Two letters of mine are now already walking towards you; but so that we might meet, it were no matter though our letters should lose their way. I make a shift in the mean time to be glad of your approaches, and would be more glad to be an agent for your presence, who have been a patient by your absence. If your body by indisposition make you acknowledge the healthful air of your native country, much more do I assure myself that you continue to have your mind no way estranged. And as my trust with the state is above suspicion, so my knowledge both of your loyalty and honest nature will ever make me show myself your faithful friend without scruple. You have reason to commend that gentleman to me, by whom you sent your last, although his having travelled so long amongst the sadder nations of the world make him much the less easy upon small acquaintance to be understood. I have sent you some copies of my book of the Advancement, which you desired; and a little work of my recreation, which you desired not. My Instauration I reserve for our conference; it sleeps not. Those works of the Alphabet are in my opinion of less use to you where you are now, than at Paris; and therefore I conceived that you had sent me a kind of tacit countermand of your former request. But in regard that some friends of yours have still insisted here, I send them to you; and for my part, I value your own reading more than your publishing them to others. Thus, in extreme haste, I have scribbled to you I know not what, which therefore is the less affected, and for that very reason will not be esteemed the less by you.
What these "works of the alphabet" may have been,
I cannot guess; unless they related to Bacon's cipher; in which by
means of two alphabets, one having only two letters, the other
having two forms for each of the twenty-four letters, any words you
please may be so written as to signify any other words, provided
only that the open writing contains at least five times as many
letters as the concealed. (See Phil. Works, Vol. I. p. 659). It is not
impossible that a man in Matthew's position may have needed a safe
cipher, and may have needed it more at Paris than in Italy or Spain.