Laurence Sterne,-Letters from Yorick to Eliza

 


CONTENT


LETTERS

 

-1-----

[5]

I GOT thy letter last night, Eliza, on
my return from Lord Bathurst's,
where I di'd, and where I was heard
(as I ta1k'd of thee an hour with-
out intermission) with so much plea-
sure and attention, that the good old
Lord toasted your health three several
times; and now tho' he is now in his
eighty-fifth year, says he hopes to live
long enough to be introduced as a
friend to my fair Indian disciple,
and to see her eclipse all other Na-
bobesses as much in wea1th, as she
does already in exterior and (what is
far better) in interior merit -- I hope
so too.

            B3              This



[6]

This nobleman is an old friend of
mine. You know he was a1ways the
protector of men of wit and genius,
and has had those of the last century,
Addison, Steele, Pope, Swift, Prior,
&c. &c., always at his table.---

The manner in which his notice
of me began of me, was as singular, as it was
polite: he came up to me one day, as
I was at the Princess of Wa1es's court
--- "I want to know you, Mr.
S--ne; but it is fit you should also
know who it is that wishes this plea-
sure You have heard, continued he,
of an old Lord Bathurst, of whom
your Pope's and Swift's have sung and
spoken so much: I have lived my life

                     with



[7]

with genius's of that cast, but have
surviv'd them; and, despairing ever to
find their equals, 'tis some years since
I have clos'd my accounts, and shut up
my books, with thoughts of never
opening them again: But you have
kindled a desire in me to open them
once more before I die, which I now
do -- so go home and dine with me."

This nobleman, I say, is a prodigy!
for at eighty five he has all the wit
and promptness of a man of thirty---
adisposition to be pleased, and a
power to please others, beyond what-
ever I knew; added to which, a man
of learning, courtesy, and feeling.---

            B4             He



[8]

He heard me talk of thee, Eliza, with
uncommon satisfaction, for there
was only a third person, and of sensi-
bility, with us -- and a most sentimen-
tal afternoon, till nine o'clock, have
we pas'd! But thou, Eliza, was the
star that conducted and enliven'd
the discourse! and when I talk'd not
of thee, still didst thou fill my mind,
and warmed ev'ry thought I utter'd!
for I am not asham'd to acknowledge,
I greatly miss thee --- best of all good
girls! the sufferings I have sustain'd
the whole night on account of thine, Eliza,
are beyond my power of words -- as-
suredly does heaven give strength pro-
portion'd to the weight he lays upon us
--- Thou hast been bow'd down, my

                     child,



[9]

child, with every burden that sorrow
of heart and pain of body cou'd inflict
upon a poor being --- and still thou tell'st
me, thou art beginning to get ease,
thy fever gone --- thy sickness, the
pain in thy side vanishing also---

May every evil so vanish that
thwarts Eliza's happiness or but a-
wakens thy fears for a moment ---Fear
nothing, my dear, hope every thing;
and the balm of this passion will shed
its influence on thy health, and make
thee enjoy a spring of youth and
cheerfulness, more than thou hast
hardly yet tasted ---

                     And



[10]

And so thou hast fix'd thy Bramin's
portrait over thy writing desk, and
will consult it in all doubts and diffi-
culties; grateful and good girl!Yorick
smiles contentedly over all thou dost,
his picture does not do justice to his
own complacency---

Thy sweet little plan and distribu-
tion of thy time, how worthy of
thee!

Indeed, Eliza, thou leavest me no-
thing to direct thee in, thou leavest
me nothing to require, nothing to ask,
but a continuance of that conduct
which won my esteem, and has made
me thy friend for ever.

                     May



[11]

May the roses come quick back to
thy cheek, and the rubies to thy lips!
but trust my declaration, Eliza, that
thy husband (if he is the good, feeling
man I wish him) will press thee to him
with more honest warmth and affec-
tion, and kiss thy pale, poor dejected
face with more transport, than he
wou'd be able to do in the best bloom
of all thy beauty --- and so he ought.
--- I pity him. --- He must have strange
feelings, if he knows not the value
of such a creature as thou art---

I am, glad Miss Light goes with
you, she may relieve you from many
anxious moments.

                     I am




[12]

I am glad your ship-mates
are friendly beings -- you cou'd least
dispense with what is contrary to thy
own nature, which is soft and gentle,
Eliza, it wou'd civilize savages; tho'
pity were it, thou should'st be tainted
with the office.--

How canst thou make apologies
for thy last letter? 'tis most delicious
to me, for the very reason you ex-
cuse it--

Write to me, my child, only such,
l et them speak the easy carelessness of
a heart that opens itself, any how, and
every how, to a man you ought to es-
teem and trust--

                     Such




[13]

Such Eliza, I write to thee, and so
I shou'd ever live with thee, most art-
lessly, most affectionately, if Provi-
dence permitted thy residence in the
same section of the globe. For I am,
all that honour and aflection can
make me.

            Thy
                         BRAMIN


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