Rev. Thomas Robinson.
1, Devonshire Terrace, York Gate, Regent’s Park,
Thursday, April 8th, 1841.
I am much obliged to you for your interesting letter. Nor am I the less pleased to receive it, by reason that I cannot find it in my conscience to agree in many important respects with the body to which you belong.
In the love of virtue and hatred of vice, in the detestation of cruelty and encouragement of gentleness and mercy, all men who endeavour to be acceptable to their Creator in any way, may freely agree. There are more roads to Heaven, I am inclined to think, than any sect believes; but there can be none which have not these flowers garnishing the way.
I feel it a great tribute, therefore, to receive your letter. It is most welcome and acceptable to me. I thank you for it heartily, and am proud of the approval of one who suffered in his youth, even more than my poor child.
While you teach in your walk of life the lessons of tenderness you have learnt in sorrow, trust me that in mine, I will pursue cruelty and oppression, the enemies of all God’s creatures of all codes and creeds, so long as I have the energy of thought and the power of giving it utterance.
The Countess of Blessington.
Devonshire Terrace, June 2nd, 1841.
Dear Lady Blessington,
The year goes round so fast, that when anything occurs to remind me of its whirling, I lose my breath, and am bewildered. So your handwriting last night had as startling an effect upon me, as though you had sealed your note with one of your own eyes.
I remember my promise, as in cheerful duty bound, and with Heaven’s grace will redeem it. At this moment, I have not the faintest idea how, but I am going into Scotland on the 19th to see Jeffrey, and while I am away (I shall return, please God, in about three weeks) will look out for some accident, incident, or subject for small description, to send you when I come home. You will take the will for the deed, I know; and, remembering that I have a “Clock” which always wants winding up, will not quarrel with me for being brief.
Have you seen Townshend’s magnetic boy? You heard of him, no doubt, from Count D’Orsay. If you get him to Gore House, don’t, I entreat you, have more than eight people—four is a better number—to see him. He fails in a crowd, and is marvellous before a few.
I am told that down in Devonshire there are young ladies innumerable, who read crabbed manuscripts with the palms of their hands, and newspapers with their ankles, and so forth; and who are, so to speak, literary all over. I begin to understand what a blue-stocking means, and have not the smallest doubt that Lady —— (for instance) could write quite as entertaining a book with the sole of her foot as ever she did with her head. I am a believer in earnest, and I am sure you would be if you saw this boy, under moderately favourable circumstances, as I hope you will, before he leaves England.
Believe me, dear Lady Blessington,
Mr. L. Gaylord Clark.
September 28th, 1841.
My dear Sir,
I condole with you from my heart on the loss you have sustained, and I feel proud of your permitting me to sympathise with your affliction. It is a great satisfaction to me to have been addressed, under similar circumstances, by many of your countrymen since the “Curiosity Shop” came to a close. Some simple and honest hearts in the remote wilds of America have written me letters on the loss of children—so numbering my little book, or rather heroine, with their household gods; and so pouring out their trials and sources of comfort in them, before me as a friend, that I have been inexpressibly moved, and am whenever I think of them, I do assure you. You have already all the comfort, that I could lay before you; all, I hope, that the affectionate spirit of your brother, now in happiness, can shed into your soul.
On the 4th of next January, if it please God, I am coming with my wife on a three or four months’ visit to America. The British and North American packet will bring me, I hope, to Boston, and enable me, in the third week of the new year, to set my foot upon the soil I have trodden in my day-dreams many times, and whose sons (and daughters) I yearn to know and to be among.
I hope you are surprised, and I hope not unpleasantly.
Devonshire Terrace, Sunday, October 24th, 1841.
My dear Mrs. Hogarth,
For God’s sake be comforted, and bear this well, for the love of your remaining children.
I had always intended to keep poor Mary’s grave for us and our dear children, and for you. But if it will be any comfort to you to have poor George buried there, I will cheerfully arrange to place the ground at your entire disposal. Do not consider me in any way. Consult only your own heart. Mine seems to tell me that as they both died so young and so suddenly, they ought both to be buried together.
Try—do try—to think that they have but preceded you to happiness, and will meet you with joy in heaven. There is consolation in the knowledge that you have treasure there, and that while you live on earth, there are creatures among the angels, who owed their being to you.
Always yours with true affection.
Mr. Washington Irving.
My dear Sir,
There is no man in the world who could have given me the heartfelt pleasure you have, by your kind note of the 13th of last month. There is no living writer, and there are very few among the dead, whose approbation I should feel so proud to earn. And with everything you have written upon my shelves, and in my thoughts, and in my heart of hearts, I may honestly and truly say so. If you could know how earnestly I write this, you would be glad to read it—as I hope you will be, faintly guessing at the warmth of the hand I autobiographically hold out to you over the broad Atlantic.
I wish I could find in your welcome letter some hint of an intention to visit England. I can’t. I have held it at arm’s length, and taken a bird’s-eye view of it, after reading it a great many times, but there is no greater encouragement in it this way than on a microscopic inspection. I should love to go with you—as I have gone, God knows how often—into Little Britain, and Eastcheap, and Green Arbour Court, and Westminster Abbey. I should like to travel with you, outside the last of the coaches down to Bracebridge Hall. It would make my heart glad to compare notes with you about that shabby gentleman in the oilcloth hat and red nose, who sat in the nine-cornered back-parlour of the Masons’ Arms; and about Robert Preston and the tallow-chandler’s widow, whose sitting-room is second nature to me; and about all those delightful places and people that I used to walk about and dream of in the daytime, when a very small and not over-particularly-taken-care-of boy. I have a good deal to say, too, about that dashing Alonzo de Ojeda, that you can’t help being fonder of than you ought to be; and much to hear concerning Moorish legend, and poor unhappy Boabdil. Diedrich Knickerbocker I have worn to death in my pocket, and yet I should show you his mutilated carcass with a joy past all expression.
I have been so accustomed to associate you with my pleasantest and happiest thoughts, and with my leisure hours, that I rush at once into full confidence with you, and fall, as it were naturally, and by the very laws of gravity, into your open arms. Questions come thronging to my pen as to the lips of people who meet after long hoping to do so. I don’t know what to say first or what to leave unsaid, and am constantly disposed to break off and tell you again how glad I am this moment has arrived.
My dear Washington Irving, I cannot thank you enough for your cordial and generous praise, or tell you what deep and lasting gratification it has given me. I hope to have many letters from you, and to exchange a frequent correspondence. I send this to say so. After the first two or three I shall settle down into a connected style, and become gradually rational.
You know what the feeling is, after having written a letter, sealed it, and sent it off. I shall picture your reading this, and answering it before it has lain one night in the post-office. Ten to one that before the fastest packet could reach New York I shall be writing again.
Do you suppose the post-office clerks care to receive letters? I have my doubts. They get into a dreadful habit of indifference. A postman, I imagine, is quite callous. Conceive his delivering one to himself, without being startled by a preliminary double knock!
Always your faithful Friend.