Meet us on:
Welcome to Read Print! Sign in with
to get started!
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other."

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Sketches of Young Gentlemen

    by Charles Dickens
    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode

    OF THE

    SHEWETH, -

    THAT your Dedicator has perused, with feelings of virtuous
    indignation, a work purporting to be 'Sketches of Young Ladies;'
    written by Quiz, illustrated by Phiz, and published in one volume,
    square twelvemo.

    THAT after an attentive and vigilant perusal of the said work, your
    Dedicator is humbly of opinion that so many libels, upon your
    Honourable sex, were never contained in any previously published
    work, in twelvemo or any other mo.

    THAT in the title page and preface to the said work, your
    Honourable sex are described and classified as animals; and
    although your Dedicator is not at present prepared to deny that you
    ARE animals, still he humbly submits that it is not polite to call
    you so.

    THAT in the aforesaid preface, your Honourable sex are also
    described as Troglodites, which, being a hard word, may, for aught
    your Honourable sex or your Dedicator can say to the contrary, be
    an injurious and disrespectful appellation.

    THAT the author of the said work applied himself to his task in
    malice prepense and with wickedness aforethought; a fact which,
    your Dedicator contends, is sufficiently demonstrated, by his
    assuming the name of Quiz, which, your Dedicator submits, denotes a
    foregone conclusion, and implies an intention of quizzing.

    THAT in the execution of his evil design, the said Quiz, or author
    of the said work, must have betrayed some trust or confidence
    reposed in him by some members of your Honourable sex, otherwise he
    never could have acquired so much information relative to the
    manners and customs of your Honourable sex in general.

    THAT actuated by these considerations, and further moved by various
    slanders and insinuations respecting your Honourable sex contained
    in the said work, square twelvemo, entitled 'Sketches of Young
    Ladies,' your Dedicator ventures to produce another work, square
    twelvemo, entitled 'Sketches of Young Gentlemen,' of which he now
    solicits your acceptance and approval.

    THAT as the Young Ladies are the best companions of the Young
    Gentlemen, so the Young Gentlemen should be the best companions of
    the Young Ladies; and extending the comparison from animals (to
    quote the disrespectful language of the said Quiz) to inanimate
    objects, your Dedicator humbly suggests, that such of your
    Honourable sex as purchased the bane should possess themselves of
    the antidote, and that those of your Honourable sex who were not
    rash enough to take the first, should lose no time in swallowing
    the last,-prevention being in all cases better than cure, as we are
    informed upon the authority, not only of general acknowledgment,
    but also of traditionary wisdom.

    THAT with reference to the said bane and antidote, your Dedicator
    has no further remarks to make, than are comprised in the printed
    directions issued with Doctor Morison's pills; namely, that
    whenever your Honourable sex take twenty-five of Number, 1, you
    will be pleased to take fifty of Number 2, without delay.

    And your Dedicator shall ever pray, &c.


    We found ourself seated at a small dinner party the other day,
    opposite a stranger of such singular appearance and manner, that he
    irresistibly attracted our attention.

    This was a fresh-coloured young gentleman, with as good a promise
    of light whisker as one might wish to see, and possessed of a very
    velvet-like, soft-looking countenance. We do not use the latter
    term invidiously, but merely to denote a pair of smooth, plump,
    highly-coloured cheeks of capacious dimensions, and a mouth rather
    remarkable for the fresh hue of the lips than for any marked or
    striking expression it presented. His whole face was suffused with
    a crimson blush, and bore that downcast, timid, retiring look,
    which betokens a man ill at ease with himself.

    There was nothing in these symptoms to attract more than a passing
    remark, but our attention had been originally drawn to the bashful
    young gentleman, on his first appearance in the drawing-room above-
    stairs, into which he was no sooner introduced, than making his way
    towards us who were standing in a window, and wholly neglecting
    several persons who warmly accosted him, he seized our hand with
    visible emotion, and pressed it with a convulsive grasp for a good
    couple of minutes, after which he dived in a nervous manner across
    the room, oversetting in his way a fine little girl of six years
    and a quarter old-and shrouding himself behind some hangings, was
    seen no more, until the eagle eye of the hostess detecting him in
    his concealment, on the announcement of dinner, he was requested to
    pair off with a lively single lady, of two or three and thirty.

    This most flattering salutation from a perfect stranger, would have
    gratified us not a little as a token of his having held us in high
    respect, and for that reason been desirous of our acquaintance, if
    we had not suspected from the first, that the young gentleman, in
    making a desperate effort to get through the ceremony of
    introduction, had, in the bewilderment of his ideas, shaken hands
    with us at random. This impression was fully confirmed by the
    subsequent behaviour of the bashful young gentleman in question,
    which we noted particularly, with the view of ascertaining whether
    we were right in our conjecture.

    The young gentleman seated himself at table with evident
    misgivings, and turning sharp round to pay attention to some
    observation of his loquacious neighbour, overset his bread. There
    was nothing very bad in this, and if he had had the presence of
    mind to let it go, and say nothing about it, nobody but the man who
    had laid the cloth would have been a bit the wiser; but the young
    gentleman in various semi-successful attempts to prevent its fall,
    played with it a little, as gentlemen in the streets may be seen to
    do with their hats on a windy day, and then giving the roll a smart
    rap in his anxiety to catch it, knocked it with great adroitness
    into a tureen of white soup at some distance, to the unspeakable
    terror and disturbance of a very amiable bald gentleman, who was
    dispensing the contents. We thought the bashful young gentleman
    would have gone off in an apoplectic fit, consequent upon the
    violent rush of blood to his face at the occurrence of this

    From this moment we perceived, in the phraseology of the fancy,
    that it was 'all up' with the bashful young gentleman, and so
    indeed it was. Several benevolent persons endeavoured to relieve
    his embarrassment by taking wine with him, but finding that it only
    augmented his sufferings, and that after mingling sherry,
    champagne, hock, and moselle together, he applied the greater part
    of the mixture externally, instead of internally, they gradually
    dropped off, and left him to the exclusive care of the talkative
    lady, who, not noting the wildness of his eye, firmly believed she
    had secured a listener. He broke a glass or two in the course of
    the meal, and disappeared shortly afterwards; it is inferred that
    he went away in some confusion, inasmuch as he left the house in
    another gentleman's coat, and the footman's hat.

    This little incident led us to reflect upon the most prominent
    characteristics of bashful young gentlemen in the abstract; and as
    this portable volume will be the great text-book of young ladies in
    all future generations, we record them here for their guidance and

    If the bashful young gentleman, in turning a street corner, chance
    to stumble suddenly upon two or three young ladies of his
    acquaintance, nothing can exceed his confusion and agitation. His
    first impulse is to make a great variety of bows, and dart past
    them, which he does until, observing that they wish to stop, but
    are uncertain whether to do so or not, he makes several feints of
    returning, which causes them to do the same; and at length, after a
    great quantity of unnecessary dodging and falling up against the
    other passengers, he returns and shakes hands most affectionately
    with all of them, in doing which he knocks out of their grasp
    sundry little parcels, which he hastily picks up, and returns very
    muddy and disordered. The chances are that the bashful young
    gentleman then observes it is very fine weather, and being reminded
    that it has only just left off raining for the first time these
    three days, he blushes very much, and smiles as if he had said a
    very good thing. The young lady who was most anxious to speak,
    here inquires, with an air of great commiseration, how his dear
    sister Harriet is to-day; to which the young gentleman, without the
    slightest consideration, replies with many thanks, that she is
    remarkably well. 'Well, Mr. Hopkins!' cries the young lady, 'why,
    we heard she was bled yesterday evening, and have been perfectly
    miserable about her.' 'Oh, ah,' says the young gentleman, 'so she
    was. Oh, she's very ill, very ill indeed.' The young gentleman
    then shakes his head, and looks very desponding (he has been
    smiling perpetually up to this time), and after a short pause,
    gives his glove a great wrench at the wrist, and says, with a
    strong emphasis on the adjective, 'GOOD morning, GOOD morning.'
    And making a great number of bows in acknowledgment of several
    little messages to his sister, walks backward a few paces, and
    comes with great violence against a lamp-post, knocking his hat off
    in the contact, which in his mental confusion and bodily pain he is
    going to walk away without, until a great roar from a carter
    attracts his attention, when he picks it up, and tries to smile
    cheerfully to the young ladies, who are looking back, and who, he
    has the satisfaction of seeing, are all laughing heartily.

    At a quadrille party, the bashful young gentleman always remains as
    near the entrance of the room as possible, from which position he
    smiles at the people he knows as they come in, and sometimes steps
    forward to shake hands with more intimate friends: a process which
    on each repetition seems to turn him a deeper scarlet than before.
    He declines dancing the first set or two, observing, in a faint
    voice, that he would rather wait a little; but at length is
    absolutely compelled to allow himself to be introduced to a
    partner, when he is led, in a great heat and blushing furiously,
    across the room to a spot where half-a-dozen unknown ladies are
    congregated together.

    'Miss Lambert, let me introduce Mr. Hopkins for the next
    quadrille.' Miss Lambert inclines her head graciously. Mr.
    Hopkins bows, and his fair conductress disappears, leaving Mr.
    Hopkins, as he too well knows, to make himself agreeable. The
    young lady more than half expects that the bashful young gentleman
    will say something, and the bashful young gentleman feeling this,
    seriously thinks whether he has got anything to say, which, upon
    mature reflection, he is rather disposed to conclude he has not,
    since nothing occurs to him. Meanwhile, the young lady, after
    several inspections of her bouquet, all made in the expectation
    that the bashful young gentleman is going to talk, whispers her
    mamma, who is sitting next her, which whisper the bashful young
    gentleman immediately suspects (and possibly with very good reason)
    must be about HIM. In this comfortable condition he remains until
    it is time to 'stand up,' when murmuring a 'Will you allow me?' he
    gives the young lady his arm, and after inquiring where she will
    stand, and receiving a reply that she has no choice, conducts her
    to the remotest corner of the quadrille, and making one attempt at
    conversation, which turns out a desperate failure, preserves a
    profound silence until it is all over, when he walks her twice
    round the room, deposits her in her old seat, and retires in

    A married bashful gentleman-for these bashful gentlemen do get
    married sometimes; how it is ever brought about, is a mystery to
    us-a married bashful gentleman either causes his wife to appear
    bold by contrast, or merges her proper importance in his own
    insignificance. Bashful young gentlemen should be cured, or
    avoided. They are never hopeless, and never will be, while female
    beauty and attractions retain their influence, as any young lady
    will find, who may think it worth while on this confident assurance
    to take a patient in hand.


    Out-and-out young gentlemen may be divided into two classes-those
    who have something to do, and those who have nothing. I shall
    commence with the former, because that species come more frequently
    under the notice of young ladies, whom it is our province to warn
    and to instruct.

