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.
“The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy;” the great humour of which consists in the whole narration always going backwards.  I cannot conceive a man saying that it would be droll to write a book in that manner, but have no notion of his persevering in executing it.  It makes one smile two or three times at the beginnings but in recompense makes one yawn for two hours.  The characters are tolerably kept up, but the humour is for ever attempted and missed.  The best thing in it is a Sermon, oddly coupled with a good deal of bawdy, and both the composition of a clergyman.  The man’s head, indeed, was a little turned before, now topsy-turvy with his success and fame.(48) Dodsley has given him six hundred and fifty pounds for the second edition and two more volumes (which I suppose will reach backwards to his great-great-grandfather); Lord Falconberg, a donative of one hundred and sixty pounds a-year; and Bishop Warburton gave him a purse of gold and this compliment (which happened to be a contradiction), “that it was quite an original composition, and in the true Cervantic vein:”  the only copy that ever was an original, except in painting, where they all pretend to be so.  Warburton, however, not content with this, recommended the book to the bench of bishops, and told them Mr. Sterne, the author, was the English Rabelais.  They had never heard of such a writer.  Adieu!

(45) Now first collected.

(46) It was written by Mrs. Halket of Wardlaw.  Mr. Lockhart stated, that on the blank leaf of his copy of Allan Ramsay’s “Evergreen,” Sir Walter Scott has written “Hardyknute was the first poem that I ever learnt, the last that I shall forget."-E.

(47) It came out at Drury-Lane, but met with small success.-E.

(48) Gray, in a letter to Wharton, of the 22d of April, says, “Tristram Shandy is an object of admiration, the man as well as the book.  One is invited to dinner, where he dines, a fortnight beforehand.  His portrait is done by Reynolds, and now engraving.”  He adds, in another letter, “There is much good fun in Tristram, and humour sometimes hit and sometimes missed.  Have you read his Sermons (with his own comic figure at the head of them)?  They are in the style, I think, most proper for the pulpit, and show a very strong imagination and a sensible heart:  but you see him often tottering on the verge of laughter, and ready to throw his periwig in the face of his audience."-E.

Letter 20 To George Montagu, Esq.  Arlington Street, April 19, 1760. (page 52)

Well, this big week is over!  Lord George’s sentence, after all the communications of how terrible it was, is ended in proclaiming him unfit for the King’s service.  Very moderate, in comparison of what was intended and desired, and truly not very severe, considering what was proved.  The other trial, Lord Ferrers’s, lasted three days.  You have seen the pomp and awfulness of such doings,

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