"Dear Mr. Brown," "My Dear Mrs Brown" or "My
Dear Mr. Brown," "My Dear Friend." In closing a
note, the degrees are implied as follows: "Truly
Yours" or "Yours Truly," "Very Truly Yours," "Sin-
cerely Yours," " Cordially Yours," " Faithfully Yours,'*
"Affectionately Yours." The proper words should be
carefully selected, as the conclusion of a note or letter
makes an impression on the person reading it. To
aged persons the form, "With great respect, sincerely
yours," recommends itself as a proper form. " Yours,. x
etc.," is considered a rude ending. If you are suf-
ficiently well acquainted with a person to address her
" My Dear Mrs. - ," do not sign " Yours Truly,"
or "Truly Yours," as this is the form to be used in
writing to strangers or in business letters.
SIGNATURE OF LADIES.
A married lady should not sign herself with the
"Mrs." before her baptismal name, or a single lady
with the " Miss." In writing to strangers who do not
know whether to address you as Mrs or Miss, the-
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING.
address should be given in full, after signing your let-
ter; as "Mrs. John Smith," followed by the direction j
or if unmarried, the " Miss " should be placed in brack-
ets a short distance preceding the signature.
Only the letters of unmarried ladies and widows are
addressed with their baptismal names. The letters of
married ladies are addressed with their husbands'
names, as " Mrs John Smith."
LETTERS OF INTRODUCTION.
Letters of introduction should be brief and carefully
worded. Give in full the name of the person intro-
duced, the city or town he is from, intimating the
mutual pleasure that you believe the acquaintance will
confer, adding a few remarks concerning the one intro-
duced, as circumstances seem to require. Modest per-
sons sometimes shrink from delivering letters of intro-
duction which appear to them to be undeservedly com-
plimentary. Letters of introduction are left unsealed,
to be sealed before delivery by the one introduced.
They should receive immediate attention by the parties
who receive them. When a gentleman delivers such a
letter to a lady, he is at liberty to call upon her, send-
ing her his card to ascertain whether she will receive
him then, or appoint another hour that will be more
convenient. The same rule is to be observed by those
whose stay in the city is short. He may also send it
to her with his card bearing his address.
A letter of introduction should not be given, unless
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING. 251
the person writing it is very well acquainted with the
one whom he introduces, and the one to whom he writes.
If the person who receives such a letter is really well-
l)red, you will hear from him or her within twenty-four
hours, for a letter of introduction is said to be like a
draft, it must be cashed at sight. The one receiving it
either invites you to dine, or to meet others, or to a
drive, or to visit some place of amusement. Too great
caution cannot be exercised in giving a letter which
makes such demands upon an acquantance.
When the letter of introduction is left with a card, if
there is a gentleman in the family, he may call upon
the stranger the next day, unless some engagement pre-
vents, when he should send his card with an invitation.
If the letter introduces a gentleman to a lady, she may
write a note of invitation in answer, appointing a time
for him to call.
The following is an appropriate form for a letter of
252 THE ART OF LETTER WRITING.
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING. 253
The envelope containing a letter of introduction,
should be addressed as follows:
f J fltzcJ&
NOTES OF CONGRATULATION OR CONDOLENCE.
Notes of congratulation and condolence should be
brief, and the letter should only be sent by near and
intimate friends. Do not allude to any subject except
the one for which you are offering your congratulations
or sympathy. Such notes should be made expressive of
real feeling, and not be mere matters of form.
INVITATION TO A RECEPTION.
For a general reception, invitations are printed on
cards. Their style is like the following, and do not
require an answer unless " B. S. V. P." is upon one
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING,
8 toi , *>. M.
INVITATION TO A BALL.
The "At Home " form of invitation for a reception
is often adopted for a ball with the word " Dancing " in
one corner, though many people use the "At Home'*
form only for receptions. For balls the hours are not
limited as at receptions. When the above form is not
used for a ball, the invitation may read as follows:
"Mrs. Blair requests the pleasure of Miss Milton's
company at a ball, on Tuesday, February 7, at
Invitations to a ball are always given in the name of
the lady of the house, and require an answer, which
should not be delayed. If the invitation is accepted,,
the answer should be as follows:
" Miss Milton accepts with pleasure Mrs. Blair's kind
invitation for Tuesday, February 7."
