The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3
by Horace Walpole
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I find this country wonderfully enriched since I saw it four-and-twenty years ago. Boulogne is grown quite a plump snug town, with a number Of new houses. The worst villages are tight, and wooden shoes have disappeared. Mr. Pitt and the city of London may fancy what they will, but France will not come a-begging to the Mansion-house this year or two. In truth. I impute this air of opulence a little to ourselves. The crumbs that fall from the chaises of the swarms of English that visit Paris, must have contributed to fatten this province. It is plain I must have little to do when I turn my hand to calculating: but here is my observation. From Boulogne to Paris it will cost me near ten guineas; but then consider, I travel alone, and carry Louis most part of the way in the chaise with me. Nous autres milords Anglais are not often so frugal. Your brother, last year, had ninety-nine English to dinner on the King's birthday. How many of them do you think dropped so little as ten guineas on this road? In short, there are the seeds of a calculation for you, and if you will water them with a torrent of words, they will produce such a dissertation, that you will be able to vie with George Grenville next session in plans of national economy-only be sure not to tax travelling till I come back, loaded with purchases; nor, till then, propagate my ideas. It will be time enough for me to be thrifty of the nation's money, when I have spent all my own.

Clermont, 12th.

While they are getting my dinner, I continue my journal. The Duchess of Douglas (for English are generally the most extraordinary persons that we meet with even out of England) left Amiens before me, on her way home. You will not guess what she carries with her—Oh! nothing that will hurt our manufactures; nor what George Grenville himself would seize. One of her servants died at Paris: she had him embalmed, and the body is tied before her chaise: a droll way of being chief mourner.

For a French absurdity, I have observed that along the great roads they plant walnut-trees, but strip them up for firing. It is like the owl that bit off the feet of mice, that they might lie still and fatten.

At the foot of this hill is an old-fashioned ch'ateau belonging to the Duke of Fitz-James, with a parc en quincunx and clipped hedges. We saw him walking in his waistcoat and riband, very well powdered; a figure like Guerchy. I cannot say his seat rivals Goodwood or Euston.(861) I shall lie at Chantilly to-night, for I did not Set Out till ten this morning—not because I could not, as you will suspect, get up sooner—but because all the horses in the country have attended the Queen to Nancy.(862) Besides, I have a little Underplot of seeing Chantilly and St. Denis in my way: which you know one could not do in the dark to-night, nor in winter, if I return then.

H'otel de feue Madame l'Ambassadrice d'Angleterre, Sept. 13, seven o'clock.

I am Just arrived. My Lady Hertford is not at home, and Lady Anne(863) will not come out of her burrow: so I have just time to finish this before Madame returns; and Brian sets out to-night and will carry it. I find I shall have a great deal to say: formerly I observed nothing, and now remark every thing minutely. I have already fallen in love with twenty things, and in hate with forty. Adieu! yours ever.

(860) The memorable cause between the houses of Douglas and Hamilton was then pending.-E.

(861) The Duc de Fitzjames's father, Mareschal Berwick, was a natural son of James II. Mr. Walpole therefore compares his country-seat with those of the Dukes of Richmond and Grafton, similar descendants from his brother, Charles II.-E.

(862) Stanislaus King of Poland, father to the Queen of Louis XV. lived at Nancy.-E.

(863) Lady Anne Seymour Conway, afterwards married to the Earl of Drogheda.-E.

Letter 268 To the Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Paris, Sept. 14, 1765. (page 423)

I am but two days old here, Madam, and I doubt I wish I was really so, and had my life to begin, to live it here. You see how just I am, and ready to make amende honorable to your ladyship. Yet I have seen very little. My Lady Hertford has cut me to pieces, and thrown me into a caldron with tailors, periwig-makers, snuff-box-wrights, milliners, etc. which really took up but little time; and I am come out quite new, with every thing but youth. The journey recovered me with magic expedition. My strength, if mine could ever be called strength, is returned; and the gout going off in a minuet step. I will say nothing of my spirits, which are indecently juvenile, and not less improper for my age than for the country where I am; which, if you will give me leave to say it, has a thought too much gravity. I don't venture to laugh Or talk nonsense, but in English.

Madame Geoffrin came to town but last night, and is not visible on Sundays; but I hope to deliver your ladyship's letter and packet to-morrow. Mesdames d'Aiguillon, d'Egmont, and Chabot, and the Duc de Nivernois are all in the country. Madame de Bouttlers is at l'Isle Adam, whither my Lady Hertford is gone to-night to sup, for the first time, being no longer chained down to the incivility of an ambassadress. She returns after supper; an irregularity that frightens me, who have not got rid of all my barbarisms. There is one, alas! I never shall get over—the dirt of this country: it is melancholy, after the purity of Strawberry! The narrowness of the streets, trees clipped to resemble brooms, and planted on pedestals of chalk, and a few other points, do not edify me. The French Opera, which I have heard to-night, disgusted me as much as ever; and the more for being followed by the Devin de Village, which shows that they can sing without cracking the drum of one's ear. The scenes and dances are delightful; the Italian comedy charming. Then I am in love with treillage and fountains, and will prove it at Strawberry. Chantilly is so exactly what it was when I saw it above twenty years ago, that I recollected the very position of Monsieur le Duc's chair and the gallery. The latter gave me the first idea of mine; but, presumption apart, mine is a thousand times prettier. I gave my Lord Herbert's compliments to the statue of his friend the Constable -,(864) and, waiting some time for the concierge, I called out, O'u est Vatel?(865)

In short, Madam, being as tired as one can be of one's own country,—I don't say whether that is much or little,—I find myself wonderfully disposed to like this. Indeed I wish I Could wash it. Madame de Guerchy is all goodness to me; but that is not new. I have already been prevented by great civilities from Madame de Bentheim and my old friend Madame de Mirepoix; but am not likely to see the latter much, who is grown a most particular favourite of the King, and seldom from him. The Dauphin is ill, and thought in a very bad way. I hope he will live, lest the theatres should be shut up. Your ladyship knows I never trouble my head about royalties, farther than it affects my own interest. In truth, the way that princes affect my interest is not the common way.

I have not yet tapped the chapter of baubles, being desirous of making my revenues maintain me here as long as possible, It will be time enough to return to my Parliament when I want money.

Mr. Hume that is the Mode,(866) asked much about your ladyship. I have seen Madame de Monaco(867) and think her very handsome, and extremely pleasing. The younger Madame d'Egmont,(868) I hear, disputes the palm with her: and Madame de Brionne(869) is not left without partisans. The nymphs of the theatres are laides 'a faire peur which at my age is a piece of luck, like going into a shop of curiosities, and finding nothing to tempt one to throw away one's money.

There are several English here, whether I will or not. I certainly did not come for them, and shall connect with them as little as possible. The few I value, I hope sometimes to hear of. Your ladyship guesses how far that wish extends. Consider too, Madam, that one of my unworthinesses is washed and done away, by the confession I made in the beginning of my letter.

(864) The Constable de Montmorency.-E.

(865) The ma'itre-d'h'otel, who, during the visit which Louis XIV. made to the grand Cond'e at Chantilly, put an end to his existence, because he feared the sea-fish would not arrive in time for one day's repast.

(866) "Hume's conversation to strangers," says Lord Charlemont, "and still more particularly, one would suppose, to French women, could be little delightful; and yet no lady's toilette was complete without his attendance. At the Opera, his broad, unmeaning face was usually seen entre deux jolis minois: the ladies in France gave the ton, and the ton was deism."-E.

(867) Madame de Monaco, afterwards Princess de Cond'e.-E.

(868) Daughter of the celebrated Marshal Duc de Richelieu. See vol. iii. p. 358, letter 233, note 710. She was one of the handsomest women in France.-E.

(869) Madame de Brionne, n'ee Rohan Rochefort, wife of M. de Brionne of the house of Lorraine, and mother of the Prince de Lambesc; known by his imprudent conduct at the head of his regiment in the garden of the Tuileries, at the commencement of the revolution.-E.

Letter 269 To The Rev. Mr. Cole.

Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1765. (page 424)

Dear sir, I have this moment received your letter, and as a courier is just setting out, I had rather take the opportunity of writing to you a short letter than defer it for a longer.

I had a very good passage, and pleasant journey, and find myself surprisingly recovered for the time. Thank you for the good news you tell me of your coming: it gives me great joy.

To the end of this week I shall be in Lord Hertford's house; so have not yet got a lodging: but when I do, you will easily find me. I have no banker, but credit on a merchant who is a private friend of ]lord Hertford; consequently, I cannot give you credit on him: but you shall have the use of my credit, which will be the same thing; and we can settle our accounts together. I brought about a hundred pounds with me, as I would advise you to do. Guineas you may change into louis or French crowns at Calais and Boulogne; and even small bank-bills will be taken here. In any shape I will assist you. Be careful on the road. My portmanteau, with part of my linen, was stolen from before my chaise at noon, while I went to see Chantilly. If you stir out of your room, lock the door of it in the inn, or leave your man in it. If you arrive near the time you propose, you will find me here, and I hope much longer.

Letter 270 To George Montagu, Esq. Paris, Sept. 22, 1765. (page 425)

The concern I felt at not seeing you before I left England, might make me express myself warmly, but I assure you it was nothing but concern, nor was mixed with a grain of pouting. I knew some of your reasons, and guessed others. The latter grieve me heartily; but I advise you to do as I do - when I meet with ingratitude, I take a short leave both of it and its host. Formerly I used to look out for indemnification somewhere else; but having lived long enough to learn that the reparation generally proved a second evil of the same sort, I am content now to skin over such wounds with amusements, which at least have no scars. It is true, amusements do not always amuse when we bid them. I find it so here; nothing strikes me; every thing I do is indifferent to me. I like the people very well, and their way of life very well; but as neither were my object, I should not much care if they were any other people, or it was any other way of life. I am out of England and my purpose is answered.

