The Complete Bachelor - Manners for Men
by Walter Germain
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The Complete Bachelor

Manners for Men

By the Author of the "As Seen by Him" Papers

With Index

New York D. Appleton and Company




I suppose a book of this character needs some excuse. The world is full of volumes written on etiquette, and, in adding another to the number, my plea for filling the want long felt may seem ridiculous. But I have an excellent reason, and that is, that in all treatises of this character I have found the bachelor sadly neglected.

For many years, while conducting the query or "agony department" in Vogue, I received letters from all parts of the United States asking for information on certain details of etiquette which seem to have been overlooked by the compilers or writers of etiquette manuals. My correspondents always wanted these questions answered from the New York standpoint. All this I have endeavored to do in this volume. I have devoted a chapter to sports. In this I have made no attempt to give the rules of the various pastimes therein enumerated. I have simply jotted down some points which I hope may be of use to the outsider.

In the chapter on dancing I have taken the Patriarchs' Ball in New York as my standard of subscription entertainments of this character. I have also written about cotillons as they are conducted in New York. I have endeavored to be plain and lucid. I only desired that this book should be a help to my reader in any dilemma of social import, and if I shall have proved of assistance, I shall feel that my mission has been accomplished, and that I have reached the goal of my ambition.






The average man is judged by his appearance and his deportment in public. His dress, his bearing, his conduct toward women and his fellow-men, are telling characteristics.

In the street, when walking with a woman—the term "lady" being objectionable, except in case of distinction—every man should be on his mettle. Common sense, which is the basis of all etiquette, teaches him that he should be her protector. Therefore, under general circumstances, his place is on the street or outer side. Should there be a crowd on the inner side, should the walking be muddy or rough, or should there be a building in process of repair, or one or the other of the inconveniences of city life, then the man should take the side which will enable him to shield his fair companion from all annoyance. At night a man offers his arm to a woman. In the daytime etiquette allows this only when the sidewalk is very rough, when there are steps to climb, a crowd to be piloted through, or a street crossing to effect. In any one of these emergencies suggest, "I think you will find it better to take my arm." A man never walks bodkin—that is, sandwiched between two women.

It is the privilege of a woman to bow first. She may have reasons why she should not wish to continue an acquaintance, and a man should never take the initiative. Abroad, in many countries, the man bows first. When old friends meet, however, the bowing is simultaneous.

A man lifts his hat in acknowledgment of any salutation made to the woman with whom he is walking. It is his place, on such an occasion, to bow to a man friend, whether the latter enjoys or does not have the pleasure of the acquaintance of the woman. A man's failure to do this signifies that the woman does not wish to know him, or that her companion does not wish her to know the other man.

Hotel corridors and halls may be classed as semi-public places. A man meeting a woman in one of these, where by custom he is permitted to keep on his hat, must step aside and let her pass, raising his hat as he does so. This does not apply to theater corridors, theater or hotel lobbies, or offices. In such houses as the Waldorf in New York, where the hall is utilized as a general sitting room by both sexes, it is not good form for a man to keep on his hat. In London, however, the rule is not as strict.

Men in this country do not lift their hats to one another, except when they are introduced in the open or a public place. Civility is never wasted, and it is proper, as well as an act of reverence, to thus salute a clergyman or a venerable and distinguished gentleman.

A man always lifts his hat when offering a woman a service, such as picking up or restoring to her a dropped pocket handkerchief or other article, or when passing a fare in a public conveyance, or when rendering any trifling assistance. Should she be with a male escort, the latter should raise his hat and thank the person who has rendered the service. This bit of politeness is under no circumstances the prelude to an acquaintance with an unescorted woman, and no gentleman would take advantage of it. A man always raises his hat and remains uncovered when talking to a woman.

It is not good form to stop a woman on the street, even if the exchange of a few commonplace remarks be the excuse. A man never joins a woman on a thoroughfare unless she be one from whose friendship he is sure that he can claim this privilege.

A gentleman always assists a woman in and out of a carriage or a public conveyance. He opens the door of the vehicle for her, helps her in by a deft motion of the right arm, and with his left protects her skirts from any possible mud or dust on the wheel. As he leaves her he closes the door, and, if it be a private conveyance, gives directions to the driver. He lifts his hat in bidding her good-by. Even when there is a footman, a second man, or an attendant, it should be esteemed a favor to give this assistance.

In entering shops, theaters, or other buildings, where there are swinging doors, the escort goes ahead and holds one of them ajar, passing in last. A woman always precedes a man, except in one or two special cases. A man precedes a woman walking down the aisle of a theater, and it is better form that he should take the inside seat, especially if there is a man occupying the place next to the vacant one. A man precedes a woman up a narrow staircase in a public building, but in a private house, in ascending or descending a stairway, he should always allow the woman to precede him. In entering a theater box a man follows the usher, preceding the woman down the theater corridor to the door of the box. He then holds this open, and the women precede him, he following them. In a church, in going down a narrow aisle, the woman precedes the man.

The lift or elevator, as well as the corridors and lobbies of a public building, the office of a hotel, and the vestibule of a theater, are public highways. In these places a man keeps on his hat, his deportment being the same as he would observe in the street. But when the lift or elevator is fitted up as a drawing room, such as is used in hotels and other semi-public buildings, a man removes his hat when the other sex is of the number of its passengers.

When escorting a woman to a house where she is to make a visit, always mount the stoop or steps with her, ring the bell, and remain there until the servant comes to the door. Then, if you are not going in, take off your hat and leave her. Restaurants, the dining rooms of hotels, roof gardens, and places of amusement in the open air, where refreshments are served, are semi-public.

A man always rises from the table at which he is sitting when a woman bows to him and immediately returns the salutation. Should the place be in the open, he doffs his hat, which under such circumstances he is obliged to wear. When he is in a party and a lady and her escort chance to stop at his table to exchange greetings with his friends, he should rise and remain standing during the conversation. If a man is introduced to him, unattended by a woman, and he is with a stag party, politeness bids him also rise.

A gentleman will never be seen in public with characters whom he could not introduce to his mother or his sister. A man when he is with a lady should be very careful, especially at roof gardens and such places in midsummer, about recognizing male acquaintances who seem to be in rather doubtful company.

In walking, a man should carry either a stick or a well-rolled umbrella. The stick should be grasped just below the crook or knob, but the ferrule must be kept downward. In business hours or on business thoroughfares to carry a stick is an affectation, but the man of leisure is regarded leniently in these abodes as a privileged character.

The umbrella is an instrument of peace rather than a weapon of war, and should not be carried as "trailed arms," but like the stick it should be grasped a short distance below the handle, and the latter held almost upright on a very slight perpendicular.

In the presence of ladies, unless by special permission, a gentleman never smokes, and under no circumstances does he indulge in a weed while on the street or walking with them. If, while smoking, a man should meet a woman and there should be any stopping to talk, he must at once throw away his cigar or his cigarette. A pipe is never smoked on fashionable promenades, and a man in a top hat and a frock coat with a pipe in his mouth is an anomaly. The pipe accompanies tweeds and a "pot" hat in the country or on business thoroughfares. A meerschaum or a wooden pipe is then allowable, but never a clay or a dudeen. The cuspidor is a banished instrument. The filthy custom of tobacco chewing and consequent expectoration can not be tolerated in civilized society.

A gentleman is never hurried, nor does he loiter. The fashionable gait is comparatively slow, with long steps. The exaggerated stride of the Anglomaniac is as bad form as the swagger of the Bowery "tough." The correct demeanor is without gesture or apparent effort.

Staring at or ogling women, standing at the entrances of theaters, churches, or other public buildings, stopping still and turning back to look at some one or something in the street, can be classified as offenses of which no gentleman can be guilty.

Free and easy attitudes are not tolerated in good society, and this same rule should apply to public conveyances. As the man who crosses his legs in the presence of ladies is absolutely impossible, so should be the individual who commits the same crime in a public conveyance. He not only proves a nuisance to those around him, but he is a source of damage as well as danger to the comfort and safety of his fellow-passengers.

In a crowded car, ferryboat, or stage, it is yet a mooted question as to whether or not a man should give up his seat to a woman. In theory he should, but there are circumstances under which he may be pardoned. To a refined or delicate lady, to an old or an enfeebled woman, or one burdened with bundles or with a baby in the arms, the answer to this should be a decided affirmative. In the South, this gallant action is universally practiced, except when the woman is a negress. In public conveyances a man should sit to the right of a woman.

An escort should pay all fares in public conveyances, and should look after the comfort and welfare of his companion, taking entire charge of tickets, luggage, and luggage checks. Should a woman insist upon paying her pro rata of the expenses the arrangement can be made before starting, many sensible women handing their escorts their purses for the purpose. Do not offer to pay the fare of any of your women friends who might possibly enter your train or stage. This is embarrassing and not necessary. A railway car or carriage being a public conveyance, a man always keeps on his hat, as he also does in a cab or any other vehicle in which he is driving, accompanied or not accompanied by one of the opposite sex.



There are three rules of dress which, for the ordinary man in his everyday life, might be resolved into two. These originally are morning, afternoon, and evening. Morning and evening are absolutely necessary; afternoon dress is donned on special occasions only.

