« PreviousContinue »
I never heard of such a Semele as my lady Stormont' brought to bed in flames. I hope miss Bacchus Murray will not carry the resemblance through, and love drinking like a Pole. My lady Lyttelton is at Mr. Garrick’s and they were to have breakfasted here this morning; but somehow or other they have changed their mind. Good night!
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Strawberry-hill, July 4, 1760. AM this minute returned from Chaffont, where I have been these two days. Mr. Conway, lady Ailesbury, Lady Lyttelton, and Mrs. Shirely are there ; and lady Mary is going to add to the number again. The house and grounds are still in the same dislocated condition; in short, they finish nothing but children ; even Mr. Bentley's Gothic stable, which I call Houynhm castle, is not rough-cast yet.
We went to see More-park,' but I was not much struck with it, after all the miracles I had heard Brown had performed there. He has undulated the horizon in so many artificial molehills, that it is full as unnatural as if it was drawn with a rule and compasses. Nothing is done to the house ; there are not even chairs in the great apartment. My lord Anson is more slatternly than the Churchills, and does not even finish children. I am going to write to lord Beauchamp, that I shall be at Oxford on the fifteenth, where I depend upon meeting you. I design to see Blenheim, and Rousham, is not that the name of Dormer's ?) and Althorp, and Drayton, before I return-but don't be frightened, I don't propose to drag you to all or any of these, if you don't like it.
Mr. Bentley has sketched a very pretty Gothic room for lord Holderness, and orders are gone to execute it directly in Yorkshire. The first draught was Mason's; but as he does not pretend to much skill, we were desired to correct it. I say we, for I chose the ornaments. Adieu!
9 Henrietta Frederica, daughter of Henry Count Bunan, married 16th August 1759, David, seventh viscount Stormont; and, on the 18th May 1760, gave birth to a daughter, lady Elizabeth Mary, at Warsaw. [Ed.]
i The seat of lord Anson, formerly the residence of the duke of Monmouth. It is now the property of the marquis of Westminster. [Ed.]
P. S. My lady Ailesbury has been much diverted, and so will you, too. Gray is in their neigbourhood. My lady Carlisle says, he is extremely like me in his manner. They went a party to dine on a cold loaf, and passed the day ; lady A. protests he never opened his lips but once, and then only said, “Yes, my lady, I believe so."
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Strawberry-hill, July 19, 1760. Mr. Conway, as I told you, was with me at Oxford, and I returned with him to Park-place, and to-day hither. I am sorry you could not come to us; we passed four days most agreeably, and I believe saw more antique holes and corners than Tom Hearne did in threescore years. You know my rage for Oxford ; if King's-college would not take it ill, I don't know but I should retire thither, and profess jacobitism, that I might enjoy some venerable set of chambers. Though the weather has been so sultry, I ferretted from morning to night, fatigued that strong young lad lord Beauchamp, and harrassed his tutors till they were forced to relieve one another. With all this, I found nothing worth seeing, except the colleges themselves, painted glass, and a couple of croziers. Oh, yes; in an old buttery at Christ-church I discovered two of the most glorious portraits by Holbein in the the world. They call them Dutch heads. I took them down, washed them myself, and fetched
2 Isabel Byron, eldest daughter of William, fourth lord Byron, the second wife and widow of Henry, fourth earl of Carlisle. [Ed.]
| Tom Hearne the learned antiquary, born at White Waltham, Berks, 1680; died at Oxford, 10th June 1735, whose industrious researches into the affairs of by-gone times are recorded in the well known epigram
• Pox on’t,' says Time to Thomas Hearne,
out a thousand beauties. We went to Blenheim and saw all Vanbrugh's quarries, all the acts of parliament and gazettes on the duke in inscriptions, and all the old flock chairs, wainscot tables, and gowns and petticoats of queen Anne, that old Sarah? could crowd among blocks of marble. It looks like the palace of an auctioneer, who has been chosen king of Poland, and furnished his apartments with obsolete trophies, rubbish that nobody bid for, and a dozen pictures, that he had stolen from the inventories of different families. The place is as ugly as the house, and the bridge, like the beggars at the old duchess's gate, begs for a drop of water, and is refused. We went to Ditchley, which is a good house, well furnished, has good portraits, a wretched saloon, and one handsome scene behind the house. There are portraits of the Litchfield hunt, in true blue frocks, with ermine capes. One of the colleges has exerted this loyal pun, and made their east window entirely of blue glass. But the greatest pleasure we had, was in seeing sir Charles Cotterel's5 at Rousham; it reinstated Kent with me; he has no where shewn so much taste. The house is old, and was bad; he has improved it, stuck as close as he could to Gothic, has made a delightful library, and the whole is comfortable. The garden is Daphne in little ; the sweetest little groves, streams, glades, porticoes, cascades, and river, imaginable ; all the scenes are perfectly classic. Well, if I had such a house, such a library, so pretty a place, and so pretty a wife, I think I should let king ***** send to Herenhausen for a master of the ceremonies.
