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Sin's Son laughs to hear it,
He might have a ship ready
O! this is the hour
And behold how they urge
How in ranks, o'er the plain
Till they're scattered to dust,
Yet wend thee there too
Has forgotten to rave,
Thine eyes at the sight
That in war or in peace,
Madrid ! Madrid! the heart is faint with woe,
To think on thee, degraded to the lair,
Where lurks the dragon brood that breathe despair O'er hopes of Freedom, and forbid to blow ;--No sooner do the buds begin to glow,
Sweet to the scent, and to the vision fair,
Than o'er them steals a pestilential air, Breath'd from thy caves, that withers the fair show. Madrid ! Madrid ! how long shall nations wonder,
To know thee curs'd among abodes of men ; Awake! arise! and burst thy chains asander,
Ere yet the storm cloud fall upon thee, when The vengeance of the free shall burst in thunder,
To smite thee as of tyrants the dark den.
A SECTION ON TEA PARTIES.
O the joys of a tea party! the paradise of old ladies, and the seventh heaven of gossips and scandal-mongers! What would be the lives of Englishmen if tea parties were not? Old ladies we should have none, and, still more lamentable thought, gossips and scandalmongers would fall away! Having no place to which they could fly to discharge the load from their breasts, they would at length sink dejected and broken hearted; or haply they might wander into other lands still involuntarily, and with melancholy pleasure heaping up news, yet knowing not who should gather them. Thus, in reference to them, we might use with slight variation the words of Shakspeare,
They never told their news, “ But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
“ Feed on their haggard cheeks; they pined in thought," &c. None, indeed, but an Englishman can appreciate the delights of a true tea party. With what pleasing associations is it connected in his mind." The bare word conjures up visions of tattered reputations, newest fashions, newest news, deaths, marriages, suicides, murders, births, rapes, crim. cons., elopements, homicides, parricides, fratricides, infanticides, manslaughtering, overthrowing of monarchies, democracies, aristocracies, destruction of nations, abolition of Christianity, and all other religions, persuasions, and freethinkings, conversion of the Jews, ditto Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, miscellaneous matter, &c. &c. Such is the ample field of the information and speculation of the tea party. Broach whatever subject you will, you cannot go astray. Would you be fully certified whether the price of meat will or will not be raised or depressed a farthing in the pound at such a period, or whether the Catholics will or will not ultimately gain their end, or as to the likelihood or non-likelihood of a vicissitude in an article of fashion, or as to what is the final cause and effect of comets--the most profound calculations and discreet argumentations are entered into touching the matter, and you doubtless have it at length determined to your full, ample, and unqualified satisfaction. Hence then appears the utility and importance of the tea party: it is a kind of cabinet council, wherein every matter, be it ever so important, or ever so trivial, is settled and fixed; or, if I may be permitted to use the expression, it is a democratic aristocracy, wherein the opinion of the people is expressed, at the same time that it is qualified by prudent and discreet debate. It is, in brief, a conventicle, which if it only had the power of operation, or putting its resolutions into effect, would be the most potential in the world.
I shall now proceed to give an account of one of these meetings at which I was present a few evenings since. It was given by Lady Gabbleblab, of No. - , of - Street, Bath, which place, as every body knows, is the urbs capitalis of those meetings, which are appropriately defined to be " little social parties, where people meet quite in a friendly way."
When I entered the apartment of No.
Street, many of the
chairs forming the semicircle round the fire were unoccupied. Lady Gabbleblab, with her usual courtesy, rose to salute me.
“ Dear Mr. Dimple,” said she, “ this is so kind of you
“ Pray don't repeat that-stupid! My dear Lady Gabbleblab, you quite distress me; to suppose that any thing could be stupid
“ Now, my dear Mr. Dimple, you are too kind.”
“O, Mr. Dimple, you know it is the common opinion that you are the most accommodating, most polite
“ You overwhelm-you shock me
" where you
" But I repeat
“ But I must declare
Here a fresh arrival diverted her ladyship's attention. “ Dear " Miss M'Scratch,” said her ladyship to the new-comer, " this is so “ kind of you to come in this friendly way, and social intercourse is so delightful, but I am afraid you'll find it very stupid.”.
Miss M’Scratch, asin duty bound, would not admit this latter doubt.
“O, you are so kind,” rejoined Lady G., “but how is dear Miss “ M'Shrill? I hope I am not to be deprived of the pleasure of see“ ing her ?”
" I left Miss M’Shrill below arranging her hair at the glass ; my part, I am above the little arts of my sex in adorning my “ exterior.
Poor Miss M'Scratch! well might she have lost all care for external appearance, for if the whispering of certain persons is to be credited, she had experienced at least twelve lustres; added to which natural disfigurement, an unhandsome protuberance was attached to her back, her left organ of vision was damaged, the half the usual organ appeared to be abstracted, and the corner of her mouth was turned eye-ward by a whim of paralysis.
“ But,” she pursued, “ Miss M'Shrill is very lively; I assure “ you I've a sad time with her, Lady Gabbleblab; I don't say much, “ but it isn't every one that would put up with Miss M’Shrill's whims."
As she spoke thus, the damaged eye was brought into action in a most equivocal manner.
“ I'm quite vexed to hear you say so," returned Lady G.;" but "between you and me, I always thought Miss M’Shrill did not behave “quite well to you; bad temper I expect---not over correctç-ha! yes, “ I understand. Oh, shameful! when every body knows what an “ amiable person you are, Miss M'Scratch ; indeed Miss M'Shrill's “ conduct my dearest Miss M'Shrill welcome !" (that lady at the
moment making her appearance)," I cannot express how delighted "! I am to see you."