Morning dress is that which is worn during business hours or at any time in any place, where semiformal dress is not required until candlelight or seven o'clock in the evening. It consists usually in winter of a lounge or single-breasted sack suit made of many different kinds of material, the favorites being Scotch tweeds or black and blue cheviots, rough-faced and smooth. Fashions are liable to some variation season after season, and the general rule can only be laid down in a book of this kind.

With the morning or lounge dress in winter is worn the Derby or soft-felt Alpine hat, called the Hombourg. The Derbies are black, brown, or drab, and the felts are gray, brown, drab, or black. The colored shirt with white standing or turned-down collar is the usual accompaniment to the lounge suit. The fashion for colored shirts in stripes has been that the patterns run up and down and not across the bosom. The tie is a four-in-hand or an Ascot, or a simple bow, the boots black leather or dark-brown russet, and the gloves of tan or gray undressed kid or of dogskin. For ordinary business wear, suits of black or gray mixed cheviot, vicuna or worsted, or fancy Scotch goods, the coat of which is a "cutaway," are also popular; but the black diagonal "cutaway" has passed entirely out of fashion, and is utilized at present in riding costume.

The lounge suit in summer is of blue flannel or very light cheviot or tweed. Straw hats are worn in place of Derbies and felts. Fashion sometimes dictates fancy waistcoats of linen to be worn with business suits; otherwise the entire costume—trousers, coat, and waistcoat—is of the same material.

In the country, at the seaside, or in communities where golf, wheeling, tennis, yachting or other sports and pastimes are the order of the day, the costumes appropriate for these are in vogue for lounge or morning suits. This is what the English call "mufti." Such costumes are, however, not in good form in the city.

Black leather, tan, or russet shoes are worn with morning dress. White duck or flannel trousers, with black or blue cheviot coat and waistcoat, make fashionable lounge suits for summer resorts.

Afternoon dress consists of a double-breasted frock coat of soft cheviot, vicuna, or diagonal worsted with either waistcoat to match—single-breasted or double-breasted—of fancy cloth, Marseilles duck or pique; trousers of different material, usually cashmere, quiet in tone, with a striped pattern on a dark gray, drab, or blue background; boots of patent leather, buttoned, not tied; a white or colored shirt with straight standing white collar; a four-in-hand, puffed Ascot, or small club tie; silk hat and undressed gray, tan, or brown kid gloves. The colored shirt is an innovation, and it should be used sparingly, white linen on any semiformal function being in better form. When spats are used they should be of brown, gray, or drab cloth or canvas, to match the trousers as nearly as possible. Some ultra faddists wear white kid gloves with afternoon dress, but the fashion is not universal.

Afternoon dress, is the attire for weddings—for the bridegroom, best man, ushers, and male guests; at afternoon teas, afternoon receptions, afternoon calls, afternoon walks on the fashionable avenue, garden parties (but not picnics), luncheons, and, in fact, at all formal or semiformal functions taking place between midday and candlelight, as well as at church on Sundays, at funerals, and in the park in London after midday.

Gray frock-coat suits are recent introductions from London, and have been worn at all the functions at which the black is required, but the latter is more conservative and in better taste. The afternoon dress is seldom worn in midsummer, morning suits being allowable at seaside and mountain-resort day functions.

Evening dress is the proper attire, winter or summer, on all occasions after candlelight. There are two kinds of evening dress, formal and informal.

Formal or "full" evening dress, as it is sometimes vulgarly called, consists of the evening or "swallowtail" coat of black dress worsted or soft-faced vicuna, with or without silk or satin facing, with waistcoat and trousers of the same material, the latter plain or with a braid down the sides. The "dress" waistcoat can also be of white duck or pique, in which case it is double-breasted. The shape of the dress waistcoat shows the shirt bosom in the form of a "U."

The evening shirt is of plain white linen, with two shirt buttons and link cuffs, straight standing collar, white lawn or linen tie. The gloves are white with white stitching, the hose of black silk, and the handkerchief, which must be present but not seen, of plain white linen. The shoes are patent-leather pumps or "low quarters," tied, not buttoned.

The overcoat is an Inverness of black cheviot, lined with satin and without sleeves, and the hat a crush opera. These two latter adjuncts are not indispensable, but most convenient. An ordinary black overcoat and top hat can be worn with evening dress. No visible jewelry—not even a watch chain—is allowed. The shirt buttons are either of white enamel, dull-finished gold, or pearls, and the sleeve links white-enameled or lozenge-shaped disks of gold, with a monogram thereon engraved.

Evening dress is de rigueur at balls, dances, evening receptions, evening weddings, dinners, suppers, the opera, and the theater, when calling after candlelight, and in fact at any formal evening function and generally when ladies are present.

Informal evening dress differs from formal in the wearing of the Tuxedo or dinner coat in place of the "swallowtail," and the substitution of a black silk for a white lawn tie.

The dinner coat is of black worsted or vicuna, satin-faced. It is the badge of informality. Formerly it was only worn at the club, at small stag dinners, and on occasions when ladies were not present. Now it is in vogue during the summer at hotel hops and at small informal parties to the play, at bowling parties, restaurant dinners, and, in fact, on any occasion which is not formal. From June to October men wear it in town every evening without overcoat.

As the dinner jacket is short, a top or silk hat can not be worn with it. The proper headgear in winter is a black felt soft hat, in summer a straw.

The dinner jacket is becoming a necessity. It is worn also by all youths and boys from twelve years to seventeen, at which latter period they can assume the toga virilis or swallowtail.

I here append a few cautionary hints which must be taken if you wish to dress well.

All scarves and ties should be tied by one's self. Made-up neckwear of any kind is not worn by well-groomed men.

White evening waistcoats and Tuxedo coats do not agree; black is only allowable.

Jewelry is vulgar. The ring for a man is a seal of either green or red stone, or of plain burnished gold with the seal or monogram engraved upon it. It must be worn on the little finger.

Watch chains and watch fobs are not in vogue. Watches and latchkeys are attached to a key chain and hidden in the trousers pocket. Diamonds are only in good form when set in a scarf pin, and even then they are in questionable taste. Diamond buttons and diamond rings are absolutely vulgar.

The fashionable overcoat in winter is a Chesterfield or single-breasted frock of kersey or like material in brown, blue, or black, with velvet collar. For autumn and spring the tan covert coat is in vogue.



The first care of a bachelor is his bath or tub. To-day, houses—especially clubs and bachelor apartments—are fitted up so luxuriously that each tenant has his own individual tiled bathroom, which he uses also as a dressing room. But where these are not, the tin or the India-rubber bath tub serves as well the purpose of our first ablution. A cold bath to many is a good refresher and awakener, but there are others again whose constitutions can not stand the shock, especially in winter, of icy-cold water. For cleansing purposes, tepid water is best, or a mixture of hot and cold, so as to take the chill off.

A gentleman takes at least one tub a day, and that, as may be inferred from the previous remarks, when he arises. If the tub is in the bedroom, have a rubber cloth placed under, and fill it only half full. The sponge is used for the bath, the wash rag for the washstand. The body should have a thorough soaping. The soap should be either Castile or a pure unscented glycerin. Sweet-scented soaps, perfumery, and sweet waters of all kinds should be eschewed. The Turkish towel is the best for drying, and it should be vigorously but not roughly applied. A flesh brush may be also used with comfort. As soon as the body is perfectly dry the bath robe or large Turkish towel, which some prefer to wrap themselves in, like Indians, should be resumed and shaving begun.

Every man should learn to shave himself. Razors are very delicate instruments and should be kept in thorough order. Safety razors with little blades for each day in the week are excellent, but if you use the ordinary razor add to your collection from time to time, until you have at least half a dozen. Once a month send these to a barber to be stropped, and strop them yourself both before and after using. Wipe them dry with a piece of chamois cloth and put them back in their cases. The best strop is of Russia leather or of canvas.

Warm water is not absolutely necessary for shaving, as some beards are soft and resist heat.

If possible, arrange a shaving stand with a triplicate mirror and places for your razors, shaving mug, brush, and soap. You can purchase one of these, with the entire outfit, for a few dollars at any of the large city shops. A ring or little silver or metal hook for shaving paper can be placed on one side of the stand. A cleanly man shaves every morning. After shaving, wash the face with a little warm water and wipe it thoroughly dry. Add to the water a few drops of ammonia or of Pond's extract, if the skin is liable to chap.

In the fashion of beards, the clean or smooth-shaven face, the pointed beard, and the simple mustache are those generally in vogue. Should you wear a beard, you should have for it a special comb and brush.

A small tin basin, a package of sea salt, and a special wash rag are the requisites for a morning eye bath. Sea salt and warm water are recommended by oculists as the best tonic for the eyes.

The teeth next claim your attention. There is nothing more disgusting than foul breath, which comes frequently from neglected teeth. Use a soft toothbrush. Avoid patent tooth washes and lotions. An excellent tooth powder is made of two thirds French chalk, one third orris root, and a pinch of myrrh. Any chemist will put this up for fifteen cents. Tepid and not cold water should be used. In rinsing the mouth a drop or two of listerine added to the water is excellent. Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day—morning and evening. Never use soap on your toothbrush. Get a spool of dental silk—it will cost you eight cents—and draw the thread between your teeth before you retire, so as to remove any substance which might have got into a crevice. And, above all, have your teeth examined carefully by a good dentist at least twice a year.

See that your toothbrush is sweet and clean, and place it handle down in the tooth mug.

