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To SAMUEL ROSE, Esqr.
Weston, Nov. 30, 1788.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Your Letter, accompanying the books with which you have favoured me, and for which I return you a thousand thanks, did not arrive till yesterday. I shall have great pleasure in taking now and then a peep at my old friend Vincent Bourne; the neatest of all men in his versification, though when I was under his ushership, at Westminster, the most slovenly in his person. He was so inattentive to his boys, and so indifferent whether they brought him good or bad exercises, or none at all, that he seemed determined, as he was the best, so to be the last Latin poet of the Westminster line; a plot which, I believe, he executed very successfully, for I have not heard of any, who has deserved to be compared with him.
We had hardly any rain or snow since you left us; the roads are accordingly as dry as in the middle of summer, and the opportunity of walking much more favourable. We have no season, in my mind, so pleasant as such a winter ; and I account it particularly fortunate, that such it proves, my Cousin being with us. She is in good health, and cheerful, so are we all; and this I say, knowing you will be glad to hear it, for you have seen the time when this could not be said of all your friends at Weston. We shall rejoice to see you here at Christmas; but I recollect when I hinted such an excursion by word of mouth, you gave me no great encouragement to expect you. Minds alter, and yours may be of the number of those that do so; and if it should, you will be entirely welcome to us all. Were there no other reason for your coming than merely the pleasure it will afford to us, that reason alone would be sufficient; but after so many toils, and with so many more in prospect, it seems essential to your wellbeing that you should allow yourself a respite, which perhaps you can take as comfortably (I am sure as quietly) here as any where.
The ladies beg to be remembered to you with all possible esteem and regard; they are just come down to breakfast, and being at this moment extremely talkative, oblige me to put an end to my Letter. Adieu.
LETTER LXIX. !
To SAMUEL ROSE, Esqr.
The Lodge, Jan, 19, 1789.
I have taken since you went away many of the walks which we have taken together, and none of them I believe without thoughts of you. · I have, though not a good memory in general, yet a good local memory, and can recollect by the help of a tree or stile what you said on that particular spot. For this reason I purpose when the summer is come, to walk with a book in my pockets: what I read at my fire-side I forget, but what I read under a hedge, or at the side of a pond, that pond and that hedge will always bring to my remembrance; and this is a sort of memoria technica, which I would recommend to you, if I did not know that you have no occasion for it.
I am reading Sir John Hawkins, and still hold the same opinion of his book as when you were here. There are in it undoubtedly some awkwardnesses of phrase, and which is worse, here and there, some unequivocal indications of a vanity not easily pardonable
in a man of his years; but on the whole I find it amusing, and to me at least, to whom every thing that has passed in the literary world within these five and twenty years is new, sufficiently replete with information. Mr. Throckmorton told me about three days since, that it was lately recommended to him by a sensible man, as a book that would give him great insight into the history of modern literature, and modern men of letters, a commendation which I really think it merits. Fifty years hence perhaps, , the world will feel itself obliged to him.
To SAMUEL ROSE, Esqr.
The Lodge, Jan. 24, 1789. MY DEAR SIR,
We have heard from my Cousin in Norfolk-street; she reached home safely, and in good time. 'An observation suggests itself, which, though I have but little time for observation making, I must allow myself time to mention. Acci
dents, as we call them, generally occur when there seems least reason to expect them ; if a friend of ours travels far in different roads, and at an unfavourable season, we are reasonably alarmed for the safety of one in whom we take so much interest, yet how seldom do we hear a tragical account of such a journey! It is on the contrary, at home, in our yard, or garden, perhaps in our parlour, that disaster finds us; in any place, in short, where we seem perfectly out of the reach of danger. The lesson inculcated by such a procedure on the part of Providence towards us, seems to be that of perpetual dependence.
Having preached this sermon, I must hasten to a close; you know that I am not idle, nor can I afford to be so; I would gladly spend more time with you, but by some means or other this day has hitherto proved a day of hindrance and confusion.