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In the last week's number of this journal
(to which I have grave objections, but which
I read regularly for the purpose of exercising
my critical ability as a finder of faults),
there appeared an extremely absurd
confession of weakness, called, "A Shy Scheme".
The writer of the confession, not satisfied
with exposing himself to public contempt,
in the character of a Shy Young Man,
was so obliging as to enter into details
on the subject of his manners, his place of
residence, and his personal appearance. I
am about to give this feeble visionary a word
of advice, and I am not at all afraid of being
quite as particular as he has been, in
describing myself at the outset. If my
memory serves me, the Shy Young Man
informed us all that his residence was in the
country, that his hair was light, that his
cheeks were rosy, that his stature was small,
that his manners were mild, and that his
name was Koddle. In reply, I have no
hesitation in avowing that my residence is
in London, that my hair is dark, that my
cheeks are swarthy, that my stature is
gigantic, that my manners are surly, and
that my name is Grump. I have further to
add, in opposition to the Shy Young Man,
that have the strongest possible antipathy
to being settled in life; and that,
if I thought either of my eyes were capable
of fixing itself on a young woman, I
would shut that eye up, by an effort of
will, henceforth and for ever. I don't say
this is good writing; but I call it straightforward
common sense. If any man is bold
enough to contradict me, I should like to
meet him outside the office of this journal, at
an hour of the morning when the street is
tolerably empty, and the policeman happens
to be at the opposite extremity of his beat.

How do I propose to enlighten and fortify
the Shy Young Man? I intend to teach him
the results of my own experience. If he has
one grain of sense in his whole composition,
he may profit by the lesson, and may step
out of the absurd situation in which he has
now placed himself. I have not the slightest
feeling of friendship for this imbecile person.
It is merely a little whim of mine to try if
I cannot separate him from his young
woman. I see his young woman in my
mind's eye, even from his miserable description
of her. Complexion of the colour of
cold boiled veal, white eyelashes, watery
eyes, red hands with black mittens on them,
raw elbows, sickly smile, — form plump and
shapeless,— kicks her gown when she walks,
stiff in the back-bone when she sits down,
and embarrassed by her own legs when she
gets up. I know the sort of girl, and I detest
her. If I can make her sweetheart look at
her with my unprejudiced eyes, I shall have
accomplished my object to my own entire
satisfaction. This is, perhaps, not a gallant
way of expressing myself. Never mind that.
There is plenty of gallant writing at the
present time, for those who want to be
flattered. Let the women take a little rudeness
now, by way of a change.

Would anybody think that I was once a
lady's man? I was,— and, what is more, I
was once in love, was once anxious to be
settled in life, was once on the point of
making an offer. I had settled how to do it,
when to do it, where to do it. Not the
slightest doubt of success crossed my mind.
I believed then, as I believe now, that any
man may win any woman, at any time, and
under any circumstances. If I had been
rejected the first time, I would have
proposed again. If I had been rejected a second
time, I would have proposed again. If I had
been rejected a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth
time, I would have proposed again and again
and again and again,— and I should have
ended by carrying my point. I knew that,
and yet, at the eleventh hour, I shrank from
making my offer. What altered my resolution?
A book. Yes, that very Bachelor's
Manual, which the Shy Young Man is so
anxious to lay his hand on, was the awful
warning that stopped me, in the nick of
time, from the insanity of investing myself
in a matrimonial speculation. I tell Mr.
Koddle that the sort of book he wants has
been in existence for years; and I ask his
best attention to a narrative of the effect
which that publication had upon my mind,
when I was young enough and weak enough
to allow myself to fall in love.

It was on a Monday morning that I first
said to myself (while shaving), "I'll make
that woman promise to marry me on Wednesday

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