An Old Fashioned (1887) Valentine Party


We will give several suggestions upon what to do at a valentine-party, that you may have some idea how the affair should be conducted.

In the first place, let each guest, upon his or her arrival, deposit a valentine in a large bag placed in the hall for that purpose. The valentines must be addressed to no particular person, but the girls should write on theirs, ” To my cavalier,” and the boys address the ones they send, “To my lady.” On one corner of each valentine (not the envelope) the sender’s name must be written.

When all the guests have assembled, someone disguised as Saint Valentine, in a skull-cap, long white beard, made of cotton or wool, and long cloak, should enter the parlor, carrying on his back the sack of valentines. He must stand in the centre of the room and auction off each valentine as he takes it from his pack.

All sorts of bids can be made, such as the promise of a dance, a necktie, her share of ice-cream at supper, by a girl. A compliment, the first favor asked of him, a paper of bonbons, by a boy. To make fun the bids should be as ridiculous as possible. Saint Valentine is to be at liberty to accept whatever bid he chooses. The payment of the debt must be rigidly exacted by the sender of a valentine, whose identity is revealed when the valentine is opened.


If unable to comply immediately with the demand, the debtor must give the creditor a card or slip of paper on which is written ” I O U a favor,” or whatever it may be that is owed. This I O U entitles the creditor to claim payment of the debt at any time during the year.

Another feature of the party should be Cupid’s bow and arrow, which must be suspended from the chandelier or placed in some prominent position. The device is to be used for delivering such valentines as may be addressed to particular persons. The valentine must be stuck onto the point of the arrow, and no one may remove it save the person to whom it is addressed. At any time during the evening the arrow may be found to bear a missive, and we would advise the hostess to provide a valentine, to be delivered in this way, for each of her guests, that none may feel neglected. The rest of the party can, to be sure, send as many valentines as they like.

Make Cupid’s bow and arrow of heavy pasteboard, like Fig. 379. Let the bow measure about Fig. Mo-Notoh in sixteen inches from tip to tip. Make the arrow End of Feather. tweive inches long, with a point or head three inches, and the feathers two inches, in length on the outside edge. Cut a notch in the feathered end, as shown in Fig. 38c Strengthen the arrow by gluing a thin stick of wood along it to within one inch of the point. Gild both the bow and arrow, tie a silk cord to the tips of the bow, leaving it slack, and force the head of a worsted-needle into the point of the arrow (Fig. 381). Adjust the arrow by fitting the cord in the notch and pulling it back until the cord is taut; then fasten it to the bow by taking a few stitches with yellow silk through the bow and over the arrow. Fig. 382 shows how it should appear when in place.


Fig. 381.—Manner of fastening Needle in Arrow-head.

To determine how the guests shall be paired off for supper, place the names of all the girls, written on slips of paper, in a bag; then let each boy in turn take out a slip, and the girl whose name it bears he shall escort to the supper-room and serve like a true cavalier.

At a valentine-party the valentines should, if possible, all be original, or at least contain appropriate quotations. The more absurd the rhyme, the more fun it will create, and when one is unable to make a rhyme a bit of prose can be made to serve. As funny as you please let the valentines be, but remember to omit anything that is in the least rude, or calculated to hurt another’s feelings.

With Saint Valentine’s Day ends our vacation-calendar and with it we also bring this book to a close, for a whole year of holidays, sports, and entertainments are now contained within its covers. If we may hope that our work has not been without profit, as well as entertainment, if we have been successful in opening any new avenues of enterprise and enjoyment for you, we are satisfied. If we have done more, and with any of our suggestions have prompted the thought of adding to the comfort and happiness of others, we have achieved a success, and the mission of the AMERICAN GIRL’S Handy Book is accomplished.


Fig. 382 — Cupid’s Bow with Arrow in Position.


Source: How to amuse yourself and others, 1887

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