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From the celebrated Mrs. Fordyce” to the late Mr. JMeyler of Bath, publisher of the BATH HERALD.
O, Good Mr. Meyler! God will surely bless you for the zeal on your part in succouring this man of merit, whose wonderful modesty is quite striking. I am grieved I did not see you to'night, when you called and favoured me with the two letters, which I will carefully copy, and show my Mentor of a friend (Mr. Duncan) who is already in search, and no man will be of more importance to the unfortunate; for his benevolence is equal to his penetration, and his polished taste never errs in criticism. When you, sir, did my door the honour of a call, I was at the moment writing a note to you, very earnest, to prevent your inserting my name for so paltry a sum as the balance of the tenpound bank bill, being only seventeen shillings. Here, sir, I enclose you ten pounds for the sole benefit of this man. Resting on the information of that most worthy clergyman, Mr. Allport, we are safe and sure we are not imposed on by releasing this genius from oppression. My donation, with what he will otherwise get, will enable him to quit his present little school, which a man much his inferior may conduct. Advise him to come to Bath. Tell him there is a house there, with a parlour and a bed chamber in all respects quite comfortable, dry, well aired: that there is in the style of neat sobriety, a sufficient dinner on table every day at four o'clock: that the mistress of the house loves nothing so much as seclusion, books, and men of talents who have conjoined that becoming piety which occasionally appears in Mr. . I am glad he has a wife, in the hope she has a heart worthy of such a husband. She will take care of him, and I will take care of both while under my roof, where they will have no cares, and plenty of books,— no check on the Muses. The recluse mistress of the house will never trouble them till dinner is on the table, for being eighty-five years of age, she always breakfasts in bed,—not from an inclination to loiter, but that it enables her to hold out through the day, when the detail of her
* The life of this lady, written with considerable ability, was some time "since published by Hurst, Robinson, and Co.
small establishment is somewhat the better for being personally directed. It would be the ruin of such a man to be in London or Bath, without a house to receive him gratis. But I have a great desire to know what kind of person his wife is. Such an inquiry, dear sir, is of importance in taking people under one's roof. Such geniuses do not always match prudently. Yet he expresses a tender solicitude about her, which he could not do if he knew her to be unworthy. We will hope the best. I have too long intruded on your time, as I know it is of much importance, and will only add I should be very happy to see you under my roof, who have been so long justly in my esteem in concurrence with the public. May prosperity and peace attend you ! Such is the prayer of, Dear sir, Your most obedient servant,
WOL. III. E
To ease your extreme anxiety, I write to inform you that I am in the land of the living, and almost miraculously delivered from all my miseries. I felt I could not die, without first letting my dear friend Mr. Allport, of whom I have spoken to you before, know my sufferings, which I thought would plead a strong excuse for the rash and wilful act I was on the very point of executing. The goodness, the benevolence of this true Samaritan, who so kindly soothed my sorrows, and poured balm into my bleeding wounds, is beyond all praise; and should my heart ever cease to remember him with the liveliest gratitude, esteem, and respect, I must become a very wretch indeed. He has raised up numerous friends for me, who have contributed very considerable sums to release me from embarrassment; and through him I have returned K the money which he advanced on my MSS. and got them again in my own possession. I must do him the justice to
believe, from what I have heard through my late publishers, that misfortune alone was the cause of his not fulfilling his engagements with me. It is my benevolent friend's advice, that I print the Tragedy on my own account, my former booksellers having consented to be my publishers on liberal terms. He says in his last letter to me, “I deem it so desirable that something should come out just now to keep the flame alive, or to add fuel to that which is kindled, that I advise your acceptance of Messrs. P and M 's terms. I deem you speak only of your Tragedy. Your other poem I would have kept back. Let us proceed now, if we can, by those steps that will secure an easy, certain, and advantageous ascent. If your Tragedy sell well, and I do believe it will now, you very soon, I am persuaded, will have some handsome offer for your Poem. In the meantime revise it, and make it as perfect as possible. Messrs. P. and M. shall have an early remittance of £10. to stimulate them to advertise your Tragedy well. Mr. Lisle Bowles has sent you a remittance after reading your work, and expresses himself very warmly about it. I have not heard a word from Archdeacon Fisher, at which I am much surprised, as he informed me