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HON. HORACE WALPOLE.
T. GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, January 7, 1760. You must not wonder I have not written to you a long time ; a person of my consequence! I am now almost ready to say, We, instead of I. In short, I live amongst royaltyconsidering the plenty, that is no great wonder. All the world lives with them, and they with all the world. Princes and princesses open shops in every corner of the town, and the whole town deals with them. As I have gone to one, I chose to visit all, that I might not be particular, and seem to have views; and yet it went so much against me, that I came to town on purpose a month ago for the duke's levee, and had engaged Brand to go with me—and then could not bring myself to it. At last, I went to him and princess Emily yesterday. It was well I had not flattered myself with being still in my bloom ; I am grown so old since they saw me, that neither of them knew me.
When they were told, he just spoke to me (I forgive him; he is not out of my debt, even with that): she was exceedingly gracious, and commended Strawberry to the skies. To-night, I was asked to their party at Norfolk-house. These parties are wonderfully select and dignified: one might sooner be a knight of Malta than qualified for them; I don't know how the duchess of Devonshire, Mr. Fox, and I, were forgiven some of our ancestors. There were two tables at loo, two at whist, and a quadrille. I was commanded to the duke's loo; he was sat down: not to
make him wait, I threw my hat upon the marble table, and broke four pieces off a great chrystal chandelier. I stick to my etiquette, and treat them with great respect; not as I do my friend, the duke of York. But don't let us talk any more of princes. My Lucan' appears to-morrow; I must say it is a noble volume. Shall I send it you or won't you come and fetch it ?
There is nothing new of public, but the violent commotions in Ireland, whither the duke of Bedford still persists in going. Æolus to quell a storm!
I am in great concern for my old friend, poor lady Harry Beauclerc;? her lord dropped down dead two nights ago, as he was sitting with her and all their children! Admiral Boscawen3 is dead by this time. Mrs. Osborn and I are not much afflicted: lady Jane Coke, too, is dead, exceedingly rich; I have not heard her will yet.
If you don't come to town soon, I give you warning, I will be a lord of the bedchamber, or a gentleman usher. If you will, I will be nothing but what I have been so many years-my own and
To The Right Hon. LADY HERVEY.
Jan. 12, 1760. I Am very sorry your ladyship could doubt a moment on the cause of my concern yesterday. I saw you much displeased at what I had said; and I felt so innocent of the least intention of offending you, that I could not help being struck at my own ill-fortune, and with the sensation raised by finding you mix great goodness with great severity.
I am naturally very impatient under praise ; I have reflected enough on myself to know I don't deserve it; and with this consciousness you ought to forgive me, madam, if I dreaded that the person whose esteem I valued the most in the world, should think that I was fond of what I know is not my due. I meant to express this apprehension as respectfully as I could, but my words failed mera misfortune not too common to me, who am apt to say too much-not too little! Perhaps it is that very quality which your ladyship calls wit, and I call tinsel, for which I dread being praised. I wish to recommend myself to you by more essential merits—and if I can only make you laugh, it will be very apt to make me as much concerned as I was yesterday. For people to whose approbation I am indifferent, I don't care whether they commend or condemn me for my wit ; in the former case, they will not make me admire myself for it; in the latter, they can't make me think but what I have thought already. But for the few whose friendship I wish, I would fain have them see, that under all the idleness of my spirits there are some very serious qualities, such as warmth, gratitude, and sincerity, which ill returns may render useless or may make me lock up in my breast, but which will remain there while I have a being.
1. Lucanus, cum notis H. Grotii et R. Bentleii, Strawberry-hill, 4to., 1760. (Ed.]
2 Lord Henry Beauclerc, fourth son of Charles, first duke of St. Albans. [Ed.)
3 This report proved unfounded. This distinguished admiral, who was the third son of Hugh, first viscount Falmouth, did not die until the 10th Jan. 1761. [Ed.]
Having drawn you this picture of myself, madam, a subject I have to say much upon, will not your good-nature apply it as it deserves, to what passed yesterday? Won't you believe that my concern flowed from being disappointed at having offended one whom I ought by so many ties to try to please, and whom, if I ever meant any thing, I had meaned to please? I intended you should see how much I despise wit, if I have any, and that you should know my heart was void of vanity and full of gratitude. They are very few I desire should know so much; but my passions act too promptly and too naturally, as you saw, when I am with those I really love, to be capable of any disguise, Forgive me, madam, this tedious detail ; but of all people living I cannot bear that you should have a doubt about me.
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, Jan. 14, 1760. How do you contrive to exist on your mountain in this rude season? Sure you must be become a snowball! As I was not in England in forty-one, I had no notion of such cold. The streets are abandoned; nothing appears in them : the Thames is almost as solid. Then think what a campaign must be in such a season! Our army was under arms for fourteen hours on the twenty-third, expecting the French ; and several of the men were frozen when they should have dismounted. What milksops the Marlboroughs and Turennes, the Blakes and the Van Tromps appear now, who whipped into winter quarters and into port, the moment their noses looked blue. Sir Cloudesly Shovel said that an admiral would deserve to be broke, who kept great ships out after the end of September, and to be shot if after October. There is Hawke' in the bayo weathering this winter, after conquering in a storm. For my part, I scarce venture to make a campaign in the Opera-house; for if I once begin to freeze, I shall be frozen through in a moment. I am amazed, with such weather, such ravages, and distress, that there is any thing left in Germany, but money; for thither half the treasure of Europe goes : England, France, Russia, and all the empress can squeeze from Italy and Hungary, all is sent thither, and yet the wretched people have not subsistence. A pound of bread sells at Dresden for eleven-pence. We are going to send many more troops thither; and it is so much the fashion to raise regiments, that I wish there were such a neutral kind of beings in England as abbés, that one might have an excuse for not growing military mad, when one has turned the heroic corner of one's age. I am ashamed of being a young rake, when my seniors are covering their grey toupees with helmet and feathers, and accoutring their pot-bellies with cuirasses and martial masquerade habits. Yet rake I am, and abominably so, for a person that begins to wrinkle reverendly. I have sat up twice this week till between two and three with the duchess of Grafton, at loo, who, by the way, has got a pam-child this morning ;' and on Saturday night I supped with
1 Sir Edward Hawke had defeated the French fleet, commanded by admiral Conflans, in the beginning of this winter. [Or.]
2 The Bay of Quiberon. The Admiral arrived at Plymouth on the 17th January, and on the 28th received the thanks of the House of Commons for his signal victory over the French fleet. [Ed.]
3 George Henry, earl of Euston, who succeeded his father as duke of Grafton, 14th March 1811. (Ed.]