Sketches of Young Gentlemen
Charles Dickens

Transcribed from the 1903 edition by David Price,




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.


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