Anna St. Ives
Part 2 out of 11
shall I forego a right so precious, if it be mine?--No! Kingdoms shall
not tempt me!--Why is this timidity? Why does my heart palpitate? Why
with inward whispers do I murmur thoughts which I dare not speak aloud?
Why do they rise quivering to my lips, and there panting expire,
painfully struggling for birth, but in vain? Oh! How poorly do I paint
what so oppressively I feel!
I would have thee read my whole heart. I shudder to suppose it possible
I should be a seducer. Falsely to be thought so would trouble me but
little. But tamely to yield up felicity so inestimable, in compliance
with the errors of mankind to renounce a union which might and ought to
be productive of so much good, is not this a crime?--Speak without
fear. Shew me what is right. Convince me, then blame me if I quail.
And now, Oliver, it is probable thou wilt not see me for these three
months. Delicate as these money favours are become in the transactions
of men, contemptible as they often are in themselves, and unwilling as
I have been to subject myself to them, I am glad that she has
conquered. I would not have hesitated a moment; for obligation, if
obligation it were, to her would be heaven: but she has her own wants,
her own mode of doing good. These I was very desirous not to abridge.
But, since I must either comply or remain behind, I am glad to have
been so honourably vanquished.
My father, I know, is willing enough I should go to France, or where I
please, so that I do not ask him for money. Indeed he told me as much.
He thinks it matters not what becomes of a fellow so useless, and so
idle, as he supposes me to be. However I have written to inform him of
my intention, and once more to remind him, though certainly in vain, of
the manner in which he ought to act.
P.S. Thou art an unwilling, sluggish correspondent. I have just
received thine of the 21st. I find I am in no danger of reproof, from
thee, for the acceptance of these pecuniary obligations: but I half
suspect, from the tenor of thy letter, that thou wouldst bid me take
all that any body is willing to give. Be just to thyself and thy
friend, Oliver; shrink not from wholesome severity. Let not thy suavity
of temper, or thy partial kindness to me, sway thee to the right or the
left; lest hereafter I should make the fearful demand of my lost
principles, or at least relaxed and enfeebled, from thee. Beware of the
kindness of thy heart.
Do not omit my most respectful and kind acknowledgments to thy father
_Anna Wenbourne St. Ives to Louisa Clifton_
I have had a strong contest, my dear, with our favourite youth, to
overcome what I believe I have convinced him is prejudice; and I hope
he is cured of false delicacy, for the future. He is to go with us to
France, and is no longer under the necessity of abstaining from
innocent and instructive amusements, because he is possessed of
sensibility and a high respect for virtue. But he had no sooner
accepted this supply than away he was gone to his convert. This I
suspected. For which reason I had previously dispatched Mrs. Clarke to
visit her nephew. The good woman could not be prevailed on to receive
any money for his relief; urging that she was very capable of supplying
him herself. That being so, I did not choose violently to contest the
matter with her; as I do not wish to encourage the most distant
approaches to a spirit of avarice. I only told her it would be unjust
should she ever want money, for useful and virtuous purposes, if she
did not apply to me: and she with much good sense answered she thought
as I did, and would certainly act accordingly. She is a very worthy
She was with her nephew when Frank came in; and the scene, as described
by her, was affecting. The poor culprit had been repeating all his
obligations to the generous Frank, praising his bravery, and dwelling,
with a degree of conviction which gave Mrs. Clarke great pleasure, on
the effects of goodness; since it could render a man so undaunted, so
forgiving, so humane, and so much as he said like a saint. You know, my
dear, that saint, in the language of such people, does not mean an
impostor, who pretends to carry burning coals in his hands, drive rusty
nails into his legs, adore a morsel of rotten wood, or decayed bone,
and pretend to work miracles, or preach exclusive doctrines of faith
and salvation. A saint with them is a person more perfect, in the
discharge of the highest moral duties, than they believe any other
earthly being to be. Let us accept their definition, and enroll the
name of Frank Henley in our calendar.
Frank was disappointed, and in some measure displeased, that any person
should offer his reformed friend, as from the best of motives he called
him, money but himself; and the reason he gave was not without its
force. This is a memorable epocha in the life of a mistaken man, said
he; and no means, which can move his mind to a better performance of
his duties than he has hitherto attempted, should be left untried. It
is but natural that he should think more of me than of most other
persons: ['I can think of no one else!' Exclaimed the poor fellow, with
enthusiasm.] and, the more cause he shall have to remember me with
affection, the more weight will the reasons have with him which I have
The culprit acknowledged that, from ill advice, vicious example, and
violent passions, he had become very wicked. But, said he, I must be
wicked indeed if I could ever forget what this gentleman has said, and
done, to save my family from shame and ruin, and me from destruction
There is the greater reason to hope, because Mrs. Clarke says that he
has been what is called well educated, his station in life considered:
and indeed of this I imagine she herself had taken care.
Peggy came in, and by her excess of gratitude, and which is better of
admiration for her hero, she drove the over delicate Frank away. This
is one of his defects, for which we must endeavour to find a remedy.
Men are not exposed to the fulsome praise which we unmarried females
are calmly obliged to hear, or be continually at war; or Frank would be
more patient. Indeed he ought to be; because, in this instance, the
praises he receives are the effusions of persons who had never before
seen virtue exert herself with so much ardour.
Though the nephew be not an old or hardened offender, he has committed
some depredations of the consequences of which, were they proved upon
him, he himself is ignorant. His accomplice has discovered his retreat;
another more private lodging has therefore been taken for him, to which
he is to remove with all possible caution. And when he is sufficiently
recovered, which Mrs. Clarke tells me will be soon, he is then to
depart for the continent and work at his trade, which is that of a
cabinet-maker. English workmen are in high esteem abroad, and he will
easily find employment. He is more than reconciled to labour, he is
eager to begin; and, as it appears, does not want activity of mind; of
which the dangerous expedients to which he resorted are some proof.
So much for the history of a highwayman; which I think is at least as
deserving of remembrance as that of many other depredators.
I have been making some efforts to decide the question, not of love,
but, of duty. Love must not be permitted, till duty shall be known. I
have not satisfied myself so well as I could wish, yet my former
reasons seem invincible. Ought my father and my family to be offended?
Ought I to set an example that might be pernicious? Is it most probable
that by opposing I should correct or increase the world's mistakes? The
path before me is direct and plain; ought I to deviate?
In vain I fear should I plead his extraordinary merit. Would the plea
remove the load of affliction with which I should overwhelm those who
love me best? At present they think well, nay highly of me. I sometimes
have the power to influence them to good. What power shall I have when
they imagine I have disgraced both myself and them?
Who ever saw those treated with esteem who are themselves supposed to
be the slaves of passion? And could the world possibly be persuaded
that a marriage between me and the son of my father's steward could
ever originate, on my part, in honourable motives?
Ought I to forget the influence of example? Where is the young lady,
being desirous to marry an adventurer, or one whose mind might be as
mean as his origin, who would not suppose her favourite more than the
equal of Frank? For is not the power of discrimination lost, when the
passions are indulged? And ought my name to be cited? Ought they to be
encouraged by any act of mine?
Yet the opposing arguments are far from feeble. His feelings are too
strong to be concealed. Perhaps the only weakness I can think him
capable of is that of loving me. For if love be contradictory to
reason, it is a weakness; but should he answer that love and reason are
in this instance united, we must come to proofs. That he loves is too
visible to admit of doubt. I have seen the word trembling as it were on
his tongue. I am almost certain that a silly thing which I said, with a
very different intention, would have produced an avowal of his passion,
had I not added something to prevent it, and hurried away.
Well then! Am I certain I am guilty of no injustice to him? And why
ought I not to be as just to him as to any other being on earth? Who
would be more just to me? Who would be more tender, more faithful, more
I know not whether I ought to shrink from the vanity which seems
annexed to the idea, for I know not whether it be vanity, but I cannot
sometimes help asking myself whether the good that might result from
the union of two strong minds, mutually determined to exert their
powers for the welfare of society, be not a reason superior even to all
those I have enumerated.
If this be so, and if our minds really possess the strength which I am
so ready to suppose, I then know not what answer to give. I reject the
affectation of under estimating myself, purposely that I may be called
a modest humble young lady. Humility I am persuaded, though not so
common, is as much a vice as pride. But, while avoiding one extreme, I
must take care not to be guilty of another. The question is
embarrassing; but I must not by delay suffer embarrassment to increase.
With respect to your brother, I can at present conclude nothing, and
can conjecture but little. The idea which has oftenest occurred, and
which I have before mentioned, is the infinite pleasure of seeing an
active mind in the full possession of its powers; and of being
instrumental in restoring that which mistake may have injured, or in
part destroyed. It seems a duty pointed out to me; attended perhaps
with difficulty, and it may be with danger; but these increase its
force. And if so, here is another argument to add to the heaviest
Yes. It must be thus. The more I examine, and while I am writing
perhaps I examine the best, the more I am confirmed in my former
Pity for Frank ought not to be listened to. It is always a false
motive, unless supported by justice. Frank will never condescend to
endeavour to incite compassion; it is not in his character. He will
rather assert his claims, for so he ought. I do not mean that a
complaint will never escape him. The best of us are not always so
perfectly master of our thoughts as never to be inconsistent. But his
system will not be to win that by intercession which he could not
obtain by fair and honourable barter. The moment I have entirely
satisfied and convinced myself, I have no doubt of inducing him to
behave as nobly on this as he has done on every other trying occasion.
And now, my dear Louisa, for the present farewel. I do not suppose I
shall write again, except a line to inform you of our safe arrival
after having crossed the channel, till we come to Paris. I expect to be
amused by the journey. Though I cannot but own I think that, as far as
amusement was concerned, the good ladies under the reign of the Tudors,
who travelled twenty miles a day, on a strong horse and a pillion, that
is when summer made the roads passable, had much better opportunities
for observation than we, who, shut up in our carriages, with blinds to
keep out the dust, gallop further in two days and two nights than they
could do in a month. This hasty travelling, when haste is necessary, is
a great convenience. But nothing, except the inordinate ardour of the
mind to enjoy, could induce people on a journey of pleasure to hurry,
as they do, through villages, towns, and counties, pass unnoticed the
most magnificent buildings, and the most delightful prospects that
forests, rivers, and mountains can afford, and wilfully exclude
themselves from all the riches of nature. To look about us, while thus
surrounded, seems to be a very natural wish. And if so, a portable
closet, or rather a flying watch-box, is but a blundering contrivance.
You know your Anna: her busy brain will be meddling. And perhaps she
trusts too much to the pardoning affection of friendship.
Once again, adieu.
Yours ever and ever,
A. W. ST. IVES
_Frank Henley to Abimelech Henley_
That I may not appear to neglect any filial duty, all of which it has
been my most earnest wish to fulfil, I write to inform you that, at the
request of the family, I am preparing to accompany Sir Arthur to
France. From our last conversation I understood you had no objection to
the journey, except that of furnishing me with money; for it was your
pleasure to remind me that a man so idle, as you suppose I am, may be
or go any where, without the world suffering the least loss. I own, did
I imagine the same of myself, it would make me wretched indeed.
