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- Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 150/169 -


one rocke, one tombe, one Hellemought [Hell-mouth], two stepelles and one chyme of belles, one chaine of Dragons, two coffines, one bulle's head, one vylter, one goste's crown, and one frame for the heading of black Jone; one payer of stayers for Fayeton, and bowght a robe for to goo invisabell." The pair of stairs for Phaeton reminds one of Hogarth's Strollers dressing in a barn, where Cupid on a ladder is reaching Apollo's stockings, that are hanging to dry on the clouds; as the steeples do of a story in L'Histoire du Th`eatre Fran`cois: Jodelet, who not only wrote plays, but invented the decorations, was to exhibit of both before Henry the Third. One scene was to represent a view of the sea, and Jodelet had bespoken two rochers; but not having time to rehearse, what did he behold enter on either side of the stage, instead of two rochers, but two clochers! Who knows but my Lord Admiral bought them?

Berkeley Square, Thursday, 16th.

I am come to town for one night, having promised to be at Mrs. Buller's this evening with Mrs. Damer, and I believe your friend, Mrs. Cholmeley, whom I have seen two or three times lately and like much. Three persons have called on me since I came, but have not contributed a tittle of news to my journal. If I hear nothing to-night, this must depart, empty as it is, to-morrow morning, as I shall for Strawberry; I hope without finding a new mortification, as I did last time. Two companies had been to see my house last week; and one of the parties, as vulgar people always see with the ends of their fingers, had broken off the end of my invaluable Eagle's bill, and to conceal their mischief, had pocketed the piece. It is true it had been restored at Rome, and my comfort is, that Mrs. Damer can repair the damage--but did the fools know that? It almost provokes one to shut up one's house, when obliging begets injury!

Friday noon.

This moment I receive your 35th, to which I have nothing to answer, but that I believe Fox and Burke are not very cordial; though I do not know whether there has been any formal reconciliation or not. The Parliament is prorogued; and we shall hear no more of them, I suppose, for some months; nor have I learnt any thing new, and am returning to Strawberry, and must finish.

(806) Am`elie de Boufflers, wife of Armand-Louis de Gontaut, Duc do Biron, better known in England by the title of Duc de Lauzan. By a letter from Madame Necker to Gibbon, the Duchesse appears to have been at Lausanne in October; but in the following September , tempted," says Gibbon, " by some faint, and I fear, fallacious hope Of clemency to the women", she was induced to revisit France, and perished by the guillotine, in one of Robespierre's bloody proscriptions. See vol. v. pp. 133, 400. The Duc was entrusted with the command of the army of the republic in La Vend`ee; but, being reproached with having suffered Niort to be besieged and with not having seconded westermann, he was denounced at the bar of the Convention, delivered over to the revolutionary tribunal, and condemned to death. He suffered on the 31st of December 1793, and is words upon the scaffold are said to have been, "I have been false to my God, my order, and my king: I die full of faith and repentance." See his "M`emoires, " in two volumes 8vo. published in 1802.-E.

Letter 384To Miss Berry. Strawberry Hill, June 23, 1791. (page 510)

Wo is me! I have not an atom of news to send you, but that the second edition of Mother Hubbard's Tale was again spoiled on Saturday last by the rain; yet she had an ample assemblage of company from London and the neighbourhood. The late Queen of France, Madame du Barry, was there; and the late Queen of England, Madame d'Albany, was not. The former, they say, is as much altered as her kingdom, and does not retain a trace of her former powers. I saw her on her throne in the chapel of Versailles;(807) and, though then pleasing in face and person, I thought her un peu pass`e. What shall I tell you more? that Lord Hawkesbury is added to the cabinet-council--que vous importe? and that Dr. Robertson has published a Disquisition into the Trade of the Anchellts with India;(808) a sensible work--but that will be no news to you till you return. It was a peddling trade in those days. They now and then picked up an elephant's tooth, or a nutmeg, or one pearl, that served Venus for a pair of pendants, when Antony had toasted Cleopatra in a bumper of its fellow; which shows that a couple was imported:-but. alack! the Romans were so ignorant, that waiters from the Tres Tabernoe, in St. Apollo's-street, did not carry home sacks of diamonds enough to pave the Capitol--I hate exaggerations, and therefore I do not say, to pave the Appian Way. One author, I think, does say, that the wife of Fabius Pictor, whom he sold to a proconsul, did present Livia(809) with an ivory bed, inlaid with Indian gold; but, as Dr. Robertson does not mention it, to be sure he does not believe the fact well authenticated.

