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THE ADVENTURES OF A BASHFUL MAN, as related by himself.
I labour under a species of distress, which I fear will at length drive me utterly from that society, in which I am most ambitious to appear; but I will give you a short sketch of my origin and present situation, by which you will be enabled to judge of my difficulties. My father was a farmer of no great property, and with no other learning than what he had acired at a charity school; but my mother being dead, and I an only child, he determined to give me that advantage, which he fancied would have made him happy, viz. a learned education.-I was sent to a country grammar-school, and from thence to the university, with a view of qualifying for holy orders. Here, having but small allowance from my father, and being naturally of a timid and bashful disposition, I had no opportunity of rubbing off that native aukwardness, which is the fatal cause of all my unhappiness, and which I now begin to fear can never be amended. You must know that in my person I am tall and thin, with a fair complexion, and light flaxen hair; but of such extreme susceptibility of shame, that, on the smallest subject of confusion, my blood all rushes into my cheeks, and I appear a perfect fullblown rose. The consciousness of this unhappy failing, made me avoid society, and I became enamoured of a college life; particularly when I reflected, that
the uncouth manners of my father's family were lit tle calculated to improve my outward conduct; ! therefore had resolved on living at the university and taking pupils, when two unexpected events greatly altered the posture of my affairs, viz. my father death and the arrival of an uncle from the Indies.
This uncle I had very rarely heard my father men tion, and it was generally believed that he was long since dead, when he arrived in England only a week too late to close his brother's eyes. I am ashamed to confess, what I believe has been often experienced by those, whose education has been better than their pa rents, that my poor father's ignorance, and vulgar language, had often made me blush to think I was his son; and at his death I was not inconsolable for the loss of that, which I was not unfrequently asham ed to own. My uncle was but little affected, for he had been separated from his brother more than thir ty years, and in that time he had acquired a fortun which he used to brag, would make a Nabob happy in short, he had brought over with him the enormous sum of thirty thousand pounds, and upon this he built his hopes of never-ending happiness. While he was planning schemes of greatness and delight, whether the change of climate might affect him, or what other cause I know not, but he was snatched from all his dreams of joy by a short illness, of which he died, leaving me heir to all his property. And now, behold me at the age of twenty-five, well stocked with Latin, Greek, and Mathematics, possessed of an ample fortune, but so aukward and unversed in every gentleman-like accomplishment, that I am pointed at by all who see me, as the wealthy learned clown. I have lately purchased an estate in the country, which abounds in (what is called) a fas ionable neighbourhood; and when you reflect on my parentage and uncouth manner, you will hardly think how much my company is courted by the surround
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ing families, (especially by those who have marriageable daughters): From these gentlemen I have received familiar calls, and the most pressing invitations, and, though I wished to accept their offered friendship, I have reapeatedly excused myself under the pretence of not being quite settled; for the truth is, that when I have rode or walked, with full intention to return their several visits, my heart has failed me as I approached their gates, and I have frequently returned homeward, resolving to try again to-morHowever, I at length determined to conquer my timidity, and three days ago, accepted of an invitation to dine this day with one, whose open easy manner left me no room to doubt a cordial welcome. Sir Thomas Friendly, who lives about two miles distant, is a baronet, with about two thousand pounds a year estate, joining to that I purchased; he has two sons, and five daughters, all grown up, and living with their mother and a maiden sister of Sir Thomas's, at FriendlyHall, dependant on their father. Conscious of my unpolished gait, I have for some time past, taken private lessons of a professor, who teaches "grown gentlemen "to dance," and though I at first found wonderous difficulty in the art he taught, my knowledge of the mathematics was of prodigious use, in teaching me the equilibrium of my body, and the due adjustment of the centre of gravity to the five positions. Having now acquired the art of walking without tottering, and learned to make a bow, I boldly ventured to obey the baronet's invitation to a family dinner, not doubting but my new acquirements would enable me to see the ladies with tolerable intrepidity: but alas! how vain are all the hopes of theory, when unsupportted by habitual practice. As I approached the house,
dinner bell alarmed my fears, lest I had spoiled the dinner by want of puctuality; impressed with this idea, I blushed the deepest crimson, as my name was repeatedly announced by the several livery servants.
* $ 17 COU
who ushered me into the library, hardly knowing what or whom I saw; at my first entrance, I summoned all my fortitude and made my new-learned bow to Lady Friendly, but unfortunately in bringing back my left foot to the third position, I trod uper the gouty toe of poor Sir Thomas, who had followed close at my heels, to be the Nomenclator of the fam ily. The confusion this occasioned in me is hardly to be conceived, since none but bashful men can judge of my distress, and of that description the number 1 believe is very small. The Baronet's politeness by degrees dissipated my concern, and I was astonished to see how far good-breeding could enable him to suppress his feelings, and to appear with perfect ease, after so painful an accident. The cheerfulness of her Ladyship, and the familiar chat of the young ladies, insensibly led me to throw off my reserve and sheepishness, till at length I ventured to join in conversation, and even to start fresh subjects. The library being richly furnished with books in elegant bindings, 1 conceived Sir Thomas to be a man of literature, and ventured to give my opinion concerning the several editions of the Greek classics, in which the Baronet's opinion exactly coincided with my own. To this subject I was led, by observing an edition of Xenophon in sixteen volumes, which (as I had never be fore heard of such a thing) greatly excited my curi osity, and I rose up to examine what it could be: Sir Thomas saw what I was about, and (as I suppose) willing to save me trouble, rose to take down the book, which made me more eager to prevent him, and, hastily laying my hand on the first volume, I pulled it forcibly; but lo! instead of books, a board, which by leather and gilding had been made to fook like "sixteen volumes, came tumbling down and luckily pitched upon a Wedgwood ink-stand on the table under it. In vain did Sir Thomas assure me, there was no harm; I saw the ink streaming from