You thought proper, sir, to refuse me the small sum which I requested
of you for this purpose. I do not wish to wrest what you are unwilling
to give. You understand your own reasonings best; but to me they appear
to be either erroneous or incomprehensible. I wished to explain to you
what my plan of life was, but you refused to hear me. I had no sooner
said that I thought it my duty to study how I could best serve society,
than you angrily told me I ought first to think how I could best serve
myself. From a recollection of the past, I am convinced this is a point
on which we shall never have the same opinion. For this I am sincerely
sorry, but as I hope not to blame.
Suffer me however once more to repeat, sir, that though my young lady
has kindly offered to furnish me with money, I still think it wrong
that you should permit me to accept her offer; having as I am well
convinced the means to supply me liberally yourself. I assure you, sir,
I would forbear to go, or to lay myself under the necessity of asking
you for money, were I not fully persuaded of its propriety. In order to
perform my duty in the world, I ought to understand its inhabitants,
its manners, and principally its laws, with the effects which the
different legislation of different countries has produced. I believe
this to be the highest and most useful kind of knowledge.
Could I fortunately induce you to think as I do, you certainly would
not refuse my request. Thirty pounds to you would be but a trifle. But
from my late failure I have so little hope, that I rather write to
execute a duty, than with any expectation of success.
I submit this to your consideration, and have the greatest desire to
prove myself your dutiful and affectionate son,
_Abimelech Henley to Frank Henley_
Here's a hippistle! Here's tantarums! Here's palaver! Want to pick my
pocket? Rob me? And so an please ee he's my dutyfool and fekshinait
son! Duty fool, indeed? I say fool--Fool enough! And yet empty enough
God he knoweth! You peery? You a lurcher? You know how to make your 3
farthins shine, and turn your groats into guineas?--Why you're a noodl!
A green horn! A queezee quaumee pick thank pump kin! A fine younk lady
is willin to come down with the kole, and the hulver headed hulk wants
to raise the wind on his own father! You face the philistins! Why they
will bite the nose off a your face!
Thirty pounds too! The mercy be good unto me! Me thirty pounds! Where
must I get thirty pounds! Does the joult head think I coin? Would he
have me go on the highway? Who ever giv'd me thirty pounds? Marry come
up! Thirty pounds? Why I came to Wenbourne-Hill with thrums immee
pouch. Not a brass farthin more. And now show me the he or the
hurr--Shiner for shiner--Hool a cry hold first?--Thos as to the matter
of that, younker, why that's a nether here nor there; that's a nothink
to you dolt. I never axt you for nothink. Who begottee and sentee into
the world but I? Who found ee in bub and grub but I? Didn'tee run about
as ragged as any colt o' the common, and a didn't I find duddz for ee?
And what diddee ever do for me? Diddee ever addle half an ounce in your
life without being well ribb rostit? Tongue pad me indeed! Ferrit and
flickur at me! Rite your hippistles and gospels! I a butturd my
parsnips finely! Am I a to be hufft and snufft o' this here manner, by
a sir jimmee jingle brains of my own feedin and breedin? Am I to be
ramshaklt out of the super nakullums in spite o' my teeth? Yea and go
softly! I crack the nut and you eat the kernel!
I tellee once again you've an addle pate o' your own! Go to France to
learn to dance, to be sure! Better stay at home and learn to
transmogrify a few kink's picters into your pocket. No marry come
fairly! Squire Nincompoop! He would not a sifflicate Sir Arthur, and
advise him to stay at home, and so keep the rhino for the roast meat!
He would not a take his cue, a dunder pate! A doesn't a know so much as
his a, b, c! A hasn't so much as a single glimm of the omnum gathrum in
his noddl! And pretends to hektur and doktur me! Shave a cow's tail and
a goat's chin, an you want hair.
And then again what did I say to ee about missee? What did I say?
Didn't I as good as tellee witch way she cast a sheepz i? That indeed
would a be summut! An you will jig your heels amunk the jerry cum
poopz, you might a then dance to some tune. I a warruntee I a got all a
my i teeth imme head. What doesn't I know witch way the wind sets when
I sees the chimblee smoke? To be sure I duz; as well with a wench as a
weather-cock! Didn't I tellee y'ad a more then one foot i'the stirrup?
She didn't a like to leave her jack in a bandbox behind her; and so
missee forsooth forgot her tom-tit, and master my jerry whissle an
please you galloped after with it. And then with a whoop he must amble
to Lunnun; and then with a halloo he must caper to France! She'll
deposit the rhino; yet Nicodemus has a no notion of a what she'd be at!
If you've a no wit o' your own, learn a little of folks that have some
to spare. You'll never a be worth a bawbee o' your own savin. I tellee
that. And ast for what's mine why it's my own. So take me ritely, now
is your time to look about ee. Then indeed! If so, why so be it; yea ay
and amen, a God's name, say I. The fool a held his mouth open, and a
down a droppt the plumb.
Not after all that it would a be any sitch a mighty mirakkillus catch
nether, as I shall manage matters mayhap. But that's a nether here nor
there. And so you know my mind. Take it or leave it or let it alone.
It's all a won to I. Thos and I gives all this here good advice for
nothink at all, what do I get by it? Give me but the wide world and one
and 20, with 5 farthins ten fingurs and a tongue, and a turn me adrift
to morrow; I'de a work my way: I'de a fear nether wind nor weather. For
why? I'de a give any man a peck of sweet words for a pint of honey.
What! Shall I let the lock rustee for a want of a little oilin? Haven't
I a told ee often and often, that a glib tongue, smooth and softly,
always with the grain, is worth a kink's kinkddum?
So mind a what ee be at. Play your cards out kuninlee; and then, why if
so be as thinks should turn up trumps, why we shall see. That is, take
me ritely; and I has a no notion that ee should take it into your nobb
noddl that I means to suppose that I shall come down with the dust. No
forsooth! For what and for why and for wherefore? We shall see--Why ay
to be sure!--But what shall we see? Why we shall see how generous and
how kappaishus my younker will be, to his poor old father: we shall see
Not but if the ready be wantin, plump do you see me, down on the nail
head, and if Sir Arthur should a say as it must be so, why so. Mayhap
we--But I tell ee again and again that's a nether here nor there.
Besides leave me to hummdudgin Sir Arthur. Mind you your hitts with
missee, I'll a foistee fubb he.
And so now show your affection for all this my lovin kindness and
mercy; and crown my latter days with peace and joy, witch nothink can
xseed but the joys of heaven in his glory everlastin, witch is a
preparin for me and for all kristshun soles, glory and onnur and power
and praise and thanks givin, world without end, for ever and ever, God
be good unto us, and grant us his salvation; amen, and it be his holy
_The Honourable Mrs. Clifton to her son, Coke Clifton_
I Direct this letter to you, my dear son, at Paris; where it will
either find you, or lie at the banker's till your arrival. A packet
accompanies it, which contains the accounts of your late uncle with
Monsieur de Chateauneuf; by which it appears there is a considerable
balance in his favour, which as you know by will devolves to me.
I hope, when you have settled this business, you will be disposed to
return to England; and that I shall once again have the happiness to
see you before I die. Do not imagine I speak of death to attract any
false pity. But my state of health obliges me to consider this serious
event as at no great distance; though I do not think myself in
Sir Arthur St. Ives and his lovely daughter will soon be in Paris. They
requested letters from me; and, among others, I thought I could not
recommend them to any one with more propriety than to my son. There is
an intimacy between our families at present; which was first occasioned
by an affection which your sister Louisa and Anna St. Ives conceived
for each other, and which has continually increased, very much indeed
to my satisfaction. For, before I saw this young lady, I never met with
one whom I thought deserving of the friendship of your sister, Louisa;
whose strength of mind, if I do not mistake, is very extraordinary for
her years. Yet even I, her mother, and liable enough to be partial,
have sometimes thought she must cede the palm to her friend, the
My reason for writing thus is that you may be guilty of no mistakes of
character, which indeed I think is very unlikely, and that you will
shew Sir Arthur all possible respect, as well as his daughter, in
justice to yourself, and as the friends of the family. Your sister
writes under the same cover; and I cannot doubt, whenever you read her
letters, but that you must receive very great satisfaction, to find you
have such a sister.
I scarcely need tell you, Clifton, that though you have resided but
little with me, I feel all the fond affection of a parent; that I am
earnestly desirous to hear of your happiness, and to promote it; and
that no pleasure which the world could afford to me, personally, would
equal that of seeing you become a good and great man. You have studied;
you have travelled; you have read both men and books; every advantage
which the most anxious desire to form your mind could procure has been
yours. I own that a mother's fondness forms great expectations of you;
which, when you read this, be your faculties strong or weak, you will
very probably say you are capable of more than fulfilling. The feeble,
hearing their worth or talents questioned, are too apt to swell and
assume; and I have heard it said that the strong are too intimately
acquainted with themselves to harbour doubt. I believe it ought to be
so. I believe it to be better that we should act boldly, and bring full
conviction upon ourselves when mistaken, than that a timid spirit
should render us too cautious to do either good or harm. I would not
preach; neither indeed at present could I. A thousand ideas seemed
crowding upon my mind; but they have expelled each other as quickly as
they came, and I scarcely know what to add. My head-achs disqualify me
for long or consistent thinking; and nothing I believe but habit keeps
me from being half an idiot.
One thing however I cannot forget; which is, that I am your mother,
Clifton; and that I have the most ardent and unremitting desire to see
you a virtuous and a happy man. In which hope my blessing and love are
most sincerely yours.
_Louisa Clifton to Her Brother, Coke Clifton_
It is long, my dear brother, since I received a letter from you; and
still longer since I had the pleasure to see you. How many rivers,
seas, valleys, and mountains have you traversed, since that time! What
various nations, what numerous opposite and characteristic countenances
have you beheld! From all and each of them I hope you have learned
something. I hope the succession of objects has not been so quick as to
leave vacuity in the mind.
My propensity to moralize used formerly [And our formerlies you know,
brother, are not of any long duration.] to tease and half put you out
of temper. Indulge me once more in hoping it will not do so at present;
for I believe I am more prone to this habit than ever. What can I say
to my brother? Shall I tattle to him the scandal of the village, were I
mistress of it? Shall I describe to him the fashion of a new cap; or
the charms of a dress that has lately travelled from Persia to Paris,
from Paris to London, and from London to Rose-Bank? Or shall I recount
the hopes and fears of a sister; who has sometimes the temerity to
think; who would be so unfashionable as to love her brother, not for
the cut of his coat, not for the French or Italian phrases with which
he might interlard his discourse, not for any recital of the delight
which foreign ladies took in him and which he took in foreign ladies,
not for a loud tongue and a prodigious lack of wit, not for any of the
antics or impertinences which I have too frequently remarked in young
men of fashion, but for something directly the reverse of all these:
for well-digested principles, an ardent desire of truth, incessant
struggles to shake off prejudices; for emanations of soul, bursts of
thought, and flashes of genius. For such a brother, oh how eager would
be my arms, how open my heart!
