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LETTER LXXVI.

GEORGE HARDINGE, Esg.

Lichfield, Oct. 25, 1787. As to your verbal aversions, friend of mine, and witty son of Themis, nothing in nature, science, or fashion itself, was ever so unaccountable. Your protest against the words mossy, breezy, turfy, steepy, windy, &c. must, in common justice, extend to all their brethren of the

y termination—to gloomy, glassy, airy, flowery, wintry, angry, &c.

“No more the grotts shall I behold you climb,
Or steepy hills, to crop the flowery thyme.”-Dryden.

Whence can the dislike spring ? Have we too many vowels in our language, that you seek to render it harsher, by depriving us of a privilege by which we are at once enabled to condense our sense, to give picture with fewer strokes of the pen, and to soften our terminations ?

It was necessary to the appropriation of Mr Mundy's description, that he should shew the turfiness of the forest-glades, since glades are not all turfy; and why should he circumambulate the vocabulary for another couplet, to talk in harsher diction about glades of turf, lest there should be a mortal, whose ear was so whimsically constructed, that it could not endure the epithet turfy? How was he to divine a possibility so improbable? You are, in truth, a very presbyterian as to language, “ blaspheming custard and plumbporridge.”

Alterations in pretty verses, made in the paroxysms of the toothach, were not likely to be worth much, and you are welcome to shoot them out of existence with the arrows of your wit. I always considered yearning as a stronger expression, but synonymous to longing. I know it is a scriptural phrase ; but I did not know, till

you informed me, that it had an inseparable connecticn with the abdominal fiddle-strings.

Spence's rules for the fabrication of poetry are good; but when he applies them to criticising particular passages, he blunders horribly. Some two months since, Sir James Lake recommended to my attention Spence's Dissertation on the Odyssey. Till then, I knew not of its existence This request has led me into the composition of a critical tract, which covers seventeen sheets of paper, and enters the lists against more than one Zoilus.

Adio!

LETTER LXXVII.

MRS KNOWLES.

Lichfield, Oct. 29, 1787.

The intelligencer of former times, Captain, Wolesley, has been here, after having, during very many years, ceased to exhibit himself in this place, with his meaning smile, and nod of confir-, mation, which gives rumour so much the air of truth. He told me of marriage-vestments preparing for you ; announced Bath the scene where the

warp and woof of your bridal-sheets were casting ; that a man of large fortune had set the Lady Destinies at work, who was en train to renounce the great * Diana of Ephesus for the Mary of the Meeting-House.

* Mrs Knowles, who is a Quaker, used to give that term to our Established Church, S.

The moment she heard of your widowhood, shrewd Mrs Cobb pronounced you a bank-bill, whom any man would accept at sight. Ah me! my heart smites me that I should write thus

sportively of a situation, in which you are placed by an event which has cost me many sighs, and which I shall always regret.

Your letter from Buxton, so all yourself in wit and spirit, made me hope and look from day to day, to see you here in your road to town. Its pictures of Buxton have science in them to delight a philosophic amateur, and grotesque origi, nal humour to divert the merest John Bull, if there should be an atom of risibility in his composition.

I told you of the groundless idea taken up in this place about your being left in narrow circumstances, solely to obtain your own authority for contradicting it, and without a shadow of apprehension that it had any basis. I, who had been a witness, during some weeks, at different times, to Dr Knowles's immense practice; who also knew that nothing resembling luxury or unnecessary expence prevailed in your family; I, to whom he had mentioned having realised ten thousand pounds in the year 1783, could not but be assured, you had a much larger income left you than you ever would expend.

Mr Sneyd said a great deal to me of magnetism, but treated it as an artful imposition, márvelling much how it could obtain a moment's credit with you ; yet he expressed a wish that I should obtain from yourself the grounds of your belief. To make me hold my opinions in suspense upon the experiments, it was sufficient that they had the sanction of your trust and confidence, whatever air of wild improbability they

wore.

I always considered General Elliot's defence of Gibraltar as a truly great, patriotic, and heroic action; that it restored a large portion of our credit in the eyes of Europe, sullied, and indeed almost annihilated by the deep disgrace of an unjust, a foolish, direfully expensive, long, and disastrous war; that, by this action alone, we were enabled to make a creditable peace, and, in some degree, regain our prosperity as a nation. Military victories, in general, are by no means the darling themes of my muse; but, with these ideas, it was impossible I could think that of the Gibraltar defence any way inimical to morality.

Adieu !

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