|Diane's Antique Book Collection|
Giving Invitations. – When we intend giving an entertainment, we begin by selecting such guests as may enjoy themselves together, or at least tolerate one another. If it is to be composed of gentlemen, there should be no lady present, except the lady of the house. The dinner being determined upon, we give out, two or three days beforehand, verbal or written invitations. During the season of gaiety, it is necessary to do it at least five days in advance, on account of the numerous engagements.
Invitations to dine should be answered to the lady. Invitations to a ball should be in the lady’s name, and the answer of course sent to her.
Receiving and answering invitations.- When we receive a written invitation we must answer immediately whether we accept or not, although silence may be considered equivalent to an acceptance. If we decline, we should give a plausible and polite reason for not accepting. When the invitation is verbal, we must avoid being urged, for nothing is more weak and disobliging; we ought either to accept or refuse in a frank and friendly manner, offering some reasonable motive for declining, to which we should not again refer.
It is not allowable to be urged, except when we are requested to dine with some one whom we have only seen at the house of a third person, or when we are invited on a visit, or other similar occasion. In the former case, if we accept, we should first leave a card in order to open the acquaintance. Having once accepted, we cannot break our engagement, unless for a most urgent cause.
Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884