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Literary Life of the Rev. William Harness
William Harness to A. G. K. L'Estrange, 16 July 1866

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
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“Holly Lodge, Highgate, London, W.
“Till the 21st of July, 1866.
“16th, to-day.
“My dear L’Estrange,

“Your letter arrived and found me here on Saturday, but I have not had any time to answer it till this morning (half-past six a.m.) in my bedroom. I had thought, from not hearing of you, that you and the vessel must have gone on a voyage of discovery, and that your next letter would be from some island in which you were illuminating the dark minds of the savages. I would not allow myself to imagine for a moment that you had disappeared from the face of the ocean by a catastrophe so sudden as that of the ‘Amazon.’ But how come you not to have got my letter? I wrote a big packet ever so long ago, of which I forget the details, but the gist of it was that I thought Miss Mitford’s letters, in the year 1810, were becoming sufficiently interesting to be published consecutively, with an occasional note here and there, and with certain omissions. I have done up to 1810, and want back the MSS. of 1811, which you have, that, with the help of your papers, I may set them in order in accordance with this plan.

“My disgust of the old father increases with every letter I read. He’s a detestable old humbug.
I wish we could get some letters from the relations in Northumberland! There was an old Mary Mitford (the sister, I think, of
Lady Charles Aynesley), with whom our Miss Mitford used to correspond; but I believe she died first. It is not at all unlikely but she may have preserved her cousin’s letters, and equally likely that her executors have burnt them. Do you happen to know any of those people or their connexions?

“I have not done as much as I ought, because I have not been well; I have been uncommonly relaxed by the heat, and I have been visiting. The doctor said that unless I went to the sea I should not recover my strength; so I went to Battle and staid with Crake, who drove me down to the sea, or up to the heights, where I could either see or smell the sea, every day from five till eight, when we dined; and all the rest of the day I sat in the garden under the shade of the house, and inhaled that mitigated saline air which to me is far more agreeable than the sea itself, for it is health and cheerfulness without any association with the terror of being drowned, or the loathsome feeling of seasickness.

“I stay here till Saturday. On Monday, the 23rd, I go to the Milmans; on Thursday, the 26th, I go to Southsea; on Saturday, the 28th, I get
home again. But Brace goes for his holiday in August, and
Majendie for his marriage in September; so (as any wise man would) I am catching all the country air I can in the intervals allowed me for mine. Take care of yourself. Don’t get drowned.

“And believe me to be
“Yours ever affectionately,
William Harness.”