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MY DEAREST ELIZA, I BEGAN a new journal this morning; you shall see it; for if I live not till your return to England, I will leave it to you as a legacy. 'Tis a sorrowful page; but I will write cheerful ones; and could I write letters to thee, they should be cheerful ones too: but few, I fear, will reach thee! However, depend upon receiving something of the kind by every post; till then, thou wavest thy hand, and bid’st me write no more.
Tell me how you are; and what sort of fortitude Heaven inspires you with. How are you accommodated, my dear? Is all right? Scribble away, any thing, and every thing to me. Depend upon seeing me at Deal, with the James's, should you be detained there by contrary winds. Indeed, Eliza, I should with pleasure fly to you, could I be the means of rendering you any service, or doing you kindness. Gracious and merciful God! consider the anguish of a poor girl. Strengthen and preserve her in all the shocks her frame must be exposed to.
She is now without a protector, but thee! Save her from all accidents of a dangerous element, and give her comfort at the last.
My prayer, Eliza, I hope is heard; for the sky seems to smile upon me as I look up to it. I am just returned from our dear Mrs. James's, where I have been talking of thee for three hours. She has got your picture, and likes it: but Marriot and some other judges agree that mine is the better, and expressive of a sweeter character. But what is that to the original ? yet I acknowledge that hers-is a picture for the world, and mine is calculated only to please a very sincere
friend, or sentimental philosopher. In the one, you are dressed in smiles, and with all the advantages of silks, pearls, and ermine; — in the other, simple as a vestal -- appearing the good girl nature made you; — which, to me, conveys an idea of more unaffected sweetness than Mrs. Draper, habited for conquest, in a birth-day suit, with her countenance animated, and her dimples visible. If I remember right, Eliza, you endeavoured to collect every charm of your person into your face, with more than common care, the day you sat for Mrs. James - Your colour, too, brightened; and your eyes shone with more than usual brilliancy. I then requested you to come simple and unadorned when you sat for me — knowing (as I see with unprejudiced eyes) that you could receive no addition from the silkworm's aid, or jeweller's polish. Let me now tell you a truth, which I believe I have uttered before. When I first saw you, I beheld you as an object of compassion, and as a very plain woman. The mode of your dress (though fashionable) disfigured you. But nothing now could render you such but the being solicitous to make yourself admired as a handsome one. You are not handsome, Eliza, nor is yours a face that will please the tenth part of your beholders, but
you are something more; for I scruple not to tell you, I never saw so intelligent, so animated, so good a countenance; nor was there (nor ever will be) that man of sense, tenderness, and feeling, in your company three hours, that was not (or will not be) your admirer, or friend, in consequence of it; that is, if you assume, or assumed, no character, foreign to your own, but appeared the artless being nature designed you for. A something in your eyes, and voice you possess in a degree more
persuasive than any woman I ever saw, read, or heard of. But it is that bewitching sort of nameless excellence that men of nice sensibility alone can be touched with.
Were your husband in England, I would freely give him five hundred pounds (if money could purchase the acquisition), to let you only sit by me two hours in a day, while I wrote my Sentimental Journey. I am sure the work would sell so much the better for it that I should be reimbursed the sum more than seven times told. – I would not give nine-pence for the picture of you the Newnhams have got executed It is the resemblance of a conceited, made-up coquette. Your eyes, and the shape of your face (the latter the most perfect oval I ever saw), which are perfections that must strike the most indifferent judge, because they are equal to any of God's works in a similar
and finer than any I beheld in all my travels, are manifestly injured by the affected leer of the one, and strange appearance of the other; owing to the attitude of the head, which is a proof of the artist's, or your friend's, false taste. The ****, who verify the character I once gave of teasing, or sticking like pitch, or birdlime, sent a card that they would wait on Mrs. **** on Friday. She sent back, she was engaged. — Then to meet at Ranelagh to-night. — She answered she did
She says, if she allows the least footing, she never shall get rid of the acquaintance; which she is resolved to drop at once. She knows them. She knows they are not her friends, nor yours; and the first use they would make of being with her would be to sacrifice you to her (if they could) a second time. Svet her not then, let her not, my dear, be a greater
friend to thee than thou art to thyself. She begs me to reiterate my request to you, that you will not write to them. It will give her, and thy Bramin, inexpress
Be assured, all this is not without reason on her side. I have my reasons too, the first of which is that I should grieve to excess if Eliza wanted that fortitude her Yorick has built so high upon. I said I never more would mention the name to thee; and had I not received it, as a kind of charge, from a dear woman that loves you, I should not have broken my word. I will write again to-morrow to thee, thou best and most endearing of girls! A peaceful night to thee. My spirit will be with thee through every watch of it.
I THINK you could act no otherwise than
did with the young soldier. There was no shutting the door against him, either in politeness or humanity. Thou tellest me he seems susceptible of tender impressions: and that before Miss Light has sailed a fortnight he will be in love with her. Now I think it a thousand times more likely that he attaches himself to thee, Eliza; because thou art a thousand times more amiable. Five months with Eliza; and in the same room; and an amorous son of Mars besides! canno be, masser.” The sun, if he could avoid it, would not shine upon a dunghill; but his rays are so pure, Eliza, and celestial, I never heard that they were polluted by it. Just such will thine be, dearest child,
, in this, and every such situation you will be exposed to, till thou art fixed for life. But thy discretion, thy
wisdom, thy honour, the spirit of thy Yorick, and thy own spirit, which is equal to it, will be thy ablest counsellors.
Surely, by this time, something is doing for thy accommodation. But why may not clean washing and rubbing do, instead of painting your cabin, as it is to be hung? Paint is so pernicious, both to your nerves and lungs, and will keep you so much longer too out of your apartment; where, I hope, you will pass some of your happiest hours. --
I fear the best of your shipmates are only genteel by comparison with the contrasted crew, with which thou must behold them.
you know who! from the same fallacy that was put upon the judgment, when but I will not mortify you. If they are decent, and distant, it is enough; and as much as is to be expected. If any of them are more, I rejoice; thou wilt want every aid; and 'tis thy due to have them. Be cautious only, my dear, of intimacies. Good hearts are open and fall naturally into them. Heaven inspire thine with fortitude, in this and every deadly trial. Best of God's works, farewell! Love me, I beseech thee; and remember me for ever!
I am, my Eliza, and will ever be, in the most comprehensive sense,
P. S. Probably you will have an opportunity of writing to me by some Dutch or French ship, or from the Cape de Verd Islands - It will reach me somehow.