AN INTRODUCTION A SOCIAL ENDORSEMENT.
It is to be remembered that an introduction is regarded as a social endorsement of the person introduced, and that, under certain circumstances, it would be wrong to introduce to our friends casual acquaintances, of whom we know nothing, and who may afterwards prove to be anything but desirable persons to know. Care should be taken, therefore, in introducing two individuals, that the introduction be mutually agreeable. Whenever it is practicable, it is best to settle the point by inquiring beforehand. When this is inexpedient from any cause, a thorough acquaintance with both parties will warrant the introducer to judge of the point for him or herself.
While the habit of universal introductions is a bad one, there are many men in cities and villages who are not at all particular whom they introduce to each other. As a general rule, a man should be as careful about the character of the person he introduces to his friends, as he is of him whose notes he would endorse.
THE INTRODUCTION OF A GENTLEMAN TO A LADY.
A gentleman should not be introduced to a lady, unless her permission has been previously obtained, and no one should ever be introduced into the house of a friend, except permission is first granted. Such introductions, however, are frequent, but they are improper, for a person cannot know that an introduction of this kind will be agreeable. If a person asks you to introduce him to another, or a gentleman asks to be introduced to a lady, and you find the introduction would not be agreeable to the other party, you may decline on the grounds that you are not sufficiently intimate to take that liberty.
When a gentleman is introduced to a lady, both bow slightly, and the gentleman opens conversation. It is the place of the one who is introduced to make the first remark.
It is not strictly necessary that acquaintanceship should wait a formal introduction. Persons meeting at the house of a common friend may consider that fact a sufficient warrant for the preliminaries of acquaintanceship, if there appears to be a mutual inclination toward such acquaintanceship. The presence of a person in a friend’s house is a sufficient guaranty for his or her respectability. Gentlemen and ladies may form acquaintances in traveling, on a steamboat, in a railway car, or a stage-coach, without the formality of an introduction. Such acquaintanceship should be conducted with a certain amount of reserve, and need not be prolonged beyond the time of casual meeting. The slightest approach to disrespect or familiarity should be checked by dignified silence. A young lady, however, is not accorded the same privilege of forming acquaintances as is a married or elderly lady, and should be careful about doing so.