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TO THE SAME.
Mossgiel, 24th February, 1788.
MY DEAR SIR,
I cannot get the proper direction for my friend in Jamaica ; but the following will do: To Mr Jo. Hutchinson, at Jo. Brownrigg's, Esq. care of Mr Benjamin Henriquez, merchant, Orange Street, Kingston. I arrived here at my brother's only yesterday ; after fighting my way through Paisley and Kilmarnock, against those old powerful foes of mine, the devil, the world, and the flesh; so terrible in the fields of dissipation. I have met with few incidents in my life which gave me so much pleasure as meeting you in Glasgow. There is a time of life, beyond which we cannot form a tie worth the name of friendship. “ O youth ! enchanting stage “ profusely blest !” Life is a fairy scene: Almost all that deserves the name of enjoyment, or pleasure, is only a charming delusion: and in comes repining Age, in all the gravity of hoary wisdom, and wretchedly chases away the bewitching phantom. When I think of life, I resolve to keep a strict look-out, in the course of economy, for the sake of worldly convenience, and independence of mind; to cultivate intimacy with a few of the companions of youth, that they may be the friends of age; never to refuse my liquorish humour a handful of the sweetmeats of life, when they come not too dear; and for Futurity
66 The present moment is our ain,
How like you my philosophy? Give my best compliments to Mrs B. ; and believe me to be, my dear Sir, yours most truly,
TO THE SAME.
Mauchline, 7th March, 1788.
I have been out of the country, my dear friend, and have not had an opportunity of writing till now, when I am afraid you will be gone out of the country too. I have been looking at farms, and, after all, perhaps I may settle in the character of a farmer. I have got so vicious a bent to idleness, and have ever been so little a man of business, that it will take no ordinary effort to bring my mind properly into the routine : But
will “great effort is worthy of you.” I say so myself; and butter up my vanity with all the stimulating compliments I can think of. Men of grave, geometrical minds, the sons of “ which was to be demonstrated,” may cry up Reason as much as they please ; but I have always found an honest passion, or native instinct, the truest auxiliary in the warfare of this world. Reason almost always comes to me like an unlucky wife to a poor deyil of a husband, just
in sufficient time to add her reproaches to his other grievances.
I found Jean with her cargo very well laid in; but unfortunately moored almost at the mercy of wind and tide. I have towed her into a convenient harbour, where she may lie snug till she unload, and have taken the command myself, not ostensibly, but for a time in secret. I am gratified with your kind inquiries after her, as, after all, I may say with Othello,
I go for Edinburgh on Monday, &c.
TO THE SAME.
Glasgow, 26th March, 1788.
I Am monstrously to blame, my dear Sir, in not writing you, and sending you the Directory. I have been getting my tack extended, as I have taken a farm; and I have been racking shop accounts with Mr Creech, both of which, together with watching, fatigue, and a load of care, almost too heavy for my shoulders, have in some degree actually fevered me.
I really forgot the Directory yesterday, which vexed me;
but I was convulsed with rage a great part of the day. I have to thank you for the ingenious, friendly, and elegant epistle from your friend Mr Crawford. *
I shall certainly write to him ; but not now.
This is merely a card to you, as I am posting to Dumfriesshire, where many perplexing arrangements await me. I am vexed about the Directory; but, my dear Sir, forgive me: These eight days I have been positively crazed. My compliments to Mrs B. I shall write to you at Grenada. I am ever, my dearest friend, yours, &c.
* See NO. VIII.