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her husband some time, having consisted only of himself, and an unmarried sister, of a disposition similar to his own.
Neither his circumstances nor inclination led Mr. Umphraville to partake much of the jollity of his neighbours. His farm has never exceeded what he found absolutely necessary for the convenience of his little family; and though he employed himself for a few years in extending his plantations over the neighbouring grounds, even that branch of industry he soon laid aside, from a habit of indolence, which has daily grown upon him; and since it has been dropped, his books, and sometimes his gun, with the conversation of his sister, and a few friends who now and then visit him, entirely occupy his time.
In this situation, Mr. Umphraville has naturally contracted several peculiarities, both of manner and opinion. They are, however, of a kind which neither lessen the original politeness of the one, nor weaken the natural force and spirit of the other. In a word, though he has contracted rust, it is the rust of a great mind, which, while it throws a certain melancholy reverence round its possessor, rather enhances than detracts from the native beauty and dignity of his character.
These particulars will suffice for introducing this gentleman to my readers; and I may afterward take occasion to gratify such of them as wish to know somewhat more of a life and opinions with which I have long been intimately acquainted.-L.
N° 7. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1779.
Indocilis privata loqui.-Luc.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE MIRROR.
'I am a sort of retainer to the muses; and though I cannot boast of much familiarity with themselves, hold a subordinate intimacy with several branches of their family. I never made verses, but I can repeat several thousands. Though I am not a writer, I am reckoned a very ready expounder of enigmas; and I have given many good hints towards the composition of some favourite rebuses and charades. I have also a very competent share of classical learning; I can construe Latin when there is an English version on the opposite column, and read the Greek character with tolerable facility; I speak a little French, and can make shift to understand the subject of an Italian opera.
With these qualifications, Sir, I am held in considerable estimation by the wits of both sexes. I am sometimes allowed to clap first at a play, and pronounce a firm encore after a fashionable song. consulted by several ladies before they stick their pin into the catalogue of the circulating library; and have translated to some polite companies all the mottos of your paper, except the last, which, being somewhat crabbed, I did not choose to risk my credit by attempting. I have at last ventured to put myself into print in the Mirror; and send you information of a scheme I have formed for making my talents serviceable to the republic of letters.
'Every one must have observed the utility of a
proper selection of names to a play or a novel. The bare sounds of Monimia or Imoinda set a tenderhearted young lady a crying; and a letter from Edward to Maria contains a sentiment in the very title.
• Were I to illustrate this by an opposite example, as schoolmasters give exercises of bad Latin, the truth of my assertion would appear in a still stronger light.
Suppose, Sir, one had a mind to write a very pathetic story of the disastrous loves of a young lady and a young gentleman, the first of whom was called Gubbins, and the latter Gubblestones, two very respectable names in some parts of our neighbourcountry. The Gubbinses, from an ancient familyfeud, had a mortal antipathy at the Gubblestones; this, however, did not prevent the attachment of the heir of the last to the heiress of the former; an attachment begun by accident, increased by acquaintance, and nourished by mutual excellence. But the hatred of the fathers was unconquerable; and old Gubbins having intercepted a letter from young Gubblestones, breathed the most horrid denunciations of vengeance against his daughter, if ever he should discover the smallest intercourse between her and the son of his enemy; and farther, effectually to seclude any chance of a union with so hated a name, he instantly proposed a marriage between her and a young gentleman lately returned from his travels, a Mr. Clutterbuck, who had seen her at a ball, and was deeply smitten with her beauty. On being made acquainted with this intended match, Gubblestones grew almost frantic with grief and despair. Wandering round the house where his loved Gubbins was confined, he chanced to meet Mr. Clutterbuck hastening to an interview with his destined bride. Stung with jealousy and rage, reckless of
N° 7. life, and regardless of the remonstrances of his rival, he drew, and attacked him with desperate fury. Both swords were sheathed at once in the breasts of the combatants. Clutterbuck died on the spot: his antagonist lived but to be carried to the house of his implacable enemy, and breathed his last at the feet of his mistress. The dying words of Gubblestones, the succeeding frenzy and death of Gubbins, the relenting sorrow of their parents, with a description of the tomb in which Gubbins, Gubblestone, and Clutterbuck, were laid, finish the piece, and would leave on the mind of the reader the highest degree of melancholy and distress, were it not for the unfortunate sounds which compose the names of the actors in this eventful story; yet these names, Mr. Mirror, are really and truly right English surnames, and have as good a title to be unfortunate as those of Mordaunt, Montague, or Howard.
Nor is it only in the sublime or the pathetic that a happy choice of names is essential to good writing. Comedy is so much beholden to this article, that I have known some with scarcely any wit or character but what was contained in the Dramatis Persona. Every other species of writing, in which humour or character is to be personified, is in the same predicament, and depends for great part of its applause on the knack of hitting off a lucky allusion from the name to the person. Your brother essayists have been particularly indebted to this invention, for supplying them with a very necessary material in the construction of their papers. In the Spectator, I find, from an examination of my notes on this subject, there are five hundred and thirty-two names of cha- · racters and correspondents, three hundred and ninety-four of which are descriptive and characteristic. Having thus shewn the importance of the art of name-making, I proceed to inform you of my plan
for assisting authors in this particular, and saving them that expense of time and study which the innvention of names proper for different purposes must occasion.
I have, from a long course of useful and extensive reading, joined to an uncommon strength of memory, been enabled to form a kind of dictionary of names for all sorts of subjects, pathetic, sentimental, serious, satirical, or merry. For novelists, I have made a collection of the best sounding English, or English-like, French, or French-like names; I say, the best sounding, sound being the only thing necessary in that department. For comic writers, and essayists of your tribe, Sir, I have made up from the works of former authors, as well as from my own invention, a list of names, with the characters or subjects to which they allude prefixed. A learned friend has furnished me with a parcel of signatures for political, philosophical, and religious essayists in the newspapers, among which are no fewer than eighty-six compounds beginning with philo, which are all from four or seven syllables long, and cannot fail to have a powerful tendency towards the edification and conviction of country readers.
For the use of serious poetry, I have a set of names, tragic, elegiac, pastoral, and legendary; for songs, satires, and epigrams, I have a parcel properly corresponding to those departments. A column is subjoined, shewing the number of feet whereof they consist, that being a requisite chiefly to be attended to, in names destined for the purposes of poetry. Some of them, indeed, are so happily contrived, that by means of an easy and natural contraction, they can be shortened or lengthened (like a pocket telescope), according to the structure of the line in which they are to be introduced; others, by the assistance of proper interjections, are