Page images

bason into the callico bed-chamber, and the ordinary blue and white into the pink damask.” It is lucky this man is no guardian of mine; were he to watch me as he does his sisters, and see all the odds and ends about me! But what has he to do to be a guardian? Yet nature, perhaps, meant him for something, if fortune had allowed it; he might have been excellently employed in a pin-shop, in sticking the rows in a pin-paper.

I fancy you have quite enough of my landlord. You used to say I was the best

I of

your philosophers, your Democritus in petticoats. If I have an inch of philosophy about me, it is without my

knowledge, I assure you; you are welcome to it, however, such as it is. Other folks may give you what I have heard


call the great views of nature and life; it is enough for me if I can enrich your collection with a paper of insects. Yours most truly,

c. F.



SIR, I am one of a family of young ladies, who read your paper, with which we have been hitherto tolerably well pleased, though we could wish it were not quite so grave, and had a little more love in it. But we have found out, of late, that it is none of your own, but mostly borrowed from other people. A cousin of ours, who is himself a fine scholar, and has a .

a great acquaintance among the critics, shewed us many different instances - of this. Your first paper, he told us, was copied from the first paper of the Spectator ; and, upon looking into both, we found them exactly the same, all about the author and the work from beginning to end. Your Umphraville, he said, was

just Sir Roger de Coverley ; which we perfectly agreed in, except that my sister Betsy observed, Umphraville wanted the widow, which all of us think the very best part of Sir Roger. Your Bobby Button, he assured us, was borrowed from No. 13. of “ The True Patriot,” published by Mr Fielding, who wrote “ Tom Jones ;' and there, indeed, we found there was a story of a young gentleman, who liked French wine better than his country, just like Sir Bobby. No. 72. which we thought a very sweet paper, he informed us was taken from the “ Night Thoughts ;” and, indeed, though we don't understand Latin, we saw plainly, that the mottos were the same to a T. All this, however, we might have overlooked, had not a gentleman, who called here this morning, who used formerly to be a great advocate for the Mirror, confessed to us, that our cousin's intelligence was literally true; VOL. IV.

2 A

and, more than all that, he told us, that your very last number was to be found, every word of it, in Johnson's Dictionary.

We send you therefore notice, sir, that unless you can contrive to give us something new for the future, we shall be obliged to countermand our subscription for the Mirror. We can have a reading of a fresh Novel every morning for the money, with a spick and span new story in it, such as none of us ever read or heard of in all our lives before.

Yours, &c.


No. 99. TUESDAY, April 18, 1780.

Juvat, aut impellit ad iram,
Aut ad humum, mærore gravi, deducit et angit.

Hor. Criticism, like every thing else, is subject to the prejudices of our education, or of our country. National prejudice, indeed, is, of all deviations from justice, the most common and the most allowable; it is a near, though perhaps an illegitimate relation of that patriotism, which has been ranked among

the first virtues of characters the most eminent and illustrious. To authors, however, of a rank so elevated as to aspire to universal fame, the partiality of their countrymen has been sometimes prejudicial; in proportion as they have unreasonably applauded, the critics of


« PreviousContinue »