This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
Residents of large cities should call in person upon all their acquaintances at least once a year, if circumstances permit, and should pay additional visits to all from whom invitations have been received. Calls should also be made when an engagement or marriage has taken place in the family of an acquaintance, or an acquaintance has returned home after a long absence.
The receipt of any especial hospitality, such as a dinner, luncheon, dance, etc., obligates that the recipient should call as soon thereafter as possible. If living at a distance a brief note to the host or hostess acknowledging the pleasure received is proper; especially is this expected after an extended visit. This is imperative, but it is not necessary after a five o'clock tea or an at-home, no one being obliged to follow one call with another. Such obligation as exists is for the party who gave the tea to return your call; and this is obviously impossible if her invitations have been very numerous. After being invited to visit a country house, a call should be made on those giving the invitation immediately after their return to their town residence.
In case of a newcomer to the street, or the city if a small one, older residents should call, and this visit should invariably be returned in person within a week. Etiquette permits a gentleman—a stranger—ro call upon a lady under the following circumstances : If she has invited him to call, if he brings a letter of introduction, or if an intimate friend of the lady or of the family presents him.
Custom and courtesy require that a lady shall call on her lady friends at stated times, or at moderate intervals. These calls are generally short and formal in character, the conversation being devoted to society news and similar light subjects. Ten or fifteen minutes is the usual length of a formal call, half an hour the extreme limit. If while calling a second visitor arrives, the first visitor should take leave as soon as she can do so without seeming abrupt. Special friends of the hostess may linger for an hour if they wish.
In the large cities of the East such calls were formerly made between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., but later hours in the afternoon are now the vogue, as from three to half-past five. Evening calls, unless in response to invitation or through mutual understanding, are out of order except in small communities. They may break into the dinner hour, or interfere with a theatre party or other outing.
Of course, these rules do not refer to the intercourse of intimate friends, the informal " running in," which may take place at any time in the day or evening, and need not interfere with any engagement. Gentlemen, as a rule, have only the evening to call in, but may call on Sunday afternoon after three.
A lady, in making a formal call, should not remove her bonnet or wrap. A gentleman , in a similar case, was formerly required,
while leaving his umbrella and overcoat in the hall, to bring his hat and cane into the receiving room, either holding them or placing them on the floor by his chair. This rule, however, is no longer observed, and it is optional with the visitor to leave them in the hall if he prefers.
Ladies should make morning calls in simple toilette, and not in very rich dresses. Gentlemen wear morning dress.