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LETTER CCCIII. To Lady STEELE.
[Aug. 28, 1717.] RETURNED last night from Tunbridge,
whither my last told you I was going on Sunday morning, to be back on Wednesday night, which I did accordingly, and found yours of the 22d, and that of 24th. Yours, 22d, speaks again of Dymock. I give that matter up, and believe you in the right. Yours, 24th, concerning Mrs. Philips; I lament the poor lady's fate, and share in the uneasiness the reflection upon it gives you. Pray do not give way to fancies about your health, but bear up and expect good days, negligent of this world as to its duration, careful as to its uncertainty. The inclosed letter I send you, to Thew you a present difficulty I labour under; and shall be determined by you.
When the commissioners parted, they resolved to meet at Edinburgh on the oth of the next month. But that I am not able to do, for many reasons. The gentleman who writes the inclosed, Sir Harry Houghton, will be ready to relieve me the middle of November, provided I haften thither now; if not, I niuft stay till the latter end of January. The staying in Scotland till then would break all my measures. If I followed my own inclinations, I should go to
Wales though I stayed but two days, and cross the country into the Lancashire road. I got on horseback at Tunbridge, and am confident I can ride thirty miles a day with ease; however, I design to take the method you propose of a chaise. Suppose I should bring Madam Clark down with me, only to attend your journey ; it would, I think, be right. Your opinion of these great points, next post, will be very welcome. Your daughter Betty, who is here two or three days for the holidays of Bartholomew-tide, defires to know whether I am writing to you or not; if I am, she desires her duty. Molly cannot endure any kindness I shew this visitant, and I am not a little delighted to see a young lady jealous of
favour. If you and I were together, and all our children with us, I should never be a leisure moment out of my own houfe.
I am resolved, God willing, to have it so; and, for the future, even travel with
whole family. I will get the better of you in this matter; and you must submit to have me fond of you and yours at what place, and in what way, I think fit. This is the harshest piece of arbitrary power I will be ever guilty of. Yours ever,
LETTER CCCIV. To Lady STEELE. DEAR PRUE,
[undated.] Do not know how to give you an account
of my present prospects ; but can only say, that the commissioners of Scotland demand me there with so much impatience, that go I must. However, it is less painful to me because Benson is now in town, and will take care in my absence of the greatest concern of all, which is now brought to perfection *. If I can value myself upon the half-year's pay plready due to me, I shall leave the town without any. murmur against me. God send us an happy meeting, and that the rest of our days may be free from debt, I am, faithfully, affectionately, yours,
LETTER CCCV. To Lady STÉELE. DEAR PRUE,
[undated.] HE last I received from you, which was
last night, had no date. It is indeed, as you observe, a strange kind of life we lead, and the separation is painful to me for one reason more than it is to you.
If you think fit to go to the Bath, I cannot imagine but a woman of your estate will find
The Filh-pool. See p. 205.
friends enough, to raise as much money as will
carry you thither.
I alter the manner of taking my journey every time I think of it. My present dispofition is, to borrow what they call a post-chaise of the Duke of Roxborough. It is drawn by one horse, runs on two wheels, and is led by a servant riding by. This rider and leader is to be Mr. Willmot, formerly a carrier, who answers for managing on a road to perfection, by keeping tracks, and the like. I think also at present to be off my new house, and let things be as they are till we meet, when you shall chuse for yourself an house ; which I will like because you like it.
As to your desire of contriving plenty of money, I have made a bargain with our paymaster for so much, whether it is come out of the Treasury, to pay always within ten days after quarterday from Christmas next; so that we will not want any more.
I shall contrive also to have a quarter beforehand, and never let family tick more for victuals, cloaths, or rent. I know this is better talk to you, than if it were a paper of Wit, written by your beloved Cowley. But all shall, God willing, be punctually performed by, dear Prue, your most obsequious husband, and most humble servant,
LETTER CCCVI. To Lady STEELE.
DEAR PRUE, Saturday, Aug. 31, 1717.
Hampton-court. MAN of quality, going to town, waits to
take this with him, so that I cannot say more till Tuesday. Yours ever, Rich. STEELE.
DEAR PRUE, Hampton-court, Aug. 31, 1717.
WISH you would once say, you would like
a thing, because I like it. I know not whe. ther what I have taken is to be called in a court. It is a fore door, at which a coach can set down at the very threshold, in Hart-street, Coventgarden; and behind it a little court, in which there is but one house, into King's street, Co. vent-garden. I have taken no lease, and can part with it when I please to Mr. Wilks *, who designs to buy it of the landlord. As to all' other matters, I am contriving for the best. You talk of the cheapest way, &c. to get to town. I beg of you to be easy in such points; you shall have every thing your heart can with, in the reach of a moderate fortune. Pray be
* Then one of the managers of Drury-lane theatre.