Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Good Form for All Occasions - A Manual of Manners, Dress and Entertainment for Both Men and Women
Author: Hall, Florence Howe
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Good Form for All Occasions - A Manual of Manners, Dress and Entertainment for Both Men and Women" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



available by Internet Archive (https://archive.org)



Note: Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive. See
      https://archive.org/details/goodformforalloc00halluoft


Transcriber’s note:

      Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).



GOOD FORM FOR ALL OCCASIONS

A Manual of Manners
Dress and Entertainment
for Both Men and Women

by

FLORENCE HOWE HALL

Author of
“Social Usage at Washington”


[Illustration: Publisher’s Logo]



Harper & Brothers Publishers
New York and London
MCMXIV



------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        BOOKS FOR THE HOUSEHOLD

THE YOUNG MOTHER’S HANDBOOK, by MARIANNA WHEELER. 16mo net $1.00

PRINCIPLES OF CORRECT DRESS, by FLORENCE HULL WINTERBURN. 16mo net 1.00

GOOD FORM FOR ALL OCCASIONS, by FLORENCE HOWE HALL net 1.00

NOVEL WAYS OF ENTERTAINING, by FLORENCE HULL WINTERBURN. 16mo net 1.00

COOK BOOK OF LEFT-OVERS, by CLARK and RULON. 16mo net 1.00

SOCIAL USAGES AT WASHINGTON, by FLORENCE HOWE HALL. 16mo net 1.00

HOW TO KEEP HOUSEHOLD ACCOUNTS, by CHARLES WALDO HASKINS. 16mo net 1.00

THE EXPERT MAID SERVANT, by CHRISTINE TERHUNE HERRICK. 16mo net 1.00

HYGIENE FOR MOTHER AND CHILD, by Dr. FRANCIS H. MACCARTHY. Post 8vo net
  1.25

MANNERS AND SOCIAL USAGES. Ill’d. Post 8vo 1.25

THE EXPERT WAITRESS, by ANNE FRANCES SPRINGSTEED. New Edition. 16mo net
  1.00

THE BABY, HIS CARE AND TRAINING, by MARIANNA WHEELER. Revised edition
  16mo net 1.00

HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL, by MARIE MONTAIGNE. Ill’d. net 1.00

                                -------

                      HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Copyright, 1914, by Harper & Brothers
-------
Printed in the United States of America
Published June, 1914



CONTENTS

      CHAP.                                                    PAGE

         I. THE COUNTRY HOUSE                                     1

            Etiquette and Dress for the Week-end
            Visitor—Duties of the Host—The Neglectful and
            Over-zealous Hostess—Bread-and-butter Letters.

        II. AFTERNOON TEAS AND RECEPTIONS FOR THE                18
            DÉBUTANTE—“THÉ DANSANT”

            Dress and Behavior of Guests—Dress and Etiquette
            for the Hostess and Her Assistants—Formal and
            Informal Occasions—Who May Send Flowers.

       III. BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHEONS                             36

            How to Give Them and What to Wear—Etiquette of the
            Buffet Luncheon—Entertaining Distinguished
            Strangers.

        IV. DINNERS FORMAL AND INFORMAL                          52

            Invitations and How to Answer Them—Telephone
            Invitations—Hints for the Young Hostess—Dress for
            Men and for Women—Entering and Leaving the
            Dining-room—Etiquette of the Formal Dinner—When to
            Arrive and When to
            Leave—Dressing-rooms—Dinner-calls.

         V. BRIDESMAIDS’ LUNCHEONS, BACHELOR DINNERS, AND        74
            WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES

            Guests to be Invited—Etiquette and Dress for
            Bridesmaids’ Luncheons—Etiquette and Dress for
            Bachelor Dinners—Things to be Done and Things to
            be Avoided—Wedding Anniversaries—The Right and the
            Wrong Way to Celebrate Them—Form of Invitation.

        VI. HOUSE AND CHURCH WEDDINGS                            95

            Dress for Bride, Bridegroom, Bridesmaids, Ushers,
            and Other Members of the Bridal Party—Dress of
            Guests—Gifts and How to Present Them—Etiquette of
            House and Church Weddings—Wedding Breakfasts and
            Receptions—Entertaining Out-of-town Guests.

       VII. PUBLIC DINNERS AND RECEPTIONS                       135

            Luncheons of Women’s Clubs—Duties of Dinner and
            Reception Committees—Arrangements in Suburban
            Towns—The Courteous and the Discourteous
            Guest—Evening Dress and Demi-toilette.

      VIII. BALLS AND DANCES                                    154

            Dinner and Subscription Dances—Roof-garden
            Dances—Reciprocal Duties of the Chaperon and Her
            Charge—How to Enter and How to Leave a
            Ballroom—Objectionable Styles of Dancing—The Stag
            Line and the Dance Programme—The Hostess and Her
            Assistants—The Host—Introductions at Public and at
            Private Dances—Duties of Floor Committee—Supper
            Etiquette—Dress for Young Girls and Married
            Women—Dress for Men.

        IX. AUTOMOBILE TRIPS                                    175

            The Automobilist as Host—Provision for Comfort of
            Guests—Duties of Guest—Dress and
            Luggage—Automobile Picnics—Entertainment of
            Chauffeur—When a Visit becomes a Visitation.

         X. BRIDGE PARTIES AND EVENING RECEPTIONS               189

            Arrangement of the Card-tables—Playing for
            Prizes—Good and Bad Manners at the Card-table—Why
            Certain People are not Asked—Duties of
            Hostess—Card Parties for Charity—Dress and
            Etiquette of Evening Receptions.

        XI. HOTELS, RESTAURANTS, AND ROOF-GARDENS               200

            How to Entertain a Guest at a Hotel in the City
            and in the Country—Etiquette for the Guest in
            Hotels and Restaurants—Dress for Morning,
            Afternoon, and Evening.

       XII. THEATER, OPERA, AND CONCERT-HALL                    215

            Arrangements for Formal and Informal Theater
            Parties—The Supper—The Bachelor and His Duties as
            Host and as Guest—Dress and Behavior at the Opera,
            Theater, and Concert-hall.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               GOOD FORM
                           FOR ALL OCCASIONS



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               GOOD FORM
                           FOR ALL OCCASIONS



                                   I

                           THE COUNTRY HOUSE

Etiquette and Dress for the Week-end Visitor.—Duties of the Host.—The
Neglectful and the Over-zealous Hostess.—Bread-and-butter Letters.


THE special trunks now readily procurable for week-end visits remind us
not to burden our friends with heavy or excessive luggage. The visitor
may have difficulty in deciding what costumes to carry. Hence a
considerate hostess often mentions in her note of invitation what the
out-of-door amusements are likely to be. If a tennis-court, golf-course,
skating-rink, or toboggan-slide is available, she does well to say so. A
host who lives by the seaside will perhaps take his guests out in a
canoe or a motor-boat or offer them the pleasures of surf-bathing.

If the week-end guest receives no friendly hints about the wardrobe
needed, she must be guided by a knowledge of the tastes and habits of
the household she is to visit. If she is in ignorance of these, she will
take into consideration the age of her hosts and the kind of place in
which they live. Thus, if Doris is invited to stay at Newport or some
other gay and fashionable watering-place, she will need handsomer
costumes and a greater variety of them than would be appropriate at a
quiet spot in the real country. In the same way, if her entertainers are
rich people whose mode of living is very expensive and who invite many
guests, she will require her best clothes.

Three changes of costume should ordinarily suffice—a short, plain skirt,
suitable for walking or out-of-door sports, with body of the same
material or separate shirt-waist either white or of corresponding color,
an evening gown, and one for afternoon or church wear. The last named
will suffice for the evening also if Doris is staying with friends who
live quietly in the country. An old but extremely convenient arrangement
is to have the afternoon costume made with a removable yoke, thus
serving two purposes. The English fashion of wearing a décolleté
toilette for late dinner is popular with the smart set in our large
cities, but is by no means general in America. It is a pretty custom for
young girls, and many follow it, wearing simple frocks of white muslin
or similar material in their own homes. For a visit in the country one
should always take rubbers or stout shoes. For tennis, rubber soles are
necessary, as those of leather tear up the court. While some country
hostesses are very thoughtful about providing extra wraps, a wise guest,
especially if she is inclined to be chilly, will carry a warm coat or
cloak.

An older woman would appear in the evening in a dress cut out somewhat
at the throat, or with a lace yoke or jabot if her health did not permit
the exposure of her neck. She would choose silk or some handsome
material made up in a dressy way, with a train longer or shorter
according to the fashion. Short dresses are much worn at the present
moment. Doris should take a pair of long white gloves for the evening,
as she will need them if there is to be a formal dinner, also a pair of
dress slippers, with stockings to match.

For a week-end visit in summer a young man would carry a pair of
white-flannel trousers, a soft shirt of flannel, silk, Madras, linen, or
other material, and golf or tennis shoes. He would also take for evening
wear a dinner-coat, with trousers and waistcoat to match, a black tie,
patent-leather pumps or low shoes, and a couple of dress-shirts. During
the heat of midsummer great latitude is allowed in the matter of evening
dress. Thus, at the informal weekly dances of the Rumson Country Club,
at Seabright, near New York, hardly a dress-coat is to be seen, the men
all wearing dinner-coats. Many of them substitute a white belt for a
waistcoat, white-duck trousers for the usual black ones, and soft white
shirts or those with narrow plaits for the regulation stiff-bosomed
dress-shirt.

In winter the week-end visitor with out-of-door tastes would take a
sweater and a toboggan-cap for skating or coasting. At either season of
the year he would travel in his business suit, and would wear this to
church should his hosts take him there on Sunday. Formal afternoon dress
(see Chapter VI) is the correct attire in which to appear at church; but
business suits are often worn and are permissible for the week-end
visitor, because he cannot conveniently carry many varieties of costume
in a suit-case.

If the hostess has named a particular train, the visitor should always
take that. Should she be delayed, she should telephone or telegraph
saying when she will arrive. A host living in the country usually sends
a conveyance to the station for his guests or comes to meet them
himself. If the carriage or car is a hired one, the visitor offers to
pay for it, but does not insist upon doing so. Where the trip to the
friend’s house is made in a trolley-car, the guest is seldom allowed to
pay his own fare. Sometimes the latter arrives and there is no one to
meet him. For a man it is usually easy to hire a cab or take a
trolley-car. For a young girl traveling alone the situation may be
awkward, especially if the place is unfamiliar to her. After waiting a
little while for her friends, it is perfectly proper for her to call
them up over the telephone and ask for directions.

It is usual to tell a guest soon after her arrival the hours for meals.
Should this be forgotten and should the lunch or dinner hour be
approaching, Doris may make the necessary inquiries. In a very formal
household she would ask one of the maids. Should one of the latter offer
to unpack Doris’s trunk or suit-case the young girl may accept or not,
as she pleases. There has been some effort made to import from
aristocratic countries the custom of having a valet or maid attend to
this duty and assist the guest in his or her toilette. The good-natured
fun made of these usages by recent writers reminds us that they are
inappropriate in a democratic country. It is true that for certain
styles of costume, such as a dress that fastens in the back, the fair
wearer needs a little assistance. But as a rule the American spirit
makes us prefer to be independent, whether of kings or of lackeys.
Self-reliance is almost indispensable in a land where fortunes are lost
as well as made with such speed and frequency.

A guest should be punctual at all meals and on all occasions. With
regard to breakfast a diversity of customs exists, the family assembling
for the meal at most houses, while many people prefer to take it in
their own rooms. A guest will endeavor to conform to the usage of the
household. If the hostess proposes to have his breakfast sent up, he may
accept the offer, unless he has reason to suppose that this will be
inconvenient. In the evening he will be careful not to keep his hosts up
beyond the hour when they ordinarily retire for the night.

For a week-end visit a guest places his time at the disposal of his
entertainers and does not usually make any engagements elsewhere. Should
it happen, however, that he wishes especially to call on friends in the
neighborhood, he should mention this soon after his arrival, so that the
trip may be arranged for an hour that will not interfere with the plans
of his host. The agreeable guest falls in readily with these. He tries
to have a pleasant time himself and to contribute to the pleasure of
others, even if some of them are tedious people. He will enjoy talking
with the most interesting person present, but will not try to monopolize
the lion of the occasion. If an excursion is proposed to see something
he has seen many times before, or to do a thing he especially dislikes,
he will not say: “Oh, I know that place by heart!” or “What a bore!” but
will make the best of the situation. Should he have any “parlor tricks,”
such as the ability to sing, recite, or tell fortunes, he will be ready
to display these at an opportune moment. A guest, however, should follow
rather than lead. It is the province of the host to make the programme
and arrangements. The visitor must be careful not to behave as if he
thought it was his party!

While, as we have said, he will join in the amusements, he will not
overstep the limits prescribed by good-breeding. It sometimes happens
that a group of young people, carried away by the contagion of high
spirits, will behave like boisterous school-children. The manners of our
day are much less formal than those of an earlier generation, but they
impose of necessity a certain degree of restraint. Our girls and young
men must remember that it is always easy to relapse into the barbarism
from which mankind has emerged by a slow and tedious process. As the
cultivated apple-tree tends always to return to the wild crab, so does
our civilization, if it is not vigilantly guarded, incline to revert to
the savagery of the primitive man. A guest should never feel obliged to
join in anything which he considers wrong. Thus, if it is proposed to
play cards for money he should simply say, “Can’t we arrange another
table? I always play for coffee-beans,” or make some other half-jesting
remark. In a word, while he quietly maintains his own opinions, he
should avoid saying anything in criticism of those who differ with him.

If he thinks it wrong to drink wine or beer, or does not care to do so,
he should place his open hand palm downward against the side of the
glass when the servant offers to fill this. Should it be filled by
mistake the guest need not feel compelled to drink the wine. Among
well-bred people his failure to do so would cause no comment. It is only
very young and inexperienced or extremely timid persons who fancy that
it is necessary to behave like the proverbial sheep blindly following
the leader. A girl who should undertake to smoke a cigarette simply
because those around her were doing so would clearly demonstrate, not
her good manners, but her lack of backbone. In the opinion of most
people there is nothing wicked in the use of tobacco. But the great
majority of Americans consider it in bad taste for women to smoke,
especially in public.

Doris should inquire in good season about the trains and ascertain to
which one it will be convenient to send her. She should never stay
beyond the time for which she was originally invited, unless under
exceptional circumstances. A week-end visit is supposed to terminate on
Monday morning, or a business man may find it necessary to leave on
Sunday evening.

The out-of-town hostess does well to select her guests from those who
enjoy out-door sports or who are fond of the country and its amusements.
Of course, such a choice is not always possible, and in the heat of
midsummer every one likes to have a breath of fresh air and to escape
from the noise and dust of the city streets. For a house-party it is
best to ask persons of more or less congenial tastes, who will therefore
be likely to enjoy the same things. While the affair will be more
successful if some of the guests are already acquainted with one
another, an agreeable stranger may add a pleasant variety. People who
see one another constantly in the city may find it tiresome to meet at a
week-end party.

If neither the hostess nor her deputy goes to meet the guest at the
station, some member of the family should be on hand to welcome the
latter on her arrival at the house. The guest-rooms should be well
aired, made warm in winter and cool in summer. Unless the hostess has
servants who are thoroughly reliable, she should visit these apartments
before the arrival of her friends and make sure that all is in order,
with everything provided for the comfort of her guests. There should be
plenty of bed-clothes suitable for the time of year, a supply of
stationery and sewing-materials, a few good books, a well-lighted
dressing-table, some bureau and closet space, and ample washing
facilities. At night the visitor should always find a pitcher or glass
of drinking-water in her room and a few crackers.

As we have already said, the hostess arranges the programme for the
visit. She should not, however, insist too strenuously on its strict
fulfilment. The entertainment must be fitted to the guests; they should
not be expected to fit exactly into it, as if they were so many pegs in
a cribbage-board. The plans must be elastic; a wide margin should be
left for the tastes and preferences of different individuals. The
hostess does well to think out beforehand, perhaps to write down on
paper, a provisional programme for each day. But if every one is happy
playing tennis, she will not drag the players out in a motor-car simply
because her schedule says, “Tuesday, 5 o’clock, all ride in automobile”!

Her social experience has probably shown her that two people may talk so
long together as to become utterly bored. With an anxious eye she sees
that Jack Quarterback has been talking for half an hour to Ida Vergil,
the clever young Latinist from Vassar. She bears down upon them,
dragging reluctant in her wake Thomas Pundit, a prize-winner from the
verdant shades of Princeton. Now in breaking up this particular
tête-à-tête, the châtelaine is making the mistake of her life. Ida has
been listening with the deepest interest to Jack’s story of how he stood
X—— on his head and made the famous end-run that saved the day for Yale.
At this moment her indifference to all the classic authors is supreme.
She greets Pundit as coldly as if he were indeed a Latin lexicon instead
of a fairly good-looking young man. In this magical hour the glitter of
his prizes is as nothing to her.

The over-zealous hostess perceives she has made a mistake, though she
played the game according to her rules. If either party had shown signs
of distress, if Ida had yawned behind her fan or Jack had cast furtive
glances around the room indicating a desire to escape, Mrs. Anxious
would have been justified in her manœuver. A certain hostess who lived
not a hundred miles from the Hub used to irritate her guests very much
by breaking up the conversation at the expiration of what she considered
the time-limit. She entertained so charmingly in other respects that
people enjoyed going to her house. But they disliked very much her habit
of interrupting a talk. Most persons prefer to direct their own affairs.
The guiding hand of the hostess should be felt rather than seen.

While her guests may rebel at the social maternalism which hampers their
freedom of action, they prefer Mrs. Anxious to the inert or cold and
formal house-mistress who seems quite indifferent to their welfare. The
neglectful hostess may be lazy or inexperienced, or she may lack the
true spirit of hospitality. In the first case her guests will forgive
her if she is trying to do her best. Since laziness is a form of
selfishness, the woman who takes no pains to provide entertainment for
her friends is seldom popular. The worst offender, however, is the
hostess who is so much occupied with her own amusements that she has
neither time nor thought to bestow on other people. The question
naturally arises in their minds, “Why did she invite us? Was it simply
to show us her finely appointed household?”

During the morning hours the lady of the house may reasonably ask to be
excused. She may be in the habit of breakfasting in her room, while
later letters and household cares will occupy her time. If she does not
expect to appear until the luncheon-hour, however, she should inquire
overnight whether there is anything she can do for her guests in the
morning. Although these will usually occupy themselves and amuse one
another in the forenoon, their entertainer will have some plans probably
for the afternoon and almost certainly for the evening. It is wise to
arrange the night before, or betimes in the morning, the programme for
the day, so that the guests will know what to expect. If these are all
young people and the hostess an older woman, she will hardly take part
in the more active out-of-door amusements. Where there is neither son
nor daughter of the house, as deputy in the sports, it often happens
that a young friend acts for the lady of the house.

The hostess should, if possible, be on hand to receive the adieux of the
departing guests. If these are to leave in the morning and forget to
inquire overnight about the train service, the hostess may with perfect
propriety ask at what time they would like to start. She should do so in
a tactful way, and might say, for instance: “At what hour are you
obliged to be in New York, Miss Y——? I should like to let the chauffeur
know to-night, so that he may be ready in good season to take you to the
train.”

A “bread-and-butter letter” thanking the lady of the house for her
hospitality should be written within a few days of the visit. If the
guest is a young girl she should write very promptly, in order to let
her hostess know of her safe arrival at her destination. Such a note
need not be long, but it should show a cordial appreciation of the
kindness received.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   II

     AFTERNOON TEAS AND RECEPTIONS FOR THE DÉBUTANTE—“THÉ DANSANT”

Dress and Behavior of Guests—Dress and Etiquette for the Hostess and Her
Assistants—Formal and Informal Occasions—Who May Send Flowers.


AFTERNOON teas maintain their popularity because they present the
simplest and easiest way of receiving one’s circle of friends and
acquaintances. Like the magic cloak of fable, they expand or shrink to
suit the requirements and resources of every hostess, whether she be
rich or in modest circumstances, whether she wishes to ask several
hundred persons to a stately city mansion or half a dozen friends to a
quiet country villa. For presenting a young girl to society they are
especially convenient. All the old family friends will appreciate the
opportunity of seeing the débutante and welcoming her to her new sphere,
without going to the trouble and expense of buying a new ball-dress and
hiring a carriage. To many elderly people, evening dances, with the late
hours, indigestible suppers, and fatigue necessarily involved, are very
distasteful.

The guest can judge of the nature of the afternoon occasion by the style
of the invitation. For a large and formal reception, it is usual to send
out some little time in advance engraved cards of generous size. The
name of the débutante is placed beneath that of her mother, followed by
the statement that they will be at home on such and such a day and hour,
at number so-and-so in a certain street. For a smaller and less
pretentious occasion, or for a series of teas, the hostess uses her own
visiting-cards, on which her daughter’s name may also be engraved. The
day or days and hours are sometimes written in and sometimes engraved.

Neither of these forms of invitation requires any answer, except that
those who are unable to attend the affair send a visiting-card in time
to reach the house the same day or the day after. If there are two
hostesses (the débutante and her mother, for instance), a lady should
send two cards. A gentleman sometimes sends three, the third being
intended for the master of the house. No comments should be written on
these. If one desires to express especial regret to a hostess whom one
knows fairly well, a note may accompany the visiting-card.

The question is sometimes asked by correspondents, “Is it obligatory to
attend a series of teas or receptions to which an invitation has been
received?” Courtesy demands that we shall, if possible, go to one of the
occasions. Only an intimate friend or a person especially invited would
attend all of them. Should one be unable to go, it is not necessary to
send cards of acknowledgment until the last of the afternoons. Persons
who are in deep mourning, or who are prevented by some other reason from
accepting the invitation, sometimes send their cards soon after it is
received and so signify their inability to be present.

The proper dress for guests at an afternoon tea or reception is street
or reception costume. The latter, according to present fashion, consists
of silk, brocade, velvet, or other handsome material if the wearer is a
married woman or a single one who is no longer in her first youth. It
should not be very light in color nor very showy if it is to be worn in
a public conveyance. The woman who appears in a very handsome toilette
should take a carriage, since it is in bad taste to make oneself
conspicuous in train or trolley-car. Or she may cover up her dress with
a long outer garment—called “Cache-misère” by the French. A young girl
eschews brocades and other rich fabrics. Her reception costume may be of
woolen or silken stuff, but it should preserve the simplicity of style
which is at once appropriate and becoming to young people. White gloves
are demanded by the present fashion, although some ladies wear black
ones, while the shortness of the skirts makes dainty footgear very
desirable. It is offending against good taste as well as against common
sense, however, to walk through the streets in the wintry season clad in
slippers so thin and stockings so transparent that they make the
beholder shiver. They look as much out-of-place as heavy furs in the
heat of summer.

For teas in the country greater informality is permissible, some young
and pretty women appearing in golfing or skating costume, with red
sweater and cap to match. Such a dress is not to be recommended for
general wear, however, few persons having the air and distinction
necessary to carry it off.

The conventional costume for men at an afternoon reception is “formal
afternoon dress”—_i.e._, black cutaway or frock-coat, black or fancy
waistcoat, dark, striped trousers, patent-leather shoes, and an Ascot or
four-in-hand tie. A dark-gray cutaway suit (coat, waistcoat, and
trousers all being of the same material) may also be worn. It must be
confessed, however, that men now appear in a diversity of costumes on
these occasions. At tea-dances they dress as they find convenient.

The lady of the house wears a gown of silk, satin, velvet, or other
handsome material made with a train, and either high or somewhat cut out
in the neck. Bare throats are much in vogue at the present moment, but
it is thought in better taste to reserve the full décolleté dress for
late dinner and evening wear. Some hostesses put on gloves for a formal
reception, others do not. The ladies who pour tea or assist in receiving
the guests arrive early and appear in a costume similar to that of the
hostess. They usually remove their hats, although the older women
sometimes prefer to keep them on. A white frock of a thin, transparent
material, made simply and with little trimming, is the prettiest costume
for the débutante. According to the present fashion this is often cut
almost as low in the neck as an evening dress. The young friends who act
as her assistants wear similar gowns of some light color. If they choose
silken fabrics, these should be of light weight.

