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venture, and rather chose (a symptom of age and dulness, you will say) to take my flight in the sunshine of an October morning to Plymouth, where I expected to see some fine scenery, and, indeed, I now pronounce it the finest thing I have seen in Devonshire. There is a walk under a stone quarry over against Mount Edgecumbe and winding along the sea-shore towards Lord Boringdon's which is divine.'
The next letter relates to another crisis in the history of his closest friend.
S. Rogers to Richard Sharp.
Exmouth Jan. 26th, 1800.
What you sent me, my dear friend, I cannot tell; but it has done more than all your prescriptions. A few repetitions will compleat the cure, and Darwin shall make a case of it.
"Your news had been, in some degree, anticipated. I had not forgot you and I knew that the bank, by their decision, had, at all events, most effectually stepped in between you and calamity. But forgive me if I had from the first no very great faith in your predictions. I know when your courage leaves you. "Man but a rush against Othello's breast," &c. The fury of the tempest has gone over you, but it has not left you as it found you. Your consequence as a house is now more than ever established in the world; and your own individual importance is felt and acknowledged where it should be. B. admired you before he will now cling to you as the man who may be truly said to have given
him all he possesses; and your sensations, even on that account, must be very enviable.
'A thousand thanks for your kind enquiries. I think myself much better, and mean to return among you the Stentor of clubs, and the terror of all quiet people. 'Yours most affectionately, 'SAML. ROGERS.
'P.S. So the outlaw is at last dead in his den! How has he left his books?'
This reference in the postscript is to George Steevens, the editor of Shakespeare, who had died at his house at Hampstead on the 22nd of January. He had been living for some years a very eccentric life, as his biographer in the Gentleman's Magazine said—‘in unvisitable retirement, and seldom mixed with society, but in booksellers' shops, or the Shakespeare Gallery, or the morning conversazione of Sir Joseph Banks.' Rogers and Sharp, however, met him occasionally there or elsewhere, and profited by his amusing conversation. He was one of those veterans of the literary profession to whom younger aspirants for fame look up, and whose talk of the great men among whom they lived has the most lively interest to the men who are following them along the toilsome way. One of Steevens's eccentricities was to go down to his printers at one in the morning and in the chambers of Isaac Reed, which were kept open for him, to read his proofs and get all his corrections ready while the compositors were asleep. He left his books, with one or two special exceptions, to his niece, Miss Steevens.
Richard Sharp's reply to this letter is lost. The next is from Rogers.
Samuel Rogers to Richard Sharp.
Exmouth: 18 Feby. [1800.]
'My dear Friend,-Your last letter gave me great pleasure. It was not, indeed, emblazoned like Bonaparte's, nor, like Lady J.'s, scented with odour of roses, but it whispered of health and leisure and peace of mind. With a permit from his Majy's CommTMs I would send you a few bottles of our Exmouth Elixir—for an idea of its effects consult St. Leon, an authentic narrative far better conceived than executed. Moore's novel has not yet arrived here, though hourly expected. It travels, I fear, with the rapidity of a flying waggon.
'Our sun is not much obliged to you for your suspicions. He descends, I can assure you, every evening into the groves of Mamhead.
'Exmouth, I fancy, is no longer the Exmouth you The walk on Chapel Hill is still the same. The other to the bench round a tree has walked itself off. I am sorry to hear you have had no vigour to write. Have you imbibed Gray's notion of that faculty? I fear he was right. A sight of your old papers, however, will surely awake it. As to myself, I expect soon to be
1 Rogers probably refers to what Gray says in a letter to Dr. Wharton : 'I by no means pretend to inspiration, but yet I affirm that the faculty in question is by no means voluntary. It is the result (I suppose) of a certain disposition of mind, which does not depend on one's self, and which I have not felt this long time. You that are a witness how seldom this spirit has moved me in my life may easily give credit to what I say.'
CLASSICS AND POETRY
exhibited as a most extraordinary vegetable. I have once or twice attempted to flower. You never have. For an account of my last effort and of yours, see the AntiJacobin Review for January, under the article of "Reviewers Reviewed." Mr. Polwhele is the writer. I have also much to say of Larcher-Homer I defer till I can procure a French translation of which I have a high idea. The three tragedians I have just done-and done well; as for Euripides, he has turned my head. I wonder whether anybody ever read him before. I fancy not.
'Mr. Jackson is gone to Bath. He desired to be mentioned particularly to you before he went. He is so altered that my servant was shocked when he saw him last week. The last lines he wrote me are very characteristic. Will they be the last? He says so, but I will not look that way.
'My verse is neither idle nor active. Jackson threw a slur upon it some weeks ago, and it roused me to incredible exertions for four-and-twenty hours; but the fit went off and left me languid and listless. In solitude I can conceive, but I cannot execute, I cannot finish.
The life I have led among those old Fograms-the Grecians has thrown me into a singular state of mind, not altogether unpleasing but very ill-suited to that gallipot style of painting which I have been accustomed to, and which I fear the public require.
'When you see G. P.—you are now I suppose, properly purified and are not to be burnt by Act of Parliament like the ships from Mogador -pray thank him in my name
The ships-the Aurora, the Mentor and the Lark-were not burnt by Act of Parliament, but by an Order in Council. The goods on board
for an act of friendship he has lately done me. I think myself particularly obliged to him, not so much for the thing itself, though that was something, as for the manner in which he did it-a circumstance which I am persuaded is always the case with him.
By the way, of Manchester, Mr. Baring, who called upon me yesterday, says Jackson talks of going on to Manchester to consult Ferriar,' if the Bath waters should not relieve him.
'I have not seen one of the Exeter wits, though I have received an indirect application to become an honorary member of their club-a thing which I rather like, and have consented to. Polwhele has been expelled from it. Adieu! my dear friend.
In return for these salt-water effusions I shall expect a long and succinct narrative of all your whereabouts from his Majesty the King of Clubs, to the dirty drap in Covent Garden. I am inclined to think very favourably of myself just now, though I dare not yet think of returning to you.
were regarded as likely to communicate infection, and the vessels and cargoes were destroyed. This proceeding was the subject of a royal message to the House of Commons in February, 1800, which was referred to a Select Committee, and 41,400l. was voted, on the Report of that committee, as compensation.
John Ferriar, M.D., was an eminent physician in Manchester, who wrote several medical books-besides Illustrations of Sterne, and An Essay towards a Theory of Apparitions. He died in 1815, at the age of fifty-one.
2 The celebrated club bearing this name was founded at the house of Mackintosh in 1801. See next Chapter.