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to collect the various observations of
fellowcitizens on their new censor. I shall not detain you with the many different conjectures concerning the meaning, and true pronunciation of your title; suffice it, there was not a word beginning with the same letter, or any ways resembling it, either in similarity of sound, or an equal number of syllables, to which it was not supposed to have some reference. Nor was the design itself, and the concealment which the author affected, less the subject of investigation. Morality, ribaldry, politics, poetry, panegyric, and personal invective, were by turns hinted at as the materials of your lucubrations. With regard to yourself, were I to mention to you all who were supposed to lie hid under the name of Gregory Griffin, I should seem to impose on your credulity. Neither the vacant levity of the idler, the solid stupidity of the blockhead, nor the harmless insignificance which distinguishes the lifeless character of the cipher, secured them from the imputation of GREGORIANISM. Every body's motions were watched with a ridiculous attention; the hapless being who was discovered reading a manuscript of any kind, gave rise to an immediate suspicion; and an unusual distention of the risible muscles at the sight of the Microcosm, effectually branded him with the name of Authorling. Nay, even the innocent letters which composed the name (upon the idea of Cabal and Smectymnuus), were adjudged to the rack; and like tortured criminals, made to confess more than they knew. Nor were there wanting some, who by shrewd shrugs and sly innuendos, sagaciously intimated, that though they said nothing, they knero what they knew. The beak and claws of the imaginary being, whose name the author had assumed, were not supposed to be given him for nothing. And many,
the summit of whose ambition before had been to pass through life with comfortable serenity,
now began to look upon themselves as objects sufficiently dignified for satirical notice, or hoped at least, to be lashed into importance as the shadows of more distinguished offenders, without personally feeling the smart; as the pillorying of his master reflects honour on the printer's devil, while he himself remains
His ears uncropped.
NOTES TO CORRESPONDENTS. It is not consistent with my plan to insert the letter of TELEMACHUS; as to its publication in the London papers, he is at liberty to use his pleasure. -I had unfortunately mislaid the letter of ABSALOM THOUGHTFUL, which prevented my inserting it as I intended. Whenever the hints he furnished me with shall appear, he may depend upon due acknowledgment.-- My Female Correspondent, who signs herself DOROTHY TEARSHEET, as I am willing to believe her all that is fair and modest, was not, I should suppose, aware of the tendency of her signature.-CEMETERIUS shall be attended to.
And now, having thus far prosecuted my undertaking, with a spirit of industry, inspired by an encouragement and applause far above my deserts, or my expectations, I must, for a while, retire from the observation of the public. To my fellow-citizens. I I need make no apology for the temporary discontinuance of my labours; as the same event which causes that cessation, disperses them into different and distant parts of the kingdom, whither the works of the Microcosmopolitan could not be conveyed to them without a trouble and expense of which they are unworthy. Those of my readers who do not come under that denomination, will not, I hope, be offended at the pause I am thus necessitated to make, but will receive, with equal kindness and indulgence, my weekly lucubrations, from MONDAY, the 15th of January next, on which day they will be recommenced, to be continued without farther interruption.
P.S. During this interval, any letter (post paid) will reach the author with the usual direction.
N° 7. MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 1787.
* To GREGORY GRIFFIN, Esq. •SIR, • To discharge with faithfulness the duties of the important office which you have undertaken, you ought in my opinion to omit nothing which might be any ways conducive to the advantage or improvement of
your fellow-citizens; to the advancement of their welfare, or the support of their dignity. Of this number I have the honour to be one; and by grounding a few remarks on the subject which I now offer to your consideration, you will confer a benefit not on me only, but on many others of the great as well as little world, who may labour under the same calamity.
* You must know, Mr. Griffin, that it is my hard hap to receive an annual invitation from an old gentleman, a distant relation of mine, to spend every Christmas at his hall, in a northern county. This compliment I am never at liberty to refuse; as his estate being very large, and himself too far advanced in life to give any apprehensions of matrimony, my family have built great hopes and expectations on his partiality for me. That you may understand the nature of my misfortunes, it is necessary to inform you, that he is one of that race of men, called country 'squires ; who having been deprived of the advantages of a liberal education, by the foolish fondness of his parents, which occasioned them always to keep him in their sight, professes to hold booklearning in the greatest contempt. Hence he takes no small pleasure to overthrow the arguments advanced by the parson of the parish in its favour, by alleging its inefficacy to enrich a man, which he exemplifies in the poverty of his opponent; and adds with a triumphant sneer, that “ if his learning would get him a good living, he would say something." In short, Sir, this talent of joking, is the grievance of which I complain; for when the old gentleman is once in the humour, he is apt to be unmercifully waggish; an event which never fails to take place on the day of my
arrival. • I would
could see us, Mr. Griffin, as we sit round the table in the great hall; you might then possibly form some idea of my miserable situation. -It is necessary for your proper information, to premise, that the company on that day always consists of the 'squire, with his feet in flannel (the gout, like myself, usually paying its annual visit about this time),—the parson of the parish, who is always invited to welcome me,—and two nieces of the 'squire, who have passed some years with him, not much to the advantage of their education, and are dizened out on this occasion in all their finery.
Having for several years been accustomed to sustain a very regular fire of wit all the first evening of my arrival, and knowing from experience the order in which the jokes succeed each other, I can now nearly bear the battle without flinching. The first attack is made, as the parson terms it, à posteriori, by desiring a cushion to be brought for me to sit down upon; one of his nieces, with a suitable grin on her countenance, inquires the reason, as in duty bound, for which she is referred to me; and on my protesting my ignorance of it, the old gentleman's right eye instantly assumes an arch leer at the company, while with a composed gravity he inquires of me, " whether birch grows pretty plentifully about Eton ?" This question is immediately followed by an ungovernable he! he! from the young ladies, and a sly“ I warrant ye !" from the parson. The 'squire having for a time retained his gravity, at length, as if quite overcome by the force of his own wit, gives himself up to a loud and tumultuous vociferation. This grand volley of wit, with the scattered small shot that follow, concerning, great home consumption of the article ; great demand for pickle, diachylon, &c. &c. generally fills up the space before dinner. That joke indeed about the similitude of our arms to the American, namely, thirteen stripes, did, the first time of hearing, occasion me to laugh heartily; the second recital provoked a smile; but I am now grown so callous by dint of frequent repetition, that I can hear it without moving a muscle of my countenance.
• At dinner my troubles begin afresh. The very dishes are calculated to furnish out a set of witticisms. The leg of mutton he supposes he may help me to, as he dares to say that I never heard of any such thing at Eton: the boiled fowls he conjectures to be too common food for me, and he declares himself not without apprehensions, that I may find fault with the poorness of his wines, being accustomed to drink none but the choicest elsewhere.