Louisa C. (Louisa Caroline) Tuthill.

I will be a gentleman : a book for boys online

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In order to render strict justice to every one,
we must be as careful with regard to their feel-
ings as to their more substantial rights. A cer-
tain delicacy of sentiment, a quick sympathy


with others, will enable you to do this ; without
it, you may know all the rules of external polite-
ness and yet never be a gentleman.

This delicacy of sentiment will enable you to
render to others their due, agreeably and grace-

A boy may be a well-meaning boy, and yet be
awkward and uncivil, because he does not per-
ceive what others expect from him, and what they
have a right to expect.

You, my dear Frank, must know what is requir- x
ed from you, as a boy, to your elders and superi-
ors, to your equals and inferiors ; and, in practis-
ing it, form early habits of politeness, that will
become so habitual that you can be easy and
graceful in your intercourse with your fellow-

A more refined and delicate politeness must
be yielded from our sex to the female sex than
we render to our own. They are weak, and
claim our protection. They are subordinate, and
therefore it would be mean to make them more
sensible of it than is needful. All these things
you will understand in time.

How can you make yourself most acceptable
in your person ?


You never heard of a dirty gentleman, Frank ;
it is e contradiction in terms.

Use plenty of cold water.

Brush your teeth two or three times a day.
You will want them for an ornament to your
mouth, as well as a convenience. A fine set of
teeth may give tenfold value to the pleasantest
smile. Think, too, how much suffering you may
prevent by care in preserving your teeth. There
is really no small thing that so marks a well-bred
boy as this scrupulous care of the teeth.

Keep your hair neatly combed and brushed ;
and arranged after the fashion, without following
it too far. That is, if it is the fashion to wear it
long, do not wear it extravagantly long ; if short,
do not have it shaven close to your head. Fol-
low fashion moderately, in order to follow it

" Scarlet finger, and long jetty nail," as Pope
says, are most disgusting. Be careful, then, not
to ornament the ends of your fingers with a black
crescent. Do not put your fingers in your nose,
mouth, or ears ; or pick your teeth in company.

So much has been said of that filthy practice
of spitting, that I cannot think you will ever fall
into it. Chewing and smoking tobacco render


spitting indispensable. I entreat you to avoid
both of those unwholesome and disagreeable

I wish to have you neat and tasteful in your
dress, without extravagance. Keep your clothes
well brushed, and hang them up carefully when
they are taken off.

Never, my son, never rely upon dress to make
you a gentleman. It is as flimsy a disguise as
the lion's skin was to the ass. When he brayed,
his borrowed attire only made him more con-
spicuously ridiculous.

In your conversation be scrupulously polite.
Address persons by their proper titles, and use
those expressions of civility that custom renders
necessary. " If you please," " Thank you,"
" Beg pardon," &c., &c., even to those in the
humblest station.

Speak out your words plainly and distinctly,
and in a moderate tone of voice. What is called
a good enunciation is a distinctive mark of good

I cannot think it possible that my son should
ever commit such a sin against the laws of God
as to use profane language. Infinitely worse is
this than a breach of politeness. Yet it is not


only a violation of God's law, but it is a mean,
vulgar habit ; so low, that I trust you will never
be tempted to fall into it.

How horrible is the sound of oaths from youth-
ful lips. My heart is saddened by the thought
that they are often heard in our streets, from
mere children.

Obscene language ; low, vulgar conversation ;
surely, my son, you can never dishonor your
father and mother by allowing any such language
to pass your lips. Never listen to it from others.

A tattling, gossipping, tale-telling disposition,
avoid. Every honorable mind despises traitors,
spies, and tale-bearers.

You must not alone be just to others, my son ;
in order to be polite, you must be generous, noble,

Above all, to be a Christian gentleman, the
character which I most desire for you, it is ne-
cessary to study faithfully that most perfect and
beautiful code of politeness, given by St. Paul, in
the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the

In short, my dear son, my desires and prayers
for you constantly are, that you may be,

Pure in body and mind ;


Pure in manners and morals ; and,
Pure in heart.

That thus you may perform your duties faith-
fully and acceptably to God and to man.

