“The French Ambassadress is forced to comply with this fashion as well as myself. She has not been here much above a year, and has lain in once, and is big again. What is most wonderful is, the exemption they seem to enjoy from the curse entailed on the sex. They see all company the day of their delivery, and, at the fortnight’s end, return visits, set out in their jewels and new clothes. I wish I may find the influence of the climate in this particular. But I fear I shall continue an Englishwoman in that affair.”
Lady Mary gave birth to a daughter, Mary, in February. “I don’t mention this as one of my diverting adventures,” she wrote to Lady Mar, “though I must own that it is not half so mortifying here as in England, there being as much difference as there is between a little cold in the head, which sometimes happens here, and the consumptive cough, so common in London. Nobody keeps their house a month for lying in; and I am not so fond of any of our customs to retain them when they are not necessary. I returned my visits at three weeks’ end.”
So soon as possible after this domestic event, preparations for the return journey were made. The party went by sea to Tunis, thence to Genoa, Turin, Lyons, and Paris. Their arrival at Paris in October was notified by Lady Mar to her husband: “You’ll be surprised to hear 657 [i.e., Lady Mary] is here. She arrived the day after me. You may believe how much incognito I am. ’Twas in vain to attempt being so. Twould fill a whole letter to tell you the people that have been to see me. I was very much pleased at seeing 657 and she appeared to be the same.” The sisters had not met for three years.
Montagu re-enters the House of Commons—His miserliness—Pope refers to it—Comments on Society—Lady Mary and a first-class scandal—Remond— His admiration for her—Her imprudent letters to him—The South Sea Bubble—Lady Mary speculates for Remond—She loses money for him—He demands to be re-imbursed—He threatens to publish her letters—She states the case in letters to Lady Mar—Lady Mary meets Pope—His letters to her when she was abroad—He affects to be in love with her—Her matter-of-fact replies—Her parody of his verses, “On John Hughes and Sarah Drew.”