« PreviousContinue »
WITHOUT meaning to encroach on the literary rights of any other writer in the Mirror and Lounger, I have been obliged, in a few instances, to publish in this edition parts of papers written by others, in order to introduce, or to render intelligible, other parts composed by me. I have not thought it necessary to give all the smaller articles, which, as conductor of those two periodical publications, I was often obliged to add, to interpolate, or materially to alter. They would indeed, I am afraid, in some instances, have done me little credit : the conductor of such periodical works necessarily writes under great disadvantage; his friends or contributors may write, but, when the day of publication arrives, he must write; must write frequently with a haste that destroys correctness, and in circumstances very unfavourable to composition ; must sometimes assume a gaiety of subject, and a vivacity of
stile, foreign to his immediate situation, or to the actual state of his mind. To borrow a simile often applied to his undertaking, he is the conductor of a stage vehicle, which must run in all weathers, and in all states of the road; and it is not much to he wondered at if he should sometimes be dull or careless by the way.
No. 2. SATURDAY, January 30, 1779.
No child ever heard from its nurse the story of Jack the Giant-Killer's cap of darkness, without envying the pleasures of invisibility; and the idea of Gyges's Ring has made, I believe, many a grave mouth water.
This power is, in some degree, possessed by the writer of an anonymous paper. He can at least exercise it for a purpose, for which people would be most apt to
use the privilege of being invisible, to wit, that of hearing what is said of himself.
A few hours after the publication of my First Number, I sallied forth with all the advantages of invisibility, to hear an account of myself and my paper.
I must confess, however, that, for some time, I was mortified by hearing no such account at all; the first company I visited, being dull enough to talk about last night's Advertiser, instead of the Mirror; and the second, which consisted of ladies, to whom I ventured to mention the appearance of my First Number, making a sudden digression to the price of a new-fashioned lustring, and the colour of the trimming with which it would be proper to make it
up into a gown. Nor was I more fortunate in the third place, where I contrived to introduce the subject of my publication, though it was a coffee-house, where it is actually taken in for the use of the customers; a set of old gentlemen,
at one table, throwing it aside to talk over a bargain ; and a company of
young ones, at another, breaking off in the middle to decide a match at billiards.
It was not till I arrived at the place of its birth, that I met with any traces of its fame. In the well-known shop of my Editor I found it the subject of conversation; though I must own that, even here, some little quackery was used for the purpose; as he had taken care to have several copies lying open on the table, besides the conspicuous appearance of the subscription-paper hung up fronting the door, with the word MIRROR a-top, printed in large capitals.
The first question I found agitated was concerning the author, that being a point within the reach of every capacity. Mr Creech, though much importuned on this head, knew his business better than to satisfy their curiosity: so the hounds were cast off to find him, and many a different