Mr. Wickersby's Sentiments Regarding The Proportions Of Women, a short story by Richard A. Ridley. Date added: 2010-06-19. Times viewed: 2224.
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- Intro: This is an affectionate pastiche of Dickens' style and some excellent advice for any young man who may be about to embark upon a romantic encounter. P.S. My first novel 'Wait Until You Die' is now available on Kindle.
Mr. Wickersby’s Sentiments Regarding the Proportions of Women, by Richard A. Ridley
I was a young man, and very inexperienced in certain social situations. When I’d finished boarding-school, or perhaps I should say when boarding-school had finished me, I returned home in the accepted guise of a man. However, it was considered by my father, and therefore by my mother, that my education, however expensive, was still not complete, and that the very man to remedy the situation was Mr. Wickersby.
I’d been invited to dinner by my uncle Barrington, specifically and principally in order to hear Mr Wickersby’s sage and solid sentiments regarding the best way to deal with the fairer sex. In short, how to deal with courtship and beyond. As promised, when the cigars were lit and the brandy was being sipped, Mr. Wickersby delivered his speech, the product of many years of experience, and lucky I was to be receiving the benefit of that experience, on the subject of the fairer sex. ‘You can sweet talk ‘em sir, or you can be masterly and stern, or you can try a wide variety of approaches from one end of the scale to the other’ he said sagely, in the self-assured manner which seemed infectious to all those who now stood about him, and was most certainly infectious to me. ‘But the real secret of success with women, if you take my advice, is never to stare at their proportions!’
Mr. Wickersby drew a deep breath, warming to his task. ‘Why I knew a perfect fellow once, a gentleman of high birth, who shall remain nameless in the cause of friendship, trust and good taste. He was a kind man. Honest and considerate. He was a philanthropist sir, of the highest domain. I would say, if such an assertion could not be deemed blasphemous, he was almost a saint,’ here, Mr. Wickersby cast a stern eye over the assembled company and flicked his cigar ash into the blazing fire, ‘Lost his wife of fifteen years. Fifteen years sir! The instant she became aware of him gazing longingly at her proportions!’ Here, he paused and signed towards the bar for another three of scotch, cold. We had received his advice and that was all there was to be had.
All these years later, as I look back at the married bliss which has been my portion, I am glad to say that I have followed Mr. Wickersby’s advice to the letter. I have been married now for five years, and to this day I have never so much as laid eyes on my wife’s proportions. In fact, I have not the faintest idea what she looks like. In some ways, it could be said that we have never really met, although we have had some very interesting and marvelous conversations when the candles have been extinguished and the fire is burning low, or there has been a moonless or foggy night during which our paths have crossed by prior arrangement.
Perhaps it is better that I have never laid eyes on my wife’s proportions. I can gain some idea of her appearance by looking at our three children, and they are, all five of them, as ugly as sin.
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