STREET, BUCKINGHAM GATE, May 2d.
MY DEAREST H——,
I received your kind letter the other night (that is, morning) on my return from a ball, and read your reflections on dissipation with an attention heightened by the appropriate comment of a bad headache and abject weariness from top to toe with dancing. The way in which people prosecute their pleasures in this good town of London is certainly amazing; and we are (perforce) models of moderation, compared with most of our acquaintance. I met at that very ball persons who had been to one and two parties previously, and were leaving that dance to hurry to another. Independently of the great fatigue of such a life, it seems to me so strange that when people are enjoying themselves to their hearts’ content in one place, they cannot be satisfied to remain there until they wish to return home, but spend half the night in the streets, running from one house to another, working their horses to death, and wasting the precious time when they might be DANCING. You see my folly is not so great but that I have philosophy to spare for my neighbors. Let me tell you again, dear H——, how truly I rejoice in your niece’s restored health. The spring, too, is the very time for such a resurrection, when every day and every hour, every cloud and every flower, offer inexhaustible matter for the capabilities of delight thus regained. Indeed, “the drops on the trees are the most beautiful of all!” [E—— T——’s exclamation during one of her first drives after the long imprisonment of her nervous malady.] A wonderful feeling of renewed hope seems to fill the heart of all created things in the spring, and even here in this smoky town it finds its way to us, inclosed as we are by brick walls, dusty streets, and all things unlovely and unnatural! I stood yesterday in the little court behind our house, where two unhappy poplars and a sycamore tree were shaking their leaves as if in surprise at the acquisition and to make sure they had them, and looked up to the small bit of blue sky above them with pleasurable spring tears in my eyes. How I wish I were rich and could afford to be out of town now! I always dislike London, and this lovely weather gives me a sort of mal du pays for the country. My dearest H——, you must not dream of leaving Ardgillan just when I am coming to see you; that would be indeed a disappointment. My father is not at home at this moment, but I shall ask him before I close this letter the exact time when we shall be in Dublin. I look forward with much pleasure to making my aunt Dall known to you. She is, I am happy to say, coming with me, for indeed she is in some sense my “all the world.” You have often heard me speak of her, but it is difficult for words to do justice to one whose whole life is an uninterrupted stream of usefulness, goodness, and patient devotion