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company. As I presume you see him frequently, you will please remember me to him, and I hope to hạve the pleasure of hearing him sing the Merry Ploughman over a bottle of claret before the end of October.
Nothing could have given me greater pleasure than the change I observed in ******** His former humour of turning every thing into ridicule made me apprehensive that he might do more mischief than good by his genius; but his serious and steady deportment now encourages me to hope for something very extraordinary from him, as I know him to be capable of doing something clever. You will not fail in making my compliments acceptable to him.
ft would give me the greatest pleasure to be present at your Thursday-night meetings, especially as you are a select party, and all pure genii of the right sterling philosophical stamp; but that is a piece of happiness which I cannot at present enjoy. I hope, however, to see you in four weeks or so. You have my hearty wishes for success; but I can't see any reason for your depending so absolutely upon the approbation of Lord Kames. Vol. I.
I have reason to believe that, with work, at least the moral part of it, will be better received without than with his approbation. Yours, &c.
P.S.I shall never cut a figure at the bottom of a letter while I live, by squeezing my name into a corner. If
write soon after the receipt of this, I shall have the pleasure of hearing from you again before I come north; and pray,
you do write, give me at least measure for measure. The only fault of your letters is their ending too soon. Your apology of wanting matter is certainly the worst you could make for many reasons. But I must say little, as my errors are generally in the other extreme, and I find it just as easy to write a long letter about nothing as of something
The concluding reflection in the foregoing letter alludes to a philosophical work which Mr Smellie then had in contemplation, and expresses a sentiment which does not do much honour to the Doctors judgment and penetration ; the approbation of Lord KAMES was most valuable to whoever had the honour and happiness to deserve and obtain it.
We now approach the more busy period of Mr SMELLIRS life, when he became involved in the cares of providing for a family, and began to engage in literary projects for himself and others. In giving an account of the incidents of his life, and of his literary projects and adventures, it is hardly possible to follow any exact order of arrangement; at least, the several circumstances cannot be reduced to any exact chronological series. Several of the transactions which we shall have to record were the employment of successive years, and some of them were in a considerable degree simultaneous. It has therefore been judged most convenient to treat of each prominent circumstance separately, to prevent confounding persons, events, and subjects with each other; and it has been endeavoured to do this as much according to the order of time as circumstances and information would admit.
In one of the letters already inserted, it will be seen that Mr Smellie, though constantly employed in business, and much occupied with study, became deeply enamoured of a young lady with whom he had formed an acquaintance, and to whom he was soon afterwards married. At the commencement of this attachment, he could not exceed twenty-two years of age; and the object of his affections was about seventeen. He was then corrector of the press to Messrs MURRAY & COCHRANE, with a salary of about forty-two pounds a-year'; and, with the usual sanguine ideas of youth and inexperience, flattered himself that this scanty income might enable him to encounter the cares and expences of domestic economy with decent comfort. In appreciating his probable income for these purposes, he quoted to his bosom friend and confident the considerable addition which his destined bride would bring to the domestic fund, by the profits of her industry, which he estimated at thirty pounds a-year. But he seems entirely to have left out of view the obstructions which might reasonably be expected to lessen her economical endeavours, through the necessary attention to domestic affairs, and, the probable consequence of matrimony, the cares of a rising family.
We have no memorials of the progress of this attachment, except that, from the letter already mentioned, it appears to have
been reciprocal; and all the eloquent prudence of his confidential friend was unavailing to persuade him to banish anxious love from his mind. In the year 1763, when about twenty-three years of age, Mr Smellie was married to Miss Jean Robertson, who was born in London, being the daughter of Mr John ROBERTSON, an eminent army agent, a native of the shire of Cromarty. At one time, Mr Robertson was agent for twelve regiments, and had realized a considerable fortune: but, in consequence of living extravagantly among the great military characters with whom he was connected by means of his employment, his circumstances became involved, and his family was reduced to indigence at his death. Mrs ROBERTSON, the mother of Mrs Smellie, was the daughter of a Mr Hugh MACDONALD. Her maternal grandmother was Janet SMART, the daughter of a very respectable family in Musselburgh. Mr AlexANDER GRAY, one of the clerks of Session, was her uncle by marriage; and his son, Mr Alexander Ross GRAY, full cousin to Mrs Smellie, succeeded her father Mr Robertson as an army agent, and acquired a great fortune. The present Mrs Oswald of Dunikier is her full cousin, their mothers