Tuesday, July 22, 2008

variable spirits

Felicia Hemans to Miss Mitford

St. Asaph, March 23rd, 1828.

My dear Miss Mitford,
I ought long since to have thanked you for your very kind letter, although it brought disappointment with it, in the conviction that I must not hope to see you here. You are happy in having such reasons to assign, for the difficulty of your leaving home; every day impresses more forcibly on my mind the truth and the full meaning of Gray's remark, We can have but one mother; it is now about a year since I have been deprived of mine, and will you think me weak when I tell you that I shed tears over your letter, from the idea of the pleasure it would have given her? I am sure that you will agree with me, that fame can only afford reflected delight to a woman. Do you know that I often think of you, and the happiness you must feel in being able to run to your father and mother, with all the praises you receive. For me that joy is past; but I will not write in sadness to her whose writings have often thrown sunshine over my own variable spirits. How are all my old friends of 'Our Village?' Lizzy and Lucy and May, and the pleasant people at the 'Vicarage,' and the merry men of the cricket-ground ? do tell me something of them all. I became acquainted with your delightful bird-catcher last month, and have only to hope that you were not the worse for that fog in which you encountered him, and the very description of which almost took my hair out of curl whilst reading it. Your autograph, which I transmitted to my American friends, was very gratefully received, and is enshrined in a book amidst I know not how many other ' bright names;' for aught I know, Washington himself may be there, side by side with you; and not improbably is, for they are going to send me an original letter of his, which I shall prize much. If you are likely soon to pay one of your flying visits to London, I should very much like you to see my portrait, for which I sat a few months since; I am sure you will understand why I wish you to see it; it would be giving me something of a personal introduction to one whom I esteem so highly. The picture is at the rooms of the artist, Mr. West, 63, Margaret Street, Cavendish Square: it is considered a very striking likeness. I am about to publish a little volume, called 'Records of Woman,' of which I shall beg your acceptance: I have put my heart and individual feelings into it more than any thing else I have written; but, whether it will interest my friends more for this reason, remains to be seen. May I offer my kindest respects to your father and mother, and beg you to believe me, Dear Miss Mitford,
Very faithfully yours,
Felicia Hemans.

-from Memorials of Mrs. Hemans: with illustrations of her literary character, from her private correspondence by Henry F. Chorley in 2 volumes (London: Saunders and Otley, 1836) vol. 1, pp. 158-61.

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