Nothing can be more obliging than the reception I meet with every where. It may not be more sincere (and why should it?) than our cold and bare civility; but it is better dressed, and looks natural: one asks no more. I have begun to sup in French houses, and as Lady Hertford has left Paris to-day, shall increase my intimacies. There are swarms of English here, but most of them are going, to my great satisfaction. As the greatest part are very young, they can no more be entertaining to me than I to them, and it certainly was not my countrymen that I came to live with. Suppers please me extremely; I love to rise and breakfast late, and to trifle away the day as I like. there are sights enough to answer that end, and shops you know are an endless field for me The city appears much worse to me than I thought I remembered it. The French music as shocking as I knew it was. The French stage is fallen off though in the only part I have seen Le Kain(870) I admire him extremely. He is very ugly and ill made,(871) and yet has an heroic dignity which Garrick wants, and great fire. The Dumenil I have not seen yet, but shall in a day or two. It is a mortification that I cannot compare her with the Clairon,(872) who has left the stage. Grandval I saw through a whole play without suspecting it was he. Alas! four-and-twenty years make strange havoc with us mortals! You cannot imagine how this struck me! The Italian comedy, now united with their Opera comique, is their most perfect diversion; but alas! Harlequin, my dear favourite harlequin, my passion, makes me more melancholy than cheerful. Instead of laughing, I sit silently reflecting how every thing loses charms when one's own youth does not lend. its gilding! When we are divested of that eagerness and illusion with which our youth presents objects to us, we are but the caput mortuum of pleasure.

Grave as these ideas are, they do not unfit me for French company. The present tone is serious enough in conscience. unluckily, the subjects of their conversation are duller to me than my own thoughts, which may be tinged with melancholy reflections, but I doubt from my constitution will never be insipid.

The French affect philosophy, literature, and freethinking: the first never did, and never will possess me; of the two others I have long been tired. Freethinking is for one's self, surely not for society; besides one has settled one's way of thinking, or knows it cannot be settled, and for others I do not see why there is not as much bigotry in attempting conversions from any religion as to it. I dined to-day with a dozen savans, and though all the servants were waiting, the conversation was much more unrestrained, even on the Old Testament, than I would suffer at my own table in England, if a single footman was present. For literature, it is very amusing when one has nothing else to do. I think it rather pedantic in society; tiresome when displayed professedly; and, besides, in this country one is sure, it is only the fashion of the day. Their taste in it is worst of all: could one believe that when they read our authors, Richardson and Mr. Hume should be their favourites? The latter is treated here with perfect veneration. His history, so falsified in many points, so partial in as many, so very unequal in its parts, is thought the standard of writing.

In their dress and equipages they are grown very simple. We English are living upon their old gods and goddesses; I roll about in a chariot decorated with cupids, and look like the grandfather of Adonis.

Of their parliaments and clergy I hear a good deal, and attend very little - I cannot take up any history in the middle, and was too sick of politics at home to enter into them here. In short, I have done with the world, and live in it rather than in a desert, like you. Few men can bear absolute retirement, and we English worst of all. We grow so humoursome, so obstinate and capricious, and so prejudiced, that it requires a fund of good-nature like yours not to grow morose. Company keeps our rind from growing too coarse and rough; and though at my return I design not to mix in public, I do not intend to be quite a recluse. My absence will put it in my power to take up or drop as much as I please. Adieu! I shall inquire about your commission of books, but having been arrived but ten days, have not yet had time. Need I say?—no I need not—that nobody can be more affectionately yours than, etc.

870) Le Kain was born at Paris in 1725, and died there in 1778. He was originally brought up a surgical instrument maker; but his dramatic talents having been made known to Voltaire, he took him under his instructions, and secured him an engagement at the Fran'cais, where he performed for the first time in 1750.-E.

(871) "Cet acteur," says Baron de Grimm, "n'est presque jamais faux, mais malheureusement il a voix, figure, tout, contre lui. Une sensibilit'e forte et profonde, qui faisait disparaitre la laideur de ses traits sous le charme de l'expression dont elle les rendait susceptible, et ne laissait aper'cevoir que lea caract'ere et la passion dont son 'ame 'etait remplie, et lui donnait @ chaque instant de nouvelles formes et nouvel 'etre."-E.

(872) See ant'e, p. 383, letter 245. Mademoiselle Clairon was born in 1723, and made her first appearance at Paris in 1743, in the character of Ph'edre. She died at Paris in 1803. Several of her letters to the British Roscius will be found in the Garrick Correspondence. On her acting, when in the Zenith of her reputation, Dr. Grimm passes the following judgment:—"Belle Clairon, vous avez beaucoup d'esprit: votre jeu est profond'ement raisonn'e; mais la passion a-t-elle le temps de raisoner? Vous n'avez ni naturel ni entrailles; vous ne d'echirez jamais les miennes; vous ne faites jamais couler mes pleurs; vous mettez des silences 'a tout; vous voulez faire sentir chaque hemistiche; et lorsque tout fait effet dans votre jeu, je vois que la totalit'e de la sc'ene n'en fait plus aucun."-E.

Letter 271 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Paris, Oct. 3, 1765. (page 427)

Still, I have seen neither Madame d'Egmont nor the Duchess d'Aiguillon, who are in the country; but the latter comes to Paris to-morrow. Madame Chabot I called on last night. She Was not at home, but the H'otel de Carnavalet;(873) was; and I stopped on purpose to say an ave-maria before it. It is a very singular building, not at all in the French style, and looks like an ex voto raised to her honour by some of her foreign votaries. I don't think her honoured half enough in her own country. I shall burn a little incense before your Cardinal's heart,(874) Madam, 'a votre intention.

I have been with Madame Geoffrin several times, and think she has one of the best understandings I ever met, and more knowledge of the world. I may be charmed with the French, but your ladyship must not expect that they will fall in love with me. Without affecting to lower myself, the disadvantage of speaking a language worse than any idiot one meets, is insurmountable: the silliest Frenchman is eloquent to me, and leaves me embarrassed and obscure. I could name twenty other reasons, if this one was not sufficient. As it is, my own defects are the sole cause of my not liking Paris entirely: the constraint I am under from not being perfectly master of their language, and from being so much in the dark, as one necessarily must be, on half the subjects of their conversation, prevents me enjoying that ease for which their society is calculated. I am much amused, but not comfortable.

The Duc de Nivernois is extremely good to me; he inquired much after your ladyship. So does Colonel Drumgold.(875) The latter complains; but both of them, especially the Duc, seem better than when in England. I met the Duchesse de COSS'e,(876) this evening at Madame Geoffrin's. She is pretty, with a great resemblance to her father; lively and good-humoured, not genteel.

Yesterday I went through all my presentations at Versailles. 'Tis very convenient to gobble up a whole royal family in an hour's time, instead of being sacrificed one week at Leicester-house, another in Grosvenor-street, a third in Cavendish-square, etc. etc. etc. La Reine is le plus grand roi du monde,(877) and talked much to me, and would have said more if I would have let her; but I was awkward and shrunk back into the crowd. None of the rest spoke to me. The King is still much handsomer than his pictures, and has great sweetness in his countenance, instead of that farouche look which they give him. The Mesdames are not beauties, and yet have something Bourbon in their faces. The Dauphiness I approve the least of all: with nothing good-humoured in her countenance, she has a look and accent that made me dread lest I should be invited to a private party at loo with her.(878) The poor Dauphin is ghastly, and perishing before one's eyes.

Fortune bestowed on me a much more curious sight than a set of princes; the wild beast of the Govaudan,(879) which is killed, and actually is in the Queen's antechamber. It is a thought less than a leviathan, and the beast in the Revelations, and has not half so many wings, and yes, and talons, as I believe they have, or will have some time or other; this being possessed but of two eyes, four feet, and no wings at all. It is as fine a wolf' as a commissary in the late war, except, notwithstanding all the stories, that it has not devoured near so many persons. In short, Madam, now it is dead and come, a wolf it certainly was, and not more above the common size than Mrs. Cavendish is. It has left a dowager and four young princes.

Mr. Stanley, who I hope will trouble himself with this, has been most exceedingly kind and obliging to me. I wish that, instead of my being so much in your ladyship's debt, you were a little in Mine, and then I would beg you to thank him for me. Well, but as it is, why should not you, Madam? He will be charmed to be so paid, and you will not dislike to please him. In short, I would fain have him know my gratitude; and it is hearing it in the most agreeable way, if expressed by your ladyship.

(873) Madame de S'evign'e's residence in Paris.-E.

(874) The Cardinal de Richelieu's heart at the Sorbonne.-E.

(875) Colonel Drumgold was born at Paris in 1730, and died there in 1786. Dr. Johnson, in giving Boswell an account of his visit to Paris in 1775, made the following mention of him: "I was just beginning to creep into acquaintance, by means of Colonel Drumgold, a very high man, Sir, head of l,'Ecole Militaire, and a most complete character, for he had first been a professor of rhetoric, and then became a soldier." He was The author of "La Gaiet'e," a poem, and several other pieces.-E.

(876) wife of the Duc de Coss'e Brisac, governor of Paris. She was a daughter of the Duc de Nivernois.-E.

(877) Madame de S'evign'e thus expresses herself of Louis XIV. after his having taken much notice of her at Versailles.-E.

(878) He means, that the Dauphiness had a resemblance to the Princess Amelia.-E.

(879) This enormous wolf, for wolf it proved to be, gave rise to many extraordinary reports. The following account of it is from the Gentleman's Magazine for 1764: "A very strange description is given in the Paris Gazette of a wild beast that has appeared in the neighbourhood of Langagne and the forest of Mercoire, and has occasioned great consternation. It has already devoured twenty persons, chiefly Children, and particularly young, girls; and scarce a day passes without some accidents. the terror it occasions prevents the woodcutters from working in the forest. those who have seen him say he is much higher than a wolf, low before, and his feet are armed with talons. His hair is reddish, his head large, and the muzzle of it shaped like that of a greyhound; his ears are small and straight, his breast wide and of a gray colour; his back streaked with black; and his mouth which is large, is provided with a set of teeth so very sharp that they have taken off several heads as clean as a razor could have done. He is of amazing swiftness; but when he aims at his prey, he couches so close to the ground that he hardly appears to be bigger than a large fox, and at the distance of one or two fathoms he rises upon his hind legs and springs upon his prey, which he always seizes by the neck or throat. The consternation is universal throughout the districts where he commits his ravages, and public prayers are offered up upon this occasion. The Marquis de Morangis has sent out four hundred peasants to destroy this fierce beast; but they have not been able to do it. He has since been killed by a soldier, and appears to be a hyena." E.

