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prayer, and a more fervent one than I had learned to make till now.
May her life be longer and happier than perhaps herself may desire, that is, as long and as happy as you can wish: may her beauty be as great as possible, that is, as it always was, or as yours is. But whatever ravages a merciless distemper may commit, I dare promise her boldly, what few (if any) of her makers of visits and compliments dare to do: she shall have one man as much her admirer as ever. As for your part, Madam, you have me so more than ever, since I have been a witness to the generous tenderness you have shewn upon this occasion.
I Am not at all concerned to think that this letter may be less entertaining than some I have sent: I know you are a friend that will think a kind letter as good as a diverting one. He that gives you his mirth makes a much less present than he that gives you his heart; and true friends would rather see such thoughts as they communicate only to one another, than what they squander about to all the world. They who can set a right value upon any thing, will prize one tender, well-meant word, above all that ever made them laugh in their lives. If I did not think so of you, I should never have taken much pains to endeavour to please you, by writing, or any thing else. Wit, I am sure, I want; at least in the degree that I see others have it, who would at all seasons alike be entertaining; but I would willingly have some qualities that may be (at some seasons) of more comfort to myself, and of more service to my friends. I would cut off my own head, if it had nothing better than wit in it; and tear out my own heart, if it had no better dispositions than to love only myself, and laugh at all my neighbours.
I know you will think it an agreeable thing to hear that I have done a great deal of Homer. If it be tolerable, the world may thank you for it: for if I could have seen you every day, and imagined my company could have every day pleased you, I should scarce have thought it worth my while to please the world. How many verses could I gladly have left unfinished, and turned into it, for people to say what they would of, had I been permitted to pass all those hours more pleasingly? Whatever some may think, Fame is a thing I am much less covetous of than your Friendship; for that, I hope, will last all my life; the other I cannot answer for. What if they should both grow greater after my death? alas! they would both be of no advantage to me? Therefore think upon it, and love me as well as ever you can, while I live.
Now I talk of fame, I send you my Temple of Fame, which is just come out : but my sentiments about it you will see better by this Epigram:
What's Fame with Men, by custom of the Nation,
All the pleasure or use of familiar letters, is to give us the assurance of a friend's welfare; at least 'tis all I know, who am a mortal enemy and despiser of what they call fine letters. In this view, I promise you, it will always be a satisfaction to me to write letters and to receive them from you; because I unfeignedly have your good at my heart, and am that thing, which many people make only a subject to display their fine sentiments upon, a Friend: which is a character that admits of little to be said, till something may be done. Now let me fairly tell you, I don't like your style: 'tis very pretty, therefore I don't like it; and if you writ as well as Voiture, I would not give a farthing for such letters, unless I were to sell them to be printed. Methinks I have lost the Mrs. L* I formerly knew, who writ and talked like other people (and sometimes better). You must allow me to say, you have not said a sensible word in all your letter, except where you speak of shewing kindness and expecting it in return: but the addition you make about your being but two and twenty, is again in the style of wit and abomination. To shew you how very unsatisfactorily you write, in all your letters you've never told me how you do. Indeed I see it was absolutely necessary for me to write to you, before you continued to take more notice of me, for I ought to tell you what you are to expect; that is to say, Kindness, which I never failed (I hope) to return; and not Wit, which if I want I am not much concerned, because judgment is a better thing; and if I had, I would make use of it rather to play upon those I despised, than to trifle with those I loved. You see, in short, after what manner you may most agreeably write to me: tell me you are my friend, and you can be no iilore at a loss about that article. As I have opened my mind upon this to you, it may
also serve for Mr. H , who will see by it what
manner of letters he must expect if he corresponds with me. As I am too seriously yours and his servant to put turns upon you instead of good wishes, so in return I would have nothing but honest plain Howd'ye's and Pray remember me's; which not being fit to be shown to any body for wit, may be a proof we correspond only for ourselves, in mere friendliness; as doth, God is my witness,
It is with infinite satisfaction I am made acquainted that your brother will at last prove your relation, and has entertained such sentiments as became him in your concern. I have been prepared for this by degrees, having several times received from Mrs. * that which is one of the greatest pleasures, the knowledge that others entered into my own sentiments concerning you. I ever was of opinion that you wanted no more to be vindicated than to be known. As I have often condoled with you in your adversities, so I have a right, which but few can pretend to, of congratulating on the prospect of your better fortunes: and I hope, for the future, to have the concern I have felt for you overpaid in your felicities. Though you modestly say the world has left you, yet, I verily believe, it is coming to you again as fast as it can: for, to give the world its due, it is always very fond of Merit when 'tis past its power to oppose it. Therefore, if you can, take it into favour again upon its repentance, and continue in it. But if you are resolved in revenge to rob the world of so much example as you may afford it, I believe, your design will be vain; for even in a monastery your devotions cannot carry you so far toward the next world as to make this lose the sight of you; but you'll be like a star, that, while it is fixed to heaven, shines over all the earth.
Wheresoever Providence shall dispose of the most valuable thing I know, I shall ever follow you with my sincerest wishes, and my best thoughts will be perpetually waiting upon you when you never hear of me nor them. Your own guardian angels cannot be more constant, nor more silent. I beg you will never cease to think me your friend, that you may not be guilty o£ that which you never yet knew to commit an injustice. As I have hitherto been so in spite of the world, so hereafter, if it be possible you should ever be more opposed, and more deserted, I should only be so much the more
Your faithful, etc.