[From Manx Soc vol 16, 1869]


IN TOWNLEY'S Journal in the Isle of Man, 1791 (vol. i. p. 296), he says a person was complaining to him what a terrible town Douglas was for censorious tittle-tattle, malevolent insinuations, and ill-natured constructions upon the most harmless transactions; upon which Mr. Townley remarked, that " every small town in every country was much the same," and as Addison had remarked, in such places there was a Lady Blue Mantle or two ever ready to invent scandalous tales, and idle people enough ready to propagate them. A satirist of that day, Mr. John Stowell of Peel (called " the Churchill of Mona "), also alludes to this propensity in his Retrospect, 1790, thus--

Douglas, the seat of scandal-nurse of pride
To ignorance by lasting ties allied ;
With self-tormenting spleen, and envious strife,
Sours her own cup, and blasts the joys of life.
Let not the peaceful stranger hope to find
An Eden here, and saints of human kind
No sooner is he landed on the quay,
Than vigilant detraction grasps her prey;
And though his kinder fates protect his life,
His fortunes suffer - or his faithful wife."

To such the lines following are very applicable

Is it anybody's business,
If a gentleman should choose
To wait upon a lady,
If the lady don't refuse ?
Or to speak a little plainer,
That the meaning all may know,
Is it anybody's business
If the lady has a beau?

Is it anybody' s business,
When that gentleman doth call,
Or when he leaves the lady,
Or if he leaves at all?
Or is it even necessary,
The curtains should be drawn,
To save from further trouble,
The outside lookers-on?

Is it anybody's business,
But the lady's, if her beau
Rideth out with other ladies,
And does not let her Imow?
IS it anybody's business,
But the gentleman's, if she
Should accept another's escort,
Where he doesn't chance to be?

If -a person on the side walk,
Whether great, or whether small,
Is it anybody's business,
Where that person means to call?
Or, if you see a person,
When he',s calling anywhere,
18 it any of your business,
What his business may be there?

The substance of your query,
Simply stated, would be this,
Is it anybody's business,
What another's business is?
Whether 'tis, or whether 'tis not,
We should really like to know,
For we are certain, if it isn't,
There are some who make it so.

If it is, we'll join the rabble,
And act the noble part
Of tattlers and defamers
That throng the public mart
But if not, we'll act the teacher,
Until each meddler learns
It were better for the future
To mind his own concerns.


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001