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LET TER XIV.
Mr. Whistler to W. SHENSTONE, Efq.
Whitchurch, Nov. 8. Received you Pacquet, fraught with every
Thing that could delight me. I believe more Wit was never conveyed under the Title of a Peer before ; not even excepting your own, which, indeed, you generally export by wholesale in the fame Method. Your Letter led me through an Elysian Scene, which delighted me so, that I must beg Leave to take another Turn with you at present therein. There is no Subject I can treat of with so much Pleasure, and, of Consequence, with so much Advantage to myself. In the first Place, Dick in the Point of Light you set him, diverts me; yet Humanity teaches me to feel a Kind of Pity, as for an Animal that sings and hops about the Cage that has just deprived him of his Liberty. Lady LUXBOROUGH I have seen, but not in her Sanctuary, where
The delivers her Oracles, and displays her Eloquence and Elegancies at full. This is what my Soul is a-thirst after ; the holy Land of a future Pilgrimage. You have raised a Devotion in me towards her ; for we always judge of the Divinity by the Merits of the Priest. your Description of Mr. Thomson, I admire him, and rejoice in your Acquaintance with him. I beg you would cultivate it, for it seems like the Dawning of your Fame, whose Merit the stupid World only wants to be awakened to see. If ever you get your due Share of Fame, I insist that you be not a Niggard of it, as many are, but do your utmoft Endeavour to communicate it to your Friends—You see I speak in Time.
As for Mr. L-N's Civility, I have no great Faith in it; I fear he has only some private End to serve, as an Election or fo: but, however,
I would have you nourish it, for it may breed something by Chance-It will be a Credit to you at worst-Chance often promotes Lingerers at Court, who have otherwise very little Hope. It may fall out, that by serving you, he may serve himself. I should like to have seen Signor OUTING, poor Man.
I think the Leafowes a charming Place in itself; but not knowing how in my Imagination at any Time to separate the Work from the Architect, I believe I give the former infinitely more Adoration than its due, even with all its Improvements. You would often see me gliding across the Glades, if the Soul was visible. You, indeed, have contrived to make your Soul, as it were, visible ; and a very beautiful Soul it is ; particularly in its laft Dress, which became it exceedingly, I mean Elegy-It was mighty well fancied, and diffused a tender, - languishing Air, its highest Character: I am much indebted to it for this fplendid Visit; spendid I mean in Beauty. The two old Songs likewise were very agreeable to me: but chiefly Giles Collins. As for the Song of the Cat, I am much obliged to you for it : but I think the Author funk quite beneath himself towards the End. The Conclusion was too sudden, and not worked up enough, and besides was exceeding dirty; however, it was improved by your Alterations : upon the whole,
like it, and out of my Devotion for the five first Stanzas, I have added six more,
which I submit to your Judgment, whether I have supported the true Spirit of the Fragment. Pray excuse that I have presumed to omit any of
because I thought in this new Scheme the Context required it.
I live in Hopes of seeing you at Whitchurch this Winter, and of hearing the happy Tidings when; I beg you will let me know some Time before you come, that I may get your Bed in order ; I have but one ; (it was given me, and is none of the largest; indeed, small, which at present i lament) otherwise I should now give more Invitations; I can entertain but one Friend at a Time: but all my Friends will be fincerely welcome feverally. Again I say, I lament the Unfociableness of this Scheme, but it is not in my Power to alter it. Mr. G-'s Affair goes on, I am afraid, unhappily. As for my own Situation, I shall say little, but leave you to take a Survey of it, which I hope you will do soon. I think it is calculated for Happiness, if a Person of the least Delicatesse can be fo. I rejoice in all you have VOL. II.
rejoiced in, and pray for all you pray for, as becomes
Your most affectionate Friend
and humble Servant,
My Idea of Miss FLETCHERS is, that they are easy without Impertinence; a high Idea in my opinion. Pray give my Compliments to Lord D-, if in the Country,
Whitchurch, Nov. 24.
Abfolution with a very contrite Heart, though I assure you my Sin was not wilful; however, it was such as