.”

The reply to an invitation, whether formal or informal, should, to
guard against misunderstanding, always explicitly repeat the date and
the hour.

It is hardly to be supposed that any person who reads this book will
be guilty of the outrageous solecism of signing his or her name to an
invitation written in the third person. But such things have been done!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ABBREVIATIONS AND FIGURES]

The letters “R. s. v. p.” are often written or engraved entirely in
capitals. This is incorrect. Some people prefer to dispense with them
altogether and to express themselves in the simpler fashion, “The
favor of an answer is requested.” It will be noticed that figures are
avoided. The day of the week, and such words as “street” and “avenue”
must appear in full. Some people even write out the year in words, but
this looks heavy. Never use “City” or “Town” on an envelope in place of
the name of the city.

To announce an “At Home” through the newspapers is to be avoided. In
case of the sudden descent of a friend who will remain for two or three
days only it may be done. In that case one must add that there are no
invitations, otherwise one’s friends may not understand.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DANCES AND TEAS]

Invitations to dances are often issued in the same form as those to
teas, with “Dancing” written or engraved in the corner of the card. As
with teas, so with evening receptions, a declinature must be sent in
the shape of a card delivered on the day of the function. The custom
that some persons follow of writing “Regrets” on such a card is not
good form.

An invitation to a card-party, no matter how informal, always demands
an answer, as the entertainer wishes to know how many tables to
provide, and the number of players she can count on.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cards to church weddings demand no answer unless the wedding be a
small one and the invitations are written by the bride or one of the
relatives, in which case the acceptance or regret must be written at
once, and thanks expressed for the honor. A “crush” church wedding is
the one function that demands no reply of any kind. If one can go, well
and good. If one does not go one will not be missed from the crowd that
will throng the edifice. An invitation to a home wedding or a breakfast
demands an answer and thanks for the honor.

[Sidenote: ADDRESSING THE ENVELOPES]

While on the subject of invitations to large or formal affairs, it
may be well to touch on a point concerning which many correspondents
write letters of agonized inquiry,—the addressing of envelopes to the
different members of a family. The question, “May one invitation be
sent to an entire family, consisting of parents, sons and daughters?”
is asked again and again. To each of these an emphatic “No!” is the
answer. If any person is to be honored by an invitation to a function,
he should be honored by an invitation sent in the proper way. One
card should be sent to “Mr. and Mrs. Blank”; another to the “Misses
Blank,” still another to each son of the family. One can foresee the
day when each unmarried daughter will expect her own card, so rapidly
is feminine individuality developing. Each invitation is enclosed in a
separate envelope, but, if desired, all these envelopes may be enclosed
in a larger outer one addressed to the head of the house.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most important invitation,—one demanding an immediate answer,—is
that to a dinner or luncheon, be this formal or informal. For stately
formal dinners, engraved invitations in the third person are sent. But
it is quite as good form, and in appearance much more hospitable and
complimentary, for the hostess herself to write personal notes of
invitation to each guest. These may be in the simplest language, as:

    “My dear Miss Dorr:

    “Will you give Mr. Brown and myself the pleasure of
    having you at dinner with us on Thursday evening,
    December the sixth? We sincerely hope that you will be
    among those whom we see at our table that night. Dinner
    will be served at seven o’clock.

                                   “Cordially yours,
                                            “Louise Brown.”

An invitation to a married woman should always include herself and her
husband, but it is addressed to her because it is the woman who is
supposed to have charge of the social calendar of the family. This note
may read:

    “My dear Mrs. Aikman:

    “Will you and Mr. Aikman honor us by being our guests
    at dinner on Thursday evening, December the sixth, at
    seven o’clock? Sincerely hoping to see you at that
    time, I remain,

                                  “Cordially yours,
                                            “Louise Brown.”

[Sidenote: THE SINGLE MAN]

A note of invitation to a single man is written in the same way. If the
dinner be given to any particular guest or guests, this fact should be
mentioned in the invitation. As, for instance, “Will you dine with us
to meet Mr. and Mrs. Barrows,” and so forth.

Single men who are warmly appreciative of dinner invitations and who
foresee no opportunity in the near future to return the hospitality
offered to them, frequently send a box of flowers to their hostess on
the day of her entertainment.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE INVITATION TO DINNER]

As soon as practicable after the receipt of a dinner invitation, the
recipient should write a cordial note. If accepting she should express
thanks and the pleasure she (or her husband and she) will take in being
present at the time mentioned. As a rule the decision to accept or
decline should be as absolute as it is immediate. Only the greatest
intimacy and extraordinary circumstances warrant the request that an
invitation be held open even for a day. The hostess must make her
arrangements and she can not do so until she has heard definitely from
all those she has asked.

If a declinature is necessary, let it be in the form of a recognition
of the honor conveyed in the invitation, and genuine regret at the
impossibility of accepting it. This may be worded somewhat in the
following way:

    “My dear Mrs. Brown:

    “Mr. Aikman and I regret sincerely that a previous
    engagement makes it impossible for us to accept your
    delightful invitation for December the sixth. We thank
    you for counting us among those who are so happy as to
    be your guests on that evening, and only wish that we
    could be with you.

               “Cordially and regretfully yours,
                                         “Jane Aikman.”

[Sidenote: DINNER ENGAGEMENTS BINDING]

No matter how informal a dinner is to be, if the invitation is once
accepted, nothing must be allowed to interfere with one’s attendance
unless one is so ill that one’s physician absolutely forbids one
leaving the house.

Some wit said that a man’s only excuse for non-attendance at such a
function is his death, in which case he should send his obituary notice
as an explanation. Certain it is that nothing short of one’s own severe
illness or the dangerous illness of a member of the family should
interfere with one’s attendance at a dinner. Should such a contingency
arise, a telegram or telephone message should be sent immediately that
the hostess may try to engage another guest to take the place of the
one who is unavoidably prevented from being present.

When it becomes necessary to ask a guest to fill such a vacancy, the
hostess will do best to explain the situation frankly, while the guest
on his part need feel no slight at the lateness of his invitation. A
clever woman always has several persons on whom she can rely for such
emergencies and whose good nature she does not fail to reward.

[Sidenote: THE LUNCHEON]

All the rules that apply to the sending and receiving of invitations to
a dinner prevail with regard to a luncheon. It is next in importance as
a function, and the acceptance or declinature of a letter requesting
that one should attend it must be promptly despatched.

In planning any social affair the hostess should think twice about
asking together people who have for a long time lived in the same
neighborhood or who are old residents of the city in any part but who
are not apparently in the habit of seeing one another. Sometimes it is
safer to ask one’s prospective guests outright if it will be agreeable
for them to meet.

Before closing this chapter we should like to remind the possible guest
that an invitation is intended as an honor. The function to which one
is asked may be all that is most boring, and the flesh and spirit
may shrink from attending it. But if one declines what is meant as a
compliment, let one do so in a manner that shows one appreciates the
honor intended. To decline as if the person extending the invitation
were a bit presumptuous in giving it, or to accept in a condescending
manner, is a lapse that shows a common strain under a recently-acquired
polish. A thoroughbred accepts and declines all invitations as though
he were honored by the attention. In doing so he shows himself worthy
to receive any compliment that may under any circumstances be extended
to him. Would that more of the strugglers up Society’s ladders would
appreciate this truth!

       *       *       *       *       *

If a woman wishes to give any other special form of entertainment
than a dance, she writes the suitable word, “Music,” “Bridge,”
“Garden-party,” etc., in place of the word “Dancing.”

For a dinner dance one sends a note or an engraved card with “Dancing
at ten” or “Cotillion at eleven” in the corner, to the comparatively
small number asked to dine. The guests asked for the dance receive only
an “At Home” card, with the announcement “Dancing at ten” in the corner.

[Sidenote: THE TEA-DANCE]

The tea-dance or _thé-dansant_ has recently been revived. This calls
for an “At Home” card and the word “Dancing” in the corner. It is
merely an ordinary afternoon tea at which space and music are provided
for the young people to whirl about.

Some people who entertain formally a great deal keep on hand a supply
of large engraved cards with a space left blank in which the name of
the guest is written. This is certainly a time-saving custom, but the
appearance of such a card is less elegant than one wholly engraved,
while on the other hand it lacks the real cordiality of the written
note. Aiming at a combined effect, it hardly achieves either of the
things desired.

A minor but amusing blunder sometimes made by thoughtless persons
consists in inviting guests “for” dinner. The ducks and salad, ices and
cakes are _for_ dinner; the guests should be asked _to_ it.

A woman may take an out-of-town visitor to any large affair without
obtaining permission beforehand, but she will of course, in speaking
to her hostess, express appreciation of the pleasant opportunity thus
afforded to her guest.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CARDS AFTER A DEATH]

After a death has taken place, one will not for a month or six
weeks intrude on the seclusion of the family by sending any social
invitations. After that time, however, they should be sent as usual. It
is the personal privilege of the bereaved to determine how soon and to
what extent they will resume their relations with society. If one is in
mourning one can not of course with propriety become a member of any
gay company, but nowadays mourning is not always assumed even by the
most grievously stricken. If such persons find their burden more easily
borne by the resumption, as far as may be, of their normal activities,
it is the part of kindness to aid them in making this resumption as
easy and natural as possible.

It is now considered correct to send all invitations by mail, though in
some southern places the more elegant—if difficult—method of delivering
them by the hand of a servant is still cherished. Many informal
invitations are now extended by telephone.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HOW INVITATIONS BEGIN]

Dinner and wedding invitations and cards for evening receptions
are issued in the names of both host and hostess. For a ball or a
garden-party the name of the hostess may appear alone, though this is
not usual. A young girl should never announce any but the smallest and
most informal parties in her own name. Yet many young girls do so,
ignoring their mothers and contributing unwittingly to our national
reputation for bad manners.

A bishop and his wife, if they are issuing cards to a large reception,
often do it in this way: “The Bishop of Indiana and Mrs. Hereford
request the honor,” etc.

An invitation should never begin “You are cordially invited,” etc. It
should always be issued in the name of some person or persons. “The
Men’s Club invites you” or “The Diocesan Society requests the honor of”
is good form.



CHAPTER II

CARDS AND CALLS


THE styles of calling-cards change from year to year, even from season
to season, so that it is impossible to make hard-and-fast rules as to
the size and thickness of the bits of pasteboard, or the script with
which they are engraved. Any good stationer can give one the desired
information on these points.

In choosing a card plate it is well to select a style of script so
simple yet elegant that it will not be outré several seasons hence,
unless one’s purse will allow one to revise one’s plate with each
change of fashion. It should not be necessary to remark that a printed
card is an atrocity. Even a man’s business-card should be engraved, not
printed.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is no longer considered proper for one card to bear the husband’s
and wife’s names together, as was a few years ago the mode, thus,—“Mr.
and Mrs. Charles Sprague.” Still, some persons have a few cards thus
marked and use them in sending gifts from husband and wife. As a rule,
however, the husband’s card is enclosed in an envelope with that of his
wife in sending gifts, regrets and the like.

[Sidenote: THE CARD OF A MATRON]

The card of a matron bears her husband’s full name unless she is a
_divorcée_, thus,—“Mrs. George Williams Brown.” Even widows retain this
style of address. In the lower right-hand corner is the address, and in
the lower left-hand corner one’s “at home” days are named, as “Tuesdays
until Lent,” or “Wednesdays in February and March,” or “Thursdays until
May.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Nicknames and abbreviations are for intimate use only and should never
appear on cards or invitations. A girl should distinguish between
“Kitty” and “Katharine,” “Sarah” and “Sallie.” However, in the south
many girls are christened “Sallie,” and this is accepted as her full
and proper name accordingly.

A young woman’s cards bear her name, “Miss Blank,” if she be the oldest
or only daughter in the family. The address on her cards is in the
lower left-hand corner. If she has an older sister the card reads “Miss
Mary Hilton Blank.”

       *       *       *       *       *

A man’s card is much smaller than that of a woman and often has no
address on it, unless it be a business-card, which must never be used
for social purposes. The “Mr.” is put before the signature as, “Mr.
James John Smith.” By the time a boy is eighteen he is considered old
enough to have his cards marked with the prefix “Mr.” Until that time,
he is, on the rare occasions when he is formally addressed, “Master.”

[Sidenote: THE USE OF TITLES]

A clergyman’s card is correctly engraved thus: “The Reverend James
Vernon Smith.” A bishop is entitled to the greater distinction, “The
Right Reverend.” A physician or a judge may use his title or not as
he prefers. Army and navy officers invariably employ theirs except
when the rank is as low as that of a lieutenant, when the full name,
prefixed by “Mr.” is used, and below it, “Lieutenant of Third Cavalry,
United States Army.”

       *       *       *       *       *

A woman with a daughter-in-law moving in society in the same city as
herself may with propriety have her card engraved simply “Mrs. Brown.”
Or she may follow the graceful foreign custom and be known as “Madame
Brown,” which gives a pretty touch of dignity and makes it easy for
callers to designate which of the two ladies they wish to see if both
are living in the same house.

A married woman never takes her husband’s title, no matter what that
may be. She is never “Mrs. Judge ——” or “Mrs. Colonel ——.” Even the
president’s wife is simply “Mrs. Cleveland” or “Mrs. Harrison.”

[Sidenote: ADDRESSING THE PRESIDENT]

In direct address, the president of the United States is “Mr.
President.” The vice-president is “Mr. ——.” Members of the cabinet are
“Secretary A.” or “Secretary B.,” when introduced, and are addressed
as “Mr. Secretary.” Senators are always addressed by their titles, but
representatives are “Mr.” Except in naval and military circles titles
expire with office. The man who was governor or mayor last year should
not be introduced as “Ex-governor ——,” “Ex-mayor ——.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps there is no social obligation that is more neglected and
ignored than that of calling at proper times and regular intervals.
In the rush and hurry of American life, it is well-nigh impossible
for the busy woman to perform her duty in this line unless she have
a certain degree of system about it. To this end she should keep a
regular calling-list or book, and pay strict heed to the debit and
credit columns. It will require much management and thought to arrange
her visits so that they will always fall on the “At Home” days of her
acquaintances. When a woman has an “At Home” day it is an unwarrantable
liberty for any one to call at any other time unless it be on business,
or by special invitation, or permission. As many women have the same
day at home one must limit the length of a call to fifteen or twenty
minutes upon a casual acquaintance, never making it longer than half an
hour even at the house of a friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HOW TO SAY GOOD-BY]

One should learn to take one’s departure on a remark of one’s own, not
hurrying away the moment one’s friend ceases to talk. On the other hand
lingering good-bys in ordinary intercourse are a mistake and suggest
that one lacks the finesse necessary to manage a polite withdrawal. An
amusing story was told in a recent magazine—and vouched for as true—in
which two young southern lads making their first formal call, were
driven _to stay all night_ because they could not get away—they were so
timid.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some persons seem to feel that there is a certain amount of pomp and
circumstance about calling on an “At Home” day, and the novice in
society asks timidly what she is to do at such a time. She is to do
simply what she would do on any other day when she is sure of finding
her hostess in and disengaged. The caller hands her card to the servant
opening the door; then enters the parlor, greets her hostess, who will
probably introduce her to any other guests who happen to be present,
unless there be a large number of these, in which case she will
probably be introduced to a few in her immediate vicinity. The caller
will chat for a few minutes, take a cup of tea, coffee or chocolate
offered her, with a biscuit, sandwich or piece of cake, or decline all
refreshment if she prefers. At the end of fifteen or twenty minutes,
she will rise, say “Good afternoon” to her hostess, murmur a “Good
afternoon” to the company in general and take her departure. If her
card has not been taken by the servant who opened the door for her, the
caller may lay it on the hall table as she goes out.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: REFRESHMENTS FOR CALLERS]

When a woman is at home one day a week for several months, she is
expected to make very little preparation in the way of refreshment
for her chance guests. The tea tray is ready on the tea-table at one
side of the room, and upon it are cups and saucers, teapot, canister
and hot-water kettle. A plate of thin bread and butter, or sandwiches,
or biscuits, and another of sweet wafers or fancy cakes, stand on
this table. Sugar and cream and sliced lemon complete the outfit. The
kettle is kept boiling that fresh tea may be made when required, and
a servant enters when needed to take out the used cups. If there are
many callers, the services of this maid may be required to assist in
passing cups, and sugar and cream. Otherwise the hostess may attend
to such matters herself, chatting pleasantly as she does so. It is
not incumbent on a caller to take anything to eat or drink unless she
wishes to do this. When one attends half-a-dozen such “At Homes” in
an afternoon one would have to carry a bag like that worn by Jack the
Giant-Killer of fairy lore, if one were to accept refreshments at each
house. The hostess should, therefore, never insist that a guest eat and
drink if she has declined to do so.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HOW MANY CARDS TO LEAVE]

In calling on a married woman a matron leaves one of her own cards and
two of her husband’s. Her card is for the hostess, one of her husband’s
is for the hostess and the other for the man of the house. If there
be several ladies in the family, as for instance, a mother and two
daughters, the caller leaves one of her own and one of her husband’s
cards for each woman, and an extra card from her husband for each man
of the household.

This is the general rule, but it must have some exceptions. For
instance, in a household where there are five or six women it is
ridiculous to leave an entire pack of visiting-cards. In this case
a woman leaves her card for “the ladies,” and leaves it with her
husband’s, also for “the ladies.” One of his cards is also left for the
man of the family. Or if there be several men it may be left simply for
“the gentlemen.”

If one knows that there is a guest staying at a house at which one
calls, one must send in one’s card for this guest. Or, if one have a
friend staying in the same town with one, and one calls on her, it is
a breach of good breeding not to inquire for the friend’s hostess and
leave a card for her whether she appear or not.

       *       *       *       *       *

When an engagement is made known the members of the man’s family should
immediately call on his fiancée and her family, and a formal dinner
should be given for them within two weeks.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE BLACK-EDGED CARD]

Custom clings to the black-edged card for those in mourning. It has
its uses and surely its abuses. For those in deep mourning it is a
convenience to send in the form of regrets, as the black edge gives
sufficient reason in itself for the non-acceptance of invitations.
It may also be sent with gifts to friends. If one uses it as a
calling-card the border should be very narrow. If one is in such deep
mourning that one’s card must appear with a half-inch of black around
it, one is certainly in too deep mourning to pay calls. Until the black
edge can be reduced to the less ostentatious eighth-of-an-inch width,
the owner would do well to shun society.

Nor should a black-edged card accompany an invitation to a social
function. Several seasons ago a matron introduced to society in a large
city a niece who had, eighteen months before, lost a brother. With the
hostess’ invitations to the reception was enclosed the card of the
young guest, and this card had a black border an eighth of an inch
wide. The recipients of the invitations were to be pardoned if they
wondered a bit at the incongruity of a person in mourning receiving at
a large party. Under the circumstances she should have declined to have
the social function given in her honor, or should have laid aside her
insignia of dolor.

If, then, one has reached the point where one is ready to reenter
society, let one give up the mourning-cards and again use plain white
bits of pasteboard.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CALLING AFTER A DEATH]

In calling at a house after a bereavement, it is well, except when
the afflicted one is an intimate friend, to leave the card with a
message of sympathy at the door. One may, if one wishes, leave flowers
with the card. A fortnight after the funeral one may call and ask to
see the ladies of the family, adding that if they do not feel like
seeing callers they will please not think of coming down. Under such
circumstances only a supersensitive person will be hurt by receiving
the message that the ladies beg to be excused, and that they are
grateful for the kind thought that prompted the call.

The rule that we have just given applies to the household in which
there is serious illness. A call may consist of an inquiry at the door,
and leaving a card. This may be accompanied by some such message as,
“Please express my sincere hope that Mrs. Smith will soon be better,
and assure Mr. Smith that if I can be of any service to him, or Mrs.
Smith, I shall be grateful if he will let me know.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: MAKING PARTY CALLS]

One should always return a first call within three weeks after it has
been made. After a dinner, luncheon or card-party, a call must be
made within a fortnight. An afternoon tea requires no “party call.”
After a large reception one may call within the month. After a wedding
reception one must call within a fortnight on the mother of the bride,
and on the bride on her “At Home” day as soon as possible after her
return from the wedding trip. If one is in doubt as to the propriety of
calling after an invitation, it is better to err on the side of making
the call. One’s courteous intention will surely be appreciated while
not to call may seem an unpardonable omission.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the case of an invitation extended without a first call having
been made, women sometimes express doubt as to the course they should
pursue. In the first place they will do well to realize that some of
the people who entertain most delightfully are extremely busy people
to whom the rigid routine of formal etiquette would be an intolerable
burden. A clever woman is known by nothing more certainly than by the
unerring instinct with which she relaxes her demands in such instances.
If the woman who wishes to entertain encloses her own card this may be
accepted as a substitute for the usual first call. The social value of
one dinner invitation transcends many calls. Even if the visiting-card
is not enclosed the recipient of the invitation will—if she be a
sensible woman—accept if she really wishes to do so. At this point,
however, social usage should begin to assert itself and the invited one
should not fail to make the customary call of appreciation after the
“party.” If one does not wish to make the acquaintance offered a formal
note of declination will serve to discourage further intrusion.

[Sidenote: EXCEPTIONS TO SOCIAL RULES]

A rather surprising question sometimes asked is whether one should call
after a dinner or dance invitation that has been declined. Certainly,
the call should be made. One has been honored by one’s friends and
the fact that one was prevented by circumstances from actually
enjoying their hospitality makes no difference whatever with one’s
responsibility for expressing appreciation.

       *       *       *       *       *

A card with a message written on it fills many convenient social
needs but it should never be used to take the place of a formal note.
So employed it suggests haste and a degree of indifference that are
contrary to the best breeding. The corners of cards are no longer
turned down for any purpose.

If one, on calling, is told by the servant opening the door that “Mrs.
Brown is not at home,” this does not mean literally that Mrs. Brown is
of necessity out of the house, neither does it mean that the servant
has been instructed to tell an untruth. “Not at home” is an accepted
abbreviation for “Not at home to visitors.” There are those to whom
the phrase will, however, always have a disagreeable ring, and if
Mrs. Brown have more tact and originality than the conventions demand
she will probably direct her maid to say instead, “Mrs. Brown is not
receiving to-day. She receives on Mondays.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHO SHOULD CALL FIRST]

Who calls first? The custom of residents calling on the newcomer is so
firmly established in almost all communities that one may wonder at the
question being asked. Yet in Washington—that is to say, in official
Washington, this custom is reversed, and it is the newcomer who calls
at the White House, on the vice-president, members of the cabinet, etc.
In the case of the highest officials a return call is not expected but
the courtesy is recognized by an invitation to some general reception.

[Sidenote: CUSTOM IN SMALL TOWNS]

The hours for calling vary according to the community one is in—though
no afternoon call should be made before three o’clock. In small towns
and villages where supper is eaten at six o’clock, one should not
prolong a call after five-thirty. Evening calls in most American cities
are usually made at eight o’clock or soon after, though in large
eastern places where dinner is not served until seven, seven-thirty or
eight, the nine o’clock call is not unusual.

       *       *       *       *       *

Calls on the sick should be made with the greatest discretion. One
should ascertain in the first place whether or not one’s friend will
really be equal to seeing one, and then stay for a few moments only.
Sick-bed visits especially should not be allowed to become visitations.
Many a person with a chance for recovery has literally been talked into
his grave by well-meaning callers. Intelligent nurses will quietly ask
such people to remain away.



CHAPTER III

LETTER-WRITING


THE writing of letters, of the good old-fashioned kind, is rapidly
becoming a thing of the past. People used to write epistles. Now they
write notes. Before the days of the stenographer, the typewriter, the
telegraph and telephone, when people made their own clothes by hand,
wove their own sheets and had no time-saving machines, they found
leisure to write epistles to their friends. Some of us are so fortunate
as to have stowed away in an old trunk a bundle of these productions.
The ink is pale and the paper yellowed, but the matter is still
interesting. All the news of the family, the neighborhood gossip, the
latest sayings and doings of the children and of callers, an account
of the books read, of the minister’s last sermon and of the arrival of
the newest of many olive branches, filled pages. What must these same
pages have meant to the exile from home! And how much there was in such
letters to answer!

Still, even in this day and generation, there are a few people who
have so far held to the good old traditions that they write genuine
letters. And—wonder of wonders!—they answer questions asked them in
letters written by their correspondents. Only those who have written
questions to which they desired prompt answers, appreciate how
maddening it is to receive a letter that tells you everything except
the answers to your queries. And this ignoring of the epistle one is
supposed to be answering is a feature of the up-to-date letter-writer.
There is, even in friendly correspondence, a right and a wrong way of
doing a thing.

[Sidenote: HOW NOT TO WRITE]

The wrong, and well-nigh universal, way of treating a letter is as
follows: It is read as rapidly as possible, pigeonholed and forgot.
Weeks hence, in clearing out the desk it is found, the handwriting
recognized, and it is laid aside to be answered later. When that
“later” comes depends on the leisure of the owner. At last a so-called
answer is hastily written without a second reading of the letter to
which one is replying. Such a reply begins with an apology for a
long and unavoidable silence, an account of how cruelly busy one is
nowadays, a passing mention of the number of duties one has to perform,
a wish that the two correspondents may meet in the near future and a
rushing final sentence of affection followed by the signature. Such is
the modern letter.

If a correspondent is worth having, she is worth treating fairly. Let
her letter be read carefully, and laid aside until such time as one
can have a half-hour of uninterrupted writing. Then, let the letter
one would answer be read, and the questions it contains be answered
in order, and first of all. This is common courtesy. After which one
may write as much as time and inclination permit. If one has not the
time to conduct one’s correspondence in this way, let one have fewer
correspondents. It is more fair to them and to one’s self.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE GOOD-LOOKING NOTE]

Colored letter-paper is in bad form unless the color be a pale gray or
a light blue. From time to time, stationers have put upon the market
paper outré in design and coloring, and the persons who have used it
were just what might be expected. It reminds one of what Richard Grant
White said of the words “gents” and “pants”—he noticed “that the one
generally wore the other.” So, paper that is such bad form as this is
usually used by persons who are “bad form.” All good-looking notes have
a considerable margin at the left hand; punctilious people insist on a
right-hand margin also.

[Sidenote: SEALING THE ENVELOPE]

Plain white or cream paper of good quality is always in fashion. For
social correspondence this paper must be so cut that it is folded but
once to be slipped into an envelope. At the top of the page in the
middle may be the address, as “123 West Barrows Street,” and the name
of the city. Just now, this is the only marking that is used on the
sheet, although some persons have the initials or monogram, or crest,
in place of the address. It is no longer fashionable to have the crest
or monogram and the address also. The envelope is marked or not, as one
chooses. The use of sealing-wax gives a touch of distinction for which
a few persons still take time. Only white or delicately colored wax is
acceptable, unless at holiday time, when the festive touch given by
scarlet is in season.

       *       *       *       *       *

Letter-heads, such as are used for business correspondence, should
never be used for social purposes. Even the business man may keep in
his office desk a quire or two of plain paper upon which to write
society notes and replies to invitations. Nor is it permissible
for him to use the typewriter in inditing these. All his business
correspondence may be conducted with the aid of the invaluable machine,
and he may, if he ask permission to do so, send letters to members of
his own family on the typewriter. But all other correspondence should
be done with pen and ink.

       *       *       *       *       *

Unfortunately, mourning stationery is still in vogue. The recipient
of a black-edged letter is often conscious of a distinct shock when
she first sees the emblem of dolor, and wonders if it contains the
notice of a death. For this reason many considerate followers of
conventionalities do not use the black-edged stationery, but content
themselves with plain white paper marked with the address or monogram
in black lettering.

       *       *       *       *       *

A social or friendly letter is frequently dated at the end, at the
left-hand lower corner of the signature. A business communication is
dated at the upper right-hand corner.

[Sidenote: ADDRESSING BUSINESS FIRMS]

The expression “My dear Mr. Blank” is more formal than is “Dear Mr.
Blank,” and is, therefore, used in society notes. Do not—as some have
done—begin “dear” with a capital. Unsophisticated persons sometimes
hesitate to use the prefix “dear,”—they may be assured that in this
connection it is merely a polite form, with no sentimental flavor
whatever. Business letters addressed to a man should begin with
the name of the person to whom they are intended on one line, the
salutation on the next, as: “Mr. John Smith” on the upper line, and
below this, “Dear Sir.” In addressing a firm consisting of more than
one person, write the name of the firm, as “Smith, Jones and Company,”
then below, “Dear Sirs.” The salutation “Gentlemen” in such a case
is old-fashioned but is preferred by some ceremonious persons who
also like to put “Esq.” after a man’s name on an envelope in place of
putting “Mr.” before it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SIGNATURE]

It should be unnecessary to remind women not to preface their
signatures with the title “Mrs.” or “Miss.” Such a mistake stamps one
as a vulgarian or an ignoramus. The name in full may be signed, as:
“Mary Bacon Smith.” If the writer be a married woman, and the person
to whom she writes does not know whether she be married or single,
she should write her husband’s name with the preface “Mrs.” below her
signature, or in the lower left-hand corner of the sheet, as (“Mrs.
James Hayes Smith”). An unmarried woman will save her correspondent
embarrassment by putting “Miss Brown” in parentheses in this corner.

       *       *       *       *       *

To sign one’s name prefaced by the first letter is no longer considered
good form. “J. Henry Wells” should be “John Henry Wells.” If one would
use one initial letter instead of the full name, let that letter be the
middle initial, as “John H. Wells,” or “J. H. Wells.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE POSTAL CARD]

I wish I could impress on all followers of good form that a postal card
is a solecism except when used for business purposes. If it is an
absolute necessity to send one to a friend or a member of one’s family,
as, when stopping for a moment at a railroad station one wishes to
send a line home telling of one’s safety at the present stage of the
journey, the sentences should be short and to the point, and unprefaced
by an affectionate salutation. All love-messages should be omitted, as
should the intimate termination that is entirely proper in a sealed
letter. “Affectionately” or “Lovingly” are out of place when written
upon a postal card. Expressions such as “God bless you!” or “I love
you,” or “Love to the dear ones,” are in shockingly bad taste except
under cover of an envelope. A good rule to impress on those having a
penchant for the prevalent post-card is as follows: “Use for business
when brevity and simplicity are the order of the day; never use for
friendly correspondence unless the purchase of a sheet of paper,
envelope and postage stamp is an impossibility.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The friendly letter may be as long as time and inclination permit. The
business communication should be written in as few and clear sentences
as possible. Some one has said that to write a model business letter
one should “begin in the middle of it.” In other words, it should be
unprefaced by any unnecessary sentences, but should begin immediately
on the business in hand, continue and finish with it. For such letters
“Very truly yours” is the correct ending, unless, as in the case of
a man or firm addressing a letter to a person totally unknown to the
writer, and of marked eminence, when the expression “Respectfully
yours” may be used.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LETTERS OF CONDOLENCE]

Many people consider letters of congratulation and condolence the most
difficult to write. This is because one feels that a certain kind of
form is necessary and that conventional and stilted phrases are proper
under the circumstances. This is a mistake, for, going on the almost
unfailing principle that what comes from the heart, goes to the heart,
the best form to be used toward those in sorrow or joy is a genuine
expression of feeling. If you are sorry for a friend, write to her that
you are, and that you are thinking of her and longing to help her.
If you are happy in her happiness, say so as cordially as words can
express it.

       *       *       *       *       *

It happens now and then that even the quietest person wishes to
write to a man of political prominence. Such persons, whether they
be diplomats or members of Congress, may properly be addressed as
“Honorable Mr. ——.” The president is “The Honorable, the President
of the United States.” To use the article before the title is more
elegant. Bishops of any church are entitled to the prefix, “The Right
Reverend.” In conversation, the rector of a “high” Episcopal church
is often affectionately addressed as “Father ——,” but this form of
greeting would not be used on an envelope. The dean of a cathedral
should be addressed as “The Very Reverend ——.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Very small paper and envelopes for society notes are less used than
formerly, many persons preferring what are called correspondence cards,
heavy cream-white single cards on which a few lines may be written and
which are slipped into their envelopes without folding.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION]

Letters of introduction should bear on the outside of the envelope,
in the lower left-hand corner the words, “Introducing Miss ——,” in
order that the two thus brought together may be saved any momentary
embarrassment. They should not be sealed. One should be very careful
not to give these letters unless one is reasonably warranted in making
a demand on the time and courtesy of the person on whom one is making
the social draft. To give one’s card by way of introduction makes
less of a demand on one’s friend than does a letter. A woman does not
present a letter of introduction in person; a man does.

When one avails one’s self of a member of one’s family or a friend as
messenger, one should write on the envelope in the lower left-hand
corner, “Kindness of Mary” or “Politeness of Miss Briggs.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ENCLOSING A STAMP]

We can not close this chapter on letter-writing without a word to the
person who writes a letter asking a question on his own business, and
fails to enclose a stamp. This is equivalent to asking the recipient
on whom one has no claim to give one the time required for writing an
answer to one’s query, and a two-cent stamp as well. When the matter on
which one writes is essentially one’s own business, and not that of the
person to whom one writes and from whom one demands a reply, one should
always enclose a stamp, thus making the favor one asks of the least
possible trouble to one’s correspondent. Some people enclose a stamped
and self-addressed envelope but as the other person’s paper may not fit
the envelope, the well-meant courtesy often defeats itself.

[Sidenote: PROMPTNESS IN ANSWERING]

In all business and society correspondence a letter should be answered
as soon as possible after it is received. One may afford to take a
certain amount of liberty with one’s friends, and lay aside a letter
for some days before answering it. But the acceptance or declinature of
an invitation, and the answer to a business communication, should be
sent with as little delay as possible.



CHAPTER IV

INTRODUCTIONS


THIS matter of introductions is one rather too lightly considered on
our free American soil. Unless the social exigencies are such as to
make the atmosphere formal and unpleasant if people are unknown to
each other, it is taking a liberty to present a man to a woman without
first and privately asking her permission. It is a woman’s privilege
to decline or to accept masculine acquaintance as she chooses. If she
grants permission for the introduction, the person who has asked such
permission brings the man in question to her and says: “Miss A., may
I have the pleasure of presenting Mr. B. to you?” We have all been
witnesses at some time or other of that most unconventional performance
where the woman in the case allows herself to be dragged across the
floor to the man concerned. We have all, on occasion, heard the proper
form so twisted as to make the woman the person presented instead of
the man. This is the worst sort of no-form. The social convention
prescribes that the man shall take the initiative in requesting the
introduction, that he shall seek the lady, that he shall be the person
presented.

[Sidenote: INTRODUCING ONE’S HUSBAND]

An American woman in presenting her husband will usually say, “My
husband, Mr. Smith.” An English woman would be more formal. She would
say simply, “Mr. Smith.” When a man is presented to a woman, if she
is seated she need not rise but may merely bow. In case the man is
distinguished or elderly or if he be a warm friend of her husband, or
her guest, she will rise and shake hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never awkwardly drag a newcomer around to every person in a large
circle. Introduce him to several of those nearest and later such
further introductions as are desirable will naturally follow. When
the group includes a half-dozen only, it is necessary to introduce
all round. In this case the ceremony may be gracefully shortened by
repeating two or three names together, thus: “Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Smith,
may I present Mr. James?”

Never introduce your sister or your daughter, if she be grown, merely
as such. The other person will be confused, not knowing whether the one
introduced is married or single, and hence in doubt as to what name to
use.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CLERICAL INTRODUCTIONS]

At a reception given to an archbishop of the Roman Catholic church, it
is customary for devout Catholics to kiss the ring but Protestants may
merely shake hands. A cardinal ranks as a prince of the Roman Catholic
church and is addressed as “His Eminence.” Women as well as men are
presented to him, not he to them. A woman is also presented to a bishop.

When two women of about equal age and importance are to be introduced
merely mention the two names, thus: “Mrs. A., Mrs. B.” The general rule
in all introductions is to present the woman to the man, the young man
or young woman to the elderly, the unmarried woman to the matron, when
of about the same age. One may say “May I present” or with two men of
near the same age, “I want you to know.” Never say, “Let me make you
acquainted with.” That is provincial.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ADDRESSING THE QUEEN]

The American who goes abroad expecting to be presented at court must,
of course, acquaint himself with the etiquette of that court. He
will receive such advice as he needs from his ambassador but it may
be useful for him to know ahead of time some of the things that are
required of him, or more precisely of her, for court presentations
are much more coveted and sought after by American women than by men.
However, it is understood that a man whose wife has been presented
is himself eligible to attend the king’s next reception for gentlemen
only. The English queen is addressed simply as “Ma’am” by all Americans
who have the honor of presentation. King George would be addressed as
“Sir.” The Prince of Wales is “Prince” and his wife “Princess.” The
phrase “Your Majesty” is reserved for use by the lower English classes.
An American, by virtue of his having no rank at all, takes rank with
the highest when he is introduced at court. A duke is addressed simply
as “Duke,” and a marquis by his title, “Lord ——.” The daughters of
dukes, marquises and earls must be given their Christian names, as
“Lady Mary Towers.” The sons should be addressed as “Lord John Towers,”
“Lord Henry Towers.” An archbishop is properly addressed as “Your
Grace” or “My Lord,” but his wife is plain “Mrs. ——.” Members of
foreign royal families have the title of “Prince” and “Princess.”

A baron visiting in this country would be presented to the American
ladies he meets quite like any other gentleman, and his wife would not
take precedence of them unless she happened to be elderly.

       *       *       *       *       *

When in a friend’s house one should bear in mind that introductions
are the natural prerogative of the host and the hostess. One should
not, however, allow an awkward situation to develop from a too rigid
observance of this rule.

[Sidenote: PROFESSIONAL MEN]

Remember that many professional men do not like to be called
“Professor” because of the cheap ways in which this title has in recent
years been used. By a little tact in individual instances one can learn
which is preferred—“Professor,” or “Mr.,” or “Doctor,” if the person in
question be entitled to that distinction.

In making introductions a clever man or woman often adds a word of
comment that will help the two meeting to start their acquaintance on a
friendly and intelligent basis.



CHAPTER V

AFTER SIX O’CLOCK


FOR most of us the active business of the day is over at sundown.
Mothers of large families, physicians and occasionally other workers
are employed over time; but most of us can count on leisure after
six o’clock. Much of our happiness depends upon how this leisure is
employed. That it should afford recreation of one sort or another is a
commonly accepted opinion, though one that is accepted usually without
appreciation of the obligations involved. Recreation implies something
more than idleness. One can not be amused in any worth-while sense
without sitting up and paying attention. Foreigners complain habitually
that Americans take their pleasure sadly, that they do not go in for
gaiety with spirit. We are much more vital in our attitude toward work
than toward play. We know that we must pay for success in labor of any
sort, but the debt we owe to amusement is a point not yet so widely
grasped. Pleasure is shy of the person who makes only occasional
advances to her. She must be courted habitually in order to give a
full return. We are all acquainted with the dull unhappy appearance
of the sedulous man of business off for a rare holiday. He is out of
his element. He knows how to behave himself at work but he is not
acquainted with the fundamental principles of having a good time. These
can not be learned in a minute. One must have practise in enjoyment
in order to carry off the matter easily; and this practise should be
a habit of every-day life. Many people who stand shyly off from the
delights of the world and wonder why they are deprived of them, fail
to realize that diversion of any sort worthy the name, is a thing for
which one must make some effort.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HOME FESTIVITY]

It is at home that one should cultivate the graces that make one
attractive abroad; and this is only preliminary to saying that planning
for the every-day recreation of a household should be as much a matter
of course as devising ways and means for the purchase of food and
clothing.

The first requisite for bringing about an atmosphere of festivity and
good cheer at home is to adopt in some degree the methods that one
uses away from home. If one is invited out to dinner, one makes some
preparation for it, and so one should do for dinner at home. Externals
have much to do with coaxing gaiety to live as a guest in the house. A
pretty table and food managed with some regard to esthetic values as
well as to the palatable quality, have a happy effect upon the mind
and temper of the diners. A few flowers properly distributed assist
still further. If all the inmates of a house are in the habit, as they
should be, of making some change in their toilet for dinner, this of
itself makes a sharp line of demarcation between the work-time and the
play-time of the twenty-four hours. The hint of festivity in attire
induces a happy and a festive frame of mind, imparts just that touch
of difference from the habit of prosaic daylight necessary to send the
mind sailing off into pleasant channels.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE HOME DINNER]

The care for the dinner-table, for the personal appearance and,
generally speaking, for pretty environment implies effort. Lazy people
can not hope for these delightful effects of a material kind. Neither
can they expect the happiness which comes to those who take some pains
at home for the mental entertainment of themselves and their household.
There are many people who regard it as deceitful and insincere to
forecast what one shall talk about and it is quite true that _formally_
planned talk is a foe to spontaneity and naturalness. But usually the
man or woman who entertains by his conversation is the person who, in
a general way, has taken some thought about what he shall say. Given
the opportunity, conversation, charming in its spontaneity, rises out
of the mental habit of noting down for future reference pleasant or odd
personal experiences, good stories, the quirks in one’s own mind. One
must not intrude these in a place where they do not fit, but it is not
in the least a social sin to guide the talk toward your own thought
provided you do not thereby push out something better. We are all given
tongues and with them a certain conversational responsibility. If each
member of the family made it his business and his pleasure during the
day to remember the best part of his experience that he might relate it
at the dinner-hour some part of that gloom which descends upon so many
American families at the evening meal would be dissipated.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE TIME FOR PLAY]

If one cultivates the prettier touches of personal appearance for that
part of the day after six o’clock, whether at home or abroad, one
should also cultivate the pleasanter and more agreeable states of mind.
Business should be put behind one. The petty cares of the day should go
unmentioned. The ills of body and mind should be, as far as possible,
forgot. Those little courtesies and formalities of manner that we
admire in the practised man or woman of society are as decorative at
home as away and equally creative of a festive atmosphere. In one of
the magazines of the last decade there is a homely effective story of
a young girl, just home from a house-party and full of its gaiety, to
whom the idea occurred that the methods employed by her hostess might
make a delightful week in her own large family circle. She took the
matter in hand, and invited her mother to be the guest of honor for
the seven days. Some entertainment was planned for each evening in
the week, sometimes with visitors and sometimes not. The women of the
family wore their best frocks frequently during the week. The prettiest
china and the best silver were used as freely as if for company. The
result of it all was that the family voted visiting at home a signal
success.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: GAMES AS A PASTIME]

There are many specific ways of providing amusement for evenings
at home. One has space only for the mention of a few of these in a
short article on the subject. Games of various kinds are an excellent
resource for making the after-dinner time pass pleasantly. They
cultivate quickness of decision, sociability, a friendly rivalry.
Success in games is partly a matter of chance but much more of
attention and skill. Many people sniff at them who are too lazy to make
the conquest of their methods.

Charades, of which English people never grow tired, as a means of
diversion, have their ups and downs in the more quickly changing
fashions of America. They provide one of the easiest and merriest
means of entertainment. They may be of any degree of simplicity or
elaboration, and they call forth as much or as little ingenuity as is
possessed by the actors in any given case. They are usually popular
because almost everybody has latent a little talent for the actor’s
art at which he is willing to try his luck. Many people who are
afraid to join in formal theatricals find an outlet for this taste in
charades; and so informal usually is this kind of entertainment that
the spectators enjoy the acting whether well done or otherwise. It
is enough to see one’s friends and acquaintances struggling with a
part. If well done, one enjoys the success; if not, one applauds the
absurdity of the conception.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: READING ALOUD]

Reading aloud to a congenial home party has much to be said in its
favor, in spite of its present reputation as a stupid means of passing
an evening. “The world may be divided into two classes,” runs an old
and favorably known joke, “those who like reading aloud and those
who do not. Those who like it are those who do the reading; those
who dislike it are those who do the listening.” The half-truth in
this witticism must not be accepted for more than it is worth. As an
occasional means of passing an evening, reading aloud is diverting and
stimulating. The habit of spending one’s evenings in that way is not
an encouragement to variety and liveliness of mind. One gets into the
way of depending upon the author in hand for entertainment instead of
depending upon the action of one’s own mind. Small doses of reading
aloud are good. Continual doses are fatal to a proper social ideal.

[Sidenote: THE POPULAR HOUSE]

The people who make their own houses a center of attraction are,
generally speaking, happy people. The house where the evening is
accepted as a time of diversion is the popular house. The atmosphere
there begets gaiety and naturalness of manner. We have all had the
experience of making evening calls where we were compelled to stand
in the hall till the gas was lighted in the drawing-room or the
electricity turned on, where we must pass a dreary fifteen minutes
before the members of the family are ready to receive. This kind of
preliminary puts a damper upon the spirits of host and guests from
which they do not easily recover. To be ready for pleasant evenings,
to meet them half-way by one’s attitude is a good recipe for insuring
their arrival.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SUNDAY NIGHT SUPPER]

A pleasant and informal method of insuring good times in one’s own
house is to make a feature of the Sunday night supper. This is not
so formal or expensive a mode of entertainment as dinner-giving. It
is a jolly and pleasant method. One may have everything in the way
of edibles prepared for the meal in the morning except perhaps one
article to be made on the chafing-dish. One may serve this meal with or
without servants. Often the guests enjoy the freedom implied in helping
the hostess carry off successfully the details of serving. The Sunday
evening supper is one of those festivities that imply some elasticity
in numbers. This is the sort of meal to which the unexpected guest
is welcome, at which the person who “happens in” may feel entirely
at ease. Where there are young people in the house, the Sunday night
supper is an especially popular institution. They appreciate the
delights of entertaining without the care or the formality of more
elaborate functions.

[Sidenote: PRACTISING COURTESY]

The ways of enjoying life away from home after six o’clock in the
evening, readily suggest themselves. There are the various functions
to which one is invited. There is the theater, the most delightful
of resources, but unfortunately one which by reason of its expense
is available frequently only by the rich. Receptions, dinners,
card-parties and the theater all go to make this earth a more agreeable
place to those who have the social instinct. But it must never be
forgot that the fundamental place for the cultivation of this instinct
is at home, which is the practise ground for formal and general
society.



CHAPTER VI

FUNCTIONS


THE rules that apply to a dinner hold good at a luncheon, to which
function ladies only are usually invited, although when served at
twelve o’clock, and called “breakfast,” men are also bidden.

At a luncheon the women leave their coats in the dressing-room, wearing
their hats and gloves to the table. The gloves are drawn off as soon
as all are seated. Just why women elect to sit through an entire meal
in a private house with their hats on is not readily explained and
some independent hostesses request that hats be removed. But if they
are retained, the gloves also should be worn to the table, not taken
off up-stairs, as is often done. When the gloves are long, some women
merely pull off the lower part and tuck it into the wrist, an ugly
habit.

       *       *       *       *       *

In giving luncheons, hostesses with beautifully polished tables often
prefer to use doilies of linen or lace instead of a cloth. More precise
women never serve a meal without using a table-cloth, but from an
artistic point of view the shining surface of bare mahogany is charming.

Luncheon guests should remember that their hostess may have engagements
for the late afternoon, and not ordinarily prolong their stay after
three o’clock—if luncheon has been at one.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: FORMAL RECEPTIONS]

At an evening reception, the guests ascend to the dressing-rooms, if
they wish, or may leave wraps in the hall, if a servant be there to
take them. When one comes in a carriage with only an opera wrap over a
reception gown, it is hardly worth while to mount the stairs. But this
must be decided by the arrangements made by the entertainers. Before
one enters the drawing-room one deposits one’s cards on the salver on
the hall table. If there be a servant announcing guests the new arrival
gives his name clearly and distinctly to this functionary, who repeats
it in such a tone that those receiving may hear it. The guest enters
the parlors at this moment, proceeds directly to his hostess, and after
greeting her, speaks with each person receiving with her. He then
passes on and mingles with the rest of the company.

       *       *       *       *       *

An afternoon reception is conducted in the same manner, the only
difference being that, at an evening function refreshments are more
elaborate than at an afternoon affair, and frequently the guests
repair to the dining-room, if this be large. At some day receptions,
this is also done, but at a tea refreshments are usually passed in
the drawing-rooms. A friend of the hostess usually pours the tea and
the chocolate, and other friends are asked to assist. At successful
receptions these ladies do not seek their especial friends among the
guests, but are rather on the lookout for any who may be strange or
timid.

[Sidenote: CORRECT AFTERNOON DRESS]

Refreshments so elaborate that they will spoil the appetite for dinner
are not to be served at afternoon affairs. At the tea proper, only
tea, bread and butter and little cakes are offered. If more than this
is served the occasion is more properly called a reception. In any
case the entertainment given in the afternoon should not take on the
elaborate nature of an evening party and only in provincial communities
is it allowed to do this. Many women in such places do not properly
distinguish between afternoon and evening dress. While a woman may
suitably wear before six a gown slightly low in the neck, she should
not until after that hour wear one that is lower or whose sleeves do
not come to the elbow.

       *       *       *       *       *

The “high tea” is a sit-down affair, really a very late luncheon. It is
said to have originated in Philadelphia and is, as one would expect,
a formal stately affair with an elaborate menu. The guests have a
delightful time—but do not want any dinner that evening.

[Sidenote: HOW TO REVIVE FLOWERS]

It is useful to know that when on the afternoon of a reception or
dinner flowers intended for decoration arrive from the florist in a
wilted condition they may often be revived by plunging the stems in
boiling water.

At a very large reception it is not now required that one force one’s
self on the attention of the hostess for the sake of taking formal
leave. One may instead depart whenever one is ready to do so.

       *       *       *       *       *

Music at a reception should not be so loud as to make talking
difficult. In any but the largest houses a harp stationed in a side
room or hall is ample. Foreigners find our babel of voices at such
affairs subjects of criticism but often indeed one must shout if one
is to be heard. Oliver Wendell Holmes is said to have described the
average afternoon tea in four words, thus: “Gibble, gabble, gobble,
git.” It can not be denied that they often merit the satire.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE COMING-OUT PARTY]

The “coming-out” party or reception, at which the débutante makes
her entrance in the world of society, is conducted as is any other
reception, but the débutante stands by her mother and receives with
her. Each guest speaks some pleasant word of congratulation on shaking
hands with the girl. Her dress should be exquisite, and she should
carry flowers. These flowers are usually sent to her. When more are
received than she can carry, they are placed about the room. If the
coming-out party be in the evening, it is often followed by a dance for
the young people.

In sending out invitations for such an affair, the daughter’s card is
enclosed with that of the mother, or her name is engraved below that of
her mother on the latter’s card.

One may leave such a function as has just been described as soon as
one likes, and may take refreshments or not as one wishes. Just before
departing the guest says good night to his hosts.

The hour at which one goes to a reception may be at any time between
the hours named on the cards issued. One should never go too early, or,
if it can be avoided, on the stroke of the first hour mentioned. If
the cards read “eight-thirty to eleven o’clock,” any time after nine
o’clock will be proper and one will then be pretty sure not to be the
first arrival of the company.

       *       *       *       *       *

A card-party is a function at which one should arrive with reasonable
promptness. If the invitations call for eight-thirty, one must try not
to be more than ten or fifteen minutes late, as the starting of the
game will be thus delayed and the hostess inconvenienced. After the
game is ended, refreshments are served, and as soon after that as one
pleases one may take one’s departure.

[Sidenote: SERENITY AT CARDS]

It is surprising how many people, at other times well-bred, quite
lose their tempers at bridge or whist. The scent of a prize seems to
arouse in them a spirit of vulgarity one would not discredit them with
possessing if one met them away from the card table. The only proper
attitude in all games is one or serenity and courtesy no matter what
unspeakable blunders your partner may commit.

       *       *       *       *       *

The same rule of promptness applies to a musicale. After greeting the
hostess, guests take the seats assigned to them, and chat with those
persons near them until the program is begun. During the music not a
word should be spoken. If one has no love for music, let consideration
for others cause one to be silent. If this is impossible, it is less
unkind to send a regret than to attend and by so doing mar others’
enjoyment of a musical feast.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a ball or large dance, one may arrive when one wishes. The ladies
are shown to the dressing-room, then meet their escorts at the head of
the stairs and descend to the drawing-rooms or dance-hall. Here the
host and hostess greet one, after which one mingles with the company.

[Sidenote: FILLING DANCE PROGRAMS]

At a formal dance, programs or orders of dance are provided, each man
and each woman receiving one as he or she leaves the dressing-room or
enters the drawing-room. Upon this card a woman has inscribed the names
of the various men who ask for dances. As each man approaches her with
the request that he be given a dance, she hands him her card and he
writes his name on it, then writes her name on the corresponding blank
on his own card. As he returns her program to her the man should say
“Thank you!” The woman may bow slightly and smile or repeat the same
words.

No woman versed in the ways of polite society will give a dance
promised to one man to another, unless the first man be so crassly
ignorant or careless as to neglect to come for it. Should a man be
guilty of this rudeness he can only humbly apologize and explain his
mistake, begging to be taken again into favor. If he be sincere the
woman must, by the laws of good breeding, consent to overlook his
lapse, but she need not give him the next dance he asks for unless she
believes him to be excusable.

A man invited to a dance will properly pay particular attention to the
young ladies of the family whose guest he is, and will not neglect to
ask their mother for one number if she be dancing. A convenient phrase
covering any doubt as to whether a girl or woman wishes to take active
part in the festivities is, “Are you dancing to-night?”

[Sidenote: THE HOSTESS AT A DANCE]

The hostess at a dance must deny herself all dancing, unless her guests
are provided with partners—or, at least, she should not dance during
the first part of the evening if other women are unsupplied with
partners. At a large ball the hostess frequently has a floor committee
of her men friends to see that sets are formed and that partners are
provided for comparative strangers. No hirelings will do this so
skilfully or with so much tact as will the personal friends of the
entertainers.

A young girl may, after a dance, ask to be taken to her chaperon, or to
some other friend. She should, soon after the dance given to one man,
dismiss him pleasantly, that he may ascertain the whereabouts of his
next partner before the beginning of the next dance.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a small house dance or other informal party the hostess sometimes
provides for the proper attendance for the girls going home but it is
not often wise to depend on this. A girl, if she is going to the home
of an intimate friend, need not have a chaperon, but she should arrange
that some one call for her and thus relieve her hostess of what is
sometimes a trying responsibility. If the guest be a mature woman she
may enjoy absolute independence by taking a cab.

The etiquette governing weddings and wedding receptions will be
explained in the chapters on “Weddings.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE ENGAGED COUPLE]

In our foremothers’ day the publicity of the declared engagement was a
thing unknown. Now, the behavior of the affianced pair and what is due
to them from society deserve a page of their own.

Perhaps the most ill-at-ease couple are the newly-married, but the
engaged couple presses them hard in this line. To behave well under
the trying conditions attendant upon a recently-announced engagement
demands tact and unselfishness. It should not be necessary to remind
any well-bred girl or man that public exhibitions of affection are
vulgar, or that self-absorption, or absorption in each other, is in
wretched taste. The girl should act toward her betrothed in company
as if he were her brother or any trusted man friend, avoiding all
low-voiced or seemingly confidential conversation. The man, while
attentive to every want and wish of the woman he loves, must still
mingle with others and talk with them, forcing himself, if necessary,
to recollect that there are other women in the world besides the one
of his choice. The fact that romantic young people and critical older
ones are watching the behavior of the newly-engaged pair and commenting
mentally thereon, is naturally a source of embarrassment to those most
nearly concerned in the matter. But let each remember that people are
becoming engaged each hour, that no strange outward transformation has
come over them, and that all evidences of the marvelous change which
each may feel has transformed life for him or her may be shown when
they are in private. If they love each other, their happiness is too
sacred a thing to be dragged forth for public view.

