[81] Cozens is here very happy, very solitary and almost as full of Systems as the Universe – Since I left London I have heard no more of a certain beauteous personage whose incursion filled us mutually with alarms. – Continue to be firm and resolute but above all things take a resolution of being at Fonthill the 28th of September and celebrating with us the Vigil of the Goose day. –
Fonthill Augt 15 1781.

Mrs B.d

Your Letter of the 6th March, my dear Louisa, found me absorbed in Musick – bent over my instrument and dissolved in Tears. I had just received a few Lines from my dearest Friend, and was recalling to my mind the tranquil hours we had passed together – Shall I ever be again so fortunate, must I bid an eternal farewell to those enchanting moments! – Will he lose that amiable childishness? we doat upon? – No – I flatter myself he will not; his Letters breathe its genuine spirit and are tinted with our own beloved melancholy – Adieu remember next Summer – we shall be whafted to Hesperia and enjoy its fables and Sunshine. – Write me an answer immediately however short. –
[82] In a month we shall probably meet – what consolation there is in that idea – Good night – I will dwell upon it. –
Paris Wednesday March 14th 1781 – 10 o’ Clock Eve. –

Mr Cozens Fonthill 9 at Night De 24th 1779

Since the receipt of your last Letter I have not looked upon the Egyptian Hall with the same pleasure as before or enjoyed the glow of the Central Fire. What are the Indian Apartments to me now I am assured you cannot view them. – You would pity me could some Spirit transport you to this solitary Chamber where I lie stretched on the Carpets – pining after my absent Wm. –
The animated trivets & footstools that amble around me put me out of all patience. Last Night, tired with their impertinencies I stole from the Saloon & led by a glimpse of moonshine between the Arches of the Egyptian Hall, went out at the Southern Portal. The [83] dissolution of the Snows next the pavement had left round it a cricle of verdure, beyond which all was whiteness & grey mist that rising from the waters & spreading over the Lawn, seemed to inclose the peaceful Palace on every side. Thro’ the medium of these vapours the Moon cast a dim blueish light just sufficient to discover the surrounding Woods changed into Groves of Coral. I was so charmed with the novelty of the prospect that setting the cold at deffiance I walked to & fro on the plat form for several minutes, fancying the fictions of Romance realized & almost imagining myself surrounded by some wondrous misty barrier no Frengui could penetrate. How I wished for my dear W.m to share with me this imaginary; but delightful confinement! –

Mrs B.d Naples July 9th 1782

I wait for your Letters with trembling expectation The last from ..... thrilled every nerve in my frame. My state is if possible more abject than ever. The Sea breezes blow in vain, [84] in vain the beautiful prospects of the Bay present themselves, the transparent sky is spread over my head to no purpose. I should droop in the Garden of Eden were you & my lovely Angel banished from my sight.
Your Pictures are continually before me no words can describe the fond delight with which I hang over them. You, if any Mortal is able, may explain to ——— the sensations which make my heart ready to swell out of my bosom. I shall believe you another time Louisa. You told me I should relabse again into all my weakness. Forgive my presumption. I will never pretend to lift up my head. O that I could feel my neck pressed by the little ivory feet of ...... Tell her all my follies upon her account & let me know if she is glad I am her Slave. Have you seen her since the 9th June? Has she talked to you any more of her W.m I must cease writing, for the present. My head swims. – The Room whirls round, the Sea I am looking upon, seems in my fascinated Eyes to assume a thousand fantastic colours. Strange Islands [85] appear rising from the Waves. – Pity me Louisa. – Sustain me for God’s sake. – Send to ...... write to her, remind her of him who to lay one more night on her soft bosom would cast himself on thorns of Iron.

Evian Aug.st 26th 1783

My friend what can have prevented your writing to me. Do you imagine that I am grown insensible to your regard & that I am dead to our world of Ideas. You are quite mistaken. I am what I have ever been. The woods, the mountains, the wild flowery hills have not ceased to appear delightful in my eyes. – I am not lost; but restored to myself. – The consciousness of a secure tranquil happiness has recalled those sportive fancies which were wont to form our dearest amusements. I can give myself up to dreams of India and antient times without fearing to wake with a dreadful start to misery and agitation. I shall return happy & contented with a Companion I love & who loves every thing that amuses me. You, of all others, may [86] reckon upon her affection, for she knows how long & how sincerely you have been my Friend. Farewell – convince me, by writing immediately that you likewise are what you have been. –

