Following on from the previous post ‘Advice for the Bride-to-be’, one of the social skills a new wife had to master, was the art of paying a call. Although known as ‘morning calls’, these visits were actually made in the afternoon, at specific times depending on their purpose: ceremonial calls were paid between 3 and 4pm, semi-ceremonial between 4 and 5pm, and intimate calls between 5 – 6pm, - but never on a Sunday which was reserved for very close friends and relatives. Generally a call was limited to 15 minutes, and if other guests arrived during your visit, it was expected you would quietly excuse yourself and leave.
One should never call ‘on the off chance’ but on pre-set ‘at Home’ days and times, e.g. the third Friday of each month, or the second Tuesday.
If a wife was new to an area, she might get a lucky break and gain a letter of introduction from a friend to someone of prominence in the local community. These were sometimes referred to as ‘letters for soup’ because generally the person receiving the letter then invited the bearer to dinner.