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Title: Practical Etiquette
Author: Klein, Cora C. (N. C.)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  BY N. C.


  _Entirely Re-written and






The very extensive sale of Practical Etiquette, a sale that has
required the issuance of a large number of editions of the little
manual, has been very gratifying to its author, as was also the
commission of its publisher to re-write and enlarge the work. This
commission, however, brought with it a keen sense of responsibility,
for the author feels that a new work on etiquette can find a _raison
d’être_ only in a fairly successful attempt at answering practically
every question that can arise concerning social relations, at least
in ordinary social life. But to speak with authority on all matters
of “good form” is to speak dogmatically, and so to speak is in itself
not good form. Nevertheless, and in spite of this dilemma, the author
has attempted herein to decide, when compelled to do so, between
conflicting opinions in mere matters of social custom, and has given
as authority the opinion that seemed to her to conform most nearly
to common sense, embodying such opinion in an unqualified statement
without citing authority. Fortunately, social customs are now so nearly
uniform in all parts of the country, that one familiar with the ways of
good society in the West or in the North, is at home in good society in
the East or in the South.

The author is under obligation to so many persons for suggestions and
advice, as well as to many authors, that it does not seem best to give
a list of the same, especially as such list could be only a partial
one, for many of her friends would not desire mention of their names.

                                                            N. C.

_Dec. 1, 1899._


    INTRODUCTIONS                                   7
    CALLS                                           9
    CARDS                                          15
    VISITING                                       20

    NOTES OF INVITATION                            21
    ANNOUNCEMENT CARDS                             26
    WEDDING INVITATIONS                            30
    ACCEPTANCES AND REGRETS                        32
    LETTERS                                        35
    LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION                        39

    DINNERS                                        41
    LUNCHEONS                                      44
    BREAKFASTS                                     44
    TEAS                                           44
    RECEPTIONS                                     46
    DANCING PARTIES                                46
    CARD PARTIES                                   47
    WEDDINGS                                       48
    WEDDING GIFTS                                  52
    WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES                          53

    CONVERSATION                                   56
    CHAPERONAGE                                    60
    MARRIAGE                                       62
    DOMESTIC ETIQUETTE AND DUTIES                  64

    DRESS                                          66
    GLOVES                                         69
    STREET ETIQUETTE                               70
    TRAVELING                                      73
    BICYCLING                                      75
    TELEPHONING                                    76

    THE TABLE AND SERVICE AT TABLE                 79
    HABITS AT TABLE                                86
    SERVANTS AND SERVING                           94

    FUNERALS                                       98
    MOURNING                                      100

    POLITENESS OF YOUNG CHILDREN                  102
    SCHOOL-ROOM ETIQUETTE                         108

    OFFICIAL ETIQUETTE                            111

    BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE                       113
    LETTERS OF APPLICATION, ETC.                  116

    GENERAL HINTS                                 124


  “True politeness is to do and say
   The kindest thing in the kindest way.”

If civil law is the outgrowth of regard for other people’s rights,
social law is equally the outgrowth of regard for other people’s
feelings and convenience. Social law is kindness and good-will and the
desire to be agreeable codified. A system of so much importance cannot
be unworthy of consideration.

The very essence of good manners is self-possession, and
self-possession is another name for self-forgetfulness. Gentility is
neither in birth, manner, nor fashion, but in the mind. A high sense
of honor, a determination never to take a mean advantage of another,
and an adherence to truth, delicacy, and politeness towards those
with whom one may have dealings, are the essential and distinguishing
characteristics of a gentleman.

Quietness in all things is an essential element to a well-bred person.
He shuns all outward display of his personality; he cares not to be
seen or heard; he eschews noisy and grandiloquent talk; he avoids
showy and noticeable costumes. His voice is low; his words simple; and
his actions grave. He holds himself habitually under restraint; his
words never seem to vibrate with emotion.

Habits are said to be good or bad as the result of actions that are
right or wrong. A man of good habits is one who has for so long a time
practiced right thinking, speaking, and doing, that he acts properly
from force of habit.

Good manners are not to be put on for particular occasions, like fine
clothes, but they should be one’s second nature. The simpler and more
easy and unconstrained one’s manners, the more he will impress people
with his good breeding. Affectation is one of the brazen marks of




    “A beautiful behavior gives a higher pleasure than
    statues or pictures; it is the finest of the fine


In introducing persons, one should be careful to pronounce each name

When either name is not perfectly understood, a repetition of it should
be requested of the person making the introduction. When introductions
are given, it is the man who should be presented to the woman; when two
women are introduced, it is the younger who is presented to the elder.
For example, in presenting Mr. Jones to Mrs. Smith, it is Mrs. Smith’s
name that is first mentioned. The word “introduce” is preferred to
“present.” Informal introductions are given by merely mentioning the
names; as, “Mrs. Smith, Mr. Jones,” and this is ordinarily sufficient.

In introducing two sisters, the elder is “Miss Smith” and the younger
“Miss Virginia Smith.”

When two women are introduced to each other, it is not necessary for
either to rise; a bow and a smile from each is sufficient.

A woman does not rise when a man is presented to her, unless he is
very old or is a person of great importance. Upon being introduced, a
married woman may offer her hand to a man but it is not customary for a
young woman to do so.

It is the duty of a man who attends a private entertainment, to have
himself presented to every member of the family whom he does not know.

An introduction in the street car is very bad form.

One should never forget that it is difficult, almost impossible, for
some people to remember names and faces, and that such people actually
suffer from their inability to recognize and call by name persons to
whom they may have been introduced recently.

It is not uncommon to see one approach such a person, offer her hand,
and say, if there is not an immediate recognition, “I am afraid you
do not remember me,” while the person approached stands in agony, and
gradually makes an apology for her poor memory, and asks the name.

One who is truly polite, who is at all thoughtful for another person’s
feelings, would not be the cause of such a scene. She would prevent it
by saying: “I am Mrs. Smith. I had the pleasure of meeting you at Mrs.
Brown’s luncheon last Thursday;” or something of the kind.

Whenever one has reason to think his name or face may have been
forgotten, he should make himself known, in approaching another person,
by giving his name at least.


A first call ought to be returned within a very short time.

A lady when receiving rises as her callers enter, and they immediately
advance to pay their respects to her before speaking to others.

A man takes any vacant chair, without troubling the hostess to look
after him.

A man rises when women with whom he is talking rise to take their
leave. Women calling do not rise unless those who are leaving are
friends older than themselves.

When taking leave, one ought to choose a moment when there is a lull in
the conversation, and then take leave of the hostess, letting one bow
include the others in the room.

One month after the birth of a child, a call of congratulation is made
by acquaintances.

A call of condolence is made within ten days after the death, if the
caller is on intimate terms with the family, or within a month if

Calls of congratulation are due to the newly married, and to the
parents who gave the invitations to the marriage.

A man invited by a woman to call upon her, cannot, without great
discourtesy, neglect to pay the call within a week.

A lady will never keep a caller waiting, without sending word that she
will be in immediately.

One ought always to return a call, but if the acquaintance is not
desirable, the first call may be the last.

Some women only rise when their callers leave, others accompany them as
far as the drawing-room door; but it is always polite for a hostess to
accompany her visitors to the front door when they take their leave,
if there is not a servant on hand to open the door for them. The best
bred hostesses even go so far as to accompany their callers to the
elevator in a hotel or an apartment-house. Of course, if one has more
than one caller at a time, it would be discourteous to leave the others
to accompany one to the door; but, otherwise, it is rude to permit a
friend to go to the door alone, and get out as best she may.

A bride who is “At Home after November first,” should make a point of
literally staying at home for an hour or two every afternoon during
the month of November and the early part of December. She should be
dressed to receive callers, and should have some dainty refreshments
ready to serve,—tea and sandwiches or cake. After the first week of
December the bride may begin to return her calls, calling first on
those who first called upon her, and so on.

When the “at home” is a large and formal function, with engraved
invitations and all the accessories of hired waiters, an elaborate
repast, floral decorations, etc.,—such as a debutante’s coming out, a
wedding reception, or a reception to celebrate a wedding anniversary,
and other large entertainments of this order,—an after-call is
obligatory. But an ordinary “at home” does not demand another call,
for instance, the reception or “days” a bride has on her return from
her wedding trip, or when she is settled in her new home; or a tea or
“days” for which a hostess informally sends the invitations written or
engraved on her visiting cards, and receives with little ceremony and
serves only a modest menu. On the contrary, the hostess owes a return
call to all who attend; and only those who were invited, but were
unable to be present, are in debt to her.

The length of time proper for one to stay at an “at home” depends
on circumstances. It is always a compliment to one’s hostess to
make a long visit at “a day”, for it implies that one is having a
pleasant time; but nobody should stay long enough to be a burden on
the hostess’s hospitality, or to detain her from her other guests. If
one finds that she does not know any one present, or if she is not
introduced to a congenial person with whom she can have a pleasant
chat, it would be wise for her to leave after a conventional ten or
fifteen minutes’ call.

The calling code demands that soon after a second caller is announced,
the caller who was first present shall take leave of the hostess. The
reason for this rule is obvious: visitor number one has already had
a little time of uninterrupted _tête-à-tête_ with the hostess before
visitor number two appeared, and he or she should generously retire
first, so that visitor number two may have the same privilege. But
while this is the law, it depends somewhat on circumstances whether it
is always carried out. If the first caller is an intimate friend of
the hostess, and has come to have a long informal talk with her, and
the second caller is merely a formal visitor whose obvious intention
is to make a ceremonious visit, then the first comer may, with perfect
propriety, outstay the other; or if the hostess has particularly asked
the former to remain until after the latter goes, he may do so, and, of
course, if the first visitor has come for some special reason, and the
visitor who is announced later interrupts an important conversation,
which, for business or other reasons, should be continued, the former
is naturally justified in transgressing the calling code. All things
being equal, however, it is the place of the first comer to be the
first goer; and one must have a very good excuse for outstaying a
caller who comes later.

Guests who are invited to attend one large reception which is given for
the express purpose of introducing a young woman into society, should
make a call after the reception, but if the _débutante_ is introduced
at a series of “days,” the callers need call but once, on one of the

An invitation to any kind of “day” or reception demands a card from
a person who is unable to attend the function; and the card should
be sent on the day of the reception, even if the invitation to the
function has been already answered, and even if an after-call is in

When one calls on an acquaintance who is staying with a relative, the
caller should ask for the latter (the hostess), even if she does not
know her, and she should leave one of her own and one of her husband’s
cards for her, as well as one of each for her friend. It is not
obligatory to leave two of her husband’s cards for each woman. Even
in the most formal visiting, it is optional whether one leaves one or
two cards. Probably the hostess will excuse herself altogether; but the
caller must show her the courtesy of asking for her.

In making a call it is proper to give one’s card to the servant who
opens the door, if it is not a regular reception day; but on such an
occasion the card should be left either in the dressing-room or on the
hall table in passing out.

In making a formal call ten minutes is quite long enough to stay.

When one is returning visits and driving, it would be in very bad taste
to have the coachman get off his box and take the card to the door. It
is the woman’s place to deliver her card in person, unless she has a
footman to attend to it for her.

In making an evening call a man should appear about half-past eight,
and remain an hour. Even if his visit is to the daughter, he should ask
for her mother.

It is quite proper, when making calls with a friend, for one to write
her name in pencil on her friend’s card, if she has no card of her own
with her.

Those women whose households are most modest find that the day “at
home” is a great convenience, since, having a special time for
receiving one’s friends, all necessary arrangements can be made
beforehand, and no embarrassing situations are apt to occur.

When one calls on a friend who lives in a flat, she should, immediately
after ringing, call through the tube her name and that of the person
she wishes to see.

A man leaves his overcoat, hat, and stick in the hall when making an
evening call; when calling in the afternoon he leaves his overcoat in
the hall, but carries his hat and stick into the drawing-room with him.

When a daughter is in the parlor, and her mother is entertaining
callers, she should rise when her mother does in bidding them good-day.

It is very improper for a young girl who is ill to receive men callers
in her room.


When an invitation to a reception is sent in the name of several
women, a guest should leave or send cards for all whose names are on
the invitation. A woman leaves with her own cards the cards of those
members of her family who are unable to call.

A young woman, when calling upon her friends with a young man who is a
stranger to them, should send his card with her own to the hostess and
other women of the household.

In making formal calls a visitor invariably hands her cards to the
servant who opens the door with a card tray in her hand; when calling
informally one may simply give her name to the servant at the door, but
then leaves no card later.

A married woman, when making formal calls, leaves one of her husband’s
and one of her own cards for the hostess and for every other woman she
asks for in the house, and one of her husband’s cards, besides, for
the host; but, while this is the rule for formal visiting, it is quite
permissible for a married woman, when calling on a number of women who
reside in the same house, to leave, besides her own and her husband’s
for the host and hostess, only one more of each for all the others.

In making formal visits, and subsequent calls after the first formal
visit has been made, a married woman need leave only one of her
husband’s cards with her own; and in making a call in acknowledgment of
an invitation to an entertainment to which she alone was invited,—such
as a woman’s luncheon,—she should leave only one of her own.

The fashionable visiting card varies in size; but for a married woman
it is generally pure white and very thin, with the name engraved in
ordinary script. For a woman who lives in the country, it is in good
taste to have the name of her country place put just where, if she were
in the city, her town address would be, which is in the left hand lower

If a woman receives “at home” cards for “Tuesdays in February,” and is
prevented from calling on any of the Tuesdays, she should send her card
in an envelope, either by hand or mail, on the first Tuesday, and call
on the hostess at the earliest opportunity on some other day.

A man should use a card engraved, as “Mr. George Wellington Smith,” not
omitting the prefix, with the address in one corner, if desired. The
size of the card varies from time to time, but it is smaller than a
woman’s card.

The names of mother and daughter or daughters are often engraved on one
card; as,

  .                               .
  .      MRS. JUDSON BROWN.       .
  .       MISS ANNA BROWN.        .
  .                               .

  .                         .
  .    MRS. JUDSON BROWN.   .
  .    THE MISSES BROWN.    .
  .                         .

The following is the usual form for an unmarried woman’s card:

  .                         .
  .     MISS MAY BROWN,     .
  .                         .
  .  12 PINE ST.            .

It is quite proper for a woman to retain her deceased husband’s name on
her visiting cards; as, “Mrs. John Smith.” It is equally proper for her
to use “Mrs. Jane Smith” for the purpose.

When a caller is met by the hostess at the door, she should drop her
card in the card receiver or leave it on the hall table on her way out.
The object of such a card is not to introduce people when visiting, but
as a reminder of the visit.

“P. P. C.” cards should be left on the occasion of a long absence (of
over three months); on leaving town at the close of the season; on
leaving a neighborhood where one has resided for years, or where one
has resided for months and sometimes only for weeks, but not when
changing houses in the same neighborhood, not even when about to be
married, unless one’s future home is to be in another city. The words
_pour prendre congé_ signify to take leave.

