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another. What tragedy has deserved to succeed? and to that I can give no answer. Be my thoughts therefore sacred to hope. If every wish of mine had a pair of hands, your play should be clapped through 160 successive nights, and I would reconcile it to my conscience (in part) by two thoughts: first, that you are a good man; and secondly, that the divinity of Shakespere would remain all that while unblasphemed by the applauses of a rabble, who, if he were now for the first time to present his pieces, would tear them into infamy. Kóupov Top Byel ad Ašiotov å vogórw. The mass of mankind are blind in heart, and I have been almost blind in my eyes. For the last five weeks I have been tormented by a series of bodily grievances, and for great part of the time deprived of the use of my poor eyes by inflammation, and at present I have six excruciating boils behind my right ear, the largest of which I have christened Captain Robert, in honour of De Foe's 'Captain Robert Boyle.' Eke, I have the rheumatism in my hand. If therefore there be anything fitful and splenetic in this letter, you know where to lay the fault, only do not cease to believe that I am interested in all that relates to you and your comforts. God grant I may receive your tragedy with the Fórvice víxy in the title page!
“My darling Hartley has been ill, but is now better. My youngest is a fat little creature, not unlike your Mary. God love
“S. T. Coleridge. “P.S.-Do you continue to see dear Charles Lamb often? Talking of tragedies, at every perusal my love and admiration of his play rises a peg. C. Lloyd is settled at Ambleside, but I have not seen him. I have no wish to see him, and likewise no wish not to see him.”
The Same to the Same.
“Wednesday night, Dec. 171h, 1800. "DEAR GODWIN.-I received the newspaper with a beating heart, and laid it down with a heavy one. But cheerily, friend! it is worth something to have learnt what will not please.
Kemble, like Saul, is among the prophets. The account in the Morning Post, was so unusually well written, and so unfeelingly harsh, that it induced suspicions in my mind of the author.
“If your interest in the theatre is not ruined by the fate of this, your first piece, take heart, set instantly about a new one, and if you want a glowing subject, take the death of Myrza as related in the Holstein Ambassador's Travels into Persia, in p. 93, vol ii. of Harris's Collections. There is crowd, character, passion, incident and pageantry in it; and the history is so little known that you may take what liberties you like without danger.
“It is my present purpose to spend the two or three weeks after the Christmas holidays in London. Then we can discuss all and everything. Your last play wanted one thing which I believe is almost indispensable in a play-a proper rogue, in the cutting of whose throat the audience may take an unmingled interest. “We are all tolerably well. God love you, and
“S. T. COLERIDGE. “Greta Hall, Keswick.
“P.S.—There is a paint, the first coating of which, put on paper, becomes a dingy black, but the second time to a bright gold colour. So I say-Put on a second coating, friend!”
HOLCROFT AND ARNOT. 1800.
HOLCROFT was at Hamburg during the year 1800, turning over a variety of schemes in his busy brain, and carrying some of them into action_schemes of translations from foreign languages, of recasting travels in Russia for the English book market, of plays, novels, reviews, schemes also of buying pictures to re-sell, and of making art catalogues of the contents of various foreign galleries. But these and their results may best be told in selections from his own letters. Godwin's replies are for the most part irrecoverable. He took copies of all by a machine, but the copying ink has faded, while the paper was so thin, that it falls to bits in the attempt to decipher the faint trace of writing left on it.
It is not now possible to discover what particular act of kindness on Godwin's part led to the burst of gratitude in the following letter. It was either the unwearied sacrifice of his valuable time on his friend's behalf, or some actual relief in money, sent at a period when he was himself sorely straitened in means, and was under considerable obligations to the Wedgwoods.
T. Holcroft to William Godwin.
· HAMBURG, January 24th, 1800. “On the 20th instant yours of the 24th of December arrived, and this day I received those of December roth, Decr. 31st, and Jan. 14th. The mixed sensations they have excited in me are such as never can be forgotten. The ardour, firmness, and activity of your friendship, the true and simple dignity with which you feel and act, the embarrassment under which you are at this moment, and the relief which you find in the confidence that on the receipt of yours I shall immediately do my duty,-in short that delightful mingling of souls which is never so intimately felt as on such extraordinary occasions as these, are now all in full force, and producing such emotions in me as you yourself cannot but both have desired and expected. ....
“ The first volume of “St Leon' has been sent to Berlin, and whether it may there have found a publisher I cannot yet say, but I shall write this evening, and if it be not already in train, send for it back that it may be translated here, and if possible still some emolument derived for you. You say you will act for me as you would for yourself, and you have so acted. I will endeavour not to be far behind you. I feel there is even more pleasure in receiving than in performing such acts of kindness.
“You blame me for not saying more of Arnot. I imagined he had written to you his whole history. He went to Vienna, where he has been ill, and recovered, and where, I suppose, he still is. While he was here, I gave him a little of the little I had in my pocket, and Mr Cole paid for his lodging and some other trifles. Sophy conceived some prejudice against him, for which I am sorry, and at which, it seems, he was more angry than gratified by the kindness testified to him by all the rest, particularly by my dear Louisa, who, with Fanny, feels toward you and for you almost as much as I do. Not knowing you quite so well, they are still more struck at the decisive friendship with which you act, and love you for it most affectionately. ... “ Farewell.
“My dearest father has done justice to the feelings your most excellent letter, and still more excellent-nay, noble—conduct, have excited. Yes, we love you most affectionately, and hope again to realise the exquisite pleasure of emulating while we witness the virtues and genius of yourself and those friends who
CORRESPONDENCE WITH HOLCROFT.
make truth so lovely. You have not mentioned your sister, the dear children, and Louisa Jones. By that, we hope and infer they are all in health. Remember us all very affectionately to them, and tell Fanny and Mary that in two or three years we may perchance bring them a little visitor as amiable and lively as themselves. He really is a fine boy. I mean, my dear, dear brother, the infant of our dear, excellent Louisa, who, dear soul, has a bad cold, but in other respects she is very well. I hope you know me too well to doubt the sincerity of heart with which I sign myself -Your affectionate young friend, FANNY HOLCROFT.”
The Same to the Same.
“HAMBURG, Feb. 11th, 1800. . The chief, though not the only purpose of this letter, is to inform you that Mr Villiaume has at last undertaken to have your book translated and a thousand copies printed, the profits of which, without risk, you are to share. But it is necessary to premise that these profits, if any, will not be paid till Easter, 1801, and that the agreement is verbal. I meet this Mr Villiaume at the house of a merchant. Delicacy would not permit me to ask for formal written documents, and I have no reason on earth to suspect him of dishonesty, with this only exception, that dishonesty is here practised beyond credibility. Such, at least, is the cry, which the anecdotes I have heard confirm. You may gain eighty pounds, you can lose nothing. ...
"Has your Tragedy been performed? I think it would suit the German stage ; but the German stage, honour excepted, is almost barren of emolument.
“Of my Comedy, according to your account, there is little hope. Mr Richardson's improvements are some unintelligible, and others, in my opinion, of the Irish kind-they would improve it to its destruction. I approve my plan, and as a plan will not alter it; for that plan is its very soul, if any soul it has. Perhaps, from his suggestion, I may make my simple Lawyer a Judge. If that will satisfy him, it shall be done; if not, so be it.