On all occasions of formality, at a dinner as well as at a ball, the hostess stands near the door of her drawing-room, and as guests are announced, she greets them with a smile and a hand-shake and says something pleasant to each.
What she says is nothing very important, charm of expression and of manner can often wordlessly express a far more gracious welcome than the most elaborate phrases (which as a matter of fact should be studiously avoided).
Unless a woman’s loveliness springs from generosity of heart and sympathy, her manners, no matter how perfectly practised, are nothing but cosmetics applied to hide a want of inner beauty; precisely as rouge and powder are applied in the hope of hiding the lack of a beautiful skin.
One device is about as successful as the other; quite pleasing unless brought into comparison with the real.
The host stands fairly near his wife so that if any guest seems to be unknown to all of the others, he can present him to some one.
At formal dinners introductions are never general and people do not as a rule speak to strangers, except those next to them at table or in the drawing-room after dinner.
The host therefore makes a few introductions if necessary.
Before dinner, since the hostess is standing (and no gentleman may therefore sit down) and as it is awkward for a lady who is sitting, to talk with a gentleman who is standing, the ladies usually also stand until dinner is announced.