On the other hand, any special ornamentation, such as gilt edges, or a vandyked border, is not regarded as being good taste. But, after all, the quality of paper is of far less significance than the promptitude of the reply. Invitations are responded to in as nearly as possible their own terms; that is, the day, the date, and the hour, are all repeated in the reply. This avoids the possibility of any misconception.
A girl sometimes feels offended if invited to a dinner-party at the last moment, to fill the place of someone prevented from attending. This is not the right spirit for any girl to indulge in who hopes to become a social success. One may be fairly good-natured without rushing to the extreme of making oneself a door-mat; but should the same hustess, on several occasions, invite a girl as a pis alter, without, from time to time, including her also in the original list of guests, then she is perfectly justified in declining to fill a vacant place at the last moment. Even the gentlest and least egoistic of girls could not fail to perceive in this line of conduct a slight implied.
Some girls become quite popular by the charming notes they write to members of their social circle, and by the interesting long letters they send to friends abroad. Relatives and acquaintances who are far away from home occasionally get neglected - "out of sight, out of mind." The good-natured girl, therefore, who finds time, to write long letters full of news of mutual friends, and interesting information as to her doings and those of her country, is regarded with a feeling of gratitude that she herself can rarely estimate, unless she has already been in that exile implied in banishment from England.
One such case, a few years ago, resulted in a very happy marriage. A light-hearted girl, living with her mother in a cathedral town, wrote to a married friend in Australia a series of letters so interesting that they were read aloud and passed round among the little English colony in that far-away land. One of the male members formed so high an estimate of the writer's character that he wrote and proposed marriage to her. She replied that before deciding she would like to make his personal acquaintance, whereupon he came home, found her to be all his fancy had depicted, and she was attracted by him. They now live in a beautiful Australian home, and she writes equally interesting letters to her friends in England.
The author of "Alice in Wonderland," in one of his charming books, recommends his girl friends, when writing a letter in which they intend to add an enclosure, to put that enclosure into the envelope before they begin the letter, and to address the envelope without delay. This excellent piece of advice has been found useful by many, for one is but too apt to forget the enclosure.
It may not be out of place to remark here that girls have no right to use a crest upon their notepaper, and that in embellishing the latter with fancy lettering, it is just as well not to use colours of a brilliant nature.
Anything that looks like elaboration appears ostentatious. At the same time it is not advisable to use lettering that is too small.
It is also polite to write legibly, a practice that is frequently neglected. Particularly in the matter of signatures does the careless writer set puzzles for her unfortunate correspondents. It is ignominious to have the reply returned with the signature cut from the letter and pasted on the envelope. Yet what is to be done ? Business letters particularly should be clear in this respect. An acquaintance has some chance of recognising the identity of the writer by the general style of the cakgraphy, the notepaper, and the postmark, whereas in business correspondence seldom are there any such clues.
When writing to anyone asking for information, it is often a problem as to whether a stamped envelope should be enclosed. With regard to purely business matters, it is customary to do this, but usually an acquaintance is sensitive on the point. It is, however, always correct to enclose an addressed postcard, should the matter not be one requiring the privacy of an envelope; but when a postcard is sent, it is advisable for the writer to say: " To save you time, as far as possible, I enclose an addressed postcard, and hope that answering my query will not be too trouble-some."
It is always tactful to observe minutely and follow correctly the spelling of names, and also the remainder of the address. For instance, Browne with an "e," and Smyth with a "y," and so on, are perhaps small matters, but of some importance to Mrs. Browne and Miss Smyth. Again, the address may be an unimportant little street, say, running out of Baker Street, but dignity is conferred upon it by its proximity to Portman Square, and if that is the address on the correspondent's notepaper, it should by all means be inscribed upon the envelope of reply. This may sound trivial, but it is a consideration which costs nothing and is highly appreciated.