(285) "Nov. 14 Parliament opened. Lord Downe and Sir William Beauchamp Proctor moved and seconded the Address. No opposition to it." Dodington, p. 114. Tindal says that this session was, perhaps, the most unanimous ever known."-E.
(286) See ant'e.-E.
(287) The Intriguing Chambermaid was performed at Drury-lane on the 6th of November; it was dedicated by Fielding to Mrs. Clive.-E.
119 Letter 51 To Sir Horace Mann. Dec. 12, 1751.
I have received yours and Mr. Conway's letters, and am transported that you have met at last, and that you answer so well to one another, as I intended. I expect that you tell me more and more all that you think of him. The inclosed is for him; as he has never received one of my letters since he left England, I have exhausted all my news upon him, and for this post you must only go halves with him, who I trust is still at Florence. In your last, you mentioned Lord Stormont, and commend him; pray tell me more about him. He is cried up above all the young men of the time-in truth we want recruits! Lord Bolingbroke is dead, or dying,(288) of a cancer, which was thought cured by a quack plaster; but it is not every body can be cured at seventy-five, like my monstrous uncle.
What is an uomo nero?-neither Mr. Chute nor I can recollect the term. Though you are in the season of the villegiatura, believe me, Mr. Conway will not find Florence duller than he would London: our diversions, politics, quarrels, are buried all in our Alphonso's grave!(289) The only thing talked of is a man who draws teeth with a sixpence, and puts them in again for a shilling. I believe it; not that it seems probable, but because I have long been persuaded that the most incredible discoveries will be made, and that, about the time, or a little after, I die, the secret will be found out of how to live for ever—and that secret, I believe, will not be discovered by a physician. Adieu!
P. S. I have tipped Mr. Conway's direction with French, in case it should be necessary to send it after him.
(288) lord Bolingbroke died on the 15th.-E.
(289) The late Prince of Wales: it alludes to a line in The Mourning Bride."
120 Letter 52 To George Montagu, Esq. THE ST. JAMES'S EVENING POST. Thursday, Jan. 9, 1752.
Monday being the Twelfth-day, his Majesty according to annual custom offered myrrh, frankincense, and a small bit of gold; and at night, in commemoration of the three kings or wise men, the King and Royal Family played a@ hazard for the benefit of a prince of the blood. There were above eleven thousand pounds upon the table; his most sacred Majesty won three guineas, and his Royal Highness the Duke three thousand four hundred pounds.
On Saturday was landed at the Custom-house a large box of truffles, being a present to the Earl of Lincoln from Theobald Taaffe, Esq. who is shortly expected home from his travels in foreign parts.
To-morrow the new-born son of the Earl of Egremont is to be baptized, when his Majesty, and the Earl of Granville (if he is able to stand), and the Duchess of Somerset, are to be sponsors.
We are assured that on Tuesday last, the surprising strong woman was exhibited at the Countess of Holderness's, before a polite assembly of persons of the first quality; and some time this week, the two dwarfs will play at brag at Madame Holman's. N.B. The strong man, who was to have performed at Mrs. Nugent's, is indisposed. There is lately arrived at the Lord Carpenter's, a curious male chimpanzee, which had had the honour of being shown before the ugliest princes in Europe, who all expressed their approbation; and we hear that he intends to offer himself a candidate to represent the city of Westminster at the next general election. Note: he wears breeches, and there is a gentlewoman to attend the ladies.'
Last night the Hon. and Rev. Mr. James Brudenel was admitted a doctor of opium in the ancient UNIVERSITY of White's, being received ad eundem by his grace the Rev. father in chess the Duke of Devonshire, president, and the rest of the senior fellows. At the same time the Lord Robert Bertie and Colonel Barrington were rejected, on account of some deficiency of formality in their testimonials.
Letters from Grosvenor Street mention a dreadful apparition, which has appeared for several nights at the house of the Countess Temple, which has occasioned several of her ladyship's domestics to leave her service, except the coachman, who has drove her sons and nephews for several years, and is not afraid of spectres. The coroner's inquest have brought in their verdict lunacy.
Last week the Lord Downe received at the treasury the sum of a hundred kisses from the Auditor of the Exchequer, being the reward for shooting at a highwayman.
On Tuesday the operation of shaving was happily performed on the upper lip of her grace the Duchess of Newcastle, by a celebrated artist from Paris, sent over on purpose by the Earl of Albemarle. The performance lasted but one minute and three seconds, to the great joy of that noble family; and in consideration of his great care and expedition, his grace has settled four hundred pounds a year upon him for life. We hear that he is to have the honour of shaving the heads of the Lady Caroline Petersham, the Duchess of Queensberry, and several other persons of quality.
By authority, on Sunday next will be opened the Romish chapel at Norfolk House; no persons will be admitted but such as are known well-wishers to the present happy establishment. Mass will begin exactly when the English liturgy is finished.
At the theatre royal in the House of Lords, the Royal Slave, with Lethe. At the theatre in St. Stephen's chapel, the Fool in Fashion.
The Jews are desired to meet on the 20th inst. at the sign of Fort L'Evesque in Pharaoh Street, to commemorate the noble struggle made by one of their brethren in support of his property.
To be let—an ambassador's masquerade, the gentleman going abroad.
To be sold—the whole nation.
Lately published, The Analogy of political and private Quarrels, or the Art of healing family-differences by widening them; on these words, "Do evil that good may ensue." a sermon preached before the Right Hon. Henry Pell)am, and the rest of the society for propagating Christian charity, by William Levenson, chaplain to her R. H. the Princess Amelia; and now printed at the desire of several of the family.
For capital weaknesses, the Duke of Newcastle's true spirit of crocodiles.
Given gratis at the Turn-stile, the corner of Lincoln's-inn-fields, Anodyne Stars and Garters.(290)
(290) The residence of the duke of newcastle.-E.
122 Letter 53 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Feb. 2, 1752.
We are much surprised by two letters which my Lady Aylesbury has received from Mr. Conway, to find that he had not yet heard of his new regiment. She, who is extremely reasonable, seems content that he went to Rome before he got the news, as it would have been pity to have missed such an opportunity of seeing it, and she flatters herself that he would have set out immediately for England, if he had received the express -at Florence. Now you know him, and you will not wonder that she is impatient; you would wonder, if you knew her, if he were not so too.
After all I have lately told you of our dead tranquillity, You will be surprised to hear of an episode of Opposition: it is merely an interlude, for at least till next @ear we shall have no more: you will rather think it a farce, when I tell you, that that buffoon my old uncle acted a principal part in it. And what made it more ridiculous, the title of the drama was a subsidiary treaty with Saxony.(291) In short, being impatient with the thought that he should die without having it written on his tomb, "He-re lies Baron Punch," he spirited up—whom do you think?—only a Grenville! my Lord Cobham, to join with him in speaking against this treaty: both did: the latter retired after his speech; but my uncle concluded his (which was a direct answer to all he has been making all his life,) with declaring, that he should yet vote for the treaty! You never heard such a shout and laughter as it caused. This debate was followed by as new a one in, the House of Lords, where the Duke of Bedford took the treaty, and in the conclusion of his speech, the ministry, to pieces. His friend Lord Sandwich, by a most inconceivable jumble of cunning, spoke for the treaty, against the ministry; it is supposed, lest the 'Duke should be thought to have countenanced the Opposition: you never heard a more lamentable performance! there was no division.(292) The next day the Tories in our House moved for a resolution against subsidiary treaties in line of peace: Mr. Pelham, with great agitation, replied to the philippics of the preceding, day, and divided 180 to 52.
There has been an odd sort of codicil to these debates: Vernon,(293) a very inoffensive, good-humoured young fellow, who lives in the strongest intimacy with all the fashionable young men, was proposed for the Old Club at White's, into the mysteries of which, before a person is initiated, it is necessary that he should be well with the ruling powers: unluckily, Vernon has lately been at Woburn with the Duke of Bedford. The night of' the ballot, of twelve persons present, eight had promised him white balls, being his particular friends—however, there were six black balls!-this made great noise—his friends found it necessary to clear up their faith to him—ten of the twelve assured him upon their honour that they had given him white balls. I fear this will not give you too favourable an idea of the honour of the young men of the age!
Your father, who has been dying, and had tasted nothing but water for ten days, the other day called for roast beef, and is well; cured, I suppose, by this abstinence, which convinces me that intemperance has been his illness. Fasting and mortification will restore a good constitution, but not correct a bad one.
Adieu! I write you but short letters, and those, I fear, seldom; but they tell you all that is material; this is not an age to furnish volumes.
(291) Mr. Pitt was so much pleased with Mr. Horatio Walpole's speech on this occasion that he requested him to consign it to writing, and gave it as his opinion, that it contained much weighty matter, and from beginning to end breathed the spirit of a man who loved his country. See Chatham Correspondence, vol. i. p. 63.-E.
(292) For an account of this d(@bate, taken by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, see Parl. Hist. vol. xiv. p. 1175.-E.
