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tainly is) perfectly right, and in character with the times; but let Cumberland or Jephson use the same phrase, and say they will convince a knot of friends with drink, a loud shout of laughter would, without any instigation, burst from the upper gallery ; every single member of which, talked to apart, would appear to know very little, if anything, concerning the history of their native tongue. For these reasons it is scarce a fair wager how this new tragedy is received, without they bring it out in Shakespear's name, which I do think would save it harmless, so long as they believed the imposition.
Meantime, I see by the newspapers people continue to insult the king, throwing stones at him as he passes. Methinks the very word stone should be offensive to all his family : one mad fool of the name persecuted Princes Sophia, as I remember, with offers of marriage ; and this coachmaker or coal-merchant, or what was the anagrammatical gentleman who signed Enots, he seems to have escaped by testimonials to his character from the rich Democrates. I think they are all Gall Stones, and I heartily wish we were rid of them.
What becomes of the Beavor family? I never write to Mrs. Gillies, because I know she hates letters ; but my true esteem of her brave brothers does not lessen by absence. Mrs. D’Arblaye's new novel is not advertised yet. Somebody told me Lady Eglinton is turned writer now she has married the son of Doctor More; but perhaps it was a joke. Will Miss Farren's coronet never be put on? I thought the paralytic countess would have made way for her long ago.
Dear, charming Siddons keeps her empire over all hearts still, I hope ; if an Irish plan takes place in her arrangements this spring, we shall not despair to see her at Brynbella. Tell her so with my true love.
There is a new pamphlet supposed by Jones, the Hutchinsonian, to say that our Saviour's Coming (but not the end of the world) is at hand. I cannot recollect the title of it, but do buy and send it to Streatham Park with any other little thing worth notice, but no three-guinea books. I wonder who wrote the small tract about Monopoly; 't is monstrously clever, and clever only because it's true. So is my conclusion of this letter, saying that I am most sincerely, dear Sir, yours,
H. L. Piozzi. My master* unites in compliments.
To the Rev. Daniel Lysons.
Brynbella, 9th July, 1796. Dear Mr. LYSONS, — This is a letter of mere request, to beg remembrances from old and distant friends. Do pray write now and then, and make me up a good long letter of small London chat ; you can scarcely think how welcome living intelligence is to those who have chiefly the dead to converse with, and I work hard at old stuff all morning, and sigh for some evening conversation about literature and politics, and the common occurrences of the day.
Esher, or Asher, in Surrey, is a place I cannot find in your Environs. It was my grandmother's property, and she sold it to the Pelhams; her mother lies buried there with a painted or colored monument, if I recollect rightly, though 't is many years since I saw it. Mr. Piozzi used to promise me a drive thither, but we never went.
Hume says that Cardinal Wolsey retired to that seat when the king withdrew his favor from him ; and Mr. Fitzmaurice, from whose library I borrowed the book, queries the place, and doubts whether he ever was there; although Stowe tells — for I remember it — how Wolsey alighted from his horse in the road between Asher and Richmond, to receive the ring which Henry sent him, and threw himself on his knees in the dirt from thankfulness that he was not wholly out of favor. I wish you would set me right. Likewise I want to know where the spot once called Castlerisings now stands. Edward II's queen Isabella was confined there to her death, but lived very grand, I trust, for she had £3,000 a year, a sum equal to a royal jointure now, I suppose. Hume says it was ten miles from London, and it must be nearer now.
* It is curions that she could call her second husband by this name, so well calculated to revive the memory of her first.
Do Mr. Walpole’s works sell, and is his Love Story that you once read to me in them? I liked the letters to Hannah More mightily.
If Mr. Bunbury's Little Gray Man is printed, do send it hither; the ladies at Llangollen are dying for it. They like those old Scandinavian tales and the imitations of them exceedingly; and tell me about the prince and princess of this loyal country, one province of which alone had disgraced itself; and now no Anglesey militiaman is spoken to by the Cymrodorion, but all completely sent to Coventry, for nobody wants them in Ireland.
The mysterious expedition of Buonaparte will I hope end at worst in revolutionizing the Greek Islands, and restoring the old names to Peloponnæsus, Eubæa, &c. I should be sorry he ever got to India, but waking the Turks from their long sleep will not grieve me. The Knights of Malta make a triste figure at last ; I suppose Mr. Weishoupt's emissaries were beforehand with the hero of Italy, as they call him.
