At Lunch

Going down to luncheon.

In the absence of the host.

Positions at table.

Luncheon is a comparatively informal meal. The guests do not pair off, as at dinner, but on the meal being announced the host, if there be one, would open the door for the ladies, who would go downstairs, followed by the hostess, the gentlemen behind her. Very often the master of the house is absent at luncheon, in which case the hostess would rise, and, addressing her principal guest, would propose to her to lead the way downstairs. “Shall we go down to lunch, Mrs. So-and-so?” would be sufficient. The other ladies would probably be sufficiently versed in the laws of society to refrain from preceding those of higher position, and the hostess would always be the last lady to leave the drawing-room. The guests sit down where they please, the host or hostess sometimes making a suggestion on the matter.

After the meal.

Making calls at luncheon-time.

After the meal the guests return to the drawing-room, but only for a short time. The gentlemen resume their overcoats and take their hats and umbrellas in the hall, where they had left them. Should a man make a call at luncheon-time, he is often asked to remain for the meal. In that case he would carry his hat and stick into the dining-room with him, just as he would if making an ordinary call. But it is much better never to call anywhere at lunch-time unless one is on very familiar terms with the family. Many young men acquire a reputation for “cadging” for lunch or dinner in this way.

Invitations from young members of the family.

Invitations from the younger members of the family are not official, unless plainly endorsed by the elders, or one of them. “Miss Lucy invited me to lunch” is a poor plea. “Frank asked me to come and dine this evening,” is no better. Young men cannot be too particular about this matter. “I’ll get my mother to ask you to dinner, old man,” would be the safer sort of invitation. The lady of the house must fix the date, and she usually writes the invitation herself or gives it personally.

Unendorsed invitations from a daughter of the house.

Should a daughter of the house give a young man an invitation to any meal, without reference to her father or mother, it would be incorrect in the highest degree to accept it. As to children, their invitations go for nothing, of course, though cases have been known in which they have been accepted. “I met little Eddy in the park, and he made me come in with him.” This has a very poor and pitiable sound at luncheon hour or tea-time.

Making one’s adieux.

It is not necessary to make one’s adieux to each guest in turn. The hostess is taken leave of first, as a rule, and the lady, or ladies, with whom one has been conversing will expect a special word and bow, perhaps offering a hand; but a general bow will be sufficient for those to whom one is not very well known. It is only at family parties that one has conscientiously to go round the room shaking hands with everybody.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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