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Leigh Hunt to Mary Sabilla Novello, 2 March 1822

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX
John Keats
Charles Lamb
Mary Lamb
Leigh Hunt
Douglas Jerrold
Charles Dickens
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Produced by CATH
March 2nd, 1822.

Dear Mary Novello,—Your letter was a very great pleasure to us indeed, though it made us very impatient to be in the midst of our friends. We are like Mahomet’s coffin at present, suspended between our two attractions; but the ship will carry us off in April, and turn us again into living creatures. No: it is you and Novello who must revive us meanwhile. Do you know, I was going to ask you to come down here, and see us once more before we go; but I was afraid you would think there was no end of my presuming upon your regards. Guess, however, what pleasure your own intimation gave us. You must fulfil it, now you have given it. No excuse—no sort of excuse. Novello must tear himself from all the boarding-school ladies, let them lay hold of the flaps of his coat never so Potipharically. There are, as you say, stages, waggons, carts, trucks, wheelbarrows, &c.:—there are also kind hearts in stout bodies: and finally, our direction is, Mrs. L’Amoureux, Devil’s Point, Stonehouse, Plymouth, Devonshire.

You see the way we are in, in this Devon of a county. Then there are the Devonshire creams, too good; Mount Edgecombe here close at our elbow looking like a Hampstead in the sea; boats and smooth harbours to sail about in; the finest air in England, with a little bit of the South of Europe in it; all sorts of naval curiosities; sunshine every day, and moonlight too, just now, every night; and finally, dear friends, who want the society of dear friends to strengthen them through their cares and delays. I must not forget, that the road between London and Plymouth is said to be excellent, and that there is a safety-coach just set up, which boasts itself to be worthy of the road. So we shall expect you in the course of the week,—mind that I shall expect a letter too, to arrive just before you. You must send it off on Monday evening, and follow it with all your might and muscles. At least Novello must do so. I forgot, that ladies have no
muscles. They have only eyes and limbs. You must not talk of your music, till Novello is here to inspire a pianoforte which I have just hired for a month. It is the only pleasure to which I have treated myself, and without him I find it but a pain. There is a regiment stationed here, who have a band that plays morning and evening. It plays
Mozart too, and pretty well, only I longed to jog their elbows the other day, when they came to the 2nd part of “Batti, batti.” However, it was so beautiful, that I could not stand it out; it reminded me of so many pleasures, that between you and me and two or three others, the tears came into my eyes, and I was obliged to go out of the place to hide them. . . .

Your truly affectionate friend,
L. H.