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daily task; a taylor who sits cross-legged all day; a ploughman, who wears clog-shoes over the furrowed miry soil, and can hardly drag his feet after him ; a scholar who has pored all his life over books,-are not likely to possess that natural freedom and ease, or to pay that strict attention to personal appearances, that the look of a gentleman implies. I might add, that a man-milliner behind a counter, who is compelled to show every mark of complaisance to his customers, but hardly expects common civility from them in return; or a sheriff's officer, who has a consciousness of power, but none of good will to or from any body,--are equally remote from the beau ideal of this character. A man who is awkward from bashfulness is a clown,-as one who is shewing off a number of impertinent airs and graces at every turn, is a coxcomb, or an upstart. Mere awkwardness or rusticity of behaviour may arise, either from want of presence of mind in the company of our betters, (the commonest hind goes about his regular business without any of the mauvaise honte,) from a deficiency of breeding, as it is called, in not having been taught certain fashionable accomplishments—or from unremitting application to certain sorts of mechanical labour, unfitting the body for general or indif.
ferent uses. (That vulgarity which proceeds from a total disregard of decorum, and want of careful controul over the different actions of the body-such as loud speaking, boisterous gesticulations, &c.-is rather rudeness and violence, than awkwardness or uneasy restraint.) Now the gentleman is free from all these causes of ungraceful demeanour. He is independent in his circumstances, and is used to enter into society on equal terms; he is taught the modes of address and forms of courtesy, most commonly practised and most proper to ingratiate him into the good opinion of those he associates with; and he is relieved from the necessity of following any of those laborious trades or callings which cramp, strain, and distort the human frame. He is not bound to do any one earthly thing; to use any exertion, or put himself in any posture, that is not perfectly easy and graceful, agreeable and becoming. Neither is he (at the present day) required to excel in any art or science, game or exercise. He is supposed qualified to dance a minuet, not to dance on the tight rope-to stand upright, not to stand on his head. He has only to sacrifice to the Graces. Alcibiades threw away a flute, because the playing on it discomposed his features. Take the fine gentleman out of the common
boarding-school or drawing-room accomplishments, and set him to any ruder or more difficult task, and he will make but a sorry figure. Ferdinand in the Tempest, when he is put by Prospero to carry logs of wood, does not strike us as a very heroical character, though he loses nothing of the king's son. If a young gallant of the first fashion were asked to shoe a horse, or hold a plough, or fell a tree, he would make a very
ridiculous business of the first experiment. I saw a set of young naval officers, very genteel-looking young men, playing at rackets not long ago, and it is impossible to describe the uncouthness of their motions and unaccountable contrivances for hitting the ball. - Something effeminate as well as common-place, then, enters into the composition of the gentleman: he is a little of the petit-maitre in his pretensions. He is only graceful and accomplished in those things to which he has paid almost his whole attention,-such as the carriage of his body, and adjustment of his dress; and to which he is of sufficient importance in the scale of society to attract the idle attention of others.
A man's manner of presenting himself in company is but a superficial test of his real qualifications. Serjeant Atkinson, we are assured by Fielding, would have marched, at the head
of his platoon, up to a masked battery, with less apprehension than he came into a room full of pretty women. So we may sometimes see persons look foolish enough on entering a party, or returning a salutation, who instantly feel themselves at home, and recover all their self-possession, as soon as any of that sort of conversation begins from which nine-tenths of the company retire in the extremest trepidation, lest they should betray their ignorance or incapacity. A high spirit and stubborn pride are often accompanied with an unprepossessing and unpretend. ing appearance. The greatest heroes do not shew it by their looks. There are individuals of a nervous habit, who might be said to abhor their own persons, and to startle at their own appearance, as the peacock tries to hide its legs. They are always shy, uncomfortable, restless; and all their actions are, in a manner, at crosspurposes with themselves.
This, of course, destroys the look we are speaking of, from the want of ease and self-confidence. There is another sort who have too much negligence of manner and contempt for formal punctilios. They take their full swing in whatever they are about, and make it seem almost necessary to get out of their way. Perhaps something of this bold, licentious, slovenly, lounging charac
ter may be objected by a fastidious eye to the appearance of Lord C. It might be said of him, without disparagement, that he looks more like a lord than like a gentleman. We see nothing petty or finical, assuredly,-nothing hard-bound or reined-in,-but a flowing outline, a broad free style. He sits in the House of Commons, with his hat slouched over his forehead, and a sort of stoop in his shoulders, as if he cowered over his antagonists, like a bird of prey over its quarry,—“ hatching vain empires." There is an irregular grandeur about him, an unwieldy power, loose, disjointed, “voluminous and vast,"-coiled up in the folds of its own purposes,-cold, death-like, smooth and smiling, that is neither quite at ease with itself, nor safe for others to approach! On the other hand, there is the Marquis Wellesley, a jewel of a man. He advances into his place in the House of Lords, with head erect, and his best foot foremost. The star sparkles on his breast, and the garter is seen bound tight below his knee. It might be thought that he still trod a measure on soft carpets, and was surrounded, not only by spiritual and temporal lords, but
Stores of ladies, whose bright eyes Rain influence, and judge the prize. Second Series. VOL. II.