The hands should be well washed and dried, tepid water, scentless soap, and a smooth towel being used. The nails should have a vigorous rubbing with a good nailbrush in the morning before your meals and before you go to bed at night. The nail file and nail scissors must be used as often as possible. Remember, dirty finger nails betray the vulgar and the unkempt. A man with dirty hands is impossible.

The nails should not be pointed, but well rounded and kept free of bits of callous skin around the base, called "hangnails." Finger nails should be kept short, just a bit beyond the fleshy tip of the finger.

The nails of the toes should be kept as carefully as those of the hands. In summer a little talcum powder on the feet will prevent the odor of perspiration.

The fashions for parting the hair change with the times. At present it is the direct part in the middle which is most fashionable. Very young men wear their hair unusually long, but this fad is uncleanly. The hair should be cut at least once a month, and a glimpse of the skin of the neck should always intervene between the roots and the collar.

Pomatums and greases and scents of all kinds are sticky and injurious. If you suffer with dryness of the scalp rub a little vaseline into it occasionally. Washings with tar soap or with a little alcohol and rosemary are beneficial. The scalp should be well brushed with moderately firm but not hard bristles. The best brushes are those without handles, known as army and navy. Water is bad for the hair. Constant combing with a fine-tooth comb is apt to irritate the scalp and provoke dandruff, which can be allayed by brushing, shampooing, and the use of borax and warm water.

Turkish or Russian baths are beneficial now and then, and the vigorous massage after a thorough steaming is admirable for the skin. A man should be scrupulously neat about his toilet articles and appliances. In your bathroom you should have a rack for your coarse and fine towels. Always place the towel you have used at the side of a stationary or on the back of a movable tub to dry. See that the soap is removed from your sponges, and once a fortnight clean them in one quarter of an ounce of borax dissolved in tepid water. Let them soak for an hour, and squeeze them out in clean water.

Hairbrushes are washed in a little soda put into a quart of hot water. The brush must be dipped downward so as not to wet the back. When they are cleansed they can be rinsed in cold water and stood on their side, after the water is shaken out, until quite dry.

Nailbrushes must be turned on their sides, after using, so that the water will not soak in and crack their backs.

A man's toilet articles, whether in silver or wood, should be of one distinctive style and material. Tooth and nail brushes should never have silver handles, but hair and clothes brushes with silver backs are very smart. They should be kept polished with a chamois cloth, and occasionally a little silver polish or whiting. Your bureau or dressing table is the place for the hair and clothes brushes, the combs, the toilet mirror, nail files, nail scissors, and such smaller articles. Your nail and tooth brushes and soaps go on the wash-hand stand. Your sponges are best put in a little wire basket at the side of the wash-hand stand, or the immovable washstand if your room or bathroom has the latter convenience.

Your bedroom should be ventilated and all the windows opened after you leave it, and you should have at least one window up during your sleeping hours. If you have a movable tub see that it is aired each morning after using.

Always make a change of clothes and of shoes when you come in from a busy day and from the street. Nothing ruins clothes so much as lounging about your room in them. And last but not least, as it contains the essential of all these rules and hints, be always immaculately clean.



There are comparatively few men who can afford the luxury of a good valet, and that personage himself, when found thoroughly competent, is indeed a treasure. But it is an absurd mistake for any one to think that a valet is a necessity. If you take a quarter of an hour for the care of your clothes every day, you can be just as well turned out as if you hired an expensive servant. Even if you have indulged in the luxury of a valet, you yourself should know all about looking after your wardrobe.

Whenever you change your clothes you should first empty all your pockets. Then, as soon as each garment is removed, it should be vigorously shaken and brushed before it is folded and put away. Never hang coats, trousers, or waistcoats; always fold them. Wire coat hangers and trousers stretchers ruin clothes. Whisk brooms are useful only when an extra-vigorous treatment is desired. Take a clothes brush and give your coat, as soon as you take it off, a thorough brushing, and hold it to the light, so that no particle of dust may escape your eye. The coat is then folded exactly in half lengthwise, sleeve to sleeve, the lining on the outside. With evening coats it is sometimes necessary to fold the sleeves in half, owing to the shortness of the waist. In packing a trunk the same method is used, only the sleeves are stuffed with tissue paper to avoid possible wrinkles.

Large and bulky garments, such as overcoats and frock coats, should be folded in triplicate. Lay the coat flat on a table and first fold on both sides, the right and the left, so much of the lapel and collar lengthwise as will cover the sleeve. This will make two folds from the top of the collar to the bottom of the skirt. Then fold the coat again in half lengthwise, using the back as a hinge. You will find the same principle illustrated by a cook with a pancake. The waistcoat is folded in half, with the lining on the outside. Always take off your shoes and unbutton the braces before you remove your trousers, and fold them over the back of a chair, which is to serve you as a clothes rack. Take the trousers by the waist and place together the first two suspender buttons, one on the left and the other on the right. This will make the fold preserve the natural crease and dispose of the extra material, button and buttonhole tab at the waist. Trousers carefully folded will only need pressing about twice a year. Hose should be well shaken, and unless perfectly clean, thrown in the soiled-linen basket. Evening silk hose can be worn several times. The undervest, or undershirt, and the drawers should be also subjected to a vigorous shaking, and hung on the back of the same chair where you have already placed your hose. All these intimate garments are to be aired, and the chair on which you have hung them taken to the window.

Use a closet and a chest of drawers for your clothes. If you are in very limited quarters, six drawers and a trunk should be sufficient for all your belongings. The evening clothes occupy one drawer or shelf, and the morning and afternoon suits the other or two others. The remainder will be for linen, underclothing, ties, and handkerchiefs.

Between each suit of clothes there should be laid a newspaper; those publications which use the blackest of printer's ink—the surest antidote for moths—being the best for this purpose. Cover the top of each pile of clothes, when the drawer or shelf is full, with a clean towel.

In a chest with four drawers the bottom one should be used for underclothes, the top for handkerchiefs, hose, and ties, and the two intermediate for your linen. The closet will have to serve for your suits of clothes, or, in lieu of that, your trunk. Otherwise the last-mentioned receptacle is the place for clothes out of season, carefully laid away with a full complement of newspaper and camphor.

When you remove your shirt at night, or when you change for dinner, be careful to take out the buttons and sleeve links, unless you intend to wear the garment again. In that case, hang it up in your closet.

The first gift which a bachelor usually receives from his sister or his sweetheart is a handkerchief case, and I hardly need advise you to purchase what is a standard Christmas offering. Keep your handkerchiefs in this, your neatly folded ties in the second division of the drawer, and your hose in the third. If you should have a silver and plush pincushion with a movable top, your small articles of jewelry go in its interior, or in a small box in the top drawer.

Silk hats, Derbies, and Alpines or soft-felt hats should never be brushed with a whisk broom. A hatter will sell you for a small sum a soft brush with a pliable plush back, which will do for smoothing your silk hat, the bristles to be applied in removing the dust. A silk handkerchief will also smooth a silk hat. Frequent ironing destroys the nap. Straw hats can be cleaned by first rubbing them over with the half of a lemon, then taking an old nail brush and some brown soap and water and giving it a vigorous brushing. Then you should take heavy books and lay them on the brim of the hat. An old pincushion or several towels rolled into a firm ball, or a book which will fit exactly, should be placed inside the crown. Allow the hat to dry, and do not remove the weights until this is accomplished. You will find your straw as good as new and the shape preserved. The writer has tried this with great success.

Boots and shoes when not in use should be put on wooden trees to keep them in shape. As trees are rather expensive, one can use paper and stuff it inside the boot or shoe. This will not prove a bad substitute. With patent leathers, paper or cotton stuffed in the toes prevents the leather from wrinkling, and in this instance the very cheap material is better than the more expensive appliance. Patent leathers must be creamed and rubbed with a chamois cloth or linen or flannel rag after all mud and dust have first been removed. This operation should be repeated daily. Some men maintain that patent leathers should be varnished as soon as they come home from the bootmaker, but I disagree with them. A varnished patent leather has always a cheap look, and the coat of veneer is only applied as a last resort, to hide the cracks. Russet boots and shoes are treated daily with the special cream sold for them, which can be obtained at any bootmaker's or shoe shop. The price is small, and the stuff will last a long time. Russet boots, however, can be very well treated with a little vaseline, but that product will not give them the deep-brown color which is so fashionable. The soles of boots and shoes should be painted black. When a man is obliged to kneel in any ceremony, the sight of white or yellow gleaming soles is absurd.

In wet weather it is absolutely necessary to turn up the bottoms of your trousers, to keep them from fraying.

I would suggest a general overhauling of clothes about once a month. At the end of each season the heavy or light garments should receive a final brushing and be stored away in a trunk, chest, or spare room with, as I have already advised, newspapers between them, and some camphor or moth destroyer as an extra precaution. Overcoats, which are in such general use, may be hung during their season of service, but should be frequently brushed and well shaken.

The economy of space thus observed in the arrangement of clothes in a room will make it an easy matter when about to travel to pack one's wardrobe in a trunk.

