I have no news to tell you, but that we hear King Theodore has sent over proposals of his person and crown to Lady Lucy Stanhope,(788) with whom he fell in love the last time he was in England.
Princess Buckingham(789) is dead or dying: she has sent for Mr. Anstis, and settled the ceremonial of her burial. On Saturday she was so ill that she feared dying before all the pomp was come home: she said, "Why won't they send the canopy for me to see? let them send it, though all the tassels are not finished." But yesterday was the greatest stroke of all! She made her ladies vow to her, that if she should lie senseless, they would not sit down in the room before she was dead. She has a great mind to be buried by her father at Paris. Mrs. Selwyn says, "She need not be carried out of England, and yet be buried by her father." You know that Lady Dorchester always told her, that old Graham(790) was her father.
I am much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken about the statue; do draw upon me for it immediately, and for all my other debts to you: I am sure they must be numerous; pray don't fail.
A thousand loves to the Chutes: a thousand compliments to the Princess; and a thousand-what? to the Grifona. Alas! what can one do? I have forgot all my Italian. Adieu!
(784) The Electress Palatine Dowager.
(785) She left a legacy to the Pretender, describing him only by these words, To Him at Rome.
(786) William Chetwynd, brother of the Lord Viscount Chetwynd. On the coalition he was made Master of the Mint.
(787) Coxe, in his Memoirs of Lord Walpole, gives the following account of this duel: "A motion being made in the House of Commons, which Mr. Walpole supported, he said to Mr. Chetwynd, 'I hope we shall carry this question.' Mr. Chetwynd replied, 'I hope to see you hanged first!' 'You see me hanged first!' rejoined Mr. Walpole and instantly seized him by the nose. They went out and fought. The account being conveyed to Lord Orford, he sent his son to make inquiries; who, on coming into the House of Commons, found his uncle speaking with the same composure as if nothing had happened to ruffle his tamper or endanger his life. Mr. Chetwynd was wounded." vol. ii. p. 68.-E.
(788) Sister of Philip, second Earl Stanhope.
(789) Catherine, Duchess of Buckingham, natural daughter of King James II. by the Countess of Dorchester. She was so proud of her birth, that she would never go to Versailles, because they would not give her the rank of Princess of the Blood. At Rome, whither she went two or three times to see her brother, and to carry on negotiations with him for his interest, she had a box at the Opera distinguished like those of crowned heads. She not only regulated the ceremony of her own burial, and dressed up the waxen figure of herself for Westminster Abbey, but had shown the same insensible pride on the death of her only son, dressing his figure, and sending messages to her friends, that if they had a mind to see him lie in state, she would carry them in conveniently by a back-door. She sent to the old Duchess of Marlborough to borrow the triumphal car that had carried the Duke's body. Old Sarah, as mad and proud as herself, sent her word, "that it had carried my Lord Marlborough, and should never be profaned by any other corpse." The Buckingham retorted that, "she had spoken to the undertaker, and he had engaged to make a finer for twenty pounds." [See ant'e, p. 204.]
(790) Colonel Graham. When the Duchess was young, and as insolent as afterwards, her mother used to say, "You need not be so proud, for you are not the King's but old Graham's daughter." It is certain, that his legitimate daughter, the Countess of Berkshire and Suffolk, was extremely like the Duchess, and that he often said with a sneer, "Well, well, kings are great men, they make free with whom they please! All I can say is, that I am sure the same man begot those two women." The Duchess often went to weep over her father's body at Paris: one of the monks seeing her tenderness, thought it a proper opportunity to make her observe how ragged the pall is that lies over the body, (which is kept unburied, to be some time or other interred in England,)-but she would not buy a new!
314 Letter 101 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, March 25, 1743.
Well! my dear Sir, the Genii, or whoever are to look after the seasons, seem to me to change turns, and to wait instead of one another, like lords of the bedchamber. We have had loads of sunshine all the winter; and within these ten days nothing but snows, north-east winds, and blue plagues. The last ships have brought over all your epidemic distempers: not a family in London has escaped under five or six ill: many people have been forced to hire new labourers. Guernier, the apothecary, took two new apothecaries, and yet could not drug all his patients. It is a cold and fever. I had one of the worst, and was blooded on Saturday and Sunday, but it is quite gone: my father was blooded last night: his is but slight. The physicians say that there has been nothing like it since the year Thirty-three, and then not so bad: in short, our army abroad would shudder to see what streams of blood have been let out! Nobody has died of it, but old Mr. Eyres, of Chelsea, through obstinacy of not bleeding; and his ancient Grace of York:(791) Wilcox of Rochester(792) succeeds him, who is fit for nothing in the world, but to die of this cold too.
They now talk of the King's not going abroad: I like to talk on that side; because though it may not be true, one may at least be able to give some sort of reason why he should not. We go into mourning for your Electress on Sunday; I suppose they will tack the Elector of Mentz to her, for he is just dead. I delight in Richcourt's calculation- I don't doubt but it is the method he often uses in accounting with the Great Duke.
I have had two letters from you of the 5th and 12th, with a note of things coming by sea; but my dear child, you are either run Roman Catholicly devout, or take me to be so; for nothing but a religious fit of zeal could make you think of sending me so many presents. Why, there are Madonnas enough in one case to furnish a more than common cathedral-I absolutely will drive to Demetrius, the silversmith's, and bespeak myself a pompous shrine! But indeed, seriously, how can I, who have a conscience, and am no saint, take all these things? You must either let me pay for them, or I will demand my unfortunate coffee-pot again, which has put you upon ruining yourself By the way, do let me have it again, for I cannot trust it any longer in your hands at this rate; and since I have found out its virtue, I will present it to somebody, whom I shall have no scruple of letting send me bales and cargoes, and ship-loads of Madonnas, perfumes, prints, frankincense, etc. You have not even drawn upon me for my statue, my hermaphrodite, my gallery, and twenty other things, for which I am lawfully your debtor.
I must tell you one thing, that I will not say a word to my lord of this Argosie, as Shakspeare calls his costly ships, till it is arrived, for he will tremble for his Dominichin, and think it will not come safe in all this company-by the way, will a captain of a man-of-war care to take all? We were talking over Italy last night- my lord protests, that if he thought he had strength, he would see Florence, Bologna, and Rome, by way of Marseilles, to Leghorn. You may imagine how I gave in to such a jaunt. I don't set my heart upon it, because I think he cannot do it; but if he does, I promise you, you shall be his Cicerone. I delight in the gallantry of the Princess's brother.(793) I will tell you what, if the Italians don't take care, they will grow as brave and as wrongheaded as their neighbours. Oh! how shall I do about writing to her? Well, if I can, I will be bold, and write to her to-night.
I have no idea what the two minerals are that you mention, but I will inquire, and if there are such, you shall have them; and gold and silver, if they grow in this land; for I am sure I am deep enough in your debt. Adieu! .
P. S. It won't do! I have tried to write, but you would bless yourself to see what stuff I have been forging for half an hour, and have not waded through three lines of paper. i have totally forgot my Italian, and if she will but have prudence enough to support the loss of a correspondence, which was long since worn threadbare, we will come to as decent a silence as may be.
(791) Doctor lancelot Blackburne. Walpole, in his Memoires, vol. i. p. 74, calls him "the jolly old archbishop, who had the manners of a man of quality, though he had been a buccaneer, and was a clergyman." Noble, in his continuation of Granger, treats these aspersions as the effect of malice. "How is it possible!" he asks, ,that a buccaneer should be so great a scholar as Blackburne certainly was? he who had so perfect a knowledge of the classics, as to be able to read them with the same ease as he could Shakspeare, must have taken great pains to have acquired the learned languages, and have had both leisure and good masters." He is allowed to have been a remarkably pleasant man; and it was said of him, that "he gained more hearts than souls."-E.
(792) He was not succeeded by Dr. Wilcox, but by Dr. Herring, who was elevated, in 1747, to the archbishopric of Canterbury, and died in 1757.-E.
(793) a Signor Capponi, brother of Madame Grifoni.
315 Letter 102 To Sir Horace Mann. Monday, April 4, 1743.
I had my pen in my hand all last Thursday morning to write to you, but my pen had nothing to say. I would make it do something to-day though what will come of it, I don't conceive.
They say, the King does not go abroad: we know nothing about our army. I suppose it is gone to blockade Egra, and to not take Prague, as it has been the fashion for every body to send their army to do these three years. The officers in parliament are not gone yet. We have nothing to do, but I believe the ministry have something for us to do, for we are continually adjourned, but not prorogued. They talk of marrying Princess Caroline and Louisa to the future Kings of Sweden and Denmark; but if the latter(794) is King of both, I don't apprehend that he is to marry both the Princesses in his double capacity.
Herring, Of Bangor, the youngest bishop, is named to the see of York. it looks as if the bench thought the church going out of fashion; for two or three(795) of them have refused this mitre.
Next Thursday we are to be entertained with a pompous parade for the burial of old Princess Buckingham. They have invited ten peeresses to walk: all somehow or other dashed with blood-royal, and rather than not have King James's daughter attended by princesses, they have fished out two or three countesses descended from his competitor Monmouth.
There, I am at the end of my tell! If I write on, it must be to ask questions. I Would ask why Mr. Chute has left me off but when he sees what a frippery correspondent I am, he will scarce be in haste to renew with me again. I really don't know why I am so dry; mine used to be the pen of a ready writer, but whist seems to have stretched its leaden wand over me too, who have nothing to do with it. I am trying to set up the noble game of bilboquet against it, and composing a grammar in opposition to Mr. Hoyle's. You will some day or other see an advertisement in the papers, to tell you where it may be bought, and that ladies may be waited upon by the author at their houses, to receive any further directions. I am 'really ashamed to send this scantling of paper by the post, over so many seas and mountains: it seems as impertinent as the commission which Prior gave to the winds,
"Lybs must fly south, and Eurus east, For jewels for her neck and breast."
Indeed, one would take you for my Chloe, when one looks on this modicum of gilt paper, which resembles a billet-doux more than a letter to a minister. You must take it as the widow's mite, and since the death of my spouse, poor Mr. News, I cannot afford such large doles as formerly. Adieu! my dear child, I am yours ever, from a quire of the largest foolscap to a vessel of the smallest gilt.
