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A few days since I received a second very obliging letter from Mr. M
He tells me that his own papers, which are by far (he is sorry to say it) the most numerous, are marked V. I. Z.* Accordingly, my dear, I am happy to find that I am engaged in a correspondence with Mr. Viz, a gentleman for whom I have always entertained the profoundest veneration. But the serious fact is, that the
distinguished by those signatures have ever pleased me most, and struck me as the work of a sensible man, who knows the world well, and has more of Addison's delicate humour than any body.
A poor man begged food at the Hall lately. The cook gave him some vermicelli
He ladled it about some time with the spoon, and then returned it to her, saying, “I am a poor man it is true, and I am very hungry, but yet I cannot eat broth with maggots in it.” Once more, my dear, a thousand thanks for your box full of good things, useful things, and beautiful things.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Dec. 4, 1787. I am glad, my dearest Coz, that my last letter proved so diverting. You may assure yourself of the literal truth of the whole narration, and that, however droll, it was not in the least indebted to any embellishments of mine.
* In a periodical called “ The Lounger."
my dear, that in Mr. Throckmorton we have a peerless neighbour; we have so.
In point of information upon all important subjects, in respect too of expression and address, and, in short, every thing that enters into the idea of a gentleman, I have not found his equal (not often) any where. Were I asked, who in my judgment approaches nearest to him in all his amiable qualities and qualifications, I should certainly answer, his brother George, who, if he be not his exact counterpart, endued with precisely the same measure of the same accomplishments, is nevertheless deficient in none of them, and is of a character singularly agreeable, in respect of a certain manly, I had almost said heroic, frankness, with which his air strikes one almost immediately. So far as his opportunities have gone, he has ever been as friendly and obliging to us as we could wish him, and, were he lord of the Hall tomorrow, would, I dare say, conduct himself toward us in such a manner as to leave us as little sensible as possible of the removal of its present owners. But all this I say, my dear, merely for the sake of stating the matter as it is; not in order to obviate or to prove the inexpedience of any future plan of yours concerning the place of our residence. Providence and time shape every thing I should rather say Providence alone, for time has often no hand in the wonderful changes that we experience; they take place in a moment. It is not therefore worth while perhaps to consider much what we will or will not do in years to come, concerning which all that I can say with certainty at present is, that
those years will be the most welcome in which I can see the most of you.
TO THE REV. WALTER BAGOT.
Weston, Dec. 6, 1787. My dear Friend—A short time since, by the help of Mrs. Throckmorton's chaise, Mrs. Unwin and I reached Chichely. “ Now," said I to Mrs. Chester,
, “ I shall write boldly to your brother Walter, and will do it immediately. I have passed the gult that parted us, and he will be glad to hear it.” But let not the man who translates Homer be so presumptuous as to have a will of his own, or to promise any thing. A fortnight has, I suppose, elapsed since I paid this visit, and I am only now beginning to fulfil what I then undertook to accomplish without delay. The old Grecian must answer for it.
I spent my morning there so agreeably that I have ever since regretted more sensibly that there are five miles of a dirty country interposed between
For the increase of my pleasure, I had the good fortune to find your brother, the Bishop, there. We had much talk about many things, but most, I believe, about Homer; and great satisfaction it gave me to find that on the most important points of that subject his Lordship and I were exactly of one mind. In the course of our conversation, he produced from his pocket-book a translation of the first ten or twelve lines of the Iliad, and, in order to leave my judgment free, informed me kindly at the Had they
same time that they were not his own. I read them, and, according to the best of my recollection of the original, found them well executed. The Bishop indeed acknowledged that they were not faultless, neither did I find them so. been such, I should have felt their perfection as a discouragement hardly to be surmounted; for at that passage
I have laboured more abundantly than at any other, and hitherto with the least success. I am convinced that Homer placed it at the threshold of his work as a scarecrow to all translators. Now, Walter, if thou knowest the author of this version, and it be not treason against thy brother's confidence in thy secrecy, declare him to
Had I been so happy as to have seen the Bishop again before he left this country, I should certainly have asked him the question, having a curiosity upon the matter that is extremely troublesome. *
The awkward situation in which you found self on receiving a visit from an authoress, whose works, though presented to you long before, you had never read, made me laugh, and it was no sin against my friendship for you to do so. ridiculous distress, and I can laugh at it even now. I hope she catechized you well. How did you extricate yourself ?-Now laugh at me. The clerk of the parish of All Saints, in the town of Northampton, having occasion for a poet, has appointed me to the office. I found myself obliged to comply. The bell-man comes next, and then, I think, though * The author was Lord Bagot.
It was a
even borne upon your swan's quill, I can soar no higher ! I am, my dear friend, faithfully yours,
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Dec. 10, 1787. I thank you for the snip of cloth, commonly called a pattern. At present I have two coats, and but one back. If at any time, hereafter, I should find myself possessed of fewer coats, or more backs, it will be of use to me.
Though I have thought proper never to take any notice of the arrival of my MSS. together with the other good things in the box, yet certain it is that I received them. I have furbished up the tenth book till it is as bright as silver, and am now occupied in bestowing the same labour upon the eleventh. The twelfth and thirteenth are in the hands of and the fourteenth and fifteenth are ready to succeed them. This notable job is the delight of my heart, and how sorry shall I be when it is ended !
The smith and the carpenter, my dear, are both in the room hanging a bell; if I therefore make a thousand blunders let the said intruders answer for them all.
I thank you, my dear, for your history of the G--s. What changes in that family! And how many thousand families have in the same time experienced changes as violent as theirs ! The course