The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 7, page 1 of 6)


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Chapter 7

"Now, by the Lord!" said Barnabas, stopping all at once, "forgetful
fool that I am! I never bowed to her!" Therefore, being minded to
repair so grave an omission, he turned sharp about, and came
striding back again, and thus it befell that he presently espied the
lace handkerchief fluttering from the bramble, and having extricated
the delicate lace from the naturally reluctant thorns with a vast
degree of care and trouble, he began to look about for the late owner.
But search how he might, his efforts proved unavailing--Annersley
Wood was empty save for himself. Having satisfied himself of the fact,
Barnabas sighed again, thrust the handkerchief into his pocket, and
once more set off upon his way.

But now, as he went, he must needs remember his awkward stiffness
when she had thanked him; he grew hot all over at the mere
recollection, and, moreover, he had forgotten even to bow! But there
again, was he quite sure that he could bow as a gentleman should?
There were doubtless certain rules and maxims for the bow as there
were for mathematics--various motions to be observed in the making
of it, of which Barnabas confessed to himself his utter ignorance.
What then was a bow? Hereupon, bethinking him of the book in his
pocket, he drew it out, and turning to a certain page, began to
study the "stiff-legged-gentleman" with a new and enthralled interest.
Now over against this gentleman, that is to say, on the opposite page,
he read these words:-"THE ART OF BOWING."

"To know how, and when, and to whom to bow,
is in itself an art. The bow is, indeed, an
all-important accomplishment,--it is the
'Open Sesame' of the 'Polite World.' To bow
gracefully, therefore, may be regarded as
the most important part of a gentlemanly
deportment."

"Hum!" said Barnabas, beginning to frown at this; and yet, according
to the title-page, these were the words of a "Person of Quality."

"To bow gracefully,"--the Person of Quality
chattered on,--"the feet should be primarily
disposed as in the first position of dancing."

Barnabas sighed, frowning still.

"The left hand should be lifted airily and laid
upon the bosom, the fingers kept elegantly spread.
The head is now stooped forward, the body following
easily from the hips, the right hand, at the same
moment, being waved gracefully in the air. It is,
moreover, very necessary that the expression of the
features should assume as engaging an air as possible.
The depth of the bow is to be regulated to the rank
of the person saluted."

And so forth and so on for two pages more.

Barnabas sighed and shook his head hopelessly.

"Ah!" said he, "under these circumstances it is perhaps just as well
that I forgot to try. It would seem I should have bungled it quite
shamefully. Who would have thought a thing so simple could become a
thing so very complicated!" Saying which, he shut the book, and
thrust it back into his pocket, and thus became aware of a certain
very small handful of dainty lace and cambric, and took it out, and,
looking at it, beheld again the diminutive stain, while there stole
to his nostrils a perfume, faint and very sweet.

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