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The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett

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To Mr HENRY DAVIS, Bookseller, in London.



I have received your esteemed favour of the 13th ultimo, whereby
it appeareth, that you have perused those same Letters, the which
were delivered unto you by my friend, the reverend Mr Hugo Behn;
and I am pleased to find you think they may be printed with a
good prospect of success; in as much as the objections you
mention, I humbly conceive, are such as may be redargued, if not
entirely removed -- And, first, in the first place, as touching
what prosecutions may arise from printing the private
correspondence of persons still living, give me leave, with all
due submission, to observe, that the Letters in question were not
written and sent under the seal of secrecy; that they have no
tendency to the mala fama, or prejudice of any person whatsoever;
but rather to the information and edification of mankind: so that
it becometh a sort of duty to promulgate them in usum publicum.
Besides, I have consulted Mr Davy Higgins, an eminent attorney of
this place, who, after due inspection and consideration,
declareth, That he doth not think the said Letters contain any
matter which will be held actionable in the eye of the law.
Finally, if you and I should come to a right understanding, I do
declare in verbo sacerdotis, that, in case of any such
prosecution, I will take the whole upon my own shoulders, even
quoad fine and imprisonment, though, I must confess, I should not
care to undergo flagellation: Tam ad turpitudinem, quam ad
amaritudinem poenoe spectans -- Secondly, concerning the personal
resentment of Mr Justice Lismahago, I may say, non flocci facio --
I would not willingly vilipend any Christian, if, peradventure,
he deserveth that epithet: albeit, I am much surprised that more
care is not taken to exclude from the commission all such vagrant
foreigners as may be justly suspected of disaffection to our
happy constitution, in church and state -- God forbid that I
should be so uncharitable, as to affirm, positively, that the
said Lismahago is no better than a Jesuit in disguise; but this I
will assert and maintain, totis viribus, that, from the day he
qualified, he has never been once seen intra templi parietes,
that is to say, within the parish church.

Thirdly, with respect to what passed at Mr Kendal's table, when
the said Lismahago was so brutal in his reprehensions, I must
inform you, my good Sir, that I was obliged to retire, not by
fear arising from his minatory reproaches, which, as I said
above, I value not of a rush; but from the sudden effect
produced, by a barbel's row, which I had eaten at dinner, not
knowing, that the said row is at certain seasons violently
cathartic, as Galen observeth in his chapter Peri ichtos.

Fourthly, and lastly, with reference to the manner in which I got
possession of these Letters, it is a circumstance that concerns
my own conscience only; sufficeth it to say, I have fully
satisfied the parties in whose custody they were; and, by this
time, I hope I have also satisfied you in such ways, that the
last hand may be put to our agreement, and the work proceed with
all convenient expedition; in which I hope I rest,

Respected Sir,
Your very humble servant,


P.S. I propose, Deo volente, to have the pleasure of seeing you
in the great city, towards All-hallowtide, when I shall be glad
to treat with you concerning a parcel of MS. sermons, of a
certain clergyman deceased; a cake of the right leaven, for the
present taste of the public. Verbum sapienti, &c.


To the Revd. Mr JONATHAN DUSTWICH, at --


I received yours in course of post, and shall be glad to treat
with you for the M.S. which I have delivered to your friend Mr
Behn; but can by no means comply with the terms proposed. Those
things are so uncertain -- Writing is all a lottery -- I have
been a loser by the works of the greatest men of the age -- I
could mention particulars, and name names; but don't choose it --
The taste of the town is so changeable. Then there have been so
many letters upon travels lately published -- What between
Smollett's, Sharp's, Derrick's, Thicknesse's, Baltimore's, and
Baretti's, together with Shandy's Sentimental Travels, the public
seems to be cloyed with that kind of entertainment --
Nevertheless, I will, if you please, run the risque of printing
and publishing, and you shall have half the profits of the
impression -- You need not take the trouble to bring up your
sermons on my account -- No body reads sermons but Methodists and
Dissenters -- Besides, for my own part, I am quite a stranger to
that sort of reading; and the two persons, whose judgment I
depended upon in those matters, are out of the way; one is gone
abroad, carpenter of a man of war; and the other, has been silly
enough to abscond, in order to avoid a prosecution for blasphemy
-- I'm a great loser by his going off -- He has left a manual of
devotion half finished on my hands, after having received money
for the whole copy -- He was the soundest divine, and had the
most orthodox pen of all my people; and I never knew his judgment
fail, but in flying from his bread and butter on this occasion.

By owning you was not put in bodily fear by Lismahago, you
preclude yourself from the benefit of a good plea, over and above
the advantage of binding him over. In the late war, I inserted in
my evening paper, a paragraph that came by the post, reflecting
upon the behaviour of a certain regiment in battle. An officer of
said regiment came to my shop, and, in the presence of my wife
and journeyman, threatened to cut off my ears -- As I exhibited
marks of bodily fear more ways than one, to the conviction of the
byestanders, I bound him over; my action lay, and I recovered. As
for flagellation, you have nothing to fear, and nothing to hope,
on that head -- There has been but one printer flogged at the
cart's tail these thirty years; that was Charles Watson; and he
assured me it was no more than a flea-bite. C-- S-- has been
threatened several times by the House of L--; but it came to
nothing. If an information should be moved for, and granted
against you, as the editor of those Letters, I hope you will have
honesty and wit enough to appear and take your trial -- If you
should be sentenced to the pillory, your fortune is made -- As
times go, that's a sure step to honour and preferment. I shall
think myself happy if I can lend you a lift; and am, very


LONDON, Aug. 10th.

Please my kind service to your neighbour, my cousin Madoc -- I
have sent an Almanack and Court-kalendar, directed for him at Mr
Sutton's, bookseller, in Gloucester, carriage paid, which he will
please to accept as a small token of my regard. My wife, who is
very fond of toasted cheese, presents her compliments to him, and
begs to know if there's any of that kind, which he was so good as
to send us last Christmas, to be sold in London.

H. D.




The pills are good for nothing -- I might as well swallow
snowballs to cool my reins -- I have told you over and over how
hard I am to move; and at this time of day, I ought to know
something of my own constitution. Why will you be so positive?
Prithee send me another prescription -- I am as lame and as much
tortured in all my limbs as if I was broke upon the wheel:
indeed, I am equally distressed in mind and body -- As if I had
not plagues enough of my own, those children of my sister are
left me for a perpetual source of vexation -- what business have
people to get children to plague their neighbours? A ridiculous
incident that happened yesterday to my niece Liddy, has
disordered me in such a manner, that I expect to be laid up with
another fit of the gout -- perhaps, I may explain myself in my
next. I shall set out tomorrow morning for the Hot Well at
Bristol, where I am afraid I shall stay longer than I could wish.
On the receipt of this send Williams thither with my saddle-horse
and the demi pique. Tell Barns to thresh out the two old ricks,
and send the corn to market, and sell it off to the poor at a
shilling a bushel under market price. -- I have received a
snivelling letter from Griffin, offering to make a public
submission and pay costs. I want none of his submissions, neither
will I pocket any of his money. The fellow is a bad neighbour, and
I desire, to have nothing to do with him: but as he is purse-proud,
he shall pay for his insolence: let him give five pounds
to the poor of the parish, and I will withdraw my action; and in
the mean time you may tell Prig to stop proceedings. -- Let
Morgan's widow have the Alderney cow, and forty shillings to
clothe her children: but don't say a syllable of the matter to
any living soul -- I'll make her pay when she is able. I desire
you will lock up all my drawers, and keep the keys till meeting;
and be sure you take the iron chest with my papers into your own
custody -- Forgive all, this trouble from,

Dear Lewis,
Your affectionate

To Mrs GWYLLIM, house-keeper at Brambleton-hall.


When this cums to hand, be sure to pack up in the trunk male
that stands in my closet; to be sent me in the Bristol waggon
without loss of time, the following articles, viz. my rose
collard neglejay with green robins, my yellow damask, and my
black velvets with the short hoop; my bloo quilted petticot, my
green mantel, my laced apron, my French commode, Macklin head and
lappets and the litel box with my jowls. Williams may bring over
my bum-daffee, and the viol with the easings of Dr Hill's
dockwater and Chowder's lacksitif. The poor creature has been
terribly stuprated ever since we left huom. Pray take particular
care of the house while the family is absent. Let there be a fire
constantly kept in my brother's chamber and mine. The maids,
having nothing to do, may be sat a spinning. I desire you'll clap
a pad-luck on the wind-seller, and let none of the men have excess to
the strong bear -- don't forget to have the gate shit every
evening be dark -- The gardnir and the hind may lie below in the
landry, to partake the house, with the blunderbuss and the great
dog; and hope you'll have a watchful eye over the maids. I know
that hussy Mary Jones, loves to be rumping with the men. Let me
know Alderney's calf be sould yet, and what he fought -- if the
ould goose be sitting; and if the cobler has cut Dicky, and how
pore anemil bore the operation. No more at present, but rests,

GLOSTAR, April 2.

TO Mrs MARY JONES, at Brambleton-hall.


Heaving this importunity, I send, my love to you and Saul, being
in good health, and hoping to hear the same from you; and that
you and Saul will take my poor kitten to bed with you this cold
weather. We have been all in, a sad taking here at Glostar --
Miss Liddy had like to have run away with a player-man, and young
master and he would adone themselves a mischief; but the, squire
applied to the mare, and they were, bound over. -- Mistress bid
me not speak a word of the matter to any Christian soul -- no
more I shall; for, we servints should see all and say nothing --
But what was worse than all this, Chowder has, had the,
misfortune to be worried by a butcher's dog, and came home in a
terrible pickle -- Mistress was taken with the asterisks, but
they soon went off. The doctor was sent for to Chowder, and he
subscribed a repository which did him great service -- thank God
he's now in a fair way to do well -- pray take care of my box and
the pillyber and put them under your own bed; for, I do suppose
madam, Gwyllim will be a prying into my secrets, now my back is
turned. John Thomas is in good health, but sulky. The squire
gave away an ould coat to a poor man; and John says as, how 'tis
robbing him of his perquisites. -- I told him, by his agreement
he was to receive no vails; but he says as how there's a
difference betwixt vails and perquisites; and so there is for
sartain. We are all going to the Hot Well, where I shall drink
your health in a glass of water, being,

Dear Molly,
Your humble servant to command,
GLOSTAR, April 2nd.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, Bart. of Jesus college, Oxon.


