Monday, February 20, 2017

Calls for Inquiry

To finish the week on manners, I'm again using the Manners for men ©1897 by Mrs. C.E. Humphry and including the excerpt concerning funerals. Note the choice of flowers for the occasion in the last paragraph.

In calling on friends who have suffered bereavement, after having received their card of thanks for kind inquiries, it is, of course, requisite that the dress should be of the quietest description. A red tie, for instance, would be horribly out of place. Only in case of friendships is bereaved. the call prolonged beyond ten minutes or a quarter of an hour. The caller takes his tone from that of the family. It is in the worst taste to refer to the loss sustained unless the initiative is taken by one of those bereaved. This is very seldom done, and the conversation is usually conducted on lines calculated to avert any disturbing remark. No one likes to break down or lose self-command except in seclusion; and, in fact, it is only necessary to look into one's own consciousness in order to discover what is the best course to follow in such cases.
Should a young man be invited to attend the funeral, he must wear mourning, black gloves, and black hatband. Punctuality, important at all times, is particularly essential at this dreary ceremonial. The family usually provides carriages, but in the case of friends who possess equipages, they always take their own. It is the custom to assemble at the house, or to go by fixed train should the family reside in the country. It is better not to accept any invitations to return to the house afterwards; for, as a rule, these are only given as a matter of form.
We often see in newspapers after the announcement of a death, a request that no flowers may be sent. Failure to comply with this would argue a want of perception, but when no such intimation is made a friend may send flowers, the only essential being that they should consist as a rule of pure white flowers or orchids, pansies, or violets. Occasionally an exception is made to these in the case of favourite flowers of the lost friend. An exquisite garland of pale tea-roses appeared among the scores of wreaths seen at the funeral of one of our greatest poets.

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