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same to whom Edwards, the Shakespeare commentator, has addressed a fine sonnet — was the only

pattern of consistent 1 gallantry I have met with. He 70 took me under his shelter at an early age, and be

stowed some pains upon me. I owe to his precepts and example whatever there is of the man of business (and that is not much) in my composition. It was

not his fault that I did not profit more. He was the 75 finest gentleman of his time. He had not one system

of attention to females in the drawingroom, and another in the shop, or at the stall. I do not mean that he made no distinction. But he never lost

sight of sex, or overlooked it in the casualties of a 80 disadvantageous situation. I have seen him stand

bareheaded — smile if you please—to a poor servant girl, while she has been inquiring of him the way to some street — in such a posture of unforced

civility, as neither to embarrass her in the acceptance, 85 nor himself in the offer, of it. He was no dangler,

in the common acceptation of the word, after women; but he reverenced and upheld, in every form in which it came before him, womanhood. I have seen him

nay, smile not.— tenderly escorting a market90 woman, whom he had encountered in a shower, ex

alting 2 his umbrella over her poor basket of fruit, that it might receive no damage, with as much carefulness as if she had been a countess. To

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1 Consistent, uniform, reliable. 2 Exalting, lifting.

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the reverend form of Female Eld 1 he would yield the wall (though it were to an ancient beggar 95 woman) with more ceremony than we can afford to show our grandams. He was the Preux Chevalier 2 of Age; the Sir Calidore, or Sir Tristan,' to those who have no Calidores or Tristans to defend them. The roses, that had long faded 100 thence, still bloomed for him in those withered and yellow cheeks.

He was never married, but in his youth he paid his addresses to the beautiful Susan Winstanley, old Winstanley's daughter of Clapton, — who, dying 105 in the early days of their courtship, confirmed in him the resolution of perpetual bachelorship. It was during their short courtship, he told me, that he had been one day treating his mistress with a profusion 5 of civil speeches — the common gallantry — to 110 which kind of thing she had hitherto manifested no repugnance 6 — but in this instance with no effect. He could not obtain from her a decent acknowledgment in return. She rather seemed to resent his compliments. He could not set it down to caprice, 115 for the lady had always shown herself above that littleness. When he ventured on the following day,

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1 Female Eld, old womanhood.
2 Preux Chevalier, (preu-she-văl-i-ā), the especial champion.
3 Sir Calidore, a hero of Spenser's poem, The Fairie Queen.

Sir Tristan, a famous knight of King Arthur's Round Table.
5 Profusion, great number.
Repugnance, dislike.

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finding her a little better humored, to expostulate

on her coldness of yesterday, she confessed, with her 120 usual frankness, that she had no sort of dislike to

his attentions; that she could even endure some high-flown compliments; that a young woman placed in her situation had a right to expect all sorts of

civil things said to her; that she could digest a dose 125 of adulation," short of insincerity, with as little in

jury to her humility as most young women; but that - a little before he had commenced his compliments — she had overheard him by accident,

in rather rough language, rating a young woman, 130 who had not brought home his cravats quite to the

appointed time, and she thought to herself, “As I am Miss Susan Winstanley, and a young lady, a reputed beauty, and known to be a fortune, -I can have

my choice of the finest speeches from the mouth 135 of this very fine gentleman who is courting me,

but if I had been poor Mary Such-a-one (naming the milliner), — and had failed of bringing home the cravats to the appointed hour — though perhaps I

had sat up half the night to forward them — what 140 sort of compliments should I have received then ?

And my woman's pride came to my assistance; and I thought, that if it were only to do me honor, a female, like myself, might have received handsomer

usage; and I was determined not to accept any fine 145 speeches to the compromise of that sex, the belong

1 Adulation, flattery.

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ing to which was after all my strongest claim and title to them."

I think the lady discovered both generosity and a just way of thinking, in this rebuke which she gave her lover; and I have sometimes imagined, that the 150 uncommon strain of courtesy, which through life regulated the actions and behavior of my friend towards all of womenkind indiscriminately,' owed its happy origin to this seasonable lesson from the lips of his lamented mistress.

I wish the whole female world would entertain the same notion of these things that Miss Winstanley showed. Then we should see something of the spirit of consistent gallantry; and no longer witness the anomaly 2 of the same man-a pattern of true polite- 160 ness to a wife - of cold contempt, or rudeness, to

a a sister — the idolater of his female mistress — the disparager and despiser of his no less female aunt, or unfortunate - still female

still female - maiden cousin.

- . Just so much respect as a woman derogates 3 from 165 her own sex, in whatever condition placed — her handmaid, or dependant - she deserves to have diminished from herself on that score; and probably will feel the diminution, when youth, and beauty, and advantages, not inseparable from sex, shall 170 lose of their attraction. What a woman should

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I Indiscriminately, without differenco,
Anomaly, contradiction.
* Derogates, takes away,

demand of a man in courtship, or after it, is first — respect for her as she is a woman; - and next to that

to be respected by him above all other women. 175 But let her stand upon her female character as upon

a foundation; and let the attentions, incident to individual preference, be so many pretty additaments' and ornaments — as many, and as fanciful,

, as you please — to that main structure. Let her 180 first lesson be, with sweet Susan Winstanley, to reverence her sex.

CHARLES LAMB.

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY

Is the tendency nowadays to more or less of such gallantry as Lamb here describes ?

Describe a gentleman that you think Lamb would approve. Can you name any modern conditions that are opposed to the cultivation of true gallantry?

Name the characteristics of a gentleman that Lamb says he failed to find in his day. Name any of them that you do not often see today.

1 Additaments, additions.

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