(794) There was a party at this time in Sweden, who tried to choose the Prince Royal of Denmark for successor to King Frederick of sweden.
(795) Dr. Wilcox, Bishop of Rochester, and Dr. Sherlock, Bishop of Salisbury: the latter afterwards accepted the See of London.
317 Letter 103 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, April 14, 1743.
This has been a noble week; I have received three letters at once from you. I am ashamed when I reflect on the poverty of my own! but what can one do? I don't sell you my news, and therefore should not be excusable to invent. I wish we don't grow to have more news! Our politics, which have not always been the most in earnest, now begin to take a very serious turn. Our army is wading over the Rhine, up to their middles in snow. I hope they will be thawed before their return: but they have gone through excessive hardships. The King sends six thousand more of his Hanoverians at his own expense: this will be popular-and the six thousand Hessians march too. All this will compose an army considerable enough to be a great loss if they miscarry. The King certainly goes abroad in less than a fortnight. He takes the Duke with him to Hanover who from thence goes directly to the army. The Court will not be great: the King takes only Lord Carteret, the Duke of Richmond, master of the horse, and Lord Holderness and Lord Harcourt,(796) for the bedchamber. The Duchesses of Richmond and Marlborough,(797) and plump Carteret,(798) go to the Hague.
His Royal Highness is not Regent: there are to be fourteen. The Earl of Bath and Mr. Pelham, neither of them in regency-posts, are to be of the number.
I have read your letters about Mystery to Sir Robert. He denies absolutely having ever had transactions with King Theodore, and is amazed Lord Carteret can; which he can't help thinking but he must, by the intelligence about Lady W. Now I can conceive all that affected friendship for Richcourt! She must have meant to return to England by Richcourt's interest with Touissant(799) and then where was her friendship? You are quite in the right not to have engaged with King Theodore: your character is not-Furibondo. Sir R. entirely disapproves all Mysterious dealings; he thinks Furibondo most bad and most improper, and always did. You mistook me about Lady W.'s Lord-I meant Quarendon, who is now Earl of Litchfield, by his father's death, which I mentioned. I think her lucky in Sturges's death, and him lucky in dying. He had outlived resentment; I think had almost lived to be pitied.
I forgot to thank you about the model, which I should have been sorry to have missed. I long for all the things, and my Lord more. so. Am I not to have a bill of lading, or how!
I never say any thing of the Pomfrets, because in the great city of London the Countess's follies do not make the same figure as they did in little Florence. Besides, there are such numbers here who have such equal pretensions to be absurd, that one is scarce aware of particular ridicules.
I really don't know whether Vanneschi be dead; he married some low English woman, who is kept by Amorevoli; so the Abbate turned the opera every way to his profit. As to Bonducci,(200) I don't think I could serve him; for I have no interest with the Lords Middlesex and Holderness, the two sole managers. Nor if I had, would I employ it, 'to bring over more ruin to the operas. Gentlemen directors, with favourite abb'es and favourite mistresses, have almost overturned the thing in England. You will plead my want of interest to Mr. Smith(801) too: besides, we had Bufos here once, and from not understanding the language, people thought it a dull kind of dumb-show. We are next Tuesday to have the Miserere of Rome. It must be curious! the finest piece of vocal music in the world, to be performed by three good voices, and forty bad ones, from Oxford, Canterbury, and the farces! There is a new subscription formed for an opera next year, to be carried on by the Dilettanti, a club, for which the nominal qualification is having been in Italy, and the real one, being drunk: the two chiefs are Lord Middlesex and Sir Francis Dashwood, who were seldom sober the whole time they were in Italy.
The parliament rises next week: every body is going out of town. My Lord goes the first week in May; but I shall reprieve myself till towards August. Dull as London is in summer, there is always more company in it than in any one place in the country. I hate the country: I am past the shepherdly age of groves and streams, and am not arrived at that of hating every thing but what I do myself, as building and planting. Adieu!
(796) Simon, second Viscount Harcourt, created an earl in 1749; in 1768 appointed ambassador at Paris, and in 1769 Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He was accidentally drowned in a well in his park at Nuncham, in 1777; occasioned, it is believed, by overreaching himself, in order to save the life of a favourite dog.-E.
(797) Elizabeth Trevor, daughter of Thomas Lord Trevor, wife of Charles Spencer, Duke of Marlborough. She died in 1761.-E.
(798) Frances, only daughter of Sir Robert Worseley, first wife of Lord Carteret.
(799) First minister of the Great Duke.
(800) Bonducci was a Florentine abb'e, who translated some of Pope's works into Italian.
(801) The English Consul at Venice.
318 Letter 104 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, April 25, 1743.
Nay, but it is serious! the King is gone, and the Duke with him. The' latter actually to the army. They must sow laurels, if they design to reap any; for there are no conquests forward enough for them to come just in time and finish. The French have relieved Egra and cut to pieces two of the best Austrian regiments, the cuirassiers. This is ugly! We are sure, you know, of beating the French afterwards in France and Flanders; but I don't hear that the heralds have produced any precedents for our conquering them on the other side the Rhine.(802) We at home may be excused from trembling at the arrival of every post; I am sure I shall. If I were a woman, should support my fears with more dignity; for if one did lose a husband or a lover, there are those becoming comforts, weeds and cypresses, jointures and weeping cupids; but I have only a friend or two to lose, and there are no ornamental substitutes settled, to be one's proxy for that sort of grief. One has not the satisfaction of fixing a day for receiving visits of consolation from a thousand people whom one don't love, because one has lost the only person one did love. This is a new situation, and I don't like it.
You will see the Regency in the newspapers. I think the Prince might have been of it when my Lord Gower is. I don't think the latter more Jacobite than his Royal Highness.
The Prince is to come to town every Sunday fortnight to hold drawing-rooms; the Princesses stay all the summer at St. James's-would I did! but I go in three weeks to Norfolk; the only place that could make me wish to live at St. James's. My Lord has pressed me so much, that I could not with decency refuse: he is going to furnish and hang his picture-gallery, and wants me. I can't help wishing that I had never known a Guido from a Teniers: but who could ever suspect any connexion between painting and the wilds of Norfolk.
Princess Louisa's contract with the Prince of Denmark was signed the morning before the King Went; but I don't hear when she goes. Poor Caroline misses her man of Lubeck,(803) by his missing the crown of Sweden.
I must tell you an odd thing that happened yesterday at Leicester House. The Prince's children were in the circle: Lady Augusta(804) heard somebody call Sir Robert Rich by his name. She concluded there was but one Sir Robert in the world, and taking him for Lord Orford, the child went staring up to him, and said, "Pray, where is your blue string! and pray what has become of your fat belly?" Did one ever hear of a more royal education, than to have rung this mob cant in the child's ears till it had made this impression on her!
Lord Stafford is come over to marry Miss Cantillon, a vast fortune, of his own religion. She is daughter of the Cantillon who was robbed and murdered, and had his house burned by his cook(805) a few years ago. She is as ugly as he; but when she comes to Paris, and wears a good deal of rouge, and a separate apartment, who knows but she may be a beauty! There is no telling what a woman is, while she is as she is. There is a great fracas in Ireland in a noble family or two, heightened by a pretty strong circumstance of Iricism. A Lord Belfield(806) married a very handsome daughter of a Lord Molesworth.(807) A certain Arthur Rochfort, who happened to be acquainted in the family, by being Lord Belfield's own brother, looked on this woman, and saw that she was fair. These ingenious people, that their history might not be discovered, corresponded under feigned names-And what names do you think they chose?-Silvia and Philander! Only the very same that Lord Grey(808) and his sister-in-law took upon a parallel occasion, and which arc printed in their letters!
Patapan sits to Wootton to-morrow for his picture. He is to have a triumphal arch at a distance, to signify his Roman birth, and his having barked at thousands of Frenchmen in the very heart of Paris. If you can think of a good Italian motto applicable to any part of his history send it to me. If not, he shall have this antique one-for I reckon him a senator of Rome, while Rome survived,-"O, et Presidium et dulce decus meum!" He is writing an ode on the future campaign of this summer; it is dated from his villa, where he never was, and being truly in the classic style, "While you, great Sir," etc. Adieu!
(802) Walpole seems to have forgotten the battle of Blenheim.-D;
(803) Adolphus Frederick of Holstein, Bishop of Lubeck, was elected successor, and did succeed to the crown of Sweden. He married the Princess Louisa Ulrica of Prussia.
(804) Afterwards Duchess of Brunswick.-D.
(805) Cantillon was a Paris wine-merchant and banker, who had been engaged with Law in the Mississippi scheme. He afterwards brought his riches to England and settled in this country. In May 1734, some of his servants, headed by the cook, conspired to murder him, knowing that he kept large sums of money in his house. They killed him, and then set fire to the house; but the fire was extinguished, and the body, with the wounds upon it, found. The cook fled beyond sea; but in December, three of his associates were tried at the Old Bailey for the murder, and acquitted.-E.
(806) Robert Rochfort, created Lord Belfield in Ireland in 1737, Viscount Belfield in 1751, and Earl of Belvedere in 1756. His second wife, whom be married in 1736, was the Hon. Mary Molesworth. D.
(807) Richard, third Viscount Molesworth, in Ireland. He had been aide-de-camp to the great Duke of Marlborough, and in that capacity distinguished himself greatly at the battle of Ramilies. He became afterwards master-general of the ordnance in Ireland, and commander of the forces in that kingdom, and a field-marshal. He died in 1758.-D.
(808) Fordo, the infamous Lord Grey of werke, and his sister-in-law, Lady Henrietta Berkeley, whose "Love Letters," under these romantic names, were published in three small volumes. They are supposed to have been compiled by Mrs. Behn.-D. [Lord Grey commanded the horse at Sedgmoor, and is accused of flying at the first charge, and preserving his life by giving evidence against his associates. He married Lady Mary, daughter of George, first Earl of Berkeley, and died in 1701.)
