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XXXVII.--To MRS. THRALE.

Lichfield, October 27, 1777.

DEAR MADAM,--You talk of writing and writing, as if you had all the writing to yourself. If our correspondence were printed, I am sure posterity, for posterity is always the author's favourite, would say that I am a good writer too." Anch' io sono pittore." To sit down so often with nothing to say; to say something so often, almost without consciousness of saying, and without any remembrance of having said, is a power of which I will not violate my modesty by boasting, but I do not believe that every body has it.

Some, when they write to their friends, are all affection; some are wise and sententious; some strain their powers for efforts of gaiety; some write news, and some write secrets; but to make a letter without affection, without wisdom, without gaiety, without news, and without a secret, is, doubtless, the great epistolick art.

In a man's letters, you know, madam, his soul lies naked, his letters are only the mirror of his breast; whatever passes within him, is shown, undisguised, in its natural process; nothing is inverted, nothing distorted: you see systems in their elements; you discover actions in their motives.

Of this great truth, sounded by the knowing to the ignorant, and so echoed by the ignorant to the knowing, what evidence have you now before you? Is not my soul laid open in these veracious pages? Do not you see me reduced to my first principles? This is the pleasure of corresponding with a friend, where doubt and distrust have no place, and every thing is said as it is thought. The original idea is laid down in its simple purity, and all the supervenient conceptions are spread over it, "stratum super stratum," as they happen to be formed. These are the letters by which souls are united, and by which minds, naturally in unison, move each other, as they are moved themselves. I know, dearest lady, that in the perusal of

this, such is the consanguinity of our intellects, you will be touched, as I am touched. I have, indeed, concealed nothing from you, nor do I expect ever to repent of having thus opened my heart. I am, &c.

XXXVIII.-To MRS. THRALE.

November 10, 1777.

DEAR MADAM,-And so, supposing that I might come to town, and neglect to give you notice, or thinking some other strange thought, but certainly thinking wrong, you fall to writing about me to Tom Davies, as if he could tell you anything that I would not have you know. As soon as I came hither, I let you know of my arrival; and the consequence is, that I am summoned to Brighthelmstone, through storms, and cold, and dirt, and all the hardships of wintry journeys. You know my natural dread of all those evils; yet, to show my master an example of compliance, and to let you know how much I long to see you, and to boast how little I give way to disease, my purpose is to be with you on Friday.

I am sorry for poor Nezzy, and hope she will, in time, be better; I hope the same for myself. The rejuvenescency of Mr. Scrase gives us both reason to hope, and, therefore, both of us rejoice in his recovery. I wish him well, besides, as a friend to my master.

I am just come home from not seeing my lord mayor's show, but I might have seen, at least, part of it. But I saw Miss Wesley and her brothers; she sends her compliments. Mrs. Williams is come home, I think, a very little better.

Every body was an enemy to that wig.-We will burn it, and get drunk; for what is joy without drink? Wagers are laid in the city about our success, which is yet, as the French call it, problematical. Well-but, seriously, I think, I shall be glad to see you in your own hair; but do not take too much time in combing, and twisting, and papering, and unpapering, and curling, and frizling, and

powdering, and getting out the powder, with all the other operations required in the cultivation of a head of hair; yet let it be combed, at least, once in three months, on the quarterday. I could wish it might be combed once, at least, in six weeks; if I were to indulge my wishes, but what are wishes without hopes, I should fancy the operation performed-one knows not when one has enough— perhaps, every morning. I am, dearest lady, your, &c.

XXXIX.-To MRS. THRALE.

Ashbourne, June 14, 1779.

DEAR MADAM,-Your account of Mr. Thrale's illness is very terrible; but when I remember that he seems to have it peculiar to his constitution, that, whatever distemper he has, he always has his head affected, I am less frighted. The seizure was, I think, not apoplectical, but hysterical, and, therefore, not dangerous to life. I would have you, however, consult such physicians as you think you can best trust. Broomfield seems to have done well, and, by his practice, appears not to suspect an apoplexy. This is a solid and fundamental comfort. I remember Dr. Marsigli, an Italian physician, whose seizure was more violent than Mr. Thrale's, for he fell down helpless, but his case was not considered as of much danger, and he went safe home, and is now a professor at Padua. His fit was considered as only hysterical.

I hope sir Philip, who franked your letter, comforts you, as well as Mr. Seward. If I can comfort you, I will come to you; but I hope you are now no longer in want of any help to be happy. I am, &c.

The doctor sends his compliments; he is one of the people that are growing old.

XL.-TO MRS. THRALE.

Ashbourne, June 14, 1779. DEAR MADAM,-How near we are all to extreme danger. We are merry or sad, or busy or idle, and forget that death is hovering over us. You are a dear lady for writing again. The case, as you now describe it, is worse than I conceived it, when I read your first letter. It is still, however, not apoplectick, but seems to have something worse than hysterical—a tendency to a palsy, which, I hope, however, is now over. I am glad that you have Heberden, and hope we are all safer. I am the more alarmed by this violent seizure, as I can impute it to no wrong practices, or intemperance of any kind, and, therefore, know not how any defence or preservative can be obtained. Mr. Thrale has, certainly, less exercise than when he followed the foxes; but he is very far from unwieldiness or inactivity, and further still from any vitious or dangerous excess. I fancy, however, he will do well to ride more.

Do, dear madam, let me know, every post, how he goes on. Such sudden violence is very dreadful; we know not by what it is let loose upon us, nor by what its effects are limited.

If my coming can either assist or divert, or be useful to any purpose, let me but know: I will soon be with you.

Mrs. Kennedy, Queeney's Baucis, ended, last week, a long life of disease and poverty. She had been married about fifty years.

Dr. Taylor is not much amiss, but always complaining. I am, &c.

XLI. TO MR. THRALE.

Lichfield, June 23, 1779.

DEAR SIR,-To show how well I think of your health, I have sent you a hundred pounds, to keep for me. It will come within one day of quarterday, and that day

you must give me. I came by it in a very uncommon manner, and would not confound it with the rest.

My wicked mistress talks as if she thought it possible for me to be indifferent or negligent about your health or hers. If I could have done any good, I had not delayed an hour to come to you; and I will come very soon, to try if my advice can be of any use, or my company of any entertainment.

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What can be done, you must do for yourself: do not let any uneasy thought settle in your mind. Cheerfulness and exercise are your great remedies. Nothing is, for the present, worth your anxiety. • Vivite læti" is one of the great rules of health. I believe it will be good to ride often, but never to weariness, for weariness is, itself, a temporary resolution of the nerves, and is, therefore, to be avoided. Labour is exercise continued to fatigueexercise is labour used only, while it produces pleasure.

Above all, keep your mind quiet: do not think with earnestness even of your health; but think on such things as may please without too much agitation; among which, I hope, is, dear sir, your, &c.

XLII.-To MRS. THRALE.

DEAR MADAM,-On Sunday I dined with poor Lawrence, who is deafer than ever. When he was told that Dr. Moisy visited Mr. Thrale, he inquired for what? and said there was nothing to be done, which nature would not do for herself. On Sunday evening, I was at Mrs. Vesy's, and there was inquiry about my master, but I told them all good. There was Dr. Bernard of Eton, and we made a noise all the evening; and there was Pepys, and Wraxal, till I drove him away. And I have no loss of my mistress, who laughs, and frisks, and frolicks it all the long day, and never thinks of poor Colin.

If Mr. Thrale will but continue to mend, we shall, I hope, come together again, and do as good things as ever we did; but, perhaps, you will be made too proud to heed

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