Page images
PDF
EPUB

merits.' H. I wish you would let me correct it; besides, I am writing something of the same kind myself ; I should be sorry we should clash. W. I believe it is not much known what my work is; very few persons have seen it. H. Why, it is a critical history of painting, is not it? W. No, it is an antiquarian history of it in England ; I bought Mr. Virtue's MSS. and, I believe, the work will not give much offence ; besides, if it does, I cannot help it: when I publish any thing, I give it to the world to think of it as they please. H. Oh! if it is an antiquarian work, we shall not clash ; mine is a critical work; I don't know whether I shall ever publish it. It is rather an apology for painters. I think it is owing to the good sense of the English, that they have not painted better. W. My dear Mr. Hogarth, I must take my leave of you, you now grow too wild --and I left him. If I had staid, there remained nothing but for him to bite me. I give you my honour this conversation is literal; and, perhaps, as long as you have known Englishmen and painters, you never met with any thing so distracted. I had consecrated a line to his genius (I mean, for wit), in my preface; shall not erase it; but I hope nobody will ask me if he is not mad. Adieu !

Yours ever.

TO GEORGE MONTAGU, Esq.

Strawberry-hill, May 14, 1761. As I am here, and know nothing of our poor heroes at Belleisle, who are combating rocks, mines, famine, and Mr. Pitt's obstinacy, I will send you the victory of a heroine, but must preface it with an apology, as it was gained over a sort of relation of yours. Jemmy Lumley last week had a party of whist at his own house ; the combatants, Lucy Southwell, that curtseys like a bear, Mrs. Prijean, and a Mrs. Mackenzie. They played from six in the evening till twelve next day; Jemmy never winning one rubber, and rising a loser of two thousand pounds. How it happened I know not, nor why his suspicions arrived so late, but he fancied himself cheated, and refused to pay.

However, the bear had no share in his evil surmises : on the contrary, a day or two afterwards, he promised a dinner at Hampstead to Lucy and her virtuous sister. As he went to the

rendezvous his chaise was stopped by somebody who advised him not to proceed. Yet, no whit daunted, he advanced. In the garden he found the gentle conqueress, Mrs. Mackenzy, who accosted him in the most friendly manner. After a few compliments, she asked him if he did not intend to pay her. “ No, , indeed I shan't, I shan't ; your servant, your servant.” -s Shan't you ?" said the fair virago; and taking a horsewhip from beneath her hoop, she fell upon him with as much vehemence as the empress queen would upon the king of Prussia, if she could catch him alone in the garden at Hampstead. Jemmy cried out murder ; his servants rushed in, rescued him from the jaws of the lioness, and carried him off in his chaise to town. The Southwells, who were already arrived, and descended on the noise of the fray, finding nobody to pay for the dinner, and fearing they must, set out for London, too, without it, though I suppose they had prepared tin pockets to carry off all that should be left. Mrs. Mackenzy is immortal, and in the crown

office.

The other battle in my military journal happened between the duchess of Argyle and lord Vere. The duchess, who always talks of puss and pug, and who, having lost her memory, forgets how often she tells the same story, had tired the company at Dorset House with the repetition of the same story; when the duke's spaniel reached up into her lap, and placed his nose most critically: “See,” said she, “see how fond all creatures are of me.” Lord Vere, who was at cards, and could not attend to them for her gossiping, said peevishly, without turning round or seeing where the dog was," I suppose he smells puss.” - What !” said the duchess of Argyle in a passion, “ Do you think *

I believe you have not two better stories in Northamptonshire.

Don't imagine that my gallery will be prance-about-in-able, as you expect, by the beginning of June ; I do not propose to finish it till next year, but you will see some glimpse of it, and for the rest of Strawberry, it never was more beautiful. You must now begin to fix your motions : I go to Lord Dacre's the end of this month, and to Lord Ilchester's ? the end of the next; between those periods I expect you.

1 Bell House, Essex. [Ed.]
2 Red Lynch, near Bruton, Somerset. [Ed.]

*

* ?

[ocr errors]

Saturday Morning, Arlington-street. I CAME to town yesterday for a party at Bedford-house, made for princess Amelia ; the garden was open, with French horns and clarionets, and would have been charming with one single zephyr, had that not come from the north-east; however, the young ladies found it delightful. There was limited loo for the princess, unlimited for the duchess of Grafton, to whom I belonged, a table of quinze, and another of quadrille. The princess had heard of our having cold meat upon the loo table, and would have some. A table was brought in; she was served others rose by turns and went to the cold meat : in the outward room were four little tables for the rest of the company. Think if king George the Second could have risen and seen his daughter supping pell-mell with men, as it were in a booth! The tables were removed, the young people began to dance to a tabor and pipe ; the princess sat down again, but to unlimited loo; we played till three, and I won enough to help on the gallery. I am going back to it to give my neices and their lords a dinner.

