Visiting-Cards and Calls
Visiting-cards, size and style.
It is necessary for every young man to have a supply of visiting-cards, and for these there is one fixed rule, any departure from which betokens want of knowledge of the customs of well-bred people. The size must be exactly three inches by one and a half. The pasteboard must be pure white and glossy and the lettering must be in italic.
The customary or other title must precede the name.
In the absence of a permanent address.
An idea prevails among young men of a certain class that it is incorrect to put the title Mr. before their own name-on a visiting-card. This is a great mistake. Not to put it is to show oneself lacking in savoir faire. The name must always be preceded by Mr. or Sir, or other title. The address must occupy the left-hand corner, and the name of ones club or clubs must follow it. When a young man has no permanent address, it is well to have only his name printed, filling in the address in pencil before leaving or presenting his card.
The hours for calling.
The hours for calling are from four to seven in the afternoon, but young men who are not on very intimate terms with the family should carefully abstain from calling after six oclock, lest they should be the last and solitary caller.
Greeting the hostess.
The reason why the hat is carried.
When the door is opened, and the question, Is Mrs. Blank at home? answered in the affirmative, the visitor is invited to follow the servant. He may take off his overcoat if he wishes, but he must carry his hat and stick in his hand. The right-hand glove must be removed. The gloved hand is never given to a lady, certain exceptional circumstances proving the rule. Arrived in the drawing-room, he holds his hat and glove in the left hand, greets his hostess first, she shaking hands with him, and then he looks round the room and greets any acquaintance he may recognise, going up to them if he knows them well, bowing if his previous knowledge of them has been slight. Having taken his seat, he still holds his hat in his hand, and he must find small talk as best he can, for sitting silent is awkward for him and distressing to his hostess. She, by the way, will probably say, Would you not like to put down your hat? indicating some spot where he may lay it. The reason of carrying the hat to the drawing-room is a somewhat subtle one. It is based on the supposition that the masculine caller feels himself privileged in being permitted to pay his respects, and feeling himself on sufferance, is ready to leave in a moment, hat in hand, should he not find his presence agreeable and acceptable.
I have a private theory that this custom is cherished and kept up by men from a conviction that their hats are much safer in their own sight in the drawing-room than they would be downstairs in the hall. New umbrellas have been taken instead of old, as we all know, and new hats are quite as tempting, if not more so.
The card should not be sent up.
Do not send your card up when making a call. This is reserved for business men. The servant asks your name, and it must be given very distinctly. It will then be announced in a loud, clear voice when the door is opened. Should the hostess show by her manner that she has not recognised the name, its
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