Dear sir, Wednesday is the day I propose waiting on you; what time of it the Lord and the roads know; so don’t wait for me any part of it. If I should be violently pressed to stay a day longer at Mr. Montagu’s I hope it will be no disappointment to you: but I love to be uncertain, rather than make myself expected and fail.
“Thus far arms have with success been crowned,” bating a few mishaps, which will attend long marches like ours. We have conquered as many towns as Louis Quatorze in the campaign of seventy-two; that is, seen them, for he did little more, and into the bargain he had much better roads, and a dryer summer. It has rained perpetually till to-day, and made us experience the rich soil of Northamptonshire, which is a clay-pudding stuck full of villages. After we parted with you on Thursday, we saw Castle Ashby(305) and Easton MaudUit.(306) The first is most magnificently triste, and has all the formality of the Comptons. I should admire ’It if I could see out of it, or any thing in it, but there is scarce any furniture, and the bad little frames of glass exclude all objects. Easton is miserable enough; there are many modern portraits, and one I was glad to see of the Duchess of Shrewsbury. We lay at Wellingborough—pray never lie there— the beastliest inn upon earth is there! We were carried into a vast bedchamber, which I suppose is the club-room, for it stunk of tobacco like a justice of peace. I desired some boiling water for tea; they brought me a sugar dish of hot water in a pewter plate. Yesterday morning we went to Boughton,(307) where we were scarce landed, before the Cardigans, in a coach and six and three chaises, arrived with a cold dinner in their pockets, on their way to Deane; for as it is in dispute, they never reside at Boughton. This was most unlucky, that we should pitch on the only hour in the year in which they are there. I was so disconcerted, and so afraid, of falling foul of the Countess and her caprices, that I hurried from chamber to chamber, and scarce knew what I saw, but that the house is in the grand old French style, that gods and goddesses lived over my head in every room, and that there was nothing but pedigrees all around me, and under my feet, for there is literally a coat of arms at the end of every step of the stairs: did the Duke mean to pun, and intend this for the descent of the Montagus? Well! we hurried away and got to Drayton an hour before dinner. Oh! the dear old place! you would be transported with it. In the first place, it stands in as ugly a hole as Boughton: well! that is not its beauty. The front is a brave strong castle wall, embattled and loopholed for defence. Passing the great gate, you come to a sumptuous but narrow modern court, behind which rises the old mansion, all towers and turrets. The house is excellent; has a vast hall,