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


t'other day ill, was blooded twice, but has now a strong eruption upon his skin, which will probably be of great service to him. Sir Charles Blagden has been with the Duchess of Devonshire, and found her much better than he expected. Her look is little altered: she suffers but little, and finds herself benefited by being electrified.

I have received a compliment to-day very little expected by a superannuated old Etonian. Two tickets from the gentlemen of Westminster School, for their play on Monday next. I excused myself as civilly and respectfully as I could, on my utter impossibility of attending them. Adieu! I hope this will be the last letter I shall write before I See you.(905)

(904) This was written by Miss Salon, in the name of a kitten at Little Strawberry Hill, with whose gambols Lord Orford had been much amused.-M.B.

(905) Very soon after the date of the above letter, the gout, the attacks of which were every day becoming more frequent and longer, made those with whom Lord Orford was living at strawberry Hill very anxious that he should remove to Berkeley Square, to be nearer assistance, in case of any sudden seizure. As his correspondents, soon after his removal, were likewise established in London, no more letters passed between them. When not immediately suffering from pain, his mind was tranquil and cheerful. He was still capable of being amused. and of taking some part in conversation: but, during the last weeks of his life, when fever was superadded to his other ills, his mind became subject to the cruel hallucination of supposing himself neglected and abandoned by the only persons to whom his memory clung, and whom he desired always to see. In vain they recalled to his recollection how recently they had left him, and how short had been their absence: it satisfied him for the moment, but the same idea recurred as soon as he had lost sight of them. At last, nature sinking under the exhaustion of weakness, obliterated all ideas but those of mere existence, which ended, without a struggle, on the 2d of March 1797.-M.B.

Letter 429 To The Countess Of Ossory. January 13, 1797. (page 576)

You distress me infinitely by showing my idle notes, which I cannot conceive can amuse any body. My old-fashioned breeding impels me every now and then to reply to the letters you honour me with writing; but in truth very unwillingly, for I seldom can have any thing particular to say. I scarce go out of my own house, and then only to two or three very private places, where I see nobody that really know's any thing; apd. what I learn comes from newspapers, that collect intelligence from coffee-houses--consequently, what I neither believe nor report. At home I see only a few charitable elders, except about fourscore nephews and nieces of various ages, who are each brought to me once a year, to stare at me as the Methusalem of the family; and they can only speak of their own contemporaries, which interest no more than if they talked of their dolls, or bats and balls. Must not the result of all this, Madam, make me a very entertaining correspondent? and can such letters be worth showing? or can I have any spirit when so old, and reduced to dictate? Oh! my good Madam, dispense with me from such a task, and think how it must add to it to apprehend such letters being shown. Pray send Me no more Such laurels, which I desire no more than their leaves when decked with a scrap of tinsel, and stuck on twelfth-cakes that lie on the shop boards of pastrycooks at Christmas. I shall be quite content with a sprig of rosemary thrown after me, when the parson of the parish commits my dust to dust. Till then, pray, Madam, accept the resignation of your ancient servant, Orford.

THE END.


Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 169/169

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