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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 99, September 27, 1890 by Various
page 3 of 39 (07%)

At the age of seventeen he is withdrawn from school. His own
marked disinclination saves him from a military career, and he is
subsequently sent to pass a year or two upon the Continent of Europe,
in order that he may first of all pass the examination for the
Diplomatic Service, and subsequently foil foreign statesmen with their
own weapons, and in their own language. Returning, he secures his
nomination, and faces the Examiners. Providence, however, reserves him
for lower things. The Examiners triumph, and the career of the Servant
of Society begins in earnest. The position of his parents secures for
him an entrance into good houses. He is a young man of great tact and
of small accomplishments. He can warble a song, aid a great lady to
organise a social festivity, lead a cotillon, order a dinner, and help
to eat it, act in amateur theatricals, and recommend French novels to
inquiring matrons. His manners are always easy, and his conversation
has that spice of freedom which renders it specially acceptable in
the boudoirs of the smart. The experience of a few years makes plain
to him that, in social matters, the serious person goes down before
the trifler. He therefore cultivates flippancy as a fine art, and
becomes noted for a certain cheap cynicism, which he sprinkles like a
quasi-intellectual pepper over the strong meat of risky conversation.
Moreover, he is constantly self-satisfied, and self-possessed. Yet
he manages to avoid giving offence by occasionally assuming a gentle
humility of manner, to which he almost succeeds in imparting a natural
air, and he studiously refrains from saying or doing anything which,
since it may cause other men to provoke him, may possibly result in
his being forced to pretend that he himself has been ruffled. Yet it
must be added that he is always thoroughly harmless. He flutters about
innumerable dovecots, without ever fluttering those who dwell in them,
and, in course of time, he comes to be known and accepted everywhere
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