(293) Richard Vernon, Esq. He married Lady Evelyn Leveson, widow of the Earl of Upper Ossory, and sister of Gertrude, Duchess of Bedford.-D.
123 Letter 54 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Feb. 27, 1752.
Gal. tells me that your eldest brother has written you an account of your affairs, the particulars of which I was most solicitous to learn, and am now most unhappy to find no better.(294) Indeed, Gal. would have most reason to complain, if his strong friendship for you did not prevent him from thinking that nothing is hard that is in your favour; he told me himself that the conditions imposed upon him were inferior to what he always proposed to do, if the misfortune should arrive of your recall. He certainly loves you earnestly; if I were not convinced of it, I should be far from loving him so well as I do.
I write this as a sort of letter of form on the occasion, for there is nothing worth telling you. The event that has made most noise since my last, is the extempore wedding of the youngest of the two Gunnings, who have made so vehement a noise. Lord Coventry,(295) a grave young lord, of the remains of the patriot breed, has long dangled after the eldest, virtuously with regard to her virtue, not very honourably with regard to his own credit. About six weeks ago Duke Hamilton,(296) the very reverse of the Earl, hot, debauched, extravagant, and equally damaged in his fortune and person, fell in love with the youngest at the masquerade, and determined to marry her in the spring. About a fortnight since, at an immense assembly at my Lord Chesterfield's, made to show the house, which is really magnificent, Duke Hamilton made violent love at one end of the room, while he was playing at pharaoh at the other end; that is, he saw neither the bank nor his own cards, which were of three hundred pounds each: he soon lost a thousand. I own I was so little a professor in love, that I thought all this parade looked ill for the poor girl; and could not conceive, if he was so much engaged with his mistress as to disregard such sums, why he played at all. However, two nights afterwards, being left alone with her while her mother and sister were at Bedford House, he found himself so impatient, that he sent for a parson. The doctor refused to perform the ceremony without license or ring: the Duke swore he would send for the Archbishop—at last they were married with a ring of the bed-curtain, at half an hour after twelve at night, at Mayfair chapel,(297) The Scotch are enraged; the women mad that so much beauty has had its effect; and what is most silly, my Lord Coventry declares that he now will marry the other.
Poor Lord Lempster has just killed an officer(298) in a duel, about a play-debt, and I fear was in the wrong. There is no end of his misfortunes and wrong-headedness!—Where is Mr. Conway!—Adieu!
(294) Mr. Mann's father was just dead.
(295) George-William, sixth Earl of Coventry. He died in 1809, at the age of eighty-seven.-E.
(296) James, fourth Duke of Hamilton. He died in 1758.-D.
(297) On the 14th of February.-E.
(298) Captain Gray of the Guards. The duel was fought, with swords, in Marylebone Fields. lord Lempster took his trial at the Old Bailey in April, and was found guilty of manslaughter.-E.
124 Letter 55 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, March 23, 1752.
Mr. Conway has been arrived this fortnight, or a week sooner than we expected him: but my Lady Ailesbury forgives it! He is full of your praises, so you have not sowed your goodness in unthankful ground. By a letter I have just received from you he finds you have missed some from him with Commissions; but he will tell you about them himself I find him much leaner, and great cracks in his beauty. Your picture is arrived, which he says is extremely like you. Mr. Chute cannot bear it; says it wants your countenance and goodness; that it looks bonny and Irish. I am between both, and should know it; to be sure, there is none of your wet-brown-paperness in it, but it has a look with which I have known you come out of your little room, when Richcourt has raised your ministerial French, and you have writ to England about it till you were half fuddled. Au reste, it is gloriously coloured—will Astley promise to continue to do as well? or has he, like all other English painters, only laboured this to get reputation, and then intends to daub away to get money?
The year has not kept the promise of tranquillity that it made you at Christmas; there has been another parliamentary bustle. The Duke of Argyll(299) has drawn the ministry into accommodating him with a notable job, under the notion of buying for the King from the mortgagees the forfeited estates in Scotland, which are to be colonized and civilized. It passed with some inconsiderable hitches through the Commons; but in the Lords last week the Duke of Bedford took it up warmly, and spoke like another Pitt.(300) He attacked the Duke of Argyll on favouring Jacobites, and produced some flagrant instances, which the Scotch Duke neither answered nor endeavoured to excuse, but made a strange, hurt, mysterious, contemptuous, incoherent speech, neither in defence of the bill nor in reply to the Duke of Bedford, but to my Lord Bath, who had fallen upon the ministry for assuming a dispensing power, in suffering Scotland to pay no taxes for the last five years. This speech, which formerly would have made the House of Commons take up arms, was strangely flat and unanimated, for want of his old chorus. Twelve lords divided against eighty that were for the bill. The Duke, who was present, would not vote; none of his people had attended the bill in the other House, and General Mordaunt (by his orders, as it is imagined) spoke against it. This concludes the session: the King goes to Hanover on Tuesday, he has been scattering ribands of all colours, blue ones on Prince Edward, the young Stadtholder, and the Earls of Lincoln, Winchilsea, and Cardigan;(301) a green one on Lord Dumfries;(302) a red on Lord Onslow.(303)
The world is still mad about the Gunnings; the Duchess of Hamilton was presented on Friday; the crowd was so great, that even the noble mob in the drawing-room clambered upon chairs and tables to look at her. There are mobs at their doors to see them get into their chairs; and people go early to get places at the theatres when it is known they will be there. Dr. Sacheverel never made more noise than these two beauties.
There are two wretched women that just now are as much talked of, a Miss Jefferies and a Miss Blandy; the one condemned for murdering her uncle, the other her father. Both their stories have horrid circumstances; the first, having been debauched by her uncle; the other had so tender a parent, that his whole concern while he was expiring, and knew her for his murderess, was to save her life. It is shocking to think what a shambles this country is grown! Seventeen were executed this morning, after having murdered the turnkey on Friday night, and almost forced open Newgate. One is forced to travel, even at noon, as if one was going to battle.
Mr. Chute is as much yours as ever, except in the article of pen and ink. Your brother transacts all he can for the Lucchi, as he has much more weight there(304) than Mr. Chute. Adieu!
(299) Archibald Campbell, Duke of argyll, formerly Earl of Isla.
(300) For Lord Hardwicke's notes of this speech, see Parl. Hist. vol. xiv. P. 1235.-E.
(301) George Brudenell, fourth Earl of cardigan, created Duke of Montagu in 1776; died in 1790.-D.
(302) William Crichton Dalrymple, fourth Earl of Dumfries in Scotland, in right of his mother. He also became, in 1760, fourth Earl of stair, and died in 1768.-D.
(303) George, third Lord Onslow; died in 1776.-D.
(304) With the late Mr. Whithed's brothers, who scrupled paying a small legacy and annuity to his mistress and child.
126 Letter 56 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(305) Arlington Street, May 5, 1752.
I now entirely credit all that my Lord Leicester and his family have said against Lady Mary Coke and her family; and am convinced that it is impossible to marry any thing of the blood of Campbell, without having all her relations in arms to procure a separation immediately. Pray, what have I done? have I come home drunk to my wife within these four first days? or have I sat up gaming all night, and not come home at all to her, after her lady-mother had been persuaded that I was the soberest young nobleman in England, and had the greatest aversion to play'! Have I kept my bride awake all night with railing at her father, when all the world had allowed him to be one of the bravest officers in Europe? In short, in short, I have a mind to take COUNSEL, even of the wisest lawyer now living in matrimonial cases, my Lord Coke * * * If, like other Norfolk husbands, I must entertain the town with a formal parting, at least it shall be in my own way: my wife shall neither 'run to Italy after lovers and books,(306) nor keep a dormitory in her dressing-room at Whitehall for Westminster schoolboys, your Frederick Campbells, and such like. (307) nor 'yet shall she reside at her mother's house, but shall absolutely set out for Strawberry Hill in two or three days, as soon as her room can be well aired; for, to give her her due, I don't think her to blame, but flatter myself she is quite contented with the easy footing we live upon; separate beds, dining in her dressing-room when she is out of humour, and a little toad-eater that I had got for her, and whose pockets and bosom I have never examined, to see if' she brought any billets-doux from Tommy Lyttelton or any of her fellows. I shall follow her myself in less than a fortnight; and if her family don't give me any more trouble,-why, who knows but at your return you may find your daughter with qualms and in a sack? If you should happen to want to know any more particulars, she is quite well, has walked in the park every morning, or has the chariot, as she chooses; and, in short, one would think that I or she were much older than we really are, for I grow excessively fond of her.(308)
(305) Now first published.
(306) Alluding to the wife of his eldest brother, Lord Walpole, Margaret Rolle, who had separated Herself from her husband, and resided in Italy.—E.
(307) Lady Townshend.-E.
(308) All this letter refers to Ann Seymour Conway, then three years old, who had been left with her nurse at Mr. Walpole's, during an absence of her father and mother in Ireland.-E.
