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I saw him agaiu yesterday, and was surprised to find the levee room had lost so entirely the air of the lion's den.
This sovereign don't stand in one spot, with his eyes fixed royally on the ground, and dropping bits of German news; he walks about and speaks to every body. I saw him afterwards on the throne, where he is graceful and genteel, sits with dignity, and reads his answers to addresses well; it was the Cambridge address, carried by the duke of Newcastle in his doctor's gown, and looking like the medecin malgré lui. He had been vehemently solicitous for attendance, for fear my lord Westmoreland, who vouchsafes himself to bring the address from Oxford, should out-number him. Lord Litchfield and several other jacobites have kissed hands ; George Selwyn says, “ They go to St. James's, because now there are so many Stuarts there.
Do you know I had the curiosity to go to the burying t'other night; I had never seen a royal funeral ; nay, I walked as a rag of quality, which I found would be, and so it was, the easiest way of seeing it. It is absolutely a noble sight. The prince's chamber, hung with purple, and a quantity of silver lamps, the coffin under a canopy of purple velvet, and six vast chandeliers of silver on high stands, had a very good effect. The ambassador from Tripoli and his son were carried to see that chamber. The procession, through a line of foot-guards, every seventh man bearing a torch, the horse-guards lining the outside, their officers with drawn sabres and crape sashes on horseback, the drums muffled, the fifes, bells tolling, and minute guns,—all this was very solemn. But the charm was the entrance of the abbey, where we were received by the dean and chapter in rich robes, the choir and almsmen bearing torches ; the whole abbey so illuminated, that one saw it to greater advantage than by day; the tombs, long aisles, and fretted roof, all appearing distinctly, and with the happiest chiara scuro. There wanted nothing but incense, and little chapels here and there, with priests saying mass for the repose of the defunct; yet one could not complain of its not being catholic enough. I had been in dread of being coupled with some boy of ten years old; but the heralds were
3 The funeral of George the second, took place on the 11th of November; the procession marched from the Prince's chamber near the House of Peers, . whither it had been removed from Kensington on the preceding night, to the great north door of Westminster Abbey. [Ed.]
not very accurate, and I walked with George Grenville, taller and older, to keep me in countenance. When we came to the chapel of Henry the seventh, all solemnity and decorum ceased; no order was observed, people sat or stood where they could or would; the yeomen of the guard were crying out for help, oppressed by the immense weight of the coffin; the bishop* read sadly, and blundered in the prayers; the fine chapter, Man that is born of a woman, was chaunted, not read, and the anthem, besides being immensurably tedious, would have served as well for a nuptial. The real serious part was the figure of the duke of Cumberland, heightened by a thousand melancholy circumstances. He had a dark-brown adonis, and a cloak of black cloth, with a train of five yards. Attending the funeral of a father could not be pleasant: his leg extremely bad, yet forced to stand
upon it near two hours; his face bloated and distorted with his late paralytic stroke, which has affected, too, one of his eyes, and placed over the mouth of the vault, into which, in all probability, he must himself so soon descend ; think how unpleasant a situation! He bore it all with a firm and unaffected countenance. This grave scene was fully contrasted by the burlesque duke of Newcastle. He fell into a fit of crying the moment he came into the chapel, and flung himself back in a stall, the archbishop hovering over him with a smelling-bottle ; but in two minutes his curiosity got the better of his hypocrisy, and he ran about the chapel with his glass, to spy who was or who was not there, spying with one hand, and mopping his eyes with the other. Then returned the fear of catching cold; and the duke of Cumberland, who was sinking with heat, felt himself weighed down, and turning round, found it was the duke of Newcastle standing upon his train, to avoid the chill of the marble. It was very theatric to look down into the vault, where the coffin lay, attended by mourners with lights. Clavering, the groom of the bed-chamber, refused to sit up with the body, and was dismissed by the king's order.
I have nothing more to tell you, but a trifle, a very trifle. The king of Prussia has totally defeated marshal Daun. This
4 Dr. Zacharey Pearce, Bishop of Rochester and Dean of Westminster. [Ed.]
5 On the 3d of November at Torgua, after an engagement which lasted from two in the afternoon until nine at night. [Ed.]
which would have been prodigious news a month ago, is nothing to-day; it only takes its turn among the questions, Who is to be groom of the bed-chamber?6 what is sir T. Robinson to have ?”? I have been to Leicester-fields to-day; the crowd was immoderate; I don't believe it will continue so. Good night!
