LETTERS FROM YORICK TO ELIZA.

LONDON. Printed for W. JOHNSTON, No. 16, LUDGATE-STREET. MDCCLXXIII.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD APSLEY, Lord high Chancellor of England.

My LORD,

THE Editor of the following letters, is so far from hav­ing tasted your Lordship's boun­ty, that he is, and perhaps ever must remain, a stranger to your person, consequently, no adulation is to be apprehended from him— [Page] He leaves it to the weak and op­pressed, the widow and orphan, to proclaim your Lordship's virtues in your public capacity; that which he would celebrate is of a private nature, namely, your filial affection, which is so con­spicuous, that he flatters himself a volume of letters, written by such a person as Mr. Sterne, on which your noble father is placed in a light so truly amiable, can­not fail of engaging your Lord­ship's gracious acceptance and pro­tection—In this hope, and upon this foundation, he presumes to [Page] dedicate these papers to your Lord­ship, and to have the honour of subscribing himself,

My LORD,
Your Lordship's, Most obedient And most humble Servant, THE EDITOR.

PREFACE.

THE foul and infamous traf­fic, between dishonest book­sellers and profligate scribblers, which has subsisted for more than a century, has justly brought post­humous publications under suspi­cion, in England, France, and more especially in Holland: minis­ters of state in every European court, great generals, royal mis­tresses, authors of established repu­tation, in a word, all such as have [Page 2] had the misfortune to advance themselves to eminence, have been obliged to leave behind them par­cels of letters, and other memoirs, of the most secret and important transactions of their times, in which every fact, beyond the infor­mation of a news-paper or coffee­house chat is so faithfully misrepre­sented, every character delineated with such punctual deviation from the truth, and causes and effects which have no possible relation, are with such amazing effrontery obtruded upon the public, that it is no wonder if men of sense, who [Page 3] read for instruction as well as en­tertainment, generally condemn them in the lump, never, or very rarely, affording them the honour of a perusal—The publisher of these letters, however, has not the small­est apprehension that any part of this well grounded censure can fall to his share; he deals not in sur­prising events to astonish the rea­der, nor in characters (one ex­cepted) which have figured on the great theatre of the world; he purposely waves all proofs which might be drawn concerning their authenticity, from the character of [Page 4] the gentleman who had the peru­sal of the originals, and, with Eliza's permission, faithfully copied them at Bombay in the East Indies; from the testimony of many respectable families in this city, who knew and loved Eliza, caressed and admired Mr. Sterne, and were well ac­quainted with the tender friendship between them, from many curi­anecdotes in the letters themselves, any one of which were fully suffi­cient to authenticate them, and submits his reputation to the taste and discernment of the commonest reader, who must, in one view, per­ceive [Page 5] that these letters are genuine, beyond any possibility of doubt—As the public is unquestionably en­titled to every kind of information concerning the characters contained in these letters, which consists with the duties of humanity and a good citizen, that is, a minute acquaint­ance with those of whom honour­able mention is made, or the pub­lisher is furnished with authorities to vindicate from Mr. Sterne's cen­sures, which, as a man of warm temper and lively imagination, he was perhaps sometimes hurried into without due reflection, he per­suades [Page 6] himself that no party con­cerned will or can be offended with this publication, especially if it is considered, that without such infor­mation it would be cold and unin­teresting; that by publishing their merits he cannot be understood to intend them any injury, and with­out it would himself fail in his duty to the public—Eliza, the lady to whom these letters are ad­dressed, is Mrs. Elizabeth Draper, wife of Daniel Draper, Esq. coun­sellor at Bombay, and at present chief of the English factory at Su­rat, a gentleman very highly re­spected [Page 7] in that quarter of the globe—She is by birth an East Indian; but the circumstance of being born in the country not proving suffi­cient to defend her delicate frame against the heats of that burning climate, she came to England for the recovery of her health, when by accident she became acquainted with Mr. Sterne. He immedi­ately discovered in her a mind so congenial with his own, so enligh­tened, so refined, and so tender, that their mutual attraction present­ly joined them in the closest union that purity could possibly admit of; [Page 8] he loved her as his friend, and prid­ed in her as his pupil; all her con­cerns became presently his; her health, her circumstances, her re­putation, her children were his; his fortune, his time, his country were at her disposal, so far as the sacrifice of all or any of these might in his opinion contribute to her real happiness. If it is asked whether the glowing heat of Mr. Sterne's affection never transported him to a flight beyond the limits of pure platonism, the publisher will not take upon him absolutely to de­ny it; but this he thinks so far from [Page 9] leaving any stain upon that gentle­man's memory, that it perhaps in­cludes his fairest encomium, since to cherish the seeds of piety and chastity in a heart which the pas­sions are