It is customary, when an engagement is announced, for the friends of
the happy girl to send her flowers, or some dainty betrothal gift. She
must acknowledge each of these by a note of thanks and appreciation.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ANNOUNCING ENGAGEMENTS]

It is not good form for a girl to announce her own engagement, except
to her own family and dear friends. A friend of the family may do this,
either at a luncheon or party given for this purpose, or by mentioning
it to the persons who will be interested in the pleasant news. When a
girl is congratulated, she should smile frankly and say “Thank you!”
She should drill herself not to appear uncomfortably embarrassed. The
same rule applies to the happy man.

The conventional diamond solitaire ring is not worn until the
engagement is announced.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES]

The happily married often consider the Great Event of their lives of
sufficient interest to the world-at-large to be commemorated by yearly
festivities.

Cards for wedding anniversaries bear the names of the married pair, the
hours of the reception to be given and the two dates, thus:

    _June 15, 1880——June 15, 1905._

If the anniversary be the Silver Wedding the script may be in silver;
if a Golden Wedding, in gilt. Wooden Wedding invitations, engraved or
written on paper in close imitation of birch bark, are pretty. At one
such affair all decorations were of shavings, and the refreshments were
served on wooden plates. The Wooden Wedding is celebrated after an
interval of five years. At a Tin Wedding, tinware was used extensively,
even the punch being taken from small tin cups and dippers. This
wedding marks the flight of ten years of married life.

The reception is usually held in the evening, and husband and wife
receive together, and, if refreshments are served at tables, they sit
side by side. It is proper to send an anniversary present suitable to
the occasion. Such a gift is accompanied by a card bearing the name of
the sender, and the word “Congratulations.” It is customary to send
such a gift only a day or two before the celebration of the anniversary.

An anniversary reception is just like a reception given at any other
time, and rules for conducting such a one apply to this affair. To
repeat the wedding ceremony, as is sometimes done, is in bad taste.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CHRISTENING PARTIES]

In close sequence to weddings and wedding anniversaries we give a few
general directions for the conduct of christening-parties.

As the small infant is supposed to be asleep early in the evening, the
christening ceremony should take place in the morning or afternoon. As
it is not always convenient for the business men of the family to get
off in the daytime on week days, Sunday afternoon is often chosen for
such an affair.

Every prayer-book contains a description of the duties of godfathers
and godmothers, if one belongs to a church having such. If not, the
father holds the child, and the father and mother take upon them the
vows of the church to which they belong. After the religious service
the little one is passed about among the guests, and is then taken by
the nurse to the upper regions, while those assembled in its honor
regale the inner man with refreshments provided for the occasion.

The godfather and godmother make a gift to the child—usually some piece
of silver or jewelry. This is displayed on a table in the drawing-room
with any other presents that the invited guests may bring or send. It
is the proper thing for the guests to congratulate the parents on the
acquisition to the family and to wish the child health and happiness.

Handsome calling gowns are _en règle_ at a christening.

       *       *       *       *       *

Refreshments are often served _en buffet_ at home weddings and at
receptions but there is always some awkwardness attached to this
method. To provide small tables for one’s guests to be seated at
is much the better way when it is practicable. You will seem more
hospitable and your guest will be more comfortable. The person who eats
standing always has a catch-a-train look.

[Sidenote: TAKING LEAVE]

If obliged for any reason to leave unusually early at any party, go as
quietly as possible. No hostess likes to have her entertainment broken
off unseasonably.

[Sidenote: THE MARGIN OF MANNERS]

Never hesitate at any social gathering to speak pleasantly to any
one you chance to be thrown with or to respond to any one who speaks
to you, even though no introduction has taken place. In England, few
formal introductions are made,—as the phrase goes, “the roof is the
introduction.” A passing courtesy of this sort commits you to nothing
while it has a broad social value. Never indulge in snubs. If you are
open to no higher appeal, remember that it pays to be civil all round.
James has spoken of “the margin of manners,”—it is a useful asset.

       *       *       *       *       *

In recent years it has become permissible for the woman who wishes
to give a large entertainment to do it at a club-house or in a hotel
ballroom hired for the occasion. Frequently the room is made more
attractive by the addition of rugs and other furnishings from the home
of the hostess. While the hired hall is a convenience, and to the woman
living in an apartment a necessity for receptions and dances, it can
never take in elegance and the spirit of true hospitality the place
of entertaining under one’s roof. When one sees women of wealth and
leisure resort to it—“Because it saves bother, you know”—one feels
that these women must regard the events of social life as disagreeable
duties rather than delightful opportunities.

       *       *       *       *       *

With us “Bonnets before six but not after” is the rule, and this is
also the custom in England. But at formal receptions in the evening in
France the hat is retained. The combination of picture-hat and low-cut
gown is particularly attractive and one wishes that American women
would occasionally, at least, copy it.

[Sidenote: HAVE PLENTY OF CHAIRS]

If you give a musicale be sure you provide plenty of chairs. To do
this one must, unfortunately, rent folding chairs and these always
have a slight funereal aspect. But that is better than compelling
people to stand. One wonders why women of large means, who entertain
on a corresponding scale, do not buy several dozen of these chairs and
stain them dark. A woman who spoke of a certain house as hospitable in
appearance, being asked what she meant, answered, “There are so many
places in it to sit.”

A woman who is not willing to take the trouble to be a hostess
should not ask people to her house. In order to make even a simple
entertainment a success it is necessary that there should be a
directing though quiet influence. Some women are too strenuous as
hostesses, others are merely guests at their own parties. Here as
elsewhere there is a medium course that is most to be desired.

[Sidenote: THE IDEAL SOCIETY]

The spirit of an ideal society has been well expressed by Amiel in
his famous _Journal_: “In society people are expected to behave as if
they lived on ambrosia and concerned themselves with nothing but the
loftiest interests. Anxiety, need, passion, have no existence. All
realism is suppressed as brutal. In a word, what we call ‘society’
proceeds for the moment on the flattering illusory assumption that
it is moving in an ethereal atmosphere and breathing the air of the
gods. All vehemence, all natural expression, all real suffering, all
careless familiarity, or any frank sign of passion, are startling and
distasteful in this delicate _milieu_; they at once destroy the common
work, the cloud palace, the magical architectural whole, which has
been raised by the general consent and effort. It is like the sharp
cock-crow which breaks the spell of all enchantments, and puts the
fairies to flight. These select gatherings produce, without knowing
it, a sort of concert for eyes and ears, an improvised work of art. By
the instinctive collaboration of everybody concerned, intellect and
taste hold festival, and the associations of reality are exchanged for
the associations of imagination. So understood, society is a form of
poetry; the cultivated classes deliberately recompose the idyll of the
past and the buried world of Astrea. Paradox or no, I believe that
these fugitive attempts to reconstruct a dream whose only end is beauty
represent confused reminiscences of an age of gold haunting the human
heart, or rather aspirations toward a harmony of things which every-day
reality denies to us, and of which art alone gives us a glimpse.”

[Sidenote: A PERFECT SOCIAL GROUP]

Speaking of a certain soirée, the same writer emphasizes the fact
that the most beautiful social groups are not confined to any one
age or sex. “About thirty people representing our best society were
there, a happy mixture of sexes and ages. There were gray heads, young
girls, bright faces—the whole framed in some Aubusson tapestries which
made a charming background, and gave a soft air of distances to the
brilliantly-dressed groups.”



CHAPTER VII

THE HOME WEDDING


TO a home wedding, invitations may be issued two weeks in advance.
Their style depends upon how formal the function is to be. If a quiet
family affair, the notes of invitation may be written in the first
person by the bride’s mother, as:

    “My Dear Mary:

    “Helen and Mr. Jones are to be married on Wednesday,
    October the thirteenth, at four o’clock. The marriage
    will be very quiet, with none but the family and most
    intimate friends present. We hope that you will be of
    that number. Helen sends her love and begs that you
    will come to see her married.

                                 “Faithfully yours,
                                            ”Joanna Smith.”

This kind of note is, of course, only permissible for the most informal
affairs. For the usual home marriage, cards, which read as follows, may
be issued:

    “Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Brown request the pleasure of
    Mr. and Mrs. Blank’s company at the marriage of their
    daughter on the afternoon of Wednesday, the thirteenth
    of October, at four o’clock, at One hundred and
    forty-four Madison Square, Boston.”

Or the invitations may read:

    “Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Brown request the pleasure of your
    company at the marriage of their daughter, Helen Adams,
    to Mr. Charles Sprague, on Tuesday afternoon, October
    the thirteenth, at four o’clock.”

“R. s. v. p.” may be added if desired. Some people prefer to “request
the honor of,” etc., as more elegant.

[Sidenote: WEDDING CARDS]

Wedding-cards are enclosed in two envelopes, with the inner one bearing
the name only and left unsealed.

Sunday weddings are not good form, and Friday is, owing to the old
superstition, not popular. Probably more weddings take place on
Wednesday than on any other day.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a home wedding, the bride often has but one girl attendant, and that
one is the maid of honor. The bride tells her what kind of dress she
wishes her to wear, and the bridegroom provides her bouquet for her. He
also sends the bride her bouquet.

[Sidenote: THE MATTER OF EXPENSES]

The wedding expenses of the bridegroom are the flowers for the bride
and her maid of honor or bridesmaids, the carriage in which he takes
his bride to the train, the carriages for best man and ushers, and
the clergyman’s fee. Besides this, he usually provides his ushers and
best man with a scarf-pin. In some cases he gives these attendants
also their gloves and ties; sometimes he does not. The bride’s family
pays all other expenses, including the decorating of the house, the
invitations and announcement cards and the caterer. If guests from a
distance are to be met at the train by carriages, the bride’s father
pays for these.

       *       *       *       *       *

We will suppose that at the house wedding with which we have to do the
only attendants are the best man, two ushers and the maid of honor, and
that the ceremony is at high noon, or twelve o’clock.

The matter of lights at this function is largely a question of taste.
If the day be brilliantly clear, it seems a pity to shut the glorious
sunshine from the house. Therefore many brides decline to have the
curtains drawn at the noon hour. Many persons prefer the light from the
shaded lamps and candles, as being more becoming than the glare of day.

The wedding-breakfast is provided by a caterer always when such a thing
is possible. It may consist of iced or jellied bouillon, lobster
cutlets, chicken pâtés, a salad, with cakes, ices and coffee. This menu
can be added to or elaborated, as inclination may dictate. Sweetbread
pâtés may take the place of chicken pâtés. A frozen punch may take
the place of the ordinary ices, and, if one wish, a game course be
introduced. A heavy breakfast is, however, a tedious and unnecessary
affair.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE BRIDE’S DRESS]

The bride’s dress, if she be a young girl, must be white with a veil. A
train is advisable, as it adds elegance and dignity to the costume. The
waist is made with a high neck and long sleeves and white gloves are
worn. The veil is turned back from the face and reaches to the bottom
of the train where it is held in place by several pearl-headed pins. A
single fold of tulle hangs over the face, being separated from the main
veil. This is thrown back after the ceremony.

The bridegroom wears a black frock coat, gray trousers, white
waistcoat, white tie, light gray or pearl gloves and patent leather
shoes. His ushers dress in much the same fashion.

The maid of honor wears a gown of white or very light color, with a
slight train, and a picture hat, or not, as she wishes. When becoming,
an entire costume of pale pink, with a large hat trimmed with long
plumes of the same shade, is very striking. The bouquet carried by the
bridesmaid will harmonize with the color of her gown. Of course, the
bride’s bouquet will be white, and is usually composed of her favorite
blossoms.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE WEDDING RING]

The old fashion of ripping the third finger of the bride’s left-hand
glove, so that this finger might be slipped off for the adjusting of
the ring, is no longer in vogue. Instead of this the left-hand glove is
removed entirely at that part of the ceremony when the ring is placed
on the bride’s finger by the bridegroom.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a house wedding the guests assemble near the hour named, leave
their wraps in the dressing-rooms, then wait in the drawing-room for
the wedding. The whole parlor-floor is decorated with natural flowers,
garlands of these being twisted about the balustrades, and making
a bower of the room in which the marriage is to take place. If one
can afford to do so, one may prefer to leave the matter of floral
decorations to an experienced florist, but any person with taste
can successfully decorate the rooms. A screen of green, dotted with
flowers, may stand at the end of the room in which the marriage is to
be solemnized, and an arch of flowers is thrown over this. Within this
arch the clergyman, the bridegroom and the best man may await the
arrival of the wedding guests, as the wedding march begins.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE WEDDING PROCESSION]

The portières, shutting off the drawing-room from the hall, are closed
when the time arrives for the bridal party to descend the stairs. As
they reach the hall the strains of the wedding march sound.

One word as to the orchestra. This should be stationed at such a
distance from the clergyman and bridal party that its strains will not
drown the words of the service. Since Fashion decrees that music should
be played during the service, it should be so soft and low that it
accentuates, rather than muffles the voices of the participants in the
ceremony. Loud strains detract from the impressiveness of the occasion,
and cause a feeling of irritation to the persons who would not miss a
single word of the solemn service.

Through the door at the opposite end of the room from that in which
the bridegroom stands, enters the wedding procession. The two ushers
come first, having a moment or two before marked off the aisle, by
stretching two lengths of white satin ribbon from end to end of the
room. Following the ushers walks the bridesmaid alone, and, after her,
on the arm of her father, comes the bride. At the improvised altar, or
at the cushions upon which the bridal couple are to kneel, the ushers
separate, one going to each side. The maid of honor moves to the left
of the bride, and the father lays the bride’s hand in the hand of the
bridegroom, then stands a little in the rear until he gives her away,
after which point in the ceremony he steps back among the guests, or
at one side, apart from the bridal group. The best man stands on the
bridegroom’s right. It is he who gives the ring to the clergyman, who
hands it to the bridegroom, who places it on the finger of the bride.

[Sidenote: RECEIVING CONGRATULATIONS]

When the ring is to be put on, the bride hands her bouquet to the
maid of honor, and draws off her left-hand glove, giving that also to
the maid of honor, who holds both until after the benediction. After
congratulating the newly-wedded pair, the clergyman gives them his
place, and they stand facing the company, to receive congratulations.
The bride’s mother should have been in the parlor to receive the guests
as they arrived, and during the ceremony stands at the end of the room
near the bridal party. She should be the first to congratulate the
happy couple, the bridegroom’s parents following those of the bride.
The maid of honor stands by the bride while she receives.

       *       *       *       *       *

After congratulations have been extended, the wedding-breakfast is
served at little tables placed about the various rooms. The bride and
her party may, if desired, have a table to themselves, and upon this
may be a wedding-cake, to be cut by the bride. This is not essential
and has, of late years, been largely superseded by the squares of
wedding cake, packed in dainty boxes, one of which is handed to each
guest on leaving.

When the time comes for the bride to change her dress she slips quietly
from the room, accompanied by her maid of honor. The bridegroom goes to
an apartment assigned to him and his best man to put on his traveling
suit. Later, the maid of honor may come down and tell the bride’s
mother in an “aside” that she may now go up and bid her daughter
good-by in the privacy of her own room. Afterward the young husband and
wife descend the stairs together, say good-by in general to the guests
awaiting them in the lower hall, and drive off, generally, one regrets
to say, amid showers of rice.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AS TO PRACTICAL JOKES]

I would say just here that the playing of practical jokes on a bridal
pair is a form of pleasantry that should be confined to classes whose
intellects have not been cultivated above the appreciation of such
coarse fun. To tie a white satin bow on the trunk of the so-called
happy pair so that all passengers may take note of them, is hardly
kind. But jesting compared to some of the deeds done. A few weeks
ago the papers gave an account of a groomsman who slipped handcuffs
upon the wrists of bride and bridegroom, then lost the key, and the
embarrassed couple had to wait for their train, chained together, until
a file could be procured, by which time their train had left. Such
forms of buffoonery may be diverting to the perpetrator; they certainly
are not amusing to the sufferers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE QUIET WEDDING]

this is refined A girl who is to be married quietly with only relatives
or intimate friends present often says, in explaining this fact, “I’m
not going to have a _wedding_.” The expression is not well chosen, for
it inevitably suggests that the glitter of the ceremony is in her eyes
more important than the solemn words which _are_ the wedding.



CHAPTER VIII

THE CHURCH WEDDING


THERE is about a church wedding a formality that is dispensed with at
a home ceremony. The cards of invitation may be engraved in the same
form as those described in the last chapter, but the church at which
the marriage is to take place is mentioned instead of the residence
of the bride’s parents. If in a large city where curiosity seekers
are likely to crowd into the edifice, it is customary to enclose with
the card of invitation a small card to be presented at the door.
Only bearers of these bits of pasteboard are admitted. With the
invitations may be cards for the reception or the wedding-breakfast to
follow the ceremony. These cards demand acceptances or regrets, which
should always be addressed to the mother of the bride, never to the
bride-elect.

       *       *       *       *       *

The decorations for a church wedding may be elaborate. As a rule, one
color scheme is chosen, and carried out through all the arrangements.
For example, the coloring is pink and white, and if the wedding is in
the autumn, chrysanthemums may be the chosen flowers, if in the summer,
roses. The matter of decorations is usually put into the hands of a
florist.

White satin ribbon is stretched across the pews to be occupied by the
members of the two families or, more courteously, large bows of it are
fastened at the end of each, and to these pews the destined occupants
are conducted by the ushers a short time before the bridal party enters
the edifice. A list of the persons entitled to sit in these pews should
be given to the chief usher.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DUTIES OF THE USHERS]

At a large and elaborate wedding six or eight ushers are often needed.
Sometimes an usher follows the older custom of giving his arm to a
lady, but he may be less formal if he choose and merely precede her
down the aisle. There is an equal number of bridesmaids, a maid of
honor and a best man. The best man, the bridegroom, and the clergyman
enter the church by the vestry door, and await at the altar the coming
of the bride and her attendants. The organ, which has been playing for
some moments, announces the arrival of the wedding party by the opening
strains of the wedding march.

[Sidenote: THE WEDDING CEREMONY]

When the carriages containing the party arrive at the church door the
ushers go down the canopy-covered walk and help the girls to alight,
convey them into the vestibule and close the outer doors of the church
while the procession forms. Then the inside doors are thrown open and
as the organ peals forth the wedding march, the procession passes up
the aisle at a dignified pace, but not, let us hope, at the painfully
slow gait some persons think necessary. First, come the ushers, two by
two, next, the bridesmaids in pairs, then the maid of honor, walking
alone, and the bride on the arm of her father, or other masculine
relative if her father is not living. As the altar is reached the
ushers divide, half the number going to the right, the other half to
the left, then the bridesmaids do the same, passing in front of the
ushers and forming a portion of a circle nearer the altar. The maid
of honor, who is sometimes now, instead, a matron of honor, stands
near the bride, on her left hand, and the best man stands near the
bridegroom’s right. The bridegroom, stepping forward to meet the bride,
takes her hand and leads her to their place in front of the clergyman,
the father remaining standing a little in the rear of the bride and
to one side until that portion of the service is reached when the
clergyman asks, “Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?”
He then takes his daughter’s hand, and laying it in the hand of the
bridegroom, replies, “I do.” After this he steps quietly down from
the chancel and takes his place in the pew with his wife, or the other
members of the family. If the bride’s father is dead his place may be
taken by any middle-aged man relative or family friend.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DUTY OF THE BEST MAN]

During the ceremony the best man stands at the right of the bridegroom,
and a trifle behind him, taking charge of his friend’s hat and
handing him the ring when it is needed. It is he, also, who pays the
clergyman and if a register is to be signed, he signs it. The final
responsibility for a ceremony without an awkward hitch rests on his
shoulders and on those of the maid of honor.

The maid of honor, standing near the bride, holds her bouquet and
takes her glove when the ring is put on, and continues to hold them
until after the benediction, which the bridal pair kneels to receive.
Then the organ again sounds the wedding march, and the guests remain
standing as the party assembled at the altar moves down the aisle.
First, comes the bride on her husband’s arm, then the best man and
the maid of honor together, then the ushers and the bridesmaids, each
girl on the arm of an usher. After that the families of the bride and
bridegroom leave. The bridal party is driven directly to the home of
the bride’s parents, where the wedding-breakfast is served or, if a
reception follows the wedding, where the bride awaits the arrival of
her guests.

[Sidenote: THE ARTISTIC BRIDE]

The conventional dress for the bride married in daylight is the same
as for an evening wedding, a trained white gown with lace or tulle
veil. The same is true of the costumes of the bridesmaids and maid of
honor. These are selected by the bride. At one pink-and-white wedding
the bridesmaids wore pink dresses with pink picture-hats, while the
maid of honor wore a gown of palest green with hat to match,—hers
being the only touch of any color but pink in the assembly, and
serving to accentuate the general rose-like scheme. The bridesmaids’
bouquets are of flowers to harmonize with their costumes. The bride’s
bouquet is always white, bride roses being favorites for this
purpose. Brides with artistic natures who find white satin and orange
blossoms unbecoming, sometimes arrange a softer costume that is still
sufficiently bride-like to satisfy sentiment. Often little children
are used as attendants for the bride. They precede the maid of honor
and may scatter flower petals down the aisle as they go. The effect is
charming. A matron of honor must wear a colored costume.

At a day wedding the bridegroom wears a frock coat, light gray
trousers, white waistcoat, white satin or silk tie and patent leather
shoes. Of course, the only hat permissible with a frock coat is a high
silk one. The gloves are white, or pale gray. The ushers’ dress is the
same except that their ties need not be white.

At an evening wedding full dress is, of course, necessary. Then the
bridegroom wears his dress suit, white waistcoat, white lawn tie and
white gloves. The ushers are dressed in the same manner.

[Sidenote: GIFTS TO BRIDESMAIDS]

It is customary for the bride to give her bridesmaids some little gift.
This may be a stick-pin or brooch bearing the intertwined initials
of the bridal pair. This pin is usually worn by the recipient at the
wedding.

       *       *       *       *       *

The bride and the bridegroom with the bridesmaids stand together at
the end of the drawing-room to receive the guests. An usher meets
each guest at his, or her arrival, and offering his arm, escorts the
newcomer to the bridal pair, asking for the name as he does so. This
name he repeats distinctly on reaching the bride, who extends her hand
in greeting, and receives congratulations. The bridegroom is then
congratulated, and the guest straightway makes room for the next comer.

One is often asked what should be said to the newly-married pair,—what
form congratulations should take, and so on. Stilted phrases are
at all times to be avoided, and the greeting should be as simple
and straightforward as possible. It is good form to wish the bride
happiness, while the bridegroom is congratulated. Thus one says to the
bride, “I hope you will be very happy,—and I am sure you will.” And to
the bridegroom one may say,—“You do not need to be told how much you
are to be congratulated, for you know it already. Still I do want to
say that I congratulate you from my heart.”

A pretty custom followed by some brides is that of turning, when
half-way up the stairs, after the reception or breakfast is over,
untying the ribbon fastening the bouquet together, and scattering the
flowers thus released among the men waiting in the hall below. This
disposes of the wedding bouquet which one has not the heart to throw
away, and yet which one can not keep satisfactorily.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DISPLAYING GIFTS]

If gifts are displayed at a reception, it should be in an upper room,
and all cards should be removed. The bride may keep a list of her
presents and of the donors, but to display cards gives an opportunity
for invidious comparisons. More and more the custom of showing gifts,
except to intimate friends in private, is going out.

       *       *       *       *       *

The tables for the wedding-breakfast may be placed about the
drawing-rooms, and the guests are seated informally at them. The only
exception to this rule is the bride’s table at which the bridal party
sits. As artificial lights are usually used at elaborate functions,
even at high noon, pretty candelabra are upon each table. Or, if
preferred, fairy lamps may take the place of the candelabra.

[Sidenote: THE WEDDING BREAKFAST]

The menu for the wedding-breakfast may consist of grapefruit with
Maraschino cherries, or of oyster cocktails, or of clams on the
half-shell, as a first course; next, hot clam bouillon (unless clams
have already been served) or chicken bouillon; fish in some form, as
fish croquettes with oyster-crab sauce; sweetbread pâtés with green
peas; broiled chicken or French chops with potato croquettes or with
Parisian potatoes; punch frappé; game with salad; ices, cakes, coffee.
If wines are used, champagne is served with the breakfast. Slices of
the wedding-cake packed in dainty satin-paper boxes are given to the
guests as they leave.

The breakfast over, the bride slips away quietly, to change her dress
for the wedding journey, and departs as after a home wedding.

       *       *       *       *       *

The guests at a wedding-breakfast must call on the mother of the bride
within three weeks after the marriage. They will, of course, call on
the bride on one of her “At Home” days, the dates of which are given
with the wedding invitations or with the announcement cards.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ANNOUNCEMENT CARDS]

Announcement cards are issued immediately after the wedding, so must be
addressed and stamped ready to be mailed at once. The text usually used
is this:

    “Mr. and Mrs. William Edwin Burnham announce the
    marriage of their daughter, Eleanor Fair, to Mr. John
    Langdon Morse, on Tuesday, the eighth of December,
    one thousand nine hundred and five, at St. Michael’s
    Church, Davenport, Iowa.”

Another form that is sometimes seen is the following:

    “Married, Wednesday, October eleventh, 1903;
    Florence Archer and John Staunton, 1019 Penn Street,
    Philadelphia.”

This last form is seldom used except in cases where the bride is so
unfortunate as to have no relatives in whose names she may announce her
marriage.

With the announcement cards may be enclosed another card bearing the
dates of the bride’s “At Home” days, and the hours at which she will
receive. Announcement cards are usually issued after a small or private
wedding to which only a limited number of guests have been invited. If
the wedding has been large or was followed by a large reception to
which all one’s calling acquaintances may be bidden, the announcement
cards are unnecessary and the “At Home” cards are issued with the
invitations to the marriage, or are sent out after the bride returns
from her trip.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE DRESS FOR A WIDOW]

The dress for a widow at her second marriage should be made of some
elegant colored fabric and she should wear a hat if the ceremony is
performed in a church. There should be no attendants except the father
or brother or an intimate friend.

A young girl without parents and of limited income may quite properly
be married in her traveling costume and with the utmost simplicity. If
she have a proper sense of the delicacy and solemnity of the occasion
she will not, however, go to the house of a strange clergyman for the
ceremony but have it performed in the parlor of her nearest friend or
relative. In this way she shows her own good breeding and protects
herself from any idle remarks. For a girl to join her fiancé in a
distant city and marry him there is a step seldom taken in wisdom,
whatever the circumstances.

Notes to all who have sent gifts must be written by the bride before
she leaves home.



CHAPTER IX

THE DINNER PARTY


THE dinner is the most important and the most delightful of social
functions. It is the most civilized of entertainments, and to say
of a town that it is a dinner-giving town means that it has arrived
socially. This flower of hospitality blooms slowly. In many western
places where the reception, the afternoon tea, the theater party and
the ladies’ luncheon flourish like a green bay tree, the dinner is
an unknown function. A young hostess is often afraid of attempting
it, as is also the unaccustomed diner-out. Yet it is not a formidable
entertainment, rightly considered, and when happily managed the return
it brings far outweighs the outlay of time and trouble.

The dinner, height of hospitality as it is, is yet within the reach of
most of us as far as expenditure is concerned. The cost of a dinner may
be much or little. The menu may be simple or elaborate. Five courses
is enough for a dainty satisfying meal, yet eighteen and twenty are
sometimes served. The table decorations may be of the most expensive
sort; yet a half-dozen roses and candles in keeping are sufficient to
give a properly festive touch.

The number of servants required depends, of course, upon the
elaborateness or simplicity of the menu and upon the number of guests
to be served. The size of the dinner party is elastic, though eighteen
at the table is usually regarded as the maximum.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SMALL DINNER]

The little dinner party has the advantage of being in some ways a more
attractive function than the big one, as well as one in which people
of small incomes may safely indulge. When a dinner is so large that
general conversation is impossible, it defeats its own purpose. Eight
guests are a good number. Why it should be that ten guests are still so
few as to form a little dinner party and that twelve guests undoubtedly
make a big dinner party is one of those inscrutable truths that it
takes something more than arithmetic to explain. But so it is. If the
guests are properly chosen for a small dinner there should be in the
atmosphere a combination of pretty formality and agreeable familiarity
about this function that no other can give in so large a degree.

The choice of guests is, of course, the first and most important
consideration. Upon this more than upon any other consideration depends
the success of your party. It does not do to invite people together for
commercial reasons simply or from any other purely selfish motive. It
does not do to go through one’s list and invite people, by instalments,
straight through the alphabet. The hostess must exercise all the
tact and discrimination of which she is possessed. It is not always
necessary that the people chosen should be friends and acquaintances
but it is necessary that they have interests, broadly speaking, of
the same sort, that they have enough in common to make a basis for
easy informal talk. If the people chosen like one another or have the
capacity for interesting and diverting one another, the hostess should
feel that the weightiest business is off her hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SENDING DINNER INVITATIONS]

Dinner invitations should be sent out at least a week before the
date of the function. In places where social life is of a strenuous
character and people are likely to have many engagements ahead, two
weeks should be allowed. In New York and Washington, invitations for
formal dinners are issued four weeks before the event. The invitation
to a dinner should be answered immediately. As the number of guests
invited in any case is small, the hostess should know as soon as
possible the intention of those invited, so that, in case of a regret,
she may fill the place so quickly that the person next chosen may not
realize that he is an alternate. The letters R. s. v. p. should not be
put on a dinner invitation. Any one who receives such a card or note is
supposed to understand that an answer is expected.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE DINNER MENU]

When the guests are selected, the invitations delivered and the proper
number of acceptances received, the hostess may then turn her attention
to the other arrangements. The important matter of deciding upon the
menu is next in order. If the hostess has an admirably trained cook or
is in a position to engage an expert cateress, a consultation with one
or the other settles the affair. In case she has not the one and is
not financially able to engage the other, she must depend upon her own
resources. She must select a menu which she and her maid can together
carry out successfully.

The composition of a dinner menu is an employment that gives scope
for talent and originality. The range of possible dishes is large,
the variety in the way of combination inexhaustible. To plan a dinner
that is at once palatable and pleasing to the eye requires no mean
ability. To a woman who has a genius for culinary feats, this sort of
accomplishment may be an exercise of the artistic faculties; and the
effect produced upon the partakers of the feast goes far beyond mere
physical satisfaction. If one is in the habit of studying cook-books,
which make more interesting reading than they are generally given
credit for, the opportunity afforded by a dinner party for the display
of one’s knowledge should be as eagerly welcomed as the opportunity
offered a violinist for the exhibition of his art. Novelties are to
be indulged in sparingly. Queer highly-colored dishes make the guests
nervous as to the hygienic results.

[Sidenote: ROUND OR SQUARE TABLES]

Sometimes fashion decrees that a square or oblong table is the
appropriate form. Again she approves the round table. At the present
time the round table has the preference and, as far as the present
writer can see, with reason. The round table puts all the diners on
an equal footing instead of establishing a sometimes embarrassing
distinction between guests and hosts. Its use makes it possible for
each guest to have a good view of every other guest and this promotes
general conversation. Added to these merits is another of importance,
namely, that a round table is more susceptible of attractive decoration.

Many people who employ a square table for family use, employ on formal
occasions a round top, capable of seating twelve or fourteen people,
which top can be placed above the table commonly in use. This top when
not in use folds together on hinges in the center. On occasion it can
be clamped to the table in ordinary so that it holds perfectly firm.

One should not ask more guests than the table will roomily accommodate.
A woman guest will often be glad of a footstool.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SILVER AND CHINA]

On the morning of the dinner the silver and china necessary should be
looked over and later in the day properly placed. The table should be
arranged with cloth, the napkins, the various knives, forks and spoons,
the flowers, the candles, and the service plates, if such are used.
The china to be employed for the various courses should be placed,
before the dinner, in the butler’s pantry in a way to promote, as
far as possible, swift and deft service with the maid. She should be
instructed exactly where she can lay her hands on the dishes for each
item in the menu so that her attendance may be expert and noiseless.
For her benefit it is well also to make out in good legible writing,
the menu for the meal and hang it in the kitchen in full view of her
and any other servants employed for the occasion. In giving a dinner
nothing should be left to chance. Every emergency should be taken into
consideration and planned for. In small households where only one maid
is employed, a trained waitress may be hired at small expense to help
serve.

[Sidenote: FLOWERS AND CANDLES]

The flowers to be used should have some relation to the color of the
candles if candles are used. A few flowers skilfully arranged are
sometimes quite as effective as a profusion. A clear glass jar which
shows stems and leaves as well as blooms is a good investment for the
woman whose love of beauty goes further than her ability to pay. The
importance of foliage is not always appreciated. One of the cleverest
minor inventions for making a few blossoms appear to their best
advantage is the cross-bar of wire which one finds now in the shops, in
various sizes and fitted to the tops of various ornamental vases. By
the use of this device each flower stands out in individual beauty. The
effect of no single blossom is lost.

Avoid a centerpiece that is so high as to obstruct the view across the
table.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LAYING THE TABLE]

The table-cloth and napkins should be of pure white and of the finest
napery that one can afford. Silk and lace contraptions that will not
stand washing are in bad taste. The table-cloth is not starched and
preferably is never folded by the laundress but rolled so that when
used it shows no creases except one down the center. First on the table
is laid a heavy felt cloth known as the silence cloth, which, besides
deadening sounds, serves to make the damask lie more smoothly and
gives it a richer, handsomer appearance than if it were spread on the
bare boards. If the game or joints are to be served from the table, a
carver’s square should be laid at the head of the table and beneath it
a thick mat for the protection of the table surface. Beside this square
are laid the carving knife and fork, a table spoon and a gravy ladle.
At each guest’s place, is set a “service plate,” insisted on by the
punctilious who choose to obey the unwritten rule of hospitality that
a guest once seated is never without a plate. This plate is exchanged
by the waitress for the one bearing the food when it is served. To the
left of this plate will be arranged the forks, tines upward. These will
ordinarily consist of two large forks for the main meat course and the
salad, then a third fork for the fish and outside of these a small
oyster fork if there is to be a course of raw oysters. At the right of
the plate will be two dinner knives with the edges of the blades turned
toward the plate, a fish knife, and the spoons, including first a small
spoon for the after-dinner coffee. The spoon that will be used first
is placed on the outside for obvious reasons. The soup spoon with the
bowl uppermost will be placed either at right angles to the knives or
from right to left back of the plate. The water glass and the glasses
for wine, if these are used, stand to the right and back, a little
beyond the knives. As butter is not served at formal dinners the bread
and butter plate and butter spreader are omitted. The folded napkin
containing the dinner roll is laid to the right of the knives or on the
service plate. Fancy foldings of the napkin are not approved.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SKILFUL MAID]

When the waitress hands a dish from which the guest must serve himself
she offers it on the left so that he may use his right hand freely.
However, when she puts a plate before him, she should do it from the
right. Many hostesses decree that on clearing the table, the large meat
and vegetable dishes should be taken first and the soiled plates last.
A reversal of this procedure would seem to be an improvement as the
untidy plates are the least sightly things about the table. If the maid
is skilful she will notice whether any guest has by chance already used
the spoons or other silver required for the dessert course and supply
those without a request being made.

In clearing the table the maid must not stack the dishes. She should
take a plate in each hand and no more.

Avoid using heavily scented flowers on a dinner table.

Menu cards do not belong in private houses. They have the somewhat
vulgar effect of laying too much stress on the food. The ideal dinner
is, indeed, a delightful repast, but it should be first of all what has
been wittily described as “a feast of reason and a regular freshet of
soul.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE FRUIT CENTERPIECE]

A fruit centerpiece is not often seen but it is handsome. A large
silver plate or basket heaped with pink and white winter grapes or even
with rosy apples and “glove” oranges is most effective.

If candles are used these should be kept on ice until near the dinner
hour, then lighted and the wicks cut, to prevent smoking and dripping.
Many persons who like to put shades on their candles have difficulty
in preventing them from catching fire. It is worth knowing that this
is more likely to occur when the holders are fitted to the top of the
candle than where they clasp it below the heated part.

When a dessert dish is placed on a larger plate, or a finger-bowl is
set before the guest, a small lace paper mat may be laid between plate
and dish.

If the dining-room floor is of hard wood rubber tips may be bought at
any department store and put on the chair-legs to prevent the noise of
scraping.

The table should be carefully set so that the centerpiece is exactly in
the center and the guests’ places precisely opposite each other.

As a rule the china used throughout a dinner exactly matches, but if a
hostess prefers she may use different sets for different courses.

In serving soup be careful not to give too much. A half ladleful is an
“elegant sufficiency.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE TEMPERATURE OF WINES]

If a dinner is very formal and several wines are to be served, it is
correct to use white wine with the fish, sherry with the soup, claret
with the roast and champagne or Burgundy with the game. The white wine,
sherry and champagne should be kept cold; champagne, indeed, should
be very cold and is served from a bottle wrapped in a napkin. Claret
and Burgundy are most agreeable at a temperature of about seventy. All
these wines are served from the bottle except claret and sherry, which
are usually decanted, that is to say, they are poured from the original
bottle into a cut-glass bottle or decanter intended especially for
table use.

       *       *       *       *       *

Much of the success of a dinner depends upon the serving. A
well-trained maid or man is indispensable, and it is not to be denied
that the training, for this purpose, of the average servant to be found
in the West is difficult. But with patience it can be done. If one is
in the habit, as one should be, of insisting that the home dinner be
served with proper formality, the extra duties involved in the service
of a larger number of people and of a greater range of dishes need not
be viewed with terror.

If there are ten or twelve guests the services of two maids or men
become necessary, lest the portions on the plates become cold before
the sauces and vegetables that are to accompany them can be passed. For
elaborate dinners the rule is one waiter to every three guests.

In punctilious households the unwritten law that a guest should never
be without a plate before him is observed, and this is known as the
service or place plate. At an informal meal this plate may be dispensed
with.

A maid should be taught to move quietly, to keep her eyes and thoughts
on what she is doing, and in an emergency to go directly to her
mistress for a quiet word of instruction. It is particularly important
that the domestic in the kitchen should also be as quiet as possible in
her movements. Nothing is more annoying during a dinner conversation
than a crash of crockery in the culinary regions.

[Sidenote: THE HOUR FOR DINNER]

As a rule dinner is served in most American cities at seven o’clock. In
New York, however, where long distance makes it difficult for men to
reach home, dress for the evening and arrive at any stated place, eight
o’clock is frequently the hour.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SAYING GRACE]

In not a few houses the fine old fashion of saying grace is still
observed and the guest should carefully watch his hostess for a cue as
to how to conduct himself. A young woman who happened to be visiting in
one of the older New England families chanced to take her first meal at
the dinner hour. After a moment’s pause she was asked by her hostess
to start the meal, and with best intentions she did so by passing a
bread plate near her. To her dismay she afterward learned that she had
been expected to say grace. Of course, such an incident could occur
only at an informal dinner, but it serves to bring up the point that
many a hostess embarrasses a guest by directly asking him to perform
this service which a natural timidity or his being unaccustomed to it
may make an ordeal for him. If a clergyman is present, respect to his
position, whatever one’s own religious convictions or want of them,
demands that he be asked to say grace.

       *       *       *       *       *

At informal dinners the roast may be carved at the table if the
hostess prefers this plan and if the host can be persuaded to do
the carving and is able to do it skilfully and quietly. This plan,
which is English in its origin, seems more hospitable in a way than
the more formal custom of serving everything from side-tables, _a la
Russe_. Undoubtedly there is a flavor of the hotel and restaurant
about the Russian style that is less agreeable, though simpler and
more expeditious. It may be remarked, however, that while it is of
first importance that a dinner service should move promptly and that it
should not at the outside take up more than two hours, anything that
actually suggests haste is contrary to the spirit of the occasion.

When the meats are carved at the table the vegetables should be passed
by the maid, as the guests may have a choice. For the person at the
head of the table to serve both meat and vegetables is permissible
only at a family dinner. In some households the host or hostess makes
a specialty of salad dressing, and this course, also, is served at the
table. As the salad bowl may be so arranged as to present a beautiful,
as well as a delicious sight, the custom has more than one reason to
recommend it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHO IS SERVED FIRST]

As to who is served first there has been considerable discussion. The
plan has recently come into favor in some houses to hand the first
plate in each instance to the hostess in the thought that if there is
anything wrong with the dish she may detect it before the guests are
served. The usual plan, however, is to serve first the lady sitting at
the host’s right hand, then all the other ladies, and lastly the men.
Or, if two maids are serving, one may take one side of the table and
one the other. The maid should hand the dishes on the left side of the
guest. A clever maid can wait on eight people, provided the dinner is
not too elaborate.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DRESS OF BUTLER AND MAID]

The dress of a maid waiting at dinner should be in winter of a plain
black stuff, in summer of plain white. Over this is worn a white bib
apron with bands going over the shoulders. The skirt of the apron
should be large so that the front of the dress is protected. A plain
white collar and white cuffs and a white cap without strings or crown
complete this costume. No ornaments of any sort are permissible.

A butler should wear the ordinary dress suit with a white tie. It is a
matter of wonder to the thoughtful why society has not yet found a way
to clothe her butlers and waiters in some manner that shall prevent
strangers from taking them for guests, but as yet no such way seems
to have been found. In default of a butler many families keep what
is known as a house-man, who performs the duties of both butler and
footman; that is to say, he opens the door and also assists at table.
Such a servant has a white linen jacket and dark trousers, though
some women who have negro house-men and a taste for the picturesque
prefer that they shall wear dark colored coats with brass buttons and
a scarlet or other bright colored waistcoat. While one sees in certain
nice houses white gloves on the hands of a house-man when he is waiting
at table, the best taste is against their use, as they undeniably
suggest that they are worn to hide dirty hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHAT TO WEAR AT DINNER]

At formal dinners a woman is expected to wear a dress cut moderately
low in the neck, while for men what is known as evening dress is
imperative. Sometimes an invitation contains the word “informal,” but
unless one has explicit direction to the contrary, no departure should
be made from the usual method of dressing.

When a dinner is hastily arranged for an out-of-town guest, who
is perhaps passing through the city for the day only, or for some
distinguished man or woman on a tour of lectures, the hostess may
particularly request the guests not to wear evening clothes out of
consideration for the guest of honor who, not expecting any social
courtesies, is not prepared so to dress himself. In such cases the men
will wear their day clothes, though a woman is always privileged to
make her evening toilet somewhat more dainty and elaborate than her
daytime one. Not to appear in one’s best when the occasion is suited to
happy raiment is to do both one’s self and the occasion an injustice.
Most people are at their best when they have the consciousness of being
attractively attired, and one may be sure that the hostess always
appreciates any effort made by her guests toward increasing the charm
of the social picture which she has composed. A dark or dowdy dress is
an ugly note in such a group and reveals in the woman who causes it an
insufficient sense of the compliment that has been extended to her.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE DINNER COAT]

The dinner coat, or Tuxedo, was designed to be worn only on the most
informal occasions, though there is a tendency to widen its field of
usefulness. The theory is that it should never be worn where there are
ladies, but the modern practise has broken the theory down so that at
small dinners, the theater, club affairs, etc., the dinner coat is worn
by men who give the subject of dress intelligent consideration. With
the dinner coat a black silk string tie should be worn; this the wearer
should tie in a bow, tightly drawn at the center. Gray ties have been
urged by the fashion makers, but they are not so good as the black. The
white lawn tie should never be worn with the dinner coat. Gold studs
and gold link cuff buttons, or the newer dark enamel should be used,
in shirts of plaits or tucks of various widths. These softer styles of
shirts are now in high favor and are a sensible and proper innovation.
Extremes of styles should be avoided, and many men of conservative
tastes still wear the stiff plain linen or piqué bosoms. A black
waistcoat of the same material as the coat is preferable to the fancier
forms.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE LOW-CUT GOWN]

It is gratifying to note that in the best houses neither the hostess
nor any woman guest is seen to appear with a dress improperly low.
A woman, not long used to the better social circle into which she
married, was once invited to meet an actress at a private dinner party.
To the amazement and distress of her hostess she appeared in a gown
that evidently carried out her idea of what is “Bohemian.” She had
quite clearly been determined not to be outdone by the actress. To her
chagrin she found this woman in a gown much higher than her own and
wholly modest in every particular. To govern one’s dress or conduct in
society by any notion of outdoing some one else is an indication of the
parvenu and likely to meet with dire results.

       *       *       *       *       *

Those who entertain often soon learn to discriminate between the
guest whose presence helps to make a dinner a success and one who is
an undigested lump in the social leaven. The desirable guest is not
necessarily a wit or a beauty but she comes with a glad mind and heart,
arrayed in her prettiest and with the sincere intention of trying to
give pleasure. She realizes the compliment of her invitation and that
it can not be acknowledged merely by extending a similar one. She must,
as some one recently put it, “pay her scat” before she leaves the
house. If her dearest enemy is present nothing in _her_ manner will
betray that fact to the hostess.

The meal should be announced by the servant in charge opening the
door or doors leading into the dining-room and saying, “Dinner is
served.” It saves confusion even at a small dinner to mark the places
at table by cards inscribed with the appropriate name, but this is not
obligatory.

[Sidenote: THE DINNER PROCESSION]

The host, with the lady who is to sit at his right, is the first to
leave the drawing-room. The order of the other couples does not matter,
except that the hostess, with the man who is to sit at her right,
leaves last. The places of honor are those at the right of the host
and the hostess. If the President were a guest, the hostess would
lead the way to the dining-room with him, the President’s wife coming
immediately after with the host. If two ladies are entertaining, one
must play the part of host. At very large and formal dinners trays
on which are small envelopes are placed in the men’s dressing-room,
each envelope bearing the name of the woman the guest to whom it is
addressed is to take in, and indicating by the letter L. or R. in the
corner of the card on which side the two will sit.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ARRIVING AT A DINNER]

A dinner party demands that the guest be not more than ten minutes
early, and ordinarily not a half-minute behind the time mentioned in
the invitation. In large cities, however, on account of the great
distances, ten or fifteen minutes’ grace is allowed. After that
interval has passed, the hostess—or her butler if she have one—should
see that the cover laid for this person is removed, and the usual
announcement made that “Dinner is served.” The servant at the door
directs the women to their dressing-room, the men to theirs. In the
dressing-room the women leave their wraps, but do not remove their
gloves. Each woman, accompanied by her escort, descends to the
drawing-room, greets the hosts, and the man who is to take her out to
dinner is then introduced to her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Where there are many courses a guest may, if he wish, sometimes decline
one or more of these. He may also show by a gesture that he will not
take wine, or, if his glasses are filled, he may simply lift them to
his lips, taste the contents, then drink no more. As a glass will be
filled as soon as emptied, the guest may say in a low voice, “No more,
please!” when he has had enough. None of these refusals should be so
marked as to attract the attention of his entertainers. A wine-glass
should never be turned down.

After the ladies have removed their gloves and the dinner-roll or slice
of bread has been taken from the folded napkin and the napkin laid in
the lap, the dinner conducts itself. The chapter headed “At Table” will
answer any doubtful questions as to the manner of eating at home or
abroad.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHEN DINNER IS OVER]

After the dinner is ended, the hostess gives a slight signal, or makes
the move to rise. The gentlemen stand while the ladies pass out of
the room, then sit down again for their cigars, coffee and liquors.
The chairs, on rising from a dinner-table, should not be pushed
back in place. Coffee and cordials are served to the ladies in the
drawing-room, where they are soon joined by the gentlemen.

When the time for departure approaches it is the place of the woman who
goes first to rise, motion to her husband, and then as soon as she and
he have said good night to the host and hostess, they bow to the other
guests, and retire to the dressing-rooms. After this they go directly
from the house, not entering the drawing-room again. If there are
guests of honor they should be the first to go.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SAYING GOOD NIGHT]

In saying good night it is perfectly proper, extremists to the contrary
notwithstanding, to thank the entertainers for a pleasant evening. Such
thanks need not be profuse, but may be simply—“Good night, and many
thanks for a delightful evening!” or “It is hard to leave, we have had
such a pleasant time!” One need never be afraid to let one’s hosts know
that the time spent in their presence has passed delightfully.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SUCCESSFUL DINNER]

Given well-prepared food, whether simple or elaborate, proper service,
a room not too warm and a current of fresh air that does not blow on
any one, guests sympathetically chosen, the dinner can not fail to be
a success. A young married belle of a western city who was visiting
in a smart New York set was asked at her first dinner what people in
the West did for after-dinner entertainment. “They talk,” she said.
The people present looked at her as if they thought that a dull way
of spending the time, and to a query of hers regarding their methods
of entertainment, replied that they usually “had in” a professional
or professionals of some sort for the amusement of the guests after
the eating and drinking were over. To her taste this indicated an
unenviable mental poverty, as it will to most sensible people. The
best flavor of a successful dinner party lies not in the food, however
grateful that may be to the palate, but in the talk. A dinner is the
entertainment at which sprightly natural talk counts for the most;
and this is probably the reason that the world over the dinner is
considered the most elegant and distinguished form of entertainment.



CHAPTER X

THE EDUCATION OF A YOUNG GIRL


IS IT a good thing to send a young girl away to school, and, if so,
shall one send her to boarding-school or college? are the questions
that agitate many a household where the daughter or daughters are
old enough to make these questions pertinent. Over-conscientious and
fearful mothers sometimes decide that the risk is too great in sending
girls away from home. They fear, with the loosening of home ties, a
lessening of a sense of responsibility, while at the same time they
doubt a girl’s power to get on without maternal supervision. The
judgment and experience of the world is against this point of view.
“Homekeeping youths have ever homekeeping wits,” is no more true of
boys than of girls. Going away to school should be one of the richly
vitalizing influences of life. To a certain extent a girl is thrown
on her own resources when away as she would not be at home, yet the
conditions in any school worthy of the name are such that she is
guarded and protected. At home, her friendships and acquaintances
have been made largely through the connection of her family with the
community in which she lives. Away, she must make her own friends. At
home, it is probable that mother, older sister or a kindly aunt have
done her darning and other mending. Away, she must do these things for
herself or they remain undone. In many ways the opportunity is given
her by a year or two away at school to prove herself, yet to do so
without danger, as the amateur swordsman fences with a button on his
foil. Outside of these considerations one of the most important is the
development that comes through delight in change. Novel conditions
have charm for all ages, and in youth, much more than in age, they
are a spur to endeavor. Happiness of a healthful kind stimulates the
mind, and it is commonly true that the years spent away at school are
pleasant ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHAT SCHOOL TO CHOOSE]

The advocates of the different sorts of training represented by
boarding-school and college life are often hostile to each other.
There is much to be said in favor of both educational methods, and the
decision concerning which shall be adopted for a young girl should
depend largely upon her own temperament, tastes and inclinations.
The advocates of college life are too apt to assume that the texture
of boarding-school learning is flimsy, which it sometimes is. The
friends of boarding-school life assume that a college training means an
absence of regard for the feminine graces; and it is true that some of
its representatives are not social successes. But such comment goes a
short way in helping one to a decision as to whether boarding-school or
college shall be the destination of one’s daughter.

[Sidenote: THE BOARDING-SCHOOL]

The character of the girls’ colleges in our country is much more
generally known than that of boarding-schools. The colleges are few in
number, and to their proceedings is given a degree of publicity not
accorded the proceedings of smaller educational enterprises. There are
boarding-schools and boarding-schools. Investigation can not be too
careful before placing a girl in one of them. The best offer advantages
of an admirable kind. The courses of study, while not so diverse as
those of college, are particularly adapted to feminine tastes, while
the accomplishments which tend to make social life more interesting and
agreeable are given a large share of attention. History, literature,
the modern languages, music and drawing have perhaps the foremost
places in the curriculum. Many of these schools are in cities where
opportunities are given, under proper chaperonage, for girls to see the
best theatrical performances and to hear concerts of value. In these
schools girls come into more intimate relations with their teachers
than is possible in a college, and they are also much more strictly
chaperoned. Matters of form and deportment, details of manner, so far
as they can be taught, are given thought and attention often with happy
results. One may say that a girl should learn these things at home,
but sometimes her surroundings there are not favorable and again she
needs the impetus of just such criticism as she receives at a good
boarding-school to make her aware of the value of form. The aim of
a good boarding-school is to make of a girl an attractive member of
society as well as to make her mentally appreciative. The stamp of
certain admirable boarding-schools upon the manners of the women who
have attended them is unmistakable. I once heard a man say that he
could always “spot” a pupil of Miss Porter’s famous Farmington School
within half an hour after introduction, by certain delicate formalities
in her manner.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE WOMAN’S COLLEGE]

A woman’s college offers a much wider sphere for a girl’s energies
and abilities than does boarding-school. If she loves study, is fond
of athletics and is interested widely in human nature, college is the
place for her. Here she has a chance for the development of her best
mental powers. Deportment is not one of the unwritten branches of
the curriculum as it is in the girls’ boarding-school. Nevertheless
it is taught by the social preeminence of those who bring the best
breeding with them. Though the surveillance is not what it is in
boarding-schools, it is not so necessary, because the girls are
somewhat older than those in boarding-schools and because the sentiment
of the students generally is for law and order.

[Sidenote: WELL-KNOWN COLLEGES]

The best-known girls’ colleges in the United States are situated in the
country, and the opportunity thus given for sport and for a healthy
appreciation of nature is an invaluable asset for those institutions.
At no time in life is the love of beauty at once so delicate and so
keen as in those years when one is eligible to college life. To foster
this perhaps latent appreciation by a direct contact with the beauties
of nature is one of the opportunities offered by Bryn Mawr, Vassar,
Wellesley, Smith and other well-known women’s colleges.

The three or four years in college among a hundred or more other
girls often form one of the happiest and most fruitful periods of a
girl’s life. She makes interesting and valuable friendships. Often her
knowledge of the world is broadened by visits paid to her schoolmates
in vacation time. The advantages she derives from properly directed
study are great; the advantages in other directions are possibly even
greater. A women’s college is a little world in which every variety
of femininity may be observed. The life there gives opportunity for
the development of the most diverse talents. Any sort of capability
eventually finds scope for action in college life. The serious side and
the recreative side of life find expression there. A girl who lends
herself freely to the opportunities of a college should quit its doors
prepared for social and domestic life and able also to take care of
herself financially if exigencies require.

       *       *       *       *       *

The comparative cost of college and boarding-school is often an
important point in the matter of deciding a girl’s educational
destination. The best boarding-schools are more expensive than the
colleges as far as formal expenditure is concerned. A girl’s personal
expenses, though they are regulated in some boarding-schools, are in
college and at most boarding-schools what she and the family council
choose to make them.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TRAVEL AS EDUCATION]

If college and boarding-school exercise a beneficial influence upon
the development of a girl’s mind and manners, travel is a happy third
in the list. Unfortunately travel is an expensive luxury. If, however,
the financial circumstances of a girl’s parents are such that she may
travel for six months or a year after her schooling is over, this puts
the finishing touch upon her educational opportunities. Travel is
the easiest, the quickest and the most delightful manner of gaining
knowledge in the world, while, at the same time, it is what study is
not always, an encouragement to social facility.

