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innocent prejudices, or singularities of gait, dress, manners, expressions, or habits of some individual, party, or community, to afford pleasure and amuse


480. RULE.-1. Select for development the most ludicrous and eccentric traits or foibles in the character of the individual. Never transgress, however, the bounds of truth.

2. Avoid introducing any thing gross or indeli


3. Sometimes a contrast may be advantageously instituted between the different parts of the character.


481. Mode of Exercise. - 1. Enumerate the leading traits to be delineated.

2. Reproduce the Example from recollection.

3. Institute a Comparison between your own and the original.


1. Pedantry in the common sense of the word, means an absurd ostentation of learning, and stiffness of phraseology, proceeding from a misguided knowledge of books, and a total ignorance of men. But the signification of the word might be extended much farther, and applied to that failing which disposes a person to obtrude upon others, subjects of conversation relating to his own business, studies, or amusements. In this sense of the phrase, we should find pedants in every character and condition in life. Instead of a black coat and ain shirt, we should often see pedantry appear in an emidered suit and Brussels lace; instead of being bedaubed

with snuff, we should find it breathing perfumes; and, in place of a book-worm, crawling through the gloomy cloisters of a university, we should mark it in the state of a gilded butterfly, buzzing through the gay region of the drawing-room.

2. Robert Daisy, Esq., is a pedant of this last kind. When he tells you that his ruffles cost twenty guineas a pair; that his buttons were the first of the kind, made by one of the most eminent artists in Birmingham; that his buckles were procured by means of a friend at Paris, and are the exact pattern of those worn by the Count d'Artois; that the loop of his hat was of his own contrivance, and has set the fashion to half a dozen of the finest fellows in town; when he descants on all these particulars, with that smile of self-complacency which sits for ever on his cheek, he is as much a pedant as his quondam tutor, who recites verses from Pindar, tells stories out of Herodotus, and talks for an hour on the energy of the Greek particles.

3. But Mr. Daisy is struck dumb by the approach of his brother, Sir Thomas, whose pedantry goes a pitch higher, and pours out all the intelligence of France and Italy, whence the young baronet has just returned, after a tour of fifteen months over all the kingdoms of the Continent. Talk of music, he cuts you short with the history of the first singer of Naples; of painting, he runs you down with the description of the gallery at Florence; of architecture, he overwhelms you with the dimensions of St. Peter's, or the great church at Antwerp; or, if you leave the province of art altogether, and introduce the name of a river or hill, he instantly deluges you with the Rhine, or makes you dizzy with the height of Ætna or Mount Blanc.

4. In short, pedantry in conversation tends to destroy that equality which is necessary to the perfect ease and good humour of the company. Every one would be struck with the unpoliteness of that person's behaviour who should help himself to a whole plate of pease or strawberries, which some friend had sent him for a rarity, in the beginning of the sea

son. Now, conversation is one of those good things of which our guests or companions are equally entitled to a share, as of any other constituent part of the entertainment: and it is as essential a want of politeness to engross the one, as to monopolize the other.


1. Enumerate the

483. Mode of Exercise.

leading traits in each of the following characters. 2. Reproduce the whole from recollection. 3. Institute a Comparison between the two.

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1. In one of my visits to the village with Master Simon, he proposed that we should stop at the inn, which he wished to show me, as a specimen of a real country inn, the headquarters of village gossip. I had remarked it before, in my perambulations about the place. It has a deep old-fashioned porch, leading into a large hall, which serves for tap-room and travellers' room; having a wide fire-place, with highbacked settles on each side, where the wise men of the village gossip over their ale, and hold their sessions during the long winter evenings. The landlord is an easy indolent fellow, shaped a little like one of his own beer barrels, and is apt to stand gossiping at his door, with his wig on one side, and his hands in his pockets, whilst his wife and daughter attend to customers. His wife, however, is fully competent to manage the establishment; and, indeed, from long habitude, rules over all the frequenters of the tap-room as completely as if they were her dependants instead of her patrons. Not a veteran ale-bibber but pays homage to her, having, no doubt been often in her arrears.

2. As we approached the inn, we heard some one talking with great volubility, and distinguished the ominous words

"taxes," "poor's rates," and "agricultural distress." It proved to be a thin, loquacious fellow, who had pent the landlord up in one corner of the porch, with his hands in his pockets as usual, listening with an air of the most vacant acqui


3. The sight seemed to have a curious effect on Master Simon, as he squeezed my arm, and, altering his course, sheered wide of the porch as though he had not had any idea of entering. This evident evasion induced me to notice the orator more particularly. He was meagre, but active in his make, with a long, pale, bilious face; a black, ill-shaven beard, a feverish eye, and a hat sharpened up at the sides into a most pragmatical shape. He had a newspaper in his hand, and seemed to be commenting on its contents, to the thorough conviction of mine host.

4. At sight of Master Simon the landlord was evidently a little flurried, and began to rub his hands, edge away from his corner, and make several profound publican bows; while the orator took no other notice of my companion than to talk rather louder than before, and with, as I thought, something of an air of defiance. Master Simon, however, as I have before said, sheered off from the porch, and passed on, pressing my arm within his, and whispering as we got by, in a tone of awe and horror, "That's a radical! he reads Cobbett!"


5. I endeavoured to get a more particular account of him from my companion, but he seemed unwilling even to talk about him, answering only in general terms, that he was an impudent busy fellow, that had a confounded trick of talking, and was apt to bother one about the national debt, and such nonsense;" from which I suspected that Master Simon had been rendered wary of him by some accidental encounter on the field of argument: for these radicals are continually roving about in quest of wordy warfare, and never so happy as when they can tilt a gentleman logician out of his saddle.

6. On subsequent inquiry my suspicions have been confirmed. I find the radical has but recently found his way into

the village, where he threatens to commit fearful devastations with his doctrines. He has already made two or three complete converts or new lights; has shaken the faith of several others; and has grievously puzzled the brains of many of the oldest villagers, who had never thought about politics, or scarcely anything else, during their whole lives.

7. He is lean and meagre from the constant restlessness of mind and body; worrying about with newspapers and pamphlets in his pockets, which he is ready to pull out on all occasions. He has shocked several of the staunchest villagers by talking lightly of the squire and his family, and hinting that it would be better the park should be cut up into small farms and kitchen gardens, or feed good mutton instead of worthless deer.

8. He is a great thorn in the side of the squire, who is sadly afraid that he will introduce politics into the village, and turn it into an unhappy thinking community. He is a still greater grievance to Master Simon, who has hitherto been able to sway the political opinions of the place, without much cost of learning or logic; but has been very much puzzled of late to weed out the doubts and heresies already sown by this champion of reform. Indeed, the latter has taken complete command at the tap-room of the tavern, not so much because he has convinced, as because he has out-talked all the established oracles. The apothecary, with all his philosophy, was as nought before him. He has convinced and converted the landlord at least a dozen times; who, however, is liable to be convinced and converted the other way by the next person with whom he talks. It is true the radical has a violent antagonist in the landlady, who is vehemently loyal, and thoroughly devoted to the king, Master Simon, and the squire. She now and then comes out upon the reformer with all the fierceness of a cat-o'-mountain, and does not spare her own soft-headed husband, for listening to what she terms such "low-lived politics." What makes the good woman the more violent, is the perfect coolness with which the radical listens

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