The basic rules for making introductions was quite clear. The inferior was always introduced to the superior, so long as permission had been granted first. You may still hear people say, on introducing two strangers, "May I introduce you to....". These days that is a mere formality, a set of words that has come to have no meaning. However, in the Victorian age it was a serious question and one that could easily be answered with a definite "no"!

The female newcomer to society was introduced to the older woman; unmarried to married. In this way, the socially superior could choose whether to follow up the introduction or not. Whether to condescend to further acquaintance.

Of course, some women chose to live outside of society's rules and were socially unacceptable: even whilst being admired. These were famous actresses, noted courtesans, even a few writers. Mary Ann Evans wrote under the name of George Eliot and lived with a married man, the literary critic George Henry Lewis. The romance writer, Ouida, spent more than 200 a week on hothouse flowers and remained at table with her male dinner guests, smoking and drinking with them. No well-born Lady would notice them in society however and would consider it a grave insult to be introduced to them, or to have them introduced to her.