Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson
Letters bear witness of their writers' minds
Display their Talents, and, show forth their Taste
Or set their Ignorance to public view.
IT HAS FREQUENTLY BEEN SAID, that the mind and genius of persons, are better displayed in their letters than by any other means. I have already mentioned the long epistolary correspondence, I had with three gentlemen, Mr. Lawless, my dear Bob Gorman, and Mr. Cunynghame. Therefore to vary the scene, that I may not be constantly speaking of myself, and that my readers may themselves judge of the literary abilities of those gentlemen, and not merely from my report, I shall lay before them a few letters from each.
My adventures with Mr. Lawless are well known, by what I have already related. And his neglect, with his treachery to me—the following came from London, and was written in a great Pet.
"On my coming to town from the Bath, I found your letter, and must acknowledge on reflection, am not surprised at such a one from you, I now only regret I was so sincere and ingenuous with one (though I ought ere now to have known you sufficiently,) who possesses so vile a heart. I did not for some days past, think I should trouble myself, with condescending to write a single line in answer to such an epistle; however, as it is to be the last, you see I am quite agreeable to your determination. I shall only say, any thinking person in a like situation, would have been obliged to me; but you, ever different from your sex, must now doubtless, ever continue so. On the subject you have been pleased to write, I have only to add, I never entertained the smallest partiality for that person, neither did I see her for full three months before I left Dublin. That part of your letter alluding to regard, &c. I just think as much of, as I am confident it really merits: I am not at this time of day, to be imposed on so; and as to your behaviour on the occasion, I shall think no more on it, but that I should have been glad ( if possible,) in one instance only, you could have kept your promise. As to your disposal of the other, certainly, as you may think proper, my motive for wishing for that one was, merely owing to the regard I once thought you entitled to from me, be assured not any late merit; for that, though you have had confidence enough to write and persist in the contrary, I am well and fully satisfied of. As to your resolutions and determinations, I shall not say a syllable, but leave you to your own choice entirely, as I should not wish to be a means of making any individual unhappy on my account; and as to your two last insinuations, I equally despise, as I do the assertions falsely thrown out, either by you or any lying informant: not that I think it necessary or incumbent on me, on that head, to say a word. And now Madam, though I shall not conclude in the like style you are pleased. I shall, let your residence be where it may, wish you all happiness, confident, that on my part (in reality) I have not in the least injured it.
"1st September.—I dare say, you may make up your mind, about any dissatisfaction you have in meeting me here, as I hope not to be in the way of being so disgustful to you. So much for your future happiness when here. Adieu, since it is the last, and must be for ever."
Meeting with a very smart answer, he wrote the following, striving to varnish over his conduct.
"My dear Peggy,
"This day I received your last, as to the former, I think you need not have expected an answer to. Had you given yourself a moment's reflection, I am confident you must be sensible I did not merit such a one from you, for mine was far from meaning to offend you, though I find you very wrongfully took it in that light.
"I assure you it hurts me as much, as it nearly can you, your frequent reflections of an affair, that each time I hear of, makes me hateful to myself; however, after my candid declarations to you, it is not only unkind, but highly ungenerous in you, to upbraid me with what I now regret from my soul; and be assured my dear Peggy, few as my connections were, that what you allege against me, respecting that Sunday night, is the most unjust insinuation you could harbour, as I carefully avoided her, some considerable time before; after all I have said to you already on this (I cannot avoid terming it unfortunate and unlucky,) subject, yet, still I could from my heart wish, you would think no more on it, as rely on it my dear Peggy, you never had more reason in your life, to think lightly of a matter of the kind, than you have of that, as there is nothing you should think less serious of, for every reason whatsoever; so I could wish most strenuously as you ought, you would never more think about it.
