THE NUMBER TO INVITE.
Persons giving balls or dancing parties should be careful not to invite more than their rooms will accommodate, so as to avoid a crush. Invitations to crowded balls are not hospitalities, but inflictions. A hostess is usually safe, however, in inviting one-fourth more than her rooms will hold, as that proportion of regrets are apt to be received. People who do not dance will not, as a rule, expect to be invited to a ball or dancing party.
DUTIES OF GUESTS.
Some persons may be astonished to learn that any duties devolve upon the guests. In fact there are circles where all such duties are ignored.
It is the duty of every person who has at first accepted the invitation, and subsequently finds that it will be impossible to attend, to send a regret, even at the last moment, and as it is rude to send an acceptance with no intention of going, those who so accept will do well to remember this duty. It is the duty of every lady who attends a ball, to make her toilet as fresh as possible. It need not be expensive, but it should at least be clean; it may be simple, but it should be neither soiled nor tumbled. The gentlemen should wear evening dress.
It is the duty of every person to arrive as early as possible after the hour named, when it is mentioned in the invitation.
Another duty of guests is that each one should do all in his or her power to contribute to the enjoyment of the evening, and neither hesitate nor decline to be introduced to such guests as the hostess requests. It is not binding upon any gentleman to remain one moment longer than he desires with any lady. By constantly moving from one to another, when he feels so inclined, he gives an opportunity to others to circulate as freely; and this custom, generally introduced in our society, would go a long way toward contributing to the enjoyment of all. The false notion generally entertained that a gentleman is expected to remain standing by the side of a lady, like a sentinel on duty, until relieved by some other person, is absurd, and deters many who would gladly give a few passing moments to lady acquaintances, could they but know that they would be free to leave at any instant that conversation flagged, or that they desired to join another. In a society where it is not considered a rudeness to leave after a few sentences with one, to exchange some words with another, there is a constant interchange of civilities, and the men circulate through the room with that charming freedom which insures the enjoyment of all.
While the hostess is receiving, no person should remain beside her except members of her family who receive with her, or such friends as she has designated to assist her. All persons entering should pass on to make room for others.