127 Letter 57 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, May 12, 1752.
You deserve no charity, for you never write but to ask it. When you are tired of yourself and the country, you think over all London, and consider who will be proper to send you an account of it. Take notice, I won't be your gazetteer; nor is my time come for being a dowager, a maker of news, a day-labourer in scandal. If you care for nobody but for what they can tell you, you must provide yourself elsewhere. The town is empty, nothing in it but flabby mackerel, and wooden gooseberry tarts, and a hazy east wind. My sister is gone to Paris; I go to Strawberry Hill in three days for the summer, if summer there will ever be any.
If you want news you must send to Ireland, where there is almost a civil war, between the Lord Lieutenant and Primate on one side (observe, I don't tell you what that side is), and the Speaker on the other, who carries questions by wholesale in the House of Commons against the Castle; and the teterrima belli causa is not the common one.
Reams of scandalous verses and ballads are come over, too bad to send you, if I had them, but I really have not. What is more provoking for the Duke of Dorset, an address is come over directly to the King (not as usual through the channel of the Lord Lieutenant), to assure him of their great loyalty, and apprehensions of being misrepresented. This is all I know, and you see, most imperfectly.
I was t'other night to see what is now grown the fashion, Mother Midnight's Oratory.(309) It appeared the lowest buffoonery in the world even to me, who am used to my uncle Horace. There is a bad oration to ridicule, what it is too like, Orator Henley; all the rest is perverted music: there is a man who plays so nimbly on the kettle-drum, that he has reduced that noisy instrument to an object of sight; for, if you don't see the tricks with his hands, it is no better than ordinary: another plays on a violin and trumpet together: another mimics a bagpipe with a German flute, and makes it full as disagreeable. There is an admired dulcimer, a favourite salt-box, and a really curious jew's-harp. Two or three men intend to persuade you that they play on a broomstick, which is drolly brought in, carefully shrouded in a case, so as to be mistaken for a bassoon or bass-viol; but they succeed in nothing but the action. The last fellow imitates * * * * * curtseying to a French horn. There are twenty medley overtures, and a man who speaks a prologue and an epilogue, in which he counterfeits all the actors and singers upon earth: in short, I have long been convinced, that what I used to imagine the most difficult thing in the world, mimicry, is the easiest; for one has seen for these two or three years, at Foote's and the other theatres, that when they lost one mimic, they called ,Odd man!" and another came and succeeded just as well.
Adieu! I have told you much more than I intended, and much more than I could conceive I had to say, except how does Miss Montagu?
P. S. Did you hear Captain Hotham's bon-mot on Sir Thomas Robinson's making an assembly from the top of his house to the bottom? He said, he wondered so many people would go to Sir Thomas's, as he treated them all de haut en bas.
(309) "Among other diversions and amusements which increase upon us, the town," says the Gentleman's Magazine for January 1752, "has been lately entertained with a kind of farcical performance, called 'The Old Woman's Oratory,' conducted by Mrs. Mary Midnight and her family, intended as a banter on Henley's Oratory, and a puff for the Old Woman's Magazine."-E.
128 Letter 58 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, May 13, 1752.
By this time you know my way, how much my letters grow out of season, as it grows summer. I believe it is six weeks since I wrote to you last; but there is not only the usual deadness of summer to account for my silence; England itself is no longer England. News, madness, parties, whims, and twenty other causes, that used to produce perpetual events are at an end; Florence itself is not more inactive. Politics,
"Like arts and sciences are travelled west."
They are cot into Ireland, where there is as much bustle to carry a question in the House of Commons, as ever it was here in any year forty-one. Not that there is any opposition to the King's measures; out of three hundred members, there has never yet been a division of above twenty-eight against the government: they are much the most zealous subjects the king has. The Duke of Dorset has had the art to make them distinguish between loyalty and aversion to the Lord Lieutenant.
I last night received yours of May 5th; but I cannot deliver your expressions to Mr. Conway, for he and Lady Ailesbury are gone to his regiment in Ireland for four months, which is a little rigorous, not only after an exile in Minorca, but more especially unpleasant now as they have just bought one of the most charming 'places in England, Park-place, which belonged to Lady Archibald Hamilton, and then to the Prince. You have seen enough of Mr. Conway to judge how patiently he submits to his duty. Their little girl is left with me.
The Gunnings are gone to their several castles, and one hears no more of them, except that such crowds flock to see the Duchess Hamilton pass, that seven hundred people sat up all night in and about an inn in Yorkshire to see her get into her postchaise next morning.
I saw lately at Mr. Barret's a print of Valombrosa, which I should be glad to have, if you please; though I don't think it gives much idea of the beauty of the place: but you know what a passion there is for it in England, as Milton has mentioned it.
Miss Blandy died with a coolness of courage that is astonishing, and denying the fact,(310) which has made a kind of party in her favour as if a woman who would not stick at parricide, would scruple a lie!
We have made a law for immediate execution on conviction of murder: it will appear extraordinary to me if it has any effect;(311) for I can't help believing that the terrible part of death must be the preparation for it.
(310) Miss Blandy was executed at Oxford, on the 6th of April, "I am perfectly innocent," she exclaimed, "of any intention to destroy or even hurt my dear father; so help me God in these my last moments!"-E.
(311) Smollett, on the contrary, was of opinion that the expedient had been productive of very good effects.-E.
129 Letter 59 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, June 6, 1752.
I have just been in London for two or three days, to fetch an adventure, and am returned to my hill and castle. I can't say I lost my labour, as you shall hear. Last Sunday night, being as wet a night as you shall see in a summer's day, about half an hour after twelve, I was just come home from White's, and undressing to step into bed, I heard Harry, who you know lies forwards, roar out, "Stop thief!" and run down stairs. I ran after him. Don't be frightened; I have not lost one enamel, nor bronze, nor have been shot through the head again. A gentlewoman, who lives at Governor Pitt's,(312) next door but one to me, and where Mr. Bentley used to live, was going to bed too, and heard people breaking into Mr. Freeman's house, who, like some acquaintance of mine in Albemarle-street, goes out of town, locks up his doors, and leaves the community to watch his furniture. N. B. It was broken open but two years ago, and all the chairmen vow they shall steal his house away another time, before we shall trouble our heads about it. Well, madam called out "watch;" two men who were centinels, ran away, and Harry's voice after them. Down came I, and with a posse of chairmen and watchmen found the third fellow in the area of Mr. Freeman's house. Mayhap you have seen all this in the papers, little thinking who commanded the detachment. Harry fetched a blunderbuss to invite the thief up. One of the chairmen, who was drunk, cried, "Give me the blunderbuss, I'll shoot him!" But as the general's head was a little cooler, he prevented military execution, and took the prisoner without bloodshed, intending to make his triumphal entry into the metropolis of Twickenham with his captive tied to the wheels of his postchaise. I find my style rises so much with the recollection of my victory, that I don't know how to descend to tell you that the enemy was a carpenter, and had a leather apron on. The next step was to share my glory with my friends. I despatched a courier to White's for George Selwyn, who you know, loves nothing upon earth so well as a criminal, except the execution of him. It happened very luckily, that the drawer, who received my message, has very lately been robbed himself, and had the wound fresh in his memory. He stalked up into the club-room, stopped short, and with a hollow trembling voice said, "Mr. Selwyn! Mr. Walpole's compliments to you, and he has got a house-breaker for you!" A squadron immediately came to reinforce me, and having summoned Moreland with the keys of the fortress, we marched into the house to search for more of the gang. Colonel Seabright with his sword drawn went first, and then I, exactly the figure of Robinson Crusoe, with a candle and lanthorn in my hand, a carbine upon my shoulder, my hair wet and about my ears, and in a linen night-gown and slippers. We found the kitchen shutters forced but not finished; and in the area a tremendous bag of tools, a hammer large enough for the hand of a Joel, and six chisels! All which opima spolia, as there was no temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in the neighbourhood, I was reduced to offer on the altar of Sir Thomas Clarges.
am now, as I told you, returned to my plough with as much humility and pride as any of my great predecessors. We lead quite a rural life, have had a sheep-shearing, a hay-making, a syllabub under the cow, and a fishing of three gold fish out of Poyang,(313) for a present to Madam Clive. They breed with me excessively, and are grown to the size of small perch. Every thing grows, if tempests would let it; but I have had two of my largest trees broke to-day with the wind, and another last week. I am much obliged to you for the flower you offer me, but by the description it is an Austrian rose, and I have several now in bloom. Mr. Bentley is with me, finishing the drawings for Gray's Odes; there are some mandarin-cats fishing for gold fish, which will delight you; au reste, he is just where he was: he has heard something about a journey to Haughton, to the great Cu(314) of Hauculeo, but it don't seem fixed, unless he hears farther. Did he tell you the Prices and your aunt Cosby had dined here from Hampton Court? The mignonette beauty looks mighty well in his grandmother's jointure. The Memoires of last year are quite finished, but I shall add some pages of notes, that will not want anecdotes. Discontents, of the nature of those about Windsor-park, are spreading about Richmond. Lord Brooke, who has taken the late Duchess of Rutland's at Petersham, asked for a key; the answer was, (mind it, for it was tolerably mortifying to an Earl,) "that the Princess had already refused one to my Lord Chancellor."
