“Saturday, 17th. I have been unwell to-day in some degree, so that I have not been able to go out all day. It was a return of the colic. I sent my letter of introduction to Dr. Lettsom with a request that he would call on me, which he did and prescribed a medicine which cured me in an hour or two, and this evening I feel well enough to resume my letter.
“Dr. Lettsom is a very singular man. He looks considerably like the print you have of him. He is a moderate Quaker, but not precise and stiff like the Quakers of Philadelphia. He is a very pleasant and sociable man and withal very blunt in his address. He is a man of excellent information and is considered among the greatest literary characters here. There is one peculiarity, however, which he has in conversation, that of using the verb in the third person singular with the pronoun in the first person singular and plural, as instead of ‘I show’ or ‘we show,’ he says ’I shows,’ ‘we shows,’ etc., upon which peculiarity the famous Mr. Sheridan made the following lines in ridicule of him:—
“If patients call, both one and all
I bleeds ’em and I sweats ’em,
And if they die, why what care I—
“This is a liberty I suppose great men take with each other....
“Perhaps you may have been struck at the lateness of the hour set by Mr. Bromfield for dinner [5 o’clock!], but that is considered quite early in London. I will tell you the fashionable hours. A person to be genteel must rise at twelve o’clock, breakfast at two, dine at six, and sup at the same time, and go to bed about three o’clock the next morning. This may appear extravagant, but it is actually practised by the greatest of the fashionables of London....
“I think you will not complain of the shortness of this letter. I only wish you now had it to relieve your minds from anxiety, for, while I am writing, I can imagine mama wishing that she could hear of my arrival, and thinking of thousands of accidents that may have befallen me, and I wish that in an instant I could communicate the information; but three thousand miles are not passed over in an instant and we must wait four long weeks before we can hear from each other.”
(The italics are mine, for on the outside of this letter written by Morse in pencil are the words:—
“A longing for the telegraph even in this letter.”)
“There has a ghost made its appearance a few streets only from me which has alarmed the whole city. It appears every night in the form of shriekings and groanings. There are crowds at the house every night, and, although they all hear the noises, none can discover from whence they come. The family have quitted the house. I suppose ’tis only a hoax by some rogue which will be brought out in time.”
AUGUST 24, 1811—DECEMBER 1. 1811