so late as the one I received from you at Lisbon, just before I left;. . . . still I am extremely anxious to receive later accounts, which will tell me the effect cold weather may have produced on my mother's very feeble health. I shall remain here about four days, just long enough to make a few arrangements and get out my passport, and then go as fast as I can to Paris. On board the packet I wrote to Mr. Gallatin, desiring him to take out the order for opening the king's library to me, an operation that occupies a week. . . . . In a month, I should think, everything will be finished, and then, returning through London,. . . . I shall make all haste to Edinburgh. . . . .
Paris, December 22, 1818.Yours of the 16th—29th October, my dear father, arrived since I last wrote you, and, what is better, one from Savage of November 9, both of which speak of great improvement in my mother's health. They have, therefore, removed a great load from my fears, and I feel now as if I had once more the free exercise of my faculties. I have received the necessary permission at the king's library, and am in full operation among its great treasures. I have, besides, made the acquaintance of Moratin, an exiled Spaniard, who is thoroughly familiar with Spanish literary history, and who gives me three or four hours together whenever I ask it, so that I have all possible direction and assistance in this. In Portuguese I have M. de Souza, who is the learned editor and generous publisher of that magnificent edition of Camoens, of which he sent a copy to Harvard College library. With these two, and the means they have given me, I have been so occupied for several days, that I have not been able to do anything with Reynouard and the Provencal; but as soon as I have finished my Spanish and Portuguese researches, I shall begin here. It is a melancholy fact, which I am sure will not a little strike you, that, after having been four months at Madrid and one at Lisbon, besides my journeys to the great cities of Andalusia, I should be at last obliged to come back to Paris, to find books and means neither Spain nor Portugal would afford me. But so it is, and I have at this moment on my table six volumes, and shall, before I leave Paris, have many more, which I sought in vain in the libraries of the capital, of Seville, and Granada; and yet, so unequally are the treasures of these languages distributed, that the better half is still wanting in Paris, where the rarest is to be found.