Charles Dickens

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 beauty.

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.