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as long as i live Will 1 bear you in my remembrance as a gentleman and a humane character, and I am sure my poor friends would esteem it a mark of the greatest kindness.
1 remain, Dear Sir, your very humble and obedient servant,
T W .
We would fain, for the credit of both parties, give the rejoinder which followed the reply to this letter; since by that might be gathered the kind of reply which was made. But this may not be. We may be permitted to add our suspicion, however, that such letters and replies as these pass oftener between the persons nicknamed parsons and players, than those who bestow the above titles upon them would have us believe.
There are few begging letters couched in such terms as the following. We have been half afraid to transcribe the above letter, and the two which follow (considering to whom they are addressed) without especial leave—which we should not get. But our excuse, to the only party who would object, is, that they have other merits even greater than that of illustrating the private character of him to whom they are addressed. We cannot help regarding the following as interesting in many points of view—but chiefly for its total want of cant and humbug—which letters written with the object of this are seldom free from; —their absence in this case speaks no less for the addresser than the person addressed.
London, Feb. 5, 1815.
Friend Mathews,—As a man of the world I have not the least doubt but that you will pardon this intrusion. Fortune has dealt very differently by us.
To me she has given a wife and large family—to you a wife and (• ).
On all your efforts she has very kindly smiled—on all mine she has very unkindly frowned. You are now blessed with plenty—I have scarce the means of procuring a dinner. Your merit renders you deserving of all you have—my follies also render me deserving of all / have. You are in stature as near as I guess about five feet ten inches—and that is about my height. Your means enable you to dress fashionably—I have barely the means to dress at all. Now then to the point: if you, sir, have any superfluous articles of dress by you—particularly a shirt—(for I have not one—which is the naked truth) I will thank you tor them, and will for the sake of the giver make much of them. And I shall be also thankful if amongst your numerous friends (who so frequently laugh at you on the stage) you would make a party to laugh at me off the stage. Your friendly compliance with my wishes will, instead of laughing, make me cry with joy.
1 am, friend Mathews,
Your greatly obliged and sincere
well-wisher and humble servant,
At Finch's O.P. and P.S. .
Here is another, the language of which would render it curious and interesting, if nothing else did.
16 July, 1812.
Sir and Brother,—Mr. 's compliments to Mr. Mathiws. I ask your
pardon if another time I come to give you troble—but noiug that you have a generous hart, I pray you, sir, to excuse me. I have been a week very bad —for to mintane me I have pledg all my cloths I had. You ma coll me one empertenent because 1 come another time to disturb you, but not haven any person in London more sure than your good person, so I toke the liberty
* illegible in the original.
to wright to you. i pray you for the last time that I come to disturb you to day—i am without a farthing—I recommend myself to you as a
food brother mason. What you favored me before, and what I hope to day, will promise you upon a good free-mason when i get engagement I will return to you. 1 hope that you will do me this last favour. I shall be very much oblich to you for what great favours you have done for me.
I am Your ombl and obdent
Servant and brother,
The reader may perhaps like another short specimen of French English, or English French—whichever it be; and the rather as it proceeds from a person not a little distinguished in his way, whose name, however, it is not consistent with our plan to affix.
Mon cher, bon, brave, et excellent Mr. Liston,—J'ai promis a un de mes plus cher amis de le conduire a votre theatre demain mardi—it would be beastly wrong de ne pas tenir parole.— You dearest Liston, pouvez seul me tirerd'embarras, & je suis so convinced de vos home's toward me, que j'ai presque comptd upon you, et en consequence 1 will take the liberty of calling on you mdubitablement to-morrow entre deux et trois. I would be beastly disappointed si je *trouvois visage de bois. Yours,
As we have inadvertently got among these foreign specimens of the epistolary style, perhaps we cannot do better than present the reader with one or two more, which shall conclude our repast for this month. They shall be love-letters, too; a class of composition in which we English do not excel. That the first of the following, however, is a love-letter, we judge merely from the fact of its being addressed to a lady of great personal attractions, and from our happening to know that the writer of it never came within eyeshot of such a person without being in love with her. We would fain be able to double the value of this epistle, by affixing to it the name borne by the original. But we must once more repeat our determination that these letters shall owe their attractions to their innate merits alone. We may be allowed to add, however, that this universal "Squire of Dames" was an octogenarian at the period of inditing the following; and that, moreover, he has been permitted to kiss, with impunity, the hands of half the princesses of Europe, and is, from his present youthful appearance and undiminished attractions of manner, not unlikely to do the same by the other half before he dies: in which case we may expect him to write an additional volume to that already before the world, detailing the singular history of his life and adventures.
Before transcribing this effusion, there is one passage of it which we cannot help pointing out to the reader's particular attention. It is that, about the middle of the letter, in which he revels in metaphors, hyperboles, similes, and the unlike. The crowd of ideas that meet together and jostle each other in this passage, added to the mistiness which enwraps the whole from all mortal understanding, render it little less than a finished specimen of the sublime!
