« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
much of the history of those obscure times, and the characters of many remarkable persons. There are two volumes quarto; and another, unpublished yet, will compleat it.
Mr. Walpole writes me now and then a long and lively letter from Paris; to which place he went last year with the gout upon him, sometimes in his limbs, often in his stomach and head. He has got somehow well, (not by means of the climate, one would think) goes to all public places, sees all the best company, and is
very much in fashion. He says he sunk like Queen Eleanor at Charing-Cross, and has risen again at Paris. He returns in April. I saw the Lady you inquire after, when I was last in London, and a prodigious fine one she is. She had a strong suspicion of rouge on her cheeks, a cage of foreign birds and a piping bullfinch at her elbow; two little dogs on a cushion in her lap, and a cockatoo on her shoulder: they were all exceeding glad to see me, and I them.
MR. GRAY TO DR. WHARTON.
Peinbroke-liall, Aug. 26, 1766 Whatever my pen may do, I am sure my thoughts expatiate no where oftener, or with more pleasure, than ito Old Park. I hope you have made my peace with the angry little Lady. It is certain, whether her name
letter or not, she was as present to my memory as the rest of the whole family; and I desire you would present her with two kisses in my name, and one a-piece to all the others; for I shall take the liberty to kiss them all, (great and small) as you are to be my
In spite of the rain, which I think continued, with very short intervals, till the beginning of this month, and quite effaced the summer from the year, I made a shift to pass May and June not disagreeably in Kent. I was surprized at the beauty of the road to Canterbury, which (I know not why) had not struck me be
* Some readers will think this paragraph very trifling; yet many, I hope, will take it, as I give it, for a pleasing example of the amiableness of his domestic character.
fore. The whole country is a rich and well-cultivated garden; orchards, cherry-grounds, hop-gardens, intermixed with corn and frequent villages; gentle risings covered with wood, and every where the Thames and Medway breaking in upon the landscape with all their navigation. It was indeed owing to the bad weather that the whole scene was dressed in that tender emerald green, which one usually sees only for a fortnight in the opening of the spring; and this continued till I left the country. My residence was eight miles east of Canterbury, in a little quiet valley on the skirts of Barham-Down* In these parts the whole soil is chalk, and whenever it holds up, in half an hour it'is dry enough to walk out. I took the opportunity of three or four days fine weather to go into the Isle of Thanet; saw Margate, (which is Bartholomew fair by the seaside) Ramsgate, and other places there; and so came by Sandwich, Deal, Dover, Folkstone, and Hithe, back again. The coast is not like Hartlepool; there are no rocks, but only chalky cliffs of no great height till you come to Dover; there indeed they are noble and picturesque, and the opposite coasts of France begin to bound your view, which was left before to range unlimited by any thing but the horizon; yet it is by no
* At Denton, where his friend the Rev. William Robinson, brother to Matthew Robinson, Esq; late member for Canterbury, then resided.
means a shipless sea, but every where peopled with white sails, and vessels of all sizes in motion : and take notice, (except in the Isle, which is all corn-fields, and has very little inclosure) there are in all places hedgerows, and tall trees even within a few yards of the beach. Particularly, Hithe stands on an eminence covered with wood. I shall confess we had fires at night (ay, and at day too) several times in June; but do not go and take advantage in the north at this, for it was the most untoward year that ever I remember.
Have you read the New Bath Guide? It is the only thing in fashion, and is a new and original kind of humour. Miss Prue's conversion, I doubt, you will paste down, as a certain Yorkshire Baronet did before he carried it to his daughters: yet I remember you all read Crazy Tales without pasting. Buffon's first collection of Monkies is come out, it makes the 14th volume) something, but not much to my edification; for he is pretty well acquainted with their persons, but not with their manners.
My compliments to Mrs. Wharton and all your family; I will not name them, lest I should affront any body.
JIR. GRAY TO MR. MASON,
March 28, 1767.
I Break in upon you at a moment, when we least of all are permitted to disturb our friends, only to say, that you are daily and hourly present to my thoughts. If the worst * be not yet past, you will neglect and pardon me: but if the last struggle be over; if the poor object of your long anxieties be no longer sensible to your kindness, or to her own sufferings, allow me (at least in idea, for what could I do, were I present, more than this?) to sit by you in silence, and pity from my heart not her, who is at rest, but you, who lose her. May He, who made us, the Master of our pleasures and of our pains, preserve and support you! Adieu.
I have long understood how little you had to hope.
* As this little Billet (which I received at the Hot-Wells at Bristol) then breathed, and still seems to breathe, the very voice of Friendship in its tenderest and most pathetic note, I cannot refrain from publishing it in this place. I opened it almost at the precise moment when it would necessarily be the most affecting.