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wish you to be of the party, yet I have no pretensions to persuade you, and I know your contempt of gain. Mr. Paradise and I shall want some one, who understands farming, to direct in leaving orders for the management of the land, if recovered.
WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ. TO THE REV.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
July, --79. WHEN I was at Margate, it was an excursion of pleasure to go to see Ramsgate. The pier, I remember, was accounted a most excellent piece of stone work, and as such I found it. By this time, I suppose, it is finished, and surely it is no small advantage, that you have an opportunity of observing how nicely those great stones are put together, as often as you please, without either trouble or expense.
There was not, at that time, much to be seen in the Isle of Thanet, besides the beauty of the country, and the fine prospects of the sea, which are no where surpassed except in the Isle of Wight, or upon some parts of the coast of Hamp; shire. One sight, however, I remember, engaged my curiosity, and I went to see it. A fine piece of ruins, built by the late Lord Holland, at a great expense, which, the day after I saw it, tumbled down for nothing. Perhaps, therefore, it is still a ruin; and if it is, I would advise you by all means to visit it, as it must have been much improved by this fortunate incident. It is
bardly possible to put stones together with that air of wild and magnificent disorder which they are sure to acquire by falling of their own accord.
I remember (the last thing I mean to remember upon this occasion) that Sam Cox, the counsel, walking by the seaside, as if absorbed in deep contemplation, was questioned about what he was musing on. He replied, “I was wondering that such an almost infinite and unwieldly element should produce a sprat.”
Our love attends your whole party. Yours affectionately,
WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ. TO MRS. NEWTON. DEAR MADAM,
June, 1780. WHEN I write to Mr. Newton, he answers me by letter; when I write to you, you answer me in fish. I return you many thanks for the mackerel and lobster. They assured me in terms as intelligible as pen and ink could have spoken, that you still remember Orchard-side ; and though they never spoke in their lives, and it was still less to be expected from them that they should speak being dead, they gave us an assurance of your affection that corresponds exactly with that which Mr. Newton expresses towards us in all his letters. For my own part, I never in my life began a letter more at a venture than the present. It is possible that I may finish it, but perhaps more than probable that I shall not. I have had several indifferent nights, and the wind is easterly; two circumstances so unfavourable to me in all my occupations, but especially that of writing, that it was with the greatest difficulty I could even bring myself to attempt it.
You have never yet perhaps been made acquainted with the unfortunate Tom F-'s misadventure. He and his wife, returning from Haslope fair, were coming down Weston Lane; to wit, themselves, their horse, and their great wooden panniers, at ten o'clock at night. The horse, having a lively imagination and very weak nerves, fancied he either saw or heard something, but has never been able to say what. A sudden fright will impart activity, and a momentary vigour, even to lameness itself. Accordingly, he started, and sprang from the middle of the road to the side of it, with such surprising alacrity, that he dismounted the gingerbread baker, and his gingerbread wife, in a moment. Not contented with this effort, nor thinking himself yet out of danger, he proceeded as fast as he could to a full gallop, rushed against the gate at the bottom of the lane, and opened it for himself, without perceiving that there was any gate there. Still he galloped, and with a velocity and momentum continually increasing, till he arrived at Olney. I had been in bed about ten minutes, when I heard the most uncommon and unaccount. able noise that can be imagined. It was, in fact, occasioned by the clattering of tin pattypans and a Dutch-oven against the sides of the panniers. Much gingerbread was picked up in the street, and Mr. Lucy's windows were broken all to
pieces. Had this been all, it would have been a comedy, but we learned the next morning, that the poor woman's collar-hone was broken, and she has hardly been able to resume her occupation since.
What is added on the other side *, if I could have persuaded myself to write sooner, would have reached you sooner; 'tis about ten days old
The male Dove was smoking a pipe, and the female Dove was sewing, while she delivered herself as above. This little circumstance may lead you perhaps to guess what pair I bad in my eye. Yours, dear madam,
WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ. TO THE REV.
Feb. 6, 1781. Much good may your humanity, do you, as it does so much good to others. You can no where find objects more entitled to your pity than where your pity seeks them. A man whose vices and irregularities have brought his liberty and life into danger, will always be viewed with an eye of compassion by those who understand what hu. man nature is made of. And while we acknow. ledge the severity of the law to be founded upon principles of necessity and justice, and are glad that there is such a barrier provided for the peace of society, if we consider that the difference between ourselves and the culprit is not of our own making, we shall be, as you are, tenderly affected with the view of his misery, and not the less so because he has brought it upon himself. I look upon the worst man in Chelmsford gaol with a more favourable eye than upon who claims a servants’ wages from one who never was his master.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
* The poem of “ The Doves." Vide Cowper's poems. Vol. I.
I give you joy of your own hair. No doubt you are a considerable gainer in your appearance by being disperiwigged. The best wig is that which most resembles the natural hair ; why then should he that has hair enough of his own have recourse to imitation? I have little doubt, but that if an arm or a leg could have been taken off with as little pain as attends the amputation of a curl or a lock of hair, the natural limb would have been thought less becoming, or less convenient, by some men, than a wooden one, and been disposed of accordingly,
WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ. TO THE REV. JOHN
Aug. 16, 1781. I MIGHT date my letter from the green-house, which we have converted into a summer parlour. The walls hung with garden mats, and the floor covered with a carpet, the sun too in a eat manner excluded, by an awning of mats, which