As I have nothing more at heart than to convince you I am
incapable of forgetting, or neglecting the friendship I made at
college, now begin that correspondence by letters, which you and
I agreed, at parting, to cultivate. I begin it sooner than I
intended, that you may have it in your power to refute any idle
reports which may be circulated to my prejudice at Oxford,
touching a foolish quarrel, in which I have been involved on
account of my sister, who had been some time settled here in a
boarding-school. When I came hither with my uncle and aunt (who
are our guardians) to fetch her away, I found her a fine tall
girl, of seventeen, with an agreeable person; but remarkably
simple, and quite ignorant of the world. This disposition, and
want of experience, had exposed her to the addresses of a person
-- I know not what to call him, who had seen her at a play; and,
with a confidence and dexterity peculiar to himself, found means
to be recommended to her acquaintance. It was by the greatest
accident I intercepted one of his letters; as it was my duty to
stifle this correspondence in its birth, I made it my business to
find him out, and tell him very freely my sentiments of the
matter. The spark did not like the stile I used, and behaved with
abundance of mettle. Though his rank in life (which, by the bye,
I am ashamed to declare) did not entitle him to much deference;
yet as his behaviour was remarkably spirited, I admitted him to
the privilege of a gentleman, and something might have happened,
had not we been prevented. -- In short, the business took air, I
know not how, and made abundance of noise -- recourse was had to
justice -- I was obliged to give my word and honour, &c. and
to-morrow morning we set out for Bristol Wells, where I expect to
hear from you by the return of the post. -- I have got into a
family of originals, whom I may one day attempt to describe for
your amusement. My aunt, Mrs Tabitha Bramble, is a maiden of
forty-five, exceedingly starched, vain, and ridiculous. -- My
uncle is an odd kind of humorist, always on the fret, and so
unpleasant in his manner, that rather than be obliged to keep him
company, I'd resign all claim to the inheritance of his estate.
Indeed his being tortured by the gout may have soured his temper,
and, perhaps, I may like him better on further acquaintance;
certain it is, all his servants and neighbours in the country are
fond of him, even to a degree of enthusiasm, the reason of which
I cannot as yet comprehend. Remember me to Griffy Price, Gwyn,
Mansel, Basset, and all the rest of my old Cambrian companions. --
Salute the bedmaker in my name -- give my service to the cook,
and pray take care of poor Ponto, for the sake of his old master,
who is, and ever will be,

Dear Phillips,
Your affectionate friend,
and humble servant,

To Mrs JERMYN at her house in Gloucester.


Having no mother of my own, I hope you will give me leave to
disburden my poor heart to you, who have always acted the part of
a kind parent to me, ever since I was put under your care.
Indeed, and indeed, my worthy governess may believe me, when I
assure her, that I never harboured a thought that was otherwise
than virtuous; and, if God will give me grace, I shall never
behave so as to cast a reflection on the care you have taken in
my education. I confess I have given just cause of offence by my
want of prudence and experience. I ought not to have listened to
what the young man said; and it was my duty to have told you all
that passed, but I was ashamed to mention it; and then he behaved
so modest and respectful, and seemed to be so melancholy and
timorous, that I could not find in my heart to do any thing that
should make him miserable and desperate. As for familiarities, I
do declare, I never once allowed him the favour of a: salute; and
as to the few letters that passed between us, they are all in my
uncle's hands, and I hope they contain nothing contrary to
innocence and honour. -- I am still persuaded that he is not what
he appears to be: but time will discover -- mean while I will
endeavour to forget a connexion, which is so displeasing to my
family. I have cried without ceasing, and have not tasted any
thing but tea, since I was hurried away from you; nor did I once
close my eyes for three nights running. -- My aunt continues to
chide me severely when we are by ourselves; but I hope to soften
her in time, by humility and submission. -- My uncle, who was so
dreadfully passionate in the beginning, has been moved by my
tears and distress; and is now all tenderness and compassion; and
my brother is reconciled to me on my promise to break off all
correspondence with that unfortunate youth; but, notwithstanding
all their indulgence, I shall have no peace of mind till I know
my dear and ever honoured governess has forgiven her poor,
disconsolate, forlorn,

Affectionate humble servant,
till death,
CLIFTON, April 6.

To Miss LAETITIA WILLIS, at Gloucester.


I am in such a fright, lest this should not come safe to hand by
the conveyance of Jarvis the carrier, that I beg you will write
me, on the receipt of it, directing to me, under cover, to Mrs
Winifred Jenkins, my aunt's maid, who is a good girl, and has
been so kind to me in my affliction, that I have made her my
confidant; as for Jarvis, he was very shy of taking charge of my
letter and the little parcel, because his sister Sally had like
to have lost her place on my account: indeed I cannot blame the
man for his caution; but I have made it worth his while. -- My
dear companion and bed-fellow, it is a grievous addition to my
other misfortunes, that I am deprived of your agreeable company
and conversation, at a time when I need so much the comfort of
your good humour and good sense; but, I hope, the friendship we
contracted at boarding-school, will last for life -- I doubt not
but on my side it will daily increase and improve, as I gain
experience, and learn to know the value of a true friend. O, my
dear Letty! what shall I say about poor Mr Wilson? I have
promised to break off all correspondence, and, if possible, to
forget him: but, alas! I begin to perceive that will not be in my
power. As it is by no means proper that the picture should remain
in my hands, lest it should be the occasion of more mischief, I
have sent it to you by this opportunity, begging you will either
keep it safe till better times, or return it to Mr Wilson
himself, who, I suppose, will make it his business to see you at
the usual place. If he should be low-spirited at my sending back
his picture, you may tell him I have no occasion for a picture,
while the original continues engraved on my -- But no; I would not
have you tell him that neither; because there must be an end of
our correspondence -- I wish he may forget me, for the sake of
his own peace; and yet if he should, he must be a barbarous --
But it is impossible -- poor Wilson cannot be false and
inconstant: I beseech him not to write to me, nor attempt to see
me for some time; for, considering the resentment and passionate
temper of my brother Jery, such an attempt might be attended with
consequences which would make us all miserable for life -- let us
trust to time and the chapter of accidents; or rather to that
Providence which will not fail, sooner or later, to reward those
that walk in the paths of honour and virtue. I would offer my
love to the young ladies; but it is not fit that any of them
should know you have received this letter. -- If we go to Bath, I
shall send you my simple remarks upon that famous center of
polite amusement, and every other place we may chance to visit;
and I flatter myself that my dear Miss Willis will be punctual in
answering the letters of her affectionate,

CLIFTON, April 6.



I have followed your directions with some success, and might have
been upon my legs by this time, had the weather permitted me to
use my saddle-horse. I rode out upon the Downs last Tuesday, in
the forenoon, when the sky, as far as the visible horizon, was
without a cloud; but before I had gone a full mile, I was
overtaken instantaneously by a storm of rain that wet me to the
skin in three minutes -- whence it came the devil knows; but it
has laid me up (I suppose) for one fortnight. It makes me sick to
hear people talk of the fine air upon Clifton-downs: How can the
air be either agreeable or salutary, where the demon of vapours
descends in a perpetual drizzle? My confinement is the more
intolerable, as I am surrounded with domestic vexations. My niece
has had a dangerous fit of illness, occasioned by that cursed
incident at Gloucester, which I mentioned in my last. -- She is a
poor good-natured simpleton, as soft as butter, and as easily
melted -- not that she's a
fool -- the girl's parts are not despicable, and her education
has not been neglected; that is to say, she can write and spell,
and speak French, and play upon the harpsichord; then she dances
finely, has a good figure, and is very well inclined; but, she's
deficient in spirit, and so susceptible -- and so tender
forsooth! -- truly, she has got a languishing eye, and reads
romances. -- Then there's her brother, 'squire Jery, a pert
jackanapes, full of college-petulance and self-conceit; proud as
a German count, and as hot and hasty as a Welch mountaineer. As
for that fantastical animal, my sister Tabby, you are no stranger
to her qualifications -- I vow to God, she is sometimes so
intolerable, that I almost think she's the devil incarnate come
to torment me for my sins; and yet I am conscious of no sins that
ought to entail such family-plagues upon me -- why the devil
should not I shake off these torments at once? I an't married to
Tabby, thank Heaven! nor did I beget the other two: let them
choose another guardian: for my part I an't in a condition to
take care of myself; much less to superintend the conduct of
giddy-headed boys and girls. You earnestly desire to know the
particulars of our adventure at Gloucester, which are briefly
these, and I hope they will go no further: -- Liddy had been so
long copped up in a boarding-school, which, next to a nunnery, is
the worst kind of seminary that ever was contrived for young
women, that she became as inflammable as touch-wood; and going to
a play in holiday-time, --'sdeath, I'm ashamed to tell you! she
fell in love with one of the actors -- a handsome young fellow
that goes by the name of Wilson. The rascal soon perceived the
impression he had made, and managed matters so as to see her at a
house where she went to drink tea with her governess. -- This was
the beginning of a correspondence, which they kept up by means of
a jade of a milliner, who made and dressed caps for the girls at
the boarding-school. When we arrived at Gloucester, Liddy came to
stay at lodgings with her aunt, and Wilson bribed the maid to
deliver a letter into her own hands; but it seems Jery had
already acquired so much credit with the maid (by what means he
best knows) that she carried the letter to him, and so the whole
plot was discovered. The rash boy, without saying a word of the
matter to me, went immediately in search of Wilson; and, I
suppose, treated him with insolence enough. The theatrical hero
was too far gone in romance to brook such usage: he replied in
blank verse, and a formal challenge ensued. They agreed to meet
early next morning and decide the dispute with sword and pistol.
I heard nothing at all of the affair, till Mr Morley came to my
bed-side in the morning, and told me he was afraid my nephew was
going to fight, as he had been overheard talking very loud and
vehement with Wilson at the young man's lodgings the night
before, and afterwards went and bought powder and ball at a shop
in the neighbourhood. I got up immediately, and upon inquiry
found he was just going out. I begged Morley to knock up the
mayor, that he might interpose as a magistrate, and in the mean
time I hobbled after the squire, whom I saw at a distance walking
at a great pace towards the city gate -- in spite of all my
efforts, I could not come up till our two combatants had taken
their ground, and were priming their pistols. An old house
luckily screened me from their view; so that I rushed upon them
at once, before I was perceived. They were both confounded, and
attempted to make their escape different ways; but Morley coming
up with constables, at that instant, took Wilson into custody,
and Jery followed him quietly to the mayor's house. All this time
I was ignorant of what had passed the preceding day; and neither
of the parties would discover a tittle of the matter. The mayor
observed that it was great presumption in Wilson, who was a
stroller, to proceed to such extremities with a gentleman of
family and fortune; and threatened to commit him on the vagrant
act. -- The young fellow bustled up with great spirit, declaring
he was a gentleman, and would be treated as such; but he refused
to explain himself further. The master of the company being sent
for, and examined, touching the said Wilson, said the young man
had engaged with him at Birmingham about six months ago; but
never would take his salary; that he had behaved so well in his
private character, as to acquire the respect and good-will of all
his acquaintance, and that the public owned his merit as an actor
was altogether extraordinary. -- After all, I fancy, he will turn
out to be a run-away prentice from London. -- The manager offered
to bail him for any sum, provided he would give his word and
honour that he would keep the peace; but the young gentleman was
on his high ropes, and would by no means lay himself under any
restrictions: on the other hand, Hopeful was equally
obstinate; till at length the mayor declared, that if they both
refused to be bound over, he would immediately commit Wilson as a
vagrant to hard labour. I own I was much pleased with Jery's
behaviour on this occasion: he said, that rather than Mr Wilson
should be treated in such an ignominious manner, he would give
his word and honour to prosecute the affair no further while they
remained at Gloucester -- Wilson thanked him for his generous
manner of proceeding, and was discharged. On our return to our
lodgings, my nephew explained the whole mystery; and I own I was
exceedingly incensed -- Liddy being questioned on the subject,
and very severely reproached by that wildcat my sister Tabby,
first swooned away, then dissolving in a flood of tears,
confessed all the particulars of the correspondence, at the same
time giving up three letters, which was all she had received from
her admirer. The last, which Jery intercepted, I send you
inclosed, and when you have read it, I dare say you won't wonder
at the progress the writer had made in the heart of a simple
girl, utterly unacquainted with the characters of mankind.
Thinking it was high time to remove her from such a dangerous
connexion, I carried her off the very next day to Bristol; but
the poor creature was so frightened and fluttered, by our threats
and expostulations, that she fell sick the fourth day after our
arrival at Clifton, and continued so ill for a whole week, that
her life was despaired of. It was not till yesterday that Dr
Rigge declared her out of danger. You cannot imagine what I have
suffered, partly from the indiscretion of this poor child, but
much more from the fear of losing her entirely. This air is
intolerably cold, and the place quite solitary -- I never go down
to the Well without returning low-spirited; for there I meet with
half a dozen poor emaciated creatures, with ghostly looks, in the
last stage of a consumption, who have made shift to linger
through the winter like so many exotic plants languishing in a
hot-house; but in all appearance, will drop into their graves
before the sun has warmth enough to mitigate the rigour of this
ungenial spring. -- If you think the Bath-water will be of any
service to me, I will go thither so soon as my niece can bear the
motion of the coach. Tell Barns I am obliged to him for his
advice; but don't choose to follow it. If Davis voluntarily
offers to give up the farm, the other shall have it; but I will
not begin at this time of day to distress my tenants, because
they are unfortunate, and cannot make regular payments: I wonder
that Barns should think me capable of such oppression -- As for
Higgins, the fellow is a notorious poacher, to be sure; and an
impudent rascal to set his snares in my own paddock; but, I
suppose, he thought he had some right (especially in my absence)
to partake of what nature seems to have intended for common use --
you may threaten him in my name, as much as you please, and if he
repeats the offence, let me know it before you have recourse to
justice. -- I know you are a great sportsman, and oblige many of
your friends: I need not tell you to make use of my grounds; but
it may be necessary to hint, that I am more afraid of my fowling-piece
than of my game. When you can spare two or three brace of
partridges, send them over by the stagecoach, and tell Gwyllim
that she forgot to pack up my flannel and wide shoes in the
trunk-mail -- I shall trouble you as usual, from time to time,
till at last I suppose you will be tired of corresponding with

Your assured friend,
CLIFTON, April 17.


