Five O'clock Tea and afternoon at-Homes

Duties of men at five o’clock tea.

Gentlemen are in great request at five o’clock tea. Their duties are rather onerous if there are but one or two men and the usual crowd of ladies. They have to carry teacups about, hand sugar, cream, and cakes or muffins, and keep up all the time a stream of small talk, as amusing as they can make it. They must rise every time a lady enters or leaves the room, opening the door for her exit if no one else is nearer to it, and, if his hostess requests him, he must see the lady downstairs to her carriage or cab.

His own refreshment.

With regard to the viands, a man helps himself, but not till he has seen that all the ladies in his vicinity have everything they can possibly want. His hostess, or some lady deputed by her to preside at the tea- table, gives him tea or coffee, and he adds sugar and cream.

Afternoon at-homes.

With regard to afternoon at-homes, the arrangements are quite different. Invitations are sent out a fortnight or three weeks before, generally the latter, and in the height of the season even longer.

Suppose the young man’s name to be Edward Smith. His invitation would be as follows:—

Mr. Edward Smith.

Lady Dart

At Home,

Tuesday, November 3rd.

4 To 7.

12, Evergreen Square.

R. S. V. P.

Accepting invitation.

He replies, on a sheet of notepaper:—“Mr. Edward Smith has much pleasure in accepting Lady Dart’s kind invitation for Tuesday afternoon, November 3rd.”

A great mistake.

It’s a great mistake to write:—“Will have much pleasure in accepting.” Accepting is the action of the present moment while he is writing the reply. “Will have” refers to the future, and is therefore unsuitable. The answering of invitations is a simple matter enough, but it is a test of good breeding.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.