When to leave calling cards after an entertainment

On the subject of leaving cards, there is always much to be said. When should cards be left and when should calls be made after entertainments are questions that concern our correspondents not a little, and, therefore, the following remarks relative to the same will, no doubt, meet the requirements of many of our readers and subscribers.

To leave cards after receiving hospitality Is a time-honored custom which even in these days of change still holds good. It may be asked how did it originate, and what is the reason for so doing, and why should there be any difference made between one function and another — that is to say, why leave cards on one occasion and pay a personal call on another?

It may occupy too much space to enter at length into the why and the wherefore of these points in card leaving, it is enough for the purpose of this article to say what is done under given circumstances. Broadly speaking, to leave cards after being entertained by a friend or acquaintance implies a slight recognition of the civility received.

The distinction made between leaving cards after a dance or reception and calling after a dinner party is a very sensible one, as to receive calls from one to three hundred people, even if spread over a week, would be more than most women would care to go through, but to receive the calls of from ten to fifteen dinner guests would be pleasant rather than irksome. Again, these calls are reduced in number in most instances by the wives only calling and leaving their husband’s cards, while bachelors’ calls are never over numerous, even after dinner parties.

The time allowed to elapse before paying these calls is rather in favor of the caller’s convenience. A call need not be made within the current week if more convenient to postpone it until the following one, but between the most intimate friends, it cannot be dispensed with without some excuse being made for the omission, absence from home, press of engagements, and the like reasons, but something must be said to prove that, if the right thing has not been done, it was not from want of knowledge of what was due on the occasion.

When these calls are made, it is understood that very little is said respecting the previous dinner party; It is not discussed, as, after ten days. It has become ancient history, but a word is said early in the visit as to the party having been a very pleasant one, and that is all; the talk glides at once into other channels, unless some prominent person was one of the guests or the visitor had been introduced to a relative of the hostess, when some personal remark is made.

In leaving cards after a dance, there is a distinction and a difference for those who are acquainted and unacquainted with the hostess, and a great number of dances include the latter in both town and country society.

In town, those who have received invitations through friends only, or from a hostess by desire of the same, leave cards, as do those acquainted with her, within the current week of the dance, if not on the following afternoon, but in the country, when guests forming a house party are taken to a dance, they do not leave cards, there being no time for so doing before the expiration of a visit, therefore is not expected from them. After a dance It is not the rule for any of the guests who have been present to ask if the hostess is at home, but merely to leave cards, and if this is not done; immediately after the event this card leaving might be considered as actual calling, when not to ask for the hostess would be to place the calling on a different footing.

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Concerning the cards that should be left: A mother leaves her own card, with her daughters’ name upon it, but not her husband’s card, as, naturally, he is not invited. A young married lady, on the contrary, does leave her husband’s cards, he having been invited, and whether present or not, his cards, in consequence, are left. When young girls are invited without their mothers by the friends and acquaintances of the latter the same routine of card leaving is followed, the mother’s cards are left, with the daughters’ names upon them. Cards are also left after a dance by all those invited, yet not able to be present, save when prevented by illness, when cards cannot be left.

Afternoon entertainments have released themselves In a measure from subsequent card leaving in two ways. After very large functions the guests leave their cards in the hall on departure, or they leave them on arrival on a table as they enter, and this applies equally to large afternoon at homes within doors and to garden parties also large, both in town and country. The other mode of emancipation takes effect after small afternoon at homes and garden parties, when to leave cards would be considered over ceremonious, either on the day of the entertainment or subsequently, save in the form of first invitations.


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Source publication: The Saint Paul Globe (St. Paul, Minn.)

Source publication date: August 06, 1902

Filed under: 1900s, Culture & lifestyle, Drawings & illustrations, Entertainment, Home & garden

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