Letter 272 To John Chute, Esq. Paris, Oct. 3, 1765. (page 429)

I don't know where you are, nor when I am likely to hear of you. I write it random, and, as I talk, the first thing that comes into my pen.

I am, as you certainly conclude, much more amused than pleased. At a certain time of life, sights and new objects may entertain one, but new people cannot find any place in one's affection. New faces with some name or other belonging to them, catch my attention for a minute—I cannot say many preserve it. Five or six of the women that I have seen already are very sensible. The men are in general much inferior, and not even agreeable. They sent us their best, I believe, at first, the Duc de Nivernois. Their authors, who by the way are every where, are worse than their own writings, which I don't mean as a compliment to either. In general, the style of conversation is solemn, pedantic, and seldom animated, but by a dispute. I was expressing my aversion to disputes Mr. Hume, who very gratefully admires the tone of Paris, having never known any other tone, said with great surprise, "Why, what do you like, if you hate both disputes and whisk?" What strikes me the most upon the whole is, the total difference of manners between them and us, from the greatest object to the least. There is not the smallest similitude in the twenty-four hours. It is, obvious in every trifle. Servants carry their lady's train, and put her into her coach with their hat on. They walk about the streets in the rain with umbrellas to avoid putting on their hats - driving themselves in open chaises in the country without hats, in the rain too, and yet often wear them in a chariot in Paris when it does not rain. The very footmen are powdered from the break of day, and yet wait behind their master, as I saw the Duc of Praslin's do, with a red pocket handkerchief about their necks. Versailles, like every thing else, is a mixture of parade and poverty, and in every instance exhibits something most dissonant from our manners. In the colonnades, upon the staircases, nay in the antechambers of the royal family, there are people selling all sorts of wares. While we were waiting in the Dauphin's sumptuous bedchamber, till his dressing-room door should be opened, two fellows were sweeping it, and dancing about in sabots to rub the floor.

You perceive that I have been presented. The Queen took great notice of me; none of the rest said a syllable. You are let into the King's bedchamber just as he has put on his shirt; he dresses and talks good-humouredly to a few, glares at strangers, goes to mass—to dinner, and a-hunting. The good old Queen, who is like Lady Primrose in the face, and Queen Caroline in the immensity of her cap, is at her dressing-table, attended by two or three old ladies, who are languishing to be in Abraham's bosom, as the only man's bosom to whom they can hope for admittance. Thence you go to the Dauphin, for all is done in an hour. He scarce stays a minute; indeed, poor creature, he is a ghost, and cannot possibly last three months. The Dauphiness is in her bedchamber, but dressed and standing; looks cross, is not civil, and has the true Westphalian grace and accents. The four Mesdames, who are clumsy plump old wenches, with a bad likeness to their father, stand in a bedchamber in a row, with black cloaks and knotting-bags, looking good-humoured, not knowing what to say, and wriggling as if they wanted to make water. This ceremony too is very short: then you are carried to the Dauphin's three boys, who you may be sure only bow and stare. The Duke of Berry(880) looks weak, and weak-eyed: the Count de ProvenCe(881) is a fine boy; the Count d'Artois(882) well enough. The whole concludes with seeing the Dauphin's little girl dine, who is as round and as fat as a pudding.

the Queen's antechamber we foreigners and the foreign ministers were shown the famous beast of the Govaudan, just arrived, and covered with a cloth, which two chasseurs lifted up. It is an absolute wolf, but uncommonly large, and the expression of agony and fierceness remains strongly imprinted on its dead jaws.

I dined at the Duc of Praslin's with four-and-twenty ambassadors and envoys, who never go out but on Tuesdays to court. He does the honours sadly, and I believe nothing else well, looking important and empty. The Duc de Choiseul's face, which is quite the reverse of gravity, does not promise much more. His wife is gentle, pretty, and very agreeable. The Duchess of Praslin, jolly, red-faced, looking very vulgar, and being very attentive and civil. I saw the Duc de Richelieu in waiting, who is pale, except his nose, which is red, much wrinkled, and exactly a remnant of that age which produced General Churchill, Wilkes the player, the Duke of Argyle, etc. Adieu!

(880) Afterwards the unfortunate Louis XVI.-E.

(881) Afterwards Louis XVIII.-E.

(882) Afterwards Charles X.-E

Letter 273 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Paris, Oct, 6, 1765. (page 431)

I am glad to find that you grow just, and that you do conceive at last, that I could do better than stay in England for politics. "Tenez, mon enfant," as the Duchesse de la Fert'e said to Madame Staal;(883) "comme il n'y a que moi au monde qui aie toujours raison," I will be very reasonable; as you have made this concession to me, who knew I was in the right I will not expect you to answer all my reasonable letters. If you send a bullying letter to the King of Spain,(884) or to Chose, my neighbour here,(885) I will consider them as written to myself, and subtract so much from your bill. Nay, I will accept a line from Lady Ailesbury now and then in part of payment. I shall continue to write as the wind sets in my pen; and do own my babble does not demand much reply.

For so reasonable a person as I am, I have changed my mind very often about this country. The first five days I was in violent spirits; then came a dismal cloud of whisk and literature, and I could not bear it. At present I begin, very englishly indeed, to establish a right to my own way. I laugh, and talk nonsense, and make them hear me. There are two or three houses where I go quite at my ease, am never asked to touch a card, nor hold dissertations. Nay, I don't pay homage to their authors. Every woman has one or two planted in her house, and God knows how they water them. The old President HainaUlt(886) is the pagod at Madame du Deffand's, an old blind debauch'ee of wit, where I supped last night. The President is very near deaf, and much nearer superannuated. He sits by the table: the mistress of the house, who formerly was his, inquires after every dish on the table, is told who has eaten of which, and then bawls the bill of fare of every individual into the President's ears. In short, every mouthful is proclaimed, and so is every blunder I make against grammar. Some that I make on purpose, succeed: and one of them is to be reported to the Queen to-day by Hainault, who is her great favourite. I had been at Versailles and having been much taken notice of by her Majesty, I said, alluding to madame S'evign'e, La Reine est le plus grand roi du monde. You may judge if I am in possession by a scene that passed after supper. Sir James macdonald(887) had been mimicking Hume: I told the women, who, besides the mistress, were the Duchess de la Vali'ere,(888) Madame de Forcalquier,(889) a demoiselle, that to be sure they would be glad to have a specimen of Mr. Pitt's manner of speaking; and that nobody mimicked him so well as Elliot.(890) They firmly believed it, teased him for an hour, and at last said he was the rudest man in the world not to oblige them. It appeared the more strange, because here every body sings, reads their own works in public, or attempts any one thing without hesitation or capacity. Elliot speaks miserable French; which added to the diversion.

I had had my share of distress in the morning, by going through the operation of being presented to the royal family, down to the little Madame's pap-dinner, and had behaved as sillily as you will easily believe; hiding myself behind every mortal. The Queen called me up to her dressing-table, and seemed mightily disposed to gossip with me; but instead of enjoying my glory like Madame de S'evign'e, I slunk back into the crowd after a few questions. She told Monsieur de Guerchy of it afterwards, and that I had run away from her, but said she would have her revenge at Fontainbleau. So I must go thither, which I do not intend. The King, Dauphin, Dauphiness, Mesdames, and the wild beasts did not say a word to me. Yes, the wild beast, he of the Gevaudan. He is killed, and actually in the Queen's antechamber, where he was exhibited to us with as much parade as if it was Mr. Pitt. It is an exceedingly large wolf, and, the connoisseurs say, has twelve teeth more than any wolf ever had since the days of Romulus's wet nurse. The critics deny it to be the true beast; and I find most people think the beast's name is legion,—for there are many. He was covered with a sheet, which two chasseurs lifted up for the foreign ministers and strangers. I dined at the Duke of Praslin's with five-and-twenty tomes of the corps diplomatique; and after dinner was presented, by Monsieur de Guerchy, to the Duc de Choiseul. The Duc de Praslin is as like his own letters in D'Eon's book as he can stare; that is, I believe a very silly fellow. His wisdom is of the grave kind. His cousin, the first minister, is a little volatile being, whose countenance and manner had nothing to frighten me for my country. I saw him but for three seconds, which is as much as he allows to any one body or thing. Monsieur de Guerchy, whose goodness to me is inexpressible, took the trouble of walking every where with me, and carried me particularly to see the new office for state papers. I wish I could send it you. It is a large building, disposed like an hospital, with the most admirable order and method. Lodgings for every officer; his name and business written over his door. In the body is a perspective of seven or eight large chambers: each is painted with emblems, and wainscoted with presses with wired doors and crimson curtains. Over each press, in golden letters, the country to which the pieces relate, as Angleterre, Allemagne, etc. Each room has a large funnel of bronze with or moulu, like a column to air the papers and preserve them. In short, it is as magnificent as useful.

Prom thence I went to see the reservoir of pictures at M. de Marigny's. They are what are not disposed of in the palaces, though sometimes changed with others. This refuse, which fills many rooms from top to bottom, is composed of the most glorious works of Raphael, L. da Vinci, Giorgione, Titian, Guido, Correggio, etc. Many pictures, which I knew by their prints, without an idea where they existed, I found there.

The Duc de Nivernois is extremely obliging to me. I have supped at Madame de Bentheim's, who has a very fine house and a woful husband. She is much livelier than any Frenchwoman. The liveliest I have seen is the Duc de Duras:(891) he is shorter and plumper Lord Halifax, but very like him in the face. I am to sup with the Dussons(892) on Sunday. In short, all that have been in England are exceedingly disposed to repay any civilities they received there. Monsieur de Caraman wrote from the country to excuse his not coming to see me, as his Wife is On the point of being brought to bed, but begged I would come to them. So I would, if I was a man-midwife: but though they are easy On Such heads, I am not used to it, and cannot make a party of pleasure of a labour.

Wilkes arrived here two days ago, and announced that he was going minister to Constantinople.(893) To-day I hear he has lowered his credentials, and talks of going to England, if he can make his peace.(894) I thought by the manner in which this was mentioned to me, that the person meant to Sound me: but I made no answer: for, having given up politics in England, I certainly did not come to transact them here. He has not been to make me the first visit, which, as the last arrived, depends on him: so, never having spoken to him in my life, I have no call to seek him. I avoid all politics so much, that I had not heard one word here about Spain. I suppose my silence passes for very artful mystery, and puzzles the ministers who keep spies on the most insignificant foreigner. It would have been lucky if I had been as watchful. At Chantilly I lost my portmanteau with half my linen; and the night before last I was robbed of a new frock, waistcoat, and breeches, laced with gold, a white and silver waistcoat, black velvet breeches, a knife, and a book. These are expenses I did not expect, and by no means entering into my system of extravagance.

I am very sorry for the death of Lord Ophaly, and for his family. I knew the poor young man himself but little, but he seemed extremely good-natured. What the Duke of Richmond will do for a hotel, I cannot conceive. Adieu!

(883) See M'emoires de Madame de Staal (the first authoress of that name) published with the rest of her works, in three small volumes.-E.

(884) Mr. Conway was now secretary of state for the foreign department.-E.

(885) Louis XV.-E.

(886) Le Pr'esident Hainault, surintendant de la maison de Mademoiselle la Dauphine, membre de l'Acad'emie Fran'caise et de l'Acad'emie des Inscriptions, known by his celebrated work, the Abr'eg'e Chronologique de l'Histoire, de France, and from the excellent table which he kept, and which was the resort of all the wits and savans of the day. His cook was considered the best in Paris, and the master was worthy of his cook; a fact which Voltaire celebrates in the opening lines of the epitaph which he wrote for him—

"Hainault, fameux par vos soupers, Et votre Chronologic," etc.-E.

(887) Sir James Macdonald of Macdonald, the eighth baronet, who died at Rome on the 26th of July 1766, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, regretted by all who knew him. In the inscription on his monument, executed at Rome and erected in the church of Slate, his character is thus drawn by his friend Lord Lyttelton:—"He had attained to so eminent a degree of knowledge in mathematics, philosophy, languages, and in every branch of useful and polite learning, as few have acquired in a long life wholly devoted to study; yet to this erudition he joined, what can rarely be found with it, great talents for business, great propriety of behaviour, great politeness of manners: his eloquence was sweet, correct and flowing; his memory vast and exact; his judgment strong and acute." On visiting Slate, in 1773, Dr. Johnson observed to Boswell, that this inscription "should have been in Latin, as every thing intended to be universal and permanent should be." Upon this mr. Croker remarks,—"What a strange Perversion of language!—universal! Why, if it had been in Latin, so far from being universally understood, it would have been an utter blank to one (the better) half of the creation, and even of the men who might visit it, ninety-nine will understand it in English for one who could in Latin. Something may be said for epitaphs and inscriptions addressed, as it were, to the world at large—a triumphal arch — the pillar at Blenheim—the monument on the field of Waterloo: but a Latin epitaph in an English church, appears, in principle, as absurd as the dinner, which the doctor gives in Peregrine Pickle, 'after the manner of the ancients.' A mortal may surely be well satisfied if his fame lasts as long as the language in which he spoke or wrote."-E.

(888) La Duchesse de la Vali'ere, daughter of the Duc d'Usez. She was one of the handsomest women in France, and preserved her beauty even to old age. She died about the year 1792, at the age of eighty.-E.

(889) The Comtesse de Forcalquier, n'ee Canizy. She had ben first married to the Comte d'Antin, son to the Comtesse de Toulouse, by a marriage previous to that with the Comte de Toulouse, one of the natural children of Louis Quatorze, whom he legitimated.-E.

(890) Sir Gilbert Elliot Of Minto. He was appointed a lord of the admiralty in 1756, treasurer of the chamber in 1762, keeper of the signets for Scotland in 1767, and treasurer of the navy in 1770. He died in 1777.-E.

(891) Le Duc de Duras, one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber at the court of France.-E.

(892) M. D'Usson, who had formerly been in England in a diplomatic capacity; see ant'e p. 219, letter 157. He was brother to the Marquis de Bonnac, the French ambassador at the Hague.-E.

(893) Wilkes's application for the embassy to Constantinople was an unsuccessful one. It will be seen in the Chatham Correspondence, that in February 1761, he had solicited of Mr. Pitt a seat at the board of trade. "I wish," he says, "the board of trade might be thought a place in which I could be of any service: whatever the scene is, I shall endeavour to have the reputation of acting in a manner worthy of the connexion I have the honour to be in; and, among all the chances and changes of a political world, I will never have an obligation in a parliamentary way but to Mr. Pitt and his friends." Vol. ii. p. 94.-E.

(894) After his outlawry.

Letter 274 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Paris, Oct. 13, 1765. (page 434)

How are the mighty fallen! Yes, yes, Madam, I am as like the Duc de Richelieu as two peas; but then they are two old withered gray peas. Do you remember the fable of Cupid and Death, and what a piece of work they made with hustling their arrows together? This is just my case: Love might shoot at me, but it was with a gouty arrow. I have had a relapse in both feet, and kept my bed six days but the fit seems to be going off; my heart can already go alone, and my feet promise themselves the mighty luxury of a cloth shoe in two or three days. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay,(895) who are here, and are, alas! to carry this, have been of great comfort to me, and have brought their delightful little daughter, who is as quick as Ariel. Mr. Ramsay could want no assistance from me: what do we both exist upon here, Madam, but your bounty and charity? When did you ever leave one of your friends in want of another? Madame Geotrrin came and sat two hours last night by my bedside: I could have sworn it had been my Lady Hervey,(896) she was so good to me. It was with so much sense, information, instruction, and correction! The manner of the latter charms me. I never saw any body in my days that catches one's faults and vanities and impositions so quick, that explains them to one so clearly, and convinces one so easily. I never liked to be set right before! You cannot imagine how I taste it! I make her both my confessor and director, and beam to think I shall be a reasonable creature at last, which I had never intended to be. The next time I see her, I believe I shall say, "Oh! Common Sense, sit down: I have been thinking so and so; is not it absurd?" for t'other sense and wisdom, I never liked them; I shall now hate them for her sake. If it was worth her while, I assure your ladyship she might govern me like a child.(897)

The Duc de Nivernois too is astonishingly good to me. In short, Madam, I am going down hill, but the sun sets pleasingly. Your two other friends have been in Paris; but I was confined, and could not wait on them. I passed a whole evening with Lady Mary Chabot most agreeably: she charged me over and over with a thousand compliments to your ladyship. For sights, alas! and pilgrimages, they have been cut short! I had destined the fine days of October to excursions; but you know, Madam, what it is to reckon without one's host, the gout. It makes such a coward of me, that I shall be afraid almost of entering a church. I have lost, too, the Dumenil in Ph'edre and Merope, two of her principal parts, but I hope not irrecoverably.

Thank you, Madam, for the Taliacotian extract: it diverted me much. It is true, in general I neither see nor desire to see our wretched political trash: I am sick of it up to the fountain-head. It was my principal motive for coming hither; and had long been my determination, the first moment I should be at liberty, to abandon it all. I have acted from no views of interest; I have shown I did not; I have not disgraced myself- -and I must be free. My comfort is, that, if I am blamed, it will be by all parties. A little peace of mind for the rest of my days is all I ask, to balance the gout.

I have writ to Madame de Guerchy about Your orange-flower water; and I sent your ladyship two little French pieces that I hope you received. The uncomfortable posture in which I write will excuse my saying any more; but it is no excuse against my trying to do any thing to please one, who always forgets pain when her friends are in question.

(895) Allan Ramsay, the painter.

(896) Baron de Grimm, in speaking of Madame Geoffrin, says:— "This lady's religion seems to have always proceeded on two principles: the one, to do the greatest quantity of good in her power; the other, to respect scrupulously all established forms, and even to lend herself, with great complaisance, to all the different movements of public opinion."-E.

(897) Gibbon, in a letter to his father, of the 24th of February 1763, says:—"Lady Hervey's recommendation to Madame Geoffrin was a most excellent one: her house is a very good one; regular dinners there every Wednesday, and the best company in Paris, in men of letters and people of fashion. It was at her house I connected myself with M. Helvetius, who, from his heart, his head, and his fortune, is a most valuable man."-E.

Letter 275 To George Montagu, Esq. Paris, Oct. 16, 1765. (page 436)

I am here, in this supposed metropolis of pleasure, triste enough; hearing from nobody in England, and again confined with the gout in both feet: yes, I caught cold, and it has returned; but as I begin to be a little acquainted with the nature of its caresses, I think the violence of its passion this time will be wasted within the fortnight. Indeed, a stick and a great shoe do not commonly compose the dress which the English come hither to learn; but I shall content myself if I can limp about enough to amuse my eyes; my ears have already had their fill, and are not at all edified. My confinement preserves me from the journey to Fontainbleau, to which I had no great appetite; but then I lose the opportunity of seeing Versailles and St. Cloud at my leisure.

I wrote to you soon after my arrival; did you receive it? All the English books you named to me are to be had here at the following prices. Shakspeare in eight volumes unbound for twenty-one livres; in larger paper for twenty-seven. Congreve, in three volumes for nine livres. Swift, in twelve volumes for twenty-four livres, another edition for twenty-seven. So you see I do not forget your commissions: if you have farther orders, let me know.

