THE average hostess seems to have lost something of the grace and charm of manner with which her ancestors were credited. Perhaps this may be put down in part to the free and easy times in which she lives. Nevertheless, no law of fashion has dictated that woman should cast aside good manners. On the contrary, they are looked for and appreciated, especially in a hostess, and never despised.
It is the privilege of a hostess to entertain and look after her guests. She must be unselfish and ready to please everyone, and she must remember that it is her guests who are to be entertained, not herself.
When inviting several friends to your house, be quite certain in your own mind that Mr. and Mise A. will be pleased when they hear that Mr. and Mrs. B. will be there. Be satisfied, also, that they will have something in common so far as conversation is concerned. It is a strain for a hostess to have to keep the conversation going all the time.
If, on the other hand, you want Mr. and Miss A. to meet Mr. and Mrs. B., and are asking them for the purpose of introducing them, be sure that you do introduce them properly. There is a right and wrong to everything. When a lady and gentleman have not previously met, the gentleman is presented to the lady, and in the case of two ladies or gentlemen the younger, or one of lower rank, should be presented to the elder, or one of higher rank.
Easiness of Manner
A good hostess will make each individual guest feel at ease directly he or she arrives. Her own easiness of manner will give that homely touch which is looked for but not always found. She will treat everyone alike, and not devote too much of her attention to any particular person.
When friends are expected for a meal everything should be prepared and arranged beforehand. Nothing is worse than for a hostess to keep on leaving her guests to see that everything is all right in the kitchen, or probably to do something which she has forgotten. Such happenings not only suggest bad management, bub prove it. These imperfections can be avoided, especially if a maid is kept. Whether it be lunch, tea, or dinner, it is possible to have everything ready, as it is not usual for guests to arrive until about a quarter of an hour before the meal is to be served.
For tea everything is straightforward, because when the actual time arrives only the beverage has to be made. If there is no maid, it is permissible to have the tea laid ready in the lounge, and a good manager will have the bread and butter, sandwiches and cakes read to bring in when the time comes. A kettle, put on a low gas, will be ready for making the tea, and the hostess will only have to be away for a few seconds. If a tea trolley be used, everything can be pushed in on this when the tea is ready.