|C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature.|
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
|Squibs from The Young Duke|
|By Lord Beaconsfield (18041881)|
|DANDY has been voted vulgar, and beau is now the word. I doubt whether the revival will stand; and as for the exploded title, though it had its faults at first, the muse or Byron has made it not only English, but classical. However, I dare say I can do without either of these words at present. Charles Annesley could hardly be called a dandy or a beau. There was nothing in his dress, though some mysterious arrangement in his costumesome rare simplicitysome curious happinessalways made it distinguished; there was nothing, however, in his dress which could account for the influence which he exercised over the manners of his contemporaries. Charles Annesley was about thirty. He had inherited from his father, a younger brother, a small estate; and though heir to a wealthy earldom, he had never abused what the world called his prospects. Yet his establishmentshis little house in Mayfairhis horseshis moderate stud at Meltonwere all unique, and everything connected with him was unparalleled for its elegance, its invention, and its refinement. But his manner was his magic. His natural and subdued nonchalance, so different from the assumed non-emotion of a mere dandy; his coldness of heart, which was hereditary, not acquired; his cautious courage, and his unadulterated self-love, had permitted him to mingle much with mankind without being too deeply involved in the play of their passions; while his exquisite sense of the ridiculous quickly revealed those weaknesses to him which his delicate satire did not spare, even while it refrained from wounding. All feared, many admired, and none hated him. He was too powerful not to dread, too dexterous not to admire, too superior to hate. Perhaps the great secret of his manner was his exquisite superciliousness; a quality which, of all, is the most difficult to manage. Even with his intimates he was never confidential, and perpetually assumed his public character with the private coterie which he loved to rule. On the whole, he was unlike any of the leading men of modern days, and rather reminded one of the fine gentlemen of our old brilliant comedythe Dorimants, the Bellairs, and the Mirabels.|| 1|
The Fussy Hostess
MEN shrink from a fussy woman. And few can aspire to regulate the destinies of their species, even in so slight a point as an hours amusement, without rare powers. There is no greater sin than to be trop prononcée. A want of tact is worse than a want of virtue. Some women, it is said, work on pretty well against the tide without the last. I never knew one who did not sink who ever dared to sail without the first.
| Loud when they should be low, quoting the wrong person, talking on the wrong subject, teasing with notice, excruciating with attentions, disturbing a tête-à-tête in order to make up a dance; wasting eloquence in persuading a man to participate in amusement whose reputation depends on his social sullenness; exacting homage with a restless eye, and not permitting the least worthy knot to be untwined without their divinityships interference; patronizing the meek, anticipating the slow, intoxicating with compliment, plastering with praise that you in return may gild with flattery; in short, energetic without elegance, active without grace, and loquacious without wit; mistaking bustle for style, raillery for badinage, and noise for gayetythese are the characters who mar the very career they think they are creating, and who exercise a fatal influence on the destinies of all those who have the misfortune to be connected with them.|| 3|
ELOQUENCE is the child of Knowledge. When a mind is full, like a wholesome river, it is also clear. Confusion and obscurity are much oftener the results of ignorance than of inefficiency. Few are the men who cannot express their meaning when the occasion demands the energy; as the lowest will defend their lives with acuteness, and sometimes even with eloquence. They are masters of their subject. Knowledge must be gained by ourselves. Mankind may supply us with facts; but the results, even if they agree with previous ones, must be the work of our own mind. To make others feel, we must feel ourselves; and to feel ourselves, we must be natural. This we can never be when we are vomiting forth the dogmas of the schools. Knowledge is not a mere collection of words; and it is a delusion to suppose that thought can be obtained by the aid of any other intellect than our own. What is repetition, by a curious mystery, ceases to be truth, even if it were truth when it was first heard; as the shadow in a mirror, though it move and mimic all the actions of vitality, is not life. When a man is not speaking or writing from his own mind, he is as insipid company as a looking-glass.
| Before a man can address a popular assembly with command, he must know something of mankind, and he can know nothing of mankind without he knows something of himself. Self-knowledge is the property of that man whose passions have their play, but who ponders over their results. Such a man sympathizes by inspiration with his kind. He has a key to every heart. He can divine, in the flash of a single thought, all that they require, all that they wish. Such a man speaks to their very core. All feel that a master hand tears off the veil of cant, with which, from necessity, they have enveloped their souls; for cant is nothing more than the sophistry which results from attempting to account for what is unintelligible, or to defend what is improper.|| 5|
THERE are some sorts of beauty which defy description, and almost scrutiny. Some faces rise upon us in the tumult of life, like stars from out the sea, or as if they had moved out of a picture. Our first impression is anything but fleshly. We are struck dumbwe gasp for breathour limbs quivera faintness glides over our framewe are awed; instead of gazing upon the apparition, we avert the eyes, which yet will feed upon its beauty. A strange sort of unearthly pain mixes with the intense pleasure. And not till, with a struggle, we call back to our memory the commonplaces of existence, can we recover our commonplace demeanor. These, indeed, are rare visionsthese, indeed, are early feelings, when our young existence leaps with its mountain torrents; but as the river of our life rolls on, our eyes grow dimmer, or our blood more cold.