The sight of your advertisement of the 5th inst. acted on me with the same attraction that the sight of a beefsteak does on the hungry tenant of a Grub Street attic. I flatter myself that you will find in me that happy mean which you desire. I am of the middle size and though the soundness of my shoulders which endeavour to rival in height my head, aided by an agreeable stoop seem to diminish me, yet that is amply counter-balanced by the genteel and interesting thinness of my person. I am president of a Wit Club, and there Madam could you come you would at once perceive the extensive comprehension of my genius. Pope, Swift, Voltaire, La Fontaine, Boileau, Lucian and Aristophanes compose my more serious studies; Tom Brown, Joe Miller, Killegrew, George Alexander Stevens, Colman and Thornton, together with all the facetious modern writers down to the merry jester, Comus Court and pills to purge melancholy contribute to the amusement of my lighter moments. But though I shine at the evening clubs, I wander all day about town with a large stock of wit in hand which the booksellers are too avaricious and too tasteless to purchase, and literally “meo sum pauper in aere”.
Often am I obliged to assume a bold air that will enable me in spite of the remonstrances of waiters and bidders to empty the biscuit bag and drain the negus bowl at Garraways that will inspire me with confidence to devour the bread and cheese, and swallow with unparalleled effrontery the wine, for sale at the auction mart. Often do I tip the waiter the “Go By” at a chop house and escape without discharging my reckoning with the simple expedient of producing a note marked not the Pound, but one penny not issued from Threadneedle Street but from Fleet Market, the sight of which produces the instantaneous reply — I can’t change, sir.
Need I add that my head is hard and fully able to bear all the effervescence of the disorder which you have in common with the wife of Socrates; but Madam I have studied that complaint and have found out a remedy which should I have the honour of being elected as your Caro Sposo I shall perhaps put in practice. My temper Madam is good, for I often have my best story, joke, or repartee received with a solemnity not to be surpassed by the mutes of an undertaker, and a heart-sickening “And what then?” Nor dare I complian or appear vexed; on the contrary I must return undaunted to the attack.
I have not a turn for any extravagance, at least I never was in a situation to find out any peculiarity of that sort in my disposition.
I write verses, I squeak so admirably on wind instruments that the clubs have styled me “Count Flageolet”.
I have an infinite number of coaches marked to use a mercantile term No. 1 to 1100 inclusive, and a coronet upon each of them; though it is necessary to inform you Madam that I am a joint tenant, or tenant in common, with the rest of the town. With respect to your person Madam, I am already in love. The frankness displayed in your letter Madam, has charmed me. I have endeavoured to be equally unreserved and should my propitious fates so far influence your conduct as to make me the “happy man”, to oblige you will ever be the greatest desire of Madam
Your very obedient, most devoted
Green Lettuce Lane Feby 1812