PARODIES
 
LETTERS
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IV
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VII VIII
IX
X

 

 
L. STERNE,
LETTERS TO ELIZA (1767),
LETTER X
ANONYMOUS,
LETTERS FROM ELIZA TO YORICK (1775),
LETTER X
 

[56]

My DEAR ELIZA!

I HAVE been within the verge of the
gates of death: I was ill the last
time I wrote to you, and apprehen-
sive of what would be the consequence.
--- My fears were but too well founded,
for in ten minutes after I dispatch'd
my letter, this poor fine-spun frame
of Yorick's gave way, and I broke a
vessel in my breast, and could not stop
the loss of blood till four this morn-
ing --- I have fill'd all thy India han-
dkerchiefs with it, it came, I think,
from my heart --- I fell asleep thro'

                     weakness.



[57]

weakness at t six, I awoke with the
bosom of my shirt steep'd in tears ---

I dream'd I was sitting under the
canopy of Indolence, and that thou
cam'st into the room with a shaul in
thy hand, and told me, "my spirit
had flown to thee in the Downs with
tidings of my fate, and that you was
come to administer what consolation
filial affection could bestow, and to
receive my parting breath: and bles-
sings," with that you folded the shaul
about my waist, and, kneeling, suppli-
cated my attention.

I awoke, but in what a frame!
Oh! my God! but "Thou wilt re-

                     member


[58]

memeber number my tears, and put them all
into thy bottle" --- Dear girl, I see thee,
thou art for ever present to my fancy,
embracing my feeble knees, and rais-
ing thy fine eyes to bid me be of
comfort ---

And when I talk to Lydia, the words
of Esau, as utter'd by thee, perpetu-
a1ly ring in my ears.

"Bless me even also, my fa-
ther." ---

Blessing attend thee, thou child of
my heart --- My bleeding is quite
stopp'd, and I feel the principle of life

                     strong

[59]

strong within me --- so be not alarm'd,
Eliza, I know I shall do well ---

I have eat my breakfast with hun-
ger, and I write to thee with a plea-
sure arising from that prophetic im-
pression in my imagination.

"That all will terminate to our
hearts content" --- Comfort thyself , eter-
nally with this persuasion, "That
the best of beings (as thou hast sweetly
express'd it) could not by a com-
bination of accidents, produce such a
chain of events, merely to be the
source of misery to the leading person
engaged in them" ---

                     The



[60]

The observation was very applica-
ble, very good, and very elegantly
expres'd --- I wish my memory did
justice to the wording of it ---

Who taught you the art of writing
so sweetly, Eliza? You absolutely have
exalted it to a science -- When I am in
want of ready cash, and ill health will
not permit my genius to exert itself, I
shall print your letters, as Finish'd
Essays by an unfortunate Indian Lady!
The style is new, and would almost be
a sufficient recommendation for their
selling well, without merit; but their
sense, natural ease, and spirit, is not
to be equall'd, I believe, in this sec-
tion of the globe; nor, I will answer

                     for

[61]

for it, by any of your country women
in yours ---

I have shew'd your letter to Mrs.
B. and to half the literati in town; you
shall not be angry with me for it, be-
cause I meant to do you honour by
it ----

You cannot imagine how many ad-
mirers your epistolary productions
have gain'd you, that never view'd
your external merits ---

I only wonder where thou couldst
acquire thy graces, thy goodness, thy
accomplishments! so connected! so
educated! Nature has surely study'd

                     to


[62]

to make thee her peculiar care, for thou
art (and not in my eyes alone) the best
and fairest of all her works --- and so
this is the last letter thou art to receive
from me, because the Earl of Chatham
(I read in the papers) is got to the
Downs, and the wind (I find) is fair
--- if so, blessed woman, take my last,
last farewell! cherish the remembrance
of me, think how I esteem, nay, how
affectionately I love thee, and what a
price I set upon thee. Adieu, adieu;
and with my adieu, let me give thee
one straight rule of conduct, that thou
hast heard from my lips in a thousand
forms, but I concenter it in one word,

--- Reverevce Thyself ---

                     Adieu



[63]

Adieu once more, Eliza, may no an-
guish of heart plant a wrinkle upon
thy face, till I behold it again; may
no doubt or misgivings disturb the
serenity of thy mind, or awaken a
painful thought about thy children,
for they are Yorick's-and Yorick is thy friend for ever! Adieu, adieu, adieu!

P.S. Remember that "Hope
shortens journies, by sweetening
them;" so sing my little stanza on
the subject, with the devotion of an
hymn, every morning when thou arisest,
and thou wilt eat thy breakfast with
more comfort for it --- Blessings, rest

                     and

[64]

and Hygeia go with thee; may'st thou
soon return in peace and affluence to
illume my night. I am, and shall
be the last to deplore thy loss, and
will be the first to congratulate, and
hail thy return ---

Fare thee well ---

FINIS

[59]

MY BRAMIN,
THIS is the last letter thou wilt
receive form me, while I am with-
in sight of the British shore -- the land of
freedom, and benevolence ---- the land
which is to its own glory be it spoken, gave
my Yorick being.

