To THOMAS FORBES KELSALL
[Postmark Nov: 8. 1824]
WHAT the fifteen hundred devils can have become of that fellow Beddoes? Why here he is on a wet sunday morning at Clifton, a bad pen and nothing to say, being prosperous auspices for the beginning of a letter. Perhaps you thought that I was delaying till I could epistolize in German–but in truth that tongue has flooded my brain no higher than der die das.
One morning at Procter’s just after breakfast came a letter from Southton which touched my letterwriting conscience to the quick: it recounted your jaundice, but that I trust is, like Mathew’s little pig, all over–and you are reinstated on the sofa in H Lane, where November darkens & clients to come cast their shadows before. Believe me I have begun two letters before, written a page of each and torn them up in despair of finishing. This however I will end.
I have seen Procter, before I left London, once or twice when his honeymoon was reduced to a cheese-paring–though he is now only half of himself he is twice the man he was, and I do not think that you will not be disappointed with his tenderer moiety. He is intending to give Covent Garden Lee’s altered play this season & altogether appears very industriously inclined: this is as it should be: he has open sea enough if he will but take the tide.
I have been turning over old plays in the Brit: Museum; and verily think that another volume of specimens might be very well compiled–when I go up again, perhaps I shall do it for my private use. I was very much disappointed with the dulness that hid itself under the alluring title, which you must often have admired; to wit: See me and see me not, or Hans Beerpots invisible comedy. Marston’s Sophonisba contains very good things and there are some very smart and quaintly worded speeches & characters in some of Middleton’s comedys; the dullest thing possible is the Birth of Merlin, ascribed to W. Shakspeare: if Steam engines shall ever write blank verse it will be such as that:
Excuse me for a little bit of remonstrance. I do not think you were born to be confined to sheep’s skins, you should spread a sense of true criticism, if you are disinclined to set an example in another way; crush Campbell, throw Bowles into the fire, Bernard & such small beer into the pig’s trough.
Farewell, this is a stunted communication but I am dull & en veritè hurried
The four first acts of the fatal Dowry have improved my opinion of Massinger; he is a very effective “stage-poet” after all. I have not forgotten that I owe you five shillings and a multitude of dinners–if you do not go to London to receive them, I shall honestly do it at Southton before long.
“T.F. KELSALL Esqre
3 Houndwell Lane