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say where we must finish our second day's journey, and at what inn we may best repose? As to the end of the third day, we know where that will find us, viz. in the arms, and under the roof of our beloved Hayley.
General Cowper, having heard a rumour of this intended migration, desires to meet me on the road, that we may once more see each other. He lives at Ham, near Kingston. Shall we go through Kingston, or near it? For I would give him as little trouble as possible, though he offers very kindly to come as far as Barnet for that purpose. Nor must I forget Carwardine, who so kindly desired to be informed what way we should go. On what point of the road will it be easiest for him to find us? On all these points you must be my oracle. My friend and brother, we shall overwhelm you with our numbers; this is all the trouble that I have left. My Johnny of Norfolk, happy in the thought of accompanying us, would be broken hearted to be left behind.
In the midst of all these solicitudes I laugh to think what they are made of, and what an important thing it is for me to travel. Other men steal away from their homes silently, and make no disturbance; but when I move, houses are turned upside down, maids are turned out of their beds, all the counties through which I pass appear to be in an uproar-Surry greets me by the mouth of the General, and Essex by that of Carwardine. How strange does all this seem to a man who has seen no bustle, and made none, for twenty years together.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Weston, July 29, 1792..
Through floods and flames to your retreat
I win my desp’rate way,
Will echo your huzza!
You will wonder at the word desp'rate in the second line, and at the if in the third ; but could you have any conception of the fears I have had to battle with, of the dejection of spirits that I have suffered concerning this journey, you would wonder much more, that I still courageously persevere in my resolution to undertake it. Fortunately for my intentions, it happens, that as the day approaches my terrors abate; for had they continued to be what they were a week since, I must, after all, have disap
pointed you; and was actually once on the verge of doing it. I have told you something of my nocturnal experiences, and assure you now, that they were hardly ever more terrific than on this occasion. Prayer has however opened my passage at last, and obtained for me a degree of confidence, that I trust will prove a comfortable viaticum to me all the way. On Wednesday therefore we set forth.
The terrors, that I have spoken of, would appear ridiculous to most; but to you they will not, for you are a reasonable creature, and know well, that to whatever cause it be owing (whether to constitution, or to God's express appointment) I am hunted by spiritual hounds in the night season. I cannot help it. You will pity me, and wish it were otherwise; and though you may think there is much of the imaginary in it, will not deem it for that reason an evil less to be lamented--So much for fears and distresses. Soon I hope they shall all have a joyful termination, and I, my Mary, my Johnny, and my dog, be skipping with delight at Eartham!
Well! this picture is at last finished, and well finished, I can assure you. Every creature that has seen it has been astonished at the resemblance. Sam's boy bowed to it, and Beau walked up to it, wagging his tail as he went, and evidently showing, that he acknowledged
its likeness to his master. It is a half-length, as it is technically, but absurdly called; that is to say, it gives all but the foot and ankle. To morrow it goes to town, and will hang some months at Abbot's, when it will be sent to its due destination in Norfolk.
I hope, or rather wish, that at Eartham I may recover that habit of study, which, inveterate as it once seemed, I now seem to have lost—lost to such a degree, that it is even painful to me to think of what it will cost me to acquire it again.
Adieu! my dear, dear Hayley; God give us a happy meeting. Mary sends her love-She is in pretty good plight this morning, having slept well, and for her part, has no fears at all about the journey. Ever yours,
The affectionate little prayer at the close of the last letter prevailed, and Providence conducted these most interesting travellers very safely to my retreat. The delights that I 'enjoyed in promoting the health and cheerfulness of guests so dear to me; in sharing the high gratification of Cowper's society with my old sympathetic friend Romney; and in beholding that expressive resemblance of the poet, which forms a frontispiece to this work, grow under the pencil of the friendly artist agreeably inspired by the mental dignity of the subject; these delights are indeed treasured in my memory among those prime blessings of mortal existence, which still call for our gratitude to Heaven, even when they are departed; for even then they still afford us that sweet secondary life, which we form to ourselves from the pleasing contemplation of past hours very happily employed.
It is however unnecessary for me to dwell on the memorable period, that Cowper passed under my roof, because a few of his letters written to different friends, while he was with me, will sufficiently describe the beneficial effect, which the beautiful scenery of Sussex very visibly produced on his health and spirits. I fear not the imputation of vanity for inserting the vivid praise of my friend on the spot I inhabited, for I now inhabit it no more; and if I ever had any such vanity, it must have perished with the darling child, for whom I wished to embellish and preserve the scene, that Cowper had so highly commended.
The tender partiality, which this most feeling friend had conceived for me, rendered him not a little partial to whatever engaged his thoughts as mine. Many endearing marks of