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TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
As you treat much of politeness, I wish you would take notice of a particular sort of incivility from which one suffers, without being thought intitled to complain,— I mean that of never contradicting one at all.
I have lately come from my father's in the country, where I was reckoned a girl of tolerable parts, to reside for some time at my aunt's in town. Here is a visitor, Mr Dapperwit, a good-looking young man, with white teeth, a fine complexion, his cheeks dimpled, and rather a little full and large at bottom: in short, the civilest, most complying sort of face you can imagine. As I have often taken notice of his behaviour, I was resolved to minute down his discourse the other evening at tea. The conversation began about the
weather, my aunt observing, that the seasons were wonderfully altered in her memory. Certainly, my lady," said Mr Dapperwit," amazingly altered indeed." "Now I have heard my father say," said I," that is a vulgar error; for that it appears from registers kept for the purpose, that the state of the weather, though it may be different in certain seasons, months, or weeks, preserves a wonderful equilibrium in general." Why, to be sure, Miss, I believe in general, as you say; hut, talking of the weather, I hope your ladyship caught no cold at the play t'other night; we were so awkwardly situated in getting out." "Not in the least, Sir; I was greatly obliged to your services there." "You were well entertained, I hope, my lady?" Very well, indeed; I laughed exceedingly; there is a great deal of wit in Shakespeare's comedies; 'tis pity there is so much of low life in them."
ladyship's criticism is extremely just; eve
ry body must be struck with it." " Why now I think," said I again, "that what you call low life, is nature, which I would not lose for all the rest of the play." "Oh! doubtless, Miss; for nature Shakespeare is inimitable; every body must allow that." said my cousin Betsy, who is a piece of a poetess herself, "of that monody you were so kind as to send us yesterday?" "I never deliver my opinion, Ma'am, before so able a judge, till I am first informed of hers." "I think it the most beautiful poem, Sir, I have read of a great while." "Your opinion, Ma'am, flatters me extremely, as it agrees exactly with my own; they are, I think, incontestably the sweetest lines"-"Sweet they may be (here I broke in:) I allow them merit in the versification; but that is only one, and with me, by no means the chief requisite in a poem; they want force altogether." "Nay, as to the mat
"What do you think, Sir,"
ter of force, indeed, it must be owned""Yes, Sir, and unity, and propriety, and a thousand other things; but, if my cousin will be kind enough to fetch the poem from her dressing-room, we will be judged by you, Mr Dapperwit." "Pardon me, ladies, you would not have me be so rude.
"Who shall decide when doctors disagree?"
And, with that, he made one of the finest bows in the world.
If all this, Sir, proceed from silliness, we must pity the man, and there's an end on't; if it arise from an idea of silliness in us, let such gentlemen as Mr Dapperwit know, that they are very much mistaken. But if it be the effect of pure civility, pray inform them, Mr Mirror, that it is the most provoking piece of rudeness they can possibly commit.
THE following letter I received only yesterday; but as I am particularly interested in every project of ingenious men, I postponed another essay which was ready for publication, and put my printer to considerable inconvenience to get it ready for this day's paper. I was the more solicitous, likewise, to give it a place as soon after my 35th Number as possible, in order to shew my impartiality. This paper (as the London Gazetteer says) is open to all parties; with this proviso, however, which is exactly the reverse of the terms of admission into the Gazetteer, that my correspondents do not write politics.