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well grounded : it is certain, however, that the emperor had an interview, the 19th instant, with the count of Artois at Mantua ; and the aristocrats talk in mysterious language of Spain, Sardinia, the empire, four or five armies, &c. They will doubtless strike a blow this summer: may it not recoil on their own heads! Adieu. Em brace our female travellers. A short delay!
MR. GIBBON TO THE HON. MISS HOLROYD.
Lausanne, 9th Nov. 1791. GULLIVER is made to say, in presenting his interpreter, “ My tongue is in the mouth of my friend.” Allow me to say, with proper expressions and excuses,“ My pen is in the hand of my friend;" and the aforesaid friend begs leave thus to continue *.
I remember to have read somewhere in Rousseau, of a lover quitting very often his mistress, to have the pleasure of corresponding with her. Though not absolutely your lover, I am very much your admirer, and should be extremely tempted to follow the same example. The spirit and reason, which prevail in your conversation, appear to great advantage in your letters. The three which I have received, from Berne, Coblentz, and Brussels, have given me much real pleasure; first, as a proof that you are often thinking of me; secondly, as an evidence that you are capable of keeping a resolution ; and, thirdly, from their own intrinsic merit and entertainment. The style, without any allowance for haste or hurry, is perfectly correct; the manner is neither too light, nor too grave; the dimensions neither too long, nor too short: they are such, in a word, as I should like to receive from the daughter of my best friend. I attend your lively journal, through bad roads, and worse inns.Your description of men and manners conveys very satisfactory information; and I am particularly delighted with your remark concerning the irregular behaviour of the Rhine. But the Rhine, alas ! after some temporary wanderings, will be content to flow in his old channel, while manman is the greatest fool of the whole creation.
* The remainder of the letter was dictated by Mr. Gibbon, and written by M. Wilbelon de Severy.
I direct this letter to Sheffield Place, where I suppose you arrived in health and safety. I congratulate my lady on her quiet establishment by her fire-side : and hope you will be able, after all your excursions, to support the climate and manners of old England. Before this epistle reaches you, I hope to have received the two promised letters from Dover and Sheffield Place. If they should not meet with a proper return, you will pity and forgive me. I have not yet heard from Lord Sheffield, who seems to have devolved on his daughter the task which she has so gloriously executed. I shall probably not write to him, till I have received his first letter of business from England; but with regard to my lady, I have most excellent intentions.
I never could understand how two persons of such superior merit, as Miss Holroyd and Miss Lausanne, could have so little relish for one another, as they appeared to have in the beginning; and it was with great pleasure that I observed the degrees of their growing intimacy, and the mutual regret of their separation. Whatever you may imagine, your friends at Lausanne have been thinking as frequently of yourself and company, as you could possibly think of them; and you will be very ungrateful, if you do not seriously resolve to make them a second visit, under such name and title as you may judge most agreeable. None of the Severy family, except perhaps my secretary, are inclined to forget you; and I am continually asked for some account of your bealth, motions, and amusements. Since your departure, no great events have occurred. I have made a short excursion to Geneva and Copet, and found Mr. Necker in much better spirits than when you saw him. They pressed me to pass some weeks this winter in their house at Geneva; and I may possibly comply, at least, in part, with their in. vitation. The aspect of Lausanne is peaceful and placid ; and you have no hopes of a revolution driving me out of this country. We hear nothing of the proceedings of the commission, except by playing at cards every evening with Monsieur Fischer (the president of it), who often speaks of Lord Sheffield with esteem and respect. There is no appearance of Rosset and La Motte being brought to a speedy trial, and they still remain in the castle of Chillon, which (according to the geography of the National Assembly) is washed by the sea. Our winter begins with great severity; and we shall not probably have many balls, which, as you may imagine, I lament much.Angletine does not consider two French words as a letter, Montrond sigbs and blushes whenever Louisa's name is mentioned : Philippine wishes to converse with her on men and manners. The French ladies are settled in town for the winter, and they form, with Mrs. Trevor, a very agreeable addition to our society. It is now enlivened by a visit of the Chevalier de Boufflers, one of the most accomplished men the ci-devant kingdom of France.
As Mrs. Wood (Madame de Silva), who has miscarried, is about to leave us, I must either cure or die; and, upon the whole, I believe the former will be most expedient. You will see her in London, with dear Corea, next winter. My rival magnificently presents me with a hogshead of Madeira ; so that in honour I could not supplant him: yet I do assure you, from my heart, that another departure is much more painful to
The apartment below* is shut up, and I know not when I shall again visit it with plea
Adieu. Believe me, one and all, most affectionately yours.
MR. GIBBON TO LORD SHEFFIELD.
Lausanne, Dec. 28, 1791. ALAS! alas! the demon of procrastination has again possessed me. Three months bave nearly rolled away since your departure; and seven let
* The apartment principally inhabited during the residence of Lord Sheffield's family at Lausanne.
ters, five from the most valuable Maria, and two from yourself, have extorted from me only a single epistle, which perhaps would never have been written, bad I not used the permission of employing my own tongue and the hand of a secretary. Shall I tell you, that, for these last six weeks, the eve of every day has witnessed a firm resolution, and the day itself has furnished some ingenious delay? This morning, for instance, I determined to invade you as soon as the breakfast things should be removed: they were removed; but I had something to read, to write, to meditate, and there was time enough before
Hour after hour has stolen away, and I finally begin my letter at two o'clock, evidently too late for the post, as I must dress, dine, go abroad, &c. A foundation, however, shall be laid, which shall stare me in the face; and next Saturday I shall probably be roused by the awful reflection that it is the last day in the year.
After realizing this summer an event which I had long considered as a dream of fancy, I know not whether I should rejoice or grieve at your visit to Lausanne. While I possessed the family, the sentiment of pleasure highly predominated; when, just as we had subsided in a regular, easy, comfortable plan of life, the last trump sounded, and, without speaking of the pang of separation, you left me to one of the most gloomy, solitary months of October which I have ever passed, For yourself and daughters, however, you have contrived to snatch some of the most interesting scenes of this world. Paris, at such a moment, Switzerland, and the Rhine, Strasburg, Coblentz,