Wilkes is here, and has been twice to see me in my illness. He was very civil, but I cannot say entertained me much. I saw no wit; his conversation shows how little he has lived in good company, and the chief turn of it is the grossest bawdy.(898) He has certainly one merit, notwithstanding the bitterness of his pen, that is, he has no rancour; not even against Sandwich, of whom he talked with the utmost temper. He showed me some of his notes on Churchill's works, but they contain little more than one note on each poem to explain the subject of it.

The Dumenil is still the Dumenil, and nothing but curiosity could make me want the Clairon. Grandval is grown so fat and old, that I saw him through a whole play and did not guess him. Not one other, that you remember on the stage, remains there.

It is not a season for novelty in any way, as both the court and the world are out of town. The few that I know are almost all dispersed. The old president Henault made me a visit yesterday: he is extremely amiable, but has the appearance of a superannuated bacchanal; superannuated, poor soul! indeed he is! The Duc de Richelieu is a lean old resemblance of old General Churchill, and like him affects still to have his Boothbies. Alas! poor Boothbies!

I hope, by the time I am convalescent, to have the Richmonds here. One of the miseries of chronical illnesses is, that you are a prey to every fool, who, not knowing what to do with himself, brings his ennui to you, and calls it charity. Tell me a little the intended dates of your motions, that I may know where to write at you. Commend me kindly to Mr. John, and wish me a good night, of which I have had but one these ten days.

(898) "I scarcely ever," says Gibbon, who happened to dine in the company of Wilkes in September 1762, "met with a better companion; he has inexhaustible spirits, infinite wit and humour, and a great deal of knowledge; but a thorough profligate in principle as in practice; his life stained with every vice, and his conversation full of blasphemy and indecency."-E.

Letter 276 To The Countess Of Suffolk.(899) Paris, Oct. 16, 1765. (page 437)

Though I begin my letter to-day, Madam, it may not be finished and set out these four days; but serving a tyrant who does not allow me many holiday-minutes, I am forced to seize the first that offer. Even now when I am writing upon the table, he is giving me malicious pinches under it. I was exceedingly obliged to Miss Hotham for her letter, though it did not give me so good an account of your ladyship as I wished. I will not advise you to come to Paris, where, I assure you, one has not a nip less of the gout than at London, and where it is rather more difficult to keep one's chamber pure; water not being reckoned here one of the elements of cleanliness. If ever my Lady Blandford and I make a match, I shall insist on her coming hither for a month first, to learn patience. I need have a great stock, who have only travelled from one sick bed to another; who have seen nothing; and who hear of nothing but the braveries of Fontainbleau, where the Duc de Richelieu, whose year it is, has ordered seven new operas besides other shows. However, if I cannot be diverted, my ruin at least is protracted, as I cannot go to a single shop.

Lady Mary Chabot has been so good as to make me a visit. She is again gone into the country till November, but charged me over and over to say a great deal for her to your ladyship, for whom she expresses the highest regard. Lady Brown is still in the country too; but as she loves laughing more than is fashionable here, I expect her return with great impatience. As I neither desire to change their religion or government, I am tired of their perpetual dissertations on those subjects. As when I was here last, which, alas! is four-and-twenty ears ago, I was much at Mrs. Hayes's, I thought it but civil to wait on her now that her situation is a little less brilliant. She was not at home, but invited me to supper next night. The moment she saw me I thought I had done very right not to neglect her; for she overwhelmed me with professions of her fondness for me and all my family. When the first torrent was over, she asked me if I was son of the Horace Walpole who had been ambassador here. I said no, he was my uncle. Oh! then you are he I used to call my Neddy! No, Madam, I believe that is my brother. Your brother! What is my Lord Walpole? My cousin, Madam. Your cousin! why, then, who are you? I found that if I had omitted my visit, her memory of me would not have reproached me much.

Lord and Lady Fife are expected here every day from Spa; but we hear nothing certain yet of their graces of Richmond, for whom I am a little impatient; and for pam too, who I hope comes with them. In French houses it is impossible to meet with any thing but whist, which I am determined never to learn again. I sit by and yawn; which, however, is better than sitting at it to yawn. I hope to be able to take the air in a few days; for though I have had sharp pain and terrible nights, this codicil to my gout promises to be of much shorter duration than what I had in England, and has kept entirely to my feet. My diet sounds like an English farmer's, being nothing but beef and pudding; in truth the beef' is bouilli, and the pudding bread. This last night has been the first in which I have got a wink of sleep before six in the morning: but skeletons can live very well without eating or sleeping; nay, they can laugh too, when they meet with a jolly mortal of this world.

Mr. Chetwynd, I conclude, is dancing at country balls and horseraces. It is charming to be so young;(900) but I do not envy one whose youth is so good-humoured and good-natured. When he gallops post to town, or swims his horse through a MillpODd In November, pray make my compliments to him, and to Lady Blandford and Lady Denbigh. The joys of the gout do not put one's old friends out of one's head, even at this distance. I am, etc.

(899) Now first collected.

(900) See ant'e, p. 412, letter 259.-E.

Letter 277 To Thomas Brand, Esq.(901) Paris, Oct. 19, 1765. (page 438)

Don't think I have forgot your commissions: I mentioned them to old Mariette this evening, who says he has got one of them, but never could meet with the other, and that it will be impossible for me to find either at Paris. You know, I suppose, that he would as soon part with an eye as with any thing in his own collection.

You may, if you please, suppose me extremely diverted here, Oh! exceedingly. In the first place, I have seen nothing; in the second, I have been confined this fortnight with a return of the gout in both feet; and in the third, I have not laughed since my Lady Hertford went away. I assure you, you may come hither very safely, and be in no danger from mirth. Laughing is as much out of fashion as pantins or bilboquets. Good folks, they have no time to laugh. There is God and the King to be pulled down first; and men and women, one and all, are devoutly employed in the demolition. They think me quite profane, for having any belief left. But this is not my only crime - I have told them, and am undone by it, that they have taken from us to admire the two dullest things we had, whisk and Richardson. It is very true, and they -want nothing but George Grenville to make their conversations, or rather dissertations, the most tiresome upon earth. For Lord Lyttelton, if he would come hither, and turn freethinker once more, he would be reckoned the most -,agreeable man in France—next to Mr. Hume, who is the only thing in the world that they believe implicitly; which they must do, for I defy them to understand any language that he speaks.

If I could divest myself of my wicked—and unphilosophic bent to laughing, I should do very well. They are very civil and obliging to me, and several of the women are very agreeable, and some of the men. The Duc de Nivernois has been beyond measure kind to me, and scarce missed a day without coming to see me during my confinement. The Guerchys are. as usual, all friendship. I had given entirely into supping, as I do not love rising early, and still less meat breakfasts. The misfortune is, that in several houses they dine, and at others sup.

You will think it odd that I should want to laugh, when Wilkes, Sterne, and Foote are here; but the first does not make me laugh, the second never could, and for the third, I choose to pay five shillings when I have a mind he should divert me. Besides, I certainly did not come in search of English: and yet the man I have liked the best in Paris is an Englishman, Lord Ossory, who is one of the most sensible young men I ever saw, with a great deal of Lord Tavistock in his manner.

The joys of Fontainbleau I miss by my illness—Patienza! If the gout deprived me of nothing better than a court.

The papers say the Duke of Dorset(902) is dead; what has he done for Lord George? You cannot be so unconscionable as not to answer me. I don't ask who is to have his riband; nor how many bushels of fruit the Duke of Newcastle's dessert for the Hereditary Prince contained, nor how often he kissed him for the sake of "the dear house of Brunswick"—No, keep your politics to yourselves; I want to know none of them:-when I do, and authentically, I will write to my Lady * * * * or Charles Townshend.

Mrs. Pit's friend, Madame de Rochefort, is one of my principal attachments, and very agreeable indeed. Madame de Mirepoix another. For my admiration, Madame de Monaco—but I believe you don't doubt my Lord Hertford's taste in sensualities. March's passion, Marechalle d'Estr'ees, is affected, cross, and not all handsome. The Princes of the blood are pretty much retired, do not go to Portsmouth and Salisbury once a week, nor furnish every other paragraph to the newspapers. Their campaigns are confined to killing boars and stags, two or three hundred in a year. Adieu! Mr. Foley is my banker; or it is still more sure if you send your letter to Mr. Conway's office.

(901) Of the Hoo, in Hertfordshire. See vol. ii. p. 211, letter 103.-E.

(902) Lionel Cranfield Sackville, seventh Earl and first Duke of Dorset: he died on the 10th of October. Lord George Sackville was his third son.-E.

Letter 278 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Paris, Oct. 28, 1765. (page 440)

Mr. Hume sends me word from Fontainbleau, that your brother, some time in the spring of 1764, transmitted to the English ministry a pretty exact and very authentic account of the French finances;" these are his words: and "that it will be easily found among his lordship's despatches of that period." To the other question I have received no answer: I suppose he has not yet been able to inform himself.

This goes by an English coachman of Count Lauragais, sent over to buy more horses; therefore I shall write a little ministerially, and, perhaps, surprise you, if you are not already apprised of things in the light I see them.

The Dauphin will probably hold out very few days. His death, that is, the near prospect of it, fills the philosophers with the greatest joy, as it was feared he would endeavour the restoration of the Jesuits. You will think the sentiments of the philosophers very odd stale news —but do you know who the philosophers are, or what the term means here? In the first place, it comprehends almost every body; and in the next, means men, who, avowing war against popery, aim, many of them, at a subversion of all religion, and still many more, at the destruction of regal power. How do you know this? you will say; you, who have been but six weeks in France, three of which you have been confined to your chamber? True: but in the first period I went every where, and heard nothing else: in the latter, I have been extremely visited, and have had long and explicit conversations with many, who think as I tell you, and with a few of the other side, who are no less persuaded that there are such intentions. In particular. I had two officers here t'other night, neither of them young, whom I had difficulty to keep from a serious quarrel, and who, in the heat of the dispute, informed me of much more than I could have learnt with great pains.

