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L E T TER XI.
whole family, to think you will all be pleased that I am arrived in safety at Twickenham; tho' it is a fort of earnest that you will be troubled again with me, at Sherburne, or Coleshill; for however 1 may
like one of your places, it may be in that as in liking one of your family; when one sees the rest, one likes them all. Pray make
Pray make my services acceptable to them; I wish them all the happiness they may want, and the continuance of all the happiness they have; and I take the latter to comprize a great deal more than the former. I must separate Lady Scudamore from you, as, I fear, fhe will do herself before this letter reaches you: so I wish her a good Journey,and I hope one day to try if she lives as well as you do: tho' I much question if she can live as quietly : I suspect the Bells will be ringing at her arrival, and on her own and Miss Scudamore's birthdays, and that all the Clergy in the country, come to pay respects; both the Clergy and their Bells expecting from her, and from the young Lady, further bufis ness and further employment. Besides all this, there dwells on the one fide of her the Lady Conningsby, and on the other Mr. W* Yet I thall, when the days and the years come about, adventure upon all this for her fake.
I beg my Lord Digby to think me a better man than to content myself with thanking him in the common way. I am in as fincere a fenfe of the word, his fervant, as you are his fon, or he your father.
I must in my turn infift upon hearing how my laft fellow-travellers got home from Clarendon, and desire Mr. Philips to remember me in his Cyder, and to tell Mr. W* that I am dead and buried.
I with the young Ladies, whom I almoft robba of their good name, a better name in return (even that very name to each of them, which they shali like beft, for the sake of the man that bears it.)
L E T T E R XII.
1722. OUR making a sort of apology for your not
writing, is a very genteel reproof to me. I know I was to blame, but I know I did not intend to be so, and (what is the happiest knowledge in the world) I know you will forgive me: for sure nothing is more fatisfactory than to be certain of such a friend as will overlook one's failings, since every such inftance is a conviction of his kind nefs.
If I am all my life to dwell in intentions, and never to rise to actions, I have but too much need of that gentle difpofition which I experience in you. But I hope better things of myself, and fully purpose to make you a visit this summer at Sherburne. I'm told you are all upon removal very speedily, and that Mrs. Mary Digby talks in a letter to Lady Scudamore, of feeing my Lord Bathurst's wood in her way. How much I wish to be her guide thro? ' that enchanted foreft, is not to be exprest: I look upon myself as the magician appropriated to the place, without whom no mortal can penetrate into the recesses of those facred fhades. I could país whole days, in only defcribing to her the future, and as yet visionary beauties, that are to rise in thofe scenes: the palace that is to be built, the pavillions that are 'to glitter, the colonades that are to adorn them : nay more, the meeting of the Thames and
the Severn, which (when the noble owner has finer dreams than ordinary) are to be led into each other's embraces thro’ secret caverns of not above twelve or fifteen miles, till they rise and celebrate their marriage in the midst of an immense amphitheatre, which is to be the admiration of pofterity, a hundred
years hence. But till the destin'd time shall arrive that is to manifest these wonders, Mrs. Digby must content herself with feeing what is at present no more than the finest wood in England.
The objects that attract this part of the world, are of a quite different nature. Women of quality are all turn’d followers of the camp in Hyde-Park this year, whither all the town resort to magnificent entertainments given by the officers, &c. The Scythian Ladies that dwelt in the waggons of war, were not more closely attached to the luggage. The matrons, like those of Sparta, attend their sons to the field, to be the witnesses of their glorious deeds i and the maidens with all their charms display'd, provoke the spirit of the Soldiers : Tea and Coffee supply the place of Lacedemonian black broth, This Camp seems crown'd with perpetual victory, for every
sun that rises in the thunder of cannon; sets in the musick of violins. Nothing is yet wanting but the constant presence of the Princess, to reá present the Mater Exercitus.
At Twickenham the world goes otherwise. There are certain old people who take up all my time, and will hardly allow me to keep any other company. They were introduced here by a man of their own fort, who has made me perfectly rude to all contemporaries, and won't so much as suffer me to look upon them. The person I complain of is the Bishop of Rochester. Yet he allows me (from something he has heard of your character and that of your family, as if you were of the old sect of moralists) to write three or four sides of paper to
you, and to tell you (what these sort of people never tell but with truth and religious fincerity) that I am, "and ever will be,
LE T T E R XIII.
THE fame reason that hinder'd your writing,
hinder'd mine, the pleasing expectation to see you in town. Indeed since the willing confinement I have lain under here with my mother (whom it is natural and reasonable I should rejoice with, as well as grieve) I could the better bear your absence from London, for I could hardly have seen you there; and it would not have been quite reasonable to have drawn
to a fick room hither from the first embraces of your friends. My mother is now (! thank God) wonderfully recovered, tho' not lo much as yet to venture out of her chamber, but enough to enjoy a few particular friends, when they have the good nature to look upon
may recommend to you the room we sit in, upon one (and that a favourite) account, that it is the very warmest in the house; we and our fires will equally smile upon your face. There is a Persian proverb that says (I think very prettily) “ The conversation of « a friend brightens the eyes.” This I take to be a splendor still more agreeable than the fires you fo delightfully describe.
That you may long enjoy your own fire-fide in the metaphorical tense, that is, all those of your family who make it pleasing to fit and fpend whole wintry months together (a far more rational delight, and better felt by an honest heart, than all the glaring entertainments, numerous lights, and false fplendors, of an Assembly of empty heads, aking hearts,
and false faces.) This is my fincere wish to you
You say you propose much pleasure in seeing fome few faces about town of my acquaintance. I guess you mean Mrs. Howard's and Mrs. Blounts. And I assure you, you ought to take as much pleasure in their hearts, if they are what they fometimes express with regard to you.
Believe me, dear Sir, to you all, a very faithful fervant.
L ET TER XIV.
From Mr. DIG BY:
Sherburne, Aug. 14, 1723. Can't return from fo agreeable an entertainment
as yours in the country, without acknowledging it. I thank you heartily for the new agreeable idea of life you there gave me; it will remain long with me, for it is very strongly impressed upon my imagination. I repeat the memory of it often, and shall value that faculty of the mind now more than every for the power it gives me of being entertained in your villa; when absent from it. As you are pofsessed of all the pleafures of the country, and, as I think, of a right mind, what can I wish you but health to enjoy them? This I fo heartily do, that I should be even glad to hear your good old mother might lose all her present pleafures in her unwearied care of you, by your better health convincing them it is unnecessary. I am troubled and fhall be fo till I hear
have received this letter : for you gave me the greatest pleasure imaginable in yours, and I am impatient to acknowledge it.
If I any ways deserve that