“Ye simple astronomers, lay by your glasses;
The transit of Venus has proved you all asses:
Your telescopes signify nothing to scan it;
’Tis not meant in the clouds, ’tis not meant of a planet:
The seer who foretold it mistook or deceives us,
For Venus’s transit is when Grafton leaves us.”
I don’t send your ladyship these verses as good, but to show you that all gallantry does not centre at the Hague.
I wish I could tell you that Stanley(162) and Bussy, by crossing over and figuring in, had forwarded the peace. It is no more made than Belleisle is taken. However, I flatter myself that you will not stay abroad till you return for the coronation, which is ordered for the beginning of October. I don’t care to tell you how lovely the season is; how my acacias are powdered with flowers, and my hay just in its picturesque moment. Do they ever make any other hay in Holland than bulrushes in ditches? My new buildings rise so swiftly, that I shall have not a shilling left, so far from giving commissions on Amsterdam. When I have made my house so big that I don’t know what to do with it, and am entirely undone, I propose, like King Pyrrhus, who took such a roundabout way to a bowl of punch, to sit down and enjoy myself; but with this difference, that it is better to ruin one’s self than all the world. I am sure you would think as I do, though Pyrrhus were King of Prussia. I long to have you bring back the only hero that ever I could endure. Adieu, Madam! I sent you just such another piece of tittle-tattle as this by General Waldegrave: you are very partial to me, or very fond of knowing every thing that passes in your own country, if you can be amused so. If you can, ’tis surely my duty to divert you, though at the expense of my character; for I own I am ashamed when I look back and see four sides of paper scribbled over with nothings.
(157) Lady Ailesbury remained at the Hague while Mr. Conway was with the army during the campaign in 1761.
(158) The music was by Cocchi. Dr. Burney says it was not sufficiently admired to encourage the manager to perform it more than twice.-E.
(159) ’This comedy, which came out in the summer-season at Drury-lane, under the conduct of Foote and the author, met with considerable success. Some of the hints are acknowledged to have been borrowed from Moli`ere’s “Cocu Imaginaire."-E.
(160) Lady Sarah Lenox.-E.
(161) The old punishment for giving a blow in the King’s presence.
(162) Mr. Hans Stanley was at this time employed in negotiating a peace at Paris.-E.
I am glad you will come on Monday, and hope you will arrive in a rainbow and pair, to signify that we are not to be totally drowned. It has rained incessantly, and floated all my new works; I seem rather to be building a pond than a gallery. My farm too is all under water, and what is vexatious, if Sunday had not thrust itself between, I could have got in my hay on Monday. As the parsons will let nobody else make hay on Sundays, I think they ought to make it on that day themselves.