Frank carefully folded the precious paper, and
said, " Well, Joseph, do you not think we may
be polite, even if we are sailors ? "

" Not very elegantly so," replied his compan-

" Yet I think we may be as gentleman-like
in our feelings here as anywhere else," said Frank ;
and as he said so he received an order from the
captain to come into the cabin.



ON entering the cabin, Frank was surprised at
its magnificence. It was beautifully finished
with mahogany and rosewood. A large mirror
adorned one end of it, and curtains of rich crim-
son damask were hung there in graceful festoons.

But Frank was still more surprised at its in-
mates. A delicate-looking middle-aged lady was
reclining upon a couch, and by her side sat a young
girl, of about fourteen, with dark hair, dark eyes,
and a complexion pale as marble.

The captain seemed quite amused at the undis-
guised astonishment of Frank, as he stood, tarpau-
lin in hand, bowing with the most profound respect
to the ladies.

" You did not know, boy, that there were pas-
sengers on board," said the captain.


" I heard, soon after we sailed, that there were
cabin passengers, but had forgotten it, and I did
not know that they were ladies."

" They are ladies in every thing but one im-
portant consideration, that is, they can't speak
English. Madame La Tourette and her daugh-
ter were placed under my care by a French mer-
chant in Boston, to be landed at Marseilles. I do
not know their history. The poor things have
been very seasick and lonely. I took it into my
head that you, being brought up a gentleman and
a scholar, might find some way to amuse them.
They have looked through the cabin door, though
they have not been on deck, and have asked a
great many questions about you."

Frank was sorely puzzled to know what he
should do for the amusement of the invalid lady
and her daughter, who were looking at him with
much curiosity and interest, as he stood there in
his sailor's dress.

" They seemed to see at once that there was
something peculiar in you, and I have tried to
make them understand that you are a young gen-
tleman," continued the captain, "but I do not
know whether I have made it out or not : you
must go and shake hands with them."


Frank was ready to laugh at this proposal ; but
the captain immediately " suited the action to the
word " by taking Frank's hand and placing it in
one of the lady's, and then in the girl's hand.

They smiled at this peculiar introduction, and
asked Frank if he spoke French. He had learn-
ed to speak it with his mother, and at school ; but
felt, at first, some diffidence about replying in that
language. He made the effort, however, and it
seemed to give great pleasure ; they immediately
commenced talking with so much volubility that
Frank could hardly distinguish a word.

The captain was charmed. He slapped Frank
on the shoulders, clapped his hands, and exclaim-
ed " There, I told them there was a young gentle-
man on board who could parley-vous with them.
Poor creatures, they are so lonesome that I have
determined to have you come and dine with them
every day ; but, as the sailors might not think it
just the thing if you at the same time messed
with them, you must be my clerk, and we will
arrange it so that the other hands can manage
without you."

" But I have no suitable clothes," said Frank.
" I have nothing but a sailor's dress of the most
common kind : how should I look, sitting down
to dine with ladies, as vou now see me ! "


" But, njy boy, you are always neat and clean ;
I have wondered a thousand times how you kept
yourself so. No excuses. I dare say Madame,
and the pretty little dem'selle, won't need any.
I '11 tell them how it is."

So saying, the captain pointed at Frank's jack-
et, wide trowsers, and red flannel shirt, and shook
his head, and shouted, " Can't help it, no land
gear"; as if the ladies were deaf; making, at
the same time, divers grimaces and shrugs, to aid
himself to be understood.

" There, now, they understand that you can't
dress up smart to please them, and won't mind
your sea-rig."

Frank was obliged to obey the captain's order,
and remove his quarters.

The vessel was to touch at Marseilles to land
the passengers ; and from this time to their ar-
rival Frank devoted himself to the ladies, and to
the captain, as his clerk.

Joseph Brandon was not at all pleased at the
change which had taken place relative to Frank.
He tried to make the other sailors complain of
it; but they, to a man, rejoiced in it; saying
that it was not suitable that such a delicate lad
should be with them and have to put up with


their rough ways. They felt, always, that he was
a gentleman, although he refused no part of his
sailor's duty.

Madame La Tourette and Louise were exceed-
ingly amused the first time Frank came to dine
with them. His blue jacket and trowsers, his
calico shirt, and morocco pumps, were all in the
neatest order. Yet Madame could not help saying
to herself, " Quel drole de petit matelot ! " " What
a funny little sailor ! " and Louise, in spite of her
good-breeding, was obliged to hold her handker-
chief before her mouth, to conceal a smile.

