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Adam Bede

neighbourhoods where they dwelt. Ten to one most of the small shopkeepers in
their vicinity saw nothing at all in them. For I have observed this remarkable
coincidence, that the select natures who pant after the ideal, and find nothing in
pantaloons or petticoats great enough to command their reverence and love, are
curiously in unison with the narrowest and pettiest. For example, I have often
heard Mr. Gedge, the landlord of the Royal Oak, who used to turn a bloodshot
eye on his neighbours in the village of Shepperton, sum up his opinion of the
people in his own parish--and they were all the people he knew--in these
emphatic words: "Aye, sir, I've said it often, and I'll say it again, they're a poor lot
i' this parish--a poor lot, sir, big and little." I think he had a dim idea that if he
could migrate to a distant parish, he might find neighbours worthy of him; and
indeed he did subsequently transfer himself to the Saracen's Head, which was
doing a thriving business in the back street of a neighbouring market-town. But,
oddly enough, he has found the people up that back street of precisely the same
stamp as the inhabitants of Shepperton--"a poor lot, sir, big and little, and them
as comes for a go o' gin are no better than them as comes for a pint o' twopenny-
-a poor lot."
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