I have been for a few days this week at Lord Thomond’s; by making a river-like piece of water, he has converted a very ugly spot into a tolerable one. As I was so near, I went to see Audley Inn(231) once more; but it is only the monument now of its former grandeur. The gallery is pulled down, and nothing remains but the great hall, and an apartment like a tower at each end. In the church I found, still existing and quite fresh, the escutcheon of the famous Countess of Essex and Somerset.
Adieu! I shall expect you with great pleasure the beginning of next month.
(230) Robert Montagu, third Duke of Manchester, lord-chamberlain to the Queen, died on the 10th of May.-E.
(231) In Essex; formerly the largest palace in England. It was built out of the ruins of a dissolved monastery, near Saffron Walden, by Thomas, second son of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, who married the only daughter and heir of Lord Audley, chancellor to King Henry VIII. This Thomas was summoned to parliament in Queen Elizabeth’s time as Lord Audley of Walden, and was afterwards created Earl of Suffolk by James I., to whom he was lord chancellor and lord high treasurer. It was intended for a royal palace for that King, who, when it was finished, was invited to see it, and lodged there one night on his way to Newmarket; when, after having viewed it with astonishment, he was asked how he approved of it, he answered, “Very well; but troth, man, it is too much for a king, but it may do for a lord high treasurer;” and so left it upon the Earl’s hands. It was afterwards purchased by Charles ii.; but, as he had never been able to pay the purchase-money, it was restored to the family by William iii.-E.
Dear Sir, You have sent me the most kind and obliging letter in the world, and I cannot sufficiently thank you for it; but I shall be very glad to have an opportunity of acknowledging it in person, by accepting the agreeable visit you are so good as to offer me, and for which I have long been impatient. I should name the earliest day possible; but besides having some visits to make, I think it will bi more pleasant to you a few weeks hence (I mean, any time in July,) when the works, with which I am finishing my house, will be more advanced, and the noisy part, as laying floors and fixing wainscots, at an end, and which now make me a deplorable litter. As you give me leave, I will send You notice.
I am glad my books amused you;(232) yet you, who are so much deeper an antiquarian, must have found more faults and emissions, I fear, than your politeness suffers you to reprehend; yet you will, I trust, be a little more severe. We both labour, I will not say for the public (for the public troubles its head very little about our labours),. but for the few of posterity that shall be curious; and therefore, for their sake, you must assist me in making my works as complete as possible. This sounds ungrateful, after all the trouble you have given yourself; but I say it to prove my gratitude, and to show you how fond I am of being corrected.