Sketches of Young Gentlemen and Couples (With Sketches of Young Ladies), by Charles Dickens, Illustrated by Phiz
This was one of my purchases on Sunday, and the first that I started to read.
It is wonderful. One of Charles Dicken's less famous works, it is a compilation of short and witty sketches of young characters, written like a zoological report.
Among them are The Mysterious Young Lady, The Very Friendly Young Gentleman, The Nice Little Couple and The The Romantic Young Lady...
"Her pity knows know bounds. She pities the "the poor flowers in winter". She pities her friend's shawl if it gets wet. She pities poor Mr. Brown, "he has such a taste; nothing but cabbages and potatoes in his garden." 'Tis singular that, with all this fund of compassion, she was never known to pity a deserving object. That would be too much matter of fact."
I am engrossed. Much to the amusement of my family as the occasional laugh splutters over the top of the book that I have my nose buried in.
Despite being written so many years ago, the characters are people you could bump into in the street today. Just take them away from the balls and the villages and give them iphones and Starbuck's...
Which gave me an idea to recreate these sketches for the modern day. So every now and then on this blog I shall be sharing with you my own 21st Century sketches: 'Scribbles of Young Ladies and Gentlemen'.
I can't write like Dickens or draw like Phiz. But I can write like me and draw stick people.
Scribbles of Young Ladies and Gentlemen
(Including stick drawings by me)
(Including stick drawings by me)
The Young Lady with the Loud Laugh
You may not have seen the young lady with the loud laugh, but you will most certainly have heard her.
The laughter of young ladies falls, for the most part, into a handful of categories. There is the pitying laugh, offered to young gentleman with bad hair whose jokes are pulled from Christmas crackers. The dainty laugh has the sound of a teaspoon against a teacup but is often produced by the least dainty of young ladies. Perhaps the loveliest of laughs is the steak-and-kidney-pie-laugh, so named for its warmth and heartiness and because it is a regular in jolly public houses.
The steak-and-kidney-pie laugh is loud, but nothing compared to the sound produced by the young lady with the loud laugh.
The young lady with the loud laugh’s laugh is not just loud. It is extraordinarily loud.
It is also quite unique in tone and resonance. An expert in such matters of classification might liken the sound to that of a rather agitated kookaburra or an elephant playing a trumpet.
If you are short of hearing and seek visual confirmation that you have encountered a young lady with a loud laugh, here follow a few distinguishing features. The young lady with the loud laugh can most frequently be found riding on public transport, and is most likely to have her head thrown back as if her chin is involved in a longstanding argument with the rest of her body. You would be forgiven for mistaking her as a sufferer of indigestion: she will likely be clutching her stomach as though tormented by an inner agony. Other notable characteristics include the clapping of hands or mirthful banging of fists on nearby surfaces.
The young lady with the loud laugh is also not unknown to make appearances in libraries.
If you find yourself in the company of a young lady with a loud laugh, it is worth looking out for certain unusual traits. She has, for example, been known to accidentally project a little more than laughter onto her neighbours. It is worth observing the young gentleman sat opposite her as he blinks back a teardrop of her saliva and wonders as to the socially acceptable thing to do next.
Occasionally the young lady with the loud laugh will surprise even herself with the volume of her laughter. A somewhat bashful look will flutter across her face as she acknowledges the weary faces of her fellow young ladies and gentlemen.
But it will not be long until she is brushing her knees and back on the hee-haw in the playground of her life.
N.B It is highly advised never to enter into a serious argument with the young lady with the loud laugh. It is universally accepted that you will never have the last laugh.