Do not think, my dear Clifton, I am unjust enough to mean any thing
personal; to satirize what I can scarcely be said to have seen, or to
condemn unheard. No. Your faculties were always lively. You have seen
much, must have learned much, and why may I not suppose you are become
all that a sister's heart can desire? Pardon me if I expect too much.
Do we not all admire and seek after excellence? When we are told such a
person is a man of genius, do we not wish to enquire into the fact?
And, if true, are we not desirous of making him our intimate? And do
not the ties of blood doubly enforce such wishes, in a brother's
behalf? From what you were, I have no doubt but that you are become an
accomplished man. But I hope you are also become something much better.
I hope that, by the exertion of your talents, acquirements, and genius,
I shall see you the friend of man, and the true citizen of the world.
If you are all that I hope, I think you will not be offended with these
sisterly effusions. If you are not, or but in part, you may imagine me
vain and impertinent. But still I should suppose you will forgive me,
because you are so seldom troubled with such grave epistles; and one
now and then, if not intolerably long, may be endured from an elder
Yet why do I say elder? Neither age nor station have any just claim;
for there can be none, except the claims of truth and reason; against
which there is no appeal. I am eighteen months older than my brother,
and up rises the claim of eldership! Such are the habits, the
prejudices we have to counteract.
My dear mamma has mentioned Sir Arthur St. Ives, in her letter, and his
lovely daughter, Anna; more lovely in mind even than in form, and of
the latter a single glance will enable you to judge. I need not request
you to be attentive and civil to her, for it is impossible you should
be otherwise. Your own gratification will induce you to shew her the
public places, and render her every service in your power; which will
be more than overpaid by associating with her; for it is indeed a
delight to be in her company. For grace and beauty of person, she has
no equal; and still less can she be equalled, by any person of her age,
for the endowments of wit and understanding. I am half angry with
myself for pretending to recommend her; when, as you will see, she can
so much more effectually recommend herself.
I have nothing to add except to say that, when my dear brother has a
moment's leisure, I shall be glad to hear from him; and that I remain
his very affectionate sister,
P.S. On recollection, I am convinced it is a false fear which has
prevented me from mentioning another person, very eminently deserving
of esteem and respect; a fear of doing harm where I meant to do good.
We ought to do our duty, and risk the consequences. The absurd pride of
ancestry occasions many of our young gentlemen to treat those whom they
deem their inferiors by birth with haughtiness, and often with
something worse; forgetting that by this means they immediately cut
themselves off as it were from society: for, by contemning those who
are a supposed step below them, they encourage and incur contempt from
the next immediately above them. This is in some measure the practice:
and, were it true that birth is any merit, it would be a practice to
which we ought to pay a still more strict attention. The young
gentleman however whom I mean to recommend, for his great and peculiar
worth, is Mr. Frank Henley, the son of a person who is gardener and
steward to Sir Arthur; or rather what the people among whom you are at
present would call his _homme d'affaires_. But I must leave my friends
to speak for themselves; which they will do more efficaciously than can
be done by any words of mine.
END OF VOLUME I
_Coke Clifton to Guy Fairfax, at Venice_
_Paris, Hotel de l'Universite, pres le Pont Royal_
I write, Fairfax, according to promise, to inform you that I have been
a fortnight in France, and four days in this city. The tract of country
over which I have passed, within these three months, is considerable.
From Naples to Rome; from Rome to Florence; from Florence to Venice,
where we spent our carnival; from Venice to Modena, Parma, and Genoa;
from thence to Turin; from Turin to Geneva; then, turning to the left,
to Lyons; and from Lyons to Paris. Objects have passed before me in
such a rapid succession, that the time I have spent abroad, though not
more than a year and a half, appears something like a life. The sight
of the proud Alps, which boldly look eternity in the face, imparts a
sensation of length of time wholly inadequate to the few hours that are
employed in passing them. The labour up is a kind of age; and the swift
descent is like falling from the clouds, once more to become an
inhabitant of earth.
Here at Paris I half fancy myself at home. And yet, to timid people who
have never beheld the ocean, and who are informed that seas divide
France and England, Paris appears to be at an unattainable distance.
Every thing is relative in this world; great or small near or distant
only by comparison. The traveller who should have passed the deserts,
and suffered all the perils all the emotions of a journey from Bengal
by land, would think himself much nearer home, at Naples, than I do,
coming from Naples, at Paris: and those who have sailed round the world
seem satisfied that their labour is within a hair's breadth of being at
an end, when they arrive, on their return, at the Cape of Good Hope.
You, Fairfax, have frequently asked me to give you accounts of this and
that place, of the things I have seen, and of the observations I have
made. But I have more frequently put the same kind of questions to
myself, and never yet could return a satisfactory answer. I have seen
people whose manners are so different from those of my own country,
that I have seemed to act with them from a kind of conviction of their
being of another species. Yet a moment's consideration undeceives me: I
find them to be mere men. Men of different habits, indeed, but actuated
by the same passions, the same desire of self-gratification. Yes,
Fairfax, the sun moon and stars make their appearance, in Italy, as
regularly as in England; nay much more so, for there is not a tenth
part of the intervening clouds.
When molested by their dirt, their vermin, their beggars, their
priests, and their prejudices, how often have I looked at them with
contempt! The uncleanliness that results from heat and indolence, the
obsequious slavishness of the common people, contrasted with their
loquacious impertinence, the sensuality of their hosts of monks, nay
the gluttony even of their begging friars, their ignorant adoration of
the rags and rotten wood which they themselves dress up, the protection
afforded to the most atrocious criminals if they can but escape to a
mass of stone which they call sacred, the little horror in which they
hold murder, the promptness with which they assassinate for affronts
which they want the spirit to resent, their gross buffooneries
religious and theatrical, the ridiculous tales told to the vulgar by
their preachers, and the improbable farces which are the delight of the
gentle and the simple, all these, and many other things of a similar
nature, seem to degrade them below rational creatures.
Yet reverse the picture, and they appear rather to be demi-gods than
men! Listen to their music! Behold their paintings! Examine their
palaces, their basins of porphyry, urns and vases of Numidian marble,
catacombs, and subterranean cities; their sculptured heroes, triumphal
arches, and amphitheatres in which a nation might assemble; their
Corinthian columns hewn from the rocks of Egypt, and obelisks of
granite transported by some strange but forgotten means from
Alexandria; the simplicity the grandeur and beauty of their temples and
churches; the vast fruitfulness of their lands, their rich vineyards,
teeming fields, and early harvests; the mingled sublime and beautiful
over the face of nature in this country, which is sheltered from
invaders by mountains and seas, so as by a small degree of art to
render it impregnable; their desolating earthquakes, which yet seem but
to renovate fertility; their volcanos, sending forth volumes of flame
and rivers of fire, and overwhelming cities which though they have
buried they have not utterly destroyed; these and a thousand other
particulars, which I can neither enumerate nor remember, apparently
speak them a race the most favoured of heaven, and announce Italy to be
a country for whose embellishment and renown earth and heaven, men and
gods have for ages contended.
The recollection of these things appears to be more vivid, and to give
me greater pleasure than I believe the sight of them afforded. Perhaps
it is my temper. Impatient of delay, I had scarcely glanced at one
object before I was eager to hunt for another. The tediousness of the
Ciceroni was to me intolerable. What cannot instantly be comprehended I
can scarcely persuade myself to think worthy of the trouble of enquiry.
I love to enjoy; and, if enjoyment do not come to me, I must fly to
seek it, and hasten from object to object till it be overtaken.
Intellectual pleasures delight me, when they are quick, certain, and
easily obtained. I leave those which I am told arise from patient
study, length of time, and severe application, to the fools who think
time given to be so wasted. Roses grow for me to gather: rivers roll
for me to lave in. Let the slave dig the mine, but for me let the
diamond sparkle. Let the lamb, the dove, and the life-loving eel writhe
and die; it shall not disturb me, while I enjoy the viands. The five
senses are my deities; to them I pay worship and adoration, and never
yet have I been slack in the performance of my duty.
What! Shall we exist but for a few years, and of those shall there be
but a few hours as it were of youth, joy, and pleasure, and shall we
let them slip? Shall we cast away a good that never can return; and
seek for pain, which is itself in so much haste to seek for us? Away
with such folly! The opposite system be mine.
The voluptuous Italian, as wise in this as in other arts, knows better.
He lives for the moment, and takes care not to let the moment slip. His
very beggars, basking in the sun, will not remove, so long as hunger
will suffer them to enjoy the happiness of being idle. Who so perfectly
understand the luxury of indolence as the Lazaroni of Naples?
The Italian, indeed, seems to exert all the craft for which he is so
famous, to accomplish this sole purpose of enjoyment. He marries a
wife, and the handsomest he can procure; that, when the ardour of
desire is satiated, she may fleece some gallant, who shall pay for his
pleasures elsewhere. And, as variety is the object of all, gallant
succeeds to gallant, while he himself flies from mistress to mistress,
and thus an equal barter is maintained.
This office of Cicisbeo is however an intolerably expensive one;
especially to our countrymen. The Signora is so inventive in her
faculties, there are so many trinkets which she dies to possess, and
her wants, real and artificial, are so numerous, that the purse is
never quiet in the pocket. And every Englishman is supposed to be
furnished with the purse of Fortunatus.
The worst because the most dangerous part of the business is, the ugly
and the old think themselves entitled to be as amorous as the young and
beautiful; and a tall fellow, with a little fresh blood in his veins,
is sure to have no peace for them. Prithee, Fairfax, tell me how the
Contessa behaved, when she found I had escaped from her amorous
pursuit. She began to make me uneasy; and I almost thought it was as
necessary for me to have a taster as any tyrant in Christendom. Poison
and the stiletto disturbed my dreams; for there were not only she, but
two or three more, who seemed determined to take no denial. I
congratulated myself, as I was rolling down mount Cenis, to think that
I was at length actually safe, and that the damned black-looking,
hook-nosed, scowling fellow from Bergamo, whom I had so often remarked
dogging me, was no longer at my heels.
But I have now bidden adieu to the _Cassini_, the _Carnivali_, and the
_Donne_; and soon shall see what provision this land of France affords.
