« PreviousContinue »
Rosamund was rested under it, but when it was cut down, they could never get another elm to grow on the same spot; all other trees grew very kindly, but the elm always withered as soon as it was put in the ground.” If you do not think with the old man that all this is very portentous, yet you will agree with me in thinking the tale a pretty instance of rustic superstition and fancy.
“ It is silly sooth, And tallies with the innocence of love
Like the old age.” The present Archbishop of York wrote some elegant verses as an exercise (while at this College) on God. stow Abbey, but they are very short, and would apply almost as well to the ruins of any other monastery. Farewell. Believe me your very faithful votary,
H. F. CARY.
To the foregoing may be subjoined the three following letters written during his career at the University :-
TO HIS SISTER GEORGINA.
Ch. Ch., Oxford, December, 10, 1792. MY DEAR GEORGINA, I wish it was in my power, consistently with my own resolutions, to return home this vacation. Your pretty scheme of paying for the carriage of my books does very well to talk of. But, alas, there are
so many other engagements at Cannock, that I never yet was able to think much about the few books I had there. If, therefore, you have any regard for me, you will advise me to stay here. I assure you it is rather against my inclination. The arguments of Caroline and Mary* would have great weight with me, but I am afraid
you did not put a fair state of the question before them.
I am very sorry for James Walhouse's strange enthusiasm. His idea of standing up for the cause of the poor and oppressed confirms the good opinion I have always had of his heart, though it is certainly a mistaken one. The condition of the peasantry in this country might, and I hope will, soon be made more comfortable. I have had opportunities of seeing the wretched poverty of the lower sort of people about this place, and I believe the same is the case in many other parts of England. But they oftener want the comforts of a few faggots, a loaf of bread, and a hut to defend them from the weather, than any spiritual relief.
I hope my mother does not feel any return of the rheumatism from the present variable season. There is now a high gale blowing, which I expect every moment will bring the old towers of Christ Church about our heads. William is a pert gentleman cadet for saying I never write to him. He has never written
* His sisters by his father's second wife, and for whom he ever entertained the most ardent affection.
to me but once, to know whether I should be in Oxford on the 20th of this month; and I could not tell him with certainty till this morning.
Give me joy, I have just got rid of a troublesome tooth, the neighbour to the quondam one that gave me so much trouble at Cannock, and which now reposes on the shelves of Mr. Doringham. Adieu ; adieu ;
Your affectionate Brother,
H. F. CARY.
TO THE SAME.
Ch. Ch., Oxford, January 5, 1793, DEAR GEORGINA, You must not tell William that I laughed very heartily at the description of his feather and sword : because, though the former inclines me to think rather lightly of him, yet the latter certainly makes him formidable to one who has no weapon of defence. There is, I believe, an old rusty rapier of mine which I will be obliged to you to get polished (if possible), and send it to me, as I may then be prepared for his attack, if his dreadful thirst for blood should break out when I am in his company.
It must be a great pleasure to the King, and indeed to all the peaceably disposed inhabitants of this island, to think that they have such gallant defenders of their persons and property. I saw some very
fine verses in the newspaper the other day, which will be very interesting to our spirited young warrior :
Britons, strike home, the dangerous foe appears ;
One scarcely knows which to admire most, the unparalleled courage of the noble duke, or the great genius of the poet in these sublime verses. Apropos, now I am speaking of the papers, I must not omit a paragraph which seems plainly to point at William. “A protégé of the Duke of R-, equally distinguished for the politeness of his address, the elegance of his person, his taste for military ornaments, and his furious and undaunted courage, has given fresh proofs of his valour in the interior parts of this kingdom. Not contented with an unwearied attention to his duty, when on actual service, he takes the precaution to go constantly armed among his friends in I-e, well knowing that the brave man ought to be prepared, on the slightest notice, for the defence of his country.”
As you are so well guarded at Cannock, I suppose you can attend a little to the peaceable arts of life, and that you are going on with the improvements in the house. What effect has the alteration of the staircase ?
Remember me affectionately to my mother and sisters, and believe me
Your faithful Brother,
H. F. CARY.
TO THE SAME,
Ch. Ch., Oxford, April, 24, 1793. DEAR GEORGINA, On looking over the almanack, I find that it is about a fortnight since I left home, and that it is consequently about the time that you expect a letter from
A letter therefore you shall have, though I scarcely know where to find materials to form it, at present. I heard from my father this morning, but the letter is dated the 21st, so that I suppose you must have heard from him since that time. He thinks the waters taken internally agree with him, but he has not yet tried bathing. From William I had a letter yesterday, in which he tells me that fourteen cadets have got commissions, but omits mentioning whether he is advanced another cut.
The papers of the last two or three days contain nothing very material. They say that Dumourier's assistance, being found of little advantage, has been refused by the allied armies; and that he, in consequence, has retired into Switzerland, where he may enjoy the comfortable retrospect of his past life. So that all the bright prospects, which some persons flattered themselves with, of an immediate subjugation of France, are entirely vanished.
I have just begun reading the “ Arabian Nights' Entertainments," which have not fallen in my way since I was a child. I am so delighted with them,