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THE EVOLUTION OF EDITORS
a powerful neighbour to his aid.' To use a humbler comparison, he was more like the preacher who asks a friend to occupy his pulpit for a Sunday or two, and finds his assistant's sermons more popular than his own. Addison and Steele appear to have started The Spectator in alliance, and they sold the right of publication when it was collected in a new form. The precedent was often followed by little knots of friends, and some one, of course, would have to do such editing as was wanted. One result is characteristic. There was as yet no 'We.' The writer of an essay had therefore to speak of himself in the first person; and as the first person was not the individual writer, but the writer in his capacity as essayist, an imaginary author was invented. Hence arose the Spectator himself, and Nestor Ironside and Caleb Danvers and their like. The last representatives of the fashion were Sylvanus Urban of The Gentleman's Magazine and Oliver Yorke of Fraser's, if indeed 'Mr. Punch' is not a legitimate descendant. The fictitious author was a kind of mask to be worn by each actor in turn. But of course periodicals of this kind, which consisted of nothing but an essay supplied by some author with occasional help from his friends, required no definite editor.