PARODIES
 
LETTERS
I
II
III
IV
V VI
VII VIII
IX
X

 

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

[25]

My Dearest ELIZA!

I began a new joumal this moming:
you shall see it, for if I live not
till your retum to England, I will
leave it you as a legacy: tis a sorrow-
ful page, but I will write cheerful
ones, and cou1d I write letters to thee,
they should.be cheerful ones too, but
few (I fear) will reach thee --- however,
depend upon receiving something of
the kind by every post, till thou wavest
thy hand, and bidst me write no more.
--- Tell me how you are; and what sort
of fortitude heaven inspires you with.
How are your accommodations my dear?

                     ---is


[26]

--- is all right? --- scribble away, any
thing, and every thing, to me. Depend
upon seeing me at Deal with the
James's, should you be detain'd there
by contrary winds. Indeed, Eliza, I
should with pleasure fly to you, could
I be the means of rendering you any
service, or doing you kindness ----

"Gracious and merciful GOD, con-
sider the anguish of a poor girl,
strengthen and preserve her, in all
the shocks her frame must be expos'd
to, she is now without a protector but
thee; save her from all accidents
of a dangerous element, and give her
comfort at the last" ---

 

 

 

 

[30]

Dear BRAMIN,

THIS is my birth day -- I am twenty-
five years of age -- yet years, when
past, seem but so many hours -- the
moments of anguish are the only porti-
ons of time, which we can count -- we
feel their weight -- they pass tediously
by -- we blame them for being tardy,
tho'their speed continually takes from the
space of our existence -- But how fleeting
are the moments in which we enjoy our-
selves -- they steal unperceived away,
and all our pleasures are but short-lived
dreams.

     To the mind debased by vice, or
clouded by doubts, how dreadful must

                     the


[31]

the rapidity of time appear -- when every
minute takes from their much-loved ex-
istence, and leads them to be

" They know what, they know not
" where -- or what is worse, sinks them
" into nothing! Yet even that nothing
" appears terrible". Such is the Sceptic's
situation.

     But to a foul fond of virtue, and se-
cured in faith, time's swift wings give
not a moment's anguish - The good wish
to get rid of the incumbrance of clay,
and the pains of mortality, they pant
for a dissolution -- time seems an enemy,
who bars their speed passage to that
desirable felicity, which is only to be
found in the regions of bliss.

                     The


[32]

     The time I have past is nothing -- it is
now not mine -- it is but a blank just
stamped upon memory.

     Then left me prize what yet remains
behind -- let me learn foresight from past
miscarriages, and rise to future virtues
from former follies -- may each revolving
sun see me encrease in wisdom, and shine
on ripening virtues, till I am fitted for
that state which is all purity.

     I bow before my afflictions with resig-
nation, and thank the bountiful Author
of nature, for sending me such useful
monitors.

" Virtue rejoice, tho'heaven may frown
                                          (awhile,
That frown is but an earnest of a smile.

                     One


[33]

One day of tears presages years of joy,
Misfortunes only mend us, not destroy;
Who feel the lashes of an adverse hour,
Find them but means them into
                 
                          pow'r.)"

     May heaven bless my friend and ene-
mies, and give them peace of mind.

 


                ELIZA.

The above letter was either ever an-
        
swered, or the answer is lost.


             E            Let



[34]

LET me see your journal, at least send
me a copy of it, before I leave Eng-
land -- so far, far off be the time def-
ined for its descending to me as a legacy
-- I shall be happy to persue the sorrow-
ful pages, they humanize the heart --
I feel as you felt, when I read what
you pen -- and that is to feel with the
most refined sensibility.

     The sympathy of Sentiments bestows
the most inexpressible pleasures -- such
sorrows are sorrows to be coveted -- when
your page compels the tears form my
eyes, and makes my heart throb -- I will
say, Here my Bramin wept -- when he
penn'd this passage, he wept -- let me
catch the pleasing contagion from each

                    heart-


[35]

heart-felt sentence, and bedew the leaf
with mutual streaming sorrows. --

     -- Then will I turn to the chearful ef-
fusions of thy imagination -- then will I
revel in the bright fallies thy wit, and
calm the patheticperturbations of my
soul with thy inimitable humour -- the
big tears shall no longer tremble in my
eye -- the tender anguish shall no longer
heave my heart, but Yorick shall heal
the sorrows the Bramin gave.