    The out-and-out young gentleman is usually no great dresser, his
    instructions to his tailor being all comprehended in the one
    general direction to 'make that what's-a-name a regular bang-up
    sort of thing.' For some years past, the favourite costume of the
    out-and-out young gentleman has been a rough pilot coat, with two
    gilt hooks and eyes to the velvet collar; buttons somewhat larger
    than crown-pieces; a black or fancy neckerchief, loosely tied; a
    wide-brimmed hat, with a low crown; tightish inexpressibles, and
    iron-shod boots. Out of doors he sometimes carries a large ash
    stick, but only on special occasions, for he prefers keeping his
    hands in his coat pockets. He smokes at all hours, of course, and
    swears considerably.

    The out-and-out young gentleman is employed in a city counting-
    house or solicitor's office, in which he does as little as he
    possibly can: his chief places of resort are, the streets, the
    taverns, and the theatres. In the streets at evening time, out-
    and-out young gentlemen have a pleasant custom of walking six or
    eight abreast, thus driving females and other inoffensive persons
    into the road, which never fails to afford them the highest
    satisfaction, especially if there be any immediate danger of their
    being run over, which enhances the fun of the thing materially. In
    all places of public resort, the out-and-outers are careful to
    select each a seat to himself, upon which he lies at full length,
    and (if the weather be very dirty, but not in any other case) he
    lies with his knees up, and the soles of his boots planted firmly
    on the cushion, so that if any low fellow should ask him to make
    room for a lady, he takes ample revenge upon her dress, without
    going at all out of his way to do it. He always sits with his hat
    on, and flourishes his stick in the air while the play is
    proceeding, with a dignified contempt of the performance; if it be
    possible for one or two out-and-out young gentlemen to get up a
    little crowding in the passages, they are quite in their element,
    squeezing, pushing, whooping, and shouting in the most humorous
    manner possible. If they can only succeed in irritating the
    gentleman who has a family of daughters under his charge, they are
    like to die with laughing, and boast of it among their companions
    for a week afterwards, adding, that one or two of them were
    'devilish fine girls,' and that they really thought the youngest
    would have fainted, which was the only thing wanted to render the
    joke complete.

    If the out-and-out young gentleman have a mother and sisters, of
    course he treats them with becoming contempt, inasmuch as they
    (poor things!) having no notion of life or gaiety, are far too
    weak-spirited and moping for him. Sometimes, however, on a birth-
    day or at Christmas-time, he cannot very well help accompanying
    them to a party at some old friend's, with which view he comes home
    when they have been dressed an hour or two, smelling very strongly
    of tobacco and spirits, and after exchanging his rough coat for
    some more suitable attire (in which however he loses nothing of the
    out-and-outer), gets into the coach and grumbles all the way at his
    own good nature: his bitter reflections aggravated by the
    recollection, that Tom Smith has taken the chair at a little
    impromptu dinner at a fighting man's, and that a set-to was to take
    place on a dining-table, between the fighting man and his brother-
    in-law, which is probably 'coming off' at that very instant.

    As the out-and-out young gentleman is by no means at his ease in
    ladies' society, he shrinks into a corner of the drawing-room when
    they reach the friend's, and unless one of his sisters is kind
    enough to talk to him, remains there without being much troubled by
    the attentions of other people, until he espies, lingering outside
    the door, another gentleman, whom he at once knows, by his air and
    manner (for there is a kind of free-masonry in the craft), to be a
    brother out-and-outer, and towards whom he accordingly makes his
    way. Conversation being soon opened by some casual remark, the
    second out-and-outer confidentially informs the first, that he is
    one of the rough sort and hates that kind of thing, only he
    couldn't very well be off coming; to which the other replies, that
    that's just his case-'and I'll tell you what,' continues the out-
    and-outer in a whisper, 'I should like a glass of warm brandy and
    water just now,'-'Or a pint of stout and a pipe,' suggests the
    other out-and-outer.

    The discovery is at once made that they are sympathetic souls; each
    of them says at the same moment, that he sees the other understands
    what's what: and they become fast friends at once, more especially
    when it appears, that the second out-and-outer is no other than a
    gentleman, long favourably known to his familiars as 'Mr. Warmint
    Blake,' who upon divers occasions has distinguished himself in a
    manner that would not have disgraced the fighting man, and who-
    having been a pretty long time about town-had the honour of once
    shaking hands with the celebrated Mr. Thurtell himself.

    At supper, these gentlemen greatly distinguish themselves,
    brightening up very much when the ladies leave the table, and
    proclaiming aloud their intention of beginning to spend the
    evening-a process which is generally understood to be
    satisfactorily performed, when a great deal of wine is drunk and a
    great deal of noise made, both of which feats the out-and-out young
    gentlemen execute to perfection. Having protracted their sitting
    until long after the host and the other guests have adjourned to
    the drawing-room, and finding that they have drained the decanters
    empty, they follow them thither with complexions rather heightened,
    and faces rather bloated with wine; and the agitated lady of the
    house whispers her friends as they waltz together, to the great
    terror of the whole room, that 'both Mr. Blake and Mr. Dummins are
    very nice sort of young men in their way, only they are eccentric
    persons, and unfortunately RATHER TOO WILD!'

    The remaining class of out-and-out young gentlemen is composed of
    persons, who, having no money of their own and a soul above earning
    any, enjoy similar pleasures, nobody knows how. These respectable
    gentlemen, without aiming quite so much at the out-and-out in
    external appearance, are distinguished by all the same amiable and
    attractive characteristics, in an equal or perhaps greater degree,
    and now and then find their way into society, through the medium of
    the other class of out-and-out young gentlemen, who will sometimes
    carry them home, and who usually pay their tavern bills. As they
    are equally gentlemanly, clever, witty, intelligent, wise, and
    well-bred, we need scarcely have recommended them to the peculiar
    consideration of the young ladies, if it were not that some of the
    gentle creatures whom we hold in such high respect, are perhaps a
    little too apt to confound a great many heavier terms with the
    light word eccentricity, which we beg them henceforth to take in a
    strictly Johnsonian sense, without any liberality or latitude of


    We know-and all people know-so many specimens of this class, that
    in selecting the few heads our limits enable us to take from a
    great number, we have been induced to give the very friendly young
    gentleman the preference over many others, to whose claims upon a
    more cursory view of the question we had felt disposed to assign
    the priority.

    The very friendly young gentleman is very friendly to everybody,
    but he attaches himself particularly to two, or at most to three
    families: regulating his choice by their dinners, their circle of
    acquaintance, or some other criterion in which he has an immediate
    interest. He is of any age between twenty and forty, unmarried of
    course, must be fond of children, and is expected to make himself
    generally useful if possible. Let us illustrate our meaning by an
    example, which is the shortest mode and the clearest.

    We encountered one day, by chance, an old friend of whom we had
    lost sight for some years, and who-expressing a strong anxiety to
    renew our former intimacy-urged us to dine with him on an early
    day, that we might talk over old times. We readily assented,
    adding, that we hoped we should be alone. 'Oh, certainly,
    certainly,' said our friend, 'not a soul with us but Mincin.' 'And
    who is Mincin?' was our natural inquiry. 'O don't mind him,'
    replied our friend, 'he's a most particular friend of mine, and a
    very friendly fellow you will find him;' and so he left us.

    'We thought no more about Mincin until we duly presented ourselves
    at the house next day, when, after a hearty welcome, our friend
    motioned towards a gentleman who had been previously showing his
    teeth by the fireplace, and gave us to understand that it was Mr.
    Mincin, of whom he had spoken. It required no great penetration on
    our part to discover at once that Mr. Mincin was in every respect a
    very friendly young gentleman.

    'I am delighted,' said Mincin, hastily advancing, and pressing our
    hand warmly between both of his, 'I am delighted, I am sure, to
    make your acquaintance-(here he smiled)-very much delighted indeed-
    (here he exhibited a little emotion)-I assure you that I have
    looked forward to it anxiously for a very long time:' here he
    released our hands, and rubbing his own, observed, that the day was
    severe, but that he was delighted to perceive from our appearance
    that it agreed with us wonderfully; and then went on to observe,
    that, notwithstanding the coldness of the weather, he had that
    morning seen in the paper an exceedingly curious paragraph, to the
    effect, that there was now in the garden of Mr. Wilkins of
    Chichester, a pumpkin, measuring four feet in height, and eleven
    feet seven inches in circumference, which he looked upon as a very
    extraordinary piece of intelligence. We ventured to remark, that
    we had a dim recollection of having once or twice before observed a
    similar paragraph in the public prints, upon which Mr. Mincin took
    us confidentially by the button, and said, Exactly, exactly, to be
    sure, we were very right, and he wondered what the editors meant by
    putting in such things. Who the deuce, he should like to know, did
    they suppose cared about them? that struck him as being the best of

    The lady of the house appeared shortly afterwards, and Mr. Mincin's
    friendliness, as will readily be supposed, suffered no diminution
    in consequence; he exerted much strength and skill in wheeling a
    large easy-chair up to the fire, and the lady being seated in it,
    carefully closed the door, stirred the fire, and looked to the
    windows to see that they admitted no air; having satisfied himself
    upon all these points, he expressed himself quite easy in his mind,
    and begged to know how she found herself to-day. Upon the lady's
    replying very well, Mr. Mincin (who it appeared was a medical
    gentleman) offered some general remarks upon the nature and
    treatment of colds in the head, which occupied us agreeably until
    dinner-time. During the meal, he devoted himself to complimenting
    everybody, not forgetting himself, so that we were an uncommonly
    agreeable quartette.

    'I'll tell you what, Capper,' said Mr. Mincin to our host, as he
    closed the room door after the lady had retired, 'you have very
    great reason to be fond of your wife. Sweet woman, Mrs. Capper,
    sir!' 'Nay, Mincin-I beg,' interposed the host, as we were about
    to reply that Mrs. Capper unquestionably was particularly sweet.
    'Pray, Mincin, don't.' 'Why not?' exclaimed Mr. Mincin, 'why not?
    Why should you feel any delicacy before your old friend-OUR old
    friend, if I may be allowed to call you so, sir; why should you, I
    ask?' We of course wished to know why he should also, upon which
    our friend admitted that Mrs. Capper WAS a very sweet woman, at
    which admission Mr. Mincin cried 'Bravo!' and begged to propose
    Mrs. Capper with heartfelt enthusiasm, whereupon our host said,
    'Thank you, Mincin,' with deep feeling; and gave us, in a low
    voice, to understand, that Mincin had saved Mrs. Capper's cousin's
    life no less than fourteen times in a year and a half, which he
    considered no common circumstance-an opinion to which we most
    cordially subscribed.

