I thought it would happen so; that I should not see you before I left England! Indeed, I may as well give you quite up, for every year reduces our Intercourse. I am prepared, because it must happen, if I live, to see my friends drop off; but my mind was not turned to see them entirely separated from me while they live. This is very uncomfortable, but so are many things!—well! I will go and try to forget you all—all! God knows that all that I have left to forget is small enough; but the warm heart, that gave me affections, is not so easily laid aside. If I could divest myself of that, I should not, I think, find much for friendship remaining; you, against whom I have no complaint, but that you satisfy yourself with loving me without any desire of seeing me, are one of the very last that I wish to preserve; but I will say no more on a subject that my heart is too full of.
I shall set out on Monday se’nnight, and force myself to believe that I am glad to go, and yet this will be my chief joy, for I promise myself little pleasure in arriving. Can you think me boy enough to be fond of a new world at my time of life! If I did not hate the world I know, I should not seek another. My greatest amusement will be in reviving old ideas. The memory of what made impressions on one’s youth is ten times dearer than any new pleasure can be. I shall probably write to you often, for I am not disposed to communicate myself’ to any thing that I have not known these thirty years. My mind is such a compound from the vast variety that I have seen, acted, pursued, that it would cost me too much pains to be intelligible to young persons, if I had a mind to open myself to them. They certainly do not desire I should. You like my gossiping to you, though you seldom gossip with me. The trifles that amuse my mind are the only points I value now. I have seen the vanity of every thing serious, and the falsehood of every thing that pretended to be serious. I go to see French plays and buy French china, not to know their ministers, to look into their government, or think of the interests of nations—in short, unlike most people that are growing old, I am convinced that nothing is charming but what appeared important in one’s youth, which afterwards passes for follies. Oh! but those follies were sincere; if the pursuits of age are so, they are sincere alone to self-interest. Thus I think, and have no other care but not to think aloud. I would not have respectable youth think me an old fool. For the old knaves, they may suppose me one of their number if they please; I shall not be so—but neither the one nor the other shall know what I am. I have done with them all, shall amuse myself as well as I can, and think as little as I can; a pretty hard task for an active mind!
Direct your letters to Arlington-street, whence Favre will take care to convey them to me. I leave him to manage all my affairs, and take no soul but Louis. I am glad I don’t know your Mrs. Anne; her partiality would make me love her; and it is entirely incompatible with my present system to leave even a postern-door open to any feeling which would steal in if I did not double-bolt every avenue.