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Do not make a call of ceremony on a wet day.
Do not enter a room without first knocking and receiving an invitation to come in.
resume your seat after having risen to go, unless for important
Do not walk around the room, examining pictures, while waiting for the hostess.
Do not introduce politics, religion or weighty topics for conversation when making calls.
Do not prolong the call if the room is crowded. It is better to call a day or two afterward.
Do not call upon a person in reduced circumstances with a display of wealth, dress and equipage.
Do not tattle. Do not speak ill of your neighbors. Do not carry gossip from one family to another.
Do not, if a lady, call upon a gentleman, except officially or professionally unless he may be a confirmed invalid.
Do not take a strange gentleman with you, unless positively certain that his introduction will be received with favor.
In calling, if the person you desired to see is "engaged" or "not at home," leave your card. If several persons, leave a card for each, or request that your compliments be presented to them severally.
If you are going abroad to be absent for some time, and want to take leave ceremoniously, write on your cards T. T. L. [to take leave] or P. P. C., [pour prendre congé,] inclose in envelopes, and address them to your friends. In taking leave of a family, send as many cards as you would if making an ordinary visit.
In calling on a friend at a hotel, do not visit his room till, having announced yourself by card, he bids you come. If he is out, add your address to your card, and leave it for him.
If in making an evening visit you happen to find a party assembled,
present yourself as you would have done had you been invited. Converse with ease for a few moments, and then retire.
In general, visits should be returned personally or by card, just as you would speak when spoken to, or answer a respectful letter.
HOSTS AND GUESTS.
Hosts should give their guests the home-feeling. If a host, do not worry your guests, but let them alone. You should not by over-attentions make them realize they are not at home, and perhaps wish they were.
Promote their convenience and comfort, and open to them reasonable sources of entertainment and improvement, but in such an easy, graceful way as will make it seem no trouble to you, but a pleasure.
You should not let their presence causelessly interfere with your domestic arrangements. Inform them as to the hour for meals and family worship, for retiring and rising-whether there will be a rising-bell. You should let them see that they fall as it were naturally into vacant places in the home circle.
Your rooms and table should be furnished hospitably, but not extravagantly. If any thing extraordinary renders an apology necessary, make it at once, and cease. Do not disgust by depreciating your preparations and "regretting" that you have not better.
When they speak of leaving, you will of course express any desire you feel to have them stay longer, but do not urge them against their and your sense of propriety and duty.
Guests should show their hosts the home-feeling. When a guest, learn as quickly, and conform as fully, as possible to your host's family cusIt is better for you by a little thought and attention to adjust yourself to their household arrangements than for some of them to be inconvenienced, may be, in their avocations.
By keeping your room tidy, and your articles of dress in order, you will add to their appreciation of you. If they lack help, you may readily find ways of rendering them considerate service.
Appointments. Be exact in keeping all appointments.
If you make an appointment with another at your own house, devote your time solely to him.
If you accept an appointment at the house of a public officer or a man of business, be very punctual; transact the affair with dispatch, and retire the moment it is finished.
At a dinner or supper to which you have accepted an invitation, be strictly punctual. Do not arrive much before the time nor any after. If too late
on an occasion where ceremony is required, send in your card with an apology, and retire.
Dinner parties. On receiving an invitation answer at once, positively accepting, or declining with "regrets.”
Be punctual. Do not keep the dinner waiting. Better be too late for the train !
A gentleman may offer his arm to a lady, and conduct her to the diningroom, the hostess leading the way, and the others following-giving precedence to age or other reasons for respect. A lady takes the left arm of the gentleman.
At the table the lady of the house sits at the head and the gentleman of the house opposite. The places of honor for gentlemen are next the mistress of the house, and for ladies next the master of the house, the right hand being the place of special honor. Husbands and wives or other near relatives may be seated apart for more general conversation.
Nothing on the table should be disturbed till "grace" is said. Then the napkins are spread.
In "waiting," the general rule is to serve from right to left. If two or more wait, the sides may be served at once.
The principal meats are often carved on a side-table, and served by attendants.
Serve pies with forks, puddings and tarts with spoons.
If "finger-bowls" are used, dip the fingers and wipe with the colored napkin.
Interchange civilities and thoughts with those near you.
Evening parties. Evening parties are various, and in general, ceremonious as they are fashionable.
Having accepted the invitation, do not fail to be present if you can reasonably avoid it.
A married man should never accept a lady's invitation to a party, unless his wife is included in the invitation.
On entering a drawing-room where there is a party, salute the lady of the house before speaking to any other. Then mingle with the company, salute your acquaintances. Conversations may be held with others without the formality of an introduction.