interested to corrupt, must be allowed to be the noblest effort of a soul, fraught and fortified with the justest sentiments of Religion and Virtue—Mr. and Mrs. James, so frequently and honourably men­tioned in these letters, are the wor­thy heads of an opulent family in this city; their character is too well established to need the aid of the publisher in securing the esti­mation [Page 10] they so well deserve and universally possess, yet he cannot restrain one observation; that to have been respected and beloved by Mr. Sterne and Mrs. Draper is no inconsiderable testimony of their merit, and such as it cannot be dis­pleasing to them to see published to the world—Miss Light, now Mrs. Stratton, is on all accounts a very amiable young lady—She was acci­dentally a passenger in the same ship with Eliza, and instantly en­gaged her friendship and esteem, but being mentioned in one of Mrs. Draper's letters to Mr. Sterne, in [Page 11] somewhat of a comparative manner with herself, his partiality for her, as she modestly expressed it, took the alarm, and betrayed him into some expressions, the coarseness of which cannot be excused. Mrs. Draper declares, that this lady was entirely unknown to him, and in­finitely superior to his idea of her: she has been lately married to George Stratton, Esq. Counsellor at Madrass—The manner in which Mr. Sterne's acquaintance with the celebrated Lord Bathurst, the friend and companion of Addison, Swift, Pope, Steele, and all the finest wits of the last age, commenced, [Page 12] cannot fail to attract the attention of the curious reader: here that great man is social and unreserved, unshackled with that sedulity in supporting a feigned character which exposes most of his rank to the contempt of wise men, and the ri­dicule of their valets de chambre; here he appears the same as in his hours of festivity and happiness with Swift and Addison, superior to forms and ceremonies, and, in his eighty-fifth year, abounding in wit, vivacity and humanity: me­thinks the pleasure of such a gen­tleman's acquaintance resembles that of conversing with superior [Page 13] beings; but it is not fit to dwell longer on this pleasing topic, least it should anticipate the reader's pleasure in perusing the letter itself: one remark however it suggests, which may be useful to old men in general, to wit, that it appears, by his lordship's example, the sour contracted spirit observable in old age, is not specifically an effect of years, altho' they are commonly pleaded in it's excuse. Old men would therefore do well to correct this odious quality in themselves; or, if that must not be, to invent a better apology for it—It is very much to be lamented, that Eliza's [Page 14] modesty was invincible to all the publisher's endeavours to obtain her answers to these letters: her wit, penetration and judgment, her hap­piness in the epistolary stile, so rap­turously commended by Mr. Sterne, could not fail to furnish a rich en­tertainment for the public. The publisher could not help telling her, that he wished to God she really was possessed of that vanity with which she was charged; to which she replied, that she was so far from acquitting herself of vanity, that she suspected that to be the cause why she could not prevail on her­self to submit her letters to the [Page 15] public eye; for altho' Mr. Sterne was partial to every thing of her's, she could not hope that the world would be so too: with this answer he was oblig'd to be contented; yet cannot reflect without deep con­cern, that this elegant accomplish­ment, so peculiarly adapted to the refined and delicate understandings of ladies, should be yet so rare that we can boast of only one lady Wortley Montague among us, and that Eliza in particular could not be prevailed on to follow the example of that admired Lady—The reader will remark, that these letters have various signatures, sometimes he [Page 16] signs Sterne, sometimes Yorick, and to one or two he signs her Bramin; altho' it is pretty gene­rally known who the Bramins are, yet least any body should be at a loss, it may not be amiss to observe, that the principal cast or tribe a­mong the idolatrous Indians are the Bramins, and out of the chief class of this cast come the priests, so fa­mous for their austerities, and the shocking torments, and frequently death, they voluntarily expose them­selves to, on a religious account: now, as Mr. Sterne was a clergy­man, and Eliza an Indian by birth, it was customary with her to call [Page 17] him her Bramin, which he accord­ingly, in his pleasant moods, uses as a signature—It remains only, to take some little notice of the fa­mily marked with asterisks, on whom Mr. Sterne has thought pro­per to shed the bitterest gall of his pen; it is however evident, even from some passages in the letters themselves, that Mrs. Draper could not be easily prevailed on to see this family in the same odious light in which they appeared to her, perhaps over zealous, friend. He, in the heat, or I may say, hurry of his affection, might have accepted suspicious cir­cumstances as real evidences of [Page 18] guilt, or listened too unguardedly to the insinuations of their enemies: be that as it may, as the publisher is not furnished with sufficient au­thorities to exculpate them, he chuses to drop the ungrateful sub­ject, heartily wishing, that this family may not only be innocent of the shocking treachery with which they are charged, but may be able to make their innocence appear clearly to the world, otherwise that no person may be industrious enough to discover and make known their name.