If it is found impossible to attend, a note of regrets,
something like tb* 1 following, should be sent:
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING. 255-
"Miss Milton regrets that intended absence from
home (or whatever may be the preventing cause) pre-
vents her accepting Mrs. Blair's kind invitation for
INVITATION TO A LARGE PARTY.
The invitation to a large party is similar to that for
a ball, only the words " at a ball " are omitted, and the
hour may be earlier. The notes of acceptance and
regret are the same as for a ball. If the party is a small
one, it should be indicated by inserting the words, " to a.
small evening party," so that there may be no misunder-
standing. A large party calls for full evening dress,
and it would be embarrassing for a lady or gentleman
to go to a house in full evening dress, expecting to find
a large party there in similar costumes, and meet only a
few friends and acquaintances plainly dressed. If there
is any special feature which is to give character to the
evening, it is best to mention this fact in the note of
invitation. Thus the words " musical party," " to take
part in dramatic readings," " amateur theatricals," will
denote the character of the evening's entertainment. If
you have programmes, enclose one in the invitation.
INVITATION TO A PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT.
An invitation from a gentleman to a lady to attend a,
concert, lecture, theatre, opera or other amusement, may
read as follows :
"Mr. Hayden would be pleased to have Miss Mor-
ton's company to the Academy of Music, on Monday
evening, November 8, when ' Richelieu ' will be played
by Edwin Booth's Company."
"256 THE ART OF LETTER WRITING.
An invitation of this kind demands an immediate
answer of acceptance or regrets. A previous engage-
ment may be a reason for rejection.
These are written in the name of the husband and
wife, and demand an immediate reply. This form may
"Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Snow request the pleasure of
Mr. and Mrs. Horace Allen's company at dinner, on
Tuesday, the 13th of January, at 7 o'clock."
A note of acceptance may read as follows:
" Mr. and Mrs. Horace Allen accept with pleasure Mr.
and Mrs. Eugene Snow's kind invitation to dine with
them on Tuesday, the 13th inst., at 7 o'clock."
A note of regret may read:
" Mr. and Mrs. Horace Allen regret exceedingly that
sickness in the family (or whatever the cause may be)
prevents the acceptance of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Snow's
kind invitation to dine with them on Tuesday, January
INVITATIONS TO TEA.
An invitation to a tea-drinking may be less formal
And should partake more of the nature of a private note;
"Dear Miss Brock: Some friends are coming to
drink tea with me on Thursday, and I should be glad of
the pleasure of your company also. Please do not dis-
An invitation of this informal nature needs no reply,
unless "R. S. V. P." is appended, in which case the
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING. 257
answer must be returned, if possible, by the messenger
who brought it, or sent at once, as your friend may
depend upon having a certain number of people at her
tea-drinking, and if you cannot go, she will want to
supply your place.
LESS FORMAL INVITATIONS.
Invitations of a less formal character are sent for
charades, private theatricals, and for archery, croquet,
sailing and garden parties; but, however informal the
invitation (except only when a visiting card is used) on
no account neglect to give immediate attention to it,
' by sending an acceptance or a regret, for any want of
courtesy in this respect is unpardonable.
PROMPTNESS IN ANSWERING.
All invitations requiring answers should be answered
as soon as possible after receiving them. The French
have a saying, applicable to all notes of invitation, to
the effect that it is as important to reply as promptly to
a note requiring an answer, as it is to a question in
speaking. All refined people who are accustomed to
the best social forms, consider that it would be an un-
pardonable negligence to omit for a single day replying
to an invitation or a note requiring a reply.
In accepting dinner invitations, repeat the hour and
day named in your letter of acceptance, in order that if
any mistake has been made it may be corrected.
Promptly acknowledge all attentions you receive,
Buch as receiving presents of books, flowers, etc.
258 THE AKT OF LETTER WRITING.
EXPRESSIONS TO BE USED.
The expression " presents compliments " has become
obsolete in the writing of invitations. The expression
" kind " or " very kind " invitation has taken the place
of " polite," in notes of acceptance or regret. Be par-
ticular to distinguish between " go " and " come," you
go to a friend's house and your friend comes to your
TIME TO SEND INVITATIONS.