Miss Willis has pronounced my doom -- you are going away, dear
Miss Melford! -- you are going to be removed, I know not whither!
what shall I do? which way shall I turn for consolation? I know
not what I say -- all night long have I been tossed in a sea of
doubts and fears, uncertainty and distraction, without being able
to connect my thoughts, much less to form any consistent plan of
conduct -- I was even tempted to wish that I had never seen you;
or that you had been less amiable, or less compassionate to your
poor Wilson; and yet it would be detestable ingratitude in me to
form such a wish, considering how much I am indebted to your
goodness, and the ineffable pleasure I have derived from your
indulgence and approbation -- Good God! I never heard your name
mentioned without emotion! the most distant prospect of being
admitted to your company, filled my whole soul with a kind of
pleasing alarm! as the time approached, my heart beat with
redoubled force, and every nerve thrilled with a transport of
expectation; but, when I found myself actually in your presence;
-- when I heard you speak; -- when I saw you smile; when I beheld
your charming eyes turned favourably upon me; my breast was filled
with such tumults of delight, as wholly deprived me of the power
of utterance, and wrapt me in a delirium of joy! -- encouraged by
your sweetness of temper and affability, I ventured to describe
the feelings of my heart -- even then you did not check my
presumption -- you pitied my sufferings and gave me leave to hope
you put a favourable -- perhaps too favourable a construction, on
my appearance -- certain it is, I am no player in love -- I speak
the language of my own heart; and have no prompter but nature.
Yet there is something in this heart, which I have not yet
disclosed. -- I flattered myself -- But, I will not -- I must not
proceed. Dear Miss Liddy! for Heaven's sake, contrive, if
possible, some means of letting me speak to you before you leave
Gloucester; otherwise, I know not what will -- But I begin to
rave again. -- I will endeavour to bear this trial with fortitude
-- while I am capable of reflecting upon your tenderness and
truth, I surely have no cause to despair -- a cloud hangs over
me, and there is a dreadful weight upon my spirits! While you
stay in this place, I shall continually hover about your
lodgings, as the parted soul is said to linger about the grave
where its mortal comfort lies. -- I know, if it is in your power,
you will task your humanity -- your compassion -- shall I add,
your affection? -- in order to assuage the almost intolerable
disquiet that torments the heart of your afflicted,


To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.

HOT WELL, April 18.


I give Mansel credit for his invention, in propagating the report
that I had a quarrel with a mountebank's merry Andrew at
Gloucester: but I have too much respect for every appendage of
wit, to quarrel even with the lowest buffoonery; and therefore I
hope Mansel and I shall always be good friends. I cannot,
however, approve of his drowning my poor dog Ponto, on purpose to
convert Ovid's pleonasm into a punning epitaph, -- deerant quoque
Littora Ponto: for, that he threw him into the Isis, when it was
so high and impetuous, with no other view than to kill the fleas,
is an excuse that will not hold water -- But I leave poor Ponto
to his fate, and hope Providence will take care to accommodate
Mansel with a drier death.

As there is nothing that can be called company at the Well, I am
here in a state of absolute rustication: This, however, gives me
leisure to observe the singularities in my uncle's character,
which seems to have interested your curiosity. The truth is, his
disposition and mine, which, like oil and vinegar, repelled one
another at first, have now begun to mix by dint of being beat up
together. I was once apt to believe him a complete Cynic; and
that nothing but the necessity of his occasions could compel him
to get within the pale of society -- I am now of another opinion.
I think his peevishness arises partly from bodily pain, and
partly from a natural excess of mental sensibility; for, I
suppose, the mind as well as the body, is in some cases endued
with a morbid excess of sensation.

I was t'other day much diverted with a conversation that passed
in the Pump-room, betwixt him and the famous Dr L--n, who is come
to ply at the Well for patients. My uncle was complaining of the
stink, occasioned by the vast quantity of mud and slime which the
river leaves at low ebb under the windows of the Pumproom. He
observed, that the exhalations arising from such a nuisance,
could not but be prejudicial to the weak lungs of many
consumptive patients, who came to drink the water. The Doctor
overhearing this remark, made up to him, and assured him he was
mistaken. He said, people in general were so misled by vulgar
prejudices that philosophy was hardly sufficient to undeceive
them. Then humming thrice, he assumed a most ridiculous solemnity
of aspect, and entered into a learned investigation of the nature
of stink. He observed, that stink, or stench, meant no more than
a strong impression on the olfactory nerves; and might be applied
to substances of the most opposite qualities; that in the Dutch
language, stinken signifies the most agreeable perfume, as well
as the most fetid odour, as appears in Van Vloudel's translation
of Horace, in that beautiful ode, Quis multa gracilis, &c. -- The
words fiquidis perfusus odoribus, he translates van civet &
moschata gestinken: that individuals differed toto coelo in their
opinion of smells, which, indeed, was altogether as arbitrary as
the opinion of beauty; that the French were pleased with the
putrid effluvia of animal food; and so were the Hottentots in
Africa, and the Savages in Greenland; and that the Negroes on the
coast of Senegal would not touch fish till it was rotten; strong
presumptions in favour of what is generally called stink, as
those nations are in a state of nature, undebauched by luxury,
unseduced by whim and caprice: that he had reason to believe the
stercoraceous flavour, condemned by prejudice as a stink, was, in
fact, most agreeable to the organs of smelling; for, that every
person who pretended to nauseate the smell of another's
excretions, snuffed up his own with particular complacency; for
the truth of which he appealed to all the ladies and gentlemen
then present: he said, the inhabitants of Madrid and Edinburgh
found particular satisfaction in breathing their own atmosphere,
which was always impregnated with stercoraceous effluvia: that
the learned Dr B--, in his treatise on the Four Digestions,
explains in what manner the volatile effluvia from the intestines
stimulate and promote the operations of the animal economy: he
affirmed, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, of the Medicis family,
who refined upon sensuality with the spirit of a philosopher, was
so delighted with that odour, that he caused the essence of
ordure to be extracted, and used it as the most delicious
perfume: that he himself (the doctor) when he happened to be low-spirited,
or fatigued with business, found immediate relief and
uncommon satisfaction from hanging over the stale contents of a
close-stool, while his servant stirred it about under his nose;
nor was this effect to be wondered at, when we consider that this
substance abounds with the self-same volatile salts that are so
greedily smelled to by the most delicate invalids, after they
have been extracted and sublimed by the chemists. -- By this time
the company began to hold their noses; but the doctor, without
taking the least notice of this signal, proceeded to shew, that
many fetid substances were not only agreeable but salutary; such
as assa foetida, and other medicinal gums, resins, roots, and
vegetables, over and above burnt feathers, tan-pits, candle-snuffs,
&c. In short, he used many learned arguments to persuade
his audience out of their senses; and from stench made a
transition to filth, which he affirmed was also a mistaken idea,
in as much as objects so called, were no other than certain
modifications of matter, consisting of the same principles that
enter into the composition of all created essences, whatever they
may be: that in the filthiest production of nature, a philosopher
considered nothing but the earth, water, salt and air, of which
it was compounded; that, for his own part, he had no more
objections to drinking the dirtiest ditch-water, than he had to a
glass of water from the Hot Well, provided he was assured there
was nothing poisonous in the concrete. Then addressing himself to
my uncle, 'Sir (said he) you seem to be of a dropsical habit, and
probably will soon have a confirmed ascites: if I should be
present when you are tapped, I will give you a convincing proof
of what I assert, by drinking without hesitation the water that
comes out of your abdomen.' -- The ladies made wry faces at this
declaration, and my uncle, changing colour, told him he did not
desire any such proof of his philosophy: 'But I should he glad to
know (said he) what makes you think I am of a dropsical habit?'
'Sir, I beg pardon (replied the Doctor) I perceive your ancles
are swelled, and you seem to have the facies leucophlegmatica.
Perhaps, indeed, your disorder may be oedematous, or gouty, or it
may be the lues venerea: If you have any reason to flatter
yourself it is this last, sir, I will undertake to cure you with
three small pills, even if the disease should have attained its
utmost inveteracy. Sir, it is an arcanum, which I have
discovered, and prepared with infinite labour. -- Sir, I have
lately cured a woman in Bristol -- a common prostitute, sir, who
had got all the worst symptoms of the disorder; such as nodi,
tophi, and gummata, verruca, cristoe Galli, and a serpiginous
eruption, or rather a pocky itch all over her body. By the time
she had taken the second pill, sir, by Heaven! she was as smooth
as my hand, and the third made her sound and as fresh as a new
born infant.' 'Sir (cried my uncle peevishly) I have no reason to
flatter myself that my disorder comes within the efficacy of your
nostrum. But this patient you talk of may not be so sound at
bottom as you imagine.' 'I can't possibly be mistaken (rejoined
the philosopher) for I have had communication with her three
times -- I always ascertain my cures in that manner.' At this
remark, all the ladies retired to another corner of the room, and
some of them began to spit. -- As to my uncle, though he was
ruffled at first by the doctor's saying he was dropsical, he
could not help smiling at this ridiculous confession and, I
suppose, with a view to punish this original, told him there was
a wart upon his nose, that looked a little suspicious. 'I don't
pretend to be a judge of those matters (said he) but I understand
that warts are often produced by the distemper; and that one upon
your nose seems to have taken possession of the very keystone of
the bridge, which I hope is in no danger of falling.' L--n seemed
a little confounded at this remark, and assured him it was
nothing but a common excrescence of the cuticula, but that the
bones were all sound below; for the truth of this assertion he
appealed to the touch, desiring he would feel the part. My uncle
said it was a matter of such delicacy to meddle with a
gentleman's nose, that he declined the office -- upon which, the
Doctor turning to me, intreated me to do him that favour. I
complied with his request, and handled it so roughly, that he
sneezed, and the tears ran down his cheeks, to the no small
entertainment of the company, and particularly of my uncle, who
burst out a-laughing for the first time since I have been with
him; and took notice, that the part seemed to be very tender.
'Sir (cried the Doctor) it is naturally a tender part; but to
remove all possibility of doubt, I will take off the wart this
very night.'

