I left him, and he said, ‘I wish you would stay some days with me. We should have a great deal of good talk together; but if you ever come into this country again, I claim a week from you. But I am old, very old; I shall probably be gathered to the great company of the dead, and, I trust, to a better company in heaven; so that all I may give you now is the blessing of an old man, who wishes you well with all his heart.’
London, April 3, 1819.It is about a week, I think, since I wrote to you, my dear father, from Oxford. I passed only two days at the great university, for it is now important to me, above everything else, to be in London to make my purchases of English books, and finish all I have to do in Europe; and if I have any time left, I can stop at Oxford again on my way to Liverpool. . . . . I am very busy, not with study,—for I have not pretended to study a word regularly since I left Scotland,—but in making all my last preparations for quitting Europe. Nobody can know how many last things are to be done at the finishing a great work that has continued four years, except one who has passed through it. I have two booksellers employed, and am all the time running about myself, and I think in a fortnight I shall have everything of this sort done; and, though it is a pretty close calculation, think I shall arrive in Liverpool on the first of May. If it be possible to get a good ship for Boston, I should much prefer it, but rather than wait I would embark in one of the regular New York packets, that are the finest vessels in the world. . . . . Six weeks, I learn, is the shortest time I can hope for, and I suppose fifty days is what we are to calculate upon. I mention all these facts, my dear father, that you may not make to yourselves a disappointment by expecting me too soon. . . . . This is among the last letters that I shall write to you. I count the days before I shall embark, and shall soon count the hours. Farewell.