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my nephew at your command ; but poor Signor • Bergamesco is much hurried, and his time is not his
own.' "Signor Bergamesco,' cried I; is your • French master an Italian?"Yes,' said she, "of
a noble family in the dominions of the Dog of • Venice, but a younger brother, with a small patri• mony, which he unfortunately consumed en travail. • lant par l'Europe. It was a fancy of my own; I
thought that, after the Signor had taught my ne• phew French, he might teach him Italian also ; for • you know that it is a great loss to change precep• tors, and that young men who have not seen much • of the world are shy with strangers.'
The task imposed on my pupil by S. Bergamesco, occupied all his leisure till dinner-time, but I thought that I should have the absolute command of the evening. I was beginning to read, Omnibus in terris, when a servant said, . Here is the French • master.' . What ! cried I, can S. Bergamesco, who • is so much hurried, afford to give two lessons in one • day to the same scholar? • It is another French • master whom they had got for me,' said my pupil. I applied to Miss Juliana for the explanation of this phænomenon. It was none of my advising,' said she,
but my brother knew Mr. O’Call achan, when lin. .guist to commodore Firebrace, and he wished to
throw a good job in the poor fellow's way; these • were his very words; and so Mr. O'Callachan came
to be employed: but, indeed, after recollection, I • thought it would answer well enough, as both
masters taught by the same grammar, and both of o them read Telemac.'
The linguist of commodore Firebrace had just taken his leave, when a smart young fellow burst into the room, with an air of much hurry and importance. "What !' cried I, more French mas• ters?' • Don't be alarmed,' said Mrs. Flint, who accompanied him ; it is only the Friseur, who ' comes to put up my boy's hair in papers. Pray • don t ask me why, for it is a great secret, but you • shall know it all to-morrow.'
You must know,' said Mrs. Flint at breakfast, that I am assured that Jemmy is very like the • Count de Provence, the King of France's own bro
ther. Now Jemmy is sitting for his picture to • Martin ; and I thought it would be right to get • the friseur, whom you saw last night she is just ' arrived from Paris], to dress his hair like the Count • de Provence, that Mr. Martin might make the re• semblance more complete. Jemmy has been under · his hands since seven o'clock. - Oh, here he á comes !' Is it not charming ?' exclaimed Miss
Juliana. “I wish Miss Punaise saw you,' added the happy mother. My pupil, lost in the labyrinth of cross curls, seemed to look about for himself. • What a powdered sheep's head have we got here?" cried Captain Winterbottom. We all went to Mr. Martin's to assist him in drawing Jemmy's picture. On our return, Mrs. Flint discovered that her son had got an inflammation in his right eye by looking stedfastly on the painter. She ordered a poultice of bread and milk, and put him to bed ; so there was no more talk of • Omnibus in terris' for that even.
SATURDAY. My pupil came down to breakfast in a complete suit of black, with weepers, and a long mourningcravat. The Count de Provence's curls were all de. molished, and there remained not a vestige of powder on his hair. “Bless me,' cried I, what is the mate
ter? - Oh, nothing,' said Mrs. Flint ; ' a relation of mine is to be interred at twelve, and Jemmy has
got a burial letter. We ought to acknowledge our • friends on such melancholy occasions. I mean to • send Jemmy with the coach and six. It will teach • him how to behave himself in public places.'
At dinner, my pupil expressed a vehement desire to go to the play. There is to be Harlequin High* lander, and the blowing up of the St. Domingo man 6 of war,' said he ; it will be vastly comical and •curious.' "Why, Femmy,' said Mrs. Flint, since . this is Saturday, I suppose your tutor will have no 'objection ; but be sure to put on your great-coat, " and to take a chair in coming home.' " I thought,' said I, that we might have made some progress at
our books this evening.' - Books on Saturday afternoon !' cried the whole company; it was • never heard of.'-I yielded to conviction; for, indeed, it would have heen very unreasonable to ex, pect that he, who had spent the whole week in idleness, should begin to apply himself to his studies on the evening of Saturday.
I am, Sır, &c.
N° 99. TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 1789.
Juvat, aut impellit ad iram,
CRITICISM, like every thing else, is subject to the prejudices of our education, or of our country. Nation, al 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 other countries, from a very common sort of feeling, have unreasonably censured ; and there are few great writers, whom prejudice on either side may not, from a partial view of their works, find some ground for estimating at a rate much above or much below the standard of justice.
No author, perhaps, ever existed, of whom opi, nion has been so various as Shakspeare. Endowed with all the sublimity, and subject to all the irregu. larities, of genius, his advocates have room for unbounded praise, and their opponents for frequent blame. His departure from all the common rules which criticism, somewhat arbitrarily perhaps, has imposed, leaves no legal code by which the decision can be regulated ; and in' the feelings of different readers, the same passage may appear simple or mean, MIRROR. N° 99. natural or preposterous, may excite admiration, or create disgust.
But it is not, I apprehend, from particular passages or incidents that Shakspeare is to be judged. Though his admirers frequently contend for beauty in the most distorted of the former, and probability in the most unaccountable of the latter; yet it must be owned, that, in both, there are often gross defects which criticism cannot justify, though the situation of the poet, and the time in which he wrote, may easily excuse. But we are to look for the superiority of Shakspeare in the astonishing and almost super. natural powers of his invention, his absolute command over the passions, and his wonderful kncwledge of Nature. Of the structure of his stories, or the probability of his incidents, he is frequently careless; these he took at random from the legen. dary tale or the extravagant romance; but his intimate acquaintance with the human mind seldom or never forsakes him ; and amidst the most fantastic and improbable situations, the persons of his drama speak in the language of the heart, and in the style of their characters.
Of all the characters of Shakspeare, that of Hamlet has been generally thought the most difficult to be reduced to any fixed or settled principle. With the strongest purposes of revenge, he is irresolute and inactive; amidst the gloom of the deepest melancholy, he is gay and jocular; and while he is described as a passionate lover, he seems indifferent about the object of his affections. It may be worth while to inquire, whether any leading idea can be found, upon which these apparent contradictions may be reconciled, and a character so pleasing in the closet, and so much applauded on the stage, rendered as unambiguous in the general as it is striking in de. tail? I will venture to lay before my readers some