(163) This piece, founded on Fontaine’s “Trois Souhaits,” was written in imitation of the Italian comedy; Harlequin, Pantaloon, Columbine, etc. being introduced into it as speaking characters. “Many parts of it,” says the Biographia Dramatica, “exhibit very just satire and solid sense, and give evident testimony of the author’s learning, knowledge, understanding, and critical judgment; yet the deficiency of incident which appears in it, as well as of that lively kind of wit which is one of the essentials of perfect comedy, seem, in great measure, to justify that coldness with which the piece was received by the town."-E.
You are a pretty sort of a person to come to one’s house and get sick, only to have an excuse for not returning to it. Your departure is so abrupt, that I don’t know but I may expect to find that Mrs. Jane Truebridge, whom you commend so much, and call Mrs. Mary, will prove Mrs. Hannah. Mrs. Clive is still more disappointed: she had proposed to play at quadrille with you from dinner till supper, and to sing old Purcell to you from supper to breakfast next morning.(164) If you cannot trust yourself from Greatworth for a whole fortnight, how will you do in Ireland for six months? Remember all my preachments, and never be in spirits at supper. Seriously I am sorry you are out of order, but am alarmed for you at Dublin, and though all the bench of bishops should quaver Purcell’s hymns, don’t let them warble you into a pint of wine. I wish you were going among catholic prelates, who would deny you the cup. Think of me and resist temptation. Adieu!
(164) Dr. Burney tells us, that Mrs. Clive’s singing, “which was intolerable when she meant to be fine, in ballad-farces and songs of humour, was, like her comic acting, every thing it should be."-E.
My dear lord, I cannot live at Twickenham and not think of you: I have long wanted to write, and had nothing to tell you. My Lady D. seems to have lost her sting; she has neither blown up a house nor a quarrel since you departed. Her wall, contiguous to you, is built, but so precipitate and slanting that it seems hurrying to take water. I hear she grows sick of her undertakings. We have been ruined by deluges; all the country was under water. Lord Holderness’s new foss`e(165) was beaten in for several yards — this tempest was a little beyond the dew of Hermon, that fell on the Hill of Sion. I have been in still more danger by water: my parroquet was on my shoulder as I was feeding my gold-fish, and flew into the middle of the pond: I was very near being the Nouvelle Eloise, and tumbling in after him; but with much ado I ferried him out with my hat.