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Smollett's Hugh Strap

In the year 1809 was interred, in the churchyard of St. Martin's in the

Fields, the body of one Hew Hewson, who died at the age of 85. He was

the original of Hugh Strap, in Smollett's Roderick Random. Upwards of

forty years he kept a hair-dresser's shop in St. Martin's parish; the

walls were hung round with Latin quotations, and he would frequently

point out to his customers and acquaintances the several scenes in

Roderick Random pertaining to himself, which had their origin, not in

Smollett's inventive fancy, but in truth and reality. The meeting in a

barber's shop at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the subsequent mistake at the inn,

their arrival together in London, and the assistance they experienced

from Strap's friend, are all facts. The barber left behind an annotated

copy of Roderick Random, showing how far we are indebted to the genius

of the author, and to what extent the incidents are founded in reality.

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