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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1843
Sydney Smith to Mary Berry, 28 January 1843

Author's Preface
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Editor’s Preface
Letters 1801
Letters 1802
Letters 1803
Letters 1804
Letters 1805
Letters 1806
Letters 1807
Letters 1808
Letters 1809
Letters 1810
Letters 1811
Letters 1812
Letters 1813
Letters 1814
Letters 1815
Letters 1816
Letters 1817
Letters 1818
Letters 1819
Letters 1820
Letters 1821
Letters 1822
Letters 1823
Letters 1824
Letters 1825
Letters 1826
Letters 1827
Letters 1828
Letters 1829
Letters 1830
Letters 1831
Letters 1832
Letters 1833
Letters 1834
Letters 1835
Letters 1836
Letters 1837
Letters 1838
Letters 1839
Letters 1840
Letters 1841
Letters 1842
Letters 1843
Letters 1844
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Combe Florey, Jan. 28th, 1843.

Are you well? Answer me that, and I am answered. I question everybody who comes from Curzon-street, and the answers I get are so various, that I must look into the matter myself. Who comes to see you? or rather, who does not come to see you? Who are the wise, the fair, the witty, who absent themselves from your parties, and still preserve their character for beauty, for wisdom, and for wit? I have been hybernating in my den, but begin to scent the approach of Spring, and to hear the hum of the Metropolis, proposing to be there the 22nd of February.

Poor ——! the model of all human prosperity! He seems to have been killed, as an animal is killed, for his plumpness. What other motive could there be? Or was it to liberate him from the ——? to terminate the frigid friendship, and to guard the —— from that heavy pleasantry with which, in moments of relaxation, —— is apt to overwhelm his dependants? I say, moments of relaxation; because this unbending posture of mind is never observed in him for more than a few seconds.

Mankind looked on with critical curiosity when Lady Holland dined with you; only general results reached me here; it would have been conducted, I am sure, with the greatest learning and skill on both sides.
Ah! if Providence would but give us more
Boswells! But your house deserves a private Boswell; think of one. Whom will you choose? I am too old, and too absent,—absent, I mean, in body.

I am studying the death of Louis XVI. Did he die heroically? or did he struggle on the scaffold? Was that struggle (for I believe there was one) for permission to speak? or from indignation at not being suffered to act for himself at the last moment, and to place himself under the axe? Make this out for me, if you please, and speak of it to me when I come to London. I don’t believe the Abbé Edgeworth’s “Son of St. Louis, montez an ciel!” It seems necessary that great people should die with some sonorous and quotable saying. Mr. Pitt said something not intelligible in his last moments: G. Rose made it out to be, “Save my country, Heaven!” The nurse, on being interrogated, said that he asked for barley-water.

I have seen nobody since I saw you, but persons in orders. My only varieties are vicars, rectors, curates, and every now and then (by way of turbot) an archdeacon. There is nobody in the country but parsons. Remember, you gave me your honour and word that I should find you both in good health in February. Upon the faith of this promise I gave, and now give, you my benediction.

Sydney Smith.