The young girl must be educated at home as well as away from home. The
foundation for such accomplishments as she has a preference for must
be laid there and she must prepare there, in however slight a way, for
the responsibilities that may rest upon her shoulders when she has a
house of her own. For her own training, as well as the relief of her
mother, every girl should assume some household duty or duties. But
these, unless necessity commands, should not be severe, and occasional
laxity in performance should not be dealt with harshly. Young girlhood
is a growing time and a dreaming time; and a too stern insistence upon
household duties sometimes blights important capabilities of mind and
body.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ACQUIRING ACCOMPLISHMENTS]

It was an old-fashioned idea that every girl should be equipped with
an accomplishment, should cultivate some definite ability to please.
The idea was much abused, and resulted in the torture of many innocent
persons who were compelled to look at crude sketches, to admire
grotesque embroideries and to listen to mediocre performances on the
piano. But there was at the bottom of the idea something sound and
wholesome. It is vitally important that women should please, should
help to make the wheels of life go easily. That was not an ignoble
epitaph discovered on an old tombstone in an English churchyard,
“She was so pleasant.” Perhaps in the matter of education we are
now swinging too far away from the old-fashioned ideal and are too
much inclined to regard as trifling a young girl’s special efforts
to please. Do we not somewhat puritanically regard the studies one
does not like as necessarily more efficacious than those pursued
with joy? Drawing, music, the modern languages, the art of reciting
or conversation—we speak of these usually not only as secondary in
importance to the study of Greek, Latin and mathematics, but as
involving little in the way of labor, while the truth is that the
pursuit of these subjects not only involves endless labor but a labor
that in the end unveils personality and individuality, and makes for
original interpretation of life to a degree far exceeding results from
the so-called severer branches.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE DILETTANTE]

The theory is generally disseminated that those studies which give most
pleasure to one’s self and to others when actually transformed into
accomplishments are easy of attainment and demand only the careless and
dilettante touch. The elders as well as the youth are much impregnated
with this idea. Let a girl understand when she begins to study drawing,
the violin, the pianoforte or the art of singing that no success is
possible without hard work, that the privilege of lessons will be
withdrawn if she does not put effort and determination into her work,
and results of a correspondingly good character may be forthcoming.

[Sidenote: THOROUGHNESS NECESSARY]

For the happiness of themselves and their friends, it is well that
young girls should pursue any accomplishment toward which they may have
a leaning. Certainly such a pursuit, if entered into with delicacy and
vivacity, must increase the sweetness of life by adding to one’s sense
of beauty; and it is never trite to say that a thing of beauty is a joy
forever.

Pursuit of an accomplishment does not always mean possession, but where
it does, even measurably, it means also the power of imparting pleasure
to one’s friends, and pleasure that is touched upon and mingled with
one’s own individuality. In a day when wealth counts for so much in
relation to the bestowal of pleasure, one can scarcely overestimate for
those who do not have wealth the value of the personal touch in the
entertainment of one’s friends.



CHAPTER XI

THE DÉBUTANTE


A CLEVER young girl, when asked by an acquaintance if she had “come
out” yet, answered, “I didn’t come out. I just _leaked_ out.” Doubtless
this states the case, in a somewhat slangy manner, for a large number
of young women who, gradually and without any set function to serve as
introduction, take their places in society. Even for them, however,
the year following the close of school duties marks a change in their
relation to the social world, while the distinction is much emphasized
in the case of young girls to whom the affairs of balls, receptions,
teas and calls are a novelty. The date of a girl’s formal entrance into
the larger world marks her individual recognition in that world. Before
this time she has been a person without social responsibility, not
accountable in the social sense. She has been considered in relation to
her family, perhaps. Now she stands for herself. She is an object of
some curiosity to the public, and the pleasures and duties to which she
falls heir deserve some special mention.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE AGE OF A DÉBUTANTE]

The age at which a girl makes her formal appearance on the scene of
society varies in different places and with varying conditions. It is
rarely under eighteen, seldom over twenty-two, the first being the age
at which a girl not desirous of extended education escapes, usually,
from the schoolroom, the second being the average age of graduation for
the college girl. A girl younger than eighteen is commonly too immature
to be considered an interesting member of society, and a certain degree
of absurdity attaches to the idea of introducing to the world a girl
older than the age last mentioned.

       *       *       *       *       *

The special function by which a young woman’s family signalizes her
entrance to society varies little in different places. In many cities
the custom is for the family of the débutante and also for the friends
of the family to give some entertainment in her honor. A dinner, a
luncheon, a tea, a ball—any one of these festivities is a proper manner
of announcing one’s interest in the new member of society and of
emphasizing her arrival.

Everything should be done to facilitate for her an extension of
acquaintance among those whom it is desirable she should know. It
is said that a number of years ago when telephones were a luxury
instead of being, as now, a necessity, in southern cities, the
advent of the débutante in a house meant always the addition of
a name to the telephone directory. This is a somewhat extravagant
and florid comment on the idea advanced. But it will serve as an
illustration. Particularly is it desirable that the débutante should
become acquainted with the older members of the society in which she
moves. She is now not only a part of the particular set to which her
age assigns her; she is also a part of that larger society to which
many ages belong. Her attitude on this question distinguishes her as
well-bred or ill-bred. There is nothing more crass and crude than the
young girl who has no eyes or ears for anybody out of the particular
set of young people to which she belongs. It is the mark of the
plebeian.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE DÉBUTANTE’S WARDROBE]

The clothes of the débutante are a matter of importance and her
wardrobe should be carefully planned. It is natural that she should
wish to look pretty and, as youth itself makes for beauty, given good
health and the usual number of features properly distributed, there
is no reason why she should not so appear, if some discretion be
exercised in the selection of her clothes. It does not lie within the
province of this book to stipulate in detail concerning the outfit
necessary for this happy result. The purpose of this paragraph is to
insist on simplicity of style in the gowns chosen for a girl’s first
year in society. Elaborate styles and heavy materials are opposed
to the quality of a young girl’s beauty. They kill the loveliness
which it is their object to bring out. All her clothes should be made
without perceptible elaboration. In ball gowns she should be careful to
select light, diaphanous materials,—materials that she can wear at no
other time of life to such advantage. Of party gowns she should have
a number. Three or four frocks of thin inexpensive materials are far
better, if a choice be necessary, than one heavy silk or satin. They
are more becoming and the number of them guarantees to their owner
perfect freshness and daintiness of appearance. A soiled, bedraggled
ball gown is a sorry sight on anybody. It looks particularly ill on a
young person whose age entitles her to be compared to lilies and roses.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SECOND SEASON]

If the truth be told, despite the gaiety and the novelty of a girl’s
first year in society, it is not usually so pleasant a year as her
second. She has much to learn, and it is the exceptional girl who
does not feel a little awkward in her new position. She is prone to
exaggerate the importance of small social blunders, and trifles, light
as air, occupy a disproportionate place in her horizon. A certain
timidity, the result of her unaccustomed position, is characteristic
of her. This timidity shows itself either in a stiffness that modifies
considerably her proper charm, or in an unnatural bravado of manner,
the reverse of pleasing. “Why are you so down on débutantes?”—the
writer of this chapter asked of an accomplished young society man.
“Because they think it’s clever to be rude,” was the answer. The desire
to be very apt, to be “on the spot” and “all there,” as the slang
phrase has it,—this is often at the bottom of the apparent rudeness
of the young girl. She does not care to show her newness. As a bride
wishes it to seem that she has always been married, so a débutante
likes to present the appearance of thorough familiarity with the ground
upon which she has just arrived.

[Sidenote: LOSING SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS]

Nothing will assist the débutante to self-control and a surer footing
so much as contact with people who are somewhat older than herself and
who have gained a proper perspective. From them she will learn to be
less self-conscious, and this means to be happier and more interesting.



CHAPTER XII

MEN AND WOMEN


THERE is some difference of opinion as to whether properly a man should
ask permission to call upon a woman or the woman should confer the
favor of her own volition. Sometimes this depends on the age of the
woman under consideration. The invitation to call of a mature woman of
society is the bestowal of a social favor in a sense different from the
same request coming from a young girl. A young girl must be very sure
indeed that a man would feel flattered by her invitation before she
asks him to call. It is usually safe to assume that, if he does wish
the acquaintance to go further than chance meetings, he will find a way
to make it known to her, thus saving her the embarrassment of taking
the initiative.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE LENGTH OF A CALL]

The time for making calls upon young women varies in different parts of
the country. In the larger cities of the East the conventional time is
between four and seven o’clock in the afternoon. In smaller towns of
the East and in most southern and western places, evening calls are the
mode. When the acquaintance between the young man and the young woman
in question is slight, a call of half an hour is considered a proper
length. When the acquaintance has mellowed into friendship, the length
of the call is not prescribed. A sense of propriety will suggest to
both when it should come to an end.

If a servant is in waiting when the caller arrives, this domestic
should take care of the young man’s hat, coat and stick, or should
designate where the caller may place these things. If the young woman
herself should chance to open the door, she must designate where he
is “to rest his wraps,” as the negroes say. She must not, on any
account, assist him in ridding himself of these articles, nor, later,
when he leaves, aid him in getting them together. Nice but socially
uninstructed girls lay themselves open to severe criticism through
exactly such mistaken actions.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the call is a first call, the young man should be presented to the
girl’s mother, and if the girl chooses, to other members of the family.
In succeeding calls, according to conventional usage in America, it
is merely a happen-so whether members of the young woman’s family are
present or not.

One can prescribe no rule as to what young men and young women should
talk about. The subjects they may discuss are as numerous as the sands
of the sea, and depend upon taste, temperament and education.

As to manner, it is well to insist a little, in these days of brusk
camaraderie between the sexes, on the fact that courtesy has many
charming opportunities of exhibition in the conversation between
men and women. There is a kind of deference that, with no lack of
frankness, should be cultivated in the attitude of one sex to the
other, a quality that makes for agreeable friendship to a rare degree.
If one selects this rather than other agreeable qualities of manner as
one to be cultivated in the relation of the sexes, it is because it is
one so often neglected.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE USE OF FIRST NAMES]

When a young woman and young man have grown up in the same place and
have known each other from childhood, it is proper for them to call
each other by their first names, but with acquaintances of maturer
years, the occasions for the adoption of this custom should be rare.
Nothing is more vulgar for a young woman than an easy and promiscuous
habit of addressing Tom, Dick and Harry as such.

A girl should not accept an invitation from a young man before he
has called and has been presented to her mother. The invitation once
accepted, there are little courtesies which he may pay to her on the
occasion of the festivity for which he has asked to accompany her.
These courtesies he should not neglect to offer, and she should be
gracious in accepting. He may assist her in putting on her wraps. He
may put on her overshoes if the weather is damp and a maid be lacking
for that purpose. If an extra wrap is demanded he should carry it for
her.

       *       *       *       *       *

In going up-stairs, the girl precedes the man, but in descending, he
goes first. In the street a man who is punctilious walks on the outside
of the walk, but this rule is less observed than it was formerly. Of
course, a man allows a girl to precede him through any doorway. In
leaving a street-car, however, he gets off first in order that he may
help her alight.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A YOUNG WOMAN’S ESCORT]

It is the duty of a young woman’s escort to be looking after her
pleasure and comfort in various ways. If he takes her to a dance, he
must see, if possible, that her card is filled. If it is not filled, he
should sit out with her the unclaimed dances. Ordinarily, a girl does
not cross a ballroom unless accompanied by her escort or her chaperon.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AT THE THEATER]

If a man takes a girl to the theater he should procure a program
for her and should assist her in the removal of her wraps. Whenever
accidentally or by arrangement, a man accompanies a woman he should
not permit her to carry a package, umbrella or wrap, unless the latter
be a light summer wrap which she may prefer to retain. The various
opportunities offered men for small services, for little gallantries
of conduct, can not be registered in detail. They are too many. It is
sufficient to say that young women should encourage men in such amiable
habits. Favors of the sort indicated are without cost and yet beyond
price. If accepted graciously they react on manners to the advantage of
both sexes. They help to make of society the pleasing spectacle which
we imagine it to be in our dreams.

       *       *       *       *       *

Young women who are guests at a box party should sit in the front seats
with the men behind them. The writer was witness during the current
year of a small-town box party straggling into a city theater, where
each girl was awkwardly ranged alongside of her escort. The clumsy
unsophisticated air of the party, each Jack beside his Jill, needs no
comment.

       *       *       *       *       *

A young girl should not grant a request for an interchange of letters
with a young man without consulting her mother. A young woman should
remember in writing to a young man that written words are not like
spoken ones and are far more capable of misinterpretation. Though
prudence is not a generous quality, it is one to be observed in all
letter-writing but that arising out of the most intimate relations.

[Sidenote: THE CLEVER NOTE]

The subject of letter-writing suggests the miniature accomplishment
of note-writing. The art of brief sprightly expression on paper is
one that is worth striving for. It is capable of yielding pleasure in
many of the relations of life, in none more conspicuously than in the
relation between young men and young women. A military man of some
distinction was interviewing the lady principal of a girls’ school with
reference to placing his daughter there. “What would you like to have
her taught?” said the principal. “Some history;” he said meditatively,
“an appreciation of good literature, and the art of writing as
agreeable a note as her mother did before her.”

       *       *       *       *       *

A young woman should hesitate to isolate herself from general society
by accepting too great an amount of attention from any one man
unless she intends to marry him. As long as she is in doubt on this
head she has, prudery to the contrary, a right to accept the usual
attentions from those men whom she likes. If she is so imprudent as to
shut herself off from general companionship before she has reached a
decision as to marriage and then decide in the negative, she is likely
to suffer for her imprudence. By a ludicrous chance dependent upon the
relation of the sexes, the man in the case, if he cares to reenter
society, regains it much more easily than she. He can go about and take
up dropped threads while she is waiting at home for callers who do not
arrive. He is welcomed back with enthusiasm by the girls who thought
him lost forever, while her recent avoidance of general society is
counted against her.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: BECOMING ENGAGED]

When a young man finds his affections engaged he should formally
ask the girl’s father for her hand and should state his financial
condition. This rule of an older civilization than ours is much
ridiculed in many sections of our country; and it is true that there
are instances where it would not apply, where, for reasons, the young
man should make his initial plea to the girl herself. But, generally
speaking, the custom is to be commended. A young man may well suppose
that a girl’s father will have her best interests at heart. If the
young man is serious in his desire for her happiness he will have the
courage to ask her of one of the two persons to whom she is dearest.

[Sidenote: THE IMPORTANCE OF CHAPERONS]

The whole matter of acquaintance between young men and young women is
one of supreme importance in that it may lead to results of supreme
importance. In view of this fact it is amazing that parents and
guardians so often leave this matter to the action of chance, that they
do not feel the wisdom of exercising a guiding hand in the choice of
associates for the young people under their care. We have a prejudice
against the European custom of social espionage over the young. But it
is safe to assume that if we had more of such espionage sentimental
disasters would not be so frequent as they now are, and more true and
lasting friendships between young men and young women would be formed.
The older members of the household should take a part in creating the
social atmosphere in which their children move. They should cultivate
the friendship and acquaintance of young people so that they may be
able the more easily and wisely to exert an influence in the right
direction. Only the opinion and taste of the person most concerned
should be final and decisive in the matter of personal relations, but
persuasion and direction are mighty forces to be employed. Especially
should parents of attractive young women make it their business
to know something about the young men who frequent the house. Said
a father of five well-married young women: “I made it a rule in my
daughters’ girlhood to allow no young man the entrée to my house who
was not eligible in the sense of character and breeding.” It is true
that youth and age will not always agree on the qualities of desirable
companionship, and it is also true that in these disagreements age
is sometimes wrong and youth is right; but this does not interfere
with the truth of the statement that maturity should give to youth
all the help possible in the frequently momentous choice of friends,
particularly of those belonging to the opposite sex.

It is customary, shortly before a wedding, for a girl to give a
farewell luncheon to her intimate girl friends, including her
bridesmaids, and for a man to entertain his ushers at a dinner or
supper party.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is expected at parties that the gentlemen present will attend on
the ladies, in the old-fashioned word “wait” on them. Yet at many such
affairs one sees the men congregated in the hall, eating their salads
and ices, while the women are ungallantly left to themselves. Servants
may supply them with refreshments if the hostess has so planned, but
the attendance is required just the same.

[Sidenote: THE WELL-BRED MAN]

A well-bred man will not in general society make a marked distinction
in the courtesy he shows to a woman who is unusually attractive and
her companion who is less fortunate. He will ask the plainer woman to
dance and will see that she has ices, and he may find, after all, some
unexpected reward in a quality of hidden charm beneath the unpromising
exterior. Generosity in social situations is a severe test of character
and for that reason it is seen less often than one would wish. The man
who joins a woman sitting conspicuously alone and devotes himself to
her entertainment if for only a quarter of an hour deserves all the
warm unspoken gratitude that is sure to be felt by the woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

A girl should be careful not to mistake the merely polite attentions
of a man for the advances of a lover. Men are afraid of such a girl
because of the embarrassments that ensue, while they feel “safe” with a
sensible one who can be friendly without becoming sentimental and who
does not view every man she dances with as a possible husband.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LUNCHING AT A CLUB]

A woman who is invited by a man to take luncheon with him at his club
will find a side entrance reserved for the use of ladies, and a parlor
where she may be joined by her escort.

[Sidenote: A MAN’S LEAVE-TAKING]

When a man is saying good-by to a group of ladies, he should, on
leaving the room, turn his back as little as possible.



CHAPTER XIII

COEDUCATION SOCIALLY CONSIDERED


THE idea of coeducation is a peculiarly American idea. Perhaps nowhere
else in the world do such large bodies of young men and young women
meet together for purposes of study and, at the same time, enjoy
together such social freedom as is the case in the coeducational
institutions of the United States. One may question the wisdom of the
coeducational idea, but as to its popularity there can be no doubt.
Coeducation is not only with us, but, if indications are correct, it
has come to stay.

Its opponents say that men and women do not work together so well
as apart, that the distraction of sex in coeducational institutions
is such as to prevent both men and women from making the highest
intellectual effort in their power. The advocates of the system contend
that the contact of the sexes in school is a source of improvement to
the manners of both, that it makes young men more courteous and young
women less sentimental. The friends of the movement also say that men
and women are stimulated to their best endeavor by the presence of the
opposite sex; and that, as the masculine and the feminine intellects
differ, one being complementary to the other, so men and women,
studying together, gain a rounded conception of the subject in hand not
possible otherwise.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SOCIAL AMENITIES]

This article is not concerned with the pros and cons of the argument,
only with the questions suggested by the freedom and facility with
which young people meet one another in coeducational schools.
It is easy to say that the usual social conventions should be
observed, as of course they should; but it is not hard to see that
the somewhat informal conditions under which young people meet in
these institutions, make a strict adherence to the code a matter of
difficulty. Eighteen is the average age at which young people enter
college. They are scarcely men and women, yet they are too old for
schoolboy and girl pranks, in which, however, they often feel tempted
to indulge. Many young men and young women start to college without
social experience. They may belong to good families whose essential
ideals of conduct are stanch and fine, but to families in which hard
work and financial stress have crowded out the knowledge and practise
of social amenities. The youth of the students concerned, the
inexperience of many, the variety in previous training and inheritance
make the question of social relations much more complicated than it
would be in the towns or cities from which the various students come
and where each one belongs by custom and birth to a well-defined circle
of friends.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: FORMING FRIENDSHIPS]

A golden piece of advice for those entering college, though one
not easy to follow, is: “Be slow in forming your friendships.” The
friendships you make with the members of your own sex influence
decidedly your friendships with the other and both should be entered
into with deliberation. Better be somewhat lonely in the beginning of
college life than precipitate relations with those whom you may later
come to distrust. Let a young woman wait, take time to survey the
situation coolly and dispassionately, before she decides which one,
if any, of the Greek societies which solicit her attention she will
enter. Do not let her be carried away by the “rushing,” the spreads,
the flatteries, the flowers that may be used to influence her decision.
She will be all the more valued by the sorority that gets her if she
holds off a little until her own mind and judgment have rendered an
answer to invitation. And, in the same relative situation, the same
word of warning applies to young men. It is in place here to say in
regard to the Greek societies that the pleasure and profit derived by
the members from such membership should not lead them to a selfish
disregard of those outside. The tendency to work only for one’s
fraternity or sorority and to find fellowship or friendship nowhere
else is recognized as a narrowing influence in these organizations.

[Sidenote: COLLEGE PRECEDENTS]

Each college, coeducational or otherwise, has its local etiquette that
has risen out of its history. Certain things can be done by seniors,
for instance, that would not be tolerated in freshmen; certain other
things that have no reference to the general rules of society are
barred because of a collegiate caprice that has been transformed into
law. With this unwritten but binding etiquette the student soon becomes
acquainted. If he runs counter to it, he is brought up sharply and made
to realize the penalty. The etiquette of common sense, which should
guide the relations between young men and women, is of another sort
and, owing to the exigencies of the case, must largely be expressed by
negative admonitions. The first of these is, do not feel that absence
from home gives you privileges to do what you would not do at home. The
word “lark” is an enticing one, but young men and young women do not
indulge in “larks” together without paying up. Anything that involves
secrecy in the good times of young men and young women away at school
should be avoided.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AVOID FAMILIARITY]

The frequency with which young people of two sexes meet one another
in coeducational schools leads them easily into the habit of calling
each other by their first names, and into the worse one of adopting
nicknames. The advice of _Punch_ is in place. Don’t. Friendship does
not mean familiarity. Indeed familiarity is its greatest foe. When a
young girl allows a young man to call her by her first name, unless
engaged to him, she cheapens his regard for her by just so much.

It often happens that the dormitories or boarding-houses where
students live do not afford attractive reception rooms. A young
woman shrinks from receiving calls from her young men acquaintances
in ugly surroundings and in a room filled perhaps with uncongenial
girls or those indifferent to her. It is not improper, under these
circumstances, that she should see her men friends elsewhere,—at the
college library, at the house of some married friend or in the course
of a walk planned beforehand. But it is in wretched taste for her to
loiter on the streets with a young man, to stop on corners for talk, to
walk back and forth repeatedly from college to boarding-place in his
company. Again good sense says, “Don’t.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: EXCHANGE OF PHOTOGRAPHS]

Exchanging photographs is regarded as one of the special privileges of
college life. It would be interesting to know how large a per cent.
of the income made by photographers in the United States comes from
college students. The exchange of photographs between young men and
young women in the same class in college is allowable. Such exchange
is, in a sense, official and impersonal, and is warranted by that fact.
When a young woman bestows her photograph under such circumstances
she should write upon it the name of the college and the date of the
class. This will indicate clearly that the giving is not a matter of
sentiment. The promiscuous exchange of photographs between young men
and young women at college is bad. Only a brother or a lover or an
old friend should be the recipient of a young woman’s likeness. There
is something too intimate about such a gift to make it an object of
general distribution.

       *       *       *       *       *

One more “Don’t” occurs to the writer as applicable to the relations
of young men and women as fellow students. Don’t use the college
slang or jargon when you talk together. If it is impossible to keep
it altogether out of the talk, use as little of it as possible. Men
students may carry on conversation through this medium and it is
sometimes very funny, but it was not intended for feminine purposes.
It is disgusting to hear a young man speak to a young woman in the
terms he would use in addressing his chum. On the other hand it is the
attempted mannishness of tone popular with some women students that
prejudices many worthy people against coeducational schools. The use of
college slang outside the boundaries of college life is bad form even
for a man, and gives a provincial tone to his talk.

[Sidenote: CLASS FESTIVITIES]

The opportunities for special festivities are many in coeducational
life, and there is a strong temptation to overdo on the social
side. Class dances and receptions, fraternity and sorority parties,
commencement gaieties offer frequent allurement. A student, woman
or man, should sift out this matter of recreation in his own mind
and should determine how much pleasure of this kind he can afford
financially and without detriment to his health or his class standing.
Some social diversion he needs. To develop on the mental side only is a
mistake. Too much diversion is a far more serious mistake.

It goes without saying that, at the parties given by students, there
should be proper chaperonage. This is particularly necessary in
entertainments, often quite elaborate in character, given in chapter
houses of the fraternities. The fact that young men are hosts to
the young women on such occasions makes it the more necessary that
chaperons should be numerous and not too vivacious in character.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE DEAN OF WOMEN]

There should be in every coeducational school a dean of women. The
duties of such a position include regulation, as far as possible,
of social relations between the young men and young women of the
institution as well as actual instruction, if necessary, on the more
important matters of social etiquette. In this official, young girls
of the institution should find a friend to whom they may go for advice
on vexed questions. Where there is no formal office of the kind named,
the service indicated may sometimes be rendered by women members of
the faculty. Some years ago, in a western town, the Chair of English
Literature was occupied by a woman who took upon herself the burden of
improving the manners of the student body, largely composed of sturdy
young farmers and girls from country towns. Once a year in the college
chapel, she gave a lecture on this subject in which she stated plainly
what she thought necessary for the social improvement of the school.
Many a young man was helped over awkward places by her advice; many
a young woman saved from some escapade which she might have blushed
later to own. The value of such instruction is inestimable.

When opportunity offers for consultation with such a guide and
teacher, the uninstructed student should avail himself of it. When
such a privilege is not procurable, one’s own sense of propriety, if
diligently sought for and obeyed, will often lead one out of an awkward
situation for which one does not know the formal rule.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HIGH-SCHOOL PARTIES]

Many parents who intend to send their daughters to women’s colleges
allow them to take a preparatory course in a coeducational high school.
The best high schools of that character now take the very important
precaution of hiring a dean, whose duty it is especially to watch over
the girl students. High-school sororities and all secret organizations
are frowned on if not positively prohibited in these schools, as it has
been demonstrated that they interfere with proper attention to studies
and lead to many undesirable relationships. Class hops and receptions
suitably chaperoned furnish sufficient diversion. One hopes that one of
the results of the appointing of deans in the high schools will be a
change in the manner of dressing of many high-school girls. It is too
often both inartistic and in bad taste. A schoolgirl should be dressed
prettily, but in a quiet and appropriate way.



CHAPTER XIV

THE CHAPERON


IN some parts of America the chaperon is, like Sairey Gamp’s
interesting friend, “Mrs. Harris,”—a mere figment of the imagination.
Nowhere in America does she occupy the perfectly defined position that
she holds in Europe; nowhere in America are her duties so arduous as
those imposed on her in older countries. The idea that a chaperon for
young people is necessary on all occasions offends the taste of the
American. It is even opposed to his code of good manners. That a young
woman should never be able in her father’s house to receive, without a
guardian, the young men of her acquaintance, is alien to the average
American’s ideal of good breeding and of independence in friendship. In
addition, his sense of humor sets down constant attendance on the very
young as a bore and wearisome in the extreme.

       *       *       *       *       *

A young business or professional woman dispenses with any protection
except that afforded her by her work itself. Some years ago a young
southern woman, forced to earn her living, and who had become a
reporter in Washington, made herself absurd by taking a duenna with her
whenever she went out to gather news. Perhaps it is unnecessary to say
that no girl can afford to call on a man at his office except on an
errand of business or charity.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DOING WITHOUT CHAPERONS]

Because of these prejudices current concerning the idea of chaperonage,
because of this mode of considering the subject, characteristically
American, it is all the more necessary that the line should be
sharply drawn as to the occasions where the consensus of usage and
good sense declares a chaperon to be indispensable. The sense of the
best American conventionalities, broadly speaking, is that a young
woman may have greater liberty in her father’s house than elsewhere.
A young man who frequents a house for the purpose of calling on a
young woman should be on terms with the members of her family, but
it is not taken for granted that he must spend every minute of his
visits in their presence, or that the young woman should feel that
she is acting unconventionally in receiving his calls by herself. It
_is_ unconventional, however, for her to take with him long evening
drives without a chaperon, or to go on any sort of prolonged outdoor
excursion, be the party large or small, without a chaperon. Driving
parties, fishing parties, country-club parties, sailing parties,
picnics of every kind,—here the chaperon is indispensable. No one can
tell what accidents or delays may occur at festivities of this kind
that might render a prolonged absence embarrassing and awkward without
the chaperon.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE CHAPERON’S DUTIES]

Any married woman may act as chaperon. “Young and twenty” may chaperon
“fat and forty” if the former has the prefix “Mrs.” before her name
and the latter is still of the “Miss” period. It is often very amusing
to hear young matrons talk of their experience in chaperoning their
elders. The office is one that the newly married woman likes to assume
both because of its privileges and because it seems to emphasize her
new dignities.

In consequence of the fact that the frivolous and light-minded young
married woman is quite as apt to be called upon to fill the office of
chaperon as a person of more responsible qualities, the duties of this
position are often less considered than its advantages. To some extent
the duties and the privileges melt together, but not entirely. When,
for instance, a bachelor, or a married man whose wife is out of town,
entertains young unmarried people with a theater party and a supper
afterward at restaurant or club, and asks a married woman of his
acquaintance to act as chaperon, he expects to pay her more attention
and courtesy than he will give to other guests, while at the same time
expecting from her an assumption of some of the duties of hostess for
the occasion. He may send her flowers if he chooses. She must have
the seat of honor in the front of the box engaged at the theater and,
later, the seat of honor at the supper party.

[Sidenote: THE CHAPERON’S PRIVILEGES]

In return she must exercise her power of pleasing generally and not for
the benefit only of the two or three of the party whom she likes best.
Her surveillance of the company is, of course, merely nominal. It is
taken for granted in civilized society that young people will behave
properly. A chaperon is merely the official sign that the proprieties
are observed. She is not an instructress and is not likely to be asked
to fill the position of chaperon more than once if she assumes to be.
Her presence prevents embarrassment and embarrassing situations. It
should also act upon the guests as an amalgamating agent. At a party of
the description given, her business is to mix agreeably the different
elements of the company.

The duties and privileges of acting as chaperon, in such circumstances,
are of so pleasant a kind that the office is a coveted one. Attractive
women are much more apt to be asked to fill the position than
unattractive ones, except when a chaperon is regarded simply as an
offering on the altar of propriety.

Generally speaking, the duties of a chaperon are somewhat various, and
more or less arduous, according to the quality of those chaperoned.
These duties depend so largely upon circumstances that they are not
easily classified. It is, of course, the part of the chaperon to
smooth over awkward situations, to arrange and make smooth the path of
pleasure. It is the duty of the chaperoned to agree without demur to
whatever the chaperon may suggest. On any debatable point her decision
must be regarded as final.

[Sidenote: CHAPERONS AT A BALL]

A personal and individual chaperon for every young girl is not
necessary at a ball. It is expedient, however, that there should be
some one present who, on demand, can act in that capacity for her,—some
married woman with whom she may sit out a dance, if she be not
provided with a partner, or whom she may consult in any of the small
difficulties possible to the occasion. If a young woman attend a ball
in company with her mother or some other matron, she should return each
time, after a dance, to the seat occupied by her chaperon and should
direct her several partners to find her there. In case she dances with
any one unknown to her chaperon, it goes perhaps without saying that
the man in the case should be presented properly to the friend in
charge of her.

       *       *       *       *       *

The question as to whether a young man must ask the services of a
chaperon when he invites one young woman to accompany him to the
theater is answered differently in different parts of the country. In
the East a man who asks a young woman to go with him to the opera or
the play, often invites her mother or some feminine married friend to
accompany them. In the West this usage is not so common. Those who do
not observe it are not regarded as outside the pale of good form.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ON OUTDOOR EXCURSIONS]

[Sidenote: A DUTCH TREAT]

In the case of outdoor excursions the chaperon should fix the hour of
departure to and from the place of festivity; she should group the
guests for the journey there and back, and should designate their
positions at the table if a meal or refreshments be served. The duty
of the chaperoned, is, in return, to make the position of chaperon as
agreeable as possible, to defer to her in every way. The favor, in the
case of chaperonage, is conferred by the chaperon, though the actions
of certain crude young people are no recognition of this fact. A case
in point occurs to the writer where a young man and his wife were asked
to chaperon a party of young people to a popular rendezvous twelve or
fourteen miles from the city in which they lived. The married people,
after much urging, consented with some reluctance, thereby sacrificing
a cherished plan of their own. Going and coming they were asked to
take the back seat, which they occupied by themselves,—a seat over the
wheels of the large vehicle provided. During the country supper they
sat at one end of the table where their presence was conversationally
ignored. When the time came for returning home the married man was
approached by one of the originators of the party, who said that the
affair was a “Dutch treat,” and would he (the married man) please pay
his share of the bill. This is, of course, an extraordinary case, but
in a gross way it illustrates the lack of consideration often incident
to the relation between chaperon and chaperoned. That the obligation
to the chaperon should be properly recognized is an important part of
social training.



CHAPTER XV

THE MATTER OF DRESS


TO be comfortably and becomingly clothed is an acknowledged
aspiration of most women and many men. The time to be ashamed of such
an aspiration is now happily gone by with some other detrimental
puritanical notions, and we cheerfully give ourselves to the love
of pretty things for personal adornment as we do to beauty in other
directions. That too much time may be spent in the thought about, and
selection of, clothes is true, also that extravagance of expenditure
and other vices are the price of such vanity. On the other hand, it
is as true, though not so directly and obviously so, that a lack of
attention to dress leads equally to disaster. The badly-gowned woman
is apt to be self-conscious, not in possession of her best self; and
too often she carries the thought of dress exactly to the place where
her mind should be free of such reflections. One should not wear more
than one can successfully “carry off.” Care about the details of dress
should be left behind when one goes visiting or appears anywhere in
public. If one’s toilet has been thought out and attended to properly
before leaving home, one’s mind is then free for the entertainment of
other subjects. If this important matter is suggested to one only by
the unhappy contrast between one’s appearance and that of the people
about one, then unless one is possessed of a particularly strong mind,
the pleasure of the occasion in question is nullified, the possible
profit to be derived from it is cut off.

[Sidenote: THE GOSPEL OF GOOD GOWNS]

Self-consciousness does away with the easy use of one’s faculties
and renders them stiff and unpliable. Trim appropriate clothing has
a tendency to make the wearer happy and is an encouragement to a
comfortable and lively temper of mind. I remember hearing a humorous
old clergyman say that he was frequently called upon to endure the
recital of her miseries from a very untidy woman of his congregation
and to prescribe advice therefor. At last with him truth came to the
surface, and a thought that had long lain dormant in his mind found
expression on the final occasion of her request for counsel from
him. “Madam,” he said, “I believe you would be a much happier woman
if you combed your hair becomingly and put on a fresh gown oftener.”
The matter of dress is at once a serious and, to a beauty-loving
temperament, a charming consideration. To some extent it has to do
with character and much to do with happiness. Some moralists to the
contrary notwithstanding, the becomingness or the unbecomingness of
what one wears reacts upon the wearer and makes her distrustful or
confident, timid or courageous, and this in a not unworthy sense.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the subject of dress is important, the consideration we give to it
should be of a correspondingly dignified and orderly character. There
is a happy medium between spending too much and too little time on
the thought of what we wear. At regular periods, say at least twice a
year, the matter should be taken up with some care, the needs of one’s
wardrobe investigated, the amount of money at one’s disposal for such
purposes be determined upon.

[Sidenote: IF THE PURSE IS SMALL]

If one’s purse is so large that the question is only one of purchase,
of consulting good outfitters and dressmakers, there is still room
for neat and methodical management. If one’s purse is small, orderly
and businesslike management is a necessity. One should study one’s
appearance and find out for one’s self what colors, what tendencies in
fashion are becoming to one, and resolutely strike others off the list.
Reason, not fancy, nor altogether fashion, should guide one in the
choice of fabrics and tints. One’s manner of life should be considered
in the selection of gowns, and the appropriate thing picked out for the
anticipated occasion. A train on the street, velvet in the morning, no
matter what may seem to be worn by extremists, could never be in taste.
Veils that are so heavy as to seem disguises or so ornamented that they
give the wearer, at a little distance, the appearance of having a skin
disease, should be left to the women who wish to startle.

[Sidenote: THE STREET GOWN]

The most important gown to be taken into account is the street gown,
the garb in which one appears every day and before the largest number
of people. That one should look well all the days of the week is
more important and convincing than that one should look well for the
particular and infrequent occasion. If one must choose between a good
day-in-and-day-out gown and one of a more elaborate and decorative
description, the preference should be given to the tailor or street
gown. One would better invest in a cloth costume of good material and
cut, and wear this unchanged through more than one season than indulge
in two or three of cheaper mold that reflect unsteadily the passing
mode. This gown may serve not only for street but, with various waists,
may develop other uses than that of outdoor wear. The changes possible
in accessories will make it available for calls, teas, afternoon
receptions and the theater.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: BETWEEN SEASONS]

Many women who dress fairly well in summer and in winter, fail to
provide themselves with suitable attire for the intervening seasons.
Spring finds them with only a fur-trimmed cloak, and in early fall they
are still wearing thin midsummer frocks. In our changeable climate,
clothing of various weights is absolutely necessary to make a good
appearance. All fur coats are seldom suitable, and for this reason
should be left for those who can buy as many garments as they choose.
Good separate furs are a much wiser investment for a woman of limited
means. White kid gloves for marketing and shopping, even if one can
afford them, are out of taste because out of place.

       *       *       *       *       *

For a woman who goes to balls and dinners, however infrequently, a
good low-cut gown of some description is indispensable. Women who have
lived quiet provincial lives and are called upon to grace a wider
social sphere are not always aware of this. They provide themselves
with appropriate gowns of other descriptions, but they feel afraid of
the gown made especially for evening wear. They have a foolish fear
sometimes of trying, by this means, to look younger than they are
or of making themselves conspicuous in the wearing of such a frock.
Conspicuousness lies in the other direction. Full dress is the proper
wear for metropolitan entertainments after six o’clock in the evening,
and full dress means a dress coat for a man and a low-cut frock of
appropriate material for a woman. Avoidance of embarrassment means the
adoption of this conventional wear. A woman who has reached an age when
her neck has begun to wither in front is not, however, an object of
beauty when décolleté. She will do well to wear a jeweled collar or a
band of velvet or tulle.

[Sidenote: WHAT IS FULL DRESS]

To the indispensable items just mentioned may be added theater gowns,
dinner gowns, ball gowns, outing costumes, tea gowns, negligees,—a
bewildering variety of attire suited not only to every feminine need
but answering to every feminine caprice. Few words are necessary to
those women whose purse is equal to the purchase of all the feminine
fripperies dear to a woman’s heart. Dealers and experienced modistes
are always at hand to offer serviceable advice to those who have the
wherewithal to pay for it, though one should not take, without weighing
it, even the best advice of this sort. Try to be intelligent about your
clothes and to show a little individuality. Only this bit of counsel is
perhaps in season to those who may have measurably what they choose in
the way of wearing apparel. Preserve some sort of equality between the
different items of your toilet. Do not have a splendid theater gown and
a shabby negligee. Do not wear fine furs over an inferior street gown.
Do not wear heavy street boots with a velvet evening gown. Arrange the
articles of your wardrobe so that they bear some sort of happy relation
to one another, so that one article may not be ashamed to be found
in the company of any other, so that your clothes may seem to be the
harmonious possession of one person, not the happen-so belongings of a
half-dozen varying temperaments.

[Sidenote: THE GOWN AND ITS WEARER]

There are persons,—we all know them,—whose happy attire is always
calling forth some such remark as,—“That looks precisely like her,”
or “She and the gown were made for each other.” This sort of relation
between person and wardrobe is the most charming outcome possible to
the consideration of personal adornment. It gives dignity and distinct
esthetic value to the subject of clothes. Let us have no more red on
blondes, and let over-stout women leave plaids and checks alone. Thin
girls should wear frills and leave plain-tailored clothes to plumpness.
With the woman of means, this harmony need not be, though it often
is, occasional. It may be constant and if she is a person of esthetic
temperament she may gain from this happy relation between herself and
her clothes a soul-satisfying sense of bliss not to be gained from any
other source in the world. Over-dressing is, of course, avoided by
women of taste.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: IMPORTANCE OF ACCESSORIES]

Many women who have little to spend put nearly the lump sum into gowns.
This is a mistake of the gravest sort. The effect of the prettiest gown
may be spoiled by an ill-fitting corset, by gloves that are no longer
fresh and by shoes that are not trim and suitable to the occasion.
White gloves should be white, and white shoes likewise, or they should
not be worn. The proper accessories of dress, among which are veils,
belts, ruchings and collars, often give to an otherwise plain costume,
the effect of something chic and telling.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HOW TO PUT ON A HAT]

Becoming head-gear is of the utmost importance. “A hat,” said an apt
society woman of the writer’s acquaintance, “should bear the same
relation to other parts of one’s costume that the title of a story
does to the story itself. This article of dress should be at once
the key and the consummation of the effect intended.” The fashion in
hats varies with great rapidity from year to year, and one should be
careful to avoid the extremes of style. Only a face of great beauty can
stand the precipitous, fantastic slants and curves that mark the ultra
fashionable in millinery. If one is so fortunate as to find sometime
a shape that is decidedly becoming, one should follow through life its
general outline with modifications sufficient to conform in a general
way to passing modes. Form the habit of putting your hats on from the
back, thus pushing the loose hair about the face slightly forward. The
plainest face is softened and beautified by a fluffy arrangement of the
hair about the temple. Nothing is more fatal to good looks than a high
bald forehead. Many women make a fatal mistake in their preference for
big hats. The picture-hat is only suited to the large and picturesque
type. Large hats make little women look like mushrooms, and frequently
they take away all distinction and individuality from the face beneath.

       *       *       *       *       *

Many a charming costume is spoiled by a failure to realize that the
feet must be dressed in harmony with the rest of the costume. Too many
women, otherwise attractive in appearance, wear shoes with scuffed toes
and run-down heels, the latter due to a bad habit of turning the foot
over in walking. This can be corrected easily by having the shoe built
up at the sole on the opposite side by the insertion of a piece of
thick leather, which any shoe-mender will do very cheaply. One is then
forced to use the foot properly.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CHOICE IN JEWELS]

Women otherwise tasteful in dress are often careless and unthoughtful
in the jewels they wear. In gowns and millinery they would not think
of wearing colors that clash and fight, yet they do not establish a
correspondence between clothes and jewels worn, between trinkets and
the quality of personal appearance. They wear the contents of their
jewel-boxes irrespective of suitability, indifferent as to season of
night or day. A profusion of jewels, or the wearing of various and
hostile stones at one time, is to be avoided as the pestilence. A
jewel, like a fine picture, needs background, space to show it off. In
the company of many other jewels it loses identity and distinction,
and fails in conferring these qualities upon the wearer. In choosing
precious stones it is a good rule to establish some sort of relation
between their color and the eyes of the wearer. Turquoise intensifies
the hue of blue eyes, topaz that of brown ones, and emeralds are
particularly becoming to women whose eyes have a greenish tinge.

Color is so important an element of success in every department of
dress that its study should be a part of the education of every woman
who wishes to be well gowned. The correspondence between the color of
the gown and the appearance of the person who is to wear it is of more
importance than the quality of the texture employed. Hue and fit make
for becomingness to a greater extent than elegance in material, though
the latter is also an element of beauty in an all-round conception of
the subject. A feeling for textures is rare, but it may be cultivated,
and the effort to do this is worth making.

[Sidenote: INDIVIDUALITY IN DRESS]

Some women who are timid as to their ability to combine colors and
tones, plunge into black as a safe refuge or adopt a standard color
which they regard as “safe” for all occasions. This is a poor way out
of the difficulty. Resolute study and a little experimenting will yield
better results and an agreeable variety. A woman should study her
“points” in the light of day before a full-length mirror, and once she
has really learned what becomes her she should allow no milliner or
modiste to coax her into “the latest cry.” There is no such thing as
the “tyranny of fashion” for the woman who dresses intelligently. She
will never be either in or out of the mode.

Neatness is unquestionably an element of that indefinable thing we call
style, though many women who are neat are not modish. Neatness is the
integrity of dress, the essential foundation to which all good things
may be added. To a woman whose love for dress is allied to the thirst
for perfection in that branch, untidiness is more than distasteful.
If “extra” hair must be worn, it should be moderate in quantity, of
the best quality and most skilfully arranged. Face powder, carelessly
put on, makes a woman look ridiculous. An open placket is viewed by a
fastidious woman as something like disgrace. Broken shoe-laces, gaps
between belt and skirt, soiled neckwear, crookedness in the arrangement
of gowns and other evidences of careless dressing are abhorrent to
her. Neatness, freshness and suitability in the wardrobe are more
important items than elaboration and cost. The person who suggests
these desirable qualities in the manner of her attire, whether she has
a large or a small amount of money to be expended in clothes, is sure
to present an agreeable appearance. If to these qualities she adds a
scent for novelty and style, she may hope to be, as far as clothes are
concerned, “very smart indeed.” If beyond this she have the artist’s
gift, she may make herself better than “smart,” she may be beautiful.

[Sidenote: MINOR POINTS IN DRESS]

One minor point: the handkerchief, when not in actual use, should be
invisible. It is a concession to nature, and to carry it in the hand,
tuck it in the belt or up the sleeve is provincial. A muff or a party
bag of dainty texture may serve to hide it in lieu of a pocket.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HAPHAZARD DRESSING]

At women’s parties in this country one sees a variety of costumes not
all suited to the occasion. The hostess at a luncheon may wear a white
lingerie dress, one of her guests will be in a shirt-waist costume,
a second in white satin and the rest in quiet silks or in elegant
chiffon waists and cloth or velvet skirts. The picture is spoiled
by this haphazard dressing. The majority were correctly attired but
the shirt-waist and the white satin were equally wrong. The hostess
who knows that any one of her guests may be compelled to dress with
exceptional plainness will help to make that person comfortable by
wearing a quiet gown herself. Except at very intimate affairs it is
wiser, however, to decline an invitation than to make an embarrassingly
poor appearance.

At afternoon receptions one often sees the hostess and her assistants
in elaborate gowns, while many of the callers are in tailored street
costume. This again spoils the picture. If a woman expects to attend
afternoon affairs she should have an afternoon gown.

       *       *       *       *       *

Highly polished finger-nails of a length to suggest claws, are bad
form though one sees them on women who ought to know better. The nails
should be carefully filed—not trimmed—to a shape only slightly pointed,
they should show the pretty half-moon at the base and may bear a slight
polish but no artificial coloring. To keep the half-moon plainly
visible, gently push back the scarf-skin at the base of the nail daily
with an orange-wood stick. A little cold cream rubbed in nightly around
the edges of the nails is a great help. No sharp instrument should ever
be used to clean the nails. The orange-wood sticks are best adapted to
this purpose. Peroxide will remove stains.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A WORD ON GLOVES]

Suède gloves are softer in appearance and more elegant than the glacé
ones, but as they soil more quickly and clean less readily they should
not be attempted by women of limited means. A delicately colored glove
is more artistic with many costumes than a pure white one, but here
again practicability must be counted, as the light-colored glove will
seldom clean well and the white one does. A woman who must carefully
consider the cost of her dressing will, if she is clever, plan
mezzo-tinted costumes which are artistic and becoming and which do not
demand light or white gloves.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transparent blouses that display the under-clothing are bad form. If
very sheer material is used, a special slip should be worn under the
blouse. Very thin hose are equally objectionable. Perfume of any sort
is now taboo beyond the elusive scent of lavender or violet sachets in
one’s dresser drawers, or a dash of toilet water in the bath.

[Sidenote: DRESSING FOR CHURCH]

One’s dress at church should invariably be quiet. This is prescribed
not only by taste but by consideration for others who may be present
and who may be of more limited means. A church is of all places the one
in which to avoid exciting envy by costly apparel.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the mistaken ideas held by women who are just becoming sensitive
to effects in dress is that everything should match. The result in such
cases if not positively bad is usually dull and monotonous. The woman
who wears with her blue suit a blue hat with a blue feather and a blue
veil, a blue waist and blue gloves and shoes, is a nightmare. A black
hat, an écru veil, gray gloves perhaps—in these ways relief and variety
must be obtained. In choosing colors, the skin, hair and eyes should
all be considered. It is an exploded idea that brunettes should cling
to brown. Much depends on the complexion.



CHAPTER XVI

MAKING AND RECEIVING GIFTS


WEDDING gifts may be sent any time after the wedding cards are issued.
They are sent to the bride, and may be as expensive and elaborate, or
as simple and inexpensive, as the means of the sender make proper. An
invitation to a church wedding, and not to the reception, precludes
the necessity of making a wedding-present. Indeed the matter of
wedding-presents admits of more freedom each year and many people make
it a rule to send gifts only to intimate friends and relatives. Perhaps
this state of affairs has been brought about by the fact that among a
certain—or uncertain—class, invitations were sometimes issued with the
special purpose of calling forth a number of presents,—in fact, for
revenue only. Few persons acknowledge this of themselves, but sometimes
a bride was met who was so indiscreet or so void of taste as to confess
her hope that all the persons whom she invited to her nuptials would be
represented by remembrances in gold, silver, jewelry or napery. The
pendulum has swung as far in the opposite direction, and fewer wedding
gifts than of old are sent from politeness alone.

Suitable gifts for a bride are silver, cut-glass, table linen,
pictures, books, handsome chairs or tables, rugs, bric-à-brac and
jewelry. In fact, anything for the new home is proper. It is not
customary to send wearing apparel, except when this is given by some
member of the bride’s family. A check made out to the bride is always a
handsome gift. The parents of the wife-to-be frequently give the small
silver.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: MARKING THE SILVER]

How should the silver be marked? is sometimes asked. Good form demands
that if the donor wishes to have his gift marked, it must be engraved
with the bride’s maiden initials. Some persons are so thoughtful
that they send silver with the request that it be returned after the
ceremony by the bride for marking as she sees fit. She then returns
it to the firm from which it was bought,—said firm having received an
order from the donor to engrave it according to the owner’s wishes.

Still, if silver must be given marked, it is safe to have the
initials of the bride put upon it. Even should she die, good taste
and conventionality would forbid the use of her silver by the second
wife,—should there be one. While on this melancholy side of the
subject it would be well to state that when a wife dies, leaving
a child, and the husband remarries, her silver is packed away for
the child’s use in future years. This is demanded by custom and
conventionality. This rule is especially to be regarded if the child
be a girl, as she then has a right to the mother’s silver, marked with
that mother’s name.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ACKNOWLEDGING GIFTS]

A wedding gift is accompanied by the donor’s card,—usually enclosed
in a small card-envelope. As soon as possible, the bride-to-be writes
a personal letter of thanks. This must be cordial, and in the first
person, somewhat in this form:

                        “425 Cedar Terrace, Milton, Pa.

    “My Dear Mrs. Hamilton:

    “The beautiful picture sent by Mr. Hamilton and
    yourself has just arrived, and I hasten to thank you
    for your kind thought of me. The subject is one of
    which I am especially fond, and the picture will do
    much toward making attractive the walls of our little
    home. It will always serve to remind Mr. Allen and
    myself of you and Mr. Hamilton.

                                 “Gratefully yours,
                                            “Mary Brown.

    “June nineteenth, nineteen hundred and five.”

If a gift arrives so late that it can not be acknowledged before
the wedding, the wife must write as soon as possible after the
ceremony,—even during the first days of her honeymoon. To neglect to do
this is an unpardonable rudeness.

       *       *       *       *       *

The wedding gifts may be displayed in a room by themselves on the
wedding-day, but must not be accompanied by the cards of the donors.
In spite of arguments pro and con, it is certainly in better taste to
remove the cards before the exhibition. If there are so many present
that there is any danger of the bride’s forgetting from whom the
different articles came, let some member of the family keep a list, or
take an inventory, before the cards are taken off. Some persons attach
to each gift a tiny slip of paper bearing a number. In a little book is
a corresponding number after which is written the name of the sender.

The rules that apply to wedding-presents apply also to the gifts sent
at wedding anniversaries, be they wooden, tin, crystal, silver or
golden anniversaries.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ENGAGEMENT GIFTS]

Engagement presents are frequently sent to the fiancée, but this is
entirely a matter of taste or inclination, and is not demanded by
fashion or conventionality. Contributions to linen showers may be
included among the engagement gifts. The fashion of such “showers” is
ephemeral,—a fact not to be regretted.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHAT A MAN MAY GIVE]

A word or more is not out of place concerning the kind of gifts that
a young man may make with propriety to a young woman with whom he is
on agreeable terms. Flowers, books, candy,—these are gifts that he may
make without offense, and she may receive without undue or unpleasant
sense of obligation. If he be an old and intimate friend of her family,
he may offer her small trinkets, or ornamental, semi-useful articles,
such as a card-case, or a bonbonnière. Anything intended solely for use
is proscribed. If a young man is engaged to a young woman the possible
choice of gifts is, of course, much enlarged. Even then, however, very
expensive gifts are not desirable. They lessen somewhat the charm of
the relation between the two.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a baby is born, the friends of the happy mother send her some
article for the new arrival. It may be a dainty dress or flannel skirt,
a cloak, cap or tiny bit of jewelry. These gifts the young mother is
not supposed to acknowledge until she is strong enough to write letters
without fear of weariness. As a rule some member of her family writes
in her stead, expressing the mother’s thanks.

When a baby is christened, it is customary for the sponsors to make the
little one a present. This is usually a piece of silver,—as a cup, a
bowl, marked with the child’s name; or a silver spoon, knife and fork
may be given. The godparents give as a rule, something that will prove
durable, or a gift that the child may keep all his life, rather than an
article of wearing apparel.

A guest invited to a christening party may bring a gift, if he wishes
to do so. This may be anything that fancy dictates. A pretty present
for such an occasion is a “Record” or “Baby’s Biography,” handsomely
bound and illustrated, containing blanks for the little one’s weight at
birth and each succeeding year, for the record of his first tooth, the
first word uttered, the first step taken, and so on, as well as spaces
for the insertion of a lock of the baby-hair, progressive photographs,
and other trifles dear to the mother’s heart. All christening gifts may
be orally acknowledged by the mother when the guest presents them.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CHRISTMAS GIFTS]

The custom of making Christmas presents is so universal that it would
seem superfluous to offer any suggestion with regard to them, had not
the dear old custom been so abused that the lovers of Christmas must
utter their protest. It should be borne in mind that the only thing
that makes a Christmas gift worth while is the thought that accompanies
it. When it is given because policy, habit or conventionality
demands it, it is a desecration. If we must make any presents from
a sense of duty, let it be on birthdays, on wedding-days, on other
anniversaries,—never on the anniversary of the Great Gift to the World.
If the spirit of good will to man does not prompt the giving, that
giving is in vain. Nor should a present at this time be sent simply
because one expects to receive a reminder in the shape of a present
from a friend. A quid pro quo is not a true Christmas remembrance.

[Sidenote: TO PREVENT DUPLICATION]

Let us suppose then, that the making of holiday presents is a pleasure.
To simplify matters we would suggest that those who have a large circle
of friends to whom they rejoice to give presents retain over to another
year the list made the year previous. Not only will this keep in mind
the person whom they would remember, but it will prevent duplicating
presents. One woman learned to her dismay that for two years she had
sent the same picture—a favorite with her—to a dear friend, while
another sent a friend silver button-hooks for three consecutive
Christmases.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SINCERE GRATITUDE]

All gifts, those of the holiday season included, should be promptly
acknowledged, and never by a card marked “Thanks.” If a present is
worth any acknowledgment, it is worth courteous notice. When one
says “Thank you!” either verbally or by letter, it should be uttered
with sincerity, and from the heart. To omit the expression of cordial
gratitude is a breach of good breeding.



