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Awaiting the Visitor by Auguste Toulmouche, 1878

The invitations have been delivered! My quaint house warming party count down begins! I followed as much of the Victorian etiquette I could on the matter.

“Invitations from the lady of the house went out three to six weeks in advance,” depending on the scale of the event and the distance required for guests’ travel. I resorted to two weeks as all invitees are here, “in town” and the event is rather small.

“A reply within twenty-four hours was considered mandatory”, but I shall give my colleagues a week, as we all have busy lives to attend to and schedules to coordinate.

“A general invitation should never be acted on. An invitation should specify the persons whom it includes, and the person invited should never presume to take with him anyone not specified.” So, I made a point of listing each co-workers’ family member’s name to make sure everyone was included in the invitation. They may decline individually as per their desires. When addressing the invitations, I crossed-reference Emily Post and the British Peerage system for titles, honorifics, and the like. However, with my Modern sensibilities I drew the line at calling men or eldest son’s “Lord,” as it were. Gentlemen were Sir or Mr. and the sons were Master.

“These invitations should be properly sent by a servant, and not by the post, unless the distance be great.” I hand delivered all four and twenty initiations, as my servant has no livery to speak of. *cough*cough*

“Your best plan, therefore, is to invite only one third more than your rooms will hold, for you may be sure that more than that number will disappoint you.” Well, I did request guests to R.S.V.P. as to how much food to purchase, because if every single staff and family member showed up at my cottage door, it would be upward of 70 people! Which I assure you, exceeds the maximum occupancy limit of Diamondleaf Cottage. As per rule of thumb; my livable square footage (furniture aside for this calculation) is roughly 1,4000 sq. ft. (including the ‘carriage house’ fit for two) divided by 36= 38 persons. Oh dear, if everyone shows up, I am doomed! Of course, as luck has it, my colleague’s husband is a Fire Chief and my other colleague’s husband is a Police Officer. . . this does not bode well!

While most Victorian evening gathering commence as early as seven at night and ran until the wee hours of the morning; I am simply opening my door until eight o’clock and then ushering people there after. No need to absorb time, just enough allotted for hors d’eouvres and glimpse into the life of a country princess . . .