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The Bashful Young Gentleman (1) : Charles Dickens sketches for us the shyly ingratiating youth who gets himself in a tangle in the presence of Beauty.
The Bashful Young Gentleman
Part one

Abridged from ‘Sketches of Young Gentlemen’ (1838) by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens’s ‘Sketches’ is a collection of character portraits in words, supposedly written for young ladies to prepare them for going about in society. His word-painting is of such dexterity that bashful young gentlemen everywhere will raise their hats to him - if they haven’t left them behind in the street.

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 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 today.

Abridged from ‘Sketches of Young Gentlemen’ (1838) by Charles Dickens.

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Charles Dickens (19) Extracts from Literature (93) Fiction (83)

Picture: By William Beechey (1753-1839), via Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0. View original
Artist Joseph Stannard (1797-1830), painted by William Beechey (1753-1839). His wife Emily Coppin Stannard was also a gifted artist.
By Charles Dickens

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