By the way, you know that reverend head of the law is frequently shut up here with my Lady M * * * * h, who is as rich and as tipsy as Cacafogo in the comedy. What a jumble of avarice, lewdness, dignity,—and claret!
You will be pleased with a story of Lord Bury, that is come from Scotland: he is quartered at Inverness: the magistrates invited him to an entertainment with fire-works, which they intended to give on the morrow for the Duke's birthday. He thanked them, assured them he would represent their zeal to his Royal Highness; but he did not doubt but it would be more agreeable to him, if they postponed it to the day following, the anniversary of the battle of Culloden. They stared, said they could not promise on their own authority, but would go and consult their body. They returned, told him it was unprecedented, and could not be complied with. Lord Bury replied, he was sorry they had not given a negative at once, for he had mentioned it to his soldiers, who would not bear a disappointment, and was afraid it would provoke them to some outrage upon the town. This did;-they celebrated Culloden. Adieu!
(312) George Morton Pitt, Esq, Member for Pontefract.-E.
(313) Mr. Walpole called his gold-fish pond, Poyang.
(314) The Earl of Halifax.
131 Letter 60 To George Montagu, Esq. Twickenham, Thursday.
Dear George, Since you give me leave to speak the truth, I must own it is not quite agreeable to me to undertake the commission you give me; nor do I say this to assume any merit in having obeyed you, but to prepare you against my solicitation miscarrying, for I cannot flatter myself with having so much interest with Mr. Fox as you think. However, I have wrote to him as pressingly as I could, and wish most heartily it may have any effect. Your brother I imagine will call upon him again; and Mr.' Fox will naturally tell him whether he can do it or not at my request.
I should have been very glad of your company, if it had been convenient. You would have found me an absolute country gentleman: I am in the garden, planting as long as it is light, and shall not have finished, to be in London, before the middle of next week.
My compliments to your sisters and to the Colonel; and what so poor a man as Hamlet is, may do to express his love and friending to him, God willing, shall not lack. Adieu!
132 Letter 61 The Hon. H. S. Conway.(315) Strawberry Hill, June 23, 1752.
By a letter that I received from my Lady Ailesbury two days ago, I flatter myself I shall not have occasion to write to you any more; yet I shall certainly see you with less pleasure than ever, as our meeting is to be attended with a resignation of my little charge.(316) She is vastly well, and I think you will find her grown fat. I am husband enough to mind her beauty no longer, and perhaps you will say husband enough too, in pretending that my love is converted into friendship; but I shall tell you some stories at Park-place of her understanding that will please you, I trust, as much as they have done me.
My Lady Ailesbury says I must send her news, and the whole history of Mr. Seymour and Lady Di. Egerton, and their quarrel, and all that is said on both sides. I can easily tell her all that is said on one side, Mr. Seymour's, who says, the only answer he has ever been able to get from the Duchess or Mr. Lyttelton was, that Di. has her caprices. The reasons she gives, and gave him, were, the badness of his temper and imperiousness of his letters; that he scolded her for the overfondness of her epistles, and was even so unsentimental as to talk of desiring to make her happy, instead of being made so by her. He is gone abroad, in despair, and with an additional circumstance, which would be very uncomfortable to any thing but a true lover; his father refuses to resettle the estate on him, the entail of which was cut off by mutual consent, to make way for the settlements on the marriage.
The Speaker told me t'other day, that he had received a letter from Lord Hyde, which confirms what Mr. Churchill writes me, the distress and poverty of France and the greatness of their divisions. Yet the King's expenses are incredible; Madame de Pompadour is continually busied in finding out new journeys and diversions to keep him from falling into the hands of the clergy. The last party of pleasure she made for him, was a stag-hunting; the stag was a man in a skin and horns, worried by twelve men dressed like bloodhounds! I have read of Basilowitz, a Czar of Muscovy, who improved on such a hunt, and had a man in a bearskin worried by real dogs; a more kingly entertainment!
I shall make out a sad Journal of other news; yet I will be like any gazette, and scrape together all the births, deaths, and marriages in the parish. Lady Hartington and Lady Rachel Walpole are brought to bed of sons; Lord Burlington and Lord Gower have had new attacks of palsies: Lord Falkland is to marry the Southwark Lady Suffolk;(317) and Mr. Watson, Miss Grace Pelham. Lady Coventry has miscarried of one or two children, and is going on with one or two more, and is gone to France to-day. Lady Townshend and Lady Caroline Petersham have had their anniversary quarrel, and the Duchess of Devonshire has had her secular assembly, which she keeps once in fifty years: she was more delightfully vulgar at it than you can imagine; complained of the wet night, and how the men would dirty the rooms with their shoes; called out at supper to the Duke, "Good God! my lord, don't cut the ham, nobody will eat any!" and relating her private m'enage to Mr. Obnir, she said, "When there's only my lord and I, besides a pudding we have always a dish of Yeast!" I am ashamed to send you such nonsense, or to tell you how the good women at Hampton Court are scandalized at Princess Emily's coming to chapel last Sunday in riding-clothes with a dog under her arm; but I am bid to send news: what can we do -,it such a dead time of year? I must conclude, as my Lady Gower did very well t'other day in a letter into the country, "Since the two Misses(318) were hanged, and the two Misses(319) were married, there is nothing at all talked of." Adieu! My best compliments and my wife's to your two ladies.
(315) Now first published.
(316) Their daughter, Ann Seymour Conway.
(317) Sarah, Duchess-dowager of Suffolk, daughter of Thomas Unwen, Esq. of Southwark.-E.
(318) Miss Blandy and Miss Jefferies.
(319) The Gunnings.
133 Letter 62 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, July 20, 1752.
You have threatened me with a messenger from the secretary's office to seize my papers; who would ever have taken you for a prophet? If Goody Compton ,(320) your colleague, had taken upon her to foretell, there was enough of the witch and prophetess in her person and mysteriousness to have made a superstitious person believe she might be a cousin of Nostradamus, and heiress of some of her visions; but how came you by second sight? Which of the Cues matched in the Highlands? In short, not to keep you in suspense, for I believe you are so far inspired as to be ignorant how your prophecy was to be accomplished, as we were sitting at dinner t'other day, word was brought that one of the King's messengers was at the door. Every drop of ink in my pen ran cold; Algernon Sidney danced before my eyes, and methought I heard my Lord Chief-Justice Lee, in a voice as dreadful as Jefferies', mumble out, Scribere est agere. How comfortable it was to find that Mr. Amyand, who was at table, had ordered this appanage of his dignity to attend him here for orders! However, I have buried the Memoires under the oak in my garden, where they are to be found a thousand years hence, and taken perhaps for a Runic history in rhyme. I have part of another valuable MS. to dispose of, which I shall beg leave to commit to your care, and desire it may be concealed behind the wainscot in Mr. Bentley's Gothic house, whenever you build it. As the great person is living to whom it belonged, it would be highly dangerous to make it public; as soon as she is in disgrace, I don't know whether it Will not be a good way of making court to her successor, to communicate it to the world, as I propose doing, under the following title: "The Treasury of Art and Nature, or a Collection of inestimable Receipts, stolen out of the Cabinet of Madame de Pompadour, and now first published for the use of his fair Countrywomen, by a true born Englishman and philomystic." * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So the pretty Miss Bishop,(321) instead of being my niece, is to be Mrs. Bob Brudenel. What foolish birds are turtles when they have scarce a hole to roost in! Adieu!
(320) The Hun. George Compton. son of Lord Northampton, Mr. Montagu's colleague for Northampton.-E.
(321) Daughter of Sir Cecil Bishop.
134 Letter 63 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, July 27, 1752.
What will you say to me after a silence of two months? I should be ashamed, if I were answerable for the whole world, who will do nothing worth repeating. Newspapers have horse-races, and can invent casualties, but I can't have the confidence to stuff a letter with either. The only casualty that is of dignity enough to send you, is a great fire at Lincoln's Inn, which is likely to afford new work for the lawyers, in consequence of the number of deeds and writings it has consumed. The Duke of Kingston has lost many of his: he is unlucky with fires: Thoresby, his seat, was burnt a few years ago, and in it a whole room of valuable letters and manuscripts. There has been a Very considerable loss of that kind at this fire: Mr. Yorke, the Chancellor's son, had a great collection of Lord Somers's papers, many relating to the assassination plot; and by which, I am told, it appeared that the Duke of Marlborough was deep in the schemes of St. Germain's.
