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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 30001. 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
come home under command of some Oliver Cromwell or some General Monk, and make a new revolution at Paris, - the taxes may some of them be taken off, and we may all meet merrily, at least cheerfully, at Bath
without fear of fresh assessments. Meanwhile, tho' all this is far more feasible and far more probable than many a strange event we have witnessed, I must apprehend it is no better than a bounce.
“ The odious (Egyptians, after worshipping crocodiles so long, will perhaps worship Buonaparte, whose manifesto seems to have come out of one of their mouths; nor does your kind consolation, though I rely with firmness on its truth, take the desired effect.
“Surely those are the basest of nations who accept the yoke of French democracy. Surely so trodden down as that, they never will hope to raise their hopes again. How the wild scheme will end, how much the slavish French will bear from their five tyrants, who came completely from nothing and must return to nothing back again, I guess not, but am charmed with the strong contrast between Nelson's pious letter and their vile agent's blasphemous proclamation. I hear our warrior's father is a clergyman . . . how must his and Lady Nelson's hearts leap for joy!
“Have you seen the death of a charming girl in the papers, whose long and severe sufferings interest all her friends, and have half broken her sweet mother's heart! Maria Siddons! more lamented, I do think, than virtue, value, and science all combined would be.
But she had youthful beauty; and to that quality our fond imaginations never fail to affix softness of temper and a gentle spirit, every charm resident in female minds. You are very happy, however, my dear Sir, as fine things as we ladies are, to have two boys for purpose of protecting your one girl. Brothers are a vast advantage to young women, and save them from a thousand embarrassments when they would not permit (in these illuminated days) a parent's hand to be of any use to them.
“I am ashamed. 'Tis this moment struck into my head that by dear Nelson's pious ancestor you mean the admirable writer of the Feasts and Fasts. I had no notion they were any way related, but reading over your kind letter again 'tis plain it must be so.
“You will think me as stupid as Lord Carlisle's cook, who begged permission to examine the library one day, because, says he, I have been told when a child about Nelson's feasts and fasts ... and 'tis time to read it in earnest, and fix upon some good receipts. This is a fact.”
“No. 43, Great Pultney Street, Bath,
“Fryday, 11th Jan. 1799. “Home is the place for happiness, though leaving it. a moment produces pleasure; and dear Mr. Gray will not be found deserting his post, or slumbering on his stand, should the call of enquiry sound forth. It grieves me not a little to hear the Dissenters cry out, and see the Socinians sneer at the supineness of our orthodox clergy. My health has permitted me to go