"In answer to your observation of being, and writing treacherously to me, I shall only say, to a certainty in my own defence, what long before you knew, or had the excuse you have latterly taken the advantage of. You are in your soul sensible, you gave me every reason to entertain that opinion of you, from the equivocating manner in which you wrote, and answered my letters. I do not wish to particularise, I know you must, and are conscious of it, and that, I think, is too sufficient, not to enlarge further upon it.—I should be sorry, my dear Peggy, you could suppose I wished to write anything merely to hurt or distress you; my thoughts on that head, were no such intention, it was only owing to your conduct towards me, and writing in the manner you did (after the first or second letter I had,) since I saw you, and all that, a long time before you had the excuse you so dwelt on lately. Damn the cause of the poor excuse, I wish most heartily I had never known it. But you are doubly ungenerous in saying, I never debarred myself a moment's pleasure on your account, as that I look upon the height of ingratitude for you now to affirm, as you then had acknowledgment enough to own. I constantly gave up my time to you solely, but that, as well as everything else, you seem to wish to forget.—As to my being in Dublin, staying there or elsewhere, I am now fully convinced, can be no object to you. Dublin has ever hitherto, been a place I could not propose any real satisfaction in, this you must be satisfied of as I am, from not only the people I had immediately to deal with, but also the busy inquisitives at large. My affairs here, since my being in this quarter, has been considerably injured by my last stay in Ireland. I once thought I had a friend, at least in my dearest Peggy, that I might confide in, but that is now over, so shall not attempt a relation of matters, that cannot touch or affect any individual whatsoever, at least where I might expect it would; and now be assured my dear Peggy, you are the last I would trouble about my affairs or disappointments.
"Great as you term this place, and as it really is, yet, I do not know that I ever had less satisfaction in the most obscure, or that I ever had more anxiety, distress, or uneasiness of mind, than I just now feel. The person you mention having your intelligence from, respecting me, I cannot conceive from what view he could frame such a falsehood, as I never either knew or heard of such a person, much more what you relate: perhaps he found your weak side, and thought it would answer him some private end, I do not know any other construction to put on it; you know best now whether it was so or not, for most solemnly I can assure you, I neither knew him, or any such person as he endeavoured to make you believe I might have been connected with, which so help me God, I am not, nor any other whatsoever.
"From the last letter you thought proper to write to me, I expected nothing less, than what you have now said, about the paltry stockings; but had I really been as you observe, with some dear girl, let me assure my dear Margaret, that should be no preventative, which, to the contrary of any such intention, I never entertained one single idea of the kind, since I saw you.
"And now, my dear Peggy, let me with equal pleasure inform you, it is equally disagreeable to me; and I dare venture to say, much more so, to have been obliged to keep up the very disagreeable style, some time past subsisting between us; but so far from wishing to add to your mind's distress, believe me, my dear Peggy, it would on the contrary, add to my happiness considerably, to render it every ease in my power, however different you may wrongfully suppose. It concerns me not a little, your relation of your frequent fits of illness; however, it must be some consolation to you for the loss of poor dear little Sally, as you say, whenever you are afflicted in the manner you mention, you have one with you, who alleviates your pain and anxiety. Whether you mentioned that by way of causing me uneasiness, I shall not take upon me to say; but this I must say Peggy, with truth and sincerity, nothing would distress me more, than to find you stood in need of a friend and not have one. May you never want that, or any other attention, which can afford you the satisfaction you wish for, which is, and ever shall be, most fervently the wish of him, who remains with warmest esteem, my dear Peggy's, truly sincere.
"PS Wednesday 10th, the day after the Lord Mayor's great day here, which in reality is to me a mere nothing. I thank you for your last intelligence, should you hear anything more particular, will thank you to let me know, or anything new in your quarter from you, will be acceptable. My regards (if you please) to all friends. I hope you will not misconstrue, or be offended at anything in this scroll.
"The time now grows short, but my good people not letting me have the command of some of my money, has hurt me much, as I might by that means, have had a decent certainty by this time. Adieu my dearest Peggy, I suppose I have tired out your patience. May you however, be easy and happy, though I cannot.
"Shall I hear from you immediately, and in what manner, but will wait with expectation, so say no more for the present. I think your two last seals, were by no means so neat as your cypher.
