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some qualities as well-deserving to be half-laughed at, and half-esteemed, as most hearts in the world.
Its grand, foible in regard to you, is the most like Reason of any foible in nature. Upon my word, this heart is not like a great warehouse, stored only with my own goods, or with empty spaces to be supplied as fast as Interest or Ambition can fill them: but is every inch of it let out into lodgings for its friends, and shall never want a corner where your idea will always lie as warm, and as close, as any idea in Christendom.
If this distance (as you are so kind as to say) enlarges your belief of my friendship, I assure you, it has so extended my notion of your value, that I begin to be impious upon that account, and to wish that even slaughter, ruin, and desolation, may interpose between you and the place you design for; and that you were restored to us at the expence of a whole people.
Is there no expedient to return you in peace to the bosom of your country? I hear you are come as
far as :do you only look back to die twice? Is
Eurydice once more snatched to the shades? If ever mortal had reason to hate the King, it is I, whose particular misfortune it is, to be almost the only innocent person he has made to suffer; both by his Government at home, and his Negociations abroad.
If you must go from us, I wish at least you might pass to your banishment by the most pleasant way: that all the road might be roses and myrtles, and a thousand objects rise round you, agreeable enough to make England less desirable to you. It is not now my interest to wish England agreeable: it is highly probable it may use me ill enough to drive me from it. Can I think that place my country, where I cannot now call a foot of paternal Earth my own? Yet it may seem some alleviation, that when the wisest thing I can do is to leave my country, what was most agreeable in it should first be snatched away from it.
I could overtake you with pleasure in —, and make that tour in your company. Every reasonable entertainment and beautiful view would be doubly engaging when you partook of it. I should at least attend you to the sea coasts, and cast a last look after the sails that transported you. But perhaps I might care as little to stay behind you; and be full as uneasy to live in a country where I saw others persecuted by the rogues of my own religion, as where I was persecuted myself by the rogues of yours. And it is not impossible I might run into Asia in search of liberty: for who would not rather live a freeman among a nation of slaves, than a slave among a nation of freemen?
In good earnest, if I knew your motions, and your exact time; I verily think, I should be once more happy in a sight of you next spring.
I'll conclude with a wish, God send you with us^ or me with you.
You will find me3 more troublesome than ever Brutus did his evil Genius; I shall meet you in more places than one, and often refresh your memory before you arrive at your Philippi. These shadows of me (my letters) will be haunting you from time to time, and putting you in mind of the man who has really suffered very much from you, and whom you have robbed of the most valuable of his enjoyments, your conversation. The advantage of hearing your sentiments by discovering mine, was what I always thought a great one, and even worth the risque I generally run of manifesting my own indiscretion. You then rewarded my trust in you the moment it was given, for you pleased and informed me the minute you answered. I must now be contented with more slow returns. However, 'tis some pleasure, that your thoughts upon paper will be a more lasting possession to me, and that I shall no longer have cause to complain of a loss I have so often regretted, that of any thing you said, which I happened to forget. In earnest, Madam, if I were to write to you as often as I think of you, it must be every day of my life. I attend you in spirit through all your ways, I follow you through every stage in books of travels, and fear for you through whole folios; you make me shrink at the past dangers of dead travellers; and if I read of a delightful prospect, or agreeable place, I hope it yet subsists to please you. I enquire the roads, the amusements, the company, of every town and country through which you pass, with as much diligence, as if I were to set out next week to overtake you. In a word, no one can have you more constantly in mind, not even your Guardian-angel (if you have one); and I am willing to indulge so much popery as to fancy some Being takes care of you, who knows your value better than you do yourself: I am willing to think that Heaven never gave so much self-neglect and resolution to a woman, to occasion her calamity; but am pious enough to believe those qualities must be intended to conduce to her benefit and her glory.
1 This and the preceding Letter are to Lady Wortley Montagu.
Your first short letter only serves to show me you are alive: it puts me in mind of the first dove that returned to Noah, and just made him know it had found no rest abroad.
There is nothing in it that pleases me, but when you tell me you had no sea-sickness. I beg your next may give me all the pleasure it can, that is, tell me any that you receive. You can make no discoveries that will be half so valuable to me as those of your own mind. Nothing that regards the states or kingdoms you pass through, will engage so much of my curiosity or concern, as what relates to yourself: your welfare, to say truth, is more at my heart than that of Christendom.
I am sure I may defend the truth, though perhaps not the virtue, of this declaration. One is ignorant, or doubtful at best, of the merits of differing religions and governments: but private virtues one can be sure of. I therefore know what particular Person has desert enough to merit being happier than others, but not what Nation deserves to conquer or oppress another. You will say, I am not public-spirited; let it be so, I may have too many tendernesses, particular regards, or narrow views; but at the same time I am certain that whoever wants these, can never have a public spirit; for (as a friend of mine says) how is it possible for that man to love twenty thousand people who never loved one?
I communicated your letter to Mr. C :he
thinks of you and talks of you as he ought, I mean as I do, and one always thinks that to be just as it ought. His health and mine are now so good, that we wish with all our souls you were a witness of it. We never meet but we lament over you: we pay a kind of weekly rites to your memory, where we strow flowers of rhetoric, and offer such libations to your name as it would be profane to call Toasting.
The Duke of B m is sometimes the High
Priest of your praises; and upon the whole, I believe there are as few men that are not sorry at your departure, as women that are: for, you know, most of your sex want good sense, and therefore must want generosity: you have so much of both, that, I am sure, you pardon them: for one cannot but forgive whatever one despises. For my part I hate a great many women for your sake, and undervalue all the rest. 'Tis you are to blame, and may God revenge it upon you, with all those blessings and earthly prosperities, which, the Divines tell us, are the cause of our perdition; for if he makes you