Close window to return.
I cannot quite work out the tone of this letter. At once friendly, then goading. No address for Elizabeth but Miss Hepburn is at Mrs Ogilvy's Kensington.
Dated to 18th Feb 1801 there is a bit of damage.
The spelling is as per the letter.
Your letter my Dear Miss Hepburn which I received on Saturday (and should instantly have acknowledged but the Bearer was gone before it was put into my hands) relieved my mind from a very painful degree of anxiety – your long absence made me fearful illness confined you, and my heart wished most ardently to make inquiry – but a certain apprehension lest my writing shoud mean a different appearance from the true intention made me lay down the pen which I had frequently taken up for the purpose. – your correspondence my Dearly belovd youn Friend woud give me infinite pleasure, independent of your kind and affectionate presents, which are not only of real service, but exceedingly gratifying to my feelings when I particularly consider the same from whence they sprung, let one thank you for your generous remembrance in your letter now before me I am half tempted to lay it out in outside geer, that is a Bonnet and Muff, -- but on second thoughts the first article I can make to a little longer and as to the last I dare say I shall take so much time to consider of it that the shivering weather will in a degree subside before I come to a resolution on this important business – so much for my present ideas of finery – and now to tell more of myself, I have payd three or four visits to different Friends, which I really think has done me good for at Xmas I had a most severe fit of illness, what a comfort woud an hour or two of your company have been to me at that time, -- but to return to my rambles, I one day dined twelve miles out of town with my valuable Friends Mrs Deaper at Clay Hill – I am concernd to tell you she is a widow, poor Mr Deaper sufferd a long and painful illness.
Well my Dear but this tremendous journey to Scotland, I don’t find that it is absolutely determined on, do pray let me see you before you sell off or I shall absolutely grieve with the idea you regard lessens – I really my Dear am highly entertained at the impressions made on your feelings by the philosophical Lectures you have been attending, and cannot avoid smiling to observe how easily they give way to concurring circumstances – Alas, nothing will ever persuade the suffering object, to believe there is neither pain, nor want nor Ingratitude to be felt in this transitory life, at the time they are bending under these different evils and Oh what a vast variety of others, for I heartily join in the opinion of a favourite author,
“That endless are the list of human ills,
And sighs might sooner fail, than cause to sigh”
But I do not think it right to look too long or too intently on this dark side of the picture of mortal life, I woud equally avoid the character of the Laughing or Crying Philosopher, the medium I think will be likely to produce the most rational happiness – indeed I do not condemn a desire after knowledge – to a weak mind it might be dangerous, but I know your understanding is sterling – ten the benevolence of your heart I have such constant proofs of that there is not the least reason to suppose the social duties will be infringed by your present pursuits – Was your use** [damage] To extend as far as poor Leons they must end in mi*** [damage] in truth I think the moral of that Fabulous pu*** [damage] was meant to repress an inordinate desire *** [damage] wonders that we are not possessed of power in*** [damage] state of existence to comprehend.
I am surprised on moving the paper to find I have rambled to the third page and cannot conclude before I have said I am glad to find you speak of a visit from your brother, I hoped he is well, does he still maintain his eccentric character, I shoud be pleased to hear his plan of live was settled. Poor old Robinson desires me to offer her Duty she is wonderfully well and hearty at the great age 76, she is now gone to change some books at the library, I know it will gratify you to find I still continue to enjoy that indulgence
God Bless you my Dear Friend
I am most Affectionately yours
PS Let me have a letter soon or depend on it, I shall not wait with patience, bordering on apathy Adieu