This was not his usual mode of writing. Whilst I was straining every nerve to serve him, and sending him every assistance in my power, before I went to him to London his style was different; as may be seen by the annexed letter, the last of his that I shall quote.
"My dear Peggy,
"I entreat your excuse for not hearing from me long ere this, in answer to yours of the 10th, which has been occasioned only, by my absence from town, since a few days after I last wrote you; your letter has been laying ten days for me, but did not expect any, as you delayed so much longer than your usual time of answering me.
"I shall not take upon me to say, how much I am obliged to you and Mrs. Netterville, for both your good intentions, and most friendly dispositions to serve me; and if either or both, can succeed, shall ever acknowledge, a true and sincere sense of obligation in return.
"I assure you, I could not have the smallest objection, to the mode or manner of application, you have desired and recommended me. At the same time, should be exceedingly sorry, if Mrs. Netterville, would harbour a single thought, that my declining it, proceeded from a want of either the highest respect, or most sincere regard and esteem. My only motive being, merely a matter of delicacy on such private affairs, the consequence of a third person knowing on't, might possibly turn out rather prejudicial than serviceable; therefore, have no doubt, she and you will use all your friendly exertions, in my favour and behalf. I request your preferring her my sincere acknowledgments, and best wishes.
"And now, my dear Peggy, I hope in the course of ten days from this time, to be enabled, with that gratefulness I sincerely and justly owe you in return, for your friendship and good nature, to repay the different obligations I have lately experienced from your hands; and which, I hope most strenuously, has not been attended with any degree of inconvenience to you.
"It gives me infinite satisfaction to hear you are likely to recover, what I am thoroughly sensible, is nothing more than your just right, and that you may be successful is my most ardent wish: it also affords me not a little pleasure, to find you have those different miscreants you mention, so much in dread and awe of you. May you ever have it in your power to keep such reptiles, at a distance and defiance. I wonder you have never mentioned Mrs. Dixon, since I wrote you about her son; I hope she and all friends are well, to whom request you will kindly remember me, to Sally in particular, whom I am apprehensive, has very unjustly considered me in a different light from what I ever deserved; for, be assured, I entertain the same sincere esteem I ever have done for her.
"Adieu, my dear Peggy, and hope immediately on receipt hereof, to have the pleasure of hearing from you, remaining with gratitude, most sincerely yours,
"Monday, 28th Feb.—Great news confirmed this day, of Admiral Rodney's success, but that my dear Margaret, delights not you, nor woman neither. I would have been this night at the play, to see their majesties, but declined it, for this pleasure in writing you.—Once more adieu, God bless you. 10 o'clock.
"I thought it was better for me to agree to my good peoples' desire, than now to begin another twelve, or, I should have said, fourteen years variance with them, though it is at the same time, very hard on me at this juncture."
I now proceed to some of my dear Bob's letters; whose absence I always deplored, who was faithful to me, and never merited my resentment.
The following is the first I received from London, and is at once a testimony of our mutual affection, and the honour he always possessed.
"London, Sunday 12th April, 1783.
