The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 3.

Letter 132 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, August 10, 1762. (page 189)

I have received your letter from Greatworth since your return, but I do not find that you have got one, which I sent you to the Vine, enclosing one directed for you:  Mr. Chute says you did mention hearing from me there.  I left your button too in town with old Richard to be transmitted to you.  Our drought continues, though we have had one handsome storm.  I have been reading the story of Phaeton in the Metamorphoses; it is a picture of Twickenham.  Ardet Athos, taurusque Cilix, etc.; Mount Richmond burns, parched is Petersham:  Parnassusque biceps, dry is Pope’s grot, the nymphs of Clievden are burning to blackmoors, their faces are already as glowing as a cinder, Cycnus is changed into a swan:  quodque suo Tagus amne vehit, fluit ignibus aurum; my gold fishes are almost molten.  Yet this conflagration is nothing to that in Russia; what do you say to a czarina mounting her horse, and marching at the head of fourteen thousand men, with a large train of artillery, to dethrone her husband?  Yet she is not the only virago in that country; the conspiracy was conducted by the sister of the Czar’s mistress, a heroine under twenty!  They have no fewer than two czars now in coops-that is, supposing these gentle damsels have murdered neither of them.  Turkey Will become a moderate government; one must travel to frozen climates if one chooses to see revolutions in perfection.  Here’s room for meditation even to madness:”  the deposed Emperor possessed Muscovy, was heir to Sweden, and the true heir of Denmark; all the northern crowns centered in his person; one hopes he is in a dungeon, that is, one hopes he is not assassinated.  You cannot crowd more matter into a lecture of morality, than is comprehended in those few words.  This is the fourth czarina that you and I have seen:  to be sure, as historians, we have not passed our time ill.  Mrs. Anne Pitt, who, I suspect, envies the heroine of twenty a little, says, “The Czarina has only robbed Peter to pay Paul;” and I do not believe that her brother, Mr. William Pitt, feels very happy, that he cannot immediately despatch a squadron to the Baltic to reinstate the friend of’ the King of Prussia.  I cannot afford to live less than fifty years more; for so long, I suppose, at least, it will be before the court of Petersburgh will cease to produce amusing scenes.  Think of old Count Biren, former master of that empire, returning to Siberia, and bowing to Bestucheff, whom he may meet on the road from thence.  I interest myself now about nothing but Russia; Lord Bute must be sent to the Orcades before I shall ask a question in English politics; at least I shall expect that Mr. Pitt, at the head of the Preobazinski guards, will seize the person of the prime minister for giving up our conquests to the chief enemy of this nation.

My pen is in such a sublime humour, that it can scarce condescend to tell you that Sir Edward Deering is going to marry Polly Hart, Danvers’s old mistress; and three more baronets, whose names nobody knows, but Collins, are treading in the same steps.

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