Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sterne's Self-Interest

To Mrs. F-----------.

York, Tuesday, Nov. 19,1759.

Dear Madam,

Your kind inquiries after my health deserve my best thanks. What can give one more pleasure than the good wishes of those we value? I am sorry you give so bad an account of your own health, but hope you will find benefit from tar-water: it has been of infinite service to me. I suppose, my good lady, by what you say in your letter, "that I am busy writing an extraordinary book," that your intelligence comes from York, the fountainhead of all chit-chat news, and, no matter. Now for your desiring of knowing the reason of my turning author? why truly I am tired of employing my brains for other people's advantage.--'Tis a foolish sacrifice I have made for some years to an ungrateful person. I depend much upon the candour of the public, but I shall not pick out a jury to try the merit of my book amongst *******, and till you read my Tristram, do not, like some people, condemn it. Laugh I am sure you will at some passages. I have hired a small house in the Minster Yard for my wife and daughter, the latter is to begin dancing, &c. If I cannot leave her a fortune, I will at least give her an education. As I shall publish my works very soon, I shall be in town by March, and shall have the pleasure of meeting with you. All your friends are well, and ever hold you in the same estimation that your sincere friend does.

Adieu, dear lady, believe me, with every wish for your happiness, your most faithful, &c.

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