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(To Mrs. Green Street, Grosvenor Square, March 5, 1841.) My dear Mrs. At the sight of , away fly gayety, ease, carelessness, happiness. Effusions are checked, faces are puckered up; coldness, formality, and reserve, are diffused over the room, and the social temperature falls down to zero. I could not stand it. I know you will forgive me, but my constitution is shattered, and I have not nerves for such an occur
AVERSIONS AND ARGUMENTS.
March 6, 1841.) My dear Mrs.
.: Did you never hear of persons who have an aversion to cheese? to cats? to roast hare? Can you reason them out of it? Can you write them out of it? Would it be of any use to mention the names of mongers who have lived in the midst of cheese? Would it advance your cause to insist upon the story of Whittington and his Cat?
(To the Countess of Morley. No date.) Dear Lady Morley: Pray understand me rightly: I do not give the Bluecoat theory as an established fact, but as a highly probable conjecture; look at the circumstances. At a very early age young Quakers disappear, at a very early age the Coat-boys are seen; at the age of seventeen or eighteen young Quakers are again seen; at the same age, the Coat-boys disappear: who has ever heard of a Coat-man? The things is utterly unknown in natural history. Upon what other evidence does the migration of the grub into the aurelia rest? After a certain number of days the grub is no more seer., and the aurelia flutters over his relics. That such a prominent fact should have escaped our naturalists is truly astonishing; I had long suspected it, but was afraid to come out with a speculation so bold, and now mention it as protected and sanctioned by
Dissection would throw great light upon the question; and if
our friend would receive two boys into his house about the time of their changing their coats, great service would be rendered to the cause.
Our friend Lord Grey, not remarkable for his attention to natural history, was a good deal struck with the novelty and ingenuity of the hypothesis. I have ascertained that the young Blue-coat infants are fed with drab-coloured pap, which looks very suspicious. More hereafter on this interesting subject. Where real science is to be promoted, I will make no apology to your Ladyship for this intrusion.
(From the Countess of Morley. No date.) Had I received your letter two days since, I should have said your arguments and theory were perfectly convincing, and that the most obstinate skeptic must have yielded to them; but I have come across a person in that interval who gives me information which puts us all at sea again. That the Bluecoat boy should be the larva of the Quaker in Great Britain is possible, and even probable, but we must take a wider view of the question; and here, I confess, I am bewildered by doubts and difficulties. The Bluecoat is an indigenous animal
-not so the Quaker; and now be so good as to give your whole mind to the facts I have to communicate. I have seen and talked much with Sir R. Kerr Porter on this interesting subject. He has travelled over the whole habitable globe, and has penetrated with a scientific and scrutinizing eye into regions hitherto unexplored by civilized man; and yet he has never seen a Quaker baby. He has lived for years in Philadelphia (the national nest of Quakers); he has roamed up and down Broadways and lengthways in every nook and corner of Pennsylvania; and yet he never saw a Quaker baby; and what is new and most striking, never did he see a Quaker lady in a situation which gave hope that a Quaker baby might be seen hereafter. This is a stunning fact, and involving the question in such impenetrable mystery as will, I fear, defy even your sagacity, acuteness, and industry, to elucidate. But let us not be checked and cast down; truth is the end and object of our research. Let us not bate one jot of heart and hope, but still bear up and steer our course right onward.
Yours most truly,
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GAME.
(To the Rev. R. H. Barham, London, about 1842.) Many thanks, my dear Sir, for your kind present of game. If there is a pure and elevated pleasure in this world, it is that of roast pheasant and bread sauce;-barn-door fowls for dissenters, but for the real churchman, the thirty-nine times articled clerk-the pheasant. the pheasant!*
(To Lady Holland, Combe Florey, Sept. 13, 1842.) I am sorry to hear Allen is not well; but the reduction of his legs is a pure and unmixed good; they are enormous-they are clerical! He has the creed of a philosopher and the legs of a clergyman; I never saw such legs-at least, belonging to a layman.
It is a bore, I admit, to be past seventy, for you are left for execution, and are daily expecting the death-warrant; but, as you say, it is not anything very capital we quit. We are, at the close of life, only hurried away from stomach-aches, pains in the joints, from sleepless nights and unamusing days, from weakness, ugliness, and nervous tremors; but we shall all meet again in another planet, cured of all our defects. will be less irritable;
more silent; will assent; Jeffrey will speak slower; Bobus will be just as he is; I shall be more respectful to the upper clergy; but I shall have as lively a sense as I now have of all your kindness and affection for me.
INVITATION TO "SEMIRAMIS.'
(To Lady Holland, November 6, 1842.) My dear Lady Holland: I have not the heart, when an amiable lady says, "Come to 'Semiramis' in my box," to decline; but I get bolder at a distance. "Semiramis” would be to me pure misery. I love music very little-I hate acting; I have the worst opinion of Semiramis herself, and the whole thing (I can not help it) seems so childish and so foolish that I can not abide it. Moreover, it would be rather out of etiquette for a Canon of St. Paul's to go to an opera; and
*Memoir of Barham.
where etiquette prevents me from doing things disagreeable to myself, I am a perfect martinet.
All these things considered, I am sure you will not be a Semiramis to me, but let me off.
(To Miss Berry, 1843.) I am studying the death of Louis XVI. Did he die heroically? or did he struggle on the scaffold? Was that struggle (for I believe there was one) for permission to speak? or from indignation at not being suffered to act for himself at the last moment, and to place himself under the axe? Make this out for me, if you please, and speak of it to me when I come to London. I don't believe the Abbé Edgeworth's "Son of St. Louis, montez au ciel!" It seems necessary that great people should die with some sonorous and quotable saying. Mr. Pitt said something not intelligible in his last moments: G. Rose made it out to be, "Save my country, Heaven!" The nurse on being interrogated, said that he asked for barley-water.
EDWARD EVERETT-AMERICAN DEBTS.
(To Mrs. Holland, Combe Florey, Jan. 31, 1844.) Everett, the American Minister, has been here at the same time with my eldest brother. We all liked him, and were confirmed in our good opinion of him. A sensible, unassuming man, always wise and reasonable.
[This visit appears to have called forth some comments from a portion of the American Press which were met by the following from Sydney Smith.]
(Letter to the Editor of the Morning Chronicle.) Sir: The Locofoco papers in America are, I observe, full of abuse of Mr. Everett, their minister, for spending a month with me at Christmas, in Somersetshire. That month was neither lunar nor calendar, but consisted of forty eight hours-a few minutes more or less.
I never heard a wiser or more judicious defence than he made to me and others of the American insolvency; not denying the in
THE AMIABLE AMERICAN.
justice of it—speaking of it, on the contrary, with the deepest feeling, but urging with great argumentative eloquence every topic that could be pleaded in extenuation. He made upon us the same impression he appears to make universally in this country; we thought him (a character which the English always receive with affectionate regard), an amiable American, republican without rudeness, and accomplished without ostentation! "If I had known that gentleman five years ago," said one of my guests, "I should have been deep in the American funds; and as it is, I think at times that I see 19s. or 20s. in the pound, in his face."
However this may be, I am sure we owe to the Americans a debt of gratitude for sending to us such an excellent specimen of their productions. In diplomacy a far more important object than falsehood is to keep two nations in friendship. In this point, no nation has ever been better served than America has been served by Mr. Edward Everett.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
APRIL, 17, 1844.