On arriving, the visitor should leave her cards on the hall-table,
unless the person opening the door carries a salver for them. At a large
tea there is usually a dressing-room, where the guest may leave her
outer wraps, with the exception of her hat. This she always retains.
When she reaches the door of the drawing-room, a man-servant may ask her
name for the purpose of announcing it to the hostess. At a large
reception, where many people may be present whom the lady of the house
knows very slightly, such a reminder is very convenient. In a small
country place or suburban town, where all are acquainted, it would
obviously be out of place.

If a guest hears her own name bawled out in stentorian tones, it reminds
her that her first duty on entering the drawing-room is to find the
hostess and shake hands with her. While the present tango craze lasts
this will sometimes be difficult. With old and young spinning about the
room like so many dancing dervishes, the visitor must thread her way
warily between the couples, lest she be run down as by a motor-car. In
order to prevent such a catastrophe, the New York hostess who is giving
a tea-dance receives her guests in the tea-room; or if she does so in
the drawing-room she arranges to have the end where she stands kept
clear of dancers.

On the left of the hostess stands the débutante, who is presented to the
women guests by her mother, the men being introduced to her. There may
be assistant hostesses in the receiving-line, or they may be scattered
about the rooms doing the honors of the house. The visitor would
probably like to have a little chat with the lady of the house before
passing on, especially if she knows few persons in the room. If she
arrives at the crowded hour when a stream of people are entering, she
must only delay for a moment. It is usually possible by watching one’s
chance to return later when the crowd has entered the dining-room and
the hostesses have a little leisure to chat with those who really wish
to see them. A courteous person is careful to pay due attention to the
lady of the house and to have some talk with her should opportunity
offer. If the guest finds any acquaintances, she will enjoy the
occasion; if she does not, she may agree with the masculine verdict that
“Teas are a bore.”

It is the pleasant province of the assistant hostesses—usually young
friends of the daughter of the house—to look after the welfare of the
guests, especially of those who appear to be strangers. The
conversation, it is true, is brief and perfunctory. It is limited
usually to an invitation to go into the dining-room, the visitor
mumbling an acceptance and moving in the direction indicated. To be thus
made welcome, however, by a young girl of gracious manners gives a
personal touch of hospitality that is very agreeable. The assistant
hostesses address in this way persons whom they do not know, as well as
friends and acquaintances.

Arrived at that Mecca of afternoon teas, the dining-room, one does not
on a formal occasion remove one’s gloves, albeit it seems rather a
foolish fashion to hold sandwiches with fingers clad in white kid. Here
the young girls who assist in waiting upon the guests have the
advantage, as they may remove their gloves if they please. The
dining-room is the center of attraction on these occasions, not only on
account of the refreshments, but because it usually seems brighter and
gayer than the other apartments, unless dancing is going on elsewhere.
The guests should resist the temptation to linger there, however, as the
room is apt to grow hot and overcrowded. Since there is not usually room
for all at the same time, evidently one should take one’s turn.

It is not necessary to stay long at an afternoon tea. During the height
of the season in a large city, many of these affairs take place on the
same afternoon, the guests going from one to another. It suffices to
remain from a quarter to a half hour. At a small and friendly “tea” or
at a house where one feels much at home, people stay longer if they are
amused. One should take leave of the hostess, unless she is so
surrounded with people as to make this difficult.

At a large reception, the coming and going of a constant stream of
guests makes it necessary for the lady of the house to remain in her
place or very near it throughout the afternoon. She usually stands in
the drawing-room near enough to the entrance to be readily accessible,
and yet far enough away to prevent the blocking of the doorway. A crowd
would be apt to form there if the guests stopped at once to speak to the
hostess. She should shake hands cordially with all. The débutante does
the same, although she may, if she prefer, simply bow or courtesy to the
gentlemen. She remains beside her mother throughout the afternoon, or
certainly until all the guests have arrived. At a small tea the hostess
feels at liberty to move about more freely. She may even enter the
dining-room late in the afternoon, although she must be careful to
return to her position should there be late-comers.

For a large and formal occasion in the city, a carpet for the sidewalk
is provided, and usually an awning. A man is stationed at the curbstone
to open the doors of the carriages and to give checks to the guests and
the drivers or chauffeurs. A servant, usually a man, stands at the front
door, opening it as soon as a guest appears. One or more maids are in
the dressing-room ready to assist the ladies. If a great many guests are
expected, there are checks for the coats. We have already said that a
man-servant should be stationed just outside the door of the
drawing-room, if the names are to be announced. In the dining-room two
or more caterer’s assistants or expert waitresses will be needed to wait
upon the guests.

The pouring of the tea is such a characteristic and pleasant feature of
these occasions that it is seen often, although not always, at large and
formal receptions. For smaller affairs the tea-table is indispensable.
An assistant hostess usually presides at each end of the table, one
pouring coffee, chocolate, or bouillon, the other tea. In summer cool
beverages, such as lemonade, fruit-punch, or wine-cup, may be used; but
where older people are present, tea, either iced or hot, is almost
indispensable. Whatever the season of the year, if the day is cold and
wet a warm drink should be provided. Sandwiches of many kinds, little
cakes, bonbons, and salted nuts are the usual refreshments, to which
ices are often added, and occasionally salads and oysters. The latter
are more appropriate for a reception to which men are asked than to a
tea.

The young friends of the débutante should keep a watchful eye on the
guests to see that all are served. They themselves often act as amateur
waitresses. It is very charming to see a young and pretty girl seated
behind the tea-urn. Candor compels us to admit, however, that the
quality of the beverage is more likely to be satisfactory when a person
of some experience officiates. We do not forget that fair and blooming
Hebe was the cup-bearer of the gods, and we are delighted to have her
modern representative serve in that capacity. But why, oh why, was she
removed to make room for Ganymede? In the absence of precise
information, it is our opinion that she attempted not only to pour out,
but to concoct, the nectar of Mount Olympus. Being young and giddy, she
presumably gave honey to some gouty old deity to whom all sweets were
forbidden, hence lost her position.

It is not a very difficult thing to make a good cup of tea, but it needs
a little practice and undivided attention. Since most persons now like
the beverage very weak, there should be a large supply of hot water, and
this should be frequently replenished. Little wire contrivances can be
purchased to take the place of the silver tea-ball; or a number of small
bags may be made by tying up a few spoonfuls of the dry leaves in a
piece of cheese-cloth. Boiling water is poured over the tea, or the
latter is immersed for a moment in a cup which has just been filled with
hot water. It should be withdrawn very quickly, in order to avoid the
unpleasant and unwholesome taste produced by allowing the leaves to
steep in the hot fluid.

For large and formal receptions, music of a rather subdued character is
sometimes provided. A stringed orchestra of three or four pieces may be
stationed in a convenient nook or corner, partially screened from view
by tall plants in pots or other variety of greenery. This convention
makes one smile, because the stout German musicians are plainly visible
among the foliage, their spectacled faces and rotund figures contrasting
curiously with the sylvan groves in which they are immured. Doubtless
the arrangement conduces to their comfort, however, and protects them
from the careless feet of passers-by. If a costumed band is employed, it
is placed where it can be seen and admired. If there is to be dancing,
the music is of a louder and more pronounced character. According to the
fashion of the moment, there is such a beating of drums as would delight
the heart of the simple savage in his forest wilds.

The floral decorations may be few and simple or elaborate and profuse,
as the taste and means of the hostess dictate. At a reception for a
débutante, the drawing-rooms may be filled to overflowing with bouquets
and cut flowers sent by friends and admirers. It is now the fashion to
greet the young girl in this charming way, strewing her path with
fragrant blossoms, figuratively speaking. Many of these come, doubtless,
from the family connections, but any friend or acquaintance is at
liberty to send flowers in moderation. Obviously, it would not be in
good taste for a young man who was only slightly acquainted with the
débutante to order a very large and expensive bouquet for her coming-out
reception. In a large city it is possible to engage the services of a
florist for an hour or two, in order to arrange the floral gifts quickly
and to the best advantage. Otherwise the family may be overwhelmed by
the sudden avalanche of sweet blossoms, and the supply of vases
available may give out early in the day.

For a formal reception in winter artificial light is ordinarily used,
the shutters being closed or the shades drawn down. At an informal tea
it is pleasant to have the daylight as long as it lasts; but one should
turn on the electricity or the gas before the rooms begin to grow dim
and gloomy. As the season advances and the days become longer, most
people find it refreshing to let in the sunlight.

For a small and informal tea it suffices to have two maid-servants in
attendance. The waitress removes the cups and spoons as soon as they
have been used, brings in fresh supplies, and assists in passing tea and
cake to the guests. The other woman opens the door, washes the
tea-things in the butler’s pantry, and helps wherever she is needed. At
a studio or an apartment house in the city, or in a quiet village in the
country, the hostess and her friends sometimes attend to all these
duties themselves. The dish-washing must, of course, be conducted in a
separate room, or in case of necessity it may take place behind a
screen. The young girls slip on big aprons for this task and make merry
over it. Tea-biscuits, little fancy cakes, and bonbons are the
refreshments usually provided. Sandwiches are very popular, but they are
rather troublesome to make and expensive to buy because of the labor
involved. A “curate’s assistant” is a convenient adjunct for a small
tea. Cake, buns, muffins, and buttered toast may be passed on this
little three-storied stand.

A reception for a débutante is often followed by a dinner or a supper
for the young friends who have assisted her. Young men may be asked to
this, and there will perhaps be an informal dance afterward. A supper is
found by experience to be better than a dinner, because the consumption
of sandwiches and other viands at the tea takes the edge off every one’s
appetite.

It must be said that the _thé dansant_ has taken the place of the
ordinary afternoon tea to a considerable extent. Alas for the elderly
dowagers who found the latter so enjoyable! There is no room for them at
the dancing-tea, and they are not invited because they would be sure to
come if they were! These affairs are held at Ladies’ Clubs or at private
houses. A number of young girls come without their hats and act as
hostess’s assistants. They mingle with the guests and help in
introducing partners to the young women. As has been said elsewhere in
this chapter, the hostess usually receives in the tea-room on these
occasions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  III

                        BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHEONS

How to Give Them and What to Wear—Etiquette of the Buffet
Luncheon—Entertaining Distinguished Strangers.


IN the days of our grandmothers it was the custom in this country to
dine in the middle of the day or in the early afternoon. Children then,
as now, carried bread-and-butter, cookies, or some light refreshment to
school. The members of the family who remained at home either ate
nothing between breakfast and dinner or took a light lunch if the
interval were very long. It must be remembered that the old-fashioned
heavy American breakfast stayed the pangs of hunger for a considerable
period of time. We are shocked in these days at the idea of eating
heartily in the early morning. We must not forget that in the middle of
the last century the light evening tea or supper, as it was called, was
much less satisfying than our modern late dinner. Hence every one was
quite ready and hungry for breakfast.

Luncheon as a formal meal was then almost unknown in America. People who
wished to entertain friends early in the day, and who were familiar with
English customs, occasionally gave a breakfast. With the adoption of the
late dinner the evolution of luncheon as a midday repast naturally
followed. Lunch-parties have long been extremely popular in this
country. They have completely overshadowed their older sister, the
“breakfast,” so that the latter term is not often applied to midday
entertainments, except under certain circumstances. Thus we speak of the
collation served at a morning wedding as a “breakfast,” and the word is
also used to describe club festivities. The lunch-party being usually a
ladies’ affair, it is sometimes said that the presence of men changes
the function to a breakfast. For the rest, the two forms of
entertainment are very much alike save that the earlier meal, in order
to deserve its name, should take place not later than twelve or soon
after, and should be simpler and less formal in its appointments than
the later one. Thus, plain linen napery would be more appropriate than a
cloth trimmed with lace. A breakfast usually begins with fruit, and
includes a course of eggs served in some form. Otherwise the bill of
fare is very much like that of a lunch, save that it is shorter, and
ices and wines are not served except at large and formal functions.

Occasionally some enterprising hostess invites a few friends to a
breakfast that really deserves its name, the hour being nine or
half-past nine o’clock. Travelers of distinction whose time is much
occupied may still be open to engagements in the early morning. A meal
of this sort must necessarily be brief and informal. Oranges, melons, or
whatever fruit is in season, cereal with cream, eggs and bacon or
omelette, broiled chicken, toast or muffins with orange marmalade or
some other kind of jam would make a good menu. Indeed, the chicken could
be omitted where only one or two guests were expected. The lady of the
house should preside over the tea and coffee equipage, thus giving the
personal touch of hospitality which is not possible at a more
ceremonious meal. Chocolate also may be served. Breakfast plates of good
size should be used, and in winter these should be warmed for the hot
course or courses.

The hostess may wear a pretty morning gown or street dress (with the
exception of the hat), if she expects to go out after breakfast. The
guests leave soon after the meal is over. The women wear a simple street
costume; or, if they are about to take part in some sport, they may
appear in tennis, shooting, or other special dress. They do not remove
their hats. There was an attempt made recently in New York to introduce
the dancing-breakfast, the guests leaving the table and executing the
hesitation waltz or the one-step between the courses. The experiment
does not seem likely to be repeated.

Luncheon is, in theory at least, always an informal meal. Hence the
invitations are usually conveyed in the form of a friendly note or given
over the telephone. Some hostesses use a partly engraved card for their
invitations to luncheon, filling in the date, hour, and name of guest.
For a club or similar function the invitations are usually engraved. The
guests may be few or many, as the hostess pleases. She must take into
consideration, however, the size of her dining-table and of her rooms.
There must be space enough for the attendants to pass around the former
without crowding the guests.

The young and inexperienced house-mistress may need a word of caution
about her china and glass. Unless she wishes to invest in new dishes,
she should take an inventory of them before issuing her invitations. It
is awkward to ask eight guests and then find your best dessert-plates
are a half-dozen set. While plates, forks, etc., may be washed, and so
be used a second time at the same meal, it is better to have enough on
hand for the entire luncheon. Washing delays the service, a thing now
considered very undesirable. For the woman who possesses a handsome
dining-table it is customary to use a centerpiece and place doilies,
thus showing a portion of the polished wood. A white linen table-cloth
is always in good style, however, no matter what the fad of the moment
may be.

The centerpieces for the bare table now come of generous size, being
virtually miniature lunch-cloths. Some are composed entirely of lace,
and some have a border of that material. The accompanying place doilies
should have a pad or a piece of canton flannel beneath them, to protect
the table from the heat of the dishes. A vase, rose-bowl, or loving-cup
filled with flowers is placed in the middle of the table. If this is set
on a silver salver it adds to the decorative effect. Two or four smaller
vases of corresponding shape and material may be placed in such a way as
to form a hollow square around the central one, standing at some
distance from it. A handsome dish of fruit makes an effective
centerpiece, or two dishes may form part of the decorative scheme, one
being placed on either side of the table. If artificial light is to be
used, two candelabra or four single candlesticks may be set in the
spaces between the vases. The shades of these should correspond in color
with the flowers. Where there is good daylight, however, it is in the
opinion of the writer greatly to be preferred.

Little dishes of olives, radishes, celery—_hors d’œuvres_, as they are
called—small fancy cakes, bonbons, and fruit, either fresh or dried, add
to the decorative effect. A salt-cellar and pepper-pot may be put at
each place, at each corner of the table, or on the edge of the
centerpiece or lunch-cloth, where it is sufficiently large to bring them
within easy reach. A bread-and-butter plate, with miniature silver
knife, is provided for each person. It should stand at the left, where
two or three silver forks—as many as will be needed before the sweet
course—are also placed. At the right there should be a goblet or
tumbler, a napkin with a roll or piece of bread folded in it, and one or
more knives as occasion may require. If the bones are left in the fish,
a silver knife should be provided for it, and one is sometimes put on
for the salad. Since at luncheon soup is eaten out of cups with two
handles instead of from plates, a dessert-spoon or large teaspoon is set
at the right or at the top of each place. If there is grape-fruit, a
fruit-spoon or teaspoon will also be needed. One finger-roll, or two
rolls if they are very small, may be put in each bread-and-butter plate,
instead of in the napkin.

The serving of wine at luncheon is rapidly going out of fashion. A
hostess belonging to the older generation sometimes offers her guests
Rhine wine—a light, white wine—or, if there are men present, sherry or
claret. In this case a wine-glass is set beside the water-goblet at the
right of each place, and a decanter is placed on the sideboard.
Wine-cup, fruit-punch, and similar beverages are served from a glass
pitcher, lemonade cups or small tumblers being substituted for
wine-glasses. Slender, narrow tumblers are also used for Apollinaris and
other effervescent waters, which are often served instead of wine. At a
formal lunch the service is all from the side-table, no dishes being set
on the dinner-table with the exception of the ornamental ones mentioned
above. At an informal luncheon or dinner, the carving may be done by the
head of the house, in accordance with the pleasant old custom. Many
people prefer this method, thinking it shows more hospitality than the
service _à la Russe_.

An experienced waitress or butler can attend to the wants of six
persons; but for a formal lunch-party it is usual to have the assistance
of a second maid or man when half a dozen or more are present. In houses
where there is much entertaining, the parlor-maid or chambermaid is
expected to help the butler or waitress whenever the number of guests
makes this desirable. In all large cities and in suburban towns of good
size it is easy to hire a cook or a waitress for the day. The correct
dress for the latter is a plain black-stuff dress, white apron with
bretelles, a plain linen collar and cuffs. To this a little white cap is
added, unless the maid objects to wearing it on the ground that it is
too much like a livery. In a free and democratic country no man or woman
should be obliged to wear the latter. That it is a badge of servitude,
Thackeray long ago demonstrated in his inimitable manner. Where a butler
is employed he wears morning costume at luncheon—that is to say, black
coat and waistcoat, dark trousers, and black necktie.

The hostess should make out her bill of fare in good season, as some of
the dishes—the soup, for instance—will need to be cooked on the day
preceding the luncheon. A bride may be tempted by the alluring
advertisements bidding her to “add hot water and serve.” The older
matron knows that the stock prepared at home from fresh meat makes soup
that is much superior to the ready-made article. In a large city one can
procure many excellent dishes at the confectioner’s and pastry-cook’s.
For a large buffet luncheon, as for a ball supper, the hostess should
issue her order to some reliable firm of caterers. For a lunch-party of
smaller size, she should endeavor to have the dishes cooked in her own
kitchen. Almost every one now prefers home to hotel cooking, if the
former is all that it should be. We should advise the young hostess,
therefore, if she or her maid has a fair understanding of the culinary
art, to have the main staples of her bill of fare prepared at home.
Certain articles it is usual to order from the caterer, such as
patty-shells and ices. Home-made ice-cream composed of real cream is the
best of all, but it takes time and trouble to prepare. It is well to
test the excellence of a recipe in the privacy of the family before
offering it to guests.

The bill of fare for a luncheon is usually briefer now than formerly,
the emphasis being laid on the quality of the food rather than on the
quantity. Fruit, soup, fish, chicken or chops, salad, a sweet course,
and coffee make a menu that is amply sufficient for most people. It may
be extended by the addition of an entrée—sweetbreads creamed or
mushrooms, perhaps—between the fish and the meat course. The fish may be
omitted, or it may “suffer a sea-change” and become oyster soup. A
delicious bill of fare recently offered at a lunch for six ladies
consisted of grape-fruit, oyster soup, fricasseed chicken served with
sweet potatoes and string-beans, lettuce salad, brandied peaches
surrounded with whipped cream, coffee, little cakes, and candies. The
bill of fare may be varied in a great many ways, and lengthened or
shortened to suit the tastes and circumstances of the hostess and the
season of the year. A lady entertaining two or three friends at lunch
very informally could offer them simply two or three courses with coffee
or chocolate. These would be soup, chicken or some other form of meat
with vegetables, and a sweet dish. When the weather becomes warm in the
spring, the soup would be replaced by salad served after the meat.

In summer cold dishes are popular, but it is always well to have one or
more hot courses. Certain old-fashioned hostesses still serve tea at
luncheon, pouring it out themselves, and perhaps making it at the table.
The prevalence of the afternoon tea-drinking habit has resulted in
banishing the “cup that cheers but does not inebriate” from the noonday
meal in many houses.

The hostess wears a pretty house gown or street dress, as she prefers.
She will choose the latter if she is going out as soon as her friends
leave. She does not, however, wear a hat. The guests come in street or
reception costume, brocades being much worn at the present time by older
women. They are invited to leave their outer wraps in the hall, the
reception-room on the ground floor, or up-stairs, as the hostess may
find most convenient. They keep on hat and gloves, however, the latter
being removed when they sit down at the table. These may be turned back
at the wrist should it be inconvenient to take them off altogether.

Guests should arrive at the hour named or within five minutes afterward.
It is usual to wait a quarter of an hour for a late-comer. To delay
longer might interfere with the engagements of the other guests, besides
spoiling the food. If the hostess has inefficient servants or only one
maid, she may find it necessary to excuse herself in order to inspect
the arrangements of the table at the last moment. In this case it is
well to have a friend who will take the place of the hostess during her
brief absence.

The luncheon is announced in the same way as dinner (see Chapter IV).
The entrance to the dining-room is informal, the hostess leading the
way, taking with her, perhaps, the oldest lady or the guest of honor.
The others follow without special order, save that married women precede
young girls. If there are men present they come last. Usually a relative
or familiar friend of the hostess takes the foot of the table opposite
the latter. The guest of honor sits at the right of the lady of the
house; the other places of distinction are at her left and at the right
and left of the assistant hostess. Unless the occasion is a very formal
one, however, a hostess will pay more attention to seating her guests
beside congenial neighbors than to arranging them with strict regard to
precedence. It is now usual to serve coffee in the drawing-room at the
conclusion of the luncheon in order to avoid the fatigue of sitting too
long at table.

The guests depart soon after the conclusion of the meal, as the hostess
may have other engagements to fulfil. In New York the whole lunch-party
may vanish in ten or fifteen minutes. If the ladies are not in haste or
are having a very pleasant time, they remain longer. In the country they
would be very apt to do so. At a formal luncheon the guest of honor
should be the first to take leave. A lady who has some pressing
engagement may excuse herself without waiting for the former.

A buffet luncheon is served from the sideboard or from the dining-table,
the guests sitting about the room. It is a convenient form of
entertainment where many people are to be provided for, or where it is
uncertain how many will be present. The bill of fare should consist for
the most part of articles that do not require cutting up, since it is
difficult to manage this with a plate resting upon one’s knees.
Sandwiches, salads, oysters, croquettes, and bouillon are all
appropriate, with coffee, ices, cake, and bonbons. At a simpler
luncheon, jellies or other sweet dishes may be substituted for the ices.
Terrapin, cold salmon, and other expensive dainties may be added to the
bill of fare if the host desires. If only a small number of persons are
present, so that all can be seated at the same time, guests have
everything passed to them by the servants in attendance. The fashion of
the moment is to use little squares of soft, embroidered linen for
luncheon; but these do not afford enough protection for the dress where
one eats from the lap, and larger napkins are to be preferred for this
purpose at a buffet lunch. Where no servants are present the lady of the
house, assisted by one or two friends, waits on the guests. It is less
formal, however, when the hostess asks all to help themselves. If there
are men present they wait upon the ladies. This method of service is apt
to be extravagant, however, since the amateur waiters often give
portions that are unduly large. It is better to have some one possessed
of knowledge and experience to help to the various dishes at the table,
the gentlemen then passing the plates to the ladies.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   IV

                      DINNERS FORMAL AND INFORMAL

Invitations and How to Answer Them—Telephone Invitations—Hints for the
Young Hostess—Dress for Men and for Women—Entering and Leaving the
Dining-room—Etiquette of the Formal Dinner—When to Arrive and When to
Leave—Dressing-rooms—Dinner-calls.


