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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 068

              [newspaper clipping]
  A �Peep� is a very abject and idiotic little bird
found in New England.  He is to the feathered what the
�Scallywag� is to the finny creation.  Occasionally when
he is caught the housewives will condescend to put him
into pies, but in general he is condemned, and �left out
in the cold.�  He is weak on the wing, and weaker on his
legs; and when the miserable little object alights on
earth, he is given to staggering about in an imbecile and
helpless manner, suggesting the idea of extreme intoxica-
tion.  The sharp New England mind, ever on the look-
out for similes, has long since endorsed the locution �as
tight as a peep� to express an utter state of tipsifica-
tion.  One of the best Yankee stories I ever heard is
told, �in this connection,� of Mr. Macready the actor.
Once when the great tragedian was starring at Boston,
at the Howard Athen�um I think, there happened to be
in the stalls a gentleman who, like Roger the Monk, had
got �excessively drunk.�  His behaviour at last became
so scandalous that he was forcibly expelled the theatre,
not, however, before he had completely spoiled the effect
of the �dagger� soliloquy in Macbeth.  Mr. Macready
was furious; and, the moment in the act drop had descended,
indignantly demanded who was the wretched man who
had thus marred the performance.  �Don�t distress your-
self, Mr. Macready,� explained the manager, �it is but
an untoward accident.  A little too much wine and that
sort of thing.  The fact is, the gentleman was �as tight
as a peep!�� �Titus A. Peep!� scornfully echoed the tra-
gedian.  �I�ll tell you what is is, sir.  If Mr. Titus A.
Peep had misconducted himself in this gross manner in
any English theatre, he would have passed the night in
the station-house.�  Mr. Macready�s error was excusable.
He had been introduced to so many gentlemen with
strings of initials to their names, that he had taken the
bird meant by the management to be the name of a
human being; and it must be confessed that �Titus A.
Peep� sounds very human and very American.

[Gunn�s handwriting]
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