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his figure is inclined just two degrees from the perpendicular. He stands as if wishing to go, and replies in the tone and style of a green parrot to all that is said. And why is all this? Why, he thinks that in this way he has the upper hand of his artless acquaintance ; he thinks that these assumed manners enable him to manage people wonderfully well whenever he pleases. Besides, he has taken up an idea that stiff, cold, and formal manners are gentlemanly and show good breeding; and he makes this conduct the more conspicuous that others may be sure to notice it, and if to notice, to admire and to envy him, as a matter of course. He dreams not that this labour is ever lost; that success is ever wanting. It enters not into the thick head of that tall or short whiskered fool, that he is an object of contempt to the wise-ay, and to the unwise ; for even blockheads, if they do not happen to be affected blockheads, are better judges than he of human nature. He is not aware that one must be a man to be a gentleman, and that he who thus descends to artifice and dissimulation is a child in judgment and a monkey in conduct.
- Affectation may be compared to a coat of many pieces and divers colours, ill fitted and neither stitched nor tied, which some unblest mortal might endeavour, with incessant pains and solicitude, to hold together and to wear. Let us forbear the epithet of fool, to one so acting, until he is rightly named who assuines from choice (necessity there can be none) the incommodious, unprosperous, and despicable guise of affected sentiments, words, and manners; and, who appearing to the utmost disadvantage whilst making these obvious, though gaileful efforts, congratulates himself on his imagined skill and success, and feels all that satisfaction and chuckling complacency common to paltry feelings and a little mind.
That affectation, in proportion as it exists, is the consequence of a weak and diseased judgment, which, like a broken helm, deceives and misdirects, appears evident from this, that persons afflicted with it ever make an utterly false estimate of their own power of concealment, and of the powers which persons in general possess of discernment. The string of unprisoned shopmen, who on Sundays arm in arm occupy the whole width of pavement of a city street, have not sense and judgment strong enough to apprize them that the long, measured, and stimultaneous step; the periodical patting of the cork heel upon the flag stones; the swallow-tailed coat; the cravat nine inches broad; the unshaved throat, and collars above the ears; the silver-mounted glasses; the supercilious stare, and so forth ;-all go to prove them what they are unprisoned shopmen, and what they need not be-silly and vulgar fellows to boot. There is not a road-sweeper to whom they do, or do not, toss a half-penny at a crossing, but knows them instantly to be low-conditioned men by these plebeian characteristics. Notwithstanding the constant propensity “to magnify the idea of self,” they are by their own act placing themselves at the wrong end of the telescope. They are pigmies in the eyes of all but themselves. What then is a man's judgment worth which thus influences his conduct?
But without descending so low as to the characters just mentioned, abundant specimens of absurd and odious affectation may be discovered. Indeed its varieties and its degrees, if not infinite, far exceed our present ability to recognise individually. To distinguish the forms and shades of it, even amongst men of intellect, would be a mighty task which we must decline. It is a mawkish malady, however, which in them, as in others, indicates weakness of mind and judgment, in proportion as it is allowed. It is said that when a wise man plays the fool he does it with a vengeance ; and so it is that the most glaring examples of affectation (though of an entirely different kind from that above referred to have been furnished by persons of unquestioned ability, and of considerable mental vigour. One may see, for instance, a tall, square-shouldered, awkward man, with a lean, bony visage, by no means inexpressive, however, and exhibiting indications of the power and habit of thinking; of such a one, it may be said emphatically that he is no fool as regards his capacity, and a very great one as regards his conduct. He will walk into a room in which sundry persons are sitting, as good, however, as he is in the former particular, and 'vastly his betters in all others. He will take off his great coat by a most methodical, precise, and deliberate act of decortication, and will hand it to a lady to put away with all the indifference of a parson resigning his surplice to the sexton. Then he will subside into a chair, and turning his back upon the unnoticed individual who sits next him, until the two mightily resemble the sign Pisces of the zodiac, he will address himself to some child; or if otherwise minded, will sit absolutely silent; yea, although that silence, from peculiar circumstances, may be a peculiar outrage upon common good manners. Yet that man could converse in a rational and interesting way; but it is his pleasure at present to assume the mingled character of the bear and the ass. His affectation and folly therein are more conspicuous than his wisdom, even when he is not thus unwise. He much overrates his reputation as a man of intellect, when he thinks that in the opinion of others it will admit of such large deductions, and yet show a balance in his favour.
Then there is a distinct sort of affectation, common enough, but peculiar to elderly persons, especially, men. How many a short, stout, sturdy, crabbed, testy and churlish old curmudgeon derives his sole title to these unlovely characteristics from the source of all affectation—a morbid desire to seem to be what the individual in fact is not. The greatest compliment that can be paid him is to tell him
that he has more affectation than his grandson of twenty or his granddaughter of fifteen-a pre-eminence quite needless certainly; that he has a sort of pride in being thought austere, inflexible, and crusty; that he is as fond of exhibiting his odd old-fashioned ways as his fair descendant may be of showing off her fantastical new-fangled airs-such he is pleased to call them; that if his judgment had been more sound, and his mental vigour greater, he would have been neither crabbed, testy, crusty, nor churlish, seeing he is, when he is himself, a good sort of kind-hearted man. Some may not readily recognise the affectation of characters of this sort. Others, however, can see it under many a brown wig and three-cocked hat. Whilst girls affect smiles, these affect frowns; the former to please others, the latter to please themselves.
It must be borne in mind, that at whatever period of life, and in whatever characters this affectation is discovered, a want of good breeding is clearly manifested. Low-conditioned persons generally contrive, by follies of this sort, to point a finger to their origin, which is a most faithful index.
As a young gentleman never assumes the manners or guise of a dandy, so an old gentleman adopts not those of the churl.
Doubtless there is much in the bearing of a high-bred man, and in the intercourse of the best society, which is assumed in a certain way and for certain purposes ; but he knows