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

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the presidentship; but there are many ifs in this arrangement; the principal if is, if they dare stand a tempest which has so terrified the pilot.  You ask what becomes of Mr. Fox?  Not at all pleased with this sudden determination, which has blown up so many of his projects, and left him time to heat no more furnaces, he goes to France by the way of the House of Lords,(270) but keeps his place and his tools till something else happens.  The confusion I suppose will be enormous, and the next act of the drama a quarrel among the opposition, who would be all-powerful if they could do what they cannot, hold together and not quarrel for the plunder.  As I shall be at a distance for some days, I shall be able to send you no more particulars of this interlude, but you will like a pun my brother made when he was told of this explosion:  “Then,” said he, “they must turn the Jacks out of the drawing-room again, and again take them into the kitchen.”  Adieu! what a world to set one’s heart on!

270) Mr. Fox was Created Baron Holland of Foxley.-E.

Letter 151 To George Montagu, Esq.  Strawberry Hill, April 14, 1763. (page 210)

I have received your two letters together, and foresaw that your friendly good heart would feel for us just as you do.  The loss is irreparable,(271) and my poor niece is sensible it is.  She has such a veneration for her lord’s memory, that if her sister and I make her cheerful for a moment, she accuses herself of it the next day to the Bishop of Exeter,(272) as if he was her confessor, and that she had committed a crime.  She cried for two days to such a degree, that if she had been a fountain it must have stopped.  Till yesterday she scarce eat enough to keep her alive, and looks accordingly; but at her age she must be comforted:  her esteem will last, but her spirits will return in spite of herself.  Her lord has made her sole executrix, and added what little douceurs he could to her jointure, which is but a thousand pounds a-year, the estate being but three-and-twenty hundred.  The little girls will have about eight thousand pounds apiece; for the teller’s place was so great during the war, that notwithstanding his temper was a sluice of generosity, he had saved thirty thousand pounds since his marriage.

Her sisters have been here with us the whole time.  Lady Huntingtower is all mildness and tenderness; and by dint of attention I have not displeased the other.  Lord Huntingtower has been here once; the Bishop most of the time:  he is very reasonable and good-natured, and has been of great assistance and comfort to me in this melancholy office, which is to last here till Monday or Tuesday.  We have got the eldest little girl too, Lady Laura, who is just old enough to be amusing; and last night my nephew arrived here from Portugal.  It was a terrible meeting at first; but as he is very soldierly and lively, he got into spirits, and diverted us much with his relations of the war and the country.  He confirms all we have heard of the villany, poltroonery, and ignorance of the Portuguese, and of their aversion to the English; but I could perceive, even through his relation, that our flippancies and contempt of them must have given a good deal of play to their antipathy.

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