The captain thought his plan had succeeded
marvellously, for in a few days his passengers ap-
peared upon deck.

Joe had been employed in splicing and tarring
ropes ; and, when Frank appeared upon deck in
attendance upon Madame La Tourette and Louise,
the poor fellow was sadly mortified at his appear-
ance. He would not look towards Frank to give
him an opportunity to speak to him, but turned
away with a sulky expression.

Frank was determined that he should not
escape him ; and, going up to him, said, kindly,
" Joseph, do not think that new friends make, me
forget old ones. I should really like to intro-


duce you to the agreeable acquaintances which
the captain has, in a manner, forced me to make."

" A pretty fellow should I be," replied Joe,
" to be introduced to ladies ; they never would
think it possible that I had been brought up gen-
teelly. See, they are looking at you now, and
wondering how you can speak to such a dirty fel-
low as I am. I am so much ashamed to be seen
working and looking so, that I am just ready to
jump into the sea."

" That would be a sure way to wash away the
dirt," said Frank. " But Madame calls me."

So saying, Frank went to assist the lady in
going below. From the time that he was so sin-
gularly introduced, Frank exerted himself in va-
rious ways to relieve the tedium of the voyage.
They came in sight of Gibraltar on the twenty-
eighth day out ; and, passing through the Straits,
made for Marseilles.

The Sally Ann was to remain two or three
days at Marseilles, and as she sailed from Boston
in the winter, and there had been no sickness on
board, she would not be obliged to perform a
long quarantine.

Madame La Tourette was so grateful to her
young friend, Frank, that she invited him to re-


main at her house during his stay at Marseilles.
She wished to show him every thing worth seeing
in her native city.

Louise was now looking in better health ; the
early part of the voyage both mother and daugh-
ter had suffered exceedingly from seasickness.
Louise was delighted at the thought of reaching
home, her dear Marseilles, from which she
had been absent for two years. Madame La
Tourette was a widow, and Louise was her only
daughter. She had been passing a couple of
years with a brother in Canada, and, after visit-
ing the United States, sailed from Boston, as has
been said, in the Sally Ann.

The captain stood on the deck with Madame
leaning on his arm ; Frank held a spy-glass for
Louise. " Je vois ma patrie, ma belle France,"
exclaimed the young girl. " Oui ; c'est vrai, nous
verrons bientot, votre Marseilles," replied Frank :
and then he asked the captain how long it would
be before they should be able to see the city.

" In about three hours," was his reply.

So happy were they all at this news, that they
decided upon remaining upon deck till sundown.

And it was a glorious sunset. Far in the west
the clouds were piled in rich masses of purple


and gold, while lighter flakes floated above, daz-
zlingly white, or tinged with red. The sea reflect-
ed far and wide the brilliant sky.

" There, I see the rocks," said Madame La
Tourette ; " I know those rocks well ; often have
I climbed them in my youth to look out upon the
sea, and watch the distant vessels."

" And can we not land to-night ? " inquired
Louise, eagerly.

" Not to-night, but early in the morning," re-
plied Frank.

" O, I shall be so happy ! " exclaimed she ;
" but then I shall soon have to part with you for
ever, Frank ; and that makes me sad, even hi the
midst of my joy."

" My good friend, Frank," said Madame, as
they were about to separate for the night, " I owe
you a thousand thanks : is there any thing I can do
for you before we leave. Of course you are our
visiter while you stay at Marseilles."

" You owe me no thanks," said Frank, " and
yet I have one favor to ask ; it is that you will
include a friend of mine in your kind invitation.
Joseph Brandon has never been to sea before ;
he has suffered much during the voyage, and I
think it would do him good to be with me."


" I should be most happy to have him accompa-
ny us," said Madame, with great politeness.

" And will you ask the captain to give him
leave of absence ? " said Frank.

" As well as I can," replied Madame ; and, turn-
ing to the captain, she said, " Capitaine, vill you
let von friend of Meester Frank go chez moi
to mine house dat is vid him ? "

" Who is it, Frank ? " asked the captain.

