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Synopsis

By the side of the large piece of water in St. James's Square, looking at the playing of the fountain, (which was afterwards congealed into a great ugly statue,) and watching the amusements of a gay boy and girl, who had come out of one of the houses--I think it was Lord Bathurst's, and were rowing about in the pleasure-boat on the water, stood a man of some six or seven and twenty years of age, dressed in a garb which did not very well indicate his profession, although the distinctions of costume were in those days somewhat closely attended to. His garments, of a sober colour, were very plain, but very good. Especial care seemed to have been taken to avoid every thing in the least degree singular, or which could attract attention; and it was more easy to say what the wearer was not, than what he was. He was not a Presbyterian minister, although the cut and colouring of his clothing might have led one to believe that he was so; for he wore a sword. The same mark showed that he was not an artisan, but did not so precisely prove that he was not a trader; for more than one shop-keeper in those days assumed the distinctive mark of a higher class when he got from behind his counter and went into a part of the town where he was not known. Yet, had he been one of this butterfly tribe, the rest of his apparel would have seemed more in accordance with his assumed rank. He was not a courtier; for where was the gold, and the lace, and the embroidery? He was not a physician; for there was no red roquelaure, no gold-headed cane; and who could pretend to call himself doctor without such appendages? He seemed to have been riding, too; for he had large boots on; and his hat and coat were somewhat dusty. In every other respect, he was a very indefinite sort of personage; but yet, of three nursery-maids who passed him consecutively, taking out children for an airing, as it is called--as if there was any such thing as air in London--two turned their heads, to have another look at his face; and one stopped by the posts which fenced the water, and, while affecting to contemplate the same objects as himself, gave a simpering look towards him, as if to intimate that she had no objection to a little pleasant conversation.

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