For the short time that I have been here, I have no occasion to
complain of my reception. I do not know why, Fairfax, but we Englishmen
seem to be in tolerably good repute every where, with the ladies. Well,
well, pretty dears, they shall find me very much at their service. I
should be sorry to bring disgrace upon my nation, Fairfax. Would not
I expect to find you a punctual correspondent. Fail not to let me know,
when, weary of being a _Cavaliere servente_, you shall leave the proud
banks of the Adriatic, and the wanton Venice, for some other abode;
that our letters may never miss their aim. I will relate every thing
that happens to me, when it can either afford you amusement to read, or
me satisfaction to write. You have too much honour and honesty not to
do the same. Or, if not, I will try what a threat can do: therefore
remember that, unless you fulfil the terms of our agreement, and give
me an account of all your rogueries, adventures, successes, and
hair-breadth escapes, I will choose some other more punctual and more
Observe further, and let that be a spur to your industry, I have a tale
in petto; a whimsical adventure which happened to me yesterday evening;
but which I shall forbear to regale you with, for three substantial
reasons: first because it is my good pleasure; secondly because I like
it; and lastly such is my sovereign will. Nay, if that be all, I can
give you three more: first because I am almost at the end of my paper;
next because I may want a good subject when I write again; and finally
because the post is a sturdy unceremonious fellow, and does not think
proper to wait my leisure.
So farewell; and believe me to be very sincerely yours,
P.S. I have this moment received information that Sir Arthur St. Ives
and his daughter arrived yesterday in the afternoon at Paris. I have
heard that the daughter is the most beautiful woman in England, and
that her wit is even superior to her beauty. I am very glad of the
accident, for I have a great desire to see her. My mother's last was
partly a letter of business, but chiefly of recommendation,
particularly of the young lady: and in it was enclosed one from my
sister, Louisa, which gives a very high character of her friend, Anna
St. Ives. They have become acquainted since I have been abroad. The
letter is loaded with advice to me, at which as you may well think I
laugh. These girls, tied to their mother's apron-strings, pretend to
advise a man who has seen the world! But vanity and conceit are strange
propensities, that totally blind the eyes of their possessors. I have
lived but little at home, but I always thought the young lady a forward
imperious miss; yet I never before knew her so much on the stilts. I
expect she will soon put on boots and buckskin, and horsewhip her
fellows herself; for she improves apace.
Once more farewell.
_Anna Wenbourne St. Ives to Louisa Clifton_
_Paris, Hotel d'Espagne, Rue Guenegaude_,
_Fauxbourg St. Germain_
After abundance of jolting in carriages, sea sickness, and such-like
trifling accidents, incidental to us travellers, here we are at last,
dear Louisa. My very first demand has been for pen ink and paper, to
inform my kind friend of our safe arrival: though I am so giddy, after
this post haste four day's hurry, that I scarcely can write a straight
line. Neither do I know whether I have any thing to say; though I
seemed to myself to have acquired an additional stock of ideas, at the
very moment that I first beheld Calais and the coast of France.
What is there, my dear, in the human mind, that induces us to think
every thing which is unusual is little less than absurd? Is it
prejudice, is it vanity, or is it a short and imperfect view; a want of
discrimination? I could have laughed, but that I had some latent sense
of my own folly, at the sight of a dozen French men and women, and two
or three loitering monks, whom curiosity had drawn together upon the
pier-head, to see us come into port. And what was my incitement to
laughter?--It was the different cut of a coat. It was a silk bag, in
which the hair was tied, an old sword, and a dangling pair of ruffles;
which none of them suited with the poverty of the dress, and meagre
appearance, of a person who seemed to strut and value himself upon such
marks of distinction.
Sterne was in my pocket, and his gentle spirit was present to my mind.
Perhaps the person who thus excited a transient emotion of risibility
was a nobleman. For the extremes of riches and of poverty are, as I
have been informed, very frequent among the nobility of France. He
might happen to think himself a man highly unfortunate and aggrieved.
The supposition occasioned my smile to evaporate in a sigh.
But the houses!--They were differently built!--Could that be right?
They were not so clean! That was certainly wrong. In what strange land
is the standard of propriety erected?--Then the blue and brown jackets
of the women; their undaunted manner of staring; their want of hats,
and stays; the slovenly look of slippers not drawn up at the heel; the
clumsy wooden shoes of some, and the bare feet of others; nay their
readiness to laugh at the uncouth appearance of the people who were
condemning them for being ridiculous; what could all this be? But how
came I so unaccountably to forget that children and beggars sometimes
go barefoot in England; and that few people, perhaps, are more addicted
to stare and laugh at strangers than ourselves? Oh! But the French are
so polite a nation that even the common people are all well bred; and
would enter a drawing-room with more ease and grace than an English
gentleman!--Have you never heard this nonsense, Louisa?
The character of nations, or rather of mind, is apparent in trifles.
Granted. Let us turn our eyes back to the shores we have so lately
left: let us examine the trifles we hang about ourselves. How many of
them, which characterize and as it were stamp the nation with
absurdity, escape unobserved! We see them every day; we have adopted
and made them our own, and we should be strangely offended, should any
person take the liberty, having discovered the folly of them, to laugh
I wrote thus far last night; but learning, on enquiry, that Tuesdays
and Fridays are foreign post days, I left off; being rather indisposed
after my journey. 'Tis only a swimming in the head, which will soon
leave me; though I find it has returned upon me occasionally all the
morning. But to my pleasing task; again let me prattle to my friend.
The innkeepers of Calais come themselves, or send their waiters, to
watch for and invite passengers to their houses; and will not be
dismissed without difficulty. The most daring endeavour to secure
customers, by seizing on some of their trunks, or baggage. But we had
determined to go to Dessein's, and the active Frank soon made way for
I was amused with the handbill, stuck up against the walls of this inn,
or hotel, as it is called; announcing it to be the largest, the
completest, the most magnificent, with a thousand et caeteras, in the
universe; and recounting not only its numerous accommodations, but the
multifarious trades which it contained within its own walls; to all
which was added a playhouse. A playhouse it is true there was, but no
players; and as for trades, there were at least as many as we wanted.
Sir Arthur took over his own carriage; otherwise this first of inns in
the universe would not have furnished him with one, but on condition of
its being purchased.
Sir Arthur observed it was strange that the French innkeepers should
not yet have discovered it to be their interest to keep carriages for
travellers, as in England. To which Frank Henley shrewdly answered,
that the book of post roads, in his hand, informed him government was
in reality every where the inn-keeper; and reserved to itself the
profits of posting. And the deepest thinkers, added Frank, inform us
that every thing in which governments interfere is spoiled. I remarked
to him that this principle would lead us a great way. Yes, said he, but
not too far: and, playing upon my words, added, it would lead us back
to the right way, from which we appear at present to have strayed, into
the very labyrinth of folly and blunders.
Frank is earnestly studious of the effects of governments, and laws;
and reads the authors who have written best on such subjects with great
attention, and pleasure. He and Sir Arthur by no means agree, in
politics; and Sir Arthur has two or three times been half affronted,
that a man so young and so inferior to himself, as he supposes Frank to
be, should venture to be of a different opinion, and dispute with him;
who was once in his life too a member of parliament. I am obliged now
and then slily to remind him of the highwayman and Turnham Green.
And now, Louisa, traveller like, could I regale you with a melancholy
narrative, relating how the fields in this country have no hedges; how
the cows are as meagre as their keepers; how wretched the huts and
their owners appear; how French postillions jump in and out of
jack-boots, with their shoes on, because they are too heavy to drag
after them; how they harness their horses with ropes; how dexterously
they crack the merciless whips with which they belabour the poor hacks
they drive; how we were obliged to pay for five of these hacks, having
only four in our carriage, and two of them frequently blind, lame, or
useless; with many other items, that might be grievous to hear, could I
but persuade myself thoroughly to pity or be angry at the whole French
nation, for not exactly resembling the English. But do they themselves
complain? Mercy on us! Complain?--Nothing is so grateful to their
hearts, as the praise of that dear country, which English travellers
are so prone to despise!
Frank as usual has been all attention, all ardour, all anxiety, to
render our journey as pleasant as possible. His efforts have been
chiefly directed to me; my ease, my satisfaction, my enjoyment, have
been his continual care. Not that he has neglected or overlooked Sir
Arthur. He overlooks no living creature, to whom he can give aid. He
loses no opportunity of gaining the esteem and affection of high and
low, rich and poor. His delicacy never slumbers. His thirst of doing
good is never assuaged. I am young it is true, but I never before met a
youth so deserving. Think of him myself I must not; though I would give
kingdoms, if I had them, to see him completely happy.
And now, dear Louisa, I am soon to meet your brother. Why do I seem to
recollect this with a kind of agitation? Is there rebellion in my
heart? Would it swerve from the severe dictates of duty? No. I will set
too strict a watch over its emotions. What! Does not Louisa honour me
with the title of friend, and shall I prove unworthy of her friendship?
Forbid it emulation, truth, and virtue!
How happy should I be were your brother and Frank Henley to conceive an
immediate partiality for each other! How much too would it promote the
project I wish to execute! I have been taxing my invention to form some
little plot for this purpose, but I find it barren. I can do nothing
but determine to speak of Frank as he deserves; which surely will gain
him the love of the whole world. And for his part, I know how ready he
will be to give merit its due.
I have more than once purposely mentioned your brother's name to Sir
Arthur, when Frank was present; in some manner to prepare and guard him
against surprise. But I could not but remark my hints had an effect
upon him that betrayed how much his heart was alarmed. He thinks too
favourably, and I fear too frequently of me. What can be done? The
wisest of us are the slaves of circumstances, and of the prejudices of
others. How many excellent qualities are met in him! And for these to
be rejected--! Alas!--We must patiently submit to the awful laws of
Neither is Sir Arthur without his fears and suspicions. His discourse
betrays his alarms. He cannot conceive that a love of the merits of
Frank can be distinct from all love of his person. The crime of
disobedience in children, the ruin of families by foolish and unequal
marriages, and the wretchedness which is the result of such guilty
conduct, have been hinted at more than once lately; and though not with
many words, yet with a degree of anxiety that gave me pain, for it
taught me, being suspected, half to suspect myself.
But I must conclude: my travelling vertigo I find is not immediately to
be shaken off. I imagine that a few hours calm sleep will be my best
physician. Adieu. I shall wait, with some impatience, for a letter from
my dear Louisa.
A. W. ST. IVES
_Frank Henley to Oliver Trenchard_
_Paris, Hotel d'Espagne, Rue Guenegaude,_
_Fauxbourg St. Germain_
My emotions, Oliver, are too strong to permit me to narrate common
occurrences. I can only tell thee our journey is ended, that we arrived
yesterday, and that we are now at Paris. My feelings are more
tumultuous than they ought to be, and seek relief in the mild and
listening patience of friendship.
First however I must relate a singular adventure, which happened
After I had seen our baggage properly disposed of, curiosity led me,
though night was approaching, to walk out and take a view of the famous
facade of the Louvre. From thence I strayed, through the gardens of the
Thuilleries, to the Place de Louis XV; being delighted with the
beauties around me, but which I have not now time to describe. A little
farther are the Champs Elysees, where trees planted in quincunx afford
a tolerably agreeable retreat to the Parisians.
