This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette" book.
The length of time for wearing mourning has greatly decreased during the past five years, as formerly there was such an exaggeration of this that sometimes the young people in a family were kept in constant black, owing to the death of successive relatives.
For deep mourning, black stuff dresses, heavily trimmed with black crape, and long crape veils, are worn. During the second period the crape is left off, and plain black alone is used; and for half-mourning light black, black silks, black and white, or cos-tames of mauve or grey, can be worn.
For gentlemen, at first plain black cheviot suits, with broad crape bands on their hats, and black gloves. For the second period they cease to wear black clothes, varying these by dark suits of black and grey, and the width of the crape hat-band is narrowed. For half-mourning the black hat-band is the one emblem of grief retained.
A widow should wear deep mourning for twelve months, plain black for the second year, and half-mourning for sis' months.
For parent, brother, or sister, the usual time of wearing mourning is one year; for a young child, six months; for an infant, three months.
There is much difference of opinion in regard to the wearing of mourning dresses, many objecting to doing so for what they consider excellent reasons. In truth, the mourning attire aids to keep up the feeling of grief, and to depress where some means of enlivening the feelings is desirable. Yet it serves as a protection to those whose deep sense of loss induces them to avoid many social duties, and who would escape from thoughtless and painful allusions. It is a matter, in short, that must be governed by the feelings and sentiments of those directly concerned.
During the first period of mourning it is not considered becoming to visit places of amusement or to enter social life or indulge in gaiety of any kind. After a certain time elapses six months or a year, according to the depth of the mourning—a person is at liberty to go out quietly to concerts, theatres, informal dinners, etc.
It is customary to send a few words of sympathy to the family after a death has taken place. Such letters should be brief and written with real interest and affection, otherwise they had better be omitted.
During a period of mourning, note paper and visiting cards are usually edged with a black border, the width of this to be determined by the depth and recency of the mourning. The very wide band is exaggerated, ostentatious, and in bad form.
No invitations of any kind should be left at a house of mourning, until after a lapse of a month or more, according to circumstances. Then, cards to balls, weddings, and general entertain ents may properly be sent. When persons who have worn black are ready to resume their social life, they should leave cards with all their friends and acquaintances, either in person or by sending them through the mail.