« AnteriorContinuar »
Channel. I am sorry to say, that among my female acquaintance the joy of bringing home, cleverly concealed, shawls, lace, &c., seems to dwell more upon the fancy than museums of art or new scenes of nature; and truly, some of the young men seem better able to criticize French cookery than French conversation, or the Venus and Apollo. Is there not something strange and rather revolting in speaking of the French, as most have done for these twenty years past, with the utmost abhorrence and contempt,--and pouring ourselves over their country the moment it is accessible, to mix in their parties and bring home their fashions? ......... We have been full fed with novels lately, and shall be with poems. Think of a thick quarto of 's, entitled Fragments, being only a taste of the second part of a poem, which I suppose he means to give us some time or other. I should like to supply him with a motto :-“And of the fragments there were taken up twelve baskets full.”
April, 1817. It has been the impulse of my heart to write to you, and yet I hardly know how. What can I say? how can I express the shock this awful, this most affecting event has given me, has given all of us! How are the fairest hopes destroyed !
How are the dearest ties severed ' When was the uncertainty of life and all its hopes exemplified in a more solemn manner! Dear Grace' I had hoped myself sometime, perhaps this summer, to see more of her, to see her open the stores of her mind,-to see the modest flower expand and show all its lustre;—but it is shut up for ever here, to blow, I trust, in a happier climate. Young as she was, she has seen, perhaps, the best of life. Like Young's Narcissa, “She sparkled, was exhaled, and went to heaven.” No long sickness to wear the mind as well as body, none of the decays incident to a more advanced period; she leaves life, it is true, in all its freshness, but without having tasted its cares or sorrows. And is it nothing to have raised and cultured such a mind? Is she not fitter for another state, with higher powers, than many a one who has passed sixty years of a drowsy existence? May we not presume that, like a forward schoolboy, who has run rapidly through his classes and left the school, while others of his own age and standing are still drudging on, she will step into a higher form with more advantages? O but, I think I hear you say, the mother's heart must bleed. It must; I know it. God comfort you, my dear Mrs. F., and Mr. F., and all your family. Your mind will turn, I know it will, to the promising children you still have. One jewel has
Stoke Newington, Sept. 1819. How good you are to me, my dear Mrs. F., and how kind and how cheering are your expressions of regard! I will not tell you how much you have made me love you by your late visit. Your kindness, your frankness, the interest you have made me take in your family, the thought how much your own feelings have been tried, have made me look on you with mingled reverence and affection. I hope the Miss F.'s visit to London will have made sufficiently favourable impressions to induce them sometimes to repeat it; and yet I fancy I hear them saying, that after all, this great overgrown mass of buildings, these pushing, bustling, crowded streets,—this hubbub and hum of the busy hive,—that poverty and crime which form the back-ground of the gay picture, are not so attractive as their own Edinburgh, with its picturesque site,—the singularity of the Old, the splendour of the New town,--with the remembrances that attach (softened by being only remembrances) to the decayed palace and the closed doors of the hall of legislation—with taste and the spirit of inquiry emanating from the
seat of literature, and spreading its influence over society, and with all the romantic stories attached to glen and brook and heath, impressed with the still recent footsteps of a wild and hardy race, but lately brought within the pale of civilised society ;-stories the treasure-house of the poet and the novelist. And if they do make this preference, I have not much to say against it, provided you keep your Edinburgh as it is, and do not imitate us too much.
Our weather is still pleasant. I am going to spend two or three days at , Mr. and Miss B. and myself in a post-chaise. An agreeable companion in a post-chaise, though I would not advertise for one, is certainly an agreeable thing. You talk, and yet you are not bound to talk; and if the conversation drops, you may pick it up again at every brook or village, or seat you pass “ What's o'clock?” and “How's the wind ?” “ Whose chariot's that we left behind ?" You
may sulk in a corner if you will; nay, you may sleep without offence.
“AND when did you hear from Miss F.” “Pray, madam, when did you hear from Miss F.?” “I hope Miss F. is well ! Is she got to E yet?” This is a specimen of the questions often asked me by those who have been too much interested in the hours they enjoyed of your company while you were in this part of the world, not to feel an interest in you when you had left it. To these I reply, that I have not heard; that I shall be most happy at any time to hear, when dear Miss F. feels any inclination to write; that I do not think she is particularly fond of writing letters; and that I have myself too much of her taste in this respect, and am conscious of too many sins of my own in this matter, to urge any claims on other people, supposing I had them, which in this instance I do not pretend to have. At present, however, I cannot resist taking the opportunity, as the children say, of Mr. 's conveyance ... e - - - - - - - chiefly to express the affectionate remem