“R. S. V. P.” means “_Repondez s’il vous plait_,” which is the French
for “Answer, if you please.”

Turning down the corner of a visiting card, meaning that the call was
made in person, is no longer in vogue. One might leave her card in
person, writing on it “With kind inquiries,” when sickness or death has
entered the household of a friend, and thus show a delicate courtesy.

It is proper for a hostess to shake hands with a man visitor on his
arrival and at his departure.

It is an evidence of very bad taste for a young woman to send wedding
cards to a married man without including his wife’s name, even if she
has no acquaintance whatever with her.

A young girl who is not “out” does not have visiting cards. If she is
the oldest or only daughter and is in society, her cards have upon them
“Miss Smith.”

A woman should never ask a man formally calling to take his hat, or a
woman to lay aside her wraps.

A card sent to an afternoon reception represents one’s self. It should
be sent either by mail or messenger, and never by a friend to deposit
upon the receiver with her own card.


A guest should always ascertain what are the usual hours of rising,
taking meals, and retiring, and then conform scrupulously to them.

Guests should give as little trouble as possible, and never apologize
for the extra trouble their visit necessarily occasions.

If a ride, drive, or walk is proposed by one of the family
entertaining, a guest should acquiesce as far as her strength will
allow, and do all in her power to seem pleased by the efforts made for
her entertainment.

Upon taking one’s departure, it is expected—and reasonably, too—that
some acknowledgment be made of the pleasure that has been afforded one.

It is also proper upon returning home to inform the friends just left
of one’s safe arrival.



    “Politeness is one of those advantages which we never
    estimate rightly, but by the inconvenience of its
    loss.”—_Samuel Johnson._


Notes of invitation for evening parties are issued in the name of the
lady of the house; as,

_Mrs. James Little requests the pleasure of Mr. and Mrs. George White’s
company on Monday evening, March seventeenth, from nine to twelve

The expression “presents compliments” is obsolete, as is also the
term “polite,” which was formerly used in acceptances or regrets. The
English form of “kind” or “very kind” is now substituted in its place.

A very acceptable form of invitation for a mother (if the mother is not
living, the father’s name may be so used) and daughter is this:

_Mrs. and Miss Graves at Home, Thursday, October twenty-seventh, from
eight to eleven o’clock._

When a very large dinner party is to be given, the invitations should
be issued at least two weeks in advance; and if some very celebrated
people are to be invited, twenty-one days should elapse between sending
out the invitations and the day of the function. For a small affair ten
days’ notice is sufficient. Invitations to large teas should be sent
out fourteen days in advance, but for small ones a week’s notice is

In answering an invitation sent out in the name of both mother and
daughter, one should address the mother.

When sending out invitations to evening parties, it is customary to
denote the amusement feature, if there is to be one, by naming it
in the lower left hand corner; as, “Dancing,” or “Cards,” or “Fancy
dress and masks.” The hour is designated thus: “Dancing after nine,”
or “German at eight o’clock,” or “Supper at half after seven,” and
underneath “Dancing.” Sometimes a separate card is enclosed, reading
“Dancing at nine o’clock.”

    _Mrs. George Brown requests the pleasure of Miss Lee’s
    company on Tuesday evening, January seventh, at nine

  _Dancing._                       _221 Thirty-fifth Street._

The correct form of invitation for an entertainment where an
elocutionist is to be the principal feature is worded as follows:

    _Mrs. James Smith requests the pleasure of Mr. and
    Mrs. Brown’s company on Thursday evening, December the
    first, at eight o’clock._

                                      _124 Jewell Avenue._

    _Reading by Professor William White._

An invitation to a rose or lawn party might read thus:

              MRS. JAMES SMITH.
              THE MISSES SMITH.
                    AT HOME
              AT EIGHT O’CLOCK.

     ROSE PARTY                 TO MEET

In writing invitations for a club for which one is acting as secretary
it would be wise to put them in the third person, and then there would
be no embarrassment about the arrangement of names.

The words “reception” and “at home” are synonymous. Each means an
entertainment which takes place between certain stated hours in the
afternoon or evening, where refreshments are served, and no especial
order of amusement is provided, unless it is specified in the
invitations. To a “reception” or “at home” the hostess generally sends
invitations to all on her calling list. These large functions are
usually given for some especial purpose; as, to introduce a _débutante_
into society, to celebrate a wedding anniversary, or for the bride and
groom after the wedding ceremony, or merely that the hostess may meet
all her friends.

There is, however, a decided distinction between a reception or an “at
home” and a tea or “days.” An invitation to the first is engraved on a
sheet of note paper or a large sized card, and is formally worded. The
hours for the afternoon function are usually from four until seven,
and one may expect to find at the house or place of entertainment
decorations of flowers and greens, and quite an elaborate repast
provided; but an invitation to a tea or to “days” does not imply that
anything but the simplest kind of menu will be served, nor that any
but simple preparations will be made. The invitations to the latter
entertainments may be the hostess’s visiting cards with the address
and “tea at four o’clock” written in one corner; or if the hostess
prefers to receive informally on more than one day, she may have the
form “Fridays,” or “Fridays in February,” or “First and third Fridays
in February,” or whatever days she chooses, written or engraved on her

The formal luncheon hour is from one to two o’clock. Afternoon teas are
usually at five. One’s visiting card can be used only for an invitation
for an afternoon “at home;” invitations to dinner or luncheon must be
written out. In sending out cards for a tea one should simply write the
date and the hour in the lower left-hand corner; in sending a note,
whether by messenger or post, the number of the house and the name of
the street should be written out in full.

The following is a good form of invitation to an “at home” given by
several women:

            AT HOME
             112 MADISON STREET

The usual form of an invitation to a luncheon is as follows:

          MRS. JAMES BROWN
             AT LUNCHEON
           AT ONE O’CLOCK.

Below this and to the right would be the address, and the date on which
the invitation is written.

The invitation for a musical may be worded as follows:

    _Mrs. James Smith requests the pleasure of Miss Brown’s
    company on Friday afternoon, March seventeenth, at two

    _R.S.V.P._                          _24 Queen Avenue._


The simplest way to announce an engagement is for each of the engaged
couple to write short notes of announcement on the same day to each
one’s relatives and near friends. All these notes are sent so that they
will be received at the same time. They are written in the first person
on dainty note paper, and the best form is the simplest. The character
of the note must depend on the intimacy between the writer and the

A pretty and fashionable sequence to the announcement is for the bride
to give a tea for the express purpose of receiving congratulations.
She may mention it in her notes of announcement, and her _fiancé_ may
mention in his notes that she will be at home on a certain day at a
certain hour. She should then receive with her mother or some older
relative, and she should have some light refreshment provided for her
callers. All her young friends will call, and all the relatives and
near friends of her _fiancé_. The _fiancé_ should be present at the
tea, or he may come before it is over, but he should not formally
receive with his betrothed.

Engagements are often announced in the newspapers.

Wedding announcements or invitations should be sent in envelopes
addressed to the father and mother of the family, to the daughter or
daughters (addressed as the Misses), and to each of the grown sons.
All these invitations in their envelopes may be enclosed in an outside
envelope addressed to the parents.

A wedding invitation or announcement card should always be addressed to
both members of a married couple, even if the bride or groom who sends
it is acquainted with only one.

The correct form for wedding announcement cards is as follows:

              MR. FRANK BROWN
             WASHINGTON, D. C.

The bride’s “at home” cards should be separate, but enclosed with the
announcements, and should read as follows:

            AT HOME
         NEW YORK CITY.

Announcement cards should be sent out immediately after the wedding
to every one on the bride’s and groom’s list. And, again, wedding
announcement cards need not be sent out in any one’s name. The
following is an example:

               NEW YORK,
             WILLIAM BARTON.

When a bride is an orphan it is customary for the cards announcing her
wedding to be sent in the name of one of her near relatives, or else
they may read simply like the one given above.

Wedding announcement cards demand no acknowledgment from an
acquaintance of the bride who lives at a distance, unless a “day” or
“days” are mentioned on them, when it is obligatory to send visiting
cards on the “day” or the first one of the “days;” otherwise, if one
wishes to be particularly polite, one may send a visiting-card in
acknowledgment of the announcement, but it is not obligatory to do so.

Wedding announcements are sent to friends at home as well as to
those abroad, because the cards are supposed, not only to suggest
remembrance, but to express a desire that the acquaintance should be
continued after the name is changed.

The birth of a baby is announced in various ways, there being no
especial rules of etiquette for making the announcement. Sometimes
engraved cards bearing the baby’s name and date of birth are sent by
themselves in small envelopes, into which they fit exactly; sometimes
they go in an envelope with the mother’s visiting-card, and are written
instead of engraved. These cards should be attached to the mother’s
visiting cards by a piece of white baby ribbon, which is passed
through a hole made in the top of both cards and tied in a tiny bow.
They should be sent out when the mother is ready to receive calls.


Wedding invitations should be issued at least two weeks before the day
of the affair.

It is customary for the bridegroom to give to the bride’s mother a list
of his relatives and friends to whom he would like cards sent, and some
member of the bride’s family attends to it.

When the guests at a wedding are limited to the immediate family, the
invitations may be personal notes sent by the bride’s mother. The notes
may read like the following:

    _My Dear Mary,—It will give us all much pleasure if
    you will come to the very quiet wedding of my daughter
    Catherine to Mr. John Martin, on Saturday, February the
    fourth, at twelve o’clock, and remain to the little
    breakfast that will follow the ceremony. Only the
    members of the family will be present. Hoping that you
    may be with us the fourth, I am,_

                      _Affectionately yours,
                                      Anna Brown._

A formal invitation may read as follows:

             AT EIGHT O’CLOCK,
          121 SEVENTH STREET EAST,
             DAVENPORT, IOWA,

Another form is as follows:

                AT THE
             MARY LOUISE
                     15 PROSPECT STREET.

If the bride is an orphan, or if there is any very good reason why her
parents’ names should not appear on the invitation, the latter may be
sent in the name of the married brother and his wife, or in the name of
whoever gives the bride the wedding reception. It may read as follows:

            BERTHA WILD
         AT EIGHT O’CLOCK.

The following is a suitable form for an invitation for a silver wedding:

                  AT HOME


It is considered very rude not to reply to an invitation immediately,
either by note of acceptance or regret.

In writing acceptances one should never use “will accept” for
“accepts,” or “to dinner” instead of “for dinner” or “to dine.”

In accepting a dinner invitation one should repeat the hour named in
order that, if any mistake has been made, it may be corrected.

An acceptance may be written as follows:

_Mr. and Mrs. Frank Warren accept with pleasure Mrs. John Somers’ kind
invitation for Monday evening, October seventh._

The following is a good form for a note of regret:

_Mr. and Mrs. James Swift regret that, owing to sickness, they are
unable to accept Mrs. Frank Hall’s kind invitation for Monday evening,
March 16th._

In writing regrets, when it is possible to do so, one should give the
reason for not accepting an invitation.

The best bred people agree that an invitation to a wedding reception
or a wedding breakfast demands a response, whether or not a response
is requested. But it is another question when one receives only an
invitation to a church ceremony, or merely an announcement card with
no “at home” card enclosed, and does not know the bride and groom well
enough to call. If the cards are sent merely as a matter of courtesy
because of business relations or on account of a former intimacy in the
families, a call does not seem necessary. In such cases one must judge
more or less for herself, and do what seems natural. If one lives in a
small place and the bride comes there as a stranger, it is generally
the best way to call, whatever be the form of the cards received.

Formal invitations to a church wedding do not demand an answer, unless
one is requested, until the day of the ceremony, when those unable to
attend acknowledge the invitation with visiting cards addressed to the
father and mother of the bride, or to whoever sends out the invitations
for the wedding. Invitations to a wedding reception and a bride’s “At
Home” demand no other acknowledgment than visiting cards sent on the
day of the function by those unable to attend. A formal invitation to
a house wedding demands the same acknowledgment as an invitation to a
church wedding.

In acknowledging an invitation to a wedding, a single woman sends
one of her visiting cards in an envelope addressed to the mother and
father of the bride on the day of the wedding. A single man sends two
of his cards, and a married couple send one of the wife’s and two of
the husband’s cards. To the bride on her “At Home” day, cards should be
sent in exactly the same way. A wedding reception, if it takes place in
the evening, demands full dress.

It is very courteous to acknowledge the reception of a “commencement”

It is very bad form to write “Congratulations” on one’s visiting card
and send it in answer to a wedding invitation. If one desires to send
her good wishes to the bride, then a personal note would be proper.

It is also bad form to send a visiting card with “Regrets” written in
one corner instead of writing the proper note.

If, having accepted an invitation, one changes her mind, she certainly
ought to give some reason when writing a note of apology.


In writing letters and notes of invitation, acceptance, regrets, or
introduction, certain and specific rules of etiquette, ordained by
custom, hold despotic sway; and unless one is acquainted with these, he
must be considered by those who are, as more or less uncultivated.

In addressing an envelope one surely ought to know that the first line
of the address should be at or below the middle of the envelope, and
the address should be written in a plain hand devoid of flourishes. The
place for the stamp is always the upper right-hand corner.

In no way is one’s culture sooner made known than by his manner of
writing a note or letter.

In a formal business letter or in one commencing “Dear Sir” or “Dear
Madam,” the name of the person addressed is put at the end of the
letter in the left-hand corner, but it should not be repeated, if it is
used at the head of the letter.

The writing of notes in the third person is now confined to notes of
invitations, acceptance, and regret.

Nothing would show greater ignorance than signing one’s name to a note
written in the third person.

In addressing a clergyman it is customary to commence with “Reverend
Sir.” Doctors of Divinity and of Medicine are thus distinguished: “The
Rev. James Swift, D. D.,” or “Rev. Dr. Swift;” “I. G. Latham, M. D.,”
or “Dr. Latham.”

In writing to servants, it is customary to begin thus: “To Mary
Bates,—Mrs. White wishes, etc.”

When a woman is writing to strangers who will not know whether to
address her in reply as “Mrs.” or “Miss,” the address of the writer
should be given in full, after signing her letter, as, “Mrs. Jane
Smith,” followed by the direction; or, if unmarried, the “Miss” should
be placed in marks of parenthesis preceding the signature. One should
never sign her name as “Mrs.” or “Miss.”

The formal manner of address in a note or letter written in the
first person, is, “My Dear Mrs. Brown;” the less formal is “Dear
Mrs. Brown.” To an intimate friend one may use either. “Dear Mary”
is less formal than “My Dear Mary,” and yet to one who is near,
the real significance of the latter form is very sweet and full of
tender meaning. However, there are no rigid laws to regulate the
correspondence of friends.

When a woman writes a personal note to a man, no matter how slight her
acquaintance may be with him, it should begin “My Dear Mr. Brown.”

Ordinary social correspondence, when forwarded by the hand of an adult
socially equal with the sender, should not be sealed. If, for some
reason, a letter must be sealed, then the post or some other method of
letter conveyance should be used.

