Abbildungen der Seite

tears. I dreamt I was sitting under the canopy of Indolence, and that thou camest into the room with a shawl in thy hand, and told me my spirit had flown to thee in the Downs, with tidings of my fate; and that you

had come to administer what consolation filial affection could bestow, and to receive my parting breath and blessing. With that you folded the shawl about my waist, and, kneeling, supplicated my attention. I awoke; but in what a frame! Oh! my God! “But thou wilt number my tears and put them all into my bottle."

Dear girl! I see thee, thou art for ever present to my fancy — embracing my feeble knees, and rising thy fine eyes to bid me be of comfort: and when I talk to Lydia, the words of Esau, as uttered by thee, perpetually ring in my ears - “Bless me even also, my father!” — Blessings attend thee, thou child of my heart!

My bleeding is quite stopped, and I feel the principle of life strong within me; so be not alarmed, Eliza I know I shall do well. I have eat my breakfast with hunger; and I write to thee with a pleasure arising from that prophetic impression in my imagination, that “all will terminate to our heart's content.' Comfort thyself eternally with this persuasion, "that the best of Beings (as thou hast sweetly expressed it) could not, by a combination of accidents, produce such a chain of events, merely to be the source of misery to the leading person engaged in them." The observation was very applicable, very good, and very elegantly expressed. I wish my memory did justice to the wording of it. - Who taught you the art of writing so sweetly, Eliza? - You have absolutely exalted it to a science. When I am in want of ready cash, and ill health will not permit my genius


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to exert itself, I shall print your letters, as finished essays, “by an unfortunate Indian lady." The style is new; and would almost be a sufficient recommendation for their selling well, without merit – but their sense, natural ease, and spirit, is not to be equalled, I believe, in this section of the globe; nor, I will answer for it, by any of your country-women in yours. – I have shewn your letter to Mrs. B-, and to half the literati in town. You shall not be angry with me for it, because I meant to do you honour by it. You cannot imagine how many admirers your epistolary productions have gained you, that never viewed your external merits. I only wonder where thou couldst acquire thy graces, thy goodness, thy accomplishments

80 connected! so educated! Nature has surely studied to make thee her peculiar care

for thou art (and not in my eyes alone) the best and fairest of all her works.

And so this is the last letter thou art to receive from me; because the Earl of Chatham * (I read in the papers) is got to the Downs; and the wind, I find, is fair.

blessed woman! take my last, last farewell! Cherish the remembrance of me; think how I esteem, nay, how affectionately I love thee, and what a price I set upon thee! Adieu, adieu! and with my adieu let me give thee one straight rule of conduct, that thou hast heard from my lips in a thousand forms but I concentre it in one word

REVERENCE THYSELF. Adieu, once more, Eliza! May no anguish of heart plant a wrinkle upon thy face, till I behold it again!

By the Newspapers of the times it appears that the 'Earl of Chatham' East-Indiaman sailed from Deal, April 3, 1767.

If so

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

May no doubt or misgivings disturb the serenity of thy mind, or awaken a painful thought about thy children – for they are Yorick's, and Yorick is thy friend for ever! - Adieu, adieu, adieu!

! P. S. Remember that Hope shortens all journies, by sweetening them – so sing my little stanza on the subject, with the devotion of a hymn, every morning when thou arisest, and thou wilt eat thy breakfast with more comfort for it.

Blessings, rest, and Hygeia go with thee! May'st thou soon return, in peace and affluence, to illume my night! I am, and shall be, the last to deplore thy loss, and will be the first to congratulate and hail thy return.


[ocr errors]


Bond-street, April 9, 1767. This letter, my dear Lydia, will distress thy good heart, for from the beginning thou wilt perceive no entertaining strokes of humour in it

I cannot be cheerful when a thousand melancholy ideas surround me. I have met with a loss of near fifty pounds, which I was taken in for in an extraordinary manner - but what is that loss in comparison of one I may experience? – Friendship is the balm and cordial of life, and without it, 'tis a heavy load not worth sustaining. - I am unhappy .

thy mother and thyself at a distance from me, and what can compensate for such a destitution? For God's sake, persuade her to come and fix in England, for life is too short to waste in separation and whilst she lives in one country, and I in another, many people will suppose it proceeds from choice besides, I want


thee near me, thou child and darling of my heart! I am in a melancholy mood, and my Lydia's eyes will smart with weeping, when I tell her the cause that now affects me. I am apprehensive the dear friend I mentioned in my last letter is going into a decline

- I was with her two days ago, and I never beheld a being so altered — she has a tender frame, and looks like a drooping lily, for the roses are fled from her cheeks I can never see or talk to this incomparable woman without bursting into tears I have a thousand obligations to her, and I owe her more than her whole sex, if not all the world put together She has a delicacy in her way of thinking that few possess

our conversations are of the most interesting nature, and she talks to me of quitting this world with more composure than others think of living in it. I have wrote an epitaph, of which I send thee a copy "Tis expressive of her modest worth but may Heaven restore her! and may she live to write mine!

Columns and labour'd urns but vainly shew
An idle scene of decorated woe.
The sweet companion, and the friend sincere,
Need no mechanic help to force the tear.
In heart-felt numbers, never meant to shine,
'Twill flow eternal o'er a hearse like thine:
'Twill flow whilst gentle goodness has one friend,

Or kindred tempers have a tear to lend. Say all that is kind of me to thy mother, and believe me, my Lydia, that I love thee most truly,

So adieu — I am what I ever was, and hope ever shall be, Thy affectionate Father,

L. S. As to Mr. —, by your description he is a fat fool. I beg you will not give up your time to such a being. Send me some batons pour les dents

there are none good here.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

my creed

Mount Coffee-house, Tuesday, 3 o'clock. There is a strange mechanical effect produced in writing a billet-doux within a stonecast of the lady who engrosses the heart and soul of an inamorato

for this cause (but mostly because I am to dine in this neighbourhood) have I, Tristram Shandy, come forth from my lodgings to a coffee-house the nearest I could find to my dear Lady — 's house, and have called for a sheet of gilt paper to try the truth of this article of

Now for it O, my dear lady, what a dish-clout of a soul hast thou made of me! - I think, by the bye, this is a little too familiar an introduction for so unfamiliar a situation as I stand in with you where, Heaven knows, I am kept at a distance and despair of getting one inch nearer you, with all the steps and windings I can think of to recommend myself to you. Would not any man in his senses run diametrically

and as far as his legs would carry him, rather than thus carelessly, foolishly, and foolhardily expose himself afresh and afresh, where his heart and his reason tells him he shall be sure to come off loser, if not totally undone? — Why would you tell me you would be glad to see me? — Does it give you pleasure to make me more unhappy or does it add to your triumph that your eyes and lips have turned a man into a fool, whom the rest of the town is courting as a wit? I am a fool

the weakest, the most ductile, the most tender fool that ever woman tried the weakness of

and the most unsettled in my purposes and resolutions of recovering my right mind. It is

from you

« ZurückWeiter »