There are great civil wars in the neighbourhood of Strawberry Hill: Princess Emily, who succeeded my brother in the rangership of Richmond Park, has imitated her brother William's unpopularity, and disobliged the whole country, by refusal of tickets and liberties, that had always been allowed. They are at law with her, and have printed in the Evening Post a strong Memorial, which she had refused to receive-.(322) The High Sheriff of Surrey, to whom she had denied a ticket, but on better thought had sent one, refused it, and said he had taken his part. Lord Brooke(323) who had applied for one, was told he could not have one-and to add to the affront@, it was signified. that the Princess had refused one to my Lord Chancellor—your old nobility don't understand such comparisons! But the most remarkable event happened to her about three weeks ago. One Mr. Bird, a rich gentleman near the park, was applied to by the late Queen for a piece of ground that lay convenient for a walk she was making: he replied, it was not proper for him to pretend to make a Queen a present; but if she would do what she pleased with the ground, he would be content with the acknowledgment of a key and two bucks a-year. This was religiously observed till the era of her Royal Highness's reign; the bucks were denied, and he himself once shut out, on pretence it was fence-month (the breeding-time, when tickets used to be excluded, keys never.) The Princess soon after was going through his grounds to town; she found a padlock on his gate; she ordered it to be broke open: Mr. Shaw, her deputy, begged a respite, till he could go for the key. He found Mr. Bird at home—"Lord, Sir! here is a strange mistake; the Princess is at the gate, and it is padlocked!" "Mistake! no mistake at all - I made the road: the ground is my own property: her Royal Highness has thought fit to break the agreement which her Royal Mother made with me: nobody goes through my grounds but those I choose should. Translate this to your Florentinese; try if you can make them conceive how pleasant it is to treat blood royal thus!
There are dissensions of more consequence in the same neighbourhood. The tutorhood at Kew is split into factions: the Bishop of Norwich and Lord Harcourt openly at war with Stone and Scott, who are supported by Cresset, and countenanced by the Princess and Murray—so my Lord Bolinbroke dead, will govern, which he never could living! It is believed that the Bishop will be banished into the rich bishopric of Durham, which is just vacant-how pleasant to be punished, after teaching the boys a year, with as much as he could have got if he had taught them twenty! Will they ever expect a peaceable prelate, if untractableness is thus punished?
Your painter Astley is arrived: I have missed seeing him by being constantly at Strawberry Hill, but I intend to serve him to the utmost of my power, as you will easily believe, since he has your recommendation.
Our beauties are travelling Paris-ward: Lady Caroline Petersham and Lady Coventry are just gone thither. It will scarce be possible for the latter to make as much noise there as she and her sister have in England. It is literally true that a shoemaker it Worcester got two guineas and a half by showing a shoo that he was making for the Countess, at a penny a piece. I can't say her genius is equal to her beauty: she every day says some new sproposito. She has taken a turn of vast fondness for her lord: Lord Downe met them at Calais, and offered her a tent-bed, for fear of bugs in the inns. "Oh!" said she, "I had rather be bit to death, than lie one night from my dear Cov.!" I can conceive my Lady Caroline making a good deal of noise even at Paris; her beauty is set off by a genius for the extraordinary, and for strokes that will make a figure in any country. Mr. Churchill and my sister are just arrived from France; you know my passion for the writing of the younger Cr'ebillon:(324) you shall hear how I have been mortified by the discovery of the greatest meanness in him; and you will judge how much one must be humbled to have one's favourite author convicted of mere mercenariness! I had desired lady Mary to lay out thirty guineas for ne with Liotard, and wished, if I could, to have the portraits of Cr'ebillon and Marivaux(325) for my cabinet. Mr. Churchill wrote me word that Liotard's(326) price was sixteen guineas; that Marivaux was intimate with him, and would certainly sit, and that he believed he could get Cr'ebillon to sit too. The latter, who is retired into the provinces with an English wife,(327) was just then at Paris for a month: Mr. Churchill went to him, told him that a gentleman in England, who was making a collection of portraits of famous people, would be happy to have his, etc. Cr'ebillon was humble, "unworthy," obliged; and sat: the picture was just finished, when, behold! he sent Mr. Churchill word, that he expected to have a copy of the picture given him-neither more nor less than asking sixteen guineas for sitting! Mr. Churchill answered that he could not tell what he should do, were it his own case, but that this was a limited commission, and he could not possibly lay out double; and was now so near his return, that he could not have time to write to England and receive an answer. Cr'ebillon said, then he would keep the picture himself-it was excessively like. I am still sentimental enough to flatter myself, that a man who could beg sixteen gineas will not give them, and so I may still have the picture.
I am going to trouble you with a commission, my dear Sir, that will not subject me to any such humiliations. You may have heard that I am always piddling about ornaments and improvements for Strawberry Hill-I am now doing a great deal to the house—stay, I don't want Genoa damask!(328) What I shall trouble you to buy is for the garden: there is a small recess, for which I should be glad to have an antique Roman sepulchral altar, of the kind of the pedestal to my eagle; but as it will stand out of doors, I should not desire to have it a fine one: a moderate one, I imagine, might be picked up easily at Rome at a moderate price: if you could order any body to buy such an one, I should be much obliged to you.
We have had an article in our papers that the Empress-queen had desired the King of France to let her have Mesdames de Craon and de la Calmette, ladies of great piety and birth, to form an academy for the young Archduchesses-is there any truth in this? is the Princess to triumph thus at last over Richcourt? I should be glad. What a comical genealogy in education! the mistress and mother of twenty children to Duke Leopold, being the pious tutoress to his grand-daughters! How the old Duchess of Lorrain will shiver in her coffin at the thoughts of it? Who is la Calmette? Adieu! my dear child! You see my spirit of justice: when I have not writ to you for two months, I punish you with a reparation of six pages!—had not I better write one line every fortnight?
(322) The memorial will be found in the Gentleman's Magazine for this year. In December the park was opened by the King's order.-E.
(323) Francis Greville, Earl Brooke.
(324) Claude Prosper Jolyot de Cr'ebillon, son of the tragic poet of that name, and author of many licentious novels, which are now but little read. He was born in 1707, and died in 1777.-D. ["The taste for his writings," says the Edinburgh Reviewers, " passed away very rapidly and completely in France; and long before his death, the author of the Sopha, and Les Egaremens du Coeur et de l'Esprit, had the mortification to be utterly forgotten by the public." Vol. xxi. p. 284.]
(325) Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux, the author of numerous plays and novels, some of which possess considerable merit. The peculiar affectation of his style occasioned the invention of the word marivaudage, to express the way of writing of him and his imitators. He was born in 1688, and died in 1763.-D.
(326) Walpole, in his Anecdotes of Painting, states Liotard to have been an admirable miniature and enamel painter. At Rome he was taken notice of by the Earl of Sandwich, and by Lord Besborough, then Lord Duncannon. See Museum Florentinum, vol. x.; where the name of the last mentioned nobleman is spelled Milord D'un Canon.-E.
(327) She was a Miss Strafford. The perusal of Cr'ebillon's works inspired her with such a passion for the author, that she ran away from her friends, went to Paris, married him, and nursed and attended him with exemplary tenderness and affection to his dying day. In reference to this marriage, Lord Byron, in his Observations on Bowles's Strictures upon Pope, makes the following remark:—"For my own part, I am of the opinion of Pausanias, that success in love depends upon fortune. Grimm has an observation of the same kind, on the different destinies of the younger Cr'ebillon and Rousseau. The former writes a licentious novel, and a young English girl of some fortune runs away, and crosses the sea to marry him; while Rousseau, the most tender and passionate of lovers, is obliged to espouse his chambermaid."-E.
(328) Lord Cholmondoley borrowed great sums of money of various people, under the pretence of a quantity of Genoa damask being arrived for him, and that his banker was out of town, and he must pay for it immediately. Four persons comparing notes, produced four letters from him in a coffeehouse, in the very same words.
137 Letter 64 To Richard Bentley, Esq.(329) Battel, Wednesday, August 5, 1752.
here we are, my dear Sir, in the middle of our pilgrimage; and lest we should never return from this holy land of abbeys and Gothic castles, I begin a letter to you. that I hope some charitable monk, when he has buried our bones, will deliver to you. We have had piteous distresses, but then we have seen glorious sights! You shall hear of each in their order.
Monday, Wind S. E.—at least that was our direction—While they were changing our horses at Bromley, we went to see the Bishop of Rochester's palace; not for the sake of any thing there was to be seen, but because there was a chimney, in which had stood a flower-pot, in which was put the counterfeit plot against Bishop Sprat. 'Tis a paltry parsonage, with nothing of antiquity but two panes of glass, purloined from Islip's chapel in Westminster Abbey, with that abbot's rebus, an eye and a slip of a tree. In the garden there is a clear little pond, teeming with gold fish. The Bishop is more prolific than I am.
