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MISS TALBOT TO LADY MARY GREY.
October 30, 1736. I do not believe it possible to finish a letter to you, dear Lady Mary, and so I have desired my lady duchess, with whom I have just been devouring ham and chickens for the honour of his majesty, to make my excuse. But
'Tis glorious falling in a great attempt.
So while my gown is pinning up in one corner of the room, my head dressing in another, a needle of immense length pointed directly at my throat, my eyes every where, my thoughts at the ball, half my heart at rest, and only one hand upon the paper, for they are sowing ruffles upon the other; in this situation I begin to write. I am as dry as I wish your eyes may always have reason to be ; as hot as the puppet show room ; have been writing as many letters as a secretary of state ; have as fine à necklace as you can imagine it in the power of pearl, my lady duchess, and my Lady Betty to make; am, as you see by this, as well attended as the moon with all her stars about her; and am as much an humble servant, and sincerest to you and Lady Mary, as to
MISS TALBOT TO THE HON. MISS CAMPBELL.
* * * * You know Browne Willis, or at least it is not my fault that you do not, for when at any time some of his oddities have peculiarly struck my fancy, I have written you whole volumes about him. However, that you may not be forced to recollect how I have formerly tired you, I will repeat, that with one of the honestest bearts in the world, he has one of the oddest heads that ever dropped out of the moon. Extremely well versed in coins, he knows hardly any thing of mankind; and you may judge what kind of education such a one is likely to give to four wild girls, who have had no female directress to polish their behaviour, or any other habitation than a great rambling mansion house in a country village. As, by his little knowledge of the world, he has ruined a fine estate, that was, when he first had it, 2000l. per annum, his present circumstances oblige him to an odd-headed kind of frugality, that shows itself in the slovenliness of his dress, and makes him think London much too extravagant an abode for his daughters; at the same time that his zeal for antiquities makes him think an old copper farthing very cheaply bought with a guinea, and any journey properly undertaken that will bring him to some old cathedral on the saints' day to which it was dedicated. -As, if you confine the natural growth of a tree, it may shoot out in the wrong place; in spite of his expensiveness, he appears saving in almost every article of life, that people would expect
bim otherwise in, and, in spite of his frugality, his fortune, I believe, grows worse and worse every day. I have told you before, that he is
that it is quite disagreeable to sit near him at table: he makes one suit of clothes serve him at least two years, and as to his great coat, it has been transmitted down I believe from generation to generation ever since Noah. On Sunday he was quite a beau. The bishop of Gloucester is his idol, and (if Mr. Willis were Pope St. Martin, as he calls him) would not wait a minute for canonization. To honour last Sunday as it deserved, after having run about all the morning to all the St. George's churches whose difference of hours permitted him, he came to dine with us, in a tie wig, that exceeds indeed all description. It is a wig (the very colour of it is inexpressible) that he has bad, be says, these nine years, and of late it has lain by at his barber's, never to be put on but once a year, in honour of the bishop of Gloucester's birth-day. Indeed, in this birth-day tie wig he looked so like the Father in the farce Mrs. Secker was so diverted with, that I wished a thousand times for the invention of Scapin, and I would have made no scruple of assuming the character for our diversion.
And now, farewell, my pen! In gratitude for the assistance thou hast given me, towards making a tedious time seem shorter, towards defeating the malice of a tedious absence, otherwise little interrupted, and preserving me a place in those memories where it is best worth preserving, here vol. v.
will I tie thee to my desk, to rest from all thy labours, when thou hast crowned them with assuring my dear Miss Campbell how sincerely I am always her's,
MR. LYTTLETON TO LORD BOLINGBROKE.
· MY LORD,
London, July 30th, 1740. It is no small addition to the grief I feel for the loss of Sir William Wyndham, that I know it must be an inconsolable one to your lordship, and that it comes upon you when your spirit has been weakened by a great fit of illness, as I hear from Mr. Pope, whom I saw yesterday at my return out of Worcestershire. Indeed you will have need of all your philosophy to support such a blow, which falls as heavy upon the public as it does upon you ; so that you have the affliction of your country to bear as well as your own. Nor do I see any comfort to either, but resignation to Providence ; for the loss is irreparable.,
Besides his abilities and integrity, there were some peculiar circumstances in Sir William Wyndham's situation, which made him of the utmost importance to his country in the present conjuncture. He was the centre of union to the honest men of all parties. His credit in parliament was the only check to the corrupt part of the Whig opposition, and his influence with the Tories the only means of keeping that party in any system of rational measures. Now he is gone, those who look towards the court will pursue their schemes with little or no difficulty, without any regard to the coalition, or any rational reformation of government, but rather to build a new fabric on Sir Robert's name and rotten foundation; and it is much to be feared that resentment, despair, and their inability of conducting themselves, may drive the Tories back into their old prejudices, heat, and extravagance. That this is too likely to happen, I dare say, your lordship feels and laments. What alone could prevent it, is, I doubt, not likely to happen, viz. that the prince should have credit enough with the best part of the Tories ; with that part, I mean, which was under the influence of Sir William Wyndham, to keep them united under him with the uncorrupt part of the Whigs, and that the views of this coalition should be steadily, vigilantly, and warmly pursued.
This, my lord, might yet preserve us from impending destruction ; but if, even with the mediation of Sir William Wyndham, this could not be effected ; if, even with him at our head, we were inactive, careless, and ready to break asunder every day, what hope is there now of greater activity, greater confidence, or union in our proceedings ? Who shall take the lead in the house of commons ? Who has authority enough there to defeat the perfidy of some, and to spirit up the languor of others, to direct our measures, and to give them weight and order and dignity ?
To say the truth, after losing, in one year, Lord Polworth and Sir William Wyndham, to hope to resist the fall of this nation is a sort of presumption. But though to hope may be folly;