My adorable Peggy,
"I had this day, the happiness of receiving your two letters; and my love, I have been neither able to speak eat, or drink since I saw them; as the idea of your being unhappy on my account, makes me miserable, my love. With respect to your coming to see me, it would be the height of madness, as everyone would conjecture you left Dublin for that purpose; it may, I believe, be possible for some to have an idea, but it must be a faint one, of the feelings of my heart, at being torn from you, but it was unavoidable. I can never express my gratitude, for your offers of extricating me; but my dearest love, I could not clear myself in Dublin, for less than seven hundred; and if that were even paid, I could never bear the idea of living in the style I would be obliged to do, considering the manner I have existed; added to this, I should have been obliged to give you up as one of the first preliminaries: to be obliged to live there without seeing each other, would be a thousand times worse to us both, than even being separated. Besides, my life! though fortune has frowned on me for some time, she may in a little time begin to smile on me, as my darling Peggy has so often done; so that we must hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I am to be in the East India Company's service, as that is what I am advised to in preference of the King's. I shall go to India either with the commander in chief, or with a particular friend of mine, who has been there many years. I shall go with the first introduction, so that it will be my own fault if I do not get forward; and I hope I shall always be capable of doing my duty. The army I believe you know was always my passion, and the Indies is the place of all other, that every military man is pushing for. So that I have every prospect not of subsisting as a gentleman, but of getting a fortune, which I some day or other, though remote, will hope to lay at your feet, when you have forgot that there was such a one as little Bob. My picture you shall have by the first opportunity, as I shall begin to sit for it to-morrow. I only regret, that I am not able to send you some more valuable token; but, my Peggy, I am sure will take the will for the deed. If I should be able to suggest any probable method of your seeing me before my departure, I shall let you know; but I hope you will give up thoughts of it, as the seeing me for a few days, would only revive the uneasiness that I have been the unfortunate cause of to you. If I am a gentleman I love you, or may I be branded with every infamy, says
After receiving many other letters, I went to him, as I mentioned before, but at length, we were forced to part, and he sailed. He wrote the following letter from Madeira.
"Eurydice, at Sea, Wednesday
"15th October, 1783.
"My heavenly delight,
"I had the happiness of your letter, dated Michaelmas day, on Friday last. About an hour before we sailed, I went on shore in hopes of getting a line from your pretty hand, and if I had been half an hour later, should have lost my passage; but my love prayed for me, and I saved it. I really don't know what I should have done if the ship had sailed without me, everything I had on earth was in her but five shillings. We have been fortunate for so far, as we have got as far in five days as other ships have been five weeks going. We have got clear out of the bay of Biscay, and are about six hundred miles from England without any accident, except the springing of a leak, which did not prove dangerous, and was soon repaired. I think myself remarkably lucky that this ship has sailed, as I must undoubtedly have been put to extremity, had I been obliged to have gone in an Indiaman; for, my love, I had but fifty pounds, leaving England, after laying in provisions for my passage. I would not let you know this before I sailed, lest you might distress yourself for me, as I know the goodness of your heart so well, that you would do anything sooner than have me distressed. But now, my love, I hope there is no danger of that, and that I may live to make you happy. The sea has been very rough since we left Spithead, and I seize this moment, which is the only calm we have had to write to my sweet Peggy. Welcome, I need not say your letter was to me, but God knows when I shall get another; and yet, I must be content, and wait with patience. I should have began to answer your letter, my love, before this, but the sea has run so high, that it was almost impossible either to sit or stand. You see, my life, how uncertain our stay was, when once the orders arrived; for, though we did not expect to sail before Sunday at soonest, we sailed on Friday. I am happy to hear that you at last wore my picture, as you longed for it so much, it must I am sure, have been set with infinite taste and elegance, when it was your fancy. I wear your picture the whole day; and when I go to bed I have it under my head, lest the heat of my hand should disfigure your lovely face. I now come to the part of your letter, where you say it distresses you reading my letter, and saying, farewell my Bob. Judge then, my delight, what my distress must be when I reflect, that every hour (even now that I am writing to you,) takes me ten miles farther from the idol of my soul. You kissed my picture, so have I yours heavens knows every day, nay every hour, since I left you, and shall till I see you again, let that be when or where it will. Bless you, my love, and protect you, my returning to Dublin is quite out of the question, at least for some time. As to their mentioning me at home, I am perfectly easy about it. My brother I believe loves me, and I imagine the rest does so too, but I hope I shall be able to live without any of them. I can see but little variety, you may judge at present, nothing but sea and ship; the same faces every day; the climate is perceptibly warmer already, we expect to reach Madeira in a week more.