CHAPTER XVII

BACHELOR HOSPITALITY


THE day is past when the bachelor is supposed to have no home, no
mode of entertaining his friends, no lares and penates, and no “ain
fireside.” He is now an independent householder, keeping house if he
choose to do so, with a corps of efficient servants, presided over
by a competent housekeeper,—or, in a simpler manner having a small
apartment of his own, attended by a manservant or maid, if he takes
his meals in his apartment. Oftener, however, he prefers to dispense
with housekeeping cares and live in a tiny apartment of two or three
rooms, going out to a restaurant for his meals. He is then the most
independent of creatures. If he can afford to have a man to take care
of his rooms and his clothes, well and good. If not, he pays a woman
to come in regularly to clean his apartment, and she takes charge of
his bed-making and dusting or,—if he be very deft, systematic and
industrious,—he does this kind of thing himself.

[Sidenote: THE BACHELOR’S TEA]

In any of the cases just cited he is at liberty to entertain. He may
have an afternoon tea, or a reception, or an after-theater chafing-dish
supper. Unless he has his own suite of dining-room, kitchen and
butler’s pantry, he can not serve a regular meal in his rooms. But
there are many informal, Bohemian affairs to which he can invite his
friends. For the after-theater supper, for instance, he may engage a
man to assist him and to have everything in readiness when the host and
his party arrive at the apartment. The host, himself, will prepare the
chafing-dish dainty, and with this may be passed articles supplied by
a near-by caterer, such as sandwiches, ices and cakes. He may make his
own coffee in a Vienna coffee-pot. The whole proceeding is delightful,
informal and Bohemian in the best sense of the word.

       *       *       *       *       *

A sine qua non to all bachelor entertaining is a chaperon. The married
woman can not be dispensed with on such occasions. The host may be
gray-headed and old enough to be a grandfather many times over, but, as
an unmarried man, he _must_ have a chaperon for his women guests. If he
object to this, he must reconcile himself to entertaining only those of
his own sex.

The age of this essential appendage to the social party makes no
difference, so long as the prefix “Mrs.” is attached to her name. She
may be a bride of only a few weeks’ standing,—but the fact that she is
married is the essential.

[Sidenote: ENGAGING THE CHAPERON]

The host, then, first of all, engages his chaperon,—asking her as
a favor to assist him in his hospitable efforts. She should accept
graciously, but the man will show by his manner that he is honored by
her undertaking this office for him. She must be promptly at his rooms
at the hour mentioned, as it would be the height of impropriety for one
of the young women to arrive there before the matron. If she prefer she
may accompany a bevy of the girls invited. To her the host defers, from
her he asks advice, and to her he pays special deference. If there is
tea to be poured, as at an afternoon function, it is she who is asked
to do it, and she may, with a pretty air of assuming responsibility,
manage affairs somewhat as if in her own home, still remembering that
she is a guest. In this matter tact and a knowledge of the ways of the
world play a large part. The chaperon is bound to remain until the last
girl takes her departure, after which it is quite _en règle_ for the
host to offer his escort, unless she accompanies the last guest, or a
carriage be awaiting her. The host thanks her cordially for her kind
offices, and she in turn expresses herself as honored by the compliment
he has paid her.

[Sidenote: INVITING THE GUESTS]

Perhaps the simplest form of entertainment for the unmarried man to
give in his own quarters is the afternoon tea in some of its various
forms. For this function the man must not issue cards, but must write
personal notes, or ask his guests orally. He may invite several friends
who will supply music. If he have some friend who is especially gifted
musically, and whom he would gladly bring before the eyes of the
public, he may make the presence of this friend an excellent reason
for this afternoon reception. After having secured the chaperon’s
acceptance he may write some such note as the following:

    “My dear Miss Brown:

    “I shall be delighted if you, with a few other choice
    spirits, will take tea with me in my apartment next
    Tuesday afternoon about four o’clock. I shall have
    with me at that time my friend, Mr. Frank Merrill,
    who sings, I think, passing well. I want my friends
    who appreciate music and to whom his voice will give
    pleasure to hear him in my rooms at the time mentioned.
    Do come!

                                          “Henry Barbour.

    “August the tenth, 1905.”

There should, if possible, be a maid, or a man in livery to attend the
door, but, if this is not practicable, and the affair be very informal,
the host may himself admit his guests, and escort them to the door when
they leave.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SERVING THE REFRESHMENTS]

The only refreshments necessary are thin bread and butter, and some
dainty sandwiches, small cakes and tea with sugar, cream and thin
slices of lemon. These things are arranged upon a prettily set table
in one corner of the room, and are presided over by the chaperon, who
also, when the opportunity affords, moves about among the guests,
chatting to each and all as if she were in her own drawing-room. If the
man has several rooms, one may be opened as a dressing-room in which
the women may lay their wraps. The men guests may leave their coats and
hats on the hall table or rack.

When the guests depart it is pretty and deferential for the host to
thank the women for making his apartment bright and attractive for the
afternoon. It is always well for a man to show by his manner that his
woman guest has honored him by her presence.

       *       *       *       *       *

An evening reception may be conducted in a similar way, but at this
time coffee and chocolate take the place of tea. Or, if the host
prefer, he may serve only cake and coffee, or punch, or ices in
addition to the cake and coffee.

       *       *       *       *       *

If a bachelor be also a householder to the extent of running a regular
ménage, he may give a dinner in his home just as a woman might. He
first engages his chaperon, then invites his guests. The chaperon is
the guest of honor, is taken out to dinner by the host and sits at his
right. It is also her place to make the move for the women to leave
the men to their cigars and coffee, and proceed to the drawing-room.
Here, after a very few minutes, the women are joined by the men or,
at all events, by the host, who may, if he like, give his men guests
permission to linger in the dining-room a little longer than he does.
They will, however, not take long advantage of this permission, but, at
the expiration of five or ten minutes, will follow their host to the
drawing-room.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE RESTAURANT SUPPER]

The man who can not entertain in his own rooms may return any
hospitality shown to him by giving a supper or dinner at a restaurant
or hotel. In this case he must still have a chaperon,—if the party
is to be made up of unmarried persons. For such an affair as this he
engages his table and orders the dinner beforehand, seeing for himself
that the flowers and decorations chosen are just what he wishes. It
is his place to escort the chaperon to the restaurant and to seat her
at his right. Everything is so perfectly conducted at well-regulated
restaurants that the course of the dinner will progress without the
host’s concerning himself about it. If, however, the host wishes to
give an order, he should beckon to a waiter, and in a low tone make
the necessary suggestion or give the requisite order. It is, at such
a juncture, the part of the chaperon to keep the conversational ball
rolling,—in short, to act as if she were hostess.

The dinner over, the host escorts his guests as far as the door of the
restaurant, going to the various carriages with the women, then calls
up the chaperon’s carriage and, himself, accompanies her to her home.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE BACHELOR DINNER]

At a bachelor dinner the host may provide corsage bouquets for the
ladies and boutonnières for the men. It is also a pretty compliment
for him to send to the chaperon at his afternoon or evening reception,
flowers for her to wear. But this is not essential, and is a compliment
that may be dispensed with in the case of a man who must consider the
small economies of life.

Of course, no dinner call is made on the bachelor entertainer. It is
hardly worth while to suggest that the women whom he has honored make a
point of soon inviting him to their homes. In this day there is little
need to remind women of the attentions they may with propriety pay to
an eligible and unattached man.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE VISITOR


AN invitation to visit a friend in her home must always be answered
promptly. The invited person should think seriously before accepting
such an invitation, and, unfortunately, one of the things she has to
consider is her wardrobe. If the hostess has a superb house, and the
guest is to be one of many, all wealthy except herself, all handsomely
gowned except herself, and if she will feel like an English sparrow
in a flock of birds of paradise, she would better acknowledge the
invitation, with gratitude, and stay at home. If she does go, let her
determine to make no apologies for her appearance, but to accommodate
herself to the ways of the household she visits.

One woman, visiting in a handsome home, was distressed to the point of
weeping by the fact that, on her arrival, her hostess’ maid came to
the guest’s room and unpacked her trunk for her, putting the contents
in bureau-drawers and wardrobe. It would have been better form if the
visitor had taken what seemed to her an innovation as a matter of
course, and expressed neither chagrin nor distress at the kindly-meant
and customary attention.

If, then, our invited person, after taking all things into
consideration, decides to accept the invitation sent her, let her
state just when she is coming, and go at that time. Of course she will
make her plans agree with those of her future hostess. The exact train
should be named, and the schedule set must not be deviated from.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may be said right here that no one should make a visit uninvited.
Few persons would do this,—but some few have been guilty of this
breach of etiquette. One need not always wait for an invitation from
an intimate friend, nor member of one’s family with whom one can never
be de trop, but, even then, one should, by telegram or telephone, give
notice of one’s coming. If I could, I would make a rule that no one
should pay an unexpected visit of several days’ duration. If one must
go uninvited, one should give the prospective hosts ample notice of the
intended visit, begging, at the same time, that one may be notified if
the suggested plan be inconvenient.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: BE PROMPT AND DEFINITE]

When a letter of invitation is accepted, the acceptance must not only
be prompt, but must clearly state how long one intends to stay. It
is embarrassing to a hostess not to know whether her guest means to
remain a few days or many. As will be seen in the chapter on “The
Visited,” the hostess can do much to obviate this uncertainty by asking
a friend for a visit of a specified length. But, in accepting, the
guest must also say how long she will remain.

An invitation should be received gratefully. In few things does
breeding show more than in the manner of acknowledging an invitation to
a friend’s house. She who asks another to be a member of her household
for even a short time is paying the person asked the greatest honor
it is in her power to confer, and it should be appreciated by the
recipient. He who does not appreciate the honor implied in such an
invitation is unmannerly.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ALWAYS ARRIVE ON TIME]

An invitation once accepted, nothing but such a serious contingency as
illness must prevent one’s fulfilling the engagement. One must never
arrive ahead of time. Once in the home of a friend the guest makes
herself as much a member of the household as possible. The hours of
meals must be ascertained, and promptness in everything be the rule. To
lie in bed after one is called, and to appear at the breakfast table
at one’s own sweet will, is often an inconvenience to the hostess, and
the cause of vexation and discontent on the part of the servants,
for which discontent the hostess—not the guest—pays the penalty.
Unless, then, the latter is told expressly that the hour at which she
descends to the first meal of the day is truly of no consequence in the
household, she must come into the breakfast-room at the hour named by
the mistress of the house.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE DUTIES OF A GUEST]

On the other hand, one should not come down a half-hour before
breakfast and sit in the drawing-room or library, thus keeping the
maid or hostess from dusting these rooms and setting them to rights.
The considerate guest will stay in her own room until breakfast is
announced, then descend immediately. If the weather is fair, she may,
of course, walk in the grounds close to the house.

If amusements have been planned for the guest, she will do her best
to enjoy them, or, at all events, to show gratitude for the kind
intentions in her behalf. She must resolve to evince an interest in all
that is done, and, if she can not join in the amusement, give evidence
of an appreciation of the efforts that have been made to entertain. The
guest must remember that the hosts are doing their best to please her,
and that out of ordinary humanity, if not civility, gratitude should be
shown and expressed for these endeavors.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the hostess be a busy housewife, who has many duties about the
house which she must perform herself, the visitor may occasionally
try to “lend a hand” by dusting her own room or making her own bed.
If, however, she is discovered at these tasks, and observes that
the hostess looks worried, or objects to the guest thus exerting
herself, it is the truest courtesy not to repeat the efforts to be
of assistance. It disturbs some housewives to know that a visitor is
performing any household tasks.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is safe to say that a guest should go home at the time set unless
the hostess urges her to do otherwise, or has some excellent reason for
wishing her to change her plans. To remain beyond the time expected is
a great mistake, unless one knows that it will be a genuine convenience
to the hosts to have one stay. The old saying that a guest should
not make a host twice glad has sound common sense as its basis. If
a visitor is persuaded to extend her visit, it must be only for a
short time, and she must herself set the limit of this stay, at which
time nothing must in any way be allowed to deter her from taking her
departure.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE NECESSITY FOR TACT]

The visitor in a family must exercise tact in many ways. Above all she
must avoid any participation in little discussions between persons in
the family. If the father takes one side of an argument, the mother
the other, the wise guest will keep silent, unless one or the other
appeal to her for confirmation of his or her assertions,—in which case
she should smilingly say that she would rather not express an opinion,
or laugh the matter off in such a way as to change the current of the
conversation.

Another thing that a guest must avoid is reproving the children of
the house in even the mildest, gentlest way. She must also resist the
impulse to make an audible excuse for a child when he is reprimanded in
her presence. To do either of these things is a breach of etiquette.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE WEEK-END PARTY]

If she be so fortunate as to be invited to a house-party or a week-end
party, she should accept or decline at once, that the hostess may know
for how many people to provide rooms. For such an affair one should
take handsome gowns, as a good deal of festivity and dress is customary
among the jolly group thus brought together. A dinner or evening
gown is essential, and if, as is customary, the house-party be given
at a country-home, the visitor must have a short walking-skirt and
walking-boots, as well as a carriage costume.

Once a member of a house-party, the rule is simple enough. Do as the
others do, and enter with a will on all the entertainment provided by
the host and hostess for the party.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE QUESTION OF TIPS]

If you make a visit of any length you must not fail, if you are
conventional, to leave a little money for each servant who has, by
her services in any capacity, contributed to your comfort. This will,
of course, include the maid who has cared for the bedroom, and the
waitress. By one of these servants send something to the cook, and a
message of thanks for the good things which she has made and you have
enjoyed. The laundress need not be inevitably remembered, unless she
has done a little washing for you; still, when one considers the extra
bed and table linen to be washed, it is as well to leave a half dollar
for her also. The amount of such fees must be determined by the length
of one’s purse; and must never be so large as to appear lavish and
unnecessary. A dollar, if you can afford it and have made a visit of
any length, will be sufficient for each maid. The coachman who drives
you to the train must receive the same amount.

There is, one is glad to say, an occasional household in which the idea
of tips is regarded as contrary to the spirit of true hospitality. In
such homes the mistress herself sees that the servants receive extra
pay for the extra work entailed by guests, and the hotel atmosphere
suggested by tipping is fortunately done away with.

[Sidenote: THE BREAD-AND-BUTTER NOTE]

After the guest has returned to her own home, her duties toward her
recent hosts are not at an end until she has written what is slangily
known as “the bread-and-butter letter.” This is simply a note, telling
of one’s safe arrival at one’s destination, and thanking the hostess
for the pleasant visit one has had. A few lines are all that etiquette
demands, but it requires these, and decrees that they be despatched at
once. To neglect to write the letter demanded by those twin sisters,
Conventionality and Courtesy, is a grave breach of the etiquette of the
visitor.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hospitality as a duty has been written up from the beginning of human
life. The obligations of those who, in quaint old English phrase,
“guesten” with neighbors, or strangers, have had so little attention it
is no wonder they are lightly considered, in comparison.

We hear much of men who play the host royally, and of the perfect
hostess. If hospitality be reckoned among the fine arts and moral
virtues, to “guesten” aright is a saving social grace. Where ten
excellent hosts are found we are fortunate if we meet one guest who
knows his business and does it.

The consciousness of this neglected fact prompts us to write in
connection with our cardinal virtue of giving, of what we must perforce
coin a word to define as “Guestly Etiquette.” We have said elsewhere
that the first, and oftentimes a humiliating step, in the acquisition
of all knowledge, from making a pudding to governing an empire, is to
learn how not to do it. Two-thirds of the people who “guesten” with us
never get beyond the initiatory step.

[Sidenote: GUESTS ARE NOT BOARDERS]

The writer of this page could give from memory a list that would cover
pages of foolscap, of people who called themselves well-bred and
who were in the main well-meaning, who have deported themselves in
hospitable homes as if they were registered boarders in a hotel.

Settle within your own mind, in entering your friend’s doors, that what
you receive is not to be paid for in dollars and cents. The thought
will deprive you at once of the right to complain or to criticize.
This should be a self-evident law. It is so far, however, from being
self-evident that it is violated every day and in scores of homes where
refinement is supposed to regulate social usages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Taking at random illustrations that crowd in on memories of my own
experiences,—let me draw into line the distinguished clergyman who
always brought his own bread to the table, informing me that my hot
muffins were “rank poison to any rightly-appointed stomach”; another
man, equally distinguished in another profession, who summoned a
chambermaid at eleven o’clock at night to drag his bed across the room
that he might lie due east and west; an author who never went to bed
until two o’clock in the morning, and complained sourly at breakfast
time that “your servants, madam, banked up the furnace fire so early
that the house got cold by midnight”; the popular musician who informed
me “your piano is horribly out of tune”; the man and wife who “couldn’t
sleep a wink because there was a mosquito in the room”; the eminent
jurist who sat out an evening in the library of my country-house with
his hat on because “the room was drafty”;—ah! my fellow housemothers
can match every instance of the lack of the guestly conscience by
stories from their own repositories.

[Sidenote: ANNOYING FAMILIARITIES]

The guest who is told to consider himself as one of the family knows
the invitation to be a figure of polite speech as well as he who says
it knows it to be an empty form. One man I wot of sings and whistles in
the halls and upon the stairs of his host’s house to show how joyfully
he is at home. Another stretches himself at length upon the library
sofa, and smokes the cigar of peace (to himself) at all hours, an
ash-cup upon the floor within easy distance. A third helps himself to
his host’s cigars whenever he likes without saying “by your leave.”
Each may fancy that he is following out the hospitable intentions of
his entertainers when, in fact, he is selfishly oblivious of guestly
duty and propriety.

One who has given the subject more than a passing thought might
suppose it unnecessary to lay down to well-bred readers “Laws for
Table Manners While Visiting.” Yet, when I saw a man of excellent
lineage, and a university graduate, thump his empty tumbler on the
table to attract the attention of the waitress, and heard him a few
minutes later call out to her “Butter—please!” I wished that the study
of such a manual had been included as a regular course in the college
curriculum.

A true anecdote recurs to me here that may soothe national pride with
the knowledge that the solecisms I have described and others that have
not added to the traveled American’s reputation for breeding, are not
confined to our side of the ocean.

[Sidenote: ENGLISH FRANKNESS]

Lord and Lady B——, names familiar some years back to the students of
the “high-life” columns of our papers, were at a dinner party in New
York with an acquaintance of mine who painted the scene for me. Lady
B——, tasting her soup as soon as it was set down in front of her, calls
to her husband at the other end of the table: “B——, my dear! Don’t eat
this soup! It is _quite filthy_! There are tomatoes in it!”

We Americans are less brutally frank than our English cousins. Yet
I thought of Lady B—— last week when my vis-à-vis,—a slim, pretty,
accomplished matron of thirty, or thereabouts—at an admirably-appointed
family dinner, accepted a plate of soup, tasted it, laid down her
spoon and did not touch it again, repeating the action with an entrée,
and with the dessert of peaches and cream. She did not grimace her
distaste of any one of the three articles of food, it is true, being,
thus far, better-mannered than our titled vulgarian. In effect, she
implied the same thing by tasting of each portion and declining to eat
more than the tentative mouthful.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SELF-DISCIPLINE]

To sum up our table of rules: Bethink yourself, from your entrance to
your exit from your host’s house, of the sure way of adding to the
comfort and pleasure of those who have honored you by inviting you
to sojourn under their roof-tree. If possessed of the true spirit of
hospitality, they will find that pleasure in promoting yours. Learn
from them and be not one whit behind them in the good work. If they
propose any especial form of amusement, fall in with their plans
readily and cordially. You may not enjoy a stately drive through dusty
roads behind fat family horses, or a tramp over briery fields with the
hostess who is addicted to berrying and botanizing—but go as if that
were the exact bent of taste and desire. A dinner party, made up of
men who talk business and nothing else, and their over-dressed wives,
who revel in the discussion of what Mrs. Sherwood calls “The Three
Dreadful D’s”—Disease, Dress and Domestics—may typify to you the acme
of boredom. Comport yourself as if you were in your native element and
happy there. The self-discipline will be a means of grace in more ways
than one.

[Sidenote: NEVER SHOW BOREDOM]

On Sunday accompany your hosts to their place of worship with the same
cheerful readiness to like what they like. You may be a high church
Episcopalian and they belong to the broadest wing of Unitarians or the
straitest sect of Evangelicals. Put prejudice and personal preference
behind you and find consolation in the serene conviction of guestly
duty done—and done in a truly Christian spirit.



CHAPTER XIX

THE VISITED


IT has been said,—and with an unfortunate amount of truth, that the
gracious old-fashioned art of hospitality is dying out. Those who
keep open house from year’s end to year’s end, from whose doors the
latch-string floats in the breeze, ready for the fingers of any friend
who will grasp it, are few.

The “entertaining” that is done now does not compensate us for the
loss of what may be called the “latch-string-out” custom of the days
gone by. Luncheons, teas, dinners, card-parties, receptions and the
like, fill the days with engagements and hold our eyes waking until
the morning hours, but this is a kind of wholesale hospitality as it
were, and done by contract. Such affairs remind one ludicrously of the
irreligious and historic farmer-boy who, reminiscent of his father’s
long-winded “grace before meat,” suggested when they salted the pork
for the winter that he “say grace over the whole barrel” and pay off a
disagreeable obligation all at one time.

[Sidenote: SERVANTS AND GUESTS]

Perhaps if our hostess were frank she would acknowledge a similar
desire when she sends out cards by the hundreds and fills her
drawing-rooms to overflowing with guests, scores of whom care to come
even less than she cares to have them. But there seems to be a credit
and debit account kept, and once in so often it is incumbent on the
society woman to “give something.” Florists and caterers are called to
her aid, and, with waiters and assistants hired for the occasion, take
the work of preparation for the entertainment off my lady’s hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

In speaking of hospitality in this chapter, we refer especially to
the entertaining of a visitor for one, or many days in the home. Not
long ago we made a point of asking several housekeepers why they did
not invite friends to visit them. Three out of four interviewed on the
subject agreed that the servants were the main drawback. The fourth
woman, who was in moderate circumstances, confessed that she did not
want guests unless she could “entertain them handsomely.”

To obviate the first-mentioned difficulty, every housekeeper should,
when engaging a servant, declare boldly that she receives her friends
at will, in her home, and have that fact understood from the outset of
Bridget’s or Gretchen’s career with her. At the same time she should
remember that extra work should mean extra pay or its equivalent in
help. It is astonishing how inconsiderate many women, otherwise kindly,
are in their relation to domestic servants.

As to the reason given by the fourth housekeeper, it is too
contemptible to be considered by a sensible woman. Our guests come
to see us for ourselves, not for the beauty of our houses, or for
the elegance of our manner of living. The woman whose house is clean
and furnished as her means permit, who sets her table with the best
that she can provide for her own dear ones, is always prepared for
company. There may be times when the unlooked-for coming of a guest
is an inconvenience. It should never be the cause of a moment’s
mortification. Only pretense, and seeming to be what one is not, need
cause a sensation of shame. If a friend comes, put another plate at the
table, and take him into the sanctum sanctorum—the home. With such a
welcome the simplest home is dignified.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: MEETING THE GUEST]

But as to the invited guest. The hostess knows when she wishes to
receive her friend, and, in a cordial invitation, states the exact date
upon which she has decided, giving the hour of the arrival of trains,
and saying that she or some member of her family will meet the guest at
the station. One who has ever arrived at a strange locality, “unmet,”
knows the peculiar sinking of heart caused by the neglect of this
simple duty on the part of the hostess.

The letter of invitation should also state how long the visitor is
expected to stay. This may be easily done by writing—“Will you come to
us on the twenty-first and stay for a week?” or, “We want you to make
us a fortnight’s visit, coming on the fifteenth.” If one can honestly
add to an invitation, “We hope that you may be able to extend the time
set, as we want to keep you as long as possible,” it may be done. If
not meant, the insincere phrase is inexcusable.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE GUEST CHAMBER]

Elaborate preparations should be avoided—preparations that weary the
hostess and try the tempers of servants. The guest-chamber will be
clean, sweet and dainty. No matter how competent a chambermaid is, the
mistress must see for herself that sheets, pillow-slips and towels
are spotless, and that there are no dusty corners in the room. A
trustworthy thermometer should hang in full view, that the guest may
regulate by it the temperature of her room. If the visitor be a woman,
and flowers are in season, a vase of favorite blossoms will be placed
on the dressing-table. The desk or writing-table will be supplied with
paper, envelopes, pens, ink, stamps and a calendar. Several interesting
novels or magazines should be within reach. All these trifles add to
the home-like feeling of the new arrival.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LET YOUR GUEST ALONE]

A welcome should be cordial and honest. A hostess should take time to
warm her guest’s heart by telling her that she is glad, genuinely glad,
to have her in her home. She should also do all she can to make the
visitor forget that she is away from her own house.

All this done, the guest should be _let alone_! We mean this, strange
as it may seem. Many well-meaning hostesses annoy guests by following
them up and by insisting that they shall be “doing something” all the
time. This is almost as wearing and depressing as neglect would be.
Each person wants to be alone a part of the time. A visitor is no
exception to this rule. She has letters to write, or an interesting
book she wants to read, or, if she needs the rest and change her visit
should bring her, it will be luxury to her to don a kimono and relax
on the couch or bed in her room for an hour or two a day. The thought
that one’s hostess is noting and wondering at one’s absence from the
drawing-room, where one is expected to be on exhibition, is to a
nervous person akin to torture.

Allow all possible freedom as to the hour for rising, provide a certain
amount of entertainment for the visitor in the way of outdoor exercise
(if she likes it), callers, amusements and so forth, and then (again)
in plain English, let her alone!

       *       *       *       *       *

One must never insist that a guest remain beyond the time set for
her return, if the guest declares sincerely that to remain longer is
inadvisable. To speed the parting guest is an item of true hospitality.
The hostess may beg her to stay when she feels that the visitor can
conveniently do so, and when her manner shows that she desires to do
so. But when the suggestion has been firmly and gratefully declined,
the matter should be dropped. A guest who feels that she must return
to her home for business, family or private reasons, is embarrassed
by the insistence on the part of her entertainers that such return is
unnecessary.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A GUEST’S EXPENSES]

Of course, the visitor in one’s house should be spared all possible
expense. The porter who brings the trunk should be paid by the host,
unless the guest forestalls him in his hospitable intention. Car-fares,
hack-hire and such things, are paid by the members of the family
visited. All these things should be done so unobtrusively as to escape,
if possible, the notice of the person entertained.

If a woman have two maids, the second maid should, shortly before the
retiring hour, go to the guest’s room, turn down the covers of the bed
and provide a pitcher of fresh drinking-water. In the event of having
one maid only, the hostess will perform these offices herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TRUE HOSPITALITY]

No matter what happens—should there be illness and even death in the
family—a hospitable person will not allow the stranger within her gates
to feel that she is in the way, or her presence an inconvenience.
There is no greater cruelty than that of allowing a guest in the home
to feel that matters would run more smoothly were she absent. Only
better breeding on the part of the visitor than is possessed by her
hostess will prevent her leaving the house and returning to her home.
Should sudden illness in the family occur, the considerate person
will leave. But this must be permitted only under protest. To invite
a friend to one’s house, and then seem to find her presence unwelcome
is only a degree less cruel than confining a bird in a cage, where
he can not forage for himself, and slowly starving him. If one has
not the hospitable instinct developed strongly enough to feel the
right sentiment, let him feign it, or refuse to attempt to entertain
friends. The person under one’s roof should be, for the time, sacred,
and the host who does not feel this is altogether lacking in the finer
instincts that accompany good breeding.

We know one home in which hospitality is dispensed in a way no guest
ever forgets. From the time the visitor enters the doors of this House
Beautiful she is, as it were, enwrapped in an atmosphere of loving
consideration impossible to describe. One guest, visiting there with
her children, was horrified at their being taken suddenly ill with
grippe,—so ill that to travel with them just then was dangerous. She
was hundreds of miles away from home with the possibility of the
children’s being confined to the house for some days to come. The
physician summoned confirmed her fears. The distressed mother knew only
too well what an inconvenience illness is,—especially in a friend’s
house instead of in one’s own home.

[Sidenote: AN IDEAL HOSTESS]

All the members of the household united in making the disconcerted
woman feel that this home was the one and only place in which the
little ones should have been seized with the prevailing epidemic; that
it was a pleasure to have them there under any circumstances; that
to wait on them and their mother was a privilege. The sweet-voiced,
sweet-faced hostess, herself an invalid at this time, drew the anxious
visitor down on the bed beside her and kissed her as she said:

“Dear child! try to believe that you and yours are as welcome here as
in your own dear mother’s home.”

Surely of such is the Kingdom of Heaven!



CHAPTER XX

HOSPITALITY AS A DUTY


IF ours were a perfect state of society, constructed on the Golden
Rule, animated and guided throughout by unselfish love for friend and
neighbor, and charity for the needy, there would be no propriety in
writing this chapter. Home, domestic comfort and happiness being our
best earthly possessions, we would be eagerly willing to share them
with others.

As society is constructed under a state of artificial civilization, and
as our homes are kept and our households are run, the element of duty
must interfere, or hospitality would become a lost art. Even where the
spirit of this—one of the most venerable of virtues—is not wanting,
conscience is called in to regulate the manner and the seasons in which
it should be exercised.

As a corner-stone, assume, once for all, that a binding obligation
rests on you to visit, and to receive visits, and to entertain friends,
acquaintances and strangers in a style consistent with your means, at
such times as may be consistent with more serious engagements. Having
once issued an invitation, you are sacredly bound on the day named to
give yourself completely to your guests. To invite people to dinner and
then ask them to leave early in order that one may accept an invitation
that one has received in the meantime, would seem impossible to a woman
of right instincts—but it has been done, at least by women of social
prominence.

[Sidenote: RETURNING COURTESIES]

It may sound harsh to assert that you have no right to accept
hospitality for which you can never make any return in kind. The
principle is, nevertheless, sound to the core.

Those who read the newspapers forty years ago will recall a
characteristic incident in the early life of Colonel Ellsworth, the
brilliant young lawyer who was one of the first notable victims of the
Civil War. His struggles to gain a foothold in his profession were
attended by many hardships and humiliating privations. Once, finding
the man he was looking for on a matter of business, in a restaurant, he
was invited to partake of the luncheon to which his acquaintance was
just sitting down. Ellsworth was ravenously hungry, almost starving, in
fact, but he declined courteously but firmly, asking permission to talk
over the business that had brought him thither, while the other went on
with the meal.

The brave young fellow, in telling the story in after years, confessed
that he suffered positive agony at the sight and smell of the tempting
food.

[Sidenote: A RECIPROCATING SPIRIT]

“I could not, in honor, accept hospitality I could not reciprocate,”
was his simple explanation of his refusal. “I might starve, I could not
sponge!”

Sponging—to put it plainly—is pauperism. The one who eats of your bread
and salt becomes, in his own eyes—not in yours—your debtor. For the
very genius of hospitality is to give, not expecting to receive again.
(This by the way!)

I do not mean if your wealthy acquaintance invites you to a
fifteen-course dinner, the cost of which equals your monthly income,
that you are in honor or duty bound to bid her to an entertainment as
elaborate, or that you suffer in her estimation, or by the loss of
your self-respect. But by the acceptance of the invitation you bind
yourself to reciprocation of some sort. If you can do nothing more,
ask your hostess to afternoon tea in your own house or flat, and have
a few congenial spirits to meet her there. It is the spirit in such a
case that makes alive and keeps alive the genial glow of good will and
cordial friendliness. The letter of commercial obligation, like for
like, in degree, and not in kind, would kill true hospitality.

       *       *       *       *       *

Your friend’s friend, introduced by him and calling on you, has a
proved claim on your social offices. If you can not make a special
entertainment for him, ask him to a family dinner, explaining that it
is such, and make up in kindly welcome for the lack of lordly cheer.
If it be a woman, invite her to luncheon with you and a friend or two,
or to a drive, winding up with afternoon tea in some of the quietly
elegant tea-rooms that seem to have been devised for the express use of
people of generous impulses and slender purses. It is not the cost in
coin of the realm that tells with the stranger, but the temper in which
the tribute is offered.

[Sidenote: ENTERTAINING THE STRANGER]

“I do not ‘entertain’ in the sense in which the word is generally
used,” wrote a distinguished woman to me once, hearing that I was to
be in her neighborhood. “But I can not let you pass me by. Come on
Thursday, and lunch with me, _en tête-à-tête_.”

I accepted gladly, and the memory of that meal, elegant in simplicity,
shared with one whom my soul delights to honor, is as an apple of gold
set in a picture of silver.

       *       *       *       *       *

The stranger, as such, has a Scriptural claim on you, when
circumstances make him your neighbor. In thousands of homes since the
day when Abraham ran from his tent-door to constrain the thirsting and
hungering travelers to accept such rest and refreshment as he could
offer them during the heat of the day, angels have been entertained
unawares in the guise of strangerhood.

[Sidenote: POETIC JUSTICE]

“Did you know the B——’s before they came to our town?” asked an
inquisitive New Englander of one of her near neighbors.

“No.”

“Then—you won’t mind my asking you?—why did you invite them to dinner
on Thanksgiving Day? It’s made a deal of talk.”

Abraham’s disciple smiled.

“Because they were strangers, and seemed to be lonely. They are
respectable, and they live on my street.”

Poetical justice requires me to add that the B——’s, who became the
lifelong friends of their first hostess in the strange land, proved to
be people of distinction whom the best citizens of the exclusive little
town soon vied with one another in “cultivating.” In ignorance of their
antecedents the imitator of the tent-holder of Mamre did her duty from
the purest of motives.

Not one individual or one family has a moral or a social right to
neglect the practise of hospitality. Unless one is confined to the
house or bed by illness, one should visit and invite visits in return.

We are human beings, not hermit crabs.



CHAPTER XXI

THE HOUSE OF MOURNING


THE observance of mourning is a difficult matter to treat, for
individual feeling enters largely into the question. Still, there are
certain rules accepted by those who would not be made remarkable by
their scorn of conventionalities.

The matter of mourning-cards and stationery has been treated in the
chapter on “Calls and Cards,” and on “Letter-Writing.” A word may
here be added with regard to the letter of condolence. This should be
written to the bereaved person as soon as practicable after the death
for which she mourns. It must not be long, but should express in a
few sincere words the sympathy felt, and the wish to do something to
help alleviate the mourner’s distress. This letter does not demand an
answer, but some persons try, some weeks after such letters have been
received, to reply to them. This is not really necessary, except when
the writer is a near friend of the family. In many cases, a black-edged
card bearing the words, “Mr. and Mrs. —— wish to thank you for your
kind sympathy in their recent bereavement,” is mailed to the writer.

If one does not write a letter, one may send to or leave at the house
of mourning a card, bearing the words, “Sincere sympathy,” upon it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ATTENDING A FUNERAL]

The funeral notice in the daily papers is now sometimes accompanied
by the request, “Kindly omit flowers.” To send flowers after the
appearance of such a notice is the height of rudeness and shows little
respect to the dead and none for the family.

If there are more flowers than can be taken to the cemetery, those left
may be sent to the inmates of hospitals, who need not know that they
were intended for a funeral. Those who attend a funeral should dress
quietly, but they need not wear black unless they prefer to do so.

While few persons would be guilty of attending a funeral out of
curiosity, there are undoubtedly some who do. Sensitive people are
growing to realize that the last ceremony for the dead is too sacred
to be shared except with those who are really entitled by close ties
to be present and have signified by personal messenger those whom they
desired should be present.

In attending a funeral one should be prompt, and yet not so far ahead
of the hour set as to arrive before the _final_ arrangements are
completed. At a church or house funeral, one should wait to be seated
as the undertaker or his assistant directs. Nor should one ever linger
after the services to speak to any members of the family, unless one is
particularly requested to do so. One should not expect to look on the
face of the dead unless one is asked to do so.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CLOSING THE CASKET]

In churches of two denominations it is not customary to have the coffin
opened to the public gaze. It is a pity that this law is not universal,
but it is becoming more common to have the casket left closed through
the entire service. It certainly spares the mourners the agonizing
period during which the long line of friends, and strangers who come
from vulgar curiosity, file past and look on the unshielded features
of the dead. Some one has said that the custom of allowing the curious
who did not know the deceased, and who cared nothing for him, to gaze
on his face after death, seems to be taking an unfair advantage of the
dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

Many persons prefer a quiet house funeral for one they love, for there
are few persons vulgar or bold enough to force themselves into the
house of mourning, where only those who knew and loved the departed are
welcome. But the method of personal invitation makes the presence of
such people impossible.

At a house funeral the clergyman stands near the head of the coffin
while he reads the service, the audience standing or sitting as the
custom of the special service used demands.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE CHURCH FUNERAL]

At a church funeral, the clergyman meets the coffin at the door and
precedes it up the aisle, reading the burial service. As he begins
to read, the congregation rises and stands as the procession moves
forward. When, after the services, the coffin is lifted by the bearers,
the congregation again rises and remains standing until the casket
has been taken from the church. A private interment, or one at the
convenience of the family, is now almost universal. Unless invited, no
outsider, even if he be a friend of the family, will go to the cemetery
under such circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the funeral, and when one’s friends have begun to realize sorrow,
is the time when it is the hardest to bear. It is then that the
sympathetic person may do much toward brightening the long and dreary
days in the house of mourning. Flowers left at the door occasionally,
frequent calls, an occasional cheering note, a bright book lent, are a
few of the small courtesies that amount to actual benefactions. Only
those who have had to learn to live with a grief that is almost forgot
by others know what such tokens of thoughtful sympathy mean. All who
count themselves friends should call within a month, always telling the
maid that if the ladies do not feel like appearing they are not to do
so.

[Sidenote: A WIDOW’S DRESS]

The heaviest mourning demanded by conventionality is worn by a widow,
but even she is now allowed to dispense with the heavy crape veil. In
its place is the long veil of nun’s veiling, which is worn over the
face only at the funeral. With it is a face-veil, trimmed with crape,
and a white ruche or “widow’s cap” stitched inside of the brim of the
small bonnet. The dress is of Henrietta cloth, or other lusterless
material, and may be trimmed with crape. Black suède gloves and
black-bordered handkerchiefs—if these are liked—are proper. The widow
seldom discards her veil under two years,—some widows wear it always.
After the first year it is shortened.

It is a matter for congratulation that crape, that most expensive,
unwholesome, perishable and inartistic of materials, is worn less and
less with each passing year. Surely to have to wrap one’s self in its
stiff and malodorous folds adds discomfort to grief. It is now seldom
worn except by widows, although a daughter may wear it for a parent, a
mother for her child.

The matter of the mourning-veil is one each person must settle for
herself, although the strictest followers of fashion deprecate its use
for any women except widows. Some bereaved daughters and mothers wear
it, but not for a long period, seldom longer than six months.

Mourning for the members of one’s immediate family may be worn for a
year, then lightened. Mourning for a relative-in-law is lightened at
the end of three or six months.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: INCONGRUOUS MOURNING]

While on this subject it would be well to call attention to the fact
that one should either wear conventional black, or no black at all.
For a widow to wear, as a well-known woman did recently, a long veil
and gray suède gloves, borders on the ridiculous. Nor should velvet,
cut jet, satin and lace be donned by those wearing the insignia of
grief. Nor are black-and-white combined deep mourning. They may be worn
when the weeds are lightened, but not when one is wearing the strictly
conventional garb of dolor. Even widows may wear all white, but not
with black ribbons, unless the heavy black has been laid aside for
what may be called the “second stage” of bereavement. At first, all
materials either in black or white, must be of dull finish. Dresses may
be of nun’s veiling, Henrietta cloth, and other unshining wool fabrics,
or of dull, lusterless silks. Simple white muslins, lawns and mulls
are proper, but must not be trimmed with laces or embroidered.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: MOURNING FOR MEN]

For men, black or gray suits, black gloves and ties, and a black band
upon the hat, are proper. The tie should be of taffeta or grosgrain
silk, not of satin or figured silk. I would lay especial stress on the
poor taste of the recent fad of wearing a black band upon the sleeve of
a colored coat. The same rule applies to the would-be-smart young woman
who sports a narrow black strip upon the left arm of her tan rain-coat
or walking-jacket. If she can not wear conventional and suitable
mourning, she would better wear none.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: JUDGING THE BEREAVED]

The matter of the period of time in which a mourner should shun society
is a subject on which one may hesitate to express an opinion, as there
are too many persons whose views would not coincide with ours. In this
case, as in others, one must, to a certain extent, be a rule unto one’s
self. One who is very sad shrinks naturally from going into gay society
for the first few months after bereavement. The contrast of the gaiety
with the mourner’s feelings must, of necessity, cause her pain. To
such a one we need suggest no rules. To those less sensitive or less
unhappy, it would be well to say that deep black and festive occasions
do not form a good combination. While one wears crape and a long veil
one should shun receptions, opera boxes, teas and all such places.
Later, as one lightens one’s mourning, one may attend the theater,
small functions and informal affairs. Even the very sad may go to the
theater when they would shrink from attending an affair at which they
would meet strangers and where they would be obliged to laugh and be
gay. After the first few months of the conventional retirement are past
the sufferer must decide for herself what she may and may not do. We
would add, rather as a suggestion than as a law of etiquette, that the
onlooker forbear to judge of the behavior of the recently-bereaved.
The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and if that bitterness can be
sweetened by some genial outside influence, let others hesitate to
condemn the owner of the heart from seeking that sweetness. Those whom
we have lost, if they were worth loving, would be glad to know that our
lives were not all dark.

       *       *       *       *       *

The seemly custom followed in France of sending to relatives and
friends of the family a letter advising them of a death is not,
unfortunately, known in this country, where we, with less propriety,
advertise our griefs and our gaieties alike in the public prints.



CHAPTER XXII

AT TABLE


THE matter with which we have especially to do just now is the
manners of the eater. The table may be simply or elaborately laid,
as circumstances and taste dictate. It goes without saying that
every housekeeper will have her board as attractive in appearance as
possible, and that she will never omit the bowl or vase of flowers
from the center of it. If her purse will not allow this decoration in
midwinter she may substitute a potted plant or a vase containing a few
sprays of English ivy, or wandering-jew.

       *       *       *       *       *

The men never sit down until the women are seated. Each man draws out
for her the chair of the woman who sits next him. Even in the quiet
home-life this practise should be observed, and husband or son must
always draw from the table the chair in which the wife or mother is to
sit, and remain standing until she is seated. The host is seated last.
As soon as all are at the table the napkin is unfolded and placed
across the knees. It need not be opened wide, unless it is a small
breakfast or luncheon serviette.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CARVING THE ROAST]

If a man undertakes to carve game or a roast he should learn to do it
well and quietly, _never_ sharpening his knife to the annoyance of his
guests or rising from his seat for a better “hold.” Many women carve
excellently, but as there is a feeling that it is a difficult thing
to do, a clever guest who knows his hostess well, will sometimes beg
leave to take her place for the performance of this task. When the
hostess begins to eat, the others follow her example. All food must be
eaten slowly, and, above all, noiselessly. Many a fastidious person
has had her enjoyment of her soup spoiled by the audible sipping of it
by her vis-à-vis or her next neighbor. The soup should be lifted from
the plate by an outward sweep of the spoon, and taken quietly from
the side, not the tip, of the spoon. It is bad form to break bread or
crackers into the soup, and the plate containing the liquid should
never be tipped in order to obtain every drop of the contents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fish is not to be touched with the knife. There is reason for this.
The cutting of some delicate sea-food with a steel knife affects the
flavor of it, and renders it less delicate. The flesh is so tender
that it may be cut with a silver fork, and this is the only implement
permitted in its manipulation. The same rule applies to salads, which
are never, by the followers of conventionality, touched with the knife.
Lettuce is, before serving, broken into bits of a convenient size to be
carried to the mouth. If this is not done, the eater should cut it with
the side of the fork, or fold each bit over into a convenient size for
eating.

[Sidenote: USES OF THE KNIFE]

It should not be necessary to remind people in this day that the
knife must only be used for the purpose of cutting food. When it has
fulfilled this duty, being wielded by the right hand, the food being
held in place by the fork in the left, the fork is then taken in the
right hand, and the knife laid, with the edge turned outward, across
the back of the plate. It is generally supposed that all classes know
the use of the knife, yet in a fashionable restaurant there recently
sat a handsomely-attired woman carrying French peas to her mouth with
the blade of her knife. However, it is not so long since Chesterfield
gave elaborate directions as to the proper way to eat with the knife!
“Other times, other manners!”

       *       *       *       *       *

It is an atrocity to pile several kinds of food upon the fork, mold
them into a small mound with the knife, and then “dump” the load into
wide-open jaws. Each kind of viand should be lifted, a small bit at a
time, upon the fork. Mastication should be absolutely noiseless, and
the process conducted with the lips closed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bread, even when hot, may be broken off, a small piece at a time,
buttered upon the plate, then eaten. All hot bread should be torn open
or broken with the fingers, never cut into bits. To butter a slice of
bread by laying it upon the table or, more disgusting still, upon the
palm of the hand, is a relic of barbarism. At breakfast and luncheon
the small bread and butter plate, with a small knife, is set at the
upper left-hand side of the place and the bread should be kept on it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HOW TO EAT FRUITS]

Such fruits as apples or peaches are peeled with a small silver fruit
knife, cut into quarters and eaten with the fingers. Oranges are peeled
and then pulled apart or they may—at breakfast—be cut in halves and
eaten with the aid of the sharp-toothed orange spoon. Grapes should be
eaten from behind the half-closed hand into which skin and the seeds
then fall.

It is permissible to use one’s knife to convey salt from one’s
individual salt-cellar, if no tiny spoon for this purpose is supplied.
But the salt shaker is a much more convenient device, though in damp
weather the maid must see that the salt will “shake.”

A mouthful must never be so large as to make it impossible for the
eater to speak if a question be addressed to him while he is disposing
of it. Nor can too great stress be laid upon the duty of slow eating
and thorough mastication of all kinds of food. Not only does it add to
the grace of the table-manners, but it prevents indigestion.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never touch the food on the plate with the fingers, to push it upon
the fork. If anything must be used for this purpose, let it be a bit
of bread, but, if possible, dispense altogether with assistance of any
kind. The fork should be equal to getting up all that is absolutely
essential, and comfort does not depend upon securing every particle of
meat or vegetables with which the plate is supplied.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SPOON AND THE FORK]

Every year the spoon has fewer uses, and the fork has more. Now, when
it is possible, desserts are taken with the fork where a spoon used to
be employed. Pie, cake, ice-cream and firm puddings, with all kinds of
fruit, are eaten with the fork. Some persons hold a fork awkwardly in
an up and down fashion instead of in the proper graceful horizontal
one. Of course the spoon is still essential for semi-solids, such as
custards, creams and jellies.

There are a few things besides breads of all varieties which one is
allowed to eat with the fingers. Such are Saratoga chips, olives and
small bird-bones,—these last to be taken daintily in the fingertips. It
is no longer considered good form to eat asparagus with the fingers,
although some very well-bred persons still do it. It is certainly an
ugly sight to witness one’s opposite neighbor eating asparagus in this
manner. It is possibly not so unattractive as to see him eat corn from
the cob. But no better way of disposing of this last vegetable has as
yet been invented. If corn is served on the cob, the cob should be
broken into two or three pieces before it is lifted to the mouth. If
one is so unlucky as to drop a fork or spoon, allow the maid to pick
it up and to bring a fresh one, without making any comment whatever. A
glass of wine overturned, however, demands apology and the hope that
the hostess’ cloth will not be irremediably stained.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AFTER-DINNER COFFEE]

At breakfast, one may drink coffee with sugar and cream, but when
black, or after-dinner coffee is served in a small cup, which is known
as a _demi-tasse_, cream should be omitted. To ask for this when it
is not on the table is the height of rudeness. One should learn to
drink one’s after-dinner coffee without cream. Sugar is, of course,
permissible. There is sense in this dictate of Fashion, as in many of
the other rules laid down by this seemingly arbitrary dame. The coffee
taken at the end of a hearty meal is intended to act as a “settler”
to the repast and to aid the work of digestion. This it does much more
easily when clear than when “qualified” with milk or cream. Before
drinking from a glass of water one should brush one’s lips with the
corner of the napkin.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the salad course at a dinner, and before the dessert is brought
in, the waitress removes the crumbs from the table, using a tray or
plate and folded napkin for this purpose. When she does this it is
bad form for the guest to lay in the tray any bits of bread that may
be left at his place or to assist the waitress by moving his glass,
salt-cellar, or any other article that may be left on the table. A
good waitress removes salt-cellars, pepper-cruets and such articles,
before crumbing the table, leaving only the glasses at each place. It
is her business to do all this so quietly and deftly that the guests
are scarcely conscious of it. To further this end, let the whole affair
be attended to by the waitress, and do not seem to notice any lapses on
her part.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE FINGER-BOWL]

At the end of the meal the finger-bowls are used. The ends of the
fingers are dipped in the water, and the lips touched with these; then
mouth and hands are wiped upon the napkin which is left, unfolded, at
the side of the plate, if one is taking only one meal in the house. If
a longer stay is expected, one may watch one’s hosts to see what they
do with their napkins, and follow their example.

Dinner over, the hostess makes the movement to rise, and she, with the
other ladies, proceeds to the parlor. There they are joined later by
the gentlemen. At an informal or family dinner, the men and women may
leave the table together, the men standing aside to let the women pass
out first, and in the drawing-room cigars may be lighted by the men
after they have asked permission of the women to smoke.

All these rules with regard to the company dinner apply to the family
dinner as well. One can not be too careful in observing the laws of
table etiquette in the family circle if one would be at ease in company.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AVOID APOLOGIES]

One warning I would give to the hostess or homemaker: Do not apologize
unless necessary! If a dish is a signal failure, say with an apologetic
smile that you regret that such a thing was spoiled in the baking, or
that you fear the meat is very rare, and, unless the matter can be
remedied, let it go at that. You but embarrass your guests and put them
to the disagreeable necessity of reassuring you, if you dwell upon the
matter.

       *       *       *       *       *

The host should never insist that one be served to any dish after it
has been positively declined. To do this is a mistake no matter how
kindly the intention. There is an old saying that one man’s meat is
another man’s poison. If your host insists, however, on helping you
after your refusal, you must for decorum’s sake accept the food but you
need do no more than taste it.

At a formal dinner one is not served a second time to any dish, but
at an informal dinner, what are called “second helps,” are quite
permissible and convey a compliment to the hostess. When a plate is
sent back to the carver for a fresh supply of meat, the knife and fork
should be laid side by side upon it, not held in the hand, as some
persons insist. And when one has finished eating, the knife and fork
are laid in the same manner upon the plate, the tines of the fork up.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE NAPKIN]

The napkin must never be tucked into the neck of gown or shirt, nor
must it be fastened to the belt or the waistcoat button. After one
leaves the nursery one should be able to eat without a bib.

One of the characteristics of a well-appointed house is an abundance
of fresh linen, including clean napkins, if possible, at every meal,
certainly every day at dinner. A large napkin for dinner use is
handsome, but it may be too large for convenience. No one wishes to
be smothered by a “young table-cloth,” as some one has called these
immense serviettes. Breakfast napkins are distinctly smaller than
dinner napkins.

[Sidenote: MINOR TABLE LAWS]

At breakfast a blue and white service is often liked and is certainly
pretty. At dinner the china may be as costly as one can afford. If the
purse is limited, the plain white or gold-band is a good choice, making
a quietly elegant appearance and being easily replaced.

In drinking coffee use the spoon to stir it slightly and to sip from,
but never leave the spoon in the cup.

When a fowl is carved if your host asks which piece you prefer it is
entirely correct to express a preference, and indeed you will probably
embarrass him if you decline to do so.

A wine-glass should be lifted to the lips by the stem, not by the bowl.

A waitress should be cautioned against the common practise of handing
dishes and particularly water glasses with the thumb stuck inside the
rim.

Never tip the soup plate to get the last mouthful.

The nervous habit some people have of playing with the silver or
crumbling bread on the cloth looks very bad.

Artichokes are broken apart with the fingers, the heart being conveyed
to the mouth on the fork.

One should sit easily erect at table at a convenient distance from the
board. Do not sit on your spine.

If you are in doubt as to how to proceed with any course, take a cue
from your hostess.

Eggs, when boiled, should be served in individual egg cups, opened by
lightly cracking the top of the shell with the knife, and eaten from
the shell by the aid of tiny egg spoons.

It should go without saying that when a dish is passed, one should
always take the portion one touches; do not presume to make a choice of
rolls or of fruit.

Never put salt on the cloth.

To attempt to assist the waitress by gathering together the articles
before you, is a mistake. Leave that to her, and appear unconscious of
her presence while she is so engaged.

To hand a dish across the table is distinctly bad form. This habit has
been designated as “the boarding house reach.”



CHAPTER XXIII

IN THE HOME


“AS a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” declares the Book of books.
And as a man is in his home, so will he be abroad, when the “company
manner” rubs off.

One frequently becomes involved in some quite unexpected circumstance
that scratches off the beautiful surface-coloring, if it be only as
deep as the hue on the stained wood.

[Sidenote: ADJUSTABLE COURTESY]

The manner that one puts on when one goes into a friend’s house, or
dons when one is “in company,” is what may be called “adjustable
courtesy.” If it is not made of the best material it seldom fits well.

Not long ago a friend drove with us by the house of a man whose
society manners, when first seen, call forth admiration. Upon this
particular spring afternoon, he sat upon the veranda of his home. As we
approached, and he met our glance, he sprang to his feet, bowed low and
remained standing until we had passed.

“What a pretty attention to pay to two women!” we exclaimed.

Our friend gave a significant shrug, and called our notice to the fact
that the man’s wife had, before we came by, driven up to the end of the
veranda, and that she was, unaided, climbing from a high trap in which
she and her two little girls had been driving, while her husband lolled
at ease in a steamer chair. It took the presence of a woman who did
not belong to him to bring him to his feet. Looking back, after we had
passed, we noted that he had again resumed his lounging attitude, and
that his wife was lifting the second child from the carriage.

Such is adjustable courtesy! It is not an every-day garment, and is,
consequently, worn only to impress strangers.

No one can afford to do the injustice to his better self of allowing
himself to become careless toward those with whom he lives, or to
neglect the small sweet courtesies that should be found in the home, if
anywhere. It is the home etiquette that makes the public etiquette what
it should be. This reminder can not be repeated too often.

       *       *       *       *       *

In many houses men forget to show the respect due to wife, mother and
sisters. Parents should train their sons to stand when a woman enters
the room, and to remain standing until she sits down. The considerate
husband rises and offers his wife the easy chair in which he is seated.
She, knowing that he is weary after a hard day at the office, will not
take the chair, but she will appreciate the little attention, and love
him the better for it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE BARBAROUS TOOTHPICK]

In the talk on table etiquette, we have touched on many points, but not
on certain things that seem too petty to be mentioned, as it is not
supposed that persons of polite breeding need to be reminded of them.
It is only when one looks in on the home-life of some so-called “nice”
people that one feels that perhaps after all to call attention to these
points would not be superfluous.

One of these is the use of the toothpick. To wield this in company is
barbarous; to produce it at table is disgusting. The idea of having
a glass full of toothpicks upon the family board is as disagreeably
suggestive, and more disgusting, than would be the presence of a bowl
of water, flanked on one side by a cake of soap, on the other by a
wash-cloth. Cleansing of all parts of the body should take place in the
privacy of one’s own apartment or in the bath-room.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tipping back the chair at table or in company is bad form. One small
child was broken of this habit when she lost her balance while swaying
backward from the table on the two hind-legs of her chair, and gave
her head a furious bump on the floor. Sobbing, she was lifted to her
feet, and met the stern gaze of her father.

