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death in the papers gave me a sensation beyond what my acquaintance with her called for. But she was pretty when we last met, and she was young, and it seems so odd and melancholy to look in the grave for those one used to see at the tea-table! Well! you who live among the records of past life will bear these things better; my spirits are much depressed by Mr. Piozzi's miserable state of health, nor can the gaieties I hear of draw my attention from the sorrows that I see. Mrs. Mostyn has politely taken a week's share of them just now while her sons are absent, and the London winter not begun. Our winter commenced in November, and when it will end I know not. The mountains are still covered with snow, and such tempestuous weather did I never witness.
The political wonders have increased since the suspension of our correspondence so much, that we are all tired of wondering at them; but this new discovery of a nest of Christians in Travancore must be considered as curious by everybody who reads of it. Tell me the price of Buchanan's book and its character; I see nothing but extracts, and those imperfect ones; and tell me some literary chat, remembering our distance from all possibility of adding a new idea to our stock, except by the voluntary subscriptions and contributions (to use an hospital phrase) of the nobility, gentry, and others. Hospital phrases, indeed, best suit the dwellers at Brynbella: but Doctor Johnson-never wrong—was right, pre-eminently right in this: That chronic diseases are never cured and acute ones, if recovered from, cure
themselves. The maxim has been confirmed by my experience every day since to me first pronounced, and I dare say the late unfortunate event in your own family affords it no contradiction.
Has your brother many children left him by his lady, and is he living at Hempstead Court? He had better get to London, and lose his cares in the crowd.
Dear Mr. Lysons, do write to me, and in the meantime pity me and my poor husband, whose sufferings one should believe, on a cursory view of them, wholly insupportable; but God gives the courage, with the necessity of exerting it.
I hear all good of Mrs. Siddons.
To Samuel Lysons, Esq.
Brynbella, 22nd Aug. 1813.
MRS. PIOZZI presents her most respectful compliments to her old friend Mr. Lysons, as Governor of the British Institution, with an earnest request that he will protect her portraits from being copied, as she was strictly promised before she could consent to lend them. It would break her heart, and ruin the value of the pictures to posterity, and now some artist living at No. 50, Rathbone Place, who spells his name so that she cannot read it, unless 'tis Joseph, writes to her, begging he may copy the portrait of Dr. Johnson, when she was hoping all the four were by this time restored to their places at old Streatham Park. Mrs. Piozzi wishes Mr. Lysons joy of his brother's marriage, but hopes he
himself is not now at Hempstead Hall, as she knows not where to apply.
To Samuel Lysons, Esq.
Brynbella, 17th Feb. 1814.
DEAR MR. LYSONS, I was desired by some disputants to obtain correct information, and felt immediately that I could be sure of it from none but yourself. The question is, What authority can be produced, for an account given in some public print, of a frost on the River Thames, equal or nearly equal to this last, in the second or third centuries? Do me the very great kindness to let me know; and where you read the fact, whether in Holinshed, Stowe, Speed, or Strype's Annals, and from what record the incident is taken, it having been averred that no records could then have been kept. I mean in 260 or 270 a.d.
My correspondents always begin their letters with, You have heard so much of, &c., &c., that I am precluded hearing at all. Come now, do send me a kind letter, and tell me if Madame D'Arblaye gets 3000l. for her book or no *, and if Lord Byron is to be called over about some verses † he has written, as the papers hint. And tell me how the peacemakers will accommodate the Pope, and the little King of Rome too; and the Emperor of Germany beside, whose second title was
* "The Wanderer, or Female Difficulties," published in 1814. †The verses beginning:
"Weep, daughter of a royal line."
King of the Romans, and how all this and ten times more is to be settled, before St. David's Day. Wonders! wonders! wonders! Why Katterfelto and his cat never pretended to such impossibilities. What says your brother to these days? He used to feel amazed at the occurrences of twenty-one years ago; but if everything we saw so tumbled about then, can be so easily and swiftly arranged now, much of our horror and surprise might have been saved.
The fire at the Custom House must have been very dreadful; I hope you suffered nothing but sorrow for the general loss. Devonshire Square is a place, the situation of which is unknown to me, but I have friends there, who I should grieve for, if they came to any harm.
Adieu, dear Mr. Lysons: if I live, which no other old goose does I think through this winter, we shall meet at old Streatham Park, and I shall once more tell you truly, and tell you personally, how faithfully I am yours.
LETTERS TO DR. GRAY.
DR. ROBERT GRAY, who was made Bishop of Bristol in 1827, and died in 1834, was distinguished by piety, learning, and varied acquirements in general literature. He was the author of (amongst others) two works which attained both immediate popularity and permanent reputation "The Key to the Old Testament and the Apocrypha," published in 1790; and "Connexion between the Sacred Writings, and the Literature of the Jewish and Heathen Authors," published in 1816. Mrs. Piozzi frequently refers to them, and took just pride in being his friend and correspondent. My extracts are mostly chosen for the sake of the light they throw on her character or that of her contemporaries, and their value for this purpose may not depend on the importance of the topic or the soundness of the remark. Her manner of referring to Piozzi in these letters completely disproves the notion that she thought meanly of his understanding or neglected him.
"Brynbella, 14th Oct. 1798.
"There is no chance of our seeing London this next spring; so if we take the whole French navy, and if in consequence they beg for peace, or if, enraged with their worthless Directory, all the 700,000 men in arms.