"You are very good," said Ladislaw, beginning to lose his diffidence in the interest with which he was observing the signs of weeping which had altered her face.
He was a diffident though distinguished nurseryman, and feared that the audience might regard his bid as a foolish one.
But Sir James Chettam was no longer the diffident and acquiescent suitor: he was the anxious brother-in-law, with a devout admiration for his sister, but with a constant alarm lest she should fall under some new illusion almost as bad as marrying Casaubon.
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She is diffident around adults, but dominant with her peer group.
At first, he could give no encouragement; with unfeigned diffidence, he expressed his conviction that he was not adequate to the performance of so great a task;
Frederick Douglass -- The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass