It is now eleven o’clock at night. The lady who retired to rest an hour ago, is, as Mrs. Lovick tells me, in a sweet slumber.
I will close here. I hope I shall find her the better for it in the morning. Yet, alas! how frail is hope—How frail is life; when we are apt to build so much on every shadowy relief; although in such a desperate case as this, sitting down to reflect, we must know, that it is but shadowy!
I will enclose Brand’s horrid pedantry. And for once am aforehand with thy ravenous impatience.
Mr. Brand, to Mr. John Walton
sat. Night, Sept. 2.
I am obliged to you for the very ‘handsomely penned’, (and ’elegantly written,’) letter which you have sent me on purpose to do ‘justice’ to the ‘character’ of the ‘younger’ Miss Harlowe; and yet I must tell you that I had reason, ‘before that came,’ to ‘think,’ (and to ‘know’ indeed,) that we were ‘all wrong.’ And so I had employed the ’greatest part’ of this ‘week,’ in drawing up an ‘apologetical letter’ to my worthy ‘patron,’ Mr. John Harlowe, in order to set all ‘matters right’ between ‘me and them,’ and, (’as far as I could,’) between ‘them’ and ‘Miss.’ So it required little more than ‘connection’ and ‘transcribing,’ when I received ‘your’s’; and it will be with Mr. Harlowe aforesaid, ’to-morrow morning’; and this, and the copy of that, will be with you on ’Monday morning.’
You cannot imagine how sorry I am that ‘you’ and Mrs. Walton, and Mrs. Barker, and ‘I myself,’ should have taken matters up so lightly, (judging, alas-a-day! by appearance and conjecture,) where ‘character’ and ‘reputation’ are concerned. Horace says truly,
‘Et semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum.’
That is, ‘Words one spoken cannot be recalled.’ But, Mr. Walton, they may be ‘contradicted’ by ‘other’ words; and we may confess ourselves guilty of a ‘mistake,’ and express our ‘concern’ for being ‘mistaken’; and resolve to make our ‘mistake’ a ‘warning’ to us for the ‘future’: and this is all that ‘can be done,’ and what every ‘worthy mind will do’; and what nobody can be ‘readier to do’ than ‘we four undesigning offenders,’ (as I see by ‘your letter,’ on ‘your part,’ and as you will see by the ‘enclosed copy,’ on ’mine’;) which, if it be received as I ’think it ought,’ (and as I ‘believe it will,’) must give me a ‘speedy’ opportunity to see you when I ‘visit the lady’; to whom, (as you will see in it,) I expect to be sent up with the ‘olive-branch.’
The matter in which we all ‘erred,’ must be owned to be ‘very nice’; and (Mr. Belford’s ‘character considered’) ‘appearances’ ran very strong ‘against the lady.’ But all that this serveth to show is, ’that in doubtful matters, the wisest people may be mistaken’; for so saith the ‘Poet,’