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Literary Life of the Rev. William Harness
William Harness to A. G. K. L'Estrange, 6 August 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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“Kensington Gore,
“August 6, 1866.
“My dear L’Estrange,

“I have been very idle; for, first, I went to stay a week at Crake’s; then I staid the best part of a fortnight at Holly Lodge; then I went to the Dean of St. Paul’s for all the working days of the week, from Sunday to Sunday, who has taken up his Summer residence at a very pretty place near Bagshot, a village which now stands in the midst of cultivated land and flowery hedgerows, but which I was wont to pass through, on the top of the Portsmouth coach, as a sort of lodge in the wilderness, surrounded by a desolate extent of heath. What changes we live to see! And to-day I am going for a fortnight to the Osbornes, (Sutgrave House, Cirencester, Gloucestershire), intending, if weather suit, to take a look at
Tintern Abbey and the Wizard Cliff before I return, which must be the 18th, for Brace goes off for his holiday of three weeks on Monday, the 13th; and as soon as he returns
Majendie is off for five Sundays on his marriage tour. So a deductive mind like yours will easily discover that I’m tied to town during all the latter part of this month, the whole of September, and the first two weeks of October. In that time I intend to work hard at the letters. I think that they, with a very few notes and a few short passages of explanation, will tell the story of an interesting literary life.

I have done, and had copied, subject to your approval, everything to the end of 1810, and should like to have the letters which are in your hands, to go on with the work after my return from the Osbornes. We must print them, for she evidently took great pains with them; but how much inferior Miss Mitford’s letters to Sir William Elford are to those which she dashed off to her father and mother! There is a great deal of life and spirit in her ordinary style, when she lets her words drop from her pen without any premeditation, at the prompting of her emotions; but in the elaborated letters there is hardly any merit but high, cold polish, and all freshness of thought is lost in care about the expression. I think we
shall have to shorten our commencement; so many long letters remain to be read and copied, and the letters improve as she grows older.

“You seem to have had a most delightful voyage. I wish I had been with you, but am very glad that you did not buy the house that you looked at on the banks of the Blackwater! What would you have done there? Besides, if you ever take up your abode in Ireland, it must be on your own property, where there are duties to fulfil which are sufficient to give an interest and business to life the moment a man sets his heart earnestly to the discharge of them. I must now end my letter as it is necessary for me to prepare for leaving home. But let me hear of you, and tell me when you are likely to be in town again. I shall send this to Clifton, as there is no guessing where you and your yacht (I hope the word is spelt right), may be; and with the kindest regards from my sister and cousin,

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