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Godolphin and the Duke of Leeds bear up under their affliction, and that you are well. I shall always be much concerned at every thing that grieves you; and the loss of this very good woman, wbo was a blessing to her family and a good example to the world, must affect even those who had not the happiness of an intimate acquaintance with her. To her virtues one could not refuse one's love as well as esteem, her character was so sweet and amiable. She is now separated from a family which tenderly loved her; from all the grandeur and pomp of her high rank ; but her virtues and her good actions still accompany her, and her friends must find their consolation in re. flecting on her happiness in a world where virtue is always happy : hourly examples convince us it is not so on this globe. I am, dear doctor, your very affectionate friend,
MRS. MONTAGU TO MRS. W. B. DEAR MADAM,
Chaillot, Sep. 10, 1766. I HAD the pleasure of receiving your obliging letter from the hands of a very lively polite French lady. Who she is I cannot learn, for, at Paris, every body does not know every body as at London. Miss G and I were going to step into the coach, with an intention to pass one night in Paris ; but I changed my scheme, and insisted on Madame C- staying the evening: she has travelled a great deal, and is very amusing. I have called twice at her door, but did not find
ber at home: she wrote me a very obliging note to express her regret. I do not know whether I mentioned to you that I was disgusted with the noise and dirtiness of an hotel garni. I had the best apartments in the best hotel at Paris. In my drawingroom I had a fine lustre, noble look. ing glasses, velvet chairs; and, in my bedcham. ber, a rich bed with a superb canopy. Poets and philosophers have told us that cares and solicitudes lurk under rich canopies, but they never told us, that at Paris les punaises lie con. cealed there ; small evils, it may be said, but I assure you as incompatible with sound sleep as the most formidable terrors, or the wildest dreams of ambition. I did not rest well at night, and, in the day, for the few hours I was chez moi, I did not enjoy that kind of comfort one feels at home, so I was determined to have a habitation quite to myself. I got a pretty small house at Chaillot, with the most delightful prospect; it was unfurnished, so I hired furniture. I had not brought house linen, but I found a Flemish linendraper; then I composed my establishment of servants ; I have, of English, French, Italians, Germans, and Savoyards; they cannot combine against me, for they hardly understand one another, but they all understand me, and we are as quiet and orderly as possible: I was not ten days from the time I hired my house before I inhabited it. I made use of it at first as a house to sleep in at night, and to visit from in the day, but I soon found out that it was a house in which one might dine and ask others to dinner. I got an excellent cook, who had lived with the Prince of Wirtemberg, and have since had duchesses, and fine ladies, and learned academicians to dine with me : and I live à la mode de Paris, as much as if I was a native, I have usually only a pair of horses; but when I go to visit, or any where at a distance, the man of whom I hire them fur. nishes me with six and a postilion, so that I have all manner of accommodations..
I placed the boys and Mr. B— at a French school, half a quarter of a mile from hence, where they have an opportunity of talking French all day as well as learning it by rule. If they had been here, the boys must have been continually with servants, for my nephew being too old for a plaything, and not yet a man, it would have been impossible to have introduced him into company. A little child is the prettiest of animals, but of all companions, to be sure a human being before it is at years of rational discourse is the worst, except to those who have a parental affection for them; and though I think it no shame to own I have a wonderful delight in my nephew, whom I have, in a manner, brought up, I should be very absurd to expect otber people should take more pleasure in my nephew than I do in their nephews; nor do I think the conversation of mixed society very good for children. Things are often thrown out in a careless imperfect manner, so as to be very dangerous to young minds; as indi. gested food fills the body, indigested opinions do the mind with crudities and flatulencies, and, perhaps, there is not any place where a young person could be in more danger of being hurt by society than at Paris. Till I had conversed so
intimately with the French, I did not imagine they were so different from us in their opinions, sentiments, manners, and modes of life as I find them. In every thing they seem to think perfection and excellence to be that which is at the greatest distance from simplicity. I verily believe that if they had the ambrosia of the gods served at their table they would perfume it, and they would make a ragout sauce to nectar; we know very well they would put rouge on the cheek of Hebe. If any orator here delivers a very highly adorned period he is clapped ; at the academy where some verses were read, which were a translation of Homer, the more the translator deviated from the simplicity of Homer, the more loud the applause; of their tragedies, an extravagant verse of the poets, and an outrageous action of the actor is clapped. The Corinthian architecture is too plain, and they add ornaments of fancy. The fine Grecian forms of vases and tripods they say are triste, and, therefore, they adorn them. It would be very dangerous to inspire young persons with this contempt of simpli. city, before experience taught choice or discretion. The business of the toilette is here brou'ght to an art and a science. Whatever is supposed to add to the charm of society and conversation is cultivated with the utmost attention. That mode of life is thought most eligible that does not leave one moment vacant from amusement. That style of writing or conversation the best that is always the most brilliant. This kind of high colouring gives a splendour to every thing, which is pleasing to a stranger, who considers every object that presents itself as a sight and as a spectacle, but I think would grow painful if perpetual. I do not mean to say, that there are not some persons and some authors who, in their conversa. tions and writings, have a noble simplicity, but, in general, there is too little of it. This taste of decoration makes every thing pretty, but leaves nothing great. I like my present way of life so well, I should be glad to stay here two months longer, but to avoid the dangers of a winter sea and land journey I shall return, as I intended, the first week in October,
I had a very agreeable French lady to dine with me to-day, and am to dine with her at Ver. sailles on Sunday. As she is a woman of the bedcbamber to the queen, she was obliged (being now in waiting) to ask leave to come to me; the queen, with her leave, said something very gracious concerning the character of your humble servant. The French say so many civil things from the highest of them to the lowest, I am glad I did not come to Paris when I was young enough to have my head turned. · We are going to sup with a most charming Marquise de Deffanta, who, being blind and upwards of fourscore, is polite and gay, and I sup. pose we shall stay till after midnight with her. I hope to get a peep at you in my journey through Kent.
Miss G- desires her best compliments. I have sent you a copy of Voltaire's saucy letter, on a translator of Sbakspeare appearing at Paris; he was very wroth. Mr. le Tourneur, whom be abuses, is a very modest ingenious man. Vol.