"the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them"
Mr. Denny entreated permission to introduce his friend
Public DomainMr. Denny entreated permission to introduce his friend - Credit: C. E. Brock
Mr.Collins prefaced his speech with a solemn bow
Public DomainMr.Collins prefaced his speech with a solemn bow - Credit: C. E. Brock

In Austen's time, introductions were burdened with rules. A man could not introduce himself to someone of higher standing than himself, nor could he introduce a friend to his acquaintances without their consent. Women always had to wait for men to initiate the introduction, and they could not be introduced to a stranger without an acquaintance conducting the meeting.