    Now that we three were left to entertain ourselves with
    conversation, Mr. Mincin's extreme friendliness became every moment
    more apparent; he was so amazingly friendly, indeed, that it was
    impossible to talk about anything in which he had not the chief
    concern. We happened to allude to some affairs in which our friend
    and we had been mutually engaged nearly fourteen years before, when
    Mr. Mincin was all at once reminded of a joke which our friend had
    made on that day four years, which he positively must insist upon
    telling-and which he did tell accordingly, with many pleasant
    recollections of what he said, and what Mrs. Capper said, and how
    he well remembered that they had been to the play with orders on
    the very night previous, and had seen Romeo and Juliet, and the
    pantomime, and how Mrs. Capper being faint had been led into the
    lobby, where she smiled, said it was nothing after all, and went
    back again, with many other interesting and absorbing particulars:
    after which the friendly young gentleman went on to assure us, that
    our friend had experienced a marvellously prophetic opinion of that
    same pantomime, which was of such an admirable kind, that two
    morning papers took the same view next day: to this our friend
    replied, with a little triumph, that in that instance he had some
    reason to think he had been correct, which gave the friendly young
    gentleman occasion to believe that our friend was always correct;
    and so we went on, until our friend, filling a bumper, said he must
    drink one glass to his dear friend Mincin, than whom he would say
    no man saved the lives of his acquaintances more, or had a more
    friendly heart. Finally, our friend having emptied his glass,
    said, 'God bless you, Mincin,'-and Mr. Mincin and he shook hands
    across the table with much affection and earnestness.

    But great as the friendly young gentleman is, in a limited scene
    like this, he plays the same part on a larger scale with increased
    eclat. Mr. Mincin is invited to an evening party with his dear
    friends the Martins, where he meets his dear friends the Cappers,
    and his dear friends the Watsons, and a hundred other dear friends
    too numerous to mention. He is as much at home with the Martins as
    with the Cappers; but how exquisitely he balances his attentions,
    and divides them among his dear friends! If he flirts with one of
    the Miss Watsons, he has one little Martin on the sofa pulling his
    hair, and the other little Martin on the carpet riding on his foot.
    He carries Mrs. Watson down to supper on one arm, and Miss Martin
    on the other, and takes wine so judiciously, and in such exact
    order, that it is impossible for the most punctilious old lady to
    consider herself neglected. If any young lady, being prevailed
    upon to sing, become nervous afterwards, Mr. Mincin leads her
    tenderly into the next room, and restores her with port wine, which
    she must take medicinally. If any gentleman be standing by the
    piano during the progress of the ballad, Mr. Mincin seizes him by
    the arm at one point of the melody, and softly beating time the
    while with his head, expresses in dumb show his intense perception
    of the delicacy of the passage. If anybody's self-love is to be
    flattered, Mr. Mincin is at hand. If anybody's overweening vanity
    is to be pampered, Mr. Mincin will surfeit it. What wonder that
    people of all stations and ages recognise Mr. Mincin's
    friendliness; that he is universally allowed to be handsome as
    amiable; that mothers think him an oracle, daughters a dear,
    brothers a beau, and fathers a wonder! And who would not have the
    reputation of the very friendly young gentleman?


    We are rather at a loss to imagine how it has come to pass that
    military young gentlemen have obtained so much favour in the eyes
    of the young ladies of this kingdom. We cannot think so lightly of
    them as to suppose that the mere circumstance of a man's wearing a
    red coat ensures him a ready passport to their regard; and even if
    this were the case, it would be no satisfactory explanation of the
    circumstance, because, although the analogy may in some degree hold
    good in the case of mail coachmen and guards, still general postmen
    wear red coats, and THEY are not to our knowledge better received
    than other men; nor are firemen either, who wear (or used to wear)
    not only red coats, but very resplendent and massive badges
    besides-much larger than epaulettes. Neither do the twopenny post-
    office boys, if the result of our inquiries be correct, find any
    peculiar favour in woman's eyes, although they wear very bright red
    jackets, and have the additional advantage of constantly appearing
    in public on horseback, which last circumstance may be naturally
    supposed to be greatly in their favour.

    We have sometimes thought that this phenomenon may take its rise in
    the conventional behaviour of captains and colonels and other
    gentlemen in red coats on the stage, where they are invariably
    represented as fine swaggering fellows, talking of nothing but
    charming girls, their king and country, their honour, and their
    debts, and crowing over the inferior classes of the community, whom
    they occasionally treat with a little gentlemanly swindling, no
    less to the improvement and pleasure of the audience, than to the
    satisfaction and approval of the choice spirits who consort with
    them. But we will not devote these pages to our speculations upon
    the subject, inasmuch as our business at the present moment is not
    so much with the young ladies who are bewitched by her Majesty's
    livery as with the young gentlemen whose heads are turned by it.
    For 'heads' we had written 'brains;' but upon consideration, we
    think the former the more appropriate word of the two.

    These young gentlemen may be divided into two classes-young
    gentlemen who are actually in the army, and young gentlemen who,
    having an intense and enthusiastic admiration for all things
    appertaining to a military life, are compelled by adverse fortune
    or adverse relations to wear out their existence in some ignoble
    counting-house. We will take this latter description of military
    young gentlemen first.

    The whole heart and soul of the military young gentleman are
    concentrated in his favourite topic. There is nothing that he is
    so learned upon as uniforms; he will tell you, without faltering
    for an instant, what the habiliments of any one regiment are turned
    up with, what regiment wear stripes down the outside and inside of
    the leg, and how many buttons the Tenth had on their coats; he
    knows to a fraction how many yards and odd inches of gold lace it
    takes to make an ensign in the Guards; is deeply read in the
    comparative merits of different bands, and the apparelling of
    trumpeters; and is very luminous indeed in descanting upon 'crack
    regiments,' and the 'crack' gentlemen who compose them, of whose
    mightiness and grandeur he is never tired of telling.

    We were suggesting to a military young gentleman only the other
    day, after he had related to us several dazzling instances of the
    profusion of half-a-dozen honourable ensign somebodies or nobodies
    in the articles of kid gloves and polished boots, that possibly
    'cracked' regiments would be an improvement upon 'crack,' as being
    a more expressive and appropriate designation, when he suddenly
    interrupted us by pulling out his watch, and observing that he must
    hurry off to the Park in a cab, or he would be too late to hear the
    band play. Not wishing to interfere with so important an
    engagement, and being in fact already slightly overwhelmed by the
    anecdotes of the honourable ensigns afore-mentioned, we made no
    attempt to detain the military young gentleman, but parted company
    with ready good-will.

    Some three or four hours afterwards, we chanced to be walking down
    Whitehall, on the Admiralty side of the way, when, as we drew near
    to one of the little stone places in which a couple of horse
    soldiers mount guard in the daytime, we were attracted by the
    motionless appearance and eager gaze of a young gentleman, who was
    devouring both man and horse with his eyes, so eagerly, that he
    seemed deaf and blind to all that was passing around him. We were
    not much surprised at the discovery that it was our friend, the
    military young gentleman, but we WERE a little astonished when we
    returned from a walk to South Lambeth to find him still there,
    looking on with the same intensity as before. As it was a very
    windy day, we felt bound to awaken the young gentleman from his
    reverie, when he inquired of us with great enthusiasm, whether
    'that was not a glorious spectacle,' and proceeded to give us a
    detailed account of the weight of every article of the spectacle's
    trappings, from the man's gloves to the horse's shoes.

    We have made it a practice since, to take the Horse Guards in our
    daily walk, and we find it is the custom of military young
    gentlemen to plant themselves opposite the sentries, and
    contemplate them at leisure, in periods varying from fifteen
    minutes to fifty, and averaging twenty-five. We were much struck a
    day or two since, by the behaviour of a very promising young
    butcher who (evincing an interest in the service, which cannot be
    too strongly commanded or encouraged), after a prolonged inspection
    of the sentry, proceeded to handle his boots with great curiosity,
    and as much composure and indifference as if the man were wax-work.

    But the really military young gentleman is waiting all this time,
    and at the very moment that an apology rises to our lips, he
    emerges from the barrack gate (he is quartered in a garrison town),
    and takes the way towards the high street. He wears his undress
    uniform, which somewhat mars the glory of his outward man; but
    still how great, how grand, he is! What a happy mixture of ease
    and ferocity in his gait and carriage, and how lightly he carries
    that dreadful sword under his arm, making no more ado about it than
    if it were a silk umbrella! The lion is sleeping: only think if
    an enemy were in sight, how soon he'd whip it out of the scabbard,
    and what a terrible fellow he would be!

    But he walks on, thinking of nothing less than blood and slaughter;
    and now he comes in sight of three other military young gentlemen,
    arm-in-arm, who are bearing down towards him, clanking their iron
    heels on the pavement, and clashing their swords with a noise,
    which should cause all peaceful men to quail at heart. They stop
    to talk. See how the flaxen-haired young gentleman with the weak
    legs-he who has his pocket-handkerchief thrust into the breast of
    his coat-glares upon the fainthearted civilians who linger to look
    upon his glory; how the next young gentleman elevates his head in
    the air, and majestically places his arms a-kimbo, while the third
    stands with his legs very wide apart, and clasps his hands behind
    him. Well may we inquire-not in familiar jest, but in respectful
    earnest-if you call that nothing. Oh! if some encroaching foreign
    power-the Emperor of Russia, for instance, or any of those deep
    fellows, could only see those military young gentlemen as they move
    on together towards the billiard-room over the way, wouldn't he
    tremble a little!

    And then, at the Theatre at night, when the performances are by
    command of Colonel Fitz-Sordust and the officers of the garrison-
    what a splendid sight it is! How sternly the defenders of their
    country look round the house as if in mute assurance to the
    audience, that they may make themselves comfortable regarding any
    foreign invasion, for they (the military young gentlemen) are
    keeping a sharp look-out, and are ready for anything. And what a
    contrast between them, and that stage-box full of grey-headed
    officers with tokens of many battles about them, who have nothing
    at all in common with the military young gentlemen, and who-but for
    an old-fashioned kind of manly dignity in their looks and bearing-
    might be common hard-working soldiers for anything they take the
    pains to announce to the contrary!

    Ah! here is a family just come in who recognise the flaxen-headed
    young gentleman; and the flaxen-headed young gentleman recognises
    them too, only he doesn't care to show it just now. Very well done
    indeed! He talks louder to the little group of military young
    gentlemen who are standing by him, and coughs to induce some ladies
    in the next box but one to look round, in order that their faces
    may undergo the same ordeal of criticism to which they have
    subjected, in not a wholly inaudible tone, the majority of the
    female portion of the audience. Oh! a gentleman in the same box
    looks round as if he were disposed to resent this as an
    impertinence; and the flaxen-headed young gentleman sees his
    friends at once, and hurries away to them with the most charming

    Three young ladies, one young man, and the mamma of the party,
    receive the military young gentleman with great warmth and
    politeness, and in five minutes afterwards the military young
    gentleman, stimulated by the mamma, introduces the two other
    military young gentlemen with whom he was walking in the morning,
    who take their seats behind the young ladies and commence
    conversation; whereat the mamma bestows a triumphant bow upon a
    rival mamma, who has not succeeded in decoying any military young
    gentlemen, and prepares to consider her visitors from that moment
    three of the most elegant and superior young gentlemen in the whole


    Once upon a time-NOT in the days when pigs drank wine, but in a
    more recent period of our history-it was customary to banish
    politics when ladies were present. If this usage still prevailed,
    we should have had no chapter for political young gentlemen, for
    ladies would have neither known nor cared what kind of monster a
    political young gentleman was. But as this good custom in common
    with many others has 'gone out,' and left no word when it is likely
    to be home again; as political young ladies are by no means rare,
    and political young gentlemen the very reverse of scarce, we are
    bound in the strict discharge of our most responsible duty not to
    neglect this natural division of our subject.

