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The Introducer
by [?]

We all suffer more or less from the perennial “freshness” of certain acquaintances–tiresome people whom a misguided Providence has endowed with over-flowing vitality and an irrepressible love of their fellowmen, and who, not content with looking on life as a continual “spree,” insist on making others happy in spite of themselves. Their name is legion and their presence ubiquitous, but they rarely annoy as much as when disguised under the mask of the “Introducer.” In his clutches one is helpless. It is impossible to escape from such philanthropic tyranny. He, in his freshness, imagines that to present human beings to each other is his mission in this world and moves through life making these platonic unions, oblivious, as are other match-makers, of the misery he creates.

If you are out for a quiet stroll, one of these genial gentlemen is sure to come bounding up, and without notice or warning present you to his “friend,”–the greater part of the time a man he has met only an hour before, but whom he endows out of the warehouse of his generous imagination with several talents and all the virtues. In order to make the situation just one shade more uncomfortable, this kindly bore proceeds to sing a hymn of praise concerning both of you to your faces, adding, in order that you may both feel quite friendly and pleasant:

“I know you two will fancy each other, you are so alike,”–a phrase neatly calculated to nip any conversation in the bud. You detest the unoffending stranger on the spot and would like to kill the bore. Not to appear an absolute brute you struggle through some commonplace phrases, discovering the while that your new acquaintance is no more anxious to know you, than you are to meet him; that he has not the slightest idea who you are, neither does he desire to find out. He classes you with the bore, and his one idea, like your own, is to escape. So that the only result of the Introducer’s good-natured interference has been to make two fellow-creatures miserable.

A friend was telling me the other day of the martyrdom he had suffered from this class. He spoke with much feeling, as he is the soul of amiability, but somewhat short-sighted and afflicted with a hopelessly bad memory for faces. For the last few years, he has been in the habit of spending one or two of the winter months in Washington, where his friends put him up at one club or another. Each winter on his first appearance at one of these clubs, some kindly disposed old fogy is sure to present him to a circle of the members, and he finds himself indiscriminately shaking hands with Judges and Colonels. As little or no conversation follows these introductions to fix the individuality of the members in his mind, he unconsciously cuts two-thirds of his newly acquired circle the next afternoon, and the following winter, after a ten- months’ absence, he innocently ignores the other third. So hopelessly has he offended in this way, that last season, on being presented to a club member, the latter peevishly blurted out:

“This is the fourth time I have been introduced to Mr. Blank, but he never remembers me,” and glared coldly at him, laying it all down to my friend’s snobbishness and to the airs of a New Yorker when away from home. If instead of being sacrificed to the introducer’s mistaken zeal my poor friend had been left quietly to himself, he would in good time have met the people congenial to him and avoided giving offence to a number of kindly gentlemen.

This introducing mania takes an even more aggressive form in the hostess, who imagines that she is lacking in hospitality if any two people in her drawing-room are not made known to each other. No matter how interested you may be in a chat with a friend, you will see her bearing down upon you, bringing in tow the one human being you have carefully avoided for years. Escape seems impossible, but as a forlorn hope you fling yourself into conversation with your nearest neighbor, trying by your absorbed manner to ward off the calamity. In vain! With a tap on your elbow your smiling hostess introduces you and, having spoiled your afternoon, flits off in search of other prey.