Page images

and you need not fear annoyance.

He never moves a muscle,” you will say, “ then why should I ?” but you cannot help it. You can no more put on that saturnine look, than you could “command the waters of the land” to pass through his “ parched bosom.” Something too much of this.”

There is a little dinner party at my table, this day, at six. If you say (sans cérémonie) you will meet them, I will, for those sweet words, “ applaud thee to the very echo that shall applaud again.”


B. O.

To Mr. R. R. OAKLEY.


Royal Exchange, March 11, 1822. You have often heard me say, that “it is honourable to acknowledge an error, and that nothing is so praiseworthy as an avowal of having been in the wrong.” Mr. Giles having unintentionally misrepresented the circumstance alluded to in my last letter, took the earliest opportunity this morning to undeceive me, and to express his concern, that what he said should have occasioned the least uneasiness to you or me. I assure you, Richard, it gave me a great deal of pain and very much damped my hopes, knowing, as I do, that with the previous instruction you had before you went to Harrow, I had formed the best opinion of your ability, and anticipated the pleasure of hearing that you advanced progressively in your studies; looking forward, as I do, to your attaining the proud eminence in Harrow School which has so distinguished a Byron and a Sheridan.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Mr. Ravenhill called in just as I received your letter: he expressed a confident opinion of your success, and has betted me a hat that you will gain trial, and get into the shell. I shall not only be very glad to lose the hat; but shall, with pleasure, give you a new one if you win the battle. Mr. Ravenhill will order a carriage, as before, to bring his boys and you -home, when he knows the day you are to break up.

I had my conversazione last Thursday: it will be repeated on the 4th of April, when I suppose you will join the party.

Make my respectful compliments to Mr. Drury, and your mother's best inquiries after Mrs. Drury.

Affectionately yours,

B. 0.

To CHARLES MATTHEWS, Esq. Kentish Town.


Tavistock Place, April 15, 1822. I THINK every man who has a respect for the drama (and who, like myself, have been gratified with viewing the assemblage of portraits which enrich your gallery – “showing, as it were, the very age and body of the time,” in illustration of the genius of the immortal bard), must feel more than ordinary delight in tracing the features of genius and talent which have adorned the stage, and made familiar to the world the poetry of Shakspeare.

To you, Matthews, the praise is due of keeping alive that feeling; and as an humble testimony of my regard for you

and attachment to the divine poet, I hope you will not deny me the pleasure of contributing to your collection of literary testimonials (which also embellish your gallery) the fourth folio edition of “ The Swan of Avon.” In addition to which, I beg to offer my name to the list of subscribers you procured at Stratford, as a mark of the love and affection I owe to him who has beguiled the weary hours of my pilgrimage during the three first acts of my appearance upon the stage of life; and to assure thee I am, “ while memory holds her seat in this distracted globe,”


B. 0.



Royal Exchange, April 19, 1822. I am rejoiced to find you are again settled in the shell: I have no doubt you will grow into a fine nucleus, and spread your fibres so as to take root in the extensive soil of Greek and Latin, and, in due time, gather fruit from the productive branches of the tree of learning.

* The following lines were occasioned by the sudden death of poor little Dot.

little Dot. Had old Trim met the shaft of death, I should not have been more concerned : it would have been more in the course of nature.

Why should thy ruthless arm, O Death!
Deprive the innocent of breath?
Why should “ in cold obstruction rot".
My harmless pretty little Dot?
Why exercise thy vengeful ire
To strike the young, yet spare the sire ?
Hadst thou but marked its playful wiles,
Thy frowns had soften'd into smiles.

But hold !- I hear thy murd'rous tongue
Denounce alike the old and young!
Then all must to the stroke submit,
When Heaven shall think the time most fit!

Your loving Father,

B. 0.



Royal Exchange, April 23, 1822. I have had an application from Dr. Butler for a subscription, on your account, towards the expense of repairing the School. The circular was forwarded to me by Mr. Drury. You will tell him, I have written to Dr. Butler, and enclosed him my draft for five guineas. I am unwell with a cold.

Doctor Powell called last night, who had just arrived from Hereford, where he has been to attend the ceremony

of Mr. Jones Powell's union with Miss Downes, the daughter of my late friend, Mr. Downes, of Hinton, near to that city. Mrs. Powell and William dined with us on Sunday.

Mr. Drury tells me you are “ well, and at work." I am glad to hear it. I wish I was at work: but it so happens I am at this time very idle.

Yours ever,

B. O.



Tavistock Place, April 30, 1822. I UNDERSTAND that possessing a pew in the new church of St. Pancras does not give a right of entrance on the day of consecration; and that none will be admitted but those to whom tickets are issued.

I have given in your name to one of the managing committee, and expect a ticket will be forwarded to you. I am not quite certain, but think you are expected to appear in your robes; and the hour will be earlier than I imagined, but not too early for your breakfasting with me.

Should you be disengaged on Friday, and will do me the honour of dining here at half past five, to meet a small party, we can then arrange for the approaching ceremony.

Believe me to be, dear Sir,
Yours very assuredly,

B. 0.

To J. W. HORSLEY, Esq. Chiswick.


Tavistock Place, May 2, 1822. I have laid your proposition before the ladies in due form : it was taken into immediate consideration, and unanimously decided to be worthy of acceptance. A long debate ensued, whether or no it should take place on Sunday ? one thought it was a good day, another was of opinion it was not a proper day; therefore I said, let it be some day, and that as soon as possible : whereupon I proposed the first Sunday in the month, which was carried by a large majority.

Now, sir, it will be expected that you treat us, not according to our deserts ;” but in such a way as will ensure a repetition of our visit. Be not too tame, nor yet too familiar; but use us gently: and in the torrent of our welcome, observe that you give it smoothness.

« PreviousContinue »