Invitations for parties and entertainments of a formal
nature, can be sent out for a week or two weeks before
the entertainment is to take place. A notice of not less
than one week is expected for such invitations. They
should be printed or engraved on small note paper or
large cards, with the envelopes to match, with no colors
in the monogram, if one is used.
INVITATIONS FOR SEVERAL MEMBERS OF A FAMILY.
It is not considered good form to have one card of
invitation answer for several persons belonging to the
same family, or to address an invitation " Mrs. Blank
and family," as it indicates a scarcity of cards. One
card or invitation may be sent to Mr. and Mrs. Blank,
and one each to the several members of the family who
are to be invited.
THE LEAST FORMAL INVITATIONS.
The least formal, of formal invitations, is when a lady
sends or leaves her own visiting card with the invitation
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING. 259
upon it. An invitation of this kind need not be an-
swered unless an "R. S. V. P." (Respondez sHl v&us
plait), is on the card. You go or not, as you please,
but if you do not go, you call, or leave a card as soon
after as is convenient.
Uncivil and curt, not to say rude, answers are some-
times returned to invitations, more frequently the result
of carelessness in their writers than of premeditated
" Mr. and Mrs. Adam Brown regret that they cannot
accept Mrs. Smith's invitation for Wednesday evening,"
is a rude form of regret.
"Mr. and Mrs. Adam Brown decline Mrs. Moses
Smith's invitation for Friday evening,"
is a still ruder form.
A curt and thoughtless reply is:
"Mr. and Mrs. Adam Brown's compliments and re-
grets for Friday evening."
REASONS FOR REGRETS.
" All regrets from persons who are not able to accept
invitations, should contain a reason for regretting," is a
rule strictly observed in our best society, and is consid-
ered especially binding in answering a first invitation.
If persons are in mourning, they regret that a recent
bereavement prevents them from accepting. Those con-
templating being absent from home, regret that contem-
plated absence from home prevents them from accept-
260 THE ART OF LETTER WRITING.
ing. " A previous engagement " is made the excuse
when there is an engagement either at home or away
from it, and also when one has no inclination to accept;
which makes it quite necessary for those who really
regret their inability to accept, to mention what that
THE FAMILY LETTER.
It seems hardly necessary to give the form of a letter
from one member of a family to another. It is often
the case that letters sent from home to an absent mem-
ber are decidedly unsatisfactory, if not to a great extent
of little interest outside of one or two facts mentioned.
Consequently some hint as to what those letters should
be, are here given. They should be written as though
the writer were talking, using familiar expressions, and
such peculiarities as the writer possesses in ordinary
speech should find a place in the letter. The writer
may speak of many trivial things at and about home,
and gossipy matters in the neighborhood, and should
keep the absent one posted upon all minor facts and
occurrences, as well as the more important ones. The
writer may make inquiries as to how the absent one is
enjoying himself, whether -he finds any place better than
home, and ask such other questions as he may desire,
concluding with sincere expressions of affection from
various members of the family. The absent one may,
in like manner, express himself freely on all subjects,
describe his journey minutely, and speak of whatever
he may feel deep interest in. In short, a family letter
may be as gossipy as the writer can make it, without
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING. 261
much regard to an attempt at showy or dignified com-
THE LETTER OP FRIENDSHIP.
This should be of a more dignified tone, contain less
trivialties than the family letter, and should embrace
matters that will be of interest to both. A letter of
friendship should be answered in due time, according to
the intimacy of the parties, but should not be delayed
long enough to allow the friendship to cool, if there is
a desire to keep it warm.
THE LOVE LETTER.
Of this it may be only said, that while it may be
expressive of sincere esteem and affection, it should be
of a dignified tone, and written in such a style, that if
it should ever come under the eyes of others than the
party to whom it was written, there may be found in it
nothing of which the writer may be ashamed, either of
silliness or of extravagant expression.
These should be brief and to the point, should be of
plain chirography, and relate to the business in hand, in
as few words and as clearly as possible. Begin at once
without apology or explanation, and finish up the matter
pertaining to the business. If an apology or explanation
is due, it may be made briefly at the close of the letter,
after the business has been attended to. A letter on
business should be answered at once, or as soon as possi-
ble after receiving it.