" Joseph Brandon, Sir. I should like to have
him go ashore with me and remain the two days
that we are at Marseilles. Madame La Tourette
is so kind as to invite him to her house."

" He is a lazy dog, that Joe Brandon ; he is n't
fit to be a sailor, and I do not think he deserves
the favor you ask for him ; but since you ask it,
Frank, I grant it."

" Thank you, Sir ; I hope he will do better on
the voyage home ; he was entirely green, you
know, and has gone through a pretty good salt-



GREAT preparations were going on before a
small looking-glass, on board the Sally Ann, the
next morning.

Joe was delighted with the invitation of Mad-
ame La Tourette, and attributed it entirely to the
impression he had made by his gentleman-like
appearance, which, by the way, she had never

The self same splendid Dickens, D'Orsay cash-
mere vest was once more the object of his admi-
ration, as he surveyed himself with much com-
placency in the aforesaid bit of a looking-glass.
But, like Sampson, he was shorn of his glory,
his long hair. The unfortunate tarring into the
hammock had robbed him of his locks, and left
him looking as if it had been gnawed off by the


Joe was a tall, thin, awkward boy, with long
arms and large hands. His dress-coat was quite
too short-waisted for him, the buttons seemed
travelling up to the shoulders, and those large
hands hung out of the sleeves at a goodly dis-
tance from the cuffs. But the ruffled shirt, the
splendid vest, the gold chain, and large breast-
pin, they would atone for other deficiencies; at
least so thought Joe.

When he appeared upon deck, the sailors gave
three cheers, " Hurrah for Beau Brandon."

Frank appeared in his Sunday sailor dress.
Soon Madame and Louise were ready ; and were
handed ashore, and into the carriage, by Joe and

The friends of Madame hastened to greet her
on her return, and were not a little surprised to
see her young companions.

A dinner-party was invited the next day to
meet them.

The habitual politeness of Frenchmen could
hardly keep them from laughing at seeing Frank
Wood, dressed like a common sailor, walking
up and down the splendid drawing-room, with
Louise La Tourette. But so completely was he
at his ease, and so graceful and polite withal,


that they soon changed their tone and admired
the fine young Amencan.

Poor Joe could not speak a word of French.
He sat in a corner, not knowing where to put his
feet or his hands, where to look, or what to do.
There could hardly have been a better specimen
of a raw Yankee, and so thought Johnny Cra-

Poor Madame La Tourette did not know what
to do with him* She was glad when dinner was
announced, and she asked him to sit by her at
table. There his awkwardness and vulgarity
were still more apparent. - He carried all his
food to his mouth with his knife ; he stuck out
his elbows like a grasshopper ; used his pocket-
handkerchief instead of a napkin, and ate so fast
as to alarm his lady hostess lest he should actu-
ally choke himself.

Frank, if he had had time to observe Joe,
would have been much mortified, but fortunately
he was engaged in conversation with a distin-
guished gentleman who was making inquiries
about the United States. In a prompt and clear
manner he gave the information that was desired,
and surprised the gentleman as much by his

* The English nickname for a Frenchman.


intelligence as he did the ladies by his easy po-

Madame La Tourette and Louise were very
happy to see their young friend the object of such
general attention and admiration. Beau Brandon
was stung with jealousy and envy.

What could there be in that sailor-boy so at-
tractive ?

He was a gentleman-like, well-bred boy ; and
if a gentleman at home, of course he was so

There are different customs and various usages
among different nations ; quickness of perception
will enable a well-bred person to adopt at once
those customs which are new to him, without
awkwardness. He would use his fingers with
the Turks, chop-sticks with the Chinese, and sil-
ver forks with the French, with equal grace and
propriety. He would know his place everywhere,
and maintain his self-respect.

Thus it was with Frank Wood, though only
a boy of sixteen, among entire strangers, in a
foreign land ; and, though in the dress of a com-
mon sailor, it was impossible not to perceive that
he had the manners and the sentiments of a gen-
tleman, and was therefore a fit associate for the
refined and the noble of every land.


Having no hereditary titles in the United
States, there can be no higher distinction than
that which belongs to moral worth, intellectual
superiority, and refined politeness. A repub-
lican gentleman, therefore, need acknowledge no
superior ; he is a companion for nobles and
kings, or, what is better, for the polite, the tal-
ented, the good.

