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Jowett is most inspiring to all who are seeking great strength and a powerfully developed body. As a boy he was badly injured and physicians declared But she should first ascertain whether the lady is willing to dance; and this out of consideration for the gentleman, who may otherwise be refused. No man likes to be refused the hand of a lady, though it be only for a quadrille. A sister may present her brother, or a mother her son, without any kind of preliminary; but only when there is no inferiority on the part of her own family to that of the acquaintance.
Friends may introduce friends at the house of a mutual acquaintance; but, as a rule, it is better to be introduced by the mistress of the house. Such an introduction carries more authority with it. Introductions at evening parties are now almost wholly dispensed with. Persons who meet at a friend's house are ostensibly upon an equality, and pay a bad compliment to the host by appearing suspicious and formal. Some old-fashioned country hosts yet persevere in introducing each new comer to all the assembled guests. It is a custom that cannot be too soon abolished, and one that places the last unfortunate visitor in a singularly awkward position.
All that she can do is to make a semicircular courtesy, like a concert singer before an audience, and bear the general gaze with as much composure as possible.
If, when you enter a drawing-room, your name has been wrongly announced, or has passed unheard in the buzz of conversation, make your way at once to the mistress of the house, if you are a stranger, and introduce yourself by name. This should be done with the greatest simplicity, and your rank made as little of as possible. An introduction given at a ball for the mere purpose of conducting a lady through a dance does not give the gentleman any right to bow to her on a future occasion.
If he commits this error, she may remember that she is not bound to see, or return, his salutation. Do not lightly give or promise letters of introduction. Always remember that when you give a letter of introduction you lay yourself under an obligation to the friend to whom it is addressed.
If she lives in a great city, such as Paris or London, you in a measure compel her to undergo the penalty of escorting the stranger to some of those places of public entertainment in which the capital abounds. If your friend be a married lady, and the mistress of a house, you put her to the expense of inviting the stranger to her table. We cannot be too cautious how we tax the time and purse of a friend, or weigh too seriously the question of mutual advantage in the introduction. Always ask yourself whether the person introduced will be an acceptable acquaintance to the one to whom you present her; and whether the pleasure of knowing her will compensate for the time or money which it costs to entertain her.
If the stranger is in any way unsuitable in habits or temperament, you inflict an annoyance on your friend instead of a pleasure. In questions of introduction never oblige one friend to the discomfort of another. Those to whom letters of introduction have been given, should send them to the person to whom they are addressed, and enclose a card. Never deliver a letter of introduction in person. It places you in the most undignified position imaginable, and compels you to wait while it is being read, like a servant who has been told to wait for an answer.
There is also another reason why you should not be yourself the bearer of your introduction; i. It may be that she is sufficiently ill-bred to take no notice of the letter when sent, and in such case, if you presented yourself with it, she would most probably receive you with rudeness. It is, at all events, more polite on your part to give her the option, and, perhaps, more pleasant. If the receiver of the letter be a really well-bred person, she will call upon you or leave her card the next day, and you should return her attentions within the week.
If, on the other hand, a stranger sends you a letter of introduction and her card, you are bound by the laws of politeness and hospitality, not only to call upon her the next day, but to follow up that attention with others.
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If you are in a position to do so, the most correct proceeding is to invite her to dine with you. Should this not be within your power, you can probably escort her to some of the exhibitions, bazaars, or concerts of the season; any of which would be interesting to a foreigner or provincial visitor. In short, etiquette demands that you shall exert yourself to show kindness to the stranger, if only out of compliment to the friend who introduced her to you. You are thereby giving her an opportunity of making other acquaintances, and are assisting your friend in still farther promoting the purpose for which she gave her the introduction to yourself.
Be careful at the same time only to ask such persons as she will feel are at least her own social equals. A letter of introduction should be given unsealed, not alone because your friend may wish to know what you have said of her, but also as a guarantee of your own good faith.
As you should never give such a letter unless you can speak highly of the bearer, this rule of etiquette is easy to observe. By requesting your friend to fasten the envelope before forwarding the letter to its destination, you tacitly give her permission to inspect its contents.
