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travelled twenty miles from this place and its environs more than once these twenty years.
All this I have written, not for the singularity of the matter, as you will perceive, but partly for the reason which I gave at the outset, and partly that, seeing we are become correspondents, we may know as much of each other as we can, and that as soon as possible.
I beg, madam, that you will present my best respects to Mr. King, whom, together with yourself, should you at any time hereafter take wing for a longer flight than usual, we shall be happy to receive at Weston; and believe me, dear madam, his and your obliged and affectionate,
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, March 3, 1788.
One day last week, Mrs. Unwin and I, having taken our morning walk, and returning homeward through the Wilderness, met the Throckmortons. A minute after we had met them, we heard the cry of hounds at no great distance, and, mounting the broad stump of an elm, which had been felled, and by the aid of which we were enabled to look over the wall, we saw them. They were all at that time in our orchard: presently we heard a terrier, belonging to Mrs. Throckmorton, which you may remember by the name of Fury, yelping with much vehemence, and saw her running through the thickets within a few yards of us at her utmost speed, as if
in pursuit of something which we doubted not was the fox. Before we could reach the other end of the Wilderness, the hounds entered also; and when we arrived at the gate which opens into the grove, there we found the whole weary cavalcade assembled. The huntsman, dismounting, begged leave to follow his hounds on foot, for he was sure, he said, that they had killed him—a conclusion which I suppose he drew from their profound silence. He was accordingly admitted, and, with a sagacity that would not have dishonoured the best hound in the world, pursuing precisely the same track which the fox and the dogs had taken, though he had never had a glimpse of either after their first entrance through the rails, arrived where he found the slaughtered prey. He soon produced dead reynard, and rejoined us in the grove with all his dogs about him. Having an opportunity to see a ceremony, which I was pretty sure would never fall in my way again, I determined to stay and to notice all that passed with the most minute attention. The huntsman having, by the aid of a pitchfork, lodged reynard on the arm of an elm, at the height of about nine feet from the ground, there left him for a considerable time. The gentlemen sat on their horses contemplating the fox, for which they had toiled so hard; and the hounds, assembled at the foot of the tree, with faces not less expressive of the most rational delight, contemplated the same object. The huntsman remounted; cut off a foot, and threw it to the hounds- -one of them swallowed it whole like a bolus. He then once more alighted, and, drawing
down the fox by the hinder legs, desired the people, who were by this time rather numerous, to open a lane for him to the right and left. He was instantly obeyed, when, throwing the fox to the distance of some yards, and screaming like a fiend," tear him to pieces," at least six times repeatedly, he consigned him over absolutely to the pack, who in a few minutes devoured him completely. Thus, my dear, as Virgil says, what none of the gods could have ventured to promise me, time itself, pursuing its accustomed course, has of its own accord presented me with. I have been in at the death of a fox, and you now know as much of the matter as I, who am as well informed as any sportsman in England.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, March 12, 1788.
Slavery, and the Manners of the Great, I have read. The former I admired, as I do all that Miss More writes, as well for energy of expression, as for the tendency of the design. I have never yet seen any production of her pen that has not recommended itself by both these qualifications. There is likewise much good sense in her manner of treating every subject, and no mere poetic cant (which is the thing that I abhor) in her manner of treating any. And this I say, not because you now know and visit her, but it has long been my avowed opinion of
her works, which I have both spoken and written, as often as I have had occasion to mention them. *
Mr. Wilberforce's little book (if he was the author of it) has also charmed me. It must, I should imagine, engage the notice of those to whom it is addressed. In that case one may say to them, either answer it or be set down by it. They will do neither, They will approve, commend, and forget it.
Such has been the fate of all exhortations to reform, whether in prose or verse, and however closely pressed upon the conscience, in all ages: here and there a happy individual, to whom God gives grace and wisdom to profit by the admonition, is the better for it. But the aggregate body (as Gilbert Cooper used to call the multitude) remain, though with a very good understanding of the matter, like horse and mule that have none.
We shall now soon lose our neighbours at the Hall. We shall truly miss them and long for their return. Mr. Throckmorton said to me last night,
* We here beg particularly to recommend the perusal of the Memoirs of Mrs. Hannah More. They are replete with peculiar interest, not only in detailing the history of her own life, and the incidents connected with her numerous and valuable productions, but as elucidating the character of the times in which she lived, and exhibiting a lively portrait of the distinguished literary persons with whom she associated. The Blue Stocking Club, or "Bas bleus," is minutely described— we are present at its coteries, introduced to its personages, and familiar with its manners and habits. The Montagus, the Boscawens, the Veseys, the Carters, and the Pepyses, all pass in review before us; and prove how conversation might be made subservient to the improvement of the intellect and the enlargement of the heart, if both were cultivated to answer these exalted ends.
with sparkling eyes, and a face expressive of the highest pleasure-" We compared you this morning with Pope; we read your fourth Iliad and his, and I verily think we shall beat him. He has many superfluous lines, and does not interest one. When I read your translation, I am deeply affected. I see plainly your advantage, and am convinced that Pope spoiled all by attempting the work in rhyme." His brother George, who is my most active amanuensis, and who indeed first introduced the subject, seconded all he said. More would have passed, but, Mrs. Throckmorton having seated herself at the harpsichord, and for my amusement merely, my attention was of course turned to her. The new vicar of Olney is arrived, and we have exchanged visits. * He is a plain, sensible man, and pleases me much. A treasure for Olney, if Olney can understand his value.
The public mind, inflamed by details of the most revolting atrocities, which characterised the Slave Trade, became daily more agitated on this important subject, and impressed with a sense of its cruelty and injustice. To strengthen the ardour of these generous feelings, the relatives of Cowper solicited the co-operation of his pen, which was already known to have employed its powers in the vindication of oppressed Africa. † General Cowper, among others, suggested that the composition of songs or ballads, written in the simplicity peculiar *The Rev. Mr. Bean. ↑ See Poem on Charity.