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writing to you gives me so much pleasure, and as I can't do any thing to you but write this - morning I know you'll excuse me.
Did you ever hear to what Crusoe owed his existence? You remember Alexander Selkirk's Strange sequestration at Juan Fernandez. It is mentioned, I believe, in Walter's account of Anson's Voyage. When Captain Woodes Rogers - met with him and brought him to England, he employed the famous Daniel de Foe to revise his papers. That fertile genius improved upon his materials, and composed the celebrated story of Robinson Crusoe. The consequence was that Selkirk, who soon after made his appearance in print, was considered as a bastard of Crusoe, with which fpurious offspring the press too often teems. In De Foe, undoubtedly, this was not honest. Had Selkirk given him his papers, there could have been no harm in working them up his own way. I can easily conceive a writer making his own use of a known fad, and filling up the outlines which have been sketched by the bold and hasty hand of fate. A moral may be added, by such means, to a particular incident; characters may be placed in their juft and proper lights; mankind may be amused, (and amusements sometimes prevent crimes) or, if the story be criminal, mankind
may be bettered, through the channel of their curiosity. But, I would not be dishonest, like De Foc; nor would I pain the breast of a single individual connected with the story.
Toexplain what I mean by a criminal story. Faldoni and Teresa might have been prevented from making proselytes, if they ever have made any, by working up their most affecting story so as to take off the edge of the dangerousexample. But not in the way Mr. Jerningham has done it; who tells us, not less intelligibly than pathetically,
All-ruling love, the god of youth, poffefs'd
Are you not charmed? Perhaps you never saw the poem. I have it here and will bring it you as a curiosity: the melancholy tale will not take upthree words, though Mr. J. has bestowed upon it 335 melancholy lines. The catastrophe happen'd near Lyons, in the month of June, 1770. Two lovers (Faldoni and Terefa Meunier) meeting with an invincible obstacle to their union, determined to
put an end to their existence with piftols. The place they chose forthe execution of their terrible project was a chapel that stood at a little distance from the house. They even decorated the altar for the occasion. They paid a particular attention to their own dress. Teresa was dressed in white, with rose-coloured ribbands. The fame coloured ribbands were tied to the pistols. Each held the ribband that was fastened to the other's trigger, which they drew at a certain signal..
Arria and Pætus (says:Voltaire) set the example, but then it must be considered they were condemned to death by a tyrant. . Whereas love was the only inventor and perpetrator of this deed.
Yet, while I talk of taking off the dangerous edge of their example, they have almost listed me under their bloody banners
On looking over the sermon I have written, I recollect a curious anecdote of Selkirk.
(By the bye, Wilkes, I suppose, would say, that none but a Scotchman could have lived fo many years upon a desert island.)
He tamed a great number of kids for society, and with them and the numerous offspring of two or three cats that had been left with him, he used often to dance.-- From all which my infe
rence is this-M. will not surely deprive herself of H's society; but will let him find her there to-morrow. Especially, since, in Mr. J.'s expreffive language,
As on one stem two opening flowers respire,
H. 23 Feb. 76. Where was you this morning, my life? I hould have been froze to death I believe with the cold, if I had not been waiting for you. I am uneasy, very uneasy. What could prevent you ? Your own appointment too. Why not write, if you could not come? Then, I had a dream last night, a sad dream, my
" For thee I fear, my love ; “ Such ghastly dreams last night surprized my soul."
You may reply, perhaps, with my favourite Iphis, 5. Heed not these black illufions of the night, “ The mockings of unquiet slumbers.”
Alas, I cannot help it. I am a weak woman, not a soldier.
I thought you had a duel with a person whom we have agreed never to mention. I thought you killed each other. I not only saw his sword, I heard it pass through my H.'s body. I saw you both die ; and with you, love and gratitude. Who is there, thought I, to mourn for M.? Not one!
: You may call me foolish; but I am uneasy, miserable, wretched ! Indeed, indeed I am. For God's sake, let me hear from you.
To the Same.
H. 24. Feb. 76. That business, as I told you it would, last night, obliges him to go to town. I am to fola low, for the winter. Now, my H. for the royal black bob and the bit of chalk ; or for any better scheme you'll plan. Let me know, to-morrow, where you think Lady G.'s scheme will be most practicable on the road, and there I'll take care to stop. I take my bible oath I won't deceive you, and more welcome shall you be to my longing arms, than all the dukes or princes in Christendom. If I am not happy for one whole night in my life, it will now be your fault.