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justest, the most tender, the most piercing grief; must see myself at the entrance into a world full of dangers and miseries, bereft of one who could so well have guided me through, and supported me under them all. Let me be thankful for those who still are left, and that they continue as tolerably well as their concern will permit them to be. Let me consider that all the ties of friend. ship and relation, in this changing scene of things, are made but to be soon dissolved for a short space; and that when we have enjoyed their benefits, we ought to submit (a hard lesson! may you never want to learn it) to their pains. But I will not abuse your friendship, my dear Miss Campbell, which will make you but too much participate with me the melancholy turn of mind which I should not, for that reason, have expressed so strongly, if the fulness of my heart had not carried me further than I at first intended. I write to you all that it dictates; and, indeed, it is now so full of gloomy reflections, it will hardly permit me to speak of any other sub. ject, or, indeed, to continue any longer.
I am commanded to assure my lady duchess and Lady Portland of the part we, even now, take in Madam Benticke's perfect recovery, as we must always do, in whatever relates to them. Them is an expression that comprehends every thing; a thousand obligations : in one word, more than I could otherwise express.
Adieu, keep well, and remember with pity and friendship your faithful
MISS TALBOT TO THE HON. MISS CAMPBELL.
Saturday, Aug. 21, 1736. DEAR MISS CAMPBELL, If you and your good aunt have the vanity to imagine that I have not yet met with better company than I parted with on Friday night, yours has the common fate of all vanity, to be much mistaken; and this you will yourselves own, when I tell you what follows.
Know then, and envy me, that I have knelt before Cæsar, and embraced the amiable Horace, whose person is as agreeable as his writings. I have seen Cicero struck dumb by age, and reproved the dreadful Nero without fearing his frowns. I have prostrated myself before the conqueror of the world, and been with his Aristotle, in the schools of the philosophers, where, in Socrates, virtue and wisdom are hid under the most disagreeable figure that you can imagine, but shine forth in Plato with distinguished lustre. I have kept company with none but emperors and demigods. I have made your compliments to Coriolanus. The Scipios hope you will give them a place in your esteem, and would have sent a longer message, had I not been frighted away by the stern looks of the elder Brutus. If I could be sure you would not betray me to Lady Mary, I would own that I had made a visit to the younger. I am ashamed indeed to name the rest of my companions, such as Commodus, Heliogabalus, Julia, Agrippina, &c. Pompey and Anthony are well ; and Sesostris enjoys very good health for one of his age, and looks to be of a
strong constitution. In short, for the famous among mortal race that I am most intimately acquainted with, they are innumerable; only this I must tell you, that I bave embraced the knees of Euterpe, and played with the darts of Cupid. Whether I have been in the Elysian shades or no, I leave you to guess *.
I have been in the walk where Sir Philip Sydney composed his Arcadia. O that the memory of his perfection could inspire me with such heart delightsome sweetness as charms in every worde, the peerless Philoclea, the loved paragone of all earth's lovelinesse; or breathe in my soul that smilingness of fantasie, that strength of solide reasone that sweetlie adorns his everie sentence, whilest my ambitious penne has the hardinesse to attempt describing the muses' and the virtues' well beloved retreat. On the green side of an aspiring hille, whose shadie browe is overhung with woodes, where the solitarie nymphes live undisturbed by the sound of the intruding axe, spread two rowes of arching sycamores, that seeme to bend their leafie burthens, as it were, to doe obeisance to him whose virtue-gotten fame had made them famous; and after being oppress. ed by the heavie newes of his untimelie fate, hating all shewes of chearfulnesse, had joyned their low-bowed tops to exclude the gay insinuating rays of light. Shaded by them, the deerly esteemed walke commandes a prospecte as extended as his minde, that joyed in its retired beauties, and as gaye with native ornaments. The most sincerelie honoured duke, and his
* Miss Talbot had been visiting Penshurst.
ever highlie praise deserving duchesse possesse the rich treasure of esteeme, which theire golden myne of merite has justlie purchased; and the sweetlie amiable nymphe, whose spritelie mirthe adorns the palace of tranquilite in the tyme recalling mirrour of our memorie, where the everloved and honoured Lady Pamela, and the innocentlie hart-commanding Philoclea, appear in so advantageous a light, as fills the hart with esteem, and her daughter, friendship.
MISS TALBOT TO THE HON. MISS CAMPBELL.
Sept. 17, 1736. O MIRTH! where is thy joy ? 0 Pleasure ! how far art thou removed from real happiness ! 'Tis after three hours experience that I make this reflection. So long have I been laughing inmoderately in the midst of a gay crowd ; and the moment I quitted it these sober thoughts came rushing upon my mind with so much violence, that I could not help sitting down to give you an account of them ; especially as I knew it would suit your present philosophical state of mind, and might, perhaps, help to make my peace for all I said yesterday in the gaiety of my heart, and much against my conscience. Yes, indeed, my dear Miss Campbell, 'tis now my turn to lever le masque ; when I have done so, I must assure you that I do really believe there is more true and unmixed satisfaction in the company of a few
friends, a few well chosen books. These are what I must place next to friends, those silent and faithful friends, who brighten our most gloomy moments, and to whom we cannot even then be disagreeable. Then walks and woods, and quiet and early hours, quiet sleep, healthy looks, high spirits, cheerful mirth (and that is a very uncommon thing, I assure you), then a great deal of leisure for improvement, and a great deal of good inclination to make use of it. “ O care salve beate !” There is no real happiness in any other way of life. This is truly living; every thing else is only giggling and sighing away a short disagreeable time.—Here is a wonderful inundation of wisdom ; and yet I do not quite renounce all happiness any where else. For instance, last night I enjoyed a great deal, that was very sincere, in seeing our long wished for traveller safely arrived. Here is my lady duchess come to sup here, and the bishop of Bristol telling her that she is very perverse. Apropos, she is very much obliged to Lady Mary for a very pretty letter ; but as she writes to tonight, will at present thank her no otherwise than by bidding me say this ; 'tis from her I send the enclosed. She met two young gentle. men in Sandy Lane, and overheard the speech. I am in haste, and your obliged