Dinner invitations are written or engraved in the name of both husband and wife:

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wilson
request the pleasure of
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Clayton's company at
dinner
November eighth, at seven o'clock.
An acceptance should be worded as follows :

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Clayton
accept, with pleasure,
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wilson's kind
invitation to dine with them,
on Monday, November eighth, at seven o'clock.

An invitation to dinner, once accepted, should be held as little less than a sacred obligation. Only disabling sickness or other extreme necessity should be permitted to stand in the way of its being kept; and then, if time permits, immediate notice, with reason for same, should be given. A dinner party is carefully arranged for a set number, and one or more empty chairs are sure to disturb the completeness of the occasion, and cause heartburnings to host and hostess. A late invitation to fill the gap is usually sent, with proper explanation, to some friend who may be depended upon to overlook the informality.

Invitations should be issued in the name of the hostess, except those to weddings and dinner parties.

R. S. V. P., the initials of the French phrase "Respondez, s'il vous plait," or "Please reply," may be written in the light-hand lower corner of an invitation if an answer is particularly needed. Its use, however, is becoming less frequent, since it tacitly implies that the recipient needs a reminder. In a dinner invitation it is especially unnecessary, since nothing can be more discourteous than to fail in an immediate answer. The day and hour named should be repeated in the answer, to avoid possible misunderstanding. If guests are asked to meet a distinguished gentleman, or lady, this should be mentioned in the card of invitation, directly after the hour of dinner; for instance :

At seven o'clock, to meet Mr. John P. Wallace, of London.

Or an extra card may be inserted with the regular invitation, saying," to meet Mr.--," etc.

Here is an example of an invitation to a reception specially designed for this purpose :

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Jackson
request the honor of your presence
on
Tuesday evening, November fifteenth,
from eight until eleven o'clock,
to meet the
Rev. Professor Patton
of the
University of Pennsylvania,
R. S. V. P.             119 Locust Avenue.

Invitations to large entertainments, receptions, etc., may be sent to persons in mourning if the bereavement has not occurred within a month; but etiquette permits them to refuse without assigning a reason, sending, however, on the day of the entertainment, black-bordered visiting-cards, which announce the cause of their absence. Invitations to dinners and luncheons should never be given to persons in recent affliction.

Always direct an answer to an invitation to the person or persons who issue it, even though they may be strangers to you. Always answer an invitation to dinner or luncheon at once, accepting or refusing positively. The reason is obvious; the number of seats being limited, a prompt reply gives the entertainer an opportunity to supply your place. Should illness, a death in the family, or any other reason prevent the keeping of a dinner engagement, a letter or telegram should be immediately sent, stating the fact. All invitations, in fact, should be answered with as little delay as possible.

When issuing invitations to a family, direct one to the husband and wife, one to the daughters, and one to the sons. The daughters' names may be placed after the parents on the same card, but not the sons.

Notes of invitation to a gentleman should be addressed Mr. A. B. Cohen, never A. B. Cohen, Esq. Gentlemen must never be invited without their wives, nor ladies without their husbands, unless to entertainments given exclusively to gentlemen or to ladies.