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The superficial knowledge of great men, and accidental acquaintance with some of the vocables of state business, has given him a consequential sort of phraseology, which
he applies, with all the gravity in the world, to the most trifling occurrences. When he orders the chaise for his eldest sister, himself, and me, the white pad for Sophy, and the old roan mare for her attendant, he calls it regulating • the order of the procession. When he gives out the wine from the cellar, and the groceries from the store-room (for he does both in person), he tells us, he has been granting the supplies ;' the acceptance, or offer of a visit he lays before a committee
of the whole house ;' and for the killing of the fat ox this Christmas, he called the gentlemen three successive mornings to a grand council of • war.'
It were well if all this were only matter of amuse. ment ; but some of us find it a source of very serious distress. Your managing men are commonly plagues ; but Mr. R. manages so much to a hair's breadth, that he is a downright torment to the other members of his family. It was but yesterday we had the honour of a ceremonious visit from some great folks, as we think them, who came lately from your town to eat their mince-pies in the country. After a wonderful ringing of bells, calling of servants, and trampling upon the stairs all morning, Mr. R. came down to the drawing-room at a quarter before three, with all his usual fiddle-faddlation, but, as I thought, in very good humour. He had on his great company wig, and his round set shoebuckles. The servants had their liveries new whiteball’d, and the best china was set out, with the large silver salvers, and the embossed porter.cups on the side-board. The covers were stripped from the worked chair-battoms, and his grandmother's
little diced carpet was taken off the roller, and laid like a patch on the middle of the floor, the naked part of which was all shining with bees-wax. The company came at their hour; the beef was roasted to a turn ; dinner went on with all imaginable good order and stupidity; supper was equally regular and sleepy ; in short, every thing seemed quite as it should be: yet, next morning, I perceived foul weather in all the faces of the family ; Mr. R. and his sister scarce spoke to one another, and he talked, all the time of breakfast, of female carelessness and inattention. Miss Sophia explained it to me when we were left alone.' "Oh! do
know,' said she, “ a sad affair happened last night; my • brother and sister had such a till! You must un• derstand, before the company arrived yesterday,
he had, as usual, adjusted the ceremonial of their * different apartments; but he discovered, on at• tending them to their rooms at night, that my
sister had put the gilt-china bottle and bason into “the callico bed-chamber, and the ordinary blue and
white into the pink-lamask.?—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 excel. lently employed in a pin-shop, in sticking the rows in a pin-baper.
I fancy you have quite enough of my landlord. You used to say I was the best 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 you 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. V
N° 94. SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 1780.
Among the other privileges of an anonymous pe. riodical author, is that of writing letters in praise of himself, which he is, now and then, obliged to insert on account of their merit, however offensive they may be to his modesty. This sort of correspondence, which I suppose is a very pleasant one, I have not ventured to indulge in. The correspondents whom I have personated, always talk of them. selves instead of the Mirror; and, on the other hand, several of the papers I have received, are written in the person of the author, a character in which it were improper to praise him, and which, when assumed, gives, perhaps, no great inclination to do it. Of this last sort is the first of two communi. cations, to which I devote the paper of to-day, the second, containing one of the very few compliments which the Mirror has exhibited of itself, is a genuine letter from London, written by a gentleman in the very situation, the feelings of which he so naturally describes,
In my first paper I took occasion to mention a few particulars of my situation and character, and my object in this publication. My design has been to afford an agreeable and innocent amusement; and by laying before my readers those characters I was acquainted with, and which presented themselves before me, I had some hopes, though I should not reclaim the completely vicious, that I might be able to guard the young and inexperienced, to alarm the inconsiderate, to confirm the wavering, and to point out, even to the worthy, some of those errors and imperfections, from which, perhaps, the finest minds are in the greatest danger of suffering.
How far I have been able to afford any amusement, I will not take upon me to say ; but I am sorry to find, that
of the characters which I have presented to the public, with a view to point out men's errors and defects, have been considered as proper objects of imitation, and that some of my readers have so far mistaken the purpose I had in presenting such characters, as to be flattered by thinking that themselves bear some resemblance to them.
When I made my readers acquainted with my friend Mr. Fleetwood, I never meant to recommend that excessive delicacy and false refinement which often prevents him from being happy; on the contrary, my intention was to point out the danger of that excessive refinement, and to guard such of my readers as should be disposed to indulge in it, against its fatal consequences; and yet I know a gentleman who is so desirous of being thought possessed of delicacy and refinement, that, the other day, I saw
him very much pleased when one of his friends told him he was a very Fleet wood. Luckily for him, I know him to be possessed of Fleetwood's good qualities without his imperfections. I cannot say so much for his acquaintance C. D.; he is a peevish discontented creature, quick in his temper, jealous of his friends, and dissatisfied with every thing about him. He has of late taken it into his head to be a man of taste, though he has not the least pretensions to the character; and while he indulges his own peevishness and chagrin, he flatters himself with the thought that he is a Fleetwood, and apologizes for his bad temper, by calling it the effect of his delicacy and refinement of mind. Though I confess my partiality for Fleetwood's good qualities, yet, had I not known C. D., I could hardly have thought that any one would have been vain of his imperfections, who was not possessed of any of hia merits.
When I introduced Mr. Umphraville to my readers, I never meant to recommend that seclusion from the world, and that abstraction from the duties of life, which, with all the dignity of mind he is possessed of, have given occasion to his little oddities, and disqualified him for every active pure pose ; and yet Tom Meadows, who gave up the profession of the law, because he was too idle to attend to it, and who has lately sold his commission in the army, because he would not undergo the fatigues of a foreign campaign, has thought proper to justify his conduct by appealing to Mr. Umphraville's example ; and pretends to say, that he, forsooth, has too much pride of mind, to occupy himself in applying the rules of law to the uninteresting disputes of individuals, or to be engaged in assisting in a review, or lining the streets at a procession.
H. B.'s letter, in my 51st Number, describes