Dear Sir, I did receive the print of Mrs. Newcome, for which I am extremely obliged to you, with a thousand other favours, and should certainly have thanked you for it long ago, but I was then, an(I am now, confined to my bed with the gout in every limb, and in almost every joint. I have not been out of my bedchamber these five weeks to-day and last night the pain returned violently into one of my feet; so that I am now writing to you in a most uneasy posture, which will oblige me to be very short.
Your letter, which I suppose was left at my house in Arlington street by Mr. Essex, was brought to me this morning. I am exceedingly sorry for his disappointment, and for his coming without writing first; in which case I might have prevented his journey. I do not know, even, whither to send to him, to tell him how impossible it is for me just now, in my present painful and hopeless situation, to be of any use to him. I am so weak and faint, I do not see even my nearest relations, and God knows how long it will be before I am able to bear company, much less application. I have some thoughts, as soon as I am able, of removing to Bath; so that I cannot guess when it will be in my power to consider duly Mr. Essex’s plan with him. I shall undoubtedly, if ever capable of it, be ready to give him my advice, such as it is; or to look over his papers, and even to correct them, if his modesty thinks me more able to polish them than he is himself. At the same time, I must own, I think he will run too great a risk by the expense. The engravers in London are now arrived at such a pitch of exorbitant imposition, that, for my own part, I have laid aside all thoughts of having a single plate more done.
Dear Sir, pray tell Mr. Essex how concerned I am for his mischance, and for the total impossibility I am under of seeing him now. I can write no More, but I shall be glad to hear from you on his return to Cambridge: and when I am recovered, you may be assured how glad I shall be to talk his plan over with him. I am his and Your obliged humble servant.
I have had a relapse, and not been able to use my hand, or I should have lamented with you on the plunder of your prints by that Algerine hog.(80) I pity you, dear Sir, and feel for your awkwardness, that was struck dumb at his rapaciousness. The beast has no sort of taste neither-and in a twelvemonth will sell them again. I regret particularly one print, which I dare to say he seized, that I gave you, Gertrude More; I thought I had another, and had not; and, as you liked it, I never told you so. This Muley Moloch used to buy books, and now sells them. He has hurt his fortune, and ruined himself, to have a Collection, without any choice of what it should be composed. It is the most underbred swine I ever saw; but I did not know it was so ravenous. I wish you may get paid any how; you see by my writing how difficult it is to me, and therefore will excuse my being short.