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LETTER I.

LEONARD TO STEPHEN.

From a country town: Oct. 24, 18-1. 'Two Neapolitans 'scaped '—to wit, myself And Johnnie Hirst;—maybe you ask from what? O Stephano! from that most dreary scene, Whether most drear in being countified Or countrified, I cannot clearly say; Each word involves a horror—countified, The synonym for stupid; countrified, For some unwritten adjective that tells Of dancing fit to make Terpsichore Tie up her feet for ever, in disgust, In cocoa-matting;—this have we escaped,— The noun that lends to these twain adjectives The utmost gloom of darkness,—ev'n a ball,

For to be countified—(I coin a verb

To match my adjective)—is not at times

The worst of evils; there are hounds or guns

For those who like them; likewise dinners, wines,

That shine, for those whose souls mahoganise

Their theologic system, with a light

Of other years, with promise of content,

And carelessness of walks at minor hours.

Nor to be countrified, in spite of that

Which Touchstone taught, in summer time at least,

Is equal to damnation; I recall

Visions of groves and meadows, close-cut lawns

Bruised with the treadings of small-booted feet,

Where laughter mingles with the ceaseless click

Of balls and mallets, where the ruling voice

Of village parson oftentimes is heard

Repressing vice with thrice the promptitude

Of Sabbatarian usage; —these are things

That make the states expressed by either verb

At times endurable, or even more.

But join the two in adjectival form,

And wreathe them, on a wet October night,

Around the noun I will not write again,

And horror stands completed! We have 'scaped,

'Scaped or survived, and hope are duly thankful

For this the least of mercies. Know you not

How, when some casual hospitable friend

Invokes you with a dinner, how you sit

And watch his flasks of logwood circling round,

Content to sip, and sip, and fill again,

Saved in the hope of coffee 1 Even so

Now sip I, out of very thankfulness

For good intention (scarce enough sometimes)

A scanty drop of last night's memories;

As for the rest, I leave them unto those

By whom such things are prized and coveted.

Yet not to be ungrateful, though the thing
Which gave me pleasure was not reckoned in
Among the many promised,—not to be

Too cynical, I may confess to you

That there was something which (it seems so

now) Was worth the reaching through the dreary pomp, The dull quintessence of stupidity Which has its birth, like Milton's melancholy, In Stygian caves—none more forlorn than that Which held us overnight. And this perhaps (I say 'perhaps' in view of future chances) It was that made me more susceptible To any smile that seemed l'Allegro's own; For know, I make a friend. 'Oh, rare!' you

cry; 'What was he like? Arabian looker-down 'On women, creatures guiltless of a soul! 'Cobbler, or Jehu of a country fly, 'Whose faith in coming Demos raises him 'Above the awls or ribbons of his craft?' No, I confess, a woman; one, besides, Not old, nor blue, nor differing from myself In social rank (whatever that may be); .'

And one, moreover, not devoid of that

Which is with most their only claim for worship;

For though no feature of her face would reach

Your standard of perfection, yet I thought

Her head and shape were perfect—statuesque.

No full-blown beauty of your Titian school,—

Titian, the master of the long smooth curve,

The fully veined, but nerveless, skin that speaks

A meagre share of soul, and oftentimes

A share by no means meagre of those passions

Which may sleep harmlessly, and not break out

In such refined adulteries as made

Venetian pomp foretell Venetia's fall.

(You laugh, I know; but I must have my fling.)

But for my statue—has she got a name 1

Her name is Johnstone,—Eucharis, I think,

I heard them call her; surely you must know,

As one that moves in almost every sphere,

Her mother's name—the selfsame Johnstone who

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