The form “Addressed” on an envelope is merely the relic of an old legal
form that has no especial significance nowadays, but is put on the
envelope as a matter of courtesy. It means that the contents of the
envelope are for the person whose name is written on the outside. It is
very seldom used, and is quite superfluous.

Only letters of unmarried women and widows are addressed with their
baptismal names. All letters of married women should bear their
husband’s names; as, “Mrs. John Howe.”

Writing on the first, then on the third, then crosswise on the second
and fourth pages of a letter, facilitates the reading and is in
perfectly good form.

It is very bad taste for a doctor’s wife to assume his title. An
invitation addressed to them should read “Dr. and Mrs. Jones.”

One should not write “Mrs. John Brown, _née_ Lottie Smith,” because one
is not born with a Christian name; instead, one would write “Mrs. John
Brown, _née_ Smith.”

The use of perfumed stationery is not general, nor is it in good taste.

Any letter of congratulation received, even though it be from a person
with whom one has only a slight acquaintance, requires an answer.

No matter how fond a young girl may feel of a man whom she has known
for years, any letters, when trouble comes to his family, should be
addressed to his wife and not to him.

The fashion that obtains with reference to placing the date on a letter
is to place it in the upper right-hand corner; on a note it is usually
placed in the lower left-hand corner.

A young girl who receives letters from a man at the post-office without
the knowledge of her mother is doing something wrong, which in time
she will certainly regret, and which, it is equally certain, will
result in trouble.

It is not in the best taste to write letters of friendship on the
typewriter, but it will always be excused in the busy woman.


Letters of introduction are to be regarded as certificates of
respectability and esteem, and should only be given by friends of the
person introduced and to friends. They should be brief and carefully
worded, intimating the mutual pleasure that one feels the acquaintance
will confer, but not complimenting the bearer so openly that he will
feel embarrassed in delivering the letter. Such letters are left

There is no greater insult than to treat a letter of introduction with
indifference. A person thus introduced ought to be called upon at once,
and shown any other little attention within one’s power. In England
letters of introduction are called “tickets to soup.”

In England the party holding a letter of introduction never takes it
himself, but sends it with his card. On the Continent the reverse is
the fashion. In America the English custom prevails, though where a
young man has a letter to one many years his senior or to one who is
to aid him in some enterprise, he takes it himself at once.

A letter of introduction should be somewhat like the following:

   _My Dear Mr. Barnes:_

    _This note will introduce to you my friend, Mr. Charles
    Smith, whom I know you will be as glad to meet as he
    will be glad to meet you._

    _Mr. Smith is an old friend of mine, and any kindness
    you may be able to show him will be very much
    appreciated by me._

                             _Faithfully yours,_
                                     _Anna Martin White._

Before giving a letter of introduction one should be certain that the
persons introduced will be congenial to each other. Such a letter
puts a certain obligation on the person to whom it is addressed: he
will be obliged to show the bearer some attention and hospitality. It
is, therefore, not right to make the demand of a friend unless one is
certain that the acquaintanceship will compensate him for the trouble
he may take.


[Footnote A: It is now quite common to omit marks of punctuation at the
end of lines in an invitation.]



    “Manners aim to facilitate life, to get rid of


A “dinner” is supposed to be an elaborate affair, with numerous courses
and ample service, and is usually given at seven or eight o’clock
in the evening. At a dinner the number of courses naturally varies
according to the taste and financial condition of the hostess. (For
arrangement of the table, see Chapter VI.)

For a formal dinner the courses usually consist of soup, fish, a roast
with one or more vegetables, a salad, an ice or ice cream, cakes,
bonbons, and black coffee. Olives and salted almonds, jellies, etc.,
generally appear in some of the courses.

Although the following really belongs under the head of “The Table” and
“Service at Table,” a repetition here may not come amiss.

The attendant places each dish, in succession, before the host or
hostess with the pile of plates. Each plate is supplied, taken by the
attendant on a small salver, and set, from the left, before the guest.
A second dish which belongs to the course is presented at the left of
the guest, who helps himself. As a rule the woman at the right of the
host, or the eldest woman, should be served first. As soon as a course
is finished, the plates are promptly removed, and the next course is
served in the same way. Before the dessert is brought on, all crumbs
should be brushed from the cloth. The finger bowls, which are brought
in on a napkin on a dessert-plate and set at the left of the plate, are
used by dipping the fingers in lightly and drying them on the napkin.
They should be half full of warm water with a bit of lemon floating in
it. When all have finished dessert, the hostess gives the signal, by
pushing back her chair, that dinner is ended, and the guests repair to
the drawing-room, the oldest leading and the youngest following last,
the men passing into the library or smoking-room.

Seemingly, one should arrive at the house where one is invited to a
dinner or a luncheon at exactly the hour mentioned in the invitation;
but the proper thing at a formal function is to get to the house
ten minutes after the hour of the meal, and to be announced in the
drawing-room five minutes later.

The host, with the guest of honor, leads the way into the dining-room
at a dinner; at a luncheon the hostess leads the way alone or with one
of the guests.

Fifteen minutes is the longest time required to wait for a tardy guest
when the dinner hour was understood, as it always should be.

If the hostess thinks the visitor has no acquaintances in the room,
she introduces her to two or three persons who are near her, and then,
counting on her knowledge of the customs of society, she will feel
quite sure that her guest will enjoy herself.

A hostess should never reprove a servant before a guest, as it is
unpleasant for all concerned, and by passing over the annoyance
herself, it may escape the attention of others.

No accident must seem to disturb a hostess, no disappointment embarrass

At formal dinner parties the servant who is detailed to attend
to the wants of the men guests hands each one, as he leaves the
dressing-room, an envelope containing a card bearing the name of the
woman whom he is to take to dinner.


Luncheons are usually given between the hours of one and two o’clock in
the afternoon, and to them women only are invited. The menu is lighter
than for a dinner, and generally consists of sherbets, oyster patties,
scalloped oysters, sweet-breads, sandwiches, salads, ices, cheese
sticks, fruit, ice cream, cakes, bonbons, salted almonds, olives, and
black coffee, served in such number and order of courses as best suits
the hostess.


The difference between a breakfast and a luncheon is very slight. On
the invitation the word breakfast is used instead of luncheon, and
the hour is earlier than for a luncheon. Also men and woman may meet
together for a breakfast, and therefore a few more solid courses
are advisable. Otherwise one may be guided entirely in giving the
entertainment by the rules which apply to a luncheon.


A tea is the simplest and easiest kind of an entertainment to give, for
the only essential requisites for its success are prettily arranged
receiving-rooms, with as many flowers as one can afford; a gracious
hostess, who stands during the hours of the function to receive her
guests and is properly dressed in a becoming high-necked house dress;
a few other women, who also receive in pretty dresses; and a dainty
tea table, which may be presided over by a woman friend or two of the
hostess. It is only necessary to serve a modest menu of tea, chocolate
or bouillon, assorted sandwiches, fancy cakes, and bonbons. The other
factors to the tea’s success are pleasant weather and well trained
servants, who may assist in serving the tea and are alert to open and
close the door for the guests.

At a formal function of any kind the guests leave their wraps in
dressing-rooms, where one or more maids should be on hand to assist
women in their dressing-room, and a man to perform the same services
in the men’s dressing-room; but at a small tea, where, as a rule, the
guests do not remove their street wraps, it is only necessary to have a
maid in the entrance hall to be ready, if called on, to do any service.

It is not customary to offer refreshments to casual evening callers;
but if one has a regular evening for receiving, she may have a tea
table in the drawing-room, and serve tea, chocolate, sandwiches, cake,
etc., as in entertaining on the afternoon of a “day.”


On the day of the reception, the hostess, with her assistants, should
receive the guests, standing at the door of the drawing-room. The
refreshment tables should be spread in the dining-room, and prettily
decorated with flowers, candles in candelabra or candlesticks, dishes
of bonbons and cakes, plates of sandwiches, and platters of salad. A
bouillon urn may stand at one end of the table with cups, and coffee
may be served from the other end. All that is necessary for the menu
is bouillon, easily prepared in the house from canned bouillon,
jellied tongue, chicken salad, and sandwiches, ices and cake, fruit,
and candies. Coffee and lemonade will suffice for beverages. If one
can afford to have a few pieces of music, so much the better. The
musicians should play from some hidden nook. One or two servants in the
dining-room, and one to open and shut the front door, will be all that
is necessary.


For the form of invitation refer to Chapter II.

In selecting a company for a dancing party the hostess will naturally
choose only those who dance, and she should see, as far as possible,
that all the women are provided with partners.

It is better to dance first with one acquaintance and then with
another, rather than to make one’s self conspicuous by giving a great
number of dances to one man.

A man gives the first and last dances to his partner of the evening.

No man should invite a young woman to attend a dress affair without
providing a carriage for her. When the party is small and informal, it
is allowable to go on the street-cars.

At the end of the dance, the man should offer his arm to his partner,
and take at least one turn around the room before consigning her to her

A man who can dance, and will not, ought to remain away from a ball.

If for any reason a girl should refuse to dance with one man, she
should not accept another invitation for the same dance.

An invitation to a ball may be asked for a friend who is a stranger in
town, and has had no opportunity of making the acquaintance of the one
who gives the ball.

A man should not ask a girl, to whom he has been introduced for the
purpose of dancing with her, for more than two dances the same evening.


If given, prizes should be carefully chosen, so that they may be in
good taste and desirable. The supper should be served at the card
tables after the playing is over. A large napkin should be spread on
the top of each table, and the refreshments served in courses.


For invitation forms see Chapter II.

When a wedding takes place in a church that has but one entrance, the
customary way for the bridal procession to enter is for the groom and
best man to walk in just behind the minister, a little before the
others, and to take their places at the altar; then the ushers enter,
walking two by two; then the bridesmaids in the same order; then the
maid of honor alone; and last the bride on her father’s arm. The
bride’s family enter the church a few minutes before the minister and
the groom and bridal party.

A bride goes up to the altar with her veil over her face, but comes
down with it thrown back. It is the duty of the maid of honor to throw
it back immediately after the ceremony is ended.

When the bride’s mother gives her away at a church ceremony, she
usually walks up the aisle with the bride. After she has given her to
the groom, she steps quietly and unescorted to the front pew, where she
stays during the remainder of the service. The bride may walk up the
aisle with an attendant instead of with her mother, who in this case
steps from her seat in the front pew to the chancel when the time comes
for her to officiate, and steps back to her seat afterwards.

The bride and the groom should stand at the wedding reception until
they have received the congratulations of all present, then, together,
they should walk into the room where the breakfast is to be served. The
others follow as they please, with the exception of the parents on both
sides. The groom’s father usually escorts the bride’s mother, and _vice

It is not the custom for a bride to remove her gloves at the wedding.
The inside seam of the ring finger of the glove should be ripped
beforehand; and when the time comes for the ring to be put on, the
bride merely slips off this glove finger, and puts it back again after
the ring is on her finger.

At no wedding service is it proper for the bride to enter the church

At a church or house wedding where the bride walks up the aisle with
her sister acting as the maid of honor, instead of with a gentleman
escort, she need not take the arm of her attendant, as both the ladies
will look more graceful if walking separately. The maid of honor should
carry a bouquet, and the bride a bouquet, prayer-book, or bible.

At a home wedding the bride enters the room on the arm of her father.
With a short dress she would not wear a veil.

The wearing of gloves at an informal wedding is entirely a matter of
taste. Recently at several large weddings they were omitted by the
entire bridal party.

The prettiest way to make an aisle for the bridal party at a house
wedding is for four children to enter the room where the ceremony will
be, just before the bridal party comes in, and separate the guests
into two groups by stretching two pieces of white ribbon the length
of the room. A child stands at each end of the two pieces of ribbon,
holding it while the bridal party walks up between them, and during the
service. Ushers may hold the ribbons instead of the children, or the
ends may be fastened around plants which are placed at the requisite

Where there is no side door through which the groom and best man may
enter the room at a house wedding, they come in by the principal door
just before the bridal party and just after the minister.

It is not customary for the men at a wedding party to kiss the bride;
that is a liberty taken only by the immediate members of the family.

A bride, if she wishes, may omit the bridal veil, but she should then
wear a dainty bonnet or picture hat. The ushers and best men are
invited by the bridegroom.

If the church wedding is a full dress one, followed by an evening
reception, it is proper to wear an evening gown. If it is in the
daytime, a handsome visiting dress and pretty bonnet are proper.

At a daytime wedding the guests seldom remove their bonnets, although,
of course, heavy wraps are frequently laid aside. At an evening affair
one goes in full dress without anything on one’s head. The ushers
present the guests to the bridal party. The bridesmaids are spoken to
by the people they know, but it is not necessary that they should be
addressed by everybody.

A bride may wear her wedding dress after her wedding day as much
or as little as she chooses. For the sake of sentiment many brides
like to preserve their wedding dresses intact to hand down to future
generations; but a girl who has to consider economy cannot afford to
consider sentiment, and often the wedding dress is converted into a
low dinner and evening gown soon after the wedding day. A bride may,
with perfect propriety, wear her wedding dress to the reception given
her after her wedding by the groom’s mother. Of course, she will wear
it just as it was when she was married, high in the neck, unless the
reception takes place in the evening and demands evening dress, when,
according to the conventions, it must be cut low.

A bridegroom is always expected to furnish the bouquets that the bride,
bridesmaids, and all the bride’s attendants carry at the wedding. He
should learn from the bride the flowers she wishes, and should order
them several days before the wedding, so that they may be ready at the
bride’s house when the bridesmaids meet there to go together to the
church or to the place where the ceremony is held.

Besides furnishing these bouquets, the groom provides the ushers and
best men with their _boutonnières_, and gives them also some small
souvenir, and, if he wishes, a bachelor dinner or supper a day or two
before the wedding.

There are no wedding luncheons nowadays. Every entertainment of the
kind up to two o’clock is called a breakfast, and when it takes place
in the afternoon or evening it is called a reception.


The idea that a wedding invitation necessitates a present has,
sensibly enough, gone out of fashion, and only those who are bound by
ties of blood or close friendship have the privilege of sending a gift
to the bride.

Presents should be sent as soon after receiving the invitations as
possible. All wedding gifts, even from friends of the groom who may
never have met the bride, are sent to the bride; and, if marked, they
should be engraved with the initials or monogram of the bride’s maiden
name, or they may have her name in full.

Wedding presents should be acknowledged by the bride-elect in a short
personal note, which should be written and sent immediately on receipt
of the present.

When several friends combine in giving a present to the bride, she
should write a letter of thanks to each one separately, sending the
letters by post.

It is perfectly proper to open a gift in the presence of the giver, and
express one’s pleasure and gratitude on the spot. Indeed, it is much
better form to do so than to wait until the giver has gone.