If a guest desires to withdraw before the company disperses, he should do so as quietly and as unobserved as proper respect for the hosts will permit.
Christmas. It is a commendable custom to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Christ. The occasion is peculiarly appropriate for family gatherings, and for the exchange of presents. There are no customs connected with the day requiring special discussion here.
The New Year. In New York and other cities, every gentleman is expected to call on his lady acquaintances on New Year's day, and each lady who receives calls must be prepared to do the honors of her house.
Of late years it has become fashionable for ladies in many cities and villages to announce in the newspapers the fact of their intention to receive calls upon New Year's day, which practice is very excellent, as it enables gentlemen to know positively who will be prepared to receive them on that occasion; besides, changes of residence are so frequent in the large cities as to make the publication of names and places of calling of great convenience.
The practice of issuing personal notes of invitation is not to be commended. It looks very much like begging the gentlemen to come and see them.
Upon calling, the gentlemen are invited to remove overcoat and hat, which invitation is accepted unless it is designed to make the call very brief. If refreshments are provided, the ladies will desire to have the gentlemen partake of them, which cannot conveniently be done in overcoat, with hat in hand. Gloves are sometimes retained upon the hand during the call, but this is optional. Cards are sent up, and the gentlemen are ushered into the reception-room. The call should not exceed ten or fifteen minutes, unless the callers are few, and it should be mutually agreeable to prolong the stay.
Best taste will suggest that a lady having the conveniences shall receive her guests at her own home, but it is admissible and common for several ladies to meet at the residence of one, and receive calls together. In fact, it is pleasant for two or more ladies to receive together, as several ladies can the more easily entertain a party of several gentlemen who may be present at one time. Whether ladies make announcement or not, however, it will be usually safe for gentlemen to call on their lady friends on New Year's, as the visit will be generally received with pleasure.
It is customary for the ladies who announce that they will receive, to make their parlors attractive on that day, and present themselves in full dress. They should have a bright, cheerful fire if the weather is cold, and a table, conveniently located in the room, with refreshments, consisting of fruits, cakes, bread, and other food, such as may be deemed desirable, with tea and coffee. No intoxicating drinks should be allowed. Refreshments are in no case absolutely essential. They can be dispensed with if not convenient.
Ladies expecting calls on New Year's should be in readiness to receive from 10 A. M. to 9 P. M. While gentlemen may go alone, they also fre. quently go in pairs, threes, fours or more. They call upon all the ladies of the party, and where any are not acquainted, introductions take place, care being taken that persons do not intrude themselves where they would not be welcome. Each gentleman should be provided with a large number of cards
with his own name upon each, one of which he will present to every lady of the company where he calls.
The ladies keep these cards for future reference, it being often pleasant to revive the incidents of the day by subsequent examination of the cards received upon that occasion.
An usher should be present wherever many calls are expected, to receive guests, and care for hats and coats. The calls are necessarily very brief, and are made delightfully pleasant by continual change of face and conversation. But however genial and free may be the interchange of compliments upon this occasion, no young man who is a stranger to the family should feel at liberty to call again without a subsequent invitation.
The two or three days succeeding New Year's are the ladies' days for calling, upon which occasion they pass the compliments of the season, comment upon the incidents connected with the festivities of the holiday, the number of calls made, and the new faces that made their appearance among the visitors. It is customary upon this occasion of ladies' meeting to offer refreshments, and to enjoy the intimacy of a friendly visit.
It is well to know that custom gives the parties full liberty to follow their tastes in the style and order of their ceremony.
For a stylish wedding, two or more brides-maids and two or more groomsmen are expected to be in attendance.
For a formal wedding in the evening, invitations should be given at least a week before the occasion. The lady fixes the day. Her mother or nearest female relative invites the guests.
It is a common practice in a well-ordered wedding in the home for the guests to assemble in the parlors, leaving a vacant space at the end selected for the ceremony. At the appointed time the bridal party come into the parlor in the following order: The second brides-maid and groomsman, if there are only two, enter the room first; then the first brides-maid and first groomsman, and lastly the bride and bridegroom. The officiating clergyman meets them so as to stand before them as they take their position on the floor.
When the ceremony is performed in the church, (the best place for it,) the officiating clergyman takes his seat in the chancel or inside the altar, and as the party come up the aisle in the order given above, he rises and passes to his position, and the party form in front of the altar; the bride and groom in the center, the bride at the groom's left hand, the brides-maids at her left and the groomsmen at the right of the bridegroom. Sometimes the first brides-maid and groomsman are stationed at the left of the bride, and the second brides-maid and groomsman at the right of the bridegroom.