So saying, he bowed, with great solemnity all round, and retired
to his own lodgings, where he applied a caustic to the wart; but
it spread in such a manner as to produce a considerable
inflammation, attended with an enormous swelling; so that when he
next appeared, his whole face was overshadowed by this tremendous
nozzle; and the rueful eagerness with which he explained this
unlucky accident, was ludicrous beyond all description. -- I was
much pleased with meeting the original of a character, which you
and I have often laughed at in description; and what surprises me
very much, I find the features in the picture, which has been
drawn for him, rather softened than over-charged.

As I have something else to say; and this letter has run to an
unconscionable length, I shall now give you a little respite, and
trouble you again by the very first post. I wish you would take
it in your head to retaliate these double strokes upon

Yours always,

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.

HOT WELL, April 20.


I now sit down to execute the threat in the tail of my last. The
truth is, I am big with the secret, and long to be delivered. It
relates to my guardian, who, you know, is at present our
principal object in view.

T'other day, I thought I had detected him in such a state of
frailty, as would but ill become his years and character. There
is a decent sort of woman, not disagreeable in her person, that
comes to the Well, with a poor emaciated child, far gone in a
consumption. I had caught my uncle's eyes several times directed
to this person, with a very suspicious expression in them, and
every time he saw himself observed, he hastily withdrew them,
with evident marks of confusion -- I resolved to watch him more
narrowly, and saw him speaking to her privately in a corner of
the walk. At length, going down to the Well one day, I met her
half way up the hill to Clifton, and could not help suspecting
she was going to our lodgings by appointment, as it was about one
o'clock, the hour when my sister and I are generally at the Pump-room.
-- This notion exciting my curiosity, I returned by a back-way,
and got unperceived into my own chamber, which is contiguous
to my uncle's apartment. Sure enough, the woman was introduced
but not into his bedchamber; he gave her audience in a parlour;
so that I was obliged to shift my station to another room, where,
however, there was a small chink in the partition, through which
I could perceive what passed. My uncle, though a little lame,
rose up when she came in, and setting a chair for her, desired
she would sit down: then he asked if she would take a dish of
chocolate, which she declined, with much acknowledgment. After a
short pause, he said, in a croaking tone of voice, which
confounded me not a little, 'Madam, I am truly concerned for your
misfortunes; and if this trifle can be of any service to you, I
beg you will accept it without ceremony.' So saying, he put a bit
of paper into her hand, which she opening with great trepidation,
exclaimed in an extacy, 'Twenty pounds! Oh, sir!' and sinking
down upon a settee, fainted away -- Frightened at this fit, and,
I suppose, afraid of calling for assistance, lest her situation
should give rise to unfavourable conjectures, he ran about the
room in distraction, making frightful grimaces; and, at length,
had recollection enough to throw a little water in her face; by
which application she was brought to herself: but, then her
feeling took another turn. She shed a flood of tears, and cried
aloud, 'I know not who you are: but, sure -- worthy sir --
generous sir! -- the distress of me and my poor dying child --
Oh! if the widow's prayers -- if the orphan's tears of gratitude
can ought avail -- gracious Providence -- Blessings! -- shower
down eternal blessings.' -- Here she was interrupted by my uncle,
who muttered in a voice still more and more discordant, 'For
Heaven's sake be quiet, madam -- consider -- the people of the
house --'sdeath! can't you.' -- All this time she was struggling
to throw herself on her knees, while he seizing her by the
wrists, endeavoured to seat her upon the settee, saying, 'Prithee
-- good now -- hold your tongue' -- At that instant, who should
burst into -- the room but our aunt Tabby! of all antiquated
maidens the most diabolically capricious -- Ever prying into
other people's affairs, she had seen the woman enter, and
followed her to the door, where she stood listening, but probably
could hear nothing distinctly, except my uncle's, last
exclamation; at which she bounded into the parlour in a violent
rage, that dyed the tip of her nose of a purple hue, -- 'Fy upon
you, Matt! (cried she) what doings are these, to disgrace your
own character, and disparage your family?' -- Then, snatching the
bank note out of the stranger's hand, she went on -- 'How now,
twenty pounds! -- here is temptation with a witness! -- Good-woman,
go about your business -- Brother, brother, I know not which most
to admire; your concupissins, or your extravagance!' -- 'Good God
(exclaimed the poor woman) shall a worthy gentleman's character
suffer for an action that does honour to humanity?' By this time,
uncle's indignation was effectually roused. His face grew pale,
his teeth chattered, and his eyes flashed -- 'Sister (cried he, in
a voice like thunder) I vow to God, your impertinence is
exceedingly provoking.' With these words, he took her by the
hand, and, opening the door of communication, thrust her into the
chamber where I stood, so affected by the scene, that the tears
ran down my cheeks. Observing these marks of emotion, 'I don't
wonder (said she) to see you concerned at the back-slidings of so
near a relation; a man of his years and infirmities: These are
fine doings, truly -- This is a rare example, set by a guardian,
for the benefit of his pupils -- Monstrous! incongruous!
sophistical!' -- I thought it was but an act of justice to set her
to rights; and therefore explained the mystery. But she would not
be undeceived, 'What (said she) would you go for to offer for to
arguefy me out of my senses? Did'n't I hear him whispering to her
to hold her tongue? Did'n't I see her in tears? Did'n't I see him
struggling to throw her upon the couch? 0 filthy! hideous!
abominable! Child, child, talk not to me of charity. -- Who gives
twenty pounds in charity? -- But you are a stripling -- You know
nothing of the world. Besides, charity begins at home -- Twenty
pounds would buy me a complete suit of flowered silk, trimmings
and all --' In short, I quitted the room, my contempt for her, and
my respect for her brother, being increased in the same
proportion. I have since been informed, that the person, whom my
uncle so generously relieved, is the widow of an ensign, who has
nothing to depend upon but the pension of fifteen pounds a year.
The people of the Well-house give her an excellent character. She
lodges in a garret, and works very hard at plain work, to support
her daughter, who is dying of a consumption. I must own, to my
shame, I feel a strong inclination to follow my uncle's example,
in relieving this poor widow; but, betwixt friends, I am afraid
of being detected in a weakness, that might entail the ridicule
of the company, upon,

Dear Phillips,
Yours always,

Direct your next to me at Bath; and remember me to all our


H0T WELL, April 20.

I understand your hint. There are mysteries in physic, as well as
in religion; which we of the profane have no right to investigate
-- A man must not presume to use his reason, unless he has
studied the categories, and can chop logic by mode and figure --
Between friends, I think every man of tolerable parts ought, at
my time of day, to be both physician and lawyer, as far as his
own constitution and property are concerned. For my own part, I
have had an hospital these fourteen years within myself, and
studied my own case with the most painful attention; consequently
may be supposed to know something of the matter, although I have
not taken regular courses of physiology et cetera et cetera. --
In short, I have for some time been of opinion (no offence, dear
Doctor) that the sum of all your medical discoveries amounts to
this, that the more you study the less you know. -- I have read
all that has been written on the Hot Wells, and what I can
collect from the whole, is, that the water contains nothing but a
little salt, and calcarious earth, mixed in such inconsiderable
proportion, as can have very little, if any, effect on the animal
economy. This being the case, I think the man deserves to be
fitted with a cap and bells, who for such a paultry advantage as
this spring affords, sacrifices his precious time, which might be
employed in taking more effectual remedies, and exposes himself
to the dirt, the stench, the chilling blasts, and perpetual
rains, that render this place to me intolerable. If these waters,
from a small degree of astringency, are of some service in the
diabetes, diarrhoea, and night sweats, when the secretions are
too much increased, must not they do harm in the same proportion,
where the humours are obstructed, as in the asthma, scurvy, gout
and dropsy? -- Now we talk of the dropsy, here is a strange
fantastical oddity, one of your brethren, who harangues every day
in the Pump-room, as if he was hired to give lectures on all
subjects whatsoever -- I know not what to make of him --
Sometimes he makes shrewd remarks; at other times he talks like
the greatest simpleton in nature -- He has read a great deal; but
without method or judgment, and digested nothing. He believes
every thing he has read; especially if it has any thing of the
marvellous in it and his conversation is a surprizing hotch-potch
of erudition and extravagance. He told me t'other day, with great
confidence, that my case was dropsical; or, as he called it,
leucophlegmatic: A sure sign, that his want of experience is
equal to his presumption -- for, you know, there is nothing
analogous to the dropsy in my disorder -- I wish those
impertinent fellows, with their ricketty understandings, would
keep their advice for those that ask it. Dropsy, indeed! Sure I
have not lived to the age of fifty-five, and had such experience
of my own disorder, and consulted you and other eminent
physicians, so often, and so long, to be undeceived by such a --
But, without all doubt, the man is mad; and, therefore, what he
says is of no consequence. I had, yesterday, a visit from
Higgins, who came hither under the terror of your threats, and
brought me in a present a brace of hares, which he owned he took
in my ground; and I could not persuade the fellow that he did
wrong, or that I would ever prosecute him for poaching -- I must
desire you will wink hard at the practices of this rascallion,
otherwise I shall be plagued with his presents, which cost me
more than they are worth. -- If I could wonder at any thing
Fitzowen does, I should be surprized at his assurance in desiring
you to solicit my vote for him at the next election for the
county: for him, who opposed me, on the like occasion, with the
most illiberal competition. You may tell him civilly, that I beg
to be excused. Direct your next for me at Bath, whither I propose
to remove to-morrow; not only on my own account, but for the sake
of my niece, Liddy, who is like to relapse. The poor creature
fell into a fit yesterday, while I was cheapening a pair of
spectacles, with a Jew-pedlar. I am afraid there is something
still lurking in that little heart of hers, which I hope a change
of objects will remove. Let me know what you think of this half-witted
Doctor's impertinent, ridiculous, and absurd notion of my
disorder -- So far from being dropsical, I am as lank in the
belly as a grey-hound; and, by measuring my ancle with a pack-thread,
I find the swelling subsides every day. From such doctors,
good Lord deliver us! -- I have not yet taken any lodgings in
Bath; because there we can be accommodated at a minute's warning,
and I shall choose for myself -- I need not say your directions
for drinking and bathing will be agreeable to,

Dear Lewis,
Yours ever,

P.S. I forgot to tell you, that my right ancle pits, a symptom,
as I take it, of its being oedematous, not leucophlegmatic.

To Miss LETTY WILLIS, at Gloucester

HOT WELL, April 21.


