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but an hour ago that I kneeled down and sworo I never would come near you and, after saying my Lord's Prayer for the sake of the close, of not being led into temptation -- out I sallied like any christian hero, ready to take the field against the world, the flesh, and the devil; not doubting but I should finally trample them all down under
feet and now am I got so near you within this vile stone's cast of
house I feel myself drawn into a vortex, that has turned my brain upside downwards, and though I had purchased a box-ticket to carry me to Miss *******'s benefit, yet I know very well, that was a single line directed to me to let me know Lady would be alone at seven, and suffer me to spend the evening with her, she would in fallibly see every thing verified I have told her. I dine at Mr. C-r's, in Wigmore-street, in this neighbourhood, where I shall stay till seven, in hopes you purpose to put me to this proof. If I hear nothing by that time, I shall conclude you are better disposed of and shall take a sorry hack, and sorrily jog on to
- Curse on the world. I know nothing but
except this one thing, that I love you (perhaps foolishly, but) most sincerely,
XCIII. TO MR. AND MRS. J.
Old Bond-street, April 21, 1767. I Am sincerely affected, my dear Mr. and Mrs. J-, by your friendly enquiry, and the interest you are so good as to take in my health. God knows I am not able to give a good account of myself, having passed a bad night in much feverish agitation. My physician ordered me to bed, and to keep therein till some
I fell ill the moment I got to my lodgings - he says it is owing to my taking James's Powder, and venturing out on so cold a day as Sunday but he is mistaken, for I am certain whatever bears the name must have efficacy with me. bled yesterday, and again to-day, and have been almost dead; but this friendly enquiry from Gerrard-street has poured balm into what blood I have left - I hope still,
and (next to the sense of what I owe to my friends) it shall be the last pleasurable sensation I will part with
If I continue mending, it will yet be some time before I shall have strength enough to get out in a carriage — my first visit will be a visit of true gratitude I leave my kind friends to guess where
a thousand blessings go along with this, and may Heaven preserve you both. — Adieu, my dear Sir, and dear lady. I am, your ever obliged,
XCIV. TO IGNATIUS SANCHO.
Bond-street, Saturday (April 25, 1767). I was very sorry, my good Sancho, that I was not at home to return my compliments by you for the great courtesy of the Duke of M-g—'s family to me in honouring my list of subscribers with their names for which I bear them all thanks. But you have something to add, Sancho, to what I owe your good-will also on this account, and that is, to send me the subscription-money, which I find a necessity of dunning my best friends for before I leave town to avoid the perplexities of both keeping pecuniary accounts (for which I have very slender talents), and collecting them (for which I have neither strength of body nor mind); and so, good Sancho, dun the Duke of M., the Duchess of M., and Lord M. for their subscriptions, and lay the sin, and money with it too, at my door. – I wish so good a family every blessing they merit, along with my humblest compliments. You know, Sancho, that I am your friend and well-wisher,
P. S. I leave town on Friday morning - and should on Thursday, but that I stay to dine with Lord and Lady S.
Old Bond-street, May 1, 1767. MY LORD, I was yesterday taking leave of all the town, with an intention of leaving it this day, but I am detained by the kindness of Lord and Lady S— who have made a party to dine and sup on my account. - I am impatient to set out for my solitude, for there the mind gains strength, and learns to lean upon herself -- In the world it seeks or accepts of a few treacherous supports - the feigned compassion of one the flattery of a second – the civilities of a third – the friendship of a fourth they all deceive, and bring the mind back to where mine is retreating, to retirement, reflection and books. My departure is fixed for to-morrow morning, but I could not think of quitting a place where I have received such numberless and unmerited civilities from your lordship, without returning my most grateful thanks, as well as my hearty acknowledgements for your friendly enquiry from Bath. Illness, my lord, has occasioned my silence Death knocked at my door, but
I would not admit him -- the call was both unexpected and unpleasant — and I am seriously worn down to a shadow and still very weak; but, weak as I am, I have as whimsical a story to tell you as ever befel one of my family -- Shandy's nose, his name, his sashwindow, are fools to it --- it will serve at least to amuse you. — The injury I did myself last month, in catch. upon
James's Powder fell, you must know, upon the worst part it could the most painful, and most dangerous of any in the human body. It was on this crisis I called in an able surgeon, and with him an able physician (both my friends), to inspect my disaster.
'Tis a venereal case, cried my two scientific friends.
'Tis impossible, however, to be that, replied I for I have had no commerce whatever with the sex, not even with my wife, added I, these fifteen years. You are, however, my good friend, said the surgeon, or there is no such case in the world. What the devil, said I, without knowing woman? – We will not reason about it, said the physician, but you must undergo a course of mercury. I will lose my life first, said I and trust to nature, to time, or at the worst to death. So I put an end, with some indignation, to the conference and determined to bear all the torments I underwent, and ten times more, rather than submit to be treated like a sinner, in a point where I had acted like a saint. Now as the father of mischief would have it, who has no pleasure like that of dishonouring the righteous, it so fell out that, from the moment I dismissed my doctors, my pains began to rage with a violence not to be expressed, or supported. Every hour became more intolerable. I was got tobed, cried out, and raved the whole night, and was got
up so near dead that my friends insisted upon my sending again for my physician and surgeon. I told them upon the word of a man of honour they were both mistaken, as to my case but though they had reasoned wrong, they might act right; but that sharp as my sufferings were, I felt them not so sharp as the imputation which a venereal treatment of my case laid me under. They answered that these taints of the blood laid dormant twenty years: but they would not reason with me in a point wherein I was so delicate, but would do all the office for which they were called in, namely, to put an end to my torment, which otherwise would put an end to me and so I have been compelled to surrender myself - and thus, my dear Lord, has your poor friend, with all his sensibilities, been suffering the chastisement of the grossest sensualist. Was it not as ridiculous an embarrassment as ever Yorick's spirit was involved in? — Nothing but the purest conscience
of innocence could have tempted me to write this story to my wife, which, by the bye, would make no bad anecdote in Tristram Shandy's Life. I have mentioned it in my journal to Mrs. - In some respects there is no difference between my wife and herself when they fare alike neither can reasonably complain. - I have just received letters from France, with some hints that Mrs. Sterne and my Lydia are coming to England to pay me a visit if
time is not better employed, Yorick flatters himself he shall receive a letter from your Lordship, en attendant. I am, with great regard,
My Lord, Your Lordship's