>From Sevenoaks we went to Knowle. The park is sweet, with much old beech, and an immense sycamore before the great gate, that makes me more in love than ever with sycamores. The house is not near so extensive as I expected:(330) the outward court has a beautiful decent simplicity that charms one. The apartments are many, but not large. The furniture throughout, ancient magnificence; loads of portraits, not good nor curious; ebony cabinets, embossed silver in vases, dishes, etc. embroidered beds, stiff chairs, and sweet bags lying on velvet tables, richly worked in silk and gold. There are two galleries, one very small; an old hall, and a spacious great drawing-room. There is never a good staircase. The first little room you enter has sundry portraits of the times; but they seem to have been bespoke by the yard, and drawn all by the same painter; One should be happy if they were authentic; for among them there is Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, Gardiner of Winchester, the Earl of Surry, the poet, when a boy, and a Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, but I don't know which. The only fine picture is of Lord Goring and Endymion Porter by Vandyke. There is a good head of the Queen of Bohemia, a whole-length of Duc d'Espernon, and another good head of the Clifford, Countess of Dorset, who wrote that admirable haughty letter to Secretary Williamson, when he recommended a person to her for member for Appleby: "I have been bullied by an usurper, I have been neglected by a court, but I won't be dictated to by a subject: your man shan't stand. Ann Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery." In the chapel is a piece of ancient tapestry: Saint Luke in his first profession is holding an urinal. Below stairs is a chamber of poets and players, which is proper enough in that house; for the first Earl wrote a play,(331) and the last Earl was a poet,(332) and I think married a player(333) Major Mohun and Betterton are curious among the latter, Cartwright and Flatman among the former. The arcade is newly enclosed, painted in fresco, and with modern glass of all the family matches. In the gallery is a whole-length of the unfortunate Earl of Surry, with his device, a broken column, and the motto Sat superest. My father had one of them, but larger, and with more emblems, which the Duke of Norfolk bought at my brother's sale. There is one good head of henry VIII., and divers of Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, the citizen who came to be lord treasurer, and was very near coming to be hanged.(334) His Countess, a bouncing kind of lady-mayoress, looks pure awkward amongst so much good company. A visto cut through the wood has a delightful effect from the front: but there are some trumpery fragments of gardens that spoil the view from the state apartments.
We lay that night at Tunbridge town, and were surprised with the ruins of the old castle. The gateway is perfect, and the enclosure formed into a vineyard by a Mr. Hooker, to whom it belongs, and the walls spread with fruit, and the mount on which the keep stood, planted in the same way. The prospect is charming, and a breach in the wall opens below to a pretty Gothic bridge of three arches over the Medway. We honoured the man for his taste-not but that we wished the committee at Strawberry Hill were to sit upon it, and stick cypresses among the hollows.—But, alas! he sometimes makes eighteen sour hogsheads, and is going to disrobe 'the ivy-mantled tower,' because it harbours birds!
Now begins our chapter of woes. The inn was full of farmers and tobacco; and the next morning, when we were bound for Penshurst, the only man in the town who had two horses would not let us have them, because the roads, as he said, were so bad. We were forced to send to the wells for others, which did not arrive till half the day was spent-we all the while up to the head and ears in a market of sheep and oxen. A mile from the town we climbed up a hill to see Summer Hill,(335) the residence of Grammont's Princess of Babylon.(336) There is now scarce a road to it: the Paladins of those times were too valorous to fear breaking their necks; and I much apprehend that la Monsery and the fair Mademoiselle Hamilton,(337) must have mounted their palfreys and rode behind their gentlemen-ushers upon pillions to the Wells. The house is little better than a farm, but has been an excellent one, and is entire, though out of repair. I have drawn the front of it to show you, which you are to draw over again to show me. It stands high, commands a vast landscape beautifully wooded, and has quantities of large old trees to shelter itself, some of which might be well spared to open views.
>From Summer Hill we went to Lamberhurst to dine; near which, that is, at the distance of three miles, up and down impracticable hills, in a most retired vale, such as Pope describes in the last Dunciad,
"Where slumber abbots, purple as their vines,"
We found the ruins of Bayham Abbey, which the Barrets and Hardings bid us visit. There are small but pretty remains, and a neat little Gothic house built near them by their nephew Pratt. They have found a tomb of an abbot, with a crosier, at length on the stone.
Here our woes increase. The roads row bad beyond all badness, the night dark beyond all darkness, our guide frightened beyond all frightfulness. However, without being at all killed, we got UP, or down,—I forget which, it was so dark,—a famous precipice called Silver Hill, and about ten at night arrived at a wretched village called Rotherbridge. We had still six miles hither, but determined to stop, as it would be a pity to break our necks before we had seen all we intended. But alas! there was only one bed to be had: all the rest were inhabited by smugglers, whom the people of the house called mountebanks; and with one of whom the lady of the den told Mr. Chute he might lie. We did not at all take to this society, but, armed with links and ]anthems, set out again upon this impracticable journey. At two o'clock in the morning we got hither to a still worse inn, and that crammed with excise officers, one of whom had just shot a smuggler. However, as we were neutral powers, we have passed safely through both armies hitherto, and can give you a little farther history of our wandering through these mountains, where the young gentlemen are forced to drive their curricles with a pair of oxen. the only morsel of good road we have found, was what even the natives had assured us was totally impracticable: these were eight miles to Hurst Monceaux.(338) It is seated at the end of a large vale, five miles in a direct line to the sea, with wings of blue hills covered with wood, one of which falls down to the in a sweep of a hundred acres. The building, for the convenience of water to the moat, sees nothing at all; indeed it is entirely imagined on a plan of defence, with drawbridges actually in being, round towers, watch-towers mounted on them, and battlements pierced for the passage of arrows from long bows. It was built in the time of Henry VI., and is as perfect as the first day. It does not seem to have been ever quite finished, or at least that age was not arrived at the luxury of white-wash; for almost all the walls, except in the principal chambers, are in their native brickhood. It is a square building, each side about two hundred feet in length; a porch and cloister, very like Eton College; and the -whole is much in the same taste, the kitchen extremely so, with three vast funnels to the chimneys going up on the inside. There are two or three little courts for offices, but no magnificence of apartments. It is scarcely furnished with a few necessary beds and chairs: one side has been sashed, and a drawing-room and dining-room and two or three rooms wainscoted by the Earl of Sussex, who married a natural daughter of Charles II. Their arms with delightful carvings by Gibbons-, particularly two pheasants, hang Over the chimneys. Over the great drawing-room chimney is the first coat armour of the first Leonard, Lord Dacre, with all his alliances. Mr. Chute was transported, and called cousin with ten thousand quarterings.(339) The chapel is small, and mean: the Virgin and seven long lean saints, ill done, remain in the windows. There have been four more, but seem to have been removed for light; and we actually found St. Catherine, and another gentlewoman with a church in her hand, exiled into the buttery. There remain two odd cavities, with very small wooden screens on each side the altar, which seem to have been confessionals. The outside is a mixture of gray brick and stone, that has a very venerable appearance. The drawbridges are romantic to a degree; and there is a dungeon, that gives one a delightful idea of living in the days of soccage and under such goodly tenures. They showed us a dismal chamber which they called Drummer's-hall, and suppose that Mr. Addison's comedy is descended from it. In the windows of the gallery over the cloisters, which leads all round to the apartments, is the device of the Fienneses, a wolf holding a baton with a scroll, Le roy le veut—an unlucky motto, as I shall tell you presently, to the last peer of that line. The estate is two thousand a year, and so compact as to have but seventeen houses upon it. We walked up a brave old avenue to the church, with ships sailing on our left hand the whole way. Before the altar lies a lank brass knight, hight William Fienis, chevalier, who obiit c.c.c.c.v. that is in 1405. By the altar is a beautiful tomb, all in our trefoil taste, varied into a thousand little canopies and patterns, and two knights reposing on their backs. These were Thomas, Lord Dacre, and his only son Gregory, who died sans issue. An old grayheaded beadsman of the family talked to us of a blot in the scutcheon; and we had observed that the field of the arms was green instead of blue, and the lions ramping to the right, contrary to order. This and the man's imperfect narrative let us into the circumstances of the personage before us; for there is no inscription. He went in a Chevy-chase style to hunt in a Mr. Pelham's(340) park at Lawton: the keepers opposed, a fray ensued, a man was killed. The haurhty baron took the death upon himself, as most secure of pardon; but however, though there was no chancellor of the exchequer in the question, he was condemned to be hanged: Le roy le Vouloist.
Now you arc fully master of Hurst Monceaux, I shall carry you on to Battel—By the way, we bring you a thousand sketches, that you may show us what we have seen. Battel Abbey stands at the end of the town, exactly as Warwick Castle does of Warwick; but the house of Webster have taken due care that it should not resemble it in any thing else. A vast building, which they call the old refectory, but which I believe was the original church, is now barn, coach-house, etc. The situation is noble, above the level of abbeys: what does remain of gateways and towers is beautiful, particularly the flat side of a cloister, which is now the front of the mansion-house. Miss of the family has clothed a fragment of a portico with cockle-shells! The grounds, and what has been a park, lie in a vile condition. In the church is the tomb of Sir Anthony Browne, master of the horse for life to Harry VIII.: from whose descendants the estate was purchased. The head of John Hanimond, the last abbot, is still perfect in one of the windows. Mr. Chute says, "What charming things we should have done if Battel Abbey had been to be sold at Mrs. Chenevix's, as Strawberry was!" Good night!
