Letter from Philemon Beauclerc

Miss Vardill

Mr Editor

All is over! The phantoms of Positive House have melted into air — thin air! Yesterday our saloon was lighted with the purest gas, and Lord Aircastle sat in his chair of state in the purple robe and wheaten garland of a Roman Praetor at a scenic game in April; while the widow Artemisia wore the tunic, stola and palleum of an ancient matron to receive the prize he had alloted to her superlative merit. But when Electromagus opened the treasury-chest of his institution to deliver the golden prize promised by his Patron, nothing could be found in it except a billet in which Lord Aircastle beheld these words.

Atticus Scriblerus presents due compliments to Electromagus and hopes his pupils will be hereafter sufficiently excited by his electric skill, without the aid of the gold box which Atticus conceives himself entitled to take, having written the poem preferred by Lord Aircastle. Sir Pertinax Townly declines his claim as he derived the stimuli of his poetic essays from the fair stranger. Mr Scriblerus has the honour of leaving this card pour prendre congé; the divine Rodelinda having condescended to be his Cunaeus jar of inspiration during the rest of her life

Lord Aircastle fixed his eyes upon me with a grimace resembling an owl’s in an exhausted air-pump; but I answered his mute appeal by an assurance that in Lady Olivia’s promised hand, I had obtained the only prize I coveted. The peer instantly turned to Mrs Bustleton, who smiled with ineffable grace while he offered his heart and coronet as substitutes for the golden tribute which had been purloined. During this theatric denouement Electromagus disappeared, and Positive House will now be exposed to public auction with all its appurtenances.

Now, friendly Editor, it is time to acquaint you with your correspondent. The Brotherhood of Hermits, it seems, have issued a circular notice respecting an Ex-Member, and I acknowledge myself the delinquent. Many have assumed my name and amused your Attic Circle with sportive forgeries, but the truth and honour of the real Pilgrim challenge scrutiny. The tender Incognita married by Sir Pertinax Townly is the foster-sister of Lady Olivia, and there is a species of retribution in this match, as in addition to the bequest she derives from and and Indian uncle, she is the niece of a provident Steward, enriched by mortgages on his master’s estate — she has whim and adventure enough for a fashionable baronet’s wife, and her uncle pays her dowry with — her husband’s money. Thus Sir Pertinax redeems his estate with no encumbrance except a wife whose beauty will give ton to her talents.

My good friend Atticus, whose patience and good humour have been well tried here, has provided them with sufficient future exercise by eloping with Rodelinda, alias Barbara B. of scientific celebrity, ex-Member of Tabby Hall! In poetry, perhaps, their union may be harmonious (as the concurrence of their ideas on a fashionable subject was striking, tho’ certainly accidental and unpremeditated) and the Legends of Lampidosa, I apprehend, will begin their partnership in public.

As for myself — my happiness shall be dated from hence. The “sear of yellow leaf” which had begun to show itself in my character will be hidden, I hope, by my union with Olivia whose pacific sweetness accords so well with her name. Mine, humbly recommended to mercy, will be better known to my friends when I subscribe myself

E**** the Pilgrim

alias P. Beauclerc