     I was terrified when I opened your
last letter -- your illness gave me the most
genuine concern.

     To break a blood vessel in thy breast
-- dreadful! -- I was alarmed at the
intelligence, and my blood thrilled in my
veins, and curdled near my heart, when
I read it.

     H2                O


[60]


      O that my India handkerchiefs had
been styptic, to give thee ease. ---- I was
happy to read you had slept --- but your
dream -- heaven render it improphetic --
heaven keep me form painful office
of administering to your dissolution.

     Thy tears I will treasure in my bottle,
or at least, I will weep for thee -- fill it
with my tears, and call them thine, as
they are unseignedly shed upon thy ac-
count.

     Your imagination images to my feel-
ings -- you behold me in fancy in the
very supplicating posture I should as-
sume, were I near you -- I should em-
brace! Embrace! Your knees, and look
as if I bade you be of comfort -- for I
should only look -- I should be unable to
speak.

                     I


[61]


     I join with thee in blessing the child of
thy heart --- thy Lydia.

     And all praise be given to that bounti-
ful Being, who has healed thy disorder,
and stopped thy bleeding --- who bade
thee again "feel the principle of life
" strong with thee."

     All will certainly terminate to our
hearts content --- to think otherwise, is to
entertain an ill opinion of an omnipotent
Being -- who is all wife - all merciful,
and all good, whose benignity is equal to
his power, and both are unbounded.

     You may inquire, who taught me the
art of writing --- it was even my Yorick!
--- if I have any claim to merit -- if my
style is, as you are pleased to say, new ---
if the ease and spirit of my companions

                     are

[62]


are not to be equalled - the praise is en-
tirely to yourself.

     I have taken the outmost pains to steal
your sentiments - your manner -- the de-
licacy of your expressions --- the easy flow
of your thoughts --- the purity of your
diction --- in fine, I have in my writings
aimed as much as possible to be Yorick.

     But I cannot think my style equal to
what your prejudice in my favour per-
suades you it is --- I can perceive, ma-
nifests faults in my compositions myself
--- I am not laying a trap for future plau-
dits, indeed I am not. --- I beg that our
correspondence may be form the heart,
not of the heart --- therefore no compli-
ments.

[63]


      I must, however, chide -- I must, my
Yorick - for shewing my letters - you
tell me, You have shewn them to Mrs.
B----, and to half the literati in town
-- indeed you have beenn to blame --- so
to expose your Eliza's weakness.

     She bears her heart to thee --- she lays it
entirely opne --- but she would not have
it shewn so naked to every one in the
fullness of her sincerity --- many things
may slip form my unspecting pen, which
she would not have known to any one,
who could not, like thee, make great
allowances in her favor --- and pardon the
weakness of her nature.

     You say, "You cannot imagine how
" many admirers your epistolary pro-
" ductions have gained you."

                     False


[64]


      False flattery --- their encomiums are
illusive --- it is you their compliments
are paid --- they find you are blind to my
errors --- they perceive you implicitly ad-
mire all that come form me --- they pre-
tend to coincide with your opinion, not
to give you any uneasiness --- they admire
--- they reverence you --- they will not
mortify you by declaring that any be-
ing you are pleased t think perfect, is
not so.

     It is respect due to the merits of
my Yorick, that occasions the many
compliments paid to trifling deserts
of his Eliza.

     We are in the Down --- the wind is
fair --- we shall sail this evening --- the
captain has just informed me so --- I there-

                     for

[65]


fore took this opportunity to pour the
effusions of my heart to thee in haste.

     Farewell, worthiest of men --- feeling
being, thou art all sentiment --- farewell
--- I will --- I will cherish the remembrance
of thee --- you tell me how you esteem me
--- how affectionately you love me --- what
a price you set upon me.

     I esteem theee with equal ardor --- I love
thee with equal affection --- I proze thee
as ardently --- let me be ever dear to thy
heart --- and an inhabitant of thy me-
mory.

     I will revenge myself for my Yorick's
sake --- I will, my Yorick, who is my
friend for ever.

  I                   I will

[66]

     I will sing thy little stenza to Hope
in my matin, and evening Orison --- yet
I cannot help deploring our separa-
tion.

     Farewell, my Bramin --- my faithful
monitor, Farewell.

     May prosperity attend thee, and peace
crown thy days with felicity.


                  Thine affectionately,

                      Thine everlastingly,

                          Adieu, Adieu, Adieu,


ELIZA.





 

 
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