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certainty of a liberal sum per annum, with other incidental advantages. Though low in purse and uncertain in my prospects at the time, I declined accepting the invitation, fearing it might implicate me in foreign politics.
When I was in Spain, I was offered, by Mr. Murray, £1,000 per annum to conduct a magazine which he had in contemplation, I to be paid, in addition, for any articles I might contribute. This I declined, because it would detain me in Europe, my desire being to return to the United States. Mr. Murray likewise offered me a hundred guineas an article for any article I might write about Spain for the "Quarterly Review." I refrained from accepting his very liberal offer. As I mentioned in my former letter, I contributed but two articles to his "Review"-one explanatory of the historical grounds of my "Chronicles of Granada," and the other a review of my friend McKenzie's "Year in Spain, by a Young American."
I do not recollect having written for any other reviews or magazines in Europe, and I again repeat, I never in any way sought to "puff" my works, or to have them puffed. I always suffered them to take their chance, and always felt that I was favored beyond my deserts.
At the close of the letter to me from which I have been quoting, dated November 17th, Mr. Irving gives this glance at his literary and diplomatic matters:
I have, of late, been so much occupied in diplomatic business, that I have not had time to attend to the Life of "Washington." Indeed, I have not done much at it since I have been here, but I shall soon take it earnestly in hand. I found it necessary to give up literary matters for a time, and turn my thoughts entirely into the subjects connected with my station. The statistics of trade about which I have had to occupy myself, are new to me, and require close attention for a time to master them.
Five weeks later, December 21st, in a letter to his brother Ebenezer, he alludes in this way to his progress. on the "Life of Washington:"
I have been much interrupted in my literary occupations for the last two or three months, by the necessity of applying my mind to the examination of some subjects connected with my diplomatic duties, and of preparing rather voluminous papers. Within this week or two past, however, I have been able to add a few chapters to my history.
LETTER TO MISS SARAH IRVING.-INDISPOSITION OF THE AUTHOR.-LETTER TO MRS. PARIS.-ALARMING ASPECT OF POLITICAL EVENTS. GLOOMY SOIRÉE OF THE REGENT, PREPARATORY TO HIS DEPARTURE.-LETTERS TO MRS. STORROW.-IN THE MIDST OF CONSPIRACIES AND INSURRECTIONS.-A CITY IN A STATE OF SIEGE.-SALLIES FORTH.-STRIKING SCENES.-NOTE OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS IN BEHALF OF THE QUEEN.
HERE is a sly vein of humor in the following extract from a letter to a juvenile inmate of Sunnyside, who had been keeping him in the current of family affairs, and giving him a budget of New York gossip:
[To Miss Sarah Irving.]
Your information that Mr.
January 13th.-1843.had given Mrs. - a two-story house in Broadway gave me great satisfaction; but when you added that the mantel-pieces were of wood, it went to my heart. However, let us hope for the best. If the young couple really love each other, they may manage to have a happy fireside in spite of the mantel-piece; and who knows but the old gentleman's heart may soften toward them before his death, and he may leave them a marble mantel-piece in his will. Miss on the contrary, who married according to his wishes, has been rewarded, I am told, with a threestory (I am not certain that it is not a four-story) house. These two instances of the matrimonial fortunes of two sisters, my dear girl, should
be held up as warnings to young ladies disposed to enter the connubial state, not to give away their soft and tender hearts without first consulting the harder hearts of all the old gentlemen they may happen to be related to. For my own part, I should take it in great dudgeon, if any of you girls at the cottage should throw yourselves away upon any agreeable young gentleman, without his first gaining the affections of your father and myself; though I trust I should not go to the length of condemning you to a wooden mantel-piece.
I thought of you all at dear little Sunnyside on Christmas day, and heartily wished myself there to eat my Christmas dinner among you. I hope you kept up Christmas in the usual style, and that the cottage was decked with evergreens. You must not let my absence cause any relaxations in the old rules and customs of the cottage; everything must go on the same as it did when I was there.
His own Christmas dinner he had eaten at the British embassy, where, he remarks, "we had the good old Christmas luxuries of plum-pudding and minced pies, and our repast was a very pleasant one."
In the beginning of this year, Mr. Irving was confined to the house by an indisposition, the consequence of a cold, which was soon followed by an inflammatory disease of the skin, similar to that which he had experienced about twenty years before, but much more virulent. It was the result, as in the former instance, of having overworked himself, and fagging too incessantly at his literary, diplomatic, and epistolary tasks, while taking too little exercise. The malady, though annoying and obstinate, was not dangerous, but it required him to renounce the pen for a while, as the least mental excitement aggra
vated his symptoms. From this tedious and harassing complaint, which in a measure unfitted him for everything, he was doomed to suffer more or less for two years, the remedies sometimes proving almost as irksome as the disease. At the time it first set in, he had been engaging with all his powers upon his "Life of Washington," to which he had added some chapters, when he was compelled to throw by the pen, not, I think, to exercise it again on this task until his return to his own country. This interruption to his literary occupations, always cheering to him, brought additional discomfort in the midst of his malady. But though incapable of working, he could direct others, and manage to carry on the business of the legation. He was a less attentive correspondent, however, than heretofore, though not incapable of letter-writing, as the following will show :—
[To Mrs. Paris.]
MADRID, June 21, 1843.
MY DEAR SISTER :
I have again to thank you for kind and cheering letters, full of precious home details. I am sorry I can make but such poor returns; but, though my malady has ceased in its virulence, I find writing still irksome to me, and, indeed, am prohibited by my physician from indulging in it. It is a great privation, and reduces me to a state of idleness foreign to my habits and inclinations. The doctor would also, if he could, put a stop to my almost incessant reading, as he thinks that any fixed attention for a length of time wearies the brain, and in some degree produces those effects on the system which originated my complaint; but I cannot give VOL. III.-3