Tarkington Lesson: How to be the Better Rival

KNOW OF THE OTHER’S VANITIES

tarkington
“The Beautiful Lady” – Booth Tarkington

LET HIM TALK OF HIMSELF

“So he talked of  himself in his various surreptitious ways until coffee came, Miss Landry listening eagerly, and my poor friend making no effort; for what were his quiet United States absurdities compared to the whole-world gaieties and Abyssinian adventures of this Othello, particularly for a young girl to whom Antonio’s type was unfamiliar? For the first time I saw my young man’s brave front desert him. His mouth drooped, and his eyes had an appearance of having gazed long at a bright light. I saw that he, unhappy one, was at last too sure what her answer would be.”

SAY VERY LITTLE AND WAIT FOR THE RIGHT TIME TO STRIKE

“For myself, I said very little – I waited. I hoped and believed Antonio would attack me in his clever, disguised way, for he had always hated me…and he had never failed to prove himself too skillful for us. In my expectancy of his assault there was no mistake. I comprehended Antonio very well, and I knew that he feared I might seek to do him an injury… also, I felt that he would, if possible, anticipate my attempt and strike first. I was willing; for I thought myself in possession of his vulnerable point – never dreaming that he might know my own!”

“VEIL” OVER A POINT AND GENERALIZE IN A BAD LIGHT

  • “He began, laughingly, with the picture of a pickpocket he had helped to catch in London. London was greatly inhabited by pickpockets, according to Antonio’s declaration.”

(London is where the protagonist comes from)

  • “He continued, it was nothing in comparison to Paris. Paris was a rendezvous, the world’s home, for the criminals, adventurers, and rascals if the world, Spanish, South-Americans, North-Americans, – and even Italians! One must beware of people one had met in Paris!”

(A character insinuates that the lady should beware of people she meets in Paris. The lady first encounters the protagonist in Paris)

GIVE HIM A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE

  • “Before he could answer I pulled myself altogether… “it is true,” and I tried to smile as amiably as Antonio. “These coincidences occur. You meet all the great frauds of the world in Paris. Was it not there” – I turned to Mrs. Landry – “that you met the young Prince here?”

(After the antagonist shed a bad light towards the Protagonist, the latter countered and did the same thing to the former)

STAY HUMBLE

“Again it is true what he says. I was that man of the painted head. I had my true brother’s little daughters to care for. They were at the convent, and owed for them. It was also partly, because I was hungry. I could find not any other way, and so – but that is all.” And I turned and went stumblingly away from them.

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