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the least. Your letters are all good; and, if any of them be better than the rest, it is only because they are longer. By my goo.i-will, I would never receive any thing from you but sheets of Elephant or Atlas paper. I arrived here, to my sorrow, just in the middle of the rejoicings for the marriage of Majame Premiere. They have unhinged me qui e for writing. My head is full of nothing but fire-works. Do you love gunpowder, Madam? If you do, I can give you a feast; not of ragouts and kickshaws, but of fiery dragons, dolphius of sulphur, burning crowns, and ship-oflanthorns. What think you of five-and-twenty hundred rockets let fiy at once, Ioaden with stars and serpents ! There were niore of these artificial stars seen glittering at once over Paris, than there are natural ones visible in the whole firmament. And for the noise, I think you are happy in having been so far from it. Seriously, half the people here seein to be distracted; and, though the fire-works have been over these twenty-four hours, they make as much noise as ever. There are not, at this minute, less than 500,000 persons talking of them. In the streets, the coffee-houses, the public walks, in all companies, nothing else is heard. I went to the comedy, on purpose to get out of it, but was disappointed, for I had it on every side of me, I returned to my lodging, and shut myself up to write to you, but found squibs and crackers in possession of every corner of my head. I have no ideas left but what are tinged with fire and brimstone. I have no words left but such as lampions, girandols a fou, pots d'aigrettes, gerbs d'artifice, and the like.
Sept. 3. I have taken all this time to cool in, and come to myself, and can now talk to you with my usual sang froid. I thank you for the promise you have made in my name, and will endeavour to acquit you of it with honour, whenever I am called to it. At first sight, I had determined to take post immediately; but, on a second reading of your letter, the terms in which you speak of the affair did not seem to require so much precipitation. I hope to be at London in about a fortnight. If my presence be any way necessary sooner, you will be so good to give notice.
I am not yet prepared to satisfy your curiosity concerning the Queen of Spain and the Marquise de Mailly, but have employed an abbé to make inquiries, from whom I expect marvels.
As to my French frippery, I have followed your advice, and am disposing of it as fast as I can. My white shoes and
feather I left behind me at Pezenas, my toupée at Tholouse, and the rest of my French goods, if I have any, I shall drop here; so that you will see me reduced to my first principles, and find me so thoroughly an Englishman, that it shall not appear I have ever set foot in France. A man who comes from Languedoc ought to perform a sort of quarantine at Paris, to fit him for English company. Paris will take off his flights, and cure him of certain airs, which he is very apt to catch if he come near the Garonne. The Parisians, as to vivacity, differ more from the Gascons than they do from the English. Remember me to all friends. I wrote to
Canbury-house, April 18. A LAMENTABLE accident has befallen Madam de Sevigné. A pen-full of ink is fallen on her letters, which, though it has left every thing legible enough, has a little clouded her page. It is but an ill return for the amusement she has afforded me to bespatter her when I have done. But, you will believe me, it was not done out of design, though I have a little quarrel with her. You will hardly be able to guess for what. It is not for her being a French wounan, or a courtier; though I don't like all the airs she gives herself on those accounts. My objection comes from another quarter. It is that very freedom and easiness, for which she has been so much applauded, that gives me offence; as it degenerates so often into downright tittle-tattle. I could have wished it had cost her niore to deliver her thonghts, because then she would have kept some of them to herself. As fine a lady as she is, it woulil have been more prudent in her not to have shewn all. What I could best have spared, is about 50,000 forinal professions of her love for Madam de Grignan, who, being her own daughter, might surely have been convinced of her motherly atlection on easier terms. It is usually said, that letter-writing ought to be a picture of conversation, and that what suits the latter cannot be amiss in the former. I have some doubts about it. What passes in conversation has the advantage of louk, gesture, and tone, to support and set it off. Besides, every thing there is Acetiny, and in motion, one thought continually driving out anocher; so that arrant trifles inay there pass
undiscovered. But it is otherwise in letters, which are read in cold blood, and often forced to stand a second or third perusal. Writing a letter is next of kin to publishing a book. You often don't know who are to be your readers, and had therefore need to be a little on your guard. After all, there are many fine things in Madam de Sevigné, who is likely to be the best model for ladies' letters, till
shall be prevailed on to publish your own.