The paper wedding, so termed, is celebrated one year after marriage.
Invitations should be issued on heavy gray paper or thin card-board.
Presents may consist of any article made of paper or _papier mâché_;
such, for instance, as books, engravings, etc.

The wooden wedding is celebrated five years after marriage. Invitations
may be issued upon wooden cards, or wooden cards may be inclosed with
an invitation written or engraved upon a sheet of wedding note paper.
The presents may be anything made of wood, from a mustard spoon to a
house or set of furniture.

The tin wedding comes ten years after marriage. Invitation cards are
sometimes covered with tin foil, or tin cards are inclosed, or, if
preferred, the invitation is printed on tin bronze paper. Presents
should consist of articles made of tin.

The crystal wedding, fifteen years after marriage, is next in order.
Cards may be issued upon transparent paper, or upon note paper with a
card of isinglass inclosed.

The china wedding takes place twenty years after marriage.
Semi-transparent cardboard will answer for the invitations.

The silver wedding is celebrated on the twenty-fifth anniversary,
and is generally an occasion of much more importance than any of the
foregoing anniversaries. The invitations may be printed on silver
paper, and the presents are, of course, articles of silver.

The golden wedding, celebrated on the fiftieth anniversary of the
marriage, may be said to be the one in which the young do homage to
the old. It should be conducted by the near relatives or friends of
the couple, and the occasion should be made one of retrospect, of
encouragement, and of congratulation. The invitations should be on
white paper in gold letters, and the presents should be of gold.

At each of these anniversaries it is customary to have the marriage
ceremony re-performed, and all arrangements for the celebration are
made in about the same manner as for the first marriage.



[Footnote B: In looking up any one point in this book,—as “dinners,”
for instance,—one will be obliged sometimes to refer to more than one
place. Chapter II., under “Notes of Invitation,” and Chapter I., under
its three different heads, contain more or less information concerning
“dinners,” which it seems difficult to classify anymore closely than
has been done.]



    “Manners are not idle, but are the fruit of noble
    natures and of loyal minds.”


The late Dr. George Ripley was wont to say that the secret of being
agreeable in conversation was to be honorable to the ideas of others.
He affirmed that some people only half listened to you, because they
were considering, even while you spoke, with what fine words, what
wealth of wit, they should reply, and they began to speak almost before
your sentence had died upon your lips. These people, he said, might
be brilliant, witty, dazzling, but never could they be agreeable. You
do not love to talk to them. You feel that they are impatient for
their turn to come, and that they have no hospitality towards your
thoughts—none of that gentle friendliness which asks your idea and
makes much of it. This want of hospitality to other people’s ideas
often has its root in egotism, but it is equally apt to be the growth
of a secret want of self-confidence, a fear that one will not be ready
to take one’s own part well,—an uneasy self-consciousness which makes
real sympathetic attention to the ideas of others impossible.

Agreeability, readiness in conversation, tact and graciousness of
manner are great aids to popularity. To possess these qualities one
must have marked consideration for others, and be ever ready to
manifest it. One should also be ready to recall faces and names.

Though one has but few facts and ideas to draw upon, she may still,
by making sufficient effort, become a fair conversationalist. If one
despair in this direction, she may at least train herself to become an
interesting listener, and she will be surprised to find how popular she
will be; for three-quarters of the world like to talk, while to listen
intelligently is a great talent. The good listener, by her evident
interest in, and sympathetic attention to, the matter of conversation,
brings out all that is best in the one with whom she talks. Diffident
people forget their shyness in her presence, and leave her with the
comfortable and novel conviction that they have, after all, acquitted
themselves rather well.

No well-bred person would be guilty of the gross rudeness of picking
up a book or magazine and “looking through” it while pretending to
pay heed to the talk of a friend. The assurance, “I am only looking at
the pictures of this magazine, not reading, and I hear every word you
say,” is no palliation of the offence. The speaker would be justified
in refusing to continue the conversation until the pictures had been
properly studied. If a speech is worth hearing, it is worthy of
respectful and earnest attention.

No one should ever monopolize the conversation, unless he wishes to win
for himself the name of a bore.

A well-educated and finely cultured person proclaims himself by the
simplicity and terseness of his language.

In conversation all provincialisms, affectations of foreign accents,
mannerisms, exaggerations, and slang are detestable.

Flippancy is as much an evidence of ill-breeding as is the perpetual
smile, the wandering eye, the vacant stare, or the half-open mouth of
the man who is preparing to break in upon the conversation.

Interruption of the speech of others is a great sin against good

Anecdotes should be sparsely introduced into a conversation, lest they
become stale. Repartee must be indulged in with moderation. Puns are
considered vulgar by many.

In addressing persons with titles, one ought always to add the name;
as, “What do you think, Doctor Graves?” not, “What do you think,

The great secret of talking well is to adapt one’s conversation
skillfully to the hearers.

In a _tête-à-tête_ conversation, it is extremely ill-bred to drop the
voice to a whisper, or to converse on private matters.

One should never try to hide the lips in talking by putting up the hand
or a fan.

One should avoid long conversations in society with members of his own

If an unfinished conversation is continued after the entrance of a
visitor, its import should be explained to him.

Though bores find their account in speaking ill or well of themselves,
it is the characteristic of a gentleman that he never speaks of himself
at all. La Buryere says: “The great charm of conversation consists less
in the display of one’s own wit and intelligence than in the power to
draw forth the resources of others; he who leaves one after a long
conversation, pleased with himself and the part _he_ has taken in the
discourse, will be the other’s warmest admirer.”

In society the absent-minded man is uncivil.

There are many persons who commence speaking before they know what
they are going to say. The ill-natured world, which never misses an
opportunity of being severe, declares them to be foolish and destitute
of brains.

He who knows the world, will not be too bashful; he who knows himself,
will not be imprudent.

There is no surer sign of vulgarity than the perpetual boasting of fine
things at home.

One should be careful how freely he offers advice.

If one keeps silent sometimes upon subjects of which he is known to be
a judge, his silence, when from ignorance, will not discover him.

One should not argue a point when it is possible to avoid it, but when
he does argue, he should do so in a gentlemanly and dispassionate

One should never notice any mistakes in the language of others.


The foreign custom that makes a chaperone indispensable where young
people are gathered together at places of public entertainment, has
long obtained in the cities of the East, and in all conventional
communities everywhere. No really fashionable party is made up without
a chaperone.

A young woman condemns herself in the eyes of good society who is
observed to enter alone with a young man a place of public refreshment,
be the restaurant or tea room ever so select. Bred under other
conditions of a society so necessarily varying as that in our broad
America, a stranger visiting New York, for instance, might readily and
innocently make a mistake of this nature, and blush at finding herself
condemned for it. In the same category of offenses is ranked that of
maidens visiting places of public amusement under the escort of young
men alone. Many parts of the South and West allow this to be done
with the smiling consent of good society; but in Eastern cities it is
considered a violation of good form, and for the comfort, if not the
convenience, of the girl considering it, had better be ranked among the
lost privileges upon which social evolution may look back with fond

It is always wisest, when a number of young people are to have a
party, to ask two or three married women to be present, not only for
propriety’s sake, but because there will then be no danger of anything
unwished for happening, inasmuch as it is the duty of the chaperones to
make all social entertainments smooth and pleasant.

When it is necessary for a girl to pay long visits to a dentist’s
office, she should be accompanied either by her mother, or some woman
relative, or maid.

The etiquette of chaperonage is much less strict for a young widow than
for an unmarried girl of the same age; but it is important and in good
taste for a woman who is a widow to be very quiet and inconspicuous in
all she does, giving by her behavior no opportunity for criticism.


A young girl’s own safety, as regards her present and future happiness,
demands that she receive attentions from only the best of young
men,—those of whom her reason would approve, if the acquaintance should
lead to more than acquaintance.

Parents should carefully watch the young men who frequent their houses,
in order to see that undesirable intimacies are not formed with their
daughters, for friendships and intimacies soon lead to love.

Many a girl, feeling convinced that she had loved unwisely, has entered
upon the married state with heart and reason at variance, when she
might have given up the acquaintance, in the beginning of it, very

The most perfect reserve in courtship, even in cases of the most ardent
attachment, is indispensable to the confidence and trust of married
life to come.

All public display of devotion should be avoided, for it tends to
lessen mutual respect, and it makes the actors ridiculous in the eyes
or others. It is quite possible for a man to show every conceivable
attention to the one to whom he is engaged, and yet to avoid committing
the slightest offence against delicacy or good taste.

It is quite possible for a man to show attention, and even assiduity
up to a certain point, without becoming a lover; and it is equally
possible for the girl to let it be seen that he is not disagreeable to
her, without actually encouraging him. No man likes to be refused, and
no man of tact will risk a refusal.

Long engagements are usually entered into by people who are quite
young, but who, for some reason, cannot marry. As the years go on their
tastes may change, and yet each may feel that honor binds the one to
the other. The woman chosen by a man when he is twenty-one is seldom
the woman he would chose when he is forty. When people marry young
they grow accustomed to each other, and, oddly enough, they grow to be
alike; but during a long engagement their tastes are apt to change, and
the result is apt to be anything but a happy one. Of course, there are
exceptions, but, generalizing, the long engagement is to be feared.


Etiquette is a comprehensive term, and its observances are nowhere more
to be desired than in the domestic circle.

If husbands and wives, generally, would render each other half of the
little attentions they lavished upon each other before marriage, their
mutual happiness would be more than doubled.

A wife should never let her husband have cause to complain that she is
more agreeable abroad than at home, nor see her negligent of dress and
manners at home when it is the reverse in company.

If, unhappily, any misunderstandings or annoyances occur between
husband and wife, it is ill-bred and unjust for either to repeat them
to a third person.

Faithful unto death in all things should be the motto of both husband
and wife; and forbearance with each other’s peculiarities, their
never-ending effort to attain.

If a girl discovers very soon after her marriage that she has made
a mistake, it is wisest for her to make the best of it; she should
look for all that is good in her husband and try to forget that which
she dislikes. There are times when a legal separation is necessary,
but when people marry they marry for better or for worse, and if,
unfortunately, it should be for worse, even that does not release them
from the solemn vows which they have taken.

It is not in good taste for a husband and wife to call each other by
endearing names in the presence of others.

A man has no right whatever to open his wife’s mail, but a woman should
not receive any letters that she would not be willing that her husband
should see.




    “Refinement of character is said never to be found with
    vulgarity of dress.”


In appropriateness our people have something to learn, as has the
whole world, for that matter. Necklaces and jewels in the morning are
monstrous, no matter what the fashion of the moment may be, and there
will come a time when every one will look upon them with horror, as
every one, indeed, used to do.

The day is past when latitude or great variety in dress is considered
original. Clothes, if they are startling at all, must be startling in
a degree to be borne. A train cannot be worn where only a short skirt
is in order, nor can an abbreviated drapery go where full dress is
required. A garden party, for instance, or an out-of-door tea at a
private house demands a muslin, a silk, or, at any rate, an elaborate
toilet, while at a golf club, such dress is absurd, except for the
elderly or non-players. In winter, frills and furbelows, if they are
worn at all, are worn at large teas, the plain tailor-made suit having
gone out for such purposes. However, it is difficult to follow the
vagaries of fashion in these regards.

For morning wear, no dress can be too simple. Luncheons are growing
more and more informal. When distances are great, however, and one
dresses for calls in the part of town where the luncheon is, afterward,
more elaborateness of dress is allowed.

The best advice to all girls upon the subject must be, not to be
overdressed, nor yet to be careless in the matter. They should attire
themselves according to their circumstances, and should, above all
things, avoid all extremes of fashion, as well as all eccentricities of

Only quiet colors should be worn either to church or on the street,
and wherever girls go they should endeavor to be unconscious of their
personal appearance.

The woman who is overdressed at an afternoon reception is much more
uncomfortable than she who is gowned with the simplicity of a Quaker. A
well fitting wool gown, a becoming bonnet, a fresh pair of gloves, and
one is suitably dressed as a caller.

A girl of fourteen should not wear her hair done up, and her gown
should come just below her ankles.

It is not in good taste for a young girl to wear diamond rings; if she
is fortunate enough to possess them, let her keep them carefully until
she is older, and then she may wear them with perfect propriety.

It is in very bad taste to wear a dressing-sacque when breakfasting
in a public dining-room of a hotel. Such an undress costume is only
permissible in one’s own room.

A frock coat is, under no circumstances, a correct garment for a man
to wear at an evening dance, neither is a Tuxedo or dinner coat. The
proper dress is a full dress suit, with white vest and white string
tie. Possibly a dinner coat might be allowable at a very small and very
informal dance, but a frock coat never.

A man should wear a white tie with a dress suit at any large formal
entertainment, such as a ball, the opera, a wedding reception, a
large dinner party, etc., and on all occasions where he wears a white
waistcoat. He should wear a black tie at the theater, at a small
dinner, in calling, and at home with his dinner coat.

Evening dress may be as gay as one chooses to make it, though extremes
are not desirable.

Dresses made a suitable length for walking are much more appropriate
for the street than those that are so long that their wearers become
street cleaners.

Neatness in a lady’s dress is one of the first requisites.

To dress well requires good taste, good sense, and refinement.

The most appropriate and becoming dress is that which so harmonizes
with the figure that the apparel is unobserved.

A hostess should be careful not to out-dress her guests.

When going out one should consider the sort of company she is likely to
meet, and should dress accordingly.

The idea that “dress makes the man” is a very false one, but a man
_does_ make, or select, rather, his dress, and is judged somewhat in
accordance with that selection.

At a five o’clock church wedding the groom, best man, and ushers all
dress as nearly as possible alike. The proper costume or suit is a
black frock coat, gray trousers, black or fancy vesting waist coat,
white tie, _glacé_ gloves, patent leather boots, and a tall hat.


A young woman should of course wear gloves with a full evening dress to
any kind of an evening entertainment.

On taking one’s seat at a dinner table or a card table one may remove
one’s gloves, but not until then; and at the theater or opera, gloves
should be worn throughout the performance and during the evening.

A man wears light or white kid gloves to the opera, dances, a
reception, or any other formal evening entertainment, except a dinner.

It is usual to remove one’s gloves when eating supper at an evening
affair, unless merely a cup of bouillon or an ice may be chosen, and
then there would be no impropriety in keeping on one’s gloves.

A man wears gloves when calling, and removes them just before or just
after entering the parlor. Tan gloves may be worn at all hours of the
day; white or pearl ones are proper in the evening, when calling, or at
any place of amusement.

No matter how long one’s gloves are, they should be entirely taken off
at supper, and be resumed again upon returning to the drawing-room or
after using the finger bowls, and before arising from the feast.

To wear gloves while playing cards is an affectation of elegance.


A man offers his right arm, if either, to a woman on the street (also
in the house), that she may have her right hand free for holding her
parasol or guiding her train. Both common sense and gallantry assign
the woman’s place where it is for her greatest convenience, and that
is, undeniably, on the right of the man.

