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pleasure in her conversation, as that one vice of her obstinacy will give me mortification this month. Ratcliffe commands her to the Bath, and she refuses ! indeed if I were in Berkshire I should honour her for this obstinacy, and magnify her no less for disobedience than we do the Barcelonians. But people change with the change of places (as we see of late), and virtues become vices when they cease to be for one's interest, with me, as with others.
Yet let me tell her, she will never look so finely while she is upon earth, as she would here in the water. It is not here as in most other instances, for those ladies that would please extremely, must go out of their own element. She does not make half so good a figure on horseback as Christina Queen of Sweden ; but were she once seen in the Bath, no man would part with her for the best mermaid in Christendom. You know I have seen you often, I perfectly know how you look in black and in white, I have experienced the utmost you can do in colours; but all your movements, all your graceful steps, deserve not half the glory you might here attain, of a moving and easy behaviour in buckram; something between swimming and walking, free enough, and more modestlyhalf-naked than you can appear any where else. You have conquered enough already by land; show your ambition, and vanquish also by water. The buckram I mention is a dress peculiarly useful at this time, when, we are told, they are bringing over the fashion of German ruffs; you ought to use yourself to some degrees of stiffness before-hand ; and when our ladies' chins have been tickled a-while with starched muslin
and wire, they may possibly bear the brush of a German beard and whisker.
I could tell you a delightful story of Dr. P. but want room to display it in all its shining circumstances. He had heard it was an excellent cure for love, to kiss the aunt of the person beloved, who is generally of years and experience enough to damp the fiercest flame; he try'd this course in his passion, and kissed Mrs. E- at Mr. D—'s, but, he says, it will not do, and that he loves you as much as ever.
TO THE SAME. If you ask how the waters agree with me, I must tell you, so very well, that I question how you and I should agree if we were in a room by ourselves. Mrs.
has honestly assured me, that but for some whims which she can't entirely conquer, she would go and see the world with me in man's cloaths. Even you, Madam, I fancy (if you would not partake in our adventures), would wait our coming in at the evening with some impatience, and be well enough pleased to hear them by the fire-side. That would be better than reading romances, unless Lady M. would be our historian. What raises these desires in me, is an acquaintance I am beginning with my Lady Sandwich, who has all the spirit of the last age, and all the gay experience of a pleasurable life. It were as scandalous an omission to come to the Bath, and not see my Lady
Sandwich, as it had formerly been to have travelled to Rome without visiting the Queen of Sweden. She is, in a word, the best thing this country has to boast of; and as she has been all that a woman of spirit could be, so she still continues that easy and independent creature that a sensible woman always will be.
I must tell you the truth, which is not, however, much to my credit. I never thought so much of yourself and your sister, as since I have been fourscore miles distant from you. In the Forest I looked upon you as good neighbours, at London as pretty kind of women, but here as divinities, angels, goddesses, or what you will. In the same manner I never knew at what rate I valued your life till you were upon the point of dying. If Mr. —- and you will but fall very sick every season, I shall certainly die for you. Seriously I value you both so much, that I esteem others much the less for your sakes; you have robbed me of the pleasure of esteeming a thousand pretty qualities in them, by showing me so many finer in yourselves. There are but two things in the world which could make you indifferent to me, which, I believe, you are not capable of, I mean ill-nature and malice. I have seen enough of you, not to overlook any frailty you could have, and nothing less than a vice could make me like you less. I expect you should discover by my conduct towards you both, that this is true, and that therefore you should pardon a thousand things in me for that one disposition. Expect nothing from me but truth and freedom, and I shall always be thought by you, what I always am,
LETTER IX. .
TO THE SAME.
1714. I RETURNED home as slow and as contemplative after I had parted from you, as my Lord * retired from the Court and glory to his Country-seat and wife, a week ago. I found here a dismal desponding letter from the son of another great courtier who expects the same fate, and who tells me the great ones of the earth will now take it very kindly of the mean ones, if they will favour them with a visit by day-light. With what joy would they lay down all their schemes of glory, did they but know you have the generosity to drink their healths once a day, as soon as they are fallen? Thus the unhappy, by the sole merit of their misfortunes, become the care of Heaven and you. I intended to have put this last into verse, but in this age of ingratitude my best friends forsake me, I mean my rhymes.
I desire Mrs. P- to stay her stomach with these half hundred Plays, till I can procure her a Romance big enough to satisfy her great soul with adventures. As for Novels, I fear she can depend upon none from me but that of my Life, which I am still, as I have been, contriving all possible methods to shorten, for the greater ease both of the historian and the reader. May she believe all the passion and tenderness expressed in these Romances to be but a faint image of what I bear her, and may you (who read nothing) take the same truth upon hearing it from me. You
will both injure me very much, if you don't think me a truer friend, than ever any romantic lover, or any imitator of their style could be.
The days of beauty are as the days of greatness, and so long all the world are your adorers. I am one of those unambitious people, who will love you forty years hence when your eyes begin to twinkle in a retirement, and without the vanity which every one now will take to be thought
The more I examine my own mind, the more romantic I find myself. Methinks it is a noble spirit of contradiction to Fate and Fortune, not to give up those that are snatched from us; but to follow them the more, the farther they are removed from the sense of it. Sure, Flattery never travelled so far as three thousand miles; it is now only for Truth, which overtakes all things, to reach you at this distance, 'Tis a generous piece of Popery, that pursues even those who are to be eternally absent, into another world ; whether you think it right or wrong, you'll own the very extravagance a sort of piety. I can't be satisfied with strowing flowers over you, and barely honouring you as a thing lost: but must consider you as a glorious, though remote being, and be sending addresses after you. You have carried away so much of me, that what remains is daily languishing and dying over my acquaintance here,