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for a fortnight no soul looked into it, concluding its name was its true name. No such thing. It is a set of letters in verse, in all kind of verses, describing the life at Bath, and incidentally every thing else; but so much wit, so much humour, fun, and poetry, so much originality, never met together before. Then the man has a better ear than Dryden or Handel. A-propos to Dryden, he has burlesqued his St. Cecilia, that you will never read it again without laughing. There is a description of a milliner's box in all the terms of landscape, painted lawns and chequered shades, a Moravian ode, and a methodist ditty, that are incomparable, and the best names that ever were composed. I can say it by heart, though a quarto, and if I had time would write it you down; for it is not yet reprinted, and not one to be had.
There are two volumes, too, of Swift's correspondence, that will not amuse you less in another way, though abominable, for there are letters of twenty persons now alive; fifty of lady Betty Germain, one that does her great honour, in which she defends her friend my lady Suffolk, with all the spirit in the world, against that brute, who hated every body that he hoped would get him a mitre, and did not.
His own journal, sent to Stella during the four last years of the queen, is a fund of entertainment. You will see his insolence in full colours, and, at the same time, how daily vain he was of being noticed by the ministers he affected to treat arrogantly. His panic at the Mohocks is comical; but what strikes one, is bringing before one's eyes the incidents of a curious period. He goes to the rehearsal of Cato, and says the drab that acted Cato's daughter could not say her part.
This was only Mrs. Oldfield. I was saying before George Selwyn, that this journal put me in mind of the present time, there was the same indecision, irresolution, and want of system; but I added, “ There is nothing new under the sun.” “No," said Selwyn, “nor under the grandson."
My lord Chesterfield has done me much honour: he told increased interest from its faithful portraiture of the time in which it was composed. (Ed.)
2 A celebrated actress and most accomplished woman. She was born in London 1683, and died in 1730. [Ed.]
I am got
Mrs. Anne Pitt that he would subscribe to any politics I should lay down. When she repeated this to me, I said, “ Pray tell him I have laid down politics."
puns, and will tell you an excellent one of the king of France, though it does not spell any better than Selwyn's. You must have heard of count Lauragais, and his horse-race, and his quacking his horse till he killed it. At his return the king asked him what he had being doing in England ? “Sire, j'ai appris à penser”—“ Des chevaux ?” replied the king. Good night! I am tired, and going to bed.
To The Right Hon. LADY HERVEY.
Strawberry-hill, June 28, 1766. It is consonant to your ladyship’s long experienced goodness, lo remove my error as soon as you could. In fact, the same post that brought madame d'Aiguillon's letter to you, brought me a confession from madame du Deffand of her guilt... I am not the less obliged to your ladyship for informing against the true criminal. It is well for me however that I hesitated, and did not, as monsieur de Guerchy pressed me to do, constitute myself prisoner. What a ridiculous vain-glorious figure I should have made at Versailles, with a laboured letter and my present! I still shudder when I think of it, and have scolded madame du Deffand black and blue. However, I feel very comfortable; and though it will be imputed to my own vanity, that I showed the box as madame de Choiseul's present, I resign the glory, and submit to the shame with great satisfaction. I have no pain in receiving this present from madame du Deffand, and must own have great pleasure that nobody but she could write that most charming of all letters. Did not lord Chesterfield think it so, madam? I doubt our friend Mr. Hume must allow that not only madame de Boufflers, but
Madame du Deffand had sent Mr. Walpole a snuff-box, in which was a portrait of madame de Sevigné, accompanied by a letter written in her name from the Elysian-fields, and addressed to Mr. Walpole, who did not at first suspect madame du Deffand as the author, but thought both the present and letter had come from the duchess of Choiseul. [Or.]
Voltaire himself, could not have written so well. When I give up madame de Sevigné herself, I think his sacrifices will be trifling.
Pray, madam, continue your waters; and, if possible, wash away that original sin, the gout. What would one give for a little rainbow to tell one one should never have it again ! Well, but then one should have a burning fever-for I think the greatest comfort that good-natured divines give us is, that we are not to be drowned any more, in order that we may be burned. It will not at least be this summer; here is nothing but haycocks swimming round me. If it should cease raining by Monday se'nnight, I think of dining with your ladyship at Old Windsor; and if Mr. Bateman presses me mightily, I may take a bed there.
As I have a waste of paper before me, and nothing more to say, I have a mind to fill it with a translation of a tale that I found lately in the Dictionnaire d'Anecdotes, taken from a German author. The novelty of it struck me, and I put it into verse-ill enough; but, as the old duchess of Rutland used to say of a lie, it will do for news into the country.
From Time's usurping power, I see,
It was about the self-same season,
Search'd huts and palaces- in vain;
very name of man they hate:
You will say I am an infernal poet; but every body cannot write as they do aux champs élysés. Adieu, madam!
Yours most faithfully.
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, July 10, 1765. Don't you think a complete year enough for any administration to last? One, who at least can remove them, though he cannot make them, thinks so; and, accordingly, yesterday notified that he had sent for Mr. Pitt. Not a jot more is known; but as this set is sacrificed to their resolution of having nothing to do with lord Bute, the new list will probably not be composed of such hostile ingredients. The arrangement I believe settled in the outlines; if it is not, it
still never take place: it will not be the first time this egg has been addled. One is very sure that many people on all sides will be displeased, and I think no side quite contented. Your cousins, the house of Yorke, lord George Sackville, Newcastle, and lord
Rockingham, will certainly not be of the elect. What lord Temple will do, or if any thing will be done for George Grenville, are great points of curiosity. The plan will probably be, to pick and cull from all quarters, and break all parties, as much as possible. From this moment I date the wane of Mr. Pitt's glory; he will want the thorough-bass of drums and trumpets, and is not made for peace. The dismission of a most popular administration, a leaven of Bute, whom, too, he can never trust, and the numbers he will discontent, will be considerable objects against him.
For my own part, I am much pleased, and much diverted. I have nothing to do but to sit by and laugh, a humour you know I am apt to indulge. You shall hear from me again soon.
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, July 21, 1766.. You may strike up your sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer; for Mr. Pitt' comes in, and lord Temple does not.
Can I sead you a more welcome affirmative or negative ? My sackbut is not very sweet, and here is the ode I have made for it :
When Britain heard the woful news,
That Temple was to be minister,
But as an omen most sinister ?
In spite of lady Chat his sister,
And so she did, till she her.
If that snake had wriggled in, he would have drawn after him the whole herd of vipers ; his brother Demogorgon and all. 'Tis a blessed deliverance.
i The right hon. William Pitt was gazetted on the 30th July 1766, viscount Pitt, of Burton Pynsent, and earl of Chatham. The same gazette contained the notification of his appointment as lord privy seal, in the room of the duke of Newcastle. (Ed.]