The rule for giving the left arm was held good in those days when it
was necessary for men to pass to the left, thus keeping the sword-arm
free for self-protection or for the protection of the women, but now
the passing is all to the right.

In walking with a woman a man chooses the outer side without any regard
as to its being either the right or the left. In walking with two women
he chooses the outer side also, and never walks between them.

A man walking with a woman returns a bow made to her, lifting his hat,
although the one bowing is a stranger to him.

Ladies do not talk or call across the street.

Men should not smoke when driving or walking with women, nor on
promenades much frequented, where they cannot remove the cigar from the
mouth whenever meeting a woman.

One should never stare at another.

A man when meeting a woman who is walking and with whom he wishes to
converse, does not allow her to stand while talking, but turns and
walks with her.

A man cannot refuse to return the bow of any respectable woman. If he
does not wish to recognize her he must avoid her.

It is much less rude for women to return a recognition coldly, and upon
the next occasion to turn away or to avoid a meeting, than to give a
“cut direct.”

A man precedes a woman in passing through a crowd; but women precede
men under ordinary circumstances.

It is not proper for a young girl to walk alone with a young man after
dark, unless she is engaged to him or he is a near relative of hers.
A young woman should meet a young man with whom she has only a slight
acquaintance under her father’s or a proper guardian’s roof. When he
has become well acquainted with her and her family or friends, she may
take occasional walks with him alone in the afternoon, but never in the

When two women meet in a door-way, the younger gives precedence to the

A man does not first offer to shake hands with a woman unless he is
very well acquainted with her.

When it becomes necessary for one to address a man or woman whose name
one does not know, it should be as “Sir” or “Madam.”

It is very bad taste for young women to eat candy during a theatrical
performance, or, indeed, in any public place.


One can travel all over the United States alone, and if she conducts
herself quietly, and as a lady should, she will receive all due
respect. At the same time it is perhaps a little wiser to have a friend
with one, or even, if that is not possible, to be put in the care of
some one who is making the same journey.

When a young woman is traveling alone and is obliged to stay at a
hotel, she is shown to a reception room and sends for a clerk to come
to her. After the business arrangements are made, she either gives him
a card or tells him her name, and he registers for her. There is no
reason why she should go into a public room or register herself.

It is not customary, unless one is without luggage, to pay in advance
at a hotel.

Fees are usually given on leaving the steamer to the steward or
stewardess, deck steward, head waiter, waiter of the particular table
at which one has taken his meals, and any other servants who have made
themselves useful to him during the voyage. The amount of the fees
depends on the amount of the service that has been required, varying
from $1 to $5 for each. Living in lodgings abroad is much cheaper than
living in hotels, and in most of the large cities such accommodations
may be had at reasonable rates, and are very comfortable. The prices
for lodging vary according to location, etc. A steamer trunk should
suffice for a traveler who makes a short trip abroad and intends to
spend all his time traveling and sight-seeing. Money for a short
trip can be carried on the person, in a belt, or a pocket hung about
the neck. For a trip of some length a letter of credit is more
convenient, and can be obtained from any banking-house having foreign
connections. In some countries traveling in the second-class carriages
is very comfortable; in others it is not. In Italy a traveler can be
comfortable only by traveling first-class; in France second-class is
not bad; and in Germany and Great Britain it is perfectly comfortable,
and preferable to first-class in many respects.

A rush and scramble at a railway ticket office is only carried on by
ill-bred people, or by those who appear so at the time.

If a woman offers to seat herself beside a man, he should rise at once
and give her the choice of seats.

No real gentlemen would be unmindful of the comfort and convenience of
women, while traveling, from a selfish motive.

In the cars one has no right to keep a window open, if the current of
air thus produced annoys another.

A woman should always be careful to thank a person for any little
attention he may bestow upon her while traveling.


As to rules of politeness for bicyclers, one who is a true lady will
show herself to be one as surely when riding a wheel as at any other
time, not only by her costume, which will be unobtrusive in color, cut,
and adjustment, but by her manner, which will be even more quiet and
self-possessed than usual, as she well knows that by mounting a wheel
she makes herself more or less conspicuous. It goes without saying that
she will not ride fast enough to attract undue attention; that she will
not chew gum; and that she will not allow advances from strangers,
who may, like herself, be on a wheel, and, to all appearances, may be
gentlemen. Neither will she ride off alone after dark, nor take long
rides in the evening attended only by an escort. In the daytime, when
out only with a man friend, she will avoid stopping to rest under the
trees and in out of the way places. Too much care cannot be taken,
especially by young girls, as to appearances. Their very innocence and
ignorance lays them open to criticism.


For the benefit of those who but seldom make use of the telephone, and
consequently feel more or less ill at ease when attempting to use one,
and also for those who, from ignorance of the first laws of politeness,
or who, from thoughtlessness, ignore them, a few hints upon the subject
may not come amiss. It is after having called up “Central,” and been
given the number requested, that one often stands in need of no small
amount of tact and good breeding, as well as of some idea of the best
method of procedure. When there are several different persons using
the same line, two or three of them may mistake the call for theirs,
and all rush to the telephone at once. If at all stupid, or lacking in
politeness, they will make it quite unpleasant for each other. The one
entitled to speak should politely inquire for the one for whom she has
called at the telephone, also giving her own name as the one delivering
the message. If this does not suffice to enlighten those who sometimes
keep calling “hello,” “hello,” without waiting to learn if they are
the ones desired, the one talking should again announce herself, and
the name of the one to whom she wishes to speak. Then, occasionally,
even while in the midst of a conversation, some one will break in
with a “Hello!” “Who is it?” “What do you want?” etc., which is quite
distracting. If one can gain a hearing in no other way, it is well to
say: “Excuse me, I hold the line.” If this does not bring order out of
chaos, one should ring off and call again.

One should be careful not to call up friends at inconvenient hours,
and when one is notified by a servant, or otherwise, that someone, the
name being given, is at the telephone wishing to speak with her, she
should certainly be as expeditious as possible in replying; for, by
holding the wire, she is inconveniencing others, as well as the one
who is waiting for her. No lady needs to be warned against speaking
discourteously under any circumstances to the telephone assistants at
the central office. It is in these little things that one shows herself
to be well-bred or not.

None, of course, but the most informal of invitations can be delivered
by telephone.

Servants should be taught always to answer the telephone politely and
intelligently. When answering, a servant should say whose residence it
is, if asked, not by giving the family name, as “Smith,” but as “Mr.
Smith,” and then, if asked who is at the instrument, she should reply,
“Mrs. Smith’s cook” or “maid.”

One’s individual manners, and ordinary polite or impolite forms of
address, are very noticeable when accentuated by the telephone.




    “God may forgive sins, but awkwardness has no
    forgiveness in Heaven or earth.”—_Hawthorne._


The table looks best when not over-decorated. The housekeeper who
cannot make changes in her table decoration finds that a mirror
centerpiece is a background that multiplies the beauty of her flowers,
fruit, leaves, or whatever may constitute the decoration.

A unique and effective decoration for a luncheon table is made of long,
narrow bouquets of white carnations, tied with bows of yellow satin
ribbon, and arranged so that the ribbons all meet in the center of the
table, while the points are directed towards the guests. The effect is
of a great golden-hearted daisy.

A pretty conceit for decorating a dainty table is to cluster a number
of small palms together in the center of the table. Around these place
small ferns, while beyond the latter arrange yards of smilax so as to
conceal the pots. Outside of all have a flat border composed of loose
bunches of pinks, roses, and maiden-hair ferns. Tie these with wide
pink satin ribbons, a long end of which should extend from each bouquet
down to the place of each of the women guests, and have her name
painted in gold upon it. Then there should be _boutonnières_ of pink
carnations for the men.

Menu cards are not ordinarily used at any but the most formal kind of
an entertainment. They are always seen at large functions, men’s public
dinners, etc., which are usually given in a hotel or restaurant; but
in a private house individual menu cards, whether at a dinner or a
luncheon, are exceptional.

When the dinner is large and formal, or even when it numbers only eight
or ten, it is wise to have small cards with the names of the guests
at each place at the table, and, if the guests are strangers to each
other, to have a tray in the men’s dressing-room or hall where they
remove their coats and hats with tiny envelopes addressed to each,
containing little cards on which is written the name of the dinner
partner. The hostess must see that, as soon as two dinner partners are
in the receiving room before dinner, they meet each other, and have a
chance for a little conversation before the meal is announced; and she
should also make a point to introduce each woman before dinner to the
man who is to sit on the other side of her.

Introductions are not proper at the table, and at a large dinner it is
awkward to introduce all one’s guests to each other before the meal.
At a small dinner, of course, it is not necessary to observe all this
formality, and the hostess may introduce her guests to each other
without much ceremony, when the company numbers only four or six; but
with more, each woman should be provided with a partner who escorts her
to the table. At a small function there need be but a few minutes of
waiting before the guests are all seated. The guest of honor sits at
the right of the host.

As to the manner of arranging the table, there is some difference
of opinion. However, generally speaking, there should be a napkin,
squarely folded, in front of each guest, and at the left of it the
forks, _i. e._, a fish fork and a large and a small ordinary fork.
At the right of the napkin should be the knives and spoons, a glass,
bread-and-butter plate (if used), and a salt cellar; and in the center
of the table on an embroidered centerpiece or circular mirror, the
floral decorations. At the head of the table, upon an embroidered
square, are laid the tea service,—the urn, the cups and saucers, the
cream pitcher, sugar bowl, etc.; at the other end are placed the dishes
for serving. Scattered about on circular doilies are the dishes of
jelly, preserves, pickles (sweet and sour), olives, salted almonds, etc.

Chafing-dishes are used to prepare such dishes as terrapin, oysters, or
whatever may be cooked absolutely on the table. A napkin and plate, or
tray, is best liked for removing crumbs.

Finger bowls should always follow the last course at formal and
informal meals alike, except at breakfast, when, if fruit is the first
course, the finger-bowl is put on the table when the covers are laid
ready for the fruit course.

Spoon-holders are no longer used, but if one should be fancied it would
be better to put the bowl of the spoon in the holder first.

Unless one serves something more than wafers, small cakes, tea, and
chocolate on an “at home” day, napkins are not necessary; if, however,
there is some dish that will soil the fingers or the lips, then there
should be a pile of small napkins on the tea-table.

Tooth-picks should not be put on the table, nor should they be used
outside one’s own room.

It is not necessary to fold one’s napkin when only one meal is to be
eaten in the house in which one is staying.

The day for tying cakes, sandwiches, etc., with ribbons has passed.

The waitress should stand with a tray in her hand behind the host’s
chair to receive each plate as it is filled, passing it to the left
of the guest, and waiting for him to remove it. When the hostess is
pouring tea or coffee, the maid’s place is by her left side in waiting
for the cups. After that she should be on the alert to see when the
glasses need filling, or when there is bread, pickles, or anything to
be passed. When removing the plates it should be from the right side of
the guest, but everything should be offered at the left that the right
hand may be used to receive it.

When a dish is passed and there is no maid in attendance, one should
help himself and pass it on. If a dish is standing near one, under such
circumstances, he may quite properly ask if he may help himself, and do

When a plate is passed for a helping, the knife and fork are laid well
to the side of the plate, so placed that they will not fall off, and
yet not be in the way of the server.

All the appurtenances of each course should be removed before the
succeeding one is served. The bread-and-butter plates, however, should
be removed before the salad course, as crackers and cheese are passed
with this, the salad plate being used to hold all three things.

The salted almonds should be started about the table by the hostess
soon after the guests are seated. Some hostesses possess cut-glass
or china individual dishes, on which the almonds are placed when the
guest helps himself, but it is quite usual for them to be placed on the
bread-and-butter plate.

Bonbons should be passed by the maid when the coffee is served, and
eaten from the plate from which the finger-bowl and doily have been

It is not important whether tumblers or goblets are used on the
dinner-table; each season brings its own custom.

The bread-and-butter plates at a formal dinner serve the purpose
only of bread plates, as it is not customary to serve butter on such
occasions. If it is used, however, butter should be made into tiny
balls, and one or two placed on each bread-and-butter plate.

It is customary to put the vegetables served with the meat on the
same plate. The use of individual dishes for vegetables is no longer

Oranges are seldom served at dinner unless they are specially prepared,
that is, with the skin taken off, and the sections divided, in which
case the fruit is eaten from a fork.

Cheese and crackers of some sort are always served with salad courses.

At a formal dinner bouillon or consommé is usually served in
soup-plates. At a supper or luncheon it is oftenest served in cups. The
regulation cups are those having handles on each side.

When oysters are served on the half-shell, they are usually placed upon
the table before the meal is announced.

It is not customary to serve fruit as a first course at dinner, though
at a lunch it is quite proper.

Grape-fruit must be served ice cold. It is served in two ways: either
it is cut in halves, midway between the blossom and the stem end, the
seeds removed, the pulp loosened with a sharp knife, but served in
the natural skin, to be eaten with a spoon; or the pulp and seeds are
entirely removed from the skin with a sharp knife, and the edible part
only served in deep dessert plates. Pulverized sugar should accompany

In waiting upon plates, one should never pour gravy on the food, but
place it at one side.

The salad course at dinner always succeeds the game course.

After dinner coffee is served in small cups and without cream. In
many houses rock-candy, crushed in very small pieces, is used as a
substitute for sugar, the claim being made that it gives a purer

Cut sugar is served with coffee, and powdered sugar with fruit or

Coffee may be served at the table or in the drawing-room as is best
liked. People are not asked if they will have it; it is served to them.
Only sugar is offered with black coffee.


Nothing indicates the good breeding of a man so much as his manners
at table. There are a thousand little points to be observed, which,
although not absolutely necessary, distinctly stamp the refined and
well-bred man. A man may pass muster by dressing well, and may sustain
himself tolerably in conversation; but, if he is not nearly perfect in
table etiquette, dining will betray him.

Any unpleasant peculiarity, abruptness, or coarseness of manner is
especially offensive at table. People are more easily disgusted at
that time than at any other.

One should never rest the arms upon the table, but keep the left hand,
when not in use, lying quietly in the lap.

A man guest should never precede his hostess into or out of the
dining-room, but should wait respectfully by the door for her to pass.

A soup-plate should never be tilted for the last spoonful.

The mouth should be kept closed in eating, and as little noise made as

A goblet should be held by the stem, and not by the bowl.

Bread should be broken and not cut before buttering it to eat.

A knife should never be used at table except where one is unable to cut
his food with his fork; it should never be used in conveying food to
the mouth.

A knife should be held by its handle, and the finger not allowed to
extend up on the blade. In eating with a fork it should be held in the
right hand.

The fork is generally used with the tines curving upward.

Olives are eaten from the fingers; pickles, from a fork. It is usual to
put either a small fork or a long-handled spoon with a small bowl on
the dish containing olives or pickles, and one should use it in helping
one’s self.

The tips of the fingers are put in the finger-bowls and may then
moisten the lips. Both lips and finger tips are dried on the napkin,
which is not afterwards folded.

