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 147 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.

Strawberry Hill, Feb. 28, 1763. (page 203)

Your letter of the 19th seems to postpone your arrival rather than advance it; yet Lady Ailesbury tells me that to her you talk of being here in ten days.  I wish devoutly to see you, though I am not departing myself; but I am impatient to have your disagreeable function(264) at an end, and to know that you enjoy Yourself after such fatigues, dangers, and ill-requited services.  For any public satisfaction you will receive in being at home, you must not expect much.  Your mind was not formed to float on the surface of a mercenary world.  My prayer (and my belief) is, that you may always prefer what you always have preferred, your integrity to success.  You will then laugh, as I do, at the attacks and malice of faction or ministers.  I taste of both; but, as my health is recovered, and My Mind does not reproach me, they will perhaps only give me an opportunity, which I should never have sought, of proving that I have some virtue—­and it will not be proved in the way they probably expect.  I have better evidence than by hanging out the tattered ensigns of patriotism.  But this and a thousand other things I shall reserve for our meeting.  Your brother has pressed me much to go with him, if he goes, to Paris.(265) I take it very kindly, but have excused myself, though I have promised either to accompany him for a short time at first, or to go to him if he should have any particular occasion for me:  but my resolution against ever appearing in any public light is unalterable.  When I wish to live less and less in the world here, I cannot think of mounting a new stage at Paris.  At this moment I am alone here, while every body is balloting in the House of Commons.  Sir John Philips proposed a commission of accounts, which has been converted into a select committee of twenty-one, eligible by ballot.  As the ministry is not predominant in the affections of mankind, some of them may find a jury elected that will not be quite so complaisant as the House is in general when their votes are given openly.  As many may be glad of this opportunity, I shun it; for I should scorn to do any thing in secret, though I have some enemies that are not quite so generous.

You say you have seen the North Briton, in which I make a capital figure.  Wilkes, the author, I hear, says, that if he had thought I should have taken it so well, he would have been damned before he would have written it-but I am not sore where I am not sore.

The theatre of Covent-garden has suffered more by riots than even Drury-lane.(266) A footman of Lord Dacre has been hanged for murdering the butler.  George Selwyn had great hand in bringing him to confess it.  That Selwyn should be a capital performer in a scene of that kind is not extraordinary:  I tell it you for the strange coolness which the young fellow, who was but nineteen, expressed:  as he was writing his confession, “I murd—­” he stopped, and asked, “how do you spell murdered?”

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