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Lady Mary Wortley Montague eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about Lady Mary Wortley Montague.
undoubtedly find pain; whoever will pursue ease will as certainly find pleasures.  The world’s esteem is the highest gratification of human vanity; and that is more easily obtained in a moderate fortune than an overgrown one, which is seldom possessed, never gained, without envy.  I say esteem; for, as to applause, it is a youthful pursuit, never to be forgiven after twenty, and naturally succeeds the childish desire of catching the setting sun, which I can remember running very hard to do:  a fine thing truly if it could be caught; but experience soon shows it to be impossible.  A wise and honest man lives to his own heart, without that silly splendour that makes him a prey to knaves, and which commonly ends in his becoming one of the fraternity.  I am very glad to hear Lord Bute’s decent economy sets him above anything of that kind.  I wish it may become national.  A collective body of men differs very little from a single man; frugality is the foundation of generosity.  I have often been complimented on the English heroism, who have thrown away so many millions, without any prospect of advantage to themselves, purely to succour a distressed princess.  I never could hear these praises without some impatience; they sounded to me like panegyrics made by the dependents on the Duke of Newcastle and poor Lord Oxford, bubbled when they were commended, and laughed at when undone.  Some late events will, I hope, open our eyes:  we shall see we are an island, and endeavour to extend our commerce rather than the Quixote reputation of redressing wrongs and placing diadems on heads that should be equally indifferent to us.  When time has ripened mankind into common sense, the name of conqueror will be an odious title.  I could easily prove that, had the Spaniards established a trade with the Americans, they would have enriched their country more than by the addition of twenty-two kingdoms, and all the mines they now work—­I do not say possess; since, though they are the proprietors, others enjoy the profit.”

Mary’s letters at this period of her life are so entertaining that a few may well be inserted here for the sheer pleasure of reading them.

TO THE COUNTESS OF BUTE

“Padua, September 30, 1757.

“Lord Bute has been so obliging as to let me know your safe delivery, and the birth of another daughter; may she be as meritorious in your eyes as you are in mine!  I can wish nothing better to you both, though I have some reproaches to make you.  Daughter! daughter! don’t call names; you are always abusing my pleasures, which is what no mortal will bear.  Trash, lumber, sad stuff, are the titles you give to my favourite amusement.  If I called a white staff a stick of wood, a gold key gilded brass, and the ensigns of illustrious orders coloured strings, this may be philosophically true, but would be very ill received.  We have all our playthings:  happy are they that can be contented

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