Page images

and rejoices that I have what he wanted. My first note was necessarily to my servant, who came in talking, and could not immediately comprehend why he should read what I put into his hands.

I then wrote a card to Mr. Allen, that I might have a discreet friend at hand to act as occasion should require. In penning this note I had some difficulty; my hand, I knew not how nor why, made wrong letters. I then wrote to Dr. Taylor to come to me, and bring Dr. Heberden, and I sent to Dr. Brocklesby, who is my neighbour. My physicians are very friendly and very disinterested, and give me great hopes, but you may imagine my situation. I have so far recovered my vocal powers as to repeat the Lord's Prayer with no very imperfect articulation. My memory, I hope, yet remains as it was: but such an attack produces solicitude for the safety of every faculty.

How this will be received by you I know not. I hope you will sympathize with me; but perhaps

My mistress gracious, mild, and good;
Cries, " Is he dumb?--'Tis time he shou'd!"

all our

But can this be possible? I hope it cannot. I hope that what, when I could speak, I spoke of you, and to you, will be in a sober and serious hour remembered by you; and surely it cannot be remembered but with some degree of kindness. I have loved you with virtuous affection; I have honoured you with sincere esteem. Let not

endearments be forgotten, but let me have in this great distress your pity and your prayers. You see I yet turn to you with my complaints, as a settled and unalienable friend; do not, do not drive me from you, for I have not deserved either neglect or hatred.

To the girls, who do not write often, for Susy has written only once, and Miss Thrale owes me a letter, I earnestly recommend, as their guardian and friend, that they remember their Creator in the days of their youth,

I suppose you may wish to know how my disease is treated by the phiysicians. They put a blister upon my back, and two from my ear to my throat, one on a side. The blister on the back has done little, and those on the throat have not risen: 1 bullied and bounced, (it sticks to our last sand,) and compelled the apothecary to make his Salve according to the Edinburgh Dispensatory, that it might adhere better. I have two on now of my own prescription. They likewise give me salt of hartsborn, which I take with no great confidence; but I am satisfied that what can be done is done for me.

O God! give me comfort and confidence in Thee: forgive my sins; and, if it be thy good pleasure, relieve my diseases for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

I am almost ashamed of this querulous letter, but noir it is written, let it go. I am, &c.


DEAR MADAM, AMONG those that have enquired after me, Sir Philip 'is one; and Dr. Burney was one of those who came to see * me. I have had no reason to complain of indifference or neglect. Dick Burney is come home five inches taller.

Yesterday in the evening I went to church, and have been to-day to see the great burning glass, which does more than was ever done before by the transmission of the rays, but is not equal in power to those which reflect them. It wastes a diamond placed in the focus, bùt causes no diminution of pure gold. Of the rubies exposed to its action, one was made more vivid, the other paler. To see the glass, I climbed up stairs to the garret, and then up a ladder to the leads, and talked to the artist rather too long; for my voice, though clear and distinct for a little while, soon tires and fasters. The organs of speechare yet very feeble, but will I hope be by the mercy of God finally restored: at present, like any other weak limb, they can endure but little labour at once. Would you not have been very sorry for me when I could scarcely speak?

Fresh cantharides were this morning applied to my head, and are to be continued some time longer. If they play me no treacherous tricks they give me very little pain.

Let me have your kindness and your prayers; and think on me as on a man, who, for a very great portion of your life, has done you all the good he could, and desires still to be considered, Madam, your, &c.

LETTER LI. To the Same.


London, July 1, 1783. THIS morning I took the air by a ride to Hampstead, and this afternoon I dined with the club. But fresh cantharides were this day applied to my head.

Mr. Cator called on me to-day, and told me that he had invited you back to Streatham. I shewed the unfitness of your return thither, till the neighbourhood should have lost its habits of depredation, and seemed to be satisfied. He invited me very kindly and cordially to try the air of Beckenham, and pleased me very much by his affectionate attention to Miss Vesy. There is much good in his character, and much usefulness in his knowledge.

Queeney seems now to have forgotten me. Of the different appearance of the hills and valleys an account may perhaps be given, without the supposition of any prodigy. If she had been out and the evening was breezy, the exhalations would rise from the low grounds very copiously; and the wind that swept and cleared the hills, would only by its cold condense the vapours of the sheltered valleys.

Murphy is just gone from me; he visits me very kindly, and I have no unkindness to complain of.

I am sorry that Sir Philip's request was not treated with more respect, nor can I imagine what has put them so much out of humour; I hope their business is prosper. ous.

I hope that I recover by degrees, but my nights are restless; and you will suppose the nervous system to be somewhat enfeebled. I am, Madam, your, &c.

LETTER LII, To the Same.

London, October 9, 1783. TWO nights ago Mr. Burke sat with me a long time; he seems much pleased with his journey. We had both seen Stonehenge this summer for the first time. I told him that the view had enabled me to confute two opinions which have been advanced about it. One that the materials are not natural stones, but an artificial composition hardened by time. This notion is as old as Camden's time; and has this strong argument to support it, that stone of that species is no where to be found. The other opinion, advanced by Dr. Charlton, is, that it was crected by the Danes.

Mr. Bowles made me observe, that the transverse stones were fixed on the perpendicular supporters by a knob formed on the top of the upright stone, which entered into a hollow cut in the crossing stone. This is a proof that the enormous edifice was raised by a people who had not yet the knowledge of mortar; which cannot be supposed of the Danes, who came hither in ships, and were not ignorant certainly of the arts of life. This proves likewise the stones not to be factitious; for they that could mould such durable masses could do much more than make mortar, and could have continued the transverse from the upright part with the same paste.

You have doubtless seen Stonehenge, and if you have not, I should think it a hard task to make an adequate description.

It is, in my opinion, to be referred to the earliest habi. tation of the island, as a druidical monument of at least two thousand years; probably the most ancient work of man upon the island. Salisbury cathedral and its neighbour Stonehenge, are two eminent monuments of art and rudeness, and may shew the first essay, and the last perfection in architecture.

I have not yet settled my thoughts about the generation of light air, which I indeed once saw produced, but I was at the height of my great complaint. I have made enquiry, and shall soon be able to tell you how to fill a balloon. I am, Madam, your, &c.



London, Dec. 27, 1783, THE wearisome solitude of the long evenings did indeed suggest to me the convenience of a club in my neighbourhood, but I have been hindered from attending it by want of breath. If I can complete the scheme, you shall have the names and the regulations.

The time of the year, for I hope the fault is rather in the weather than in me, has been very hard upon me. The muscles of my breast are much convulsed. Dr. He. berden recommends opiates, of which I have such horror that I do not think of them but in extremis. I was however driven to them last night for refuge, and having taken the usual quantity, durst not go to bed, for fear of that uneasiness to which a supine posture exposes me

« PreviousContinue »