    If the political young gentleman be resident in a country town (and
    there ARE political young gentlemen in country towns sometimes), he
    is wholly absorbed in his politics; as a pair of purple spectacles
    communicate the same uniform tint to all objects near and remote,
    so the political glasses, with which the young gentleman assists
    his mental vision, give to everything the hue and tinge of party
    feeling. The political young gentleman would as soon think of
    being struck with the beauty of a young lady in the opposite
    interest, as he would dream of marrying his sister to the opposite

    If the political young gentleman be a Conservative, he has usually
    some vague ideas about Ireland and the Pope which he cannot very
    clearly explain, but which he knows are the right sort of thing,
    and not to be very easily got over by the other side. He has also
    some choice sentences regarding church and state, culled from the
    banners in use at the last election, with which he intersperses his
    conversation at intervals with surprising effect. But his great
    topic is the constitution, upon which he will declaim, by the hour
    together, with much heat and fury; not that he has any particular
    information on the subject, but because he knows that the
    constitution is somehow church and state, and church and state
    somehow the constitution, and that the fellows on the other side
    say it isn't, which is quite a sufficient reason for him to say it
    is, and to stick to it.

    Perhaps his greatest topic of all, though, is the people. If a
    fight takes place in a populous town, in which many noses are
    broken, and a few windows, the young gentleman throws down the
    newspaper with a triumphant air, and exclaims, 'Here's your
    precious people!' If half-a-dozen boys run across the course at
    race time, when it ought to be kept clear, the young gentleman
    looks indignantly round, and begs you to observe the conduct of the
    people; if the gallery demand a hornpipe between the play and the
    afterpiece, the same young gentleman cries 'No' and 'Shame' till he
    is hoarse, and then inquires with a sneer what you think of popular
    moderation NOW; in short, the people form a never-failing theme for
    him; and when the attorney, on the side of his candidate, dwells
    upon it with great power of eloquence at election time, as he never
    fails to do, the young gentleman and his friends, and the body they
    head, cheer with great violence against THE OTHER PEOPLE, with
    whom, of course, they have no possible connexion. In much the same
    manner the audience at a theatre never fail to be highly amused
    with any jokes at the expense of the public-always laughing
    heartily at some other public, and never at themselves.

    If the political young gentleman be a Radical, he is usually a very
    profound person indeed, having great store of theoretical questions
    to put to you, with an infinite variety of possible cases and
    logical deductions therefrom. If he be of the utilitarian school,
    too, which is more than probable, he is particularly pleasant
    company, having many ingenious remarks to offer upon the voluntary
    principle and various cheerful disquisitions connected with the
    population of the country, the position of Great Britain in the
    scale of nations, and the balance of power. Then he is exceedingly
    well versed in all doctrines of political economy as laid down in
    the newspapers, and knows a great many parliamentary speeches by
    heart; nay, he has a small stock of aphorisms, none of them
    exceeding a couple of lines in length, which will settle the
    toughest question and leave you nothing to say. He gives all the
    young ladies to understand, that Miss Martineau is the greatest
    woman that ever lived; and when they praise the good looks of Mr.
    Hawkins the new member, says he's very well for a representative,
    all things considered, but he wants a little calling to account,
    and he is more than half afraid it will be necessary to bring him
    down on his knees for that vote on the miscellaneous estimates. At
    this, the young ladies express much wonderment, and say surely a
    Member of Parliament is not to be brought upon his knees so easily;
    in reply to which the political young gentleman smiles sternly, and
    throws out dark hints regarding the speedy arrival of that day,
    when Members of Parliament will be paid salaries, and required to
    render weekly accounts of their proceedings, at which the young
    ladies utter many expressions of astonishment and incredulity,
    while their lady-mothers regard the prophecy as little else than

    It is extremely improving and interesting to hear two political
    young gentlemen, of diverse opinions, discuss some great question
    across a dinner-table; such as, whether, if the public were
    admitted to Westminster Abbey for nothing, they would or would not
    convey small chisels and hammers in their pockets, and immediately
    set about chipping all the noses off the statues; or whether, if
    they once got into the Tower for a shilling, they would not insist
    upon trying the crown on their own heads, and loading and firing
    off all the small arms in the armoury, to the great discomposure of
    Whitechapel and the Minories. Upon these, and many other momentous
    questions which agitate the public mind in these desperate days,
    they will discourse with great vehemence and irritation for a
    considerable time together, both leaving off precisely where they
    began, and each thoroughly persuaded that he has got the better of
    the other.

    In society, at assemblies, balls, and playhouses, these political
    young gentlemen are perpetually on the watch for a political
    allusion, or anything which can be tortured or construed into being
    one; when, thrusting themselves into the very smallest openings for
    their favourite discourse, they fall upon the unhappy company tooth
    and nail. They have recently had many favourable opportunities of
    opening in churches, but as there the clergyman has it all his own
    way, and must not be contradicted, whatever politics he preaches,
    they are fain to hold their tongues until they reach the outer
    door, though at the imminent risk of bursting in the effort.

    As such discussions can please nobody but the talkative parties
    concerned, we hope they will henceforth take the hint and
    discontinue them, otherwise we now give them warning, that the
    ladies have our advice to discountenance such talkers altogether.


    Let us make a slight sketch of our amiable friend, Mr. Felix Nixon.
    We are strongly disposed to think, that if we put him in this
    place, he will answer our purpose without another word of comment.

    Felix, then, is a young gentleman who lives at home with his
    mother, just within the twopenny-post office circle of three miles
    from St. Martin-le-Grand. He wears Indiarubber goloshes when the
    weather is at all damp, and always has a silk handkerchief neatly
    folded up in the right-hand pocket of his great-coat, to tie over
    his mouth when he goes home at night; moreover, being rather near-
    sighted, he carries spectacles for particular occasions, and has a
    weakish tremulous voice, of which he makes great use, for he talks
    as much as any old lady breathing.

    The two chief subjects of Felix's discourse, are himself and his
    mother, both of whom would appear to be very wonderful and
    interesting persons. As Felix and his mother are seldom apart in
    body, so Felix and his mother are scarcely ever separate in spirit.
    If you ask Felix how he finds himself to-day, he prefaces his reply
    with a long and minute bulletin of his mother's state of health;
    and the good lady in her turn, edifies her acquaintance with a
    circumstantial and alarming account, how he sneezed four times and
    coughed once after being out in the rain the other night, but
    having his feet promptly put into hot water, and his head into a
    flannel-something, which we will not describe more particularly
    than by this delicate allusion, was happily brought round by the
    next morning, and enabled to go to business as usual.

    Our friend is not a very adventurous or hot-headed person, but he
    has passed through many dangers, as his mother can testify: there
    is one great story in particular, concerning a hackney coachman who
    wanted to overcharge him one night for bringing them home from the
    play, upon which Felix gave the aforesaid coachman a look which his
    mother thought would have crushed him to the earth, but which did
    not crush him quite, for he continued to demand another sixpence,
    notwithstanding that Felix took out his pocket-book, and, with the
    aid of a flat candle, pointed out the fare in print, which the
    coachman obstinately disregarding, he shut the street-door with a
    slam which his mother shudders to think of; and then, roused to the
    most appalling pitch of passion by the coachman knocking a double
    knock to show that he was by no means convinced, he broke with
    uncontrollable force from his parent and the servant girl, and
    running into the street without his hat, actually shook his fist at
    the coachman, and came back again with a face as white, Mrs. Nixon
    says, looking about her for a simile, as white as that ceiling.
    She never will forget his fury that night, Never!

    To this account Felix listens with a solemn face, occasionally
    looking at you to see how it affects you, and when his mother has
    made an end of it, adds that he looked at every coachman he met for
    three weeks afterwards, in hopes that he might see the scoundrel;
    whereupon Mrs. Nixon, with an exclamation of terror, requests to
    know what he would have done to him if he HAD seen him, at which
    Felix smiling darkly and clenching his right fist, she exclaims,
    'Goodness gracious!' with a distracted air, and insists upon
    extorting a promise that he never will on any account do anything
    so rash, which her dutiful son-it being something more than three
    years since the offence was committed-reluctantly concedes, and his
    mother, shaking her head prophetically, fears with a sigh that his
    spirit will lead him into something violent yet. The discourse
    then, by an easy transition, turns upon the spirit which glows
    within the bosom of Felix, upon which point Felix himself becomes
    eloquent, and relates a thrilling anecdote of the time when he used
    to sit up till two o'clock in the morning reading French, and how
    his mother used to say, 'Felix, you will make yourself ill, I know
    you will;' and how HE used to say, 'Mother, I don't care-I will do
    it;' and how at last his mother privately procured a doctor to come
    and see him, who declared, the moment he felt his pulse, that if he
    had gone on reading one night more-only one night more-he must have
    put a blister on each temple, and another between his shoulders;
    and who, as it was, sat down upon the instant, and writing a
    prescription for a blue pill, said it must be taken immediately, or
    he wouldn't answer for the consequences. The recital of these and
    many other moving perils of the like nature, constantly harrows up
    the feelings of Mr. Nixon's friends.

    Mrs. Nixon has a tolerably extensive circle of female acquaintance,
    being a good-humoured, talkative, bustling little body, and to the
    unmarried girls among them she is constantly vaunting the virtues
    of her son, hinting that she will be a very happy person who wins
    him, but that they must mind their P's and Q's, for he is very
    particular, and terribly severe upon young ladies. At this last
    caution the young ladies resident in the same row, who happen to be
    spending the evening there, put their pocket-handkerchiefs before
    their mouths, and are troubled with a short cough; just then Felix
    knocks at the door, and his mother drawing the tea-table nearer the
    fire, calls out to him as he takes off his boots in the back
    parlour that he needn't mind coming in in his slippers, for there
    are only the two Miss Greys and Miss Thompson, and she is quite
    sure they will excuse HIM, and nodding to the two Miss Greys, she
    adds, in a whisper, that Julia Thompson is a great favourite with
    Felix, at which intelligence the short cough comes again, and Miss
    Thompson in particular is greatly troubled with it, till Felix
    coming in, very faint for want of his tea, changes the subject of
    discourse, and enables her to laugh out boldly and tell Amelia Grey
    not to be so foolish. Here they all three laugh, and Mrs. Nixon
    says they are giddy girls; in which stage of the proceedings,
    Felix, who has by this time refreshened himself with the grateful
    herb that 'cheers but not inebriates,' removes his cup from his

    countenance and says with a knowing smile, that all girls are;
    whereat his admiring mamma pats him on the back and tells him not
    to be sly, which calls forth a general laugh from the young ladies,
    and another smile from Felix, who, thinking he looks very sly
    indeed, is perfectly satisfied.

