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kind a friend as yourfelf. But as it was always my refolution, if I muft fink, to do it as decently (that is, as filently) as I could; fo when I found my felf plung'd into unforeseen, and unavoidable ruin, I retreated from the world, and in a manner buried my felf in a difmal place, where I knew none, and none knew me. In this dull unthinking way, I have protracted a lingring death, (for life it cannot be called) ever fince you faw me, fequefter'd from Company, depriv'd of my books, and nothing left to converfe with, but the Letters of my dead, or absent friends; -amongst which latter I always placed your's, and Mr. Pope's, in the first rank. I lent fome of them indeed to an ingenious perfon,, who was fo delighted with the fpecimen, that he importuned me for a fight of the reft, which having obtained, he convey'd them to the Prefs, I muft not fay altogether with my confent, nor wholly without it. I thought them too good to be loft in oblivion, and had no caufe to apprehend the difobliging of any. The publick, viz. all perfons of taste and judgment, would be pleafed with fo agreeable an amufement; Mr. Cromwell could not be angry, fince it was but justice to his merit, to publifh the folemn, and private profeffions of Love, Gratitude, and Veneration, made him by fo. celebrated an Author; and fincerely Mr. Pope ought not to refent the publication, fince the early pregnancy of his Gentus was no difhonour to his character. And yet had either of you been asked, common modefty wou'd have obliged you to refufe, what you wou'd not be difpleased with, if done without your knowledge: And befides,. to end all difpute, you had been pleafed, to make me a free gift of them, to do what I pleased with them; and every one knows, that the perfon to whom a Letter is addreffed, has the fame right to difpofe of it, as he has of goods purchafed with his money. I doubt not but your generofity
and honour will do me the right, of owning by a line, that I came honeftly by them. I flatter my felf, in a few months I fhall again be vifible to the world; and whenever thro' good providence that Turn fhall happen, I fhall joyfully acquaint you with it, there being none more truly your obliged Servant, than, Sir,
Your faithful, and
P.S. A Letter, Sir, directed to Mrs. Thomas, to be left at my house, will be fafely transmitted to her,
E. THOMA S.
To Mr. POP E.
Epfom, July 6, 1727. HEN thefe Letters were firft printed, I wondered how Curll cou'd come by them, and cou'd not but laugh at the pompous title; fince whatever you wrote to me was humour, and familiar Raillery. As foon as I came from Epfom, I heard you had been to fee me, and I writ you a fhort letter from Will's, that I longed to fee you. Mr. D-s, about that time, charged me, with giving them to a Mistress, which I pofitively denied; not in the leaft, at that time, thinking of it: but fome time after, finding in the news-papers Letters from Lady Packington, Lady Chudleigh, and Mr. Norris, to the fame Sapho or E. T. I began to fear that I was guilty. I have never seen these A 4 Letters
Letters of Curl's, nor wou'd go to his fhop about them; I have not feen this Sapho, alias E. T. thefe feven years; -------- her writing, That I gave her em, to do what she wou'd with 'em, is ftraining the point too far. I thought not of it, nor do I think fhe did then; but fevere Neceffity, which catches hold of a Twig, has produced all this; which has lain hid, and forgot by me fo many years. Curll fent me a Letter laft week, defiring a pofitive anfwer about this matter, but finding I wou'd give him none, he went to E. T. and writ a Poftfcript in her long romantic Letter, to direct my Answer to his houfe; but they not expecting an Answer, fent a young man to me, whofe name, it seems, is Pattiffon: I told him, I fhou'd not write any thing, but I believed it might be fo, as fhe writ in her Letter. I am extremely concerned, that my former Indifcretion in putting them into the hands of this Pretieufe, fhould have given you so much disturbance; for the last thing I fhould do would be to difoblige you, for whom I have ever preferved the greatest efleem, and fhall ever be, Sir,
Your faithful Friend, and
most humble Servant,
To Mr. POPE.
Aug. 1, 1727.
HO' I writ my long Narrative from Epfom 'till I was tired, yet was I not fatisfied; left any doubt fhould reft upon your mind. I could not make proteftations of my Innocence of a grie
vous crime; but I was impatient 'till I came to Town, that I might fend you thofe Letters, as a clear evidence, that I was a perfect ftranger to all their proceeding. Should I have protested against it, after the printing, it might have been taken for an attempt to decry his purchase; and as the little exception you have taken, has ferved him to play his game upon us for these two years; a new incident from me might enable him to play it on for The great value fhe expreffes for all you write, and her paflion for having them, I believe, was what prevailed upon me to let her keep them. By the interval of twelve years at leaft, from her poffeffion, to the time of printing them, 'tis manifeft, that I had not the leaft ground to apprehend fuch a defign: But as People in great ftraits, bring forth their hoards of old Gold, and moft va lued Jewels; fo Sapho had recourfe to her hid treafure of Letters, and play'd off,, not only your's to me, but all thofe to herself (as the Lady's laft-stake) into the prefs. As for me, I hope, when you fhall coo`ly confider the many thoufand inftances of our being deluded by the females, fince that great Original of Adam by Eve, you will have a more favourable thought of the undefigning error of
Your Faithful Friend,
and humble Servant,
Now should our Apology for this Publication be as ill received, as the Lady's feems to have been by the Gentlemen concerned; we shall at least have Her Comfort of being Thanked by the rest of the world. Nor has Mr. P. himself any great caufe to think it much Offence
to his Modefty, or Reflexion on his Judgment; when we take care to inform the Public, that there are few Letters of his in this Collection, which were not written under Twenty years of Age: On the other hand, we doubt not the Reader will be much more furprized to find, at that early period, fo much variety of Style, Affecting Sentiment, and Fuftness of Criticism, in pieces which must have been writ in hafte, very few perhaps ever reviewed, and none intended for the Eye of the Public.