"Madeira, 24th October.—We arrived here the 22d, without any accident, after a rough sea; you recollect Jones, the purser of the Race Horse, at Spithead, that we dined with, and that you gave the garters to, his ship was here before us; whenever he heard I was come, he sent a boat for me and introduced me to the principal people of the town, and brought me to dine with one of the first people the day I landed. We shall leave this on Sunday, for the Cape of Good Hope, I can tell you but little about this island, as I have been but one day on shore: it consists chiefly of friars and nuns, with a number of English, Irish, and Scotch merchants; the people are very hospitable, but miserably poor. They make very pretty flowers, I wish I could send you some of them, as I think they would please you. I should attempt it, if I thought there was a likelihood of your getting them safe, but I fear that is out of the question. The Tabbinet did not arrive before I left Gosport; I desired Mrs. G——, to forward it by an India ship, if it should come to her house. You recollect Brown's direction. If you love me, which I have no doubt of, you will write to me by the first opportunity: if you do not find the method of sending your letters from Dublin, enclose them to Brown, he will take care of them, and inform you how to forward them after he leaves England. Jones, and Wallace the surgeon, desire to be remembered to you affectionately. May every happiness that can attend a human being, attend you, my love! says one, who dotes on you, my heavenly Peggy. The people here said I was Frenchman. I had on my painted stuff waistcoat, and a long sword: everyone here wear swords, so you may guess I would not be out of the fashion. In fact, it would be unsafe to walk in this place unarmed. I must conclude, my love, as the ship that carries this, sails to-morrow, and I must send it immediately. Bless you once more, and make you as happy, as I shall be wretched till we meet, says
"R. J. G.
"Remember me affectionately to Sally, Mrs. Hall, Miss Love, &c. M'Dermott and Burroughs.
"Present my compliments to Mrs. Pearson. I hope to deliver her letter to her son in less than four months. I shall write to you the first land I see, and frequently on my passage. Adieu, farewell, not for ever I hope."
He wrote next from the Cape of Good Hope, December 25, 1783; and when he got to Madras, he sent the following, which I insert for the sake of his travelling observations, which may be amusing to many of my readers.
"Madras, 14th March, 1784.
"My heavenly darling,
"We arrived here the 9th, after a very tolerable passage, at least it was more so to me infinitely than I expected on sailing. The weather at one time intolerably hot, at another freezingly cold. I had the good fortune of being liked by the officers and passengers, which made me much more comfortable than I could possibly have been; for, with every comfort and convenience, very few of which I had, five months at sea, is very trying to one who has never before been accustomed to it: though I assure my love, I had the character of being more composed in every vicissitude, than any except the downright seamen. However, I think I have got a knowledge of the world, by spending so much time at sea, that I would not want for a great deal. You may compare being at sea, to being shut up with a number of people in a house, without having any intercourse with the rest of the world, nor any resource, but what you have had the caution to provide.
"I stayed four days at Madeira, where I met Jones the purser, and Wallace the surgeon, that we dined with at Portsmouth, they were very civil to me, and introduced me to several people of consequence in the island. Madeira is the place that the famous wine of that name comes from. It is inhabited chiefly by Portuguese, they are of a sallow complexion, very poor and very lazy; the lower class are almost black, the women I think are very ordinary but sprightly, and have fine clear voices. It is a beautiful island to look at, and abounds in fruit of all kinds. The English merchants are particularly hospitable to strangers. From thence we went to the Cape of Good Hope, nothing very particular happened in our passage; we had it very cold for some time, colder infinitely than I ever felt it before. When we got on the coast of Africa, the heat was almost intolerable, directly under the sun, at one time incessant rain, the next hour broiling heat; which exhausted the most robust constitutions amongst us. I believe you know mine is not the most delicate. I have not been ill a day, my love, since you had the trouble of nursing me at Portsmouth Common. I hope I may be equally fortunate in India, the European officers complain much of the climate, but I think they want spirits only. The soldiers here to be sure, earn their bread harder than any profession whatsoever; however, it is the most honourable, and they are often