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TO HIS WIFE.
15, Mount Street, May 18, 1799. MY DEAR JANE, Your letter gives me great comfort. But, indeed, you set me a hard task of writing you a long letter, which shall have as many letters in it as yours. In the first place, to reckon 'em would be very tedious; and, in the next, I have not the art of prattling as you have, which however I like very much in you.
There is so much to be seen and done in London that I have very little time to write. Besides the noise and hurry are so great that they disperse all that pleasant train of ideas which a more quiet scene would occasion when I thought of home. I have seen many fine pictures, and they have pleased me more than anything else I have seen. The Exhibition alone has more than a thousand, but
many of them not very good. The room swarms like the threshold of a beehive. The Shakspeare Gallery and the Orleans Gallery, particularly the latter, are both less crowded, and much better worth attention. But London is not the place to enjoy fine paintings. In short, I long for the country again. I have seen Henry the Eighth very well acted, and heard Incledon sing exceedingly well; but not with that feeling which is with me a prime quality in a singer. I intended to have gone to the
Opera this evening, but my father has forgotten to ask Lord Uxbridge for the ticket which he had promised me. So much for gaieties. No answer to Lord U.'s application to the Chancellor yet. The Chancellor is ill; but I think there are little hopes, as the thing has been so long vacated.
Tell Georgina, with my love, I don't know how to execute her commission for Jenny. I don't know whether she would have cloth or cotton.
I have got the bracelet for her.
Love to my sisters and kisses for my children, from your faithful
H. F. Cary.
TO THE SAME.
Magdalen College, Oxford, May 22, 1799.
MY DEAR JANE, I have never written to you with so much pleasure as now that I am on my way home. We arrived here about ten o'clock this morning. My father proceeds fourteen miles this evening, and I am to overtake him to-morrow morning before breakfast, by means of a coach. Since I wrote last from Hounslow, we have been at Windsor, which I could scarcely recollect after an interval of twenty-four years. Raphael's Cartoons were there, but I was hurried by them too rapidly to dwell on their beauties.
This place renews many pleasant recollections, and some unpleasant; but the latter are more apt to escape us than the former.
I have hopes of reaching you before you receive this letter. Under this circumstance can you expect me to be very long-winded in my epistle? I had thought of coming to you by the night-coach that passes through Bromley on Friday, but as you will have sent my horse to Cannock, and we shall probably arrive there in good time in the evening, I now think I shall travel by a more agreeable conveyI mean
on my Arabian. But do not be surprised if I should knock up the house very early on Saturday morning. However, I would not have any one sit up. If anything prevents me from coming on Friday you will certainly see me early on Saturday. Adieu, my dear Jane, and don't count the letters. My father joins in love to my sister and you. Your faithful and fond husband,
H. F. C.
TO THOMAS PRICE, Esq.
Abbots-Bromley, July 9, 1799. MY DEAR PRICE, Your very kind letter deserves at least a prompt reply; but a more grateful return, I cannot make it. I am already sufficiently recovered not to need the aid of the Cheltenham waters, and have no such fears of dipping into the ocean without their previous lustration, as you would inspire me with.
If there were not more urgent reasons to detain me here for the few weeks that intervene before my Welch journey, your solicitation of my company might prove a powerful inducement. Nor do I apprehend much oppression to your spirits from the solitude of a water-drinking place, a solitude which may easily be dispelled by the wonder-working wand of Mr. Moreau, or whoever now presides as the arbiter elegantiarum. Take my advice, my friend ; apply to that magician for assistance in his charmed circle, the assembly-room, and you will suddenly find the desert, which you now complain of affording only a beautiful country and a good library, suddenly converted into a land of social gaiety, a happy region, where every beau will favour you with a salute, and every belle with a smile.
I conclude, from your silence, that the mysterious dean still keeps his secret alta caligine mersum : a dean he probably will not much longer hear (to use a Greek phrase), since the long-expected mitre has at length deserted the brow of good Dr. Smallwell.
Waters writes to me that “his character for punctuality and despatch may, ay, and shall, yet be redeemed.” I looked closely if I could not discover a blush on the
which was made the bearer of so worn-out a promise.
If I do not see you here before my departure,
which will be on the 29th of this month, you shall hear from me in Wales and Ireland.
I am your affectionate,
H. F. CARY.
TO THE SAME.
Carnarvon, August 19, 1799. DEAR PRICE, Here have I been settled for this fortnight among the ultimo remotos orbe Britannos, for so the genuine sons of Britain, who inhabit the wild mountains of Carnarvonshire, may be called, when compared to the Saxon breed that have seized on the fertile plains of Stafford and Warwick. Let me impart to you the delight with which this country fills me by its romantic display of rocks, torrents, and lakes, by the mouldering magnificence of its ruined castles and palaces, but more than all by the good order and honesty that seem to prevail among its inhabitants. The only complaint I have to make against it is the incessant rains that gather on the mountains and seldom allow us a single day of uninterrupted fair weather.
Last Wednesday we made an excursion to Llanberris Lake, which, as I think you have not seen it, I wish I could describe. It is from four to five miles long, and in most parts half a mile or three-quarters broad, except at the distance of about one-third its length from the top, where it contracts into so narrow