|Diane's Antique Book Collection|
ETIQUETTE OF PUBLIC PLACES
Picnics.- In giving a picnic, the great thing to remember is to be sure and have enough to eat and drink. Always provide for the largest possible number of guests that may by any chance come.
Send out your invitations three weeks beforehand, in order that you may be enabled to fill up your list, if you have many refusals.
Always transport your guests to the scene of action in covered carriages, or carriages that are capable of being covered, in order that you may be provided against rain, which is proverbial on such occasions.
Send a separate conveyance containing the provisions, in charge of two or three servants – not too many, as half the fun is lost if the gentlemen do not officiate as amateur waiters.
The above rules apply to picnics which are given by one person, and to which invitations are sent out just the same as to an ordinary ball or dinner party. But there are picnics and picnics as the French say.
Let us treat of the picnic, in which a lot of people join together for the purpose of a day’s ruralizing. In this case, it is usual for the ladies to contribute the viands. The gentlemen should provide and superintend all the arrangements for the conveyance of the guests to and from the scene of festivity.
How to Dress
Great latitude in dress is allowed on these occasions. The ladies all come in morning dresses and hats; the gentlemen in light coats, wide-awake hats, caps, or straw hats. In fact, the morning dress of the seaside is quite de rigueur at a picnic. After dinner it is usual to pass the time in singing, or if there happens to be an orchestra of any kind, in dancing. This is varied by games of all kinds, croquet, etc. Frequently after this the company breaks up into little knots and coteries, each having its own centre of amusement.
Duties of Gentlemen
Each gentleman should endeavor to do his utmost to be amusing on these occasions. If he has a musical instrument, and can play it, let him bring it – for instance, a cornet, which is barely tolerated in a private drawing-room, is a great boon, when well played at a picnic. On these occasions a large bell or gong should be taken, in order to summon the guests when required; and the guests should be careful to attend to the call at once, for many a pleasant party of this kind has been spoiled by a few selfish people keeping out of the way when wanted.
Committee of Arrangements
Finally, it would be well on these occasions to have each department vested in the hands of one responsible person, in order that when we begin dinner we should not find a heap of forks but no knives, beef, but no mustard, lobster and lettuces but no salad-dressing, veal-and-ham, pies but no bread, and nearly fifty other such contretemps, which are sure to come about unless the matter is properly looked after and organized.
Wells, A. M., Richard A., MANNERS, CULTURE AND DRESS, Massachusetts, King, Richardson & Company Publishers, 1893