I did not intend to trouble you again, till we should be settled
at Bath; but having the occasion of Jarvis, I could not let it
slip, especially as I have something extraordinary to communicate.
O, my dear companion! What shall I tell you? for several days
past there was a Jew-looking man, that plied at the Wells with a
box of spectacles; and he always eyed me so earnestly, that I
began to be very uneasy. At last, he came to our lodgings at
Clifton, and lingered about the door, as if he wanted to speak to
somebody -- I was seized with an odd kind of fluttering, and
begged Win to throw herself in his way: but the poor girl has
weak nerves, and was afraid of his beard. My uncle, having
occasion for new glasses, called him up stairs, and was trying a
pair of spectacles, when the man, advancing to me, said in a
whisper -- O gracious! what d'ye think he said? -- 'I am Wilson!'
His features struck me that very moment it was Wilson, sure
enough! but so disguised, that it would have been impossible to
know him, if my heart had not assisted in the discovery. I was so
surprised, and so frightened that I fainted away, but soon
recovered; and found myself supported by him on the chair, while
my uncle was running about the room, with the spectacles on his
nose, calling for help. I had no opportunity to speak to him; but
looks were sufficiently expressive. He was payed for his glasses,
and went away. Then I told Win who he was, and sent her after him
to the Pump-room; where she spoke to him, and begged him in my
name to withdraw from the place, that he might not incur the
suspicion of my uncle or my brother, if he did not want to see me
die of terror and vexation. The poor youth declared, with tears
in his eyes, that he had something extraordinary to communicate;
and asked, if she would deliver a letter to me: but this she
absolutely refused, by my order. -- Finding her obstinate in her
refusal, he desired she would tell me that he was no longer a
player, but a gentleman; in which character he would very soon
avow his passion for me, without fear of censure or reproach --
Nay, he even discovered his name and family, which, to my great
grief, the simple girl forgot, in the confusion occasioned by her
being seen talking to him by my brother, who stopt her on the
road, and asked what business she had with that rascally Jew. She
pretended she was cheapening a stay-hook, but was thrown into
such a quandary, that she forgot the most material part of the
information; and when she came home, went into an hysteric fit of
laughing. This transaction happened three days ago, during which
he has not appeared, so that I suppose he has gone. Dear Letty!
you see how Fortune takes pleasure in persecuting your poor
friend. If you should see him at Gloucester -- or if you have
seen him, and know his real name and family, pray keep me no
longer in suspence -- And yet, if he is under no obligation to
keep himself longer concealed, and has a real affection for me, I
should hope he will, in a little time, declare himself to my
relations. Sure, if there is nothing unsuitable in the match,
they won't be so cruel as to thwart my inclinations -- O what
happiness would then be my portion! I can't help indulging the
thought, and pleasing my fancy with such agreeable ideas; which
after all, perhaps, will never be realized -- But, why should I
despair? who knows what will happen? -- We set out for Bath to-morrow,
and I am almost sorry for it; as I begin to be in love
with solitude, and this is a charming romantic place. The air is
so pure; the Downs are so agreeable; the furz in full blossom;
the ground enamelled with daisies, and primroses, and cowslips;
all the trees bursting into leaves, and the hedges already
clothed with their vernal livery; the mountains covered with
flocks of sheep and tender bleating wanton lambkins playing,
frisking, and skipping from side to side; the groves resound with
the notes of blackbird, thrush, and linnet; and all night long
sweet Philomel pours forth her ravishingly delightful song. Then,
for variety, we go down to the nymph of Bristol spring, where the
company is assembled before dinner; so good natured, so free, so
easy; and there we drink the water so clear, so pure, so mild, so
charmingly maukish. There the fun is so chearful and reviving;
the weather so soft; the walk so agreeable; the prospect so
amusing; and the ships and boats going up and down the river,
close under the windows of the Pump-room, afford such an
enchanting variety of Moving Pictures, as require a much abler
pen than mine to describe. To make this place a perfect paradise
to me, nothing is wanting but an agreeable companion and sincere
friend; such as my
dear miss Willis hath been, and I hope still will be, to her ever


Direct for me, still under cover, to Win; and Jarvis will take
care to convey it safe. Adieu.

To Sir WATKIN PHILLIPS, of Jesus college, Oxon.

BATH, April 24.


You have, indeed, reason to be surprised, that I should have
concealed my correspondence with miss Blackerby from you, to whom
I disclosed all my other connexions of that nature; but the truth
is, I never dreamed of any such commerce, till your last informed
me, that it had produced something which could not be much longer
concealed. It is a lucky circumstance, however, that her
reputation will not suffer any detriment, but rather derive
advantage from the discovery; which will prove, at least, that it
is not quite so rotten as most people imagined -- For my own
part, I declare to you, in all the sincerity of friendship, that,
far from having any amorous intercourse with the object in
question, I never had the least acquaintance with her person;
but, if she is really in the condition you describe, I suspect
Mansel to be at the bottom of the whole. His visits to that
shrine were no secret; and this attachment, added to some good
offices, which you know he has done me, since I left Alma-mater,
give me a right to believe him capable of saddling me with this
scandal, when my back was turned -- Nevertheless, if my name can
be of any service to him, he is welcome to make use of it; and if
the woman should be abandoned enough to swear his banding to me,
I must beg the favour of you to compound with the parish: I shall
pay the penalty without repining; and you will be so good as to
draw upon me immediately for the sum required -- On this
occasion, I act by the advice of my uncle; who says I shall have
good-luck if I pass through life without being obliged to make
many more compositions of the same kind. The old gentleman told
me last night, with great good-humour, that betwixt the age of
twenty and forty, he had been obliged to provide for nine
bastards, sworn to him by women whom he never saw -- Mr Bramble's
character, which seems to interest you greatly, opens and
improves upon me every day. His singularities afford a rich mine
of entertainment; his understanding, so far as I can judge, is
well cultivated; his observations on life are equally just,
pertinent, and uncommon. He affects misanthropy, in order to
conceal the sensibility of a heart, which is tender, even to a
degree of weakness. This delicacy of feeling, or soreness of the
mind, makes him timorous and fearful; but then he is afraid of
nothing so much as of dishonour; and although he is exceedingly
cautious of giving offence, he will fire at the least hint of
insolence or ill-breeding. -- Respectable as he is, upon the
whole, I can't help being sometimes diverted by his little
distresses; which provoke him to let fly the shafts of his
satire, keen and penetrating as the arrows of Teucer -- Our aunt,
Tabitha, acts upon him as a perpetual grind-stone -- She is, in
all respects, a striking contrast to her brother -- But I reserve
her portrait for another occasion.

Three days ago we came hither from the Hot Well, and took
possession of the first floor of a lodging-house, on the South
Parade; a situation which my uncle chose, for its being near the
Bath, and remote from the noise of carriages. He was scarce warm
in the lodgings when he called for his night-cap, his wide shoes,
and flannel; and declared himself invested with the gout in his
right foot; though, I believe it had as yet reached no farther
than his imagination. It was not long before he had reason to
repent his premature declaration; for our aunt Tabitha found
means to make such a clamour and confusion, before the flannels
could be produced from the trunk, that one would have imagined
the house was on fire. All this time, uncle sat boiling with
impatience, biting his fingers, throwing up his eyes, and
muttering ejaculations; at length he burst into a kind of
convulsive laugh, after which he hummed a song; and when the
hurricane was over, exclaimed 'Blessed be God for all things!'
This, however, was but the beginning of his troubles. Mrs
Tabitha's favourite dog Chowder, having paid his compliments to a
female turnspit of his own species, in the kitchen, involved
himself in a quarrel with no fewer than five rivals, who set upon
him at once, and drove him up stairs to the dining room door,
with hideous noise: there our aunt and her woman, taking arms in
his defence, joined the concert; which became truly diabolical.
This fray being with difficulty suppressed, by the intervention
of our own footman and the cook-maid of the house, the squire had
just opened his mouth, to expostulate with Tabby, when the town-waits,
in the passage below, struck up their music (if music it
may be called) with such a sudden burst of sound, as made him
start and stare, with marks of indignation and disquiet. He had
recollection enough to send his servant with some money to
silence those noisy intruders; and they were immediately
dismissed, though not without some opposition on the part of
Tabitha, who thought it but reasonable that he should have more
music for his money. Scarce had he settled this knotty point,
when a strange kind of thumping and bouncing was heard right
over-head, in the second story, so loud and violent, as to shake
the whole building. I own I was exceedingly provoked at this new
alarm; and before my uncle had time to express himself on the
subject, I ran up stairs, to see what was the matter. Finding the
room-door open, I entered without ceremony, and perceived an
object, which I can not now recollect without laughing to excess
-- It was a dancing master, with his scholar, in the act of
teaching. The master was blind of one eye, and lame of one foot,
and led about the room his pupil; who seemed to be about the age
of threescore, stooped mortally, was tall, raw-boned, hard-favoured,
with a woollen night-cap on his head; and he had stript
off his coat, that he might be more nimble in his motions --
Finding himself intruded upon, by a person he did not know, he
forthwith girded himself with a long iron sword, and advancing to
me, with a peremptory air, pronounced, in a true Hibernian
accent, 'Mister What d'ye callum, by my saoul and conscience, I
am very glad to sea you, if you are after coming in the way of
friendship; and indeed, and indeed now, I believe you are my
friend sure enough, gra; though I never had the honour to sea
your face before, my dear; for becaase you come like a friend,
without any ceremony at all, at all' -- I told him the nature of
my visit would not admit of ceremony; that I was come to desire
he would make less noise, as there was a sick gentleman below,
whom he had no right to disturb with such preposterous doings.
'Why, look-ye now, young gentleman (replied this original)
perhaps, upon another occasion, I might shivilly request you to
explain the maining of that hard word, prepasterous: but there's
a time for all things, honey' -- So saying, he passed me with
great agility, and, running down stairs, found our foot-man at
the dining-room door, of whom he demanded admittance, to pay his
respects to the stranger. As the fellow did not think proper to
refuse the request of such a formidable figure, he was
immediately introduced, and addressed himself to my uncle in
these words: 'Your humble servant, good sir, -- I'm not so
prepasterous, as your son calls it, but I know the rules of
shivility - I'm a poor knight of Ireland, my name is sir Ulic
Mackilligut, of the county of Galway; being your fellow-lodger,
I'm come to pay my respects, and to welcome you to the South
Parade, and to offer my best services to you, and your good lady,
and your pretty daughter; and even to the young gentleman your
son, though he thinks me a prepasterous fellow -- You must know I
am to have the honour to open a ball next door to-morrow with
lady Mac Manus; and being rusted in my dancing, I was refreshing
my memory with a little exercise; but if I had known there was a
sick person below, by Christ! I would have sooner danced a
hornpipe upon my own head, than walk the softest minuet over
yours.' -- My uncle, who was not a little startled at his first
appearance, received his compliment with great complacency,
insisted upon his being seated, thanked him for the honour of his
visit, and reprimanded me for my abrupt expostulation with a
gentleman of his rank and character. Thus tutored, I asked pardon
of the knight, who, forthwith starting up, embraced me so close,
that I could hardly breathe; and assured me, he loved me as his
own soul. At length, recollecting his night-cap, he pulled it off
in some confusion; and, with his bald-pate uncovered, made a
thousand apologies to the ladies, as he retired -- At that
instant, the Abbey bells, began to ring so loud, that we could
not hear one another speak; and this peal, as we afterwards
learned, was for the honour of Mr Bullock, an eminent cowkeeper
of Tottenham, who had just arrived at Bath, to drink the waters
for indigestion. Mr Bramble had not time to make his remarks upon
the agreeable nature of this serenade, before his ears were
saluted with another concert that interested him more nearly. Two
negroes, belonging to a Creole gentleman, who lodged in the same
house, taking their station at a window in the stair-case, about
ten feet from our dining-room door, began to practise upon the
French-horn; and being in the very first rudiments of execution,
produced such discordant sounds, as might have discomposed the
organs of an ass. You may guess what effect they had upon the
irritable nerves of uncle; who, with the most admirable
expression of splenetic surprize in his countenance, sent his man
to silence these dreadful blasts, and desire the musicians to
practise in some other place, as they had no right to stand there
and disturb all the lodgers in the house. Those sable performers,
far from taking the hint, and withdrawing, treated the messenger
with great insolence; bidding him carry his compliments to their
master, colonel Rigworm, who would give him a proper answer, and
a good drubbing into the bargain; in the mean time they continued
their noise, and even endeavoured to make it more disagreeable;
laughing between whiles, at the thoughts of being able to torment
their betters with impunity. Our 'squire, incensed at the
additional insult, immediately dispatched the servant, with his
compliments to colonel Rigworm, requesting that he would order
his blacks to be quiet, as the noise they made was altogether
intolerable -- To this message, the Creole colonel replied, that
his horns had a right to sound on a common staircase; that there
they should play for his diversion; and that those who did not
like the noise, might look for lodgings elsewhere. Mr Bramble no
sooner received this reply, than his eyes began to glisten, his
face grew pale, and his teeth chattered. After a moment's pause,
he slipt on his shoes, without speaking a word, or seeming to
feel any further disturbance from the gout in his toes. Then
snatching his cane, he opened the door and proceeded to the
place where the black trumpeters were posted. There, without
further hesitation, he began to belabour them both; and exerted
himself with such astonishing vigour and agility, that both their
heads and horns were broken in a twinkling, and they ran howling
down stairs to their master's parlour-door. The squire, following
them half way, called aloud, that the colonel might hear him,
'Go, rascals, and tell your master what I have done; if he thinks
himself injured, he knows where to come for satisfaction. As for
you, this is but an earnest of what you shall receive, if ever
you presume to blow a horn again here, while I stay in the
house.' So saying, he retired to his apartment, in expectation of
hearing from the West Indian; but the colonel prudently declined
any farther prosecution of the dispute. My sister Liddy was
frighted into a fit, from which she was no sooner recovered, than
Mrs Tabitha began a lecture upon patience; which her brother
interrupted with a most significant grin, 'True, sister, God
increase my patience and your discretion. I wonder (added he)
what sort of sonata we are to expect from this overture, in which
the devil, that presides over horrid sounds, hath given us such
variations of discord -- The trampling of porters, the creaking
and crashing of trunks, the snarling of curs, the scolding of
women, the squeaking and squalling of fiddles and hautboys out of
tune, the bouncing of the Irish baronet over-head, and the
bursting, belching, and brattling of the French-horns in the
passage (not to mention the harmonious peal that still thunders
from the Abbey steeple) succeeding one another without
interruption, like the different parts of the same concert, have
given me such an idea of what a poor invalid has to expect in
this temple, dedicated to Silence and Repose, that I shall
certainly shift my quarters to-morrow, and endeavour to
effectuate my retreat before Sir Ulic opens the ball with my lady
Mac Manus; a conjunction that bodes me no good.' This intimation
was by no means agreeable to Mrs Tabitha, whose ears were not
quite so delicate as those of her brother -- She said it would be
great folly to move from such agreeable lodgings, the moment they
were comfortably settled. She wondered he should be such an enemy
to music and mirth. She heard no noise but of his own making: it
was impossible to manage a family in dumb-shew. He might harp as
long as he pleased upon her scolding; but she never scolded,
except for his advantage; but he would never be satisfied, even
tho'f she should sweat blood and water in his service -- I have a
great notion that our aunt, who is now declining into the most
desperate state of celibacy, had formed some design upon the
heart of Sir Ulic Mackilligut, which she feared might be
frustrated by our abrupt departure from these lodgings. Her
brother, eyeing her askance, 'Pardon me, sister (said he) I
should be a savage, indeed, were I insensible of my own felicity,
in having such a mild, complaisant, good-humoured, and
considerate companion and housekeeper;
but as I have got a weak head, and my sense of hearing is
painfully acute, before I have recourse to plugs of wool and
cotton, I'll try whether I can't find another lodging, where I
shall have more quiet and less music.' He accordingly dispatched
his man upon this service; and next day he found a small house in
Milsham-street, which he hires by the week. Here, at least, we
enjoy convenience and quiet within doors, as much as Tabby's
temper will allow; but the squire still complains of flying pains
in the stomach and head, for which he bathes and drinks the
waters. He is not so bad, however, but that he goes in person to
the pump, the rooms, and the coffeehouses; where he picks up
continual food for ridicule and satire. If I can glean any thing
for your amusement, either from his observation or my own, you
shall have it freely, though I am afraid it will poorly
compensate the trouble of reading these tedious
insipid letters of,

