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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Etiquette For Anniversaries And Other Occasions

( Originally Published 1902 )



Among the festivities which society provides for its enjoyment, that of the anniversary wedding has of late years come greatly into vogue. It is a pleasant custom, and has been gradually extended until numerous anniversaries of the wedding day, differently named, are celebrated with appropri ate ceremonies. Beginning with the silver and golden wedding, on respectively the twenty-fifth and the fiftieth anniversaries, there have been gradually added various others, such as the wooden wedding on the fifth, the tin wedding on the tenth, the crystal wedding on the fifteenth, the linen or china wedding on the twentieth, and, as an occasion of exceedingly rare occurance, the diamond wedding on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the marriage.

This is not the whole list, much ingenuity having been exercised in adding to the frequency and diversity of these anniversaries, and to those named mav be added the iron wedding, celebrated after one year of married life ; the paper wedding, on the second anniversary; the leather, on the third; the straw, on the fourth; the wooden, on the seventh ; the ivory, on the thirtieth ; the coral, on the thirty-fifth ; the woolen, or. the fortieth; and the bronze, on the forty-fifth. It is now a common custom, however, to overlook all the anniversaries preceding the silver wedding.

Gifts and Invitations.

A leading feature on these occasions is the sending of gifts, which are expected to be made of the material which gives the name to the wedding, and much ingenuity is exercised in selecting or inventing suitable presents, those of an amusing kind being often a leading feature.

Invitations to any of these occasions should be appropriate in design. For instance, the straw wedding cards may be printed on straw-colored stationery, the ivory wedding cards on ivory, and the bronze wedding cards in a similar way. For the silver wedding the cards may be printed in letters of silver, and in golden letters for the golden anniversary.

An appropriate form of invitation, say for a silver wedding, will be as follows:

1870. MR. AND MRS. BROWN 1895.
Request the pleasure of your company,
On Monday, June the Ninth,
At eight o'clock P.M.,
SILVER WEDDING.
WILLIAM BROWN. SUSAN CAMPBELL.

Many persons omit the names at the end, and in some cases an exact copy of the marriage notice, taken from the newspapers of the wedding period, is made to serve the purpose. A second form is here appended:

1850. 1900.
MR. AND MRS. HENRY WILSON,
At Home,
May fourth, 1900,
at eight o'clock P.M.,
GOLDEN WEDDING.

The entertainment may be similar to that supplied at any reception, with the addition of a large wedding-cake, containing a ring, which the bride cuts just as she did twenty-five years before.

As to character of the' gifts, there is abundant scope for selection, with the general remembrance that they should be in consonance with the name of the anniversary. In the case of a wooden wedding, for instance, there is an opportunity for the bestowal of beautiful gifts in wood-carving, handsome pieces of furniture and picture frames, as well as the regulation wooden rollers, chopping trays, etc., for the kitchen. Bits of birch-bark are frequently used for the invitations.

Tin weddings have become occasions of special liveliness, and much ingenuity is exercised in devising amusing gifts. One young wife received from her father-in-law a check, marked " tin," enclosed in an elaborate tin pocket-book. The tin utensils used in the kitchen and household furnish an abundant variety for choice. Tin funnels holding bouquets of flowers and tied with ribbons are usually numerous, and the glittering metal, adorned with bows of ribbon of every hue, is very effective when displayed on a table. The invitation is usually printed on a bit of tin.

On the fifteenth anniversary, or crystal wedding, the invitations are frequently crystalized, while the gifts may embrace every variety of glassware. The linen wedding is more rarely celebrated, many persons considering it unlucky. The Scotch have a superstition that if any allusion is made to this anniversary, one or other of the married couple will die within the year.

The silver wedding is usually a joyous occasion. The bride and groom are still in the prime of life, their children are of the age for a full enjoyment of festivity, and their circle of friends is likely to be complete. Those who receive invitations usually send some present composed of silver, which may be as trivial or as costly as the donor chooses. They are generally marked " Silver Wedding," or bear some appropriate motto with the initials of the couple enclosed in a true lover's knot. The variety of articles is almost endless,-silver clocks, photograph frames, belt-clasps, mirrors, brushes and combs, and other toilet articles set in solid silver, and the long array of table-ware.

The golden wedding is a much less frequent occasion, and far less likely to be a joyous one. Age has crept upon the principals, and is creeping upon their children and friends, life has grown sober, and its pathway is apt to be strewn with many sombre memories.

As articles of gold are apt to be more expensive than many of those invited care to give, flowers are frequently made to do duty in their place-preferably yellow ones. As for the diamond wedding, the seventyfifth anniversary, it is so rare an occasion that no description of it is necessary. Of course, it calls for presents of jewelry, though, as in the case of the golden wedding, guests may replace them with something less expensive and more appropriate to the age of the married pair.

