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No. 78. SATURDAY, February 5, 1780.

TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.

SIR,

The praises of friendship, and descriptions of the happiness arising from it, I remember to have met with in almost every book and poem since first I could read. I was never much addicted to reading ; and, in this instance, I think, I have little reason to put confidence in authors. How it may be in their experience, I know not; but, in mine, this same virtue of friendship has tended very little to my happiness; on the contrary, sir, when I tell you my situation, you will find that I am almost ruined by my friends.

From my earliest days I was reckon, ed one of the best-natured fellows in the world ; and at school, though I must con fess I did not acquire so much learning as many of my companions, yet even there I was remarkable for the acquisition of friends. Even there, too, I acquired them at some expence; I was flogged, I dare say, an hundred times, for the faults of others, but was too generous ever to peach ; my companions were generous fellows too; but it always happened, I

) don't know how, that my generosity was on the losing side of the adventure.

I had not been above three years at college, when the death of an uncle put me in possession of a very considerable estate. As I was not violently inclined towards literature, I soon took the opportunity, which this presented me, of leaving the university, and entering upon the world. I put myself under the tuition of one of my companions, who generally

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spent the vacations, and indeed some of the terms too, in London; and took up my residence in that city. There I needed not that propensity which I have told you I always possessed, to acquire a multitude of friends ; I found myself surrounded by them in every tavern and coffee-house about town. But I soon experienced, that though the commodity was plenty, the price was high. Besides a considerable mortgage on my estate, of which one of my best friends contrived to possess himself, I was obliged to expose my life in a couple of duels, and had very near lost it by disease, in that course of friendship which I underwent in the metropolis. All this was more a social sacrifice to others than a gratification to myself. Naturally rather of a sober disposition, I found more frequently disgust than pleasure amidst those scenes of dissipation in which I was engaged. I was often obliged to roar out a catch expres

sive of our happiness, at the head of a long table in a tavern, though I would almost have exchanged my place for the bench of a galley-slave; and to bellow for a bumper, when I would as soon have swallowed the bitterest drug in the shop of my apothecary

From this sort of bondage I contrived to emancipate myself by matrimony. I married the sister of one of my friends, a girl good-natured and thoughtless like myself, with whom I soon after retired into the country, and set out upon what we thought a sober, well-regulated plan. The situation was so distant, as to be quite out of the reach of my former towncompanions ; provisions were cheap, and servants faithful ; in short, every thing so circumstanced, that we made no doubt of living considerably within our income. Our manner of life, however, was to be as happy as prudent. By the improvement of my estate, I was to be equally amused and enriched ; my skill in sportsmanship (for I had acquired that science to great perfection at the university) was to procure vigour to my constitution, and dainties to my table ; and, against the long nights of winter, we were provided with an excellent neighbourhood:

The last-mentioned article is the only one which we have found come entirely up to our expectations. My talent for friend-making has indeed extended the limits of neighbourhood a good deal farther than the word is commonly understood to reach. The parish, which is not a small one,—the country, which is proportionally extensive, comes all within the denomination of neighbourhood with us; and my neighbour Goostry, who pays me an annual sporting visit of several weeks, lives at least fifty miles off.

Some of those neighbours, who always become friends at my house, have endeavoured to pay me for their entertain

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