The custom of the host and hostess receiving together, is not now prevalent. The receiving devolves upon the hostess, but it is the duty of the host to remain within sight until after the arrivals are principally over, that he may be easily found by any one seeking him. The same duty devolves upon the sons, who, that evening, must share their attentions with all. The daughters, as well as the sons, will look after partners for the young ladies who desire to dance, and they will try to see that no one is neglected before they join the dancers themselves.
After a ball, an after-call is due the lady of the house at which you were entertained, and should be made as soon as convenient—within two weeks at the farthest. The call loses its significance entirely, and passes into remissness, when a longer time is permitted to elapse. If it is not possible to make a call, send your card or leave it at the door. It has become customary of late for a lady who has no weekly reception day, in sending invitations to a ball, to inclose her card in each invitation for one or more receptions, in order that the after-calls due her may be made on that day.
The supper-room at a ball is thrown open generally at twelve o’clock. The table is made as elegant as beautiful china, cut-glass and an abundance of flowers can make it. The hot dishes are oysters, stewed, fried, broiled and scalloped, chicken, game, etc., and the cold dishes are such as boned turkey, boeuf a la mode, chicken salad, lobster salad and raw oysters. When supper is announced, the host leads the way with the lady to whom he wishes to show especial attention, who may be an elderly lady, or a stranger or a bride. The hostess remains until the last, with the gentleman who takes her to supper, unless some distinguished guest is present, with whom she leads the way. No gentleman should ever go into the supper-room alone, unless he has seen every lady enter before him. When ladies are left unattended, gentlemen, although strangers, are at liberty to offer their services in waiting upon them, for the host and hostess are sufficient guarantees for the respectability of their guests.