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of accompanying us, would be broken-hearted to be left behind.
In the midst of all these solicitudes, I laugh to think what they are made of, and what an important thing it is for me to travel. Other men steal away from their homes silently, and make no disturbance, but when I move, houses are turned upside down, maids are turned out of their beds, all the counties through which I pass appear to be in an uproar
-Surrey greets me by the mouth of the General, and Essex by that of Carwardine. How strange does all this seem to a
man whc has seen no bustle, and made none, for twenty years together!
TO THE REV. WILLIAM BULL. *
July 25, 1792. My dear Mr. Bull—Engaged as I have been ever since I saw you, it was not possible that I should write sooner; and, busy as I am at present, it is not without difficulty that I can write even now : but I promised you a letter, and must endeavour, at least to be as good as my word. How do you imagine I have been occupied these last ten days?
In sitting, not on cockatrice' eggs, nor yet to gratify a mere idle humour, nor because I was too sick to move; but because my cousin Johnson
* Private Correspondence.
has an aunt who has a longing desire of my picture, and because he would, therefore, bring a painter from London to draw it. For this purpose I have been sitting, as I say, these ten days; and am heartily glad that my sitting time is over. You have now, I know, a burning curiosity to learn two things, which I
choose whether I will tell you or not ; First, who was the painter; and secondly, how he has succeeded. The painter's name is Abbot. You never heard of him, you say. It is very likely; but there is, nevertheless, such a painter, and an excellent one he is. Multa sunt quæ bonus Bernardus nec vidit, nec audivit. To your second inquiry I answer, that he has succeeded to admiration. The likeness is so strong, that when my friends enter the room where the picture is, they start, astonished to see me where they know I am not. Miserable man that you are, to be at Brighton instead of being here, to contemplate this prodigy of art, which, therefore, you can never see; for it goes to London next Monday, to be suspended awhile at Abbot's; and then proceeds into Norfolk, where it will be suspended for ever.
But the picture is not the only prodigy I have to tell
you of. A greater belongs to me; and one that
you will hardly credit, even on my own testimony. We are on the eve of a journey, and a long one On this very day se'nnight we set out for Eartham, the seat of my brother bard, Mr. Hayley, on the other side of London, nobody knows where, a hundred and twenty miles off. Pray for us, my friend, that we may have a safe going and return.
It is a tremendous exploit, and I feel a thousand anxieties when I think of it. But a promise, made to him when he was here, that we would go if we could, and a sort of persuasion that we can if we will, oblige us to it. The journey, and the change of air, together with the novelty to us of the scene to which we are going, may, I hope, be useful to us both ; especially to Mrs. Unwin, who has most need of restoratives. She sends her love, to you and to Thomas, in which she is sincerely joined by
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston, July 29, 1792.
I win my desp’rate way,
Will echo your huzza .
You will wonder at the word desp'rate in the second line, and at the if in the third ; but could you have any conception of the fears I have had to bustle with, of the dejection of spirits that I have suffered concerning this journey, you would wonder much more that I still courageously persevere in my resolution to undertake it. Fortunately for my intentions, it happens, that as the day approaches my terrors abate ; for had they continued to be what they were a week since, I must, after all, have disappointed you; and was actually once on
the verge of doing it. I have told you something of my nocturnal experiences, and assure you now, that they were hardly ever more terrific than on this occasion. Prayer has however opened my passage at last, and obtained for me a degree of confidence that I trust will prove a comfortable viaticum to me all the way. On Wednesday therefore we set forth.
The terrors that I have spoken of would appear ridiculous to most, but to you they will not, for you are a reasonable creature, and know well that, to whatever cause it be owing (whether to constitution, or to God's express appointment) I am hunted by spiritual hounds in the night season. I cannot help it. You will pity me, and wish it were otherwise; and, though you may think there is much of the imaginary in it, will not deem it for that reason an evil less to be lamented
so much for fears and distresses. Soon I hope they shall all have a joyful termination, and I, my Mary, my Johnny, and my dog, be skipping with delight at Eartham!
Well! this picture is at last finished, and well finished, I can assure you. Every creature that has seen it has been astonished at the resemblance. Sam's boy bowed to it, and Beau walked up to it, wagging his tail as he went, and evidently showing that he acknowledged its likeness to his master. It is a half-length, as it is technically but absurdly called ; that is to say, it gives all but the foot and ankle. To-morrow it goes to town, and will hang
some months at Abbot's, when it will be sent to its due destination in Norfolk.t
I hope, or rather wish, that at Eartham I may recover that habit of study which, inveterate as it once seemed, I now seem to have lost—lost to such a degree, that it is even painful to me to think of what it will cost me to acquire it again.
Adieu ! my dear, dear Hayley; God give us a happy meeting. Mary sends her love-She is in pretty good plight this morning, having slept well, and for her part, has no fears at all about the journey.
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.*
July 30, 1792. My dear Friend—Like you, I am obliged to snatch short opportunities of corresponding with my friends; and to write what I can, not what I would. Your kindness in giving me the first letter after your return claims my thanks; and my tardiness to answer it would demand an apology, if, having been here, and witnessed how much my time is occupied in attendance on my poor patient, you could possibly want one. She proceeds, I trust, in her recovery; but at so slow a rate, that the difference made in a week is hardly perceptible to me, who am always with her. This
* To Mrs. Podbam's. + Private Correspondence.