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and flattered at the very obliging manner in which you have shown that you remember me; and though much struck with the elegance of your fancy and the skillfulness of your fingers, I am still more delighted with the proof they give me of
your regard and affection.
It is generally said, that at your age impressions of friendship are easily made and soon worn out; but it is not so with you; and to say the truth, I should be mortified if it were, for I have myself too lively and pleasing a remembrance of the happy and sportive hours we enjoyed together at Thorpe, not to wish they should be equally dear to your mind. My thoughts, as well as Mr. B.'s, have often pursued you since. We have figured you as amongst your sweet companions, at once improving your heart in sensibility, accomplishing yourself in all that is elegant, and enjoying without fear or anxiety all the simple, innocent, cheerful pleasures which belong to that period of life you are now in. Enjoy and relish them while you may. You will never be again—I do not say so happy, for I hope your happiness will ever increase ---but you will never enjoy again the same kind of happiness which you do now, nor with so little mixture of uneasiness; and the long it is to keep as late as possible that entire openness, simplicity and ingenuousness which is the beautiful characteristic of your age.
Palgrave, Nov. 11th. I HAVE long been determined to seize the first moment of leisure to write to my dear Miss Dixon; but leisure is one of those things of which I enjoy the least, so I am at length determined to write without it. By the way, do you know the pedigree and adventures of Leisure ?
She was born somewhere amongst the Chaldean shepherds, where she became a favourite of Urania; and having been instructed in her sublime philosophy, taught men to observe the course of the stars, and to mark the slow revolution of seasons. The next we hear of her is in the rural mountains and valleys of Arcadia. In this delightful abode her charms made a conquest of the god Pan, who would often sit whole days by her side, tuning his pipe of unequal reeds. By him she had two beautiful children, Love and Poetry, the darlings of the shepherds, who received them in their arms, and brought them up amidst the murmur of bees, the falls of water, the lowing of cattle, and the various rural and peaceful sounds with which that region abounded. When the Romans spread the din of arms over the globe, Leisure was frightened from her soft retreats, and from the cold Scythian to the tawny Numidian could scarcely find a corner of the world to shelter
her head in. When the fierce Goth and Vandal approached, matters were still worse, and Leisure took refuge in a convent on the winding banks of the Seine, where she employed herself in making anagrams and cutting paper. Her retirement, however, did not pass without censure, for it is said she had an intrigue with the superior of the convent, and that the offspring of this amour was a daughter named Ennui.
Mademoiselle Ennui was wafted over to England in a north-east wind, and settled herself with some of the best families in the kingdom. Indeed the mother seldom makes any long residence in a place without being intruded on by the daughter, who steals in and seats herself silently by her side.
I hope, however, my amiable friend is now enjoying the company of the mother without fear of a visit from the daughter, whom her taste and liveliness will, I am sure, ever exclude from her habitation.
Thanks to my dear Miss Dixon for her frank and affectionate letter. A thousand good wishes attend her; but as I hope to breathe them soon from my lips, I shall spare my pen a task to which it is not adequate.
You have rejoiced my heart by allowing me to
hope that we shall still see you at Palgrave before the important event takes place. If you had not acknowledged that you were going to be married, I should naturally have concluded it from your saying you have not time to read Cecilia. Not time to read a novel !—that is so grave !-Nay, if I had not known you, I should have supposed you had been actually married a dozen years at least. But
you must read Cecilia, and you must read Hayley's poem, and you may read Scott's poems if you like, and at least you must look at the plates, &c.
Carcasonne, Feb. 15th, 1786. If at any time, and in any place, a letter from my dear Mrs. Beecroft has always given me a sensible pleasure, she will judge how grateful it must have been to my heart to be remembered by her with so much kindness and affection, and to be informed of her welfare, when the long absence, when the tracts of land and seas between us and those most dear to our hearts, render accounts from England doubly interesting. And indeed when I reflect that I am transported from the banks of the Waveney to the shores of the Mediterranean,
I am ready to cry out with Simkin, 6 Methinks we 're a wonderful distance from home.” The scenes we have passed through gratify cu
riosity and fill the imagination ; but you, my dear friend, in the mean time have found yourself in situations which awaken feelings the most tender and interesting May you experience, may you feel, all the sympathies, all the tender charities of every relation, all of which you are so fitted to adorn!
The ladies of this country, if I may trust what their own countrymen say of them, are not fond of these domestic ties; they wish not to be mothers of a numerous offspring; and their husbands, whose claim to the honour is somewhat more dubious, are still less flattered with being fathers to them. But let me give you some account of our route. From Calais we coasted, as I may say, the rich plains of Flanders and Artois, which however had lost their peculiar beauty, as the harvest was got in. We passed through a part of Haute Picardie, and leaving Paris on our right, advanced into Champagne, where we first saw the production that most distinguishes the climate of France from ours,—the boasted vineyards. Having visited the venerable cathedral of Rheims, we crossed several pleasant streams, and from Troyes traced the delightful windings of the Seine to its very source. We next visited Dijon in the midst of the vine-clad hills of Burgundy, and from thence, crossing the Saone, struck into Franchecomté; and from Dole to Besançon travelled along