Watermelons are eaten with a fork, and cantaloupes with either a spoon
or a fork.

A baked potato should be eaten from the plate after it has been pushed
out of its skin by the fork.

Dried beef is eaten with a fork.

Grape seeds may be removed from the mouth with the fingers. The seeds
of watermelons should be taken from the fruit with a fork before the
fruit is put into the mouth.

Fish bones are taken from the mouth with the fingers. Care, however, is
usually taken to leave as few bones as possible in the fish, since the
general use of the silver knife with the silver fork has made it easy
to separate the bones from the meat.

Bananas are broken with a fork, and a piece is conveyed to the mouth on
a fork.

When a servant offers one a dish, he should help himself without taking
it from her hand.

When drinking from a cup, the spoon should be left in the saucer, where
it also remains when the cup is empty.

It is not proper to eat gravy with bits of bread; instead, it should be
regarded as a sauce, and simply eaten on the meat of which it forms a

It is decreed by custom that the small bones of any bird may be taken
in the fingers, and the meat eaten from the bone. But this must always
be done daintily.

What is known as “layer cake” is eaten from a fork, and in serving it
one uses either a pie-knife or a tablespoon and a fork.

Cheese is eaten with a fork.

After-dinner coffee is taken directly from the cup, and not from the

Crackers should be eaten from the hand, and not be broken into soup.

When bread is passed, one takes a slice as it is cut, and does not
break it and leave a portion on the plate. Bread is always eaten from
the fingers.

Raw oysters are eaten with a small oyster-fork from the shell. In
helping one’s self to salt, the little salt-spoon is used, and the salt
is placed on the plate.

When strawberries are served with their stems on, one picks one up by
the stem, dips it into the soft sugar at the side of the plate, and
eats it from the stem. Bonbons are eaten from the fingers. If a spoon
is in the dish from which they are served, then one uses it; if not,
the fingers are proper.

An apple or a pear may be held on a fork, and pared with a knife; or it
may be quartered, and each quarter held in the fingers, and then pared.
Dates are eaten from the fingers.

When one answers “thank you” to an invitation to partake of a certain
dish at the table, “yes” is meant.

One should break a small piece of bread off the slice, then butter it
and eat it. Only very small children in the nursery bite from a slice
of buttered bread.

One need not fear to take the last piece on the plate when it is
offered. It would be more impolite to refuse it.

It is very bad form to pile up, or in any way arrange the plates or
small dishes put before one, for the benefit of the waiter. She should
do her own work, which is to take away the plates without any help.

When one wishes for bread, or anything of that sort, he should simply
ask for it, either addressing his request to the servant or, if there
is none, to whomever the bread may be nearest, if it is on the table.

Upon leaving the table, and the signal for leaving is given when the
hostess rises, one’s napkin should be placed upon the table unfolded,
unless one is to remain for another meal.

At a formal dinner party the host should enter the dining-room first
and with the lady in whose honor the dinner is given; the hostess goes
into the dining-room last with the most important man guest, who should
be seated at her right.

Where menus are used they should be placed on the left-hand side,
beside the forks. When the dinner is over, at a signal from the
hostess, the women rise and retire to the drawing-room, where coffee
is usually served, the men remaining in the dining-room for coffee and

Five o’clock tea may be served in a variety of ways: the hostess may
brew it herself in a teapot upon her tea-table in the parlor; she
may make it by pouring boiling water over a tea-ball; or it may be
served by either a man or maid servant in the dining-room. Its proper
accompaniments are sugar, cream, sliced lemon, and either wafers, thin
sandwiches, or cake.

It is in better form to have a luncheon served at a large table,
especially when the guests do not number more than twenty, than to have
small tables. Two o’clock is the fashionable hour for a luncheon;
after it is over the guests usually disperse.

A host, in entertaining at a hotel or a restaurant, even if he
entertains only one woman, should give the order for the meal himself,
and save her the slight embarrassment it may be for her to make her
own selection. The most courteous thing is for him to order the meal
beforehand, but if the occasion is very informal and he prefers to
wait until they are at the table, he should, after he and his guest
are seated, hand the menu to her and ask if she has any especial
preference, and then, respecting her wishes, give the order himself to
the waiter.

If, however, friends happen in, and are asked informally to stay to
a meal at a hotel, they may order themselves what they want from the
menu, and, if necessary, the host or hostess of the occasion may pay
the bill before leaving the dining-room, but the bill should not be
paid until the guests have departed.

In giving one’s order for dinner at the hotel, oysters come first, then
soup, fish, a roast or a bird, ices, whatever dessert may be desired,
and coffee. Very often a woman is well served, when she is alone, by
allowing the waiter to arrange a dinner for her.

If the only guest at the family dinner-table is a man, he should not be
served until all the ladies of the family have been attended to.

If the hostess is the only woman at the table, she is served first,
as a lady is of most importance from a social standpoint, and it is
always proper to attend to her wants first. After her the man who is a
visitor, or whose age gives him precedence, receives attention.

The guest of honor at a tea arrives a little earlier than the other
guests, and remains somewhat later, but at a luncheon or dinner she
should appear at the regulation time. One should remove one’s gloves
at a luncheon, but the retaining of the hat is entirely a matter of
personal taste.

The inconsiderate guest who arrives late for luncheon or dinner is
shown immediately into the dining-room, and the hostess does not leave
her guests, but simply rises and motions him to a seat when he enters
the room.

Ten minutes is the time usually allowed for each course where more than
a six-course dinner is served.

The correct and usual way of seating a bridal party at a wedding
entertainment is for the groom to sit at one end of the table, and
the bride at the other end, the best man on the bride’s right, and
the maid of honor or first bridemaid on the groom’s right. The other
bridemaids and ushers are placed wherever seems best. As a usual thing,
the parents of the bride and groom do not sit at the same table with
the immediate bridal party, but at another table, together with the
near relatives on both sides, and perhaps the minister who officiated
at the wedding and his wife; but if it seems desirable to have the
parents at the bridal table, it is perfectly proper to seat them there.

There are certain distinctive features of a bridal table which must be
in evidence. One is the wedding or bride’s cake, and this cake should
be the central ornament, and should be surrounded with a wreath of
roses. The place-cards should have the initials of the bride and groom
woven together for decoration, and the souvenirs may be small satin
boxes containing wedding cake.


There is so much to say upon the subject of servants, notwithstanding
so much has already been said, it is difficult to know where to begin.
But, in the first place, every woman should remember that servants are,
like herself, human, and that in our free America, they are becoming
very independent, not to say self-assertive. Thus a house mistress has
no small matter to deal with when she demands obedience and respectful
attention from girls who are generally ignorant, and often impudent
and ill-bred. The greatest strength of the mistress lies in her power
to control herself, and while she must demand respectfulness from her
servants, she can often avoid a clash with them by using a little tact.
If they are treated in a kind, though dignified, manner, unless very
degenerate, they will usually respond satisfactorily.

One can speak, with perfect propriety, of the one servant employed as
“the maid,” but not as “our girl.”

Servants should be expected to dress neatly, and where there is but
one, she should have a clean white apron ready to put on when answering
the door-bell, being prepared with a tray to receive the caller’s card.
She should also know, before answering the bell, who is in and who is
not at home, and what excuse, if any, to make for each one called for.

Servants should never be allowed to call any member of the family from
a distance, as from the foot of the stairs, but should go to the one to
whom she wishes to speak, and deliver her message.

It is hard to say, under all circumstances, what to expect of a nursery
governess, and what should be her privileges. To treat her with the
greatest consideration is well worth while; for one is compensated in
being able to get an intelligent, ladylike woman who may be trusted
to guide her charges wisely. One may ask a governess to sleep in the
same room with the children, dress and undress them, eat with them, and
teach them, and take the entire charge of them; but, of course, one
will provide some attractive place for her to sit during the evening,
while the children are asleep in her room. It is also necessary to see
that her meals are well cooked and carefully served, and to permit
her to be free one afternoon and evening every week. She should be
addressed as “Miss Smith,” not by her first name.

It is expedient to supervise the work of the general house-work servant
as much as possible; and if it is more convenient for her to go up the
front stairs to announce callers, and to go down them to answer the
front door, certainly allow her to use the front stairs instead of the
back ones on occasions. A waitress or parlor-maid is no more privileged
to use the front stairs than a general house-work servant. A nurse may
be, with propriety, wherever her charges are allowed.

If a maid is expected to wear a cap, it is usually furnished by the
lady of the house.

It is good form to address the servants one knows when entering a
house, and to thank them for any attention.

It is unfortunate that the English system of feeing has come into vogue
here. But it is quite customary now, for a guest, after a visit, even a
short one, to bestow upon a servant a small fee, say, of a dollar.




    Civility implies self-sacrifice; it is the last touch,
    the crowning perfection of a noble character.—_Mathews._


At no place is a lack of system, and an observance of formality, more
noticeable than at a funeral. An undertaker generally has charge
of the details, and where he is well informed and has sufficient
assistance, he can manage affairs nicely, but there is a great deal of
unostentatious service that may be done by friends, indeed, must be.
They can assist the servants in arranging the house, flowers, etc.,
before the funeral; meet any who may call at the door; and in every way
stand between the afflicted family and the outside world. Of course
none but intimate friends can be of service at such a time. All others,
no matter how willing, can but call at the door with offers of service,
and even that should not be carried far enough to appear intrusive.

At a house funeral the family remains upstairs, or in a side room,
and is not seen. The remains are in the drawing-room, where they are
usually viewed by those present when passing out. The clergyman stands
near the head of the casket, if in so doing his voice can be well
heard. If there is singing, it is usually done by a quartet or by a
smaller number of persons, who are seated at the head of the stairs out
of sight and unaccompanied by any musical instrument. Those who are not
going to the cemetery quietly disperse at the close of the service.
Carriages are in waiting for the family, and the cortege moves as soon
after the close of the service as possible.

In the meantime the nurse (if one still remains at the house), or some
friend, with the assistance of the servants, makes everything look as
natural and pleasant as possible before the return of the family. If
visitors come in later, of course it depends upon circumstances whether
or not they should be admitted.

Church funerals are more formal. The congregation assembles, and when
the carriages containing the family arrive, the organ plays softly, and
the procession enters, the relatives walking close to the casket, and
sitting as near it as possible. After the services the procession moves
out in the same order, and the people in the pews wait until is has
passed on.

The crêpe that is hung at the door-bell has often combined with it
ribbon streamers, those for the aged being black, for a younger person
purple, and for a child white with white crêpe also. Flowers should be
sent to the bereaved, in due time after the death, in token of sympathy.


The putting on of mourning is a question that should be decided
entirely by those most deeply concerned. Many families never follow the
custom, and even wear white instead of black on the day of the funeral,
while others seem to consider the wearing of crêpe as a mark of respect
shown to the dead. To assume the expense such a change in clothing
would entail, may sometimes be placing a burden upon the living for
the sake of the dead, which certainly neither custom nor reason should
demand. Then, to many, the wearing of crêpe is so depressing that it
is a sin against one’s self to put it on. None but narrow-minded,
uncultivated persons would ever think of criticising one for not doing
so. Of course one would naturally feel like dressing in as subdued
colors as possible, if not in assuming half mourning (black and white,
lavendar, drab, etc.) if not deep black or crêpe.

When mourning is worn by a wife for a husband, it is worn from one to
two years, at least.

The question of wearing mourning for one’s betrothed must be decided
by one’s self, for it is purely a personal question that the laws of
etiquette do not govern.

When crêpe is laid aside, black-bordered paper and black-bordered cards
are no longer proper. While wearing all black on the street, after
crêpe is laid aside, one may wear, with propriety, all white in the

While in deep mourning one does not go into society. All that mourning
etiquette demands is that one acknowledge her calls with her visiting
cards, which should be sent in return for a call within two weeks after
it is made, and should go by hand rather than by mail.

One sends invitations to one’s friends who are in mourning, to show
that they are not forgotten.



    Give a boy address and accomplishments, and you give
    him the mastery of palaces and fortunes wherever he
    goes.—_Ralph Waldo Emerson._

A mother once asked a clergyman when she should begin to educate her
child, then three years old. “Madam,” was his reply, “you have lost
three years already.”

As soon as the child can talk, its lessons in politeness should begin.
Among a child’s first words should be “please” and “thank you.”

A child should never be allowed to leave the table, after it is old
enough to understand and to say it, without asking to be excused.

A child should be taught to pass behind and not before one.

Little boys should never be allowed to keep their hats on in the house.

Children, when very young, should be taught to be generous and polite
to their little visitors, and, if necessary, to give up all of anything
where half will not do.

Children should be taught to “take turns” in playing games, and that no
one should monopolize the pleasantest part of a game.

Children soon feel a pride in being little ladies and gentlemen, rather
than in being rude and impolite.

If mothers would impress upon their children’s minds how stupid they
appear when they stand staring at one without answering when addressed
with “good morning” or a like salutation, they would be anxious to know
what to say, and to say it.

Children do not always know what to answer when addressed. They ought
to be taught, so that they may feel no embarrassment.

When children inconvenience others, they ought to be taught to say
“excuse me” or “beg pardon.”

In the cars, or in any public place, a boy or a girl should always
rise, and give his or her place to an older person.

A child should always learn that it is both naughty and rude to
contradict, and to say “what for” and “why,” when told to do anything.

A mother who is as careful of her child’s moral nature and manners as
of his physical nature, will guard him from naughty and rude playmates
as closely as she would from measles or whooping-cough.

A mother should never allow any disrespect in her children’s manners
toward herself, nor toward any one older than they are. They should be
taught especially to reverence the aged.

Habits of politeness and kindness to the poor are of great worth, and
easily formed in childhood.

Virtue is born of good habits, and the formation of habits may be said
to constitute almost the whole work of education.

Habits have been compared to handcuffs, easily put on and difficult to
rid one’s self of.

Those parents who regulate their lives in accordance with the commands
of the Bible, find many verses which are of great assistance in
teaching politeness to young children, such as, “Be ye courteous one to
another,” “Be respectful to your elder,” “Do to others as ye would that
they should do to you,” etc.

A child should be thoroughly trained with regard to table manners. The
well-bred child will not chew his food with his mouth half open, talk
with it in his mouth, nor make any unnecessary noises in eating; and he
will handle his knife and fork properly.

Children should be taught that it is very rude to look into drawers or
boxes, or, in fact, to meddle with or handle anything away from home
that is not intended for them to play with.

Children should be made to understand that they must not ask too many
questions promiscuously, such as, “Where are you going?” “What have you
there?” etc.

A child should be taught never to tease a playmate’s mother, or to have
its own mother teased by a playmate. Teasing should not be allowed.

Children should never be allowed to say “I won’t” and “I will,” even to
each other.