It was now twilight. The idlers had retired; for I suppose, from what
followed, that it is not very safe to walk after dark, in these
environs. Ignorant of this, and not apprehensive of any danger, I had
strayed to a considerable distance among the trees, against one of
which I stood leaning, and contemplating the banks of the Seine, the
Palais Bourbon, and other surrounding objects. All was silent, except
the distant hum of the city, and the rattling of carriages, which
could but just be heard.
Amid this calm, I was suddenly alarmed by voices in anger, and
approaching. They spoke in French, and presently became more distinct
Draw, sir, said one.
_Mort de ma vie_, come along, answered the other.
Draw, sir, I say; replied the first. I neither know who you are nor
what your intentions may be. I will go no further. Draw!
_Sacristi_, answered his antagonist, we shall be interrupted: the guard
will be upon us in a moment.
The first however was resolute, and in an imperious voice again bade
him draw. Their swords were instantly out, and they began to assault
each other. Thou mayst imagine, Oliver, I would not cowardly stand and
be a spectator of murder. They were not twenty paces from me. I flew;
when, to my great surprise, one of them called, in English, Keep off,
sir! Who are you? Keep off! And, his enemy having dropt his guard, he
presented his point to me.
It was no time to hesitate. I rushed resolutely between them; holding
up my open hands above my head, to shew the Englishman, who seemed
apprehensive of a conspiracy, he had nothing to fear from me. His anger
almost overcame him: he held up his sword, as if to strike with it, and
with great haughtiness and passion again bade me begone. Have patience,
sir, answered I. Men shall not assassinate each other, if I can prevent
Let us retire, said the Frenchman: I knew we should be interrupted.
You shall not fight. I will follow you, added I, I will call for help.
You are a damned impertinent fellow, said the Englishman.
Be it so; but you shall not fight, was my answer.
The combatants, finding me so determined, put up their swords, and
mutually exchanged their address; after which they separated. So that
it is probable, Oliver, my interference has done no good. But that I
must leave to chance. I could not act otherwise.
This incident, so immediately after my arrival, in a place so strange
to me, and coming so suddenly, made too great an impression upon me not
to tell it thee. Though I have another topic much nearer my heart; the
true state of which has been shewn me, by an event of which I will now
We are lodged here in the first floor, consisting of many chambers,
each of which is a thoroughfare to the most distant. It is not ten
minutes since I was seated, and preparing to write to thee, when Anna
came to pass through the room where I was, and retire to her own
apartment. She was fatigued, I imagine, by the journey; though I
frequently fear the ardour of her mind will injure her constitution.
She walked with some difficulty, was evidently giddy, and staggered. I
was alarmed, and was rising, when she called to me faintly,--'Help me,
I sprung and caught her as she was falling. I received her in my arms!
And my agitation was so violent, that it was with difficulty I could
preserve strength enough to support her, and seat her in the chair I
The house to me was a kind of wilderness. I knew not where to run, yet
run I did for water. I called Laura, with a latent wish that nobody
might help her but myself; and, as it happened, nobody heard. I
returned; she recovered, thanked me, with her usual heavenly kindness,
and I conducted her to her apartment, she leaning on my arm.
Oh! Oliver, is it wrong to feel what I feel, at the remembrance? If it
be, reprove me sternly; teach me my duty, and I will thank thee. Surely
there is something supernatural hovers over her! At least she resembles
no other mortal! Then her kindness to me, her looks, her smiles, her
actions, are all intentional benignancy. She is now but three chambers
distant from me; enjoying as I hope refreshing slumbers. Angels guard
her, and inspire her dreams. No matter for the nonsense of my words,
Oliver; thou knowest my meaning. She desired me to bid Laura not
disturb her; and here I sit, watchful of my precious charge. Grateful,
And now, Oliver, what am I to think? My fears would tie my tongue; but,
either I am deluded or hope brightens upon me, and I want the
self-denying resolution of silence. Yes, Oliver, I must repeat, there
is such sweetness in her countenance, when she speaks to me, such a
smile, so inviting, so affirmative, that I am incessantly flattering
myself it cannot but have a meaning. I have several times lately heard
her sigh; and once so emphatically that I think it impossible I should
be deceived. I and Sir Arthur were conversing. I was endeavouring to
shew the pernicious tendency of the prejudices of mankind, and
inadvertently touched upon the absurdity of supposing there could be
any superiority, of man over man, except that which genius and virtue
gave. Sir Arthur did not approve the doctrine, and was pettish. I
perhaps was warmed, by a latent sense of my own situation, and
exclaimed--'Oh! How many noble hearts are groaning, at this instant,
under the oppression of these prejudices! Hearts that groan, not
because they suffer, but because they are denied the power effectually
to aid their very oppressors, who exert the despotism of numbers, to
enforce claims which they themselves feel to be unjust, but which they
think it dishonourable to relinquish!'--It was then the sigh burst
forth of which I told thee. I turned and found her eyes fixed upon me.
She blushed and looked down, and then again bent them toward me. I was
heated and daring. We exchanged looks, and said--! Volumes could not
repeat how much!--But surely neither of us said any thing to the
Oh! The bliss to perceive myself understood and not reproved! To meet
such emanations of mind! Ecstasy is a poor word! Once more she seemed
to repeat--_She would love me if I would let her._
Tell me, then--Have I not reason on my side? And, if I have, will she
not listen? May she not be won? Shall I doubt of victory, fighting
under the banners of truth? Alas!--Well well--
My own sensations, Oliver, are so acute, and I am so fearful lest they
should lead me astray, that I could not forbear this detail--Let us
change the theme.
Well, here we are, in France; and, wonderful to tell, France is not
I imagine it is impossible to travel through a foreign country, without
falling into certain reveries; and that each man will fashion his
dreams in part from accident, and in part according to the manner in
which he has been accustomed to ruminate. Thy most excellent father,
Oliver, early turned my mind to the consideration of forms of
government, and their effects upon the manners and morals of men. The
subject, in his estimation, is the most noble that comes under our
cognizance; and the more I think myself capable of examining, and the
more I actually do examine, the more I am a convert to his opinion. How
often has it been said of France, by various English philosophers, and
by many of its own sages, What a happy country would this be, were it
well governed! But, with equal truth, the same may be said of every
country under heaven; England itself, Oliver, in spite of our
partialities, not excepted.
How false, how futile, how absurd is the remark that a despotic
government, under a perfect monarch, would be the state of highest
felicity! First an impossible thing is asked; and next impossible
consequences deduced. One tyrant generates a nation of tyrants. His own
mistakes communicate themselves east, west, north, and south; and what
appeared to be but a spark becomes a conflagration.
How inconsistent are the demands and complaints of ignorance! It wishes
to tyrannize, yet exclaims against tyranny! It grasps at wealth, and
pants after power; yet clamours aloud, against the powerful and the
wealthy! It hourly starts out into all the insolence of pride; yet
hates and endeavours to spurn at the proud!
Among the many who have a vague kind of suspicion that things might be
better, are mingled a few, who seem very desirous they should remain as
they are. These are the rich; who, having by extortion and rapine
plundered the defenceless, and heaped up choice of viands and the fat
of the land, some sufficient to feed ten, some twenty, some a hundred,
some a thousand, and others whole armies, and being themselves each
only able to eat for one, say to the hungry, who have no food--'Come!
Dance for my sport, and I will give you bread. Lick the dust off my
shoes, and you shall be indulged with a morsel of meat. Flatter me, and
you shall wear my livery. Labour for me, and I will return you a tenth
of your gain. Shed your blood in my behalf, and, while you are young
and robust, I will allow you just as much as will keep life and soul
together; when you are old, and worn out, you may rob, hang, rot, or
Would not any one imagine, Oliver, that this were poetry? Alas! It is
mere, literal, matter of fact.
Yet let us not complain. Men begin to reason, and to think aloud; and
these things cannot always endure.
I intended to have made some observations on the people, the aspect of
the country, and other trifles; I scarcely now know what: but I have
wandered into a subject so vast, so interesting, so sublime, that all
petty individual remarks sink before it. Nor will I for the present
blur the majesty of the picture, by ill-placed, mean, and discordant
objects. Therefore, farewell.
P.S. Examine all I have said, and what I am going to add, relative to
myself, with severity. Mine is a state of mind in which the jealous
rigour of friendship appears to be essentially necessary. I have been
seized with I know not what apprehensions, by some hints which she has
two or three times lately repeated, concerning the brother of her dear
and worthy friend, Louisa; who, it seems, is to give us the meeting at
Paris. Is it not ominous? At least the manner in which she introduced
the subject, and spoke of him, as well as the replies of Sir Arthur,
were all of evil augury. Yet, why torment myself with imaginary
terrors? Should the brother resemble the friend--! Well! What if he
should? Would it grieve me to find another man of virtue and genius,
because it is possible my personal interest might be affected by the
discovery? No. My mind has still strength sufficient to reject, nay to
contemn, so unworthy a thought. But he may be something very different!
Love her he must: all who behold her love! The few words she has
occasionally dropped, have led me to suspect 'more was meant than met
the ear.' Whenever this chord is touched, my heart instantly becomes
tremulous; and with sensibility so painful as fully to lay open its
weakness; against which I must carefully and resolutely guard. It is
these incongruous these jarring tokens that engender doubt, and
suspense, almost insupportable.
_Anna Wenbourne St. Ives to Louisa Clifton_
_Pans, Hotel d'Espagne, Rue Guenegaude_,
_Fauxbourg St. Germain_
The oddest and most unlucky accident imaginable, Louisa, has happened.
Your brother and Frank have unfortunately half quarrelled, without
knowing each other. I mentioned a giddiness with which I was seized;
the consequence, as I suppose, of travelling. I was obliged to retire
to my chamber; nay should have fallen as I went, but for Frank. I
desired he would tell Laura not to disturb me; and he it seems planted
himself sentinel, with a determination that neither Laura nor any other
person should approach. I am too often in his thoughts: he is wrong to
bestow so much of his time and attention on me. Sir Arthur was gone to
look about him; having first sent a note, unknown to me, to inform your
brother of our arrival; and requesting to see him, as soon as
Away hurried your brother, at this mal apropos interval, with Sir
Arthur's note in his pocket, to our hotel. He enquired for my father?
He was gone out.
Laura answered she would call me.
She was running with great haste, for this purpose, but was intercepted
by Frank; who, agreeably to my desire, would not suffer her to proceed.
She returned; and your brother, referring again to Sir Arthur's note,
was much surprised, and rather vexed.
He asked by whose order she was sent back.
She answered by the order of Mr. Frank.
Who was Mr. Frank?
A young gentleman; [Laura has repeated all that passed] the son of Mr.
And who was Mr. Aby Henley?
The steward and gardener of Sir Arthur; his head man.