AN engraved card is now used for the invitations to a formal dinner,
spaces being left blank for the day, hour, and name of guest, as for
instance:

                     _Mr. and Mrs. George Hazleton
                        request the pleasure of
                      Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Allen’s
                           company at dinner
             on Thursday, April the ninth, at eight o’clock
                      Thirty-three Hamilton Place_

The invitations are given in the name of husband and wife. A widow
living with a grown-up son would add his name, as a widower would that
of a daughter in society.

Dinner invitations may be written in the third person, or for an
informal occasion in the first. Small sheets of perfectly plain white
note-paper of the best quality, with envelopes to match, are always good
form. In a democratic country crests are in questionable taste, although
some persons use them, embossed in white. The address is often engraved
in small and simple lettering at the top of the page.

In the gay season in a large city, invitations to a formal dinner are
sent out two weeks or more beforehand. In Washington the guests are
sometimes invited a month in advance. For an informal occasion a week or
less suffices. Invitations by telephone are now extremely popular, but
they have some decided disadvantages. The person invited, being suddenly
held up at the point of a gun, as it were, is likely to forget some
other engagement for the same day and hour, or she may feel constrained
to accept when she would prefer to decline. As she has no written record
of the invitation, it may slip her memory. Hence hostesses who are very
exact send a note, in addition to speaking to their friends over the
telephone. It is, of course, extremely convenient to do this when
engagements must be made at short notice. A hostess desiring to arrange
a dinner or other occasion in honor of a certain guest, may ascertain
over the telephone whether he can come on a certain evening, and then
invite other friends to meet him.

The answer to an invitation to dinner should be sent as promptly as
possible, within twenty-four hours at the latest. As husband and wife
are always invited together, except to a stag dinner, so both must
either accept or send regrets. It is not good form for one to go without
the other, unless to the house of a near relation or an intimate friend.
An exception is sometimes made to this rule in the case of a married
couple of widely divergent tastes. Thus a literary man who is fond of
society may have a wife who does not like to dine out, or whose health
does not permit her to do so. If he is a very agreeable and popular
person, it soon comes to be understood among their friends that he will
accept invitations while his wife cannot. Although this dispensation is
occasionally granted to men and women of unusual charm and ability, the
average citizen is expected to adhere strictly to the rule given above.

The answer to a dinner invitation must also be definite and exact. If
Mrs. Jones is uncertain whether or not she or her husband will be able
to attend the dinner, she must send regrets for both. The answer should
correspond in form with the invitation. “Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Jones
regret very much their inability to accept the kind invitation of Mr.
and Mrs. Lloyd Griswold for dinner on April eleventh,” or “regret
extremely that a previous engagement prevents their accepting,” etc. The
day and hour should be repeated in an acceptance, to guard against
possible mistakes.

A dinner engagement must never be broken except in case of sickness or
death. Should one fall ill or be obliged for any imperative reason to
withdraw the acceptance of the invitation, the hostess should be
notified at once in order that she may if possible fill the place left
vacant. For men the proper costume for late dinner (at six o’clock or
after) is regulation evening dress—_i.e._, black swallow-tail coat, with
trousers to match, low-cut white waistcoat, white dress-shirt, white
lawn tie, pumps or patent-leather shoes, and black socks. Some men,
especially those of the older generation, still follow the earlier
fashion which prescribed a black waistcoat. The latter is also worn with
mourning costume. At stag dinners and small informal occasions the
dinner-jacket replaces the swallow-tail coat and is accompanied by a
plain black-silk tie. This must be freshly fastened whenever worn. A
“made” tie of any sort is considered among men to be in direct violation
of all rules of social decorum. We do not pretend to understand why, but
it is one of the unalterable laws of masculine etiquette. A white
waistcoat is never worn with a dinner-jacket. For a formal dinner the
proper costume for women is a low-necked evening gown, with sleeves
either very short or of the length required by the fashion prevailing at
the moment. It is by no means necessary that the bodice should be
extremely décolleté. Long gloves, white or delicately tinted,
dress-slippers, and silk stockings complete the costume. The foot-gear
may match the dress or it may be white or black. Ornaments may be worn
in the hair, varying with the fashion of the day. Elderly women often
substitute a dress cut out slightly at the neck, with elbow or
transparent sleeves, for the regulation décolleté gown. Those who catch
cold very easily have their dresses cut accordingly.

For an informal dinner the usual costume in America is of the sort just
described. Young women select light colors as a rule. Velvets, heavy
brocades, and similar materials appropriate for matrons are out of place
in the toilette of young girls. Those who follow the English fashion
wear décolleté costume whether they dine at home or abroad. The custom
is by no means general in this country, however.

One should arrive at the hour named in the invitation or five minutes
later. In the city it is a decided mistake to come earlier, as the
hostess may not be ready to receive her friends. Doubtless she should
be, but the fact remains that in the rush and hurry of town life she
sometimes does not descend to the drawing-room until the last moment.
Guests coming from a distance may find it difficult to calculate exactly
the time required to make the trip to the house of the hostess. In this
case, a lady arriving before the time would explain the matter to the
person opening the door. She might say: “Please do not disturb Mrs.
So-and-so. I know that I am too early, and will wait in the drawing-room
until she is ready to receive her friends.” In the country, where people
do not have so many engagements and where the means of communication are
slower and less certain, guests often arrive a little before the hour
named, thinking this better than to risk being late and so causing the
hostess inconvenience.

A dressing-room should be provided for the ladies. This should contain a
mirror and dressing-table furnished with brush and comb, pins,
hair-pins, and other small accessories of the feminine toilette. A maid
is usually in attendance to assist in the removal of wraps. A second
room may be arranged for the men, or they may leave their coats and hats
in the hall. They also will need a mirror, and a man-servant may help
them to take off and later to put on their overshoes and greatcoats. At
a formal dinner each man receives a diminutive envelope containing a
card with the name of the lady whom he is to take in to dinner. This may
be handed to him on a salver by the butler or the waitress when he
arrives, or he may find it in the dressing-room. According to a novel
method, the envelope is omitted and a square card made to double into a
long shape is used. On the inside are engraved the words:

                        _Will you kindly escort_

                ........................................

                              _to dinner?_

The hostess fills in the name of the lady and puts that of the gentleman
on the outside.

Mr. Ward McAllister tells us in his book that this is a Boston fashion,
and that the New York hostesses of his day were returning to the old
method “of assigning the guests in the drawing-room.” While the
last-mentioned way is to be preferred for small and informal dinners,
cards are convenient for ceremonious functions. A bashful young man
suggests to us that they have the advantage of giving the gentleman a
few minutes to think over what he shall say to his dinner-partner before
he goes up to speak to her.

It is no longer the custom to enter the drawing-room arm-in-arm. A
gentleman waits until the ladies of his party appear at the door of
their dressing-room, and then follows them into the drawing-room. Here
the host and hostess should be standing in readiness to give their
guests a cordial welcome. The gentleman very soon seeks the lady whom he
is to take into dinner. If he is not acquainted with her he asks the
host or hostess to present him. On a less formal occasion there would be
no cards, the lady of the house asking each man to take in a certain
lady.

The cook should be told beforehand at what hour the dinner will be
served. This is usually fifteen minutes after that named in the
invitations. The butler or waitress should also be informed of the
number of guests expected, in order that he or she may not announce
dinner until all have arrived. The hostess herself must decide whether
to wait beyond the quarter of an hour for a tardy guest or to order
dinner served. In justice to the friends already assembled she will not
in any event delay long.

When all is in readiness the butler or waitress advances a little way
into the room, saying in a low voice, “Dinner is served.” If the
dining-room is next door, it suffices to draw the portières or open the
folding-doors. At a formal dinner the host offers his right arm to the
wife of the guest of honor, and with her leads the way to the table. The
other couples all follow arm-in-arm, the hostess coming last with the
most distinguished man present or with the one for whom the dinner is
given. In official circles in Washington, as in European society, the
question of precedence is a very serious one. The hosts must arrange
with great care the procession to the dining-room, in order that each
person may have his proper place. In other American cities and towns the
rules are much less strict. The younger make way for the older, and
married women take precedence of single ones.

If the guests are invited to meet a married couple, the host will take
in the wife, seating her at his right, and the hostess will go in with
the husband, who will sit at her right. A bride is usually awarded the
place of honor, a clergyman and his wife receiving similar recognition.
A hostess sometimes enters the dining-room with the man who is to sit on
her left—the second most honorable place. Each gentleman assists in
seating the lady under his charge, unless this office is performed by a
servant. If a clergyman is present he is usually asked to say grace. On
sitting down at table the ladies remove their gloves and endeavor not to
drop them upon the floor. Since a silken lap is very slippery, it is
difficult to prevent this. Men, however, rather dislike being obliged to
dive head foremost under the table in order to recover fan,
handkerchief, or gloves for the thoughtless fair. The large
dinner-napkin is partially unfolded and spread out over the knees, not
tucked into a buttonhole.

The table is covered with a white damask cloth of the best quality.
According to the present fashion, the centerpiece should be white. It
may be of lace or embroidery, but never of a material that will not
wash. A lace or lace-trimmed cloth showing the bare table around the
edges is sometimes used for dinner. The arrangement and decoration are
much the same as at a lunch-party. Since dinner is the most formal of
all meals, the hostess uses her handsomest silver, glass, and china, as
well as an abundance of beautiful flowers.

Bread-and-butter plates are banished from the table. At a formal dinner
butter does not appear, the theory being that the flavoring and sauces
make it unnecessary. If it is used it should be passed from the
sideboard, and a small individual butter-plate set at the left of each
place. Here also are two or three forks, with the tines turned up. At
the right are laid a dinner-knife, a silver fish-knife (if one will be
required), a tablespoon or soup-spoon, and a tumbler or goblet. The
napkin, containing a roll or thick piece of bread, is put on the empty
or “place” plate or at the right. The little fork for raw oysters is put
here also instead of on the left with the other forks. If wine is to be
served the glass or glasses are set beside the water-goblet.

The publication by the insurance companies of tables showing that even a
moderate use of alcohol tends to shorten life has given additional
impetus to the temperance movement. The great growth of this is damaging
to the interests of the dealers in wine. It is amusing to find that
certain Frenchmen regard it as a dark conspiracy formed in the interests
of the dealers in mineral waters. Whether this charge is true or not, it
is certain that the use of wine at dinners has greatly diminished in the
United States. Cocktails are sometimes offered in the drawing-room as a
substitute for wine at dinner. If ladies are among the guests, these
should be made very mild. It is perfectly proper to decline them, or
indeed wine in any form. Where this is not served, whiskey and water may
be offered to the men. To foreigners who are accustomed to taking wine
with their dinner, it is a privation to go without it. A host who is
entertaining foreign guests should bear this in mind, even if he himself
is a teetotaler. A nice question of ethics here arises. If a man thinks
it wicked to offer wine to any one, should he feel obliged to place it
on his table? Each person must answer this according to the dictates of
his own conscience.

According to the old rule, sherry is the wine served with soup, claret
and champagne with the roast. Some hosts offer their guests hock or
sauterne with the soup, and champagne later in the meal. Others give
claret or champagne alone. The last-named should be cooled on ice. A
napkin is fastened around the neck of the bottle, since this is apt to
be wet. Claret and Burgundy sometimes need to be warmed slightly, as
their temperature should approximate that of the room. Sherry, Madeira,
port are always, and claret usually, put into decanters. It was formerly
the custom to set these on the table; but at ceremonious dinners wine is
now served from the sideboard.

No menu-cards are used at private houses. A name-card is set at each
place. According to present fashion, this should contain no ornament
except the crest or initials of the hostess done in gold, with edges to
match. At a recent dinner at the house of a bishop the device on the
name-card was a miter. Decorative designs are reserved for anniversary
dinners and other special occasions. Celery, olives, radishes, and other
_hors d’œuvres_ are usually relegated to the side-table at a formal
dinner.

The bill of fare for a dinner or a luncheon is much shorter than
formerly. It is no longer thought in good taste to emulate the heavy
feasts of the ancient Romans. Many people now hesitate to eat raw
oysters, since they sometimes convey typhoid-fever germs. Canapés may
replace them as a first course, or Little Neck clams, grape-fruit, or
other fruit in its season may be used. If oysters are served, five or
six are arranged in each plate, with a piece of lemon in the center. It
is now thought best to bring these in fresh from the ice-chest, after
the company have sat down to table. The oyster-plate is set on the
place-plate—_i.e._, on the one already in place—when the guests sit down
at table. The latter is not taken away at the conclusion of the course,
but remains as a basis for the soup-plate. Tureens are no longer used,
the soup being served from the pantry. The plates should be only partly
filled. A careful servant can manage one in each hand, but it is thought
more elegant to have them brought to the table one at a time. After the
removal of the soup the place-plates remain, and are used for the _hors
d’œuvres_. These sometimes precede the soup course. The fish comes next,
hot plates being used for this as for all the hot courses. Since fish is
rather tasteless, it is often accompanied by a sauce or by cucumbers or
tomatoes with French dressing. Potatoes also are served with fish. An
entrée now follows, and is succeeded by the _pièce de résistance_, or
principal meat course. With the lightening of the bill of fare, filet of
beef is less used for this than formerly, saddle of mutton, spring lamb,
or turkey being favorite dishes. According to modern custom, only one or
at the utmost two vegetables are served with one course.

Roman punch is now reserved for public dinners. The game course with
salad comes next; but here again we see a change, since lettuce, celery,
or other vegetable salad may now be served with cheese and crackers or
bread-and-butter, the game being omitted. After the salad the table is
cleared off, the salt-cellars and pepper-pots being removed on a tray
covered with a napkin. The crumbs are brushed off with a folded napkin,
or on less formal occasions with a silver crumb-scraper.

The dessert now follows, for which the handsomest plates are reserved.
These are protected by pretty ornamental doilies, on which are placed
finger-bowls partly filled with lukewarm water. A flower or a fragrant
leaf or two may float on its surface. A glass plate is often set under
the finger-bowl. The latter should be promptly removed and set on one
side in order not to delay the service. Some authorities say that the
silver knife, fork, and spoon should not be placed on the dessert-plate
when the servant hands this, but should be laid on the table at either
side of it. If they are put on the plate each person removes them at the
same time as the finger-bowl. The ices are then passed, the molds being
sufficiently cut through beforehand to enable the guest to help himself
readily. If the individual form is used, one is set before each person.
Cake accompanies the ice-cream, which is eaten from the glass plate. The
latter is then removed by the servant, while the guest takes off the
doilies, leaving the china plate in readiness for the fruit course. Few
persons take any of this at a long dinner, unless it be three or four
grapes. Bonbons also are handed at this time.

The lady at the right hand of the host must now be on the lookout for
the signal to rise, which the hostess will convey to her by a look or
slight nod. At a formal dinner the gentlemen sometimes escort the ladies
back to the drawing-room, the couples going arm-in-arm. After seeing
their partners comfortably seated, the men excuse themselves by a bow
and return to the dining-room or repair to the smoking-room, where
coffee, cigars, and liqueurs are served. Sometimes the men simply rise
from the table when the ladies do, and remain standing until the latter
have passed out. A servant opens the door or holds back the portière,
or, if none is in the room at the moment, the gentleman nearest the
entrance performs this duty.

Tiny cups of strong black coffee accompanied by sugar, and sometimes by
cream, are handed on a tray to the ladies in the drawing-room. Sometimes
the servant takes in the silver coffee-pot and asks each person if she
will have a cup, filling it for her if she desires. One or two kinds of
cordial are offered, the servant asking the ladies in turn which kind
they prefer, and then pouring it into tiny liqueur-glasses. Cigarettes
are offered to the women at some houses, although the custom is by no
means general. Many American hostesses dislike very much to see members
of their own sex use tobacco, considering this in bad taste.

Later in the evening Apollinaris or other sparkling waters may be
brought in. The men rejoin the ladies in the drawing-room after a short
interval of time. Music, recitations, or other form of entertainment may
be given for the amusement of the company. Dancing is now popular at all
hours, and people who are fond of cards finish the evening with bridge
or some other game. If the hosts have not arranged any after-dinner
programme, the guests take their leave about half an hour after the men
have returned to the drawing-room. There is no absolute rule about this,
as much depends on the lateness of the hour. If some of those present
are “going on” to a dance or a reception, they will excuse themselves as
soon as they can without appearing brusque or discourteous to their
hosts. According to modern rule, a dinner should not last more than an
hour and a half. If the guests sit down to table at a quarter-past eight
and arise from it at a quarter before ten o’clock, the hour for
departure would be somewhere between half-past ten and eleven o’clock.
The custom of waiting until the lady who is the guest of honor has taken
her leave is growing in favor. This makes it incumbent on her not to
linger too long, lest she should inadvertently detain others who desire
to go.

One of the most important duties of the diner-out is to talk and to
listen to his next-door neighbors. At a small dinner the conversation
may become general, but where a great many guests are seated at a large
table, this is hardly possible. Some charming talker to whom it would be
delightful to listen may sit opposite to you, or two or three places
away. If you should yield to the temptation and neglect your
dinner-partner, or, still worse, if you should talk across her to the
more interesting guest, you would be committing a breach of good
manners. At a large and formal dinner, the hostess talks first to the
man on her right hand and later to the one on her left. The guests
follow her example, turning to speak to the other neighbor soon after
she does. This is called “The turning of the table.”

If one has received an invitation to dinner, it is necessary to call in
person within one or two weeks after the event. This rule applies to
other invitations also, but it is construed with special strictness in
the case of a dinner. In New York, with its immense distances, a busy
man may be unable to make the “visit of digestion” within a fortnight.
In this case he should send his card by mail and call when he can
command the time. Men now pay visits in the late afternoon, at five or
six o’clock, formal evening calls having gone out of fashion in the
large cities.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   V

  BRIDESMAIDS’ LUNCHEONS, BACHELOR DINNERS, AND WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES

Guests to be Invited—Etiquette and Dress for Bridesmaids’
Luncheons—Etiquette and Dress for Bachelor Dinners—Things to be Done and
Things to be Avoided—Wedding Anniversaries—The Right and the Wrong Way
to Celebrate Them—Form of Invitation.


“HOW many bridesmaids shall I have at my wedding?” Many a young girl
asks herself this question, to which it is not easy to give a
categorical answer. We will, however, say to her: choose your attendants
for this beautiful day in your life from among those you love and who
love you. If you have several sisters and dear friends, the selection
may be a little difficult, but doubtless there are some who are nearer
to you than others. If you have no sisters, or if they are all married,
you perhaps have one or more cousins to represent the family, and you
will want to include a sister or other near relative of your fiancé for
his sake. Let the number of your bridesmaids be decided by that of the
young women you would like to have around you at your wedding, provided
always this is not so large as to appear ostentatious. You should also
consider the question of expense, since it is now the custom for the
bride to make a gift to each of her attendants. If the ceremony takes
place at church, her family also pay for the carriages for the
bridesmaids. A large church wedding is a very costly affair, and a young
girl should be considerate in the demands upon her father’s purse. The
expenditure for a wedding should be in proportion to the means of the
bride’s family, since etiquette demands that they and not the groom
should meet it. If the function is unduly elaborate, unfavorable
criticism is almost sure to result.

If you decide to be married at home, you will not have more than one or
two bridesmaids; at church, four or six is a good number. More than
eight seem ostentatious, unless under exceptional circumstances. You may
like in addition to have your sister or dearest friend act as maid of
honor. A young married woman sometimes acts as matron of honor; but this
is in contravention of the good old custom of surrounding the bride with
a group of maidens. Be sure to make your selection, and to ask your
friends to officiate as bridesmaids, in good season. It is your
privilege to choose the costumes they are to wear. In doing this we hope
you will not be carried away by the charms of the fashion-book models,
but will bear in mind the complexion and figure of your friends as they
actually exist in real life. You will certainly want them to look their
best, for your sake as well as their own. The bride is always the great
center of attraction, but if she has good taste she will desire to have
the wedding cortège form a harmonious whole. For this purpose the
costumes of the bridesmaids may be all alike, or there may be a
diversity of coloring. The two that walk together should be dressed
alike.

Pray be careful also not to make the toilettes so expensive as to be a
strain upon the means of your young friends. You may, of course, if your
means or those of your family permit, pay for their whole outfit or for
certain portions, such as hats or gloves. But this is not customary,
although it is occasionally done by a bride rich in this world’s gear.

Should a young woman give a luncheon or a dinner to her bridesmaids? The
idea of thus gathering her mates around her for the last time before she
enters upon a new, joyous, and yet serious phase of her life is a very
happy one, provided always that the occasion does not furnish the
proverbial last straw of the camel’s load. The preparations for a modern
church wedding are so many and so extensive that a bride may go to the
altar utterly worn out and looking not her best, but her worst. Her
mother should certainly guard a daughter very carefully against
over-fatigue; but in many cases she obviously does not. To the
bridegroom the parade and show are usually extremely distasteful, and he
only submits to them because he cannot help himself. He goes through the
trying ordeal in the spirit of the good knights of old, that he may win
his “dear ladye” for his own. We cannot, therefore, advise our bride to
give a bridesmaids’ luncheon if she is already wearied by many tasks. In
this case we should advise the substitution of an afternoon tea, to
which she may, if she pleases, invite the groom, best man, and ushers.
Perhaps, however, she is so fortunate as to have relatives and friends
who will take the brunt of the fatigue, or, if she is rich, clever and
experienced women can be hired to assist her.

If she decides to give a luncheon, she should select a day near enough
that of the wedding to give a certain thrill to the occasion, and yet
not so near as to make these great events seem to crowd one upon the
other. Should the bridesmaids live at a distance, and come to the
home-town of their friend on purpose to attend the wedding, it may be
necessary to have the lunch take place only two or three days in
advance. A week is a better interval, however. Should there be some
young friend who is unable to serve as a bridesmaid—on account of family
mourning, lameness, or some similar drawback—the bride may like to
include her in the invitations. The bridesmaids do not appear in any
special costume, but wear the same sort of dress as at any lunch,
retaining their hats unless the bride asks them to remove them. The
latter wears a pretty house dress suitable for the afternoon. The
luncheon may be a handsome affair or simple and inexpensive, as the
young hostess finds convenient. She or a friend may like to paint the
place-cards, which should have devices appropriate to the occasion.
True-lovers’ knots, Cupids, hearts and darts are always in order. Pink
is a favorite color for the decorations, green and white also having a
pretty effect.

The traditional ring, coin, and thimble are often placed in the cake,
each girl carefully scrutinizing her piece to see what her future lot is
to be. The gifts to the bridesmaids are usually awarded at this
luncheon, and should be all alike. Some small article of jewelry to be
worn at the wedding is usually chosen. _L’Art Nouveau_ suggests many
pretty things that are not necessarily expensive, the theory being that
jewelry should please by color and design rather than by costliness.
Brooches, pendants, bracelets, hat-pins, or fans are among the suitable
gifts. They may be set one at each place as souvenirs.

Since the bridesmaids’ luncheon is intended to be a gay and merry rather
than a somber and melancholy affair, it is well to ask one or two of the
guests to arrange some amusing feature for the day. Thus, if the bride
has many admirers, a dance of the rejected suitors would be appropriate.
These could be represented by two of the company. They should be
furnished with large bandana handkerchiefs on which to weep copiously.
After treading a slow and melancholy measure, each should break a stick
over his knee in accordance with the old tradition.

A dinner is sometimes given instead of a luncheon, and to this the
groom, best man, and ushers are occasionally asked. A novel way to give
a bridesmaids’ luncheon would be to ask each girl to prepare beforehand
one article of the bill of fare. The bride also should contribute
something of her own manufacture to the menu. A judge, duly appareled in
wig and gown, should be appointed to award the prize to the maker of the
most toothsome article, or a feminine jury of three might be impaneled.
The prize-winner should have a blue ribbon declaring her to be the most
promising candidate for matrimony. At the bride’s place should be a
small souvenir album with white cover, containing the receipts used for
the different articles of the bill of fare, and mentioning the school or
cooking-class where each girl had acquired her culinary skill. It would
be quite in order to invent imaginary colleges and degrees, phrased in
home-made Latin, as, for instance, _Cookia Superba Prattii
Institutionis_.

