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LETTER VIII.

LADY MARIANNE CARNEGY.

Lichfield, March 21, 1785.

Your Ladyship’s kind attention and most welcome letter, highly gratifies, obliges, and honours me. Since I learned the melancholy tidings of dear and honoured Lady Northesk's death, I felt what I believed, an unavailing desire to obtain more particular intelligence than I had the means of acquiring, concerning the welfare and situation of her lord, and of sweet Lady Marianne, whose virtues and graces were in their bud when I had the honour of passing a week in Lady Northesk's, Lady Marianne's, and Mrs Scott's society at Lichfield, in the house of Dr Darwin. Mournful was that pleasure, because of the fearful balance in which then hung the valuable life of Lady Northesk. Ah! with what delight did I learn, from her condescending letters to me, of the return of her health, by the prescriptions of Dr Darwin, after those of the London and Bath physicians had failed! Sincerely did I deplore the * sudden blight upon those hopes of her long existence, which were inspired by that unexpected, that wonderful recovery.

To be thus engagingly sought, through motives of filial piety, by a daughter of hers, gives me satisfaction, which is not the less poignant for being shaded over by a sense of mournful gratitude to the ETERNALLY ABSENT.

I am happy to hear you say Lord Northesk is well. You do not mention your own health. During that transient residence at Lichfield, I.observed, with pain, that your Ladyship's constitution was very delicate. The years of advancing youth have, I trust, brought strength and bloom on their wing.

For both your sakes I regret that intelligent and amiable Mrs Scott is removed so far from you. She must often wish to embrace the lovely daughter of a lost friend ;- a friend so dear and so revered!

The style of Lady Marianne's letter convinces me that she has a mind whose tastes, pursuits, and sensibilities, preclude the irksome lassitude

* The author has been since informed, that her friend, Lady Northesk, died by accidentally setting her cap and handkerchief op fire.

with which retirement is apt to inspire people at her sprightly time of life. Ah! dearest Madam, may the consciousness of cheering the declining years of a beloved father gild the silent hours, when the rocks frown around you with solemn sternness, and the winds of winter are howling over the ocean ! ri Almost five years are elapsed since Dr Darwin left Lichfield. A handsome young widow, relict of Colonel Pool, by whom she had three children, drew from us, in the hymeneal chain, our celebrated physician, our poetic and witty friend.

The Doctor was in love like a very Celadon, and a numerous young family are springing up in consequence of a union, which was certainly a little unaccountable; not that there was any wonder that a fine, graceful, and affluent young woman, should fascinate a grave philosopher ; but that a sage of no elegant external, and sunk into the vale of years, should, by so gay a lady, be preferred to younger, richer, and handsomer suitors, was the marvel; especially since, though lively, benevolent, and by no means deficient in native wit, she was never suspected of a taste for science, or works of iinagination. Yet so it was; and she makes her ponderous spouse a very attached, and indeed devoted wife! The poetic philosopher, in return, transfers the amusement of VOL. I.

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his leisure hours, from the study of botany and mechanics, and the composition of odes, and heroic verses, to fabricating riddles and charards ! Thus employed, his mind is somewhat in the same predicament with Hercules's body, when he sat amongst the women, and handled the distaff.

Dr Darwin finds himself often summoned to Lichfield ; indeed, whenever symptoms of danger arise in the diseases of those whose fortunes are at all competent to the expence of employing a distant physician. When I see him, he shall certainly be informed how kindly your Ladyship enquires after his welfare, and that of his family. His eldest son by his first wife, who was one of the most enlightened and charming of women, died of a putrid fever, while he was studying physic at Edinburgh, with the most sedulous attention, and the most promising ingenuity. His second is an attorney at Derby, of very distinguished merit, both as to intellect and virtue ;-and your play-fellow, Robert, grown to an uncommon height, gay and blooming as a morn of summer, pursues medical studies in Scotland, under happier auspices, I hope, than his poor brother. .

I had the misfortune to lose my mother in the year 1780. My dearest father yet lives, but his existence hangs by a very slender thread; since, however, he suffers no pain, nor depression of spirits, I bless God that he yet lifts

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his feeble hands to bless me.

Lady Marianne Carnegy has no reason to doubt her epistolary talents. The proof of their elegance is before me; but dearer far is their kindness than their grace. Ah! Madam, the affection which that kindness has excited in my heart, creates a tender interest in all you say to me, beyond the reach of literary communication, scenic description, or the most brilliant wit to inspire, unaided by that sentiment which binds me to you!! I am, Madam, &c.

LETTER IX.

Miss WESTON.

Lichfield, March 23, 1785.

A character of the late literary Colossus, written by me, appeared in the General Evening Post for December 27th 1784-without my name; because my friend, his daughter-in-law, Mrs Lucy Porter, would resent the fidelity of the

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