A coffee-house full of loud mouthed companions
Your most witty letter, dear cousin, dearer than all my cousins, I received on Venus’s Day [Friday]; but there was no return post to the north that day, or I would have written just as you wished. I do not know what is the matter with me, but I am more sick & tired of my wife – and am possessed by a Devil who drives me to town – & you are possessed by this selfsame evil spirit who holds you here in the desert to be tempted by your serving maids and troubled to distraction by your wife – believe me, my Antony, this is not the way to salvation in this world or the next; you’re not beginning to worry about money, are you, which, according to St. Paul, is the root of all evil & you are not saying in your heart often enough, “ I Antony of Crazy Castle am already forty odd years old & have completed my fourth decade and it is now time to cure myself, & to make myself, Antony, a happy man, a free man, and especially to do some good to myself, as Solomon urges us, who says that nothing is better in this life than that a man live merrily, & eat and drink & enjoy good things, because this is his portion & dowry in this world.”
And now I would like you to know that I ought not to be reprimanded for rushing off to London, because God is my witness I am not hurrying there out of pride & to show myself off; for that devil who has entered me is not a prideful devil like his cousin Lucifer – but rather a lascivious devil who does not want to allow me to be alone; for what with not sleeping with my wife, I am quite libidinous – & I’m dying with desire – & I’m foolish; so you will excuse me, my dear Antony, because you too have been done in by love & have travelled over land & sea & have rushed around like a devil with that same devil driving you. I have a lot to write to you – but I am writing this letter in a coffee- house full of loud-mouthed companions who do not let me think a single thought.
Greet my friend Panty, whose letter I will reply to – greet my friends in the house at Guisborough, & I beg you to believe me most firmly held in the chains of cousin-ness & love to you, my Antony.
This letter was written in Sunton’s Coffee House, sometime in 1760, by Laurence Sterne and was addressed to Mr. John Hall Stevenson of Skelton (‘Crazy’) Castle.Back to The meeting room