Laurence Sterne,-Letters from Yorick to Eliza







My dear Eliza,
OH! I grieve for your cabin, and
the fresh painting will be enough
to destroy every nerve about thee ---
nothing so pernicious as white lead ---
take care of yourself, dear girl, and
sleep not in it too soon, 'twill be
enough to give you a stroke of an
epilepsy --- I hope you will have left the ship,
and that my Letters may meet and
greet you, as you get out of your
post chaise at Deal --- when you have
got them all, put them, my dear, into



order --- the first eight or nine are number'd, but I wrote the rest with-
out that direction to thee --- but thou
wilt find them out by the day or hour, which, I hope, I have generally pre-
fix'd to them; when they are got
together, in chronological order, sew
them together under a cover ---I trust
they will be a perpetual refuge to thee
from time to time, and that thou wilt
(when weary of fools, and uninterest-
ing discourse) retire and converse an
hour with them and me ---

I have not had power or the heart,
to aim at enlivening any one of them with
a single stroke of wit or humour ; but
they contain something better; and

        D3         what


what you will feel more suited to your
situation-- a long detail of much ad-
vice, truth, and knowledge ---I hope, too, you will perceive loose touches of an honest heart in every
one of them, which speaks more than
the most studied periods, and will
give thee more ground of trust and re-
liance upon Yorick, than all that
labour'd eloquence could supply ---lean
then thy whole weight Eliza, upon
them and upon me. "May poverty, distress, anguish
and shame be my portion, if ever I
give thee reason to repent the know-
ledge of me." ----



With this asseveration, made in the
presence of a just God, I pray to him
that so it may speed with me, as I
deal candidly and honourably with
thee: I would not mislead thee, Eliza, I
would not injure thee in the opinion
of a single individual, for the rich-
est crown, the proudest monarch
wears ---

Remember, that, while I have life
and power, whatever is mine you may
style, and think, yours; tho' sorry
should I be, if ever my friendship
was put to the test thus, for your own
delicacy's sake ---

        D4         Money


Money and counters are of equal
use in my opinion, they both serve
to set up with. I hope you will an-
swer me this letter; but if thou art de-
barr'd by the elements which hurry
thee away, I will write one for thee,
and knowing it is such a one as thou
wouldst have written, I will regard it
as my Eliza's --- Honour and happiness, and health
and comforts of every kind sail along
with thee, thou most worthy of girls!
I will live for thee and my Lydia, be
rich for ye, dear children of my
heart, gain wisdom, gain fame and
happiness, to share with them with thee
and her, in my old age ---

        2         Once


Once for all, Adieu! Preserve thy
life steadily, pursue the ends we pro-
pos'd, and let nothing rob thee of
those powers heaven has given thee for
thy well-being ---

What can I add more, in the agi-
tation of mind I am in, and within
five minutes of the last postman's
bell; but recommend thee to heaven,
and recommend myself to heaven
with thee, in the same fervent eja-
culation."That we may be happy and meet
again, if not in this world, in the
next" ---



Adieu, I am thine, affectionately
Eliza, and everlastingly.

                                     YORICK. ---

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