statues and presented them to the University of Oxford. The present Earl her son is grown a speaker in the House of Lords, and makes comparisons between Julius Caesar and the watchmen of Bristol, in the same style as he compared himself to Cerberus, who, when he had one head cut off, three others sprang up in its room. I shall go to-morrow to Dr. Meade's* sale, and ruin myself in bronzes and vases — but I will not give them to the University of Oxford. Adieu, my dear Sir Knight.

LETTER CCLXII.

Arlington-Street, April 22, 1755. MY DEAR SIR,

Your brother and Mr. Chute have just left me in the design of writing to you — that is, I promised your brother I would, if I could make out a letter. I have waited these ten days, expecting to be able to send you a war at least, if not an invasion. For so long, we have been persuaded that an attempt would be made on Ireland; we have fetched almost all the troops from thence; and therefore we have just now ordered all the officers thither, and the new Lord Lieutenant is going, to see if he has any government left: the old Lord Lieutenant of England goes on Sunday, to see whether he has any Electorate left. Your brother says, he hears today that the French fleet are sailed for America: I doubt it; and that the New Englanders have been forming a secret expedition, and by this time have taken Cape Breton again, or something very considerable. I remember when the former account came of that conquest, I was stopped in my chariot, and told, " Cape Breton is taken." I thought the person said, "Great Britain is taken." "Oh," said I, "I am not at all surprised at that; drive on, coachman." If you should hear that the Pretender and the Pretendke have crossed over and figured in, shall you be much more surprised?

* Dr. Richard Meade, a celebrated physician and virtuoso.

Mr. Chute and I have been motto-hunting * for you, but we have had no sport. The sentence that puns the best upon your name, and suits the best with your nature, is too old, too common, and belongs already to the Talbots, Humani nihil alienum. The motto that punning upon your name suits best with your public character, is the most heterogeneous to your private, Homo Homini Lupus — forgive my puns, I hate them; but it shows you how I have been puzzled, and how little I have succeeded.

If I could pity Stosch,f it would be for the edict by which Richcourt | incorporates his collection — but when he is too worthless to be pitied living, can one feel for a hardship that is not to happen to him till he is dead? How ready I should be to quarrel with the Count for such a law, if I was driving to Louis,* at the Palazzo Vecchio!

* It was necessary for him to have a motto to his arms, as a Baronet, t Baron Stocsh, a great virtuoso and antiquary, settled at Florence. X Count Richcourt, Prime Minister at Florence.

Adieu! my dear child; I am sensible that this is a very scrap of a letter; but unless the Kings of England and France will take more care to supply our correspondence, and not be so dilatory, is it my fault that I am so concise? Sure, if they knew how much postage they lost, by not supplying us with materials for letters, they would not mind flinging away eight or ten thousand men every fortnight.

LETTER CCLXIII.

Strawberry-Hill, June 15, 1755. MY DEAR SIR,

I Have received your two letters relating to the Countess,f and wish you joy, since she will establish herself at Florence, that you are so well with her: but I could not help smiling at the goodness of your heart and your zeal for us: the moment she spared us, you gave the baissie into all her histories against Mr. Shirley :% his friends say, that there was a little slight-of-hand in her securing the absolute possession of her own fortune; it was very prudent, at least, if not quite sentimental. You should be at least as little the dupe of her affection for her son ;* the only proof of fondness she has ever given for him, has been expressing great concern at his wanting taste for Greek and Latin. Indeed, he has not much encouraged maternal yearnings in her: I should have thought him shocked at the chronicle of her life, if he ever felt any impressions. But to speak freely to you, my dear Sir, he is the most particular young man I ever saw. No. man ever felt such a disposition to love another as mine to him: I flattered myself that he would restore some lustre to our house, at least, not let it totally sink; but I am forced to give him up and all my Walpole-views. I will describe him to you, if I can, but don't let it pass your lips. His figure is charming; he has more of the easy genuine air of a man of quality than ever you saw: though he has a little hesitation in his speech, his address and manner are the most engaging imaginable: he has a good breeding and attention when he is with you that is even flattering; you think he not only means to please, but designs to do everything that shall please you; he promises, offers everything one can wish—but this is all; the instant he leaves you, you, all the world, are nothing to him — he would not give himself the least trouble in the

* Louis Siriez, a French goldsmith at Florence, who sold curiosities, and lodged in the old palace at Florence.

f Margaret Rolle, widow of Robert Walpole second Earl of Orford; she lived for the greatest part of her life in Italy, and died there in 1781.

% Sewallis Shirley, son of an Earl of Ferrers, second husband of Lady Orford, from whom she was parted, as she had been from her first.

VOL. III. H

* George third Earl of Qrford.

world to give anybody the greatest satisfaction — yet this is mere indolence of mind, not of body; his whole pleasure is outrageous exercise. Everything he promises to please you, is to cheat the present moment, and hush any complaint—I mean of words; letters he never answers, not of business, not of his own business: engagements of no sort he ever keeps. He is the most selfish man in the world, without being the least interested: he loves nobody but himself, yet neglects every view of fortune and ambition. He has not only always slighted his mother, but was scarce decent to his rich old grandmother,* when she had not a year to live, and courted him to receive her favours. You will ask me what passions he has; none but of parade—he drinks without inclination—makes love without inclination; games without attention: is immeasurably obstinate, yet like obstinate people, governed as a child. In short, it is impossible not to love him when one sees him; impossible to esteem him when one thinks on him!

Mr. Chute has found you a very pretty motto; it alludes to the goats in your arms, and not a little to you: per ardua stabilis. All your friends approve it, and it is actually engraving.

You are not all more in the dark about the war, than we are even here: M'Namara has been

* Mrs. Rolle, mother of Lady Orford, was married to John Harris, of Hayne, Esq. and had inherited a large fortune from her brother, Mr. Tuckfield.

« PreviousContinue »