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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

4879 Sydney Smith 1771-1845 John Bartlett

AUTHOR:Sydney Smith (1771–1845)
QUOTATION:In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm [at Sidmouth], Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused; Mrs. Partington’s spirit was up. But I need not tell you that the contest was unequal; the Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.
ATTRIBUTION:Speech at Taunton, 1813.