Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Great Seducers - the CHARMER.

"Wax, a substance naturally hard and brittle, can be made soft by the application of a little warmth."
Arthur Schopenhauer.
with thanks to
I don’t know how many of you watch Coronation Street, but the Nigel Havers character is a perfect example of a charmer.
Charmers cast their spell by subtle means, they adapt to your moods, they flatter and reassure, they make you feel good about yourself and don’t like talking about themselves until you are completely taken in.

"Birds are taken in with pipes that imitate their voices,
And men with sayings that are most agreeable to their own opinions."
Samuel Butler.
Nigel Havers as Lewis, charming Audrey.(Coronation Street)
The word 'charm' originates from a Latin word, 'carmen', which means a song or incantation. The aim of the charmer is to disarm by lowering his victim's sense of reason, by subtly dismantling her fears.
"Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours."
Benjamin Disraeli.

Charmers have a number of golden rules:

1 - Make your target the centre of attention.
2 - Be a source of pleasure.
3 - Bring harmony to those around you.
4 - Lull your victim into comfort and ease.
5 - Be calm in the face of opposition.
6 - Be helpful and useful.

"You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question."
Albert Camus

The young, Benjamin Disraeli.
Our example from history of a charmer, is a little unusual - the British Prime Minister to Queen Victoria, (who in 1860 was still mourning the death of her beloved Albert) - Benjamin Disraeli. In his younger life Disraeli dressed as a dandy and wrote novels, - with a reputation for being flamboyant he was the antithesis of what the dour, formal and stubborn queen looked for in her Prime Minister. But Disraeli used this to his advantage.

He approached the queen in the role of a gallant prince, falling to one knee, taking her hand and saying:"I plight my troth to the kindest of mistresses."

He went on to praise her so heartily that she blushed. He sent her volumes of his work and when she reciprocated with a book she had written, "Journal of Our Life in the Highlands", he referred to her with the phrase, "We authors."

Queen Victoria - not immediately obvious as someone who could be charmed!
At important meeting he would suddenly break away, turn to Victoria and ask for her advice. He sent her flowers, primroses, - a flower so ordinary it might have been considered insulting except he sent a note: "Of all the flowers, the one that retains its beauty the longest is the sweet primrose."  And soon primroses became Victoria's favourite flower.
When in 1876 Disraeli proposed a bill declaring Queen Victoria as "Queen-Empress" she was beside herself with gratitude and elevated the former dandy and novelist to the peerage.
What Disraeli had learnt was never to judge by appearances: he saw a frosty, dour woman but appealed to the part of her that wanted male attention and made her feel the most attractive and intelligent woman alive.

Disraeli - in later life.
 "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. After sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England."
An English Princess. 


With thanks to


  1. Love your Blog! I thought I was the only writer I would ever find that watched Corrie Street! It is a pleasure to meet another!

  2. Lewis is a fantastic charmer - so completely absorbed in making the object of his attentions feel like she's the only interesting thing on the planet. Poor Audrey!

    On a wider note, charming characters these days ring an alarm bell for me. Perhaps we've just become too cynical of anyone who pays so much attention to other people...

  3. Wonderful post! Love it, and I love charming rakes that don't realize they are charming their way to being reformed. :-)

  4. Fabulous post. The Disraeli pitch is just gorgeous. I guess Victoria, having lost Albert, was particularly vulnerable to this sort of thing. Clever man!

  5. So glad you are enjoying this series, ladies. I wish I could say all the research was practical (winks) - but alas, not.
    G x

  6. Hi Grace,
    It's Janiera Eldridge from Fierce Reading Virtual Book Tours.
    Been emailing you for over a week now with some important questions about your tour. I can't start planning your tour until you answer these questions. Please check your email and get back to me as soon as possible. Thanks so much.

  7. Loved this Blog post! Gotta love those "Charmers"!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Hugs, Kari Thomas,


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