Those who are in the habit of giving dinner parties should return the invitation before another is extended to them. Society is very severe upon those who do not return debts of hospitality, if they have the means to do so. If they never entertain anyone because of limited means, or for other good reasons, it is so understood, and it is not expected that they should make exceptions; or if they are in the habit of giving other entertainments and not dinners, their debts of hospitality can be returned by invitations to whatever the entertainment might be. Some are deterred from accepting invitations by the feeling that they cannot return the hospitality in so magnificent a form. It is not the costly preparations, nor the expensive repast offered which are the most agreeable features of any entertainment, but it is the kind and friendly feeling shown. Those who are not deterred from accepting such invitations for this reason, and who enjoy the fruits of friendliness thus shown them, must possess narrow views of their duty, and very little self-respect, if, when an opportunity presents itself in any way to reciprocate the kind feeling manifested, they fail to avail themselves of it. True hospitality, however, neither expects nor desires any return.
EXPENSIVE DINNERS NOT THE MOST ENJOYABLE.
It is a mistake to think that in giving a dinner, it is indispensable to have certain dishes and a variety of wines, because others serve them. Those who entertain frequently often use their own discretion, and never feel obliged to do as others do, if they wish to do differently. Some of the most enjoyable dinners given are those which are least expensive. It is this mistaken feeling that people cannot entertain without committing all sorts of extravagances, which causes many persons, in every way well qualified to do incalculable good socially, to exclude themselves from all general society.
WINES AT DINNERS.
The menu of a dinner party is by some not regarded as complete, unless it includes one or more varieties of wine. When used it is first served after soup, but any guest may, with propriety, decline being served. This, however, must not be done ostentatiously. Simply say to the waiter, or whoever pours it, “not any; thank you.” Wine, offered at a dinner party, should never be criticized, however poor it may be. A person who has partaken of wine, may also decline to have the glass filled again.
If the guests should include one or more people of well-known temperance principles, in deference to the scruples of these guests, wines or liquors should not be brought to the table. People who entertain should also be cautious as to serving wines at all. It is impossible to tell what harm you may do to some of your highly esteemed guests. It may be that your palatable wines may create an appetite for the