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Southampton, July 10th. MY DEAR Mrs. CARR, Have you ever seen the isle of Wight? if not, you have not seen the prettiest place in the king's dominions. It is such a charming little island ! In this great island, which we set foot on half an hour ago, the sea is at such a distance from the greater part of it, that you have no more acquaintance with it than if you were in the heart of Germany; and even on the coast, England appears no more an island to the eye than France does; but in this little gem of the ocean called the isle of Wight, you see and feel you are in an island every moment. The great ocean becomes quite domestic; you see it from every point of view; you have it on the right hand, you look and have it on the left also; you see both sides of the island at once,-you look into every creek and corner of it, which produces a new and singular feeling. We have taken three different rides upon and under high cliffs, corn-fields and villages down to the water's edge, and a fine West India fleet in view, with the sails all spread, and her convoy most majestically sailing by her. We saw Lord Dysart's seat, and Sir Richard Worsley's : at the former there is a seat in the rock which shuts out every object but the shoreless ocean,—for it looks towards France : at the latter there is an
attempt at an English vineyard; the vines are planted on terraces one above another. Another day's excursion was to the Needles; we walked to the very point, the toe of the island: the seagulls were flying about the rock like bees from a hive, and little fleets of puffins with their black heads in the water. Allum bay looks like a wall of marble veined with different colours. The freshness of the sea air, and the beauty of the smooth turf of the downs on which we rode or walked, was inexpressibly pleasing. The next day we visited the north side of the island, richly wooded down to the water's edge, and rode home over a high down with the sea on both sides and a rich country between; the corn beginning to acquire the tinge of harvest time. In short, I do believe that if Buonaparte were to see the isle of Wight, he would think it a very pretty appanage for some third or fourth cousin, and would make him king of it—if he could get it.
Stoke Newington, Oct. 1822. MY DEAR Mrs. CARR, I Think I never was so long without seeing you since we were acquainted. May I hope that it will not be much longer? I want to know of the health and welfare of every individual of you
My love to your young ladies; tell them
I am sorry they must wait to be married till Parliament meets again; but every body says it is the most difficult thing in the world. Dr. indeed, has accomplished it in spite of obstacles; but he is a man of energy and perseverance. Englishmen are said to love their laws;—that is the reason, I suppose, they give us so many of them, and in different editions.
LETTERS TO MRS. SMITH.
Stoke Newington, Feb. 26, 1803.
It would have given me great pleasure to have been among those friends who crowd about you to congratulate your arrival again on English ground; but the distance,—first the severity of the weather, and then indisposition consequent upon it, prevent my having that pleasure. I cannot content myself, however, without writing a line to welcome you all home.
all home. We hear
We hear you have been very much pleased with Paris, which indeed was to be expected. The canvass people and the marble people must be sufficient to make a rich voyage of it, even if the French people had not opened their mouths.......
We are apt to accuse some of you travellers of bringing us over an influenza from Paris, softened indeed in passing over the Channel, but severe enough to set us all a-coughing. We try to amuse ourselves, however, with reading; and among other things have been greatly amused and interested with Hayley's Life of Cowper, which I would much advise you to read if it comes in your
way. Hayley, indeed, has very little merit in it, for it is a collection of letters with a very slender thread of biography; but many of the letters are charming, particularly to his relation Lady Hesketh ; and there is one poem to his Mary, absolutely the most pathetic piece that ever was written. We have also read, as I suppose you have done, Madame de Stael's Delphine. Her pen has more of Rousseau than any author that has appeared for a long time. I suppose you have heard it canvassed and criticized at Paris...
DEAR MADAM, Stoke Newington, Jan. 7, 1806. I THINK there is a spell against our profiting by your kind invitations. The occasion on which you now ask us to Parndon is a very interesting one, and we should have had great pleasure in keeping with you your silver feast, as the Germans call it when a couple have lived happily a quarter of a century together. But at present it is impossible......
It is perhaps after all as well for me that there is a circumstance which imperiously says “You cannot go;" because, apart from that consideration, if I were tempted by my inclination, a violent cold which I have upon me would, I fear, make me unequal to a winter journey. Meantime my heart is with you, and Mr. Barbauld's, and most cor