Letter 6


6 Devereux Ct.
[Postmark Ap:17. 1824]

DEAR KELSALL,–I would have written before, as your letter seemed to require some sort of speedy reply, but as I was going to Mrs. Shelley’s in the evening, and it was probable that some intelligence agreeable to you might be there acquired I postponed my epistolary operations. Of my visit take the result in short; the printing press moving slower than a broad-wheeled waggon, only 5 proofs or 7, I forget which, yet received by Mrs. S. but she has just written a remonstrance to Hunt, and requires 5 per week. The portrait not arrived–500 copies are to be printed–for 250 of which only we stand responsible–if for any, for not having received any direct answer to my communication from Hunt, I do not know whether our offer is accepted or not: and this is all I know or am likely to hear of the matter–Mr. Hogg & Godwin were there; the former looks and speaks like an intelligent goodnatured man, perhaps you know him; Political Justice invited me to call on him, which I intend to do, and hear what is to be heard there. Procter has been writing a catalogue raisonnie or the English Poets to accompany Baldwyn’s portraits–it is just printed.

Darley is a tallish, slender, pale, lighteyebrowed, gentle-looking, baldpate, in a brown sourtout with a duodecimo under his arm–stammering to a most provoking degree, so much so as to be almost inconversible–he is supposed to be writing a comedy & tragedy, or perhaps both in one. Mrs. Shelley has written lately in the London–a paper on ghosts in the March No & “The Bride of Modern Italy” in the present: she has done some dramatic scenes, which P. lauds, as being very similar to Shelley’s secondary style. Peacock has married a Welsh turtle, and is employed at present in devising inextinguishable lanterns: which he puffs at with a pair of bellows. Taylor has lately refused a paper of Procter’s & one of Reynolds’s, & kept back Darley’s reply to Terentius Secundus, for the purpose of introducing that thrice-double demoniac the aeconomical opium-eater. Exit London.

You are very unnecessarily and solicitorously suspicious of No I Ancient B. Drama. Turn to your Massinger Vol I. Preface look at the list of Plays saved from the backsides of Warburton’s pies. It is out of the Lansdown collection, undoubtedly authentic, and contains some very fine things. It is to be followed by other most desirable reprints–The Devil’s Law Case–Marston’s Insatiate Countess–Comedies of Middleton & other previous scarcities–Moreover it is an extremely pretty little book, with a wood-cut of the Bull Theatre, and superabundantly worth the last half-crown in your purse–you who have bought Kirk White [word torn away]. There was a poem of Hood’s in the March New Monthly which contained P’s “Michael Angelo”–H’s was called The Two Ducks or swans I forget which & can say nothing about it. There is a batch of gossip for you.

Those three acts, which I cannot possibly show to any eye but that of Vulcan, are absolutely worthless, and you may imagine that I prize your good opinion too well to forfeit it knowingly. You may trust me that they are bad, if good I shd say so & send them, being convinced that the affectation of modesty is the hardest brass of impudence and self conceit. Be satisfied that they are damnable. There is a book of poems lately published; the author one Mr. Horace Gwynn, out of which a tasty musical dirge on Sinus was extracted in the Examiner, from this specimen I am very much inclined to augur well of the book. Procter is cooler on the subject. You tell me that Southton is not far from Oxford, I say Oxford is not far from Southton & it is much fitter for the fishingtown to come to the city & university than the contrary. Why do not you, who have all this vacant time upon you, and who could do it so much better than I or most people living, write verse yourself? If ever I shd become connected with a periodical, (but fear not, that is not likely:) I shd be sure call on you for frequent originalities & continual criticisms. For myself this–In 3 weeks time I shall set about a play, the plot of which is laid & hatched–if it is satisfactorily executed, wh I do not expect, I shall go on; if not, “farewell the Muse” as your octave coz: wd say

Yours ever,

T.L.B.  O tongue of women,

what a letter!

Houndwell Lane

[Gosse, 1894]