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like a poet, and pretended that a cousin was dead, one of the muses. Then I was in panics lest I should call my lord Bute, your royal highness. I was not indeed in much pain at the conjectures the duke of Newcastle would make on such an apparition, even if he should suspect that a new opposition was on foot, and that I was to write some letters to the Whigs.
Well, but after all, do you know that my calamity has not befallen me yet? I could not determine to bounce over head and ears into the drawing-room at once, without one soul knowing why I came thither. I went to London on Saturday night, and lord Hertford was to carry me the next morning; in the mean time, I wrote to Morrison, explaining my gratitude to one brother, and my unacquaintance with t'other, and how afraid I was that it would be thought officious and forward, if I was presented now, and begging he would advise me what to do; and all this upon my bended knee, as if Schutz had stood over me and dictated every syllable. The answer was by order from the duke of York, that he smiled at my distress, wished to put me to no inconvenience, but desired, that as the acquaintance had begun without restraint, it might continue without ceremony. Now was I in more perplexity than ever! I could not go directly, and yet it was not fit it should be said I thought it an inconvenience to wait on the prince of Wales. At present, it is decided by a jury of court matrons, that is, courtiers, that I must write to my lord Bute and explain the whole and why I desire to come nowdon't fear; I will take care they shall understand how little I come for. In the mean time, you see it is my fault if I am not a favourite, but, alas! I am not heavy enough to be tossed in a blanket, like Doddington; I should never come down again; I cannot be driven in a royal curricle to wells and waters; I can't make love now to my cotemporary Charlotte Dives ; I cannot quit Mufti and my parroquet for sir William Irby, and the prattle of a drawing-room, nor Mrs. Clive for
1 Created in 1761, baron Boston, of Boston, county of Lincoln. He had been successively page of honour to George I. and George II.; equerry to Frederick prince of Wales, on his first arrival in England; and chamberlain to Augusta, princess of Wales. He married, 26th August, 1746, Albinia, eldest daughter of Henry Selwyn, esq.; and died 30th March, 1775; he was succeeded by his son Frederick, father of George, the present and third lord. (Ed.]
Ælia Lælia Chudleigh; in short, I could give up nothing but an earldom of Eglington, and yet I foresee, that this phantom of the reversion of a reversion will make me plagued; I shall have lord Egmont whisper me again ; and every tall woman and strong man, that comes to town, will mak interest with me to get the duke of York to come and see them. Oh! dreadful, dreadful! It is plain I never was a patriot, for I don't find my virtue a bit staggered by this first glimpse of court sunshine.
Mr. Conway has pressed to command the new Quixotism on foot, and has been refused; I sing a very comfortable Te Deum for it. Kingsley, Craufurd, and Keppel are the generals, and commodore Keppel the admiral. The mob are sure of being pleased ; they will get a conquest, or a court-martial. A very unpleasant thing has happened to the Keppels; the youngest brother, who had run in debt at Gibraltar, and was fetched away to be sent to Germany, gave them the slip at the first port they touched at in Spain, surrendered himself to the Spanish governor, has changed his religion, and sent for a that had been taken from him at Gibraltar; naturam expellas furcâ. There's the true blood of Charles the second sacrificing every thing for
popery Lord Bolingbroke, on hearing the name of lady Coventry at Newmarket, affected to burst into tears, and left the room, not to hide his crying, but his not crying.
Draper has handsomely offered to go on the expedition, and goes. Ned Finch, t'other day, on the conquest of Montreal, wished the king joy of having lost no subjects, but those that perished in the rabbits. Fitzroy asked him if he thought they crossed the great American lakes in such little boats as one goes in to Vauxhall ? he replied, “Yes, Mr. Pitt said the rabbits" - it was in the falls, the rapids.
I like lord John almost as well as Fred. Montague; and I like your letter better than lord John; the application of Miss Falkener was charming. Good night!
P.S. If I had been told in June that I should have the gout, and kiss hands before November, I don't think I should have given much credit to the prophet.
T. GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, October 25, 1760.
I tell a lie, I am at Mr Chute's. Was ever so agreeable a man as king George the second, to die the very day it was necessary to save me from a ridicule? I was to have kissed hands to-morrow - but you will not care a farthing about that now; so I must tell you all I know of departed majesty. He went to bed well last night, rose at six this morning as usual, looked, I suppose, if all his money was in his purse, and called for his chocolate. A little after seven, he went into the water-closet; the German valet de chambre heard a noise, listened, heard something like a groan, ran in, and found the hero of Oudenarde and Dettingen on the floor, with a gash on his right temple, by falling against the corner of a bureau. He tried to speak, could not, and expired. Princess Emily was called, found him dead, and wrote to the prince. I know not a syllable, but am come to see and hear as much as I can. I fear
cry and roar all night, but one could not keep it from you. For my part, like a new courtier, I comfort myself, considering what a gracious prince comes next. Behold
my luck. I wrote to lord Bute, thrust in all the unexpecteds, want of ambition, disinterestedness, 8c, that I could amass, gilded with as much duty, affection, zeal, &c. as possible. I received a very gracious sensible answer, and was to have been presented to-morrow, and the talk of the few people, that are in town, for a week. Now I shall be lost in the crowd, shall be as well there as I desire to be, have done what was right, they know I want nothing, may be civil to me very cheaply, and I
and see the puppet-show for this next month at my ease: but perhaps, you will think all this a piece of art ; to be sure I have timed my court as luckily as possible, and contrived to be the last person in England that made interest with the successor, You see virtue and philosophy always prone to know the world and their own interest. However, I am not so abandoned a patriot yet, as to desert my friends immediately; you shall hear now and then the events of this new reign—if I am not made secretary of state-If I am, I shall certainly take care to let
you know it.
I had already begun to think that the lawyers for once talked sense, when they said the king never dies. He probably got his death, as he liked to have done two years ago, by viewing the troops for the expedition, from the wall of Kensington garden. My lady Suffolk told me about a month ago that he had often told her, speaking of the dampness of Kensington, that he would never die there. For my part, my man Harry will always be a favourite ; he tells me all the amusing news; he first told me of the late prince of Wales's death, and to-day of the king's.
Thank you, Mr. Chute is as well as can be expected—in this national affliction. Sir Robert Brown has left every thing to my lady-ay, every thing ; I believe his very avarice. .
Lord Huntingtower wrote to offer his father eight thousand pounds of Charlotte's fortune, if he would give them one thousand a-year in present, and settle a jointure on her. The earl returned this truly laconic, for being so unnatural, an answer. “ Lord Huntingtower, I answer your letter as soon as I receive it; I wish you joy ; I hear your wife is very accomplished. Yours, Dysart.” I believe my lady Huntingtower must contrive to make it convenient for me, that my lord Dysart should dieand then he will. I expect to be a very respectable personage in time, and to have my tomb set forth like the lady Margaret Douglas, that I had four earls to my nephews, though I never was one myself. Adieu! I must go govern the nation.
TO THE EARL OF STRAFFORD.
Arlington-street, October 26, 1760. MY DEAR LORD,
I beg your pardon for so long a silence in the late reign ; I knew nothing worth telling you ; and the great eveut of this morning you will certainly hear before it comes to you by so sober and regular a personage as the postman. The few circumstances known yet are, that the king went well to-bed last night; rose well at six this morning; went to the water-closet a little after seven; had a fit, fell against a bureau, and gashed his right temple: the ralet-de-chambre heard a noise and a groan, and
ran in : the king tried to speak, but died instantly. I should hope this would draw you southward : such scenes are worth looking at, even by people who regard them with such indifference as your lordship or I. I say no more, for what will mix in a letter with the death of a king !
I am my lady's and your lordship's
most faithful servant.
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, Tuesday, Oct. 28. The new reign dates with great propriety and decency; the civilest letter to princess Emily; the greatest kindness to the duke; the utmost respect to the dead body. No changes to be made but those absolutely necessary, as the household, &c.and what some will think the most unnecessary, in the representative of power. There are but two new cabinet counsellers named; the duke of York, and lord Bute, so it must be one of them. The princess does not remove to St. James's, so I don't believe it will be she. To-day, England kissed hands, so did I, and it is more comfortable to kiss hands with all England, than to have all England ask why one kisses hands. Well! my virtue is safe : I had a gracious reception, and yet I am almost as impatient to return to Strawberry, as I was to leave it on the news.
There is great dignity and grace in the king's manner. I don't say this, like my dear Madame de Sevigné, because he was civil to me, but the part is well acted. If they do as well behind the scenes, as upon the stage, it will be a very complete reign. Hollinshed, or Baker!, would think it begins well, that is, begins ill; it has rained without intermission, and yesterday there came a cargo of bad news, all which, you know, are similar omens to a man, who writes history upon the information of the clouds. Berlin is taken by the Prussians?, the hereditary prince beaten by the French. Poor lord Downe has had three wounds. He and your brother's Billy Pitt are prisoners.
" Authors of the 'Chronicles' which bear their names. [Ed.]
2 The Russians and Austrians obtained possession of Berlin while Frederic was employed in watching the great Austrian army. They were however soon driven out of it. [Ed.]