Special Dinners, Dances and Luncheons 557
conveying pleasantly the information that two mortals have found the clew to happiness. A few red carnations for a centrepiece, place-cards of red cardboard with tongues of gilt flames issuing from between the lobes, the names written in gilt, crimson paper candle-shades, like glowing rubies—all together will make a pretty effect on a winter's day; and, red being the colour of the heart's blood, its choice adheres strictly to the traditions of the day.
A ring at the door, and a telegram may be brought to one of the guests, who smilingly imparts to all at the table: "A bit of news that will interest you all. So-and-so is engaged to Mr.------!"
A dinner is sometimes given by the parents of the girl to the near relatives and dear friends.
The presence of the young man among them, seated by the daughter of the house, prepares the guests for the announcement, which is made by the father at the close of the meal—saying that he has the pleasure of acquainting them with the news of his daughter's engagement to Mr.------, with the full approval of her parents.
He may then propose the health of the young couple, and all offer congratulations and good wishes.
A relative is more often the one who gives a complimentary dinner to the lovers, asking their favourite friends to meet them—which invitation is in itself an announcement. Or the secret may be kept until all are met at table. For this, St. Valentine's Day would be an appropriate choice of date. The decorations, being natural to the season, would not precipitate the news prematurely. The centrepiece may outline a heart in flowers or foliage, or be formed of a heart-shaped mound, transfixed with a small gilt arrow. If any bits of bric-a-brac of which Cupid forms the decoration can be "begged,