Irving, John to William Elphinstone Malcolm (1835/03/31)

[Exeter, Tuesday afternoon, March 31, 1835]


I have been endeavouring to make a little interest for myself while in London, of which I shall give you some account. I had a letter from Lord Arbuthnot to Lord de Gray, written, to use his own words, in the strongest terms he could employ. I also had a letter from General Arbuthnot, M.P. for Kincardineshire, to Lord de Gray, and he also spoke to Mr. Dawson, the secretary, on my behalf. Sir George Clerk introduced me to Lord de Gray’s nephew, Cole, the private secretary, and gave him a note to his uncle Lord de Gray, which he said he would deliver into his own hand, and also that he would do what he could in my favour himself.

Some of my friends seem quite confident that I shall be promoted in a short time, but if this takes place in eighteen months it will happen sooner than I myself expect. I shall leave Falmouth on Friday morning, after post, for Malta.

I have been at Bridport to see our Commander’s wife, and remained there for a few hours, and am now just arrived here, and the Falmouth mail starts in a few minutes, so you must excuse this hurried letter.

I found the poor lady quite insane; however, I saw her sisters, and have rather melancholy news to carry out to her husband, our Commander.

From having been so hurried about these last two months, and never having time to read, I regret that I am not nearly in such a peaceful state of mind as I used to be, and I am quite aware that I do not think nearly so much as I used to do about eternity and the things belonging to it. I do not know whether this may be a physical effect on the mind produced by the constant excitement in which I have lived for the last two months,—in which case, when I get settled, my mind may be restored to its former calm and comfortable state. However, it is a source of great present discomfort and uneasiness to be forced to turn my attention, with an effort, to the consideration of subjects in which I used to take great pleasure some weeks ago.

I must finish my letter in a hurry. Good-bye.—I am ever your most affectionate   

John Irving.

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