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WRIGHT, PRINTER, ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.

TIIE

OBSERVER.

NUMBER CIX.

Oudiy
'Ye

ούτως ήδύ ανθρώποις έφυ
Ως το λαλέειν τ' αλλότρια, ,

MENANDEK.

Still to be tattling, still to prate,

No luxury in life so great. The humours and characters of a populous county town at a distance from the capital, furnish matter of much amusement to a curious observer. I have now been some weeks resident in a place of this description, where I have been continually treated with the private lives and little scandalizing anecdotes of almost every person of any note in it. Having passed most of my days in the capital, I could not but remark the striking difference between it and these subordinate capitals in this particular: in London we are in the habit of looking to our own affairs, and caring little about those, with whom we have no dealings : here every body's business seems to be no less his neighbour's concerns than his own: a set of tattling gossips (including all the idlers in the place, male as well as female) seem to have no other employment for their time or tongue, but to run from house to house, and circulate their silly stories up and down. A few of these contemptible impertinents I shall now describe.

Miss Penelope Tabby is an antiquated maiden of at least forty years standing, a great observer of dc. corum, and particularly hurt by the behaviour of

VOL. XL.

tillions, and the dean and chapter dance to ther. The doctor is a mighty admirer of those ingenioas publications, which are intitled The Flowers of the several authors they are selected from: this short cut to Parnassus not only saves him a great deal of round-about riding, but supplies him with many an apt couplet for off-hand quotations, in which he is very expert, and has besides a clever knack of wear. ing them into his pulpit essays (for I will not call them sermons) in much the same way as “Tiddy. Doll stuck plums on his short pigs and his long pigs and his pigs with a curley tail.? By a proper sprinkling of these spiritual nosegays, and the recommendation of a soft insinuating address, doctor Pyeball is universally cried up as a very pretty gesteel preacher, one who understands the politeness of the pulpit, and does not surfeit well-bred people with more religion than they have stomac for. Amiable Miss Pen Tabby is one of the warmest ad. mirers, and declares Doctor Pyeball in his gown and cassock is quite the man of fashion : the ill-natured world will have it she has contemplated him is other situations with equal approbation.

Elegant Mrs. Dainty is another ornament of this charming coterie: she is separated from her husband, but the eye of malice never spied aspeck upon her virtue; his manners were insupportable, she, good lady, never gave him the least provocation, for she was always sick and mostly confined to her chamber in nursing a delicate constitution : noises racked her head, company shook her nerves all to pieces; in the country she could not live, for country doctors and apothecaries knew nothing of her case: in London she could not sleep, unless the whole street was littered with straw. Her husband was a man of no refinement; all the fine feelings of the human heart' were heathen Greek to him; he

loved his friend, had no quarrel with his bottle, and, coming from his club one night a little flustered, his horrid dalliances threw Mrs. Dainty into strong hysterics, and the covenanted truce being now broken, she kept no further terms with him, and they separated. It was a step of absolute necessity, for she declares her life could no otherwise have been saved ; his boisterous familiarities would have been her death. She now leads an uncontaminated life, supporting a feeble frame by medicine, sipping her tea with her dear quiet friends, every evening, chatting over the little news of the day, sighing charitably when she hears any evil of her kind neigh. bours, turning off her femme-de-chambre once a week or thereabouts, fondling her lap-dog, who is a dear sweet pretty creature, and so sensible, and taking the air now and then on a pillion behind faithful John, who is so careful of her and so handy, and at the same time one of the stoutest, handsomest, best-limbed lads in all England.

Sir Hugo Fitz-Hugo is a decayed baronet of a family so very ancient, that they have long since worn out the estate that supported them : Sir Hugo knows his own dignity none the less, and keeps a little snivelling boy, who can scarce move under the load of worsted lace, that is plaistered down the edges and seams of his livery : he leaves a visiting card at your door, stuck as full of emblems as an American paper dollar. Sir Hugo abominates a tradesman; his olfactory nerves are tortured with the scent of a grocer, or a butcher quite across the way, and as for a tallow-chandler he can wind him to the very end of the street; these are people, whose visits he cannot endure; their

very

bills turn his stomach upside down. Sir Hugo inveighs against modern manners as severely as Cato would against French cookery; he notes down omissions

in punctilio as a merchant does bills for protestiog: and in cold weather Sir Ilugo is of some use, for he suffers no man to turn his back to the fire and screen it from the company who sit round : he holds it for a solecism in good-breeding for any man to touch a lady's hand without his glove: this as a general maxim Miss Pen Tabby agrees to, but doubts whether there are not some cases when it may be waved: he anathematizes the heresy of a gentleman's sitting at the head of a lady's table, and contends that the honours of the upper dish are the unalienable rights of the mistress of the family : in short, Sir Hugo Fitz-Hugo has more pride about him than he knows liow to dispose of, and yet cannot find in his heart to bestow one atom of it

upou honcsty: from the world he merits no other praise but that of having lived single all his life, and being the last of his family ; at his decease the FitzHugos will be extinct.

This society may also boast a tenth muse in the person of the celebrated Rhodope: her talents are multifarious : poetical, biograghical, epistolary,miscellaneous : she can reason like Socrates, dispute like Aristotle and love like Sappho ; her magnani. mity equals that of Marc Antony, for when the world was at his feet, he sacrificed it all for love, and accounted it well lost. She was a philosopher in her leading-strings, and had travelled geographically over the globe ere she could set one foot fairly before the other: her cradle was rocked to the lambic measure, and she was lulled to sleep by singing to her an ode of Horace. Rhodope has written a book of travels full of most enchanting incidents, which some of her admirers say was actually sketched in the nursery, and only filled up with little temporary touches in her riper years: I know they make appeal to her style as internal evidence of what they assert

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