A shoe bag is a great convenience. A simple canvas arrangement can be purchased very cheaply, or one of your fair friends can make you one. Your shoes should be placed in this and put at the bottom of the trunk in a corner. Otherwise you should wrap your shoes and boots in paper. If you travel with two trunks, one should be reserved for your outer garments and the other for your shirts and underclothes. With one trunk, a shirt box is as much an article to be desired as a shoe bag, but in lieu of this the shirts should be placed in the first or top tray, the underclothes and hose in the second, and the outer garments in the bottom. A small space in the top can be reserved for your ties and handkerchiefs. Toilet articles are carried in a hand bag; waterproofs, overcoats, and umbrellas and walking sticks in a shawl strap. Your silk hat has but one place, and that is in a hatbox. You can put a Derby in a corner of a trunk but a silk hat would be ruined.

When a long journey is taken, it is economy in the end to purchase an extra steamer trunk for your underclothes and linen. Trunks are not expensive, and you will find that by not crowding your clothes you will save in the long run.

Always keep in your room a small bottle of a good grease-remover as well as one of ammonia, some soft rags, and a chamois for general cleaning purposes. An expenditure of a little over a quarter of a dollar will provide you with these necessaries.

Never lounge around your room in your street or evening dress. If you are to stay awhile, or if you come in for the night, take off your clothes and put on a bath robe or your pyjamas if you do not possess a dressing gown, which is not a necessity.

At your office you should always have an old coat to wear, and if it be summer have one of linen. To sit around in one's shirt sleeves, even at one's place of business, is not characteristic of the gentleman.


Every young man starting in life and wishing naturally to take a part in social functions and to become a member of that body indefinitely known as society, is confronted with the problem of clothes. A few years ago the ordinary changes of morning, afternoon, and evening were all that were requisite, but to-day, with special costumes for various sports and pastimes, the outlook at first glance to one of limited income is not encouraging. And yet a man with a modest salary can dress very well on two to three hundred dollars a year, and even less. It is only the first step which costs. One must have a foundation or a slight capital with which to start. After that with a little care expenses can be easily regulated.

The evening suit is the most expensive essential of a man's wardrobe. This he is obliged to have. I would advise, in selecting a suit of this kind, to have it of good material from a good tailor, after a model not too pronounced, so that in case of any small alteration in the fashions it can survive a season or two. With proper care your evening suit should last at least five years. During the first two or three it should be your costume for formal occasions. During the third season you might possibly have another pair of trousers made or renew the waistcoat or even the coat. When you find yourself, thus by the principles of the doctrine of the survival of the fittest, the possessor of two evening suits, use the old one for theaters and small dinners, and the best for the formal functions. White waistcoats are very smart for evening wear, and an investment in one or two of these during the course of a season will save the waistcoat of the evening suit. The prices of evening suits vary. The most fashionable Fifth Avenue tailors charge as much as one hundred and twenty-five dollars for them. Some men argue that this sum insures an excellent investment. However, you can have an excellent one made by a good tailor for an outlay of about forty dollars. The large retail clothing shops have a custom department, and that is their figure for an evening suit made to order. You can even have one for twenty-five dollars, but I would not spend a less amount. Superintend the making of it yourself. Some men have adjustable figures, and they can purchase their clothes from the block—that is, ready-made. The only fault to find with these garments is their machinelike cut. The pockets, if any, the lines, the binding, and the entire get-up look as if these affairs had been turned out by the dozen.

White waistcoats for evening wear are, however, somewhat in the nature of luxuries. They are difficult to have laundered, and some very smart men object to having them sent to the wash, and would not wear one after it has gone through that process. The Fifth Avenue tailor will charge as much as twenty dollars for a white duck waistcoat made to order. It may fit you perfectly, but yet again it may not look a whit better than the ready-made which you can purchase at a haberdasher's for from three to five dollars.

A Tuxedo or dinner coat, as explained in another chapter, is almost a necessity. It is really a saving. If you can not afford to have an entire suit of this kind made you may simply have the jacket, which will cost from twenty-five to forty dollars, and wear it with the trousers and waistcoat, and keep it to be part of your informal evening dress.

I have known men to have their black sack coats or old black diagonal cutaways or old evening coat changed into a Tuxedo by the cutting off of tails, the substitution of a silk collar, or some other alteration. A sack coat is easily arranged, and any little tailor around the corner will make the metamorphosis for three dollars. Suppose you have had one of your old coats transformed into a Tuxedo. You can purchase, if you do not wish to have made, a pair of black trousers of the same material for a very few dollars, and an old black waistcoat, which went with the original coat, can also be altered. Remember that a Tuxedo dinner coat has not to be of a certain material. It must be black and have a silk collar. It is really neglige.

You should start with a capital of at least six evening shirts. If you are a wealthy man these will cost possibly, made to order, as high as fifty-six dollars, but you can also have excellent ones for nine dollars. It is considered smart to have the collars attached, but not necessary. The cuffs, however, should be always a part of the shirt.

White ties are twenty-five to thirty-five cents a piece. Always state the number of collar you wear when purchasing evening ties, and you will never have cause to complain of the length.

Black patent-leather pumps, made to order, are from eight to nine dollars. You can get them much cheaper ready made, but the only trouble with them is that they are not usually good fits, and that in future years you will have cause to regret this economy. Of black silk stockings, of which you will need two or three pair, you can have a choice from a dollar and a half to six dollars a pair.

I would advise the purchase of two business or lounge suits a year for the first three years. In making this estimate I can hardly suppose that you are in the state of Adam, and I would advise you to wear your old suit in winter especially, and on rainy and stormy days. Your overcoat will conceal it in the street, and at the office the older the clothes the better. The pivotal points of a man are his hat, boots, and tie. Have these perfectly correct, and the rest will take care of itself.

For winter buy a thick, useful cloth, such as Scotch homespun or rough cheviot or tweed. Brown and gray mixtures are always fashionable and wear well.

In summer a light-gray check or a blue cheviot or flannel are always smart.

Thus making an old suit of the year before alternate with the new one, you will find that eighty dollars will be sufficient to help you be a well-groomed man.

A half dozen colored shirts for morning wear are necessary, with attached cuffs but detached collars. Every now and then I would invest a few dollars in shirts, and before you know it you will have a large supply. As dress shirts grow old send them to be repaired at any of the many places which you will find advertised, and use them for morning shirts.

Six changes of underwear—merino or wool—and a dozen balbriggan or woolen hose will be sufficient. Summer underwear is very cheap, and you can get a light merino suit for one dollar. A four-dollar investment will last several seasons. Good winter underwear is expensive, costing four or five dollars a suit.

Pyjamas of Madras or pongee silk, very effective and pretty, can be had for a dollar and a half to three dollars a suit. Four suits of these—two for summer and two for winter—will last at least two years.

A man must have, besides his dancing pumps, a pair of patent-leather walking boots and a pair of stout common boots for everyday wear. If you can afford it, have two pair of boots made at the same time, or even more. An investment of fifty dollars in boots, at say eight dollars a pair, would be excellent. You can change daily, and they will last you over a period of two or three or more years.

The afternoon suit is more or less a luxury. Unless you frequent afternoon teas or make many afternoon calls, or act as an usher at weddings in any city but New York, the frock coat is not, for the first three or four years of your career, an absolute necessity. In New York, however, where calls are only made in the afternoon, it must form a part of your wardrobe.

A frock coat can be made for forty or fifty dollars; seventy-five to one hundred dollars is charged by the most expensive tailors. When you order it, see that it is not in the extreme of fashion. The conservative garment will last a number of years. The material, as I have already suggested in another chapter, must be of rough worsted, vicuna, or material of that kind, and never of broadcloth.

With it you must have a pair of "fancy" or cashmere trousers. These will cost from eight to fifteen dollars, and they will last you several years. In fact, the purchasing of the afternoon suit in one way is excellent: it does not have to be renewed as often as other parts of your wardrobe. It stays practically in fashion, with little deviation, for almost a decade.

The silk hat, which is necessary for the afternoon suit, is one of the most expensive items of a man's wardrobe. A top hat must be of the prevailing mode. Autumn is the best time for purchasing, as you can dispense with it after May, except on very special occasions. Two Derbies—one for autumn and the other for spring—at from two to four dollars, or only one, for that matter, to last through the entire eight months, and a straw hat, from two to four dollars, will be the entire amount expended for headgear by the very best-dressed men. For a Derby you can substitute an Alpine or Hombourg. The opera crush hat is a luxury, and you can wear with your evening suit your top hat of the year before, which you can christen your "night hawk."

Shirt buttons and sleeve links are also an expensive item. However, the purchase of these occurs but once in a lifetime, and fifteen dollars would do beautifully for enamel or plain gold.

Ties vary in price, and it is difficult to limit a man on this expenditure. Many invest in them as a fad, picking them up here and there, and thus accumulating a large assortment. A little judgment in purchasing will allow you to acquire quite a large wardrobe. If you give your personal supervision to the making of your clothes you can employ a cheap tailor who will turn out very good work. For fashion plates, I do not know of any better than Du Maurier's pictures of smart London men in the London Punch. Watch the sales in the autumn and the late spring for bargains in haberdashery. Study well the advice given in the chapter on the Care of Clothes in this book, and you will find therein that which will certainly teach you economy.



Formal introductions are not in vogue in this country. The nearest approach to it is when one is desirous of introducing a stranger or one of his particular friends to another. When you desire to present a man to a woman you must ask her if you may bring Mr. —— to her house. In New York the customary time for such visits is in the afternoon, between four and six. In introducing men to one another it is unnecessary to make a formal appointment. In presenting a man to a woman her permission must first be asked. The formula is, "Mrs. C——, may I present Mr. D——?" Informal introductions may be made between people visiting in the same house by simply saying, "Mrs. D——, may I present Mr. B——?" or "Mr. F——, do you know Mr. C——?" These informal introductions need not be recognized afterward unless mutually agreeable.

