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- Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 30/169 -

whoever thinks a comfortable rank, is not at all my opinion. Pray convince me that you think I mean sincerely, by not answering me with a compliment. it is very weak to be pleased with flattery; the stupidest of 'all delusions to beg it. From You I should take it ill. We have known one another almost fifty years--to very little purpose, indeed, if any ceremony is necessary, or downright sincerity not established between us. tell me that you are recovered, and that I shall see you some time or other. I have finished the catalogue of my collection; but you shall never have it without fetching, nor, though a less punishment, the prints you desire. I propose in time to have plates of my house added to 'the Catalogue, yet I Cannot afford them, unless by degrees. Engravers are grown so much dearer, without My growing richer, that I must have patience! a quality I seldom have, but when I must. Adieu! Yours ever.

P. S. I have lately been at Ampthill, and saw Queen Catherine's cross. It is not near large enough for the situation, and would be fitter for a garden than a park: but it is executed in the truest and best taste. Lord Ossory is quite satisfied, as well as I, and designs Mr. Essex a present of some guineas. If ever I am richer, I shall consult the same honest man about building my offices, for Which I have a plan: but if I have no more money, ever, I Will not run in debt, and distress myself: and therefore remit my designs to chance and a little economy.

Letter 69 To The Hon. H. S. Conway. Strawberry Hill, June 23, 1774. (page 94)

I have nothing to say--which is the best reason in the world for writing; for one must have a great regard for any body, one writes to, when one begins a letter neither on ceremony nor business. You are seeing armies,(112) who are always in fine order--and great spirits when they are in cold blood: I am sorry you thought it worth while to realize what I should have thought you could have seen in your mind's eye. However, I hope you will be amused and pleased With viewing heroes, both in their autumn and their bud. Vienna will be a new sight; so will the Austrian eagle and its two heads, I should like seeing, too, if any fairy would present me with a chest that would fly up into the air by touching a peg, and transport me whither I pleased in an instant: but roads, and inns, and dirt, are terrible drawbacks on My curiosity. I grow so old and so indolent, that I scarce stir from hence; and the dread of the gout makes me almost as much a prisoner, as a fit of it. News I know none, if there is any. The papers tell me that the city was to present a petition to The King against the Quebec-bill yesterday; and I suppose they will tell me to-morrow whether it was presented. The King's speech tells me, there has nothing happened between the Russians and the Turks.(113) Lady Barrymore told me t'other day, that nothing was to happen between her and Lord Egremont. I am as well satisfied with these negatives, as I should have been with the contrary. I am much more interested about the rain, for it destroys all my roses and orange-flowers, of which I have exuberance; and my hay is cut, and cannot be made. However, it is delightful to have no other distresses. When I compare my present tranquillity and indifference with all I suffered last year,(114) I am thankful for my happiness and enjoy it--unless the bell rings early in the morning--then I tremble, and think it an express from Norfolk.

It is unfortunate that when one has nothing to talk of but one's self, one should have nothing to' say of one's self. It is shameful, too, to send such a scrap by the post. I think I shall reserve it till Tuesday. If -I have then nothing to add, as is probable, you must content yourself with my good intentions, as you, I hope, will with this speculative campaign. Pray, for the future, remain at home and build bridges: I wish you were here to expedite ours to Richmond, which they tell me Will not be passable these two years. I have done looking so forward. Adieu!

(112) Mr. Conway was now on a tour of military curiosity through Flanders, Germany, Prussia, and part of Hungary.

(113) Peace between Russia and Turkey Was proclaimed at St. Petersburgh on the 14th of August, 1774.-E.

(114) During the illness of his nephew, Lord Orford.

Letter 70 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Matson, near Gloucester, Aug. 15, 1774. (page 95)

Dear Sir, As I am your disciple in antiquities (for you studied them when I was but a scoffer), I think it my duty to give you some account of my journeying, in the good cause. You will not dislike my date. I am in the Very mansion where King Charles the First and his two eldest sons lay during the siege; and there are marks of the last's hacking with his hanger on a window, as he told Mr. Selwin's grandfather afterwards. The present master has done due honour to the royal residence, and erected a good marble bust of the Martyr, in a little gallery. In a window is a shield in painted glass, with that King's and his Queen's arms, which I gave him. So you see I am not a rebel, when alma mater antiquity stands godmother.

