My dear Lord, I am very impatient for a letter from Paris, to hear of your outset, and what my Lady Hertford thinks of the new world she is got into, and whether it is better or worse than she expected. Pray tell me all: I mean of that sort, for I have no curiosity about the family compact, nor the harbour of Dunkirk. It is your private history—your audiences, reception, comforts or distresses, your way of life, your company—that interests me; in short, I care about my cousins and friends, not, like Jack Harris,(322) about my lord ambassador. Consider you are in my power. You, by this time, are longing to hear from England, and depend upon me for the news of London. I shall not send you a tittle, if you are not very good, and do not (one of you, at least) write to me punctually.
This letter, I confess, will not give you much encouragement, for I can absolutely tell you nothing. I dined at Mr. Grenville’s to-day, if there had been any thing to hear, I should have heard it; but all consisted in what you will see in the papers—some diminutive(323) battles in America, and the death of the King of Poland,(324) which you probably knew before we did. The town is a desert; it is like a vast plain, which, though abandoned at present, is in three weeks to have a great battle fought upon it. One of the colonels, I hear, is to be in town tomorrow, the Duke of Devonshire. I came myself but this morning, but as I shall not return to Strawberry till the day after to-morrow, I shall not seal my letter till then. In the mean time, it is but fair to give you some more particular particulars of what I expect to know. For instance, of Monsieur de Nivernois’s cordiality; of Madame Dusson’s affection for England; of my Lord Holland’s joy at seeing you in France, especially without your Secretary;(325) of all my Lady Hertford’s(326) cousins at St. Germains; and I should not dislike a little anecdote or two of the late embassy,(327) of which I do not doubt you will hear plenty. I must trouble you with many compliments to Madame de Boufflers, and with still more to the Duchesse de Mirepoix,(328) who is always so good as to remember me. Her brother, Prince de Beauvau,(329) I doubt has forgotten me. In the disagreeableness of taking leave, I omitted these messages. Good night for to-night—oh! I forgot—pray send me some caff`e au lait: the Duc de Picquigny(33) (who by the way is somebody’s son, as I thought) takes it for snuff; and says it is the new fashion at Paris; I suppose they drink rappee after dinner.
I might as well have finished last night; for I know nothing more than I did then, but that Lady mary Coke arrived this evening. She has behaved very honourably, and not stolen the hereditary Prince.(331)
Mr. Bowman(332) called on me yesterday before I came, and left word that he would come again to-day, but did not. I wished to hear of you from him, and a little of my old acquaintance at Rheims. Did you find Lord Beauchamp(333) much grown? Are all your sons to be like those of the Amalekites? who were I forget how many cubits high.