320 Letter 105 To Sir Horace Mann. May 4, 1743.
The King was detained four or five days at Sheerness but yesterday we heard that he was got to Helvoetsluys. They talk' of an interview between him and his nephew of Prussia-I never knew any advantage result from such conferences. We expect to hear of the French attacking our army, though there are accounts of their retiring, which would necessarily produce a peace-I hope so! I don't like to be at the eve, even of an Agincourt; that, you know, every Englishman is bound in faith to expect: besides, they say my Lord Stair has in his pocket, from the records of the Tower, the original patent, empowering us always to conquer. I am told that Marshal Noailles is as mad as Marshal Stair. Heavens! twice fifty thousand men trusted to two mad captains, without one Dr. Monroe(809) over them!
I am sorry I could give you so little information about King Theodore; but my lord knew nothing of him, and as little of any connexion between Lord Carteret and him. I am sorry you have him on your hands. He quite mistakes his province: an adventurer should come hither;(810) this is the soil for mobs and patriots it is the country of the world to make one's fortune - with parts never so scanty, one's dulness is not discovered, nor one's dishonesty, till one obtains the post one wanted-and then, if they do not come to light-why, one slinks into one's green velvet bag,(811) and lies so snug! I don't approve of your hinting at the falsehoods(812) of Stosch's intelligence; nobody regards it but the King , it pleases him-e basta.
I was not in the House at Vernon's frantic speech;(813) but I know he made it, and have heard him pronounce several such: but he has worn out even laughter, and did not make impression enough on me to remember till the next post that he had spoken.
I gave your brother the translated paper; he will take care of it. Ceretesi is gone to Flanders with Lord Holderness. Poor creature! he was reduced, before he went, to borrow five guineas of Sir Francis Dashwood. How will he ever scramble back to Florence?
We are likely at last to have no opera next year: Handel has had a palsy, and can't compose; and the Duke of Dorset has set himself strenuously to oppose it, as Lord Middlesex is the impresario, and must ruin the house of Sackville by a course of these follies. Besides what he will lose this year, he has not paid his share to the losses of the last; and yet is singly undertaking another for next season, with the almost certainty of losing between four or five thousand pounds, to which the deficiencies of the opera generally amount now. The Duke of Dorset has desired the King not to subscribe; but Lord Middlesex is so obstinate, that this will probably only make him lose a thousand pounds more.
The Freemasons are in so low repute now in England, that one has scarce heard the proceedings at Vienna against them mentioned. I believe nothing but a persecution could bring them into vogue again here. You know, as great as our follies are, we even grow tired of them, and are always changing.
(809) Physician of Bedlam-
"Those walls where Folly holds her throne, And laughs to think Monroe would take her down."-E.
(810) He afterwards came to England, where he suffered much from poverty and destitution, and was finally arrested by his creditors and confined in the King,'s Bench prison. He was released from thence under the Insolvent Act, having registered the kingdom of Corsica for the use of his creditors. Shortly after this event he died, December 11, 1756, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Anne's, Soho, where Horace Walpole erected a marble slab to his memory. He was an adventurer, whose name was Theodore Anthony, Baron Newhoff, and was born at Metz, in 1686. Walpole, who had seen him, describes him as "a comely, middle-sized man, very reserved, and affecting much dignity,"-D.
(811) The secretaries of state and lord treasurer carry their papers in a green velvet bag.
(812) Stosch used to pretend to send over an exact journal of the life of the Pretender and his sons, though he had been sent out of Rome at the Pretender's request, and must have had very bad, or no intelligence, of what passed in that family.
(813) The admiral had recently said, in the House of Commons, that "there was not, on this side Hell, a nation so burthened with taxes as England."-E.
322 Letter 106 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, May 12, 1743.
It is a fortnight since I got any of your letters, but I will expect two at once. I don't tell you by way of news, because you will have had expresses, but I must talk of the great Austrian victory!(814) We have not heard the exact particulars yet, nor whether it was Kevenhuller or lobkowitz who beat the Bavarians; but their general, Minucci, is prisoner. At first, they said Seckendorffe was too; I am glad he is not: poor man, he has suffered enough by the house of Austria! But my joy is beyond the common, for I flatter myself this victory will save us one: we talk of nothing, but its producing a peace, and then one's friends will return.
The Duchess of Kendal(815) is dead-eighty-five years old: she was a year older than her late King. Her riches were immense; but I believe my Lord Chesterfield will get nothing by her death-but his wife: (816) she lived in the house with the duchess, where he had played away all his credit.
Hough,(817) the good old Bishop of Worcester, is dead too. I have been looking at the "Fathers in God" that have been flocking over the way this Morning to Mr. Pelham, who is just come to his new house. This is absolutely the ministerial street Carteret has a house here too; and Lord Bath seems to have lost his chance by quitting this street. Old Marlborough has made a good story of the latter; she says, that when he found he could not get the privy seal, he begged that at least they would offer it to him, and upon his honour he would not accept it, but would plead his vow of never taking a place; in which she says they humoured him. The truth is, Lord Carteret did hint an offer to him, upon which he went with a nolo episcopari to the King-he bounced, and said, "Why I never offered it to you:" upon which he recommended my Lord Carlisle, with equal Success.
Just before the King went, he asked my Lord Carteret, " Well, when am I to get rid of those fellows in the Treasury?" They are on so low a foot, that somebody said Sandys had hired a stand of hackney-coaches, to look like a levee.
Lord Conway has begged me to send you a commission, which you will oblige me much by executing. It is to send him three Pistoia barrels for guns: two of them, of two feet and a half in the barrel in length; the smallest of the inclosed buttons to be the size of the bore, hole, or calibre, of the two guns. The third barrel to be three feet and an inch in length; the largest of these buttons to be the bore of it; these feet are English measure. You will be so good to let me know the price of them.
There has happened a comical circumstance at Leicester House: one of the Prince's coachmen, who used to drive the Maids of Honour, was so sick of them, that he has left his son three hundred pounds, upon condition that he never carries a Maid of Honour!
Our journey to Houghton is fixed to Saturday se'nnight; 'tis unpleasant, but I flatter myself that I shall get away in the beginning of August. Direct your letters as you have done all this winter; your brother will take care to send them to me. Adieu!
(814) There was no great victory this year till the battle of Dettingen, which took place in June; but the Austrians obtained many advantages during the spring over the Bavarians and the French, and obliged the latter to recross the Rhine.-D.
(815) Erangard Melusina Schulembergh, the mistress of George I. George I. created her Duchess of Munster and Marchioness of Dungannon in Ireland in 1719; Ind Duchess of Kendal, Countess of Feversham, and Baroness of Glastonbury. in England, in 1723. All these honours were for life only. He also persuaded the Emperor to create her Princess of eberstein in the Roman empire in 1723.-D.
(816) Melusina Schulembergh, Countess of Walsingham, niece of the Duchess of Kendal, and her heiress.
(817) Hough Was a man of piety, ability, and integrity, and had distinguished himself early in his life by his resistance to the arbitrary proceedings of James II. against Magdalen College, Oxford, of which he was the president. Pope, with much justice, speaks of "Hough's unsullied mitre."-D. [He was nominated Bishop of Oxford in 1690; and translated to Worcester in 1717.]
323 Letter 107 To Sir Horace Mann. May 19, 1743.
I am just come tired from a family dinner at the Master of the Rolls;(818) but I have received two letters from you since my last, and will write to you, though my head aches with maiden sisters' healths, forms, and Devonshire and Norfolk. With yours I received one from Mr. Chute, for which I thank him a thousand times, and will answer as soon as I get to Houghton. Monday is fixed peremptorily, though we have had no rain this month; but we travel by the day of the week, not by the day of the sky.
We are in more confusion than we care to own. There lately came up a highland regiment from Scotland, to be sent abroad. One heard of nothing but their good discipline and quiet disposition. When the day came for their going to the water side, an hundred and nine of them mutinied, and marched away in a body. They did not care to go where it would not be equivocal for what King they fought. Three companies of dragoons are sent after them. If you happen to hear of any rising don't be surprised-I shall not, I assure you. Sir Robert Monroe, their lieutenant-colonel, before their leaving Scotland, asked some of the ministry, " "But suppose there should be any rebellion in Scotland, what should we do for these eight hundred men?" It was answered, "Why, there would be eight hundred fewer rebels there."
"Utor permisso, caudeque pilos ut equinae Paulatim cello; demo unum, demo etiam unum, Dum-"
My dear child, I am surprised to hear you enter so seriously into earnest ideas of my lord's passing into Italy! Could you think (however he, you, or I might wish it) that there could be any probability of it? Can you think his age could endure it, or him so indifferent, so totally disministered, as to leave all thoughts of what he has been, and ramble like a boy, after pictures and statues? Don't expect it.
We had heard of the Duke of Modena's command before I had your letter. I am glad, for the sake of the duchess, as she is to return to France. I never saw any body wish anything more! and indeed, how can one figure any particle of pleasure happening to the daughter of the Regent,(819) and a favourite daughter too, full of wit and joy, buried in a dirty, dull Italian duchy, with an ugly, formal object for a husband, and two uncouth sister-princesses for eternal companions? I am so near the eve of going into Norfolk, that I imagine myself something in her situation, and married to some Hammond or Hoste (820) who is Duke of Wootton or Darsingham. I remember in the fairy tales where a yellow dwarf steals a princess, and shows her his duchy, of which he is very proud: among the blessings of grandeur, of which he makes her mistress, there is a most beautiful ass for her palfrey, a blooming meadow of nettles and thistles to walk in, and a fine troubled ditch to slake her thirst, after either of the above mentioned exercises.
Adieu! My next will be dated from some of the doleful castles in the principality of your forlorn friend, the duchy of Reepham.
(818) William Fortescue, master of the rolls, a relation of Margaret Lady Walpole. ffortescue was made master of the rolls in 1741, and continued so until his death in 1749. He was the friend and correspondent of Pope, and assisted the poet in drawing up the humorous report, "Stradling versus Stiles." He was a man of great humour, talents, and integrity.]
(819) Mademoiselle de Valois, who had made herself notorious during the regency of her father, by her intrigue with the Duke of Richelieu. She consented to marry the Duke of Modena, in order to obtain the liberty of her lover, who was confined in the Bastille, for conspiring against the Regent. The Duke of Richelieu, in return, followed her afterwards secretly to Modena.-D.
(820) The Hammonds and Hostes are two Norfolk families, nearly allied to the Walpoles.
324 letter 108 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, Jan. 4, 1743.