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Arlington-street, Thursday, 1760. As a codicil to my letter, I send you the bed-chamber. There are to be eighteen lords, and thirteen grooms; all the late king's remain, but your cousin Manchester, lord Falconberg, lord Essex, and lord Hyndford, replaced by the duke of Richmond, lord Weymouth, lord March, and lord Eglington ; the last at the request of the duke of York. Instead of Clavering, Nassau, and general Campbell, who is promised something else, lord Northampton's brother and commodore Keppel are grooms. When it was offered to the duke of Richmond, he said he could not accept of it, unless something was done for colonel Keppel, for whom he has interested himself ; that it would look like sacrificing Keppel to his own views. This is handsome; Keppel
is to be equerry
Princess Amelia goes every where, as she calls it; she was on Monday at lady Holderness's, and next Monday is to be at Bedford-house; but there is only the late king's set, and the court of Bedford; so she makes the houses of other people as triste as St. James's was. Good night!
Not a word more of the king of Prussia : did you ever know a victory mind the wind so ?
6 Norborne Berkeley (afterwards lord Botetourt), George Pitt, created in 1776 baron Rivers of Strathfieldsaye, and William North were appointed grooms of the bed-chamber. (Ed.]
7. Sir Thomas Robinson was created a peer by the title of lord Grantham of Grantham in Lincolnshire, April 4th 1761. He gave up the seals of Secretary of State in 1755, and was made master of the Great Wardrobe with a pension of £2,000 a year on the Irish establishment for thirty-one years. [Ed.]
To GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.
Strawberry-hill, Monday, November 24, 1760. UNLESS I were to send you journals, lists, catalogues, computations of the bodies, tides, swarms of people that go to court to present addresses, or to be presented, I can tell you nothing
The day the king went to the house, I was three-quarters of an hour getting through Whitehall: there were subjects enough to set up half-a-dozen petty kings: the pretender would be proud to reign over the footmen only; and, indeed, unless he acquires some of them, he will have no subjects left; all their masters flock to St. James's. The palace is so thronged, that I will stay till some people are discontented. The first night the king went to the play, which was civilly on a Friday, not on the opera night, as he used to do, the whole audience sung God save the King in chorus. For the first act, the press was so great at the door, that no ladies could go to the boxes, and only the servants appeared there, who kept places: at the end of the second act, the whole mob broke in and seated themselves: yet all this zeal is not likely to last, though he so well deserves it. Seditious papers are again stuck up: one t'other day in Westminster-hall declared against a Saxe-Gothan princess. The archbishop, who is never out of the drawing-room, has great hopes from the king's goodness, that he shall make something of him, that is something bad of him. On the address, Pitt and his zany Beckford quarrelled, on the latter's calling the campaign languid. What is become of our magnanimous ally and his victory, I know not. In eleven days, no courier has arrived from him; but I have been these two days perfectly indifferent about his magnanimity. I am come to put my Anecdotes of Painting into the press. You are one of the few that I expect will be entertained with it. It has warmed Gray's coldness so much, that he is violent about it; in truth, there is an infinite quantity of new and curious things about it; but as it is quite foreign from all popular topics, I don't suppose it will be much attended to. There is not a word of methodism in it, it says nothing of the disturbances in Ireland, it does not propose to keep all Canada, it neither flattered the king of Prussia nor prince Ferdinand; it does not say that the city of London are the wisest nen in the world, it is silent about George Townshend, and does not abuse my lord George Sackville-how should it please? I want you to help me in a little affair, that regards it. I have found in a MS. that in the church of Beckley, or Becksley, in Sussex, there are portraits on glass in a window of Henry the Third and his queen. I have looked in the map, and find the first name between Bodiham and Rye, but I am not sure it is the place. I will be much obliged to you if you will write directly to your sir Whistler, and beg him to inform himself very exactly if there is any such thing in such a church near Bodiham. Pray state it minutely; because if there is, I will have them drawn for the frontispiece to my work.
Did I tell you that the archbishop tried to hinder the Minor from being played at Drury-lane ? for once the duke of Devonshire was firm, and would only let him correct some passages, and even of those the duke has restored some. One that the prelate effaced was, “ You snub-nosed son of a bitch.” Foote says he will take out a licence to preach Tam. Cant, against Tom Cant.
The first volume of Voltaire's Peter the Great is arrived. I weep over it. It is as languid as the campaign; he is grown old. He boasts of the materials communicated to him by the czarina's order-but, alas! he need not be proud of them. They only serve to show how much worse he writes history with materials than without. Besides, it is evident how much that authority has cramped his genius. I had heard before, that when he sent the work to Petersburgh for imperial approbation, it was returned with orders to increase the panegyric. I wish he had acted like a very inferior author. Knyphausen once hinted to me, that I might have some authentic papers, if I was disposed to write the life of his master ; but I did not care for what would lay me under such restrictions. It is not fair to use weapons against the persons that lend them; and I do not admire his master enongh to commend any thing in him, but his military actions. Adieu !