TO JOSEPH SEVERN1
Pisa. 4th April 1823.
My dear Severn,
No letter comes from you. I write on 7th Feby, — nearly two months ago! And then, I remember, I scribbled away in the highest spirits; but now my pegs are lower, and have been so ever since I saw bad news creeping to me by degrees from England. At last I made up my mind to lose my eldest brother<s>,2 and a few days since I heard he was dead, which affected me more than I could have imagined. In the same letter I had a fearful account of my mother's health,3 so much so that it looks like a preparation for the worst. These are hard blows. The suspense I am in, or my own sorrowing thoughts, make me excessively irritable, — yet my health is very good, — and so I trust is your's, tho' you have not had the heart to tell me so. Now, Severn, I believe a letter, however short, from you would cheer me a little, — but don't say a word about my brother or my mother; — so, like a good boy, sit down immediately and despatch one. Besides, I want to know for certain if I am to expect you at Florence on May day. That we may know where to meet, let us settle to dine at the Trattoria called "La Vigna" in Florence until we pop our eyes in each other's faces. I shall leave my little boy behind me in Pisa, — this may surprise you, but I have the best reasons for so doing, tho' at present I cannot exert myself to make them fully known to you. The fact is, writing, just now, is irksome; so no more at present from,
Your's most sincerely,
1 Above the salutation Sharp has written: "telling that he leaves his little boy at Pisa while he intends to go to Florence to meet S." Severn responded on 9 April 1823 (Scott 237-239). Address: Al Signore / Il Sigr Joseph Severn, / Pittore Inglese, / No 18 Via di S. Isidore / 2do Piano / Roma. Postmarks: Pisa; 7 APRILE. [Return to the letter]
3 Jane Browne (d. 1834), so named after her second marriage to Joseph Rennock Browne on 18 August 1808. Her first husband, William Brown (b. 1742), had died of apoplexy in 1803 (Iles 147-48). [Return to the letter]