I believe I have caught the rambling disease from Madam de Sevigné; for I find I am got out of sight of my first design, which was to be an apology for blotting your book. Not that I pretend thus to excuse myself, or imagine that the loss of a line of her's could be atoned by a whole sheet of mine. Perhaps the best reparation I could have made had been to have said nothing; and that the next to this is, not to say a syllable more, but, Madam, you most obedient, most slovenly, and inky servant,
Colney-hatch, Monday, May 10. INSTEAD of writing you a letter, I send you a how d’ye. I contracted indeed with you, to furnish a letter per week: but the situation in which I last saw you rendered the performance impracticable. In reality, what can a man say to a person ill a-bed ? To speak pertinently, it must be on matters either of diet or physic. But, alas ! water-gruel and asses milk will make but poor entertainment! And, besides, you hear enough of those things from your physician and nurse. Should I endeavour to amuse you with fights of wit and fancy ? it is not only vain and unreasonable, but out of my power. The concern I am under for your health damps the little genius I am possessed of. I must desire you therefore to make haste and get well again, or I shall be utterly insolvent. Till I hear of that, all I shall be able to write will be, Pray let me know how you do. Madam, your most obedient servant,
Gray's Inn, Saturday Morning. If it be to old age and impertinence I owe the honour of your last commands, I am more indebted to those two ill
qnalities, as they are commonly reputed, than I am to forty good ones. I could almost be tempted to wish you more of both of them, were it not that this might look a little too selfish as well as assuming : for, in reality, I do not wish you any other thau as you are; and it might puzzle a better head than mine to find any thing to alter in you for the better, except-I mean your patrimonial malady. If Pollnitz may contribute any thing toward alleviating the least pains of your little toe, he will be very happy. He is dressing biniself up fit to appear before you ; but it will be Monday ere his clothes be quite ready. I am, &c. 1787, April and May.
LVIII. Letters from Dr. Young to Mr. Williams.
To Mr. Williams at Lyons.
Wellwyn, Feb. 23, 1739. NOTHING can be more kind than the continuance of your friendship; nothing more unjust than your suspicion of my backwardness to einbrace it. I esteem you for yourself, and the good company you keep. Homer was a very honest gentleman, who talked of many gods, and believed but one. Horace says, quanto tibi negaveris a Diis plura feres. Fenelon was half an angel; and Newton looked so far and so clearly into nature, that he found himself under the necessity to clap a God at the head of it, in order to render any thing accountable. As to Voltaire, he is content with ihe contemplation of his own parts, without looking for any other immortality than they shall give him.
Thus, Sir, my sermon ends. By winy this sermon? To shew myself qualified for the deanery or mitre you so kindly wish me. But these things are long in coming it in your travels you should pick me up a little vacant principality, it would do as well; I am as well qualified for it, and as likely to succeed in it. Monaco would be a pretty sinecure, fir, as I like it, the Most Christain King is so good as to do all the duty. I have brought you to toe borilers of lialy; I hearily wish you all pleasure in the land of Kantys. Bi before that, I hope to be censured by you in another let, ter, which would give me great satisfaction,
You inquire after writers. Here is a libel lately published, called Manners, for which the author is fed, and the minister has been reprimanded : there are two or three things well enough said in it to balance a deal of gross abuse. The last publication I have read was about suicide, in which the author endeavours to persuade an Englishman not to hang himself when the wind is N. E. Mustapha, a new tragedy, is treading the stage with some applause, Nothing shoots in abundance this spring but divinity; a forward plant like the snow-drop, but of little flavour. I de sire you to re-enter me into your little list of friends; and to be assured that, with the most sincere affection and good wishes, &c. &c. &c. &c.
To Mr. Williams at Nice.
Wellwyn, Nov. 25, 1739. LETTERS from the dead are so entertaining, that many wits have lied their friends out of hell so agreeably, that mankind has forgiven the imposition, for the sake of the pleasure.
Next to letters from the dead, are those from the living at a great distance, and, in some sense, inhabitants of another world. But, as far as I can learn from your letter, that other world I mean is itself dead since I was there, at least, much out of order. Poor Sun! give him a glass of your pupil's October, to cure his November dumps; it will make him gay, and dance as in our Rehearsal; but leave a glass for his boliness the Pope ; and, that it may go down with him the better, you may let him know it is prescribed by the Council of Nice. When I was there, I contracted a great intimacy with the Mediterranean. Every day I made him a solemn visit. He roared very agreeably; I hope our men of war will soon learn his art for the entertainment of his Spanish Majesty ; this is a kind of opera that will receive no improvement from the loss of manhood. If here you are at a loss for my meaning (for I think I am a little obscure,) consult Mr. Patterson's little wife; she will let you into the secret; for I am mistaken, or our friend P. has taught her to look on all eunuchs with high disdain, and to detest music for the execrable damages it has done the wbole sex.