ricardo to mill
[Reply to 278.—Answered by 282]
Gatcomb Park 8 Novr. 1818
My dear Sir
No sooner had Mr. Basevi left me than I went all round South Wales with Mrs. Ricardo, and my two youngest girls. The country is very beautiful, and the weather was very fine, and I had only to regret that I was adding a fortnight more to the idle time which I have been spending this year. Mrs. Ricardo’s health, and spirits, have been very bad, and became worse when we lost all our visitors, and were reduced to the small number of two; and therefore I readily consented to accompany her in this little tour. My daughter Fanny’s health is no better, and she is on more accounts than one the cause of much anxiety to us. We now think it necessary to consult some London medical man about her, and for that purpose her mother is immediately going to town with her,—she will be the bearer of this letter. It will depend on this gentleman’s opinion whether Mrs. Ricardo shall stay with Fanny a short time in London, and then return to me, or whether we shall commence our winter campaign now, and all that are left behind join Mrs. Ricardo in London. I do not think that there can be much danger in Fanny’s case, but she certainly is become much thinner, and much weaker, than she was a month ago. You will be surprised to hear that she is going to be married to Edwd. Austin, a man 16 years older than herself, and you will still more wonder that no opposition that her mother and I could offer, have been of the least avail in deterring her from entering into a connection which we wholly disapprove. Nothing but the state of her health, and the fears of the consequences of the continued anxiety which this business caused her, could have induced us to yield, at least for the present, but she is so unwell that all her brothers and sisters were alarmed, and we could not help participating in their fears.
There is another marriage about to take place in our family in which I could have wished that the superiority of age had been on the gentleman’s side instead of the lady’s, but in other respects it is proper, and appears to be agreeable not only to the parties, but to all who are connected with them. My sister Esther will soon be the wife of William Wilkinson. He is an excellent young man, a great favorite with all our family, and has a very fair prospect of succeeding in his business. Having dispatched these matters let me now speak of the contents of your last letter. I was very much interested, and very much pleased, at the account you give me of the result of the examination to which John was subjected by the gentlemen at the College. It must have been very gratifying to your feelings, and some little reward for your persevering exertions, to hear the just praises which were bestowed upon him. I hope it may lead to the formation of connections for John useful to his future settlement in life. At any rate it will be of great advantage to him if it introduces him into such society as you approve, for from the very retired and private manner in which he has been educated he stands in need of that collision which is obtained only in society, and by which a knowledge of the world and its manners is best acquired. With such knowledge John will probably become a shining character, and will convince the world that he has not degenerated from his sire.—
I hope that Mrs. Mill and you have now no traces of indisposition your complaint was happily of a nature not very difficult to remove.
Ralph is now here, he will leave me in a very few days, he is delighted with your country, and its inhabitants. From his account of them he has every reason to be so.
Torrens remarks on my doctrine of value will be in the Edin: Magazine, and not in Blackwoods, for I have seen it advertized in the table of contents of the former publication. I am glad that MCulloch feels confidence in being able to answer it. I wonder whether the article in Blackwood is from a friend or an enemy—I suspect the latter.
From the account which I have already given you of my late movements you will know that I have not had much time to devote to writing; I have nevertheless made a commencement in the way you recommended, but not with any result that can give me the least satisfaction. My first attempt was in an answer to a letter which I received from Trower, of which I kept a copy, and without any hesitation I send you that, and a subsequent paper which I have just written. It would be in vain to attempt to deceive you, I do not wish it,—it is not my interest to do it. Know me for what I am, and estimate me accordingly. I am disposed, as all men are, to judge of myself favourably, but I cannot be blind to my utter inability of putting my thoughts on paper, with any degree of order, clearness, or precision. I am astonished at my own deficiency, for it is a talent which every one about me possesses in a superior degree to myself. You give me hopes of acquiring it by practice, and I value it so highly, that I shall not fail to persevere whilst I have a shadow of hope that success will crown my efforts.—
I hear from various quarters that my book is selling very fast, and that a new edition will soon be required. It will perhaps be necessary that I should carefully go over the whole subject again, and as I have not looked at it now for more than a twelvemonth it will be in some measure new to me, and I shall be better able to detect errors and inaccuracies. I think in the last conversation we had together we agreed that there would not be very great advantage in making any new arrangement of the contents, as it appears to have made the impression I could wish on those who have well considered it.
I heard from Messrs. Bleasdale & Co, my solicitors, yesterday. They tell me that they have not yet received Lord Portalington’s abstract, but Mr. Humphrys informed them that it was quite ready, and would be delivered to them in the course of the week. He said that he had been waiting an answer to a letter to Sir Hugh Parnell which had prevented its being delivered some days since. I wish this business was settled.
You must as well as every other person who knew Sir Saml. and Lady Romilly, have been grieved and shocked at the melancholy events which have lately occurred in that family. I hoped that Sir Samuel would for many years to come have contributed his efforts towards the amelioration of the condition of mankind. He had lately attained a situation which would have called for increased activity in his political career, and I confidently expected that his course would be marked by wisdom and honesty. What a sad termination to all our hopes!
Mrs. Osman Ricardo returns the books you were so kind as to lend her, with her best thanks. I believe she has sent a note with them to express these thanks herself. Pray give my kind regards to Mrs. Mill and your family and believe me
My sister Rachel who is here has kept the Heloise, and engages to send it uninjured to Queen Square