(1790,) Dec. 8, Wednesday, Richmond.—You have bean at C(astle) H(oward) ever since Monday sevennight, and not one single word have you received from your humble slave and beadsman. . . . Here is now come a snip-snap letter of reproach from Lady Ossory for not having answered her letter of compliments upon Lady Caroline’s delivery. I received yours on Sunday. That was no post day, so I resolved to answer it in Berkley Square on Monday. But I did not set out till three o’clock, lost all the fine part of the morning, and did not get to town till five in the afternoon—dragged for two hours, two whole hours, through mud, and cold, and mist, till I was perishing; so that when I had eat some dinner I was fit for nothing but to go to bed, and therefore did not go to Berkley Square till yesterday at noon. . . . I saw Caroline and her bambino. . . . The christening is to be, as I understand, to-morrow. I hope in God that I shall be well enough to assist, and name the child, and eat cake, and go through all the functions of a good gossip. If I am obliged to give up that which seems to have been my vocation, c’est fait de moi; I must declare myself good for nothing. I carried yesterday the regalia. The cup has been new boiled, and looks quite royal.
Sir L. Pepys was with me in the morning, and thought my pulse very quiet, which could only have been from the fatigue of the day before—juste Dieu! fatigue, of going 8 or 9 miles, my legs on the foreseat, and reposing my head on Jones’s shoulder. The Duke would make her go, and everybody. He thinks that I am now the most helpless creature in the world, when, from infirmity, I want ten times more aid than I ever did. Sir Lucas pronounced no immediate end of myself, but that I should continue to bark, with hemlock. I’ll do anything for some time longer, but my patience will, I see, after a certain time, be exhausted. As to poor Pierre, it is over with him. Sir Lucas says the disorder is past all remedy. This is a most distressful story to me, and how to supply his place I do not know.
With this letter a correspondence, unique and delightful, extending over many years, ends. At its close we may well recall Lord Carlisle’s words written fourteen years before, “I shall always be grateful to fortune,” he said, “. . . for having linked me in so close a friendship with yourself, in spite of disparity of years and pursuits.” Selwyn returned to London shortly before Christmas, and died on the 25th of January, 1791. On this very day Walpole, with a touching simplicity and truth, wrote to Miss Berry, “I am on the point of losing, or have lost, my oldest acquaintance and friend, George Selwyn, who was yesterday at the extremity. These misfortunes, tho’ they can be so but for a short time, are very sensible to the old; but him I really loved not only for his infinite wit, but for a thousand good qualities.”