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LETTER CCXLII. To Lady STEELE.

DEAR PRUE,

Feb. 5, 1716-17. WRITE without having any thing new to

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thanked, in my affairs; to throw off all hangerson, put my debts in a regular way of payment, which I cahnot immediately discharge; and try to behave myself with the utmost circumspection and prudence in all the duties of life, especially of being, dear Prue, your most obliged husband, and obedient humble servant,

Rich. STEELE.

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LETTER CCXLIII. To Lady STEELE. DEAR Prue,

Feb. 9, 1716-17. SHALL observe your directions concerning

Dick Philips; but it gives me great indignation to observe that you are forced to go to law for the balance of your accompt.

I hope you take care of your health, and let nothing discompose you, that, when we meet, we may have healthy bodies and easy minds, and enjoy the comforts of life with tranquillity. I am ever yours,

Rich. STEELE.

LETTER

LETTER CCXLIV. To the Lady STEELE, at

. Carmarthen, South Wales Frank, Richard Steele. DEAR PRUE,

Feb. 16, 1716-17. OBER or not, I am ever yours,

RCH. STEELE.

SOBER

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LETTER CCXLV. To Lady STEELE.
DEAR PRUE,

Feb. 23, 1716-17.
HAVE not any thing particular to say to-

night, but that I am informed there will be, within a few days, further changes ar court. Your children are all very well. I wait with great impatience for the receipt of my money. There is forfeited money in town, but it is not yet in the Exchequer. I am, dear Prue, ever yours,

Rich. STEELE.

LETTER CCXLVI. To Lady SteelE.
DEAR PRUE,

Feb. 28, 1716-17.
AM very well pleased with the behaviour

of David * at Oxford, who has repdered himself very agreeable to all the Whig world, on a very proper occasion, at Oxon.

He spoke contemptibly of the Pretender in a public speech, and the Proctor thought fit to reprove him

* David Scurlock, probably, a son of Lady Steele's uncle.

thereupon.

thereupon. The Bishop of Bangor * takes occafion to espouse him in this juncture.

Your daughter Moll is noisy, Betty very grave, and Eugene very strong and lufty. We are not yet paid a farthing; when we are, I shall send you down a receipt for Betty's schooling. Ever yours,

Rich. STEELE.

LETTER CCXLVII.

To Lady STEELE.

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DEAR PRUE,

March 2, 1716-17. USUALLY write to you the first thing I

do on a post-day ; but to-day conipany came in, and made me neglect it. Afterwards I was called abroad; then came home, and Budgellut, Benson, and Fullerg, came in upon me to dinner. The two last stayed till the evening; and Fuller carried me with him to the play, from whence I am now returned home. Your friend Keck || was the finest, gayest figure there, and Captain Ferrers gallantly attending behind her. All your family is well. Good-night. I am, dear Prue, ever thine,

Rich, STEELE.

Bishop Hoadly. t Eustace Budgell.

William Benson, esą. Auditor of the Impres. § See p 121, note.

ll This lady afterwards proved herself an excellent friend to one of Steele's daughters, as appears from some subsequent Letters.

LETTER

LETTER CXLVIII. To Lady Steele. MY DEAREST PRUE, and BELOVED Wife, &c.

[undated.] HAVE I yours of the 7th instant, which turns

wholly upon my taking care of my health, and advice to forbear embarking too deeply in public inatters, which you enforce by reminding me of the ingratitude I have met with. I have as quick sense of the ill-treatment I have received as is consistent with keeping up my own spirit and good-humour. Whenever I am a malcontent, I will take care not to be a gloomy one, but hope to keep some stings of wit and humour in my own defence. I am talking to my wife, and therefore may speak my heart and the vanity of it. I know, and you are witness, that I have served the Royal Fa. mily with an unreservedness due only to Heaven, and I ain now (I thank my brother Whigs) not poffefsed of twenty shillings from the favour of the Court. The Playhouse it had been barbarity to deny at the players' request, and therefore I do not allow it a favour. But I banish the very memory of these things, nor will I expect any thing but what I must strike out of myself. By Tuesday's post I think I shall be able to guess when I shall leave the town, and turn all my thoughts to finish

my comedy *. You will find

till 1721

* If this was his “ Conscious Lovers," it remained unfinished

I have got so much constancy and fortitude as to live my own way (within the rules of goodbreeding and decency) where ever I am; for I will not sacrifice your husband, and the father of the poor babes, to any one's humour in the world. But to provide for, and do you good, is all my ambition.

I have a list of 21 leases for the setting out 1991. 8 s. per annum. I have not yet heard of Mr. Philips. I am, dear Prue, ever yours,

Rich. STEELE.

LETTER CCXLIX.

To Lady STEELE.

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Dear PRUE, Hampton-court, March 16, 1716-17. F you have written any thing to me which I

Thould have received last night, I beg your pardon that I cannot answer till the next post. The House of Commons will be very busy the next week; and I had many things, public and private, for which I wanted four-and twenty hours retirement, and therefore came to visit your son. i came out of town yesterday, being Friday, and shall return to-morrow. Your fon, at the present writing, is mighty well employed, in tumbling on the floor of the room, and sweeping the fand with a feather. He grows a most delightful child, and very full of play and spirit. He is also a very great scholar: he can read his

Primer,

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