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Lichfield, April 13, 1788. ALAS! dear Miss Scott, (for I must write to you once more ere you resign that name which I have long valued) my heart sympathizes with you in the mournful sense of privation resulting from the total dissolution of the filial ties. Mine yet subsist; but it is by so attenuated a thread, that I live in hourly apprehension of shedding hopeless tears for the loss of one of the sweetest and most interesting satisfactions the human bosom can feel.
I shall be glad to learn that a new situation, new cares, new duties, have combined to occupy your mind, and to leave it less leisure for unavailing regrets. I dare assure myself Mr Taylor will make you a kind husband. His fine understanding and strict piety are guarantees for your future peace; his temper had severe trials in the sacrifices you made of his happiness to the surely unreasonable opposition of a parent. Your health has doubtless suffered much from the conflicts you endured—and we may hope much amendment in that important source of comfort from their cessation; while the doubts you have felt and expressed for your happiness as a wife, increase my trust on that head. Disappointment is a prime source of the woes of wedlock. Dangerous are those partial hopes and dependencies which frail mortality can so seldom fulfil.
I begin to be impatient for your poem on the sacred character of the Messiah. Need I say with what presentiments iu its favour I shall open the leaves ?
No, dear Miss Scott, I shall not be in London this long time. There is no leaving my dearest father ;
and should he soon bid me an eternal farewell, I could not quit Lichfield till I had settled my little household in an habitation better suited to my fortune and my singleness, which would be much out of their place in a palace. But never can any other home be dear to me as this. No local attachment can be more passionate than mine to these walls and bowers that seem to wear the resemblance, and breathe the spirit of all that I have loved. Adieu.
Lichfield, April. 15, 1788. Your letter, dear Sophia, is full of entertaining matter, adorned with the wonted grace and vivacity of your style. For the payment of such debts our little city is not responsible.
I ought, however, to speak to you of an extraordinary Being who ranged amongst us during the winter, since he bears your name amongst us little folk, I mean, for he was by no means calculated to the meridian of our pompous gentry; though, could he once have been received into their circle, they would perhaps have endured his figure and his profession, and half forgive the superiority of his talents, in consideration of his extreme fondness for every game at cards, and of his being an admirable whist-player.
The profession of this personage is music, Organist of Solihull in Warwickshire; in middle life; his height and proportion mighty slender, and well enough by nature, but fidgeted and noddled into an appearance not over prepossessing ; nor are his sharp features and very sharp little eyes a whit behind them in quizzity. Then he is drest---ye gods, how he is drest in a salmon-coloured coat, sattin waistcoat, and smallclothes of the same warm aurora-tint ; his violently protruded chitterlin, more luxuriant in its quantity, and more accurately plaited than B. B.'s itself, is twice open hemmed. .
That his capital is not worth a single hair he laments with a serio-comic countenance, that would make a cat laugh-and, in that ingenuousness with which he confesses all his miserable vanities, as he emphatically calls them, he tells us that he had frizzed off the scanty crop three thousand years ago.
This loss is however supplied by a wig, for the perfection of which he sits an hour and half every day, under the hands of the frizzeur, that it may be plumed out like a pigeon upon steady and sailing flight—and it is always powdered with marechall,
“ Sweet to the sense, and yellow to the sight.”
A hat furiously cocked and pinched, too small in the crown to admit his head, sticks upon tremest summit of the full-winged caxon.
His voice has a scrannel-tone-his articulation is hurried, his accent distinguished by Staffordshire provinciality; and it is difficult to stand his bow with any discipline of feature. He talks down the hours, but knows nothing of their flight; eccentric in that respect, and Parnassian in his contempt of the precision of eating-times as Johnson himself.
Now look on the other side the medal. His wit, intelligence, and poetic genius are a mine; and his taste and real accuracy in criticism enable him to cut the rich ore they produce brilliant.
He knows of every body, and has read every thing. With a wonderfully retentive memory, and familiar with the principles of all the sciences, his conversation is as instructive as it is amusing; for his ideas are always uncommon and striking, either from absolute originality, or from new. and happy combination.
His powers of mimickry, both in singing and speaking, are admirable. Nobody tells a humorous story better; but, in narrating interesting facts, his comments, though always in themselves worth attention, often fatigue by their plenitude, and by the suspense in which we are held concerning the principal events.
The heart of this ingenious and oddly com