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Poor Miss K. is ailing a good deal this winter, and begged me to remember her to you the first time I wrote you. Surely woman, amiable woman, is often made in vain! Too delicately formed for the rougher pursuits of ambition ; too noble for the dirt of avarice, and even too gentle for the rage of pleasure : formed indeed for, and highly susceptible of enjoyment and rapture ; but that enjoyment, alas ! almost wholly at the mercy of the caprice, malevolence, stupidity, or wickedness of an animal at all times comparatively unfeeling, and often brutal.

Mauchline, 7th April, 1788. I am indebted to you and Miss Nimmo for letting me know Miss Kennedy. Strange ! how apt we are to indulge prejudices in our judgments of one another ! Even I, who pique myself on my skill in marking characters ; because I am too proud of my character as a man, to be dazzled in my judgment for glaring wealth ; and too proud of my situation as a poor man to be biassed against squalid poverty; I was unacquainted with Miss K's very uncommon worth.

I am going on a good deal progressive in mon grand bat, the sober science of life. I have lately made some sacrifices, for which, were I viva voce with you to paint the situation and recount the circumstances, you would applaud me.

* and

No date. Now for that wayward, unfortunate thing, myself. I have broke measures with * last week I wrote him a frosty, keen letter. He replied in terms of chastisement, and promised me upon his honour, that I should have the account on Monday; but this is Tuesday, and yet I have not heard a word from him. God have mercy on Thank my

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me! a poor, d-mned, incautious, duped, unfortunate fool! The sport, the miserable victim of rebellious pride, hypochondriac imagination, agonizing sensibility, and bedlam passions !

I wish that I were dead, but I'm no like to die!" I had lately “ a hairbreadth 'scape in th’ imminent deadly breach" of love too. stars I got off heart-whole, “ waur fleyd than hurt."-Interruption. I have this moment got a hint

I fear I am something like-undone-but I hope for the best. Come, stubborn pride and unshrinking resolution ! accompany me through this, to me, miserable world! You must not desert me! Your friendship I think I can count on, though I should date my letters from a marching regiment. Early in life, and all my life, I reckoned on a recruiting drum as my forlorn hope. Seriously though, life at present presents me with but a melancholy path: bitmy limb will soon be sound, and I shall struggle




Edinburgh, Sunday. To-morrow, my dear madam, I leave Edinburgh.

I have altered all my plans of future life. A farm that I could live in, I could not find ; and, indeed, after the necessary support my brother and the rest of the family required, I could not venture on farming in that style suitable to my feelings. You will condemn me for the next step I have taken. I have entered into the excise. I stay in the west about three weeks, and then return to Edinburgh for six weeks instructions ; afterwards, for I get employ instantly, I go où il plait à Dieu, -et mon roi, I have chosen this, my dear friend, after mature deliberation. The question is not at what door of fortune's palace shall we enter in ; but what doors does she open to us ? I was not likely to get any thing to do. I wanted un but, which is a dangerous, an unhappy situation. I got this without any hanging on, or mortifying solicitation; it is immediate bread, and though poor in comparison of the last eighteen months of my existence, 'tis luxury in comparison of all my preced ing life: besides, the commissioners are some of them my acquaintances, and all of them my firm friends.

No. XIX.

To Miss MN.

Saturday noon, No. 2, St. James's Sqr.

Newtown, Edinburgh. Here have I sat, my dear madam, in the stony attitude of perplexed study, for fifteen vexatious minutes, my head askew, bending over the intended card; my fixed eye insensible to the very light of day poured around; my pendulous goose-feather, loaded with ink, hanging over the future letter ; all for the important purpose of writing a complimentary card to accompany your trinket.

Compliments is such a miserable Greenland expression ; lies at such a chilly polar distance from the torrid zone of my constitution, that I cannot, for the very soul of me, use it to any person for whom I have the twentieth part of the esteem, every one must have for you who knows you.

As I leave town in three or four days, I can give myself the pleasure of calling for you only for a minute. Tuesday evening, some time about seven, or after, I shall wait on you, for your farewell commands.

The hinge of your box, I put into the hands of the proper connoisseur. The broken glass, likewise, went under review ; but deliberative wisdom

thought it would too much endanger the whole fabric,

I am, dear madam,
With all sincerity of enthusiasm,

Your very humble servant.

No. XX.

To Mr. ROBERT AINSLIE, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh, Sunday morning,

Nov. 23, 1787.

I beg, my dear sir, you would not make any appointment to take us to Mr. Ainslie's to-night. On looking over my engagements, constitution, present state of my health, some little vexatious soul concerns, &c., I find I can't sup abroad tonight.

'I shall be in to-day till one o'clock if you have a leisure hour.

You will think it romantic when I tell you, that I find the idea of your friendship almost necessary to my existence.You assume a proper length of face in my bitter hours of blue-devilism, and you laugh fully up to my highest wishes at my good things. I don't know upon the whole, if you are one of the first fellows in God's world, but you are so to me. I tell you this just now in the conviction that some inequalities in my temper and manner may, perhaps, sometimes make you suspect that I am not so warmly as I ought

to be

Your friend.

No. XXI.


Edinburgh, Dec, 1787. My dear madam,

I just now have read yours. The poetic compliments I pay cannot be misunderstood. They are neither of them so particular as to point you out to the world at large ; and the circle of your acquaintances will allow all I have said. Besides, I have complimented you chiefly, almost solely, on your mental charms. Shall I be plain with you? I will; so look to it. Personal attractions, madam, you have much above par; wit, understanding, and worth you possess in the first class. This is a cursed flat way of telling you these truths, but let me hear no more of your sheepish timidity, I know the world a little. 1 know what they will say of my poems; by second sight I suppose ; for I am seldom out in my

I conjectures; and you may believe me, my dear madam, I would not run any risk of hurting you by an ill-judged compliment. I wish to show to the world, the odds between a poet's friends and those of simple prosemen. More for your information, both the pieces go in. One of them, " Where braving all the winter's harms,” already set-the tune is Neil Gow's Lamentation for Abercarny ; the other is to be set to an old Highland air in Daniel Dow's “ Collection of ancient Scots music;" the name is Ha a Chaillich air mo Dheidh. My treacherous memory has forgot every circumstance about Les Incas, only I think you mentioned them as being in s possession. I shall ask him about it. I am afraid the song of * Somebody” will come too late-as I shall, for certain, leave town in a week for Ayrshire, and from that to Dumfries, but ther my hopes are slender. I leave my direction in town, so avy thing, wherever I am, will reach me.

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