I have not only a trembling hand, but scarce time to save the post; yet I write a few lines to beg you will be perfectly easy on my account, who never differ seriously with my friends, when I know they do not mean ill to me. I was sorry you took so much to heart an alteration in the scenery of your play,(463) which did not seem to me very material; and which, having since been adjusted to your wish, had no better effect. I told you that it was my fault, not Mr. Malone’s, who is warmly your friend; and I am sure you will be sorry if you do him injustice. I regret no pains I have taken, since they have been crowned with your success; and it would be idle in either of us to recall any little cross circumstance that may have happened, (as always do in bringing a play on the stage,) when they have not prevented its appearance or good fortune. Be assured, Sir, if that is worth knowing, that I have taken no offence, and have all the same good wishes for you that I ever had since I was acquainted with your merit and abilities. I can easily allow for the anxiety of a parent of your genius for his favourite offspring; and though I have not your parts, I have had the warmth, though age and illness have chilled it: but, thank God! they have not deprived me of my good-humour, and I am most good-humouredly and sincerely your obedient humble servant.
(462) Now first collected.
(463) See ant`e, p. 295, letter 233.-E.
We are both hearty friends, my dear Sir, for I see we have both been reproaching ourselves with silence at the same moment. I am much concerned that you have had cause for yours.(464) I have had less, though indisposed too in a part material for correspondence—my hand, which has been in labour of chalk-stones this whole summer, and at times so nervous as to tremble so much, that, except when quite necessary, I have avoided a pen. I have been delivered of such a quantity of chalky matter, that I am not only almost free from pain, but hope to avoid a fit this winter. How there can be a doubt what the gout is, amazes me! what is it but a concretion of humours, that either Stop up the fine vessels, cause pain and inflammation, and pass away only by perspiration; or which discharge themselves into chalk-stones, which sometimes remain in their beds, sometimes make their passage outwardly? I have experienced all three. It may be objected, that the sometimes instantaneous removal of pain from one limb to another is too rapid for a current of chalk—true, but not for the humour before coagulated. As there is, evidently, too, a degree of wind mixed in the gout, may not that wind be impregnated with the noxious effluvia, especially as the latter are pent up in the body and may be corrupted? I hope your present complaint in the foot will clear the rest of your person. Many thanks for your etching of