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DAVID GARRICK ESQ.
WHEN I was asked to whom I should dedicate this volume, I carelessly answered, To no one. ---- Why not? (replied the person who put the question to me.) Because most Dedications look like begging a protection to the book. Perhaps a worse interpretation may be given to it. No, no! already so much obliged, I cannot, will not, put another tax upon the generosity
, of any
friend of Mr. Sterne's, or mine. I went home to my lodgings, and gratitude warmed my heart to such a pitch that I vowed they should be dedicated to the inan my father so much admired who, with an unprejudiced eye, read, and approved, his works, and moreover, loved the man. "Tis to Mr. Garrick, then, that I dedicate these Genuine Letters.
Can I forget the sweet Epitaph * which proved Mr. Garrick’s friendship and opinion of him? 'Twas a tribute to friendship — and as a tribute of my gratitude I dedicate these volumes to a man of under
* Shall Pride a heap of sculptur'd marble raise,
Some worthless, unmourn'd, titled fool to praise;
standing and feeling. -- Receive this, as it is meant.
. May you, dear Sir, approve of these Letters as much as Mr. Sterne admired you but Mr. Garrick, with all his urbanity, can never carry the point half so far, for Mr. Sterne was an enthusiast, if it is possible to be one, in favour of Mr. Garrick.
This may appear a very simple Dedication, but Mr. Garrick will judge by his own sensibility that I can feel more than I can express, and I believe he will give me credit for all my grateful acknowledgments. I am, with every sentiment of gratitude and esteem,
Your obliged humble Servant, London, June, 1775.
LYDIA STERNE DE MEDALLE.
In publishing these Letters, the Editor does but comply with her mother's request, which was that, if any Letters were published under Mr. Sterne's name, those she had in her possession (as well as those that her father's friends would be kind enough to send her) should be likewise published. She depends much on the candour of the Public for the favourable reception of them, — their being genuine,* she thinks and hopes, will render them not unacceptable. — She has already experienced much benevolence and generosity from her late father's friends the remembrance of which will ever warm her heart with gratitude!
* Besides the Letters printed by Mrs. Medalle, those written by Mr. Sterne to Eliza, and a few others, are added to the present Edition.
YES! I will steal from the world, and not a babbling tongue shall tell where I am Echo shall not so much as whisper my hiding place: - suffer thy imagination to paint it as a little sun-gilt cottage, on the side of a romantic hill dost thou think I will leave love and friendship behind me? No! they shall be my companions in solitude, for they will sit down and rise up with me in the amiable form of
my We will be as merry and as innocent as
our first parents in Paradise, before the arch-fiend entered that undescribable scene.
The kindest affections will have room to shoot and expand in our retirement, and produce such fruit as madness, and envy, and ambition, have always killed in the bud. Let the human tempest and hurricane rage at a distance, the desolation is beyond the horizon
My L. has seen a polyanthus blow in December some friendly wall has sheltered it from the biting wind. -- No planetary influence shall reach us, but that which presides and cherishes the sweetest flowers. God preserve us! how delightful this prospect
* This, and the three subsequent letters, were written by Mr. Sterne to his wife, while she resided in Staffordshire, before their marriage.
in idea! We will build and we will plant in our own way simplicity shall not be tortured by art — we will learn of nature how to live she shall be our alchymist to mingle all the good of life into one salubrious draught. - The gloomy family of care and distrust shall be banished from our dwelling, guarded by thy kind and tutelar deity we will sing our choral songs of gratitude, and rejoice to the end of our pilgrimage.
Adieu, my L. Return to one who languishes for thy society.
You bid me tell you, my dear L., how I bore your departure for S-, and whether the valley where D'Estella stands retains still its looks
or, if I think the roses or jessamines smell as sweet as when you
left it. Alas! every thing has now lost its relish and look! The hour you left D'Estella, I took to my bed -I was worn out with fevers of all kinds, but most by that fever of the heart with which thou knowest well I have been wasting these two years
and shall continue wasting till you quit S. The good Miss S-, from the forebodings of the best of hearts, thinking I was ill, insisted upon my going to her. What can be the cause, my dear L., that I never have been able to see the face of this mutual friend, but I feel myself rent to pieces? She made me stay an hour with her, and in that short space, I burst into tears a dozen different times and in such affectionate gusts of passion that she was constrained to leave the room, and
sympathize in her dressing-room. I have been weeping for you both, said she, in a tone of the sweetest pity
for poor L.'s heart, I have long known it, her anguish is as sharp as yours, her heart as tender
her constancy as great, her virtues as heroic Heaven brought you not together to be tormented. I could only answer her with a kind look, and a heavy sigh and returned home to your lodgings (which I have hired till your return) to resign myself to misery. Fanny had prepared me a supper
she is all attention to but I sat over it with tears; a bittersauce, my L., but I could eat it with no other for the moment she began to spread my little table, myheart fainted with
One solitary plate, one knife, one fork, one glass; — I gave a thousand pensive penetrating looks at the chair thou hadst so often graced, in those quiet and sentimental repasts then laid down my knife and fork, and took out my handkerchief, and clapped it across my face, and wept like a child. I do so this very moment, my L.; for, as I take up my pen, my poor pulse quickens, my pale face glows, and tears are trickling down upon the paper, as I trace the word L- O thou blessed in thyself, and in thy virtues -blessed to all that know thee to me most so, because more do I know of thee than all thy sex. This is the philtre, my L., by which thou hast charmed me, and by which thou wilt hold me thine, whilst virtue and faith hold this world together. This, my friend, is the plain and simple magic, by which I told Miss I have won a place in that heart of thine, on which I depend so satisfied that time or distance, or change of every thing which might alarm the hearts of little men, create no uneasy suspense in mine. Wast thou to stay