This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. Paragraph breaks have been introduced for easier reading.
The original copy of this issue of the Cardiff Times is damaged in places.
In Britain, the use of military ranks by retired officers of a certain rank was strictly governed by convention. Only naval officers of the rank of captain and above, and army officers of the rank of colonel or above were allowed to continue to use them. (Naval captains and army colonels are of equivalent rank in Britain.) The convention is only very loosely observed in most circles today. —— David Skilton
The young 'blasé' impostor who knows all about everything. What he doesn't know is not worth knowing.
WHILE ago, sir, I had something to say anent 'Keeping up Appearances,' that contemptible form of pride which will not allow a man to be as he is but impels him to be what he is not. In talking of social humbugs I am hardly dealing with the same class of people in a pecuniary sense; I am rather aiming at showing up the frauds one meet[s] in all classes of society who take credit for some special attribute or accomplishment which, by some accident or misrepresentation, they have got the credit of possessing. How many scores of most commonplace but decently gentlemanly young men do we not meet that rumour says are extremely 'well connected,' and who, on the strength of this vague report, and a decent display of cheap tailoring, contrive to get the entrée to places where, if they were judged on their own merits alone, would scarcely be tolerated. Originally someone has given out that Mr Smith has a second cousin who is a Baronet, and then, of course, middle-aged hostesses instantly refer to him as 'so well connected, you know.' Think of the awful fraud who is supposed to have a literary turn, and of whom it is said by persons who never read a word he wrote (and possibly would never be alive to tell the story if they had), 'Oh, Mr Grindout is so clever.' The individual probably never saw a word that he had written in print in his life, though he has worried the editors of all the Poet's Corners for miles around to publish 'his lubrications.' Perhaps the gentleman has at some time written in a few local lines for an amateur dramatic company, and has subsequently taken to wearing his hair long, and cultivated a sort of far-away, deeply pre-occupied, silent-sorrow-here manner such as is usually supposed to be the attribute of men given to poetry — and poverty. Ever since I began to write for a living I have seen this individual constantly, sir; and have actually been invited by some misguided host to 'meet' him -- and when I have I flatter myself that I have most considerably 'sat on' him. But the wind was very considerably taken out of my sails once by a lady who claimed long and intimate acquaintance with me from the fact that I had rejected so many of the manuscripts she had sent in!
The pedagogic impostor who has an [. . .] as drinker[?], and a lot of bogus qualifications after his name.
[Those men] who, on the strength of having once been in some way connected with the Cape Rifles, or the United States Army, or the bandits of some South American Republic, are addressed as 'Captain' — and who take it quite complacently, and laugh in their sleeves — that is until they have been so much deferred to that they actually begin to believe that they are entitled to be so addressed. When a man tells or acts a lie frequently, it is surprising how soon be begins to believe in that lie. All questions touching the army (no matter whether the query relates to cavalry, infantry or artillery, are referred to the 'Captain' [. . .] the fraud [ . . . ] other rank), who [ . . . ] military matters than inscriptions. This captain is [ . . . ] some presence and a decided [ . . . ] when he is contradicted and roused.
Another dreadful impostor is the young [ . . . ] man who is credited with knowing 'all about the stage.' He is supposed to be on terms of familiarity with all the professors of the dramatic art – especially the ladies. His information as to the stage is usually derived from penny organs of the drama, and his sole connection with it consists of his acquaintanceship with several blue-shaved, thirsty men in very voluminous overcoats (even in the summer time) whom he has been wont to meet at the Barleymow, where the said histrions (gentlemen entrusted with very minor parts indeed on the boards) buy two-penn'orth o' beer and cadge about four pennyworth of free-lunch and innumerable drinks, these latter being consumed in company with the young gentleman who 'knows all about the stage.
The humbugs who are detained in the City on pressing business connected with a 'liquidation by arrangement.'
The man who 'understands art you know -- splendid judge of pictures' is common enough. He would have been an artist (and doubtless a Royal Academician) himself had he only tried – but he never tried, you see, consequently he can't draw any – except on his imagination. He knows the names of a few of the old masters, and the pronunciation of these names as rendered by him is something fearful and wonderful indeed. Whenever he sees a modern picture, he stops before it and looks it up and down after the manner of a ready-made tailor fitting a customer. Then he walks to the right of the picture and then to the left, and next he st[e]ps back a few paces – and if he happens to fall over any obstruction on to the back of his head no one feels any inclination to regret the incident. He wants to get the light, you see — in fact, light is just what he does want. If he has a catalogue in his hand, he rolls it up telescope fashion, shuts an eye and gazes through the improvised glass with the other. After that he will probably assert that the picture is 'very much after the style of Cuyp' (which he pronounces Kipe) only wanting in 'tone,' and a few other things. This is perhaps the most egregiously vain of all humbugs, and one of the most difficult men to successfully controvert.
It is astounding what an amount of evldence is accorded to most of those social impostors, whose name is legion [Mark 8:9]. Most people cannot contradict them, and those who can, don't want to seem ill-natured and invidious. Take any calling or amusement you care to name, and I will bet you odds that nine out of 10 of the people who affect to know a lot about it absolutely know nothing.
Last modified 2 April 2022