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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.]

January 13th.-1843.had given Mrs.

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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.

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

up reading, in my otherwise listless state. He has been very urgent for me to travel, not merely for a change of air, but because the succession of scenes and incidents amuses without fatiguing the mind, and thus operates healthfully upon the system. I have been recovering so much of late, however, that I hope to be able to dispense with this part of his advice, and to continue at my post. I should be loth to leave it in the present critical state of the country, when insurrections are breaking out in various parts of the kingdom, and Spain is once more threatened with civil war.

My illness has prevented me from giving you a detail of the political events of the country, which have of late assumed an alarming aspect. A coalition of various factions (opposite in their views and doctrines, and no one of them of sufficient magnitude to form a majority) has united in a vehement attempt to pull down the Regent, and put an end to the existing government. For this purpose insurrections have been stirred up in various parts of the country, and latterly, in Barcelona, that old seat of rebellion. To-day, the Regent sallies forth from the capital, to put himself once more at the head of his troops, and endeavor to quell these insurrections. I heartily pray for his success; for, should he fail, and should he be ejected from power, a fearful state of anarchy would ensue. The very coalition now combined against him would break into warring factions, each striving for the ascendency, and we might have civil war of the worst kind.

I have just returned from attending a levee held by the Regent, at twelve o'clock, preparatory to his departure. He made a frank, manly address to the diplomatic corps, declaring his disposition to cultivate cordial relations with all countries, but particularly with those who had representatives at this Court, and who recognized the constitution of Spain, the throne of Isabella II., and his regency; his loyal devotion to the constitution and the throne, and his sole and uniform ambition to place the reins of government in the hands of the youthful Queen on the 10th of October, 1844, when she should have completed her minority, and to place under her command a peaceful, prosperous, and happy country; but he expressed, at the same time, his determination to resist every at

tempt to throw the country into a state of anarchy, and to defend the throne of Isabella and the constitution of 1837 like a good soldier.

At four o'clock a general review of the national militia takes place in the Prado, as on a former occasion, when the Regent, as before, will no doubt make them a speech, confiding the safety of the city and of the youthful Queen and her sister, to their patriotism and loyalty. At five o'clock he takes his departure. I cannot but feel that he sallies forth this time, with much more doubtful prospects than in his former expedition against Barcelona. The spirit of rebellion is more widely diffused, and is breaking forth at various points. A few days, or a very few weeks at farthest, will decide his fate, and determine whether he is to maintain his post and keep up some form of government for the remainder of the minority of the Queen (about fifteen months and a half), or whether his power, if not himself, is to be annihilated, and everything for a time thrown into chaos.

On Sunday evening last, I attended the soirée held weekly at the Regent's. It was the only one I have been able to attend for upward of four months; but I was anxious to go to it, as it would be the last before the departure of the Regent. It was thinly attended, and I remarked a general gloom on the faces of those attached to the Regent, or whose interests were connected with his fortunes. The Regent himself did not appear, being engaged in a cabinet council. The Duchess was pale, and had a dejected air, complaining of headache. I rather fear it was heart ache, for she feels their hazardous position, and the pitfalls which surround them. She is an amiable and a lovely woman, and her dejected air rather heightened her beauty in my eyes. I had not seen her since my illness, and I had to thank her for many kind inquiries she had made after my health, sending one of the Duke's aides-de-camp for the purpose. It will be a joyful hour for her, I am convinced, when the Duke lays down his regency, and returns to the quiet and security of private life.

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At the date of the following letter, Mr. Hamilton, his Secretary of Legation, was setting off on an excursion to

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