rewarded for their services. The regiment which I intended to have gone into was the 36th, it has lost a number of men, though they have only been six months in the country; yet, subalterns have shared two hundred pounds in taking one fort. Before I made this digression, I had mentioned the Cape of Good Hope, it is inhabited by Dutch, but was taken in this war by the French, and the French troops remain in possession of it until the ransom is paid, which the Dutch are unwilling to pay; they are fond of the English, and treated us tolerably well. I had the good fortune of meeting two acquaintances there, that I had known formerly in Scotland, which was some little satisfaction to me, as I could dine and sleep with them occasionally. There is not such a thing as a tavern in the whole town. The Dutch are tolerably hospitable, but amazingly fond of money. I was well received, being introduced by gentlemen who had been there before, had been out to India, and were returning home. Would to Heaven, it were my fate, to be returning or going anywhere, where I might be blessed with a sight of you; but the fates have decreed it otherwise. I had the misfortune of losing a friend at the Cape, he was unluckily shot in a duel; though he had my own pistols, and shot his antagonist through the belly. He was a young man, astonishingly well recommended, called to the bar, and going to practice in India: but, what distressed me most to think of, was his having a wife. I wrote you two letters from the Cape, which I hope you have received, I would have written to you as you desired on the passage, but there was no possibility of every being a moment alone on board; this, and the constant rolling of the ship, was the only thing that could possibly have deprived me of the delight of conversing with you, as writing to you is the only substitute I can have for speaking to you. I wrote you one letter, between the Cape and Madras, which I sent by a ship we met at sea, bound to France, but I fear you have not received it. The only gratification this world can afford me next to seeing you, is writing to you, or thinking of you. I shall now, my love, endeavour to give you some little idea of India, though you will perceive I have only been here five days. The natives of the country are all black, the better sort of the men wear a muslin gown, plaited tight about their waists, a sash round the waist, and a large quantity of muslin, rolled about their heads: the inferior class seldom wear anything, except what decency requires, over a particular part. Their women have little or no covering more than men, they load their toes and fingers, with a great quantity of paltry rings, and often have plates of silver round their ankles and wrists, rings through their noses and ears; and their hair, which is quite black, stuck with flowers. This, you will say, is a curious manner of ornamenting: at first, I pitied their ignorance, but saw them so perfectly well pleased with themselves, that I could not help laughing at them; they are very neatly formed, and by far the most active people I ever saw, very delicately made. They have no other idea, but being in some degree dependant on the English, and many people without large incomes, have fifty servants; indeed, it is impossible to keep the worst house, with less than ten; you may hire them at about eight shillings a month without diet; and yet, I would rather have two real English servants, than ten of them; but that is impossible, for if you have white servants, you must have blacks to attend them: every private soldier in the horse, has two blacks to take care of his horse only. The country is beautiful about Madras, but everything intolerably dear, eight shillings for a bottle of white wine, and twelve for claret; provisions in proportion, owing to the war, which was carried so far as the skirts of the town. I have been rather unfortunate in not meeting one of the gentlemen here, to whom I was recommended, except General Burgoyne, and he is under an arrest. As I hear, that several of them are gone to Bombay, I hope that my meeting them there, will make amends for my missing them here. The horses here are very pretty, all with long tails, and amazingly sprightly. There are but few white women in India, but these few are paid the greatest respect to. There is seldom an instance of any woman tolerably handsome, coming out here that is not greatly provided for. I wonder a number of our country women, with small fortunes, do not try their luck. Could you, my love, live in India amongst blacks, I think you said, you could live anywhere with me; but my darling, the passage is the disagreeable part, yet, I would ask you, if I had anything to support you, as soon as I have you shall know it. I am sure, let what will happen, you can never want; but, my love, as you value me, be careful of your constitution, as health is the only thing that can ensure happiness. I