ELIZA will receive my books with this, the summons came all hot from the heart; I wish that cou'd give them any title to be offered to yours: the others came from the head; I am more indifferent about their reception—

I know not how it comes, but I am half in love with you—I ought to be wholly so; for I never valued (or saw more good qualities to value) or [Page 2] thought more of one of your sex, than of you—So adieu.

Yours faithfully, If not affeionately— L [...]S [...]N E.

I Cannot rest Eliza, tho' I shall call on you at half past twelve, till I know how you do—may thy dear face smile as thou risest, like the sun of this morning! I was much griev'd to hear of your alarming indisposition yester­day; and disappointed too at not being let in—Remember, my dear, ‘"that a friend has the same right as a physician"’ the etiquettes of this town (you'll say) say otherwise; no matter, delicacy and propriety do not always consist in observing their frigid doc­trines—I am going out to breakfast, but shall be at my lodgings by ele­ven, when I hope to read a single [Page 4] line under thy own hand, that thou art better, and will be glad to see,

Thy BRAMIN.

I Got thy letter last night, Eliza, on my return from Lord Bathurst's, where I din'd; and where I was heard (as I talk'd of thee for an hour with­out intermission) with so much plea­sure and attention, that the good old Lord toasted your health three several times; and tho' he is now in his eighty-fifth year, says he hopes to live long enough to be introduced as a friend, to my fair Indian disciple; and to see her eclipse all other Na­bobesses as much in wealth, as she already does in exterior and (what is far better) in interior merit—I hope so too.

[Page 6] This nobleman is an old friend of mine. You know he was always the protector of men of wit and genius, and had those of the last century, Addison, Steele, Pope, Swift, Prior, &c. &c. always at his table.—

The manner in which his notice of me began, was singular, as it was polite: he came up to me one day, as I was at the Princess of Wales's court—‘"I want to know you, Mr. S [...]ne; but it is fit you should also know who it is that wishes this plea­sure. You have heard, continued he, of an old Lord Bathurst, of whom your Pope's and Swift's have sung and spoken so much: I have liv'd my life [Page 7] with genius's of that cast, but have surviv'd them; and despairing ever to find their equals, 'tis some years since I clos'd my accounts, and shut up my books, with thoughts of never opening them again: But you have kindled a desire in me to open them once more before I die, which I now do—so go home and dine with me."’

This nobleman, I say, is a prodigy! for at eighty five he has all the wit and promptness of a man of thirty—a disposition to be pleased, and a power to please others, beyond what­ever I knew; added to which, a man of learning, courtesy and feeling.—

[Page 8] He heard me talk of thee, Eliza, with uncommon satisfaction, for there was only a third person, and of sensi­bility, with us—and a most sentimen­tal afternoon, till nine o'clock, have we pass'd! But thou, Eliza, was the star that conducted and enlighten'd the discourse! and when I talk'd not of thee, still didst thou fill my mind, and warm ev'ry thought I utter'd! for I am not asham'd to acknowledge, I greatly miss thee—best of all good girls! the sufferings I have sustain'd all night on account of thine, Eliza, are beyond my power of words—as­suredly does heaven give strength pro­portion'd to the weight he lays upon us—Thou hast been bow'd down, my [Page 9] child, with every burthen that sorrow of heart and pain of body cou'd inflict on a poor being—and still thou tell'st me that thou art beginning to get ease, thy fever gone—thy sickness, the pain in thy side vanishing also—

May every evil so vanish, that thwarts Eliza's happiness, or but a­wakens her fears for a moment—Fear nothing, my dear, hope every thing; and the balm of this passion will shed it's influence on thy health, and make thee enjoy a spring of youth and chearfulness, more than thou hast hardly yet tasted—

[Page 10] And so thou hast fix'd thy Bramin's portrait over thy writing desk, and will consult it in all doubts and diffi­culties; grateful good girl! Yorick smiles contentedly over all thou dost, his picture does not do justice to his own complacency—

Thy sweet little plan and distribu­tion of thy time, how worthy of thee!

Indeed, Eliza, thou leavest one no­thing to direct thee in, thou leavest me nothing to require, nothing to ask, but a continuance of that conduct which won my esteem, and has made me thy friend for ever.

[Page 11] May the roses come quick back to thy check, and the rubies to thy lips! but trust my declaration, Eliza, that thy husband (if he is the good feeling man I wish him) will press thee to him with more honest warmth and affec­tion, and kiss thy pale poor dejected face with more transport, than he wou'd be able to do in the best bloom of all thy beauty—and so he ought.—I pity him.—He must have strange feelings, if he knows not the value of such a creature as thou art—

I am glad Miss Light goes with you, she may relieve you from many anxious moments.

