( Originally Published 1898 )
The rules and customs that formerly obtained with reference to introductions at general entertainments no longer prevail ; and, in fact, there seems to be at present no particular and definite regulation of this important question. It used to be the case, that a ball-room introduction was entirely " pro tempore," and conferred no privileges beyond the particular dance for which it was made. If the gentleman wished to dance with the lady more than once, he must be introduced each subsequent time with all the formalities and punctilios that had characterized the first introduction ; and under no circumstances was the acquaintance presumed to extend beyond the one evening. If it was desired to continue the acquaintance afterward, it was necessary to be presented under the rules governing the social code. While this system was ultra, and, to a certain extent, an affectation, it was not altogether without its advantages ; as it certainly relieved the masters of ceremonies of a great deal of responsibility, and obviated much of the embarrassment to which they are liable under our present rather democratical usages. In my own experience I have often been greatly embarrassed by the requests of gentlemen to introduce them to ladies at my weekly hops ; and this, too, in communities where I have been a stranger, and my pupils and guests generally residents.
Under the existing conditions of etiquette in this particular respect, I can suggest no expedient more likely to insure to each gentleman an enjoyable time at a general or special entertainment, than to take a lady with him, and through her influence and that of her friends and his own, make acquaintances in a legitimate way, and with permanent effect. Should it happen that he is an entire stranger to all who may be present, he had better not attend until opportunities have occurred to make himself favorably known in society.
Surely no gentleman would desire to dance with a lady — at a general ball—whom he would not escort to church or the opera ; and a lady of delicacy always shrinks from any sort of personal intercourse with a gentleman whom she would not be willing to entertain in her own parlor. Therefore it is suggested that introductions in all places would best be regulated by the rules that govern them in drawing-rooms and family circles, as it is believed that such policy would have a materially beneficial effect in forming the manners, exciting the worthy emulation of our young people, and in simplifying, to a great extent, a very intricate and perplexing question in social ethics.
Dancing At Home And Abroad:
The Dancing Academy
Music And Musicians
System In Teaching
Special Classes And Specialists
Balls And Soirees
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