    Tea being over, the young ladies resume their work, and Felix
    insists upon holding a skein of silk while Miss Thompson winds it
    on a card. This process having been performed to the satisfaction
    of all parties, he brings down his flute in compliance with a
    request from the youngest Miss Grey, and plays divers tunes out of
    a very small music-book till supper-time, when he is very facetious
    and talkative indeed. Finally, after half a tumblerful of warm
    sherry and water, he gallantly puts on his goloshes over his
    slippers, and telling Miss Thompson's servant to run on first and
    get the door open, escorts that young lady to her house, five doors
    off: the Miss Greys who live in the next house but one stopping to
    peep with merry faces from their own door till he comes back again,
    when they call out 'Very well, Mr. Felix,' and trip into the
    passage with a laugh more musical than any flute that was ever

    Felix is rather prim in his appearance, and perhaps a little
    priggish about his books and flute, and so forth, which have all
    their peculiar corners of peculiar shelves in his bedroom; indeed
    all his female acquaintance (and they are good judges) have long
    ago set him down as a thorough old bachelor. He is a favourite
    with them however, in a certain way, as an honest, inoffensive,
    kind-hearted creature; and as his peculiarities harm nobody, not
    even himself, we are induced to hope that many who are not
    personally acquainted with him will take our good word in his
    behalf, and be content to leave him to a long continuance of his
    harmless existence.


    There is an amiable kind of young gentleman going about in society,
    upon whom, after much experience of him, and considerable turning
    over of the subject in our mind, we feel it our duty to affix the
    above appellation. Young ladies mildly call him a 'sarcastic'
    young gentleman, or a 'severe' young gentleman. We, who know
    better, beg to acquaint them with the fact, that he is merely a
    censorious young gentleman, and nothing else.

    The censorious young gentleman has the reputation among his
    familiars of a remarkably clever person, which he maintains by
    receiving all intelligence and expressing all opinions with a
    dubious sneer, accompanied with a half smile, expressive of
    anything you please but good-humour. This sets people about
    thinking what on earth the censorious young gentleman means, and
    they speedily arrive at the conclusion that he means something very
    deep indeed; for they reason in this way-'This young gentleman
    looks so very knowing that he must mean something, and as I am by
    no means a dull individual, what a very deep meaning he must have
    if I can't find it out!' It is extraordinary how soon a censorious
    young gentleman may make a reputation in his own small circle if he
    bear this in his mind, and regulate his proceedings accordingly.

    As young ladies are generally-not curious, but laudably desirous to
    acquire information, the censorious young gentleman is much talked
    about among them, and many surmises are hazarded regarding him. 'I
    wonder,' exclaims the eldest Miss Greenwood, laying down her work
    to turn up the lamp, 'I wonder whether Mr. Fairfax will ever be
    married.' 'Bless me, dear,' cries Miss Marshall, 'what ever made
    you think of him?' 'Really I hardly know,' replies Miss Greenwood;
    'he is such a very mysterious person, that I often wonder about
    him.' 'Well, to tell you the truth,' replies Miss Marshall, 'and
    so do I.' Here two other young ladies profess that they are
    constantly doing the like, and all present appear in the same
    condition except one young lady, who, not scrupling to state that
    she considers Mr. Fairfax 'a horror,' draws down all the opposition
    of the others, which having been expressed in a great many
    ejaculatory passages, such as 'Well, did I ever!'-and 'Lor, Emily,
    dear!' ma takes up the subject, and gravely states, that she must
    say she does not think Mr. Fairfax by any means a horror, but
    rather takes him to be a young man of very great ability; 'and I am
    quite sure,' adds the worthy lady, 'he always means a great deal
    more than he says.'

    The door opens at this point of the disclosure, and who of all
    people alive walks into the room, but the very Mr. Fairfax, who has
    been the subject of conversation! 'Well, it really is curious,'
    cries ma, 'we were at that very moment talking about you.' 'You
    did me great honour,' replies Mr. Fairfax; 'may I venture to ask
    what you were saying?' 'Why, if you must know,' returns the eldest
    girl, 'we were remarking what a very mysterious man you are.' 'Ay,
    ay!' observes Mr. Fairfax, 'Indeed!' Now Mr. Fairfax says this ay,
    ay, and indeed, which are slight words enough in themselves, with
    so very unfathomable an air, and accompanies them with such a very
    equivocal smile, that ma and the young ladies are more than ever
    convinced that he means an immensity, and so tell him he is a very
    dangerous man, and seems to be always thinking ill of somebody,
    which is precisely the sort of character the censorious young
    gentleman is most desirous to establish; wherefore he says, 'Oh,
    dear, no,' in a tone, obviously intended to mean, 'You have me
    there,' and which gives them to understand that they have hit the
    right nail on the very centre of its head.

    When the conversation ranges from the mystery overhanging the
    censorious young gentleman's behaviour, to the general topics of
    the day, he sustains his character to admiration. He considers the
    new tragedy well enough for a new tragedy, but Lord bless us-well,
    no matter; he could say a great deal on that point, but he would
    rather not, lest he should be thought ill-natured, as he knows he
    would be. 'But is not Mr. So-and-so's performance truly charming?'
    inquires a young lady. 'Charming!' replies the censorious young
    gentleman. 'Oh, dear, yes, certainly; very charming-oh, very
    charming indeed.' After this, he stirs the fire, smiling
    contemptuously all the while: and a modest young gentleman, who
    has been a silent listener, thinks what a great thing it must be,
    to have such a critical judgment. Of music, pictures, books, and
    poetry, the censorious young gentleman has an equally fine
    conception. As to men and women, he can tell all about them at a
    glance. 'Now let us hear your opinion of young Mrs. Barker,' says
    some great believer in the powers of Mr. Fairfax, 'but don't be too
    severe.' 'I never am severe,' replies the censorious young
    gentleman. 'Well, never mind that now. She is very lady-like, is
    she not?' 'Lady-like!' repeats the censorious young gentleman (for
    he always repeats when he is at a loss for anything to say). 'Did
    you observe her manner? Bless my heart and soul, Mrs. Thompson,
    did you observe her manner?-that's all I ask.' 'I thought I had
    done so,' rejoins the poor lady, much perplexed; 'I did not observe
    it very closely perhaps.' 'Oh, not very closely,' rejoins the
    censorious young gentleman, triumphantly. 'Very good; then _I_
    did. Let us talk no more about her.' The censorious young
    gentleman purses up his lips, and nods his head sagely, as he says
    this; and it is forthwith whispered about, that Mr. Fairfax (who,
    though he is a little prejudiced, must be admitted to be a very
    excellent judge) has observed something exceedingly odd in Mrs.
    Barker's manner.


    As one funny young gentleman will serve as a sample of all funny
    young Gentlemen we purpose merely to note down the conduct and
    behaviour of an individual specimen of this class, whom we happened
    to meet at an annual family Christmas party in the course of this
    very last Christmas that ever came.

    We were all seated round a blazing fire which crackled pleasantly
    as the guests talked merrily and the urn steamed cheerily-for,
    being an old-fashioned party, there WAS an urn, and a teapot
    besides-when there came a postman's knock at the door, so violent
    and sudden, that it startled the whole circle, and actually caused
    two or three very interesting and most unaffected young ladies to
    scream aloud and to exhibit many afflicting symptoms of terror and
    distress, until they had been several times assured by their
    respective adorers, that they were in no danger. We were about to
    remark that it was surely beyond post-time, and must have been a
    runaway knock, when our host, who had hitherto been paralysed with
    wonder, sank into a chair in a perfect ecstasy of laughter, and
    offered to lay twenty pounds that it was that droll dog Griggins.
    He had no sooner said this, than the majority of the company and
    all the children of the house burst into a roar of laughter too, as
    if some inimitable joke flashed upon them simultaneously, and gave
    vent to various exclamations of-To be sure it must be Griggins, and
    How like him that was, and What spirits he was always in! with many
    other commendatory remarks of the like nature.

    Not having the happiness to know Griggins, we became extremely
    desirous to see so pleasant a fellow, the more especially as a
    stout gentleman with a powdered head, who was sitting with his
    breeches buckles almost touching the hob, whispered us he was a wit
    of the first water, when the door opened, and Mr. Griggins being
    announced, presented himself, amidst another shout of laughter and
    a loud clapping of hands from the younger branches. This welcome
    he acknowledged by sundry contortions of countenance, imitative of
    the clown in one of the new pantomimes, which were so extremely
    successful, that one stout gentleman rolled upon an ottoman in a
    paroxysm of delight, protesting, with many gasps, that if somebody
    didn't make that fellow Griggins leave off, he would be the death
    of him, he knew. At this the company only laughed more
    boisterously than before, and as we always like to accommodate our
    tone and spirit if possible to the humour of any society in which
    we find ourself, we laughed with the rest, and exclaimed, 'Oh!
    capital, capital!' as loud as any of them.

    When he had quite exhausted all beholders, Mr. Griggins received
    the welcomes and congratulations of the circle, and went through
    the needful introductions with much ease and many puns. This
    ceremony over, he avowed his intention of sitting in somebody's lap
    unless the young ladies made room for him on the sofa, which being
    done, after a great deal of tittering and pleasantry, he squeezed
    himself among them, and likened his condition to that of love among
    the roses. At this novel jest we all roared once more. 'You
    should consider yourself highly honoured, sir,' said we. 'Sir,'
    replied Mr. Griggins, 'you do me proud.' Here everybody laughed
    again; and the stout gentleman by the fire whispered in our ear
    that Griggins was making a dead set at us.

    The tea-things having been removed, we all sat down to a round
    game, and here Mr. Griggins shone forth with peculiar brilliancy,
    abstracting other people's fish, and looking over their hands in
    the most comical manner. He made one most excellent joke in
    snuffing a candle, which was neither more nor less than setting
    fire to the hair of a pale young gentleman who sat next him, and
    afterwards begging his pardon with considerable humour. As the
    young gentleman could not see the joke however, possibly in
    consequence of its being on the top of his own head, it did not go
    off quite as well as it might have done; indeed, the young
    gentleman was heard to murmur some general references to
    'impertinence,' and a 'rascal,' and to state the number of his
    lodgings in an angry tone-a turn of the conversation which might
    have been productive of slaughterous consequences, if a young lady,
    betrothed to the young gentleman, had not used her immediate
    influence to bring about a reconciliation: emphatically declaring
    in an agitated whisper, intended for his peculiar edification but
    audible to the whole table, that if he went on in that way, she
    never would think of him otherwise than as a friend, though as that
    she must always regard him. At this terrible threat the young
    gentleman became calm, and the young lady, overcome by the
    revulsion of feeling, instantaneously fainted.