“I am very glad,” he said, “to see that you are badly enough hurt to
be reminded never to tip your chair again. It is rude! If some grown
persons I know had received a similar lesson in childhood, they might
not offend the taste of others as they now do.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TAKING SALT AND BUTTER]

Taking butter from one’s butter-plate with the tip of a fork that has
been already in one’s mouth is another disagreeable trick. The like
may be said of the same way of helping one’s self to salt. If a small
butter-knife and salt-spoon are not provided, the tip of the knife may
be used in their stead.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bolting food and pushing back one’s chair without the preliminary and
apologetic “Excuse me!” is the custom of some otherwise estimable
householders. It would be better to eat less, if one’s time be limited,
and eat slowly, as food thus taken in a rush is of small use in the
internal economy. A few mouthfuls, well masticated, will possibly do
more good, and certainly produce less discomfort, than three times
as much swallowed in indigestible chunks. And after the short repast
has been partaken of, let the master of the house set the example of
common decency by uttering the conventional “Excuse me!”

[Sidenote: CARING FOR THE NAILS]

One hopes that it would be a difficult matter to find anybody so far
oblivious of ordinary good manners as to clean his nails before others,
but, let us blush to say it! one does meet many men who clean and pare
their nails in the presence of family and intimate friends. Perhaps it
is due to the fact that a woman does not carry a pocket-knife that she
is seldom seen doing this. Her manicure instruments are kept upon her
dressing-table, and it is in her own room that she performs this very
necessary part of her toilet.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ugly habit that many children acquire of biting the nails can be
overcome by requiring them to wear gloves until they master it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: GOOD TASTE IN SPEECH]

Young people should be taught that the question of age, in general
conversation, is tabooed, that too much manner is as bad as too little,
and that a good manner is even more to be desired than good manners.
They should be instructed to say “Thank you,” not “Thanks,” to avoid
“photo,” “auto,” etc., saying instead “photograph,” “automobile,” or
better, “motor-car,” or simply “car.” “Crowd,” as “our crowd,” is very
bad for “circle,” “set” or “group of friends.” A girl should never say
“hello,” and no one should use it at the telephone. “Good morning,”
“yes,” “well” or the mention of one’s name are courteous methods of
beginning a telephone conversation. “Waistcoat” is to be preferred to
“vest.” Modern usage trains children to say “Yes, mother,” “Yes, Aunt
Clara,” “No, Miss Smith,” instead of “Yes, ma’am,” “No, ma’am,” as
of old. Only in the remoter districts of the South does the earlier
fashion survive among grown people where it must be admitted to have a
quaint charm. When a child sneezes, if he is well taught he will say
quietly, “Excuse me.”

       *       *       *       *       *

A rudeness that a man will perpetrate in his own home, from which he
would shrink in the home of another person, is that of wearing his hat
in the presence of women. Every mother should train the small boy of
the house to remove his hat as soon as he enters the front (or back)
door. To do this will then become second nature, and it would not be
probable that he could ever be guilty of the rudeness of standing in
hall or parlor and talking to mother, sister or other feminine relative
with his hat on his head. One mother at least positively refuses to
hear what her little son has to say if he addresses her with his head
covered. One may regret that with older men other women have not the
like courage of their convictions. A man’s hat is so easily removed we
wonder just why he should leave it on in the house, even if he is going
out again in a moment. The man whose courtesy is not of the adjustable
type will not do this, and these remarks are absolutely superfluous as
far as he is concerned.

Nor will it be necessary to remind him to pick up the handkerchief,
thimble, scissors or book that the woman in his presence lets
fall,—even if she be his wife. To assist the feminine portion of
humanity comes natural to the thoroughbred.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: COURTESY IN GIRLS]

And just here I would say a word to the young person of the so-called
weaker sex. It is to remind her that she, as well as her brother, owes
the duty of respect to her elders. She is too prone to think that the
boys of the family should rise for the older people, should remain
standing until parents are seated, and should always be ready to run
errands, or to deny themselves for their seniors. The duty to do all
these things is incumbent on the girl or woman in the presence of those
who are her elders or superiors. The girl or young matron who reclines
in an easy chair, while her grandparent, mother, father, or woman-guest
stands, is as guilty of rudeness as her brother would be were he to do
the same.

It is not on the men alone that the etiquette of the home depends.
Indeed, it is the place of the mother to see that little lapses in good
breeding are not overlooked. And she is the one who should, by her
unselfishness, her gentle courtesy, and unfailing politeness in even
the smallest items, show forth the spirit of true kindness, on which
all good manners are founded.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE CULTIVATED VOICE]

We are all united in thinking that a well-trained voice ministers
to the happiness of those about in a rare degree. Yet it is too
infrequently remembered that the place to cultivate clear enunciation,
low tones and amiable inflections is at home. Teachers in elocution
and voice culture may do a large part in bringing out latent powers,
but the foundation for the culture of the speaking voice should be
laid at home. High shrill voices, choppy pronunciation, a nervous
speaking manner will render unattractive matter of a high mental
quality. Mothers should begin early and work late on this important
matter of cultivating the voices of their children. Voice quality
and enunciation, it should be realized, are more important than
pronunciation. It is not a vital question whether a man pronounce the
word “exquisite” with the accent on the first or the second syllable,
but “childern” is a vulgarism, though one hears it often. Truly of one
who uses it, it may be said, “his speech bewrayeth him.”

[Sidenote: THE CARE OF BOOKS]

Respect for books is one of the lessons to be taught in a properly
regulated house. And by this phrase, I do not mean respect for the
contents. That goes without saying. I mean respect for the proper
care of those best ministers to minds and souls. Children should be
taught to handle books carefully, to cut the leaves properly, to open
books without breaking the leaves apart at the back. They should be
instructed not to soil or to mark them and to put them back in place
when not in use.

The person who lends books may keep a list of them, and it is not
discourtesy if the volumes lent are not returned within a reasonable
length of time to ask for them. Many people who are quick to borrow are
careless about returning. The standard of ethics in regard to returning
books is with many people as low as the general standard in regard to
the return of umbrellas. A book-plate is a great aid to the possessor
of a library in keeping it together. Moreover, a pretty book-plate
seems to give a touch of individuality to one’s volumes. The next best
thing to individual bindings and tooled leather is this slighter mark
of identity in one’s library.

       *       *       *       *       *

One thing that makes for peace and etiquette in the home is the
recognition of the rights of others. For this reason one member of the
family should never inquire into another’s correspondence, into his
engagements, social or otherwise, or ask questions even of his nearest
and dearest. The fact that a man is one of a family, every member of
which is dear to him, does not mean that he has no individuality, or
that he must share the secrets of his friendships or business matters
with any one. He should always feel in the home that any confidences he
may care to give are most welcome, but that such confidences are never
demanded or expected.

[Sidenote: RESPECT FOR PRIVACY]

In recognizing these rights of others, one must remember that each
person’s own room is sacred to himself. It is inexcusably rude for one
member of a family to enter the room of any other member without first
knocking at the door and receiving permission to “come in.” Each human
being should feel that he has one locality that belongs to him, where
he can be alone unless he decrees otherwise. To further this end the
wife should knock at her husband’s door before she enters his room,
and the husband should show her the same consideration, while brothers
and sisters should always give the warning tap, which is virtually
a request for permission to enter, before opening the door that the
occupant of the room has closed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Americans are much criticized for their fondness for rocking chairs.
Certainly there are many of us who should learn to use them less
violently. The woman who rocks steadily back and forth while she is
talking to her friends is lacking in the repose that is an essential
element of charm. Equally bad habits are the snapping and unsnapping of
a purse and twisting a handkerchief or a theater program into a roll.
To hum below the breath when some one else is talking is extremely
rude, and not less so when any two people are together.

[Sidenote: COURTESYING FOR LITTLE GIRLS]

For little girls, the courtesy of our grandmothers has been revived.
It is certainly a charming mark of respect for them to show to older
people.

A courtesy that should never be omitted is the asking of permission to
open and read letters received while one is in conversation with others.

Children should be rigidly instructed not to ask for delicacies of food
when they are visiting, otherwise they may become a nuisance.

The habit children often acquire at school, of sticking their lead
pencils into their mouths to moisten them, is unhygienic and ugly, and
should be broken up.



CHAPTER XXIV

IN PUBLIC


THE subject of this chapter is so large that we almost despair of doing
more than touch on a few of the many points it should cover.

Perhaps it would be well to give first a few rules for that most public
of places,—the street.

[Sidenote: A MAN AND HIS HAT]

The question as to the etiquette of raising the hat is one that demands
attention,—and yet the rules are simple.

A man always uncovers his head completely when he returns a woman’s
bow. He does the same when he meets a man he knows walking with a
woman, whether she be known to him or not. When a man is walking or
driving with a woman and she bows to a man or woman she meets, her
escort lifts his hat. On parting with a woman he bares his head. If he
stand and talk with her, he should hold his hat in his hand unless she
asks him to cover his head, or unless the day be cold,—in which case
he says, “Will you pardon me if I put on my hat?” Then, when he leaves
her, he again uncovers.

As a safe rule in whist is, “When in doubt, lead trumps,” so a safe
rule for a man in public would be, “When in doubt, take off your hat.”

Some men of fine feeling take off their hats when a funeral procession
passes them in the street, indeed in Europe this is an established
custom. In the South, in this country, old-fashioned gentlemen
sometimes raise their hats to each other. Abroad, men who pass women on
a stairway invariably lift their hats. In hotel elevators, gentlemen
always take off their hats when ladies are present,—some men do it in
all elevators under these circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a man meets a woman on the street, and wishes to talk with her
for a moment, he should, if time allow, turn and walk a little way
with her, rather than stop and thus hinder her. If he have a business
engagement that makes this impossible, he should apologize for not
doing so, in a few words, as—“Pardon me for not walking with you
instead of stopping you, but my train leaves in fifteen minutes,” or,
“I have an appointment in ten minutes.”

On a cold day, when a man stands talking with a woman with his head
uncovered, she should say, “Pray put on your hat! I am afraid you will
catch cold.” He should accede to her request, saying “Thank you!” as he
does so.

It is a woman’s place to bow first, when she meets a man. Unless they
are old friends, the man does not lift his hat until he has received
this sign of recognition from a woman.

Men who were called on to shake hands with women formerly murmured an
apology for the glove, but this is no longer customary. A man waits for
a woman to make the first move to shake hands unless he knows her very
well.

When men meet each other on the street they may recognize each other
as they please,—by a nod, a wave of the hand, or by touching the hat.
For a man to touch his hat to a woman is an insult, unless he be a
servant—as a coachman receiving an order from his mistress—when he
acknowledges the order by touching the brim of his hat with his hand.
Did more men appreciate that they were giving the “coachman’s salute”
to a woman, mortification, if not courtesy, might prevent a repetition
of the offense.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ON THE STREET-CAR]

When a man is a woman’s escort and they board a street-car, she should,
without comment, allow him to pay her fare. When they get on the same
car by chance, she should make the move to pay her fare, but if the man
hands the money to the conductor before she does so, she should simply
bow and say “Thank you!” To dispute about who shall pay car-fare is
bad form.

Meaningless introductions in street-cars or other public places are to
be avoided. It is not desirable to bring two people together in such a
place unless some real purpose is served.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LOUNGING IN PUBLIC]

Women should be careful as to the way in which they sit. The woman who
spreads her knees looks as awkward as the man who keeps his tightly
together. Recently it became a fad in certain places for women to
lounge in the street-car and to cross one knee upon the other. Needless
to say, really well-bred women did not follow the fad. Even men who
have been strictly trained will not cross the knees when calling on
ladies.

       *       *       *       *       *

When all seats are taken in a car and a woman enters, a gentleman
will rise and give her his seat, lifting his hat as he does so, which
courtesy she should always acknowledge by saying “Thank you!” cordially
and audibly. Women are much criticized for taking seats in cars without
an acknowledgment of the courtesy, and, undoubtedly, they often do.
On the other hand, men as frequently, by turning their backs, make
acknowledgment impossible.

If the car be full and a woman enters carrying a baby in her arms, any
girl or young matron present should resign her seat to the burdened
passenger, unless some masculine passenger has manliness enough to do
so. To the credit of human nature, be it said that we have never seen
a mother with a child in her arms stand for two minutes, no matter how
crowded the car might be.

Of course a young woman should resign her seat to an elderly woman, as
she will do the same for a very old or infirm man.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHEN WALKING TOGETHER]

The custom of a man and a woman walking arm in arm at night is rapidly
falling into disuse. For couples to walk in this way in the daylight
has not been customary for years, unless the woman be so aged or
invalided as to need the support of her escort’s arm. Now, even after
dark, there is hardly any need of a man’s arm for a woman’s guidance
in the brilliantly lighted streets. If the couple be walking through a
poorly illuminated street, or on a country road, or climbing a steep
hill, the man offers the woman his arm. He should also do this at night
when he holds an umbrella over her head. Even in the daylight, when
they cross a crowded thoroughfare together, he should lightly support
her elbow with his hand to pilot her over. He should never, unless they
be members of the same family, take her arm in order to guide her.

In public a man must never attract a woman’s attention by clutching
her arm, or—odious action!—by patting her on the shoulder or back, or
nudging her. If there is such a noise about them that the mere speaking
her name in a low voice will not reach her ears, he may respectfully
touch her on the arm saying at the same time, “Excuse me, please!”
Personal liberties are always in poor taste, but never more vulgar than
in a place where they are noted by all observers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AFTER THE THEATER]

If a man escort a woman home, she may utter a brief “Thank you!” to
him on parting with him. Profuse expressions of gratitude on such an
occasion are bad form. On parting from him, after he has taken her
to the theater, opera or any other entertainment, she may, when she
bids him good night, say cordially, “I am indebted to you for a very
pleasant evening,” and, if she wish, she may add, “We shall be glad to
have you call at any time.”

A man must never linger at a woman’s door to utter his good-bys, or to
speak a few final sentences. Door-step chats may do for nurse-maids and
their attendants. They are out of place in higher circles. A man rings
the bell for the woman he is accompanying, sees that she is safely
admitted, and, if it be too late for him to enter the house for a few
minutes, removes his hat, says good night and takes his leave.

[Sidenote: KISSING IN PUBLIC]

So much fun has been made of the custom that some women have of kissing
each other in public places on meeting and parting, it is surprising
that even gushing girls still adhere to the ridiculous fashion. When
people embrace, let it be in the sanctity of the home, or where there
are no amused observers. If a kiss has no meaning, then let Fashion do
away with it; if it means tender affection, it is too sacred a token to
be exchanged where dozens of people may look on and comment on it. It
is hardly too sweeping an assertion to make when one says that among
mere acquaintances, kisses are best omitted altogether. Do let us have
some method of salutation for those we really love that is not given as
frequently and freely to every chance acquaintance or casual friend!
One woman declares that beyond her relatives there is no grown person
she willingly kisses, except two women whom she has known for years,
and she respects them too much to embrace them in the presence of an
unsympathetic world. A warm hand-clasp will suffice until the people
who love each other can be alone.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, as to many others. When a
man puts his family upon the train or boat which is to carry them from
him, he will uncover his head, and kiss each one of the beloved group.
Other such exceptions will suggest themselves. Common sense and good
taste should keep one from making a mistake in these matters.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: GOOD FORM IN NAMES]

It is in wretched form for a man to speak of a woman by her first name
when talking to casual acquaintances. It is as bad form, or nearly as
bad, for a woman to speak of a man by his last name, as “Brown” or
“Smith.” It takes very little longer to say “Miss Mary” or “Mr. Brown,”
and the impression produced is worth the extra exertion. Nor, unless
they be members of the same family, does a man address a girl by her
first name in a crowd of outsiders. In her home she may be “Mary” to
him. In public, let him address her as “Miss Smith.”

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the most annoying habits indulged in in public is that of being
late at the theater. It is trying to have to lose whole lines of a play
while one rises, gathering up bonnets and wraps to do so, to allow
the belated person to pass who sits beyond one. It is a pity that
theater-goers do not take more pains to show one another the kindness
of being in their places before the curtain rises.

In entering a theater, the man stands aside to allow the woman to go
into the door ahead of him, then steps forward to show his tickets to
the usher, at the same time taking two programs from the table, or
from the boy holding them. The coupons are handed back to the man,
and kept by him, in case any mistake should arise in regard to the
seats. Then the woman follows the usher down the aisle, followed by
her escort. In some western cities the man goes first down the aisle,
standing aside to allow the woman to take the inner seat. It is well
for both men and women to remove their coats and wraps, either in
the vestibule of the theater or before going into their seats. After
sitting down, the woman takes off her hat and holds it in her lap
throughout the performance.

[Sidenote: DISPOSING OF ONE’S WRAPS]

A better custom in theaters large and modern enough to have ample
dressing-rooms is for the woman to remove all her wraps there. The
house looks much prettier than when each woman is piled with her
belongings, the woman is more comfortable, and she has had besides the
opportunity of a glance in the mirror at her hair. If she is at all
sensitive to drafts she may prefer to take a light scarf with her as
when the curtain rises there is often a very cold air, especially on
those sitting close to the stage. In most cities in this country women
do not wear full dress unless they are to sit in a box.

At all evening entertainments a woman’s head is uncovered. A woman
who retains her hat even when sitting in a box inevitably suggests
that she wishes to be conspicuous. If a woman is invited to be one
of a box-party she need not bother to go to the dressing-room, as in
most cases each box has hooks on which cloaks may be hung and a mirror
convenient for the single glance that is desired.

The same rules hold good with regard to a musicale or a concert.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TALKING AT A CONCERT]

I wish there were any chance that anything anybody might say could
impress on women that their habit of talking or, worse still,
whispering, during a musical performance is abominably rude! Let
those who have suffered by this almost universal practise testify to
the misery it causes. To have one’s favorite passage from a beloved
composer marred by “Now this is where he dies, you know,” or “Just hear
the thunder in that orchestra, and now just listen to the chirping
of the dear little birds!” or,—“I don’t think I _can_ lunch with you
to-morrow, dear, but perhaps the next day,” “_Do_ you think those long
coats are becoming to short women?”—who that has undergone the agony
of being in the vicinity of such a talker can fail to utter a fervent
“Amen” to the frenzied petition that they be suppressed.

The person who has seen the play before and who obligingly keeps his
neighbors informed of what is coming next is an equal offender.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHEN AMERICA IS PLAYED]

At public meetings when the national hymn is played, it is proper for
every one to stand and to remain standing until it is ended.



CHAPTER XXV

HOTEL AND BOARDING-HOUSE LIFE


THERE is no better place than a hotel in which to study the manners, or
lack of manners, of the world at large. It is here that selfishness is
rampant, and unselfishness hides its diminished head.

Before we discuss the ethics of hotel life it will be well to give a
few general directions as to what one does from the time one enters the
door of the building which will, for a long or short time, be his place
of abode. He proceeds at once to the office, makes known his desires
with regard to a room or rooms, and writes his name in the register
handed to him by the clerk. He is then assigned to his room, and a page
directs him thither, carrying hand luggage. To this page he hands his
trunk-check, and the trunk is soon brought to his room.

Upon the inside of the door in every hotel room is tacked a set of
rules of the house, and these are in themselves sufficient to instruct
our uninitiated traveler in most of what is expected of him. He here
learns that the hotel is not responsible for valuables left on the
bureau or table of the room, that the guest is requested to keep his
trunk locked, and to lock his door upon going out, and to leave his
key at the office; that valuable papers and jewelry can be left in
the safe of the hotel; at what hours meals are served and so on. All
these directions the considerate person will observe. None of them is
unreasonable. There are many things for which no printed rules are
given which are none the less essential to the correctness of demeanor
on the part of a guest.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AT THE HOTEL TABLE]

Loud talking is one of the things to be avoided. One must remember that
in a hotel more than in any other place is the warning of the Frenchman
likely to be proved true,—“The walls themselves, my lord, have ears!”
Each room has another room next to it, and the partitions are thin. The
transoms all open upon a general hall in which can be heard any loud
remark spoken in any one of the rooms. If one does not discuss affairs
one wishes kept secret, one must bear in mind the fact that other
people may be annoyed while resting, reading or talking, by fragmentary
bits of conversation wafted to them. At the hotel table one must also
bear this in mind. Loud talking in a public place stamps the speaker as
a vulgarian, or a person who has seldom been outside of his own home,
and has never learned to modulate his voice.

       *       *       *       *       *

On entering a hotel dining-room, the traveler pauses until the head
waiter, or one of his assistants, indicates a table at which he may
sit. If this table be too near the radiator or window, or otherwise
undesirable, the guest may courteously ask if he can not be placed in
another locality. When a man and a woman are together the man enters
the room first, and leads the way to the table, on the first occasion
of their taking a meal at the hotel. After that, if they occupy the
same table each day, the woman enters the room first and proceeds to
her seat, followed by the man. He, or the waiter, draws back her chair
for her and seats her. The man, of course, remains standing until she
is seated.

[Sidenote: GIVING ONE’S ORDER]

The menu card is handed to the man, with a pad or slip of paper and
pencil. Upon this, after discussion with the woman, he writes his
order. As a rule he orders the entire meal, except the dessert, at
once. The sweets can be decided on later.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish I could impress on the minds of persons in a hotel that it is
wretched form to criticize audibly the viands set before them. The
person sitting near you is not edified to hear you remark that the
soup is wretched, the beef too rare, the coffee lukewarm. If you have
any fault to find, do so to the waiter and in such a tone that the
other guests can not hear it.

[Sidenote: AVOID FAULTFINDING]

Above all, do not scold the waiter for that for which he is not to
blame. He does not purchase the meat, nor does he fry the oysters.
Show him that you appreciate this fact, and ask him politely if he can
not get you a better cut, or oysters that are not burned. Some persons
seem to think that it elevates them in the opinion of observers if
they complain of what is set before them. They fancy, apparently, that
others will be impressed with the idea that they are accustomed to so
much better fare at home than that they now have that it is a trial
for them to descend to the plane on which others are eating. The fact
of the case is that the person who is accustomed to dainty fare, and
to even-threaded living, is too well-bred to call the attention of
strangers to the fact.

       *       *       *       *       *

While we are on this subject it would be well to remind the thoughtless
person that when he dines with a friend at that friend’s hotel, on his
invitation, he is a guest. It is therefore rude for him to comment
unfavorably on the dishes on the table. When, under such circumstances,
a guest says to his host _pro tem._, “My dear fellow, they do not give
you good veal here!” or, “Are you not tired of the mean butter you
eat at this hotel?” he is criticizing in an offensive manner the best
that his host can offer him, since he has no house of his own in which
to entertain. The guest should act as if it were his friend’s private
table, and forbear to criticize fare or service.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HOTEL TIPPING]

One of the often unconsidered items of expense in hotel life is the
“tips” that one must give. In no other place is one’s hand so often in
one’s pocket. A porter carries a bag, and he must be tipped; another
carries up a trunk, he must be tipped; one rings for iced water, and
the boy bringing it expects his ten cents; one wants hot water every
morning, and in notifying the chambermaid of this fact, must slip a bit
of silver into her palm. The waiter at one’s table must be frequently
remembered, and the head waiter will give one better attention if he
finds something in his hand after he shows the new arrival to a table,
and, of course, on leaving, one will also give a fee. So it goes! When,
however, one is staying by the week at a hotel, “tips” need be given
only once a week,—unless some unusual favor is asked. We may rebel
against the custom, and with reason. But as not one of us can alter
the state of affairs, it is well to accept it with a good grace, or
reconcile one’s self to indifferent service.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CHILDREN IN A HOTEL]

The matter of children in a hotel is one on which so much has been
said and written that there is little left to say. At the first glance
one is tempted to resent the fact that many hotel proprietors object
to having children accompany their parents to the public table, and
that some even demur at their presence in the house. Child-lovers have
said bitterly that the celestial “many mansions” seem to be the only
abodes in which the little ones are welcome,—and all these opinions
have a great deal of truth on their side. But it is not until one has
undergone the annoyance of ill-governed children in a house where there
are no restrictions enforced on them that one sees the other side of
the shield. One large boarding-house at a fashionable summer resort is
popular to mothers of large families because the proprietor does not
object to children. A guest there last season decided that if that were
the case said proprietor had no nerves. She soon learned that childless
guests declined to stay at the place. Children raced up and down the
long corridors, screaming as they went; they played noisily outside of
bedroom doors; they ate like little pigs at the hotel tables. In short,
they made the house a purgatory for all except other children and
their mothers.

[Sidenote: TWO TYPES OF MOTHERS]

There are two types of mothers in this land of ours that are greatly at
fault. One is the mother who hands the management of the children over
to a nurse or several nurses, and she is, of course, the rich woman
whose children see her seldom, and that not often enough to bother her.
The other type is the woman who has nerves toward all things except her
own children’s noise. She is such a doting parent that she is, to all
appearances, blind and deaf to the fact that her own offspring drive to
the verge of insanity other “grown-ups” with whom they come in contact.
Verily the American youngster is having everything his own way in
private and public nowadays! Dwellers in hotels are to be pardoned if
they beg that he be kept in private until his parents learn to govern
him, and by thus doing, show mercy to other people.

While the rules that govern propriety should be adhered to everywhere,
there is no other place where they should be more strictly observed
than at the summer hotel, or the boarding-house of a fashionable
watering-place. It may not be an exaggeration to state that there are
few decent places where they are more openly disregarded. With the
trammels of city life one seems to lay down an appreciation of the
fitness of things generally. The free intercourse, the rapidly-made
acquaintances, the mingling of many sorts of peoples in the huge
caravansary—tend to make us cast aside conventionalities. Husbands,
running down from the city for a Sunday with their wives, find them
absorbed and happy in the gay life about them, and quite sufficient
unto themselves when the husbands return to counting-room and office
on Monday morning. There is always a class of men who, having nothing
else to do, are habitués of the summer hotel, where they flirt with
the wives of other men and make themselves generally useful and talked
about.

[Sidenote: AVOIDING GOSSIP]

There may be no harm in all this sort of thing, but it is well for the
discreet maiden and matron to avoid giving any cause for the enemy to
blaspheme,—in other words, for the gossip to make herself busy and
dangerous. To this end, late hours in shaded corners of verandas,
moonlight sails and walks, and beach-promenades well on toward
midnight, are to be shunned. While these may be innocent per se, they
give rise to scandal. The young girl may always have a chaperon to whom
to refer as to the proprieties, but it is not the young girl who is
most talked about. The married woman whose husband lets her have her
own way is a law unto herself, and she must be careful not to make
that law too lax. It takes very little to set silly tongues wagging; it
takes months and years to check the commotion they have made.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: PROMISCUOUS FRIENDSHIPS]

Promiscuous intimacies at summer resorts are a great mistake. Unless a
woman knows all about a fellow guest, she should not get into the habit
of running into her room, or of talking with her as with a lifelong
friend. She may be pleasant toward all, and intimate with none.

It is a well-known fact that there is no other hotbed of gossip equal
to a hotel or a boarding-house. Women, released from the cares and
anxieties of housekeeping and home-making, turn their time and thoughts
to fancy work and scandal. Each arrival runs the gantlet of criticism
and comment, and afterward becomes the subject of “confidential”
conversations upon veranda and in parlors. Here, as everywhere else,
work that will occupy the mind is a sovereign cure for this habit. One
can usually sit in one’s own room, but if one does not, there is always
a book to be read in parlors or on the veranda, which will show the
would-be gossip or retailer of scandal that one is too much occupied to
engage in conversation.

[Sidenote: TWO GOOD RULES]

Certainly in a hotel no one lives unto himself, but each must consider
the comfort of his neighbor. Such a semi-public life is at the best
a poor substitute for a home existence. Two rules to be observed
will make other rules of hotel or boarding-house etiquette sink into
insignificance compared with their importance.

First: Do nothing that will make others uncomfortable.

Second: Pay attention to your own business, and pay no attention to
that of other people.



CHAPTER XXVI

IN THE RESTAURANT


THE woman who, for the first time, is taken to dinner in a large
restaurant is naturally slightly confused by the experience. She needs,
however, to know only a few essential points in order to be able to
conduct herself with propriety and to enjoy her evening. She and the
man who has taken her will leave their wraps in charge of the maid or
hat man at the door. If she has worn a hat, she will retain this, but
if she has gone in a carriage or a car with only a light scarf about
her head, she need not be embarrassed, for many of the women in the
room will be without head-gear. In this country, it is not customary
for women dining in public places to wear gowns cut more than slightly
low.

When the two are shown to their table, the woman should remove her
gloves, keeping them in her lap or perhaps putting them on an empty
chair that is near. Neither the gloves nor a hand-bag should ever be
placed on the table. The man should do the ordering, but as he will
consult his guest’s wishes, she should be prepared to express these
definitely and with sufficient promptness not to keep the waiter
standing too long. Unless something very elaborate is desired, a plate
of raw oysters, a little fish or a bit of bird, a salad and a sweet
with coffee, with the things that go with them, will suffice. The
custom as to ordering is not the same in all restaurants and if two
women be alone, the one who is acting as hostess should ask whether the
waiter wants the entire order at once or not. Usually a slip of paper
and pencil are given which saves the possibility of mistake on the part
of the waiter. Frequently, the portions of meat and salad and of some
other dishes are abundant for two persons, but it will be well to make
a friend of the waiter to the extent of asking if this is the case.

       *       *       *       *       *

The habit of certain fussy people when eating in a restaurant of wiping
off their plates before they are served is intolerable—and foolish. It
is unpleasant for other people,—besides, if the plates are not clean,
there is no ground for faith in the napkins.

To snap the fingers at a waiter is to stamp one’s self as a vulgarian.

[Sidenote: A MODERATE ORDER]

Order within your means and display no anxiety when toward the end of
the meal the waiter lays your bill face downward on the table. When you
are ready to pay it, satisfy yourself that it is correct and place on
the waiter’s tray a sum sufficient to cover it and the amount of the
tip custom says you must give. If a mistake has been made, a quiet word
will usually prove a sufficient remedy.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE MENU CARD]

For the benefit of the woman, who for the first time is confronted
with the elaborate menu card of an expensive restaurant, the following
explanation of terms is given:

    “Aspic”—Meat jelly.

    “Au Gratin”—Dishes covered with crumbs and browned.

    “Au Naturel”—Plain, simple. Potatoes cooked in their
    jackets are “au naturel.”

    “Barbecue”—To roast any animal whole, usually in the
    open air.

    “Bisque”—Soups made thick with mince and crumbs.

    “Blanch”—To parboil, to scald vegetables, nuts, etc.,
    in order to remove the skin.

    “Blanquette”—Any white meat warmed in a white sauce,
    thickened with eggs.

    “Bouillon”—A clear broth.

    “Bouquet”—A sprig of each of the herbs used in
    seasoning, rolled up in a spray of parsley and tied
    securely.

    “Café au lait”—Coffee boiled with milk.

    “Café noir”—Black coffee.

    “Camembert”—A brand of fancy cheese.

    “Canapé”—Usually toast with cheese or potted meat
    spread upon it. Sometimes made of pastry.

    “Cannelon”—Meat stuffed, rolled up and roasted or
    braised.

    “Capers”—Unopened buds of a low trailing shrub grown in
    southern Europe. Pickled and used in sauces.

    “Capon”—A chicken castrated for the sake of improving
    the quality of the flesh.

    “Caramel”—A sirup of burnt sugar, used for flavoring
    custards, etc., and for coloring soups.

    “Casserole”—A covered dish in which meat is cooked;
    sometimes applied to forms of pastry, rice or macaroni
    filled with meat.

    “Champignons”—French mushrooms.

    “Charlotte”—A preparation of cream or fruit, formed in
    a mold, lined with fruit or cake.

    “Chervil”—The leaf of a European plant used as a salad.

    “Chillies”—Red peppers.

    “Chives”—An herb allied to the onion family.

    “Chutney”—A hot acid sauce made from apples, raisins,
    tomatoes, cayenne, ginger, garlic, shalots, lemons,
    vinegar, salt and sugar.

    “Comfitures”—Preserves.

    “Compote”—Fruit stewed in sirup.

    “Consommé”—Clear soup.

    “Cream sugar and butter”—Is to rub the sugar into the
    butter until they are well incorporated, then beat
    light and smooth.

    “Creole, A la”—With tomatoes.

    “Croquettes”—A savory mince of meat, or fowl, or fish,
    or mashed potatoes, rice or other vegetables, made into
    shapes and fried in deep fat.

    “Croustade”—A kind of patty made of bread or prepared
    rice.

    “Croutons”—Small bits of crusted bread used in soups or
    as garnishes.

    “Croutons”—Bread dice fried.

    “Crumpet”—Raised muffins baked on a griddle.

    “Curries”—Stews of meat or fish, seasoned with curry
    powder and served with rice.

    “De Brie”—A brand of fancy cheese.

    “Demi-tasse”—A small cup; term usually applied to
    after-dinner coffee.

    “Deviled”—Seasoned hotly.

    “Eclair”—Pastry or cake filled with cream.

    “En Coquille”—Served in shells.

    “Endive”—A plant of the composite family used as a
    salad.

    “Entrées”—Small made dishes served between courses at
    dinner.

    “Entrements”—Second course side-dishes, including
    vegetables, eggs and sweets.

    “Farcie”—Stuffed.

    “Fillets”—Long thin pieces of meat or fish, generally
    rolled and tied.

    “Fines herbes”—Minced parsley, etc.

    “Finnan Haddock”—Haddock smoked and dried.

    “Fondant”—Melting. Boiled sugar, the basis of French
    candy.

    “Fondue—A preparation of melted cheese.

    “French dressing”—A simple salad dressing of oil,
    vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes mustard.

    “Galantine”—Meat, boned, stuffed, rolled and boiled,
    always served cold.

    “Glacé”—Iced.

    “Glaze”—Stock boiled down to a thin paste.

    “Grilled”—Broiled.

    “Gruyére”—A brand of fancy cheese.

    “Hors d’œuvres”—Relishes.

    “Jardinière”—A mixed preparation of vegetables stewed
    in their own sauce; a garnish of vegetables.

    “Julienne”—A clear soup with shredded vegetables.

    “Koumiss”—Milk fermented with yeast.

    “Lardoon”—The piece of salt pork used in larding.

    “Lentils”—A variety of the bean tribe used in soups,
    etc.

    “Marrons”—Chestnuts.

    “Mayonnaise”—A salad dressing made of oil, the yolks of
    eggs, vinegar or lemon juice, salt and cayenne.

    “Meringue”—The white of eggs whipped to a standing
    froth with powdered sugar.

    “Mousse”—Ice-cream made from whipped cream.

    “Noodles”—Dough, cut into strips or other shapes, dried
    and then dropped into soup.

    “Nougat”—Almond candy.

    “Paprika”—Hungarian sweet red pepper.

    “Pâté”—Some preparation of pastry, usually a small pie.
    Hence “patty-pans.”

    “Pâté de foie gras”—Small pie filled with fat goose
    liver.

    “Pièce de résistance”—Principal dish at a meal.

    “Pilau”—East Indian or Turkish dish of meat and rice.

    “Pimento”—Jamaica pepper.

    “Pimolas”—Small olives stuffed with pimento—_i. e._,
    sweet red pepper.

    “Piquant”—Sharply flavored, as “sauce piquant,” a
    highly seasoned sauce.

    “Pistachio”—A pale greenish nut resembling the almond.

    “Polenta”—An Italian mush made of Indian meal, or of
    ground chestnuts.

    “Potage”—A family soup.

    “Potpourri”—A highly seasoned stew of divers
    materials—meat, spices, vegetables and the like; a
    Spanish dish.

    “Purée”—Vegetables or cereals cooked and rubbed through
    a sieve to make a thick soup.

    “Ragout”—Stewed meat in rich gravy.

    “Ramakins”—A preparation of cheese and puff paste or
    toast, baked or browned.

    “Rechauffé”—Anything warmed over.

    “Rissoles”—Minced meat, made into rolls covered with
    pastry or rice, and fried.

    “Rissotto”—Rice and cheese cooked together; an Italian
    dish.

    “Roquefort”—A brand of fancy cheese.

    “Rôti”—Roasted.

    “Roulade”—Meat stuffed, skewered into a roll and cooked.

    “Roux”—Butter and flour cooked together and stirred
    in a smooth cream. A white roux is made with uncooked
    flour; a brown, with flour that has been browned by
    stirring it upon a tin plate over the fire.

    “Salmi”—A warmed-over dish of game, well seasoned.

    “Sauté”—To fry lightly in hot fat or butter, not deep
    enough to cover the thing cooked.

    “Scalpion”—A mince of poultry, ham and other meats used
    for entrées, or it may be a mixture of fruits in a
    flavored sirup.

    “Scones”—Scotch cakes of flour and meal.

    “Shalot”—A variety of onion.

    “Sorbet”—Frozen punch.

    “Soubise”—A sort of onion sauce eaten with meat.

    “Soufflé”—A “trifle” pudding, beaten almost as light as
    froth, then baked quickly.

    “Supreme”—White cream gravy made of chicken.

    “Tarragon”—An herb the leaves of which are used for
    seasoning and in flavoring vinegar.

    “Tartare”—As a “sauce tartare”—tart, acid.

    “Timbale”—A small pie or pudding baked in a mold and
    turned out while hot.

    “To Braise Meat”—Cook in a covered pan in the oven with
    stock, minced vegetables, and peas, beans, etc., whole,
    and with savory herbs.

    “To Marinate”—To cover with lemon juice or vinegar and
    oil, or with spiced vinegar.

    “Truffles”—A species of fungi growing in clusters
    some inches below the surface of the ground. Used in
    seasoning and for a garnish.

    “Tutti-frutti”—A mixture of fruits.

    “Velouté”—A smooth white sauce.

    “Vol-au-vent”—Light puff pastry baked in a mold and
    filled with chicken, sweetbreads or other delicate
    viand.

    “Zwieback”—Bread baked twice.



CHAPTER XXVII

WHEN TRAVELING


THE selection of proper receptacles for one’s baggage is the first
point to be considered in making preparations for a journey. The
trunk-makers offer great variety in the material, quality and price of
their wares. The indispensable requisite of a trunk, whatever be the
material of its composition, is that it shall be strong. Look well to
hinges, lock and corners before buying. A trunk that will not stand
wear and tear is not worth having. One need not purchase an expensive
trunk, but one can not afford to purchase a cheap one. The material
employed must be good, though the appearance need not be luxurious.
If one can afford the price, one may find trunks where separate trays
are provided for each gown or where indeed frocks may be hung at full
length and come forth at the end of a journey as they might come from
my lady’s closet. But for those who can not or do not care to put
sizable sums of money into the carriers of their clothes, there are
good sensible receptacles at a moderate price. A steamer trunk, by
reason of its shape and size, is a convenient general-purpose piece of
baggage and is especially to be commended for short journeys.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE TRAVELING-BAG]

The bag one selects has much to do with one’s comfort in traveling.
It should be large enough to hold a nightrobe, a kimono, one’s toilet
articles, also an extra shirt-waist and a change of underclothing in
case of detention. The size of the bag is important. It must not be
so large that it is a burden to carry if necessity compels. It must
not be so small that the articles mentioned may not rest comfortably
and without crowding within. As with trunks, so in bags, one finds a
large variety in values. It pays to get a good bag of nice leather,
conveniently arranged for carrying the articles necessary to one’s
comfort. Such a bag, one that pleases the eye and in which one may find
one’s things without a distracting search for them, gives an amount
of satisfaction to a traveler beyond the power of words to convey.
One of the most acceptable gifts that can be made to a person who is
not of the stay-at-home type is a generously fitted traveling-bag.
As thousands of bags are made precisely alike, the stamping of one’s
initials at the end or side may save time and trouble.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DRESSING FOR A JOURNEY]

One should wear dark inconspicuous clothing in traveling, and of a
weight suitable to the season of the year. Beflowered hats, light
gowns, light gloves—unless these are washable—and jewelry are in the
worst of taste and proclaim the unsophisticated or the parvenu. To
be dressed comfortably and modestly is the aim of the experienced
traveler. In summer a dark silk dress of light weight with a silk
rain-coat makes an ideal traveling costume, as neither holds dust. A
woman so attired will arrive at the end of her journey in much better
condition than her less experienced companion who clings to white (?)
blouses. If a fresh veil and a pair of white gloves are tucked into her
bag to be put on at the last moment, she will be charmingly immaculate.
A black silk bag for the protection of one’s hat is a good idea though
most Pullmans supply paper sacks for this purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

If possible, it is well on a journey to carry with one something more
in the way of money than one’s traveling expenses. One can not tell
what emergency may arise or what unexpected demands may be made upon
one. Many women carry the funds not immediately in use, in some sort
of pocket fastened on or made into the petticoat they wear. One can
buy very pretty separate pockets of this sort made of leather or one
can make them of a stout silk fastened down by a clasp on the flap.
Elaborate preparation in caring for one’s wealth is the penalty a woman
pays for being without pockets in her clothes. While it is wise for her
to put the funds unnecessary for immediate use in some such safe place
as that described, she should not keep articles which she may be at
any moment called upon to deliver, in a spot which it is embarrassing
for her to reach. Train conductors and baggage agents have many a grin
and sly smile over the woman who must reach under her petticoat before
she can deliver up ticket and trunk checks. An amusing instance of
this overcaution, so much more characteristic of women than of men,
occurs to the writer. An acquaintance, starting on a European voyage,
took the most elaborate means for the hiding of her valuables upon
her person. In transit she stayed the night at a New York hotel and
woke in the morning to discover, to her horror, that she had slept all
night with the door of her room unlocked and the key on the outside. A
considerable amount of change in a separate purse from one’s bills is a
convenience and a safeguard.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: MAKING ACQUAINTANCES]

A man may, if he chooses, make acquaintances on a journey, and a woman
also, though with less frequency and freedom. The exigencies of travel
may sometimes make it pleasant for her to render or receive aid from
another woman or possibly a man; and this may be the starting-point for
acquaintance. As a usual thing, it is best for a young girl traveling
alone, to avoid all communication with strangers, as she can not know
into what complications it may lead her.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: COMFORT IN A PULLMAN]

If one is making a journey that compels night travel, one must secure
one’s section or half-section in the Pullman or sleeper beforehand. In
order to get good accommodations it is well to do this several days in
advance. The difficulty of getting into an upper berth makes most women
choose the lower, though it is more costly and decidedly stuffier. When
one climbs aboard a train the porter follows with one’s belongings,
finds one’s section or half-section and deposits the hand luggage in
its place. Some travelers are very thoughtless in appropriating more
than their share of the space appointed for wraps, bags, etc. If one
has paid for a half-section only, one has no right to take more than
that, unless the other half of the section remains unsold.

When a traveler wishes his bed made up he should summon the porter and
so declare. Usually an electric bell between the windows of his section
will enable him to call the porter at any time. If the traveler is a
woman and is for any reason dissatisfied with her berth or section, she
may consult with the porter about a change which, if the car is not
full, he is often able to arrange for her. For instance, if a woman
having a lower section finds that the upper is to be occupied by a man,
it is often possible, by the payment of a small sum to the porter, to
move her quarters.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE TIMID TRAVELER]

[Sidenote: DRESSING FOR THE NIGHT]

Many women who find themselves compelled for the first time to take a
sleeping-car, feel timid at the prospect. But the process is simple
though not necessarily comfortable. Once behind the curtains a woman
may remove all her clothing precisely as she does at home if she feel
equal to the physical ordeal of putting it on again in a crowded space
in the morning to the accompaniment of rapid motion and the nausea it
often induces. Unless one is a good traveler, it may be preferable to
remove one’s dress, pinning the skirt to the inside of the curtain to
save its freshness, putting small articles in the swinging hammock next
the windows and for the rest merely loosening bands. Directly above
the head one will find in all first-class trains a button that when
pressed will give a light by which one can read or which will help one
the better to endure an hour of nervous wakefulness. A small bottle of
brandy or spirits of ammonia is carried by delicate women to ward off
train sickness. A woman should not hesitate to summon the porter for
extra covers, a glass of water or any other service that contributes
to her real comfort. To send for him with too great frequency shows
lack of experience and consideration. If one is to be called before
daylight it is wise to give one’s self ample time for dressing and
so the porter should be instructed to call one at a certain time
considerably ahead of the hour for leaving the train. Experienced women
travelers do not don white night-dresses in sleeping-cars, but keep a
dark silk robe for this purpose, insuring equal comfort and a better
appearance in case of illness or accident.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many small offices for which one may call upon the porter
if so inclined. One must, however, keep it in mind that he should
be rewarded proportionately at the end of the journey after he has
performed his last office of brushing one off. Twenty-five cents is
the usual amount given to him for the services rendered in twenty-four
hours. An occasional wary traveler bestows his tip for the first rather
than the last service asked. If a porter appears sullen this method
will be found to have advantages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before leaving one’s berth in the morning, one should, as far as
possible, get into one’s undergarments over which one slips a bathrobe
or kimono before going to the toilet-room. One should take with one
to the toilet comb, brush, tooth-brush, clothes-brush, wash-cloth, a
cake of soap (it is never wise to use the public cake) and the gown
one intends wearing, with its accessories. All the toilet articles
should be carried in a silk waterproof “companion,” or better still,
in a crash apron with rubber-lined pockets for soap and towels, to be
tied about the waist. Arrived there one should be as expeditious as
possible in order not to keep others waiting. One woman’s selfishness
in out-staying her time in the toilet-room may keep ten others in
misery. It is not the time and place for a complete bath. Nowhere is
the quality of true courtesy more needed than in the toilet-room of a
Pullman. When one has finished one’s ablutions, combed one’s hair and
fastened one’s gown, one should clean the basin and place the soiled
towels out of the way. When one leaves the room it should be ready for
the next comer.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: IN THE DINING CAR]

When the announcement is made that breakfast, dinner or luncheon, as
the case may be, is served, the passenger makes his way to the diner.
If this is crowded he must wait his time patiently and with courtesy to
those about him. Sometimes the meal is served _a la carte_ (literally,
by the card), in which case a separate charge is made for each article
on the bill of fare or menu. (Menu, by the way, is pronounced
“may-noo,” not “meyn-you” as one often hears it.) Many dining-cars
serve meals _table d’hote_ (tah-bul-dote) and for these a fixed charge
of one dollar is made. Some train dinners are very good indeed, others
are execrable. If a dish is particularly bad and one complaint does not
produce a better, the diner should not brow-beat his waiter—who is not
to blame—but may if he choose speak to the steward in charge. Having
been served he should fee the waiter. The usual fee is one-tenth the
price of the meal, though men, more frequently than women, give more
than this.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ARRIVING AT A HOTEL]

Arrival in a strange city is bewildering to a person who has traveled
little. There are always, however, in the city railway stations,
bureaus of information where one may find out the necessary things. If
one is desirous of a cab, one may discover there the most trustworthy
line; or, if a car is wanted, what direction one must take to find
the proper one. Usually the traveler, if intending to go to a hotel,
will have made himself acquainted, before arrival in the city, with
the relative value and expense of the different ones. A person is much
better treated at such places if he writes or telegraphs ahead for
accommodations. A woman should choose the side entrance, if there is
one, as this is reserved for ladies. If a woman arrives in a strange
city, unaccompanied, it is sometimes difficult for her to get the
hotel accommodations she desires. At some hotels they will not admit
unaccompanied women after nightfall. Under these circumstances the
traveler would better go to the hostelries established by the Young
Women’s Christian Association, where she may feel certain of the
character of the place and entertainment. These places invariably
require that one shall be introduced and one will do well, therefore,
to take a letter from one’s clergyman. The length of one’s stay is
usually limited but it is sufficient for the ordinary holiday or
shopping visit.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE UNACCOMPANIED WOMAN]

If you are arriving in a city and expect to be “met,” do not, if you
can possibly avoid it, take a train that pulls in at an unearthly hour
of the night or early morning. If you must take such a train, tell
your hostess she is not to meet you, that you will stay the night at
a down-town hotel or at least will take a carriage. An intelligent
woman need have no fear of danger in arriving in a strange city alone.
She may possibly be annoyed by a bold stare, even by a question, but
the chances are that if she be quiet in dress and manner she will not
suffer even inconvenience.

Policemen and station officials are always willing to answer the
questions of perplexed travelers. A little fee sometimes helps them
speak more eloquently. It is not wise to depend upon the chance
passer-by for information. The person whose business it is to inform
you is not likely to tell you what is untrue. Of him you have a right
to expect something. Of others you have a right to expect nothing, and
you may come in for less than the value of your expectations.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ON BOARD A BOAT]

The general etiquette of steamboat travel does not differ from that
on board a train. Boat travel is of a more leisurely sort and begets
somewhat less formality as relates to one’s fellow travelers. Otherwise
the rules of behavior are the same.

       *       *       *       *       *

As a parting injunction to the traveler, let me say,—don’t look
worried, cross and over-careful even if you feel that way. Courtesy
to subordinates will win you attention and service, will straighten
out your difficulties more quickly than any other method. If you take
the ills of traveling with some sense of humor, with a give-and-take
spirit, you will get more than the benefit of the money your journey
may cost you. If you do not carry an elastic spirit with you, the
finest trip that ever was planned will bring you little return.

[Sidenote: CHAPERONS IN EUROPE]

A woman who travels abroad must remember that the rules of chaperonage
are much stricter in Europe than they are in this country, and that
she is expected to have a companion or a maid. If she wishes to
dispense with these, she must reconcile herself to foregoing social
invitations. If she makes inquiry she can always learn of particularly
desirable pensions where she may count on finding among the guests a
congenial person to accompany her on many of her short excursions.

On board the steamship the luckiest passengers in the dining-salon are
those who are fortunate enough to be allotted seats at the captain’s
table.



CHAPTER XXVIII

IN SPORT


SPORT, scientists tell us, is a relic of prehistoric pursuits; and the
so-called sporting instinct is a stirring of the primeval nature within
civilized breasts. Perhaps that is why more people forget the first
tenets of good breeding when competing in various forms of outdoor
exercise than in nearly all the other walks of life put together.

The man who would view with an amiable smirk the spilling of a glass
of Burgundy over his white waistcoat at a dinner, will often exhibit
babyish rage at the breaking of a favorite golf-club or the stupidity
of a caddie. The girl whose self-control permits her to smile and
murmur: “It’s really of no consequence!” when a dance-partner’s foot
tears three yards of lace off her train, will seldom show the same calm
good-humor when her opponent at tennis serves balls that are too swift
and too hard-driven for her to return.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many concrete and a few general rules for behavior in
sport of all sorts, the observance or neglect of which denotes the
“thoroughbred” or the boor far more accurately than would a week full
of ordinary routine.

The general rules apply to every form of sport. They are, briefly:

First, last and always—keep your temper! Remember the word “sport”
means “pastime.” When it becomes a cause of annoyance or impatience, or
an occasion for loss of temper, it misses its true aim and you are not
worthy to continue it.

[Sidenote: REMEMBER THE OTHER MAN]

Second; the “other fellow” has quite as much right to a good time as
you have. Do not play selfishly, or vaunt your superiority over him. In
all contests, show no elation at victory, or chagrin at defeat. This
is the first and great law. Its observance differentiates the true
sportsman from the mere sporting-man.

Third; play fairly. The man or girl who will take an undue advantage of
any description over an opponent, not only breaks the most sacred rules
of good breeding, but robs himself or herself of the real enjoyment of
the game.

Fourth; no sport in which people of breeding can participate demands
loud talking, ill-bred language or actions, or the abridgment of any of
the small sweet courtesies of life.

To sum up,—good breeding, fairness, self-control and patience are
needful equipments. Without any and all of these no man or woman should
take part in sports.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE GOLF-PLAYER]

Golf, perhaps, more than any other outdoor pastime, demands a thorough
and judicious blend of the foregoing qualities. The old story of the
Scotch clergyman, whose conscience would not allow him to continue
both golf and the ministry, and who therefore abandoned the latter,
was of course an exaggeration. But the idea it expresses is by no
means absurd. When a crowd of people throng the links—when novice and
adept, crank and mere exercise-seeker are jumbled together in seeming
confusion—it is not always easy to keep a cool head, a sweet temper and
a resolution neither to give nor to take offense.

Many a golf-player errs in behavior less through ill-intent than
through heedlessness and ignorance of what the etiquette of the
occasion demands. Such enthusiasts may profit by the ensuing rules
which cover the more salient points of decorum, and which may enable
the beginner to avoid many a pitfall:

When two players “drive off” from the tee they should always wait until
the couple in front of them have made their second shot and walked off
from it. Thus confusion is averted and the proper distance maintained.
It is a simple rule, but one often broken.

Three players should always let a pair of players pass them. Not only
should they grant the desired position, but they should offer to do so
before the question, “May we pass?” can be asked. The pair in question
should (in case such permission is not volunteered) ask politely to be
allowed to move forward. The yell of “Fore!” is all the strict rules of
the game demand, but the rules of breeding should come first.

A single player must give way to all larger parties. This is but fair,
since golf is, preeminently, a match; and those actively engaged in
the contest should have the right of way over a man who is merely
practising. The “single player” must recognize and yield with good
grace. If he desires unobstructed practise, let him choose some time
when the links are vacant.

[Sidenote: ON THE PUTTING GREEN]

Never drive on the “putting green” when other players are there
“putting out.” Players should not neglect to get off the green the
moment they have “holed out.” The place is not intended as an isle of
safety, or a club-house corner where scores may be computed, gossip
exchanged, or the work of others watched.

If you are at the tee waiting for others to “drive off,” never speak,
cough, or in any way distract the attention of the player who is
addressing the ball. Inconsiderate or ill-bred people in this way spoil
hundreds of good drives and thousands of good tempers every year.

When a man and a woman are playing golf, the latter should always be
allowed to precede on the first drive off from the first tee.

A man, playing against a woman, should not allow himself to get too far
ahead of her. Do not leave her to plod on alone. This same rule applies
when playing with another man. Do not go after the ball after a drive
until your opponent drives. Then walk together in pursuit. Never go
ahead of your partner.

[Sidenote: AVOID HASTE IN GOLF]

Use no undue haste in golf. Never run!

If you are not employing a caddie, always offer to carry the clubs of
the woman with whom you are playing. In the same circumstances offer to
make the tee from which she is to drive off. It is optional with her
whether or not to accept your offer.

When you have no caddie allow players who have caddies to pass you.
They will go faster than you and should have the right of way.

Never make unfavorable criticisms of others’ play. Never, above all,
laugh at any of their blunders.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WHEN MOTORING]

Automobiling has so increased in popularity that it is almost a
national pastime. And with its growing favor has sprung up a noxious
and flourishing crop of bad manners. There seems to be something about
the speed, the smell of gasoline or the sense of superiority over
slower vehicles, that robs many an otherwise well-bred automobilist of
all consideration. Yet the utmost consideration is due, not only to
mere mortals but to fellow “motormen.”

Common humanity, as well as civility, should always prompt a chauffeur
to stop at sight of a disabled car and to ask if he can be of
assistance; to offer the loan of any necessary tools or extra gasoline;
or even, if necessary, to volunteer a “tow.”

Do not presume on the community of interests to address the chauffeur
or passengers of a passing car, any more than the passengers of one
ordinary vehicle would address those of another. Do not stare at
another’s car, nor, if at a standstill, examine the mechanism. This
is the height of rudeness. The fact that you are so lucky as to own a
car gives you no license to investigate the workings of another man’s
machine, or in other ways to make yourself obnoxious.

