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I shall have more subject, as well as leisure, to write. Such tricks of laziness your active spirit is a stranger to, though Mrs. **** complains that she has never had an answer to her last letters. Poor Lady Pembroke! you will feel for her! after a cruel alternative of hope and fear, her only daughter, Lady Charlotte, died at Aix en Provence ; they have persuaded her to come to this place, where she is intimately con. nected with the Carjat family. She has taken an agreeable house, about three miles from the town, and lives retired. I have seen her; her behaviour is calm, but her affliction
I accept with gratitude your friendly proposal of Wedgwood's ware, and should be glad to have it bought and packed, and sent without delay through Germany; and I shall only say, that I wish to have a very complete service for two courses and a dessert, and that our suppers are numerous, frequently fifteen or twenty persons. Adieu. I do not mean this as your letter. You are very good to poor Kitty. With you I do not condole about Coventry.
MR. GIBBON TO LADY SHEFFIELD.
Lausanne, October 22d, 1784. A FEW weeks ago, as I was walking on our terrace with M. Tissot, the celebrated physi. cian ; M. Mercier, the author of the Tableau de Paris ; tbe Abbé Raynal ; Monsieur, Madame, and Mademoiselle Necker ; the Abbé de Bourbon, a natural son of Lewis the Fifteenth ; the
Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Prince Henry of Prussia, and a dozen counts, barons, and extraordinary persons, among whom was a natural son of the Empress of Russia.—Are you satisfied with this list? which I could enlarge and embellish, without departing from truth; and was not the Baron of Sheffield (profound as he is on the subject of the American trade) doubly mistaken with respect to Gibbon and Lausanne ? Whenever I used to hint my design of retiring, that illustrious baron, after a proper effusion of dd fools, condescended to observe, that such an obscure nook in Switzerland might please me in the ignorance of youth ; but that after tasting for so many years the various society of Paris and London, I should soon be tired of the dull and uniform round of a provincial town. In the winter, Lausanne is indeed reduced to its native powers; but during the summer, it is possibly, after Spa, one of the most favourite places of general resort. The tour of Switzerland, the Alps, and the Glaciers, is become a fashion. Tissot attracts the invalids, especially from France ; and a colony of English have taken up the habit of spending their winters at Nice, and their summers in the Pays de Vaud. Such are the splendour and variety of our summer visitors ; and you will agree with me more readily than the baron, when I say that this variety, instead of being a merit, is, in my opinion, one of the very few objections to the residence of Lausanne. After the dissipation of the winter, I expected to have enjoyed, with more freedom and solitude, myself, my friend, my books, and this delicious
paradise ; but my position and character make me here a sort of a public character, and oblige me to see and be seen. However, it is my firm resolution for next summer, to assume the independence of a philosopher, and to be visible only to the persons whom I like. On that principle I should not, most assuredly, have avoided the Neckers and Prince Henry. The former have purchased the barony of Capet, near Geneva ; and as the buildings were very much out of repair, they passed this summer at a country house at the gates of Lausanne. They afford a new example that persons who have tasted of greatness can seldom return with pleasure to a private station. In the moments when we were alone he conversed with me freely, and I believe truly, on the subject of his administration and fall; and has opened several passages of modern history, which would make a very good figure in the American book *. If they spent the summers at the castle of Capet, about nine leagues from hence, a fortnight or three weeks visit would be a pleasant and healthful excursion; but, alas ! I fear there is little appearance of its being executed. Her health is impaired by the agitation of her mind : instead of returning to Paris, she is ordered to pass the winter in the southern provinces of France, and our last parting was solemn; as I very much doubt whether I shall ever see her again. They have now a very troublesome charge, which you will experience in a few years, the disposal of
# Lord Sheffield's “ Observations on the Commerce with the American States."
a baroness; Mademoiselle Necker*, one of the greatest beiresses in Europe, is now about eighteen, wild, vain, but good natured, and with a much larger provision of wit than of beauty : what increases their difficulties is their religious obstinacy of marrying her only to a Protestant. It would be an excellent opportunity for a young Englishman of a great name and a fair reputation. Prince Henry must be a man of sense ; for he took more notice, and expressed more esteem for me, than any body else. He is certainly (without touching his military character) a very lively and entertaining companion. He talked with freedom, and generally with contempt, of most of the princes of Europe ; with respect of the empress of Russia, but never mentioned the name of his brother, except once, when he hinted that it was he himself that won the battle of Rosbach. His nephew, and our nephew, the hereditary prince of Brunswick, is here for his education. Of the English, who live very much as a national colony, you will like to hear of Mrs. Fraser and one more. Donna Catherine (Mrs. Fraser) pleases every body, by the perfect simplicity of her state of nature. You know she has had resolution to return from England (where she told me she saw you) to Lausanne, for the sake of Miss Bristow, who is in bad health, and in a few days they set off for Nice. The other is the Eliza ; she passed through Lausanne, in her road from Italy to England ; poorly in health, but still adorable, (nay, do not frown !) and I enjoyed
. Afterwards the celebrated Madame de Stael.
some delightful bours by her bedside. She wrote me a line from Paris, but has not executed her promise of visiting Lausanne in the month of October. My pen has run much faster, and much farther, than I intended on the subject of others; yet, in describing them, I have thrown some light over myself and my situation. A year, a very short one, has now elapsed since my arrival at Lausanne ; and after a cool review of my sentiments, I can sincerely declare, that I have never, during a single moment, repented of having executed my absurd project of retiring to Lausanne. It is needless to dwell on the fatigue, the hurry, the vexation which I must have felt in the narrow and dirty circle of English politics. My present life wants no foil, and shines by its own native light. The chosen part of my library is now arrived, and arranged in a room full as good as that in Bentinck Street, with this difference indeed, that instead of looking on a stone court, twelve feet square, I command, from three windows of plate glass, an unbounded prospect of many a league of vineyard, of fields, of wood, of lake, and of mountains ; a scene which Lord Sheffield will tell you is superior to all you can imagine. The climate, though severe in winter, bas perfectly agreed with my constitution, and the year is accomplished without any return of the gout. An excellent house, a good table, a pleasant garden, are no contemptible ingredients in human happiness. The general style of society hits my fancy ; have cultivated a large and agreeable circle of useful acquaintance, and I am much deceived if I have not laid the founda