It is I, Miss Belle, writing to you on the proper method of making one's social rounds and the vital importance of having on hand a plentiful supply of personalized cards.
In this way you can elegantly communicate a myriad of messages to your prospective host whilst maintaining a fashionable decorum essential for good standing in society.
The card can easily be conveyed in a case in your reticule, and there are fine examples to be had in silver or tortoiseshell with mother of pearl.
Upon arriving at your destination, deposit your card in the calling card tray whereupon the servant will take it directly to the host to announce you, or it will be delivered at a later time if said host is not in or otherwise indisposed.
For informal visits, I am partial to scrapbook cards which hide the visitors name beneath colorful pictures and sweet sentiments.
With the advent of photography and readily available studios in every civilized town, it is truly advantageous to imprint your card with your image. Friends and family will be proud to receive a cartes de visite such as the one Napoleon III distributes.
Men and women in trade must tread carefully when leaving one's business card, lest their social visit be misconstrued to have ulterior motives of self promotion.
Mourning cards are especially appreciated in remembering dearly departed or to announce time of funeral services. If one does not have the wherewithal to procure such items then a simple black border on your usual cards will suffice.
There is much to do in some circles of folding down the different corners of your card to send a variety of communications; such as the left hand lower corner to convey your condolence. However, I find this confusing and definitely detrimental to the beauty of the calling card.