Letter from Alopex

Miss Porden

I feel myself extremely disobliged by your conduct which I cannot help believing as the cause of my misfortunes. Had you but possessed the candour, when you appointed me Prose Writer to the Attic Society, to have informed me that there was no emolument arising from the office, I should not have been encouraged by false hopes which have run me into expenses I am by no means able to defray.

With regard to the advertising lady, her oblique refusal I cannot but consider the consequence of the want of salary, unless it arises from delirium occasioned by the fever she mentioned in her last letter, as I am confident no woman in her senses could otherwise have refused me. But this, sir, is not the only instance in which I have to complain of your behaviour. Your deliberate and repeated introduction of pieces as mine when you knew them to be the production of others, even after I had warned you of the danger of repeating such an offence, has excited my just indignation, though I must esteem the praises bestowed on them as a proof of the respect which the Attic Society entertains for my name, as without that sanction pieces so bad in every respect could not have been tolerated. But consider, sir, what injury my reputation as an author must suffer from having such essays attributed to me, essays dull and methodical as the veriest critic could desire, how unlike my wild and irregular but always lofty flights of genius, my sublime and interesting obscurity, and more than all my total want of a determinate subject. Such repeated offences, sir, have awakened in me the spirit of a gentleman and I therefore request you to appoint a time and place where you will meet me with sword or pistols to give me the satisfaction due for such and insult. I must request the time may be fixed immediately, for having no family to regard or property to bequeath, I wish the business to be settled as soon as possible. I intend writing to the advertising lady, if the agitated state of my spirits will permit me. In the meanwhile I wish matters to be kept quite snug that should fortune favour your arm and my body be found pierced with wounds, the cruel fair one to whose perfidy and ingratitude I owe my misery may have the horror of thinking, if she has any feeling, that her cruelty has driven me to despair and to the commission of this fatal act. I trust, sir, you will have too much generosity and humanity to deprive me of the posthumous honor of having died for love, an honor the greater as those who claim it are now so extremely scarce. I am, sir, your most obedient, the miserable and despairing but injured and insulted


P.S. As by my death the offie of Prose Writer will become vacant I should wish that the author of the geological lectures might not be appointed to succeed me.