Introductions are never made in the street or in public places of any kind, or in public conveyances, unless under exceptional circumstances. It is extremely bad form to introduce a guest on his entrance into a room to more than one other. Wholesale introductions are not the custom in New York. General introductions are not made at a dinner or at any function. People are sufficiently well bred to engage in general conversation when in the houses of their friends, even if they do not know each other, and not to take advantage of the circumstances afterward.

At any function at which the guests are told off, the host or hostess only presents the man to the woman whom he is to take down. A man never shakes hands upon being presented to a woman, but always on being introduced to a man. A man should never shake hands with a woman while wearing his gloves unless she also is gloved. Your hostess will give her hand to you when you make your obeisance. After being presented, an invitation is apt to follow. It may be, "Drop in to tea any afternoon," or simply, "I would be glad to have you call." This invitation should always come from a married woman. Unmarried women do not ask young men to call. A man may ask the privilege of calling, or the mother of the young woman may say, "We should be pleased to have you call, Mr. Smith."

In New York and in many of the larger cities, as has already been stated, the proper time for a man to call on a woman is between the hours of four and six in the afternoon. Sometimes women have "days" in the season, and you should pay your call on one of them. Otherwise any afternoon may do, and you can use Sunday for this purpose after three o'clock.

Afternoon dress is, of course, requisite. In those places where evening calls are made a man must wear formal evening dress.

On the opening of the door by the servant, a man asks of him whether the hostess or "the ladies" are at home. This will depend on the number of the members of the family receiving. He gives to the domestic the proper number of cards. The servant precedes him, opens the drawing-room door for him, and in some ultra English houses he is announced. His card or cards have been deposited on the silver tray which the servant has presented to him in the hall and left there. A visiting card is never brought into the drawing room. A man on a first or a formal call carries his stick and hat into the drawing room with him. To "hang his hat" in the hall shows great intimacy—even relationship—in the house. He, however, should leave there his overcoat and his rubbers and umbrella. His hostess will advance to meet him, and will extend to him her right hand with a somewhat stiff angular motion, and he should shake it with a quick nervous movement of his right. He should neither grasp nor squeeze her hand, nor should he attempt that absurd so-called British shake in the air, which is never practiced except by player folk. A man removes his glove from his right hand on entering the drawing room, and holds this with his stick and hat in his left. The hat should be at an angle, the top about level with his nose. At weddings, the opera, and dances, where a woman is gloved, a man, if it is required to shake hands, does not remove his gloves. On ordinary occasions a woman is seldom gloved in her own drawing room, and if she is, handshaking is not usually expected. Should the hostess be gloved, as at a large affair, such as a formal or wedding reception, a man shakes hands with her with them on.

Tea is generally served in the afternoon on a tray with wafers, little cakes, and sometimes sandwiches. If you take a sandwich or a cup of tea, a doylie will be given you, which place upon your knee. When another caller enters the room stand up, whether it is a woman or a man. Ten minutes is all that is necessary for a formal call. It is less awkward to leave when a new caller is announced. Shake hands with your hostess and bow to the people present. Leave the room sideways, so as not to turn your back upon the company, and bow to them as you reach the door, thus bowing yourself out. Remember, do not be a lingerer or a sitter. No men are more dreaded in society than these wretched bores. The first arrivals leave first. Freezing out is not known in good society.

Calls should be made after every civility extended and every invitation accepted or regretted; after weddings, wedding receptions, deaths in families, etc., as fully explained in the chapter on card-leaving.

A letter of introduction is always sent, never left in person. Calls at the theater or in opera boxes are mere social amenities, and are not accepted as formal. A man enters an opera box, stands, and bows. His hostess will turn around and greet him. He will then, if there is a vacant chair, take one, and sit and talk a little while, leaving on the arrival of another caller. These rules for afternoon calls can be applied also to those made in the evening.

If no day is set for a first call, a man is expected to drop in any afternoon within ten days after the invitation. The sooner a call is made the greater the compliment. A second call may be made within two or three months; after that once or twice a year, as intimacy permits. A man is never asked to dinner or to any function at a house at which he has not first called. The usual form of a dinner invitation, the hostess being married, reads:

My dear Mr. Smith:

Will you dine with us, most informally, on Wednesday, December the ninth, at eight o'clock? Hoping that you have no engagement for that evening, believe me,

Yours very sincerely, Alice de Tompkins. November thirtieth.

An answer to an invitation like this, which should be sent within twenty-four hours, reads:

My dear Mrs. de Tompkins:

It will give me great pleasure to dine with you on Wednesday evening, December the ninth, at eight o'clock. With many thanks for your kind thought of me,

Yours very sincerely, Algernon Smith. December first.

Or, in the case of a formal dinner consisting of more than ten or twelve guests:

Mr. and Mrs. de Tompkins request the pleasure of Mr. Smith's company at dinner on Wednesday evening, December the ninth, at eight o'clock.

The answer reads:

Mr. Algernon Smith, Jr., accepts with pleasure Mr. and Mrs. de Tompkins's kind invitation for Wednesday evening, December the ninth, at eight o'clock. December first.

Answers to formal luncheon invitations are written in the same manner, only changing the hours, etc.

Informal invitations to breakfasts and luncheons will be treated in the chapter on that subject.

The form of an invitation to a private dance is:

Mr. and Mrs. de Tompkins request the pleasure of Mr. Algernon Smith's company on Friday evening, January the ninth, at nine o'clock.

R. S. V. P. Dancing.

The answer to this would be similarly worded as in case of the formal dinner. As dance invitations are usually sent out three weeks in advance, three days' grace is allowed for the answer.

When an invitation is received to a subscription ball, like the assemblies in various cities, you should acknowledge it, by your acceptance or regret, to the subscriber sending it; but when an invitation is received from a ball committee, you should accept as follows:

Mr. James de Courcy Peterson accepts with pleasure the committee's kind invitation for Thursday evening, February the fifteenth.

January second.



There is only one visiting card in vogue for a man. It must be of plain white bristol board, unglazed, about three or four inches in length and about two inches in width. The name should be engraved, not printed, in the middle of the card, in small copperplate type, without ornamentation of any kind. The prefix "Mr." is always used unless the person is a physician, in which case he can place "Dr." before his name, or a clergyman, when he may use the "Rev. Mr." or the "Rev. Dr.," according to his rank. Army and navy men, ranking as captain or above, should put their rank on their cards. "Mr." is the prefix for subalterns. The address is placed underneath the name in smaller type and in the right-hand corner. If an address, however, is that of a man's club, it should be engraved on the left hand. A man's card should also contain his Christian as well as his surname. If he possesses two Christian names, or any distinctive family name, that should also be given, so that his appellation is shown in full. For instance, "Mr. John William Jones," "Mr. James Brown Smith," "Mr. Hamilton Hamilton-Stuyvesant." Visiting cards should be kept in a small case of sealskin or black or Russia leather and carried in the inside pocket of a frock coat, or if small enough more conveniently in the waistcoat pocket. Card cases should be stamped with initials or have a silver monogram. Visiting cards should never be carried loose in the pocket. A card is left in person the day after a dinner, luncheon, or breakfast, or within a week at latest after a ball. Civility must be returned by civility, and cards must be left on every occasion on which a call is necessary. Cards should not be sent by mail, unless when about to leave the country, or under circumstances where it is impossible to make a personal call. On leaving the country you should write the initials P. P. C. (pour prendre conge) in the right-hand corner. In New York many men send cards by mail, offering the excuse that the city is too large to get about to make personal calls. This is only a flimsy pretext, and should have no weight.

The question of how many cards to leave is one which seems to bewilder most people. The general rule is a card to each person. This will have to be explained. When you call on Mr. and Mrs. Smith you must leave a card for each—two cards. When you call on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the Misses Smith, three cards, the young ladies counting as a unit. For Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the Misses Smith, and their married daughter Mrs. Jones staying with them, four cards—Mrs. Jones being entitled to the fourth. If Mr. Jones is also stopping at the Smiths leave an extra card for him. For Mrs. Smith (widow) and the Misses Smith, two cards. For Mr. Smith (widower) and the Misses Smith, two cards.

In mailing cards, address them on the envelope "Mrs. Smith, the Misses Smith," or "Mr. and Mrs. John Brown-Smith"; "The Misses Brown-Smith," the one under the other. Never write on your cards "For Mr. and Mrs. John Brown-Smith." It is bad form. Never leave cards for people who have not asked you to call. When friends from another city, who have entertained you or who have been polite to you, should arrive in your own city, you should immediately call and leave cards for them. In that case, should you even not be acquainted with their host and hostess, it would be civil to leave cards also for them.

After a wedding, if invited to the reception, you must personally leave cards at the house where the reception has been given for your host and hostess, and also for the young couple when they return from their bridal trip. Two cards at each place will be sufficient in this case. When invited to the church only, leave or send cards to the bride's parents and the young couple. As the card to the church only, is rather an equivocal compliment, mailing cards in this case could be excused. Leave personally cards for the patroness who has asked you to a subscription ball, within a week after the invitation. In cases of death, leave cards within a fortnight. In answer to letters of condolence, it is best to send your cards with the words "Thank you for your kind sympathy" written thereon. For mourning, use the same size or style of card, but with a narrow or deep border as befits the nearness of degree of relationship with the deceased. The deepest border permissible is about a quarter of an inch.