have been particularly careful of myself. I shall sail for Bombay in four days, where I hope to arrive in about a month. As I go in the Eurydice, I shall be much more comfortable than I was coming out. All the passengers left her except me, and I mess very comfortably with the Lieutenants. Captain Courtnay, who commands, is a fine dashing young fellow, very fond of me, and is an old companion of Captain Packenham's, who, I have heard you speak of. Should anything happen at home, by which I should be able to exist, I believe I shall return home to you, my love; but that I fear is very remote, if it should happen at all. I am therefore, determined to take hold of every opportunity, where it is possible that anything can be made. I cannot give you any information respecting myself. I hope from the number of officers that have fallen, I shall have some rank, and of course, may have an opportunity of doing something. I wish you could see the dress I am sitting in, as I am sure you would like it; a white waistcoat, with sleeves, edged with red; long breeches to my slippers, which are of white linen, bound with red; and a straw hat, the crown covered with muslin, and adorned with the feathers you gave me, which I shall never part with, but with my life: not a dust of powder in my hair. I am I think, rather fatter than I was when I left you, from being more confined than I was accustomed to before: I am browner in my complexion, occasioned by the heat. I shall soon hope to see Mrs. Dixon and Mrs. Pearson's sons, as soon as I do you shall hear from me. I shall hope for a letter from you, by the first ship. Remember me to Mrs. Dixon, Mrs. Pearson, Mrs. Hall, Sally Ashmore, Betty Love, Nancy Wimms. Don't forget me to Nelly Palliser, I hope she has met with every success, as I think she deserves it. If I omit anyone, I beg you will remember me to them, as you know I don't mean it.—Remember me in the warmest manner to poor Perry, John Burroughs, if he does not forget me, tell him I shall write to him when I reach Bombay. Heatly has my best wishes: I think if he leaves the thirty-second, he should come to India. Tell M'Dermott, I hope to drink some bottles with him in old England yet. For God's sake, mention me to James, my old servant, let him know I don't forget him, and hope to see him yet.—I wish I could send you something from this country, as I know how welcome it would be to you, but there are so many chances against your receiving it at present, it almost discourages me from making the attempt. However, I shall try it as soon as I have found out the safest method of conveyance: the corded muslin is beautiful, how I long that you should get some of it for short dresses. Direct to me when you write, to the care of Lieutenant Pearson, Bombay, as I shall leave my direction with him in case of my removal. As I have some idea of going to Bengal, which would be much more advantageous to me.
"Remember me to Fitzgerald, say everything that your good nature will suggest of me, to those who enquire about me: I hope that none of the mechanics will lose by me, as I despise the idea. I gave an exact list of every shilling I owed, to my brother, which I have every reason to believe, he will pay as soon as he can, in case I should not return. I must now my heavenly comfort, conclude, with wishing you every satisfaction this world can afford, and offering my prayers for your safety. Adieu! Adieu!
"Adieu (thou idol of my soul!) though not for ever, I hope
"ROBT J. GORMAN
"I am sorry to inform you my love, that Captain Eames, Mrs. Dixon's son, was taken prisoner with General Mathews, and that they have not been heard of. They are supposed to have been poisoned, with many others; but certain it is, that they are no more. I shall make every exertion in my power, when I arrive at Bombay, to know the state of his affairs, and to represent his mother's situation in the most lively colours, in order that she may receive some relief. I beg you will remember me affectionately to her. May you be as happy as I shall be wretched, till I once again behold you: think of the distance between us, eighteen thousand miles; and then say, whether the idea of my lovely Peggy, can ever be erased from the mind of her faithful, and ever doting,
All his other letters I omit, as however delightful they were to me, they may not be so to my readers.
I now come to the third of my correspondents, whose letters were widely different from those of the others, in both style and subject. They fully demonstrate that those who are conscious of handsome persons, generally pay but little attention to the improvement of their minds; they ornament the outsides of their heads, regardless of what ought to be therein, and their epistles, like their discourse, are generally confined to superficial small talk; a confusion of ideas, and a polite neglect of grammar, or even spelling. But let the gentleman speak for himself.
