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reach when last writing to Adbury, is, however, perfect in my remembrance ; he did it very finely indeed. A clear voice and dignified manner are not necessary to the character, and personal beauty would take off too much from one's aversion. I was well entertained, and caught no cold at all.
My New Year's Day party went off to everybody's satisfaction. Next morning brought verses with “ Attic wit” and “graceful Piozzi” in them, and praises of the music, which I praised myself for enduring. With good maneuvring, however, I kept them from singing Italian, and everybody was the better pleased; but I had rather talk of your trees. Miss Williams says you must make the children of you
cottagers bring in the Hawthorn berries at so much the lapful, and put them in a large tub or pot, and place them in sand, a layer of berries, and a layer of sand, — to be put out at the proper
Acorns, too, might be gathered, she says, every autumn, and save you buying dwarfish and ricketty things from imposing nursery and seedsmen. Her care for your pocket is very comical indeed, but those fine plantations at her brother's country seat haunt the
dear soul's fancy everlastingly; and she remembers and knows that £5 would have paid the whole cost; for in old Judge Williams's time there were not, as now, things of every kind to be bought. They planted their own beech mast and fir apples; and certainly the trees are worth ten times as much to posterity. Miller, the great botanist of fifty years ago, told me that an acorn grounded, as he expressed it, on the same day with a seven year's old oak, would be taller and stronger than his competitor in seven years' time. I told Mr. Thrale so, but he was in haste to be happy; and now the trees he bought, — younglings, — are nothing, as you saw, while Bodylwyddan Woods are quite in a thriving state.
So here's a wise letter, and that always resembles a dull one ; but let dulness have its due : and remember that if life and conversation are happily compared to a bowl of punch, there must be more water in it than spirit, acid, or sugar. Besides that, I am convinced 't is variety alone can delight us either in a book or a companion.* “ Rather than always wit, let none be there,” says Cowley, who had himself enough for two people, and I know not why, but my heart feels heavy somehow.
*“ On ne plait pas longtemps si l'on n'a qu'une sorte d'esprit.” — Rochefoucauld.
Dear! dear! what a fragile thing life is! A young man was riding full gallop down this street * yesterday, and fell down dash at the very spot where Miss Shuttleworth was killed. He is not dead this morning, poor fellow ! but in a sad way,
I fear. This street always was like Virgil's Tartarus, and now 't is like the high road to it. Coal-carts scrattling up the hill, often used to make me think
“ Hinc ex audiri gemitus, et sæva sonare
Verbera; tum stridor ferri, tractæque catenæ.”
Well, no matter! our exits and entrances are apparently innumerable, and no two alike. Here comes Miss W- daggled like a duck-shooting spaniel on a dirty November day, and catching her very death with cold, to tell me that S-J—F— must not put the seeds of his pine cones, that I call fir apples, into sand. They must be dried in napkins, &c., &c.
So now adieu, my dear Sir. I have got a member of parliament by happy fortune to free my nonsense, and cover with his frank my compliments to
I asked my servant how your letter was brought me, for it came in the midst of my little bustle on the 1st of January. “ Indeed, Ma'am,” replied the man, “ I can't tell, but it seemed to arrive promiscuously." Once more farewell, and believe me ever yours,
H. L. P.
To Sir James Fellowes.
Bath, Sunday, 4 January, 1817. Ah! he was a wise man who said Hope is a good breakfast, but a bad dinner. It shall be my supper, however, when all's said and done, and the epilogue spoken upon poor H. L. P.
This snow will do infinite service, but I want something to string my spirits up to concert pitch. The parties are going forward through frost and snow, but I come home from them, when I do go, a little duller than at setting out. One reason is they will sing to me, the men will; and O, how much rather would I hear a dog howl ! Your friend
* Gay Street, Bath.
was very kind, sat and chatted with me very good-naturedly, and did not sing.
Here is a thin quarto book come out concerning Miss McEvoy; you should see it. The Shropshire boy was not a better deceiver, if the wise men who attest these wonders do indeed give credit to them. For my own part, I think the world is superannuating apace, and I
suppose sees double, like drunken people, and horses that are going to lose their eyesight. Such an age of imposture was sure never known. Joanna Southcote, the Fortunate Youth, and Miss McEvoy, all in four years! With stories of the of — that put belief out of all possibility. Poor Wales, too, a principality without a prince, whenever the king dies.
Mrs. Lutwyche has written from Rome ; says her husband can walk now seven miles o’ day. They spend their time in seeing sights under the direction of far-famed Cornelia Knight,* and rejoycing in the society of the first society of the first city in Europe, — never mentioning the famine and distressful state of the inhabitants, which Sir Thomas and Lady Liddel protest is beyond endurance, Capua alone having lost 12,000 human creatures from hunger and consequent disease within the last two years, and this corresponds with Dr. Whalley's account of Northern Italy.
What is one to believe? Now dispose of my compliments, loves, and respects, and Addio!
To Sir James Fellowes.
Bath, 16 January, 1817. On the seventy-sixth anniversary of my life, according to your good father's reckoning, the first thing I do after returning God thanks, is to write to dear Sir James.
Kemble is here, and has called on me; I was shocked at the alteration in his face and person. Poor fellow! But the public were, or rather was, very contented, and huzzaed his Coriolanus gallantly. I was glad for twenty reasons ; Brutus and Sicinius
* Author of "Marcus Flaminius" and other works.
being precisely the Hunt and Cobbett of 2,000 years ago, it was
but it does not lie in this warm town.
These are days when nothing can be deemed impossible. I think the people in Thibet are right for my part, who kneel down when a female baby is born, and pray that she may have a physician for her husband. He would at least keep her from such exploits, as Mrs. M— who frighted me so by going out to dinner into the country the 11th day after delivery; the very hearing of it half killed me, who was then in Wales. Miss
walks about this horrid weather with a weight of clothes which would kill any one whose ancestors had not worn armor, and then strips for the evening party, covered (if covered) only by trinkets just fit for the eldest Miss Such is the world, and such are its inhabitants. Do not suffer yourself to be too sorry that I am so near out of it. If my setting sun leaves one long red streak behind, to lengthen the twilight and keep back dark oblivion, shall I not be happy and thankful ? whilst I am recollected as your true and trusty old friend,
H. L. P. Verses on the 16th of January, 1817, the seventy-sixth anniversary of her life.
Whilst all on Piozzi's natal day
Of due congratulation ;
Upon the glad occasion.
Made only for the ear;
But honest and sincere.
To friendship sacred, and to song,
And stay their rapid flight.
Than every way may please;
With happiness and ease.
Returns no more for you ;
And turns her from the view.
At length, by years alone opprest
In their celestial sphere;
The future without fear.
From those it loved before:
To separate no more.
To Sir James Fellowes.
Bath, 23 January, 1817. Does ever read novels ? The second and third volumes of a strange book, entitled “ Tales of my Landlord” [“ Old Mortality ”] are very fine in their way.
People say 't is like reading Shakespear! I say 't is as like Shakespear as a glass of peppermint water is to a bottle of the finest French brandy ; but the third — I think it is the third volume, is very impressive for the moment, without spectres or