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the very names of places in London, which does not extend to those of Edinburgh. The Cannongate is almost as long as the Strand, but it will not bear the comparison upon paper; and Blackfriars-wynd can never vie with Drury Lane, in point of sound however they may rank in the article of chastity. In the department of humour, these circumstances must necessarily have great weight; and, for papers of humour, the bulk of readers will generally call
, because the number is much greater of those who can laugh, than of those who can think. To add to the difficulty, people are too proud to laugh upon easy terms with one, of whose title make them laugh they are not apprised. A joke in writing is like a joke in conversation ; much of its wit depends upon the rank of its author.
How far the authors of this paper have been able to overcome these difficulties, it is not for them to determine. Of its merits with the public, the public will judge; as to themselves, they may be allowed to say, that they have found it an amusement of an elegant, and they are inclined to believe, of a useful kind. They imagine that, by tracing the manners and sentiments of others, they have performed a sort of exercise which may have some tendency to cultivate and refine their own; and, in that society which was formed by this publication, they have drawn somewhat closer the ties of a friendship, which they flatter themselves they may long enjoy, with a recollection not unpleasing, of the literary adventure by which it was strengthened and improved.
The disadvantages attending their publication they have not enumerated, by way of plea for favour, or apology for faults. They will give their volumes as they gave their papers, to the world, not
meanly dependent on its favour, nor coldly indifferent to it. There is no idea, perhaps, more pleasing to an ingenuous mind, than that the sentences which it dictates in silence and obscurity, may give pleasure and entertainment to those by whom the writer has never been seen, to whom even his name is unknown. There is something peculiarly interesting in the hope of this intercourse of sentiment, this invisible sort of friendship, with the virtuous and the good; and the visionary warmth of an author may be allowed to extend it to distant places, and to future times. If, in this hope, the authors of The Mirror may indulge, they trust, that, whatever may be thought of the execution, the motive of their publication will do them no dishonour; that, if they have failed in wit, they have been faultless in sentiment; and that, if they shall not be allowed the praise of genius, they have, at least, not forfeited the commendation of virtue.
END OF VOL. XXIX.