We are returned hither, where we have established our head-quarters. On our way, we had an opportunity of surveying that formidable mountain, Silver Hill, which we had floundered down in the dark: it commands a whole horizon of the richest blue prospect you ever saw. I take it to be the ]Individual spot to which the Duke of Newcastle carries the smugglers, and, showing them Sussex and Kent, says, "All this will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Indeed one of them, who exceeded the tempter's warrant, hangs in chains on the very spot where they finished the life of that wretched customhouse officer whom they were two days in murdering.
This morning we have been to Penshurst-but, oh! how fallen!(341) The park seems to have never answered its character: at present it is forlorn; and instead of Sacharissa's(342) cipher carved on the beeches, I should sooner have expected to have found the milkwoman's score. Over the gate is an inscription, purporting the manor to have been a boon from Edward VI. to Sir William Sydney. The apartments are the grandest I have seen in any of these old palaces, but furnished in tawdry modern taste. There are loads of portraits; but most of them seem christened by chance, like children at a foundling hospital. There is a portrait of Languet,(343) the friend of Sir Philip Sydney; and divers of himself and all his great kindred; particularly his sister-in-law, with a vast lute, and Sacharissa, charmingly handsome, But there are really four very great curiosities, I believe as old portraits as any extant in England: they are, Fitzallen, Archbishop of Canterbury, Humphry Stafford, the first Duke of Buckingham; T. Wentworth, and John Foxle; all four with the dates of their commissions as constables of Queenborough Castle, from whence I suppose they were brought. The last is actually receiving his investiture from Edward the Third, and Wentworth is in the dress of Richard the Third's time. They are really not very ill done.(344) There are six more, only heads; and we have found since we came home that Penshurst belonged for a time to that Duke of Buckingham. There are some good tombs in the church, and a very Vandal one. called Sir Stephen of Penchester. When we had seen Penshurst, we borrowed saddles, and, bestriding the horses of our postchaise, set out for Hever,(345) to visit a tomb of Sir Thomas Bullen, Earl of Wiltshire, partly with a view to talk of it in Anna Bullen's walk at Strawberry Hill. But the measure of our woes was not full, we could not find our way.. and were forced to return; and again lost ourselves in coming from Penshurst, having been directed to what they call a better road than the execrable one we had gone.
Since dinner we have been to Lord Westmorland's which is so perfect in a Palladian taste, that I must own it has recovered me a little from Gothic. It is better situated than I had expected from the bad reputation it bears, and some prospect, though it is in a moat, and mightily besprinkled with small ponds. The design, you know, is taken from the Villa del Capra by Vicenza, but on a larger scale: yet, though it has cost an hundred thousand pounds, it is still only a fine villa: the finishing of in and outside has been exceedingly Expensive. A wood that runs up a hill behind the house is broke like an Albano landscape, with an octagon temple and a triumphal arch; But then there are some dismal clipt hedges, and a pyramid, which by a most unnatural copulation is at once a grotto and a greenhouse. Does it not put you in mind of the proposal for your drawing a garden-seat, Chinese on one side and Gothic on the other? The chimneys, which are collected to a centre, spoil the dome of the house, and the hall is a dark well. The gallery is eighty-two feet long, hung with green velvet and pictures, among which is a fine Rembrandt and a pretty La Hire. The ceilings are painted, and there is a fine bed of silk and gold tapestry. The attic is good, and the wings extremely pretty, with porticoes formed on the style of the house. The Earl has built a new church, with a steeple which seems designed for the latitude, of Cheapside, and is so tall that the poor church curtsies under it, like Mary Rich(346) in a vast high-crown hat: it has a round portico, like St. Clement's, with vast Doric pillars supporting a thin shelf. The inside is the most abominable piece of tawdriness that ever was seen, stuffed with pillars painted in imitation of verd antique, as all the sides are like Sienna marble: but the greatest absurdity is a Doric frieze, between the triglyphs of which is the Jehovah, the I. H. S. and the Dove. There is a little chapel with Nevil tombs, particularly of the first Fane, Earl of Westmorland, and of the founder of the old church, and the heart of a knight who was killed in the wars. On the Fane tomb is a pedigree of brass in relief, and a genealogy of virtues to answer it. There is an entire window of painted-glass arms, chiefly modern, in the chapel, and another over the high altar. The hospitality of the house was truly Gothic; for they made our postilion drunk, and he overturned us close to a water and the bank did but just save us from being in the middle of it. Pray, whenever you travel in Kentish roads, take care of keeping your driver sober.
We have finished our progress sadly! Yesterday after twenty mishaps we got to Sissinghurst to dinner. There is a park in ruins, and a house in ten times greater ruins, built by Sir John Balier, chancellor of the exchequer to Queen Mary. You go through an arch of the stables to the house, the court of which is perfect and very beautiful. The Duke of Bedford has a house at Cheneys, in Buckinghamshire, which seems to have been very like it, but is more ruined. This has a good apartment, and a fine gallery, a hundred and twenty feet by eighteen, which takes up one side: the wainscot is pretty and entire: the ceiling vaulted, and painted in a light genteel grotesque. The whole is built for show: for the back of the house is nothing but lath and plaster. From thence we Went to Bocton-Malherbe, where are remains of a house of the Wottons, and their tombs in the church; but the roads were so exceedingly bad that it was dark before we got thither, and still darker before we got to Maidstone: from thence we passed this morning to Leeds Castle.(347) Never was such disappointment! There are small remains: the moat is the only handsome object, and is quite a lake, supplied by a cascade which tumbles through a bit of a romantic grove. The Fairfaxes have fitted up a pert, bad apartment in the fore-part of the castle, and have left the only tolerable rooms for offices. They had a gleam of Gothic in their eyes, but it soon passed off into some modern windows, and some that never were ancient. The only thing that at all recompensed the fatigues we have undergone was the picture of the Duchess of Buckingham,(348) la Ragotte, who is mentioned in Grammont—I say us, for I trust that Mr. Chute is as true a bigot to Grammont as I am. Adieu? I hope you will be as weary with reading our history as we have been in travelling it. Yours ever.
(329) Only son of Dr. Richard Bentley, the celebrated Divine and classical scholar. He was educated at Trinity College, under his father. Cumberland, who was his nephew, describes him as a man of various and considerable accomplishments; possessing a fine genius, great wit, and a brilliant imagination; "but there was," he adds, "a certain eccentricity and want of prudence in his character, that involved him in distresses, and reduced him to situations uncongenial with his feelings, and unpropitious to the cultivation and encouragement of his talents."-E.
(330) Evelyn ' in his Diary for July 25, 1673, says, "In my way I visited my Lord of Dorset's house at Knowle, near Sevenoaks, a greate old-fashion'd house."-E.
331) Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, while a student in the Temple, wrote his tragedy of Gordobuc, which was played before Queen Elizabeth, at Whitehall, in 1561. He was created Earl of Dorset by James the First, in 1604.-E.
(332) Charles Sackville, sixth Earl of Dorset. On the day previous to the naval engagement with the Dutch, in 1665, he is said to have composed his celebrated song, "to all you Ladies now on Land."-E.
(333) On the contrary, he married the Lady Frances, daughter of the Earl of Middlesex, who survived him.-E.
(334) Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, married two wives: the first was the daughter of a London citizen; the second, the daughter of James Brett, Esq. and half-sister of Mary Beaumont, created Countess of Buckingham. To this last alliance, Lord Middlesex owed his extraordinary advancement.-E.
(335) "May 29, 1652. We went to see the house of my Lord Clanrickard, at Summer Hill, near Tunbridge; now given to that villain Bradshaw, who condemned the King. 'Tis situated on an eminent hill, with a park, but has nothing else extraordinary." Evelyn, vol. ii. p. 58.-E.
(336) lady Margaret Macarthy, daughter and heiress of the Marquis of Clanricarde, wife of Charles, Lord Muskerry.-E.
(337) Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir George Hamilton, fourth son of the first Earl of Abercorn, and niece of to the first Duke of Ormond, celebrated in the "M'emoires de Grammont" (written by her brother, Count Anthony Hamilton,) for her beauty and accomplishments. She married Philip, Count de Grammont, by whom she had two daughters; the eldest married Henry Howard, created Earl of Stafford, and the youngest took the veil.-E.
(338) the ancient inheritance of Lord Dacre of the South.-E.
(339) Chaloner Chute, Esq, of the Vine, married Catherine, daughter of Richard, Lord Dacre.-E.
(340) At the date of this letter Mr. Pelham was prime minister.
(341) Evelyn, who visited Penshurst exactly a century before Walpole, gives the Following brief notice of the place:-"July 9, 1652. We went to see Penshurst, the Earl of Leicester's, famous once for its gardens and excellent fruit, and for the noble conversation which Was wont to meet there, celebrated by that illustrious person Sir Philip Sidney, who there composed divers of his pieces. It stands in a park, is finely watered, and was now full of company, on the marriage of my old fellow-collegiate, Mr. Robert Smith, who marries Lady Dorothy Sidney, widow of the Earl of Sunderland."-E.
