« ПредишнаНапред »
been a little more communicative: for, though disposed enough to believe the opposition rather consumptive, I am entirely ignorant of all the symptoms. Your canonical book I have been reading with great satisfaction. He speaketh as one having authority. If Englishmen have any feeling left, methinks they must feel now; and if the ministry have any feeling (whom nobody will suspect of insensibility) they must cut off the author's ears, for it is in all the forms a most wicked libel. Is the old man and the lawyer put on, or is it real? or has some real lawyer furnished a good part of the materials, and another person employed them? This I guess; for there is an uncouthness of diction in the beginning, which is not supported throughout—though it now and then occurs again, as if the writer was weary of supporting the character he had assumed, when the subject had warmed him beyond dissimulation.*
Rousseau's Letterst I am reading heavily, heavily ! He justifies himself, till he convinces me that he deserved to be burnt, at least that his book, did. I am not got through him, and you never will. Voltaire I detest, and have not seen his book: I shall in good time. You surprise me, when you talk of going in February. Pray, does all the minority go too? I hope you have a reason. Desperare de republica is a deadly sin in politics.
Adieu! I will not take my leave of you; for (you perceive) this letter means to beg another, when you can
spare a little.
* Mr. Gray may probably allude to a pamphlet, called “ A Letter concerning Libels, Warrants, Seizure of Papers, and Security for the Peace or Behaviour, with a View to some late Proceedings, and the Defence of them by the Majority.”Supposed to have been written by William Greaves, Esq. a master in Chancery, under the inspection of the late Lord Camden. + The Lettres de la Montague.
# To Paris.
Cambridge, December 13, 1765. I am very much obliged to you for the detail you enter into on the subject of your own health : in this you cannot be too circumstantial for me, who had received no account of you, but at second hand-such as, that you were dangerously ill, and therefore went to France; that you meant to try a better climate, and therefore staid at Paris; that you had relapsed, and were confined to your bed, and extremely in vogue, and supped in the best company, and were at public diversions. I rejoice to find (improbable as it seemed) that all the wonderful part of this is strictly true, and that the serious part has been a little exaggerated. This latter I conclude not so much from your own account of yourself, as from the spirits in which I see you write; and long may they continue to support you! I mean in a reasonable degree of elevation : but if (take notice) they are so volatile, so flippant, as to suggest any of those doctrines of health, which you preach with all the zeal of a French atheist; at least, if they really do influence your practice; I utterly renounce them and all their works. They are evil spirits, and will lead you to destruction.—You have long built your hopes on temperance, you say, and hardiness. On the first point we are agreed. The second has totally disappointed you, and therefore you will persist in it; by all means. But then be sure to persist too in being young, in stopping the course of time, and making the shadow return back upon your sun-dial. If you find this not so easy, acquiesce with a good grace in my anilities, put on your under-stockings of yarn or woollen, even in the night-time. Don't provoke me! or I shall order you two night-caps (which by the way would do your eyes good), and put a little of any French liqueur into your water: they are nothing but brandy and sugar, and among their various flavours some of
them may surely be palatable enough. The pain in your feet I can bear; but I shudder at the sickness in your stomach, and the weakness that still continues. I conjure you, as you love yourself; I conjure you by Strawberry, not to trifle with these edge-tools. There is no cure for the gout, when in the stomach, but to throw it into the limbs. There is no relief for the gout in the limbs, but in gentle warmth and gradual perspiration.
I was much entertained with your account of our neighbours. As an Englishman and an Antigallican, I rejoice at their dulness and their nastiness; though I . fear we shall come to imitate them in both. Their atheism is a little too much, too shocking to rejoice at. I have been long sick at it in their authors, and hated them for it: but I pity their poor innocent people of fashion. They were bad enough, when they believed every thing!
I have searched where you directed me; which I could not do sooner, as I was at London when I received your letter, and could not easily find her Grace's works. Here they abound in every library. The print* you ask after is the frontispiece to Nature's Pictures drawn by Fancy's Pencil. But lest there should be any mistake, I must tell you, the family are not at dinner, but sitting round a rousing fire and telling stories. The room is just such a one as we lived in at Rheims; I mean as to the glazing and ceiling. The chimney is supported by cariatides; over the mantel-piece the arms of the family. The Duke and Duchess are crowned with laurel. A servant stands behind him, holding a hat and feather: another is shutting a window. Diepenbecke delin. & (I think) S. Clouwe sculps. It is
* Mr. Walpole had observed that he had been shewn a print of the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle at dinner with their family; in consequence he requested Mr. Gray to examine their graces' folios, and ascertain if it was not a frontispiece to some one of them.
a very pretty and curious print, and I thank you for the sight of it. If it ever was a picture, what a picture to have!
I must tell you, that upon cleaning an old picture here at St. John's Lodge, which I always took for a Holbein; on a ring, which the figure wears, they have found H. H. It has been always called B. V. Fisher; but is plainly a layman, and probably Sir Anthony Denny, who was a benefactor to the college.
What is come of your Sevigné-curiosity? I should be glad of a line now and then, when you have leisure. I wish you well, and am ever
Pembroke-college, Feb. 14, 1768. I RECEIVED the book* you were so good to send me, and have read it again (indeed I could hardly be said to have read it before) with attention and with pleasure. Your second edition is so rapid in its progress, it will now hardly answer any purpose to tell you either my own objections, or those of other people. Certain it is, that you are universally read here; but what we think, is not so easy to come at. We stay as usual to see the success, to learn the judgment of the town, to be directed in our opinions by those of more competent judges. If they like you, we shall; if
any one of name write against you, we give you up: for we are modest and diffident of ourselves, and not without reason. History in particular is not our fort; for (the truth is) we read only modern books and the pamphlets of the day. I have heard it objected, that you raise doubts and difficulties, and do not satisfy them by telling us what was really the case. I have heard you charged with disrespect to the King of Prussia; and above all to King
The Historic Doubts.