262 THE ART OF LETTER WRITING
It is allowable, in some cases, upon receiving a brief
business letter, to write the reply on the same page,
beneath the original letter, and return both letter and
Among business letters may be classed all correspond-
ence relating to business, applications for situations,
testimonials regarding the character of a servant or
employe, letters requesting the loan of money or an
article, and letters granting or denying the favor; while
all forms of drawing up notes, drafts and receipts may
properly be included. The forms of some of these are
LETTERS REQUESTING EMPLOYMENT.
A letter of this kind should be short, and written with
care and neatness, that the writer may both show his
penmanship and his business-like qualities, which are
often judged of by the form of. his letter. It may be
after this fashion:
NEW YORK, March 1, 1880.
MESSRS. LORD & NOBLE,
Having heard that you are in need of more assistance
in your establishment (or store, office) I venture to ask
you for employment. I can refer you to Messrs. Jones
& Smith, my late employers, as to my qualifications,
should you decide to consider my application.
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING. 263
LETTERS REGARDING THE CHARACTER OF A SERVANT.
DEAR MADAM: Sarah Riley, having applied to me
for the position, of cook, refers me to you for a charac-
ter. I feel particularly anxious to obtain a good servant
for the coming winter, and shall therefore feel obliged
by your making me acquainted with any particulars
referring to her character, and remain, madam,
Your very obedient servant,
MRS. GEORGB STONE.
To MRS. ALFRED STARK.
MRS. GEORGE STONE,
DEAR MADAM: It gives me pleasure to say that
Sarah Riley lived with me for two years, and during
that time I found her active, diligent and efficient. She
is a superior cook, and I have full confidence in her
honesty. I feel that I can recommend her with full
confidence of her being likely to give you satisfaction.
I am, madam,
Your very obedient servant,
MRS. ALFRED STARK.
MRS. GEORGE STONE,
DEAR MADAM: In replying to your note of inquiry,
I beg to inform you that Sarah Riley, who lived with
me in the capacity of cook, left my services because I
did not find her temper and habits in all respects satis-
factory. She was thoroughly competent as a cook, but
in other respects I cannot conscientiously recommend
her. I remain,
Yours, very truly,
MRS. ALFRED STARK.
NOTES, DRAFTS, BILLS AND RECEIPTS.
The following are forms of notes, drafts, receipts,
264 THE ART OF LETTER WRITING,
Promissory Note Without Interest.
$500. CINCINNATI, O., June 6, 1880o
Sixty days after date, I promise to pay Samuel Arch-
over, or order, at my office in Cincinnati, five hundred
dollars, value received.
Promissory Note With Interest but not Negotiable.
$125.30. CHICAGO, Sept. 2, 1880.
For value received, I promise to pay Daniel Cartright
one hundred and twenty-five dollars and thirty cents, on
August 12th next, with interest at seven per cent, after
January 1, 1881.
JOHN S. ALLBRIGHT.
A Negotiable Note Payable to Bearer.
$75. DETROIT, MICH., Oct. 8, 1881.
Thirty days after date, for value received, I promise
to pay Silas G. Smithers, or bearer, at my office in
Detroit, seventy-five dollars with interest from date.
SAMUEL Q. PETTIBONB.
Form of a Receipt.
$25. NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 1880.
Received from James O. Mitchell, twenty-five dollar^
to apply on account. SMITH, JONES & Co.
Form of a Draft, Time from Sight.
$1,000. DETROIT, MICH., July 7, 1880.
At ten days sight, pay to the order of J. Smith & Co.,
one thousand dollars, and charge the same to the ao-
eount of SHEPARD & NILES.
To SAMUEL STOKER & Co.,
THE ART OF LETTER WRITING.
A Draft or Order " Without Grace."
$175. CINCINNATI, OHIO, Aug. 12, 1880.
At sight, without grace, pay to F. B. Dickerson <fe
Co., one hundred and seventy-five dollars, and charge
to the account of H. S. MOREHOUSE.
To TRADERS' NATIONAL BANK,
Form of a Bill.
BUFFALO, N. Y., Dec. 6, 1880.
MARTIN HUGHES, Dr.
To JOHN J. HART.
