« PoprzedniaDalej »
Friday Morning, April 20th. What does it signify? Why may not I visit you days as well as nights ? I no sooner close my eyes, than some invisible being, swift as the Alborack of Mahomet, bears me to you, — I see you, but cannot make myself visible to you. That tortures me, but it is still worse when I do not come, for I am then haunted by half a dozen ugly sprites. One will catch me and leap into the sea ; another will carry me up a precipice like that which Edgar describes in Lear, then toss me down, and, were I not then light as the gossamer, I should shiver into atoms; another will be pouring down my throat stuff worse than the witches' broth in Macbeth. Where I shall be carried next I know not, but I would rather have the smallpox by inoculation half a dozen times than be sprited about as I am. What say you ? Can you give me any encouragement to come ? time you receive this I hope from experience you will be able to say, that the distemper is but a trifle. Think
you I would not endure a trifle for the pleas. ure of seeing you ? Yes, were it ten times that trifle, I would. But my own inclinations must not be followed, — to duty I sacrifice them. Yet, O my mamma, forgive me if I say, you have forgot or never knew - but hush, and do you excuse me that something I promised you, since it was a speech more undutiful than that which I just now stopped myself in. For the present, good bye.
Friday Evening. I hope you smoke your letters well, before you deliver them. Mamma is so fearful lest I should catch the distemper, that she hardly ever thinks the letters are sufficiently purified. Did you never rob a bird's nest ? Do you remember how the poor bird would fly round and round, fearful to come nigh, yet not know how to leave the place ? Just so they say I hover round Tom, whilst he is smoking my letters.
But heyday, Mr. What's your name, who taught you to threaten so vehemently? “A character besides that of a critic, in which if I never did, I always hereafter shall fear you.” Thou canst not prove a villain, impossible, - 1, therefore, still insist upon it, that I neither do nor can fear thee. For my part, I know not that there is any pleasure in being feared ; but, if there is, I hope you will be so generous as to fear your Diana, that she may at least be made sensible of the pleasure. Mr. Ayers will bring you this letter and the bag. Do not repine, it is filled with balm.
Here is love, respects, regards, good wishes — a whole
wagon load of them, sent you from all the good folks in the neighbourhood.
To-morrow makes the fourteenth day. How many more are to come? I dare not trust myself with the thought. Adieu. Let me hear from you by Mr. Ayers, and excuse this very bad writing ; if you had mended my pen it would have been better. Once more, adieu. Gold and silver have I none,
but such as I have give I unto thee, - which is the affectionate regard of your
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Weymouth, Sunday Evening, 14 September, 1767. MY DEAREST FRIEND, The Doctor talks of setting out to-morrow for New Braintree. I did not know but that he might chance to see you in his way there. I know from the tender affection you bear me and our little ones, that you will rejoice to hear that we are well.
Our son is much better than when you left home, and our daughter rocks him to sleep with the song
of “ Come, papa, come home to brother Johnny.” Sunday seems a more lonely day to me than any other when you are absent ; for, though I may be compared to those climates which are deprived of the sun half the year, yet upon a Sunday you commonly afforded us your benign influence. I am now at Weymouth, my father brought me here last night ; to-morrow I return home, where I hope soon to receive the dearest of friends, and the tenderest of husbands, with that unabated affection which has for years past, and will whilst the vital spark lasts, burn in the bosom of your affectionate
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Braintree, 19 August, 1774. The great distance between us makes the time appear very long to me. It seems already a month since you
The great anxiety I feel for my country, for you, and for our family, renders the day tedious, and the night unpleasant. The rocks and quicksands appear upon every side. What course you can or will take is all wrapped in the bosom of futurity. Uncertainty and expectation leave the mind great scope. Did ever any kingdom or state regain its liberty, when once it was invaded, without bloodshed ? I cannot think of it without horror. Yet we are told, that all the misfortunes of Sparta were occasioned by their too great solicitude for present tranquillity, and, from an excessive love of peace, they neglected the means of making it sure and lasting. They ought to have reflected, says Polybius, that, as there is nothing more desirable or advantageous than peace, when founded in justice and honor, so there is nothing more shameful, and at the same time more pernicious, when attained by bad measures, and purchased at the price of liberty.” I have received a most charming letter from our friend Mrs. Warren.' She desires me to tell you
1 Mrs. Mercy Warren, the wife of General James Warren, of Plymouth, and the sister of James Otis.
that her best wishes attend you through your jour. ney, both as a friend and a patriot, - hopes you will have no uncommon difficulties to surmount, or hostile movements to impede you, - hut, if the Locrians should interrupt you, she hopes that you will beware, that no future annals may say you chose an ambitious Philip for your leader, who subverted the noble order of the American Amphictyons, and built up a monarchy on the ruins of the happy institution.
I have taken a very great fondness for reading Rollin's Ancient History since you left me. determined to go through with it, if possible, in these my days of solitude. I find great pleasure and entertainment from it, and I have persuaded Johnny to read me a page or two every day, and hope he will, from his desire to oblige me, entertain a fondness for it. We have had a charming rain, which lasted twelve hours, and has greatly revived the dying fruits of the earth.
I want much to hear from you. I long impatiently to have you upon the stage of action. The first of September, or the month of September, perhaps, may be of as much importance to Great Britain, as the Ides of March were to Cæsar. I wish you every public, as well as private blessing, and that wisdom which is profitable both for instruction and edification, to conduct you in this difficult day. The little flock remember papa, and kindly wish to see him ; so does your most affectionate