It is bad form to bend cards or to turn down the corners thereof. These signs mean nothing now in good society. In calling—it may be repeated here—you ask, if there are more than one of the fair sex in the house, for "the ladies," and hand the servant the number of cards necessary. He takes them on a silver salver and leaves them in the hall, goes before you, and announces you. Your card is never taken to the lady of the house, unless it is a business call.



When I speak of the "diner-out," I include under this title the bachelor guest not only at dinners, but also at luncheons and at suppers. The formal breakfast is a festivity of the past, and the first meal in a household is purely a family affair. However, luncheons on Sunday at one or two o'clock are in New York frequently called breakfasts, because I believe many fashionable people do not want the impression to go abroad that even once a week they dine in the middle of the day. The luncheon after a day wedding ceremony is also called a breakfast, but this, like the Sunday meal, is simply a title by courtesy.

Luncheons, where men are guests, are popular entertainments at all the large summer resorts, such as Newport, Long Branch, Bar Harbor, as well as at the more celebrated of the Western and Pacific watering places and the winter cities of the South. In New York and other great centers, where there exists a number of gentlemen of leisure, these entertainments are greatly in vogue, and in Washington they sometimes assume the color of diplomatic functions.

The hour for a luncheon is half past one o'clock, and sometimes it is advanced to two. All guests are expected to be punctual to the minute and to take advantage even of the quarter of an hour latitude is bad form. Better a little too early than too late. However, do not make yourself ridiculous by appearing on the scene too soon. Bear in mind that the reputation of being the "late Mr. Smith" is not enviable. A tardy guest only accentuates his own insignificance. This rule applies to dinners and suppers and to all entertainments where you are a guest, with only one exception—dances, where you have an hour's grace.

Luncheons, as a rule, are informal affairs. Men have attended them in lounge suits, but it is more courteous to your hostess to appear in afternoon dress. Overcoats, hats, and sticks are left in the hall. Your gloves are removed in the drawing room. When luncheon is announced, unless it is a very formal affair, your hostess leads the way to the dining room, and she is followed by her guests, women and men, not in procession. The men, of course, must allow the fairer sex to pass before them through the drawing-room door and into the dining room. Luncheon menus consist of oysters, clams, or grape fruit with crushed ice and saturated with maraschino for the first course. This is followed by bouillon, an entree, a roast or chops with peas, or broiled chicken, salad with birds, ices and fruits, coffee and liqueurs. Sherry and claret are the wines, and sometimes champagne is served.

A luncheon lasts three hours at most, and the men are left to smoke at dessert. However, sometimes this formality is waived.

Dinner invitations are sent out at least a fortnight in advance. In the New York season sometimes they are issued a full month before the event. They must, under all circumstances, be answered within twenty-four hours, and cards left on your prospective host and hostess within a week.

The fashionable hours for dining are between half past seven and eight o'clock. Dinners being formal evening functions, formal evening dress is essential.

Except at very small houses and apartments, two rooms are reserved—one for the men and the other for the ladies—as dressing rooms. Your hat, coat, and outdoor attire are removed, and a servant will assist you in arranging your toilet. A nefarious practice of feeing these attendants, even at private houses, has been somewhat in vogue in a very "smart" and wealthy set in New York. It is not good form, and I would advise you against it.

The servant who announces you, hands you a small envelope on which is written your name. This incloses a card on which is the name of the lady whom you are to take in to dinner. After exchanging greetings with your hostess and removing your gloves, you should endeavor to find your partner and engage in some preliminary conversation. Should you not have been presented to her, inform your hostess of this fact, and you will be at once introduced. Dinner is announced by the butler entering the drawing room and saying, "Dinner is served." The host leads the way with the woman guest of honor, and you are assigned your place in the procession by the hostess, who comes last with the man guest of honor. Each man offers his right arm to his fair partner. In the dining room, cards are placed at each cover with the names of the guests inscribed thereon. Even should there be a retinue of servants, pull back the chair of your partner and assist her to seat herself. In some old-fashioned houses grace is said, and it is always the rule when a clergyman is one of the guests. This blessing is asked after the company is seated.

During dinner you must devote yourself to the comfort and entertainment of the woman whom you have taken in. She must be your first care, although there may be some one on your other side, or opposite, who is more congenial to you. Talking across the table is very bad form. Let your conversation be pleasant and general, but avoid politics, religion, and personal criticisms.

There is no form for refusing wine, if it is against your scruples to drink it. Do not thus force your personal prejudices on your host by making any demonstration, such as putting your finger over the glass or shaking your head at the butler. Let him fill your glasses, but do not drink the contents. The question of waste is not to be considered; and if you are a man with firm principles regarding total abstinence, in your heart you should rejoice that at least a quota of the fluid will do no harm.

The hostess gives the signal at dessert for the ladies to retire to the drawing room. Everybody rises, and the ladies leave the table in solemn procession, the man nearest the door opening it for them. A prettier custom, and one much in vogue in New York, is the escorting of the ladies by the men to the drawing room, the host leading the way. When the drawing-room door is reached the men bow and retire again to the dining room, where coffee, liqueurs, and cigars are served. At the end of a half hour they return to the drawing room. Another half hour of conversation, during which sometimes there is dancing, and the guests make their adieus to their hostess and host and leave. On bidding good-night, always assure your hostess of the pleasant evening which you have enjoyed.

Progressive dinners are sometimes given, although now almost obsolete. Small tables are arranged for these with parties of four or six at each table. The guests change places at each course, the signal for this being given by the hostess ringing a bell. The ladies remain in their seats. As there will not be a fresh napkin provided at each course, a man brings his with him from his first table.

Public dinners, except when given by certain church, debating, or literary societies, are stag affairs. The guests assemble at the restaurant, hotel, or hall where the banquet is to be held, and deposit their hats, coats, and walking paraphernalia in the cloakroom. A ticket is given with the number of your rack upon it, and a small fee—usually twenty-five cents—is expected. The guests assemble in one of the smaller drawing rooms, and each one is handed a plan of the tables with the location of his cover designated by his name upon it. A procession is formed, the guests of honor and reception committee leading, to the banquet hall. After dessert, speeches are in order.

Dinner dances are a form of entertainment where dinner is followed by a dance, other guests coming in from other dinner parties and meeting at one house which has been agreed upon as the place where the dance is to take place. A short time after dinner, at each of the other houses, the guests are conveyed therefrom in carriages, or, better yet, in stages, to the general rendezvous. Calls are due within the week at the house where you have dined as well as at the one at which you have danced.

Supper etiquette differs but little from that observed at dinners. The occasion is a bit more informal and the menu not so elaborate. The etiquette of ball suppers is treated in the chapter on The Dance, and suppers after the play, at restaurants and clubs, being favorite bachelor entertainments, will be explained in that part of this book reserved for the Bachelor as Host.



Many of the cautions contained in this chapter will seem elementary in their nature. But one expects in a book of this kind to see the old familiar "don'ts," and their absence would perhaps deter from the usefulness of The Complete Bachelor. I would, however, suggest a careful study of that clever brochure, entitled Don't, which would refresh the memory on many points not within the scope of this work. It is really quite surprising to see how few men have perfect table manners. The American is unfortunately too often in a hurry. He bolts his food. He is a victim of the "quick-lunch" system. Again, a bachelor eating a solitary meal at a club or a restaurant is apt from sheer loneliness to try and dispose of it as rapidly as possible. Drill yourself into eating leisurely. Persons of refinement take only small morsels at a time. One can not be too dainty at table. To attempt to talk while your mouth is full is another vulgarity upon which it is needless to dwell. The French have made us the reproach that we frequently drink while our mouths are in this condition. I fear there is some foundation for this accusation. Wipe your mouth carefully before putting a glass to your lips. Grease stains around the edge of a goblet or wineglass are silent but telltale witnesses of careless habits.

The napkin is an embarrassing article to many men. Its place is on the lap and not tucked into the shirt bosom or festooned around the neck. When one arises from the table, the napkin is thrown carelessly on it, unfolded. The days of napkin rings are over.

Nervous and bashful persons fidget, they do not sit squarely or firmly at table, their chairs are crooked, they play or gesticulate with their knives and forks, or they beat dismal tattoos with them against their plates. These same timid minds find vent for inspiration in the crumbs of the bread, of which they involuntarily make little figures or small round balls. The economist, another person on the list, plasters his food, taking a bit of potato, a little tomato, and a good-sized square of meat as a foundation, and spreading these tidbits one on the other, prepares of them a delectable poultice which he swallows at a mouthful. I pass over the man who leaves traces of each meal on his shirt or his clothes. Such a being, I have no doubt, would convey food to his mouth with his knife, would blow on his soup, tea, or coffee with the idea of cooling it, or would pour the two latter cheering fluids into a saucer and drink them therefrom.

The caution to keep one's hands above the cloth and one's elbows out of reach of others, also falls under the head of kindergarten classification. The ridiculous idea prevailing that one must not eat until others are served has passed away with many old-time fallacies. One commences to eat as soon as served. You need not proceed very actively, but you can take up your fork or spoon, as the case may be, and make at least a feint at it.