When passing a car of inferior horse-power, do not choose that moment
to exhibit your own greater speed. Be careful also not to give such a
car your dust nor (so far as you can avoid) to sicken its occupants
with the smell of your motor’s gasoline.

Do not boast of the phenomenal runs you have made. You are not a
record-holder. And when you become one, the newspapers will gladly
exploit the fact without any viva voce testimony from you.

When meeting a horse vehicle watch closely to see if the horse shows
signs of fear. If he does, completely stop your car, and if the driver
of the horse be a woman, dismount and lead the horse past your car.

Do not violate the speed ordinance. The ordinance was made for public
safety, not to spite you. Do not frighten animals or pedestrians, nor
carelessly steer too near to some farmer’s live stock which may happen
to be in the road. Remember the owner of the chickens or dogs you may
run over is helping to pay for the smooth road you are traversing. The
road is partly his, and you are in a measure his guest.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: RULES FOR TENNIS]

Tennis offers fewer opportunities for “breaks” than do many other of
the sports of the hour. Yet good breeding is here as necessary as when
playing any other game.

If you have a woman for a partner and it is her “serve,” do not neglect
to pick up and hand her the balls before each service. Second her more
carefully than if she were a man, and take charge of the extra balls
for her.

If a woman is your opponent, remember she has not the strength and
endurance of a man. Serve gently. Do not slam balls over the net at
cannonball speed and force. Oppose only moderate strength to her lesser
power. Give her the benefit of the doubt in case of a “let,” or when
the ball may or may not be over the back line.

In “double service” do not serve the second ball until she has
recovered her position from pursuing the first. The choice of rackets
should also, of course, be hers; and any work, such as putting up the
nets, hunting the lost ball, and so on, devolves on you.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE YACHTSMAN AS HOST]

The yachtsman is of two classes,—the man who delights in the dangers
and seamanship incident on a cranky “wind-jammer” in a heavy sea, and
the man whose boat is a floating club-house. Both types are prone
to forget at times that their guests are not so enthusiastic as
themselves; that they may be nervous or inclined to seasickness, and
that the amusements of their host may not always appeal to them. The
man who would never think of causing inconvenience to a guest on land
will show impatience or lack of sympathy at that same guest’s timidity
or _mal de mer_, when afloat.

The same rules of behavior that obtain between host and guest ashore
should prevail on the yacht. The tastes of the latter should be as
scrupulously considered and his or her likes and dislikes be as
considerately met.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CANOEING]

Similar laws of social usages apply to boating and canoeing. “The fool
that rocks the boat” has received so many warnings and such just and
wholesome condemnation that there is no use wasting further words on
him. No man who values the safety and comfort of his companion will
do anything to imperil either. A man should always offer to row, but
should give the girl who is with him the option of doing so if she
wishes. He should hold the boat steady for her and assist her to
embark, having previously arranged the cushions in the stern and made
all other possible plans for her comfort.

The course they are to take should always be left to her choice, and
her wishes should be consulted in every way. A girl would also do well
to remember that the man who has taken her boating is doing all the
work and is trying to give her a pleasant time. She should meet him
half-way, and should try to repress any nervousness she may experience
in being on the water and should welcome the opportunity to help when
occasionally requested by her “skipper” to “trim boat.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Swimming is essentially a man’s sport. While many women are good
swimmers, they usually lack the strength and endurance to make them
men’s equals in this line. A man should therefore be careful to
avoid overtaxing the strength of the girl who is swimming with him;
should be content to remain near the shore if she so desire, and, in
surf-bathing, should lift her over the breakers, or try to shield her
from their force.

In teaching others to swim, infinite patience, good temper and tact are
needful. Allow for the nervousness and awkwardness which are the almost
inseparable attributes of beginners.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DRIVING AND RIDING]

In driving always ask your companion if she or he would prefer to
handle the reins. Do not, by bursts of speed, or by “fights” with a
fractious horse, endanger the safety or composure of your guest.

       *       *       *       *       *

In riding horseback, never remain mounted when addressing some friend
who is on foot. If your initial salute is to be followed by any
conversation, dismount and remain on foot until you take your leave.
In helping a girl to the saddle, extend your hand that she may place
her left foot in the palm, and on the same instant that you raise
the hand she will spring into the saddle; always adjust the curb and
snaffle, hand them to her and arrange her riding-habit before you mount
your own horse.

Cross-saddle riding for women is now so common that it is generally
accepted. Still a girl who makes a visit where she expects to ride
should make sure her hostess approves this method before she adopts it.
Those who hold that a lady should use a side-saddle feel strongly on
the subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: GOOD BREEDING IN GAMES]

There are countless pitfalls for the unwary in all forms of sport;
but none that can not be readily bridged by consideration for others,
by good temper, and by the commonest rules of breeding. One general
rule for all sports and games is, do not take part unless you can play
reasonably well. To do so otherwise is sure to embarrass you and to
interfere with the pleasure of others.



CHAPTER XXIX

MRS. NEWLYRICH AND HER SOCIAL DUTIES


WE have ridiculed our newly-rich woman’s fads, pretensions and failures
so sharply and for so long that we find it hard to do justice to the
solid virtues she often possesses. The average specimen is fair game,
and we—one and all, from the gentlest to the most sarcastic—unite in
“setting her down.”

Except perhaps the mother-in-law, no other woman supplies fun-makers
with such abundant—and cheap—material. She might retaliate on her
persecutors more frequently than she does by attributing much of the
ridicule, fine and coarse, heaped on her, to envy, far meaner than the
meanest of her pretensions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus much for the average specimen at her worst. The exceptions to the
ignoble parvenu are numerous enough to form a class by themselves.
It is not a disgrace in this country of dizzying down-sittings and
bewildering uprisings, for miner, mechanic, merchant or manufacturer
to make money fast. It is to his credit when he insists that the
girl who was poorer than himself when they were married, and who has
kept him at his best physical and mental estate ever since by wise
management of their modest household—making every dollar do the work
of a dollar-and-a-quarter while feeding and clothing her family—should
get the full benefit of his changed fortunes. In house, furniture,
clothing, company, and what he names vaguely “a good time generally,”
he means that she shall ruffle it with the bravest of her associates.
He means also that these associates shall be in accord with his means.
And the intention need not be in vain. A woman who is by instinct a
lady, and who is at all clever in observing the little things she
lacks and acquiring them, will find herself “received” by as many
delightful people as she has time for. And inwardly she may take
courage from a witty woman’s remark, “I’d as soon be the newly-rich as
the always-poor.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: MR. NEWLYRICH]

However, the odds are all against the chances that our worthy
money-maker himself will conform his personal behavior to the new
conditions. Husbands of his type leave “all that sort of thing” to
wives and daughters, and make the social advancement of these women
harder thereby. Not the least formidable obstacle in their upward
journey is the stubborn fact that “your father is quite impossible.”

[Sidenote: SOCIAL POLISH]

Men, as a whole, do not take polish readily. As John Newlyrich did
not wear a dress coat before he was twenty-one he is seldom quite
at ease in a “swallow-tail” at forty. As a millionaire of fifty, he
rebels against the obligation to wear it to the family dinner every
evening in the week. If he has read Dickens, which is hardly likely,
he echoes Mrs. Boffin’s “Lor’! let us be comfortable!” He butters a
whole slice of bread, using his knife trowel-wise, and if busy talking
of something that interests him particularly, he lays the slice upon
the cloth during the troweling. He cuts up his salad, and makes the
knife a good second to a fork while eating fish. Loyal to the memories
of early life, he never gets over the habit of speaking of dinner as
“supper,” and observes in conversation at a fashionable reception, “As
I was eating my dinner at noon to-day.” In like absent-mindedness, he
tucks his napkin into his collar to protect the expanse of shirt-front
exposed by the low-cut waistcoat of his dress suit. He says “sir,” to
his equals, and addresses facetious remarks to the butler, or draws the
waitress into conversation while meals are going on. Anxious wife and
despairing daughters are grateful if he does not put his knife into his
mouth when off-guard.

Trifles—are they? Not to the climbers who are exercised thereby. They
are gravel between the teeth, and pebbles in the dainty foot-wear of
Mrs. Newlyrich. The history of her social struggles would be incomplete
without the mention of this drawback. _She_ has learned the by-laws of
social usage by heart, and, loving and loyal wife though she is, she
sometimes loses patience with John for not doing the same.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: PROPER SOCIAL ASPIRATION]

In this, and in many another perplexity, more or less grievous, our
heroine has our sympathy and deserves our respect. We use the word
“heroine” advisedly. We have put the wealthy pushing vulgarian, who is
part of the stock company of caricature and joke-wright, entirely out
of the question. She has her sphere and her reward. Our business is
with the woman of worthy aspirations and innate refinement, raised by
a whirl of fortune’s wheel from decent poverty to actual wealth. She
has a natural desire to mingle on equal terms with the better sort of
rich people. She is glad of her wealth, but not purse-proud. It has
introduced her to another world. Of her social life it may be truly
said that old things have passed away and all things have become new.
It would be phenomenal if she fitted at once and easily into it. Money
has bought her fine house, and for money the artistic upholsterer has
furnished it. Money has hired a staff of servants, whereas up to now,
a maid-of-all-work was her sole “help.”

[Sidenote: ELEGANCE IN SPEECH]

Money does not enable her to master the “shibboleth” that would be
her passport to the land she would possess. And to mangle it into
“sibboleth”—as the least sophisticated of us know—means social
slaughter at the passages of Jordan. One’s speech and manner of
speaking are of the first importance socially, and fortunately it
is not difficult to improve them if one earnestly determines to do
so. One may frankly take private lessons, or one may learn much by
listening closely to the talk of people of high social finish. One
should not, however, imitate slavishly or attempt the impossible. To
use the “broad a” gracefully one must either have been born to it or
assiduously trained in one’s younger days. Otherwise it is bound to
seem an affectation. An error heard with surprising frequency even from
well-educated people is the use of “don’t” for “doesn’t.”

In _Sesame and Lilies_ Ruskin remarks, “A false accent or a mistaken
syllable is enough in the parliament of any civilized nation, to assign
a man to a certain degree of inferior standing forever.” This is an
extreme statement, of course, but there is much truth in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

One thing Mrs. Newlyrich sometimes mistakenly permits is the
correcting of her grammatical blunders and her husband’s by their
better-educated children. To allow this shows a wrong sense of
proportion. It is infinitely more important for a child to respect his
parents and to show them respect than that the laws of Lindley Murray
be observed.

[Sidenote: AS TO FOREIGN PHRASES]

Seldom use a foreign phrase even if you have perfectly mastered
its meaning and pronunciation. The “well of English undefiled” is
usually sufficient for all needs. People who constantly sprinkle
their conversation and letters with “dictionary” French or Latin
lay themselves open to the charge of affectation. Certain foreign
words once accorded their original pronunciation are now habitually
Anglicized. One of the commonest of these is “valet,” which is now
spoken as if it were an ordinary English word.

Engage no servant who patronizes you. Give your maids to understand at
the outset that you are the head of the house, and know perfectly well
what you want each one to do, and how your household is to be run. Be
kind with all—familiar with none. They are your severest critics. Never
speak to them of your husband by his Christian name. Your daughter
should be “Miss Mary” and your son “Master John” in this connection.

“Breakfast is on,” “Luncheon is ready,” “Dinner is served” are the
correct formulas that you should require at the announcement of a
meal. Assert yourself with dignity, never defiantly. Your servants have
nothing to do with your past, or with anything connected with your
personal history beyond the present relation existing between you and
them. They will discuss and criticize you below-stairs and on “evenings
out,” and, in the event of “changing their place,” to the next mistress
who will stoop to listen to them. They would do the same were you a
princess with a thousand-year-old pedigree. Stand in your lot and be
philosophical.

You can not be too punctilious in not questioning them about how
“things” were done in other houses in which they have been employed.
Every such query will be construed into ignorance and diffidence. Be a
law unto yourself and unto them.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WORDS TO BE AVOIDED]

Learn to speak of your “maid” or “maids,” not of your “girl.” If you
have two, call one the cook and the other the housemaid. “Girl” is in
itself a perfectly good word but it has, like some other good words
as “genteel,” become debased by getting into indifferent company. In
referring to your family avoid the word “folks” which has been decreed
inelegant. Substitute “folk” or “people.” Do not overwork the word
“lady,”—never speak of a “saleslady,” though this does not mean that
any particular girl or woman serving behind a shop counter may not
be a lady in every essential of the word. Train yourself in the nice
distinctions that dictate when one shall say “woman” or “lady,” when
“man” and when “gentleman.” The terms “lady friend” or “gentleman
friend” are never to be used. Never say “Excuse _me_!” Leave that to
the person who calls herself a “saleslady.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS]

Yet you must learn how the people live whom you would meet upon common
ground as old to them as it is new to you. You blush in confessing that
you are bewildered as to the order in which the various forks are to be
used that lie beside your plate at the few state dinners you attend.
Entrées are many, and some appallingly unfamiliar. You wonder mutely
what these people would think of you if they knew that you were never
“taken in” to dinner by a man until to-night, and how narrowly you
watch the hostess, or the woman across the way before you dare advance
upon the course set before you. Dreading awkward stiffness that would
betray preoccupation, you attract attention by a show of gaiety unlike
your usual behavior and unsuited to time and place. Should you make a
mistake—such as using a spoon instead of the ice-cream fork—you are
abashed to misery. Don’t apologize, however gross the solecism! In
eighteen times out of twenty, nobody has noticed the misadventure. In
twenty cases out of a score, if it were observed you are the one person
who would care a picayune about it, or ever think of it again.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another cardinal principle is to learn to consider yourself as a minute
fractional part of society. When your name is bawled out by usher or
footman at a large party, it sounds like the trump of doom in your
unaccustomed ears. To your excited imagination all eyes are riveted
upon you. In point of fact, you are of no more consequence to the eyes,
ears and minds of your fellow guests than the carpet that seems to rise
to meet your uncertain feet. Stubborn conviction of your insignificance
is the first step that counts in the acquisition of well-mannered
composure among your fellows.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: MAKING ACQUAINTANCES]

In forming new acquaintances, be courteous in the reception of
advances, and slow in making them until you have reason to think that
you are liked for yourself, and not because your husband represents
six, or it may be seven numerals. There are sure to be dozens of
critics who will accuse you of parading these figures, as vessels
fly bunting in entering a strange harbor. Stamp on your mind that
adventitious circumstance has nothing to do with the worth of YOU,
YOURSELF!

       *       *       *       *       *

For a long while after you embark upon your new life, be watchful
and studious—yet covertly, lest your study be noted. Return calls
promptly, sending in the right number of cards, and bearing yourself
in conversation with gentle self-possession. Never be flattered by any
attention into a flutter of pleasure. Above all, do not be obsequious,
be the person who honors you by social notice a multi-millionaire, or
the Chief Magistrate of these United States. Servility is invariably
vulgarity. Familiarity is, if possible, a half-degree more repulsive.
Self-respect and a wholesome oblivion of dollars and cents are a
catholicon amid the temptations of your novel sphere.

If you chance to entertain some one who is still as obscure as you
were once yourself, avoid all temptation to make a display or to
be patronizing. “I am so glad you could come to-night,” effusively
commented such a hostess to one of her guests. “I know you go out so
seldom!” The guest in question showed by her silence that she did
not relish being publicly reminded that she was of limited social
opportunities.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AVOID NOVELTIES]

When you begin to entertain in your turn avoid, scrupulously, startling
effects and novelties of all kinds. Until you are used to the task,
be strictly conventional in arrangements for your guests’ reception
and pleasure. Let floral decorations and “souvenirs” be modest and
tasteful. Mantels banked with orchids, boutonnières of hothouse roses
at a dollar apiece, and cases of expensive jewelry as favors, may
express a generous hospitality on your part and a desire to gratify the
acquaintances you would convert into friends. They will surely be set
down to ostentatious display of means that few of the guests possess.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HELP FROM BOOKS]

There are manuals of etiquette which will keep you from open solecisms
in social usages. Follow their rules obediently, curbing all
disposition to originality—for a while, at least. If possible, keep
the greedy society reporter at a distance, without angering her. Do
not give away the list of those invited, much less the menu. As Dick
Fanshawe’s eulogist said of men who “jump upon their mothers,”—“Some
does, you know!” Some even send in to the newspapers unsolicited
descriptions of their entertainments with lists of guests, to the
amusement of the editorial office.

These mistakes give occasion to the aforementioned cartoonists and
joke-venders to deride the name of hospitality dispensed by the
Newlyrich clan. Let the aforesaid manual of etiquette be followed
with obedience, but not with servile and unthinking obedience.
Unfortunately, it is true that the person unaccustomed to precise
social regulations and to a formal manner of living, is inclined to
consider the rules governing such life as arbitrary, inexplicable and
mysterious. If the uninitiated woman will disabuse herself of this
idea, she has taken a long step in the right direction. Once you accept
the fact that there is reason behind the forms employed by society, it
will not be long before you will be searching for the reason itself.
The laws governing the conventional world will then acquire for you a
meaning that will make adherence to them simple and natural, instead of
stiff and mechanical.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LEARN TO DISCRIMINATE]

The matter of discriminating properly in questions of taste is a thing
much more difficult to learn than the set and definite rules governing
definite exigencies of social life. Yet taste,—taste in clothes,
taste in the objects surrounding one, taste in all matters with which
expenditure is concerned,—this is a necessity in the attainment of any
social position worthy of the name. In this direction something may
be gained by observation, though not until the eye is sufficiently
trained to make it a trustworthy guide. The sense of beauty is somewhat
a matter of cultivation, and its application to every-day life is
the result of experience and judgment. Do not imagine that a color
is becoming to you merely because you happen to like it. Do not buy
a chair or a couch simply because the one or the other may happen to
please your fancy. The color you wear, the furniture you buy must have
reference, the one to your appearance, the other to its surroundings.

[Sidenote: CONSULTING AUTHORITIES]

When one is unversed in these matters it is best to submit problems
to an authority. It is wiser to allow a clever modiste to select the
color, style and material of one’s gown than to do it one’s self. It is
better to put the scheme of decoration for your house into the hands
of some accomplished person, educated to that end, than to attempt it
yourself. In large cities persons competent in this matter of household
decoration may easily be found, people whose business it is to act as
paid agents of the more beautiful and esthetic way. Many architects
have in their employ persons who are capable of advising as to interior
decoration and of superintending the work. If one is resident in a
small place, the difficulty is obviated by the intelligent aid offered
to the questioner through the columns of the better magazines devoted
to esthetics as applied to every-day living. The advice given in the
best of these publications is conscientious, careful, expert advice.

       *       *       *       *       *

One especial point in house-furnishing is worth noting. Do not crowd
your beautiful Oriental rugs together, but leave a surface of polished
floor about each. Rugs are floor pictures and should have frames
as well as wall pictures do. The effect of putting them close upon
one another, though seen in many houses otherwise well ordered, is
inartistic.

[Sidenote: AS TO LION-HUNTING]

Mrs. Newlyrich is frequently criticized for her frequent fondness for
lion-hunting. This is not always fair. If she hunt because of the
glory she hopes to heap on herself, she deserves ridicule, but if she
do it in the spirit of genuine appreciation and a desire to give rare
pleasure to her friends she performs a real service to art and to
society and merits praise for her courage and kindness, not censure.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the woman who is now wealthy was once a trained nurse or a
stenographer, do not let her be ashamed of the fact now. If she is
frank and simple about the matter, sensible people will respect her for
having been honorably employed. If she tries to hide the truth, every
one will despise her for it. If she avoid the phrase—and the thought
back of it—so often heard, “getting into society,” and will remember
that all gentle aspiring persons are already members of the best
society, she will be helped to steer her bark aright.

       *       *       *       *       *

Beware of any person who attempts to exploit you “for revenue only.” On
the other hand, if you find some one who for reasons of sincere liking
undertakes to show you the social ropes, you will be fortunate.

[Sidenote: THE VALUE OF MODESTY]

I have said that it is not your fault that you were not born in the
purple. Neither is it of your merit and to your honor that you now
walk in silk attire, and may freely gratify dreams you would once have
considered wildly impossible. A certain steadiness of attitude should
be striven for. Don’t be like a bell, answering helplessly to every
contact. Imitate in your manner that large nobility of Horatio of whom
Hamlet said,

    “A man that fortune’s buffets and rewards
     Hast ta’en with equal thanks.
     They are not a pipe for fortune’s finger
     To sound what stop she please.”

The best of all books enjoins on the suddenly-exalted to be mindful
of the pit from whence they were digged. Purse-pride is contemptible
in its meanness and folly. You are safe from ridicule if you keep
this fact in mind. Set up “me” and “mine” in “pearl” type, and not in
capitals.

A final injunction: do not assume knowledge of what you are really
ignorant. To do this is to lay traps for yourself and to multiply
embarrassments. Try to forestall the situation by private questioning;
if you can not do this say frankly that you do not know.



CHAPTER XXX

DELICATE POINTS FOR OUR GIRL


THIS chapter is, perhaps, rather a _Familiar Talk with Our Girl_ on the
proprieties—which she may not recognize as such—than the emphasizing
of various points of etiquette. But the violation of the essentials
of self-respect is so common that a book of this character should
have a chapter devoted to a bit of plain speaking to the young woman
of to-day. We may call her actions, under certain circumstances, a
violation of the proprieties, or of etiquette, or of conventionality.
Or, perhaps, it is a sin against all three.

We are accustomed to seeing the sign “Hands off!” hung upon dainty
fabrics,—pure spotless materials that would be injured and stained
by the touching of a gloved or bare hand. People who admire the pure
beauty of the article thus marked do not resent the sign. They see the
wisdom of it and are willing to obey the mandate. For a fabric once
soiled never looks the same again. All the chemicals in the country can
not give it the peculiar pristine freshness that was once its chief
beauty.

To those who appreciate the beauty of youth, its pure freshness, the
thought of its being touched by indiscriminate hands is abhorrent.

[Sidenote: KEEPING A MAN’S RESPECT]

We have, happily, passed the Lydia Languish age, the day in which the
young girl was a fragile creature, given to fainting and hysterics,
clothed in innocence that was ignorance, good because she was afraid
to be naughty, or because she was so hedged in by conventionalities
that she did not have the opportunity to stray near the outer edge of
the pasture bars. In her place we have a healthy, fearless, clear-eyed
young person, looking life and its possibilities square in the face,
good because she knows from observation or hearsay what evil is,
and abhors it because it is evil. She is a sister, a chum, a jolly
companion to the boy or man with whom she associates. She rides, walks,
golfs or dances with him. She may do, and she does, all these things,
and she still keeps his respect.

Thus far we go, and then creeps in the sinister question: Does she
always do this?

The answer comes promptly: It is her own fault if she loses any man’s
respect.

To those of us who have outstepped girlhood, who have begun to live
deeply these lives of ours that are full of potentialities for good or
evil, there comes a keen insight, and, with that insight, our outer
sight becomes more clear; and, sometimes, in looking at young people,
we find our hearts, and almost our lips, crying out, “DON’T!”

[Sidenote: THE BLOOM OF THE PEACH]

We would not be—we are not—prudes, but the bloom of the peach is
beautiful, and once rubbed off it can not be replaced. The snow-white
fabric is too fair to be carelessly handled.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE RESPONSIBILITY OF GIRLS]

Last winter I sat in a train-seat behind a girl of eighteen and a young
man a few years her senior. She was pretty and bright. She chatted
gaily with her companion, who, after a few minutes, threw his arm
over the back of her seat. To the initiated, it was evidently done as
a trial as to whether that kind of thing would be allowed. The girl,
intent on the conversation, appeared not to notice the action. In a few
moments the hand resting against the girl’s shoulder was laid over the
shoulder. The owner flushed, made some laughing protest, but evidently
administered no rebuke, as the offending member continued to rest where
it was, then gradually crept up toward her neck; finally, at some
teasing remark of hers, it tweaked her ear. Had the child been older,
the look in the man’s eyes, as he watched the fluctuations of color in
her pretty face, would have warned her that she was playing with fire;
that his respect for her would have been greater had she shown in the
beginning that the sign, “Hands off!” was on her person, although
invisible to the vulgar eye.

This is but one of the many instances of the free-and-easy actions on
the part of men, permitted by well-meaning girls.

In nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of a thousand a man will not
take a liberty with a girl unless she allows it.

[Sidenote: IS BERNARD SHAW RIGHT?]

I wish girls would bear this fact in mind! Men are what they make
them, what they allow them to be. When a young fellow told a man in my
presence last week that such and such a girl was a “jolly sort,” and,
while out driving, had stopped at a roadhouse with him, gone into the
parlor of the house and taken a glass of ginger ale while he had one
of whisky, I was not surprised that the man of the world to whom he
imparted this fact, remarked, “Crookéd, eh?”

That the young fellow (who, had he been older or less easily flattered,
would not have related the occurrence) flushed and laughingly denied
the allegation—did not alter the fact that the conclusion drawn was
inevitable. The young girl may not, probably did not, deserve the
stricture passed on her, but by her free-and-easy behavior she lost
something she never can regain.

Men may pay attention to girls who ignore the conventionalities, who
allow them doubtful liberties, but they like them because they are
what they term “fun.” Such girls are not those for whom men live, for
whom they sacrifice bad habits, for whom they look in seeking a wife,
and for whom they would bravely give up life if necessary. The true
love of a good man is worth winning. It is not won by the girl who
lowers herself in a man’s eyes. To her might apply the time-worn toast
of man to “The New Woman,—once our superior, now our equal.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Another point to which I would draw the attention of our girl is
that the man should make the advances, should do the seeking and the
courting. To this she would reply, “Why, of course! All girls know
that.” They may know it theoretically, but does every girl live up to
that knowledge? Does she always wait to be sought, to be won, without
taking a hand herself at assisting destiny? I think observation will
not prove that she does.

In this very free-and-easy age, when men are too busy seeking the
elusive mighty dollar to be over-eager to show marked attention to
girls, it is often the young woman who pays heed to some of the
preliminaries of the courting period. It is frequently she who suggests
to a man, after meeting him several times, that she would be glad to
have him call. It is she who, when he is going on a journey, asks him
if he will not write to her. It is she who asks him for his picture
and, on occasion, offers him one of hers.

[Sidenote: KEEPING ONE’S SELF-RESPECT]

It is, and it has been through centuries, the place of the man to take
the initiative in such matters. If he wants to call on a girl, let him,
as a rule, have the courage to ask her if he may do so; if he wishes
to correspond with her, he should ask her permission to write to her.
And if he does none of these things of his own volition, they may go
undone. The girl who, through love of admiration, or the desire for
men’s attention, takes these initial steps, loses her self-respect,
and, unless the man in question be an exceptional instance, awakens in
his breast a sensation of amused interest. He is flattered, and a bit
contemptuous. As time goes on and he likes the girl more and more, that
feeling may be forgot, but it is always lying there dormant, and may
arise sometime just when the young woman would most wish for respect
and love.

Men prize that which they have had difficulty in winning. The apple
that drops, over-ripe, at one’s feet is never quite so tempting as that
which hangs just beyond reach.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is well for the matter of sex to be put out of mind in many of the
dealings between young men and young women, but in the question of
loverly attentions it can not be ignored. And in this matter it is the
man, and the man only, who should make advances. It is better for her
peace of mind that a girl should never have the marked attention of
any man, than that she should forget her maidenly dignity in order to
acquire it. Such acquisition is certainly not worth the price paid for
it.

A man must look up to that which he loves. And a hard-and-fast rule is
the slangy one that declares that one does not run after a car when he
has already caught it, or when it stands at the corner waiting for him,
and ready to start or stand at his will. The girls for whom men find
life worth living are those who are ideals as well as companions.

[Sidenote: HANDS OFF]

Dear girls, be happy, be merry, have all the harmless fun that the
good God, who wishes you to be happy, sends your way. But for the
sake of the man who may one day seek you and win you—for the sake
of the womanhood that he would honor—let all men know that you are
labeled—“HANDS OFF!” and that you are not to be cheaply gained. They
will love you better, respect and honor you more for that knowledge.

       *       *       *       *       *

A serious mistake often made by girl students and working girls is
taking the men who call on them to their rooms. In most cases these
rooms are fitted up with couches to look much like sitting-rooms, but
the men know they are _not_ sitting-rooms, and the girl who receives
men thus suffers for it in name if not in fact. It is a thing that a
self-respecting girl can not afford to do, even once. If she expects to
have men call on her, she must choose a room in a house where she may
occasionally have the use of a parlor. The ruling may seem hard, but
there is no getting round it.

       *       *       *       *       *

No young girl can afford to accept a luncheon or dinner invitation from
a married man or, indeed, any attention whatsoever. It does not matter
that he may be an “old friend of the family,”—those who see her may not
know this and, even if they do, may not acquit her of harm. For similar
seasons, a girl employed as secretary in a man’s office should take
care that the relation between her and her employer is purely one of
business.

[Sidenote: GOOD TASTE IN JEST]

[Sidenote: DELICACY IN CONVERSATION]

One of the unfailing tests of good breeding is what one laughs at.
Without becoming priggish, a girl should discriminate between what is a
fit subject for jest and what is entitled to her reverence. As a rule,
jests about birth, death and marriage are to be avoided. A special
word of suggestion must be given in connection with the first of these
subjects. If you are to speak of a woman who is to become a mother,
say frankly that she is expecting or bearing a child. The euphemisms
employed in place of this plain phrase are unspeakably vulgar. It is
never vulgar to be frank if the person and the circumstances justify
the introduction of the subject at all. One must often wish for more of
the old-fashioned reserve on intimate topics. A critic of modern women
said of them recently: “Among themselves, women lose more delicacy than
any man could take from them.” When one listens aghast to the talk
of some modern women, one can but echo the statement. Akin to this
unbecoming freedom of speech is the lack of consideration sometimes
shown to an expectant mother by her friends. Comment in such instances
one would suppose would be recognized as the height of indelicacy, but
thoughtlessly, and in a spirit of jest, remarks are made that cause a
sensitive person to wince. Unless the mother-to-be confides her sacred
expectations, she has every right to have them treated with the respect
of silence, and only a vulgar-minded woman will intrude upon her.



CHAPTER XXXI

OUR OWN AND OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN


CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON, in one of her novels, thus describes a
discourtesy to which mothers of young children are much given:

“Talking with a mother when her children are in the room is the most
trying thing conversationally; she listens to you with one ear, but
the other is listening to Johnnie; right in the midst of something
very pathetic you are telling her she will give a sudden, perfectly
irrelevant smile over her baby’s last crow, and your best story is
hopelessly spoiled because she loses the point (although she pretends
she hasn’t) while she arranges the sashes of Ethel and Totsie.”

There is a protest in the paragraph quoted that will find an answering
groan in many a heart. Who of us does not wish that mothers of small
children would adopt a few rules of ordinary politeness and courtesy,
and, when talking to a guest, give attention that is not shared and
almost monopolized by the child who happens to be present?

[Sidenote: THE SMALL BOY]

Parents make the mistake of thinking that their children must be as
absorbingly interesting to all visitors and acquaintances as they
are to those to whom they belong. This is a vast mistake. No matter
how fond one may be of the young of his species, one does enjoy a
conversation into which they are not dragged, and talks with more
freedom if they are not present. Certainly it is far better for the
child to learn to run off and amuse himself than to sit by, listening
to talk not meant for his ears. Those of us who were children many
years ago were not allowed to make nuisances of ourselves to the extent
that children of to-day do, and surely we were happy. In one home there
is a small boy, very good, and very affectionate, whose mother can not
receive a caller without the presence of the ubiquitous infant. He sits
still, his great eyes fixed upon the face of the caller, and she feels
ashamed for wishing that he would get out of the room. Occasionally he
varies the monotony by saying, “Mother, don’t you want to tell Mrs.
Blank about what I said the other day when I was hurt and did not cry?”
Or, “Mother, do you think Mrs. Blank would like me to recite my new
poem to her?”

This may be annoying, but it is still more pitiful. To talk so much to
a child and of him in the presence of others that he is a poseur at the
early age of five, is cruel to the little one himself. We frown on the
old adage which declared “children should be seen and not heard,” but
there are homes in which the guest wishes that they might be invisible
as well as inaudible.

One mother defers constantly to her fourteen-year-old son, and allows
him to be present during all chats she has with her friends. She says,
“You do not mind Will, I am sure. You may say what you like where he
is, for he is the soul of discretion, and I talk freely with him.” But
the visitor does not feel the same confidence in “Will,” and certainly
objects to expressing all her opinions with regard to people and things
in his presence.

[Sidenote: OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN]

Our own children are intensely interesting; the children of other
people are, as a rule, _not_! Let us, once in a while, put ourselves in
the place of another person, and think if we are willing to have that
person’s child always in the room when we would talk confidentially
with her. I think if we are frank we shall acknowledge that while we do
not mind the presence of our own children, we do talk more freely when
other people’s children are not present. Said a man not long ago:

“Mrs. Brown is a marvelous woman. She is one of the most devoted
mothers I know. Her children are with her a great part of the time.
Yet, whenever I call there, alone or with a friend, a signal from
her empties the drawing-room or library of the entire flock of five
infants, and she is just as much interested in what her callers have to
say as if she had no youngsters cruising about in the offing.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TRAINING THE SHY CHILD]

It is not to be supposed that children are never to be allowed to
come into the drawing-room. They should be trained to enter the room,
greet the guests politely and without embarrassment, answer frankly
and straightforwardly, and to speak when spoken to. Then, they should
be silent unless drawn into the conversation. The truest kindness is,
after a few moments, to let the little ones run away and play with
their toys or in the outdoor air.

The child who hangs his head shyly, and refuses to speak politely
to any one who addresses him, should be taught the courtesy of
friendliness. From the cradle a baby may be taught to “see people,”
and, as soon as he is old enough to return a greeting, he must be
trained to do so.

The only way to make small ladies and gentlemen of children is to
teach, first of all, perfect obedience. This is, in this day, an
unpopular doctrine, for there is prevalent a theory that the child
must be allowed to exercise his individuality,—in other words, to do
as he pleases. Why the child should develop his individuality, and the
parents curb theirs, may be matter for wonder to those not educated up
to this twentieth-century standard of ethics. If “days should speak,
and multitude of years should teach wisdom,” the father and mother
are better fitted to dictate to the child than the child to dictate
to them. And yet, in the average home, the last-mentioned form of
government often prevails.

[Sidenote: FIRMNESS IN CONTROL]

Nothing is more unkind than to allow a child to do always as he
pleases, for, as surely as he lives, he must learn sooner or later
to yield to authority and to exercise self-control. The earlier the
training begins, the easier it will be. The child creeping about the
room soon knows that the gentle but firm “No!” when spoken by the
mother means that he must not touch the bit of bric-à-brac within
reach. And even this lesson will stand him in good stead later on.

The basic principle of home government must be love enforced by
firmness. A punishment should seldom be threatened, but if threatened,
must be given. The time for threat and punishment is not in public. In
the parlor, on the train or boat, it is the height of ill-breeding to
make a scene and to threaten a punishment of any kind. Were the child
properly trained in private, parents and beholders would be spared the
humiliating spectacle that too often confronts them in visiting and
traveling.

       *       *       *       *       *

One word here as to the child on train or boat. The person who is
truly well-bred will not turn and frown on the mother of the tiny baby
who, suffering with colic, or sore from traveling, is wailing aloud. Of
course the sound is annoying, but it is harder on the poor mortified
mother than on any one else. I already hear the question, “Why doesn’t
she keep the infant at home then?” Frequently she can not do this. The
child may be ill, and be on its way to seashore or mountains to gain
health; or the mother may be summoned to see some relative, and can not
go unless the baby goes too. Whatever the cause of her going, the fact
remains that she derives no pleasure from holding a screaming baby, and
her discomfort is turned into positive anguish by the disgusted looks
of the women, and the muttered imprecations of the men.

[Sidenote: A KINDLY TRAVELER]

I saw once under such circumstances a woman who was an honor to her
sex. Opposite her in the train sat a young mother, and in her arms was
a fretful wailing baby. It was evidently the first baby, and the poor
girlish mother was white and weary. At every scream the baby gave she
would start nervously, change the little one’s position, look about at
the passengers with an expression of pathetic apology,—all the time
keeping up a crooning “Sh-h-h!” that produced no effect on the crying
atom of humanity. And, as is often the case, the more nervous the
mother became, the more nervous did the baby grow, and the louder did
he scream. An exclamation of impatience came from a woman seated behind
the suffering twain, and, at the same moment, a man in front threw down
his paper with a slam and rushed out of the car and into the smoker.
Then the woman who was an honor to her sex came across from the seat
opposite, and laid a gentle hand on the mother’s shoulder, smiling
reassurance in the tear-filled eyes lifted to hers.

[Sidenote: TRUE COURTESY]

“My dear,” said the soft voice, “you are worn out, and the baby knows
it. Let me take him for a minute. No, don’t protest! I have had four of
my own, and they are all too big for me to hold in my arms now. I just
_long_ to feel that baby against my shoulder! Give him to me! There,
now! you poor, tired little mother, put your head down on the back of
the seat, and rest!”

She took the baby across the aisle, laid him over her shoulder with his
head against her cheek, in the comforting way known to all baby-lovers,
and in three minutes the cries had subsided and the baby was asleep in
the strong motherly arms, where he lay until Jersey City was reached.
And the tired little mother fell into a light slumber, too, comforted
by the appreciation that she was not alone, nor an intolerable nuisance
to all her fellow passengers.

Was not such an act as this woman’s the perfection of true courtesy,
the courtesy that forgets itself in trying to make another comfortable?

[Sidenote: TEACHING GOOD MANNERS]

This same spirit spoken of by Saint Paul as “in honor preferring one
another” can be inculcated in the children in our homes. The small of
the human species are, like their elders, naturally selfish, and must
be taught consideration for others. It is the grafting that makes the
rose what it is. You may graft a Jacqueminot or Maréchal Neil upon the
stump of the wild rose. The grafting, the pruning, and the training are
the work of the careful gardener. The mother can never be idle, for,
while the stock is there, she does the grafting.

Obedience must be taught in small things as well as in great. The tiny
child must be taught to remove his hat when he is spoken to, to give
his hand readily in greeting, to say “please” and “thank you”; not to
pass in front of people, or between them and the fire; to say “excuse
me!” when he treads on his mother’s foot or dress; to rise when she
enters the room; and to take off his hat when he kisses her. The mother
who insists that her child do these things at home need not fear that
he will forget her training when abroad.



CHAPTER XXXII

OUR NEIGHBORS


THE fact that people live next door to you does not make them your
neighbors in the higher and better sense of that word. There may be
nothing in their persons or characters to commend them to you, or
for that matter, to commend you to them. “Neighborhood” in literal
interpretation signifies nearness of vicinity. You have the right to
choose your associates and to elect your friends.

Presuming on this truth, dwellers in cities are prone to vaunt their
ignorance of, and indifference to, those who live in the same street,
block and apartment-house with themselves. If newly come to what is a
kingdom by comparison with their former estate, they make a point of
seeking society elsewhere than among residents of their neighborhood.
“Let us be genteel or die!” says Dickens of Mrs. Fielding’s struggles
to eat dinner with gloves on. “Let us be exclusive or cease to live!”
says Mrs. Upstart, and refuses to learn the names of her neighbors on
the right and left.

One of the hall-marks of the thoroughbred is his daily application of
the maxim, “Live and let live.” His social standing is so firm that a
jostle, or even a push from a vulgarian who chances to pass his way,
can not disturb him. When the mongrel cur bayed at the moon, “the moon
kept on shining.” If he be a gentleman in heart as well as in blood and
name, he has a real interest in people who breathe the same air and
tread the same street with himself—interest as far removed from vulgar
curiosity in other people’s concerns as the gentle courtesy of his
demeanor is removed from the familiar bumptiousness of the forward and
underbred.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CHANCE SALUTATIONS]

Entering ourselves as learners in his school—and we could not study
manners in a better—we recognize our neighbors as such. If we live
on the same block and meet habitually on the street, a civil bow in
passing, a smile to a child, in chance encounters in market or shop, a
word of salutation, be it only a “Good morning,” or “It is a fine day!”
or, after a few exchanges of this sort—“I hope your family keeps well
in this trying weather”—are tokens of good-will and appreciation of the
fact that we are dwellers in the same world, town and neighborhood.

[Sidenote: COURTEOUS INQUIRIES]

None of these minute courtesies which you owe to yourself and to
your neighbor lays on you any obligation to call, or to invite her to
call on you. Failure to comprehend this social by-law often causes
heart-burnings and downright resentment. You may thus meet and greet a
woman living near you every day for twenty years, and if some stronger
bond than the accident of proximity does not draw you together, you may
know nothing more of her than her name and address at the end of that
time—perhaps the address alone. Unless, indeed, casualty in the way of
fire, personal injury or severe illness, makes expedient—and to the
humane such expediency is an obligation—further recognition of the tie
of neighborhood. In either of the cases indicated, send to ask after
the health of the sufferer, and if you can be of service. If there be
a death in the house, a civil inquiry to the same effect and a card of
sympathy will “commit” you to nothing.

We are working now on the assumption that each of us has a sincere
desire to brighten the pathway of others, to make this hard business
of daily living more tolerable. Of all the passive endurances of life,
strangerhood is one of the hardest to the sensitive spirit. Your
neighbor’s heart is lighter because you show that you are aware of her
existence and, in some sort, recognize her identity. She may not be
your congener. Your bow and smile remind her that you are her fellow
human being. Stranger

ships meeting in mid-ocean do not wait to inspect credentials before
exchanging salutes.

       *       *       *       *       *

If your neighbor be an acquaintance whom you esteem, do not let her be
in doubt on this point.

[Sidenote: IN PLANTATION DAYS]

In ante-bellum days at the South, neighborhood was a powerful bond
of sympathy. Miles meant less to them in this respect than so many
squares mean to us now. A system of wireless telegraphy connected
plantations for an area of many miles. Joy or sorrow set the current in
motion from one end to the other. What I have called elsewhere being
“kitchenly-kind,” was comprehended in perfection in that bygone time.
When the house-mother sent a pot of preserves to her neighbor with her
love, and “she would like to know how you all are to-day,” it was the
outward and substantial sign of the inward grace of loving kindness,
and not an intimation that the recipient’s preserve-closet was not so
well-stocked as the giver’s. When opened hamper and unfolded napkin
showed a quarter of lamb, or a steak, or a roll of home-made “sausage
meat,” enough neighborly love garnished the gift to make it beautiful.

Out-of-fashion nowadays?

    “’Tis true: ’tis true ’tis pity;
     And pity ’tis ’tis true.”

[Sidenote: THE BEST PEOPLE]

Enough of the old-time spirit lives among our really “best people”
to justify the “kitchenly-kind” in proffering gifts that presuppose
personal liking and active desire to please a neighbor. A cake
compounded by yourself; a plate of home-made rolls taken from your own
table; a dainty fancy dish of sweets of home-manufacture, express more
of the “real thing” than a box of confectionery or a basket of flowers
put up by a florist. It is the personal touch that glorifies the gift,
the consciousness that your neighbor thinks enough of you to give of
her time and service for your pleasure. The home-made offering partakes
of her individuality, and appeals to yours.

       *       *       *       *       *

Neighborliness does not, of necessity, imply familiarity of manner
and speech that may become offensive, or a continuous performance of
visits, calls and “droppings-in” that must inevitably become a bore,
however congenial may be the association. Those friendships last
longest where certain decorous forms are always observed, no matter
how close the mutual affection may be. Mrs. Stowe, in one of her
New England stories, describes the intercourse between two families
as “a sort of undress intimacy.” Reading further, we find that this
dishabille companionship involves visits by way of the back door and at
all sorts of unconventional hours.

[Sidenote: BACK-DOOR VISITING]

Such abandonment of the reserves that etiquette enjoins on every
household is a dangerous experiment. The back porch is for family use.
Your next-door neighbor may not meddle therewith. Personally, I do not
want my own son, or my married daughters, to enter my house through the
kitchen. If you, dear reader, would retain your footing in the house
of the friend best-loved by you, come in by the front door, and never
without announcing your presence as any other visitor would. Steady
persistence in this rule will avoid the chances of divers unpleasant
possibilities. Your hostess—or her husband—or grown son—may be as
much in dishabille as the intimacy which, in your opinion, warrants
you in running in and up, without knock or ring. You may happen on
a love-scene, or a family quarrel, or a girl may be in the hands of
the treasure of a hair-dresser who shampoos her twice a month with
pure water that looks like peroxide of hydrogen, and “restores” the
subject’s dark brown tresses to the guileless flaxen of her forgotten
babyhood; or your clattering heels upon the stairway may break the
touchy old grandmother’s best afternoon nap.

There is but one place on earth where it is safe to make yourself
“perfectly at home,” and that is your own house—or apartment—or
chamber.



CHAPTER XXXIII

CHURCH AND PARISH


THEORETICALLY, the church is a pure democracy, a mighty family. There,
if anywhere, the rich and the poor meet together on terms of absolute
equality.

In that least poetical of pious jingles,—

    “Blest be the tie that binds,”—

we declare that

    “The fellowship of kindred minds
     Is like to that above.”

These and other Pietistic platitudes, whether tame or tuneful, are
technical, and so nearly meaningless as not to provoke debate. Every
reasonable man and woman knows and does not affect to conceal his or
her consciousness of the truth that social distinctions are not effaced
by the enrolment of rich and poor, educated and illiterate, refined and
boorish, in impartial order upon the “church books.” True religion
_does_ refine feeling and engender benevolence and charitable judgment
of our fellows. In doing this, it creates a common ground of sympathy,
as of belief. It elevates the moral and spiritual nature. Of itself, it
does not enrich the intellect, or polish manners. One may have a clean
heart and dirty flesh-and-blood hands; may be a sincere and earnest
Christian, yet double his negatives, shove his food into his mouth with
his knife, prefer the corner of a table-cloth to a napkin, and be an
alien in the matter of finger-bowls.

It is possible that two women may work together harmoniously in church
and parish associations, each esteeming the other’s excellent qualities
of heart and enjoying the fellowship of her “kindred mind,” and yet
that both should be intensely uncomfortable if forced into reciprocal
social relations that have nothing to do with church or charity.

[Sidenote: THE REASONABLE VIEW]

These are plain facts no reasonable person will dispute. In view of
them the fact, equally patent, that the Newlyrich clan sometimes resort
to church connection as a lever to raise them to a higher social plane,
is one of the anomalies of human intercourse that may well stir the
satirist to bitter ridicule and move compassionate beholders to wonder.

“When they begin to feel their oats they go off to you!” laughed the
keen-witted, sweet-natured pastor of a down-town church to a brother
clergyman whose flock worshiped in a finer building and a fashionable
neighborhood. “The sheep with the golden fleece always finds a breach
in our church-wall.”

It takes him, his ewe and his lambs, a long time to learn that pew
proximity does not bring about social sympathy. It is not a week since
I saw a girl, a thoroughbred from crown to toe, flush in surprise and
draw herself up in unconscious hauteur, when a flashily-dressed young
person greeted her across the vestibule of a concert-room with “Hello,
Nellie! didn’t we have a bully time last night?”

They had attended a Sunday-school anniversary, and, as their classes
were side by side, had exchanged remarks in the intervals of
recitations, songs and addresses. The parvenu’s clothes were more
costly than “Nellie’s;” her father was richer; _they were members of
the same church_! To her vulgar mind these circumstances gave her the
right to take a liberty with a slight acquaintance such as no well-bred
person would have dreamed of assuming.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: YOUR PEW NEIGHBOR]

First, then, I place among the maxims of church and parish etiquette:
Do not imagine that your next-pew neighbor must be your friend. If she
be a newcomer and a stranger in the congregation, bow to her in meeting
in lobby or in aisle cordially, recognizing her as a fellow worshiper
in a temple where all are welcome and equal. If you can be of service
to her in finding the place of hymn or psalm, should she be at a loss,
perform the neighborly service tactfully and graciously,—always because
you are in the House of the All-Father, and are His children,—not that
you seek to court a mortal’s favor for any ulterior purpose.

In meeting her on the street, let your salutation be ready and
pleasant, but not familiar. Don’t “Hello, Nellie!” her, then or ever,
while bearing in mind that non-recognition of one you know to be a
regular attendant at the same church with yourself, yet a comparative
stranger there, is unkind and un-Christian.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE STRANGER IN CHURCH]

The case is different if you are the stranger. Friendly advances should
come from the other side. If they are not made, there is nothing for
you to do but to content yourself with the recollection that you go to
church to worship God, not to make acquaintances. Never depend on your
church-connection for society. If you find congenial associates there,
rejoice in the happy circumstance and make the most of it. If you do
not, do not rail at the congregation as “stiff and stuck up,” at the
church as a hollow sham, and the pastor as an unfaithful shepherd.
The expectation on the part of some people that he should neglect the
weightier matters of the law and the gospel, and prostitute his holy
office by becoming a social pudding-stick for incorporating into “a
jolly crowd” the divers elements of those to whom he is called to
minister, disgraces humanity and civilization—not to say Christianity.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: PEW HOSPITALITY]

Pew hospitality has fallen into disuse to a great extent of late
years, principally on account of the usher-service. The tendency of
this partial desuetude is to make pew owners utterly careless of their
obligation to entertain strangers. Regard for the best interests of
your particular church-organization should suggest to you as a duty
that you notify the usher in your aisle of your willingness to receive
strangers into your pews whenever the one or two vacant seats there
may be needed. If your family fills them all every Sunday, you can not
exercise the grace of hospitality.

When one or two, or three, are to be absent from either service,
however, take the trouble to apprise the oft-sorely-perplexed official
of the fact, and give him leave to bring to your door any one he has to
seat. When the stranger appears, let him see at once that you esteem
his coming a pleasure. Give him a good seat, a book and a welcome
generally.

By this behavior you commend to his favor your church, human nature and
the cause dearest to your heart.

If you are the visiting worshiper, and it is evident that the other
occupants of the pew are the owners thereof, make courteous and
grateful acknowledgment at the close of the service, of the hospitality
you have received. I hope the return you get will not be the cold
supercilious stare one true gentlewoman had from the holder of a pew
in the middle aisle of a fashionable church in New York. The guest put
into Mrs. Haut Ton’s pew thanked the latter simply and gracefully for
the opportunity given her of hearing an admirable sermon.

“Who are you that dare address _me_!” said the silent stare. “It is bad
enough to have _my_ pew invaded by an unvouched-for stranger without
being subjected to the impertinence of speech!”

The last place upon God’s earth where incivility and the arrogance of
self-conceit are admissible is His house. “Be pitiful,” writes the
apostle who learned his code of manners from One who has been not
irreverently called “the truest gentleman who ever lived.” “Be pitiful;
be courteous!”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE PASTOR’S FAMILY]

[Sidenote: THE PASTOR’S CALL]

The relations of parishioner and the pastor’s family are often
strained hard by the popular misconception of the social obligations
existing—or that should exist—between them. In no “call” that I ever
heard of is the clergyman enjoined to cater to the whims and vanities
of exacting members by visits that are not demanded by spiritual
or temporal needs, and which minister to nothing but the aforesaid
jealous vanity. Send for a clergyman when his priestly offices are
required. For the rest of his precious time let him come as he likes,
and go whither he considers his duty calls him. He was a man before
he took orders, and the man has social rights. Let him “neighbor,” as
old-fashioned folk used to say, with his kind.

The aforesaid “call” makes no mention of his family. If you like
to call on them when they come to the parish, and if you find them
congenial—your congeners, in fact—keep up the association as you would
with your doctor’s, or your lawyer’s family. That you belong to Doctor
Barnabas’ parish, that you are the wife or daughter of an officer in
his church, gives you absolutely no claim on his wife or daughters
beyond what you, individually, possess. To demand that Mrs. Barnabas,
refined in every instinct, highly educated and with tastes for what
is best and highest in social companionship, should be bullied and
patronized by Mrs. Million, a purse-proud vulgarian, unlearned and
stupid, is sheer barbarity. Yet we see it—and worse—in many American
churches.

[Sidenote: A FALSE ASSUMPTION]

Do you, sensible and amenable reader, lead the way to better things;
loosen at least one buckle of the harness that bows many a fine
spirit to breaking, and makes the church a smoke in the nostrils of
unprejudiced outsiders. Separate ecclesiastical from social relations.
Owe your right to call a fellow parishioner “friend,” and to visit
at manse or parsonage, or rectory, to what you _are_—not to the
adventitious circumstance of being a member in good standing in a
fashionable, or an unfashionable, church. Exact no consideration from
those who belong with you to the household of faith on the ground of
that spiritual “fellowship.” The position is false; the claim ignoble.

       *       *       *       *       *

No matter what church one is in, one should always try to conform as
far as possible to its order of worship. Not to do this shows a want of
proper reverence.



CHAPTER XXXIV

THE WOMAN’S CLUB


[Sidenote: THE TOLERANT ATTITUDE]

THE popularity of women’s societies for literary study, for economic
discussion, for the consideration of municipal and social improvement,
is enormous. They are to be found all over the country, but
particularly do they flourish in the Middle West, where every town and
hamlet in the region boasts a woman’s club of some sort. Both ridicule
and praise are showered upon these organizations; and they deserve
both. Some of their manifestations are crude, absurd and tiresome;
others are fine in themselves, exert a broadening influence over
those intimately concerned, and are helpful indirectly to the whole
community represented by them. However much particular societies may
lay themselves open to adverse criticism by reason of priggishness,
superficiality or a mistaken sense of their importance in the scheme
of things, it must be acknowledged that the general tendency of these
organizations is good. They lift women out of the consideration of the
commonplace, domestic side of existence; they encourage toleration
and a give-and-take attitude toward life, in which attitude women are
often lacking; they open a way for the development of latent talent of
various kinds; they are often stepping stones to improvement in the
social life of a community. It would be hard to estimate how much they
have done in creating an atmosphere for the truly artistic and literary
element in various communities throughout the United States. No doubt
they have in this way encouraged the production of literature and other
forms of art; while, in humbler fashion, they have brought pleasure and
an outlook into many narrow circumscribed lives.

An English woman, visiting in a western city of our country, was
asked what one of our institutions she admired the most. “The Woman’s
Club,” she replied without hesitation, and added that she would like
to transplant it to her native land where, it was true, there were
associations of women banded together for various purposes, but none
in which women met in such easy and happy intellectual relations as in
the women’s clubs of America. Such praise from an unprejudiced observer
of our country consoles the woman who believes in the mission of the
woman’s club despite many an ugly newspaper fling. The English woman
in question was fortunate in attending a club of particular interest
and value where, to a degree, the ideal of what a woman’s club should
be was realized. Such a club indicates the possibilities of the
institution, however; and many organizations of women are working with
crude material through absurd phases toward accomplishment as happy.

In small communities where the opportunities are infrequent for
theater, for social diversion of various kinds, the woman’s club is of
the greatest help. It serves at once to focus and distribute all the
better social and intellectual interests of the neighborhood. It may be
a means of lifting a whole community to a livelier and more interesting
social and intellectual level.

[Sidenote: HELPING IN LEGISLATION]

Many women’s clubs become important factors in municipal legislation
along the lines most amenable to feminine influence. Through such clubs
women have helped to solve educational questions, have influenced
public sentiment in the direction of cleaning and beautifying the
streets, and in many other ways have helped to promote law and order.
The literary club is, however, the form most often taken by feminine
organizations.