(342) Lady Dorothy Sidney, daughter of Philip, Earl of Leicester; of whom Waller was the unsuccessful suitor, and to whom he addressed those elegant effusions of poetical gallantry, in which she is celebrated under the name of Sacharissa. Walpole here alludes to the lines written at Penshurst-
"Go, boy, and carve this passion on the bark Of yonder tree, which stands the sacred mark Of noble Sydney's birth; when such benign, Such more than mortal-making stars did shine, That there they cannot but for ever prove The monument and pledge of humble love; His humble love, whose hope shall ne'er rise higher, Than for a pardon that he dares admire."-E.
(343) Hubert Tanguet, who quitted the service of the Elector of Saxony on account of his religion, and attached himself to the Prince of Orange. He died in 1581.-E.
(344) In Harris's History of Kent, he gives from Philpot a list of the constables of Queenborough Castle, p. 376; the last but one of whom, Sir Edward Hobby, is said to have collected all their portraits, of which number most probably were these ten.
(345) Hever Castle was built in the reign of Edward III., by William de Hevre, and subsequently became the property of the Boleyn family. In this castle Henry VIII. passed the time of his courtship to the unfortunate Anne Boleyn; whose father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, was Created Earl of wiltshire and Ormond, 1529 and 1538.-E.
(346)Daughter of Sir Robert Rich, and elder sister of Elizabeth Rich, Lady Lyttelton.
(347) A very ancient and magnificent structure, built throughout of stone, at different periods, formerly belonging to the family of Crovequer. In the fifteenth of Edward II. Sir Thomas de Colepeper, who was castellan of the castle, was hanged on the drawbridge for having refused admittance to Isabel, the Queen-consort, in her progress in performing a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas 'a Becket at Canterbury. The manor and castle were forfeited to the crown by his attainder, but restored to his son, sir Thomas Colepeper. By his Diary of May 8, 1666, it appears to have been hired by Evelyn for a prison. "Here," he says, "I flowed the dry moat, made a new drawbridge, brought spring-water into the court of the castle to an old fountain, and took order for the repairs."-E.
(348) Mary, Duchess of Buckingham, only daughter of Thomas, Lord Fairfax.-E.
145 Letter 65 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Aug. 28, 1752.
Will you never have done jigging at Northampton with that old harlotry Major Compton? Peggy Trevor told me, she had sent you a mandate to go thither. Shall I tell you how I found Peggy, that is, not Peggy, but her sister Muscovy? I went, found a bandage upon the knocker, an old woman and child in the hall, and a black boy at the door. Lord! thinks I, this can't be Mrs. Boscawen's. However, Pompey let me up; above were fires blazing, and a good old gentlewoman, whose occupation easily spoke itself to be midwifery. "Dear Madam, I fancy I should not have come up."—"Las-a-day! Sir, no, I believe not; but I'll stop and ask." Immediately out came old Falmouth,(348) looking like an ancient fairy, who had just been tittering a malediction over a new-born prince, and told me, forsooth, that Madame Muscovy was but just brought to bed, which Peggy Trevor soon came and confirmed. I told them I would write you my adventure. I have not thanked you for your travels, and the violent curiosity you have given me to see Welbeck. Mr. Chute and I have been a progress too; but it was in a land you know full well, the county of Kent. I will only tell you that we broke our necks twenty times to your health, and had a distant glimpse of Hawkhurst from that Sierra Morena, Silver Hill. I have since been with Mr. Conway at Park-place, where I saw the individual Mr. Cooper, a banker, and lord of the manor of Henley, who had those two extraordinary forfeitures from the executions of the Misses Blandy and Jefferies, two fields from the former, and a malthouse from the latter. I had scarce credited the story, and was pleased to hear it confirmed by the very person; though it was not quite so remarkable as it was reported, for both forfeitures were in the same manor.
Mr. Conway has brought Lady Ailesbury from Minorca, but originally from Africa, a Jeribo. To be sure you know what that is; if you don't, I will tell you, and then I believe you will scarce know any better. It is a composition of a squirrel, a hare, a rat, and a monkey, which altogether looks very like a bird. In short, it is about the size of the first, with much Such a head, except that the tip of the nose seems shaved off, and the remains are like a human hare-lip; the ears and its timidity are like a real hare. It has two short little feet before like a rat, but which it never uses for walking, I believe never but to hold its food. The tail is naked like a monkey's, with a tuft of hair at the end; striped black and white in rings. The two hind legs are as long as a Granville's, with feet more like a bird than any other animal, and upon these it hops so immensely fast and upright that at a distance you would take it for a large thrush. It lies in cotton, is brisk at night, eats wheat, and never drinks; it would, but drinking is fatal to them. Such is a Jeribo!
Have you heard the particulars of the Speaker's quarrel with a young officer, who went to him, on his landlord refusing to give his servant the second best bed in the inn? He is a young man of eighteen hundred a year, and passionately fond of the army. The Speaker produced the Mutiny-bill to him. "Oh Sir," said the lad, "but there is another act of parliament which perhaps you don't know of." The "person of dignity," as the newspapers call him, then was so ingenious as to harangue on the dangers of a standing army. The boy broke out, "Don't tell me of your privileges: what would have become of you and your privileges in the year forty-five, if it had not been for the army—and pray, why do you fancy I would betray my country? I have as much to lose as you have!" In short, this abominable young hector treated the Speaker's oracular decisions with a familiarity that quite shocks me to think of!
The Poemata-Grayo-Bentleiana, or Gray's Odes, better illustrated than ever odes were by a Bentley, are in great forwardness, and I trust will appear this Winter. I shall tell you One little anecdote about the authors and conclude. Gray is in love to distraction with a figure of Melancholy, which Mr Bentley has drawn for one of the Odes, and told him he must have something of his pencil: Mr. Bentley desired him to choose a subject. He chose Theodore and Honoria!—don't mention this, for we are shocked. It is loving melancholy till it is not strong enough, and he grows to dram with Horror. Good night! my compliments to Miss Montagu; did you receive my recipes?
(348) Charlotte, daughter and co-heiress of Colonel Godfrey, married in 1700 to Lord Falmouth.-E.
146 Letter 66 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 28, N. S. 1752.
I must certainly make you a visit, for I have nothing to say to you. Perhaps you will think this an odd reason; but as I cannot let our intimacy drop, and no event happens here for fuel to the correspondence, if we must be silent, it shall be like a matrimonial silence, t'ete-'a-t'ete. Don't look upon this paragraph as a thing in the air, though I dare to say you will, upon my repeating that I have any thoughts of a trip to Florence: indeed I have never quite given up that intention and if I can possibly settle my affairs at all to my mind, I shall certainly execute my scheme towards the conclusion of this Parliament, that is, about next spring twelvemonth: I cannot bear elections: and still less, the hash of them over again in a first session. What vivacity such a reverberation may give to the blood of England, I don't know; at present it all stagnates. I am sometimes almost tempted to go and amuse myself at Paris with the bull Unigenius. Our beauties are returned, and have done no execution. The French would not conceive that Lady Caroline Petersham ever had been handsome, nor that my Lady Coventry has much pretence to be so now. Indeed all the travelled English allow that there is a Madame de Broune handsomer, and a finer figure. Poor Lady Coventry was under piteous disadvantages; for besides being very silly, ignorant of the world, breeding, speaking no French, and suffered to wear neither red nor powder, she had that perpetual drawback upon her beauty her lord, who is sillier in a wise way, as ignorant, ill bred, and speaking very little French himself-just enough to show how ill-bred he is. The Duke de Luxemburg told him he had called upon my Lady Coventry's coach; my lord replied, "Vous avez fort bien fait." He is jealous, prude, and scrupulous; at a dinner at Sir John Bland's, before sixteen persons, he coursed his wife round the table, on suspecting she had stolen on a little red, seized her, scrubbed it off by force with a napkin, and then told her, that since she had deceived him and broke her promise, he would carry her back directly to England. They were pressed to stay for the great fete at St. Cloud; he excused himself, "because it would make him miss a music-meeting at Worcester;" and she excused herself from the fireworks at Madame Pompadour's, "because it was her dancing-master's hour." I will tell you but one more anecdote, and I think You cannot be imperfect in your ideas of them. The Mar'echale de lowendahl was pleased with an English fan Lady Coventry had, who very civilly gave it her: my lord made her write for it again next morning, because he had given it her before marriage, and her parting with it would make an irreparable breach," and send an old one in the room of it! She complains to every body she meets, "How odd it is that my lord should use her so ill, when she knows he has so great a regard that he would die for her, and when he was so good as to marry her without a shilling!" Her sister's history is not unentertaining: Duke Hamilton is the abstract of Scotch pride: he and the Duchess at their own house walk in to dinner before their company, sit together at the upper end of their own table, eat off the same plate, and drink to nobody beneath the rank of Earl-would not one wonder how they could get any body either above or below that rank to dine with them at all? I don't know whether you will not think all these very trifling histories; but for myself, I love any thing that marks a character SO Strongly.