Since such are an American's only claims to
distinction, it becomes the more important for him
to cultivate all those graces which elevate and
dignify humanity. No high ancestral claims can
he urge for his position in society. Wealth he
may possess, and there are those who will ac-
knowledge that claim ; but if the possessor have
not intelligence and taste to teach him how to
use his wealth, it will only make him a more con-
spicuous mark for ridicule. Those glorious in-
stitutions of New England, common schools, af-
ford to every boy the opportunity to acquire that
intelligence and taste, and his associates there are
from every class of society. There is no insur-
mountable obstacle in any boy's way ; his position
in society must depend mainly upon himself.



MADAME LA TOURETTE took great pleasure in
showing the young sailors every thing worthy of
notice in the Old Town and the New Town, into
which Marseilles is divided.

Her own elegant mansion was hi the beautiful
street, Beauvau. From this they sallied forth to
see the Exchange, the fine old Cathedral, one
of the most ancient in France, the hospitals, and
the Museum. In all these objects, Frank Wood
took an intelligent interest, and was highly pleased
to be able to communicate so much to his father
that would be interesting to him. At the hospi-
tals, in particular, he made so many judicious,
well-directed inquiries, as to astonish the physi-
cian in attendance, and give great pleasure to
Madame La Tourette. She was much amused



when the physician said to her, aside, " A very
remarkable sailor-boy, Madame ; by his accent he
must be English ; I never saw any one of that
class so intelligent and so polite."

" He is an American," was the reply.

The result of his observations Frank was able
to communicate in a letter to his father, which he
sent by a vessel just ready to sail for New York.

Joseph Brandon wrote to his mother at the
same time, and expatiated largely upon the flat-
tering reception he had met with in France. He
failed not .to describe the table equipage and the
dress of the ladies at the dinner party ; his own
dress, too, was very particularly mentioned.
Nothing, however, worthy of a traveller's notice
was described. Yet his mother's heart would be
gladdened, and his sisters would rejoice ; for he
assured them that he was sorry that he had been
only a burden to them, and concluded with a hope
that he might henceforth be to them a better son
and brother.

Madame La Tourette bade adieu to her young
friend, Frank, with sincere regret, begging him
to visit them again. This he earnestly hoped he
should be able to do.


Louise, with the consent of her mother, gave
him a ring, within which was engraved, " Pensez
a moi."

Joseph was about taking leave without thanking
Madame for her politeness, when Frank gave
him a hint to do so.

Joe said she would not understand him ; but
Frank waited for him, and at length he said, " I
tank you berry much for de politeness you hab
show me," thinking he should be better under-
stood in broken English.

Frank could scarcely refrain from laughing
outright, while Madame and Louise bowed with
the greatest civility, although their countenances
expressed very perceptibly that they were ex-
ceedingly amused.

When they had gone, Madame said, " Frank
Wood is a very polite, fine boy, and will make
people think well of Americans wherever he

"Yes, mamma, he will, if he does not take
that great awkward boy with him to destroy the
good opinion."

" Let us ever, my child, cherish the memory
of the good and the agreeable that we discover,


and obliterate the bad and the disagreeable,"
said Madame.

Louise was in no danger, in this instance, of
not following her mother's wise injunction.



THE vessel had a speedy voyage up the Med-
iterranean to Smyrna, and, having taken in her
lading, sailed for Boston.

The voyage continued prosperous for several
days ; after they had left the Straits of Gibraltar,
head winds prevailed, and then a dead calm.
Several of the sailors were seized with a malig-
nant fever. The captain, too, was ill. The
labor of working the ship, as well as the care
of the sick, came upon a few.

Frank, who had, till this time, continued to
act as captain's clerk, now cheerfully returned
to the duties of a common sailor.

Brandon's visit at Marseilles for a time ren-
dered him quite proud and pretending ; but there
was no use in it, no good was gained, and Frank


advised him never again to boast, among his
messmates, of "that famous French dinner-

From a notion that ardent spirits would keep

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Online LibraryLouisa C. (Louisa Caroline) TuthillI will be a gentleman : a book for boys → online text (page 3 of 7)