[Page 12] I am glad too, that your shipmates are friendly beings—you cou'd least dispense with what is contrary to thy own nature, which is soft and gentle, Eliza, it wou'd civilize savages; tho' pity were it, thou should'st be tainted with the office.—

How canst thou make apologies for thy last letter! 'tis most delicious to me, for the very reasons you ex­cuse it—

Write to me, my child, only such, let them speak the easy chearfulness of a heart that opens itself any how, and every how, to a man you ought to es­teem and trust—

[Page 13] Such Eliza, I write to thee, and so I shou'd ever live with thee, most art­lessly, most affectionately, if Provi­dence permitted thy residence in the same section of the globe. For I am all that honour and inclination can make me.

Thy BRAMIN

I Write this Eliza, at Mr. James's, whilst he is dressing, and the dear girl his wife is writing beside me, to thee—

I got your melancholy billet before we sat down to dinner; 'tis melan­choly indeed my dear, to hear so pi­teous an account of thy sickness, thou art encompass'd with evils enow, with­out that additional weight—I fear it will sink thy poor soul, and body with it, past recovering—Heaven supply thee with fortitude! We have talk'd of nothing but thee, Eliza, and of thy [Page 15] sweet virtues, and endearing conduct, the whole afternoon.—

Mrs. James and the Bramin have mix'd their tears a hundred times, in speaking of thy hardships, thy good­ness, thy graces, 'tis a subject that will never end betwixt us—Oh! she is good and friendly!

The *** by heaven are worthless; I have heard enough to tremble at the articulation of the name—How cou'd you, Eliza leave them (or suffer them to leave you rather) with impressions the least favourable? I have told thee enough to plant disgust against their treachery to thee, to the last hour of [Page 16] thy life—yet still thou told'st Mrs. James at last, that thou believest they affectionately loved thee—Her delicacy to my Eliza, and true regard to her ease of mind, have saved thee from hearing more glaring proofs of their baseness—For God's sake, write not to them, nor foul thy fair characters with such polluted hearts—They love thee!—What proof?—Is it their ac­tions which say so? or their zeal for those attachments which do thee ho­nour, and make thee happy? Or their tenderness for thy fame? No, but they weep, and say tender things—Adieu to all such for ever.—

[Page 17] Mrs. James's honest heart revolts against the idea of even returning them one visit. I honour her, and honour thee for almost every act of thy life, but this blind partiality to an unwor­thy being.

Forgive my zeal, dear girl, and allow me a right, which arises only out of that fund of affection I have and shall preserve for thee, to the hour of my death—

Reflect Eliza, what are my mo­tives for perpetually advising thee, think whether I can have any which proceed not from the cause I have mentioned?

[Page 18] I think you a very deserving wo­man, and that you want nothing but firmness, and a better opinion of yourself, to be the best female charac­ter I know.—

I wish I cou'd inspire you with a share of that vanity your enemies lay to your charge (tho' to me it has never been visible) because I think, in a well turn'd mind, it will produce good effects—

I probably shall never see you more; yet flatter myself you will sometimes think of me with pleasure; because you must be convinced I love you, and so interest myself in your recti­tude, [Page 19] that I had rather hear of any evil befalling you, than your want of reverence for yourself—

I had not power to keep this remon­strance in my breast—tis now out—so adieu! Heaven watch over my Eliza.

Thine YORICK.

TO whom shou'd Eliza apply in her distress, but to the friend that loves her; why then, my dear, do you apologize for employing me?

Yorick wou'd be offended, and with reason, if you ever sent commis­sions to another, which he cou'd execute—I have been with Zumps—and first your piano-forte must be tun'd from the brass middle string of your guitar, which is C.—I have got you a ham­mer too, and a pair of pliars to twist your wire with; and may every one of them, my dear, vibrate sweet com­fort [Page 21] to thy hopes! I have bought you ten handsome brass screws to hang your necessaries upon: I purchas'd twelve, but stole a couple from you, to put up in my own cabin at Coxwauld—I shall never hang or take my hat off one of them, but I shall think of you—I have bought thee, moreover, a couple of iron screws, which are more to be depended on than brass, for the globe—

I have wrote also to Mr. Abraham Walker, pilot at Deal, to acquaint him that I had dispatched these in a packet directed to his care, which I desir'd he wou'd seek after the mo­ment the Deal machine arrives—I [Page 22] have moreover given directions to him, what sort of an arm chair you wou'd want, and have directed to purchase the best that Deal cou'd afford, and to take it with the parcel in the first boat that went off—Would, I cou'd, Eliza, thus supply all thy wants, and all thy wishes! it would be a state of happiness to me—

The journal is as it should be, all but it's contents—

Poor dear, patient being! I do more than pity you, for I think I lose both firmness and philosophy, as I fi­gure to myself your distresses—

