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being females, and one a married one. You are a mathematician ; tell me then how five persons can be lodged in three bed: (two males and three females) and I shall have good hope that you will proceed a senior optime? It would make me happy to see our house so furnished. As to yourself, whom I know to be a subscalarian, or a man that sleeps under the stairs, I should have no objection at all, neither could you possibly have any youself to the garret, as a place in which you might be disposed of with great felicity of accommodation.
I thank you much for your services in the transcribing way, and would by no means have you despair of an opportunity to serve me in the same way yet again ;-write to me soon, and tell me when I shall see you.
I have not said the half that I have to say, but breakfast is at hand, which always terminates my epistles.
What have you done with your poem? The trimming that it procured you here, has not, I hope, put you out of conceit with it entirely ; you are more than equal to the alteration that it needs. Only remember, that in writing, perspicuity is always more than half the battle. The want of it is the ruin of more than half the poetry that is published. A meaning that does not stare you in the face, is as bad as no meaning, because nobody will take the pains to poke for it. So now adieu for the present. Beware of killing yourself with problems, for if you do, you, will never live to be another Sir Isaac.
Mrs. Unwin's affectionate remembrances attend you ; Lady Hesketh is much disposed to love you; perhaps most who know you have some little tendency the same way.
To Lady HESKETH.
The Lodge, March 8, 1790.
MY DEAREST COUSIN,
I thank thee much, and oft, for negociating so well this poetical concern with Mrs. -- , and for sending me her opinion in her own hand. I should be unreasonable indeed not to be highly gratified by it, and I like it the better for
being modestly expressed, « It is, as you know, and it shall be some months longer, my daily business to polish and improve what is done, that when the whole shall appear, 'she may find her expectations answered. I am glad also that thou didst send her the sixteenth Odyssey, though, as I said before, I know not at all at present, whereof it is made ; but I am sure that thou wouldst not have sent it, hadst thou not conceived a good opinion of it thyself, and thought that it would do me credit. It was very kind in thee to sacrifice to this Minerva on my, açcount. itdun
x.. Primo For my sentiments on the subject of the Test Act, I cannot do better than refer thee to my poem, entitled and called, " Expostulation.”, I have there expressed myself not much in its favour; considering it in a religious view'; zand in a political one, I like it not a jot the better. I am neither Tory, nor High Churchman, but an old Whig, as my Father was before me; and an enemy, consequently, to all tyrannical impositions. 3. “Mrs. Unwin bids me return thee many thanks for thy inquiries so kindly made concerning her health.' She is a little better than of late, but has
Vol. 3. P. ii
been ill continually ever since last November. Every thing that could try patience, and submission, she has had, and her submission and patience have answered in the trial, though mine, on her account, have often failed sadly.
I have a Letter from Johnson, who tells me that he has sent his transcript to you, begging at the same time more copy. Let him have it by all means; he is an industrious youth, and I love him dearly. I told him that you are disposed to love him a little. A new poem is born on the receipt of my Mother's picture. Thou shalt have it.
The Lodge, March 11, 1790. MY DEAR FRIEND,
I was glad to hear from you, for a line from you gives me always much pleasure, but was not much gladdened by the contents of your Letter. The state of your health, which I have learned more accurately perhaps from my cousin, except in this last instance, than from yourself, has alarmed me, and even she has collected her information upon that subject more from your looks, than from your own acknowledgments. To complain much and often of our indispositions, does not always insure the pity of the hearer, perhaps sometimes forfeits it, but to dissemble them altogether, or at least to suppress the worst, is attended ultimately with an inconvenience greater still; the secret will out at last, and our friends unprepared to receive its are doubly distressed about us. In saying this, I squint a little at Mrs. Unwin, who will read it; it is with her, as with you, the only subject on which she practices any dissimulation at all; the consequence is, that when she is much indisposed, I never believe myself in possession of the whole truth, live in constant expectation of hearing something worse, and at the long run am seldom disappointed. It seems therefore, as on all other occasions, so even in this, the better course on the whole to appear what we are; not to lay the fears of our friends asleep by cheerful looks, which do not probably belong to us, or by letters written as if we were well, when in fact we are very much otherwise. On condition however, that you