I wrote, this week to Mr. Chute, addressed to you; I could not afford two letters in one post from the country, and in the dead of summer. I have received one from you of May 21st, since I came I must tell you a smart dialogue between your father and me the morning we left London: he came to wish my lord a good journey: I found him in the parlour. "Sir," said he, "I may ask you how my son does; I think you hear from him frequently: I never do." I replied, "Sir, I write him kind answers; pray do you do so?" He coloured, and said with a half mutter, "Perhaps I have lived too long for him!" I answered shortly, "Perhaps you have." My dear child, I beg your pardon, but I could not help this. When one loves any body, one can't help being warm for them at a fair opportunity. Bland and Mr. Legge were present-your father could have stabbed me. I told your brother Gal, who was glad.
We are as private here as if we were in devotion-. there is nobody with us now but Lord Edgecumbe and his son. The Duke of Grafton and Mr. Pelham come next week, and I hope Lord Lincoln with them. Poor Lady Sophia is at the gasp of her hopes; all is concluded for his match with Miss Pelham. It is not to be till the winter. He is to have all Mr. Pelham and the Duke of Newcastle can give or settle; unless Lady Catherine should produce a son, or the duchess should die, and the duke marry again.
Earl Poulett(821) is dead, and makes vacant another riband. I imagine Lord Carteret will have one; Lord Bath will ask it. I think they should give Prince Charles(822) one of the two, for all the trouble he saves us. The papers talk of nothing but a suspension of arms: it seems toward, for at least we hear of no battle, though there are so many armies looking at one another.
Old Sir Charles Wager(823) is dead at last, and has left the fairest character. I can't help having a little private comfort, to think that Goldsworthy-but there is no danger.
Madox of St. Asaph has wriggled himself into the see of Worcester. He makes haste; I remember him only domestic chaplain to the late Bishop of Chichester.(824) Durham is not dead, as I believe I told you from a false report.
You tell me of dining with Madame de Modene,(824) but you don't tell me of being charmed with her. I like her excessively-I don't mean her person, for she is as plump as the late Queen; but, sure her face is fine; her eyes vastly fine! and then she is as agreeable as one should expect the Regent's daughter to be. The Princess and she must have been an admirable contrast; one has all the good breeding of a French court, and the other all the ease of it. I have almost a mind to go to Paris to see her. She was so excessively civil to me. You don't tell me if the Pucci goes into France with her.
I like the Genoese selling Corsica! I think we should follow their example and sell France; we have about as good a title, and very near as much possession. At how much may they value Corsica? at the rate of islands it can't go for much. Charles the Second sold Great Britain and Ireland to Louis XIV. for 300,000 pounds. a-year, and that was reckoned extravagantly dear. Lord Bolingbroke took a single hundred thousand for them, when they were in much better repair.
We hear to-day that the King goes to the army on the 15th N. S. that is, to-day; but I don't tell it you for certain. There has been much said against his commanding it, as it is only an army of succour, and not acting as principal in the cause. In my opinion, his commanding will depend upon the more or less probability of its acting at all. Adieu!
(821) John, first Earl of Poulett, knight of the garter. He died, aged upwards of eighty, on the 28th May 1743.-D.
(822) Prince Charles of Lorraine, the queen of Hungary's general against the French.-D.
(823) This distinguished admiral died on the 24th of May, in his seventy-seventh year; at which time he was member for West looe. A splendid monument was erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey.-E.
(824) Dr. Waddington.
(825) It was not the Duchess of Modena, but the Duke's second sister, who went to Florence.
326 letter 109 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, June 10, 1743.
You must not expect me to write you a very composed, careless letter; my spirits are all in agitation! I am at the eve of a post that may bring me the most dreadful news! we expect to-morrow the news of a decisive battle. Oh! if you have any friend there, think what apprehensions I (826) must have of such a post! By yesterday's letters, our army was within eight miles of the French, who have had repeated orders to attack them. Lord Stair and Marshal Noailles both think themselves superior, and have pressed for leave to fight. The latter call themselves fourscore thousand; ours sixty. Mr. Pelham and Lord Lincoln come to Houghton to-morrow, so we are sure of hearing as soon as possible, if any thing has happened. By this time the King must be with them.- My fears for one or two friends have spoiled me for any English hopes-I cannot dwindle away the French army-every man in it appears to my imagination as big as the sons of Anak! I am conjuring up the ghosts of all who have perished by French ambition, and am dealing out commissions to these spectres,
"-To sit heavy on their souls to-morrow!"
Alas! perhaps that glorious to-morrow was a dismal yesterday at least, perhaps it was to me! The genius of England might be a mere mercenary man of the world, and employed all his attention to turn aside cannonballs from my Lord Stair, to give new edge to his new Marlborough's sword: was plotting glory for my Lord Carteret, or was thinking of furnishing his own apartment in Westminster Hall with a new set of trophies-who would then take care of Mr. Conway? You, who are a minister, will see all this in still another light, will fear our defeat, and will foresee the train of consequences.-Why, they may be wondrous ugly; but till I know what I have to think about my own friends, I cannot be wise in my generation.
I shall now only answer your letter; for till I have read to-morrow's post, I have no thoughts but of a battle.
I am angry at your thinking that I can dislike to receive two or three of your letters at once. Do you take me for a child, and imagine, that though I may like one plum-tart, two may make me sick? I now get them regularly; so I do but receive them, I am easy.
You are mistaken about the gallery; so far from unfurnishing any part of the house, there are several pictures undisposed of, besides numbers at Lord Walpole's, at the Exchequer, at Chelsea, and at New Park. Lord Walpole has taken a dozen to Stanno, a small house, about four miles from hence, where he lives with my lady Walpole's vicegerent.(827) You may imagine that her deputies are no fitter than she is to come where there is In a modest, unmarried girl.(828)
I will write to London for the life of Theodore, though you may depend upon its being a Grub Street piece, without one true fact. Don't let it prevent your undertaking his Memoirs. Yet I should say Mrs. Heywood,(829) or Mrs. Behn(830) were fitter to write his history.
How slight you talk of Prince Charles's victory at Brunau! We thought it of vast consequence; so it was. He took three posts afterwards, and has since beaten the Prince of Conti, and killed two thousand men. Prince Charles civilly returned him his baggage. The French in Bavaria are quite dispirited-poor wretches! how one hates to wish so ill as one does to fourscore thousand men!
There is yet no news of the Pembroke. The Dominichin has a post of honour reserved in the gallery. My Lord says, as to that Dalton's Raphael, he can say nothing without some particular description of the picture and the size, and some hint at the price, which you have promised to get. I leave the residue of my paper for tomorrow: I tremble, lest I should be forced to finish it abruptly! I forgot to tell you that I left a particular commission with my brother Ned, who is at Chelsea, to get some tea-seed from the physic-garden; and he promised me to go to Lord Islay, to know what cobolt and zingho(831) are, and where they are to be got.
The post is come: no battle! Just as they were marching against the French, they received orders from Hanover not to engage, for the Queen's generals thought they were inferior, and were positive against fighting. Lord Stair, with only the English, proceeded, and drew out in order; but though the French were then so vastly superior, they did not attack him. The King is now at the army, and, they say, will endeavour to make the Austrians fight. It wilt make great confusion here if they do not. The French are evacuating Bavaria as fast as possible, and seem to intend to join all their force together. I shall still dread all the events of this campaign. Adieu!
(826) Mr. Conway the most intimate friend of Horace Walpole, was now serving in Lord Stair's army.
(827) Miss Norsa; she was a Jewess, and had been a singer.
(828) Lady Maria Walpole.
(829) Eliza Heywood, a voluminous writer of indifferent novels; of which the best known is one called "Betsy Thoughtless." She was also authoress of a work entitled "The Female Spectator." - Mrs. Heywood was born in 1693, and died in 1756.-D.
(830) Mrs. Afra Behn, a woman whose character and writings were equally incorrect. Of her plays, which were seventeen in number, Pope says,
"The stage how loosely does Astrea tread, Who fairly puts all characters to bed."
Her novels and other productions were also marked with similar characteristics. She died in 1689-D.
(831) Cobalt and Zinc, two metallic substances; the former composed of silver, copper, and arsenic, the latter of tin and iron.-D.
328 letter 110 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, June 20, 1743.
I have painted the Raphael to my lord almost as fine as Raphael himself could; but he will not think of it-. he will not give a thousand guineas for what he never saw. I wish I could persuade him. For the other hands, he has already fine ones of every one of them. There are yet no news of the Pembroke: we row impatient.
I have made a short tour to Euston this week with the Duke of Grafton, who came over from thence with Lord Lincoln and Mr. Pelham. Lord Lovel and Mr. Coke carried me and brought me back. It is one of the most admired seats in England-in my opinion, because Kent has a most absolute disposition of it. Kent is now so fashionable, that, like Addison's Liberty, he
"Can make bleak rocks and barren mountains smile."
I believe the duke wishes he could make them green too. The house is large and bad; it was built by Lord Arlington, and stands, as all old houses do for convenience of water and shelter, in a hole; so it neither sees, nor is seen: he has no money to build another. The park is fine, the old woods excessively so: they are much grander than Mr. Kent's passion clumps-that is, sticking a dozen trees here and there, till a lawn looks like the ten of spades. Clumps have their beauty; but in a great extent of country, how trifling to scatter arbours, where you should spread forests! He is so unhappy in his heir apparent,(832) that he checks his hand in almost every thing he undertakes. Last week he heard a new complaint of his barbarity. A tenant of Lord Euston, in Northamptonshire, brought him his rent: the Lord said it wanted three and sixpence: the tenant begged he would examine the account, that it would prove exact-however, to content him, he would willingly pay him the three and sixpence. Lord E. flew into a rage, and vowed he would write to the Duke to have him turned out of a little place he has in the post-office of thirty pounds a-year. The poor man, who has six children, and knew nothing of my lord's being upon no terms of power with his father, went home and shot himself!
I know no syllable of news '. but that my Lady Carteret is dead at Hanover, and Lord Wilmington dying. So there will be to let a first minister's ladyship and a first lordship of the Treasury. We have nothing from the army, though the King has now been there some time. As new a thing as it is, we don't talk much about it.
Adieu! the family are gone a fishing: I thought I stayed at home to write to you, but I have so little to say that I don't believe you will think so.