Dear Phillips,
Yours always,

BATH, April 23.

If I did not know that the exercise of your profession has
habituated you to the hearing of complaints, I should make a
conscience of troubling you with my correspondence, which may be
truly called the lamentations of Matthew Bramble. Yet I cannot
help thinking I have some right to discharge the overflowings of
my spleen upon you, whose province it is to remove those
disorders that occasioned it; and let me tell you, it is no small
alleviation of my grievances, that I have a sensible friend, to
whom I can communicate my crusty humours, which, by retention,
would grow intolerably acrimonious.

You must know, I find nothing but disappointment at Bath; which
is so altered, that I can scarce believe it is the same place
that I frequented about thirty years ago. Methinks I hear you
say, 'Altered it is, without all doubt: but then it is altered
for the better; a truth which, perhaps, you would own without
hesitation, if you yourself was not altered for the worse.' The
reflection may, for aught I know, be just. The inconveniences
which I overlooked in the high-day of health, will naturally
strike with exaggerated impression on the irritable nerves of an
invalid, surprised by premature old age, and shattered with long-suffering --
But, I believe, you will not deny, that this place,
which Nature and Providence seem to have intended as a resource
from distemper and disquiet, is become the very centre of racket
and dissipation. Instead of that peace, tranquillity, and case,
so necessary to those who labour under bad health, weak nerves,
and irregular spirits; here we have nothing but noise, tumult,
and hurry; with the fatigue and slavery of maintaining a
ceremonial, more stiff, formal, and oppressive, than the
etiquette of a German elector. A national hospital it may be, but
one would imagine that none but lunatics are admitted; and truly,
I will give you leave to call me so, if I stay much longer at
Bath. -- But I shall take another opportunity to explain my
sentiments at greater length on this subject -- I was impatient
to see the boasted improvements in architecture, for which the
upper parts of the town have been so much celebrated and t'other
day I made a circuit of all the new buildings. The Square, though
irregular, is, on the whole, pretty well laid out, spacious,
open, and airy; and, in my opinion, by far the most wholesome and
agreeable situation in Bath, especially the upper side of it; but
the avenues to it are mean, dirty, dangerous, and indirect. Its
communication with the Baths, is through the yard of an inn,
where the poor trembling valetudinarian is carried in a chair,
betwixt the heels of a double row of horses, wincing under the
curry-combs of grooms and postilions, over and above the hazard
of being obstructed, or overturned by the carriages which are
continually making their exit or their entrance -- I suppose
after some chairmen shall have been maimed, and a few lives lost
by those accidents, the corporation will think, in earnest, about
providing a more safe and commodious passage. The Circus is a
pretty bauble, contrived for shew, and looks like Vespasian's
amphitheatre turned outside in. If we consider it in point of
magnificence, the great number of small doors belonging to the
separate houses, the inconsiderable height of the different
orders, the affected ornaments of the architrave, which are both
childish and misplaced, and the areas projecting into the street,
surrounded with iron rails, destroy a good part of its effect
upon the eye; and, perhaps, we shall find it still more
defective, if we view it in the light of convenience. The figure
of each separate dwelling-house, being the segment of a circle,
must spoil the symmetry of the rooms, by contracting them towards
the street windows, and leaving a larger sweep in the space
behind. If, instead of the areas and iron rails, which seem to be
of very little use, there had been a corridore with arcades all
round, as in Covent-garden, the appearance of the whole would
have been more magnificent and striking; those arcades would have
afforded an agreeable covered walk, and sheltered the poor
chairmen and their carriages from the rain, which is here almost
perpetual. At present, the chairs stand soaking in the open
street, from morning to night, till they become so many boxes of
wet leather, for the benefit of the gouty and rheumatic, who are
transported in them from place to place. Indeed this is a
shocking inconvenience that extends over the whole city; and, I
am persuaded, it produces infinite mischief to the delicate and
infirm; even the close chairs, contrived for the sick, by
standing in the open air, have their frize linings impregnated
like so many spunges, with the moisture of the atmosphere, and
those cases of cold vapour must give a charming check to the
perspiration of a patient, piping hot from the Bath, with all his
pores wide open.

But, to return to the Circus; it is inconvenient from its
situation, at so great a distance from all the markets, baths,
and places of public entertainment. The only entrance to it,
through Gay-street, is so difficult, steep, and slippery, that in
wet weather, it must be exceedingly dangerous, both for those
that ride in carriages, and those that walk a-foot; and when the
street is covered with snow, as it was for fifteen days
successively this very winter, I don't see how any individual
could go either up or down, without the most imminent hazard of
broken bones. In blowing weather, I am told, most of the houses
in this hill are smothered with smoke, forced down the chimneys,
by the gusts of wind reverberated from the hill behind, which (I
apprehend likewise) must render the atmosphere here more humid
and unwholesome than it is in the square below; for the clouds,
formed by the constant evaporation from the baths and rivers in
the bottom, will, in their ascent this way, be first attracted
and detained by the hill that rises close behind the Circus, and
load the air with a perpetual succession of vapours: this point,
however, may be easily ascertained by means of an hygrometer, or
a paper of salt of tartar exposed to the action of the
atmosphere. The same artist who planned the Circus, has likewise
projected a Crescent; when that is finished, we shall probably
have a Star; and those who are living thirty years hence, may,
perhaps, see all the signs of the Zodiac exhibited in
architecture at Bath. These, however fantastical, are still
designs that denote some ingenuity and knowledge in the
architect; but the rage of building has laid hold on such a
number of adventurers, that one sees new houses starting up in
every out-let and every corner of Bath; contrived without
judgment, executed without solidity, and stuck together with so
little regard to plan and propriety, that the different lines of
the new rows and buildings interfere with, and intersect one
another in every different angle of conjunction. They look like
the wreck of streets and squares disjointed by an earthquake,
which hath broken the ground into a variety of holes and
hillocks; or as if some Gothic devil had stuffed them altogether
in a bag, and left them to stand higgledy piggledy, just as
chance directed. What sort of a monster Bath will become in a few
years, with those growing excrescences, may be easily conceived:
but the want of beauty and proportion is not the worst effect of
these new mansions; they are built so slight, with the soft
crumbling stone found in this neighbourhood, that I shall never
sleep quietly in one of them, when it blowed (as the sailors say)
a cap-full of wind; and, I am persuaded, that my hind, Roger
Williams, or any man of equal strength, would be able to push his
foot through the strongest part of their walls, without any great
exertion of his muscles. All these absurdities arise from the
general tide of luxury, which hath overspread the nation, and
swept away all, even the very dregs of the people. Every upstart
of fortune, harnessed in the trappings of the mode, presents
himself at Bath, as in the very focus of observation -- Clerks
and factors from the East Indies, loaded with the spoil of
plundered provinces; planters, negro-drivers, and hucksters from
our American plantations, enriched they know not how; agents,
commissaries, and contractors, who have fattened, in two
successive wars, on the blood of the nation; usurers, brokers,
and jobbers of every kind; men of low birth, and no breeding,
have found themselves suddenly translated into a state of
affluence, unknown to former ages; and no wonder that their
brains should be intoxicated with pride, vanity, and presumption.
Knowing no other criterion of greatness, but the ostentation of
wealth, they discharge their affluence without taste or conduct,
through every channel of the most absurd extravagance; and all of
them hurry to Bath, because here, without any further
qualification, they can mingle with the princes and nobles of the
land. Even the wives and daughters of low tradesmen, who, like
shovel-nosed sharks, prey upon the blubber of those uncouth
whales of fortune, are infected with the same rage of displaying
their importance; and the slightest indisposition serves them for
a pretext to insist upon being conveyed to Bath, where they may
hobble country-dances and cotillons among lordlings, squires,
counsellors, and clergy. These delicate creatures from
Bedfordbury, Butcher-row, Crutched-friers, and Botolph-lane,
cannot breathe in the gross air of the Lower Town, or conform to
the vulgar rules of a common lodging-house; the husband,
therefore, must provide an entire house, or elegant apartments in
the new buildings. Such is the composition of what is called the
fashionable company at Bath; where a very inconsiderable
proportion of genteel people are lost in a mob of impudent
plebeians, who have neither understanding nor judgment, nor the
least idea of propriety and decorum; and seem to enjoy nothing so
much as an opportunity of insulting their betters.

