By Mrs. Humphry ( Madge )

By Mrs. Humphry ("Madge")

The Conventional Card - How and When to Leave It - The "At-Home" Day - Sending Cards by Post - The Ycung Girl's Card - The Baby's Card - Correct Size of Cards, etc.

The lady who does anything original in connection with her visiting-card cannot be aware of the extreme conservativeness of the British in this matter. •

Occasionally one sees such things as ornamental type and moulded borders, even very highly glazed pasteboard, but these only inform the recipient that the lady who left the card is unused to the manners and customs of good society.

The Regulation Card

The regulation card is absolutely simple, no(t too highly glazed, and made of pure white pasteboard of medium thickness. The lettering is in copper-plate, the character script. The name occupies the exact centre, and the address is in the left-hand lower corner. The correct size for a lady's card is 3 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches; for a gentleman's, 3 by 1 1/2 inches.

Sometimes the address is in the left corner, and the name of the lady's club in the other. Should she possess a country house or week-end cottage, she may possibly feel inclined to put both town and country addresses on her card; but if she yield to this inclination she stamps herself as bourgeoise - in other words, as belonging to our very respectable and estimable middle classes.

The great lady has never more than one address on her card. This seems reasonable, for she cannot possibly be in two places at the same time, and the card is meant to indicate, among other things, exactly where she is. Therefore she has cards printed separately for each address.

When instructing the stationer as to the letter of one's cards, it is well to bear in mind that the wording should be a guide to correspondents.

Three different cards used for announcing a birth, A tiny card with the baby's Christian name is attached to the top left hand corner

Three different cards used for announcing a birth, A tiny card with the baby's Christian name is attached to the top left-hand corner

An exception to this rule is in the case of anyone enjoying the title of Honourable. This word should never appear on visiting cards, but is invariably used in addressing letters or sending invitations to the owner of the title.

An exception to this rule is in the case of anyone enjoying the title of Honourable. This word should never appear on visiting-cards, but is invariably used in addressing letters or sending invitations to the owner of the title.

Husband and wife always have separate visiting-cards. A fashion sprang up at one time in the middle class, and was followed by a few, of having both names on one card; but it was not adopted generally, and soon disappeared.

The husband's card has sometimes merely the name of his principal club instead of his home address. This is quite sufficient, for his wife leaves his card with hers, so that any home address on his would be superfluous. And should he wish to add his home address when giving his card to any of his new acquaintances, he can always write it in pencil.

The Mistake of being Original

All these rules about little bits of pasteboard may seem unimportant and even silly, when compared with the serious things of the world, but the fact remains that a newcomer in any class of society is appraised by these trifles.

To form an agreeable circle of acquaintance is a reasonable wish, especially when young sons and daughters are growing up; and to neglect the ordinary usages may result in making it difficult to enter the society of one'? choice.

Taking up a visiting-card in her hall one day, and finding it adorned with gilt edges, a lady of position in the country remarked, "These must be impossible people. I shall return the call with cards, and then drop them." The people who had made this mistake turned out to be quite eligible as neighbours, but, having recently arrived from a certain distant colony, they had followed the fashion of gilt-edged cards prevailing there. The safest thing for them to have done would have been to have gone to a high-class stationer, and put themselves in his hands. Should they not have wished To acknowledge their lack of information even to him, they could have asked to see some specimen visiting-cards, and could have been guided by them to a correct choice.

It is better, however, to be perfectly candid, and to secure expert advice

The Young Girl's Cards

A young girl has no separate visiting-card. Her name goes under that of her mother, or, if she has no mother, under her father's, in which case his card would be of the size of a lady's.

She uses this card in the same way as ordinary visiting-cards. Should she be socially godmothered by a relative, or by a friend of the family, or by a lady who is paid for introducing her to society, her name is printed or pencilled under that of her chaperon.

American girls like to have separate cards in such cases, but it is unusual for English girls to do so until they are about twenty-three. True, the American example is occasionally followed, but this is exceptional.

Professional women usually provide themselves with two sets of cards, one of the usual character for social use, the other giving their business address and any particulars that may be useful to themselves or to their clients.

The Uses Of Cards

We now come to the various ways in which cards are useful. The first and most obvious is in making calls. If the lady called on is at home, the visiting-card of her caller is laid on the hall-table when the owner of it is leaving the house. It is never sent up to the drawing-room. This used to be the custom, and a very sensible one, and it is still observed in some of the colonies, but it is quite obsolete in Great Britain.

Should the lady be not at home, the caller hands the servant her card. Should she wish to convey the information that her call has been made in person, she turns up a corner, the idea being that no one but the owner of a card would do so. Another signification of a turned-up corner is that the call is meant for all the ladies of the family. The two meanings obscure each other in some degree, so it is much better to leave two or more cards when there are more ladies than one in the family

Should the caller be married, she leaves one of her husband's cards with her own when the call is over. If the lady called upon is also married, and her husband is still alive, then a second card of the caller's husband is left for him. In the same way the husband's card, or cards, are left should there be father or brother of the lady called on living in her house.

In high society the husband's card is never left by the caller. It is entirely a middle-class custom, and conveys the idea that the person represented by the card is too much engaged in business, whether professional or otherwise, to be able to spare time for calls.

The "At-Home" Day

The "At-Home" day is entirely a middle class custom, quite unknown in high society. When hostesses of the latter grade wish to see their friends at certain times they often start a luncheon-day, and by degrees it gets known that Lady Dash has Wednesday or Monday or other day luncheons. But the lady of the haute bourgeoisie sets apart an afternoon, and puts the "day " on her visiting-cards. These cards may be sent by post, this being one of the few occasions when it is correct to do so.

Sending Cards by Post

Wedding-cards are invariably sent by post. They are double the ordinary size of ladies' cards, and are folded over in the centre. On one half the bridegroom's name appears, on the other half the bride's, her previous name occupying a corner and run through by a line. The address of the new menage is given in the usual corner of the bride's half, and sometimes the date of their first "At-Home" day is also given.

Other cards that are generally sent by post are those announcing a birth, combined with thanks for " kind inquiries." Sometimes a tiny card with the baby's Christian name is attached to the top left-hand corner, it3 dimensions very minute. The exact measurements are 1 3/4 by 3/4 inches. The date of the baby's birth appears in the left bottom corner. This is tied on the mother's card by means of the narrowest possible white satin ribbon.

P.P.C. (Pour prendre conge) cards may be sent by post if the owner is busy preparing for a journey and is prevented from leaving them in person. In the case, too, of thanks for inquiries after illness, or thanks for letters of condolence after bereavement, cards are usually sent by post. In the same way, change of address may be notified by post. Specially printed cards are used for this purpose. Above the name appear the words: Change of Address.

The previous address appears in its usual position, the left-hand bottom corner, with a couple of diagonal strokes across it, and in the opposite corner is the new address.