VISITS OF CONDOLENCE.
Visits of condolence should be made within a week after the event which occasioned them; but if the acquaintance be slight, immediately after the family appear at public worship. A card should be sent in, and if your friends are able to receive you, your manners and conversation should be in harmony with the character of your visit. It is deemed courteous to send in a mourning card; and for ladies to make their calls in black silk or plain-colored apparel. It denotes that they sympathize with the afflictions of the family, and a warm, heartfelt sympathy is always appreciated.
Evening visits are paid only to those with whom we are well acquainted. They should not be frequent, even where one is intimate, nor should they be protracted to a great length. Frequent visits are apt to become tiresome to your friends or acquaintances, and long visits may entitle you to the appellation of “bore.”
If you should happen to pay an evening visit at a house where a small party had assembled, unknown to you, present yourself and converse for a few minutes with an unembarrassed air, after which you may leave, pleading as an excuse that you had only intended to make a short call. An invitation to stay and spend the evening, given for the sake of courtesy, should not be accepted. If urged very strongly to remain, and the company is an informal gathering, you may with propriety consent to do so.
KEEP AN ACCOUNT OF CALLS.
A person should keep a strict account of ceremonial calls, and take note of how soon calls are returned. By doing so, an opinion can be formed as to how frequently visits are desired. Instances may occur, when, in consequence of age or ill health, calls should be made without any reference to their being returned. It must be remembered that nothing must interrupt the discharge of this duty.
CALLS OF CEREMONY AMONG FRIENDS.
Among relatives and friends, calls of mere ceremony are unnecessary. It is, however, needful to make suitable calls, and to avoid staying too long, if your friend is engaged. The courtesies of society should be maintained among the nearest friends, and even the domestic circle.
“Engaged” Or “Not at home.”
If a lady is so employed that she cannot receive callers she should charge the servant who goes to answer the bell to say that she is “engaged” or “not at home.” This will prove sufficient with all well-bred people.
The servant should have her orders to say “engaged” or “not at home” before any one has called, so that the lady shall avoid all risk of being obliged to inconvenience herself in receiving company when she has intended to deny herself. If there are to be exceptions made in favor of any individual or individuals, mention their names specially to the servant, adding that you will see them if they call, but to all others you are “engaged.”