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The Dandy
by [?]

Fine feathers make fine birds. This is a proverb which a great many people in our country–especially young people–most devoutly believe in, and they show their belief in a very emphatic way. They rig themselves out in the height of the fashion, no matter how ridiculous it is, or how uncomfortable; they take airs upon themselves which do not properly belong to them; they try to pass for something finer than they are, and if they do not end by being laughed at it is no fault of theirs.

You never saw such a dandy as we had at our school. He rejoiced in the name of Frederick Fop, and seemed possessed of the notion that his dainty person was worthy of the utmost amount of decoration that any one person could bestow upon it. No one objects to a fellow having a good coat and trousers, and a respectable hat; but when it comes to canary- coloured pantaloons, and cuffs up to the finger ends, and collars as high as the ears, and a hat as shiny as a looking-glass, the fellow gets to be rather a nuisance. Indeed, we had just as much objection to walking out with Fred Fop as we had with Jack Sloven; one was quite as unpleasantly conspicuous as the other.

It was often a marvel to some of us how it came to be allowed for a boy to dress as Fred did. You should have seen him coming down the stairs on Sunday, as we were about to start for church, putting on a lavender glove, and taking a couple of minutes to adjust his hat to the proper angle on his head.

How he minced along the pavement, dreading to speck his exquisite boots, and how artlessly he would carry one glove in his hand, in order to show oil his elegant ring. His umbrella was the size of an ordinary young lady’s parasol, and as for his collars–of course it was impossible to turn his head one way or the other with those things sticking up on either side. He always insisted on having the inside of the pavement, in order to avoid the splashing of the cabs; and invariably entered church last, having occupied a certain time in the porch (so it was said) to make sure his necktie was properly tied, and that the corner of his handkerchief was hanging sufficiently far out of his breast-pocket, and that the expression of his countenance was sufficiently interesting. Having satisfied himself on these points, he advanced up the aisle in procession with himself, and scented the whole building in his triumphal progress.

It is hardly to be wondered at that Master Fop became the victim of all sorts of practical jokes. If by any chance one of the fellows should happen to be pitching water out of the window, it was an extraordinary coincidence that Fred in his grand hat was nearly always walking underneath. Another time, when some of the elder boys were allowed to attend a grand concert in the village, Fred of course was in his glory, and took every means to create a sensation by his elaborate toilet. And so he did! For as he sauntered beautifully up the hall to his seat in front, he was wholly unconscious that a startling label was hanging gracefully on the back buttons of his coat with this legend inscribed thereon–

“Look here! Our noted 50 shilling suit! A bargain!”

It was not till he went to sit down that he discovered the heartless joke, and then–but we may as well draw a veil over his confusion. Suffice it to say he did not enjoy the concert a bit.

But he was by no means cured of his vanity. No, not even by a subsequent and still more embarrassing adventure.