My husband is particularly disgusted with the people that exalt Buonaparte's personal courage and valorous deeds. “ He goes nowhere unless he is called,” says Mr. Piozzi; if he wanted to show his prowess, why did not he come here, or to Ireland ? we would have shown him sport; but like Caliban, those fellows will be wise henceforward and sue for grace, and worship the French no more, unless they are still greater blunderers than even I take them for, who am ever, dear Sir, yours faithfully,
H. L. P.
To the Rev. Daniel Lysons.
Brynbella, 5th Jan. 1796. Dear Mr. LysONS, — After making repeated inquiries for you of all our common friends, I begin to find out that the best way is to ask yourself. Dear Siddons was always a slow correspondent, though a kind wellwisher; and she has so much to do in good earnest, that we must forgive her not sitting down to write letters either of fact or sentiment ; for a little of both these I apply to you, and beg a little chat for information of what is going forward. Tell me, in the first place, concerning your own health and your wicked brother's, who forgets his old correspond
ent very shamefully; after that, let the sedition bills or the Shakespear manuscripts take post according to the bustle made about them in London. Make me understand why Mr. Hayley writes Milton's life, and why Doctor Anderson publishes Johnson's. Those roads are so beaten they will get dust in their own eyes sure, instead of throwing any into the eyes of their readers ; at this distance from the scence of action I cannot guess their intents. Tell what other new books attract notice, and what becomes of the Whig Club now 't is divided like Paris into sections. I fancy France will be divided into sections at last, – a bit to Royalists, another bit to Republicans ; and perhaps the very name of a nation so disgraced by crimes and follies will be lost forever. No matter ! I long to see Burke's letter to Arthur Young: his predictions have the best claim to attention of any living wight.
O pray what becomes of the man who set mankind a staring this time last year? he is in a madhouse, is not he? We had a slight earthquake about eight or ten weeks ago, and such extraordinary weather as never did I witness ; very providential sure that it should continue so warm and mild and open while bread remains at such an advanced price. Yesterday the prospect was clear and bright as spring ; nor have we seen ice hitherto; but storms enough to blow the very house down, and I fear prevent our West India fleet from ever arriving at its place of destination. A beautiful prismatic halo round the moon in an elliptic form very elegant on Christmas Day, was said by our rural philosophers to be a rare but certain præcursor of tempest, and so it proved : I was, however, glad to have seen a meteor so uncommon.
Has your brother examined any of the gold from our new mine in Ireland ? The bishop showed us some, and Mr. Lloyd, I think, sent specimens to Sir Joseph Banks, - it is supposed purer, and less drugged with alloy than what comes immediately from Peru, could we but get enough of it. Meanwhile I had half a ticket in the Irish Lottery with Mr. Murphy, but can hear nothing either of my fortune or my partner. Take compassion do, and send us a long letter. Mr. Piozzi adds his best compliments to mine, with wishes of a happy New Year. The pianoforte is not quite neglected, though he has lost Mrs. Bagot, who sings such sweet duets. Cecilia and her husband are well and merry ; my other daughters write me word from Clifton that they like Mrs. Pennington and attend her benefit balls, which I am glad of. You will expect no news from me, but I shall be very desirous to receive your thanks for obliging inquiries. They are all I have to send, except the truest regards of Brynbella to Putney; and pray tell me that those agreeable Miss Pettiwards are well who have probably quite forgotten by this time, dear Mr. Lyson's Ever faithful humble servant,
H. L. Piozzi.
To the Rev. Daniel Lysons.
(post-mark, 1796.) Dear Mr. Lysons, – You have at last written me so kind and so entertaining a letter, that no paper on my part shall be wasted in reproaches; I thank you very kindly, but you should never suppose me informed of things which you cannot help hearing ; but they escape me easily enough. I do hear of the Arch Duke's successes, however, and of poor Italy's disgrace; I hear of peace too, — when shall we see it ? Mr. Ireland is a pleasant gentleman indeed, and his last act his best act, in my mind; absolution follows confession ; I have done being angry with him now. There is a note in Mr. Malone's pamphlet * for which I would give half a dozen publications of fifty pages each concerning the times ; it contains my sentiments so exactly that I may easily commend the writer's good sense and sound judgment. The mysteries of Carlton House surpass those of Udolpho: may they end as those do, in mere nihility. I will not quarrel with you for making no reply to my questions about “Camilla,” † because I have read it myself, and because these are really not times for any man of the living world to waste his moments in weighing of feathers; he, however, who neglects to read Burke's last pamphlet, loses much of a very rational pleasure.
I turn the page to talk of yours and your brother's discov* Against the Ireland forgeries.
† Madame D'Arblay's novel.