Grub Street. April 1st 1813
To the Editress of the Attic Chest
A humble votary of the virgin deities whose propitious smile so oft illumes your Attic Evenings respectfully begs to introduce himself to your notice.
Honoured with the favour and approbation of a select portion of the literary and scientific world, and hearing from every quarter the fame of the Attic Chest, I have long burnt with an aspiring ardour to be permitted to cast my mite among its treasures; but that modesty so natural to genius in obscurity has hitherto withheld me, till, being informed of the Society assembled under your auspices at Tabby Hall, the desire to serve so illustrious a company of Damsels, and the conviction that I could serve them well, have added another link to the chain of imperative motives, which drew me from my retreat — my diffidence is o’ercome, and I boldly take leave to address you.
The way, Madam, in which I propose to serve the Ladies of Tabby Hall, is in writing for their amusement. What company of single ladies can be amused without new publications, and above all, without new Novels? And what Ladies of purity, elegance and taste like those in question can allow themselves the indiscriminate perusal of all that issues from the Minerva Press? Let me then beseech you to recommend me for the appointment of Poet and Novelist in ordinary to the New Society. I do not solicit that of Librarian, because various literary engagements require my presence in the Metropolis, and because the Chaplain must be supposed to execute that office almost as a matter of course.
In order to give the Ladies a specimen of the style in which I propose to write for their Library, I enclose an advertisement of a work I am on the point of sending to the press; and if I am encouraged to proceed, I shall offer further specimens of my powers.
There is yet another way in which I may be useful to the Ladies at Tabby Hall, and possibly even to your own Society. It will be best explained by a card I have taken the liberty to enclose, and as I understand the Ladies have frequent occasion to correspond with the Chest they would doubtless be enabled by my assistance to add variety and spirit to their effusions.
Excuse me for trespassing so long on your invaluable science-filled time, and believe me
one of the humblest of your
Admirers and Servants
P.S. You must not suppose that the appellation I have subscribed is a nom de guerre, presumptuously adopted in imitation of your Society. It is a name I have long been known by, derived as well from the opinion of partial friends on my merits, as from my residence in an apartment vulgarly denominated a Garret.