As a proof that my ideas are not quite visions, I send you a most curious paper;(903) such as I believe no magistrate would have pronounced in the time of Charles 1. I should not like to have it known to come from me, nor any part of the intelligence I send you; with regard to which, if you think it necessary to communicate it to particular persons, I desire my name may be suppressed. I tell it for your satisfaction and information, but would not have any body else think that I do any thing here but amuse myself; my amusements indeed are triste enough, and consist wholly in trying to get well; but my recovery moves very slowly. I have not yet had any thing but cloth shoes on, live sometimes a whole day on warm water, and am never tolerably well till twelve or one o'clock.

I have had another letter from Sir Horace Mann, who has much at heart his riband and increase of character. Consequently you know, as I love him so much, I must have them at heart too. Count Lorenzi is recalled, because here they think it necessary to send a Frenchman of higher rank to the new grand ducal court. I wish Sir Horace could be raised on this occasion. For his riband, his promise is so old and so positive, that it is quite a hardship.

Pray put the colonies in good-humour: I see they are violently Disposed to the new administration. I have not time to say more, nor more to say if I had time; so good night! Let me know if you receive this, and how soon: it goes the day after to-morrow. Various reports say the Duke of Richmond comes this week. I sent you a letter by Monsieur de Guerchy. Dusson, I hear, goes ambassador to Poland. Tell Lady Ailesbury that I have five or six little parcels, though not above one for her, of laces and ribands, which Lady Cecilic left Wit me: but how to convey them the Lord knows. Yours ever.

(903) This paper does not appear.

Letter 279 To Mr. Gray. Paris, Nov. 19, 1765. (page 441)

You are very kind to inquire so particularly after my gout. I wish I may not be so circumstantial in my answer: but you have tapped a dangerous topic; I can talk gout by the hour. It is my great mortification, and has disappointed all the hopes that I had built on temperance and hardiness. I have resisted like a hermit, and exposed myself to all weathers and seasons like a smuggler; and in vain. I have, however, still so much of the obstinacy of both professions left, that I think I shall continue, and cannot obey you in keeping myself warm. I have gone through my second fit under one blanket, and already go about in a silk waistcoat with my bosom unbuttoned. In short, I am as prejudiced to try regimen, though so ineffectual, as I could have been to all I expected from it. The truth is, I am almost as willing to have the gout as to be liable to catch cold; and must run up stairs and down, in and out of doors, when I will, or I cannot have the least satisfaction. This will convince you how readily I comply with another of your precepts, walking as soon as am able.—For receipts, you may trust me for making use of none; I would not see a physician at the worst, but have quacked as boldly as quacks treat others. I laughed at your idea of quality receipts, it came so apropos. There is not a man or woman here that is not a perfect old nurse, and who does not talk gruel and anatomy with equal fluency and ignorance. One instance shall serve: Madame de Bouzols, Marshal Berwick's daughter, assured me there was nothing so good for the gout, as to preserve the parings of my nails in a bottle close stopped. When I try any illustrious nostrum, I shall give the preference to this.

So much for the gout!(904) I told you what was coming. As to the ministry, I know and care very little about them. I told you and told them long ago, that if ever a change happened I would bid adieu to politics for ever. Do me the Justice to allow that I have not altered with the time. I was so impatient to put this resolution in execution that I hurried out of England before I was sufficiently recovered. I shall not run the same hazard again in haste; but will stay here till I am perfectly well, and the season of warm weather coming on or arrived; though the charms of Paris have not the least attraction for me, nor would keep me an hour on their own account. For the city itself, I cannot conceive where my eyes were: it Is the ugliest beastliest town in the universe. I have not seen a mouthful of verdure out of it, nor have they any thing green but their treillage and window-shutters. Trees cut into fire-shovels, and stuck into pedestals of chalk, Compose their country. Their boasted knowledge of society is reduced to talking of their suppers, and every malady they have about them, or know of. The Dauphin is at the point of death; every morning the physicians frame in account of him; and happy is he or she who can produce a copy of this lie, called a bulletin. The night before last, one of these was produced at supper where I was; it was read, and said he had une evacuation foetide. I beg your pardon, though you are not at supper. The old lady of the house(905) (who by the way is quite blind, was the Regent's mistress for a fortnight, and is very agreeable) called out, "Oh! they have forgot to mention that he threw down his chamber-pot, and was forced to change his bed." There were present several women of the first rank; as Madame de la Vali'ere, whom you remember Duchesse de Vaujour, and who is still miraculously pretty, though fifty-three; a very handsome Madame de Forcalquier, and others—nor was this conversation at all particular to that evening.

Their gaiety is not greater than their delicacy—but I will not expatiate. In short, they are another people from what they were. They may be growing wise, but the intermediate passage is dulness. Several of the women are agreeable, and some of the men; but the latter are in general vain and ignorant. The savans—I beg their pardons, the philosophes—are insupportable, superficial, overbearing, and fanatic: they preach incessantly, and their avowed doctrine is atheism; you would not believe how openly—Don't wonder, therefore, if I should return a Jesuit. Voltaire himself does not satisfy them. One of their lady devotees said of him, "Il est bigot, c'est un d'eiste."

I am as little pleased with their taste in trifles. Cr'ebillon is entirely out of fashion, and Marivaux a proverb: marivauder and marivaudage are established terms for being prolix and tiresome. I thought that we were fallen, but they are ten times lower.

Notwithstanding all I have said, I have found two or three societies that please me; am amused with the novelty of the whole, and should be sorry not to have come. The Dumenil is, if possible, superior to what you remember. I am sorry not to see the Clairon; but several persons whose judgments seem the soundest prefer the former. Preville is admirable in low comedy. The mixture of Italian comedy and comic operas, prettily written, and set to Italian music, at the same theatre, is charming, and gets the better both of their operas and French comedy; the latter of which is seldom full, with all its merit. Petit-maitres are obsolete, like our Lords Foppington—but le monde est philosophe—When I grow very sick of this last nonsense, I go and compose myself at the Chartreuse, where I am almost tempted to prefer Le Soeur to every painter I know. Yet what new old treasures are come to light, routed out of the Louvre, and thrown into new lumber-rooms at Versailles!—But I have not room to tell you what I have seen! I will keep this and other chapters for Strawberry. Adieu! and thank you.

Old Mariette has shown me a print by Diepenbecke of the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle(906) at dinner with their family. You would oblige me, if you would look into all their graces' folios, and see if it is not a frontispiece to some one of them. Then he has such a Petitot of Madame d'Olonne! The Pompadour offered him fifty louis for it(907)—Alack, so would I!

(904) The following is Gray's reply, of the 13th of December:- -"You have long built your hopes on temperance, you say, and hardiness. On the first point we are agreed; the second has totally disappointed you, and therefore you will persist in it by all means. But then, be sure to persist too in being young, in stopping the course of time, and making the shadow return back upon your sun-dial. If you find this not so easy, acquiesce with a good grace in my anilities; put on your understockings of yarn, or woollen, even in the night-time. Don't provoke me, or I shall order you two nightcaps, (which, by the way, would do your eyes good,) and put a little of any French liqueur into your water; they are nothing but brandy and sugar; and among their various flavours, some of them may surely be palatable enough, The pain in your feet I can bear; but shudder at the sickness of your stomach and the weakness that still continues. I conjure you, as you love yourself—I conjure you by Strawberry, not to trifle with these edge-tools. There is no cure for the gout, when in the stomach, but to throw it into the limbs; There is no relief for gout in the limbs, but in gentle warmth and gradual perspiration." Works, vol. iv. p. 68.-E.

(905) Madame du Deffand.-E.

(906) Prefixed to some copies of the Duchess's work, entitled "The World's Olio,—Nature's Pictures drawn by Fancy's Pencil to the life," (folio, London, 1653,) is a print, Diepenbeck, del., P. Clouvet sc., half sheet, containing portraits of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, (celebrated as a Cavalier general during the civil wars, and commonly styled the loyal Duke of Newcastle,) his Duchess, and their family.-E.

(907) This miniature eventually became his property. In a letter from madame du Deffand of the 12th of December 1775, she says:- -"J'ai Madame d'Olonne entre les mains; vous voil'a au comble de la joie; mais moderez-en la, en apprenant que ses galans ne la payaient pas plus cher de son vivant que vous ne la payez apr'es sa mort; (@lle vous coute trois mille deux cents livres."-E.

Letter 280 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Paris, Nov. 21, 1765. (page 444)

Madame Geoffrin has given me a parcel for your ladyship with two knotting-bags, which I will send by the first opportunity that seems safe:'—but I hear of nothing but difficulties; and shall, I believe, be saved from ruin myself, from not being able to convey any purchases into England. Thus I shall have made an almost fruitless journey to France, if I can neither fling away my money, nor preserve my health. At present, indeed, the gout is gone. I have had my house swept, and made as clean as I could-no very easy matter in this country; but I live in dread of seven worse spirits entering in. The terror I am under of a new fit has kept me from almost seeing any thing. The damps and fogs are full as great and frequent here as in London; but there is a little frost to-day, and I shall begin my devotions tomorrow. It is not being fashionable to visit churches: but I am de la vieille cour; and I beg your ladyship to believe that I have no youthful pretensions. The Duchess of Richmond tells me that they have made twenty foolish stories about me in England; and say that my person is admired here. I cannot help what is said without foundation; but the French have neither lost their eyes, nor I my senses. A skeleton I was born—skeleton I am—and death will have no trouble in making me one. I have not made any alteration in my dress, and certainly did not study it In England. Had I had any such ridiculous thoughts, the gout is too sincere a monitor to leave one under any such error. Pray, Madam, tell Lord and Lady Holland what I say: they have heard these idle tales; and they know so many of my follies, that I should be sorry they believed more of me than are true. If all arose from madame Geoffrin calling me in Joke le nouveau Richelieu, I give it under my hand that I resemble him in nothing but wrinkles.

