It gives me great satisfaction that Strawberry Hill pleased you enough to make it a second visit. I could name the time instantly, but you threaten me with coming so loaded with presents, that it will look mercenary, not friendly, to accept your visit. If your chaise is empty, to be sure I shall rejoice to hear it at my gate about the 22d of this next month: if it is crammed, though I have built a convent, I have not so much of the monk in me as not to blush-nor can content myself with praying to our Lady of Strawberries to reward you.
I am greatly obliged to you for the accounts from Gothurst. What treasures there are still in private seats, if one knew where to hunt them! The emblematic picture of Lady Digby is like that at Windsor, and the fine small one at Mr. Skinner’s. I should be curious to see the portrait of Sir Kenelm’s father; was not he the remarkable Everard Digby?(247) How singular too is the picture of young Joseph and Madam Potiphar! His Mujora—one has heard of Josephs that did not find the lady’s purse any hinderance to Majora.
You are exceedingly obliging, in offering to make an index to my prints, Sir; but that would be a sad way of entertaining you. I am antiquary and virtuoso enough myself not to dislike such employment, but could never think it charming enough to trouble any body else with. Whenever you do me the favour of coming hither, you will find yourself entirely at liberty to choose your own amusements—if you choose a bad one, and in truth there is not very good, you must blame yourself, while you know I hope that it would be my wish that you did not repent your favours to, Sir, etc.
(247) Executed in 1605, as a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot.-E.
Madam, I hope you are as free from any complaint, as I am sure you are full of joy. Nobody partakes more of your satisfaction for Mr. Hervey’s(248) safe return; and now he is safe, I trust you enjoy his glory: for this is a wicked age; you are one of those un-Lacedaemonian mothers, that are not content unless your children come off with all their limbs. A Spartan countess would not have had the confidence of my Lady Albemarle to appear in the drawing-room without at least one of her sons being knocked on the head.(249) However, pray, Madam, make my compliments to her; one must conform to the times, and congratulate people for being happy, if they like it. I know one matron, however, with whom I may condole; who, I dare swear, is miserable that she has not one of her acquaintance in affliction, and to whose door she might drive with all her sympathizing greyhounds to inquire after her, and then to Hawkins’s, and then to Graham’s, and then cry over a ball of rags that she is picking, and be sorry for poor Mrs. Such-a-one, who has lost an only son!