Christenings.

Another occasion incident to married life, is the christening, which next demands consideration at our hands.

When children are to be christened at home, it is rapidly becoming the custom to celebrate such events by giving some sort of a social entertainment, the size or arrangement of which depends upon the taste and circumstances of the parents. If many are to be present, the invitations should be sent out formally, as though for an afternoon re ception. The usual hours selected are from 4 until 6 P.M. Upon a small table a silver or china bowl should be placed, which is used as a font. Flowers in abundance are never in bad taste at a christening.

After the clergyman has performed the baptism, a beverage called " candle " is served in cups to the guests.

Recipe for making Caudle. This should be made of fine, smooth oatmeal gruel, flavored with wine or rum, lemon peel or nutmeg, and sugar added according to taste. Of course, in the case of a church christening no house-entertainment is called for, and a family party is all that is likely to come together.

Private Theatricals.

The private theatrical provides an entertainment which is daily growing in popularity both in England and our own country. Sometimes a stage is erected in a private house, but more frequently small theatres are engaged, where the performance takes place.

Instruction, or "coaching," is as a rule given to the amateur performers by some professional manager, actor, or actress en gaged for the occasion, and is essential if any satisfactory entertainment is hoped for. Rehearsals are equally necessary and must be frequent to insure success.

For tableaux it is better to have the advice and taste of some clever artist, as the beauty and interest of the human pictures depend so largely upon the posing and drapery of the figures, to say nothing of the effect of the lights and the choice of colors.

Entertainments of these kinds may take a considerable variety of forms, and are very pleasant breaks in the monotony of party giving and the other set affairs of ordinary life. The time spent in preparation, however, is likely to be considerable, and the result is often more farcical than the performers intend or understand.

Etiquette for General Occasions.

There are, or should be, rules of etiquette applicable to every situation, the home circle, the street, the store, the traveling conveyance, and in short for a11 the occasions in which men and women are brought together. These consist mainly in observing the ordinary requisites of politeness, the avoidance of rude or selfish behavior, and of any actions likely to hurt the feelings or offend the tastes of those with whom chance or social relations bring us into contact. It is not sufficient for the demands of society that we are morally correct ; correctness in deportment is no less important, and there are numbers of small observances required from any one who wishes to keep on the correct side of the line which divides good manners from ignorant or boorish behavior.

Etiquette of the Household.

First among these requisites comes the etiquette of the home circle, in which the principle of politeness and courtesy are often laid aside as a consequence of careless habits and selfish egotism. Good manners are too often a cloak which is flung aside like a needless burden as soon as the home threshold is crossed, yet there is no place where kindness and thoughtfulness should be considered as more important, and in which neglect of the small courtesies of life are so likely to wound or distress.

Certainly the true gentleman or lady will endeavor to be as courteous and considerate in the family circle as among strangers, and equally avoid impatient and cutting remarks or lack of polite attention. Some few remarks on the rules of propriety for the home will not come amiss.

The house should be kept in as good order for the comfort of the family as when strangers are expected, and the members of the household should be careful to act in drawing-room or at table as if a guest were present. Formality, indeed, is not called for, but ease of manner does not imply rudeness, and politeness should never be laid aside.

Only a few leading suggestions can be here given. These will suggest others to all who attend to them. First, it is important to make special efforts to be punctual at meal time. Nothing interferes with the regular movements of the household, or disturbs the equanimity of the hostess, more than carelessness or irregularity in this respect. To have to keep food warm for the late comer, or perhaps to cook it afresh, is a needless waste of time and labor, and is apt to add to the household expenses.

Do not fail to rise and offer a chair on the entrance of an older person, or at all events an infirm person, to the room in which you are seated, and never precede an older person in entering or leaving a room, or in ascending stairs. Do not permit children to occupy the pleasantest seats, to the deprivation of their elders, or to be annoyingly intrusive when older persons are engaged in conversation. The " children's hour " should not be permitted to encroach upon that of their elders. Never enter any person's room without knocking.

Be careful to give any one who desires to read full access to the light. Avoid making unnecessary noise on coming home late at night, and in this way disturbing the repose of the household. Gentlemen who are in the habit of smoking at home should confine their devotions of the cigar to a single room, and avoid careless distribution of ashes or matches on floors or tables.

If callers are likely to drop into meals, it is advisable to have a seat at the table reserved; and a room should also be set aside, where possible, for chance visiting friends. In every case a welcome should be ready, and every indication of being discommoded be sedulously avoided.

As regards the intercourse of the immediate members of the household, it will suffice to say that, while formality can well be laid aside, politeness and courtesy should never be forgotten.

Table Manners.

In conclusion a few rules of importance in table manners, familiar to most, but too often carelessly ignored, may be given. The napkin should be spread over the knees, not fastened at the neck or tucked into a button hole. It should be folded after using, if the hostess folds hers.

