A lady should always be dressed sufficiently well to receive company, and not keep them waiting while she is making her toilet.
A well-bred person always endeavors to receive visitors at whatever time they call, or whoever they may be, but there are times when it is impossible to do so, and then, of course, a servant is instructed beforehand to say “not at home” to the visitor. If, however, the servant admits the visitor and he is seated in the drawing room or parlor, it is the duty of the hostess to receive him or her at whatever inconvenience it may be to herself.
When you call upon persons, and are informed at the door that the parties whom you ask for are engaged, you should never insist in an attempt to be admitted, but should acquiesce at once in any arrangements which they have made for their convenience, and to protect themselves from interruption. However intimate you may be in any house you have no right, when an order has been given to exclude general visitors, and no exception has been made of you, to violate that exclusion, and declare that the party should be at home to you. There are times and seasons when a person desires to be left entirely alone, and at such times there is no friendship for which she would give up her occupation or her solitude.
GENERAL RULES REGARDING CALLS.
A gentleman in making a formal call should retain his hat and gloves in his hand on entering the room. The hat should not be laid upon a table or stand, but kept in the hand, unless it is found necessary from some cause to set it down. In that case, place it upon the floor. An umbrella should be left in the hall. In an informal evening call, the hat, gloves, overcoat and cane may be left in the hall.
A lady, in making a call, may bring a stranger, even a gentleman, with her, without previous permission. A gentleman, however, should never take the same liberty.
No one should prolong a call if the person upon whom the call is made is found dressed ready to go out.
A lady should be more richly dressed when calling on her friends than for an ordinary walk.
A lady should never call upon a gentleman except upon some business, officially or professionally.
Never allow young children, dogs or pets of any sort to accompany you in a call. They often prove disagreeable and troublesome.
Two persons out of one family, or at most three, are all that should call together.
It is not customary in cities to offer refreshments to callers. In the country, where the caller has come from some distance, it is exceedingly hospitable to do so.
Calls in the country may be less ceremonious and of longer duration, than those made in the city.
A person making a call should not, while waiting for a hostess, touch an open piano, walk about the room examining pictures, nor handle any ornament in the room.