Letter from Alopex to the Editress

Miss Porden


I know not what you mean by asserting that I am mad, but if I were so your conduct has been sufficient to deprive anyone of his senses. After all, your former insults, to brand me with insanity, and at the same time to refuse me satisfaction for my injuries, to continue to give praise to those odious lectures, and to attribute them to me. I hope that in my lucid intervals I will send more of them. I appeal to the candour of the Attic Society, is not this enough to drive any man to madness. But, sir, the cowardice of your refusals to meet me in the field of honour has shown me your real character and how much beneath me it would be to risk my precious life, that life which has till now been the source of unfading glory to my country and the loss of which would occasion her so much unavailing sorrow, to risk it in combat with one whose recent behaviour has proved him so much beneath my resentment. That I may not be any longer exposed to the repetition of injuries which you deny me the pleasure of avenging I have been induced after mature deliberation to ask permission to resign the office of Prose Writer to the Attic Chest and therefor desire you will lay this my request before the Society from which I hope shortly to receive my mittimus according to the ancient form of dismissal into the other world. “Vade in pacem” might in this instance have been revived with peculiar propriety as since the unfortunate moment of my receiving my short lived dignity I have never known a moment’s peace. Experience has taught me the truth of the trite old maxim that honor cannot confer happiness and has shown me that even in this Augustan age vain is the hope that living genius should meet its due reward. I quit my office still poorer than when I came into it and if I should be fortunate enough to escape the claims of the bailiffs may still perhaps occasionally honor the Attic Society with notice of my fate. If indeed my affairs should not soon wear a brighter aspect, I must relinquish my literary avocations and resort to some more mechanical means of subsistence. What a loss, methinks I hear the Society exclaim, will thy be to the literary world, but let the sons of literature reflect that they alone are to blame for it, they whose parsimony refused to support me in my present glorious course. With respect to the Advertising Lady, I here present her my last adieux. But let not her vanity suppose that despairing and disconsolate I still seek the death I lately spoke of. No! my affection kindled in my mind by the images of ideal worth and beauty died when imagination slept and hope ceased to animate. Nor let her think should she now too late repent her treatment of me the rays of hope or her own enlivening smile could revive its dying embers for her manifest want of judgment has shown that she would not suit me.

I am, sir, for the last time

your &c. &c. &c.

Alopex P.W. A.C &c. &c. &c.