Children should never be allowed to speak of an elder person by the
last name without the proper prefix. They should also be taught, in
addressing boys and girls, say, sixteen years of age, to use the
prefix, as “Miss” or “Mr.,” before the given name; thus “Miss Alice”
or “Mr. George.” In fact, all people should observe this rule in
addressing the young, except in case the older person is very familiar
with the younger, or in case the latter is too young to be so addressed.

Children are now taught to say, “Yes, mamma,” “What, mamma?” “Thank
you, mamma,” “Yes, Mrs. Allen,” “What, Mrs. Allen?” etc., in preference
to “Yes, ma’am,” “No, ma’am,” etc.

Children should be taught that it is rude to yawn without trying to
suppress it, or without concealing the mouth with the hand; to whistle
or hum in the presence of older persons; or to make any monotonous
noise with feet or hands, beating time, etc.; to play with napkin
rings, or any article at table during meal time; to pick the teeth
with the fingers; to trim or clean one’s nails outside one’s room; to
lounge anywhere in the presence of company; to place the elbows on the
table, or to lean upon it while eating; to speak of absent persons by
their first names, when they would not so address them if they were
present; to acquire the habit of saying “you know,” “says he,” “says
she;” to use slang words; to tattle; to hide the mouth with the hand
when speaking; to point at anyone or anything with the finger; to stare
at persons; to laugh at one’s own stories or remarks; to toss articles
instead of handing them; to leave the table with food in the mouth; to
take possession of a seat that belongs to another without instantly
rising upon his return; to leave anyone without saying “good-by;” to
interrupt any one in conversation; to push; to ridicule others; to
pass, without speaking, any one whom they know; etc.

Some young people are not as particular as they should be about certain
articles of the toilet, such as combs, brushes, etc. One should always
have such things for his own individual use. It is exceedingly
impolite to use any toilet article belonging to another.

It is ill-mannered to ask questions about affairs that do not concern
one, or to pry into the private affairs of one’s friends. To inquire
the cost of articles indiscriminately, is impudent.

If parents are not at home when visitors come in, or are too busy to
see them at once, a child, in the absence of a maid, should politely
show them in, offer them a comfortable chair, show them anything he
thinks they will be interested in, and make every effort to entertain
them agreeably until such time as his parents can take his place. He
should then politely withdraw from the room.

Children and young people should early learn not to monopolize the best
light or the most desirable seat in the room, but to look about when
anyone enters, whether a guest or an older member of their own family,
and see if by giving up their own place the new-comer may be made more

A boy ought to show to his mother and sisters every attention he would
show to any other woman. Should they chance to meet on the street he
should politely raise his hat. He should allow them to pass first
through a door, give them the inside of the walk, help them into a
carriage, and everywhere and under all circumstances treat them with
politeness and deference. Girls should of course treat their brothers
in the same polite manner; for they can hardly expect to receive
attentions where they are unwilling to bestow them.

Children, especially little boys, should be taught not to precede their
mothers, or any woman, into theaters, street cars, churches, elevators,
or into the house or even a room.


    “Good manners are the shadows of virtues, if not
    virtues themselves.”

If teachers realized the inestimable amount of good they might
accomplish by giving a little time and thought to the manners of their
pupils, surely they would willingly give it. Those of their pupils who
have no proper training at home would thus gain a knowledge which, in
after life, would prove a blessing. And such a course acted upon by the
teacher would be of great assistance to the parents of those who are
well trained at home; for a large portion of a child’s time is spent in
school, and under conditions that require such training.

Teachers must treat their scholars politely if they expect polite
treatment from them.

Every teacher should see that no pupil is allowed to treat those of a
lower station in life with disrespect.

It is a common occurrence for a teacher to speak with seeming
disrespect of a pupil’s parents, blaming them for the pupil’s lack of
interest in school, truancy, etc. Such a course is highly reprehensible
in the teacher, and gains the pupil’s ill-will. It is better to assume
that the parents would be displeased with anything wrong in the pupil,
and to appeal to the pupil for his mother’s or father’s sake.

A teacher should never allow herself or himself to be addressed by
pupils as “Teacher,” but as Miss or Mr. Smith.

If pupils would take pains to bid a teacher “good-morning” and
“good-night,” they would appear well in so doing, and easily give
pleasure to another.

The entire atmosphere of a school-room is dependent upon trifles. Where
a teacher, by her own actions and in accordance with her requirements,
insures kindness and politeness from all to all, she may feel almost
sure of the success of her school.

Young misses ought to be addressed by the teacher as “Miss Julia,”
“Miss Annie.” Young boys (too young to be addressed as Mr.) should be
addressed as “Master Brown,” “Master Jones,” etc.

Teachers should use great discretion in reproving any unintentional
rudeness, especially on the part of those ignorant from lack of home
training. If such were reproved gently and privately, it would be
more efficacious and just. No one should be allowed to appear to
disadvantage from ignorance.

Selfishness, untruthfulness, slang, rowdyism, egotism, or any show of
superiority should be corrected in the school-room.

Young teachers hardly realize with what fear and dread mothers intrust
to them their carefully reared children, especially young ones.




    “Good fashion rests on realty, and hates nothing so
    much as pretenders.”—_Emerson._

All presentations to foreign courts are made through the national
representatives, and from them is received all the information desired
in reference to the necessary forms and ceremonies.

Kings and queens are addressed as “Your Majesty.” The Prince of Wales,
the crown princes, and all other princes and princesses are addressed
as “Your Royal Highness.”

The President’s “levees” at Washington are open to all, and are
conducted very much as an ordinary “reception.” As one enters, an
official announces him, and he proceeds directly to the president and
his lady, and pays his respects.

The door of the White House may be said never to be closed, and any
one who desires may call upon its occupants as upon those of any other
dwelling. He may not, however, obtain a personal interview. This, to be
secured, he must seek in the company of an official or intimate friend
of the president, who will be able to judge of the claims for attention
of a visitor.

No particular style of dress is required to make one’s appearance at
the Republican Court.

No refreshments are expected to be offered at a presidential reception.

Custom does not require that the wife of the president of the United
States should return official calls. Exception is made in the case of
visiting Royalty. The wives of the foreign ambassadors should make the
first call upon the wife of the vice-president, as should the wives
of the cabinet officials. At a function given by officials of foreign
governments at Washington, the wife of the secretary of state takes
precedence over the wives of the foreign ambassadors.




    Since custom is the principal magistrate of human
    life, let men by all means endeavor to obtain good
    customs.—_Lord Bacon._



Closely written postal cards and long letters meet with little favor
among business men; therefore it is important to make business
correspondence as plain and brief as possible.

Names of places and persons should be written very plainly.

When a letter is written in reply to another, the date of the letter to
which the reply is made should be given, and it is an excellent plan,
and one that saves much time, to give in a letter the substance of the
one to which it is a reply. This is especially desirable when accepting
a special offer made in such letter, thus:

    Mr. A. FLANAGAN, Chicago, Illinois.

    _Dear Sir:_

    Your favor of Feb. 15, in which you offer us a discount
    of 33-1/3 per cent. on your books, when purchased in
    lots of 100 or more, came duly. We herewith enclose
    our check for three hundred dollars ($300.), for which
    please ship us, by freight the following:

  100 copies of “Words; Their Use and Abuse.”
  100    “      “Getting on in the World.”
  100    “      “Hours with Men and Books.”

                                      GEO. W. JONES & CO.

    Boulder, Colo., April 3, 1899.

    Griggsville, Ill. MESSRS. HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.


    Enclosed is a post-office order for $3, for which
    please send me Harper’s New Monthly Magazine for one
    year, beginning with the May number.

                                     (MISS) SARA BROWN.

When writing a business letter, a married woman should sign her name as
she would sign it when writing any other letter; that is, by placing
her first name and surname in the usual position of the signature, and
adding, a little to the left-hand, her name in full, with the address,

                           St. Paul, Minn., Nov. 9th, 1899.



    Please send me one copy of “How Women Should Ride,” for
    which you will find enclosed one dollar and twenty-five
    cents ($1.25).

                                         EMMA C. BOWEN.
          324 Dupont Avenue.

When writing to a person or firm for information solely for one’s own
benefit, a postal card or a stamped envelope should be enclosed for a

It is a too common custom among people unacquainted with the rules
of business, when sending an order to one firm, to enclose money to
be paid another, or with which to make small purchases in some other
line, to be sent in the package ordered from the firm with which the
correspondence is held. The proper way to do when one wishes to order
goods from different houses in the same city, and yet have all the
goods shipped in the same package, is to write an order to each firm
requesting the goods to be delivered to the firm with which one does
the most business, having, of course, notified such firm of his action.

It has become so common among people to request everything “by return
mail” that business men look upon such requests as a mere form, rather
than as an evidence of urgency. If such urgency exists, it is well to
state the cause of it in a few words, and request immediate attention
to the order, thus:

                            Harvard, Ill., Nov. 2, 1899.

    MESSRS. A. C. MCCLURG & CO., Chicago.


    I enclose herewith $2, for which please send me a copy
    of Longfellow’s poetical works. You will oblige me by
    sending the book by return mail, as I wish to use it on
    the evening of the 4th inst.

                                            JAMES WELLS.

Whoever writes a caustic letter makes a mistake; for it will do no
good, even if there seems to be a cause for it, and if the assumed
cause proves to be simply a mistake the writer will be humiliated.


It is sometimes difficult to write a letter of application, because
one must speak of himself and of his ability to fill the position
sought, and to do so without seeming egotistic. If the applicant has
had experience in work similar to that for which he applies, a simple
statement of the fact, the length of time engaged in such work, the
reason for quitting his last position, and the name and address of his
former employer, should form the substance of his letter. If he has had
no experience, he should state what advantages he has had to qualify
himself for the work, and not boast that he could soon and easily learn
to do it.

The following will exemplify the points:

                                124 La Salle St.,
                                   Chicago, Sept. 24, 1899.

    MESSRS. A. G. BAKER & CO.,
                   Kirkwood, Ohio.


    I am informed by a friend, Mr. C. A. Brooks, of your
    village, that you are in want of a book-keeper, and
    I desire to make application for the position. I am
    a young man, but have had several years experience
    in keeping books. I am now in charge of the books of
    Messrs. Jones & Williams, of this city, to whom I
    can refer you for information as to my ability and
    character. I desire to go to the country, and should be
    glad to work for you, if you can pay me $70 per month,
    which is my present salary.

                                 Very respectfully,
                                           T. R. MILLER.

                               Salem, Wis., May 15, 1899.
    107 State Street, Chicago.


    I am informed that your shipping clerk is soon to
    leave, and that the position now held by him will be
    vacant. I desire to apply for the same, but I am sorry
    to state that I have not had any experience in this
    particular line of work; however, I have been a general
    clerk in a village store, and am familiar with simple
    book-keeping, which would probably enable me to learn
    the work of a shipping clerk in a reasonable length of

    In case you should wish to engage me on trial, I would
    gladly assist, without compensation, your present clerk
    until the end of his engagement, which, I understand,
    is about three weeks from date.

    My present employer is Mr. G. W. Webster, of this
    place, and he will doubtless answer any inquiries
    concerning my work that you may address him.

                                       GEO. E. JOHNSON.

Such letters should always contain a stamp for a reply. The stamp is
attached by its corner or by a pin to the head of the letter.

Great precaution should always be taken not to send a letter with
insufficient postage on it; for the additional postage is collected
from the person to whom the letter is sent, and many business men look
upon such neglect as inexcusable, if they do not consider it dishonest,
inasmuch as it compels others to pay what the writer should have known
it was his duty to pay.

An application for a position as teacher in a public school is often
very difficult to write, because it is necessary to say much, and to
say it, in some cases, to men who are not thoroughly familiar with
business principles.

Before giving any forms, some suggestions which experience has taught
may be of great importance. The handwriting should be natural. If one
has a degree, he should not sign his name with it, but state in his
letter that he is a graduate, naming the institution from which he was
graduated. All boasting should be avoided. One should not ask a reply
by return mail, but he might enclose a postal card or a stamp with a
request to be informed when the board meets to consider applications.
One ought not to name as references persons who know nothing about his
work; for although they may, if consulted, endeavor to praise him,
they will show their ignorance of what he has done, and the board will
naturally assume that he has no better references.

As a rule it is not advisable to give testimonials from ministers or
from county superintendents, unless the writers can say that they are
familiar with the teacher’s work, and have visited his school. Very
old testimonials should not be placed before a board. Indeed, it is
doubtful whether any testimonial, unless it comes from a competent
judge, is of value.

If boards would consult one’s references, or seek information from
outside sources, it would be only just to all concerned; but as they
will not often do this, it is wise to send copies of two or three,
generally not more, good testimonials, and to have one or two of the
applicant’s friends write the board in his behalf.

A letter of application, especially if for the position of
superintendent or that of principal, should be full and explicit,
specifying the opportunities the writer has had to prepare himself for
the position, rather than stating that he has done so-and-so, for in
the latter case it might seem like boasting.

Sometimes a short letter, unless circumstances demand a long one, will
be most favorably received by a board. The writer once knew a very
important position to be obtained by a correspondence about as follows
(names of places, dates, etc., are omitted):



    I learn through a friend in your county, that the
    position of superintendent of your school is vacant.
    If the position has not been filled, I desire to make
    application for the same. I am a graduate of ————, and
    have taught three years. I am now principal of the ————
    schools, but desire to teach in your State, as my home
    is there.


A stamp was enclosed for a reply. The secretary of the board at once
wrote asking for references and stating the salary paid. The applicant
replied that he did not wish the position at the salary named, and
thanked the secretary for the trouble he had been given.

Had the applicant written a long letter, setting forth the value of his
services, and urging the board to raise the salary, it is not probable
that a reply would have been received by him. The simple statement that
he did not want the position at the salary named, was evidence to the
board that he considered his services worth more, and, moreover, that
he had confidence that he would command more. The secretary replied
to the last short note, asking for references and at what salary he
would accept the position. The information was given, and in a few days
the applicant was requested to meet the board with the assurance that
the position would be given him if the interview proved satisfactory,
which it did. Afterwards the applicant was informed by the president of
the board that his short business-like letters, written in an almost
illegible but natural hand, obtained for him the place over nearly
one hundred applicants, many of whom were college graduates of long
experience in teaching, and who had basketfuls of testimonials, but not
one of whom had written even a fairly good letter of application.

Many cities and towns have stated public examinations, which applicants
must attend before they can be employed.

The impression of character and of qualification produced by a personal
interview is deemed so important that even minor appointments are
scarcely given to any one not personally known to one of the school
board, or to some one in whose professional judgment they have great

Preliminary inquiries about positions are most profitably made through
acquaintances, who can advise one whether to take any further steps.
One might write as follows:

                            Chicago, Ill., Nov. 3, 1899.

    _My Dear Friend:_

    May I trouble you to ascertain whether there is any
    vacancy in the schools at Elgin, to which I would have
    any prospect of an appointment? You will confer a great
    favor upon me if you will ask the superintendent,
    and let me know soon what he says. You can say to
    him that after I finished the high school course at
    Racine, I taught a term in a district school in Racine
    County, Wis., and was one year in charge of a primary
    department at Woodstock, and that I had charge of the
    grammar department at the latter place last year.

