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Leigh Hunt to Mary Sabilla Novello and the Gliddons, 7 September 1825

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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Florence, September 7th, 1825.

The Ladies first—To Mrs. Novello.

Madam,—My patience is not so easily worn out as your Wilfulship imagines. I allow you have seen me impatient of late on one subject; but I beg you to believe I confine my want of philosophy to that single point. That is the wolf in my harmony. On all other matters (a three-years-and-a-half’s dilapidation excepted) you will find me the same man I was ever—half melancholy and half mirth—and gratefully ready to forego the one whenever in the company of my friends.
So, madam, I’d have you to know that I am extremely patient, and that if I do not take courage it is because I have it already; and you must farther know, madam, that we do not mean to live at Plymouth, but at a reasonable distance from town; and also that if we cannot get a cottage to go into immediately we shall go for a month or two into metropolitan lodgings: item, that we shall all be glad to hear of any cottage twenty or twenty-five miles off, or any lodgings in any quiet and cheap street in London; farthermore, that, besides taking courage, we have taken the coach from Florence to Calais; and finally, that we set off next Saturday, the 10th instant, and by the time you receive this shall be at the foot of the Alps. “I think here be proofs.” We go by Parma, Turin, Mont Cenis, Lyons, and Paris.
Mrs. Shelley will be better able to tell you where a letter can reach us than I can—yet a calculation, too, might be made, for we travel forty miles a day, and stop four days out of the thirty-one allotted to us: one at Modena, one at Turin, one at Lyons, one at Paris. Can we do anything for you? I wish I could bring you some bottled sunshine for your fruit-trees. It is a drug we are tired of here. Mud—mud—is our object; cold weather out of doors, and warm hearts within. By the way, as you know nothing about it, I must tell you that somebody has been dedicating a book to me under the title of “A Day in Stowe Gardens” (send and buy it for my sake), and it is a very pretty book, though with the airs natural to a dedicatee, I have picked some verbal faults with it here and there. What I like least is the story larded with French cookery. Some of the others made me shed tears, which is very hard upon me, from an Old Boy (for such on inspection you will find the author to be); I should not have minded it had it been a woman. The Spanish Tale ends with a truly dramatic surprise; and the Magdalen Story made me long to hug all the parties concerned, the writer included. So get the book, and like it, as you regard the sympathies and honours of yours, ever cordially,

L. H.

To Mrs. Gliddon.

Well, madam, and as to you. They tell me you are getting rich: so you are to suppose that during my silence I have been standing upon the dignity of my character, as a poor patriot, and not chosen to risk a suspicion of my independence. Being “Peach-Face,” and “Nice-One,” and missing your sister’s children, I might have ventured to express my regard; but how am I to appear before the rich lady and the Sultana? I suppose you never go out but in a covered litter, forty blacks clearing the way. Then you enter the bath, all of perfumed water, and beautiful attendant slaves, like full moons: after which you retire into a delicious apartment, walled with trellis-work of mother-of-pearl, covered with myrtle and roses, and whistling with a fountain; and clapping your hands, ten slaves more beautiful than the last serve up an unheard-of dinner: after which, twenty slaves, much more beautiful than those, play to you upon lutes; after which the Sultan comes in, upon which thirty slaves, infinitely more beautiful than the preceding, sing the most exquisite compliments out of the Eastern poets, and a pipe, forty yards long, and fresh from the Divan, is served up, burning with the Sultan’s mixture, and the tonquin bean. However, I shall come for a chop.

Dear Mr. Arthur,—I am called off in the midst of my oriental description, and have only time to say that I thank you heartily for your zeal and kindness in my behalf, and am sure Novello could not have chosen a second more agreeable to myself, whatever the persons concerned may resolve upon. I hope soon to shake you by the hand.