Mr Henley Padua Thursday June 13th 1782

It is from the Land of Senegal I believe that I send my Letter. The Sun is fiercer than you can conceive and the Sky without a Cloud. All Padua are celebrating the festival of their blessed S.t Anthony, whose vast Church indeed is the only place that can cool a parched up Traveller. I have been sitting in a solemn Aile the whole morning, listening to the Choir & viewing the distant Crowd prostrate before the high Altar round which a multitude of tapers kept continually moving. Not seeing the Priests who bore them, they seemed like floating exhalations. Affected by the plaintif tones of the Voices & Instruments I grew very devout and melancholy, sometimes lifting up my Eyes to the Shrine; but oftener fixing [87] them on the pavement. St Anthony reposes under a beautiful Arcade of the richest marble crowded with sculptures that would not have disgraced an Athenian temple & gleaming with polished friezes & bas reliefs of gold.
From the Arches of this holy place depend several hundred silver lamps whose flames are never suffered to decay. The confusion of Lights, of votive tablets, of Steps, of Candelabrum and pillars form altogether an appearance not unlike those wildly magnificent fabrics I sometimes visit in my dreams. –

June 18th

I have just received a pacquet from England but no Letters from you. Has the Hill fallen upon your head, or has Hamilton scratched your eyes out? I long to be told how we go on ........ I am far advanced in a strange Letter for the conclusion, nay it would have been finished had not the remainder of my Arabian M.S. arrived from old Lamir
Tomorrow I proceed to Rome, in deffiance of the Sun & the Sirrocco in a fortnight I hope to expatiate on the cool shores of Parthenope and be sirenized every evening. Let me hear from you very often & don’t forget yr siny aff

[88] Mr Lettice at Highwood Hill Fonthill Augst 31st 1781

I begin to despair of ever seeing you again at Fonthill & shall think soon you are as rooted to your Hill as its Lawrels. We have a nightly bustle here & a beastly confusion of workmen, from which the Lord deliver me; but I have got a trick of going to Witham & exploring its deep glades and branching oaks, with Mrs Beckford. I am extremely impatient to look over my Italian Journey and will do my best to make it worth looking at. Unless there is a good solid trunk that cuts fair and sound in the grain I would not givea farthing for Leaves and flowers, so I propose being wise and solemn in the Letter of reflections & not luxuriant and sentimental. – Yesterday arrived a fine Epistle from Count B. so full of quaint Compliments and high flown speeches that I was quite bewildered. Madame de R.s imagination is inexhaustible; but I think the Counts golden vein begins to be mixed with baser metals. –
You know I have set my heart upon the success of my book & shall not at all relish its being only praised as a lively, picturesque excursion. – A great painter who plays upon the Violin had much rather be complimented upon his Musical talent than for his excellence in his profession. &c &c ........

Mrs B. Paris Feby 10 1781

I cannot help confessing my weakness to you. – [89] – negligence distracts me. Why did the little Fool miss the opportunity of safely conveying her Letter when you offered to take care of it. – This want of sensibility on her part makes me more miserable than I can express. I wander about this gay glittering Town plunged in my melancholy reflections and lost to the splendid tumult in which I live. In the midst of a great Ball or at a pompous Supper where every face is brightened by conscious beauty or magnificence my heart fails me, my countenance changes dark clouds of thought come over me & I seem sinking to the ground. You can divine & pity the cause of this melancholy transfiguration. –

Tunbridge Wednesday
6 May 1783 –

I am in a strange room wainscotted with cedar and lumbered up with Chairs that gleam with brass. Yews and Spruce firs wave before the windows and between their dark boughs I discover the tops of heathy hills, where shiver a few miserable Sheep, for the Sky totally forgetful of May sends down snow & hail and a sort of rain which partakes of both and is worse than either. Those gloomy circumstances serve only to set off the sweet smiles of Lady M.s countenance. She looks happy and that sight gives me more joy than Sunshine ever imparted. I wish you had been walking with us yesterday evening on the [90] terrace of this solitary Mansion. The lights we saw twinkling amongst distant woods and in shady hollows would have awakened a series of romantic conjectures. Perhaps the ruddy tint which lingered in the West long after the Sun’s going down might have revived too strongly in our minds the recollections of a certain journey to Fonthill. &c.

Dover Saturday
march 18 1784 –

After dozing and dreaming strangely for four hours I landed in a black melancholy twilight at Dover. Monday we hope to reach London. I am very impatient to see you once more, my dear Friend and to assure you I am as Indian as ever. – With respect to W.m I have been for this fortnight past in total darkness. How I long for the light of his lovely countenance! –Secheron June 8 1783
My Friend, I have been fifty times on the point of writing to you & as often have I been interrupted. I lead a quiet uniform stupid sort of a Life on the banks of the Lake, but never angle like the rest of my neighbours. Not a Soul except old Huber has the least idea why I should be discontented in the midst of smirking faces and spruce habitations Every now and then the recollection of past times and happy moments for ever gone rouses me from


Pages 1-10 ::: Pages 11-20 ::: Pages 21-30 ::: Pages 31-40
Pages 41-50 ::: Pages 51-60 ::: Pages 61-70 ::: Pages 71-80
Pages 81-90 ::: Pages 91-100 ::: Pages 101-110 ::: Pages 111-132