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Letter to Mrs.
Oct. 23rd, 1838. My dear My heart is not so narrow as not to be able to embrace more than one object of parental love. Both you and your husband keep your old places, or rather I should say become identified with that son of mine whom you seem so inclined to treat as a brother. It is to me a very great pleasure when I see Ferdinand either going out with your husband, or taking his hat to go to see you.
If I understand you right, I believe I shall have complied with your request when I put your name on a very common edition of Shakspeare in Ten little volumes, which I have used for probably about five-and-twenty years, scribbling Notes upon some of the Plays even in the middle of the night, in seasons when I have been distressed for want of sleep. Is this what you wish for? Tell me if I am mistaken.
It is surprising how I have talked for the last five days; yet, in spite of a kind of nervous fever, which keeps me in a perpetual agitation, and deprives me of sleep at night, I am most perversely better. Nevertheless, I am glad I have lived to see Ferdinand—the object of my life's cares and exertions.
Yours, my dear — ,
J. BLANCO White.
Nov. 8th. How deep may be the sorrows of a guiltless heart! But how easily they are prevented from causing utter Distress when Innocence and Benevolence unite to tend the wounds!
21st. Finished a trifling Article for Mr. Thom's Review.
25th. A Letter received by Ferdinand from L. Moore, containing General Anderson's opinion that he should express to the Commander-in-Chief his readiness to return to India immediately, if wanted, induced me to advise him to proceed to London without delay, and present himself at the Horse Guards.
Letter to Lord Holland.
Liverpool, Nov. 25, 1838. My dear Lord Holland, I have two reasons for taking the liberty of introducing to you my son Lieut. and Adjutant Ferdinand White, of the 40th Regiment, who is come from Bombay on leave of absence, after a residence of 12 years both at Sydney, in N. S. Wales, and in that Presidency. The first of my reasons is, that he wishes to thank Lady Holland for an introduction to Lord Clare, when he was Governor of Bombay. Lord Clare behaved with great politeness to Lieut. White. The second reason is, that he will be able to give you an account of my present state, much more accurate indeed than any description I might attempt to send by Letter. I trust you will find these reasons sufficient to acquit me of intrusion.
I felt very much obliged to you for your very kind answer to my excellent friend, the Rev. J. H. Thom, of this town. I exert myself as much as possible to write a few trifling Articles for his Periodical. The Editor has no object whatever in that Publication, but the propagation of a liberal spirit upon all subjects.
I am extremely happy to hear that both you and Lady Holland have benefitted by your visit to Paris. With kindest regards to all,
I am, my dear Lord Holland,
Yours ever gratefully,
J. BLANCO WHITE.
Nov. 26th. [Ferdinand left me for London. Without any diminution of the dropsical symptoms, and the same inability to stand on my legs, yet I feel much better.]
Though I continue in respect to the locked kneejoints and swellings in various parts of the body, without any amendment, my spirits are, at times, much better, and this morning I feel a certain degree of pleasure in mental activity.
I have been reading a chapter in my favourite Marcus Antoninus, $ 4, B. III. What a sublime view is there expressed of the Man who regulates his whole Being according to the Spirit who dwells in us! There is nothing above it in St. Paul, though the notions, and even some of the expressions, denote identity of origin. One thing is clear, however, to those who examine both writers impartially—that the Stoic Philosophy is the source of the Pauline philosophical fragments. The proof of this is, on
the one hand, the completeness of the Philosopher's instructions; and on the other, the incompleteness, exaggeration, and rough fragmentary character of the maxims and observations of the Apostle.
Dec. 3rd. Very ill. I am deriving great relief from the drowsiness which attacks me constantly, by playing on the Flute. This morning I found myself unable to draw a note, owing to the swelling of my face and lips.
January 1st, 1839. The year which expired yesterday has been one of incessant suffering to me. I have no better prospect for that which begins this day. In spite, however, of my misery, I have not been absolutely idle. I have renewed and improved my acquaintance with the Italian Language, and Italian Literature. I have read some important works. I have made a very considerable effort to complete my knowledge of German. But with the exception of a slight Article on Huber's Skizzen von Spanien, for Mr. Thom's Christian Teacher, all my attempts to write have failed. My mental vigour is greatly reduced. It is now more than six months since I stood on my legs. This absolute confinement to an arm chair exhausts my spirits. My existence is mere pain, languor, and hopeless desire of Death.
I have for some days past been reading Schiller's Plays. Italian and Music with Ferdinand.