Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Biped knock of the post alighted

Thomas Lovell Beddoes to Thomas Forbes Kelsall

26 Mall. Clifton
[Postmark Jan 11:1825]

Dear Kelsall,

Day after day since Xmas I have intended to write or go to London & day after day I have deferred both projects--and now--I will give you the adventures and mishaps of this present sunday. Remorse, and startling conscience, in the form of an old sulky & a shying horse, hurried me to the Regulator coach-office on saturday-- "Does the regulator & its team conform to the Mosaic decalogue, Mr. Book-keeper?" He broke Priscian's head & thro' the aperture assured me that it did not--I was booked for the inside--call at 26 Mall for me--"Yes sir at 1/2 p. 5 AM."--at 5 I rose like a ghost from the tomb & betook me to coffee. No wheels rolled through the streets but the inaudible ones of that uncreated hour--It struck 6--a coach was called--we hurried to the office but the coach was gone--here followed a long Brutus & Cassius discourse between a shilling-buttoned waist-coatteer of a porter and myself--which ended in my extending mercy to the suppliant coach-owners--& agreeing to accept a place for Monday--

All well thus far. The Biped knock of the post alighted on the door at 12--& two letters were placed upon my german dictionary--Your own-- which I at first intended to reply to viv√£ voce--had not the second informed [me] of my brother's arrival in England, his short leave of absence, & his intention to visit me here next week. This twisted my strong purpose like a thread,--and disposed me to remain here about 10 days further. On the 21st at latest I go to London. Be there & I will join you, or if not pursue you to Southampton.

The fatal dowry has been cobbled sure, by some purblind ultracrepidarian. McReady's friend Walker very likely--but nevertheless I maintain 'tis a good play--& might have been rendered very effective--by docking it of the whole fifth Act which is an excrescence--re-creating Novall--& making Beaumelle a good deal more ghost-gaping & moonlightish--The cur: tailor has taken out the most purple piece in the whole weft--the end of the 4th act--& shouldered himself into toleration thro' the prejudices of the pit, when he should have built his admiration on their necks.

Say what you will--I am convinced the man who is to awaken the drama must be a bold trampling fellow--no creeper into worm-holes--no reviser even--however good. These reanimations are vampire-cold-- Such ghosts as Marloe--Webster &c are better dramatists, better poets, I dare say, than any contemporary of ours--but they are ghosts--the worm is in their pages--& we want to see something that our great-grandsires did not know. With the greatest reverence for all the antiquities of the drama I still think, that we had better beget than revive--attempt to give the literature of this age an idiosyncrasy & spirit of its own & only raise a ghost to gaze on not to live with--just now the drama is a haunted ruin.

I am glad that you are awakening to a sense of Darley--he must have no little perseverance to have gone thro so much of that play--it will perchance be the first star of a new day. Remember me to Procter & reproach him for his idleness to the fullest extent of vituperative civility--if I could find a reproof as heavy as the new London Mag I'd hurl it on him--I have written a new plot--& forgotten it. Will Keene (?) anatomize Mr. T. Campbell? even after

But, reaching home, terrific omen! there

The straw-laid street preluded his despair--
The servants' look: the table that revealed
His letter sent to Charlotte last still sealed--&c

Stay in town if you can.
Yours truly

Addressed to"T.F. KELSALL Esqre 67 Gt Portland St Oxford St London"

-from Letters of Thomas Lovell Beddoes edited by Edmund Gosse (London: Elkin, Matthews & John Lane, 1894)
T. L. Beddoes died on January 26, 1849.

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