(832) George, Earl of Euston, who died in the lifetime of his father. He seems to have been a man of the most odious character. He has been already mentioned in the course of these letters, upon the occasion of his marriage with the ill-fated lady Dorothy Boyle, who died from his ill-treatment of her. Upon a picture of lady Dorothy at the Duke of Devonshire's at Chiswick, is the following touching inscription, written by her mother, which commemorates her virtues and her fate:-
"lady Dorothy Boyle, Born May the 14th, 1724. She was the comfort and joy of her parents, the delight of all who knew her angelick of temper, and the admiration of all who saw her beauty. She was marry'd October the 10th, 1741, and delivered (by death) from misery, May the 2nd, 1742. This picture was drawn seven weeks after her death (from memory) by her most affectionate mother, Dorothy Burlington."-D.
329 letter 111 To Sir Horace Mann. Friday noon, July 29, 1743.
I don't know what I write-I am all a flurry of thoughts-a battle-a victory! I dare not yet be glad-I know no particulars of my friends. This instant my lord has had a messenger from the Duke of Newcastle, who has sent him a copy of Lord Carteret's letter from the field of battle. The King was in all the heat of the fire, and safe—the Duke is wounded in the calf of the leg, but slightly; Duc d'Aremberg in the breast; General Clayton and Colonel Piers are the only officers of note said to be killed-here is all my trust! The French passed the Mayne that morning with twenty-five thousand men, and are driven back. We have lost two thousand, and they four-several of their general officers, and of the Maison du Roi, are taken prisoners: the battle lasted from ten in the morning till four. The Hanoverians behaved admirably. The Imperialists(833) were the aggressors; in short, 'In all public views, it is all that could be wished-the King in the action, and his son wounded-the Hanoverians behaving well-the French beaten: what obloquy will not all this wipe out! Triumph, and write it to Rome! I don't know what our numbers were; I believe about thirty thousand, for there were twelve thousand Hessians and Hanoverians who had not joined them. O! in my hurry, I had forgot the place-you must talk of the battle of Dettingen!
After dinner. My child, I am calling together all my thoughts, and rejoice in this victory as much as I dare; for in the raptures of' conquest, how dare I think that my Lord Carteret, or the rest of those who have written, thought just of whom I thought? The post comes in tomorrow morning, but it is not sure that we shall learn any particular certainties so soon as that. Well! how happy it is that the King has had such an opportunity of distinguishing himself'!(834) what a figure he will make! They talked of its being below his dignity to command an auxiliary army: my lord says it will not be thought below his dignity to have sought dangers These were the flower of the French troops: I flatter myself they will tempt no more battles. such, and we might march from one end of France to the other. So we are in a French war, at least well begun! My lord has been drinking the healths of Lord Stair and Lord Carteret: he says, "since it was well done, he does not care by whom it was done." He thinks differently from the rest of the world: he thought from the first, that France never missed such an opportunity as when they undertook the German war, instead of joining with Spain against us. If I hear any more tomorrow before the post goes out, I will let you know. Tell me if this is the first you hear of the victory: I would fain be the first to give you so much pleasure.
Well, my dear child, all is safe! I have not so much as an acquaintance hurt. The more we hear the greater it turns out. Lord Cholmondeley writes my lord from London that we gained the victory with only fifteen regiments, not eleven thousand men, and SO not half in number to the French. I fancy their soldiery behaved ill, by the Gallantry of their officers; for Ranby, the King'S private surgeon, writes that he alone has 150 officers of distinction desperately wounded under his care. Marquis Fenelon's son is among the prisoners, and says Marshal Noailles is dangerously wounded; so is Duc d'Aremberg. Honeywood's regiment sustained the attack, and are almost all killed: his natural son has five wounds, and cannot live. The horse were pursuing when the letters came away, so there is no certain account of the slaughter. Lord Albemarle had his horse shot under him. In short, the victory is complete. There is no describing what one hears of the spirits and bravery of our men. One of them dressed himself up in the belts of three officers, and swore he would wear them as long as he lived. Another ran up to Lord Carteret, who was in a coach near the action the whole time, and said, "Here, my lord, do hold this watch for me; I have just killed a French officer and taken it, and I will go take another."
Adieu! my dear Sir: May the rest of the war be as glorious as the beginning!
(833) The Bavarians.
(834) Frederick the Great, in his "Histoire de mon Temps," gives the Following account of George the Second at the battle of Dettingen. "The King was on horseback, and rode forward to reconnoitre the enemy: his horse, frightened at the cannonading, ran away with his Majesty, and nearly carried him into the midst of the French lines: fortunately, one of his attendants succeeded in stopping him. George then abandoned his horse, and fought on foot, at the head of his Hanoverian battalions. With his sword drawn, and his body placed in the attitude of a fencing-master, who is about to make a lunge in carte, he continued to expose himself, without Circling, to the enemy's fire."-D.
To Mr. Chute.
My dear Sir, I wish you joy, and you wish me joy, and Mr. Whithed, and Mr. Mann, and Mrs. Bosville, etc. Don't get drunk and get the gout. I expect to be drunk with hogsheads of the Mayne-water, and with odes to his Majesty and the Duke, and Te Deums. Patapan begs you will get him a dispensation from Rome to go and hear the thanksgiving at St. Paul's. We are all mad-drums, trumpets, bumpers, bonfires! The mob are wild, and cry, "Long live King George and the Duke of Cumberland, and Lord Stair and Lord Carteret, and General Clayton that's dead!" My Lord Lovel says, "Thanks to the gods that John(835) has done his duty!"
Adieu! my dear Dukes of Marlborough! I am ever your JOHN DUKE OF MARLBOROUGh.
(835) John Bull.-D.
331 Letter 112 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, July 4, 1743.
I hear no particular news here, and I don't pretend to send you the common news; for as I must have it first from London, you will have it from thence sooner in the papers than in my letters. There have been great rejoicings for the victory; which I am convinced is very considerable by the pains the Jacobites take to persuade it is not. My Lord Carteret's Hanoverian articles have much offended; his express has been burlesqued a thousand ways. By all the letters that arrive, the loss of the French turns out more considerable than by the first accounts: they have dressed up the battle into a victory for themselves-I hope they will always have such! By their not having declared war with us, one should think they intended a peace. It is allowed that our fine horse did us no honour - the victory was gained by the foot. Two of their princes of the blood, the Prince de Dombes, and the Count d'Eu(836) his brother, were wounded, and several of their first nobility. Our prisoners turn out but seventy-two officers, besides the private men; and by the printed catalogue, I don't think of great family. Marshal Noailles's mortal wound is quite vanished, and Duc d'Aremberg's shrunk to a very slight one. The King's glory remains in its first bloom.
Lord Wilmington is dead. I believe the civil battle for his post will be tough. Now we shall see what service Lord Carteret's Hanoverians will do him. You don't think the crisis unlucky for him, do you? If you wanted a treasury, should you choose to have been in Arlington Street,(837) or driving by the battle of Dettingen? You may imagine our Court wishes for Mr. Pelham. I don't know any one who wishes for Lord Bath but himself-I believe that is a pretty substantial wish.
I have got the Life of King Theodore, but I don't know how to convey it—I will inquire for some way.
We are quite alone. You never saw any thing so unlike as being here five months out of place, to the congresses of a fortnight in place. but you know the "Justum et tenacem propositi virum" can amuse himself without the "Civium ardor!" As I have not so much dignity of character to fill up my time, I could like a little more company. With all this leisure, you may imagine that I might as well be writing an ode or so upon the victory; but as I cannot build upon the Laureate's place till I know whether Lord Carteret or Mr. Pelham will carry the Treasury, I have vounded my compliments to a slender collection of quotations against I should have any occasion for them. Here are some fine lines from Lord Halifax's (838) poem on the battle of the Boyne-
"The King leads on, the King does all inflame, The King!-and carries millions in the name."
Then follows a simile about a deluge, which you may imagine, but the next lines are very good -
"So on the foe the firm battalions prest, And he, like the tenth wave, drove on the rest. Fierce, gallant, young, he shot through every place, Urging their flight, and hurrying on the chase, He hung upon their rear, or lighten'd in their face."
The next are a magnificent compliment, and, as far as verse goes, to be sure very applicable.
"Stop, stop! brave Prince, allay that inner flame; Enough is given to England and to fame. Remember, Sir, you in the centre stand; Europe's divided interests you command, All their designs uniting in your hand. Down from your throne descends the golden chain Which does the fabric of our world sustain, That once dissolved by any fatal stroke, The scheme of all our happiness is broke."
Adieu! my dear Sir: pray for peace!
(836) The two sons of the Duke du Maine, a natural son, but legitimated, of Lewis the Fourteenth, by Madame de Montespan.-E.
(837) Where Mr. Pelham lived.
(838) Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, the "Bufo" of Pope
"Proud as Apollo, on his forked hill Sate full-blown Bufo, I)uff'd by every quill; Fed with soft dedication all day long, Horace and he went hand in hand in song."-E.
333 Letter 113 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, July 11, 1743.
The Pembroke is arrived! Your brother slipped a slice of paper into a letter which he sent me from you the other day, with those pleasant words, "The Pembroke is arrived." I am going to receive it. I shall be in town the end of this week, only stay there about ten days, and wait on the Dominichin hither. Now I tremble! If it should not stand the trial among the number of capital pictures here! But it must; It will.
O, sweet lady!(839) What shall I do about her letter? I must answer it-and where to find a penful of Italian in the world, I know not. Well, she must take what she can get: gold and silver I have not, but what I have I give unto her. Do you say a vast deal of my concern for her illness, and that I could not find decompounds and superlatives enough to express myself. You never tell me a syllable from my sovereign lady the princess: has she forgot me? What is become of Prince Beauvau?(840) is he warring against us? Shall I write to Mr. Conway to be very civil to him for my sake, if he is taken prisoner? We expect another battle every day. Broglio has joined Noailles, and Prince Charles is on the Neckar. Noailles says, "Qu'il a fait une folie, mais qu'il est pr'et 'a la r'eparer." There is great blame thrown on Baron Ilton, the Hanoverian General for having hindered the Guards from en(,aging. If they had, and the horse, who behaved wretchedly, had done their duty, it is agreed that there would be no second engagement. The poor Duke is in a much worse way than was at first apprehended: his wound proves a bad one; he is gross, and has had a shivering fit, which is often the forerunner of a mortification. There has been much thought of making knights-banneret, but I believe the scheme is laid aside; for, in the first place, they are never made but on the field of battle, and now it was not thought on till some days after; and besides, the King intended to make some who were not actually in the battle.