The formation of a literary club is not a difficult matter, though the
amount of red tape with which it is sometimes covered up makes the
project seem formidable. The woman most interested in the organization
of such a club should call a meeting at her house of those she thinks
most likely to enter into the scheme with energy and profit. A
perusal of Robert’s _Rules of Order_ or of any other good manual of
parliamentary law, will show how such a meeting should be conducted,
how officers should be elected and a constitution adopted. It may
be said in this connection that there are few matters harder for a
woman to digest gracefully than a knowledge of parliamentary usages.
Such knowledge is for use only, not for display. To make a show of
it is like using a kitchen utensil for a drawing-room ornament. Many
women seem to regard the rules governing societies as important in
themselves. They are only important as the knowledge and use of them
quickens the business proceedings leading up to the real purpose of
the organization. Business in a woman’s club, founded for study and
improvement, is only a means to an end. It is disastrous to consider it
otherwise.

[Sidenote: MAKING OUT THE PROGRAM]

The membership having been decided upon, the officers selected and
constitution adopted, the next and most important thing in a literary
club is to make out the program. For this purpose an executive
committee of three or more is appointed by the president or elected
by the club. Sometimes this committee makes out the entire program,
merely notifying each member of the part she is expected to take in its
performance. Sometimes the members are consulted as to what subjects
they prefer. The more arbitrary method is often necessary in order
to procure unity of design in the program. If, for instance, the
program for the day includes two papers and a discussion following,
the subjects considered should be related, so as to make some sort of
harmony. If each member is allowed to choose her subject, regardless of
anything but her own desire, small pleasure or profit follows. In some
clubs the executive committee sends out cards to the members, asking
for suggestions, accepts the best of these, and, when possible, assigns
the topics preferred.

[Sidenote: ASSIGNING THE TOPICS]

If the first mentioned and more arbitrary method is followed, the
committee should be careful to select subjects according to the
persons for whom they are designed. Mrs. Brown, who loves poetry, but
knows nothing of science, should not be asked to handle the wonders
of electricity in the twentieth century; and Mrs. White, who has a
delicious touch in narrating personal experiences, but knows little
of continental fiction, would better be asked to write a paper on her
summer vacation than one on the great Russian novelists, Turgenieff
and Tolstoi. Of course, the practise for Mrs. Brown and Mrs. White, in
considering subjects opposed to their knowledge and taste, might be
salutary for them, but it might also send the other members of the club
to sleep. And the ambition of the executive committee should be to
avoid as much dulness as possible in the atmosphere it partly creates.

Whether the program shall be miscellaneous in character, or shall
be devoted to progressive study in one direction, is a question to
be considered by the committee. If the club is small, compact in
spirit, and on improvement bent, the study of some one period, author
or movement is often most advantageous. If the club is large, and
entertainment is largely the motive for meeting, a program that varies
to meet the various demands of the membership is better.

[Sidenote: THE CLUB SESSION]

Usually, the number of papers on a given day should not exceed two.
Sometimes, owing to the light or easily divisible nature of the theme
for the day, three papers, of fifteen or twenty minutes each, may be
assigned.

For the discussion that should follow the paper, or papers, it is the
custom generally in women’s clubs to appoint a leader. The selection of
leaders for conversation should be carefully made. Not every woman who
writes a good paper talks well, though it is possibly within her power
to do so if she makes sufficient effort. The leader of a conversation
should be one who has been tried in general discussion and found
successful. Upon the leader depends the guidance of the talk. If it
drifts into foolish and unprofitable channels, it is her business to
call it back to better issues, yet to do so with what shall not seem
a meddling or arbitrary touch. The cultivation of the gift of speech
is, in the minds of many competent judges, the best thing offered us
by the woman’s club. Only a skilled person should undertake leadership
in a discussion, but the floor of the club is a school where all may
learn something of the art. To learn to think quickly, to express one’s
self standing and facing an audience,—this is an accomplishment worth
having, and one which many a club woman owes to years of progressive
effort in a woman’s club.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ADMITTING NEW MEMBERS]

Members should be taken into a club because they have qualifications
which will add to the pleasure and profit of the membership at large.
One should not vote for or against a candidate for purely personal
reasons. Many kind people, who are yet ignorant of the proper law for
limiting the membership of a club, consider it an act of enmity to
blackball a candidate for membership whether she be fitted for that
membership or not. This is a mistaken and a sentimental theory. It
is indeed disagreeable to blackball, but it is sometimes necessary.
Those who propose members for a club should feel the responsibility of
such proposals and thus, as far as lies within their power, avoid for
the membership, or committee controlling this matter, the unpleasant
necessity of refusing or blackballing a candidate.

[Sidenote: ADDRESSING THE PRESIDENT]

The new member should be received with courtesy by the older members
of the club. Her sponsors or guarantors should see to it that proper
introductions, if introductions be necessary, are made. For several
months, at least, after her admission to the club, the new member’s
part should be a negative rather than a positive one. It is an
unwritten law in the United States Senate that the new senator does
not speak on any matter of importance for a year after his election.
Exactly so, modesty demands that the new member in a woman’s club,
unless specially requested, keep silent till custom has established her
place in the organization. When the proper occasion arises for her to
speak or to read, she begins her performance as others do theirs, by
formally addressing the president and members of the club thus: “Madam
president and women of the club.”

In many clubs, where the membership is not large and the dues are
small, it is customary to meet from house to house. This should always
be considered only a provisional method. It is much better to have a
club home than to wander about from place to place. Papers and other
properties accumulate in the life of a club, and it is advisable to
have some permanent place for the bestowal of them. The sense of
getting acquainted with a new place each time interferes with ease
of manner and freedom of discussion, while familiarity with one’s
surroundings begets both these happy qualities. As soon as the funds
warrant the expenditure, a club should rent a convenient and acceptable
place, where its regular meetings can be held.

[Sidenote: THE CLUB BREAKFAST]

Once a year, usually at the beginning of the president’s term of
office, it is customary for the club to give some sort of entertainment
for its members. This may be a luncheon or breakfast, a high tea
or merely an afternoon reception, where salad, ices and coffee are
served. At this festivity, after the menu has been served, the retiring
president bids good-by to her office and introduces her successor, who
acts as toast-mistress for the occasion. The toasts should be few in
number, not more than five or six, and the time occupied by each should
be from five to seven minutes. Commonly, the subjects for toasts should
be of a lively pleasing nature, and should be treated in a manner to
correspond. To take advantage of a festive occasion for the delivery of
a lamentation or a sermon is in very bad taste. It should be remembered
by the speaker that she is expected to entertain and not to instruct.

[Sidenote: UNWISE CRITICISM]

The spirit of the members toward club performances should be kindly
and genial, if good work is to be expected. Nothing can be done in
the face of ill-natured criticism. The standard of work can only be
raised by each member doing her best, and keeping an open mind for
the performances of her acquaintances. Frequently a special advantage
in hearing club papers lies in one’s acquaintance with the writer,
which makes it possible for one to interpret much more richly than
would be possible in the printed page of a personally unknown author.
This is the “unearned increment” of club membership, one of the best
returns for its fellowship; and, in order to get the most out of one’s
connection with a literary club where, in the nature of things, one can
not be expecting literary masterpieces, one must be on the lookout for
this personal quality which adds so largely to the written and spoken
words heard there.



CHAPTER XXXV

CHARITIES, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE


CHARITY begins at home, but it is a great mistake to suppose that it
should end there. Indeed, in the last analysis, to do for one’s own
family is not charity, but a form of selfishness. The truly generous
spirit can not resist the call to help the poor and needy, the outcast
and degraded.

One’s relation to charity should not be accidental, but should form a
part of the plan of one’s life. It is not very creditable to give to
a good cause only because one is besieged to do so, or because one is
ashamed to say “no.” When the young married couple sit down together
for their first discussion of finance, of how much they shall spend
for house, for clothes, how much for food, how much for amusement
and so on, this question of what shall be done for those poorer than
themselves should have a place. No matter how small the sum possible,
something should be given to philanthropic work.

The woman of the family is very often, directly or indirectly, the
dispenser of the money devoted to charity. She is the one who decides
into what channels it shall go. She has the time for investigating the
needs of societies and of individuals. The work, too, that accompanies
gifts of charity more often falls to her lot than to a man. This is a
department of service properly belonging to her. She has natural rights
in this section of the world’s work, of which she should be proud.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TWO KINDS OF CHARITIES]

Charities, broadly, are of two kinds, public and private; and
activity in one should not preclude activity in the other. The ideal
administration of charity would consist in every person comfortably
established, having among his real friends several poor persons or poor
families from whom he himself received a broadening knowledge of life,
as well as to whom he gave of physical necessities. In the absence
of this ideal situation, he must avail himself of the best means
open to him. He must take advantage of the splendid organization of
modern charities, but he must not forget also to be on the lookout for
individual cases of need that are not likely to appear before the board
of any philanthropic organization.

[Sidenote: BUILDING UP CHARACTER]

We hear it from the pulpit and the platform continually, yet not
too often, that organized charitable work is one of the finest
achievements of our present civilization. Narrow-minded people
sometimes say that our grandmothers got along very well without it,
and did as much good as the women of the present day. They got on
without it only because they did not have such complex conditions to
cope with. It is not possible, no matter how good the intentions of the
individuals concerned, that as valuable work can be done without modern
methods as with them. In these days, each charity of a city or town
attempts to cover one field, and to cover it as thoroughly and from as
many different points of view as possible. Wherever possible, the aim
of such organizations is to help people to help themselves. The idea is
not only to tide the beneficiaries over temporary difficulties, but to
aid them in building up character by means of self-respecting effort.

Membership in such organizations brings opportunity for action and
knowledge also of the bearings of one’s action. It makes charity
something more than a matter of sentimental impulse. The opportunity to
do good offered by these societies is not only an opportunity to help
the poor, but to help one’s self, and even in other ways than the one
generally acknowledged of broadening one’s sympathies and cultivating
one’s heart. The gain a woman derives in discipline from working in
concert with other women is of inestimable value. This discipline is
sometimes accompanied by vexations, as discipline commonly is, but,
taken in the right spirit, it is broadening.

       *       *       *       *       *

Charitable societies are often made up largely of women whose ideas of
business are chaotic, whose capacity for speech is not at all equal
to their capacity for work. The time spent by such people in idle
discussion at business meetings is wearing, but it is not altogether
unprofitable. The better trained women must do what they can to improve
the situation. When they can not improve it, they must grin and bear
it. Even with the drawbacks named, organization pays. The experience of
many is a richer thing than the experience of one; and, when it comes
to action, concerted action is a more powerful thing than single and
individual effort.

[Sidenote: SELECTION OF CHARITIES]

One can not help all the causes one would like to help, or belong to
the organizations that represent them. One should select that charity
which appeals to one most or where one feels one can do the most good,
and one should make attendance upon its meetings and the other work of
the society a part of one’s regular duties. The sorrows of one’s life
often suggest the charity one cares most to aid. Women who have lost
little ones feel a drawing of the heart toward the society that helps
children. Women who have seen much of pain and suffering in their
own families wish to join a society that makes the burden of the sick
poor as light as possible. Those who have seen sympathetically the
loneliness and bitterness possible to old age, wish to help the aged
poor. And the determining personal experience makes the work of charity
so much richer and more effectual.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE SOCIAL SETTLEMENT]

One should not leave the subject of one’s duty to organized
philanthropy without a word concerning the work of the social
settlement, the greatest philanthropic movement of the day. The idea
at the bottom of settlement work, the idea that the rich or the
comfortably situated must live with the poor, must know their lives by
direct and continuous contact in order to exert any lasting influence
for good, is a noble idea in itself and one that is singularly
attractive to ardent spirits.

Unfortunately, fashion and the novelty of the life involved in the
experiment has made social settlement work attractive to many people
for somewhat selfish reasons. Such people should be discouraged from
going into it—first, because they hurt the cause. They do not know how
to get on with poor people, and often their ill-disguised curiosity
amounts to insolence and hurts those whom it is intended the work
should benefit. The second reason is that these people who, through
excitement and love of novelty, leave their homes for settlement work
are often needed at home. It is much the vogue just now for young
women just out of college to do a year of social settlement work. If
they have what Methodists name “the call,” and have no more urgent
and intimate duties behind them, this is very well. But if it means
deserting home tasks because they are dull and unexciting, it is well
enough to think twice before the mother of the family is left to face
all the disagreeable issues of home life. This is one of those cases
where charity at home is of more importance than charity abroad. Of
social settlement work, seriously and earnestly considered, it is
impossible to say too much in commendation.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: PRIVATE GIVING]

The philanthropic impulse of a generous heart is not satisfied with
giving to organizations or working for them. One must do in other and
private ways in order to satisfy one’s heart and conscience. One should
help many people through ties of service, of love or of friendship.
In time of need, one should remember those people who have lived as
domestics in one’s family, or who have been connected in some humble
capacity with the business of the head of the house. These persons, if
they have been faithful to one’s interests, one helps with a personal
enthusiasm that is, of course, lacking in the case of strangers.
Faithful or unfaithful, one knows something about them, and can figure
out easily what is the wisest as well as the most grateful manner of
doing for them.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE POOR RELATION]

Then there is the poor relation whom we have always with us and, in the
helping of whom, all the tact of which one is possessed is not too much
to use. The very fact that he or she, as the case may be, must accept
favors from one of the same blood and, therefore, in every sense but
the financial, of the same rank in life, makes the graceful bestowal of
the gift a matter that is hard to compass. To pass on the gown one has
laid aside so that there shall seem to be no condescension in the act;
to explain successfully that one sends money at Christmas because one
was uncertain what would be the proper gift to buy; in fine, to give
with a broad sympathy that, for the minute, gives the donor an insight
into the other’s disappointments and vexations—this is what is needed
in dealing with the poor relative.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: INDIVIDUAL HELP]

A flavor of even greater grace and delicacy must go into the gift
offered by the rich friend to the poor one. It is one of the privileges
of the generous rich, not only to feed the starving body but sometimes
to feed the starving soul, not only to provide bread and butter but to
minister to a starved sense of beauty and of joy. To give pictures
and books to those who love them but can not buy, to give a year at
college to some nice young fellow whose parents can not do for him, to
give pretty trinkets to a pretty young girl who lives in a house where
there is no money to spare for such things—these gifts of friendship
are one of the greatest privileges of a large income. Though not
counted commonly as charity, they come under the head of charity in its
biblical significance of love and sympathy.



CHAPTER XXXVI

COURTESY FROM THE YOUNG TO THE OLD


THE pessimist, reading the heading of this chapter, would be inclined
to ask if one writes nowadays of a lost quantity. While we do not
consider the grace of courtesy as entirely lost, we are at times
tempted to think that it has “gone before,” and so far before that it
is lost sight of by the rising generation.

The days have passed when the hoary head was a crown of glory, as the
royal preacher declares. It is certain that if it is a crown, it is one
before which the youth of the twentieth century do not always bow.

Before we condemn the young unsparingly for their lack of reverence,
we must look at the other side of the question. To-day there are few
old people. First, there is youth. That lasts almost until one is a
grandparent; then one is middle-aged. No one is old,—at least few
will acknowledge it. The woman of forty-five is on “the shady side of
thirty,” she of sixty-five, is “on the down slope from fifty.” And,
even when the age is announced, one is reminded that “a woman is only
as old as she feels.” There is sound common sense in all this. Can not
we afford to snap our fingers at Father Time and his laws, when the law
within ourselves tells us that we are young in heart, in feeling, in
aims? So the principle that bids us shut our eyes at the figure on the
mile-stone we are passing is a good one. As long as we feel fresh still
for the journey, as long as every step is a pleasure, what difference
if the walk has been five miles long or fifteen? We judge of the strain
by the effect it has had on us. If we feel unwearied and ready for
miles and miles ahead of us, who shall say that the walk has been ten
miles long, when we are conscious in our energetic limbs that it has
only been two delightful miles?

[Sidenote: NO ONE IS OLD NOW]

The fact that no one is now old has its effect on the Young Person
in our midst. She hesitates to say to the matron, “Take this seat,
please!” when she knows that in her soul the matron will resent the
insinuation that she is on the downward grade. Not long ago I witnessed
the chagrin of a woman of thirty-five who rose and gave her seat in
a stage to a woman who was, if one may judge by the false standard
of appearances, at least fifteen years her senior. The elderly woman
flushed indignantly:

“Pray keep your seat, madam!” she commanded in stentorian tones. “I
may be gray-headed, but I am _not_ old or decrepit!”

I fancy that one reason gray hair is becoming fashionable is this
desire to cling to youth. Every year more young women tell us that they
are prematurely gray, and their sister-women add eagerly, “So many
women are, nowadays!”

[Sidenote: THE IMPORTANCE OF TACT]

Our Young Person must, then, be very careful how she displays the
feeling of reverence for age which, we would like to believe, is
inherent in every well-regulated nature. She must exercise tact,
without which no person will have popularity.

[Sidenote: APPRECIATING ONE’S ELDERS]

One point in which Young America displays lamentable vulgarity is in
the habit of interrupting older people. Interruptions, we of a former
generation were taught, are rude. That is a forgotten fact in many
so-called polite circles. And when people do not interrupt they seem
to be waiting for the person speaking to finish what he has to say in
order to “cut in” (no other expression describes it fitly) with some
new and original remark. That is, apparently, the only reason that one
listens to others,—just for the sake of having some one to answer. The
world is full of things, and getting fuller every day, and unless one
talks most of the time he will never be able to air his opinions on
all points. And every one’s opinion is of priceless value,—at least
to himself. This seems to be the attitude of Young America. Yet in
courtesy to the hoary head one should occasionally pause long enough to
allow the owner thereof to express an opinion. Although one has passed
fifty, one may, nevertheless, have sound judgment and ideas on some
subjects that are worth consideration. I wish young men and women would
occasionally remember this.

The woman of sixty, or over, can really learn little of value from her
granddaughter,—even when that granddaughter is a college graduate,
and has all the arrogance of twenty years. Of course, grandmother may
need enlightenment on college athletics, on golf, even, perhaps, on
bridge,—although that is very doubtful, if she lives in a fashionable
neighborhood. But, after all, these are not the greatest things of
life. She would, perchance, be glad to listen to her young relative’s
accounts of her sports if she would take the trouble to tell the
happenings that interest her in a loving respectful spirit. Our elderly
woman does not like to be patronized, to be told that she dresses like
an old fashion-plate, and that she is, to use the slang of the day, a
“back number.” The grandmother knows better. She has lived and she is
sure that from her store of knowledge of life—of men, women and things
as they really are—she could bring forth treasures, new and old, that
would be of great help to the hot-headed, impulsive young girl about
to risk all on the perilous journey that lies before her.

I would, therefore, suggest that Our Girl practise deference toward her
elders. At first she may not find it easy, but it is worth cultivating.
It is, moreover, much more becoming than arrogance and aggressiveness,
too common nowadays. There is something wrong when a person feels no
respect for one who has attained to double or treble her years. There
is something lacking. The collegians of both sexes would do well to
turn their analytical minds on themselves, and, as improvement is the
order of the day, add to their fund of becoming attainments the sweet
old-fashioned attribute of courtesy and reverence toward age.

[Sidenote: SMALL COURTESIES]

It is easy, after all, if one will watch carefully, to do the little
kind thing that makes for comfort, and not do it aggressively. It is
not necessary to adjust a pillow at the elderly person’s back as if she
needed it. I saw a sweet woman put a pillow behind an invalid with such
tact that the sufferer, who was acutely sensitive on the subject of her
condition, did not suspect that her hostess had her illness in mind.

“My dear,” said this tactful woman, “if you are ‘built’ as I am, you
must find that chair desperately uncomfortable without a cushion
behind you! _I_ simply _will not_ sit in it without this little bit of
a pillow wedged in at the small of my back. I find it so much more
comfortable _so_, that I am sure you will.”

And the cushion was adjusted. Could even supersensitive and suspicious
Old Age have resented such attention?

Of course elderly people like to talk. Why should they not be allowed
to do it? The boy or girl listener is impatient of what he or she terms
inwardly “garrulousness.” Is not the prattle of youth as trying to old
people? But, to do them justice, unless they are very crabbed, they
listen to it kindly.

Unfortunately, one seldom sees a young person rise and remain standing
when an old person enters the room. Yet to loll back in a chair under
such circumstances is one of the greatest rudenesses of which a girl or
boy is capable.

[Sidenote: THE OLD MAN]

[Sidenote: GENEROSITY TO AGE]

Right here, may I put in a plea for the old man? In the first place, he
is not so popular as the old woman. _She_ is often beloved; he, poor
soul! is too often endured. In very truth he is not so lovable as his
lady-wife. He did not take the time while he was young to cultivate
the little niceties of life as she did. Women have more regard for
appearances than men have, and their life is not spent so often in
counting-room and office; they are, in their daily life, surrounded
by refined persons more than are their husbands; they do not have to
talk by the hour with rough men, give orders to surly underlings, eat
at lunch counters, and join in the morning and evening rush-for-life
to get a seat in the crowded car or train where the law is “_Sauve
qui peut!_” or, in brutal English “Every man for himself”—no matter
who—“for the hindmost!” All these things, after years and years,
influence the man or woman. It is inevitable. It even affects the inner
life. The Book of books tells us that though the outward man perish,
the inward man is renewed day by day. Sometimes the inward man is
hardly worth renewing at the end of a life of such rush and mad haste
after the elusive dollar that there has been no place for the gentle
amenities of existence. Therefore, as the man gets old, his nature
comes to the front, and, too often, the courtesies that were pinned
on him by a loving wife, and kept polished up by her, drop off and he
does not want to bother to have them readjusted. Consequently, he often
has habits that are not pretty. He is irascible; he is intolerant with
youth, and, now that he is laid aside, he likes to tell of what he did
when he was as active as the young men about him. Dear young people,
let him talk! Listen to him, and remember that at your age he was just
as agreeable as you. Consider, too, that if, when you are old, you
would escape being the self-absorbed being you think him, you would do
well now to begin to avoid the selfishness and self-absorption that you
find make the old man objectionable. Practise on him, and he will in
his old age still be doing a good work.

[Sidenote: A WORD TO THE WISE]

It is not pleasant to feel old, to know that you are set aside in the
minds of others as “a has-been.” There are few more cruel lessons
given to human beings to learn in this hard school we call life. And
this task has to be learned when strength and courage wane, and the
grasshopper is a burden. If young people would only make it unnecessary
for the older person to acquire it! It lies with youth to make the
declining years of those near the end of the journey a weary waiting
for that end, or a peaceful loitering on a road that shall be a
foretaste of a Land in which no one ever grows old.



CHAPTER XXXVII

MISTRESS AND MAID


THEY were not foreordained from all eternity to be sworn enemies.
Could that fact be impressed on the mind of each, there would be less
friction between them.

Where, in this day and in this country, is found the family servant
who follows the fortunes of her employers through adversity and evil
report, asking only to be allowed to live among those who have shown
her kindness, who have taught her all she knows, and who have been
kinder to her than her own family have been? She may exist in the
imagination of the optimistic novelist,—but not in reality. Once in a
great while such a servant, well-advanced in life, is found,—but she is
a rara avis.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that the burden of blame
and of responsibility for improvement rest with the woman of larger
opportunity. If we heard considerably more of “the mistress problem,”
we should probably hear less of the servant one.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: BOTH MUST HELP]

It is trite to say that in this country the servant matter is all
askew. We know that, and it is incumbent on us to make the best of
matters as we find them. To do this both mistress and maid should be
impressed with the fact expressed in the opening sentence of this
chapter. As matters now are, the maid sees in the mistress a possible
tyrant, one who will exact the pound of flesh, and, if the owner
thereof be not on her guard, will insist on a few extra ounces thrown
in for good measure. The mistress sees in the suspicious girl a person
who will, if the chance be offered her, turn against her employer, will
do the smallest amount of work possible for the highest wages she can
demand; break china, smash glass, shut her eyes to dirt in the corners,
and accept the first opportunity that offers itself to leave her
present place and get one that demands fewer duties and larger pay.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the great mistakes of the mistress is that she lets the state
of affairs greatly disturb her. Why should she? The maid is not “her
own kind,” and the woman is wrong who judges the uneducated, ill-reared
hireling by the rules that govern the better-educated classes. The
servant and the employer have been reared in different worlds, and to
ignore this fact is folly. How often do we see the mistress “hurt”
because of Norah’s lack of consideration for her and her time, and
vexed because the servant fails to appreciate any kindness shown her?
Let her accept the condition of affairs as what the slangy boy would
call “part of the game,” and not waste God-given nerve and energy in
worrying over it. If she gets reasonably good return in work for the
wages she pays, she should be content.

If a woman’s maid does something wrong or omits a duty, however
important, if guests are present the mistake should be remedied as
quietly as possible and without reproof. To rebuke a servant before
others is a great unkindness to her and needlessly embarrasses the
visitor.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: EXPECT THE BEST]

[Sidenote: ALWAYS BE CONSIDERATE]

The mistress should not expect a friend and counselor in the maid. Once
in a while, one meets a servant who, by some accident, is capable of
discerning the refinement of nature in her employer, and of respecting
it. In this case, she will care more for the employer for knowing
that she is trusted. It is a fact that, by appealing to the best in
human nature—be that nature American, Irish, German or Scandinavian—we
elicit the best from our fellow creatures. Let the mistress, then, try
to believe in the good intentions of her servant, or, if she can not
really believe in them, let her attempt to do so. Her attitude of mind
will, unconsciously to herself, make itself felt upon her helper. Let
her take it for granted that the “new girl” means to stay, is honest,
trustworthy and anxious to please, and let her talk to her as if all
these things were foregone conclusions. She may show by gentle manner
and kindly consideration that Norah or Gretchen is a sister-woman,
not a machine. If a washing or ironing happens to be heavy, let her
suggest a simple dessert of fruit, instead of the pudding that had been
planned. And if the maid’s heavy eyes and forced smile show that she
is not well, let the mistress, for a brief moment, put herself in the
place of the hireling, and think what she would want done for her under
similar circumstances. She will then suggest that some of the work that
can be deferred be laid aside until the following day, or offer to give
a hand in making the beds or dusting the rooms.

“But,” declares the systematic housewife, “I do not hire a servant,—and
then do my housework!”

No! Neither did you hire your maid-of-all-work to be a sick nurse,—but
were you ill it would be she who would cook your meals, carry up your
tray and take care of you, unless you were so ill as to need the
services of a trained attendant. Bear this in mind, and show the maid
that you do bear it in mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WORK AFTER HOURS]

It is a more difficult matter to get the servant to look at the
subject from this standpoint. She has not been educated to regard
things from both sides. It is the custom of her cult to meet and,
in conclave assembled, to compare the faults, foibles and failings
of their employers. And when they do commend an employer for kind
treatment it is, as a rule, only to make the lot of another servant
look darker by contrast with the bright one depicted.

“Oh, me dear!” exclaims Bridget on entering Norah’s kitchen at
eight-thirty in the evening and finding her still washing dishes. “And
is this the hour that a poor hard-working girl is kept up to wash the
dinner-things? There are no such doin’s in _my_ kitchen, I tell ye! My
lady knows that I ain’t made of iron, and she knows, too, that I would
not put up with such an imposition!”

The fact that Norah’s mistress has helped her all day with the work,
that she is herself the victim of unexpected company, that she regrets
as much as Norah can that the unavoidable detention at the office of
the master of the house has made dinner later than usual, does not
deter the suddenly-enlightened girl from feeling herself a martyr, and
the seed of hate and distrust is quick to bear fruit in an offensive
manner and a sulky style of speech.

She does not pause to take into consideration that, while she may just
now be doing extra work, she also receives daily extra kindnesses and
consideration that were not agreed upon in the contract of her hire.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TWO WAYS OF DOING]

There are just two rules that make the relations of mistress and maid
tolerable or pleasant. One is that everything be put on a purely
business basis—an arrangement hardly practical in domestic labor. The
other rule, and the better, is that a little practical Christianity be
brought into the relationship,—that the maid do her best, cheerfully
and willingly, and that the mistress treat her in the same spirit,
giving her little pleasures when it is within her power to do so,
trying to smooth the rough places, and to make crooked things straight.
Then, let each respect the other and make the best of the situation.
If it is intolerable, it may be changed. If not intolerable, let each
remember that there is no law, human or divine, that demands that the
contract stand forever—and let each dissolve the partnership when she
wishes to do so. Until this is done, mistress and maid should keep
silence as to the faults of the other, trying to see rather the virtues
than the failings of a sister-woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish that some word of mine with regard to this matter could sink
into the mind of the mistress. I fear that it will never be possible
to train the maid not to talk of her mistress to her friends. But
the employer should be above discussing her servants with outsiders.
This is one of the most glaring faults of conversation,—one of the
most flagrant breaches of conversational etiquette among women of
refinement. The hackneyed warning that the three _D’s_ to be banished
from polite conversation are Dress, Disease and Domestics, has not been
heeded by the average housewife, so far as the last _D_ is concerned.
She will fill willing and unwilling ears with the account of her
servants’ impertinences, of their faults, of how they are leaving
without giving warning, and of how ungrateful all servants are, until
one would think that her own soul was not above that of the laundress,
chambermaid and cook, whose failings she dissects in public. Such
talk reminds one of the conversation with which Bridget regales an
admiring and indignant coterie. With the uneducated hireling, it may be
pardonable; in the case of the educated employer it is inexcusable.

       *       *       *       *       *

The best-trained servants say “Yes, madam,” instead of “Yes, ma’am.” In
England women as well as men servants are addressed by their surnames.
The custom does not commend itself to our American ideas.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: WOMEN WITH ONE MAID]

[Sidenote: CAPS AND APRON]

Women who keep only one maid should, if possible, have the laundry
work done out of the house. Only so can one be sure of a trim-looking
servant to answer the door. And the appearance of the person who admits
us to a house is taken, very justly, as a criterion of the domestic
standards of the house. A popular novelist once divided the houses in a
certain city into three classes: those that had maids, those that had
maids without caps, and those who had maids with caps. A woman’s social
standing need not depend on her having a maid at all,—she may “quite
come to her own door,” as one snobbish woman puts it, but if she keep a
maid, the maid should be properly dressed, and the cap is as essential
a part of her dress as her apron.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

THE WOMAN WITHOUT A MAID


THE thought of being without a maid strikes dismay to the heart of many
a woman who can not be accused of laziness. She thinks of the manual
toil connected with housekeeping as composed of a round of degrading
tasks, and she can not imagine herself as performing these with dignity
and attractiveness. The ugliness connected with doing Bridget’s work
is what repels, and it must be confessed, at the start, that dust and
dish-water are not agreeable things to contemplate, though hemmed
squares of clean cheese-cloth for the one and plenty of good soap in
the other tend to reduce disagreeable qualities to a minimum. One half,
at least, of the prejudice many women, not financially prosperous,
feel against “doing their own work,” as the phrase curiously goes,
is the aversion to doing unbeautiful things. The other half rises
from the sense of dismay in attempting that in which one has had no
practise, for which one has had no previous preparation. The tasks
connected with housekeeping are many and various; and if one is
called to face them without experience or a system, the result is apt
to be pandemonium until the mistress-maid is broken in. It is a pity,
however, to approach the work with the idea that it is necessarily
distasteful and disagreeable. Most women have some natural aptitude for
domestic service. When properly trained they like it, or, at least,
parts of it. What they lack often is not aptitude but practise; and,
instead of expecting to gain skill through practise, as they would
in other departments of work, they expect it to come by inspiration.
Housekeeping is a science and an art. More even than this, it is a
business, and needs, exactly as the business of a man does, time and
patience for its conquest.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DRESSING FOR WORK]

A sub-professor on a small salary in one of our best eastern
educational institutions married a charming young woman with a wise
head on her pretty shoulders. Her thought was that she could best help
him by doing the work of a maid. Her name wherever known had been
a synonym for exquisite taste, and she lost nothing of this in the
conduct of her new rôle. Ugliness of any sort was not in her scheme
of things. She determined that she should be no less pretty in her
husband’s eyes because of the part she was to play in his kitchen.
She had made for herself eight blue and white striped seersucker
gowns with broad hems on the short skirts and with plain shirt-waists.
The sleeves were made elbow length, so as not to incommode her in her
work, and a turnover collar of white which left her throat free was at
once comfortable and becoming. With these dresses she wore dark aprons
or white ones, according to the work she was doing. Her husband and
friends declared she had never looked more pleasing than while “in
service.” She was an excellent refutation of the idea that a woman must
look slovenly when doing household tasks. Though “dressing the part”
seems a small beginning toward getting the work of a house done, it is
a helpful beginning because it affects the spirits. A working woman
needs working clothes. If they be pretty as well as comfortable and
appropriate, they give an impetus toward cheerful labor that is not to
be lightly estimated.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AVOID INTERRUPTIONS]

[Sidenote: THE VALUE OF SYSTEM]

A woman who learns to be her own maid and makes a success of the work
must adopt it as a business and must devote herself to her tasks
with regularity and system. She must be firm against intrusion and
interruption from the outside world. She must adopt housekeeping as
a profession and aim not merely at completing the daily round but at
achieving an excellence that will in time impart interest to the work.
Order and simplicity are the two laws she must obey if she is to get
through with dignity and self-respect. An order of the day and an order
of the week must be made out and followed as far as possible. System
and arrangement are the great time savers. To sit down at one’s desk
once a day or once a week and make out conscientiously a list of all
the things necessary to be done in the time named, then divide and
tabulate these according as seems best,—this use of the brain will
economize time and will save many a weary step.

Orderliness in work leads most directly to that harmony and peace in
housekeeping which the average woman is so fearful of losing when she
takes up the labor for herself. The writer used frequently to take
luncheon at the house of a clever friend who cooked and served the
meals. Her cooking could always be counted on as delicious; but it was
the serving, that Scylla and Charybdis in one, of most women who must
“do” entirely for themselves, that astonished and delighted one. On a
side-table, ready for her hand, were placed the extra dishes needed.
On this, too, was room for those things only temporarily necessary on
the dining-table. The occasions when the hostess must rise to serve her
guests were reduced by the perfection of her arrangements to a minimum.
When she was compelled to visit pantry or kitchen, she left the table
without a flurry and was back with the article in question almost
before one realized her departure. This grace in service was partly,
of course, a matter of nature, but it was largely due to trained and
systematic habits of work. These oiled the wheels of housekeeping and
made them run more or less smoothly.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A SIMPLE MENU]

The woman without a maid must cultivate simplicity as well as order
in her household arrangements. To do this requires some originality
of soul and mind. She must model her work not upon what her neighbors
and friends do, but upon what she thinks necessary to be done for
the comfort and good health of herself and those dependent upon her.
She must not attempt more things than she can do well. Many a young
woman who starts out with joyous intention to be cook for husband and
family, fails in her intention by reason of planning too large a bill
of fare. For beginners, at least, it is well to cut out made desserts
and pretentious salads. A cream soup with a broiled steak, potatoes
nicely cooked, lettuce with a French dressing, coffee and fruit, make
a dinner which, if neatly served, affords nourishment and delight to
the ordinary man. How much better to attempt nothing more than this and
make a success of it than to try for roast, two or three vegetables,
an intricate salad and a pudding,—to have these imperfectly achieved
and awkwardly served. For it goes without saying that it is much more
difficult to serve an elaborate than a simple meal. Also the elaborate
meal demands for serving many more dishes, and the extra dishes make
added work in the dish-washing which follows a meal as the night the
day. Simplicity of living must be the aim of the woman who does her own
work. It is only by cultivating simplicity that she can live restfully
and with the taste that makes for beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: DIVIDING HOUSEHOLD TASKS]

In a household where no servant is employed each member of the family
should regularly perform certain duties. Where there is a family of
some size all the work should not be crowded upon the shoulders of
the mistress. If one person does the dusting, another the mending,
another the cooking, another the sweeping, and so on through the
list of necessary employment in a household, the burden need not
fall too heavily upon any one. No paid servant can feel the interest
in successful achievement that rewards the effort of those who are
laboring for the convenience and beauty of their own home. A household
conducted on plans of the most rigid economy may still be cheerful and
even charming if the members of it choose to view the matter in a sort
of Bohemian, picnicking spirit. If the duties are assigned with regard
to the tastes and capacities of each, no real hardship is involved and
a spirit of gaiety is invoked by the concerted effort at producing
comfort with the expenditure of little money.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE VULGARITY OF PRETENSE]

An utter absence of pretense is the only graceful attitude in a home
conducted in the way described. To be ashamed of the work one does and
to try to conceal it results in an uneasy, hypocritical manner and
deceives no one. “I almost opened my own door when she called on me,”
said a silly, snobbish, impecunious woman in telling of the visit paid
her by a rich resident of the neighborhood. The remark blinded no one
and made the speaker ridiculous.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are books of various kinds written for the help of the woman who
must get on without a maid. These often can make for her a quicker and
better path to her goal than she can work out alone and unaided. One of
the best-known stories about the great English statesman, Charles James
Fox, is of his learning to carve. He determined to make a conquest of
this branch of knowledge as he did of any other attempted by him. Day
after day he brought to the dining-table with him a book on carving,
and cut the fowl or joint placed before him in accordance with the
rules of the book. His subsequent beautiful carving was the result of
this method, of his willingness to learn the best way of doing whatever
he attempted.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: HELP FROM COOK-BOOKS]

Reliable books on cooking, on the relative values of foods, on sanitary
housekeeping, are not hard to find, while the magazines and papers are
full of happy suggestions on these and kindred themes. A woman who
intends to be her own maid should possess some reliable volumes on her
subject, should make her work more interesting to herself and more
valuable to her family by a reference to authorities on her subject.
The more one knows about the work one has in hand, the more one is apt
to care for it. And enthusiasm for one’s task, in its turn, begets good
work.

       *       *       *       *       *

No woman on whom falls the burden of keeping her own house should feel
permanently discouraged. She may learn to do her task not only with
comfort but with grace. The difficulties in her way can be surmounted
through experience and study. If she has a natural liking for the
ordering and managing of a house, her work may become a delight. “Why
do you look so sad?” said one woman to another. “Because I have a
perfect maid,” said the second. “All my life until recently I kept
house for my husband and myself. Housekeeping was my passion as music
is yours. Now my husband insists that I shall keep a maid. She knows
her business. It would spoil her if I helped. I am a stranger in my
own kitchen. Wouldn’t you be unhappy if you had no opportunity to play
Chopin and Beethoven? Well, I am miserable because I can’t concoct
salads and soups.” This testimony to the joys of housekeeping is
extreme, but it may serve to cheer some beginner in domestic labor who
sees only duty but no pleasure in the work.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A SOUTHERN GIRL’S PARTY]

To feel that because one is limited in means one can not entertain is
wholly mistaken. The young lady in a southern family in aristocraite
Charleston, herself the granddaughter of a governor of the state and
a member of the famous St. Cecilia Society, told the writer, who was
a “paying guest” in the simple home, how she entertained her friends.
“In the morning we whip up a cake, order cream, telephone the girls,
and when they come, that’s the party!” But her own delightful spirit of
hospitality, the perfection of her breeding, were the largest element
in that party’s undoubted success.



CHAPTER XXXIX

WOMAN IN BUSINESS RELATIONS


THE number of women who enter into business life and the number of
avenues open to them for earning a living are constantly increasing.
And however much we may be disposed to ridicule the agitation
concerning woman’s progress and the rights of woman, no fair-minded
person can fail to recognize the happy changes such agitation in the
last decade has wrought in the attitude of the world toward women who
make their own way in it. The old-fashioned prejudice of gentility
against a woman employing her powers to make money has very largely
disappeared. Many a delicate-minded woman of the old school has lived
in poverty or has incurred unwillingly financial obligations to family
connections because of the prejudice against her doing something for
herself, because of the feeling that her social position, a matter
naturally of high importance to a woman, would be injured by her
stepping out of the family niche and picking up something for herself
on the highway open to all. She feared more even than this, perhaps,
the loss of those particularly feminine attributes and charms so dear
to every real woman’s heart. In the old-fashioned conception of a woman
who worked outside of her own home, it used to be taken for granted
that she must be denied social consideration and must give up her share
of fun in the world.

[Sidenote: A LIBRARY ATTENDANT]

All this is now a matter of history, and is recalled only for the
purpose of showing the contrast between her former outlook and her
present one. Except in a few ultra fashionable communities in the
United States, the social position of a woman in business is not
affected unhappily by her work. Provided she has the qualities
requisite for social recognition and consideration, her business is no
detriment. She has the same general opportunities for social recreation
that offer themselves to a man of business, and it often happens that
her work gives a zest to the enjoyment of such opportunities, unknown
to women of idler habits. The writer has in mind, as an example, an
engaging young woman who serves most acceptably as attendant in the
public library of a western city. Her duties keep her from nine in
the morning till six in the evening, but they have not, in the least,
obscured her charmingly agreeable personal quality. She is much in
demand. The number of her masculine admirers is large enough to excite
the envy of many a girl whose father’s bank-account is a large one.
The attention she gives to her work seems to impart an added vivacity
to her playtime.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: BUSINESS IS BUSINESS]

Notwithstanding the fact, however, that a woman may enjoy the leisure
she has for social demands as much after entering business life as
before, she must not carry the little graces and amenities of society
into business life. Business is business with a woman as well as a
man, and the woman who succeeds in the calling she has chosen is the
one who does not attempt to mix its details with matters of a more
recreative nature. She must not expect to win favors by any but the
straightforward method of doing her work well. The prejudice which so
long existed among men against women in business relations was partly
caused by the thought that they could never forget that they were
women, could never discuss work or business relations on impersonal
and rational grounds. The first lesson a woman must learn in making
her own way financially is to appreciate the fact that the office, the
shop, whatever be her place of employment, is no place for superfluous
courtesies. The cultivation of a cool, matter-of-fact, unsentimental
way of looking at the work in hand, is the only path to honorable
achievement.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: GOOD DRESSING IMPORTANT]

What a woman wears, cheap moralists to the contrary, is always
important. It is especially important in business relations because
the impression she creates is, to a considerable degree, dependent
upon it. The self-supporting woman, when about her work, should not
dress elaborately or conspicuously. Bright colors, jewels, extreme
hats should be rigidly barred from her wardrobe. She should be dressed
quietly but becomingly, with exquisite neatness and, to a reasonable
extent, in the prevailing mode. A quiet elegance in style, care in the
manner of putting on her clothes,—these go a long way toward creating
the proper appearance for the woman in business. Human nature being as
it is, the properly gowned woman of business has a far better chance
than the one who is dowdily dressed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The habit of many young girls in the business world of wearing sleeves
that do not come to the elbow and displaying an amount of chest that
would be proper only at an evening party, is a serious mistake. Another
mistake is the marked preference for wearing, even in winter time,
white shirt-waists. If these waists are to be really fresh and fit
for wear, a new one must be put on every day, and that is an expense
that the wearers clearly can not afford. Dark dresses, with touches
of white at neck and wrists, are a much wiser choice when one must
economize.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: OPPORTUNITIES IN BUSINESS]

It is very commonly said that men have larger interests than women,
and that one reason for this lies in the fact that, in their every-day
work, they form, naturally and easily, relations with many people;
whereas a woman’s relations with the world too often come through the
more artificial channels of pleasure. A woman in business has the same
opportunity for meeting people on real ground that a man has. She
should take advantage of these openings to healthful communication
with her kind. We have all come in contact with women who have been
thus broadened and have realized in them a kind of attraction not to
be found in women leading more secluded lives. It is well in summing
up the pros and cons of the business woman’s life to lay stress on her
advantages, and the one just named is one of which she should make the
most.

Women, as a class, are sometimes accused of a lack of method in the
performance of their tasks. This is owing to the fact that the duties
of domestic life may often be performed at any hour the housekeeper
chooses, and that attention to them is not rigidly fixed as to time.
A business career is often an effectual remedy for desultory habits.
And this is the reason that many women who have served a time as
wage-earners come back to housekeeping with renewed energy and ability.
The best housekeepers the writer has ever known were retired women
of business. They put into the tasks of the home the method, the
promptness they learned in a more exacting field.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AFTER WORKING HOURS]

However, women who are engaged the greater part of the day in offices,
libraries, in shops, should not be expected to engage to any large
degree in household duties. It sometimes happens that the members of
a family circle, in which one woman goes out to earn her bread and
butter, have little consideration for her tired state of mind and body
when she leaves her work and returns to her home. They expect of her a
double duty, and this is manifestly unfair. It is most important that
a business woman have rest or diversion in her spare time, so that she
will not get into a rut, so that she may do justice to her work.

[Sidenote: A WORD OF ADVICE]

Her family should not forget that her money-making powers will be
crippled by forced attention to other duties. Men are treated far
more considerately in this regard than women. Nothing is allowed to
interfere with the average business man’s arrangements. To facilitate
these, everything possible is done by his family. This may be because
men are more insistent, because they have a way of demanding their
rights. It would be well for women in business, well also for their
families, that they should “look sharp” and pursue the same policy.



CHAPTER XL

A FINANCIAL STUDY FOR OUR YOUNG MARRIED COUPLE


THIRTY years ago I held a heart-to-heart talk with reasonable,
well-meaning husbands on the vital subject of the monetary relations
between man and wife.

I quote a paragraph, the force of which has been confirmed to my mind
by the additional experience and observation of three more decades than
were set to my credit upon the age-roll when I penned the words:

“I have studied this matter long and seriously, and I offer you, as
the result of my observation in various walks of life, and careful
calculation of labor and expense, the bold assertion that every
wife who performs her part, even tolerably well, in whatsoever rank
of society, more than earns her living, and that this should be an
acknowledged fact with both parties to the marriage contract. The
idea of her dependence upon her husband is essentially false and
mischievous, and should be done away with, at once and forever. It
has crushed self-respect out of thousands of women; it has scourged
thousands from the marriage-altar to the tomb, with a whip of
scorpions; it has driven many to desperation and crime.”

I have headed this chapter “A Financial Study for Our Young Married
Couple,” because I have little hope of changing the opinions and custom
of the mature benedict. Our youthful wedded pair should come to a
rational mutual understanding in the first week of housekeeping as to
an equitable division of the income on which they are to live together.

If you—our generic “John”—shrink from coming down to “cold business”
before the echoes of the wedding-bells have died in ear and in heart,
call the discussion a “matter of marriage etiquette,” and approach
it confidently. And do you, Mrs. John, meet his overtures in a
straightforward, sensible way, with no foolish shrinking from the idea
of even apparent independence of him to whom you have entrusted your
person and your happiness?

[Sidenote: THE WIFE’S PORTION]

It is, of course, your part to harken quietly to whatever proposition
your more businesslike spouse may make as to the just partition,
not of his means, which are likewise yours, but of the sums you are
respectively to handle and to spend. Do not accept what he apportions
for your use as a benefaction. He has endowed you with all his worldly
goods, and the law confirms the endowment to a certain extent. You are
a co-proprietor—not a pensioner. If, while the glamour of Love’s Young
Dream envelops and dazes you, you are chilled by what seems sordid and
commonplace, take the word of an old campaigner for it that the time
will come when your “allowance” will be a factor in happiness as well
as in comfort.

May I quote to John another and a longer extract from the
thirty-year-old “Talk concerning Allowances”?

[Sidenote: LEARN TO SAY WE]

“Set aside from your income what you adjudge to be a reasonable and
liberal sum for the maintenance of your household in the style suitable
for people of your means and position. Determine what purchases you
will yourself make, and what shall be entrusted to your wife, and put
the money needed for her proportion into her care as frankly as you
take charge of your share. Try the experiment of talking to her as if
she were a business partner. Let her understand what you can afford
to do, and what you can not. If in this explanation you can say ‘we’
and ‘ours,’ you will gain a decided moral advantage, although it may
be at the cost of masculine prejudice and pride of power. Impress upon
her mind that a certain sum, made over to her apart from the rest, is
hers absolutely, not a present from you, but her honest earnings, and
that _you_ would not be honest were you to withhold it. And do not ask
her ‘if that will do?’ any more than you would address the question to
any other woman. With what cordial detestation wives regard that brief
query which drops, like a sentence of the Creed, from husbandly lips, I
leave your spouse to tell you. Also, if she ever heard of a woman who
answered anything but ‘Yes!’”

Carrying out the idea of co-partnership, should your wife exceed her
allowance, running herself, and consequently you, into debt, meet the
exigency as you would a similar indiscretion on the part of a young and
inexperienced member of your firm. Treat the extravagance as a mistake,
not a fault. Not one girl-wife in one hundred, who has not been a
wage-earner, has had any experience in the management of finances. The
father gives the daughter money when she (or her mother) tells him that
she needs it, or would like to have it. When it is gone he is applied
to for more. She has been a beneficiary all her life, usually an
irresponsible, thoughtless recipient of what is lavished or doled out
to her, according to the parental whim and means.

[Sidenote: LEARNING BUSINESS METHODS]

Teach her business methods, tactfully, yet decidedly.

One young wife I wot of began keeping the expense-book, presented to
her by her husband, with these entries:

“_January fourth._ Received $75.00 (Seventy-five dollars).

“_January sixth._ Spent $70.25 shopping, etc.

“Balance—$4.75 set down to Profit and Loss.”

After fifteen years of married life her husband died, bequeathing the
whole of a large estate to her, and making her sole guardian of their
three children,—a confidence fully justified by her conduct of the
affairs thus committed to her.

“My husband trained me patiently and thoroughly,” she said to one who
complimented her financial sagacity. “I was an ignoramus when we were
married.”

Then, laughingly, she related the “profit and loss” incident.

It is the fashion to sneer at women’s business methods. Who are to
blame for their blunders?

[Sidenote: MONEY AS A TOY]

Should your wife play with her allowance, as a child with a new toy,
let censure fall upon those who have kept her in leading-strings. Teach
her gradually to comprehend her responsibilities. The sense of them
will steady her unless she be exceptionally feather-brained. Be she
wasteful or frugal, the allowance you have made to her is as honestly
hers to have, to hold or to spend, as the third of your estate which
the law will give her in the event of your death.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SETTLEMENTS]

“Settlements,” according to the English sense of the word, are not yet
common in the United States. One American father, whose daughter was
on the eve of marriage with an Englishman, ordered the prospective
bridegroom out of the house when the foreigner queried innocently as to
the “settlements” the future father-in-law intended to make upon his
child.

A man with a reputation for fortune-hunting had nearly rid himself
of the slur by insisting that his fiancée’s large estate should be
settled absolutely upon herself. Her quondam guardian put a different
complexion on the generous act by divulging the circumstance that the
husband, by the same “settlement,” had made himself sole trustee of his
wife’s property of every description.

While there are, perhaps, fewer purely mercenary marriages in our
country than in any other, it can not be denied that a large proportion
of enterprising young men act, consciously, or unwittingly, on the
advice of the Scotchman who warned his son not to marry for money, but
in seeking a wife, “to gae where money is.”

“Is he marrying her fortune, or herself?” asked one gossip of another
when an approaching bridal was spoken of.

“They _say_ he is very much in love with her!” was the answer, uttered
dubiously. “I fancy, however, that he would have repressed his passion,
if she were a poor girl.”

Which brings us to a much more delicate matter than the division of the
income earned, or inherited, by the bridegroom.

It is a fact that may have much significance—or none—that the bride
makes no mention of endowing her husband with all, or any portion,
of her worldly goods. It is likewise significant that laws (of man’s
devising) take it for granted that her property goes with her, so that
in most of our states it is his without other act of gift than the
marriage ceremony.

[Sidenote: MARRYING FOR MONEY]

The man who marries for money has no scruples as to the acceptance and
the use of it. Sometimes it is squandered; sometimes, but not often, it
is hoarded; most frequently “it goes into the husband’s business” and
is invested by him for the benefit of himself and his family.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE BRIDE’S DOWRY]

The nicer issue with which we have to do is how our conscientious John,
who would have married his best girl if she had not possessed one penny
in her own right, is to comport himself with regard to the fortune,
modest or considerable, which she brings to him as dowry.

Briefly and clearly—as a trust not to be committed to the chances
and changes of his individual ventures. No investment should be made
of his wife’s money without her knowledge and full consent. In all
that he does, where her funds are involved, he should be her actuary,
and what profits result from “operations” with her funds should be
settled on herself and children. By this course alone can he retain
his self-respect, his reputation as an honorable man, and certainly
disabuse his wife’s mind of any possible suspicion that his affection
was not wholly for her.



CHAPTER XLI

MORE ABOUT ALLOWANCES


THE arrangement between husband and wife concerning money matters
should be no more definite and businesslike than that subsisting
between father and children. To be taught early the real value of money
is a distinct assistance to financial integrity in later life. To have
in one’s possession, even as a child, a sum wholly one’s own, conduces
to a feeling of self-respect and independence. As soon as a child is
old enough to know what money is and that, for money, things are bought
and sold, he should have an allowance, be it only a penny a week.
Suggestions, but not commands, as to its expenditure should accompany
the gift. Gradually the weekly or monthly amount should be increased,
and instructions should be given as to its possible use.

A child may be advised properly to divide his small funds between
pleasure and charity, or between the things bought solely for his
own benefit and those for the benefit of others, the value of the
expenditure, in each case, being dependent on the freedom of his
choice. As he grows older he should be taught to expend money for
necessities. He should be trained to buy his own clothes and other
personal belongings. This sort of training, often disastrously
neglected, is of far more practical value than many things taught in
the schools. The feeling of responsibility engendered in children or
young people by trusting them with a definite amount of money for
certain general purposes, can scarcely fail of a happy result. It binds
them to a performance of duty while it confers, at the same time, a
delicious sense of freedom. An allowance for necessities gives its
recipient liberty of choice in expenditure, but the choice must be
judicious or the recipient suffers. This it does not take him long to
find out.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: RUNNING UP BILLS]

Many a man who refuses his sons and daughters allowances, permits them
to run up large bills at the various shops where they trade. Exactly
what the amount of these bills will be he never knows, except that
it is sure to be larger than he wishes. The children of such a man
never have any ready money. They do not know what to count on and, in
consequence, not being trusted, they exercise all their ingenuity to
outwit the head of the family and to trick from him exactly as much
money as possible. A young woman with somewhat extravagant tendencies,
who belonged to the class of the unallowanced, begged her father for
a new gown. She pleaded and pleaded in vain. Finally, he said if she
had anything that could be made over, he would stand for the bill.
This word to the wise was sufficient. She took the waist-band of an
old gown to her modiste who built upon it a beautiful frock for which
she likewise sent in a beautiful bill. Fortunately, this daughter had
a father who was a connoisseur in wit, and who could appreciate a
joke even at his own expense. But the example will serve, as well as
another, to illustrate the lengths to which a woman may resort when not
treated as a reasonable and reasoning creature about money matters.

[Sidenote: THE CONVENIENT ALLOWANCE]

“I would rather have one-half the amount of money of which I might
otherwise have the use, and have it in the form of an allowance,” said
a young woman who was discussing, with other young women, the subject
of expenditures. “If I _know_ what I am to have, I can spend it to
much better advantage. I can exercise some method in my purchases. If
I don’t know, I am likely to spend a large sum on some two or three
articles with the hope that more is coming. Suddenly and unexpectedly
father sets his foot down on further bills, and there I am with a dream
of a hat but no shoes, or with a ball gown and not a coat to my back.”

[Sidenote: LEARNING HOW TO SPEND]

Money plays some part in the life of every human being belonging to a
civilized nation. The question of successful and skilful expenditure
is a vital question for the majority of people. It is not a question
that can be solved without training. Yet we educate children in various
unimportant matters, and, for the most part, leave this of money
untouched. In no way can a child or a young person be taught so readily
and so quickly the proper use of money as by limiting his expenses to a
certain sum, which sum he nevertheless controls.



