INTRODUCTIONS AT A BALL.
It is the part of the host and hostess at a ball to introduce their guests, though guests may, with perfect propriety, introduce each other, or, as already intimated, may converse with one another without the ceremony of a formal introduction. A gentleman, before introducing his friends to ladies, should obtain permission of the latter to do so, unless he is perfectly sure, from his knowledge of the ladies, that the introductions will be agreeable. The ladies should always grant such permission, unless there is a strong reason for refusing. The French, and to some extent the English, dispense with introductions at a private ball. The fact that they have been invited to meet each other is regarded as a guaranty that they are fit to be mutually acquainted, and is a sufficient warrant for self-introduction. At a public ball partners must be introduced to each other. Special introducing may be made with propriety by the master of ceremonies. At public balls it is well for ladies to dance only, or for the most part, with gentlemen of their own party, or those with whom they have had a previous acquaintance.
THE MANNER OF INTRODUCTION.
The proper form of introduction is to present the gentleman to the lady, the younger to the older, the inferior in social standing to the superior. In introducing, you bow to the lady and say, “Miss C., allow me to introduce to you Mr. D. Mr. D., Miss C.” It is the duty of Mr. D. upon bowing to say, “It gives me great pleasure to form your acquaintance, Miss C.,” or a remark of this nature.
If gentlemen are to be introduced to one another, the form is, “Col. Blank, permit me to introduce to you Mr. Cole. Mr. Cole, Col. Blank.” The exact words of an introduction are immaterial, so long as the proper form and order is preserved.
The word “present” is often used in place of “introduce.” While it is customary to repeat the names of the two parties introduced at the close of the introduction, it is often omitted as a useless formality. It is of the utmost importance that each name should be spoken distinctly. If either of the parties does not distinctly hear the name of the other he should say at once, without hesitation or embarrassment, before making the bow, “I beg your pardon; I did not catch (or understand) the name,” when it may be repeated to him.
If several persons are to be introduced to one individual, mention the name of the single individual first, and then call the others in succession, bowing slightly as each name is pronounced.
It is the part of true politeness, after introductions, to explain to each person introduced something of the business or residence of each, as they will assist in opening conversation. Or, if one party has recently returned from a foreign trip, it is courteous to say so.