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Coxwould [about August], 1761.
I REJOICE you are in London rest you there in peace: here 'tis the devil. You was a good prophet. I wish myself back again, as you told me I should but not because a thin, death-doing, pestiferous, north-east wind blows in a line directly from Crazycastle turret full upon me in this cuckoldy retreat (för I value the north-east wind and all its powers not a straw), but the transition from rapid motion to absolute rest was too violent. I should have walked about the streets of York ten days, as a proper medium to have passed through, before I entered upon my I staid but a moment, and I have been here but a few, to satisfy me I have not managed my miseries like a wise man and if God, for my consolation under them, had not poured forth the spirit of Shandeism into me, which will not suffer me to think two moments upon any grave subject, I would else, die just now, lie down and die and yet, in half an hour's time, I'll lay a guinea, I shall be as merry as a monkey and as mischievous too, and forget it all so that this is but a copy of the present train running cross my brain. And so you think this cursed stupid -but that, my dear H-, depends much upon the quotâ horâ of your shabby clock, if the pointer of it is in any quarter between ten in the morning or four in the afternoon I give it up or if the day is obscured by dark engendering clouds of either wet or dry weather, I am still lost but who knows but it may be five, and the day as fine a
XVIII. TO THE SAME.
day as ever shone upon the earth since the destruction of Sodom, and peradventure your Honour may have got a good hearty dinner to-day, and eat and drank your intellectuals into a placidulish and a blandulish amalgama to bear nonsense, so much for that.
'Tis as cold and churlish just now as (if God had not pleased it to be so) it ought to have been in bleak December, and therefore I am glad you are where you are, and where (I repeat it again) I wish I was also. Curse of poverty and absence from those we love! they are two great evils which embitter all things and yet with the first I am not haunted much. As to matrimony, I should be a beast to rail at it, for my wife is easy but the world is not and had I staid from her a second longer, it would have been a burning shameelse she declares herself happier without me but not in anger is this declaration made but in pure sober good sense, built on sound experience she hopes you will be able to strike a bargain for me before this time twelvemonth, to lead a bear round Europe: and from this hope from you, I verily believe it is that you are so high in her favour at present She swears you are a fellow of wit, though humorous; a funny, jolly soul, though somewhat splenetic; and (bating the love of women) as honest as gold how do you like the simile? Oh, Lord! now are you going to Ranelagh to-night, and I am sitting sorrowful as the prophet was, when the voice cried out to him, and said, “What doest thou here, Elijah?" --"Tis well the Spirit does not make the same at Coxwould for, unless for the few sheep left me to take care of, in this wilderness, I might as well, nay better, be at Mecca. When we find we
can, by a shifting of places, run away from ourselves, what think you of a jaunt there, before we finally pay a visit to the vale of Jehosaphat? As ill a fame as
we have, I trust I shall one day or other see you face to face so tell the two colonels, if they love good company, to live righteously and soberly, as you do, and then they will have no doubts or dangers within or without them present my best and warmest wishes to them, and advise the eldest to prop up spirits, and get a rich dowager before the conclusion of the peace why will not the advice suit both, par nobile fratrum?
To-morrow morning (if Heaven permit) I begin the fifth volume of Shandy I care not a curse for the critics I'll load my vehicle with what goods he sends me, and they may take 'em off my hands, or let them alone I am very valorous and 'tis in proportion as we retire from the world, and see it in its true dimensions, that we despise it no bad rant! God above bless you! You know I am Your affectionate cousin, LAURENCE STERNE.
What few remain of the Demoniacs, greet and write me a letter, if you are able, as foolish as this.
Coxwould, Sept. 21, 1760.
I RETURN to my new habitation, fully determined to write as hard as can be, and thank you most cordially, my dear lady, for your letter of congratulation
* Alluding to the first edition.
upon my Lord Fauconberg's having presented me with the curacy of this place though your congratulation comes somewhat of the latest, as I have been possessed of it some time. I hope I have been of some service to his Lordship, and he has sufficiently requited me. - 'Tis seventy guineas a-year in my pocket, though worth a hundred but it obliges me to have a curate to officiate at Sutton and Stillington. "Tis within a mile of his Lordship's seat and park. 'Tis a very agreeable ride out in the chaise I purchased for my wife. Lyd has a poney which she delights in. Whilst they take these diversions, I am scribbling at my Tristram. These two volumes are, I think, the best. I shall write as long as I live, 'tis, in fact, my hobby-horse; and so much am I delighted with my uncle Toby's imaginary character, that I am become an enthusiast. My Lydia helps to copy for and my wife knits, and listens as I read her chapters. — The coronation of his Majesty (whom God preserve!) has cost me the value of an ox, which is to be roasted whole in the middle of the town, and my parishioners will, I suppose, be very merry upon the occasion. You will then be in town and feast your eyes with a sight, which 'tis to be hoped will not be in either of our powers to see again for in point of age we have about twenty years the start of his Majesty. And now, my dear friend, I must finish this and, with every wish for your happiness, conclude myself your most sincere well-wisher and friend,
XX. TO DAVID GARRICK, ESQ.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
THINK not, because I have been a fortnight in this metropolis without writing to you, that therefore I have not had you and Mrs. Garrick a hundred times in my head and heart heart! yes, yes, say you but I must not waste paper in badinage this post, whatever I do the next. Well! here I am, my friend, as much improved in my health, for the time, as ever your friendship could wish, or at least your faith give credit to by the bye, I am somewhat worse in my intellectuals, for my head is turned round with what I see, and the unexpected honours I have met with here. Tristram was almost as much known here as in London, at least among your men of condition and learning, and has got me introduced into so many circles ('tis comme à Londres). I have just now a fortnight's dinners and suppers upon my hands. - My application to the Count de Choiseul goes on swimmingly, for not only M. Pelletiere (who, by the bye, sends ten thousand civilities to you and Mrs. Garrick) has undertaken my affair, but the Count de Limbourg -the Baron d'Holbach, has offered any security for the inoffensiveness of my behaviour in France 'tis more, you rogue! than you will do. This Baron is one of the most learned noblemen here, the great protector of wits, and the Sçavans who are no wits keeps open house three days a week his house is now, as yours was to me, my own he lives at great expense. "Twas an odd incident when I was introduced to the Count de Bissie, which I was at his
Sentimental Journey, etc.
Paris, Jan. 31, 1762.