    You know something of the work I have done, and I can
    furnish testimonials from the school officers where I
    have taught.

                              Yours very truly,
                                        EMMA C. BOWEN.

If a favorable answer is received, something like the following form
may be used, which is also a form suitable to make application where
one is already acquainted, and where formal applications are expected.

                       Chicago, Ill., Jan. 10, 1899.

    MR. C. E. RYAN,
          Supt. of Public Schools,
                           Elgin, Ill.

    _Dear Sir:_

    I desire to obtain a position in the schools of your
    city. I enclose a letter from Mr. Henry Jones, a
    director of Woodstock, where I last taught; and I
    refer you to Mrs. Mary Smith, of Elgin. I prefer the
    intermediate work, but would not object to any position
    that I may be able to fill.

    I completed the course in the Racine High School, and
    have taught a little more than two years, first in
    a country school, then in a primary school a year at
    Woodstock, where I afterward had charge of the grammar
    room for a year.

    Please inform me when and by whom candidates are
    examined, as well as what vacancies there are, and be
    kind enough to make any suggestions that you think will
    be helpful to me.

                        Very respectfully,
                               (Miss) EMMA C. BOWEN.




    We remain shackled by timidity till we have learned to
    speak and act with propriety.—_Samuel Johnson._

A man raises his hat when walking with another, not only to his own
acquaintances, but to those persons who bow to his companion, whether
he is acquainted with them or not.

If a man meets a woman in a hotel corridor or hall he should step
aside, allowing her to pass, and raising his hat.

If in a public place a man hands a woman anything she has dropped, he
should raise his hat when offering it to her. A well-bred man raises
his hat after passing the fare of a woman in a car or coach. This does
not mean that he has any desire to become acquainted with her, but it
is his tribute to her sex.

Slight inaccuracies in statements should not be corrected in the
presence of others.

One should give her children, unless married, their Christian names
only, or say “my daughter” or “my son,” in speaking of them to anyone
excepting servants.

Men remove their hats when in elevators in the presence of women.

Men having occasion to pass before women seated in lecture and concert
rooms, and all other places, should “beg pardon,” and pass with their
faces, and not their backs, toward them.

In going up or down stairs, a man precedes a woman or walks by her side.

To indulge in ridicule of another, whether the subject be present or
absent, is to descend below the level of gentlemanly propriety.

A reverence for religious observances and religious opinions is a
distinguishing trait of a refined mind.

Religious topics should be avoided in conversation, except where all
are prepared to concur in a respectful treatment of the subject. In
mixed societies the subject should never be introduced.

Frequent consultation of the watch or time-piece is impolite, either
when at home or abroad. If at home, it appears as if one were tired
of the company and wished them to be gone; if abroad, as if the hours
dragged heavily, and one were calculating how soon he would be released.

It is very unbecoming to exhibit petulance or angry feeling, though it
is indulged in largely in almost every circle. The true gentleman does
not suffer his countenance to be easily ruffled.

The right of privacy is sacred, and should always be respected. It
is exceedingly improper to enter a private room without knocking. No
relation, however intimate, will justify an abrupt intrusion upon a
private apartment. Likewise the trunk, boxes, packets, papers, or
letters of any individual, locked or unlocked, sealed or unsealed,
are sacred. It is ill-mannered even to open a book-case, or to read a
written paper lying open, without permission, expressed or implied.

Members of the same family should never differ with each other in

One should never appear to be thinking of his own personal rights to
the resenting of a little slight, whether real or imaginary.

In small communities where near neighbors, for convenience’s sake,
borrow back and forth, great care should be taken that the practice
does not become a nuisance, as it surely does when it is indulged in
too frequently, and when borrowed articles are not speedily returned
and in good condition. There should be no stinted measures in returning.

Ostentation is snobbish, as is all too great profusion.

To affect not to remember a person is despicable, and reflects only on
the pretender.

Some conceited or ill-bred people imagine they make themselves
important and powerful by being rude and insulting.

One is judged, to a great extent, by the character of his associates.

One should be very careful how he asks for the loan of a book. If
interest is shown in one, its owner will offer it for perusal if
willing to lend it. When reading a borrowed book, one should take the
best of care of it, and return it as soon as possible. No real lady
or gentlemen will leave finger prints upon its pages, or turn down
its leaves in place of a book-mark, or scribble in it with a pencil,
or loan it to a third person without the knowledge and consent of the

A lack of reverence in one in the house of God, implies low parentage,
or a coarse nature that is not subject to refinement.

To whisper and laugh during any public entertainment proclaims one’s
ill-breeding, and invades the rights of others.

One ought never to leave the house after the evening’s entertainment
without bidding the hostess good-night, and acknowledging the pleasure
the evening has afforded him.

The business man has no stock-in-trade that pays him better than a good

It is only those persons and families whose position is not a secure
one, that are afraid to be seen outside their own social circle.

One should never reprove servants or children before strangers.

A true lady will not betray her astonishment at any violation of
conventional rules, least of all will she make it her province to
punish those who may make any such violation.

If one, on meeting another, fails to recall the name, he should frankly
say so.

One should never recall himself to the recollection of a casual
acquaintance without at the same time mentioning his name.

In a flat-house a man should take his hat and coat into the apartment
where he is going to call, and not leave them in the hall on the first

It is very bad taste, even in quite a large party, for young girls to
visit a man at his office.

It is perfectly good form for a mother to invite to a little child’s
party children whose parents she does not know, or who have not yet
called upon her. The invitations go out in the child’s name and to the
child’s friends.

It is extremely rude and ill-bred, when at a boarding-house or hotel
table, to criticise the food that is served. The fact that it is paid
for makes it none the less an evidence of bad manners. People who are
not satisfied where they are boarding should always leave; they have no
right to make others uncomfortable by their lack of good-breeding.

Women of good-breeding do not permit themselves to “overlook” those to
whom courtesies are due.

A man should learn to put his coat on in a public place of
entertainment so that he will not require assistance from the woman who
is with him.

The young woman to whom a seat is offered should take it, unless her
companion is an older woman, when it would be quite proper to extend
the courtesy to her.

It is very bad taste, even for a frolic, for a young girl to assume
boy’s clothes, or get herself up in any way that will tend to make
herself look masculine.

There is no impropriety in giving to those men friends with whom one is
well acquainted, some trifling souvenir at Christmas or Easter, or on

It is customary for a young man to send a young woman only such gifts
as flowers, candy, and books; and as these presents are sent merely
as a slight return for her hospitality and invitations to her house,
etc., it is not necessary for her to send him any gift in return. If,
however, a young woman and man are on intimate enough terms to exchange
presents, she may send him any small article for the desk or toilet;
such as a silver-handled whisk broom, court-plaster case, pen-wiper,
paper-cutter, or books, which are a good present and always acceptable
to any one.

Nothing looks more ill-bred than to see a young man, under his parents’
roof, devoting himself during a whole evening entirely to one young
woman to the ignoring of the others.

A man who is escorting two women in the street should not walk between
them, but on the outside of both near the curb; at the theater or at
any place of amusement or at church, he should sit nearest to the
aisle, at the side of one of them.

Unless there is some good reason why she needs his support, a man
seldom offers his arm to a woman he escorts, even in the evening. A
husband may offer his arm to his wife, of course, and a man may proffer
this help to an invalid or aged person.

A little delicate perfume may be used with propriety, but a heavy
perfume, and one that scents the entire room in which the person who
uses it happens to be, is in very bad form.

In opening a door from the hall to the drawing-room, a man should hold
it while a woman precedes him in entering.

When one’s pardon is asked for some slight inattention, an inclination
of the head and a smile is the best answer.

The words “gentleman friend” and “lady friend” have been so vulgarized
that most well-bred women now say “man friend” or “woman friend,” it
being taken for granted that they number among their friends only
ladies and gentlemen.

Custom never condones liberties, no matter how slight, between young
men and women.

When a woman is visiting, any acquaintance who should call upon her
should also ask for her hostess, and if she is absent leave a card for

It is considered very bad taste for a young girl to address a man with
whom her acquaintance is but slight by his Christian name.

No young man has any right to spend the entire afternoon and evening
every Sunday at one particular house, to the annoyance of an entire
family, who do not like to make him conscious of the fact that they
consider him a bore.

When a young man is paying a visit, and the older members of the family
are in the room, he should, in leaving, bid them good-night first, and
afterward say his farewell to the young girl on whom he has called. It
is in bad taste for her to go any further than the parlor door with him.

Even if a correspondence is of a “purely friendly character,” it should
not exist between a married woman and a young man, or between a married
man and a young woman.

It is not good taste to ask one’s men friends to buy tickets for
charity affairs. They do not like to refuse, and very often, though the
sum required may be small, they cannot afford it.

There is very great harm in young girls meeting young men in
secret; the men will have no respect for the girls, and nothing but
mortification for the girls will be the result.

It is quite proper to thank any public servant, such as a railroad
conductor, for any information he may give, but it is not necessary to
be effusive about it.

It is not in good taste, nor even proper, for young women to go alone
to a hotel to dine with a man.

When a girl is young and pretty, a Platonic friendship is very
difficult to keep up.

When a man friend has driven a woman in town to go to church he should
take her direct to the church and leave her there while he drives where
his carriage and horses are to wait until after the service. Of course
he would walk to church and join her there.

It is not in good taste for different members of a party to go off in
pairs, and spend the evening alone on the seashore.

It is not wise for a young woman and young man living in the same city
to correspond. If meeting each other often they ought to be able to say
all that is necessary.

One has no right whatever to read a postal card addressed to another
without permission.

The very minute the married man begins to tell of his wife’s faults,
the time has come to cut his acquaintance.

It is more than wrong for a young girl to receive visits from a married

In entering any public place a woman should precede a man, but going
down the aisle, the usher, of course, would precede her.

A hostess stands to receive her visitors, but she does not advance to
meet them unless the visitor should be some one quite old or of such
importance that the visit is of great honor. The hostess extends her
hand to the men who call, as well as to the women.

A woman is not supposed to recognize a man who is one of a group
standing in a public place, since a modest girl will not look close
enough at a group of men to recognize an acquaintance.

No matter how well a woman may know a man, it would be in very bad form
to send him an invitation which does not include his wife, unless it
should be at some affair at which only men are to be present.

A man should show as much courtesy to a woman in his employ as he does
to the women he meets in social life.

It is not in good taste to visit at the home of one’s betrothed, unless
a personal invitation is received from his mother.

Two women may attend, with perfect propriety, a place of amusement
without an escort. They should be, however, under such circumstances,
exceptionally quiet in their manners and their dress.

In escorting a young woman home, a man should go up the steps with her,
wait until the door is opened, and, as she enters the house, raise his
hat and say good-night.

If a young girl were very ill, there would be no impropriety in her
mother bringing her betrothed to see her, although, of course, she
would remain in the room during his visit.

It is always proper and courteous for a person in church to share
either prayer-book or hymnal with anyone who may be without either.

There is no impropriety in a woman’s permitting a man friend to assist
her in putting on her over-shoes.

If one approves of the acting or the sentiment of the play, there is no
impropriety in expressing gentle applause, but a loud clapping of the
hands is decidedly vulgar.

One should never prevent people from leaving his house when they
desire. That is not hospitality. It is tyranny; it is taking a mean
advantage of their unwillingness to offend.

If a women lives in a boarding house and has only one room, it would
be very bad taste to receive any man visitor there. Even if it is not
quite so agreeable, they should be received in the public parlor.

When a man and woman approach a hostess together, the hostess should
shake hands with the woman first.

When a man calls on a woman, he shakes hands with her on his arrival;
but, unless he is very intimate in the house, a simple bow is
sufficient when he leaves.

An unmarried woman writing her name in a hotel register should prefix
it with “Miss” in parentheses.

When a man friend has taken a lady to a concert, she should thank him
for his kindness in having given her a pleasant evening.

It is not advisable for a girl to deliberately “cut” any man. If
she wishes to discontinue her acquaintance with a man whom she
cannot respect, it may be done gradually, at first by the coolest of
greetings; then, by a look in the other direction; and in time all
recognition will cease.

If a stranger takes occasion to be polite to one during a street-car
accident, all that is necessary is a polite “thank you.”

When a man who is to escort a girl to an entertainment calls for her at
her own home, it is proper for her to appear with her wraps on, and be
ready to start at once.

If a man is courteous enough to open the door of a store or any public
building for a woman, she should thank him.

If a girl of sixteen goes to an evening affair, her mother should
arrange to have either a servant or a member of the family go after her
to bring her home.

If the hostess opens the door for a man caller, she should precede him
in entering the parlor.

After having taken a meal or having received any other kind of
entertainment at a private house, before leaving a guest should express
his thanks, or, rather his enjoyment, of the same to the hostess. This
courtesy from a young man or girl is very acceptable to elderly ladies.

Queen Victoria has forgiven certain breaches of etiquette made in
ignorance, and left her guest to discover the mistake at another time.
It is a reprehensible host indeed who does otherwise, and so makes a
guest uncomfortable. Etiquette is all wrong and false when it makes one
forget the higher laws of courtesy or hospitality.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 5, repeated word “to” removed from text (cares not to be seen)

Page 7, “introducd” changed to “introduced” (are introduced to each)

Page 15, “BNOWN” changed to “BROWN” (MISS ANNA BROWN)

Page 19, “furture” changed to “future” (one’s future home is)

Page 20, “seen” changed to “seem” (in her power to seem)

Page 32, “amd” changed to “and” (Mr. and Mrs. Charles)

Page 43, “distrub” changed to “disturb” (to disturb a hostess)

Page 48, repeated word “the” removed from text (tables after the

Page 53, repeated word “be” removed from text (should be issued on)

Page 54, “maché” changed to “mâché” (papier mâché)

Page 74, “Britian” changed to “Britain” (Great Britain it is perfectly)

Page 83, “wating” changed to “waiting” (in waiting for the cups)

Page 85, “consumme” changed to “consommé” (bouillon or consommé)

Page 85, “befor” changed to “before” (upon the table before)

Page 96, “intellegent” changed to “intelligent” (an intelligent,
ladylike woman)

Page 98, “noticable” changed to “noticeable” (formality, more

Page 100, “couse” changed to “course” (Of course one would)

Page 104, “other” changed to “others” (to others as ye would)

Page 113, “humam” changed to “human” (of human life, let)

Page 116, “humilated” changed to “humiliated” (writer will be

Page 121, “ean” changed to “can” (who can advise one)

Page 124, “XII” changed to “XI” (CHAPTER XI)

Page 126, “justisy” changed to “justify” (will justify an abrupt)

Page 131, “christian” changed to “Christian” (by his Christian name)

Page 134, “enteres” changed to “enters” (and, as she enters the)

Page 136, “diliberately” changed to “deliberately” (a girl to

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