    Mr. Griggins's spirits were slightly depressed for a short period
    by this unlooked-for result of such a harmless pleasantry, but
    being promptly elevated by the attentions of the host and several
    glasses of wine, he soon recovered, and became even more vivacious
    than before, insomuch that the stout gentleman previously referred
    to, assured us that although he had known him since he was THAT
    high (something smaller than a nutmeg-grater), he had never beheld
    him in such excellent cue.

    When the round game and several games at blind man's buff which
    followed it were all over, and we were going down to supper, the
    inexhaustible Mr. Griggins produced a small sprig of mistletoe from
    his waistcoat pocket, and commenced a general kissing of the
    assembled females, which occasioned great commotion and much
    excitement. We observed that several young gentlemen-including the
    young gentleman with the pale countenance-were greatly scandalised
    at this indecorous proceeding, and talked very big among themselves
    in corners; and we observed too, that several young ladies when
    remonstrated with by the aforesaid young gentlemen, called each
    other to witness how they had struggled, and protested vehemently
    that it was very rude, and that they were surprised at Mrs. Brown's
    allowing it, and that they couldn't bear it, and had no patience
    with such impertinence. But such is the gentle and forgiving
    nature of woman, that although we looked very narrowly for it, we
    could not detect the slightest harshness in the subsequent
    treatment of Mr. Griggins. Indeed, upon the whole, it struck us
    that among the ladies he seemed rather more popular than before!

    To recount all the drollery of Mr. Griggins at supper, would fill
    such a tiny volume as this, to the very bottom of the outside
    cover. How he drank out of other people's glasses, and ate of
    other people's bread, how he frightened into screaming convulsions
    a little boy who was sitting up to supper in a high chair, by
    sinking below the table and suddenly reappearing with a mask on;
    how the hostess was really surprised that anybody could find a
    pleasure in tormenting children, and how the host frowned at the
    hostess, and felt convinced that Mr. Griggins had done it with the
    very best intentions; how Mr. Griggins explained, and how
    everybody's good-humour was restored but the child's;-to tell these
    and a hundred other things ever so briefly, would occupy more of
    our room and our readers' patience, than either they or we can
    conveniently spare. Therefore we change the subject, merely
    observing that we have offered no description of the funny young
    gentleman's personal appearance, believing that almost every
    society has a Griggins of its own, and leaving all readers to
    supply the deficiency, according to the particular circumstances of
    their particular case.


    All gentlemen who love the drama-and there are few gentlemen who
    are not attached to the most intellectual and rational of all our
    amusements-do not come within this definition. As we have no mean
    relish for theatrical entertainments ourself, we are
    disinterestedly anxious that this should be perfectly understood.

    The theatrical young gentleman has early and important information
    on all theatrical topics. 'Well,' says he, abruptly, when you meet
    him in the street, 'here's a pretty to-do. Flimkins has thrown up
    his part in the melodrama at the Surrey.'-'And what's to be done?'
    you inquire with as much gravity as you can counterfeit. 'Ah,
    that's the point,' replies the theatrical young gentleman, looking
    very serious; 'Boozle declines it; positively declines it. From
    all I am told, I should say it was decidedly in Boozle's line, and
    that he would be very likely to make a great hit in it; but he
    objects on the ground of Flimkins having been put up in the part
    first, and says no earthly power shall induce him to take the
    character. It's a fine part, too-excellent business, I'm told. He
    has to kill six people in the course of the piece, and to fight
    over a bridge in red fire, which is as safe a card, you know, as
    can be. Don't mention it; but I hear that the last scene, when he
    is first poisoned, and then stabbed, by Mrs. Flimkins as Vengedora,
    will be the greatest thing that has been done these many years.'
    With this piece of news, and laying his finger on his lips as a
    caution for you not to excite the town with it, the theatrical
    young gentleman hurries away.

    The theatrical young gentleman, from often frequenting the
    different theatrical establishments, has pet and familiar names for
    them all. Thus Covent-Garden is the garden, Drury-Lane the lane,
    the Victoria the vic, and the Olympic the pic. Actresses, too, are
    always designated by their surnames only, as Taylor, Nisbett,
    Faucit, Honey; that talented and lady-like girl Sheriff, that
    clever little creature Horton, and so on. In the same manner he
    prefixes Christian names when he mentions actors, as Charley Young,
    Jemmy Buckstone, Fred. Yates, Paul Bedford. When he is at a loss
    for a Christian name, the word 'old' applied indiscriminately
    answers quite as well: as old Charley Matthews at Vestris's, old
    Harley, and old Braham. He has a great knowledge of the private
    proceedings of actresses, especially of their getting married, and
    can tell you in a breath half-a-dozen who have changed their names
    without avowing it. Whenever an alteration of this kind is made in
    the playbills, he will remind you that he let you into the secret
    six months ago.

    The theatrical young gentleman has a great reverence for all that
    is connected with the stage department of the different theatres.
    He would, at any time, prefer going a street or two out of his way,
    to omitting to pass a stage-entrance, into which he always looks
    with a curious and searching eye. If he can only identify a
    popular actor in the street, he is in a perfect transport of
    delight; and no sooner meets him, than he hurries back, and walks a
    few paces in front of him, so that he can turn round from time to
    time, and have a good stare at his features. He looks upon a
    theatrical-fund dinner as one of the most enchanting festivities
    ever known; and thinks that to be a member of the Garrick Club, and

    see so many actors in their plain clothes, must be one of the
    highest gratifications the world can bestow.

    The theatrical young gentleman is a constant half-price visitor at
    one or other of the theatres, and has an infinite relish for all
    pieces which display the fullest resources of the establishment.
    He likes to place implicit reliance upon the play-bills when he
    goes to see a show-piece, and works himself up to such a pitch of
    enthusiasm, as not only to believe (if the bills say so) that there
    are three hundred and seventy-five people on the stage at one time
    in the last scene, but is highly indignant with you, unless you
    believe it also. He considers that if the stage be opened from the
    foot-lights to the back wall, in any new play, the piece is a
    triumph of dramatic writing, and applauds accordingly. He has a
    great notion of trap-doors too; and thinks any character going down
    or coming up a trap (no matter whether he be an angel or a demon-
    they both do it occasionally) one of the most interesting feats in
    the whole range of scenic illusion.

    Besides these acquirements, he has several veracious accounts to
    communicate of the private manners and customs of different actors,
    which, during the pauses of a quadrille, he usually communicates to
    his partner, or imparts to his neighbour at a supper table. Thus
    he is advised, that Mr. Liston always had a footman in gorgeous
    livery waiting at the side-scene with a brandy bottle and tumbler,
    to administer half a pint or so of spirit to him every time he came
    off, without which assistance he must infallibly have fainted. He
    knows for a fact, that, after an arduous part, Mr. George Bennett
    is put between two feather beds, to absorb the perspiration; and is
    credibly informed, that Mr. Baker has, for many years, submitted to
    a course of lukewarm toast-and-water, to qualify him to sustain his
    favourite characters. He looks upon Mr. Fitz Ball as the principal
    dramatic genius and poet of the day; but holds that there are great
    writers extant besides him,-in proof whereof he refers you to
    various dramas and melodramas recently produced, of which he takes
    in all the sixpenny and three-penny editions as fast as they

    The theatrical young gentleman is a great advocate for violence of
    emotion and redundancy of action. If a father has to curse a child
    upon the stage, he likes to see it done in the thorough-going
    style, with no mistake about it: to which end it is essential that
    the child should follow the father on her knees, and be knocked
    violently over on her face by the old gentleman as he goes into a
    small cottage, and shuts the door behind him. He likes to see a
    blessing invoked upon the young lady, when the old gentleman
    repents, with equal earnestness, and accompanied by the usual
    conventional forms, which consist of the old gentleman looking
    anxiously up into the clouds, as if to see whether it rains, and
    then spreading an imaginary tablecloth in the air over the young
    lady's head-soft music playing all the while. Upon these, and
    other points of a similar kind, the theatrical young gentleman is a
    great critic indeed. He is likewise very acute in judging of
    natural expressions of the passions, and knows precisely the frown,
    wink, nod, or leer, which stands for any one of them, or the means
    by which it may be converted into any other: as jealousy, with a
    good stamp of the right foot, becomes anger; or wildness, with the
    hands clasped before the throat, instead of tearing the wig, is
    passionate love. If you venture to express a doubt of the accuracy
    of any of these portraitures, the theatrical young gentleman
    assures you, with a haughty smile, that it always has been done in
    that way, and he supposes they are not going to change it at this
    time of day to please you; to which, of course, you meekly reply
    that you suppose not.

    There are innumerable disquisitions of this nature, in which the
    theatrical young gentleman is very profound, especially to ladies
    whom he is most in the habit of entertaining with them; but as we
    have no space to recapitulate them at greater length, we must rest
    content with calling the attention of the young ladies in general
    to the theatrical young gentlemen of their own acquaintance.


    Time was, and not very long ago either, when a singular epidemic
    raged among the young gentlemen, vast numbers of whom, under the
    influence of the malady, tore off their neckerchiefs, turned down
    their shirt collars, and exhibited themselves in the open streets
    with bare throats and dejected countenances, before the eyes of an
    astonished public. These were poetical young gentlemen. The
    custom was gradually found to be inconvenient, as involving the
    necessity of too much clean linen and too large washing bills, and
    these outward symptoms have consequently passed away; but we are
    disposed to think, notwithstanding, that the number of poetical
    young gentlemen is considerably on the increase.

    We know a poetical young gentleman-a very poetical young gentleman.
    We do not mean to say that he is troubled with the gift of poesy in
    any remarkable degree, but his countenance is of a plaintive and
    melancholy cast, his manner is abstracted and bespeaks affliction
    of soul: he seldom has his hair cut, and often talks about being
    an outcast and wanting a kindred spirit; from which, as well as
    from many general observations in which he is wont to indulge,
    concerning mysterious impulses, and yearnings of the heart, and the
    supremacy of intellect gilding all earthly things with the glowing
    magic of immortal verse, it is clear to all his friends that he has
    been stricken poetical.

    The favourite attitude of the poetical young gentleman is lounging
    on a sofa with his eyes fixed upon the ceiling, or sitting bolt
    upright in a high-backed chair, staring with very round eyes at the
    opposite wall. When he is in one of these positions, his mother,
    who is a worthy, affectionate old soul, will give you a nudge to
    bespeak your attention without disturbing the abstracted one, and
    whisper with a shake of the head, that John's imagination is at
    some extraordinary work or other, you may take her word for it.
    Hereupon John looks more fiercely intent upon vacancy than before,
    and suddenly snatching a pencil from his pocket, puts down three
    words, and a cross on the back of a card, sighs deeply, paces once
    or twice across the room, inflicts a most unmerciful slap upon his
    head, and walks moodily up to his dormitory.

