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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 ? 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

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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 ?
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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