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- Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 160/169 -


house and drank chocolate in the round drawing-room; and then she commanded General Bude to sit, that I might have no excuse: yet I rose and fetched a salver, to give her the chocolate myself, and then a glass of water. She seemed much pleased, and commended much; and I can do no less of her, and with the strictest truth. She is not near so small as I had expected; her face is very agreeable and lively; and she is so good-humoured, and so gracious, and so natural, that I do not believe Lady Mary Coke(856) would have made a quarter so pleasing a Duchess of York; nor have been in half so sweet a temper, unless by my attentions de vieille cour. I was sorry my Eagle(857) had been forced to hold its tongue To-morrow I shall go to Oatlands, with my thanks for the honour; and there, probably, will end my connexions with courts, begun with George the First, great-great-great-grandfather to the Duchess of' York! It sounds as if there could not have been above three generations more before Adam.

Great news How eager Mr. Berry will look!-but it is not from armies or navies; not from the murderers at Paris, nor from the victims at Grodno. No! it is only an event in the little world of me. This morning, to receive my Princess, I put on a silver waistcoat that I had made three years ago for Lord Cholmondeley's marriage, and have not worn since. Considering, my late illness, and how many hundredweight of chalk I have been Venting these ten years, I concluded my wedding garment would wrap round me like my nightgown; but, lo! it was grown too tight for me. I shall be less surprised, if, in My next century, and under George the Tenth, I grow as plump as Mrs. Ellis.

Methinks I pity you, when all the world is in arms, and you expect to hear that Saul Duke of Brunswick has slain his thousands, and David Prince of Cobourg his ten thousands, to be forced to read the platitudes that I send you, because I have nothing better to amuse me than writing to you. Well! you know how to get rid of my letters. Good night. I reckon you are at Brumpton,(858) and have had no accidents, I hope, on the road.

(856) Lady Mary Coke, youngest daughter of John Duke of Argyle, married to Lord Coke, eldest son of the Earl of Leicester. After his death she fancied an attachment existed between herself and the Duke of York, brother of George the Third; which she likewise fancied had ended in an undeclared marriage.-M.B.

(857) The antique marble eagle in the gallery at Strawberry Hill, round the neck of which was to have been suspended some lines which Lord Orford had written, extolling the, Duke of York's military fame and conquests in Holland, which the unfortunate issue of the campaign obliged him to suppress.-E.

(858) The seat of Sir George Cayley, Bart. near Scarborough.

Letter 406 To The Miss Berrys. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 6, 1793. (page 544)

You are welcome to Scarborough both, and buon proviccia! As you, Mrs. Mary, have been so mistaken about your sister, I shall allow nobody for the future to take a panic about either but myself. I am rejoiced the journey seems hitherto to answer so well; but, do you know, "it is very inconvenient to my Lord Castlecomer." I am forced to eat all the game of your purparties, as well as my own thirds.

Pray did not you think that the object of the grand alliance was to reduce France? No such thing! at least their views have changed ever since they heard of your setting out. Without refining too much, it is clear to me that all they think on now, is to prevent my sending you news. Does any army stir? Is not the Duke of Brunswick gone to sleep again, like a paroli at faro, or like a paroil at Torbay, which cocks one corner, but never wins a septleva? That Lord Admiral reminds me of a trait of poor Don Carlos, which helped on his death-warrant. He one day made a little book, which he intituled "The Travels of Philip the Second, King of Spain." It contained his Majesty's removals from his capital to his country palaces, and back again. Well! if all those monarchs are so pitiful as to set their wits against you, I will balk them. I will do as other folks do; I will make news myself-not to-night; for I have no invention by me at present: besides, you are apt to sift news too shrewdly

.But, before I coin a report for you, I must contradict one. If you should hear in Yorkshire, that I am appointed aide-de-camp to the Duke of York, you may safely contradict it. It could only arise from the Duchess of York's visit to me; just as, the year before you came to Cliveden, your predecessor, Sir Robert Goodere, literally told me, that he heard that Princess Elizabeth had been sent to me for two days for the air. On questioning him roundly, I discovered that he had heard no such thing; but had conjectured so. on seeing two of the Duchess of Gloucester's servants pass before his door from or to the Pavilions; which ought not to have puzzled the goose's imagination a moment--but thus reports originate!

Monday night, 7th.