The fork should be held in the palm of the left hand. If in the right, it should be used with the prongs upward, and held between fingers and thumb.

Avoid bending over the plate, drooping the head too low, thrusting the elbows out, or sitting with the back turned toward the person in the next chair.

Be careful not to take large mouthfuls nor to eat too hastily or heartily.

Never hesitate to take the last piece of bread that may be offered. A refusal to do so would be a reflection upon the hostess, suggesting that she had not provided fully for her guests.

In regard to rarer dishes, however, it is wise to show no inclination for more, if the supply on the table seems small.

Never play with napkin ring, fork, or other article, and keep the hands off the table when not employed. Never leave the table till the meal is over, and avoid reading newspapers, books, etc., at table unless alone. Never use a spoon to eat vegetables. A fork is the proper thing. Never take butter from the dish with your own knife, or use it except on your own plate. It is scarcely necessary again to give warning against putting the knife in the mouth. Yet this unpardonable breach of table etiquette is often committed by persons whose training should have taught them better.

The table should be a centre of cheerful and enlivening conversation, and too close attention to the duty of eating should be avoided, alike from reasons having to do with healthy digestion, and the desirability of every one striving to bear a part in the entertainment of the family circle. The table is the one place where all the family meet at leisure, and where they should seek to make themselves agreeable.

Etiquette of the Street.

Courtesy requires the return of all civil greetings-those of servants included. Only the most serious causes can justify "a cut."

In bowing, the head should be bent; a mere lowering of the eye-lids, affected by some people, is rude. Etiquette does not permit a familiar nod, except between business men or very intimate friends. In passing and repassing on a public promenade or drive, bows need to be exchanged only at the first meeting. In carrying canes, umbrellas, and packages, care should be taken not to discommode passers with them. This is particularly needed in the case of raised umbrellas, which are often carried with careless disregard of the convenience of others. This is one annoying way in which selfishness is shown.

At a street crossing it is the duty of gentlemen to make way for ladies, and younger for older persons. In walking or driving, the rule to keep to the right will enable all to avoid danger of collision.

A gentleman should always offer his arm to a lady in the evening. In the day this is only in order in case of the pavement being slippery, there being a crowd, or the lady being old or needing support. If there are two ladies, he should offer his arm to one, and let the other walk beside her.

In the Electric Car.

If a gentleman desires to offer his seat to a lady, he should not beckon to her, but rise and offer it to her courteously. It is the duty of the lady, in accepting the seat, to acknowledge his courteous attention by a bow and an audible expression of thanks. On the other hand it is an indication of illbreeding to show signs of displeasure if, on entering a crowded car, no seat is offered. It should be borne in mind that the gentleman has a right to his seat, and is under no obligation, except that of politeness, to give it up, and weariness or weakness may render it inadvisable for him to rise. No lady, if young or strong, will expect or permit an old gentleman to relinquish to her his seat. If, however, a lady is ill or greatly fatigued she should not hesitate to request a seat, giving her reasons for doing so. No gentleman, and few who are not gentlemen, would refuse such a request.

No gentleman will take a vacant seat while ladies are standing, and none should stand on the car platform in such a manner as to discommode alighting passengers. It is easy and courteous to move aside, and step down into the street if necessary. If baskets or bundles are brought into the car care should be taken not to let them annoy passengers.

Etiquette of Business.

Never forget that time is precious to some persons, though you may be ready to waste it; also that money is necessary, and that it is every one's duty to settle all debts as promptly as possible.

Never fail to have all the details of an agreement decided so far as they can be before the transaction is concluded, and bear in mind that a contract can be broken only by the consent of all the parties concerned.

Never keep washer-women, seamstresses, nor any one dependent upon daily labor waiting for payment, and, on the other hand, when requesting payment of a debt, avoid any unpleasantness of tone or manner.

Never buy on credit, if cash can be bad. This is a rule of common sense and practical economy.

Never forget that a character for fair dealing is a capital that cannot be lost. Do not think it unnecessary to learn the min utest details of any business, nor imagine that success in any business can be attained without a thorough training for it.

Never fail to be courteous in all business intercourse ; a pleasant manner will do much to insure success.

Never insist on entering any business office, if told that its occupant is not at leisure. Courtesy requires that you should quietly await his leisure, or offer 'to call again if time will not permit you to wait.

Etiquette of the Club.

Doubtless, while there are few members of clubs who do not have a sufficient knowledge of the rules of etiquette governing them, some may desire information on certain points, and it is for the benefit of the latter that the following brief directions are given :

All members should become familiar with the regulations, and rigidly obey them. You have a full right to vote against the admission to a small social club of any one whose society is not agreeable to you. It would destroy the pleasure of such a club if all its members were not congenial. Yet you should not allow personal prejudice to influence you in voting upon the admission of a new member of a large club. Is the gentleman's record clear, and is he in all respects a worthy associate for gentlemen? This is the only question to be asked.