    The poetical young gentleman is apt to acquire peculiar notions of
    things too, which plain ordinary people, unblessed with a poetical
    obliquity of vision, would suppose to be rather distorted. For
    instance, when the sickening murder and mangling of a wretched
    woman was affording delicious food wherewithal to gorge the
    insatiable curiosity of the public, our friend the poetical young
    gentleman was in ecstasies-not of disgust, but admiration.
    'Heavens!' cried the poetical young gentleman, 'how grand; how
    great!' We ventured deferentially to inquire upon whom these
    epithets were bestowed: our humble thoughts oscillating between
    the police officer who found the criminal, and the lock-keeper who
    found the head. 'Upon whom!' exclaimed the poetical young
    gentleman in a frenzy of poetry, 'Upon whom should they be bestowed
    but upon the murderer!'-and thereupon it came out, in a fine
    torrent of eloquence, that the murderer was a great spirit, a bold
    creature full of daring and nerve, a man of dauntless heart and
    determined courage, and withal a great casuist and able reasoner,
    as was fully demonstrated in his philosophical colloquies with the
    great and noble of the land. We held our peace, and meekly
    signified our indisposition to controvert these opinions-firstly,
    because we were no match at quotation for the poetical young
    gentleman; and secondly, because we felt it would be of little use
    our entering into any disputation, if we were: being perfectly
    convinced that the respectable and immoral hero in question is not
    the first and will not be the last hanged gentleman upon whom false
    sympathy or diseased curiosity will be plentifully expended.

    This was a stern mystic flight of the poetical young gentleman. In
    his milder and softer moments he occasionally lays down his
    neckcloth, and pens stanzas, which sometimes find their way into a
    Lady's Magazine, or the 'Poets' Corner' of some country newspaper;
    or which, in default of either vent for his genius, adorn the
    rainbow leaves of a lady's album. These are generally written upon
    some such occasions as contemplating the Bank of England by
    midnight, or beholding Saint Paul's in a snow-storm; and when these
    gloomy objects fail to afford him inspiration, he pours forth his
    soul in a touching address to a violet, or a plaintive lament that
    he is no longer a child, but has gradually grown up.

    The poetical young gentleman is fond of quoting passages from his
    favourite authors, who are all of the gloomy and desponding school.
    He has a great deal to say too about the world, and is much given
    to opining, especially if he has taken anything strong to drink,
    that there is nothing in it worth living for. He gives you to
    understand, however, that for the sake of society, he means to bear
    his part in the tiresome play, manfully resisting the gratification
    of his own strong desire to make a premature exit; and consoles
    himself with the reflection, that immortality has some chosen nook
    for himself and the other great spirits whom earth has chafed and

    When the poetical young gentleman makes use of adjectives, they are
    all superlatives. Everything is of the grandest, greatest,
    noblest, mightiest, loftiest; or the lowest, meanest, obscurest,
    vilest, and most pitiful. He knows no medium: for enthusiasm is
    the soul of poetry; and who so enthusiastic as a poetical young
    gentleman? 'Mr. Milkwash,' says a young lady as she unlocks her
    album to receive the young gentleman's original impromptu
    contribution, 'how very silent you are! I think you must be in
    love.' 'Love!' cries the poetical young gentleman, starting from
    his seat by the fire and terrifying the cat who scampers off at
    full speed, 'Love! that burning, consuming passion; that ardour of
    the soul, that fierce glowing of the heart. Love! The withering,
    blighting influence of hope misplaced and affection slighted. Love
    did you say! Ha! ha! ha!'

    With this, the poetical young gentleman laughs a laugh belonging
    only to poets and Mr. O. Smith of the Adelphi Theatre, and sits
    down, pen in hand, to throw off a page or two of verse in the
    biting, semi-atheistical demoniac style, which, like the poetical
    young gentleman himself, is full of sound and fury, signifying


    There is a certain kind of impostor-a bragging, vaunting, puffing
    young gentleman-against whom we are desirous to warn that fairer
    part of the creation, to whom we more peculiarly devote these our
    labours. And we are particularly induced to lay especial stress
    upon this division of our subject, by a little dialogue we held
    some short time ago, with an esteemed young lady of our
    acquaintance, touching a most gross specimen of this class of men.
    We had been urging all the absurdities of his conduct and
    conversation, and dwelling upon the impossibilities he constantly
    recounted-to which indeed we had not scrupled to prefix a certain
    hard little word of one syllable and three letters-when our fair
    friend, unable to maintain the contest any longer, reluctantly
    cried, 'Well; he certainly has a habit of throwing-off, but then-'
    What then? Throw him off yourself, said we. And so she did, but
    not at our instance, for other reasons appeared, and it might have
    been better if she had done so at first.

    The throwing-off young gentleman has so often a father possessed of
    vast property in some remote district of Ireland, that we look with
    some suspicion upon all young gentlemen who volunteer this
    description of themselves. The deceased grandfather of the
    throwing-off young gentleman was a man of immense possessions, and
    untold wealth; the throwing-off young gentleman remembers, as well
    as if it were only yesterday, the deceased baronet's library, with
    its long rows of scarce and valuable books in superbly embossed
    bindings, arranged in cases, reaching from the lofty ceiling to the
    oaken floor; and the fine antique chairs and tables, and the noble
    old castle of Ballykillbabaloo, with its splendid prospect of hill
    and dale, and wood, and rich wild scenery, and the fine hunting
    stables and the spacious court-yards, 'and-and-everything upon the
    same magnificent scale,' says the throwing-off young gentleman,
    'princely; quite princely. Ah!' And he sighs as if mourning over
    the fallen fortunes of his noble house.

    The throwing-off young gentleman is a universal genius; at walking,
    running, rowing, swimming, and skating, he is unrivalled; at all
    games of chance or skill, at hunting, shooting, fishing, riding,
    driving, or amateur theatricals, no one can touch him-that is COULD
    not, because he gives you carefully to understand, lest there
    should be any opportunity of testing his skill, that he is quite
    out of practice just now, and has been for some years. If you
    mention any beautiful girl of your common acquaintance in his
    hearing, the throwing-off young gentleman starts, smiles, and begs
    you not to mind him, for it was quite involuntary: people do say
    indeed that they were once engaged, but no-although she is a very
    fine girl, he was so situated at that time that he couldn't
    possibly encourage the-'but it's of no use talking about it!' he
    adds, interrupting himself. 'She has got over it now, and I firmly
    hope and trust is happy.' With this benevolent aspiration he nods
    his head in a mysterious manner, and whistling the first part of
    some popular air, thinks perhaps it will be better to change the

    There is another great characteristic of the throwing-off young
    gentleman, which is, that he 'happens to be acquainted' with a most
    extraordinary variety of people in all parts of the world. Thus in
    all disputed questions, when the throwing-off young gentleman has
    no argument to bring forward, he invariably happens to be
    acquainted with some distant person, intimately connected with the
    subject, whose testimony decides the point against you, to the
    great-may we say it-to the great admiration of three young ladies
    out of every four, who consider the throwing-off young gentleman a
    very highly-connected young man, and a most charming person.

    Sometimes the throwing-off young gentleman happens to look in upon
    a little family circle of young ladies who are quietly spending the
    evening together, and then indeed is he at the very height and
    summit of his glory; for it is to be observed that he by no means
    shines to equal advantage in the presence of men as in the society
    of over-credulous young ladies, which is his proper element. It is
    delightful to hear the number of pretty things the throwing-off
    young gentleman gives utterance to, during tea, and still more so
    to observe the ease with which, from long practice and study, he
    delicately blends one compliment to a lady with two for himself.
    'Did you ever see a more lovely blue than this flower, Mr.
    Caveton?' asks a young lady who, truth to tell, is rather smitten
    with the throwing-off young gentleman. 'Never,' he replies,
    bending over the object of admiration, 'never but in your eyes.'
    'Oh, Mr. Caveton,' cries the young lady, blushing of course.
    'Indeed I speak the truth,' replies the throwing-off young
    gentleman, 'I never saw any approach to them. I used to think my
    cousin's blue eyes lovely, but they grow dim and colourless beside
    yours.' 'Oh! a beautiful cousin, Mr. Caveton!' replies the young
    lady, with that perfect artlessness which is the distinguishing
    characteristic of all young ladies; 'an affair, of course.' 'No;
    indeed, indeed you wrong me,' rejoins the throwing-off young
    gentleman with great energy. 'I fervently hope that her attachment
    towards me may be nothing but the natural result of our close
    intimacy in childhood, and that in change of scene and among new
    faces she may soon overcome it. _I_ love her! Think not so meanly
    of me, Miss Lowfield, I beseech, as to suppose that title, lands,
    riches, and beauty, can influence MY choice. The heart, the heart,
    Miss Lowfield.' Here the throwing-off young gentleman sinks his
    voice to a still lower whisper; and the young lady duly proclaims
    to all the other young ladies when they go up-stairs, to put their
    bonnets on, that Mr. Caveton's relations are all immensely rich,
    and that he is hopelessly beloved by title, lands, riches, and

    We have seen a throwing-off young gentleman who, to our certain
    knowledge, was innocent of a note of music, and scarcely able to
    recognise a tune by ear, volunteer a Spanish air upon the guitar
    when he had previously satisfied himself that there was not such an
    instrument within a mile of the house.

    We have heard another throwing-off young gentleman, after striking
    a note or two upon the piano, and accompanying it correctly (by
    dint of laborious practice) with his voice, assure a circle of
    wondering listeners that so acute was his ear that he was wholly
    unable to sing out of tune, let him try as he would. We have lived
    to witness the unmasking of another throwing-off young gentleman,
    who went out a visiting in a military cap with a gold band and
    tassel, and who, after passing successfully for a captain and being
    lauded to the skies for his red whiskers, his bravery, his
    soldierly bearing and his pride, turned out to be the dishonest son
    of an honest linen-draper in a small country town, and whom, if it
    were not for this fortunate exposure, we should not yet despair of
    encountering as the fortunate husband of some rich heiress.
    Ladies, ladies, the throwing-off young gentlemen are often
    swindlers, and always fools. So pray you avoid them.


    This young gentleman has several titles. Some young ladies
    consider him 'a nice young man,' others 'a fine young man,' others
    'quite a lady's man,' others 'a handsome man,' others 'a remarkably
    good-looking young man.' With some young ladies he is 'a perfect
    angel,' and with others 'quite a love.' He is likewise a charming
    creature, a duck, and a dear.

    The young ladies' young gentleman has usually a fresh colour and
    very white teeth, which latter articles, of course, he displays on
    every possible opportunity. He has brown or black hair, and
    whiskers of the same, if possible; but a slight tinge of red, or
    the hue which is vulgarly known as SANDY, is not considered an
    objection. If his head and face be large, his nose prominent, and
    his figure square, he is an uncommonly fine young man, and
    worshipped accordingly. Should his whiskers meet beneath his chin,
    so much the better, though this is not absolutely insisted on; but
    he must wear an under-waistcoat, and smile constantly.