Adieu! Possibly I may hear something in town worth telling you.
(839) Madame Grifoni.
(840) Son of Prince Craon.
334 letter 114 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, July 19.
Here am I come a-Dominichining! and the first thing, I hear is, that the Pembroke must perform quarantine fourteen days for coming from the Mediterranean, and a week airing. It is forty days, if they bring the plague from Sicily. I will bear this misfortune as heroically as I can; and considering I have London to bear it in, may possibly support it well enough.
The private letters from the army all talk of the King's going to Hanover, 2nd of August, N. S. If he should not, one shall be no longer in pain for him; for the French have repassed the Rhine, and think only of preparing against Prince Charles, who is marching sixty-two thousand men, full of conquest and revenge, to regain his own country. I most cordially wish him success, and that his bravery may recover what his abject brother gave up so tamely, and which he takes as little personal pains to regain. It is not at all determined whether we are to carry the war into France. It is ridiculous enough! we have the name of war with Spain, without the thing and war with France, without the name!
The maiden heroes of the Guards are in great wrath with General Ilton, who kept them out of harm's way. They call him "the Confectioner," because he says he preserved them.
The week before I left Houghton my father had a most dreadful accident: it had near been fatal; but he escaped miraculously. He dined abroad, and went up to sleep. As he was coming down again, not quite awakened, he was surprised at seeing the company through a glass-door which he had not observed: his foot slipped, and he, who is now entirely unwieldy and helpless, fell at once down the stairs against the door, which, had it not been there, he had dashed himself to pieces, in a stone hall. He cut his forehead two inches long to the pericranium, and another gash upon his temple; but, most luckily, did himself' no other hurt, and was quite well again before I came away.
I find Lord Stafford (841) married to Miss Cantillon; they are to live half the year in London, half in Paris. Lord Lincoln is soon to marry his cousin Miss Pelham: it will be great joy to the whole house of Newcastle.
There is no determination yet come about the Treasury. Most people wish for Mr. Pelham; few for Lord Carteret; none for Lord Bath. My Lady TOWnshend said an admirable thing the other day to this last: he was complaining much of a pain in his side-"Oh!" said she, "that can't be; you have no side."
I have a new cabinet for my enamels and miniatures Just come home, which I am sure you would like: it is of rosewood; the doors inlaid with carvings in ivory.' I wish you could see 'It! Are you to be forever ministerial sans rel'ache? Are you never to have leave to come and "settle your private affairs," as the newspapers call it?
A thousand loves to the Chutes. Does my sovereign lady yet remember me, or has she lost with her eyes all thought of m! Adieu!
P.S. Princess Louisa goes soon to her young Denmark: and Princess Emily, it is now said, will have the man of Lubeck. If he had missed the crown of Sweden, he was to have taken Princess Caroline, because, in his private capacity, he was not a competent match for the now-first daughter of England. He is extremely handsome; it is fifteen years since Princess Emily was so.
(841) William-Matthias, third Earl of Stafford. He died in 1751 without issue.-E.
335 letter 115 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, July 31, 1743.
If I went by my last week's reason for not writing to you, I should miss this post too, for I have no more to tell you than I had then; but at that rate, there would be great vacuums in our correspondence. I am still here, waiting for the Dominichin and the rest of the things. I have incredibly trouble about them, for they arrived just as the quarantine was established. Then they found out that the Pembroke had left the fleet so long before the infection in Sicily began, and had not touched at any port there, that the admiralty absolved it. Then the things were brought up; then they were sent back to be aired; and still I am not to have them in a week. I tremble for the pictures; for they are to be aired at the rough discretion of a master of a hoy, for nobody I could send would be suffered to go aboard. The city is outrageous; for you know, to merchants there is no plague so dreadful as a stoppage of their trade. The regency are so temporizing and timid, especially in this inter-ministerium, that I am in great apprehensions of our having the plague an island, so many ports, no power absolute or active enough to establish the necessary precautions, and all are necessary! And now it is on the continent too! While confined to Sicily there were hopes: but I scarce conceive that it will stop in two or three villages in Calabria. My dear child, Heaven preserve you from it! I am in the utmost pain on its being so near you. What will you do! whither will you go, if it reaches Tuscany? Never think of staying in Florence: shall I get you permission to retire out of that State, in case of danger? but sure you would not hesitate on such a crisis!
We have no news from the army: the minister there communicates nothing to those here. No answer comes about the Treasury. All is suspense: and clouds of breaches ready to burst. now strange is this jumble! France with an unsettled ministry; England with an unsettled one; a victory just gained over them, yet no war ensuing, or declared from either side; our minister still at Paris, as if to settle an amicable intelligence of the losses on both sides! I think there was Only wanting for Mr. Thompson to notify to them in form our victory over them, and for Bussy(843) to have civil letters of congratulation-'tis so well-bred an age!
I must tell you a bon-mot of Winnington. I was at dinner with him and Lord Lincoln and Lord Stafford last week, and it happened to be a maigre day of which Stafford was talking, though, you may believe, without any scruples; "Why," said Winnington, "what a religion is yours! they let you eat nothing, and vet make you swallow every thing!"
My dear child, you will think when I am going to give you a new commission, that I ought to remember those you give me. Indeed I have not forgot one, though I know not how to execute them. The Life of King Theodore is too big to send but by a messenger; by the first that goes you shall have it. For cobolt and zingho, your brother and I have made all inquiries, but almost in vain, except that one person has told him that there Is some such thing in Lancashire; I have written thither to inquire. For the tea-trees, it is my brother-'s fault, whom I desired, as he is at Chelsea, to get some from the Physic-garden: he forgot it; but now I am in town myself, if possible, you shall have some seed. After this, I still know not how to give you a commission, for you over-execute; but on conditions uninfringeable, I will give you one. I have begun to collect drawings: now, if you will at any time buy me any that you meet with at reasonable rates, for I will not give great prices, I shall be much obliged to you. I would not have above one, to be sure, of any of the Florentine school, nor above one of any master after the immediate scholars of Carlo Maratti. For the Bolognese school, I care not how many; though I fear they will be too dear. But Mr. Chute understands them. One condition is, that if he collects drawings as well as prints, there is an end of the commission; for you shall not buy me any, when he perhaps would like to purchase them. The other condition is, that you regularly set down the prices you pay; otherwise, if you send me any without the price, I instantly return them unopened to your brother: this, upon my honour, I will most strictly perform.
Adieu! write me minutely the history of the plague. If it makes any progress towards you, I shall be a most unhappy man. I am far from easy on our own account here.
(843) Mr. Thompson and the Abb'e de Bussy were the English and French residents.
336 letter 117 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Aug. 14, 1743.
I should write to Mr. Chute to-day, but I won't till next post: I will tell you why presently. Last week I did not write at all; because I was every day waiting for the Dominichin, etc. which I at last got last night-But oh! that etc.! It makes me write to you, but I must leave it etc. for I can't undertake to develop it. I can find no words to thank you from my own fund; but Must apply an expression of the Princess Craon's to myself, Which the number of charming things you have sent me absolutely melts down from the bombast, of which it consisted when she sent it me. "Monsieur, votre g'en'erosit'e," (I am not sure it was not "votre magnificence,") "ne me laisse rien 'a d'esirer de tout ce qui se trouve de pr'ecieux en Angleterre, dans la Chine, et aux Indes." But still this don't express etc. The charming Madame S'evign'e, who was still handsomer than Madame de Craon, and had infinite wit, condescended to pun on sending her daughter an excessively fine pearl necklace-"Voil'a, ma fille, un pr'esent passant tous les pr'esents pass'es et pr'esents!" Do you know that these words reduced to serious meaning, are not sufficient for what you have sent me! If I were not afraid of giving you all the trouble of airing and quarantine which I have had with them, I would send them to you back again! It is well our virtue is out of the ministry! What reproach it would undergo! Why, my dear child, here would be bribery in folio! How would mortals stare at such a present as this to the son of a fallen minister! I believe half of it would reinstate us again though the vast box of essences would not half sweeten the treasury after the dirty wretches that have fouled it since.
The Dominichin is safe; so is every thing. I cannot think it of the same hand with the Sasso Ferrati you sent me. This last is not so manier'e as the Dominichin; for the more I look at it, the more I am convinced it is of him. It goes down with me to-morrow to Houghton. The Andrea del Sarto is particularly fine! the Sasso Ferriti particularly graceful-oh! I should have kept that word for the Magdalen's head, which is beautiful beyond measure. Indeed, my dear Sir, I am glad, after my confusion is a little abated, that your part of the things is so delightful; for I am very little satisfied with my own purchases. Donato Creti's(844) copy is a wretched, raw daub; the beautiful Virgin of the original he has made horrible. Then for the statue, the face is not so broad as my nail, and has not the turn of the antique. Indeed, La Vall'ee has done the drapery well, but I can't pardon him the head. My table I like; though he has stuck in among the ornaments two vile china jars, that look like the modern japanning by ladies. The Hermaphrodite, on my seeing it again, is too sharp and hard-in short, your present has put me out of humour with every thing of my own. You shall hear next week how my lord is satisfied with his Dominichin. I have received the letter and drawings by Crewe. By the way, my drawings of the gallery are as bad as any thing of my own ordering. They gave Crewe the letter for you at the-office, I believe, for I knew nothing of his going, or I had sent you the Life of King Theodore.
I was interrupted in my letter this morning by the Duke of Devonshire, who called to see the Dominichin. Nobody knows pictures better: he was charmed with it, and did not doubt its Dominichinality.
I find another letter from you to-night of August 6th, and thank you a thousand times for your goodness about Mr. Conway: but I believe I told you, that as he is in the Guards, he was not engaged. We hear nothing but that we are going to cross the Rhine. All we know is from private letters: the Ministry hear nothing. When the Hussars went to Kevenhuller for orders, he said, "Messieurs, l'Alsace est 'a vous; je n'ai point d'autres ordres 'a vous donner." They have accordingly taken up their residence in a fine chateau belonging to the Cardinal de Rohan, as Bishop of Strasbourg. We expect nothing but war; and that war expects nothing but conquest.