[Page 23] Do not think I spoke last night with too much asperity of ***; there was a cause; and besides, a good heart ought not to love a bad one, and in­deed cannot. But adieu to the ungrate­ful subject—

I have been this morning to see Mrs. James; she loves thee tenderly and unfeignedly; she is alarm'd for thee; she says thou lookedst most ill and me­lancholy on going away; she pities thee—I shall visit her every Sunday while I am in town—

As this may be my last letter, I earnestly bid thee farewell! may the God of kindness be kind to thee, and [Page 24] approve himself thy protector now thou art defenceless! and for thy daily comfort, bear in thy mind this truth, ‘"That whatever measure of sorrow and distress is thy portion, it will be repaid to thee in a full measure of hap­piness, by the Being thou hast wisely chosen for thy eternal friend’—Farewell, farewell Eliza, while I live count upon me, as the most disinterested and warm of earthly friends.

YORICK.
My Dearest ELIZA,

I Began a new journal this morning: you shall see it, for if I live not till your return to England, I will leave it you as a legacy: tis a sorrow­ful page, but I will write chearful ones, and could I write letters to thee, they should be chearful ones too, but few (I fear) will reach thee—however, depend upon receiving something of the kindly every post, till thou wavest thy hand, and bidst me write no more—Tell me how you are, and what sort of fortitude heaven inspires thee with. How are your accommodations my dear? [Page 26] —is all right?—scribble away any thing and every thing to me. Depend upon seeing me at Deal with the James's, should you be detain'd there by contrary winds. Indeed, Eliza, I should with pleasure fly to you, could I be the means of rendring you any service, or doing you any kindness—

‘"Gracious and merciful God, con­sider the anguish of a poor girl, strengthen and preserve her, in all the shocks her frame must be expos'd to, she is now without protector but thee; save her from all the accidents of a dangerous element, and give her comfort at the last"’

[Page 27] My prayer, Eliza, I hope is heard, for the sky seems to smile upon me as I look up to it—

I am just return'd from our dear Mrs. James's, where I have been talking of thee these three hours—She has got your picture and likes it, but Mariot and some other judges agree, that mine is the better, and expressive of a sweeter character; but what is that to the original? yet I acknowledge her's a picture for the world, and mine only calculated to please a very sin­cere friend, or sentimental philoso­pher—

[Page 28] In the one you are dressed in smiles, and with all the advantages of silks, pearls, and ermine, in the other, sim­ple as a vestal, appearing the good girl nature made you; which to me conveys an idea of more unaffected sweetness, than Mrs. Dr [...]p [...]r ha­bited for conquest in a birth day suit, with her countenance animated and ‘"dimples visible"’

If I remember right, Eliza, you endeavour'd to collect every charm of your person into your face with more than common care, the day you sat for Mrs. James, your colour too brighten'd, and your eyes shone with more than their usual brilliancy—

[Page 29] I then requested you to come sim­ple and unadorn'd when you sat for me, knowing (as I see with unpreju­duc'd eyes) that you cou'd receive no addition from the silkworm's aid, or jeweller's polish—

Let me now tell you a truth, which I believe I utter'd before—when I first saw you, I beheld you as an object of compassion, and a very plain wo­man—

The mode of your dress (the fashion­able) disfigur'd you—but nothing now cou'd render you such, but the being sollicitous to make yourself ad­mir'd as a handsome one—

[Page 30] You are not handsome, Eliza—nor is your's a face that will please the tenth part of your beholders—

But you are something more; for I scruple not to tell you, I never saw so intelligent, so animated, so good a countenance; nor ever was there, nor will there be, that man of sense, ten­derness, and feeling in your company three hours, that was not, or will not be, your admirer and friend in consequence of it, i. e. if you assume or assumed no character foreign to your own, but appear'd the artless being nature de­sign'd you for—a something in your voice and eyes, you possess in a degree [Page 31] more persuasive than any woman I ever saw, read, or heard of:

But it is that bewitching sort of nameless excellence, that men of nice sensibility alone can be touch'd with—

Was your husband in England, I wou'd freely give him 500l. (if money cou'd purchase the acquisition) to let you only sit by me two hours in the day, while I wrote my sentimental journey—I am sure the work wou'd sell so much the better for it, that I should be reimburs'd the sum more than seven times told—

[Page 32] I would not give nine-pence for the picture of you, that the Newnham's have got executed; it is the resem­blance of a concerted, made up co­quette—your eyes, and the shape of your face (the latter the most perfect oval I ever saw) which are perfections that must strike the most indifferent judge, because they are equal to any of God's works in a similar way, and finer than any I beheld in all my tra­vels, are manifestly inspir'd by the af­fected leer of the one, and strange ap­pearance of the other, owing to the attitude of the head, which is a proof of the artist's, or your friend's false taste—

[Page 33] The ***'s verify the character I once gave, of teazing and sticking like pitch or bird lime—

Sent a card that they wou'd wait on Mrs. *** on Friday.

