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left it. But at the Italian theatre they have a delightful little piece, which under the name of a comic opera draws tears from all the world. It is called Nina, or La Folle d'Amour, and Mademoiselle du Gazon acts the part of Nina; and does it with such enchanting grace, such sweet and delicate touches of sensibility and passion, as I never saw upon any theatre. It is the sweet bells jangled out of tune, but not harsh: no raving, no disorder of dress; but
every look and gesture showed an unsettled mind, and a tenderness inimitable. At the Opera they have likewise an actress full of grace, Mademoiselle St. Huberti ; but there it is a grace beyond mere nature. Everybody (that is everybody who follows the fashion) leaves Paris in the summer, which was not the case some years ago. We stay now for a fine show,--the procession on the Fête Dieu, in which all the tapestry of the Gobelins is exposed in the streets. We shall return by Calais and proceed immediately to London, where we shall take lodgings for some time. Will
you do me the favour to remember us with grateful affection to all our friends at Norwich? there are so many that claim our esteem, I do not attempt to enumerate them; but do not forget to give a kiss for us to each of your dear boys, and to assure Mr. Taylor of Mr. Barbauld's and my affectionate esteem.
1806. I am now reading Mr. Johnes's Froissart, and I think I never was more struck with the horrors of war,-simply because he seems not at all struck with them; and I feel ashamed at my heart having ever beat with pleasure at the names of Cressy and Poitiers. He tells you the English marched into such a district; the barns were 'full, and cattle and corn plentiful; they burned and destroyed all the villages, and laid the country bare; such an English earl took a town, and killed men, women, and little children ;--and he never makes à remark, but shows he looks upon it as the usual mode of proceeding.
May, 1813. THERE is certainly at present a great deal of zeal in almost every persuasion ;-certainly much more in England, as far as I am able to judge, than when I was young. I often speculate upon what it will produce --not uniformity of opinion certainly; that is a blessing we seem not destined here to enjoy, if indeed it would be a blessing. But will it tend to universal toleration and enlarged liberality of thinking? or, with increase of zeal, will the church spirit of bigotry revive, and unite with the increasing power of government to crush the spirit of research and
freedom of opinion? Bible societies, missionary schemes, lectures, schools for the poor, are set on foot and spread, not so much from a sense of duty as from being the real taste of the times; and I am told that Mrs. Siddons's readings are much patronized by the evangelical people, as they are called, of fashion, who will not enter the doors of a theatre. Would that with all this there could be seen some little touch of feeling for the miseries of war, that are desolating the earth without end or measure! One should be glad to see some suspicion arise that it was not consistent with the spirit of the Gospel; but this you do not see even in good people.
Friends at a distance do not want some medium of sympathy though they do not meet. I have sometimes looked upon new books in that light. When I peruse a book of merit to be generally read, I feel sure, though not informed of it, that precisely the same stream of ideas which is flowing through my mind is flowing through my friend's also; and without any communication, either by word or letter, I know that he has ad. mired and criticized, and laughed and wept as I have done.
June 13, 1810. MY DEAR MRs. TAYLOR, ; A THOUSAND thanks for your kind letter; still more for the very kind visit that preceded it; though short, too short, it has left indelible impressions on my mind; my heart has truly had communion with yours,your sympathy has been balm to it; and I feel that there is no one now on earth to whom I could pour out that heart more readily, I may say so readily, as to yourself. Very good also has my dear amiable Mrs. Beecroft been to me, whose lively sweetness and agreeable conversation has at times won me to forget that my heart is heavy
I am now alone again, and feel like a person who has been sitting by a cheerful fire, not sensible at the time of the temperature of the air, but the fire removed, he finds the season is still winter. Day after day passes, and I do not know what I do with my time; my mind has no energy, nor power of application. I can tell you, however, what I have done with some hours of it, which have been agreeably employed in reading Mrs. Montague's Letters. I think her nephew has made a very agreeable present to the public; and I was greatly edified to see them printed in modest octavo, with Mrs. Montague's sweet face (for it is a very pretty face) at the head.
They certainly show a very extraordinary mind, full of wit, and also of deep thought and sound judgement. She seems to have liked not a little to divert herself with the odd and the ludicrous, and shows herself in the earlier letters passionately fond of balls and races and London company ; this was natural enough at eighteen. Perhaps you may not so easily pardon her for having early settled her mind, as she evidently had, not to marry except for an establishment. This seems to show a want of some of those fine feelings that one expects in youth: but when it is considered that she was the daughter of a country gentleman with a large family, and no fortune to expect, and her connexions all in high life, one is disposed to pardon her, especially as I dare say, she would never have married a fool or a profligate. I heard her say,--what I suppose very few can say,—that she never was in love in her life. Many of the letters are in fact essays; and I think had she turned her thoughts to write in that way, she would have excelled Johnson.
I have also turned over Lamþ’s Specimens of Old Plays, and am much pleased with them. I made a discovery there, that La Motte's fable of Genius, Virtue, and Reputation, which has been so much praised for its ingenious turn, is borrowed from Webster, an author of the age of Shakespear; or they have taken it from some