Sometimes a bridesmaids’ lunch is followed by a rehearsal of the wedding
procession at the church, the ushers and young girls returning to the
bride’s home for afternoon tea. It is pleasant to have the members of
the wedding-party meet beforehand in order to make one another’s
acquaintance. Thus a dinner or a theater party for the bridesmaids and
ushers is sometimes given two or three days before the marriage takes
place.

Should the bridegroom give a bachelor dinner to his ushers and best man?
This is a question which each young man must decide for himself, always
taking into consideration the tastes and tendencies of those who would
compose the party. It should be frankly said that at certain occasions
of this sort in the past, too much wine has been consumed with sad
results. Therefore if the groom himself or any of his intimate friends
finds temperance difficult, it certainly is unwise to arrange a bachelor
dinner and thus fly in the face of Providence, as old-fashioned people
would say.

If the dinner is to take place, it should be within a fortnight or a
week before the wedding. It is well to have an interval of several days
elapse between the two events. The guests invited are the best man,
ushers, and sometimes other intimate friends of the groom and the
brothers of the bride. Black-cloth dinner-jacket, with trousers and
low-cut waistcoat to match, dress-shirt, and black tie compose the
proper costume. The dinner is given at the groom’s club or home or in a
private dining-room at some good restaurant. The groom being the host,
he sits at the head of the table; the best man may be opposite to him or
at his right hand. In the latter case the head usher or the bride’s
brother may take the foot.

The provision of wine should be a judicious one. When the dinner is
quite advanced the best man proposes the bride’s health. All arise and
drink this toast standing. According to the old custom, each man snaps
the stem of his wine-glass between his fingers, then throws it away. The
souvenirs presented by the groom to his best man and ushers are laid at
each place. These are usually scarf-pins, although cuff-links are
sometimes given. Beside each plate may also be a box done up with white
ribbon, containing the gloves and tie to be worn at the wedding. The
best man usually orders these, taking care to select gloves of the right
size, but the bridegroom pays the bill. A convenient method is to give a
list of the ushers with their addresses to a haberdasher of established
reputation. He then sends an engraved or printed card to each man,
saying that Mr. So-and-So has ordered gloves and tie for him and asking
the size of his hand. Should other guests besides the best man and
ushers be at the dinner, it would be better not to present the
souvenirs, ties, etc., but to send them to each person’s residence or
club.

                         WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES

The wedding anniversaries usually celebrated are the fifth, wooden; the
tenth, tin; the twenty-fifth, silver; and the fiftieth, golden. Few
couples live to observe the latter, and still fewer the seventy-fifth,
the diamond wedding. The fifth and tenth anniversaries are occasions of
fun and frolic. The invitations may be given over the telephone or in
any way preferred. For a wooden wedding a novel method would be to
divide the thin end of a shingle into several portions about the size of
a postal card, writing or painting the invitations on these. The easiest
way is to use the joint visiting-card of host and hostess, writing on
it:

                            _Will be at Home
                 on Thursday evening, October twelfth_

adding in the corner “_1910-1915_.”

The guests invited are usually familiar friends. They tax their
ingenuity to procure gifts of appropriate material that will amuse the
company, or send articles that will be useful. Wooden spoons of all
sorts and sizes, mammoth pencils, knife-trays, watchmen’s rattles, boxes
large and small, towel-racks, chairs, small tables—all are appropriate
gifts. It is easy to purchase at a toy store wooden animals of absurd
shapes, picture puzzles, jumping-jacks, etc. Two of the guests might
represent a couple from Noah’s ark, Mr. and Mrs. Shem or Mr. and Mrs.
Ham. They should be dressed in the traditional costume, and should move
in a stiff and wooden way. Another pair could appear as jointed dolls or
other figures. The decorations could consist of shavings or of
pussy-willow or other boughs.

For the tenth anniversary the tinware shop furnishes ample material for
gifts. It is usually possible to get a tinsmith to make, for a small
charge, articles of some special shape. The bride may be adorned with a
tin tiara and other ornaments, the groom wearing a large tin flower in
his buttonhole. A suit of armor of the same material, accompanied by
spear and shield, might be presented to him with due ceremony. One guest
should be the spokesman for the company and explain that, owing to the
dangers of the public roads, it was thought well to bestow upon their
friend some means of defense against the ubiquitous automobile, the
spear being intended to lift arrogant chauffeurs from the perch of
vantage.

To a silver-wedding celebration a few intimate friends of the family may
be asked, or the affair may take the form of a reception. The
invitations may be engraved in silver letters and may read:

                        _1889_            _1914_

                      _Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson
                        request the pleasure of
                        . . . . . . . . company
                   on Thursday, November the eighth,
                      at half-past eight o’clock_

Or the “At Home” form may be used. It is best not to say
“silver-wedding,” as this might be thought an intimation that gifts
would be acceptable. Indeed, some people are so anxious to avoid any
appearance of soliciting presents that they give no intimation on the
card of the nature of the occasion. Others add, “It is kindly requested
that no gifts be sent.” Near relations and intimate friends usually feel
privileged to send some suitable remembrance of the day, an article of
silver for the writing-table or toilette-table perhaps, or any piece of
silverware that they think will be acceptable. It is always proper to
send flowers. If the reception is in the evening, the silver-wedding
bride wears evening dress of any color that is becoming to her. Gray,
lavender, or purple is appropriate. While white alone is not
permissible, black-and-white may be worn; the bridal veil—if it be of
lace—may be draped over the skirt or worn as a scarf. The gown may be
partially cut down at the neck or full décolleté, the material being
silk, brocade, velvet, or other stuff as preferred. The groom wears
regulation evening dress with white or light kid gloves (see Chapter
VI).

He and the bride stand together to receive the guests until all have
arrived, when they move about the room talking with their friends. The
tone of the occasion must not be too stiff and formal, but cordial yet
dignified. According to some authorities, the decorations should be
white, green, and silver. There may be few flowers or an abundance of
them. If they are all white the result will be rather trying to matronly
faces, and the effect a little incongruous. In celebrating an
anniversary it is not wise to try to reproduce exactly the original
occasion. This would tend to mark in a painful way the passage of time.
Just as the bride of twenty-five years wears a matronly costume rather
than a girlish dress that would bring into evidence the wrinkles and
crow’s-feet, so the decorations and ceremonies of the silver-wedding
must reflect the flight of the quarter of a century. The flowers of
midsummer are more appropriate than those associated especially with
early spring. Purple and white lilacs produce an excellent effect, as do
roses not too pale in color, or orchids. Something will, of course,
depend upon the season of the year.

It adds interest to the occasion if the clergyman who performed the
marriage ceremony, the ushers, and bridesmaids can be present. The
latter may stand near the host and hostess and assist them in receiving
the company. The name “silver wedding” is something of a misnomer,
because the celebration is concerned only with the events following the
marriage. Thus, while the anniversary may reproduce in some degree the
original reception or breakfast, to attempt to repeat any part of the
ceremony would be in the worst possible taste, to say the least.

The collation is like that of any evening reception. There is usually a
handsome wedding-cake, on which the date of the wedding and of the
twenty-fifth anniversary, together with the initials of husband and
wife, are inscribed. Silver leaves may form a part of its decoration.
The bride cuts the first slice, as she did twenty-five years before. It
adds to the fun of the occasion if the cake contains a ring. Where wine
is served, it is usually champagne. The best man or some near friend or
relative may give as a toast the health of the hero and heroine of the
day, to which the husband should reply in a brief speech. There may be
other toasts and speeches. According to modern fashion, these may be
made without the accompaniment of wine. The sons and daughters of the
house should act as assistant hosts and hostesses, moving about among
the guests and extending a cordial welcome to all.

The arrangements for a golden-wedding fall naturally into the hands of a
daughter or a son. Those of the younger generation must be careful not
to behave as if they thought their parents too old and too infirm to
attend to the matter personally. It requires great tact to assist those
who are declining into the vale of years in such a way as not to depress
or sadden them or hurt their feelings. The daughter should take pains to
show that she is not trying to supersede her parents, but simply to act
as their lieutenant. She may well think out beforehand her general line
of action, and then lay it before her mother, consulting the latter as
the household general-in-chief. She may casually remind her mother that,
since the bride is spared all possible care and anxiety by her family,
the same attitude toward her should be taken at the celebration of the
fiftieth anniversary of the marriage.

There is often a reunion of the married couple and their descendants at
a large family dinner. If it is desired to include the whole circle of
friends in the celebration, this usually takes place in the daytime,
since an evening affair might be too fatiguing for the elderly pair.
Sometimes, however, a reception is held in the evening after the family
dinner. A good deal must depend on the state of health of the bride and
groom. Sons and daughters should remember that to greet and shake hands
with many people is in itself fatiguing, especially to those who are no
longer young. An afternoon reception is an appropriate way to celebrate
the fiftieth anniversary of a marriage. The invitations will be much
like those of the silver-wedding, except that the lettering should be of
gold, or black if preferred. They are usually engraved on a rather large
white card. If an answer is desired, in one corner may be the statement,
“Please send reply to Mrs. ——,” with the address of the daughter.

It is very easy to find suitable decorations, since almost any golden
flower that is in season may be pressed into service. In the fall of the
year nothing is more beautiful than goldenrod; autumn leaves also may be
used. Black-eyed Susans have a very decorative effect, the yellow
abutilon reminds the beholder of wedding-bells, and Marshal Niel roses
are always lovely. Gifts of flowers may be tied with golden ribbon.

At a fiftieth marriage anniversary which the writer recently attended, a
small reception-room leading from the drawing-room was almost filled
with presents of golden hue, although many were not made wholly of the
precious metal itself. Pictures in gilded frames, canary birds in cages
of the prevailing color of the day, were cheerful gifts of moderate
expense. A beautiful loving-cup of silver heavily gilded held the center
of the table, and within was a purse of gold pieces—a number of friends
combining to make this present. There were many other pieces of
silver-gilt, and some of solid gold. The bride received a beautiful
watch and chain, among other things; the groom a pencil and card-case of
the precious metal.

Husband and wife receive together at a golden-wedding. Sons and
daughters welcome the guests, but do not necessarily stand beside their
parents. They should have a watchful eye upon the latter, however, to
see that they do not become fatigued. One advantage of the afternoon
reception for a golden-wedding is the well-known tendency of the guests
to concentrate in the dining-room, thus giving the host and hostess an
opportunity to sit down and rest if they are tired. They remain in the
drawing-room, any refreshments they may desire being brought to them.
These will be the same as at any afternoon tea or reception. Some solid
dishes such as salads and oysters may be served, and there may be a
wedding-cake.

The golden-wedding bride may wear any color she pleases except black.
The ugly fashion of dressing elderly women in hard black is fortunately
on the wane, since it is extremely unbecoming to them. Delicate tints of
lavender and gray, trimmed with soft ruffles or lace, are appropriate
for the bride of fifty years. The groom wears formal afternoon dress,
black frock or cutaway coat, with high waistcoat to match, dark
trousers, and lavender scarf. If the bride carries a bouquet, it should,
in our opinion, be of violets, orchids, or golden flowers rather than
white ones, although some authorities favor the latter.

The fifteenth, crystal, and the twentieth, china, weddings are
occasionally observed. Friends may celebrate them informally by a
surprise party, at which gifts of porcelain or glassware are presented
to a couple whose china closets need replenishing.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   VI

                       HOUSE AND CHURCH WEDDINGS

Dress for Bride, Bridegroom, Bridesmaids, Ushers, and Other Members of
the Bridal Party—Dress of Guests—Gifts and How to Present
Them—Etiquette of House and Church Weddings—Wedding Breakfasts and
Receptions—Entertaining Out-of-town Guests.


A GOWN of white satin, with veil of tulle, plain or lace-trimmed, or of
real lace, has long been the conventional bridal dress. While the bodice
may, in accordance with the present style, be somewhat cut out at the
neck and the sleeves reach only to the elbow, it must never be full
décolleté unless the wedding takes place in the evening. The skirt
should have a train varying in length with the fashion, but never so
long as to interfere with the bride’s movements. Several yards of satin
trailing upon the floor will result in pulling her head back at every
step, producing a very awkward and ugly effect. A creamy tint is more
becoming to most young women than a bluish shade of white. Some brides
prefer silk, fine organdie muslin, chiffon, or other soft material.
Artificial orange flowers are usually worn in the hair and sometimes on
the dress, the natural blossoms being very difficult to procure. It is
wise to engage a hair-dresser to put on the wedding-veil, since this is
a task requiring special skill. If it is to be worn over the face, a
separate piece of tulle should be used for the purpose. The maid of
honor, or first bridesmaid, takes this off when the bride turns to walk
down the aisle at the conclusion of the ceremony. White stockings with
white satin or kid slippers, long white gloves, and bouquet complete the
costume. The “shower” effect, obtained by fastening flowers at intervals
on long streamers of narrow ribbon, has, in the opinion of the writer,
an extremely artificial look; but many people admire it. The bridegroom
usually gives the bride some piece of jewelry to be worn on the eventful
day. Her ornaments should be of diamonds, pearls, or other white or
colorless stones.

The bridegroom appears in formal morning or, as it is sometimes called,
formal afternoon dress, if the ceremony takes place in the daytime.
Fashion long demanded that he should wear a frock-coat, but this
imposing garment has suffered something of an eclipse, the cutaway often
replacing it. The tailors, in solemn convocation, recently decided that
the frock-coat could not altogether be banished, since it is popular
with the great statesmen of our nation. Whichever style of coat the
groom selects, he wears with it a high-cut waistcoat to match or a white
one, dark striped trousers, lavender, gray, or white silk four-in-hand
tie, patent-leather shoes, and high silk hat. A fancy waistcoat of
another color is sometimes worn, but it must not be gay or loud. If
gloves are worn, they should be light-gray or white. His white
boutonnière bouquet is the gift of the bride, who bestows similar
decorations on the ushers. These gentlemen are all dressed alike, their
costume and that of the best man corresponding to the bridegroom’s. The
bride’s father will probably prefer a frock-coat with waistcoat to
match. As a rule all the men present at a wedding in the morning or
afternoon don formal morning dress. In the summer sack-coats and straw
hats are occasionally worn at a country wedding.

If the ceremony takes place in the evening, the groom and ushers appear
in black swallow-tail coats, with trousers to match, low-cut white
waistcoats, narrow white lawn ties, and pumps or patent-leather shoes.
The dress of the other men present is the same, though some may prefer
to wear a black dress-waistcoat to match the suit.

The bridesmaids’ costume is usually of some pretty, light color and soft
material. This should, like the bride’s, be only slightly cut down in
the neck, in the daytime. The inevitable hat is an important feature,
and often a charming “creation.” Long white gloves and a bouquet
complete the costume. The latter is the gift of the bridegroom, and
usually matches or tones in with the dress or its trimmings. The bride’s
mother wears lilac, gray, black-and-white, mauve, or some quiet color
that is becoming to her, with bonnet or hat to match. She must carefully
avoid any affectation of youth in her costume, since this would be in
poor taste and would inevitably cause unfavorable comment. Hence the
material of her gown is of heavier fabric than that chosen by the
younger members of the bridal party. Silk, satin, velvet, brocade are
all appropriate. The bodice should be practically high in the neck or
only slightly cut out, although it may have a lace yoke and trimmings.
The bride’s mother usually removes her wrap before going up the aisle,
an usher carrying it for her. The groom’s mother wears a similar
costume, the young girls of both families appearing in pretty
high-necked frocks of light color, with dressy hats. No member of the
bridal party should appear in mourning garb. The widowed mother, even,
lays it aside for the day.

At a church wedding all the women appear in hats or bonnets, according
to the modern custom. The guests wear handsome reception dress,
especially if they are going on to the house of the bride’s parents.
Those who are asked only to the ceremony wear their best street costume
with white gloves. Where the ceremony is performed at the house in the
evening, all wear evening dress and go without hats. For a home wedding
in the daytime the guests retain these, but the bride’s mother and other
members of the receiving-party appear without them.

A bride may prefer to be married quietly in traveling-dress. If this is
the costume in which she intends actually to travel, it should be of
material and color suitable for that purpose. A pretty and becoming
shade should be selected, but not an extremely delicate one. Cloth or
other woolen material is suitable for the cold months, a silken or
woolen stuff of light weight for summer. A pretty hat and white gloves
complete the costume, or, if preferred, these may correspond in color
with the dress. A bride may, if she pleases, be married in a
walking-suit of a very light color, changing this for a quieter dress
before she starts on the wedding journey. In spite of the wide
advertisement of our friend Miss Phœbe Snow, it is not in good taste to
wear white in a railway car, except in the height of summer, when
wash-dresses may be considered permissible on account of the heat. A
bride who wears white on her wedding journey stamps herself as
provincial. A young woman who is married in traveling-dress does not
have bridesmaids. If she wishes to have a friend stand up with her, the
latter also should be in street dress, with hat or bonnet.


                     GIFTS AND HOW TO PRESENT THEM

When a young couple are about to begin life together and to establish a
new home, they are confronted at once with the unpleasant question of
expense. To furnish their abode, however simply, takes a considerable
sum of money. Hence, somewhere in the dim past the custom of making
wedding-presents arose, friends assisting the bridal pair in the
creation of a home of their own. Sound political economy as well as
pleasant sentiment, therefore, underlies this usage. The welfare and
prosperity of the individual home promote those of the larger home—the
State.

In sending gifts to a young couple it is well to bear this truth in
mind, for, although perfectly self-evident, it is often forgotten. We
should try to select presents that will be of use to their recipients.
Their value need not be merely material; it may be spiritual or
esthetic. Beautiful pictures, books of solid and lasting interest, are
as important features of a dwelling as chairs and tables. Silverware is
a standard gift because of its usefulness. It has now grown so much
cheaper, the price being less than half what it was some years ago, that
almost any one can afford to send an article made of this metal. Some
brides have been fairly overloaded with silver, receiving far more than
they, in their modest homes, were able to use. Hence it is well to
consult a member of the bride’s family or a near friend as to what she
would really like to receive.

The main outfit of silver—a tea-service, one or more dozens of the
different sizes of forks, knives, and spoons—are given by the immediate
families of the bride and groom, when their means permit. Near
relations—aunts, uncles, and cousins—sometimes join in the gift or
supplement it with other needed articles of silverware. Friends also
send large or small pieces in accordance with their means and with the
needs of the young couple. The fashion of using ornamental and useful
appliances made of this metal for the toilette-table, the desk, etc.,
has been so run into the ground, cheap imitations have become so common,
that some other material is now preferred—ivory or tortoise-shell, for
instance.

Jewelry is so dear to the heart of woman and forms so important a
feature of dress that most brides like to receive it, even though it
cannot be classed as a necessary part of their outfit. While an elderly
friend may send a jewel, the privilege is denied to young unmarried men,
unless they are relatives. This is an old rule of Mrs. Grundy, who also
forbids the bestowal of any article of clothing by young bachelor
friends. Bric-à-brac has mercifully gone out of fashion. It is
permissible, however, to give “objects of art” that deserve the name.
Intimate friends sometimes send a dozen of sheets with embroidered
initials, or a set of handsome towels. The pretty articles of decorative
table linen now so much in vogue, lunch-cloths, centerpieces, and
doilies, make very charming wedding-gifts. China and glassware for the
table may be both pretty and useful. Relatives and old family friends
may send checks, if they choose.

When an article is marked, the maiden initials of the bride are used.
The old custom of marking silver with the initials of the given names of
both the bride and groom, together with that of the last name so soon to
belong to them both, has been revived to some extent. If the article
given is one likely to be duplicated, it is better not to have it
marked, because the bride may wish to exchange it. Indeed, some
thoughtful persons say frankly: “If you want to change this, pray do not
hesitate to do so.” While sentiment makes us desire to keep the gift
chosen by a friend, it is undeniably inconvenient to possess one dozen
pepper-pots and not a single salt-cellar! Owing doubtless to the “total
depravity of inanimate things,” there is almost sure to be an overplus
of some article and a deficit of another.

The question is sometimes asked, “When and how shall I present my gift
to the bride?”

The answer to the first query is, upon receipt of the invitation to the
wedding or as soon after as is convenient. It may happen that on account
of absence, illness, or some other good and sufficient reason the gift
is delayed. In this case one need not hesitate to send it, with a note
of explanation, after the marriage has taken place. The last gift is
sometimes received several months or even a year after the day of the
nuptials. Manifestly, however, it is best to send promptly.

There is no formal presentation, however. Only intimate friends are
privileged to place the gift in the bride’s hands. For all others custom
demands that it shall be sent—express prepaid, of course—to the house of
her parents. The family and friends of the bridegroom conform to this
rule, even when they are not personally acquainted with his fiancée. The
groom occasionally receives a few gifts for his personal use, which are
sent directly to him. The easiest, simplest, and best way of forwarding
a wedding-present is to have it despatched from the store where it is
purchased. In a large city the jeweler’s, silverware, and chinaware
shops keep small envelopes and blank cards for use, in case the
purchaser has omitted to bring her own visiting-card. On this the giver
writes her name with a brief message, such as: “With the best wishes of
——,” “With love and best wishes,” or “Wishing you all possible
happiness.” Married people use their joint card, “Mr. and Mrs. Stephen
Curtis,” for this purpose. The salesman should be instructed to remove
the price and to do the gift up in the daintiest manner, white ribbon
being often employed. It is also wise for the sender to give him her
address and ask to be notified of the due arrival of the gift. Since a
receipt is now demanded by silversmiths and others, it would be an easy
matter to give the purchaser this information, thereby saving anxiety to
her and trouble to the bride’s family. The latter are often called up on
the telephone by friends who have not at the moment received any
acknowledgment of their present.

It is the pleasant duty of the bride to write promptly, thanking her
friends cordially for the substantial expression of their good will. A
charming young woman who was about to be married said to me, “I write at
once on receiving a present; in this way I am sure to express the
delight I feel at the moment.” It is quite possible to do this when the
gifts begin to arrive. But as the time for the wedding draws near, a
bride with a large circle of friends is sometimes overwhelmed by the
great number of packages received in a single day. Those who send their
presents within three or four days of the ceremony cannot expect to have
them acknowledged speedily. If unable to write before her marriage, the
bride should do so as soon afterward as possible. A careful record of
all the gifts, with the names and addresses of the senders, should be
made by some member of the family, as fast as they arrive. Bride-books
come especially for the purpose, and will be found very convenient by
those possessing a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

In acknowledging a wedding-present it is always well either to name the
gift or to allude to it in some definite way, as for instance:

    Your beautiful gift will not only make us think of you, but will
    mark the passage of the hours and so help us to cultivate
    punctuality.

Some persons imagine that an invitation to a wedding carries with it the
obligation to make a present, and that those not asked give nothing.
This is a mistake. It should rather be said that any one who is invited
is at liberty, but not under any obligation, to send a gift. Relatives
and intimate friends would do so, whether invited or not. Circumstances
may make it imperative to have the ceremony performed very quietly and
to omit the usual reception. It is true that many of those invited to
the bride’s house send a gift, though by no means all. A young woman who
has a large wedding will receive more presents than one who simply sends
out announcement cards after the ceremony.

The family clergyman and physician are not expected to make gifts, for
obvious reasons. Friends who are in mourning do so, even if unable to
attend the wedding. The expense of the present should be in a certain
proportion to the means of the giver. Those who are tempted to give
something more expensive than they can afford should remember that it
would be painful to a bride possessed of delicacy of feeling to think
that she had overtaxed the generosity of a friend. If one cannot afford
to spend much money, one should atone for it by giving plenty of thought
to the selection of the gift. For this purpose it is well to consult
some member of the family, or an intimate friend, about the bride’s
tastes and wishes. A present that is carefully chosen to meet the needs
of the recipient often gives more pleasure than a very expensive article
selected at random. Business associates or those who are under
obligations to either of the two families send gifts if they receive
invitations.

The custom of displaying the presents on the day of the wedding has gone
out of fashion in large cities. It is thought better to show them only
to intimate friends, who are asked to call in an informal way shortly
before the wedding-day. In country places the gifts are sometimes
exhibited at the reception on the day of the marriage. They are usually
set out in an up-stairs room, the cards of the givers being removed in
order to prevent invidious comparisons.