Your ladyship is much in the right to forbear reading politics. I never look at the political letters that come hither in the Chronicles. I was sick to death of them before I set out; and perhaps should not have stirred from home, if I had not been sick of them and all they relate to. If any body could write ballads and epigrams, 'a la bonne heure! But dull personal abuse in prose is tiresome indeed. A serious invective against a pickpocket, or written by a pickpocket, who has so little to do as to read?

The Dauphin continues languishing to his exit, and keeps every body at Fontainbleau. There is a little bustle now about the parliament of Bretagne; but you may believe, Madam, that when I was tired of the squabbles at London, I did not propose to interest myself in quarrels at Hull or Liverpool. Indeed, if the Duc de Chaulnes(908) commanded at Rennes, or Pomenars(909) was sent to prison, I might have a little curiosity. You wrong me in thinking I quoted a text from my Saint(910) ludicrously. On the contrary I am so true a bigot, that if she could have talked nonsense, I should, like any other bigot, believe she was inspired.

The season and the emptiness of Paris, prevent any thing new from appearing. All I can send your ladyship is a very pretty logogriphe, made by the old blind Madame du Deffand, whom perhaps you know—certainly must have heard of. I sup there very often;(911) and she gave me this last night-you must guess it.

Quoique je forme un corps, je ne suis qu'une id'ee; Plus ma beaut'e vieillit, plus elle est decid'ee: Il faut, pour me trouver, ignorer d'o'u je viens; Je tiens tout de lui, qui reduit tout 'a rien.(912)

Lady Mary Chabot inquires often after your ladyship. Your other two friends are not yet returned to Paris; but I have had several obliging messages from the Duchess d'Aiguillon.

It pleased me extremely, Madam, to find no mention of your own gout in your letter. I always apprehend it for you, as you try its temper to the utmost, especially by staying late in the country, which you know it hates. Lord! it has broken my spirit so, that I believe it might make me leave Strawberry at a minute's warning. It has forbidden me tea, and been obeyed; and I thought that one of the most difficult points to carry with me. Do let us be well, Madam, and have no gouty notes to compare! I am your ladyship's most faithful, humble servant.

(908) Governor of Britany in the time of Madame de S'evign'e.

(909) See Madame de S'evign'e's Letters.

(910) Madame de S'evign'e.

(911) Madame du Deffand had, at this time, a supper at her house every Sunday evening, at which Walpole, during his stay at Paris, constantly made one of the company.-E.

(912) The word is noblesse.

Letter 281 To George Montagu, Esq. Paris, Nov. 21, 1765. (page 445)

You must not be surprised when my letters arrive long after their date. I write them at my leisure, and send them when I find any Englishman going to London, that I may not be kept in check, if they were to pass through both French and English posts. Your letter to Madame Roland, and the books for her, will Set Out very securely in a day or two. My bookseller here happens to be of Rheims, and knows Madame Roland, comme deux gouttes d'eau. This perhaps is not a well-placed simile, but the French always use one, and when they are once established, and one knows the tune, it does not signify sixpence for the sense.

My gout and my stick have entirely left me. I totter still, it is true, but I trust shall be able to whisk about at Strawberry as well almost as ever. When that hour strikes, to be sure I shall not be very sorry. The sameness of the life here is worse than any thing but English politics and the House of Commons. Indeed, I have a mind still to see more people here, more sights, and more of the Dumenil. The Dauphin, who is not dead yet, detains the whole court at Fontainbleau, whither I dare not venture, as the situation is very damp, and the lodgings abominable. Sights, too, I have scarce seen any yet; and I must satisfy my curiosity; for hither, I think, I shall never come again. No, let us sit down quietly and comfortably, and enjoy our coming old age. Oh! if you are in earnest, and will transplant yourself to Roehampton, how happy I shall be! You know, if you believe an experience of above thirty years, that you are one of the very, very few, for whom I really care a straw. You know how long I have been vexed at seeing so little of you. What has one to do, when one grows tired of the world, as we both do, but to draw nearer and nearer, and gently waste the remains of life with the friends with whom one began it! Young and happy people will have no regard for us and our old stories, and they are in the right: but we shall not tire one another; we shall laugh together when nobody is by to laugh at us, and we may think ourselves young enough when we see nobody younger. Roehampton is a delightful spot, at once cheerful and retired. You will amble in your chaise about Richmond-park: we shall see one another as often as we like; I shall frequently peep at London, and bring you tales of it, and we shall sometimes touch a card with the Clive, and laugh our fill; for I must tell you, I desire to die when I have nobody left to laugh with me. I have never yet seen or heard any thing serious, that was not ridiculous. Jesuits, Methodists, philosophers, politicians, the hypocrite Rousseau, the scoffer Voltaire, the encyclopedists, the Humes, the Lytteltons, the Grenvilles, the atheist tyrant of Prussia, and the mountebank of history, Mr. Pitt, all are to me but impostors in their various ways. Fame or interest is their object; and after all their parade, I think a ploughman who sows, reads his almanack, and believes the stars but so many farthing candles, created to prevent his falling into a ditch as he goes home at night, a wiser and more rational being, and I am sure an honester than any of them. Oh! I am sick of visions and systems, that shove one another aside, and come over again, like the figures in a moving picture. Rabelais brightens up to me as I see more of the world; he treated it as it deserved, laughed at it all, and, as I judge from myself, ceased to hate it; for I find hatred an unjust preference. Adieu!

Letter 282 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Paris, Nov. 28, 1765. (page 447)

What, another letter! Yes, Madam; though I must whip and spur, I must try to make my thanks keep up with your favours: for any other return, you have quite distanced me. This is to acknowledge the receipt of the Duchess d'Aiguillon—you may set what sum you please against the debt. She is delightful, and has much the most of a woman of quality of any I have seen, and more cheerfulness too: for, to show your ladyship that I am sincere, that my head is not turned, and that I retain some of my prejudices still, I avow that gaiety, whatever it was formerly, is no longer the growth of this country, and I will own too that Paris can produce women of quality that I should not call women of fashion; I will not use so ungentle a term as vulgar; but from their indelicacy, I could call it still worse. Yet with these faults, and the latter is an enormous one in my English eyes, many of the women are exceedingly agreeable. I cannot say so much for the men—always excepting the Duc de Nivernois. You would be entertained, for a quarter of an hour, with his Duchess—she is the Duke of Newcastle properly placed, that is, chattering incessantly out of devotion, and making interest against the devil, that she may dispose of bishoprics in the next world.

Madame d'Egmont is expected to-day, which will run me again into arrears. I don't l(now how it is. Yes, I do: it is natural to impose on bounty, and I am like the rest of the world; I am going to abuse your goodness because I know nobody's so great. Besides being the best friend in the world, you are the best commissionnaire in the world, Madam - you understand from friendship to scissors. The enclosed model was trusted to me, to have two pair made as well as possible—but I really blush at my impertinence. However, all the trouble I mean to give your ladyship is, to send your groom of the chambers to bespeak them; and a pair besides of the common size for a lady, as well made as possible, for the honour of England's steel.

The two knotting-bags from Madame Geoffrin went away by a clergyman two days ago; and I concerted all the tricks the doctor and I could think of, to elude the vigilance of the customhouse officers.

With this, I send your ladyship the Orpheline Legu'ee: its intended name was the Anglomanie, my only reason for sending it; for it has little merit, and had as slender success, being acted but five times. However, there is nothing else new.

The Dauphin continues in the same languishing and hopeless state, but with great coolness and firmness. Somebody gave him t'other day "The Preparation for Death:"(913) he said, "C'est la nouvelle du jour."

I have nothing more to say, but what I have always to say, Madam, from the beginning of my letters to the end, that I am your ladyship's most obliged and most devoted humble servant.

Nov. 28, three o'clock.

Oh, Madam, Madam, Madam, what do you think I have found since I wrote my letter this morning? I am out of my wits! Never was any thing like my luck; it never forsakes me! I have found Count Grammont's picture! I believe I shall see company upon it, certainly keep the day holy. I went to the Grand Augustins to see the pictures of the reception of' the knights of the Holy Ghost: they carried me into a chamber full of their portraits; I was looking for Bassompierre; my laquais de louage opened a door, and said, "Here are more." One of the first that struck me was Philibert Comte de Grammont!(914) It is old, not at all handsome, but has a great deal of finesse in the countenance. I shall think of nothing now but having it copied. If I had seen or done nothing else, I should be content with my journey hither.

(913) The title of a French book of devotion.

(914) The witty Count de Grammont, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Hamilton, fourth son of James first Earl of Abercorn, by Mary, third sister of James first Duke of Ormond. Tradition reports, that Grammont, who is not recorded to have been a men of personal courage, having attached, if not engaged himself to Hamilton, went off abruptly for France: the Count George Hamilton pursued and overtook him at Dover, when he thus addressed him: "My dear friend, I believe you have forgot a circumstance that should take place before you return to France." To which Grammont answered, "True, my dear friend; what a memory I have! I quite forgot that I was to marry your sister; but I will instantly accompany you back to London and rectify that forgetfulness." His celebrated Memoirs were written by his brother-in-law, Anthony, generally called Count Hamilton, who followed the fortunes of James the Second, and afterwards entered the French service.-E.

Letter 283 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Paris, Nov. 29, 1765. (page 448)

As I answered your short letter with a very long one, I shall be shorter in answer to your long, which I received late last night from Fontainbleau: it is not very necessary: but as Lord William Gordon sets out for England on Monday, I take that opportunity.

The Duke of' Richmond tells me that Choiseul has promised every thing. I wish it may be performed, and speedily, as it will give you an opportunity of opening the Parliament with great 'eclat. My opinion you know is, that this is the moment for pushing them and obtaining.

