Madam Hannah, You are an errant reprobate, and grow wickeder and wickeder every day. You deserve to be treated like a negre; and your favourite Sunday, to which you are so partial that you treat the other poor six days of the week as if they had no souls to be saved, should, if I could have my will, “shine no Sabbath-day for you.” Now, don’t simper, and look as innocent as if virtue would not melt in your mouth. Can you deny the following charges?—I lent you “The Botanic Garden,” and you returned it without writing a syllable, or saying, -where you were or whither you was going; I suppose for fear I should know how to direct to you. Why, if I did send a letter after you, could not you keep it three months without an answer, as you did last year?
In the next place, you and your nine accomplices, who, by the way, are too good in keeping you company, have clubbed the prettiest poem imaginable,(637) and communicated it to Mrs. Boscawen, with injunctions not to give a copy of it; I suppose, because you are ashamed of having written a panegyric. Whenever you do compose a satire, you are ready enough to publish it; at least, whenever you do, you will din one to death with it. But now, mind your perverseness: that very pretty novel poem, and I must own it is charming, have you gone and spoiled, flying in the faces of your best friends the Muses, and keeping no measures with them. I’ll be shot if they dictated two of the best lines with two syllables too much in each—nay, you have weakened one of them,
“Ev’n Gardiner’s mind”
is far more expressive than steadfast Gardiner’s; and, as Mrs. Boscawen says, whoever knows any thing of Gardiner, could not want that superfluous epithet; and whoever does not, would not be the wiser for your foolish insertion—Mrs. Boscawen did not call it foolish, but I do. The second line, as Mesdemoiselles the Muses handed it to you, Miss, was,
“Have all be free and saved—”
not, “All be free and all be saved:” the second all be is a most unnecessary tautology. The poem was perfect and faultless, if you could have let it alone. I wonder how your mischievous flippancy could help maiming that most new and beautiful expression, “sponge Of sins;” I should not have been surprised, as you love verses too full of feet, if you have changed it to “that scrubbing-brush of sins.”
Well! I will say no more now: but if you do not order me a copy of “Bonner’s Ghost” incontinently, never dare to look my printing house in the face again. Or come, I’ll tell you what; I will forgive all your enormities, if you will let me print your poem. I like to filch a little immortality out of others, and the Strawberry press could never have a better opportunity. I will not haggle for the public will be content with printing only two hundred copies, of which you shall have half, and I half. It shall cost you nothing but a yes, I only propose this, in case you do not mean