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in S - these seven years, thy friend, though he would grieve, scorns to doubt, or to be doubted 'tis the only exception where security is not the parent of danger. I told you poor Fanny was all attention to me since your departure, contrives every day bringing in the name of L. She told me last night (upon giving me some hartshorn), she had observed my illness began the very day of your departure for S.; that I had never held up my head, had seldom, or scarce ever smiled, had fled from all society - that she verily believed I was broken-hearted, for she had never entered the room, or passed by the door, but she heard me sigh heavily - that I neither ate, or slept, or took pleasure
in anything as before; judge then, my L., can the valley look so well, or the roses and jessamines smell so sweet as heretofore?
but adieu: the vesper bell calls me from thee to my God.
BEFORE now, my L. has lodged an indictment against me in the high court of Friendship; I plead guilty to the charge, and entirely submit to the mercy of that amiable tribunal. Let this mitigate my punishment, if it will not expiate my transgression, do not say that I shall offend again in the same manner, though a too easy pardon sometimes occasions a repetition of the same fault. A miser says, Though I do no good with my money to-day, to-morrow shall be marked with some deed of beneficence. The Libertine says, Let me enjoy this week in forbidden and luxurious pleasures, and the next I will dedicate to serious thought and reflection. The Gamester says, Let me have one more chance with the dice, and I will never touch them more. The Knave of every profession wishes to obtain but independency, and he will become an honest man. The female Coquette triumphs in tormenting her inamorato, for fear, after marriage, he should not pity her.
The apparition of the fifth instant (for letters may almost be called so) proved more welcome, as I did not expect it. Oh my L., thou art kind, indeed, to make an apology for me, and thou never wilt assuredly repent of one act of kindness — for being thy debtor, I will pay thee with interest. Why does my L. complain of the desertion of friends? Where does the human being live that will not join in this complaint ? It is a common observation, and perhaps too true, that married people seldom extend their regards beyond their own fire-side. There is such a thing as parsimony in esteem, as well as money, yet, as one costs nothing, it might be bestowed with more liberality. We cannot gather grapes from thorns, so we must not expect kind attachments from persons who are wholly folded up in selfish schemes. I do not know whether I most despise or pity such characters nature never made an unkind creature ill-usage and bad habits have deformed a fair and lovely creation.
My L., thou art surrounded by all the melancholy gloom of winter, wert thou alone, the retirement would be agreeable. Disappointed ambition might envy such a retreat, and disappointed love would seek it out. Crowded towns, and busy societies, may delight the unthinking and the gay, but solitude is the best nurse Sentimental Journcy, pic.
of wisdom. Methinks I see my contemplative girl now in the garden, watching the gradual approaches of spring. Dost not thou mark with delight the first vernal buds? the snow-drop, and primrose, these early and welcome visitors, spring beneath thy feet. Flora and Pomona already consider thee as their handmaid; and in a little time will load thee with their sweetest blessing. The feathered race are all thy own, and with them, untaught harmony will soon begin to cheer thy morning and evening walks.
Sweet as this may be, return return, the birds of Yorkshire will tune their pipes, and sing as melodiously as those of Staffordshire. Adieu, my beloved L., thine too much for my peace,
I HAVE offended her whom I so tenderly love! what could tempt me to it! but if a beggar was to knock at thy gate, wouldst thou not open the door and be melted with compassion? I know thou wouldst, for Pity has erected a temple in thy bosom. Sweetest, and best of all human passions let thy web of tenderness cover the pensive form of affliction, and soften the darkest shades of misery! I have re-considered this apology, and, alas what will it accomplish? Arguments, how ever finely spun, can never change the nature of things: very true, so a truce with them.
I have lost a very valuable friend by a sad accident, and, what is worse, he has left a widow and five young children to lament this sudden stroke. If
real usefulness and integrity of heart could have secured him from this, his friends would not now be mourning his untimely fate; These dark and seemingly cruel dispensations of Providence often make the best of human hearts complain. Who can paint the distress of an affectionate mother, made a widow in a moment, weeping in bitterness over a numerous, helpless, and fatherless offspring! God! these are thy chastisements, and require (hard task!) a pious acquiescence.
Forgive me this digression, and allow me to drop a tear over a departed friend; and, what is more excellent, an honest man. My L.! thou wilt feel all that kindness can inspire in the death of . The event was sudden, and thy gentle spirit would be more alarmed on that account. But, my L., thou hast less to lament, as old age was creeping on, and the period of doing good, and being useful, was nearly over. At sixty years of age the tenement gets fast out of repair, and the lodger with anxiety thinks of a discharge. In such a situation, the poet might well say,
“The soul uneasy," &c. My L. talks of leaving the country, may a kind angel guide thy steps hither! Solitude at length grows tiresome. Thou sayest thou wilt quit the place with regret, I think so too. Does not something uneasy mingle with the very reflection of leaving it? It is like parting with an old friend, whose temper and company one has long been acquainted with. I think I see you looking twenty times a day at the house, almost counting every brick and pane of glass, and telling them at the same time, with a sigh, you are going to leave them. Oh, happy modification of matter! they will remain insensible of thy loss. But how wilt thou be able to part with thy garden? The recollection of so many pleasing walks must have endeared it to you. The trees, the shrubs, the flowers, which thou rearedst with thy own hands, will they not droop and fade away sooner upon thy departure? Who will be thy successor to nurse them in thy absence? Thou wilt leave thy name upon the myrtle-tree. If trees, and shrubs, and flowers, could compose an elegy, I should expect a very plaintive one upon this subject.
V. - TO MRS. F.
York, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1759. DEAR MADAM, Your kind inquiries after my health deserve my best thanks. What can give one more pleasure than the good wishes of those we value? I am sorry you give so bad an account of your own health, but hope you will find benefit from tar-water: it has been of infinite service to me. I suppose, my good lady, by what you say
in your letter, “that I am busy writing an extraordinary book," that your intelligence comes from York, – the fountain-head of all chit-chat news, -and, no matter. Now for your desire of knowing the reason of my turning author? why truly I am tired of employing my brains for other people's advantage. -- 'Tis a foolish sacrifice I have made for some years to an ungrateful person. I depend much upon the candour of the public, but I shall not pick out a jury to try