Montreal Standard, 12 January 1907, page 8

Our Canadian Girls

I wonder why the first impulse of the New Year with girlkind everywhere, when all the symbols and decorations have been tidied away, should be “to go somewhere?”

Is it the overdose of “home” and “family rejoicings”? or is it because our purses and wardrobes are at floodtide, with the exit of Santa Claus?

That we do begin to think most solicitously and affectionately of our friends in New York, or Toronto, or even Ottawa about this time, none of us will, I am sure, deny; and invitation “for two or three weeks” is the only cure we can think of, for our sudden longing to see them.

But it is not an always available remedy; for so many of our most delightful friends, with big houses and big, big purses, close up for happy flights themselves at this season; others settle in for a succession of winter ailments, and write to us for sympathy; and others have their guest rooms full, in every letter, which is all very trying and tiresome, of course.  But a peep in at Windsor Station any day now reveals the hatter for tunes of those who expect and are not disappointed!

And “personal” columns in all the newspapers one can lay hands on tell us that Miss Somebody of Somewhere is in town, and is in a whirl of luncheons and teas, and little dances- having a – Well, I’ve seen it written home – a “ripping time altogether.”

And yet, being a guest isn’t really an unmixed joy from end to end. In some houses one never gets over the feeling that one is the square peg in the round hole to the last.

And it takes a great deal of happy excitement to compensate one for that strangely uncomfortable sensation.

I think one ought to be sure that one has a certain amount of really heroic unselfishness before inviting people to come and upset one’s cherished routine. For, there is a strange perversity, somehow, about the machinery of that sort of hospitality, and the wheels are forever clogging with the unexpected.

I never could account for it myself but I do know that even one’s daintiest and tidiest friends succeed in giving one’s living rooms a very unwonted appearance of perpetual unreadiness for inspection; and one must be prepared to smile and smile at this sort of thing before one commits one’s self to an invitation.

I have seen frayed and dog-eared folios lying about drawing-rooms where musical-girls were visiting, an inharmonious work-bags or writing equipments in the wrong places in notoriously orderly houses.

Then so often one’s guest either talks too much or not enough; is either talks too much or not enough; is either painfully punctual, or exasperatingly tardy; sometimes she is fussily industrious when we want to be idle, and sits looking on in a bored sort of way we are busy.

These are, however, the gives-and-takes of hospitality and we must keep our forebearance braced to do unto our guests constrained to do for us, when we are “on visits.”

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