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at my resuscitation, I think. I began to stir and rub my eyes, as I remember, ere you left these parts; and I no sooner got on my legs but it was
was "Mungo here and Mungo there.” Engagements,-scholars printers,-proofs,-revises, &c. &c. Within this fortnight or three weeks that I bave been quite out of my room, my hurry has been, to my present feelings and strength, greater than ever I can remember. The best part of the story is, that I have been gathering strength and spirits through all this bustle, faster than I did by nursing and inquiries after my own health. But during the late tremendous winter I find that almost all my acquaintance have fared no better than myself; so that, like Swift and his old woman, we do nothing but “con ailments together."
One of my dinners, since my going out, was at Charlotte's, with the good Hooles. After dinner Mr. Cumberland came in, and was extremely courteous, and seemingly friendly, about you and your piece. He took me aside from Mrs. Paradise, who had fastened on me and held me tight by an account of her own and Mr. Paradise's complaints, so circumstantially narrated, that not a stop so short as a comma occurred in more than an hour, while I was civilly waiting for a full period. Mr. Cumberland expressed his sorrow at what had happened at Drury-lane, and said that, if he had had the honour of knowing you sufficiently, he would have told you d'avance what would happen, by what he had heard behind the scenes. The players seem to have given the play an ill name. But, he says, if you would go to work again, by reforming this, or work with your best powers at a new plan, and would submit it to his inspection, he would, from the experience he has had, risk his life on its success
This conversation I thought too curious not to be mentioned.
Well, but how does your petit and pretty monsieur do ? 'Tis pity you and M. d'Arblay don't like him, poor thing!
And how does horticulture thrive? This is a delightful time of the year for your Floras and your Linnæi: I envy the life of a gardener in spring, particularly in fine weather.
And so dear Mr. Hastings is honourably acquitted! and I visited him the next morning, and we cordially shook hands. I had luckily left my name at his door as soon as I was able to go out, and before it was generally expected that he would be acquitted.
The young Lady Spencer and I are become very thick ; I have dined with her at Lady Lucan's, and met her at the blue parties there. She has invited me to her box at the opera, to her house in St. James's Place, and at the Admiralty, whither the family removed last Saturday, and she says I must come to her the 15th, 22nd, and 29th of this month, when I shall see a huge assembly. Mrs. Crewe says all London will be there. She is a pleasant, lively, and comical creature, with more talents and discernment than are expected from a character si folâtre. My lord is not only the handsomest and best intentioned man in the kingdom, but at present the most useful and truly patriotic. And then, he has written to Vienna for Metastasio's three inedited volumes, which I so much want ere I advance too far in the press for them to be of any use.
I am hallooed on prodigiously in my Metastasio mania. All the critics—Warton, Twining, Nares, and Dr. Charles-say that his Estratto dell'Arte Poetica
d'Aristotile, which I am now translating, is the best piece of dramatic criticism that has ever been written. “ Bless my heart !” says Warton, “ I, that have been all my life defending the three unities, am overset."
Ay,” quoth I, “ has not he made you all ashamed of ?em ? You learned folks are only theorists in theatrical matters, but Metastasio had sixty years' successful practice. There !–Go to.” My dear Fanny, before you write another play, you must read Aristotle and Horace, as expounded by my dear Metastasio. But, basta. You know when I take up a favourite author, as a Johnson, a Haydn, or a Metastasio, I do not soon lay him down or let him be run down.
The club has been very much crowded this season. Mr. Fox was at the last, and Windham! who, coming late, did not put a good face on the discovery: however, all were very loquacious and good humoured. We have vacancies. Poor Sir William Jones has occasioned one-but black balls have been plenty. Three or four d-lish democrats, Dieu merci! have had the door shut upon 'em.
Here it strikes three o'clock : the post knell, not bell, tolls here, and I must send off my scrib: but I will tell you, though I need not, that, now I have taken up Metastasio again, I work at him in every uninterrupted moment. I have this morning attempted his charming pastoral in " il Re Pastore:"
Alla Selva, al Prato, al fonte
Io n'andro' col gregge amato :
L'idol mio con me verrà.
In quel rozzo angusto tetto,
Che ricetto a noi darà,
Con la gioja e col diletto
L'innocenza albergherà. I'll give you the translation, because the last stanza is a portrait:
To meadows, woods, and fountains
Our tender flocks I'll lead;
My love shall see them feed.
Will suit our station well;
And peace and joy to dwell. God bless you! A thousand compliments and loves to M. d'Arblay.
From Madame d'Arblay to Dr. Burney.
Hermitage, Bookham, May 13, 1795. You have not one letter to translate, my dear father, from your favourite Metastasio, more gaily, more kindly amiable, than this last original you have bestowed upon me. Mr. Cumberland is curious and surprising,– Mrs. Paradise, the very woman,-Mr. Hastings, reviving,-Fox and Windham, good dramatic encountering; but the best of all is the story of resuscitation, and the happy effect of bustle and exertion. My dearest father is so made for society—that is the truth and moral of the fable—and society is always disposed to be so just towards him, that it is impossible, when he is shaken back to it, he should not, like the man of Sicily, find himself put to rights. For bustle and exertion, like “ tobacco hic” (how learned and grand I am in my illustrations !), if you are well, may, by overdraughting, make you sick; but, after a short repose,
and a little discipline to boot, if you are sick, they are just the things to make you well. The mind wants pulling out a little, to recognise its own elasticity.
Horticulture prospers beyond all former even ideas of prosperity. How, how I do wish you could come and take an hour's work here! it would mingle so well with Metastasio !—the employment-the fragrant surrounding air-the sweet refreshing landscape-and your partner in labour,-all would be congenial with Metastasio, and, consequently, with you; for you know, when we were all to choose who we would be if not our dear identical and always all-preferable selves, you fixed upon Metastasio; and indeed, in many, nay most respects, it would hardly be a change.
To be sure, as you say, 'tis pity M. d'A. and his rib should have conceived such an antipathy to the petit monsieur! O if you could see him now! My mother would be satisfied, for his little cheeks are beginning to favour of the trumpeter's, and Esther would be satisfied, for he eats like an embryo alderman. He enters into all we think, say, mean, and wish! His eyes are sure to sympathize in all our affairs and all our feelings. We find some kind reason for every smile he bestows upon us, and some generous and disinterested motive for every grave look.
If he wants to be danced, we see he has discovered that his gaiety is exhilarating to us; if he refuses to be moved, we take notice that he fears to fatigue us. If he will not be quieted without singing, we delight in his early goût for les beaux arts. If he is immoveable to all we can devise to divert him, we are edified by the grand sérieux of his dignity and philosophy: if he makes the house ring with loud acclaim because his food, at first call, does not come ready warm into