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John Davenal.' I shall only give a portion of
I the former.
MASTER DICK DAVENAL TO HIS COUSIN SARA.
all fixed now,
DEAR OLD GIRL,—We come home the end of next week, hooray! old Keen was for keeping us till the week after and shouldn't we have turned rusty but it's
the 16th is the joyful day and on the 15th we mean to have a bonfire out of bounds, and shouldn't we like to burn up all our books in it ! you cant think how sick we are of them. Jopper says he'd give all his tin for next half if books and studies had never been invented, and I'm sure I would, I hate learning and that's the truth and I haven't tried to get on a bit for I know it's of no use trying. Greak's horrid, and our Greak master is an awful stick and keeps us to it till we feel fit to buffet him, its the most hateful bothering languidge you can imagine, and I shall never master a line of it and if it weren't for cribs I should get a caning every day, Latin was bad enougff but greak caps it. We all got into a row which I'll tell you about when I come home and we had our Wednesday and saturday holidays stoped for three weeks, it was all threw the writing-master, a shokking sneek who comes four days a week and found out something and took and told Keen, but we have served him out, we have had some good games this half taking things together, and if we could berry our books and never do another lesson Keens house wouldn't be so bad. Good-buy till next week darling Sara love to Carry and mind you get a jolly lot of mince-pies ready for us.
P.S.-how's old Betts deafness, its so cold we hope all the ponds will be froze to ice to-morrow.
I cannot resist introducing two other short characteristic examples from Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy, one of the Christmas brochures of the author of Pickwick, in both of which the allimportant subject of school diet is graphically discussed.
MASTER TRELAWNY TO HIS PARENTS. MY DEAR PAPA,—I hope you are quite well. I ain't. You know I am not greedy, and not so foolish as to expect at school such jolly things as at home. So you must not be angry when I say what I am obliged to say, that we can't eat what Mrs. Glumper says is dinner ; and as there's nothing else but slop and a bit of bread, everybody's starving.— I remain, your dutiful son,
C. S. TRELAWNY. P.S.-If you don't like to speak to Mrs. Glumper, would you mind asking mamma and Agnes, with my love, to send me a big loaf of bread (with crust and, if possible, browned), that might last a week? Lieut.-Gen. Trelawny, C.B., K.H.,
Penrhyn Court MY DEAR PAPA AND MAMMA,—I hope you are quite well. We ate up the Pie and other Things you so kindly sent, and then began starving again. Rice, and Catterpillars, and what they call Beef-stake Pie but Isn't, as usual. I hoped you would have written to Mrs. Glumper, but perhaps you were Afrade. We held a Counsel, and Settled to run away One by One-till the Dinners get better. We drew Lots and it fell to me. I knew you would Aprove, for I heard you once say, about Captain Shurker, that it wasn't honourable to
Letters to Juveniles.
Back Out. I have my Second-best suit, some linen, my Bible, and Latin Delectus, and a sum of Money which is the Begining of a Fortune. I know what I am Doing -that is, I shall To-morrow,—so I hope you won't be angry, and kiss Mama, and my love to Agnes, and I
I am your Afectionate Dutiful Son, C. S. TRELAWNY.1
The power of being able to write to juveniles in a strain calculated to interest them is, I suspect, possessed by very few of their 'grave and potent' seniors. It implies the capacity of descending from the platform of ordinary thought and feeling, the power of looking at everything in the fresh and hopeful light of our earliest associations, the exercise of a vivid imagination, and the display of boundless sympathy and buoyancy of spirit. The poet Wordsworth, and also the lamented George Wilson, possessed this somewhat uncommon gift. Among the friends made by the latter wherever he went, were little girls of two years old and upwards. 'He was a great favourite with them,' says his biographer, ‘and promised to marry
1 A few years ago, a fond mamma of my acquaintance received a communication from her youngest boy at school, in the following terms :
-DEAR MAMMA,—If you don't come to see me to-morrow, you will find me ... dead. Amen !-Your loving CHARLIE.' The 'Amen' is charming. As the youthful writer still survives, it is to be presumed that his request was duly complied with.
Jeffrey to a Grandchild.
several when they got the height of his stick. The courtship was chiefly carried on by an exchange of valentines each year, and it did prove a little inconvenient when the young ladies had come so far to years of discretion as to be found taking private measurements of the stick, by which their fitness for matrimony was to be tested.'
The following are two characteristic specimens from the pens of very different men :
LORD JEFFREY TO A GRANDCHILD.
CRAIGCROOK, June 20th, 1848. MY SONSY NANCY !- I love you very much, and think very often of your dimples, and your pimples, and your funny little plays, and all your pretty ways ; and I send you my blessing, and wish I were kissing your sweet, rosy lips, or your fat finger tips ; and that you were here, so that I could hear your stammering words from a mouthful of curds ; and a great purple tongue (as broad as it's long); and see your round eyes, open wide with surprise, and your wondering look, to find yourself at Craigcrook! To-morrow is Maggie's birthday, and we have built up a great bonfire in honour of it ; and Maggie Rutherfurd (do you remember her at all ?) is coming out to dance round it ; and all the servants are to drink her health, and wish her many happy days with you and Frankie ; and all the mammys and pappys, whether grand or not grand. We are very glad to hear that she and you love each other so well, and are happy in making each other happy; and that you do not forget dear 138
Tarley or Frankie when they are out of sight, nor Granny either, or even old Granny pa, who is in most danger of being forgotten, he thinks. . . All the dogs are very well ; and Foxey is mine, and Froggy is Tarley's, and Frankie has taken up with great white Neddy. . . . The donkey sends his compliments to you, and maintains that you are a cousin of his ! or a near relation, at all events.
. . Tarley sends her love, and I send mine to you all, though I shall think most of Maggie to-morrow morning, and of you when your birth-morning comes. . . . And so bless you ever and ever, my dear dimply pussie. -Your very loving
THOMAS HOOD TO MARY ELLIOT.
17 ELM TREE ROAD, Sr. John's Wood,
Monday, April 1844. MY DEAR MAY,—I promised you a letter, and here it is. I was sure to remember it ; for you are as hard to forget as you are soft to roll down a hill with. What fun it was ! only so prickly. I thought I had a porcupine in the one pocket and a hedgehog in the other. The
1 As a counterpart to the commencement of Jeffrey's bantering effusion, I may give the conclusion of a somewhat similar epistle from the celebrated musician, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to his cousin :-'I must conclude, but don't think me rude. He who begins must cease, or the world would have no peace. My compliments to every friend, welcome to kiss me without end, for ever and a day, till good sense comes in my way; and a fine kissing that will be, which frightens you as well as me. Adieu, ma chère cousine ; I am, I was, I have been-Oh! that I were, 'would to Heaven I were ! I will or shall be, would, could, or should be what ? a blockhead.
W. A. M.'