I write in as much hurry as you did, dear Sir, and thank you for the motive of yours mine is to prevent your fatiguing yourself in copying my manuscript, for which I am not in the least haste: pray keep it till another safe conveyance presents itself. You may bring the gout, that is, I am sorry to hear, flying about you, into your hand by wearying it.
How can you tell me I may well be cautious about my manuscript and yet advise me to print it?—No-I shall not provoke nests of hornets, till I am dust, as they will be too.
If I dictated tales when ill in my bed, I must have been worse than I thought; for, as I know nothing of it, I must have been light-headed. Mr. Lort was certainly misinformed, though he seems to have told you the story kindly to the honour of my philosophy or spirits-but I had rather have no fame than what I do not deserve.
I am fretful or low-spirited at times in the gout, like other weak old men, and have less to boast than most men. I have some strange things in my drawer, even wilder than the Castle of Otranto, and called Hieroglyphic Tales; but they were not written lately, nor in the gout, nor, whatever they may seem, written when I was out of my senses. I showed one or two of them to a person since my recovery, who may have mentioned them, and occasioned Mr. Lort’s misintelligence. I did not at all perceive that the latter looked ill; and hope he is quite recovered. You shall see Chatterton soon. Adieu!
I have received the manuscript, and though you forbid my naming the subject more, I love truth, and truth in a friend so much, that I must tell you, that so far from taking your sincerity ill, I had much rather you should act with your native honest sincerity than say you was pleased with my manuscript. I have always tried as much as is in human nature to divest myself of the self-love of an author; in the present case I had less difficulty than ever, for I never thought my Life of Mr. Baker one of my least indifferent works. You might, believe me, have sent me your long letter; whatever it contained, it would not have made a momentary cloud between us. I have not only friendship, but great gratitude for you, for a thousand instances of kindness; and should detest any writing of mine that made a breach with a friend, and still more, if it could make me forget obligations.
I sent you my Chattertoniad(344) last week,,in hopes it would sweeten your pouting; but I find it has not, or has miscarried; for You have not ’acknowledged the receipt with your usual punctuality.