Thus the number of people, and the number of houses continue to
increase; and this will ever be the case, till the streams that
swell this irresistible torrent of folly and extravagance, shall
either be exhausted, or turned into other channels, by incidents
and events which I do not pretend to foresee. This, I own, is a
subject on which I cannot write with any degree of patience; for
the mob is a monster I never could abide, either in its head,
tail, midriff, or members; I detest the whole of it, as a mass of
ignorance, presumption, malice and brutality; and, in this term
of reprobation, I include, without respect of rank, station, or
quality, all those of both sexes, who affect its manners, and
court its society.

But I have written till my fingers are crampt, and my nausea
begins to return -- By your advice, I sent to London a few days
ago for half a pound of Gengzeng; though I doubt much, whether
that which comes from America is equally efficacious with what is
brought from the East Indies. Some years ago a friend of mine
paid sixteen guineas for two ounces of it; and, in six months
after, it was sold in the same shop for five shillings the pound.
In short, we live in a vile world of fraud and sophistication; so
that I know nothing of equal value with the genuine friendship of
a sensible man; a rare jewel! which I cannot help thinking myself
in possession of, while I repeat the old declaration, that I am,
as usual,

Dear Lewis,
Your affectionate

After having been agitated in a short hurricane, on my first
arrival, I have taken a small house in Milsham-street, where I am
tolerably well lodged, for five guineas a week. I was yesterday
at the Pump-room, and drank about a pint of water, which seems to
agree with my stomach; and to-morrow morning I shall bathe, for
the first time; so that in a few posts you may expect farther
trouble; mean while, I am glad to find that the inoculation
has succeeded so well with poor Joyce, and that her face will be
but little marked. If my friend Sir Thomas was a single man, I
would not trust such a handsome wench in his family; but as I
have recommended her, in a particular manner, to the protection
of lady G--, who is one of the best women in the world, she may
go thither without hesitation as soon as she is quite recovered
and fit for service -- Let her mother have money to provide her
with necessaries, and she may ride behind her brother on Bucks;
but you must lay strong injunctions on Jack, to take particular
care of the trusty old veteran, who has faithfully earned his
present ease by his past services.

To Miss WILLIS at Gloucester.
BATH, April 26.

The pleasure I received from yours, which came to hand yesterday,
is not to be expressed. Love and friendship are, without doubt,
charming passions; which absence serves only to heighten and
improve. Your kind present of the garnet bracelets, I shall keep
as carefully as I preserve my own life; and I beg you will accept,
in return, my heart-housewife, with the tortoise-shell
memorandum-book, as a trifling pledge of my unalterable

Bath is to me a new world -- All is gayety, good-humour, and
diversion. The eye is continually entertained with the splendour
of dress and equipage; and the ear with the sound of coaches,
chairs, and other carriages. The merry bells ring round, from
morn till night. Then we are welcomed by the city-waits in our
own lodgings; we have music in the Pump-room every morning,
cotillons every forenoon in the rooms, balls twice a week, and
concerts every other night, besides private assemblies and
parties without number -- As soon as we were settled in lodgings,
we were visited by the Master of the Ceremonies; a pretty little
gentleman, so sweet, so fine, so civil, and polite, that in our
country he might pass for the prince of Wales; then he talks so
charmingly, both in verse and prose, that you would be delighted
to hear him discourse; for you must know he is a great writer,
and has got five tragedies ready for the stage. He did us the
favour to dine with us, by my uncle's invitation; and next day
squired my aunt and me to every part of Bath; which, to be sure,
is an earthly paradise. The Square, the Circus, and the Parades,
put you in mind of the sumptuous palaces represented in prints
and pictures; and the new buildings, such as Princes-row,
Harlequin's-row, Bladud's-row, and twenty other rows, look like
so many enchanted castles, raised on hanging terraces.

At eight in the morning, we go in dishabille to the Pump-room
which is crowded like a Welsh fair; and there you see the highest
quality, and the lowest trades folks, jostling each other,
without ceremony, hail-fellow well-met. The noise of the music
playing in the gallery, the heat and flavour of such a crowd, and
the hum and buz of their conversation, gave me the head-ach and
vertigo the first day; but, afterwards, all these things became
familiar, and even agreeable. -- Right under the Pump-room
windows is the King's Bath; a huge cistern, where you see the
patients up to their necks in hot water. The ladies wear jackets
and petticoats of brown linen with chip hats, in which they fix
their handkerchiefs to wipe the sweat from their faces; but,
truly, whether it is owing to the steam that surrounds them, or
the heat of the water, or the nature of the dress, or to all
these causes together, they look so flushed, and so frightful,
that I always turn my eyes another way -- My aunt, who says every
person of fashion should make her appearance in the bath, as well
as in the abbey church, contrived a cap with cherry-coloured
ribbons to suit her complexion, and obliged Win to attend her
yesterday morning in the water. But, really, her eyes were so
red, that they made mine water as I viewed her from the Pump-room;
and as for poor Win, who wore a hat trimmed with blue, what
betwixt her wan complexion and her fear, she looked like the
ghost of some pale maiden, who had drowned herself for love. When
she came out of the bath, she took assafoetida drops, and was
fluttered all day; so that we could hardly keep her from going
into hysterics: but her mistress says it will do her good; and
poor Win curtsies, with the tears in her eyes. For my part, I
content myself with drinking about half a pint of the water every

The pumper, with his wife and servant, attend within a bar; and
the glasses, of different sizes, stand ranged in order before
them, so you have nothing to do but to point at that which you
choose, and it is filled immediately, hot and sparkling from the
pump. It is the only hot water I could ever drink, without being
sick -- Far from having that effect, it is rather agreeable to
the taste, grateful to the stomach, and reviving to the spirits.
You cannot imagine what wonderful cures it performs -- My uncle
began with it the other day; but he made wry faces in drinking,
and I'm afraid he will leave it off -- The first day we came to
Bath, he fell into a violent passion; beat two black-a-moors, and
I was afraid he would have fought with their master; but the
stranger proved a peaceable man. To be sure, the gout had got
into his head, as my aunt observed; but, I believe, his passion
drove it away; for he has been remarkably well ever since. It is
a thousand pities he should ever be troubled with that ugly
distemper; for, when he is free from pain, he is the best
tempered man upon earth; so gentle, so generous, so charitable,
that every body loves him; and so good to me, in particular, that
I shall never be able to shew the deep sense I have of his
tenderness and affection.

Hard by the Pump-room, is a coffee-house for the ladies; but my
aunt says, young girls are not admitted, insomuch as the
conversation turns upon politics, scandal, philosophy, and other
subjects above our capacity; but we are allowed to accompany them
to the booksellers' shops, which are charming places of resort;
where we read novels, plays, pamphlets, and newspapers, for so
small a subscription as a crown a quarter; and in these offices
of intelligence (as my brother calls them) all the reports of the
day, and all the private transactions of the Bath, are first
entered and discussed. From the bookseller's shop, we make a tour
through the milliners and toymen; and commonly stop at Mr Gill's,
the pastry-cook, to take a jelly, a tart, or a small bason of
vermicelli. There is, moreover, another place of entertainment on
the other side of the water, opposite to the Grove, to which the
company cross over in a boat -- It is called Spring-garden; a
sweet retreat, laid out in walks and ponds, and parterres of
flowers; and there is a long-room for breakfasting and dancing.
As the situation is low and damp, and the season has been
remarkably wet, my uncle won't suffer me to go thither, lest I
should catch cold: but my aunt says it is all a vulgar prejudice;
and, to be sure, a great many gentlemen and ladies of Ireland
frequent the place, without seeming to be the worse for it. They
say, dancing at Spring-gardens, when the air is moist, is
recommended to them as an excellent cure for the rheumatism. I
have been twice at the play; where, notwithstanding the
excellence of the performers, the gayety of the company, and the
decorations of the theatre, which are very fine, I could not help
reflecting, with a sigh, upon our poor homely representations at
Gloucester -- But this, in confidence to my dear Willis -- You
know my heart, and will excuse its weakness.

After all, the great scenes of entertainment at Bath, are the two
public rooms; where the company meet alternately every evening.
They are spacious, lofty, and, when lighted up, appear very
striking. They are generally crowded with well-dressed people,
who drink tea in separate parties, play at cards, walk, or sit
and chat together, just as they are disposed. Twice a-week there
is a ball; the expence of which is defrayed by a voluntary
subscription among the gentlemen; and every subscriber has three
tickets. I was there Friday last with my aunt, under the care of
my brother, who is a subscriber; and Sir Ulic Mackilligut
recommended his nephew, captain O Donaghan, to me as a partner;
but Jery excused himself, by saying I had got the head-ach; and,
indeed, it was really so, though I can't imagine how he knew it.
The place was so hot, and the smell so different from what we are
used to in the country, that I was quite feverish when we came
away. Aunt says it is the effect of a vulgar constitution, reared
among woods and mountains; and, that as I become accustomed to
genteel company, it will wear off. -- Sir Ulic was very
complaisant, made her a great many high-flown compliments; and,
when we retired, handed her with great ceremony to her chair. The
captain, I believe, would have done me the same favour; but my
brother seeing him advance, took me under his arm, and wished him
good night. The Captain is a pretty man, to be sure; tall and
strait, and well made; with light-grey eyes, and a Roman nose;
but there is a certain boldness in his look and manner, that puts
one out of countenance -- But I am afraid I have put you out of
all patience with this long unconnected scrawl; which I shall
therefore conclude, with assuring you, that neither Bath, nor
London, nor all the diversions of life, shall ever be able to
efface the idea of my dear Letty, from the heart of her ever


To Mrs MARY JONES, at Brambleton-hall.