Steward and gardener? The son of a gardener a gentleman?
Yes, sir. To be sure, sir, among thorough bred quality, though perhaps
he may be better than the best of them, he is thought no better than a
kind of a sort of a gentleman; being not so high born.
Well, said your brother, shew me to this son of Mr. Aby; this
peremptory gentleman; or, as you call him, kind of a sort of a
Laura obeyed; and she says they were quite surprised at the sight of
each other; but that I suppose to be one of the flourishes of her
fancy. Your brother, however, as I understand, desired, with some
haughtiness, that Frank would suffer the maid to pass, and inform me he
was come, agreeably to Sir Arthur's request, to pay his respects to me.
Frank resolutely refused; alleging I was not well. Not well! Said your
brother. Is not this Sir Arthur's handwriting? Yes, replied Frank; but
I assure you she is not well: and I am afraid that even our speaking
may awaken her, if she should chance to be asleep. I must therefore
request, sir, you would retire.
The oddness of the circumstances, and the positiveness of Frank,
displeased your brother. Sir Arthur happened to return; and he went to
him, scarcely taking time for first compliments, but asking whether it
were true that I was not well. Sir Arthur was surprised: he knew
nothing of it! I had not thought a giddiness in the head worth a
complaint. Laura was again sent to tell me; and was again denied
admittance. Sir Arthur then, with your brother, came to question Frank;
who continued firm in his refusal; and when Sir Arthur and your brother
had heard that I was so dizzy as to be in danger of falling, had not he
supported me, they were satisfied. But such a meeting, between Frank
and your brother, was quite vexatious: when the very reverse too was
wished! However he is to visit us this morning; and I will then
endeavour to do justice to the worth of Frank, and remove false
impressions, which I have some reason to fear have been made. I will
pause here; but, if I find an opportunity, will write another short
letter, under the same cover, by this post: that is, should I happen to
have any thing more to say--This accident was exceedingly unlucky, and
I seem as if I felt myself to blame; especially as I am quite in
spirits this morning, and relieved from my giddy sensations. I am
sorry; very sorry: but it cannot be helped.
A. W. ST. IVES
_Coke Clifton to Guy Fairfax_
_Paris, Hotel de l'Universite, pres le Pont Royal_
It was well I did not tell my tale in my last, Fairfax; it would have
been spoiled. I knew it only by halves. It has ended in the most
singular combination of circumstances one could well imagine.
You remember I told you of the arrival of Sir Arthur St. Ives, and his
daughter; I believe it was in the postscript; and that I was
immediately going to--Pshaw! I am beginning my story now at the wrong
end. It is throughout exceedingly whimsical. Listen, and let amazement
prop your open mouth.
You must have observed the ease with which Frenchmen, though perfect
strangers to each other, fall into familiar conversation; and become as
intimate in a quarter of an hour, as if they had been acquainted their
whole lives. This is a custom which I very much approve. But, like all
other good things, it is liable to abuse.
The other day I happened to be taking a walk on the Boulevards, it
being a church festival, purposely to see the good Parisians in all
their gaiety and glory; and a more cheerful, at least a more noisy
people, do not, I believe, exist. As I was standing to admire a waxwork
exhibition of all the famous highwaymen, and cut-throats, whose
histories are most renowned in France, and listening to the fellow at
the door, bawling--_Aux Voleurs! Aux grands Voleurs!_--Not a little
amused with the murderous looks, darkness, dungeons, chains and petty
horror which they had mimicked, a man uncommonly well-dressed, with an
elegant person and pleasing manners, came up and immediately fell into
discourse with me. I encouraged him, because he pleased me. We walked
together, and had not conversed five minutes before, without seeming to
seek an opportunity, he had informed me that he was the Marquis de
Passy, and that he had left his carriage and attendants, because he
like me took much pleasure in observing the hilarity of the holiday
citizens. He had accosted me, he said, because he had a peculiar esteem
for the English; of which nation he knew me to be, by my step and
We talked some time, and though he made no deep remarks, he was very
communicative of anecdotes, which had come within his own knowledge,
that painted the manners of the nation. Among other things, he told me
it was not uncommon for valets to dress themselves in their masters
clothes, when they supposed them to be at a distance, or otherwise
engaged, assume their titles, and pass themselves upon the
_Bourgeoisie_ and foreigners for counts, dukes, or princes. It was but
this day fortnight, said he, that the Marechal de R--surprised one of
his servants in a similar disguise, and with some jocularity publicly
ordered the fellow to walk at his heels, then went to his carriage, and
commanded him, full dressed as he was, to get up behind.
He had scarcely ended this account before another person came up, and
with an air of some authority asked him where his master was, what he
did there, and other questions.
To all this my quidam acquaintance, with a degree of surprise that
seemed to be tempered with the most pleasing and unaffected urbanity,
replied, without being in the least disconcerted, sir, you mistake me:
but I am sure you are too much of a gentleman to mean any wilful
Affront! Why whom do you pretend yourself to be, sir?
Sir, I am the Marquis de Passy.
You the Marquis de Passy?--
Yes, sir; I!--
No gentleman, sir, can suffer such language; and I insist upon
satisfaction.--And accordingly my champion drew his sword. His
antagonist, looking on him with ineffable contempt, answered he would
take some proper opportunity to cane him as he deserved.
I own I was amazed. I reasoned a short time with myself, and concluded
the person was mistaken; for that it was impossible for any man to
counterfeit so much ease, or behave with so much propriety, who was not
a gentleman. I therefore thought proper to interfere, and told the
intruder that, having given an insult, he ought not to be afraid of
And pray, sir, said he, who are you?
A gentleman, sir, answered I--
Yes. As good a one as your companion, I suppose--
You know, Fairfax, it is not customary with me to suffer insolence to
triumph unchastised, and I ordered him immediately to draw.
What, sir, in this place, said he? Follow me, if you have any valour to
His spirit pleased me, and I followed. I know not what became of the
fellow, whose cause I had espoused; for I saw him no more.
My antagonist led me across the rue St. Honore, to a place which I
suppose you know, called the Elysian Fields. It began to be late, and I
am told there is danger in passing the precincts of the guard. I
apprehended a conspiracy, and at last refused to proceed any farther.
Finding me obstinate he drew, but said we should be interrupted.
He was no false prophet; for we had not made half a dozen passes before
a youth, whom from his boots and appearance I supposed to be English,
came running and vociferating--Forbear! I was not quite certain that
his appearance might not be artifice; I therefore accosted him in
English, in which language he very readily replied. He was quite a
sturdy, dauntless gentleman; for, though our swords were drawn, and
both of us sufficiently angry, he resolutely placed himself between us,
declaring we should not fight; and that, if we went farther, he would
Nothing was to be done; and I now began to suspect the person, with
whom I had this ridiculous quarrel, to be really a gentleman. I gave
him my address, and he readily returned his; after which we parted, he
singing a French song, and I cursing the insolence of the English
youth, who seemed to disregard my anger, and to be happy that he had
prevented the spilling of blood.
Remember that all this happened on the preceding evening, after I had
written the greatest part of my last long letter. The next morning I
finished it, and received a note from Sir Arthur St. Ives, as I
As soon as I could get dressed, I hastened away; and, arriving at the
hotel, enquired for the knight?
He was gone out.
For his daughter?
She had retired to her apartment.
I sent in my name. The maid went, and returned with an answer that Mr.
Frank did not think it proper for her mistress to be disturbed. Now,
Fairfax, guess who Mr. Frank was if you can! By heaven, it was the very
individual youth who, the night before, had been so absolute in putting
an end to our duel!
I was planet-struck! Nor was his surprise less, when he saw me, and
heard my errand and my name.
I found my gentleman as positive in the morning as in the evening. He
was the dragon; touch the fruit who dared! Jason himself could not have
entrance there! And he was no less cool than determined. I was almost
tempted to toss him out of the window.
However I am glad I contained myself; for, on the entrance of Sir
Arthur, we came to an explanation; and I find the young lady was really
indisposed. But, considering his mongrel birth and breeding, for he is
the son of a gardener, I really never saw a fellow give himself such
Sir Arthur received me with great civility. I have not yet seen the
daughter, but I expect to find her a beauty. She is the toast of the
county where her father resides. I am to be with her in half an hour;
and, as I suppose I shall be fully engaged with this and other affairs
for some days, I shall seal up my letter: you must therefore wait for
an account of her, till inclination and the full tide of events shall
induce me again to indite of great matters.
I shall direct this, agreeably to your last, to your banker's, in
Parma. Do not fail to tell me when you shall be at Turin.
Yours very sincerely,
P.S. My opponent of the Elysian Fields has just paid me a visit. He is
a man of family; seems to be of a slightly pleasant humour; and
acknowledged that what he had heard convinced him he had mistaken my
character; for which he was very ready either to cut my throat or ask
my pardon. His ease and good temper spoke much in his favour; and I
laughed, and answered, in mercy to my throat, I would accept his
apology. In consideration of which we are to cultivate an acquaintance,
and be sworn friends.
_Anna Wenbourne St. Ives to Louisa Clifton_
_Paris, Hotel d'Espagne, Rue Guenegaude_,
_Fauxbourg St. Germain_
I return eagerly to my Louisa. Mr. Clifton, my dear, has this instant
left us. I give you joy! Yes, he is the brother of my friend! I do not
say he is her equal, though I am not quite sure that he is her
inferior. He is all animation, all life. His person is graceful, his
manners pleasing, and his mind vigorous. I can say but little from so
short an acquaintance; except that I am convinced his virtues, or his
errors, if he have any, [And who is without?] are not of the feeble
kind. They are not characterised by dull mediocrity; which, of all
qualities, is the most hopeless, and incapable. He gave his earnest
desire to see me, when he was refused by Frank, the air of a handsome
compliment; politely accusing himself of improper impatience, when he
was in expectation of what he was pleased to call an uncommon pleasure.
Though it was our first interview, he felt no restraint; but said many
very civil things naturally, and with an exceedingly good grace.
I purposely turned the conversation on Frank, related some anecdotes of
him, and bestowed praise which was confirmed by Sir Arthur. Your
brother, whose imagination is warm and active, called him a trusty
Cerberus; and said he had a mouth to answer each of the three; meaning
Laura, himself, and Sir Arthur. Various remarks which escaped him shew
that he has a fondness for pleasant satire, and similes of humour.
He praised Frank, after hearing our account of him; but his praise
was qualified with the word obstinacy. There was an appearance of
feeling that the gentleman ought not to have been so sternly repulsed,
by the son of a steward.--And was this his kindred equality to my
friend?--Forgive me, Louisa--It was unjust in me to say I was not
quite sure he is your inferior--However I can very seriously assure
you, he is not one of your every day folks.