She sent back she was engag'd;

Then to meet at Ranelagh to-night; she answer'd she did not go—

She says if she allows the least foot­ing, she never shall get rid of the acquaintance, which she is resolv'd to drop at once—

[Page 34] She knows them; she knows they are not her friends or yours, and the first use they wou'd make of being with her, would be to sacrifice you to her (if they could) a second time—

Let her not, then, let her not, my dear, be a greater friend to thee than thou art to thyself; she begs I will reiterate my request to you, that you will not write to them—'twill give her, and thy Bramin too, inex­pressible pain—be assur'd, all this is not without reason on her side. I have my reasons too, the first of which is, that I should grieve to excess, if [Page 35] Eliza wanted that fortitude her Yo­rick has built so high upon—

I said I wou'd never more mention—the name to thee, and had I not receiv'd it as a kind of charge from a dear woman that loves you, I should not have broke my word—

I will write again to-morrow to thee, thou best, and most endearing of girls: a peaceful night to thee; my spirit will be with thee thro' every watch of it—Adieu.

My dear Eliza,

OH! I grieve for your cabin, and fresh painting will be enough to destroy every nerve about thee—nothing so pernicious as white lead—take care of yourself, dear girl, and sleep not in it too soon, 'twill be enough to give you a stroke of an epilepsy—

I hope you will have left the ship, and that my letters may meet and greet you, as you get out of your post chaise at Deal—when you have got them all, put them, my dear, into some [Page 37] order—the first eight or nine are number'd, but I wrote the rest with­out that direction to thee—but thou wilt find them out by the day or hour, which, I hope, I have generally pre­fix'd to them; when they are got together in chronological order, sew them together under a cover—I trust they will be a perpetual refuge to thee from time to time, and that thou wilt (when weary of fools and uninterest­ing discourse) retire and converse an hour with them and me—

I have not had power or the heart, to aim at enlivening one of them with a single stroke of wit or humour; but they contain something better, and [Page 38] what you will feel more suited to your situation—a long detail of much ad­vice, truth, and knowledge—

I hope, too, you will perceive loose touches of an honest heart in every one of them, which speak more than the most studied periods, and will give thee more ground of trust and re­liance upon Yorick, than all that labour'd eloquence cou'd supply—lean then thy whole weight Eliza, upon them and upon me.

‘"May poverty, distress, anguish and shame be my portion, if ever I give thee reason to repent the know­ledge of me."—’

[Page 39] With this asseveration, made in the presence of a just God, I pray to him that so it may speed with me, as I deal candidly and honourably with thee:

I would not mislead thee, Eliza, I would not injure thee in the opinion of a single individual, for the rich­est crown, the proudest monarch wears—

Remember, that, while I have life and power, whatever is mine you may style, and think yours; tho' sorry should I be, if ever my friendship was put to the test thus, for your own delicacy's sake—

[Page 40] Money and counters are of equal use in my opinion, they both serve to set up with. I hope you will an­swer in this letter; but if thou art de­barr'd by the elements which hurry thee away, I will write one for thee, and knowing it is such an one as thou wouldst have written, I will regard it as my Eliza's—

Honour and happiness, and health and comforts of every kind sail along with thee, thou most worthy of girls! I will live for thee and my Lydia, be rich for ye, dear children of my heart, gain wisdom, gain fame and happiness, to share them with thee and her, in my old age—

[Page 41] Once for all, Adieu! Preserve thy life steadily, pursue the ends we pro­pos'd, and let nothing rob thee of those powers heaven has given thee for thy well being—

What can I add more in the agi­tation of mind I am in, and within sive minutes of the last postman's bell; but recommend thee to heaven, and recommend myself to heaven with thee, in the same fervent eja­culation.

‘"That we may be happy and meet again, if not in this world, in the next"—’

[Page 42] Adieu, I am thine affectionately Eliza, and everlastingly.

YORICK.—
My dear Eliza,

I Think you could act no otherwise than you did with your young sol­dier, there was no shutting the door against him, either in politeness or hu­manity—

Thou tell'st me he seems susceptible of tender impressions, and that before Miss L [...]t has sail'd a fortnight, he will be in love with her—

Now, I think it a thousand times more likely, that he attaches himself to thee, Eliza, because thou art a thou­sand times more amiable—

[Page 44] Five months with Eliza, and in the same room, and an amorous son of Mars besides, ‘"It no can be Masser."’—The sun, if he could avoid it, wou'd not shine upon a dunghill; but his rays are so pure, Eliza, and celes­tial, I never heard they were polluted by it—Just such will thine be, my dearest child, in this and every such situation as you will be expos'd to, till thou art fix'd for life.—

But, thy discretion, thy wisdom, thy honour, the spirit of thy Yorick, and thy own spirit, which is equal to it, will be thy ablest counsellors—

[Page 45] Surely, by this time, something is doing towards thy accomodation—but why may not clean washing and rub­ing do, instead of painting your cab­bin, as it is to be hung—paint is so pernicious both to your nerves and lungs, and will keep you, so much longer too, out of possession of your apartment, where I hope you will pass some of your happiest hours—

I fear the best of your shipmates, are only genteel by comparison with the contrasted crew, with which thou must behold them.