    There was a great party got up by some party-loving friends of ours
    last summer, to go and dine in Epping Forest. As we hold that such
    wild expeditions should never be indulged in, save by people of the
    smallest means, who have no dinner at home, we should indubitably
    have excused ourself from attending, if we had not recollected that
    the projectors of the excursion were always accompanied on such
    occasions by a choice sample of the young ladies' young gentleman,
    whom we were very anxious to have an opportunity of meeting. This
    determined us, and we went.

    We were to make for Chigwell in four glass coaches, each with a
    trifling company of six or eight inside, and a little boy belonging
    to the projectors on the box-and to start from the residence of the
    projectors, Woburn-place, Russell-square, at half-past ten
    precisely. We arrived at the place of rendezvous at the appointed
    time, and found the glass coaches and the little boys quite ready,
    and divers young ladies and young gentlemen looking anxiously over
    the breakfast-parlour blinds, who appeared by no means so much
    gratified by our approach as we might have expected, but evidently
    wished we had been somebody else. Observing that our arrival in
    lieu of the unknown occasioned some disappointment, we ventured to
    inquire who was yet to come, when we found from the hasty reply of
    a dozen voices, that it was no other than the young ladies' young

    'I cannot imagine,' said the mamma, 'what has become of Mr. Balim-
    always so punctual, always so pleasant and agreeable. I am sure I
    can-NOT think.' As these last words were uttered in that measured,
    emphatic manner which painfully announces that the speaker has not
    quite made up his or her mind what to say, but is determined to
    talk on nevertheless, the eldest daughter took up the subject, and
    hoped no accident had happened to Mr. Balim, upon which there was a
    general chorus of 'Dear Mr. Balim!' and one young lady, more
    adventurous than the rest, proposed that an express should be
    straightway sent to dear Mr. Balim's lodgings. This, however, the
    papa resolutely opposed, observing, in what a short young lady
    behind us termed 'quite a bearish way,' that if Mr. Balim didn't
    choose to come, he might stop at home. At this all the daughters
    raised a murmur of 'Oh pa!' except one sprightly little girl of
    eight or ten years old, who, taking advantage of a pause in the
    discourse, remarked, that perhaps Mr. Balim might have been married
    that morning-for which impertinent suggestion she was summarily
    ejected from the room by her eldest sister.

    We were all in a state of great mortification and uneasiness, when
    one of the little boys, running into the room as airily as little
    boys usually run who have an unlimited allowance of animal food in
    the holidays, and keep their hands constantly forced down to the
    bottoms of very deep trouser-pockets when they take exercise,
    joyfully announced that Mr. Balim was at that moment coming up the
    street in a hackney-cab; and the intelligence was confirmed beyond
    all doubt a minute afterwards by the entry of Mr. Balim himself,
    who was received with repeated cries of 'Where have you been, you
    naughty creature?' whereunto the naughty creature replied, that he
    had been in bed, in consequence of a late party the night before,
    and had only just risen. The acknowledgment awakened a variety of
    agonizing fears that he had taken no breakfast; which appearing
    after a slight cross-examination to be the real state of the case,
    breakfast for one was immediately ordered, notwithstanding Mr.
    Balim's repeated protestations that he couldn't think of it. He
    did think of it though, and thought better of it too, for he made a
    remarkably good meal when it came, and was assiduously served by a
    select knot of young ladies. It was quite delightful to see how he
    ate and drank, while one pair of fair hands poured out his coffee,
    and another put in the sugar, and another the milk; the rest of the
    company ever and anon casting angry glances at their watches, and
    the glass coaches,-and the little boys looking on in an agony of
    apprehension lest it should begin to rain before we set out; it
    might have rained all day, after we were once too far to turn back
    again, and welcome, for aught they cared.

    However, the cavalcade moved at length, every coachman being
    accommodated with a hamper between his legs something larger than a
    wheelbarrow; and the company being packed as closely as they
    possibly could in the carriages, 'according,' as one married lady
    observed, 'to the immemorial custom, which was half the diversion
    of gipsy parties.' Thinking it very likely it might be (we have
    never been able to discover the other half), we submitted to be
    stowed away with a cheerful aspect, and were fortunate enough to
    occupy one corner of a coach in which were one old lady, four young
    ladies, and the renowned Mr. Balim the young ladies' young

    We were no sooner fairly off, than the young ladies' young
    gentleman hummed a fragment of an air, which induced a young lady
    to inquire whether he had danced to that the night before. 'By
    Heaven, then, I did,' replied the young gentleman, 'and with a
    lovely heiress; a superb creature, with twenty thousand pounds.'
    'You seem rather struck,' observed another young lady. ''Gad she
    was a sweet creature,' returned the young gentleman, arranging his
    hair. 'Of course SHE was struck too?' inquired the first young
    lady. 'How can you ask, love?' interposed the second; 'could she
    fail to be?' 'Well, honestly I think she was,' observed the young
    gentleman. At this point of the dialogue, the young lady who had
    spoken first, and who sat on the young gentleman's right, struck
    him a severe blow on the arm with a rosebud, and said he was a vain
    man-whereupon the young gentleman insisted on having the rosebud,
    and the young lady appealing for help to the other young ladies, a
    charming struggle ensued, terminating in the victory of the young
    gentleman, and the capture of the rosebud. This little skirmish
    over, the married lady, who was the mother of the rosebud, smiled
    sweetly upon the young gentleman, and accused him of being a flirt;
    the young gentleman pleading not guilty, a most interesting
    discussion took place upon the important point whether the young
    gentleman was a flirt or not, which being an agreeable conversation
    of a light kind, lasted a considerable time. At length, a short
    silence occurring, the young ladies on either side of the young
    gentleman fell suddenly fast asleep; and the young gentleman,
    winking upon us to preserve silence, won a pair of gloves from
    each, thereby causing them to wake with equal suddenness and to
    scream very loud. The lively conversation to which this pleasantry
    gave rise, lasted for the remainder of the ride, and would have
    eked out a much longer one.

    We dined rather more comfortably than people usually do under such
    circumstances, nothing having been left behind but the cork-screw
    and the bread. The married gentlemen were unusually thirsty, which
    they attributed to the heat of the weather; the little boys ate to
    inconvenience; mammas were very jovial, and their daughters very
    fascinating; and the attendants being well-behaved men, got
    exceedingly drunk at a respectful distance.

    We had our eye on Mr. Balim at dinner-time, and perceived that he
    flourished wonderfully, being still surrounded by a little group of
    young ladies, who listened to him as an oracle, while he ate from
    their plates and drank from their glasses in a manner truly
    captivating from its excessive playfulness. His conversation, too,
    was exceedingly brilliant. In fact, one elderly lady assured us,
    that in the course of a little lively badinage on the subject of
    ladies' dresses, he had evinced as much knowledge as if he had been
    born and bred a milliner.

    As such of the fat people who did not happen to fall asleep after
    dinner entered upon a most vigorous game at ball, we slipped away
    alone into a thicker part of the wood, hoping to fall in with Mr.
    Balim, the greater part of the young people having dropped off in
    twos and threes and the young ladies' young gentleman among them.
    Nor were we disappointed, for we had not walked far, when, peeping
    through the trees, we discovered him before us, and truly it was a
    pleasant thing to contemplate his greatness.

    The young ladies' young gentleman was seated upon the ground, at
    the feet of a few young ladies who were reclining on a bank; he was
    so profusely decked with scarfs, ribands, flowers, and other pretty
    spoils, that he looked like a lamb-or perhaps a calf would be a
    better simile-adorned for the sacrifice. One young lady supported
    a parasol over his interesting head, another held his hat, and a
    third his neck-cloth, which in romantic fashion he had thrown off;
    the young gentleman himself, with his hand upon his breast, and his
    face moulded into an expression of the most honeyed sweetness, was
    warbling forth some choice specimens of vocal music in praise of
    female loveliness, in a style so exquisitely perfect, that we burst
    into an involuntary shout of laughter, and made a hasty retreat.

    What charming fellows these young ladies' young gentlemen are!
    Ducks, dears, loves, angels, are all terms inadequate to express
    their merit. They are such amazingly, uncommonly, wonderfully,
    nice men.


    As we have placed before the young ladies so many specimens of
    young gentlemen, and have also in the dedication of this volume
    given them to understand how much we reverence and admire their
    numerous virtues and perfections; as we have given them such strong
    reasons to treat us with confidence, and to banish, in our case,
    all that reserve and distrust of the male sex which, as a point of
    general behaviour, they cannot do better than preserve and
    maintain-we say, as we have done all this, we feel that now, when
    we have arrived at the close of our task, they may naturally press
    upon us the inquiry, what particular description of young gentlemen
    we can conscientiously recommend.

    Here we are at a loss. We look over our list, and can neither
    recommend the bashful young gentleman, nor the out-and-out young
    gentleman, nor the very friendly young gentleman, nor the military
    young gentleman, nor the political young gentleman, nor the
    domestic young gentleman, nor the censorious young gentleman, nor
    the funny young gentleman, nor the theatrical young gentleman, nor
    the poetical young gentleman, nor the throwing-off young gentleman,
    nor the young ladies' young gentleman.

    As there are some good points about many of them, which still are
    not sufficiently numerous to render any one among them eligible, as
    a whole, our respectful advice to the young ladies is, to seek for
    a young gentleman who unites in himself the best qualities of all,
    and the worst weaknesses of none, and to lead him forthwith to the
    hymeneal altar, whether he will or no. And to the young lady who
    secures him, we beg to tender one short fragment of matrimonial
    advice, selected from many sound passages of a similar tendency, to
    be found in a letter written by Dean Swift to a young lady on her

    'The grand affair of your life will be, to gain and preserve the
    esteem of your husband. Neither good-nature nor virtue will suffer
    him to ESTEEM you against his judgment; and although he is not
    capable of using you ill, yet you will in time grow a thing
    indifferent and perhaps contemptible; unless you can supply the
    loss of youth and beauty with more durable qualities. You have but
    a very few years to be young and handsome in the eyes of the world;
    and as few months to be so in the eyes of a husband who is not a
    fool; for I hope you do not still dream of charms and raptures,
    which marriage ever did, and ever will, put a sudden end to.'

    From the anxiety we express for the proper behaviour of the
    fortunate lady after marriage, it may possibly be inferred that the
    young gentleman to whom we have so delicately alluded, is no other
    than ourself. Without in any way committing ourself upon this
    point, we have merely to observe, that we are ready to receive
    sealed offers containing a full specification of age, temper,
    appearance, and condition; but we beg it to be distinctly
    understood that we do not pledge ourself to accept the highest

    These offers may be forwarded to the Publishers, Messrs. Chapman
    and Hall, London; to whom all pieces of plate and other
    testimonials of approbation from the young ladies generally, are
    respectfully requested to be addressed.
    If you're writing a Sketches of Young Gentlemen essay and need some advice, post your Charles Dickens essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?