Frank came in, and your brother addressed him with good humour, but in
a tone denoting it was the gentleman to the sort of a gentleman. I own
it pleased me to observe the ease with which Frank, by his answers,
obliged Mr. Clifton to change his key. But I soon had occasion to
observe that the warmth of your brother's expressions, his eagerness to
be immediately intimate with us, and the advances which he with so
little sense of embarrassment made to me, had an effect upon Frank
which, I greatly fear, was painful. I must look to this; it is a
serious moment, and I must seriously examine, and quickly resolve. In
the mean time, your brother has kindly insisted upon devoting himself
wholly to our amusements; to attend on us, and shew us the public
buildings, gardens, paintings, and theatres; as well as to introduce us
to all his friends.
And what must we do in return for this well-meant kindness? Must we not
endeavour to weed out those few errors, for few I hope they are, which
impoverish a mind in itself apparently fertile and of high rank?--Yes,
it instantly suggested itself to me as an indispensable act of
duty--The attempt must be made--With what obstinate warfare do men
encounter peril when money, base money is their proposed reward! And
shall we do less for mind, eternal omnipotent mind?
He is returned. Adieu. You shall soon hear again from your
A. W. ST. IVES
_Coke Clifton to His Sister, Louisa Clifton_
_Paris, Hotel de l'Universite, pres le Pont Royal_
I write agreeably to your desire, sister, to thank you for all
obligations, not forgetting your advice. Not but I am excessively
obliged to you; I am upon my soul, and seriously, for having done me
the favour to bring me acquainted with your charming friend. I have
seen many women and in many countries, but I never beheld one so sweet,
so beautiful, so captivating! I had heard of her before I left England,
her fame had reached Italy, and your letters had raised my
expectations. But what were these? The accomplishments and graces of
her person, the variety, the pleasure inspiring heaven of her
countenance, the cupids that wanton in her dimples, and the delights
that swim and glisten in her eyes, are each and all exquisite beyond
Whatever you may think of me, Louisa, I do persuade myself I know
something of women. I have studied them at home and abroad, and have
often probed them to the soul. But I never before met with any one in
the least comparable to the divine Anna! She is so unreserved, so open,
that her soul seems to dwell upon her lips. Yet her thoughts are so
rapid, and her mind so capacious, that I am persuaded it will cost me
much longer time to know her well than any other woman with whom I ever
Having thanked you very heartily and sincerely for this favour, I shall
just say a word or two in answer to yours. And so you really think you
have some morality on hand, a little stale or so but still sound, which
you can bestow with advantage upon me? You imagine you can tell me
something I never heard before? Now have you sincerely so much vanity,
Louisa? Be frank. You acknowledged I have crossed rivers, seas, and
mountains; but you are afraid I have shut my eyes all the time! _A loud
tongue and a prodigious luck of wit! Antics and impertinences of young
men of fashion!_ Really, my dear, you are choice in your phrases! You
could not love your brother _for any recital of the delight which
foreign ladies look in him, and which he took in foreign ladies!_ But
you could be in ecstatics for a brother of your own invention.
Do not suppose I am angry! No, no, my dear girl; I am got far above all
that! Though I cannot but laugh at this extraordinary brother, which
you are fashioning for yourself. If, when I come into your sublime
presence, I should by good luck happen to strike your fancy, why so! My
fortune will then be made! If not, sister, we must do as well as we
can. All in good time, and a God's name. Is not that tolerable
I am obliged to lay down my pen with laughing at the idea of Miss
Louisa's brother, supposing him to be exactly of her modelling. I think
I see him appear before her; she seated in state, on a chair raised on
four tressels and two old doors, like a strolling actress mimicking a
queen in a barn! He dressed in black; his hair smugly curled; his face
and his shoes shining; his white handkerchief in his right hand; a
prayer book, or the morals of Epictetus in his left; _not interlarding
his discourse with French or Italian phrases,_ but ready with a good
rumbling mouthful of old Greek, which he had composed, I mean compiled,
for the purpose! Then, having advanced one leg, wiped his mouth, put
his left hand in his breeches pocket, clenched his right, and raised
his arm, he begins his learned dissertation on _well digested
principles, ardent desire of truth, incessant struggles to shake off
prejudices_, and forth are chanted, in nasal twang and tragic
recitative, his _emanations of soul, bursts of though_, and _flashes of
But _you would not be satirical_. Gentle, modest maiden! And surely it
becomes the tutored brother to imitate this kind forbearance. _My
faculties were always lively?_ And _I must pardon you if you expect too
much?_--Upon my soul, this is highly comic! Expect too much! And there
is danger then that I should not equal your expectations?--Prithee, my
good girl, jingle the keys of your harpsichord, and be quiet. Pore over
your fine folio receipt book, and appease your thirst after knowledge.
Satisfy your longing desire to do good, by making jellies, conserves,
and caraway cakes. Pot pippins, brew rasberry wine, and candy orange
chips. Study burns, bruises, and balsams. Distil surfeit, colic, and
wormwood water. Concoct hiera picra, rhubarb beer, and oil of charity;
and sympathize over sprains, whitloes, and broken shins. Get a charm to
cure the argue, and render yourself renowned. Spin, sew and knit.
Collect your lamentable rabble around you, dole out your charities,
listen to a full chorus of blessings, and take your seat among the
You see, child, I can give advice as well as yourself; aye and I will
bestow it most plentifully, if you happen to feel any desire after
more. I hate to be ungrateful; you shall have no opportunity to utter
your musty maxim upon me--'That the sin of ingratitude is worse than
the sin of witchcraft.' You shall have weight for weight, measure for
measure, chicken; aye, my market woman, and a lumping pennyworth.
Brotherly for sisterly _effusions_!
As for the right of eldership, I recollect that a dozen years ago I
envied you the prerogative; but now you are welcome to it with all my
heart. If, among your miraculous acquirements, you have any secret to
make time stand still, by which you can teach me to remain at sweet
five-and-twenty, and if you will disclose it to me, I will not only
pardon all your _impertinences_, as you so _pertinently_ call them, but
do any other thing in reason to satisfy you; except turn philosopher
and feed upon carrots! Nay I will allow you to grow as old as you
please, you shall have full enjoyment of the rights of eldership.
In the mean time, sister, I once more thank you for bringing me
acquainted with your friend. You seem to have 'put powder in her
drink;' and I freely tell you I wish she loved me half as well as she
professes to love her immaculate Louisa. But these I suppose are the
_flashes of genius_, which you have taught her. However she is an
angel, and in her every thing is graceful.
As for your other prodigy, I scarcely know what to make of him; except
that he seems to have quite conceit enough of himself. Every other
sentence is a contradiction of what the last speaker advanced. This is
the first time he ever ventured to cross his father's threshold, and
yet he talks as familiarly of kingdoms, governments, nations, manners,
and other high sounding phrases, as if he had been secretary of state
to king Minos, had ridden upon the white elephant, and studied under
the Dalai Lama! He is the Great Mogul of politicians! And as for
letters, science, and talents, he holds them all by patent right! He is
such a monopolizer that no man else can get a morsel! If he were not a
plebeian, I could most sincerely wish you were married to him; for
then, whenever my soul should hunger and thirst after morality, I
should know where to come and get a full meal. Though perhaps his not
being a gentleman would be no objection to you, at least your letter
leads me to suspect as much.
Do not however mistake me. I mean this jocularly. For I will not
degrade my sister so much, as to suppose she has ever cast a thought on
the son either of the gardener or the steward, of any man. Though, tied
to her mother's apron-string and shut up on the confines of
Worcestershire, she may think proper to lecture and give rules of
conduct to a brother who has seen the world, and studied both men and
books of every kind, that is but a harmless and pardonable piece of
vanity. It ought to be laughed at, and for that reason I have laughed.
For the rest, I will be willing to think as well of my sister, as this
sister can be to think of her catechised, and very patient, humble,
P.S. I have written in answer to my mother by the same post. From the
general tenor of her letter, I cannot but imagine that, just before she
sat down to write, she had been listening to one of your civil
lectures, against wild brothers, fine gentlemen, and vile rakes. Is not
that the cant? One thing let me whisper to you, sister: I am not
obliged to any person who suspects or renders me suspected. I claim
the privilege of being seen before I am condemned, and heard before I
am executed. If I should not prove to be quite the phoenix which might
vie with so miraculous so unique a sister, I must then be contented to
take shame to myself. But till then I should suppose the thoughts of a
sister might as well be inclined to paint me white as black. After all,
I cannot conclude without repeating that I believe the whole world
cannot equal the lovely, the divine Anna St. Ives: and, whatever else
you may say or think of me, do not lead her to imagine I am unjust to
her supreme beauty, and charms. An insinuation of that kind I would
_Sir Arthur St. Ives to Abimelech Henley_
_Paris, Hotel d'Espagne, Rue Guenegaude_,
_Fauxbourg St. Germain_
You cannot imagine, honest Aby, the surprise I am in. Is this their
famous France? Is this the finest country in the whole world? Why, Aby,
from Boulogne to Paris, at least from Montreuil, I am certain I did not
see a single hedge! All one dead flat; with an eternal row of trees,
without beginning, middle, or end. I sincerely believe, Aby, I shall
never love a straight row of trees again. And the wearisome right lined
road, that you never lose sight of; not for a moment, Aby! No lucky
turning. No intervening hill.
Oh that I were but the Grand Monarch! What improvements would I make!
What a scope for invention, Aby! A kingdom! A revenue of four hundred
millions of livres, and a standing army of three hundred thousand men!
All which, if the king were a wise man, it is very evident, Abimelech,
he might employ in improvements; and heaven knows there is a want of
them. What are their petty corvees, by which these straight roads have
been patched up, and their everlasting elms planted? I would assemble
all my vassals--[Your son Frank, Aby, has given me much information
concerning the present governments of Europe, and the origin of manors,
fiefs, and lordships. I can assure you he is a very deep young man;
though I could wish he were not quite so peremptory and positive; and
has informed me of some things which I never heard of before, though I
am twice his age. But he seems to have them so fast at his finger's
ends that I suppose they must be true. I had often heard of entails,
and mortmain, and lands held in fee or fief, I don't know which, and
all that you know, Abimelech. One's deeds and one's lawyers tell one
something, blindly, of these matters; but I never knew how it had all
happened. He told me that--Egad I forget what he told me. But I know he
made it all out very clear. Still I must say he is cursed
positive.]--However, Aby, as I was saying, I would assemble all my
vassals, all my great lords and fief holders, and they should assemble
their vassals, and all hands should be set to work: some to plan,
others to plant; some to grub, some to dig, some to hoe, and some to
sow. The whole country should soon be a garden! Tell me, Aby, is not
the project a grand one? What a dispatch of work! What a change of
nature! I am ravished with the thought!
[Footnote 1: The plan is in reality much grander than the good knight
suspected; if embraced at the will of a nation, instead of at the will
of an individual.]
As for any ideas of improvement to be picked up here, Abimelech, they
must not be expected. I shall never forget the sameness of the scene!
