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Letters from the Mountains
Being the real correspondence of a Lady (Anne Grant) between the years 1773 and 1807 (1809)


TO MY SURVIVING CORRESPONDENTS.

TO you, my dear Friends, whose affection has been the cordial of my life, and whose sympathy has been the solace of my afflictions , to you whom neither absence, distance, nor the revolution of years have estranged from me; yew, whom the influx of prosperity never raised above me and who never withheld the consideration which mind pays to mind, from the darkest hour of my adversity  To you I inscribe these Letters, which you have kindly permitted me to illuminate with names, which accredit the writer, and totally destroy the unjust surmise, — that you are all like some gay creatures of the element, the creation of an exuberant fancy. To those who could suppose me capable of such an imposition, I only wish that, by being connected by ties as tender, with minds as estimable, they may be convinced of the possibility of your existence.

January 27, 1807

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST LONDON EDITION.

LEST any of my readers should indulge the expectation of meeting, in the ensuing pages, either ingenious or amusing narrative, it is but candid to undeceive them.

The simple and careless Letters here offered to the publick, carry in themselves the evidences of originality. They are genuine, but broken and interupted sketches of a life spent in the most remote obscurity . Of the little interest such sketches might possess, much is lost by the necessity of withholding those parts which contained most of narrative and anecdote.

Why letters should be. published at all, comprehending so little to excite interest or gratify curiosity, is a question that naturally suggests itself. It cannot be truly said that the gratification of the reader could form an adequate motive for their publication: and, from the nature of them, it is obvious that the unknown author could have no purpose of vanity to answer by it. Yet may rot a picture, seldom drawn, peculiar in its shades and scenery, true to nature, and chastely coloured; may rot such a picture amuse, for a while, the leisure of the idle and contemplative?—and it is hoped, that the images here offered of untutored sentiment, of the tastes, the feelings, and habits, of those, who, in the secret shades of privacy, cultivate the simple duties and kindly affections of domestick life, may not be without utility.

The soul that rises above its condition, and feels underlines and painful aspirations after unattainable elegance and refinement, may here find an inducement to remain. in safe obscurity, contented with the love of truth, of nature, and the "Humanising Muse;" while those distinguished beings, who are at once the favourites of nature and of fortune, may learn to look with complacency en their fellow minds in the vale of life, and to know that they too have their enjoyments.

The hope of such a result might, in some decree, console the writer of "Letters from the Mountains:" for the painful circumstance that has elicited their publication.

March 18, 1806.

ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND LONDON EDITION.

WHEN the writer of these Letters was impelled to submit them to the publick eye, unknown, unpatronized, nameless, without partial review or favourable critick, or any prop visible or invisible, her prospect of succeeding was very faint and dubious. Her only hope, on even partial attention, was founded upon that lore of truth, which, for the best moral purposes, is implanted in the human heart; this generous instinct, which lives in the unsophisticated mind, and which feels and acknowledges the language of nature and native feeling, wherever it is heard. Reality, in short, was the prop on which I leant; and it has not deceived me. Minds rich in every intellectual endowment, which talents give brilliancy to their virtues, and whose virtues give solidity, value, and effect to their talents ; minds, to which even the worthy and the wise have been accustomed to look up for light, have shed the lustre of their approbation on the simple sketches of narrative and description, the artless effisions of the heart and imagination, which constitute the whole interest of the fallowing selection. It is for such minds as these to distinguish the durable pencil of truth from the water-colours of fiction; and it is not for their satisfaction, but to carry conviction home to a different and inferior class of readers, that the undeniable proofs of a genuine correspondence are about to speak in a second edition. This edition, drawn forth by the generous encouragement of those whom the publick voice has ranked among the worthy and the wise, is not, like the former, attended by the severe, the nameless pangs of anxious diffidence. Yet, in ;he present case, how oppressive is gratitude, and now gainful is self-denial. With what delight, were it permitted me could my voice confer distinction , should I rate my patrons but more especially my patronesses. Cheered by their applause, exalted by their esteem, and essentially benefited by their liberality, it would be a proud triumph indeed, were I at liberty to name those virtuous, elegant and enlightened females, of whom. it is fair enough to say, that they do honour to England as they are induced an ornament to human nature. If one durst draw worth from its chosen privacy, I should be tempted to boast, that the same elegant and amiable mind which captivated Cuwper in .lesions (which he declared to excel any others of the kind he had met with), I should boast, I say, that the same had exerted its active beneficence, and poured forth its invaluable kindness for me. But it is best to be silent on a subject where one must needs say too little, or be thought to say too much.

To my old, beloved, and long tried friends, 1 nave made a separate acknowledgment. Their personal appearance in my behalf may perhaps have the effect of swelling affected contempt into real envy. Yet is rather hard, that they should be reduced to the necessity so humorously described in the fable, where the criticks so often contemned the likeness which the painter had drawn, that he was forced, for the vindication of his art, to desire the original to exhibit his countenance through the canvass;—this too they declared no likeness, till the man spoke out to the utter confusion of criticism.

May 14,1807.

The following lines are introductory to a volume of Poems drawn from obscurity by the same painful necessity which induced the publication, of "LETTERS FROM THE MOUNTAINS" they allude to the same characters and circumstance, which the Letters delineate, and may therefore very properly introduce this edition of them.

GO, artless records of a life obscure,
Memorials dear of loves aid friendships past,
Of blameless minds from strife and envy pure-
Go scattered by Affliction's bitter blast,
And tell the proud, the busy, and the gay,
How rural peace consumes the quiet day.

Oh ye, whom sad remembrance loves to trace,
Look down complacent from your seats above,
Regard with soft compassion's melting grace,
The simple offering of surviving love:
For while I fondly think you hover near.
Your whispered melody I seem to hear.

Ye dear companions in life's thorny way,
Who see your modest virtues here display'd,
Forgive, for well you know the unstudied lay,
Was only meant to soothe the lonely shade.
But when the rude thorn wounds the songster's breast,
The lengthen'd strains of woe betray her secret nest.

This series of letters is in 2 volumes which you can download in pdf format below...

Volume 1  |  Volume 2


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