CHAPTER XLII

A FEW OF THE LITTLE THINGS THAT ARE BIG THINGS


SEEING the prevalence of rudeness in human intercourse, one is forced
to believe that the natural man is a cross-grained brute. That breeding
and culture often convert him into a creature of gentleness and
refinement speaks volumes for the powers of such influence. The average
man seems to take a savage delight in occasionally giving vent to
brutal or cutting speech. To yield thus to a primal and savage instinct
is to prove that breeding and refinement are lacking.

There are certain business men who, during business hours, meet one
with a brusk manner that would not be pardoned in a petty tradesman. If
we visit them on their own business,—not as intruders,—it is the same.
They seem to feel that a certain disagreeable humor is an indispensable
accompaniment to the occasion. Such insolence is usually taken as a
matter of course by the recipient, who immediately feels penitent at
the thought of his intrusion.

Too often the physician who is not a gentleman at heart trades on
the fact that his patients regard him as a necessity, and is as
disagreeable as his temper at the moment demands that he shall be. He
intimates that he is so busy that he has scarcely time to give his
advice; that the person he attends had no business to get ill, and, in
fact, makes himself generally so disagreeable it is to be wondered at
that the sufferer ever calls in this man again. Yet in a drawing-room,
and talking to a well person, this man’s manner would be charming. One
sometimes feels that sick people and physicians might well be classed
as “patients” and “impatients.”

It is but fair to remark that, to the credit of physicians, it is
not always those who have had the largest experience, or who stand
at the head of their profession who deserve to come under the above
condemnation. The men to whom the world looks for advice in the matters
of which they have made a study, and who are sure of their standing,
are often the gentlest, the most courteous.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: COUNTING-ROOM COURTESY]

Our busy men have need to remember that the man who is gentle at
heart shows that gentleness in counting-room and office as well as in
drawing-room and dining-room, and the fact that the person calling on
him for business purposes or advice is a woman, should compel him to
show the politeness which

            —“is to do and say
    The kindest thing in the kindest way.”

On the other hand, common courtesy and consideration for another demand
that the person who intrudes on a man when he is busy should state his
business briefly, and then take his departure. Only the busy man or
woman knows the agony that comes with the knowledge that the precious
moments of the working hours are being frittered away on that which
is unnecessary, when necessary work is standing by, begging for the
attention it deserves and should receive. Let him who would be careful
on points of etiquette remember that there is an etiquette of working
hours as well as of the hours of leisure and sociability.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ASKING QUESTIONS]

Perhaps the lapse from good breeding most common in general society is
the asking of questions. One is aghast at the evidence of impertinent
curiosity that parades under the guise of friendly interest.
Interrogations as to the amount of one’s income, occupation, and even
as to one’s age and general condition, are legion and inexcusable.
Every one who writes—be he a well-known author or a penny-a-liner—knows
only too well the query, “What are you writing now?” and knows, too,
the feeling of impotent rage awakened by this query. Yet, unless one
would be as rude as one’s questioner, one must smile inanely and make
an evasive answer.

To ask no question does not, of necessity, mean a lack of interest
in the person with whom one is conversing. A polite and sympathetic
attention will show a more genuine and appreciative interest than much
inquisitiveness.

       *       *       *       *       *

A lack of interest in what is being told one is a breach of courtesy
that is all too common. Often one sees a man or woman deliberately pick
up a book or paper, open it and glance over it while his interlocutor
is in the midst of a story he means to make interesting. If the
conversation _is_ interesting, it deserves the undivided attention
of both persons; if what is being said is not worth attention, the
listener should at least respect the speaker’s intention to please.
There is nothing more dampening to conversational enthusiasm, or more
“squelching” to eloquence, than to find the eyes of the person with
whom one is talking fixed on a book or magazine, which he declares he
is simply “looking over,” or at whose pictures he is “only glancing.”

[Sidenote: THE GOOD LISTENER]

A good listener is in himself an inspiration. Even if one is not
attracted by the person to whom one is talking, one should assume
interest. This rule also holds good with regard to the attention given
to a public speaker. In listening to a preacher or to a lecturer, one
should look at him steadily,—not allowing the eyes to wander about the
building and along the ceiling and walls. This habit of a seemingly
fixed attention is easily cultivated. If one is really interested in
the address, it aids in the enjoyment and comprehension of it to watch
the speaker’s facial play and gestures. If one is bored, one may yet
fix the eyes upon the face of the person to whom one is supposed to be
listening, and continue to think one’s own thoughts and to plan one’s
own plans. And certainly the person who is exerting himself for the
entertainment of his audience will speak better and be more comfortable
for the knowledge that eyes belonging to some one who is apparently
absorbed in his address are fixed upon him.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TACTFUL CRITICISM]

One of the difficult things to do is to pass a criticism or make a
suggestion as to the speech or manner of another person. Yet there are
times when to refrain is to do the greatest unkindness to a person
sincerely eager to learn. A happy solution is to include one’s self
if possible in the censure given. “I’m afraid we were all a little
boisterous to-night,” said a tactful woman of the world to a young
girl who really _had_ been boisterous. She caught the criticism
intended and yet felt no hurt at the speaker.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TALKING AT THE TELEPHONE]

Conditions under which otherwise polite persons feel that they can be
rude are those attendant on a telephone conversation. With the first
word many a man drops his courtesy as if it were a garment that did not
fit him. And women do the same. If “Central” were to record all that
she (it seems to be usually a “she”) hears, and all that is said to
her, our ears would tingle. True it is, that she sometimes is surly,
pert and ill-mannered. But if she is ill-bred, that is no reason for
the person talking to follow suit. Were one really amenable to arrest
for profanity over the wires, the police would be kept busy if they
performed their duty.

But putting aside the underbred who swears, let us listen for a moment
to the so-called courteous person,—for he is courteous under ordinary
circumstances:

[Sidenote: SCOLDING CENTRAL]

“Hello! Central! how long are you going to keep me waiting? I told
you I wanted ‘3040 Spring.’ Yes! I did say _that_! and if you would
pay attention to your business you would know it! I never saw such
a worthless set as they have at that Central Office. Got them, did
you? It’s time! Hello, 3040, is that you? Well, why the devil didn’t
you send that stuff around this morning? Going to, right away, are
you? Well, it’s time you did. What ails you people, anyway? _No!!
Central!!!_ I’m not through, and I wish to heaven you’d let this line
alone when I’m talking,” and so on, ad infinitum.

Is all this worth while, and is it necessary? And must women, who, as
they call themselves ladies, do not give vent to expressed profanity,
so far copy the manners of the so-called stronger sex that they scream
like shrews over the telephone?

Calling one day on a woman whom I had met with pleasure half a dozen
times, I was the unwilling listener to her conversation with her
grocer. She began by rating Central for not asking “What number?” as
soon as the receiver was lifted from the hook. Having warmed up to
business on this unseen girl, she got still more heated with the grocer
at the other end of the wire. She had ordered one kind of apples, and
he had sent her another, and the slip of paper containing the list
of her purchases had an item of a five-cent box of matches that she
had not ordered. With regard to all of which she expostulated shrilly
and with numerous exclamations that were as near as she dared come to
masculine explosives,—such as “Great Heavens!” “Goodness gracious!”
and so forth. After threatening to transfer her custom to another
grocer, and refusing to accept the apology of the abject tradesman, she
compromised by saying that she would give him another trial, and hung
up the receiver, coming into the parlor and beginning a conversation
once more in the even society voice I had invariably heard before from
her.

[Sidenote: COURTESY PAYS]

That the ways of telephones and the persons who operate them are
sometimes trying, no one can deny,—least of all, the writer of this
chapter, who lives in a house with one of these maddening essentials
to human comfort. But the loss of temper that manifests itself in the
outward speech is not a requisite of the proper appreciation and use
of the telephone. It is nothing less than a habit, and a pernicious
one,—this way we have of talking into the transmitter. Let us remember
that courtesy pays better than curses, and politeness better than
profanity. If not, then let us have poorer service from Central and
preserve our self-respect.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never speak of calling a friend on the “phone.” The abbreviation is
vulgar though one sometimes hears it on the lips of delightful people.
But one should not make the mistake of justifying a solecism by saying
“Mrs. So-and-so says it!” To study the graces and avoid the blunders of
other people should be the aim of those who aspire to be well-bred.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: IN MARKET AND SHOP]

The breeding of a woman is often shown by the manner she uses when
shopping or marketing. Courtesy to clerks, to tradesmen of every sort
is the mark of a “lady,” the word used in that beautiful old-fashioned
sense to which, alas! we have grown a little callous. While a customer
has the right measurably to see what a shop affords before she makes
her choice, she has no right to give a clerk the trouble of taking
out everything when she has no intention of buying. If she gives much
trouble before her decision as to a purchase is reached she should
thank the clerk in charge for his extra labor. The fact that he is paid
for his time does not make this duty the less.

Altercations with clerks and other subordinates in a shop are in
execrable taste, are often a sign of an hysterical as well as a
choleric temper.

       *       *       *       *       *

If women should be considerate in their manner toward employees of
the shops where they trade, it is quite as true that clerks should be
trained to civility by their employers. For instance, a part of the
duty of clerks is, of course, to keep watch over the articles sold. To
do this it is not necessary, however, to watch the customer as if she
were a prospective thief. This attitude on the part of the clerk is not
pleasant for the customer and does not encourage trade.

[Sidenote: UNWISE ENDEARMENTS]

The suspicious attitude is, however, no worse than the familiar one
employed by some of the young women serving in shops. A clerk who
urges a customer to buy because the article in question has proved
so satisfactory in her own family, or the young woman who calls one
“dearie” or “honey” as she fits a cloak upon one or manipulates one’s
millinery, makes a mistake. The relation between clerk and customer
should be always formal and courteous on both sides.

       *       *       *       *       *

Marketing is a branch of shopping in which many women not fundamentally
ill-natured, have the appearance of being so. There is a kind of ugly
scrutiny which many women apply to the inspection of vegetables, meat
and other edibles that is most unattractive. If these women had an
idea of the way they look when they bend their hard cold eyes upon the
innocent vegetables and fruits, they would, at any cost, cultivate a
more agreeable manner. Beware of the marketing stare. As for a string
bag, if you have one put it in the furnace.

       *       *       *       *       *

A rudeness of which people who should know better are frequently
guilty is that of criticizing a dear friend of the person to whom one
is talking. This is not only ill-mannered, but unkind, and one of many
flagrant violations of the Golden Rule. If a man loves his friend, do
not call his attention to that friend’s failings, nor twit him on his
fondness for such a person. He is happier for not seeing the failings,
and if the friendship brings him any happiness, or makes life even a
little pleasanter for him, do not be guilty of the cruelty of clouding
that happiness. If the man does see the faults of him he loves, and
loyally ignores them, pretend that you are not aware of the foibles
toward which he would have you believe him blind. The knowledge of the
peccadillos of those in whom we trust comes only too soon; we need not
hurry on the always disappointing, often bitter knowledge.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: NEVER PATRONIZE]

Perhaps lack of breeding shows in nothing more than in the manner of
receiving an invitation. Should a man say, patronizingly, “Oh, perhaps
I can arrange to come,”—when you invite him to some function, write him
down as unworthy of another invitation. He is lacking in respect to you
and in appreciation of the honor you confer on him in asking him to
partake of the hospitality you have devised.

“Really,” protests one man plaintively, “I am very tired! I have been
out every night for two weeks, and now you want me for to-morrow night.
I am doubtful whether I ought to come. I am so weary that I feel I need
rest.”

The stately woman who had asked him to her house, smiled amusedly:

“Pray let me settle your doubts for you,” she said, “and urge you not
to neglect the rest nature demands. Your first duty is to her, not to
me.”

The man was too obtuse or too conceited to perceive the veiled sarcasm,
and to know that the invitation was withdrawn.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: ACKNOWLEDGING FAVORS]

Unless one receives special permission from the person giving an
invitation to hold the matter open for some good and sufficient reason,
one should accept or decline a verbal invitation as soon as it is
given. If circumstances make this impossible, one should apologize for
hesitating, saying, “I am so anxious to come that I am going to ask
your permission to send you my answer later, after I ascertain if my
husband has no engagement for that evening,”—or some such form. The
hostess will readily grant such a request.

It may seem far-fetched to speak of ingratitude as a breach of
etiquette, but the lack of acknowledgment of favors is very much like
it. The man who accepts all done for him as his due, who forgets the
“thank you” in return for the trifling favors, is not a gentleman—in
that respect, at least. The young men and young women of to-day are too
often spoiled or heedless, taking pretty attentions offered them as
matters of course, and as their right.

       *       *       *       *       *

In this miscellaneous chapter it may be well to enforce what is said
elsewhere with regard to the respect every man should show to women.
For instance, every man who really respects the women of his family
will remove his hat when he enters the house. There are, however, men
who kiss these same women with covered heads.

In a well-known play acted by a traveling company some years ago in a
small town, the hero, standing in a garden, told the heroine he loved
her, was accepted by her, and bent to kiss her without removing the
conventional derby from his blond pate. All sentiment was destroyed
for the spectators when irate Hibernian accents sounded forth from the
gallery with: “Suppose ye take off yer hat, ye ill-mannered blokey!”

The Irishman was in the right.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A WORD TO THE SHY]

I would say a word to those who, through bashfulness or
self-consciousness, do the things they ought not to do and leave
undone those things which they ought to do. They are so uncomfortable
in society, so afraid of not appearing as they should, and so much
absorbed in wondering how they look and act, and wishing that they
did better, that they are guilty of the very acts of omission and
commission they would guard against.

If I could give one rule to the bashful it would be: Forget yourself
and your affairs in interest in others and their affairs. Be so fully
occupied noticing how well others appear and trying to make everybody
about you comfortable, that you have no time to think of your behavior.
You will then not be guilty of any flagrant breach of etiquette. The
most courteous women I have ever known, those whose manners were a
charm to all whom they met, were those who were self-forgetful and
always watching for opportunities to make other people comfortable.
Such are the queens of society.

[Sidenote: UNDUE SELF-CRITICISM]

If you do make a mistake take consolation from the fact—which will be
apparent to you in time—that others do the same. Perfect good breeding
is a state to which few attain absolutely. One should not make one’s
self thoroughly unhappy by too constant self-criticism, for to do this
is to disobey—paradoxically—a fundamental social law. The old negro
who, when asked to describe what he meant by “quality folks,” expressed
this law when he answered, “Quality never doubts theirselves.” The
beginner _must_ doubt, but he should not agonize about it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TALKING SHOP]

“Talking shop” is usually alluded to as a decided breach of etiquette.
In many cases it is so, yet there are people who are never so
entertaining as when doing this very thing, and there are companies in
which it is entirely proper they should do it. One must use discretion.
Certainly, no one should be forced to talk of his daily work if he
evidently prefers not to do so. Physicians in particular should not
be compelled to play the professional when they are trying to relax
socially.

       *       *       *       *       *

A party is not the place for propaganda. The hostess who may be an
ardent advocate of votes for women should be sure that all her guests
share her views before she dogmatically propounds them. She may indeed
politely introduce the topic and if she merely does this, no one
present has a right to take offense or should hesitate in the same
spirit to speak of her own view. But the subject is likely to prove
dangerous. The writer has seen charming women utterly lose control of
themselves and all but maul one another over a “discussion” on equal
suffrage.

       *       *       *       *       *

A social mistake to be avoided is that of being “touchy.” To be
so occasions one great unhappiness and leads to serious mistakes
in conduct. Do not allow yourself to find slights and affronts in
the demeanor of those with whom you are thrown unless there is real
foundation for the feeling. The mental attitude of fancying that others
intend to wound us grows if it is indulged in and finally leaves us
hopelessly out of key.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: CORDIAL GREETINGS]

One of the most valuable of social acquisitions is the habit of
greeting people in a delightful way. Learn to say “Good morning!”
audibly, heartily, as if you meant it. Unless one means to be very
informal one should add the name, “Good morning, Miss Smith.” We all
know men and women who possess this grace of salutation which lingers
happily on those on whom it is bestowed.

       *       *       *       *       *

In meeting people for the first time one should take pains to get
their names exactly right. There is something very personal in one’s
feeling about one’s name and one has a right to have it spoken and
written as one elects. If a man is named “Davies” he can not be blamed
for resenting it if people indifferently address him as “Mr. Davis.”
If people who make introductions would take more trouble to speak the
name distinctly, this would help greatly. If the name is indistinctly
uttered you may say, “Pardon me, I did not understand the name?” which
will generally bring forth a clear repetition.

       *       *       *       *       *

Small matters, such as quiet breathing, betoken gentlehood. Flowers, if
one is inhaling their perfume, should be treated delicately,—the face
should not be buried in them. Remember Browning’s word,

                  “Any nose
    May ravage with impunity a rose.”

It is frequently said that the weather, as a topic of conversation,
is tabooed. But how charmingly Chesterton has defended it: “There are
very deep reasons for talking about the weather ... it is a gesture
of primeval worship ... to begin with the weather is a pagan way of
beginning with prayer. Then it is an expression of that elementary idea
in politeness—equality ... in that we all have our hats under the dark
blue spangled umbrella of the universe.” Surely after reading so fine a
plea, no one need fear to begin the morning’s conversation with a word
on the weather!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: GETTING OFF A STREET-CAR]

One of the things that most women need to learn is the correct way of
getting off a street-car, which is to step off with the right foot,
facing front, which saves awkwardness in every case and sometimes, if
the car starts too soon, an accident.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing more absolutely marks a lady than her manner toward her social
inferior. She is kindly but never patronizing. A woman who was once
being fitted for new shoes and who had inquired of the clerk who waited
on her how his family were—the man had been at his post for many
years and she called him by name—turned to a woman acquaintance who
was waiting her turn and said, explanatorily, “I always speak to the
butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.” If this was her custom,
why apologize for it?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: AT THE HOTEL TABLE]

When strangers are served at the same table in a hotel, they should
bow and say “Good morning” or “Good evening,” on sitting down and on
leaving. This polite custom, often ignored in America, is universal
abroad.

       *       *       *       *       *

If one wishes to ask a social favor such as a card for a friend
to a ball to which you yourself have been asked, or a letter of
introduction, it is better to make the request by note if possible,
as this gives the other person more freedom to refuse if that seems
necessary.

       *       *       *       *       *

When one alludes to an entire family by name, respect requires that
the article “the” be prefixed. One’s friends are “the Smiths,” “the
Browns,” etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: OVERWHELMING COMPLIMENTS]

Profuse compliment is as much to be avoided as undue or untactful
criticism. We are annoyed by those who persistently overwhelm us
with admiring comment. On the other hand, one should not hesitate to
speak a sincere word that will give pleasure; one may without apology
tell a friend that her new hat is unusually becoming or her dress
artistic. There are people who pride themselves on “never saying
anything disagreeable” and they succeed in being so very often and
quite unconsciously because they lack savor. Arthur Benson, the English
essayist, has amusingly pointed out how dull society would be if we
turned it into a chorus of indiscriminate praise of how delightful A
is, what a charming person is B, how altogether lovely is C. Perhaps
the wisest rule is to draw a sharp line between those who are entitled
in a strict sense to the all-devoted attitude of affection and those
whom we merely like and find entertaining. Even the most patent faults
and shortcomings of the former must be sacred—“A friend conceals the
weaknesses of a friend.” Of the second class one may speak frankly
though of course always in taste and without malice.



CHAPTER XLIII

ON MANNER


WHILE it is important to master the minutiæ that govern the conduct of
social life, it is well to remember that a good manner is to be desired
even above good manners. “Not what she says but the way she says it”
was the clever explanation made by an experienced society woman of the
charm of a débutante. If one doubts this for a moment, one has only
to recall the impression made now and then by a fine-mannered workman
or a country woman who has never attended a “function” in her life.
Such persons, by virtue of a native dignity of bearing, by a beautiful
simplicity and a kindness of heart toward all men, would be at home in
any assembly worthy to receive them. One can fancy that Stella, whom
Dean Swift loved, would have been at ease in any society, even had she
lacked her protector’s instruction and fostering care. We are told that
she has civility, repose and humor, three great qualities that make
for social success. A well-known woman, describing those who possess
savoir-faire, says: “They have the genius of tact to perceive, the
genius of finesse to execute, ease 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.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: LEARNING TO TALK WELL]

To learn to talk well and to listen well and to do either with grace
as the conversational situation demands is a real accomplishment. One
writer on the subject of conversation has given excellent advice:
“Socialize every thought before you utter it.” In other words, one
should bear in mind as vividly as possible the probable direction and
extent of the sympathies and interests of the person to whom one is
speaking and endeavor not to let his words go far afield from those
sympathies and interests. Conversation is essentially a partnership
game and, as in playing golf, the one who is talking should not get
too far away from his listener. There have been people like Coleridge
who did not converse but who spoke habitually in monologues and spoke
so brilliantly that society was glad to listen. With ordinary men and
women, however, there should be give and take. In listening, try to
catch plumply a ball tossed to you and in return try to pitch your own
ball neither too high nor too low, too soft nor too hard.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: USING THE QUESTION FORM]

It is not necessary, in order to be pleasant, to make one’s self what
Emerson has happily called “a mush of concession.” Do not be afraid
to have convictions of your own and at the proper moment to express
them clearly. At the same time, one should avoid a dogmatic manner and
any assumption that one’s own view is the only view worth having. The
saying “Stick your opinions in nobody’s sleeve” is to the point. Utter
your own ideas frankly but do not force their acceptance on any one.
Even a good idea is likely to lose by any suggestion of insistence. It
is well to make frequent use of the question form in beginning a new
topic of discussion, to ask, “Do you admire Forbes-Robertson?” rather
than “I admire Forbes-Robertson because, etc.” In the one case, you
courteously include in your talk the one whom you are addressing, and,
in the other, you simply use him as an audience for your own benefit.
People who are given to the latter form are usually those who are fond
of talking constantly which—it may be remarked—is a dangerous thing to
do. The man or woman who says a great deal at one time is pretty sure
to say something he will be sorry for. Besides, from a strategic point
of view, the man who is always talking himself does not learn; he has
no chance to be finding where the other person stands, while, all the
time, he is setting himself up as a target. A great teacher once said,
“A wise man will hear and will increase learning.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: A LOVE OF HARMONY]

Not to talk constantly of one’s self and one’s affairs is, of course,
a fundamental rule of good breeding and yet there are persons who know
how to talk about themselves—on occasions when it is proper to do so—in
a delightful way, because they have the instinct for speaking simply
and without conceit. To speak of one’s ills of any sort is ordinarily
a mistake. “Consume your own smoke.” “To walk gently, humbly, and, if
possible, gaily with other men” is a charming rule for social conduct.
One should be a lover of harmony. To differ abruptly from the one
who is speaking may, in rare instances, be necessary, but only then.
After all, the person who is “agreeable” is one who agrees. While
one may not share one’s neighbor’s views in the whole, one may often
seize on some point of it with which to sympathize and on which to set
the seal of one’s approval. The clergyman who, at an evening party
where a well-known woman had read a paper on Sir Oliver Lodge and
his experiments in the occult, vehemently denounced all occultism,
doubtless felt that his office demanded this attitude, but he made his
hostess and the other guests exceedingly uncomfortable.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE CANDLES OF CONVERSATION]

Avoid the unfortunate habit that some persons have of snuffing out the
candles of conversation. If any one introduces a topic, the reasonable
inference is that he is interested in that topic and remark number two
from you should not throw cold water on it. Do not merely listen, but
attend, stretch mentally toward your companion, be with him in thought.
“Find out where people are and meet them there.” Only in this way will
you yourself gain the full measure of what the other person has to
give and be able to reply to the finer points of his remark. A good
rule in conversation is “when in doubt keep still.” Never be betrayed
into talking merely because you are nervous. Arthur Vincent speaks
somewhere of the unhappy spectacle made by the shy man who attempts to
cover his shyness by garrulity. When you do speak, take all the time
there is. That is to say, do not feel hurried or flurried. Speak when
you speak—without fear and with dignity. Never press unduly any slight
advantage you may acquire in conversation. Your companion is not your
victim nor are you to shine as his superior. A fine manner is made up
of many slight sacrifices.

If, in spite of yourself, you are drawn into a heated, wordy and
futile argument, you are justified in assenting to any claims
whatsoever your unwise companion may make. It was the practise of
Stella, says one of her biographers, to agree with such persons, as she
said, “to save noise.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: THE TELLING OF STORIES]

If you attempt to tell a story, be sure, in the first place, that it is
worth telling, and in the second place, that you know it thoroughly,
and in the third place, that you tell it reasonably well. But the
social company that is transformed into a succession of “good stories”
does not represent the highest social plane. A particularly good story
is always desirable if it comes in naturally to point some phase of
a discussion that is in progress, but a run of stories represents an
intellectual descent. In whatever you are telling or describing, beware
of too much detail. Remember the French proverb, “To tell all is to be
tedious.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: SERENITY AND GENTLENESS]

Cheerfully accord the other person the last word in any discussion,
giving your own view once quietly and if it does not arouse interest,
do not insist on it. Never raise your voice to command attention.
Never spoil a fine moment by any disagreeable allusions. There are
always some people who have a gift for introducing the subject of
ptomaine poisoning during the fish course, or who, on an outing, make
all the other women uncomfortable by talking about snakes. Remember
that comparisons are dangerous and that superlatives are also often
the forerunner of embarrassment. Be prepared for surprises and do not
allow them to throw you off your balance. Never allow yourself to
become a fussbudget. Serenity is one great element of social charm.
Du Maurier tells us that Trilby knew “when to speak and when to keep
silence.” George Meredith, in his delightful romance, _Sandra Belloni_,
says of Sandra, “She moved softly as if she loved everything that she
touched.” A certain softness of manner is undoubtedly a large part
of attractiveness, but the sharp edge of self-assertion destroys.
The gentleness of Hamlet’s unhappy love is shown in the warning
spoken before one of her entrances: “Soft you now, the fair Ophelia.”
“Remember,” says a modern writer on voice training: “that every time
you speak you touch some one with your voice.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Beware of giving out violent opinions before knowing where the other
person stands. This does not mean that you should be untrue to your own
beliefs, but that you should, with one newly met, cast about for at
least a plank on which you two may stand in friendly relation. It is
the people who most accurately measure the common ground between them
and other people who make the most and the happiest friendships.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never command even one who is paid to serve you. The same words put
in the form of a request are equally effective and are much more
creditable to you and grateful to the persons to whom they are spoken.
English servants invariably say “Thank you” for any information or
direction given them, but this smacks of servility and one hopes the
custom will not be taken up in this country.

Never begin a conversation with “Say,” as “Say, Marjorie.” In a group
conversation be careful to include, by voice and glance, every one in
it.

[Sidenote: SAY GOOD-BY TO ALL]

Finally, be sure, as Emerson says, “that people like a room better with
you in it than out of it,” and when you leave the room, learn to do it
in a way that adds to the pleasure your presence has already given. Do
not, for one thing, neglect to say good-by to every one present if the
number is small. The grace with which some people take leave amounts
to an art. Some one has recorded with delight “the exquisite, laughing
farewells” of Mrs. Browning.



CHAPTER XLIV

SELF-HELP AND OBSERVATION


TO the uninstructed, socially, the bare rules and conventions
regulating social life seem often meaningless and arbitrary. A careful
consideration of these conventions, such as it has been the aim of this
book to give, shows that no one of them is without a reason for its
being. The classification, however, of social forms, together with the
reasons governing these forms, does not provide a body of knowledge
sufficient to serve as guide in the matter of comporting one’s self
easily and to advantage socially. There are many situations and points
of behavior that it is impossible for a book of etiquette to cover. The
laws laid down are only a small social capital. They discuss the more
obvious matters of social contact. Numerous points,—and these of the
finer sort,—must be left without comment. In the treatment of these
points and problems the person desirous of solving them properly must
rely largely on his own good sense. One must apply to social exigencies
the same methods of reasoning that one applies in meeting the other
exigencies of life. In a word, one must resort to the principle of
self-help.

[Sidenote: LEARN BY OBSERVATION]

Much, too, and this in the pleasantest fashion, may be done to extend
one’s knowledge of good form by observation of people who have unusual
tact and social discrimination. In every city, town and village, there
are such persons who are distinguished above their fellow citizens by
social instinct, by the talent for performing gracefully and acceptably
the offices of society. In differing degrees, but still perceptibly,
these people, like the painter, the musician, the poet, are marked
by a taste and a thirst for perfection. To render social life as
interesting, as charming, as beautiful as possible, to make the social
machinery run smoothly and without friction,—this is their aim. Such
people give quality to social intercourse. They observe the little
amenities of life with grace. They know how to enter a room and how
to leave it. They convey by the bow with which they greet one on the
street the proper degree of acquaintanceship or friendship. They dress
with propriety. They take time by the forelock in the adoption of new
devices for the entertainment of their friends. Their parties are the
prettiest; their houses are the most popular. Not necessarily clever of
speech, they are clever in small and charming activities. They have a
marked talent for all the little graces that make social intercourse
easy and delightful. This talent, of course, can not be communicated,
but much may be learned by watching its operation. Certainly one can
gain from it a knowledge of particulars, of how to perform certain
definite acts, even if the conquest of the method is impossible.

It is not difficult in any community to discover people who approach
more or less nearly the type described. They have a recognized
distinction. To watch them, and, by this means, to wrest from them a
part at least of their secret, is the surest way for the individual,
timid or unversed socially, to discover his own social power and to
increase it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: TRIFLES MAKE PERFECTION]

[Sidenote: THE UNIFORMITY OF CUSTOM]

Doubtless some of those who read this book may be disposed to ask why,
in social life, so much stress is laid on comparatively small matters
and why one can not do as one pleases? To these we recommend Gilbert
Hamerton’s delightful essay, _Custom and Tradition_, addressed “To a
young gentleman who had firmly resolved never to wear anything but a
gray coat.” We quote briefly: “The penalties imposed by society for the
infraction of very trifling details of custom are often, as it seems,
out of all proportion to the offense; but so are the penalties of
nature.... Nature _will_ be obeyed. Society will be obeyed.... Society
does not desire to exclude you because you will not wear evening
dress; but the dress is customary, and your exclusion is merely a
consequence of your non-conformity. The view of society goes no farther
in this than the artistic conception (not very delicately artistic,
perhaps) that it is prettier to see men in black coats regularly
placed between ladies round a dinner-table than men in gray coats or
brown coats. The uniformity of custom appears to represent uniformity
of sentiment.... Society does not argue the point with you, but only
excludes you.”


    THE END



INDEX


    Abbreviations, 3, 4
    Accepting invitations, 183
    Accounts, keeping, 391
    Acknowledging favors, 410, 411
    Acknowledging gifts, 169, 170, 173, 174
    Acquaintance between young men and young women, 132
    Addressing invitations, 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Addressing letters, 31
    Addressing persons of political prominence, 34, 35
    Addressing the nobility, 41
    Afternoon receptions, 53, 54
    Afternoon receptions, correct dress, 54
    Afternoon receptions, refreshments for, 54
    After six o’clock, 43
    Allowances: children’s weekly sums, 395
    Allowances, expenditure of, 396, 397, 398
    Allowances for charity, 347
    Allowances, importance of, 395
    Allowances, value of, 396
    Anniversaries, 63
    Announcements, wedding, 86, 87
    Answering letters, 29, 36, 37
    Arrival at functions, 56, 57
    Asking questions, 401, 402
    “At Home” announcement through newspapers, 4
    “At Home” days, 17, 18
    “At Homes,” invitations to, 2
    “At Homes” of brides, 89
    Attendants, wedding, 70, 79
    Automobiling, etiquette of, 285, 286

    Bachelor after-theater supper, 176
    Bachelor dinners, 179, 180, 181
    Bachelor hospitality: chaperon required, 176
    Bachelor hospitality: engaging chaperon for, 177
    Bachelor hospitality: form of entertaining, 176
    Bachelor hospitality: issuing invitations, 178
    Bachelor receptions, 176, 179
    Bachelor restaurant supper, 180, 181
    Bachelor tea, 176, 178
    Bashfulness, 412
    Birthday gifts, 171
    Boarding-house, etiquette of, 249
    Boarding-schools, 113
    Boating, etiquette of, 288, 289
    Books, care of, 235
    Books, borrowing, 235
    Bouquets, bridal, 73, 82, 84
    Bowing, 240
    Box-party, correct seating of, 129
    Breakfast, wedding, 71, 72, 75, 76, 84, 85
    Bridegroom’s dress, 72, 82
    Bride’s dress, 72, 82
    Bridesmaid’s dress, 72, 82
    Bruskness, 399
    Business courtesy, 401
    Butler’s dress, 102

    Call, who makes first, 25, 26
    Callers, refreshments for, 19, 20
    Calling after a bereavement, 22
    Calling-cards, 4
    Calls, 14
    Calls: after an invitation has been declined, 24
    Calls: “At Home” days, 17, 18
    Calls: conversation during, 127
    Calls: hours for, 26, 125, 126
    Calls: length of, 126
    Calls: leaving cards, 18, 19, 20
    Calls: on fiancée, 21
    Calls, on the sick, 26
    Calls, returning, 23
    Calls, social obligation of, 17
    Calls to offer sympathy, 23
    Canoeing, etiquette of, 288, 289
    Card-party, the, 56, 57
    Cards, 14
    Cards, calling, 14
    Cards, correspondence, 35
    Cards for an “At Home,” 2
    Cards for clergymen, 16
    Cards for evening reception, 3
    Cards for home wedding, 69, 70
    Cards for matron, 15
    Cards for men, 15
    Cards for mourning, 21, 22
    Cards for wedding anniversaries, 62
    Cards for young women, 15
    Cards: style for calling, 14
    Cards: when calling, 19, 20
    Ceremony, wedding, 74, 75, 80
    Chaperon, 145
    Chaperon at college parties, 142
    Chaperon at theaters, 150
    Chaperon, duties of, 147, 148, 149, 150, 177
    Chaperon, excursions with, 150
    Chaperon, necessity of, 146, 147
    Chaperon, obligation to, 147
    Chaperon: when traveling, 278, 279
    Charity, allowance for, 347
    Charity: delicacy in gift-making, 353, 354
    Charity, organized methods of, 347, 348, 349
    Charity, private, 352, 353
    Charity: settlement work, 351, 352
    Charity: special fields of, 350, 351
    Children, 315
    Children at hotels, 254, 255
    Children, authority over, 319
    Children, behavior of, 318
    Children, indulgence to, 316, 317
    Children, obedience of, 322
    Children, place of, 318
    Children, traveling with, 320, 321
    Christening gifts, 64, 178
    Christening parties, 63, 64
    Christmas gifts, 172, 173
    Church acquaintances, 330
    Church companionship, 330, 331
    Church etiquette, 329
    Church etiquette: making friends, 331
    Church etiquette: pastor and parish, 335
    Church etiquette: pew hospitality, 333
    Church etiquette: visiting congregations, 335
    Church etiquette: welcoming strangers, 331, 332
    Clerks and customers, 408
    Clerks: courtesy toward, 407
    Club, woman’s, 337
    Coeducation, 136
    Coeducation: “Don’ts” for girls, 140, 141, 142
    Coeducation: forming friendships, 138, 139
    Coeducation: local etiquette of, 139
    Coeducation: social amenities of, 137, 138
    College festivities, 142
    College slang, 141, 142
    Coming out, 120
    Coming-out parties, 55, 56
    Companionship of one young man, 130, 131
    Compliments, profuse, 417
    Condolence, 34, 208, 209
    Conduct toward guest, 199, 200, 201, 202
    Congratulations, 34
    Congratulations, wedding, 75, 83, 84
    Correspondence cards, 35
    Correspondence, value of, 29
    Courtesy, 355
    Courtesy: aged men, 360, 361, 362
    Courtesy due elders, 355
    Courtesy: value of deference, 357, 358, 360
    Courtesy: value of discrimination, 356, 357
    Courtesies: at dance, 128
    Courtesies: at theater, 129
    Courtesies, young men may pay girls, 128
    Criticism, rudeness of, 409
    Criticism, tactful, 403, 404

    Dance program, 58
    Dancing parties, 57, 58
    Dancing parties: the hostess, 59
    Dean of women, 143, 144
    Débutante, 120
    Débutante, age of, 121
    Débutante, apparel of, 122, 123
    Débutante: coming out, 120
    Débutante, conduct of, 123, 124
    Débutante, significance of, 121, 122
    Declining invitations, 8, 9, 10, 11
    Dinner coat, 104, 105
    Dinner, hour for serving, 99
    Dinner parties, 88
    Dinner parties: arrival, 107
    Dinner parties: choice of guests, 89, 90, 106
    Dinner parties: departure, 109
    Dinner parties, invitations to, 6, 7, 8, 9, 90
    Dinner parties: general suggestions, 89
    Dinner parties: leaving dining-room, 108
    Dinner parties: leaving drawing-room, 106
    Dinner parties: preparations for, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96
    Dinner parties: serving, 100, 101
    Dinner parties: the small affair, 89
    Disagreeableness, 400
    Dowry, bride’s, 394
    Dress: between seasons, 156
    Dress, color in, 161, 162, 163
    Dress, consideration of, 154
    Dress for balls and dinners, 156
    Dress for bride, 72, 82
    Dress for bridegroom, 72, 82
    Dress for bridesmaids, 72, 82
    Dress for business woman, 383, 384
    Dress for butler, 102
    Dress for christening parties, 64, 105
    Dress for church, 166
    Dress for house-man, 102
    Dress for housework, 372, 373
    Dress for maid, 102
    Dress for maid of honor, 72, 82
    Dress for men at dinner party, 103
    Dress for traveling, 270
    Dress for ushers, 83
    Dress for various occasions, 54-157
    Dress for widow, 212
    Dress for widow at second marriage, 187
    Dress for women at dinner party, 103, 156
    Dress: individuality in, 162
    Dress: importance of accessories, 159, 160
    Dress: its influence on manner, 253
    Dress: neatness in, 162, 163
    Dress: street gown, 155
    Dress: suitable for occasion, 158, 163, 164
    Duty of hospitality, 203
    Duty of maid, 99, 363
    Duty of mistress, 363
    Duty to elders, 355

    Education of young girl, 111
    Embracing, 244
    Engaged couple, 60, 61
    Engagements, 61
    Engagements, announcement of, 61
    Engagement gifts, 170
    Entertaining at club-house, 65
    Entertaining at hotel ballroom, 65
    Escorting women, 242, 243
    Evening receptions, 53
    Exchanging photographs at college, 141
    Expenses, wedding, 71

    Finances: accounts, 391
    Finances: advantages of agreement, 390, 391
    Finances: advice to wife, 388, 389
    Finances: allowance for wife, 389, 390
    Finances: exceeding allowance, 390
    Finances: investing wife’s money, 394
    Finances: marrying for money, 392, 393
    Finances of young married couples, 387
    Finances: wife earns allowance, 387, 388
    Finger-bowls, use of, 222
    Finger nails, 164, 231
    First names, use of, 127, 140
    Flowers for funerals, 209
    Forks, use of, 217, 218
    Forms of address, 34, 35, 41
    Functions, 52
    Functions: afternoon receptions, 53, 54
    Functions: anniversaries, 62, 63
    Functions: announcing engagements, 61, 62
    Functions: christening parties, 63, 64
    Functions: coming-out parties, 55, 56
    Functions: dancing parties, 57, 58
    Functions: dinner parties, 88
    Functions: evening receptions, 53
    Functions: high tea, 54, 55
    Functions: hour for arriving, 56, 57
    Functions: how to conduct one’s self, 52, 58, 59, 65
    Functions: leaving, 53, 55, 56, 57
    Functions: luncheons, 52
    Functions: music, 55
    Functions: musicale, 57, 66
    Funerals, 210, 211, 212

    Gifts, 167
    Gifts, acknowledging, 169, 170, 173, 174
    Gifts, appropriate, 168
    Gifts, birthday, 171
    Gifts, christening, 171, 172
    Gifts, Christmas, 172, 173
    Gifts, display of wedding, 84, 170
    Gifts for the baby, 171
    Gifts for engagements, 170
    Gifts for weddings, 167, 168
    Gifts for young women, 171
    Gifts, lists of, 170
    Gifts: marking silver, 168
    Girls: advantages of travel for, 116, 117
    Girls: boarding-school or college for, 112
    Girls: desirability of accomplishments for, 117, 118
    Girls: entertaining men in their room, 312, 313
    Girls: free and easy behavior, 307
    Girls, 306
    Girls: impropriety of advances, 310, 311
    Girls: jesting, 313, 314
    Girls: losing respect, 307
    Girls: maidenly dignity, 312
    Girls: permitting liberties, 308, 309, 310
    Girls: plain talk to, 306
    Girls: sending away to school, 111
    Gloves, 165
    Golf, etiquette of, 282, 283, 284
    Grace, saying, 100
    Greetings, 414
    Guests at hotels, 249
    Guests, choice of, 10

    Harmony, 421
    Hat, lifting of, 238, 239, 411
    High tea, 54, 55
    Home dinner, 45
    Home diversion: planning for, 44, 45, 46
    Home diversion: games for, 47
    Home, in the, 227
    Home, in the: breaches of manner, 237, 238
    Home, in the: courtesy, 227, 228, 229
    Home, in the: courteous attentions, 229, 233
    Home, in the: family table, 229, 230
    Home, in the: good taste in speech, 231, 232
    Home, in the: politeness essential, 232, 233
    Home, in the: recognizing others’ rights, 235, 236
    Home, in the: respect for books, 235
    Home, in the: respect necessary, 233, 234
    Home, in the: well-trained voice, 234
    Home party, 47
    Home wedding, 69
    Home wedding: decorations, 73, 74
    Home wedding: invitations to, 69, 70
    Home wedding: matter of lights, 70
    Home wedding: order of procession, 74, 75
    Horseback riding, etiquette of, 289, 290
    Hospitality, 201, 202, 203
    Hospitality, bachelor, 175
    Hospitality, duty of, 203
    Hospitality, mutual obligations of, 204
    Hospitality, return of, 205
    Hospitality to strangers, 206, 207
    Hostess at dance, 59
    Hostess at table, 217, 223
    Hotel, children in, 254, 255
    Hotel etiquette, 249
    Hotel etiquette: conduct toward waiter, 252
    Hotel etiquette: criticizing, 252
    Hotel etiquette: dining-room conduct, 251, 252
    Hotel etiquette: instructions for guest, 249, 250
    Hotel etiquette: loud talking, 250
    Hotel etiquette: tipping, 253
    Hotel gossip, 255, 256
    Hotel intimacies, 257
    Hotel, summer, 257
    Hotel table, at the, 416
    House-man, dress of, 102
    House-man, duties of, 103

    Ideal society, the, 67
    Indulgent parents, 316, 317
    Ingratitude, display of, 409
    Interest, display of, 402, 403
    Introductions, 38
    Introductions: an American presented at court, 40, 41
    Introductions: clerical, 40
    Introductions: man the one presented, 38
    Introductions: should be made by host, 41, 42
    Introducing a person in a large circle, 39
    Introducing a sister or daughter, 39
    Introducing one’s husband, 39
    Introducing professional men, 42
    Introducing two women of about equal age, 40
    Invitations, 1
    Invitations, acknowledging, 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Invitations, addressing, 6
    Invitations, appreciation of, 409
    Invitations, bachelor’s, 178
    Invitations, declining, 8, 9, 10
    Invitations for an “At Home,” 2
    Invitations for bridge, 11
    Invitations for card-parties, 5
    Invitations for coming-out parties, 56
    Invitations for church weddings, 5
    Invitations for dances, 5
    Invitations for dinners, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Invitations for evening receptions, 3
    Invitations for garden parties, 11
    Invitations for luncheons, 6, 10
    Invitations for musicales, 11
    Invitations for tea-dance, 11
    Invitations for weddings, 5, 69, 70, 78
    Invitations in honor of friend, 2
    Invitations: issued in name of, 13
    Invitations: manner of receiving verbal, 409, 410
    Invitations requiring no acceptance note, 1
    Invitations: sent after a death, 12
    Invitations: without first call having been made, 23, 24
    Inviting a visitor, 197-198

    Jesting, 313, 314

    Leave-taking, a man’s, 135
    Leaving cards, 20, 21
    Letter-heads, 30
    Letter-writing, 27
    Letters, answering, 29, 36, 37
    Letters: colored letter paper, 29
    Letters, dating, 31
    Letters: enclosing stamps, 36
    Letters, how to write, 27
    Letters: interchange of, 130
    Letters, length of, 33
    Letters: mourning stationery, 30
    Letters of condolence, 34, 208, 209
    Letters of congratulation, 34
    Letters of introduction, 35, 36, 416
    Letters: plain white paper, 29
    Letters: postal cards, 33
    Letters: signatures, 32
    Letters: social forms, 29, 30
    Letters: wrong way of treating, 28
    Listening, value of, 402, 403
    Little things, 399
    Lunching at a club, 134
    Luncheons, 52
    Luncheons: the table, 52

    Maid, dress of, 102
    Maid, duties of, 99
    Maid of honor, 70
    Maid of honor’s dress, 72, 82
    Maid, without a: division of tasks, 376, 377
    Maid, without a: dressing for work, 372, 373
    Maid, without a: importance of order, 373, 374, 375
    Maid, without a: simplicity, 375, 376
    Maid, without a: studying housework, 377, 378, 379
    Maidenly dignity, 312
    Manner, 418
    Manner: beginning conversation, 425
    Manner: candles of conversation, 422
    Manner: harmony, 421
    Manner: learn to talk well, 419
    Manner: leaving a room, 425
    Manner: serenity, 423, 424
    Manner: telling a story, 423
    Manner: the question form, 420
    Manner: violent opinions, 424
    Manner of lady toward social inferior, 416
    Marketing: ill manners while, 408
    Marriage, ceremonies of, 74, 75, 80, 81
    Marrying for money, 393
    Menu cards, 97, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267
    Mistress and maid, 363
    Mistress and maid: duty to maid, 356, 366
    Mistress and maid: duty to mistress, 366
    Mistress and maid: making confidante of maid, 366, 367
    Mistress and maid: making friend of maid, 365, 366
    Mistress and maid: relations between, 363, 368
    Mistress, conduct of, 363, 364
    Mourning: attending funerals, 209, 210
    Mourning: cards of, 21
    Mourning: church funerals, 212
    Mourning: closing casket, 210
    Mourning: conduct of bereaved, 215
    Mourning: extending sympathy, 211, 212
    Mourning: flowers, 209
    Mourning for men, 214
    Mourning: funeral notices, 215
    Mourning: home funerals, 210, 211
    Mourning, house of, 208
    Mourning stationery, appropriate, 21, 22
    Mourning, time of, 214, 215
    Mourning veil, 212, 213
    Mourning: widow’s dress, 212, 213, 214
    Mrs. Newlyrich, ambitions of, 294, 295
    Mrs. Newlyrich, apparel of, 303
    Mrs. Newlyrich: conduct toward servants, 297
    Mrs. Newlyrich: engaging servants, 296
    Mrs. Newlyrich: forming new acquaintances, 299
    Mrs. Newlyrich, house of, 303, 304
    Mrs. Newlyrich, husband of, 292, 293, 294
    Mrs. Newlyrich, manners of, 298, 299
    Mrs. Newlyrich: mastering forms, 300, 301, 302
    Mrs. Newlyrich: purse-pride, 294
    Mrs. Newlyrich, speech of, 296
    Mrs. Newlyrich, social duties of, 291
    Music at a reception, 55
    Musicale, 57, 66
    Music, wedding, 74

    Napkin, use of, 217, 222, 224
    Neighbors, 323
    Neighbors, addressing, 324
    Neighbors, courtesy to, 325
    Neighbors, familiarity with, 327, 328
    Neighbors, higher significance of, 326, 327
    Note-writing, as an accomplishment, 130
    Notices, funeral, 215

    Obedience, children’s, 322
    Observation, value of, 427, 428

    Paper, letter, 29, 35
    Parents, indulgent, 316, 317
    Parish, etiquette of, 329
    Party calls, 23
    Parties, anniversary, 63
    Parties, christening, 63, 64
    Parties, coming-out, 55, 56
    Parties, dancing, 57, 58
    Parties, dinner, 88
    Parties, gentlemen should attend on ladies, 133, 134
    Parties, house, 187
    Pastor and parish, 334, 335, 336
    Perfect social group, 68
    Photographs, exchange of, 141
    Politeness in home, 232, 238
    Postal cards, use of, 32, 33
    Presentation at court, 40-41
    Privacy, respect for others’, 235, 236
    Public, addressing women in, 243, 245
    Public, assisting women in, 242
    Public, boarding a car in, 240, 241
    Public, bowing in, 240
    Public, embracing in, 244
    Public, escorting women in, 242, 243
    Public, etiquette in, 240, 241
    Public, kissing in, 244
    Public, lifting hat in, 238, 239
    Public, removing hat in, 239
    Public, resigning seat in, 241, 242
    Public: theater conduct, 245, 246
    Purse-pride, 294

    Receiving a caller, 126
    Receptions, afternoon, 53, 54
    Receptions, evening, 53
    Receptions, invitations for, 3
    Recreation, 43
    Refreshments for callers, 19, 20
    Refreshments for home wedding, 64
    Refreshments for receptions, 64
    Restaurant, in the, 259
    Restaurant, in the: conduct, 259, 260, 261
    Restaurant, in the: menu card, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267
    Restaurant, in the: ordering, 259, 260
    Returning calls, 23
    Rowing, etiquette of, 288, 289
    Rudeness, 399
    Rules of social life, 426

    Self-criticism, 412
    Self-help, 426
    Serving guests, 101, 102
    Settlements, 392
    Settlement work, 351
    Social favors, asking, 416
    Spoon, use of, 220
    Sports, etiquette in, 280
    Sports, etiquette in: automobiling, 285, 286
    Sports, etiquette in: boating, 288, 289
    Sports, etiquette in: canoeing, 288, 289
    Sports, etiquette in: driving, 289
    Sports, etiquette in: golf, 282, 283, 284
    Sports, etiquette in: horseback riding, 289, 290
    Sports, etiquette in: politeness necessary, 280
    Sports, etiquette in: rowing, 288, 289
    Sports, etiquette in: swimming, 289
    Sports, etiquette in: tennis, 286, 287
    Sports, etiquette in: yachting, 287
    Sports, general rules of, 281, 282
    Street-car, getting off, 415
    Summer hotel, etiquette of, 257
    Suppers, Sunday night, 49, 50
    Suppers, after the theater, 176
    Swimming, etiquette of, 289
    Sympathy, cards of, 22
    Sympathy, expressions of, 211, 212

    Table, at, 216
    Table, at: carving, 217
    Table, at: drinking coffee, 221, 222
    Table, at: eating, 216, 220
    Table, at: salad, 222
    Table, at: second service, 224
    Table, at: the hostess, 217, 223
    Table, at: the waitress, 222
    Table, at: use of finger-bowls, 222
    Table, at: use of fork, 217, 218
    Table, at: use of knife, 217, 218, 219
    Table, at: use of spoon, 220
    Table, at: using fingers, 220, 221
    Table: fruit centerpiece for, 97
    Table laws, 225, 226
    Table, setting the, 93, 94, 95, 98, 225
    Table, sitting at, 216
    Telephoning, politeness of, 404, 405, 406
    Tennis, etiquette of, 286, 287
    Tipping, 188, 253
    Titles, 17, 42
    Titles: husband’s never taken by wife, 16
    Traveling: arrival in a strange city, 276, 277, 278
    Traveling: by boat, 278
    Traveling: chaperons, 278, 279
    Traveling: funds, 270, 271
    Traveling: in the dining-car, 275, 276
    Traveling, making acquaintance while, 271, 272
    Traveling: Pullman car preparations, 272, 273, 274
    Traveling, suitable clothing for, 270

    Uniformity of custom, 429
    Uninvited visitor, 12, 183
    Use of first names, 127, 245
    Ushers, wedding, 74, 79
    Ushers, dress for, 83

    Value of allowances, 396
    Visited, the, 195
    Visited, the: conduct toward guest, 199, 200, 201, 202
    Visited, the: decline of hospitality, 195, 196, 197
    Visited, the: inviting a visitor, 197, 198
    Visited, the: preparing for visitor, 198, 199
    Visited, the: welcoming visitor, 199
    Visitor, the, 182
    Visitor, the: accepting invitations, 183, 184
    Visitor, the: assisting hostess, 186
    Visitor, the: examples of misbehavior, 190, 191, 192
    Visitor, the: expenses of, 200, 201
    Visitor, the: house-parties, 187
    Visitor, the: keeping engagements, 184
    Visitor, the: meal time, 184, 185
    Visitor, the: promptness essential, 185
    Visitor, the: proper mode of conduct, 193, 194
    Visitor, the: thanking hostess, 188, 189
    Visitor, the: tipping servants, 188
    Visitor, the: what to avoid, 190
    Visitor, uninvited, 183
    Visitor, wardrobe of, 182, 187
    Voice, speaking quality of, 234

    Waitress, 222
    Weddings, 69, 70, 78
    Wedding anniversaries, 62, 63
    Wedding announcements, 86, 87
    Wedding apparel, appropriate, 72, 82, 83
    Wedding at home, 69, 70
    Wedding attendants, 70, 79
    Wedding-breakfasts, 71, 72, 75, 76, 84, 85
    Wedding calls, 85
    Wedding-cards, 70
    Wedding ceremony, 74, 75, 80, 81
    Wedding, church, 78
    Wedding decorations, 73, 78, 79
    Wedding, evening, 83
    Wedding expenses, how divided, 71
    Wedding invitations, form of, 69, 70, 78
    Wedding jokes, impropriety of, 77
    Wedding music, 74
    Wedding procession, order of, 74, 75, 80
    Wedding ushers, 74, 79
    Weddings: “At Home” days, 89
    Weddings: expressing congratulations, 75, 83, 84
    Weddings: days for, 70
    Weddings: maid of honor, 70
    Week-end party, 187
    Wines, serving of, 98
    Women’s clubs, broadening influence of, 337, 338, 339
    Women’s clubs, candidates for membership in, 343, 344
    Women’s clubs, discussion in, 342, 343
    Women’s clubs, formation of, 339, 340
    Women’s clubs, making the program of, 340, 341, 342
    Women’s clubs: reception of new members, 344
    Women’s clubs, social functions of, 345, 346
    Women’s colleges, 114, 115
    Women in business, 380
    Women in business: after working hours, 385, 386
    Women in business, broadened life of, 384, 385
    Women in business: conduct during working hours, 382
    Women in business, proper dress for, 383, 384
    Women in business, social position of, 381

    Yachting, etiquette of, 287
    Yachting: the guest, 288
    Yachting: the host, 287
    Young women, and young men, 125
    Young women: calling on, 126
    Young women, introductions to, 138
    Young women: invitations from men, 125
    Young women, proposing for, 131, 132


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 96, “desert” changed to “dessert” (required for the dessert)

Page 115, “woman’s” changed to “women’s” (A women’s college is)

Page 224, “insist” changed to “insists” (your host insists, however)

Page 263, “Fondu” changed to “Fondue” (Fondue—A preparation)

Page 265, “Piquante, piquante” changed to “Piquant, piquant”
(“Piquant”—Sharply flavored, as “sauce piquant,”)

Page 266, “Veloute” changed to “Velouté” (“Velouté”—A smooth)





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