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WRIGHT, PRINTER, ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.

OBSERVER.

NUMBER CIX.

Ουδέν γας 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 de. scription, 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 lcast forty years standing, a great observer of dc. corum, and particularly hurt by the behaviour of

VOL. XL.

two young ladies, who are her next door neigh. hours, for a custom they have of lolling out of their windows and talking to fellows in the street: the charge cannot be denied, for it is certainly a practice, these young ladies indulge themselves in very freely ; but on the other hand it must be owned Miss Pen Tabby is also in the habit of lolling out of her window at the same time to stare at them, and put them to shame for the levity of their conduct: they have also the crime proved upon them of being unpardonably handsome, and this they neither can nor will attempt to contradićt. Miss Pen Tabby is extremely regular at morning prayers, but she complains heavily of a young staring fellow in the pew next to her own, who violates the solemnity of the service by ogling her at her devotions : he has a way of leaning over the pew, and dangling a white hand ornamented with a tiaming paste-ring, which sometimes plays the lights in her eyes, so as to make them water with the reflection, and Miss Pen has this very natural remark ever ready on the occasion-Such things, you know, are apt to take off one's attention.'

Another of this illustrious junto is Billy Bachelor, an old unmarried petit-maitre: Billy is a courtier of ancient standing; he abounds in anecdotes not of the freshest date, nor altogether of the most interesting sort; for he will tell you how such and such a lady was dressed, when he had the honour of handing her into the drawing-room : he has a court-atalantis of his own, from which he can favour you with some hints of sly doings amongst the maids of honour, particularly of a certain dubious duchess now deceased, (for he names no names) who appeared at a certain masquerade in puris naturalibus, and other valuable discoveries, which all the world has long ago known, and long ago been tired of. Billy has a

up to,

smattering in the fine arts, for he can net purses, and make admirable coffee, and write sonnets; he has the best receipt in nature for a dentifrice, which he makes up with his own hands, and gives to such ladies as are in his favour, and have an even row of teeth : he can boast some skill in music, for he plays Barberini's minuet to admiration, and accompanies the airs in the Beggar's Opera on his flute in their original taste : he is also a playhouse critic of no mean pretensions, for he remembers Mrs. Woffington, and Quin, and Mrs. Cibber; and when the players coine to town, Billy is greatly looked and has been known to lead a clap, where nobody but himself could find a reason for clapping at all. When his vanity is in the cue, Billy Bachelor can talk to you of his amours, and upon occasion stretch the truth to save his credit: particularly in accounting fora certain old lameness in his knee-pan, which some, who are in the secret, know was got by be. ing kicked out of a coffee-house, but which to the world at large he asserts was incurred by leaping out of a window to save a lady's reputation, and escape the fury of an enraged husband,

Dr. Pyeball is a dignitary of the church, and a mighty proficient in the belles lettres : he tells you Voltaire was a man of some fancy and had a knack of writing, but he bids you beware of his principles, and doubts if he had any more christianity than Pontius Pilate: he has wrote an epigram against a certain contemporary historian, which cuts him up at a stroke. By a happy jargon of professional phrases, with a kind of Socratic mode of arguing, he has so bamboozled the dons of the cathedral as to have effected a tolal revolution in their church music, making Purcell, Crofts and Handel give place to a quaint, quirkish style, little Jess capricious than if the organist was to play co.

tillions, and the dean and chapter dance to them. 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 6 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 re. commendation of a soft insinuating address, doctor Pyeball is universally cried up as a very pretty ges. teel preacher, one who understands the politeness of the pulpit, and does not surfeit well-bred people with more religion than they have stomachs 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 in other situations with equal approbation.

Elegant Mrs. Dainty is another ornament of this charming coterie: she is separated from her hus. band, but the eye of malice never spied a speck 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 coun. try 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; h

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