The guests invited to a wedding may be few or many, as the bride’s
family find convenient. If the ceremony is to take place at a large
church, invitations are often sent to all those on the visiting-lists of
the parents of both young people, as well as to the friends of the
latter. Some gracious and thoughtful brides do not forget to send to
certain persons not on their visiting-lists—humble friends who sincerely
appreciate such a remembrance. If a young woman prefers to have only her
relatives and near friends present at her marriage, she will probably
please her fiancé, for men usually dislike very much the parade and show
of a large wedding. Where only a limited circle are invited to attend
the ceremony, general invitations are sometimes sent out for the
reception following it. This arrangement can be made for either a home
or a church wedding. The bride’s mother must be careful, however, not to
overcrowd her rooms. In summer a country house may be readily enlarged
by closing in the piazzas, or a large tent may be placed on the lawn.
When the whole circle of friends and acquaintances have been invited to
the church, there will be no cause for complaint if only relatives and
intimate friends are asked to the reception.

Wedding invitations should be engraved on plain, heavy white paper of
the best quality. The family crest in white is sometimes embossed on
this. The envelopes match the paper and are without device or ornament.
The following is a proper form:

                     _Mr. and Mrs. Amos Litchfield
                   request the honor of your presence
                   at the marriage of their daughter
                              Louisa Alsop
                                   to
                        Mr. James Otis Griswold
                     on the afternoon of Thursday,
                        the fourth of November,
                            at four o’clock
                     at the Church of the Disciples
                 Amsterdam Avenue and Eightieth Street
                               New York_

Or a blank may be left and the name of the person invited be written in.
If there are cards of admission to the church, they may read:

                       _Please present this card
                     at the Church of the Disciples
                 Amsterdam Avenue and Eightieth Street
                  on Thursday, the fourth of November_

If many guests are expected, a plan should be made of the church,
showing how the numbers of the pews run. Relatives and friends are
assigned to these in the order of their relationship or intimacy with
the family, those nearest and dearest coming next to the altar. The
number of the pew is written on the card of admission to the church. The
ushers are provided with duplicate plans, giving the names of these
special guests and the pews they are to occupy. Another method is to
have cards engraved:

                          _Mr. and Mrs. . . .
               will please present this card to an usher_

The latter can then look up the name on his list and see which pew has
been assigned to that guest. The bride’s family and friends sit on the
left of the middle aisle, those of the groom on the right.

The invitations to the reception are usually engraved on a large white
card, according to the following formula:

                     _Mr. and Mrs. Amos Litchfield
                 request the pleasure of your company_
                      [or of . . . .’_s company_]
                 _on Thursday, the fourth of November,
                       at half after four o’clock
                      at Seventeen Waverley Place_

The fashion of asking only a limited number of persons to the wedding
and of sending out announcement cards afterward seems to be gaining in
public favor. These cards are sent to the friends and acquaintances of
the bride and groom and their parents. A proper form is:

                     _Mr. and Mrs. Amos Litchfield
                      have the honor of announcing
                     the marriage of their daughter
                            Margaret Louise
                                   to
                        Mr. James Otis Griswold
                  on Thursday, the fourth of November,
                 One thousand nine hundred and fourteen
                              at Windymere
                      West Medford, Massachusetts_

The announcement is engraved on the same sort of paper as that used for
wedding invitations. With it may be inclosed a card with the address of
the newly married couple:

                  _Mr. and Mrs. James Otis Griswold
              Will be at home        Three hundred and four
            after the twentieth       West Fiftieth Street
              of November                 New York_

Announcements are usually mailed immediately after the marriage. If the
“At Home” cards are sent out with the invitations, they contain no name,
but simply the statement:

                            _Will be at home
                    after the twentieth of November
                  at Forty-four East Fiftieth Street,
                               New York_

Or special reception days may be mentioned, as:

                        _Thursdays in December_.

The cards and all the other expenses of the wedding, with a few
exceptions mentioned elsewhere, are paid for by the bride’s family.

A home wedding is of necessity a simpler affair than one celebrated at
church. According to the good old custom, the clergyman came in first, a
place being arranged for him at the head of the room facing the company.
The bride and groom then entered arm-in-arm, taking up their position in
front of the minister. At the conclusion of the ceremony the latter
withdrew to one side and the newly married couple took his place,
turning around to receive the congratulations of relatives and friends,
those nearest and dearest greeting them first. It has been found
convenient, however, to mark off with white ribbon an aisle down which
the bride and groom pass. Young girls may hold the four ends, or these
may be fastened. The cortège is sometimes a miniature copy of that seen
in the church ceremonial. Thus the ushers may lead the procession, a
bridesmaid or two entering next, the bride leaning on her father’s arm
following them. With this arrangement the groom and best man enter a
little beforehand, standing at the left of the clergyman. If the giving
away of the bride is to be omitted, the procession may consist of the
ushers, the best man, a bridesmaid, and the bride and groom, entering in
the order named. There are often no bridesmaids at a house wedding.

The old marriage ceremony is so beautiful, so hallowed by tradition and
sentiment, that we are inclined to cling to it, although some of its
features are archaic remains of an older civilization. Now that so many
women are independent citizens, earning their own living and, in many
countries of Europe, as well as in ten States of our Union, voting and
holding public office, it seems incongruous to have them “given away in
marriage.” Even in conservative England the question of dropping the
word “obey” from the service is now being agitated by no lesser
personages than the bishops of the Established Church! We read that one
of these dignitaries withdrew his motion to this effect because he saw
that the ecclesiastical body was not yet ready to pass it.

The church selected for the wedding is usually the one which the bride
and her family attend. If this is not large enough to hold the guests,
another belonging to the same denomination is sometimes preferred. If
the groom lives in the same town as the bride, he calls upon the
clergyman and secures his services for the time when the ceremony is to
be performed. If the fiancé lives at a distance, it may be more
convenient to have the arrangement made by the bride’s family. In either
event the groom pays the clergyman’s fee. This varies in amount with the
former’s means and with the scale on which the whole affair is
conducted. Since the question is left to his honor as a gentleman, he
should surely reimburse the minister in a manner suited to his own
dignity and to that of the occasion. It is in the worst possible taste
to lavish money on decorating the sacred office in a resplendent manner
and then repay its hospitality by handing its official head a small and
wholly inadequate sum. For a large and handsome wedding the organist
receives twenty-five dollars and the clergyman should be given fifty
dollars. If the bridegroom is a rich man, he sometimes doubles this sum.
For a small and quiet wedding, the fee would vary from ten to
twenty-five dollars. Five dollars is said to be the minimum. The fee is
inclosed in an envelope and handed to the best man. It may consist of
gold, new bank-bills, or a check. The last-named has obvious advantages,
for an absent-minded best man sometimes forgets to give the missive to
the clergyman. Gold pieces are often preferred, however, since the old
English custom prescribed that the groom should lay these and the
wedding-ring on the open prayer-book held by the clergyman. The
bridegroom also pays for the ring. If the wedding is to take place at
church, he provides the conveyance which will take him and the best man
there, bringing the latter to the bride’s house for the reception or
breakfast. Should the weather be bad or the distance so great as to call
for carriages for the ushers, he provides these also, as well as the
carriage in which he and the bride start on their honeymoon trip. He has
no other expenses connected with the wedding, except the bouquets,
souvenirs, etc., spoken of elsewhere.

The sexton, organist, and florist should all be notified in good season.
The former will, if it is requested, have an awning and carpet between
the church door and the curb. For a large wedding he will need
assistants to open the doors of the vehicles as they drive up, to
receive the cards of admission, to keep the line moving so that the
street will not be blocked, to call the carriages afterward, and to
protect the entrance from too great pressure by the admiring onlookers.
The Press has had some sad stories about the rude behavior, the pushing
and crowding of the multitude, when certain much-advertised weddings
took place. Such rudeness is greatly to be deplored. It occurs to the
philosopher that a simple and easy way to avoid the presence of these
ill-bred throngs would be to have the religious ceremony conducted in a
quieter and simpler manner. Men and women, particularly the latter, are
always anxious to behold a much-heralded spectacle. The organist should
be told of the musical selections made by the bride. Sometimes he plays
a subdued accompaniment during the marriage ceremony. According to a
pleasant modern custom, the flowers are sent from the church to
hospitals after the wedding. Some competent person is specially employed
to attend to this distribution.

It is contrary both to good manners and to the laws of the land to have
any rehearsal of the marriage ceremony. One of the procession often
takes place a day or two in advance. The head usher sets the pace, which
should be rather slow, but not funereal. A young girl who was given away
in marriage by her grandfather not long ago was heard to whisper to the
latter, as they went up the aisle, “Not so fast, grandpa! Not so fast!”
If the bride dislikes the idea of taking part in the rehearsal, she may
be replaced by a friend.

The head usher may be called the master of ceremonies at the church. He
or one of his assistants should be there early to see that everything is
properly arranged. All the ushers should be in their places
three-quarters of an hour or more before the time named for the wedding.
They stand at the entrance to the aisles and escort the guests to the
seats assigned them. Formerly a barrier of white ribbon or flowers
marked off the seats in the middle aisle reserved for the relatives and
special friends. It is now thought better not to fence off the aisle in
this way, but simply to indicate the division by means of a bow or a
bunch of flowers.

If the guests have cards on which their names or the numbers of the pews
they are to occupy are written, they do not give these up at the door,
but retain them to show to the usher. Where there are no such cards for
his guidance, he inquires the name and consults his list or his memory.
If he is not sure on which side the guest belongs, he asks whether the
latter is a friend of the bride or of the groom. The head usher, who is
stationed in the middle aisle, usually has some acquaintance with most
of the chief guests.

The groom and best man arrive in good season, remaining in the vestry or
robing-room until after the clergyman has appeared upon the scene. They
then emerge from their concealment and stand at the back of the chancel,
waiting for the arrival of the bridal cortège. The bride’s mother does
not form part of this, but is escorted to her place by an usher shortly
before its appearance. In the mean time the bridesmaids repair in their
carriages to the house of the bride, in order that all may start
together for the church. She and her father should be ready at the hour
agreed upon, their carriage bringing up the rear of the little
procession. As it approaches the church, the ushers close in the pews of
the middle aisle by carrying a white ribbon down either side of it. This
should not be removed until the bridal party has driven away at the
conclusion of the ceremony. As the carriages of the bridal party appear,
the ushers see that all doors are closed from the vestibule into the
church, as well as those leading into the street, excepting that by
which the cortège is to enter. The head bridesmaid, or the maid of
honor, spreads out the bride’s train, unless this is done by a special
attendant.

The procession then forms, the doors of the central aisle are thrown
open, and the organist plays the wedding march. The ushers come first,
walking in pairs; the bridesmaids follow, then the maid of honor, and
last of all the bride with her father. The bridegroom comes forward,
takes the bride’s hand, and leads her before the clergyman. Half the
bridesmaids and ushers now turn to the left and take up their places
near the bridal couple, the other half do the same on the right, the
girls standing on the inside, the men on the outside. If there is a maid
of honor, she should be at the bride’s left; if there is none, then the
first bridesmaid takes this position in order to help her friend pull
off her left glove when the ring is to be put on, to remove the veil
from her face at the close of the ceremony, and to see that her train is
properly arranged as she starts to walk down the aisle.

If the bride and groom are to kneel down, it is well to provide hassocks
for the purpose. The bridesmaids and ushers remain standing, however.
Something of a sensation was caused at a recent fashionable wedding in
Boston when an emotional young man knelt down, to the consternation of
his fellows. The other ushers were obliged to follow suit, the twelve
going down upon their knees in a semicircle. The father of the bride
remains standing a little behind the young couple, until the clergyman
asks who gives her away. He then steps forward and places her right hand
in that of the clergyman, who in turn puts it in the groom’s right hand.
This is in accordance with the ritual of the Episcopal Church. Sometimes
the father intimates his consent merely by bowing, but the first
mentioned is the better way. His part in the ceremony now being at an
end, he retires to the pew where his wife is sitting. If the bride’s
father is not living, her oldest brother or nearest male relative gives
her away. A widowed mother sometimes performs this office.

Guests should come to the church in good season, so that they may be
settled quietly in their places before the arrival of the bridal party.
To come at the last moment is not according to good form. At the
conclusion of the ceremony they should remain in the pews until the
wedding procession and the near relations have passed out. Those who
have received invitations to the reception then go to the house of the
bride’s parents. It is well not to hasten there too rapidly, however, as
the bridal party will need a few moments to arrange themselves. As the
bride’s mother is the hostess of the occasion, she and the father may
stand near the door of the drawing-room so as to greet the guests as
they enter. Strangers ask the ushers to present them. All then pass on
to the end of the apartment, where the bride and groom stand together,
the bridesmaids being on the right of the former; or they may be divided
in the same way as at the church, half on either side of the young
couple. The groom’s parents stand near by. The other guests should be
presented to them.

The bride greets all cordially, shaking hands with them and presenting
to her husband those with whom he is not acquainted. Only near relations
and intimate friends are privileged to kiss the bride. At a large
wedding reception there is not time to say much to the newly married
couple, as the line passes on rapidly. Where there is only a friendly
acquaintance, it suffices to say, “I wish you every possible happiness,”
or something of the sort. If the presents are on exhibition, the guests
go up-stairs to see them and then pass on into the dining-room. This
method of having the company go forward in line should be adopted where
many people are present. It is quicker than the old custom, in
accordance with which the best man and ushers escorted the guests up to
the bride and groom and the parents. These young men are always on hand,
however, acting as masters of ceremony. They introduce strangers to the
bride and groom and ask people to go into the dining-room. There they
wait upon the ladies who are without escort. The collation is served
from a large central table in the dining-room. Some caterers arrange a
buffet at the side, thus taking up less space. For a large reception the
bill of fare would comprise bouillon, salads, croquettes, oysters in
their season, ices, little cakes, and coffee. Birds and other delicacies
are sometimes added. If wine is served it is usually champagne. For a
wedding in the country the menu may be much simpler, chicken salad,
sandwiches, ice-cream, and coffee, for instance. Indeed, it is perfectly
proper, where only a few friends are invited, to offer cake and wine
alone.

The bride and groom remain in their places until all the guests have had
an opportunity to greet them. This means that they will stay there
during the greater part of the reception, if many persons are present.
Where the wedding is not a large one they repair to the dining-room, or
refreshments may be brought to them in the drawing-room. In the former
case the best man or some near friend proposes their health, all
honoring the toast by standing, glass in hand, and taking at least a sip
of the wine. The bride remains during an hour or more of the reception,
and then withdraws to assume her traveling-dress. A sister, the maid of
honor, or one or more of the bridesmaids help her to do this, while the
mother comes in before her daughter is ready to leave the room. The last
good-by is, of course, for this dear parent. The maid of honor and the
best man do what they can to facilitate the escape of the young couple
from the friends who are waiting in the front hall to bombard them with
rice, confetti, or flowers. This method of saluting the bride and groom
is so well established that it seems best to accept it philosophically
and good-naturedly. Some young men are not satisfied with rice or
confetti throwing, but indulge in a rowdyism of behavior that cannot be
too strongly condemned. The bride creates a diversion by dropping her
bouquet from the elevator or the top of the stairs. Her young women
friends scramble for it, the person who catches it being sure to marry
within the year, according to the old superstition.

Where the marriage takes place at noon, a wedding breakfast may be
arranged for the bridal party alone, or for as many guests as the house
will hold comfortably. In the warm season the veranda and lawns of a
country house are also utilized. The breakfast may be served “en buffet”
as at a reception, or the company may be seated at one or more tables,
in accordance with the number present. The latter is the more elegant
method, but requires more service. If many persons are invited, there is
usually a large central table ornamented with white flowers for the
bridal party, with smaller ones for the rest of the company. When the
collation is ready the groom gives his arm to the bride and leads the
way to the dining-room, followed by the bride’s father with the groom’s
mother, the groom’s father with the bride’s mother, the best man with
the maid of honor or first bridesmaid, and the other bridesmaids, each
being escorted by an usher. Sometimes the clergyman who performs the
marriage ceremony takes in the bride’s mother, allowing the others to
precede them as a hostess would at a dinner. In this case the groom’s
father takes in the bride’s aunt or some other member of her family. The
newly married couple sit side by side at the head of the table, the
bride’s mother sitting at the foot, between the groom’s father and the
clergyman.

According to another arrangement, the bride’s father with the groom’s
mother sits beside his daughter, the bride’s mother with the groom’s
father coming next to the bridegroom. Half the bridesmaids and ushers
sit on each side of the table. If the newly married couple sit in the
middle of one side instead of at the head, the bridesmaids and ushers
are placed opposite to them. Should the size of the table permit and the
bride’s mother so desire, other relatives or friends may be placed
there. Indeed, at a small breakfast all the guests are seated at one
table. In this case it is well to have place-cards. At a large wedding
the guests not belonging to the bridal party follow the latter into the
dining-room, entering without formality. Sometimes the small tables are
arranged in the adjoining rooms and in the hall. No place-cards are used
for these.

The breakfast is served in courses, ending with after-dinner coffee; it
is usually accompanied by champagne. It is according to old tradition to
have the bride cut the cake; but she does nothing more than to insert
the knife, the attendants dividing it into slices and handing these
about. The most sensible way of distributing the cake is to have it
packed in boxes beforehand by the caterer. These are arranged on a table
in the front hall, a servant handing a box to each person as he leaves.
At the close of the repast, the health of the bride and groom is
proposed by the best man, by the father of the groom, or by an old
family friend. The father of the bride or the bridegroom himself
sometimes responds. If any speeches are to be made, the speakers should
be notified beforehand. At the conclusion of these or of the toasts the
bride retires to put on her traveling-dress.

Where the two families who are about to be united by marriage live at a
distance from each other, the bride’s parents should invite the groom’s
father and mother or other near relatives to stay with them. Should it
not be convenient to exercise this personal hospitality, they should
engage rooms at a hotel for these out-of-town guests. In the country or
in a suburban town the bride’s aunts, cousins, and near friends throw
open their houses and entertain as many of the wedding-party as they
can. For the remainder, accommodations are secured at the local inn or
at a boarding-house. All this should be definitely arranged beforehand.
Each lady who has kindly consented to act as a hostess should write a
personal note of invitation to the guests allotted to her, asking them
to stay at her house or apartment. She should inquire at what time they
will arrive, and should go to meet the ladies, or send some one to do
so, on their arrival at the station. If she possesses an automobile or a
carriage or can borrow one, she will go in that. It is courteous to send
a conveyance to meet the gentlemen also; but it is not necessary, as men
can usually take care of themselves. The bride’s parents thus exercise a
vicarious hospitality, in addition to doing what they can personally to
make the visitors welcome. They will, if possible, invite the friends
from a distance to their house on the day preceding the marriage. The
entertainment may take the form of a dinner, or the guests may be asked
to come in the evening very informally. The bride’s family should greet
them all with much cordiality. Simple refreshments such as lemonade,
coffee, or ice-cream with cake may be served. The presents may be on
view in a room up-stairs.

The bride’s parents do not pay the hotel bills of friends and relatives
coming to the wedding from a distance, unless they have invited the
latter to come as their guests. They may assume this expense if they
please, but it is in no way obligatory for them to do so. When a wedding
takes place in the neighborhood of a large city and many of the guests
come by train, the bride’s family should make sure that there are
conveyances at the station to bring to the house or church persons who
cannot well walk. If the weather is good, and the street-cars pass
conveniently near, only a few carriages may be needed. If the bride’s
father is a man of means, he will engage vehicles of some sort to meet
the train and transport all the guests at his expense. Special cars or
special trains are sometimes provided for out-of-town weddings. In this
case persons receiving invitations should respond promptly and
definitely, in order that the host may know what railroad and other
accommodations will be necessary.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  VII

                     PUBLIC DINNERS AND RECEPTIONS

Luncheons of Women’s Clubs—Duties of Dinner and Reception
Committees—Arrangements in Suburban Towns—The Courteous and the
Discourteous Guest—Evening Dress and Demi-toilette.


THERE are several definitions of the phrase “a public dinner.” We may
hold that it means only those large general functions, usually of a
political nature, which are virtually open to the public on payment of a
certain sum at a stated time. Or we may give the term a much broader
application and include under it all dinners that are not private, such
as the banquets of clubs and societies, to which tickets are purchased
by members of the organization and their friends. In this chapter the
phrase is used in its broader and more general meaning.

A public dinner is usually a subscription affair, all paying for their
tickets except the specially invited guests. These are of two
classes—namely, the persons invited by the association or club as a
whole, and those who are asked by the individual members. An invitation
to subscribe is sent to all who are likely to be interested in the
object of the occasion, or to a small and select circle, as the case may
demand. If this is to contain full information, a double sheet of white
note-paper should be used. It may be ornamented with a suitable device,
such as the national flag or a likeness of the hero of the day. The
matter may be engraved, or printed, if the work is done in thoroughly
good style. Plain black type of two or three sizes, but all in the same
style, has a very good effect.

The formula for the first page may be as follows:

                        _You are invited to attend
                            The Second Annual
                       WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY DINNER
                                  of the
                            REPUBLICAN PARTY_


                            _to be held at the
                             WALDORF-ASTORIA

                   Fifth Avenue and Thirty-third Street
                              New York City
                  Monday evening, February twenty-third
                       Nineteen hundred and fifteen
                            at seven o’clock_

                           _Ladies are invited_

The second page may contain the list of speakers and their subjects. On
the third page additional information may be inserted, as, for instance:

                                _NOTICE_

                   _The dinner will be served at 7:15
                 P.M. sharp, and will end at 11:15
                 P.M. sharp. As it will be run on
                 schedule time, you may depend on
                 both hours._

                   _Tickets will be $5.00 each; the
                 tables seat ten._

                   _Please reply on the inclosed
                 blank. Checks should be made
                 payable to John Doe, Treasurer,
                 and sent to him at 32 Amsterdam
                 Avenue, New York City, Telephone
                 3789 Spring._

                   _Those sending in their remittances
                 at once will receive a preference
                 in the seating._

The names of the members of the Dinner Committee follow. Where it is
unnecessary to set forth the attractions of the affair in order to
procure subscribers, the list of the speakers and committeemen may be
omitted. A printed subscription-blank and envelope addressed to the
treasurer are inclosed. The plan of sending tickets without first
obtaining permission to do so is strongly objected to by most people,
and with good reason.

The general committee may be divided into two or three smaller
ones—namely, the committees of arrangements, of invitations, and of the
floor. All act as a reception committee on the evening of the dinner,
and all wear badges. They thus show their authority and enable guests to
appeal to them for information. It is important that efficient persons
shall be chosen as chairmen and vice-chairmen. The latter, like the
vice-president of the United States, may be called upon to fulfil the
duties of the higher office. Where there are several committees it is
well for their heads to meet together from time to time, in order to
make sure that the sphere of each is well defined, that all the ground
is covered, and that there is no duplication of work.

The main responsibility, however, rests with the chairman of the general
or dinner committee, who often does the greater part of the work. He it
is who must consult with the _maître d’hôtel_. Together they select a
day and decide upon the menu. The Waldorf-Astoria is the favorite place
for men’s public dinners. It is so much in demand for this purpose that
the date of a function is decided months or even a year in advance.
About twenty-five per cent, in addition to the price of the dinner must
be allowed for music, fee to head waiter, and other incidentals. Thus,
if the entertainment is to cost four dollars, the price of the tickets
should be five dollars; if the dinner costs two dollars, two dollars and
a half should be charged.

When the affair takes place at a first-class hotel there is little cause
for anxiety, as the management furnish the articles of the bill of fare
and the service, and are responsible for both. When the dinner is held
at a hall, the chairman of the dinner committee should employ a caterer
of established reputation who can be trusted to supply food of the
proper quality and quantity, as well as a sufficient number of trained
waiters under the control of a competent head man. This functionary
should be present at the dinner and direct his subordinates as occasion
may require.

