Do not imagine, dear Madam, that I pretend in the most distant manner to pay you for charming poetry with insipid prose; much less that I acquit a debt of gratitude for flattering kindness and friendship, by a meagre tale that does not even aim at celebrating you. No; I have but two motives for offering you the accompanying trifle;(580) the first, to prove that the moment I have finished any thing you are of the earliest in my thoughts: the second, that, Coming from my press, I wish it may be added to your Strawberry editions. It is so far from being designed for the public, that I have printed but forty copies; which I do not mention to raise its value, though it will with mere collectors, but lest you should lend it and lose it, when I may not be able to supply its place.
Christina, indeed, has some title to connexion with you, both from her learning and her moral writings; as you are justly entitled to a lodging in her “C it`e des Dames,” where I am sure her three patronesses would place you, as a favourite `el`eve of some of their still more amiable sisters, who must at this moment be condoling With their unfortunate sister Gratitude, whose vagabond foundling has so basely disgraced her and herself. You fancied that Mrs. Yearsley was a spurious issue of a muse; and to be sure, with all their immortal virginity, the parish of Parnassus has been sadly charged with their bantlings; and, as nobody knows the fathers, no wonder some of the misses have turned out woful reprobates!
(580) Christine de Pise.
Your ladyship tells me, that you have kept a journal of your travels: you know not when your friends at Paris will give you time to put it au net; that is, I conclude and hope, prepare it for the press. I do not wonder that those friends, whether talismanic or others, are so assiduous, if you indulge them — but, unless they are of the former description, they are unpardonable, if they know what they interrupt; and deserve much more that you should wish they had fallen into a ditch, than the poor gentlemen who sigh more to see you in sheets of holland than of paper. To me the mischief is enormous. How proud I should be to register a noble authoress of my own country, who has travelled over more regions and farther than any female in print! Your ladyship has visited those islands and shores whence formerly issued those travelling sages and legislators who sought and imported wisdom, laws, and religion into Greece; and though we are so perfect as to want none Of those commodities, the fame of those philosophers is certainly diminished when a fair lady has gone so far in quest of knowledge. You have gone in an age when travels are brought