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as to love : and who has since ruin'd me for all the conversation of one sex, and almost all the friendship of the other. I am but too sensible thro' your means, that the company of men wants a certain softness to recommend it, and that of women wants every thing else How often have I been quietly going to take possession of that tranquillity and indolence I had fo long found in the Country; when one evening of your conversation has spoil'd me for a Solitaire! Books have lost their effect upon me, and I was convinced since I saw you, that there is one alive wiser than all the sages. A plague of female wisdom ! it makes a man ten times more uneasy than his own. What is very strange, Virtue herself, (when you have the dressing her) is too amiable for one's repose. You might have done a world of good in your time, if you had allow'd half the fine gentlemen who have seen you, to have conversed with you; they would have been strangely bitt, while they thought only to fall in love with a fair lady, and you had bewitch'd them with Reason and Virtue (two beautics that the very fops pretend to no acquaintance with.)
The unhappy distance at which we correspond, removes a great many of those restrictions and punetilious decorums, that oftentimes in nearer conversation prejudice truth, to save good breeding. I may now hear of my faults, and you of your good qualities, without a blush ; we convese upon such unfor. tunate generous terms, as exclude the regards of fear, Thame, or design, in either of us. And methinks it would be as paltry a part, to impose (even in a single thought) upon each other in this state of separation, as for spirits of a different sphere who have so little intercourse with us, to employ that little (as some
would make us think they do) in putting tricks and delusions upon poor mortals.
Let me begin then, Madam, by asking you a question, that may enable me to judge better of my own conduct than most instances of my life. In what manner did I behave the lait hour I saw you? What degree of concern did I discover when I felt a misfortune which I hope you will never feel, that of parting from what one molt esteems ? for if my parting look'd but like that of your common acquaintance, I am the greatest of all the hypocrites that ever decency made.
I never since pass by your house but with the same fort of melancholy that we feel upon seeing the tomb of a friend, which only serves to put us in mind of what we have lost. I reflect upon the circumstances of your departure, which I was there a witness of, (vour behaviour in what I may call your last moments) and I indulge a gloomy kind of pleasure in thinking that those lait moments were given to me. I would fain imagine this was not accidental, but proceeded from a penetration which I know you have, in find. ing out the truth of people's sentiments; and that you were willing, the last man that would have parted from you, should be the last that did. I really look'd upon you just as the friends of Curtius might have done upon that Hero, at the instant when he was devoting himself to glory, and running to be lost out of generosity: I was oblig'd to admire your resolution, in as great a degree as I deplored it; and had only to wish, that heaven would reward so much virtue as was to be taken from us, with all the felicities it could enjay elsewhere !
I am, &c.
7 Can never have too many of your letters. I am I angry at every scrap of paper loft, and tho' it is but an odd compliment to compare a fine lady to a Sybil, your leaves methinks like hers, are too good to be committed to the winds; tho’ I have no other way of receiving them but by tho e unfaithful mes. sengers. I have had but three, and I reckon thit Mort one from D-, which was rather a dying ejaculation than a letter.
You have contriv'd to say in your last the two things most pleasing to me : The first, that whatever be the fate of your letters, you will continue to write in the discharge of your conscience. The other is, the justice you do me, in taking what I writ to you in the serious manner it was meant : it is the point upon which I can bear no suspicion, and in which above all I desire to be thought serious. It woud be vexatious indeed, if you Mould pretend to take that for wit, which is no more than the natural overflowing of a heart improv'd by an elteem for you: but since you tell me you believe me, I fancy my expressions have not been entirely unfaithful to my thoughts.
May your faith be encreased in all truths, that are as great as this, and de pend upon it to whatever de. g ee it may extend, you can never be a bigot.
If you could see the heart I talk of, you would really think it a foolish good kird of thing, with some qualities, as well deserving to be half.laughed at, and half eftcem'd, as most hearts in the world.
Its grand foible in regard to you, is the most like reason of any foible in nature. Upon my word this heart is not like a great warehouse, stored only with my own goods, or with empty spaces lo be supply'd as fast as Interest or Ambition can fill them : but is every inch of it let out into lodgings for its friends, and shall never want a corner where your idea will always lie as warm, and as close, as any idea in Christendom.
If this distance (as you are so kind as to say) enlarges your belief of my friend hip, I assure you it has so extended my notion of your value, that I begin to be impious upon that account, and to wish that ' even slaughter, ruin, and desolation may interpose between you and the place you design for; and that you were restored to us at the expence of a whole people.
Is there no expedient to return you in peace to the bosom of your country! I hear you are come as far as -do you only look back to die twice? is Euridice once more snatch'd to the shades? If ever mortal had reason to hate the King, it is I, whose par: ticular misfortune it is, to be almost the only innocent person he has made to suffer; both by his Government at home, and his Negotiations abroad.
If you must go from us, I wish at least you might país to your banilhment by the most pleasant way; that all the road might be roses and myrtles, and a thousand objects rise round you, agreeable enough to make England leis desirable to you. It is not now my interest to wish England agrecable : It is highly · probable it may use me ill enough to drive me from it. Can I think that place my country, where I cannot now call a foot of paternal Earth my own? Yet it may seem fome alleviation, that when the
wisest thing I can do is to leave my country, what was most agreeable in it should first be snatch'd away from it.
I could overtake you with pleasure in and make that tour in your company. Every reasonable entertainment and beautiful view would be doubly engaging when you partook of it. I should at leait attend you to the sea coasts, and cast a last look after the fails that transported you. But perhaps I might care as little to stay behind you; and be full as uneasy to live in a country where I saw others persecuted by the rogues of my own religion, as where I was persecuted myself by the rogues of yours. And it is not impoffible I might run into Alia in search of liberty; for who would not rather live a freeman among a nation of slaves, than a slave among a nation of freemen ?
In good carneft if I knew your motions, and your exact time; I verily think I should be once more happy in a fight of you next spring.
I'll conclude with a wish, God send you with us, or me with you.