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windows, and a fireplace between. It will be larger (28 feet by 21) and pleasanter, and warmer; the difference of expense will be much less considerable than I imagined; the door of communication with the library will be artfully buried in the wainscot; and, unless it be opened by my own choice, may always remain a profound secret. Such is the design; but as it will not be executed before next summer, you have time and liberty to state your objections. I am much colder about the staircase, but it may be finished, according to your idea, for thirty pounds; and I feel they will persuade me.
Am I not a very rich man? When these alterations are completed, few authors of six volumes in quarto will be more agreeably lodged than myself. Lausanne is now full and lively; all our native families are returned from the country; and, praised be the Lord! we are infested with few foreigners, either French or English. Even our democrats are more reasonable or more discreet; it is agreed, to wave the subject of politics, and all seem happy and cordial. I have a grand dinner this week, a supper of thirty or forty people on Twelfth-day, &c.; some concerts have taken place, some balls are talked of; and even Maria would allow (yet it is ungenerous to say even Maria) that the winter scene at Lausanne is tolerably gay and active. I say nothing of the Severys, as Angletine has epistolized Maria last post. She has probably hinted that her brother meditates a short excursion to Turin: that worthy fellow Trevor has given hin a pressing in
vitation to his own house. In the beginning of February I propose going to Geneva for three or four weeks. I shall lodge and eat with the Neckers; my mornings will be my own, and I shall spend my evenings in the society of the place, where I have many acquaintances. This short absence will agitate my stagnant life, and restore me with fresh appetite to my house, my library, and my friends. Before that time (the end of February) what events may happen, or be ready to happen! The National Assembly (com. pared to which the former was a senate of heroes and demigods) seem resolved to attack Germany avec quatre millions de bayonettes libres ; the army of the princes must soon either fight, or starve, or conquer.
Will Sweden draw his sword? Will Russia draw her purse ? an empty purse! All is darkness and anarchy: neither party is strong enough to oppose a settlement; and I cannot see a possibility of an amicable arrangement, where there are no heads (in any sense of the word) who can answer for the multitude. Send me your ideas, and those of Lord Guildford, Lord Loughborough, Fox, &c.
Before I conclude, a word of my vexatious affairs. Shall I never sail on the smooth stream of good security and half yearly interest? Will every body refuse my money? I had already written to Darrel and Gosling to obey your commands, and was in hopes that you had already made large and salutary evacuations. During your absence I never expected much effect from the cold indifference of agents; but you are now
in England—you will be speedily in London : set all your setting dogs to beat the field, hunt, inquire, why should you not advertise ? Yet I am almost ashamed to complain of some stagnation of interest, when I am witness to the natural and acquired philosophy of so many French, who are reduced from riches, not to indigence, but to absolute want and beggary. A Count Argout has just left us, who possessed ten thousand a year in the island of St. Domingo; he is utterly burnt and ruined ; and a brother, whom he tenderly loved, has been murdered by the negroes.
These are real misfortunes. I have much revolved the plan of the Memoirs I once mentioned, and, as you do not think it ridiculous, I believe I shall make an attempt: if I can please myself, I am confident of not displeasing; but let this be a profound secret between us: people must not be prepared to laugh, they must be taken by surprise. Have you looked over your, or rather my, letters ?Surely, in the course of the year, you may find a safe and cheap occasion of sending me a parcel ; they may assist me. Adieu. I embrace my lady; send me a favourable account of her health. I kiss the marmaille. By an amazing push of remorse and diligence I have finished my letter (three pages and a half) this same day since dinner; but I have not time to read it. Ever yours.
MR. GIBBON TO LORD SHEFFIELD.
Lausanne, April 4th, 1792. For fear you should abuse me as usual, I will begin the attack, and scold at you, for not having yet sent me the long expected intelligence of the completion of my mortgage. Cospetto di Baccho! for I must ease myself by swearing a little.W bat is the cause, the meaning, the pretence of this delay.? Are the Yorkshire mortgagers inconstant in their wishes ? Are the London lawyers constant in their procrastination? Is a letter on the road, to inform me that all is concluded, or to tell me that all is broken to pieces ? Had the money been placed in the three per cents last May, besides the annual interest, it would have gained by the rise of stock nearly twenty per cent. Your lordship is a wise man, a successful writer, and a useful senator; you understand America and Ireland, corn and slaves; but your prejudice against the funds, in which I am often tempted to join, makes you a little blind to their increasing value in the hands of our virtuous and excellent minister. But our regret is vain; one pull more and we reach the shore ; and our future correspondence will be no longer tainted with business. Shall I then be more diligent and regular? I hope and believe so; for now that I have got over this article of worldly interest, my letter seems to be almost finished. A-propos of letters, am I not a sad dog to forget my lady and
Maria ? Alas! the dual number has been prejudicial to both.
How happy could I be with either,
Were t'other dear charmer away! I am like the ass of famous memory ; I cannot tell which way to turn first, and there I stand mute and immovable. The baronial and maternal dignity of my lady, supported by twenty-five years friendship, may claim the preference. But the five incomparable letters of Maria ! Next week, however.-Am I not ashamed to talk of next week?
I have most successfully and most agreeably executed my plan of spending the month of March at Geneva, in the Necker-house, and every circumstance that I had arranged turned out beyond my expectation ; the freedom of the morning, the society of the table and drawingroom, from half an hour past two till six or seven; an evening assembly or card party, in a round of the best company, and, excepting one day in the week, a private supper of free and friendly conversation. You would like Geneva better than Lausanne ; there is much more information to be got among the men; but though I found some agreeable women, their manners and style of life are, upon the whole, less easy and pleasant than our own. I was much pleased with Necker's brother, M. de Germany, a good humoured, polite, sensible man, without the genius and fame of the statesman, but much more adapted for private and ordinary happiness. Madame de Staël is expected in a few weeks at Copet, where they receive her,