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Harold Nicolson

“Let us educate the younger generation to be shy in and out of season: to edge behind the furniture: to say spasmodic and ill-digested things: to twist their feet round the protective feet of sofas and armchairs: to feel that their hands belong to someone else--that they are objects, which they long to put down on some table away from themselves.

For shyness is the protective fluid within which our personalities are able to develop into natural shapes. Without this fluid the character becomes merely standardized or imitative: it is within the tender velvet sheath of shyness that the full flower of idiosyncrasy is nurtured: it is from this sheath alone that it can eventually unfold itself, coloured and undamaged. Let the shy understand, therefore, that their disability is not only an inconvenience, but also a privilege. Let them regard their shyness as a gift rather than as an affliction. Let them consider how intolerable are those of their contemporaries who are not also shy.”


Harold Nicolson, Small Talk/Facsimile Edition
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Small Talk/Facsimile Edition (Essay index reprint series) Small Talk/Facsimile Edition by Harold Nicolson
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