So was you know who, from the same fallacy that was put upon the [Page 46] judgment, when—But I will not mortify you—If they are decent and distant, it is enough, and as much as is to be expected; if any of them are more, I rejoice—

Thou wilt want every aid, and 'tis thy due to have them—

Be cautious only, my dear, of inti­macies; good hearts are open, and fall naturally into them—heaven in­spire thine with fortitude, in this and every other deadly trial!

Best of God's works! Farewell, love me, I beseech thee, and remem­ber for ever, I am, my Eliza, and [Page 47] ever will be in the most comprehen­sive sense,

Thy Friend— YORICK—

P.S. Probably you will have an opportunity of writing to me by some Dutch or French ship, or from the Cape de Verd Islands, 'twill reach me some how—

I Wish to God, Eliza, it was possible to postpone the voyage to India for another year, for I am firmly persuad­ed within my own breast, that thy hus­band could never limit thee with re­gard to time—

I fear that Mr. B. has exaggerated matters,—I like not his countenance, it is absolutely killing thee—should evil befall thee, what will he not have to answer for—I know not the being that will be deserving of so much pity, or that I shall hate more; he will be an outcast alien; in which case I will be a father to thy children my good [Page 49] girl, therefore take no thought about them—But, Eliza, if thou art so very ill, still put off all thoughts of return­ing to India this year—write to your husband—tell him the truth of your case—if he is the generous humane man you describe him to be, he cannot but applaud your conduct—I am cre­dibly informed, that his repugnance to your living in England arises only from the dread which has enter'd his brain, that thou mayest run him in debt, beyond thy appointments, and that he must discharge them—

That such a creature should be sa­crificed, for the paultry consideration a few hundreds, is too, too hard! [Page 50] Oh! my child, that I could with propriety indemnify him for every charge, even to the last mite, that thou hast been of to him! with joy would I give him my whole subsistence, nay, sequester my livings, and trust to the treasures heaven has furnish'd my head with for a future subsistence—

You owe much, I allow, to your husband; you owe something to ap­pearances and the opinions of the world; but, trust me, my dear, you owe much likewise to yourself—Return therefore from Deal if you continue ill: I will prescribe for you gratis. You are not the first woman by many, I have done so for with success—

[Page 51] I will send for my wife and daugh­ter, and they shall carry you in pursuit of health to Montpelier, the wells of Bancer's, the Spaw, or whither thou wilt; thou shalt direct them, and make parties of pleasure in what corner of the world fancy points out to you—

We shall fish upon the banks of Arno, and lose ourselves in the sweet labyrinths of it's vallies, and then thou should'st warble to us, as I have once or twice heard thee ‘"I'm lost, I'm lost,"’ but we would find thee again, my Eliza—

[Page 52] Of a similar nature to this, was your physician's prescription ‘"ease, gentle exercise, the pure southern air of France, or milder Naples, with the society of friendly gentle beings"’

Sensible man, he certainly enter'd into your feelings, he knew the falla­cy of medicine to a creature, whose illness has arisen from the affliction of her mind—Time only, my dear, I fear you must trust to, and have your reli­ance on: may it give you the health so enthuastic a votary to the charm­ing goddess deserves—

I honour you, Fliza, for keeping secret some things, which if explain'd, [Page 53] had been a panegyric on yourself—There is a dignity in venerable affliction which will not allow it to appeal to the world for pity or redress—Well have you supported that character, my ami­able philosophic friend! And, indeed, I begin to think you have as many virtues, as my uncle Toby's widow—

I don't mean to insinuate, hussey, that my opinion is no better founded than his was of Mrs. Wadman; nor do I believe it possible for any Trim to convince me it is equally fallacious; I am sure while I have my reason it is not—

[Page 54] Talking of widows—pray, Eliza, if ever you are such, do not think of giving yourself to some wealthy nabob, because I design to marry you my­self—My wife cannot live long—she has sold all the provinces in France al­ready, and I know not the woman I should like so well for her substitute, as yourself—'Tis true, I am ninety five in constitution, and you but twenty-five; rather too great a dispa­rity this! but what I want in youth, I will make up in wit and good hu­mour—Not Swift so lov'd his Stella, Scarron his Maintenon, or Waller his Sacharissa, as I will love and sing thee, my wife elect—all those names, emi­nent [Page 55] as they were, shall give place to thine, Eliza.

