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two; and he publishes one of them at a time. I may
indeed furnish him at this rate, without putting myself to any great inconvenience. For my last supply was transmitted to him in August, and is but now exhausted.
I communicate the following at your mother's instance, who will suffer no part of my praise to be sunk in oblivion. A certain lord has hired a house at Clifton, in our neighbourhood, for a hunting seat. There he lives at present with his wife and daughter. They are an exemplary family in some respects, and (I believe) an amiable one in all. The Reverend Mr. Jones, the curate of that parish, who often dines with them by invitation on a Sunday, recommended my volume to their reading; and his lordship, after having perused a part of it, expressed an ardent desire to be acquainted with the author, from motives which my great modesty will not suffer me to particularize. Mr. Jones, however, like a wise man, informed his lordship that, for certain special reasons and causes, I had declined going into company
many years, and that therefore he must not hope for my acquaintance. His lordship most civilly subjoined that he
“ And is that all ?" say you. Now were I to hear you say so, I should look foolish
“ Yes.” But, having you at a distance, I snap my fingers at you and say, No, that is not all.” Mr.
who favours us now and then with his company in an evening as usual, was not long since discoursing with that eloquence which is so peculiar to himself, on the many providential
sorry for it.
interpositions that had taken place in his favour. “ He had wished for many things,” he said, “which, at the time when he formed these wishes, seemed distant and improbable, some of them indeed impossible. Among other wishes that he had indulged, one was that he might be connected with men of genius and ability-and, in my connexion with this worthy gentleman," said he, turning to me, “ that wish, I am sure, is amply gratified." You may suppose that I felt the sweat gush out upon my forehead when I heard this speech ; and if
do, you will not be at all mistaken. So much was I delighted with the delicacy of that incense.
Thus far I proceeded easily enough ; and here I laid down my pen, and spent some minutes in recollection, endeavouring to find some subject with which I might fill the little blank that remains. But none presents itself. Farewell therefore, and remember those who are mindful of you!
Present our love to all your comfortable fireside, and believe me ever most affectionately yours,
They that read Greek with the accents, would pronounce the ε in φιλεω as an η.
But I do not hold with that practice, though educated in it. I should therefore utter it just as I do the Latin word filio, taking the quantity for my guide.
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.*
Olney, Feb. 19, 1785. My dear Friend-I am obliged to you for apprising me of the various occasions of delay to which your letters are liable. Furnished with such a key, I shall be able to account for any accidental tardiness, without supposing any thing worse than that you yourself have been interrupted, or that your messenger has not been punctual.
Mr. Teedon has just left us.* He came to exhibit to us a specimen of his kinsman's skill in the art of book-binding. The book on which he had exercised his ingenuity was your Life. You did not indeed make a very splendid appearance; but, considering that you were dressed by an untaught artificer, and that it was his first attempt, you had no cause to be dissatisfied. The young man has evidently the possession of talents, by which he might shine for the benefit of others and for his own, did not his situation smother him. He can make a dulcimer, tune it, play upon it, and with common advantages would undoubtedly have been able to make a harpsichord. But unfortunately he lives where neither the one nor the other is at all in vogue. He can convert the shell of a cocoa-nut into a decent drinking-cup; but, when he has done, he must either fill it at the pump, or use it merely as an ornament of his own mantel-tree. In like
* Private Correspondence. + He was an intelligent schoolmaster at Olney.
manner, he can bind a book; but, if he would have books to bind, he must either make them or buy them, for we have few or no literati at Olney. Some men have talents with which they do mischief; and others have talents with which, if they do no mischief to others, at least they can do but little good to themselves. They are however always a blessing, unless by our own folly we make them a curse; for, if we cannot turn them to a lucrative account, they may however furnish us, at many a dull season, with the means of innocent amusement. Such is the use that Mr. Killingworth makes of his; and this evening we have, I think, made him happy, having furnished him with two octavo volumes, in which the principles and practice of all ingenious arts are inculcated and explained. I make little doubt that, by the half of it, he will in time be able to perform many feats, for which he will never be one farthing the richer, but by which nevertheless himself and his kin will be much diverted.
The winter returning upon us at this late season with redoubled severity is an event unpleasant even to us who are well furnished with fuel, and seldom feel much of it, unless when we step into bed or get out of it; but how much more formidable to the poor! When ministers talk of resources, that word never fails to send my imagination into the mudwall cottages of our poor at Olney. There I find assembled in one individual the miseries of age, sickness, and the extremest penury. We have many such instances around us. The parish perhaps allows such an one shilling a week; but, being numbed with cold and crippled by disease, she cannot possibly earn herself another. Such persons therefore suffer all that famine can inflict upon them, only that they are not actually starved ; a catastrophe which to many of them I suppose would prove a happy release. One cause of all this misery is the exorbitant taxation with which the country is encumbered, so that to the poor the few pence they are able to procure have almost lost their value. Yet the budget will be opened soon, and soon we shall hear of resources. But I could conduct the statesman who rolls down to the House in a chariot as splendid as that of Phaëton into scenes that, if he had any sensibility for the woes of others, would make him tremble at the mention of the word.-This, however, is not what I intended when I began this paragraph. I was going to observe that, of all the winters we have passed at Olney, and this is the seventeenth, the present has confined us most. Thrice, and but thrice, since the middle of October, have we escaped into the fields for a little fresh air and a little change of motion. The last time indeed it was at some peril that we did it, Mrs. Unwin having slipped into a ditch, and, though I performed the part of an active 'squire upon the occasion, escaped out of it upon her hands and knees.