While modern standards of taste do not demand such a number of courses
as were formerly provided, it is essential that the dishes should be
good of their kind, and that the supply should be large enough to meet
all reasonable requirements. It is certainly desirable to have the
service rapid, but guests should have a little patience, for all cannot
be served at once. To bribe the waiters at an occasion of this sort is
“bad form,” since it is unfair to the other guests and may result in
utter demoralization of the service. Some people eat their dinner before
they leave home, attending the public function only for its social side
and for the pleasure of hearing the speeches. With regard to feeing the
waiters at a public dinner, it should be said that at a first-class
hotel the management allows no intimations or hints to be made on this
subject. Each guest does as he sees fit in the matter—the feeing is
optional and personal, not collective. The placing of a plate on the
table and thus holding up the diners is sometimes seen in out-of-town
places, but is contrary to good form. It may be said that at large
public dinners in New York about half the men fee the waiters. Wine is
not included in the menu on these occasions. Those who order it do so at
their own expense, and usually give a tip. Twenty-five cents is expected
for a bottle of champagne, ten or fifteen cents for white wine or
claret.

In order to insure good results, the committee of arrangements should,
after consultation with their caterer, fix a certain day or hour after
which they will refuse to receive subscriptions. The temptation to admit
additional guests at the last moment should be firmly resisted. In New
York City, hotels usually refuse to arrange for the seating of
additional guests after three o’clock of the day of the banquet. In
country places it is necessary to give much longer notice. At the
luncheons of the State Federations of Women’s Clubs great discomfort
ensues when the delegates do not conform to the rules, but arrive in
large numbers without giving the required notice to the entertainment
committee. If the place of meeting is in some quiet country town, the
latter find it difficult or impossible to procure additional supplies of
food, yet they dislike very much to send the visitors away hungry. The
result is often delay, confusion, and dissatisfaction. If a public
dinner is held in a place of this sort, where no good caterer is
available, some local organization of women—those belonging to a certain
church or league—may be asked to furnish the entertainment. If they are
capable persons and have had some experience in work of this sort, the
result will be satisfactory. A simpler bill of fare would, in this
instance, replace the more elaborate provisions of the professional
caterer.

Small tables seating from six to ten guests are now preferred to the
long ones formerly in vogue. Eight is the number usually selected. The
table for the speakers and guests of honor is placed on a platform in
the middle of one end of the room. It is handsomely decorated and has
seats on three sides only, the fourth being left vacant, so that the
speakers can see and be seen. The president or chairman sits in the
middle, the most distinguished guest on his right, the person of next
consideration on his left. If both men and women are at the table, their
seats should, so far as possible, alternate. A name-card is set at each
place, together with the bill of fare, engraved or nicely printed. When
the guests are assigned to small numbered tables, place-cards are not
used, but each guest is furnished with a menu.

The committee of arrangements should provide one or more cloak-rooms,
with attendants to check the various articles of clothing. If ladies are
invited, there should be a special dressing and cloak room for their
use, also an awning and carpet at the entrance if the weather is bad. A
man will be needed to help the ladies from their carriages and to call
these at the close of the entertainment.

Members of the floor or reception committee, wearing their badges,
should be on hand to direct the guests and to prevent as far as possible
congestion in the hallways; or employees of the hotel may be stationed
in the corridors for this purpose. The dinner is usually preceded by an
informal reception of half or three-quarters of an hour, in order to
give all an opportunity to meet the chief guests or chief speaker. It is
held in one of the parlors of the establishment, the president of the
organization, the chairman of the dinner committee, or the toastmaster
standing with the chief guest at the head of the room. It is the duty of
the members of the reception committee to see that all are presented to
this distinguished couple. They move about the rooms, capturing and
bringing up those guests who have not yet spoken to the hosts of the
evening. They inquire the names of men with whom they are not personally
acquainted and introduce them to the president, who shakes hands and in
turn presents them to the guest of honor.

At the receptions of women’s clubs there is often a receiving-line
consisting of the officers of the body, and sometimes one or more
distinguished guests. The club members and their friends go up and shake
hands with the president, who introduces them to the guest of honor. It
is not necessary to speak to all in the receiving-party, unless one is
personally acquainted with them. Where many persons are present they
usually go up in line. A member of the floor committee may introduce
them to the hostess of the evening. If there is no one to perform this
office for her, a guest should pronounce her own name. It is the custom
in some clubs to receive merely with a gracious bow or courtesy, the
president shaking hands only with her personal friends. In this case a
guest who does not know any of the ladies makes a low bow to include
them all, and passes on.

When there is no regular reception, the company gather in the
drawing-rooms and chat together until the doors are opened into the
dining-room. The president and chief guest go first, the other guests of
honor follow, each escorted by a member of the reception committee. The
remainder of the company do not form in line, but enter as they find
convenient. At certain clubs—the National Arts of New York, for
instance—the gentlemen give their arms to the ladies, as they would at a
dinner in a private house. Members of the society should inform their
guests beforehand of this custom. If a gentleman has two ladies under
his care, and is unable to find an escort for either of them, he should
offer his arm to the elder, the younger walking beside her. Occasionally
it is arranged at a public dinner to have all go directly from the
dressing-rooms to the dining-hall. This saves the rent of parlors; but
it is much better to have a reception of some sort precede the banquet.

There are several ways of letting people know where their places are.
Sometimes the number of the table is printed on the ticket, and on
entering the dining-room it is only necessary to hunt up the
corresponding numerals. These are painted conspicuously on large cards
standing on the various tables. It is a better, though more expensive,
plan to print on large sheets of paper the list of guests, arranged
alphabetically, and the number of the table at which each person is to
sit. These are distributed to everybody. Unfortunately, at the
conventions of some associations the members do not decide to attend the
dinner until such a late hour of the day that the unlucky committee of
arrangements are obliged to spend the afternoon planning where all are
to sit. A few lists hastily printed are fastened up in the
assembly-room, and around these the men gather in flocks to try to
ascertain where their seats are. If these are in a remote part of the
hall, the guest should make no comment, but should accept the
arrangements made for him without complaint. The courteous man does so,
while the discourteous one grumbles and perhaps tries to have his seat
changed. I am sorry to say that some persons who ought to know better
think that it is “smart” to rush in ahead of others, and to seize a
place that belongs of right to some one else. The man who thus
trespasses on the laws of good-breeding shows that he is not smart, but
only imperfectly civilized. If every one followed his example there
would be an end to law and order, and we should return to barbarism.
Since it is usual for all to leave their tables and draw near to the
speakers at the conclusion of the banquet, a distant seat is not
necessarily a serious drawback to one’s enjoyment.

At a public dinner the tickets may or may not be taken up. Sometimes
there is a man in livery at the door of the dining-room who performs
this office, sometimes each waiter collects them from the diners at the
table where he is stationed. When the plan of printing a sheet
containing the names of all the subscribers is followed, and no one is
assigned a seat after this list goes to press, it is not really
necessary to take up the tickets. If any one has forgotten to pay, the
committee can easily send him a bill. Where the tickets are collected,
it suffices for a man who has forgotten his to give his visiting-card.
At men’s dinners no tickets are demanded from guests. Those invited by
the association are seated at the speaker’s or other special table, and
paid for by the society. Those asked by private members are paid for by
the latter. A gentleman who engages a table for himself and his friends
is held responsible for it.

The society giving the banquet is held responsible for the whole number
of persons actually present at the dinner. Hence a careful count of them
must be made. After taking up the tickets at the different tables, the
waiters report to the captain of the floor. This functionary informs the
chairman of the dinner committee of the result of the count about the
time when the third course is put on. It is now the duty of the chairman
to see that the number has been correctly estimated. He leaves his seat,
goes about the room and into the gallery if he pleases, counting the
diners. Since all the tables seat the same number of persons, usually
eight, this is not so difficult as it might appear. It takes some time,
however, to count several hundred people, especially as it must be done
a second time if the reckoning of the chairman does not agree with that
of the captain of the floor. When this officer of the association acts
as toastmaster also, as often happens, he has no time to eat any dinner,
and a supper is served to him afterward.

The question may be asked, “Should public dinners be opened with grace?”
They often are, but the custom is by no means universal. If a clergyman
is at the speaker’s table, he will be requested to ask a blessing. A
guest of distinction is occasionally invited to do so, sometimes to his
great surprise. It is always possible to use the silent grace of the
Quakers or Friends. The usual form is, “For what we are about to receive
make us truly thankful,” etc. Those who find themselves seated at table
with people whom they do not know should remember that it is always
courteous to say a few words to one’s next-door neighbors, even if they
are strangers. They may prove to be very agreeable people.

The president of the association, or the chairman of the committee in
charge, calls the company to order at the end of the dinner. He makes a
short address himself, and then introduces the speakers in turn, with a
few words of compliment or explanation. A good toastmaster must have a
voice clear and strong enough to be heard all over the room. He should
also be witty, gracious, and tactful. If the president is not well
qualified for this office, the vice-president or some other person
should be asked to make the introductions. It is sometimes arranged to
have the speakers begin while the dinner is still in progress. The
rattling of the plates, as the servants remove and replace them, creates
so much disturbance that this plan should be adopted only where the
service has been delayed and the hour is growing late. Occasionally we
hear of a dinner where all speech-making has been omitted, or replaced
by “Voiceless Speech.” Dancing now tends to crowd out all other forms of
amusement at entertainments of all sorts.

The regulation wear for a public, as for a private, dinner is evening
dress. At a political banquet, however, a variety of costumes may be
seen, some men coming in business suits, either because they find this
more convenient or because they do not possess a dress-suit. A man who
is a faithful adherent of his party may feel it to be his duty and his
pleasure to attend its festivities. At a stag dinner a dinner-jacket
with black waistcoat, black trousers and tie may be worn. Many women
wear low-necked and short-sleeved gowns. Others dislike doing so on such
a public occasion. They wear handsome costumes of silk, satin, velvet,
brocade, chiffon, or other dressy material, slightly cut down at the
neck and with elbow-sleeves. The French call this “demi-toilette,”
signifying that it is a half-way stage between every-day and full dress.
For a public reception in the evening, the dress is much the same as at
a dinner. Most women wear no hats, but some appear in light-colored,
dressy bonnets.

As a public dinner often lasts very late, many persons slip quietly out
between the speeches, taking leave only of those sitting next them. It
is discourteous to go out in the middle of an address. If one should
meet a member of the reception committee, one would naturally express
pleasure in the evening’s entertainment. Guests at the speaker’s table
would take leave of the presiding officer, if seated near him. The
general body of diners do not think it necessary to take leave, since
every man has paid for his own ticket, and so is in a sense his own
host.

If anybody has any cause of complaint, it is best to say nothing about
it at the time, but to speak or write afterward to the head of the
proper committee. One should begin by praising the entertainment as a
whole, and then suggest in a courteous way that such and such a matter
might perhaps be arranged differently on the occasion of the next
banquet.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  VIII

                            BALLS AND DANCES

Dinner and Subscription Dances—Roof-garden Dances—Reciprocal Duties of
the Chaperon and Her Charge—How to Enter and How to Leave a
Ballroom—Objectionable Styles of Dancing—The Stag Line and the Dance
Programme—The Hostess and Her Assistants—The Host—Introductions at
Public and at Private Dances—Duties of Floor Committee—Supper
Etiquette—Dress for Young Girls and Married Women—Dress for Men.


ACCORDING to the rules of good society, her mother, or some other
chaperon of good position and suitable age, should always accompany a
young girl when she goes to a ball or other dance in the evening. If
this rule were always enforced as it should be, we should not hear of
the escapades which some thoughtless young women have indulged in of
late years. The swinging back of the pendulum, which is sure to follow
an excess in one direction, will doubtless result before long in a
stricter chaperonage. Suffice it to say that at present, while a matron
is expected to go with her charge to public balls and dances and on many
other occasions, at subscription affairs and at those in private houses
she often does not do so. It must not be supposed that the young women
go alone or under masculine escort. This would be contrary to good form.
In the absence of the mother a lady’s-maid accompanies the daughter,
waits for her until the dance is over, and returns in the carriage with
her. The girls are not wholly without chaperons, as the patronesses act
in this capacity. It must be remembered also that these subscription
dances are in a sense private affairs, although held in assembly-rooms.
The patronesses make out a list of eligible persons whom they ask to
subscribe, and permit no one else to do so. Certain assemblies are
arranged upon another plan, the patronesses each subscribing for twelve
tickets, and then inviting six men and five girls to be their guests.
They often ask these young ladies to dine with them on the evening of
the dance, or the girls may take dinner with friends and all go on
together.

The case is very different with the afternoon and evening dances which
have sprung up in such great numbers since the advent of the tango
craze. Since anybody is admitted who pays the entrance fee, these are
public affairs, and not private in any sense of the word. The so-called
chaperon who at some places acts as mistress of ceremonies is supposed
to pass judgment on the applicants for admission; but evidently it would
not be possible for her to exercise this right of judgment except in the
most superficial way. To a dance of this sort no young woman should
think of going without a personal chaperon. In a city like New York we
should strongly advise her to attend only afternoon affairs, and to
remain an onlooker. In a smaller place where every one knows everybody
else, and all are acquainted with the person getting up the dance, the
case would be different. At a public dance the chaperon should not
permit any introductions to be made to the young girl under her charge
by persons unknown to her, and she most certainly should not allow the
latter to dance with strangers. The mistress of ceremonies makes
introductions where they are desired, but to form acquaintances in a
public resort of this kind is not according to good form, and might
indeed be very unsafe. Strangers coming to New York, or any other large
city, should make careful inquiries before going to roof-gardens or
other places of entertainment where there is dancing, for while some of
these are entirely respectable, others are not.

We have said that at a private or subscription dance a girl often does
not have a personal chaperon, the patronesses assuming the duties of the
latter in a general way. When a matron does accompany a young woman, it
is the duty of the former to promote the pleasure of her young charge,
to prevent her from forming undesirable acquaintances and from making
herself too conspicuous. For all these reasons she needs to keep a
watchful eye on her daughter or other young friend. If the girl wanders
off into the gallery in the company of some agreeable young man, mamma
must go or send after them and bid them return to the floor of the
ballroom. A patroness would do this in the case of an unchaperoned girl.
If a girl shows too marked a partiality for any individual, the mother
who is a clever woman of the world manages to break up the tête-à-tête.

She would do the same thing should a man of whom she disapproved be
introduced to her daughter. Formerly a chaperon worthy of the name sat
still and served as an island of refuge to the young woman under her
care. The latter returned to her protecting wing to rest between the
numbers of the programme, or when she had no partner for supper or
dance. Whenever opportunity offered, the chaperon introduced young men
to her charge. It must be confessed that the modern conditions of the
ballroom restrict the beneficent activity of the matron on many
occasions. In the first place, she finds it much harder to sit still. No
one under the age of Methuselah is immune from the present craze for
dancing. At the Charity Ball in New York this year the boxes were
deserted, old as well as young capering about on the light fantastic
toe. In the second place, the new custom of almost continuous dancing
leaves few or no intervals for rest. Hence a girl cannot return to her
chaperon so frequently as under the old régime.

Youth is apt to be selfish, often through thoughtlessness. The young
woman who is having a delightful evening must not forget that the hours
will pass much more slowly for her chaperon. Even if the latter dances
herself, she will not be able to continue it so long as those of the
younger generation. A girl must have some consideration for her mother
and not keep her up until an unconscionably late hour. If mamma sends
word to her daughter that it is time to go home, the latter should come
without unnecessary delay. The girl should return to her mother’s side
from time to time as opportunity offers, especially if the latter knows
few people and is having a dull evening. She will, of course, always
allow the older lady to precede her, and will introduce her young
friends to her chaperon as occasion arises. Thus, when they make their
first entrance into the ballroom at the beginning of the evening, the
latter goes in a step or two in advance of the younger woman. If a man
is of the party, he follows the ladies. The custom of entering
arm-in-arm has gone entirely out of fashion, as we have already said. At
subscription dances in New York it is usual to announce the guests as
they go in, a servant standing at the door for the purpose. The
patronesses should be in line to receive them; but at some dances there
is no one to perform the office. These official hostesses may greet all
comers with a bow or courtesy, or they may follow the more cordial
custom of shaking hands. At the subscription dances in New York the
last-named method is usually followed. In Boston a girl is taken up to
the receiving-line by an usher. She then makes a sweeping courtesy to
all the patronesses, and dances with him. Whether they shake hands or
merely bow, it is the duty of the ladies who receive to do so in a
gracious manner, as befits a hostess.

Should one take leave of the latter after a dance? This depends upon
circumstances. The persons who take their departure early often slip out
quietly, in order not to advertise the fact that they are going. It is
not altogether a compliment to a hostess to leave early in the evening,
and if many people did so it would tend to break up the ball. Should one
pass near the lady of the house, however, politeness requires that one
should bid her good night and express pleasure in the evening’s
entertainment or congratulate her on its success. Later on, when the
movement to go home becomes general, all take their leave of the
hostess, and of the host, if he is standing near.

The discussion about the merits and demerits of the new styles of
dancing has raged so vigorously in press and pulpit that every one is
familiar with it. The result of all this debate has been good, since the
objectionable features have been to a great extent removed. When the
tango and the other new dances were first introduced, there was a great
deal of unfavorable criticism of the method of holding the partner, and
of the “shaking and wiggling” motions of the body. The latter was a
consequence, it is said, of the slow movement of the music. This
rendered it difficult to dance without a swaying accompaniment. By
making the tempo a little more rapid it has been found possible to
eliminate the last feature, and good dancers have proved that the tango,
one-step, and the like can be executed well and gracefully without
holding the partner too closely. It is evident that the new dances have
been greatly modified, and that they will not be given up at present. It
is pointed out that there always have been, and perhaps always will be,
some persons who dance in a way that people of refinement disapprove of.
It is a rule of good society to avoid everything that makes a person
conspicuous, hence amateur dancers of good taste do not take their steps
in the exaggerated and sensational style suitable only for professional
performers.

A lady who wishes to give a large dance usually hires an assembly-room,
unless she possesses a very spacious house. The arrangements at the
front door, in the dressing-rooms, etc., are the same as those described
elsewhere. Checks for the wraps, hats, and coats will be needed, cigars
and cigarettes may be provided for the men. The use of dance programmes
has been abandoned to a great extent, except at college, military, and
naval balls. Here the young ladies often come from a distance, and the
dance-cards are filled out for them beforehand by their brothers or
friends.

Where a débutante is to be introduced to society she stands beside her
mother, who shakes hands cordially with all her guests and then presents
her daughter to the ladies, the men being introduced to the young girl.
If the older daughters assist in receiving, they stand beyond the
youngest. The husband sometimes receives with his wife, and sometimes
does not. At a dance in a private house, a greater responsibility
devolves upon the hostess than in a subscription affair, where a floor
committee have the management of matters. She endeavors to provide her
guests with partners, and makes some introductions, her husband and
daughters assisting her.

At a subscription dance, if a young girl after making her bow to the
patronesses fails to meet any one whom she knows, one of these official
hostesses or a member of the floor committee presents a partner to her.
These gentlemen wear a small boutonnière to indicate their office. It is
their duty and pleasure to make everything go off well, and to assist
the young girls in any way that may be needed. They know most of the
guests and make introductions.

According to the present system of dancing, a number of the men form “a
stag line” near the patronesses. After a couple have danced one or more
times around the room, another man steps out from this line and “breaks
in,” as the term is. That is to say, he interrupts their progress and
asks the girl to dance with him. This she should certainly do, unless
there is some very special reason for refusing. It would be awkward for
the young man to go back to the line, as every one would see that his
invitation had been declined. It would probably result in an awkward
situation for the girl also, as to dance a long time with the same
partner continuously is now considered highly undesirable. A young woman
who does so runs the risk of being considered a wall-flower. If she does
not know many of the young men present, it may happen that no one will
“break in,” and it will become her duty, after a certain length of time,
to release her partner. There are several ways of doing this. She may
ask to speak to the patronesses or to another girl. In the last case an
exchange of partners may be effected, or the young man whom she is
releasing may bring up a third man and present him to the other young
lady; or our young friend may appeal to a member of the floor committee.
He will perhaps dance with her himself, or present another partner to
her. Young women sometimes serve on the floor committee at a dance.
These are usually girls who have been for some years in society.

While, as has been said, a young woman should not under ordinary
circumstances refuse to dance with a man who “breaks in,” it is
permissible for her to do so, if her partner is unwilling to release
her. If he intimates to the new-comer that it is his dance and that he
does not want to give it up, then the girl may, if she pleases, go on
dancing with him. This arrangement of a stag line with frequent change
of partners is suitable only for private or semi-private affairs, such
as subscription dances. For a public ball the older method of engaging a
partner for an entire number is the proper one.

For the time being, the cotillion, or German, has gone very much out of
fashion. The modern system of continuous dancing and taking only short
turns with each partner, makes it less of a compliment than formerly to
engage a young lady for a single dance. Hence special emphasis is now
laid on the invitation to supper. A man who wishes to make some return
for hospitality extended to him, or to show a young woman particular
attention, asks her to go in to supper with him, as he would a few years
ago have engaged her for the German. Hence it is very desirable for a
girl to have this part of the programme arranged in good season. If she
has no partner when the supper-hour arrives, she is in rather an awkward
position, especially if she has no chaperon. The man with whom she is
talking at the moment will be obliged to excuse himself if he has
previously arranged to take in some one else. She should ask him to
escort her to her chaperon, if the latter is present, or to the
patronesses; or she may retire to the dressing-room or go home.
Occasionally one girl joins another who is provided with an escort, but
this is seldom advisable, even if the two young women know each other
well. Since “Two are company but three are a crowd,” a girl does not
wish to spoil her friend’s pleasure by making an unwelcome third member
of the party.

If the young lady has a supper-partner, the question may be asked, what
becomes of her chaperon at a subscription dance? The latter sometimes
goes into the dining-room with one of the older men, or she joins the
patronesses. These ladies are now quite independent, and go in to supper
with or without male escort, as they find convenient, since few of the
husbands attend the dances. The young people march in after the elders,
going in pairs, but not arm-in-arm. Sometimes four or five couples
arrange to have supper together, and thus make a merry affair of it.

At a dance in a private house, when the musicians play the march which
indicates that all is in readiness in the dining-room, the host leads
the way thither with the eldest or the most distinguished lady present.
The other guests follow without formality. The hostess makes sure that
all have preceded her, or, if some of the ladies prefer to remain in the
drawing-room, she despatches a gentleman or one of the waiters to attend
to their wants. This in case the service is “en buffet.” If little
tables are provided for the guests, then all should be seated thereat.
Should the supper-room not be large enough to contain these comfortably,
the tables should be brought in and distributed about the drawing-rooms
and halls. With this arrangement a course supper is provided. The buffet
service is easier and calls for fewer waiters to serve the guests. The
large table, decked with lights, flowers, and many good things to eat,
produces a brilliant effect. As much space as possible is procured by
setting all the chairs against the walls of the dining-room. It must be
confessed, however, that when the company is large there is often an
unpleasant jam in the supper-room.

Bouillon, salads, croquettes, oysters, sandwiches or rolls, ices, fancy
cakes, bonbons, and coffee constitute the usual bill of fare, to which
other and more expensive dainties, such as terrapin and birds, are
sometimes added. For an informal dance the menu may be much simplified.
If wine is served, it is usually champagne, although less expensive and
less “heady” beverages, such as light Rhine wines, are sometimes
substituted. There should always be a punch-bowl filled with lemonade,
wine-cup, or punch that is not too strong, placed in the hall or
elsewhere for the benefit of thirsty dancers. On a formal occasion a
servant ladles this out. At an informal affair the guests help
themselves.

At a large public function, such as the Charity Ball in New York, the
floor committee make introductions if these are desired, but the guests
usually go with their own parties. Where the tickets cost five dollars
apiece, in addition to the price of the supper, a certain degree of
exclusiveness is attained, although, as we all know, there are many
persons who have plenty of money yet lack social culture and experience.

