(180) George Fitzroy, afterwards created Lord Southampton.
A few lines before you go; your resolutions are good, and give me great pleasure; bring them back unbroken; I have no mind to lose you; we have been acquainted these thirty years, and to give the devil his due, in all that time I never knew a bad, a false, a mean, or ill-natured thing in the devil—but don’t tell him I say so, especially as I cannot say the same of myself. I am now doing a dirty thing, flattering you to preface a commission. Dickey Bateman(181) has picked up a whole cloister full of old chairs in Herefordshire. He bought them one by one, here and there in farmhouses, for three-and-sixpence, and a crown apiece. They are of’ wood, the seats triangular, the backs, arms, and legs loaded with turnery. A thousand to one but there are plenty up and down Cheshire too. If Mr. and Mrs. Wetenhall, as they ride or drive out would now and then pick up such a chair, it would oblige me greatly. Take notice, no two need be of the same pattern.
Keep it as the secret of your life; but if your brother John addresses himself to me a day or two before the coronation, I can place him well to see the procession: when it is over, I will give you a particular reason why this must be such a mystery. I was extremely diverted t’other day with my mother’s and my old milliner; she said she had a petition to me—“What is it, Mrs. Burton?” “It Is in behalf of two poor orphans.” I began to feel for my purse. “What can I do for them, Mrs. Burton?” “Only if your honour would be so compassionate as to get them tickets for the coronation.” I could not keep my countenance, and these distressed orphans are two and three-and-twenty! Did you ever hear a more melancholy case?
The Queen is expected on Monday. I go to town on Sunday. Would these shows and your Irish journey were over, and neither of us a day the poorer!
I am expecting Mr. Chute to hold a chapter on the cabinet. A barge-load of niches, window-frames, and ribs, is arrived. The cloister is paving, the privy garden making, painted glass adjusting to the windows on the back stairs — with so many irons in the fire, you may imagine I have not much time to write. I wish you a safe and pleasant voyage.
(181) Richard Bateman, brother of Viscount Bateman. In Sir Charles Hanbury Williams’s Poems he figures as “Constant Dickey."-E.