Thursday, October 2, 2008

stronger in love and faith

Leigh Hunt to Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley.

21st September, 1821.

My Dearest Friends,

e are coming. I feel the autumn so differently from the summer, and the accounts of the cheapness of living and education at Pisa are so inviting, that what with your kind persuasions, the proposal of Lord Byron, and last, be sure not least, the hope of seeing you again and trying to get my health back in your society, my brother as well as myself think I had better go. We hope to set off in a month from the date of this letter, not liking to delay our preparation till we hear from you again, on account of the approach of winter; so about the 21st of October we shall all set off, myself, Marianne, and the six children. With regard to the proposed publication of Lord B., about which you talk so modestly, he has it in his power, I believe, to set tip not only myself and family in our finances again, but one of the best-hearted men in the world, my brother and his. I allude, of course, to the work in which he proposes me to join him.* I feel with you, quite, on the other point, as I always have. I agree to his proposal with the less scruple, because I have had a good deal of experience in periodical writing, and know what the getting up of the machine requires, as well as the soul of it. You see I am not so modest as you are by a great deal, and do not mean to let you be so either. What? Are there not three of us? And ought we not to have as much strength and variety as possible? We will divide the world between us, like the Triumvirate, and you shall be the sleeping partner, if you will; only it shall be with a Cleopatra, and your dreams shall be worth the giving of kingdoms. The Gisbornes tell me of a fine new novel of Marina's, which I long to see. There is something extremely interesting in having a lady's novel in sheets, and not the less so, because there is masculine work as well as feminine; for a novel of hers will have plenty of both, I know. You may imagine how we talked with the Gisbornes, of Italy. It was nothing but a catechism about beef, salad, oil, and education, all day long. But the money, Shelley? You tell me you have "secured" it, and I need not say (sorry as I am for that "need not," knowing your necessities to be only less than mine), that I cannot do without your kindness in this respect. I fear, however, by what you say of Horace S. that your security is stronger in love and faith than matter of fact; but I must not wait to hear from you again, if I can help it. I shall do my best, with my brother's help, to raise the money, and have an impudent certainty that you will help me out with the return of it. God bless you. I could write sheets, in spite of a head burning already with writing, but I must not do it, especially as I mean to get up a good deal of matter during the month to furnish articles for the paper during the journey. The journey too! "Which is that to be, by land or water? We have not settled yet, but we are making all sorts of inquiries, and talking of nothing else but Italy, Italy, Italy; where we soon hope to grasp the hands of the best friends in the world. --Your affectionate,
Leigh Hunt.

*A proposal to create a literary journal--eventually named The Liberal--which came out in October of 1822, but only lasted for four issues, Byron withdrawing from the concern.

-from The Correspondence of Leigh Hunt / edited by his eldest son (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1862) volume 1, pp. 172-73.

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