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LETTER LXVII.

MRS STOKES.

Lichfield, July 17, 1787. I BEGRET that we did not meet at Shenton on my return from Ludlow. Nothing should have prevented it on my part, if I had not so recently seen you at Shrewsbury, where my heart rejoiced in the happiness which it felt you possessed, and which left me nothing to desire for you but its permanence.

Sophia received me with hospitality warm as your own. When dear Mr and Mrs Whalley joined us, it seemed as if we were all actuated by one spirit. You will imagine our enthusiasm over a scene, with whose graces you are so well acquainted; yet Sophia tells me you have never been at Downton Castle. We passed an whole day in that charming seclusion. The scenery consists of a deep, winding, and narrow valley, which, in several places, for many hundred yards together, is wholly occupied by the bed of the most pellucid river I ever beheld. The rocks, rising to an immense height on either hand, are

curtained by soft and luxuriant foliage, whose latest fringe dips in the stream. We pass through this valley, over terraces cut in the rocks on each side, somewhat above the mid-way of their elevation on one shore, and near the top of them on the other. From these terraces we often descend where the valley widens into opening lawns, yet secluded, and lovely as those of Juan-Fernandez, which travellers so lavishly describe, or wander along green banks, where the scenery exactly resembles the celebrated walk at Ileham. Then passing over the river by rustic bridges, we scale the rocks to their very summit on the opposite shore, and see the wood opening its soft bosom to show the river gliding before us in a long straight. line of light. In other points of view, the woods also divide to disclose distant vales of less coy grace, or the stern contrast of bare and bulging mountains.

In the highest elevation of the rocks, the master of this Eden has formed a rustic grotto and cold-bath, with very exquisite taste. trate the recesses of these rocks, by a narrow winding passage, which conducts us into their centre, where they form a rotunda, filled with water, except a mossy bank about a yard wide, which encircles the bath. Its water is of the most perfect clearness, though of shadowy gloom; and

We pene

the scanty light, admitted from above, is yet sufficient to shew to advantage the moss, the shells, and fossils, which cover the sides, and the beautiful little marble Naiad, who lies reclined, aud bending over the brink, with pendant tresses, and a pensive sweetness in her countenance, that well becomes the magic seclusion of that watery con

cave.

You who love to lay your head upon beds of ooze and crystal pillows--You who have so much imagination, how would you luxuriate in such a bath,

« When the fierce suns of summer noons invade ?”

A young Scotch gentleman, of the name of Christie *, lately called upon me, introduced by a recommendatory letter from Mr Nichols, editor of the Gentleman's Magazine. This interesting young stranger is in very intimate correspondence with the celebrated Dr Beattie, from whom he shewed me a letter that breathed high esteem, and paternal affection. Mr Christie's sprightly wit, scientific acquirements, ingenious manners, and literary ardour, exceed any thing I have met of

* Afterwards the planner and editor of the Analytical Review. He died in London at an early age.

early excellence since I first knew Major André, in his eighteenth year, which I guess to be about the

age of this literary wanderer. He was on his road into the Peak of Derbyshire, which he purposed to explore with philosophic examination. I tremble for his health, appearing, as he does, to have out-grown his strength; for he is very tall, and thin almost to transparency,

“ While sniooth as Hebe's his unrazor'd lip."

You have heard of the success of that worthless time-serving supple flatterer, Mr -- These are the people who obtain patrons and preferment;

" And they take place when virtue's steely bones,
Look bleak in the cold wind.”

LETTER LXVIII.

Miss WESTON.

Lichfield, July 19, 1787. AFTER the delight of passing a month with you, dear Sophia, amid your classic and lovely

environs, you will be glad that I found my beloved, my aged nursling, as well as when we separated. I must ever feel a trembling gratitude to Heaven, that none of those dire attacks, to which his feeble frame has long been subject, assailed him when I was so distant. You saw how my anxiety to receive intelligence of his safety, from day to day, hurried my spirits, shook my nerves, and interrupted the dear satisfaction of finding myself in such society. Upon so long an absence I never more will venture till the hour of everlasting absence. For an existence so feeble and deprived, it is perhaps a weakness to dread that hour so very passionately; yet, O! we may have more friends than one, but we have only one father.

I have had a kind letter from our excellent Mr Whalley. It is dated Bewdley, and I think decrees the palm of victory to Sir Edward Winnington's scenes near that place, from my darling Downton. Were I to see them, they would not, I believe, obtain my suffrage for such a pre-emi

The smiling, the varied, the grand arrangement of objects, may be found in almost every country which is in any degree mountainous, and where wealth has been lavished to pro-. cure picturesque disposition ;-but the Juan-Fer

nence.

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