Southey, Robert, 1774-1843. / The doctor, &c.
Chapter LV. P.I. The author's last visit to Doncaster, pp. 123-124
THE DOCTOR. 123 due time the one whom he should like best. Of course such proper securities as could alone justify the managers of the charity in consenting to so uncommon a transaction, were required and given. The experiment succeeded in every thing -except its specific object; for he found at last that love was not a thing thus to be bespoken on either side; and his Lucretia and Sabrina, as he named them, grew up to be good wives for other men. I do not know whether the life of Thomas Day has yet found its appropriate place in the Wonderful Magazine, or in the collection entitled Eccentric Biography, but the Reader may find it livelily related in Miss Seward's Life of Darwin. The experiment of breeding a wife is not likely to be repeated. None but a most determined theorist would attempt it; and to carry it into effect would require con- siderable means of fortune, not to mention a more than ordinary share of patience: after which there must needs be a greater dis- parity of years than can be approved in theory upon any due consideration of human nature, and any reasonable estimate of the chances of human life. CHAPTER LV. P. I. THE AUTHOR'S LAST VISIT TO DONCASTER. Fueoe quondam hivc sedfioere; Nunc ubi sint, rogitas? Id annos Scire hos oportet scilicet. 0 bonir Miousce, 0 Lep6res- 0 Ca}arites merar! 0 gan~dia offuscata nullis Litibus ! 0 sine ntbe soles! JANUS DOUZA. I HAVE more to say, dear Ladies, upon that which to you is, and ought to be, the most interesting of all worldly subjects, matri- mony, and the various ways by which it is brought about; but this is not the place for saying it. The Doctor is not at this time thinking of a wife: his heart can no more be taken so long as it retains the lively image of the Burgemeester's Daughter, than Troy-town while the Palladium was safe. Imagine him, therefore, in the year of our Lr 1 1, *an u1 in e -sI yar or A ra r Lord 1/4 , and in The twentIY-sixtu year 01 his age, returned to Doncaster, with the Burgemeester's Daughter, seated like the Lady in the Lobster, in his inmost breast; with physic in his head and at his fingers' ends; and with an appetite for knowledge which had long been feeding voraciously, digesting well, and increasing in its growth by what it fed on. Imagine him returned to Doncaster, and welcomed once more as a son by the worthy old Peter Hopkins and his good wife, in that comfortable habitation which I have heretofore described, and of which (as was at the same time stated) you may see a faithful representation in Miller's History of that good town; a faithful repre- sentation, I say, of what it was in 1804; the drawing was by Frederic Nash; and Edward Shirt made a shift to engrave it; the house had then undergone some alterations since the days when I frequented it; and now!- Of all things in this our mortal pilgrimage one of the most joyful is the returning home after an absence which has been long enough to mnalke the heart yearn with hope, and not sicken with it, and then to find when you arrive there that all is well. But the most purely painful of all painful things is to visit after a long, long interval of time the place which was once our home; -the most purely painful, because it is unmixed with fear, anxiety, disappointment, or any other emo- tion but what belongs to the sense of time and change, then pressing upon us with its whole unalleviated weight. It was my fortune to leave Doncaster early in life, and, having passed per varios casus, and through as large a proportion of good and evil in my humble sphere, as the pious LEneas, though not exactly per tot dis- crimina rerum, not to see it again till after an absence of more than forty years, when my way happened to lie through that town. I should never have had heart purposely to visit it, for that would have been seeking sorrow; but to have made a circuit for the sake of avoiding the place would have been an act of weakness; and no man who has a proper degree of self-respect will do any thing of which he might justly feel ashamed. e - - - THE DOCTROR. 12S3 I I - -1 I . I
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