Your account of our officers was very false; for, instead of the soldiers going on without commanders, some of them were ready to go without their soldiers. I am sorry you have such plague with your Neptune(845) and the Sardinian-we know not of them scarce.
I really forget any thing of an Italian greyhound for the Tesi. I promised her, I remember, a black spaniel-but how to send it! I did promise one of the former to Marquis Mari at Genoa, which I absolutely have not been able to get yet, though I have often tried; but since the last Lord Halifax died, there is no meeting with any of the breed. If I can, I will get her one. I am sorry you are engaged in the opera. I have found it a most dear undertaking. I was not in the management: Lord Middlesex was chief. We were thirty subscribers, at two hundred pounds each, which was to last four years, and no other demands ever to be made. Instead of that, we have been made to pay fifty-six pounds over and above the subscription in one winter. I told the secretary in a passion, that it was the last money I would ever pay for the follies of directors.
I tremble at hearing that the plague is not over, as we thought, but still spreading. You will see in the papers That Lord Hervey is dead-luckily, I think. for himself; for he had outlived the last inch of character. Adieu!
(844) A copy of a celebrated picture by Guido at Bologna, of the Patron Saints of that city. VOL. 1. 29.-D.
(845) Admiral Matthews.
338 letter 117 To John Chute, Esq.(846) Houghton, August 20, 1743.
Indeed, my dear Sir, you certainly did not use to be stupid, and till you give me more substantial proof that you are so, I shall not believe it. As for your temperate diet and milk bringing about such a metamorphosis, I hold it impossible. I have such lamentable proofs every day before my eyes of the stupefying qualities of beef, ale, and wine, that I have contracted a most religious veneration for your spiritual nouriture. Only imagine that I here every day see men, who are mountains of roast beef, and only seem just roughly hewn out into the outlines of human form, like the giant-rock at Pratolino! I shudder when I see them brandish their knives in act to carve, and look on them as savages that devour one another. I should not stare at all more than I do, if yonder alderman at the lower end of the table was to stick his fork into his neighbour's jolly cheek, and cut a brave slice of brown and fat. Why, I'll swear I see no difference between a country gentleman and a sirloin; whenever the first laughs, or the latter is cut, there runs out the same stream of gravy! Indeed, the sirloin does not ask quite so many questions. I have an aunt here, a family piece of goods, an old remnant of inquisitive hospitality and economy, who, to all intents and purposes is as beefy as her neighbours. She wore me so down yesterday with interrogatories, that I dreamt all night she was at my ear with who's and why's, and when's and where's, till at last in my very sleep I cried out, For God in heaven's sake, Madam, ask me no more questions!
Oh! my dear Sir, don't you find that nine parts in ten of the world are of no use but to make you wish yourself with that tenth part? I am so far from growing used to mankind by living amongst them, that my natural ferocity and wildness does but every day grow worse. They tire me, they fatigue me; I don't know what to do with them; I don't know what to say to them; I fling open the windows and fancy I want air; and when I get by myself, I undress myself, and seem to have had people in my pockets, in my plaits, -and on my shoulders! I indeed find this fatigue worse in the country than in town, because one can avoid it there, and has more resources; but it is there too. I fear 'tis growing old; but I literally seem to have murdered a man whose name was Ennui, for his ghost is ever before me. They say there is no English word for ennui;(847) I think you may translate it most literally by what is called "entertaining people," and "doing the honours:" that is, you sit an hour with somebody you don't know, and don't care for, talk about the wind and the weather, and ask a thousand foolish questions, which all begin with, "I think you live a good deal in the country," or, "I think you don't love this thing or that." Oh! 'tis dreadful!
I'll tell you what is delightful-the Dominichin!(848) My dear Sir, if ever there was a Dominichin, if ever there was an original picture, this is one. I am quite happy; for my father is as much transported with it as I am. It is hung in the gallery, where are all his most capital pictures, and he himself thinks it beats all but the two Guido'S. That of the Doctors and The Octagon-I don't know if you ever saw them? What a chain of thought this leads me into! but why should I not indulge it? I will flatter myself with your, some time or other, passing a few days with me. Why must I never expect to see any thing but Beefs in a gallery which would not yield even to the Colonna! If I do not most unlimitedly wish to see you and Mr. Whithed in it this very moment, it is only because I would not take you from our dear Mann. Adieu! you charming people all. Is not Madam Bosville a Beef? Yours, most sincerely.
(846) this very lively letter is the first of a series, hitherto unpublished, addressed by Mr. Walpole to John Chute, Esq. of the Vine, in the county of Hants. Mr. Chute was the grandson of Chaloner Chute, Esq. Speaker of the House of Commons to Richard Cromwell's parliament. On the death of his brother Anthony, in 1754, he succeeded to the family estates, and died in 1776.-E.
(847) According to Lord Byron—
"Ennui is a growth of English root, Though nameless in our language: we retort The fact for words, and let the French translate That awful yawn, which sleep cannot abate."
(848) Thus described by Walpole in his Description Of the Pictures at Houghton Hall:- "The Virgin and Child, a most beautiful, bright, and capital picture, by Dominichino: bought out of the Zambeccari palace at Bologna by Horace Walpole, junior."-E.
340 Letter 118 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, Aug. 29, 1743.
You frighten me about the Spaniards entering Tuscany: it is so probable, that I have no hopes against it but in their weakness. If all the accounts of their weakness and desertion are true, it must be easy to repel them. If their march to Florence is to keep pace with Prince Charles's entering Lorrain, it is not yet near: hitherto, he has not found the passage of the Rhine practicable. The French have assembled greater armies to oppose it than was expected. We are marching to assist him: the King goes on with the army. I am extremely sorry for the Chevalier de Beauvau's(849) accident; as sorry, perhaps, as the prince or princess; for you know he was no favourite. The release of the French prisoners prevents the civilities which I would have taken care to have had shown him. You may tell the princess, that though it will be so much honour to us to have any of her family it) our power, vet I shall always be extremely concerned to have such an opportunity of showing my attention to them. there's a period in her own style-"Comment! Monsieur des attentions: qu'il est poli! qu'il s'cait tOUrner une civilit'e!"
"Ha!(850) la brave Angloise! e viva!" What would I have given to have overheard you breaking it to the gallant! But of all, commend me to the good man Nykin! Why, Mamie (851) himself could not have cuddled up an affair for his sovereign lady better.
I have a commission from my lord to send you ten thousand thanks for his bronze-. He admires it beyond measure. It came down last Friday, on his birthday,(852) and was placed at the upper end of the gallery, which was illuminated on the occasion: indeed, it is incredible what a magnificent appearance it made. There were sixty-four candles, which showed all the pictures to great advantage. The Dominichin did itself and us honour. There is not the least question of its being original: one might as well doubt the originality of King Patapan! His patapanic majesty is not one of the least curiosities of Houghton. The crowds that come to see the house stare at him, and ask what creature it is. As he does not speak one word of Norfolk, there are strange conjectures made about him. Some think that he is a foreign prince come to marry Lady Mary. The disaffected say he is a Hanoverian: but the common people, who observe my lord's vast fondness for him, take him for his good genius, which they call his familiar.
You will have seen in the papers that Mr. Pelham is at last first lord of the Treasury. Lord Bath had sent over Sir John Rushout's valet de chambre to Hanau to ask it. It is a great question now what side he will take; or rather, if any side will take him. It is not yet known what the good folks in the Treasury will do-I believe, what they can. Nothing farther will be determined till the King's return.
(849) Third son of Prince Craon, and knight of Malta.
(850) This relates to an intrigue which was observed in a church between an English gentleman and a lady who was at Florence with her husband. Mr. Mann was desired to speak to the lover to choose more proper places.
(851) Prince Craon's name for the princess. She was mistress of Leopold, the last Duke of Lorrain, who married her to M. de Beauvau, and prevailed on the Emperor to make him a prince of the empire. Leopold had twenty children by her, who all resembled him; and he got his death by a cold which he contracted in standing to sea a new house, which he had built for her, furnished. The duchess was extremely jealous, and once retired to Paris, to complain to her brother the Regent; but he was not a man to quarrel with his brother-in-law for things of that nature, and sent his sister back. Madame de Craon gave into devotion after the Duke's death.
(852) August 26.
341 letter 119 To Sir Horace Mann. Houghton, Sept. 7, 1743.
My letters are now at their ne plus ultra of nothingness so you may hope they will grow better again. I shall certainly go to town soon, for my patience is worn out. Yesterday, the weather grew cold: I put on a new waistcoat for its being winter's birthday-the season I am forced to love; for summer has no charms for me when I pass it in the country.
We are expecting another battle, and a congress at the same time. Ministers seem to be flocking to Aix la Chapelle: and, what will much surprise you, unless you have lived long enough not to be surprised, is, that Lord Bolingbroke has hobbled the same way too-you will suppose, as a minister for France; I tell you, no. My uncle, who is here, was yesterday stumping along the gallery with a very political march: my lord asked him whither he was going. Oh, said he, to Aix la Chapelle.
You ask me about the marrying princesses. I know not a tittle. Princess Louisa(853) seems to be going, her clothes are bought; but marrying our daughters makes no conversation. For either of the other two, all thoughts seem to be dropped of it. The senate of Sweden design themselves to choose a wife for their man of Lubeck. The city, and our supreme governors, the mob, are very angry that there @is a troop of French players at Clifden.(854) One of them was lately impertinent to a countryman, who thrashed him. His Royal Highness sent angrily to know the cause. The fellow replied, "he thought to have pleased his Highness in beating one of them, who had tried to kill his father and had wounded his brother." This was not easy to answer.
