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I think myself obliged to subscribe to the truth of what they say :--and at the same time I assure you I am, Sir,
With great esteem,
L E T T E R
Barrells, Auguft uth, 1747. my doing barely justice, in commending
the beauty of your situation, and the elegance of your taste, can make you vain, you must not admit of any company, if you will become a rigid hermit; nor should I have ventured a visit to the Leasowes, where the more one sees, the more one admires, and that admiration leads towards envy, which, as an hermitess, I ought to shun.
I return thanks, not only for the agreeable reception you gave me, but also for your kind enquiry now. I
got home safe, but had one downfal, a little beyond Birmingham, which however did no hurt to Mr. Outing nor me ; nor was it any dishonour to my poftillion, as the night was very dark, and the moon down, or at least clouded over: but we met with very
unhospitable treatment at Shirley-ftreet, where they refufed to receive us at the Saracen's Head, though it was but eleven o'clock, and we saw a good fire in the kitchen ; and a maid, who was sitting by it, took her candle and went to bed, whilst we were at the door intreating, knocking, and at last threatening, but all in vain: the stars took pity of us, and appeared just as our hostess disappeared, and guided us in a friendly manner to Barrells, where we arrived at past one o'clock, and the next day regaled ourselves with the best pine-apple I ever eat ; .since which time, I have talked of nothing but the beauty of Virgil's grove, and the meannefs of my own; which used to give me some pleasure, but is so much lefsened in my esteem, by comparing it with yours, that I could almost wish I had not seen the latter. The only amends you can make me for the pleasure you have deprived me of, is to give me your company foon at Barrells; which will always be acceptable to, Sir, Your obliged humble servant,
I beg my best compliments to Miss Dolman, and Mr. Oụting defireş his to you,
Barrells, February 2d, 1747-8. R. Ouțing, who left this place on Satur
day last, desired the inclosed might be conveyed to you ; and I take the same opportunity of conveying my excuses for the incivility you must think me guilty of, in not rising the day you left Barrells, to wish you a good journey, and to thank you for the favour of your company. The not doing so, carried an appearance even of ingratitude, as your visit had given me so much pleasure ; nor can your own good nature have been my advocate farther, than by lowering my crime, in calling it laziness ; to which I would plead guilty, but that, in fact, my intention was to get up when the servant came in to light my fire, but was prevented, by her telling me you was in bed, and, she believed, was not to go away that day : this good news indulged me; and I, with the tranquillity fatisfaction gives, took another nap; but waking, found it only an agreeable dream ; for you was gone. Mr. Outing, the instant I came down stairs, presented me with a fong, which he said he found upon your table ; and I read it eagerly,
foon finding it to be your stile. It is not necessary to add, that I thought it extremely pretty, and very poetical ; but if it had been in profe, I should have been tempted to ask who was that ASTERIA that could make her bearths cheerful to you in the rigid season, when I, who had so lately been favoured with your company, was too sensible 'twas not in my power to make mine so, though nobody could wish it more ; but want of fun and want of genius is ill supplied by a coal-fire, which was all I had to give; and
my ill health unluckily at that time added to my stupidity, when I most wished for spirits to entertain my agreeable company : and 'now that I have entirely recovered my health, I have loft my company.
Such are the chequered chances of this life! so that my bermitefs and I have entire possession of my little wood, without either fear or hope of being interrupted in our contemplations. I contentedly subscribe to what she has wrote upon her old tree;
" The world forgetting, by the world forgot:"
but would not include in that world the friends I esteem, and whose conversation I admire: nor can ever any of the disagreeable events in LIFE make me wish it to become unfociable whilst it lafts ; but cities (no more than forests) do not
afford society; it is the conversation of a chofen few that smooths the rugged road of life: such as yours strews it with flowers; but as they soon fade, so did you vanish, and all the company that surrounded my hearth; which, though abandoned, will afford me such conversation as the pen can supply, whilst I have the pleasure of reading your thoughts ; which pleasure I hope you will not deny me, but rather send me any thing they may happen to add to the collection I have ; than which nothing can be more esteemed by, Sir, Your most obliged humble servant,
P.S. If I mistake not, I heard you say, you wanted a receipt to make sealing wax ; I transcribe one that was given me, but fear you cannot read that, nor this letter, as I write in haste. -Lady Hertford writes me word, she is charmed with your retreat : as she has only had the description of it from me, judge what she'd be if she saw it, at least if Mr. Thompson described it to her.