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can be cenfured of Forgetfulness with Regard to them, and I know no Way but Writing, by which I can evade both.
Some Sort of Apology I ought to make, that I did not write before; you will therefore please to obferve, that I am but just arrived at Home, though I left Cheltenham the Day after you. I ftayed, indeed, to hear Mr. B preach a Morning Sermon; for which I find Mrs. C has allotted him the Hat, preferably to Mr. C. Perhaps you may not remember, nor did I hear till very lately, that there is a Hat given annually at Cheltenham, for the Ufe of the best foreign Preacher, of which the Difpofal is affigned to Mrs. C-, to her and her Heirs for ever. I remember (tho' I knew nothing of this whilft I was upon the Place) I used to be a little misdeemful, that all who preached there had fome fuch Premium in their Eye. This Hat, 'tis true, is not quite fo valuable as that of a Cardinal, but while it is made a Retribution for Excellence in fo (if properly confidered) fublime a Function, it is an Object for a Preacher in any Degree. I am forry, at the fame Time,
tó fay, that as a common Hat, merely for its Ufes, it would be an Object to too many Country Curates, whofe Situations and flender Incomes too often excite our Blushes, as well as Compaffion. There fhould be no fuch Thing as a Journeyman Parfon; it is beneath the Dignity of the Profeffion. If we had fewer Pluralities in the Church, this Indecorum might, in a great Meafure, be abolished.
Mr. N-(Squire N-) I hear is fitting up his Castle at L for the Reception of the little Widow; and the Mercer at Cheltenham has completed his grand Arcade, for the better Difpofition of his Crapes and Callimancos.
I am an ill Relater of Matters of Fact, and as I faid before, did not continue above four and twenty Hours and fome odd Minutes upon the Place longer than you that enquire after it but I furvived long enough to hear very frequent Mention of Mrs. A, Mifs CARTER, &c. and fuch Mention, as has confirmed me in an Opinion, that Perfons of real Merit, without any Expence of Airs, &c. will by Degrees engross the Admiration of any Place
they come into. But this is a Kind of Language you would never indulge me in; you might very fecurely; for I fhould never be able to exprefs half the fincere Efteem and Refpect with which I am,
your most obedient, humble Servant,
W. SHENSTONE, Efq. to Mifs CARTER.
Dear Mifs CARTER,
ERHAPS you may remember to have seen an odd Kind of Fellow when you were at Cheltenham, who threatened you with a Letter, and who is now endeavouring to be as bad as his Word; however he hopes for fome lit
tle Partiality on his Behalf, having delayed the Execution of his Menaces for a confiderable Time, and even now promifing to fay as few Things in your Favour as the real Sentiments of his Heart will admit of.
But Peace to Buffoonery.After I parted from you, Mr. M-N, with great Simplicity, endeavoured to keep up my Spirits, by. fpeaking in Praife of the Family we had left, as though that was not the ready Method to aggravate the Sense of one's Lofs; and yet to aggravate it was utterly impoffible in the Opi-: nion of a Perfon already fo fenfible of it. But he mentioned one Article which was more fuccessful, and that was a Propofal to accom-" pany me to Stoke, and to let me know when it fuited his Convenience,
When I came to Cheltenham, I was not unmindful of that folemn Vow that I had made, not to survive your Family there a single Hour: but I found it near five o'Clock, and my Conscience faid, that as I had made it fo late, by my Attendance upon you, though I did stay another Night, I hoped I might be excufed.
I have been, fince leaving this Town, at Mr. BROWN'S, who lives upon the Borders of Wales. Poor Man! He has been the most obliging Perfon in the World to the most stupid of Companions. 'Tis hardly poffible to determine which was greater, the Zeal with which he fhewed me his Foffils, Plants, Poetry, &c. or the ftupid Inattention with which I obferved them. He commends you and Mrs. AUBREY highly; fo, indeed, do all I know, or I would foon forget that I had ever feen their Faces. He had found out a Method at laft of feducing me to talk, by frequent Mention of your Merits, and it was a good While before I difcovered his Artifice; and even when I had discovered it, I was ill able to elude the Force of it.
I am now just returned Home, which is my Apology for not writing to you about Cheltenham as I promised. I really scarce recollect any Circumstance belonging to it, except that you and Mrs. AUBREY were there the most favourable, agreeable, and praise-worthy.