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No. III.

Avon, thy rural views, thy pastures wild,
The willows that o'erhang thy twilight edge,
Their boughs entangling with th' embattled sedge;
Thy brink with watery foliage quaintly fringed,
Thy surface with reflected verdure tinged;
Soothe me with many a pensive pleasure mild,
Whilst still I muse, that here the bard divine,
Whose sacred dust yon high arch'd iles inclose,
Where the tall windows rise in stately rows
Above th' embowering shade,

Here first, at Fancy's fairy-circled shrine,
Of daisies pied his infant offering made.


Ir was not long before Helen Montchensey fulfilled the promise which she had made to her friend, and resumed the description of NewPlace so circumstantially commenced in her former letter.

"You will recollect, my sweet Agnes," she continues, "that I left you in my last on the

threshold of the poet's house; and I shall now open my picture of the interior, by recalling to your remembrance my father's account of his interview with Shakspeare in his library, as it was the first day on which, owing to his indisposition, and my close attendance upon him in his chamber, that we had an opportunity of dining with the family below.

"I was ushered, on reaching the vestibule, into a handsome room, situated on the left of the porch as you enter the house; it was hung with rich tapestry, representing the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the floor was strewed with some of the finest rushes I have ever seen; whilst in the chimney and bay window were placed, in profusion, a variety of sweet smelling herbs and flowers. Immediately opposite the door stands a large cypress chest of great beauty, elevated on lofty feet, and curiously embossed on the top and sides with scroll-work, and emblematical devices. The chairs are cane-backed with Turkey cushions of the newest fashion, and over the chimney-piece, in frame work richly carved, is a portrait, by Van Somer, of his present Majesty, from whom, it is said, the poet has had

the honour of receiving a complimentary letter written with his own hand.

"Here were Mrs. Shakspeare and her two daughters; the former, who is, I understand, nearly eight years older than her husband, and was married to him when he was but eighteen, appears to be approaching towards sixty; and, though thus far advanced in life, still retain some strong traces of having once been eminently beautiful. She was simply but becomingly dressed in a French hood, and moderately sized ruff, a gown of light grey silk, with a black velvet cape slightly embroidered with bugelles, had bracelets on her arms, and an ivory-handled fan of ostrich feathers in her hand. My attention, however, was almost instantly attracted to her eldest daughter, Mrs. Hall, whose features strongly resemble those of her father; and though not regularly handsome, possess a degree of combined sweetness and intelligence which cannot but prepossess every individual in her favour. A smile of the most bewitching expression played upon her lips as I entered the room, and gave the utmost effect to a style of dress singularly tasteful and elegant. A caul or net


of silver thread was thrown over her glossy tresses, and on this were obliquely placed several artificial seed-pods, which were represented with rows of pearls for seeds. An open ruff of web-like lawn, a necklace of pearls, and a gown of fawn-coloured muslin, over which was worn a kirtle or mantle of dark brown satin bordered with lace, will complete the portrait of my favourite Susanna; especially when I add, that she inherits a portion of her father's wit and humour, that, in her person, she is somewhat tall and full, but highly lovely and graceful; and, as to age, not much, I should imagine, beyond the period of thirty.

"Judith, the younger by a year or two, I am informed, and who is about to be married to a gentleman of this place of the name of Quiney, wore her hair, according to the custom of our sisterhood, uncovered, knotted, and raised high at the forehead. She had on a gown of Lincoln-green, fitted close to the body, with cut sleeves, and with a very long and pointed bodice. Her ruff, which was large, and stiffened with straw-coloured starch, was curiously plaited; she exhibited a slender chain of gold, pendent

from her neck; had on a petticoat of white taffety, wrought with vine leaves round the bottom, and wore perfumed gloves. In her stature she is rather short, more reserved in her disposition than Mrs. Hall, and less pleasing and intellectual in her countenance.


Having thus endeavoured to satisfy your curiosity, my sweet friend, by a minute description of the personal appearance of these ladies, who, independent of their own merit, I cannot but consider as objects of peculiar interest from their intimate connection with our bard, I go on to say, that very shortly after Shakspeare and my father joined our party, arrived Dr. Hall, of whom I will only add, that though not a little stiff in his person, and somewhat pedantic in his conversation, for which he has often undergone the good-humoured raillery of his father-in-law, he is reported to be kind and charitable in his disposition, and in general estimation for his professional skill.

"I must now beg you to follow us with your mind's eye into the dining parlour, situated on the opposite side of the vestibule. This room, which is wainscotted with beautifully veined

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