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I should be obliged to you if you would make, or find, some excuse for my not answering a letter from your aunt, which was presented to me by Mr. Fowler. I showed him some civilities, but he is now a poor invalid, confined to his room. By her channel and yours I should be glad to have some information of the health, spirits, and situation of Mrs. Gibbon, of Bath, whose alarms (if she has any) you may dispel. She is in my debt. Adieu ; most truly yours.
TOPHAM BEAUCLERK, ESQ. TO THE EARL OF
CHARLEMONT. MY DEAR LORD,
Muswell Hill, July 5th, 1773. It is certainly ordained by fate that I should always appear in a state of humiliation before you, nothing else could have prevented me from writing to you, and endeavouring thereby to keep up an intercourse with one for whom I shall always retain the greatest and tenderest regard; lessening in some measure the greatest of all human evils, the separation from those we love ; but that insuperable idleness, which accompanies me through life, which not only prevents me from doing what I ought, but likewise from enjoying my greatest pleasure, where any thing is to be done, has hitherto prevented me from writing; but if I obtain your pardon this time, I will, for the future, mend my manners, and try, by one act at least, to be worthy of that friendship which you have honoured me with. I need not
assure you that I most ardently wish to visit you this summer in Ireland; nothing but Lady Di.'s illness shall prevent me.
I have been but once at the club since you left England ; we were entertained, as usual, by Dr. Goldsmith's absurdity. Mr. V. * can give you an account of it. Sir Joshua Reynolds intends painting your picture over again ; so you may set your heart at rest for some time; it is true, it will last so much the longer, but then you may wait these ten years for it. Elmsly gave me a commission from you about Mr. Walpole's frames for prints, which is perfectly unintelligible : I wish you would explain it, and it shall be punctually executed. The Duke of Northumberland has promised me a pair of his new pheasants for you, but you must wait till all the crowned heads in Europe have been served first.— I have been at the review at Portsmouth. If you had seen it, you would have owned that it is a very pleasant thing to be a king. It is true, made a job of the claret to who furnished the first tables with vinegar, under that denomination. Charles Fox said that Lord Sandwich should have been impeached: what an abominable world do we live in, that there should not be above half a dozen honest men in the world, and that one of those should live in Ireland. You will, perhaps, be shocked at the small portion of honesty that I allot to your country; but a sixth part is as much as comes to its share; and, for any thing I know to the contrary, the other five may be in Ireland too, for I am sure I do not know where else to find them. Your philanthropy engages you to think well of the greatest part of mankind; but every year, every hour, adds to my misanthropy, and I have had a pretty considerable share of it for some years past. Leave your parliament and your nation to shift for itself, and consecrate that time to your friends, which you spend in endeavouring to promote the interest of half a million of scoundrels. Since, as Pope says,
* Mr. Agmondesham Vesey, of Lucan, near Dublin.
Life can little else supply,
Do not let us lose that moment that we have, but let us enjoy all that can be enjoyed in this world; the pleasures of a true uninterrupted friendship.--Let us leave this island of fog and iniquity, and sail to purer regions, not yet quite corrupted by European manners. It is true, you must leave behind you Marino, and your medals, but you will likewise leave behind you the S-s and R-by's of this place. I know you will say, you can do all this without flying to the other pole, by shunning the society of such wretches; but what avails it to me, that you are the very man I could wish, when I am separated from you by sea and land ? If you will quit Marino, and sail with me, I will fly from Almack's, though, whatever evil 1 may have suffered from my connexion with that place, I shall always with gratitude remember that there I first began my acquaintance with you; and in the very sincerity of truth I can say, that I would rather have such a friend as you, even at three hundred miles distance, than both the houses of parliament for my friends in London.-I find when I have once begun to converse with you, I cannot leave off; you have spoiled me, my lord, and must take the consequence. Why should fortune have placed our paltry concerns in two different islands ? If we could keep them, they are not worth one hour's conversation at Elmsly's *. If life is good for any thing, it is only made so by the society of those whom we love. At all events, I will try to come to Ireland, and shall take no excuse from you, for not coming early in the winter to London. The club exists but by your presence; the flourishing of learned men is the glory of the state, Mr. Vesey will tell you that our club consists of the greatest men in the world, consequently you see there is a good and patriotic reason for you to return to England in the winter. Pray make my best respects to Lady Charlemont and Miss Hickman t, and tell them I wish they were at this moment sitting at the door of our alehouse in Gerrard Street f. Believe me to be, my dear lord, with the utmost sincerity, affectionately yours,
* Elmsley the bookseller.
I Gerrard Street. The Turk's Head Tavern in that street, where the literary club then held their meetings.
TOPHAM BEAUCLERK, ESQ. TO THE EARL OF
Adelphi, Nov. 20, 1773. I DELAYED writing to you, as I had flattered myself that I should bave been able to have paid you a visit at Dublin before this time, but I have been prevented, not by my own negligence and indolence, but by various matters.—I am rejoiced to find by your letter that Lady C. is as you wish. I have yet remaining so much benevolence towards mankind, as to wish that there may be a son of yours, educated by you, as a specimen of what mankind ought to be. Goldsmith the other day put a paragraph into the newspapers in praise of Lord Mayor Townshend. The same night we happened to sit next to Lord Shelburne, at Drury Lane; I mentioned the circumstance of the paragraph to him ; he said to Goldsmith that he hoped that he mentioned nothing about Malagrida in it? “ Do you know," answered Goldsmith, “ that I never could conceive the reason why they call you Malagrida, for Malagrida was a very good sort of a man. You see plainly what he meant to say, but that happy turn of expression is peculiar to himself. Mr. Walpole says that this is a picture of Goldsmith's whole life.—Johnson has been confined for some weeks in the Isle of Sky; we hear that he was obliged to swim over to the main land, taking hold of a cow's tail. Be that as it may, Lady Di, * has promised to make
MY DEAR LORD,
* Lady Diana Beauclerk, wife to Mr. Beauclerk, and daughter to Charles, late Duke of Marlborough; eminent for her exquisite taste and skill in painting.