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object of compassion. The dragoon is returned for a few days; and if his domestic sorrows give him leave, he would almost regret the want of an occasion to deserve his feather and cockade, Your note has been communicated to Madame de Montolieu ; but as she is engaged with a dying aunt, I have not yet seen her. Madame Dagaisseau has hastily left us ; the last decrees seemed to give the émigrés only the option of starving abroad or hanging at home; yet she has ventured into France, on some faint glimpse of clemency for the women and children. Madame de Bouil. lon does not appear to move. Madame de Stael, whom I saw last week at Rolle, is still uncertain where she shall drop her burtben; but she must soon resolve, for the young lady or gentleman is at the door,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies. By this time you have joined the Ladies Spencer and Duncannon, whom I beg leave to salute with the proper shades of respect and tenderness. You may, if you please, be belle comme un ange; but I do not like your comparison of the archangel. Those of Milton, with whom I am better acquainted at present than with Guido, are all masculine manly figures, with a great sword by their side, and six wings folding round them. The heathen goddesses would please me as little. Your friend is less severe than Minerva, more decent than Venus, less cold than Diana, and not quite so great a vixen as the ox-eyed Juno. To express that infallible mixture of grace, sweetness, and dignity, a new race of beings must be
invented, and I am à mere prose narrator of matter of fact. Bess is much nearer the level of a mortal, but a mortal for whom the wisest man, historic or medical, would throw away two or three worlds, if he had them in his possession. From the aforesaid Bess I have received three marks of kind remembrance, from the foot of St. Bernard, with an exquisite monument of art and friendship, from Turin, and finally from Milan, with a most valuable insertion from the duchess. At birds in the air it is difficult to take aim, and I fear or hope that I shall sustain some reproaches on your not finding this long epistle at Florence. I will mark it No, l; and why should I despair of my future
since I can say with truth, that since your departure I have not spent so agreeable a morning ? To each of the dear little Caros pray deliver nine kisses for me, which shall be repaid on demand. My best compliments to Mr. Pelham, if he is with you.
MR. GIBBON TO THE HON. MISS HOLROYD.
Lausanne, Nov. 10, 1792. In dispatching the weekly political journal to Lord Sheffield, my conscience (for I have some remains of conscience) most powerfully urges me to salute, with some lines of friendship and grati. tude, the amiable secretary, who might save herself the trouble of a modest apology. I have not yet forgotten our different behaviour after the much lamented separation of October the 4th, 1791, your meritorious punctuality, and my unworthy silence. I have still before me that entertaining narrative, which would have interested me, not only in the progress of the cara famiglia, but in the motions of a Tartar camp, or the march of a caravan of Arabs; the mixture of just observation and lively imagery, the strong sense of a man, expressed with the easy elegance of a female. I still recollect with pleasure the happy comparison of the Rhine, who had heard so much of liberty on both his banks, that he wandered with mischievous licentiousness over all the adjacent meadows. The inundation, alas ! has now spread much wider; and it is sadly to be feared that the Elbe, the Po, and the Danube may imitate the vile example of the Rhine: I shall be content, however, if our own Thames still preserves his fair character of
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full. These agreeable epistles of Maria produced only some dumb intentions, and some barren remorse; nor have I deigned, except by a brief missive from my chancellor, to express how much I loved the author, and how much I was pleased with the composition. That amiable author I have kpown and loved from the first dawning of her life and coquetry, to the present maturity of her talents; and as long as I remain on this planet, I shall pursue with the same tender and even anxious concern,
the future steps of her establishment and life. That establishment must be splendid ; that life must be happy. She is endowed with every gift of nature and fortune; but the advantage which she will derive from them depends almost entirely on herself. You must not, you shall not, think yourself unworthy to write to any man: there is none whom your correspondence would not amuse and satisfy. I will not undertake a task, which my taste would adopt, and my indolence would too soon relinquish ; but I am really curious, from the best motives, to have a particular account of your own studies and daily occupation. What books do you read, and how do you employ your time and your pen? Except some professed scholars, I have often observed that women in general read much more than men ; but, for want of a plan, a method, a fixed object, their reading is of little benefit to themselves or others. If you will inform me of the species of reading to which you have the most propensity, I shall be happy to contribute my share of advice or assistance. I lament that you have not left me some monument of your pencil. Lady Elizabeth Foster has executed a very pretty drawing, taken from the door of the greenhouse where we dined last summer, and including the poor Acacia (now recovered from the cruel shears of the gardener), the end of the terrace, the front of the pavilion, and a distant view of the country, lake, and mountains. I am almost reconciled to d’Apples house, which is nearly finished. Instead of the monsters which Lord Hercules Sheffield extirpated, the terrace is already shaded with the new acacias and plantanes; and although the uncertainty of possession restrains me from building, I myself have planted a bosquet at the bottom of the garden, with such admirable skill that it affords shade without intercepting prospect. The society of the aforesaid Eliza, of the Duchess of Devonshire, &c. has been very interesting; but they are now flown beyond the Alps, and pass the winter at Pisa. The Legards, who have long since left this place, should be at present in Italy ; but I believe Mrs. Grimstone and her daughter returned to England. The Levades are highly flattered by your 'remembrance. Since you still retain some attachment to this delightful country, and it is indeed delightful, why should you despair of seeing it once more? The happy peer or commoner, whose name you may assume, is still concealed in the book of fate; but, whosoever he may be, he will cheerfully obey your commands of leading you from Castle to Lausanne, and from Lausanne to Rome and Naples. Before that event takes place, I may possibly see you in Sussex; and, whether ás a visiter or a fugitive, I hope to be welcomed with a friendly embrace. The delay of this year was truly painful, but it was inevitable; and individuals must submit to those storms which have overturned the thrones of the earth. The tragic story of the Archbishop of Arles I have now somewhat a better right to require at your hands. I wish to bave it in all its horrid details; and as you are now so much mingled with the French exiles, I am of opinion, that were you to keep a journal of all the authentic facts which they relate, it would be an agreeable exercise at present, and a future source of entertainment and instruction,