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French, I believe, though I can scarce find any of them in the Dictionary, and am unable to put them upon paper ; but all of them mean something extremely fashionable, and are constantly supported by the authority of my lady, or the countess, his lordship, or Sir John.

As they have learned many foreign, so have they unlearned some of the most common and best understood home phrases. When one of my neighbours was lamenting the extravagance and dissipation of a young kinsman, who had spent his fortune, and lost his health in London, and at Newmarket, they called it life, and said it showed spirit in the young man.

After the same rule they lately declared, that a gentleman could not live on less than 10001. a year, and called the account which their mantuamaker and milliner sent me, for the fineries purchased for their visit at

, a trifle, though it amounted to

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591. 11s. 4 d., exactly a fourth part of the clear income of

my estate. All this, Mr Mirror, I look upon as a sort of pestilential disorder, with which my poor daughters have been infected in the course of this unfortunate visit. This consideration has induced me to treat them hitherto with lenity and indulgence, and try to effect their cure by mild methods, which indeed suit my temper (naturally of a pliant kind, as every body, except my wife, says) better than harsh ones. Yet I confess, I could not help being in a passion t'other day, when the disorder shewed symptoms of a more serious kind. Would you believe it, Sir, my daughter Elizabeth (since her visit she is offended if we call her Betty) said it was fanatical to find fault with card-playing on Sunday; and her sister Sophia gravely asked my son-in-law, the clergyman, if he had not some doubts of the soul's immortality.


As certain great cities, I have heard, are never free from the plague, and at last come to look upon it as nothing terrible or extraordinary ; so, I suppose, in London, or even your town, Sir, this disease always prevails, and is but little dreaded. But in the country, it will be productive of melancholy effects indeed ; if suffered to spread there, it will not only embitter our lives, and spoil our domestic happiness, as at present it does mine, but, in its most violent stages, will bring our es tates to market, our daughters to 'ruin, and our sons to the gallows. Be so humane, therefore, Mr Mirror, as to suggest some expedient for keeping it confined within those limits in which it rages at. present. If no public regulation can be contrived for that purpose (though I can

I not help thinking this disease of the great people merits the attention of government, as much as the distemper among the horned cattle), try, at least, the effects of pri

vate admonition, to prevent the sound from approaching the infected; let all little men, like myself, and every member of their families, be cautious of holding intercourse with the persons or families of dukes, earls, lords, nabobs, or contractors, till they have good reason to believe that such persons and their households are in a sane and healthy state, and in no danger of communicating this dreadful disorder. And, if it has left such great and noble persons any feelings of compassion, pray put them in mind of that well-known fable of the Boys and the Frogs, which they must have learned at school. Tell them, Sir, that, though the making fools of their poor neighbours may serve them for a Christmas gambol, it is matter of serious wretchedness to those poor neighbours in the after-part of their lives: It is sport to them, but death to us.

I am, Sir, &c.


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No. 14. SATURDAY, March 13, 1779.

Inertibus horis
Ducere sollicitæ jucunda oblivia vita,



HERE are some weaknesses, which, as they do not strike us with the malignity of crimes, and produce their effects by imperceptible progress, we are apt to consider as venial, and make very little scruple of indulging. But the habit, which apologizes for these, is a mischief of their own creation, which it behoves us early to resist. We give way to it at first, because it may

be conquered at any time; and, at last, excuse ourselves from the contest, because it has grown too strong to be overcome.

Of this nature is Indolence; a failing, I had almost said a vice, of all others the

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