Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 18

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What passes for wine among us, is not the juice of the grape. It is an adulterous mixture, brewed up of nauseous ingredients, by dunces, who are bunglers in the art of poison-making; and yet we, and our forefathers, are and have been poisoned by this cursed drench, without taste or flavour — The only genuine and wholesome beveridge in England, is London porter, and Dorchester table-beer; but as for your ale and your gin, your cyder and your perry, and all the trashy family of made wines, I detest them as infernal compositions, contrived for the destruction of the human species — But what have I to do with the human species? except a very few friends, I care not if the whole was —.

Heark ye, Lewis, my misanthropy increases every day — The longer I live, I find the folly and the fraud of mankind grow more and more intolerable — I wish I had not come from Brambletonhall; after having lived in solitude so long, I cannot bear the hurry and impertinence of the multitude; besides, every thing is sophisticated in these crowded places. Snares are laid for our lives in every thing we cat or drink: the very air we breathe, is loaded with contagion. We cannot even sleep, without risque of infection. I say, infection — This place is the rendezvous of the diseased — You won't deny, that many diseases are infectious; even the consumption itself, is highly infectious. When a person dies of it in Italy, the bed and bedding are destroyed; the other furniture is exposed to the weather and the apartment white-washed, before it is occupied by any other living soul. You'll allow, that nothing receives infection sooner, or retains it longer, than blankets, feather-beds, and matrasses — 'Sdeath! how do I know what miserable objects have been stewing in the bed where I now lie! — I wonder, Dick, you did not put me in mind of sending for my own matrasses — But, if I had not been an ass, I should not have needed a remembrancer — There is always some plaguy reflection that rises up in judgment against me, and ruffles my spirits — Therefore, let us change the subject.

I have other reasons for abridging my stay at Bath — You know sister Tabby's complexion — If Mrs Tabitha Bramble had been of any other race, I should certainly have considered her as the most —. But, the truth is, she has found means to interest my affection; or, rather, she is beholden to the force of prejudice, commonly called the ties of blood. Well, this amiable maiden has actually commenced a flirting correspondence with an Irish baronet of sixty-five. His name is Sir Ulic Mackilligut. He is said to be much out at elbows; and, I believe, has received false intelligence with respect to her fortune. Be that as it may, the connexion is exceedingly ridiculous, and begins already to excite whispers. For my part, I have no intention to dispute her free-agency; though I shall fall upon some expedient to undeceive her paramour, as to the point which he has principally in view. But I don't think her conduct is a proper example for Liddy, who has also attracted the notice of some coxcombs in the Rooms; and Jery tells me, he suspects a strapping fellow, the knight's nephew, of some design upon the girl's heart. I shall, therefore, keep a strict eye over her aunt and her, and even shift the scene, if I find the matter grow more serious — You perceive what an agreeable task it must be, to a man of my kidney, to have the cure of such souls as these. — But, hold, You shall not have another peevish word (till the next occasion) from

Yours,
MATT. BRAMBLE
BATH, April 28.