.More I heard not, for they retired to another part of the room to finish their questions.. Shortly afterward the whole of the social party was assembled, in number about eight; nine is the charmed number; it should be neither more nor less, for if less it is feeble, impotent, and heavy at the same time; neither should it exceed the three times three, for it then becomes (as my friend Thingumbob says) neither the one thing nor the other; it loses its own. peculiar order and regularity, there is no longer any chance of doing business in a decent, distinct, and satisfactory manner; it becomes hurry, wildness, and distraction all. Fancy, for example, a choice, tender, young reputation (the idea of which must make the mouth of every connoisseur of tea-parties water) stretched upon the dissecting board with ten or twelve, or, it may be, fourteen, eager to operate upon it; why, it would be impossible to go through the matter with any sort of regularity or precision---every one would have his instru: ment in it, and the thing would thus become mangled and torn to pieces; it would no longer be a subject, it would be fit only for the unskilful hacking and slashing of the benchers at a rout.
But I have digressed. The appearance of the tea-urn, or to speak quite correctly, perhaps I should say, the filling of the first round of cups, is the signal for entering upon the business of the evening. The previous space is allotted to enquiries after health of selves, wives, husbands, (as may be) &c., tender hopings that dear mister or mistress bas recovered from his or her fit of the gout or rheumatism, particular enquiries as to the cold of master or miss, and recommendations to take care of it, as the only means by which it may be got rid of, &c. &c.
““ And pray what is going on in the world ?" said Lady Gabbleblab to Mrs. Calendar, as she handed the lady her cup of mixed; you know I'm such an invalid, I never get out.".,
Every thing as dull as possible," was the reply of Mrs. C. “ not a word of news stirring :---I suppose you have heard that poor Lady Blowup has been taken-up?”.
“ Taken up! good heavens, no!”.
“ Dear Mrs. Calendar," said Mrs. Gorgenews, “ I am at a loss “ to understand you---Lady Blowup has been buried these three “ days!"
" Dear ma'am, what do yon mean ?” enquired a gentleman with a wooden leg, and an eye, which, from its firedness, might have been likened to a planet.
“ Surely you must have heard the circuinstance,” returned Mrs. Calendar; "she was taken-up last night from her grave, and I am “ told has been boiled and hung up to dry to-day.”
“ Dear, dear, how shocking!” exclaimed Lady Gabbleblab.
“ Pray let us hear the particulars, my dear maiden," said Mrs. Crony; " this intelligence quite distresses me.” “ Pray let us hear all about it,” eagerly cried Mrs Garrulous. Conticuêre omnes intentique ora tenebant.
There are few delights more exquisite than that of being the first to disclose an extraordinary fact, or to tell a wonderful story. Mrs. Calendar over and over again expressed her astonishment that they had not heard the circumstance, which preliminary is always used by connoisseurs to quicken, by forbearance, the appetites of the auditors.
“ I can vouch for the truth of the fact,” said she at length, “ because it was told me by a lady (I shan't mention names), who
was a particular friend of a gentleman, to whom the person who
was accidentally a witness of the whole transaction confidently “ disclosed it. This gentleman was passing by Walcot Church at an
early hour this morning on his way home; he was attracted by the
gliinpse of a dark lantern in the church-yard; he stopped and " looked steadfastly towards the spot, but the darkness of the night “ prevented him from distinguishing more than the figures of two
men; he paused, however, a few seconds, and presently the moon shining brightly, he plainly perceived the digging at a grave--".
“ Well, well, and what then?"
" You shall hear; as I said before, he saw them digging at a grave;
I believe I mentioned they were two men ?” “ Yes---yes---go on," was the exclamation.
“ Soon after he saw one man with his arm in the grave, appa“ rently pulling something out
“ That was Lady Blowup, I suppose ?” cried Mrs. Gorgenews.
“ It was no such thing ; I shall come to that by and bye,” replied Mrs. Calendar, with some acuteness; "well, the man who had his hand " in the grave called to his companion to help him, and presently he
saw---that is the gentleman you know--he saw.--let me see--- yes ! " he saw a human body dragged out in a state of nudity! he then “saw the two men fold it up, put it into a bag, and jump over the "church-yard wall!"
This tale of darkness had manifest effects on its auditors, and expressions of horror occupied the ensuing five minutes.
“ To think,” resumed 'Mrs. Calendar, " to think of the splendor " and style poor dear Lady Blowup lived in! to think of her balls " and her parties, and her snug little social parties where we've so “ often met; it was only this day fortnight that I spent a quiet evening "! with her, and to think that they should be all gone, never more to “ return! such is this transitory world! such is the uncertainty of all “ sublunary things! to think that the poor dear soul should be dead, buried, and, as one may say, risen again, within one short week!"
A simultaneous “ dear me !” backed up with some well got up sighs from most of the circle, followed this effusion; and, indeed, the gentleman of the leg and eye turned round to me and observed, “ what an extremely sensible woman Mrs. Calendar was.”
“ And dear Miss M’Scratch, I hope you find your new servant of “ whom you spoke to me t'other day continue to your satisfaction?".
“0, Lady Gabbleblab," replied Miss M's." the vilest wretch that ever came within Christian doors ! she hadn't been one week in my house, when two fellows had the impudence to come to the