I went again to the cathedral, and, on seeing the monument of Edward II a new historic doubt started which I pray you to solve. His Majesty has a longish beard - and such were certainly worn at that time. Who is the first historian that tells the story of his being shaven with cold water from a ditch and weeping to supply warm, as he was carried to Berkeley Castle? Is not this apocryphal? The house whence Bishop Hooper(115) was carried to the stake, is still standing, tale quale. I made a visit to his actual successor, Warburton, 'who is very infirm, speaks with much hesitation, and, they say, begins to lose his memory. They have destroyed the beautiful cross; the two battered heads of Henry III. and Edward III. are in the Postmaster's garden.

Yesterday I made a jaunt four miles hence that pleased me exceedingly, to Prinknash, the individual villa of the abbots of Gloucester. I wished you there with their mitre on. It stands on a glorious, but impracticable hill, in the midst of a little forest of beech, and commanding Elysium. The house is small, but has good rooms, and though modernized here and there, not extravagantly. On the ceiling of the hall is Edward IVth's Jovial device, a fau-con serrure. The chapel is low and small, but antique, and with painted glass, with many angels in their coronation robes, i. e. wings and crowns. Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour lay here: in the dining-room are their arms in glass, and of Catherine of Arragon, and of Brays and Bridges. Under the window, a barbarous bas-relief head of Harry, young: as it is still on a sign of an alehouse, on the descent of the hill. Think of my amazement, when they showed me the chapel plate, and I found on it, on four pieces, my own arms, quartering my mother-in-law, Skerret's, and in a shield of pretence, those of Fortescue certainly by mistake, for those of my sister-in-law, as the barony of Clinton was in abeyance between her and Fortescue Lord Clinton. The whole is modern and blundered: for Skerret should be impaled, not quartered, and instead of our crest, are two spears tied together in a ducal coronet, and no coronet for my brother, in whose time this plate must have been made, and at whose sale it was probably bought; as he finished the repairs of the church at Houghton, for which, I suppose, this decoration was intended. But the silversmith was no herald, you see.

As I descended the hill, I found in a wretched cottage a child, in an ancient oaken cradle, exactly in the form of that lately published from the cradle of Edward II. I purchased it for five shillings; but don't know whether I shall have fortitude enough to transport it to Strawberry Hill. People would conclude me in my second childhood.

To-day I have been at Berkeley and Thornbury Castles. The first disappointed me much, though very entire. It is much smaller than I expected, but very entire, except a small part burnt two years ago, while the present Earl was in the house. The fire began in the housekeeper's room, who never appeared more; but as she was strict over the servants, and not a bone of her was found, it was supposed that she was murdered, and the body conveyed away. The situation is not elevated nor beautiful, and little improvements made of late, but some silly ones `a la Chinoise, by the present Dowager. In good sooth, I can give you but a very imperfect account; for, instead of the lord's being gone to dine with the mayor of Gloucester, as I expected, I found him in the midst of all his captains of the militia. I am so sillily shy of strangers and youngsters, that I hurried through the chambers; and looked for nothing but the way out of every room. I just observed that there were many bad portraits of the family, but none ancient; as if the Berkeleys had been commissaries, and raised themselves in the last war. There is a plentiful addition of those of my Lord Berkeley of Stratton, but no knights templars, or barons as old as Edward I.; yet are there three beds on which there may have been as frisky doings three centuries ago, as there probably have been within these ten ears. The room shown for the murder of Edward II., and the shrieks of an agonizing king, I verily believe to be genuine. It is a dismal chamber, almost at top of the house, quite detached, and to be approached only by a kind of foot-bridge, and from that 'descends' a large flight of steps that terminate on strong gates; exactly the situation for a corps de garde. In that room they show you a cast of a face in plaister, and tell you it was taken from Edward's. I was not quite so easy of faith about that; for it is evidently the face of Charles I.

The steeple of the church, lately rebuilt handsomely, stands some paces from the body; in the latter are three tombs of the old Berkeleys;, with cumbent figures. The wife of the Lord Berkeley,(116) who was supposed to be privy to the murder, has a curious headgear; it is like a long horseshoe, quilted in quatrefoils; and, like Lord Foppington's wig, allows no more than the breadth of a half-crown to be discovered of the face. Stay, I think I mistake; the husband was a conspirator against Richard II. not Edward. But in those days, loyalty was not so rife as at present.

>From Berkeley Castle I went to Thornbury, of which the ruins are half-ruined. It would have been glorious, if finished.(117) I wish the lords of Berkeley had retained the spirit of deposing till Henry the VIIIth's time! The situation

Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 30/169

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