So unlike the riches of Wenbourne-Hill! Sir Alexander would have a
country open enough here, at least. He would not complain of being shut
in. The wind may blow from what point it pleases, and you have it on
all sides. Except the road-side elms I mentioned, and now and then a
coppice, which places they tell me are planted for the preservation of
the game, I should have supposed there had not been a tree in the
country; had I not been told that there were many large forests, to the
right, and the left, out of sight. For my part I don't know where they
have hidden them, and so must take their word for the fact. 'Tis true
indeed that we travelled a part of the way in the dark.
I was mentioning the game, Aby. The game laws here are excellently put
in execution. Hares are as plenty as rabbits in a warren, partridges as
tame as our dove-house pigeons, and pheasants that seem as if they
would come and feed out of your hand. For no scoundrel poacher dare
molest them. If he did, I am not certain whether the lord of the manor
could not hang him up instantly without judge or jury.
Though Frank tells me they have no juries here; which by the bye is odd
enough; and as he says I suppose it is a great shame. For, as he put
the case to me, how should I like, to have my estate seized on, by some
insolent prince or duke? For you know, I being a baronet in my own
right, Aby, no one less in rank would dare infringe upon me. Well! How
should I like to have this duke, or this prince, seize upon my estate;
and, instead of having my right tried by a special jury of my peers, to
have the cause decided by him who can get the prettiest woman to plead
for him, and who will pay her and his judges the best? For such Frank
assures me is the mode here! Now really all this is very bad; very bad
indeed, and as he says wants reforming.
But as for the game laws, as I was saying, Aby, they are excellently
enforced; and your poor rascals here are kept in very proper
subjection. They are held to the grindstone, as I may say. And so they
ought to be, Aby. For, I have often heard you say, what is a man but
what he is worth? Which in certain respects is very true. A gentleman
of family and fortune, why he is a gentleman; and no insolent beggar
ought to dare to look him in the face, without his permission. But you,
Aby, had always a very great sense of propriety, in these respects. And
you have found your advantage in it; as indeed you ought. It is a pity,
considering what a learned young man you have made your son, that you
did not teach him a little of your good sense in this particular. He is
too full of contradiction: too confident by half.
Let me have a long and full and whole account of what you are doing,
Aby. Tell me precisely how forward your work is, and the exact spot
where you are when each letter comes away. I know I need not caution
you to keep those idle fellows, the day labourers, to it. I never knew
any man who worked them better. And yet, Aby, it is surprising the sums
that they have cost me; but you are a very careful honest fellow; and
they have done wonders, under my planning and your inspection.
I do not wish that the moment I receive a letter it should be known to
every lacquey; especially here; where it seems to be one entire city of
babblers. The people appear to have nothing to do but to talk. In the
house, in the street, in the fields, breakfast, dinner, and supper,
walking, sitting, or standing, they are never silent. Nay egad I doubt
whether they do not talk in their sleep! So do you direct to me at the
Cafe Conti--However I had better write the direction for you at full
length, for fear of a mistake. And be sure you take care of your
spelling, Aby, or I don't know what may happen. For I am told that many
of these French people are devilish illiterate, and I am sure they are
devilish cunning. Snap! They answer before they hear you! And, what is
odd enough, their answers are sometimes as pat as if they knew your
meaning. Indeed I have often thought it strange that your low poor
people should be so acute, and have so much common sense. But do you
direct your letters thus--
_A Monsieur Monsieur le Chevalier de St. Ives, Baronet Anglois,
an Cafe Conti, vis-a-vis le Pont Neuf, Quai Conti, a Paris._
And so, Abimelech, I remain
A. ST. IVES
_Frank Henley to Oliver Trenchard_
_Paris, Hotel d'Espagne, rue Guenegaude_,
_Fauxbourg St. Germain_
The black forebodings of my mind, Oliver, are fulfilled! I have been
struck! The phantom I dreaded has appeared, has flashed upon me, and
all the evils of which I prophesied, and more than all, are collecting
to overwhelm me; are rushing to my ruin!
This brother of Louisa! Nothing surely was ever so unaccountable! The
very same whom I prevented from fighting, in the _Champs Elysees!_ Ay,
he! This identical Clifton, for Clifton it was, has again appeared; has
been here, is here, is never hence. His aspect was petrifying! He came
upon me this second time in the strangest, the most insolent manner
imaginable; just as I had sent away my last letter to thee; when I was
sitting the guardian of a treasure, which my fond false reveries were
at that moment flattering me might one day be mine! Starting at the
sight of me! Nothing kind, nothing conciliating in his address; it was
all imperious demand. Who was I? By what right did I deny admission to
the young lady's woman, to inform her he was come to pay her his
respects? He!--Having a letter from Sir Arthur, inviting him
thither!--Were such orders to be countermanded by me? Again and again,
who was I?--Oliver, he is a haughty youth; violent, headstrong, and
arrogant! Believe me he will be found so.
What do I mean? Why do I dread him? How! The slave of fear? Why is my
heart so inclined to think ill of him? Do I seek to depreciate? She has
mentioned him several times; has expected, with a kind of eagerness, he
would resemble her Louisa; has hoped he and I should be friends. 'Did
not I hope the same?' Oliver, she has tortured me! All benevolence as
she is, she has put me on the rack!
I must not yield thus to passion; it is criminal. I have too much
indulged the flattering dreams of desire. Yet what to do?--How to
act?--Must I tamely quit the field the moment an adversary appears;
turn recreant to myself, and coward-like give up my claims, without
daring to say such and such they are? No. Justice is due as much to
myself as to any other. If he be truly deserving of preference, why let
him be preferred. I will rejoice.--Yes, Oliver, mill.--He who is the
slave of passion, is unworthy a place in the noble mind of Anna.
But this man is not my superior: I feel, Oliver, he is not; and it
becomes me to assert my rights. Nay, his pride acts as a
provocative--Oliver, I perceive how wrong this is; but I will not blot
out the line. Let it remain as a memento. He that would correct his
failings must be willing to detect them.
The anxiety of my mind is excessive; and the pain which a conviction of
the weakness and error that this anxiety occasions renders it still
more insupportable. I must take myself to task; ay and severely. I must
enquire into the wrong and the right, and reason must be absolute. Tell
me thy thoughts, plainly and honestly; be sure thou dost; for I
sometimes suspect thee of too much kindness, of partiality to thy
friend. Chastise the derelictions of my heart, whenever thou perceivest
them; or I myself shall hereafter become thy accuser. I am
dissatisfied, Oliver: what surer token can there be that I am wrong? I
weary thee--Prithee forgive, but do not forget to aid me.
P.S. He--[I mean Louisa's brother; for I think only of one he and one
she, at present.] He has not yet taken any notice of our strange first
meeting; and thou mayst imagine, Oliver, if he think fit to be silent,
I shall not speak. Not that it can be supposed he holds duelling to be
disgraceful. I have enquired if any rencounter had taken place; for I
was very apprehensive that the champions would have their tilting-match
another time. However, as I can hear of no such accident, and as Mr.
Clifton is here continually, I hope I have been instrumental in
preventing such absurd guilt. The follies of men are scarcely
comprehensible! And what am I? Dare I think myself wise? Oliver, my
passions are in arms; the contest is violent; I call on thee to examine
and to aid the cause of truth.
_Coke Clifton to Guy Fairfax_
_Paris, Hotel de l'Universite_
I have found it, Fairfax! The pearl of pearls! The inestimable jewel!
The unique! The world contains but one!--And what?--A woman! The woman
of whom I told you!--Anna St. Ives! You have seen the Venus de
Medicis?--Pshaw!--Stone! Inanimate marble! But she!--The very sight of
her is the height of luxury! The pure blood is seen to circulate!
Transparent is the complexion which it illuminates!--And for symmetry,
for motion, for grace, sculptor, painter, nor poet ever yet imagined
such! Desire languishes to behold her! The passions all are in arms,
and the mere enjoyment of her presence is superior to all that her sex
beside can give!
Do not suppose me in my altitudes: all I can say, all you can imagine,
are far short of the reality.
Then how unlike is her candour to the petty arts, the shallow cunning
of her sex! Her heart is as open as her countenance; her thoughts flow,
fearless, to her lips. Original ideas, expressed in words so select,
phrases so happy, as to astonish and delight; a brilliancy and a
strength of fancy that disdain limitation, and wit rapid and fatal as
lightning to all opposition; these and a thousand other undescribable
excellencies are hers.
I love her Love?--I adore her! Ay--Be not surprised--Even to madness
and marriage!--No matter for what I have beforetime said, or what I
have thought, my mind is changed. I have discovered perfection which I
did not imagine could exist. I renounce my former opinions; which
applied to the sex in general were orthodox, but to her were blasphemy.
I would not be too sudden; I have not yet made any direct proposal. But
could I exist and forbear giving intimations? No. And how were they
received? Why with all that unaffected frankness which did not pretend
to misunderstand but to meet them, to cherish hope, and to give a
prospect of bliss which mortal man can never merit.
She is all benevolence! Nay she is too much so. There is that youngster
here; that upstart; he who bolted upon us and mouthed his Pindarics in
the Elysian Fields; the surly groom of the chamber. This fellow has
insinuated himself into her favour, and the benignity of her soul
induces her to treat him with as much respect as if he were a
The youth has some parts, some ideas: at least he has plenty of words.
But his arrogance is insufferable. He does not scruple to interfere in
the discourse, either with me, Sir Arthur, or the angelic Anna! Nay
sets up for a reformer; and pretends to an insolent superiority of
understanding and wisdom. Yet he was never so long from home before in
his life; has seen nothing, but has read a few books, and has been
permitted to converse with this all intelligent deity.
I cannot deny but that the pedagogue sometimes surprises me, with the
novelty of his opinions; but they are extravagant. I have condescended,
oftener than became me, to shew how full of hyperbole and paradox they
were. Still he as constantly maintained them, with a kind of congruity
that astonished me, and even rendered many of them plausible.
But, exclusive of his obstinacy, the rude, pot companion loquacity of
the fellow is highly offensive. He has no sense of inferiority. He
stands as erect, and speaks with as little embarrassment and as loudly
as the best of us: nay boldly asserts that neither riches, rank, nor
birth have any claim. I have offered to buy him a beard, if he would
but turn heathen philosopher. I have several times indeed bestowed no
small portion of ridicule upon him; but in vain. His retorts are always
ready; and his intrepidity, in this kind of impertinence, is
From some anecdotes which are told of him, I find he does not want
personal courage; but he has no claim to chastisement from a gentleman.
Petty insults he disregards; and has several times put me almost beyond
the power of forbearance, by his cool and cutting replies. His oratory
is always ready; cut, dry, and fit for use; and damned insolent oratory
it frequently is.
The absurdity of his tenets can only be equalled by the effrontery with
which they are maintained. Among the most ridiculous of what he calls
first principles is that of the equality of mankind. He is one of your
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