Cards and note-paper are put in mourning, but very broad borders of black are in bad taste. A narrow border of black is correct. The use of handkerchiefs with a two-inch square of white cambric and a four-inch border of black is to be deprecated.
Mourning which soldiers, sailors, and courtiers wear is pathetic and effective. A flag draped with crape, a gray cadet-sleeve with a black band, or a piece of crape about the left arm of a senator, a black weed on a hat, are in proper taste.
|Advertisement for mourning attire from a Victorian publication|
All the preparations for a funeral in the house are committed to the care of an undertaker, who removes the furniture from the drawing-room, filling all the space possible with camp-stools. The clergyman reads the service at the head of the coffin, the relatives being grouped around. The body, if not disfigured by disease, is often dressed in the clothes worn in life, and laid in an open casket, as if reposing on a sofa, and all friends are asked to take a last look. The body of a man is usually dressed in black.
The custom of decorating the coffin with flowers is beautiful, but has been overdone, and now the request is frequently made that no flowers be sent.
No one in mourning for a parent, child, brother, or husband, is expected to be seen at a concert, a dinner, a party, or at any other place of public amusement, before three months have passed. After that one may be seen at a concert. But to go to the opera, or a dinner, or a party, before six months have elapsed, is considered heartless and disrespectful. If one choose, as some do, to wear no mourning, then he can go, unchallenged, to any place of amusement, but if he put on mourning he must respect its etiquette. –From How to Behave and How to Amuse, by G. H. Sandison, 1895
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