It is an anxious moment with the poor French here: a strong notion is spread, that the Prince of Cond`e will soon make some attempt; and the National Assembly, by their pompous blustering seem to dread it. Perhaps the moment is yet too early, till anarchy is got to a greater head; but as to the duration of the present revolution, I no more expect it, than I do the millennium before Christmas. Had the revolutionists had the sense and moderation of our ancestors, or of the present Poles, they might have delivered and blessed their country: but violence, injustice, and savage cruelty, tutored by inexperienced pedantry, produce offspring exactly resembling their parents, or turn their enemies into similar demons. Barbarity will be copied by revenge.

Lord Fitzwilliam has flown to Dublin and back. He returned to Richmond on the fourteenth day from his departure, and the next morning set out for France: no courier can do more. In my last, the description of June for orange-flowers, pray read roses: the east winds have starved all the former; but the latter, having been settled here before the wars of York and Lancaster, are naturalized to the climate, and reek not whether June arrives in summer or winter. They blow by their own old-style almanacks. Madame d'Albany might have found plenty of white ones on her own tenth of June; but, on that very day, she chose to go to see the King in the House of Lords, with the crown on his head, proroguing the Parliament.(810) What an odd rencontre! Was it philosophy or insensibility? I believe it is certain that her husband was in Westminster-hall at the coronation.

The patriarchess of the Methodists, Lady Huntingdon, is dead. Now she and Whitfield are gone, the sect will probably decline: a second crop of apostles seldom acquire the influence of the founders. To-day's paper declares upon its say-so, that Mr. Fawkener is at hand, with Catherine Slay-Czar's(811) acquiescence to our terms; but I have not entire faith in a precursor on such an occasion, and from Holland too. It looks more like a courier to the stocks; and yet I am in little expectation of a war, as I believe we are boldly determined to remain at peace. And now my pen is quite dry-you are quite sure not from laziness, but from the season of the year, which is very anti-correspondent. Adieu!

(807) See letter to George Montagu, Esq., Sept. 17, 1769, vol.3, letter 371.

(808) This work, which was the last labour of the historian, was suggested by the perusal of Major Rennell's "Memoir of a Map of Hindostan." In sending a copy of it to Gibbon, he says "No man had formed a more decided resolution of retreating early from public view' and of spending the eve of life in the tranquillity of professional and domestic occupations; but, directly in the face of that purpose, I step forth with a new work, when just on the brink of threescore and ten. My book has met with a reception beyond what the spe lentus, pavidusque futuri, dared to expect. I find, however, like other parents, that I have a partial fondness for this child of my old age, and cannot set my heart quite at rest, until I know your opinion of it."-E.

(809) This alludes to the stories told at the time, of an ivory bed, inlaid with gold, having been presented to Queen Charlotte by Mrs. Hastings, the wife of the governor-general of India.

(810) " The Bishop of London' " writes Hannah More, " carried me to hear the King make his speech in the House of Lords. As it was quite new to me, I was very well entertained; but the thing that was most amusing was to see, among the ladies, the Princess of Stolberg, Countess of Albany, wife to the Pretender, sitting just at the foot of that throne, which she might once have expected to have mounted; and what diverted the party, when I put them in mind of it, was, that it happened to be the 10th of June, the Pretender's birthday. I have the honour to be very much like her; and this opinion was confirmed yesterday, when we met again."-Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 343.-E.

(811) Walpole rarely makes mention of Catherine without an allusion to the murder of the Czar Peter. in a letter written to Madame du Deffand, in 1769 he thus indignantly denounce Voltaire's applauses of the Empress:--"Voltaire me fait horreur Avec sa Caterine: le beau sujet de badinage que l'assassinat d'un mari, et l'usurpateur de son tr`one! Il n'est pas mal, dit-il,


Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 150/169

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