Four volumes History of France, at $2.50 per volume,
N society, everybody should receive
equal attention, the young as well as
the old. A high authority says, " If
we wish our young people to grow
up self-possessed and at ease, we
must early train them in those graces
by giving them the same attention
and consideration we do those of maturer
years. If we snub them, and systemat-
ically neglect them, they will acquire an
awkwardness and a deprecatory manner,
which will be very difficult for them to over-
GRACEFULNESS OF CARRIAGE.
Physical education is indispensable to every well-bred
man and woman. A gentleman should not only know
how to fence, to box, to ride, to shoot and to swim, but
he should also know how to carry himself gracefully,
and how to dance, if he would enjoy life to the utmost.
A graceful carriage can best be attained by the aid of a
drilling master, as dancing and boxing are taught. A
GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT. 267
man should be able to defend himself from ruffians, if
attacked, and also to defend women from their insults.
Dancing and calisthenics are also essential for a lady,
for the better the physical training, the more graceful
and self-possessed she will be. Every lady should know
how to dance, whether she intends to dance in society
or not. Swimming, skating, archery, games of lawn-
tennis, and croquet, riding and driving, all aid in
strengthening the muscles and giving open air exercise,
and are therefore desirable recreations for the young of
Awkwardness of attitude is a mark of vulgarity.
Lolling, gesticulating, fidgeting, handling an eye-glass,
a watch-chain or the like, gives an air of gaucherie. A
lady who sits cross-legged or sidewise on her chair, who
stretches out her feet, who has a habit of holding her
chin, or twirling her ribbons or fingering her buttons;
a man who lounges in his chair, nurses his leg, bites his
nails, or caresses his foot crossed over on his knee,
shows clearly a want of good home training. Each
should be quiet and graceful, either in their sitting or
standing position, the gentleman being allowed more
freedom than the lady. He may sit cross-legged if he
wish, but should not sit with his knees far apart, nor
with his foot on his knee. If an object is to be indi-
cated, you must move the whole hand, or the head, but
never point the finger.
268 GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT.
COUGHING, SNEEZING, ETC.
Coughing, sneezing, clearing the throat, etc., if done
at all, must be done as quickly as possible. Snuffing,
hawking and expectorating must never be done in
society. A sneeze can be checked by pressing the
thumb or fingers firmly across the bridge of the nose.
If not checked, the face should be buried in the hand-
kerchief, during the act of sneezing, for obvious reasons.
ANECDOTES, PUNS AND REPARTEES.
Anecdotes should be seldom brought into a conversa-
tion. Puns are always regarded as vulgar. Repartee
should be indulged in with moderation, and never kept
up, as it degenerates' into the vulgarity of an altercation.
A SWEET AND PURE BREATH.
The breath should be kept sweet and pure. Onions
are the forbidden fruit, because of their offensiveness to
the breath. No gentleman should go into the presence
of ladies smelling of tobacco.
It is neither respectful nor polite to smoke in the
presence of ladies, even though they have given per-
mission, nor should a gentleman smoke in a room which
ladies are in the habit of frequenting. In those homes
when the husband is permitted to smoke in any room of
the house, the sons will follow the father's example, and
the air of the rooms becomes like that of a public house.
GENERAL RULES OF CONDUCT.
SUPPRESSION OF EMOTION.
Suppression of undue emotion, whether of laughter,
of anger, or of mortification, of disappointment, or of
selfishness in any form, is a mark of good breeding.
A GOOD LISTENER.
To be a good listener is almost as great an art as to
be a good talker; but it is not enough only to listen,
you must endeavor to seem interested in the conversa-
tion of those who are talking. Only the low-bred allow
their impatience to be manifest.
Give precedence to those older or of higher social
position than yourself, unless they required you to take
the precedence, when it is better to obey than to refuse.
Be more careful to give others their rank of precedence
than to take your own.
Always express your own opinions with modesty, and,
if called upon, defend them, but without that warmth
which may lead to hard feelings. Do not enter into
argument. Having spoken your mind, and thus shown
you are not cowardly in your beliefs and opinions, drop
the subject and lead to some other topic. There i
seldom any profit in idle discussion.
270 GENERAL RULES OP CONDUCT.
SINGING AND PLATING IN SOCIETY.
A lady in company should never exhibit any anxiety
to sing or play: but being requested to do so, if she
intends to comply, she should do so at once, without
waiting to be urged. If she refuses, she should do
so in a manner that shall make her decision final. Hav-
ing complied, she should not monopolize the evening