Wednesday, August 1, 2007

J. L.. Motley Blushes Unseen

[To his Wife]

London, May 28th, 1858

My Dearest Mary,-- . . . I believe you have never seen Thackeray. He has the appearance of a colossal infant, smooth, white, shiny ringlety hair, flaxen, alas, with advancing years, a roundish face, with a little dab of a nose upon which it is a perpetual wonder how he keeps his spectacles, a sweet but rather piping voice, with something of the childish treble about it, and a very tall slightly stooping figure--such are the characteristics of the great "snob" of England. His manner is like that of everybody else in England--nothing original, all planed down into perfect uniformity with that of his fellow creatures. . . .

On Thursday, according to express and very urgent invitation, I went with Mrs. Amory and S----- to call at the Lyndhursts'. As soon as I got into the room Lady L. opened upon me such a torrent of civilities that I was nearly washed away. I certainly should not repeat, even to you, and even if I remembered it, the particular phraseology. . . . I would no more write such things, even to my mother, than I would go and stand on my head in the middle of Pall Mall. I feel like a donkey, and am even now blushing unseen, like a peony or any other delicate flower, at the very idea of writing such trash, and I beg that you will thrust my letter into the fire at once. . . . God bless you, dearest Mary; kiss my darling children, and believe in the love of

Your affectionate,

-from The Friendly Craft: a Collection of American Letters edited by Elizabeth Deering Hanscom, Ph.D. (New York: Macmillan, 1908) p. 172-173.

No comments: