He was a man for whom taking a compliment was the hardest thing in the world. It was pathological. He would be hesitant to admit it, but there it was. An unpleasant truth, often unattended and suppressed but still known.
He squirmed awkwardly and ground his teeth at every flattering remark, or lyrical waxing, or sung praise. Even mere well-wishing seemed embarrassing and undeserved.
It was, probably, a reflex of his protestantism, you see, for there was none righteous and his awareness of an undulating vainglory and boastful pride was forever a hateful mark and secret token of his reprobation.
And, so it was, that he grinned apprehensively with viselike jaw and balled fist, straining to give thanks however truly thankful, a conflicted and knowing imposter both in the world and within his own soul.