The opening of such an affair is quite imposing. The officers of the
ball enter in a grand march, the patronesses coming first on the arms of
the governors, the remaining members of the committee following two by
two, all the men wearing badges. Where officers of the army and navy
take part, their uniforms add to the brilliancy of the general effect.
There is usually no reception of guests at such a function, and no
formal entrance to the supper-room. The thoughtful man endeavors to have
a table reserved for his party when a great many people are present.

All the large hotels in New York now have roof-gardens where there is
dancing in the afternoon and evening. Many people go to these as
lookers-on, ordering a cup of tea, ices, and coffee or wine. The price
of admission in the daytime usually includes the cost of the tea. At
certain of the evening resorts the very objectionable custom exists of
charging no entrance fee but demanding that guests shall purchase a
bottle of champagne. Those who refuse to order wine and insist upon
having a milder beverage are furnished with coffee at the price of one
dollar for each cup. Careful people do not patronize places of this sort
unless they look in for a short time as a matter of curiosity. If they
wish to dance, they go to hotels of established reputation, usually in
parties of four or six. They can thus have a good time together and be
entirely independent of the rest of the company.

“Dinner dances” may be given either at the residence of the hostess or
at assembly-rooms, as is most convenient. An entertainment at a private
house brings with it an atmosphere of hospitality which is lacking in a
hotel ballroom. Hence, if the affair is not on so large a scale as to
overcrowd her rooms and if these have good hard-wood floors, the hostess
will probably decide to use her own house. If a large number of persons
are to be invited, it will be necessary to engage the requisite space at
a good hotel. The hostess sends out two sets of invitations; those for
the dinner are in her own name, and that of her husband also, with the
words “Dancing at eleven” or “ten,” as the case may demand, in the lower
left-hand corner. The invitations for the dance are in the name of the
hostess alone. They may be in the “At Home” or “Requests the pleasure”
form. The hour for the second part of the entertainment must be late
enough to insure the termination of the dinner before the arrival of
those invited for the dancing only. Great pains must be taken to have
the floors in first-class condition, polished sufficiently, yet not made
too slippery. For a small dinner dance at a private house, the supper
should be a simple affair, served “en buffet.”

The combination “dinner dance” affords a pleasant way of dividing the
evening’s hospitality so that no hostess need be unduly burdened.
Several friends arrange to give dinners on the same evening, one of the
circle undertaking to have a dance at her house, or at an assembly-room
if she prefers. In either case she assumes the expense of the occasion;
she furnishes the supper, engages the musicians, and the hall also, if
the affair takes place there. The guests “go on” in automobiles or
omnibuses from the various houses where they have been entertained,
meeting at the dwelling of the latest hostess, or at the assembly-room,
at ten or eleven o’clock. The dancing usually lasts till one or two
o’clock.

For a ball, women wear their handsomest clothes, and married ladies
adorn themselves with a profusion of jewels. All appear in décolleté
gowns made with short sleeves and more or less train, according to the
fashion of the moment. In America many elderly ladies claim exemption
from this fashion, thinking the costume inappropriate to persons of
their years. Here, at least, we are certainly more sensible than our
English sisters, who make a sort of fetish of the low-necked gown. While
some American women carry this style to an immodest extreme, the
majority are too wise to do so. Ball dresses for married ladies are made
of rich and expensive materials—silks, satins, brocades—trimmed with
beautiful laces or combined with chiffon or other gauzy stuffs. While a
great deal of jewelry is worn, it is well to have a certain unity of
effect. The woman who puts on a great variety of jewels combined in a
tasteless way may produce a strong impression upon the beholder, but it
will not be an agreeable one. For young girls, décolleté gowns of
diaphanous material, either white or of a delicate tint, are the most
appropriate and becoming. They should wear little jewelry, simplicity
being the keynote of their costume. Diamonds and rich laces are not
suitable for a débutante. Men wear the regulation evening dress, black
swallow-tail coat with trousers to match, low-cut white waistcoat, white
dress-shirt, patent-leather shoes or pumps, black socks, white lawn tie,
and white or light gloves.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   IX

                            AUTOMOBILE TRIPS

The Automobilist as Host—Provision for Comfort of Guests—Duties of
Guest—Dress and Luggage—Automobile Picnics—Entertainment of
Chauffeur—When a Visit Becomes a Visitation.


THE owner of an automobile is able to entertain his friends in a
pleasant way with comparatively little trouble. He can take them out for
a spin without interfering with the machinery of the household or giving
extra work to the servants. Almost every one enjoys motoring in warm
weather, and it is easy to stop for luncheon at a country club or an inn
or to have a picnic by the wayside, should the owner of the car wish to
show more than mere “carriage hospitality.” The trip may be short or
long, as he pleases, and as he thinks will be agreeable to his guests.
If these are persons who are not young, or who are unaccustomed to
motoring, he must be careful not to take them too far nor too fast. The
fatigue of going a long distance at a rapid rate is a severe tax on the
uninitiated. It is well to have the excursion include some object of
interest, such as a beautiful piece of scenery or fine buildings. During
the great heat, motoring for its own sake is found very refreshing,
simply because the rapidity of the motion makes every one feel cool. In
winter few people care to go out for pleasure trips, but many persons
continue to use their cars as a quick and convenient way of getting
about, when the snow and mud are not too bad. It is a kind attention to
lend a friend one’s automobile for a shopping tour or for paying visits.
She should not detain it a moment after the hour named for its return.
If none has been mentioned, she may be able to find out from the
chauffeur how much time the trip is expected to occupy, or calculate it
herself, remembering that one should not overtax the generosity of a
friend. Having decided upon the hour when the car should return, it is
well to say to the chauffeur, “Please let me know when it is time to
turn back.” One should in any event use the car only for a moderate
distance, since every mile traversed costs a certain sum.

The automobilist who has invited one or more ladies to go out with him
stops for them in his car. Arrived at their dwelling, he asks to have
them informed that the car is there, and waits for them in the reception
or drawing-room. He assists his guests to enter the car, and wraps the
robe carefully around them, tucking it in at the sides. In winter,
plenty of fur or heavy woolen robes should be provided. In summer
lighter ones will suffice, with linen covers to protect the dresses from
the dust. For an open car, it is well to have several pairs of goggles
of different kinds on hand, and to offer these to the guests if a long
trip is contemplated or if the roads are dusty. The host asks whether
the ladies would like the windows open or closed, and the wind-shield up
or down. In the course of the trip he repeats these inquiries,
especially if there is a strong breeze blowing, or if a change occurs in
the weather. Having made sure that his guests are comfortably settled,
he climbs in and takes his place. While the tonneau, or main body of the
automobile, is held to be the place of honor, because it is less exposed
than the front seats, the latter are really more comfortable in many
cars because the motion is less felt there. Hence if the host is driving
himself, he will ask whether any of his guests would like to sit beside
him. Some young lady will probably prefer to do so, unless he is a very
tiresome person. A good driver does not go too fast, and proceeds with
caution over the rough places, in order not to shake up the occupants of
the car.

The host decides in what direction the trip shall be, although he may
very properly ask whether his guests would like to go there. If
requested to do so, the latter are at liberty to express their choice. A
courteous person does not insist, however, on being taken in any special
direction. Where the proposed trip is a long one, and the guest has a
later engagement, he should say frankly: “I should enjoy very much going
to ——, but I fear there will not be time, as I have promised to be
down-town at five o’clock.”

If the excursion is to be an all-day or overnight affair, it is usually
arranged beforehand. When the owner of the car invites the party to go
with him at his expense and makes this evident by saying explicitly, “I
want you all to be my guests for the trip,” he pays the hotel bill and
all other costs. He acts as host just as he would in his own house,
ordering the meals and naming the hours when they shall be served. He
should inquire whether any of the party would like to have breakfast
served in their own rooms. He plans the whole trip and lays out the
course to be traversed each day.

There are some circumstances, however, under which the automobilist may
very properly offer only a limited hospitality to his guests. Thus, it
may happen that a number of friends all wish to go to see a football
game or other athletic contest in a neighboring town. If one of the
number then offers to take them there in his car, it is understood of
course that his hospitality extends only to the means of transportation.
All procure their tickets beforehand, and the expense of the
entertainment at the hotel is divided among them. When one is doubtful
on which plan the trip is to be conducted, one should by all means
endeavor to pay one’s share. It is best in a case of this sort for a
single individual to speak for the rest. He can say when the time comes
for payment, “You must let us know, John, what our share of the hotel
bill is.” Or it could be proposed beforehand that one of the number
should act as treasurer. This is an ungrateful office to fill, since
some one is apt to forget to pay, and dunning friends is an unpleasant
task. The man selected should not be the host, who may be thought to
have done his share. He should, however, be the richest man of the
party; first, because it will be easier for him than for his poorer
comrades to bear any loss should there be one; second, because in nine
cases out of ten rich people care more about money than poor ones;
third, because they are more accustomed to making financial
arrangements. Hence the job of collecting is less difficult for them. A
guest should embark on a motor-trip with the intention of having a good
time and enjoying all that there is to be enjoyed. He should be prepared
to take any delay or mishap with cheerful philosophy. A man or a woman
who possesses the true spirit of sport will not sulk or complain if the
tire bursts or the engine for some mysterious reason refuses to work.
All complicated machinery is liable to accident, and if one enjoys all
the advantages of very rapid motion, one must expect from time to time
to experience the drawbacks. Neither should one take it in dudgeon if
rain comes on. The host cannot be expected to insure good weather. A
guest sitting in the rear must not talk to the driver. The latter must
constantly watch the road, and cannot turn his head to speak to any one
behind him without risk of accident.

The automobile practically annihilates distance, thus greatly increasing
the number of places which can be readily reached from any given spot. A
picnic to which the company go in motor-cars may be ten, twenty, or more
miles away. If many people are to take part in it, the site must be
selected with great care. When half a dozen friends go off for a frolic,
it does not so much matter what sort of place they choose, because if it
does not come up to their expectations they can eat their luncheon
without leaving the car. For a larger number all the arrangements should
be carefully made in advance. A committee of one or more should visit
the chosen spot beforehand, and get the owner’s permission to hold the
picnic there. It is very sad for a party of friends on pleasure bent to
be warned off the grounds just as they have their whole luncheon
unpacked and spread out on the grass. Yet this frequently happens at
places in the neighborhood of summer resorts. The city visitor, misled
by the uncultivated aspect of some beautiful spot, fails to realize that
it is private property, and that the owners may find it extremely
inconvenient to have their premises constantly invaded and their privacy
destroyed. Some owners are willing to allow picknickers to come to their
places, provided permission is obtained beforehand, the débris removed,
and no damage done to the trees and shrubs. The vandalism of certain
summer visitors is hardly believable. They will calmly leave the
unsightly and unwholesome remains of their repast lying about to offend
the eyes and nostrils of later comers and to breed flies. Farmers and
others sometimes make a regular charge for letting their grounds for the
day.

Our committee of one should choose a spot where the grass is not too
long, and should find out whether there is any danger of an incursion by
cattle. It is very desirable to select a place near shade-trees.
Luncheon-baskets furnished with knives, forks, etc., can now be readily
purchased. Cold water, fruit-punch, or lemonade and hot coffee may be
conveniently transported in Thermos bottles. Some people carry
chafing-dishes and prepare scrambled eggs, mushrooms, or Welsh rarebit
on the spot. It is usual to have every one contribute some article to
the bill of fare at a picnic. In order that there shall not be a surplus
of one article and a shortage of another, the persons or committee who
get up the affair should arrange with each individual or party what they
shall bring. If there are tables at the appointed rendezvous, cold ham,
chickens, etc., may be brought whole. If the cloth is to be spread upon
the grass, the carving should all be done beforehand. The idea of a
picnic is that it shall be a more or less unceremonious occasion, yet
care must be taken that informality does not degenerate into slovenly
disorder. The food should all be done up neatly and daintily, napkins of
paper, if not of linen, should be provided, also knives and forks and
spoons where these will be needed.

The best results are secured by deputing two or more persons to arrange
the table, instead of intrusting this task to the whole company. When
the feast is ready the gentlemen pass the dishes to the ladies, but it
is a part of the fun to have the latter assist in the work. If there are
older people present, they are asked to sit still and be waited upon. At
formal picnics the table is arranged and the food set out by servants.
Impromptu vaudeville, charades, tableaux, or songs with guitar
accompaniment make a pleasant ending to the affair, where time permits.
Dancing has always been popular on these occasions. They are often held
at some place of resort which boasts a hall or open-air platform for the
dancers.

In dressing for a trip in a motor-car, a woman should wear a small,
close-fitting hat or an automobile bonnet. This and the large veil
covering it should be securely fastened down, so that there will be no
danger of their blowing away. All superfluous ribbons and streamers
should be avoided for the same reason. A dust-cloak of linen or pongee
is a great protection in summer. As such a garment affords little
warmth, the tourist should provide herself with a cloth coat also. Men
wear small caps and dusters or light overcoats. Since there is little
room for luggage on a car, a guest who is invited to go for a tour
should take as little as possible, packing it in a suit-case or bag, or
small automobile trunk, if she has received permission to carry one.
Since motoring is extremely dusty business, it is well to take a change
of costume to wear in the evening, if this is to be spent at an inn.
Foulards and India silks are excellent for this purpose, as they weigh
so little and are not easily creased or tumbled. If one has not space
for an entire gown, a dressy waist should be carried.

The craze for motoring has developed many wayside inns scattered along
the routes most frequented by tourists. Some of these are ancient
hostelries, or reproductions of the same, charmingly furnished in ye
olden style. Here travelers by automobile stop for lunch, afternoon tea,
or dinner, or to spend the night. As inn-keepers sometimes charge the
owners of motor-cars extortionate prices, those who wish to avoid great
expense should carry lunch-baskets with them. They can then arrange an
impromptu picnic by the wayside and so be independent of landlords,
should the latter be unreasonable in their charges. Indeed, many people
consider these wayside lunches part of the fun of a motor-trip. They
start off for a tour of several days, equipped with a large basket
containing plenty of provisions. Some picturesque spot is chosen for the
daily picnic, the basket being replenished at shops or hotels _en
route_, should this be necessary.

People who wish to go on a motor-trip in Europe now find it better to
take over their own car and chauffeur, rather than to hire these on the
other side of the water. It is necessary, however, to procure a permit
allowing the party to cross from one country into another. Otherwise the
traveler is subject to vexatious delays at the frontiers. The owner of a
car must always remember that the chauffeur, like the passengers,
requires food at regular intervals. Sometimes an allowance is made to
him and he gets his meals where he likes; sometimes his employer
arranges for his entertainment. As he is usually of a better class than
the ordinary domestic, he is not willing to eat with the servants. He
prefers to take his meals after his employer, but at the same table. If
the latter is visiting at an expensive inn, and there are cheaper ones
of a suitable character in the neighborhood, he may request his
chauffeur to dine or spend the night at one of these, furnishing him
with the money.

Instead of staying at an inn, the automobilist sometimes makes a visit
to friends in the country. Where this is by invitation, the host
entertains the chauffeur, or arranges to have him cared for in the
neighborhood. As the touring party probably consists of two or three
people in addition, such a visit, if prolonged, may readily become a tax
on the hospitality of the host. Hence the stay should be limited to one
or two nights, else it may become a “visitation.”

If a party of motorists stop to lunch or spend the night at a friend’s
house without previous invitation, they should endeavor to provide for
the entertainment of their chauffeur elsewhere, since it would hardly be
courteous to put this additional strain on the hospitality of their
host.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   X

                 BRIDGE PARTIES AND EVENING RECEPTIONS

Arrangement of the Card-tables—Playing for Prizes—Good and Bad Manners
at the Card-table—Why Certain People are not Asked—Duties of
Hostess—Card Parties for Charity—Dress and Etiquette of Evening
Receptions.


THE extreme popularity of bridge has somewhat lessened since the tango
craze invaded society. Card-playing still has many devotees, however,
and is likely to have them in the future, as in the past. When not
carried on too strenuously, it affords a mild and gentle form of
amusement that is especially valuable to elderly persons, or to younger
ones of quiet tastes.

For a bridge party, card-tables and light chairs can be hired from
furniture stores or caterers. Ordinary tables may be used, provided they
are large enough to seat four persons comfortably, and not so large as
to make it difficult to reach across them to gather up the tricks. It is
now thought well to cover them with a cloth, although our grandparents
used the bare mahogany, if we may judge by the tables that have come
down to us. Hostesses who often give card parties will find it
convenient to buy several tables. These may be covered with green baize
or enamel cloth, or upholstered in silk or damask to match the room. In
the latter case one should have white linen slips that can be taken off
and washed every time they are used. Small, light chairs are preferred
to heavy ones, and they must be of the right height. The hostess should
measure her rooms beforehand, to see how many people she can accommodate
comfortably.

Space must be left to pass between the tables, and these must not be
placed too near steam-pipes or draughty windows. The drawing-rooms
should be well ventilated before the guests arrive, yet not quite so
cool as they would be for a dance. Should they become close in the
course of the evening, the hostess should be careful not to open a
window without warning those in the vicinity that she is about to do so,
and so give them an opportunity of changing their seats. In a house
furnished with electric lights, it is easy to have the rooms well
lighted yet not overheated. Where it is necessary to use lamps or
candles, their arrangement will require some care. They must be near
enough the players to enable them to see, yet never set on the
card-table itself. It is dangerous to place them on stands so small and
light that they are liable to be upset.

All the paraphernalia used in the game, the playing-cards, scoring
tablets or cards, counters, etc., must be fresh and in good condition. A
pencil that refuses to write furnishes one of the peculiarly
exasperating, though small, miseries of life. If many people are
invited, new cards should be provided. For progressive euchre there must
be punches and score-cards. The hostess asks some one to do the
punching, or attends to it herself. At a large party she does not play
unless it is necessary to fill an empty place.

Some persons think it no harm to play for money, provided the stakes are
very small. The habit of gambling, which was introduced into society in
this country not many years ago, has resulted in such scandals and so
much evil that the wisest and safest way is to avoid it altogether. Even
where there is playing for money, a hostess must provide one or more
tables for those guests who object to it on principle. Good form and
common sense alike demand this. Many people become so excited by the
desire to win the prize or stakes of the evening that they treat one
another with scanty politeness, and the unfortunate player who makes a
mistake is often roundly scolded for her carelessness. During the card
mania which prevailed at Newport a year or two ago, it was said that
many people did not speak as they passed by, owing to quarrels over
bridge. To give prizes that are very handsome and expensive is not
considered to be in the best taste. The hostess should take pains to
secure articles that are pretty and attractive, but not of great money
value. It is also thought best not to show them until the playing is
over.

Some people find it interesting to play nominally, but not actually, for
money. A gentleman who took part in a series of games while crossing the
Atlantic was relieved when the voyage was over to find that the ladies
of the party construed all the financial obligations in a purely
Pickwickian sense. The score was made out, but no payments were
permitted. It need scarcely be said that a real debt at the gaming-table
is held to be one of honor, for the simple reason that there is no legal
obligation to pay it. To induce a young man or woman to play, and
perhaps lose a large sum of money, may be thought a greater offense
against honor.

Good form demands that all who take part in a game of cards shall pay
strict attention to it and follow the rules. Not every one can win, but
all should do their best. It is extremely annoying to devotees of bridge
to be interrupted by conversation while the hands are being played. The
great actress Charlotte Cushman once had her patience severely taxed by
a gentleman who persisted in talking to her partner. Presently she said
in her rich, deep voice, with great emphasis:

“_Remember, this is whist._”

The effect was startling, and the offender sinned no more, at least on
that occasion.

If a player does her best, more cannot be expected of her. To find fault
with one’s partner, asking her in an injured tone why she did not return
a certain lead, or why she played that ace of hearts second hand, is
decidedly bad form. We must always remember that among ladies and
gentlemen card-playing should be considered as an amusement, serious if
you will, but nevertheless a form of diversion and not a matter of
business. Hence the well-bred woman loses neither her temper nor her
philosophical spirit. She may wish to win, but her desire must not be so
overwhelming as to make every one feel uncomfortable if she loses. If
she destroys the pleasure of her neighbors by sulking, by snubbing or
scolding her partner, she has only herself to thank if she is not
invited to card parties. The habitual late-comer is also likely to be
left out. The person who arrives after every one has begun to play, or
who leaves before the games are over, interferes seriously with the
pleasure of others. As we have said above, the hostess does not play
when many persons are present, in order that she may be free to receive
late-comers and to have a general supervision of the comfort and
pleasure of her guests.

Bridge parties may be arranged for the afternoon or evening, or they may
take place in connection with a luncheon or a dinner. In either of the
latter cases it suffices to have lemonade or some other cooling drink
handed to the guests as they sit at the card-table. Some hostesses offer
sandwiches also, or give ices in the evening; others serve tea in the
afternoon. Where guests are invited to the card party only, a light
supper is served in the evening. Hostesses who expect to have bridge
follow a dinner should either invite card-players only or else arrange
for the entertainment of those who do not take part in the game. It is
rather forlorn for a single couple to be left out in the cold when the
players retire to another room and shut the doors to avoid being
disturbed. The former, having no one save their hosts to talk to, soon
take their leave.

Card parties are often used as a means of raising money for a charity,
or for the work of a society. These may be given at a hotel, a woman’s
club-house, or a private house. In the case last mentioned, the hostess
throws open her rooms and provides the refreshments, or a part of them,
as may be preferred. The members of the society may each bring a cake or
some sandwiches, the lady of the house furnishing tea and chocolate. It
is usually arranged to have several ladies buy a table apiece for a
certain sum of money. If this is two dollars, they sell the single seats
to their friends for fifty cents each, or invite the latter to come as
their guests. They bring their own outfit—cards, score, and the light,
collapsible tables that are easily carried; or these may be sent
beforehand to the house of the hostess. Occasionally an enterprising
member of the society brings some of her own handiwork and offers it for
sale, thus netting an additional sum for the charitable enterprise.

Evening receptions, unless enlivened by some special attraction, are
less popular now than in the earlier and simpler society of the
Victorian era. One of their obvious advantages is that men can attend
them, another is that they enable the hostess with limited space at her
command to invite a number of guests who would overcrowd her rooms
should she attempt to give a dance. The evening reception is a favorite
form of entertainment for introducing a distinguished guest to a circle
of friends. Certain hostesses in New York still receive on one evening
in the week, and succeed in gathering in their drawing-rooms an
interesting company of literary and artistic folk—people who know how to
talk and who enjoy doing so. A bride and groom may conveniently issue
cards for one or more evening receptions when they are settled in their
new home. They thus make themselves known to new friends and renew
acquaintance with old ones.

A reception in the evening is gayer than an affair in the daytime, yet
it need not necessarily be formal. For a large and handsome function,
engraved invitations in the names of both husband and wife are issued,
the “At Home” form being ordinarily used. If it is in honor of
distinguished guests, the phrase, “To meet Mr. and Mrs. —— ——” is added.

According to strict rule, the “At Home” formula does not require an
answer. It is always polite, however, to send regrets if one is unable
to attend the entertainment. For one or more informal receptions, the
joint visiting-card of husband and wife may be used, with the words “At
Home” and the date written in, the hours also (“9 to 11” in the city), if
desired. The arrangements are the same as for any evening occasion. The
central part of the drawing-rooms is cleared of furniture, and vases,
small stands, or other articles liable to be knocked over are removed to
some other part of the house. If the occasion is a large and stately
one, potted plants or other floral decorations may adorn the rooms,
while an orchestra composed of a few stringed instruments discourses
sweet sounds behind a leafy trellis. A handsome supper is served in the
dining-room during the greater part of the evening, since guests are
supposed to come and go rather than to stay through a reception.

It is in perfectly good form, however, to receive in a much more simple
fashion, in accordance with the customs of good society in continental
Europe. It is not necessary to provide either music, elaborate floral
decorations, or an expensive supper. In Italy, where evening receptions
are a favorite form of entertainment, ladies of rank give their guests
lemonade and biscuits, or sponge-cake and wine, or nothing at all! At an
occasion of this sort husband and wife usually receive together,
presenting all the company to the guest of honor, who stands beside
them.

