March 18, 1817
The following letter was received from an absent member too late to be noticed in the Editorial remarks. It was accompanied by in intimation that the Ladies part of the correspondence would be also communicated if this letter was favourably received, a circumstance that surprises us as we cannot understand by what means our friend has become the confidant of both parties. We suspect he has received the whole from the Lady as the Gentleman, we are told, is still abroad. Be this as it may, we think he is rather hard upon us in requesting we will transcribe the whole, that the parties may not be discovered by the hand-writing. This is a task from which he certainly relieve us. We have however complied with his request in this instance; but trust that some of our auditors who know him will prevail on him to send us his correspondence in characters that all the world may read. We are not parsimonious of our trouble but the various duties of an Editor require as much indulgence from our friends as they can possibly give us.
Dieppe Augt. 4th 1816
Yes, I am here most ungrateful of women — I am in France — in the town of Dieppe — one hundred miles of sea rolls between us. It’s roaring is music to mine ear. It tells me I no longer inhabit the same land that you inhabit, tread the same turf that you tread on, and breathe the same air that you breathe. My mind seems emancipated from bondage. My thoughts are no longer fettered by your image standing over me like a controlling divinity, forbidding me to speak, look or think but as she directed. I can look on other objects, speak on what I please, and suffer my thoughts to stray at the pleasure of fancy — Nay, I can forget that such a Being as you is in existence, and but for the pleasure of telling you how happy I am that I can forget you, never should you see another word written by the hand of a man you have treated so cruelly. When I quitted your door in Grosvenor Street on Thursday night I flung myself into the coach with such fury that my head made its way through the glass of the opposite door. I was saved from a similar misfortune on entering the Brighthelmstone stage by the wig of a Presbyterian paster, which kindly interposed between the fragile barrier and my impenetrable forehead. A cloud of powder filled the coach and converted the sables of the passengers into mealy grey — I made no apology — I muttered something not loud — but deep, that would not be called blessings, I assure you, on the person against whom they were directed. Such were my thoughts all the journey — restless and troublesome to all and careless whether I pleased or offended. Your image was constantly before me rising in all its loveliness. The pride of your heart flamed in your eyes — Again and again I heard you say, “Go Granger go, and do not count on my love till you convince me you deserve my esteem.” At Brighthelmstone I leaped into the boat that was to convey me to the packet. Its motion on the surge in the beach, in some measure soothed my turbulent spirits. A lady approached. It was your figure — it was you yourself — I sprang forward to — to — to prevent your entering when I discovered it was another and checked the impulses of resentment. I assisted the stranger into the boat and up the side of the vessel. On the deck I was drawn to her by I know not what incomprehensible attraction and twice to my vexation and astonishment I called her my dear Lucy — What was in my head?
She is not like you — yet she is . She is not so tall — she is not so handsome, yet I think, at times, she is taller and handsomer for she is all condescension and kindness. She has not your enchanting smile and yet, on my conscience, I sometimes thought her smile a thousand times more enchanting. The Beach of Brighthelmstone and the Royal Dome was now fading from our view and I rejoiced that I had found an object more worthy of my attention than the ungrateful Lucy. I only wished she had been less like a person I desired to forget. She is a charming woman!
It is not my intention to tell you anything of Dieppe which is said to exhibit a more perfect specimen of the antient Norman manners and costume than any other town in the Province of Normandy, for why should I amuse or inform a woman who has driven me from her presence and whom I am determined never to think of more. Why should I describe to her the straight streets and lofty houses of this antique town, which appears to have preserved its primitive character by the happy circumstance, that it was situated in a nook of France and not in the high road from England to Paris — distant yet near — between Calais and Paris crowds of travellers are perpetually passing, rubbing off as they pass the antient rust of the inhabitants and leaving with them something of the modern polish of London and Paris. But Dieppe, little disturbed by those migrating strangers, like a remote village in Yorkshire or a burg in Switzerland, has continued from age to age the same. I am told that this town was built by the English but by whomsoever built, its lofty stone-fronted houses distinguished by the peculiarity of its upper windows, the various forms and various decorations of which compensate by their picturesque effect for the fragrance of the streets.
Where gentle gales
Fanning their Oduriferous wings, dispense
Nature perfumes; and whisper whence they stole
Their balmy spoils
Not such spoils, such perfumes, such Sabean odors, as according to the above-quoted poet are wafted from the spicy shore of Araby the blest; while well-pleased the Mariners slack their course and many a league
cheered with the grateful smell old Ocean’s Smiles”.
Our Mariners as we approached the port slackened their course but not to enjoy the grateful smell — their object was extract from our purses a greater reward for increasing the difficulties of landing.
But why will my foolish pen thus run away with my judgment — I will split it — break it — burn it the moment my letter is finished. Why will it thus discourse to one I wish not to speak. I meant only to tell you I was here, that I had forgot you, and the ungovernable machine has covered a ream of paper — Well here I stop — I will not mention the dress of the sweet Ladies of this sweet town, nor describe their caps which rising high like a persian turban in front, expand in a pair of wings like those which poetic artists give to Genius or a Sylph. In shape like the cut-waters of a fishing smack, and all together like a pease-blossom. One of these Sylphs is now before me — head as before described — shoulders as broad as a coal-porters, clothed in a scarlet waistcoat, waist a span in diameter — below a vast circumference like a three-ton cheshire cheese clothed in a blue petticoat and supported by a pair of red stockinged spindles upon wooden high-toed sabots. This Sylph I say invites me to taste her red-herrings. Oh how unlike the Sylph that is now dancing before the eyes of my imagination, tall in person, elegant in form, blooming as the rosebud glowing in the dew of morn. Altogether lovely as the daughters of paradise, the very image of — of — the fair companion of my voyage — the charming unknown who now calls me to my place in the cabriolet that is to convey us to Rouen.
As I do not desire to hear from you or see your handwriting again I send no address. My Brother knows with what punctuality I enquire à la poste restante for letters and will know what to do.
I subscribe myself, your quondam
Admirer — the indignant