William Hone to John Childs, 18 December, 1821: An Electronic Edition

[1780-1818] - [1818-1824] - [1825-1832] - [1832-1842] - Hone Correspondence

William Hone to John Childs, 18 December, 1821.1-TEI-

Ludgate Hill

18. December 1821
Dear Childs,

2Your complaints about men engaged, under color of Reform, in pursuing their own objects, are vain repetitions. You and I have heard the same thing as our forefathers have, and there is nothing new under the sun that you and I have a right to complain of, unless indeed you are more ignorant than I, which, without impeaching your desire to be happy & be quiet, may be the case. And presuming that you are, I tell you, John Childs, that you are a very honest fellow, and a very silly one. Don't stand snivelling there, because you {cannot} get people to go walking with you, but take a walk by yourself, as I do, when I have a mind to it, and the more lonely it is, and the fewer I meet, the more I enjoy it, as you will, if you do the same, and remember what the Apocrypha says about touching pitch.

You inquire of several things to which I answer in order.
1. "How have you succeeded with the Review?"
Ans. I am succeeding—at it now—& shall not finish it before your turkey arrives — I have the pen in my hand, and cannot put it out, for the life of me. I must cut out a deal of "fine wood" that I suppose you will say ought not to be in it, but I shall leave some to dress my grounds in my own way.
2d. "What became of Nero?" — Ask a great wave what became of the little one it buried — "Nero is Nero, & let him be Nero."
3d. "Did Ross of the Times write it?" Certainly not what I purposed to publish.
4th. "Has he got it back?" No— He got Twenty pounds for it.
5th. "Will it never be published?" This may be by you, if you please to give me twenty pounds for it; or by any one else on the same terms[?] well & truly paid, or payable, at any time within twenty months on a note of hand — but it will not be published by me. It was not, in my opinion, after I carefully read it, publishable. I have one of my own, partly in MS. & partly in my head — that I intended to publish, but the time fled faster than my thoughts, I could not finish it to my liking before the period & purpose I designed it for had gone by. I abandoned it, as I have done a dozen unnumbered projects, and the rascals of the world reported I had received vast sums for suppressing it & fools believed the report. I think myself of consequence, I have so many enemies.
6th. "Will you come & see me during the Xmas Vacation?" No, John Childs, no. — it will be no vacation to me, for I shall have my hammer in my hand, selling a five[?] days sale of books.3

I hope as I have answered all these questions with truth, that they are answered to your satisfaction—if not, file a bill of review, and I will put in a further answer.

I have invited my father & another & purpose getting all the young ones together, to pay proper attention to your intended visitor—the turkey. He will be received with due ceremonies, and will be boarded & lodged as well as his bringing up deserves at my hands. We shall have the pleasure of drinking your health and family in his company — "not where he eats but where he is eaten."4

I am, Dear Childs
yours faithfully
W Hone

When Mr Brewer was in town he saw my wife. I was then at a country lodging & he expressed a desire to see me & I wished to see him and came home accordingly for two days & went back about a mile & a half from his place of sojournment where he did not wish to see me. He had my address & I should have been pleased to see him. That I did not was because he did not call again at either place. His being in town a second time, I am ignorant of. I wish that I had seen him. I desired it much & should have had great pleasure in his company. He shall hear from me very soon after Christmas, with no reason for not writing him while William was with him but a suitable & real apology for that is my omission[?] & with a reason for not writing to him [one word][?] as, I shall do them, satisfactorily.

Mr. John Childs,
Printing Office

British Library, Add. MS 40120, ff. 181-82. [return]
Hone's letter is a response to Childs's letter of 6 December. [return]
Hone supplemented his printing business by serving as an auctioneer for private libraries. [return]
from Hamlet (IV.iii.19). [return]
William Hone. Date: 2014-03-23