Laurence Sterne,-Letters from Yorick to Eliza

 


CONTENT


LETTERS

 

-1-----

[14]

I WRITE this, Eliza, at Mr. James's,
whilst he is dressing, and the dear
girl, his wife, is writing, beside me, to
thee---

I got your melancholy billet before
we sat down to dinner; 'tis melan-
choly indeed, my dear, to hear so pi-
teous an account of thy sickness, thou
art encompass'd with evils enow, with-
out that additional weight ---I fear it
will sink thy poor soul, and body with
it, past. recovery --- Heaven supply
thee with fortitude! We have talk'd
of nothing but thee, Eliza, and of thy

                    sweet



[15]

sweet virtues, and endearing conduct,
all the afternoon. ---

Mrs. James, and thy Bramin have
mix'd their tears a hundred times, in
speaking of thy hardships, thy good-
ness, thy graces, 'tis a subject that
will never end betwixt us --- Oh! she
is good and friendly!

The *** by heavens are worthless;
I have heard enough to tremble at the
articulation of the name --- How cou'd
you Eliza, leave them (or suffer them
to leave you rather) with impressions
the least favourable? I have told thee
enough to plant disgust against their
treachery to thee, to the last hour of

                    thy



[16]

thy life --- yet still thou told'st Mrs.
James at last, that thou believest they
affectionately love thee --- Her delicacy
to my Eliza, and true regard to her
ease of mind, have saved thee from
hearing more glaring proofs of their
baseness --- For God's sake, write not to
them; nor foul thy fair characters
with such polluted hearts --- They love
thee! --- What proof? --- Is it their ac-
tions that say so? or their zeal for
those attachments, which do thee ho-
nour, and make thee happy? Or their
tenderness for thy fame? No, but
they weep and say tender things ---
Adieu to all such for ever ---

                    Mrs.



[17]

Mrs. James's honest heart revolts
against the idea of ever returning them
one visit. I honour her, and I honour
thee, for almost every act of thy life,
but this blind partiality for an unwor-
thy being.

Forgive my zeal, dear girl, and
allow me a right, which arises only
out of that fund of affection I have
and shall preserve for thee, to the
hour of my death ---

Reflect Eliza, what are my mo-
tives for perpetually advising thee,
think whether I can have any which
proceed not form the cause I have
mentioned?

           C I            think



[18]

I think you a very deserving wo-
man, and that you want nothing but
finnness, and a better opinion of
yourself, to be the best female charac-
ter I know. ---

I wish I cou'd , inspire you with a
share of that vanity your enemies lay
to your charge (tho' to me it has
never been visible) because I think,
in a well turn'd mind, it will produce
good effects ---

I probably shall never see you more;
yet I flatter myself you'll sometimes
think of me with pleasure; because
you must be convinced I love you,
and so interest myself in your recti-

                    tude,



[19]

tude, that I had rather hear of any
evil befalling you, than your want of
reverence for yourself ---

I had not power to keep this remon-
strance in my breast --- tis now out ---
so adieu! Heaven watch over my
Eliza.


           Thine,
                      YORICK


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