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ranging one above the other, on each side of it; whilst surmounting the cornice, and occupying the greater part of the front roof, are three gables, or triangular uprights, with a window
"I am afraid you will laugh, my dear Agnes, at the minuteness of this architectural detail; but you must prepare yourself, I do assure you, in spite of all the ridicule I may incur by the attempt, to endure a still more minute depictment, as well of the interior of the mansion, as of its tenants; for I have caught, I will allow, no small portion of my father's admiration for his poetical friend, and I do verily begin to believe, as he firmly assures me, that however careless the present age may be as to the personal history of the bard, a time will come, when, from the acknowledged superiority of his genius, every the most trifling anecdote concerning him and his connections will be sought after with avidity. I am the more willing to credit and encourage this tone of enthusiasm, as not only does my love for the writings of Shakspeare, which, under the influence of my father, I have imbibed even from my very childhood, induce me to cherish
such an expectation, but I have now the strong additional motive of a personal acquaintance with the poet, to bind the impression on my heart. For I solemnly protest to you, my sweet Agnes, that I do not think a more amiable or benevolent being exists than the author of 'Romeo and Juliet,' a declaration which, as I know how greatly you admire that play, will, I am sure, delight you. In no respect, indeed, does he arrogate to himself any deference or distinction; in fact, he appears to me perfectly unconscious of the magnitude and universality of his own genius; and so cheerful is he in his temper, so utterly void of stiffness and constraint in all he says and does; in one word, so truly and entirely the gentleman, in the best and noblest sense of the term, that I scarcely think it possible, even for the most young and lively, to be much in his company without entertaining an affection for him. You will not be surprised, therefore, to learn, that in this his native town and neighbourhood, he is an object of love and esteem to all classes, to grave and gay, to rich and poor; and that, of course, nine times out of ten, as might be expected from the fascination
of his manners, the splendour of the poet is almost forgotten in attachment to the man.
"If any further motive were wanting on my part, my Agnes, for a more than common admiration of the genius and character of Shakspeare, it would be from the consideration of the happy influence of both over the spirits of my poor father, whose domestic sorrows, you well know, have been such as greatly, and, I fear, permanently, to injure his health. I have not for years seen him so cheerful and abstracted from care, notwithstanding the pain arising from his accident, as since he has been a resident at New-Place; and deeply, indeed, shail I feel indebted to the bard, if, by the goodness of Providence, he should prove instrumental towards the restoration of my father's peace of mind; for I should have told you, my love, that vivacious and full of humour as is the general cast of Shakspeare's temper, and much as we have heard of the frolic achievements of his younger days, and much as he must necessarily have mixed with the gayest spirits of the age, he is yet, I am well assured, by those who know him best, as remarkable for the piety as
for the cheerfulness of his disposition, a feature in his character which, connected, as it is, with great and acknowledged splendour of talent cannot fail to give him an almost irresistible influence over the perturbations of sorrow, or the conscience-stricken feelings of remorse.
"Under these powerful incentives to the love and veneration of our host, you will not, I am persuaded, be surprised at the importance which I attach to every thing connected with himself or his friends; nor that I threaten to resume in my next letter the very minute sketch which I have attempted to begin in this, of the poet's house and family. I feel, indeed, and I pray you to pardon the presumption of such an idea, as if he were, somehow or other, associated with the destiny of our house; a belief which has originated, I have no doubt, in the very beneficial effect which his society appears to have produced on the thoughts and prospects of my father.
"I will only add, that nothing has transpired since we left the Hall, with regard to poor Hubert Grey, on whose account, as you well