? The gift of the nation to John, duke of Marlborough
a monument of Marlborough's glory and of Britain's gratitude.” [Ed.]
3 The celebrated Sarah, duchess of Marlborough, a woman of great abilities and haughtiness, whose influence for some years over the mind of Queen Anne was eminently serviceable in promoting the political views of her husband at home, while he was conquering the enemies of the country abroad. The queen at length cast off the bondage in which her friend and favorite had enthralled her, and the downfall of the Marlborough and Whig party necessarily followed. She was the Atossa of Pope's epistle on the characters of women, who was falsely accused of receiving a bribe to to suppress the passage and afterwards publishing it. [Ed.]
4 The seat of lord Lichfield, about three miles from Blenheim. [Ed.]
5 Son of Pope's friend, to whom he addressed his Second Epistle of the Second Book of Horace.
• Dear Colonel, Cobham's and your country's friend.' (Ed.]
Make many compliments to all your family for me; lord Beauchamp was much obliged by your invitation. I shall certainly accept it, as I return from the north ; in the mean time, find out how Drayton and Althorp lie according to your scale. Adieu !
Yours most sincerely,
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Strawberry-hill, July 20, 1760. I SHALL be very sorry if I don't see you at Oxford on Tuesday next; but what can I say if your Wetenhalls will break into my almanack, and take my very day, can I help it? I must own I shall be glad if their coach-horse is laid up with the fashionable sore throat and fever : can you recommend no coachman to them like Dr. Wilmot, who will dispatch it in three days? If I don't see you at Oxford, I don't think I shall at Greatworth till my return from the north, which will be about the 20th or 22d of August. Drayton, be it known to you, is lady Betty Germain's, is in your own county, was the old mansion of the Mordaunts, and is crammed with whatever sir John could get from them and the Norfolks. Adieu !
To the EARL of STRAFFORD.
Strawberry-hill, Aug. 7, 1760. MY DEAR LORD,
You will laugh, but I am ready to cry, when I tell you that I have no notion when I shall be able to wait on you.—
1 Drayton, in Northamptonshire, the seat of Sir John Germain, Bart., by whose will and that of his widow, lady Betty, his noble property devolved upon the celebrated Lord George Sackville, who, in consequence, assumed the name of Germain in 1770 by Act of Parliament. It is now the residence of Lord George, grandson of Charles, fifth duke of Dorset, who succeeded to the title on 14th February 1815, on the death of his cousin, George John Frederick, fourth duke. (Ed.]
Such a calamity-My tower, is not fallen down, nor Lady Fanny Shirley run away with another printer: nor has my lady D**** insisted on living with me as half-way to Weybridge. Something more disgraceful than all these, and wofully mortify. ing for a young creature, who is at the same time in love with lady Mary Coke, and following the duchess of Grafton and Loo all over the kingdom. In short, my lord, I bave got the goutyes, the gout in earnest. I was seized on Monday morning, suffered dismally all night, am now wrapped in flannels like the picture of a Morocco ambassador, and am carried to bed by two servants. You see virtue and leanness are no preservatives. I write this now to your lordship, because I think it totally impossible that I should be able to set out the day after tomorrow, as I intended. The moment I can, I will; but this is a tyrant that will not let one name a day. All I know is, that it may abridge my other parties, but shall not my stay at Wentworth castle. The duke of Devonshire was so good as to ask me to be at Chatsworth yesterday, but I did not know it time enough. As it happens, I must have disappointed him. At present I look like Pam's father more than one of his subjects : only one of my legs appears:
The rest my party-coloured robe conceals. Adieu, my dear lord !
Yours most faithfully.
To The Hon. H. S. CONWAY.
Strawberry-hill, Aug. 7, 1760. I can give you but an unpleasant account of myself, I mean unpleasant for me ; every body else I suppose it will make laugh. Come, laugh at once ! I am laid up with the gout, am an absolute cripple, am carried up to bed by two men, and could walk to China as soon as cross the room. In short, here is my history: I have been out of order this fortnight, without knowing what was the matter with me ; pains in my head, sicknesses at my stomach, dispiritedness, and a return of the nightly fever I had in the winter. I concluded a northern journey would take all this off—but, behold, on Monday morning I was seized