I by no means would be understood to decline your obliging offer, Sir: on the contrary, I accept it joyfully, if you can trust me with your manuscript for a little time, should I have leisure to read it but by small snatches, which would be wronging you, and would break all connexion in my head. Criticism you are too great a writer to want; and to read critically is far beyond my present power. Can a scrivener, or a scrivener’s hearer, be a judge of composition, style, profound reasoning, and new lights and discoveries, etc.? But my weary hand and breast must finish. May I ask the favour of you calling on me any morning, when you shall happen to come to town? You will find the new-old lord exactly the same admirer of yours.
(834) Now first collected.
(835) Mr. Walpole had succeeded to the title of Earl of Orford on the 5th of December, upon the death of his nephew George, the third Earl.-E.
My much-esteemed friend, I have not so long delayed answering your letter from the pitiful revenge of recollecting how long your pen is fetching breath before it replies to mine. Oh! no; you know I love to heap coals of kindness on your head, and to draw you into little sins, that you may forgive yourself, by knowing your time was employed on big virtues. On the contrary, you would be revenged; for here have you, according to your notions, inveigled me into the fracture of a commandment; for I am writing to you on a Sunday, being the first moment of leisure that I have had since I received your letter. It does not indeed clash with my religious ideas, as I hold paying one’s debts as good a deed, as praying and reading sermons for a whole day in