I delight in Prince Craon's exact intelligence! For his satisfaction, I can tell him that numbers, even here, would believe any story full as absurd as that of the King and my Lord Stair; or that very one, if any body will ever write it over. Our faith in politics will match any Neapolitan's in religion. A political missionary will make more converts in a county progress than a Jesuit in the whole empire of China, and will produce more preposterous miracles. Sir Watkin Williams, at the last Welsh races, convinced the whole principality (by reading a letter that affirmed it), that the King was not within two miles of the battle of Dettingen. We are not good at hitting off anti-miracles, the only way of defending one's own religion. I have read -,in admirable story of the Duke of Buckingham, who, when James II. sent a priest to him to persuade him to turn Papist, and was plied by him with miracles, told the doctor, that if miracles were proofs of a religion, the Protestant cause was as well supplied as theirs. We have lately had a very extraordinary one near my estate in the country. A very holy man, as you might be, doctor, was travelling on foot, and was benighted. He came to the cottage of a poor dowager, who had nothing in the house for herself and daughter but a couple of eggs and a slice of bacon. However, as she was a pious widow, she made the good man welcome. In the morning, in taking leave, the saint made her over to God for payment, and prayed that whatever she should do as soon as he was gone she might continue to do all day. This was a very unlimited request, and, unless the saint was a prophet too, might not have been very pleasant retribution. The good woman, who minded her affairs, and was not to be put out of her way, went about her business. She had a piece of coarse cloth to make a couple of shifts for herself and child. She no sooner began to measure it but the yard fell a-measuring, and there was no stopping it. It was sunset before the good woman had time to take breath. She was almost stifled, for she was up to her ears in ten thousand yards of cloth. She could have afforded to have sold Lady Mary Wortley a clean shift' of the usual coarseness she wears, for a groat halfpenny.
I wish you would tell the Princess this story. Madame Riccardi, or the little Countess d'Elbenino, will doat on it. I don't think it will be out of Pandolfini's way, if you tell it to the little Albizzi. You see that I have not forgot the tone of my Florentine acquaintance. I know I should have translated it to them: you remember what admirable work I used to make of such stories in broken Italian. I have heard old Churchill tell Bussy English puns out of jest-books: particularly a reply about eating hare, which he translated, "j'ai mon ventre plein de poil." Adieu!
(853) Youngest daughter of George the Second. She was married in the following October, and died in 1751, at the age of twenty-seven.-E.
(854) The residence of the Prince of Wales. This noble building was burnt to the ground in 1795, and nothing of its furniture preserved but the tapestry that represents the Duke of Marlborough's victories.-E.
343 letter 120 To sir Horace Mann. Houghton, Sept. 17, 1743.
As much as we laughed at Prince Craon's history of the King and Lord Stair, you see it was not absolutely without foundation. I don't just believe that he threatened his master with the parliament. They say he gives for reason of his Quitting, their not having accepted one plan of operation that he has offered. There is a long memorial that he presented to the King, with which I don't doubt but his lordship will oblige the public.(856) He has ordered all his equipages to be sold by public auction in the camp. This is all I can tell you of this event, and this is more than has been written to the ministry here. They talk of great uneasinesses among the English officers, all of which I don't believe. The army is put into commission. Prince Charles has not passed the Rhine, nor we any thing but our time. The papers of to-day tell us of a definitive treaty signed by us and the Queen of Hungary with the King of Sardinia, which I will flatter myself will tend to your defence. I am not in much less trepidation about Tuscany than Richcourt is, though I scarce think my fears reasonable; but while you are concerned, I fear every thing.
My lord does not admire the account of the lanfranc; thanks you, and will let it alone. I am going to town in ten days, not a little tired of the country, and in the utmost impatience for the winter; which I am sure from all political prospects, must be entertaining to one who only intends to see them at the length of the telescope. I was lately diverted with an article in the Abecodario Pittorico, in the article of William Dobson: it says, "Nacque nel quartiere d'Holbrons in Inghilterra."(857) Did the author take Holborn for a city, or Inghilterra for the capital of the island of London? Adieu!
(856) In this memorial Lord Stair complained that his advice had been slighted, hinted at Hanoverian partialities, and asked permission to retire, as he expressed it, to his plough. His resignation was accepted, with marks of the King's displeasure at the language in which it was tendered.-E.
(857) Charles the First used to call Dobson the English Tintoret. He is said to have been the first painter who introduced the practice of obliging persons who sat to him to pay half the price in advance.-E.
344 letter 121 To Sir Horace Mann. Newmarket, Oct. 3, 1743.
I am writing to you in an inn on the road to London. What a paradise should I have thought this when I was in the Italian inns in a wide barn with four ample windows, which had nothing more like glass than shutters and iron bars ' no tester to the bed, and the saddles and portmanteaus heaped on me to keep off the cold. What a paradise did I think the inn at Dover when I came back! and what magnificence Were twopenny prints, saltcellars, and boxes to hold the knives: but the summum bonum was small-beer and the newspaper.
"I bless'd my stars, and called it luxury!"
Who was the Neapolitan ambassadress (858) that could not live at Paris, because there was no maccaroni? Now am I relapsed into all the dissatisfied repinement of a true English grumbling voluptuary. I could find in my heart to write a Craftsman against the Government, because I am not quite so much at my ease as on my own sofa. I could persuade myself that it is my Lord Carteret's fault that I am only sitting in a common arm-chair, when I would be lolling in a p'ech'e-mortel. How dismal, how solitary, how scrub does this town look and yet it has actually a street of houses better than Parma or Modena. Nay, the houses of the people of fashion, who come hither for the races, are palaces to what houses in London itself were fifteen years ago. People do begin to live again now, and I suppose in a term we shall revert to York Houses, Clarendon Houses, etc. But from that grandeur all the nobility had contracted themselves to live in coops of a dining-room, a dark back-room, with one eye in a corner, and a closet. Think what London would be, if the chief houses were in it, as in the cities in other countries, and not dispersed like great rarity-plums in a vast pudding of country. Well, it is a tolerable place as it is! Were I a physician, I would prescribe nothing but recipe, CCCLXV drachm. Linden. Would you know why I like London so much? Why if the world must consist of so many fools as it does, I choose to take them in the gross, and not made into separate pills, as they are prepared in the country. Besides, there is no being alone but in a metropolis: the worst place in the world to find solitude is in the country: questions grow there, and that unpleasant Christian commodity, neighbours. Oh! they are all good Samaritans, and do so pour balms and nostrums upon one, if one has but the toothache, or a journey to take, that they break one's head. A journey to take-ay! they talk over the miles to you, and tell you, you will be late and My Lord Lovel says, John always goes two hours in the dark in the morning, to avoid being One hour in the dark in the evening. I was pressed to set out to-day before seven: I did before nine; and here am I arrived at a quarter past five, for the rest of the night.
I am more convinced every day, that there is not only no knowledge of the world out of a great city, but no decency, no practicable society-I had almost said, not a virtue. I will only instance in modesty, which all old Englishmen are persuaded cannot exist within the atmosphere of Middlesex. Lady Mary has a remarkable taste and knowledge of music, and can sing; I don't say, like your sister, but I am sure she would be ready to die if obliged to sing before three people, or before One with whom she is not intimate. The other day there came to see her a Norfolk heiress: the young gentlewoman had not been three hours in the house, and that for the first time of her life, before she notified her talent for singing, and invited herself up-stairs, to Lady Mary's harpsichord; where, with a voice like thunder, and with as little harmony, she sang to nine or ten people for an hour. "Was ever nymph like Rossvmonde?"-no, d'honneur. We told her, she had a very strong voice. "Lord, Sir! my master says it is nothing to what it was." My dear child, she brags abominably; if it had been a thousandth degree louder, you must have heard it at Florence.
I did not write to you last post, being overwhelmed with this sort of people - I will be more punctual in London. Patapan is in my lap: I had him wormed lately, which he took famously: I made it up with him by tying a collar of rainbow-riband about his neck, for a token that he is never to be wormed any more.
I had your long letter of two sheets of Sept. 17th, and wonder at your perseverance in telling me so much as you always do, when I, dull creature, find so little for you. I can only tell you that the more you write, the happier you make me; and I assure you, the more details the better: I so often lay schemes for returning to you, that I am persuaded I shall, and would keep up my stock of Florentine ideas.
I honour Matthew's punctilious observance of his Holiness's dignity. How incomprehensible Englishmen are! I should have sworn that he would have piqued himself on calling the Pope the w- of Babylon, and have begun his remonstrance, with "you old d-d-." What extremes of absurdities! to flounder from Pope Joan to his Holiness! I like your reflection, "that every body can bully the Pope." There was a humourist called Sir James of the Peak, who had been beat by a felony, who afterwards underwent the same operation from a third hand. "Zound," said Sir James, "that I did not know this fellow would take a beating!" Nay, my dear child, I don't know that Matthews would!
You know I always thought the Tesi comique, pendant que 'ca devroit, 'etre tragique. I am happy that my sovereign lady expressed my opinion so well-by the way, is De Sade still with you? Is he still in pawn by the proxy of his clothes? has the Princess as constant retirements to her bedchamber with the colique and Amenori? Oh! I was struck the other day with a resemblance of mine hostess at Brandon to old Sarah. You must know, the ladies of Norfolk universally wear periwigs, and affirm that it is the fashion at London. "lord! Mrs. White, have you been ill, that you have shaved your head?" Mrs. White, in all the days of my acquaintance with her, had a professed head of red hair: to-day, she had no hair at all before, and at a distance above her ears, I descried a smart brown bob, from beneath which had escaped some long strands of original scarlet—so like old Sarazin at two in the morning, when she has been losing at Pharoah, and clawed her wig aside, and her old trunk is shaded with the venerable white ivy of her own locks.
i agree with you, that it would be too troublesome to send me the things now the quarantine exists, except the gun-barrels for Lord Conway, the length of which I know nothing about, being, as you conceive, no sportsman. I must send you, with the Life of Theodore, a vast pamphlet (859) in defence of' the new administration, which makes the greatest noise. It is written, as supposed, by Dr. Pearse,(860) of St. Martin's, whom Lord Bath lately made a dean; the matter furnished by him. There is a good deal of useful ]Knowledge of the famous change to be found in it, and much more impudence. Some parts are extremely fine; in particular, the answer to the Hanoverian pamphlets, where he has collected the flower of all that was said in defence of that measure.(861) Had you those pamphlets? I will make up a parcel: tell me what other books you would have: I will send you nothing else, for if I give you the least bauble, it puts you to infinite expense, which I can't forgive, and indeed will never bear again: you would ruin yourself, and there is nothing I wish so much as the contrary.