Thank you for all you say about my gout. We have had a week of very hard frost, that has done me great good, and rebraced me. The swelling of my legs is quite gone. What has done me more good, is having entirely left off tea, to which I believe the weakness of my stomach was owing, having had no sickness since. In short, I think I am cured of every thing but my fears. You talk coolly of going as far as Naples, and propose my going with you. I would not go so far, if Naples was the direct road to the new Jerusalem. I have no thought or wish but to get home, and be quiet for the rest of my days, which I shall most certainly do the first moment the season will let me; and if I once get to London again, shall be scarce tempted ever to lie in an inn more. I have refused to go to Aubign'e, though I should lie but one night on the road. You may guess what I have suffered, when I am grown so timorous about my health, However, I am again reverted to my system of water, and trying to recover my hardiness—but nothing has at all softened me towards physicians.

You see I have given you a serious answer, though I am rather disposed to smile at your proposal. Go to Italy! for what?—Oh! to quit—do you know, I think that as idle a thought as the other. Pray stay where you are, and do some good to your country, or retire when you cannot—but don't put your finger in your eye and cry after the holidays and sugar-plums of Park-place. You have engaged and must go through or be hindered. Could you tell the world the reason? Would not all men say you had found yourself incapable of what you had undertaken? I have no patience with your thinking so idly. It would be a reflection on your understanding and character, and a want of resolution unworthy of you.

My advice is, to ask for the first great government that falls, if you will not take your regiment again; to continue acting vigorously and honestly where you are. Things are never stable enough in our country to give you a prospect of a long slavery. Your defect is irresolution. When you have taken your post, act up to it; and if you are driven from it, your retirement will then be as Honourable, and more satisfactory than your administration. I speak frankly, as my friendship for you directs. My way of acting (though a private instance) is agreeable to my doctrine. I determined, whenever our opposition should be over, to have done with politics; and you see I have adhered to my resolution by coming hither; and therefore you may be convinced that I speak my thoughts. I don't ask your pardon, because I should be forced to ask my own, if I did not tell you what I think the best for you. You have life and Park-place enough to come, and you have not had five months of gout. Make yourself independent honourably, which you may do by a government. but if you will take my advice, don't accept a ministerial place when you cease to be a minister. The former is a reward due to your profession and services; the latter is a degradation. You know the haughtiness of my spirit; I give you no advice but what I would follow.

I sent Lady Ailesbury the "Orpheline Legu'ee:" a poor performance; but the subject made me think she would like to see it. I am over head and ears at Count Caylus's(915) auction, and have bought half of it for a song—but I am still in greater felicity and luck, having discovered, by mere accident, a portrait of Count Grammont, after having been in search of' one these fifteen years, and assured there was no such thing. Apropos, I promised you my but besides that there is nobody here that excels in painting skeletons, seriously, their painters are bitter bad, and as much inferior to Reynolds and Ramsay, as Hudson to Vandyck. I had rather stay till my return. Adieu!

(915) The Count de Caylus, member of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-lettre, honorary member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and author of the "Recueil d'Antiquit'es Egyptiennes, Etrusques, Grecques, Romaines, et Gauloises," in seven volumes, 4to., died at Paris in September 1765, in the sixty-third year of his age. He was said to be the protector of the arts and the torment of the artists; for though he assisted them with his advice, and, better still, with his purse, he exacted from them, in return, the greatest deference to his opinion. Gibbon, in his Journal for May, 1763, thus speaks of the Count:—"Je le vis trois ou quatre fois, et je vis un homme simple, uni, bon, et qui me temoignoit une bont'e Extreme. Si je n'en ai point profits, je l'attribue moins 'a son charact'ere qu''a son genre de vie. Il se l'eve de grand matin, court les atteliers des artistes pendant tout le jour, et rentre chez lui 'a six heures du soir pour se mettre en robe de chambre, et s'enfermer dans son cabinet. Le moyen de voir ses amis?"-E.

Letter 284 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Paris, Dec. 5, 1765. (page 450)

I have not above a note's worth to say; but as Lord Ossory sets out to-morrow, I just send you a line. The Dauphin, if he is still alive, which some folks doubt, is kept so only by cordials; though the Bishop of Glandeve has assured the Queen that he had God's own word for his recovery, which she still believes, whether her son is dead or not.

The remonstrance of the Parliament of Paris, on the dissolution of that of Bretagne, is very decent; they are to have an audience next week. They do not touch on Chalotais, because the accusation against him is for treason. What do you think that treason Is? A correspondence with Mr. Pitt, to whom he is made to say, that "Rennes is nearer to London than Paris." It is now believed that the anonymous letters, supposed to be written by Chalotais, were forged by a Jesuit—those to Mr. Pitt could not have even so good an author.

The Duke of Richmond is still at Aubign'e: I wonder he stays, for it is the hardest frost alive. Mr. Hume does not go to Ireland; where your brother finds he would by no means be welcome. I have a notion he will stay here till Your brother's return.

The Duc de Praslin, it is said, will retire at Christmas. As La Borde, the great banker of the court, is trying to retire too, my consul, who is much connected with La Borde, suspects that Choiseul is not very firm himself. I have supped with Monsieur de Maurepas, and another night, with Marshal Richelieu: the first is extremely agreeable and sensible; and, I am glad, not minister. The other is an old piece of tawdry, worn out, but endeavouring to brush itself up; and put me in mind of Lord Chesterfield, for they laugh before they know what he has said— and are in the right, for I think they would not laugh afterwards.

I send Lady Ailesbury the words and music of the prettiest opera comique in the world. I wish I could send her the actors too. Adieu!

December 9.

Lord Ossory put off his journey; which stopped this letter, and it will now go by Mr. Andrew Stuart.

The face of things is changed here; which I am impatient to tell you, that you may see it is truth, not system, which I pique myself on sending you. The vigour of the court has frightened the Parliaments. That of Pau has submitted. The procureurs, etc of Rennes, who, it was said, would not plead before the new commission, were told, that if they did not plead the next day they should be hanged without a trial. No bribe ever operated faster! I heard t'other day, that some Spanish minister, I forget his name, being dead, Squillace would take his department, and Grimaldi have that of the West Indies. He is the worst that could have it, as we have no greater enemy.

The Dauphin is certainly alive, but in the most shocking way possible; his bones worn through his skin, a great swelling behind, and so relaxed, that his intestines appear from that part; and yesterday the mortification was suspected.

I have received a long letter from Lady Ailesbury, for which I give her a thousand thanks; and would answer it directly, if I had not told you every thing I know. The Duke and Duchess of Richmond are, I hear, at Fontainbleau: the moment they return, I will give the Duchess Lady Ailesbury's commission.

Letter 285 To The Countess Of Suffolk.(916) Paris, Dec. 5, 1765; but does not set out till the 11th. (page 451)

Madam, Miss Hotham need not be in pain for what to say when she gives me an account of your ladyship; which is all the trouble I thought of giving her. If she could make those accounts more favourable, I should be better pleased; but I know what an untractable brute the gout is, and the joy it takes in plaguing every body that is connected with it. We have the sharpest frost here that ever lived; it has done me great good; and, if it has the same effect on your ladyship, I hope you are starved to death. Since Paris has begun to fill in spite of Fontainbleau, I am much reconciled to it, and, have seen several people I like. I am established in two or three societies, where I sup every night; though I have still resisted whist, and am more constant to my old flame loo during its absence than I doubt I have been to my other passion. There is a young Comtesse d'Egmont, daughter of Marshal Richelieu, so pretty and pleasing, that, if I thought it would break any body's heart in England, I would be in love with her. Nay, Madam, I might be so within all rules here. I am twenty years the right side of red-heels, which her father wears still, and he has still a wrinkle to come before he leaves them off.

The Dauphin is still alive, but kept so only by cordials. The Queen and Dauphiness have no doubt of his recovery, having the Bishop of Glandeve's word for it, who got a promise from a vision under its own hand and seal. The Dauphin has certainly behaved with great courage and tranquillity, but is so touched with the tenderness and attention of his family, that he now expresses a wish to live.

If there is no talk in England of politics and parliaments, I can send your ladyship as much as you please from hence; or If you want English themselves, I can send you about fifty head; and I assure you, we shall still be well stocked. There were three card-tables at Lady Berkeley's.

(916) Now first collected.

Letter 286 To the Right Hon. Lady Hervey. Paris, Jan. 2, 1766. (page 452)

When I came to Paris, Madam, I did not know that by New year's— day I should find myself in Siberia; at least as cold. There have not been two good days together since the middle of October; however, I do not complain, as I am both well and pleased, though I wish for a little of your sultry English weather, all French as I am. I have entirely left off dinners, and the life I always liked, of lying late in bed, and sitting up late. I am told of nothing but how contradictory this is to your ladyship's orders; but as I shall have dull dinners and triste evenings enough when I return to England, all your kindness cannot persuade me to sacrifice my pleasures here, too. Many of my opinions are fantastic; perhaps this is one, that nothing produces gout like doing any thing one dislikes. I believe the gouts like a near relation, always visits one when one has some other plague. Your ladyship's dependence on the waters of Sunning-hill is, I hope, better founded; but in the mean time my system is full as pleasant.

Madame d'Aiguillon's goodness to me does not abate, nor Madame Geoffrin's. I have seen but little of Madame d'Egmont, who seems very good, and is universally in esteem. She is now in great affliction, having lost suddenly Monsieur Pignatelli, the minister at Parma, whom she bred up, and whom she and her family had generously destined for her grand-daughter, an immense heiress. It was very delicate and touching what Madame d'Egmont said to her daughter-in-law on this occasion:—"Vous voyez, ma ch'ere, combien j'aime mes enfans d'adoption!" This daughter-in-law is delightfully pretty, and civil, and gay, and conversable, though not a regular beauty like Madame de Monaco.

The bitterness of the frost deters me, Madam, from all sights; I console myself with good company, and still more, with being absent from bad. Negative as this satisfaction is, it is incredibly great, to me in a town like this, and to be sure every day of not meeting one face one hates! I never know a positive pleasure equal to it.

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