I suppose you have read in the papers the massacre of my innocents. Every one of my Turkish sheep, that I have been nursing up these fourteen years, torn to pieces in one night by three strange dogs! They killed sixteen outright, and mangled the two others in such a manner that I was forced to have them knocked on the head. However, I bore this better than an interruption.
I have scrawled and blotted this letter so I don’t know whether you can read it; but it is no matter, for I perceive it is all about myself: but what has one else in the dead of summer? In return, tell me as much as you please about yourself, which you know is always a most welcome subject to me. One may preserve one’s spirits with one’s juniors, but I defy any body to care but about their contemporaries. One wants to linger about one’s predecessors, but who has the least curiosity about their successors? This is abominable ingratitude: one takes wondrous pains to consign one’s own memory to them at the same time that one feels the most perfect indifference to whatever relates to them themselves. Well, they will behave just so in their turns. Adieu!
I have but a minute’s time for answering your letter; my house is full of people, and has been so from the instant I breakfasted, and more are coming; in short, I keep an inn; the sign, the Gothic Castle. Since my gallery was finished I have not been in it a quarter of an hour together; my whole time is passed in giving tickets for seeing it, and hiding myself while it is seen. Take my advice, never build a charming house for yourself between London and Hampton-court: every body will live in it but you. I fear you must give up all thoughts of the Vine for this year, at least for some time. The poor master is on the rack; I left him the day before yesterday in bed, where he had been ever since Monday, with the gout in both knees and one foot, and suffering martyrdom every night. I go to see him again on Monday. He has not had so bad a fit these four years, and he has probably the other foot still to come. You must come to me at least in the mean time, before he is well enough to receive you. After next Tuesday I am unengaged, except on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday following; that is, the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, when the family from Park-place are to be with me. Settle your motions, and let me know them as soon as you can, and give me as much time as you can spare. I flatter myself the General(316) and Lady Grandison will keep the kind promise they made me, and that I shall see your brother John and Mr. Miller too.
My niece is not breeding. You shall have the auction books as soon as I can get them, though I question if there is any thing in your way; however, I shall see you long before the sale, and we will talk on it.