I come from Mrs. Jeffries at Richmond, but return not a battle richer than I went; though I saw the secretary-at-war' there, and even the panic-master-general, who had not a single alarm to bestow on a poor soul who is hungering and thirsting for news, good or bad, to send to you. Sir George Yonge,(859) indeed, did tell us, that thirty Jacobins, who had disguised themselves as priests, to bring scandal on their countrymen of that profession, but who, the Bishop of Leon declares, are none of their clergy, have been detected and seized, and are to be sent away to-morrow. Home news from Richmond. Your friend Mr. Dundas was robbed this morning at eleven o'clock at Cranford-bridge. He happened to tell them he is a surgeon; on which they insisted on his giving them his case of instruments. I suspect they are French surgeons, and will poison the instruments for the first wound they dress. You see how I labour in your service, though my crops are small. An old Duchess of Rutland, mother of the late Duchess of Montrose, whenever a visiter told her some news or scandal, cried to her daughter, "Lucy, do step into next room, and make a memorandum of what Lady Greenwich, or Lady M.M. or N.N. has been telling us." "Lord! Madam, to be sure it cannot be true." "No matter, child; it will do for news in the country." It is for want of such prudent provision pour le couvent, that so many people are forced to invent off-hand. You cannot say I am so thoughtless: you receive every morsel piping-hot as it comes from the bakers. One word about our glorious weather, and I have done. It even improves every day. I kept the window open till dinner-time to-day, and could do nothing but gaze at the brilliant beauty of the verdure. It is so equal to ordinary Julys, that one is surprised to see the sun set before six o'clock. Good night!

(859) Sir George Yonge.

Letter 407 To Miss Hannah More.(860) Strawberry Hill, Oct. 1793. page 546)

Though it would make me happy, my dear Madam, if you were more corresponding, yet I must not reproach your silence, nor wish it were less; for all your moments are so dedicated to goodness, and to unwearied acts of benevolence, that you must steal from charity, or purloin from the repose you want, any that you bestow on me. Do not I know, too, alas! how indifferent your health is! You sacrifice that to your duties: but can a friend, who esteems you so highly as I do, be so selfish as to desire to cost you half an hour's headache! No, never send me a line that you can employ better; that would trespass on your ease.

Of the trash written against you I had never even heard.(861) Nor do I believe that they gave you any other disquiet than what arose from seeing that the worthiest and most humane intentions are poison to some human beings. Oh! have not the last five years brought to light such infernal malevolence, such monstrous crimes, as mankind had grown civilized enough to disbelieve when they read any thing similar in former ages; if, indeed, any thing similar has been recorded. But I must not enter into what I dare not fathom. Catherine Slay-Czar triumphs over the good honest Poles; and Louis Seize perishes on a scaffold, the best of men: while whole assemblies of fiends, calling themselves men, are from day to day meditating torment and torture for his heroic widow; On whom, with all their power and malice, and with every page, footman, and chambermaid of hers In their reach, and with the rack in their hands, they have not been able to fix a speck. Nay, do they not talk of the inutility of evidence? What other virtue ever sustained such an ordeal? But who can wonder, when the Almighty himself is called by one of those wretches, the soi-disant God.

You say their outrageous folly tempts you to smile(862)--yes, yes: at times I should have laughed too, if I could have dragged my muscles at once from the zenith of horror to the nadir of contempt: but their abominations leave one leisure enough to leap from indignation to mirth. I abhor war and bloodshed as much as you do; but unless the earth is purged of such monsters, peace and morality will never return. This is not a war of nation and nation; it is the cause of every thing dear and sacred to civilized man, against the unbounded licentiousness of assassins, who massacre even the generals who fight for them--not that I pity the latter; but to whom can a country be just that rewards tools with the axe? What animal is so horrible as one that devours its own young ones?

That execrable nation overwhelms ill moralizing. At any other minute the unexpected death of Lady Falmouth would be striking: yet I am sorry for Mrs. Boscawen. I have been ill for six weeks with the gout, and am just recovered: yet I remember it less than the atrocities of France; and I remember, if possible, with greater indignation, their traitors here at home; amongst whom are your antagonists. Do not apologize for talking Of them and yourself. Punish them not by answering, but by supporting the good cause, and by stigmatizing the most imprudent impiety that ever was avowed.

Mrs. Garrick dined here to-day, with some of the quality of Hampton and Richmond. She appears quite well, and was very cheerful: I wish you were as well recovered. Do you remember how ill I found you both last year in the Adelphi? Adieu! thou excellent champion, as well as practiser, of all goodness. Let the vile abuse vented against you be balm to your mind: your writings must have done great service, when they have so provoked the enemy. All who have religion or principle must revere your name. Who would not be hated by Duponts and Dantons!--and if


Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 160/169

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