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cut down the trees in George-lane. Evelyn, in his book of Forest Trees, tells us of wicked men that cut down trees, and never prospered afterwards; yet nothing has deterred these audacious aldermen from violating the Hamadryads ofGeorgelane. As an impartial traveller I must however tell, that in Stow-street, where I left a draw-well, I have found a pump; but the lading-well in this ill-fated George-lane lies shamefully neglected.
I am going to-day or to-morrow to Ashbourne; but I am at a loss how I shall get back in time to London. Here are only chance coaches, so that there is no certainty of a place. If I do not come, let it not hinder your journey. I can be but a few days behind you; and I will follow in the Brighthelmstone coach. But I hope to come.
I took care to tell Miss Porter, that I have got another Lucy. I hope she is well. Tell Mrs. Salusbury, that I beg her stay at Streatham, for little Lucy's sake. I am, &c.
LETTER V. To the Same.
Lichfield, July 11, 1770. last letter nothing extraordinary has happened. Rheumatism, which has been very troublesome, is grown better. I have not yet seen Dr. Taylor, and July runs fast away. I shall not have much time for him, if he delays much longer to come or send. Mr. Grene, the apothecary, has found a book, which tells who paid levies in our parish, and how much they paid, above a hundred years ago. Do you not think we study this book hard? Nothing is like going to the bottom of things. Many families that paid the parish-rates are now extinct, like the race of Hercules. Pulvis et umbra sumus. What is nearest us touches us most. The passions rise higher at domestick than at imperial tragedies. I am not wholly unaffected by the revolutions of Sadler-street; nor can forbear to mourn a little when old names vanish away, and new come into their place.
Do not imagine, madam, that I wrote this letter for the sake of these philosophical meditations; for when I began it, I had neither Mr. Grene, nor his book, in my thoughts; but was resolved to write, and did not know what I had to send, but my respects to Mrs. Salusbury, and Mr. Thrale, and Harry, and the Misses. I am, dearest madam,
LETTER VI. To Mrs. Thrale.
Ashbourne, July 23, 1770. THERE had not been so long an interval between my two last letters, but that when I came hither I did not at first understand the hours of the post.
I have seen the great bull; and very great he is. I have seen likewise his heir apparent, who promises to inherit all the bulk and all the virtues of his sire. I have seen the man who offered a hundred guineas for the young bull, while he was yet little better than a calf. Matlock, I am afraid, I shall not see, but I purpose to see Dovedale; and after all this seeing, I hope to see you. I am, &c.
LETTER VII. To the same.
Ashbourne, July 3, 1771.. Last Saturday I came to Ashbourne; the dangers or the pleasures of the journey I have at present no disposition to recount; else might I paint the beauties of my native plains; might I tell of “ the smiles of nature, and the charms of art :" else might I relate how I crossed the Staffordshire canal, one of the great efforts of human labour, and human contrivance; which, from the bridge on which I viewed it, passed away on either side, and loses itself in distant regions, uniting waters that nature had divided, and dividing lands which nature had united. I might tell how these reflections fermented in my mind till the chaise stopped at Ashbourne, at Ashbourne in the Peak. Let not the barren name of the Peak terrify you; I have never wanted strawberries and cream. bull has no disease but age. I hope in time to be like the great bull; and hope you will be like him too a hundred years hence. I am, &c.
LETTER VIII. To Mrs. Thrale.
Ashbourne, July 10, 1771. I am obliged to my friend Harry, for his remembrance; but think it a little hard that I hear nothing from Miss.
There has been a man here to-day to take a farm. After some talk he went to see the bull, and said that he had seen a bigger. Do you think he is likely to get the farm ?
Toujours strawberries and cream.
Dr. Taylor is much better, and my rheumatism is less painful. Let me hear in return as much good of you and of Mrs. Salusbury. You despise the Dog and Duck; things that are at hand are always slighted. I remember that Dr. Grevil, of Gloucester, sent for that water when his wife was in the same danger ; but he lived near Malvern, and
you live near the Dog and Duck. Thus, in difficult cases, we naturally trust most what we least know.
Why Bromfield, supposing that a lotion can do good, should despise laurel-water in comparison with his own receipt, I do not see; and see still less why he should laugh at that which Wall thinks efficacious. I am afraid philosophy will not warrant much hope in a lotion.
Be pleased to make my compliments from Mrs. Salusbury to Susy. I am, &c.
LETTER IX. To the Same.
October, 31, 1772. Though I am just informed, that, by some accidental negligence, the letter which I wrote on Thursday was not given to the post, yet I cannot refuse myself the gratification of writing again to my mistress; not that I have any thing to tell, but that by showing how much I am employed upon you, I hope to keep you from forgetting me.
Doctor Taylor asked me this morning on what I was thinking ? and I was thinking on Lucy. I hope Lucy is a good girl. But she cannot yet be so good as Queeney. I have got nothing yet for Queeney's cabinet.
I hope dear Mrs. Salusbury grows no worse. I wish any thing could be found that would make her better. You must remember her admonition, and bustle in the brewhouse. When I come, you may expect to have your hands full with all of us.
. Our bulls and cows are all well; but we yet hate the man that had seen a bigger bull. Our deer have died; but many are left. Our waterfall at the garden makes a great roaring this wet weather.
And so no more at present from, Madam, your, &c.