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me a line or two when convenient. I shall only add further, that if a behaviour regulated (though perhaps but very imperfectly) by the rules of honor and virtue, if a heart devoted to love and esteem you, and an earnest endeavour to promote your happiness ; if these are qualities you would wish in a friend, in a husband; I hope you shall ever find them in your real friend and sincere lover.
TO THE SAME.
I OUGHT in good manners to have acknowledged the receipt of your letter before this time, but my heart was so shocked with the contents of it, that I can scarcely yet collect my thoughts so as to write to you on the subject. I will not attempt to describe what I felt on receiving your letter. I read it over and over, again
6 but you
and again, and though it was in the politest language of refusal, still it was peremptory; you “ were sorry you could not make me a return,
wish me” what without you I never can obtain, “you wish me all kind of happiness. It would be weak and unmanly to say that with
I never can be happy; but sure I am, that sharing life with you, would have given it a relish, that, wanting you, I never can taste.
Your uncommon personal advantages, and your superior good sense, do not so much strike me; these possibly in a few instances may be met with in others ; but that amiable goodness, that tender feminine softness, that endearing sweetness of disposition, with all the charming offspring of a warm feeling heart—these I never again expect to meet with in such a degree in this world. All these charming qualities, heightened by an education much beyond any thing I have ever met with in any woman I ever dared to approach, have made an impression on my heart that I do not think the world can ever efface. My imagination had fondly flattered itself with a wish, I dare not say it ever reached a hope, that possibly I might one day call you mine. I had formed the most delightful images, and my fancy fondly brooded over them ; but now I am wretched for the loss of what I really had no right to expect. I must
now think no more of you as a mistress, still I presume to ask to be admitted as a friend. As such I wish to be allowed to wait on you, and as I expect to remove in a few days a little farther off, and you I suppose will perhaps soon leave this place, I wish to see you or hear from you soon; and if an expression should perhaps escape me rather too warm for friendship, I hope you will pardon it in, my dear Miss
(pardon me the dear expression for once.) *
No. No. V.
To MR. JOHN MURDOCH,
STAPLES INN BUILDINGS, LONDON.
Lochlee, 15th January, 1783.
As I have an opportunity of sending you a letter without putting you to that expense, which any production of mine would but ill repay; I brace it with pleasure to tell you that I have not forgotten, nor ever will forget, the
obligations I lie under to your kindness and friendship.
I do not doubt, sir, but you will wish to know what has been the result of all the pains of an indulgent father, and a masterly teacher; and I wish I could gratify your curiosity with such a recital as
you would be pleased with ; but that is what I am afraid will not be the case. I have, indeed, kept pretty clear of vicious habits; and in this respect, I hope, my conduct will not disgrace the education I have gotten; but as a man of the world, I am most miserably deficient. One would have thought that, bred as I have been under a father, who has figured pretty well as un homme des affaires, I might have been what the world calls, a pushing, active fellow; but to tell you the truth, sir, there is hardly any thing more my reverse.
I seem to be one sent into the world, to see, and observe; and I very easily compound with the knave who tricks me of my money, if there be any thing original about him, which shews me human nature in a different light from any thing I have seen before. In short, the joy of my heart is to “study men, their manners, and their ways;" and for this darling subject, I cheerfully sacrifice every other consideration. I am quite indolent about those great concerns that set the bustling, busy sons of care agog; and if I have to answer for the present hour, I am very easy with regard to any thing further. Even the last, worst shift of the unfortunate and the wretched, does not much terrify me: I know that even then, my talent for, what country folks call “a sensible
crack,” when once it is sanctified by a hoary head, would procure me so much esteem, that