Heaving got a frank, I now return your fever, which I received by
Mr Higgins, at the Hot Well, together with the stockings, which
his wife footed for me; but now they are of no survice. No body
wears such things in this place -- O Molly! you that live in the
country have no deception of our doings at Bath. Here is such
dressing, and fidling, and dancing, and gadding, and courting and
plotting -- O gracious! if God had not given me a good stock of
discretion, what a power of things might not I reveal, consarning
old mistress and young mistress; Jews with beards that were no
Jews; but handsome Christians, without a hair upon their sin,
strolling with spectacles, to get speech of Miss Liddy. But she's
a dear sweet soul, as innocent as the child unborn. She has tould
me all her inward thoughts, and disclosed her passion for Mr
Wilson; and that's not his name neither; and thof he acted among
the player-men, he is meat for their masters; and she has gi'en
me her yallow trollopea; which Mrs Drab, the mantymaker, says
will look very well when it is scowred and smoaked with silfur --
You knows as how, yallow fitts my fizzogmony. God he knows what
havock I shall make among the mail sex, when I make my first
appearance in this killing collar, with a full soot of gaze, as
good as new, that I bought last Friday of madam Friponeau, the
French mullaner -- Dear girl, I have seen all the fine shews of
Bath; the Prades, the Squires, and the Circlis, the Crashit, the
Hottogon, and Bloody Buildings, and Harry King's row; and I have
been twice in the Bath with mistress, and na'r a smoak upon our
backs, hussy. The first time I was mortally afraid, and flustered
all day; and afterwards made believe that I had got the heddick;
but mistress said, if I didn't go I should take a dose of
bumtaffy; and so remembering how it worked Mrs Gwyllim a
pennorth, I chose rather to go again with her into the Bath, and
then I met with an axident. I dropt my petticoat, and could not
get it up from the bottom.--But what did that signify; they
mought laff but they could see nothing; for I was up to the sin
in water. To be sure, it threw me into such a gumbustion, that I
know not what I said, nor what I did, nor how they got me out,
and rapt me in a blanket -- Mrs Tabitha scoulded a little when we
got home; but she knows as I know what's what Ah Laud help you! --
There is Sir Yury Micligut, of Balnaclinch, in the cunty of
Kalloway -- I took down the name from his gentleman, Mr 0 Frizzle,
and he has got an estate of fifteen hundred a year -- I am sure he
is both rich and generous--But you nose, Molly, I was always
famous for keeping secrets; and so he was very safe in trusting
me with his flegm for mistress; which, to be sure is very
honourable; for Mr 0 Frizzle assures me, he values not her
portion a brass varthing -- And, indeed, what's poor ten thousand
pounds to a Baron Knight of his fortune? and, truly, I told Mr 0
Frizzle that was all she had trust to -- As for John Thomas, he's a
morass fellor -- I vow, I thought he would a fit with Mr 0 Frizzle,
because he axed me to dance with him at Spring Garden -- But God he
knows I have no thoughts eyther of wan or t'other.

As for house news, the worst is, Chowder has fallen off greatly
from his stomick -- He cats nothing but white meats, and not much
of that; and wheezes, and seems to be much bloated. The doctors
think he is threatened with a dropsy -- Parson Marrofat, who has
got the same disorder, finds great benefit from the waters; but
Chowder seems to like them no better than the squire; and
mistress says, if his case don't take a favourable turn, she will
sartinly carry him to Aberga'ny, to drink goat's whey -- To be
sure, the poor dear honymil is lost for want of axercise; for
which reason, she intends to give him an airing once a-day upon
the Downs, in a post-chaise -- I have already made very creditable
connexions in this here place; where, to be sure, we have the
very squintasense of satiety -- Mrs Patcher, my lady Kilmacullock's
woman, and I are sworn sisters. She has shewn me all her secrets,
and learned me to wash gaze, and refrash rusty silks and
bumbeseens, by boiling them with winegar, chamberlye, and stale
beer. My short sack and apron luck as good as new from the shop,
and my pumpydoor as fresh as a rose, by the help of turtle-water --
But this is all Greek and Latten to you, Molly -- If we should
come to Aberga'ny, you'll be within a day's ride of us; and then
we shall see wan another, please God -- If not, remember me in your
prayers, as I shall do by you in mine; and take care of my
kitten, and give my kind sarvice to Sall; and this is all at
present, from your beloved friend and sarvent,

BATH, April 26.

To Mrs GWYLLIM, house-keeper at Brambleton-hall.

I am astonished that Dr Lewis should take upon him to give away
Alderney, without my privity and concurrants -- What signifies my
brother's order? My brother is little better than Noncompush. He
would give away the shirt off his back, and the teeth out of his
head; nay, as for that matter; he would have ruinated the family
with his ridiculous charities, if it had not been for my four
quarters -- What between his willfullness and his waste, his
trumps, and his frenzy, I lead the life of an indented slave.
Alderney gave four gallons a-day, ever since the calf was sent to
market. There is so much milk out of my dairy, and the press must
stand still: but I won't loose a cheese pairing; and the milk
shall be made good, if the sarvents should go without butter. If
they must needs have butter, let them make it of sheep's milk;
but then my wool will suffer for want of grace; so that I must be
a loser on all sides. Well, patience is like a stout Welsh poney;
it bears a great deal, and trots a great way; but it will tire at
the long run. Before its long, perhaps I may shew Matt, that I
was not born to be the household drudge to my dying day -- Gwyn
rites from Crickhowel, that the price of flannel is fallen three-
farthings an ell; and that's another good penny out of my pocket.
When I go to market to sell, my commodity stinks; but when I want
to buy the commonest thing, the owner pricks it up under my nose;
and it can't be had for love nor money -- I think everything runs
cross at Brambleton-hall -- You say the gander has broke the eggs;
which is a phinumenon I don't understand: for when the fox
carried off the old goose last year, he took her place, and
hatched the eggs, and partected the goslings like a tender
parent -- Then you tell me the thunder has soured two barrels of
beer in the seller. But how the thunder should get there, when
the seller was double-locked, I can't comprehend. Howsomever, I
won't have the beer thrown out, till I see it with my own eyes.
Perhaps, it will recover -- At least it will serve for vinegar to
the servants. -- You may leave off the fires in my brother's
chamber and mine, as it is unsartain when we return. -- I hope,
Gwyllim, you'll take care there is no waste; and have an eye to
the maids, and keep them to their spinning. I think they may go
very well without beer in hot weather -- it serves only to inflame
the blood, and set them a-gog after the men. Water will make them
fair and keep them cool and tamperit. Don't forget to put up in
the portmantel, that cums with Williams, along with my riding-habit,
hat, and feather, the viol of purl water, and the tincktur
for my stomach; being as how I am much troubled with
flutterencies. This is all at present, from

BATH, April 26.



I have done with the waters; therefore your advice comes a day
too late I grant that physic is no mystery of your making. I know
it is a mystery in its own nature; and, like other mysteries,
requires a strong gulp of faith to make it go down -- Two days ago,
I went into the King's Bath, by the advice of our friend
Ch--, in order to clear the strainer of the skin, for the benefit
of a free perspiration; and the first object that saluted my eye,
was a child full of scrophulous ulcers, carried in the arms of
one of the guides, under the very noses of the bathers. I was so
shocked at the sight, that I retired immediately with indignation
and disgust -- Suppose the matter of those ulcers, floating on the
water, comes in contact with my skin, when the pores are all
open, I would ask you what must be the consequence? -- Good
Heaven, the very thought makes my blood run cold! we know not
what sores may be running into the water while we are bathing,
and what sort of matter we may thus imbibe; the king's-evil, the
scurvy, the cancer, and the pox; and, no doubt, the heat will
render the virus the more volatile and penetrating. To purify
myself from all such contamination, I went to the duke of
Kingston's private Bath, and there I was almost suffocated for
want of free air; the place was so small, and the steam so

After all, if the intention is no more than to wash the skin, I
am convinced that simple element is more effectual than any water
impregnated with salt and iron; which, being astringent, will
certainly contract the pores, and leave a kind of crust upon the
surface of the body. But I am now as much afraid of drinking, as
of bathing; for, after a long conversation with the Doctor, about
the construction of the pump and the cistern, it is very far from
being clear with me, that the patients in the Pump-room don't
swallow the scourings of the bathers. I can't help suspecting,
that there is, or may be, some regurgitation from the bath into
the cistern of the pump. In that case, what a delicate beveridge
is every day quaffed by the drinkers; medicated with the sweat
and dirt, and dandriff; and the abominable discharges of various
kinds, from twenty different diseased bodies, parboiling in the
kettle below. In order to avoid this filthy composition, I had
recourse to the spring that supplies the private baths on the
Abbey-green; but I at once perceived something extraordinary in
the taste and smell; and, upon inquiry, I find that the Roman
baths in this quarter, were found covered by an old burying
ground, belonging to the Abbey; through which, in all
probability, the water drains in its passage; so that as we drink
the decoction of living bodies at the Pump-room, we swallow the
strainings of rotten bones and carcasses at the private bath. I
vow to God, the very idea turns my stomach! Determined, as I am,
against any farther use of the Bath waters, this consideration
would give me little disturbance, if I could find any thing more
pure, or less pernicious, to quench my thirst; but, although the
natural springs of excellent water are seen gushing spontaneous
on every side, from the hills that surround us, the inhabitants,
in general, make use of well-water, so impregnated with nitre, or
alum, or some other villainous mineral, that it is equally
ungrateful to the taste, and mischievous to the constitution. It
must be owned, indeed, that here, in Milsham-street, we have a
precarious and scanty supply from the hill; which is collected in
an open bason in the Circus, liable to be defiled with dead dogs,
cats, rats, and every species of nastiness, which the rascally
populace may throw into it, from mere wantonness and brutality.
Well, there is no nation that drinks so hoggishly as the English.

What passes for wine among us, is not the juice of the grape. It
is an adulterous mixture, brewed up of nauseous ingredients, by
dunces, who are bunglers in the art of poison-making; and yet we,
and our forefathers, are and have been poisoned by this cursed
drench, without taste or flavour -- The only genuine and wholesome
beveridge in England, is London porter, and Dorchester table-beer;
but as for your ale and your gin, your cyder and your
perry, and all the trashy family of made wines, I detest them as
infernal compositions, contrived for the destruction of the human
species -- But what have I to do with the human species? except a
very few friends, I care not if the whole was --.

Heark ye, Lewis, my misanthropy increases every day -- The longer I
live, I find the folly and the fraud of mankind grow more and
more intolerable -- I wish I had not come from Brambletonhall;
after having lived in solitude so long, I cannot bear the hurry
and impertinence of the multitude; besides, every thing is
sophisticated in these crowded places. Snares are laid for our
lives in every thing we cat or drink: the very air we breathe, is
loaded with contagion. We cannot even sleep, without risque of
infection. I say, infection -- This place is the rendezvous of the
diseased -- You won't deny, that many diseases are infectious; even
the consumption itself, is highly infectious. When a person dies
of it in Italy, the bed and bedding are destroyed; the other
furniture is exposed to the weather and the apartment white-washed,
before it is occupied by any other living soul. You'll
allow, that nothing receives infection sooner, or retains it
longer, than blankets, feather-beds, and matrasses -- 'Sdeath! how
do I know what miserable objects have been stewing in the bed
where I now lie! -- I wonder, Dick, you did not put me in mind of
sending for my own matrasses -- But, if I had not been an ass, I
should not have needed a remembrancer -- There is always some
plaguy reflection that rises up in judgment against me, and
ruffles my spirits -- Therefore, let us change the subject.

I have other reasons for abridging my stay at Bath -- You know
sister Tabby's complexion -- If Mrs Tabitha Bramble had been of any
other race, I should certainly have considered her as the most --.
But, the truth is, she has found means to interest my affection;
or, rather, she is beholden to the force of prejudice, commonly
called the ties of blood. Well, this amiable maiden has actually
commenced a flirting correspondence with an Irish baronet of
sixty-five. His name is Sir Ulic Mackilligut. He is said to be
much out at elbows; and, I believe, has received false
intelligence with respect to her fortune. Be that as it may, the
connexion is exceedingly ridiculous, and begins already to excite
whispers. For my part, I have no intention to dispute her free-agency;
though I shall fall upon some expedient to undeceive her
paramour, as to the point which he has principally in view. But I
don't think her conduct is a proper example for Liddy, who has
also attracted the notice of some coxcombs in the Rooms; and Jery
tells me, he suspects a strapping fellow, the knight's nephew, of
some design upon the girl's heart. I shall, therefore, keep a
strict eye over her aunt and her, and even shift the scene, if I

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