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recall the various adventures that first cemented our friendship ; the school, the college, or the tavern; preside in fancy over your cards ; and am
; displeased at your bad play when the rubber goes against you, though not with all that agony of soul as when I was once your partner. Is it not *strange that two of such like affections should be so much separated, and so differently employed as we are?
You seem placed at the centre of fortune's wheel, and, let it revolve ever so fast, are insensible of the motion. I seem to have been tied to the circumference, and whirled disagreeably round, as if on a whirligig."
He then runs into a whimsical and extravagant tirade about his future prospects. The wonderful career of fame and fortune that awaits him, and after indulging in all kinds of humorous gasconades, concludes : “ Let me, then, stop my fancy to take a view of my future self, and, as the boys say, light down to see myself on horseback. Well, now that I am down, where the d-lis I? Oh gods ! gods! here in a garret, writing for bread, and expecting to be dunned for a milk score !”
He would, on this occasion, have doubtless written to his uncle Contarine, but that generous friend was sunk into a helpless hopeless state from which death soon released him.
Cut off thus from the kind coöperation of his uncle, he addresses a letter to his daughter Jane, the companion of his school-boy and happy days, now the wife of Mr. Lawder. The object was to secure her interest with her husband in promoting the circulation of his proposals. The letter is full of character.
LETTER TO COUSIN JANE.
should ask,” he begins, “ why, in an interval of so many years, you never heard from me, permit me, madam, to ask the same question. I have the best excuse in recrimination. I wrote to Kilmore from Leyden in Holland, from Louvain in Flanders, and Rouen in France, but received no answer. To what could I attribute this silence but to displeasure or forgetfulness? Whether I was right in my conjecture I do not pretend to determine ; but this I must ingenuously own, that I have a thousand times in my turn endeavored to forget them, whom I could not but look upon as forgetting me. I have at tempted to blot their names from my memory, and, I confess it, spent whole days in efforts to tear their image from my heart.
Could I have succeeded, you had not now been troubled with this renewal of a discontinued correspondence ; but, as every effort the restless make to procure sleep serves but to keep them waking, all my attempts contributed to impress what I would forget deeper on my imagination. But this subject I would willingly turn from, and yet, for the soul of me,' I can't till I have said all. I was, madam, when I discontinued writing to Kilmore, in such circumstances, that all my endeavors to continue your regards might be attributed to wrong motives.
My letters might be looked upon as the petitions of a beggar, and not the offerings of a friend; while all my professions, instead of being considered of the result of disinterested esteem, might be ascribed to venal insincerity. I believe, indeed, you had too much generosity to place them in such a light, but I could not bear even the shadow of such a suspicion. The most delicate friendships are always most sensible of the slightest invasion, and the strongest jealousy is ever attendant on the warmest regard. I could not — I own I could not — continue a correspondence in which every acknowledgment for past favors might be considered as an indirect request for future ones ; and where it might be thought I gave my heart from a motive of gratitude alone, when I was conscious of having bestowed it on much more disinterested principles. It is true, this conduct might have been simple enough ; but yourself must confess it was in character. Those who know me at all, know that I have always been actuated by different principles from the rest of mankind : and while none regarded the interest of his friend more, no man on earth regarded his own less. I have often affected bluntness to avoid the imputation of flattery; have frequently seemed to overlook those merits too obvious to escape notice, and pretended disregard to those instances of good nature and good sense, which I could not fail tacitly to appiaud ; and all this lest I should be ranked among the grinning tribe, who say very true' to all that is said ; who fill a vacant chair at a tea-table; whose narrow souls never moved in a wider circle than the circumference of a guinea ; and who had rather be reckoning the money
in your pocket than the virtue in your breast.
All this, I say, I have done, and a thousand other very silly, though very disinterested, things in my
LETTER TO COUSIN JANE.
time ; and for all which no soul cares a farthing about me. . . Is it to be wondered that he should once in his life forget you, who has been all his life forgetting himself ? However, it is probable you may one of these days see me turned into a perfect hunks, and as dark and intricate as a mouse-hole. I have already given my landlady orders for an entire reform in the state of my finances. I declaim against hot suppers, drink less sugar in my tea, and check my grate with brickbats. Instead of hanging my room with pictures, I intend to adorn it with maxims of frugality. Those will make pretty furniture enough, and won't be a bit too expensive ; for I will draw them all out with my own hands, and my landlady's daughter shall frame them with the parings of my black waistcoat. Each maxim is to be inscribed on a sheet of clean paper, and wrote with my best pen; of which the following will serve as a specimen. Look sharp: Mind the main chance : Money is money now : If you have a thousand pounds you can put your hands by your sides, and say you are worth a thousand pounds every day of the year : Take a farthing from a hundred and it will be a hundred no longer. Thus, which way soever I turn my eyes, they are sure to meet one of those friendly monitors ;
we are told of an actor who hung his room round with looking-glass to correct the defects of his person, my apartment shall be furnished in a peculiar manner, to correct the errors my
mind. Faith! madam, I heartily wish to be rich, if it were only for this reason, to say
without a blush how much I esteem you. But, alas ! I have many a fatigue to encounter before that happy time comes, when your poor old simple friend may again give a loose to the luxuriance of his nature ; sitting by Kilmore fireside, recount the various adventures of a hard-fought life; laugh over the follies of the day ; join his flute to your harpsichord ; and forget that ever he starved in those streets where Butler and Otway starved before him.
And now I mention those great names - my Uncle ! he is no more that soul of fire as when I once knew him. Newton and Swift grew dim with age as well as he. But what shall I say? His mind was too active an inhabitant not to disorder the feeble mansion of its abode ; for the richest jewels soonest wear their settings. Yet, who but the fool would lament his condition ! He now forgets the calamities of life. Perhaps indulgent Heaven has given him a foretaste of that tranquillity here, which he 80 well deserves hereafter. But I must come to business; for business, as one of my maxims tells me, must be minded or lost, I am agoing to publish in London a book entitled “The Present State of Taste and Literature in Europe.” The booksellers in Ireland republish every performance there without making the author any consideration. I would, in this respect, disappoint their avarice, and have all the profits of my
labor to myself. I must, therefore, request Mr Lawder to circulate among his friends and acquaintances a hundred of my proposals, which I have given the bookseller, Mr. Bradley, in Dame