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DANGLERS. (From the London Be-viev;.) Amongst the many trials and troubles which the mother of daughters is obliged to undergo before she can dispose of her charges, there is no greater grievance than that which arises from the species of male which may be fittingly described under the above heading. Of course, in the ordinary husband-chase there are many blinks which must be anticipated from the very nature of the pursuit, but the dangler is an imper- tinent and an unreasonable obstruction, for whose existence no sound reason can be assigned, and whose mission, if he has any, would seem to be simply to thwart the best laid schemes of match-making women. The dangler generally gets into a house as myste- riously as a black beetle. Like other domestic nuisances he comes with some one else, and it is to a friend of the family that most owe the admission of this disturb- ing creature into their dining-rooms and confidence. The dangler is a young man not eligible, but who appears eligible, and who pretends to a desperate s&nsibility of so contagious a character that the best trained daughter in the world will sometimes share the complaint with him. He has; however, no serious intentions, and no visible or attainable prospects. hen he has been discussed and inquired into, and the verdict passed upon him as matrimonially undesi- rable, there is as much difficulty in shaking him off as there is in getting rid of a bad habit. Nothing frightens him more than being formally accepted. He regards a rejection as a simple "not at home,' but as no more. He has made up the little he possesses of mind to a determination that hanging around the skirts of girls, trifling with their duties, and distracting them from their main pursuits, is the most delightful occupation under the sun. He will run anywhere to dangle after a woman. He will even sooner attach himself to old ladies than to none. And yet he is not of that useful and angelic tribe of messenger beans—carrier pigeons—fetching dogs, who at a-word will bring or take or run according to directions. The dangler is seldom put in for an office of this kind, and he never volunteers his help on any occasion except it fits with his own proper convenience, comfort, and favourite amusement. Then he is a per- petual source of irritating curiosity to those whom he inveigles into being concerned about him. They never fluite determine how to deal with him, If he is cut direct the difficulty is solved at once but that is a clumsy and not always a safe method. If he can be induced to dangle elsewhere, the very association of his name which remains after his flitting interferes with the market value of what he has touched. The dangler is a masculine flirt of a puny kind. He is as unnatural as a male dancer and as worthless. He is without courage or principles; but then he never claims either. Society has made him, and society is responsible for him. There is this, however, which the dangler forgets. He was originally kept in hands for his own sake, then tolerated, or used as a foil; and it is a gross perversion of the privileges he enjoyed to assume a distinct role of his own, and to set up as it were on his personal account. The dangler is not only a terror and a torment to mothers, but he is often an abomination to married men with young wives. It is from the stuff of which he is composed that the cavalier setrvente of the Con- tinent is made. Although the latter peculiar institu- tion is not publicly popular in this country, it is im- possible to deny that it is altogether unknown or uncultivated amongst those who seek the consolations of Sir J. Wilde. In nine cases out of ten, the per- plexities which engage the judge of the Divorce Court arise out of the manners and customs of danglers. The dangler is more dangerous to gay wives than to lively spinsters. The former use him freely, and find a certain pleasure in keeping him by them but the latter are either bewildered and puzzled, or half angry and half pleased, at his attentions. That sin which we never forgive when it is discovered, is not, it should in fairness be said, an object or aim of the dangler. He does not follow a married woman with the deter- mination of asking her to run away with him, but purely as a pastime, and a graceful, pleasant occupa- tion. He dislikes the violence and tumult of a genuine guilty passion, almost as much as he dislikes the sympathetic disturbances of an honest sentiment. To be calm and unruffled, to disown earnestness in everything, is the creed of the dangler. He is not in the least engrossed when he apparently pursues a lady. It is his art, however, to seem as if he were. He has generally a small income, which enables him to get on well enough as a club bachelor. His tailor trusts him conveniently. He has not a particle of real ambition or desire to figure in the world. His ideas are con- tained in the smallest compass, and represent the merest trifles, which other men discard with the fop- pishness of three-and-twenty. The dangler, however, never grows old in sense. He can only become an old boy, and from that stage advance to second child- hood. Unlike the genuine old boy, he is not thoroughly vicious-he is a mawkish and insensate fool even at his pleasures, for he can only bring himself to sip them. Want of decision is the basis of the dangler's dis- position. It causes him to dread marriage, and to flutter for ever over the sweets he dare not pitch upon. Amongst men he is a nonentity. He has no part in affairs which demand skill, energy, or perseverance. He shrinks from contact with real work, like a sick school-girl. His opinions are vacant, and only escape from not being thought idiotic by the number of idiotic opinions which sane persons are allowed to hold with- out question. The dangler is a fool, in short, of the worst quality. If he only went in for religion, for capturing beggars, for dancing at theatres, for reform, or for music, one might see at least an energy thrown away but in the dangler there is a hopeless and a colourless impotence for which there is no compensa- tive eccentricity. Even with women he is not success- ful. Silly women like him at first, but discover him after a time clever women, when they find he has no money, despise him for his stupi- dity, although they would easily forgive his stupidity if his banker respected him. Fortunately, danglers are not over frequent. There are many young men, and young old men, who approach from one side or another the peculiarities of the type, but happily only a few comparatively represent it com- pletely. The dangler is both a noodle and a duffer, and he never knows it. A joke falls off his hide as a spent musket-ball would off the hide of a rhinoceros. 3 Ie is the laughing stock of his friends, and he has no enemies. He is despised too much to be hated and yet so entrenched is he in the stronghold of his own conceit, that he is far from being miserable or dejected. He walks about in utter unconsciousness of what is thought or said of him. He would not believe for an instant that he was either barren or good for nothing. Society is too well bred nowadays ever to give such information to a man to his face, and the dangler therefore never suffers the chance of hearing the truth. When the dangler dies no one regrets him. He is of that class that disgust and turn aside even the affection of a mother, which he is incapable of comprehend- ing or reciprocating. It is cruel and pitiable to reflect that such creatures are the result of our modern social system, but every artificial system, and, indeed, every system must have them. Mr: Lewes, in a clever criticism on the Duke of Argyle's Reign of Law," in the current Fortnightly, tells us that there are beings apparently born only to exhibit and demonstrate the growth of cancer-cells. Analogically, we may consider the dangler as born to de- monstrate and exhibit the growth of moral cancers upon the social body. He is nearly as bad as the street evil, despite his neatness and secrecy. It is possible that the new era will kill him. If, as we suspect, a current of free thought and healthy impulses passes into our veins by the calm revolution of the Reform Bill, we shall probably find that the danglers have disappeared before it as midges would before an east wind. They are partly of foreign extraction, and France has ever been renowned for her danglers but in England their doom is certain. Already there is an inclination to detect these impostors and to proclaim them. It is better even that women should sell them- selves for money than marry fellows of this constitu- tion, who, ricketty, mean, and affected, are unable to love or to hate, to act or to think.








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