"My lovely Leeson,
"I hope you'll not take it ill, for my not calling to you to-day, I assure you, my dear Leeson, it was not for the want of affection, but partly owing to a could, I got last night. I must compute it to my going out last night without a surtoot, it effects me with pains in my bones, and my limbs rather stiff. I intend to take a bath to-night, and I'll be able to see you to-morrow, if not, you may depend I will write. Nothing my dear Leeson, would have prevented me calling to-day, if it had not been for my indisposition; and I am sure, when I tell you, I have been unwell, you'll not be angry with me. But my dear Leeson, when I think of the coolness, you treated me with last night, and sending a letter to Mr. Barret, without ever enquiring for me; if I had ever such an inclination to call to you, that ought to have prevented me; but Hove you too much, to think such a thing, would prevent me calling to one, I love as I do you.
"I am, dear Leeson, yours,
loveing and sincerely.
"My dear Leeson,
"There is not a more distressed or troubled man in the world, than I am at present; and particularly so, if I thought I treated you ill; and am sure, when I tell you the reason of my absence, you will not blame me. Part of the money I got for my exchange, I lost at hazard; and to complete my misfortunes, I saw the gentleman I lost the money to, at Tralee; he and I had some disagreeable words, but there it ended. Mr. Warren and I went to the country, to see if we could rise the money I lost: fortunately we got it sooner than I expected, which was the occation of my coming Monday, instead of Tuesday. The reason of my not going to you last night, I will tell you to-night. I hope you will not imagin I have used you ill, as I assure you, on my honour, you would be the last person in the world, I would offend. There is only one sitting for my picture, and you may expect to see it tomorrow."
Out of a multitude of his other letters, from different quarters in Ireland, and from the West Indes, I shall lay two before the readers, which I have selected for the singularity of their style and contents.
"Mary Borough, June 11, 1784.
"The morning I parted with you, I went to Neace, and stead there that night, the next day we marched to Kildare, and was time enough to see the Rases: in the evening, I was in company with K——h, O'R——y, and Tomy N——t, about ten o'clock I took my leave of them and went to bed; the next morning, we got up at three, and marched for Mary-borough, where we halt a day, and intend to go Rossgray to-morrow. There is no one of our party but Captain W——, T——y B——r and I, and assure you Toby, speaks very well of you, and we drink your health every day, after dinner out of tumblers, and assure you we don't forget Sally Hays.
"My dear Leeson, I am sure I wile never forget your goodness to me, and if I never loved you, I am sure your good-natur and generosity most have made me love you, and I never loved you so much as I did lotterly. I have not time to say any more, as I am called to dinner, only to give my best respects to Sally Hays and Nancy Wems; you will heare from me as soon as possible, untile then far wele.
"I am, my dear Leeson
S. L. C——M."
"I received a very extraordinary letter from Dublin, that followed me here, and would not suppose you to be the author, had I not known your hand. As to the epithets you were so good as to annex to my name, such lyeng rascel, &c. I only laughed at; as I supposed jelousy to be the cause of it.
"And have you mistaken me so much? Why, I defy you, the whole world, and the power of calumny, to point out one instance, when my character could be impeached, or even called in question. I would tare my heart-strings by the very root, before I would do anything mean or low, or act contrary to a man of strict principal and honour. And you charge me with everything bad.
"Fifty pounds a night is the great mystery. Instead of venting your spite on me, you ought to revenge yourself on the person, who wanted to bring you and I at variance. I assure you Leeson, if I had a sum of money to spare, I don't know any woman more deserving of it than you; or, is there any woman on earth, should have it before you. If it is any satisfaction for you, to know I keep a woman, I do? As for my having a connection with one woman more than another, I have not by G——d, and I believe never will. Therefore, you need not expect that I would be constant, to the finest woman in the universe.
"If you inform me, who the woman is that you say, I wished so much money on, you will oblige me particularly; for, upon my honour, I am a stranger to her, and you may rely on it; if any woman was to get a sum of money from me, it would be you. The reason I write to you on the subject is, that you may prevent any such report. The person that propagated such a one, must be the most infamous of all assassins, to attack me in such a mean cowardly manner. And, if such report should take place, I might be injured very materially, for reason I don't choose to mention. Upon my honour, it is as false as the perfidious wretch, that promulged it. And if I hear any more of it, I will prosecute him or her for defamation.
"I am, dear Leeson,