Toasts have also fallen into "desuetude" at private dinners. Sometimes you will find an old-fashioned host who will, on touching his glass with his lips, bow to his guests, and they may wait for this signal to sip their wine, but the custom is utterly obsolete in large cities and at formal dinners.

When you have finished the course, lay your knife and fork side by side on your plate, the prongs of the fork upward. Do not cross them. No whistlike signals are needed to-day to signify that you have had sufficient to eat.

Dinners are generally served a la Russe—that is, from the sideboard, and the dishes are passed around by the servants on silver trays. Very large plats, such as roasts and fish, are sometimes carried without the trays. On all occasions of ceremony the men servants are gloved.

Carving at table is but little seen except at very informal dinners and in the country, where sometimes the master of the house shows off this old-fashioned accomplishment, especially if he has a dining room in colonial style and wishes to have everything in keeping.

The question of second helpings is therefore not one of moment. The servants pass the viands twice or more around. If a host or hostess serves at table, he or she will ask the guests whether they would like a second helping. It is never demanded. Except when absolutely necessary the handkerchief should be kept out of sight. It can be used in case there should be some sudden irritation of the skin, but to blow one's nose at table is disgusting.

The American bachelor takes usually a very light first meal. It consists of tea, coffee, or cocoa, toast, eggs, oatmeal, and fruit. There are yet a few men who go in for the old-fashioned hearty breakfast with beefsteak, buckwheat cakes, and trimmings, but in cities the lighter meal is preferable. All this is, of course, more a matter of environment and hygiene than etiquette. I have compiled a list of certain viands, which society does require should be eaten at a special meal and in only one manner. With this catalogue I will close this chapter.


Eggs.—It is much better form to have egg cups than egg glasses for boiled eggs. Cut the top of the egg off with a dexterous blow of a sharp knife and eat it in the shell with a small egg spoon.

Sugar.—Lump sugar if served is always taken with the sugar tongs.

Butter.—Butter is only served at breakfast or luncheon. It is passed around in a silver dish, with a little silver pick with which to spear it. Butter plates—i. e., the small round silver or china affairs—have given place to bread and butter plates, which are of china and are somewhat larger than an ordinary saucer. The butter plate of a few years ago was never seen outside of America, and is now destined to vanish from our tables. It is needless to add that butter is never served at dinner.

Radishes.—Radishes appear at luncheon. Put them on your bread and butter plate and eat them with a little salt.

Cantaloupes are served cut in half and filled with ice. They are eaten as a first course, a fork being better to eat them with than a spoon. Salt is the condiment to use with them, but sugar is allowable. In southern climates they are sometimes served at dinner as a separate course between the fish and roast. This is a Creole custom.

Grape fruit is served as a first course (vide chapter Diner-Out) at a late breakfast or luncheon. It is eaten with a spoon.


The menu of to-day is simple. It consists of oysters or clams, according to season, soup, fish, entree, roast and vegetables, game and salad, ices and dessert. Sorbets or frozen punches are not served, except at public banquets and hotel table-d'hotes.

Oysters or clams are placed on the table in plates for the purpose before dinner is announced. They are imbedded in ice and arranged around a half-sliced lemon, which is in the middle of the plate. Oysters or clams are eaten with a fork only. Gourmets say that they should not even be cut with it, and should be swallowed whole. I would not advise any one to try this with large oysters. The oyster fork is the first in the number of the implements placed beside your plate. Condiments, such as pepper and salt, will be passed you. Sauterne is served with oysters.

Oyster cocktails have been in vogue in place of oysters. These are a mixture of the bivalve with Tabasco sauce and vinegar, and they are said to be excellent appetizers. They are eaten with a small fork from cocktail glasses. Bachelors frequently serve them in place of oysters.

Soup.—At large and formal dinners a clear soup is in vogue. Your soup spoon will be on the knife side of your plate. Soup is eaten from the side and not from the end of the spoon. The motion of the hand guiding the spoon is toward and not from you. Take soup in small spoonfuls, and use your napkin in wiping your mouth and mustache after each, especially if the soup is thick or a puree. This will avoid the dripping of that liquid from your upper lip. Never after this operation throw your napkin back into your lap with the greasy side toward your clothes, but use the inside of it for this purpose.

Fish is eaten with a silver fish fork. Chasing morsels of fish around your plate with bits of bread is obsolete. Silver fish knives have been put in use, but they are not generally the vogue.

Cucumbers are served with fish on the same plate. Little plates or saucers for cucumbers, vegetables, or salads are bad form.

Sherry is served with fish.

Celery, olives, and salted almonds are placed on the table in small dishes. Sometimes the guests are asked to help themselves, but at formal dinners they are passed around after the fish. Celery is eaten with the fingers and dipped in a little salt placed on the tablecloth or on the edge of your plate. It is also served as an entree raw, the stalks stuffed with Parmesan cheese. It should then be eaten with a fork.

Entrees require a fork only. Among these are patties, rissoles, croquettes, and sweetbreads.

Mushrooms are eaten with a fork, and served as a separate course in lieu of an entree.

Terrapin is served sometimes in little silver saucepans either as an entree or as fish, and again in a chafing dish, and sometimes with salad. It is more of a supper than a dinner plat, and should be eaten with a fork.

Asparagus is eaten, except in the intimate privacy of your own family circle, with a fork. Cut the points off with the end of the prongs. The stalk or white part is not eaten. It is allowable to eat it with your fingers, as I have said, in private. It is served after the roast as a special course. One can not drink champagne with asparagus except at the risk of a severe headache.

Artichokes are served as a separate course after the roast. They should be placed in the center of your plate and the inside tips of the leaves alone eaten. The leaves are removed with the fingers and dipped in salt, sauce vinaigrette, or melted butter. The center of the artichoke is called the heart. The hairy part is removed with the fork, and the heart itself, which is deliciously tender, is conveyed to the mouth with the fork.

Champagne is served in small tumblers or claret glasses. The champagne stem glasses are out of fashion. The dry may be served from the fish to the close of dinner, but the old rule was to give it with the roast, claret with the entree, and Burgundy with the game.

Salad is eaten with a fork only. In cutting game or poultry, the bone of either wing or leg should not be touched with the fingers, but the meat cut close off. It is better to sever the wing at the joint.

Savories, a species of salt fish and cheese sandwich, is served in England hot, about the end of dinner. They should be eaten with a fork. Undressed salad is sometimes served with them, or radishes, butter, and cheese. This is the only occasion when one sees butter on a dinner table, and this at informal dinners. The salad undressed can be eaten with the fingers. At bachelor dinners and at luncheons cheese is served with salad. The French soft cheeses are the favorites.

Pastry, ices, and desserts are eaten with a fork.

Fruit, such as peaches, pears, and apples, are served frequently already pared. When this is the case, finger bowls are dispensed with, but as yet this is not a general rule. Usually at dessert there is placed before you a finger glass and doily and a dessert plate, with the dessert knife and fork on either side. Remove the glass and doily; put it in front of your plate a little to the right. Fruit must be pared or peeled with a silver knife.

Strawberries are now served with the stems on, and sugar and cream are passed around and are taken on your dessert plate.

Pineapples are eaten with a fork. A cracker is used for nuts, and silver picks are brought in with the dessert.

Corn on the cob is a favorite at small informal dinners as a separate course. In polite society you must remove the grains of the corn with your fork or your knife and fork, and never eat it off the cob holding the end with your fingers. By holding one end with your napkin, you can plow down the furrow of the grains with your fork, and you will find that they will fall off easily. Corn is always served, when given in this style, on a white napkin. You help yourself to the ear with your fingers.

Macaroni and spaghetti should only be eaten with a fork. In New Orleans boiled shrimps are often served at small dinners. The skins and heads are on, and you remove these with your fingers. After this course finger bowls with orange leaves are passed around, and the perfume of the water will remove the odor of fish from your fingers.

Black coffee is served after dinner. Milk or cream does not accompany it, except in the country, where sometimes a little silver pitcher of cream is placed on the tray. Coffee is drunk from small cups. Coffee and milk are never served during dinner, nor again is iced milk. These are barbarisms. Chartreuse, kuemmel, curacoa, and cognac are the liqueurs usually served after dinner.

Claret, in many French families, especially those of the middle class, is placed on the table in decanters. You are expected to help yourself. There are also carafons or decanters of water to mix with the wine. The claret decanters are called carafes. Claret is drunk at the twelve o'clock dejeuner as well as at dinner.

Tea is passed around in old-fashioned English houses about an hour after dinner. In some places buttered muffins accompany it, but this extra refreshment is only seen now in very old-fashioned houses.

Scotch whisky and hot water or mineral waters are served in country houses before bedtime.




The bachelor who entertains is a most popular member of society. It does not cost a fortune to return in some manner the civilities once received, and every man, even if his income be limited, can once in a while entertain, even if it be on a very small scale and in a very modest way. Bachelor functions are always enjoyable. For a host of moderate income, I would suggest a luncheon, a dinner, or a party to the play, followed by a little supper.

A bachelor luncheon can be given either at the host's apartments or chambers, at a restaurant, or in the ladies' annex of his club, if that organization possesses such an institution.

