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The day before yesterday I saw for the first time Bunbury's* new print, the “Propagation of a Lie." Mr. Throckmorton sent it for the amusement of our party. Bunbury sells humour by the yard, and is, I
suppose, the first vender of it who ever did so. He cannot therefore be said to have humour without measure (pardon a pun, my dear, from a man who has not made one before these forty years) though he may certainly be said to be immeasurably droll.
The original thought is good, and the exemplification of it in those very expressive figures, admirable. A poem on the same subject, displaying all that is displayed in those attitudes and in those features (for faces they can hardly be called) would be most excellent. The affinity of the two arts, viz. verse and painting, has been often observed; possibly the happiest illustration of it would be found, if some poet would ally himself to some draftsman, as Bunbury, and undertake to write every thing he should draw. Then let a musician be admitted of the party. He should compose the said poem, adapting notes to it exactly accommodated to the theme; so should the sister arts be proved to be indeed sisters, and the world die of laughing.
W.C. * The celebrated caricaturist.
TO THE Rev. JOHN NEWTON. *
Jan. 21, 1788. My dear Friend—Your last letter informed us that you were likely to be much occupied for some time in writing on a subject that must be interesting to a person
of your feelings - the Slave Trade. I was unwilling to interrupt your progress in so good a work, and have therefore enjoined myself a longer silence than I should otherwise have thought excusable ; though, to say the truth, did not our once intimate fellowship in the things of God recur to my remembrance, and present me with something like a warrant for doing it, I should hardly prevail with myself to write at all. Letters, such as mine, to a person of a character such as yours, are like snow in harvest; and you well say that, if I will send you a letter that you can answer, I shall make your part of the business easier than it is. This I would gladly do ; but though I abhor a vacuum as much as Nature herself is said to do, yet a vacuum I am bound to feel of all such matter as may merit your perusal.
I expected that before this time I should have had the pleasure of seeing your friend Mr. Bean, t but his stay in this country was so short, that it was hardly possible he should find an opportunity to call. I have not only heard a high character of that gentleman from yourself, whose opinion of men, as well as of other matters, weighs more with me than any body's; but from two or three different persons likewise, not ill qualified to judge. From all that I have heard, both from you and them, I have every reason to expect that I shall find him both an agreeable and useful neighbour; and if he can be content with me, (for that seems doubtful, poet as I am, and now, alas ! nothing more,) it seems certain that I shall be highly satisfied with him.
* Private Correspondence.
+ Formerly Vicar of Olney, and now one of the Librarians of the British Museum.
Here is much shifting and changing of ministers. Two are passing away, and two are stepping into the places. Mr. B
* I suppose, whom I know not, is almost upon the wing; and Mr. P-t with whom I have not been very much acquainted, is either going or gone. A Mr. Cis come to occupy, for the present at least, the place of the former; and if he can possess himself of the two curacies of Ravenstone and Weston, will, I imagine, take up his abode here. Having, as I understood, no engagements elsewhere, he will doubtless be happy to obtain a lasting one in this country. What acceptance he finds among the people of Ravenstone I have not heard, but at Olney, where he has preached once, he was hailed as the Sun by the Greenlanders after half lamp-light.
Providence interposed to preserve me from the heaviest affliction that I can now suffer, or I had lately lost Mrs. Unwin, and in a way the most • Mr. Bean.
+ Mr. Postlethwaite.
shocking imaginable. Having kindled her fire in the room where she dresses, (an office that she always performs for herself, she placed the candle on the hearth, and kneeling addressed herself to her devotions. A thought struck her, while thus occupied, that the candle being short might possibly catch her clothes. She pinched it out with the tongs, and set it on the table. In a few minutes the
a chamber was so filled with smoke, that her eyes watered, and it was hardly possible to see across it. Supposing that it proceeded from the chimney, she pushed the billets backward, and, while she did so, casting her eye downward, perceived that her dress was on fire. In fact, before she extinguished the candle, the mischief that she apprehended was begun ; and when she related the matter to me, she showed me her clothes with a hole burnt in them as large as this sheet of paper. It is not possible, perhaps, that so tragical a death should overtake a person actually engaged in prayer, for her escape seems almost a miracle. Her presence of mind, by which she was enabled, without calling for help or waiting for it, to gather up her clothes and plunge them, burning as they were, in water, seems as wonderful a part of the occurrence as any. The very report of fire, though distant, has rendered hundreds torpid and incapable of self-succour ; how much more was such a disability to be expected, when the fire had not seized a neighbour's house, or begun its devastations on our own, but was actually consuming the apparel that she wore, and seemed in possession of her person.
It draws toward supper-time. I therefore heartily wish you a good night; and, with our best affections to yourself, Mrs. Newton, and Miss Catlett, I remain, my dear friend, truly and warmly yours,
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Jan. 30, 1788. My dearest Coz-It is a fortnight since I heard from you, that is to say, a week longer than
have accustomed me to wait for a letter. I do not forget that you
have recommended it to me, on occasions somewhat similar, to banish all anxiety, and to ascribe your silence only to the interruptions of company. Good advice, my dear, but not easily taken by a man circumstanced as I am. I have learned in the school of adversity, a school from which I have no expectation that I shall ever be dismissed, to apprehend the worst, and have ever found it the only course in which I can indulge myself without the least danger of incurring a disappointment. This kind of experience, continued through many years, has given me such an habitual bias to the gloomy side of every thing, that I never have a moment's ease on any subject to which I am not indifferent. How then can I be
when I am left afloat upon a sea of endless conjectures, of which
furnish the occasion. Write, I beseech you, and do not forget that I am now a battered actor upon this turbulent stage; that what little