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to P. G. Patmore.
I am sorry you are plagued about your book. I would strongly recommend you to take for one story Massinger's 'Old Law.' It is exquisite. I can think of no other.
Dash is frightful this morning. He whines and stands up on his hind legs. He misses Becky, who is gone to town. I took him to Barnet the other day, and he couldn't eat his victuals after it. Pray God his intellects be not slipping.
Mary is gone out for some soles. I suppose it's no use to ask you to come and partake of 'em ; else there's a steam-vessel.
I am doing a tragi-comedy in two acts, and have got on tolerably; but it will be refused, or worse. I never had luck with anything my name was put to.
Oh, I am so poorly! I waked it at my cousin's the bookbinder's, who is now with God; or if he is not, it's no fault of mine.
We hope the Frank wines do not disagree with Mrs. Patmore. By the way, I like her.
Did you ever taste frogs? Get them, if you can. They are like little Lilliput rabbits, only a thought nicer.
Christ, how sick I am !—not of the world, but of the widow's shrub. She's sworn under £6000, but I think she perjured herself. She howls in E la, and I comfort her in B flat. You understand music?
If you haven't got Massinger, you have nothing to do but go to the first bibliothèque you can light upon at Boulogne, and ask for it (Gifford's edition), and if they haven't got it, you can have 'Athalie,' par Monsieur Racine, and make the best of it. But that' Old Law' is delicious.
'No shrimps!' (That's in answer to Mary's question about how the soles are to be done.)
I am uncertain where this wandering letter may reach
A Wandering' Letter.
you. What you mean by Poste Restante, God knows. Do you mean I must pay the postage? So I do, to Dover.
We had a merry passage with the widow at the Commons. She was howling-part howling and part giving directions to the proctor-when crash! down went my sister through a crazy chair, and made the clerks grin, and I grinned, and the widow tittered-and then I knew that she was not inconsolable. Mary was more frightened than hurt.
She'd make a good match for anybody (by she, I mean the widow).
If he bring but a relict away,
He is happy, nor heard to complain.’
Procter has got a wen growing out at the nape of his neck, which his wife wants him to have cut off; but I think it rather an agreeable excrescence—like his poetry -redundant. Hone has hanged himself for debt. Godwin was taken up for picking pockets. Becky takes to bad courses. Her father was blown up in a steam machine. The coroner found it insanity. I should not like him to sit on my letter.
Do you observe my direction? Is it Gallic?—Classical? Do try and get some frogs. You must ask for 'grenouilles' (green-eels). They don't understand 'frogs,' though it's a common phrase with us.
If you go through Bulloign (Boulogne), inquire if old Godfrey is living, and how he got home from the Crusades. He must be a very old man now.
If there is anything new in politics or literature in France, keep it till I see you again, for I'm in no hurry. Chatty-Briant (Chateaubriand) is well, I hope.
I think I have no more news; only give both our loves
('all three,' says Dash) to Mrs. Patmore, and bid her get quite well, as I am at present, bating qualms, and the grief incident to losing a valuable relation.
LONDRES, July 19, 1827.
ROBERT SOUTHEY TO JOSEPH Cottle.
20th April 1808.
Do you suppose, Cottle, that I have forgotten those true and essential acts of friendship which you showed me when I stood most in need of them? Your house
was my house when I had no other. The very money with which I bought my wedding-ring and paid my marriage fees was supplied by you. It was with your sisters that I left Edith during my six months' absence, and for the six months after my return; it was from you that I received, week by week, the little on which we lived, till I was enabled to live by other means. It is not the settling of a cash account that can cancel obligations like these. You are in the habit of preserving your letters; and if you were not, I would entreat you to preserve this, that it might be seen hereafter. Sure I am, that there never was a more generous or kinder heart than yours; and you will believe me when I add, that there does not live a man upon earth whom I remember with more gratitude and more affection. My heart throbs and my eyes burn with these recollections. night, my dear old friend and benefactor,
REV. SYDNEY SMITH TO LORD JEFFREY.
Good R. S.
MY DEAR JEFFREY,-I am truly obliged by your kindness in inviting Mrs. Sydney and me to come and see you. I know nothing that would give us more pleasure; but poverty, agriculture, children, clerical confinement,
all conspire to put such a pleasure out of my reach. The only holiday I get in the year carries me naturally towards London, to meet my father and brother; however, I will not despair. I mention these things explicitly now, that there may be no occasion to trouble you any more; and this, I dare say you will agree with me, is the better plan. I have received and nearly read Georgel.—Ever, my dear friend, yrs. affectionately.
THE SAME TO MRS. MURCHISON.
June 8th, 1837.
ENGAGED, my dear madam, to Sir George Philips, or should have been too happy ;—will come in the evening, if possible.
I am surprised that an Archbishop, living in an alluvial country, should be at your table. Are there no bishops among the Silurian rocks ?-Ever yours.
Sydney Smith's two jocular epistles may be appropriately followed up by a characteristic letter from the pen of a lamented modern humourist to a friend in New York, on his return from a visit to America, about thirteen years ago, I refer to William Makepeace Thackeray. It was written partly on board the 'Canada,' and partly after he had reached London :—
On board, last day—May 7, 1856. MY DEAR OLD —,—I tell you that writing is just as dismal and disgusting as saying good-bye. I hate it, and but for a sense of duty I wouldn't write at all-confound me if I would. But you know, after a fellow has
William M. Thackeray.
been so uncommonly hospitable and kind, and that sort of thing, a fellow ought, you see, to write and tell a fellow that a fellow is very much obliged; and, in a word, you understand. So you made me happy when I was with you, you make me sorry to come away, and you make me happy now when I think what a kind, generous, friendly W. D. R. you are. You have back in the Bower of Virtue-you'll fill that jug when (sic) one day and drink my health, won't you; And when you come to Europe, you'll come to me, etc.-and my girls, mind, and we'll see if there is not some good claret at 36 Onslow Square. . . . We have had a dreary rough passage-yesterday the hardest blow of all. I have been ill with one of my old intermittent attacks, after which my mouth broke out with an unusually brilliant eruption, and I am going to Liverpool with a beard eight days' long. It is not becoming in its present stage. I have not been sea-sick; but haven't been well a single day. Wine is ojus to me, segars create loathing; couldn't I write something funnier and more cheerful? Perhaps I may when we are fairly into Liverpool; perhaps we may be there to-night, perhaps not till to-morrow morning, for it blew a hurricane in our face last night, and the odds are we shall not have water enough to pass the bar. Home (viz., 36 Onslow Square, Brompton, London), May 9. We did pass the bar, and didn't I have a good dinner at the Adelphi, and wasn't I glad to get back to town yesterday, and wasn't there a great dinner at the Garrick Club (the annual Shakespeare dinner which ought to have come off on the 23d ult., but was put off on account of a naval review), and didn't I make a Yankee speech, and Oh Lor'-haven't I got a headache this morning? I'm ashamed to ask for a sober-water, that's the fact. And so here the old house, the old room, the old teapot by my bedside-the old trees