The extent to which the use of visiting cards is sometimes extended furnishes occasion to some, unused to polite society, to ridicule what they call " pasteboard politeness, " and yet these paper representatives of our personality are exceedingly useful things; indespensible, indeed, to the full discharge of social obligations.

In the selection of cards several things are to be considered; style, size, color, and character of writing. As for color, it should always be pure white. The size and shape are regulated by the prevailing fashion, but any attempt at display, such as fancy designs, gilt borders, odd shapes, etc., are considered vulgar by well-bred people.

The most tasteful card is an engraved one. The printed card comes next, then the written card. The fashion as to letters changes, but a plain script or old English text, well engraved, is always neat and in good taste. In case the card is written, it should be done in pencil rather than in ink, thus suggesting that its use is a matter of accident.

The proper size for a gentleman is smaller and more oblong in shape than that ordinarily used by ladies. If he have no title, " Mr." should precede the name. A lady's card should have the word " Mrs." or " Miss " prefixed to her name. The eldest daughter of a family needs " Miss " only before the family name. The younger daughters need the christain names also.

The titles properly placed on cards are those of army and navy officers, physicians, judges, and ministers of the gospel, but neither militia nor any other complimentary titles are allowable.

Ladies now usually have the entire name with the prefix of " Miss " or " Mrs." engraved on their cards, as " Mrs. John Morris Eames," " Miss Edith Lloyd Richardson."

Custom sanctions the engraving of the address on all visiting cards, and some ladies have the reception day engraved in the left-hand corner. In some cities there is one exception to this rule. A young lady, during her first winter in society, does not use a separate visiting card, but has her name engraved on the card of her mother or chaperon.

A single gentleman, if he prefers, can have his club address engraved on his card, instead of the number of his residence.

A widow can use on her cards either her own or her husband's name, as choice may dictate; though she has legally no right to retain the latter, custom sanctions it.

Husband and wife must have separate visiting cards. It is no longer the fashion to have the two names printed together, as formerly.