We were told there was a great victory come from Pondicherry, but it came from too far to divert us from liking our party better. Poor George Monson has lost his leg there. You know that sir W. Williams has made Fred. Montague heir to his debts. Adieu !

Yours ever.

To the COUNTESS OF AILESBURY.

Strawberry-hill, June 13, 1761. I NEVER ate such good snuff, nor smelt such delightful bonbons, as your ladyship has sent me. Every time you rob the duke's dessert, does it cost you a pretty snuff-box ? Do the pastors at the Haguel enjoin such expensive retributions? If a man steals a kiss there, I suppose he does penance in a sheet of Brussels lace. The comical part is, that you own the theft and send it

Lady Ailesbury remained at the Hague while Mr. Conway was with the army during the campaign of 1761. [Or.]

1

me, but say nothing of the vehicle of your repentance. In short, madam, the box is the prettiest thing I ever saw, and I give you a thousand thanks for it.

When you comfort yourself about the operas, you don't know what you have lost; nay, nor I neither; for I was here, concluding that a serenata for a birth-day would be as dull and as vulgar as those festivities generally are : but I hear of nothing but the enchantment of it. There was a second orchestra in the footman's gallery, disguised by clouds, and filled with the music of the king's chapel. The choristers behaved like angels, and the harmony between the two bands was in the most exact time. Elisi piqued himself, and beat both heaven and earth. The joys of the year do not end there. The under-actors open at Drury-lane to-night with a new comedy by Murphy, called All in the Wrong. At Ranelagh all is fire-works and sky-rockets. The birth-day exceeded the splendour of Haroun Alraschid and the Arabian Nights, when people had nothing to do but to scour a lantern, and send a genii for a hamper of diamonds and rubies. Do you remember one of those stories, where a prince has eight statues of diamonds, which he overlooks because he fancies he wants a ninth ; and to his great surprise the ninth proves to be pure flesh and blood, which he never thought of ? Some how or other, Lady *** is the ninth statue ; and, you will allow, has better red and white than if she was made of pearls and rubies. Oh! I forgot, I was telling you of the birth-day: my Lord P*** had drunk the king's health so often at dinner, that at the ball he took Mrs. **** for a beautiful woman, and, as she says, made an improper use of his hands. The proper use of hers, she thought, was to give him a box on the ear, though within the verge of the court. He returned it by a push, and she tumbled off the end of the bench; which his majesty has accepted as a sufficient punishment, and she is not to lose her right hand.?

I enclose the list your ladyship desired: you will see that the Plurality of Worlds are Moore's, and of some I do not know the authors. There is a late edition with these names to them.

My duchess was to set out this morning. I saw her for the last time the day before yesterday at lady Kildare's: never was a journey less a party of pleasure. She was so melancholy, that

2 The old punishment for giving a blow in the king's presence. Or.]

all miss * * * * 's oddness and my spirits could scarce make her smile. Towards the end of the night, and that was three in the morning, I did divert her a little. I slipped Pam into her lap, and then taxed her with having it there. She was quite confounded; but, taking it up, saw he had a telescope in his hand, which I had drawn, and that the card, which was split, and just waxed together, contained these lines :

Ye simple astronomers, lay by your glasses ;
The transit of Venus has proved you all asses :
Your telescopes signify nothing to scan it;
'Tis not meant in the clouds; 'tis not meant of a planet :
The seer who foretold it mistook or deceives us ;
For Venus's transit is when Grafton leaves us.

I don't send your ladyship these verses as good, but to show you that all gallantry does not centre at the Hague.

I wish I could tell you that Stanley; and Bussy,4 by crossing over and figuring in, had forwarded the peace. It is no more made than Belleisle is taken. However, I flatter myself that you will not stay abroad till you return for the coronation, which is ordered for the begivning of October. I don't care to tell you how lovely the season is; how my acacias are powdered with flowers, and my hay just in its picturesque moment. Do they ever makė any other hay in Holland than bullrushes in ditches ? My new buildings rise so swiftly, that I shall not have a shilling left, so far from giving commissions on Amsterdam. When I have made my house so big that I don't know what to do with it, and am entirely undone, I propose, like king Pyrrhus, who took such a roundabout way to a bowl of punch, to sit down and enjoy myself: but with this difference, that it is better to ruin one's self than all the world. I am sure you would think as I do, though Pyrrhus were king of Prussia. I long to have you bring back the only hero that ever I could endure. Adieu, madam! I sent you just such another piece of title-tattle as this by general Waldegrave: you are very partial to me, or very fond of knowing every thing that passes in your own country, if you can be amused so. If you can, 'tis surely my duty to divert you, though at the expense of my character ; for I own I am

3 Hans Stanley, esq., minister to the court of France. (Ed.] 4 The French minister to the English court. [Ed.]

« PreviousContinue »