Never persistently propose for membership of a small club a name that has been refused. Avoid any conduct likely to be disagreeable or disobliging to fellow-mem bers. A gentleman should be as courteous in a club-house as he would be in his own. Do not talk loudly in reading-rooms or library, and never misuse books, newspapers, nor other club property.

It is selfish and impolite to monopolize the best arm chair, to make a practice of dining early to secure an extra share of a favorite dish, or to require special attention from waiters to the discomfort of other guests.

Avoid showing anger in political or religious discussions, or making a personal matter of an argument. Do not seek to force your opinions on others against their will. Never mention the names of ladies in the club, or show idle curiosity about other members.

Never send an employee out of the clubhouse on any private errand without first requesting permission of the clerk or superintendent.

If the guest of a club, do not take the liberty of introducing any one else; but the guest of a club is expected to avail himself of all the privileges of its members.

When a gentleman is admitted to the privileges of a club through the courtesy of a member, he is expected, when his temporary membership ceases, to pay any debts he may have incurred, for if he omits to do this his club-host is obliged to settle his account for him.

Etiquette of Traveling.

Ladies should wear neat traveling dresses of suitable material and simple style, display as little jewelry as possible, and carry the smallest amount of baggage by hand. It is important to have the initials or full name on all trunks.

Never attract attention by loud talking or laughing, and, if under the escort of a gentleman, do not annoy him with needless requests. Always repay a gentleman any traveling expenses, no matter how trivial. A lady when traveling alone, should, if possible, arrange to be met at the station by some friend. In arriving at a station in a large city where she is a stranger, she should avoid taking a hack, choosing instead horsecars, or the stages plying between stations. While always acknowledging with thanks any courtesy offered, young ladies should avoid entering into unnecessary conversation with or accepting favors from men who are strangers.

Older ladies are privileged to offer advice or assistance, should occasion require, to young ladies traveling alone.

It is courteous for a gentleman to offer to buy tickets, and check the baggage of a lady who is traveling under his care; but he should first take her to the ladies' waiting room, not leave her standing on a crowded platform. He may also offer to get her refreshments, newspapers, or books, and-if the journey is a long one-invite her to walk up and down the platform at the stations. If, by any accident, the friends expected fail to meet a lady at the station, the gentleman escorting her should, if possible, go with her to her destination.

A gentleman may offer to help a lady, even if she is a stranger, whenever she seems really in need of aid. For instance, if she is laden with many parcels, or has several children with her who must be transferred from boat to car, or station to station.

Two gentlemen, strangers to each other, may talk together if agreeable to both; but it is wise to discuss only general topics.

Gentlemen may offer to open or shut a window for ladies; but should never presume upon a chance civility thus extended, by attempting to use it as a means of entering into conversation with them. While not regarded by all persons as obligatory, it is always courteous for a gentleman to offer his seat to a lady who is standing in any public conyeyance.

No gentleman should smoke in cars of other places when ladies are present, spit on the floors in cars or stations, be disobliging in a smoking-car by refusing to change his seat to accommodate a party who may desire to play some game, or accept a light, or any trifling civility, from a fellow passenger, without any expression of thanks.

Before entering boat, train, or car, give the passengers who are in the act of leaving time to get off. Before taking a seat just vacated wait a sufficient time to see if its former occupant intends to return.

It is ill-bred to complain about the trivial discomforts that fall to every traveler's lot, and make uncomplimentary compari sons between one's own home and the place where one happens to be.

Never occupy more than one seat in crowded conveyances, and if you have placed a parcel on a empty seat, cheerfully remove it whenever it is needed. Do not take the seat beside any person in a steamcar without asking if it is engaged.

Never incommode fellow-travelers by opening a window which forces them to sit in a draught-it may be an affair of life and death to delicate persons.

Table Etiquette for Children.

It may not be out of place to add here a few good old rules for children's behavior at table which can safely be followed:

Give the child a seat that shall be strictly its own.

Teach it to take its seat quietly. To use its napkin properly.

To wait patiently to be served.

To answer promptly.

To say " thank you."

If asked to leave the table for a forgotten article, or. for any purpose, to do so at once.

Never to interrupt and never to contradict.

Never to make remarks about the food. Teach the child to keep his plate in order.

Not to handle the bread nor to drop food on the cloth and floor.

To always say " excuse me, please," to the mother when at home, and to the lady or hostess when visiting, if leaving the table before the rest of the party.

To fold its napkin and to put back its chair or push it close to the table before leaving.

And after leaving the table not to return.

Children who observe every one of these rules are well-behaved, delightful companions, and owe it to their mothers's careful training.



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