Let your note-paper be of the best quality and the proper size. Albert or Queen's size is the best for these purposes. It has been well said that "attention to the punctilios of politeness is a proof at once of self-respect, and of respect for your friend. To the thoroughly well-bred they are a second nature. Let no one neglect them who is desirous of pleasing in society; and, above all, let no one deem them unworthy of attention.
A morning visit should be paid between the hours of two and four p. By observing this rule you avoid intruding before the luncheon is removed, and leave in sufficient time to allow the lady of the house an hour or two of leisure for her dinner toilette. Be careful always to avoid luncheon hours when you pay morning visits.
Some ladies dine with their children at half-past one, and are consequently unprepared for the early reception of visitors. When you have once ascertained this to be the case, be careful never again to intrude at the same hour. A good memory for these trifles is one of the hall-marks of good breeding.
Visits of ceremony should be short. If even the conversation should have become animated, beware of letting your call exceed half-an-hour's length. It is always better to let your friends regret than desire your withdrawal. On returning visits of ceremony you may, without impoliteness, leave your card at the door without going in.
Do not fail, however, to inquire if the family be well.
Should there be daughters or sisters residing with the lady upon whom you call, you may turn down a corner of your card, to signify that the visit is paid to all. It is in better taste, however, to leave cards for each. Unless when returning thanks for "kind inquiries," or announcing your arrival in, or departure from, town, it is not considered respectful to send round cards by a servant. Leave-taking cards have P. Some use P. It is not the fashion on the Continent for unmarried ladies to affix any equivalent to the English "Miss" to their visiting cards.
Some English girls have of late adopted this good custom, and it would be well if it became general. Autographic facsimiles for visiting cards are affectations in any persons but those who are personally remarkable for talent, and whose autographs, or facsimiles of them, would be prized as curiosities. A card bearing the autographic signature of Agnes Strickland or Mary Somerville, though only a lithographic facsimile, would have a certain interest; whereas the signature of Jane Smith would be not only valueless; but would make the owner ridiculous.
Visits of condolence are paid within the week after the event which occasions them. Personal visits of this kind are made by relations and very intimate friends only. Acquaintances should leave cards with narrow mourning borders. On the first occasion when you are received by the family after the death of one of its members, it is etiquette to wear slight mourning.
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Umbrellas should invariably be left in the hall. Never take favourite dogs into a drawing-room when you make a morning call. Their feet may be dusty, or they may bark at the sight of strangers, or, being of too friendly a disposition, may take the liberty of lying on a lady's gown, or jumping on the sofas and easy chairs. Where your friend has a favourite cat already established before the fire, a battle may ensue, and one or other of the pets be seriously hurt. Besides, many persons have a constitutional antipathy to dogs, and others never allow their own to be seen in the sitting-rooms.
For all or any of these reasons, a visitor has no right to inflict upon her friend the society of her dog as well as of herself. Neither is it well for a mother to take young children with her when she pays morning visits; their presence, unless they are unusually well trained, can only be productive of anxiety to both yourself and your hostess. If other visitors are announced, and you have already remained as long as courtesy requires, wait till they are seated, and then rise from your chair, take leave of your hostess, and bow politely to the newly arrived guests.
You will, perhaps, be urged to remain, but, having once risen, it is best to go. If you have occasion to look at your watch during a call, ask permission to do so, and apologise for it on the plea of other appointments. In receiving morning visitors, it is not necessary that the lady should lay aside the employment in which she may be engaged, particularly if it consists of light or ornamental needle-work. Politeness, however, requires that music, drawing, or any occupation which would completely engross the attention, be at once abandoned.
You need not advance to receive visitors when announced, unless they are persons to whom you are desirous of testifying particular attention. It is sufficient if a lady rises to receive her visitors, moves forward a single step to shake hands with them, and remains standing till they are seated.
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When your visitors rise to take leave you should rise also, and remain standing till they have quite left the room. Do not accompany them to the door, but be careful to ring in good time, that the servant may be ready in the hall to let them out. A lady should dress well, but not too richly, when she pays a morning visit.
If she has a carriage at command, she may dress more elegantly than if she were on foot.