At all entertainments given under a bachelor's vine and fig tree, extreme simplicity should be a characteristic. The table linen should be of the finest damask, or the best material his income will allow; the glass perfectly plain, clear crystal, the china of a rich but quiet pattern, the silver good but absolutely without ornamental devices of any kind. In fact, the silver can be limited to forks and spoons, and the rest Sheffield or prince's plate. Silver is not expensive, but plate is considered quite smart, and it has the advantage of being utterly valueless from the burglar's point of view.

Individual salt and pepper affairs, cut or colored glass, or the hundred and one knick-knacks which one sees advertised and which eventually find their way to the boarding-house table, are vulgar.

Before your cloth is laid you should have a cover of felt placed over the table, so as to form a shield between it and the damask or linen. In the center goes a silver or plated fernery, filled with ferns and asparagus vines, on a mirror tray, or an epergne with fruit. Two heavy, old-fashioned decanters in Queen Anne coasters should be placed, one at your right and the other at the right of your vis-a-vis. These contain sherry and claret. Four plain silver, plated, or china dishes are at the corners with salted almonds, olives, bonbons, and fancy cakes. If you wish to be very effective and have the money to spare, it is smart at a dinner to have silver candlesticks with candles or tiny lamps gleaming behind red or pink shades at each cover. Two or three forks are laid at the left of each plate. If more are required, your servant will replace them. On the right of the plate are the knives, including one for the roast, with the tablespoon for the soup, if it is a dinner, and the oyster fork. The napkins should be plain and flat, and contain a roll of bread. These hints for arranging the table will do for either luncheon or dinner. Not one of the articles is in itself expensive, and you may possess them all with the accumulation of years. If not, a simpler arrangement could be effected, or you could give the entertainment at a restaurant instead of your rooms or house. The invitations can be either verbal or written, but at best a luncheon or dinner in a bachelor's apartments is regarded as a little frolic, and you must try to preserve the spirit and waive the formalities.

A chaperon, of course, is necessary. The party can be limited to about eight. If you have a manservant he should be dressed in black coat and trousers, white shirt, standing collar and tie, and liveried waistcoat. His duties are to open the door and to serve the luncheon. But a manservant is not necessary. Some of the smartest bachelors in New York give delightful little dinners and luncheons at their apartments, at which the maid who has cooked the meal, dressed in white apron and black gown, also serves it.

The menu should be the usual one expected at luncheons, but champagne is never offered by a man to women in his apartments, unless at dinner or a theater supper. If a wealthy bachelor has a large house, and instead of one there are a number of matrons chaperoning, the case is different. Manhattan or Martini cocktails could be passed around before luncheon, or some little peculiar dish be served to give a zest to the occasion.

A bachelor's dinner at his house or apartments is a more formal entertainment, but it differs in nowise from a regular function of that character. The chaperon takes the place of the lady of the house for that occasion. Dressing rooms are arranged for the men and women, and the same ceremonies observed as at any formal dinner. If the affair is given in apartments, of course the character must be more or less informal, as the accommodations are limited. Should you have a man serve at your dinner, he must be in evening dress. Both at dinner and at luncheon he must have gloves, but this is not required of a maid.

A bachelor's supper in his own apartments is sometimes given after the play. Of the menu, I will speak a little farther on. A chafing-dish supper is, however, an unique and enjoyable entertainment. Several chafing dishes should be ready, so that each course can follow without delay. Terrapin, truffled eggs, curried oysters, and other dainties of this kind comprise usually the menu. It would be well to serve first oysters on the half shell, followed by lobster a la Newburg, the latter being the first plat cooked with the chafing dish. Champagne is a good wine, and allowable for a chafing-dish supper; but if Welsh rarebits are the chef d'oeuvre, then beer or ale would be better.

A theater party should be confined to eight or ten. A parti carre—four people—is delightful. Unmarried women do not go to theaters or restaurants with a man alone. They must be chaperoned, even at a matinee or a luncheon party at a hotel or restaurant—in fact, an unmarried couple is seldom seen at public places in New York, unless they are engaged, and married women are as much compromised as unmarried ones by indifference to this absolute rule of etiquette.

The invitations can be either verbal or written. In the season it is better to write them, to insure the acceptance of guests. Be careful in the wording to give not only the evening, but the name of the play and the theater. For a party, always secure end seats, and there will be no disturbing of others in case you might be a little late. A box is necessary at the circus or at a music hall, but orchestra seats or stalls are the best selection for a bachelor's party. Many mothers object to their daughters being seen at the theater in a proscenium box.

The rendezvous or meeting place should be at the chaperon's. The vestibule of the theater is awkward, except for parties of four. A stage is the best vehicle to convey your guests to the playhouse. At the theater the host sees that his guests are provided with playbills. He gives the tickets to the usher, and precedes the party down the aisle. He indicates the order of sitting. A man should go in first, followed by the woman with whom he is to sit, and then, thus sandwiched, the rest of the party file in, the host taking the aisle or end seat. The host sits next to the chaperon. Gentlemen do not go out between the acts at the theater, but sometimes, when there is a party to the opera, they can leave their seats if other men come to visit the ladies. A man going in or out a theater aisle should do so with his face toward the stage and his back to the seat. A host never leaves his guests. After the play go a little ahead and give your carriage check to the porter as soon as possible, so that there may not be a long wait. The porter expects a small fee. All theater parties are followed by a supper given either at a restaurant, at the club, in the ladies' annex, or at your bachelor apartments.

All luncheons, dinners, or suppers at a restaurant, unless organized on the spur of the moment, are ordered beforehand, and everything, including the waiter's tip, arranged and settled for. If you have not an account at the restaurant, pay the bill at the time you order the menu and reserve the table. Flowers should be included, and a centerpiece of roses, which are so arranged as to come apart and be distributed in bunches to each of your fair guests, is one of the favorite devices. Small boutonnieres are provided for the men. The public restaurant or dining room is the place for a bachelor supper when ladies are guests. A private room is not proper, and your guests want to see and be seen. The chaperon is seated at the right hand of the host, unless the party is given in honor of a particular woman, in which case she has that place. The chaperon is then at your left. Wraps and coats are taken off in the hall of the restaurant and checked. There is no order of entry, except that the host should precede and the others follow.

The usual menu for a theater supper is:

I. Clams or oysters on the half shell.

II. Bouillon in cups.

III. Chicken croquettes or sweetbreads with peas, or lobster a la Newburg.

IV. Terrapin or birds with salad.

V. Ices, cakes, cafe noir, bonbons.

VI. Liqueurs.

With the oysters or clams white wine is served. Champagne follows the bouillon until the end of the supper.

After supper the party usually returns to the residence of the chaperon, where the unmarried women have their maids and family escorts awaiting them. The host accompanies them to the chaperon's house, but the other men take leave at the restaurant. The chaperon may have it arranged to have dancing at her house, in which case the party return with her after supper.

A supper in the ladies' annex in nowise differs from this, except that you do not tip the waiter or pay the bill, but have it charged in your monthly account.

The menu for a supper at your own apartments follows the same lines as those already given.

Theater clubs are associations of women and men, all subscribing, meeting at the houses of different members, one of whom gives the supper.

Bachelors' dances or balls are given at a large hall by a number of unmarried men, who subscribe a certain amount each. A number of well-known matrons are asked to receive the guests, and a cotillon usually follows the supper.

Impromptu lunches, dinners, or suppers at restaurants sometimes require the immediate settlement of the account. Be careful to draw from your pocketbook a bill of large denomination, and not a handful of change. Do not con over or dispute the items. If you have an account, simply sign the check. If not, it is best to give the waiter his tip and go to the desk and pay while the members of your party are getting their wraps.

Dinners at restaurants are frequently given by bachelors, and are followed by a visit to the theater. The rendezvous is either at the house of the chaperon or at the restaurant itself, should the party be limited in number.

The menu varies according to the season. Six courses, including raw oysters or clams, soup, fish, entree, roast and vegetables, birds and salad, ices and dessert, are sufficient. The form and manner of entertaining at a dinner of this kind are similar to those observed at suppers.

To a man who frequently entertains, and at a particular restaurant, an occasional tip to the head waiter would be of service. This is a word to the wise.

Card parties for the playing of whist, domino, or poker are often given by bachelors at their apartments or residences. In apartments this class of entertainment is only for men. Women should not go to bachelors' apartments except for luncheon, dinner, or supper. In a bachelor's house, however, any entertainment can be given. Small stakes are played for and the usual supper follows. The farewell bachelor dinner will have its proper place in the chapter on Wedding Etiquette.




Bachelors, whose incomes are of all sizes and conditions, can have some kind of a country house. It may be a fishing lodge, a hunting box, maintained by three or four men clubbing together; a small cottage plainly and simply furnished at the seashore, near golf links, or in a good neighborhood; or again a large establishment, a villa at Newport or in a fashionable colony with a retinue of servants and a stable filled with horses. Whichever it might be, open hospitality, as much as it is in your power, should prevail. However, never attempt anything more than you can accomplish, and by all means do not run into debt. To a fishing or hunting lodge men only should be invited. It should be furnished with the mere necessaries, and hung with fishing and hunting prints and trophies of the chase. The hall serves as sitting and even mess room. A man of all work or an old married couple are the best servants. Ample supplies are sent from town, but the leading idea is roughing it, and the table is partially supplied by the game and fish brought back by you and your friends. When the term of the visit of your guests expires, each should be able to bring home a basket of fish or some game. From time to time send to any of your hostesses of the winter something from your preserves. These attentions are much appreciated.

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