Tell me in answer to this, that you approve and honour the proposal; and that you would (like the Spectator's mistress) have more joy in putting on an old man's slipper, than in associat­ing with the gay, the voluptuous, and the young—Adieu, my Simplicia—

Yours TRISTRAM.
[...]
[...]
My dear Eliza,

I Have been within the verge of the gates of death: I was ill the last time I wrote to you, and apprehen­sive of what would be the consequence.—My fears were but too well founded, for in ten minutes after I dispatch'd my letter, this poor fine-spun frame of Yorick's gave way, and I broke a vessel in my breast, and could not stop the loss of blood till four this morn­ing—I have fill'd all thy India hand­kerchiefs with it, it came I think, from the heart—I fell a sleep thro' [Page 57] weakness at six, and awoke with the bosom of my shirt steep'd in tears—

I dream'd I was sitting under the canopy of Indolence, and that thou cam'st into the room with a shaul in thy hand, and told me, ‘"my spirit had flown to thee to the Downs with tidings of my fate, and that you was come to administer what consolation filial affection could bestow, and to receive my parting breath and bless­ings,"’ with that you folded the shaul about my waist, and, kneeling, suppli­cated my attention.

I awoke, but in what a fra [...]! Oh! my God! but ‘"Thou w [...]t re­member [Page 58] my tears, and put them all into thy bottle"’—Dear girl, I see thee, thou art for ever present to my fancy, embracing my feeble knees, and rais­ing thy fine eyes to bid me be of comfort—

And when I talk to Lydia, the words of Esau, as utter'd by thee, perpetu­ally ring in my ears.

‘"Bless me even also, my fa­ther."—’

Blessings attend thee, thou child of my heart—My bleeding is quite stopp'd, and I feel the principle of life [Page 59] strong within me—so be not alarm'd, Eliza, I know I shall do well—

I have eat my breakfast with hun­ger, and I write to thee with a plea­sure arising from that prophetic im­pression in my imagination.

‘"That all will terminate to our hearts content"’—Comfort thyself eter­nally with this persuasion, ‘"That the best of beings (as thou sweetly hast express'd it) could not by a com­bination of accidents, produce such a chain of events, merely to be the source of misery to the leading person engag'd in them"’

[Page 60] The observation was very applica­ble, very good, and very elegantly express'd—I wish my memory did justice to the wording of it—

Who taught you the art of writing so sweetly, Eliza? You absolutely have exalted it to a science—When I am in want of ready cash, and ill health will permit my genius to exert itself, I shall print your letters, as Finish'd Essays by an unfortunate Indian Lady! The style is new, and would almost be a sufficient recommendation for their selling well, without merit; but their sense, natural ease, and spirit, is not to be equall'd, I believe, in this sec­tion of the globe; nor, I'll answer [Page 61] for it, by any of your country women in yours—

I have shew'd your letter to Mrs. B. and to half the literati in town: you shall not be angry with me for it, be­cause I meant to do you honour by it—

You cannot imagine how many ad­mirers your epistolary productions have gain'd you, that never view'd your external merits—

I only wonder where thou couldst acquire thy graces, thy goodness, thy accomplishments! so connected! so educated! Nature has surely study'd [Page 62] to make thee her peculiar care, for thou art (and not in my eyes alone) the best and fairest of all her works—and so this is the last letter thou art to receive from me, because the Earl of Chatham (I read in the papers) is got to the Downs, and the wind (I find) is fair—if so, blessed woman, take my last, last farewell! cherish the remembrance of me, think how I esteem, nay, how affectionately I love thee, and what a price I set upon thee. Adieu, adieu; and with my adieu, let me give thee one short rule of conduct, that thou hast heard from my lips in a thousand forms, but I concenter it in one word,

—Reverence Thyself—

[Page 63] Adieu once more, Eliza, may no an­guish of heart plant a wrinkle upon thy face, till I behold it again; may no doubt or misgivings disturb the serenity of thy mind, or awaken a painful thought about thy children, for they are Yorick's, and Yorick is thy friend for ever—

Adieu, adieu, adieu— Fare thee well—

P.S. Remember that ‘"Hope shortens all journies, by sweetning them;"’ so sing my little stanza on the subject, with the devotion of an hymn, every morning thou arisest, and thou wilt eat thy breakfast with more comfort for it—Blessings, rest [Page 64] and Hygeia go with thee; may'st thou soon return in peace and affluence to illumine my night. I am, and shall be the last to deplore thy loss, and will be the first to congratulate, and hail thy return—

FINIS.

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