At a formal affair the guests are usually announced by a man-servant. He
inquires their names and calls these out as they enter the drawing-room.
One does not leave cards at an evening reception. All wear evening
dress, as described in Chapter VII. Ladies seldom wear hats, however, as
they occasionally do at a public reception.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   XI

                 HOTELS, RESTAURANTS, AND ROOF-GARDENS

How to Entertain a Guest at a Hotel in the City and in the
Country—Etiquette for the Guest in Hotels and Restaurants—Dress for
Morning, Afternoon, and Evening.


IN these days of apartment-houses, the spare bedroom has been
necessarily eliminated from many households. This does not mean that
hospitality to friends from a distance has ceased to exist, but only
that it must be practised in a different way. If one has not sufficient
space to make a guest comfortable in one’s own dwelling, one should
arrange for her accommodation at a hotel. The room must be engaged, and
if possible visited beforehand. The hostess should see with her own
eyes, or with those of a trustworthy agent, that the apartment is
sufficiently large, well lighted and heated. A pleasant outlook is
desirable anywhere, but indispensable in the country. A foreign
gentleman of distinction attending a certain congress in the United
States a year or two ago was quartered in a small, stuffy, inner room.
So great was his dissatisfaction that the president of the learned body
was summoned. Fortunately, the latter was of an ingenious turn of mind.
Spying a fire-escape on the outside of the window, he explained at some
length to the foreigner the extreme desirability of the room—on account
of the proximity of this important mode of exit. The guest was entirely
satisfied with the explanation, and peace once more reigned among the
philosophers.

If the host’s means will permit, he should engage for his friend a room
with a bath. He should also instruct the clerk at the desk to have the
bill for room, meals, and service presented to him and not to the guest.
The latter will have no expense except fees to the servants. These vary
with the length of the stay and with the character of the hotel. A woman
is not expected to spend so much on tips as a man. It is usually best
for a transient guest to fee the waiter at each meal, since another man
will probably be in attendance at the next one. The usual rule is to
give ten per cent. of the sum paid for lunch or dinner—ten cents being
the minimum—except at a restaurant of humble pretensions, where five
will be gladly accepted by the waitress.

In addition to feeing the waiter, a lady gives a small sum to the
chambermaid—twenty-five cents for a stay of a day or two. Ten cents
should be sufficient for the porter when he brings up a trunk, and again
when he takes it away. The ubiquitous hall-boy strongly resembles the
daughter of the horse-leech. Here again, as in the case of the waiter,
the safest way seems to be to hand him ten cents, I will not say
whenever he appears, but whenever he performs any service for the
guest—such as escorting the latter to her room on her arrival, or
bringing a glass of ice-water. Women of frugal mind endeavor to call on
these functionaries as little as they can, because the cents readily
mount into dollars. The elevator-boy receives fewer tips than his
peripatetic brother, and need not be feed after a short stay.

It is always courteous to send exact information about trains to a
person coming from a distance. A man is usually able to take care of
himself, but for a woman it is not altogether pleasant to arrive alone
in a strange place. The hostess should meet her friend at the station,
or send some one else to do so and to bring her to the hotel. Here the
hostess should show her guest where to register and see her comfortably
established. If unable to meet the traveler at the train, the hostess
should call soon afterward in order to welcome her guest and to see that
the latter has everything that she needs. Where the friend from a
distance has come for a special occasion, such as a luncheon or a
reception, the hostess calls to take her to it and brings her back
afterward, or sends a carriage or car. The hostess should invite the
guest to a meal at her own house, or if this is not possible she usually
arranges to lunch or dine with her friend at the hotel. When the time
comes for departure, she pays the hotel bill before her guest appears on
the scene or after the latter has left, escorts her to the train, and
sees her off. If a lady comes on the invitation of a club, the secretary
or chairman of entertainment acts as hostess and fulfils all the duties
named above, except that it is not obligatory to invite the visitor to
her house, although it is always kind to do so. There is often some
member of the society living in the hotel who will invite the lecturer
to take one or more meals at her table, and will see in a general way
after her comfort. Some speakers, however, prefer to remain alone,
finding it an extra fatigue to be entertained.

When a hostess invites a friend for a stay of several days or a week,
she endeavors to select a hotel in her own neighborhood. She often
arranges to have the latter take all meals at her house, and plans for
her amusement as she would for a visitor under her own roof. Should the
distance, or some other circumstance, make it more convenient for the
friend to use the hotel dining-room, the hostess should call every
morning, or ring up on the telephone, to inquire how the visitor is and
make arrangements for the day’s programme, unless this has been agreed
upon on the previous evening. In the city, a guest from out of town
usually enjoys sight-seeing, the theater, opera, and concerts. A woman
of serious tastes likes to go to lectures and meetings; her more
light-minded sister enjoys shopping. In the country, motoring, boating,
bathing, and the various athletic sports in their season offer a variety
of attractions. If one can arrange a number of social entertainments for
a friend, and have her asked out to lunch or dine at other houses as
well as at that of the hostess, this is paying her a special compliment.

The best way to entertain a party of friends at a restaurant is to
engage the table and choose the bill of fare beforehand. Where the
luncheon or supper is an impromptu affair, this is not always possible.
The host may then consult his guests about the dishes, or he may make
out the menu and hand it to the waiter. If the service is _à la carte_,
it is rather awkward to pass the bill of fare to the guests, since the
prices will stare them in the face. Those who have delicacy of feeling
will hesitate to order costly dishes at the expense of another person.
Those who have no such scruples may make the bill too heavy for the
purse of the host. Therefore the latter does well to keep the bill of
fare in his own hands and give the order himself, consulting his guests
first, if he pleases. It is generally safer to avoid novel or very
elaborate dishes, unless one knows something about them. They are less
apt to be satisfactory, and are liked by fewer people than the plain,
ordinary articles of food.

The party may go together to the restaurant, after an evening at the
theater for instance, or they may meet there for dinner or luncheon. If
the affair takes place at a hotel, the guests assemble in a public
parlor. Where the host is a man, a young woman should go under the
charge of her mother or other chaperon. It is bad form for a young girl
to take any meal at a restaurant with a young man alone. When a woman
has reached the age of thirty and is still unmarried, the strictness of
this rule is slightly relaxed in her favor. Custom permits her to lunch
or take afternoon tea with a young man who is her relative, or a friend
whom she knows well. But she must neither dine nor sup with him. At some
restaurants ladies are not admitted after a certain hour without a male
escort. Quiet, middle-aged women wishing to dine at some establishment
of good reputation in New York have been justly indignant when refused
permission to do so. The existence of this regulation shows us how
careful young women must be about the places where they dine. There are
quiet restaurants connected with family hotels where they can get their
dinner without exciting any remark.

At a ladies’ lunch the hostess leads the way to the dining-room, taking
with her the oldest or the most distinguished woman present. The entry
is without formality, as in the case of a luncheon in a private house.
At a dinner or supper the host goes in advance of his guests. If the
party consists of young people under the charge of a chaperon, he asks
her to sit at his right hand or opposite to him. If it consists of
married couples, he requests the eldest or the most distinguished lady
to take the place at his right. A woman does not stay alone at a hotel
unless she is no longer young, or unless she is in some business which
makes this necessary. She should endeavor to choose a quiet hostelry,
and to so dress and act as to avoid attracting attention. At some
hotels, ladies traveling without trunks are not received. The clerk at
the desk is usually a man of good judgment and experience. He “sizes up”
the persons asking for rooms, and if they seem to him undesirable
inmates for the hotel, they will be informed that everything is engaged.
The feminine guest, when traveling alone for the first time, may feel
some trepidation as she approaches a country inn or city hotel. She will
be reassured when she remembers that it is the business of the landlord
to entertain strangers, and that the living of every one in the
establishment depends upon his giving good service to the traveling
public. In a city hotel, there are hall-boys at every turn to show her
just where to go.

She enters the hotel by the ladies’ door, if there is one, and proceeds
at once to the desk. Here she inquires about rooms and prices, mentions
how long her stay is likely to be, and registers her name in the hotel
book. If she is a young woman, she receives any gentleman that may call
on her in the public parlor or reception-room, and avoids being out late
in the evening as much as possible. While all guests have a right to
complain of imperfections in service, etc., it is bad form to find fault
constantly about trivial matters. Some persons fancy that behavior of
this sort gives them an air of importance, whereas in reality it shows
that they are either selfish and querulous or lacking in experience. The
courteous traveler is a bit philosophical. He knows that delays will
sometimes occur and that every one cannot be waited upon first. He will
not allow himself to be imposed upon without making a remonstrance, but
he will not continually assert his rights. A lady traveling alone needs
to be especially careful about the manner in which she makes complaints
at a hotel. To hear a woman scold is unpleasant even in the family
circle, but in a public place it is lamentable. There voice and temper
alike must be kept under strict control.

Young girls do not, of course, stay at a hotel in the city or country
unless accompanied by mother or chaperon. At summer resorts they are
sometimes thoughtless about loud talk and laughter in the corridors and
lobbies of a hotel, and about sitting on the veranda in the company of
an agreeable youth until an unduly late hour. They are so carried away
by their high spirits, and are having such a delightful time, that they
forget how censorious the world is. They forget that in a public place
it is necessary to be quieter and more reserved in manner than in a
private house, and thus show that one understands and respects the laws
of good-breeding.

When staying at a hotel, one should be dressed well but not in a
conspicuous way. Ladies may wear their hats or not, as they find
convenient. Thus, if one were going out immediately after breakfast, one
would come down in a simply made street costume. Matinées and tea-gowns
are very charming in the privacy of home, but their informality makes
them inappropriate at a hotel. In summer, pretty tub dresses, which
please the beholder by their freshness and simplicity, are especially
becoming to young women. Older ladies wear gowns of the same material
made in a style suitable to their years, or appear in foulards, voiles,
or other thin stuffs. Elaborate costumes are not appropriate for the
morning. In winter a lady may come down to breakfast at a hotel in a
morning dress made all in one piece, or in a skirt of woolen stuff with
waist of silk, chiffon, or other thin material either white or of the
same color as the skirt.

For the afternoon a lady may retain her street suit, or she may put on a
handsomer one. If she is not going out she may prefer to wear a house
dress of more expensive material, and made in a more elaborate style,
than would be suitable in the morning. According to the present fashion,
such a gown would be cut down at the throat, with half-length sleeves.
Whether the sojourner at a hotel changes or does not change her gown in
the afternoon, she should do so for late dinner, since morning costume
would not then be appropriate. As we have already seen, a variety of
dress is permissible at these public places of entertainment, because
guests are arriving, departing, or going out for engagements of all
sorts. The general rule, however, to which there are some exceptions,
prescribes evening dress for the evening. At large and fashionable
hotels in New York, many of the women wear décolleté gowns. A lady
invited to a dinner party at one of these places would dress as she
would at a private house. In smaller cities, and at quieter hotels,
low-necked dresses are not so often seen.

If a lady intends to take an evening train she may, if she pleases,
appear at dinner in traveling hat and dress. If she is going to the
theater, opera-house, or concert-hall, she will wear the kind of costume
described in Chapter XII.

Correspondents sometimes ask what the proper dress is for Sunday evening
at a hotel. Opinions on this subject vary in accordance with people’s
religious views or inherited traditions. While the old-fashioned strict
observance of the Sabbath has been much relaxed both in England and in
America, the Puritan view of the day still strongly influences the
manners and customs of the country at large. Those who hold to it prefer
to dress quietly and to eschew low-necked gowns on Sunday evening. They
appear in costumes suitable to wear at church, even if they have no
intention of going there. There are many other people, especially in a
cosmopolitan city like New York, who hold no such view of the observance
of Sunday, and dress then as they would on any other day of the week.

Ladies always retain their hats in the daytime at a restaurant or
roof-garden. They remove their gloves on sitting down to table, and
throw back or take off their outer wraps. It is usually possible to
check these, but many people object to the delay involved. Women of good
taste prefer to dress quietly if they attend a dancing-tea at one of
these places, and thus avoid attracting special attention. At certain
restaurants an effort is made to compel all guests to wear evening
dress. This is merely copying an English fashion ill-suited to a
democratic country. At the Hotel Savoy in London they enforce such a
rule. An American lady who had reached the half-century limit, and did
not care to appear in public in a low-necked dress, went not long ago to
the restaurant there with a party of young friends. She wore a new and
expensive Paris dress and her handsomest jewels. The young people were
all in evening dress, but because the chaperon did not have on a
décolleté gown they were refused admission to the restaurant, and were
obliged to content themselves with dining in the grill-room! At the best
hotels in New York, such as Delmonico’s, the Astor, and the Plaza,
ladies may wear costumes with hats or full evening dress, as they find
most convenient. For afternoon dances at hotels and roof-gardens, men
usually come in business suits. After six o’clock evening dress is the
proper costume. The dinner-jacket, or informal evening dress, as it may
be called, is often worn for dancing at roof-gardens, because it is more
comfortable than the long-tailed dress-coat. It is also used for
unceremonious occasions at hotels and restaurants, as it would be
elsewhere (see Chapters IV and XII).

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XII

                    THEATER, OPERA, AND CONCERT-HALL

Arrangements for Formal and Informal Theater Parties—The Supper—The
Bachelor and His Duties as Host and as Guest—Dress and Behavior at the
Theater, Opera, and Concert-hall.


AN informal theater party may be an impromptu affair got up at short
notice. It may either be a Dutch treat, where every one pays for
himself, or one or more persons may act as hosts and invite the others
to go at their expense. If a gentleman and his wife ask another lady to
accompany them, they should either call for her or invite her to dine
with them. At the conclusion of the performance they should take her
home, or the husband alone could do so. It is not necessary to have a
carriage if the street-cars are near at hand. If two ladies living in
the same house are invited, the tickets may be sent to them, asking them
to meet their hosts at the theater. Unless they are very young women, it
will be proper for them to go together, whereas for a lady alone it
would not be quite pleasant to do so. When the concert or play is over,
the host will see them to their carriage or to the street-car. If the
hour is late, he will offer to escort them home. If they assure him that
they are not afraid to go alone, he will not insist upon doing so,
unless he believes this necessary for their protection. Two young and
pretty women are liable to annoyance from rude passers-by at a late hour
in the evening.

If a man wishes to take a young lady to the theater he must invite her
mother or other chaperon to be of the party. This is a safe and
excellent rule to follow, and few exceptions should be made to it. In
the case of cousins or old friends it is sometimes broken, especially if
the lady is not in her first youth. But young women should remember
that, as the world is very censorious, one who broke this rule often
would be the subject of unfavorable comment. A girl may, of course, go
to the theater with her brother. The gentleman may invite a married lady
to matronize the party, or he may ask the girl to choose her own
chaperon. He calls for both his guests; first for the matron, then for
the young lady. At the close of the performance he escorts them both to
their houses, leaving the younger woman first at her residence, and then
the elder one at hers. Where the chaperon has been provided by the girl,
the man may, if he prefers, send them the tickets and meet them at the
theater or concert-hall, waiting for them in the lobby. He would
certainly offer at least to escort them home, unless they were going in
a carriage. In this case he would content himself with asking the man at
the door to call it, or going to find it himself, should this be
necessary, and putting them safely into their own conveyance. He should
endeavor to find a sheltered place for them to stand pending the arrival
of the vehicle, and keep a sharp lookout himself lest the carriage lose
its place in the line and so make the ladies wait for an undue length of
time.

For a large and formal theater party, it is usual to invite the guests
to dinner, or to supper after the play or opera. In either case they
assemble at the house of the hostess, who provides an omnibus,
automobile, or other conveyance to take them to and from the playhouse.
She must name an hour early enough to enable the party to reach the
opera-house or theater in good season. If she asks her friends to dine
with her, she should for the same reason avoid a long bill of fare. The
guests should be careful to come punctually. Should any of them be
detained, they should telephone and ask the hostess not to wait for
them. To fail to keep an engagement for dinner is considered one of the
gravest social sins. How much worse it is to spoil a theater party in
addition by remaining away after promising to come!

The affair is more likely to go off well if the hostess introduces those
guests who do not already know one another. Wholesale introductions are
now thought awkward and undesirable; hence it is better to make the
presentations gradually, one or two at a time. Those who are to sit next
each other should certainly be introduced. It is well to plan beforehand
the seating of the guests. If the hostess has a party of young people
and is quite at a loss as to their preferences, she may like to consult
one of them beforehand on this important matter. To each man should be
handed two tickets. These may be inclosed in an envelope, with a card
bearing the name of the lady who is to sit next him at the theater. She
also receives an envelope containing the name of her theater partner.
This arrangement is convenient where many people go together. If the
party were to sit in a private box it would be unnecessary. There the
ladies sit in front, the gentlemen behind. The older women are offered
the best seats, but usually prefer to let the younger ones take the
places where they can see and be seen. At the close of the performance
the theater-carriage conveys all to their homes, leaving the women
guests first, the hostess next, the men last of all, although the latter
often choose to walk.

If there is to be a supper, it may be either at the house of the hostess
or at a restaurant of unblemished reputation. The meal may be simple or
elaborate. A course supper is very much like a dinner or luncheon,
except that it is less formal and the bill of fare is lighter and
daintier. Few people care to eat a heavy meal late in the evening. Raw
oysters or Little Neck clams, bouillon in cups, an entrée of some sort,
salad with or without game, ices, fruit, bonbons, and black coffee may
be served in the order named by those who care for a full menu. For a
theater party it is not necessary to offer such an elaborate bill of
fare. Oysters, cold chicken with salad, and ices are quite enough for
the hostess to provide. A chafing-dish supper produces much fun and
jollity among young people, or among those who know one another well. It
is not to be recommended for all sorts and conditions of men, however.
An informal meal of this sort would jar upon the taste of those persons
who like to have everything done according to conventional methods and
in a stereotyped fashion. The chafing-dish sets and stands now furnish
every convenience for preparing readily one or more hot dishes. Welsh
rarebit, oysters, lobster, eggs, and mushrooms are all excellent cooked
in this way, to say nothing of the more complicated dishes which require
an expert to handle successfully. Where the supper is given at the house
of the hostess, their maids call for the young ladies there, and it is
not necessary for her to send them home.

If a bachelor wishes to give a theater party, and to invite young women
to be his guests, he must engage some married lady of good social
position and of a certain age to act as chaperon. A young married woman
is sometimes as full of fun and high spirits as a girl. No one objects
to her natural gaiety if she keeps it within due bounds. But it is not
considered quite the thing for a woman of this sort to matronize young
girls. A chaperon should have the dignity which years and experience
bestow, though she need not be dull and stupid. The guests all meet at
the residence of this lady, the bachelor host arriving a little earlier
than the rest in order to receive his friends, to introduce them to the
chaperon, and to make such other introductions as the occasion demands.
People of moderate means go to the theater in the street-cars if the
evening is pleasant. The more elegant method is to provide a
theater-carriage; but not every bachelor can afford so much expense as
this would involve. He should, however, pay his guests’ fare, and for
this purpose it is well to buy car tickets beforehand. Otherwise another
man of the party may reach the ticket-booth first and purchase them
before the host has an opportunity to do so.

At the theater or concert-hall the ladies are permitted to pass through
the wicket first, the host standing on one side and showing the tickets.
He precedes the rest of the party going down the aisle to the seats, in
order to point out to all where they are to sit. It may be arranged to
have the chaperon go in first and take the innermost seat, or she may be
placed next the host, who sits nearest the aisle.

Our bachelor may take the party to a restaurant for supper, to his club
if this possesses a dining-room for ladies, or to his own apartment or
studio, should this be large enough and conveniently located. In either
of the first two cases the table should be engaged and the menu made out
beforehand. If supper is to be given in his own rooms, he should have
one or more competent persons to set the table, do any cooking that may
be necessary, and have all in readiness on the arrival of the party.
There should also be one or more servants to wait on the table, unless
the affair is an extremely informal one. The host leads the way to the
dining-room, all following without ceremony. The chaperon sits at his
right, or on the opposite side of the table. When supper is over he may
escort her, together with the young women, to her house, or the
theater-carriage may leave them at their houses, provided the matron of
the occasion is of the party and remains with it until all the young
girls have been taken to their respective residences. The host gets out
first, assists each of his fair guests in turn to alight, opens the door
for her with the latch-key or rings the bell, and does not leave her
until she has been admitted to the house. Where the theater party is
given by a lady, the gentleman sitting nearest the door of the
conveyance performs this service, unless there is a footman in
attendance.

Evening dress is the proper costume for men at all performances at the
opera, theater, and concert-hall that take place in the evening. This is
_de rigueur_ for a theater party, and at the grand opera under all
circumstances. For English opera and informal excursions to the theater,
the dinner-jacket is often worn. Indeed, our countrymen are very
independent in these matters and claim the right to dress as they
please. In Europe the rules are stricter. A gentleman of my acquaintance
once went to the opera in Paris, in the days of the old régime, wearing
an ordinary black coat. He was refused admission on the ground that
evening dress was necessary. Being a Yankee of an ingenious turn of
mind, he went out, procured a paper of pins, fastened up the offending
coat-tails into the required shape, and again presented himself at the
opera-house. The authorities, arguing doubtless that he had fulfilled
the letter of the law, admitted him, so admirable is the logic of the
Frenchman!

The proper costume for women at the theater and opera is evening dress.
At the grand opera in New York and other large cities, many ladies wear
décolleté gowns, together with a great deal of jewelry, although, as we
have said elsewhere, this is by no means a universal custom. All who sit
either in the boxes or in the orchestra seats appear in handsome
toilettes and wear long white or black kid gloves. A long evening wrap
made of silk, satin, or other expensive material forms an important part
of opera costume. One sees only a sprinkling of low-necked gowns at the
theater, American ladies usually preferring to appear there in dresses
either high-necked or only slightly cut down. Many wear a pretty,
light-colored, dressy waist with a dark skirt, since the latter shows
little, unless one is sitting in a private box. For a concert the
costume is the same as for the theater. Something will depend on the
season of the year, the nature of the occasion, and the locality. For a
special performance, with high-priced tickets, the costumes would be
more elaborate than for one with an ordinary programme.

Good form demands that we should always be mindful of the rights,
comfort, and pleasure of other people when we attend a theatrical or a
musical performance. The persons composing the audience have paid for
their seats, in the great majority of cases at least, and it is
extremely ill-bred to interfere with their pleasure by talking or
laughing. The men and women who fancy that it is smart to do so show
themselves lacking in true politeness. One should endeavor to be
punctual, in order not to disturb one’s neighbors after the curtain has
gone up or the music has begun. Some one has to come last, of course,
and the earlier arrivals should stand up and allow the seats of their
chairs to fold back in order to allow people to pass by them with as
little discomfort as possible. A man sitting next the aisle should step
into it when a lady is about to pass in. It is courteous but not
obligatory for the latter to do the same thing. Those who arrive after
the performance has begun should remove their wraps before they go to
their seats, in order not to obscure their neighbor’s view of the stage
while they are doing so. They must also be careful not to disturb the
latter by rising or bustling about toward the end of the play. The going
in and out between the acts is rather trying to those who are obliged to
rise constantly in order to let others pass by. Hence, unless one has an
aisle seat, it is best to go out only once in the course of the evening.
Where a large number of the audience do so, as at the opera, the case is
different. The walking up and down the foyer and the corridors, the
consuming of ices and lemonade, are often a part of the regular
programme. One should be careful to return to one’s seat when the
warning-bell rings.

It is now thoroughly understood that all ladies should remove their hats
at the theater, opera, and concert-hall. Occasionally they are kind
enough to do so at a lecture. A man who is with a party of ladies may
excuse himself for a short absence, if he sees some one to whom he
wishes especially to speak. But if he should do so often, he would be
thought neglectful and lacking in courtesy by the members of his party.
If he is acting as escort to one lady, he should not leave her in order
to speak to any one else, unless another man should come to talk to her,
in which case he could excuse himself, but should return before the
curtain rises again.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



● Transcriber’s note:

    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.

    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.

    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Good Form for All Occasions - A Manual of Manners, Dress and Entertainment for Both Men and Women" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home