And it must be remembered, that this poor lady had never met a gentleman in her
life until this present moment. Perhaps these are rarer personages than some of us
think for. Which of us can point out any in his circle--men whose aims are generous,
whose truth is constant, and not only constant in its kind but elevated in its
degree; whose want of meanness makes them simple: who can look the world honestly
in the face with an equal manly sympathy for the great and the small? We all know
a hundred whose coats are very well made, and a score who have excellent manners,
and one or two happy beings who are what they call in their inner circles, and have
shot into the very centre and bull's-eye of the fashion; but of gentleman how many?
Let us take a little scrap of paper and each make out his list.
on pious condescension
"And for what follows after death," would Mr Crawley observe, throwing his
gooseberry-coloured eyes up to the ceiling. He was always thinking of his brother's
soul, or of the souls of those who differed with him in opinion: it is a sort of
comfort which many of the serious give themselves.
Dulness gets on as well as any other quality with women.
As an observer of human nature, I regularly frequent St George's, Hanover
Square, during the genteel marriage season; and though I have never seen the
bridegroom's male friends give way to tears, or the beadles and officiating
clergy any way affected, yet it is not at all uncommon to see women who are
not in the least concerned in the operations going on -- old ladies who are
long past marrying, stout middle-aged females with plenty of sons and daughters,
let alone pretty young creatures in pink bonnets, who are on their promotion,
and may naturally take an interest in the ceremony, -- I say it is quite common
to see the women present piping, sobbing, sniffling; hiding their little faces
in their little useless pocket-handkerchiefs; and behaving, old and young, with emotion.
One of the great conditions of anger and hatred is, that you must tell and
believe lies against the hated object, in order, as we said, to be consistent.
A long engagement is a partnership which one party is free to keep or to
break, but which involves all the capital of the other.
on politic behaviour
Praise everybody, I say to such: never be squeamish, but speak out your
compliment both point-blank in a man's face, and behind his back, when
you know there is a reasonable chance of his hearing it again. Never lose
a chance of saying a kind word.
Yes, if a man's character is to be abused, say what you will, there's nobody
like a relation to do the business.
There ought to be a law in Vanity Fair ordering the destruction of every written
document (except receipted tradesmen's bills) after a certain brief and proper
interval. Those quacks and misanthropes who advertise indelible Japan ink should
be made to perish along with their wicked discoveries. The best ink for Vanity Fair
use would be one that faded utterly in a couple of days, and left the paper clean
and blank, so that you might write on it to somebody else.
on admitting error
By humbly and frankly acknowledging yourself to be in the wrong, there is no
knowing, my son, what good you may do. I knew once a gentleman, and very worthy
practitioner in Vanity Fair, who used to do little wrongs to his neighbours on
purpose, and in order to apologise for them in an open and manly way afterwards--and
what ensued? My friend Crocky Doyle was liked everywhere, and deemed to be rather
impetuous--but the honestest fellow.
on living beyond one's means
Everybody in Vanity Fair must have remarked how well those live who are comfortably
and thoroughly in debt: how they deny themselves nothing; how jolly and easy they
are in their minds.
Long custom, a manly appearance, faultless boots and clothes, and a happy fierceness
of manner, will often help a man as much as a great balance at the banker's.
No woman ever was really angry at a romantic marriage...There is something about
a runaway match with which few ladies can be seriously angry, and Amelia rather rose
in their estimation, from the sprit which she had displayed in consenting to the union.
The very valet was ashamed of mentioning the address to the hackney-coachman before
the hotel waiters, and promised to instruct him when they got further on.
Ye gods, what do not attorneys and attorneys' clerks know in London! Nothing is hidden
from their inquisition, and their familiars mutely rule our city.
He was proud of his hatred as of everything else. Always to be right, always to trample
forward, and never to doubt, are not these great qualities with which dulness takes the
lead in the world?
on how to age well
Time has dealt kindly with that stout officer, as it does ordinarily with men who have
good stomachs and good tempers, and are not perplexed over much by fatigue of the brain.
on gentility, again
his previous education, humble and contracted as it had been, had made a much
better gentleman of Georgy than any plans of his grandfater could make him.
on gentility, yet again
if she never said brilliant things, she never spoke of thought unkind ones: guileless
and artless, loving and pure, indeed how could our poor little Amelia be other than
a real gentlewoman.
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of
his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh
at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young
persons take their choice.
on the junior league (kinda)
Managing women, the ornaments of their sex, -- women who order everything for
everybody, and know so much better than any person concerned what is good for
their neighbours, -- don't sometimes speculate upon the possibility of a
domestic revolt, or upon other extreme consequences resulting from their