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 158 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Arlington Street, May 21, 1763. (page 221)

You have now seen the celebrated Madame de Boufflers.  I dare say you could in that short time perceive that she is agreeable, but I dare say too that you will agree with me that vivacity is by no means the partage of the French—­bating the `etourderie of the mousquetaires and of a high-dried petit-maitre or two, they appear to me more lifeless than Germans.  I cannot comprehend how they came by the character of a lively people.  Charles Townshend has more sal volatile in him than the whole nation.  Their King is taciturnity itself, Mirepoix was a walking mummy, Nivernois his about as much life as a sick favourite child, and M. Dusson is a good-humoured country gentleman, who has been drunk the day before, and is upon his good behaviour.  If I have the gout next year, and am thoroughly humbled by it again, I will go to Paris, that I may be upon a level with them:  at present, I am trop fou to keep them company.  Mind, I do not insist that, to have spirits, a nation should be as frantic as poor Fanny Pelham, as absurd as the Duchess of Queensbury, or as dashing as the Virgin Chudleigh.  Oh, that you had been’ at her ball t’other night!  History could never describe it and keep its countenance.  The Queen’s real birthday, you know, is not kept:  this maid of honour kept it—­nay, while the court is in mourning, expected people to be out of mourning; the Queen’s family really was so, Lady Northumberland having desired leave for them.  A scaffold was erected in Hyde-park for fireworks.  To show the illuminations without to more advantage, the company were received in an apartment totally dark, where they remained for two hours.  If they gave rise to any more birthdays, who could help it?  The fireworks were fine, and succeeded well.  On each side of the court were two large scaffolds for the Virgin’s tradespeople.  When the fireworks ceased, a large scene was lighted in the court, representing their majesties; on each side of which were six obelisks, painted with emblems, and illuminated; mottoes beneath in Latin and English:  1.  For the Prince of Wales, a ship, Mullorum spes. 2.  For the Princess Dowager, a bird of paradise, and two little ones, meos ad sidera tollo.  People smiled. 3.  Duke of York, a temple, Virtuti et honori. 4.  Princess Augusta, a bird of paradise, Non habet paren—­unluckily this was translated, I have no peer.  People laughed out, considering where this was exhibited. 5.  The three younger princes, an orange tree, Promiiuit et dat. 6. the younger princesses, the flower crown-imperial.  I forget the Latin:  the translation was silly enough, Bashful in youth, graceful in age.  The lady of the house made many apologies for the poorness of the performance, which she said was only oil-paper, painted by one of her servants; but it really was fine and pretty.  The Duke of Kingston was in

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The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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