     Such detestable amusements shall glid
the tedious hours of my passage-- and by
Yoorick's assistance, I shall fancy India
but half the distance from India that
it really is.

      A kindly something you promise, by
every post—then be assured I shall never

             E2            wave


[36]

wave my hand to stop the silent mes-
senger, but with open arms receive it.

     I am considerably better; and, thank
heaven, am inspired with fortitude,
which I hope renders me worthy of the
name of your discipline, of your friend.

     My accomodations are tolerable -- I
cannot complain.

     You say you shall see me at Deal
with Jamess, should I be detained
there by contrary winds.

     It has been my Petition, ever since
to the supreme Being, to interest the ele-
ments in my behlaf, that I may once
more be indulged with the sight of my
friends.

                         Thus

[37]

     Thus while the captain, the crew, and
the other passengers, are wishing for a
favourable gale, I am importuning the
heavens to deny their prayer, and still
to detain the vessel from proceeding
on her destined voyage.

     I will not give my opinion concerning
my resemblance on canvas, in the various
styles, desired by my friends -- I sat to
oblige them -- and would not on any account obtrude a differing stristrure on
their judgement.

     But of this they may rest assured, that
however the pictures may appear, the
original is their's.

     You say, when you first saw me, the
mode of my dress (the fashionable) dis-
figured me.

                         I

[38]

     I thought of myself -- but wore it in
compliance with the reigning taste ---
there is no pride so strong as that which
is couched under an affected singularity.

     Above all things, I would not wish to
appear singular; that is, to be essentially
absurd.

     When I consider the distinguished
friendship, with which you honour me,
and reflect on that purity of affection
which hath interested you in my most
trivial concerns, and engaged you to de-
vote your precious moments to my ser-
vice -- I cannot but glory in the compli-
ment you pay me -- in saying, "You
" are not handsome Eliza -- nor is yours
" a face that will please a tenth part of
" your beholders,"

                          How


[39]

     How happy am I not to owe your at-
tachment to frail and fading beauty --
but to sentiment alone.

     The compliment is the strongest I ever
in my life received, or wish to receive --
it is not composed of common place
flattery, nor paid to the simple features
of a face -- it is genuine applause -- it is
paid to the head -- to the heart.

     Yet I must not indulge any vanity, so
far as to take it in its full force to my-
self -- you rather draw me as you are pre-
judiced in my favour, and partial to my
defects.

     Yet will I often look on my pictures as
finished by your hand -- I am persuaded
it is what I ought to be -- I will strive to
come up to the colouring, in order to be

                        as

[40]


as perfect as my nature will admit, or
perhaps as Providence designed I should
be, during this sublunary probation.

     You mention my husband, that dear
name has made the tide of my blood
ebb tumultuously towards my heart -- I
turn my imagination towards India --
sigh at the distance, and could almost
unsay all that I have said in the former
part of my letter.

     But why should I revoke a single sen-
tence, or wish to recall one sentiment --
are not love and friendship equally sa-
cred -- then learn, Eliza, to keep them
both inviolate -- to be worthy of such a
husband -- such a friend!

      Yes, my Yorick, my husband could
grant thee my company -- it could be

                      of

[41]


of service to thee, whilst thou wast con-
tinuing thy sentimental journey -- he
would not deprive mankind of the im-
provement and pleasure thou art capa-
ble of giving them, by denying thee
anything.

     Say no more of the ***s-- I yield to
your agency -- I give up every thing to
your friendship -- but quit the ingrateful
subject -- I will write to them any
more.

     I shall impatiently expect your pro-
mised letter to-morrow.

     Farewell, thou best of men, and sin-
cerest friend -- may heaven protect thy busy hours, and guard thy more seclud-
ed moments,

                                                           Adieu.

     Eight o'clock,
          Morn.

            F





 

 
Top