Madame.—I beg of you Madame will accept my sincere thank for your kind and charming letter of the 28 of last month, which 1 had the honor to
receeve. Allow me to express the pleasure and happiness I felt on hearing from you, as I had become extremely anxious to know how you are. I trust you are and will continue well for the sake of your friends, in the number of whom 1 beg I may be allowed to rank myself. 1 hope, Madam, that you will
take all possible car of your health, and also that Mr. M is well, to horn
I beg my best compliments. I am very glad to hear of his safe return to home from America, at your enchanting and beautiful cottage, which I shall
for ever admire. I think that my dear friend Mr. C M (a few lines
to whom I shall add to this letter) has done exceedingly well in travelling to Italy, a country which he will find very favorable to improvem'. in that branch of his study. If, however, I may be permitted to express my sentiments, 1 am rather hurt at the idea that you, Madam, are left by them. But thos dismal and gloomy events which often we met with, as frozen mist aspect of a deep winter—but most be trust that nature of all things, and as well knowing nature attracte similar nature meet soon together. Therfore, as Sun pip through the dark cloudy sky, disperce the aspect of the winter, melting frosty snow, how joy season when Sprmg shall put forth her blossams, and summer offer ripened grapess in their return tasted together.
How happy mortals in the cottage, to find abounding happiness to their wish, and by their prisence, Madam, will doubly feel the pleasure of being together, and you be amply repaid for all the uneasiness Madam have suffered in their absence, and be restored to that full enjoyment of pleasure and happiness which Madam so well deserve. As for my shoes,* Dr. H wished himselfe to present (them) to the King, and I do not know myselfe what he has done. But when I come to London, (as 1 am anxious to be ther, pay my respect to you Madam) then I think we will know what he done. 1 remain, Madame,
With profound respect,
Your most humble most obedient servant,
The reader will, perhaps, not like our concluding specimen the less, if it leaves a tear on his countenance, instead of a smile. We have, in fact, seen few things of the kind more truly pathetic. The English itself is not more broken than the heart which dictates it.
To Miss E L .
O dear Betsey!—Again I write you this few line for express you my sorrow at your refuse of shake hands. If you knew what night unpleasant I had to the idee of displeas you, you have a too good heart for not to be sorry for.— O what pain it is for me from you to separate. When I consider there is only two months more, and may be 1 not shall see you any more. Oh! dreadful moment for me! But one of my consolation, you will be happy then. As to me, 1 repete you, without you there will be no happiness for me.
Adieu dear Betsey—remember sometime your faithful unfortunate, who will not cease to thmk of you. Louis.
* If the reader has ever seen a pair of shoes worn by the writer of this letter, he will be at no loss to unravel the mystery of this passage. If not, we are compelled to leave bim in his ignorance.
EPISTLE TO B—— P , ESQ.
In imitation of Pope.
Haud passibus aequis.
But just return'd from Australasian shores.
Rich in rare plants,'and scientific stores,
Gazing around you with bewilder'd eye,
"What's this?—stands London where it did?" you cry.
Alas! dear F—, no wonder that the clown
Exclaim'd—" Gadzooks! why Lunnun's out of town."—
Ask you by what disease 'tis bloated thus ?—
A giant wen, a Titan Polypus;
Bursting with brick and mortar every vein,
Spreads the huge carcase o'er,the circling plain.
Where fields, parks, groves but lately soothed thine eyes,
Squares, places, quadrants endlessly arise;
While streets that intersect a thousand ways,
Make the whole scene a labyrinthine maze,
No more a city, but a province, thick
With houses sown—a wilderness of brick.
Thin is Improvement's age :—we grant as much.
If here and there some purer pile be placed.
See the grand street! each paltry tenement.
Mean in materials, meaner in extent,
Whose lath and brick-work through thin stucco gleams,
Soak'd by a shower, or crack'd by solar beams,
Their poverty more inconsistent made,
(Like beggars dress'd in tatters of brocade,)
By porticoes that half the building hide,
Rams-horn pilasters popp'd on either side,
Kach tottering pillar an mverted cone,
Made to support all weights, except its own,
And balustrades at top whose ponderous row
Squeezes the shallow pediment below ;—
Parts disproportion'd to the end design'd,
Tasteless when separate, and worse combined,
Flimsily executed, proudly plann'd,
Pompously mean, and pitifully grand.
Nor do our private buildings show alone
The tripod's base, whose use no soul can guess,—
Why not the tripod and the Pythoness?
The lantern of Diogenes resigns
Its Pagan purpose, and a belfry shines :—
Such the dull freaks of plagiarists in stone,
Who know not others' meanings, nor their own.
Ifamong heathen temples they must search
Here is the logio and the colonnade,
At least, you cry, our higher ranks ensure
Without a nondescript that all deride,
A mere bazaar and baby-house inside,
Strange that our artists should new names devise,