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reading are the sullied leaves and worn-out appearance, nay, the very odour (beyond russia), if we would not forget kind feelings in fastidiousness, of an old circulating-library 'Tom Jones' or “Vicar of Wakefield !' How they speak of the thousand thumbs that have turned over their pages with delight! .... Who would have them a whit less soiled? What better condition could we desire to see them in ?”
THE GENTLE GIANTESS. ITIS MHE Widow Blacket, of Oxford, is the
ARE largest female I ever had the pleasure of STX beholding. There may be her parallel Ne upon the earth ; but surely I never saw it. I take her to be lineally descended from the maid's aunt of Brainford, who caused Master Ford such uneasiness. She hath Atlantean shoulders ; and, as she stoopeth in her gait,—with as few offences to answer for in her own particular as any of Eve's daughters,—her back seems broad enough to bear the blame of all the peccadilloes that have been committed since Adam. She girdeth her waist-or what she is pleased to esteem as suchnearly up to her shoulders ; from beneath which that huge dorsal expanse, in mountainous declivity, emergeth. Respect for her alone preventeth the idle boys, who follow her about in shoals, whenever she cometh abroad, from getting up, and riding. But her presence infallibly commands a reverence. She is indeed, as the Americans would express it, something awful. Her person is a burden to herself no less than to the ground which bears her. To her mighty bone, she hath a pinguitude withal, which makes the depth of winter to her the most desirable season. Her distress in the warmer solstice is pitiable. During the months of July and August, she usually renteth a cool cellar, where ices are kept, whereinto she descendeth when Sirius rageth. She dates from a hot Thursday, --some twenty-five years ago. Her apartment in summer is pervious to the four winds. Two doors, in north and south direction, and two windows, fronting the rising and the setting sun, never closed, from every cardinal point catch the contributory breezes. She loves to enjoy what she calls a quadruple draught. That must be a shrewd zephyr that can escape her. I owe a painful face-ache, which oppresses me at this moment, to a cold caught, sitting by her, one day in last July, at this receipt of coolness. Her fan, in ordinary, resembleth a banner spread, which she keepeth continually on the alert to detect the least breeze. She possesseth an active and gadding mind, totally incommensurate with her person. No one delighteth more than herself in country exercises and pastimes. I have passed many an agreeable holy-day with her in her favourite park at Woodstock. She performs her part in these delightful ambulatory excursions by the aid of a portable garden-chair. She setteth out with you at a fair foot-gallop, which she keepeth up till you are both well breathed, and then reposeth she for a few seconds. Then she is up again for a hundred paces or so, and again resteth ; her movement, on these sprightly occasions, being something between walking and flying. Her great weight seemeth to propel her forward, ostrich-fashion. In this kind of relieved marching, I have traversed with her many scores of acres on those well-wooded and wellwatered domains. Her delight at Oxford is in the public walks and gardens, where, when the weather is not too oppressive, she passeth much of her valu. able time. There is a bench at Maudlin, or rather situated between the frontiers of that and —-'s College (some litigation, latterly, about repairs, has vested the property of it finally in -__'s), where, at the hour of noon, she is ordinarily to be found sitting, --so she calls it by courtesy,--but, in fact, pressing and breaking of it down with her enormous settlement; as both those foundations,—who, however, are good-natured enough to wink at it, -have found, I believe, to their cost. Here she taketh the fresh air, principally at vacation-times, when the walks are freest from interruption of the younger fry of students. Here she passeth her idle hours, not idly, but generally accompanied with a book, -blessed if she can but intercept some resident Fellow (as usually there are some of that brood left behind at these periods), or stray Master of Arts (to most of whom she is better known than their dinner-bell), with whom she may confer upon any curious topic of literature. I have seen these shy gownsmen, who truly set but a very slight value upon female conversation, cast a hawk's eye upon her from the length of Maudlin Grove, and warily glide off into another walk,-true monks as they are ; and ungently neglecting the delicacies of her polished converse for their own perverse and uncommunicating solitariness! Within-doors, her principal diversion is music, vocal and instrumental; in both which she is no mean professor. Her voice is wonderfully fine ; but, till I got used to it, I confess it staggered me. It is, for all the world, like that of a piping bullfinch ; while, from her size and stature, you would expect notes to drown the deep organ. The shake, which most fine singers reserve for the close or cadence, by some unaccountable flexibility, or tremulousness of pipe, she carrieth quite through the composition : so that her time, to a common air or ballad, keeps double motion, like the earth,-running the primary circuit of the tune, and still revolving upon its own axis. The effect, as I said before, when you are used to it, is as agreeable as it is altogether new and surprising. The spacious apartment of her outward frame lodgeth a soul in all respects disproportionate. Of more than mortal make, she evinceth withal a trembling sensibility, a yielding infirmity of purpose, a quick susceptibility to reproach, and all the train of diffident and blushing virtues, which for their habitation usually seek out a feeble frame, an attenuated and meagre constitution. With more than man's bulk, her humours and occupations are eminently feminine. She sighs, -being six foot high. She languisheth,-being two feet wide. She worketh slender sprigs upon the delicate muslin,her fingers being capable of moulding a Colossus. She sippeth her wine out of her glass daintily,her capacity being that of á tun of Heidelberg. She goeth mincingly with those feet of hers, whose solidity need not fearthe black ox's pressure. Softest and largest of thy sex, adieu ! By what parting attribute may I salute thee, last and best of the Titanesses, -Ogress, fed with milk instead of blood ; not least, or least handsome, among Oxford's stately structures, -Oxford, who, in its deadest time of vacation, can never properly be said to be empty, having thee to fill it.